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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


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Word (meaning "height") of frequent occurrence as an element in the place-names of the mountain districts of Palestine as, Ramath-lehi Ramath-or Ramothnegeb Ramathor Ramoth-gilead and Ramathmizpeh. It occurs also in the form of Ramathaim. In addition, there are a number of different towns designated simply Ramah.

  1. Ramah in Asher (Joshua 19:29 ): Probably the present Ramiya, southeast of Tyre, a small but very ancient village.

  2. Ramah in Naphtali (Joshua 19:36 ): Fortified place, probably the present Er-Rameh, 12 kilometers southwest of Safed, and favorably situated in a well-watered region.

  3. Ramah in Benjamin: Mentioned together with Gibeon (Joshua 18:25 ) as being north of Jerusalem, near Gibeah or Geba (Judges 19:13 Isaiah 10:29 ), and near the boundary-line between Judah and Israel. Baasha of Israel fortified it in order to close the road from Jerusalem to the north (IKings 15:17 et seq. 2Chronicles 16:1 et seq. ) but Asa of Judah immediately razed the works (IKings 15:22). According to the "Onomasticon" of Eusebius, it was 6 Roman miles from Jerusalem, opposite Beth-el. It undoubtedly corresponds to the present village of Al-Ram, on the road from Jerusalem to Nablus, and 9 kilometers north of Jerusalem. Reference to this Ramah is intended in Jeremiah 31:15 , Judges 4:5 , and Hosea 5:8 , although it is a moot point whether it is identical with the birthplace of Samuel (see Ramah No. 4).

  4. The native place of Samuel. In 1Samuel 1:1 , the place is called Ramathaim, but elsewhere Ramah the Septuagint, however, always uses the first form. According to 1Samuel 9:5 , Samuel's home lay in the territory of Zuph, so that his father is called a Zuphite (see Ramathaim-zophim ) the addition, "of Mount Ephraim," shows that this territory and Ramah were situated on the mountain of Ephraim, in the southern part, on the frontier of Benjamin. In like manner, it is clear from I Macc. 1:34 (' Pgr α ϑ α μ ε ί ν ) that Ramathaim was farther north than Ramah No. 3, for according to this passage Ramah, like Ephraim and Lydda, was originally part of the Samaritan territory, not being incorporated with Judea until 145 B.C. , so that Eusebius places Ramah in the vicinity of Diospolis (see Lydda ). The tomb of Samuel, which according to the Biblical account was in Ramah (1Samuel 25:1 ), is by current tradition pointed out in "Nabi Samwil" the latter place, however, is certainly not Ramah, but corresponds to the ancient Mizpeh in Benjamin. No definite identification of Ramah has yet been made. Ramallah, a large Christian village west of Al-Birah, has been suggested, but this does not agree with the statements in the "Onomasticon." The site is more probably that of Rentis, about 15 kilometers east of Lydda or Bet Ramah, somewhat east of that place.

E. G. H. I. Be.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Ramah'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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