(Heb. Ramoth' Gilad', רָמֹת גַּלעָד; Sept. ῾Ρεμμάθ, ῾Ρεμμώθ, and ῾Ραμώθ Γαλαάδ; Ε᾿ρεμαθγαλαάδ v. r. ῾Ραμμώθ; Josephus, Α᾿ραμαθά; Vulg. Ramoth Galaad), the "heights of Gilead;" or RAMOTH IN GILEAD (רָאמֹת בִּגַּלעָד Sept. ἡ ῾Ραμὼθ ἐν Γαλαάθ, Α᾿ρημώθ, ῾Ρεμμὰθ Γαλαάδ, v.r. ῾Ραμμώθ, ῾Ραμώθ; Vulg. Ramoth in Galaad,
De 4:43; Jos 20:8; Jos 21:38; 1Ki 22:3 [in the A.V. only], also written plen, רָמוֹת, in 2Ch 22:5; and simply RAMAH, רָמָה in 2Ki 8:29, and 2Ch 22:6), one of the chief cities of the tribe of Gad, on the east side of the Jordan. It was allotted to the Levites, and appointed a city of refuge (De 4:43; Jos 20:8). The latter fact would seem to indicate that it occupied a central position in the tribe, and also probably in the country assigned to the Israelites east of the Jordan. Ramoth played for a time an important part in Israelitish history, and was the scene of many a hard struggle. It was apparently a strong fortress, and considered the key of the country. Hence, when taken by the Syrians, the kings of Israel and Judah regarded it as a national loss, affecting both kingdoms, and they combined to drive out the common enemy (1Ki 22:4 sq.). The united attack was unsuccessful, and the king of Israel was mortally wounded in the battle (22:34-37). At a later period, apparently in the reign of Joram (2Ki 9:14-15; comp. Josephus, Ant. 9:6, 1), Ramoth was taken from the Syrians and held, notwithstanding all the efforts of Hazael to regain it. Joram, having been wounded in the struggle, left his army under the command of Jehu, and returned to Jezreel to be healed (2Ki 8:29). During his absence Jehu was anointed by order of Elisha (9:1, 2), and commissioned to execute vengeance on the wicked house of Ahab (ver. 7-10). Leaving Ramoth, Jehu drove direct to Jezreel. The king, expecting news from the seat of war, had watchmen set on the towers, who saw his chariot approaching (ver. 16, 17). The rest of the story is well known. SEE AHAB; SEE JEHU. After this incident Ramoth-gilead appears no more in Jewish history.
The exact position of Ramoth is nowhere defined in Scripture. The name (Ramloth, "heights") would seem to indicate that it occupied a commanding position on the summit of the range of Gilead. In 1Ki 4:13, we read that when the districts of Solomon's purveyors were arranged, the son of Geber was stationed in Ramoth, and had charge of all the cities of Jair the son of Manasseh, both in Gilead and Bashan; and these cities extended over the whole north-eastern section of Palestine beyond Jordan. Various opinions have been entertained regarding the site of this ancient city. Some would identify it with Jerash, the old Roman Gerasa, whose ruins are the most magnificent and extensive east of the Jordan (see Benjamin of Tudela, by Asher); but this is too far north, and Jerash, besides, lies in a valley. Ewald would locate it at the village of Reisen
among the mountains, five miles west of Jerash (Gesch. Isr. 3:500). For this there is no evidence whatever. Others locate it on a site bearing the name of Jel'ad, exactly identical with the ancient Hebrew Gilead, which is mentioned by Seetzen (Reisen, March 11, 1806), and marked on his map (ibid. iv) and that of Van de Velde (1858) as four or five miles north of es- Salt. Schwarz (Palest. p. 232 sq.) identifies this Ramoth with Kullut el- Rabat, which is situated on one of the highest points of the mountain of Gilead, not far from the Wady Rajib, and west of Ajlin. It is even now strongly fortified, and is visible at a great distance, especially to the northeast. The most probable opinion regarding the site of Ramoth is that which places it at the village of es-Salt. This is indicated
(a) by its position on the summit of a steep hill;
(b) by its old ecclesiastical name Saltus Hiercaticus, which appears to point to its original "sacerdotal" and "holy" character, Ramoth having been both a Levitical city and a "city of refuge" (see Reland, Paloest. p. 213);
(c) by the fact that about two miles to the north-west of es-Salt is the highest peak of the mountain-range still bearing the name Jebel Jilad, "Mount Gilead;" and
(d) by the statement of Eusebius that Ramoth-gilead lay in the fifteenth mile from Philadelphia towards the west, and this is the exact distance of es-Salt from Rabbath-Ammon (Onomast. s.v. "Rammoth"). The situation of es-Salt is strong and picturesque. The hill on which it stands is separated by deep ravines from the loftier mountains that encompass it, and its lower slopes are covered with terraced vineyards, while the neighboring hill-sides and valleys abound with olive-groves. On the summit stands the castle, a rectangular building with towers at the corners, and defended by a deep moat hewn in the rock. The foundations appear to be Roman, if not earlier, but the upper walls are Saracenic. In the town itself, which contains some three thousand inhabitants, there are few remains of antiquity. In the cliffs and ravines beneath it are great numbers of tombs and grottos (Handbook for Sinai and Palestine, p. 308). Es-Salt is famous for its vineyards, and its raisins are esteemed the best in Palestine. They are carried in large quantities to Jerusalem (Burckhardt, Syria, p. 349; Irby and Mangles, Travels, p. 321; Ritter, Pal. und Syr. p. 1121-38; Abulfeda, Tab. Syr. p. 92; Buckingham, Travels, p. 20). — Kitto. It is now the only inhabited place in the province of Belka. It is still a place of comparative strength, and overawes the Bedawin by a garrison under the pasha of Damascus.
Tristram says of it, "Ramoth-gilead must always have been the key of Gilead — at the head of the only easy road from the Jordan, opening immediately on the rich plateau of the interior, and with this isolated cone (the Osha) rising close above it, fortified from very early times, by art as well as by nature. Of the fortress only a tall fragment of wall remains, and a pointed archway, with a sort of large dial-plate, carved deeply in stone, surrounded by a rose-work decoration. It appears to be all modern Turkish work" (Land of Israel, p. 555). There is a plateau, he further tells us, on the road towards Jordan, and there probably the battle was fought where Ahab received his mortal wound-that being the only place where chariots could come into play.