Elkoshite

ELKOSH, ELKOSHITE. Nahum is called the Elkoshite (Nah.1.1; rsv “of Elkosh”). Jerome says that a town in Galilee was shown him as Elkosh. The Nestorians locate the town and the tomb of the prophet near the Tigris, north of Mosul. Another tradition places Elkosh “beyond Jordan,” but emendations of that text and other considerations lead some to believe that Elkosh was in southern Judah.


ELKOSH, ELKOSHITE ĕl’ kŏsh, īt (אֶלְקֹשִֽׁי). A term used to identify Nahum the prophet (Nah 1:1). It prob. refers to a place, but if so, the place is unknown.

Several possible locations have been proposed: 1. A site in Galilee called Elcesi. Jerome thought this was the site.

2. A site in Mesopotamia N of Mosul near the Tigris River. Nestorius was the first to suggest this site. A so-called “tomb of Nahum” is found at Elqush N of Mosul.

3. A site in S Judah, prob. Beit Jibrin between Jerusalem and Gaza. This supposition has the merit of Nahum’s apparently having been from Judah.

4. The most apparent site, but one doubted by most scholars, is כְּפַר נַחוּם i.e. Capernaum, the village of Nahum. This is the village on the N shore of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus taught frequently in His earthly ministry.

It must be emphasized that there is no real evidence for any of these sites. Perhaps the site is yet to be discovered, if indeed a geographical site is intended.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(ha-’elqoshi; Septuagint Elkesaiou, Elkaiseou, Elkeseou):

Used with the article "the Elkoshite" (Na 1:1). Probably a gentilic adjective giving the home of the prophet; not definitely identified. Three traditions may be noted:

(1) The Nestorians venerate the supposed tomb of the prophet in the village of Alqush not far from the east bank of the Tigris, about two days’ journey almost directly north of Mosul.

(2) Jerome states in the prologue to his commentary on Na that the village of Helkesei in Galilee was pointed out to him as Elkosh. This Helkesei is probably El-Kauzeh between Ramieh and Bint Jebeil.

(3) The treatise De Vitis Prophetarum of the Pseudo-Epiphanius says that Nahum came from "Elkesei beyond Jordan towards Begabor and was of the tribe of Simeon." Nestle has shown that the words "beyond Jordan" are probably a gloss, and that for Begabor should be read Betogabra, the modern Beit Jibrin in Southern Palestine. In favor of this identification may be urged the following facts:

(a) that parallels to the name Elkosh, such as Eltekeh and Eltekon, are found in the southern country;

(b) that the word probably contains the name of the Edomite god Qaush, whose name appears in the names of Edomite kings in the Assyrian inscriptions of the 8th and 7th centuries BC, such as Qaush-malaka and the like.

(c) that the internal evidence of the prophecy makes the Judean origin of the prophet almost certain.

LITERATURE. Davidson, "Nah," "Hab," "Zeph," in Cambridge Bible, 9-13; G. A. Smith, "Book of the Twelve," in Expositor’s Bible, Commentary on Nah; Billerbeck and Jeremias, Beitraege zur Assyriologie, III, 91 ff; Peiser, ZATW, 1897, 349; Nestle, PEFS, 1879, 136.

Walter R. Betteridge