Ha'voth-Ja'ir (Heb. Chavvoth' Yair' חִוֹּת יָאַיר hamlets of air [i.e. the enlightener]; Sept. ἐπαύλεις and κῶμαι Ι᾿α‹ρ, θανώθ, etc.; Vulg. vicus, or viculus, or Havoth Jair, etc.), the name of a settlement or district east of the Jordan. The word Chavvah, which occurs in the Bible in this connection only, is perhaps best explained by the similar term in modern Arabic, which denotes a small collection of huts or hovels in a country place (see the citations in Gesenius, Thesaur. p. 451; and Stanley, Sinai and Pal. App. § 84), such as constitutes an Arab village or small town. SEE TOPOGRAPHICAL TERMS.
(1.) The earliest notice of the Havoth-jair is in Nu 32:41, in the account of the settlement of the trans-Jordanic country, where Jair, son of Manasseh, is stated to have taken some villages (A.V. "the small towns;" but there is no article in the Hebrew) of Gilead, which was allotted to his tribe, and to have named them after himself, Havvoth-jair.
(2.) In De 3:14 it is said that Jair "took all the tract of Argob unto the boundary of the Geshurite and the Maacathite, and called them [i.e. the places of that region] after his own name, Bashan-havoth-jair."
(3.) In the records of Manasseh in Jos 13:30, and 1Ch 2:23 (A.V., in both "towns of Jair"), the Havvoth-jair are reckoned with other districts as making up sixty "cities" (עָרַים). II 1Ki 4:13 they are named as part of the commissariat district of Ben-geber next in order to the "sixty great cities" of-Argob, as the Eng.Vers. has it; but probably the latter designation is only added for definiteness, and refers to the same region.
(4.) No less doubtful is the number of the Havvoth-jair. In 1Ch 2:22 they are specified as twenty-three, but in Jg 10:4, as thirty. SEE JAIR.
From these statements some have inferred that there were two separate districts called Chavvoth-Yair (see Reland, Palcest. p. 483), one in Gilead, and the other in Bashan (Porter, Damascus, 2, 270). But in order to reconcile the different passages where they are spoken of; it is only necessary to suppose that having first been captured by the original Jair when they were mere nomad hamlets, and but 23 in number, they were afterwards occupied and increased to 30 by the judge Jair, and that they were usually regarded as part of the sixty considerable places comprised within the general tract of Bashan, including Gilead. SEE ARGOB.