|Cities of Ancient Israel|
A14 on the Map
Bersabe (Bir es-Saba) in Idumea. Graeco-Roman period town corresponding to Beer-sheba. Beersheba in Hebrew means "well of the oath," or "of seven". A city in the southern part of Palestine, between the Mediterranean Sea and the southern end of the Dead Sea. It received its name because of the digging of the well and making of a covenant between Abraham and Abimelech (Gen 21:31). It was a favorite residence of Abraham and Isaac (Gen 26:33). Isaac was living there when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob, and from there Jacob started on his journey to Mesopotamia. He stopped there to offer a sacrifice to "the God of his father" on his way to Egypt (Gen 46:1). Beersheba was allotted to Simeon (1 Chron 4:28), and Samuel's sons were appointed judges for the S districts in Beersheba (1 Sam 8:2). Elijah fled to Beersheba.
The expression "from Dan to Beersheba" was in essence indicating the whole land. After the Exile, Beersheba was again populated by Jews, and the new saying ran "from Beersheba as far as the valley of Hinnom" (Neh 11:30).
The biblical town of Beersheba has been located at Tel es-Saba (Tell Beersheba), about 2 miles NE of the modern city. Discoveries have revealed that the town had a Hebrew foundation, built in the 12-11th centuries B.C. Apparently unwalled, and probably was the place where the sons of Samuel judged the people (1 Sam 8:2). Archaeologists found nothing at Tell Beersheba dating to the patriarchal period, and conclude that the patriarchal Beersheba was located near the valley and the wells, probably at Bir es-Saba, within the area of modern Beersheba.
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