(Atʹa·roth) [crowns; wreaths].
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. (Num. 32:1-5) The town was thereafter rebuilt by the Gadites.—Num. 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 people of Gad had dwelt in the land of Ataroth from ancient times and the king of Israel had built Ataroth. And I fought against the city, and I captured it and killed all the people of the city . . . And I carried away from there the altar of his God . . . And I peopled it with men from Sharon and Maharath.”
The location of this site is generally considered to be present-day Khirbet ʽAttarus, about ten miles (16 kilometers) E of the Dead Sea and some eight miles (13 kilometers) NW of Dibon (mentioned after Ataroth in Numbers 32:3). The ruins are located on the western slope of a mountain bearing the same name and about 2,500 feet (760 meters) 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. (Josh. 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.” It is tentatively identified with the site of Kefr ʽAqab, about seven miles (11 kilometers) N of Jerusalem, and about eight miles (10 kilometers) E-SE of Lower Beth-horon (modern Beit ʽUr et-Tahta).
3. A town on the NE boundary of the tribe of Ephraim. (Josh. 16:7) The most recent identification places it at Tell el-Mazar, located on an eminence at the edge of the Jordan valley, near the confluence of the Jabbok and Jordan Rivers. The point is strategic, as the site dominates the entrance to the Wadi el-Farʽah, which leads up into the hill country of Samaria.