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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Desert. In the Scriptures this term does not mean an utterly barren waste, but an uninhabited region. The Hebrew words translated in the English Versions by "desert" often denote definite localities. 1. Arabah. This refers to that very depressed region—the deepest valley in the world—the sunken valley north and south of the Dead Sea, but more particularly the former. Arabah in the sense of the Jordan valley is translated by the word "desert" only in Ezekiel 47:8 A. V. The R. V. reads Arabah. 2. Midbar. This Hebrew word, frequently rendered "desert," R. V. "wilderness," is accurately "the pasture ground." It is most frequently used for those tracts of waste land which lie beyond the cultivated ground in the immediate neighborhood of the towns and villages of Palestine. Exodus 3:1; Exodus 5:3; Exodus 19:2. 3. Charbah appears to mean dryness, and thence desolation. It is rendered "desert" in Psalms 102:6, R.V. "waste places," Isaiah 48:21; Ezekiel 13:4, R. V. "waste places." The term commonly employed for it in the Authorized Version is "waste places" or "desolation." 4. Jeshimon, with the definite article, apparently denotes the waste regions on both sides of the Dead Sea. In all these cases it is treated as a proper name in the Authorized Version. Without the article it occurs in a few passages of poetry, in the following of which it is rendered "desert: " Psalms 78:40; Psalms 106:14; Isaiah 43:19-20.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Desert'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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Saturday, September 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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