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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary
one of the most ancient cities in the world; for it was built seven years before Zoan, the capital of Lower Egypt, Numbers 13:22 . Now, as the Egyptians gloried much in the antiquity of their cities, and their country was indeed one of the first that was peopled after the dispersion of Babel, it may be from hence concluded that it was one of the most ancient. Some think it was founded by Arba, one of the oldest giants in Palestine; for which reason it was called Kirjath-arba, or Arba's city, Joshua 14:15; which name was afterward changed to that of Hebron, Joshua 15:13 . Arba was the father of Anak; and from Anak the giants, called Anakim, took their name, who were still dwelling at Hebron when Joshua conquered the land of Canaan. When it was first called Hebron, is uncertain; some think, not till it was conquered by Caleb, and that he called it so from his son of that name. But Calmet is of opinion that the name of Hebron is more ancient; and that Caleb, to do honour to his son, named him after this ancient and celebrated place. Hebron was situated upon an eminence, twenty miles southward from Jerusalem, and twenty miles north from Beersheba. Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac were buried near Hebron, in the cave of Machpelah, or the double cave, which Abraham bought of Ephron, Genesis 23:7-9 . Hebron was the allotment of Judah. The Lord assigned it for the inheritance of Caleb, Joshua 14:13; Joshua 10:3; Joshua 10:23; Joshua 10:37 . Joshua first took Hebron, and killed the king, whose name was Hoham. But afterward Caleb again made a conquest of it, assisted by the troops of his tribe, and the valour of Othniel, Judges 1:12-13 . It was appointed to be a dwelling for priests, and declared to be a city of refuge, Joshua 21:13 . David, after the death of Saul, fixed the seat of his government there, 2 Samuel 2:2-5 . At Hebron, Absalom began his rebellion, 2 Samuel 15:7-8 , &c. During the captivity of Babylon, the Edomites having invaded the southern parts of Judea, made themselves masters of Hebron; hence Josephus sometimes makes it a part of Edom. Here Zacharias and Elizabeth are believed to have dwelt; and it is supposed to have been the birth place of John the Baptist. Hebron is now called El Hhalil; though not a town of large dimensions, it has a considerable population. According to Ali Bey, it contains about four hundred families of Arabs; but he does not notice either the Jews, who are numerous, or the Turks. He describes it as situated on the slope of a mountain, and having a strong castle. Provisions, he says, are abundant, and there is a considerable number of shops. The streets are winding, and the houses unusually high. The country is well cultivated, to a considerable extent. Hebron is computed to be twenty- seven miles south-west of Jerusalem.
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Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Hebron'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​wtd/​h/hebron.html. 1831-2.