BOZRAH (LXX., Βοςορρα and Βοςορ, translated "wall"; Vulgate, "Bosra").
- 1. According to Isa. xxxiv. 6, lxiii. 1; Amos i. 12; Jer. xlix. 13, 22, one of the principal cities, or perhaps the capital, of Edom. Gen. xxxvi. 33 (= I Chron. i. 44) states that the Edomite king Jobab, son of Zerah, came from Bozrah; and in accord ance with Gen. xxxvi. 42, "Mibẓar" is perhaps to be read "from Bozrah." In Micah ii. 12 "the sheep of Bozrah" has been understood as a proverbial expression for a great multitude; but the term admits of other and more plausible interpretations. Most modern translators understand "Bozrah" here as "sheepfold," while the Septuagint ("in [their] crowd") and the Vulgate ("in the fold") interpret the word as a common noun with a preposition prefixed. Eusebius ("Onomasticon") locates Bozrah "in the mountains of Idumæa." Most probably, therefore, it is the modern village Buṣêra (Buṣeireh), on the road between Ṭufîle (ancient Tophel?) and Shôbek, with fifty houses and some insignificant ruins (Baedeker-Socin, "Palestine and Syria," 2d ed., p. 151).
- 2. Jer. xlviii. 24 mentions another Bozrah, by the side of Kerioth in Moab, from which it would appear that the place usually known as Bezer is meant.Care must be taken not to confound with these, as has often been done, the great city Bosra (Greek Βοςτρα) in the Ḥaurân, the capital of that region during Roman supremacy (when it was called "Bosra Nova Trajana"), and even under Arab dominion. This place now shows considerable Roman ruins. It is mentioned (I Macc. v. 26, 28) as "Bosora," a strong and great city of Gilead, captured by Judas Maccabeus, evidently with the help of the Nabatæans ib. v. 25), who at a later period possessed the place.
- Buhl, Edomiter, 37;
- idem, Geographie des Allen Palästina, pp. 231 et seq.;
- Benzinger, in Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft, v. 789.
According to some scholars, there was only one Bozrah; and the contradiction in the statements that the city belonged both to Edom and to Moab is explained as follows: The Moabite Bozrah was the birthplace of the Edomitish king (Gen. xxxvi. 33) when Edom no longer produced men fit to be rulers. For this reason also, the Prophets included Bozrah in their prophecies against Edom because that city furnished kings to Edom (Gen. R. lxxxiii. 3). Other scholars, however, among them the Syrian Aphraates ("Homilies," ed. Wright, p. 212), distinguish two cities by the name of "Bozrah," the birthplace of King Jobab thus being Edomitish (Num. R. xiv. 8). Bozrah is Job's legendary birthplace or residence (compare
- Ginzberg, Die Haggada bei den Kirchenvätern, 1900, pp. 124, 125.