I have read that to explain the absence of the Girgashites in a list of the 7 nations, amora R. Samuel bar Nahman says the Girgashites left Israel and God rewarded them by giving them "Afrike"

"Afrike" sounds a bit like "Africa", a term the Romans used to describe the tops of Tunisia and Libya. The top tip of Tunisia is where Carthage was and is not that hard to see that CarTHage and GirGash look sort of similar.

Is there any Jewish source that more explicitly connects Carthage with the Girgashites? (I am aware that Josephus says Dido, founder of Carthage, was a descendant of Hiram but he could just be telling a made up story and I am also aware that Carthage is otherwise far more historically verifiable than the flight of the Girgashites )


1 Answer 1


Vayikra Rabbah 17:6 mentions this teaching in passing, that the Girgashites fled to "Afriki:"

אמר ר׳ ישמעאל בַּר נחמן: ג׳ פרוזדוגמאות שלח יהושע אצלם, הרוצה לפנות יפנה, להשלים ישלם, לעשות מלחמה יעשה. גרגשי עמד מאיליו, לפיכך נתנה לו ארץ יפה כארצו....זו אפריקי....

R' Yishmael bar Nachman said: Joshua sent three letters to [the Canaanites.] One letter stated: Whoever wishes to leave the land should leave. The second letter stated: Whoever wishes to make peace with Israel should make peace. The third letter stated: Whoever wishes to make war with Israel should make war. The Girgashite nation stood up and left the land on its own, and therefore they were given instead a land that was as nice as their former land....referring to the land of Africa. (Translation from Artscroll Vayikra Rabbah, Vol. 1 17:6 pg. 73.)

Eitz Yosef (printed in above edition) comments:

זו אפריקי: אפשר היא קרטגינא שבאפריקא שהסכימו החכמים שנבנית מבני כנען.

Referring to Africa: It is possible that this is Carthage which is in Africa, for the Chachamim acknowledged that it was built by Canaanites.

Eitz Yosef does not support his assertion that the Chachamim say that Canaanites built Carthage. Translation of קרטגינא as Carthage follows Artscroll Devarim Rabbah 5:14 (which brings the same teaching, unsourced), end of note 212.

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