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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Hadrach

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(Heb. Chadrak', חִדנְרָךְ, signif. unknown, but possibly connected with Hudor - (See HADORAI); Sept. Σεδράχ,Vulg. Hadrach), apparently the name of a country, and (as we may gather from the parallel member of the sole and obscure passage where it occurs) near or identical with Damascus (Zechariah 9:1). The meaning seems to be, "The utterance of the word of Jehovah respecting the land of Hadrach; and Damascus is the place upon which it rests." On the locality in question, great division of opinion exists. Adrichoinius says, "Adrach, or Hadrach, alias Adra is a city of Caelesyria, about twenty-five miles from Bostra, and from it the adjacent region takes the name of Land of Hadrach. This was the land which formed the subject of Zechariah's prophecy" (Theaterum Terrae Sanctae, p. 75). Rabbi Jose, a Damascene, according to Jarchi, declared he knew a place of this name east of Damascus; and Michaelis says (Suppleme. p. 677), "To this I may add what I learned, in the year 1768, from Joseph Abbassi, a noble Arab of the country beyond Jordan. I inquired whether he knew a city called Hadrakh He replied that there was a city of that name, which, though now small, had been the capital of a large region called the land of Hadrakh," etc. The two names, however, are entirely different (הדר,ִ Hadrach; Arab. Edhr'a), and there is no historical evidence that Edhr'a ever was the capital of a large territory. (See EDREI). Yet corroborative of the existence of the place in question are the explicit statements of Cyril and Theodoret in commenting on the above passage. But to these it is objected that no modern traveler has heard of such a place in this region; Gesenius especially (Thesaur. Heb. p. 449) urges that the name could not have become extinct. Yet no other explanation of the word Hadrach hitherto offered is at all satisfactory (see Winer's Realw. s.v.). Movers suggests that Hadrach may be the name of one of the old deities (compare Adres, Justin, 36:2, and ATERGATIS) of Damascus (Die Phonizier, 1, 478); and Bleek conjectures that reference is made to a king of that city (Studien u. Kritiken, 1852, 2, 258). Henderson (Comment. ad loc.) supposes it to be only a corruption of חדד, the common names of the kings of Syria. SEE HADAR. Jarchi and Kimchi say, "Rabbi Juda interpreted it as an allegorical expression relating to the Messiah, Who is harsh (חד ) to the heathen, and gentle (רִ) to Israel" Jerome's interpretation is somewhat similar: "Et est ordo verborum; assumptio verbi Domini, acuti in peccatores, mollis in justos. Adrach quippe hoc resonat ex duobus integris nomen compositum: AD (חד ) acutun, RACH (ר molle, tenerumque significans" (Comment. in Zach. ad loc.). Hengstenberg (Christol. 3, 372) adopts the same etymology and meaning, but regards the word as a symbolical appellation of the Persian empire, whose overthrow by Alexander Zechariah here foretells. He says the prophet does not mention the real name, because, as he lived during the supremacy of Persia, such a reference would have exposed him to danger. (See ZECHARIAH, BOOK OF).

Looking at the passage in what appears to be its plain and natural meaning, no scholar can deny that, according to the usual construction, the proper name following אֶרֶוֹ is the name of the "land" itself, or of the nation inhabiting the land, and the analogy presented by all the other names in, the section is sufficient proof that this must be the case here (Hengstenberg, 3, 375). All the other names mentioned are well known-Damascus, Hamath, Tyre, Zidon, Gaza, etc.; it is natural to infer that Hadrach is also the name of a place known to the prophet. Its position is not accurately defined. The words of the passage do not connect it more closely with Damascus than with Hamath. It is remarkable that no such name is elsewhere found in ancient writers. The translators of the Sept. were ignorant of it. So was Jerome. No such place is now known. Yet this does not prove that there never was such a name. Many ancient names have disappeared, as it seems to be the case with this (see Alphens, Diss. de terra Chaderach, Tr. ad Rhen. 1723; also in Ugolino, 7). (See DAMASCUS).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Hadrach'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/h/hadrach.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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