GIBEONITES, the inhabitants of Gibeon, an Amorite or Hivite stronghold, the modern El-Jib, 5 m. N.W. from Jerusalem. According to Joshua xviii. 25 it was one of the cities of Benjamin. When the Israelites, under Joshua, invaded Canaan, the Gibeonites by a crafty ruse escaped the fate of Jericho and Ai and secured protection from the invaders (Joshua ix.). Cheyne thinks this story the attempt of a later age to explain the long independence of Gibeon and the use of the Gibeonites as slaves in Solomon's temple. An attempt on the part of Saul to exterminate the clan is mentioned in 2 Sam. xxi., and this slaughter may possibly be identified with the massacre at Nob recorded in I Sam. xxii. 17-19 (see Ency. Bib. col. 1717). The place is also associated with the murders of Asahel (2 Sam. ii. 12), Amasa (2 Sam. xx. 8) and Gedaliah (Jer. xli. 12), and with the wrathful intervention of Yahweh referred to by Isaiah (xxviii. 21), which we may identify with the memorable victory of David over the Philistines recorded in 2 Sam. v. 25 (reading Gibeon for Geba). Gibeon was the seat of an old Canaanitish sanctuary afterwards used by the Israelites; it was here that Solomon, immediately after his coronation, went to consult the oracles and had the dream in which he chose the gift of wisdom (1 Kings iii.).
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