By: Emil G. Hirsch
Name of an ancient people mentioned in Gen. xiv. 5 as residing in Ham, the territory east of the Jordan, and as having been smitten by Chedorlaomer. The narrator must have supposed that the Zuzim were well known, for he prefixes the definite article to their name, though its use may also imply that even to him the nation was somewhat nebulous. This prefix induced the Septuagint and thePeshiṭta (or the scribe of the copy underlying their version) to read the name as an appellative. They therefore translate it as "the strong" (= "ha'izzuzim") or "the mighty" (= "ha-'ezuzim"), and thus identify the people with the Rephaim, the giants who occupied the district and who are said to have been called "Zamzummim" by the Ammonites (Deut. ii. 20). The rendering of Symmachus results from a combination of the two names Zuzim and Zamzummim (Σοαζομμειν), and thus anticipates those modern scholars who maintain that the names are identical, the variance being due to scribal errors. Sayce ("Higher Criticism and the Verdict of the Monuments," pp. 160 et seq.; "Expository Times," viii. 463), proceeding on the theory that Gen. xiv. is a translation of a Babylonian document, advances the hypothesis that the double spelling of the name arose from the identity of the characters "m" and "w" in Babylonian. It has also been proposed to connect the name with Ziza, a military post of the Roman period (Dillmann, "Genesis," ad loc.).