The Negev (Hebrew: הַנֶּגֶב, Tiberian vocalization: han-Néḡeḇ ; Arabic: النقب al-Naqab) is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The region's largest city and administrative capital is Beersheba (pop. 196,000), in the north. At its southern end is the Gulf of Aqaba and the resort city of Eilat. It contains several development towns, including Dimona, Arad and Mitzpe Ramon, as well as a number of small Bedouin cities, including Rahat and Tel as-Sabi. There are also several kibbutzim, including Revivim and Sde Boker; the latter became the home of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, after his retirement from politics.
According to the Book of Genesis chapter 20, Abraham lived for a while in the Negev near Kadesh after being banished from Egypt. Later the northern Negev was inhabited by the Tribe of Judah and the southern Negev by the Tribe of Shimon. The Negev was later part of the Kingdom of Solomon and then part of the Kingdom of Judah.
In the 9th century BC, development and expansion of mining in both the Negev and Edom (modern Jordan) coincided with the rise of the Assyrian Empire. Beersheba was the region's capital and a center for trade in the 8th century BC. Small settlements of Israelites in the areas around the capital existed between 1020 and 928 BC.