ARBATTA, city mentioned in I Kings 4:10 as Arubboth and in Second Temple sources as Arbatta. On the outbreak of the Hasmonean uprising, in 168 B.C.E., Galilean Jews were threatened by the local gentile population. Hence, Simeon, brother of Judah the Maccabee, set out on an expedition to Galilee with 3,000 men, and thoroughly defeated the opposing forces. On returning to Judea, "he (Simeon) took with him those (Jews) who were in Galilee and in Arbatta (καὶ Έν Αρβάττοις) with their wives and children, and everything which was theirs, and brought them into Judea with great rejoicing" (I Macc. 5:21–24). Various attempts have been made to identify Arbatta. Some scholars have identified it with the Arabah mentioned in Deuteronomy 1:7, and Joshua 11:16, 12:8, 18:18, in which case it would be situated in the valley of the Dead Sea, but this seems unlikely. Others follow Eusebius and Genesis Rabbah ch. 33, where mention is made of an Araba or Arbu in the vicinity of Beth-Shean. The most reasonable identification is the one proposed by Klein, who read ὲνναρβάττοις and on this basis identified it with Narbatta (cf. Josephus, War II, 291, 509), situated between the southern borders of Galilee and northern Samaria. Recent excavations in this region, at Khirbet el-Hammam, by Adam Zertal, may have succeeding in identifying the site. There are remains at the site belonging to two main periods: from the Iron Age, including a segment of a city wall, and from the Second Temple period (Hasmonean and Herodian) with the remains of a settlement, and a Roman siege ramp and a circumvallation wall from the siege made there by Cestius Gallus in 66 C.E. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. Klein, "Narbatta und die jüdischen Siedlungen westlich von Samaria," in: MGWJ, 74 (1930), 369–80; A. Schalit, Namenwoerterbuch zu Flavius Josephus (1968), 130ff. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Zertal, "The Roman Siege System at Khirbet el-Hammam (Narbata) in Samaria," in: Qadmoniot, 14 (1981), 112–18; idem, "Khirbet el-Hammam, 1982," in: Israel Exploration Journal, 34 (1984), 52; Y. Tsafrir, L. Di Segni, and J. Green, Tabula Imperii Romani. IudaeaPalaestina. Maps and Gazetteer. (1994), 193. (I.G./ Shimon Gibson (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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