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Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [1]

Shur was a desert region in the north of the Sinai Peninsular. It was bounded by Egypt on the west (the border being along the line of the present-day Suez Canal), and the Negeb on the east (the border being along the Brook of Egypt) ( Genesis 20:1;  Exodus 15:22;  1 Samuel 15:7;  1 Samuel 27:8). The main inland route from Egypt to Jerusalem passed through the Wilderness of Shur and the Judean towns of Beersheba and Hebron ( Genesis 13:1;  Genesis 13:18;  Genesis 16:7;  Genesis 21:14;  Genesis 46:5). (For further details see Palestine sub-heading ‘Negeb’.)

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

Outside the eastern border of Egypt. ("a wall".) The strip of desert which skirts the wall-like range of Jebel Er Rahah (E. Of Suez, The Continuation Of The Range Jebel Et Τih Northward Toward The Mediterranean, Still Called By The Arabs Jebel Es Sur) as far S. as wady Gharandel. Hagar fleeing from Abraham, then in southern Palestine, reached a fountain "in the way to Shur" ( Genesis 16:7). She was probably making for her country Egypt by the inland caravan route, the way by Star over jebel er Rahah as distinguished from the coast road by el Arish. Abraham settled for a time between the two deserts of Kadesh and Shur, and finally sojourned at Gerar ( Genesis 20:1).

In  Genesis 25:18 Shur is defined to be "before ''(I.E. E Of) Egypt." So  1 Samuel 15:7;  1 Samuel 27:8; Josephus (Ant. 6:7) makes it Pelusium , near the Nile's mouth; others the N.E. part of the wilderness of Paran, now Al Jifar . Gesenius makes Shur the modern Suez. Israel entered "the wilderness of Shur" when they had crossed the Red Sea ( Exodus 15:22-23). The wilderness of Shur is the whole district between the N.E. frontier of Egypt and Palestine, Shur being derived from the Egyptian Κhar (Occurring In A Papyrus Of The 19Th Dynasty) , Κh and Sh being interchanged. In  Numbers 33:8 the special designation occurs, "the wilderness of Etham" (At The Northern Extremity Of The Bitter Lakes) .

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [3]

A wilderness so called. Here it was that, Hagar found a sweet Bethel: see  Genesis 16:1-16 throughout, well worth regarding. And how many of God's dear children have found the same wilderness dispensations laying a foundation for rich enjoyments! I verily believe that the family of Jesus would have lost some of their most precious seasons, had they lost some of their wilderness exercises. It was not without an eye to this that the Lord said, "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably to her." ( Hosea 2:14) Indeed, the very word Shur, a wall, carries with it this idea. Reader, do not forget it if at any time Jesus brings you into Shur. He who brings you there will not leave you there, but will manifest himself to you there. Oh, how precious the faith that enables a soul to say, under all wilderness straits and difficulties, Thou God seest me! Oh, for all the family of Jesus to call such wildernesses Beer-lahai-roi—namely, the well of him that liveth and seeth me!

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [4]

SHUR . A place or district on the N.E. border of Egypt (  Genesis 16:7;   Genesis 20:1;   Genesis 25:18 ,   Exodus 15:22 ,   1 Samuel 15:7;   1 Samuel 27:8 ). The name in Aramaic means ‘wall,’ and, as Egyp. th is regularly rendered by sh in Aramaic, Shur is probably the Egyp. city Thor (the vocalization is uncertain), a fortress near the N.E. frontier, and capital of the 14th nome of Lower Egypt. This Thor lay on a stream or canal named Shi-Hôr (See Shihor), and malefactors were sent thither after having their noses cut off. It is tempting to identify it with Rhinocorura (See Egypt [River of]), but it was on the banks of a fresh-water canal and 10 days’ march from Gaza. Perhaps it is the later Sele, near el-Kantara, on the Suez Canal.

F. Ll. Griffith.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [5]

Shur. (A Wall). A place, just without the eastern border of Egypt. Shur is first mentioned in the narrative of Haggar's flight from Sarah.  Genesis 16:7. Abraham, afterward, "dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar."  Genesis 20:1. It is also called Ethami. The wilderness of Shur was entered by the Israelites, after they had crossed the Red Sea.  Exodus 15:22-23. It was also called the wilderness of Etham .  Numbers 33:8. Shur may have been a territory town, east of the ancient head of the Red Sea; and from its being spoken of as a limit, it was, probably, the last Arabian town, before entering Egypt. See Etham .

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

A city on the northeast border of Egypt, not far from the modern Suez,  Genesis 16:7;  20:1;  25:18;  1 Samuel 15:7;  27:8 . It gave its name to the desert between it and Canaan, towards the Mediterranean,  Exodus 15:22 .

Morrish Bible Dictionary [7]

Wilderness towards the north east of Egypt; its situation is clearly shown in the various passages.  Genesis 16:7;  Genesis 20:1;  Genesis 25:18;  Exodus 15:22;  1 Samuel 15:7;  1 Samuel 27:8 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [8]

 Genesis 16:7 20:1 25:18

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [9]

(Heb. Shur, שׁוּר ; Sept, Σούρ ; Vulg. Sur ) , a place just without the eastern border of Egypt. Its name, if Hebrew or Arabic, signifies "a wall;" and there can be little doubt that it is of Shemitic origin from the position of the place. The Sept. seems to have thus interpreted it, if we may judge from the obscure rendering of  1 Samuel 27:8, where it must be remarked the extraordinary form Γελαμψούρ is found. This word is evidently a transcription of the words שׁוּרָה ... מֵעוֹלָ ם , the farmer, save the initial particle, not being translated. The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan interpret Shur by Chagara ( חגרא ), and Josephus by Pelusium ( Πηλούσιον [ Ant. 6, 7, 3]); but the latter was called Sin by the Hebrews.

Shur is first mentioned in the narrative of Hagar's flight from Sarah. Abraham was then in southernmost Palestine, and when Hagar fled she was found by an angel "by the fountain in the way to Shur" ( Genesis 16:7). Probably she was endeavoring to return to Egypt, the country of her birth she may not have been a pure Egyptian and had reached a well in the inland caravan route. Abraham afterwards "dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar" ( Genesis 20:1). From this it would seem either that Shur lay in the territory of the Philistines of Gerar, or that this pastoral tribe wandered in a region extending from Kadesh to Shur. (See Gerar).

In neither case can we ascertain the position of Shur. The first clear indications of this occurs in the account of Ishmael's posterity: "And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that [is] before Egypt, as thou goest towards Assyria" (25:18). With this should be compared the mention of the extent of the Amalekitish territory given in this passage, "And, Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah [until] thou comest to Shur, that [is] over against Egypt" ( 1 Samuel 15:7). It is also important to notice that the Geshurites, Gezrites, and Amalekites, whom David smote, are described as "from an ancient period the inhabitants of the land as thou comest to Shur, even unto the land of Egypt" (27:8). The Wilderness of Shur was entered by the Israelites after they had crossed the Red Sea ( Exodus 15:22-23). It was also called the Wilderness of Etham ( Numbers 33:8). The first passage presents one difficulty, upon which the Sept. and Vulg. throw no light, in the mention of Assyria. If, however, we compare it with later places, we find בֹּאֲכָה אִשּׁוּרָה here remarkably like בּוֹאֲךָ שׁוּרָה in  1 Samuel 27:8, and בּוֹאֲךָ שׁוּר in 15:7, as if the same phrase had been originally found in the first as a gloss; but it may have been there transposed, and have originally followed the mention of Havilah. In the notices of the Amalekitish and Ishmaelitish region, in which the latter succeeded the former, there can be no question that a strip of Northern Arabia is intended, stretching from the Isthmus of Suez towards, and probably to, the Persian Gulf. The name of the wilderness may indicate a somewhat southern position. Dr. Trumbull (Kadesh-bamea, p. 44 sq.) labors at great length to prove that Shur was a line of fortifications extending from Suez to the Mediterranean; but in that case the word must have had the article, "The Wall," which it never takes; nor does it appear that the forts in question were as continuous as a wall would be. His etmologies connecting. it in this sense with Etham are very forced.

According to recent authorities the "Wilderness of Shur" is substantially identical with the modern desert el-Jifar, which extends between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean from Pelusium to the southwest borders of Palestine (Rosenmuller, Alterth. 3, 241 sq.). It consists of white shifting sand (yet see Schubert, 2, 273), has very little signs of habitations, and is some seven days' journey across. The simple word Shur evidently designates, in general, a high ridge running north and south in the form of a high wall, according to the meaning of the word before, i.e. on the east side of Egypt ( Genesis 25:18;  Exodus 15:22). This can be no other than the high range to the east of Suez, the continuation of the great chain of Jebel et-Tih northward towards the Mediterranean, forming a sharp ridge or a high Wall as seen from a distance east and west, and a grand barrier on the east side of Egypt and to the west of the great plain in the interior of the wilderness called Desert et-Tih. There is no other range whatever of the kind between Egypt and the interior of the wilderness (see Palmer, Desert of the Exodus, p. 44). This must be, therefore, the Wilderness of Shur. It is called by the Egyptians, and those who live to the west of it, Jebel er-Rahah, or the Mountain of Rahah. But (according to some travellers) by the Arabs of the interior of the wilderness, on the east side of the range, it is called Jebel es-Sur, or the Mountain of Shur.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [10]

shûr , shōōr ( שׁוּר , shūr  ; Σούρ , Soūr ): The name of a desert East of the Gulf of Suez. The word means a "wall," and may probably refer to the mountain wall of the Tı̂h plateau as visible from the shore plains. In   Genesis 16:7 Hagar at Kadesh ( ‛Ain Ḳadı̂s ) (see  Genesis 16:14 ) is said to have been "in the way to Shur." Abraham also lived "between Kadesh and Shur" ( Genesis 20:1 ). The position of Shur is defined ( Genesis 25:18 ) as being "opposite Egypt on the way to Assyria." After crossing the Red Sea ( Exodus 15:4 ) the Hebrews entered the desert of Shur ( Exodus 15:22 ), which extended southward a distance of three days' journey. It is again noticed ( 1 Samuel 15:7 ) as being opposite Egypt, and ( 1 Samuel 27:8 ) as near Egypt. There is thus no doubt of its situation, on the East of the Red Sea, and of the Bitter Lakes.

Brugsch, however, proposed to regard Shur ("the wall") as equivalent to the Egyptian anbu ("wall"), the name of a fortification of some kind apparently near Kantarah (see Migdol (2)), probably barring the entrance to Egypt on the road from Pelusium to Zoan. The extent of this "wall" is unknown, but Brugsch connects it with the wall mentioned by Diodorus Siculus (i. 4) who wrote about 8 BC, and who attributed it to Sesostris (probably Rameses II) who defended "the east side of Egypt against the irruptions of the Syrians and Arabians, by a wall drawn from Pelusium through the deserts as far as to Heliopolis, for a space of 1,500 furlongs." Heliopolis lies 90 miles (not 188) Southwest of Pelusium: this wall, if it existed at all, would have run on the edge of the desert which extends North of Wâdy Tumeilât from Ḳanṭarah to Tell el - Kebı̂r  ; but this line, on the borders of Goshen, is evidently much too far West to have any connection with the desert of Shur East of the Gulf of Suez. See Budge, Hist. Egypt , 90; Brugsch, Egypt under the Pharaohs , abridged edition, 320.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [11]

Shur, a city on the confines of Egypt and Palestine (;;;; ). Josephus makes it the same as Pelusium (Antiq. vi. 7. 3; comp. ) but this city bore among the Hebrews the name of Sin. More probably Shur was somewhere in the vicinity of the modern Suez. The desert extending from the borders of Palestine to Shur, is called in , the 'desert of Shur,' but in , the 'desert of Etham.'