|Cities of Ancient Israel|
Hesban. Esbus is the Greek form of the Heb. Heshbon (heshbon; "reckoning"). Heshbon was originally a Moabite town, and when the Israelites arrived from Egypt it was ruled over by Sihon, called both "king of the Amorites" and "king of Heshbon." The city was taken by the Israelites (Josh 13:21,26) and became a Levitical city (21:39; 6:81) in the tribe of Reuben (Num 32:37; Josh 13:17), it was also on the border of Gad, and was sometimes a city of Gad (Josh 21:39; 1 Chron 6:81). Heshbon, now Hesban, is twenty miles E of Jordan and 4000 feet above the stream as it enters the Dead Sea. It is the site of an excellent spring that made it an extremely desirable location. Its extensive ruins, particularly from the Roman period, are still visible.
Heshbon has been excavated and researched. A cut through part of the tell revealed that it had an occupational history extending from the 12th century B.C. to the 14th century A.D., and excavations do not support existence of a town on the site in the days of Sihon. In spite of some searching in the area, no other candidate for the Heshbon of Sihon has yet been found.
The word Heshbon is figurative in Song 7:4 the eyes of the Shulammite are likened to "the pools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-rabbim." The bright pools in the stream that runs beneath Hesban on the W are probably intended.
Num. 21:25-30; Deut. 1:4; Josh. 12:2; Josh. 13:17; Judg. 11:26; 1 Chr. 6:86; Isa. 15:4; 16:8; Jer. 48:2, 45.
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