American Tract Society Bible Dictionary
The Hebrews, in speaking of the different quarters of the heaven, always suppose the face to be turned towards the east. Hence "before," or "forwards," means the east; "behind" is the west; the right-hand is south, and the left hand, north. Besides the ordinary meanings of the word east, Joshua 4:19; Psalm 103:12 , the Jews often used it to designate a large region lying northeast and southeast of Palestine, including Syria and Arabia near at hand, and Babylonia, Assyria, Armenia, etc., with the whole region from the Caspian sea to the Arabian gulf, Genesis 29:1; Numbers 23:7; Judges 6:3; 7:12; 8:10 . The wise men who visited the infant Savior dwelt somewhere in this region; and being "in the east," saw his star-not east of them, but in the direction to guide them to Jerusalem, Matthew 2:1,2 .
These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'East'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ats/e/east.html. 1859.