EZION-GEBER (Heb. (עֶצְיוֹן גָּבֶר (גֶּבֶר, first mentioned in the Bible as one of the camping sites of the Israelite tribes on their way to Canaan (Num. 33:35–36). As such, it is mentioned next to Elath in Deuteronomy 2:8. From the biblical narrative of the Exodus (Num. 21:4), it may be deduced that Ezion-Geber was somewhere on the Gulf of Elath. Its location on the Gulf of Elath and function as a port and shipyard during the reign of Solomon is clearly stated in I Kings 9:26. II Chronicles 8:17 indicates that it was not Solomon who founded Ezion-Geber and Elath. According to archaeological evidence it was most probably the Edomites or Midianites as early as the end of the Late Bronze Age (see timna ). The port and shipyard of Ezion-Geber are again mentioned in connection with the unsuccessful attempt by Jehoshaphat in the ninth century B.C.E. to renew the gold route to Ophir (I Kings 22:49). After this, it disappears from the biblical annals, and in the eighth century B.C.E., there is mention only of the struggle between the kings of Judah and Edom for the possession of the city of Elath. In 1934 F. Frank discovered Tell al-Khalayfa, a low mound approximately ⅓ mi. (c. 0.6 km.) north of the shores of the Gulf of Elath, between modern Eilat and Akaba, and he identified it with Ezion-Geber. N. Glueck subsequently excavated the site (1938–40) and identified it with Ezion-Geber and Elath, assuming a change of the former name to Elath in the days of the kings of Judah. According to him, the site was not only the Solomonic port, but also an important industrial center for the manufacture of copper and iron tools, which served as export goods for the trading ventures of Solomon. Recent excavations in the Arabah and the discovery of an early Iron Age I port installation in the bay and on the island Jazīrat Farʿūn, 7½ mi. (12 km.) south of modern Eilat, have suggested a reconsideration of the date and character of the ruins of Tell al-Khalayfa, and consequently of the location of Ezion-Geber. It has become clear that the site was fortified, perhaps serving as a caravanserai, and not a copper smelting plant, and an identification with the ancient city of Elath has been suggested. It has been proposed that the port and shipyard of Ezion-Geber should be identified with the island of Jazīrat Farʿūn, the only natural anchorage in the Gulf of Elath. Extensive casemate walls and a well-built port testify to its maritime use in early biblical days. From archaeological discoveries in the southern Arabah (1969), it can be deduced that long before Solomon's ships were assembled at Ezion-Geber–Jazīrat Farʿūn, Egyptian mining expeditions on their way to the Arabah copper mines used Ezion-Geber as their harbor. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: F. Frank, in; ZDPV, 57 (1934), 191–280, esp. 244; N. Glueck, The Other Side of the Jordan (1940), 89–113; idem, Rivers in the Desert (1959), index; idem, in: BA, 28 (1965), 70–87, incl. bibl.; B. Rothenberg, in: PEQ, 94 (1962), 5–71; 101 (1969), 57–59; idem, Ẓefunot Negev (1967), 189–213; idem, in: Illustrated London News, 255 (Nov. 15, 1969), 32–33; 255 (Nov. 29, 1969), 28–29. (Beno Rothenberg)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Ezion-Geber — or Asiongaber (Classical Hebrew: עֶצְיֹן גֶּבֶר, pronounced Etzyón Gaver ) was a city of Idumea, a biblical seaport on the northern extremity of the Gulf of Aqaba, in the area of modern Aqaba and Eilat. Biblical references Ezion Geber is… …   Wikipedia

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  • Ezion-geber — • More properly Ezion geber, a city of Idumea, situated on the northern extremity of the Ælanitic Gulf, now called the Gulf of Akabah Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

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