Hill is the rendering of the following original words in the Auth. Vers. of the Bible. SEE PALESTINE.
1. Gib'ah,', גַּבעָה, from a root akin to גָּבִע, to be high, which seems to have the force of curvature or humpishness. A word involving this idea is peculiarly applicable to the rounded hills of Palestine, and from it are derived, as has been pointed out under GIBEAH, the names of several places situated on hills. Our translators have been consistent in rendering gib'ah by "hill:" in four passages only qualifying it as "little hill," doubtless for the more complete antithesis to "mountain" (Ps 65:12; Ps 72:3; Ps 114:4,6). SEE TOPOGRAPHICAL TERMS.
2. But they have also employed the same English word for the very different term bar, הִר, which has a much more extended sense than gib'ah, meaning a whole district rather than an individual eminence, and to which our word "mountain" answers with tolerable accuracy. This exchange is always undesirable, but it sometimes occurs so as to confuse the meaning of a passage where it is desirable that the topography should be unmistakable. For instance, in Eze 24:4, the "hill" is the same which is elsewhere in the same chapter (ver. 12, 13, 18, etc.) and book consistently and accurately rendered "mount" and "mountain." In Nu 14:44-45, the "hill" is the "mountain" of verse 40, as also in De 1:41,43, compared with 24, 44. In Jos 15:9, the allusion is to the Mount of Olives, correctly called "mountain" in the preceding verse; and so also in 2Sa 16:13. The country of the "hills," in De 1:7; Jos 9:1; Jos 10:40; Jos 11:16, is the elevated district of Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim, which is correctly called "the mountain" in the earliest descriptions of Palestine (Nu 13:29), and in many subsequent passages. The "holy hill" (Ps 3:4), the "hill of Jehovah" (Ps 24:3), the "hill of God" (Ps 68:15). are nothing else than "Mount Zion." In 2Ki 1:9; 2Ki 4:27, the use of the word "hill" obscures the allusion to Carmel, which in other passages of the life of the prophet (e.g. 1Ki 18:19; 2Ki 4:25) has the term "mount" correctly attached to it. Other places in the historical books in which the same substitution weakens the force of the narrative are as follows: Ge 7:19; De 8:7; Jos 13:6; Jos 18:13-14; Jg 16:3; 1Sa 23:14; 1Sa 25:20; 1Sa 26:13; 2Sa 13:34; 2Sa 1 Kings, 20:23, 28; 22:17, etc. SEE MOUNTAIN.
3. On one occasion the word ma'aleh', מִעֲלֶה, is rendered "hill," viz. 1Sa 9:11, where it would be better to employ "ascent," or some similar term. SEE MAALEH.
4. In the N.T. the word "hill" is employed to render the Greek word βουνός; but on one occasion it is used for ὄρος, elsewhere "mountain," so as to obscure the connection between the two parts of the same narrative. The "hill" from which Jesus was coming down in Lu 9:36, is the same as "the mountain" into which he had gone for his transfiguration the day before (comp. verse 28). In Mt 5:14, and Lu 4:29, ὄρος is also rendered "hill," but not with the inconvenience just noticed. In Lu 1:39, the "hill country" (ἡ ὀρεινή) is the same "mountain of Judah" to which frequent reference is made in the Old Testament. SEE JUDAH, TRIBE OF.