Timnath-heres

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Kifl Haris, West Bank
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Location West Bank
Region Salfit Governorate
Coordinates 32°07′10″N35°09′26″E / 32.119519°N 35.157183°E / 32.119519; 35.157183
Khirbet Tibnah, West Bank
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Coordinates 32°00′30″N35°06′40″E / 32.00833°N 35.11111°E / 32.00833; 35.11111
Grid position16035/15725 PAL

Timnath-heres or Timnath-serah (Hebrew : תמנת חרס), later Thamna, was the town given by the Israelites to Joshua according to the Hebrew Bible. He requested it and the people gave it to him "at the order of the Lord". He built up the town and lived in it (Joshua 19:49–50).

Contents

According to the Septuagint version of the Book of Joshua, Joshua placed there "the stone knives, with which he had circumcised the children of Israel". [1]

According to the Bible, Joshua was buried there (Joshua 24:30). Jewish tradition also places the tomb of Caleb there.

In 2022, excavations by Israeli archaeologists were launched at Khirbet Tibnah in the West Bank, a hilltop site commonly identified as biblical Timnath. [2]

Etymology

Mark of grave attributed to Caleb, in Kifl Hares Caleb2.jpg
Mark of grave attributed to Caleb, in Kifl Hares

In Joshua 19:49–50 and Joshua 24:30, the town is called Timnath-serah, whereas in Judges 2:9 it is named as Timnath-heres.

In the book of Joshua Chapter 24, verse 30; it is written in thirteen different published editions of the Old Testament as Timnath-Heres or some variation of it where the second word begins with an 'h', or 'H' and ends in 's', either with or without the intermediate dash. The inversion of "serah" to make "heres" has the connotation of sun, as in Job 9:7.

In the Talmud the town is mentioned in Bava Batra 122b, where "heres" is translated as "earthenware," in reference to fruits in the area being as dry as earthenware prior to the arrival of Joshua. [3] The word's inversion, "serah" is defined as "rotting," that after Joshua's arrival, the fruits became so juicy that they could quickly rot.

Location

The town was located in the mountainous region of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. It has been variously identified with two possible locations, Kifl Hares and Khirbet Tibnah.

Both E. Schürer and archaeologist W. F. Albright identified Timnath-heres with Thamna, mentioned in Greco-Roman sources including the writings of Josephus. [4] [5] Eusebius, in his Onomasticon , mentions the site under the entry of Gaas (Mount Gaash), a mountain in Ephraim (Josh. 24:33), "near the village of Thamna." [6]

Conder & Kitchener of the Palestine Exploration Fund, steering clear of committing themselves to pinpointing the position of the biblical Timnath-heres in either Kifl Haris or Khirbet Tibnah, mention only the classical references to the place Thamnatha / Thamna (as in Pliny, Hist. Nat. v. 14 and in The Jewish War 3.3.5), saying that this place is to be identified with the present ruin Tibneh (marked on sheet xiv), and that "some have identified it with Timnath-heres." [7]

During the first-century CE until its destruction, Thamna served as an administrative district (toparchy). [8]

Kifl Hares

One possible location Timnath-heres has been identified with is the Palestinian village of Kifl Hares, located 6 kilometres west of Salfit in the West Bank. [9]

Khirbet Tibnah

Another candidate is Khirbet Tibnah, located between Deir Nidham and Nabi Salih, [10] [4] east of the Israeli town of Shoham and near the settlement of Halamish. [2] Various surveys have produced proof of habitation from the Bronze Age until the early Ottoman period, with various findings from the Iron Age and the Hasmonean, Roman, and Mamluk periods. [2] The dig is led by Dvir Raviv, an archeologist who mapped the site in 2015. He made sketches of the location of tombs, assembled pottery shards and documented burial caves. The current excavation has unearthed a spear tip dated to the second century C.E. as well as pottery and coins. [11]

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References

  1. Septuagint, after Joshua 21:42, quoted in Pulpit Commentary on Joshua 21, accessed 23 August 2016
  2. 1 2 3 First archaeological dig begins at site believed to be Joshua's tomb, Jerusalem Post, 29 July 2022. Accessed 8 August 2022.
  3. The Schottenstein Daf Yomi Edition: Talmud Bavli. Tractate Bava Basra Mesorah Publications 2012. Page 112b1.
  4. 1 2 Schürer, E. (1891), p. 158, note 438.
  5. Albright, W.F. (1923), p. 4
  6. Chapmann III, et al. (2003), p. 43 (s.v. Gaas)
  7. Conder & Kitchener (1882), pp. 299–300; ibid., p. 347; ibid., p. 377.
  8. Josephus, The Jewish War 3.3.5
  9. Finkelstein et al, 1997, p. 460
  10. Finkelstein et al., 1997, p. 367
  11. Israeli University Holds Archaeological Dig in West Bank Area Claimed to Be Palestinian

Bibliography