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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


(Heb. Tsair', צָעַיר, small, as often; Sept. Σιώρ; Vulg. SeirCa), a place named in 2 Kings 8:21, in the account of Joram's expedition against the Edomites, as one to which he went with all his chariots. There he and his force appear to have been surrounded, and only to have escaped by cutting their way through in the night. This is not, however, the interpretation of the Jewish commentators, who take the word הִסֹּבֵיב to refer to the neighboring parts of the country of Edom (see Rashi, On 2 Chronicles 21:9).

The parallel account in Chronicles (2 Chronicles 21:9) agrees with this, except that the words "to Zair" are omitted, and the words "with his princes" inserted. This is followed by Josephus (Ant. 9:5, 1). The omitted and inserted words have a certain similarity both in sound and in their component letters, צָעַירָה and עַםִשָׂרָיו; and on this it has been conjectured that the latter were substituted for the former either by' the error of a copyist or intentionally, because the name Zair was not elsewhere known (see Keil, Comment. on 2 Kings 8:21). Others, again, as Movers (Chronik, p. 218) and Ewald (Gesch. 3, 524), suggest that Zair is identical with Zoar ( צער or צוער ). Certainly in the Middle Ages the road by which an army passed from Judea to the country formerly occupied bit Eldom lay through the place which was then believed to be Zoar, below Kerak, at the south-east quarter of the Dead Sea (Fulcher, Gesta Dei, p. 405), and so far this is in favor of the identification; but there is no other support to it in the MS. readings either of the original or the versions. A third conjecture, grounded on the readings of the Vulg. (Seira) and the Arab. version (Sa'i'), is that Zair is an alteration for Seir (שעיר ), the country itself of the Edomites (Thenius, Kurzgef. exeget. Handb.). The objection to this is that the name of Seir appears not to have been knovwn. to the author of the book of Kings,

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

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