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JABESH (more fully Jabesh-gilead [, = "dry"]):

Principal city of Gilead, east of the Jordan. It is first mentioned in connection with the war between the Benjamites and the other tribes of Israel (Judges xxi. 8-24). Because its inhabitants had refused to march against the Benjamites, 12,000 Israelites were sent against it. All the people of the city were slain except 400 virgins, who were spared to be given as wives to the surviving Benjamites. In the beginning of the reign of Saul the city was attacked by Nahash, King of Ammon, and was forced to apply to Saul for help (I Sam. xi. 1-10). The inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead remained grateful to Saul for his assistance, and when he and his three sons were killed by the Philistines on Mount Gilboa, they went by night, took the bodies from the wall of Beth-shan, brought them to Jabesh, burned them, buried the remains, and fasted seven days (ib. xxxi. 2, 6, 11-13). For this deed Jabesh-gilead was afterward highly lauded (II Sam. ii. 4-6).

Josephus ("Ant." vi. 5, § 1) calls Jabesh the metropolis of the Gileadites. Eusebius ("Onomasticon") speaks of it as of a village six Roman miles from Pella on the road to Gerasa. The name is preserved in the modern Wadi Yabis; and Robinson ("Researches," 2d ed., iii. 319) holds the ruins of Al-Dair to be the site of Jabesh-gilead.

E. G. H. M. Sel.
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