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JAZER (jā'zêr). A city, with dependent villages, in Gilead east of the Jordan (Num.21.31-Num.21.32). Built by Gadites (Num.32.34-Num.32.35), it later became a Levitical city (Josh.21.34-Josh.21.39). David found mighty men among her citizens (1Chr.26.31).


The Amorite town was taken by Moses (Num 21:32), then settled and fortified by the tribe of Gad. It bordered Ammonite territory (Num 21:24), and was one of the four towns of Gad given to the Levites (Josh 21:39). Some of David’s most able men came from Jazer (1 Chron 26:31), and his census takers reached it (2 Sam 24:5). Following Ahab’s death, Moabite conquest changed Jazer to one of their border cities (cf. Isa 16:9; Jer 48:32). During Hel. times it was captured by Judas Maccabeus from the Ammonites (1 Macc 5:8).


Identification of Jazer with Khirbet Sar has been much disputed. Biblical description places it in S Gilead, WNW of Rabboth-Ammon (Josh 13:25; 2 Sam 24:5). The Onamasticon places it eight or ten Rom. m. W of Philadelphia, fifteen Rom. m. from Heshbon, and states that a large river flowed from the town to the Jordan. Philological studies indicate this latter might mean a large, perennial-flowing stream. Several sites are proposed, but the first two have the best features for identification as ancient Jazer: (1) Kh. Djazzir, c. two and a half m. S of es-Salt, near the junction of a small wadi with the Wādī Sha’ īb; (2) Kh. Sār (Qasr es-Sâr), c. five m. W of ’Ammān, overlooking the Wādī esh-Shitā; (3) Kh. es-Sīreh, c. a mile N of Kh. Sār; (4) an older identification of a ruin called Kom Yajuz. The question of location remains open.


S. Merrill, East of the Jordan (1883), 272-277, 404-406; R. de Vaux, “Exploration de la region de Salt,” Révue Biblique 47 (1938), 405 (for Kh. Djazzir); N. Glueck, Explorations in Éastern Palestine III, AASOR (1939), 153ff. (for Kh. Sar, or, Qasr es-Sar); G. Landes, “The Fountain at Jazer,” BASOR No. 144 (1956), 30-37; L. Grollenberg, Atlas of the Bible (1957), maps 11, 15, 30; Y. Aharoni, The Land of the Bible (1966).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

Onomasticon places Jazer 10 Roman miles West of Philadelphia (`Amman), and about 15 miles from Heshbon, where a great stream rises, which flows into the Jordan. Many would identify it with Khirbet Car, on the South of Wady Cir, about 5 miles West of `Amman. The perennial stream from Wady Cir reaches the Jordan by Wady el-Kefrein. Cheyne (EB, under the word) suggests Yajuz on Wady Zorby, tributary of the Jabbok, with extensive Roman remains. It lies a little way to the East of el Jubeihat ("Jogbehah," Nu 32:35). It is situated, however, to the North and not to the West of `Amman, where Eusebius, Onomasticon, places it. Neither identification is certain.