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Moreover, it is used of other districts, as in Western Palestine of the wilderness of Juda ( Judges ), and again in the east of the desert of Moab ( Deuteronomy 2:8 ).
`Arabah , derived from the root 'arab , "to be arid", is another word for desert, which seems to express more than one of its natural characteristics.
The Hebrew words translated in the Douay Version of the Bible by "desert" or "wilderness", and usually rendered by the Vulgate desertum , "solitude", or occasionally eremus , have not the same shade of meaning as the English word desert.
The word wilderness , which is more frequently used than desert of the region of the Exodus, more nearly approaches the meaning of the Hebrew, though not quite expressing it.
We do not enter into the question raised by modern critics as to whether the geography of the Exodus had different meanings in different parts of the Pentateuch.
The desert of Juda, too, plays an important part in the Bible .
Midbar is the word generally used in the Pentateuch for the desert of the Exodus; but of the regions of the Exodus various districts are distinguished as the desert of Sin ( Exodus 16:1 ), the desert of Sinai ( Exodus 19:1 ), the desert of Sur ( Exodus ), the desert of Sin ( zin ) ( Numbers ), etc.
When we speak of the desert our thoughts are naturally borne to such places as the Sahara, a great sandy waste, incapable of vegetation, impossible as a dwelling-place for men, and where no human being is found except when hurrying through as quickly as he can.
No such ideas are attached to the Hebrew words for desert.
In such cases it refers at times to the wilderness of the Exodus (cf. Parts of the waste region about the Dead Sea are called the jeshimon ; and to the north-east of the same sea there is a place called Beth-Jeshimoth (cf.
Numbers ), where the Israelites are said to have encamped at the end of the wanderings.
In Deut., xxxii, 10, it is used in parallelism with midbar , and in Ps. Such also is çiyyah , which means, literally, dryness, but refers at times to the desert: so, 'areç çiyyah , "a land of drought", or "a desert" ( Hosea 2:5 ).