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Bozrah (Edom)

(166 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] According to Amos 1:12; Jer 49:13, 22; Isa 34:6; 63:1, Bozrah was the capital of Edom (Gen 36:33 refers to the Bozrah in Syria), and can be identified with the Buṣērā in southern Jordan (Palestine grid 2077.0170). According to the excavational discoveries of C.-M. Bennett Bosrah was founded at the end of the 8th century or start of the 7th century bce under the influence of Assyrian culture. The city came to its end in the Persian era after the neo-Babylonian king Nabonidus conquered i…

Fortresses

(351 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] The refuges of tribal societies were often, as in Edom, natural, inaccessible rock formations such as Sela/as-Silʿ; even 11th- and 10th-century sites known as “fortresses” in the Negev actually represent fortified farmsteads of a local population that was not yet fully sedentary. Apart from such structures, military architecture associated with a centralized state could serve both defensive (final line of resistance against invaders) and offensive purposes (operational and reinforcement bases for an army in the field). Mature cities as such were ¶ often fortifi…

Kenites

(243 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] A tribe of the 11th and 10th centuries bce that later assimilated into the tribe of Judah (Tribes of Israel). The area in which it settled (Judg 1:16f.; 1 Sam 30:29) and which it patrolled (1 Sam 27:10) lay south of the Judean hills. A Kenite clan is also attested in the plain of Jezreel during the same period (Judg 5:24; 4:11, 17). The name is derived more convincingly from “smith” in Aramaic (see Gen 4:22) than from “spear” in Hebrew. The geographical disparity of these references eithe…

Tribes of Israel

(1,391 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] Biblical Israel (II, 1) is theoretically divided into 12 tribes (cf. also Rev 7:4–8). The oldest enumerations mention fewer tribes (2 Sam 2:9 [four]; Judg 5 [ten]) but include “non-canonical” tribal names instead (Machir, Gilead). Biblical Israel (II, 1) is theoretically divided into 12 tribes (cf. also Rev 7:4–8). The oldest enumerations mention fewer tribes (2 Sam 2:9 [four]; Judg 5 [ten]) but include “non-canonical” tribal names instead (Machir, Gilead). I. Tribe and State Tribes are political amalgamations of clans, which in turn represent territori…

Mamre

(369 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (מַמְרֵא, genuine place name meaning something like “fat pasture”) stood in the middle of the hill country of Judah, about 3 km north of Hebron (Arab. name [until 15th cent. ce], Rāmat or Bēt al-Ḫalîl, “High Place/House of the Friend [of God]”). According to ancient tradition in Gen 18* a divine triad (from Hebron?) appeared here to the tent-dwelling peasant Abraham. When in the 6th century bce Abraham was made the mythic origin of the population of Judah, Mamre stood on the frontier between Judah and Idumaea (from 597/586 bce; Gen 13:18*; 16*). In the late 6th or ear…

Israel and its Neighbours in Syria-Palestine

(658 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] Southern Syria-Palestine is predestined to ethnic pluralism and a small-state existence by its riven, restricted land form and the boundaries and intermixture of several climate zones. The neighbors of the states of Israel and Judah include, on the coasts, the Phoenicians (Phoenicia; with Akko and Dor), in the north and northwest, the Arameans (Beth-Rehob, Geshur, Aram-Damascus), in the east, the Ammonites, Moab and Edom, and in the south, the desert tribes (Amalekites, Ishmaelite…

Kinneret

(321 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] Kinneret, a city on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee (Galilee, Sea of; Heb. yam kinneret), today Tell el-'Orēme/Tel Kinrōt. A large settlement of the EBA I–II period (stratum IX) was followed by two cities of the 16th and 15th centuries bce (strata VIII and VII; MBA III/LBA Ia periods; mentioned in Egyptian sources under the name knrt) that covered an area of 7–9 hectares and were surrounded by a rampart-topped glacis. The city wall was rebuilt towards the end of the IA I period (late 11th to mid-10th cents. bce) and the settlement was repopulated. It seems v…

Siloam Inscription

(301 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] a Judahite inscription discovered in 1880 in the Siloam Tunnel (also called Hezekiah’s Tunnel); it describes the construction of the tunnel, which links the Gihon Spring (east of the spur of the so-called City of David; Jerusalem: VIII, 2; with maps) with the Pool of Siloam to the southwest. The inscrip-¶ tion is now in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. The usual association of the inscription with Hezekiah’s defensive measures in 701 bce (cf. 2 Kgs 20:20) has been challenged by issues of hydraulic engineering, city planning, and paleography. Archaeol…

Moab

(964 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (מֹאָב /mōʾāb, cf. Arab. waʾ ba, “rock cleft containing water”), primarily a toponym denoting the region on both sides of the Arnon (Israel and its neighbors in Syria-Palestine, map). The plateau produces a surplus of grain (cf. Ruth 1), the slopes of the hills a surplus of wine (cf. Isa 16:7–11; Jer 48:29–33), and the edges of the steppe a surplus of animal products (cf. 2 Kgs 3:4), but this economic potential is impeded by a geographic location that makes commerce difficult. There is evidence of several complex chiefdoms in southern Moab in the 3rd millennium bce. In the (…

Tyre

(340 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (in Phoenicia); Hebrew רוֹצ/ ṣôr, Phoenician/Akkadian ṣurru, “rock”; modern Ṣūr. Tyre was an island city off the coast of Lebanon with a maximum area of 50 to 60 ha and a population of 12,000–15,000 (swollen to about 50,000 by refugees in 332 bce); it was associated with the mainland settlement of Ushu/Palaityros. Settlement began in the second half of the 3rd millennium bce, with the colonial expansion of Egypt into the Lebanon (Hdt. II 44); it is mentioned throughout the 2nd millennium as a subject territory within the Egyptian sphere of …

Heshbon

(284 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (חֶשׁבוּן, Arab. Ḥisbān), a Reubenite (Num 32:37) and, from the 9th century bce onward, Moabite (Isa 15:4; 16:8; Jer 48:2, 34, 45; 49:3 [!]) locality with famous water reservoirs (Song 7:5*) situated on the western edge of the Moabite plateau to the north of the Wādī l-Wālā. Not established as a city until the late 8th or early 7th century, evidence of human presence on the site is attested from the 11th century, although no noteworthy architectural remains antedate the 8th century. The city existed until the beginning of the Persian period (c. 500 bce). The ostraca docume…

Hagar

(180 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (Heb. הָגָר) was Sarah's slave, Abraham's (Abraham: I) concubine and Ishmael's (I) mother in Gen 16; 21:9–21 and 25:12. On the ethnographical level, the origins of Ishmael's mother may have been (a) the city and region of Hagar in eastern Arabia attested from the late 2nd millennium bce to the end of the 1st millennium ce, modern t̲āg in al-ḥasā; (b) the extension of this geographical designation by the Achaemenid administration to all of northern Arabia and its inhabitants, which is certainly reflected in the designation Hag(a)rites …

Mesha

(373 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (Heb. מֵישַׁע/ mêšaʿ), king of Moab and founder of the Moabite state, with whom written culture was introduced to Moab, according to his stele. Throughout the reign of Omri (Kingship in Israel) Mesha had no annal-type records. The Mesha stele represents Mesha after his death before his god, Chemosh; it contains the account of his deeds. The stele does not give any information about the length of his reign, but the type and range of his civilizing achievements point to its having been written in the last quarter of the 9th century bce (c. 820/810) rather than at an earlier…

Via Maris

(93 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (Heb. derek yām; Isa. 8:23 [Vulgate and Eng. 9:1]; Matt 4:15), Vulgate designation of the Palestinian section of the main link between Egypt and Syria/Mesopotamia (Eng. “way of the sea” or “road by the sea”). It hugged the Mediterranean coast as far as Mount Carmel, entered the Plain of Jezreel at Megiddo, passed through Galilee, crossed the Jordan at Ǧisr Banāt Yaʿqūb/Gešer Bĕnōt Yaʿăqōb (“Jacob’s Ford”) near Hazor, finally reaching Damascus over the Golan Heights. Ernst Axel Knauf Bibliography D.A. Dorsey, The Roads and Highways of Ancient Israel, 1991.

Midianites

(377 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] Midian (מִדְיָן/ midyān) was a son of Abraham and Keturah (Gen 25:2), but the name refers primarily to the land of east of the Gulf of ʿAqaba (1 Kgs 11:18). At least from the 13th to the 9th century bce, it thrived on terrace cultivation, copper mining, camel breeding (cf. Isa 60:6), and trade (cf. Gen 37:28; 36). During this period, Midian's influence extended well into the later territory of Edom (Israel and its neighbors in Syria-Palestine, map). Midianite pottery from the 9th century bce (carbon- 14 dating) has been found in the copper-mining regions of Timna…

Mediterranean

(578 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] Syria and Palestine were part of a supraregional Mediterranean economic system (see also Trade and traffic in the Mediterranean world) from the second millennium bce to the 16th century ce. During this period, the economic and cultural center of what may be termed the “First World” of the time was initially concentrated in the eastern Mediterranean, only to encompass the entire Mediterranean from the first millennium bce onward. Even the non-seafaring adjoining states and cultures integrated themselves in the basic structure of agrarian, tribal …

Tirzah

(273 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (Heb. תִּרְצָה; Tell el-Fāriʿa). This site in northeastern Samaria controlled the main route into central Transjordania (Peniel). Taken by Shoshenq (Shishak; Karnak list no. 59 [G. Hughes, Reliefs and Inscriptions at Karnak, vol. III, 1954]), it was the ¶ residence of the kings of Israel from Baasha (1 Kgs 15:21) to Omri (1 Kgs 16:23). It was destroyed by Menahem even before Tiglath Pileser III (2 Kgs 15:16). In Song 6:4, Tirzah might be a cover name for Samaria. Tirzah was a significant settlement in Early Bronze I/II (18 hectares) and was fortified in Midd…

YHWH

(601 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (ketib הוהי, qere in codices A and L אמָשְׁ/ šĕmāʾ, in later manuscripts ינָֹדאֲ/ʾ ădonāy), the personal name of the God of the Israelites and Judahites. Historically YHWH is associated religiously and theologically with the prehistory of the one and only God as defined by the Hebrew Bible. Attested epigraphically since the 9th century bce (Mesha stele), saying the name became taboo in late biblical and rabbinic Judaism and it was replaced by Lord (hence the κύριος/ kýrios in the LXX, HErr in Luther’s trans., and Lord in most Eng. trans.). The reading of the tetrag…

Ophrah (in Benjamin)

(191 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (עָפְרָה; cf. for the meaning of the name ʿ āpār, “dust,” or more probably ‘ oper, “young deer, gazelle kid”), mentioned in Josh 18:23 in the list of places belonging to Benjamin. However, Ophrah lies beyond the northern frontier of Benjamin ( Josh 18:12f.) and has probably entered the place list from 2 Chr 13:19 (ʿ eprōn), plausibly identified with eṭ-Ṭayyibe (eudemonism because of the echo of the Canaanite Ephron with Arab. ʿ ifrīt, “goblin”), and matching details given by Jerome (5 Roman miles north of Bethel); probably to be identified with Aph…

Ophrah (in Manasseh)

(146 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] was home town and residence of the Abiezrite chieftain Gideon (Judg 6:11), where he used booty taken from the Midianites to build ¶ a sanctuary (Judg 8:27, in contrast to 8:22f.: the act of a ruler). Its identification within the territory of the clan of Abiezer (from the 10th/9th cent. bce Manasseh territory), well outlined in the Samaria ostraca (Samaria), depends on how one defines the clan’s relation to the town of Shechem: whether as close as possible (Donner: Tell Ṣōfar), or as distant as possible (Knauf: Ḡinṣāfūṭ Gan-[ha]S̄opeṭ). Ernst Axel Knauf Bibliograp…
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