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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Jabneh

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(Heb. Yabneh', יִבְנֶה , a building; Hamaker Miscell. Phaen. p. 256, compares the Arabic Yubnlay; Sept. Ι᾿αβήρ v.r. Ι᾿αβνῆ and Ι᾿αβείς,Vulg. Jabnia), a Philistine town near the Mediterranean, between Joppa and Ashdod, whose wall king Uzziah demolished (2 Chronicles 26:6). It is probably this place whose name many of the copies of the Sept. insert in Joshua 15:56 (Ι᾿εμναϊ v, Ι᾿αμναί, Ι᾿εμνάθ, Cod. Vat. Γεμνά ). In later times (Josephus, War. 1, 7, 7; Strabo, 16:759; Pliny, 5, 14), under the name of Jamsnia (Ι᾿αμνία, 1 Maccabees 4:15; Ι᾿άμνεια , 1 Maccabees 5:58; 1 Maccabees 10:69; 2 Maccabees 12:8), it was inhabited by Jews as well as Gentiles (Philo, Opp. 2. 575). According to Josephus (Ant. 12, 8, 6), Gorgias was governor of it; but the text of the Maccabees (2 Maccabees 12:32) has Idumaea. At this time there was a harbor on the coast (see Ptol. 5, 16. 2), to which, and the vessels lying there, Judas set fire, and the conflagration was seen at Jerusalem, a distance of about twenty-five miles (2 Maccabees 12:9). The harbor is also mentioned by Pliny, who, in consequence, speaks of the town as double duae Jannes (see Reland, p. 823). Like Ascalon and Gaza, the harbor bore the title of Majumas, perhaps a Coptic word, meaning the "place on the sea" (Kelrick, Phoenicia, p. 27, 29). Pompey took the place from the Jews and joined it to the province of Syria (Josephus, War, 1, 7, 7). Its distance from Jerusalem was 240 stadia (2 Maccabees 12:7), from Diospolis twelve Roman miles (Itin. Anton.), from Ascalon 200 stadia (Strabo, 16:759). At the time of the fall of Jerusalem, Jabneh was one of the most populous places of Judaea, and contained a Jewish school of great fame, whose learned doctors are often mentioned in the Talmud (Mishna, Rosh Hasshana, 4, 1; Sanhedr. 11. 4; comp. Otho, Lex. Rabb. p. 285 sq.; Sperbach, Diss. de Academia Jabhnensi ejusque rectoribus, Viteb. 1740; Lightfoot, Academe. Jab. histor., in his Opp. 2, 87 sq.). The Jews called this school their Sanhedrim, though it only possessed a faint shadow of the authority of that great council (Milman, History of the Jews, 3:95, 2nd edit.; Lightfoot, 2, 141-143). In this holy city, according to an early Jewish tradition, was buried the great Gamaliel. His tomb was visited by Parchi in the 14th century (Zunz, in Asher's Benj. of Tudela, 2, 439, 440; also 98). In the time of Eusebius, however, it had dwindled to a small place (πολίχνη ), merely requiring casual mention (Onomasticon, s.v. Ι᾿αμνεία ). In the 6th century', under Justinian, it became the seat of a Christian bishop (Epiphanius, adv. Haer. lib. 2, 730). Under the Crusaders, who thought it to be the site of Gath, and who built a fortress in it, it bore the corrupted name of Ibelin, and gave a title to a line of counts, one of whom, Jean d'Ibelin, about 1250, restored to efficiency the famous code of the "Assises de Jerusalem" (Gibbon, chap. 58 ad fin.). For the history in full, see Reland, Palest. p. 822; Rosenmü ller, Alterth. 2, 2, p. 366; Raumer, Palest. p. 200; comp. Thomson, L. and B. 2, 312 sq.

The name Yebna is still borne by a little village among the ruins of the ancient site, upon a small eminence on the western side of wady Rubin, about one hour from the sea (Irby and Mangles, p. 182; Corresp. d'Orienf, v, p. 373, 374). According to Scholz (Reisen, p. 146), there are here the ruins of a former church, afterwards a mosque; also, nearer the sea, the ruins of a Roman bridge over the wady, with high arches, built of very large stones. On the eastern side of the wady, on a small eminence, is the tomb of Rubin (Reuben), the son of Jacob from whom the wady takes its name; it is mentioned by Mejr ed-Din (1495) as having been formerly a noted place of pilgrimage for Moslems, as it still is in some degree (Fundgr. des Orients, 2, 138). It is about eleven miles south of Jaffa, seven from Ramleh, and four from Akir (Ekron). (See Robinson's Researches, 3, 22; Ritter, Erdk. 16, 125.) It probably occupies its ancient site, for some remains of old buildings are to be seen, possibly relics of the fortress which the Crusaders built there (Porter, Handbook, p. 274). This position likewise corresponds with that of JABNEEL (Joshua 15:11) on the western end of the northern boundary of Judah (so Schwarz, Palestine, p. 98; Keil, Comment. ad loc.), which is placed by Eusebius and Jerome (Onomast. s.v. Jamneel) between Ashdod and Diospolis. There is no sign of its ever having been occupied by Judah. Josephus (Ant. 5, 1, 22) correctly attributes it to the Danites. There was a constant struggle going on between that tribe and the Philistines for the possession of all the places in the lowland plain (See DAN), and it is not surprising that the next time we meet with Jabneal it should be in the hands of the latter (2 Chronicles 26:6).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Jabneh'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/j/jabneh.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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