2. A town N of Israel “in the land of Hamath.” (Jer 52:9) The site generally accepted for Riblah is that of the ruins near modern Ribleh on the E bank of the Orontes River, about 60 km (37 mi) NE of Baalbek, in the valley between the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountains. Evidently Pharaoh Nechoh encamped at Riblah after defeating King Josiah, about 629 B.C.E. He was at that time marching N to fight against the Babylonians, who by then dominated Assyria. Jehoahaz succeeded Josiah, but after three months Nechoh replaced Jehoahaz with Eliakim (Jehoiakim). Nechoh had Jehoahaz brought to him at Riblah before taking this king captive to Egypt. (2Ki 23:29-34) Riblah was a strategic location for a military camp. It dominated a N-S trade and military route between Egypt and the Euphrates. Water was readily available, and food and fuel could be obtained from the surrounding valley and forests.
The same military advantages served the Babylonians at a later time. At some point after beginning the siege of Jerusalem in late 609 B.C.E., Nebuchadnezzar apparently set up a camp at Riblah to direct military operations from there. This put him in position to strike Damascus or to return speedily to Babylon if necessary. When Zedekiah was captured in 607 B.C.E., he was brought to Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah, as were certain other important men of the city shortly thereafter.—2Ki 25:1, 5-7, 18-21; Jer 39:5; 52:9-11, 26, 27.