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Old Testament Hebrew Lexical Dictionary Hebrew Lexicon
Strong's #1117 - בָּמָה
Bamah = “high place”
1) a place in Palestine (of places of idolatrous worship)
בָּמָה (with Kametz impure), pl. בָּמוֹת, construct id. and בָּמוֹתֵי Deuteronomy 32:13; Isaiah 58:14; Micah 1:3 כתיב, but in בָּֽמֳתֵי קרי, and so in the text, Job 9:8; Isaiah 14:14; Amos 4:13 (see note), with suff. בָּמוֹתַי etc.
(1) a high place, a height, a general word including mountains and hills, see the root בּוּם, 2 Samuel 1:19, 25 2 Samuel 1:25בָּמוֹת יַעַר “mountains covered with wood,” Jeremiah 26:18; Micah 3:12; Ezekiel 36:2 (compare 1). בָּמוֹת אַרְנוֹן “mountains by Arnon,” Numbers 28:8.
(2) fortress, castle, built upon a mountain, (compare Lat. arx, Germ. Burg Psalms 18:24, עַל־בָּמוֹתַי יַעֲמִידֵנִי “he set me upon my fortress,” i.e. set me in safety; Habakkuk 3:19. The holder of the fortresses of a region has also secure possession of the whole land as conqueror, whence the poetic phrase דָּרַךְ עַל־בָּֽמֳתֵי אֶרֶץ “he walked upon the fortresses of the earth,” Amos 4:13; Micah 1:3; Deuteronomy 33:29 and figuratively עַל בָּֽמֳתֵי־יָם Job 9:8 “upon the fortresses of the sea;” עַל־בָּֽמֳתֵי־עָב Isaiah 14:14, “upon the fortresses of the clouds;” used of God, as the Supreme Ruler of the world; also הִרְכִּיב עַל־בָּֽמֳתֵי אֶרֶץ Deuteronomy 32:13; Isaiah 58:14.
(3) The ancient Hebrews [when they fell into idolatry], like many other ancient nations (see my Comment. on Isaiah 65:7 and vol. ii. p. 316), regarded sacred rites performed on mountains and hills as most acceptable to the gods. On this account they offered sacrifices on them, not only to idols, but even to God himself (1 Samuel 9:12, seq.; 1 Chronicles 16:29, seq.; 1 Kings 3:4, [These passages apply only to true worship]; 2 Kings 12:4; Isaiah 36:7), and they erected there sanctuaries or chapels (בָּתֵּי הַבָּמוֹת 1 Kings 13:32; 2 Kings 17:29), and set there priests, and ministers of sacred rites (כֹּהֲנֵי הַבָּמוֹת 1 Kings 12:32; 2 Kings 17:32); and not only were the Ten Tribes so tenacious of the old [or rather corrupted] religion (see the passages already cited), but also the Jews themselves, so that even after the building of the temple by Solomon, and in spite of the law, Deu 12:1-32 (if this be ancient [this doubtful expression is not to be tolerated, no believer in revelation doubts the antiquity of the Pentateuch]), they erected such sanctuaries on the mountains near Jerusalem, and there they continued to sacrifice; and the kings who in other respects were most observant of the Mosaic law until [Hezekiah and] Josiah, neither put a stop to this forbidden worship as regards the people, nor [in some cases] as regards themselves, 2 Kings 12:4, 14:4 15:4, 35 2 Kings 15:35 compare 2 Chronicles 20:33, 15:17 2 Kings 23:8, 2 Kings 23:9, 19 2 Kings 23:19; Ezekiel 6:3, 20:29 Leviticus 26:30. We read that Solomon himself offered sacrifices at such sanctuaries, 1 Kings 3:2, 1 Kings 3:3 comp. 11:7 [but in the former case the altar and tabernacle of God were at Gibeon; the latter was mere idolatry].
(4) It very often has the same meaning as בֵּית הַבָּמָה “a sanctuary built on a mountain” to God or idols (compare No. 3), 1 Kings 11:7, 14:23 2 Kings 17:9 21 2 Kings 17:21: 2 Kings 17:3, 23:15 and it is even applied to any sanctuary or fane, Jeremiah 7:31, compare Ethiop. ደብና፡ a mountain, also a convent, Germ. Hag, pr. a grove, hence a church, or temple there built. It is probable that these fanes were tents adorned with curtains (Ezekiel 16:16), comp. 2 Kings 23:7; Amos 5:26, a kind of tabernacle which it appears that the Pœni and the ancient Slavi had (Diod. xx. 25. Mone, in Creuzer Symbol, v. 176).
(5) It rarely signifies a sepulchral mound, Greek βωμός. Ezekiel 43:7 compare verse Ezekiel 43:8, and the commentators on Isaiah 53:9 where this signification may suitably be taken.
Note. The plural construct form is בָּמוֹתֵי, in which there is a double mark of the plural; similar to רַאֲשׁוֹתֵי 1 Samuel 26:12 compare Lehrgb. 541. The Masorites however rejected this form and substituted for it בָּֽמֳתֵי. Many read this bגmǒthח, but וֹ as being immutable, cannot be shortened into Chateph-Kametz; and some, more correctly, pronounce bom-the for בָּמְתֵי, from the sing. בֹּמֶת (of the form בּשֶׁת); ת being retained in the plural, like דֶּלֶת, דְּלָתוֹת. However, I suppose that we should reject the criticism of the Masorites, and read בָּמוֹתֵי, בָּמֹתֵי.