And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Therefore the name of the city is Beer-sheba unto this day.—There was no city at this time at Beer-sheba, but one is mentioned at the conquest of Canaan by Joshua (Joshua 15:28). This note, as is the case generally with those which speak of a thing existing “unto this day,” was added by Ezra and the men of the Great Synagogue, after the return from Babylon (comp. Genesis 22:14); and its meaning is that, whereas Abraham’s name had been forgotten while the place lay desolate, this remarkable coincidence of the water being again found, just when the covenant had been confirmed by the customary sevenfold sacrifice, so impressed the minds of the people that the title of Beer-sheba never again passed into oblivion.Genesis 26:25 that they had found water. This well he calls Sheba, "an oath," and hence the town is called Beer-sheba, "the well of the oath." Now the writer was aware that this place had received the same name on a former occasion Genesis 21:31. But a second well has now been dug in like circumstances in the same locality. This gives occasion for a new application of the name in the memories of the people. This is another illustration of the principle explained at Genesis 25:30. Two wells still exist at this place to attest the correctness of the record. Genesis 21:31; but was now buried in oblivion, as his wells were; and the wells being revived, he revives and renews the name, which proved now a lasting name,
unto this day, as here follows, which is not added Genesis 21:31, because then the name, though given by Abraham, was soon forgotten and neglected by others.
therefore the name of the city is Beersheba unto this day; that is, the well of the oath: it had been so called by Abraham an hundred years ago or more; but now upon this occasion it was renewed and confirmed, and so continued until the times of Moses, and many ages after.And he called it Shebah: therefore the name of the city is Beersheba unto this day.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)33. Shibah] This word, denoting “oath-taking” or “swearing,” is here given as the explanation of the name “Beer-sheba.” For another tradition as to the origin of the name, see Genesis 21:31. The narrative there is from E; the narrative here from J. Shebûah, of which shib‘ah is a rare variety, is an “oath”; sheba‘ is “seven.” Aquila and Symmachus πλησμονή; Lat. abundantiam; reading sib‘ah.
unto this day] See note on Genesis 22:14.Verse 33. - And he called it Shebah ("Oath;" which he would certainly not have done had it not been a well): therefore the name of the city (which ultimately gathered round the well) is Beersheba - i.e. the well of the oath (vide Genesis 21:31). Isaac must have perfectly understood that the place had been so named by his father three quarters of a century previous; but either the name had been forgotten by others, or had not come into general use amongst the inhabitants, or, observing the coincidence between his finding a well just at the time of covenanting with Abimelech and the fact that his father's treaty was also connected with a well, he wished to confirm and perpetuate the early name which had been assigned to the town. It is not certain that this was Abraham s well which had been rediscovered; the probability is that it was another, since at Bir-es-Sheba two wells are still in existence (vide Genesis 21:31) unto this day - an expression used throughout Genesis to describe events separated from the age of Moses by several centuries (vide Genesis 19:37, 38; Genesis 22:14; Genesis 32:32). Genesis 21:22, if Phicol is not also an official name), but his מרע "friend," i.e., his privy councillor, Ahuzzath. Isaac referred to the hostility they had shown; to which Abimelech replied, that they (he and his people) did not smite him (נגע), i.e., drive him away by force, but let him depart in peace, and expressed a wish that there might be an oath between them. אלה the oath, as an act of self-imprecation, was to form the basis of the covenant to be made. From this אלה came also to be used for a covenant sanctioned by an oath (Deuteronomy 29:11, Deuteronomy 29:13). תּעשׂה אם "that thou do not:" אם a particle of negation used in an oath (Genesis 14:23, etc.). (On the verb with zere, see Ges. 75, Anm. 17; Ewald, 224.) - The same day Isaac's servants informed him of the well which they had dug; and Isaac gave it the name Shebah (שׁבעה, oath), in commemoration of the treaty made on oath. "Therefore the city was called Beersheba." This derivation of the name does not shut the other (Genesis 21:31) out, but seems to confirm it. As the treaty made on oath between Abimelech and Isaac was only a renewal of his covenant concluded before with Abraham, so the name Beersheba was also renewed by the well Shebah. The reality of the occurrence is supported by the fact that the two wells are in existence still (vid., Genesis 21:31).
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