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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. צעִר , [fully צוֹעִר, Genesis 19:22-23; Genesis 19:30], smallness; Sept. Σηγώρ, Ζογορ, or Ζόγορα '; Josephus ᾿Ζοώρ, τὰ Ζόαρα or Ζώαρα; Vulg. Segor), one of the cities of the Jordan and Dead-Sea valley, and apparently, from the way in which it is mentioned, the most distant from the western highlands of Palestine (Genesis 13:10). Its original name was BELA, and it was still so called at the time of Abram's first residence in Canaan (Genesis 14:2; Genesis 14:8). It was then in intimate connection with the cities of the "plain of Jordan" Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim (see also Genesis 13:10; but not Genesis 10:19)- and its king took part with the kings of those towns in the battle with the Assyrian host which ended in their defeat and the capture of Lot. The change is thus, explained in the narrative of Lot's escape from Sodom. When urged by the angel to flee to the mountain, he pointed to Bela, and said, "This city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one (מצער ). Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live." The angel consented and the incident proved a new baptism to the place, "Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar," that is, "little" (Genesis 5:22).

This incident further tends to fix its site, at least relatively to Sodom. It must have been nearer than the mountains, and yet outside the boundary of the plain or vale of Siddim, which was destroyed during the conflagration. It would seem from Genesis 19:22-23; Genesis 30:30 that it lay at the foot of the mountain into, which Lot subsequently went up, and where he dwelt. That mountain was most probably the western declivity of Moab, overlooking the Dead Sea. In. Deuteronomy 34:3 there is another slight indication of the position of Zoar. From the top of Pisgah Moses obtained his view of the Promised Land. The east, the north, and the west he viewed, and- lastly "the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, into Zoar. This is not quite definite; but, considering the scope of the passage, it may be safely concluded that the general basin of the Dead Sea is meant, and that Zoar was near its southern end. Isaiah reckons Zoar amon

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

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