Dictionary of Bible Names

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Bible Meaning: Ruins, nudity
Strong's Concordance #H6177

At least three Biblical cities are named Aroer.

A city named Aroer was located east of the Dead Sea and just north of the Arnon River. When Israel left Egypt, it was the capital of the land ruled by Amorite King Sihon (Deuteronomy 3:12, 4:48). After the Israelites defeated Sihon the city was given to the tribe of Reuben (Joshua 13:16).

Many years later the Ammonites (not to be confused with the Amorites) waged war against Israel claiming they stole Aroer and other lands from them (Judges 11). Jephthah, later to be a Judge of Israel, responded that God gave the land to Israel and it was therefore not stolen! He additionally pointed out that when it was conquered by God's people it was controlled by the Amorites and not them. Israel had a valid claim on the land since they had inhabited it for 300 years (Judges 11:26).

Another Aroer was located in the territory of Gad near the city of Rabbah (Joshua 13:25). Biblical commentaries disagree, however, whether this city, or another of the same name in Reuben's territory (mentioned above) was where Jephthah defeated the Ammonites (Judges 11:33). It was before this war that Jephthah made a vow some misinterpret as him willing to kill his own daughter if God made him victorious.

A third city of the same name, located in Judah's territory, was one of the many places King David shared the spoils from one of his wars (1Samuel 30:28).

Location of Aroer east of the Dead Sea map

Important Verses

Deuteronomy 2:36
From Aroer, which is by the brink of the river of Arnon, and from the city that is by the river, even unto Gilead, there was not one city too strong for us: the Lord our God delivered all unto us . . .

Deuteronomy 3:12
And this land, which we possessed at that time, from Aroer, which is by the river Arnon, and half mount Gilead, and the cities thereof, gave I (Moses) unto the Reubenites and to the Gadites.

Joshua 12:1 - 2
Now these are the kings of the land, which the children of Israel smote, and possessed their land on the other side Jordan toward the rising of the sun, from the river Arnon unto mount Hermon, and all the plain on the east:

Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt in Heshbon, and ruled from Aroer, which is upon the bank of the river Arnon, and from the middle of the river, and from half Gilead, even unto the river Jabbok, which is the border of the children of Ammon . . .

Joshua 13:15 - 16
And Moses gave unto the tribe of the children of Reuben inheritance according to their families. And their coast was from Aroer, that is on the bank of the river Arnon, and the city that is in the midst of the river, and all the plain by Medeba . . .

Judges 11:25 - 26, 33
And now art thou any thing better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them,

While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that be along by the coasts of Arnon, three hundred years? why therefore did ye not recover them within that time? . . .

And he (Jepthah) smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.

1Samuel 30:26, 28
And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the Lord . . .

And to them which were in Aroer, and to them which were in Siphmoth, and to them which were in Eshtemoa . . .

Additional Studies

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Series Notes
References are based on the
King James Bible translation (KJV).