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Arabia

ARABIA (a-rā'bĭ-a, Heb. ‘ărāv, steppe). The large peninsula consisting of Arabia Petraea, including Petra and the peninsula of Sinai; Arabia Deserta, the Syrian desert, between the Jordan Valley and the Euphrates; Arabia Felix, the south; bounded east, south, and west by the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, and Red Sea, north by the [[Fertile Crescent]]. Arabia is an arid steppe, a rocky tableland with enough rainfall in the interior and south to support considerable population, yet with resources so meager they encourage emigration. With water barriers on three sides, expansion was toward the more fertile lands northward, in successive waves of Canaanites, Israelites, Amorites, Babylonians, Assyrians, Arameans (called Syrians in the Bible, except niv), Idumeans, and Nabateans, all Semitic peoples. They collided with Indo-Europeans pressing down from Asia Minor and Iran. The proximity of Arabia, with a border ill-defined and difficult to defend, and with a “have-not” population ready to