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King of Elam

Chedorlaomer, also spelled Kedorlaomer (/ˌkɛdərˈləmər/; Hebrew: כְּדָרְלָעֹמֶר, Modern: Kədarla'ōmer, Tiberian: Keḏārelā'ōmer, Ancient: Keḏārelāġōmer), is a king of Elam in Genesis 14.[1] Genesis portrays him as allied with three other kings,[2] campaigning against five Canaanite city-states in response to an uprising in the days of Abraham.


The name Chedorlaomer is associated with familiar Elamite components, such as kudur, meaning "servant", and Lagamar, who was a high goddess in the Elamite pantheon.[3][4] The 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia stated that, apart from the fact that Chedorlaomer can be identified as a proper Elamite compound, all else is matter of controversy and "the records give only the rather negative result that from Babylonian and Elamite documents nothing definite has been learned of Chedorlaomer".[4]


Chedorlaomer's reign

After twelve years of being under Elamite rule, in the thirteenth year, the Cities of the Plain rebelled against Chedorlaomer. To put down the rebellion, he called upon three other allies from Shinar, Ellasar, and Tidal "nations" regions. (Genesis 14:9)[5]

Chedorlaomer's campaigns

The following allies fought as allies of Chedorlaomer in the fourteenth year of his rule.[6]

The purpose of Chedorlaomer's campaigns was to show Elam's might to all territories under Elamite authority. His armies and allies plundered tribes and cities, for their provisions, who were en route to the revolting cities of the Jordan plain.

Chedorlaomer's defeat

After warring against the cities of the Plain at the Battle of Siddim, King Chedorlaomer went to Sodom and Gomorrah to collect bounty. At Sodom, amongst the spoils of war, he took Lot and his entire household captive. When Lot's uncle, Abram, received news of what happened, he assembled a battle unit of three hundred and eighteen men who pursued the Elamite forces north of Damascus to Hobah. Abram and one of his divisions defeated Chedorlaomer. (Genesis 14:11–17) While the King James Version verse 17 translated the Hebrew word in question as "וַיַּכֵּם" as slaughtered (Genesis 14:17), Young's Literal Translation uses the term smiting. (Genesis 14:17)

Identifying the Kings

Genesis 14:1 gives a list of four names: "It was in the time of Amraphel king of Shinar, Aricoch king of Ellasar, Chedor-laomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of the Goiim..." Traditionally these have been taken as four separate kings:.[8]

  • Amraphel has been thought by some scholars such as the writers of the Catholic Encyclopedia and the Jewish Encyclopedia to be a corruption of the name of the famed Hammurabi. The name is also associated with Ibal Pi-El II of Esnunna.[9][10]
  • Arioch has been thought to have been a king of Larsa (Ellasar being a corruption of this.) It has also been suggested that it is URU KI, meaning "this place here".
  • Following the discovery of documents written in the Elamite language and Babylonian language, it was thought that Chedorlaomer is a transliteration of the Elamite compound Kudur-Lagamar, meaning servant of Lagamaru - a reference to Lagamaru, an Elamite deity whose existence was mentioned by Assurbanipal. However, no mention of an individual named Kudur Lagamar has yet been found; inscriptions that were thought to contain this name are now known to have different names (the confusion arose due to similar lettering).[11]
  • Tidal[12][13][14] has been considered to be a corruption or transliteration of Tudhaliya - either referring to the first king of the Hittite New Kingdom (Tudhaliya I) or the proto-Hittite king named Tudhaliya. With the former, the title king of Nations would refer to the allies of the Hittite kingdom such as the Ammurru and Mittani; with the latter the term "goyim" has the sense of "them, those people". al ("their power") gives the sense of a people or tribe rather than a kingdom. Hence td goyim ("those people have created a state and stretched their power").


  1. Genesis 14:1
  2. Knanishu, Joseph (1899), About Persia and its People, Lutheran Augustana book concern, printers, p. 228, retrieved 2012-12-21
  3. Kitchen, Kenneth (1966), Ancient Orient and Old Testament, Tyndale Press, p. 44, retrieved 2012-12-21
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Chedorlaomer", Jewish Encyclopedia, retrieved 2012-12-21
  5. 5.0 5.1 Nelson, Russell (November 2000), "Chedorlaomer", in Freedman, David; Meyers, Allen; Beck, Astrid (eds.), Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible, Grand Rapids: Wm B Eerdmans Publishing Company, p. 232, ISBN 9780802824004, retrieved 2012-12-21
  6. Genesis 14:1-4
  7. Gen.14:8-10
  8. The possibility also exists that it is a single title for one king who has unified several states. Amraphel king of Shinar (ruler of Eshnunna), Chedor-laomer (king of Elam), Ellasar (the Power of Larsa) Arioch (URU KI: in charge of this place here)Tidal goiim (those people have created a state and stretched the extent of their power)
  9. Amraphael
  10. Micael Roaf "Cambridge Atlas of Archaeology - king lists p 111
  11. Kudur-Lagamar
  12. Akkadian tD ("have stretched themselves")
  13. (Akkadian verbal stem intensive, reflexive expressing the bringing about of a state)
  14. tD