The Great Pool at Gibeon

There are two references in the Bible to the pool of Gibeon. The first is in the account of a conflict between Abner and those aligned with King Saul, and Joab and the servants of David (2 Samuel).

Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon.  And Joab the son of Zeruiah and the servants of David went out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. And they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool.  (2 Samuel 2:12-13 ESV)

Arnold’s entry in The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary says,

This “pool” undoubtedly refers to the impressive water system uncovered at el-Jib during recent archaeological excavations” [by Pritchard in the 1950s].

The pool had been constructed in the late 12th or early 13th century B.C. At first, it was thought to be a reservoir intended to hold water. Later it was learned that it served as a stairway leading to a source of water underneath the city.

After the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, the king of Babylon   made Gedaliah governor over the land. A rebellion led by a man named Ishmael killed Gedaliah at Mizpah (Jeremiah 41). The followers of Gedaliah and the men of Ishmael met at the great pool in Gibeon.

they took all their men and went to fight against Ishmael the son of Nethaniah. They came upon him at the great pool that is in Gibeon. (Jeremiah 41:12 ESV)

The great pool of Gibeon, cut from rock, measures 37 feet in diameter and 35 feet deep. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The great pool of Gibeon, cut from rock, measures 37 feet in diameter and 35 feet deep. The steps led to the source of water located underneath. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins, whose shadow is visible, along with Leon Mauldin, standing at ground level.

For more information see James B. Pritchard’s Gibeon Where the Sun Stood Still (1962). For a ground level photo of the pool, see here.

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3 responses to “The Great Pool at Gibeon

  1. Thanks for this great post. I have been thinking about the Gibeon area a lot lately. Especially the significance of the heights of Gibeon.

  2. Pingback: The Pool of Gibeon | Bob's boy's Christianity blog

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