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A vast, largely desert peninsula between Iraq and the Persian Gulf on the east, the Indian Ocean on the south, and the Red Sea on the west. For the biblical writers, the name seems to have connoted all the general desert area to the east, including Sinai. Thus, Paul’s sojourn in Arabia (Gal 1:17) was probably in some small settlement east of Damascus, and the Arabians who were present at Pentecost (Acts 2:11) may have come from no farther than the eastern Transjordan. “Geshem the Arab” (Neh 2:19; Neh 6:1) is of uncertain provenance. Refugees from Assyrian invasions in the eighth century BCE and Babylonian in the sixth century fled to northwestern Arabia (Isa 21:13-15).

  • Powell, Mark Allan, ed. HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. Abridged Edition. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009.