Most seem certain Elijah lived among the beautiful hills of Gilead on the East Bank of the Jordan River, the home of the two Israeli tribes Gad and Manasseh. Both the Bible and the Jewish historian Josephus1Antiquities 8:13, 2 place Tishbe in Gilead.
Yet nobody is pointing to the exact spot.
Some authors give a tentative wave toward the eastern part of ancient Gilead at the small town of Listib, just 13 kilometers north of the Jabbok. Local Arabs call this town el-Istib, which sounds a bit like the Hebrew Tishbeh. Since many place names in the Holy Land have held their basic sounds over the centuries, we are tempted to think this town could be the Tishbe of Elijah.
Across the valley from Listib the Tel Mar Elias rises and on it an old church called Mar Elias commemorates the life of Elijah.
The big question with making Listib and Mar Elias into ancient Tishbe is that they were both founded by the Byzantines several centuries after Elijah. Perhaps archeologists will dig into Tel Mar Elias and show us one way or the other if this could be the ancient village of Tishbe.
If you want yet another a bunny trail, then pursue this:
“Stranger” from Tishbe
One meaning of Tishbite is “stranger.” For instance, Abraham lived as a “stranger” in the Land. So if we take “stranger” as the meaning, we could read 1 Kings 17:1 as “Elijah the stranger from among the strangers in Gilead.”
The apocryphal book of Tobit would then seem to make sense when it says Elijah was born in Tishbe in the Upper Galilee. Plus we could say Elijah later moved across the river into the region of Gilead, where he lived as a “stranger.” (See a wiki about “Tishbite” here.)
The real fun would be in digging up Elijah’s hometown ourselves — to lay the pick-ax down, stand up and declare, “Tishbe, the exact spot!”