|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
The earliest mention of city-building is that of Enoch, which was built by Cain (Genesis 4:17). After the confusion of tongues, the descendants of Nimrod founded several cities (10:10-12). Next, we have a record of the cities of the Canaanites, Sidon, Gaza, Sodom, etc. (10:12, 19; 11:3, 9; 36:31-39). The earliest description of a city is that of Sodom (19:1-22). Damascus is said to be the oldest existing city in the world. Before the time of Abraham there were cities in Egypt (Numbers 13:22). The Israelites in Egypt were employed in building the "treasure cities" of Pithom and Raamses (Exodus 1:11); but it does not seem that they had any cities of their own in Goshen (Genesis 46:34; 47:1-11). In the kingdom of Og in Bashan there were sixty "great cities with walls," and twenty-three cities in Gilead partly rebuilt by the tribes on the east of Jordan (Numbers 21:21, 32, 33, 35; 32:1-3, 34-42; Deuteronomy 3:4, 5, 14; 1 Kings 4:13). On the west of Jordan were thirty-one "royal cities" (Joshua 12), besides many others spoken of in the history of Israel.
A fenced city was a city surrounded by fortifications and high walls, with watch-towers upon them (2 Chronicles 11:11; Deuteronomy 3:5). There was also within the city generally a tower to which the citizens might flee when danger threatened them (Judges 9:46-52).
A city with suburbs was a city surrounded with open pasture-grounds, such as the forty-eight cities which were given to the Levites (Numbers 35:2-7). There were six cities of refuge, three on each side of Jordan, namely, Kadesh, Shechem, Hebron, on the west of Jordan; and on the east, Bezer, Ramoth-gilead, and Golan. The cities on each side of the river were nearly opposite each other. The regulations concerning these cities are given in Numbers 35:9-34; Deuteronomy 19:1-13; Exodus 21:12-14.
When David reduced the fortress of the Jebusites which stood on Mount Zion, he built on the site of it a palace and a city, which he called by his own name (1 Chronicles 11:5), the city of David. Bethlehem is also so called as being David's native town (Luke 2:4).
Jerusalem is called the Holy City, the holiness of the temple being regarded as extending in some measure over the whole city (Nehemiah 11:1).
Pithom and Raamses, built by the Israelites as "treasure cities," were not places where royal treasures were kept, but were fortified towns where merchants might store their goods and transact their business in safety, or cities in which munitions of war were stored. (see PITHOM.)
Noah Webster's Dictionary
1. (n.) A large town.
2. (n.) A corporate town; in the United States, a town or collective body of inhabitants, incorporated and governed by a mayor and aldermen or a city council consisting of a board of aldermen and a common council; in Great Britain, a town corporate, which is or has been the seat of a bishop, or the capital of his see.
3. (n.) The collective body of citizens, or inhabitants of a city.
4. (a.) of or pertaining to a city.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
ADAM, CITY OF
('adham, "red" or BDB "made"): A city in the middle of the Jordan valley near ZARETHAN (Joshua 3:16), which see. The name probably survives at the Damieh Ford, near the mouth of the Jabbok twenty miles above Jericho. An Arabian historian asserts that about 1265 A.D. the Jordan was here blocked by a land slide. The inner gorge of the Jordan is here narrow with high banks which would facilitate such an obstruction as permitted the waters to "pile up" above to Adam and run out below, permitting Joshua's host to cross on dry land (SWP, II, 15; Wright, SCOTH, 130-34).
George Frederick Wright
sit'-i (`ir, qiryah; polis):
I. THE CANAANITE CITY
5. External Appearance
II. THE CITY OF THE JEWISH OCCUPATION
1. Tower or Stronghold
2. High Place
3. Broad Place
5. General Characteristics
III. STORE CITIES
IV. LEVITICAL CITIES
I. The Canaanite City.
The development of the Canaanite city has been traced by Macalister in his report on the excavation at Gezer (Palestine Exploration Fund Statement, 1904, 108). It originated on the slopes of a bare rocky spur, in which the Neolithic Troglodytes quarried their habitations out of the solid rock, the stones therefrom being used to form a casing to the earthen ramparts, with which the site was afterwards surrounded and which served as a protection against the intrusion of enemies. Later Semitic intruders occupied the site, stone houses were built, and high stone defense walls were substituted for the earthen stone-cased ramparts. These later walls were much higher and stronger than those of the Neilithic occupation and were the walls seen by the Israelites when they viewed the country of their promise.
"The people that dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified, and very great" (Numbers 13:28) was the report of the spies sent by Moses to spy out the land of Canaan, to see "what cities they are that they dwell in, whether in camps, or in strongholds" (Numbers 13:19, 20). The difficulties of the task set before the advancing Israelites and their appreciation of the strength of the cities, is here recorded, and also in Deuteronomy 1:28: "The people are greater and taller than we; the cities are great and fortified up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakim there." This assessment of greatness was based upon comparative ignorance of such fortifications and the want of war experience and the necessary implements of assault. It need not, therefore, be supposed that the cities were "great" except by comparison in the eyes of a tent-dwelling and pastoral people. On the contrary, most recent exploration has proved that they were small (see Pere Vincent, Canaan, 27, note 3, and Pl. I, where comparative measurements of the areas of ancient cities show that, in nine cities compared, Tell Sandahannah (barely 6 acres) is the smallest). Gezer measures approximately 22 1/4 acres and Tell el-Hesy somewhat greater. By way of illustration, it is interesting to note that the Acropolis at Athens, roughly computed, measures 7:1/4 acres, while the Castle Rock at Edinburgh is about 6 acres, or the same as the whole Seleucidan city of Tell Sandahannah. The Acropolis at Tell Zakariya measures about 2 acres or nearly one-fourth of the area of the whole city (about 8 1/2 acres). It is unlikely that Jebus (Jerusalem) itself was an exception, although in Solomonic and later times it extended to a far greater area.
Besides the walled cities there were "unwalled (country) towns a great many" (Deuteronomy 3:5), "villages," unfortified suburbs, lying near to and under the protection of the walled cities and occupied by the surplus population. The almost incredible number of cities and their villages mentioned in the Old Testament, while proving the clannishness of their occupants, proves, at the same time, their comparatively small scale.
Traces of similar populations that rise and fall are seen in China and Japan today. As a little poem says of Karakura: "Where were palaces and merchants and the blades of warriors, Now are only the cicadas and waving blades of grass." "Cities that stood on their mounds" (Joshua 11:13 Jeremiah 30:18) as at Lachish and Taanach are distinguished from those built on natural hills or spurs of hills, such as Jebus, Gezer, Tell es Sail (Gath?), Bethshemesh (see Vincent, Canaan, 26). The Arabic name "Tell" is applied to all mounds of ancient cities, whether situated on a natural eminence or on a plain, and the word is common in the geographical nomenclature of Palestine Sites were chosen near a water supply, which was ever the most essential qualification. For purposes of defense, the nearest knoll or spur was selected. Sometimes these knolls were of no great height and their subsequent elevation is accounted for by the gradual accumulation of debris from town refuse and from frequent demolitions; restoration being effected after a levelng up of the ruins of the razed city (see Fig. 2: Tell el-Hesy, Palestine Exploration Fund, which shows a section of the Tell from which the levels of the successive cities in distinct stratification were recovered). Closely packed houses, in narrow alleys, with low, rude mud, brick, or stone and mud walls, with timber and mud roofs, burned readily and were easily razed to the ground (Joshua 8:1; Joshua 11:11).
It would seem that, viewed from the outside, these cities had the appearance of isolated forts, the surrounding walls being strengthened at frequent intervals, with towers. The gates were approached by narrow roads, which mounted the slopes of the mound at the meeting-point of the meandering paths on the plain below.
5. External Appearance:
The walls of Tell ej-Judeideh were strengthened by towers in the inside, and presented an unbroken circuit of wall to the outside view (see Fig. 4, PEF). Houses on the wall (Joshua 2:15 2 Corinthians 11:33) may have been seen from the outside; but it is unlikely that any building within the walls was visible, except possibly the inner tower or stronghold. The whole of the interior of the early Jerusalem (Jebus) was visible from the hills to the East, but this peculiarity of position is uncommon. Strong and high walls, garrisoned by men-at-arms seen only through the battlements, showed no weakness, and the gates, with their narrow and steep approaches and projecting defense towers, looked uninviting traps. The mystery of these unseen interiors could therefore be easily conjured into an exaggeration of strength.
The inhabitants of the villages (banoth, "daughters," Numbers 32:42 margin) held feudal occupation and gave service to their lord of the city ('em, "mother," 2 Samuel 20:19), in defense of their own or in attacks on their neighbor's property. Such were the cities of the truculent, marauding kings of Canaan, whose broken territories lent themselves to the upkeep of a condition, of the weakness of which, the Israelites, in their solid advance, took ready advantage.
II. The City of the Jewish Occupation.
After the conquest, and the abandonment of the pastoral life for that of agriculture and general trade, the condition of the cities varied but little, except that they were, from time to time, enlarged and strengthened. Solomon's work at Jerusalem was a step forward, but there is little evidence that, in the other cities which he is credited with having put his hands to, there was any embellishment. Megiddo and Gezer at least show nothing worthy of the name. Greek influence brought with it the first real improvements in city building; and the later work of Herod raised cities to a grandeur which was previously undreamed of among the Jews. Within the walls, the main points considered in the "layout" were, the Tower or Stronghold, the High Place, the Broad Place by the Gate, and the Market-Place.
1. Tower or Stronghold:
The Tower or Stronghold was an inner fort which held a garrison and commander, and was provisioned with "victuals, and oil and wine" (2 Chronicles 11:11), to which the defenders of the city when hard pressed betook themselves, as a last resource. The men of the tower of Shechem held out against Abimelech (Judges 9:49) who was afterward killed by a stone thrown by a woman from the Tower of Thebez "within the city" (Judges 9:51, 53). David took the stronghold of Zion, "the same is the city of David" (2 Samuel 5:7), which name (Zion) was afterward applied to the whole city. It is not unlikely that the king's house was included in the stronghold. Macalister (Palestine Exploration Fund Statement, 1907, 192) reports the discovery of a Canaanite castle with enormously thick walls abutting against the inside of the city wall. The strongholds at Taanach and Tell el-Hesy are similarly placed; and the Acropolis at Tell Zakariya lies close to, but independent of, the city wall.
2. High Place:
The High Place was an important feature in all Canaanite cities and retained its importance long after the conquest (1 Samuel 9:12 1 Kings 3:2 Amos 7:9). It was a sanctuary, where sacrifices were offered and feasts were held, and men did "eat before Yahweh" (Deuteronomy 14:26). The priests, as was their custom, received their portion of the flesh (1 Samuel 2:12). The High Place discovered at Gezer (Bible Sidelights, chapter iii) is at a lower level than the city surrounding it, and lies North and South. It is about 100 ft. in length, and when complete consisted of a row of ten rude undressed standing stones, of which eight are still remaining, the largest being 10 ft. 6 inches high, and the others varying to much smaller sizes.
3. Broad Place:
The Broad Place (Nehemiah 8:1, 3, 16 Jeremiah 5:1) seems to have been, usually, immediately inside the city gate. It was not, in early Jewish cities, an extensive open area, but simply a widening of the street, and was designated "broad" by comparison with the neighboring alleys, dignified by the name of street. It took the place of a general exchange. Justice was dispensed (Ruth 4:2) and punishment was administered. Jeremiah was put in "the stocks that were in the upper gate of Benjamin" (Jeremiah 20:2), proclamations were read, business was transacted, and the news and gossip of the day were exchanged. It was a place for all classes to congregate (Job 29:7 Proverbs 31:23), and was also a market-place (2 Kings 7:1). In later times, the market-place became more typically a market square of the Greek agora plan, with an open area surrounded by covered shelters. The present market-place at Haifa resembles this. Probably it was this type of market-place referred to in Matthew 11:16; Matthew 20:3 and Luke 7:32; Luke 11:43. The street inside the Damascus gate of Jerusalem today is, in many ways, similar to the Broad Place, and retains many of its ancient uses. Here, Bedouin and Fellahin meet from the outlying districts to barter, to arbitrate, to find debtors and to learn the news of the day. Lying as it did immediately inside the gate, the Broad Place had a defensive value, in that it admitted of concentration against the forcing of the gate. There does not seem to have been any plan of either a Canaanite or early Jewish city, in which this question of defense did not predominate. Open areas within the city were "waste places" (Isaiah 58:12) and were not an integral part of the plan.
The streets serving these quarters were not laid out on any fixed plan. They were, in fact, narrow, unpaved alleys, all seeming of equal importance, gathering themselves crookedly to the various centers. Having fixed the positions of the City Gates, the Stronghold and the High Place, the inhabitants appear to have been allowed to situate themselves the best way they could, without restriction of line or frontage. Houses were of modest proportions and were poorly built; planned, most often, in utter disregard of the square, and presenting to the street more or less dead walls, which were either topped by parapets or covered with projecting wood and mud roofs (see ARCHITECTURE, fig. 1; HOUSE).
The streets, as in the present day in Palestine, were allocated to separate trades: "bakers' street" (Jeremiah 37:21), place "of the merchants" (Nehemiah 3:31, 32 the King James Version), "goldsmiths," etc. The Valley of the Cheesemakers was a street in the Tyropceon Valley at Jerusalem.
For a discussion of the subject of "cisterns", see the separate article under the word
5. General Characteristics:
The people pursued the industries consequent upon their own self-establishment. Agriculture claimed first place, and was their most highly esteemed occupation. The king's lands were farmed by his subjects for his own benefit, and considerable tracts of lands belonged to the aristocracy. The most of the lands, however, belonged to the cities and villages, and were allotted among the free husbandmen. Various cereals were raised, wheat and barley being most commonly cultivated. The soil was tilled and the crops reaped and threshed in much the same manner and with much the same implements as are now used in Syria. Cities lying in main trade routes developed various industries more quickly than those whose positions were out of touch with foreign traffic. Crafts and trades, unknown to the early Jews, were at first monopolized by foreigners who, as a matter of course, were elbowed out as time progressed. Cities on the seaboard of Phoenicia depended chiefly on maritime trade. Money, in the form of ingots and bars of precious metals, "weighed out" (2 Kings 12:11), was current in preexilic times, and continued in use after foreign coinage had been introduced. The first native coinage dates from the Maccabean period (see Madden, Jewish Coinage, chapter iv). Slavery was freely trafficked in, and a certain number of slaves were attached to the households of the more wealthy. Although they were the absolute property of their masters, they enjoyed certain religious privileges not extended to the "sojourners" or "strangers" who sought the protection of the cities, often in considerable numbers.
The king's private property, from which he drew full revenue, lay partly within the city, but to a greater extent beyond it (1 Samuel 8:15, 16). In addition to his private property, he received tithes of fields and flocks, "the tenth part of your seed." He also drew a tax in the shape of certain "king's mowings" (Amos 7:1). Vassal kings, paid tribute; Mesha, king of Moab, rendered wool unto the king of Israel (2 Kings 3:4).
SeeG. A. Smith, Jerusalem, I, chapters v-x, for detailed account of the conditions of Jewish city life. For details of government, see ELDER; JUDGES; SANHEDRIN.
III. Store Cities.
These were selected by Solomon and set aside for stores of victuals, chariots, horsemen, etc. (1 Kings 9:19). Jehoshaphat "built in Judah castles and cities of store" (2 Chronicles 17:12). Twelve officers were appointed by Solomon to provision his household, each officer being responsible for the supply in one month in the year (1 Kings 4:7). There were also "storehouses in the fields, in the cities, and in the villages" (1 Chronicles 27:25 the King James Version).
IV. Levitical Cities.
These were apportioned 13 to the children of Aaron, 10 to Kohath, 13 to Gershon, 12 to Merari, 48 cities in all (Joshua 21:13), 6 of which were cities of Refuge (Numbers 35:6); see REFUGE, CITIES OF. For further details see ARCHITECTURE; HOUSE.
PEFS; Bliss and Dickie, Excavations at Jerusalem; Macalister, Excavation at Gezer; Bliss and Macalister, Excavations in Palestine; Sellin, Excavation at Taanach; Schumacher, Excavation at Tell Mutesellim; Macalister, Bible Sidelights; G. A. Smith, Jerusalem; Historical Geography of the Holy Land; Bliss, Mounds of Many Cities; Vincent, Canaan.
Arch. C. Dickie
CITY OF CONFUSION
kon-fu'-zhun (qiryath-tohu): A name applied to Jerusalem (Isaiah 24:10 the King James Version).
CITY OF DESTRUCTION
de-struk'-shun `ir ha-herec; (Septuagint Base-dek): In his prediction of the future return of Egypt to Yahweh, Isaiah declares, "In that day there shall be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan, and swear to Yahweh of hosts; one shall be called The city of destruction" (Isaiah 19:18). The name `ir ha-herec, "the city of overthrow," is evidently a play upon `ir ha-cherec, "city of the sun," a designation of Heliopolis (same meaning; compare the name for this city, Beth-shemesh, Jeremiah 43:13), in Egyptian, On (Genesis 41:45), which last name Ezekiel, by a similar play on sound, changes into Aven. See ON. Some codices, however, as the Revised Version, margin notes, read here `ir ha-cherec, the actual name of the city.
CITY OF PALM TREES
pam'-trez (`ir ha-temarim).
See JERICHO (Deuteronomy 34:3 Judges 1:16; Judges 3:13 2 Chronicles 28:15).
CITY, RULERS OF
rool'-erz: The English Versions of the Bible rendering of the politarchai, of Thessalonica, before whom Jason and the other Christians were dragged by the mob (Acts 17:6, 8). The term distinguishes the magistrates of a free Greek city from the ordinary Roman officials. It primarily denotes "rulers of the citizens," and hence, was used only of magistrates of free cities. The term seems to have been confined largely to Macedonia, although there have been found a few inscriptions elsewhere in which it is used. The use of this term well illustrates the accuracy of the author of the Book of Acts, for while politarchai is not used by classical authors, this form is attested by a number of Macedonian inscriptions. Much work has been done in this field in recent years and the results throw light on the reference in Acts. Of the inscriptions that have been found at least five belong to Thessalonica (see article by Professor Burton, in the American Journal of Theology of 1898, "The Politarchs").
"The rulers" of Philippi, before whom Paul and Silas were brought is the English Versions of the Bible rendering of archonies, which is commonly used in the New Testament (Acts 16:19). This is the ordinary term for "rulers" and is not the same as "rulers of the city."
A. W. Fortune
In Genesis 4:17 it is narrated that Cain, who had taken up his abode in the land of Nod, East of Eden (verse 16), built there a city, and called it after the name of his firstborn son Enoch. It is impossible to fix more definitely the locality of this first of cities, recorded, as Delitzsch says (Genesis, in the place cited.), as registering an advance in civilization. The "city" would be a very simple affair, a place of protection for himself, wife and household, perhaps connected with the fear spoken of in Genesis 4:14.
gold'-'-n: The translation "golden city" (Isaiah 14:4) is an attempt to render the received text (madhhebhah), but can hardly be justified. Almost all the ancient versions read (marhebhah), a word which connotes unrest and insolence, fitting the context well.
SALT, CITY OF
(`ir ha-melach; Codex Alexandrinus hai pol(e)is halon): One of the six cities in the wilderness of Judah mentioned between Nibshan and Engedi (Joshua 15:62). The site is very uncertain. The large and important Tell el-Milch (i.e. "the salt hill"), on the route from Hebron to Akaba, is possible.
SAMARIA, CITY OF
sa-ma'-ri-a, (shomeron; Samareia, Semeron, and other forms):
(1) Shechem was the first capital of the Northern Kingdom (1 Kings 12:25). Jeroboam seems later to have removed the royal residence to Tirzah (1 Kings 14:17). After the brief reigns of Elah and Zimri came that of Omri, who reigned 6 years in Tirzah, then he purchased the hill of Samaria and built a city there, which was thenceforward the metropolis of the kingdom of Israel (1 Kings 16:24). Here the hill and the city are said to have been named after Shemer, the original owner of the land. There is nothing intrinsically improbable in this. It might naturally be derived from shamar, and the name in the sense of "outlook" would fitly apply to a city in such a commanding position. The residence, it was also the burying-place, of the kings of Israel (1 Kings 16:28; 1 Kings 22:37 2 Kings 10:35; 2 Kings 13:9, 13; 14:16).
Toward the western edge of the Ephraimite uplands there is a broad fertile hollow called Wady esh-Sha`ir, "valley of barley." From the midst of it rises an oblong hill to a height of over 300 ft., with a level top. The sides are steep, especially to the Samaria. The greatest length is from East to West. The surrounding mountains on three sides are much higher, and are well clad with olives and vineyards. To the West the hills are lower, and from the crest a wide view is obtained over the Plain of Sharon, with the yellow ribbon of sand that marks the coast line, and the white foam on the tumbling billows; while away beyond stretch the blue waters of the Mediterranean. On the eastern end of the hill, surrounded by olive and cactus, is the modern village of Sebastiyeh, under which a low neck of land connects the hill with the eastern slopes. The position is one of great charm and beauty; and in days of ancient warfare it was one of remarkable strength. While it was overlooked from three sides, the battlements crowning the steep slopes were too far off to be reached by missiles from the only artillery known in those times-the sling and the catapult. For besiegers to attempt an assault at arms was only to court disaster. The methods adopted by her enemies show that they relied on famine to do their work for them (2 Kings 6:24 f, etc.). Omri displayed excellent taste and good judgment in the choice he made.
The city wall can be traced in almost its entire length. Recent excavations conducted by American archaeologists have uncovered the foundations of Omri's palace, with remains of the work of Ahab and of Herod (probably here was Ahab's ivory palace), on the western end of the hill, while on the western slope the gigantic gateway, flanked by massive towers, has been exposed to view.
Under the influence of Jezebel, Samaria naturally became a center of idolatrous worship. Ahab "reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made the Asherah" (1 Kings 16:32 f). Jehoram his son put away the pillar of Baal (2 Kings 3:2), and within the temple Jehu made an end at once of the instruments of idolatry and of the priests (2 Kings 10:19 f). There are many prophetic references to the enormities practiced here, and to their inevitable consequences (Isaiah 8:4; Isaiah 9:9; Isaiah 10:9; Isaiah 28:1; 36:19 Jeremiah 23:13 Ezekiel 23:4 Hosea 7:1; Hosea 13:16 Amos 3:12 Micah 1:6, etc.).
Under pressure of Damascus Omri conceded to the Syrians the right to "make streets in Samaria" (1 Kings 20:34).
Ben-hadad II besieged the city, but suffered ignominious defeat (1 Kings 20:1-21; Josephus, Ant, VIII, xiv, 1). Persistent attempts by the Syrians to reach the city in the time of Jehoram were frustrated by Elisha (2 Kings 6:8; Josephus, Ant, IX, iv, 3). At length, however, Ben-hadad again invested the city, and the besieged were reduced to dire straits, in which, urged by famine, scenes of awful horror were enacted (2 Kings 6:24). A mysterious panic seized the Syrians. Their deserted camp was discovered by despairing lepers who carried the good news to the famished citizens of the plenty to be found there. Probably in the throat of the great western gateway occurred the crush in which the incredulous captain was trampled to death (1 Kings 7; Josephus, Ant, IX, iv, 5).
Here the 70 sons of Ahab were slain by Jehu in the general destruction of the house of Ahab (2 Kings 10:1). In Samaria, the Chronicler tells us, Ahaziah in vain hid from Jehu (2 Chronicles 22:9; compare 2 Kings 9:27). Pekah brought hither much spoil from Jerusalem and many captives, whom, at the instance of the prophet Oded, he released (2 Chronicles 28). The siege of Samaria was begun by Shalmaneser in the 7th year of Hoshea, and the city was finally taken by Sargon II at the end of 3 years, 722 B.C. (2 Kings 17:5; 2 Kings 18:9 f; Ant, IX, xiv, 1). This marked the downfall of the Northern Kingdom, the people being transported by the conqueror. That this was not done in a thoroughgoing way is evident from the fact recorded in the inscriptions that two years later the country had to be subdued again. Colonists were brought from other parts to take the places of the exiles (2 Kings 17:24 Ezra 4:10). Alexander the Great took the city in 331 B.C., killed many of the inhabitants, and settled others in Shechem, replacing them with a colony of Syro-Macedonians. He gave the adjoining country to the Jews (Apion, II, 4). The city suffered at the hands of Ptolemy Lagi and Demetrius Poliorcetes, but it was still a place of strength (Josephus, Ant, XIII, x, 2) when John Hyrcanus came against it in 120 B.C. It was taken after a year's siege, and the victor tried to destroy the city utterly. His turning of the water into trenches to undermine the foundations could only refer to the suburbs under the hill. From the only two sources, `Ain Harun and 'Ain Kefr Rima, to the East of the town, the water could not rise to the hill. The "many fountains of water" which Benjamin of Tudela says he saw on the top, from which water enough could be got to fill the trenches, are certainly not to be seen today; and they have left no trace behind them. The city was rebuilt by Pompey and, having again fallen under misfortune, was restored by Gabinius (Josephus, Ant, XIV, iv, 4; v, 3; BJ, I, vii, 7; viii, 4). To Herod it owed the chief splendor of its later days. He extended, strengthened and adorned it on a scale of great magnificence, calling it Sebaste (= Augusta) in honor of the emperor, a name which survives in the modern Sebastiyeh. A temple also was dedicated to Caesar. Its site is probably marked by the impressive flight of steps, with the pedestal on which stood the gigantic statue of Augustus, which recent excavations have revealed. The statue, somewhat mutilated, is also to be seen. Another of Herod's temples West of the present village was cleared out by the same explorers. The remains of the great double-columned street, which ran round the upper terrace of the hill, bear further testimony to the splendor of this great builder's work (Josephus, Ant, XV, vii, 3; viii, 5; BJ, I, xxi, 2). It was here that Herod killed perhaps the only human being whom he ever really loved, his wife Mariamne. Here also his sons perished by his hand (Josephus, Ant, XV, vii, 5-7; XVI, iii, 1-3; xi, 7).
It is commonly thought that this city was the scene of Philip's preaching and the events that followed recorded in Acts 8, but the absence of the definite article in 8:5 makes this doubtful. A Roman colony was settled here by Septimius Severus. From that time little is known of the history of the city; nor do we know to what the final castastrophe was due. It became the seat of a bishopric and was represented in the councils of Nicea, Constantinople and Chalcedon. Its bishop attended the Synod of Jerusalem in 536 A.D.
The Church of John, a Crusading structure beside the modern village, is now a Moslem mosque. It is the traditional burying-place of John the Baptist's body.
(2) he Samareia: A town mentioned in 1 Maccabees 5:66 as on the route followed by Judas from the district of Hebron to the land of the Philistines. The name is probably a clerical error. The margin reads Marisa, and probably the place intended is Mareshah, the site of which is at Tell Sandachannah, about a mile South of Belt Jibrin.
ARBA, CITY OF