RAMAH, RAMA (rā'ma, Heb. hārāmâh, height)
RAMAH, RAMA rā’ mə (רָמָ֖ה, without the definite article [
This city is mentioned once (
In the village of er-Râmeh, the ancient remains (including an Aram. inscr. “In memory of Rabbi Eleazer son of Tedeor, who built this guest house”) date to the Rom. and Hel. periods.
As for the Biblical Ramah, its actual site was at Khirbet Zeitûn er-Râmeh, also known as Khirbet Jûl, an ancient mound about 2 m. E of er-Râmeh on the S side of the Safad road. It is a typical tell of Iron Ages I and II, located on a rocky outcrop in the valley. The exact limits of the ancient settlement are hard to determine today since the whole area is covered by the famous olive orchards of this region.
E. Robinson, Biblical Researches III (1852), 79; J. Ben-Zvi, “A Third Century Inscription in er-Râma,” JPOS, XIII (1933), 94-96; A. Marmorstein, “The Inscription of er-Rame,” PEQ (1933), 100, 101; Y. Aharoni, The Settlement of the Israelite Tribes in Upper Galilee (1957), 2, 76, 78, 81, 86; M. Avi-Yonah, The Holy Land (1966), 133-135.
The boundary description of the Asher tribe, the exact line of which is difficult to follow, apparently places the town of Ramah (
E. Robinson, op. cit., III, 64; A. Alt, “Eine Galilaische Ortsliste in Jos. 19,” ZAW, N.F. IV (1927), 59-81; idem., “Die Reise,” PJB, XXIII (1927), 46; R. Dussaud, Topographie historique de la Syrie antique et medievale (1927), 11; M. Noth, “Studien zu den historisch-geographischen Dokumenten des Josuabuches,” ZDPV, LVIII (1935), 185-255 (esp. 222, 223); Y. Aharoni, op. cit., 88.
Robinson, op. cit., I, 576; SWP, III, 155; H. Vincent, “Ossuaires juifs,” RB, XVI (1907), 410-412; W. F. Albright, “Excavations and Results at Tell el-Ful (),” AASOR, IV (1924), 134-140; Z. Kallai-Kleimann, “The Town Lists of Judah, Simeon, Benjamin and Dan,” VT, VIII (1958), 134-160; Y. Aharoni, “The Province List of Judah,” Vet Test XIX (1959), 225-240; idem., “The Land of the Bible” (1966), Index, s.v.
The birthplace of Samuel the prophet.
G. Dalman, “Ramathajim,” PJB, IX (1913), 37, 38; S. R. Driver, Notes on the Hebrew Text and the Topography of the(1913), 1-4; W. F. Albright, “Excavations and Results at Tell el-Fûl (Gibeah of Saul),” AASOR, IV (1924), 112, 123; G. Dalman, “Die Nordstrasse Jerusalems,” PJB, XXI (1925), 58-89; H. W. Wiener, “The Ramah of Samuel,” JPOS, VII (1927), 109-111; A. Alt, “Das Institute im Jahre 1927;” PJB, XXIV (1928), 70, 71; idem., “Das Institute im Jahre 1928,” PJB, XXV (1929), 28, 29; F. M. Abel, Géographie de la Palestine, II (1938), 428, 429; M. Noth, (1958), 376; Y. Aharoni, Carta’s Atlas of the Bible (1964), 58, 59, Maps 85, 86 (Heb.).
Of the Negeb.
A town mentioned in the description of Simeon’s tribal inheritance (
On the other hand, it seems likely that this town appears as Ramoth of the Negeb (
The newly discovered ostracon from Tell ’Arad (July, 1967) raises anew the whole question of the identification and location of Ramath/Ramoth-Negeb. The legible portion of the text (on the reverse) reads as follows:
[...] from Arad...and from [...], and you (pl.) shall send them to Ramoth (or Ramath)-Negeb under the command of Malchiah son of Qerab’ur and he will commit them into the charge of Jeremiah the son of Elisha in Ramoth-Negeb lest something should happen to the city. And the king’s word is stringently incumbent upon you. Behold, I have sent to admonish you. Get the men to Elisha! Lest Edom should come there.
The epistle is obviously a memorandum from a higher authority demanding confirmation of a previous order by the king that troops be sent from Arad and some other place to Ramoth-Negeb. The transfer of these forces was for the purpose of warding off an impending Edomite attack (another ostracon found in 1962 at Tell ’Arad referred to a certain Malchiah in conjunction with Edom, the king of Judah [unnamed] and some evil that was coming upon the land; perhaps the two letters relate to the same event, but this is far from certain). The script of the Ramoth-Negeb ostracon dates it to the end of the Judean monarchy (i.e., it is contemporary with the Lachish letters and the seventeen texts in the Eliashib archive found at Arad in 1964). The Edomite threat to Ramoth-Negeb prob. corresponds to the situation depicted in
Current speculation about the identification of Ramoth-Negeb centers on Khirbet Ghazzeh at the eastern edge of the Negeb of Judah guarding a major route from Edom (Aharoni). Besides the casemate fortress there from Iron Age II, a certain quantity of Iron I sherds has also been found in the general vicinity. On the other hand, the lofty commanding position of Khirbet Gharreh and its location in the center of the Negeb of Judah (i.e., on the fringe of Simeon’s inheritance) are strong arguments in favor of the latter’s candidacy.
W. F. Albright, “Egypt and the Early History of the Negeb,” JPOS, IV (1924), 161; M. L. Margolis, Thein Greek (1931); F.-M. Abel, Géographie de la Palestine, II (1938), 258; Z. Kallai, The Tribes of Israel (1967), 298, 303 (Heb.); Y. Aharoni, “Three Hebrew Ostraca from Arad,” BASOR, No. 197 (Feb. 1971), 16-42.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
The name denotes height, from root rum, "to be high," and the towns to which it applied seem all to have stood on elevated sites.
(1) Codex Vaticanus Arael; Codex Alexandrinus Rhama: A fenced city in the lot assigned to Naphtali (
(2) Rhama: A city that is mentioned only once, on the boundary of Asher (
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-Ful, about 3 miles North of Jerusalem. Two miles farther North is er-Ram. Gibeon (el-Jib) is about 3 miles West of er-Ram, and Beeroth (el-Bireh) 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-Ram. 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) Aramathaim: The home of Elkanah and Hannah, and the birthplace of Samuel (
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 "
(6) Codex Vaticanus Rhemmoth; Codex Alexandrinus Rhamoth: Ramah in