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Arnon

ARNON (ar'nŏn). The swift “roaring stream” and the valley of the same name that descend to the east side of the Dead Sea a little north of its center. The river begins in the hills of northern Arabia, flows NW a while, and then turns westward to descend precipitously into the Dead Sea, emptying at about the lowest point on the earth’s surface. It is now a “wadi,” implying that it is dry most of the year. It is first mentioned (Num.21.13) as the boundary between the Moabites and the Amorites in the time of Moses; Israel encamped on its north side so as not to invade Moab. In Judg.11.18-Judg.11.26 Jephthah tells the Ammonites how Israel had held the land north of the Arnon for three hundred years previous to this time (c. 1560-1260 b.c.). For all those years, and for a long time after, the Arnon was the southern boundary of the tribe of Reuben. In the days of Jehu (ninth century), Hazael, king of Syria, overpowered Israel east of the Jordan as far as Arnon (2Kgs.10.32-2Kgs.10.33). The