(Eʹber) [from a root meaning “pass over (cross)”; or, “other side [that is, the opposite side]”].
In addition to being the personal name of five different men in the Bible, “Eber” is used at Numbers 24:24 as either indicating the Hebrew race or else as referring to a region. The Greek Septuagint, the Syriac Peshitta, and the Latin Vulgate here render “Eber” as “the Hebrews.” However, “Eber” may in this case be referring to the land or people on the ‘other side’ of the Euphrates (in addition to Assyria, mentioned in the same verse). In Hebrew the expression for “beyond the River” (Heb., ʽeʹver han·na·harʹ) is used at times to refer to the region W of the Euphrates. (Ne 2:7, 9; 3:7) At 1 Kings 4:24 the same Hebrew expression is translated “this side of the River” (NW) or “west of the Euphrates.” (RS) The corresponding Aramaic expression is used to designate generally the region of Syria and Palestine.—Ezr 4:10, 11, 16, 17, 20; 5:3, 6; 6:6, 13.
1. A forefather of Abraham; the son of Shelah and the father of Peleg and Joktan as well as of other children. In the days of his son Peleg, whom Eber outlived by about 191 years, “the earth was divided.” This may have reference to Jehovah’s confusing the language of those who were building Babel and its tower under the direction of Nimrod.—Ge 10:25; 11:14-19, 26.
Genesis 10:21 refers to “Shem, the forefather of all the sons of Eber [“ancestor of all the Hebrews,” AT, Mo], the brother of Japheth the oldest.” Evidently Eber is here listed in close relation to Shem because of the Biblical importance attached to Eber’s descendants, particularly from Abraham forward. The text, therefore, does not restrict Shem’s descendants to just the Hebrews, as the succeeding verses make clear. Eber’s descendants through Joktan appear to have settled in Arabia, while those through Peleg are associated with Mesopotamia.
3. A Benjamite identified as a son of Elpaal.—1Ch 8:12.