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HAVVOTH-JAIR (Heb. חַׂוּת יָאִיר), an area in northern *Gilead (Num. 32:41; i Kings 4:13; i Chron. 2:22), also ascribed to the *Bashan and to the *Argob district, that was part of the kingdom of *Og of Bashan (Deut. 3:14; Josh. 13:30). According to A. Bergman (Biran), the city of *Ham was originally the center of the region. After Og's defeat at *Edrei, the region was occupied by *Jair, son of Manasseh, and named after him (Num. 32:41). A nomadic population called Ya'uri, Yari, or Yaḥiri, is known from Assyrian documents to have been in the area of the Euphrates beginning with the 13th century b.c.e., and some scholars assume that groups of these nomads reached Gilead and were gradually incorporated into the Israelite tribes. The meaning of havvoth is apparently "villages," i.e., groups of tent camps of nomads or seminomads surrounded by loose stone walls (in the *Nuzi documents, the word khawu designates a stone wall around a field). The half-tribe of Manasseh, cattle breeders who had settled in Transjordan, probably had many such camps and moved with their herds from one to another in search of pasture (Num. 32). According to Judges 10:3–5, Havvoth-Jair was named for *Jair, the Gileadite, who judged Israel for 22 years and was buried at Kamon (modern Qamm) in Gilead. According to i Chronicles 2:22, however, it may have received its name from Jair, son of Segub, of the tribe of Judah. The villages of Jair are again mentioned in Solomon's sixth administrative district under the son of Geber from Ramoth-Gilead; the villages were joined to Argob in Bashan (i Kings 4:13). The area was later lost to Aram and annexed by Geshur (i Chron. 2:23). *Jeroboamii seems to have retaken it for a short time (i Chron. 5:11–17), but it was finally conquered and depopulated by *Tiglath-Pileser *iii (i Chron. 5:26).


G.A. Smith, Historical Geography of the Holy Land (18964), 551–2; Abel, Geog, 2 (1938), 71–80; Bergman, in: jpos, 16 (1936), 235–7; em, s.v.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]

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