Gib'eah (Heb. Gibah', גִּבַ ה, a hill, as the word is sometimes rendered; likewise the Sept., which usually has Γαβαά, but in Joshua 18 Γαβαάθ; Josephus Γαβαθή, Ant. 6:4, 6), the name of three cities, all doubtless situated on hills. The term is derived, according to Geseneius (Thes. pages 259, 260), from a root, גָּכִ , nignifying to be round or humped (compare the Latin gibbus, Eng. gibbous; the Arabic jebel, a mountain, and the German gipfel). It is employed in the Heb. Bible to denote a "hill," that is, an eminence of less considerable height and extent than a "mountain," the term for which is הִר, har. For the distinction between the two terms, see Ps 148:9; Pr 8:25; Isa 2:2; Isa 40:4, etc. In the historical books gibeah is commonly applied to the hald, rounded hells of Central Palestine, especially in the neighborhood of Jerusalem (Stanley, Palest. App. § 25). There is no lack of the corresponsding name among the villages of Central Palestine. Several of these are merely mentioned as appellatives:
(1.) The "bill of the foreskins" (Jos 5:3), between the Jordan and Jericho; it derives its name from the circumcision which took place there, and the vicinity seems afterwards to heave received the name of GILGAL SEE GILGAL (q.v.).
(2.) "The hill" of Kiajath-jearim, a place in which the ark remained from the time of its return by the Philistines till its removal by David (2Sa 6:3-4; comp. 1Sa 7:1-2). SEE KIRJATH-JEARIM.
(3.) The hill of Moreh (Jg 7:1). SEE MOREH
(4.) The hill of God — Gibeah ha-Elohim (1Sa 10:5); one of the places in the route of Saul, which is so difficult to trace. In verses 10 and 13 it is apparently called "the bill," and "the high place." SEE ELOHIM. (5.) The hill of Hachilah (1Sa 23:19; 1Sa 26:1). SEE HACIHILAH. (6.) The hill of Ammah (2Sa 2:24). SEE AMAMAH. (7.) The hill of Gareb (Jer 31:39). SEE GAREB. — Smith, s.v.
1. GIBEAH, OF BENJAMIN is historically the most important of the places bearing this name. It is called "Gibeah of Beenjanmin" (1Sa 13:15; 2Sa 23:29) and "Gibeah of Saul" (1Sa 11:4; Isa 10:19; λόφος Σαούλου, Josephus, War, 5:2, 1); also "Gibeah of God," rendered hill of God (1Sa 10:5); and GIBEATH (Jos 18:28, where it is enumerated among the last group of the towns of Benjamin, next to Jerusalem). This last name (גִּבַ ת, which frequently appears elsewhere in the original), being the form of GIBEAH in the construct state, has been joined by some to the following name, i.e., "Gibeah of Kirjath-jearim" (Schwarz, Phys. Descrip. of Palestine, page 132); but these two cities are evidently counted separately in the text. Others regard "Gibeah" here as a mere appellative denoting some hill near Kirjath-jearim (compare 1Sa 7:1-2). This city is often mentioned in Scripture (Ho 5:8; Ho 9:9; Ho 10:9; 1Sa 10:26). It was the scene of the atrocious crime which involved in its consequences almost the entire extirpation of the tribe of Benjamin (Jg 19:12-30; Jg 20:48). It soon recovered from that eventful siege and sack. It was the birth-place of Saul, and continued to be his residence after he became king (1Sa 10:26; 1Sa 11:4; 1Sa 15:33; 1Sa 23:19; 1Sa 26:1); and it was doubtless on account of this its intimate connection with Saul that the Gibeonites hanged up here his seven descendants (2Sa 21:6). An erroneous translation of the name has led to the misapprehension that this was the scene of Jonathan's romantic exploits against the Philistines (1 Samuel 14). SEE GEBA. Like Bethel, it seems to have been reckoned among the ancient sanctuaries of Palestine (1Sa 10:5-6; 1Sa 15:34; 1Sa 23:19; 1Sa 26:1; 2Sa 21:6-10). The inhabitants were called Gibeathites (1Ch 12:3). Josephus locates it twenty (Ant. 5:2, 8) or thirty (War, 5:2, 1, Γαβαθσαούλη) stadia north of Jerusalem. Jerome speaks of Gibeah as, in his time, level with the ground (Ep. 86, ad Eustoch.), and since then it does not appear to have been visited by travelers till recently. Dr. Robinson at first identified it with Jeba, a half-ruined place about five miles north by east of Jerusalem (Researches, 2:114); but he afterwards retracted this position as being that of GEBA (Bibliotheca Sacra, 1844, page 598); and he has, finally fixed upon Tell el-Ful, about four miles north by west of Jerusalem, as the site of Gibeah of Saul (new ed. of Researches, 3:286). Tell el-Ful ("hill of the bean") is a high knoll, with a curiously knobbed and double top, having a large heap of stones upon it. There seems to have originally been here a square tower, fifty-six feet by forty-eight, built of large unhewn stones, and apparently ancient; this has been thrown down, and the stones and rubbish, falling outside, have assumed the form of a large pyramidal mound. No trace of other foundations is to be seen. The spot is sightly, and commands a very extensive view of the country in all directions, especially towards the east. There are no other remains around the hill itself; but a few rods further west, directly upon the great road as it enters the lower plain or valley, there are seen a number of ancient substructions, consisting of large unhewn stones in low massive walls. Probably the ancient city extended down from the hill on this side and included this spot (Robinson, in Researches and Biblioth. Sacra, ut sup.; Stanley's Palestine, page 210). The ancient road from Jerusalem to Bethel and Shechem passes close along its western base, and Ramah is in full view on another hill two miles further north (Handbook of S. and P. page 325). The narrative of the Levite's journey is thus made remarkably graphic. He left Bethlehem in the afternoon to go home to Mount Ephraim. Two hours' travel (six miles) brought him alongside Jerusalem. Evening was now approaching. His servant advised him to lodge in Jebus, but he declined to stop with strangers, and said he would pass on to Gibeah or Ramah. The "sun went down upon them when they were by Gibeah," and they resolved to pass the night there (Judges 19). The site of Gibeah was well adapted to form the capital of Israel during the troublous times of Saul, when the whole country was overrun by the hostile bands of the Philistines. It was naturally strong, it was on the very crest of the mountain range, and it commanded a wide view, so that Saul's watchmen could give timely notice of the approach of the enemy.
2. GIBEAH OF JUDAH, situated in the mountains of that tribe (Jos 15:57, where it is named with Maon and the southern Carmnel; compare 1Ch 2:49), which, under the name of Gabatha (Γαβαθά), Eusebius and Jerome place twelve Roman miles from Eleutheropolis, and state that the grave of the prophet Habakkuk was there to be seen (Onomasticon, s.v. Γαβαάθ, Gabaath; although they there confound it with the Gibeah of Phinehas in Ephraim, and elsewhere [s.v. Κεειλά, Ceila] state that Habakkuk's tomb was shown in Keilah), or, more probably, one of those by a similar name (Γαβαά, Γαβαθα) lying in the Daroma or near Bethlehem (ib. s.v. Γαβαθών, Gabathon). Dr. Robinson (Researches, 2:327) identifies it with the village of Jebah, which stands upon an isolated hill, in the midst of wady el-Mussur, about ten miles southwest of Jerusalem; but this is too far from the associated names in Joshua, which require a location southeast of Hebron (Kil, Comment. ad loc.), possibly at the ruins on a mound with caves marked as Erfaiyeh on Van de Velde's Map east of tell Zif. SEE JUDAH.
3. GIBEAH OF PHINEHAS, in Mount Ephraim, where the high-priest Eleazar, son of Aaron, was buried by his son Phinehas (Jos 24:33, where the name is rendered "hill of Phinehas"). Eusebius and Jerome (Onomast. s.v. Γηβενά, Gebin) probably mention this place by the name of Geba (although they incorrectly identify this with the Gebim of Isa 10:31) (s.v. "Gebim"), five Roman miles from Gophna, on the road to Neapolis (Shechem), which was itself fifteen Roman miles north of Jerusalem. Josephus appears also to allude to it (Γαβαθά, Ant. 5:1, 20). Dr. Robinson (Researches, 3:80, note) finds it in a narrow valley called wady el-Jib, the Geeb of Maundrell, lying just midway on the road between Jerusalem and Shechem; the indication of direction in the Onomasticon agrees with the position of the village Jibed (located on that wady), west of the Nablus road, half way between Bethel and Shiloh (Van de Velde, Memoir, p. £15), but the distance still better suits that of the Moslem ruined village Jibia, west of this (Robinson, Researches, 3, Append. page 125; Van de Velde, Map).