Zarephath

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ZAREPHATH

ZAREPHATH (Heb. צָרְפַת), Phoenician city situated between Tyre and Sidon and dependent on the latter. According to the papyrus Anastasi i, which dates to the time of Ramses ii (13th century b.c.e.), it was located between Sidon, Ush (Palaetyrus), and Tyre. The prophet Elijah was commanded to go to Zarephath during the great drought in the reign of Ahab (i Kings 17:9–24). There he was met by a widow whom he nourished, miraculously, throughout the barren period; he later revived her dying son. This miracle made a great impression on later generations: it was mentioned in Jesus' discourse at Nazareth (Luke 4:26) and was represented in the wall paintings in the synagogue at *Dura-Europos. Zarephath is mentioned as the farthest limit of Canaan in Obadiah 1:20. In 701 b.c.e. Sennacherib took the city in his campaign against the rebellious cities of Phoenicia and the land of Israel. Josephus locates it between Sidon and Tyre (Ant., 8:320; as Sarept). According to Pliny, purple dye was produced there (5:70). Eusebius refers to it as a "most famous village" (Onom. 162:1). In Byzantine times it was called "large village," and the Aramaic name for it was "the long village" (Qrita arikta), probably because it extended for some distance along the seashore. It is so named on a detached fragment of the Madaba Map, in an account of the miracles of the saints Cyrus and John (Patrologia graeca 87:3636), and in the Life of Petrus Iberus (ed. Raabe, 111, 114). In crusader times, it was a walled village, a fief of Sayette (Sidon) and the seat of a bishop, known as Sarepta. It is now called Ṣarafand, a village on the shore, about 9 mi. (15 km.) south of Sidon, with a tomb of al-Khaḍr (Elijah), which probably replaced the church dedicated to the prophet which was mentioned by Theodosius (Itinera Hierosolymitana …, ed. Geyer, 147) and Antonius (ibid., 160). The name is also used in Hebrew for France (which in medieval times excluded Provence).

bibliography:

R. Dussaud, Topographie historique de la Syrie … (1927), 42; Abel, Geog, 2 (1938), 449; M. Avi-Yonah, Madaba Mosaic Map (1954), 77.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]

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Zarephath

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