RAMAH, RAMA rā’ mə (רָמָ֖ה, without the definite article [
1. Of Naphtali. 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.
Bibliography 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.
2. Of Asher. The boundary description of the Asher tribe, the exact line of which is difficult to follow, apparently places the town of Ramah (
Bibliography 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.
Bibliography 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 (Gibeah of Saul),” 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.
Bibliography G. Dalman, “Ramathajim,” PJB, IX (1913), 37, 38; S. R. Driver, Notes on the Hebrew Text and the Topography of the Books of Samuel (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, History of Israel (1958), 376; Y. Aharoni, Carta’s Atlas of the Bible (1964), 58, 59, Maps 85, 86 (Heb.).
5. 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.
Bibliography W. F. Albright, “Egypt and the Early History of the Negeb,” JPOS, IV (1924), 161; M. L. Margolis, The Book of Joshua in 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.
RAMAH, RAMA (rā'ma, Heb. hārāmâh, height). 1. Ramah Arael, a city assigned by lot to the tribe of Naphtali, probably to be identified with the modern er-Rama, a large Christian village on the southern tier of the mountains of upper Galilee (
2. Rhama-Ramah, a territory mentioned as forming the boundary of Asher (
3. Ramah Iamah (or Ramah of Benjamin, and various other orthographic forms), a city assigned to the tribe of Benjamin, mentioned along with Gibeon and Beeroth; the headquarters of Deborah, judge of Israel during the days of the oppression of Sisera (
5. Ramah in the Negev, Ramah of the South. A city in the southern sector of Judah that was allotted to the tribe of Simeon (