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2. As a geographical area, its identity is disputed. Isaiah placed Put between Tarshish and Lud as nations that will one day hear of the glory of God (Isa 66:19). Jeremiah listed Put between Ethiopia and Lud as nations whose warriors would be used in the conquest of Egypt by Nebuchadrezzar (Jer 46:9). He described them as men who “handle the shield.” Ezekiel says that the armies of Persia, Lud, and Put were once numbered among the armies of Tyre and contributed to her splendor (Ezek 27:10). She is included with Egypt, Ethiopia, Lud, Arabia, and Libya (Cub) as nations that shall fall by the sword (30:5). She is included with Gog, Persia, and Cush as objects of God’s wrath (38:5). She is associated with Ethiopia, Egypt, and Libya by the prophet Nahum (Nah 3:9). None of these passages yields sufficient information to locate Put with certainty, but the linking with African countries makes it certain that Put was also located in the same area.

Put has been identified most often with Libya. The Pers. inscr. of Naqsh-i-Rustam mentions Putāyā (a land generally identified with Libya) as being among the tributary countries. A fragmentary text that records the invasion of Egypt by Nebuchadrezzar in his thirty-seventh year says he did battle with Amasis and penetrated Egypt as far as Puṭu-Iaman.

Attempts have been made to identify Put with Punt (of the Egyp. inscrs.) in E Africa (Somalia), but in the absence of more certain evidence, Libya appears to be the more likely choice.


G. A. Cameron, “Darius, Egypt, and the ‘Lands beyond the Sea,’” JNES, II (1943), 308; J. B. Pritchard, ed., ANET (1955), 308; M. Dods, Genesis (1956), 47; D. J. Wiseman, Chronicles of Chaldaean Kings (1956), 30, 94; E. A. Speiser, “Genesis,” Anchor Bible (1964), 66.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(puT; Phoud, in Genesis and Chronicles, variant for Genesis Phout, for Chronicles, Phouth):

1. Renderings:

In consequence of the identification at the time, the prophets have "Libya" (Libues), except Nab 3:9, where the Greek renders the word as phuge, "flight." The Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) has "Phut," "Phuth," and in the Prophets "Libyes" and "Libya"; the King James Version "Phut."

2. Son of Ham:

In the "Table of Nations" Put is the third son of Ham (Ge 10:6), the first and second being Cush and Misraim, and the fourth Canaan. Put is the only one of the sons of Ham who is not credited with descendants.

3. As Nationality:

In the Prophets, warriors from Put are referred to, principally in connection with the forces of Egypt. They appear as shield-bearers (Jer 46:9: "Cush and Put, that handle the shield; and the Ludim, that handle and bend the bow"). See also Eze 30:5, where the order in the Hebrew is Cush, Put and Lud. In Na 3:9 Put is the helper of No-amon (Thebes in Egypt), and in Eze 27:10 Put appears with Persia and Lydia (Lud) as being in the army of Tyre.

4. Identified with Punt:

The common identification of Put is the Egyptian Punt (or Pwent) proposed by Ebers. The assimilation of n to a following consonant is common in the Semitic languages, and would occasion no difficulty if the vocalization be found to agree. The final "t" of Punt, however, seems to be the Egyptian feminine ending, whereas the "T" of Put is radical.

5. Somaliland and Yemen:

Nevertheless, the district would seem to be rightly identified with the tract to the East of Abyssinia (Somaliland), and as it is described as being on both sides of the sea (the Red Sea), Yemen would seem to be included. In connection with this, it is worthy of note that a fragment of a Babylonian tablet referring to Nebuchadrezzar’s campaign in Egypt in his 37th year mentions, as though in the neighborhood, the city (here, apparently, standing for the district) of Putu-yaman--probably not "Ionian (Greek) Put" (Lesbos, according to Winckler), but "Put of Yemen." If this be in contra-distinction to the district of Put (Punt) on the African mainland, the latter would be the Putu referred to in the Persian inscription of Naqsh-i-Rustem, which mentions, among the tributary-countries, Kushiya, Putiya and Masiya, in Babylonian (mat) PuTa, ((mat) K)usu, (mat) Massu(?), "the land Put, the land Kush (Ethiopia), the land Massu(?)." The soldiers of Put in the army of Tyre may have been either from the African or the Yemenite Put, in which case there was no northern tract of that name, unless settlements had been made at any time from the original district. See W. Max Muller, Asien und Europa, Leipzig, 1893, 106 ff.