They are gone over the passage: they have taken up their lodging at Geba; Ramah is afraid; Gibeah of Saul is fled.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)1 Samuel 13:23, the 'passage of Michmash' is mentioned as the boundary of the garrison of the Philistines. Between Jeb'a and Mukhmas there is now a steep, precipitous valley, which is probably the 'passage' here referred to. This wady, or valley, runs into another that joins it on the north, and then issues out upon the plain not far from Jericho. In the valley are two hills of a conical form, having steep rocky sides, which are probably the rocks mentioned, in connection with Jonathan's adventure, as a narrow defile or way between the rock Bozez on the one side, and Seneh on tbe other; 1 Samuel 14:4-5. This valley appears at a later time to have been the dividing line between the tribes of Ephraim and Benjamin, for Geba on the south side of this valley was the northern limit of Judah and Benjamin 2 Kings 23:8; while Bethel on its north side was on the southern border of Ephraim; Judges 16:1-2. - Robinson's "Bib. Researches," ii. p. 116. Of course it was an important place, and could be easily guarded - like the strait of Thermopylae. By his having passed this place is denoted an advance toward Jerusalem, showing that nothing impeded his progress, and that he was rapidly hastening with his army to the city.
They have taken up their lodging at Geba - They have pitched their camp there, being entirely through the defile of Michmash. Hebrew, 'Geba is a lodging place for us;' that is, for the Assyrians. Perhaps, however. there is an error in the common Hebrew text here, and that it should be למו lāmô, 'for them,' instead of לנוּ lānû, 'for us.' The Septuagint and the Chaldee so read it, and so our translators have understood it. "Geba" here is not be confounded with 'Gibeah of Saul,' mentioned just after. It was in the tribe of Benjamin 1 Kings 15:22; and was on the line, or nearly on the line, of Judah, so as to be its northern boundary; 2 Kings 23:8. It was not far from Gibeah, or Gibeon. There are at present no traces of the place known.
Ramah - This city was in the tribe of Benjamin. It was between Geba and Gibea. It was called "Ramah," from its being on elevated ground; compare the note at Matthew 2:18. "Ramah," now called "er-Ram," lies on a high hill a little east of the road from Jerusalem to Bethel. It is now a miserable village, with few houses, and these in the summer mostly deserted. There are here large square stones, and also columns scattered about in the fields, indicating an ancient place of some importance. A small mosque is here with columns, which seems once to have been a church. Its situation is very conspicuous, and commands a fine prospect. It is near Gibeah, about six Roman miles from Jerusalem. So Jerome, "Commentary" in Hosea 5:8 : 'Rama quae est juxta Gabaa in septimo lapide a Jerosolymis sita.' Josephus places it at forty stadia from Jerusalem; "Ant." viii. 12, 3.
Is afraid - Is terrified and alarmed at the approach of Sennacherib - a beautiful variation in the description, denoting his rapid and certain advance on the city of Jerusalem, spreading consternation everywhere.
Gibeah of Saul - This was called 'Gibeah of Saul,' because it was the birthplace of Saul 1 Samuel 11:4; 1 Samuel 15:34; 2 Samuel 21:6; and to distinguish it from Gibea in the tribe of Judah Joshua 15:57; and also a Gibeah where Eleazar was burled; Joshua 24:33. Jerome mentions Gibeah as in his day level with the ground. - "Epis. 86, ad Eustoch." It has been almost wholly, since his time, unnoticed by travelers. It is probably the same as the modern village of Jeba, lying in a direction to the southwest of Mukhmas. This village is small, and is half in ruins. Among these there are occasionally seen large hewn stones, indicating antiquity. There is here the ruin of a small tower almost solid, and a small building having the appearance of an ancient church. It is an elevated place from which several villages are visible. - Robinson's "Bib. Researches," ii. p. 113.
lodging—their quarters for the night, after having passed the defile which might have been easily guarded against them.
Ramah—near Geba; seven miles from Jerusalem.
Gibeah of Saul—his birthplace and residence, in Benjamin (1Sa 11:4), distinct from Gibeah of Judah (Jos 15:57).The passage; some considerable passage then well known, possibly that 1 Samuel 14:4. The people fled to Jerusalem for fear of the Assyrian. 1 Samuel 13:23 this to be understood of the king of Assyria with his army:
they have taken up their lodging at Geba; or "Geba was their lodging"; that is, for a night only; not that they continued here for any time, as our version seems to suggest. This was a city in the tribe of Benjamin, Joshua 21:17 called Geba of Benjamin, 1 Kings 15:22.
Ramah is afraid; the inhabitants of it, as the Targum, at the report of the march of the king of Assyria and his army, and their being near to them. Ramah was in the tribe of Benjamin, Joshua 18:25 it is mentioned with Gibeah in Hosea 5:8 upon which place Jerom says it was seven miles from Jerusalem; but elsewhere (c) he says it was but six, and was to the north against Bethel. See Judges 19:13.
Gibeah of Saul is fled; that is, the inhabitants of it fled, upon hearing the king of Assyria with his army was coming that way. This was also a city of Benjamin, and is called Gibeah of Benjamin, 1 Samuel 13:2 and Gibeah of Saul, 1 Samuel 11:4 as here; either because he was born there, as Jerom (d) affirms; and certain it is, that he was of the tribe of Benjamin; or because he built it, or at least a palace in it to dwell in, as Kimchi thinks; and it is plain he dwelt here, for it is called his home, 1 Samuel 10:26 the name of the place with Josephus (e) is Gabathsaoula, which he makes to be thirty furlongs or four miles from Jerusalem, and says it signifies "Saul's hill", and that it was situated in a place called the Valley of Thorns.They are gone over the passage: they have taken up their lodging at Geba; Ramah is afraid; Gibeah of Saul is fled.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 29. - They are gone over the passage. The "passage of Michmash" (1 Samuel 13:23) - the deeply sunken valley, called now the Wady Sutveinit, between Michmash (Mukkmas) and Geba (Jeba). They have taken up their lodging at Geba; or, at Geba they rest for the night. Having crossed the wady, they bivouac on the crest of the hills enclosing it on the south. Ramah... Gibeah of Saul. Ramah is, no doubt, Er-Ram, a village on an eminence, as the name implies, about six miles north of Jerusalem, and on the direct road from Beitin. Gibeah of Saul is thought to have occupied the site of the modern Tuleil-el-Ful, two miles nearer Jerusalem. It is certainly a distinct place from Geba. The inhabitants evacuate these two places during the night. 1 Kings 20:40); and this destruction "overflowed with righteousness," or rather "flowed on (shōtēph, as in Isaiah 28:18) righteousness," i.e., brought forth righteousness as it flowed onwards, so that it was like a swell of the penal righteousness of God (shâtaph, with the accusative, according to Ges. 138, Anm. 2). That cillâyōn is not used here in the sense of completion any more than in Deuteronomy 28:65, is evident from Isaiah 10:23, where câlâh (fem. of câleh, that which vanishes, then the act of vanishing, the end) is used interchangeably with it, and necherâtzâh indicates judgment as a thing irrevocably decided (as in Isaiah 28:22, and borrowed from these passages in Daniel 9:27; Daniel 11:36). Such a judgment of extermination the almighty Judge had determined to carry fully out (‛ōseh in the sense of a fut. instans) within all the land (b'kereb, within, not b'thok, in the midst of), that is to say, one that would embrace the whole land and all the people, and would destroy, if not every individual without exception, at any rate the great mass, except a very few.
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