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EDREI (ĕd'rē-ī, Heb. ’edhre‘î, strong)

EDREI ĕd’ re ī (אֶדְרֶֽעִי, strong? [meaning uncertain]). Town name. 1. A residence city of Og, king of Bashan (Deut 1:4; 3:10; Josh 12:4; 13:12). Built on a bluff overlooking a southern fork of the Yarmuk River, along the S boundary of Bashan (q.v.) near the eastern desert. Here Og could watch for invaders from the S or from the E. Moses defeated Og in a pitched battle outside of Edrei, which was then destroyed (Num 21:33-35; Deut 3:1-6). The ruins were included in the allotment to the Machir clan of the tribe of Manasseh (Josh 13:31). Edrei is identified with modern Der’a, a town of 5,000 in southern Syria, c. sixty m. S of Damascus and thirty m. E of the Jordan. The site has ruins going back to Early Bronze times as well as a remarkable subterranean city of numerous streets, shops, rooms, and cisterns, prob. from the Hel. or Rom. period, in underlying caves in the basaltic rock (Unger’s Bible Dict., p. 287; HGHL, p. 576).

2. A fortified city allotted to Naphtali, near Kedesh in Upper Galilee (Josh 19:37), possibly modern Tell Khureibeh. It is prob. the i-t-r-', #91 in the campaign list of Thutmose III at Karnak (ANET, 242; Y. Aharoni, The Land of the Bible [1967], 150).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(’edhre`i; Edra-ein):

(1) One of the cities of Og, not far from Ashtaroth, where the power of his kingdom received its deathblow from the invading Israelites (Jos 12:4; Nu 21:33 ff, etc.). It seems to mark the western limit of Bashan as against Salecah on the East (De 3:10). It was given to Machir, son of Manasseh (Jos 13:31). Eusebius, Onomasticon places it 24 Roman miles from Bostra. The most probable identification is with Der`ah, a town of between 4,000 and 5,000 inhabitants, on the southern lip of Wady Zeideh, about 29 miles as the crow flies East of the Sea of Galilee. It is the center of an exceedingly fruitful district. The accumulated rubbish in the town covers many remains of antiquity. It is, however, chiefly remarkable for the extraordinary subterranean city, as yet only partially explored, cut in the rock under the town. This is certainly very ancient, and was doubtless used by the inhabitants as a refuge in times of stress and peril. For a description see Schumacher, Across the Jordan, 121 ff.

(2) A place not identified, between Kedesh and En-hazor (Jos 19:37).