Located near Beit Shemsh, the Elah valley boasts beautiful landscapea, and is a fantastic area for light hiking. Ancient examples of the Elah tree, the terebinth, can still be found in the area. At Mitzpe Massua hill the visitor has the most breathtaking view of the coastal plain to the west of the valley, with Ashkelon in the horizon on a clear day. Even the lights of the old Philistine heartland of Gaza can be seen on a clear night in the horizon.
Background of the Elah Valley
David fought the giant Goliath while the Israelites were encamped in the Valley of Elah, according to 1. Samuel 17. He met the Philistine giant there due to the strategic importance of the valley, which served as a buffer zone to the Philistine settlements to the west. In chapter 22 one can read how David later hid from king Saul in a cave in Adullam, also in the Elah valley, and Adullam was fortified by king Rehoboam so his enemies couldn’t easily attack the town, we can read in 2. Chr.11. The valley has its name from the Elah tree, the terebinth, which still grows in the area.