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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


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kûr , kir ( קיר , kı̄r ):

1. Meaning:

The meaning of Kir is "inclosure" or "walled place," and it is therefore doubtful whether it is a place-name in the true sense of the word. In 2 Kings 16:9 it is mentioned as the place whither Tiglath-pileser IV carried the Syrian (Aramean) captives which he deported from Damascus after he had taken that city. In Amos 1:5 the prophet announces that the people of Syria (Aram) shall go into captivity unto Kir, and in Amos 9:7 it is again referred to as the place whence the Lord had brought the Syrians (Arameans) as Israel had been brought out of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor.

2. How Rendered in the Septuagint:

Except in one manuscript (Septuagint, Codex Alexandrinus), where it appears as the Libyan Cyrene (2 Kings 16:9 ), it is never rendered in the Septuagint as a place-name. Thus the place whence the Syrians were brought (Amos 9:7 ) is not Kir, but "the deep" or "the ditch" Septuagint ἐκ βόθρου , ek bóthrou , "pit"), probably a translation of some variant rather than of the word "Kit" itself. Comparing the Assyrian-Babylonian kîru (for qı̂ru ), "wall," "inclosure," "interior," or the like, Kir might have the general meaning of a place parted off for the reception of exiled captives. Parallels would be Ḳir Moab , "the enclosure of Moab," Ḳir Ḥeres or Ḳir Ḥareseth , "the enclosure of brick" Septuagint hoi lı́thoi toú toı̄chou ). It seems probable that there was more than one place to which the Assyrians transported captives or exiles, and if their practice was to place them as far as they could from their native land, one would expect, for Palestinian exiles, a site or sites on the eastern side of the Tigris and Euphrates.

3. An Emendation of Isaiah 22:5 :

In Isaiah 22:5 occurs the phrase, "a breaking down of the walls, and a crying to the mountains" ( meḳarḳar ḳı̄r we -shōa‛ 'el hā -hār - "a surrounding of the wall," etc., would be better), and the mention of ḳı̄r and shōa‛ here has caused Fried. Delitzsch to suggest that we have to read, instead of ḳı̄r , ḳōa' , combined with shōa' , as in Ezekiel 23:23 . Following this, but retaining ḳı̄r , Cheyne translates "Kir undermineth, and Shoa is at the mount," but others accept Delitzsch's emendation, Winckler conjecturing that the rendering should be "Who stirreth up Koa' and Shoa' against the mountain" (Alttest. Untersuchungen , 177). In the next verse (Isaiah 22:6 ) Kir is mentioned with Elam - a position which a city for western exiles would require.

4. Soldiers of Kir in Assyrian Army:

The mention of Elam as taking the quiver, and Kir as uncovering the shield, apparently against "the valley of the vision" (in or close to Jerusalem), implies that soldiers from these two places, though one might expect them to be hostile to the Assyrians in general, were to be found in their armies, probably as mercenaries. See Fried. Delitzsch, Wo lag das Paradies? 233; Schrader, COT , 425.

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Kir'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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