GIBEON (11314? ; Sept. rapadrv), a town cele bmted in the O. T., but not mentioned in the New. It was a great city,' as one of the royal cities ; and to its jurisdiction originally belonged Beeroth, Chephirah, and Kirjath-jearim (Josh. Lx. ; x. 2). It is first mentioned in connection with the decep tion practised by the inhabitants upon Joshua, by which, although Canaanites (Hivites), they in duced the Jewish leader not only to make a league with them, and to spare their lives and cities, but also, in their defence, to make war upon the five kings by whom they were besieged. It was in the great battle which followed, that the sun stood still upon Gibeon' (Josh. x. 12, r-r4). The place aftenvards fell to the lot of Benjamin, and became a Levitical city (Josh. xviii. 25 ; 17), where the tabernacle was set up for many years under David and Solomon (1 Chron. xvi. 39 ; xxi. 29 ; 2 Chron. i. 3), the arlc being at the same time at Jerusalem (2 Chron. 4). It was here, as being the place of the altar, that the young Solomon offered a thousand burnt-offerings, and was re warded by the vision which left him the WiSeSt of men (1 Kings 4-15 ; 2 Chron. 3-13). This was the place where Abner's challenge to Joab brou,ght defeat upon himself, and death upon his brother Asahel (2 Sam. ii. x2-32), and where A masa was afterwards slain by Joab (2 Sam. xx. S-12). None of these passages mark the site of Gibeon ; but there are indications of it in Josephus (De Bell. 7ad. ii. 19. 1), who places it fifty stadia north-west from Jerusalem ; and in Jerome (Ep. 86 ad Eustach.): which leave little doubt that Gibeon is to be identified with the place which still bears the name of EI-Jib ; for Jib, in Arabic, is merely a contraction of the Hebrew Gibeon. The name Gabaon is indeed mentioned by writers of the time of the Crusades as existing at this spot, and among the Arabs it then already bore the name of EI-Jib, under which it is mentioned by Bohaedin (Vita Saladin. p. 243). Afterwards it was over looked by most travellers till the last century, when the attention of Pococke was again directed to it.—J. K.
eiddendum.—The village of E1-76 stands on the top of a low, isolated hill, composed of hori zontal strata of limestone, which in places form regular steps, or small terraces, from bottom to top. At other points, especially on the east, the
hillside breaks down in rugged irregular precipices. Round the hill is spread out one of the nchest upland plains in central Palestine--meadow-like in its smoothness and verdure, covered near the village with vineyards and olive groves ; and send ing out branches, like the rays of a star-fish, among the rocky acclivities that encircle it The houses are scattered without any attempt at order over the broad summit of the hill ; and the slopes beneath them, where not too steep, are formed into terraces for vines and fig-trees. The houses are almost all, in whole or in part, ancient ; but Etre sadly out of repair. One massive building re mains nearly entire, and was probably a castle or citadel. The lower rooms are vaulted ; and the whole workmanship indicates an age of prosperity and architectural skill. At the eastern base of the hill, beneath a cliff, is a fine fountain. The source is in a large chamber hewn out of the rock. Not far below it, among venerable olive trees, are the remains of an open reservoir or tank, into which the surplus waters flow.
The site of Gibeon is strong and imposing, suth as suited the warlike tribe originally inhabiting it, and such as subsequently made a fit gathering place for the tribes of Israel (r Kings iii.) In the plain that encircles the hill the Amorites assembled to take vengeance on the Gibeonites ; and from among the defiles on the east the Israelites rushed down upon them with the first beams of the morn ing sun, The reservoir among the olive trees is doubtless the Pool of Gibeon' where Abner and Joab met, and where the twenty-four champions fou,ght and died (2 Sam. ii. 1247). On the summit of a hill, a mile south of Gibeon, and rising some soo feet over it, is the site of Mizpeh of Benjamin. It is probable that the great assemblies of the people referred to in Judg. xx., I Sam. vii. and x. took place on the slope of the hill between Mizpth and Gibeon.—J. L. 1'.