(Beʹer) [well or pit].
The Hebrew word beʼerʹ usually refers to a well in contrast to a natural spring (Heb., ʽaʹyin). It commonly occurs in place-names as a prefix.—Compare BEER-ELIM, BEER-SHEBA.
1. After passing the Arnon River on their approach to the Promised Land, the Israelites came to Beer. (Num. 21:13-16) Here a well was dug, apparently by the princely heads of the tribes, using their own staffs, and water sprang up. This event was cause for the poetic song set forth in verses 17, 18.
Due to the part played by the princes in the digging of the well, some suggest that this is the same place as Beer-elim (well of the foremost men or chiefs). (Isa. 15:8) The location is uncertain, but it is considered likely to have been in the torrent valley called the Wadi eth-Thamad, N of the Arnon and some thirty-five miles (56 kilometers) E of the Dead Sea. Water is often found here quite easily by scooping out the soil.
2. A place to which Jotham, Gideon’s (Jerubbaal’s) son, fled after exposing Abimelech’s treachery. (Judg. 9:3-5, 21) El-Bireh, about seven miles (11 kilometers) N of Beth-shan and SE of Mount Tabor, is suggested by some as the probable location; others connect it with Beeroth. (see BEEROTH.) In view of the absence of any indication of the direction of Jotham’s flight from Mount Gerizim, however, the identification is uncertain.