Genesis 13:18
Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelled in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar to the LORD.

From Bethel, Abraham travelled southward till he pitched his tents in the oak grove of Mamre, at Hebron, situated in a cool and elevated region, and commanding a fertile region; about twenty-two Roman miles south of Jerusalem, and belonging to the later territory of Judah. Hebron was one of the oldest towns of Palestine; it was built seven years before Tanis in Egypt; and was early the residence of a heathen king. However, it was, by Joshua, appointed as one of the cities of refuge, and assigned to the Levites; it thus assumed the character of a holy town where vows were taken and performed; and David chose it as his abode when he was king of Judah, during seven years and a half. These circumstances suffice to explain the interest evinced for Hebron in the history of the patriarchs; Abraham resided here when the angels made him the happy announcement of the birth of a son; here he acquired the first territorial property in Canaan; and here was the burial place of himself, of Isaac, and of Jacob, of Sarah, Rebekah, and Leah. The town was, therefore, appropriately distinguished by the erection of an altar (ver. 18). Later, it was fortified by Rehoboam among many other cities; it is still mentioned after the exile; it then belonged to the Idumeans, who were, however, expelled from it by Judas Maccabaeus; in the Roman war, it was captured and burnt by the enemies, without, however, being destroyed. In the period of the Crusades, after having, for a time, suffered from heavy attacks, it was made the seat of the bishopric of St. Abraham (in 1167), but returned already in 1187 into the possession of the Moslems, who have ever since retained it, though it was several times assailed and plundered by rebellious pachas or lawless chiefs. In the fifteenth century, it was distinguished by a magnificent hospital and general charity for the distribution of bread and other necessaries to strangers. The present Hebron is a large village rather than a town; it counts among its inhabitants about a hundred Jewish families, living together in a separate quarter; as, in fact, Jews, though often ill-treated, oppressed, and insulted, seem always to have lived in the town, with few interruptions; but it is not unimportant in its commerce, though it is chiefly celebrated for its glass works, which form the principal articles of export. It is surrounded by elevations, containing the highest peaks in the range of the mountains of Judah. Its blooming vicinity, with its vineyards and orchards, its wells, its rich pastures and numerous flocks and herds, is one of the proofs that the care of the agriculturist may still convert Palestine's desolation into smiling prosperity. The tombs of the patriarchs and of their wives, situated at the eastern end of Hebron on the slope of a ravine, attracted continually the visits of travellers; over the cave of Machpelah, called Al Magr by the Arabians, and surrounded by a high and strong wall, a mosque was erected which the Moslems regard as one of the four holiest sanctuaries of the world, from which Christians are excluded, and which stratagem only has enabled a few Europeans to enter. The town itself was, from that structure, called the Castle of Abraham, and received, therefore, from the Mohammedans the name of Bet El-Khalil, that is, the house of the "Friend of God," which is the honorary title given to Abram by the Arabians.

(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.).

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then Abram removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD.

WEB: Abram moved his tent, and came and lived by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to Yahweh.

Abram's Altar
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