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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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DIZAHAB . The writer of Deuteronomy 1:1 thought of this as a town on the further side of the Jordan, in the ‘Arabah, on the border of Moab, ‘over against Suph,’ and as belonging to a group of places which he names. Unfortunately the mention of them does not make the matter clear. The site of Suph is unknown. So is that of Paran. The proposed identification of Tophel with et-Tafile , S.S.E. of the Dead Sea, fails on phonetic grounds. If ‘Ain el-Huderah , between Jebel Musa and ‘Akabah, represents a Hazeroth , and if Laban = Libnah ( Numbers 33:20 ), not far from ‘Ain el-Huderah , these are at too great a distance from the ‘Arabah. The same is to be said of Burckhardt’s suggestion that Mina ed-Dhahab , between the Ras Muhammad and ‘Akabah, is the place of which we are in search. Most probably the text is corrupt. At Numbers 21:14 we find Suphah ( Deuteronomy 1:1 Samuph) in conjunction with Vaheb (see RV [Note: Revised Version.] ); and Vaheb , in the original, is almost the same as Zahab , which, indeed, the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] reads. There seems to be some relationship between the two passages, but neither of them has so far been satisfactorily explained. At Genesis 36:39 we have Mezahab (= ‘waters of gold’): this gives a better sense than Dizahab , and may be the proper form of the name.

The Versions do not help us. The LXX [Note: Septuagint.] has Katachrysea (= ‘rich in gold’). The Vulg. [Note: Vulgate.] ( ubi auri est plurimum ) takes the word as descriptive of the district, ‘where is gold in abundance.’ The Targums see in it an allusion to the golden calf. And we may add that Ibn Ezra thought it was an unusual designation of a place which commonly went by another name.

J. Taylor.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Dizahab'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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