Kiriath-Jearim - "city of woods" - was a city in the
Land of Israelduring the time of the Hebrew Bible. It was also called Kiriath-Ba'al, Ba'alah and Ba'ale-Judah. Eusebiussays that the city was located about 15 km from Jerusalem. It is identified with Deir el-Azar (Tel Qiryat Yearim) today.
Kiriath-jearim was mentioned as a Hivite city and connected with the Gibeonites. It came to be placed at the border between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. It is mentioned as the place the
Ark of the Covenantwas moved after being in Beth-shemesh. About 70 years afterward, the ark was moved to Jerusalem and placed in a tent outside the palace of David.
Kiriath-jearim's change in designation from Kiriath-Ba'al betrays the population change that took place after Joshua's military campaign, or holy war (Heb., "cherem") to take possession of the land from its previous inhabitants. The religious basis for the war is revealed in the city's renaming; the name
Baalbelonged to a pagan deity, which, according to the Bible, the God of Israel ordered Joshua and the Israelites to erase the memory of the Ba'al cult (see Joshua 18.14). Interestingly, however, the name change does not reflect the Yahwist religious affiliation of the city's conquerors. Rather, it reflects salient geographical features.
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KIRIATH-JEARIM — (Heb. קִרְיַת יְעָרִים), city of the Hivites belonging to the Gibeonite confederation (Josh. 9:17). Its original name was Kiriath Ba al or Baalah. Kiriath Jearim was situated on the border of Judah and Benjamin (Josh. 15:9, 60; 18:14, 15) and was … Encyclopedia of Judaism
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