Jabbok

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Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [1]

To the east of the Jordan River was a high tableland region divided into two by the Jabbok River. Before Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, the area north of the Jabbok was controlled by the Amorite king Og. The area south of the Jabbok was controlled by another Amorite king, Sihon, who had taken the territory from the nations of Ammon and Moab. Israel conquered both kings, and the territory became the homeland of the two and a half tribes of Israel that settled east of Jordan ( Numbers 21:21-26;  Numbers 21:31-35;  Numbers 32:33). The town of Penuel, on the Jabbok River close to its junction with the Jordan, became a strategically important defence outpost ( Judges 8:9;  Judges 8:17;  1 Kings 12:25; see Penuel ).

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

("pouring out or emptying".) A stream which traverses Gilead, and falls into Jordan midway between the sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. Now wady Zerka. The northern bound of Sihon's kingdom, as the Arnon was the southern bound ( Numbers 21:24) The rugged territory of Ammon, the eastern defiles of Gilead, also reached the upper Jabbok. In its early course it flows eastward under Rabbah of Ammon, a strong fortress upon a tributary of the Jabbok. Then northward and westward in a curve to a short distance from Gerasa; it reaches Jordan 45 miles N. of the Arnon. Between Rabbah and Gerasa it formed the Ammonite border. W. of this the territory had been wrested from Ammon by the Amorites ( Joshua 13:25), and was still claimed by Ammon after Israel had in turn wrested it from Sihon, whence the Jabbok is still called "the border of the children of Ammon" ( Deuteronomy 3:16;  Joshua 12:2;  Judges 11:13;  Judges 11:21-22).

Though now it is one vast pasture, the numerous ruins of cities show how thickly it was once peopled. The eastern territory to which Ammon was confined in Moses' time is as yet little known to travelers. Sihon the Amorite king was unable to pursue his conquests further E., "for the border of the children of Ammon was strong," Rabbah was too strong for him. Israel was restricted by God's prohibition from touching the Ammonite land, which He had given to the children of Lot ( Deuteronomy 2:19;  Deuteronomy 2:37). On the southern bank of the Jabbok Jacob met Esau ( Genesis 32:22). Its western part was the bound between the kingdoms of Sihon and Og ( Joshua 41:2;  Joshua 41:5). Its lower course is fringed with cane and oleander, the banks above are covered with oaks. The water is perennial toward its mouth, and there are great floods in winter. Paine objects to identifying Jabbok with the Zerka, as there is nothing in that region to correspond with Mahanaim and Penuel; he identifies Jabbok with the Yabis, 13 miles further N. On a tributary of the Yabis is found a ruin, Mahana = Mahanaim.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [3]

a small river which falls into the Jordan below the sea of Tiberias. Near this brook the angel wrestled with Jacob,  Genesis 32:22 . Mr. Buckingham thus describes it: "The banks of this stream are so thickly wooded with oleander and plane trees, wild olives, and wild almonds in blossom, with many flowers, the names of which were unknown to us; with tall and waving reeds, at least fifteen feet in height; that we could not perceive the water through them from above, though the presence of these luxuriant borders marked the winding of its course, and the murmur of its flow, echoing through its long deep channel, was to be heard distinctly from afar. On this side of the stream, at the spot where we forded it, was a piece of wall, solidly built upon the inclined slope, constructed in a uniform manner, though of small stones, and apparently finished at the end toward the river, so that it never could have been carried across, as we at first supposed, either for a bridge, or to close the pass. This was called by the Arabs ‘Shugl beni Israel,' or the work of the sons of Israel; but they knew of no other traditions regarding it. The river, where we crossed it at this point, was not more than ten yards wide, but it was deeper than the Jordan, and nearly as rapid; so that we had some difficulty in fording it. As it ran in a rocky bed, its waters were clear, and we found their taste agreeable."

People's Dictionary of the Bible [4]

Jabbok ( Jăb'Bok ), Emptying. A stream rising about 25 miles east of the north end of the Dead sea, and flowing east, then northward and westward, and finally into the Jordan about midway between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead sea. It is now called the Zerka or "blue" river. Across this stream Jacob sent his family, and here his wrestling for a blessing occurred.  Genesis 32:22-24. The Israelites conquered the kingdoms of Og and Sihon, but not the Ammonite country nor the upper Jabbok, which explains  Deuteronomy 2:37. Compare  Numbers 21:24;  Deuteronomy 3:16;  Joshua 12:2;  Judges 11:13;  Judges 11:22. The Jabbok, before it enters the Jordan valley, flows through a deep, narrow ravine, the hills being from 1500 to 2000 feet in height. The stream abounds in small fish of excellent flavor.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [5]

JABBOK . A river now called Nahr ez-Zerka (‘the Blue River’), which rises near Ammân the ancient Rabbatb-ammon, and after running first N. E., then N., N. W., W., finally bends S. W. to enter the Jordan. On almost the whole of its curved course of 60 miles it runs through a deep valley, and forms a natural boundary. On its curved upper reaches it may be said practically to bound the desert, while the deep gorge of its lower, straighter course divides the land of Gilead into two halves. It is mentioned as a frontier in   Numbers 21:24 ,   Deuteronomy 2:37;   Deuteronomy 3:16 ,   Joshua 12:2 ,   Judges 11:13;   Judges 11:22 . The Jabbok is famous for all time on account of the striking incident of Jacob’s wrestling there with the Angel (  Genesis 32:24 f.).

E. W. G. Masterman.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [6]

Jab'bok. (Emptying). A stream which intersects the mountain range of Gilead, compare  Joshua 12:2;  Joshua 12:5, and falls into the Jordan on the east, about midway between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. It was, anciently, the border of the children of Ammon.  Numbers 21:24;  Deuteronomy 2:37;  Deuteronomy 3:16.

It was on the south bank of the Jabbok, that the interview took place between Jacob and Esau,  Genesis 32:22, and this river, afterward, became, toward its western part, the boundary between the kingdoms of Sihon and Og.  Joshua 12:2;  Joshua 12:5. Its modern name is Wady Zurka .

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [7]

Now the Zerka, a perennial stream, flowing into the Jordan midway between the sea of Galilee and the Dead sea, about thirty miles from each, after a westerly course of some sixty miles. It traverses at first an elevated and desert region, and receives a branch from the north and another from the south. This latter branch separated the Ammonites from Israel. The eastern part of the Jabbok is dry in summer. Towards the west, it flows through a deep ravine. Penuel, where Jacob wrestled with the Angel, was a fording-place of the Jabbok,  Genesis 32:32 .

This stream divided the territory of Og from that of Sihon,  Joshua 12:2   12:5

Morrish Bible Dictionary [8]

Stream on the east of the Jordan, near to which the angel wrestled with Jacob. It was afterwards called 'the border of the children of Ammon.'  Genesis 32:22;  Numbers 21:24;  Deuteronomy 2:37;  Deuteronomy 3:16;  Joshua 12:2;  Judges 11:13,22 . In some parts it runs in a deep ravine, and in winter is impassable in places. It enters the Jordan about 32 6' N, and is now called Wady Zerka.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [9]

A brook on the other side Jordan, rendered memorable from being near the spot where Jacob wrestled with the angel, ( Genesis 32:22-24) The name signifies to make empty.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [10]

 Joshua 12:1-5 Numbers 21:24 Deuteronomy 3:16

Holman Bible Dictionary [11]

 Genesis 32:22Jacob

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [12]

(Heb. Yabbok', יִבֹּק , according to Simonis, Onomast. p. 315, a Pouring Out, by Chaldaism from בָּקִק ; otherwise, for יְאִבֹּק , a Wrestling, from אָבִק , a coincidence that seems alluded to in  Genesis 32:24; Sept. Ι᾿Αβώκ , but Ι᾿Αβώχ in  Genesis 32:22; Josephus Ι᾿Άβακχος , Ant. 4. 5, 2; Chald. יוּבְקָא , Targ.), one of the streams which traverse the Country east of the Jordan, and which, after a course nearly from east to west, between the districts of Merad and Belka (Seetzen, 18:427), falls into that river nearly midway between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, or about forty-five miles below the Lake of Tiberias, another outlet for. the water in time of freshets being situated a few miles higher up (Lynch, Exped. p. 253, and Map). It seems to rise in the Hauran mountains, and its whole course may be computed at sixty-five miles. It is mentioned in Scripture as the boundary which separated the kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites, or the territory of the Ammonites, from that of Og, king of Bashan ( Joshua 12:1-5;  Numbers 21:24;  Deuteronomy 2:37;  Judges 11:13;  Judges 11:22); and it appears afterwards to have been the boundary between the tribe of Reuben and the half tribe of Manasseh ( Numbers 21:6;  Deuteronomy 3:16). The earliest notice of it occurs in  Genesis 32:22, in the account of Jacob's mysterious struggle with Jehovah in its vicinity (south bank).

According- to Eusebius it was between Gerasa (Jerash) and Philadelphia (Amman). Origen:(Opera, 2, 43) says it was known in his day by the name Jmnbice ( Ι᾿Αμβίκη or Ι᾿Αμβύκη ). "The stream is important in a geographical point of view, and a knowledge of its topography helps us to understand more easily some passages of Scripture. It was the boundary between the Amorites and the Ammonites. We are told that after the defeat of Sihon, king of the Amorites, at Jazer, Israel possessed his land from Arnon unto Jabbok, even unto the children of Ammon; for the border of the children of Ammon was strong ( Numbers 21:24). The Jabbok, flowing in a wild and deep ravine through the Gilead mountains, formed a strong natural frontier for the bordering principalities. It would seem that at the Exodus the Ammonites possessed the country eastward and northward of the upper sources and branches of the Jabbok, and that Sihon amid Og occupied the whole region between the Ammonites and the Jordan, extending as far north as the Sea of Galilee ( Joshua 12:2-8; Josephus, Ant. 4, 5, 2 and 3). The Israelites conquered Sihon and Og, and took their kingdoms; and the possessions of the three tribes, thus acquired, extended from the Dead Sea to Hermon; but they were not permitted to touch the territory of Ammon ( Deuteronomy 2:37;  Deuteronomy 3:16). About fifteen miles from the Jordan the Jabbok forks, one branch coming down from Jerash on the north, and the other from Rabbath-Amman on the south; these branches formed the western frontier of the Ammonites, dividing them from the Amorites, and subsequently from the Israelites (Reland, Pel. p. 103).

Previous to the Exodus the territory of the Ammonites was much more extensive, embracing the whole region between the Jabbok and the Amon; but the Amorites drove them out of that portion, and forced them into the mountains around the sources of the Jabbok, and into the plains eastward ( Judges 11:13;  Judges 11:22)" (Porter in Kitto, s.v.). It is now called the Zerka [or Wady Zurka ] (from its "blue" color, Robinson's Researches, 3, Append. p. 326; but, according to Schwarz, Palest. p. 52, from a fortress of the same name on the caravan route from Damascus to Mecca). Its sources are chiefly on the eastern side of the mountains of Gilead, and it also drains a portion of the high plateau of Arabia beyond. In its passage westward across the plains it more than once passes under ground. The upper branches and tributaries are mere winter streams. At the point where the two main branches from Jerash and Ammon unite, the stream becomes perennial, and often, after heavy rain, is a foaming, impassable torrent. "The ravine through which it flows is narrow, deep, and in places wild. Throughout nearly its whole course it is fringed by thickets of cane and oleander, and the large clustering flowers of the latter give the banks a gay and gorgeous appearance during the spring and early summer" (Porter, Handbook For S. And P. p. 310). Higher up, the sides of the ravine are clothed with forests of evergreen oak, pine, and arbutus; and the undulating forest glades are carpeted with green grass, and strewn with innumerable wild flowers. The scenery along the banks of the Jabbok is probably the most picturesque in Palestine; and the ruins of town, and village, and fortress which stud the surrounding mountain sides render the country as interesting as it is beautiful. The water is pleasant, and, the bed being rocky, the stream runs clear (Burckhardt's Syria, p. 347; Irby and Mangles, Travels, p. 319; Buckingham, Palestine, 1, 109; Lindsay, 2, 123).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [13]

jab´ok ( יבּק , yabbōḳ , "luxuriant river"): A stream in Eastern Palestine first named in the history of Jacob, as crossed by the patriarch on his return from Paddan-aram, after leaving Mahanaim (  Genesis 32:22 ). On the bank of this river he had his strange conflict with an unknown antagonist. The Jabbok was the northern boundary of the territory of Sihon the Amorite ( Numbers 21:24 ). It is also named as the border of Ammon ( Deuteronomy 3:16 ). It is now called Nahr ez - Zerḳā , "river of blue," referring to the clear blue color of its water. It rises near to ‛Ammān - R abbath Ammon - and makes a wide circuit, flowing first to the East, then to the Northwest, until it is joined by the stream from Wādy Jerash , at which point it turns westward, and flows, with many windings, to the Jordan, the confluence being just North of ed - Dāmiyeh . It drains a wider area than any other stream east of the Jordan, except the Yarmūk . The bed of the river is in a deep gorge with steep, and in many places precipitous, banks. It is a great cleft, cutting the land of Gilead in two. It is lined along its course by a luxuriant growth of oleander which, in season, lights up the valley with brilliant color. The length of the stream, taking no account of its innumerable windings, is about 60 miles. The mouth of the river has changed its position from time to time. In the lower reaches the vegetation is tropical. The river is fordable at many points, save when in full flood. The particular ford referred to in Gen 32 cannot now be identified.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [14]

Jab´bok, one of the streams which traverse the country east of the Jordan, and which, after a course nearly from east to west, falls into that river about thirty miles below the lake of Tiberias. It seems to rise in the Hauran mountains, and its whole course may be computed at sixty-five miles. It is mentioned in Scripture as the boundary which separated the kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites, from that of Og, king of Bashan and it appears afterwards to have been the boundary between the tribe of Reuben and the half-tribe of Manasseh. The earliest notice of it occurs in . The Jabbok now bears the name of Zerka. In its passage westward across the plains it more than once passes underground; and in summer the upper portion of its channel becomes dry. But on entering the more hilly country immediately east of the Jordan, it receives tribute from several springs, which maintain it as a perennial stream, although very low in summer. On approaching the Jordan it flows through a deep ravine, the steep banks being overgrown with the Solanum furiosum, which attains a considerable size. But the ravine is not so well wooded as the immediate neighborhood. The water is pleasant, and the bed being rocky the stream runs clear.

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