Valley of Elah: A Piece of History for Today
The Valley of Elah sits quietly near the city of Beit Shemesh, nearly halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. An almost unknown destination, this area is a well-kept secret that Christian and Jewish travelers will enjoy visiting for its historical and Biblical significance, along with its intrinsic natural beauty and archeological interest points. Check out what the Valley of Elah is all about and why you should put it on your next Israel itinerary.
The Famous Fight
Historians have recently taken to debating this epic battle, claiming David was not as much of an underdog and Goliath not nearly as formidable a foe as history would have us believe. Regardless of the details, no one argues about the basic storyline, one of the most famous ancient battles to take place in Israel. The young David fought against the giant Goliath and using nothing more than a stone, felled the behemoth for an Israelite victory that would go down in history. The Valley of Elah is the exact location of this legendary battle, and Christian tourists love visiting this spot to relive, remember, and even reenact the scenes from this favorite childhood bedtime story.
The Valley of Elah
Aside from the famous battle, the Valley of Elah is a beautiful place to visit because of the vast foliage that grows there. Flanked on all sides and in every direction with terebinth trees, Elah is also aptly referred to as the Valley of Terebinth. One of the most remarkable landmarks to see while you’re there is an ancient timber that measures staggering 55 feet in height and has a trunk of 17 feet in circumference! The enormous tree stands proudly at the upper end of the valley, shading more than 75 feet with its gargantuan branches.
Ancient Ruins of Adullam
Archeology buffs will also appreciate the ancient ruins of Adullam. Until two hundred years ago, this small town was completely untouched after having been destroyed centuries ago. The level hilltop is covered with remains of stone structures, cisterns embedded within the rock, and other layers of ruins from early Canaanite and Israelite periods. This is also one of the locations where David was said to have hidden during the flee for his life.
Venturing slightly off the beaten path is always exciting, so come explore the Valley of Elah on your next trip to Israel.