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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Paddan Aram', פָּדִּןאּארֲָם, the field [or flat country] of Syria, i.e. Mesopotamiaonly in Genesis; Sept. Μεσοποταμία Συρίας, Genesis 25:20; Genesis 28:6-7; Genesis 33:18; M. Genesis 28:2; Genesis 28:5; Genesis 31:18; M. τῆς Συρ . Genesis 35:9; Genesis 35:26; Genesis 46:15; Alex. M. Genesis 25:20; Genesis 28:5; Genesis 28:7; Genesis 31:18; M. Συρ. Genesis 28:2; Genesis 33:18, Vulg. Mesopotamia Genesis 25:20; Genesis 31:18; M. Syrice, Genesis 28:2; Genesis 28:5-6; Genesis 33:18; Genesis 35:9; Genesis 35:26; Genesis 46:15; Syria, Genesis 26:15); once called Padan simply (Genesis 48:7); the tableland of Aram,'' a name by which the Hebrews designated the tract of country which they otherwise called ARAM-NAHARAIM, "Aram of the two rivers," the Greek MESOPOTAMIA (Genesis 24:10), and "the field (A.V. country) of Aram" (Hosea 12:12). The term was perhaps more especially applied to that portion which bordered on the Euphrates, to distinguish it from the mountainous districts in the north and north-east of Mesopotamia. Rashi's note on Genesis 25:20 is curious: "Because there were two Arams, Aram-naharaim and Aram Zobah, he (the writer) calls it Paddan-Aram; the expression yoke of oxen' is in the Targums תּוֹרַין

פִדִּן, paddan torin; and some interpret Paddan-Aram as field of Aram,' because in the language of the Ishmaelites they call a field paddan." In Syr. pidono is used for a "plain" or "field;" and both this and the Arabic word are probably from the Arab root fadda, "to plough," which seems akin tofid in fidit, from findere. If this etymology be true, Paddan-Aram is the arable land of Syria: "either an upland vale in the hills, or a fertile district immediately at their feet" (Stanley, Sin. and Pal. p. 129, note). Paddan, the ploughed land, would thus correspond with the Lat. arvum, and is analogous to Eng. field, the felled land, from which the trees have been cleared. (See ARAM).

Padan-Aram plays an important part in the early history of the Hebrews. The family of their founder had settled there, and were long looked upon as the aristocracy of the race, with whom alone the legitimate descendants of Abraham might intermarry, and. thus preserve the purity of their blood. Thither Abraham sent his faithful steward (Genesis 24:10), after the news had reached him in his southern home at Beersheba that children had been born to his brother Nahor. From this family alone, the offspring of Nahor and Micah, Abraham's brother and niece, could a wife be sought, for Isaac, the heir of promise (Genesis 25:20), and Jacob the inheritor of his blessing (Genesis 28). (See MESOPOTAMIA).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Padan-Aram'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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