Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography/Jabesh

JABESH (Ἰάβεις, LXX.; Ἰάβης, Ἰάβισσα, Ἰαβισός, Joseph.), a city of Gilead, the inhabitants of which were exterminated, during the early times of the Judges (see xx. 28), for not having joined in the national league against the men of Gibeah (xxi. 9, &c.). Three centuries later, it was besieged by the Ammonite king, Nahash, when the hard terms offered to the inhabitants by the invaders roused the indignation of Saul, and resulted in the relief of the town and the rout of the Ammonites. (1 Sam. xi.) It was probably in requital for this deliverance that the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead, having heard of the indignity offered to the bodies of Saul and his sons after the battle of Gilboa, "arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul, and the bodies of his sons, from the wall of Beth-shan, and came to Jabesh and burnt them there; and they took their bones and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days." (1 Sam. xxxi. 11—13; 2 Sam. ii. 4—7.) It was situated, according to Eusebius, in the hills, 6 miles from Pella, on the road to Gerash; and its site was marked in his time by a large village (s.vv. Ἀρισώθ and Ἰάνις). The writer was unsuccessful in his endeavours to recover its site in 1842; but a tradition of the city is still retained in the name of the valley that runs into the plain of the Jordan, one hour and a quarter south of Wady Mus, in which Pella is situated. This valley is still called Wadi Yabes, and the ruins of the city doubtless exist, and will probably be recovered in the mountains in the vicinity of this valley. [ G. W. ]