The Cave of the Patriarchs, also called the Cave of Machpelah (Hebrew: מערת המכפלה, Me'arat ha-Makhpela , trans. "cave of the double tombs") and known by Muslims as the Sanctuary of Abraham or the Ibrahimi Mosque (Arabic: الحرم الإبراهيمي, al-Haram al-Ibrahimi ), is a series of subterranean chambers located in the heart of the old city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) in the Hebron Hills.[Gen. 23:17-19][Gen. 50:13] According to tradition that has been associated with the Holy Books Torah, Bible and the Quran, the cave and adjoining field were purchased by Abraham as a burial plot.
The site of the Cave of the Patriarchs is located beneath a Saladin-era mosque, which had been converted from a large rectangular Herodian-era Judean structure.
The Hebrew name of the complex reflects the very old tradition of the double tombs of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah, considered the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish people, who are all believed to be buried there. The only Jewish matriarch missing is Rachel, who is believed to be buried near Bethlehem where she died in childbirth. The Arabic name of the complex reflects the prominence given to Abraham, revered by Muslims as a Quranic prophet and patriarch through Ishmael. Outside biblical and Quranic sources there are a number of legends and traditions associated with the cave. In Acts 7:16 of the Christian Bible the cave of the Patriarchs is located in Shechem (Latin: Neapolis; Arabic: Nablus).[Acts 7:16]
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