Jebusites and jabeshites in the Saul and David story-cycles

Nadav Na'aman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article re-examines the historical role of the Jebusites in the early monarchical period. The Jebusites, whose name is derived from the verb YBS ("to be dry"), were a West Semitic pastoral clan that split into two segments, one settling in western Gilead and the other around Jerusalem. The two segments kept their tribal solidarity, as indicated by Saul's campaign to rescue Jabesh-gilead. The Jebusite stronghold was one of Saul's power bases, and David took it over. The biased description of David's conquest influenced the way the Jebusites were presented in the late (Deuteronomistic) biblical historiography and in Israelite cultural memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-497
Number of pages17
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014


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