AROER (a-rō'êr, Heb. ‘aro‘ēr, poor, naked, helpless). The same word is translated “bush” in Jer.17.6; Jer.48.6. 1. A town on a branch of the brook Jabbok, fortified early by the tribe of Gad (Num.32.34), having been taken from Sihon, king of the Amorites (cf. Josh.13.25). A camping place of Joab (2Sam.24.5) when taking a census in the days of David. Isaiah speaks of it as being deserted in his time (Isa.17.2).
2. A town about thirty-five miles (fifty-eight km.) south of no. 1, on the north bank of the Arnon, located in the tribe of Reuben just across from Moab. Moses took this town also from Sihon (Deut.2.36) and gave it to Reuben (Josh.13.9). Hazael, king of Syria, took it from Israel in the days of Jehu (2Kgs.10.33). Jeremiah scoffs at its inhabitants (Jer.48.19).
3. A town in the southern part of Judah (1Sam.30.28).
2. A city near Rabbah (Josh 13:25). The site has not been positively identified and it may be that this is the same as 1. above.
3. A city in the Negeb some twelve m. SE of Beersheba and known today as Khirbet ’Ar’areh. David shared his Amalekite spoils with the people of Aroer (1 Sam 30:28) and two sons of Hotham the Aroerite were among David’s mighty men (1 Chron 11:44).
On 1. see N. Glueck, “Explorations in Eastern Palestine I,” AASOR, XIV (1934), 3, 36, 49-51. On 2. see N. Glueck, “Explorations in Eastern Palestine II,” AASOR, XVIII, XIX (1939), 168-170, 247, 249. On 3. see N. Glueck, Rivers in the Desert (1959), 131, 132, 184, 185.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
(1) A city of the Amorites which stood on the northern edge of the Arnon (De 2:36, etc.). Taken by Israel, it shared the vicissitudes of the country north of the river, and when last named (Jer 48:19) is again in the hands of Moab. It is one of the cities which Mesha claims to have built, i.e. fortified. It was within the territory allotted to Reuben, yet its building (fortification) is attributed to Gad (Nu 32:34). Thus far came the Syrian, Hazael, in his raid upon Israel (2Ki 10:33). The Roman road across the valley lay about an hour to the West of Khirbet `Ara`ir.
(2) A city in Gilead described as "before Rabbah," on the boundary between Gad and the Ammonites (Jos 13:25). No name resembling this has yet been recovered in the district indicated.
(3) A city in the territory of Judah named only in 1Sa 30:28. Probably however in Jos 15:22 we should read `ar`arah instead of `adh`adhah, which may be the same city, and may be identical with `Ar`ara, a site with cisterns and some remains of ancient buildings about 14 miles Southeast of Beersheba.