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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…

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…

Ishmael

(510 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel | Nagel, Tilman
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. Islam I. Old Testament Through recourse to the name of a northern Arabian tribal confederation in the 7th century bce (* Šamaʿʾil; attested in Neo-Assyrian sources and reflected in ¶ Gen 25:13–15 [P]), which was transformed in analogy to “Isaac",” the figure of Ishmael served the parties in the course of the edition of the Pentateuch in defining the proximity or distance between the two sons of Abraham", Ishmael and Isaac, that is, Jews and Arabs (including Idumeans), who shared the land in…

Limes

(234 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] The Limes Arabicus (in Transjordan) and the Limes Palaestinae (in the Negeb) were not boundaries but frontier zones with legionary camps ( castra), detached forts for cohorts ( castella), and watchtowers ( burgi). In the Provincia Arabia (created in 106 ce), the Limes Arabicus was not set up until the end of the 3rd century. Its occupation troops, called limitani, were soon recruited from the local population and increasingly lost their fighting capacity. The Limes was more a zone of contact between the Roman Empire and Arabia than an “iron curtain.” To…

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…

Frankincense

(441 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel | Kunzler, Michael
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Liturgy I. Religious Studies The custom of making olfactory sacrifices to the gods as heavenly beings dates from at least the 4th millennium bce (Egypt. śnčr = “to smoke; to perfume,” lit. “to deify”). However, frankincense, of which there is no evidence in the Mediterranean area before the 8th century bce, should be distinguished from all other types of incense. There was a growing demand for frankincense until the first century ce. This subsequently dropped, and in the 4th century collapsed almost completely. Along with this…

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…

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…

Israel

(10,133 words)

Author(s): Gutmann, Emanuel | Knauf, Ernst Axel | Otto, Eckart | Niehr, Herbert | Kessler, Rainer | Et al.
[German Version] I. The State of Israel – II. History – III. Society I. The State of Israel The formal full name, State of Israel (Heb. Medinat Yisrael), calls attention to the spatial divergence between the political entity and the geographical and historical Erets Israel (Land of Israel, Palestine and its linguistic equivalents). Israel is located in southwest Asia, on the southern stretch of the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. In its northern half, inland from the shore, is the coastal area and further east are the hills, from n…

Peniel

(313 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] Peniel, Heb. פְּנוּאֵל/ pĕnûʾ ēl, “face of El” (probably from a landform). Peniel (or Penuel) was a site in northern Transjordan, according to Gen 32:22–32 at a ford of the Jabbok, according to Judg 8:5–11 between Succoth (Deir ʿAllā) and Jogbehah (Ǧubēḥa), and according to Judg 8:16 partially destroyed by Gideon (secondary addition to the Succoth episode); in the last third of the 10th century bce, it was taken (or made to pay tribute) by Pharaoh Shishak (Sheshonk) under the name New Pnuel ( pnwʾ l ḥdšt; Karnak king list [Hughes, plates 2–9] nos. 53f., immediate…

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 …

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…

Timnah (Wādī ʿAraba)

(134 words)

Author(s): Knauf, Ernst Axel
[German Version] (Heb. תִּמְנָע), Hebrew name (after the mother of Amalek in Gen 36:12, 23, 40) for the copper-producing area of el-Meneʿiyye in the southeastern ʿAraba (Egyp. ʿAtika), to which Egypt dispatched mining expeditions in the 13th/12th centuries and the second half of the 10th century; with the help of specialists from northwestern ʿArabia and southern Palestine, they mined copper ore and smelted it in situ; they probably also traded in copper from the far richer deposits at Punon/Fēnān to the northeast. A tented Egyptian shrine of Hathor was used at the same time or reused ¶ som…
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