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HEBRON or Kiryat Arbah (el-Halil) Occupied Jordan.

One of the oldest cities in the mountains of Judea, on the main road from Jerusalem to Beersheba. Possibly it was called Kiryat Arbah because it consisted of four quarters, one of which was Mamreh (Gen. 23:17). It was here that Abraham bought the Cave of Machpelah in which Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their wives were buried, and David was anointed king at Hebron. The city was resettled in the Persian period, when Hebron was in Idumaea. The city was later conquered by the Hasmonaeans, and since then has formed part of Judea. After the destruction of the Second Temple it was given to the Roman Legio X Fretensis, who made it a military base in the rear of limes Palestinae. In the late Roman period Hebron had a Jewish community and a synagogue.

The enclosure built over the Cave of Machpelah by Herod survives to its original height: the walls, built of large ashlar blocks, some of which are 1.5 by 6.3 by 1.5 m, enclose an area of 46.8 by 27 m. Flat pilasters decorated the exterior.


F. M. Abel, Géographie de la Palestine II (1938) 345-46; M. Avi-Yonah, The Holy Land (1966) 53, 163.


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