The Canaanite king of the city of Arad lived in the Negev Desert. He heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim. So he attacked the people of Israel. He captured some of them.
Then Israel made a promise to the Lord. They said, "Hand these people over to us. If you do, we will set their cities apart to you in a special way to be destroyed."
The LORD gave Israel what they asked for. He handed the Canaanites over to them. Israel completely destroyed them. They also destroyed their towns. So that place was named Hormah.