Genesis 13:1 and 20:1 both record Abraham traveling to a region called the Negeb (or Negev depending on the English translation).

13:1 - So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb.

20:1 - From there Abraham journeyed toward the territory of the Negeb and lived between Kadesh and Shur; and he sojourned in Gerar.

From what I can tell from a couple maps and dictionaries, the Negeb is south of the land of Israel (or perhaps on the south end of Israel?) Would this region, though, have been considered part of the wilderness where Israel wandered?

  • Negev is the Hebrew word for south. Relative to Israel, the Negev desert or wilderness is to the south. BTW Negev and Negeb are really the same (though the former is correct.) The difference is due to the transliteration from the Hebrew alphabet into the English. B and V are translated (here) from the same letter, Beth, which when placed at the end is pronounced as a v.
    – Fraser Orr
    Nov 9, 2012 at 20:59

1 Answer 1


All theories I've seen of the path(s) of the children of Israel post-Exodus pass through the modern Negev. However, since the various promises in b'reishit do not come with modern map coordinates, it's pretty much unanswerable whether, as a result, they were spending their time in 'promised' territory. For that matter, it's not at all clear what parts of Avraham's peregrinations were spent in territory covered by promises.

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