DEBIR (dee' buhr) Personal and place name meaning, “back, behind.” As a common noun, the Hebrew term refers to the back room of the Temple, the holy of holies. 1. King of Eglon who joined in Jerusalem-led coalition against Joshua and lost (Joshua 10:3). Nothing else about him is known. See Eglon.
2. Important city in hill country of tribe of Judah whose exact location is debated by archaeologists and geographers. Joshua annihilated its residents (Joshua 10:38; compare Joshua 11:21; Joshua 12:13). Joshua 15:15 describes Caleb's challenge to Othniel to capture Debir, formerly called Kiriath Sepher. Compare Judges 1:11. Joshua 15:49 gives yet another name, Kiriath Sannah, to Debir. It became a levitical city for the priests (Joshua 21:15). Different scholars locate Debir at tell beit Mirsim, thirteen miles southwest of Hebron; khirbet Tarrameh, five miles southwest of Hebron; and khirbet Rabud, seven and a half miles west of Hebron. It may have been the most important town south of Hebron.
3. A town on the northern border of Judah (Joshua 15:7). This may be located at thoghret ed Debr, the “pass of Debir,” ten miles east of Jerusalem.
4. A town in Gad east of the Jordan given various spellings in the Hebrew Bible: Lidebor (Joshua 13:26); Lwo Debar (2 Samuel 9:4-5); Lo' Debar (2 Samuel 17:27); Lo' Dabar (Amos 6:13). The city may be modern Umm el-Dabar, twelve miles north of Pella. It apparently was near Mahanaim, where first Ish-bosheth and then David while fleeing Absalom, made their headquarters. Some Bible students have suggested a location at tell el-Chamme or khirbet Chamid.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.