Strong’s Dictionary of Hebrew Words:
Meaning: from 6452; ford; Tiphsach, a place in Mesopotamia
KJV Usage: Tipsah
There are two references to Tiphsah in the Bible, both of which are the subject of debate over whether or not they refer to Thapsacus:
- In 1 Kings 4:24, Tiphsah is mentioned as one of the boundaries of Solomon’s dominions.
1 Kings 4 (KJV) So king Solomon was king over all Israel.
20 Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry. 21 And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life.
24 For he had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all sides round about him. 25 And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.
- Easton’s Bible Dictionary holds that this is probably a reference to Thapsacus, but the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica relates that “it is impossible to determine whether the one phrase ‘from Tiphsah to Gaza’, where the name seems to occur, is as early as the Persian Period: the Greek text is quite discrepant.”
- Menahem, King of Israel, undertook an expedition and “smote Tiphsah and all that were therein” (2 Kings 15:16). Easton’s states that this expedition implied a march of some 300–400 miles from Tirzah, apparently indicating their belief that this Tiphsah also refers to Thapsacus. They acknowledge, however, that some scholars identify this as a reference to Khurbet Tafsah, six miles west of Shechem. The 1911 Britannica states that this verse “cannot possibly refer to any place on the Euphrates.”
- A town called Tapsuhu is mentioned in two Babylonian clay tablets dating in the reigns of Nabonidus and Cyrus the Great. It has recently been argued that it could be identified with Thapsacus.
- The 1911 Britannica notes that “after various attempts at identification, it has apparently been correctly identified by J. P. Peters (Nation, May 23, 1889) and B. Moritz (Sitz.-Ber. d. Berl. Akad., July 25, 1889). The name may survive in Kal’at Dibse, “a small ruin 8 m[iles] below Meskene, and 6 m[iles] below the ancient Barbalissus.”