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Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]


1. The Blanche Garde of the crusaders (Stanley). A city in the Shephelah or low hills S.W. of Palestine, taken by Joshua, though not one of the leagued cities, because he would not leave so strong a city unsubdued in his rear, after destroying Makkedah on his way to Lachish. A priests' city with its "suburbs" ( Joshua 10:29-30;  Joshua 10:32-39;  Joshua 12:15;  Joshua 15:42;  Joshua 21:13). It revolted from Judah at the same time as Edom, in the reign of Jehoram, Jehoshaphat's son, "because he had forsaken the Lord God of his fathers" ( 2 Kings 8:22;  2 Chronicles 21:10-11). Its remoteness from the capital, which Jehoram had corrupted into idolatry, and the presence of the sacred ministers in it, made its people desire separation from the idolaters; hence its revolt, as the scripture quoted implies. The explanation of the revolt, though satisfactory, is one inferred from comparing independent scriptures ( 2 Chronicles 21:10;  2 Kings 8:18;  Joshua 15:42;  Joshua 21:13), an undesigned propriety confirming the truth.

After Lachish Sennacherib besieged Libnah, and there heard of what alarmed him, Tirhakah's advance ( 2 Kings 19:8;  Isaiah 37:8). Rabshakeh joined him there, and probably brought with him the portion of the Assyrian army which had been before Jerusalem. At Libnah near Egypt G. Rawlinson thinks the miraculous destruction of the Assyrian army took place: not at Jerusalem; so Jehovah's promise ( Isaiah 37:33), "Sennacherib shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields "; then verse 36 will mean, "when they (Sennacherib and the surviving Assyrians) arose early in the morning, behold they (the smitten Assyrians) were all dead corpses." Herodotus (ii. 141) gives the Egyptian story, that Sennacherib retreated from Pelusium, the Egyptian gods having sent field mice which gnawed their bowstrings and shield straps, a corruption of Jehovah's promise above. Hamutal, Josiah's queen, mother of Jehoahaz and Zedekiah, was of Libnah ( 2 Kings 23:31;  2 Kings 24:18.)

E. Wilton identifies Libnah with Lebben, five miles S. of Gaza, near the northern bank of wady Sheriah, a good point from which Sennacherib could watch Tirhakah's advance from the Egyptian quarter. The smallness of the remains is due to the buildings having been of large sun-dried bricks, soon disintegrating, not stone. Condor (Palestine Exploration, July, 1875) identifies it with Belt Jibrin. Warren (Palestine Exploration, July, 1875) identifies Libnah with Ibna, a ruin on a hill at the sea coast, between Jaffa and Ashdod, and identical with Jabneel or Jabnab. As Libnah was a priests' town, so Jamnia became latterly the seat of the Sanhedrin and head quarters of Hebrew learning. Libnah (whiteness) perhaps is named from some natural feature, as white poplars; as Rithmah is from Retem "the juniper." El Benawy is mentioned for it in Palestine Exploration Quarterly Statement, January, 1878, p. 19.

2. A station of Israel between Sinai and Kadesh, the fifth after Sinai. The Laban of  Deuteronomy 1:1, near the Arabah and Elanitic gulf. Now El Beyaneh ("the distinct.," Arabic), part of the mountain plateau and valley W. of the Arabah.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

LIBNAH. 1. An unidentified station in the desert wanderings (  Numbers 33:20 ). 2. A Canaanite city taken by Joshua after Makkedah and before Lachish (  Joshua 10:29 etc.), named between Arad and Adullam (  Joshua 12:16 ), and between Makkedah and Ether in the Shephçlah (  Joshua 15:42 ). It was given to the Levites (  Joshua 21:18 ,   1 Chronicles 6:67 ). Taking advantage of an Edomite revolt, it rose against Judah under Joram (  2 Kings 8:22 ). It was besieged by Sennacherib (  2 Kings 19:8 =   Isaiah 37:8 ). Hamutal, mother of Jehoahaz and Zedekiah, was a native of Libnah (  2 Kings 23:31;   2 Kings 24:18 ,   Jeremiah 52:1 ). The district is clearly indicated, but the site is still unknown. Conder ( PEFSt [Note: Quarterly Statement of the same.] , 1897, p. 69) suggests el-Benawy , 10 miles S.E. of Lachish ( Tell el-Hesy ).

W. Ewing.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [3]

  • One of the royal cities of the Canaanites taken by Joshua ( Joshua 10:29-32;  12:15 ). It became one of the Levitical towns in the tribe of Judah (21:13), and was strongly fortified. Sennacherib laid siege to it ( 2 Kings 19:8;  Isaiah 37:8 ). It was the native place of Hamutal, the queen of Josiah ( 2 Kings 23:31 ). It stood near Lachish, and has been identified with the modern Arak el-Menshiyeh.

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Libnah'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • People's Dictionary of the Bible [4]

    Libnah ( Lĭb'Nah ), Whiteness. 1. The fifth station at which Israel encamped on their journey from Sinai; situated between Rimmon-parez and Rissah,  Numbers 33:20-21, but not yet identified. 2. A city of Canaan, in the lowland of Judah, was taken by Joshua,  Joshua 10:29-32;  Joshua 10:39;  Joshua 12:15, and assigned to the priests,  Joshua 15:42;  Joshua 21:13;  1 Chronicles 6:57; revolted against Joram,  2 Kings 8:22;  2 Chronicles 21:10; was besieged by Sennacherib,  2 Kings 19:8;  Isaiah 37:8.

    Smith's Bible Dictionary [5]

    Lib'nah. (Whiteness).

    1. A royal city of the Canaanites, which lay in the southwest part of the Holy Land, taken by Joshua immediately after the rout of Beth-horon. It was near Lachish, west of Makkedah. It was appropriated with its "suburbs" to the priests.  Joshua 21:13;  1 Chronicles 6:57. In the reign of Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, it "revolted" from Judah at the same time with Edom.  2 Kings 8:22;  2 Chronicles 21:10. Probably, the modern Ayak El-Menshiyeh .

    2. One of the stations, at which the Israelites encamped on their journey, between the wilderness of Sinai and Kadesh.  Numbers 33:20-21.

    Morrish Bible Dictionary [6]

    1. One of the stations at which the Israelites encamped.  Numbers 33:20,21 .

    2. City in the south-west taken by Joshua and its inhabitants totally destroyed. It was allotted to Judah and was afterwards given to the priests. It revolted from Jehoram. Afterwards it was besieged by Sennacherib, but apparently was not taken.   Joshua 10:29-39;  Joshua 21:13;  1 Chronicles 6:57;  2 Chronicles 21:10;  Isaiah 37:8;  Jeremiah 52:1 . Not identified.

    American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [7]

    A city in the western part of Judah, not far from Lachish, conquered by Joshua from the Canaanites, and assigned to the priests,  Joshua 10:29,30   15:42   21:13   1 Chronicles 6:57 . Its inhabitants revolted against the idolatrous and cruel Jehoram,  2 Chronicles 21:10 . It was a strongly fortified place, and under its walls the Assyrian army was miraculously cut off,  2 Kings 19:8,9,35 .

    Holman Bible Dictionary [8]

     Numbers 33:20 Joshua 10:29-30 Joshua 15:42 Joshua 21:13 2 Kings 8:22 2 Kings 19:8 2 Kings 23:31 2 Kings 24:18

    Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [9]

    a city in the southern part of the tribe of Judah,  Joshua 15:42 , of which a cession was made to the priests for their habitation, and which was declared a city of refuge,  1 Chronicles 6:57 .

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [10]

    (Heb. Libnah', לַבְנָה , Transparency, as in  Exodus 24:10), the name of two places. (See Shihor-Libnath).

    1. (Sept. Λεβωνᾶ v.r. Λεμωνᾶ .) The twenty-first station of the Israelites in the desert, between Rimmonparez and Rissah ( Numbers 33:20-21); probably identical with LABAN ( Deuteronomy 1:1), and perhaps situated near wady El-Ain, west of Kadesh-Barnea. (See Exode).

    2. (Sept. Λεβνά , sometimes Λοβνά , occasionally Λοβνάν , and even Λεβονά .) One of the royal cities of the Canaanites ( Joshua 12:15), taken and destroyed by Joshua immediately after Makkedah and before Lachish ( Joshua 10:29-32;  Joshua 10:39). It lay in the plain within the territory assigned to Judah ( Joshua 15:42), and became one of the Levitical towns in that tribe, as well as an asylum ( Joshua 21:13;  1 Chronicles 6:57). In the reign of king Jehoram, Libnah is said to have revolted from him ( 2 Kings 8:22;  2 Chronicles 21:10). From the circumstance of this revolt having happened at the same time with that of the Edomites, it has been supposed by some to have reference to another town of the same name situated in that country. But such a conjecture is unnecessary and improbable, for it appears that the Philistines and Arabians revolted at the same time ( 2 Chronicles 21:16). Libnah of Judah rebelled because it refused to admit the idolatries of Jehoram; and it is not said in either of the passages in which this act is recorded, as of Edom, that it continued in revolt "unto this day." It may be inferred either that it was speedily reduced to obedience, or that, on the re-establishment of the true worship, it spontaneously returned to its allegiance, for we find it was the native place of the grandfather of two of the last kings of Judah ( 2 Kings 23:31;  2 Kings 24:18;  Jeremiah 52:1). It appears to have been a strongly fortified place, for the Assyrian king Sennacherib was detained some time before it when he invaded Judaea in the time of Hezekiah. (See Hezekiah).

    On completing or relinquishing the siege of Lachish which of the two is not quite certain Sennacherib laid siege to Libnah ( 2 Kings 19:8;  Isaiah 37:8). While there he was joined by Rabshakeh and the part of the army which had visited Jerusalem ( 2 Kings 19:8;  Isaiah 37:8), and received the intelligence of Tirhakah's approach; and it would appear that at Libnah the destruction of the Assyrian army took place, though the statements of Herodotus (2:141) and of Josephus (Ant. 10:1, 4) place it at Pelusium (see Rawlinson, Herod. 1:480). Libnah was the native place of Hamutal or Hamital, the Queen of Josiah, and mother of Jehoahaz ( 2 Kings 23:31) and Zedekiah (24:18;  Jeremiah 52:1). It is in this connection that its name appears for the last time in the Bible. It existed as a village in the time of Eusebius and Jerome, and is placed by them in the district of Eleutheropolis (Onomast. s.v. Λοβανά ; compare Josephus, Ant. 10:5, 2). Dr. Robinson was unable to discover the least trace of its site (Bib. Res. 2:389). Stanley inclines to find the site at Tell es-Safieh (Sinai and Pal. pages 207, 258); but this is probably Gath. Van de Velde suggests Arak el-Mensahiyeh, a hill about four miles west of Beit-jebrsin (Memoir, page 330), which seems to answer to the requirements of location. It stood near Lachish, west of Makkedah, and probably also west of Eleutheropolis (Keil, Comment. on  Joshua 10:29), and was situated in the district immediately west of the hill region, in the vicinity of Ether, Ashan, etc. ( Joshua 15:42).

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [11]

    lib´na ( לבנה , libhnāh "whiteness," "transparency," "pavement" (compare   Exodus 24:10 where לבנת , libhnath , is translated "paved work" or a "compact foundation"); Λεβνά , Lebná ):

    (1) A desert camp of the Israelites between Rimmon-perez and Rissah ( Numbers 33:20 ,  Numbers 33:21 ). Probably the same as Laban ( Deuteronomy 1:1 ). See Wanderings Of Israel .

    (2) A town in the Shephelah of Judah ( Joshua 15:42 ). "Joshua passed from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, unto Libnah, and fought against Libnah: and Yahweh delivered it also, and the king thereof, into the hand of Israel... And Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, unto Lachish, and encamped against it, and fought against it" ( Joshua 10:29-31;  Joshua 12:15 ). It was one of the cities given to the "children of Aaron" ( Joshua 21:13;  1 Chronicles 6:57 ). In the reign of Joram, Libnah joined the Edomites in a revolt against the king of Judah ( 2 Kings 8:22;  2 Chronicles 21:10 ). In the reign of Hezekiah, Libnah was besieged by Sennacherib ( 2 Kings 19:8;  Isaiah 37:8 ). The wife of King Josiah was "Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah," she was the mother of Jehoahaz and Zedekiah ( 2 Kings 23:31;  2 Kings 24:18;  Jeremiah 52:1 ).

    The site of this important stronghold remains unknown. In the Eusebius, Onomasticon it is described, under the name Lobana or Lobna, as near Eleutheropolis ( Beit Jebrı̂n ). All the indications point to a site in the Southwest of the Shephelah, not very far from Lachish. The Palestine Exploration Fund surveyors suggested ( Pef , III, 259) the commanding site ‛Arāk el Menshı̂yeh , or rather the white chalky mound 250 ft. high to the North of this village, and Stanley proposed Tell eṣ Safi . (Both these identifications are due to the interpretation of Libnah as meaning "whiteness.") In the Pefs (1897, Sh XX) Conder suggests a ruin called el Benâwy , 10 miles Southeast of Lachish.

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [12]

    Lib´nah, one of the royal cities of the Canaanites, taken by Joshua immediately after Makkedah . It lay within the territory assigned to Judah , and became one of the Levitical towns in that tribe . It was a strongly fortified place. The Assyrian King Sennacherib was detained some time before it when he invaded Judea in the time of Hezekiah; and it was before it that he sustained that dreadful stroke which constrained him to withdraw to his own country . In the reign of King Jehoram, Libnah is said to have revolted from him . Libnah existed as a village in the time of Eusebius and Jerome, and is placed by them in the district of Eleutheropolis.