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ZARETHAN (zăr'ĕ-thăn, Heb. tsārethān). A place near Beth Shan and Adam that is men- tioned in connection with Israel’s crossing of the Jordan (Josh.3.16). It is also spelled Zaretan and Zartanah. Bronze castings for the temple were made there (1Kgs.7.46). It is referred to in 1Kgs.4.12 as a means of locating Beth Shan. In 2Chr.4.17 the name is given as Zeredah (asv, rsv) and Zeredathah (kjv). Its exact site has not been ascertained.

ZARETHAN zăr’ ə thăn (צָרְתָֽן; also ZARETAN zăr’ a tăn KJV Josh 3:16, ZARTANAH, zär’ thăn [1 Kings 7:46]).

A city on the E side of the Jordan Valley in the neighborhood of Adam (q.v.) in the vicinity of which the Jordan was dammed in the days of Joshua (Josh 3:16). The waters were apparently backed up from Adam (modern Tell ed-Damiyeh) as far N as Zarethan (prob. Tell es Sa’idiyeh). In Solomon’s time the town was in the fourth administrative district of Solomon near to Bethshan (q.v.) “below Jezreel” (1 Kings 4:12). It was in this area that Hiram the Phoen. craftsman cast bronze implements for the Temple “in the plain of the Jordan between Succoth and Zarethan” (1 Kings 7:46). In the parallel passage (2 Chron 4:17) an alternative name Zeredah appears, unless this is a scribal error. Excavations at the site of Tell es Sa’idiyeh have produced numerous copper objects belonging to the 13th-12th centuries b.c., suggesting that the town was a bronze working center. The site is a prominent one overlooking Wadi Kufrinjeh. It is the center of a large agricultural area and has had a long history dating back to the Chalcolithic period.


J. B. Pritchard, “The First Excavations at Tell es-Sa’idiyeh,” BA, XXVIII (1965), 16, 17; F. M. Abel, Géographie de la Palestine, II (1938), 448.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(tsarethan) : A city, according to Jos 3:16 (omitted, however, by the Septuagint) near Adam, which is probably to be identified with Tell Damieh at the mouth of the Jabbok. In 1Ki 4:12 it is mentioned in connefection with Bethshean and said to be "beneath Jezreel." In 1Ki 7:46, this is said to be at "the ford of Adamah," according to the reading of some, but according to the Massoretic text, "in the clay around between Succoth and Zarethan," where the bronze castings for the temple were made by Solomon’s artificers. In 2Ch 4:17, the name appears as Zeredah, which in 1Ki 11:26 is said to have been the birthplace of Jeroboam, son of Nebat. In Jud 7:22, Gibeon is said to have pursued the Midianites "as far as Bethshittah toward Zererah," which is probably a misreading for Zeredah, arising from the similarity of the Hebrew letters daleth and resh. The place has not been positively identical. From the suggestion that the name means "the great (or lofty) rock," it has without sufficient reason been supposed that it designates the conspicuous peak of Kurn Surtabheh] which projects from the mountains of Ephraim into the valley of the Jordan opposite the mouth of the Jabbok.