Gibeon in the Old Testament

Chief of the four Hivite (in 2 Sam. 21 called by the general name "Amorite") cities which obtained a league from Joshua by guile (Josh. 9). Gibeon "a great city like one of the royal cities, greater than Ai" (Josh. 10:2); "all its men were mighty."

Within Benjamin; by the main road. six and a half miles from Jerusalem; allotted to the priests (Josh. 21:17). Ninety-five men of Gibeon returned with Zerubbabel, and helped in repairing the wall of Jerusalem under Nehemiah (Neh. 3:7; 7:25). Here the Jews defeated Cestius Gallus and the Romans.

Now el Jib, on a rounded chalk hill the limestone strata of which lie horizontally, forming terraces along which olives and vines abound, with a basin of broad valleys and plains below. E. of the hill is a spring and reservoir.

The remains of a tank 120 ft. by 100 ft. are visible still amidst the trees lower down; this was "the pool of Gibeon" where Abner's and Joab's men had the encounter ending in Asahel's death and issuing in Abner's own murder.

At the "great waters of Gibeon" Johanan son of Kareah found the treacherous Ishmael (Jer. 41:12). Here were encamped the five kings of the Amorites when Joshua came down on them from Gilgal (Josephus, Ant. 5:1, section 17).

The "wilderness (midbar, pasture ground) of Gibeon" lay to the E. (2 Sam. 2:24.) Here immediately at "the great stone in Gibeon," some old landmark, Joab pursuing the Benjamite rebel Sheba among the towns of his tribe met and treacherously murdered Amasa (2 Sam. 20:5-10).

Retributively it was here also that Joab met his doom from Benaiah while clinging to the brazen altar of the tabernacle at Gibeon (1 Kings 2:28-34; 1 Chr. 16:39-41.) To "the great high place" (whether Neby Samwil, the highest eminence about, at a mile's distance, or the twin mount on the S. and close to el Jib) the tabernacle was removed from Nob after Saul's slaughter of the priests there.

David put the brazen altar before the tabernacle (2 Chr. 1:5) probably at the same time lie removed the ark to Zion and appointed the priests under Zadok to offer the daily sacrifices, and Heman and Jeduthun to direct the music (2 Chr. 1:3).

Here Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings, and God appeared in a dream by night and gave him all and more than he asked (1 Kings 3). Then in a few years the tabernacle was taken down and the holy vessels removed to the temple (1 Kings 8:3).


International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, which is in the public domain (with minor edits).