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Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away : and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba ... And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe-lambs ? ... And he said, For these seven ewe-lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me that I have digged this well. Wherefore he called that place Beer-sheba; (the well of the oath,) because there they sware both of them ... And Abraham planted a grove (or, tree) in Beer-sheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God.”—Genesis xxi. 14,

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“ So Abraham returned unto his young men ; and they rose up, and went together to Beer-sheba : and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba.”—Genesis xxii. 19.

"And (Isaac) went up from thence to Beer-sheba. And the Lord appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father ; fear not, for I am with thee ... And he builded an altar there; ... and there Isaac's servants digged a well ... and ... (they) told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water. And he called it Shebah : therefore the name of the city is Beer-sheba unto this day.”—Genesis xxvi. 23, &c.

“And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went towards Haran.”Genesis xxviii. 10.

“And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beer-sheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac. And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I. And he said, I am God, the God of thy father : fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation ... and I will also surely bring thee up again ... And Jacob rose up from Beer-sheba.”—Genesis xlvi. 1, &c.

“The king said to Joab... Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, and number ye the people ... And they went out to the south of Judah, even to Beer-sheba.”—2 Samuel xxiv. 2, &c.

“And . . . Elijah arose, and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper-tree : and he requested for himself that he might die ... And as he lay and slept under a juniper-tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baked on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.”-1 Kings xix. 3, &c.

“ But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beer-sheba.” - Amos v. 5.

“ They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy God, o Dan, liveth; and the manner of Beer-sheba liveth ; even they shall fall, and never rise up again.” - Amos viii. 14.

Josh. xv. 28, xix. 2; 1 Sam. viii. 2; 2 Sam. xvii. 11; 2 Kings xxii. 8; 1 Chron. xxi. 2; 2 Chron. xix. 4, xxx. 5.]

Travelling from Akabah to Jerusalem, Dr. Robinson writes,-“Our path led for a time over sandy hills, sprinkled with herbs and shrubs, but with little grass. The shrubs which we had met with throughout the desert still continued. One of the principal of these is the retem, a species of the broom plant, (with small whitish variegated blossoms.) This is the largest and most conspicuous shrub of these deserts, growing thickly in the water-courses and valleys. Our Arabs always selected the place of encampment (if possible) in a spot where it grew, in order to be sheltered by it at night from the wind ; and during the day, when they often went on in advance of the camels, we found them not unfrequently sitting or sleeping under a bush of retem, to protect them from the sun. It was in this very desert, a day's journey from Beersheba, that the prophet Elijah lay down and slept beneath the same shrub." (This was between nine and ten in the morning ; afterwards, having travelled among hills of moderate height, the loose sand of the desert having ceased, and grass appearing,—“We now," (writes Dr. Robinson,)“ began gradually to ascend others higher, but of the same general character. The herbs of the desert began to disappear, and the hills were thinly covered with grass, now dry and parched. The ascent was long and gradual. We reached the top at a quarter-past one o'clock ; and looked out before us over a broad lower tract ; beyond which our eyes were greeted with the first sight of the mountains of Judah, south of Hebron, which skirted the open country, and bounded the horizon in the east and north-east. We now felt that the desert was at an end. Descending gradually, we came out at two o'clock upon an open undulating country; the shrubs ceased, or nearly so ; green grass was seen along the lesser watercourses, and almost greensward : while the gentle hills, covered in ordinary seasons with grass and rich pastures, were now burnt over with drought. Arabs were pasturing their camels in various parts, but no trace of dwellings was anywhere visible. In three quarters of an hour, we reached ... a wide watercourse, or bed of a torrent ... Upon its northern side, close upon the bank, are two deep wells, still called Bîr-es-Seba, the ancient Beer-sheba. We had entered the borders of Palestine !

1 It is this shrub, the Hebrew name of which is wrongly translated juniper. The roots are very bitter, and are regarded by the Arabs as yielding the best charcoal. This illustrates Job xxx. 4, and Psalm cxx. 4. -See ROBINSON, vol. i. pp. 124, 299.

“These wells are some distance apart ; they are circular, and stoned up very neatly with solid masonry ... The larger one is twelve and a half feet in diameter, and forty-four and a half feet deep to the surface of the water ; sixteen feet of which at the bottom is excavated in the solid rock ... The water in both (wells) is pure and sweet, and in great abundance; the finest, indeed, we had found since leaving Sinai. Both wells are surrounded with drinking-troughs of stone for camels and flocks; such as were doubtless used of old for the flocks which then fed on the adjacent hills. The curb-stones were deeply worn by the friction of the ropes in drawing up water by hand.

“ The Hebrew name Beer-sheba signifies. Well of the Oath,' or, as some suppose, “Well of the Seven,' referring to the seven lambs which Abraham gave to Abimelech in token of the oath between them.” “ The Arabic name Bîr-es-Seba signifies. Well of the Seven,' and also Well of the Lion.'

“We had heard of no ruins here, and hardly expected to find any, for none were visible from the wells; yet we did not wish to leave so important a spot without due examination. Ascending the low hills, north of the wells, we found them covered with the ruins of former habitations, the foundations of which are still distinctly to be traced, although scarcely one stone remains upon another. The houses appear not to have stood compactly, but scattered over several little hills, and in the hollows between. They seem to have been built chiefly of round stones, though some of the stones are squared and some hewn. It was probably only a small straggling city. This very expression I wrote in pencil on the spot; and was afterwards gratified to find that Eusebius and Jerome both describe it only as a large village.'... We could find no special traces of churches or other public buildings ; although one or two larger heaps of stones may probably have been such edifices. These ruins are spread over a space half a mile in length, along the northern side of the watercourse, and extending back about a quarter of a mile. Fragments of pottery are scattered over the whole. On the south side of the watercourse is a long wall of hewn stone under the bank ... apparently intended to protect ... (it) from being washed away by the torrent. Probably gardens, or some

1 See Gen. xxi. 28–32.


important building, may have been situated on the bank above, of which there is now no trace. On the same side are several heaps of stone, and the ground is also strewed with small fragments of pottery.

“Here, then, is the place where the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob often dwelt! Here Abraham dug perhaps this very well ; and journeyed from hence with Isaac to Mount Moriah, to offer him up there in sacrifice. From this place Jacob led to Padan-Aram, after acquiring the birthright and blessing belonging to his brother; and here too he sacrificed to the Lord on setting off to meet his son Joseph in Egypt. Here Samuel made his sons judges ; and from here Elijah wandered out into the southern desert, and sat down under a shrub of retem, just as our Arabs sat down under it every day and every night. Here was the border of Palestine Proper, which extended from Dan to Beer-sheba. Over these swelling hills the flocks of the patriarchs once roved by thousands; where now we found only a few camels, asses, and goats.

“Beer-sheba is last mentioned in the Old Testament, as one of the places to which the Jews returned after the exile.

“The name does not occur in the New Testament, nor is it referred to as then existing by any writer earlier than Eusebius and Jerome in the 4th century. They describe it as a large village with a Roman garrison. It is found as an episcopal city in the early (Church records)... but none of its bishops are anywhere mentioned. Its site was in like manner long forgotten. About the middle of the 14th century ... it was uninhabited, but some of the churches were still standing. From this time onward for five centuries, it has again remained until this day apparently unvisited and unknown ... We remained nearly an hour upon this interesting spot, where all that is now to be seen lies within a very narrow compass.

1 Nehemiah xi. 27, 30.

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