The Valley of Jehoshaphat

The phrase “Valley of Jehoshaphat” occurs only twice in the Bible, both in the third chapter of the Book of Joel.  Jehoshaphat was a good king because he obeyed God’s commandments, walked in His ways, and did not follow the false gods Baal and Asherah.  He defeated the enemies of Judah and Israel in a valley–perhaps the valley that Joel refers to as the Valley of Jehoshaphat.  (You can read about King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 17-20.)

The name Jehoshaphat means “the LORD judges.”     The English Standard Version of the Bible, introduces Joel 3 with the heading “The LORD Judges the Nations.”  Consider verses 1 and 2 below:

“For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.  And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land.”

Where is the Valley of Jehoshaphat?  The Valley of Jehoshaphat is believed to be the Kidron Valley.  The Kidron Valley runs between the Mount of Olives and the Temple Mount.  I took some photos in Jerusalem last winter in that area (see below).  Look for the drop between the Mount of Olives and the Temple Mount.  That’s the Kidron Valley.

Photo taken from the Mount of Olives, which is a cemetery today.
MountofOlivescemetery 001 (2)
The Mount of Olives is on the left.

The Kidron Valley contains a number of tombs, including the tomb or pillar of Absalom.   “The valley of the shadow of death” in Psalm 23 is beleived to be the Kidron Valley.

Yeshua was in Jerusalem when he compared religious hypocrites to “white washed tombs, which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23: 27, NASB).  The metaphor might have been inspired by the “white washed tombs” in the Kidron Valley.


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