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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Ramah

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RAMAH . The name of several places in Palestine, so called from their ‘loftiness,’ that being the radical meaning of the word. These are as follows:

1 . A city of Naphtali ( Joshua 19:36 ) not otherwise known, perhaps Râmeh between ‘Akka and Damascus, 8 miles W.S.W. of Safed. 2 . A city of Asher ( Joshua 19:29 ) not elsewhere mentioned, and Identified not improbably with Râmia , near Tyre. 3 . A city of Benjamin ( Joshua 18:25 ) between which and Bethel was the palm of Deborah ( Judges 4:5 ); one of the alternatives which the Levite of Bethlehem had to choose for a lodging on his fatal journey ( Judges 19:13 ); yielded with Geba 621 men to the post-exilic census of Ezra ( Ezra 2:26 ); re-settled by Benjamites ( Nehemiah 11:33 ). Its place is indicated between Geba and Gibeah in Isaiah’s picture of the Assyrian advance ( Isaiah 10:29 ). A tradition placed here the site of Rachel’s tomb: this explains the allusions in 1 Samuel 10:2 , Jeremiah 31:15 (quoted in Matthew 2:18 ). Here Jeremiah was loosed from his chains ( Isaiah 40:1 ). The name, and not improbably the site, of this place is preserved by a little village on a hillside north of Jerusalem known as er-Râm , which answers the geographical requirements of these incidents. Near it are some remarkable ancient monuments, known locally as ‘The Graves of the Children of Israel,’ which possibly are the ‘tomb of Rachel’ of the ancient tradition. This town was probably the home of Shimei, the Ramathite , David’s vine-dresser ( 1 Chronicles 27:27 ). 4 . A place in the district called Ramathaim-zophim ( 1 Samuel 1:1 ), a (corrupt) name prob.= ‘ the two heights of the Zuphites.’ The latter ethnic can hardly be dissociated from the name of the great high place of Mizpah ( Neby Samwîl ). Its chief distinction is its connexion with Samuel. It was ‘In the hill-country of Ephraim,’ but might have been over the S. border of the tribe. Here Elkanah lived, and here was the headquarters of Samuel throughout his life ( 1 Samuel 1:19 ; 1 Samuel 2:11 ; 1Sa 7:17 ; 1 Samuel 8:4 ; 1 Samuel 15:34 ; 1 Samuel 16:18 ; 1 Samuel 19:18-23 ; 1 Samuel 20:1 ; 1 Samuel 25:1 ; 1 Samuel 28:8 ). This is probably the Ramah fortified by Baasha against the Judahite kingdom ( 1 Kings 15:17 , 2 Chronicles 16:1 ), rather than the Benjamite Ramah: the latter being actually within Judahite territory would not have been accessible to him. This Ramah appears also in 1Ma 11:34 as Ramathaim . No satisfactory Identification of the Ephraimite Ramah has yet been proposed. It may be identical with No. 3 . Râm-allah , a large village about 12 miles N. of Jerusalem, would fairly well suit the requirements of the history, but there are no definite Indications of antiquities there. 5 . By the name Ramah allusion is made to Ramoth-gilead (wh. see) in 2 Kings 8:23 and the parallel passage 2 Chronicles 22:6 . 2 Chronicles 22:6 . Ramathlehi , the scene of Samson’s victory over the Philistines with the jawbone ( Judges 15:17 ), is unknown. See Lehi. Ramath here is probably a common noun, and we ought to render it ‘the height of Lehi.’ 7. Ramath-mizpeh ( Joshua 13:26 ). See Mizpah, No. 4 . 8. Ramah (or Ramoth) of the South ( Joshua 19:8 ). A town in the tribe of Judah, given to Simeon; to which David sent the spoil of Ziklag ( 1 Samuel 30:27 ). It is quite unknown.

R. A. S. Macalister.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Ramah'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdb/r/ramah.html. 1909.

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