Ramoth-Gilead (Hebrew: רָמֹת גִּלְעָד, meaning "Heights of Gilead"), was a Levitical city and city of refuge east of the Jordan river in the Hebrew Bible, also called "Ramoth in Gilead" (Deuteronomy 4:43; Joshua 20:8; 21:38) or "Ramoth Galaad" in the Douay-Rheims Bible. It was located in the tribal territorial allotment of the tribe of Gad.
According to 1 Kings 4:13, Ramoth-Gilead was the base of Ben-Geber, one of King Solomon's regional governors. He was responsible for ("to him belonged") the towns of Jair the son of Manasseh, in Gilead and the region of Argob in Bashan: sixty large cities with walls and bronze gate-bars. It appears to have been lost to Syria (Aram-Damascus) during the battles between the northern kingdom of Israel and Syria, as Ahab, King of Israel, proposed to go to battle to win it back. After consulting prophets about the prospects of success, Ahab went to fight for Ramoth-Gilead, aided by Jehoshaphat, King of Judah.
During the battle, Ahab was wounded by an arrow. He was propped up in his chariot facing the enemy, but by evening Ahab had bled to death and the Arameans won the battle.
The British Bible scholar, Hugh J. Schonfield theorized that the location of Armageddon, mentioned only in the New Testament, at Revelation 16:16, is a Greek garbling of a supposed late Aramaic name for Ramoth-Gilead; that this location, having anciently belonged to the Hebrew tribe of Gad, was, in New Testament times, part of the Greek region known as the Decapolis, it was (Schonfield theorized) known as Rama-Gad-Yavan (Yavan meaning Greek), which when translated into Greek became Armageddon (much as Ramathaim was translated to Aramathea).
Other possible locations include:
- 1 Kings 4:13
- 1 Kings 22:3
- 1 Kings 22:9-37
- Schonfield, Hugh J., The Bible Was Right: An Astonishing Examination of the New Testament (1959, NY, New American Library) chap. 48, pages 181-185. This suppositious Greek rendering does not occur in the Septuagint.
- Easton, Matthew George, Illustrated Bible Dictionary (3rd ed., 1897, London, T. Nelson & Sons) s.v. "Ramoth-Gilead".
- National Geographic Magazine, map Holy Land Today, Dec. 1963, atlas plate 52; Pritchard, James B., ed., The Harper Concise Atlas of the Bible (1991, London, Times Books) index and passim (this book uses maps from the 1987 The [London] Times Atlas of the Bible); Irvine, Stuart A., The Southern Border of Syria Reconstructed, The Catholic Bible Quarterly, vol. 56, nr.1 (Jan. 1994) page 30. Several other Bible atlases locate Ramoth-Gilead in the same general vicinity without bothering to provide its current name. The precise location of the biblical site, as distinguished from more recent abandoned settlements, is not completely certain, but is probably N 32° 29′ 25″, E 35° 52′ 49″, according to a map page of the German Bible Society. .
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