Valley (also Vale), a hollow sweep of ground between two more or less parallel ridges of high land. Vale is the poetical or provincial form. It is in the nature of the case that the center of a valley should usually be occupied by the stream which forms the drain of the high land on either side, and from this it commonly receives its name. Valley is distinguished from other terms more or less closely related on the one hand, from "glen," "ravine," "gorge," or "dell," which all express a depression at once more abrupt and smaller than a valley; on the other hand, from "plain," which, though it may be used of a wide valley, is not ordinarily or necessarily so. It is to be regretted that with this quasi-precision of meaning the term should not have been employed with more restriction in the A.V. SEE TOPOGRAPHICAL TERMS.
The structure of the greater part of the Holy Land does .not lend itself to the formation of valleys in our sense of the word. The abrupt transitions of its crowded rocky hills preclude the existence of any extended sweep of valley; and where one such does occur, as at Hebron or on the south-east of Gerizim, the irregular and unsymmetrical positions of the enclosing hills rob it of the character of a valley. The nearest approach is found in; the space between the mountains of Gerizim and Ebal, which contains the town of Nablûs, the ancient Shechem. This, however, by a singular chance, is not mentioned in the Bible. Another is the "valley of Jezreel," the undulating hollow which intervenes between (Gilboa Jebel Fukua); and the so-called Little Hermon (Jebel Duhv). SEE PALESTINE.
1. Bik'ah (בַּקַעָה, from בָּקִע, to cleave; Sept. πεδίον) appears to mean rather a plain than a valley, wider than the latter, though so far resembling it as to be-enclosed by mountains, like the wide district between Lebanon and Anti-lebanon, which is still called the Beka'a. It denotes a wide alluvial bottom, and its levelness is plainly referred to in Isa 40:4. It is usually rendered "valley" (De 8:7; De 11:1; De 34:3; Jos 11:8,17; Jos 12:7; 2Ch 35:22; Ps 104:8; Isa 41:18; Isa 63:14; Eze 37:1-2.; Zec 12:11); elsewhere "plain" (Ge 11:2; Ne 6:2; Isa 40:4; Eze 3:22-23; Eze 8:4; Am 1:5). This Heb. term is applied to the following places:
(1.) The Valley of Shinar (בַּקעִת שַׁנעָר), the rich plain of Babylonia (Ge 11:2). SEE SHINAR.
(2.) The Valley of Jericho (בַּקּעִת ירֵחוֹ, the lower end of the Ghor, or plain, through which the Jordan flows unto the Dead Sea (De 34:3). SEE JERICHO.
(3.) The Valley of Lebanon (בַּקעִת הִלּבָנוֹן), the plain of Coele-Syria between the Lebanon and Anti-lebanon ranges (Jos 11:17). SEE LEBANON,
(4.) The Valley of Miegiddo. (בַּקעִת מגַדּוֹ), a part of the plain of Esdraelon, through which the Kishan flowed (2Ch 35:22; Zec 12:11). SEE MEGIDDO.
(5.) The Valley of Mizpeh (בַּקעִת מַצפֶּה), the plain t the Hauran or of- Gilead, east of the Jordan (Jos 11:4). SEE MIZPEH.
(6.) The Valley of Sharon (בַּקעִת הִשָּׁרוֹן), the level tract about Joppa, Lod, and Ramleh (Ne 6:2). SEE SHARON.
(7.) The Valley of Aven (בַּקעִת אָוֶן), the plain of Damascene Syria (Am 1:5), thought by some to be the same as No; 3. SEE AVSE.
2. Enmek (עֵמֶק from עָמִק, to be deep; Sept. usually φάραγξ or κοιλάς, occasionally αὐλών, πεδίον or Ε᾿μέκ, Α᾿μέκ A.V. invariably [except Ge 14:17; 1Sa 18:18] "valley") designates a long broad sweep between parallel ranges of hills of less extent than the preceding term, but greater than' the following ones, and answering quite closely, to the Western idea in general of a valley in its proper sense, having the idea of lowness and breadth rather than precipitateness or confinement. It is specifically applied to the following localities, which we enumerate in alphabetical order:
(1.) The Valley of Achor (עֵמֶק עָכוֹר), a valley near the N.W. end of the Dead Sea (Jos 7:24,26; Jos 15:7; Isa 65:10; Ho 2:15). SEE ACHOR.
(2.) The Valley of Ajalon ( עֵמֶק אִיָּלוֹן), a valley in the tribe of Dan (Jos 10:12). SEE AJALON.
(3.) The Valley of Hebron (עֵמֶק חֵברוֹו), the valley in which Hebron lies (Ge 38:4). SEE HEBRON.
(4.) The Valley of Jehoshaphat (עֵמֶק יהוֹשׁפט), the valley between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives (Joe 3:2,12); in the same connection called figuratively the valley of the decision (עֵמֶק הֶחָרוּוֹ). SEE JEHOSHAPHAT.
(5.) The Valley of Jezleel (עֵמֶק יַזרעֵאל), the eastern extension of the plain of Esdraelon (Jos 17:16; Jg 6:33; Ho 1:5) SEE JEZREEL.
(6.) The Valley of Keziz (עֵמֶק קצַיוֹ) a valley in the tribe of Benjamin (Jos 18:21). SEE KEZIZ.
Besides the above, the term is sometimes used as an appellative for certain well known localities, e.g. the valley of the weeping (Ps 74:6; A.V. "valley of Baka" [q.v.]), the valley of blessing (2Ch 20:26; A.:V. "valley of Berachah" [q.v.), the valley of the back (1Sa 17:2,19; 1Sa 21:9; A.V. "valley of Elah" [q.v.]), the valley of -giants (Jos 15:8; Jos 18:16; "valley of Rephaim" [q.v.], 2Sa 5:18,22; 2Sa 23:13; 1Ch 11:15; 1Ch 14:9; Isa 17:5), the valley of Shaveh [q.v.]; (Ge 14:17), or of the king ("dale," ibid.; 2Sa 18:18), the valley of the slime-pits (Genesis 64:3, 8, 10; A.V. "of Siddim" [q.v.]), the alley of booths (Ps 60:6; Ps 108:7; A.V. "of Succoth" [q.v.]), etc.
3. Gay (גִּיא or גִּי ) or Gey (גֵּיא or גֵּיא; plur. גֵאָיּוֹת and גּיָאוֹת, from גָיָא; to flow; Sept. usually φάραγξ), a deep narrow ravine with a (winter or perennial) stream in the bottom either between hills (like the Ge-Hinnom at Jerusalem) or through an open plain (as along the Mediterranean or in Moab). In the A.V. it is invariably rendered "valley" (in the Sept. occasionally κοιλάς, νάπη, αὐλών,-and even γῆ). It is applied distinctively to the following localities. See also Ai; Beth-peor, etc.
(1.) The Valley of Hinnom (גַּי הַנֹּם, Jos 15:8; Jos 18:16; Ne 11:30), or of the Son of Hinnom (הַנֹּ בֵּןאּ, Jos 15:8; Jos 18:16; 2Ki 23:10; 2Ch 28:3; 2Ch 33:6; Jer 7:31-32; Jer 19:2,6; Jer 32:35), the ravine on the south-western side of Jerusalem, whence the term Gehenna (q.v.).
(2.) The Valley of Jiphthah-el (גֵּי יַפתִּחאּאֵל), a ravine on the boundary between Zebulin and Asher (Jos 19:14,27). SEE JIPHTHAH-EL.
(3.) The Valley of Zephathah (גֵּיא צפָתָה), a ravine in the tribe of Simeon (2Ch 14:10). SEE ZEPHAITHAH.
(4.) The Valley of Gedor (גּיא גּדוֹר), another ravine in Simeon (1Ch 4:39).
(5.) The Valley of Hammon-gog (גֵּיא הֲמוֹן גּוֹג, Eze 39:11,15), or of the Passengers (גֵּי הָעֹברַם, ver. 11), a ravine on the east of the Sea of Galilee. SEE HAMON-GOG.
(6.) The Valley of the Craftsmen (גַּי הִחֲרָשַׁים, Ne 11:35; or גֵּיא חֲרָשֵׁים 1Ch 4:14, a ravine in the tribe of Judah. SEE CHARASHIM.
(7.) The Valley of the Mountains (גֵּיאאּהָרִי, Zec 14:5, or גֵּיאּהָרַים, ibid.), a ravine near Jerusalem (q.v.).
(8.) The Valley of Salt (גֵּיא מֶלִח), a ravine on the S.W. shore of the Dead Sea (2Sa 8:13; 2Ki 24:7; 1Ch 18:12; 2Ch 35:11; Psalm Ix, title). SEE SALT.
(9) The Valley of the Hyenas (גּי הצּבֹעַים), a ravine in the tribe of Benjamin (1Sa 13:18). SEE ZEBOIM.
Other ravines; such as the valley of vision (Isa 22:1,5) of slaughter (Jer 7:32; Jer 19:6), are fanciful names, and still more tropical, the valley of the shadow of death (Ps 23:4).
4. Náchal (נִחִל, from. נָחִל to receive, or perhaps to flow; Sept. φάραγξ or χειμάῤῥους; A. V. often "brook," "river," "stream") is the word which exactly answers to the Arabic wady. It expresses, as no single English word an, the bed of a stream (often wide and shelving and like a "valley" in character, which in the rainy season may be nearly filled by a foaming torrent, though for the greater part of the year dry), and the stream itself which after the subsidence of the rains has shrunk to insignificant dimensions. Many of the wadies of Syria owing to the demolition of the wood which formerly shaded the country and prevented too rapid evaporation after rain, are now entirely and constantly dry. SEE RIVER. As Palestine is now emphatically a land of wadies, so this Heb. term is of very frequent occurrence in the Bible; Stanley (Palest. append.) enumerates fifteen of these water-courses or torrent-beds: those of Gerar, of Eshcol, of Zered, of Arnon, of Jabbok, of Kanah, of Kisfhon, of Besor, of Sorek, of Kidron, of Gaash, of Cherith, of Gad (2Sa 24:5), of Sthittim, and of Egypt (Nu 34:5; Jos 15:4,47; 1Ki 8:65; 2Ki 24:7; 2Ch 7:8; Isa 27:12), this last could not be distinguished by a mere English reader from the "river of Egypt," namely, the Nile, although in the original an entirely different word is used. This name nachal is also applied to the course of the Gihon (2Ch 33:14), and such wadies are often mentioned in the book of Job and elsewhere as characteristic of Arabia; Canaan itself is said to be a land of them (De 8:7). SEE BROOK.
5. Hash-Shephelah (הִשּׁפֵלָה; Sept. τὸ πεδίον, ἡ πεδινή) is the only case in which the employment of the term 'valley" is really unfortunate. The district to which alone this distinctive Heb. name is applied in the Bible has no resemblance whatever to a valley, but is a broad swelling tract of many hundred miles in area, which sweeps gently down from the mountains of 'Judah. towards the Mediterranean.. It is rendered "the vale" in De 1:7; Jos 10:40; 1Ki 10:27; 2Ch 1:15; Jer 33:13; and "the valley" or "valleys" in Jos 9:1; Jos 11:2,16; Jos 12:8; Jos 15:33; Jg 1:9; Jer 32:44. SEE SHEPHELAH.
6. In the New Test. there is little notice taken of the external features of Cauaanr. In Lu 6:17 we read of our Lord standing in "the plain," τόπος πεδινός (but this should rather be "a level place"'); and in Lu 3:5 we meet with "valley," φάραγξ, for גֵּיא, gey, in Isa 40:4.