One of the nations that occupied Palestine at the time of the invasion of the Israelites. In the list of the sons of Canaan, the Jebusite occupies the third place, between Heth and the Amorite (Gen. x. 15, 16; I Chron. i. 13, 14). This is also its position in Num. xiii. 29; in Josh. xi. 3, however, the Jebusite is mentioned between the Perizzite and the Hivite. On the other hand, in the oft-repeated enumeration of the tribes that occupied the land of Canaan, the Jebusite comes always at the end (Gen. xv. 21; Ex. iii. 8).
The Jebusites, stated to have dwelt in the mountains (Num. xiii. 29; Josh. xi. 3), were a warlike people. At the time of Joshua’s invasion the capital of the Jebusites was Jerusalem, called also “Jebus” (Judges xix. 10, 11; II Sam. v. 6), whose king Adoni-zedek organized a confederacy against Joshua. Adoni-zedek was defeated at Beth-horon, and he himself was slaughtered at Makkedah (Josh. x. 1-27); but the Jebusites could not be driven from their mountainous position, and they dwelt at Jerusalem with the children of Judah and Benjamin (Josh. xv. 63; Judges i. 21).
Later a notable Jebusite, Araunah, or Ornan, sold his thrashing-floor to David for the erection of an altar (II Sam. xxiv. 18-24; I Chron. xxi. 18-25). The Jebusites as well as the other tribes that had not been exterminated were reduced to serfdom by Solomon (I Kings ix. 20, 21). In the expression of Zechariah,” and Ekron will be as a Jebusite” (Zech. ix. 7), “Jebusite” must be taken to mean “Jerusalemite.”
The Bible refers to “Hittites” in several passages, ranging from Genesis to the post-Exilic Ezra-Nehemiah. Genesis 10 (the Table of Nations) links them to an eponymous ancestor Heth, a descendant of Ham through his son Canaan. The Hittites are thereby counted among the Canaanites. The Hittites are usually depicted as a people living among the Israelites—Abraham purchases the Patriarchal burial-plot of Machpelah from “Ephron HaChiti”, Ephron the Hittite; and Hittites serve as high military officers in David’s army. In 2 Kings 7:6, however, they are a people with their own kingdoms (the passage refers to “kings” in the plural), apparently located outside geographic Canaan, and sufficiently powerful to put a Syrian army to flight.
The Jebusites, who are identical with the Hittites, derived their name from the city of Jebus, the ancient Jerusalem, which they inhabited. Within their territory lay the cave of Machpelah, which Abraham wished to buy. But they said to him: “We know that God will give this country to your descendants. Now, if you will make a covenant with us that Israel will not take the city of Jebus against the will of its inhabitants, we will cede to you the cave and will give you a bill of sale.” Abraham, who was very anxious to obtain this holy burial-place, thereupon made a covenant with the Jebusites, who engraved its contents on bronze. When the people of Israel came into the promised land they could not conquer Jebus (comp. Judges i. 21) because the bronze figures, with Abraham’s covenant engraved thereon, were standing in the center of the city.
According to a midrash quoted by Rashi on II Sam. v. 6, the Jebusites had in their city two figures—one of a blind person, representing Isaac, and one of a lame person, representing Jacob—and these figures had in their mouths the words of the covenant made between Abraham and the Jebusites.
The Jebusites contested David’s entrance into Jerusalem (II Sam. v. 6-8). The Jebusites said to King David: “You can not enter the city of Jebus until you have destroyed the bronze figures on which Abraham’s covenant with our ancestors is engraved.” David thereupon promised a captaincy to the person who should destroy the figures; and Joab secured the prize (comp. II Sam. v. 6; I Chron. xi. 6). David then took the city of Jebus from its owners; the right of appeal to the covenant with Abraham had been forfeited by them through the war they had waged against Joshua; and after the figures themselves had been destroyed, David had not to fear even that the people would reproach him with having broken the covenant. Nevertheless he paid the inhabitants in coin the full value of the city (comp. II Sam. xxiv. 24; I Chron. xxi. 25), collecting the money from all the tribes of Israel; so that the Holy City became their common property (Pirḳe R. El. xxxvi.; comp. David Luria’s notes in his commentary ad loc.; on the money paid for Jerusalem, comp. Midr. Shemu’el xxxii., beginning; Sifre, Num. 42; Zeb. 16b).
According to the bible, the Jebusites (Hebrew- Yevusim) were the tribe of Canaanites that inhabited Jerusalem prior to the era of King David and his conquest of Jerusalem. Before King David took the city and renamed it, the city is mentioned in the bible several times under the name of Jebus (Yevus).
The Hebrew bible is the only ancient text which mentions this people and their rule of Jerusalem. In the book of Genesis, the bible identifies them as a Canaanite tribe, listed among other tribes that inhabited the land of Canaan prior to the entry of the Israelites and their long conquest of the Promised Land.
The first mention of the tribe in Genesis refers to their king Melchizedek, who lived and ruled in Jerusalem during the time of Abraham. This name- which in Modern Hebrew means righteous king- may also refer to the Zedek deity that was worshiped by the Canaanite tribes of the time. During the rule of Melchizedek, the bible refers to Jerusalem by the name of Salem.
An additional Jebusite king mentioned in the bible is Araunah. He is described in the Book of Samuel as having sold his threshing floor to King David. David used this spot to build an alter to god, and this later became the Temple of Solomon.
According to the book of Joshua, when the Israelites entered the Promised Land, Adonizedek joined the various Jebusite tribes to fight against the Israelites. These included tribes from neighboring cities such as Hebron, Jarmut and Eglon. While Adonizedek was defeated in the war, the bible states the Jebusite tribes continued to dwell in peace with the Israelites following the war.
When King David wished to acquire Jerusalem to build the temple (the Tabernacle had been in the city of Shilo till that point), the Jebusites refused. When threatened with war, they mocked King David saying he couldn’t defeat even “the blind and the lame” (Book of Samuel II, 5:6). Subsequently, David’s Chief and Captain of his military, Joab, led a surprise attack on the city, and the Jerusalem was taken by the Israelites. While the Hebrew bible states that this attack was carried out through the city’s water tunnels, the Septuagint translation simply states that the Israelites used their daggers to take the city.
According to the Book of Kings, once the Israelites took the city, the Jebusites were forced to become serfs in the Israelite Kingdom under Kind Solomon. While it is largely unknown what happened with the Jebusites after Jerusalem became an Israelite city, many believe that they were assimilated into Israelite culture and later became part of the Jewish faith. After the book of Chronicles, there is no further mention of this ancient people.
je’-bus, jeb’-u-si, jeb’-u-zit (yebhuc, ha-yebhuci): “Jebus” is an old name for Jerusalem (Jud 19:10,11; 1Ch 4:5 parallel 2Sa 5:6-9, “the same is Jerus”; see preceding article). “Jebusi” (literally, “Jebusite”) is also used as a name for the city in the King James Version (Jos 18:16,28; compare Jos 15:8); the Revised Version (British and American) correctly renders “Jebusite” (see JERUSALEM). “Jebusites,” for the people (in the King James Version Ge 15:21; Ex 3:8,17, etc.), does not occur in Hebrew in the plural; hence, in the Revised Version (British and American) is always rendered in the singular, “Jebusite.” The “Jebusite” is said in Ge 10:16; 1Ch 1:14 to be the 3rd son of Canaan, i.e. of the country of Canaan. Elsewhere he represents a tribe separate from the Canaanites. He stands between Heth and the Amorite (compare Nu 13:29; Jos 11:3; Eze 16:3,15). In the lists of the peoples inhabiting Palestine the “Jebusite” is always placed last, a fact indicative, probably, of their smaller number.
To what race the Jebusites belonged is doubtful. Their name does not seem Semitic, and they do not make their appearance till after the patriarchal period.
The original name of Jerusalem was Babylonian, Uru-Salim, “the city of Salim,” shortened into Salem in Ge 14:18 and in the inscriptions of the Egyptian kings Ramses II and Ramses III. In the Tell el-Amarna Letters (1400 BC) Jerusalem is still known as Uru-Salim, and its king bears a Hittite name, implying that it was at the time in the possession of the Hittites. His enemies, however, were closing around him, and one of the tablets shows that the city was eventually captured and its king slain. These enemies would seem to have been the Jebusites, since it is after this period that the name “Jebus” makes its appearance for the first time in the Old Testament (Jud 19:10,11).
The Jebusite king at the time of the conquest was Adoni-zedek, who met his death at Beth-boron (Jos 10:1 ; in Jos 10:5 the word “Amorite” is used in its Babylonian sense to denote the inhabitants of Canaan generally). The Jebusites were a mountain tribe (Nu 13:29; Jos 11:3). Their capital “Jebus” was taken by the men of Judah and burned with fire (Jud 18), but they regained possession of, and held, the fortress till the time of David (2Sa 5:6 ).
When Jerusalem was taken by David, the lives and property of its Jebusite inhabitants were spared, and they continued to inhabit the temple-hill, David and his followers settling in the new City of David on Mt. Zion (Jos 15:8,63; Jud 1:21; 19:11). And as Araunah is called “king” (2Sa 24:23), we may conclude that their last ruler also had been lowed to live. His name is non-Sem, and the various spellings of it (compare 1Ch 21:15, “Ornan”) indicate that the Hebrew writers had some difficulty in pronouncing it. The Jebusites seem ultimately to have blended with the Israelite population.
The land of the Philistines are mentioned in Joshua 13:2-3 as the unconquered peoples: “This is the land that remains: all the regions of the Philistines and Geshurites: from the Shihor River on the east of Egypt to the territory of Ekron on the north, all of it counted as Canaanite (the territory of the five Philistine rulers in Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron — that of the Avvites)….” The reference to “Canaanites who dwell in the plain” (Joshua 17:16) probably is to the Philistines, also, since they had chariots of iron.
“When the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you,” (Deuteronomy 7:1)
The Hebrew name peleset which translates “Philistia” is also the origin of our word Palestine. While we read of Abraham’s dealings with the Philistine king Abimelech, the Philistines who occupied Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron were probably part of a migration from the Aegean (Greek) area; and pottery found in Philistine sites bears similarities to Mycenaean pottery. Their coming was probably part of a general migration caused by military or socioeconomic events in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean areas shortly after 1200 BC
The Philistines probably settled along the coast, perhaps from Crete, in a similar time frame as when the Israelites were conquering the Jordan valley and the hill country.
The Merneptah Stele—also known as the Israel Stele or Victory Stele of Merneptah—is an inscription by the Ancient Egyptian king Merneptah (reign: 1213 to 1203 BC) – “Israel is laid waste and his seed is not”
The Tel Dan Stele is a broken stele (inscribed stone) of a triumphal inscription in Aramaic, left most probably by Hazael of Aram-Damascus, an important regional figure in the late 9th century BCE. Hazael (or more accurately, the unnamed king) boasts of his victories over the king of Israel and his ally the king of the “House of David”, the first time the name David had been found outside of the Bible.
The Mesha Stele (also known as the “Moabite Stone”) is a stele (inscribed stone) set up around 840 BCE by King Mesha of Moab (a kingdom located in modern Jordan). Mesha tells how Kemosh, the God of Moab, had been angry with his people and had allowed them to be subjugated to Israel, but at length Kemosh returned and assisted Mesha to throw off the yoke of Israel and restore the lands of Moab. Mesha describes his many building projects. It is written using the Phoenician alphabet.
The Kurkh Monoliths are two Assyrian stelae that contain a description of the reigns of Ashurnasirpal II and his son Shalmaneser III. The Shalmaneser III monolith contains a description of the Battle of Qarqar at the end. This description contains the name “A-ha-ab-bu Sir-ila-a-a” which is generally accepted to be a reference to Ahab king of Israel, although it is the only reference to the term “Israel” in Assyrian and Babylonian records, a fact brought up by some scholars who dispute the proposed translation. This description is also the oldest document that mentions the Arabs.