Heb. Negeb, that arid district to the south of Palestine through which lay the caravan route from Central Palestine to Egypt ( Genesis 12:9 ; Genesis 13:1 Genesis 13:3 ; 46:1-6 ). "The Negeb comprised a considerable but irregularly-shaped tract of country, its main portion stretching from the mountains and lowlands of Judah in the north to the mountains of Azazemeh in the south, and from the Dead Sea and southern Ghoron the east to the Mediterranean on the west." In Ezekiel 20:46 ( (21:1 in Heb.) three different Hebrew words are all rendered "south." (1) "Set thy face toward the south" (Teman, the region on the right, 1 Samuel 33:24 ); (2) "Drop thy word toward the south" (Negeb, the region of dryness, Joshua 15:4 ); (3) "Prophesy against the forest of the south field" (Darom, the region of brightness, Deuteronomy 33:23 ). In Job 37:9 the word "south" is literally "chamber," used here in the sense of treasury (comp 38:22 ; Psalms 135:7 ). This verse is rendered in the Revised Version "out of the chamber of the south."

These dictionary topics are from
M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

Bibliography Information

Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for South". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .



(1) neghebh, according BDB from [?] naghabh, meaning "to be dry," the word most often used, in the Revised Version (British and American) capitalized (South) in those places where it seems to denote a particular region, i.e. to the South of Judah.

(2) yamin, "right hand," "right." The derived meaning, "south," seems to imply an eastern posture in prayer in which the right hand is toward the South; compare Arabic yamin, "right," and yemen, "Yemen," a region in Southwestern Arabia.

(3) teman, from the same root as (2) is often used for the south; also for the south wind (Psalms 78:26; Song of Solomon 4:16).

(4) yam, literally, "sea" (Psalms 107:3).

(5) darom, etymology doubtful (Deuteronomy 33:23; Ezekiel 40:24).

(6) midhbar, literally, "desert" (Psalms 75:6, reading doubtful).

(7) lips, "south west wind" (Acts 27:12).

(8) mesembria, literally, "mid-day"; "south" (Acts 8:26); "noon" (Acts 22:6).

(9) notos, "south wind" (Luke 12:55; Acts 27:13; 28:13); "south" (1 Macc 3:57; Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31; 13:29; Revelation 21:13).

The south wind is often referred to:

see Song of Solomon 4:16; Job 37:9 (compare 9:9); Zechariah 9:14 (of Isaiah 21:1); Luke 12:55.

Of the passages where South (neghebh) clearly refers to a particular region between Palestine and Sinai see:

"And Abraham journeyed, going on still toward the South" (neghbah) (Genesis 12:9; 13:1; Deuteronomy 1:7). We read of "the South of the Jerahmeelites," "the South of the Kenites" (1 Samuel 27:10); "the South of the Cherethites," "the South of Caleb" (1 Samuel 30:14); "the South of Judah" (2 Chronicles 28:18); "Ramoth of the South" (1 Samuel 30:27).

In Psalms 126:4, "Turn again our captivity, O Yahweh, as the streams in the South," we have a figurative reference to the fact that, after a long period of drought, the dry watercourses are finally filled with rushing streams. The reference in Ezekiel 20:46 f to "the forest of the South" is to a condition of things very different from that which exists today, though the region is not incapable of supporting trees if they are only planted and protected.

Alfred Ely Day

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'SOUTH'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.