Daily Archives: August 10, 2010

The Valley of Beracah

The Bible may be understood on many levels. Folks with little technical knowledge often understand the fundamental lesson of a biblical account. Others, with an understanding of the historical setting of an event will have a better understanding. Some knowledge of the original biblical languages will add more insight. We have emphasized repeatedly that an understanding of the land of the event will provide an even richer understanding. We are hopeful that the photos we use, and the comments we include, will assist in this way.

During the reign of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah (870/69–848 B.C.), a coalition of Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites came up against Judah. The enemies came from the east, across the [Salt] sea and camped at Hazazon-tamar (that is, Engedi or En Gedi). Engedi would be an ideal place for such an encampment. See photo and info here.

Jehoshaphat understood the potential danger that camped a day’s march away. I am not suggesting that he failed to prepare for the battle, but the most important thing is that he sought the LORD, who he recognized as the ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations. I suggest you read the entire account in 2 Chronicles 20.

The Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel and he instructed Jehoshaphat:

And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. (2 Chronicles 20:15-16 ESV)

From Engedi the ascent of Ziz goes up to the wilderness of Jeruel (v. 16), which may be the same as the wilderness of Tekoa (v. 20).

Meanwhile, Ammon and Moab turned against Mt. Seir (Edom) and this led to a civil war ending in disaster for the coalition. When Judah came to the watchtower of the wilderness (v. 24) they saw the terrible slaughter. They spent three days gathering the spoil. On the fourth day Judah assembled at the Valley of Beracah.

On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah, for there they blessed the LORD. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Beracah to this day. (2 Chronicles 20:26 ESV)

Our photo shows the valley we think is described in the text.  The view is to the east toward the Salt Sea and Moab/Edom.

The Valley of Beracah near Tekoah. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Valley of Beracah near Tekoah. View to the East. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The men of Judah, with Jehoshaphat at their head, returned to Jerusalem with joy and there praised the LORD at the temple.