Eber (עֵבֶר, ISO 259-3 ʕebr, Standard Hebrew Éver, Tiberian Hebrew ʻĒḇer) is an ancestor of the Israelites, according to the "Table of Nations" in Genesis 10-11 and 1 Chronicles 1. He was a great-grandson of Noah's son Shem and the father of Peleg born when Eber was 34 years old, and of Joktan. He was the son of Shelah a distant ancestor of Abraham. According to the Hebrew Bible, Shelah died at the age of 464 (Genesis 11:14-17) when Jacob was 20. The Hebrew Calendar synchronises this date with 1817 BCE, however numerous other dates have been proposed for the patriarchs in Genesis.
In the Septuagint and other Christian Bibles derived from it, Eber is called Heber and his father is called Sala. His son is called Phaleg, born when Heber was 134 years old, and he had other sons and daughters. Heber lived to an age of 404 years. (Septuagint Genesis 11:14-17)
In Jewish tradition, Eber, the great-grandson of Shem, refused to help with the building of the Tower of Babel, so his language was not confused when it was abandoned. He and his family alone retained the original human language, Hebrew, a language named after Eber (Heber), also called lingua humana in Latin. (There are different religious positions on this issue; see also Adamic language.)
- [Genesis 10:21] Also to Shem, the father of all the Children of Eber, and the older brother of Japheth, children were born. (NASB)
In some translations of the New Testament, he is referred to once as Heber ([Luke 3:35] ...the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Heber, the son of Salah...); however, he should not be confused with the Heber of the Old Testament (different Hebrew spelling חבר), grandson of Asher ([Genesis 46:17].
Eber is sometimes identified with the prophet Hud of Islamic sources.
A number of mediaeval scholars such as Michael the Syrian, Bar Hebraeus, and Agapius the Historian mentioned the prevailing view, that the Hebrews had received their name from Eber, while also pointing out that according to others, the name "Hebrew" meant "those who cross", in reference to those who crossed the Euphrates river with Abram from Paddan Aram to the land of Canaan.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1897 Easton's Bible Dictionary article Eber.|