What was Aroer in the Bible?

The name of several locations in the Old Testament

Hebrew name: עֲרוֹעֵר (‘aro’er)

Name meaning: “Juniper tree”

a. Aroer of Reuben (Numbers 32:34; Deuteronomy 2:36, 3:12, 4:48; Joshua 12:2, 13:9, 16, 25; Judges 11:26; 2 Kings 10:33; Jeremiah48:19) – Deuteronomy, Judges, and 2 Kings all locate Aroer on the edge of the Arnon river valley. It was an important and likely wealthy trade city, situated along one of the main caravan routes between Mesopotamia and Egypt known as the King’s Highway.1 Due to its prominence, it is mentioned often as a geographical marker in the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy, Aroer is mentioned in the context of the Israelites’ journey through the wilderness. It was one of the cities that the Lord instructed the Israelites not to provoke to war, as it was part of the territory given to the descendants of Lot (2:36). Later, it is mentioned in a list of kings that Moses defeated as the ruling place of king Sihon the Amorite (Josh. 12:2). It also marked a boundary of the territories that Moses allotted to the tribes of Reuben and Gad (Deut. 3:12; Josh. 13:9, 25).  The city is mentioned again in Jeremiah48 as part of a destruction oracle against Moab (v. 19).

b. Aroer of Judah (1Samuel30:28) –  1Samuel30:28 refers to a location near the Negev region where David and his men conducted raids against the Amalekites. 1Samuel30 records the distribution of plunder from the Amalekites among various cities, including Aroer. The specific location of this Aroer is not definitively known, but it was likely in the southern region of ancient Israel.

c. Aroer of Damascus (Isaiah 17:2) – Aroer is referenced in Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the judgment of Damascus and the destruction of its fortresses. The precise location of this city is unknown.


  1. “Aroer on the Arnon River”, Lexham Bible Dictionary.

Where was Aroer in the Bible?

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