Ramah

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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

RAMAH . The name of several places in Palestine, so called from their ‘loftiness,’ that being the radical meaning of the word. These are as follows:

1 . A city of Naphtali (  Joshua 19:36 ) not otherwise known, perhaps Râmeh between ‘Akka and Damascus, 8 miles W.S.W. of Safed. 2 . A city of Asher (  Joshua 19:29 ) not elsewhere mentioned, and Identified not improbably with Râmia , near Tyre. 3 . A city of Benjamin (  Joshua 18:25 ) between which and Bethel was the palm of Deborah (  Judges 4:5 ); one of the alternatives which the Levite of Bethlehem had to choose for a lodging on his fatal journey (  Judges 19:13 ); yielded with Geba 621 men to the post-exilic census of Ezra (  Ezra 2:26 ); re-settled by Benjamites (  Nehemiah 11:33 ). Its place is indicated between Geba and Gibeah in Isaiah’s picture of the Assyrian advance (  Isaiah 10:29 ). A tradition placed here the site of Rachel’s tomb: this explains the allusions in   1 Samuel 10:2 ,   Jeremiah 31:15 (quoted in   Matthew 2:18 ). Here Jeremiah was loosed from his chains (  Isaiah 40:1 ). The name, and not improbably the site, of this place is preserved by a little village on a hillside north of Jerusalem known as er-Râm , which answers the geographical requirements of these incidents. Near it are some remarkable ancient monuments, known locally as ‘The Graves of the Children of Israel,’ which possibly are the ‘tomb of Rachel’ of the ancient tradition. This town was probably the home of Shimei, the Ramathite , David’s vine-dresser (  1 Chronicles 27:27 ). 4 . A place in the district called Ramathaim-zophim (  1 Samuel 1:1 ), a (corrupt) name prob.= ‘ the two heights of the Zuphites.’ The latter ethnic can hardly be dissociated from the name of the great high place of Mizpah ( Neby Samwîl ). Its chief distinction is its connexion with Samuel. It was ‘In the hill-country of Ephraim,’ but might have been over the S. border of the tribe. Here Elkanah lived, and here was the headquarters of Samuel throughout his life (  1 Samuel 1:19;   1 Samuel 2:11; 1Sa 7:17;   1 Samuel 8:4;   1 Samuel 15:34;   1 Samuel 16:18;   1 Samuel 19:18-23;   1 Samuel 20:1;   1 Samuel 25:1;   1 Samuel 28:8 ). This is probably the Ramah fortified by Baasha against the Judahite kingdom (  1 Kings 15:17 ,   2 Chronicles 16:1 ), rather than the Benjamite Ramah: the latter being actually within Judahite territory would not have been accessible to him. This Ramah appears also in 1Ma 11:34 as Ramathaim . No satisfactory Identification of the Ephraimite Ramah has yet been proposed. It may be identical with No. 3 . Râm-allah , a large village about 12 miles N. of Jerusalem, would fairly well suit the requirements of the history, but there are no definite Indications of antiquities there. 5 . By the name Ramah allusion is made to Ramoth-gilead (wh. see) in   2 Kings 8:23 and the parallel passage   2 Chronicles 22:6 .   2 Chronicles 22:6 . Ramathlehi , the scene of Samson’s victory over the Philistines with the jawbone (  Judges 15:17 ), is unknown. See Lehi. Ramath here is probably a common noun, and we ought to render it ‘the height of Lehi.’ 7. Ramath-mizpeh (  Joshua 13:26 ). See Mizpah, No. 4 . 8. Ramah (or Ramoth) of the South (  Joshua 19:8 ). A town in the tribe of Judah, given to Simeon; to which David sent the spoil of Ziklag (  1 Samuel 30:27 ). It is quite unknown.

R. A. S. Macalister.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [2]

Plural  2 Kings 8:28,29 . Sometimes Rama, Or Ramoth, is joined to another name, to determine the place of such city or eminence; and it is sometimes put simply for a high place, and signifies neither city nor village.

1. The principal Ramah was a city of Benjamin, near Gibeah, towards the mountains of Ephraim, six miles from Jerusalem north, and on the road from Samaria to Jerusalem,  Joshua 18:25   Judges 19:13   Nehemiah 11:33 . It was near the border line between Judah and Israel, and Baasha king of Israel caused it to be fortified, to obstruct the passage from the land of Judah into his own territory,  1 Kings 15:17,21,22 . It is also referred to in  Isaiah 10:29   Jeremiah 31:15   40:1   Hosea 5:8 . Dr. Robinson finds it in the modern village Er-Ram, on a conical hill a little east of the road above-mentioned. The ruins are broken columns, a few bevelled stones, and large hewn stones, and an ancient reservoir on the southwest side. The village is almost deserted.

2. A city in mount Ephraim, called also Ramathaim-Zophim, or Ramah of the Zuphites, the place of Samuel's birth, residence, and burial,  1 Samuel 1:1,19   7:17   8:4   25:1   28:3 . Dr. Robinson suggests Soba, five miles west of Jerusalem, as its possible site. The resemblance of its name Ramathaim to Arimathea of the New Testament, together with intimations of early historians, have led to the general belief that these two places were identical. Arimathea, there is little doubt, lay on one of the hills east of Lydda, some twenty miles northwest of Jerusalem; and this site would meet most of the scriptural intimations as to the Ramah of Samuel. The chief difficulty is found in the account of Saul's first visit to Samuel,  1 Samuel 9:4-12   10:2 .

The young prince "passed through the land of the Benjamites," going south or south-west, "and came to the land of Zuph" and the city where Samuel then was. After his interview with the prophet, and on his return home to Giveah of Benjamin, he passed "by Rachel's sepulchre in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah." But the only "Rachel's sepulchre" we know of was near Bethlehem, many miles south of the direct road from Arimathea to Gibeah. Accordingly, if we suppose this interview took place at Arimathea, we seem obliged to suppose another Rachel's sepulchre between it and Gibeah; or if "Rachel's sepulchre" was at Bethlehem, to infer that the city where Saul actually found Samuel, and at which the prophet had only that day arrived,  1 Samuel 9:10 , was not his usual residence, but some place south or south-west of Bethlehem, only visited by him at intervals in his annual circuits as judge.

3. A city of Asher,  Joshua 19:29

4. A city of Naphtali,  Joshua 19:36 . The site of both these places, visited by Dr. Robinson, is still called Rameh.

5. A city of Gilead,  2 Kings 8:28,29 . See Ramoth .

6. A town belonging to Simeon, called Ramah of the south,  Joshua 19:8   1 Samuel 30:27 .

Holman Bible Dictionary [3]

 Joshua 19:29 Joshua 19:36

3. Ramah of Gilead usually called Ramoth-Gilead. Compare  2 Kings 8:28-29;  2 Chronicles 22:6 . See Ramoth-Gilead .

4. City in the inheritance of Benjamin listed along with Gibeon, Beeroth, Jerusalem, and others ( Joshua 18:25 ). It is to be identified with modern er-Ram five miles north of Jerusalem. In ancient times this location placed the city between the rival kingdoms of Israel and Judah, which led to dire consequences ( 1 Kings 15:16-22;  2 Chronicles 16:1 ,  2 Chronicles 16:5-6 ).

The traditional site of Rachel's tomb was connected with Ramah ( 1 Samuel 10:2;  Jeremiah 31:15 ). Deborah, the prophetess, dwelt and judged Israel from the Ramah vicinity ( Judges 4:4-5 ). Hosea mentioned Ramah ( Joshua 5:8 ), and Isaiah prophesied that the approaching Assyrian army would march through Ramah ( Isaiah 10:29 ).

The Babylonians apparently used Ramah as a prisoner-of-war camp from which captives of Jerusalem were processed and sent into Babylonian Exile. There Jeremiah was released from his chains and allowed to remain in Judah ( Jeremiah 40:1-6 ). People returning from captivity settled there ( Ezra 2:26;  Nehemiah 7:30 ).

5. A city of the Negev, the arid desert south of Judea, in the tribal inheritance of Simeon ( Joshua 19:8 ). David once gave presents to this town following his successful battle with the Amalekites ( 1 Samuel 30:27 ).

6. Birthplace, home, and burial place of Samuel ( 1 Samuel 1:19;  1 Samuel 2:11;  1 Samuel 7:17;  1 Samuel 8:4;  1 Samuel 15:34;  1 Samuel 25:1 ). In  1 Samuel 1:1 the long form, Ramathaim-Zophim, is used. Samuel built an altar to the Lord at Ramah. From there he “judged” Israel and went on a yearly circuit to other cities (  1 Samuel 7:15-17 ). Some have argued that Ramathaim-Zophim is identical with Ramah of Benjamin. It may also be the town, Arimathea, hometown of Joseph, in whose tomb Jesus was buried ( Matthew 27:57-60 ).

J. Randall O'Brien

Smith's Bible Dictionary [4]

Ra'mah. (A Hill). This is the name of several places in the Holy Land.

1. One of the cities, of the allotment of Benjamin.  Joshua 18:25. Its site is at Er-Ram , about five miles from Jerusalem, and near to Gibeah.  Judges 4:5;  Judges 19:13;  1 Samuel 22:6. Its people returned after the captivity.  Ezra 2:26;  Nehemiah 7:30.

2. The home of Elkanah, Samuel's father,  1 Samuel 1:19;  1 Samuel 2:11, the birthplace of Samuel himself, his home and official residence, the site of his altar,  1 Samuel 7:17;  1 Samuel 8:4;  1 Samuel 15:34;  1 Samuel 16:13;  1 Samuel 19:18, and finally, his burial-place,  1 Samuel 25:1;  1 Samuel 28:3. It is a contracted form of Ramathaim-zophim.

All that is directly said as to its situation is that it was in Mount Ephraim,  1 Samuel 1:1, a district without defined boundaries, The position of Ramah is a much-disputed question. Tradition, however places the residence of Samuel on the lofty and remarkable eminence of Neby Samwil , which rises four miles to the northwest of Jerusalem. Since the days of Arcult, the tradition appears to have been continuous. Here, then, we are inclined in the present state of the evidence, to place the Ramah of Samuel.

3. One of the nineteen fortified places of Naphtali.  Joshua 19:36. Dr. Robinson has discovered a Rameh, northwest of the Sea of Galilee, about 8 miles east-south-east of Safed.

4. One of the landmarks on the boundary of Asher,  Joshua 19:29, apparently between Tyre and Zidon. Some place it, 3 miles east of Tyre, others 10 miles off and east-southeast of the same city.

5. By this name in  2 Kings 8:29 and  2 Chronicles 22:6 only, is designated Ramoth-gilead.

6. A place mentioned in the catalogue, of those reinhabited by the Benjamites, after their return from the captivity.  Nehemiah 11:33.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [5]

1. City of Benjamin. It was on the frontier between Judah and Israel. Baasha, king of Israel, sought to build or fortify the place against Asa, king of Judah, but this was averted by Israel being attacked by the king of Syria at the request of Asa, who sent him a rich present of gold and silver.  Joshua 18:25;  Judges 4:5;  Judges 19:13;  1 Kings 15:17-22;  2 Chronicles 16:1-6;  Ezra 2:26;  Nehemiah 7:30;  Nehemiah 11:33;  Isaiah 10:29;  Jeremiah 31:15;  Jeremiah 40:1;  Hosea 5:8 . Called RAMA in  Matthew 2:18 . Identified with er Ram, 31 51 N, 35 14' E.

2. City of Ephraim, where Samuel the prophet dwelt.   1 Samuel 1:19;  1 Samuel 2:11;  1 Samuel 7:17;  1 Samuel 8:4;  1 Samuel 15:34;  1 Samuel 16:13;  1 Samuel 19:18-23;  1 Samuel 20:1;  1 Samuel 22:6;  1 Samuel 25:1;  1 Samuel 28:3 . It is called RAMATHAIM-ZOPHIM in  1 Samuel 1:1 . Not identified.

3. Fortified city of Naphtali.   Joshua 19:36 . Identified with er Rameh, 33 7' N, 35 18' E .

5. A contracted form of Ramoth Gilead   2 Kings 8:29;  2 Chronicles 22:6 .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [6]

Ramah ( Râ'Mah ), A Hill. 1. One of the cities of Benjamin.  Joshua 18:25. Its site is at er-Râm, about five miles from Jerusalem, and near to Gibeah.  Judges 4:5;  Judges 19:13;  1 Samuel 22:6. Its people returned after the captivity.  Ezra 2:26;  Nehemiah 7:30. 2. The home of Elkanah, Samuel's father,  1 Samuel 1:19;  1 Samuel 2:11, the birthplace of Samuel himself, his home and official residence, the site of his altar, 1 Sam,7:17; 8:4; 15:34; 16:13; 19:18, and finally his burial-place.  1 Samuel 25:1;  1 Samuel 28:3. It is said that its situation was in Mount Ephraim,  1 Samuel 1:1, a district without defined boundaries. The position of Ramah is a much disputed question. The latest map of the Palestine fund places it a short distance east of Bethlehem. 3. A name applied to four other places.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [7]

RAMAH (  Matthew 2:18) was a city of Benjamin ( Joshua 18:25), the site of which has been identified with er-Râm , a small village situated about 5 miles north of Jerusalem, at an elevation of about 2600 feet above the sea. Ramah was the point at which Jeremiah parted from the exiles who were being carried away to Babylon ( Jeremiah 40:1), and he associated it with Rachel in the passage ( Jeremiah 31:15) which is quoted by the First Evangelist. This seems to imply that he considered Rachel’s tomb to be in the neighbourhood; and the existence of such a tradition is supported by the account in  1 Samuel 10:2, which states that Rachel was buried ‘in the border of Benjamin.’ The mention of Ramah in the NT quotation is a detail which has no significance in relation to the massacre of the Innocents, since Bethlehem was 10 miles away, on the other side of Jerusalem. See Rachel.

James Patrick.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [8]

There was a Ramah, a city of Benjamin, near Bethel. ( Joshua 18:25) And there was a Ramah, called Ramathaim-Zophim, in mount Ephraim, where Elkanah and Hannah, Samuel the prophet's parents, lived. (See  1 Samuel 1:19) And yet it is very possible, that both these might be but one and the same Ramah; for the frontiers of Benjamin and Ephraim joined each other. And as Ramah means a hill, and Zophim is the plural of Zoph, to behold, it is possible the place of Samuel's dwelling might be called Ramathaim-Zophim, the two hills of beholding.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [9]

(Heb. Ramnah', רָמָה ) signifies A Height , or A High Place , from the root רוּם , To Be High; and thus it is used in  Ezekiel 16:24. Very many of the ancient cities and villages of Palestine were built on the tops of hills, so as to be more secure, and hence, as was natural, such of them as were especially conspicuous were called by way of distinction, הָרָמָה (with the article), The Ileight; and this in the course of time came to be used as a proper name. We find no less than five Ramahs mentioned in Scripture by this simple name, besides several compounds, and in modern Palestine the equivalent Arabic name is of very frequent occurrence. With regart to most of them the traveller can still see how appropriate the appellation was. In the A. V. we have various forms of the word Rumdath ( רָמִת ), the status constructus ( Joshua 13:26), Ramoth ( רָמוֹת and רָמֹת ), the plural ( Joshua 21:36;  1 Samuel 30:27); and Reamathacimz ( רָמָתִים ), a dual form ( 1 Samuel 1:1). Remaeth ( רֶמֵת ) appears to be only another form of the same word. Ini later Hebrew. Ramtha is a recognised word for a hill, and as such is employed in the Jewish versions of the Pentateuch for the rendering of Pisgah. (See Arimathaea). In the following account we largely follow the usual geographical authorities, with important additions from other sources.

1. Ramah Of Benjamin ( Sept. ῾Ραμά and Ἀραμά , v. r. Ι᾿Αμά , ῾Ραμμά , ῾Ραμμάν , Βαμά , Vulg. Ramah ), frequently mentioned in Scripture; Joshua, in enumerating the towuns of Benjamin, groups Ramah between Gibeon and Beeroth (18:25). This position suits the present Ram-Allah, but the consideratioms named in the text make it very difficult to identify any other site with it than er-Ram. It is probably this place which is mentioned in the story of Deborah, "She dwelt under the palm-tree of Deborah, between Ramah and Iethel in Mount Ephraim" ( Judges 4:5). The Targum on this passage substitutes for the Palm of Deborah, Ataroth-Deborah, no doubt referring to the town of Ataroth. This has everything in its favor, since Atara is still found ol thie left hand of the north road, very nearly midway between er-Rhm anld Beitin. Its position is clearly indicated in the distressing narrative of the Levite recorded in Judges 19. He left Bethlehem for his home in Mount Ephraim in the afternoon. Passing Jerusalem, he journeyed northward, and, crossing the ridge, came in sight of Gibeah and Bainalh, each standing on the top of its hill; and he said to his servant, "Come and let us draw near to one of these places to lodge all night, in Gibeahl or in Ramah" ( Judges 19:13). The towns were near the roaid on the right, and about two miles apart. The position of these two ancient towns explains another statement of Scrilpture. It is said of Saul ( 1 Samuel 22:6) that "he abode in (Gibeah under a tree in Ramah." The meaning appears to be that the site of his standing: camp was in some commanding spot on the borders of the two territories of Gibeah and Ramah. When Israel was divided, Ramah lay between the rival kingdoms, and appears to have been destroyed at the outbreak of the revolt; for we read that "Baasha, king of Israel, went up against Judah, and built Ramah" ( 1 Kings 15:17).

It was a strong position, and commanded the great road from the north to Jerusalem. The king of Judah was alarmed at the erection of a fortress in such close proximity to his capital, and he stopped the work by bribing the Syrians to invade northern Palestine ( 1 Kings 15:18-21), and then carried off all the building materials ( 1 Kings 15:22). There is a precise specification of its position in the catalogue of thle places north of Jerusalem which are enumerated by Isaiah as disturbed by the gradual approach of the king of Assyria ( Isaiah 10:28-32). At Michmash he crosses the ravine; and then successively dislodges or alarms Geba, Ramah, and Gibeah of Saul. Each of these may be recognised with almost absolute certainty at the present Day. Geba is Jeba, on the south brink of the great valley; and a mile and a half beyond it, directly between it and the main road to the city, is er-Ram, on the elevation which its ancient name implies. Ramah was intimately connected with one of the saddest epochs of Jewish history. The full story is not told, but the outline is sketched in the words of Jeremiah. In the final invasion of Judea by the Babylonians, Nebuchadnezzar established his headquarters on the plain of Hamath, at Riblah ( Jeremiah 39:5). Thence he sent his generals, who captured Jerusalem. The principal inhabitants who escaped the sword were seized, bound, and placed under a guard at Ramah, while the conquerors were employed in pillaging and burning the temple and palace, and levelling the ramparts. Among the captives was Jeremiah himself ( Jeremiah 40:1;  Jeremiah 40:5, with 39:8-12). Perhaps there was also a slaughter of such of the captives as, from age, weakness, or poverty, were not worth the long transport across the desert to Babylon. There, in that heart-rending scene of captives in chains wailing over slaughtered kinudred and desolated sanctuaries, wmas fulfilled the first phase of the prophecy uttered only a few years before: "A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping: Rachel weeping for her children, refused to be comforted for her children because they were not" ( Jeremiah 31:15). That mourning was typical of another which took place six centuries later. when the infants of Bethlehem were murdered, and the second phase of the prophecy was fulfilled ( Matthew 2:17). As Ramah was in Benjamin, the prophet introduces Rachel, the mother of that tribe, bewailing the captivity of her descendants. (See Rama).

Ramah was rebuilt and reoccupied by the descendants of its old inhabitants after the captivity ( Ezra 2:26;  Nehemiah 7:30). The Ramah in  Nehemiah 11:33 is thought by some to occupy a different position in the list, and may be a distinct place situated farther west, nearer the plain. (This, and  Jeremiah 31:15, are the only passages in which the name appears without the article.) The Sept. finds an allusion to Ramah in  Zechariah 14:1, where it renders the words which are translated in the A.V. "and shall be lifted up ( רָאֲמָה ), and inhabited in her place," by "Ramah shall remain upon her place." According to Josephus (who calls it ῾Ραμαθών ), it was forty stadia distant from Jerusalem ( Ant. 8:12, 3); and Eusebius and Jerome place it in the sixth mile north of the holy city ( Ononast. s.v. "Rama;" but in his commentary on  Hosea 5:8, Jerome says In Septizmo Lapide ) ; and the latter states that in his day it was a small village ( Ad Sophoniam , i, 15).

Modern travellers are right in identifying Ramah of Benjamin with the village of er-Ram (Brocardus, vii; Robinson, Bibl. Res. i, 576); though Maundrell and a few others have located it at Neby Samwil. Er-Ram is five miles north of Jerusalem and four south of Bethel. The site of Gibeah of Saul lies two miles southward, and Geba about the same distance eastward. Ram is a small, miserable village; but in the walls and foundations of the houses are many large hewn stones, and in the lanes and fields broken columns and other remains of the ancient capital. The situation is commanding, on the top of a conical hill, half a mile east of the great northern road, and overlooking the broad summit of the ridge; the eastern view is intercepted by bare ridges and hill-tops. The whole country round Ramah has an aspect of stern and even painfill desolation; but this is almost forgotten in the great events which the surrounding heights and ruins recall to memory. On the identity of this Ramah with that of Samuel, (See Ramathaim-Zophim).

2. Ramah Of Asher (Sept. ῾Ραμά ; Vulg. Ltorma ), a town mentioned only in  Joshua 19:29, in the description of the boundaries of Asher. It would appear to have been situated near the sea-coast, and not far from Tyre, towards the north or north-east. Eusebius and Jerome mention this place, but in such a way as shows they knew nothing of it further than what is stated by Joshua. In the Vulgate Jerome calls it Horma , making the Hebrew article ה a part of the word; this, however, is plainly an error ( Onomast. s.v. "Rama;" and note by Bonfrere). Robinson visited a village called Rameh , situated on the western declivity of the mountain-range, about seventeen miles south-east of Tyre. It "stands upon an isolated hill in the midst of a basin with green fields, surrounded by higher hills." In the rocks are numerous ancient sarcophagi, and the village itself has some remains of antiquity. He says "there is no room for question but that this village represents the ancient Ramah of Asher" ( Bibl. Res. iii, 64). Its position, however, notwithstanding the assertion of so high an authority, does not at all correspond with the notice in Scripture, and the name Ramah was too common to indicate identity with any degree of certainty. Another Rameh has been discovered on a little tell, two miles south-east of modern Tyre, and about one mile northeast of Ras-el-Ain, the site of ancient Tyre (Van de Velde, Map and Memoir , p. 342). In position this village answers in all respects to the Ramah of Asher.

3. Ramah Of Gilead ( 2 Kings 8:29;  2 Chronicles 22:6), identical with Ramoth-Gilead (q.v.).

4. Ramah Of Naphtali (Sept. Ἀραήλ v. r. ῾Ραμά ; Vulg. Arania ), one of the strong cities of the tribe, mentioned only in  Joshua 19:36, and situated apparently to the south of Hazor, between that city and the Sea of Galilee. Reland seems inclined to identity it with the Ramah of Asher; but they are evidently distinct cities, as indicated both by ancient geographers and the sacred writer (Paloest. p. 963). Eusebius and Jerome record the name, though they appear to have known nothing of the place (Onomast. s.v. "Rama"). Beth-Rimah ( בֵּית רַימָה ), a place in Galilee on a mountain, and famous for its wine, according to the Talmud ( Menachoth , 8:6), is thought by Schwarz ( Palest. p. 178) to be the Ramah of Naphtali. About six miles west by south of Safed, on the leading road to Akka, is a large modern village called Rameh. It stands on the declivity of the mountain, surrounded by olive-groves, and overlooking a fertile plain. It contains no visible traces of antiquity; but the name and the situation render it highly probable that it occupies the site of Ramah of Naphtali. It was visited by Schultz in 1847 (Ritter, Pal. Und Syr. iii, 772), and by Robinson in 1852 ( Bib. Res. iii, 79). See also Hackett, Illlustr. Of Script. p. 240; Thomson, Land And Book , i, 515. (See Ramathite).

5. Ramah Of Samuel the birthplace and home of that prophet ( 1 Samuel 1:19;  1 Samuel 2:11, etc.), and the city elsewhere called Ramathaim- Zophim

6. Ramah Of The South (See Ramath-Negeb).

7. A place mentioned in the catalogue of towns reinhabited by the Benjamites after their return from the captivity ( Nehemiah 11:33). It may be the Ramah of Benjamin (above, No. 1), or the Ramah of Samuel, but its position in the list (remote from Geba, Michmash, Bethel,  Nehemiah 11:31; comp.  Ezra 2:26;  Ezra 2:28) seems to remove it farther west, to the neighborhood of Lod, Hadid, and Ono. There is no further notice in the Bible of a Ramah in this direction; but Eusebius and Jerome allude to one, though they may be at fault in identifying it with Ramathaim and Arimathlaea ( Onomast. s.v. "Armatha Sophim; " and the remarks of Robinson, Bibl. Res. ii, 239). The situtation of the modern Ramleh agrees very well with this, a town too important and too well placed not to have existed in the ancient times. The consideration that Ramleh signifies "sand," and Ramah "a height," is not a valid argument against the one being the legitimate successor of the other, if so, half the identifications of modern travellers must be reversed. Beit-fir can no longer be the representative of Beth-horon, because Ur means "eye," while Horon means "caves;" nor Beitlahm, of Bethlehem, because Lahm is "flesh," and Lehm "bread;" nor el-Aal, of Elealeh, because el is in Arabic the article, and in Hebrew the name of God. In these cases the tendency of language is to retain the solund at the expense of the meaning.

8. Ramah Near Hebron called Er-Ramzeh , or Ramet El-Khalil Ramah of Hebron, or Ramah of the Friend, i.e. Ramah of Abraham, or the High-place of Abraham the Friend of God. It lies about two miles north of Hebron, a little to the right or east of the road from Hebron to Jerusalem, on an eminence, the top and southern slope of which are covered with ancient foundations, the principal of which are those of a large building, apparently a Christian church. The ruins are described by Wolcott ( Biblioth. Sac. i, 45), and by Dr. Wilson ( Lands Of The Bible , i, 382). The top commands a fine view of the Mediterranean through a gap in the mountains towards the north-west. This Ramah the Jews call the "House of Abraham," where, they say, Abraham lived when he dwelt at Mamre. But the "plains of Mamre," with the great Sindian, or evergreen oak in the middle of it (if not the same, the offspring, most probably, of the tree), under which Abraham entertained the angels, would seem to have anciently lain to the west of Hebron, as Machpelah, which is at Hebron, is said to be before, i.e. to the east of, Mamre. It is very possible, however, that Abraham may have had his habitation or tent at Ramah for a part of the time he was at Manire or near Helbron, or, which is still more probable, the altar which he erected ( Genesis 13:18), his high-place, or place of worship, may have been at er-Rameh, or Ramet el-Khalil, "the high-place of the Friend," i.e. of Abraham the friend of God, while he dwelt or had his tent in the plain of Mamre.

Some suppose that this Ramah may be the Ramah of Samuel and the place where Saul was anointed. Wolcott and Van de Velde contend for this. But this place is far too distant from Rachel's tomb to admit of the supposition, not to speak of other insuperable difficulties. The place where Samuel was when he anointed Saul was evidently near or not far from Rachel's tomb ( 1 Samuel 10:1-11). It is much more probable that Bethlehem, or the high-place at or near Bethlehem, was the place where Samuel anointed Saul. The name of Ramet el-Khalil implies that that place had to do with Abraham the friend of God, and not with Samuel.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [10]

rā´ma ( הרמה , - rāmāh , without the definite article only in   Nehemiah 11:33;  Jeremiah 31:15 ): The name denotes height, from root רוּם , rūm , "to be high," and the towns to which it applied seem all to have stood on elevated sites.

(1) Codex Vaticanus Ἁραήλ , Araḗl  ; Codex Alexandrinus Ῥαμά , Rhamá  : A fenced city in the lot assigned to Naphtali (  Joshua 19:36 ). Only in this passage is the place referred to. It is probably identical with the modern er - Rāmeh , a large Christian village on the highway from Ṣafed to the coast, about 8 miles West-Southwest of that city. To the North rises the mountain range which forms the southern boundary of Upper Galilee. In the valley to the South there is much rich land cultivated by the villagers. The olives grown here are very fine, and fruitful vineyards cover many of the surrounding slopes. No remains of antiquity are to be seen above ground; but the site is one likely to have been occupied in ancient times.

(2) Ῥαμᾶ , Rhamá  : A city that is mentioned only once, on the boundary of Asher (  Joshua 19:29 ). The line of the boundary cannot be followed with certainty; but perhaps we may identify Ramah with the modern Rāmiyeh , a village situated on a hill which rises in the midst of a hollow, some 13 miles Southeast of Tyre, and 12 miles East of the Ladder of Tyre. To the Southwest is a marshy lake which dries up in summer. Traces of antiquity are found in the cisterns, a large reservoir and many sarcophagi. To the West is the high hill Belāṭ , with ancient ruins, and remains of a temple of which several columns are still in situ .

(3) Codex Vaticanus Ῥαμά , Rhamá  ; Codex Alexandrinus Ἰαμά , Iamá , and other forms: A city in the territory of Benjamin named between Gibeon and Beeroth (  Joshua 18:25 ). The Levite thought of it as a possible resting-place for himself and his concubine on their northward journey ( Judges 19:13 ). The palm tree of Deborah was between this and Bethel ( Judges 4:5 ). Baasha, king of Samaria, sought to fortify Ramah against Asa, king of Judah. The latter frustrated the attempt, and carried off the materials which Bassha had collected, and with them fortified against him Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah ( 1 Kings 15:17;  2 Chronicles 16:5 ). Here the captain of Nebuchadnezzar's guard released Jeremiah after he had been carried in bonds from Jerusalem ( Jeremiah 40:1 ). It figures in Isaiah's picture of the Assyrians' approach ( Isaiah 10:29 ). It is named by Hosea in connection with Gibeah ( Hosea 5:8 ), and is mentioned as being reoccupied after the exile ( Ezra 2:26;  Nehemiah 7:30 ). It was near the traditional tomb of Rachel ( Jeremiah 31:15; compare  1 Samuel 10:2;  Matthew 2:18 , the King James Version "Rama").

From the passages cited we gather that Ramah lay some distance to the North of Gibeah, and not far from Gibeon and Beeroth. The first is identified with Tell el - Fūl , about 3 miles North of Jerusalem. Two miles farther North is er -Ram. Gibeon ( el - Jı̄b ) is about 3 miles West of er - Rām , and Beeroth ( el - Bı̄reh ) is about 4 miles to the North Eusebius, Onomasticon places Ramah 6 Roman miles North of Jerusalem; while Josephus ( Ant. , VIII, xii, 3) says it lay 40 furlongs from the city. All this points definitely to identification with er - Rām . The modern village crowns a high limestone hill to the South of the road, a position of great strength. West of the village is an ancient reservoir. In the hill are cisterns, and a good well to the South.

(4) Ἀραμαθαίν , Aramathaı́m  : The home of Elkanah and Hannah, and the birthplace of Samuel (  1 Samuel 1:19;  1 Samuel 2:11 , etc.). In  1 Samuel 1:1 it is called "Ramathaim-zophim" ( צופים הרמתים , - rāmāthayim - cōphı̄m ). The phrase as it stands is grammatically incorrect, and suggests tampering with the text. It might possibly be translated "Ramathaim of the Zuphites." It was in Mt. Ephraim, within accessible distance of Shiloh, whither Samuel's parents went up from year to year to worship and to sacrifice ( Matthew 1:3 ). From Ramah as a center Samuel went on circuit annually, to judge Israel, to Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpah ( Matthew 7:16 f). It is very probable that this is the city in which, guided by his servant, Saul first made the acquaintance of Samuel (  Matthew 9:6 ,  Matthew 9:10 ), where there was a high place ( Matthew 9:12 ). Hither at all events came the elders of Israel with their demand that a king should be set over them ( Matthew 8:4 f). After his final break with Saul, Samuel retired in sorrow to Ramah (  Matthew 15:34 f). Here, in Naioth, David found asylum with Samuel from the mad king (  Matthew 19:18 , etc.), and hence, he fled on his ill-starred visit to Nob ( Matthew 20:1 ). In his native city the dust of the dead Samuel was laid ( Matthew 25:1;  Matthew 28:3 ). In 1 Macc 11:34 it is named as one of the three toparchies along with Aphaerema and Lydda, which were added to Judea from the country of Samaria in 145 BC. Eusebius, Onomasticon places it near Diospolis (Euseb.) in the district of Timnah (Jerome).

There are two serious rivals for the honor of representing the ancient Ramah. ( a ) Beit Rima , a village occupying a height 13 miles East-Northeast of Lydda (Diospolis), 12 miles West of Shiloh, and about the same distance Northwest of Bethel. This identification has the support of G. A. Smith (Historical Geography of the Holy Land, 254), and Buhl (Geographic des Alten Palestina, 170). ( b ) Ramallah , a large and prosperous village occupying a lofty position with ancient remains. It commands a wide prospect, especially to the West. It lies about 8 miles North of Jerusalem, 3 West of Bethel, and 12 Southwest of Shiloh. The name meaning "the height" or "high place of God" may be reminiscent of the high place in the city where Saul found Samuel. In other respects it agrees very well with the Biblical data.

Claims have also been advanced on behalf of Ramleh, a village 2 miles Southwest of Lydda, in the plain of Sharon. This, however, is out of the question, as the place did not exist before Arab times. Others support identification with Neby Samwil, which more probably represents the ancient Mizpah (which see).

(5) Ramah of the South , the King James Version "Ramath of the South": Ramath is the construct form of Ramah (  Joshua 19:8 ) (נגב ראמת , rā'math neghebh  ; Βάμεθ κατὰ λίβα , Bámeth katá lı́ba ). A city in that part of the territory of Judah which was allotted to Simeon. It stands here in apposition to Baalath-beer, and is probably a second name for the same place. It seems to correspond also with "Ramoth (plural) of the South" ( 1 Samuel 30:27 ), a place to which David sent a share of the spoil taken from the Amalekites. In this passage Septuagint retains the singular form, Rhamá nótou . Identification has been suggested with Ḳubbet el - Baul , about 37 miles South of Hebron; and with Kurnub a little farther South. There is no substantial ground for either identification.

(6) Codex Vaticanus Ῥεμμώθ , Rhemmṓth  ; Codex Alexandrinus Ῥαμώθ , Rhamṓth  : Ramah in   2 Kings 8:29;  2 Chronicles 22:6 , is a contraction of Ramoth-gilead.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [11]

Ra´mah (a high place, height), the name of several towns and villages in Palestine, which it is not in all cases easy to distinguish from one another.

Ramah, 1

Ramah, a town of Benjamin , in the vicinity of Gibeah and Geba; on the way from Jerusalem to Bethel , and not far from the confines of the two kingdoms. Jerome places it six Roman miles north of Jerusalem, and Josephus places it forty stadia from Jerusalem. In accordance with all these intimations, at the distance of two hours' journey north of Jerusalem, upon a hill a little to the east of the great northern road, a village still exists under the name of er-Ram, in which we cannot hesitate to recognize the representative of the ancient Ramah.

Ramah, 2

Ramah of Samuel, so called, where the prophet lived and was buried (;;;;;;;;;; ). It is probably the same with the Ramathaim-Zophim to which his father Elkanah belonged . The position of this Ramah was early lost sight of by tradition, and the variety of conflicting opinions regarding it shows that nothing is known with certainty on the subject.

Ramah, 3

Ramah, a city of Naphtali .

Ramah, 4

Ramah, a town of Gilead , the name of which is given more fully in , as Ramoth-Mizpeh.

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