Em'maiis (Ε᾿μμαούς, prob. from יֵמַים, hot baths, see Ge 36:24), the name of three places in Palestine.
1. A village (κώμη) 60 stadia (A.V. "furlongs") or 7 miles from Jerusalem, noted for our Lord's interview with two disciples on the day of his resurrection (Lu 24:13). The same place is mentioned by Josephus (War, 7:6, 6), and placed at the same distance from Jerusalem, in stating that Vespasian left 800 soldiers in Judaea, to whom he gave the village of Ammaiis (Α᾿μμαοῦς). The direction, however, is not given in either passage. Eusebius and Jerome (Onomast. s.v. Ε᾿μμαοῦς, Emmaus) hold that it is identical with Nicopolis [see Number 2, below]; and they were followed by all geographers down to the commencement of the 14th century (Reland, Palaest. page 758). Then, for some reason, it began to be supposed that the site of Emmaus was at the little village of Kubeibeh, about 3 miles W. of Neby Samwil, the eminence N.W. of Jerusalem (Maundeville, in Early Travels in Palestine, page 175; Ludolph. de Suchem, Itiner.; Quaresmius, 2:719; Robinson, Bib. Res. 3:66, note). Mr. Williams regards Kuriet el-Enab as the true location (Journal of Philology, 4:26), and Thomson inclines to the same position (Land and Book, 2:308); but this view has little to recommend it, and the locality is otherwise appropriated. SEE KIRJATH-JEARIM. Schwarz thinks it different from Nicopolis, and that it is mentioned in the Talmud as Barur Chayil (בָּרוּר חִיַל , i.e., chosen of the army) or Gibbor Chayil (גַּבּוֹר חִיל, i.e., heroes of the army, as being occupied by Roman veterans), a name that he finds in "some ruins which the Arabs call Barburaia, S. of Saris, 7½ Eng. miles from Jerusalem" (Palest. pages 117, 118); but no such name appears on Van de Velde's Map (which lays down Saris at 7 miles N. of W. from Jerusalem). In this uncertainty, the monkish identification with el-KubeiLeh ("the little dome") may for the present be acquiesced in. This corresponds sufficiently in distance from Jerusalem (Raumer, Paldat. page 169), being 7500 paces (Cotovicus, page 315), or 21 hours to the N.W. (Van de Velde, Memoir, page 309); and containing the ruins of a convent and church (Tobler, Topooroph. von. Jerus. 2:540), although Dr. Robinson describes it (Bib. Res. 2:394) as "a village built up by the government of Gaza on a stony, barren hill, without anything to mark it particularly as an ancient site." On the evangelical incident at this place there are treatises in Latin by Harenberg (in his Otia Gandersh. page 41-60); Walch (Jen. 1754). Zschokke (Das neutest. Emmaus beleuchtet, Schaffh. 1865) argues at length in favor of the modern traditionary site; and the chief building on the spot, known as the "castrum Arnoldi," has lately been bought by some zealous Catholics as a "holy place" (Bibliotheca Sacra. July, 1866, page 517).
2. EMMAUS (Ε᾿μμαούς, 1 Macc. 3:40, etc; Α᾿μμαούς, Josephus, War, 2:20, 4) or NICOPOLIS, a town in the plain of Philistia, at the foot of the mountains of Judah (Jerome, in Daniel 8), 22 Roman miles from Jerusalem, and 10 from Lydda (Itin. Hieros. ed. Hessel, page 600; Reland, Palest. page 309). The name does not occur in the O.T.; but the town rose to importance during the later history of the Jews, and was a place of note in the wars of the Asmonaeans. It was fortified by Bacchides, the general of Antiochus Epiphanes, when he was engaged in the war with Jonathan Maccabaeus (Josephus, Ant. 13:1, 3; 1 Macc. 9:50). It was in the plain beside this city that Judas Maccabaeus so signally defeated the Syrians with a mere handful of men, as related in 1 Macc. 3:57; 4:3; 9:50. Under the Romans, Emmaus became the capital of a toparchy (Josephus, War, 3:3, 5; Pliny, 5:14). It was burned by the Roman general Varus about A.D. 4. In the 3d century (about A.D. 220) it was rebuilt through the exertions of Julius Africanus, the well-known Christian writer, and then received the name Nicopolis. Eusebius and Jerome frequently refer to it in defining the positions of neighboring towns and villages (Chron. Pas. ad A.C. 223; Reland, page 759). Early writers mention a fountain at Emmaus, famous far and wide for its healing virtues (Sozomen, Hist. Eccl. 5:21); the cause of this Theophanes ascribes to the fact that our Lord on one occasion washed his feet in it (Chron. page 41). The Crusaders still called it Nicopolis, but confounded it with a small fortress farther south, on the Jerusalem road, now called Latron (Will. Tyr. Hist. 7:24). A small, miserable village called 'Amwas still occupies the site of the ancient city. It stands on the western declivity of a low, rocky hill commanding the plain, and contains the ruins of an old church a little south of the village, also two copious fountains, one of which is doubtless the ancient medicinal spring (Robinson, Researches, 2:363; Later Res. page 146, 147; Thomson, Land and Book, 2:290).
Dr. Robinson has recently revived the old theory that the Emmaus of Luke is identical with Nicopolis, and has supported it with his wonted learning, but not with his wonted conclusiveness (Bib. Res. 3:65, 66; Later Res. page 148). He endeavors to cast doubts on the accuracy of the reading ἑξήκοντα in Lu 24:13, because several uncial MSS. and a few unimportant cursive MSS. insert έκατόν, thus making the distance 160 stadia, which would nearly correspond to the distance of Nicopolis. But the best MSS. have not this word, and the best critics regard it as an interpolation. There is a strong probability that some copyist who was acquainted with the city, but not the village of Emmaus, tried thus to reconcile Scripture with his ideas of geography. The opinions of Eusebius, Jerome, and their followers, on a point such as this, are not of very great authority. When the name of any noted place agreed with one in the Bible they were not always careful to see whether the position corresponded in like manner. Emmaus-Nicopolis being a noted city in their day, they were led somewhat rashly to confound it with the Emmaus of the Gospel. The circumstances of the narrative are plainly opposed to the identity. The two disciples, having journeyed from Jerusalem, to Emmaus in part of a day (Lu 24:28-29), left the latter again after the evening meal, and reached Jerusalem before it was very late (verses 33, 42, 43). Now, if we take into account the distance, and the nature of the road, leading up a steep and difficult mountain, we must admit that such a journey could not be accomplished in less than from six to seven hours, so that they could not have arrived in Jerusalem till long past midnight. This fact seems conclusive against the identity of Nicopolis and the Emmaus of Luke (Reland, Palest. page 427 sq.; Van de Velde, Memoir, page 309).
3. The name Emmaus, or Ammaus (Α᾿μμαούς), was also borne by a village of Galilee close to Tiberias; probably the ancient HAMMATH SEE HAMMATH (q.v.), i.e., hot springs of which name Emmaus was but a corruption. The hot springs still remained in the time of Josephus, and are mentioned by him as giving name to the place (War, 4:1, 3; Ant. 18:2, 3).