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Elah Valley

One Year Ago - A Tour of the Lowlands

Sorek Valley NOTE: I am continuing my series of retrospective posts on the our tour one year ago. I invite you to start at the beginning and read through all of them.

A year ago today, we toured the Shephelah.

Pressed between the coastal plain and the central mountain range is a small area of land called the Shephelah. In our Bibles, it is translated "lowlands". It only measures about 10 miles wide and 50 miles long, but it played a very important role during the United and Divided Kingdoms.

The Shephelah is bisected by five valleys. During the time of Saul and David, Philistines controlled cities on the western end of the valleys and the Israelites controlled cities on the eastern end. This arrangement was the setup for numerous battles between the two nations.

Probably the most famous battle was the one commonly referred to as "David vs. Goliath". This battle took place in the Valley of Elah. An Israelite defeat in this battle would have given the Philistines an easy path up the valley and into the hill country.

Tomorrow: The little town of Bethlehem.

2015 Israel Poster B

Have you been enjoying these posts on last year's tour? Are you interested in traveling with me this year? Then, I would love to have you join me. Our 12-day tour is scheduled for October 12-23. We will stay one night on the Mediterranean Sea, three nights on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and five nights in beautiful Jerusalem. During the day, we will visit dozens of sites that will enhance your understanding of the land and of the Biblical stories that take place in them. Reservations are coming in, but we still have some availability! This is a first-class tour with many extras thrown in that many Israel tours overlook. If you are interested, I encourage you to read the itinerary and contact me personally for more details.

Yossi Garfinkel Podcast

yossi_garfinkel_fc Last fall, Florida College (with the help of Luke Chandler) arranged for archaeologist Yossi Garfinkel to speak in their Life Enrichment Series. The audio podcast of this event has recently been released on Florida College's Special Events podcast. Mr. Garfinkel discusses the recently concluded dig at Khirbet Qeiyafa, a site overlooking the Elah Valley in the Shephelah. His wisdom and wit come through as he discusses their findings and how it relates to the United Kingdom during the time of King David.

While you can not see the slides that he is presenting, a listener should not have any problem following the discussion. This is especially true if you have a fundamental understanding of the location of Khirbet Qeiyafa as well as basic archaeology. I encourage you to listen to this wonderful presentation.

Socoh, Azekah, Khirbet Qeiyafa

1_Socoh_Azekah_Qeiyafa In I Samuel 17, the Philistine armies have gathered at Socoh, and are encamped between Socoh and Azekah.  Across the Elah Valley, were the Israelites, with a river between them and their enemies.  To the left of this photo is Socoh with Azekah rising at the end of the valley.  To the right is the site of Khirbet Qeiyafa, the possible location of the Israelite camp.

View of Elah Valley from Azekah

1_Azekah_ViewofElahValley_Day1 As with so many views from high points or tels in Israel, much can be packed into one landscape.  This view from Azekah is significant enough itself, but from here looking east and slightly southeast, you can see the Elah Valley just beyond the road and green hill below.  To the right of the valley is Sochoh, on the left is Khirbet Qeiyafa, of much Biblical Archaeology fame and debate over the past few years.  Azekah, Sochoh, and the Elah Valley all feature in the account of David and Goliath (I Samuel 17).

Khirbet Qeiyafa

High on the hill, Khirbet Qeiyafa overlooks with Elah Valley.This morning, a new short film has debuted on the Internet. It is called "Khirbet Qeiyafa" and discusses the recent archaeology surrounding a site on the northern side of the Elah Valley in Israel. The film debuted on Luke Chandler's blog site and it is one that I encourage you to watch. The interesting thing about archaeology is that we are continually learning about past civilizations. And, as more and more dirt is moved away, the more that we learn.

In Israel, this is a beautiful site. While there, you can open up your Bible, read the story of David and Goliath from 1 Samuel 17, and the whole story comes to life.

If you are interested in traveling with Luke Chandler, he is planning a trip to Italy this fall. I'm sure that he would enjoy having you join him.