|he'-brun (society; friendship, alliance, league, confederacy, community)
RELATED: Abraham, Absalom, Caleb, Cities of Refuge, David, Kohath, Machpelah, Mamre
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" ( Genesis 13:18 ; Numbers 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 ( Genesis 23:2 ; Joshua 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 ( Genesis 23:17 - 20 ), which he bought from Ephron the
Hittite. From this place the patriarch departed for Egypt by way of Beersheba
( Genesis 37:14 ; 46:1 ). It was taken by Joshua and given to Caleb ( Joshua 10:36
, 10:37 ; 12:10 ; 14:13 ). It became a Levitical city and a city of refuge ( Joshua
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 Samuel 5:5 ); and here he was
anointed as king over all Israel ( 2 Samuel 2:1 - 4 , 2:11 ; 1 Kings 2:11 ). It
became the residence also of the rebellious Absalom ( 2 Samuel 15:10 ), who probably
expected to find his chief support in the tribe of Judah, now called el-Khulil.
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) in 1869.
(2) The third son of Kohath the Levite ( Exodus 6:18 ; 1 Chronicles 6:2 , 6:18
(3) 1 Chronicles 2:42 , 2:43 .
(4) A town in the north border of Asher ( Joshua 19:28 ).
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(1) The third son of Kohath, who was the second son of Levi. ( Exodus 6:18 ; Numbers
3:19 ; 1 Chronicles 6:2 , 6:18 ; 23:12 ) He was the founder of a family of Hebronites,
( Numbers 3:27 ; 26:58 ; 1 Chronicles 26:23 , 26:30 , 26:31 ), or Bene-Hebron.
( 1 Chronicles 15:9 ; 23:19 )
(2) A city of Judah, ( Joshua 15:54 ) situated among the mountains, ( Joshua 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. ( Genesis 13:18 ) Its original name was Kirjath-arba,
( Judges 1:10 ) "the city of Arba;" so called from Arba the father of Anak. (
Joshua 15:13 , 15:14 ; 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
( Genesis 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. ( Genesis 37:14 ) comp. Genesis 23:19 About
a mile from the town, up the valley, is one of the largest oak trees in Palestine.
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, ( Joshua 19:28 ) probably Ebdon
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
(1) he'-brun (chebhron, "league" or "confederacy"; Chebron):
One of the most ancient and important cities in Southern Palestine, now known
to the Moslems as el Khalil (i.e. Khalil er Rahman, "the friend of the Merciful,"
i.e. of God, a favorite name for Abraham; compare James 2:23). The city is some
20 miles South of Jerusalem, situated in an open valley, 3,040 ft. above sea-level.
|I. History of the City.
Hebron is said to have been rounded before Zoan (i.e. Tanis) in Egypt (Numbers
13:22); its ancient name was Kiriath-arba, probably meaning the "Four Cities,"
perhaps because divided at one time into four quarters, but according to Jewish
writers so called because four patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Adam were
buried there. According to Joshua 15:13 it was so called after Arba, the father
|1. Patriarchal Period:
Abram came and dwelt by the oaks of MAMRE (which see), "which are in Hebron" (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 ; 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 ; 50:13).
2. Times of Joshua and Judges:
The spies visited Hebron and near there cut the cluster of grapes (Numbers 13:22).
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). Caleb drove out from Hebron
the "three sons of Anak" (Joshua 14:12 ; 15:14); it became one of the cities of
Judah (Joshua 15:54), but was set apart for the Kohathite Levites (Joshua 21:10),
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
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). 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, XII, viii, 6). In the first
great revolt against Rome, Simon bar-Gioras captured the city (BJ, IV, ix, 7),
but it was retaken, for Vespasian, by his general Cerealis who carried it by storm,
slaughtered the inhabitants and burnt it (ibid., 9).
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 Haram or sacred enclosure
built above the traditional cave of MACHPELAH (which see); it is this sacred spot
which has determined the present position of the town all through the Christian
era, but it is quite evident that an exposed and indefensible situation, running
along a valley, like this, could not have been that of earlier and less settled
times. From many of the pilgrim narratives, we can gather that for long there
had been a tradition that the original site was some distance from the modern
town, and, as analogy might suggest, upon a hill. There can be little doubt that
the site of the Hebron of Old Testament history is a lofty, olive-covered hill,
lying to the West of the present town, known as er Rumeidy. Upon its summit are
cyclopian walls and other traces of ancient occupation. In the midst are the ruins
of a medieval building known as Der el-Arba`in, the "monastery of the forty" (martyrs)
about whom the Hebronites have an interesting folklore tale. In the building are
shown the so-called tombs of Jesse and Ruth. Near the foot of the hill are several
fine old tombs, while to the North is a large and very ancient Jewish cemetery,
the graves of which are each covered with a massive monolith, 5 and 6 ft. long.
At the eastern foot of the hill is a perennial spring, `Ain el Judeideh; the water
rises in a vault, roofed by masonry and reached by steps. The environs of this
hill are full of folklore associations; the summit would well repay a thorough
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 Ramet el Khalil.
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 Haram (see MACHPELAH). In the town
are two large open reservoirs the Birket el Qassasin, the "pool of the glass blowers"
and Birket es Sultan, "the pool of the Sultan." This latter, which is the larger,
is by tradition the site of the execution of the murderers of Ishbosheth (2 Samuel
4:12). The Moslem inhabitants are noted for their fanatical exclusiveness and
conservatism, but this has been greatly modified in recent years through the patient
and beneficent work of Dr. Paterson, of the U. F. Ch. of S. Med. Mission. The
Jews, who number about 1,500, are mostly confined to a special ghetto; they have
four synagogues, two Sephardic and two Ashkenazic; they are a poor and unprogressive
For Hebron (Joshua 19:28) see EBRON.
E. W. G. Masterman
(chebhron, "league," "association"):
(2) The third son of Kohath, son of Levi (Exodus 6:18 ; Numbers 3:19 , 27 ; 1
Chronicles 6:2 , 18 ; 23:12 , 19).
(3) A son of Mareshah and descendant of Caleb (1 Chronicles 2:42 , 43).
See also KORAH.
abraham, absalom, bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, caleb, chebron, city, david, define, hebron, kirjath-arba, kohath, mamre