Gerar - meaning "lodging-place" – was a Philistine town and district in what is today south central Israel. Archaeological evidence points to the town having come into existence with the arrival of the Philistines at around 1200 BC and having been little more than a village until 800-700 BC.
Biblically, the town features in two of the three wife-sister narratives in Genesis. The Bible records that Abraham and Isaac each stayed at Gerar, near what became Beersheba, and that each passed his wife off as his sister, leading to complications involving Gerar's Philistine king, Abimelech. (Genesis 20:1, and Genesis 26:1) The Haggada identifies the two references to Abimelech as two separate people, the second being the first Abimelech's son, and that his original name was Benmelech ["son of the King"], but he changed his name to his father's, which clearly evidences that the name means "my father is the king".
According to Easton's Bible Dictionary the Biblical valley of Gerar (Genesis 26:17) was probably the modern Wadi el-Jerdr. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Dr. William Smith's Bible Dictionary, and Thompson's Chain Topics all state simply that it was "south of Gaza". The Bible Places web site says it is generally accepted that Tel Haror is the site of ancient Gerar.
- Easton's Bible Dictionary, third edition, by M.G. Easton M.A., D.D. published by Thomas Nelson in 1897
- Abbreviated as ISBE, published 1844-1913
- Smith's Bible Dictionary published 1884
- Frank Thompson's New Chain-Reference Bible published in 1934, although this citation was taken from the Crosswire Project's edited electronic copy.