From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

("greatness of size or numbers".)

1. Ammon's chief city, its only city named in Scripture, in contrast to the more civilized Moab's numerous cities ( Deuteronomy 3:11;  2 Samuel 12:26;  2 Samuel 17:27;  Jeremiah 49:2;  Ezekiel 21:20). (See Ammon .) Conjectured to be the Ham of the Zuzim ( Genesis 14:5). After Hanun's insult Abishai and Joab defeated the allies Ammon and the Syrians of Bethrehob, Zoba, Ishtob, and Maachah (2 Samuel 10). The following year David in person defeated the Syrians at Helam. Next, Joab with the whole army and the king's bodyguard (Including Uriah:  2 Samuel 23:39 ) besieged Ammon (2 Samuel 11; 1 Chronicles 19; 20). The ark apparently accompanied the camp ( 2 Samuel 11:11), a rare occurrence ( 1 Samuel 4:3-6); but perhaps what is meant is only that the ark at Jerusalem was "in a tent" ( 2 Samuel 7:2;  2 Samuel 7:6) as was the army at Rabbah under Jehovah the Lord of the ark, therefore Uriah would not go home to his house.

The siege lasted nearly two years, from David's first connection with Bathsheba to the birth of Solomon. The Ammonites made unsuccessful sallies ( 2 Samuel 11:17). Joab finally took the lower town, which, from the stream rising in it and flowing through it perennially, is called "the city of waters," and from the king's palace "the royal city." Then in a characteristic speech, half jest half earnest ( 2 Samuel 12:28, compare  2 Samuel 19:6-7), which shows the power he had gained over David through David's secret and wicked commission ( 2 Samuel 11:14-15), he invited David to crown the capture by taking the citadel lest if he (Joab) took it, it should be called after his name. Josephus (Ant. 7:7, section 5) says the fortress had but one well, inadequate to supply the wants of its crowded occupants. (On Its Capture By David, And His Putting The People Under Saws And Harrows To Cut Them In Pieces In Retaliation For Their Cruelties, See David, Also  Judges 1:7 ;  1 Samuel 11:2 .)

Amos ( Amos 1:14) speaks of its "wall" and "palaces" and "king" (Perhaps Moloch) about to be judged by God. So also  Jeremiah 49:2-3. Nebuchadnezzar attacked Ammon because of Baalis their king having instigated Ishmael to slay Gedaliah the Chaldaean governor ( Jeremiah 40:14). See  1 Maccabees 5:6 as to subsequent judgments on Ammon. Ezekiel ( Ezekiel 21:20) depicts Nebuchadnezzar's divination to decide whether he should attack Jerusalem or Rabbah the first. Jerusalem's fall should be followed by that of Rabbah (Compare Josephus, Ant. 10:9, Section 7) . Under the Ptolemies Rabbah still continued of importance as supplying water for the journey across the desert, and was made a garrison for repelling the Bedouins of that quarter.

Ptolemy Philadelphus named it Philadelphia. Josephus (B. J. 3:3, section 3) includes Rabbah in Decapolis. Now Amman , on a tributary (Moiet Amman) of the Zerka river (Jabbok), 19 miles S.E. of Εs Salt ("Ramoth Gilead"), 22 E. of Jordan. Its temple, theater, and forum are remarkable ruins. Eight Corinthian columns of the theater (The Largest Known In Syria) remain. It has become as foretold "a stable for camels, a couching place for flocks a desolate heap" ( Ezekiel 25:5). Its coins bear the image of Astarte, and the word Heracleion from Hercules the idol which succeeded Moloch. The large square stones of the citadel are put together without cement, the massive walls are evidently very ancient.

2. Rabbah of Moab, called in the Bible Αr , in the highlands S.E. of the Dead Sea.

3. Rabbah of Judah, near Kirjath Jearim ( Joshua 15:60).

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

RABBAH . 1 . The capital city of the Ammonites (wh. see). Rabbah was situated on the upper Jabbok on the site of the modern ’Ammân . It was distant from the Jordan about 20 miles, though the distance by way of the Jabbok is much greater, for the stream at Rabbah flows towards the N.E. and reaches the Jordan only after a wide detour. The Ammonite city was situated on the hill-top to the N. of the river. From its position it commanded a wide view in all directions, but especially extensive to the N.E. Rabbah is mentioned in   Deuteronomy 3:11 as the place where Og’s ‘bedstead ‘might still be seen. This is thought by some to be a reference to a large dolmen still visible not far from ‘Ammân . In   Joshua 13:25 Rabbah is mentioned in defining the boundaries of the tribe of Gad. The chief event connected with Rabbah which the OT relates is its siege by Joab, in connexion with which Uriah the Hittite, by the express direction of king David, lost his life (see   2 Samuel 11:1;   2 Samuel 12:26-27;   2 Samuel 12:29 and   1 Chronicles 20:1 ). The city was at this time confined apparently to the hill mentioned above: and since the sides of the hill are precipitous (see the photograph in Barton’s Year’s Wandering in Bible Lands , opp. 156), the task of capturing it was difficult, and the siege was stubborn and prolonged. These conditions gave Joab his opportunity to carry out David’s perfidious order (  2 Samuel 11:15 ff.).

From  2 Samuel 12:26-29 it appears that the city consisted of two parts, one of which was called the ‘royal city’ or the ‘city of waters.’ This Joab captured, after which David came and captured Rabbah itself. What relation this ‘royal city’ bore to Rabbah proper, it is difficult now to conjecture. It is probable, however, that the text of Samuel is corrupt that we should read ‘city’ or ‘cistern of waters’ and that Joab, like Antiochus III. and Herod in after centuries, captured the covered passage by which they went to a cistern for water, or the fort which defended it, and so compelled a surrender to David. This cistern was discovered by Conder (see Survey of Eastern Pal . p. 34 ff.).

The Israelites did not occupy Rabbah, but left it in the possession of the Ammonite king, who became David’s vassal. When David later fled to Mahanaim, east of the Jordan, because of Absalom’s rebellion, the Ammonite king was residing in Rabbah ( 2 Samuel 17:27 ).

In the time of Amos ( c [Note: circa, about.] . b.c. 750 Rabbah was still the capital of the Ammonites (  Amos 1:14 ), and such it continued to be down to the time of Nebuchadnezzar, who, if we may judge from the prophecies of Jeremiah and Ezekiel (  Jeremiah 49:2 ,   Ezekiel 21:20;   Ezekiel 25:5 ), punished Rabbah for a rebellion of the Ammonites by a siege. Whether the siege resulted in a capture we do not know, but it probably did. Only cities situated like Tyre, which was partly surrounded by water, could withstand the might of that monarch.

For a time the city (one of the Decapolis group) bore the name Philadelphia , given to it by Ptolemy Philadelphia (b.c. 285 247), but finally received its modern name, ‘Ammân . It is to-day quite a flourishing city, inhabited partly by Arabs and partly by Circassians. The latter form a more energetic element than is found in most Syrian cities, and give ‘Ammân a greater air of prosperity. The Haj railway, from Damascus to Mecca, passes near ‘Ammân , which has a station on the line.

2 . A city in Judah (  Joshua 15:60 ); site unknown.

George A. Barton.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [3]

Rab'bah. (Great).

1. A very strong place on the east of the Jordan, and the chief city of the Ammonites. In five passages -  Deuteronomy 3:11;  2 Samuel 12:26;  2 Samuel 17:27;  Jeremiah 49:2;  Ezekiel 21:20 - it is styled at length, Rabbath of the Ammonites, or the children of Ammon; but elsewhere,  Joshua 13:25;  2 Samuel 11:1;  2 Samuel 12:27;  2 Samuel 12:29;  1 Chronicles 20:1;  Jeremiah 49:3, simply Rabbah. When first named, it is mentioned as containing the bed or sarcophagus of the giant Og.  Deuteronomy 3:11.

David sent Joab to besiege Rabbah.  2 Samuel 11:1;  2 Samuel 11:17; etc. Joab succeeded in capturing a portion of the place - the "city of waters," that is, the lower town, so called from its containing the perennial stream, which rises in and still flows through it. The citadel still remained to be taken, but this was secured shortly after David's arrival.  2 Samuel 12:26-31. Long after, at the date of the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar,  Jeremiah 49:2-3, it had walls and palaces. It is named in such terms as to imply that it was of equal importance with Jerusalem.  Ezekiel 21:20.

From Ptolemy Philadelphus, (B.C. 285-247), it received the name of Philadelphia. It was one of the cities of the Decapolis, and became the seat of a Christian bishop. Its ruins, which are considerable are found at Ammon about 22 miles from the Jordan. It lies in a valley, which is a branch, or perhaps the main course, of the Wady Zerka usually identified with the Jabbok. The public buildings are said to be Roman, except the citadel, which is described as of large square stones put together without cement, and which is probably more ancient than the rest.

2. A city of Judah named with Kirjath-jearim in  Joshua 15:60 only. No trace of its existence has yet been discovered.

Holman Bible Dictionary [4]

 Joshua 15:60

2. Capital of Ammon that Moses apparently did not conquer ( Deuteronomy 3:11;  Joshua 13:25 ), located about twenty-three miles east of the Jordan River. Inhabited in prehistoric times and again before 1500 B.C., the city became a fortified settlement early in its history. David besieged the city ( 2 Samuel 11:1 ) and captured it ( 2 Samuel 12:28-29 ). It remained under Israelite control throughout the period of the United Monarchy, but regained its independence shortly after the Israelite division. Rabbah was destroyed during the Babylonian sweep through the area (590-580 B.C.) and not rebuilt for several hundred years. Rabbah was renamed Philadelphia by the Hellenists and later became Amman, the modern capital of Jordan. See Philadelphia .

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [5]

To the east of the Jordan River was the land of the Ammonites, whose capital city was Rabbah, or Rabbah-ammon. Though at times conquered, the city was repeatedly rebuilt. It is known today as Amman, capital of the present-day nation of Jordan ( Deuteronomy 3:11;  Jeremiah 49:1-2;  Ezekiel 21:20;  Amos 1:13-14). Most references to Rabbah in the Bible are related to conflicts between Ammon and Israel-Judah (e.g.  2 Samuel 11:1;  2 Samuel 12:26-31). (For map and other details see Ammon .)

Easton's Bible Dictionary [6]

  • A city in the hill country of Judah ( Joshua 15:60 ), possibly the ruin Rubba, six miles north-east of Beit-Jibrin.

    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 'Rabbah'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ebd/r/rabbah.html. 1897.

  • People's Dictionary of the Bible [7]

    Rabbah ( Răb'Bah ), Greatness. The chief city and capital of the Ammonites.  Joshua 13:25. Its full name is "Rabbath of the children of Ammon."  Deuteronomy 3:11 A. V. It is also called "Rabbath of the Ammonites."  Ezekiel 21:20 A. V. Greek and Roman writers call it "Philadelphia," a name given by Ptolemy Philadelphus, by whom it was rebuilt. Its modern name is Amman. Rabbath was situated on the upper Jabbok, about 22 miles east of the Jordan.

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

    This city, with Kirjathbaal, or Kinjathjearim, was among those which Joshua divided by lot to Israel. ( Joshua 15:60)

    RABBAH, or Rabbath Ammon The City of waters. (See  2 Samuel 12:26-27)

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [9]

    rab´a  :

    (1) ( רבּה , rabbāh  ; Ῥαββά , Rhabbá , Ῥαββάθ , Rhabbáth , Ῥαββάν , Rhabbán . The full name is בּני רבּת עמּון , rabbath benē ‛ammōn  ; ἡ ἄκρα τῶν υἱῶν Ἀμμών , ákra tṓn huiṓn Ammṓn , Ῥαββάθ υἱῶν Ἀμμών , Rhabbáth huiṓn Ammṓn , "Rabbah of the children of Ammon"): This alone of the cities of the Ammonites is mentioned in Scripture, so we may take it as the most important. It is first named in connection with the "bed" or sarcophagus of Og, king of Bashan, which was said to be found here (  Deuteronomy 3:11 ). It lay East of the territory assigned to Gad ( Joshua 13:25 ). Whatever may have been its history in the interval, it does not appear again in Scripture till the time of David. This monarch sent an embassy of sympathy to King Hanun when his father Nahash died. The kindness was met by wanton insult, which led to the outbreak of war. The Ammonites, strengthened by Aramean allies, were defeated by the Israelites under Joab, and took refuge in Rabbah. After David's defeat of the Arameans at Helam a year later, the Ammonites were exposed alone to the full-force of Israel, the ark of the covenant being carried with the troops. The country was ravaged and siege was laid to Rabbah. It was during this siege that Uriah the Hittite by David's orders was exposed "in the forefront of the hottest battle" ( 2 Samuel 11:15 ), where, treacherously deserted by his comrades, he was slain. How long the siege lasted we do not know; probably some years; but the end was in sight when Joab captured "the city of waters" ( 2 Samuel 12:27 ). This may mean that he had secured control of the water supply. In the preceding verse he calls it the "royal city." By the chivalry of his general, David was enabled in person to enjoy the honor of taking the city. Among the booty secured was the crown of Melcom, the god of the Ammonites. Such of the inhabitants as survived he treated with great severity ( 2 Samuel 12:26-31;  1 Chronicles 20:1 ff).

    In the utterances of the prophets against Ammon, Rabbah stands for the people, as their most important, or perhaps their only important, city ( Jeremiah 49:2 ,  Jeremiah 49:3;  Ezekiel 21:20;  Ezekiel 25:5;  Amos 1:14 ).  Jeremiah 49:4 speaks of the "flowing valley" - a reference perhaps to the abundance of water and fruitfulness - and the treasures in which she gloried.   Ezekiel 21:21 represents the king of Babylon at "the head of the two ways" deciding by means of the divining arrows whether he should march against Jerusalem or against Rabbah. Amos seems to have been impressed with the palaces of Rabbah.

    The city retained its importance in later times. It was captured by Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-247 BC), who called it Philadelphia. It was a member of the league of ten cities. Antiochus the Great captured it by means of treachery (Polyb. v. 71). Josephus ( Bj , III, iii, 3) names it as lying East of Peraea. In the 4th century AD, it ranked with Bostra and Gerasa as one of the great fortified cities of Coele-Syria (Ritter, Erdkunde , XV, ii, 1154 f). It became the seat of a bishop. Abulfeda (1321 AD) says that Rabbah was in ruins at the time of the Moslem conquest.

    Rabbah is represented by the modern ‛Ammān , a ruined site with extensive remains, chiefly from Roman times, some 14 miles Northeast of Heshbon, and about 22 miles East of the Jordan. It lies on the northern bank of Wâdy ‛Ammān , a tributary of the upper Jabbok, in a well-watered and fruitful valley. Possibly the stream which rises here may be "the waters" referred to in   2 Samuel 12:27 . Ancient Rabbah may have stood on the hill now occupied by the citadel, a position easy of defense because of its precipitous sides. The outer walls of the citadel appear to be very old; but it is quite impossible to say that anything Ammonite is now above ground. The citadel is connected by means of an underground passage with a large cistern or tank to the North, whence probably it drew its watersupply. This may be the passage mentioned in the account of the capture of the city by Antiochus. "It is," says Conder ( Heth and Moab , 158), "one of the finest Roman towns in Syria, with baths, a theater, and an odeum, as well as several large private masonry tombs built in the valley probably in the 2nd century. The fortress on the hill, now surrounding a considerable temple, is also probably of this same date. The church with two chapels farther North, and perhaps some of the tombs, must belong to a later age, perhaps the 4th century. The fine mosque and the fine Moslem building on the citadel hill cannot be earlier than the 7th, and are perhaps as late as the 11th century; and we have thus relics of every building epoch except the Crusading, of which there appears to be no indication."

    The place is now occupied by Arabs and Circassians who profit by the riches of the soil. It is brought into contact with the outside world by means of the Damascus-Hejaz Railway, which has a station here.

    (2) ( הרבּה , - rabbāh  ; Codex Vaticanus Σωθηβᾶ , Sōthēbá  ; Codex Alexandrinus Ἀρεββά , Arebbá ): An unidentified city of Judah named along with Kiriath-jearim (  Joshua 15:60 ).

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [10]

    Rab´bah. This name, which properly denotes a great city or metropolis, is given in Scripture to the capital of the Ammonites (;;;; ); the full name of which, however, as given in , appears to have been Rabbath-beni-Ammon. It was in this place that the great iron bedstead of Og king of Bashan was preserved . It was besieged by Joab, and when on the point of yielding to that general, was surrendered to David in person . After this Rabbah was included in the tribe of Gad. After the separation of the ten tribes, Rabbah, with the whole territory beyond the Jordan, adhered to the kingdom of Israel, till it was ravaged by the Assyrians under Tiglathpileser, and the inhabitants expatriated to Media. The Ammonites then recovered possession of Rabbah and the other cities and territories which had in former times been taken from them by the Israelites. Some centuries later, when these parts were subject to Egypt, Rabbah was restored or rebuilt by Ptolemy Philadelphus, and called by him Philadelphia, and under this name it is often mentioned by Greek and Roman writers.

    Rabbah appears to have consisted, like Aroer, of two parts; the city itself, and 'the city of waters,' or royal city, which was probably a detached portion of the city itself, insulated by the stream on which it was situated. The 'city of waters' was taken by Joab; but against the city itself he was obliged to call for the assistance of David with a reinforcement .

    The ruins of Rabbah stand about 19 miles south-east of Szalt, in a long valley traversed by a stream, the Moiet Amman, which at this place is arched over, the bed as well as the banks being paved. The prophet Ezekiel foretold that Rabbah should become 'a stable for camels,' and the country 'a couching place for flocks' . This has been literally fulfilled, and Burckhardt actually found that a party of Arabs had stabled their camels among the ruins of Rabbah.

    The Rabbah of was in the tribe of Judah.

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [11]

    Bibliography Information McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Rabbah'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/r/rabbah.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.