|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
Waters of quiet, an ancient Moabite town (Numbers 21:30). It was assigned to the tribe of Reuben (Joshua 13:16). Here was fought the great battle in which Joab defeated the Ammonites and their allies (1 Chronicles 19:7-15; Comp. 2 Samuel 10:6-14). In the time of Isaiah (15:2) the Moabites regained possession of it from the Ammonites. (see HANUN.)
The ruins of this important city, now Madeba or Madiyabah, are seen about 8 miles south-west of Heshbon, and 14 east of the Dead Sea. Among these are the ruins of what must have been a large temple, and of three cisterns of considerable extent, which are now dry. These cisterns may have originated the name Medeba, "waters of quiet." (see OMRI.)
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
med'-e-ba (medhebha'; Maidaba, Medaba): The name may mean "gently flowing water," but the sense is doubtful. This city is first mentioned along with Heshbon and Dibon in an account of Israel's conquests (Numbers 21:30). It lay in the Mishor, the high pastoral land of Moab. The district in which the city stood is called the Mishor or plain of Medeba in the description of the territory assigned to Reuben (Joshua 13:9), or the plain by Medeba (Joshua 13:16). Here the Ammonites and their Syrian allies put the battle in array against Joab, and were signally defeated (1 Chronicles 19:7). This must have left the place definitely in the possession of Israel. But it must have changed hands several times. It was taken by Omri, evidently from Moab; and Mesha claims to have recovered possession of it (M S, ll. 7, 8, 29, 30). It would naturally fall to Israel under Jeroboam II; but in Isaiah 15:2 it is referred to as a city of Moab. It also figures in later Jewish history. John, son of Mattathias, was captured and put to death by the Jambri, a robber tribe from Medeba. This outrage was amply avenged by Jonathan and Simon, who ambushed a marriage party of the Jambri as they were bringing a noble bride from Gabbatha, slew them all and took their ornaments (1 Maccabees 9:36;; Ant, XII, i, 2, 4). Medeba was captured by Hyrcanus "not without the greatest distress of his army" (Ant., XIII, ix, 1). It was taken by Janneus from the Nabateans. Hyrcanus promised to restore it with other cities so taken to Aretas in return for help to secure him on the Judean throne (ibid., xv, 4; XIV, i, 4). Ptolemy speaks of it as a town in Arabia Petrea, between Bostra and Petra. Eusebius and Jerome knew it under its ancient name (Onomasticon, under the word). It became the seat of a bishropric, and is mentioned in the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.), and in other ecclesiastical lists.
The ancient city is represented by the modern Madeba, a ruined site with an Arab village, crowning a low hill, some 6 miles South of Heshbon, with which it was connected by a Roman road. The ruins, which are considerable, date mainly from Christian times. The surrounding walls can be traced in practically their whole circuit. There is a large tank, now dry, measuring 108 yds. X 103 yds., and about 12 ft. in depth. In 1880 it was colonized by some Christian families from Kerak, among whom the Latins carry on mission work. In December, 1896, a most interesting mosaic was found. It proved to be a map of part of Palestine and Lower Egypt of the time of Justinian. Unfortunately it is much damaged. An account of it will be found in Palestine Exploration Fund Statement, 1897, 213;, 239; 1898, 85, 177;, 251.
Medeba (5 Occurrences)
Numbers 21:30 We have shot at them. Heshbon has perished even to Dibon. We have laid waste even to Nophah, Which reaches to Medeba." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Joshua 13:9 from Aroer, that is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, and the city that is in the middle of the valley, and all the plain of Medeba to Dibon; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Joshua 13:16 Their border was from Aroer, that is on the edge of the valley of the Arnon, and the city that is in the middle of the valley, and all the plain by Medeba; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
1 Chronicles 19:7 So they hired for themselves thirty-two thousand chariots, and the king of Maacah and his people, who came and encamped before Medeba. The children of Ammon gathered themselves together from their cities, and came to battle. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Isaiah 15:2 They have gone up to Bayith, and to Dibon, to the high places, to weep. Moab wails over Nebo and over Medeba. Baldness is on all of their heads. Every beard is cut off. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)