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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


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Large plain of Palestine, with an average elevation of between 280,300 feet above sea-level bounded by Mount Carmel on the north, Jaffa on the south, the mountains of Gilboa on the east, and the Mediterranean Sea on the west. Its principal rivers are the Nahr al-Zarḳ a (Crocodile River) and the Nahr Mafjir (the "Dead River" of the Crusaders). The soil is fertile and the plain is still called "the garden of Palestine," chiefly on account of its red and white lilies and its anemones.

The plain of Sharon was famous in Biblical times as a pastoral region (Isaiah 65:10 ) and some of David's herds fed there (1Chronicles 27:29 ). Utter desolation of the country was implied by saying that Sharon was turned into a wilderness (Isaiah 33:9 ), although in the Messianic time it is to be a fold for flocks (ib. 65:10). The poet dwells on the beauty of the flowers which blossom there abundantly ( ib. 35:2) and the Shulamite in Song of Song of Solomon 2:1 compares herself to the rose of Sharon (comp. Rose ). The comparison with Carmel (Isaiah 35:2 ) seems to show that at one time there were groves in the plain. Josephus, indeed, speaks of a grove near Antipatris, while, like the Septuagint, he translates the word "Sharon" by "oak-coppice" ("Ant." 14:13, § 3 "B. J." 1:13, § 2).

Another Sharon is mentioned by Eusebius ("Onomasticon") as lying between Mount Tabor and Tiberias. To this Sharon the passage Song of Song of Solomon 2:1 is sometimes referred but the phrase "rose of Sharon" was a proverbial one, and from Isaiah 35:1 et seq. it is evident that the rose there mentioned blossomed in the larger plain. The Talmud speaks of the wine produced in this latter Sharon (Men. 8:2 Shab. 70a), while the prayer of the high priest on the Day of Atonement, "May God watch over the inhabitants of Sharon, lest they be buried in the ruins of their homes" (Yer. Yoma 5:3), can refer only to those who resided in the eastern Sharon, since no earthquakes occurred in the western plain. The statement of Eusebius regarding a Sharon situated in Galilee is confirmed by the existence of the modern Sarona.

In Joshua 12:18 the King of Sharon is enumerated among the thirty-one kings vanquished by the Israelites. The "Sharon" mentioned in 1Chronicles 5:16 appears to be the name of a city in the territory of Gad.

Bibliography : Schwarz, Das Heilige Land , pp. 46-47, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1852 Neubauer, G. T. pp. 48 et seq. Ritter, Palestine , 4:265 Sepp, Jerusalem und das Heilige Land , 1:23,44 2:585 et seq. J. I. Be. S. O.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Sharon'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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