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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Gib´eon, a town celebrated in the Old Testament, but not mentioned in the New. It was 'a great city,' as one of the royal cities; and to its jurisdiction originally belonged Beeroth, Chephirah, and Kirjath-jearim (; ). It is first mentioned in connection with the deception practiced by the inhabitants upon Joshua, by which, although Canaanites (Hivites), they induced the Jewish leader not only to make a league with them, and to spare their lives and cities, but also, in their defense, to make war upon the five kings by whom they were besieged. It was in the great battle which followed, that 'the sun stood still upon Gibeon' (; ). The place afterwards fell to the lot of Benjamin, and became a Levitical city (; ), where the tabernacle was set up for many years under David and Solomon (; ; ), the ark being at the same time at Jerusalem (). It was here, as being the place of the altar, that the young Solomon offered a thousand burnt-offerings, and was rewarded by the vision which left him the wisest of men (; ). This was the place where Abner's challenge to Joab brought defeat upon himself, and death upon his brother Ashael (), and where Amasa was afterwards slain by Joab (). None of these passages mark the site of Gibeon; but there are indications of it in Josephus, who places it fifty stadia north-west from Jerusalem; and in Jerome: which leave little doubt that Gibeon is to be identified with the place which still bears the name of El-Jib.

El-Jib is a moderately sized village, seated on the summit of a hill, five miles north by west from Jerusalem. The houses stand very irregularly and unevenly, sometimes almost above one another. They seem to be chiefly rooms in old massive ruins, which have fallen down in every direction. One large building still remains, probably a former castle or tower of strength. Towards the east the ridge of the hill sinks a little, and here, a few rods from the village, just below the top of the ridge towards the north, is a fine fountain of water. It is in a cave, excavated in and under the high rock, so as to form a large subterranean reservoir. Not far below it, among olive-trees, are the remains of an open reservoir, about one hundred and twenty feet in length by one hundred in breadth. It was doubtless designed to receive the superfluous waters of the cavern, and there can be little question but that this was 'the Pool of Gibeon' mentioned in ; and, in the whole, we find the 'Great [or many] waters of Gibeon' of .





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Gibeon'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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