Beer Lahai Roi
| Beer, A Drink
In Bible versions:
a famous well, its town and district in southern Judah
the well of an oath; the seventh well
Beer-sheba = "well of the sevenfold oath"
1) a city at the south edge of Israel
884 B'er Sheba` be-ayr' sheh'-bah
from 875 and 7651 (in the sense of 7650); well of an oath;
Beer-Sheba, a place in Palestine:-Beer-shebah.
see HEBREW for 0875
see HEBREW for 07651
see HEBREW for 07650
well of the oath, or well of seven, a well dug by Abraham, and so named because he and Abimelech here entered into a compact (Gen. 21:31). On re-opening it, Isaac gave it the same name (Gen. 26:31-33). It was a favourite place of abode of both of these patriarchs (21:33-22:1, 19; 26:33; 28:10). It is mentioned among the "cities" given to the tribe of Simeon (Josh. 19:2; 1 Chr. 4:28). From Dan to Beersheba, a distance of about 144 miles (Judg. 20:1; 1 Chr. 21:2; 2 Sam. 24:2), became the usual way of designating the whole Promised Land, and passed into a proverb. After the return from the Captivity the phrase is narrowed into "from Beersheba unto the valley of Hinnom" (Neh. 11:30). The kingdom of the ten tribes extended from Beersheba to Mount Ephraim (2 Chr. 19:4). The name is not found in the New Testament. It is still called by the Arabs Bir es-Seba, i.e., "well of the seven", where there are to the present day two principal wells and five smaller ones. It is nearly midway between the southern end of the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean.
1. The most southern city of Palestine, Judg. 20:1
Named by Abraham, who dwelt there, Gen. 21:31-33
The dwelling place of Isaac, Gen. 26:23
Jacob went out from, toward Haran, Gen. 28:10
Sacrifices offered at, by Jacob when journeying to Egypt, Gen. 46:1
In the inheritance of Judah, Josh. 15:20
; 2 Sam. 24:7
Afterward assigned to Simeon, Josh. 19:2
; 1 Chr. 4:28
Two sons of Samuel were judges at, 1 Sam. 8:2
Became a seat of idolatrous worship, Amos 5:5
2. Well of, belonged to Abraham and Isaac, Gen. 21:25
3. Wilderness of. Hagar miraculously sees a well in, Gen. 21:14-19
An angel fed Elijah in, 1 Kin. 19:5
BEERSHEBA, OR BEERSHEBA [SMITH]
(well of the oath
), the name of one of the old places in Palestine which formed the southern limit of the country. There are two accounts of the origin of the name. According to the first, the well was dug by Abraham, and the name given to Judah, (Joshua 15:28
) and then to Simeon, (Joshua 19:2
; 1Ã‚Â Chronicles 4:28
) In the often-quoted "from Dan even unto Beersheba," (Judges 20:1
) it represents the southern boundary of Canaan, as Dan the northern. In the time of Jerome it was still a considerable place, and still retains its ancient name --Bir es-Seba
. There are at present on the spot two principal wells and five smaller ones. The two principal wells are on or close to the northern bank of the Wady es-Seba
. The larger of the two, which lies to the east, is, according to Dr. Robinson, 12 1/2 feet in diameter, and at the time of his visit (April 12) was 44 1/2 feet to the surface of the water. The masonry which encloses the well extends downward 28 1/2 feet. The other well is 5 feet in diameter, and was 42 feet to the water. The curb-stones around the mouth of both wells are worn into deep grooves by the action of the ropes of so many centures. These wells are in constant use today. The five lesser wells are in a group in the bed of the wady. On some low hills north of the large wells are scattered the foundations and ruins of a town of moderate size.
- be-er-she'-ba (be'er shebha`; Bersabee): Allotted originally to Simeon (Josh 19:2
), one of "the uttermost cities of the tribe of the children of Judah" (Josh 15:28
1. The Meaning of the Name:
The most probable meaning of Beersheba is the "well of seven." "Seven wells" is improbable on etymological grounds; the numeral should in that case be first. In Gen 21:31 Abraham and Abimelech took an oath of witness that the former had dug the well and seven ewe lambs were offered in sacrifice, "Wherefore he called that place Beer-sheba; because there they sware both of them." Here the name is ascribed to the Hebrew root shabha`, "to swear," but this same root is connected with the idea of seven, seven victims being offered and to take an oath, meaning "to come under the influence of seven."
Another account is given (Gen 26:23-33), where Isaac takes an oath and just afterward, "the same day Isaac's servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged (dug), and said unto him, We have found water. And he called it Shibah: therefore the name of the city is Beer-sheba unto this day."
2. A Sacred Shrine:
Beersheba was a sacred shrine. "Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of Yahweh, the Everlasting God" Gen (21:33). Theophanies occurred there to Hagar (21:17), to Isaac (26:24), to Jacob (46:2), and to Elijah (1 Ki 19:5). By Amos (5:5) it is classed with Bethel and Gilgal as one of the rival shrines to the pure worship of Yahweh, and in another place (8:14) he writes "They shall fall, and never rise up again," who sware, "As the way (i.e. cult) of Beersheba liveth." The two unworthy sons of Samuel were Judges in Beersheba (1 Sam 8:2) and Zibiah, mother of King Jehoash, was born there (2 Ki 12:1; 2 Ch 24:1).
3. Its Position:
Geographically Beersheba marked the southern limit of Judah, though theoretically this extended to the "river of Egypt" (Gen 15:18)--the modern Wady el`Avish--60 miles farther south. It was the extreme border of the cultivated land. From Dan to Beersheba (2 Sam 17:11, etc.) or from Beersheba to Dan (1 Ch 21:2; 2 Ch 30:5) were the proverbial expressions, though necessarily altered through the changed conditions in later years to "from Geba to Beer-sheba" (2 Ki 23:8) or "from Beer-sheba to the hill-country of Ephraim" (2 Ch 19:4).
4. Modern Beersheba:
Today Beersheba is Bir es-Seba` in the Wady es Seba`, 28 miles Southwest of Hebron on "the southern border of a vast rolling plain broken by the torrent beds of Wady Khalil and Wady Seba" (Robinson). The plain is treeless but is covered by verdure in the spring; it is dry and monotonous most of the year. Within the last few years this long-deserted spot--a wide stretch of shapeless ruins, the haunt of the lawless Bedouin--has been re-occupied; the Turks have stationed there an enlightened Kaimerkhan (subgovernor); government offices and shops have been built; wells have been cleared, and there is now an abundant water supply pumped even to the separate houses. Robinson (BW, XVII, 247 ff) has described how he found seven ancient wells there--probably still more will yet be found. The whole neighborhood is strewn with the ruins of the Byzantine city which once flourished there; it was an episcopal see. It is probable that the city of Old Testament times stood where Tell es Seba' now is, some 2 1/2 miles to the East; from the summit a commanding view can be obtained (PEF, III, 394, Sheet XXIV).
E. W. G. Masterman