Sorek, Valley of
so'-rek (nachal soreq, "the valley of the choice (soreq) vine" (see VINE); sorech): "(Samson) loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah" (Jg 16:4). Jerome (OS, 153 f, 6) mentions a Capharsorec which was near Saraa (ancient ZORAH (which see)); this latter is undoubtedly the village of Sura`h, high up upon the northern slopes of the great Wady es Surar. About 3/4 of a mile West of this is Khurbet Surik, which is certainly the site referred to by Jerome, and possibly marks that of a more ancient town which gave its name to the whole valley. This valley is of importance in the historical geography of Palestine out of all proportion to its scanty mention in the Old Testament (HGHL, 218 ff). The Wady es Surar is an expansion of the ravine Wady Isma`in (which itself is formed by the junction of the great Wady Beit Chanineh, which rises near Bereh, and the Wady es Sikkeh, which drains the "Plain of Rephaim" near Jerusalem). The Jerus-Jaffa Railway traverses successively the Wady es Surar, the Wady Ismai`n and the Wady es Sikkeh to reach the Jerusalem plateau. The Valley of Sorek is a name which probably belonged only to the open, fertile valley, well suited for vineyards, which traverses the Shephelah. It is now given over almost entirely to the cultivation of wheat, barley and maize (durra). The valley passes between the lofty hill of Sara`h (Zorah) to the North and `Ain Shems (Beth-shemesh) and Tibneh (Timnah) on the South. Standing on the ruins of Beth-shemesh, one can watch the modern railway train winding for miles up the valley along almost the very road from Ekron (now `Akiv), upon which came the strange sight of the milch kine dragging the ark (1Sa 6:12). Very probably it was in this valley that the Philistines were defeated (1Sa 7:5-14) (PEF, III, 53, Sh XVII).
E. W. G. Masterman