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Gerar in Israel

Updated December 2nd 2019

Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary by J. D. Douglas and Merrill Tenney (2011)

A town and probably also a district South of Gaza and SW of the southern border of CANAAN near the MEDITERRANEAN Sea. In its first occurrence (Genesis 10:19) Gerar is used as a reference point marking the southern end of the territory of the Canaanites. ABRAHAM and SARAH are said to have dwelt in Gerar (in the district between Kadesh and Shur) where they came in contact with its king ABIMELECH (20:1-2). This same ruler, or possibly another in the royal line who also had the title Abimelech, is called king of the PHILISTINES in a similar encounter that Isaac and his wife REBEKAH had with him (26:1, 6-11; compare also 26:26). Following these experiences Isaac encamped in the valley of Gerar (26:17) probably the present Wadi esh-Shari‘ah where Isaac dug wells and experienced difficult relations with the herdsmen of the area (26:20). Centuries later, Asa king of Judah, with the help of God, routed Ethiopian invaders and pursued them to Gerar and plundered that whole region (2 Chronicles 14:13-14). The town Gerar should probably be identified with Tell Abu Hureireh (Tel Haror) about 9 miles (15 km) SE of Gaza and 17 miles (27 km) NW of BEERSHEBA. This site has been excavated and shows a long period of occupation including that part of the Middle Bronze period when the patriarchs lived (1800-1600 B.C.).

Sir Flinders Petrie conducted the first large-scale excavation of Tell Jemmeh in 1928 --- identifying it incorrectly as the Gerar of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 20:1-2; 26:1-12) [1].

Biblical researches in Palestine and in the adjacent regions
A journal of travels in the year 1838 by Edward Robinson (1841)


The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium