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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Chedorlaomer

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(Hebrews Kedorlaö´ mer, כְּר 7רְלָעֹמֶר; Sept. Χοδολλογομόρ, Josephus Χοδολλόμορος, Ant. 1:9, 1), a king of Elam, who, in the time of Abraham, with three other chiefs, made war upon the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, and Zoar, and reduced them to servitude (Genesis 14:1 sq.).' B.C. cir. 2080. For twelve years he retained his hold over them; in the thirteenth they rebelled; in the next year, however, he and his allies marched upon their country, and, after defeating many neighboring tribes, encountered the five kings of the plain in the vale of Siddim. He completely routed them, slew the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, and carried away much spoil, together with the family of Lot (comp. Psalms 110). Chedorlaomer seems to have perished in the rescue, which was effected by Abraham upon hearing of the captivity of his nephew (Genesis 14:17). According to Gesenius (Thes. Hebrews p. 660 b), the meaning of the word may be "handful of sheaves, from the Arabic kadara, handful, and the Heb. עֹמֶר, sheaf," an etymology with which Fü rst (Heb. Handw. s.v.) coincides; but this is little satisfactory. The name of a king is found upon the bricks recently discovered in Chaldaea, which is read Kudurmapula. (See BABYLON).

This man has been supposed to be identical with Chedorlaomer, and the opinion is confirmed by the fact that he is farther distinguished by a title which may be translated "Ravager of the West." "As, however, one type alone of his legends has been discovered," says Colonel Rawlinson, "it is impossible to pronounce at present on the identification. The second element in the name 'Chedorlaomer' is of course distinct from that in 'Kudur-mapula.' Its substitution may be thus accounted for. In the names of Babylonian kings the latter portion is often dropped. Thus Shalmaneser becomes Shalman in Hoshea; Merodach-bal-adan becomes Mardocempal, etc. Kudur-mapula might therefore become known as Kudur simply. The Arabic epithet 'el- Ahmar,' which means the Red, may afterwards have been added to the name, and may have been corrupted into Laomner, which, as the orthography now stands, has no apparent meaning. Kedar el-Ahmar, or 'Kedar the Red,' is in fact a famous hero in Arabian tradition, and his history bears no inconsiderable resemblance to the Scripture narrative of Chedorlaomer. It is also very possible that the second element in the name of Chedorlaomer, whatever be its true form, may be a Shemitic translation of the original Hamite term mapula." "Chedorlaomer may have been the leader of certain immigrant Chaldaean Elamites who founded the great Chaldaean empire of Berosus in the early part of the 20th [21st] century B.C., while Amraphel and Arioch, the Hamite kings of Shinar and Ellasar, who fought under his banner in the Syrian war as subordinate chiefs, and Tidal, who led a contingent of Median Scyths belonging to the old population, may have been the local governors who had submitted to his power when he invaded Chaldaea" (Rawlinson's Herod. 1:348, 356.

Mr. Stuart Poole supposes that the first invasion of Palestine by Chedorlaomer and his confederates caused the shepherd-kings to leave the East and settle in Egypt (Horce AEgypt. p. 150). The narrative is strangely supposed by Hitzig (Psalm 2:176) to be a late fiction referring to the expedition of Sennacherib against Jerusalem (comp. Genesis 14:5, and 2 Kings 18:13). See, on the other side, Tuch (Genes. p. 308); Bertheau (Israel. Geschichte, p. 217). (See ELAM).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Chedorlaomer'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/c/chedorlaomer.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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