You may have heard of it before. It might ring some distant memory, but you’re not sure why. This city happens to be rather important. It’s just a little harder to find out the reasons it’s important. There is no concise paragraph in the Bible telling us all about Hebron. You have to dig in and find little snippets to put together a full understanding of its importance.
Allow me to lead you through the Bible to discover Hebron. There will be several references that we will explore.
After Abraham separated from Lot, he settle in Hebron and built an alter there.
Gen 23:2, 17-20
Sarah died in Hebron and Abraham purchased a field from Ephron. In the field was a cave that Abraham used as a family tomb, and buried Sarah there.
When Abraham died, he was buried in the cave with his wife.
Joshua gave Hebron to Caleb, the other faithful spy, as his inheritance. It was given to him “because he followed the LORD God of Israel fully.” Before the city was Hebron, it was called Kiriath-arba. Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim. 21:11 says that Arba was the father of the Anak.
Now I find the Anakim fascinating and more than just a little hard to understand.
Numbers 13:28 Is part of the report given to Israel by the twelve spies. They said that the people are strong and the cities are fortified and large. You can almost hear their exasperation when they exclaim, “We even saw the sons of Anak. They are huge!” (My paraphrase)
It is the origin of the Anakim that I have no idea what to think about.
Numbers 13:33 Is still part of the spies report. They said that they saw the Nephilim, whom the sons of Anak are part of. They compared themselves to grasshoppers next to the Nephilim. Seeming to indicate that these were the giants in the land.
Now the Nephilim are mentioned, by that name, only one other place in the Bible. I think that this is one of the most bizarre events int he Bible, and I write fantasy. Gen 6:4 I’m just going to quote it here: “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” NASB
Go ahead and say it, “What?!” Exactly. When I studied Gen. our group discussed this and came to no conclusion. I mean, how is that even physically possible? We discussed the theories, and I don’t think we can say how it happened. It’s one those things that we may not ever understand. And really when you think about it, do you really want to know? Gives me shivers up my spine.
Here we are told that the actual city was given to Aaron’s sons and one of the families of the Kohathites, all sons of Levi. But the fields of the city and its villages were given to Caleb. Aaron made Hebron a city of refuge. A city of refuge was a safe place to run to if you accidentally killed someone. If you made it to a city of refuge before the victim’s family found and killed you, you would have to state your case to the elders of the city and they would take you in and give you a place to live. If the family tracked you to a city of refuge, the elders would not hand you over to them. Nice to know if you’re ever in a tight spot.
2 Sam. 2:1, 11
When Saul died, the kingdom of Israel was split. God had chosen David as the next king, but Abner, Saul’s general put Saul’s son, Ish-bosheth, on the throne in Gibeon. However, the tribe of Judah anointed David king and he ruled over them for seven and a half years. David ruled from Hebron.
It helps to know the significance of the city that David ruled from. Hebron was an interesting city to say the least. While it’s not a city we talk about much, it sure played a big role in the establishment of Israel as a nation.