The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Vol. 4

By Geoffrey W. Bromiley; Everett E. Harrison et al. | Go to book overview

RAAMA rā'ǝ-mǝ "Heb. ra‛mā" (1 Ch. 1:9); AV RAAMAH; RAAMAH "Heb. ra‛mā" (Gen. 10:7; 1 Ch. 1:9; Ezk. 27:22): NEB also RAAMA. Son of Cush and father of Sheba and Dedan (Gen. 10:7; 1 Ch. 1:9). In Ezk. 27:22 Raamah is mentioned along with Sheba as a tribe or country whose merchants brought spices, precious stones, and gold to Tyre in exchange for the latter's merchandise. The location of Raamah is disputed. Based on the LXX rendering Rhegma, some have identified the place with the city of that name mentioned by Ptolemy, located in east Arabia on the Persian Gulf. (The LXX gamma often indicates ghayin "ģ", represented by ‛ayin in Hebrew.) A second alternative, proposed by von Wissmann, associates the name with Ragmat (rgmt), a city appearing in South Arabian inscriptions from the 5th-4th cents, B.C. (Répertoire d'epigraphie sémitique, §§ 3022, 3943). This was a central town of the Nejran region in northern Yemen whose ruins may be near Uhdud, S of Wâdî Nejran. The problem with this identification is that South Arabic g does not correspond to Heb. ‛ayin (either palatal or guttural), so that the two names do not appear to be related. More likely is a connection with Sabean rģm, located near Ma‛în in southwest Arabia. Another possibility is that Raamah was in northern Arabia, which appears to be the location of two places named in association with Raama: Dedan may be identified with el-‛Ula in northern Arabia, and the people of Sheba were located in northern Arabia according to eighth- and seventh-century B.C. Assyrian sources (See also DEDAN; SABEANS).Bibliography.–J. A. Montgomery, Arabia and the Bible (1934), pp. 39, 42; H. von Wissmann and M. Hofner, Beiträge zur historischen Geographie des vorislamischen Siidarabien(1953), pp. 9-11; W. F. Albright, “Dedan,” in Geschichte und AT (Festschrift A. Alt; 1953), pp. 1-12; Encyclopedia Miqrait (1976), VII, s.v.D. A. DORSEYRAAM1AH rā-ǝ-mī'ǝ "Heb. ra‛amyâ– Yahweh has thundered' (?); Gk. B Naamia, A Rheelma". A leading Israelite who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel (Neh. 7:7). The name appears as “Reelaiah” in Ezr. 2:2 and as Resaiah in 1 Esd. 5:8. The correct spelling of the name is uncertain.RAAMSES rā-am'sēz (Ex. 1:11, AV, RSV). See RAMESES.RABBAH rab'ǝ.1. "Heb. rabbâ: LXX usually Rhabba or Rhabbath" (Josh. 13:25; 2 S. 11:1: 12:27, 29; 1 Ch. 20:1; Jer. 49:3; Ezk. 25:5: Am. 1:4); RABBAH OF THE AMMONITES "Heb. rabbal benê ‛ammôn; LXX usually Rhabbath huiṓn Ammōn-'Rabbah of the sons of Ammon'" (Dt. 3:11; 2 S. 12:26; 17:27; Jer. 49:2; Ezk. 21:25); AV RABBAH (RABBATH) OF THE CHILDREN OF AMMON; NEB also AMMONITE CITY (TOWN) OF RABBAH, RABBATH AMMON. The capital of Ammon.
I. Name and Identification
II. OT Period
III. Greco-Roman Period
IV. Archeological Investigations

I. Name and Identification.–Rabbah in Hebrew means “great” (fem.). Although it can be used attributively to describe a town, e.g., Heb. amaṯ rabbâ, “great Hamath” (Am. 6:2), it is used substantively with regard to the capital of the Ammonites and should most likely be taken as a divine epithet, “the Lady,” in accordance with widespread northwest Semitic practice. The city was evidently named after the chief female deity of the Ammonite pantheon.

Rabbah was located on the same site as modern ‛Ammân (see IV below). In the 3rd cent. B.C. the place was hellenized and named (Gk.) Philadelpheia after Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-247 B.C.), although Zenon, a Ptolemaic agent, still referred to it in his official records as Rhabbatamana. Eusebius (Onom. 16.15; 24.1f.) knew the Semitic name as simply (Gk.) Amman but was aware of its former name, Rhabbath (146.6f.). Moslem writers all referred to the town as 'Ammân (Ahamant in Crusader sources), which is its name today.

II. OT Period.–The allusion in Dt. 3:11 to the iron bedstead of Og, Amorite king of Bashan, which was evidently preserved as a trophy (dedicated to a temple?) at Rabbah of the Ammonites, suggests some connection of the city with the pre-Israelite (and pre-Ammonite?) culture of the 2nd millennium B.C. As capital of the Ammonite territory Rabbah controlled a considerable surrounding area, whose boundaries were recognized by the Israelites (cf. Josh. 13:25, where the proper rendering should be “Aroer, which is in front of "facing" Rabbah,” contra RSV “east of”). The history of the city can be deduced to some degree from what is known about the people of AMMON.

If the text of 2 S. 10:6-8 is taken alone, it appears that the first open clash between David's forces and the Ammonite-Aramean alliance took place near the Ammonite capital (cf. v. 3), but v. 8 with its reference to a city gate is quite abrupt. 1 Ch. 19:7b supplies the additional detail that the allies encamped initially near Medeba;


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The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Vol. 4
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contributors† v
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Q 1
  • R 27
  • S 247
  • T 695
  • U 937
  • V 963
  • W 1001
  • X 1161
  • Y 1162
  • Z 1167


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