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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


Jaï r

(Hebrew Ya'ir', יָאַיר , enlightener; Sept. Ι᾿αϊ v ρ, Ι᾿αείρ; but in 1 Chronicles 2:22, some copies Ἀείρ; hi Esther 2:5, Ι᾿αϊ v ρος; compare Ι᾿άειρος, Mark 5:22; Josephus. War. 6. 1, 8), the name of three men, also of one other of different form in the Hebrew.

1. The son of Segub, which latter was of the tribe of Manasseh on his mother's side (See ADOPTION), but of Judah on his father's (1 Chronicles 2:22); but Ja'ï r is reckoned as belonging to Manasseh (Numbers 32:41; Deuteronomy 3:14; 1 Kings 4:13), probably on account of his exploits and possessions in Gilead, where he appears to have been brought up with his mother (comp. 1 Chronicles 2:21), being perhaps an illegitimate child (see Raumer in Tholuck's Liter. Az. 1836, p. 11), or, at all events, her heir (Schwarz, Palest. p. 185), although his possessions might strictly be claimed as an appendage to the tribe of Judah (Joshua 19:5; Joshua 19:34). (See JUDAH UPON JORDAN).

He distinguished himself in an expedition against the kingdom of Bashan, the time of which is disputed, but may probably be referred to the last year of the life of Moses (B.C. 1618), and which seems to have formed part of the operations connected with the conquest of the country east of the Jordan (1 Chronicles 3:23; Numbers 33:41; Deuteronomy 3:14). He settled in the part of Argob bordering on Gilead, where we find the small towns thus taken (retaken) by him named collectively Havothjair, or "Ja'ï r's villages" (Numbers 32:41; Deuteronomy 3:14; Joshua 13:30; 1 Kings 4:13; 1 Chronicles 2:22). (See HAVOTH-JAIR).

These are variously stated to have been twenty-three (1 Chronicles 2:22), thirty (Judges 10:4), and sixty in number (1 Chronicles 2:23; Joshua 13:30; 1 Kings 4:13, in which last passage they are said to have been "great cities, with walls and brazen bars"). The discrepancy may easily be reconciled by the supposition (warranted by Numbers 32:39-40) that although Ja'ï r, in conjunction with his relatives, captured the whole sixty cities composing the Gileadite district of the kingdom of Og in Bashan (Deuteronomy 3:4), only twenty-three of these were specially assigned to him; whereas, at a later date, his portion may have received some accessions; or the number attributed to his descendant of the same name may be only a round or approximate estimate, as being about one half the entire number. (For other methods of adjustment, see Winer's Realwö rterbuch, s.v. Ja'ï r.)

2. The eighth judge of Israel, a native of Gilead, in Manasseh (Josephus, 4 nt. 5, 7, 6, Ι᾿αείρης ), beyond the Jordan, and therefore probably descended from the preceding, with whom, indeed, he is sometimes confounded. He ruled twenty-two years (B.C. 1296-1274), and his opulence is indicated ill a manner characteristic of the age in which he lived; he had thirty sons, that rode on thirty ass-colts (עֲיָרַים ), and they had thirty cities ( עֲיָרַים again), which are called Havoth-jair, in the land of Gilead" (Judges 10:3-4). A young ass was the most valuable beast for riding then known to the Hebrews; and that Ja'ï r had so many of them, and was able to assign a village to every one of his thirty sons, is very striking evidence of his wealth (see Kitto's Dail., Bible Illustrat. or Judges 5:6-10). The twenty-three villages of the more ancient Ja'ï r were probably among the thirty which this Ja'ï r possessed. His burial-place was Camon, doubtless in the same region (Judges 10:5). It is probably one of his descendants (so numerous) that is called a JAIRITE (Heb. Yairi', יִאַירַי, Sept. Ι᾿αρί, 2 Samuel 20:26). Possibly, however, the genuine reading was יתרי, the Jathrite. (See IRA).

3. A Benjamite son of Shimei and father of Mordecai, Esther's uncle (Esther 2:5). B.C. ante 598.

4. (Heb. Yair', יָעַיר marg., but text Yco'r', יָעוֹר; perh. awake; Sept. Ι᾿αείρ, Vulg. corruptly scltus.) The father of Elhanan, which latter slew the brother of Goliath (1 Chronicles 20:5). In the parallel passage (2 Samuel 21:19) we find, instead of Jair, "JIAAE" (יִעֲרֵי, apparently the plur. of the other word, q. d. יִעִר, a forest; Sept. Ι᾿αρέ, Vulg. again sultus), with the addition "Oregim" (אֹרְגַים, weavers; Sept. ὑφαίνοντες, Vulg. polymitarius), which has probably been erroneously taken by transcribers from the latter part of the same verse (see Kennicott's Diss. on the Hebrew Text, 1, 78). B.C. ante 1018. (See ELUIANAN).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'JaãƓâ¯r'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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