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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

MAMRE. A name found several times in connexion with the history of Abraham. It occurs ( a ) in the expression ‘ terebinths of Mamre ’ in   Genesis 13:18;   Genesis 18:1 (both J [Note: Jahwist.] ), and   Genesis 14:13 (from an independent source) with the addition of ‘the Amorite’; ( b ) in the expression ‘which is before Mamre,’ in descriptions of the cave of Machpelah, or of the field in which it was (  Genesis 23:17;   Genesis 23:19;   Genesis 25:9;   Genesis 49:30;   Genesis 50:13 ), and in   Genesis 35:27 , where Mamre is mentioned as the place of Isaac’s death; ( c ) in   Genesis 14:24 as the name of one of Abraham’s allies, in his expedition for the recovery of Lot. In ( b ) Mamre is an old name, either of Hebron or of a part of Hebron (cf.   Genesis 23:19 ,   Genesis 35:27 ); in   Genesis 14:13 it is the name of a local sheik or chief (cf.   Genesis 14:24 ), the owner of the terebinths called after him; in   Genesis 13:18;   Genesis 18:1 it is not clear whether it is the name of a person or of a place. The ‘terebinths of Mamre’ are the spot at which Abraham pitched his tent in Hebron. The site is uncertain, though, if the present mosque, on the N.E. edge of Hebron, is really built over the cave of Machpelah, and if ‘before’ has its usual topographical sense of ‘east of,’ it will have been to the W. of this, and at no great distance from it (for the terebinths are described as being ‘in’ Hebron,   Genesis 13:18 ). From Josephus’ time ( BJ , IV. ix. 7) to the present day, terebinths or oaks called by the name of Abraham have been shown at different spots near Hebron; but none has any real claim to mark the authentic site of the ancient ‘Mamre.’ The oak mentioned by Josephus was 6 stadia from the city; but he does not indicate in which direction it lay. Sozomen ( HE ii. 4), in speaking of the ‘Abraham’s Oak’ of Constantine’s day (2 miles N. of Hebron), states that it was regarded as sacred, and that an annual fair and feast was held beside it, at which sacrifices were offered, and libations and other offerings cast into a well close by. Cf. Oak.

S. R. Driver.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

An ancient Amorite.  Genesis 13:18, "the plain (rather the oaks or terebinths) of Mamre";  Genesis 14:13;  Genesis 14:24, brother of Eshcol, friend and ally of Abraham. The chieftain had planted the terebinths, or was associated with them as his tenting place; so "the oak of Deborah" ( Judges 4:5). Mamre was less than a mile from Hebron (Josephus, B. J. 4:9, section 7); but Robinson makes it two Roman miles off, now the hill Er Rameh .

Constantine, to suppress the superstitions veneration to the terebinths, erected a Basilica or church on the spot. That it was on an elevation appears from the record that Machpelah faces it ( Genesis 23:17-19;  Genesis 25:9). Abram resided under the oak grove shade in the interval between his stay at Bethel and at Beersheba ( Genesis 13:18;  Genesis 18:1;  Genesis 20:1;  Genesis 21:31). If Machpelah be on the N.E. side of the Hebron valley, then Mamre as "facing it" must have been on the opposite slope, where the governor's house now is. (See Hebron .)

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [3]

an Amorite, brother of Aner and Eshcol, and friend of Abraham,  Genesis 14:13 . It was with these three persons, together with his own and their domestics, that Abraham pursued and overcame the kings after their conquest of Sodom and Gomorrah.

2. MAMRE, the same as Hebron. In   Genesis 23:19 , it is said, that "Abraham buried Sarah in the cave of the field of Machpelah, before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan." And in  Genesis 35:27 , it is said, that "Jacob came unto Isaac his father, unto Mamre, unto the city of Arba, which is Hebron." The city probably derived its name from that Mamre who joined Abraham in the pursuit of Chedorlaomer, and the rescue of Lot, Genesis 14.

Mamre, Plain Of a plain near Mamre, or Hebron, said to be about two miles to the south of the town. Here Abraham dwelt after his separation from Lot; here he received from God himself a promise of the land, in which he was then a stranger, for his posterity; here he entertained the angels under an oak, and received a second promise of a son; and here he purchased a burying place for Sarah; which served also as a sepulchre for himself and the rest of his family.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [4]

  • The name of the place in the neighbourhood of Hebron (q.v.) where Abraham dwelt ( Genesis 23:17,19;  35:27 ); called also in Authorized Version (13:18) the "plain of Mamre," but in Revised Version more correctly "the oaks [marg., 'terebinths'] of Mamre." The name probably denotes the "oak grove" or the "wood of Mamre," thus designated after Abraham's ally.

    This "grove" must have been within sight of or "facing" Machpelah (q.v.). The site of Mamre has been identified with Ballatet Selta, i.e., "the oak of rest", where there is a tree called "Abraham's oak," about a mile and a half west of Hebron. Others identify it with er-Rameh, 2 miles north of Hebron.

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Mamre'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • Smith's Bible Dictionary [5]

    Mam're. (Strength, Fatness). An ancient Amorite, who with his brothers, Eshcol and Aner, was in alliance with Abram,  Genesis 14:13;  Genesis 14:151, and under the shade of whose oak grove, the patriarch dwelt in the interval between his residence at Bethel and at Beersheba.  Genesis 13:18;  Genesis 18:1. In the subsequent chapters, Mamre is a mere local appellation.  Genesis 23:17;  Genesis 23:19;  Genesis 25:9;  Genesis 49:30;  Genesis 50:13.

    American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

    An Amorite prince, brother of Eshcol and Aner. All three united their forces to aid Abraham in the rescue of Lot,  Genesis 14:1-24 . He gave his name to the town where he dwelt, afterwards Hebron, in the suburbs of which was a large terebinth-tree, or grove, (see  Genesis 13:18   18:1 . The cave of Machpelah was adjacent to Mamre on the east,  Genesis 23:17,19   49:30; and from the heights nearby, Abraham could see the smoking plain of Sodom,  Genesis 19:27,28 .

    Morrish Bible Dictionary [7]

    1. An Amorite chieftain, who, with his brothers Aner and Eshcol, was confederate with Abram.  Genesis 14:13,24 .

    2. Place connected with Machpelah and Hebron, the name of which is derived from the above chief.   Genesis 13:18;  Genesis 18:1;  Genesis 23:17,19;  Genesis 35:27;  Genesis 49:30 .

    Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [8]

    Mamre was a locality in Hebron named after the man who owned it. Its prominent oak trees, which possibly were considered sacred, were a well known landmark ( Genesis 13:18;  Genesis 14:13;  Genesis 14:24;  Genesis 18:1;  Genesis 23:19). (For details see Hebron .)

    Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [9]

    The hallowed spot where the Lord appeared unto Abraham. ( Genesis 18:1) It is derived from Marah, bitter.

    Holman Bible Dictionary [10]

     Genesis 14:1-24AbrahamMachpelah

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [11]

    mam´rḗ ( ממרא , mamrē'  ; Septuagint Μαμβρή , Mambrḗ ):

    (1) In  Genesis 14:24 Mamre is mentioned as the name of one of Abraham's allies, who in   Genesis 14:13 is described as the Amorite, brother of Eschcol and Aner.

    1. Biblical Data:

    The name of the grove of trees is evidently considered as derived from this sheikh or chieftain. The "oaks" ("terebinths") of Mamre where Abram pitched his tent ( Genesis 14:13;  Genesis 18:1 ) are described ( Genesis 13:18 ) as "in Hebron." Later on Machpelah (which see) is described as "before," i.e. "to the East of Mamre" ( Genesis 23:17;  Genesis 25:9;  Genesis 49:30;  Genesis 50:13 ), and Mamre is identified with Hebron itself ( Genesis 23:19 ).

    2. Traditional Sites:

    While Mamre has always been looked for in the vicinity of Hebron, the traditions have varied greatly, determined apparently by the presence of a suitable tree. The one site which has a claim on grounds other than tradition is that called Khirbet and ‛Ain Nimreh (literally, the "ruin" and "spring" of "the leopard"), about 1/2 mile North-Northwest of modern Hebron. The word Nimreh may be a survival of the ancient Mamre, the name, as often happens, being assimilated by a familiar word. The site is a possible one, but, beyond this, the name has not much to commend it.

    Tradition has centered round three different sites at various periods: (1) The modern tradition points to a magnificent oak ( Quercus ilex , Arabic Sindian ), 1 1/2 miles West-Northwest of the modern city, as the terebinth of Abraham; its trunk has a girth of 32 ft. It is now in a dying condition, but when Robinson visited it ( Br , II, 72,81) it was in fine condition; he mentions a Mohammedan tradition that this was "Abraham's oak." Since then the site had been bought by the Russians, a hospice and church have been erected, and the tradition, though of no antiquity, has become crystallized. (2) The second tradition, which flourished from the 16th century down to the commencement of the 19th century, pointed to the hill of Deir el Arba‛in (see Hebron ) as that of Mamre, relying especially, no doubt, in its inception on the identity of Mamre and Hebron ( Genesis 23:19 ). A magnificent terebinth which stood there was pointed out as that of Abraham. The site agrees well with the statement that the cave of Machpelah was "before," i.e. to the East of Mamre ( Genesis 23:17 , etc.). (3) The third and much older tradition, mentioned in several Christian writers, refers to a great terebinth which once stood in an enclosure some 2 miles North of Hebron, near the road to Jerusalem. It is practically certain that the site of this enclosure is the strange Ramet el - Khalı̂l . This is an enclosure some 214 ft. long and 162 ft. wide. The enclosing walls are made of extremely fine and massive masonry and are 6 ft. thick; the stones are very well laid and the jointing is very fine, but the building was evidently never completed. In one corner is a well - Bı̂r el - Khalı̂l - lined with beautiful ashlar masonry, cut to the curve of the circumference.

    It is probable that this enclosure surrounded a magnificent terebinth; if so, it was at this spot that before the days of Constantine a great annual fair was held, attended by Jews, Christians and heathen who united a pay honor to the sacred tree, while the well was on the same occasion illuminated, and offerings were made to it. Similar customs survive today at several shrines in Palestine. Constantine suppressed these "superstitions," and built a church in the neighborhood, probably the so-called "Abraham's house," Beit Ibrahim of today. The tree which stood here is apparently that mentioned by Josephus ( Bj , IV, ix, 7) as having continued "since the creation of the world." At this enclosure, too, Jewish women and children were sold at auction after the suppression of the revolt of Bar Cochba. Whatever the origin of the veneration paid to this terebinth - now long centuries dead and gone - early Christian tradition associated it with Abraham and located Mamre here. This tradition is mentioned by Jerome (4th century), by Eucherius (6th century), by Areulphus (700 AD) and by Benjamin of Tudela (1163 AD). Among the modern Jews it is looked upon as the site of "Abraham's oak." It is probable that the view that Abraham was connected with this tree is one attached to it much later than its original sanctity; it was originally one of the many "holy trees" of the land venerated by primitive Semitic religions feeling, and the nearness of Hebron caused the Bible story to be attached to it. Judging from the Bible data, it appears to be too far from Hebron and Machpelah to suit the conditions; the site of Mamre must have been nearer to Deir el Arba‛in , but it has probably been entirely lost since very early times.

    For a very good discussion about Mamre see Mambre by Le R. P. Abel des Freres Precheurs in the Conferences de Saint Etienne , 1909-10 (Paris).

    (2) An Amorite chief, owner of the "oaks" mentioned above ( Genesis 14:13 ,  Genesis 14:14 ).

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [12]

    Bibliography Information McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Mamre'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [13]

    Mam´re, the name of an Amoritish chief who, with his brothers Aner and Eshcol, was in alliance with Abraham . Hence, in the Authorized Version, 'the oaks of Mamre,' 'plain of Mamre' , or simply 'Mamre' (;; ), a grove in the neighborhood of Hebron.