Ezion-Geber (Hebrew: עֶצְיֹן גֶּבֶר, Modern: ʻEṣyōn Gevér, Tiberian: ʿEṣyōn Geḇer, Ancient: Ġeṣyōn Geḇer; also Asiongaber) is a city only known from the Hebrew Bible, in Idumea,[dubious ] a seaport on the northern extremity of the Gulf of Aqaba, in modern terms somewhere in the area of modern Aqaba and Eilat.[1]

Pharaoh's Island in the Gulf of Aqaba

According to Targum Jonathan, the name means "city of the rooster" (כְּרַך תַּרְנְגוֹלָא).

Biblical referencesEdit

Ezion-Geber is mentioned six times in the Tanakh.[2] According to the Book of Numbers Ezion-Geber was one of the first places where the Israelites camped after the Exodus from Egypt.[3]

The "ships of Tharshish" of Solomon and Hiram started from this port on their voyage to Ophir. It was the main port for Israel's commerce with the countries bordering on the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. According to Book of II Chronicles, Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah, joined with Ahaziah, the King of Israel, to make ships in Ezion-geber; but God disapproved of the alliance, and the ships were broken in the port.[4]

In 1 Kings 9:26 (King James Version) it says:

And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom.
And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon.
And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.

Archaeological searchEdit

The existence and location of Ezion-Geber has yet to be confirmed by archaeology.

Tell el-KheleifehEdit

Ruins at Tell el-Kheleifeh were identified with Ezion-Geber by the German explorer F. Frank and later excavated by Nelson Glueck, who thought he had confirmed the identification, but a later re-evaluation dates them to a period between the 8th and 6th centuries BCE with occupation continuing possibly into the 4th century BCE.[5]

Pharaoh's IslandEdit


  1. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia, Asiongaber, accessed 7 November 2017
  2. ^ Numbers 33:35, Deuteronomy 2:8, 1 Kings 22:49, 2 Chronicles 8:17, 2 Chronicles 20:36. The general site of Ezion-Geber is indicated in 1 Kings 9:26
  3. ^ Numbers 33:35
  4. ^ 2 Chronicles 20:37
  5. ^ Pratico, Gary D. "Nelson Glueck's 1938-1940 Excavations at Tell el-Kheleifeh: A Reappraisal" Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 259 (Summer, 1985), pp.1-32

Coordinates: 29°32′50″N 34°58′49″E / 29.54722°N 34.98028°E / 29.54722; 34.98028

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