Chorath or sometimes Cherith (//; Hebrew: נַחַל כְּרִית Naḥal Kərīṯ; Greek: Χειμάῤῥους Cheimárrhous or Χοῤῥάθ Chorrháth), is the name of a stream or wadi mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. The prophet Elijah hid himself on the banks of the Chorath and was fed by ravens during the early part of the three years' drought which he announced to King Ahab (1 Kings 17:3).
Etymology and toponymy
Chorath comes from the Hebrew root (חרת) meaning engrave or carve. The name also signifies a cutting, separation, gorge, torrent-bed, or winter-stream. Chorath is referred to as a wadi in Arabic (وادي, wādī) or nahal in Hebrew (נחל, naḥal).
It is usually identified with "Wadi al-Yabis", which flows into the Jordan at a spot opposite of Beit She'an and slightly south of it. Travellers have described it as one of the wildest ravines of the Fertile Crescent, and peculiarly fitted to afford a secure asylum to the persecuted. During summer, the stream is very dry. Olive trees grow on its banks, and it is home to an array of wildlife including gazelle, hyrax, and egret.
Wadi at Phasaelis
Marino Sanuto the Elder commented in 1321 that the stream extended into Phasaelis, which was named after Prince Phasael, the brother of King Herod.[dubious ] This identification would again contradict 1 Kings 17:5, since Phasaelis has been identified at a spot west, not east of the Jordan.
Other uses of the name
The name is also a Mizrahi Jewish surname, specifically among Jews of Yemenite extraction. They descend from the tribe of Bnei Chorath which is of Qahtanite origin and was once one of the most important tribes of the city of Najran.
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