Sheb'arim (Heb. with the art., hash-Shebarim', הִשּׁבָרי, the breaches, as often elsewhere rendered; Sept. συνέτριψαν; Vulg. Sebarim) is given in the A.V. as the name of a place to which the Israelites retreated in the first attack of Ai (Jos 7:5). "The root of the word has the force of 'dividing' or 'breaking,' and it is therefore suggested that the name was attached to a spot where there were fissures or rents in the soil, gradually deepening till they ended in a sheer descent or precipice to the ravine by which the Israelites had come from Gilgal—'the going down' (הִמּוֹרָד; see ver. 5 and the margin of the A.V.). The ground around the site of Ai, on any hypothesis of its locality, was very much of this character. Keil (Josua, ad loc.) interprets Shebarim by 'stone quarries;' but this does not appear to be supported by other commentators or by lexicographers. The ancient interpreters (Sept., Targ., and Syr.) usually discard it as a proper name, and render it 'till they were broken up,' etc." But this is opposed both to the use of the art. here — which seems to indicate a well known and specific locality — and to the fact that but few of the Hebrews were slain there. A minute examination of the locality would doubtless reveal some clue to the name. SEE AI.

Bible concordance for SHEBARIM.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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