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Holman Bible Dictionary

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Hebrew - Lo-debar

(loh-dee buhr) A place name differently spelled in Hebrew texts to mean “to him a word” or “no word.” After Saul and Jonathan had been defeated on Mount Gibeon (1 Samuel 31:1-13), Mephibosheth, Jonathan's lame son (2 Samuel 4:4) took refuge with Machir in the city of Lo-Debar (2 Samuel 9:4)—a city of Gad located in the eastern part of Gilead just south of the Sea of Chinnereth (Galilee). After David became king, he called for Mephibosheth so he could show kindness to the lone descendant of Jonathan (2 Samuel 9:1-5). David later needed the assistance of Machir of Lo-Debar during the rebellion of Absalom (2 Samuel 17:27).

The Hebrew text of Joshua 13:26 mentions the name of the city Lidebir near Mahanaim. This is usually translated “to Debir,” but many see this as an alternate spelling of Lo-Debar. See Debir.

Lo-Debar is cryptically referred to in Amos 6:13. Prior to the delivery of this oracle, Lo-Debar and Karnaim had been recaptured by Jereboam II from the Arameans in a campaign blessed by God (2 Kings 14:25-28). Israel had taken the victory as an indication of its own strength and greatness, forgetting that God had brought them the victory. Amos took the consonants of the name Lo-Debar and added new vowels to make the name read “a thing of nought.” Amos was reminding Israel that its true strength and greatness lie not in their military achievements but in God who had blessed their efforts; Amos was calling the Israelites back to faith in this God.

Phil Logan

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'LO-DEBAR'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1991.


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