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Meaning: arid.

Ancient Arabia was an extensive region in southwest Asia. It was bounded on the west by the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea, on the south by the Indian Ocean, and on the east by the Persian Gulf and the Euphrates. It extended into the north in barren deserts, meeting those of Syria and Mesopotamia. It is one of the few countries of the world from which the original inhabitants have never been expelled.

The whole land appears (Genesis 10) to have been inhabited by a variety of tribes of different lineage, Ishmaelites, Arabians, Idumeans, Horites, and Edomites. They eventually became amalgamated and came to be known by the general designation of Arabs.

The modern nation of Arabs is predominantly Ishmaelite. Their language is the most developed and the richest of all the Semitic languages, and is of great value to the student of Hebrew.

In ancient times, Arabia was divided into three parts:

  1. Arabia Felix (Happy Arabia)—so called from its fertility, between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf

  2. Arabia Deserta—the el-Badieh or “Great Wilderness” of the Arabs

    From this name is derived the name by which the nomadic tribes who wandered this region are known, the “Bedaween,” or, more generally, “Bedouin.”

  3. Arabia Petraea, i.e., the Rocky Arabia—so called from its rocky mountains and stony plains

    It consisted of all the northwest portion of the country.

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