Zoar

zo'-ar (tso`ar; the Septuagint usually Segor, Zogora): The name of the city to which Lot escaped from Sodom (Ge 19:20-23,30), previously mentioned in Ge 13:10; 14:2,8, where its former name is said to have been Bela. In 19:22, its name is said to have been given because of its littleness, which also seems to have accounted for its being spared. The location of Zoar has much to do with that of the cities of the Plain or Valley of Siddim, with which it is always connected. In De 34:3, Moses is said to have viewed "the Plain of the valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, unto Zoar," while in Isa 15:5 and Jer 48:4 (where the Septuagint reads unto "Zoar," instead of "her little ones") it is said to be a city of Moab. The traditional location of the place is at the south end of the Dead Sea. Josephus says (BJ, IV, viii, 4) that the Dead Sea extended "as far as Zoar of Arabia," while in Ant, I, xi, 4, he states that the place was still called Zoar. Eusebius (Onomasticon, 261) locates the Dead Sea between Jericho and Zoar, and speaks of the remnants of the ancient fertility as still visible. Ptolemy (v. 17,5) regards it as belonging to Arabia Petrea. The Arabian geographers mention it under the name Zughar, Sughar, situated 1 degrees South of Jericho, in a hot and unhealthful valley at the end of the Dead Sea, and speak of it as an important station on the trade route between Akkabah and Jericho. The Crusaders mention "Segor" as situated in the midst of palm trees. The place has not been definitely identified by modern explorers, but from Ge 19:19-30 we infer that it was in the plain and not in the mountain. If we fix upon the south end of the Dead Sea as the Vale of Siddim, a very natural place for Zoar and one which agrees with all the traditions would be at the base of the mountains of Moab, East of Wady Ghurundel, where there is still a well-watered oasis several miles long and 2 or 3 wide, which is probably but a remnant of a fertile plain once extending out over a considerable portion of the shallow south end of the Dead Sea when, as shown elsewhere (see DEAD SEA), the water level was considerably lower than now.

See a list of verses on ZOAR in the Bible.

Robinson would locate it on the northeast corner of el-Lisan on the borders of the river Kerak, but this was done entirely on theoretical grounds which would be met as well in the place just indicated, and which is generally fixed upon by the writers who regard the Vale of Siddim as at the south end of the Dead Sea. Conder, who vigorously maintains that the Vale of Siddim is at the north end of the Dead Sea, looks favorably upon theory of W.H. Birch that the place is represented by the present Tell Shaghur, a white rocky mound at the foot of the Moab Mountains, a mile East of Beth-haram (Tell er-Rameh), 7 miles Northeast of the mouth of the Jordan, a locality remarkable for its stone monuments and well-supplied springs, but he acknowledges that the name is more like the Christian Segor than the original Zoar.

George Frederick Wright

See also the McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia.

 
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