Definitions

Moriah

Moriah

[maw-rahy-uh, moh-]
Moriah, in the Bible, land in which the mountain where Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac was located. It has been identified by some with Mt. Moriah.
Moriah, Mount, biblical name of the hill of E Jerusalem. According to Second Chronicles it was the site of Solomon's temple.

Moriah (Hebrew: מוריה, Mōriyyā = "ordained/considered by YHWH") is the name given to a mountain range by the book of Genesis, in which context it is given as the location of the near sacrifice of Isaac. Traditionally Moriah has been interpreted as the name of the specific mountain at which this occurred, rather than just the name of the range. The exact location referred to is currently a matter of some debate.

Speculation and debate

In the book of Chronicles it is reported that the location of Araunah's threshing floor is "in mount Moriah" and that the Temple of Solomon was built over Araunah's threshing floor. This has led to the classical rabbinical supposition that this is at the peak of Moriah; a later Islamic tradition recounts that Moriah is the same location as the Foundation Stone, which Jewish tradition holds to be the former location of the Temple of Solomon. However, this tradition is not reported by the centuries earlier Books of Samuel; and biblical scholars view the tradition as somewhat implausible. According to a biblical passage concerning Melchizedek, Jerusalem was already a city with a priest at the time of Abraham, and thus is unlikely to have been founded after this, at the site of a sacrifice made by Abraham in the wilderness.

Most Jews agree that the temple will be built on Mount Moriah. As a result of this a common girls name in Israel is Moriah.

In consequence of these traditions, Classical Rabbinical Literature theorised that the name was a (linguistically corrupted) reference to the Temple, suggesting translations like the teaching-place (referring to the Sanhedrin that met there), the place of fear (referring to the supposed fear that non-Israelites would have at the Temple), the place of myrrh (referring to the spices burnt as incense). Targum Pseudo-Jonathan interprets the name as land of worship, while the Samaritan Targum regards it as being land of vision.

Most modern biblical scholars, however, regard the name as a reference to the Amorites, losing the initial a via aphesis; the name is thus interpreted as meaning land of the Amorites. This also agrees with the biblical text as it appears in the Syriac Peshitta – where the near-sacrifice occurs at the land of the Amorites, and in the Septuagint, where, for example, 2 Chronicles 3:1 refers to the location as ἈμωρίαAmōriā. This would give it the same etymological root as Hamor, a person's name in the narrative at Genesis 34 which concerns Shechem. Some scholars also identify it with Moreh, the location near Shechem at which Abraham built an altar, according to Genesis 12:6. Hence a number of scholars believe that Moriah refers to a hill near Shechem, supporting the Samaritan belief that the near-sacrifice of Isaac occurred on Mount Gerizim – a location near Shechem.

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