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ZIPH (Heb. זִיף; Wilderness of Ziph, מִדְבַּר זִיף), city of Judah mentioned in the seventh district of the hill country of Judah together with Maon, Carmel, and Juttah (Josh. 15:55); it was also associated with the Calebites (i Chron. 2:42; 4:16). The Ziphites were noted for their loyalty to Saul, to whom they twice revealed the site of David's hiding places in the desert which extended east of the city (i Sam. 23:19ff.; 26:1ff.; cf. Ps. 54:2). Ziph was fortified by Rehoboam and it apparently served as the terminus of his line of defense guarding the southern part of Judah (ii Chron. 11:8). The wilderness of Ziph, the desert east of the city, was almost impassable for an enemy army. The importance of Ziph during the Judean kingdom is attested by its appearance (along with Hebron, Socoh, and mmšt) on royal seal impressions from Judah. The settlement in Ziph continued to exist in the fourth century c.e.: a village with this name is mentioned by Eusebius in Daromas in the territory belonging to Eleutheropolis (Bet Guvrin; Onom. 92:15ff.). It is last mentioned in connection with the life of St. Euthemios (fifth century). Ziph is identified with Tell Zif, 4½ mi. (7 km.) southeast of Hebron.


S. Klein, Meḥkarim Ereẓ Yisre'eliyyim (1923), 9, 28; A. Alt, in: pjb, 22 (1926), 77; B. Maisler, Toledot ha-Meḥkar ha-Arkhe'ologi … (1936), 42, 160; Abel, Géog, 2 (1938), 490; Avi-Yonah, Geog, 105; em, 2 (1965), 911–3.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]