Mentioned in only one passage of the Bible ( Joel 3 -- Hebrew text, 4). In Verse 2 we read: "I will gather together all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Josaphat: and I will plead with them there for my people, and for my inheritance Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations" (cf. verse 12). According to one interpretation which has gained currency, the prophet has presented as the scene of Jahveh 's judgment on the Gentiles that valley where, in the presence of Josaphat, King of Juda, He annihilated the coalition of Moab, Ammon, and Edom. This Valley of the desert of Teqo'a, which was called by the Jews êmêq Berâkâh , that is, "valley of blessing ", is to be sought in the vicinity of the Khirbet Berêkût, some distance to the west of the Khirbet Teqû'a (about eleven miles from Jerusalem ). It is also credible that the prophet meant to designate an ideal, indeterminate valley -- the valley of judgment, and no more -- for Josaphat signifies "Jahveh judges". This valley is, in fact, spoken of under the name of "valley of destruction" (A. V. valley of decision") in verse 14 of the same chapter. According to the context, the Divine judgment will be exercised upon the nations who afflicted Juda and Jerusalem at the time of the captivity and the return from exile.
In the fourth century, with the Pilgrim of Bordeaux, the Cedron takes the name of Valley of Josaphat. Eusebius and St. Jerome strengthen this view (Onomasticon, s.v.), while Cyril of Alexandria appears to indicate a different place; early Jewish tradition denied the reality of this valley. Subsequently to the fourth century, Christians, Jews, and, later, Mussulmans regard Cedron as the place of the last judgment. What has lent colour to this popular belief is the fact that since the time of the kings of Juda, Cedron has been the principal necropolis of Jerusalem. Josias scattered upon the tombs of the children of Israel the ashes of the idol of Astarte which he burned in Cedron ( 2 Kings 23:4 ). It was in Cedron that the "hand" of Absalom was set up, and the monument of St. James, and of Zachary. The ornamental façade of the tomb said to be that of Josaphat has been completely walled up by the Jews, who have their cemeteries on the flanks of the Valley of Cedron. They wish to stand in the first rank on the day when God shall appear in the Valley of Josaphat.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online