International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
I. History of the City
Hebron is said to have been rounded before Zoan (i.e.
1. Patriarchal Period
Abram came and dwelt by the oaks of MAMRE (which see), "which are in Hebron" Gen (Genesis 13:18 ); from here he went to the rescue of Lot and brought him back after the defeat of Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14:13 f); here his name was changed to Abraham ( Genesis 17:5 ); to this place came the three angels with the promise of a son (Genesis 18:1 f); Sarah died here ( Genesis 23:2 ), and for her sepulcher Abraham bought the cave of Machpelah (Genesis 23:17 ); here Isaac and Jacob spent much of their lives (Genesis 35:27; Genesis 37:14 ); from here Jacob sent Joseph to seek his brethren (Genesis 37:14 ), and hence, Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt (Genesis 46:1 ). In the cave of Machpelah all the patriarchs and their wives, except Rachel, were buried (Genesis 49:30 f; Genesis 50:13 ).
2. Times of Joshua and Judges
The spies visited Hebron and near there cut the cluster of grapes (Numbers 13:22 f). HOHAM (which see), king of Hebron, was one of the five kings defeated by Joshua at Beth-horon and slain at Makkedah (Joshua 10:3 f). Caleb drove out from Hebron the "Three sons of Anak" ( Joshua 14:12; Joshua 15:14 ); it became one of the cities of Judah (Joshua 15:54 ), but was set apart for the Kohathite Levites (Joshua 21:10 f), and became a city of refuge ( Joshua 20:7 ). One of Samson's exploits was the carrying of the gate of Gaza "to the top of the mountain that is before Hebron" (Judges 16:3 ).
3. The Days of the Monarchy
David, when a fugitive, received kindness from the people of this city (1 Samuel 30:31 ); here Abner was treacherously slain by Joab at the gate (2 Samuel 3:27 ), and the sons of Rimmon, after their hands and feet had been cut off, were hanged "beside the pool" (2 Samuel 4:12 ). After the death of Saul, David was here anointed king (2 Samuel 5:3 ) and reigned here 7 1/2 years, until he captured Jerusalem and made that his capital (2 Samuel 5:5 ); while here, six sons were born to him (2 Samuel 3:2 ). In this city Absalom found a center for his disaffection, and repairing there under pretense of performing a vow to Yahweh, he raised the standard of revolt (2 Samuel 15:7 f). Josephus mistakenly places here the dream of Solomon ( Ant. , VIII, ii, 1) which occurred at Gibeon (1 Kings 3:4 ). Hebron was fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:10 ).
4. Later History
Probably during the captivity Hebron came into the hands of Edom, though it appears to have been colonized by returning Jews (Nehemiah 11:25 ); it was recovered from Edom by Simon Maccabeus (1 Macc 5:65; Josephus, Ant ,
During the Muslim period Hebron has retained its importance on account of veneration to the patriarchs, especially Abraham; for the same reason it was respected by the Crusaders who called it Castellum ad Sanctum Abraham . In 1165 it became the see of a Latin bishop, but 20 years later it fell to the victorious arms of Saladin, and it has ever since remained a fanatic Moslem center, although regarded as a holy city, alike by Moslem, Jew and Christian.
II. The Ancient Site
Modern Hebron is a straggling town clustered round the
A mile or more to the Northwest of Hebron is the famous oak of MAMRE (which see), or "Abraham's oak," near which the Russians have erected a hospice. It is a fine specimen of the Holm oak ( Quercus coccifera ), but is gradually dying. The present site appears to have been pointed out as that of Abraham's tent since the 12th century; the earlier traditional site was at
III. Modern Hebron
Modern Hebron is a city of some 20,000 inhabitants, 85 percent of whom are Moslems and the remainder mostly Jews. The city is divided into seven quarters, one of which is known as that of the "glass blowers" and another as that of the "water-skin makers." These industries, with the manufacture of pottery, are the main sources of trade. The most conspicuous building is the
For Hebron ( Joshua 19:28 ) see EBRON .
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Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Hebron (1)'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/h/hebron-1.html. 1915.