1. The Blanche Garde of the crusaders (Stanley). A city in the shephelah or low hills S.W. of Israel, taken by Joshua, though not one of the leagued cities, because he would not leave so strong a city unsubdued in his rear, after destroying Makkedah on his way to Lachish. A priests' city with its "suburbs" (Joshua 10:29-30; Joshua 10:32-39; Joshua 12:15; Joshua 15:42; Joshua 21:13). It revolted from Judah at the same time as Edom, in the reign of Jehoram, Jehoshaphat's son, "because he had forsaken the Lord God of his fathers" (2 Kings 8:22; 2 Chronicles 21:10-11). Its remoteness from the capital, which Jehoram had corrupted into idolatry, and the presence of the sacred ministers in it, made its people desire separation from the idolaters; hence its revolt, as the scripture quoted implies. The explanation of the revolt, though satisfactory, is one inferred from comparing independent scriptures (2 Chronicles 21:10; 2 Kings 8:18; Joshua 15:42; Joshua 21:13), an undesigned propriety confirming the truth.
After Lachish Sennacherib besieged Libnah, and there heard of what alarmed him, Tirhakah's advance (2 Kings 19:8; Isaiah 37:8). Rabshakeh joined him there, and probably brought with him the portion of the Assyrian army which had been before Jerusalem. At Libnah near Egypt G. Rawlinson thinks the miraculous destruction of the Assyrian army took place: not at Jerusalem; so Jehovah's promise (Isaiah 37:33), "Sennacherib shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields "; then verse 36 will mean, "when they (Sennacherib and the surviving Assyrians) arose early in the morning, behold they (the smitten Assyrians) were all dead corpses." Herodotus (ii. 141) gives the Egyptian story, that Sennacherib retreated from Pelusium, the Egyptian gods having sent field mice which gnawed their bowstrings and shield straps, a corruption of Jehovah's promise above. Hamutal, Josiah's queen, mother of Jehoahaz and Zedekiah, was of Libnah (2 Kings 23:31; 2 Kings 24:18.)
E. Wilton identifies Libnah with Lebben, five miles S. of Gaza, near the northern bank of wady Sheriah, a good point from which Sennacherib could watch Tirhakah's advance from the Egyptian quarter. The smallness of the remains is due to the buildings having been of large sun-dried bricks, soon disintegrating, not stone. Condor (Israel Exploration, July, 1875) identifies it with Belt Jibrin. Warren (Israel Exploration, July, 1875) identifies Libnah with Ibna, a ruin on a hill at the sea coast, between Jaffa and Ashdod, and identical with Jabneel or Jabnab. As Libnah was a priests' town, so Jamnia became latterly the seat of the Sanhedrin and head quarters of Hebrew learning. Libnah (whiteness) perhaps is named from some natural feature, as white poplars; as Rithmah is from retem "the juniper." El Benawy is mentioned for it in Israel Exploration Quarterly Statement, January, 1878, p. 19.
2. A station of Israel between Sinai and Kadesh, the fifth after Sinai. The Laban of Deuteronomy 1:1, near the Arabah and Elanitic gulf. Now el Beyaneh ("the distinct.," Arabic), part of the mountain plateau and valley W. of the Arabah.
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