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ZERED (zē'rĕd, Heb. zeredh). A valley running northwestward on the border between Moab and Edom and ending at the southern end of the Dead Sea; also the brook that follows the valley. A camping place of Israel at the end of their long wanderings (Num.21.12, kjv “Zared”; Deut.2.13-Deut.2.14). In Isa.15.7 it is called “the Ravine of the Poplars”; in Amos.6.14, the “valley of the Arabah.”

Because Israel penetrated the wilderness E of Moab before crossing the Zered, some identify it with the Wadi Kerak or some tributary of the Kerak or the Arnon—the Ferranj or Seil Sa ’ideh perhaps. Others, postulating a journey eastward up the valley before the crossing, accept identification (here favored) with Wadi el-Hesa.

Like the Kerak and Arnon, the Hesa flows intermittently in a shallow valley across the plateau, but replenished by rainfall, tributaries and esp. springs, flows perennially to its terminal oasis through a canyon cleaving the fault-weakened escarpment. Steep-walled but broad-floored and flanked with cultivable terraces, this wadi formed both the historic divide between Edom and Moab and a difficult but practicable route to the plateau.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(zeredh; Codex Vaticanus Zaret; Codex Alexandrinus Zare; the King James Version, Zared (Nu 21:12)): This is the nachal or "torrent valley" given as the place where Israel encamped before they reached the Arnon (Nu 21:12). In De 2:13 f, the crossing of the brook Zered marks the end of the 38 years’ desert wanderings. It has often been identified with Wady el-`Achsa, which runs up from the southeastern corner of the Dead Sea. A fatal objection to this is that the host had entered the wilderness to the East of Moab before they crossed the Zered (Nu 21:11), while Wady el-`Achsa must have formed the southern boundary of Moab. We may conclude with certainty that one of the confluents of Wady Kerak is intended, but which, it is impossible now to say.

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