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Jerusalem Approaches South*

Panoramic view of Nahal Sorek channel, in the western part of the Jerusalem mountains Photo:Zoharby

Jerusalem Approaches South must meet the center of Israel, on top of the Judaean mountains (700-800 m above sea level). For the past 3000 years it is one of the most important cities in the region, and required good roads to support the travel to all parts of the land.

Valley of Rephaim

The Valley of Rephaim Emeלֹ Rephaim is a valley descending southwest from Jerusalem to Nahal Sorek below, it is an ancient route from the coastal plain to the Judean Hills, probably named after the legendary race of giants. Emek Refaim, the German Colony in Jerusalem, takes its name from this valley.

Joshua 15:8 And the border went up by the Valley of the son of Hinnom unto the side of the Jebusite southward–the same is Jerusalem–and the border went up to the top of the mountain that lieth before the Valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the uttermost part of the vale of Rephaim northward.

Joshua 18:16 And the border went down to the uttermost part of the mountain that lieth before the Valley of the son of Hinnom, which is in the vale of Rephaim northward; and it went down to the Valley of Hinnom, to the side of the Jebusite southward, and went down to En-rogel.

Nahal Sorek

Nahal Sorek is one of the largest, most important drainage basins in the Judean Hills. 

View of Nahal Sorek Nahal Sorek as seen from atop Hurvat Tura
Photo: Davidbena 

Nahal Sorek was the place where Delilah lived, and Samson came to meet her for the first time. And Samson went to Gaza…And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. (Judges 16)

Valley of Elah

The Valley of Elah is a long, shallow valley known as the place described in the Bible where the Israelites were encamped when David fought Goliath (1 Samuel 17:2, 19).

It is home to several important archaeological sites, including those identified as the ancient towns of Azekah and Socho (17:1). Rising up from the valley on its extreme southeast end lies the hilltop ruin Adullam, and on its north lie the ruins of the ancient fortress city of Khirbet Qeiyafa.

Route of the Patriarchs

Way of the Patriarchs is an ancient north south route traversing the land of Israel frequently travelled by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It runs south to Beersheba by way of  Jerusalem, Ephrath and Hebron. 

Way of the Patriarchs (blue) with Via Maris (purple) and King’s Highway (red)
Original version of map (File:Ancient Levant routes.png) (not including Way of the Patriarchs in blue) was created by Briangotts
יוצר Atefrat
Roman milestone adjacent to mikve near Alon Shvut
Photo: User:Djampa

Tsits (Ziz) Ascent

There are five steep trails climbing up from the En Gedi oasis to the Judean Desert plateau: Mt Yishay Ascent, En Gedi Ascent (an ancient path that some consider to be the Tsits (Ziz) Ascent mentioned in II Chronicles 20:16), the Bney Ha’Moshavim Ascent, the Essene Ascent (an ancient Roman path), and Tsruya Ascent. All are for experienced hikers only, and not for hiking during the summer or on very hot days.

Herodion / Herodium


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