Shi'hor (Heb. Shichor', שַׁיחוֹר, [thus only in Jos 13:2-3; 1Ch 13:5], or שַׁיהר [Jer 2:18], or שׁחֹר [Isa 23:3], dark; once with the art. הִשּׁיחוֹר, Jos 13:3, and once with the addition "of Egypt," 1Ch 13:5; Sept. Γη ων, ἡ αἰοίκητος, ὅρια, and μεταβολή; Vulg. Sihior, Nilus, fluvius turbidus, and aqua turbida; A.V. "Sihor" in all passages except 1Ch 13:5), one of the names given to the river Nile, probably arising from its turbid waters, like the Greek Μέλας (Gesen. Thesaurus, s.v.). Several other names of the Nile maybe compared. Νε ιλος itself, if it be as is generally supposed, of Iranian origin, signifies "the blue," that is, "the dark" rather than the turbid; for we must then compare the Sanscrit Nilah "blue, " probably especially "dark blue, " also even "black, " as "black mud." The Arabic azrak, "blue," signifies "dark" in the name Bahr el-Azrak, or Blue River, applied to the eastern of the two great confluents of the Nile. Still nearer, is the Latin Melo, from μέλας, a name of the Nile, according to Festus and Servius (ad Virg. Georg. 4, 29, 1; Aen. 1, 745; 4, 246); but little stress can be laid upon such a word resting on no better authority. With the classical writers it is the soil of Egypt that is black rather than its river. So, too, in hieroglyphics, the name of the country, Kem, means "the black;" but there is no name of the Nile of like signification. In the ancient painted sculptures, however, the figure of the Nile god is colored differently according as it represents the river during the time of the inundation, and during the rest of the year; in the former case red, in the latter blue. SEE NILE.

There are but three ocurrences of Shihor unqualified in the Bible, and but one of Shihor of Egypt, or Shihormizraim. In 1Ch 13:5 it is mentioned, as the southern boundary of David's kingdom: "David gathered all Israel, from Shihor of Egypt even unto the entering of Hamath." At this period the kingdom of Israel was at the highest pitch of its prosperity. David's rule extended over a wider space than that of any other monarch who ever sat upon the throne; and, probably, as an evidence of this fact, and as a recognition of the fulfilment of the divine promise to Abraham (Ge 15:18) "Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates" the sacred historian may here have meant the Nile. Yet, in other places, where the northern boundary is limited to the "entrance of Hamath," the southern is usually "the torrent of Egypt," that is, Wady (נחל, not נהר) el-Arish (Nu 34:5; 1Ki 8:65). There is no other evidence that the Israelites ever spread westward beyond Gaza. It may seem strange that the actual territory dwelt in by them in David's time should thus appear to be spoken of as extending as far as the easternmost branch of the Nile; but it must be remembered that more than one tribe, at a later period, had spread beyond even its first boundaries, and also that the limits may be those of David's dominion rather than of the land actually fully inhabited by the Israelites. The passage in Jos 13:3 is even more obscure. The sacred writer is describing the territory still remaining to be conquered at the close of his life, and when about to allot the conquered portion to the tribes. "This is the land that yet remaineth all the borders of the Philistines and all Geshuri. from Shihor which is before (עלאּפני, in the face of, not east of, but rather on the front of) Egypt, even unto the borders, of Ekron northward." Keil argues that Wady el-Arish, and not the Nile, must here be meant (Comment. ad loc.); but his arguments are not conclusive. Joshua may have had the Lord's covenant promise to Abraham in view; if so, Shihor means the Nile; but, on the other hand, if he had the boundaries of the land as. described by Moses in Nu 33:5 sq. in view, then Shihor must mean Wady el-Arish. It is worthy of note that, while in all the other passages in which this word is used it is anarthrous, here it has the article. This does not seem to indicate any specific meaning; for it can scarcely be doubted that here and in 1Ch 13:5 the word is employed in the same sense. The use of the article indicates that the word is, or has been, an appellative rather the former if we judge only from the complete phrase. It must also be remembered that Shihor-mizraim is used interchangeably with Nahal-mizraim, and that the name Shihor-libnath, in the north of Palestine, unless derived from the Egyptians or the Phoenician colonists of Egypt, on account of the connection of that country with the ancient manufacture of glass, shows that the word Shihor is not restricted to a great river. That the stream intended by Shihor unqualified, was a navigable river is evident from a passage in Isaiah, where it is said of Tyre, "And by great waters, the sowing of Shihor, the harvest of the river (Yeor, יַאר) [is] her revenue" (23:3). Here Shihor is either the same as, or compared with, Yeor, generally thought to be the Nile. In Jeremiah the identity of Shihor with the Nile seems distinctly stated where it is said of Israel, "And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt to drink the waters of Shihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria to drink the waters of the river?" i.e. Euaphrates (2:18). Gesenius (ut sup.) considers that Sihor, wherever used, means the Nile; and upon a careful consideration of the several passages, and of the etymology of the word, we are of the opinion that it cannot appropriately be applied to Wady el- Arish, and must therefore be regarded as a name of the river Nile (see Jerome, ad Isa. 23:3; Reland, Paloest. p. 286). SEE RIVER OF EGYPT.

Bible concordance for SHIHOR.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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