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Encyclopedia of The Bible – The Valley of Baca
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The Valley of Baca

BACA, THE VALLEY OF bā’ kə (בָּכָא). Presumably the “Valley of Weeping” according to the LXX, Jerome, the Syr. and Luther in Psalm 84:6. Renan (Vie de Jesus, ch. IV) interprets it as the last stage of the pilgrimage from N Pal. to Jerusalem: Ain el-Haramija, a gloomy, narrow valley where brackish water trickles out of the rocks and hence “valley of oozing water or tears.” Delitzsch points out that this trickling is called בְּכִי, H1140, (Job 28:11), not בָּכָא. Rather Baca is the singular of בְּכָאִֽים (2 Sam 5:23, 24; 1 Chron 14:14, 15) trees perhaps named “Balsam trees” because they exuded a gum. The effect of this identification would be to take the word for these trees as a variant of some form of a root meaning “to weep.” No help is derived from the presumed allusion to 2 Samuel 5:24 in Isaiah 33:3.

M. Dahood would avoid the problem of the identification of these proper names by reading hibbīkā for MT habbakā, “may he cause...to flow” (a hiphil perfect, 3rd person masc. with the archaic ending of -a’ from the root nbk/npk, “to pour out”).

Bibliography J. Simons, The Geographical and Topographical Texts of OT (1959), 332; F. Delitzsch, The Psalms, II, 4th ed., 477; M. Dahood, Psalms, II (1968), 281.