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 Septuagint, the Syriac Peshitta Version and the Vulgate here render “Eber” as “the Hebrews.” However, “Eber” may in this case mean “the land (or, people) on the other side,” thus referring to the land or people on the other side of the Euphrates (in addition to Assyria, mentioned in the same verse). The expression “the region on the other side of the river” (Heb., ʽEʹver han-na·harʹ) is used at 1 Kings 4:24 to refer to the “region west of the Euphrates” (RS), and the same phrase was used by the Assyrians and Persians to designate generally the region of Syria and Palestine.—Compare Ezra 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 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.—Gen. 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 due to 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 and the region of Haran.
4. A Benjamite headman listed among the sons of Shashak.—1 Chron. 8:22-25.