Kochavi was by no means the first scholar to suggest that Debir is really Khirbet Rabud, but his excavations have significantly reinforced the argument. Martin Noth is perhaps the best-known scholar who previously suggested Rabud was Debir.


Prior to Albright’s identification of Tell Beit Mirsim as Debir, earlier surveys, including the Palestine Exploration Fund’s Survey of Western Palestine, had identified a site named Dhaheriyeh as Debir. This proved to be impossible when excavations showed there was no occupation there during the pre-Israelite Canaanite period (the Late Bronze Age). However, this site, like Khirbet Rabud, is in the Judean hill country south of Hebron, rather than in the Shephelah, the location of Tell Beit Mirsim.