Beersheba

/bear shee"beuh, bear"sheuh-/; Seph. Heb. /berdd she"vah/, n.
1. a city in Israel, near the N limit of the Negev desert: the southernmost city of ancient Palestine. 109,600.
2. from Dan to Beersheba. See Dan (def. 4).

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City (pop., 1999 est.: 163,700), southern Israel.

Historically it marked the extreme southern limit of Palestine, hence the biblical phrase "from Dan to Beersheba" (Dan is in far northern Israel). It fell to the Arabs in the 7th century and to the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. It was long a watering place for the nomadic Bedouin tribes of the Negev desert. Held by the British from 1917, it became part of Israel in 1948. It has since developed as the administrative, cultural, and industrial centre of the Negev.

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Israel
Hebrew  Beʾer Shevaʿ 
 biblical town of southern Israel, now a city and the main centre of the Negev (ha-Negev) region.

      Beersheba is first mentioned as the site where Abraham, founder of the Jewish people, made a covenant with the Philistine king Abimelech of Gerar (Genesis 21). Isaac and Jacob, the other patriarchs, also lived there (Genesis 26, 28, 46). The name seems to be a Hebrew play on words—beʾer “well”; shevaʿ “oath,” or “seven” (referring to the seven lambs of Genesis 21)—though a Canaanite origin has also been suggested. Beersheba was at the southern edge of permanent agricultural cultivation in ancient Palestine and represented the southern extremity of the Israelite country—hence the phrase “from Dan to Beersheba” (first used in Judges (Judges, Book of) 20; Dan is in far northern Israel).

      Insignificant for centuries, Beersheba regained importance under Byzantine rule (4th–7th century), when it was a key point on the Limes Palestinae, the fortified line built as a defense against the desert tribes; however, it fell to the Arabs in the 7th century and to the Turks in the 16th. It long remained a watering place and small trade centre for the nomadic Bedouin tribes of the Negev, despite Turkish efforts at town planning and development around 1900. Its capture in 1917 by the British opened the way for their conquest of Palestine and Syria.

      After being taken by Israeli troops in October 1948, Beersheba was rapidly settled by new immigrants and has since developed as the administrative, cultural, and industrial centre of the Negev. It is one of the largest cities in Israel outside of metropolitan Tel Aviv–Yafo, Jerusalem, and Haifa. Its principal manufactures are chemicals (including the processing of the mineral deposits of the Dead Sea), porcelain and tile products, and textiles. Beersheba is the site of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (1965) and of the Negev Institute for Arid Zone Research. The railway from northern and central Israel runs through the city. Pop. (2006 est.) 185,300.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • BEERSHEBA — (biblical: Beer Sheba; Heb. בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע), city in the negev on the southern border of Judah; its name has been preserved in the Arabic form Bīr (Beʾr) al Saʿb. Beersheba was first settled in the Chalcolithic period. Excavations conducted in its …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Beersheba — ou Beer Shev a v. d Israël, au bord du Néguev; 115 000 hab.; ch. l. de district …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Beersheba — [bir shē′bə, bershē′bə] city in S Israel, the principal city of the Negev: in ancient times, it marked the southernmost extremity of Israelite territory: pop. 148,000: cf. DAN3 …   English World dictionary

  • Beersheba — Infobox Israel municipality name=Beersheba caption= imgsize=70 |imgsize3=250 caption3= hebname=Hebrew|בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע arname=بئر السبع meaning=Well of the Oath or Seven Wells(see also) founded= type=city typefrom= stdHeb= altOffSp= altUnoSp=… …   Wikipedia

  • Beersheba — Beerscheba Basisdaten hebräisch …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Beersheba — Beer Sheva Pour les articles homonymes, voir Beer. Beer Sheva (he) באר שבע (ar) بئر السبع …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Beersheba —    Well of the oath, or well of seven, a well dug by Abraham, and so named because he and Abimelech here entered into a compact (Gen. 21:31). On re opening it, Isaac gave it the same name (Gen. 26:31 33). It was a favourite place of abode of both …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • Beersheba — /bɪəˈʃibə/ (say bear sheebuh) noun a town in southern Israel, near the southern extremity of biblical Palestine; nearby battle between Allied and Turkish forces occurred on 31 October 1917 during World War I; the Australian Light Horse charge led …   Australian English dictionary

  • Beersheba — ► C. de Israel, cap. del distrito Meridional; 122 000 h. * * * Ciudad (pob., est. 1999: 163.700 hab.) en el sur de Israel. Históricamente marcó el límite sur de Palestina, de ahí la frase bíblica de Dan a Beersheba (Dan se ubica en el extremo… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Beersheba — The most southerly place of Israel, notable for its wells and therefore suitable for pasturing sheep. There are notes in Genesis that the ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob stayed there (Gen. 22:19; 28:10; 46:1). The phrase ‘from Dan to… …   Dictionary of the Bible

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