RAMAH (rm..° signifies a height, or a high place, from the root to be high ; and thus it is used in Ezek. xvi. 24. Very many of the ancient cities and villages of Palestine were built on the tops of hills so as to be more secure ; and hence, as was natural, such of them as were especially conspicuous were called by way of distinction rin-ln (with the article), the Height ; and this, in the course of time, came to be used as a proper name. We find no less than five Ramahs mentioned in Scripture ; and in modern Palestine the equivalent Arabic name is of very frequent occurrence. In regard to most of them the traveller can still see how appro priate the appellation was. In the A. V. we have various forms of the word—Ramcith mm), the status constructus (Josh. xiii. 26) ; RamItth and rin:1), the plural (Josh. xxi. 36; Sam. xxx. 27) and Ramathaim (COpy":1), a dual form (t Sam. i. 1). Remeth appears to be only another form of the same word.
1. A city of Benjamin (Ta,uci and 'Apa,uci ; Alex.
'Pai.q.Lci and 'PatEpav ; Ranza), frequently mentioned in Scripture. Joshua, in enumerating the towns of Benjamin, groups Ramah between Gibeon and Beeroth (xviii. 25). It is probably this place which is mentioned in the story of De borah, She dwelt under the palm-tree of Deborah, between Ramah and Bethel in Mount Ephraim' (Judg. iv. 5.) Its position is clearly indicated in the distressing narrative of the Levite recorded in Judges xix. He left Bethlehem for his home in Mount Ephraim in the afternoon. Passing Jeru salem he journeyed northward, and crossing the ridge, came in sight of Gibeah and Ramah, each standing on the top of its hill ; and he said to his servant, Come and let us draw near to one of these places to lodge all night, in Gibeah or in Ramah' (ver. 13). The towns were near the road on the right, and about two miles apart. The position of these two ancient towns explains another statement of Scripture. It is said of Saul (1 Sam. xxii. 6), that he abode in Gibeah under a tree in Ramah.' The meaning appears to be that
the site of his standing camp was in some com manding spot on the borders of the two territories of Gibeah and Ramah. When Israel was divided Ramah lay between the rival kingdoms, and ap pears to have been destroyed at the outbreak of the revolt ; for we read that Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah' (I Kings xv. 17). It was a strong position, and commanded the great road from the north to Jerusalem. The king of Judah was alarmed at the erection of a fortress in such close proximity to his capital, and he stopped the work by bribing the Syrians to invade northern Palestine (ver. 18-21), and then carried off all the building materials (22). Ramah was intimately connected with one of the saddest epochs of Jewish history. The full story is not told, but the outline is sketched in the words of Jeremiah. In the final invasion of Juda by the Babylonians, Nebuchadnezzar established his head quarters on the plain of Hamath at Riblah (Jer. xxxix. 5). Thence he sent his generals, who cap tured Jerusalem. The principal inhabitants who escaped the sword were seized, bound, and placed under a guard at Ramah, while the conquerors were employed in pillaging and burning the temple and palace, and levelling the ramparts. Among the captives was Jeremiah himself (xl. t, 5, with xxxix. 8-12.) There, in that heartrending scene of captives in chains wailing over slaughtered kindred and desolated sanctuaries, was fulfilled the first phase of the prophecy uttered only a few years before : A voice was heard in Ramah, lamenta tion and bitter weeping ; Rachel weeping for her children, refused to be comforted for her children because they were not' (xxxi. 15.) That mourn ing was typical of another which took place six centuries later, when the infants of Bethlehem were murdered, and the second phase of the prophecy was fulfilled (Matt. ii. 17 ; see RA/wk.).