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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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(ὁ Σάρων, השָׁרוֹן, ‘the level’)

Sharon was the ancient name of the undulating Maritime Plain which extended from Mt. Carmel to some distance beyond Jaffa-perhaps to the Nahr Rûbîn and the low hills to the S. of Ramleh-where it merged in the Philistian Plain. It was admired by prophets and poets for the richness of its vegetation and the beauty of its wild flowers-‘the excellency of Sharon’ (Isaiah 35:2), ‘the rose of Sharon’ (Song of Solomon 2:1). From the groves of oak which at one time covered a great part of its surface, especially in the north, it was also called ὁ δρυμός (Septuagint , Isaiah 33:9; Isaiah 35:2; Isaiah 65:10; Jos. Bellum Judaicum (Josephus) I. xiii. 2) or οἱ δρυμοί (Ant. XIV. xiii. 3). Strabo (XVI. ii. 27) says that in his time there was next to Carmel ‘a large forest’ (δρυμὸς μέγας τις). The only part of Sharon which is alluded to in the NT is the southern end, lying around Lydda (now Lydd), where the fields and orchards were exceedingly well-watered and fertile and the population was dense. Here the presence of St. Peter in the early Apostolic Age-though his visit was only brief, as he was urgently summoned away to Joppa-is said to have given rise to a widespread spiritual movement: ‘all that dwelt at Lydda and in Sharon turned to the Lord’ (Acts 9:35). The Authorized Version renders ‘at Lydda and Sharon,’ apparently mistaking ‘Sharon’ for a town or village in the neighbourhood of Lydda. The use of the article with the Greek and the Hebrew noun proves that a whole district-‘the level country’ (from יָשָׁר)-is meant. The only known village of Sârôna is in the N.E. of Mt. Tabor, probably represented by the Saronas which Eusebius (Onom. 296. 6) says was the name given to the district between Tabor and Tiberias.

Literature.-G. A. Smith, Historical Geography of the Holy Land (G. A. Smith) , 1900, p. 147 ff.; D. F. Buhl, GAP [Note: AP Geographie des alten Palästina (Buhl).] , 1896, p. 103 f.

James Strahan.

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

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Sunday, August 25th, 2019
the Week of Proper 16 / Ordinary 21
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