ga-za'-ra (Gazara, Gazera):
A fortress of great strength in Judea, which figures often in the Maccabean wars. To this place Judas pursued Gorgias (1 Maccabees 4:15). It was fortified by the Greek general Bacchides (1 Maccabees 9:52; Ant, XIII, i, 3). It was captured by Simon Maccabeus, who turned out the inhabitants and purified the city. He built here a palace for himself, and appointed his son John commander of his army (1 Maccabees 13:43). A different account of this occurrence is given in 2 Maccabees 10:32, where the capture is attributed to Judas. The narrative here, however, is inspired by antagonism to Simon because he had assumed the high-priesthood.
The fortress is identical with Tell Jezer, the ancient GEZER (which see). It is interesting to note that recent excavations have uncovered the ruins of Simon's palace (PEFS, 1905, 26).
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