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Genesis 14:3

by Don Costello  
11/19/2008 / Bible Studies

Genesis 14:3

All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.

1. The earliest descriptions that we see in Scripture do not mention a sea in the area.

a. Genesis 13:10-12 "And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.
Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.
Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom."

b. Genesis 14:10 "And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits;"

1). slimepits (2564 * chemar) Gesenius: bitumen. (Thorndike-Barnhart Dictionary: any one of a number of minerals that will burn, such as asphalt, petroleum, and naphtha.)

d. Jesus described it as a busy area.

1). Luke 17:28 "Likewise also int the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded."

2. "in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea."

a. This is a geographical reference inserted by Moses [Moses of course because he wrote Genesis], to point out the location of the battle. At the time all this occurred it was still just a "vale".

b. Siddim, vale of (Unger's Bible Dictionary) (sidim; the valley of the fields; perhaps so called from the high cultivation in which it was kept before the destruction of Sodom and the other cities), the scene of the battle between Chedorlaomer, and his allies, and the five confederate kings (Genesis 14:2). However, it is possible that Siddim may designate "salt flats" from Hittite siyanta, "salt".

3. Before the Dead Sea was there, the area was called the vale of Siddim, and during that time, the whole plain of Jordan "was well watered everywhere," in fact Genesis 13:10 compares the area to "the garden of the LORD", presumably the Garden of Eden. There are no descriptions that I know of that mention the area, pre-destruction, as having a sea or lake there. Looking at the little bit of information that we have, I speculate that the Jordan River flowed south through the whole "plain of Jordan", with tributaries branching off southwest and southeast and at its southern most end was the "vale of Siddim".

4. I personally believe that the Dead Sea formed as a result of the judgment/destruction, i.e., it was not there previously.

My name is Don Costello. Ever since I received Christ in November of 1976 I have had a passion to study and know God's word.My wife Melissa and I have 5 children.

My e-mail address is

I have a blog located at:

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