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ZELZAH (zĕl'za, Heb. tseltsah). A town on the southern border of Benjamin near Rachel’s tomb (1Sam.10.2).

ZELZAH zĕl’ zə (צֶלְצַ֑ח). A place in Benjamin near Rachel’s tomb (1 Sam 10:2).

Two men were providentially to meet young Saul here with news about the lost donkeys (cf. 1 Sam 10:7).

Aside from 1 Samuel 10:2 nothing is known of the name Zelzah, which may have been a local village identification term. The LXX had its problems with the name, tr. it by ἁλλομένους μεγάλα, “leaping mightily.” Nor is the site’s exact location known aside from its being near Rachel’s tomb, which burial place (Jer 31:15; cf. Matt 2:18) possibly being near Ramah, was presumably a town in Benjamin (Josh 18:25). Jacob’s description of his burying Rachel on the way to Ephrath-Bethlehem, but some distance from it (Gen 48:7; cf. 35:19), satisfies the geographical requirements for the tomb at Benjaminite Ramah and Zelzah.


E. G. Kraeling, Bible Atlas (1956), 177, 178.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

A place where Samuel told Saul he would meet two men with news that the asses were found. Its position is defined as "by Rachel’s sepulchre, in the border of Benjamin" (1Sa 10:2). It has been thought that the place of meeting was sufficiently indicated without the word betseltsach, which is translated "at Zelzah," and that this cannot therefore be a place-name. The Septuagint has "leaping mightily" or "in great haste" (Ewald) points to a different text. Whether the Greek can be so translated is also a question, as megala does not elsewhere occur as an adverb. Some corruption of the text is probable. The border of Benjamin may be roughly determined, but the tomb of Rachel is now unknown. No name like Zelzah has been recovered in the district. Smith ("Samuel," ICC, at the place) suggests that we should read "Zela" for "Zelzah" (tsela`, for tseltsach).

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