Gibeon, Pool of

Gibeon, Pool Of

(2Sa 2:13). The following interesting account of the waters in the vicinity of Gibeon is given by lieut. Conder (Quar. Statement of the "Palest. Explor. Fund," October, 1881, page 255 sq.):

"El-Jib, the modern village, occupies the north end of a detached hill some 200 feet high, surrounded by broad, fiat corn valleys on every side. The inhabitants state that the old city stood on the south part of the hill and here, in the sides of the natural scarps which fortify the site, we visited and explored some twenty rock-cut tombs. There are eight springs on the hill, the largest, or the last, being one of the finest supplies of water in this part of Palestine. One of the springs is called el-Birkeh (corresponding to the בּרֵכָהor 'pool' of the above passage), and flows into a rock-cut tank measuring eleven feet by seven, the water issuing from a small cave. This place is south-west of the village, and close to the main road east and west through Gibeon. The pool is cut in the face of a cliff, and has a wall of rock about three and a half feet high on the west. Above it grows a pomegranate tree, and near it are tombs in the cliff. "It is possible, however, that the great spring ('Ain el- Belled) is the place intended in the episode of Joab's enonanter, as it wells up in a chamber some thirty feet long and seven feet wide, reached by a descent of several steps, and there is said to be a passage with steps leading up from the back of the cave to the surface above. As the water is some five feet deep. and the passage is now stopped up, we did not attempt to enter it. It is clear, however, that a door of some kind once existed at the present entrance to the cave, and it would appear that the inhabitants of Gibeon were thus able to close their spring below, and to obtain access to it from above within the city. The spring in question, like many of the famous fountains in Palestine, is held sacred by the Fellabin. An earthenware lamp is occasionally lighted in the chamber. Close by is a little rock chamber with a rude in masonry wall."

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