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MORIAH ():

1. A district in Palestine containing several mountains, on one of which Abraham was commanded by God to sacrifice his son Isaac (Gen. xxii. 2). 2. A mountain at Jerusalem on which Ornan the Jebusite had a thrashing-floor and on which Solomon later built the Temple (II Chron. iii. 1). It is very likely that the Chronicler identified the mountain of the Temple with that of the sacrifice of Isaac, as he points out that Solomon built the Temple on a mountain of a highly sacred character, since Abraham had several centuries previously built there an altar on which the 'Aḳedah took place. Shortly before the erection of Solomon's Temple an altar had been built there by David (comp. II Sam. xxiv. 25). The Rabbis positively identified these two places as the same, naming Jerusalem "land of Moriah" (Gen. l.c.) on account of the Mount Moriah situated therein.

As to the meaning of the name, the Rabbis advanced various interpretations, e.g.: "the teaching-place" (), in allusion to the Temple as the seat of the Sanhedrin; "the place of fear" (), the Temple causing fear to the heathen; "the place of myrrh"(; comp. , Cant. iv. 6), referring to the myrrh and other spices which were burned on the altar (Yer. Ber. iv. 5; Ta'an. 16a; Pesiḳ. R. 40 [ed. Friedmann, p. 167b]; Gen. R. lv. 9; Tan., Wayera, 45). It is apparently after the last named interpretation that the Targums of Onḳelos and pseudo-Jonathan (to Gen. l.c.) render by (= "land of worship"; comp. Rashi ad loc.). The Samaritan text has , which is rendered by the Samaritan Targum (= "vision"), a reading which agrees with Gen. xxii. 8, 14. In the Peshiṭta the Moriah of Genesis is rendered by "the land of the Amorites," while that of II Chron. iii. 1 is cited as "Moriah"; in the Septuagint the former is τὴν γῆν τὴν ὑψηλήν (=); the latter, Άμωρία.

Modern scholars who distinguish between these two places advance different theories as to the meaning of the word "Moriah." Wellhausen reads in Gen. l.c. (= "the land of the Hamorites"), i.e., Shechem (see Gen. xxxiv.; Judges ix. 28); Tuch identifies it with the Moreh of Gen. xii. 6, also near Shechem. Both theories agree with the Samaritan tradition that the sacrifice of Isaac took place on Mount Gerizim near Shechem ("Z. D. P.V." vi. 198, vii. 133; comp. Cheyne and Black, "Encyc. Bibl." s.v., and Ed. King in "Hebraica," ii. 93).

J. M. Sel.
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