Places of Interest
1. Beersheba is located in the Negev, which is a semi-desert.
2. The tel of Beersheba lies a little east of the modern city, which is the region's largest city and administrative capital.
3. It’s about 45 miles (70 km.) south of Jerusalem and about 30 miles (45 km.) from the Mediterranean Ocean.
4. It’s located between the Beersheba and Hebron Streams (which are dry much of the time).
5. It was located on a significant travel route linking Africa and Egypt with Asia and Europe. The Nabateans, who were centralized in Petra, passed through here on caravans with trade goods.
1. Beersheba is the beginning place of God’s master plan for the Nation of Israel.
2. In essence, each person has the same tendencies as the Nation of Israel. Therefore, when God wanted to speak to all mankind, He used Israel as the example (1 Cor. 10:11).
3. The name Negev means “dry land” in Hebrew, but the Bible often uses the term to refer to the southern part of Israel.
4. Because Beersheba is in the Negev, which receives an annual rainfall of 6–8 inches (18 cm.), there was not a lot of population in the area, and most of the people living here were nomadic shepherds.
5. Beersheba was in the territory of the Philistines (Gen. 21:33–34).
6. After a conflict over Abraham’s well, which he had dug in Beersheba, a covenant was made between Abimelech and Abraham to settle the dispute (Gen. 21:25–34). To ratify the covenant, Abraham gave Abimelech seven ewe lambs. Therefore, Beersheba means “well of the oath” or “well of the seven lambs.”
7. Later, Abraham's son, Isaac, would have another conflict with Abimelech, and would confirm an agreement as well:
"So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. 31 Then they arose early in the morning and swore an oath with one another; and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.
32 It came to pass the same day that Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well which they had dug, and said to him, “We have found water.” 33 So he called it Shebah. Therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day" (Gen 26:30-33).
8. When the writers of Scripture wanted to speak of all Israel, they would often use the expression “from Dan (the northern-most city) to Beersheba" (the southern-most city).
Places of Interest
1. Four Horned Altar
This altar belonged to cult worship or was misused by the Israelites as it doesn’t comply with Scripture. Altars were to be made of “stones on which you have not used an iron tool” (Deut. 27:5). This altar used hand-shaped stones. The altar was likely one of those torn down during the religious reforms of King Josiah (2 Kings 23:8).
2. Abraham’s Well – 230 feet deep (70 m.)
3. Outer Gate
4. Inner Gates
5. City Square
6. Governor’s Palace
7. Roman Bath Pools
8. Basement House
9. Four-room House
10. Casement Wall
11. Roman Fortress
12. Observation Tower
14. Street with Shops
15. Beersheba Stream
16. Hebron Stream
17. Water Cistern
Beersheba in the Bible
1. About 2000 years before Christ, God called Abraham from Mesopotamia to leave his family and possessions and journey to a new land with the promise that his descendants would become a great nation.
Genesis 12:1–3: Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
2. After Abraham passed through the Land of Israel, he settled in the Negev area (Gen. 12:9).
3. When a severe famine came upon the land, Abraham left the Negev for a bit and went to Egypt (Gen. 12:10).
4. After the famine, Abraham returned to the Negev (close to Hebron), and God confirmed His covenant with him.
Genesis 13:14–17: The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. 17 Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”
The Abrahamic Covenant includes two promises: (1) a land, and (2) a nation of people. From this covenant comes the Nation of Israel and their land.
5. After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham settled in Beersheba and “Lived there many days” (Gen 21:34), probably meaning the rest of his life.
6. Close-by to Beersheba, Hagar, the mother of Ismael, was sent away by Abraham and an angel of the Lord ministered to her, saying “Her offspring would be blessed” (Gen. 21:14–18).
7. Isaac, the son and heir Abraham and Sarah had waited all their lives to have, was born in Beersheba.
8. It was from Beersheba that Abraham journeyed with his son Isaac to Mount Moriah at Jerusalem, where God had ordered him to sacrifice his son Isaac as a burnt offering. Mount Moriah is the exact place that Solomon would later build the temple in Jerusalem where countless sacrifices would be made, the most significant being the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.
Genesis 22:1-5: After these things, God tested Abraham and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." 2 He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day, Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you."
Genesis 22:10-19: Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." 12 He said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, "The LORD will provide"; as it is said to this day, "On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided." 15 And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, "By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice." 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba.
9. It was at Beersheba that Isaac and Rebecca met, falling in love at first sight (Gen. 24:62–67).
10. Isaac’s son, Jacob, stole the birthright from his brother Esau while the family lived in Beersheba (Gen. 27).
11. Jacob lived in Beersheba when he and all his family moved to Egypt to live with Joseph (Gen. 46:45–47).
12. The Prophet Elijah came to Beersheba when he fled from Jezebel after the great showdown on Mount Carmel between God and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah. Elijah had the prophets killed, whom Jezebel supported, so he was running for his life.
Faith Lesson from Beersheba
1. Beersheba is the beginning place of God’s sovereign master plan for the Nation of Israel, and through them, all mankind.
2. Beersheba played a key role in the lives of all the Patriarchs.
3. Abraham left his family and country in Mesopotamia in obedience to God and settled in Beersheba.
4. God tested Abraham at Beersheba, and he proved he loved God more than any earthly treasure, even his own son.
5. Do we understand that God often tests us as well?
6. Do we understand that God’s greatest question for us is, “What do you love more than me?”
7. Do I have anything in my life that stands between God and me?
8. Do I know what my “Isaac” is, and would I be willing to give it up to God if He asked me to?
9. Abraham is called "Our father of faith" because of his obedience and devotion to God. Do we have like Abraham?
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