Shihor

SHIHOR, SIHOR (shī'hôr, Heb. shîhôr). At least three views have been held regarding Shihor (usually Sihor in kjv): (1) it refers to the Nile; (2) it refers to a stream that separated Egypt from Palestine; (3) it refers to a canal, with water drawn from the Nile, on the border between Egypt and Palestine. See Josh.13.3; 1Chr.13.5; Isa.23.3; Jer.2.18.


SHIHOR shī hôr (שִׁיחֹ֞ור, Waters of Horus). A river described as lying “before Egypt” (KJV) or “E of Egypt” (RSV) and cited as the S extremity of the land which remained to be conquered in Joshua’s old age (Josh 13:3). It is mentioned in an Egyp. poetical work written in praise of the city of Raamses. The Egyp. document (Papyrus Anastasi III) cites the name in parallelism with the Papyrus Marshes and speaks of its production of salt and its use as a shipping way. The identification of Shihor depends on the location of the city of Raamses which has been identified with the modern San el-Hagar (Tanis) and with Qantir, fifteen m. S of San el-Hagar. At any rate, Shihor appears to have been an extremity of one of the arms of the Nile, perhaps the Pelusiac or the Bubastite.

This identification agrees with the occurrence of Shihor in Isaiah 23:3 where it is in parallelism with “the River” (i.e. the Nile), and in Jeremiah 2:18 where it occurs in parallel structure with the Euphrates, the chief river of Assyria.

The occurrence of Shihor in Joshua 13:3; and 1 Chronicles 13:5, which cites it as the S extremity of the Davidic empire, would seem to warrant an identification of Shihor with the Wadi el Arish. Since, however, the area of the Sinai S of Wadi el Arish was for the most part uninhabited, it may be that the passages cited above simply indicate the extreme limits of Israelite influence.

Bibliography

A. H. Gardiner, “The Geography of the Exodus,” JEA, 10 (1924), 93; ANET (1955) 471.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(shichor, also written without a yodh (y) and waw (w) in Hebrew and incorrectly "Sihor" in English): A stream of water mentioned in connection with Egypt. Joshua (13:3) speaks of the "Shihor, which is before Egypt," a stream which commentators have thought to be "the brook of Egypt," the stream which separated Egypt from Palestine, now called Wady el-`Arish. Jeremiah (2:18 the King James Version) says, "What hast thou to do in the way to Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor?" Commentators have thought Shihor in this case to be a name for the Nile. Both interpretations cannot be correct. Whatever the name South means, at least it did not denote a movable river. It must be the same stream in both these passages, and no identification of the stream can be correct that does not satisfy both of them. Professor Naville has recently shown conclusively (Proc. Soc. Biblical Arch., January, 1913) that neither of these interpretations is strictly correct, and has made clear the Biblical references to South. In the northeasternmost province of ancient Egypt, Khentabt ("Fronting on the East"), was a canal, a fresh-water stream drawn off from the Nile, called in the Egyptian language Shi-t-Hor, i.e. "the Horus Canal" (the -t- is an Egyptian feminine ending). There have been many changes in the branches and canals from the Nile in the Delta, and this one with many others has been lost altogether; but there is a tradition among the Bedouin of Wady el-`Arish to this day that once a branch of the Nile came over to that point. This Shi-t-Hor, "Stream of Horus," makes perfectly clear and harmonious the different references of Scripture to South. It was "before Egypt," as Jos describes it, and it was the first sweet water of Egypt which the traveler from Palestine in those days was able to obtain, as the words of Jeremiah indicate. "To drink the waters of South" meant to reach the supply of the fresh water of the Nile at the border of the desert. The two other references to South (1Ch 13:5; Isa 23:3) are perfectly satisfied by this identification. The "seed of South" (Isa 23:3 the King James Version) would be grain from Egypt by way of the Shihor.