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Fausset's Bible Dictionary
EL PARAN. The Εt Τih ("the wanderings") desert, N. of the wilderness of Sinai. Israel passed from the latter into Paran on their way N. toward Kadesh. (See .) (Numbers 10:12; Numbers 13:26). Paran comprises one third of the peninsula which lies between Egypt and Canaan, the eastern half of the limestone plateau which forms the center of the peninsula. Bounded on the N. by southern Canaan; on the W. by the brook or river of Egypt, parting it from Shur wilderness, the other half of the plateau; on the S. by the great sand belt sweeping across the peninsula in a concave northward line from gulf to gulf, and forming the demarcation between it and Sinai; on the E. by the northern part of the Elanitic gulf, and the Arabah dividing it from the Edom mountains. The Zin (not Sin) wilderness, Canaan's (Numbers 34:3) immediate boundary, was its N.E. extremity, from whence Kadesh is spoken of as in Zin wilderness or in Paran (Numbers 13:26; Numbers 20:1.) In 1 Samuel 25:1-2 the southern parts of Canaan are called Paran.
The beautiful wady Feiran is probably distinct (Speaker's Commentary, Numbers 10:12). Phara, a Roman station between the heads of the two gulfs, takes its name from Paran. Paran is a dreary waste of chalk covered with coarse gravel, black flint, and drifting sand, crossed by watercourses and low horizontal hills. Not so wild looking as the Arabah, nor yet relieved by such fertile valleys as lie amidst the granite mountains of Sinai. Vegetation would probably cover the level plains, which have red clay soil in parts, but for the reckless destruction of trees for charcoal, so that the winter rains run at once to waste. Ishmael's dwelling (Genesis 21:21; Genesis 21:14; compare Genesis 14:6). "Mount Paran" in Deuteronomy 33:2 is the range forming the northern boundary of the desert of Sinai. In Deuteronomy 1:1 Paran is either Mount Paran or a city mentioned, by Eusebius and Jerome near the mountain. The Paran of Hadad the Edomite (1 Kings 11:18) lay to N.W. or the Egyptian side of Horeb, between Midian and Egypt. Capt. Burton has found extensive mineral districts in Midian, the northern Being little worked, the southern with many traces of ancient labor, shafting and tunneling.
Silver and copper abound in northern, gold in southern, and turquoise in northern southern, and central Midian. How strikingly accurate are Scripture details! We should never have guessed that a nomadic people like the Midianites would have wrought mines; but research confirms fully the truth of Scripture, which represents them as having ornaments and tablets of gold, and chains for their camels' necks. The spoils from Midian (Numbers 31:50-53) included gold (of which was offered to Jehovah 16,750 shekels!), silver, brass, iron, tin, and lead. The gold taken by Gideon from them was so enormous as to suffice for making a golden ephod (Judges 8:24-27). The Ηaj route from Egypt by Elath to Mecca still runs through the Paran desert. Hadad would take that road to Egypt, "taking men with them out of Paran" as guides through the desert. Seir (Edom and Teman), Sinai, and Paran are comparatively adjacent, and therefore are associated together in God's giving the law (Habakkuk 3:3), as in Deuteronomy 33:2.
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Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Paran'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/p/paran.html. 1949.