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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary

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(ray' muh) Place name meaning, “high,” applied to several cities located on heights, especially military strongholds. 1. Border town in tribal territory of Asher (Joshua 19:29 ). The precise location of the city is unknown, although most scholars would place it in the vicinity of Tyre. 2. Fortified city of tribal territory of Naphtali (Joshua 19:36 ), this town is probably to be identified with present-day er-Rameh. Ramah of Asher and Ramah of Naphtali could have been the same community since the boundaries of Asher and Naphtali join.

3. Ramah of Gilead usually called Ramoth-Gilead. Compare 2 Kings 8:28-29; 2 Chronicles 22:6 . See Ramoth-Gilead .

4. City in the inheritance of Benjamin listed along with Gibeon, Beeroth, Jerusalem, and others (Joshua 18:25 ). It is to be identified with modern er-Ram five miles north of Jerusalem. In ancient times this location placed the city between the rival kingdoms of Israel and Judah, which led to dire consequences (1 Kings 15:16-22; 2 Chronicles 16:1 , 2 Chronicles 16:5-6 ).

The traditional site of Rachel's tomb was connected with Ramah (1 Samuel 10:2; Jeremiah 31:15 ). Deborah, the prophetess, dwelt and judged Israel from the Ramah vicinity (Judges 4:4-5 ). Hosea mentioned Ramah (Joshua 5:8 ), and Isaiah prophesied that the approaching Assyrian army would march through Ramah (Isaiah 10:29 ).

The Babylonians apparently used Ramah as a prisoner-of-war camp from which captives of Jerusalem were processed and sent into Babylonian Exile. There Jeremiah was released from his chains and allowed to remain in Judah (Jeremiah 40:1-6 ). People returning from captivity settled there (Ezra 2:26; Nehemiah 7:30 ).

5. A city of the Negev, the arid desert south of Judea, in the tribal inheritance of Simeon (Joshua 19:8 ). David once gave presents to this town following his successful battle with the Amalekites (1 Samuel 30:27 ).

6. Birthplace, home, and burial place of Samuel (1 Samuel 1:19; 1 Samuel 2:11; 1 Samuel 7:17; 1 Samuel 8:4; 1 Samuel 15:34; 1 Samuel 25:1 ). In 1 Samuel 1:1 the long form, Ramathaim-Zophim, is used. Samuel built an altar to the Lord at Ramah. From there he “judged” Israel and went on a yearly circuit to other cities ( 1 Samuel 7:15-17 ). Some have argued that Ramathaim-Zophim is identical with Ramah of Benjamin. It may also be the town, Arimathea, hometown of Joseph, in whose tomb Jesus was buried (Matthew 27:57-60 ).

J. Randall O'Brien

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Ramah'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​hbd/​r/ramah.html. 1991.
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