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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Hesh´bon, a town in the southern district of the Hebrew territory beyond the Jordan, parallel with, and twenty-one miles east of, the point where the Jordan enters the Dead Sea, and nearly midway between the rivers Jabbock and Arnon. It originally belonged to the Moabites; but when the Israelites arrived from Egypt, it was found to be in the possession of the Amorites, whose king, Sihon, is styled both king of the Amorites and king of Heshbon, and is expressly said to have 'reigned in Heshbon' (; comp. ; ). It was taken by Moses (), and eventually became a Levitical city (; ) in the tribe of Reuben (; ); but being on the confines of Gad, is sometimes assigned to the latter tribe (; ). After the ten tribes were sent into exile, Heshbon was taken possession of by the Moabites, and hence is mentioned by the prophets in their declarations against Moab (; ; ; ). Under King Alexander Jannaeus we find it again reckoned as a Jewish city. At the present day it is known by its ancient name of Heshbon, in the slightly modified form of Hesban. The ruins of a considerable town still exist, covering the sides of an insulated hill, but not a single edifice is left entire. The view from the summit is very extensive, embracing the ruins of a vast number of cities, the names of some of which bear a strong resemblance to those mentioned in Scripture.





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

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