Jarmuth – a city of the Shephelah

Jarmuth (or Yarmuth) is located about 1 1/4 miles north of  the Valley of Elah, and 5 miles south of Beth-shemesh and the Sorek Valley. The site is mentioned 6 times in the book of Joshua (10:3, 5, 23; 12:11; 15:35), and in Nehemiah 11:29). The name is used in Joshua 21:29, but the Jarmuth mentioned there seems to be a town in the territory of Issachar.

Jarmuth was a Canaanite city conquered by the Israelites in the days of Joshua. It became part of the kingdom of Judah.

Michael Avi-Yonah says,

It has been identified with Khirbat al-Yarmūk (Eusebius calls it Iermochus), a large and prominent mound east of Kafr Zakariyya where surveys have revealed a large city surrounded by a massive stone wall from the Early Bronze Age and a smaller but higher mound containing pottery ranging from the Late Bronze to Byzantine periods. (Encyclopaedia Judaica)

Some excavations were conducted in the 1980s by Pierre De Miroschedji. The excavator says,

Given its size and the density of its construction, the EB III [about 2300 B.C.] city of Jarmuth may have had a population of about 3,000, engaged mainly in agriculture (cereals, vegetables, grapes, and especially olives) and animal husbandry (mostly sheep and goats, cattle and donkeys being used for traction and transport). (The Anchor Bible Dictionary 3:646)

The photo below was taken from Khirbet Qeiyafa, 1 1/4 miles south of Jarmuth.

Jarmuth from Khirbet Qeiyafa. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Jarmuth from Khirbet Qeiyafa (above the Valley of Elah). Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

4 responses to “Jarmuth – a city of the Shephelah

  1. Thanks for the shout-out and I hope you enjoyed our site. If interested, we are always looking for contributers. As for the credit to Follow The Rabbi, it’s there with a link to the site.

    God bless,

  2. Jim and Darlene —
    Thanks for your kind remarks. Much appreciated.

  3. Darlene and I did not sleep well last night. It’s not dark yet, and we just finished supper and will go to bed soon.

    I was just reading to her about your Shephelah blog, remembering how I had difficulty understanding where it was.

    (I Googled and found several interesting sites, one of which I will try to copy and paste. But first, let me share with you Darlene’s comment: “I miss Ferrell.” “What do you mean?” I asked her. “I just wish we had taken advantage of more opportunities to learn from him than we did.” (Quantumpork.com)

    [Jim, in checking this quote, I see that it is actually quoted from Follow the Rabbi. I think the proper credit should be given.]
    In ancient times, the four valleys of the Shephelah functioned as corridors between the mountains, where the Israelites lived, and the coastal plain dominated by the Philistines. They served as a place of contact sometimes peaceful, sometimes violent where the Philistines and Israelites often interacted.

    In each of the Shephelah valleys, prominent cities developed. The Aijalon, the northernmost valley, was guarded by Tel Gezer. The Sorek and Elah valleys were guarded by Beth Shemesh and Azekah, respectively. And to the south, the city of Lachish stood over the Lachish Valley.

    These valleys, and the strategic cities that overlooked them, were the location of many Old Testament battles. In the Shephelah, a godly culture and a pagan culture met, and whoever won control of the area was able to shape the culture of that region.

    Today, the Shephelah symbolizes the places where God’s values meet the pagan practices of the world. Like the Israelites, we have a choice: to withdraw to the mountains or to be on the front line, to confront the secular values of our world, and with God’s blessing, to gain control of the coastal plain in our neighborhoods, cities, country, and the world.


    Jim and Darlene

    P.S. Last Sunday, Brent and Joy Lewis spent the afternoon with us. He communicated your best wishes to us. You and Elizabeth are special people!!!

  4. lukechandler

    There was a French group excavating there last summer as well. The 6-person team lodged in the same hostel as the Khirbet Qeiyafa team. I do not know what plans they may have for the coming season.

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