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Monday, October 22 2012

The Wells Of Beersheba

Beersheba is an ancient town in the southernmost area of the land of Israel. The town is perhaps most famous from the "Dan to Beersheba" saying (e.g. "3:20 And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD." 1 Samuel 3:20 KJV), referring to the southern border of Israel (see also The Boundary Law).

Beersheba is first recorded in the Scriptures as the "wilderness of Beersheba" (i.e. "she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba") at the time when Hagar was permanently sent away by Abraham, with their son Ishmael, after the birth of Isaac, Abraham's son with Sarah. While the place would be more famous for a well that Abraham dug there, the LORD appeared to dying-of-thirst Hagar and directed her to a well of water i.e. "God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink."

Hagar and Ishmael

"21:1 And the LORD [see Who Is The LORD?] visited Sarah [see A Biography Of Abraham: Sarah] as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. 21:2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 21:3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac [see A Biography Of Abraham: Isaac]. 21:4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him. 21:5 And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.

21:6 And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. 21:7 And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.

21:8 And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. 21:9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. 21:10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.

21:11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son. 21:12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. 21:13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.

21:14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba [see A Biography Of Abraham: Hagar And Ishmael].

21:15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. 21:16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.

21:17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is. 21:18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.

21:19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.

21:20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. 21:21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt." (Genesis 21:1-21 KJV)

The most-famous incident of the namings (plural) of Beersheba occurred later, when Abraham "called that place Beersheba" after an agreement with the Philistine king Abimelech about the ownership of a well.

Beersheba

"21:22 And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spake unto Abraham, saying, God is with thee in all that thou doest: 21:23 Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son's son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.

21:24 And Abraham said, I will swear.

21:25 And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away. 21:26 And Abimelech said, I wot not who hath done this thing: neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to day.

21:27 And Abraham took sheep and oxen, and gave them unto Abimelech; and both of them made a covenant. 21:28 And Abraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. 21:29 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What mean these seven ewe lambs which thou hast set by themselves?

21:30 And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well.

21:31 Wherefore he called that place Beersheba; because there they sware both of them.

21:32 Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines. 21:33 And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God. 21:34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days." (Genesis 21:22-34 KJV)

Abraham returned with Isaac to Beersheba after Isaac's near-sacrifice at Moriah (see A Biography Of Abraham: Isaac to understand why Abraham expected the LORD would resurrect Isaac from that sacrifice).

"22:9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. 22:10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. 22:11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

22:12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

22:13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns [see also The Blood Of Bulls And Goats]: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. 22:14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

22:15 And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, 22:16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

22:19 So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba." (Genesis 22:9-19 KJV)

Isaac remained in the area of Beersheba as his father Abraham had done. Isaac also experienced conflicts over wells in the area ("the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac's herdmen, saying, the water is ours"). After arriving in Beersheba itself, "the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham's sake." Once again, the name Beersheba was applied when "Isaac's servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water. And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beersheba unto this day."

Beersheba

"26:17 And Isaac departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.

26:18 And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them. 26:19 And Isaac's servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.

26:20 And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac's herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek; because they strove with him.

26:21 And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah.

26:22 And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.

26:23 And he went up from thence to Beersheba. 26:24 And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham's sake.

26:25 And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac's servants digged a well.

26:26 Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army. 26:27 And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?

26:28 And they said, We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee: and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee; 26:29 That thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the LORD.

26:30 And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink. 26:31 And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.

26:32 And it came to pass the same day, that Isaac's servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had digged, and said unto him, We have found water. 26:33 And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beersheba unto this day." (Genesis 26:17-33 KJV)

Fact Finder: What desert is located from Beersheba?
See The Negev Of Israel


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This Day In History, October 22

741: Charles Martel died at age 53. The rulership of Gaul was divided between his two sons Pepin III and Carloman.

794: Emperor Kanmu relocated the capital of Japan to Heiankyo (now known as Kyoto).

1721: Peter the Great became czar (czar is the Russian form of "Caesar," as is the German kaiser) of all Russia.

1764: The Battle of Baksar, fought between the East India Company's forces and those of the Mughals. The decisive battle confirmed the British control of Bengal.

1784: Russia founded a colony on Kodiak Island, Alaska (Russia sold Alaska to the U.S.A. in 1867).

1797: The first successful parachute jump was made by Andre-Jacques Garnerin, from a balloon over Paris, France.

1836: Sam Houston became the first "President of the Republic of Texas" (unlike the "New England" States, Texas, which remained part of Mexico in 1776, rebelled against Mexico about 50 years later).

1844: The date predicted by religious leader William Miller (Ellen White's "Seventh Day Adventist" organization, Herbert Armstrong's "Worldwide Church of God" and the present-day "Sacred Name" movement were among a number of early 20th Century offshoots of the Miller movement) when the Return of Jesus Christ would occur. Among the many thousands of his followers, the day became known as the "Great Disappointment." Miller and his followers chose to ignore the only Biblically-stated proof that Christ's return would soon happen - the beginning of the 42 month miraculous ministry of the "two witnesses," immediately after which Christ's return will happen (see The Two Signs Of Christ's Return; also Could Christ Return Tonight?).

1859: Spain declared war on the Moors in Morocco.

1952: The complete Jewish Torah was published in English for the first time.

1954: West Germany joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

1954: After Geneva accords conceded Communist control over North Vietnam (Vietnam was divided into North and South by France in its failed effort to make Vietnam a French colony), U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower authorized U.S. training of the South Vietnamese Army (the U.S. replaced the colonial involvement of France in Vietnam). The U.S. "advisors" soon became the primary combatants in that Vietnamese civil war; it ended in the 1970s with North and South Vietnam re-unified into a single nation that had existed for centuries before French and U.S. interference.

1966: The Soviet Union launched Luna 12 to orbit the moon.

1975: The Soviet unmanned spacecraft Venera 9 landed on Venus.

1979: The exiled Shah of Iran (a brutal, undemocratic dictator who had been supported by the U.S. for decades because he was "pro-western") arrived in the U.S. for medical treatment. In response, Iranian revolutionaries invaded the U.S. embassy in Tehran, thereby beginning the Iranian Hostage Crisis, demanding the return of the Shah in exchange for the U.S. diplomats/CIA agents.

2008: India launched its first unmanned lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1.





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