MAOCH (mVolc), (Heb. 714.1"?, maw-oke', poor, a poor one, a breast band).
The father of Achish, king of Gath, to whom David fled for safety (I Sam. xxvii :2). (B. C. before woo.) NAON (rna'on), (Heb. maw-ohn').
1. A town in the tribe of Judah (Josh. xv: 55). which gave /lame to a wilderness where Da vid hid himself from Saul, and around which the churlish Nabal had great possessions (I Sam. xxin :2.4, 25; xxv :2). Jerome places it to the east of Daroma (Onomast. s. v. Moon). The name does not occur in modern times, and Dr. Robin son regards it as one of the sites first identified by himself. Irby and Mangles were in the neigh borhood in 1818, but did not detect this and other ancient names. Robinson finds it in the present Tell Main, which is about seven miles south by east from Hehron. Here there is a conical hill about zoo feet high, on the top of which are some ruins of no great extent. consisting of foundation; of hewn stone, a square enclosure, the remains probably of a tower or castle, and several cisterns. The view from the summit is extensive. This is Tell MaAn. The traveler found here a band of peasants keeping their flocks, and dwelling in caves amid the ruins. (Bibl. Researches, ii. 19o t96.) 2. Son of Shammai, of the tribe of Judah, and founder of Beth-zur ( t Chron. :45). Perhaps the name is here used collectively for the inhab itants of the town of Maon.
ohn'), a tribe mentioned (Judg. x:12) along with the Amalekites, Zidonians, Philistines, etc. In 2 Chron. xxvi:7, they are called Mehunims, and are mentioned along with the Arabians.
There is still a city Maan with a castle in Arabia Petrma, south of the Dead Sea and near Wady Mousa. Burckhardt's Travels in Syria, etc., p. 437). (See MEHUNINIS, THE.) NARA (rna'ra), (Heb. 8:1)P, maw-raw., bitter), the name chosen by Naomi as symbolical of her bereavements (Ruth i:2o).
lYEARAH (ma'rah), (Heb. maw-raw', bit terness).
(1) The Bitter Waters. The Israelites in departing from Egypt made some stay on the shores of the Red Sea, at the place where it had been crossed by them. From this spot they pro ceeded southward for three days without finding any water, and then came to a well, the waters of which were so bitter, that, thirsty as they were, they could not drink them. The well was called Marah from the quality of its waters. This name, in the form of Amarah, is now borne by the barren bed of a winter torrent, a little be yond which is still found a well called Howara. whose bitter waters answer to this descrip tion. Camels will drink it ; lilt the thirsty Arabs never partake of it themselves; and it is said to be the only water on the shore of the Red Sea which they cannot drink. The water of this well, when first taken into the mouth, seems in sipid rather than bitter, but when held in the mouth a few seconds it becomes exceedingly nauseous.
The Hebrews, unaccustomed as yet to the hard ships of the desert, and having been.in the habit of drinking their full of the best water in the world, were much distressed by its scarcity in the region wherein they now wandered;- and in their disappointment of the relief expected from this well, they murmured greatly against Moses for having brought them into such a dry wilder ness, and asked him, 'What shall we drink ?' On this Moses cried to Jehovah, who indicated to him 'a certain tree,' on throwing the branches of which intb the well, its waters became sweet and fit for use.
(2) Was the Change Miraculous? The question connected with this operation is— whether the effect proceeded from the inherent virtueof the tree in sweetening bad water ; orthat it had no such virtue, and that the effect was purely miraculous. In support of the former al ternative, it may be asked why the tree should have been poicted out and used at all, unless it had a curative virtue? And to this the answer may be found in the numerous instances in which God manifests a purpose of working even his miracles in accordance with the general laws by which he governs the world, and for that pur pose disguising the naked exhibition of super natural power, by the interposition of an apparent cause, while yet the true character of the event is left indisputable, by the utter inadequacy of the apparent' cause to produce, by itself, the re sulting effect. This tends to show that the tree, or portion of it, need not be supposed, from the mere fact of its being employed, to have had an inherent curative virtue. It had not necessarily any such virtue; and that it positively had not such virtue seems to follow, or, at least. to be rendered more than probable by the consideration —that, in the scanty and little diversified vege tation of this district, any such very desirable virtues in a tree, or part of a tree, could scarcely have been undiscovered before the time of the history, and if they had been discgvered, could not but have been known to Moses; and the Divine indication of the tree would not have been needful. And, again, if the corrective qualities were inherent, but were at this time first made known, it is incredible that so valuable a dis covery would ever have been forgotten; and yet it is manifest that in after-times the Hebrews had not the knowledge of any tree which could ren der bad water drinkable; and the inhabitants of the desert have not only not preserved the knowl edge of a fact which would have been so impor tant to them, hut have not discovered it in the thirty-five centuries which have since passed. This is shown by the inquiries of travelers, some of whom were actuated by the wish of finding a plant which might supersede the miracle. No such plant, however, can be found; and whatever the tree was, it can have had no more inherent virtue in sweetening the bitter well of Marah, than the salt had, which produced the same effect, when thrown by Elisha into t.he well of Jericho (Lindsay, i. 263-5).