Gibeon (ancient city)

Gibeon (ancient city) is located in the West Bank
Gibeon (ancient city)
Shown within the West Bank
Gibeon (ancient city) is located in the Palestinian territories
Gibeon (ancient city)
Gibeon (ancient city) (the Palestinian territories)
LocationWest Bank
Coordinates31°50′51″N 35°11′00″E / 31°50′51″N 35°11′00″E / 31.847451; 35.183351

Gibeon (Hebrew: גבעון‬, Standard Hebrew Giv‘ōn, Tiberian Hebrew Giḇʻôn) was a Canaanite city north of Joshua 11:19, the pre-conquest inhabitants of Gibeon, the Gibeonites, were 2 Samuel 21:2 they were Amorites.

The remains of Gibeon are located on the south edge of the Palestinian village of Al Jib.


Gibeon entrance to the well

The earliest known mention of Gibeon in an extra-biblical source is in a list of cities on the wall of the Amum temple at Karnak, celebrating the invasion of Israel by Egyptian Pharaoh Shoshenq I (945-924 BCE).[1]

The 10th-century lexicographer, David ben Abraham al-Fasi, identified al-Jib with the ancient city, Gibeon, which view was corroborated also by the Hebrew Lexicon compiled by Wilhelm Gesenius and Frants Buhl ("now al-Ǧīb").[2] However, the first scientific identification of al-Jib with the ancient Canaanite city of Gibeon was made by Edward Robinson in 1838. The remains of Gibeon were excavated in six expeditions from 1956 to 1962, led by the University of Pennsylvania archaeologist James B. Pritchard.[3][4][5]

Gibeon was founded in the Early Bronze Age,[6] for the excavators discovered 14 EB storage jars beneath the foundations of the Iron Age wall. Other EB remains were discovered at the top of the tel but the stratigraphy had been destroyed by British gunfire during the First World War. It is probable that there was a defensive wall, but this has not yet been found. Tombs cut into the rock on the east site of the hill contained EB jars and bowls, formed first by hand and then finished on a slow wheel. The Early Bronze city was destroyed by fire, but no date has been determined for this destruction.

The Middle Bronze Age is known from shaft tombs on the west of the city: 26 MBI tombs have been found but the crudeness of the pottery they contain indicate that the people may have been nomads camping on an unfortified site. The remains are similar to those found elsewhere at Jericho, Lachish and Megiddo. In MBII, however, a substantial city with finely made pottery was found. 29 MBII tombs have been found, apparently containing multiple burials (as opposed to the single burials of the MBI tombs).

Only seven tombs are known from the Late Bronze period, but they nevertheless point to a degree of sophistication, as they contained imported Cypriote ware and local potters attempted to copy Mycenaean and Cypriote pottery. It would appear that some, at least, of these tombs had been cut during earlier periods and were being reused.[4][5]

During the early Iron Age, a massive wall was constructed around the crown of the hill and a huge pool was cut in the living rock just inside the wall. It is 11.8m in diameter and 10.8m deep, with a spiral staircase of 79 steps cut into the walls of the pool, continuing downwards into a tunnel that provides access to a water chamber 24m below the level of the city. It is possible, but cannot be proven, that this structure is the "pool of Gibeon" of 2 Samuel 2:13. Later in the Iron Age, another tunnel of 93 steps was constructed to a better water source below the city starting from a point near the pool. A second access point to this source from the base of the hill is still in use today.[3][4] This was apparently the city's period of greatest prosperity.

In the 8th and 7th century BCE there was a considerable wine industry there; cellars with room for 95,000 liters of wine have been found. Impressive among these finds are sixty-three wine cellars from the 8th to 7th century BC. Hebrew inscriptions of גבען (GBʻN) on the handles of wine storage jars, most of which were excavated from a large pool matching the biblical description, made the identification of Gibeon secure and a landmark product of biblical archaeology. Pritchard published articles on their production of wine, the Hebrew inscriptions, the rock-cut wine cellars, and the well engineered water conduits that supplied the city water.

From the 6th to the beginning of the 1st century BCE, there is scant evidence of occupation. During the Roman period there was considerable building, including stepped baths and water conduits.[3][4]

Gibeon was possibly a dependency of Jerusalem, and was probably not fortified at the time.

The identification of the ancient Canaanite city of Gibeon with modern al-Jib, conjectured since the 17th century, was proved by Hebrew inscriptions unearthed in 1956.[4]

In a 2017 paper, Colin Humphreys and Graeme Waddington suggested that the biblical story of the Israelites' victory over Gibeon may be identified with an annular eclipse which occurred on 30 October 1207 BC.[7]

Other Languages
العربية: جبعون
català: Gabaon
Deutsch: Gibeon
español: Gabaón
français: Gibeon
Bahasa Indonesia: Gibeon
italiano: Gabaon
עברית: גבעון
magyar: Gibeon
Nederlands: Gibeon
日本語: ギブオン
norsk: Gibeon
polski: Gibeon
português: Gibeão
русский: Гаваон
українська: Гаваон