Flight to Egypt - Part 2
"An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. 'Get up,' he said, 'take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt." (Matthew 2:13).
For Israelis (and tourist buses) the drive to Hebron is seamless using Israeli-only roads. For Palestinians it is a combination of checkpoints and slow public transportation.
About 3 miles north of Hebron, just east of Road 60, is the large Palestinian village (population 22,413 in 2007) of Halhul (below).
In Joshua 11, Halhul is listed among the inheritance of the tribe of Judah. A 12th century chronicler wrote that the tomb of Yunis ibn Matta (Jonah son of Amittai) was located there. Jonah appears in 2 Kings 14:25 as a prophet from Gath-Hepher (a few miles north of Nazareth), the central character in the book of Jonah famous for being swallowed by a fish. The biblical story of Jonah is repeated in the Qur'an. According to an old Jewish tradition Halhul also was the burial place of Gad, David's seer (2 Samuel 24:11).
Roughly half way between Halhul and Hebron, we turn right on the road towards Jericho. 500 yards further, on the left, is Elonei Mamre ("Oaks/Terebinths of Mamre"), which refers to a Canaanite cultic shrine that was in use from 2600-2000 BC. It was dedicated to El, the supreme sky-god of the Canaanite pantheon. According to the Biblical account Mamre was where Abram set up his tents and built an altar (Genesis 13:18). A grove of large trees there belonged to Abram's ally, an Amorite named Mamreh (the derivation of Mamre) (Genesis 14:13).
Near the great trees of Mamre several significant incidents took place in Abram's life: