Beware & Ramoth in Gilead

Looking UpThat’s something else, they wore the same clothes for 40 years.

“Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,

1. Lower Gilead Yarmuk Valley
Lower Gilead Yarmuk Valley
The Yarmuk River is the northern border of Gilead and the southern border of Bashan (modern Golan Heights).

The Yarmuk is never mentioned by name in Scripture.

In the bottom of the valley, on the border of Israel and Jordan, is Hammath Gader, a region of hot springs (hammath) in the district of Gadara.

These baths were built and visitors flocked to the site in the Roman and Byzantine periods.

A people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak!

Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee.

Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee.

Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which the LORD swear unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people. 

2. Abila
Abila
The modern name of Quailibah preserves the ancient name of Abila.

Locals remembered the tell as “Abil” in the 19th century.

Abila is one of the cities of the Decapolis (Matt 4:25), but is not referred to specifically in Scripture.

The site is divided into two major tells – Abila to the north and Umm el-Amad to the south.

Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD.

Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you.

When I was gone up into the mount to receive the tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant which the LORD made with you, then I abode in the mount forty days and forty nights, I neither did eat bread nor drink water:

And the LORD delivered unto me two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them was written according to all the words, which the LORD spake with you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly” (Deut 9:1-10).

Remember Moses had been a murderer, but once he hooked up with God he became the meekest person alive  (Lev 12:3), and he knew he was soon to die so he was really worried about the congregation he has led for 40 years, so he reminded them again about how horrible they are, and shouldn’t be.  

3. Abila Church
Abila Church
Abila was excavated by W. Harold Mare of Covenant Seminary since 1980.

Abila has evidence of occupation from the Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium) through the Umayyad periods (8th century AD), but the most significant remains date to the later periods (Byzantine and Umayyad).

Three Byzantine churches have been uncovered at Abila, leading the excavator to suggest that the city was the site of a bishopric headquarters.

He may have been afraid that God would end up killing them all once he is gone, because there had been numerous times that Moses begged God not to kill them (Deut 12:11-12).

Moses then reminded them that they are the only people on earth that God is with, and others may come and scam them.

“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,

And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;

Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proved you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. 1

4. Ramoth Gilead
Ramoth Gilead

Ramoth Gilead was one of three cities of refuge in Transjordan (with Bezer and Golan).

In the Israel-Syrian wars, Ahab fought at Ramoth Gilead and was mortally wounded.

Ahab’s son Joram continued the battle and was wounded as well.

While continuing the battle against Syria, Jehu was anointed king of Israel at Ramoth Gilead.

He drove “like a madman” from Ramoth Gilead to Jezreel.

In spite of Israel’s efforts, Hazael of Syria (in Jehu’s time) conquered Bashan (Golan) and Gilead, as far as the Arnon River.

And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;

Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;

Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:

But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage” (Deut 13:1-10).

“If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying,

Certain men, the children of 2 Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;

Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you.

Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. 

And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap forever; it shall not be built again.

5. Gilead Mountains West of Ajuin
Gildead Mountains West of Ajuin
Gil’-e-ad (“the Gilead”): The name is explained in Gen 31:46, 51, as derived from Hebrew gal, “a cairn,” and `edh, “witness,” agreeing in meaning with the Aramaic yegharsahadhutha’. The Arabic jilead means “rough,” “rugged.”

Suggestions/Explanation:
1) A city named in Hos 6:8, 12:11, possibly to be identified with Gilead near to Mizpah (Jdg 10:17). If this is correct, the ancient city may be represented by the modern Jil`ad, a ruin about 5 miles North of es-Salt.

2) A mountain named in Jug 7:3. Gideon, ordered to reduce the number of men who were with him.

In the modern name, `Ain Jalud, there may be an echo of the ancient Gilead.

3) The name is applied generally to the mountain mass lying between the Yarmuk on the North, and Wady Chesban on the South; the Jordan being the boundary on the West, while on the East it marched with the desert.

The Land of Gilead:
Mount Gilead-literally, “Mount of the Gilead”may refer to some particular height which we have now no means of identifying (Gen 31:23).

The name Jebel Jil`ad is still, indeed, applied to a mountain South of Nahr ez-Zerqa and North of es-Salt; but this does not meet the necessities of the passage as it stands.

The same expression in Deut 3:12 obviously stands for the whole country. This is probably true also in Song of Sol 4:1.

The name Gilead is sometimes used to denote the whole country East of the Jordan (Gen 37:25, Josh 22:9, 2 Sam 2:9, etc.).

Bashan:
In the North Gilead bordered upon Geshur and Maacah (Josh 13:11, 13) and here the natural boundary would be formed by the deep gorge of the Yarmuk and Wady esh-Shellaleh. In pre-Israelite times the Jabbok (Nahr ez-Zerqa), which cuts the country in two, divided the kingdom of Sihon from that of Og (Deut 3:16, Josh 12:2).

The frontiers between the tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh cannot be indicated with any certainty. Probably they varied at different times.

It greatly increases the difficulty that so many of the cities named are still unidentified.

But in any case it is clear that the bulk of Gilead fell to Gad, so that Gilead might stand for Gad (Jdg 5:17).

And there shall cleave naught of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers;

When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the LORD thy God” (Deut 13:12-18).

1 Rom 16:17-18, 2 Cur 11:3-4, Gal 1:7-8.

Means worthlessness or Good-for-nothing or son of destruction.  It’s believed that the origin of Belial is linked to  Baal.

Ramoth in Gilead

Ramoth in Gilead, one of three citiess of refuge set apart for the Transjordanian tribes, was apportioned to the tribe of Gad and later given as a Levitical city to the sons of Merari.

As a city of refuge, Ramoth was no doubt easily accessible, perhaps located along the King’s Highway.

This city became a focus of conflict between Syria and the northern kingdom of the divided Israel during the reigns of Ahab, Joram and Jehu.

The Hebrew Ramoth means “heights” or “knolls.”

Gilead is an elevated region extend­ing between Heshbon and Bashan, divided by the Jabbok River and heavily wooded during the Biblical period.

The status of Ramoth in Gilead during the period of the conquest is not directly indicated, but other cities in the same region are referred to as hawoth (“tent-villages”).

Perhaps Ramoth at this stage of its history was an unfortified population center.

The site of Ramoth in Gilead has not been firmly identified, but the location most com­monly accepted, Tell Ramith, seems too far north to be a part of the inheritance of the tribe of Gad.

Paul Lapp’s excavations of the site during the 1940s revealed Iron Age II fortifications (1000-800 B.C.), and the bed­rock level there dates from the period of Solomon.

Other site suggestions include lo­cations south of the Jabbok River.

If Ramoth in Gilead was essentially a tent village dur­ing the conquest period, there is little hope that surviving archaeological remains will be sufficient to make identification certain.     

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