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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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the Horite, whose dwelling was to the east and south of the Dead Sea, in the mountains of Seir, Genesis 14:6 ; Genesis 36:20 ; Deuteronomy 2:12 ; where at first reigned the descendants of Seir the Horite, of whom Moses gives us a list in Genesis 36:20-30 ; 1 Chronicles 38, 39, &c. The posterity of Esau afterward were in possession of the mountains of Seir, and Esau himself dwelt there when Jacob returned from Mesopotamia, Genesis 33:3 ; Genesis 33:14 ; Genesis 36:8-9 .

SEIR, MOUNT, a mountainous tract, extending from the southern extremity of the Dead Sea, to the Gulf of Acaba, or Ezion-Geber. The whole of this tract was probably before called Mount Hor, and was inhabited by the Horites, the descendants, as it is thought, of Hor, who is no otherwise known, and whose name is now only retained in that part of the plain where Aaron died. These people were driven out from their country by the Edomites, or the children of Esau, who dwelt there in their stead, and were in possession of this region when the Israelites passed by in their passage from Egypt to the land of Canaan. The country had, however, been previously overrun, and no doubt very much depopulated, by the invasion of Chedorlaomer, king of Elam. At what time the name of Hor was changed to that of Seir cannot be ascertained. Mount Seir rises abruptly on its western side from the valleys of El Ghor and El Araba; presenting an impregnable front to the strong country of the Edomite mountaineers, which compelled the Israelites, who were unable (if permitted by their leader) to force a passage through this mountain barrier, to skirt its western base, along the great valley of the Ghor and Araba. and so to "compass the land of Edom by the way of the Red Sea," that is, to descend to its southern extremity at Ezion-Geber, as they could not penetrate it higher up. To the southward of this place Burckhardt observed an opening in the mountains, where he supposed the Israelites to have passed. This passage brought them into the high plains on the east of Mount Seir, which are so much higher than the valley on the west, that the mountainous territory of the Edomites was every where more accessible: a circumstance which perhaps contributed to make them more afraid of the Israelites on this border, whom they had set at defiance on the opposite one. The mean elevation of this chain cannot be estimated at less than four thousand feet. In the summer it produces most of the European fruits, namely, apricots, figs, pomegranates, olives, apples, and peaches; while in winter deep snows occasionally fall, with frosts, to the middle of March. The inhabitants, like those of most mountainous regions, are very healthy. Burckhardt says, that there was no part of Syria in which he saw so few invalids: a circumstance which did not escape the observation of the ancients; who denominated it, Palaestina tertia sive salutaris. [Palestine the third or the healthy.]

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Seir'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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