Isaiah 37:12
Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Telassar?
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(12) Gozan . . .—The induction drawn from the enumeration of conquered nations is continued. Strictly speaking, Sargon, the father of Sennacherib, was the founder of a new dynasty; but the “fathers” are, as commonly in the formulæ of Eastern kings, the predecessors of the reigning king. The position of Gozan is defined by 2Kings 17:6 as being on the Habor, or Khabûr, which flows into the Tigris from the east, above Mosul. Haran is probably identical with Abraham’s resting-place (Genesis 11:31), and the Charran of Josephus and St. Stephen’s speech (Acts 7:4). “Rezeph” is identified with the Rhesepher of Ptolemy (Isaiah 5:13; Isaiah 5:6) below Thapeacus, between the ’Euphrates and Tadmor (= Palmyra). Telassar is probably an altered form of Tel-Assur (the hill of Assur), and was probably a new name given to a conquered city, after the manner in which Shalmaneser records that he gave names to cities that he had taken belonging to Akhuni, the son of Adini (Records of the Past, iii. 87, v. 30). In the patronymic we may trace the sons of Eden of this verse. In Amos 1:5 we have a Beth-Eden named as connected with Damascus; and in Ezekiel 27:23 an “Eden” connected with Haran and Asshur, as carrying on traffic with Tyre. The latter is probably identical with that named by Sennacherib.

37:1-38 This chapter is the same as 2Ki 19My fathers - My predecessors on the throne.

Gozan - This was a region or country in the northern part of Mesopotamia, and on the river Chaboras. There was a river of the name of Gozan in Media, which ran through the province, and gave it its name. The river fell probably into the Chaboras. This region is known to have been under the dominion of Assyria, for Shalmaneser, when he had subdued the ten tribes, carried them away beyond the Euphrates to a country bordering on the river Gozan 2 Kings 17:6. According to Gesenius, the river which is referred to, is the Chaboras itself. He translates the passage in 2 Kings 17:6, thus: 'And placed them in Chaleitis (Halah), and on the Chabor (Habor), a river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.' According to this, the river was the Chaboras, the Chabor of Ezekiel, and the region was situated on the Chaboras. This river falls into the Euphrates from the east. Ptolemy calls the region lying between the Chaboras and Laocoras by the name of Gauzanitis, which is doubtless the same as the Hebrew Gozan. Gozan is usually mentioned in connection with cities of Mesopotamia 2 Kings 19:12; 1 Chronicles 5:26.

And Haran - This was a city of Mesopotamia, to which Abraham went after he left Ur of the Chaldees. His father died here; and from this place he was called to go into the land of promise (Genesis 11:31-32; compare the notes at Acts 7:4). It is now called Harran, and is situated in latitude 36 degree 52 minutes north; longitude 39 degrees 5 minutes east, in a flat and sandy plain, and is only populated by a few wandering Arabs, who select it as the place of residence on account of the delicious waters it contains. It belonged by conquest to the Assyrian Empire.

And Rezeph - According to Abulfeda, there were many towns of this name. One, however, was more celebrated than the others, and is probably the one here referred to. It was situated about a day's journey west of the Euphrates, and is mentioned by Ptolemy by the name of Ῥησαφα Rēsapha (Resapha).

And the children of Eden - Eden was evidently a country well known in the time of Isaiah, and was, doubtless, the tract within which man was placed when he was created. The garden or Paradise was in Eden, and was not properly itself called Eden Genesis 2:8. It is probable that Eden was a region or tract of country of considerable extent. Its situation has been a subject of anxious inquiry. It is not proper here to go into an examination of this subject. It is evident from the passage before us that it was either in Mesopotamia, or in the neighborhood of that country, since it is mentioned in connection with cities and towns of that region. It is mentioned by Amos (787 b.c.), as a country then well known, and as a part of Syria, not far from Damascus:

I will break also the bar of Damascus,

And cut off the inhabitant from the plain of Aven,

And him that holdeth the scepter from the house of Eden,

And the people of Syria shall go into captivity to Kir,

Saith the Lord.

12. Gozan—in Mesopotamia, on the Chabour (2Ki 17:6; 18:11). Gozan is the name of the district, Chabour of the river.

Haran—more to the west. Abraham removed to it from Ur (Ge 11:31); the Carroe of the Romans.

Rezeph—farther west, in Syria.

Eden—There is an ancient village, Adna, north of Baghdad. Some think Eden to be the name of a region (of Mesopotamia or its vicinity) in which was Paradise; Paradise was not Eden itself (Ge 2:8). "A garden in Eden."

Telassar—now Tel-afer, west of Mosul [Layard]. Tel means a "hill" in Arabic and Assyrian names.

No text from Poole on this verse.

Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed,.... They have not. But what then? is the God of Israel to be put upon a level with such dunghill gods? so Sennacherib reckoned him, as Rabshakeh before, in his name, Isaiah 36:18,

as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden, which were in Telassar. Gozan was the same, it may be, with the Gausanitis of Ptolemy (z) which he makes mention of in his description of Mesopotamia; and the rather, since Haran or Chapman was a city of Mesopotamia, Genesis 11:31 called by Ptolemy by the name of Carrae (a); and who also, in the same place, makes mention of Rezeph, under the name of Rhescipha; though he likewise speaks of another place in Palmyrene in Syria, called Rhaesapha (b), which some think to be the place here intended. Eden was also in Mesopotamia, in the eastern part of which was the garden of Eden; and this Telassar, inhabited by the children of Eden, was a city in that country, which is by Ptolemy (c) called Thelda; though Hillerus (d) is of opinion that the city Thalatha is meant, which is placed (e) near the river Tigris, a river of paradise. A very learned (f) men is of opinion, that the Eden, Isaiah here speaks of, belongs either to Syria of Damascus, and to the Lebanon and Paneas from whence Jordan arose; or to Syro-Phoenicia, and the Mediterranean sea, which the name Thalassar shows, as if it was the Syrians being used to derive not a few of their words from the Greeks: and certain it is, that there is now a village called Eden on Mount Lebanon, which Thevenot (g) mentions; and another, near Damascus, Mr. Maundrell (h) speaks of; see Amos 1:5 and Tyre in Phoenicia is called Eden, Ezekiel 28:13.

(z) Geograph, l. 5. c. 18. (a) Ibid. (b) Ibid. c. 15. (c) lbid. c. 18. (d) Onomast. Sacr. p. 945. (e) Geograph. l. 5. c. 20. (f) Nichol. Abrami Pharus Vet. Test. l. 2. c. 16. p. 57. (g) Travels, part 1. B. 2. ch. 60. p. 221. (h) Journey from Aleppo, p. 119, 120. Ed. 7th.

Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed, as {i} Gozan, and {k} Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden who were in Telassar?

(i) Which was a city of the Medes.

(k) Called also Charre a city in Mesopotamia, from which Abraham came after his fathers death.

12. my fathers here means “my predecessors”; for the dynasty to which Sennacherib belonged had been founded by his father Sargon. The place-names in this verse are all found on the Assyrian monuments. (See Schrader, Cuneiform Inscriptions, on 2 Kings 19:12.) Gozan (Assyr. Guzana) is one of the places to which the Northern Israelites were exiled (2 Kings 17:6; 2 Kings 18:11); it lay on the river Chaboras, a northern affluent of the Euphrates. Haran is the well-known commercial emporium of northern Mesopotamia, on another tributary (the Belikh) west of the Chaboras. Rezeph (Assyr. Raṣappa) is about 20 miles south of the Euphrates on the route from Haran to Palmyra. Telassar is in Assyrian Til-Assuri (“Hill of Asshur”), a name likely to be of frequent occurrence. The place here can hardly be the Babylonian Til-Assuri mentioned in the monuments; it may rather have been one of the cities of Eden, i.e. the small kingdom called Bit-Adini on the Upper Euphrates.

Verse 12. - My fathers. The Assyrian monarchs call all those who have preceded them upon the throne their "fathers," without intending to claim any blood-relation-ship. Sargon, Sennacherib's father, though a usurper and the first king of a new dynasty, frequently speaks of "the kings his fathers" ('Records of the Past,' ch. 7. pp. 39, 51, etc.). Gozan... Haran ... Rezeph... Telassar. "Gozan" is, beyond all doubt, the region known to the Greeks as Gauzanitis, which was the eastern portion of Upper Mesopotamia, or the country about the sources of the Khabour river. The Assyrian conquest of this tract is indicated by the settlement of the Israelites in the region (2 Kings 17:6; 2 Kings 18:11; 1 Chronicles 5:26). "Harsh" is the well-known "city of Nahor" (Genesis 24:10), called in Acts 7:2 "Charran," and by the Greeks and Romans, Carrhae. It has now recovered its old designation, and is known as Hurrah. "Rezeph" was in the neighborhood of Haran, and is mentioned as belonging to Assyria as early as B.C. 775 ('Eponym Canon,' p. 82). It had probably revolted and been reduced at a later date. "Telassar," "the Hill of Asshur," is not mentioned in the Assyrian inscriptions, but was probably the Assyrian name of a town on or near the Euphrates, in the country of the Bent-Eden, which was not far from Carche-mish (see 'Records of the Past,' ch. 3. pp. 90-92). The children of Eden. The Assyrian inscriptions mention a "Bit-Adini" (comp. Amos 1:5), and a chief who is called "the son of Adini;" both belonging to the Middle Euphrates region. The "children of Eden" (Beni-Eden) were probably the people of the tract about Bit-Adini. Isaiah 37:12The message. "Thus shall ye say to Hizkiyahu king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Asshur. Behold, thou hast surely heard what (K. that which) the kings of Asshur have done to all lands, to lay the ban upon them; and thou, thou shouldst be delivered?! Have the gods of the nations, which my fathers destroyed, delivered them: Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the Benē-‛Eden, which are in Tellasar? Where is (K. where is he) the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of 'Ir-Sepharvaim, Hena', and 'Ivah?"Although ארץ is feminine, אותם (K. אתם), like להחרימם, points back to the lands (in accordance with the want of any thoroughly developed distinction of the genders in Hebrew); likewise אשׁר quas pessumdederunt. There is historical importance in the fact, that here Sennacherib attributes to his fathers (Sargon and the previous kings of the Derketade dynasty which he had overthrown) what Rabshakeh on the occasion of the first mission had imputed to Sennacherib himself. On Gozan, see p. 33. It is no doubt identical with the Zuzan of the Arabian geographers, which is described as a district of outer Armenia, situated on the Chabur, e.g., in the Merasid. ("The Chabur is the Chabur of el-Hasaniye, a district of Mosul, to the east of the Tigris; it comes down from the mountains of the land of Zuzan, flows through a broad and thickly populated country in the north of Mosul, which is called outer Armenia, and empties itself into the Tigris." Ptolemy, on the other hand (Isaiah 37:18, Isaiah 37:14), is acquainted with a Mesopotamian Gauzanitis; and, looking upon northern Mesopotamia as the border land of Armenia, he says, κατέχει δὲ τῆς ξηώρας τὰ μὲν πρὸς τῆ Αρμενία ἡ Ανθεμουσία (not far from Edessa) ὑφ ἥν ἡ Χαλκῖτις ὑπὸ δὲ ταύτην ἡ Γαυζανῖτις, possibly the district of Gulzan, in which Nisibin, the ancient Nisibis, still stands.

(Note: See Oppert, Expdition, i.60.)

For Hrn (Syr. Horon; Joseph. Charran of Mesopotamia), the present Harrn, not far from Charmelik, see Genesis, p. 327. The Harran in the Guta of Damascus (on the southern arm of the Harus), which Beke has recently identified with it, is not connected with it in any way. Retseph is the Rhesapha of Ptol. v. 18, 6, below Thapsacus, the present Rusafa in the Euphrates-valley of ez-Zor, between the Euphrates and Tadmur (Palmyra; see Robinson, Pal.). Telassar, with which the Targum (ii. iii.) and Syr. confound the Ellasar of Genesis 14:1, i.e., Artemita (Artamita), is not the Thelseae of the Itin. Antonini and of the Notitia dignitatum - in which case the Benē-‛Eden might be the tribe of Bt Genn (Bettegene) on the southern slope of Lebanon (i.e., the 'Eden of Coelesyria, Amos 1:5; the Paradeisos of Ptol. v. 15, 20; Paradisus, Plin. v. 19) - but the Thelser of the Tab. Peuting., on the eastern side of the Tigris; and Benē-‛Eden is the tribe of the 'Eden mentioned by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 27:23) after Haran and Ctesiphon. Consequently the enumeration of the warlike deeds describes a curve, which passes in a north-westerly direction through Hamath and Arpad, and then returns in Sepharvaim to the border of southern Mesopotamia and Babylonia. 'Ir-Sepharvaim is like 'Ir-Nchs, 'Ir-shemesh, etc. The legends connect the name with the sacred books. The form of the name is inexplicable; but the name itself probably signifies the double shore (after the Aramaean), as the city, which was the southernmost of the leading places of Mesopotamia, was situated on the Euphrates. The words ועוּה הנע, if not take as proper names, would signify, "he has taken away, and overthrown;" but in that case we should expect ועוּוּ הניעוּ or ועוּיתי הניעתי. They are really the names of cities which it is no longer possible to trace. Hena' is hardly the well-known Avatho on the Euphrates, as Gesenius, V. Niebuhr, and others suppose; and 'Ivah, the seat of the Avvı̄m (2 Kings 17:31), agrees still less, so far as the sound of the word is concerned, with "the province of Hebeh (? Hebeb: Ritter, Erdk. xi. 707), situated between Anah and the Chabur on the Euphrates," with which V. Niebuhr combines it.

(Note: For other combinations of equal value, see Oppert, Expdition, i. 220.)

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