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PUNON (pū'nŏn, Heb. pûnōn). A desert encampment of the Israelites marking the second stop after leaving Sinai (Num.33.42-Num.33.43). Eusebius identified it as being north of Petra, a penal colony where convicts were sent to mine copper, also called Phinon or Phainon. Eusebius is probably correct in this identification.

PUNON pū’ nŏn (פּוּנֹֽן). Alt. PINON pi’ nŏn. A town in Edom, a desert stop in Israel’s wilderness sojourn (Num 33:42f.), on the second day after leaving Mt. Hor, and shortly before arrival at Moab. An important mining center, it was perhaps the home of an Edomite chieftain (Gen 36:41 has “Pinon” for Punon). The site at the juncture of two wadis has great copper slag heaps. Eusebius notes that in ancient times, convicts mined and converted the ore (Onomasticon 299 85: 123 9). Operations were perhaps as early as 2200-1800 b.c. Israel found it recovering after long desertion. Abandoned two hundred years later, it subsequently was revived by Nabateans, operation continuing through Rom. and later periods, seeing great prosperity.

Here is the modern Feinan, a large well-watered city about five m. from the mining and smelting at Khirbet en-Nahas and Khirbet Nqieb Aseimer. The Byzantine period had a Christian basilica and monastery, the ruins yielding an inscr. with the name of Bishop Theodore (587, 588).


N. Glueck, “Explorations in E. Palestine,” II, AASOR 15 (1934-1935), 32-35.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

A desert camp of the Israelites, the second after leaving Mt. Hor (Nu 33:42,43). Eusebius (Onom 299 85; 123 9) mentions an Idumean village, North of Petra, in the desert, where convicts were mining copper, called Phinon or Phainon. These are doubtless identical.

See Wanderings of Israel.