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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Cave

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CAVE . The soft limestone hills of Palestine abound in caves, natural and artificial; and these must have attracted attention from a very early period. The aboriginal race of Horites were cave-dwellers, and the excavation at Gezer has revealed remains of a probably analogous race in W. Palestine. Lot ( Genesis 19:30 ) and David ( 1 Samuel 22:1 etc.) dwelt for a time in caves; and their use as places of hiding and refuge is illustrated by many passages, e.g. , Joshua 10:16 , Judges 6:2 , 1 Kings 18:4 etc. Caves were also used, at all periods in the history of Palestine, for sepulture, as in the case of Machpelah ( Genesis 23:1-20 ). Probably the most remarkable series of caves yet discovered in Palestine are the great labyrinths tunnelled in the bills round Beit Jibrin; one of these, in Tell Sandahannah , contains sixty chambers, united by doors and passages, and groups containing fourteen or fifteen chambers are quite common in the same hill. Another artificial cave near Beit Jibrin contains a hall 80 ft. high and 400 ft. long; it has now fallen in. Other groups of caves, only less extensive, occur in various parts of Palestine on both sides of the Jordan. Little or nothing is known about the history of these great excavations; no definite information about their origin has yet been yielded by them, so far as they have been scientifically explored.

R. A. S. Macalister.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Cave'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/c/cave.html. 1909.

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