|Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia|
kir-i-ath je'-a-rim, kir-i-ath je-a'-rim (qiryath-ye`-arim, "city of thickets"; Septuagint he polis Iareim; the King James Version Kirjathjearim): One of the four chief cities of the Gibeonites (Joshua 9:17); a city of Judah (Joshua 15:60), evidently an ancient, Semitic "high place", hence, the name "Kiriath-Baal" (same place); it was one of the places on the border line between Judah and Benjamin (Joshua 18:14, 15; Joshua 15:11 (where it is called "Baalah"); compare 1 Chronicles 13:6). It is mentioned as in Judah (Joshua 15:60; Joshua 18:14 Judges 18:12), but if KIRIATH (which see) is identical with it, it is mentioned as belonging to Benjamin (Joshua 18:28; in 2 Samuel 6:2, Baale-judah).
1. Scripture References:
Judges 18:12 records that the men of Dan set forth out of Zorah and Eshtaol and encamped in Mahaneh-dan behind (West of) Kiriath-jearim. (In Judges 13:25 Mahaneh-dan ("the camp of Dan") is described as between Zorah and Eshtaol; see MAHANEH-DAN.) To this sanctuary the ark of Yahweh was brought, from Beth-shemesh by the people of Kiriath-jearim, and they "brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill (m "Gibeah"); and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of Yahweh" (1 Samuel 7:1). Here it abode twenty years (1 Samuel 7:2 2 Samuel 6:2-4; compare 1 Chronicles 13:6 2 Chronicles 1:4). Clearly it was in the hills somewhere to the East of Beth-shemesh.
The prophet Uriah-ben-shemaiah, killed by Jehoiskim, belonged to Kiriath-jearim (Jeremiah 26:20 f).
In Ezra 2:25 (compare Nehemiah 7:29), this place occurs under the name "Kiriath-arim." In 1 Esdras 5:19 the name occurs as "Kiriathiarius."
The exact position of this important Israelite sanctuary has never been satisfactorily settled. Some of the data appear to be contradictory. For example, Josephus (Ant., VI, i, 4) says it was a city in the neighborhood of Beth-shemesh, while Eusebius and Jerome (Onomasticon) speak of it ("Cariathiareim") in their day as a village 9 or 10 miles from Jerusalem on the way to Lydda. But it is open to doubt whether the reputed site of their day had any serious claims. Any suggested site should fulfill the following conditions:
(1) It must harmonize with the boundary line of Judah and Benjamin between two known points-the "waters of Nephtoah," very generally supposed to be Lifta, and Chesalon, certainly Kesla (Joshua 15:10).
(2) It should not be too far removed from the other cities of the Gibeonites-Gibeon, Chephirah and Beeroth-but those places, which are all identified, are themselves fairly widely apart.
(3) Mahaneh-dan ("the camp of Dan") is described as between Zorah and Eshtaol, and was West of Kiriath-jearim; this, and the statement of Josephus that it was in the neighborhood of Beth-shemesh, makes it probable that the site was near the western edge of the mountains of Judah. Zorah (now Sara`), Eshtaol (now Eshu`a) and Beth-shemesh (now `Ain Shems), are all within sight of each other close to the Vale of Sorek.
(4) The site should be a sanctuary (or show signs of having been such), and be at least on a height (Gibeah, 1 Samuel 7:1 margin).
(5) The name may help us, but it is as well to note that the first part of the name, in the form "Kirathiarius" (1 Esdras 5:19), appears to have survived the exile rather than the second.
3. Suggested Identifications:
The first suggested identification was that of Robinson (BE, II, 11, 12), namely, Kuriet el `Enab, the "town of grapes," a flourishing little town about 9 miles West of Jerusalem on the carriage road to Jaffa. The district around is still fairly well wooded (compare ye`arim = "thickets"). This village is commonly known as Abu Ghosh, from the name of a robber chieftain who, with his family, flourished there in the first half of the last century. Medieval ecclesiastical tradition has made this place the Anathoth of Jeremiah, and a handsome church from the time of the Crusades, now thoroughly repaired, exists here to mark this tradition. This site suits well as regards the border line, and the name Quriet is the exact equivalent of Kiriath; it also fits in with the distance and direction given the Eusebius, Onomasticon, but it cannot be called satisfactory in all respects. Soba, in the neighborhood, has, on account of its commanding position, been selected, but except for this one feature it has no special claims. The late Colonel Conder has very vigorously advocated the claims of a site he discovered on the south side of the rugged Wady Ismae`n, called Khurbet `Erma, pointing out truly that `Erma is the exact equivalent of `Arim (Ezra 2:25). Unfortunately the 2nd part of the name would appear from the references in 1 Esdras and in Eusebius (Onomasticon) to be that part which was forgotten long ago, so that the argument even of the philological-the strongest-grounds cannot be of much value. The greatest objections in the minds of most students are the unsuitability of the position to the requirements of the Judah-Benjamin frontier and its distance from the other Gibeonite cities.
The present writer suggests another site which, in his opinion, meets at least some of the requirements better than the older proposals. Standing on the hill of Beth-shcmesh and looking Northwest, with the cities of Zorah (Sur`ah) and Eshtaol (Eshu'-a) full in view, a lofty hill crowned by a considerable forest catches the eye. The village a little below the summit is called Beit Machcir, and the hilltop itself is the shrine of a local saint known as Sheikh el Ajam. So "holy" is the site, that no trees in this spot are ever cut, nor is fallen brushwood removed. There is a Wely or sanctuary of the saint, and round about are scores of very curious and apparently ancient graves. Southward from this site the eye follows the line of Judean hills-probably the Mt. Jearim of Joshua 15:10 -until it strikes the outstanding point of Kesla (Chesslon), some 2 miles to the South. If the ark was taken here, the people of Beth-shemesh could have followed its progress almost the whole way to its new abode. Although the name, which appears to mean
Kiriath-jearim (17 Occurrences)
Joshua 9:17 And the children of Israel journeyed, and came unto their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, and Chephirah, and Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. (ASV BBE JPS NAS)
Joshua 15:9 and the border extended from the top of the mountain unto the fountain of the waters of Nephtoah, and went out to the cities of mount Ephron; and the border extended to Baalah ( the same is Kiriath-jearim ); (ASV BBE JPS NAS)
Joshua 15:60 Kiriath-baal ( the same is Kiriath-jearim ), and Rabbah; two cities with their villages. (ASV BBE JPS NAS)
Joshua 18:14 And the border extended thence, and turned about on the west quarter southward, from the mountain that lieth before Beth-horon southward; and the goings out thereof were at Kiriath-baal ( the same is Kiriath-jearim ), a city of the children of Judah: this was the west quarter. (ASV BBE JPS NAS)
Joshua 18:15 And the south quarter was from the uttermost part of Kiriath-jearim; and the border went out westward, and went out to the fountain of the waters of Nephtoah; (ASV BBE JPS NAS)
Judges 18:12 And they went up, and encamped in Kiriath-jearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan, unto this day; behold, it is behind Kiriath-jearim. (ASV BBE JPS NAS)
1 Samuel 6:21 And they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, The Philistines have brought back the ark of Jehovah; come ye down, and fetch it up to you. (ASV BBE JPS NAS)
1 Samuel 7:1 And the men of Kiriath-jearim came, and fetched up the ark of Jehovah, and brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill, and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of Jehovah. (ASV BBE JPS NAS)
1 Samuel 7:2 And it came to pass, from the day that the ark abode in Kiriath-jearim, that the time was long; for it was twenty years: and all the house of Israel lamented after Jehovah. (ASV BBE JPS NAS)
1 Chronicles 2:50 These were the sons of Caleb, the son of Hur, the first-born of Ephrathah: Shobal the father of Kiriath-jearim, (ASV BBE JPS NAS)
1 Chronicles 2:52 And Shobal the father of Kiriath-jearim had sons: Haroeh, half of the Menuhoth. (ASV BBE JPS NAS)
1 Chronicles 2:53 And the families of Kiriath-jearim: The Ithrites, and the Puthites, and the Shumathites, and the Mishraites; of them came the Zorathites and the Eshtaolites. (ASV BBE JPS NAS)
1 Chronicles 13:5 So David assembled all Israel together, from the Shihor the brook of Egypt even unto the entrance of Hamath, to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim. (ASV BBE JPS NAS)
1 Chronicles 13:6 And David went up, and all Israel, to Baalah, that is, to Kiriath-jearim, which belonged to Judah, to bring up from thence the ark of God Jehovah that sitteth above the cherubim, that is called by the Name. (ASV BBE JPS NAS)
2 Chronicles 1:4 But the ark of God had David brought up from Kiriath-jearim to the place that David had prepared for it; for he had pitched a tent for it at Jerusalem. (ASV BBE JPS NAS)
Nehemiah 7:29 The men of Kiriath-jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, seven hundred forty and three. (ASV BBE JPS NAS)
Jeremiah 26:20 And there was also a man that prophesied in the name of Jehovah, Uriah the son of Shemaiah of Kiriath-jearim; and he prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah: (ASV BBE JPS NAS)