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Jabneel, Jabneh

JABNEEL, JABNEH jăb’ ni əl, jăb’ nə (יַבְנְאֵ֖ל, יַבְנֵ֔ה, LXX Ιαβνηλ, meaning God builds, or God causes to build). 1. A town on the southern boundary of Naphtali (Josh 19:33), identified with Tell en-Na’am (Heb. Tel Yin’am; the Talmudic Jabneel is identified with Kh. Yamma). The modern village of Yavneel is situated nearby.

2. A town on the western boundary of Judah, between Joppa and Gaza, near the coast (Josh 15:11). It was an important station on the Via Maris, and was also known as Jamnia. The modern town of Yavne (Yebna) is located on the site.

Campaigning against Philistia, Uzziah “broke down the wall...of Jabneh” (2 Chron 26:6), thus gaining an access to the sea at the mouth of the Yarkon River.

In 332 b.c. Alexander moved down the Palestinian coast. After capturing Accho he proceeded to Strato’s Tower, then prob. inland before returning to the coast at Lod, thence through Jamnia and Ascalon, to the siege of Gaza, which lasted two months, after which he wintered in Egypt.

Under the government of Pompey (63-55 b.c.) Jamnia became autonomous, along with several coastal and interior towns. Augustus (30 b.c.) added Jamnia to Herod’s kingdom, which was divided in 4 b.c. to a.d. 6, at which time the town was given, among other cities, to Salome, Herod’s sister, who later gave it to Julia, the Empress Livia. In a.d. 67, during Vespasian’s campaign, Jamnia and Azotus were captured by the Romans.

Jamnia prob. was visited on the preaching tour of Philip from Azotus to Caesarea (Acts 8:40), and was the headquarters of the exiled Sanhedrin from the fall of Jerusalem in a.d. 70 to the Second Revolt. During this uprising, the Romans held the city, along with Joppa and Caesarea. The world famous Synod of Jamnia was held there c. a.d. 100, for reviewing the canon of Jewish sacred writings.