So, today the word Hebron jumped out at me while I was reading Joshua. I find it fascinating that some of the same cities mentioned in the Old Testament are still around today, like Hebron.
The descendants of Levi did not receive a tract of land when the Promised Land was divvied up, but instead were allotted cities throughout the land from which they could serve as Priests for the people of Israel. Some of these cities doubled as cities of refuge, places of safety where accused murderers could flee to receive protection until their trials.
Hebron was one of those cities. It was allotted to the Kohathite descendants of Aaron and was also a city of refuge (Joshua 21: 9-10, 13 NIV). It may in fact have been named after one of Kohath’s sons. Caleb was also alloted a portion of Hebron (Joshua 15:3).
I was struck by two things: Hebron is STILL around and it’s not exactly a peaceful, safe place anymore. It’s in the West Bank.
In fact, “The Israeli–Palestinian conflict in Hebron is the site of frequent incidents within the wider Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Hebron is home to 160,000 Palestinians and 500-800 Israeli settlers. The Israeli settlers live in close proximity to the city boundary and require a constant Israeli military presence.” (Wiki article.)
An article about Hebron from The Jewish Virtual Library says that Hebron
… is home to approximately 130,000 Arabs, 530 Jews, and three Christians [LOL – I wonder if there are 4 or 7 Christians there now?]… Hebron is the site of the oldest Jewish community in the world, which dates back to Biblical times…. Abraham purchased the field where the Tomb of the Patriarchs is located as a burial place for his wife Sarah [Genesis 23: 19-20]. According to Jewish tradition [that would be the Old Testament: Genesis 49: 20-32], the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the Matriarchs Sarah, Rebekah, and Leah are buried in the Tomb.
Hebron has a long and rich Jewish history. It was one of the first places where the Patriarch Abraham resided after his arrival in Canaan [Genesis 13:18]. King David was anointed in Hebron, where he reigned for seven years [2 Samuel 2: 4-11].
The Jewish Virtual Library article also discussed the violence in Hebron:
… Hebron has been the site of many violent incidents, two of which stand out. In May 1980, Palestinian terrorists murdered 6 Jewish yeshiva students and wounded 20 others, who were returning from prayers at the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
In February 1994, Dr. Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Muslim worshippers at the Tomb, murdering 29 and wounding 125. Goldstein, a supporter of Meir Kahane’s Kach party, was subsequently killed by the survivors in the mosque, and is buried inside Kiryat Arba. [So much for a city of refuge…]
It fascinated me that the very city where Abraham first settled in the Promised Land, where the Patriarchs are buried, a home to men who brokered peace between men and God (Levitical priests), a city of refuge, the place where David was anointed King… still exists, but is now the scene of such hatred and danger.
Did I mention that the Levite clans of the Gershonites were allotted Golan of the modern day Golan Heights and that Golan was a city of refuge, too?? (Joshua 21: 27)
Today’s Readings: Joshua 21:1-22:34, Psalm 46:7-11, Proverbs 14:12-13, Luke 13:1-21. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).