Paran in the Old Testament
(1) El-paran (Gen 14:6) was the point farthest South reached by the kings. Septuagint renders Heb: 'el by Grk: terebinthos, and reads, "unto the terebinth of Paran."
The evidence is slender, but it is not unreasonable to suppose that this is the place elsewhere (Dt 2:8; 1 Ki 9:26, etc.) called Elath or Eloth (Heb: 'el with feminine termination), a seaport town which gave its name to the Aelanitic Gulf (modern Gulf of `Aqaba), not far from the wilderness of Paran (2).
(2) Many places named in the narrative of the wanderings lay within the Wilderness of Paran (Nu 10:12; 13:21; 27:14; compare 13:3,16, etc.). It is identified with the high limestone plateau of Ettih, stretching from the Southwest of the Dead Sea to Sinai along the west side of the Arabah. This wilderness offered hospitality to Ishmael when driven from his father's tent (Gen 21:21). Hither also came David when bereaved of Samuel's protection (1 Sam 25:1).
(3) Mount Paran (Dt 33:2; Hab 3:3) may be either Jebel Maqrah, 29 miles South of `Ain Kadis (Kadesh-barnea), and 130 miles North of Sinai (Palmer, Desert of the Exodus, 510); or the higher and more imposing range of mountains West of the Gulf of `Aqaba. This is the more probable if El-paran is rightly identified with Elath.
(4) Some place named Paran would seem to be referred to in Dt 1:1; but no trace of such a city has yet been found. Paran in 1 Ki 11:18 doubtless refers to the district West of the Arabah.
- Return to Bible Places index page.
- Go to Christian biography index page.
- Go to Christianity beliefs index page.
- Go to Christian denominations index page.
- Go to Christian comparison charts index page.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, which is in the public domain.