Valley of Siddim

I was just browsing through the Anchor Bible Dictionary (Doubleday, 1992) and ran across the article “Siddim, Valley of” (vol 6, pp 15-16) written by Michael Astour. It starts off nicely, giving a variety of translations and finally coming to the conclusion that śiddîm, from śādad, means “furrows,” so (yawn) the name means “Valley of Furrows.” Astour then asks, “Why did the author of Genesis 14 give such a name to the place of defeat of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah?” His answer is interesting. He goes off on a wild tangent about the “Chedorlaomer Texts” (which, by the way, are almost entirely questionable in the readings thereof), Babylonian astronomy (!), and the “implication” in the biblical text (?) of the submergence of Sodom and Gomorrah by the Dead Sea. What the…?!

You know, yeah, of course, it must be something like that, because nobody ever heard of a valley with furrows in it….

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