Lupin Hill -- Tel Socho
Around March, (sometimes as early as February), a hill in the Beit Shemesh region comes to life with purple-blue Lupin flowers, as well as a supporting cast of cyclamens, daisies and other flora. It is an attraction for many families with children to see the beauty of nature.
Socho (with many variant spellings) is the name given to two ancient towns in the territory of Judah, both now in ruin.
The Socho (שוכו) of this collection is the more popular of the two, situated on a hilltop overlooking the Elah Valley between Adullam and Azekah (Joshua 15:35).
Today, the ruin of Socho (Tel Sokho) in the Elah Valley is known as "Givat HaTurmosim," or "Hill of the Lupins." Tthe entire hill is covered with wild blue Mountain lupin(e)s (Lupinus pilosus).
The hill is surrounded by precipitous slopes on its north side, making it almost impassable. Trails ascend the mountain on its north-western side, as well as on its south-eastern side. The Elah Valley runs in a westerly-easterly direction on its north side, the hilltop affording a good prospect of the valley below.
As one strolls the elevated plateau, he passes by the foundations of what used to be the houses of its inhabitants, carved into the bedrock, with their individual chambers divided by broken stone protuberance. Caves and grottos dot the landscape, with an occasional cistern carved deep into the rock.
Oak trees, fig trees and terebinths now grow in the lanes and thoroughfares of this once thriving city. In the very center of the hill lay a scattered pile of large ashlar boulders, now covered with lichen, and which stones were evidently once used as a wall in the city's defenses, now attesting only to the battles that were once waged there. Joshua captured the city from the Canaanites, at which time this city and its environs became the inheritance of Judah when the country was divided by lots.