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Prophet Nahum as Tobias-Job Comforted. Part Two: Elkosh.



 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)

Job’s Life and Times


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). ….


Book of Job an Organic Structure in all the Old Testament

A reader has commented as follows on the article of the previous post

Job and his sons in Josiah’s kingdom

Dear Damien

I have enjoyed your paper. So, the most important Book in Holy Bible is The Book of Job for me, I have read it since I was 7 years old; probably now I am starting to understand its sacral essention. Therefore your great philological study has localised this Book in biblical context.

The Book of Job has been for me a parable, but if you have right, it would be an organic structure in all Old Testament. In this case I say: that is extraordinary.

I am not an expert, it is only my opinion, but if your thesis stands, the Bible studies will be more and more completed. Please be sure to keep me informed about the important steps of this paper’s scientific way, I am very curious. And I will surf in your page, I am grateful for this experience. Keep the connection ….

Kind regards ….

Damien Mackey replies:

You must have been something of a child prodigy to have been reading the Book of Job as early as 7 years of age. Congratulations!

My first encounter with the book would be more like 45 years of age.

I read it through and shortly afterwards read the Book of Tobit which my Bible contains. I believe that this combination was providential, because my realisation that Job and Tobias (son of Tobit) had “seven sons” led to further comparisons (possessions; ethical maxims; geography) that I believe enabled me to anchor Job biblically (your “localizated this Book in biblical context”), and historically (to Tobit’s C8th BC neo-Assyrian era, and down to the time of the “Chaldeans”: Job 1:17 – given Job’s very long life). See my:

Job’s Life and Times


You will actually find very few instances of “seven sons” in the Bible. Jeremiah 15:9: “She who bore seven sons pines away …”, may actually be a reference to Job’s tragic wife.

In the article that you have read I further identify the now aged Job (= Tobias), and his offspring, as king Josiah’s high official Shaphan, and his important family (when Assyria was fading and the Chaldeans were becoming prominent). And I fully agree with you that, to identify Job, “would be an organic structure in all Old Testament”. It would provide a solid foundation for the Book of Job, for, as you also say, “if your thesis stand, the Bible studies will be more and more completed”.