SEIR (sē'ẽr, Heb. sē‘îr). Seir the Horite (
SĒIR sē’ ər (שֵׂעִ֔יר, rough, shaggy; LXX Σηιρ). 1. An unidentified site on the northern boundary of the tribal holdings of Judah (
2. The mountain range of Edom (q.v. for historical sketch) E of and roughly parallel to Wady Arabah. It extends from Wady Arnon southward to the vicinity of modern Aqabah. Petra and Mt. Hor are among its chief features. The rugged cliffs of this range mark the western boundary of Edom while its eastern foothills extend as far as Edom’s eastern boundary. Its height varies from roughly 600 ft. to 6000 ft. above sea level. The region was important to the Hebrews because of its command of the routes to Ezion-geber.
According to a tradition which seems to date from the Hurrian penetration of the area (c. 1700 b.c.), it derived its name from “Seir, the Horite” (i.e. the Hurrian) who founded a line of Hurrian rulers in the area (
In general, “Seir,” “Mount Seir,” and “land of Seir” have all become synonyms for Edom (
The following issues have suggested to some that “Seir” also applied to mountain territory W of Wady Arabah: (1) The geographic contexts of
For these reasons some have concluded that “Seir” always applied to both sides of Wady Arabah. Others, notably Glueck, have concluded that the term originally denoted land E of Wady Arabah; but that, as the Edomites spread westward in the postexilic period, the name “Seir” was extended to their new holdings also.
One can argue against Seir W of Wady Arabah as follows: Some of the passages use geographical technical terms whose precise meaning is uncertain (
The present writer feels that a dogmatic conclusion is unwarranted.
N. Glueck, “The Boundaries of Edom,” HUCA, XI (1936), 141-157.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
(1) (har se’-ir, "Mt. Seir" (
(2) (har se`ir; Codex Vaticanus Assar; Codex Alexandrinus Seeir): A landmark on the boundary of Judah (