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The King's Dale

The English word dale is derived from an old Anglo-Saxon word meaning a low place between hills. The traditional King James translation of the Holy Scriptures (only) twice uses dale, where later translations (as well as the King James itself in other verses) use valley for the original Hebrew word (pronounced) ay-mek. The Old English word vale is differentiated from dale in that a dale is generally flatter and wider than a vale, or valley, and a vale usually has a river, whereas a dale usually doesn't, although both are a valley in the common sense.

The King's Dale

Valley It was at the King's Dale, also known as the Valley of Shaveh (Shaveh, in Hebrew pronounced shaw-vay, means plain), that Abraham met Melchizedek after Abraham defeated Chedorlaomer and his allied kings (see Abraham At War) who had looted Sodom, where Abraham's nephew Lot (sometimes referred to as Abraham's "brother," in keeping with the ancient custom of referring to all kinsmen as "brothers") had foolishly chosen to live with his wife and two daughters, much to his own eventual regret: "for by what that righteous man saw and heard as he lived among them, he was vexed in his righteous soul day after day with their lawless deeds" (2 Peter 2:8 RSV).

The king of Sodom also came to thank and reward Abraham (what a contrast that must have been to see standing with Abraham, Melchizedek, "the priest of the most high God" on one hand, and the king of Sodom on the other), but Abraham declined any reward from the Sodomite king; Abraham acted only to rescue his family members, not to assist the other inhabitants of the city that The Lord destroyed not long afterward (Genesis chapters 18 and 19).

"And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people."

"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."

"And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all."

"And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself."

"And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto The Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion." (Genesis 14:16-24 KJV)

Fact Finder: Did King David's rebellious som Absalom build a monument to himself in the King's Dale (or "King's Valley")?
2 Samuel 18:18


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