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North; North Country

NORTH; NORTH COUNTRY

north, (tsaphon, from tsaphan, "to hide," i.e. "the hidden," "the dark" (Gesenius); borrhas, boreas (Judith 16:4); septentrio (2 Esdras 15:43)):

In addition to the many places where "north" occurs merely as a point of the compass, there are several passages in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Zephaniah, where it refers to a particular country, usually Assyria or Babylonia: Jeremiah 3:18, "They shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I gave for an inheritance unto your fathers"; Jeremiah 46:6, "In the north by the river Euphrates have they stumbled and fallen"; Ezekiel 26:7, "I will bring upon Tyre Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, from the north"; Zec 2:13, "He will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria, and will make Nineveh a desolation."

While the site of Nineveh was Northeast of Jerusalem, and that of Babylon almost due East, it was not unnatural for them to be referred to as "the north," because the direct desert routes were impracticable, and the roads led first into Northern Syria and then eastward (compare however Genesis 29:1, "Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the children of the east").

In Ezekiel 38:6, we have, "Gomer, and all his hordes; the house of Togarmah in the uttermost parts of the north." It is uncertain what country is here referred to. Some have supposed Armenia (compare Genesis 10:3; 1 Chronicles 1:6; Ezekiel 27:14).

The north border of the promised land, as outlined in Numbers 34:7-9 and Ezekiel 47:15-17, cannot be determined with certainty, because some of the towns named cannot be identified, but it was approximately the latitude of Mt. Hermon, not including Lebanon or Damascus. For North (mezarim) see ASTRONOMY.

Alfred Ely Day


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'NORTH; NORTH COUNTRY'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.