oracle town; sanctuary. (1.) One of the eleven cities to the west of Hebron, in the highlands of Judah (Josh. 15:49; Judg. 1:11-15). It was originally one of the towns of the Anakim (Josh. 15:15), and was also called Kirjath-sepher (q.v.) and Kirjath-sannah (49). Caleb, who had conquered and taken possession of the town and district of Hebron (Josh. 14:6-15), offered the hand of his daughter to any one who would successfully lead a party against Debir. Othniel, his younger brother (Judg. 1:13; 3:9), achieved the conquest, and gained Achsah as his wife. She was not satisfied with the portion her father gave her, and as she was proceeding toward her new home, she "lighted from off her ass" and said to him, "Give me a blessing [i.e., a dowry]: for thou hast given me a south land" (Josh. 15:19, A.V.); or, as in the Revised Version, "Thou hast set me in the land of the south", i.e., in the Negeb, outside the rich valley of Hebron, in the dry and barren land. "Give me also springs of water. And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs." Debir has been identified with the modern Edh-Dhaheriyeh, i.e., "the well on the ridge", to the south of Hebron. (2.) A place near the "valley of Achor" (Josh. 15:7), on the north boundary of Judah, between Jerusalem and Jericho. (3.) The king of Eglon, one of the five Canaanitish kings who were hanged by Joshua (Josh. 10:3, 23) after the victory at Gibeon. These kings fled and took refuge in a cave at Makkedah. Here they were kept confined till Joshua returned from the pursuit of their discomfited armies, when he caused them to be brought forth, and "Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees" (26).
ancient town of Palestine, located near Hebron in the West Bank. According to the Bible, the town was taken from the Canaanites either by Caleb's son-in-law Othniel or by Joshua himself. Tall Bayt Mirsham (Tell Beit Mirsim) was excavated (1926-32) by W.F. Albright, who uncovered exceptionally clear stratification from which he was able to give the first comprehensive description of Palestinian pottery sequences between about 2300 and 588 BCE. Excavations showed that the Canaanite town of the 14th-13th century had been destroyed by the Israelites toward the end of the 13th century and that the town was finally devastated by the Babylonians about 588
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