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Friday, June 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

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(Heb. Usal', אוּזָל , perhaps separate; Sept. Αἰζηλ and ἰζήν, v.r. Αἰβήλ and Αἰσήλ ; Vulg. Uzal and Huzal), the sixth named of the thirteen sons of Joktan among the descendants of Shem (Genesis 10:27; 1 Chronicles 1:21). B.C. post 2400. (See JOKTAN).

Abraham Zakuth, a learned Jewish writer, states that Sanaa, the metropolis of Yemen, is by the Jews called Uzal (Bochart, Opera, 1, 114); and in the Kamis, Azal (or Uzal) is said to be the ancient name of Sanaa (Golius, Lex. Arab. s.v.). This was still further confirmed by Niebuhr, who heard, when traveling in Yemen, the same statement made by Mohammedan natives (Description de l'Arabie, 3, 252). It was originally Awzá l (Ibn-Khaldun, ap. Caussin, Essai, 1, 40, note; Mardsid, s.v.; Gesen. Lex. s.v.; Bunsen, Bibelwerk, etc.). The printed edition of the Mardsid writes the name Uzdl, and says, "It is said that its name was Uzdl; and when the Abyssinians arrived at it, and saw it to be beautiful, they said San'a,' which means beautiful: therefore it was called San'a." The Hebrew name probably appears in the Ausara (Αὔσαρα or Α ü ζαρα ) of Ptolemy (Geogr. 6:7), and the Ausaritis of Pliny, a city of Arabia Felix, celebrated for, its myrrh (Hist. Nat. 12:36). (See ETIHNOLOGY)

Sanaa is situated in a mountainous region in the center of Yemen, about 150 miles froth Aden and 100 from the coast of the Red Sea. Its commanding position, its strong fortifications, the number of its mosques and minarets, and the size of its houses render it one of the most imposing cities in Arabia. It has a citadel on the site of a famous temple called Beit-Ghumdn, said to have been founded by Shurabil, which was razed by order of Othman. It is abundantly watered by mountain streams; and the gardens, orchards, and fields around it are said to rival in luxuriance and beauty the famous plain of Damascus. In the town of Sanaa there are still some 15,000 Jews, while in the various parts of Yemen their numbers are supposed to amount to 200,000. Seer Michaelis, Spicileg. 2, 164-175; Forster; Geogr. of Arabia, 1, 143; Ritter, Erdkunde, 12:815-840. (See ARABIA).

Ezekiel, in his description of Tyre, says, as rendered in the A. V. "Dan and Jaxvan'going to and fro (Heb. aleiizal, מְאוּזָל; Sept. ἐξ᾿ Ασήλ ; Vulg. Mosel), occupied in thy fairs; bright; iron, cassia, and, calamus were in thy market" (Ezekiel 27:19). The structure of the passage unquestionably favors the translation, "Dan, aind Javan of Uzal (מֵאוּזָל ), conveyed to your markets wrought iron, cassia," etc. There can be little doubt, therefore, that the prophet alludes to the great city of Yemen, the neighborhood of which is known to have been famous for its spices and perfumes. This view is strengthened by the fact that Javan occurs in the Kamus, and is said to be a town of Yemen. The expression Javan of Uzal is thus appropriate, for the latter was the name of the capital and of a district connected with it. The names Dedan, Arabia, Kedar, and Sheba, following immediately in the prophetic narrative, indicate the country to which the eye of the sacred writer was directed. (See JAVAN).

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