Arabia

Ara'bia

(Heb. Arab', עֲרָב. 2Ch 9:14; Isa 21:13; Jer 25:24; Eze 27:21; Α᾿ραβία, Ga 1:17; Ga 4:23; also 2 Esdras 15:29; 1 Maccabees 11:16; 2 Maccabees 12:11), the name of an extensive region occupying the south-western extremity of Asia, having on the west the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea (called from it the Arabian Gulf), which separate it from Africa; on the south the Indian Ocean; and on the east the Persian Gulf and the Euphrates. The boundary to the north has never been well defined, for in that direction it spreads out into interminable deserts, which meet those of Palestine and Syria on the west, and those of Irak-Arabi (i, e. Babylonia) and Mesopotamia on the east; and hence some geographers include that entire wilderness in Arabia. The form of the peninsula is that of a trapezoid, whose superficial area is estimated at four times the extent of France. It is one of the few countries of the south where the, descendants of the aboriginal inhabitants have neither been extirpated nor expelled by northern invaders. They have not only retained possession of their ancestral homes, but have sent forth colonies to all the adjacent regions, and even to more distant lands, both in Africa and Asia (Ritter, Erdkunde, 2, 172).

With the history of no country save that of Palestine are there connected so many hallowed and impressive associations as with that of Arabia. Hero lived and suffered the holy patriarch Job; here Moses, "when a stranger and a shepherd," saw the burning,. unconsuming bush; here Elijah found shelter from the rage of persecution; here was the scene of all the marvelous displays of Divine power and mercy that followed the deliverance of Israel from the Egyptian yoke, and accompanied their journeyings to the promised land; and here Jehovah manifested himself in visible glory to his people. From the influence of these associations, combined with its proximity to Palestine, and the close affinity in blood, manners, and customs between the northern portion of its inhabitants and the Jews, Arabia is a region of peculiar. interest to the student of the Bible; and it is chiefly in its relation to subjects of Bible study that we are now to consider it. SEE ASIA.

Bible concordance for ARABIA.

I. Names. — 1. In early times the Hebrews included a part of what we call Arabia among the countries they vaguely designated as קֶדֶם, Ke'dem, "the East," the inhabitants being numbered among the Beney'Ke'dem, Sons of the East," i.e. Orientals. But there is no evidence to show (as is asserted by Rosenmüller and some other Bible geographers) that these phrases are ever applied to the whole of the country known to us as Arabia. They appear to have been commonly used in speaking of those parts which lay due east of Palestine, or on the north-east and southeast; though occasionally they do seem to point to tracts which lay indeed to the south and south-west of that country, but to the east and south-east of Egypt. Accordingly we find that whenever the expression kedem has obviously a reference to Arabia, it invariably points to its northern division only. Thus in Ge 25:6, Abraham is said to have sent away the sons of Hagar and Keturah to the E'rets-Ke'dem -Kedmah, i.e. the "East country, eastward;" and none of them, so far as we know, were located in peninsular Arabia; for the story which represents Ishmael as settling at Mecca is an unsupported native tradition. The patriarch Job is described (Job 1:3) as "'the greatest of all the men of the east," and though opinions differ as to the precise locality of the land of Uz, all are agreed that it was in some part of Arabia, but certainly not in Arabia Felix. In the Book of Judges (Jg 6:3; Jg 7:12; Jg 8:10) among the allies of the Midianites and Amalekites (tribes of the north) are mentioned the "Bene-Kedem," which Josephus translates by ῎Αραβας, the Arabs. In Isa 11:14, the parallelism requires that by "sons of the east" we understand the nomades of Desert Arabia, as corresponding to the Philistines "on the west;" and with these are conjoined the Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites, who were all northern Arabians. The command was given (Jer 49:28) to the Babylonians "to smite the Bene-Kedem," who are there classed with the Kedarenes, descendants of Ishmael (comp. 1Ki 4:30). In more modern times a name of similar import was applied to the Arabs generally; they were called

Saracens (Sharakiyun, i.e. Orientals), from the word shark, "the east," whence also is derived the term sirocco, the east wind. The name of Saracens came into use in the West in a vague and undefined sense after the Roman conquest of Palestine, but does not seem to have been adopted as a general designation till about the eighth century. It is to be remarked here that though in Scripture Kedem most commonly denotes Northern Arabia, it is also used of countries farther east, e.g. of the native country of Abraham (Isa 41:2; comp. Ge 29:1), of Balaam (Nu 23:7), and even of Cyrus (Isa 46:11); and, therefore, though the Magi who came to Jerusalem (Mt 2:1) were ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν, "from the east," it does not thence follow that they were natives of Arabia. SEE BENE-KEDEM.

Definition of arabian

2. We find the name עֲרָב, Arab, first beginning to occur about the time of Solomon. It designated a portion of the country, an inhabitant being called Arabi, an Arabian (Isa 13:20), or, in later Hebrew, עִרבַּי, Arbi' (Ne 2:19), the plural of which was Arbim' (2Ch 21:16), עִרבַּים, orArbiim' (עִרבַּיאַים, Arabians) (2Ch 17:11). In some places these names seem to be given to the nomadic tribes generally (Isa 13:20; Jer 3:2) and their country (Isa 21:13). The kings of Arabia from whom Solomon (2Ch 9:14) and Jehoshaphat (2Ch 17:11) received gifts were probably Bedouin chiefs; though in the place parallel to the former text (1Ki 10:15), instead of Arab we find עֶרֶב or עֵרֶב, E'reb, rendered in Jer 25:20,24, "mingled people," but which Gesenius, following the Chaldee, understands to mean "foreign allies." It is to be remarked, however, that in all the passages where the word Arab occurs it designates only a small portion of the territory known to us as Arabia. Thus, in the account given by Ezekiel (Eze 27:21) of the Arabian tribes that traded with Tyre, mention is specially made of Arab (comp. Jer 25:24). In 2Ch 21:16; 2Ch 22:1; 2Ch 26:7; Ne 4:7, we find the Arabians classed with the Philistines, the Ethiopians (i.e. the Asiatic Cushites, of whom they are said to have been neighbors), the Mehunim, the Ammonites, and Ashdodites. At what period this name Arab was extended to the whole region it is impossible to ascertain. From it the Greeks formed the word Α᾿ραβία, which occurs twice in the New Testament; in Ga 1:17, in reference probably to the tract adjacent to Damascene Syria, and in Ga 4:25, in reference to the peninsula of Mount Sinai. Among the strangers assembled at Jerusalem at the Pentecost there were ῎Αραβες, Arabs (Ac 2:11), the singular being ῎Αραψ.

3. The modern name, Jezirat el-Arab, i.e. "the peninsula of the Arabs," applies to the southern part of the region only. Another native appellation is Belad el-Arab, i.e. "the land of the Arabs;" the Persians and Turks call it Arabistan. Mr. Lane informs us that in Egypt the term Arab is now generally limited to the Bedouins, or people of the desert; but formerly it was used to designate the towns-people and villagers of Arabian origin, while those of the desert were called Aarab; the former now call themselves Oulad el-Arab, or sons of the Arabs.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

II. Geography.

1. The early Greek geographers, such as Eratosthenes and Strabo, mention only two divisions of this vast region, Happy and Desert Arabia. But after the city of Petra, in Idumaea, had become celebrated as the metropolis of a commercial people, the Nabathaeans, it gave name to a third division, viz. Arabia Petroea (improperly translated Stony Arabia); and this threefold division, which first occurs in the geographer Ptolemy, who flourished in the second century, has obtained throughout Europe ever since. It is unknown, however, to native or other Eastern geographers, who reckon Arabia Deserta as chiefly belonging to Syria and to Irak-Arabi, or Babylonia, while they include a great part of what we call Arabia Petrasa in Egypt.

a. ARABIA FELIX (in Gr. Α᾿ραβία ηΕ῾ὐδαίμων, the Arabia Eud(emon of Pliny), i.e. Happy Arabia. The name has commonly been supposed to owe its origin to the variety and richness of the natural productions of this portion of the country, compared with those of the other two divisions. Some, however, regard the epithet "happy" as a translation of its Arabic name Yemen, which, though primarily denoting the land of the right hand, or south, also bears the secondary sense of "happy, prosperous." This part of Arabia lies between the Red Sea on the west and the Persian Gulf on the east, the boundary to the north being an imaginary line drawn between their respective northern extremities, Akabah and Basra or Bussora. It thus embraces by far the greater portion of the country known to us as Arabia, which, however, is very much a terra incognita: for the accessible districts have been but imperfectly explored, and but little of the interior has been as yet visited by any European traveler.

b. ARABIA DESERTA, called by the Greeks Σκηνῖτις Α᾿ραβία or ἡ ῎Ερημος Α᾿ραβία, and by the Arabs ElBadieh, i.e. the Desert. This takes in that portion of the country which lies north of Arabia Felix, and is bounded on the north-east by the Euphrates, on the north-west by Syria, and on the west by Palestine and Arabia Petraea. The Arabs divide this "great wilderness" into three parts, so called from their proximity to the respective countries, viz. Badieh esh-Shem (Syria), Badich el-Jeshirah (the peninsula, i.e. Arabia), and Badieh el-Irdk (Babylonia). From this word Badieh comes the name of the nomadic tribes by whom it is traversed, viz. Bedawees (better known to us by the French corruption of Bedouins), who are not, however, confined to this portion of Arabia, but range throughout the entire region. So far as it has yet been explored, Desert Arabia appears to be one continuous, elevated, interminable steppe, occasionally intersected by ranges of hills. Sand and salt are the chief elements of the soil, which in many places is entirely bare, but elsewhere yields stinted andtthorny shrubs or thinly-scattered saline plants. That part of the wilderness called El-Hammad lies on the Syrian frontier, extending from the Hauran to the Euphrates, and is one immense dead and dreary level, very scantily supplied with water, except near the banks of the river, where the fields are irrigated by wheels and other artificial contrivances. The sky in these deserts is generally cloudless, but the burning heat of the sun is moderated by cooling winds, which, however, raise fearful tempests of sand and dust. Here, too, as in other regions of the East, occasionally prevails the burning, suffocating south-east wind, called by the Arabs El- Harur (the Hot), but more commonly Sammum, and by the Turks Samyeli (both words meaning "the Poisonous"), the effects of which, however, have by some travelers been greatly exaggerated. This is probably "the east wind". and the "wind from the desert" spoken of in Scripture. Another phenomenon, which is not peculiar, indeed, to Desert Arabia, but is seen there in greatest frequency and perfection, is what the French call the mirage, the delusive appearance of an expanse of water, created by the tremulous, undulatory movement of the vapors raised by the excessive heat of a meridian sun. It is called in Arabic serab, and is no doubt the Hebrew sharab of Isa 35:7, which our translators have rendered "the parched ground." SEE MIRAGE.

c. ARABIA PETRAEA (Gr. Πετραία) appears to ha e derived its name from its chief town Petra (i. o. a rock), in Heb. Sela; although (as is remarked by Burckhardt) the epithet is also appropiate on account of the rocky mountains and stony plains which compose its surface. It embraces all the north-western portion of the country; being bounded on the east by Desert and Happy Arabia, on the north by Palestine and the Mediterranean. on the west by Egypt, and on the south by the Red Sea. This division of Arabia has been of late years visited by a great many travelers from Europe, and is consequently much better known than the other portions of the country. Confining ourselves at present to a general outline, we refer for details to the articles SINAI SEE SINAI , EDOM SEE EDOM , MOAB SEE MOAB , etc. Beginning at the northern frontier, there meets the elevated plain of Belka, to the east of the Dead Sea, the district of Kerak V(Kir), the ancient territory of the Moabites, their kinsmen of Ammon having settled to the north of this, in Arabia Deserta. The north border of Moab was the brook Arnon, now the Wady-el-Mojeb; to the south of Moab, separated from it by the Wady-el-Ashy, lay Mount Seir, the dominion of the Edomites, or Idumaea, reaching as. far as to Elath on the Red Sea. The great valley which runs from the Dead Sea to that point consists, first, of El-Ghor, which is comparatively low, but gradually rises by a succession of limestone cliffs into the more elevated plain of El-Arabah above mentioned. "We were now," says Dr. Robinson (Biblical Researches, 2, 502), "upon the plain, or rather the rolling desert, of the Arabah; the surface was in general loose gravel and stones, everywhere furrowed and torn with the beds of torrents. A more frightful desert it had hardly been our lot to behold. The mountains beyond presented a most uninviting and hideous aspect; precipices and naked conical peaks of chalky and gravelly formation rising one above another without a sign of life or vegetation." This mountainous region is divided into two districts: that to the north is called Jebal (i.e. mountains, the Gebal of Ps 83:7); that to the south Esk-Sherah, which has erroneously been supposed to be allied to the Hebrew "Seir;" whereas the latter (written with a ָע) means "hairy," the former denotes "a tract or region." To the district of Esh-Sherah belongs Mount Hor, the burial-place of Aaron, towering above the Wady Mousa (valley of Moses), where are the celebrated ruins of Petra (the ancient capital of the Nabathaeo-Idumaeans), brought to light by Seetzen and Burckhardt, and now familiar to English readers by the illustrations of Irby and Mangles, Laborde, etc. As for the mountainous tract immediately west of the Arabah, Dr. Robinson describes it as a desert limestone region, full- of precipitous ridges, through which no traveled road has ever passed. SEE ARABAH. To the west of Idumaea extends the "great and terrible wilderness" of Et-Tih, i.e. "the Wandering," so called from being the scene of the wanderings of the children of Israel. It consists of vast interminable plains, a hard gravelly soil, and irregular ridges of limestone hills. The researches of Robinson and Smith furnish new and important information respecting the geography of this part of Arabia and the adjacent peninsula of Sinai. It appears that the middle of this desert is occupied by a long central basin, extending from Jebel-et-Tih (i.e. the mountain of the wandering, a chain pretty far south) to the shores of the Mediterranean. This basin descends toward the north with a rapid slope, and is drained through all its length by Wady-el-Arish, which enters the sea near the place of the same name on the borders of Egypt, The soil of the Sinaitic peninsula is in general very unproductive, yielding only palm-trees, acacias, tamarisks (from which exudes the gum called manna), coloquintida, and dwarfish, thorny shrubs. Among the animals may be mentioned the mountain-goat (the beden of the Arabs), gazelles, leopards, a kind of marmot called waber, the sheeb, supposed by Colonel Hamilton Smith to be a species of wild wolf-dog, etc.: of birds there are eagles, partridges, pigeons, the katta, a species of quail, etc. There are serpents, as in ancient times (Nu 21:4,6), and travelers speak of a large lizard called dhob, common in the desert, but of unusually frequent occurrence here. The peninsula is inhabited by Bedouin Arabs, and its entire population was estimated by Burckhardt at not more than 4000 souls. Though this part of Arabia must ever be memorable as the scene of the journeying of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land, yet very few of the spots mentioned in Scripture have been identified; nor after the lapse of so many centuries ought that to be occasion of surprise. — Kitto, s.v. SEE EXODE.

2. Modern geographers find it more convenient to divide the country, agreeably to the natural features and the native nomenclature, into Arabia Proper, or Jezirat el-Arab, containing the whole peninsula as far as the limits of the northern deserts; Northern Arabia, or El-Badieh, bounded by the peninsula, the Euphrates, Syria, and the desert of Petra, constituting properly Arabia Deserta, or the great desert of Arabia; and Western Arabia, the desert of Petra and the peninsula of Sinai, or the country that has been called Arabia Petrea, bounded by Egypt, Palestine, Northern Arabia, and the Red Sea. (For further geographical details, see the Penny Cycloped. s.v.; M'Culloch's Gaz. s.v.; on Aden, see Wilson, Bible Lands, 1, 9 sq.).

(1.) Arabia Proper, or the Arabian peninsula, consists of high table-land, declining toward the north; its most elevated portions being the chain of mountains running nearly parallel to the Red Sea, and the territory east of the southern part of this chain. The high land is encircled from Akabah to the head of the Persian Gulf by a belt of low littoral country; on the west and south-west the mountains fall abruptly to this low region; on the opposite side of the peninsula the fall is generally gradual. So far as the interior has been explored, it consists of mountainous and desert tracts, relieved by large districts under cultivation, well peopled, watered by wells and streams, and enjoying periodical rains. The water-shed, as the conformation of the country indicates, stretches from the high land of the Yemen to the Persian Gulf. From this descend the torrents that irrigate the western provinces, while several considerable streams — there are no navigable rivers — reach the sea in the opposite direction: two of these traverse Oman; and another, the principal river of the peninsula, enters the Persian Gulf on the coast of El-Bahrein, and is known to traverse the inland province called Yemameh. The geological formation is in part volcanic; and the mountains are basalt, schist, granite, as well as limestone, etc.; the volcanic action being especially observable about El-Medinah on the north-west, and in the districts bordering the Indian Ocean. The most fertile tracts are those on the south-west and south. The modern Yemen is especially productive, and at the same time, from its mountainous character, picturesque. The settled regions of the interior also appear to be more fertile than is generally believed to be the case; and the deserts afford pasturage after the rains. The principal products of the soil are datepalms, tamarind-trees, vines, fig-trees, tamarisks, acacias, the banana, etc., and a great variety of thorny shrubs, which, with others, afford pasture for the camels; the chief kinds of pulse and cereals (except oats), coffee, spices, drugs, gums and resins, cotton and sugar. Among the metallic and mineral products are lead, iron, silver (in small quantities), sulphur, the emerald, onyx, etc. The products mentioned in the Bible as coming from Arabia will be found described under their respective heads. They seem to refer, in many instances, to merchandise of Ethiopia and India, carried to Palestine by Arab and other traders. Gold, however, was perhaps found in small quantities in the beds of torrents (comp. Diod. Sic. 2:93; 3, 45, 47); and the spices, incense, and precious stones brought from Arabia (1Ki 10:2,10,15; 2Ch 9:1,9,14; Isa 60:6; Jer 6:20; Eze 27:22) probably were the products of the southern provinces, still celebrated for spices, frankincense, ambergris, etc., as well as for the onyx and other precious stones. Among the more remarkable of the wild animals of Arabia, besides the usual domestic kinds, and. of course, the camel and the horse, for both of which it is famous, are the wild ass, the muskdeer, wild goat, wild sheep, several varieties of the antelope, the hare, monkeys (in the south, and especially in the Yemen); the bear, leopard, wolf, jackal, hyena, fox; the eagle, vulture, several kinds of hawk, the pheasant, red-legged partridge (in the peninsula of Sinai), sand-grouse (throughout the country), the ostrich (abundantly in central Arabia, where it is hunted by Arab tribes); the tortoise, serpents, locusts, etc. Lions were formerly numerous, as the names of places testify. The sperm-whale is found off the coasts bordering the Indian Ocean. Greek and Roman writers (Herod., Agatharch. ap. Muller, Strab., Diod. Sic., Q. Curt., Dion. Perieg., Heliod. AEthiop., and Plin.) mention most of the Biblical and modern products, and the animals above enumerated, with some others (see Smith's Dict. of Class. Geog. s.v.).

Arabia Proper may be subdivided into five principal provinces: the Yemen; the districts of Hadramaut, Mahreh, and Oman, on the Indian Ocean and the entrance of the Persian Gulf; El-Bahrein, toward the head of the gulf just named; the great central country of Nejd and Yemameh; and the Hejaz and Tehameh on the Red Sea. The Arabs also have five divisions, according to the opinion most worthy of credit (Marasid, ed. Juynboll, s.v. Hejaz; comp. Strabo): Tehameh, the Hejaz, Nejd, El-Arud (the provinces lying toward the head of the Persian Gulf, including Yemameh), and the Yemen (including Oman and the intervening tracts). They have, however, never agreed either as to the limits or the number of the divisions. It will be necessary to state in some detail the positions of these' provinces, in order to the right understanding of the identifications of Biblical with Arab names of places and tribes.

[1.] The Yemen embraced originally the most fertile districts of Arabia, and the frankincense and spice country. Its name, signifying "the right hand" (and therefore "south," comp. Mt 12:42), is supposed to have given rise to the appellation εὐδαίμων (Felix), which the Greeks applied to a much more extensive region. At present it is bounded by the Hejaz on the north and Hadramaut on the east, with the sea-board of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean; but formerly, as Fresnel remarks (comp. Sale, Prelim. Disc.), it appears to have extended at least so as to include Hadramaut and Mahreh (Yakut's Mushtarak, ed. Wiistenfeld, and Marasid, passim). In this wider acceptation it embraced the region of the first settlements of the Joktanites. Its modern limits include, on the north, the district of Khaulan (not, as Niebuhr supposes, two distinct districts), named after Khaulan (Kamoos) the Joktanite (Marasid, s.v., and Caussin de Perceval, Essai sur l'Hist. des Arabes avant l'lslamisme, 1, 113); and that of Nejran, with the city of that name founded by Nejran the Joktanite (Caussin, 1:60, and 113 sq.), which is, according to the soundest opinion, the Negra of Alius Gallus (Strab. 16:782; see Jomard, Eltudes giogr. et hist. sur e'Arabie, appended to Mengin, Hist. de l'Egypte, etc., 3, 385-386).

[2.] Hadramaut, on the coast east of the Yemen, is a cultivated tract contiguous to the sandy deserts called El-Ahkaf, which are said to be the original seats of the tribe of Ad. It was celebrated for its frankincense, which it still exports (El-Idrisi, ed. Jaubert, 1:54), and formerly it carried on a considerable trade, its principal port being Zafari, between Mirbat and Ras Sajir, which is now composed of a series of villages (Fresnel, 4e Lettre, Journ. Asiat. iiie serie, 5, 521). To the east of Hadramaut are the districts of Shihr, which exported ambergris (Marasid, s.v.), and Mahreh (so called after a tribe of Kudaah [Id. s.v.], and therefore Joktanite), extending from Seihut to Karwan (Fresnel, 4e Lettre, p. 510). Oman forms the easternmost corner of the south coast, lying at the ei trance of the Persian Gulf. It presents the same natural characteristics as the preceding districts, being partly desert with large fertile tracts. It also contains some considerable lead-mines.

[3.] The highest province on the Persian Gulf is El-Bahrein, between Oman and the head of the gulf, of which the chief town is Hejer — according to some, the name of the province also (Kamoos; Marasid, s.v.). It contains the towns (and districts) of Katif and ElAhsa (El- Idrisi, 1:371; Marasid, s.v.; Mushtarak, s.v. El-Ahsa), the latter not being a province, as has been erroneously supposed. The inhabitants of El-Bahrein dwelling on the coast are principally fishermen and pearl- divers. The district of El-Ahsa abounds in wells, and possesses excellent pastures, which are frequented by tribes of other parts.

[4.] The great central province of Nejd, and that of Yemameh, which bounds it on the south, are little known from the accounts of travelers. Nejd signifies "high land," and hence its limits are very doubtfully laid down by the Arabs themselves. It consists of cultivated table-land, with numerous wells, and is celebrated for its pastures; but it is intersected by extensive deserts.: "Yemameh appears to be generally very similar to Nejd. On the south lies the great desert called Er-Ruba el-Khali, uninhabitable in the summer, but yielding pasturage in the winter after the rains. The camels of the tribes inhabiting Nejd are highly esteemed in Arabia, and the breed of horses is the most famous in the world. In this province are said to be remains of very ancient structures, similar to those east of the Jordan.

[5.] The Hejaz and Tehameh (or El-Ghor, the "low land") are bounded by Nejd, the Yemen, the Red Sea, and the desert of Petra, the northern limit of the Hejaz being Eileh (El-Makrizi's IKhitat, s.v. Eileh). The Hejaz is the holy land of Arabia, its chief cities being Mekkeh and El- Medinah; and it was also the first seat of the Ishmaelites in the peninsula. The northern portion is ingeneral sterile and rocky; toward the south it gradually merges into the Yemen, or the district called El- Asir, which is but little noticed by either eastern or western geographers (see Jomard, 245 sq.). The province of Tehameh extends between the mountain chain of the Hejaz and the shore of the Red Sea; and is sometimes divided into Tehameh of the Hejaz and Tehameh of the Yemen. It is a parched, sandy tract, with little rain, and fewer pasturages and cultivated portions than the mountainous country.

(2.) Northern Arabia, or the Arabian Desert, is divided by the Arabs (who do not consider it as strictly belonging to their country) into Badiet esh- Shem, "the Desert of Syria," Badiet el-Jezireh, "the Desert of Mesopotamia" (not "— of Arabia," as some suppose), and Badiet el-Irak, "the Desert of El-Irak." It is, so far as it is known to us, a high, undulating, parched plain, of which the Euphrates forms the natural boundary from the Persian Gulf to the frontier of Syria, whence it is bounded by the latter country and the desert of Petra on the north-west and west, the peninsula of Arabia forming its southern limit. It has few oases, the water of the wells is generally either brackish or unpotable, and it is visited by the sand-wind called Samoom, of which, however, the terrors have been much exaggerated. The Arabs find pasture for their flocks and herds after the rains, and in the more depressed plains; and the desert generally produces prickly shrubs, etc., on which the camels feed. The inhabitants were known to the ancients as σκηνῖται, "dwellers in tents," or perhaps so called from their town αἱ Σκηναί (Strab. 16:747, 767; Diod. Sic. 2:24; Amm. Marc. 23:6; comp. Isa 13:20; Jer 49:31; Eze 38:11); and they extended from Babylonia on the east (comp. Nu 23:7; Nu 2

Chronicles 21:16; Isa 2:6; Isa 13:20) to the borders of Egypt on the west (Strab. 16:748; Plin. 5, 12; Amm. Marc. 14:4; 22:15). These tribes, principally descended from Ishmael and from Keturah, have always led a wandering and pastoral life. Their predatory habits are several times mentioned in the O.T. (2Ch 21:16-17; 2Ch 26:7; Job 1:15; Jer 3:2). They also conducted a considerable trade of merchandise of Arabia and India from the shores of the Persian Gulf (Eze 27:20-24), whence a chain of oases still forms caravan-stations (Burckhardt, Arabia, Appendix 6); and they likewise traded from the western portions of the peninsula. The latter traffic appears to be frequently mentioned in connection with Ishmaelites, Keturahites, and other Arabian peoples (Ge 37:25,28; 1Ki 10:15,25; 2Ch 9:14,24; Isa 9:6; Jer 6:20), and probably consisted of the products of Southern Arabia and of the opposite shores of Ethiopia; it seems, however, to have been chiefly in the hands of the inhabitants of Idumaea; but it is difficult to distinguish between the references to the latter people and to the tribes of Northern Arabia in the passages relating to this traffic. That certain of these tribes brought tribute to Jehoshaphat appears from 2Ch 17:11; and elsewhere there are indications of such tribute (comp. the passages referred to above).

(3.) Western Arabia includes the peninsula of Sinai (q.v.) and the desert of Petra, corresponding generally with the limits of Arabia Petraea. The latter name is probably derived from that of its chief city; not from its stony character. It was in the earliest times inhabited by a people whose genealogy is not mentioned in the Bible, the Horites, or Horim (Ge 14:6; Ge 36:20-21; Deuteronomy 2:12, 22; 36:20-22). SEE HORITE. Its later inhabitants were in part the same as those of the preceding division of Arabia, as indeed the boundary of the two countries is arbitrary and unsettled; but it was mostly peopled by descendants of Esau, and was generally known as the .land of Edom, or Idumaea (q.v.), as well as by its older appellation, the desert of Seir, or Mount Seir (q.v.). The common origin of the Idumaeans from Esau and Ishmael is found in the marriage of the former with a daughter of the latter (Ge 28:9; Ge 36:3). The Nabathaeans succeeded to the Idumaeans, and Idumea is mentioned only as a geographical designation after the time of Josephus. The Nabathaeans have always been identified with Nebaioth, son of Ishmael (Ge 25:13; Isa 60:7), until Quatremere (Memoire sur les Nabatheens) advanced the theory that they were of another race, and a people of Mesopotamia. SEE NEBAITH. Petra was in the great route of the western caravan-traffic of Arabia, and of the merchandise brought up the Elanitic Gulf. SEE ELATH; SEE EZIONGEBER; SEE PETRA, etc.

3. Inhabitants. —

1. Scriptural Account. — There is a prevalent notion that the Arabs, both of the south and north, are descended from Ishmael; and the passage in Ge 16:12, "he (Ishmael) shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren," is often cited as if it were a prediction of that national independence which, upon the whole, the Arabs have maintained more than any other people. But this supposition (in so far as the true meaning of the text quoted is concerned) is founded on a misconception of the original Hebrew, which runs literally, "he shall dwell before the faces of all his brethren," i.e. (according to the idiom above explained, in which "before the face" denotes the east), the habitation of his posterity shall be "to the east" of the settlements of Abraham's other descendants. This seems also to be the import of Ge 25:18, where, in reference to Ishmael, it is said in our version, "he died in the presence of all his brethren;" but the true sense is, "the lot of his inheritance fell to him before the faces (i.e. to the east) of all his brethren." These prophecies found their accomplishment in the fact of the sons of Ishmael being located, generally speaking, to the east of the other descendants of Abraham, whether by Sarah or by Keturah. But the idea of the southern Arabs being of the posterity of Ishmael is entirely without foundation, and seems to have originated in the tradition invented by Arab vanity that they, as well as the Jews, are of the seed of Abraham — a vanity which, besides disfiguring and falsifying the whole history of the patriarch and his son Ishmael, has transferred the scene of it from Palestine to Mecca. If we go to the most authentic source of ancient ethnography, the book of Genesis, we there find that the vast tracts of country known to us under the name of Arabia gradually became peopled by a variety of tribes of different lineage, though it is now impossible to determine the precise limits within which they fixed their permanent or nomadic abode. SEE ETHNOLOGY.

a. HAMITES, i.e. the posterity of Cush, Ham's eldest son, whose descendants appear to have settled in the south of Arabia, and to have sent colonies across the Red Sea to the opposite coast of Africa; and hence Cush became a general name for "the south," and specially for Arabian and African Ethiopia. The sons of Cush (Ge 10:7) were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah or Ragma (his sons Sheba and Dedan), and Sabtecah. SEE CUSH.

b. SHEMITES, including the following:

(a) Joktanites, i.e. the descendants of Joktan (called by the Arabs Kahtan), the second son of Eber, Shem's great-grandson (Ge 10:25-26). According to Arab tradition, Kahtan (whom they also regard as a son. of Eber), after the confusion of tongues and dispersion at Babel, settled in Yemen, where he reigned as king. Ptolemy speaks of an Arab tribe called Katanites, who may have derived their name from him; and the richest Bedouins of the southern plains are the Kahtan tribe on the frontiers of Yemen. Joktan had thirteen sons, some of whose names may be obscurely traced in the designations of certain districts in Arabia Felix. Their names were Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth (preserved in the name of the province of Hadramaut, the Hebrew and Arabic letters being the same), Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal (believed by the Arabs to have been the founder of Sanaa in Yemen), Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba (father of the Sabieans, whose chief town was Mariaba or Mareb; their queen, Balkis, supposed to be the queen who visited Solomon), Ophir (who gave name to the district that became so famous for its gold), Havilah, and Jobab.

(b) Abrahamites, divided into:

[1.] Hagarenes or Hagarites, so called from Hagar the mother, otherwise termed Ishmaelites from her son; and yet in course of time these names appear to have been applied to different tribes, for in Ps 83:6, the Hagarenes are expressly distinguished from the Ishmaelites (comp. 1Ch 5:10,19,22, and the apocryphal book of Baruch 1:35; 3, 23). The twelve sons of Ishmael (Ge 25:13-15), who gave names to separate tribes, were Nebaioth (the Nabathbeans in Arabia Petraea), Kedar (the Kedarenes, sometimes also used as a designation of the Bedouins generally, and hence the Jewish rabbins call the Arabic language "the Kedarene"), Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad or Hadar, Tema, Jetur, Naphish (the Ituraeans and Naphishaeans near the tribe of Gad; 1Ch 5:19-20), and Kedemah. They appear to have been for the. most part located near Palestine on the east and south-east.

[2.] Keturahites, i.e. the descendants of Abraham and his concubine Keturah, by whom he had six sons (Ge 25:2): Zimram, Jokshan (who, like Raamah, son of Cush, was also the father of two sons, Sheba and Dedan), Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. Among these the posterity of Midian became the best known. Their principal seat appears to have been in the neighborhood of the Moabites, but a branch of them must have settled in the peninsula of Sinai, for Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, was a priest of Midian (Ex 3:1; Ex 18:5; Nu 10:29). To the posterity of Shuah belonged Bildad, one of the friends of Job.

[3.] Edomites, i.e. the descendants of Esau, who possessed Mount Seir and the adjacent region, called from them Idumaea. They and the Nabathaeans formed in later times a flourishing commercial state, the capital of which was the remarkable city called Petra.

(c) Nahorites, the descendants of Nahor, Abraham's brother, who seem to have peopled the land of Uz, the country of Job, and of Buz, the country of his friend Elihu the Buzite, these being the names of Nahor's sons (Ge 22:21).

(d) Lotites, viz.:

[1.] Moabites, who occupied the northern portion of Arabia Petriea, as above described, and their kinsmen, the

[2.] Ammonites, who lived north of them, in Arabia Deserta.

c. Besides these the Bible mentions various other tribes who resided within the bounds of Arabia, but whose descent is unknown, e.g. the Amalekites, the Kenites, the Horites, the inhabitants of Maon, Hazor, Vedan and Javan- Meuzzal (Eze 27:19), where the English version has, "Dan also and Javan going to and fro." In process of time some of these tribes were perhaps wholly extirpated (as seems to have been the case with the Amalekites), but the rest were more or less mingled together by intermarriages, by military conquests, political revolutions, and other causes of which history has preserved no record; and, thus amalgamated, they became known to the rest of the world as the "ARABS," a people whose physical and mental characteristics are very strongly and distinctly marked. In both respects they rank very high among the nations; so much so that some have regarded them as furnishing the

prototype — the primitive model form — the standard figure of the human species. This was the opinion of the famous Baron de Larrey, surgeon- general of Napoleon's army in Egypt, who, in speaking of the Arabs on the east side of the Red Sea, says (in a Memoir for the Use of the Scientific Commission to Algiers, Paris, 1838), "They have a physiognomy and character which are quite peculiar, and which distinguish them generally from all those which appear in other regions of the globe." In his dissections he found "their physical structure in all respects more perfect than that of Europeans; their organs of sense exquisitely acute; their size above the average of men in general; their figure robust and elegant (the color brown); their intelligence proportionate to that physical perfection, and, without doubt, superior, other things being equal, to that of other nations."

2. Native History. — The Arabs, like every other ancient nation of any celebrity, have traditions representing their country as originally inhabited by races which became extinct at a very remote period. These were the tribes of Ad, Thamud, Umeiyim, Abil, Tasm, Jedis, Emlik (Amalek), Jurhum (the first of this name), and Webari: some omit the fourth and the last two, but add Jasim. The majority of their historians derive these tribes from Shem; but some from Ham, though not through Cush. Their earliest traditions that have any obvious relation to the Bible refer the origin of the existing nation in the first instance to Kahtan, whom they and most European scholars identify with Joktan; and secondly to Ishmael, whom they assert to have married a descendant of Kahtan, though they only carry up their genealogies to Adnan (said to be of the 21st generation before Mohammed). They are silent respecting Cushite settlements in Arabia; but modern research, we think, proves that Cushites were among its early inhabitants. Although Cush in the Bible usually corresponds to Ethiopia, certain passages seem to indicate Cushite peoples in Arabia; and the series of the sons of Cush should, according to recent discoveries, be sought for in order along the southern coast, exclusive of Seba (Meroe), occupying one extreme of their settlements, and Nimrod the other. The great ruins of Mareb or Seba, and of other places in the Yemen and Hadramaut, are not those of a Semitic people; and farther to the east, the existing language of Mahreh, the remnant of that of the inscriptions found on the ancient remains just mentioned, is in so great a degree apparently African as to be called by some scholars Cushite; while the settlements of Raamah and those of his sons Sheba and Dedan, are probably to be looked for toward the head of the Persian Gulf, bordered on the north by the descendants of Keturah, bearing the same names as the two latter. In Babylonia also independent proofs of this immigration of Cushites from Ethiopia have, it is thought, been lately obtained. The ancient cities and buildings of Southern Arabia, in their architecture, the inscriptions they contain, and the native traditions respecting them, are of the utmost value in aiding a student of this portion of primeval history. Indeed they are the only important archaic monuments of the country; and they illustrate both its earliest people and its greatest kingdoms. Mareb, or Seba (the Mariaba of the Greek geographers), is one of the most interesting of these sites (see Michaelis's Questions, No. 94, etc., in Niebuhr's Arabia). It was founded, according to the general agreement of tradition, by Abd-esh-Shems Seba, grandson of Yaarub the Kahtanite (Mushtarak, in loc.; Abulfeda, Hist, anteisl. ed. Fleischer, p. 114); and the Dike of El-Arim, which was situate near the city, and the rupture of which (A.D. 150-170, according to De Sacy; 120, according to Caussin de Perceval) formed an era in Arabian history, is generally ascribed to Lukman the Greater, the Adite, who founded the dynasty of the second Ad (Ibn-el-Wardee, MS.; Hamza Ispahanensis, ap. Schultens, p. 24, 25; El-Mesudi, cited by De Sacy, Mem. de l'Acad. 48, 484 sq.; and Ibn Khaldun in Caussin's Essai, 1:16). Adites (in conjunction with Cushites) were probably the founders of this and similar structures, and were succeeded by a predominantly Joktanite people, the Biblical Sheba, whose name is preserved in the Arabian Seba, and in the Sabcei of the Greeks. It has been argued (Caussin, Essai, 1:42 sq.; Renan, Langues Semitiques, 1, 300) that the Adites were the Cushite Seba; but this hypothesis, which involves the question of the settlements of the eldest son of Cush, and that of the descent of the Adites, rests solely on the existence of Cushite settlements in Southern Arabia, and of the name of Seba in the Yemen (by these writers inferentially identified with סבָא; by the Arabs, unanimously, with Seba the Kahtanite, or שׁבָא; the Hebrew shin being, in by far the greater number of instances, sin in Arabic); and it necessitates the existence of the two Biblical kingdoms of Seba and Sheba in a circumscribed province of Southern Arabia, a result which we think is irreconcilable with a careful comparison of the passages in the Bible bearing on this subject. SEE CUSH; SEE SEBA; SEE SHEBA. Neither is there evidence to indicate the identity of Ad and the other extinct tribes with any Semitic or Hamitic people: they must, in the present state of knowledge, be classed with the Rephaim and other peoples whose genealogies are not known to us. SEE ADITES. The only one that can possibly be identified with a scriptural name is Amalek, whose supposed descent from the grandson of Esau seems inconsistent with Ge 14:7, and Nu 24:20. SEE AMALEK.

The several nations that have inhabited the country are divided by the Arabs into extinct and existing tribes, and these are again distinguished as,

1. El-Arab el-Aribeh ("Arab of the Arabs;" comp. Paul's phrase, "Hebrew of the Hebrews," Php 3:5), the pure or genuine Arabs;

2. El-Arab el-Mutaarribeh; and,

3. El-Arab el-Mustaaribeh, the insititious or naturalized Arabs. Of many conflicting opinions respecting these races, two only are worthy of note.

According to the first of these, El-Arab el-Aribeh denotes the extinct tribes, with whom some conjoin Kahtan; while the other two, as synonymous appellations, belong to the descendants of Ishmael. According to the second, El-Arab el-Aribeh denotes the extinct tribes; El-Arab el- Mutaarribeh the unmixed descendants of Kahtan; and El-Arab el- Mustaaribeh the descendants of Ishmael by the daughter of Mudad the Joktanite. That the descendants of Joktan occupied the principal portions of the south and south-west of the peninsula, with colonies in the interior, is attested by the Arabs, and fully confirmed by historical and philological researches. It is-also asserted that they have been gradually absorbed into the Ishmaelite immigrants, though not without leaving strong traces of their former existence. Fresnel, however (le Lettre, p. 24), says that they were quite distinct, at least in Mohammed's time, and it is not unlikely that the Ishmaelite element has been exaggerated by Mohammedan influence.

Respecting the Joktanite settlers we have some certain evidence. In Ge 10:30 it is said, "and their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar, a mount of the east [Kedem]." The position of Mesha is very uncertain; it is most reasonably supposed to be the western limit of the first settlers, SEE MESHA: Sephar is undoubtedly Dhafari, or Zafari, of the Arabs (probably pronounced in ancient times without the final vowel, as it is at the present day), a name not uncommon in the peninsula, but especially that of two celebrated towns — one being the seaport on the south coast near Mirbat, the other, now in ruins, near Sana, and said to be the ancient residence of the Himyarite kings (Mushtarak, s.v.; Marasid, ib.; El-Idrisi, 1:148). Fresnel (4e Lettre, p. 516 sq.) prefers the seaport, as the Himyarite capital, and is followed by Jomard (Etudes, p. 367). He informs us that the inhabitants call this town "Isfor." Considering the position of the Joktanite races, this is probably Sephar; it is situated near a thuriferous mountain (Marasid, s.v.), and exports the best frankincense (Niebuhr, p. 148); Zafari in the Yemen, however, is also among mountains. SEE SEPHAR. In the district indicated above are distinct and undoubted traces of the names of the sons of Joktan mentioned in Genesis, such as Hadramaut for Hazarmaveth, Azal for Uzal, Seba for Sheba, etc. Their remains are found in the existing inhabitants of (at least) its eastern portion, and their records in the numerous Himyarite ruins and inscriptions.

The principal Joktanite kingdom, and the chief state of ancient Arabia, was that of the Yemen, founded (according to the Arabs) by Yaarub, the son (or descendant) of Kahtan (Joktan). Its most ancient capital was probably Sana, formerly called Azal, after Azal, son of Joktan (Yakut, ut sup.). SEE UZAL. The other capitals were Mareb, or Seba, and Zafari. This was the Biblical kingdom of Sheba. Its rulers, and most of its people, were descendants of Seba (= Sheba), whence the classical Saboi (Diod. Sic. 3:38, 46). Among its rulers was probably the queen of Sheba who came to hear the wisdom of Solomon (2Ki 10:2). The Arabs call her Balkis, a queen of the later Himyarites; and their traditions respecting her are otherwise not worthy of credit. SEE SHEBA. The dominant family was apparently that of Himyer, son (or descendant) of Seba. A member of this family founded the more modern kingdom of the Himyarites. The testimony of the Bible and of the classical writers, as well as native tradition, seems to prove that the latter appellation superseded the former only shortly before the Christian era; i.e. after the foundation of the later kingdom. "Himyarite," however, is now very vaguely used. Himyer, it may be observed, is perhaps "red," and several places in Arabia whose soil is reddish derive their names from Aafar, "reddish." This may identify Himyer (the red man?) with Ophir, respecting whose settlements, and the position of the country called Ophir, the opinion of the learned is widely divided. SEE OPHIR. The similarity of signification with φοίνιξ and ἐρυθρός lends weight to the tradition that the Phoenicians came from the Erythraean Sea (Herod. 7:89). The maritime nations of the Mediterranean who had an affinity with the Egyptians — such as the Philistines, and probably the primitive Cretans and Carians — appear to have been an offshoot of an early immigration from Southern Arabia which moved northward, partly through Egypt. SEE CAPHTOR. It is noticeable that the Shepherd invaders of Egypt are said to have been Phoenicians; but Manetho, who seems to have held this opinion, also tells us that some said they were Arabs (Manetho, ap. Cory, Anc. Fragments, 2d ed. p. 171), and the hieroglyphic name has been supposed to correspond to the common appellation of the Arabs, Shasu, the "camel-riding Shasu" (Select Papyri, pl. 53), an identification entirely in accordance with the Egyptian historian's account of their invasion and polity. In the opposite direction, an early Arab-domination of Challdaea is mentioned by Berosus (Cory, p. 60), as preceding the Assyrian dynasty. All these indications, slight as they are, must be borne in mind in attempting a reconstruction of the history of Southern Arabia. The early kings of the Yemen were at continual feud with the descendants of Kahlan (brother of Himyer) until the fifteenth in descent (according to the majority of native historians) from Himyer united the kingdom. This king was the first Tubbaa, a title also distinctive of his successors, whose dynasty represents the proper kingdom of Himyer, whence the Homeritce (Ptol. 6:7; Plin. 6:28). Their rule probably extended over the modern Yemen, Hadramaut, and Mahreh. The fifth Tubbaa, Dhu- l-Adhar, or Zu-l-Azar, is supposed (Caussin, 1:73) to be the Ilasarus of AElius Gallus (B.C. 24). The kingdom of Himyer lasted until A.D. 525, when it fell before an Abyssinian invasion. Already, about the middle of the fourth century, the kings of Axum appear to have become masters of part of the Yemen (Caussin, Essai, 1:114; Zeitschr. d. Deutsch. Morgenlind. Gesellschaft, 7, 17 sq.; 11:338 sq.), adding to their titles the names of places in Arabia belonging to Himyer. After four reigns they were succeeded by Himyarite princes, vassals of Persia, the last of whom submitted to Mohammed. Kings of Hadramaut (the people of this district are the classical Chatramotitce, Plin. 6:28; comp. Adramitce) are also enumerated by the Arabs (Ibn-Khaldun, ap. Caussin, 1:135 sq.), and distinguished from the descendants of Yaarub, an indication, as is remarked by Caussin (1. c.), of their separate descent from Hazarmaveth (q.v.). The Greek geographers mention a fourth people in conjunction with the Sabiei, Homeritae, and Chatramotite — the Mincei (Strab. 16:768; Ptol. v. 7, § 23; Plin. 6:32; Diod. Sic. 3:42), who have not been identified with any Biblical or modern name. Some place them as high as Mekkeh, and derive their name from Mina (the sacred valley north-east of that city), or from the goddess Minah, worshipped in the district between Mekkeh and El- Medinah. Fresnel, however, places them in the Wady Doan in Hadramaut, arguing that the Yemen anciently included this tract, that the Minaei were probably the same as the Rhabanitae or Rhamanit.e (Ptol. 6:7, § 24; Strab. 16:782), and that ῾Ραμανιτῶν was a copyist's error for Ι᾿εμανιτῶν.

The other chief Joktanite kingdom was that of the Hejaz, founded by Jurhum, the brother of Yaarub, who left the Yemen and settled in the neighborhood of Mekkeh. The Arab lists of its kings are inextricably confused; but the name of their leader and that of two of his successors was Mudad (or El-Mudad), who probably represents Almodad (q.v.). Ishmael, according to the Arabs, married a daughter of the first Mudad, whence sprang Adnan the ancestor of Mohammed. This kingdom, situate in a less fertile district than the Yemen, and engaged in conflict with aboriginal tribes, never attained the importance of that of the south. It merged, by intermarriage and conquest, into the tribes of Ishmael. (Kutb- ed-Din, ed. Wistenfeld, p. 35 and 39 sq.; comp. authorities quoted by Caussin.) Fresnel cites an Arab author who identifies Jurhum with Hadoram (q.v.).

Although these were the principal Joktanite kingdoms, others were founded beyond the limits of the peninsula. The most celebrated of these were that of El-Hireh in El-Irak, and that of Ghassan on the confines of Syria; both originated by emigrants after the Flood of El-Arim. El-Hi-reh soon became Ishmaelitic: Ghassan long maintained its original stock. Among its rulers were many named El-Harith. Respecting the presumed identity of some of these with kings called by the Greeks and Romans Aretas, and with the Aretas mentioned by Paul (2Co 11:32), SEE ARETAS.

The Ishmaelites appear to have entered the peninsula from the north-west. That they have spread over the whole of it (with the exception of one or two districts on the south coast which are said to be still inhabited by unmixed Joktanite peoples), and that the modern nation is predominantly Ishmaelite, is asserted by the Arabs. They do not, however, carry up their genealogies higher than Adnan (as we have already said), and they have lost the names of most of Ishmael's immediate and near descendants. Such as have been identified with existing names will be found under the several articles bearing their names. SEE HAGARENE. They extended northward from the Hejaz into the Arabian desert, where they mixed with Keturahites and other Abrahamic peoples; and westward to Idumaea, where they mixed with Edomites, etc. The tribes sprung from Ishmael have always been governed by petty chiefs or heads of families (sheiks and emirs); they have generally followed a patriarchal life, and have not originated kingdoms, though they have in some instances succeeded to those of Joktanites, the principal one of these being that of El-Hireh. With reference to the Ishmaelites generally, we may observe, in continuation of a former remark, that although their first settlements in the Hejaz, and their spreading over a great part of the northern portions of the peninsula, are sufficiently proved, there is doubt as to the wide extension given to them by Arab tradition. Mohammed derived from the Jews whatever tradition he pleased, and silenced any contrary, by the Koran or his own dicta. This religious element, which does not directly affect the tribes 'of Joktan (whose settlements are otherwise unquestionably identified), has a great influence over those of Ishmael. They, therefore, cannot be certainly proved to have spread over the peninsula, notwithstanding the almost universal adoption of their language (which is generally acknowledged to have been the Arabic commonly so called), and the concurrent testimony of the Arabs; but from these and other considerations it becomes at the same time highly probable that they now form the predominant element of the Arab nation.

Of the descendants of Keturah the Arabs say little. They appear to have settled chiefly north of the peninsula in Desert Arabia, from Palestine to the Persian Gulf; and the passages in the Bible in which mention is made of Dedan (except those relating to the Cushite Dedan, Ge 10:7) refer apparently to the tribe sprung from this race (Isa 21:13; Jer 25:23; Eze 27:20), perhaps with, an admixture of the Cushite Dedan, who seems to have passed up the western shores of the Persian Gulf. Some traces of Keturahites, indeed, are asserted to exist in the south of the peninsula, where a king of Himyer is said to have been a Midianite (El-Mesudi, ap. Schultens, p. 1589); and where one dialect is said to be of Midian, and another of Jokshan son of Keturah (Moajam); but these traditions must be ascribed to the rabbinical influence in Arab history. Native writers are almost wholly silent on this subject; and the dialects mentioned above are not, so far as they are known to us, of the tribes of Keturah. SEE KETURAH, etc.

In Northern and Western Arabia are other peoples which, from their geographical position and mode of life, are sometimes classed with the Arabs. Of these are AMALEK SEE AMALEK , the descendants of ESAU SEE ESAU , etc.

Arabia, in ancient times, generally preserved its independence, unaffected by those great events which changed the destiny of the surrounding nations; and in the sixth century of our era, the decline of the Roman empire and the corruptions and distractions of the Eastern Church favored the impulse given by a wild and warlike fanaticism. Mohammed arose, and succeeded in gathering around his standard the nomadic tribes of Central Arabia; and in less than fifty years that standard waved triumphant from the straits of Gibraltar to the hitherto unconquered regions beyond the Oxus. The caliphs transferred the seat of government successively to Damascus, Kufa, and Bagdad; but amid the distractions of their foreign wars, the chiefs of the interior of Arabia gradually shook off their feeble allegiance, and resumed their ancient habits of independence, which, notwithstanding the revolutions that have since occurred, they for the most part retain (Crichton, Hist. of Arabia, Lond. 1852).

3. Religion. — The most ancient idolatry of the Arabs we must conclude to have been fetichism, of which there are striking proofs in the sacred trees and stones of historical times, and in the worship of the heavenly bodies, or Sabeism. With the latter were perhaps I connected the temples (or palace- temples) of which I there are either remains or traditions in the Himyarite kingdom; such as Beit Ghumdan in Sana, and those of Reidan, Beinuneh, Ruein, Einein, and Riam. To the worship of the heavenly bodies we find allusions in Job (Job 31:26-28), and to the belief in the influence of the stars to give rain (Job 28:28), where the Pleiades give rain, and Orion withholds it; and again in Judges (Jg 5:20-21), where the stars fight again t the host of Sisera. The names of the objects of the earlier fetichism, the stone-worship, tree-worship, etc., of various tribes, are too numerous to mention. One, that of Manah, the goddess worshipped between Mekkeh and El-Medinah has been compared with Meni (Isa 65:11), which is rendered in the A. V. "number." SEE MENI. Magianism, an importation from Chaldea and Persia, must be reckoned among the religions of the pagan Arabs; but it never had very numerous followers. Christianity was introduced into Southern Arabia toward the close of the 2d century, and about a century later it had made great progress (Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 6, 19, 33, 37). It flourished chiefly in the Yemen, where many churches were built (see Philostorg. Hist. Eccles. 3; Sozomen, 6; Evagr. 6). It also rapidly advanced in other portions of Arabia, through the kingdom of Hireh and the contiguous countries, Ghassan, and other parts. The persecutions of the Christians, and more particularly of those of Nejran by the Tubbaa Zu-n-Nuwas, brought about the fall of the Himyarite dynasty by the invasion of the Christian ruler of Abyssinia. SEE ARABIA, CHURCH OF. Judaism was propagated in Arabia, principally by Karaites, at the captivity, but it was introduced before that time: it became very prevalent in the Yemen, and in the Hejaz, especially at Kheibar and El- Medinah, where there are said to be still tribes of Jewish extraction. In the period immediately preceding the birth of Mohammed another class had sprung up, who, disbelieving the idolatry of the greater number of their countrymen, and not yet believers in Judaism, or in the corrupt Christianity with which alone they were acquainted, looked to a revival of what they called the "religion of Abraham" (see Sprenger's Life of Mohammed, 1, Calcutta, 1856). The promulgation of the Mohammedan imposture overthrew paganism, but crushed while it assumed to lead the movement which had been one of the cause of its success. and almost wholly superseded the religions of the Bible in Arabia (see Krehl, Relig. d. vorislamitischen Araber, Lpz. 1863). SEE MOHAMMED.

4. Language. — Arabic, the language of Arabia, is the most developed and the richest of the Semitic languages, and the only one of which we have an extensive literature; it is, therefore, of great importance to the study of Hebrew. Of its early phases we know nothing; while we have archaic monuments of the Himyaritic (the ancient language of Southern Arabia), though we cannot fix their precise ages. Of the existence of Hebrew and Chaldee (or Aramaic) in the time of Jacob there is evidence in Genesis (Ge 31:47); and probably Jacob and Laban understood each other, the one speaking Hebrew and the other Chaldee. It seems also (Jg 7:9-15) that Gideon, or Phurah, or both, understood the conversation of the Midianites, and the Amalekites, and all the children of the East." It is probable, therefore, that down to the 13th century B.C. the Semitic languages differed much less than in after times. But it appears from 2Ki 18:26, that in the 8th century B.C. only the educated classes among the Jews understood Aramaic. With these evidences before us, and making a due distinction between the archaic and the known phases of the Aramaic and the Arabic, we think that the Himyaritic is to be regarded as a sister of the Hebrew, and the Arabic (commonly so called) as a sister of the Hebrew and the Aramaic, or, in its classical phasis, as a descendant of a sister of these two, but that the Himyaritic is mixed with an African language, and that the other dialects of Arabia are in like manner, though in a much less degree, mixed with an African language. The inferred differences between the older and later phases of the Aramaic, and the presumed difference between those of the Arabic, are amply confirmed by comparative philology. The division of the Ishmaelite language into many dialects is to be attributed chiefly to the separation of tribes by uninhabitable tracts of desert, and the subsequent amalgamation of those dialects to the pilgrimage and the annual meetings of Okaz, a fair in which literary contests took place, and where it was of the first importance that the contending poets should deliver themselves in a language perfectly intelligible to the mass of the people congregated, in order that it might be critically judged by them; for many of the meanest of the Arabs, utterly ignorant of reading and writing, were of the highest of the authorities consulted by the lexicologists when the corruption of the language had commenced, i.e. when the Arabs, as Mohammedans, had begun to spread among foreigners. SEE ARABIC LANGUAGE.

Respecting the Himyaritic until lately little was known; but monuments bearing inscriptions in this language have been discovered in the southern parts of the peninsula, principally in Hadramaut and the Yemen, and some of the inscriptions have been published by Fresnel, Arnaud, Wellsted, and Cruttenden; while Fresnel has found a dialect still spoken in the district of Mahreh, and westward as far as Kishim, that of the neighborhood of Zafari and Mirbat being the purest, and called "Ekhili;" and this is supposed with reason to be the modern phasis of the old Himyaritic (4e Lettre). Fresnel's alphabet has been accepted by the learned. The dates found in the inscriptions range from 30 (on the dike of Mareb) to 604 at Hisn Ghorab, but what era these represent is uncertain. Ewald (Ueber die Himyarische Sprache in Hofer's Zeitschrift, 1, 295 sq.) thinks that they are years of the Rupture of the Dike, while acknowledging their apparent high antiquity; but the difficulty of supposing such inscriptions on a ruined dike, and the fact that some of them would thus be brought later than the time of Mohammed, make it probable that they belong rather to an earlier era, perhaps that of the Himnyarite empire, though what point marks its commencement is not determined. The Himyaritic in its earliest phasis probably represents the first Semitic language spoken in Arabia. SEE HIMYARITE; SHEMITIC LANGUAGES.

5. The manners and customs of the Arabs are of great value in illustrating the Bible; but supposed parallels between the patriarchal life of the Scriptures and the state of the modern Arabs must not be hastily drawn. It should be remembered that this people are in a degraded condition; that they have been influenced by Jewish contact, especially by the adoption through Mohammed of parts of the ceremonial law and of rabbinical observances; and that they are not of the race of Israel. The inhabitants of Arabia have, from remote antiquity, been divided into two great classes, viz. the townsmen (including villagers), and the men of the desert, such being, as we remarked, the meaning of the word "Bedawees" or Bedouins, the designation given to the "dwellers in the wilderness." From the nature of their country, the latter are necessitated to lead the life of nomades, or wandering shepherds; and since the days of the patriarchs (who were themselves of that occupation) the extensive steppes, which form so large a portion of Arabia. have been traversed by a pastoral but warlike people, who, in their mode of life, their food, their dress, their dwellings, their manners, customs, and government, have always continued, and still continue, almost unalterably the same. They consist of a great many separate tribes, who are collected into different encampments dispersed through the territory which they claim as their own; and they move from one spot to another (commonly in the neighborhood of pools or wells) as soon as the stinted pasture is exhausted by their cattle. It is only here and there that the ground is, susceptible of cultivation, and the tillage of it is commonly left to peasants, who are often the vassals of the Bedouins, and whom (as well as all "townsmen") they regard with contempt as an inferior race. Having constantly to shift their residence, they live in movable tents (comp. Isa 13:20; Jer 49:29), from which circumstance they received from the Greeks the name of Σκηνῖται. i.e. dwellers in tents (Strabo, 16:747; Diod. Sic. p. 254; Ammian. Marcell. 23:6). The tents are of an oblong figure, not more than six or eight feet high, twenty to thirty long, and ten broad; they are made of goat's or camel's hair, and are of a brown or black color (such were the tents of Kedar, Song 1:5), differing in this respect from those of the Turcomans, which are white. Each tent is divided by a curtain or carpet into two apartments, one of which is appropriated to the women, who are not, however, subject to so much restraint and seclusion as among other Mohammedans. The tents are arranged in an irregular circle, the space within serving as a fold to the cattle at night. The heads of tribes are called sheiks, a word of various import, but used in this case as a title of honor; the government is hereditary in the family of each sheik, but elective as to the particular individual appointed. Their allegiance, however, consists more in following his example as a leader than in obeying his commands; and, if dissatisfied with his government, they will depose or abandon him. As the independent lords of their own deserts, the Bedouins have from time immemorial demanded tribute or presents from all travelers or caravans (Isa 21:13) passing through their country; the transition from which to robbery is so natural that they attach to the latter no disgrace, plundering without mercy all who are unable to resist them, or who have not secured the protection of their tribe. Their watching for travelers "in the ways," i.e. the frequented routes through the desert, is alluded to Jer 3:2; Ezr 8:31; and the fleetness of their horses in carrying them into the "depths of the wilderness," beyond the reach of their pursuers, seems what is referred to in Isa 13:14. Their warlike incursions into more settled districts are often noticed (e.g. Job 1:15; 2Ch 21:16; 2Ch 26:7). The acuteness of their bodily senses is very remarkable, and is exemplified in their astonishing sagacity in tracing and distinguishing the footsteps of men and cattle, a faculty which is known by the name of athr. The law of thar, or blood-revenge (q.v.), sows the seeds of perpetual feuds; and what was predicted (Ge 16:12) of the posterity of Ishmael, the "wild-ass man" (a term most graphically descriptive of a Bedouin), holds true of the whole people. Yet the very dread of the consequences of shedding blood prevents their frequent conflicts from being very sanguinary; they show bravery in repelling a public enemy, but when they fight for plunder they behave like cowards. Their bodily frame is spare, but athletic and active, inured to fatigue and capable of undergoing great privations; their minds are acute and inquisitive; and, though their manners are somewhat grave and formal, they are of a lively and social disposition. Of their moral virtues it is necessary to speak with caution. They were long held up as models of good faith, incorruptible integrity, and the most generous hospitality to strangers; but many recent travelers deny them the possession of these qualities; and it is certain that whatever they may have been once, the Bedouins, like all the unsophisticated "children of nature," have been much corrupted by the influx of foreigners, and the national character is in every point of view lowest where they are most exposed to the continual passage of strangers. SEE ISHMAELITE.

The Bedouins acknowledge that their ancient excellence has greatly declined since the time of Mohammed, and there cannot be a doubt that this decline had commenced much earlier. Though each tribe boasts of its unadulterated blood and pure language, their learned men candidly admit the depreciation of national character. — Scriptural customs still found among them must therefore be generally regarded rather as indications of former practices than as being identical with them. Furthermore, the Bible always draws a strong contrast between the character of the Israelites and that of the descendants of Ishmael, whom the Bedouins mostly represent. Yet they are, by comparison with other nations, an essentially unchangeable people, retaining a primitive, pastoral life, and many customs strikingly illustrating the Bible. They are not so much affected by their religion as might be supposed: many tribes disregard religious observances, and even retain some pagan rites. The Wahhambis, or modern Arab reformers, found great difficulty in suppressing, by persuasion, and even by force of arms, such rites; and where they succeeded, the suppression was, in most cases, only temporary. Incest, sacrifices to sacred objects, etc., were among these relics of paganism (see Burckhardt's Notes on the Bedouins and Wahabys). The less changed a tribe, however, the more difficulty is there in obtaining information respecting it: such a one is very jealous of intercourse with strangers even of its own nation. In Southern Arabia, for instance, is a tribe which will not allow a guest to stay within its encampments beyond the three days demanded by the laws of hospitality. This exclusion undoubtedly tends to preserve the language from corruption, and the people from foreign influence; but it probably does not improve the national character.

To the settled Arabs these remarks apply with the difference that the primitive mode of life is in a great degree lost, and the Jewish practices are much more observable; while intermixture with foreigners, especially with Abyssinian and negro concubines in the Yemen and the Hejaz, has tended to destroy their purity of blood. A Bedouin will scarcely marry out of his tribe, and is not addicted to concubinage; he considers himself, and is, quite distinct from a townsman, in habits, in mode of thought, and in national feeling. Again, a distinction should be made between the people of Northern and those of Southern Arabia; the former being chiefly of Ishmaelite, the latter of Joktanite descent, and in other respects than settlement and intermarriage with foreigners farther removed from the patriarchal character.

Regarded in the light we have indicated, Arab manners and customs, whether those of the Bedouins or of the townspeople, afford valuable help to the student of the Bible, and testimony to the truth and vigor of the scriptural narrative. No one can mix with this people without being constantly and forcibly reminded either of the early patriarchs or of the settled Israelites. We may instance their pastoral life, their hospitality-that most remarkable of desert virtues, SEE HOSPITALITY — their universal respect for age (comp. Le 19:32), their familiar deference (comp. 2-Kings 5:13), their superstitious regard for the beard. On the signet-ring, which is worn on the little finger of the right hand, is usually inscribed a sentence expressive of submission to God, or of his perfection, etc., explaining Ex 39:30, "the engraving of a signet, Holiness to the Lord," and the saying of our Lord (Joh 3:33), "He . . . hath set to his seal that God is true." As a mark of trust this ring is given to another person (as in Ge 41:42). The inkhorn worn in the girdle is also very ancient (Eze 9:2-3,11), as well as the veil. (For these, and many other illustrations, see Lane's Modern Egyptians, Index.) A man has a right to claim his cousin in marriage, and he relinquishes this right by taking off his shoe, as the kinsman of Ruth did to Boaz (Ru 4:7-8; see Burckhardt's Notes on the Bedouins and Wahabys, 1, 113). SEE JOB.

6. The commerce of Arabia especially connected with the Bible has been referred to in the sections en Western and Northern Arabia, and incidentally in mentioning the products of the peninsula. Direct mention of the commerce of the south does' not appear to be made in the Bible, but it seems to have passed to Palestine principally through the northern tribes. So early as the days of Jacob (Ge 37:28) we read of a mixed caravan of Arab merchants (Ishmaelites and Midianites) who were engaged in the conveyance of various foreign articles to Egypt, and made no scruple to add Joseph, "a slave," to their other purchases. The Arabs wore doubtless the first navigators of their own seas, and the great carriers of the produce of India, Abyssinia, and other remote countries, to Western Asia and Egypt. Various Indian productions thus obtained were common among the Hebrews at an early period of their history (Ex 30:23,25). The traffic of the Red Sea was to Solomon a source of great profit; .and the extensive commerce of Sabaea (Sheba, now Yemen) is mentioned by profane writers as well as alluded to in Scripture (1Ki 10:10-15). In the description of the foreign trade of Tyre (Eze 27:19-24) various Arab tribes are introduced (comp. Isa 60:6; Jer 6:20; 2Ch 9:14). The Nabathaeo-Idumaeans became a great trading people, their capital being Petra (q.v.). The Joktanite people of Southern Arabia have always been, in contradistinction to the Ishmaelite tribes, addicted to a seafaring life. The latter were caravan-merchants; the former the chief traders of the Red Sea, carrying their commerce to the shores of India, as well as to the nearer coasts of Africa. Their own writers describe these voyages; since the Christian era especially, as we might expect from the modern character of their literature. (See the curious Accounts of India and China by two Mohammedan Travellers of the ninth Cent., trans. by Renaudot, and amply illustrated in Mr. Lane's notes to his translation of the Tholwand and One Nights.) The classical writers also make frequent mention of the commerce of Southern Arabia (see Smith's Diet. of Class. Geog.). it was evidently carried on with Palestine by the two great caravan routes from the head of the Red Sea and from that of the Persian Gulf; the former especially taking with it African produce, the latter Indian. It should be observed that the wandering propensities of the Arabs, of whatever descent, do not date from the promulgation of Islamism. All testimony goes to show that from the earliest ages the peoples of Arabia formed colonies in distant lands, and have not been actuated solely either by the desire of conquest or by religious impulse in their foreign expeditions, but rather by restlessness and commercial activity. The transit-trade from India continued to enrich Arabia until the discovery of the passage to India by the Cape of Good Hope; but the invention of steam navigation has now restored the ancient route for travelers by the Red Sea. SEE COMMERCE.

4. Literature. — The principal European authorities for the history of Arabia are, Schultens' Hist. Imp. Vetus. Joctanidarum (Hard. Gel. 1786), containing extracts from various Arab authors; and his Monumenta Vetustiora Arabice (Lug. Bat. 1740); Eichhorn's Monumenta Antiquiss. Hist. Arabum, chiefly extracted from Ibn-Kuteibeh, with his notes (Goth. 1775); Fresnel, Lettres sur l'Hist. des Arabes avant l'Islarisme, published in the Journal Asiatique, 1838-53; Quatremere, Memoire sur les Nabatheens; Caussin, Essai sur l'Hist. des Arabes avant l'Islamisame (Paris, 1847-8); for the geography, Niebuhr's Description de l'Arabie (Amst. 1774); Burckhardt's Travels in Arabia (Lond. 1839); Wellsted, Narrative of a Journey to the ruins of Nakebal-Hajar, in Journ. of R. G. S. 7, 20; his copy of inscription, in Journ. of Asiat. Soc. of Bengal, 3, 1834; and his Journal (Lond. 1838); Cruttenden, Narrative of a Journey from Mokh& to San'ca; Jomard, Etudes geogr. et hist. appended to Mengin, Hist. de l'Egypte, vol. in (Paris, 1839); and for Arabia Petraea and Sinai, Robinson's Biblical Researches; Stanley's Sinai and Palestine; Tuch's Essay on the Sinaitic Inscriptions in the Journal of the German Oriental Soc. 14, 129 sq. Compare Chesney's Expedition to the Euphrates (Lond. 1850), and Ritter, Erdkunde, pt. 14; also Palgrave, Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia (Lond. 1865, 2 vols. 8vo). For the manners and customs of the Arabs, see Burckhardt's Notes on the Bedouins and Wahabys (8vo, 1831); Lane's Notes on the Thousand and One Nights (ed. 1838); and his Modern Egyptians (ed. 1861). See also Weil, Gesch. der

Khalifen (3 vols. 8vo, Mannh. 1846-61); Forster, Historical Geog. of Arabia (2 vols. 8vo, Lond. 1844).

The most important native works are, with two exceptions, still untranslated, and but few of them are edited. Abulfeda's Hist. Anteislamica has been edited and translated by Fleischer (Lips. 1831); and El-Idrisi's Geography translated by Jaubert, and published in the Recueil de Voyages et de Memoires, by the Geogr. Soc. of Paris (1836); of those which have been, or are in the course of being edited, are Yakut's Homonymous Geographical Dictionary, entitled El-Mushtarak Wad'an, wa-l-Muftarak Sak'an (ed. Wustenfeld, Got. 1845); the Mara'sid el-Ittilaa, probably an abridgment by an unknown hand of his larger geogr. dict. called the Moajam (ed. Juynboll, Lug. Bat. 1852-4); the Histories of Mekkeh, ed. Wustenfeld, and now published by the German Oriental Society; and Ibn-Khaldun's Prolegomena, ed. Quatremere, i (Paris, 1858). Of those in MS., besides the indispensable works of the Arab lexicographers, we would especially mention Ibn-Khaldun's History of the Arabs; the Kharidet el-Ajaib of Jbn-El-Wardi; the Mir-at ez-Zeman of Ibn- EI-Jozi; the Murooj edhDhahab of El-Mesudi; Yakut's Moajam el- Buldan; the Kitlb-el-Aghanl of El-Isfahani; and the 'Ikd of EI-Kurtubi. For a copious view of Arabic and kindred literature, see Zenker's Bibliotheca Orientalis (Lps. 1846 sq.). SEE ARABIA.

 
Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary
 

Scripture linking and popups powered by VerseClick™.