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Reference: Elam


1. The region afterwards called Persia, Ge 14:1. It was called Elam after a son of Shem, Ge 10:22. It corresponded to the Elymais of Greek and Roman writers, which comprehended a part of Susiana, now Khusistan or more probably included the whole of Susiana. The city Susa, or Shushan, was in it, Da 8:2. See also Ac 2:9.

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highland, the son of Shem (Ge 10:22), and the name of the country inhabited by his descendants (Ge 14:1,9; Isa 11:11; 21:2, etc.) lying to the east of Babylonia, and extending to the shore of the Mediterranean, a distance in a direct line of about 1,000 miles. The name Elam is an Assyrian word meaning "high."

The inhabitants of Elam, or 'the Highlands,' to the east of Babylon, were called Elamites. They were divided into several branches, speaking different dialects of the same agglutinative language. The race to which they belonged was brachycephalic, or short-headed, like the pre-Semitic Sumerians of Babylonia.

The earliest Elamite kingdom seems to have been that of Anzan, the exact site of which is uncertain; but in the time of Abraham, Shushan or Susa appears to have already become the capital of the country. Babylonia was frequently invaded by the Elamite kings, who at times asserted their supremacy over it (as in the case of Chedorlaomer, the Kudur-Lagamar, or 'servant of the goddess Lagamar,' of the cuneiform texts).

The later Assyrian monarchs made several campaigns against Elam, and finally Assur-bani-pal (about B.C. 650) succeeded in conquering the country, which was ravaged with fire and sword. On the fall of the Assyrian Empire, Elam passed into the hands of the Persians (A.H. Sayce).

This country was called by the Greeks Cissia or Susiana.

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1. Son of Shem (Ge 10:22). The name is Semitic. The Elamites gave their name to Elymais, the region on the left or E. bank of the Tigris, opposite Babylonia, between it on the W. and Persia proper on the E., and S.W. of Media. The region is also named Susiana or Susis from its capital Susa, called Shushah in Da 8:2, where Nehemiah (Ne 1:1) waited on king Artaxerxes, and where Ahasuerus (Xerxes) held his court in Esther's (Es 1:2; 2:5) time. Daniel mentions the river Ulai near, i.e. the Greek Euloeus. From Darius Hystaspes' time to Alexander the Great it was the Persian king's court residence. Chedorlaomer who invaded Palestine in Abraham's time (Genesis 14) was king of Elam, and then lord paramount over Amraphel, king of Shinar (Babylonia) on its confines. (See CHEDORLAOMER.)

This Elamitic supremacy was of short duration. The Kissinns or Cossaeans (Cushites?) subsequently to the Elamites subjugated Elam and called it Kissia (Herodotus, 3:91; 5:49). The Greek traditions of Memnon and his Ethiopian bands rest on this subjugation, the Kissians of Elam being connected with the Cushite inhabitants of the upper valley of the Nile. The two races remained separate to the time Of Strabo (compare Ezr 4:9). Discoveries in Elam prove Susa one of the oldest cities in the East and its monarchs quasiindependent, while acknowledging Assyria's and Babylon's successive supremacy. Occasionally, for a time, it maintained its complete independence. It was a province of Babylonia from Nebuchadnezzar's time (Da 8:2). Its conquest by him is probably foretold in Jer 49:30-34; Eze 32:24-25. It had helped him against Judaea; hence God dealt retributively its punishment by him with whom it bad transgressed.

Its bowmen were famed (Isa 22:6); so God says, "I will break the bow of Elam." After scattering them God saith, "in the latter days I will bring again the captivity of Elam," namely, in the coming restitution of all things by Messiah, an earnest of which was given in that Elamites were on Pentecost among the first who heard and accepted the gospel (Ac 2:9). Elam took part in destroying Babylon, on Cyrus' advance probably joining him in the assault (Isa 21:2). Elam became a satrapy of the Persian empire, furnishing 300 talents as annual tribute (Herodotus, 3:91). Susa, its capital, became capital of the empire and the court residence. Nevertheless it was the scene of the Magian revolution, and twice revolted under Darius Hystaspes (Behistun Inscription).

2. A Korhite Levite, one of the sons of Asaph in David's time (1Ch 26:3).

3. A Benjamite chief, one of Shashak's sons (1Ch 8:24).

4. Children of Elam, 1,254, returned with Zerubbabel from Babylon (Ezr 2:7; Ne 7:12). Seventy-one more accompanied Ezra and the second caravan (Ezr 8:7). Shechaniah, one of them, seconded Ezra's confession of sin, especially as to marriages with aliens, pleaded the people's guilt, and proposed a covenant to put away those wives; six of the sons of Elam accordingly did so (Ezr 10:2,26).

5. Another Elam, of whose sons also the same number returned, is mentioned (Ezr 2:31; Ne 7:34).

6. A priest who accompanied Nehemiah in dedicating the wall (Ne 12:42).

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1. A son of Shem (Ge 10:22 = 1Ch 1:17), the eponymous ancestor of the Elamites (see following article). 2. A Korabite (1Ch 26:3). 3. A Benjamite (1Ch 8:24). 4. The eponym of a family of which 1254 returned with Zerub. (Ezr 2:7; Ne 7:12,1Es 5:12) and 71 with Ezra (Ezr 8:7,1Es 8:33). It was one of the Ben

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1. Son of Shem. He settled in a highland district east of Babylonia, which became the seat of a powerful monarchy. The district was also called ELAM. Ge 10:22; 1Ch 1:17. In the days of Abraham Chedorlaomer king of Elam was able to make war as far off as the Dead Sea. Ge 14:1,9. It subsequently became subject to the great power of the Chaldeans and Assyrians. When Assyria declined, Elam was conquered by its Persian neighbours, and reigned over by the Achaemenian Dynasty. Cyrus was king of Anshan, or Anzan (Elam) as well as of Persia: hence the close connection, and almost identification of Elam with Persia. In scripture Elam often designates Persia. In Isa 21:2-10 Elam and Media were to destroy Babylon. It afterwards became a part of the Medo-Persian empire. Daniel was at Shushan, which was in the province of Elam. Under the name of Susiana, Elam is represented by the historians as one of the most ancient regions of the East. There are many prophecies against it. Isa 11:11; 21:2; 22:6; Jer 25:25; 49:34-39; Eze 32:24; Da 8:2.

2. Son of Shashak, a Benjamite. 1Ch 8:24.

3. Son of Meshelemiah, a Korhite. 1Ch 26:3.

4. chief of the people who sealed the covenant. Ne 10:14.

5. One whose descendants had married strange wives. Ezra, 10:2, 26

6. A priest who took part in the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem. Ne 12:42.

7, etc. Two or more whose descendants returned from exile. Ezr 2:7,31; 8:7; Ne 7:12,34.

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1. This seems to have been originally the name of a man, the son of Shem.

Ge 10:22; 1Ch 1:17

Commonly, however, it is used as the appellation of a country.

Ge 14:1,9; Isa 11:11; 21:2

The Elam of Scripture appears to be the province lying south of Assyria and east of Persia proper, to which Herodotus gives the name of Cissia (iii. 91, v. 49, etc.), and which is termed Susis or Susiana by the geographers. Its capital was Susa. This country was originally people by descendants of Shem. By the time of Abraham a very important power had been built up in the same region. It is plain that at this early time the predominant power in lower Mesopotamia was Elam, which for a while held the place possessed earlier by Babylon,

Ge 10:10

and later by either Babylon or Assyria.

2. A Korhite Levite in the time of King David.

1Ch 26:3

(B.C. 1014.)

3. A chief man of the tribe of Benjamin.

1Ch 8:24

4. "Children of Elam," to the number of 1254, returned with Zerubbabel from Babylon.

Ezr 2:7; Ne 7:12

1Esd. 5:12. (B.C. 536 or before.) Elam occurs amongst the names of the chief of the people who signed the covenant with Nehemiah.

Ne 10:14

5. In the same lists is a second Elam, whose sons, to the same number as in the former case, returned with Zerubbabel,

Ezr 2:31; Ne 7:34

and which for the sake of distinction is called "the other Elam."

6. One of the priests who accompanied Nehemiah at the dedication of the new wall of Jerusalem.

Ne 12:42

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ELAM, the eldest son of Shem, who settled in a country to which he gave his name, Ge 10:22. It is frequently mentioned in Scripture, as lying to the south-east of Shinar. Susiana, in later times, seems to have been a part of this country, Da 8:2; and before the captivity the Jews seem always to have intended Persia by the name of Elam. Stephanus takes it to be a part of Assyria, but Pliny and Josephus, more properly, of Persia, whose inhabitants, this latter tells us, sprung from the Elamites.

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