And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The slaughter.—Heb., the smiting, that is, the defeat of Chedorlaomer.
The valley of Shaven.—That is, the valley of the plain (see on Genesis 14:5). It was the place where Absalom erected his pillar (2Samuel 18:18), and lay on the northern side of Jerusalem, probably where the Kedron valley widens out. Its other name, “the king’s dale,” may have been given it from this meeting of the kings of Salem and Sodom with the victorious Abram; but Onkelos, with far greater probability, considers that it was so called because upon this level ground the kings of Judah in subsequent times assembled and exercised their forces.
Damascus, Dimishk, esh-Sham, is a very ancient city of Aram. The choice of the site was probably determined by the Abana (Barada) and Pharpar (Awaj), flowing, the one from Anti-Libanus, and the other from Mount Hermon, and fertilizing a circuit of thirty miles. Within this area arose a city which, amidst all the changes of dynasty that have come over it, has maintained its prosperity to the present day, when it has one hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants. It was originally occupied by the descendants of Aram, and may have been built, as Josephus informs us, by Uz his son.
Abram, with his allies, succeeded in defeating the enemy and recovering the property, with the prisoners, male and female, that had been carried away, and, among the rest, Lot, the object of his generous and gallant adventure.
Abram's reception on his return. "The king of Sodom." This is either Bera, if he survived the defeat, or, if not, his successor. "The dale of Shaveh, which is the King's dale." The word עמק ‛ēmeq is rendered here uniformly by the familiar term "dale." The dale of Shaveh is here explained by the "King's dale." This phrase occurs at a period long subsequent as the name of the valley in which Absalom reared his pillar 2 Samuel 18:18. There is nothing to hinder the identity of the place, which must, according to the latter passage, have been not far from Jerusalem. Josephus makes the distance two stadia, which accords with the situation of Absalom's tomb, though the building now so-called, in the valley of Jehoshaphat, seems to be of later origin. The identity of the King's dale with the valley cast of Jerusalem, through which the Kedron flows, corresponds very well with the present passage.2 Samuel 18:18.
after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him; to congratulate him upon the victory he had obtained over them; and this meeting was
at the valley of Shaveh; a most plain and even valley, as the word signifies, clear of trees and everything that obstructs sight or passage, as Jarchi observes, and so a proper place to have an interview in:
which is the king's dale; some say King Melchizedek's, but one should rather think it was the king of Sodom's; the Targum of Jonathan calls it the place of the king's exercise, where he had his diversions in riding, walking, &c. it can hardly be that in 2 Samuel 18:18; though some are of this opinion, being near to Jerusalem, which they suppose to be the same with Salem in Genesis 14:18.And the king of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king's dale.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)17. the king of Sodom] See note on Genesis 14:10. The writer evidently assumes that this is the same king who had fallen in “the slime pits”; for only the king who had lost property and wealth, but saved his life, could suggest to Abram that the latter should keep the booty.
from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer] Lit. “from the smiting of.” We need not suppose that Chedorlaomer and his vassal kings were personally involved in the overthrow.
the vale of Shaveh (the same is the King’s Vale)] “The King’s Vale” is mentioned in 2 Samuel 18:18 as the site of the monument raised by Absalom, and was supposed in the days of Josephus to be two “stadia” from Jerusalem (Ant. vii. 10, 3). The word Shaveh means “a plain,” cf. Genesis 14:5.
The meeting of the king of Sodom with Abram is here strangely interrupted by the story of the appearance of Melchizedek, and is resumed at Genesis 14:21.Verse 17. - And the king of Sodom - Bera, or his successor (vide Ver. 10) - went out to meet him (i.e. Abram) after his return from the slaughter (perhaps too forcible an expression for mere defeat) of Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him (the entire clause from "after" is parenthetical), at the valley of Shaveh. A valley about two stadia north of Jerusalem (Josephus, 'Ant.,' 8:10), supposed to be the valley of the Upper Kedron, where Absalom s pillar was after. wards erected (2 Samuel 18:10); which may be correct if the Salem afterwards mentioned was Jerusalem (vide infra); but if it was not, then the exact site of Shaveh must be left undetermined. Which is the king's dale. Or valley (emek); so styled because suitable for kingly sports or military exercises (Onkelos); because of its beauty (Poole); because Melchisedeck had his camp and palace there (Malvenda); or most likely because of the interview between him and Abram which there occurred (Keil, Lange), with which agrees the rendering τὸ πεδίον τῶν βασιλέων, (LXX.).
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