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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
(Heb. telbesh' Gilad', יָבֵשׁ גַּלְעָד [also יָבֵישׁ, (See JABESH), by which simple form it is sometimes called]; Sept. Ι᾿αβείς or Ι᾿αβίς [in Chronicles Γαβείς ] Γαλαάδ or τῆς Γαλααδίτιδος; Josephus Ι᾿άβισος [Ant. 5, 2, 11], Ι᾿αβίς [Ant. 6, 5, 1], and Ι᾿αβισσός Ed Ant. 6, 14, 8]), a town beyond the Jordan, in the land of Gilead, distant a night's journey from Bethshan (1 Samuel 31:11; 2 Samuel 2:4; 2 Samuel 21:12). In the sense denoted in this juxtaposition, Gilead included the half tribe of Manasseh (1 Chronicles 27:21), as well as the tribes of Gad and Reuben (Numbers 32:1-42) east of the Jordan; and of the cities of Gilead, Jabesh was the chief, lying within the limits of the half tribe of Manasseh east. It is first mentioned in connection with the cruel vengeance taken upon its inhabitants for not coming up to Mizpeh on the occasion of the fierce war between the children of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin. Every male of the city was put to the sword, and all the virgins-to the number of 400-seized to be given in marriage to the 600 men of Benjamin that remained Judges 21:8-14). Nevertheless the city survived the loss of its males, and is next memorable for the siege it sustained from Nahash, king of the Ammonites, the raising of which formed the first exploit of the newly-elected king Saul and procured his confirmation in the sovereignty. The inhabitants had agreed to surrender, and to have their right eyes put out (to incapacitate them from military service), but were allowed seven days to ratify the treaty. In the mean time Saul collected a large army, and came to their relief (1 Samuel 11). This service was gratefully remembered by the Jabeshites, and about forty years after, when he and his three sons were slain by the Philistines in Mount Gilboa (1 Samuel 31:8), the men of Jabesh-gilead came by night and took down their corpses from the walls of.
Bethshan, where they had been exposed as trophies, then burned the bodies, and buried the bones under a tree near the city, observing a strict funeral fast for seven days (1 Samuel 31:13). "Jabesh-gilead was on the mountain, east of the Jordan, in full view of Bethshan, and these brave men could creep up to the tell along wady Jalud without being seen, while the deafening roar of the brook would render it impossible for them to be heard" (Thomson, Land and Book, 2, 174). David does not forget to bless them for this act of piety towards his old master, and his more than brother (2 Samuel 2:15), though he afterwards had the remains translated to the ancestral sepulcher in the tribe of Benjamin (2 Samuel 21:14). Jabesh still existed as a town in the time of Eusebius, who places it on a hill six miles from Pella, towards Gerasa (Onomast. s.v. Ἀρισώθ and Ι᾿αβεῖς ). Mr. Buckingham thinks it may be found in a place called Jehaz or Jejaz, marked by ruins upon a hill in a spot not far from which, according to the above indications, Jabesh must have been situated (Travels, 2, 130, 134). It was more probably situated on the present wady Jabes, which Burckhardt (Trav. in Syria, p. 289) describes as entering the Jordan not far below Beisan. According to Schwarz (Palest. p. 234), there is a village of the same name still existing on this wady ten miles east of Jordan; but Dr. Robinson, during his last visit to this region, sought in vain for any village or ruins by that name (which, he says, is applied exclusively to the wady), but thinks the site of Jabesh-gilead may be marked by that of the ruins called by the Arabs ed- Deir (the convent), high up the wady, on the south side, on a hill, and containing columns as he was informed (new ed. of Researches, 3, 319). It is about six miles from the ruins of Pella, near the line of the ancient road to Gerasa (Van de Velde, Travels, 2 349-52; Porter, Handbook Jibr Syria and Palest. p. 317; Stanley, Sinai and Pal. p. 290).
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Jabesh-Gilead'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/j/jabesh-gilead.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.