[1-5: related to Heb. ʼEl, “God”]
2. A son of Caleb the spy; father of Kenaz of the tribe of Judah.—1Ch 4:15.
3. Fourth king of the northern ten-tribe kingdom of Israel. Elah came to the throne in about 952 B.C.E. on the death of his father Baasha and ruled in Tirzah for parts of two years. (1Ki 16:8) While Elah was drunk, Zimri, the chief over half the chariots, put him to death to get the kingship for himself and then went on to wipe out all of Baasha’s house, fulfilling Jehovah’s prophecy.—1Ki 16:1-14.
What was the setting in which David faced Goliath?
6. [Big Tree]. A low plain, or valley, perhaps named for an outstandingly large tree located therein. “The low plain of Elah” was the site of the encounter between the Israelites and the Philistines, championed by Goliath. (1Sa 17:2, 19; 21:9) It is usually associated with the fertile Wadi es-Sant, one of the principal wadis extending from the Philistine plains through the Shephelah into the mountainous regions of Judah, passing between the suggested locations of Azekah and Socoh. (1Sa 17:1) It thus lay about 25 km (15 mi) SW of Jerusalem. The well-watered plain is about half a kilometer (0.25 mi) wide and quite level. The opposing forces faced each other across this valley, each side having a strong position on a mountainside, the Philistines perhaps to the S and the Israelites to the N or NE. Through the low plain ran “the torrent valley,” probably the dry streambed still found there. (1Sa 17:40) Perhaps the delay of “forty days” spent by the two armies was due in part to the weak position in which either side would place itself in having to cross over this torrent valley and then go up against the enemy force on the opposing mountainside. (1Sa 17:16) David selected five smooth stones from the torrent valley when crossing over to face Goliath. After David’s victory, the routed Philistine army fled down the valley to the Philistine plain and the cities of Gath and Ekron.—1Sa 17:52.