1. An Amorite prince, brother of Eshcol and Aner. All three united their forces to aid Abraham in the rescue of Lot, Ge 14. He gave his name to
2. The town where he dwelt, afterwards Hebron, in the suburbs of which was a large terebinth-tree, or grove, (see OAK,) called in the English Bible "the plain of Mamre." Here Abraham and his descendants often pitched their tents, Ge 13:18; 18:1. The cave of Machpelah was adjacent to Mamre on the east, Ge 23:17,19; 49:30; and from the heights nearby, Abraham could see the smoking plain of Sodom, Ge 19:27-28.
(2.) The name of the place in the neighbourhood of Hebron (q.v.) where Abraham dwelt (Ge 23:17,19; 35:27); called also in Authorized Version (Ge 13:18) the "plain of Mamre," but in Revised Version more correctly "the oaks [marg., 'terebinths'] of Mamre." The name probably denotes the "oak grove" or the "wood of Mamre," thus designated after Abraham's ally.
This "grove" must have been within sight of or "facing" Machpelah (q.v.). The site of Mamre has been identified with Ballatet Selta, i.e., "the oak of rest", where there is a tree called "Abraham's oak," about a mile and a half west of Hebron. Others identify it with er-Rameh, 2 miles north of Hebron.
Illustration: Abraham's Oak
An ancient Amorite. Ge 13:18, "the plain (rather the oaks or terebinths) of Mamre"; Ge 14:13,24, brother of Eshcol, friend and ally of Abraham. The chieftain had planted the terebinths, or was associated with them as his tenting place; so "the oak of Deborah" (Jg 4:5). Mamre was less than a mile from Hebron (Josephus, B. J. 4:9, section 7); but Robinson makes it two Roman miles off, now the hill er Rameh.
Constantine, to suppress the superstitions veneration to the terebinths, erected a basilica or church on the spot. That it was on an elevation appears from the record that Machpelah faces it (Ge 23:17-19; 25:9). Abram resided under the oak grove shade in the interval between his stay at Bethel and at Beersheba (Ge 13:18; 18:1; 20:1; 21:31). If Machpelah be on the N.E. side of the Hebron valley, then Mamre as "facing it" must have been on the opposite slope, where the governor's house now is. (See HEBRON .)
A name found several times in connexion with the history of Abraham. It occurs (a) in the expression 'terebinths of Mamre' in Ge 13:18; 18:1 (both Jahwist), and Ge 14:13 (from an independent source) with the addition of 'the Amorite'; (b) in the expression 'which is before Mamre,' in descriptions of the cave of Machpelah, or of the field in which it was (Ge 23:17,19; 25:9; 49:30; 50:13), and in Ge 35:27, where Mamre is mentioned as the place of Isaac's death; (c) in Ge 14:24 as the name of one of Abraham's allies, in his expedition for the recovery of Lot. In (b) Mamre is an old name, either of Hebron or of a part of Hebron (cf. Ge 23:19; 35:27); in Ge 14:13 it is the name of a local sheik or chief (cf. Ge 14:24), the owner of the terebinths called after him; in Ge 13:18; 18:1 it is not clear whether it is the name of a person or of a place. The 'terebinths of Mamre' are the spot at which Abraham pitched his tent in Hebron. The site is uncertain, though, if the present mosque, on the N.E. edge of Hebron, is really built over the cave of Machpelah, and if 'before' has its usual topographical sense of 'east of,' it will have been to the W. of this, and at no great distance from it (for the terebinths are described as being 'in' Hebron, Ge 13:18). From Josephus' time (BJ, IV. ix. 7) to the present day, terebinths or oaks called by the name of Abraham have been shown at different spots near Hebron; but none has any real claim to mark the authentic site of the ancient 'Mamre.' The oak mentioned by Josephus was 6 stadia from the city; but he does not indicate in which direction it lay. Sozomen (HE ii. 4), in speaking of the 'Abraham's Oak' of Constantine's day (2 miles N. of Hebron), states that it was regarded as sacred, and that an annual fair and feast was held beside it, at which sacrifices were offered, and libations and other offerings cast into a well close by. Cf. Oak.
S. R. Driver.
(strength, fatness) an ancient Amorite, who with his brothers, Eshcol and Aner, was in alliance with Abram,
and under the shade of whose oak grove the patriarch dwelt in the interval between his residence at Bethel and at Beersheba. ch.
In the subsequent chapters Mamre is a mere local appellation. ch,
MAMRE, an Amorite, brother of Aner and Eshcol, and friend of Abraham, Ge 14:13. It was with these three persons, together with his own and their domestics, that Abraham pursued and overcame the kings after their conquest of Sodom and Gomorrah.
2. MAMRE, the same as Hebron. In Ge 23:19, it is said, that "Abraham buried Sarah in the cave of the field of Machpelah, before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan." And in Ge 35:27, it is said, that "Jacob came unto Isaac his father, unto Mamre, unto the city of Arba, which is Hebron." The city probably derived its name from that Mamre who joined Abraham in the pursuit of Chedorlaomer, and the rescue of Lot, Genesis 14.
MAMRE, PLAIN OF, a plain near Mamre, or Hebron, said to be about two miles to the south of the town. Here Abraham dwelt after his separation from Lot; here he received from God himself a promise of the land, in which he was then a stranger, for his posterity; here he entertained the angels under an oak, and received a second promise of a son; and here he purchased a burying place for Sarah; which served also as a sepulchre for himself and the rest of his family.