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MARESHAH

MARESHAH (Μαρησά, LXX., Euseb.; Μαρίσσα, Joseph.), a city of Judah, “in the valley,” enumerated with Keilah and Achzib in Joshua (15.44). In Micah (1.15), where it is again joined with Achzib, the LXX. have substituted Λαχείς. Lachish, however, is found in the list of Joshua, independent of Maresha (15.39), so it could not be a synonym for Mareshah. It was one of the cities fortified by Rehoboam against the Philistines and Egyptians (2 Chron. 11.8); and there it was that Asa encountered Zerah the Ethiopian, “in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah” (14.9), and gained a signal victory over him. In. the time of Judas Maccabaeus it was occupied by the Idumaeans (2 Maccab. 12.35), but Judas took and destroyed it. (J. AJ 12.8.6.) Only a few years later it is again reckoned to Idumaea; and Hyrcanus I. took it, and compelled its inhabitants, in common with the other Idumaeans, to practice circumcision, and conform to the law, as a condition of remaining in that country (13.9.1, 15.4). It was one of the cities restored to Aretas king of Arabia by Hyrcanus II., as.the price of his services (14.1.4): soon after which it was rebuilt by Gabinius (5.3); shortly after sacked and destroyed by the Parthians in their invasion of the country, in the time of Herod the Great (14.13.9); and probably never recovered its former importance, as this is the latest historical notice. It is placed by Eusebius and St. Jerome 2 miles from Eleutheropolis; it was then a ruin. Dr. Robinson conjectures that “Eleutheropolis (at first Betogabra). had sprung up after the destruction of Maresha, and had been built with its materials,” and that “the foundations which he discovered on the south-eastern part of the remarkable tell, south of the place, were remains of Maresha. The spot is admirably adapted for a fortress; it lies about a Roman mile and a half from the ruins of Beit Jebrin.” There are no other ruins in the vicinity. (Bib. Res. vol. ii. pp. 422, 423.)

[G.W]

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  • Cross-references from this page (1):
    • Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 12.8.6
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