Argob

Ar'gob (Heb. Argob', אִרגּוֹב, for רגֹב, with א prosthetic, stone-hep), the name of a place and also of a man.

1. (Sept. Α᾿ργώβ, but in Kings Ε᾿ργάβ). A district in Bashan beyond the lale Gennesareth, containing 60 cities ( HAVOTH-JAIR SEE HAVOTH-JAIR ), originally ruled over by Og (De 4:4,13), and eventually formed into a purveyorship by Solomon (1Ki 4:13). The name may probably be traced in the Ragab (רָגָב) of the Mishna (Menachoth, 8, 3), the Rigobah (ריגובאה of the Samaritan version (see Winer's Diss. de vess. Samar. indole, p. 55), the Ragaba ( ῾Ραγαβᾶ) of Josephus (Ant. 13, 15, 5), and the Arga or Ergaba (Ε᾿ργαβά) placed by Jerome and Eusebius (Onomas'. s.v. Argob) 15 Roman miles west of Gerasa (see Reland, Palaest. p. 959). Josephus elsewhere (Ant. 8:2, 3) seems to locate it in Trachonitis (q., v.), i.e. Gaulonitis, where Burckhardt is disposed to find it in El Husn, a remarkable ruined site (Syria, p. 279), but Mr. Banks (Quar. Rev. 26, 389) has assigned this to Gamala (comp. Jour. Sac. Lit. Jan. 1852, p. 364). Dr. Robinson identifies it with the modern village with ruins called Rajib, a few miles north-east of the junction of the Jabbok with the Jordan (Researches, 3, Append. p. 166); and Dr. Thomson very properly remarks that it probably denotes rather the whole adjacent region, for the hill on which Um-Keis (somewhat to the north) stands is called Arkub by the Bedouins (Land and Book, 2, 54). — Kitto, s.v.

From this special or original locality, however, the term Argob seems to have been extended in its application to designate a large tract to the north- east; for we find it identified (as by Josephus above) with TRACHONITIS SEE TRACHONITIS (i.e. the rough country) in the Targums (Onkelos and Jonathan טרכונא, Jerusalem ץטכונא). Later we trace it in the Arabic version of Saadiah as Mujeb (with the same meaning); and it is now apparently identified with the Lejah, a very remarkable district south of Damascus, and east of the Sea of Galilee, which has been visited and described by Burckhardt (p. 111-119), Seetzen, and Porter (specially 2:240-245). This extraordinary region — about 22 miles from north to south, by 14 from west to east, and of a regular, almost oval shape-has been described as an ocean of basaltic rocks and boulders, tossed about in the wildest confusion, and intermingled with fissures and crevices in every direction. "It is," says Mr. Porter, "wholly composed of black basalt, which appears to have issued from innumerable pores in the earth in a liquid state, and to have flowed out on every side. Before cooling, its surface was violently agitated, and it was afterward shattered and rent by internal convulsions. The cup-like cavities from which the liquid mass was extruded are still seen, and likewise the wavy surface a thick liquid assumes which cools while flowing. The rock is filled with little pits and air-bubbles; it is as hard as flint, and emits a sharp metallic sound when struck" (p. 241). "Strange as it may seem, this ungainly and forbidding region is thickly studded with deserted cities and villages, in all of which the dwellings are solidly built, and of remote antiquity" (p. 238). The number of these towns visited by one traveler lately returned is 50, and there were many others to which he did not go. A Roman road runs through the district from south to north, probably between Bosra and Damascus. On the edge of the Lejah are situated, among others, the towns known in Biblical history as Kenath and Edrei. In the absence of more conclusive evidence on the point, a strong presumption in favor of the identification of the Lejah with Argob arises from the peculiar Hebrew word constantly attached to Argob, and in this definite sense apparently to Argob only. This word is חֶבֶל (Che'bel), literally "a rope" (σχοίνισμα, περίμετρον, funiculus), and it designates with striking accuracy the remarkably defined boundary-line of the district of the Lejah, which is spoken of repeatedly by its latest explorer as "a rocky shore;" "sweeping round in a circle clearly defined as a rocky shore- line;" "resembling a Cyclopean wall in ruins" (Porter, 2, 19, 219, 239, etc.). The extraordinary features of this region are rendered still more remarkable by the contrast which it presents with the surrounding plain of the Hauran, a high plateau of waving downs of the richest agricultural soil stretching from the Sea of Galilee to the Lejah, and beyond that to the desert. almost literally "without a stone;" and it is not to be wondered at — if the identification proposed above be correct — that this contrast should have struck the Israelites, and that their language, so scrupulous of minute topographical distinctions, should have perpetuated in the words Mishor and Chebel (which see severally) at once the level downs of Bashan (q.v.), the stony labyrinth which so suddenly intrudes itself on the soil (Argob), and the definite fence or boundary which incloses it. SEE HAURAN.

Bible concordance for ARGOB.

2. (Sept. Α᾿ργόβ.) A subaltern or ally of Pekahiah (B.C. 757), as appears from 2Ki 15:25, where we read that Pekah conspired against Pekahiah, king of Israel, "and smote him in Samaria, in the palace of the king's house, with Argob and Arieh." In giving this version, some think our translators have mistaken the sense of the original, which they therefore render "smote him in the harem of the palace of the king of Argob and Arieh," as if these were the names of two cities in Samaria. Others, however, maintain, with good reason, that the particle אֶתאּ is properly translated uith, i.e. these two officers were assassinated at the same time; so the Sept. (μετά). It will hardly bear the other construction: the word strictly denotes near (Vulg.juxta), but that would yield no tolerable sense to the whole passage (see Keil, Comment. in loc.). According to some, Argob was an accomplice of Pekah in the murder of Pekahiah. But Sebastian Schmid explained that both Argob and Arieh were two princes of Pekahiah whose influence Pekah feared, and whom he therefore slew with the king. Rashi understands by Argob the royal palace, near which was the castle in which the murder took place. In like manner, Arieh, named in the same connection ("the lion," so called probably from his daring as a warrior), was either one of the accomplices of Pekah in his conspiracy against Pekahiah, or, as Schmid understands, one of the princes of Pekahiah, who was put to death with him. Rashi explains the latter name literally of a golden lion which stood in the castle. SEE PEKAH.

 
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