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 (Genesis 21:31). On re-opening it, Isaac gave it the same name (Genesis 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 (Joshua 19:2; 1 Chronicles 4:28). From Dan to Beersheba, a distance of about 144 miles (Judges 20:1; 1 Chronicles 21:2; 2 Samuel 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" (Nehemiah 11:30). The kingdom of the ten tribes extended from Beersheba to Mount Ephraim (2 Chronicles 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.
the well of an oath; the seventh well
(well of the oath), the name of one of the old places in Palestine which formed the southern limit of the country. There are two accounts of the origin of the name. According to the first, the well was dug by Abraham, and the name given to Judah, (Joshua 15:28) and then to Simeon, (Joshua 19:2; 1 Chronicles 4:28) In the often-quoted "from Dan even unto Beersheba," (Judges 20:1) it represents the southern boundary of Canaan, as Dan the northern. In the time of Jerome it was still a considerable place, and still retains its ancient name
Bir es-Seba . There are at present on the spot two principal wells and five smaller ones. The two principal wells are on or close to the northern bank of the Wady es-Seba . The larger of the two, which lies to the east, is, according to Dr. Robinson, 12 1/2 feet in diameter, and at the time of his visit (April 12) was 44 1/2 feet to the surface of the water. The masonry which encloses the well extends downward 28 1/2 feet. The other well is 5 feet in diameter, and was 42 feet to the water. The curb-stones around the mouth of both wells are worn into deep grooves by the action of the ropes of so many centures. These wells are in constant use today. The five lesser wells are in a group in the bed of the wady. On some low hills north of the large wells are scattered the foundations and ruins of a town of moderate size.