GIBEAH, GEBA


GIBEAH, GEBA
GIBEAH, GEBA (Heb. גֶּבַע ,גִּבְעָה; "hill"), a central city in the territory of Benjamin and the royal capital at the time of Saul. It was situated on the main road from Judah to Mount Ephraim (Judg. 19:11–13), near the Jerusalem–Shechem road. The territory of the tribe of Benjamin is characterized by a hilly terrain. The biblical sources relating to this territory contain a large number of place names based on the root g-b-ʿ, the stem for the Hebrew word meaning "hill." These include the name Gibeon, Geba (I Sam. 14:5), and Gibeah (Judg. 19.12; I Sam. 14:2), the latter thought to be identified at Tell el-Ful. There are also longer versions of these names such as Geba of Benjamin (I Sam. 13:16), Gibeah of Benjamin (I Sam. 13:2), and Gibeath Haelohim (I Sam 10:5). According to the story in Judges 19–21 the city was destroyed during the civil war that ensued as a result of the atrocities committed by the people of Gibeah against the concubine from Judah. Later Gibeah became one of the Philistines strongholds in the highlands (I Sam 10:5). According to I Samuel 10:26; 11:4 Saul came from Gibeah; however, the genealogical lists in I Chronicles 8:29; 9:35 suggest that Saul's ancestral home was at Gibeon. After the battle of Michmash (I Sam. 13–14) Gibeah became Saul's capital and was renamed after him as "Gibeah of Saul" (I Sam. 15:34). After the schism Gibeah became an important strategic city on the northern border of Judah. It is also mentioned in Isaiah 10:29 in Sennacherib's march through the region north of Jerusalem. The modern site of Tell el-Ful is situated 3.5 miles (5.5 km.) north of the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. It is located on the crest of the watershed, with deep valleys extending to the east and west. The hill rises with steep terraces on the east, south and north, but on the west the slope is more gradual. The ancient road from Judah to Mount Ephraim extended along the base of the tell. This was the main north-south route of central Palestine and the tell, 2,755 ft. (840 m.) above sea level, commanded it. The top was relatively flat, about 500 ft. (150 m.) north to south by 300 ft. (90 m.) east to west. Edward Robinson (1841, 14–15) first identified Gibeah at the village of Jabaʿ, but later changed his mind and identified it with Tell el-Ful. Although the identification of Gibeah with Tell el-Ful is generally accepted, it is still a matter of debate among some scholars. Hence, more recently J.M. Miller (1975) and P.M. Arnold (1990) have challenged this identification and proposed that Gibeah should be identified with Geba (modern Jabaʿ). But this proposal has been rejected due to the fact that Gibeah belonged to a group of sites whose precise location was already lost in ancient times. The name Gibeah was   transferred as Geba to the place now known as Jabaʿ. Moreover, there is no archaeological evidence to support Miller or Arnold's claims, and in recent surveys Jabaʿ produced ceramics of the Iron Age II as well from the Persian period, but none from the Iron Age I. Tell el-Ful, however, produced ample evidence from the Iron Age I. Tell el-Ful is also an extremely commanding and important site; the view from the summit covers a wide area. The strong fortress (or tower) at the summit is situated on the main trade route leading from Jerusalem to the north, and from the coast in the west to Moab and Ammon in the east. No other proposed site in the vicinity has such obvious advantages. Tell el-Ful was excavated by W.F. Albright (in 1922–23, and in 1933) and by P.W. Lapp (1964). Five phases of occupation were uncovered, from the Iron Age I period to the Roman Period. These include a new fortress from the fourth century B.C.E. which survived until the second century B.C.E. (Josephus, Wars, 5:51 mentions Gibeah as a settlement situated 30 ris (3.5 miles) north of Jerusalem; Titus camped there on his way to Jerusalem, and eventually his troops destroyed it.) The site continued to exist until the time of bar kokhba (132–35 B.C.E.). The earliest occupation, however, appears to have been in the Middle Bronze II (c. 2000–1550 B.C.E.) as is indicated by pottery and a mace-head. No building remains dating from earlier than the Iron Age have been discovered on the summit of the hill, though MB buildings were excavated in 1995–96 on the lower east slope. The stratum with archaeological remains most relevant to our topic is from the Iron Age I and was divided into three "periods": 1\. Period I: miscellaneous constructions that antedated the foundation of the fortress and which were destroyed by fire 2\. Period II: Fortress I, destroyed by a massive fire 3\. Period II: Fortress II, a second fortress which was a reconstruction of the first one, and eventually abandoned. Paul Lapp's main objection to Albright's result was the suggestion that during Period II at Tell el-Ful an entire fortress existed at the site. In addition, Albright suggested that towers were built at each one of the four corners of the fortress which, when reconstructed, measured 203 × 187 ft. (62 × 57 m.). However, in actual fact the contour of the mound precludes such an extension of the fort eastwards; and since the tower which Albright discovered stood at a height of 10 ft. (3 m.) and was well preserved; it is not clear why traces of the fort have not been discovered elsewhere at the site. The evidence so far indicates that there was only one solitary massive tower, not a fortress, during Tell el-Ful Period II (i.e., the period of Saul). It is possible, however, that at the time of Saul only the tower was necessary and that additional walls were added later. The main reason for the uncertainty in dating the early archaeological periods at Tell el-Ful stems from the attempts to correlate the archaeological finds with the biblical story in Judges 19–21. Albright (1924, 45) dated the foundation of Tell el-Ful to 1230 B.C.E. and the fortress to 1200 B.C.E. Albright was convinced that the archaeological results supported the story as it appears in Judges and dated the destruction of Gibeah in this story to 1100 B.C.E. Albright based this on the assumption that the Benjaminites' war must have occurred long before Saul's accession to kingship; by which time the atrocities at Gibeah would have been forgotten. The second period Albright (1933, 8) assigned to the time of Saul on the evidence of potsherds attributed to the last phase of Iron I and before the transition to Iron II period in the 10th century. However, the archaeological data from Tell el-Ful does not provide enough substantial evidence from which an accurate chronology may be deduced. Therefore, consideration should be made of A. Mazar's (1981, 1–36) dating considerations at the site of Giloh. The settlement at Giloh (south of the Rephaim Valley, and a twin site of Tell el-Ful) was founded about the time Lachish was destroyed in the reign of Rameses III, c. 1184–1153, i.e., in the first half of the 12th century B.C.E. It is not possible to determine whether this was a few years before or after the destruction. Some of the vessels which appear at Giloh have parallels at Lachish, but other types especially the "collared rim" jars and some of the cooking pots do not appear at Lachish. Taking this dating into consideration one may assume that Period I at Tell el-Ful (like Giloh) was constructed some time around 1153 B.C.E. at the latest, even though there is no clear indication as to how long the Period I settlement survived or how many years elapsed between Period I and Period II at Tell el-Ful. Lapp's excavation results allowed Period I to run for 50 years from 1200 to 1150, though a slight modification must also be made. Thus 50 years should be allowed for Period I, from 1153 B.C.E., placing Period II (i.e., Saul's period) roughly about 1100 B.C.E. It is generally accepted that Saul reigned for a period of about 20 years. It has been argued (Shalom Brooks, 1997) that there was a gap of at least 17 years between Saul's death and David's accession to the throne. Hence, taking away about 40 years from 1100 B.C.E. brings us closer to the date of c. 1060–1050 B.C.E., the time which marks the end of the rule of the house of Saul, contrary to the generally accepted dates for Saul, i.e., 1025–1005 B.C.E. In concluding this discussion it is possible to propose that the end of Period I at Tell el-Ful (most probably a Philistine post, defeated by Saul as described in I Samuel 13–14), ended by fire some time before or around 1100 B.C.E. It is possible also that Saul built the large tower (Period II, fortress I) and that it ended with a violent destruction after Saul's death. The second fortress (Period II fortress II) was built almost immediately after the first one was destroyed as a rebuilding of the first fortress. This fortress, according to the archaeological finds, survived for a short period of about 10 years. Because the fortress was built immediately after the first one had been destroyed, with the building following almost exactly the same plan, it might be suggested that the builder was possibly closely connected with Saul. That person may have been Abner, Saul's uncle, or Ishbaal, Saul's son. Is it possible that they tried to rebuild Saul's tower in order to resettle Saul's town?   Abner was murdered a few years later (II Sam 3:27), which would explain why fortress II was abandoned. The archaeological evidence shows that Gibeah stood in ruins until the eight century B.C.E. No attempts were made to rebuild or inhabit the site. Perhaps it was during this period that the story in Judges was written to explain why Gibeah had been destroyed. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: W.F. Albright, Excavation and Results at Tell el-Ful (Gibeah of Saul), Annual of the American School of Oriental Research, 4 (1924); idem, "A New Campaign of Excavation at Gibeah of Saul," in: Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research, 52 (1933), 6–12; P.M. Arnold, Gibeah, In Search of a Biblical City (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement 79, 1990); N.L. Lapp, The Tale of a Tell (1975); idem, The Third Campaign at Tell el-Ful: Excavations of 1964, Annual of the American School of Oriental Research, 45 (1981); A. Mazar, "Giloh: An Early Israelite Site Near Jerusalem," in: IEJ, 31:1–36; J.M. Miller, "Geba/Gibeah of Benjamin," in: VT, 25 (1975), 145–66; E. Robinson, Biblical Researchers in Palestine, Mount Sinai and Arabia Petraea. A Journal of Travels in the Year 1838 (1852); S. Shalom Brooks, "Was There A Concubine at Gibeah?"in: Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society, 15 (1996–97) 31–40; idem, Saul and the Monarchy: A New Look (2005). (Simcha Shalom Brooks (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • GEBA — (Heb. גֶּבַע; hill ), common name of inhabited places in Ereẓ Israel from biblical times onward; its Arabic form (Jabaʿ) has survived in the names of several Arab villages. Important places bearing this name include: (1) A city of benjamin , near …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Geba —    The hill, (2 Sam. 5:25 [1 Chr. 14:16, Gibeon ]; 2 Kings 23:8; Neh. 11:31), a Levitical city of Benjamin (1 Kings 15:22; 1 Sam. 13:16; 14:5, wrongly Gibeah in the A.V.), on the north border of Judah near Gibeah (Isa. 10:29; Josh. 18:24, 28).… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • Geba — The article is about the Biblical location. For the Naxi writing system, see Geba script. Geba the hill, (2 Kings 23:8; Neh. 11:31), a Levitical city of Benjamin on the north border of Judah near Gibeah. (Isa. 10:29; Josh. 18:24, 28) It has been… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Gibeah — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle at Gibeah partof= Book of Judges caption= A Levite and his wife are given lodging in the city of Gibeah. date=Sometimes between 1200 1000 b.c., at the time of Israelite judges place=Gibeah, Canaan casus=… …   Wikipedia

  • Saul —    Asked for.    1) A king of Edom (Gen. 36:37, 38); called Shaul in 1 Chr. 1:48.    2) The son of Kish (probably his only son, and a child of prayer, asked for ), of the tribe of Benjamin, the first king of the Jewish nation. The singular… …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • ГИВА — (Гивея; Гивеаф) [евр. , холм, возвышенность], г. в уделе колена Вениаминова, называемый в Книге Судей Гивой Вениаминов (Суд 19. 13 14 и др.), а в книгах Царств Гивой Сауловой (1 Цар 11. 4 и др.) (см.: Симфония. М., 1988. Т. 1. С. 598 599). С… …   Православная энциклопедия

  • ГЕВА — [Гаваон; Гавая; евр. ; ], г. в уделе колена Вениаминова (Нав 18. 24), переданный во владение левитам (Нав 21. 17), находился между Рамой и Михмасом. В Г. войска филистимлян потерпели поражение от царя Давида (2 Цар 5. 25). Г. часто упоминается в… …   Православная энциклопедия

  • Ramah in Benjamin — is a city of ancient Israel. It was located near Gibeon and Mizpah to the West, Gibeah to the South, and Geba to the East. It is identified with modern Er Ram, about 8 km north of Jerusalem. The city is first mentioned in Joshua 18:25, near… …   Wikipedia

  • 1 Samuel 13 — 1 Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, 2 Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin:… …   The King James version of the Bible

  • SAUL — (Heb. שָׁאוּל; asked, requested, lent (by the Lord) ), the first king of Israel (c. 1029–1005 B.C.E.); son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin (I Sam. 9:1, 21). Saul s home was in Gibeah (ibid. 10:26), i.e., Gibeath Benjamin, also known as Gibeath …   Encyclopedia of Judaism