Valley of Baca-Psalm 84:6

Ben Crick ben.crick at
Wed Aug 30 18:11:01 EDT 2000

On Wed 30 Aug 2000 (11:14:54), tmcos at wrote:
> I had a question regarding Psalm 84:6 where it mentions the "Valley of 
> Baca". I understand the Hebrew word "BAKA" as a noun means a
> "balsam-tree"  according to the BDB Lexicon p.113.This word appears in
> the plural in 2 Sam  5:23-23 (1 Chron 14:14-15) I understand there is
> another word in Hebrew also  written BAKAH which as a verb means "weep,
> bewail".

 Dear Tony

 Yes, the Hebrew language is full of puns which are given prophetic
 significance in some cases. A prime example is the $aQeD - $oQeD pun in
 Jeremiah 1:11-12. $aQeD is the almond tree; verb $oQeD means to be wakeful and
 watchful over something.

 So with BaKa' in Psalm 84:6. Psalm 84 is a Pilgrim Psalm. The well of BaKa'
 refreshes the pilgrims as they arrive at the last leg of their journey up to
 the Temple in Jerusalem for a Pilgrim Feast. The verb BaKaH (with Lamedh He)
 means to weep tears. Their tears of penitent sorrow are turned to joy as
 they present their sacrifice at the altar and know their sins are forgiven.

 Psalms 120-134 are Songs of Degrees ($iYR HaMMa`a:LoWT), said or sung as the
 pilgrims wend their way up the "degrees" or steps. Psalm 126:6 refers to him
 that goes forth weeping. HaLoWK YeLeK uWBaKoH, "he going walking weeping".
 Notice the extra assonance between HaLaK and YaLaK.

 The Valley of Balsam trees (Ps 84:6) is possibly the one referred to in 
 2 Samuel 5:22-24, where the BaKa' trees grew (Mulberry trees in the KJV).
 Contrast Exodus 17:1-3. But it's not near enough to Jerusalem to be the
 pilgrim's 'last valley to cross' before arriving....

 Sorry, only $0.02 worth today.

 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 <ben.crick at>
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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