One of the twelve tribes of Israel. [PALAESTINA
), a city named only by St. John (11.54), without any clue to its position, except that it was Ἐγγὺς τῆς ἐρήμου,
probably the wild and rocky wilderness of Judea, north-east of Jerusalem, usually so designated in the New Testament.
This position would answer well enough to the situation assigned it by Eusebius. (Onomast. s. v. Ἐφρών
), who describes it as a large village eight miles distant from Jerusalem to the north, where, however, St. Jerome reads 20 miles.
In confirmation of this is the mention of the small town of Ephraim, in connection with Bethel, by Josephus (B. J.
4.9.9), and the desert is probably the same which is called in Joshua (18.12) the wilderness of Beth-aven, and Mount Bethel in 8.24. (comp. 16.1.) (Reland, Palaest.
pp. 376,377.) Dr. Robinson believes it to be the same as “Ephraim with the towns thereof,” which Abijah took from Jeroboam (cir. B.C. 957), also mentioned in connection with Bethel (2 Chron.
13.19). Assuming St. Jerome's statement of the distance to be correct, he identifies Ephraim with “the lofty site of the modern El-Taiyibeh,
situated two hours NE. of Bethel, and six hours and twenty minutes NNE. of Jerusalem (reckoning three Roman miles to the hour), adjacent to and overlooking the broad tract the of desert country lying between it and the valley of the Jordan.” (Robinson, Harmony of the Four Gospels,
note on pt. 6.93.)
He finds it also in the Ophrah of Benjamin mentioned in Josh. 18.23, 1 Sam. 13.17. Possibly, also, “Mount Ephron,” mentioned in the northern border of the tribe of Judah, may be the mountain district of Benjamin, deriving its name from this city. (Josh.
A woody country on the east of Jordan in Gilead, where the decisive battle between David and his revolted son was fought, one of whose oaks proved fatal to Absalom. (2 Sam.