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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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ZAREPHATH (Authorized Version Sarepta).—A town of the narrow rocky Phœnician coast, 9 miles S.W. of Sidon, 17 miles N. of Tyre, and 60 miles directly N. of Nazareth, whence NT reference is made to it. Perched 500 feet high on a steep hillside a mile from the coast road, the modern shrunken hamlet looks down upon the traveller riding through a mile of the ruins of the ancient Zarephath, which once as a populous city extended to the sea, was provided with walls, and had a commodious harbour, now filled with sand and ruins.

While, in the theoretical division of the Holy Land among the twelve tribes by Joshua, Zarephath fell into the lot of Asher, going down, as that did, ‘even unto great Sidon,’ ‘and to the fortified city of Tyre’ (Joshua 19:28 f.), it, together with the most of Asher’s territory, remained almost wholly Phœnician and Gentile. St. Luke’s report of Christ’s sermon at Nazareth distinctly connects Zarephath with Sidon, as do the LXX Septuagint and Massoretic Text in the account of Elijah’s sustenance by the widow there. This Evangelist—apparently the only Gentile-Christian NT writer—seizes as does no other upon the thought that the boundless grace of God has been extended in certain typical cases to remote Gentiles, even to the superseding and exclusion of those who were of the stock of Abraham and dwelt within the Holy Land. The choice, among all others, of the widow of pagan Phœnician Zarephath, and of Naaman the leper of heathen Syrian Damascus, to receive the favours of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, filled the crabbed synagogue hearers of Nazareth with wrath and murder (Luke 4:25 ff.).

Wilbur Fletcher Steele.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Zarephath'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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