RAMA or RAMAH ("an elevated spot".)
1. In Benjamin (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:18). The cry of the weeping mothers and of Rachel is poetically represented as heard as far as Rama, on the E. side of the N. road between Jerusalem and Bethel; Rama where Nebuzaradan gathered the captive Jews to take them to Babylon. Not far from Gibeah of Saul (1 Samuel 22:6; Hosea 5:8; Isaiah 10:28-32). Now Er Ram, five miles from Jerusalem (Judges 4:5; Judges 19:13; Joshua 18:25). There is an Er Ram one mile and a half E. of Bethlehem; but explain Jeremiah 31:15 as above.
Baasha fortified it, to prevent his subjects from going S. to Jerusalem to the great feasts, and so joining the kingdom of Judah (1 Kings 15:17-21; 2 Chronicles 16:1-5). (See BAASHA; ASA.) The coincidence is dear between Rama's being built by Israel, its overthrow by Judah, and the emigration from Israel to Judah owing to Jeroboam's idolatry (1 Kings 12:26; 2 Chronicles 11:14-17); yet the events are named separately, and their connection only inferred by comparison of distinct passages, a minute proof of genuineness. Its people returned after the captivity (Ezra 2:26; Nehemiah 7:30). The Rama, Nehemiah 11:33, was further W.
2. The house of Elkanah, Samuel's father (1 Samuel 1:19; 1 Samuel 2:11). Samuel's birthplace, residence, and place of burial. Here he built an altar to Jehovah (1 Samuel 7:17; 1 Samuel 8:4; 1 Samuel 15:34; 1 Samuel 16:13; 1 Samuel 19:18; 1 Samuel 25:1; 1 Samuel 28:3). Contracted from Ramathaim Zophim, in Mount Ephraim (which included under its name the northern parts of Benjamin, Bethel, and Ataroth: 2 Chronicles 13:19; 2 Chronicles 15:8; Judges 4:5; 1 Samuel 1:1). Muslim, Jewish, and Christian tradition places Samuel's home on the height Neby Samwil, four miles N.W. of Jerusalem, than which it is loftier. Arculf (A.D. 700) identifies it as "Saint Samuel."
The professed tomb is a wooden box; below it is a cave excavated like Abraham's burial place at Hebron, from the rock, and dosed against entrance except by a narrow opening in the top, through which pilgrims pass their lamps and petitions to the sacred vault beneath. The city where Samuel anointed Saul (1 Samuel 9-10) was probably not Samuel's own city Rama, for the city of Saul's anointing was near Rachel's sepulchre adjoining Bethlehem (1 Samuel 10:2), whereas Mount Ephraim wherein was Ramathaim Zophim did not reach so far S. Near Neby Samwil, the probable site of Samuel's Rama, is the well of Sechu to which Saul came on his way to Rama, now "Samuel's fountain" near Beit Isku. Beit Haninah (probably Naioth) is near (1 Samuel 19:18-24). Hosea (Hosea 5:8) refers to Rama. The appended "Zophim" distinguishes it from Rama of Benjamin. Elkanah's ancestor Zuph may have been the origin of the "Zophim."
3. A fortress of Naphtali in the mountainous region N.W. of the sea, of Galilee. Now Rameh, eight miles E.S.E. of Safed, on the main track between Akka and the N. of the sea of Galilee, on the slope of a lofty hill.
4. On Asher's boundary between Tyre and Sidon; a Rama is still three miles E. of Tyre.
5. Ramoth Gilead (2 Kings 8:29; 2 Chronicles 22:6).
6. Re-occupied by Benjamin on the return from Babylon (Nehemiah 11:33). Identified by Grove with Ramleh.
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