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Elah

Terebinth Tree
A terebinth tree growing in the Valley of Elah. Photo by David Bena (CC).

Hebrew: אֵלָה

Meaning: terebinth

This is the name of a place and 4 biblical men.

  1. Valley of Elah

    also known as: Elah Valley

    View of the Valley of Elah (2011)
    View of the Valley of Elah in 2011 from an ancient fortress city dating to the reign of King David. It is known as The Elah Fortress (Arabic: Khirbet Qeiyafa) and is possibly the biblical city of Sha'arayim (because of the 2 gates discovered on the site). The Elah Fortress “lies just inside a north-south ridge of hills separating Philistia and Gath to the west from Judea to the east.” Photo by Yoav Dothan (GFDL).

    On a mountain overlooking the Valley of Elah is where the Israelites were encamped when David killed Goliath, a famous giant of Gath (1 Samuel 17:2, 19).

    And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines. And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them. (Goliath (1 Samuel 17:2-3)

    It was near Shochoh of Judah and Azekah (17:1).

    “The terebinths from which the valley of Elah takes its name still cling to their ancient soil. On the west side of the valley, near Shochoh, there is a very large and ancient tree of this kind known as the ‘terebinth of Wady Sur,’ 55 feet in height, its trunk 17 feet in circumference, and the breadth of its shade no less than 75 feet. It marks the upper end of the Elah valley, and forms a noted object, being one of the largest terebinths in Palestine.” Geikie’s, The Holy Land, etc.

    Valley of Elah—satellite view
  2. Elah, one of the Edomite chiefs or “dukes” of Mount Seir (Genesis 36:41)

  3. Elah, the 2nd of the 3 sons of Caleb, the son of Jephunneh (1 Chronicles 4:15)

  4. Elah, the son and successor of Baasha, king of Israel (1 Kings 16:8-10)

    He was killed while drunk by Zimri, one of the captains of his chariots, and was the last king of the line of Baasha. Thus was fullfilled the prophecy of Jehu (6, 7, 11-14).

  5. Elah, the father of Hoshea, the last king of Israel (2 Kings 15:30; 17:1)

Article Version: September 26, 2017