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RABBAH (RABBATH):

Capital of the Ammonites, where, according to Deut. iii. 11, the bed of the giant Og was shown. David besieged and took the city (II Sam. xi. 1), but under Solomon, or soon after the division of the kingdom, when Ammon regained its independence, Rabbah again became a great and flourishing place with magnificent palaces, and the Prophets more than once announced the destruction of it as of a hated enemy (Amos i. 14; Jer. xlix. 4; Ezek. xxv. 5). In the post-exilic period nothing is known of the city until the Diaspora, when it was rebuilt on a magnificent scale by Ptolemy Philadelphus and named Philadelphia. It then became one of the most important Hellenistic cities of the east-Jordan country; it belonged to the Decapolis. The city was taken by Antiochus Epiphanes in 218 B.C., and continued to flourish in the Roman time, as is shown by its ruins, which lie in a well-watered valley, on both sides of the Nahr Amman. The date of its destruction, which was due in great part to earthquakes, is unknown. The Arabic historian and geographer Abu al-Fida states that it was in ruins when the Mohammedans conquered Syria.

The ancient name has been preserved in the present 'Amman, which replaced the Greco-Roman name; this has happened frequently in Palestine. The fortress was situated on the hill on the northern side, and the "city of waters," on the lower part of the stream, is distinguished from the city proper (i.e., the upper part, with the fortress on the hill) as early as the account of David's campaigns (II Sam. xii. 27 et seq.). A colony of Circassians is now settled in the ruins.

Bibliography:
  • Survey of Eastern Palestine, Memoirs, i. 19 et seq.;
  • G. A. Smith, Historical Geography, pp. 595-608;
  • Baedeker, Palestine, 6th ed., pp. 129 et seq.
E. G. H. I. Be.
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