(ray' muh) Place name meaning, “high,” applied to several cities located on heights, especially military strongholds. 1. Border town in tribal territory of Asher (Joshua 19:29). The precise location of the city is unknown, although most scholars would place it in the vicinity of Tyre. 2. Fortified city of tribal territory of Naphtali (Joshua 19:36), this town is probably to be identified with present-day er-Rameh. Ramah of Asher and Ramah of Naphtali could have been the same community since the boundaries of Asher and Naphtali join.
3. Ramah of Gilead usually called Ramoth-Gilead. Compare
2 Kings 8:28-29;
2 Chronicles 22:6. See Ramoth-Gilead.
4. City in the inheritance of Benjamin listed along with Gibeon, Beeroth, Jerusalem, and others (Joshua 18:25). It is to be identified with modern er-Ram five miles north of Jerusalem. In ancient times this location placed the city between the rival kingdoms of Israel and Judah, which led to dire consequences (1 Kings 15:16-22;
2 Chronicles 16:1,
2 Chronicles 16:5-6).
The traditional site of Rachel's tomb was connected with Ramah (1 Samuel 10:2;
Jeremiah 31:15). Deborah, the prophetess, dwelt and judged Israel from the Ramah vicinity (Judges 4:4-5). Hosea mentioned Ramah (Joshua 5:8), and Isaiah prophesied that the approaching Assyrian army would march through Ramah (Isaiah 10:29).
The Babylonians apparently used Ramah as a prisoner-of-war camp from which captives of Jerusalem were processed and sent into Babylonian Exile. There Jeremiah was released from his chains and allowed to remain in Judah (Jeremiah 40:1-6). People returning from captivity settled there (Ezra 2:26;
5. A city of the Negev, the arid desert south of Judea, in the tribal inheritance of Simeon (Joshua 19:8). David once gave presents to this town following his successful battle with the Amalekites (1 Samuel 30:27).
6. Birthplace, home, and burial place of Samuel (1 Samuel 1:19;
1 Samuel 2:11;
1 Samuel 7:17;
1 Samuel 8:4;
1 Samuel 15:34;
1 Samuel 25:1). In
1 Samuel 1:1 the long form, Ramathaim-Zophim, is used. Samuel built an altar to the Lord at Ramah. From there he “judged” Israel and went on a yearly circuit to other cities (1 Samuel 7:15-17). Some have argued that Ramathaim-Zophim is identical with Ramah of Benjamin. It may also be the town, Arimathea, hometown of Joseph, in whose tomb Jesus was buried (Matthew 27:57-60).
J. Randall O'Brien