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Jabesh-Gilead (Hebrew: יָבֵ֣שׁ גִּלְעָ֑דYāḇêš Gil‘āḏ) is an ancient town referred to in four books of the Hebrew Bible. Some biblical scholars believe it to have been located east of the Jordan River, in the vicinity of Wadi Yabes.[1]

Jabesh Gilead is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in the first[2][3] and second[4] [5] books of Samuel, in the book of Chronicles,[6] and in the Book of Judges.[7] Jabesh Gilead is primarily mentioned in connection with King Saul's and King David's battles against the Philistines and Ammonites.


The identification of Jabesh-Gilead has been studied for a long time. In the 1940s and 1950s the American scholar Nelson Glueck devoted special attention to the discussion of whether Tell Abu al-Kharaz in the Jordan Valley close to the area where the Wadi el-Yabis (the River Jabesh) emerges into the plain of the Jordan Valley, or Tell al-Maqlub, located further east along the Wadi Yabis, was the Biblical site of Jabesh Gilead.

In the light of Glueck's conclusions a positive identification of Tell Abu al-Kharaz with Jabesh Gilead was made. He expresses some valid points, but it became obvious during the Swedish Excavations at Tell Abu al-Kharaz 1989 to 2008 (and still going on) which are directed by Peter M. Fischer that only distinct archaeological evidence could support his theory. There are remains there from Iron I and IIA which fall into the period of the above-mentioned biblical events but more evidence is necessary.

It should, however, be highlighted that the main objectives of the Swedish excavations are to study the general occupational sequence of Tell Abu al-Kharaz which goes back to approx. 3200 BCE (Early Bronze Age IB) and which covers mainly EB II, MB III, LB I-II, Iron Age I-II and Abbasid.


General References dealing with the excavations at Tell Abu al-Kharaz:

  • Fischer, P.M, Tell Abu al-Kharaz in the Jordan Valley. Volume II: The Middle and Late Bronze Ages, Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, Vienna 2006;
  • Fischer, P.M. The Chronology of the Jordan Valley during the Middle and Late Bronze Ages: Pella, Tell Abu al-Kharaz and Tell Deir 'Alla, edited by P.M. Fischer, contributions by S. Bourke, P.M. Fischer and G. van der Kooij. Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, Vienna 2006;
  • Fischer, P.M. Tell Abu al-Kharaz in the Jordan Valley. Volume I: The Early Bronze Age. Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, Vienna 2008.
  1. ^ "Jabesh Gilead". Ancient Sandals. Retrieved 2007-12-08.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "1 Samuel 11:1-11 (Bible)". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2007-12-08.
  3. ^ "1 Samuel 31:11-13 (Bible)". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2007-12-08.
  4. ^ "2 Samuel 2:4-5 (Bible)". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2007-12-08.
  5. ^ "2 Samuel 21:12 (Bible)". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2007-12-08.
  6. ^ "1 Chronicles 10:11-12 (Bible)". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2007-12-08.
  7. ^ "Judges 21:8-15 (Bible)". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2007-12-08.

See also[edit]