(a' nak) HEBREW: ANAQ


A race of giants called the Anakim traced their ancestry to Anak, the son of the Canaanite Arba, founder of Kiriath-Arba (the city later known as
Hebron). *Hebron, the land Caleb received for his inheritance, is the focus of contemporary land conflict between Palestinians and Jews, and is
much in the news
Anak's descendants were conquered and displaced by Caleb, one of the scouts whom Moses had sent decades earlier to spy out the land of
Giants like the Anakim were also known as Nephilim, thought to be superhuman progeny of the sons of God and the daughters on men cited in
Genesis 6:4.

{E2 Dictionary of Biblical People}


The Hebrew word "Hebron" is derived from the Hebrew word for "friend" (haver), a description for the Patriarch Abraham, who was considered
to be the friend of God. The Arabic "Al- Khalil" — literally "the friend" — has a nearly identical derivation, and also refers to the Patriarch
Abraham (Ibrahim), whom Muslims similarly describe as the friend of God.

Hebron, which rises 3,050 feet (926 meters) above sea level, has a long and rich Jewish history. It was one of the first places where the
Patriarch Abraham resided after his arrival in Canaan. King David was anointed in Hebron, where he reigned for seven years.

Religious Significance
The Cave of Machpelah, or Tomb of the Patriarchs, is the world's most ancient Jewish site and the second holiest place for the Jewish people,
after the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The cave was purchased by Abraham as a burial place for his wife Sarah some 3,700 years ago, along
with the trees and field adjoining it, the first recorded transaction of a Hebrew buying land in Canaan (Genesis 23). Abraham, Isaac, Jacob,
Rebecca, and Leah were all later buried in the same place. These are considered the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people. The only
one who is missing is Rachel, who was buried near Bethlehem where she died in childbirth. Muslims believe that Joseph is also buried here,
though Jews think he was buried in Nablus.

The building covering the cave was constructed roughly two thousand years ago by Herod. The 40-60 foot high walls are similar to those of the
Temple Mount. Since Herod's time, the structure has been used by foreign conquerors as a shrine to their own religions. Thus, the Byzantines
and Crusaders transformed it into a church and the Muslims converted it a mosque. About 700 years ago, the Mamelukes conquered Hebron,
declared the structure a mosque and forbade entry to Jews, who were not allowed past the seventh step on a staircase outside the building.

The tomb of Isaac (WZO)
The structure is divided into three rooms: Ohel Avraham, Ohel Yitzhak, and Ohel Ya'akov. Presently Jews have access to Ohel Yitzhak, the
largest room, only 10 days a year. The tombs are all underground. The visible parts are covered with tapestries and cenotaphs. A 700-year-old
stained-glass window adorns the tomb of Jacob and Leah, which are in an adjoining courtyard opposite the monuments to Abraham and

Though Israel regained control of Hebron in 1967, the Cave of Machpelah has remained under the authority of the Muslim Waqf (Religious
Trust), which continues to restrict Jewish access. No visitors are allowed inside during Muslim prayer times, Fridays or Muslim holidays.

At the time of Abraham, the Canaanite town in this place was known as Kiryat Arba. The name was later changed to Hebron (Joshua 14:15).
Today, Kiryat Arba is the name of a suburb of Hebron, five minutes from the Cave of Machpelah and the heart of the city. Established in 1971,
Kiryat Arba was the first renewed Jewish community in Judea and Samaria. Today, Kiryat Arba is home to more than 6,000 Jews who have a
reputation for being among the most zealous defenders of the idea that Jews have a right to live in the West Bank. The town has educational
institutions from pre-nursery school through post-High school, modern medical facilities, shopping centers, a bank and post office.

Israel's Wars with the Giants (Cont.)
Before the Israelites renamed it Hebron, the Anakim called it Kiriath Arba, or City of Arba, in honor of their forefather, Arba. He was a great hero
of the Anakim.112 In time, Arba's overgrown children grew so numerous that they were able to possess much of southern Canaan. These
giants divided into three clans. They were ruled from Hebron by Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, descendants of Arba,113 but Hebron also had
its own king (Joshua 10:37).

Standing 3,040 feet above sea level, this fortified city overlooked a shallow, fertile valley surrounded by rising hills. Through it ran the main
highway connecting Jerusalem and parts farther north with Egypt, the Negeb, and the coastland. Joshua therefore viewed Hebron's capture as
having both a strategic and a morale-breaking importance; strategic because it was the most southerly road-crossing center of the highland
system; and morale-breaking because, as the principal mountain stronghold of the Anakim, its downfall would further demoralize the natives. At
Joshua's command, the Israelites stormed Hebron, drove out Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, slew its king, and put all its huge occupants who
could not escape to the sword.

Following the battle at Hebron, the invaders struck out across the Negeb toward Debir (modern Dhaheriyeh). It stood as a frontier town between
the hill country and the Negeb, some eleven miles southwest of Hebron. Excavators say it rivalled Jericho in size. And in earlier times it
apparently had been a seat of an old Canaanite culture, for it was known both as Kiriath Sepher ("City of Books") and Kiriath Sanna ("City of the
Scribes"). In Joshua's day, however, many Anakim giants occupied the city. Here no trees grew, so Debir, being located on a higher elevation
than the surrounding bald hills, became visible to Israel's marching legions from a long way off.

John Garstang says the protecting walls that confronted the Hebrews here "were for the most part about ten feet thick, but attained in places to
as much as thirteen feet, and these were further strengthened on the outside, in characteristic fashion, by a sloping revetment of stonework. In
detail of construction this masonry was less massive than the contemporary work of Shechem or Hattin, but is comparable with much of that of
Jericho."114 In his excavations, the archaeologist also found clear evidence of a time when Debir thrived as a center for culture and learning--
until its overthrow by the Hyksos from Egypt about 1550 B.C. But when the city was rebuilt, he writes, it "showed indications of relative poverty:
the houses were poorly built and departed by open spaces containing grain pits. In this period the derelict fortifications of the earlier period
were restored, and the east gate was entirely rebuilt, on the same general plan."115

When this fortress-city of the giants fell to them, the Hebrews slew its king and all who were unable to escape. Garstang mentions mat the
ruins at Debir yielded evidence of an overthrow like what he saw at Jericho. "The destruction of the city (at Level C)," he adds, "was
accompanied by a terrific conflagration, and by the complete demolition of the fortifications." 116

After this great slaughter, the Hebrews marched on Anab. In earlier times, another people occupied this city. But the Anakim giants assailed it,
wiped out its inhabitants, and made it their possession. Anab, the name of which still survives today as Khirbet Anab, stood amid the Judean
hills, only a short distance from Debir. After breaching its walls, Israel's legions totally demolished the city and put to death all its giants. After
this, the Hebrews likely cleared a number of giants out of the "Valley of the Rephaim" southwest of Jerusalem.117 Also about this time they
probably slaughtered the remnant of the monstrous Awim, who lived at nearby Avvim. Then they captured Jerusalem, or at least that part of it
that was known as the "lower city." Despite their greatest efforts, however, they were unable to dislodge the Jebusites from the "upper city."
These few but determined people occupied the narrow plateau of Mt. Ophel, just southeast of Jerusalem. Bounded by the Kidron, Tyropoeon,
and Zedek Valleys, Jebus encompassed no more than eleven or twelve acres. But because of its bold rock escarpments, the small city stood
as an impregnable bastion, and "not to be taken without great difficulty, through the strength of its walls, and the nature of the place."118 And,
indeed, it was not taken until some four centuries later, in the time of David. When Joshua attacked it, some Horim giants supposedly lived
among the Jebusites.119

Except for several pockets of resistance, like this one at Jebus, much of southern Canaan now belonged to the Hebrews.120 So Joshua
ordered his legions to invade the north country. We have no way of knowing how many giants the Hebrews fought in these latter campaigns, for
Joshua, who kept careful records of his battles against the Anakim in the south, now devoted much less time to the chores of journal-keeping.
Concerning the northern giants, he penned the briefest summary, noting only that the Anakim occupied "all the hill country of Israel,"121
meaning all the territory later allotted to the ten northern tribes. He also barely mentions the Rephaim--and then only in connection with a
complaint by Ephraim and the half-tribe of Manasseh. That complaint came after the tribes had received their land allotments. Feeling that they
had not gotten a fair shake, the sons of Joseph grumbled that their allotment was not sufficient for their great numbers. So Joshua told them: "If
you are so numerous, and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourself there in the land of
the Perizzites and of Rephaites."122 The Perizzites, whom some scholars also identify with the giant Horim,123 lived in the vicinity of Shechem.
A large clan of the Rephaim occupied a territory just north of them, with their settlements extending perhaps as far as the Valley of Jezreel. The
children of Joseph apparently took Moses' advice and destroyed or drove out all these giants, for afterward they occupied that land.

Against the northern cities Joshua waged war a long time. But while they were thus occupied with the conquest of upper Canaan, and bent
upon cleansing it of the giants, the Anakim who had escaped the Israelites' swords during their earlier sieges in the south later returned and
reoccupied Hebron and Debir, cities that were assigned to Caleb. Consequently, after the land was divided by lot among Israel's twelve tribes,
some men of Judah, with Caleb at their head, returned to the south country and again came against these places.

An account of Caleb's renewed campaign against the giants who reoccupied Hebron appears in Josephus histories. After telling what great
difficulty the people of Judah faced in their long siege against Jebus, or upper Jerusalem, he relates that they removed their camp to Hebron to
assist Caleb against the Gibborim there. "And when they had taken it," he adds, "they slew all the inhabitants. There were till then left a race of
giants, who had bodies so large, and countenances so entirely different from other men, that they were surprising to the sight, and terrible to
the hearing. The bones of these men are still shown to this very day, unlike to any credible relations of other men."124

After retaking Hebron, Caleb proceeded southward to the re-occupied Debir (i.e., Kiriath Sepher). Upon reaching that place, he said to his chief
men: "I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher."125 Quick to volunteer, Othniel, a son of
Caleb's younger brother, advanced with his men into the city, slew all its defiant giants, and retook it. So Caleb gave his daughter Acsah to him
in marriage.

With Caleb's recapture of Hebron and Debir, Israel's seven-year campaign against the giants and Canaan's other inhabitants came to an end.
Their many victories put the Hebrews in control of much of the country and broke the once awesome military power of its people.126 But the
legions of Israel failed to exterminate or drive all the other pagan trespassers off God's land, as they had been commanded. Even a few cities
remained untaken.127 Had they done as well in dispossessing all the other Canaanites as they had the giants, later Hebrew history may have
followed a much different and less tragic course. But after seven long years of intense fighting and much gore, the Hebrews grew weary of war.
So, assenting to their plea, Joshua gave them rest from war.

Even though these few places of resistance remained throughout the country, Israel's men of war had at least accomplished their major
objective--to cleanse God's land of the Gibborim. That this cleansing was complete we learn from our chronicler. In his final summary of the
campaign, he wrote: "Then Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab and from
all the hill country of Judah and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. There were no Anakim left in the
land of the sons of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod some remained."128 But these giants who survived Joshua's campaigns and
fled to the Philistines on the coast, or to Africa and other countries, were so few that they never again posed a serious threat to the children of
Israel. (See Abraham and the Giants; Canaan's Anakim; David vs Goliath Jericho's Giants; Sihon's and Og's Overthrow)
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