|Timnah - |
("a divided or assigned part".)
1. Judah went to shear his sheep in Timnah (Genesis 38:13-14).
2. A boundary town in Judah on the N. side (Joshua 15:10). Near the western extremity, further than Bethshemesh, toward Ekron; in the shephelah or low hills between the mountains and the plain (2 Chronicles 28:18). Probably the same as TIMNATHAH of Dan (Joshua 19:43), and as the Timhah of Samson. (Judges 14:1; Judges 14:19); haunted by lions, etc., therefore thinly peopled; higher than Askelon, lower than Zorah (Judges 13:25). Now Tibneh, a deserted site S.W. of Zorah, and two miles W. of Ain Shems. Timnah when deserted by the Danite emigrants to Laish fell by turns to Judah and the Philistines.
Tibneh is 740 ft. above the sea, not in the plain. Samson in going down to it would descend first 700 ft. into the valley, then ascend again 350 ft. to Timnah. The grain which he fired grew in the valley, whereas the vineyards and olives lined the hills. With appropriate accuracy Judges (Judges 15:4-6) says "the Philistines came up" to Timnah. The substitution of b for m, which we see in Tibneh for Timnah, occurs also in Atab for Etam (Judges 15:8; Judges 15:11, where instead of KJV "top" translated "he went down and dwelt in the cleft" seiph of the rock Etam). These clefts were the natural hiding places of the Israelites from their oppressors; and the term seiph is only used of the kind of rock to which the term celah is applied, nikrah of the "cavities" of the rock called tsur.
Etam answers to Belt Arab, which has a cavern called "the place of refuge," 250 ft. long, and from 5 to 8 ft. high, 18 ft. wide. The natural cleft has been artificially but rudely hewn in the rock. As Beit Atab, into which Samson went down for refuge (now called Hasuta), answers to the rock Elam ("eagle's nest"), so seven miles off is a low hill, and close by is a chapel sacred to sheikh Nedhir, "the Nazarite chief," and higher up is the ruin "Ism-Allah," i.e. God heard, evidently pointing to the battle of Ramath Lehi. Moreover the springs were sometimes called Ayun Kara, answering to En-Hak. Kore, "fountain of the crier": Judges 15:19. (Palestine Exploration Quarterly Statement, July 1878, pp. 116-118).
3. A town in the mountain district of Judah, enumerated with Maon, Ziph, and Carmel S. of Hebron.