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Valley of Rephaim

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This entry incorporates text from the public domain Easton's Bible Dictionary, originally published in 1897.

Valley of Rephaim (Hebrew: עמק רפאים‎, Emeq Rephaim)- (Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16, R.V.). A valley descending southwest from Jerusalem to the Valley of Elah below, it is an ancient route from the coastal plain to the Judean Hills, probably named after the legendary race of giants.

Biblical story

When David became king over all Israel, the Philistines, judging that he would now become their uncompromising enemy, made a sudden attack upon Hebron, compelling David to retire from it. He sought refuge in "the hold" at Adullam (2 Samuel 5:17-22), and the Philistines took up their position in the valley of Rephaim, on the west and south-west of Jerusalem. Thus all communication between Bethlehem and Jerusalem was intercepted. While David and his army were encamped here, there occurred that incident narrated in 2 Samuel 23:15-17. Having obtained divine direction, David led his army against the Philistines, and gained a complete victory over them. The scene of this victory was afterwards called Baal-perazim.

A second time, however, the Philistines rallied their forces in this valley (2 Samuel 5:22). Again warned by a divine saying, David led his army to Gibeon, and attacked the Philistines from the south, inflicting on them another severe defeat, and chasing them with great slaughter to Gezer (q.v.). There David kept in check these enemies of Israel.

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