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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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GIBEON . A town in Palestine north of Jerusalem. Its inhabitants seem to have been Hivites ( Joshua 9:7 ), though spoken of in 2 Samuel 21:2 by the more general term ‘Amorites.’ It was a city of considerable size. Its inhabitants, by means of a trick, succeeded in making a truce with Joshua, but were reduced to servitude ( Joshua 9:1-27 ); a coalition of other Canaanite kings against it was destroyed by him (ch. 10). It became a Levitical city ( Joshua 21:17 ) in the tribe of Benjamin ( Joshua 18:25 ). The circumstances of the destruction of part of the Gibeonites by Saul ( 2 Samuel 21:1 ) are unknown. Here the champions of David fought those of the rival king Ish-bosheth ( 2 Samuel 2:18-32 ), and defeated them; and here Joab murdered Amasa ( 2 Samuel 20:9 ). The ‘great stone’ In Gibeon was probably some part of the important high place which we know from 1 Kings 3:4 was situated here. The statement of the parallel passage, 2 Chronicles 1:3 , that the ark was placed here at the time, is probably due merely to the desire of the Chronicler to explain Solomon’s sacrificing there in the light of the Deuteronomic legislation. Here Solomon was vouchsafed a theophany at the beginning of his reign. In Jeremiah 41:12 we again hear of Gibeon, in connexion with Johanan’s expedition against Ishmael to avenge the murder of Gedaliah.

The city has constantly been identified with el-Jib , and there can be little or no doubt that the identification is correct. This is a small village standing on an isolated hill about 5 miles from Jerusalem. The hill is rocky and regularly terraced. It is remarkable chiefly for its copious springs a reputation it evidently had in antiquity ( 2 Samuel 2:13 , Jeremiah 41:12 ). Ninety-five Gibeonites returned from Babylon under Zerubbabel ( Nehemiah 7:25 ), and Gibeonites were employed in repairing part of the wall of Jerusalem ( Nehemiah 3:7 ). At Gibeon, Cestius Gallus encamped in his march from Antipatris to Jerusalem.

R. A. S. Macalister.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Gibeon'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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