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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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From a root gabah , "round", gibbos; a "hill", less than a "mountain," har . Applied to the bore rounded hills of central Palestine.

1. A city in the mountain region of Judah, S.E. of Hebron, named with Maon and southern Carmel (Joshua 15:55; Joshua 15:57; 1 Chronicles 2:49).

2. GIBEATH, a town of Benjamin, among the last next Jerusalem (Joshua 18:28), possibly the "Gibeah of Saul," only that the latter was close to Gibeon and Ramah, five miles N. of Jerusalem, and if Saul's Gibeah were meant we should expect it mentioned with those two towns in Joshua 18:25. "Gibeah of Saul" occurs 1 Samuel 10:26; 1 Samuel 11:4; 1 Samuel 15:34; 2 Samuel 21:6; Isaiah 10:29. Now Tuleil el ful, "the hill of the beans" (a conical peak commanding an extensive view, about an hour from Jerusalem, on the road to Er-Ram, with a large heap of stones on the top, the ruins of a town built of unhewn stones), called by Josephus (B. J., 5:2, section 1) Gabath saoule, 30 stadia from Jerusalem, chosen retributively, as being Saul's residence, for the hanging of his seven sons "before the Lord" (i.e. as in the presence of Him the righteous Judge who appointed the retributive justice, 2 Samuel 21:14 ff; 2 Samuel 21:9), by the Gibeonites in revenge for his attempt to slay them in violation of the covenant.

It is the Gibeah of Benjamin destroyed by the other tribes under the Judges (Judges 19; 20) for the flagrant abomination perpetrated there. It was then a "city" with the usual open "street" or square, having its "700 chosen men," probably the same as the "left handed men who could sling stones at an hair breadth and not miss" (Judges 20:15-16). The Levite left Bethlehem at "the tent pitching time of day" (Judges 19:9, margin), about three in the afternoon. At five he would "come over against Jehus," and at seven would be four miles N. of Jerusalem on the Shechem (Nablus) road toward mount Ephraim. Ramah and Gibeah were now near; Gibeah nearest. The suddenness of sunset in that region made him "turn aside" hither for the night, where the tragedy of the concubine ensued.

The track N. of Gibeah branches into two, one leading to Bethel the "house of God," the other to "Gibeah ("Geba") in the field" sadeh , "cultivated ground"), now Jeba, below which at the base of the hill from whence Gibeah is named was the cave (Syriac, the Hebrew "treeless meadows" will mean not their place of ambush but the open ground across which they advanced to the town) of Gibeah "where the liers in wait hid" (Judges 20:31-33, margin). "Gibeah of Benjamin" was occupied by Jonathan with 1,000 chosen men, three miles in the S. rear of the Philistine camp at Geba on the S. side of the wady Suweinit (1 Samuel 13:2). Saul was in their front at Michmash, holding also mount Bethel on the N. side of the wady Suweinit.

Jonathan smote the garrison at Geba, and the Philistines in consequence gathering a vast host drove Saul's little army before them out of Bethel and Michmash down the eastern passes to Gilgal near Jericho, in the Jordan valley; took Michmash, Saul's former quarters, and sent out plunderers N.,W., and E. Jonathan however held a force in Gibeah (1 Samuel 14:2) where Saul, Samuel, and Ahiah the priest with the ephod joined him from Gilgal (1 Samuel 13:7).

Then followed the gallant stealthy assault of the Philistine garrison by Jonathan and his armor-bearer, the first knowledge of which was conveyed to Saul by his watchmen in Gibeah, who at dawn saw "the multitude melting away and beating down one another." Saul first called the muster roll to discover the absentees; next he consulted the oracle of God; but when the noise in the Philistine host increased, with irreverent impatience (Isaiah 28:16) he desired the priest to stop the consultation, and put himself at the head of the people who, now that the Philistines fled, flocked to him from all their hiding places in Mount Ephraim.

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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Gibeah'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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