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English Bible Dictionary

City of Hebron, Judah

 

(alliance).

A city of Judah, (Joshua 15:54) situated among the mountains, (Joshua 20:7) 20 Roman miles south of Jerusalem, and the same distance north of Beersheba. Hebron is one of the most ancient cities in the world still existing; and in this respect it is the rival of Damascus. It was a well-known town when Abraham entered Canaan, 3800 years ago. (Genesis 13:18) Its original name was Kirjath-arba, (Judges 1:10) "the city of Arba;" so called from Arba the father of Anak. (Joshua 15:13,14; 21:13) Sarah died at Hebron; and Abraham then bought from Ephron the Hittite the field and cave of Machpelah, to serve as a family tomb (Genesis 23:2-20) The cave is still there, and the massive walls of the Haram or mosque, within which it lies, form the most remarkable object in the whole city. Abraham is called by Mohammedans el-Khulil, "the Friend," i.e. of God, and this is the modern name of Hebron, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. Hebron now contains about 5000 inhabitants, of whom some fifty families are Jews. It is picturesquely situated in a narrow valley, surrounded by rocky hills. The valley runs from north to south; and the main quarter of the town, surmounted by the lofty walls of the venerable Haram, lies partly on the eastern slope. (Genesis 37:14) comp. Genesis23:19 About a mile from the town, up the valley, is one of the largest oak trees in Palestine. This, say some, is the very tree beneath which Abraham pitched his tent, and it still bears the name of the patriarch.

 

* See other occurrences of the same term: Hebron.

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