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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Jehoshaphat, Valley of

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JEHOSHAPHAT, VALLEY OF ( Joel 3:2 ; Joel 3:12 ). The deep valley to the E. of Jerusalem, between the city and the Mt. of Olives, has since the 4th cent. a.d. been identified by an unbroken Christian tradition with the Valley of Jehoshaphat. Moslems and Jews have also for centuries looked upon this valley as the scene of the Last Judgment. The Jews especially consider this of all places on earth the most suitable for burial, as it is taught that all bodies buried elsewhere must find their way thither at the last day. The valley was the ordinary place for graves in pre-exilic times ( 2 Kings 23:6 etc.). In spite, however, of these traditions, it is quite probable that the name of this valley was at one time Wady Sha‘fât , from the neighbouring village of Sha‘fât , and that this suggested to early Christian pilgrims, in search of sites, the Biblical name Jehoshaphat . The so-called ‘Tomb of Jehoshaphat,’ which lies near the traditional ‘Tomb of Absalom,’ is an impossible site, for in 1 Kings 22:50 and 2 Chronicles 21:1 it is stated that he was buried in the city of David. The valley, moreover, does not suit the conditions, in that it is a nachal (wady) the nachal Kidron (wh. see), whereas the Valley of Jehoshaphat was in Heb. an ‘çmeq (a wide, open valley). It has been suggested that the valley ( ‘çmeq ) of Beracah, where Jehoshaphat returned thanks after his great victory ( 2 Chronicles 20:26 ), may be the place referred to by Joel. It is, however, at least as probable that the prophet did not refer to any special locality and gave the name Jehoshaphat, i.e. ‘Jehovah judges,’ to an ideal spot.

E. W. G. Masterman.

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

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Thursday, November 26th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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