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Gazara

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[usually Gaza'rsa] ( or τὰ Γάζαρα ), a town of Palestine, often mentioned in the Apocrypiea and by Josephus as the scene of many battles in the Maccabean period, and as alternately possessed by each of the opposing parties. When Gorgias, general of Antiochus Epiphanes, was defeated by Judas Maccabaeus, his forces were pursued "unto Gazara, and unto the plains of Idumaea, and Azotus, and Jamnia" (ἔως Γαζηρῶν, etc., 1 Maccabees 4 :l; μέχρι Γαδάρων , etc., Josephus, Ant. 12:7,4); Nicanor was also defeated by Judas, and pursued from "Adasa to Gazara" (εἰς Γάζηρα, 1 Maccabees 7:45). After the defeat of the Idumaeans, Judas went against Timotheus, who fled to Gazara for refuge. Judas, after several days' siege, took the city (2 Maccabees 10:32-37; comp. Josephus, Ant. 12:8, 1-4); many of its towers were burnt, and Timotheus himself killed (2 Maccabees 1.c.). When Bacchides returned to Jerusalem, after the defeat of Jonathan, he fortified several cities, and among them Baethsura and Gazara, and the tower (ἄκρα ) of Jerusalem (1 Maccabees 9:52; Josephus, Ant. 13:1, 3), and it was again fortified by Simon when it had been recovered by the Jews (1 Maccabees 14:7; 1 Maccabees 14:33-34; Josephus, Ant. 13:6, 6; War, 1:2, 2). Simon built himself a house ait Gazara, and also made it the abode of his son John, the captain of all his hosts (1 Maccabees 13:53; 1 Maccabees 16:1; 1 Maccabees 16:19; 1 Maccabees 16:21). It is described as being "a very strong hold" (ὀχύρωμα, 2 Maccabees 10:32; Γάζαρα ... οῦσαν ὀχυρὰν φυσει, comp. Josephus, Ant. 8:6, 1). Gazara is mentioned with Joppa in the treaty of friendship between Hyrcanus and the Romans after the death of Antiocbus VII, Sidetes, B.C. cir. 129-8 (Josephus, Ant. 13:9, 2; comp. Clinton, F.H. 3:332). The Gaza in 1 Macc. (13:43) and the Gadara in Josephus (Ant. 5:1, 22; 12:7, 4) should doubtless be read Gazara (comp. Prideaux, Connection, lib. 4, page 267, note; Reland, Palaest. page 679). It may perhaps be identified with the Gadaris of Strabo (16:2, Didot. ed., page 646), also described by him as a town not far from Azotus (Reland, Palest. 1.c.; Cellarius, Geog. 2:530). (See GAZERA).

It is mentioned by Eusebius (Onomasticon, s.v. Γαζέρ ) as being four miles from Nicopolis or Emmaus, but it was more probably nearer the sea-coast, as in the Maccabees and Josephus it is nearly always coupled with Joppa, Azotus, and Jamnia (1 Maccabees 14:34; 1 Maccabees 15:28; 1 Maccabees 15:35; 1 Maccabees 4:15; Josephus, Ant. 12:7, 4; 13:6, 6; 9, 2; War, 1:2, 2), and again in distinct language as bordering upon Azotus (1 Maccabees 14:34). It appears to have been the same place with GAZER (See GAZER) or GEZER (See GEZER) (q.v.), a town frequently mentioned in the O.T. under similar connections. As David chased the Philistines from Geba to Gazer (2 Samuel 5:25; 1 Chronicles 14:16; ἄχρι πόλεως Γαζάρων, Josephus, Ant. 7:4, 1), so Judas defeated Gorgias at Emmaus and pursued him to Gazara (1 Maccabees 4:15). Pharaoh, the father-in-law of Solomon, took Gazer (1 Kings 9:16-17), then a Canaanitish city, burnt it, slew the Canaanites that were in it, and gave it in dowry to his daughter, Solomon's wife (compare Josephus, Ant. 8:6, 1). This must have occurred during the reign of David, or early in that of Solomon,' and it seems out of the question to suppose that Pharaoh, when the Israelitish kingdom was so powerful, could have advanced far into the interior of the country. The site near the sea-coast is therefore confirmed by this circumstance.

Gazara may be identified with the modern village Yazur, 3 1/2 miles E. of Joppa; though as a coast town and a place of strength in the time of the Maccabees it is unlikely that it should have so entirely lost its importance (comp. Kitto, Palestine, 1:695 n.). It must be remembered, however, that names sometimes linger in the neighborhood of sites.


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Gazara'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/g/gazara.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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