Tell El-Ful
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Tell El-Ful

Coordinates: 31°49?24?N 035°13?52?E / 31.82333°N 35.23111°E / 31.82333; 35.23111 Gibeah (; Hebrew: ? Giv'a) is one of several place names appearing in several books of the Hebrew Bible. In one instance, it is generally identified with Tell el-F?l (Arabic for "mound of fava beans"),[1] a hill in the northern reaches of modern Jerusalem, on the outskirts of the Pisgat Ze'ev and Shuafat neighborhoods.[2][3] However, this identification was challenged by Israel Finkelstein in 2011.[4] In another instance, Conder identifies the Palestinian village of Jab'a with the biblical town of Gibeah,[5] mentioned in Joshua 15:57, although this later identification places Gibeah to the south of Jerusalem.


Gibeah may be a variation of the Hebrew word meaning "hill". Other names include Gibeah of God ( ?‎; see ), Gibeah of Benjamin ( ‎) for it is in the territory of the Tribe of Benjamin , and Gibeah of Saul ( ?‎), where biblical King Saul lived .


Gibeah is believed to be located along the Central Benjamin Plateau, 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Jerusalem along the watershed ridge at 2,754 feet (839 m) above sea level. According to Josephus, there was a certain Gabao situated 50 stadia from Jerusalem, as one ascended by Bethoron, and which is thought by some scholars to be the modern el-Jib, 5 or 6 miles northwest of Jerusalem.[6] Elsewhere, Josephus places a certain village by the name of Gibeon forty stadia distant from Jerusalem.[7]

In the Hebrew Bible

  • Benjamin allotment -
  • Awarta is the Gibeah of Phinehas and the burial place of his father, Eleazar, the son of Aaron -
  • The Turning Out of the Concubine of Gibeah, and the Battle of Gibeah - (1st Israelite Civil War) -
  • Israel's first king, King Saul, reigned from Gibeah for 38 years -
  • Prophetic mention during the period of the Divided Kingdom -


Unfinished Royal Palace of King Hussein of Jordan at Tell el-Ful.
Royal Palace of King Hussein, view from the roof


The site was first excavated in 1868 by Charles Warren, while C.R. Conder described the remains in 1874. William F. Albright led his first excavation from 1922 to 1923, and returned for a second season in 1923. His work was published in 1960. P.W. Lapp conducted a six-week salvage excavation in 1964. According to Kenneth Kitchen, "Upon this strategic point was found an Iron I occupation replaced (at an interval) by a fortress ("I"), subsequently refurbished ("II"), and then later in disuse. The oldest level may reflect the Gibeah of . The excavations by Albright, checked by Lapp, would favor the view that it was Saul who built the first fortress, later repaired by him or David. The first fort (quadrangular) had at least one rectangular corner-tower at its southwest angle; it may have had others at the other corners, but no traces were detected."[8]

See also


  1. ^ Nancy Lapp, Ful, Tell el-, Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East (1997).
  2. ^ LaMar C. Berrett, Discovering the World of the Bible
  3. ^ H.B. Tristram, The Land of Israel: A Journal of Travels in Palestine, London 1865, p. 169
  4. ^ Israel Finkelstein (2011). "Tell el-Ful revisited: The Assyrian and Hellenistic periods (with a new identification)". Palestine Exploration Quarterly. 143 (2): 106-118. doi:10.1179/003103211x12971861556918.
  5. ^ H.B. Tristram, Bible Places: or, The Topography of the Holy Land: a Succinct Account of All the Places, Rivers, and Mountains..., London 1897, p. 83; Conder & Kitchener, SWP (vol. 3), London 1883, p. 53.
  6. ^ Freedman, D.N., ed. (1992), "Gabao", Anchor Bible Dictionary, 2, New York (cf. Josephus, The Jewish War 2.19.1)
  7. ^ Josephus, Antiquities 7.11.7
  8. ^ Kenneth Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), p. 97.

Further reading

  • W. F. Albright, The Archaeology of Palestine (1971).
  • P. Arnold, Gibeah, Anchor Bible Dictionary (1992).
  • N. Lapp, Tell el-Ful, Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East (1997).
  • L. A. Sinclair, An Archaeological Study of Gibeah (1960).

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