Nob (Heb. id. נֹב, prob. an elevation; Sept. Νόβ, Νόβα, Νομβά, v. r. Νόμμα, Νοβάθ, etc.; Josephus Νωβᾶ, Ant. 6:12, 1), a sacerdotal city in the tribe of Benjamin, situated on some eminence near Jerusalem. When David fled from the court of Saul at Gibeah, we are told that "he came to Nob, to Ahimelech the priest" (1Sa 21:1). It appears from the narrative that the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant were then located in that city, for David got part of the showbread which was kept before the Lord (ver. 4; comp. Ex 25:30; Lu 24:5-9). David's visit was fatal to Nob. Doeg the Edomite, Saul's shepherd, had seen him there, and informed his master. Ahimelech was summoned before the mad king, and sentence pronounced upon him. "Thou shalt surely die, Ahimelech, thou and all thy father's house." Not an Israelite, however, would raise a. hand against the priests of the Lord; and Doeg, the stranger spy, became the tyrant's executioner. He "slew on that day fourscore and five persons who did wear a linen ephod; and Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep" (1Sa 22:9-19). The position of Nob is incidentally indicated in this narrative. It lay south of Gibeah, for David was on his way to Philistia when he called at Nob (1Sa 21:10); the narrative shows, too, that it was close to Gibeah. It would be a long time naturally before the doomed city could recover from such a blow. It appears, in fact, never to have regained its ancient importance. That it was on one of the roads which led from the north to the capital, and within sight of it,. is certain from the illustrative passage in which Isaiah (Isa 10:28-32) describes the approach of the Assyrian army:
"He comes to Ai, passes through Migron, At Michmash deposits his baggage; They cross the pass, Geba is our night-station; Terrified is Ramah, Gibeath of Saul flees. Shriek with thy voice, daughter of Gallim; Listen, O Laishi Ah, poor Anathoth Madmenah escapes, dwellers in Gebim take flight. Yet this day he halts at Nob: He shakes his hand against the mount, daughter of Zion, The hill of Jerusalem." In this spirited sketch the poet sees the enemy pouring down from the north; they reach at length the neighborhood of the devoted city; they take possession of one village after another; while the inhabitants flee at their approach, and fill the country with cries of terror and distress. It is implied here clearly that Nob was the last station in their line of march, whence the invaders could see Jerusalem, and whence they. could be seen, as they "shook-the hand" in proud derision of their enemies. Lightfoot also mentions a Jewish tradition (Opp. 2:203) that Jerusalem and Nob stood within sight of each other. It was occupied after the captivity by Benjamin, and is grouped with Anathoth (Ne 11:32).
Eusebius and Jerome strangely confound Nob with Nobah, a city in the east of Bashan (Onomast. s.v. Nabbe); though Jerome in another place (Epitaph. Paulae, Opera, 1:696, ed. Migne) locates the town on the plain of Sharon, somewhere between Antipatris and Nicopolis, a theory which is almost as wild as the former. He doubtless refers to the present Noba (see Von Raumer's Paldstina, p. 196). No allusion is made to this latter place in the Bible. The Jews, after recovering the ark of Jehovah from the Philistines, would be likely to keep it beyond the reach of a similar disaster; and the Nob which was the seat of the sanctuary in the time of Saul must have been among the mountains. The name of Nob has long since disappeared, and its site has been unknown for perhaps two thousand years. Kiepert and others would identify Nob with the little village of Isawiyeh, situated to the right of the road which leads from Jerusalem to Anathoth. Tobler (Topographie von Jerus. ii, § 719) describes this village as beautifully situated, and occupying unquestionably an ancient site. But Isawiyeh is in a deep glen, hidden from the Holy city by the ridge of Olivet, whereas Nob was in sight of Jerusalem (Van de Velde, Memoir, p. 337). Robinson thought Nob must have stood somewhere on the ridge of Olivet or Scopus, and there he searched, but in vain, for any trace of an ancientsite (Bib. Res. 1:464). Less than a mile south of Tuleil el-Fil, the site of Gibeah, is a conical rocky tell, called es-Sumah (Warren, in Quar. Statement of the "Pal. 'Explor. Fund," Oct. 1867), separated from the former by a valley. On the summit and sides of this tell are traces of a small but very ancient town-cisterns cut in the rock; large hewn stones; portions of the rocky sides leveled and hewn away; and on the south-east the remains of a small tower. From the summit there is a wide view. Mount Zion is distinctly seen, though Moriah is hid by an intervening ridge. The position, south of Gibeah, and not far from Anathoth; the elevation, commanding a view of Zion, against which Isaiah represents the Assyrian as "shaking his hand;" the ancient remains — all seem to indicate that this is the site of the long-lost Nob (Porter, Hand-book, p. 324). Lieutenant Conder ingeniously argues (Quadi. Statement of the ' Palestine Explor. Fund," Jan. 1875, p. 34 sq.) that Nob is identical with MIZPEH, and both with the modern Neby Sanwil.