When Joshua took the city of Ai ( Joshua 8 ), he burned it and "made it an heap [Heb. tel] for ever" ( 8:28 ). The ruins of this city were for a long time sought for in vain. It has been at length, however, identified with the mound which simply bears the name of "Tel." "There are many Tels in modern Palestine, that land of Tels, each Tel with some other name attached to it to mark the former site. But the site of Ai has no other name 'unto this day.' It is simply et-Tel, 'the heap' par excellence."

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.

Bibliography Information

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


hep (`aremah, gal, nedh, tel):

"Heap" appears

(1) in the simple sense of a gathering or pile, as the translation of `aremah, a "heap," in Ruth 3:7 of grain; Nehemiah 4:2 of stones; in 2 Chronicles 31:6, etc., of the tithes, etc.; of chomer (boiling up), a "heap"; in Exodus 8:14 of frogs; of gal, a "heap"; in Job 8:17 of stones.

(2) As indicating "ruin," "waste," gal (2 Kings 19:25; Job 15:28; Isaiah 25:2; 37:26; Jeremiah 9:11; 51:37); me`i (Isaiah 17:1); `i (Psalms 79:1; Jeremiah 26:18; Micah 1:6; 3:12); tel, "mound," "hillock," "heap" (Deuteronomy 13:16; Joshua 8:28; Jeremiah 30:18 the King James Version; Jeremiah 49:2).

(3) Of waters, nedh, "heap," "pile" (Exodus 15:8; Joshua 3:13,16; Psalms 33:7; 78:13); chomer (Habakkuk 3:15, "the heap of mighty waters," the Revised Version margin "surge").

(4) A cairn, or heap of stones (a) over the dead body of a dishonored person, gal (Joshua 7:26; 8:29; 2 Samuel 18:17); (b) as a witness or boundary-heap (Genesis 31:46, Gal`edh (Galeed) in Hebrew, also mitspah, "watch tower," Yeghar-Sahadhutha' (Jegar-sahadutha) in Aramaic, both words meaning "the heap of witness"; see Genesis 31:47,49 the Revised Version (British and American)).

(5) As a way mark, tamrurim, from tamar, "to stand erect" (Jeremiah 31:21 the King James Version, "Set thee up waymarks, make thee high heaps," the Revised Version (British and American) "guide-posts," a more likely translation).

"To heap" represents various single words:

chathah, "to take," "to take hold of," with one exception, applied to fire or burning coals (Proverbs 25:22, "Thou writ heap coals of fire upon his head," "Thou wilt take coals of fire (and heap them) on his head"); caphah, "to add" (Deuteronomy 32:23); tsabhar, "to heap up" (Habakkuk 1:10); kabhats, "to press together" (with the fingers or hand) (Habakkuk 2:5); rabhah, "to multiply" (Ezekiel 24:10); episoreuo, "to heap up upon" (2 Timothy 4:3, they "will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts"); soreuo, "to heap up" (Romans 12:20, "Thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head"); thesaurizo, "to lay up" (as treasure) (James 5:3 the King James Version, "Ye have heaped treasure together," the Revised Version (British and American) "laid up"); tsabhar, "to heap up," "to heap" or "store up" (Job 27:16, "silver"; Psalms 39:6, "riches"; Zechariah 9:3, "silver,"); sum, sim "to place," "set," "put" (Job 36:13 the King James Version, "The hypocrites in heart heap up wrath," the Revised Version (British and American) "They that are godless in heart lay up anger"). In Judges 15:16 we have chamor, chamorothayim, "with the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps," the Revised Version margin "heap, two heaps"; one of Samson's sayings; chamor means "an ass," chomer "a heap."

For "heap up words" (Job 16:4), the Revised Version (British and American) has "join together"; for "shall be a heap" (Isaiah 17:11), "fleeth away," margin "shall be a heap"; "heap" for "number" (Nahum 3:3); the English Revised Version "heap of stones" for "sling," margin as the King James Version and the American Standard Revised Version (Proverbs 26:8); "in one heap" for "upon a heap" (Joshua 3:16); "he heapeth up (dust)" for "they shall heap" (Habakkuk 1:10).

W. L. Walker

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

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