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Time and Place.
The scriptural association of chronology and topography
with doctrine and purpose.
Beersheba and Moriah.
pp. 12 - 14
After the destruction of Sodom, which occupied our attention in the preceding article,
we find Abraham journeying to the South country and dwelling between Kadesh and
Shur, sojourning in Gerar (Gen. 20: 1).
There is a fairly insistent tradition preserved by Josephus, Eusebius and Jerome, that
Kadesh was either identical or closely connected with Petra.
"The mountain which overhangs the valleys of Petra has been known as far back as
the knowledge of travelers extends, as the `Mountain of Aaron'. The basin of Petra is
known to the Arabs by no other name than `the valley of Moses'."
"The day after leaving Petra was occupied in the passage of the mountain into the
'Arabah; the next in crossing 'Arabah; on the other side we came to 'Ain el-Weibeh--
three springs with palms under the low limestone cliffs which form the boundary to the
mass of the mountains of Tih. This spot Dr. Robinson supposes to be Kadesh"
"Shur, is the name of a desert that reaches from the E. Border of Egypt as far as the
habitations of Amalek and Ishmael" (Young).
Shur means "a wall", and this well describes the tableland that forms the northern
centre of the desert, which stops abruptly, like a wall, forming the eastern bank of the
"Its unvarying wall-like front, here the most conspicuous object in the landscape,
might well have given the name `wilderness of Shur' (wall) to the desert region in which
it is situated" (Ordnance Survey, Palmer).
Somewhere South of Gaza must be indicated the city of Gerar where Abraham
sojourned. In this same district was Beersheba (Gen. 21: 33), "beer" being the Hebrew
for a "well", and "sheba" for an "oath". Beersheba was at the extreme South of Canaan,
and the expression "from Dan to Beersheba" (Judges 20: 1) was similar to our saying
"from Land's End to John O'Groats".
"Its present Arabic name, Bir-es-Seba, means `well of the seven', which some take to
be the signification also of Beersheba, in allusion to the seven ewe-lambs which Abraham
gave to Abimelech, in token of the oath between them" (Kitto).