Abraham at Beersheba (Beer Sheba)

Bible students associate the town of Beersheba (Beer Sheba; Be’er Sheva) with the patriarch Abraham (Genesis 21-22).

  • The first reference to Beersheba is when Abraham sent Hagar and Ishmael to wander in the wilderness of Beersheba (21:14). This is the region known as the Negev.
  • Abraham dug a well and called the place Beersheba (21:30-31). Abraham and Abimelech, the king of Gerar, made a covenant. Abraham presented seven ewe lambs to Abimelech. The name Beersheba means “the well of the seven.”
  • Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba and called upon the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God (21:33).

Archaeological excavations were conducted at Tel Beersheba by Tel Aviv University Institute of Archaeology under the direction of Yohanan Aharoni (1969-1973). The excavation indicated that there was no city at the site before the Iron Age. The outer gate of the reconstructed Iron Age city, an older well, and a tamarisk tree, in the photo below, serve as a reminder that Abraham lived in this general vicinity.This tamarisk tree has been cut back and is putting out fresh branches.

Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God. (Genesis 21:33 NAU)

The outer gate, well, and tamarisk tree at Tel Beersheba. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The outer gate, well, and tamarisk tree at Tel Beersheba. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Negev is suitable for the tamarisk tree. Here is a larger tamarisk at the entry to the site. This photo was made in the month of December. Heavy clouds are visible to the west.

Tamarisk trees at Tel Beersheba. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Tamarisk trees at Tel Beersheba. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Fauna and Flora of the Bible describes the tamarisk this way:

The Tamarisk is a small, fast-growing tree with durable wood, to be found abundantly in deserts, dunes and salt marshes.

Tamaris Aphylla is leafless and has green branches and a wide crown. It has small white flowers, and its fruit is a capsule with feathery seeds. (p. 182)

Photos suitable for use in teaching are available by clicking on the images above.

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One response to “Abraham at Beersheba (Beer Sheba)

  1. Pingback: Genesis 21 – The Birth of Isaac | Robert's Christianity Blog

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