MY FIRST QUESTION BEFORE WRITING: “Where is Gibeon?” The mileage key in my tattered old KJV I keep near the computer shows it to be a dot about 6 miles north-northwest of Jerusalem.
Today (!) I find the old KJV (that I haven’t used for 30 years except for quick references) tells me in italics under the Bible-time name what the modern name is. (I spent HOURS looking for the modern name 3 or 4 years ago!) In the late 1800’s a British explorer decided El Jib was probably biblical Gibeon because of the similar sound of it. Today it is in the West Bank of Palestinian territory.
An archeologist from the University of Pennsylvania did 4 digs in the 1950’s and 60’s at Gibeon. James B Pritchard found PROOF (which is quite rare) that the modern El Jib IS Gibeon when he found a large number of broken jar handles in the bottom of a pit inscribed with “GVN”—Hebrew for Gibeon.
Pritchard wrote a book on his findings: Pritchard, James B. Gibeon: Where the Sun Stood Still. Princeton University Press. Princeton, New Jersey, 1962.
When I read that on the internet, my wonderful bulldog of a husband when given a problem to solve went out and “slew the bear” and brought back Pritchard’s book from the UTD Library.
Pritchard went into detail about the setting of Gibeon: It is a 200-foot high hill/mount on the east end of Aijalon Valley. Its summit is about 16 acres. The earliest village was on the east-southeast slope next to “one of the most reliable” springs in the area, and the prevailing winds are from the west— coming from the Mediterranean Sea about 30 miles away. (And this is very important to the story because Grandmamaa Amara has a sensitive nose. Therefore, the livestock pen and the dung hill SIMPLY MUST be placed downwind of the family dwelling.)
The more research I have done, the more humor, irony, and evidence of God’s grace I have found in the story of the Gibeonites of Joshua Chapters 9 and 10.
View of Gibeon from the north across the valley, May 26, 2010. Photo by Bulldog Husband.