Harry Fenn and J. D. Woodward; from Colonel Sir Charles W. Wilson, Picturesque Palestine (1883)

Hebron is the city where Abraham bought the cave of Machpelah from Ephron the Hittite to use as a family burial ground (Genesis 23). In the first century B. C. Herod the Great erected over the cave of Machpelah the large building with high crenelated walls, seen on the left. Later, in the 7th century A.D. it was converted into a mosque; the Crusaders then converted it into a church in the 12th century; with the invasion of the Mamelukes in the 14th century it became a mosque once again. The building is still known today in Arabic as Haram el-Khalil, “Enclosure of the Friend”; el-Khalil, “the friend,” refers to Abraham.

The cave below this massive structure is believed by orthodox Jews to contain the bones of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, and Leah, as well as Adam and Eve. The bones of Joseph, who died in Egypt, are said to have been reburied in the Machpelah.