"Machpelah Cave" Top 5 Page for this destination Hebron Things to Do Tip by FruitLover

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The actual meaning of 'MACHPELAH" is 'DOUBLE' (from the Hebrew root k-p-l), and is interpreted as referring either to a double cave or to the 'couples' buried in the cave.

The Bible relates that Avraham, wishing to bury Sarah, purchased Machpelah from Efron the Hittite for 400 silver Shekels.

Avraham himself, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah were all later buried there. Jacob specifically commanded his sons not to bury him in Egypt but to lay him to rest with his fathers in the cave of Machpelah (Gen. 47:28-31; 49:30).

The site of the cave is today identified with Kharam el-Khalil in modern Hebron. Surrounding the area, to a height of 12 m, is a magificent wall, distinguished by its hewn stones which are up to 7.5 m. in length.

The area inside the compound was originally left roofless. The Byzantineas built a church, later converted to a mosque by the Muslims.

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  • Updated Nov 6, 2011
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