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REPHAIM, VALE OF ():

Fertile plain in Judah; the scene of David's battles with the Philistines (Isa. xvii. 5; II Sam. v. 18 et seq., xxiii. 13). According to II Samuel (l.c.), it must have been in the vicinity of Beth-lehem. The boundaryline between Judah and Benjamin ran across a hill at its northern end (Josh. xv. 8, xviii. 16 [R. V.]; hence it must have been situated to the west or southwest of Jerusalem and in the vicinity of Baalperazim (II Sam. v. 20). Eusebius erroneously places it north of Jerusalem ("Onomasticon," p. 288), while Josephus more correctly locates it between Jerusalem and Beth-lehem ("Ant." vii. 12, § 4). Since the sixteenth century the plain Al-Baḳ'ah, which lies southwest of Jerusalem, and the eastern part of which is crossed by the road leading from Jerusalem to Beth-lehem, has been identified, with entire probability, with the plain of Rephaim. The eastern edge of this vale, sloping toward the west, forms the watershed between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. It is drained through the Rose Valley (Wadi al-Ward). It extends southward from the valley of Hinnom to the mountain of the monastery Mar Elyas, a distance of about one hour, and is approximately half as wide. The German colony Rephaim is now settled there.

E. G. H. I. Be.
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