If we may play a little with the name Dalmanutha, hear a Talmudical tradition. "He that sells a farm to his neighbour, or that receives a place from his neighbour, to make him a house of betrothing for his son, or a house of widowhood for his daughter; let him build it four cubits this way, and six that." Where the Gloss, "A house of widowhood for his daughter, whose husband is dead, and she now returns to the house of her father."
The meaning of this tradition is, 'When the son of any one had married a wife, he did not use to dwell with his father-in-law; but it was more customary for his father to build him a little house near his own house.' So also when the husband was dead, and the daughter, now being a widow, returned to her father, it was also customary for the father to build her a little house; in which she dwelt, indeed, alone, but very near her father.
But now from some such house of more note than ordinary, built for some eminent widow; or from many such houses standing thick together, this place, perhaps, might be called Dalmanutha, that is, "The place of widowhood." And if some more probable derivation of the name occurred not, it might, not without reason, have had respect to this.
But we suppose the name is derived elsewhere; namely, from Zalmon, Tsade being changed into Daleth; which is no strange thing to the Syrians and Arabians.
Of Zalmon we meet with mention, Judges 9:48;--namely, a mountain, or some tract in a mountain, near Sychem: but that place is a very great way off of that concerning which we are now treating. But the Talmudists mention a place called Zalmon, which agrees excellently well with Dalmanutha. "There is a story (say they) of a certain man in Zalmon, who said, I, N., the son of N., am bitten by a serpent, and behold I die. They went away and found him not: they went away, therefore, and married his wife." The Gloss is, "They heard the voice of him crying, and saying, Behold, I die; but they found not such a man in Zalmon." And again; "There is a story in Zalmon, of a certain man who planted his vineyard sixteen and sixteen cubits; and a gate of two ranks of vines: now he turned on this side, and the year following on the other, and ploughed on both sides. And the cause was brought before the wise men, and they approved of it."
None will suspect this Zalmon to be the same with that near Sychem, when it is said, that "they brought the cause before the wise men": for what had the Samaritans to do with the wise men of the Jews? One might rather believe it to be some place near to Tiberias (where was a university of wise men), well known and commonly spoke of, and mentioned in the traditions cited as a place so known. So divers places about Tiberias are mentioned by the Talmudists as well known, which you will scarce find any where but in the books of the Talmudists. Such are Chammath, Magdala, Beth Meon, Paltathah, Caphar Chittaia, &c. Concerning which we have spoken in another place. There was also Mizgah, the seat of Simeon Ben Lachish; and Eltis of Tiberias, a place near Tiberias, of an unwholesome air; and The cave of Tiberias; and Bar Selene; and others which are nowhere mentioned but in these authors; but in them of very noted name. Of this number we suppose this Zalmon was, a place so near to Tiberias, and so known, that it was enough to name it only. But now, when any that spake Hebrew would pronounce it Zalmon and Zalmanutha, he that spake Syriac would pronounce it Dalmon and Dalmanutha.