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English Bible Dictionary

Zerah the Ethiopian | Cushite

 

(rising (of the sun)).

The Ethiopian or Cushite, an invader of Judah, defeated by Asa about B.C. 941. Zerah is probably the Hebrew name of Usarken I., second king of the Egyptian twenty-second dynasty; or perhaps more probably Usarken II his second successor. In the fourteenth year of Asa, Zerah the Ethiopian, with a mighty army of or million, invaded his kingdom, and advanced unopposed in the field as far as the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. The Egyptian monuments enable us to picture the general disposition of Zerah's army, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. The chariots formed the first corps in a single or double line; behind them, massed in phalanxes, were heavy-armed troops; probably on the flanks stood archers and horsemen in lighter formations. After a prayer by Asa, his army attacked the Egyptians and defeated them. The chariots, broken by the charge and with horses made unmanageable by flights of arrows must have been forced back upon the cumbrous host behind. So complete was the overthrow that the Hebrews could capture and spoil the cities around Gerah which must have been in alliance with Zerah. The defeat of the Egyptian army is without parallel in the history of the Jews. On no other occasion did an Israelite army meet an army of one of the great powers and defeat it.

 

* See other occurrences of the same term: Zerah.

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