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EZION GEBER (ē'zĭ-ŏn gē'bêr, Heb. ‘etsyôn gever). A city near Elath on the
Recent excavations at Jazirat Farun (Coral Island), seven and one-half miles (twelve and one-half km.) south of Elath with its port and shipyard have caused some to identify that site with Ezion Geber. It is the only natural anchorage in the Gulf. Ezion Geber is located in
EZION-GEBER ĕ’ zĭ ən ge’ bər (עֶצְיֹ֣ן גָּ֑בֶר, LXX Γεσιωνγαβερ; Γασιωνγαβερ; Ασιωνγαβερ). A city located on the northern end of the , banked on the E by the hills of Edom and on the W by the hills of Pal. The city is two and a half m. W of Aqabah, old Elath. Cyrus Gordon believes the offshore island known as Jezirat Far ’awn (“Pharaoh’s Island”) is the probable site.
The history of the city has been recovered through the archeological excavations of Nelson Glueck after Frank Fritz, a Ger. explorer, discovered an insignificant mound, Tell el-Kheleifeh, which he identified as Ezion-geber in 1934. The mound was about 700 ft. from the gulf (perhaps on the ancient shore-line). In 1938 and subsequent years Glueck excavated the city and confirmed Fritz’s earlier identification. He identified four cities built upon one another. The first was dated in the Solomonic period. Built upon virgin soil, the city indicated a carefully laid out complex suggesting no gradual growth, but rather development at one time according to a preconceived plan. He based the claim for the Solomonic date upon a comparison of the structure of the main gate of Ezion-geber I and that of Stratum IV at Megiddo, dated by P. L. O. Guy as belonging to the Solomonic period, and the one at Lachish, also dated in the tenth cent. b.c. Solomon was the only king in the period to possess the wealth, the power and the peaceful circumstances for such a building project. As for the earlier mention of Ezion-geber (
Referring to Ezion-geber as the “Pittsburgh of Pal.,” Glueck originally believed the city to be a refinery for the copper and iron which were mined from the near-by mines of the Arabah. There were flues and air ducts in the floor and walls of the first city, and the location of the city was such, he felt, as to derive the maximum benefit of the winds which rushed through the corridor of the Arabah. In 1962 Rothenberg challenged this view on the basis of the failure of the excavations to turn up either the clay crucibles which would have been used in smelting or the slag from the refining process. Besides, the location seems to have been the best for the least number of sandstorms and at the same time have the availability of drinking water. Rothenberg points out that the finds and ground plans indicate that the city was a large storehouse for grain and supplies for caravans and a fortress guarding the southern approaches on both sides of the gulf. Glueck abandoned his earlier ideas about this being a copper refinery. The smelting was done near the mines.
The first city was sacked and burned prob. by Shishak c. 925 b.c. The Bible mentions his campaign into Pal. (
The city was rebuilt by Jehoshaphat of Judah (c. 860), who imitated Solomon by building a fleet there. A few years later the Edomites revolted during the reign of Jehoram (
When Rezin and Pekah formed the Aramaen-Israelite coalition and invaded Judah, the Edomites regained Elath (Ezion-geber) and drove Ahaz’s troops from the city (
N. Glueck, BASOR 71 (1938), 3-17; 75 (1939), 8-22; 79 (1940), 2-18; 80 (1940), 3-10; 82 (1941), 3-11; The Other Side of the Jordan (1940), 89-113; B. Rothenberg, PEQ, 94 (1962), 44-56; N. Glueck, BA, 28 (1965), 70-87; C. Gordon, Before Columbus (1971).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
(’etsyon gebher; Gasion Gaber):
Always mentioned along with Elath ("Eziongaber,"