Hormah (Zephath)
Dictionary of Bible Names

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Hormah (Zephath)
Bible Meaning: Devoted, devotion
Strong's Concordance #H2767

The Israelites, fearful of the people who inhabited the Promised Land, initially refused to fight for their inheritance. God, in response to their lack of faith, punished them with roaming the wilderness for forty years (Numbers 14:22 - 23, 29 - 35). Stung by their penalty, and in spite of being warned not to do so, some of the Israelites attempted to attack those living in Canaan. The Amalekites and the Canaanites, however, overcame them in battle at Hormah (Zephath).

More than forty years later the king of Hormah, after Israel crossed the Jordan River to battle for their inheritance, was one of thirty-one rulers conquered by the Israelites under Joshua (Joshua 12:14). Hormah was then given to the tribe of Simeon (Joshua 19:1 - 2, 4).

Hormah, initially named Zephath, was apparently repopulated after the defeat of its king. It required the tribes of Judah and Simeon to conquer and destroy it before it was fully under Israelite control. It was after this destruction that the city received its new name (Judges 1:17).

Location of Hormah in Ancient Israel Map

Important Verses

Numbers 14:45
Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.

Numbers 21:3
And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites: and they utterly destroyed them and their cities: and he called the name of the place Hormah.

Deuteronomy 1:42 - 44
And the Lord said unto me (Moses), Say unto them, Go not up, neither fight; for I am not among you; lest ye be smitten before your enemies. So I spake unto you; and ye would not hear . . .

And the Amorites, which dwelt in that mountain, came out against you, and chased you, as bees do, and destroyed you in Seir, even unto Hormah.

Joshua 19:1 - 2, 4
And the second lot came forth to Simeon, even for the tribe of the children of Simeon according to their families: and their inheritance was within the inheritance of the children of Judah.

And they had in their inheritance Beersheba, or Sheba, and Moladah . . . and Eltolad, and Bethul, and Hormah . . .

Judges 1:17 - 18
And Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they slew the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. And the name of the city was called Hormah.

Also Judah took Gaza with the coast thereof, and Askelon with the coast thereof, and Ekron with the coast thereof.

1Samuel 30:26, 30
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 Hormah, and to them which were in Chorashan, and to them which were in Athach . . .

Additional Studies

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