views updated


ANATHOTH (Heb. עֲנָתוֹת, עֲנָתֹת).

1. Levitical city in the territory of *Benjamin (Josh. 21:18; i Chron. 6:45; 7:8; Jer. 1:1; Neh. 11:32). It was the birthplace of two of David's "mighty men" (ii Sam. 23:27; i Chron. 11:28; 12:3). *Abiathar, one of David's two "priests to the king," owned an estate there, to which he was subsequently banished by Solomon (i Kings 2:26). *Jeremiah was also "of the priests that were in Anathoth" and probably moved to Jerusalem only when his townsmen became dangerously hostile to him (Jer. 11:21). During the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 588–87 b.c.e., he purchased land in Anathoth from his uncle in order to preserve the family patrimony (cf. Lev. 25:25), thus demonstrating his faith in the eventual return of the Judeans to their land (Jer. 32:7 ff.). Among the Jews who took advantage of *Cyrus' permission to settle in the province of Judah were 128 "men of Anathoth" (Ezra 2:23; Neh. 7:27). The location of Anathoth is mentioned in Isaiah (10:30) along with Gallim and Laish as being in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Josephus states (Ant. 10:144) that it was 20 stadia (2½ mi.) from Jerusalem. According to Eusebius (Onom. 26:27), it was 3 mi. (4.8 km.) north of Jerusalem. The name is preserved in the village of ʿAnt, 2½ mi. (4 km.) north of Jerusalem. Ancient remains have been discovered on Raʾs al-Ḥarrba, a hill southwest of ʿAnt. In 1968 ʿAnt had 1,260 Arab inhabitants, while in 2003 its population was 9,067. Its economy was based on the cultivation of olives, vineyards, field crops, and sheep breeding.

2. Settlement located in the Judean Hills, east of Mount Scopus. A group of Jews wishing to set up a secular settlement in the desert founded it in 1982. The population included people of various age groups, native Israelis as well as newcomers. Most worked in nearby Jerusalem. In 2004 the population of Anathoth included about 160 families.


G.A. Smith, Historical Geography of the Holy Land (193125), 314; Neubauer, Géogr, 154; Alt, in: pjb, 22 (1926), 23–24; Bergman (Biran), in: basor, 62 (1936), 22 ff.; idem, in: bjpes, 4 (1936/37), 13 ff.; N. Ha-Reuveni, Or Ḥadash (1950), 8–26; Abel, Geog, 2 (1938), 243–4. website:

[Michael Avi-Yonah /

Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]