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Debir (2)

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

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dē´bẽr ( דּביר , debhı̄r ; Δαβείρ , Dabeı́r ): "And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, to Debir, and fought against it: and he took it, and the king thereof, and all the cities thereof; and they smote them with the edge of the sword ... he left none remaining" (Joshua 10:38 , Joshua 10:39 ). In Joshua 15:15-17 and Judges 1:11-13 is an account of how Othniel captured Debir, which "beforetime was Kiriath -sepher ," and won thereby the hand of Achsah, Caleb's daughter. In Joshua 15:49 Debir is called Kiriath -sannah . It had once been inhabited by the Anakim (Joshua 11:21 ). It was a Levitical city (Joshua 21:15; 1 Chronicles 6:58 ).

1. The Meaning of the Name

(1) Debir is usually accepted as meaning "back," but this is doubtful; the word debhı̄r is used to denote the "holy of holies" (1 Kings 6:5 ). According to Sayce (HDB ), "the city must have been a sacred one with a well-known temple." Kiriath -sepher is translated "town of books," and Sayce and others consider that in all probability there was a great storehouse of clay tablets here; perhaps the name may have been ḳiryath ṣōphēr , "town of scribes." Kiriath -sannah (Joshua 15:49 ) is probably a corruption of Kiriath -sepher ; the Septuagint has here as in references to the latter πόλις γραμμάτων , pólis grammátōn , "town of books."

2. The Site

Unfortunately this site, important even if the speculations about the books are doubtful, is still a matter of uncertainty. Edh -Dháherı̄yeh , some 11 miles Southwest of Hebron, has a good deal of support. It was unquestionably a site of importance in ancient times as the meeting-place of several roads; it is in the Negeb (compare Judges 1:15 ), in the neighborhood of the probable site of Anab (Joshua 11:21; Joshua 15:50 ); it is a dry site, but there are "upper" and "lower" springs about 6 1/2 miles to the North. A more thorough examination of the site than has as yet been undertaken might produce added proofs in favor of this identification. No other suggestion has any great probability. See PEF , III, 402; PEFS , 1875.

(2) Debir , on the border between Judah and Benjamin (Joshua 15:7 ), must have been somewhere East of Jerusalem not far from the modern Jericho road. Thoghgret ed Debr , "the pass of the rear," half a mile Southwest of the Tal‛at ed Dumm (see ADUMMIM ), close to the so-called, "Inn of the Good Samaritan," may be an echo of the name which has lingered in the neighborhood. Many authorities consider that there is no place-name in this reference at all, the text being corrupt.

(3) Debir the Revised Version, margin, Lidebir (Joshua 13:26 ), a town on the border of Gad, near Mahanaim; Ibdar, South of the Yarmūk has been suggested. May be identical with Lo-debar (2 Samuel 9:4 ).

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Debir (2)'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​isb/​d/debir-2.html. 1915.
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