Beer-Sheba — City Of The Patriarchs -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bible and Spade (First Run)
Volume: BSP 03:1 (Winter 1974)
Article: Beer-Sheba — City Of The Patriarchs
Author: Anonymous

Beer-Sheba — City Of The Patriarchs

Time and again during their nomadic wanderings, the Patriarchs camped at Beer-sheba. Here, God spoke to them in dreams; sacrifices were made to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and dramatic family events took place.

Beer-sheba the Scene of Covenants

Abraham, and his son Isaac after him, made a peace treaty with Abimelech the Philistine here (Genesis 21:22–34 and 26:26–31). Following his testing with Isaac, Abraham lived at Beer-sheba for a time (Genesis 22:19).

God appeared to Isaac at Beer-sheba and renewed the Abrahamic covenant to bless him and multiply his seed (Genesis 26:23–25). The Bible indicates that Isaac made this area his main headquarters. Under the tribal tents at Beer-sheba, Isaac’s wife Rebekah successfully tricked him into bestowing the chief blessing on Jacob, rather than on Esau the first-born (Genesis 27).

When Jacob was an old man and on his way to Egypt to see his long-lost son Joseph, he stopped at Beer-sheba to offer sacrifices to “the God of his father Isaac.” While camped there, God appeared to him and promised to make of him a great nation (Genesis 46:1–4). At the close of the period of the Judges, Samuel made his sons “judges in Beer-sheba” (1 Samuel 8:2). During later Israelite history, under the kings, Beer-sheba became a major city of Judah.

Security And Water Supply Major Concern Of City Planners

The tel containing the ruins of Beer-sheba is located on the outskirts of the modern town which preserves the ancient name. Situated on the fringe of the desert, it was the capital of the Negev (Negev means “dry country” in Hebrew). A few miles to the south the great desert which divides Egypt and the land of Israel starts. Hence, Beer-sheba is frequently referred to in the Bible as the definition of the country’s southern border, which extended “from Dan to Beer-sheba.”

It is an area where agriculture is still possible, as is recorded of neighboring Gerar: “And Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold” (Genesis 26:12). However, droughts are frequent and settlement flourished only in times of a strong

and efficient government which provided security and the maximal utilization of the available water sources.

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