Traveling in Israel: Gibeon and More!

April 7, 2016

Today was a delightful day in Israel. We were able to see biblical sites from Jerusalem westward all the way to the coastal Philistine city of Gath.

Just north of Jerusalem (OT territory of Benjamin) is Gibeon, (Arabic El-Jib). This was formerly the Canaanite city that deceived Joshua and the men of Israel by pretending to be from a great distance, and thus entered into a covenant with Israel during the days of the Conquest (Joshua 9). There are subsequently several biblical references to this site.

Gibeon. Many OT texts refer to this site. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Gibeon at center of photo. Many OT texts refer to this site. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

We have previously posted on Gibeon here and here.

Today we also saw Kiriath-Jeariam and  numerous sites in the Shephalah, including the valley of Elah, where David killed Goliath, Lachish, Beth-Shemesh, and the Philistine city of Gath, plus others. More on these later!

The Tabernacle at Gibeon

October 1, 2011

Recent posts have featured Shiloh as the site of the Tabernacle, and then Kiriath-jearim as the location of the Ark of the Covenant after the Philistines destroyed Shiloh.

When King David captured Jerusalem he prepared a tent for the ark and had it transported there, carried by the Levites (1 Chron. 15:1). The biblical record continues, “So they brought the ark of God, and set it in the midst of the tabernacle that David had erected for it. Then they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before God” (16:1). Again, that was in Jerusalem. It was a time of great rejoicing.

What we have at this time is this: the ark of the covenant was now at Jerusalem, but the tabernacle and the altar of burnt offering were nearby but north at Gibeon. The text explains,

So he [David] left Asaph and his brothers there [at Jerusalem, LM] before the ark of the covenant of the LORD to minister before the ark regularly, as every day’s work required; 38 and Obed-Edom with his sixty-eight brethren, including Obed-Edom the son of Jeduthun, and Hosah, to be gatekeepers; 39 and Zadok the priest and his brethren the priests, before the tabernacle of the LORD at the high place that was at Gibeon, 40 to offer burnt offerings to the LORD on the altar of burnt offering regularly morning and evening, and to do according to all that is written in the Law of the LORD which He commanded Israel” (1 Chron. 16:37-40).

Later when David ill-advisedly took the census of Israel it was again noted, “For the tabernacle of the LORD and the altar of the burnt offering, which Moses had made in the wilderness, were at that time at the high place in Gibeon” (21:29).

When David died, and was succeeded by his son Solomon, it would be at Gibeon where YHVH would appear to him, the point being significantly included that Gibeon was the site of the tabernacle and altar (2 Chron. 1:1-12).

We were able last month to see Gibeon, El Jib.

Biblical Gibeon, site of tabernacle in Davidic & early Solomonic reign. Photo by Leon Mauldin. Click image for high-resolution.

In the distance you can see Nebi Samwil, named for the prophet Samuel.

Gibeon, El-Jib

March 14, 2011

Today’s biblical sites included Gibeon. Gibeon is the Canaanite city whose residents (the Hivites Josh. 9:7) pretended to be a long distance away from the land of Canaan, as they approached Joshua and the men of Israel in the days of the Conquest. They brought old dry, moldy bread and wore worn out clothes, and said the bread was fresh when they left, and their garments had worn out along the way. The text says, “Then the men of Israel took some of their provisions; but they did not ask counsel of the Lord” (Josh 9:14).

Later the Israelites found out they had been deceived. They honored their covenant with the Gibeonites, but made them wood cutters and water carriers for the house of God (v.23).

Because the Gibeonites had made a treaty with Israel, a coalition of kings to the south, led by the king of the Jebusites (ancient Jerusalem), attached. They sent to Joshua for help, and he responded, defeating these southern kings. Needed extra daylight to make the victory complete, Joshua prayed to the Lord, and the day was lengthened, giving the necessary time to defeat Israel’s enemies. “Sun, stand still over Gibeon; and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon. So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, Till the people had revenge upon their enemies” (Josh. 10:12-13).

Our photo today shows the tel of Gibeon, which is the Arab village of El-Jib. This photo was taken from Nabi Samwil.

Tel of Gibeon. Modern Arab El-Jib. Photo by Leon Mauldin.


When the land was distributed, Gibeon became part of the tribal territory of Benjamin (Josh. 18:25), and was designated as a Levitical city (Josh. 21:17).

Click image for higher resolution.

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