The lands of the Cannanites are described in parashat Noach 10:19:

And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon as you come to Gerar, until Gaza, as you come to Sodom and Gomorrah, and Admah and Zeboiim, until Lasha.

וַיְהִי גְּבוּל הַכְּנַעֲנִי מִצִּידֹן בֹּאֲכָה גְרָרָה עַד עַזָּה בֹּאֲכָה סְדֹמָה וַעֲמֹרָה וְאַדְמָה וּצְבוֹיִם עַד לָשַׁע׃

Four of the last 5 places are the cities that were destroyed in the Sodom incident. I would expect that when those four cities are named, the fifth city (Tzoar or Bela) would also be named.

If Lasha is the same as Tzoar/Bela , why the name change? Is there anything else I should know about Lasha?


Yehoshua Meir Grainitz mentioned in Da'as Mikra says that Lesha is Leshem which is mentioned in Yehoshua 19:47. He says that it is also known as Layish as mentioned in Shoftim 18:27 & 18:28.

Thanks to אראל סגל הלוי for this answer.

This would lead me to conclude that Lesha is not the same place as Tzoar/Bela. However this still leaves open the question as to why Lesha's name changed from Lesha to Leshem and then to Layish.

  • Its not really appealing as an answer because Leshem and Layish appear to be in Dan's territories which are The south coast and the Golan, nowhere near Sodom. – Clint Eastwood Oct 30 '14 at 19:07

Fascinating question! I'm piecing together excerpts from several Wikipedia pages, as each links to another:

Lasha was a place east of the Dead Sea, known for its hot springs. It was eventually named Callirhoe. (Not essentially trusting Wikipedia's say on this, I did confirm that the name is, apparently correct if you view Targum Yonatan's translation of the name "Lasha".)

Callirhoe is a place of baths near Zareth-shahar on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea.

I can't say why the Torah changes its name. I'll try to research this, further, b"n.


I would say it is not the same city as Bella/Tzoar simply because the Torah specifically pointed out that Tzoar was Bella and never pointed out that it was originally Lasha.

As to why not mention the city Bella, it quite possibly was not founded yet. Remember it was the youngest of all the five towns.

  • None of the towns were founded yet. – Clint Eastwood Oct 30 '14 at 21:02
  • At the moment they left the teiva the Torah flash forwarded to a time when cities were built so as to show their boundaries. That point in time was sometime after the Migdal Bavel incident, otherwise they would've all still been in Bavel. That said point in time is also before Sodom and co. got blown up otherwise the Torah wouldn't use them as a landmark but rather the dead sea. So we are dealing with a small window of time that the Torah is focusing on. In that timeframe there was a point where the four towns were established and Bella was not. That is when the Torah is referring to. – user6591 Oct 30 '14 at 22:19
  • That brings up another question. Is the "fast forward" point the same for all anachronisms in Bereishis? – Clint Eastwood Oct 31 '14 at 1:53
  • Very doubtful. The settling of Yeffes should have been quite a while later. Perhaps the Torah course this specific time for Canaan as this was it's grandest point in time as far as it's cities go, the five (or four) towns were its most beautiful. – user6591 Oct 31 '14 at 11:46

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .