rib'-la (ribhlah; Rheblatha, with variants):
(1) Riblah in the land of Hamath first appears in history in 608 BC. Here Pharaoh-necoh, after defeating Josiah at Megiddo and destroying Kadytis or Kadesh on the Orontes, fixed his headquarters, and while in camp he deposed Jehoahaz and cast him into chains, fixed the tribute of Judah, and appointed Jehoiakim king (2 Kings 23:31-35). In 588 BC Nebuchadnezzar, at war with Egypt and the Syrian states, also established his headquarters at Riblah, and from it he directed the subjugation of Jerusalem. When it fell, Zedekiah was carried prisoner to Riblah, and there, after his sons and his nobles had been slain in his presence, his eyes were put out, and he was taken as a prisoner to Babylon (2 Kings 25:6,20; Jeremiah 39:5-7; 52:8-11). Riblah then disappears from history, but the site exists today in the village of Ribleh, 35 miles Northeast of Baalbek, and the situation is the finest that could have been chosen by the Egyptian or Babylonian kings for their headquarters in Syria. An army camped there had abundance of water in the control of the copious springs that go to form the Orontes. The Egyptians coming from the South had behind them the command of the rich corn and forage lands of Coele-Syria, while the Babylonian army from the North was equally fortunate in the rich plains extending to Hamath and the Euphrates. Lebanon, close by, with its forests, its hunting grounds and its snows, ministered to the needs and luxuries of the leaders. Riblah commanded the great trade and war route between Egypt and Mesopotamia, and, besides, it was at the dividing-point of many minor routes. It was in a position to attack with facility Phoenicia, Damascus or Palestine, or to defend itself against attack from those places, while a few miles to the South the mountains on each side close in forming a pass where a mighty host might easily be resisted by a few. In every way Riblah was the strategical point between North and South Syria. Riblah should probably be read for Diblah in Ezekiel 6:14, while in Numbers 34:11 it does not really appear. See (2).
(2) A place named as on the ideal eastern boundary of Israel in Numbers 34:11, but omitted in Ezekiel 47:15-18. The Massoretic Text reads "Hariblah"; but the Septuagint probably preserves the true vocalization, according to which we should translate "to Harbel." It is said to be to the east of `Ain, and that, as the designation of a district, can only mean Merj `Ayun, so that we should seek it in the neighborhood of Hermon, one of whose spurs Furrer found to be named Jebel `Arbel.
W. M. Christie
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