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Ashteroth-Karnaim

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

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(Heb. Ashteroth' Karna'yign, עִשְׁתְּרוֹת קִרְנִיַם , Ashtaroth of the two horns, from the horned image of Ashtoreth, Genesis 14:5; Sept. Ἀσταρὼθ [καὶ ] Καρναϊ v ν ), a place of very great antiquity, the abode of the Rephaim at the time of the'incursion of Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14:5), while the cities of the plain were still standing in their oasis. Its name of Ashtaroth appears to be derived from the worship of the moon under that name, (See ASTARTE); there is little need to look further than the crescent of that luminary and its symbolical image for an explanation of the addition KARNAIM, "horned" (Sanchoniathton, in Euseb. Prcep. Ev., 10; ed. Orelli, p. 35). In 2 Mace. 12:21, 26, mention is made of the temple of Atergatis (Ashtoreth) in Carnion (Καρνίον ), which is described as a strongly fortified town of difficult access, but which was taken by Judas Maccabaes, who slew 25,000 of the people therein. The same place is doubtless that called Carnain (Καρναϊ v ν ) in 1 Macc. v, 43 (comp. Καρναϊ v ν, Josephus, Ant. 12:8, 4). These notices, however, give us no indication of its locality beyond its being in "the land of Galaad;" the inference of Ritter (Erdk. 15:822) that the Carnion of the Apocrypha was in a narrow valley, is not sustained by the passages themselves. It is usually assumed to be the same place as the preceding ASHTAROTH, but the few facts that can be ascertained are all against such an identification.

(1.) The affix "Karnaim," which certainly indicates some distinction, and which in the time of the Maccabees, as quoted above, appears to have superseded the other name.

(2.) The fact that Eusebius and Jerome in the Onomasticon, though not very clear on the point, yet certainly make a distinction between Ashtaroth and A.-Carnaim, describing the latter (s.v. Καρναείμ, Carnaim) as a " large village" (κωμὴ μεγιστὴ τ ' ης Ἀραβίας, vicus grandis in angulo Batanaese).

(3.) Some weight is due to the rendering of the Samaritan version, and of the Arabic version of Saadiah, which give Ashtaroth as in the text, but A.- Karnaim by entirely different names; the former rendering it Aphinith, which does not appear to have been yet recognised; but the latter, es- Sanamein, apparently meaning the still important place which continues to bear precisely the same name, on the Haj route, about 25 miles south of Damascus, and to the N.W. of the Lejah (Burckh. p. 55; Ritter, Erdk. 15:812), but which seems to be identical with another place, (See AERE), and is too far from Edrei. (See ASHTAROTH). Astaroth-Karnaim is now usually identified with Mezareib, the situation of which corresponds accurately enough with the distances given by Eusebius (Leake, Preface to Burckhardt's Travels, p. xii). Here is the first castle on the great pilgrim road from Damascus to Mecca. It was built about 340 years ago by the Sultan Selim, and is a square structure, about 100 feet on each side, with square towers at the angles and in the centre of each face, the walls being 40 feet high. The interior is an open yard, with ranges of warehouses against the castle wall to contain stores of provisions for the pilgrims. There are no dwellings beyond the castle. and within it only a few mud huts upon the flat roofs of the warehouses, occupied by the peasants who cultivate the neighboring grounds. Close to this building on the north and east side are a great number of springs, whose waters at a short distance collect into a lake or pond about a mile and a half in circumference. In the midst of this lake is an island, and at an elevated spot at the extremity of a promontory advancing into the lake stands a sort of chapel, around which are many remains of ancient buildings. There are no other ruins. (Burckhardt, Travels, p. 211 sq.; Buckingham's Arab Tribes, p. 162; Chesney, Euphrat. Exped. i, 511; Capt. Newbold, in the Lond. Geog. Jour. 16:333; comp. Schwarz, Palest. p. 223, 236.) (See ASHTORETH); (See CHALAMISH).

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Ashteroth-Karnaim'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​a/ashteroth-karnaim.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
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