Hesh'bon (Hebrew Cheshbon', חֶשׁבּוֹן, intelligence, as in Ec 7:25, etc.; Sept. Ε᾿σεβών; Josephus), a town in the southern district of the Hebrew territory beyond the Jordan, on the western border of the high plain (Mishor, Jos 13:17). It originally belonged to the Moabites, but when the Israelites arrived from Egypt it was- found to be-in the possession of the Amorites, whose king, Sihon, is styled both king of the Amorites and king of Heshbon, and is expressly said to have "reigned in Heshbon" (Jos 3:10; comp. Nu 21:26; De 2:9). It was taken by Moses (Nu 21:23-26), and eventually became a Levitical city (Jos 21:39; 1Ch 6:81) in the tribe of Reuben (Nu 32:37; Jos 13:17); but, being on the confines of Gad, is sometimes assigned to the latter tribe (Jos 21:39; 1Ch 6:81). After the Ten Tribes were sent into exile, Heshbon was taken possession of by the Moabites, and hence is mentioned by the prophets in their declarations against Moab (Isa 15:4; Jer 48:2,34,45). Under king Alexander Janneus we find it again reckoned as a Jewish city (Josephus, Ant. 13, 15, 4). Pliny mentions a tribe of Arabs called Esbonitae (Hist. Nat. 5, 11; comp. Abulfeda, Tab. Syr. p. 11). In the time of Eusebius and Jerome (Ononmast. s.v. Ε᾿σσεβών) it was still a place of some consequence under the name of Esbus (Ε᾿σβούς), but at the present day it is known by its ancient name, in the slightly modified form of Hesban. The region was first visited in modern times by Seetzen. The site is twenty miles east of the Jordan, on the parallel of the northern end of the Dead Sea. , The ruins of a considerable town still exist, covering the sides of an insulated hill, but not a single edifice is left entire. The view from the summit is very extensive, embracing the ruins of a vast number of cities, the names of some of which bear a strong resemblance to those mentioned in Scripture. These environs, occupying the elevated plain between the mountains of Jazer and the Jabbok, seem to be referred to in Jos 13:16. There are reservoirs connected with this and the other towns of this region. These have been supposed to be the "fish-pools" (בּרֵכוֹת, cisterns) of Heshbon mentioned by Solomon (Song 7:4) SEE BATH- RABBIAM; but say Irby and Mangles, "The ruins are uninteresting, and the only pool we saw was too insignificant to be one of those mentioned in Scripture" (p. 472). In two of the cisterns among the ruins they found about three dozen of human skulls and bones, which they justly regarded as an illustration (of Ge 37:20 (Travels, p. 472; see also George Robinson, lord Lindsay, Schwarz, Tristram, etc.). Dr. Macmichael and his party went to look for these pools, but they found only one, which was extremely insignificant. This is probably the reservoir mentioned by Burckhardt (Syria, p. 365). Mr. Buckingham, however, says, "The large reservoir to the south of the town, and about half a mile from the foot of the hill on which it stands, is constructed with good masonry, and not unlike the cisterns of Solomon, near Jerusalem, to which it is also nearly equal in size." Towards the western part of the hill is a singular structure, whose crumbling ruins exhibit the workmanship of successive ages the massive stones of the Jewish period, the sculptured cornice of the Roman era, and the light Saracenic arch, all grouped together (Porter, Handb. for Palest. p. 298).

Bible concordance for HESHBON.

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