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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.

Perhaps the most well-known Hur is the man 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). Moses rebuked Aaron about the golden calf, but there is no mention of Hur. Some speculate that the Israelites killed Hur in their demands for an idol, which is what scared Aaron into building one for them, but there is no indication of that in the text.

It seems this Hur was the grandfather of Bezalel (Exodus 31:2). Bezalel and a man named Oholiab were called by God for the construction of the tabernacle. God told Moses, "See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you" (Exodus 31:2–6).

Caleb, who spied out Canaan in Numbers 13 and, along with Joshua, trusted that God would give them victory to enter into the land, had a son named Hur. That Hur also had a son named Uri who also had a son named Bezalel (1 Chronicles 2:19–20). They were also from the tribe of Judah. However, given the understood chronology of the events, it seems these were different men bearing similar family names. Shared names in a family is not unusual, particularly when those names are associated with people of honor.

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