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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Tsorah', צָרְעָה , hornet; Sept. Σαραά v.r. Σοράθ, Σαράλ, Σαρά, etc.; Josephus, Σαρασά , Ant. 5, 8, 12; Vulg. Saraa; A. V. "Zareah," Nehemiah 11:29; "Zoreah," Joshua 15:33), one of the towns near the border of the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:41), but really within-the limits of Judah, being in the north-western corner of the "valley district" (Joshua 15:33). It is almost always mentioned in connection with Eshtaol (see also Judges 13:25; Judges 16:31; Judges 18:2; Judges 18:8; Judges 18:11; and comp. 1 Chronicles 2:53). Zorah was the residence of Manoah and the native place of Samson. The place both of his birth and his burial is specified with a curious minuteness as "between Zorah and Eshtaol," "in Mahaneh-Dan" (Judges 13:25; Judges 11:31). In the genealogical records of 1 Chronicles (1 Chronicles 2:53; 1 Chronicles 4:2) the "Zareathites and Eshtaulites" are given as descended from (i.e. colonized by) Kirjathjearim. Zorah is mentioned among the places fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:10) and it was re-inhabited by the men of Judah after the return from the Captivity (Nehemiah 11:29). In the Onomasticon (s.v. Σαρδά and "Saara") it is mentioned as living some ten miles north of Eleutheropolis on the road to Nicopolis. By the Jewish traveler Hap-Parchi (Zunz, Benjamin of Tud. 2, 441) it is specified as three hours south-east of Lydd. These notices agree in direction though in neither is the distance nearly sufficient with the modern village of Sur'ah which has been visited by Robinson (Bibl. Res. 3; 153); and Toblern (Dritte Wanzd. p.a18-183).

It lies just below the brow of, a sharp pointed conical hill at the shoulder of the ranges which there meet, and form the north side of the Wady Ghurab, the northernmost of the two branches which unite just below, Sir'ah, and form the great wady Surar. Near it are to be seen the remains of Zanoah, Bethshemesh, Timnai, there and other places more or less frequently mentioned with it in the narrative. Eshtaol, however, has not yet been identified. The position of Sir'ah at the entrance of the valley, which forms one of the inlets from the great low land, explains its fortification by Rehoboam. The spring is a short distance below the village" "a noble fountain" this was at the end of April "walled up square with large hewn stones and gushing over with fine water. As we passed on," continues Robinson, with a more poetical tone than is his wont, "we overtook no less than twelve women toiling upwards to the village, each with her; jar of water on her head. The village, the fountain, the fields, the mountain the females bearing water, all transported us back to ancient times, when in all probability the mother of Samson often in like manner visited the fountain and toiled homeward with her jar of water. See also Schwarz, Palestine, p. 102; Thomson, Land and Book, 2, 361; Porter, Handbook for Pal. p. 285; Tristram, Bible Places, p. 468. Consider Tent Work. 1, 274.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Zorah'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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