an enclosure; a wall, a part, probably, of the Arabian desert, on the north-eastern border of Egypt, giving its name to a wilderness extending from Egypt toward Philistia (Ge 16:7; 20:1; 25:18; Ex 15:22). The name was probably given to it from the wall (or shur) which the Egyptians built to defend their frontier on the north-east from the desert tribes. This wall or line of fortifications extended from Pelusium to Heliopolis.
Outside the eastern border of Egypt. ("a wall".) The strip of desert which skirts the wall-like range of jebel er Rahah (E. of Suez, the continuation of the range jebel et Tih northward toward the Mediterranean, still called by the Arabs jebel es Sur) as far S. as wady Gharandel. Hagar fleeing from Abraham, then in southern Palestine, reached a fountain "in the way to Shur" (Ge 16:7). She was probably making for her country Egypt by the inland caravan route, the way by Star over jebel er Rahah as distinguished from the coast road by el Arish. Abraham settled for a time between the two deserts of Kadesh and Shur, and finally sojourned at Gerar (Ge 20:1).
In Ge 25:18 Shur is defined to be "before (i.e. E. of) Egypt." So 1Sa 15:7; 27:8; Josephus (Ant. 6:7) makes it Pelusium, near the Nile's mouth; others the N.E. part of the wilderness of Paran, now al Jifar. Gesenius makes Shur the modern Suez. Israel entered "the wilderness of Shur" when they had crossed the Red Sea (Ex 15:22-23). The wilderness of Shur is the whole district between the N.E. frontier of Egypt and Palestine, Shur being derived from the Egyptian Khar (occurring in a papyrus of the 19th dynasty), Kh and Sh being interchanged. In Nu 33:8 the special designation occurs, "the wilderness of Etham" (at the northern extremity of the Bitter Lakes).
A place or district on the N.E. border of Egypt (Ge 16:7; 20:1; 25:18; Ex 15:22; 1Sa 15:7; 27:8). The name in Aramaic means 'wall,' and, as Egyp. th is regularly rendered by sh in Aramaic, Shur is probably the Egyp. city Thor (the vocalization is uncertain), a fortress near the N.E. frontier, and capital of the 14th nome of Lower Egypt. This Thor lay on a stream or canal named Shi-H
(a wall), a place just without the eastern border of Egypt. Shur is first mentioned in the narrative of Haggar's flight from Sarah.
Abraham afterward "dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar."
It is also called Ethami. The wilderness of Shur was entered in the Israelites after they had crossed the Red Sea.
It was also called the wilderness of Etham.
Shur may have been a territory town east of the ancient head of the Red Sea; and from its being spoken of as a limit, it was probably the last Arabian town before entering Egypt.