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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Peor i', פְּעוֹר , cleft, always with the art. when speaking of the mountain, but without it of the idol; Sept. Φογώρ ), the name of a hill and of a heathen deity; perhaps also of a town.

1. A mountain on the plateau of Moab, to the top of which Balak led Balaam that he might see the whole host of Israel and curse them (Numbers 23:28). It appears to have been one of the ancient high places of Moab dedicated to the service of Baal (Numbers 22:41; Numbers 23:13; Numbers 23:27). Its position is described as "looking to the face of Jeshimon;" that is, the wilderness on either side of the Dead Sea. (See DESERT).

If it were in sight of the Arabah of Moab, on the east bank of the Jordan, where the Israelites were then encamped, it must have been one of those peaks on the western brow of the plateau which are seen between Heshbon and the banks of the Arnon (comp. Josephus, Ant. 4:6,4). Two other incidental notices of the sacred writers tend to fix its position. There can be little doubt that it was connected with the town of Beth-Peor, which is described as "over against" the site of the Israelitish camp (Deuteronomy 3:29; comp. 34:6). (See BETH-PEOR).

Josephus says it was sixty stadia distant from the camp (Ant. 4:6, 4); Eusebius states that it lay above Livias (the ancient Beth-aran), six miles distant from it, and opposite Jericho; and Jerome mentions Mount Phogor as situated between Livias and Heshbon (Onomast. s.v. Fogor and Araboth Moab). It would seem, therefore, that this mountain was one of those peaks on the south side of Wady Heshbon commanding the Jordan valley. A place named Fuichatr(h is mentioned in the list of towns south of Es-Salt in the appendix to the first edition of Dr. Robinson's Bib. Res. (vol. iii, Append. p. 169), and this is placed by Van de Velde at the head of the Wady Eshteh, eight miles north-east of Hesban. Professor Paine, however, recently contends that it is one of the summits of the present Jebel Neba. (See PISGAH).

2. "The matter of Peor" (דבר פ 8) mentioned in Numbers 25:18; Numbers 31:16; and the "iniquity of Peor" (עין פ 8), spoken of by Joshua (Joshua 22:17), refer to the Midianitish deity Baal-peor, and not to the mountain. By following the counsels of Balaam, the Midianites seduced the Israelites to take part in their worship, and the licentious revels by which it appears to have been accompanied; and thus they brought upon them the divine vengeance (Numbers 31:16; Numbers 25:1 sq.). The temple or shrine of Baal-peor probably stood on the top of the mountain; and the town of Beth-peor may have been situated at its base. Gesenius (Thesaur. p. 1119 a) gives it as his opinion that Baal-peor derived its name from the mountain, not the mountain from him. (See BAAL-PEOR).

3. A Peor, under its Greek garb of Φαγώρ, appears among the eleven names added by the Sept. to the list of the allotment to Judah, between Bethlehem and Aitan (Etham). It was known to Eusebius and Jerome, and is mentioned by the latter in his translation of the Onomasticon as Phaoa. It probably still exists under the name of Beit Faghur or Kirbet Faghur, five miles south-west of Bethlehem, barely a mile to the left of the road from Hebron (Reland, Palaest. p. 643; Robinson, Bib. Res. 3:275; Tobler, Dritte Wanderung, p. 92).

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

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Sunday, October 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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