Bible Dictionary

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Arabia, Arabians 

The inhabitants of southern Arabia are called in the Old Testament “Joktanites” (Gen. 10:26–30). A Semitic trading race, they were closely allied to the Abyssinians. In middle Arabia were the Ishmaelites, who claimed descent from Abraham, but in language were more closely allied to the people of southern Arabia than to the Hebrews. In northern Arabia were a large number of wandering tribes, of whom the Midianites were the chief, descended from Abraham and Keturah (Gen. 25:1–4). These tribes are frequently called in the Old Testament “the Children of the East.”