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TEMAN (tē'măn, Heb. têmān, on the right, i.e., toward the south)

A grandson of Esau through Eliphaz (Gen.36.11, Gen.36.15).An Edomite chief, probably not the same as no. 1 above (Gen.36.42).A city in the NE part of Edom, noted at one time for the wisdom of its people (Jer.49.7).

TEMAN te’ mən (תֵּימָ֣ן, south or southern quarter).


Grandson of Esau and his Hitt. wife, Adah (Gen 36:11; 1 Chron 1:36). His importance is indicated as the eldest son of Esau.


Name of a town or tribe in the northern part of Edom (Jer 49:20; Ezek 25:13). One suggestion for the location of Teman is modern Tawilan, about three m. E of Petra. Excavations at Tawilan indicate a large Edomite fortification. The abundance of Early Iron I-II (1200-600 b.c.) pottery suggests that the site was quite important, possibly the largest city in the central area of Edom. The area around Tawilan is well-watered, fertile, and served as the meeting place of significant trade routes in ancient as well as in modern times. According to Genesis 36:34, Husham, the Temanite, ruled as king in Edom before there were kings in Israel.

The inhabitants of Teman were noted for their wisdom (Jer 49:7; Obad 8ff.). The nature and content of this wisdom are unknown. Eliphaz, one of Job’s comforters, was a Temanite (Job 2:11f.). One of the chieftains in Edom was Teman (Gen 36:42).

Many of the prophets included Teman in their oracles against Edom (Jer 49:20; Ezek 25:13; Amos 1:12; Obad 9), and all declared that Teman would be destroyed. Teman and Dedan, opposite boundary cities, are usually mentioned together in the oracles. Habakkuk 3:3 refers to a vision in which he saw God coming from the region of Sinai and marching toward Edom as He did in the Exodus (Deut 33:2). In the OT the word teman in ordinary use merely meant “south” as a direction.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

The name of a district and town in the land of Edom, named after Teman the grandson of Esau, the son of his firstborn, Eliphaz (Ge 36:11; 1Ch 1:36). A duke Teman is named among the chiefs or clans of Edom (Ge 36:42; 1Ch 1:53). He does not however appear first, in the place of the firstborn. Husham of the land of the Temanites was one of the ancient kings of Edom (Ge 36:34; 1Ch 1:45). From Obad 1:9 we gather that Teman was in the land of Esau (Edom). In Am 1:12 it is named along with Bozrah, the capital of Edom. In Eze 25:13 desolation is denounced upon Edom: "From Teman even unto Dedan shall they fall by the sword." Dedan being in the South, Teman must be sought in the North Eusebius, Onomasticon knows a district in the Gebalene region called Theman, and also a town with the same name, occupied by a Roman garrison, 15 miles from Petra. Unfortunately no indication of direction is given. No trace of the name has yet been found. It may have been on the road from Elath to Bozrah.

The inhabitants of Teman seem to have been famous for their wisdom (Jer 49:7; Obad 1:8 f). Eliphaz the Temanite was chief of the comforters of Job (2:11, etc.). The manner in which the city is mentioned by the prophets, now by itself, and again as standing for Edom, shows how important it must have been in their time.