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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 Ælanitic Gulf (now called the Gulf of Aqaba), in the area of modern Aqaba and Eilat. (Elat) A place at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba beneath mt Horab where Moses used to tend the sheep of his father in law Jethro; and is reunited with him immediately after the Sons of Israel led by Moses cross the Red Sea and do battle with the Rephidim. Elat lay then at the shared border of Egypt, Edom, Moab, and Midian; and today at the shared border of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
Ezion-Geber is mentioned six times in the Bible (Numbers, xxxiii, 35; Deut., ii, 8; III K. (Vulgate), ix, 26; xxii, 49; II Par. (Chron.), viii, 17; xx, 36. The general site of Asiongaber is indicated in III K., ix, 26 (I K.); but its ruins have disappeared, so that its precise site is a matter of conjecture. The Children of Israel encamped in Asiongaber in their journey through the wilderness (Numbers 33:35). The ships of Solomon and Hiram started from this port on their voyage to Ophir. It was the main port for Israel's commerce with the countries bordering on the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, joined himself with Ochozias, the wicked King of Israel, to make ships in Asiongaber; but God disapproved the unholy alliance, and the ships were broken in the port (2 Chronicles 20:37).
I Kings 9:26-29 (King James Version) says:
- And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Ezion geber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom.
- And Hiram sent in the navy his servants, shipmen that had knowledge of the sea, with the servants of Solomon.
- And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.
Ezion-Geber was one of the places where the Israelites camped after the exodus from Egypt.
The name "Ezion Geber" resembles "the giant's backbone", perhaps named after a rock formation. But according to the Targum Jonathan, it means city of the rooster. (כְּרַך תַּרְנְגוֹלָא)
Sources and references
- This article incorporates text from the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913, a publication now in the public domain. 
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