North

NORTH. The word often occurs merely as a point of the compass, but there are many passages, especially in the prophets, where it refers to a particular country, usually Assyria or Babylonia (Jer.3.18; Jer.46.6; Ezek.26.7; Zeph.2.13). Although Nineveh and Babylon were east of Jerusalem, they are usually referred to as “the north” because armies from there could not come across the desert, but had first to go north to Syria and then south. It is uncertain what country Ezek.38.6 refers to by “the north.”




For a discussion of מְזָרִ֥ים in Job 37:9 and a suggested change in pointing, see the article on Astronomy in PEB. Βορρα̂ς appears twice in the NT and in both instances means “north” as the cardinal compass point (Luke 13:29; Rev 21:13).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

north, (tsaphon, from tsaphan, "to hide," i.e. "the hidden," "the dark" (Gesenius); borrhas, boreas (Judith 16:4); septentrio (2 Esdras 15:43)): In addition to the many places where "north" occurs merely as a point of the compass, there are several passages in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Zephaniah, where it refers to a particular country, usually Assyria or Babylonia: Jer 3:18, "They shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I gave for an inheritance unto your fathers"; Jer 46:6, "In the north by the river Euphrates have they stumbled and fallen"; Eze 26:7, "I will bring upon Tyre Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, from the north"; Ze 2:13, "He will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria, and will make Nineveh a desolation."

While the site of Nineveh was Northeast of Jerusalem, and that of Babylon almost due East, it was not unnatural for them to be referred to as "the north," because the direct desert routes were impracticable, and the roads led first into Northern Syria and then eastward (compare however Ge 29:1, "Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the children of the east").

In Eze 38:6, we have, "Gomer, and all his hordes; the house of Togarmah in the uttermost parts of the north." It is uncertain what country is here referred to. Some have supposed Armenia (compare Ge 10:3; 1Ch 1:6; Eze 27:14).

The north border of the promised land, as outlined in Nu 34:7-9 and Eze 47:15-17, cannot be determined with certainty, because some of the towns named cannot be identified, but it was approximately the latitude of Mt. Hermon, not including Lebanon or Damascus. For North (mezarim) see nodetitle.