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IR-NAHASH (Heb. עִיר נָחָשׁ), biblical locality in Judah established by Tehinnah, son of Eshton (i Chron. 4:12). Ir-Nahash ("Serpent City") was probably originally called Ir Neḥoshet ("Copper City") after Tehinnah's craft – brass artisan. It has been tentatively identified with the village of Deir (Dayr) Naḥḥās, 2 mi. (3 km.) northeast of Bet Guvrin, but only remains from the Roman period and later have been discovered there. These include cisterns, remains of a pool, and a tomb with loculi. Leases drawn up in the name of Bar Kokhba and dated to 133, which were found in the Murabba ʿ āt caves in the Judean Desert, mention that Eleazar the Shilonite, Ḥalifa, son of Joseph, and Judah, son of Rabba, leased land in Ir-Nahash from Hillel, son of Garis, the representative of Bar Kokhba at Herodium. These leases indicate that Ir-Nahash was situated in a crown domain; rent for the land was to be paid in grain.


Abel, Géog, 2 (1938), 351; Barthélemy-Milik, 2 (1961), 127ff.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]