This expression is an idiom. As such it has a meaning that extends beyond the literal, word-for-word translation.
Literal meaning: E•mek is ‘valley.’ Ha is the definite article ‘the.’ Ba•cha is the name of an ancient tree that once grew in Israel.
“And when David inquired of the Lord, he said, You shall not go up; but make a circuit behind them, and come upon them opposite the balsam trees. And let it be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the balsam trees, that then you shall bestir yourself; for then shall the Lord go out before you, to strike the camp of the Philistines”
Bible commentators claim that E•mek ha•ba•cha is a name of a valley near Jerusalem that was colonized with Bacha trees. The leaves of these trees made a sound that resembled crying. Some English translations refer to it as the Mulberry Tree. Also noteworthy is that the word ‘bacha’ means ‘crying’ in Hebrew, although it ends with a different ‘ah’ vowel letter. In terms of sound, the sounding of both words is the same.
Symbolic meaning: Throughout the generations, E•mek ha•ba•cha, the Valley of Bacha, received a connotation of a symbolic place where suffering, pain and agony of the Jewish people prevail. Later, this idiom became a reference for the Gola (exile or Diaspora), the countries where Jews lived after the expulsion from Israel, their homeland.
Biblical mentioning of E•mek ha•ba•cha:
“Which, passing through the valley of Baca, make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with blessings”
In reading this verse only in English, its meaning is lost because just the mention of the name — Baca — is meaningless to people who are not familiar with the deeper connotation.
During the Yom Kippur War in 1973, a battle in a wide valley in the Golan Heights received the name E•mek ha•ba•cha after it became a bloody battlefield for Israel, which lost 76 soldiers trying to defend itself from the Syrian invasion of 450 tanks.