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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Tsaphon', צָפוֹן, north, as often; Sept.'Σαφών v.r. Σαφάν; Vulg. Saphon), the name of a place mentioned (in connection with Beth-aram, Bethnimrah, and Succoth) in the enumeration of the allotment of the tribe of Gad (Joshua 13:27). It is one of the places in "the valley" (i.e. of the Jordan), which appear to have constituted the "remainder (יֶתֶר ) of the kingdom of Sihon" apparently referring to the portion of the same kingdom previously allotted to Reuben (Joshua 13:17-21). The enumeration appears to proceed from south to north, and from the mention of the Sea of Chinneroth it is natural to infer that Zaphon was near that lake. The Talmud (Gemara Jerus. Shebiith, 6) identifies it with the ancient Amathus (q.v.), the remains of which are still called Amateh on Wady Rejib (Schwarz, Palest. p. 232), and this position is not an improbable one.

In Judges 12:1 the word rendered "northward" (tsaphonah) may with equal accuracy be rendered "to Zaphon." This rendering is supported by the Alexandrian copy of the Sept. (Κεφεινά ) and a host of other MSS., and it has consistency on its side, since the Ephraimites were marching eastward rather than northward. (See JEPHTHAH).

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

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