Damien F. Mackey
The mysterious town of “Kaserin”, which Tobias and the angel Raphael approached on
their return journey (Tobit 11:1), is here tentatively identified with the prophet Nahum’s town of Elkosh (or Al Qush).
When commenting on the prophet Nahum’s town of “Elkosh” (Nahum 1:1) in Part One:
Prophet Nahum as Tobias-Job Comforted
I followed a common
… opinion that Nahum’s “Elkosh” stands for Al Qosh (Qush), a town situated in northern Iraq, about 25 miles north of modern day Mosul, a city that is across the Tigris River from Nineveh. Thus, suiting my new theory, the prophet Nahum would have been a descendant of the northern exiles taken to Assyria in 722 B.C. (conventional dating). His tomb has in fact long been honoured at that very site of Al Qosh (http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Shavuot). ….
A location for Nahum in Assyrian Mesopotamia would give added emphasis, too, to the prophet’s preoccupation with Assyria and Nineveh.
[End of quote]
Previously I had, in my related article,
A Common Sense Geography of the Book of Tobit
argued that Tobias (= Job)
and the angel Raphael, when travelling to “Ecbatana” in “Media”, were going in a westerly, not an easterly direction as commonly thought: “Ecbatana” actually being Bathania (Bashan), and “Media” being Midian.
According to my geographical re-assessment of the Book of Tobit:
Nineveh = Nineveh
River Tigris = River Tigris
Charan = Haran
Media = Midian
Ecbatana = Bashan
Rages = Damascus
The only geographical location that I had not attempted to identify was the mysterious “Kaserin”, about which we read in Tobit 11:1 (NRSA): “When they came near to Kaserin, which is opposite Nineveh …”. The Douay version gives, for the same verse, “Charan”: “And as they were returning they came to Charan, which is in the midway to Ninive, the eleventh day”. This could not be correct, however, because it is apparent from what follows that the travellers, Tobias and Raphael, had almost arrived back home (vv. 1-6):
…. Raphael said, ‘You are aware of how we left your father. Let us run ahead of your wife and prepare the house while they are still on the way’. As they went on together Raphael a said to him, ‘Have the gall ready’. And the dog b went along behind them. ×
References for Tobit 11:4
- Footnotes Appropriately we read about this town (http://www.atour.com/education/20040922a.html): “Since its establishment, Alqosh has played a major role of worship for early Assyrians and Jewish [Israelite] prisoners who were brought by the Assyrians during the eighth and ninth century B.C”.Compare this explanation with what Tobias’s father, Tobit, tells us (Tobit 1:2, 3): “ During the time that Shalmaneser was emperor of Assyria, I [Tobit] was taken captive … to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria”.
- Tobias (especially as Job) and his father, Tobit, were renowned for their righteousness (cf. Tobit e.g., 1:6-8; 2:1-9, 14; Job 1:1). Hence it would be fitting if the name of their home in the region of Nineveh actually translated as “The God of Righteousness”, as according to (http://www.atour.com/education/20040922a.html):
- Exiled, that is, by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser [V].
- Upon proper consideration of this name, “Kaserin” – in the context of my identification of Tobias/Job with the prophet “Nahum the Elkoshite” (Nahum 1:1), or “Nahum of Elkosh”, taking this latter to be the northern Ninevite town of Al Qush – it seems to me that the only designation to which “Kaserin” could refer, “opposite Nineveh”, must be this same Al Qush (Kas-er-in), in which the “Qush” element appears to be discernible (as “Kas”).
- Meanwhile Anna sat looking intently down the road by which her son would come. When she caught sight of him coming, she said to his father, ‘Look, your son is coming, and the man who went with him!’
The Origin of the Name
The name Alqosh (or Elqosh) is derived from a compound Assyrian Akkadian name Eil-Kushtu, where “Eil” means God and “Kushtu” means righteousness or power. Therefore, Elqosh, or as casually pronounced Alqosh, means “The God of Righteousness” or “The God of Power.” The name “Alqosh” could also be originated from the Aramaic “Eil Qushti,” which means “The God of the Bow.” Here, an association could be drawn in conjunction with the winged disk symbol of God Ashur holding a bow. Meanwhile, in Aramaic language, rainbow is referred to as “Qeshta d’ Maran,” therefore, the meaning of the “Bow of Our Lord,” is possible as well. Alqosh is known also as Yimma d’ Athor (Mother of Assyria) or Yimma d’ Mathwatha (Mother of all Villages). ….