Today, our journey through biblical locations brings us to Hebron, the city of the Fathers, also called the City of the Patriarchs. Hebron is one of the oldest cities in the Middle East and the world’s oldest, continuously inhabited cities since the ancient times. Its original name was ‘Kir•yat Ar•ba’ (the City of Arba), after the name of its landlord, Arba, who was the greatest giant among the giants:
“And the name of Hebron before was Kiriath-Arba; this Arba was the biggest man among the Anakim. And the land had rest from war”
Abraham bought the Cave of the Patriarchs and the surroundings from Efron the Hittite (Genesis 23). Both Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried there, and so are Isaac and Rebecca and Jacob and Leah (Genesis 49). Isaac also took up residence in Hebron (Genesis 35) and so did Jacob. This is why Hebron is called “the City of the Fathers.”
Hebron was the city where David was crowned and established his capital at first, reigned for seven years, until the capture of Jerusalem from the Jebusites and its establishment as the capital of Israel.
“David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty three years over all Israel and Judah”
After moving the kingdom away from Hebron, his son, Absalom, revolted against him in Hebron, but, thereafter, Hebron lost it importance in the biblical story. It is not mentioned once in the New Testament. Hebron today has very few Jewish dwellers, which stands in sharp contrast to its importance in Jewish history in the Land of Israel. Today, it is mostly a Palestinian city located in the southern West Bank, 19 miles south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judaean Mountains, it lies 3,050 ft. above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank. There are 900 Jewish settlers concentrated in the Otniel settlement and around the old quarter. In the U.S., many towns are named after the biblical Hebron. There is a Hebron in Virginia; Connecticut; Indiana; Illinois; Maine; Maryland; Nebraska; New Hampshire; New York; Kentucky; Ohio; and in North Dakota. There is also a Hebron in New Brunswick, Canada.