Who and what is…

Hebrew: עֵילָם —transliteration: Eylam —meaning: highland; In Assyrian, the elam means “high.”

This is the name of some Biblical men and a land peopled by the first Elam’s descendants.

  1. Elam, a son of Shem

    Elam is a Semite, as he is a son of Shem (Genesis 10:22).

    Relatives of the man Elam

    Descendants of his father Shem

    Their dispersal primarily took place as a result of the Tower of Babel confusion of languages

    Elam Elamites Persian tribes
    Asshur AssyriansArpakshad
    ShelahEBER (founder of the Hebrews) → PelegReuSerugNahorTerahABRAHAM (Abram)
    IsaacJacob (aka Israel)
                  IsraelitesEsau (aka Edom)
                mingled with Arab tribes
    • Lud
       LydiansAram (A-ram)
  2. Elam, the land/empire

    also known as: Susiana and Cissia

    Elam is the name of the country inhabited by the descendants of the man Elam (above) (Genesis 14:1; 14:9; Isaiah 11:11; 21:2, etc.). This “ancient civilization centered in the far west and southwest of modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of what is now Khuzestan and Ilam Province as well as a small part of southern Iraq.”

    The Elamites were once a leading political force in the Ancient Near East. The Greeks called it Cissia or Susiana (due to the name of its capital city of Susa). Elam’s history spanned more than two millennia.

    One of Elam’s kings was Chedorlaomer.

    “The inhabitants of Elam, or ‘the Highlands,’ to the east of Babylon, were called Elamites. They were divided into several branches, speaking different dialects of the same agglutinative language. The race to which they belonged was brachycephalic, or short-headed, like the pre-Semitic Sumerians of Babylonia.

    “The earliest Elamite kingdom seems to have been that of Anzan, the exact site of which is uncertain; but in the time of Abraham, Shushan or Susa appears to have already become the capital of the country. Babylonia was frequently invaded by the Elamite kings, who at times asserted their supremacy over it (as in the case of Chedorlaomer, the Kudur-Lagamar, or ‘servant of the goddess Lagamar,’ of the cuneiform texts).

    “The later Assyrian monarchs made several campaigns against Elam, and finally Assur-bani-pal (about B.C. 650) succeeded in conquering the country, which was ravaged with fire and sword. On the fall of the Assyrian Empire, Elam passed into the hands of the Persians.” —Rev. Archibald Henry Sayce, pioneer British Assyriologist and linguist

  3. Elamite language

    “Elamite, also known as Hatamtite, is an extinct language that was spoken by the ancient Elamites. It was used in present-day southwestern Iran [formerly Persia] from 2600 BC to 330 BC.”

    It seems to have little “demonstrable relationship to the neighboring Semitic languages, Indo-European languages, or to Sumerian, despite having adopted the Sumerian-Akkadian cuneiform script.”

    The Acts of the Apostles (c. 80–90 AD) mentions the Elamite language as if it was still existent at that time.

    And how is it that we each hear them in our own language [or dialect] to which we were born? Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and PaMphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome [literally “the sojourning Romans”], both Jews and proselytes, —Acts 2:8-10 NASB

  4. Elam, 3 different heads of families that returned from exile

    1. Elam of Ezra 2:7; Nehemiah 7:12
    2. Elam of Ezra 2:31; Nehemiah 7:34
    3. Elam of Ezra 8:7; 10:2; 10:26

      His sons: Mattaniah, Zechariah, Jehiel, Abdi, Jeremoth and Elijah

  5. Elam, a Levite

    1 Chronicles 26:3

  6. Elam, a priest

    Nehemiah 12:42

  7. Elam, a chief

    Nehemiah 10:15

  8. Elam

    1 Chronicles 8:24

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Article Version: July 10, 2021