GIBEON AND GIBEONITES:
Gibeon was one of the four cities of the Hivites, reckoned in Josh. xviii. 25 among the cities of Benjamin. That it was not, however, wholly in the possession of the Israelites until a late period is shown by Josh. ix. and II Sam. xxi. 1 et seq. In Josh. x. 12 mention is made of a battle there. The fight between the soldiers of Joab and those of Abner took place beside "the pool of Gibeon" (II Sam. ii. 12 et seq.; comp. Jer. xli. 12). Near it David conquered the Philistines (II Sam. v. 25 [read "Gibeon" for "Geba"]; I Chron. xiv. 16; Isa. xxviii. 21); and here Amasa was killed (II Sam. xx. 8 et seq.). There was a "great high place" in Gibeon (I Kings iii. 4; according to I Chron. xvi. 39, "the tabernacle"). Hananiah came from this city (Jer. xxviii. 1). In post-exilic times Gibeon belonged to Judea (Neh. vi. 7). Its site, which, according to Josephus, was forty ("Ant." vii. 11, § 7) or fifty ("B. J." ii. 19, § 1) furlongs distant from Jerusalem, is now supposed to be occupied by Al-Jib, a village on a slight elevation in a fruitful region about six miles north of that city.
The men of Gibeon after the fall of Jericho were said to be alarmed at the advance of the Israelites, and accordingly sent to Joshua envoys covered with dust and with other signs of having made a long journey before reaching the Israelite camp. Joshua granted them an alliance, and a covenant was drawn up before it was found out that they resided in the immediate neighborhood. Although the covenant was kept, they were punished by being made "hewers of wood and drawers of water for the whole congregation" (Josh. ix. 3-27). According to the Rabbis, the Nethinim were descendants of these Gibeonites (Yeb. 79a; Num. R. § 8). This, however, does not agree with the statement in II Sam. xxii. 19, where David permits the Gibeonites to revenge themselves on Saul's children for injuries stated to have been done to them by Saul. The men of Gibeon, with Melatiah the Gibeonite at their head, repaired a piece of the wall of Jerusalem near the old gate on the west side of the city (Neh. iii. 7), while the Nethinim dwelt at Ophel on the east side (ib. 26).