banning; i.e., placing under a "ban," or devoting to utter destruction. After the manifestation of God's anger against the Israelites, on account of their rebellion and their murmurings when the spies returned to the camp at Kadesh, in the wilderness of Paran, with an evil report of the land, they quickly repented of their conduct, and presumed to go up "to the head of the mountain," seeking to enter the Promised Land, but without the presence of the Lord, without the ark of the convenant, and without Moses. The Amalekites and the Canaanites came down and "smote and discomfited them even unto Hormah" ( Numbers 14:45 ). This place, or perhaps the watch-tower commanding it, was originally called Zephath ( Judges 1:17 ), the modern Sebaiteh. Afterwards ( Numbers 21:1-3 ) Arad, the king of the Canaanites, at the close of the wanderings, when the Israelites were a second time encamped at Kadesh, "fought against them, and took some of them prisoners." But Israel vowed a vow unto the Lord utterly to destroy the cities of the Canaanites; they "banned" them, and hence the place was now called Hormah. But this "ban" was not fully executed till the time of Joshua, who finally conquered the king of this district, so that the ancient name Zephath became "Hormah" ( Joshua 12:14 ; Judges 1:17 ).
devoted or consecrated to God; utter destruction
(a place laid waste ), or ZEPHATH, ( Judges 1:17 ) was the chief town of a king of a Canaanitish tribe on the south of Palestine, which was reduced by Joshua, and became a city of the territory of Judah, ( Joshua 15:30 ; 1 Samuel 30:30 ) but apparently belonged to Simeon. ( 1 Chronicles 4:30 )
A city first mentioned in connection with the defeat of the Israelites by the Amalekites and the Canaanites, when, after the ten spies who brought an evil report of the land had died of plague, the people persisted, against the will of Moses, in going "up unto the place which Yahweh hath promised" (Numbers 14:45; Deuteronomy 1:44). after the injury done them by the king of Arad, Israel took the city, utterly destroyed it, and called it Hormah, i,e. "accursed" (Numbers 21:3). To this event probably the reference is in Judges 1:17; where Judah and Simeon are credited with the work. In Joshua 12:14 it is named between Geder and Arad; in Joshua 15:30 between Chesil and Ziklag, among the uttermost cities toward the border of Edom in the South; and in Joshua 19:4 between Bethul and Ziklag (compare 1 Chronicles 4:30). To it David sent a share of the spoil taken from the Amalekites who had raided Ziklag (1 Samuel 30:30). The city must have lain not far from Kadesh, probably to the Northeast. No name resembling Hormah has been recovered in that district. The ancient name was Zephath (Judges 1:17). It is not unlikely that in popular use this name outlived Hormah: and in some form it may survive to this day. In that case it may be represented by the modern ec-Cabaita between el-Khalaca in the North and `Ain Qadis in the South, about 23 miles from the latter. If we may identify Ziklag with `Asluj, about 14 miles North of ec-Cabaita, the probability is heightened. Robinson (BR, III, 150) compares the name Zephath with that of Naqb ec-Cafa, to the North of Wady el-Fiqrah; but this appears to be too far--about 40 miles--from Kadesh.
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