Arabia

arid, an extensive region in the south-west of Asia. It is
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 extends far 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.

It was anciently divided into three parts:, (1.) Arabia Felix
(Happy Arabia), so called from its fertility. It embraced a
large portion of the country now known by the name of Arabia.
The Arabs call it Yemen. It lies 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 that which
is usually given to the nomadic tribes which wander over this
region, the "Bedaween," or, more generally, "Bedouin," (3.)
Arabia Petraea, i.e., the Rocky Arabia, so called from its rocky
mountains and stony plains. It comprehended all the north-west
portion of the country, and is much better known to travellers
than any other portion. This country is, however, divided by
modern geographers into (1) Arabia Proper, or the Arabian
Peninsula; (2) Northern Arabia, or the Arabian Desert; and (3)
Western Arabia, which includes the peninsula of Sinai and the
Desert of Petra, originally inhabited by the Horites (Gen. 14:6,
etc.), but in later times by the descendants of Esau, and known
as the Land of Edom or Idumea, also as the Desert of Seir or
Mount Seir.

The whole land appears (Gen. 10) to have been inhabited by a
variety of tribes of different lineage, Ishmaelites, Arabians,
Idumeans, Horites, and Edomites; but at length becoming
amalgamated, they 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.

The Israelites wandered for forty years in Arabia. In the days
of Solomon, and subsequently, commercial intercourse was to a
considerable extent kept up with this country (1 Kings 10:15; 2
Chr. 9:14; 17:11). Arabians were present in Jerusalem at
Pentecost (Acts 2:11). Paul retired for a season into Arabia
after his conversion (Gal. 1:17). This country is frequently
referred to by the prophets (Isa. 21:11; 42:11; Jer. 25:24,
etc.)