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Who was Hur in the Bible?

There are a few men by the name of Hur in the Bible. Two are only mentioned in passing. One such man was one of five kings in Midian defeated by the Israelites referred to in Numbers 31:8 and Joshua 13:21. Another Hur is mentioned in Nehemiah 3:9 as being father to Rephaiah, but no other information is shared.

A Hur who played a more significant role is the grandfather of Bezalel. This Hur is the son of Caleb, who was the only other spy besides Joshua to have faith that God would give the Israelites victory in the Promised Land (Numbers 13:30). This Hur was from the tribe of Judah; he fathered Uri and was grandfather to Bezalel (1 Chronicles 2:18–20; Exodus 31:2). Bezalel was filled "with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship… [and] inspired [] to teach" in order to build the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle (Exodus 35:31–34).

Having been raised by Caleb who was known for having "wholly followed the LORD, the God of Israel" (Joshua 14:14) and having produced a grandson who was filled with the Spirit of God, Hur was an important link in passing on the faith. He evidently lived out God's command in Deuteronomy 6:6–7: "These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children."

We also read of a Hur who helped hold up Moses' arms during battle. In Exodus 17, the Amalekites came to attack the Israelites at Rephidim. Verses 11 and 12 explain, "Whenever Moses held up his hand [with the Staff of God], Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun." Hur came alongside Moses to equip and support him in the task God had given Moses to do. He did not take over the holding of the "Staff of God" nor did he rush down to fight the battle himself. Instead, Hur recognized the Israelites' (and by extension, his own) dependence on God for the military victory as well as the role God had given him to fill. He was the supportive friend and faithful coleader to Moses.

In fact, Hur was such a trusted man that when Moses went up to Mount Sinai with Joshua to receive the Law from God, Moses told the elders, "Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them" (Exodus 24:14). Hur was to be a leader in Moses' absence. Unfortunately, while Moses was gone for forty days, the Israelites built a golden calf to worship (Exodus 32). Interestingly, Hur is not mentioned after the reference in verse 14. Moses rebuked Aaron about the golden calf, but there is no mention of Hur. Therefore, some speculate that the Israelites killed Hur in their demands for an idol, which is what scared Aaron into building one for them.

Jewish tradition teaches that the Hur who assisted Moses is the same Hur as Caleb's son, that he was married to Moses' sister Miriam, and that his faithfulness in losing his life trying to prevent the Israelites from turning to an idol is what earned him the reward of having his grandson Bezalel build the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle. However, the biblical text does not relay this information, so it remains only conjecture. Considering the difference in age with Miriam being older than Moses and Caleb, it seems unlikely that she would marry a man as much younger than herself as Caleb's son would necessarily be. It is also telling that in other references, Caleb's son Hur is referred to by his relationship as "son of" or "father of" whereas the Hur in Exodus 17 and 24 does not have these relationships attached to his name.

Either way, the Hur who held up Moses' arms was a trusted friend to Moses and a leader among the people. The Hur who fathered Uri, who fathered Bezalel, left a legacy of faith. Both men (or one in the same) gave us an example to follow in how to live out our faith.


Related Truth:

Who was Moses in the Bible?

Who was Aaron in the Bible?

Who was Caleb in the Bible?

Who were Bezalel and Oholiab in the Bible?

Why is knowing about the various characters in the Bible important?


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