ke'-dar (qedhar; Kedar):
Second in order of the sons of Ishmael (Genesis 25:13 parallel 1 Chronicles 1:29). The name occurs as typical of a distant eastern country in opposition to the lands of the Mediterranean (Jeremiah 2:10). The author of Second Isa introduces this tribe in company with Nebaioth, and both are represented as owners of flocks (Isaiah 60:7). Evidence of their nomadic habits appears in Jeremiah 49:28,29, where they are classed among the Bene-Qedhem, and mention is made of their flocks, camels, tents, curtains and furniture. They are spoken of (Isaiah 42:11) as dwelling in chatserim ("villages"), from which it would appear that they were a somewhat settled tribe, corresponding to the Arabic chadariya or "town-dwellers," as distinct from wabariya or "nomads." Ezekiel (27:21) gives another hint of their pastoral nature where, in his detailed picture of the wealth of Tyre, Kedar and Arabia provide the Tyrians with lambs, rams and goats. The fame of the tribe is further reflected in Isaiah 21:16,17 (the only allusion to their might in war), and in the figurative references to their tents (Psalms 120:5; Song of Solomon 1:5). In this last passage where the tents are made symbolic of dark beauty, the word qadhar ("to be black") may have been in the writer's mind.
The settlements of Kedar were probably in the Northwest of Arabia, not far from the borders of Palestine. Assyrian inscriptions have thrown light upon the history of the tribe. There Kedar is mentioned along with the Arabs and Nebaioth, which decides its identity with Kedar of the Old Testament, and there is found also an account of the conflicts between the tribe and King Assurbanipal (see Margoliouth in HDB).
Of the Ishmaelite tribes, Kedar must have been one of the most important, and thus in later times the name came to be applied to all the wild tribes of the desert. It is through Kedar (Arabic, keidar) that Muslim genealogists trace the descent of Mohammed from Ishmael.
A. S. Fulton
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