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Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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E´lam, which is mentioned in , as a tribe descended from Shem, is, in , introduced along with the kingdom of Shinar in Babylon, and in , and , is connected with Media. In , the Elamites are described among the nations of the Persian Empire; and in , Susa is said to lie on the river Ulai (Eulæus or Choaspes) in the province of Elam. These accounts lead to the conclusion that Elam was the same land which was designated by the Greeks and Romans by the name of Elymais, and which formed a part of the ancient Susiana, the modern Khuzestan. Elam was inhabited by various tribes of people. The Elymsei or Elamaei, together with the Kissi, seem to have been the oldest inhabitants not only of Susiana Proper but also of Persia; whence the sacred writers, under the name of Elam, comprehended the country of the Persians in general. They were celebrated for their skill in archery; hence the historical propriety of the Scriptural allusion to the quiver and the bow of the Elamites (; ).

It would seem that Elam was very early a separate state with its own kings: for in the time of Abraham we find that Chedorlaomer king of Elam extended his conquests west of the Euphrates as far as the Jordan and the Dead Sea (Genesis 14); but whether he acted for himself, or only as the viceroy or general of the Assyrians, must remain a matter of doubt. Ezekiel () mentions Elam among the mighty uncircumcised nations which had been the terror of the world; and about the same period (B.C. 590) Jeremiah threatened it with conquest and destruction by the Chaldeans (; , sqq.). This was accomplished probably by Nebuchadnezzar, who subjected Western Asia to his dominion; for we find his successor Belshazzar residing at Susa, the capital of Elam, a province then subject to that monarch (). With this the Scriptural notices of Elam end, unless we add that Elamites are found among those who were at Jerusalem at the feast of Pentecost (); which implies that Jews descended from the exiles were settled in that country.





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Elam'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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