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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


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pē´thor ( פּתור , pethōr ; Φαθοῦρα , Phathoúra , Βαθοῦρα , Bathoúra ): The dwelling-place of Balaam, situated on "the river" (the Euphrates) ( Numbers 22:5 ).

1. Possibly the Asyrian Pitru:

In Deuteronomy 23:4 , it is further described as being in Mesopotamia (Aram -naharaim ). Pethor is identified with the Pedru(i) of the geographical lists of Thothmes III (circa 1500 BC) and the Pitru (Pithru) of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser II, who states that in his 3rd year (857 BC) he took the city Ana -Aššur -utı̂r -aṣbat (meaning: "I founded (it) anew for Aššur "), which the H̬attâa (Hittites) called Pitru. He says that it lay on the farther (western) bank of the Euphrates, by the Sagūrru or Sagura River, the modern Sajūr . The importance of Pitru is indicated by the fact that he received there the tribute of the kings of Carchemish, Comagene, Melitene and other districts.

2. Difficulties of Identification:

As Pitru is about 400 miles from Moab, this meant for Balaam a three or four weeks' journey, but the messengers sent to fetch him, though they had to travel that distance twice, could naturally, by pressing their mounts, have performed it much less time. Doubt may likewise be entertained as to the identity of Pethor with Pitru by the absence in the latter of the , which would lead one to expect rather the Assyrian form Pit ( h ) ūru . Shalmaneser, however, says that Pitru was the Hittite name, and that may account for it. With regard to the derivation, nothing can at present be said, except that, as a Hittite name, Tomkins ( Records of the Past , 5 (London, 1891), 38) has compared the name Pitru with the Pteria of Herodotus i. 76 (identified with Bog - haz - keui , the great Hittite capital in Cappadocia, in ancient times called H̬attu ).

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Pethor'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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