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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Harosheth

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(Heb. Charo'sheth) OF THE GENTILES "(חֲרשֶׁת הִגּוֹיַם, workmanship of the nations; i.e. city of handicrafts; Sept. Ἀρισώθ τῶν ἐθνῶν, Vulg. Haroeeth gentium), a city supposed to have been situated near Hazor, in the northern parts of Canaan, afterwards called Upper Galilee, or Galilee of the Gentiles, from the mixed races inhabiting it. (See GALILEE). Harosheth is said to have been the residence of Sisera, the general of the armies of Jabin, king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor (Judges 4:2). Here the army and chariots of Jabin were marshaled under the great captain before they invaded Israel, and defiled from the northern mountains into the broad battlefield of Esdraelon (Judges 4:13). After the terrible defeat and slaughter on the banks of the Kishon, to this place the fugitives of the army returned, a shattered and panic-stricken Tenant. Barak and his victorious troops followed them into the fastnesses of their own mountains, to the very gates of Harosheth (Judges 4:16). The city is not again mentioned in the Bible, nor is it referred to by Josephus, Jerome, or any ancient writer. It was at the extreme of Jabil's territory, opposite the Kishon (Judges 4:13), and also at a good distance from Tabor (Judges 4:14). It is supposed to have stood on the west coast of the lake Merom (el-Hulbh), from which the Jordan issues forth in one unbroken stream, and in the portion of the tribe of Naphtali. Jabin's capital, Hazor, one of the fenced cities assigned to the children of Naphtali (Joshua 19:36), lay to the northwest of it. Probably from intermarriage with the conquered Canaanites, the name of Sisera afterwards became a family name (Ezra 2:53). Neither is it irrelevant to allude to this coincidence in connection with the moral effects of this decisive victory; for Hazor, once "the head of all those kingdoms"(Joshua 11:6; Joshua 10), had been taken and burnt by Joshua; its king, Jabin I, put to the sword; and the whole confederation of the Canaanites of the north broken and slaughtered in the celebrated battle of the waters of Blerom (Joshua 11:5-14) the first time that "chariots and horses" appear in array against the invading host, and are so summarily disposed of, according to divine command, under Joshua, but which subsequently the children of Joseph feared to face in the valley of Jezreel (Joshua 17:16-18). and before which Judah actually failed in the Philistine plain (Judges 1:19).

Herein was the great difficulty of subduing plains, similar to that of the Jordan, beside which Harosheth stood. It was not till the Israelites had asked for and obtained a king that they began "to multiply chariots and horses" to themselves, contrary to the express words of the law (Deuteronomy 17:16), as it were to fight the enemy with his own weapons. (The first instance occurs 2 Samuel 8:4; comp. 1 Chronicles 18:4; next in the histories of Absalom, 2 Samuel 15:1, and of Adonijah, 1 Kings 1:5; while the climax was reached under Solomon, 1 Kings 4:26.) Then it was that the Hebrews' decadence set in! They were strong in faith when they hamstrung the horses and burned with fire the chariots of the kings of Hazor, of Madon, of Shimron, and of Achshaph (Joshua 11:1). Yet so rapidly did they decline when their illustrious leader was no more that the city of Hazor had risen from its ruins; and, in contrast with the kings of Mesopotamia and Moab (Judges 3), who were both foreign potentates, another Jabin, the territory of whose ancestors had been assigned to the tribe of Naphtali, claimed the distinction of being the first to revolt against and shake off the dominion of Israel in his newly acquired inheritance, But the victory won by Deborah and Barak was well worthy of the song of triumph which it inspired (Judges 5), and of the proverbial celebrity which ever afterwards attached to it (Psalms 83:9-10; a passage which shows that the fugitives were overtaken as far as Endor). The whole territory was gradually won back, to be held permanently, as it would seem (Judges 4:24); at all events, we hear nothing more of Hazor, Earosheth, or the Canaanites of the north in the succeeding wars. The etymology of the name Harosheth, q.d. "wood- cuttings," joined with the above facts, may justify us in locating the city on the upland plains of Naphtali, probably on one of those ruin-crowned eminences still existing, from which the mother of Sisera, looking out from her latticed window, could see far along that road by which she expected to see her son return in triumph (Judges 5:28). Deborah, in her beautiful ode, doubtless depicted the true features of the scene., Remnants of the old forests of oak and terebinth still wave here over the ruins of the ancient cities, and travelers may see the black tents, of the Arabs-fit representatives of the Kenites (4, 17) pitched beneath their shade (Porter, Handbook for Syr. and Palest. 2, 442 sq.; Stanley, Jewish Chuth, 1, 359). Schwarz (Palestine, p. 184) thinks it identical with the village Girsh, situated on a high mount one English mile west (on Zimmerman's Map north-west) of Jacob's bridge across the Jordan, and nearly destroyed by an earthquake in 1837. Dr. Thomson, however, who gives a vivid description of the geographical features of Barak's victory. (Land and Book, 2, 142 sq.), regards the site as that of the present village Harothieh (a name, according to in, giving: the exact Arabic form of the Hebrew), an enormous double mound or tell along the Kishon, about eight miles from Megiddo, covered with the remains of old walls and buildings.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Harosheth'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/h/harosheth.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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