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Aijalon Valley




In my last post, I began a series on the Benjamin Plateau. As I mentioned, the plateau is guarded by four cities. The city on the western edge is Gibeon. Anyone who came from the coastal plain and through the Aijalon Valley would approach the area through Gibeon. The city of Gibeon is mentioned a number of times in Scripture. Among them are:

Joshua 9 - After the Israelites conquered Jericho and Ai, the citizens of Gibeon tricked Joshua into signing a treaty. Once Joshua found out what had happened, he honored his agreement, but made them woodcarvers and water carriers.

But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, they worked craftily, and went and pretended to be ambassadors. And they took old sacks on their donkeys, old wineskins torn and mended, old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves; and all the bread of their provision was dry and moldy. And they went to Joshua, to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, “We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us.”...And that day Joshua made them woodcutters and water carriers for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord, in the place which He would choose, even to this day. - Joshua 9:3-6, 27

Joshua 10 - After the Amorites heard about the treaty the Gibeonites made with the Israelites, five neighboring kings decided to attack the city. The Gibeonites then called on Joshua to assist them. As Joshua drove the Amorites back toward the coast along the Beth Horon ridge, God cast down large hailstones upon them. Then, as Joshua was continuing to fight, God caused the sun to stand still so the battle could be won.

Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, having marched all night from Gilgal. So the Lord routed them before Israel, killed them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, chased them along the road that goes to Beth Horon, and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah. And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the Lord cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword...So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel. - Joshua 10:9-11, 13-14

2 Samuel 2 - Abner and Joab met at the Pool of Gibeon where there was a fight between the two armies.

Now Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. And Joab the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out and met them by the pool of Gibeon. So they sat down, one on one side of the pool and the other on the other side of the pool. Then Abner said to Joab, “Let the young men now arise and compete before us.” And Joab said, “Let them arise.” So they arose and went over by number, twelve from Benjamin, followers of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and twelve from the servants of David. And each one grasped his opponent by the head and thrust his sword in his opponent’s side; so they fell down together. Therefore that place was called the Field of Sharp Swords, which is in Gibeon. So there was a very fierce battle that day, and Abner and the men of Israel were beaten before the servants of David. - 2 Samuel 2:12-17

The picture at the top of this post is of Gibeon, as seen from Nebi Samwil. In the distance, you can see modern-day Ramallah in the West Bank. (NOTE: If you are reading this post in an email, you will need to click on the link in the title to see the picture.)

Next June, I'm heading to Israel on a Bible Study Tour. Why don't you join me?