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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Hebrew Chatsalson'-Tamar', חִצֲצן תָּמָר, Genesis 14:7; Sept. Ἀσασονθαμάρ ), or HAZ'AZON-TA'MAR (Heb. [precisely the converse of the rendering in the A.V.] Chatsetson'-Tamar', תָּמָר חִצְצוֹן, 2 Chronicles 20:2; Sept. Ἀσασὰν Θαμάρ ), the name under which, at a very early period in the history of Palestine, and in a document believed by many to be the oldest of all these early records, we first hear of the place which afterwards became EN-GEDI (See EN-GEDI) (q.v.). The Amorites were dwelling at Hazazon-Tamar when the four kings made their incursion, and fought their successful battle with the five (Genesis 14:7). The name occurs only once again-in the records of the reign of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 20:2) when he is warned of the approach of the horde of Ammonites, Moabites, Mehunim, and men of Mount Seir, whom he afterwards so completely destroyed, and who were no doubt pursuing thus far exactly the same route as the Assyrians had done a thousand years before them. Here the explanation, "which is En-gedi," is added. The existence of the earlier appellation, after En-gedi had been so long in use, is a remarkable instance of the tenacity of these old Oriental names, of which more modern instances are frequent. (See ACCHO); (See BETHSAIDA), etc. Schwarz, however, unnecessarily supposes (Palest. p. 21) the two passages to refer to different localities, the earlier of which he assigns (on Talmudical evidence) to ZOAR (q.v.).

Hazazon-tamar is interpreted in Hebrew to mean the "pruning or felling of the palm" (Gesen. Thes. p. 512), or perhaps better, "a row of palm-trees" (Fü rst, Lex. s.v.). Jerome (Quaest. in Genesis) renders it urbspalmarum. This interpretation of the name is borne out by the ancient reputation of the palms of En-gedi (Sirach 24:14, and the citations from Pliny, given under that name). The Samaritan Version has פלוג כדי =the Vallky of Cadi, possibly a corruption of En-gedi. The Targums have En-gedi. Perhaps this was the "city of palm trees" (Ir hat-temar-im) out of which the Kenites, the tribe of Moses's father-in-law, went up into the wilderness of Judah, after the conquest of the country (Judges 1:16). If this were so, the allusion of Balaam to the Kenite (Numbers 24:21) is at once explained. Standing as he was on one of the lofty points of the highlands opposite Jericho, the western shore of the Dead Sea as far as En-gedi would be before him, and the cliff, in the clefts of which the Kenites had fixed their secure "nest," would be a prominent object in the view. This has been alluded to by Prof. Stanley (Sinai and Pal. 1). 225, n. 4). De Saulcy (Narrative, 1, 149) and Schwarz (Palestine, p. 109) think that a trace of the ancient name is preserved in the tract and wady el-Husasah (Robinson's Researches, 2, 243, 244), a little north of Ain-Jidy.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Hazezon-Tamar'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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