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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. tRamath' Lechi', רָמִת לֶחַי, craggy height [see below]; Sept. Ἀναίρεσις σιαγόνος; Vulg. Ramathlechi, quod intienp etatur elevatio maxilloe). The origin of this name, which occurs only in Judges 15:17, forms one of the most romantic episodes in Scripture history. Samson, having been bound with two new cords, was given up to the Philistines at a place called Lehi, a name which signifies "jawbone." When the enemy attacked him, he burst his bonds, seized the jawbone (lehi) of an ass that lay upon the ground, and with this odd weapon slew a thousand of them. Then he threw away the jawbone, and, as a memorial of the event, and by a characteristic play upon the old name, he called the place Ramath-lehithat is, the lifting (or wielding?) of the jawbone; and so it is interpreted in the Vulgate and in the Sept. (See SAMSON).

But Gesenius has pointed out (Thesaur. p. 752 a) that to be consistent with this the vowel-points should be altered, and the words become רְמִת לְחַי ; and that as they at present stand they are exactly parallel to Ramath-mizpeh and Ramath-negeb, and mean the "height of Lechi." If we met with a similar account in ordinary history, we should say that the name had already been Ramath-lehi, and that the writer of the narrative, with that fondness for paronomasia which distinguishes these ancient records, had indulged himself in connecting the name with a possible exclamation of his hero. But the fact of the positive statement in this case may make us hesitate in coming to such a conclusion in less authoritative records. For the topography of the place, (See LEHI).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Ramath-Lehi'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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