ELYMAIS ĕl’ ə mā’ əs (̓Ελυμαις). A province of ancient Persia, located E of the Tigris, S of Media, and N of Susiana. Susa (or Shushan) was within its territory.
The name occurs in 1 Maccabees 6:1: “King Antiochus was going through the upper provinces when he heard that Elymais in Persia was a city famed for its wealth in silver and gold.” Since no such “city” is known, virtually all scholars are agreed that the text should be slightly corrected to read: “that in Elymais in Persia there was a city.” Read thus, Elymais seems to be equivalent to OT Elam, q.v.
“The number and chronology of the kings of Elymais are uncertain since the only sources are their coins, but inscriptions from Tang-i Sarwak reveal that the population was Aramaic-speaking” (R. N. Frye, The Heritage of Persia, p. 216).
R. Ghirshman, Iran (1954); IDB (1962); R. N. Frye, The Heritage of Persia (1963).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
This name, representing the Old Testament Elam (see Elam), was given to a district of Persia lying South of Media and North of Susiana. In 1Macc 6:1 the common reading, which is adopted by the King James Version, refers to Elymais as a rich city in Persia. No other reference, however, to such a city is found except in Josephus (Ant., XII, ix, 1) who simply follows 1 Macc. The text should therefore be corrected to read as in the Revised Version (British and American), "in Elymais in Persia there was a city."