Hel'bon (Heb. Chelbon', חֶלבוֹן, feet, i.e. fertile; Sept. Χελβών v.r. Χεβρών), a name which occurs only in Eze 27:18, where "the wine of Helbon" is named among the commodities brought from Damascus to the great market of Tyre. The Syriac, Symmachus, the Chaldee, and Vulgate, all regard the 'word as an appellative descriptive of the quality of the wine as pingue vinuni or vinumu dulce coctum. — But it is better to accept the indication of the Sept., which, by giving the proper name Χελβών, must be supposed to have had in view a place, which has hence generally been inferred to be the same with that old city of Syria that appears under the form of Chalybon (Χαλυβάν) in Ptolemy (Geog. 5, 15) and Strabo (15, 505). — The latter author mentions this Chalybon as a place famous for wine; and in describing the luxury of the kings of Persia, he says they would have wheat brought from Assos in Eolia, Chalybonian wine out of Syria, and water from the Eulaeus (the river Ulai of Da 8:2), which was the lightest of any. Both Hesychius and Plutarch (Vit. Alex. 2) speak of this famous wine. It has generally been thought that the name was derived from Chalybon, where it was supposed the wine was produced. But is it not strange that Damascus should be represented as supplying the wine of Helbon to the marts of Tyre? Why would not the native merchants themselves carry it thither? A passage which Bochart quotes from Athenaeus (1, 51) throws light on this point: "The king of the Persians drank Chalybonian wine alone; which, says Poseidonius, was also produced in Damascus" (Bochart, Opp. 2, 486). We are thus led, both by the statement of Ezekiel and by that of Poseidonius, who was himself a native of Syria, to look for a Helbon or Chalybon at or near Damascus. Seleucus Nicator is said to have changed the name to Bercea (Niceph. Callist. 14:39); but the old name, as we see from Ptolemy, was not forgotten, and on the capture of the city by the Arabs in the 7th century it was again resumed (Schultens, Index Geogr. in vitam Saladini, s.v. Halebum). The city referred to has usually been identified with the modern Aleppo, a large city of Syria. called Huleb by the Arabs; but Russel states (Natural Hist. of Aleppo Lond. 1794, 1, 80) that but little wine is made there, and that the white wines especially are poor and thin, and difficult to keep; nor has this place ever obtained any celebrity for its vintages. Hence Prof. Hackett is inclined to adopt the suggestion made to him while visiting this region in 1852 by Dr. Paulding, one of the American missionaries there, that the Biblical Helbon should rather be sought in one of the principal villages of the same name lying in the wady. Helbon, on the eastern slope of Anti-Lebanon, north of the Barrada. He was informed by those who had visited the place that the grapes produced there are remarkable for their fine quality, and that the wine obtained from them is regarded as the choice wine of that part of Syria (Illustrations of Scripture, N. York, 1855, p. 214). Dr. Robinson, to whom he mentioned this suggestion, visited the place in his last journey to Palestine, and fully accords with the identification. He thus describes the valley and town: "Wady Helbon is a valley an hour or more in length, shut in by high and rugged sides. The bottom is a strip of level ground, everywhere well cultivated. Throughout the whole extent of the valley there are well-kept vineyards. Even places so steep that the vinedresser cal approach them with difficulty are made to produce an abundance of grapes. In Damascus the grapes are chiefly esteemed for their fine flavor, and from them is made the best and most highly prized wine of the country. The village of Helbon is nearly midway up the valley. There are many ruins in and around it, but mostly dilapidated; and hewn stones, capitals, friezes, and broken columns are built into the walls of the modem dwellings. On the west of the village is an extensive ruin, supposed to have once been a temple. On some of the blocks are fragments of Greek inscriptions no longer legible" (new ed. of Researches, 3, 471, 472).

Bible concordance for HELBON.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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