gib'-e-a (gibh`ah, "hill"): The Hebrew word denotes generally an eminence or hill, in distinction from har, which is used for mountain, or mountain range. It occurs, however, in two instances, as a place-name. Under GEBA (which see) we have seen that Geba, Gibeah, and Gibeon are liable to be confused. This arises from their resemblance in form and meaning.
(1) An unidentified city in the territory of Judah (Jos 15:57). It is named in the group containing Carmel, Ziph and Kain; it is therefore probably to be sought to the Southeast of Hebron. It may be one of the two villages mentioned by Eusebius, Onomasticon (s.v. "Gabathon"), Gabaa and Gabatha; in the East of the Daroma. It is probably identical with Gibeah mentioned in 2Ch 13:2.
(2) A city described as belonging to Benjamin (Jos 18:28; Jg 19:14) Gibeah of Benjamin (1Sa 13:2,15; 14:16), Gibeah of the children of Benjamin (2Sa 23:29), Gibeah of Saul (1Sa 11:4; Isa 10:29), and possibly, also, Gibeah of God (1Sa 10:5 margin); see GIBEATH, 4.
The narrative in which it first appears is one of extraordinary and tragic interest, casting priceless light on the conditions prevailing in those days when "there was no king in Israel" (Jg 19:1-30 ff). A Levite sojourning on the farther side of Mt. Ephraim was deserted by his concubine who returned to her father's house in Beth-lehem-judah. Thither he went to persuade her to return. Hospitably entertained by her father, he tarried till the afternoon of the fifth day. The evening was nigh when they came over against Jebus--Jerusalem--but, rejecting his servant's suggestion that they should lodge in this "city of a stranger"--i.e. the Jebusite--the Levite pressed on, and when they were near to Gibeah the sun set. They entered the city and sat down in the street. The laws of hospitality today do not compel the entertainment of strangers who arrive after sunset. But it may have been through disregard of all law that they were left unbefriended. An old man from Mt. Ephraim took pity on them, invited them to his house, and made himself responsible for their necessities. Then follows the horrible story of outrage upon the Levite's concubine; the way in which he made known his wrongs to Israel; and the terrible revenge exacted from the Benjamites, who would not give up to justice the miscreants of Gibeah.
Gibeah was the home of Saul, the first king of Israel, and thither he returned after his election at Mizpah (1Sa 10:26). From Gibeah he summoned Israel to assemble for the relief of Jabesh-gilead, which was threatened by Nahash the Ammonite (1Sa 11:4 ff). In the wars of Saul with the Philistines, Gibeah seems to have played a conspicuous part (1Sa 13:15). Here were exposed the bodies of the seven sons of Saul, slain by David's orders, to appease the Gibeonites, furnishing the occasion for Rizpah's pathetic vigil (2Sa 21:1 ff). Gibeah is mentioned in the description of the Assyrian advance on Jerusalem (Isa 10:29).
The site now generally accepted as that of Gibeah is on Teleil el-Ful, an artificial mound about 4 miles North of Jerusalem, a short distance East of the high road to Shechem. A little way North of Teleil el-Ful, the high road bifurcates, one branch turning eastward to Jeba`, i.e. Geba (which should be read instead of "Gibeah" in Jg 20:31); the other continuing northward to Bethel. Not far from the parting of the ways, on the road to Jeba` lies erRam, corresponding to Ramah (Jg 19:13). At Gibeah, about 30 furlongs from Jerusalem, Titus encamped for the night on his advance against the city from the North Teleil el-Ful quite satisfactorily suits all the data here indicated.
The words in Jg 20:33 rendered by the King James Version "the meadows of Gibeah," the Revised Version (British and American) "Maareh-geba"--simply transliterating--and the Revised Version, margin "the meadow of Geba" (or Gibeah), by a slight emendation of the text, read "from the west of Gibeah," which is certainly correct.