HAVILAH (hăv'-ĭ-la, Heb. hăwîlâh, sand land)

A son of Cush, a descendant of Ham (Gen.10.7; 1Chr.1.9).A son of Joktan, a descendant of Shem (Gen.10.29; 1Chr.1.23). These names are generally taken to mean tribes or nations. If both references refer to the same area, they pertained to both Hamitic and Semitic peoples. It is generally thought to have been located in southern Arabia.A land through which the Pishon River flowed from a source in the Garden of Eden; it contained gold and other minerals (Gen.2.11-Gen.2.12). It is probably located in Armenia or Mesopotamia, though its actual location is uncertain.A land mentioned as one of the boundaries of the dwelling of the Ishmaelites “from Havilah to Shur, near the border of Egypt” (Gen.25.18). This Havilah is probably the same as the one mentioned in no. 2 above. Saul conquered the Amalekites in this same area “from Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt” (1Sam.15.7).

HAVILAH hăv’ ə lə (חֲוִילָ֔ה, sandy). 1. Son of Cush (Gen 10:7; 1 Chron 1:9)

2. Son of Yoktan, descendant of Shem (Gen 10:29; 1 Chron 1:23).

3. A land described as being bounded by the river Pishon, one of the four rivers of the Garden of Eden, and as being rich in gold, bdellium, and onyx (Gen 2:11, 12). It is mentioned with Shur as one of the limits of the territory of the Amalekites (25:18). Saul defeated the Amalekites in this area (1 Sam 15:7); although there are some who hold that the “Havilah” referred to in this passage is a misspelling of “Hachilah,” a hill mentioned elsewhere (1 Sam 23:19; 26:1, 3). There is disagreement regarding the location of Havilah, but most scholars place it in the W part of Arabia, N of Yemen. Some locate it on the Persian Gulf. Many regard the Havilah of Arabia and that of the Garden of Eden story as two different places. No exact identification has as yet been made.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(chawilah; Heuila):

(1) Son of Cush (Ge 10:7; 1Ch 1:9).

(2) Son of Yoktan, descendant of Shem (Ge 10:29; 1Ch 1:23).

(3) Mentioned with Shur as one of the limits of the territory of the Ishmaelites (Ge 25:18); compare the same limits of the land of the Amalekites (1Sa 15:7), where, however, the text is doubtful. It is described (Ge 2:11,12) as bounded by the river Pishon and as being rich in gold, bdellium and "shoham-stone" (English Version of the Bible, "onyx"). The shoham-stone was perhaps the Assyrian samtu, probably the malachite or turquoise. The mention of a Cushite Havilah is explained by the fact that the Arabian tribes at an early time migrated to the coast of Africa. The context of Ge 10:7 thus favors situation on the Ethiopian shore, and the name is perhaps preserved in the kolpos Aualites and in the tribe Abalitai on the South side of the straits of Babel-Mandeb. Or possibly a trace of the name appears in the classical Aualis, now Zeila` in Somaliland. But its occurrence among the Yoktanite Arabs (Ge 10:29) suggests a location in Arabia. South Arabian inscriptions mention a district of Khaulan (Chaulan), and a place of this name is found both in Tihama and Southeast of San`a’. Again Strabo’s Chaulotaioi and Chuwaila in Bahrein point to a district on the Arabian shore of the Persian Gulf. No exact identification has yet been made.