From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Smith's Bible Dictionary [1]

Valley. It is hardly necessary to state that these words signify a hollow sweep of ground between two more or less parallel ridges of high land. 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. Valley is employed in the Authorized Version to render five distinct Hebrew words.

1. 'Emek . This appears to approach more nearly to the general sense of the English word, Valley , than any other. It is connected with several places.

2. Gai or ge . Of this, there is fortunately, one example which can be identified with certainty - the deep hollow which compasses the southwest and south of Jerusalem. This identification establishes the ge as A Deep And Abrupt Ravine, With Steep Sides And Narrow Bottom.

3. Nachal . This word answers to the Arabic Wady , and expresses, as no single English word can, 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).

4. Bik'ah . This term appears to mean rather A Plain (Enclosed By Mountains) than a valley, though so far resembling it as to be enclosed by mountains. It is rendered by "valley" in  Deuteronomy 34:3;  Joshua 11:8;  Joshua 11:17;  Joshua 12:7;  2 Chronicles 35:22;  Zechariah 12:11.

5. has-Shefelah . The district to which the name Has-Shefelah 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 Judah to the Mediterranean. It is rendered "the vale" in  Deuteronomy 1:7;  Joshua 10:40;  1 Kings 10:27;  2 Chronicles 1:15;  Jeremiah 33:13 and "the valley" or "the valleys" in  Joshua 9:1;  Joshua 11:2;  Joshua 11:16;  Joshua 12:8;  Joshua 15:33;  Judges 1:9;  Jeremiah 32:44.

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [2]

 Psalm 23:4 (b) David describes in this way the deep sorrow and perplexity which comes upon a person as he nears the portals of death. It may refer also to the times of deep sorrow and trouble through which persons pass along life's pathway.

 Song of Solomon 2:1 (c) No doubt this is descriptive of the deeply distressing experiences of life into which the Lord brings the fragrance of His presence, the comfort of His words, and the sweetness of His fellowship to His own people. We should note that the word is in the plural, for there are many valleys between the cradle and the grave.

 Isaiah 22:1 (c) This probably represents the feelings of the prophet when he was depressed in spirit, and felt quite crushed beneath the burden of Israel's future. He was looking forward to the terrible destruction that awaited His people and it brought him low before the Lord.

 Isaiah 40:4 (c) It may be that this is literal, and yet it may indicate that deep sorrows and perplexities may be overcome and great difficulties may be removed. It probably is a figure of the smooth, blessed life in which Christians may walk when GOD is present in power. (See also  Luke 3:5).

 Jeremiah 2:23 (a) It seems as though these enemies of GOD were hiding in secret places to carry out their wicked designs. Where there should have been happiness under GOD's blessing, they were sinning and inviting GOD's wrath.

 Ezekiel 37:1 (a) GOD sees all the nation of Israel as gathered together in one place, and that a low place. We see Israel scattered all over the world, and found in every country. No doubt they are in the valley, for they are the subjects of other people when they should be citizens of their own country, with their own king. GOD sees all of Israel, every person of Israel as though they were in one place constituting one unit. (See under "BONES"), for a description of this truth found in this passage).

Holman Bible Dictionary [3]

Five Hebrew terms are designated “valley” in the Old Testament. Bikeah is a broad plain (  Genesis 11:2;  Isaiah 41:8 ). Gaye is a deep ravine, gorge, or valley ( Isaiah 40:4;  Zechariah 14:4 ). Nahal is a wadi, that is the bed of a stream which is often dry (  Numbers 34:5;  Psalm 124:4;  Ezekiel 48:28 ). Emech is a long, broad sweep between parallel ranges of hills (  Numbers 14:25;  Joshua 8:13;  Jeremiah 21:13 ). Shephelah is the low land, plain, or slope sweeping gently down from mountains (  Deuteronomy 10:1;  Joshua 9:1;  Jeremiah 17:26 ). One Greek term, pharanx , is used in the New Testament for each of these.

Valley is often used symbolically to refer to the difficulties of life. The classic example of this is  Psalm 23:4 . All people go through these trials, but God is present with His people, protecting them during these times. See Palestine .

Bradley S. Butler

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [4]

We meet with an account of numberless values and vales in the Scripture. There is the valley of Achor, for a door of hope. ( Hosea 2:15) The valley of Baca, a place of Bochim, or weeping. ( Judges 2:1) The valley of Eshcol, or grapes. ( Numbers 32:9) In short they are too numerous to be all noticed in this little work. But by valley the scriptural and figurative sense is, this lower world. Hence Ezekiel's vision in the valley of the dry bones. (See  Ezekiel 37:1-14) I would only beg to call the reader's attention to a beautiful instance in point, where Jesus, speaking of visiting his church, useth this figure, "I went down (said Christ) into the garden of nuts, to see the fruits of the valley; and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranate budded." ( Song of Song of Solomon 6:11) What an endearing representation this is of Jesus, coming down into time valley of our world, and taking notice of his own graces given by himself to his own people. Sweet thought to comfort every poor fearful believer

People's Dictionary of the Bible [5]

Vale, Valley. Five Hebrew words are translated "vale" or "valley." 1. Emek, signifying a "deep" broad valley, as the valley of Achor, Aijalon, Elan, Jezreel, Succoth, etc. 2. Gai or Ge, signifying a "bursting," and used to designate narrow ravines or glens, as of Hinnom or Salt.  Deuteronomy 34:6. 3. Nachal, meaning a "wâdy-bed," filled with water in winter, but dry in summer. Such, beds or valleys were Chereth, Eshcol, Sorek, Zered, etc. 4. BikʾAh, properly a "cleft," but applied to a broader space than a cleft or valley, and meaning sometimes a "plain," as that between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon and Megiddo.  Joshua 11:17;  Joshua 13:17;  Zechariah 12:11. 5. Has-Shephelah, wrongly rendered "vale" in A. V., but "lowland" in R. V., meant a broad tract of low Mils between the mountains of Judah and the coast-plain.  Deuteronomy 1:7;  Joshua 10:40.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [6]

1: Φάραγξ (Strong'S #5327 — Noun Feminine — pharanx — far'-anx )

denotes "a ravine or valley," sometimes figurative of "a condition of lonliness and danger" (cp.  Psalm 23:4 ); the word occurs in  Luke 3:5 (from the Sept. of   Isaiah 40:4 ).

Webster's Dictionary [7]

(1): ( n.) The depression formed by the meeting of two slopes on a flat roof.

(2): ( n.) The space inclosed between ranges of hills or mountains; the strip of land at the bottom of the depressions intersecting a country, including usually the bed of a stream, with frequently broad alluvial plains on one or both sides of the stream. Also used figuratively.

(3): ( n.) The place of meeting of two slopes of a roof, which have their plates running in different directions, and form on the plan a reentrant angle.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [8]

  • Heb. nahal, a wady or water-course ( Genesis 26:19;  Song of Solomon 6:11 ).

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Valley'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [9]

    With respect to the general features of the Holy Land, see  Psalm 23:4 , and may have been suggested by the psalmist's experience with his flock in some of the deep, narrow, and dark ravines of Syria.

    Thus the entrance to Petra is by long winding defile, between rugged precipices in some spots not more than twelve or fourteen feet apart and two or three hundred feet high, and almost excluding the light of day. See view in Sela . A similar pass south of mount Carmel is now known as the "Valley of Death-shade."

    King James Dictionary [10]

    VAL'LEY, n. plu. valleys. L. vallis. See Vale.

    1. A hollow or low tract of land between hills or mountains. 2. A low extended plain, usually alluvial, penetrated or washed by a river. The valley of the Connecticut is remarkable for its fertility and beauty.

    Ye mountains, sink ye valleys, rise prepare the Lord his way.

    3. In building, a gutter over the sleepers in the roof of a building.

    Fausset's Bible Dictionary [11]

    (See Vale .)

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [12]

    (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 Nabl Û s, 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). Valley is employed in the A.V. to render the following Heb. and Gr. words. (See Dale); (See Plain).

    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  Isaiah 40:4. It is usually rendered "valley" ( Deuteronomy 8:7;  Deuteronomy 11:1;  Deuteronomy 34:3;  Joshua 11:8;  Joshua 11:17;  Joshua 12:7;  2 Chronicles 35:22;  Psalms 104:8;  Isaiah 41:18;  Isaiah 63:14;  Ezekiel 37:1-2.;  Zechariah 12:11); elsewhere "plain" ( Genesis 11:2;  Nehemiah 6:2;  Isaiah 40:4;  Ezekiel 3:22-23;  Ezekiel 8:4;  Amos 1:5). This Heb. term is applied to the following places:

    (1.) The Valley Of Shinar ( בַּקְעִת שַׁנְעָר ), the rich plain of Babylonia ( Genesis 11:2). (See Shinar).

    (2.) The Valley Of Jericho ( בַּקְּעִת יְרֵחוֹ , the lower end of the Ghor, or plain, through which the Jordan flows unto the Dead Sea ( Deuteronomy 34:3). (See Jericho).

    (3.) The Valley Of Lebanon ( בַּקְעִת הִלְּבָנוֹן ), the plain of Coele-Syria between the Lebanon and Anti-lebanon ranges ( Joshua 11:17). (See Lebanon),

    (4.) The Valley Of Miegiddo. ( בַּקְעִת מְגַדּוֹ ), a part of the plain of Esdraelon, through which the Kishan flowed ( 2 Chronicles 35:22;  Zechariah 12:11). (See Megiddo).

    (5.) The Valley Of Mizpeh ( בַּקְעִת מַצְפֶּה ) , the plain t the Hauran or of- Gilead, east of the Jordan ( Joshua 11:4). (See Mizpeh).

    (6.) The Valley Of Sharon ( בַּקְעִת הִשָּׁרוֹן ), the level tract about Joppa, Lod, and Ramleh ( Nehemiah 6:2). (See Sharon).

    (7.) The Valley Of Aven ( בַּקְעִת אָוֶן ), the plain of Damascene Syria ( Amos 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 , Ἀμέκ A.V. invariably [except  Genesis 14:17;  1 Samuel 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 ( Joshua 7:24;  Joshua 7:26;  Joshua 15:7;  Isaiah 65:10;  Hosea 2:15). (See Achor).

    (2.) The Valley Of Ajalon ( עֵמֶק אִיָּלוֹן ), a valley in the tribe of Dan ( Joshua 10:12). (See Ajalon).

    (3.) The Valley Of Hebron ( עֵמֶק חֵבְרוֹו ), the valley in which Hebron lies ( Genesis 38:4). (See Hebron).

    (4.) The Valley Of Jehoshaphat ( עֵמֶק יְהוֹשְׁפְט ), the valley between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives ( Joel 3:2;  Joel 3:12); in the same connection called figuratively The Valley Of The Decision ( עֵמֶק הֶחָרוּוֹ ). (See Jehoshaphat).

    (5.) The Valley Of Jezleel ( עֵמֶק יַזְרְעֵאל ), the eastern extension of the plain of Esdraelon ( Joshua 17:16;  Judges 6:33;  Hosea 1:5) (See Jezreel).

    (6.) The Valley Of Keziz ( עֵמֶק קְצַיוֹ ) a valley in the tribe of Benjamin ( Joshua 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 ( Psalms 74:6; A.V. "valley of Baka" [q.v.]), The Valley Of Blessing ( 2 Chronicles 20:26; A.:V. "valley of Berachah" [q.v.), The Valley Of The Back ( 1 Samuel 17:2;  1 Samuel 17:19;  1 Samuel 21:9; A.V. "valley of Elah" [q.v.]), the valley of -giants ( Joshua 15:8;  Joshua 18:16; "valley of Rephaim" [q.v.],  2 Samuel 5:18;  2 Samuel 5:22;  2 Samuel 23:13;  1 Chronicles 11:15;  1 Chronicles 14:9;  Isaiah 17:5), The Valley Of Shaveh [q.v.]; ( Genesis 14:17), Or Of The King ("dale," ibid.;  2 Samuel 18:18), the valley of the slime-pits (Genesis 64:3, 8, 10; A.V. "of Siddim" [q.v.]), the alley of booths ( Psalms 60:6;  Psalms 108:7; A.V. "of Succoth" [q.v.]), etc.

    3. Gay ( גִּיְא or גִּי ) or Gey ( גֵּיא or גֵּיא ; plur. גֵאָיּוֹת and גְּיָאוֹת , 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 ,  Joshua 15:8;  Joshua 18:16;  Nehemiah 11:30), or of the Son of Hinnom ( הַנֹּ בֵּןאּ ,  Joshua 15:8;  Joshua 18:16;  2 Kings 23:10;  2 Chronicles 28:3;  2 Chronicles 33:6;  Jeremiah 7:31-32;  Jeremiah 19:2;  Jeremiah 19:6;  Jeremiah 32:35), the ravine on the south-western side of Jerusalem, whence the term Gehenna (q.v.).

    (2.) The Valley Of Jiphthah-El ( גֵּי יַפְתִּחאּאֵל ), a ravine on the boundary between Zebulin and Asher ( Joshua 19:14;  Joshua 19:27). (See Jiphthah-El).

    (3.) The Valley Of Zephathah ( גֵּיא צְפָתָה ), a ravine in the tribe of Simeon ( 2 Chronicles 14:10). (See Zephaithah).

    (4.) The Valley Of Gedor ( גּיא גְּדוֹר ), another ravine in Simeon ( 1 Chronicles 4:39).

    (5.) The Valley Of Hammon-Gog ( גֵּיא הֲמוֹן גּוֹג ,  Ezekiel 39:11;  Ezekiel 39:15), or Of The Passengers ( גֵּי הָעֹבְרַם ,  Ezekiel 39:11), a ravine on the east of the Sea of Galilee. (See Hamon-Gog).

    (6.) The Valley Of The Craftsmen ( גַּי הִחֲרָשַׁים ,  Nehemiah 11:35; or גֵּיא חֲרָשֵׁים  1 Chronicles 4:14, a ravine in the tribe of Judah. (See Charashim).

    (7.) The Valley Of The Mountains ( גֵּיאאּהָרִי ,  Zechariah 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 ( 2 Samuel 8:13;  2 Kings 24:7;  1 Chronicles 18:12;  2 Chronicles 35:11; Psalm Ix, title). (See Salt).

    (9) The Valley of the Hyenas ( גּי הצּבֹעַים ), a ravine in the tribe of Benjamin ( 1 Samuel 13:18). (See Zeboim). Other ravines; such as the valley of vision ( Isaiah 22:1;  Isaiah 22:5) Of Slaughter ( Jeremiah 7:32;  Jeremiah 19:6), are fanciful names, and still more tropical, The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death ( Psalms 23:4).

    4. N Á Chal ( 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 ( 2 Samuel 24:5), of Sthittim, and of Egypt ( Numbers 34:5;  Joshua 15:4;  Joshua 15:47;  1 Kings 8:65  2 Kings 24:7;  2 Chronicles 7:8;  Isaiah 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 ( 2 Chronicles 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 ( Deuteronomy 8:7). (See Brook).

    5. Hash-Shephelah ( הִשְּׁפֵלָה ; Sept. Τὸ Πεδίον , 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  Deuteronomy 1:7;  Joshua 10:40;  1 Kings 10:27;  2 Chronicles 1:15;  Jeremiah 33:13; and "the valley" or "valleys" in  Joshua 9:1;  Joshua 11:2;  Joshua 11:16;  Joshua 12:8;  Joshua 15:33;  Judges 1:9;  Jeremiah 32:44. (See Shephelah).

    6. In the New Test. there is little notice taken of the external features of Cauaanr. In  Luke 6:17 we read of our Lord standing in "the plain," Τόπος Πεδινός (but this should rather be "a level place" ); and in  Luke 3:5 we meet with "valley," Φάραγξ , for גֵּיא , Gey, in  Isaiah 40:4.