or Rab'bath, great. (1.) "Rabbath of the children of Ammon," the chief city of the Ammonites, among the eastern hills, some 20 miles east of the Jordan, on the southern of the two streams which united with the Jabbok. Here the bedstead of Og was preserved (De 3:11), perhaps as a trophy of some victory gained by the Ammonites over the king of Bashan. After David had subdued all their allies in a great war, he sent Joab with a strong force to take their city. For two years it held out against its assailants. It was while his army was engaged in this protracted siege that David was guilty of that deed of shame which left a blot on his character and cast a gloom over the rest of his life. At length, having taken the "royal city" (or the "city of waters," 2Sa 12:27, i.e., the lower city on the river, as distinguished from the citadel), Joab sent for David to direct the final assault (2Sa 11:1; 12:26-31). The city was given up to plunder, and the people were ruthlessly put to death, and "thus did he with all the cities of the children of Ammon." The destruction of Rabbath was the last of David's conquests. His kingdom now reached its farthest limits (2Sa 8:1-15; 1Ch 18:1-15). The capture of this city is referred to by Amos (Am 1:14), Jeremiah (Jer 49:2-3), and Ezekiel (Eze 21:20; 25:5).
(2.) A city in the hill country of Judah (Jos 15:60), possibly the ruin Rubba, six miles north-east of Beit-Jibrin.
("greatness of size or numbers".)
1. Ammon's chief city, its only city named in Scripture, in contrast to the more civilized Moab's numerous cities (De 3:11; 2Sa 12:26; 17:27; Jer 49:2; Eze 21:20). (See AMMON.) Conjectured to be the Ham of the Zuzim (Ge 14:5). After Hanun's insult Abishai and Joab defeated the allies Ammon and the Syrians of Bethrehob, Zoba, Ishtob, and Maachah (2 Samuel 10). The following year David in person defeated the Syrians at Helam. Next, Joab with the whole army and the king's bodyguard (including Uriah: 2Sa 23:39) besieged Ammon (11'>2 Samuel 11; 1 Chronicles 19; 20). The ark apparently accompanied the camp (2Sa 11:11), a rare occurrence (1Sa 4:3-6); but perhaps what is meant is only that the ark at Jerusalem was "in a tent" (2Sa 7:2,6) as was the army at Rabbah under Jehovah the Lord of the ark, therefore Uriah would not go home to his house.
The siege lasted nearly two years, from David's first connection with Bathsheba to the birth of Solomon. The Ammonites made unsuccessful sallies (2Sa 11:17). Joab finally took the lower town, which, from the stream rising in it and flowing through it perennially, is called "the city of waters," and from the king's palace "the royal city." Then in a characteristic speech, half jest half earnest (2Sa 12:28, compare 2Sa 19:6-7), which shows the power he had gained over David through David's secret and wicked commission (2Sa 11:14-15), he invited David to crown the capture by taking the citadel lest if he (Joab) took it, it should be called after his name. Josephus (Ant. 7:7, section 5) says the fortress had but one well, inadequate to supply the wants of its crowded occupants. (On its capture by David, and his putting the people under saws and harrows to cut them in pieces in retaliation for their cruelties, see DAVID, also Jg 1:7; 1Sa 11:2.)
Amos (Am 1:14) speaks of its "wall" and "palaces" and "king" (perhaps Moloch) about to be judged by God. So also Jer 49:2-3. Nebuchadnezzar attacked Ammon because of Baalis their king having instigated Ishmael to slay Gedaliah the Chaldaean governor (Jer 40:14). See 1Ma 5:6 as to subsequent judgments on Ammon. Ezekiel (Eze 21:20) depicts Nebuchadnezzar's divination to decide whether he should attack Jerusalem or Rabbah the first. Jerusalem's fall should be followed by that of Rabbah (compare Josephus, Ant. 10:9, section 7). Under the Ptolemies Rabbah still continued of importance as supplying water for the journey across the desert, and was made a garrison for repelling the Bedouins of that quarter.
Ptolemy Philadelphus named it Philadelphia. Josephus (B. J. 3:3, section 3) includes Rabbah in Decapolis. Now Amman, on a tributary (Moiet Amman) of the Zerka river (Jabbok), 19 miles S.E. of Es Salt ("Ramoth Gilead"), 22 E. of Jordan. Its temple, theater, and forum are remarkable ruins. Eight Corinthian columns of the theater (the largest known in Syria) remain. It has become as foretold "a stable for camels, a couching place for flocks a desolate heap" (Eze 25:5). Its coins bear the image of Astarte, and the word Heracleion from Hercules the idol which succeeded Moloch. The large square stones of the citadel are put together without cement, the massive walls are evidently very ancient.
2. Rabbah of Moab, called in the Bible Ar, in the highlands S.E. of the Dead Sea.
3. Rabbah of Judah, near Kirjath Jearim (Jos 15:60).
1. The capital city of the Ammonites (wh. see). Rabbah was situated on the upper Jabbok on the site of the modern 'Amm
Rab'bah Rabbath. Rab'bath
1. The fortified capital of the Ammonites. It was not included in the cities taken by the tribes on the east of the Jordan. De 3:11; Jos 13:25. Joab, however, attacked it, and, during its siege, Uriah, by the instigation of David, lost his life. The city was eventually taken and destroyed. 2Sa 11:1; 12:26-29; 17:27; 1Ch 20:1. Subsequently, when the strength of Israel was broken, it appears to have recovered itself, for we find its doom announced in the prophets. Jer 49:2-3; Eze 21:20; 25:5; Am 1:14. Identified with Amman 31 57' N, 35 57' E. There are many ruins on the site, but they are judged to belong to the Roman period, when a city, called Philadelphia, was built there. A stream rises in the midst of the city, and this fact, together with its being the last place to obtain water for crossing the desert, doubtless was the cause of its being called 'the city of waters.' 2Sa 12:27.
2. City of Judah, near Kirjath-jearim. Jos 15:60. Identified by some with ruins at Rubba, 31 40' N, 34 58' E.
1. A very strong place on the east of the Jordan, and the chief city of the Ammonites. In five passages --
--it is styled at length Rabbath of the Ammonites, or the children of Ammon; but elsewhere,
simply Rabbah. When first named it is mentioned as containing the bed or sarcophagus of the giant Og.
David sent Joab to besiege Rabbah.
etc. Joab succeeded in capturing a portion of the place --the "city of waters," that is, the lower town so called from its containing the perennial stream which rises in and still flows through it. The citadel still remained to be taken, but this was secured shortly after David's arrival.
Long after, at the date of the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar,
it had walls and palaces. It is named in such terms as to imply that it was of equal importance with Jerusalem.
From Ptolemy Philadelphus (B.C. 285-247) it received the name of Philadelphia. It was one of the cities of the Decapolis, and became the seat of a Christian bishop. Its ruins, which are considerable are found at Ammon about 22 miles from the Jordan. It lies in a valley which is a branch, or perhaps the main course, of the Wady Zerka usually identified with the Jabbok. The public buildings are said to be Roman, except the citadel, which is described as of large square stones put together without cement, and which is probably more ancient than the rest.
2. A city of Judah named with Kirjath-jearim in
only. No trace of its existence has yet been discovered.