(Atʹa·roth) [Crowns [that is, circular enclosures]].
1. A town on the E side of the Jordan, among those requested by the tribes of Gad and Reuben as their possession. The section was considered especially suitable for the livestock of these tribes. (Nu 32:1-5) The town was thereafter rebuilt by the Gadites.—Nu 32:34.
The Moabite Stone of King Mesha also mentions this place, in lines 10 and 11 of the inscription. In part it says: “Now the men of Gad had always dwelt in the land of Ataroth, and the king of Israel had built Ataroth for them; but I fought against the town and took it and slew all the people of the town . . . And I brought back from there Arel (or Oriel), its chieftain . . . and I settled there men of Sharon and men of Maharith.”—Ancient Near Eastern Texts, edited by J. B. Pritchard, 1974, p. 320.
The location of this site is generally considered to be present-day Khirbet ʽAttarus, E of the Dead Sea and some 13 km (8 mi) NW of Dibon (mentioned after Ataroth in Nu 32:3). The ruins are located on the W slope of a mountain bearing the same name and about 750 m (2,500 ft) high. Although this location is within the territory of Reuben, it appears that there was some mutual sharing of tribal territory between Gad and Reuben.
2. A town along the boundary between the territories of Ephraim and Benjamin. (Jos 16:2) It is evidently the same as Ataroth-addar referred to at Joshua 16:5 and 18:13. In this latter verse it is presented as forming part of the N boundary of Benjamin and as located “upon the mountain that is on the south of Lower Beth-horon.”
3. A town on the NE boundary of the tribe of Ephraim.—Jos 16:7.