In Joshua 13:3 (NASB)

from the Shihor which is east of Egypt, even as far as the border of Ekron to the north (it is counted as Canaanite); the five governors of the Philistines: the Gazite, the Ashdodite, the Ashkelonite, the Gittite, the Ekronite; and the Avvite

The word used for Shihor is Strong's H7883 - šîḥôr. That exact same word in other locations is translated as Nile, instead. For instances,

  • in Isaiah 23:3 (NASB)

And were on many waters.

The grain of the Nile, the harvest of the River was her revenue;

And she was the market of nations.

  • in Jeremiah 2:18 (NASB)

But now what are you doing on the road to Egypt,

Except to drink the waters of the Nile?

Or what are you doing on the road to Assyria,

Except to drink the waters of the Euphrates River?

How to know when to use Shihor or Nile?

1 Answer 1


Actually, we are discussing two different words here:

  • שִׁיחוֹר (Shichor) occurs only four times in the OT and according to BDB is:

proper name, of a river on border of Egypt, probably east branch of Nile; — ׳הַשּׁ Joshua 13:3, מִצְרַיִם ׳שׁ 1 Chronicles 13:5; clearly = Nile, זֶרַע שִׁחֹר Isaiah 23:3 ("" יְאוֺר קְצִיר), מֵי שִׁחוֺר Jeremiah 2:18; compare DlPa 311 WilsonHast. DB SHIHOR (usually derived from I. שׁחר, as black water, but doubtful).

  • יְאֹר (yeor) occurs 65 times in the OT and according to BDB is:

יְאֹר, יְאוֺר noun masculineExodus 7:21 stream of the Nile, stream, canal (Egyptian loan-word = Egyptian °iotr, °io°r, watercourse, Coptic eioor, ior; also °iotr±o, °io°r±o, Coptic eiero, iaro, Nile, SteindBAs i. 612; in Assyrian ia°uru, stream, °Iaru°û, river Nile, Idib., Hptib. 171 Jägerib 466) — absolute הַיְאֹר Genesis 41:1 37t.; הַיְאוֺר Isaiah 19:8; הַיְאֹ֫רָה Exodus 1:22; יְאוֺר Isaiah 19:7 (3 t. in verse) + 2t.; כָּאֹר (err. for כַּיְאֹר) Amos 8:8; construct כִּיאֹר Amos 9:5; כִּיאוֺר Amos 8:8; suffix יְאֹרִי Ezekiel 29:3b (Co יאר, compare Ezekiel 29:9 and ᵑ6 ᵑ7); plural יְאֹרִים Exodus 8:1 4t.; construct יְאֹרֵי Isaiah 7:18 2t.; יְאוֺרֵי 2 Kings 19:24; suffix יְאֹרֶיךָ Ezekiel 29:4 (twice in verse); Ezekiel 29:5 + Ezekiel 29:4 (strike out ᵐ5 Co) + Ezekiel 29:10 (Co יְאֹרְךָ); יְאֹרָיו Ezekiel 29:3; יְאֹדֵיהֶם Exodus 7:19; Psalm 78:44; — 1 stream of the Nile, river Nile, usually with article Genesis 41:1,2,3 (twice in verse); Genesis 41:18; Exodus 1:22; Exodus 2:3,5 (twice in verse); Exodus 4:9 (twice in verse); Exodus 7:15,17,18 (3 t. in verse); Exodus 7:20 (twice in verse); Exodus 7:21 (3 t. in verse); Exodus 7:24 (twice in verse); Exodus 7:28; Exodus 8:5; Exodus 8:7; Exodus 17:5 (all J E), Amos 8:8; Amos 9:5; Isaiah 19:7 (3 t. in verse); Isaiah 19:8; Isaiah 23:3 ("" שִׁחֹר), Isaiah 23:10; Jeremiah 46:7,8 (simile of Egyptian invasion), Ezekiel 29:3b (read יאר, see above), Ezekiel 29:9; Zechariah 10:11; more fully יְאֹר מִצְרַיִם Amos 8:8; Amos 9:5.

2 plural:

a. Nile-arms, Nile-canals, יְאֹרֵי מִצְרַים Isaiah 7:18; יְאֹרֵי מָצוֺר Isaiah 19:6 ("" נְהָרוֺת), Isaiah 37:25 = 2 Kings 19:24; see also Nahum 3:8; Exodus 7:19; Exodus 8:1 (both P; "" נְהָרֹת, אֲגַמִּים, etc.), Psalm 78:44 ("" נֹזְלִים), Ezekiel 29:3,4 (twice in verse); Ezekiel 29:5,10 + Ezekiel 29:4 ᵑ0 (but strike out ᵐ5 Co), Ezekiel 30:12.

b. watercourses in General, יְאֹרִים רַחֲבֵי יָדָ֑יִם Isaiah 33:21 ("" נְהָרִים; compare Late Hebrew יְאוֺר, late Aramaic יְאוֺרָא).

3 shafts, made in mining Job 28:10 (בַּצּוּרוֺת).

4 יְאֹר, singular, of Tigris, Daniel 12:5 (twice in verse); Daniel 12:6,7 (compare Daniel 10:4).

כָּאֹר Amos 8:8, see יְאֹר.

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