hesh'-bon (cheshbon; Hesebon):
The royal city of Sihon king of the Amorites, taken and occupied by the Israelites under Moses (Numbers 21:25, etc.). It lay on the southern border of Gad (Joshua 13:26), and was one of the cities fortified by Reuben (Numbers 32:37). It is reckoned among the cities of Gad given to the Merarite Levites (Joshua 21:39). In later literature (Isaiah 15:4; 16:8; Jeremiah 48:2,34,45; 49:3) it is referred to as a city of Moab. It passed again into Jewish hands, and is mentioned by Josephus (Ant., XIII, xv, 4) as among their possessions in the country of Moab under Alexander Janneus. The city with its district called Hesebonitis, was also under the jurisdiction of Herod the Great (Ant., XV, vii, 5, where it is described as lying in the Peraea). Eusebius, Onomasticon places it 20 Roman miles from the Jordan. It is represented by the modern Chesban, a ruined site in the mountains over against Jericho, about 16 miles East of the Jordan. It stands on the edge of Wady Chesban in a position of great strength, about 600 ft. above `Ain Chesban. The ruins, dating mainly from Roman times, spread over two hills, respectively 2,930 ft. and 2,954 ft. in height. There are remains of a temple overlooked from the West by those of a castle. There is also a large ruined reservoir; while the spring in the valley forms a succession of pools (Song of Solomon 7:4). The city is approached from the valley by a steep path passing through a cutting in the rock, which may have been closed by a gate (Conder, Heth and Moab, 142). On a hill to the West, el-Kurmiyeh, is a collection of dolmens and stone circles (Musil, Arabia Petrea, I, 383).
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