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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Machpelah

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The tract containing the field and cave in the end of Ephron's field, which Abraham bought as his burying ground from Ephron and the sons of Heth (Genesis 23:9); his only possession in the land of promise. All ancient versions translated Machpelah "the double cave," from kaphal , "to divide or double". Either there were two entrances or two receptacles for bodies. Gesenius derives it from a root, "portion." A mosque now covers it. The sacred precinct (harem ) is enclosed by a wall, the oldest in Palestine. The masonry is more antique than the S.W. wall of the haram at Jerusalem; one stone is 38 ft. long, 3 1/4 ft. deep. The beveling is shallow, and at latest belongs to the age of Solomon; Jewish ancient tradition ascribes it to David. It lay near Hebron. (See HEBRON.) The sepulchers of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Leah are shown on the mosque floor; but the real sepulchers are in the cave below the floor; the cave opens to the S., and the bodies were laid with their heads to the N.

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Machpelah'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/m/machpelah.html. 1949.

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