Ezion-Geber (Classical Hebrew: עֶצְיֹן גֶּבֶר, Etzyon Gever) was a city of Idumea, a biblical seaport on the northern extremity of the Gulf of Aqaba, in the area of modern Aqaba and Eilat.[1]

Biblical references

Ezion-Geber is mentioned six times in the Tanakh[2] Ruins at Tell el-Kheleifeh were identified with Ezion-Geber by the German explorer F. Frank and later excavated by Nelson Glueck who thought he had confirmed the identification, but a later re-evaluation dates them to a period between the 8th and 6th centuries BCE with occupation continuing possibly into the 4th century BCE.[3] According to the Book of Numbers Ezion-Geber was one of the first places where the Israelites camped after the Exodus from Egypt.[4]

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. According to Book of II Chronicles, Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah, joined with Ahaziah, the King of Israel, to make ships in Ezion-geber; but God disapproved the alliance, and the ships were broken in the port.[5]

In 1 Kings 9:26 (King James Version) it says:

And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, 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.

According to Targum Jonathan, the name means city of the rooster. (כְּרַך תַּרְנְגוֹלָא)


  1. Catholic Encyclopedia
  2. Numbers 33:35, Deuteronomy 2:8, 1 Kings 22:49, II Chronicles, 2 Chronicles 20:36. The general site of Ezion-Geber is indicated in 1 Kings 9:26
  3. Pratico, Gary D. "Nelson Glueck's 1938-1940 Excavations at Tell el-Kheleifeh: A Reappraisal" Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, No. 259 (Summer, 1985), pp.1-32
  4. Numbers 33:35
  5. 2 Chronicles 20:37

Coordinates: 29°32′39.89″N 34°58′55.44″E / 29.5444139°N 34.9820667°E / 29.5444139; 34.9820667

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