31 Hence that place was called Be’er Sheva, for there the two of them swore an oath.
al KAYN ka-RA la-ma-KOM ha-HU b’-AYR SHA-va KEE SHAM nish-b’-U sh’-nay-HEM
לא עַל־כֵּן קָרָא לַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא בְּאֵר שָׁבַע כִּי שָׁם נִשְׁבְּעוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם׃
21:31 Hence that place was called Be’er Sheva
Avraham names the place where he entered the covenant with Abimelech Be’er Sheva. The name Be’er Sheva (באר שבע), is made up of two Hebrew words. Be’er (באר) means ‘well,’ hinting to the fact that this covenant acknowledged Avraham’s right to the water well. The second part of the word is made up of the root ש-ב-ע, which means both ‘seven’ and ‘oath.’ Thus, Be’er Sheva can mean either ‘well of the seven’ or ‘well of the oath.’ This double meaning hints both to the seven female sheep set aside by Avraham as verification of the oath, and to the oath taken with regard to the well itself.