|Descriptive Geography and Brief Historical Sketch of
By Rabbi Joseph Schwarz
* In Megillath Taanith, chap. vii., is mentioned באו לים בוסטי "they came to the sea of Busteh," which is evidently an error, as no such place or sea is known; it should read, however, לסבסטי "to Sebasteh," and the corruption is no doubt owing to the carelessness of a transcriber, by first dividing the word into two, and then adding a useless letter.
Tirzah תרצה (1 Kings 14:17). This former place of residence of Jeroboam, son of Nebat, king of Israel, is now the village Tarza, and is situated on a high mount east of Samaria.
† In Midrash Rabbah to section Massay מסעי we read שכם בהר אפרים זהו נפולין "Shechem, in the mountain of Ephraim, is Napulin," which is a faulty reading, and should be Napulis, Neapolis, or Nablus. In Talmud Yerushalmi Abodah Zarah, chap. v., it is said, "Rabbi Ishmael went to Napulis when the Cuthians came," &c.; whence it will be seen that the Talmudists already made use of this word to denote Shechem.
hill of Phinehas גבעת
Thimnath-Serach תמנת סרח (Joshua 24:30), is the village Charas, 5 English miles south-southwest of Shechem. There are found the graves of Joshua, his father Nun, and Caleb, all of which are marked with large monuments.
Shalem שלם (Gen. 33:18), is the village Salin, 5 English miles east of Shechem.
Pirathon פרעתון (Judges 7: 15), "is probably the modern village Pretha, on the mountain of Amalek, 5 English miles west of Shechem." So says Astori; but at present it is quite unknown.
Shamir שמיר (Judges 10:1). This town was probably situated 5 English miles northeast from Samaria, on the same place where now are found the ruins of the fort Sanur, the n being substituted for the m.
Shiloh שילה (1 Sam. 1:3). Ten English miles northnorthwest of Sela-Rimmon is the village Thurmassia (Talmud Yerushalmi Barachoth, chap. ii., R. Jacob of Thurmassia), not far from which are found the ruins of Seilon or Shiloh. In the time of Astori Hapharchi, the town of Shiloh was yet standing; and there was a vault, which was named Kubah al Sechina, i.e. "the vault of the holy residence," synonymous with אהל מועד "the tabernacle."*
*In Talmud Zebachiin, 118 b, also in Yerushalmi Megillah, chap. iv., we read: "A narrow strip of land went out from the portion of Joseph into the territory of Benjamin, and on this stood the altar of Shiloh." To one who knows the situation of the territories of Joseph and Benjamin, it must appear extremely strange to maintain that Shiloh, which, with all its environs, is situated in the portion of Joseph, should have stood on a strip of land, as here described. I therefore assert boldly that an error has occurred here in transcribing, and that the reverse would be the proper reading--"A narrow strip of land went out from the territory of Benjamin into the portion of Joseph," &c. I found, moreover, that such errors in transcribing are by no means remarkable scarce. For instance, it is said of the site of the altar at Jerusalem, in Yoma, fol. 12 a, "A strip went out from Judah to Benjamin," on which it stood; and in Siphri to Deut. 33 the reverse is stated, "from Benjamin to Judah," one of which assertions must needs be erroneous. And we may assert this with regard to Shiloh, that an error is evident in the statement as it now reads. I also found latterly, quite to my satisfaction, that Kimchi to 1 Samuel 7:7, cites the above passage as I have corrected it, which proves that it is well founded. The circumstance of this narrow strip’s going out from Benjamin, will now explain the difficulty which I noticed when speaking of Hazor in the tribe of Benjamin, that the modern Chirbath-Tell-Chazor does not lie in that, but in the territory of Joseph. But as now this strip commenced near the vicinity of the town Sela-Rimmon, and extended to Shiloh, it will place the Chirbath-Tell-Chazor precisely in the portion belonging to Benjamin, although it is within the territory of Joseph.
Thebez תבץ (Judges 9:50), is the village Thubaz, 7 English miles northeast of Shechem.
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and fragrance of Eretz Yisrael!
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