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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Zo´ar a town originally called Bala, and one of the five cities of the plain of Siddim. It was doomed with the rest to destruction, but spared at the intercession of Lot as a place to which he might escape. He alleged the smallness of the city as a ground for asking this favor; and hence the place acquired the name of Zoar, or 'smallness' (; ; ; ; ; ). It is only again mentioned in ; ; ; which passages indicate that it belonged to the Moabites, and was a place of some consequence. Eusebius and Jerome describe it as having in their day many inhabitants, and a Roman garrison. Stephen of Byzantium calls it a large village and fortress. In the Ecclesiastical Notitia it is mentioned as the seat of a bishop of the Third Palestine, down to the centuries preceding the Crusades. The Crusaders seem to have found it under the name of Segor, and they describe the place as pleasantly situated, with many palm-trees. Dr. Robinson supposes that it must have lain on the east of the Dead Sea, and he thinks that Irby and Mangles have rightly fixed its position at the mouth of the Wady Kerak, at the point where the latter opens upon the isthmus of the long peninsula which stands out from the eastern shore of the lake towards its southern end. At this point Irby and Mangles discovered the remains of an ancient town. Here 'stones that have been used in building, though for the most part unknown, are strewed over a great surface of uneven ground, and mixed with bricks and pottery. This appearance continues without interruption, during the space of at least half a mile, quite down to the plain, so that it would seem to have been a place of considerable extent. We noticed one column, and we found a pretty specimen of antique variegated glass. It may possibly be the site of the ancient Zoar' (Travels, p. 448).





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Zoar'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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