Reference: Seir, Mount
1. Named so from a Horite chief (Ge 36:20). Or probably Seir was his title, not proper name, given from the rugged rocky nature of the country, or from its abounding in bushes, in contrast to Halak "the smooth mountain." Esau and the Edomite supplanted the previous occupants the Horites. (See HORITES.) Mount Seir is the high range from the S. of the Dead Sea to Elath N. of the gulf of Akabah, on the E. of the Arabah, or "the plain from Elath and Ezion Geber." For as Israel moved from Mount Hor by way of that plain towards the Red Sea at Elath they "compassed Mount Seir" (Nu 21:4; De 2:1,8). When Israel was refused leave to go the direct route to Moab through Edom's valleys (Nu 20:20-21) they marched circuitously round the mountains down the Arabah between the limestone cliffs of the Tih on the W. and the granite range of Mount Seir on the E. until a few hours N. of Akabah the wady Ithm opened a gap in the mountains, so that turning to their left they could march N. toward Moab (De 2:3).
Mount Hor alone of the range retains the old name of the Horites; it overhangs Petra; now jebel Haroon or Mount Aaron, where he died and was buried. The southern part, jebel es Sherah, between Petra and Akabah, perhaps bears trace of the name "Self." Jebal is now applied to the northern part of Mount Seir, answering to Gebal of Ps 83:6-7; Geblah (i.e. "mountain") is the name for Mount Seir in the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Jerusalem targum. Jebal extends N. to the brook Zered (wady el Ahsi).
Mount Halak (naked") that goeth up to Seir" (Jos 11:17) was the northern border of Seir, probably the line of white "naked" hills running across the great valley eight miles S. of the Dead Sea, dividing between the Arabah on the S. and the depressed Ghor on the N. Seir and Sinai are not in De 33:2 grouped together geographically, but in reference to their being both alike scenes of God's glory manifested in behalf of His people. The prophetic denunciation of Ezekiel 35, "Behold O Mount Seir, ... I will make thee most desolate ... I will lay thy cities waste ... perpetual desolations": Burckhardt counted 40 cities in Jebal all now desolate.
2. A landmark N. of Judah (Jos 15:10), W. of Kirjath Jearim and E. of Bethshemesh; the ridge between wady Aly and wady Ghurab. Now Mihsir, N.W. of Kesla or Chesalon. The resemblance in ruggedness to the southern Mount Seir may have given the name.
1. The early name of the long range of mountains, extending from about eight miles, south of the Salt Sea, to near the Gulf of Akaba. It is also called 'the land of Seir.' It was occupied at first by the Horites, and afterwards by the descendants of Esau, and acquired the name of EDOM, q.v. The Israelites had to compass the whole of this mountainous range to reach their entrance to the promised land. Ge 14:6; 36:8-9,30; De 2:1-12; etc. The word of Jehovah announced to the prophet the perpetual desolation of Mount Seir. Eze 35:2-15.
2. A northern boundary of Judah. Jos 15:10. Probably the ridge north of Kirjath-jearim, about 31 47' N.