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CHEDORLAOMER (Heb. כְּדָרְלָעֹמֶר), king of Elam, to whom five kings in the southern region of the Land of Canaan had paid allegiance for 12 years. In the 13th year the Canaanite kings revolted, and in the following year Chedorlaomer led a punitive expedition against them, together with three other eastern kings. They routed the five kings of Canaan in the area of the Dead Sea. When Abraham heard that his nephew Lot had been taken captive by Chedorlaomer and his confederates, he mustered his retainers and pursued them, successfully attacking them north of Damascus, rescuing the captives and retrieving the booty (Gen. 14:1–16).

Neither the narrative nor Chedorlaomer is known from other ancient sources, although the name is genuinely Elamite. The name Chedorlaomer is composed of two elements, each of which appears separately in Elamite sources. "Laomer" is apparently a divine name whose Elamite form is Lagamar. "Chedor" is derived from the Elamite Katir, Kutir, meaning "servant." The name would thus mean "servant of [the god] Lagamar." Inasmuch as Genesis 14 places Chedorlaomer at the head of the coalition, the original form of the story may have originated during the Middle Elamite period (1500–1100 b.c.e.) when Elam was a dominant power.


Albright, in: basor, 88 (1942), 33–36; 163 (1961), 49–54; F.M. Th. Boehl, Opera Minora (1953), 354, 514; Aharoni, Ereẓ, 32–33, 42–43, 61–62, 123–4; Yeivin, in: rso, 38 (1963), 301–2; E.A. Speiser, Genesis (Eng., 1964), 101–9; N.M. Sarna, Understanding Genesis (1966), 109–10; A. Parrot, Abraham and His Time (1968), 85–97.

[Bustanay Oded]