How much do you know about Arimathea?

The city of Arimathea is called the “city of Judea” which translates to the “city of the Jews.” The Bible doesn’t speak too much about this little town, but it is considered to be quite important as the birthplace of Joseph, a wealthy man, who was also the owner of the tomb in which Jesus had been laid to rest.

There are a lot of archaeologists who place the town in the same area as Ephraim where Samuel, the prophet, was born. Some also prefer to associate the place with Ramleh or Rama from Benjamin. Since the preponderance of the tombs of the wealthy in Arimathea families is quite common, it’s speculated this village was considered to be some type of a wealthy suburb. Still, nobody who stayed there was bound to give the city any sort of historical prominence as much as Joseph did when he invited Jesus’ disciples to place the body of their teacher in his own crypt.

In most Greek new testaments, the Greek word has a rough breathing mark, and this indicates the aspiration over the first alpha in Arimathea. This in a way means that the place where Joseph is from should be pronounced Harimathea instead of Arimathea. This would also correspond to the Hebrew term ha-ramathaim where the initial heh formed the definite Hebrew article ha-. If you look at the Aramaic Syriac translation in John 19:38, it literally says Ramtha which, when you anglicize it, becomes Ramath.

Some also identify the city with Ramah from Benjamin. In the Encyclopaedia of Islam, it has been argued that the Crusaders had identified Ramla which was a medieval town that was founded between 705-715 CE by the Umayyads which was once considered to be the allotment of Dan and then changed the name to Arimathea.

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