Hormah (meaning "broken rock", "banned", or "devoted to destruction"), also known by its Canaanite name Zephath (Tsfat צפת), is an unidentified city mentioned in the Hebrew Bible in relation to several conflicts between the migrant Israelite people seeking to enter the Promised Land and the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt at that time in southern Canaan.
Its location is unknown; some place it between Beer Sheba and Gaza, some between Beer Sheba and Arad, and some in the east side of the Arabah in the ruins of Sarta (under the town of Tafileh, Tufileh or Tafyleh, identified as biblical Tophel).
The city is mentioned in Book of Numbers 14:45 as the site of an Israelite defeat:
- Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that mountain came down and attacked them, and drove them back as far as Hormah.
The city is then mentioned in Book of Numbers 21:2-3 as the site of an Israelite victory:
- Then Israel made this vow to the LORD: "If you will deliver these people into our hands, we will totally destroy their cities." The LORD listened to Israel's plea and gave the Canaanites over to them. They completely destroyed them and their towns; so the place was named Hormah.
Hormah is also mentioned in Book of Judges 1:17:
- Then the men of Judah went with the Simeonites their brothers and attacked the Canaanites living in Zephath, and they totally destroyed the city. Therefore it was called Hormah.
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