Mar'eshah (Hebrew Mareshah', מִרֵשָׁה, fully , מִרֵאשָׁה, Jos 15:44; 1Ch 2:42; 1Ch 4:21; Sept. Μαρισά and Μαρησά, but in 1Ch 2:42, Μαρισάς), the name of one or two men, and also of a place, possibly settled by one of them.
1. A person named as the "father" of Hebron among the descendants of Judah, but it is only left to be inferred that he was the brother of Caleb's son Mesha, with whom the Sept. confounds him (1Ch 2:42). B.C. prob. ante 1612.
2. In 1Ch 4:21, a person of the name of Mareshah is apparently mentioned as the son of Laadah, of the family of Shelah, perhaps as being the founder of the city of the same name (B.C. cir. 1612); possibly identical with the foregoing.
3. A town in the tribe of Judah, "in the valley," enumerated with Keilah and Achzib (Jos 15:44), rebuilt (comp. 2Ch 4:21) and fortified by Rehoboam (2Ch 11:8). The Ethiopians under Zerah were defeated by Asa in the valley of Zephathah, near Mareshah (2Ch 14:9-13). It was the native place of Eliezer ben-Dodavah, a prophet who predicted the destruction of the ships which king Jehoshaphat had built in conjunction with Ahaziah of Israel (2Ch 20:37). It is included by the prophet Micah among the towns of the low country which he attempts to rouse to a sense of the dangers their misconduct is bringing upon them (Mic 1:15). Like the rest, the apostrophe to Mareshah is a play on the name: "I will bring your heir (yoresh) to you, O city of inheritance" (Mareshah). The following verse (16) shows that the inhabitants had adopted the heathen and forbidden custom of cutting off the back hair as a sign of mourning. In the time of the Maccabaeans it was occupied by the Idumseans (2 Maccabees 12:35), but it was laid desolate by Judas on his march from Hebron to Ashdod (1 Maccabees 5:65-68; Josephus, Ant. 12:8, 6). Only a few years later it is again reckoned to Idumaea; and Hyrcanus I took it and compelled its inhabitants to practice circumcision (Josephus, Ant. 13:9, 1). Josephus mentions it among the towns possessed by Alexander Jannsmus, which had been in the hands of the Syrians (Ant. 13:15, 4); but by Pompey it was restored to the former inhabitants, and attached to the province of Syria (ib. 14:1, 4). Maresa was among the towns rebuilt by Gabinius (ib. 14:5, 3), but was again destroyed by the Parthians in their irruption against Herod (ib. 14:13, 9). A place so often mentioned in history must have been of considerable importance; but it does not appear that it was ever again rebuilt (see Reland, Palest. p. 888). The site, however, is set down by Eusebius and Jerome (Onomast. s.v. Morasthi) as within two miles of Eleutheropolis, but the direction is not stated. Dr. Robinson (Bibl. Researches, 2:422) found, at a mile and a half south of the site of Eleutheropolis, a remarkable tel, or artificial hill, with foundations of some buildings. As there are no other ruins in the vicinity, and as the site is admirably suited for a fortress, this, he supposes, may have been Mareshah. According to Schwarz (Palest. p. 104) these ruins are still known by the Arabs by the name Marasa, probably the Marash described by Tobler (Dritte Wand. p. 129, 142) as lying on a gently swelling hill leading down from the mountains to the great western plain, from which it is but half an hour distant (Van de Velde, Memoir, p. 333).