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(gephura, 2 Macc 12:13 the King James Version; the Revised Version (British and American) GEPHYRUN): Does not occur in the canonical Scriptures, unless it be indirectly in the proper name Geshur (geshur, 2Sa 3:3; 13:37; 15:8; 1Ch 2:23, and others). The so-called Jacob’s bridge is said to mark the site where Jacob crossed the upper Jordan on his return from Paddan-aram, but, of course, does not date from the time of the patriarch. There are traces of ancient bridges across the Jordan in the vicinity of the Lake of Gennesaret, over the Arnon and over other rivers which enter the Jordan from the east; but none of them seem to date farther back than the Roman period. Na 2:6, in which the Chaldaic paraphrase renders "bridges," evidently refers to dikes or weirs. Judas Maccabeus is said to have planted a bridge in order to besiege the town of Casphor (2 Macc 12:13). Josephus (Ant., V, i, 3) tells us that the Jordan, before the passage of the Israelites, had never been bridged, evidently implying that in his own time bridges had been constructed over it, which was the case, under the Romans. The bridge connecting the temple with the upper part of the city of which Josephus speaks (War, VI, vi, 2; Ant, XV, xi, 5) probably was a viaduct.
Frank E. Hirsch
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