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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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SALEM . 1 . A place mentioned only in Genesis 14:16 as the kingdom of the mysterious Melchizedek (wh. see). It is natural to identify it with Jerusalem (wh. see), especially since the Tell el-Amarna tablets show that Urusalîm existed as a name for that city even before the Israelite Immigration. But the only real links between ‘Salem’ and Jerusalem’ are two in number: (1) the mention of the ‘ King’s Vale ,’ where, apparently, Melchizedek met Abram, which seems to be the place where Absalom reared his memorial ( 2 Samuel 18:18 ): it would presumably be somewhere near Jerusalem, but, pace Josephus, this is not certain. (2) The allusion to Jerusalem by the name Salem in Psalms 76:2 . This poetical abbreviation, however, which occurs nowhere else, may have been suggested by Salem in the ancient record, just as was the name Moriah (wh. see), and the reference to Melchizedek in Psalms 110:4 . There is some similarity between the name of Melchizedek and that of the Jebusite king Adonizedek ( Joshua 10:1 ), but upon the whole the identification of Salem with Jerusalem is rather shadowy. Jerome records another tradition, connecting Salem with Salîm (Salumias) in the Jordan Valley, where there is a tell with the tomb of “Sheik Selîm.’ 2 . The Valley of Salem ( Jdt 4:4 ), possibly the Jordan Valley, or a part of it. 3 , The LXX [Note: Septuagint.] reads Salem for Shiloh in Jeremiah 41:5 . This must be a Salem near Shechem, if this reading is to be followed. There is a place called Salîm , east of Nâblus.

R. A. S. Macalister.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Salem'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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Salem (1)