"And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phichol the chief captain of his host spoke to Abraham, saying, ‘God is with you in all that you do: now therefore swear (hashava in Hebrew) unto me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me...’
...And Abraham said, ‘I will swear’ (ashva in Hebrew)
And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well (be'er in Hebrew) of water, which Abimelech's servants had violently taken away...
And Abraham set seven (sheva in Hebrew) ewe lambs...
...And he said, ‘for these seven (sheva in Hebrew) ewe lambs you shall take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well’(be'er in Hebrew).
Wherefore he called that place Beersheba (Be'er Sheva in Hebrew) because there they swore, both of them " (Genesis 21:23-31).
This passage explains how the name of the city is derived from the ancient Hebrew word, sheva, and shows why Beer Sheva (or Be’er Sheba) can be translated as the Well of Seven or The Well of Oath.
Another passage offers possible meaning of the city’s name as well. Genesis records the meeting between Issac, Abraham's son, and Abimelech.
"Then Abimelech came to him from Gerar with Ahuzzath, one of his friends, and Phichol the commander of his army. And Isaac said to them, ‘Why have you come to me, since you hate me and have sent me away from you?’
But they said, ‘We have certainly seen that the Lord is with you. So we said, Let there now be an oath between us, between you and us; and let us make a covenant with you, that you will do us no harm, since we have not touched you, and since we have done nothing to you but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the Lord.’
So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. Then they arose early in the morning and swore (yishbeu in Hebrew) an oath with one another; and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.
It came to pass the same day that Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well (be'er in Hebrew) which they had dug, and said to him, “We have found water.” So he called it Shebah (shva'a in Hebrew). Therefore the name of the city is Beersheba (Be'er Sheva in Hebrew) to this day" (Genesis 26:26-31).
This account explains the name of the city can also be Seven Wells.
Tel Beersheba National Park is the site where Abraham, Issac and Jacob, the forefathers of the Jewish Nation lived. This historic Tel is one of three UNESCO heritage sites from biblical days.
There was the settlement at the mound (or tel in Arabic) as early as 4000 BC, during the Chalcolitic period.
During the excavations there were discovered potsherds that attest to this period. The settlement thrived between two streams called Be'er Sheva and Basor. These streams flowed annually on a seasonal basis, also known as washes.
During the period of the Kingdom of Israel, also known as the Iron Age, the settlement was rebuilt. The dwellings at the site are easily recognized as typical of Israelites of the time. The dwellings consist of four room houses featuring a large room with three others positioned perpendicular to it. The settlement had 20 dwellings and population was probably around 100.
The city was fortified in the 9th and 10th centuries during the time period when King Solomon was strengthening the kingdom of Israel. During his reign, the Land of Israel was secure and the borders were expanded from Dan to Beersheba (1 Kings 4:25).
( to be continued)