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RAMAH (Ῥαμά).


A city of the tribe of Benjamin, mentioned with Gibeon and Beeroth (Josh. 18.25), and elsewhere with Bethel, as in or near Mount Ephraim. (Judges, 4.5.) From 19.13 of Judges it would appear to have been not far north of Jerusalem, and lying near to Gibeah of Benjamin. Being a border city between the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, it was fortified by Baasha king of Israel, “that he might not suffer any to go out or come in to Asa, king of Judah.” (1 Kings, 15.17, comp. 12.27.) It is placed by Eusebius 6 miles north of Jerusalem, over against Bethel (Onomast. s. v.), and by S. Jerome 7 miles from Jerusalem near Gabaa, and was a small village in his day. (Comment. in Hos. cap. v., in Sophon. cap. i.) Josephus places it 40 stadia from Jerusalem. (Ant. 8.12.3.) its site is still marked by the miserable village of Er-Râm, situated on a hill on the east of the Nablûs road, 2 hours north of Jerusalem, and half an hour west of Jeba, the ancient Gibeah. Its situation is very commanding, and it retains a few scattered relics of its ancient importance. (Robinson, Bibl. Res. vol. ii. pp. 315, 316.)


See also RAMATHA and RAMOTH [G.W]

RAMATH-LEHI, or simply LEHI (translated in LXX. Ἀναίρεσις σιαγόνος), where Samson slew the Philistines with the jaw-bone of an ass. (Judges, 15.14--19.) The name Ramleh appears so like an abbreviation or contraction--perhaps a corruption--of this name, that it may well be identified as the scene of this slaughter. And here probably was the Ramah in the Thamnitic toparchy in which Eusebius and S. Jerome found the Ramathaim Sophim of Samuel, and the Arimathaea of the Evangelists, which they place near to Lydda in the plain. (S. Matth. 27.57; S. Mark, 15.42; S. Luke, 23.50; S. John, 19.38, Ἁριμαθαία; Eusebius, Onomast. s. v. Armatha Sophim; S. Jerome, Epitaph. Paulae, p. 673.) Dr. Robinson, indeed, controverts all these positions; but his arguments cannot prevail against the admitted facts, “that a place called Ramathem or Ramatha did anciently exist in this region, somewhere not far distant from Lydda” (Bibl. Res. vol. iii. p. 40), and that no other place can be found answering to this description but Ramleh, which has been regarded from very early times as the place in question. The facts of Ramleh having been built by Suliman, son of the khalif Abd-el-Melik, after the destruction of Lydda in the early part of the 8th century, and that the Arabic name signifies “the sand,” will not seriously militate against the hypotheses with those who consider the great probability that the khalif would fix on an ancient, but perhaps neglected, site for his new town, and the common practice of the Arabs to modify the ancient names, to which they would attach no meaning, to similar sounds intelligible to them, and in this instance certainly not less appropriate than the ancient name; although the situation of the town “on a broad low swell in the sandy though fertile plain,” would satisfy the condition required by its presumed ancient designation. (Bibl. Res. vol. iii. p. 25--43.) It may be questioned whether the nomus of Ramathem, mentioned with those of Apheirema and Lydda, as taken from Samaritis and added to Judaea (1 Maccab. 11.34; Josephus, J. AJ 2.3, 4.9), derived its name from this or from one of the other Ramahs, in Benjamin. [G.W]

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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 2.3
    • Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 4.9
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