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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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GIBEAH (Heb. gib’âh , ‘a hill’). The name, similar in form and meaning to Geba , attached to a place not far from that city. The two have sometimes been confused. It is necessary to note carefully where the word means ‘hill’ and where it is the name of a city. At least two places were so called. 1. A city in the mountains of Judah ( Joshua 15:57 , perhaps also 2 Chronicles 13:2 ), near Carmel and Ziph, to the S. E. of Hebron, and therefore not to be identified with the modern Jeba‘ , 9 miles W. of Bethlehem ( Onomast .); site unknown. 2. Gibeah of Benjamin ( Judges 19:12 etc.), the scene of the awful outrage upon the Levite’s concubine, and of the conflict in which the assembled tribes executed such terrible vengeance upon Benjamin. It was the home of Israel’s first king ( 1 Samuel 10:26 ), and was known as ‘Gibeah of Saul’ ( 1 Samuel 11:4 , Isaiah 10:29 ); probably identical with ‘Gibeah of God’ ( 1 Samuel 10:5 RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ). From the narrative regarding the Levite we learn that Gibeah lay near the N. road from Bethlehem, between Jerusalem and Ramah. It was near the point where the road from Geba joined the highway towards Bethel ( Judges 20:31 ). Judges 20:33 affords no guidance: Maareh-geba (RV [Note: Revised Version.] ) is only a transliteration of the words as they stand in MT [Note: Massoretic Text.] . A slight emendation of the text makes it read ‘from the west of Gibeah,’ which is probably correct (Moore, Judges, in loc. ). Josephus, who calls it ‘Gabaothsaul’ ( BJ V. ii. 1), places it 30 stadia N. of Jerusalem. The site most closely agreeing with these conditions is Tuleil el-Fûl , an artificial mound, E. of the road to the N., about 4 miles from Jerusalem. The road to Jeba‘ leads off the main road immediately to the north of the site. Certain remains of ancient buildings there are, but nothing of importance has yet been discovered. As a place of strategic importance, Gibeah formed the base of Saul’s operations against the Philistines ( 1 Samuel 13:1-23; 1 Samuel 14:1-52 ). There was enacted the tragedy in which seven of Saul’s sons perished, giving occasion for the pathetic vigil of Rizpah. It appears in the description of Sennacherib’s advance from the north ( Isaiah 10:28-32 ).

W. Ewing.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Gibeah'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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