The Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 56:10) tells us that Avraham called the city Yireh and Malki-Tzedek called it Shalem. Hashem combined the two names and called the city Yerushalayim. But we know that Shem preceded Avraham chronologically and he originally named the place. Why did Hashem put Avraham's designation first? Would it have not been more proper to call the city "ShalemYireh"?

  • Maybe because of the grammatical usage and the meaning of the words. Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 22:11
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    etzion.org.il/he/… Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 21:11
  • Interesting question. But, I don't think that chronology has anything to do with choosing the name. My surmisal - the concept of peace can only exist and be properly maintained when there is a fear as well as acknowledgement of G-d being in control of that peace. If humanity feels that they are in complete control of keeping order within their land as well as on their borders without realizing that there is a G-d, there cannot be true peace, b/c there will be chaos.
    – DanF
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 16:14

1 Answer 1


The Peirush Yafeh Toar to Bereishis Rabbah 56:10 says that the reason is because Avraham Avinu was a greater Tzadik, so the name he gave (Yireh), takes precedence:

ואף על פי ששם שלם קודם ליראה מכל מקום הקדים בהרכבה יראה דאברהם צדיק תפי משם

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