heshbon Summary and Overview
Bible Dictionaries at a Glance
heshbon in Easton's Bible Dictionary
intelligence, a city ruled over by Sihon, king of the Amorites
(Josh. 3:10; 13:17). It was taken by Moses (Num. 21:23-26), and
became afterwards a Levitical city (Josh. 21:39) in the tribe of
Reuben (Num. 32:37). After the Exile it was taken possession of
by the Moabites (Isa. 15:4; Jer. 48:2, 34, 45). The ruins of
this town are still seen about 20 miles east of Jordan from the
north end of the Dead Sea. There are reservoirs in this
district, which are probably the "fishpools" referred to in
heshbon in Smith's Bible Dictionary
(stronghold), the capital city of Sihon king of the Amorites. #Nu 21:26| It stood on the western border of the high plain --Mishor, #Jos 13:17| --and on the boundary line between the tribes of Reuben and Gad. The ruins of Hesban, 20 miles east of the Jordan, on the parallel of the northern end of the Dead Sea mark the site, as they bear the name; of the ancient Heshbon. There are many cisterns among the ruins. Comp. #So 7:4|
heshbon in Schaff's Bible Dictionary
HESH'BON (reason, device), a city originally belonging to the Moabites, but taken by Sihon, king of the Amorites, and made his capital; captured and occupied by the Israelites, Num 21:25-26; situated on the boundary between Reuben and Gad; rebuilt by Reuben and made a Levitical city, then being territorially a Gadite city. Num 32:3, Num 32:37; Deut 1:4; Deut 2:24-30; 2 Sam 3:2,Deut 3:6; Deut 4:46; Deut 29:7; Josh 9:10; 1 Kgs 12:2, Josh 12:5; Josh 13:10-27; Acts 21:39; Jud 11:19, Jud 11:26; 1 Chr 6:81. In later times the Moabites regained possession of Heshbon, so that it is mentioned as a Moabitish town in the prophetic denunciations against that people, Isa 15:4; Isa 16:8-9; Jer 48:2, Jer 48:34, Jer 48:45; Jer 49:3. The ruins of the city still exist some 15 miles east of the northern end of the Dead Sea, on the great table-land of Moab. A small hill rises 200 feet above the general level, and upon this is Heshbon, now called Heshbun. The whole city must have had a circuit of about a mile. The hill is described as "one heap of shapeless ruin." "Jewish stones, Roman arches, Doric pillars, and Saracenic arches are all strangely mingled." -See Tristram, Land of Israel, p. 544. The site was admirably adapted for the capital of a warlike people. It was the key both to the plain of the Jordan and to the mountains of Gilead. East of the city are the remains of water-courses and an enormous cistern, or "fish-pond," which illustrates Cant. Acts 7:4.
heshbon in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
The Amorite king Sihon's capital (Numbers 21:26, etc.). On the western border of the "high plain", mishor (Joshua 13:17), on the boundary between Reuben and Gad. Now Hesban, 20 miles E. of Jordan, on a line with the N. of the Dead Sea. In the poem, "there is a fire gone out of Heshbon, ... it hath consumed Ar of Moab .... Woe unto thee, Moab: he hath given his sons ... and his daughters ... unto Sihon," the poet paints Heshbon's triumph over Moab, and Moab's misery; but suddenly the scene changes, and Israel is introduced as conquering the conqueror: "We have shot at them, Heshbon is perished." etc.
At Jahaz, a little S. of Heshbon, Israel overthrew Sihon (Deuteronomy 2:32-33). Heshbon was rebuilt by Reuben (Numbers 32:37), but assigned to the Levites in connection with Gad (Joshua 21:39). It passed from Israel into the hands of its former masters the Moabites before the captivity. It is included accordingly in Isaiah's (Isaiah 15:4) and Jeremiah's (Jeremiah 48:2-34; Jeremiah 48:45) denunciations of Moat. Playing upon the meaning of Heshbon (a place of devising counsel) Jeremiah says, "in Heshbon they (the Chaldaeans) have devised evil against Moab."
The old proverb shall hold good again; as anciently Sihon seized Heshbon, and issued forth thence as a devouring flame against Moab, so now the Chaldeans shall seize Heshbon and make it their starting point to destroy Moab. The ruins stand on a low hall, and are a mile in circuit, but do not include a single entire building. On the southern base of the hill is an ancient reservoir; compare Song of Solomon 7:4, "thine eyes are like the fish pools in Heshbon (deep, quiet, full, reflecting the bridegroom's image) by the gate of Bathrabbim" (daughter of of a multitude; a crowded thoroughfare of Heshbon). The bride is calm amidst the crowd.