REZEPH (rē'zĕf, Heb. retseph, stronghold). An important caravan center in ancient times. It was ravaged by Assyria during Hezekiah’s reign (2Kgs.19.8-2Kgs.19.12; Isa.37.12). It may be the modern Rusafah, a few miles west of the Euphrates River.

REZEPH re’ zĕf (רֶ֥צֶף; LXX ̔Ραφες, meaning uncertain).

One of several cities mentioned by the Rabshakeh official of Sennacherib to Hezekiah as an example of cities previously captured by the Assyrians (2 Kings 19:12 and Isa 37:12). These cities had not been saved by their own local gods, and the Rab-shakeh argues that their fate should have been a warning to Jerusalem not to resist. How or when the city of Rezeph fell is unknown, but in 701 b.c., when mentioned in this passage, it had been in Assyria’s possession for at least a cent. Assyrian texts mention several governors during the period between 839-673 b.c., so it prob. first came under Assyrian domination during the reign of Shalmanezer. It was an important caravan center between the Euphrates and Hamath, and is the modern site of Rasāfa.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


1. Forms of the Name:

Codex Vaticanus Rhapheis; Rhaphes; Codex Alexandrinus ten Rhapheth (2Ki 19:12), B Q margin Rhapheth Codex Sinaiticus Q Rhafes; Codex Alexandrinus Rhapheis (Isa 37:12); Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) Roseph (2Ki 19:12), Reseph (Isa 37:12)): One of the places referred to by Sennacherib’s Rabshakeh when delivering that king’s message to Hezekigh demanding the surrender of Jerusalem. The names which precede are Gozan and Haran; and "the children of Eden that were Telassar" follows.

2. Now Called Rucafa:

It is now represented by Rucafa, East of Tipsah and Northeast of Hamath, and is regarded as the (Rhesapha) of Ptolemy (v.15). It was for some time under Assyrian dominion, and appears in a geographical list (2 R 53, 37a) preceded by Arrapba (Arrapachitis) and Halabbu (Halah), and followed by Tamnunu, uder the form of Rasappa (elsewhere Racapi).

3. Its Assyrian Governors:

From the Eponym Canons, Ninip-kibsi-ucur was, it appears, prefect in 839 BC, Uras-eres from 804 to 775 BC, Sin-sallimanni in 747, and Bel-emuranni in 737 BC. Judging from their names, all these were Assyrians, but a seemingly native governor, Abda’u (or Abda’i), possibly later than the foregoina, is mentioned in a list of officials (K. 9921). Yabutu was sanu (deputy-governor?) of Rezeph in 673 BC. Its mention in the Assyrian geographical lists implies that Rezeph was an important trade-center in Old Testament times.