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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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MAHANAIM (‘two camps’ or ‘two hosts’ [if the Heb. word is really a dual, which is very doubtful]). An important city E. of Jordan on the frontier of Gad and Manasseh ( Joshua 13:25 ; Joshua 13:30 ); it was a Levitical city within the territory of Gad ( Joshua 21:38 ; Joshua 21:40 ). It was clearly N. of the Jabbok, as Jacob travelling S. reached it first ( Genesis 32:2 ; Genesis 32:22 ). Here Abner made Ish-bosheth, son of Saul, king ( 2 Samuel 2:8 ), and here David took refuge from his rebel son Absalom ( 2 Samuel 17:24-27 ; 2 Samuel 19:32 ). Solomon put Abinadab in authority in this city ( 1 Kings 4:14 ). There is apparently a reference to Mahanaim in Song of Solomon 6:13 (see RV [Note: Revised Version.] and AVm [Note: Authorized Version margin.] ). The site of Mahanaim is quite uncertain. A trace of the name appears to linger in Mahneh , the name of a mass of ruins in the Jebel Ajlûn N.W. of the village Ajlûn . Merrill suggests a ruin called Suleikhat in the Wady Ajlûn , near its entrance to the Jordan valley; others consider the site of Jerash, which is first mentioned, as Gerasa, in the time of Alexander Jannæus, as a likely spot for so prominent and, apparently, so attractive a city.

B. W. G. Masterman.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Mahanaim'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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