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MORIAH (mō-rī'a, Heb. mōrîyâh). A land or district where Abraham was told to offer up Isaac (Gen.22.2). It was about a three day’s journey from Beersheba where Abraham was living when given the command. Its location is not given. Jewish tradition has identified it with Jerusalem; Samaritan tradition identifies it with Mount Gerizim. According to 2Chr.3.1, Solomon built the temple on Mount Moriah, where God had appeared to David (1Chr.21.15-1Chr.22.1). Whether this is the same Mount Moriah mentioned in the account of Abraham is not certain.

1. In Genesis 22:2 God instructed Abraham to offer up Isaac on one of the mountains in “the land of Moriah.” Probably the district received its name from the incident in which Yahweh provided a sacrifice (Gen 22:8, 14) and appeared to Abraham (Gen 22:14). In the Samaritan Pentateuch המוראה stands for hmryh in order to identify the Mount where Isaac was sacrificed with Gerizim through the etymological connection of Moriah with Moreh in the neighborhood of Shechem. For a refutation of the Samaritan lie see James A. Montgomery, The Samaritans (1907), 234ff. The exact mountain is not located in Genesis beyond the statement that it was a three days’ journey from Beer-sheba (Gen 22:4).

2. The author of Chronicles, however, by applying this name to the site of the Temple identified the site as the rocky hilltop of Jerusalem N of the city of David where Yahweh appeared (passive form of verb ra’ah) to David when he presented offerings on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite (2 Chron 3:1). This identification is made explicit in Josephus (Antiq, I. xii. 1; VII. xiii. 4) as well as in the Book of Jubilees (18:13), and in rabbinical lit. It was accepted without discussion by Jerome (Hebrew Questions on Gen 22:2; on Jer 26:4 [IDB, III, 439]). The Moslem mosque, the Dome of the Rock, presently sits on the site.


See Jerusalem.