The Pool of Gibeon (2 Samuel 2)

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In 2 Samuel 2:12-17 David’s forces, led by Joab, defeated Saul’s army under the command of Abner at “the pool of Gibeon” (2:13). The archaeological site identified as the Biblical Gibeon (modern el-Jib) has a great cistern that may no doubt be identified with this pool. The cistern, cut into solid rock, is 25 m deep and 11 m in diameter. A tunnel connects the cistern to another chamber at groundwater level. The water is accessible by descending steps along the circumference of the cistern and then following a tunnel to a chamber fed by a spring outside the city wall. Constructed in the early eleventh century B.C., the pool of Gibeon had been used for over 100 years by the time of the battle recounted in 2 Samuel 2. It was still in use in the sixth century B.C., as attested by Jeremiah’s report that Johanan and his men there caught up to Ishmael, the assassin who had killed the Judahite governor Gedaliah (Jeremiah 41:12).


 

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