HUR (hûr, Heb. hûr, whiteness)

HUR hûr (Heb. ח֔וּר). A number of etymologies have been suggested. As an eponym or gentilic it most likely is related to the tribe of the Horites, or Hurrians (q.v.) Heb. חֹרִ֖י (Gen 14:6, et al.). In the case of the proper names of individuals several origins are possible, Akkad. hūru, as a “son,” “male child.” The word, however, is rare, and only a lexical list equates it with other words for “son.” Its use in Nuzi and the peripheral Akkad. of other sites prob. indicates an ancient hyperchoristikon as “son of, darling boy of (divine name).” Another proposal is to connect the name with that of the Egyp. deity, Horus, Egyp. Hor, but such names are not common from Syria-Pal. In all, five individuals in the OT bear the name. 1. An important man in Israel who aided Aaron in holding aloft the hands of Moses at Rephidim so that the Israelites could win over the Amalekites (Exod 17:10-13). He assisted in the ruling of the tribes during Moses’ absence on Mount Sinai (24:14).

2. A Judean who built the Tabernacle with other craftsmen, a descendant of Caleb (31:2; 1 Chron 2:19; et al.). He is also mentioned as the grandfather of Bazalel. Jewish tradition makes him the husband of Miriam and this is reported by Josephus in his narrative about 1 above (Jos. Antiq. III, 54). He gives the name as Gr. Οὐ̂ρ, while the LXX reads, Ωρ. Additional Rabbinic traditions make this man the son and not the husband of Miriam.

3. A Midianite king who is slain with Balaam and four other rulers. He was an officer of Sihon the Amorite king (Num 31:1-8; Josh 13:21).

4. An officer of the twelve which Solomon set in one district of Ephraim to supply food to the palace. The KJV mistakes the patronymic for the father’s name, which would thereby be Hur.

5. A co-ruler with Nehemiah has as his patronymic, “son of Hur.” His name is given as Rephaiah who aided the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem. The difficulty which the Gr. transliterations demonstrate and the slight variations of the name in the OT tend to demonstrate that this was a name of foreign origin and prob. meant merely “Horite ancestry.”

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


(1) A prominent official in Israel. With Aaron he held up Moses’ hands during the battle against the Amalekites (Ex 17:10,12) and assisted him as judicial head of the people during Moses’ stay in the mount (Ex 24:14).

(2) Grandfather of Bezalel, the head artificer in the construction of the Tabernacle (Ex 31:2; 35:30; 38:22; 2Ch 1:5). He is here assigned to the tribe of Judah, and in 1Ch is connected with the same by descent through Caleb (2:19,20,50; 4:1,4). Josephus (Ant., III, ii, 4; vi, 1) makes him identical with (1) and the husband of Miriam.

(3) One of the five kings of Midian slain along with Balaam when Israel avenged the "matter of Peor" upon this people (Nu 31:8; compare Nu 31:1,2,16). In Jos 13:21 these kings are spoken of as "chiefs (nesi’im) of Midian" and "princes (necikhim) of Sihon," king of the Amorites.

(4) According to 1Ki 4:8 the King James Version, the father of one of Solomon’s twelve officers who provided food for the king’s household, and whose district was the hill country of Ephraim. Here the Revised Version (British and American) has "Ben-hur," taking the Hebrew ben, "son of," as part of the proper name; and the same is true in reference to the names of four others of these officers (compare 1Ki 4:9,10,11,13).

(5) Father of Rephaiah, who was one of the builders of the wall under Nehemiah, and ruler of half the district of Jerusalem (Ne 3:9).