(hawr' mah) Place name meaning, “split rock” or “cursed for destruction.” City marking the limit of the Canaanite rout of the Israelites after the failed Israelite attempt to invade Canaan that followed the report of the twelve spies (Numbers 14:45). Though the exact location of Hormah is not known, it was in the territory assigned to the tribe of Simeon (Joshua 19:4). Some identify it with tell Masos about seven miles east of Beersheba. Excavations have shown settlement in about 1800 B.C. and again just before 1200 B.C. The latter settlement apparently lasted until the time of David (compare
1 Samuel 30:30). A small fortress was built some time after 700 B.C. and destroyed shortly after 600 B.C.
The site controlled the east-west road in the Beersheba Valley and the north-south road to Hebron. Israel gained brief victory there (Numbers 21:3) after their earlier defeat (Numbers 14:45; compare
Deuteronomy 1:44). The list of kings Joshua defeated includes Hormah (Joshua 12:14); the battle description says Judah and Simeon combined to take Hormah after Joshua's death (Judges 1:1,Judges 1:17), the city earlier being called Zephath. See Zephath.