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(Tobit 1:2, Codex Sinaiticus) ὃς ᾐχμαλωτεύθη ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ἐνεμεσσάρου τοῦ βασιλέως τῶν Ἀσσυρίων ἐκ Θίσβης ἥ ἐστιν ἐκ δεξιῶν Κυδιὼς τῆς Νεφθαλὶμ ἐν τῇ ἄνω Γαλιλαίᾳ ὑπεράνω Ἀσσὴρ ὀπίσω ὁδοῦ δυσμῶν ἡλίου ἐξ ἀριστερῶν Φογὼρ

(My "literal" translation) Who was captured in the days of Enemessar the king of the Assyrians out of Thisbe, which is at the right hand of Kydios of Nephtali in the Upper Galilee above Asser behind the way of the descents of the sun at the left hand of Phogor.

Leaving aside for now the question of whether or not the Sinaiticus version of Tobit is the most accurate, how should its geographical information be understood?

I realize that, to the Hebrew mind, "right" can mean South and "left" can mean North. It seems, thus, that the text is saying that Thisbe is south of Kydios-of-Nephtali and north of Phogor. (Correct me if I've made a mistake.)

Looking at the LXX Deuteronomy 11:30, it seems that the phrase ὀπίσω ὁδοῦ δυσμῶν ἡλίου essentially means "to the West." (Again, correct me if I'm wrong)

Thus, allow me to re-translate.

(My less literal translation) Who was captured in the days of Enemessar the king of the Assyrians out of Thisbe, which is south of Kydios-of-Nephtai in Upper Galilee above Asser to the west, north of Phogor.

I find the verse ambiguous and confusing, however.

  • Does "above" Asser mean "north of" Asser?
  • If so, does that mean Thisbe is north-west of Asser?
  • Or does it instead mean that Kydios is north-west of Asser?
  • What is "to the west"? Is Thisbe/Kydios west of Asser? Or is Asser west of Thisbe/Kydios?

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