The Northern Border of Israel and the Cities of the Medes (20 May, 2015, 2 Sivan, 5775)
Amnon Goldberg recently quoted from an article by one person who apparently was basing himself on the lectures of somebody else concerning the Biblical borders of Israel in the north.
Amnon Goldberg did not necessarily agree with what was said but he found it interesting. And so do we, even though our own views may be different though perhaps inclined in the same direct.
We thought the viewpoint worth bringing to a wider audience and so we posted it.
#1. Amnon Goldberg: The Caucasus as a Border of Israel!
Re: Biblical borders of Israel
by Reuven Chaim on Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:51 pm
Continuing from lectures with Nazir Elkanah Eliav
At all events Stephen Phillips took issue with what was posted and sent us notes from which, with his permission, we have arranged the following article.
Stephen Phillips says that the Promised Land reached far to the north but NOT as far as was claimed.
He also says that the Cities of the Medes which was one of the places the Ten Tribes were taken to (2-Kings 17:6) was east of the River Halys in what is now eastern Turkey.
6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and carried Israel away into exile to Assyria, and settled them in Halah and Habor, on the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
In addition Stephen Phillips asserts that the Ten Tribes after their exile were to be found in the Caucasus area and that their presence was marked in the names of peoples and places of that region.
Stephen Phillips; The Northern Border of the Promised Land and the Cities of the Medes
Derbent is not Tiberias!
Concerning Derbent, the Jewish Encyclopedia has this to say:-
"The city of Derbent was founded by the Persian king Khobad at the beginning of the sixth century, to protect the Persian possessions against the attacks of the Chazars; but a fortified settlement existed there long before that time. The Jewish population of Derbent and its neighborhood are probably the descendants of the military colony which Anushirwan (530-578) established there. The suggestion of Joseph Schwarz that Derbent is the "Terbent" mentioned in the Talmud (Yer. Meg. iv. 75), is therefore without foundation. With the extension of the Chazar kingdom the Jewish community in Derbent increased rapidly, so that in the eighth century it probably had a larger population than it has to-day." Entry under Derbent in Vol. 4 of Jewish Encyclopedia. (See https://archive.org/stream/jewishencycloped04sing#page/525/mode/1up)
There is absolutely no evidence of any Roman occupation of this city nor is there any evidence that the city was called Tiberias. In fact, the city of Derbent predates Tiberias by many centuries!
By accepting Goldberg's interpretation, you are completely ignoring every historical reference to Tiberias being on the Sea of Galilee. Josephus records, "the city Tiberius had ever been a city of Galilee, and that in the days of Herod the tetrarch, who had built it, it had obtained the principal place, and that he had ordered that the city Sepphoris should be subordinate to the city Tiberias". (Life of Josephus 32 - see http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0150:section=32&highlight=tiberias)
Sepphoris is Tsippori in northern Israel.
"And now Herod the tetrarch, who was in great favor with Tiberius, built a city of the same name with him, and called it Tiberias. He built it in the best part of Galilee, at the lake of Gennesareth. There are warm baths at a little distance from it, in a village named Emmaus." Josephus, Antiquities 18:36 (See http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.01.0146:book=18:section=36&highlight=tiberias)
"the sea of Galilee, which is also called the Sea of Tiberias." (John 6:1)
"And in the land of the Hebrews, as I can myself bear witness, the river Jordan passes through a lake called Tiberias, and then, entering another lake called the Dead Sea, it disappears in it." Pausanias, Description of Greece v.vii.4 (See http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Paus.+5.7.4&fromdoc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0160&highlight=Tiberias)
"The river Jordanes rises from the spring of Panias, which has given its surname to Caesarea, of which we shall have occasion to speak. This is a delightful stream, and, so far as the situation of the localities will allow of, winds along in its course and lingers among the dwellers upon its banks. With the greatest reluctance, as it were, it moves onward towards Asphaltites, a lake of a gloomy and unpropitious nature, by which it is at last swallowed up, and its be praised waters are lost sight of on being mingled with the pestilential streams of the lake. For this reason it is that, as soon as ever the valleys through which it runs afford it the opportunity, it discharges itself into a lake, by many writers known as Genesara, sixteen miles in length and six wide; which is skirted by the pleasant towns of Julias and Hippo on the east, of Tarichea on the south (a name which is by many persons given to the lake itself), and of Tiberias on the west, the hot springs of which are so conducive to the restoration of health." Pliny, Nat. Hist. v.15 (71) (See http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.02.0137%3Abook%3D5%3Achapter%3D15)
For it to be argued that Tiberias was located on the Caspian Sea, he has to completely ignore or manipulate all the mountain of evidence against such an identification to satisfy his theory.
Israel's northern border was "from the Great Sea [Yam hagadol] ye shall mark out your line unto mount Hor" (Num. 34:7) Yam hagadol is the Mediterranean which is even called the Great Sea in the Assyrian records. It can be shown that the Black Sea was known to the Assyrians as the Sea of Nairi. From Yam we get the Hebrew word for west - i.e. yamah, literally towards yam. If Israel's northern border was somewhere in the Caucasus (the Baltic Sea perhaps?) then yamah can no longer mean west!
Mount Hor was located on the line drawn from the 'great sea toward the going down of the sun' (Josh. 1:4) towards Mount Hor, where it crosses the river Euphrates, that is Israel's northern border. I can assure you that it does not go anywhere near as far north as the Caucasus.
When we are told that the House of Israel was planted in the land of the Medes, we automatically think of the land of Medea to the north of the Zagros Mountains. The campaigns of Tiglathpileser III and Sargon II against the land of the Medes was in Urartu in the west - NOT in the land of Medea to the north! The House of Israel was therefore planted in the lands confiscated from the Medes by the Assyrians, and Herodotus makes it perfectly clear that the River Halys in Anatolia at one time marked the boundary between the land of the Medes and the land of the Lydians. (Herod. i.72. See also v.49.)
The Macrones who Herodotus tells us were dwelling in this region in his day, and who practiced circumcision, are the people the Assyrians called Mehrani, a people who previously dwelt in a land called Mehri. Adad-nirari II tells us that in his day the Mehrani dwelt somewhere to the south-east of the land of Harran (Luckenbill, Ancient Records Vol. 1, p.121,§.390). This means that the land of Mehri is the land which we know as Gilead, named after Gilead son of Machir (Meehri) son of Menashe.
If you look at the attached map of the Georgian States, the land of Bechyria shown therein, located in this land of the Medes in Urartu, is named after Becher son of Ephraim, the land of Taokheti after Takhat son of Ephraim, Heniokheti after Hanoch son of Reuben etc. (I can assure you that these connections are not arbitrary.)
These areas could not therefore be within the boundaries of the Holy Land. The House of Israel could not have been deported from the Land of Israel and transplanted in the Land of Israel!!!!