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Descriptive Geography and Brief Historical Sketch of Palestine

By Rabbi Joseph Schwarz, 1850

The Towns in the Portion of Judah.

The territory of Judah is generally divided in four parts; 1, the South; 2, the Lowlands; 3, the Mountains; and 4, the Desert. (Compare Joshua 10:40; 15 in various parts.)

The Towns of the Southern Part.

Kabzeel קבצאל Joshua 15:21; Neh. 11:25; its situation is entirely unknown.

Eder עדר, perhaps there may be here supposed a transposition of the letter ד and ר D and R, whence we should have Arad, (see Num. 32:38), although this would overthrow my idea as given above under Chormah and Arad.

Jagur יגור; the situation of this place is uncertain. (See Tosephtah, end of Ahaloth, where, according to the reading of Rabbi Shamson the ר״ש, it says, "The borders of Ashkelon extend from the great grave to Jagur," &c.) The supposition that this is the village Dshura situated between Migdol (Meshdal) and Ashkelon, is proved erroneous, because of its being in the Lowlands, whilst Jagur is reckoned among the towns of the South.

Kinah קינה; probably Cinah, a town situated near the wilderness of Zin צין.

Kedesh קדש; this is Kadesh-Barnea, in the Wady Bierin. (See above in the Boundaries of Palestine.)

Ithnan יתנן; Hieronymus says that is in the neighbourhood of Beth Djibrin, in the direction of Hebron, 6 mill from the former; at the present time there is on the spot indicated the village Ithna; but this would place this town in the Mountains and not in the South.

Ziph ציף Five English miles north of Mount Madura (which see), is the narrow valley Nukab al Zapha, which name is probably derived from the town of Ziph, which once stood here.

Telem טלם. This town was situated south of Madura, wherefore this district is caled to this day Tulam. I am induced to believe that in this vicinity there was yet another city of the same name, whence "and he numbered them in Telaim," טלאים with a plural termination (1 Sam. 15:4), indicating two places called Telem; and hence then, also, the modern appellation of the whole district, Tulam, or the space between the two towns. In Midrash Koheleth to chap. 5:10, there is mentioned a Menachem Talmia, who was probably a native of Telem.

Bealoth בעלות, is probably the Kubit al Ba-ul, situated 7½ English miles southeast of Telem, and northwest of Zapha.

Moladah מולדה, is the modern village Muladah, 3 English miles southeast of Arad.

Chazar-Gaddah חצר גדה. According to Hieronymus, this town was situated in the southern part, near the Dead Sea. Perhaps he meant En-Gedi (which see).

Beer-Sheba באר שבע, is 30 English miles southwest of Hebron (Chebron), and is now called Bir-Siba.

Ezem עצם, is probably identical with Azmon (which see).

Kesil כסיל, is the same place which is represented as belonging to the mountainous part of Simeon, under the name of Bethuel (1 Chron. 4:30), and in the conquests of David (which see) as Beth-El, in 1 Sam. 30:27.

Chormah חרמה. I have already said, when speaking of the 31 Kings, that Chormah is identical with the previous Zephath of Judges 1:17, and that there is the valley of Zephatha near Mareshah (2 Chron. 14:9). Chormah must therefore have stood in this neighbourhood, not far from Beth-Djibrin. The only difficulty in the case is that Chormah is reckoned as belonging to the South, whereas Mareshah was reckoned among the cities of the Lowlands. It is possible, however, that the valley of Zephatha alone extended to Mareshah, whilst the town of Zephath, i. e. Chormah, was actually in the south district. At present I could find no trace of the same.

Ziklag צקלג, is also not fully ascertained; this much, however, is known, that it was north of the stream Besor (Wady Sheria), which flows 2½ English miles south of Gaza, and it must, consequently, have stood not far from the Mediterranean, and probably between the Wadys Sheria and Simsum.

Madmannah מדמנה, is probably the Levitical city Mandah, in which, according to the book of Jashar, end of Joshua, Simeon was buried. According to Eusebius, it is called Minos, and lies opposite to Gaza.

Sansannah סנסנה, is probably the village of Simsum (as the Arabs often exchange the ג N, with מ M), which is situated on the river Simsum, which runs 5 English miles northeast of Gaza, and falls by Ashkelon into the sea. I admit that, according to our assumption, all the three last-mentioned towns would belong to the Lowland, and not to the South of Judah; but the boundary lines are so little known with certainty, that it is possible that the vicinity of Gaza may have actually belonged to the South, and not to the Lowland, or the שפלה.