KERAK or CHARAX


KERAK or CHARAX, the place to which the Jews under Judah Maccabee in his expedition to Gilead advanced after their victory at Caspin (II Macc. 12ff. as Charax). It was located 750 stadia (c. 100 mi.) from Caspin and while inhabited by the Jews was known as Tubieni (II Macc. 12:17). A land called Tob appears in the list of cities conquered by Thutmosis III and in the Bible in connection with Jephthah (Judg. 11:3, 5) and as allies of the Ammonites (II Sam. 10:6, 8). It is identified with the region around al-Ṭayyiba, between Bostra and Edrain in the Bashan in northern Transjordan. In the vicinity is the village of al-Karak, a name which corresponds to the Greek name Charax (meaning "fortification"). The distance from Kerak to Caspin is only half the distance mentioned in II Maccabees, but the text does not necessarily refer to a straight line.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

F.M. Abel, Les Livres des Maccabées (1948), index, S.V. Charax.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.