|Debir (1) |
1. In the highlands of Judah, near Hebron. First taken by Joshua (Joshua 10:38-39; Joshua 11:21; Joshua 12:13; Joshua 15:49). Formerly Kirjath Sepher (city of the book), or K. Sannah (palm). There is still a Dewirban three miles W. of Hebron. But Debir was S. of Hebron (Joshua 15:49); so Van de Velde identifies it with Dilbeh, S.W. of Hebron. Conder (Palestine Exploration) identifies it better with El hoheriyeh, a corruption of the old name Deberah, meaning in Arabic "the village on the ridge." Exactly at 3,000 (16-inch) cubits on the main S. road a large stone still there marked the bounds assigned outside to Debir as a Levitical city (which also may be the limit of a sabbath day's journey); and another stone on the W.
At 6 1/2 miles northward are the "upper and lower springs," which Caleb's daughter begged for, in the valley Seil el Dilbeh, in all 14 springs divided into three groups; no other such are found in the Judah "south country," or Negeb; a brook flows through the small gardens for four or five miles (Judges 1:15; Joshua 15:19). Conder states the important discovery that "the list in Joshua 12, which precedes all the other topographical lists, forms the key of the whole system." They are the 31 royal cities; these divide the country into districts which have natural boundaries, and contain severally one or more of the royal cities. Debir stood, according to Joshua 15:19, in "a dry and" ("south land"), therefore Dilbeh near fine springs cannot be the site. Dhoheriyeh is remarkable for its broad rolling downs and fruitful soil; it is truly "a dry land" without a spring.
"Joshua returned to (made a detour to attack) Debir" (Joshua 10:38-40.) His direct march after Eglon and Lachish would have been northwards from Hebron to Gilgal, therefore it was probably S.W. of Hebron. The Negeb or "south land" consists of soft, porous, chalky limestone extending from the desert on the E. (the Jeshimon) to 'Anab and the plain on the W., and from Dilbeh and Yutta on the N. to Beersheba on the S. The dwellings of Dhoheriyeh are mostly caves in the rock, with rude arches carved over doorways; rock excavation is a mark of great antiquity, and is a relic of the troglodyte or primitive Canaanite way of living. It was originally the seat of a king of the Anakim. This people reoccupied it when the Israelite army withdrew and was engaged with the northern Canaanites. Othniel, son of Kenaz, for love of Achsah, Caleb's daughter, took it again. It was allotted to the priests (Joshua 21:15; 1 Chronicles 6:58).
2. A place on the northern bound of Judah, near the valley of Achor (Joshua 15:7), between Jericho and Jerusalem (Joshua 15:7).
3. Part of the boundary of Gad (Joshua 13:26); in the high pastures E. of Jordan, and possibly akin to dabar, Hebrew for a wilderness pasture, Reland identifies it with Lodebar.