Gibeon

Gibeon [N] [H] [S]

hill-city, "one of the royal cities, greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty" ( Joshua 10:2 ). Its inhabitants were Hivites ( 11:19 ). It lay within the territory of Benjamin, and became a priest-city ( 18:25 ; 21:17 ). Here the tabernacle was set up after the destruction of Nob, and here it remained many years till the temple was built by Solomon. It is represented by the modern el-Jib, to the south-west of Ai, and about 5 1/2 miles north-north-west of Jerusalem.

A deputation of the Gibeonites, with their allies from three other cities ( Joshua 917 ;17), visited the camp at Gilgal, and by false representations induced Joshua to enter into a league with them, although the Israelites had been specially warned against any league with the inhabitants of Canaan ( Exodus 23:32 ; 34:12 ; Numbers 33:55 ; Deuteronomy 7:2 ). The deception practised on Joshua was detected three days later; but the oath rashly sworn "by Jehovah God of Israel" was kept, and the lives of the Gibeonites were spared. They were, however, made "bondmen" to the sanctuary ( Joshua 9:23 ).

The most remarkable incident connected with this city was the victory Joshua gained over the kings of Palestine ( Joshua 10:16-27 ). The battle here fought has been regarded as "one of the most important in the history of the world." The kings of southern Canaan entered into a confederacy against Gibeon (because it had entered into a league with Joshua) under the leadership of Adoni-zedec, king of Jerusalem, and marched upon Gibeon with the view of taking possession of it. The Gibeonites entreated Joshua to come to their aid with the utmost speed. His army came suddenly upon that of the Amorite kings as it lay encamped before the city. It was completely routed, and only broken remnants of their great host found refuge in the fenced cities. The five confederate kings who led the army were taken prisoners, and put to death at Makkedah (q.v.). This eventful battle of Beth-horon sealed the fate of all the cities of Southern Palestine. Among the Amarna tablets is a letter from Adoni-zedec (q.v.) to the king of Egypt, written probably at Makkedah after the defeat, showing that the kings contemplated flight into Egypt.

This place is again brought into notice as the scene of a battle between the army of Ish-bosheth under Abner and that of David led by Joab. At the suggestion of Abner, to spare the effusion of blood twelve men on either side were chosen to decide the battle. The issue was unexpected; for each of the men slew his fellow, and thus they all perished. The two armies then engaged in battle, in which Abner and his host were routed and put to flight ( 2 Samuel 2:12-17 ). This battle led to a virtual truce between Judah and Israel, Judah, under David, increasing in power; and Israel, under Ish-bosheth, continually losing ground.

Soon after the death of Absalom and David's restoration to his throne his kingdom was visited by a grievous famine, which was found to be a punishment for Saul's violation ( 2 Samuel 21:2 2 Samuel 21:5 ) of the covenant with the Gibeonites ( Joshua 9:3-27 ). The Gibeonites demanded blood for the wrong that had been done to them, and accordingly David gave up to them the two sons of Rizpah (q.v.) and the five sons of Michal, and these the Gibeonites took and hanged or crucified "in the hill before the Lord" ( 2 Samuel 21:9 ); and there the bodies hung for six months ( 21:10 ), and all the while Rizpah watched over the blackening corpses and "suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night." David afterwards removed the bones of Saul and Jonathan at Jabeshgilead ( 2 Samuel 21:12 2 Samuel 21:13 ).

Here, "at the great stone," Amasa was put to death by Joab ( 2 Samuel 20:5-10 ). To the altar of burnt-offering which was at Gibeon, Joab ( 1 Kings 2:28-34 ), who had taken the side of Adonijah, fled for sanctuary in the beginning of Solomon's reign, and was there also slain by the hand of Benaiah.

Soon after he came to the throne, Solomon paid a visit of state to Gibeon, there to offer sacrifices ( 1 Kings 3:4 ; 2 Chr. 1:3 ). On this occasion the Lord appeared to him in a memorable dream, recorded in 1 Kings 3:5-15 ; 2 Chr 1:7-12 . When the temple was built "all the men of Israel assembled themselves" to king Solomon, and brought up from Gibeon the tabernacle and "all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle" to Jerusalem, where they remained till they were carried away by Nebuchadnezzar ( 2 Kings 24:13 ).

These dictionary topics are from
M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

[N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
[H] indicates this entry was also found in Hitchcock's Bible Names
[S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

Bibliography Information

Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Gibeon". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .

Gibeon [N] [E] [S]

hill; cup; thing lifted up
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names. Public Domain. Copy freely.

[N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
[E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary
[S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

Bibliography Information

Hitchcock, Roswell D. "Entry for 'Gibeon'". "An Interpreting Dictionary of Scripture Proper Names". . New York, N.Y., 1869.

Gibeon [N] [E] [H]

(hill city ), one of the four , cities of the Hivites, the inhabitants of which made a league with Joshua, ( Joshua 9:3-15 ) and thus escaped the fate of Jericho and Ai. Comp. ch. ( Joshua 11:19 ) Gibeon lay within the territory of Benjamin, ch. ( Joshua 18:25 ) and with its "suburbs" was allotted to the priests, ch. ( Joshua 21:17 ) of whom it became afterwards a principal station. It retains its ancient name almost intact, el-Jib . Its distance from Jerusalem by the main road is about 6 1/2 miles; but there is a more direct road reducing it to five miles.


[N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
[E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary
[H] indicates this entry was also found in Hitchcock's Bible Names

Bibliography Information

Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Gibeon'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.

GIBEON

gib'-e-un (gibh`on):

One of the royal cities of the Hivites (Joshua 9:7). It was a greater city than Ai; and its inhabitants were reputed mighty men (Joshua 10:2). It fell within the territory allotted to Benjamin (Joshua 18:25), and was one of the cities given to the Levites (Joshua 21:17).

1. The Gibeonites:

By a stratagem the Gibeonites secured for themselves and their allies in Chephirah, Beeroth and Kirjath-jearim immunity from attack by the Israelites. Terrified by the fate of Jericho and Ai, a company disguised as ambassadors from a far country, their garments and shoes worn, and their provisions moldy as from the length of their journey, went to Joshua at Gilgal, and persuaded him and the princes of Israel to make a covenant with them. Three days later the deception was discovered and the wrath of the congregation of Israel aroused. In virtue of the covenant their lives were secured; but for their duplicity Joshua cursed them, and condemned them to be bondsmen, "hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God" (Joshua 9:23), "for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord" (Joshua 9:27 the King James Version). This points to their employment in the sanctuary; and possibly may shed some light on the massacre of the Gibeonites by Saul (2 Samuel 21:1). The rest of the Canaanites resented the defection of the Hivites which so greatly weakened the forces for defense, and, headed by Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem, they assembled to wreak vengeance on Gibeon. The threatened city appealed to Joshua, who made a swift night march, fell suddenly upon the confederates, routed them, and "chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah" (Joshua 10:1).

A three years' famine in the days of David was attributed to God's anger at the unexpiated crime of Saul in slaying the Gibeonites. He did this "in his zeal for .... Israel and Judah," who may have fretted at the inconvenience of having the Gibeonites among them. The latter believed that Saul's desire was to destroy them utterly. When David tried to arrange matters with them they stood upon their ancient rights, claiming life for life. They would take no rights blood money:

they demanded blood from the family of the slayer of their people. This demand David could not resist, and handed over to them seven sons of Saul (2 Samuel 21:1).

2. The Champions:

The army of Ishbosheth under Abner, and that of David under Joab, met at the pool of Gibeon. An attempt to settle the quarrel, by means of 12 champions on either side, failed, as each man slew his fellow, and the 24 perished side by side. A "sore battle" ensued in which Abner was beaten; he was pursued by the fleet-footed Asahel, brother of Joab, whom he slew.

See HELKATH-HAZZURIM.

Possibly we should read "Gibeon" instead of "Geba" in 2 Samuel 5:25, as in the parallel passage, 1 Chronicles 14:16 (HDB, under the word) From Baal-perazim David was to make a circuit and fall upon the Philistines who were encamped in the plan of Rephaim West of Jerusalem. Perhaps, however, we should read "Gibeah" in both places. Cheyne (EB, under the word) thinks the hill town of Baal-perazim may be intended.

3. Murder of Amasa:

When, after the death of Absalom and the suppression of his rebellion, Bichri raised the standard of revolt, Amasa was sent to call out the men of Judah against him. Tarrying longer than the time appointed, there was danger lest Bichri might have opportunity to strengthen his position; so David dispatched Abishai and the troops that were with him to attack Bichri at once. Joab went with this expedition. Obviously he could never be content with a second place. The force of Amasa was met at "the great stone of Gibeon." There Joab treacherously slew that unsuspecting general, and, himself assuming command, stamped out the rebellion with his accustomed thoroughness (2 Samuel 20:4). "The great stone" appears to have been well known, and may have possessed some religious character.

4. The Sanctuary:

Gibeon was the seat of an ancient sanctuary, called in 1 Kings 3:4 "the great high place." Here, according to 2 Chronicles 1:3, was the tabernacle made in the wilderness--but see 1 Kings 8:4. It was the scene of Solomon's great sacrifice after which he slept in the sanctuary and dreamed his famous dream (1 Kings 3:4; 9:2; 2 Chronicles 1:3,13, etc.).

By "the great waters that are in Gibeon" Johanan overtook Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and freed the captives he had taken from Mizpah (Jeremiah 41:11). Among those who returned with Zerubbabel were 95 "children of Gibeon" (Nehemiah 7:25; compare Nehemiah 3:7). At Gibeon Cestius Gallus ancamped when marching against Jerusalem from Antipatris (BJ, II, xix, 1).

5. Identification and Description:

The ancient city is represented by the modern village el-Jib. It is fully 5 miles Northwest of Jerusalem, and about a mile North of Neby Samwil on a double knoll, with terraced slopes, but rocky and precipitous to the East. The village stands amid striking remains of antiquity. About a hundred paces from the village to the East is a large reservoir with a spring. Lower down, among the olives, are the remains of another and larger reservoir, which collected the overflow from the first. This is probably the "pool" of 2 Samuel 2:13, and "the great waters" of Jeremiah 41:12. El-Jib stands in the midst of a rich upland plain not far South of the great pass which goes down by way of the Beth-horons into the vale of Aijalon.

W. Ewing


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'GIBEON'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.