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ZORAH (zō'ra, Heb. tsorâh). A city about fifteen miles (twenty-five km.) west of Jerusalem on the border of Judah and Dan (Josh.15.33; Josh.19.41), the home of Manoah, father of Samson (Judg.13.2). Samson was buried near there (Judg.16.31). From Zorah the Danites sent spies to seek a new home for their tribe (Judg.18.2).

Solomon’s son Rehoboam strengthened the fortifications of Zorah on his southern flank (2 Chron 11:10). After the Exile the town was reoccupied by returning exiles (Neh 11:29).

The inhabitants of Zorah variously known as Zorathites (צָֽרְעָתִֽי 1 Chron 4:2), Zorites (1 Chron 2:54) and Zareathites (KJV once, 1 Chron 2:53) are mentioned several times in the OT. In the list of descendants of Judah they are mentioned as deriving from Kiriathjearim. They formed part of the clan of Manahethites (or Menuhoth).

The ancient site is represented by the modern Sar’ ah on the N side of the Wadi es-Sarar on a hill overlooking the wadi some fifteen m. N of Beit Jibrin.


F. M. Abel, Géographie de la Palestine, II (1938), 468, 469.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

It is the modern Sur`a, near the summit of a lofty hill on the north side of the Wady es-Surar (Vale of Sorek). The summit itself is occupied by the Mukam Nebi Samit, overhung by a lofty palm, and there are many remains of ancient tombs, cisterns, wine presses, etc., around. From here Eshu`a (Eshtaol), `Ain Shems (Beth-shemesh) and Tibnah (Timnah) are all visible. See PEF, III, 158, Sh XVII.