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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. id., אָוֶן , nothingness, hence iniquity, as often, especially idolatry, and so concretely an idol itself, as in Isaiah 66:3), a contemptuous name given to three places on account of the idolatry practiced there. (See BEN- ONI).

1. (Sept. Ων .) A plain (בִּקְעָה, bikah', valley), "the plain of the sun," of Damascene Syria, mentioned by Amos (1, 5) in his denunciation of Aram (Syria) and the country to the north of Palestine. It is usually supposed to be the same as the plain of Baalbek, or valley of Baal, where there was a magnificent temple dedicated to the sun. (See BAALBEK). Being between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, it is supposed by Rosenmü ller and others (in loc.) to be the same plain or valley that is mentioned as "the valley of Lebanon" in Joshua 11:17 (comp. Gesenius, Thes. Heb. p. 52). Some, however, would rather seek Aven in the plain four leagues from Damascus toward the desert, where Michaelis (Notes on Amos) heard from a native of Damascus of a valley near that city called Un, and he quotes Ia Damascene proverb referring thereto; but this locality lacks confirmation (see Henderson, in loc.); for the information was at best suspicious, and has not been confirmed, although the neighborhood of Damascus has been tolerably well explored by Burckhardt (App. 4) and by Porter. The prophet, however, would I seem to be alluding to some principal district of the country of equal importance with Damascus itself; and I so the Sept. have understood it, taking the letters as if pointed, אוֹן, On, and expressing it in their version as I "the plain" of On, by which they doubtless intend the great plain of Lebanon, Coele-Syria, in which the renowned idol-temple of Baalbek or Heliopolis was situated, and which still retains the very same name by I which Amos and Joshua designated it, el-Buka'a. The application of Aven as a term of reproach or contempt to a flourishing idol- sanctuary, and the play or paronomasia therein contained, is quite in keeping with the manner of Amos and of Hosea. The latter frequently applies the very same word to Bethel. (See BETHAVEN).

2. (Sept. ῾Ηλιούπολις, Eng. marg. "Heliopolis.") Another name for ON (q.v.) in Egypt (Ezekiel 30:17). The intention of the prophet is doubtless to play upon the name in the same manner as Amos and Hosea. See No. 1, above.

3. (Sept. Ων ) A shorter form (Amos 10:8) of BETHAVEN (See BETHAVEN) (q.v.) or BETHEL.

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

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Saturday, July 4th, 2020
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13
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