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Bible Dictionaries

Morrish Bible Dictionary

Arabah

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This occurs as a proper name only once in the A.V. where it should read 'the Arabah,' Joshua 18:18; but it occurs in many other passages where it is translated 'a plain' or 'the plain,' and is also translated 'desert,' 'wilderness,' etc. It refers to the plain situated between two series of hills that run from the slopes of Hermon in the north to the Gulf of Akaba in the far south. It is in this plain that the Jordan runs, and in which is the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, also called 'the Sea of the Plain.' About 7 miles south of the Dead Sea the plain is crossed by some hills: all north of this is now called el-Ghor, but the plain south of it retains the name of the Wady-el-Arabah. This latter part is about 100 miles in length, and the northern part about 150, so that for nearly 250 miles this wonderful plain or valley extends.

It might naturally be thought that the Jordan had at some time, after running into the Dead Sea, continued to run south until it poured itself into the Gulf of Akaba. But this is not probable, for the Dead Sea is nearly 1,300 feet below the sea, and the southern part is from end to end higher than the Ghor, The width of the Arabah is in some parts about 15 miles, but further south not more than 3 or 4. The southern end is also called the Wilderness of Zin, and it was in this part of the Arabah that a good deal of the wanderings of the people of Israel took place, before they turned to the east and left the plain on their left.

There can be no doubt that scripture uses the name 'Arabah' for the whole of the plain, both north and south. The northern part is referred to in Deuteronomy 3:17; Deuteronomy 4:49; Joshua 3:16; Joshua 12:3; Joshua 18:18 : and the southern part in Deuteronomy 1:1; Deuteronomy 2:8 . In other passages, especially in the prophetic books, the plain in general may be alluded to. It extends nearly due north and south, but bears toward the west before it reaches the Gulf.

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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Arabah'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/mbd/a/arabah.html. 1897.

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