Lib'ya (Λιβύα or Λιβύη), a name which, in its largest acceptation, was used by the Greeks to denote the whole of Africa (Strabo, 2:131); but Libya Proper, which is the Libya of the New Testament (Ac 2:10), and the country of the Lubim in the Old, was a large tract lying along the Mediterranean, to the west of Egypt (Strabo, 17:824). It is called Pentapolittana Regio by Pliny (Hist. Nat. 5:5), from its five cities, Berenice, Arsinoe, Ptolemais, Apollonia, and Cyrene; and Libya Cyrenaica by Ptolemy (Geog. 4:5), from Cyrene, its capital. See Smith's Dict. of Class. Geogr. s.v. The name of Libya occurs in Ac 2:10, where " the dwellers in the parts of Libya about Cyrene" are mentioned among the stranger Jews who came up to Jerusalem at the feast of Pentecost. This obviously means the Cyrenaica. Similar expressions are used by Dion Cassius (Λιβύη ἡ περὶ Κυρήνην, 53:12) and Josephus (ἡ πρὸς Κυρήνην Λιβύη, Ant. 16:6, 1). SEE CYRENE. In the Old Test. it is the rendering sometimes adopted of פּוּט (Jer 46:9; Eze 30:5; Eze 38:5), elsewhere rendered PHUT (Ge 10:6; Eze 27:10).
Libya is supposed to have been first peopled by, and to have derived its name from, the Lehabim or Lubin (Ge 10:13; Na 3:9; see Gesenius, Montum. Phan. page 211; comp. Michaelis, Spicil. 1:262 sq.; Vater, Comment. 1:132). These its earliest inhabitants, appear, in the time of the Old Testament, to have consisted of wandering tribes, who were sometimes in alliance with Egypt (compare Herod. 4:159), and at others with the Ethiopians, as they are said to have assisted both Shishak, king of Egypt, and Zerah the Ethiopian in their expeditions against Judea (2Ch 14:8; 2Ch 16:9). In the time of Cambyses they appear to have formed part of the Persian empire (Herod. 3:13), and Libyans formed part of the immense army of Xerxes (Herod. 7:71, 86). They are mentioned by Daniel (Da 11:43) in connection with the Ethiopians and Cushites. " They were eventually subdued by the Carthaginians; and it was the policy of that people to bring the nomad tribes of Northern Africa which they mastered into the condition of cultivators, that by the produce of their industry they might be able to raise and maintain the numerous armies with which they made their foreign conquests. But Herodotus assures us that none of the Libyans beyond the Carthaginian territory were tillers of the ground (Herod. 4:186,187; compare Polybius, 1:161,167, 168,177. ed. Schweighaeuser). Since the time of the Carthaginian supremacy, the country, with the rest of the East, has successively passed into the hands of the Greeks, Romans, Saracens, and Turks." SEE AFRICA.