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Rab’bah (great).

1. A very strong place on the east of the Jordan, and the chief city of the Ammonites. In five passages—Deut. 3:11; 2 Sam. 12:26; 17:27; Jer. 49:2; Ezek. 21:20—it is styled at length Rabbath of the Ammonites, or the children of Ammon; but elsewhere, Josh. 13:25; 2 Sam. 11:1; 12:27, 29; 1 Chron. 20:1; Jer. 49:3, simply Rabbah. When first named it is mentioned as containing the bed or sarcophagus of the giant Og. Deut. 3:11. David sent Joab to besiege Rabbah. 2 Sam. 11:1, 17, etc. Joab succeeded in capturing a portion of the place—the “city of waters,” that is, the lower town, so called from its containing the perennial stream which rises in and still flows through it. The citadel still remained to be taken, but this was secured shortly after David’s arrival. 2 Sam. 12:26-31. Long after, at the date of the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, Jer. 49:2, 3, it had walls and palaces. It is named in such terms as imply that it was of equal importance with Jerusalem. Ezek. 21:20. From Ptolemy Philadelphus (b.c. 285–247) it received the name of Philadelphia. It was one of the cities of the Decapolis, and became the seat of a Christian bishop. Its ruins, which are considerable, are found at Ammôn, about 22 miles from the Jordan. It lies in a valley which is a branch, or perhaps the main course, of the Wady Zerka, usually identified with the Jabbok. The public buildings are said to be Roman, except the citadel, which is described as of large square stones put together without cement, and which is probably more ancient than the rest.

2. A city of Judah, named with Kirjath-jearim in Josh. 15:60 only. No trace of its existence has yet been discovered.