Coordinates: The ancient town of Riblah (meaning "fruitful"), today a tell covered by a cemetery not far from the town of Ribleh on the Syrian side of the border with Lebanon, was in biblical times located on the northern frontier of the land of Canaan. The site lays on the eastern bank of the Orontes, in a wide and fertile plain, 35 miles north-east of Baalbek and 10 or 12 south of the artificial Lake Homs created by the Romans.
There was a second town by the same name on the eastern edges of Canaan known from Numbers 34:2, 10, 11, but whose location is still uncertain. In the opinion of many scholars, the place rendered as "Diblah" in Ezekiel 6:14 ("from the wilderness to Diblah") should read "Riblah", being the same as the town discussed here.
It was at Riblah that King Necho II, pharaoh of Egypt (c. 610 – c. 595 BCE), established his camp after he had routed Josiah's Judahite army at Megiddo in 609 BCE. Soon after, the son of Josiah, the newly anointed King Jehoahaz, was made prisoner, brought to Riblah and taken to Egypt (2 Kings 23:29-34). Some two decades later, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon also set up his headquarters here during his campaign against Judah, which culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 or 586 BCE. King Zedekiah was taken captive and brought to Riblah, where he had to witness how his sons were killed, after which he was blinded and taken to Babylon. His officials were also put to death in Riblah (2 Kings 25:6-7, 18-21. Jer. 39:5-7; 52:9-11, 26-27).
The town was situated on the main international trade route from Egypt to Mesopotamia, via Israel and the town of Carchemish where the road crossed over the Euphrates River. An important strategic asset, Riblah had plenty of water, food and fuel, which made also suitable as a military camp.
The town is described in Num. 34:11 as "on the eastern side of Ain." A place still called el-Ain, i.e., "the fountain", can still be found about 10 miles away.
- Avraham Negev and Shimon Gibson (2001). Riblah. Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land (New York and London: Continuum). p. 435. ISBN 0-8264-1316-1.
- "Riblah". Watchtower Online Library. Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2015-09-23.
- Ferrell Jenkins (2 March 2009). "Riblah in the land of Hamath". Ferrell's Travel Blog. Retrieved 2015-09-23.