: Eth. Σηλωνίτης
), a town of Palestine, in the tribe of Ephraim, in the mountain region according to Josephus (J. AJ 5.1
), where the ark and the tabernacle were first established by Joshua on the settlement of the land by the tribes of Israel.
There also were assembled the national convocations for the division of the land and the transaction of other public business affecting the whole Union. (Joshua,
18.1, 10, 19.51, 21.2, 22.9.) There Samuel ministered before the Lord in the days of Eli the high-priest (1 Sam.
There was the seat of the Divine worship until the disastrous battle of Aphek, from which period the decline of Shiloh must be dated (ch. iv.) until its desolation became proverbial in Israel. (Psalm
7.12, 26.6, 9.) Its situation is very particularly described in the book of Judges (21.19), as “on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.” [p. 2.1001]
St. Jerome places it xii. M. P. from Neapolis (==Sheehem == Nablûs
), in the toparchy of Acrabattena. (Onomast. s. v.
) Its ruins were shown, and the remains of the altar among them, in his day. (Comment. in Sophon.
1.14, Epitaph. Paulae.
) From these notes the site is easily identified with the modern Silûn,
on the east of the Nablûs
road, about four hours south of that town, situated over against a village named El-Lebban
(Lebonah), which lends its name also to a Khan on the road-side. Silûn
is merely a heap of ruins lying on a hill of moderate elevation at the south-eastern extremity of a valley through which passes the great north road from Judaea to Galilee. “Among the ruins of modern houses are traces of buildings of greater antiquity, and at some distance, towards the east, is a well of good water, and in the valleys many tombs excavated in the rock.” (Robinson, Bibl. Res.
vol. iii. pp. 86--89.) Among the tombs of Shiloh, if Reland's conjecture is correct, is to be sought the very slender authority on which the pagans rested their assertion that their demigod Silenus was buried in the country of the Hebrews; and the fact of the effigy of this deity being found on the coins of Flavia Neapolis, certainly lends countenance to his ingenious hypothesis that the fable originated in the imaginary correspondence between this name and the town of Ephraim. (Palaestina,
But the error which he has copied from Benjamin of Tudela, of placing the tomb of Samuel in Shiloh, is obviously attributable to a lapse of memory on the part of that writer, as no one has ever identified Shiloh with the modern Nebi Samwîl.
The error is corrected by Asher. (Itinerary of R. Benjamin of Tudela,
ed. A. Asher, vol. i. p. 78, vol. ii. p. 95.)