Be'er (Heb. Beer', בּאֵר, a well), a local proper name, denoting, whether by itself or in composition, BEER-, the presence of an artificial well of water. SEE WELL. It was thus distinguished from the frequent prefix SEE EN- (q.v.), which: designated a natural spring. There were two places known by this name simply. See the compounds in their alphabetical order.
1. (With the art., הִבּאֵר; Sept. ὁ φρέαρ.) A place in the desert, on the confines of Moab, where the Hebrew princes, by the direction of Moses, dug a well with their staves, being the forty-fourth station of the Hebrews in their wanderings from Egypt to Canaan (Nu 21:16-18). It seems to have been situated in the south part of the plain Ard Ramadan, not very far north-east of Dibon. SEE EXODE. The "wilderness" (מִדבָּר), which is named as their next starting-point in the last clause of ver. 18, may be that before spoken of in 13, or it may be a copyist's mistake for מִבּאֵר. So the Sept., who read καὶ ἀπὸ φρέατος - and from the well, i.e. "from Beer." Probably the same place is called more fully Beer-elim in Isa 15:8. (See Ortlob, Defonte baculis fosso, Lpz. 1718.)
According to the tradition of the Targumists—a tradition in part adopted by the apostle Paul (1Co 10:4), this was one of the appearances, the last before the entrance into the Holy Land, of the water which had "followed" the people, from its first arrival at Rephidim, through their wanderings. The water, so the tradition appears to have run, was granted for the sake of Miriam, her merit being that, at the peril of her life, she had watched the ark in which lay the infant Moses. It followed the march over mountains and into valleys, encircling the entire camp, and furnishing water to every man at his own tent door. This it did till her death (Nu 20:1), at which time it disappeared for a season, apparently rendering a special act necessary on each future, occasion for its evocation. The striking of the rock at Kadesh (Nu 20:10) was the first of these; the digging of the well at Beer by the staves of the princes, the second. Miriam's well at last found a home in a gulf or recess in the sea of Galilee, where at certain seasons its water flowed, and was resorted to for healing purposes (Targums of Onkelos and Pseudo-Jon., Nu 20:1; Nu 21:18, and also the quotations in Lightfoot on Joh 5:4). — Smith, s.v.
2. (Sept. Vat. Βατνπ; the Alex. entirely alters the passage — καὶ ἐπορεύθη ἐν ὁδῷ καὶ ἔφυγεν εἰς ῾Ραρά; Vulg. in Bera.) A town in the tribe of Judah, to which Jotham fled for fear of Abimelech (Jg 9:21). Eusebius and Jerome (Onomast. s.v. Βηρά, Bera) place Beer in the great plain eight Roman miles north of Eleutheropolis; perhaps the well near Deir Dubban. By many this place is identified with BEEROTH SEE BEEROTH (q.v.).