Ish'bak (Heb. Yishbak', יַשׁבָּק, leaner; Sept. Ι᾿εσβώκ, Ι᾿εσβόκ), one of the sons of Abraham by Keturah (Ge 25:2; 1Ch 1:32). B.C. post 2024. We are told that Abraham "gave gifts" to the sons of Keturah, "and sent them away from Isaac his son eastward, unto the east country" (Ge 25:1-6). They settled in the region east of the Arabah, in and near Mount Seir, and southward in the peninsula of Sinai (Ge 37:28,36; Ex 3:1; Nu 31:9-10). SEE KETURAH.
The settlements of this people are very obscure, and Poole (in Smith's Dict. of the Bible, s.v.) suggests as possible that they may be recovered in the name of the valley called Sabdk, or, as it is also called, "Sibdk, in the Dahnk" (Maarasid, s.v.). The Heb. root precisely corresponds to the Arabic (sabaq) in etymology and signification. The Dahna, in which is situate Sabiak, is a fertile and extensive tract belonging to the Beni-Temim. in Nejd, or the highland of Arabia, on the northeast of it, and the borders of the great desert, reaching from the rugged tract ("hazn") of Yensf'ah to the sands of Yebrin. It contains much pasturage, with comparatively few wells, and is greatly frequented by the Arabs when the vegetation is plentiful (Mushtarak and Mardsid, s.v.). There is, however, another Dahna, nearer to the Euphrates (ib.), and some confusion may exist regarding the true position of Sabak; but either Dahna is suitable for the settlements of Ishbak. The first-mentioned Dahna lies in a favorable portion of the widely stretching country known to have been peopled by the Keturahites. They extended from the borders of Palestine even to the Persian Gulf, and traces of their settlements must be looked for all along the edge of the Arabian peninsula, where the desert merges into the cultivable land, or (itself a rocky undulating plateau) rises to the wild, mountainous country of Nejd. Ishbak seems from his name to have preceded or gone before his brethren: the place suggested for his dwelling is far away towards the Persian Gulf, and penetrates also into the peninsula. SEE ARABIA. There are many places, however, of an almost similar derivation (root shabak), as Shebek, Shibdk, and Esh-Shobak; the last of which has especially been supposed (as by Schwarz, Palest. p. 215; Bunsen, Bibelwerk, I, 2, 53) to preserve a trace of Ishbak. It is a fortress in Arabia Petraea, and is near the well- known fortress of the Crusaders' times called El-Karerk. This great castle of Shobek "stands on the top of the mountain range which bounds the valley of Arabah on the east, and about twelve miles north of Petra, on the crest of a peak commanding a wide view. It was built by Baldwin, king of Jerusalem, in A.D. 1115, on the site of a much more ancient fortress and city, and it was one of the chief strongholds of the Crusaders. The name they gave it was Mons Regalis; but by the Arabs, both before and since, it has been uniformly called Shobek. It was finally taken from the Franks by Saladin in A.D. 1188 (Gesta Dei Per Fancos, p. 426, 611, 812; Bohadin, Vita Saladini, p. 38, 54, and Index Geographicus, s.v. Sjanbachum). The castle is still in tolerable preservation, and a few families of Arabs find within its walls a secure asylum for themselves and their flocks. It contains an old church, with a Latin inscription of the crusading age over its door (Burckhardt, Travels in Syria, p. 416; Hand-book for Syr. and Pal. p. 58; see Forster, Geogr. of Arabia, 1, 352; Robinson, Bib. Res. 2, 164)" SEE IDUMEA.