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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Jebus, Jebusites

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JEBUS, JEBUSITES . The former is a name given to Jerusalem by J [Note: Jahwist.] in Judges 19:11 and imitated by the Chronicler ( 1 Chronicles 11:4 ); the latter is the tribe which inhabited Jerusalem from before the Israelitish conquest till the reign of David. It was formerly supposed that Jebus was the original name of Jerusalem, but the letters of Abdi-Khiba among the el-Amarna tablets prove that the city was called Jerusalem ( Uru-salim ) about b.c. 1400. No trace of Jebusites appears then. When they gained possession of it we do not know. J [Note: Jahwist.] states that at the time of the Israelite conquest the king of Jerusalem was Adoni-zedek ( Joshua 10:3 ), and that the Israelites did not expel the Jebusites from the city ( Joshua 15:63 , Judges 1:21 ). During the time of the Judges he tells us that it was in possession of the Jebusites ( Judges 19:11 ), and gives a brief account of its capture by David ( 2 Samuel 5:6-8 ). E [Note: Elohist.] mentions the Jebusites only once ( Numbers 13:29 ), and then only to say that, like the Hittite and Amorite, they inhabit the mountain. The favourite list of Palestinian nations which D [Note: Deuteronomist.] and his followers insert so often usually ends with Jebusite, but adds nothing to their history. P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] mentions them once ( Joshua 15:8 ). They are mentioned in Nehemiah 9:8 and Ezra 9:1 in lists based on D [Note: Deuteronomist.] , while Zechariah 9:7 for archaic effect calls dwellers in Jerusalem ‘Jebusite’ (so Wellhausen, Nowack, and Marti). The name of the king, Adoni-zedek , would indicate that the Jebusites were Semitic, probably related to the Canaanite tribes.

David captured their city and dwelt in it, and it was subsequently called the ‘city of David.’ From references to this (cf. Jerusalem) it is clear that the Jebusite city was situated on the southern part of the eastern hill of present Jerusalem, and that that hill was called Zion. Its situation was supposed by the Jebusites to render the city impregnable (2 Samuel 5:6 ).

One other Jebusite besides Adoni-zedek, namely, Araunah, is mentioned by name. The Temple is said to have been erected on a threshing-floor purchased from him (cf. 2 Samuel 24:16-24 , 2 Chronicles 3:1 ). It would seem from this narrative that the Jebusites were not exterminated or expelled, but remained in Jerusalem, and were gradually absorbed by the Israelites.

George A. Barton.

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

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