(Mt 2:18), the Greek form of Ramah. (1.) A city first mentioned in Jos 18:25, near Gibeah of Benjamin. It was fortified by Baasha, king of Israel (1Ki 15:17-22; 2Ch 16:1-6). Asa, king of Judah, employed Benhadad the Syrian king to drive Baasha from this city (1Ki 15:18,20). Isaiah (Isa 10:29) refers to it, and also Jeremiah, who was once a prisoner there among the other captives of Jerusalem when it was taken by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 39:8-12; 40:1). Rachel, whose tomb lies close to Bethlehem, is represented as weeping in Ramah (Jer 31:15) for her slaughtered children. This prophecy is illustrated and fulfilled in the re-awakening of Rachel's grief at the slaughter of the infants in Bethlehem (Mt 2:18). It is identified with the modern village of er-Ram, between Gibeon and Beeroth, about 5 miles due north of Jerusalem. (See Samuel.)
(2.) A town identified with Rameh, on the border of Asher, about 13 miles south-east of Tyre, "on a solitary hill in the midst of a basin of green fields" (Jos 19:29).
(3.) One of the "fenced cities" of Naphtali (Jos 19:36), on a mountain slope, about seven and a half miles west-south-west of Safed, and 15 miles west of the north end of the Sea of Galilee, the present large and well-built village of Rameh.
RAMA or RAMAH ("an elevated spot".)
1. In Benjamin (Jer 31:15; Mt 2:18). The cry of the weeping mothers and of Rachel is poetically represented as heard as far as Rama, on the E. side of the N. road between Jerusalem and Bethel; Rama where Nebuzaradan gathered the captive Jews to take them to Babylon. Not far from Gibeah of Saul (1Sa 22:6; Ho 5:8; Isa 10:28-32). Now Er Ram, five miles from Jerusalem (Jg 4:5; 19:13; Jos 18:25). There is an Er Ram one mile and a half E. of Bethlehem; but explain Jer 31:15 as above.
Baasha fortified it, to prevent his subjects from going S. to Jerusalem to the great feasts, and so joining the kingdom of Judah (1Ki 15:17-21; 2Ch 16:1-5). (See BAASHA; ASA.) The coincidence is dear between Rama's being built by Israel, its overthrow by Judah, and the emigration from Israel to Judah owing to Jeroboam's idolatry (1Ki 12:26; 2Ch 11:14-17); yet the events are named separately, and their connection only inferred by comparison of distinct passages, a minute proof of genuineness. Its people returned after the captivity (Ezr 2:26; Ne 7:30). The Rama, Ne 11:33, was further W.
2. The house of Elkanah, Samuel's father (1Sa 1:19; 2:11). Samuel's birthplace, residence, and place of burial. Here he built an altar to Jehovah (1Sa 7:17; 8:4; 15:34; 16:13; 19:18; 25:1; 28:3). Contracted from Ramathaim Zophim, in Mount Ephraim (which included under its name the northern parts of Benjamin, Bethel, and Ataroth: 2Ch 13:19; 15:8; Jg 4:5; 1Sa 1:1). Muslim, Jewish, and Christian tradition places Samuel's home on the height Neby Samwil, four miles N.W. of Jerusalem, than which it is loftier. Arculf (A.D. 700) identifies it as "Saint Samuel."
The professed tomb is a wooden box; below it is a cave excavated like Abraham's burial place at Hebron, from the rock, and dosed against entrance except by a narrow opening in the top, through which pilgrims pass their lamps and petitions to the sacred vault beneath. The city where Samuel anointed Saul (1 Samuel 9-10) was probably not Samuel's own city Rama, for the city of Saul's anointing was near Rachel's sepulchre adjoining Bethlehem (1Sa 10:2), whereas Mount Ephraim wherein was Ramathaim Zophim did not reach so far S. Near Neby Samwil, the probable site of Samuel's Rama, is the well of Sechu to which Saul came on his way to Rama, now "Samuel's fountain" near Beit Isku. Beit Haninah (probably Naioth) is near (1Sa 19:18-24). Hosea (Ho 5:8) refers to Rama. The appended "Zophim" distinguishes it from Rama of Benjamin. Elkanah's ancestor Zuph may have been the origin of the "Zophim."
3. A fortress of Naphtali in the mountainous region N.W. of the sea, of Galilee. Now Rameh, eight miles E.S.E. of Safed, on the main track between Akka and the N. of the sea of Galilee, on the slope of a lofty hill.
4. On Asher's boundary between Tyre and Sidon; a Rama is still three miles E. of Tyre.
6. Re-occupied by Benjamin on the return from Babylon (Ne 11:33). Identified by Grove with Ramleh.
The place where Rachel was said to be 'weeping for her children.' The prophecy is in the N.T. applied to the occasion of the massacre of the infants by Herod. Mt 2:18. The same as RAMAH No. 1.