In Genesis 14:18, Mechizedek is introduced as the king of Salem (מֶ֣לֶךְ שָׁלֵם). HALOT gives several possible interpretations, citing Josephus (1:181) in support of its identification with Jerusalem:
τὴν μέντοι Σολυμᾶ ὕστερον ἐκάλεσεν Ἱεροσόλυμα
But afterward they called Soluma* Jerusalem
Also, Psalm 76:2/3 seems to equate a place called Salem with Zion:
וַיְהִ֣י בְשָׁלֵ֣ם סֻכּ֑וֹ וּמְע֖וֹנָת֣וֹ בְצִיּֽוֹן׃
His abode has been established in Salem | his dwelling place in Zion.
However, the author of Hebrews (7:2) translates it as if it were not a proper name (sort of) and doesn’t mention any association with Jerusalem:
βασιλεὺς Σαλήμ, ὅ ἐστιν βασιλεὺς εἰρήνης
BDAG also doesn’t say anything about Σαλήμ (used in the NT only in Hebrews 7) meaning Jerusalem.
- Is Salem in Genesis 14 referring to the city we know as Jerusalem?
- If so, what is the meaning of the first part of that word (- יְרוּ) that dropped off?**
*The context makes it clear that this is referring to Gen 14:18, but I’m not following why Σαλημ (LXX, where it appears to be an indeclinable genitive) is now Σολυμᾶ (also apparently indeclinable, used both as gen. and acc. there). Ἱεροσόλυμα and Ἰερουσαλήμ also seem to be interchangeable in the NT.
**I ask because in Greek, I want to associate it with ἱερός, but it’s obviously a Hebrew word — perhaps that derivation goes the other way?