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ZAPHON (Heb. צָפוֹן), city of the tribe of Gad, listed with Succoth and, as the enumeration of cities in Joshua 13:27 goes from south to north, apparently situated to the north of the latter. The name also appears as that of a family in the genealogy of Gad (Gen. 46:16, as Ziphion; Num. 26:15, as Zephon). The city may have been occupied earlier than the Israelite period, as is indicated by its name, which recalls the Canaanite deity Baal-Zephon; it is possibly mentioned in one of the el-Amarna letters (no. 274) as well. Some scholars assume that Jephthah resided there, for the Ephraimites, in their quarrel with him, gathered at Zaphon. Where the Hebrew text relates that Jephthah was buried "in one of the cities of Gilead" (Judg. 12:7), the Septuagint reads "in his city, Zaphon." In the Jerusalem Talmud (Shev. 9:2, 38d), it is identified with Amtan (Amathus), present-day Tell ʿ Ammātā in the Wadi Rājib, but possibly this is due to confusion between a distinguishing epithet and the city name: this particular Zaphon was known as "Zaphon near Amathus." Josephus calls it Asophon; it was there that Alexander Yannai suffered defeat at the hands of Ptolemy, king of Cyprus (Ant., 13:338). Basing his position on the talmudic equation, Glueck identifies it with Tell al-Qaws, a prominent and strategically strong position, about three mi. (5 km.) north of Tell Deir (Dayr) ʿ Allā, the assumed site of *Succoth. Pottery on the surface of the tell ranges from late Chalcolithic through Early Bronze Age i–ii, Middle Bronze i, Late Bronze ii, and Iron Age i–ii. The later Zaphon may have been located at Khirbat Buwayb, about 1.4 mi. (2.25 km.) west-northwest of Tell al-Qaws. Albright, however, identifies the ancient site with Tell al-Sa ʿ īdiyya, farther to the northwest on the Wadi Kafranjī, near the Jordan (on the excavations of this mound, see *Zarethan).


L. Haefeli, Samaria und Peraea (1913), 94; C. Steuernagel, Der Adschlun (1927), 343; N. Glueck, in: aasor, 25–28 (1951), 351ff.; W.F. Albright, in: basor, 89 (1943), 7ff.; Aharoni, Land, index.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]