The kingdom of Geshur in history and memory

Nadav Na'Aman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The article re-examines the biblical, extra-biblical and archaeo-logical sources for the history of Geshur and the way it was memorialized in biblical texts. It demonstrates that archaeological research is the key to estab-lishing the location of the kingdom's capital, its territory, population, econo-my and commercial relations. The written sources complement and corrobo-rate the archaeological data. Evidentlycontrary to the conclusions reached in a recently published articlewe know quite a lot about this marginal Aramean kingdom. Geshur was located on the northern border of the Kingdom of Israel, far away from Jerusalem; and yet late Judahite scribes, who operated hundreds of years after it disappeared from the political arena, still remembered that it was a separate entity, on par with Maacah, and different from all other neighbour-ing districts enumerated side by side with it. What was unclear to the scribes is the geographical reality in the far north. Hence, their geographical depic-tion of Geshur's (and Maacah's) location was inaccurate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-101
Number of pages14
JournalScandinavian Journal of the Old Testament
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 May 2012


  • Geshur
  • Israel
  • Maacah


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