JEHOSHAPHAT, VALLEY OF
(`emeq yehoshaphaT); the latter word means "Yahweh judgeth," and `emeq, "wide," "open valley"; Septuagint he koilas Iosaphat):
The name is used in Joel 3:2,12 of the scene of Judgment: "Let the nations bestir themselves, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there will I sit to judge all the nations round about" (Joel 3:12). "The valley of decision" (or "sharp judgment") is another name the prophet gives to this spot (Joel 3:14). Some have identified it with the valley (`emeq) of BERACAH (which see) of 2 Chronicles 20:26, where King Jehoshaphat obtained a great victory, but this is improbable.
Since the 4th century AD the KIDRON (which see) valley has been named the Valley of Jehoshaphat. The tradition is now strongest among the Moslems who point out the exact scene of the Judgment; the Bridge As Sirat, dividing heaven and hell, is to stretch across this valley from the Charam area to the Mount of Olives. It is, however, the ambition of every pious Jew to be buried on the slopes of this valley, to be at hand at the resurrection. This, too, was an ordinary place for Jewish graves in preexilic times (2 Kings 23:6, etc.). The valley today, especially that part adjacent to the temple, is crowded with Moslem and Jewish graves. A worthless tradition indicates the tomb of Jehoshaphat himself close to the so-called "Pillar of Absalom." Se KING'S VALE. There is not the slightest reason for believing that this is the spot referred to by Joel--indeed he may have spoken of an ideal spot only. The valley of the Kidron is a nachal ("ravine"), not an `emeq ("broad valley"). It is impos sible not to suspect that there is some connection between the name Jehoshaphat and the name of a village near the head of this valley--Shaphat; perhaps at one time it was Wady Shaphat, which name would readily suggest the traditional one.
E. W. G. Masterman
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