Sib'mah (Heb. Sibmah', שַׂבמָה, coolness, or fragrance [Gesenius]. balsam place [Furst]; Sept. Σεβαμά v.r. in Jeremiah]Ασερημά, etc.; A.V.; "Shibmah" in Nu 32:38), one of the places on the east, of Jordan which were taken possession of by the tribe of Reuben (ver. 38) and rebuilt by them (Jos 13:19). It is probably the same with Shebam (i.e. Sebam), named in the parallel list (Nu 32:3). It originally belonged to that section of the territory of Moab which was captured by the Amorites under Sihon (Nu 21:26). From the Amorites Moses took it, and gave it to the children of Reuben (Nu 32:1 sq.). Sibmah is grouped with Heshbon and Nebo, and must, consequently, have stood near the western brow of the plateau, east of the Dead Sea. Like most of the Transjordanic places, Sibmah disappears from view during the main part of the Jewish history. We, however, gain a parting glimpse of it in the lament over Moab pronounced by Isaiah and by Jeremiah (Isa 16:8-9; Jer 48:32). It was then, famed for the abundance and excellence of its grapes. They must have been. remarkably good to have been thought worthy of notice by those who, like Isaiah and Jeremiah, lived close to and were familiar with the renowned vineyards of Sorek (Isa 5:2, where "choicest vine" is "vine of Sorek") Its vineyards were devastated, and the town doubtless destroyed by the "lords of the heathen," who at some time unknown appear to have laid waste the whole of that once smiling and fertile district. It will be observed that these prophets speak of the city as belonging to Moabs whereas in the books of Numbers and Joshuait is enumerated among the cities of Reuben. The reason is, on the captivity of the Transjordanic tribes by the Assyrians, the Mqabites returned to their ancient possessions and reoccupied their ancient cities, and among them Sibmah. SEE MOAB.

Sibmah seems to have been known to Eusebius (Onomast. s.v. "Sabama"), and Jerome (Comnment. in Isaiam, lib. 5) states that it was hardly 500 paces distant from Heshbon. He also speaks of it as one of the very strong cities (urbes validissimoe) of that region. From the way in which it is grouped in the Bible, it seems to have been on the south or southwest of Heshbon; but even the minute researches of De Saulcy, in his recent tour through that country, have failed to discover a trace of it. There are several nameless ruins mentioned by him and noted in his map, one or other of which may mark the site (Voyage en Terre Sainte. 1, 277 sq.), especially es-Sameh, or es-Samik, a ruined village near Hesban, on the north east. It is interesting to observe, however, that around Heshbon he found traces of the vineyards for which the region was once celebrated;. and that from the lips of the Bedawin both he and Tristram (Land of Israel, p. 535) heard the name Neba given to a mountain peak a short distance southwest of Heshbon. SEE NEBO.

Bible concordance for SIBMAH.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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