Salt, City of

Salt, City Of (Heb. Ir ham-Me'lach, עיראּהִמֶּלִח; Sept. αἱ πόλεις Σαδῶν, v.r. ἡ πόλις τῶν ἁλῶν; Vulg. civitas Salis), the fifth of the six cities of Judah which lay in the "wilderness" (Jos 15:62). Its proximity to Engedi, and the name itself, seem to point to its being situated close to. or at any rate in the neighborhood of the Salt Sea. Dr. Robinson (Bib. Res. 2, 109) expresses his belief that it lay somewhere near the plain at the south end of that lake, which he would identify with the Valley of Salt (q.v.). This, though possibly supported by the reading of the Vatican Sept., "the cities of Sodom," is at present a mere conjecture, since no trace of the name or the city has yet been discovered in that position. On the other hand, Van de Velde (Syr. and Pal. 2, 99; Memoir, p. 111, and Map) mentions a Nahr Maleh which he passed in his route from Wady el-Rmail to Sebbeh, the name of which (though the orthography is not certain) may be found to contain a trace of the Hebrew. It is one of four ravines which unite to form the Wady el-Bedun. Another of the four, Wady 'Amreh (ibid.), recalls the name of Gomorrah, to the Hebrew of which it is very similar. It seems most probable that it took its name from salt works or mines. At the southwestern extremity of the Dead Sea stands a remarkable range of hills of pure salt, and near them "the City of Salt" was perhaps situated. There are ancient ruins at the mouth of Wady Zuweireh, at the northern end of the range; and others at Um-Baghek, five miles farther north. One or other of these places may mark the site of "the City of Salt" (Van de Velde, Meemoir, p. 345; Tristram, Land of Israel, p. 318 sq.). SEE JUDAH.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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