Jabesh-Gilead is also called Jabesh in the Bible. Gilead means the land covers by the mountains of Gilead, and is the region east of Jordan River, located west of Ammon, south of Beth Shean, north of Shittim. Jabbok river separates it into half in the middle. Jabesh was a city town, its original meaning is “dry”. Gilead Jabesh means the Gilead in Jabesh.

The Swedish Archeologist discovered the site of Tell abu-Kharaz between 1989-1992, where is 3 kilometers east of Jordan River and 15 kilometers south east of Tel Beth Shean, is likely to be the ruins of the ancient Gilead-Jabesh.

The site of remains of houses at Tell abu-kharaz

The site of remains of houses at Tell abu-kharaz

The Bible recorded Moses gave a part of the land of Gilead to the half tribe of Manasseh at the east of Jordan River (Num 2:39-40; Deu 3:13-15; Jos 17:1)

It was a dark age of Israelites in the time of Judges. People departed from God, morale degraded resulting in troubles within and enemies from outside. During this time, a group of bandits in the town of Gibeah in the tribe of Benjamin, raped the wife of a Levites till she died. This devilish conduct caused the anger of the other eleven tribes of Israelites to attack. The Benjamins not only refused to hand over the criminals but also called twenty-six thousand men to fight against the four hundred thousand men of the other eleven tribes. The Benjamites were almost annihilated completely. Only six hundred men survived and fled to the hide in the wilderness. Then they regretted that Israelites will lose a tribe and decided to allow the six hundred Benjamites who hid in the wilderness to marry and have offspring. Since the eleven tribes of Israelites had sworn to never marry their daughters to the Benjamin, they decided to kill all the people in Jabesh-Gilead who did not participate in the war against Gibeah and left four hundred virgins whom they gave to the six hundred Benjamites as wives. (Jug 19-21)

King Saul was a descendant of the Benjamites and is related to the people in Jabesh-Gilead (I Sa 9:1-2). I Samuel chapter 11 recorded, in the beginning when Saul was king, the Ammonites attacked Jabesh-Gilead. The people in Jabesh wanted to make a deal with the Ammonites to serve them. But the Ammonites wanted gorge out the right eye of every Jabehsite as a condition of making the deal in order to insult the Israelites. The people in Jabesh called Saul for rescue. Saul numbered three hundred thousand Israelites in Bezek and thirty thousand men of Judah to go for the rescue and utterly defeated the Ammonites and saved Jabeshites.

Later when Saul and his three sons were killed at mountain Gibeah. Their bodies were nailed on the wall of Beth Shan. The warriors of Jabesh-Gilead walked one whole night and risked their lives to take bodies from the wall and delivered them to Gabesh and buried them under the tamarisk tree and fasted seven days. (I Sa 31; 1 Ch 10:1-12).

When David learned of this event, he paid respects to the people of Jabesh-Gilead and blessed them (II Sa 2:4-6). Later, David took the bones of Saul and Jonathan from Jabesh-Gilead to country of Benjamin in Zlah in the tomb of Kish, Saul father. (II Sa 21:21-14)

A man’s heart devises his way; But Jehovah directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

The pieces of ceramic on the top of Tell abu-Kharaz ruins

The co-workers dedicated to filming under the conditions of over 30 degrees C. and lacking water supplies.

聖經地名詞典 白雲曉編著 北京中央編譯出版社 2001.12
聖經地理 馬自毅編著 上海學林出版社 2005.7
簡明聖經史地圖解 梁天樞著 上海人民出版社
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