GILBOA, usually Noun/ Gilboa (3.n Sept. Ta 477 PEXpoul), a ridge of hills rising at Jezrecl in the eastern end of the plain of Esd.raelon, and extending to the brow of the Jordan valley, Upon Gilboa Saul collected the Israelites to oppose the forces of the Philistines assembled at Shunem. The result of thc battle is well known. Saul and his three sons were slain upon the mountain. The nevvs was carried to David, and he gave expression to his grief in one of the most beautiful and patheti2 odes in the Bible. In it he thus apostrophizes Gilboa---` Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither rain upon you, nor fields of offerings ; for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil' (2 Sam. i. 21). It is some what singular that Gilboa is never once mentioned in Scripture except in connection with this event ; and it is not afterwards alluded to in history. The incidental references in the Bible narrative, and in the fuller account furnished by Josephus (Antig. vii. 14.) leave no doubt as to its position. Jerome informs us that Gilboa lay six miles south of Scy thopolis ; and that upon it was a large village called Gelbus (Onomast., s. v. Gelbue), which has been identified with the modern village of Jelbon (Robinson, B. ii. 316). Gilboa was known to the Cnisaders, and William of Tyre mentions a noted fountain at the foot of the ranrre (Histor. xxii. 6 ; Reland, p. 863 ; Robinson, 'B. R., ii. 325).
A knowledge of the topography of this region gives great vividness to several of the Scripture narratives • but especially to that of the fatal battle in which 'Saul fell. About six miles north of Gilboa is a parallel range of nearly equal elevation and length, anciently called the 'lain of Moreh' (Judg. vii. 1), but now Jebel-ed-Dulty (and by tmvellers 'Little Herrnon'). l3etween the two ranges lies the beautiful valley of Jezreel, having at its eastern end, overlooking the Jordan, the mound and ruins of Bethshean. At the western extremity of Gilboa stood the city of Jezreel ; and about half a mile east of it, close to the foot of the hill, is the large fountain of Jezreel or Harod (Judg. vii. 1), now called Ain Jahad. The spring may perhaps have given the range its name Gilboa (` Bubbling Fountain ;' from and In; Gesenius, Thesaurus, s. v.) Opposite these on the other side of the valley, and near the base of Moreh, stands Shunem; and away behind the latter hill, hidden from view, is the village of Endor.
The Philistines encamped on the north side of the valley at Shunem • and Saul took up a posi tion by the fountain of' Jezrcel, at the base of Gil boa (t Sam. xxviii. 4 ; xxix. 1). From the brow
of the hill above the camp Saul had a full view of the enemy, and he was struck with terror at their numbers (xxviii. 5). The position he had chosen was a bad one. There is a gradual descent in the valley from Shunem to the base of Gilboa at the fountain, while immediately behind it the hill rises steep and rocky. The Philistines had all the ad vantage of the gentle descent for their attack, and both front and flanks of the Israelites were ex posed, and retreat almost impossible up the steep hill side. On the night before the battle Saul went to Endor. The battle seems to have begun early in the morning, whcn the king was wearied and dispirited (xxviii. 19). The Israelites were broken at once by the fierce onset of the enemy, and the slaughter was terrible as they attempted to flee up the sides of Gilboa. While the terror stricken masses were clambering up the rugged slopes, they were completely exposed to the arrows of the Philistine archers. They fell clown slain in Mount Gilboa' (xxxi. 1) The Philistines fol lowed hard upon Saul and upon his sons,' pro bably when they tried to rally their troops. The three sons fell beside their father ; and the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit lahn ; and lie was sore wounded of the archers' (ver. 3). David has caught the peculiarity of the position in his ode : The beauty of Israel is slain upon the high places ;' and, Jonathan, thou wast slain upon thine high places' (2 Sam. i. 19, 25). The stripping and mutilating of the slain is characteris tic of the Arab tribes to this day, and the writer witnessed some fearful instances of it in 1858 near this same spot (Hana'book for S. and P., 355). The Philistines took the body of Saul and fastened it to the wall of the neighbouring fortress of Beth shean, from whence it was snatched by a few brave men from Jabesh Gilead (Stanley, S. ana' P., 330-37).
The ridge of Gilboa is bleak and bare. The soil is scanty, and the gray limestone rocks crop out in jagged cliffs and naked crowns, giving the whole a look of painful barrenness. One would almost think, on looking at it, that David's words were prophetic (Van de Velde, ii. 369). The highest point of Gilboa is said to have an eleva. tion of about 2200 feet above the sea, and 120C above the valley of Jezreel (Van de Velde, Memoir, 178).—J. L. P.