|Rabbah - |
("greatness of size or numbers".)
1. Ammon's chief city, its only city named in Scripture, in contrast to the more civilized Moab's numerous cities (Deuteronomy 3:11; 2 Samuel 12:26; 2 Samuel 17:27; Jeremiah 49:2; Ezekiel 21:20). (See AMMON.) Conjectured to be the Ham of the Zuzim (Genesis 14:5). After Hanun's insult Abishai and Joab defeated the allies Ammon and the Syrians of Bethrehob, Zoba, Ishtob, and Maachah (2 Samuel 10). The following year David in person defeated the Syrians at Helam. Next, Joab with the whole army and the king's bodyguard (including Uriah: 2 Samuel 23:39) besieged Ammon (2 Samuel 11; 1 Chronicles 19; 20). The ark apparently accompanied the camp (2 Samuel 11:11), a rare occurrence (1 Samuel 4:3-6); but perhaps what is meant is only that the ark at Jerusalem was "in a tent" (2 Samuel 7:2; 2 Samuel 7:6) as was the army at Rabbah under Jehovah the Lord of the ark, therefore Uriah would not go home to his house.
The siege lasted nearly two years, from David's first connection with Bathsheba to the birth of Solomon. The Ammonites made unsuccessful sallies (2 Samuel 11:17). Joab finally took the lower town, which, from the stream rising in it and flowing through it perennially, is called "the city of waters," and from the king's palace "the royal city." Then in a characteristic speech, half jest half earnest (2 Samuel 12:28, compare 2 Samuel 19:6-7), which shows the power he had gained over David through David's secret and wicked commission (2 Samuel 11:14-15), he invited David to crown the capture by taking the citadel lest if he (Joab) took it, it should be called after his name. Josephus (Ant. 7:7, section 5) says the fortress had but one well, inadequate to supply the wants of its crowded occupants. (On its capture by David, and his putting the people under saws and harrows to cut them in pieces in retaliation for their cruelties, see DAVID, also Judges 1:7; 1 Samuel 11:2.)
Amos (Amos 1:14) speaks of its "wall" and "palaces" and "king" (perhaps Moloch) about to be judged by God. So also Jeremiah 49:2-3. Nebuchadnezzar attacked Ammon because of Baalis their king having instigated Ishmael to slay Gedaliah the Chaldaean governor (Jeremiah 40:14). See 1 Maccabees 5:6 as to subsequent judgments on Ammon. Ezekiel (Ezekiel 21:20) depicts Nebuchadnezzar's divination to decide whether he should attack Jerusalem or Rabbah the first. Jerusalem's fall should be followed by that of Rabbah (compare Josephus, Ant. 10:9, section 7). Under the Ptolemies Rabbah still continued of importance as supplying water for the journey across the desert, and was made a garrison for repelling the Bedouins of that quarter.
Ptolemy Philadelphus named it Philadelphia. Josephus (B. J. 3:3, section 3) includes Rabbah in Decapolis. Now Amman, on a tributary (Moiet Amman) of the Zerka river (Jabbok), 19 miles S.E. of Es Salt ("Ramoth Gilead"), 22 E. of Jordan. Its temple, theater, and forum are remarkable ruins. Eight Corinthian columns of the theater (the largest known in Syria) remain. It has become as foretold "a stable for camels, a couching place for flocks a desolate heap" (Ezekiel 25:5). Its coins bear the image of Astarte, and the word Heracleion from Hercules the idol which succeeded Moloch. The large square stones of the citadel are put together without cement, the massive walls are evidently very ancient.
2. Rabbah of Moab, called in the Bible Ar, in the highlands S.E. of the Dead Sea.
3. Rabbah of Judah, near Kirjath Jearim (Joshua 15:60).