Jotbath, Jothbatah

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JOTBATH, JOTHBATAH (Heb. יָטְבָתָה), a station of the Israelites during their wanderings in the wilderness, situated between Hor-Haggidgad and Abronah (Num. 33:33–34). It is also described as "a land of brooks of water" (Deut. 10:7). The identification of Jotbath depends on the view held of the route taken by the Israelites between Mt. Sinai and Ezion-Geber (Elath). Scholars who favor the northern route to Elath identify Jotbath with ʿAyn Ghadyān near a marsh called Sabkhat al-Ṭāba. The name ʿAyn Ghadyān is derived from the Roman Ad Dianam, which is located on the Peutinger Map 26 mi. (40 km.; erroneously given on the map as 16 mi.) north of Aila (Elath) (see also *Yotvatah). According to this map the Damascus-Elath road joined the Jerusalem-Elath road at Ad Dianam, but this, however, is disputed. Its name suggests that it contained a temple dedicated to Diana. Remains of forts from the time of the Judahite kings and of a fort and pool from the late Roman and Byzantine periods have been discovered at ʿAyn Ghadyān; a kibbutz called Yotvatah has been established there. Other scholars who maintain that the approach to Ezion-Geber was from the south place Jotbath at Wadi al-Ṭāba, which is rich in water and falls into the Read Sea 7 mi. (11 km.) south of Elath.


Abel, Geog, 2 (1938), 216, 366; Glueck, in: aasor, 18/19 (1939), 95; Frank, in: zdpv, 57 (1934), 191ff., 238; em, s.v.; J. Aharoni and B. Rothenberg, God's Wilderness (1961); Alt, in zdpv, 58 (1935), 1ff.; Aharoni, in: iej, 4 (1954), 9ff.; idem, in: Eretz Israel, 5 (1958), 129ff.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]