hebron Summary and Overview
Bible Dictionaries at a Glance
hebron in Easton's Bible Dictionary
a community; alliance. (1.) A city in the south end of the
valley of Eshcol, about midway between Jerusalem and Beersheba,
from which it is distant about 20 miles in a straight line. It
was built "seven years before Zoan in Egypt" (Gen. 13:18; Num.
13:22). It still exists under the same name, and is one of the
most ancient cities in the world. Its earlier name was
Kirjath-arba (Gen. 23:2; Josh. 14:15; 15:3). But "Hebron would
appear to have been the original name of the city, and it was
not till after Abraham's stay there that it received the name
Kirjath-arba, who [i.e., Arba] was not the founder but the
conqueror of the city, having led thither the tribe of the
Anakim, to which he belonged. It retained this name till it came
into the possession of Caleb, when the Israelites restored the
original name Hebron" (Keil, Com.). The name of this city does
not occur in any of the prophets or in the New Testament. It is
found about forty times in the Old. It was the favorite home of
Abraham. Here he pitched his tent under the oaks of Mamre, by
which name it came afterwards to be known; and here Sarah died,
and was buried in the cave of Machpelah (Gen. 23:17-20), which
he bought from Ephron the Hittite. From this place the patriarch
departed for Egypt by way of Beersheba (37:14; 46:1). It was
taken by Joshua and given to Caleb (Josh. 10:36, 37; 12:10;
14:13). It became a Levitical city and a city of refuge (20:7;
21:11). When David became king of Judah this was his royal
residence, and he resided here for seven and a half years (2
Sam. 5:5); and here he was anointed as king over all Israel (2
Sam. 2:1-4, 11; 1 Kings 2:11). It became the residence also of
the rebellious Absalom (2 Sam. 15:10), who probably expected to
find his chief support in the tribe of Judah, now called
In one part of the modern city is a great mosque, which is
built over the grave of Machpelah. The first European who was
permitted to enter this mosque was the Prince of Wales in 1862.
It was also visited by the Marquis of Bute in 1866, and by the
late Emperor Frederick of Germany (then Crown-Prince of Prussia)
One of the largest oaks in Israel is found in the valley of
Eshcol, about 3 miles north of the town. It is supposed by some
to be the tree under which Abraham pitched his tent, and is
called "Abraham's oak." (See OAK T0002758.)
(2.) The third son of Kohath the Levite (Ex. 6:18; 1 Chr. 6:2,
(3.) 1 Chr. 2:42, 43.
(4.) A town in the north border of Asher (Josh. 19:28).
hebron in Smith's Bible Dictionary
1. The third son of Kohath, who was the second son of Levi. #Ex 6:18; Nu 3:19; 1Ch 6:2,18; 23:12| He was the founder of a family of Hebronites, #Nu 3:27; 26:58; 1Ch 26:23,30,31|, or Bene-Hebron. #1Ch 15:9; 23:19|
2. A city of Judah, #Jos 15:54| situated among the mountains, #Jos 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. #Ge 13:18| Its original name was Kirjath-arba, #Jud 1:10| "the city of Arba;" so called from Arba the father of Anak. #Jos 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 #Ge 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. 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. #Ge 37:14| comp. Gene 23:19
About a mile from the town, up the valley, is one of the largest oak trees in Israel. This, say some, is the very tree beneath which Abraham pitched his tent, and it still bears the name of the patriarch.
3. One of the towns in the territory of Asher, #Jos 19:28| probably Ebdon or Abdom.
hebron in Schaff's Bible Dictionary
HE'BRON (alliance). 1. A son of Kohath, and therefore grandson of Levi, Ex 6:18; Num 3:19; 1 Chr 6:2, 1 Chr 6:18; 1 Chr 23:12. 2, A name in the genealogical lists of the tribe of Judah. 1 Chr 2:42-43.
hebron in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
1. Third son of Kohath; younger brother of Amram, father of Moses and Aaron (Exodus 6:18). The family of Hebronites sprang from him. In the 40th year of David's reign 2,700 of them, at Jazer in Gilead, "mighty men of valor," superintended for the king the two and a half tribes "in matters pertaining to God and the king" (1 Chronicles 26:30-32); Jerijah was their chief. Also Hashabiah and 1,700 Hebronites were officers "in all the Lord's business and the king's service" on the W. of Jordan.
2. 1 Chronicles 2:42-43.
3. A city in the hill country of Judah, originally Kirjath (the city of) Arba (Joshua 15:13; Joshua 14:15). "Arba was a great man among the Anakims, father of Anak." (See Joshua 21:11; Judges 1:10.) Twenty Roman miles S. of Jerusalem, and twenty N. of Beersheba. Rivaling Damascus in antiquity. Built seven years before Zoan in Egypt (Numbers 13:22). Well known at Abram's entrance into Canaan, 3,780 years ago (Genesis 42:18). Hebron was the original name, changed to Kirjath Arba during Israel's sojourn in Egypt, and restored by Caleb, to whom it was given at the conquest of Israel (Genesis 23:2; Joshua 14:13-15). The third resting place of Abram; Shechem was the first, Bethel the second.
Near Hebron was the cave of Machpelah, where he and Sarah were buried. Now El Khalil, the house of "the friend" of God. Over the cave is now the mosque El Haran, from which all but Muslims are excluded jealously (though the Prince of Wales was admitted), and in which probably lie the remains of Abraham and Isaac, and possibly Jacob's embalmed body, brought up in state from Egypt (Genesis 50:13). Near it was the oak or terebinth, a place of pagan worship. Hebron was called for a time also Mamre, from Abram's ally (Genesis 23:19; Genesis 35:27). It was made a Levite city of refuge (Joshua 21:11-13). Still there is an oak bearing Abraham's name, 23 ft. in girth, and covering 90 ft. space in diameter. In Hebron, David reigned over Judah first for seven and a half years (2 Samuel 5:5). Here Absalom set up the standard of revolt.
On the return from Babylon some of the children of Judah dwelt in Kirjath Arba (Nehemiah 11:25). After various vicissitudes it fell into the Moslems' hands in A.D. 1187, and has continued so ever since. It is picturesquely situated in a narrow valley running from N. to S. (probably that of Eshcol, whence the spies got the great cluster of grapes, Numbers 13:23), surrounded by rocky hills, still famed for fine grapes. S. of the town in the bottom of the valley is a tank, 130 ft. square by 50 deep. At the western end is another, 85 ft. long by 55 broad. Over the former probably David hung Ishbosheth's murderers (2 Samuel 4:12).
4. A town in Asher; spelled in Hebrew differently from the former Hebron. Abdon is read in many manuscripts