Anathoth, Anathothite

See also Anathoth

ANATHOTH, ANATHOTHITE ăn’ ə thŏth (עֲנָתֹ֖ות). 1. One of the chiefs of Israel who sealed the covenant along with Nehemiah after the return from the Babylonian captivity (Neh 10:19).

2. A son of Becher and grandson of Benjamin (1 Chron 7:8).

3. One of the forty-eight cities allotted to the Levites from the territory of the tribe of Benjamin (Josh 21:18). The name may be a plural form of Anath, a Canaanite goddess, thus suggesting that the city may have been devoted to the worship of that deity before the Heb. occupation. Solomon banished Abiathar to Anathoth for his part in the unsuccessful attempt of Adonijah to lay claim to the throne after David’s death (1 Kings 2:26). Anathoth was the birthplace of Jeremiah and the place where some of his first prophetic utterances were made. These, however, met with such opposition from the people of Anathoth that Jeremiah’s life was threatened (Jer 11:21). In a prophetic oracle depicting the advance of the Assyrian invaders, Isaiah speaks of Anathoth as one of the places standing in the path of the invading armies. It occurs in a play on words in conjunction with the word “answer,” which is somewhat similar in sound (Isa 10:30).

After the Captivity, 128 men of Anathoth returned in the contingent that came with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:23). The city was settled in the time of Nehemiah (Neh 11:32). The name lives on in the modern Anata, a town three m. N of Jerusalem. Some, however, identify Ras el-Harrubeh, near the village of Anata, as the site of ancient Anathoth. Excavations at Ras el-Harrubeh reveal that there were settlements there in early Israelite times.

Abiezer, one of David’s warriors (2 Sam 23:27), and Jehu, who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chron 12:3), were Anathothites.

Bibliography E. P. Blair, “Soundings at Anata,” BASOR, 62 (1936); A. Bergman, “Anatoth?,” BASOR, 63 (1936); J. Simons, The Geographical and Topographical Texts of the Old Testament (1959).