TIRZAH (tûr'za, Heb. tirtsâh)

1. The youngest daughter of Zelophehad (Num.26.33; Josh.17.3).

2. A town six miles (ten km.) east of Samaria captured by Joshua (Josh.12.24). It must have been noted for its beauty, since Solomon compared his beautiful Shulammite woman to the beauty of Tirzah (Song.6.4). With the division of the kingdom after the death of Solomon, it became the capital of the northern kingdom (1Kgs.14.17). In it reigned Baasha (1Kgs.15.21-1Kgs.15.33), his son Elah, and Zimri (1Kgs.16.6-1Kgs.16.15). Omri defeated Tibni and, since Zimri had destroyed the palace in Tirzah (1Kgs.16.18), moved the capital to Samaria (1Kgs.16.23-1Kgs.16.24). While Uzziah ruled in Judah, Menahem of Tirzah conspired against Shallum of Israel, killed him, and began a ten-year wicked reign (2Kgs.15.16-2Kgs.15.18). It is probably to be identified with Tell el-Far‘ah about seven miles (eleven and one-half km.) NE of Nablus.

Excavations were done here by R. de Vaux from a.d. 1946 to 1960, revealing remains of an Early-Bronze-Age town with a sanctuary, city wall, and gates. In the Israelite period the city was rebuilt, and in a later phase a palace was constructed but evidently never finished, perhaps because Omri moved the capital from here to Samaria at that time. Large private houses from this period were found. The site was abandoned about 600 b.c.

The large mound at Tell el-Far’a, some seven m. NE of Nablus, has been excavated by the Dominican fathers Père de Vaux and Stève. Their excavations have revealed a continuous settlement from Chalcolithic times, before 3000 b.c., to the end of the Israel kingdom. It flourished as a city in the 9th cent. b.c., but a burnt level was found terminating the first stratum of the Iron Age occupation that may indicate the civil disorders at the time Omri came to power. There is also evidence of the subsequent reduction of Tirzah from an important fortress to a virtually open town about the time Samaria was created on a new site. All this seems strongly confirmatory that Tell el-Fâr’ah is the site of Tirzah.

2. The youngest of five daughters of Zelophehad (Num 26:33; 27:1; 36:11; Josh 17:3).


R. de Vaux, articles on excavations at Tell el-Far’a in RB (1947-1955), esp. vol. LXII (1955), 587-589.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(tirtsah; Thersa):

(2) One of the five daughters of Zelophehad (Nu 26:33; 27:1; 36:11; Jos 17:3).