Be’er Sheva, mentioned in this verse as the southern boundary of Jewish settlement in Eretz Yisrael, was a vital city in biblical times. Be’er Sheva is one of the primary places where Avraham lives and digs a well, be’er (באר) in Hebrew. Yitzchak builds an altar there, and Yaakov passes through on the way to Beit El and later stops to bring sacrifices there on his way down to Egypt. In contemporary Israel, Be’er Sheva is known as “the capital of the Negev Desert.” It is a thriving, multicultural city with a population including many Jews from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union, a major hospital and a large university. The city is one of the many ancient cities in the Land of Israel that the Children of Israel have revived and developed.
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