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Adonizedek (Hebrew: אֲדֹנִי־צֶ֫דֶקĂḏōnî-ṣeḏeq), Adoni-Zedek, or Adoni-zedec was, according to the Book of Joshua, king of Jerusalem at the time of the Israelite invasion of Canaan.[1] According to Cheyne and Black, the name originally meant "Ṣedeḳ is lord," but would likely have been read later as meaning "lord of righteousness."[2]

Adonizedek led a coalition of five of the neighboring Amorite rulers (Hoham, king of Hebron; Piram, king of Jarmuth; Japhia, king of Lachish; and Debir, king of Eglon) in resisting the invasion, but the allies were defeated at Gibeon, and suffered at Beth-horon, not only from their pursuers, but also from a great hail storm. The five allied kings took refuge in a cave at Makkedah and were imprisoned there until after the battle, when Joshua commanded that they be brought before him; whereupon they were brought out, humiliated, and put to death.

According to the Midrash, the name Adoni-zedek is translated as "Master of Zedek"—that is, "of Jerusalem", the city of righteousness.[3]

Identification with Abdi-Heba[edit]

The author of the article for the Easton's Bible Dictionary states that amongst the Amarna letters are some letters from Adonizedek to the Pharaoh of Egypt, which add to the history recorded in Joshua 10. However, the only king of Jerusalem mentioned in this archive is one `Abdi-Heba (whose name translates as "servant of Heba"), who is said to have succeeded Lab'ayu. Six of his letters to the king of Egypt[4] are included in the Amarna letters, and he is mentioned in a seventh.[5]


  1. ^ Joshua 10:1–3
  2. ^ W. Robertson Smith and George F. Moore (1899), "Adoni-zedec" in Cheyne and Black, eds. Encyclopaedia Biblica. [1]
  3. ^ Genesis Rabbah xliii. 6. For an English translation, see H. Freedman; Maurice Simon, eds. (1961) [1939]. Midrash Rabbah: Translated into English with Notes, Glossary, and Indices. Hertford, England: Stephen Austin and Sons, Ltd. p. 356.
  4. ^ EA 285-290 (Amarna letters numbered 285-290)
  5. ^ EA 280 (Amarna letter number 280)