Meroz

MEROZ (mē'roz, Heb. mērôz). A place in Galilee not far from Nazareth. It is infamous because its inhabitants “did not come to help the Lord” when Deborah and Barak needed help against Jabin, king of Canaan. Judg.5.23 attributes its being cursed to the angel of the Lord.


MEROZ, mĭr’ ŏz (מֵרֹ֗וז, LXX Μαρωζ, Μηρωζ; meaning uncertain). A place in or near the valley of Esdraelon. Deborah in her song of victory called a curse upon the town of Meroz for not sending help in the battle against Sisera (Judg 5:23). E. G. Kraeling in the Rand McNally Bible Atlas suggests that the city was not Israelite but rather a “Canaanite city in a covenant obligation with a Hebrew tribe, probably that of Manasseh” (p. 154). A Heb. city would not have been cursed, which implies extermination; but a Canaanite city would have had a problem fighting Canaanites. There is no evidence of the location of this city, but it must have been very near the scene of battle by the Kishon River.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

This name occurs only once in Scripture. The angel of the Lord is represented as invoking curses upon Meroz because the inhabitants "came not to the help of Yahweh" on the day of Deborah and Barak’s victory (Jud 5:23). It is a strange fate, shared with Chorazin, to be preserved from oblivion only by the record of a curse. The bitterness in the treatment of Meroz, not found in the references to any of the other delinquents, must be due to the special gravity of her offense. Reuben, Gilead and Da were far away. This, however, is not true of Asher, who was also absent. Perhaps Meroz was near the field of battle and, at some stage of the conflict, within sight and hearing of the strife. If, when Zebulun "jeopardized their lives unto the death, and Naphtali, upon the high places of the field," they turned a deaf ear and a cold heart to the dire straits of their brethren, this might explain the fierce reproaches of Deborah.

Meroz may possibly be identified with el-Murussus, a mud-built village about 5 miles Northwest of Beisan, on the slopes to the North of the Vale of Jezreel. If the Kedesh where Heber’s tent was pitched be identical with Qadish to the West of the Sea of Galilee, Sisera’s flight, avoiding the Israelites in the neighborhood of Mt. Tabor, may have carried him past el-Murussus. If the inhabitants had it in their power to arrest him, but suffered him to escape (Moore, "Jgs," ICC, 163), such treachery to the na tion’s cause might well rouse the indignation of the heroic prophetess.