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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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1. The name. In Genesis 22:2 Abraham was commanded to go ‘into the land of the Moriah ,’ and to sacrifice Isaac upon ‘one of the mountains’ which God would tell him of. The derivation of the name is obscure. The Peshitta (Syriac) version reads ‘of the Amorites,’ which may possibly be the true reading. The narrator (E [Note: Elohist.] ), however, in Genesis 22:14 appears to connect it with the verb ‘to see’ (which is etymologically impossible), and some of the early translators do the same in their rendering of the name in Genesis 22:2 . The Targumists emphasized the worship of Abraham at the spot, perhaps connecting the name with the verb ‘to fear’ which is equally impossible.

2. The place. The proverb recorded in Genesis 22:14 clearly implies that the writer thought that Isaac was offered on the Temple mount at Jerusalem. And hence the Chronicler ( 2 Chronicles 3:1 ) names the Temple hill ‘Mount Moriah.’ From a spiritual point of view, the analogy often drawn between the offering of Isaac and the death of Christ makes the identification very suggestive. But Genesis 22:4 certainly contemplates a mountain at a much greater distance from the Philistine country, and much more conspicuous, than the Jerusalem hill. There is some similarity between the names Moriah and Moreh , the latter of which was at Shechem ( Genesis 12:6 , Deuteronomy 11:30 ), close to the hills Gerizim and Ebal. And it may have been owing to this that the Samaritans claimed Gerizim as Abraham’s mountain (cf. John 4:20 ). Geographically, it would suit the description in Genesis 22:4 ; but there is no real evidence for the identification. If the Syriac reading ‘Amorites’ be adopted, the locality of the mountain is entirely unknown, since the name is a general term employed by E [Note: Elohist.] to denote the Canaanite natives of Palestine.

A. H. M’Neile.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Moriah'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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