|Cities of Ancient Israel|
C13 on the Map
(Kiriath-arba) el-Khalil. Hebron means a "community" or "alliance"). Hebron was a town in the mountains of Judah, about 3000 feet above the Mediterranean Sea, and between Beersheba and Jerusalem, being about 20 miles from each. It was named Kiriath-arba (Gen 23:2; Josh 14:15; 15:13). About 2 miles to the N was Mamre, named after Mamre the Amorite (Gen 13:18; 35:27), which is now called el-Khalil ( "the friend"). Among those who lived there were the Canaanites and the Anakim (23:2; 14:15; 15:13), Abraham (Gen 13:18), Isaac and Jacob (35:27). David made it his royal residence (2 Sam 2:1-4; 5:5; 1 Kings 2:11); as did Absalom (2 Sam 15:10). Sarah was buried here (Gen 23:17-20); Joshua took Hebron (Josh 10:36-37; 12:10), and Caleb retook it (14:14). The Romans also captured and destroyed it.
Today it is the traditional site of the cave of Machpelah, burial place of some of the patriarchs, and is currently marked by the mosque of Hebron, which was formerly a Crusader church and that stands on the site of a church erected by the emperor Justinian in the sixth century. Cenotaphs in the mosque memorialize Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah, who are presumed to have been buried in the cave below.
Hebron was also the name of a grandson of Levi; a younger brother of Amram, father of Moses and Aaron (Ex 6:18; Num 3:19; 1 Chron 6:2,18; 23:12), before 1440 B.C. His descendants are called Hebronites (Num 3:27; etc.).
Hebron was associated with patriarchs, Gen. 13:18; 23:2; 35:27; visited by Israelite spies, Num. 13:22; taken by Joshua, Josh. 10:36; 14:13-15; in hill country of Judah, Josh. 15:54; city of refuge, Josh. 20:7; Judg. 1:10; David's capital, 2 Sam. 2:1-3, 11; 5:5; Absalom there, 2 Sam. 15:10; fortified, 2 Chr. 11:10.
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