Smith’s Bible Dictionary
“Rabbah” means great
- A very strong place on the east of the Jordan, and the chief city of the Ammonites. In five passages -- (3:11; 2 Samuel 12:26; 17:27; Jeremiah 49:2; Ezekiel 21:20) --it is styled at length Rabbath of the Ammonites, or the children of Ammon; but elsewhere, (Joshua 13:25; 2 Samuel 11:1; 12:27,29; 1 Chronicles 20:1; Jeremiah 49:3) simply Rabbah. When first named it is mentioned as containing the bed or sarcophagus of the giant Og. (3:11) David sent Joab to besiege Rabbah. (2 Samuel 11:1,17) etc. Joab succeeded in capturing a portion of the place --the "city of waters," that is, the lower town so called from its containing the perennial stream which rises in and still flows through it. The citadel still remained to be taken, but this was secured shortly after David's arrival. (2 Samuel 12:26-31) Long after, at the date of the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, (Jeremiah 49:2,3) it had walls and palaces. It is named in such terms as to imply that it was of equal importance with Jerusalem. (Ezekiel 21:20) From Ptolemy Philadelphus (B.C. 285-247) it received the name of Philadelphia. It was one of the cities of the Decapolis, and became the seat of a Christian bishop. Its ruins, which are considerable are found at Ammon about 22 miles from the Jordan. It lies in a valley which is a branch, or perhaps the main course, of the Wady Zerka usually identified with the Jabbok. The public buildings are said to be Roman, except the citadel, which is described as of large square stones put together without cement, and which is probably more ancient than the rest.
- A city of Judah named with Kirjath-jearim in (Joshua 15:60) only. No trace of its existence has yet been discovered.