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SHAALBIM or SHAALABBIN (Heb. םי ִב ְלעַש; ןי ִּב ַלעַש).

(1) Town in the territory of the tribe of Dan, together with Aijalon (Josh. 19:42). The place was inhabited by Amorites, who submitted to the tribe of Ephraim (Judg. 1:35). One of David's "mighty men," Eliahba the Shaalbonite, was born there (ii Sam. 23:32; i Chron. 11:33). Shaalbim was included with Beth-Shemesh in Solomon's second administrative district (i Kings 4:9). Jerome mentions a village called Selebi to the north of Emmaus (pl, vol. 25, p. 488).

Shaalbim is identified with the village of Salbīt, northwest of the Aijalon Valley. This place was found deserted in the 19th century, but was later resettled by inhabitants of the nearby village of Beit (Bayt) Duqqū. In 1948 it was occupied by the Israel army whose soldiers discovered a mosaic-paved floor with an inscription in old Hebrew script. Excavations by the Hebrew University in 1949 revealed a Samaritan synagogue. The building is rectangular, approximately 50.5 × 26.4 ft. (15.40 × 8.05 m.) and oriented toward the northeast, in the direction of Mt. Gerizim. It contained the remains of two mosaic-paved floors, one above the other, approximately 5.9–11.5 in. (15–28 cm.) apart. The lower floor, the better preserved of the two, is decorated in black, red, and white and contains a rectangular panel 19.7 × 10.4 ft. (6 × 3.20 m.) with a rosette pattern in a crowstep border. In the center is a circle, 4.7 ft. (1.45 m.) in diameter, with a Greek inscription mentioning the eukterion (praying place). Below the inscription are two seven-branched candlesticks, and between them is an ornament which has been interpreted as a symbol of Mt. Gerizim. To the north of the panel and close to its border is an inscription in Samaritan script of Exodus 15:18; "The Lord will reign for ever and ever." Another fragmentary Samaritan inscription was found south of the panel. The synagogue apparently dates to the fourth century c.e.; it was probably destroyed in the fifth or sixth century.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]

(2) In 1951 a kibbutz was established at Shaalbim. In 1970 there were 270 inhabitants. Affiliated with Po'alei Agudat Israel, it was founded as a *Naḥal outpost by members of the Ezra movement together with Israel-born youth. Later, immigrants from English-speaking and other countries joined the settlement. Its population was 1,232 in 2004, including a hesder yeshivah and other educational facilities. Nearby was the religious rural settlement of Nof Ayalon with a population of 2,377.

[Efraim Orni]


Abel, Geog, 2 (1938), 438; Sukenik, in: brf, 1 (1949), 26ff.; Enẓiklopedyah la-Ḥakirot Arkhe'ologiyyot be-Ereẓ Yisrael (1970), 548–9. add. bibliography: Y. Tsafrir, L. Di Segni, and J. Green, Tabula Imperii Romani. IudaeaPalaestina. Maps and Gazetteer (1994): 226, s.v. "Selebi."