well of the oath, or well of seven, a well dug by Abraham, and
so named because he and Abimelech here entered into a compact
(Gen. 21:31). On re-opening it, Isaac gave it the same name
(Gen. 26:31-33). It was a favourite place of abode of both of
these patriarchs (21:33-22:1, 19; 26:33; 28:10). It is mentioned
among the "cities" given to the tribe of Simeon (Josh. 19:2; 1
Chr. 4:28). From Dan to Beersheba, a distance of about 144 miles
(Judg. 20:1; 1 Chr. 21:2; 2 Sam. 24:2), became the usual way of
designating the whole Promised Land, and passed into a proverb.
After the return from the Captivity the phrase is narrowed into
"from Beersheba unto the valley of Hinnom" (Neh. 11:30). The
kingdom of the ten tribes extended from Beersheba to Mount
Ephraim (2 Chr. 19:4). The name is not found in the New
Testament. It is still called by the Arabs Bir es-Seba, i.e.,
"well of the seven", where there are to the present day two
principal wells and five smaller ones. It is nearly midway
between the southern end of the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean.