|ka-ri-ath-i-a'-ri-us (city of woods)
Easton's Bible Dictionary
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
(Kariathiarios; Codex Vaticanus reads Kartatheiareios; the King James Version,
Kiriathiarim (1 Esdras 5:19))=Kiriath-jearim in Nehemiah
kir-i-ath je'-a-rim, kir-i-ath je-a'-rim (qiryath-ye'-arim, "city of thickets";
Septuagint he polis Iareim; the King James Version Kirjathjearim):
One of the four chief cities of the Gibeonites (Joshua 9:17); a city ,of Judah
(Joshua 15:60), evidently an ancient, Semitic "high place", hence, the name "Kiriath-Baal"
(same place) ; it was one of the places on the border line between Judah and Benjamin
(Joshua 18:14 , 15 ; 15:11 (where it is called "Baalah"); compare 1 Chronicles
13:6). It is mentioned as in Judah (Joshua 15:60; 18:14; Judges 18:12), but if
KIRIATH (which see) is identical with it, it is mentioned as belonging to Benjamin
(Joshua 18:28; in 2 Samuel 6:2, Baale-judah).
1. Scripture References:
Judges 18:12 records that the men of Dan set forth out of Zorah and Eshtaol and
encamped in Mahaneh-dan behind (West of) Kiriath-jearim. (In Judges 13:25 Mahaneh-dan
("the camp of Dan") is described as between Zorah and Eshtaol; see MAHANEH-DAN.)
To this sanctuary the ark of Yahweh was brought, from Beth-shemesh by the people
of Kiriath-jearim, and they "brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill
(m "Gibeah"]; and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of Yahweh" (1 Samuel
7:1). Here it abode twenty years (1 Samuel 7:2 ; 2 Samuel 6:2 - 4; compare 1 Chronicles
13:6 ; 2 Chronicles 1:4). Clearly it was in the hills somewhere to the East of
The prophet Uriah-ben-shemaiah, killed by Jehoiskim, belonged to Kiriath-jearim
In Ezra 2:25 (compare Nehemiah 7:29), this place occurs under the name "Kiriath-arim."
In 1 Esdras 5:19 the name occurs as "Kiriathiarius."
The exact position of this important Israelite sanctuary has never
been satisfactorily settled. Some of the data appear to be contradictory. For
example, Josephus (Ant., VI, i, 4) says it was a city in the neighborhood of Beth-shemesh,
while Eusebius and Jerome (Onomasticon) speak of it ("Cariathiareim") in their
day as a village 9 or 10 miles from Jerusalem on the way to Lydda. But it is open
to doubt whether the reputed site of their day had any serious claims. Any suggested
site should fulfill the following conditions:
|(1) It must harmonize with the boundary line of Judah and
Benjamin between two known points--the "waters of Nephtoah," very generally supposed
to be Lifta, and Chesalon, certainly Kesla (Joshua 15:10).
(2) It should not be too far removed from the other cities of the Gibeonites--Gibeon,
Chephirah and Beeroth--but those places, which are all identified, are themselves
fairly widely apart.
(3) Mahaneh-dan ("the camp of Dan") is described as between Zorah and Eshtaol,
and was West of Kiriath-jearim; this, and the statement of Josephus that it was
in the neighborhood of Beth-shemesh, makes it probable that the site was near
the western edge of the mountains of Judah. Zorah (now Sara'), Eshtaol (now Eshu'a)
and Beth-shemesh (now 'Ain Shems), are all within sight of each other close to
the Vale of Sorek.
(4) The site should be a sanctuary (or show signs of having been such), and be
at least on a height (Gibeah, 1 Samuel 7:1 margin).
(5) The name may help us, but it is as well to note that the first part of the
name, in the form "Kirathiarius" (1 Esdras 5:19), appears to have survived the
exile rather than the second.
3. Suggested Identifications:
The first suggested identification was that of Robinson (BE, II, 11,12), namely,
Kuriet el 'Enab, the "town of grapes," a flourishing little town about 9 miles
West of Jerusalem on the carriage road to Jaffa. The district around is still
fairly well wooded (compare ye'arim = "thickets"). This village is commonly known
as Abu Ghosh, from the name of a robber chieftain who, with his family, flourished
there in the first half of the last century. Medieval ecclesiastical tradition
has made this place the Anathoth of Jer, and a handsome church from the time of
the Crusades, now thoroughly repaired, exists here to mark this tradition. This
site suits well as regards the border line, and the name Quriet is the exact equivalent
of Kiriath; it also fits in with the distance and direction given the Eusebius,
Onomasticon, but it cannot be called satisfactory in all respects. Soba, in the
neighborhood, has, on account of its commanding position, been selected, but except
for this one feature it has no special claims. The late Colonel Conder has very
vigorously advocated the claims of a site he discovered on the south side of the
rugged Wady Ismae'n, called Khurbet 'Erma, pointing out truly that 'Erma is the
exact equivalent of 'Arim (Ezra 2:25). Unfortunately the 2nd part of the name
would appear from the references in 1 Esdras and in Eusebius (Onomasticon) to
be that part which was forgotten long ago, so that the argument even of the philological--the
strongest--grounds cannot be of much value. The greatest objections in the minds
of most students are the unsuitability of the position to the requirements of
the Judah-Benjamin frontier and its distance from the other Gibeonite cities.
The present writer suggests another site which, in his opinion, meets at least
some of the requirements better than the older proposals. Standing on the hill
of Beth-shcmesh and looking Northwest, with the cities of Zorah (Sur'ah) and Eshtaol
(Eshu'-a) full in view, a lofty hill crowned by a considerable forest catches
the eye. The village a little below the summit is called Beit Machcir, and the
hilltop itself is the shrine of a local saint known as Sheikh el Ajam. So "holy"
is the site, that no trees in this spot are ever cut, nor is fallen brushwood
removed. There is a Wely or sanctuary of the saint, and round about are scores
of very curious and apparently ancient graves. Southward from this site the eye
follows the line of Judean hills--probably the Mt. Jearim of Joshua 15:10--until
it strikes the outstanding point of Kesla (Chesslon), some 2 miles to the South.
If the ark was taken here, the people of Beth-shemesh could have followed its
progress almost the whole way to its new abode. Although the name, which appears
to mean "besieged" or "confined," in no degree helps, in all the other respects
(see 2 above), this site suits well the conditions of Kiriath-jearim.
LITERATURE. See P E F S, 1878, 196-99; P E F, III, 43-52; H G H L, 225; BR, II,
11; Buhl, G A the Priestly Code (P), Index.
E. W. G. Masterman
baalah, bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, cities of the gibeonites, define, kariathiarius