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Holman Bible Dictionary

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Sea of the Arabah
Sea of the Plain (arabah)
Hebrew - Arabah
Hebrew - Betharabah, Beth-arabah

(ar' uh bayh) Place name meaning, “dry, infertile area” and common Hebrew noun meaning desert with hot climate and sparse rainfall. 1. Modern usage refers specifically to the rift area below the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Elath or Aqaba, a distance of 110 miles. This was a copper-mining region and was guarded by military fortresses. Control of the Arabah along with control of the Red Sea port on its southern end meant control of valuable trade routes and sea routes connecting to southern Arabia and eastern Africa. See Deuteronomy 2:8; 1 Kings 9:26-27. 2. The wilderness of Judah encompassing the eastern slopes of the mountains of Judah with little rain, deep canyons, and steep cliffs where David hid from Saul (1 Samuel 23:24-25). 3. The entire Jordan Valley running 70 miles from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, or more precisely the desert areas above the actual Zor or lushly fertile areas on the immediate shore of the Jordan. See Deuteronomy 3:17 (RSV; NIV); Joshua 8:14 (TEV; NIV); Joshua 11:2, Joshua 11:16; Joshua 12:8 (NAS; NIV); 2 Samuel 2:29 (NAS; NIV); Jeremiah 39:4 (NAS; NIV); Ezekiel 47:8 (NAS; NIV); Zechariah 14:10 (NIV).

4. Sea of the Arabah is the Dead Sea. See NAS, NIV, RSV of Deuteronomy 3:17; Deuteronomy 4:49; Joshua 3:16; 2 Kings 14:25. 5. The Araboth of Moab or plains of Moab includes the eastern shore of the Dead Sea south of the wadi Nimrim. Notice NEB translation as “lowlands of Moab.” See Numbers 22:1; Numbers 31:12; Numbers 36:13; Deuteronomy 34:1; Joshua 13:32. 6. The desert area or the eastern border of the Jordan River from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. See Joshua 12:1 (NAS, NIV, RSV). 7. The Araboth of Jericho or plains of Jericho represent the area near the Jordan once dominated by the city state of Jericho. (Joshua 4:13; Joshua 5:10; 2 Kings 25:5; Jeremiah 39:5). 8. The brook of the Arabah represents the southern border of Israel (Amos 6:14), possibly the River Zered, the wadi el-Qelt, or the wadi Hefren.

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'ARABAH'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1991.


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