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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Tseltsach', צֵלְצִח , shadow from the sun, or, by reduplication from צָלִה, to send; Sept. ἁλλόμενος μεγάλα, Vulg. meridies), a place in the border of Benjamin, mentioned by Samuel when sending Saul home from Ramah: "Thou shalt find two men by Rachel's sepulcher, in the border of Benjamin, at Zelzah" (1 Samuel 10:2). Rachel's sepulcher stands on the side of the road leading from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, about a mile distant from the former. Westward of the sepulcher, in full view across the valley, and not much over half a mile distant, is the village of Beit Jala, which may be identical with Zelzah. The names bear considerable resemblance to each other and the position agrees with the sacred narrative (Wilson, Lands of the Bible, 1,401). The Sept. rendering of Zelzah is remarkable. It makes it an expression of joy on the part of the men who announced the finding of the asses "Thou shalt meet two men leaping violently." But dean Stanley's remark on this is surely a rash criticism, that the Hebrew text "cannot be relied upon" (Sin and Pal. p. 222). The Greek rendering in this case apparently rests upon a reading צלצל, which indicates a possible etymology of the word=double shade. The Talmud has numerous explanations, the favorite one being that Zelzah was Jerusalem "the shadow (צל ) of God." Something of this kind seems to be at the basis of the rendering of the Vulg. The essential part of the name is thus rendered more closely congruent with that of the above Arabic village, and at the same time with that of ZELAH (See ZELAH) (q.v.), which must have lain in the same vicinity. Rabbi Schwarz suggests an. other location less apposite (Palest. p. 158). (See SAUL).

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

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