Visiting the Judean Hills

We were able to visit several sites in the Judean Hills yesterday. Many of them were in the territory of the Israelite tribe of Dan.

Zorah was the birthplace of Samson. The biblical record says,

And the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.  (Judges 13:25)

Both of these towns are within an area now designated a forested park land.

When the Ark of the Covenant was returned by the Philistines on a cart pulled by milk cows, it came into the Zorek Valley near Beth Shemesh (1 Samuel 6). The ark was later taken to Kiriath-jearim before being moved to Jerusalem by David (2 Chronicles 1:4). We visited all of these sites.

We also visited the sites around the Valley of Elah where young David met Goliath the Philistine from Gath in a decisive battle (1 Samuel 17). While we were in the process of picking up five smooth stones for our grandson, Drew, a shepherd drove a flock of sheep across the brook. You can see from the photo that Elizabeth and I were separated for a while.

Elizabeth and I were temporarily separated in the brook of Elah by a flock of sheep. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Elizabeth and I were temporarily separated in the brook of Elah by a flock of sheep. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Understand that the brook (nachal) of Elah has water in it only during the rainy season. We also visited Tell es-Safi, thought to be the site of Gath, one of the major Philistine cities and the home of Goliath. The excavator, Aren Maeir, has a marvelous aerial photo of the top of the tell posted at the Tell es-Safi/Gath blog. We did not have time to climb to the top, but maybe we can get back to it another day.

One response to “Visiting the Judean Hills

  1. The view from the top of Azekah is amazing. Being able to look out over the Valley of Elah, you can perfectly picture the whole battle scene. It’s a strange feeling to know that where you stand, thousands of years ago Biblical events took place. I may never move back to Israel, but I will be definitely at least visit again.

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