[b-hebrew] definate article on proper place name

Steve Miller smille10 at sbcglobal.net
Fri Jan 13 23:30:14 EST 2006

What is the significance of the definite article on a proper place name?
Most proper place names do not ever occur with a definite article. The
following are the only place names I found that were preceded by the
definite article: 


1) "Havilah" is used 3 times as a place name in the Bible: Gen 2:11, where
it has the definite article, and Gen 25:18 & 1 Sam 15:7 where it does not.
Does this mean that that "the Havilah" in Gen 2:11 is different than Havilah
in the other two references?


2) Moriah - only 2 usages (Gen. 22:2 & 2 Chron 3:1), both with the definite


3) Gilead - Used about 100 times as a place name. The place name almost
always has the definite article, but a few do not. Some of the ones that
don't have the def. article refer to a city called Gilead (Hos 6:8) or to
the inhabitants of Gilead (Jud. 11:8). Here are the refs that do not use the
def. article and don't seem to refer to the inhabitants or to the city: Gen
37:25; Num 32:1, 39; 1 Sam 13:7. 1 Kings 4:19; 1 Chron 5:9; 27:21; SS 4:1;
Jer. 8:22 (by vowels); 46:11; Zech. 10:10.


4) Mizpeh - Always with def. article except when referring to Mizpeh of
Gilead (Jud. 11:29) or to the people of Mizpeh (Hos 5:1).


5) Goshen - never with def. article when referring to Goshen in Egypt. Josh
10:41 & 11:16 refer to a land of Goshen in Israel. 11:16 has the def.
article, but 10:41 does not. 10:41 probably refers to the inhabitants. Josh
15:51 refers to a city of Goshen and does not have the article.


6) Bashan - Similar to Gilead. Almost always with definite article.


7) Galilee - 5 out of 6 uses have def. article. Only Isa. 9:1 "Galilee of
hagoim" does not have the def. article on Galilee, but does on goyim..


8) Uz - Jer 25:20 has def article. Job 1:1 and Lam. 4:21 have no article.


9) Magog - def. article in Ezek 38:2. None in 39:6.  



-Steve Miller




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