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EDREI (Heb. אֶדְרֶעִי).

(1) A biblical town in Transjordan. It may be recorded among the towns captured by Thutmosis iii in c. 1469 b.c.e., but that reference may be to (2) below. In all likelihood the toponym is found in Ugaritic (ktu 1.108:3). It is first mentioned in the Bible as the city of *Og, king of Bashan, whom Moses and the Israelites defeated before entering Canaan (Num. 21:33; Deut. 1:4; 3:1; Josh. 12:4; 13:12). Og's lands were allotted to the half-tribe of *Manasseh (Num. 32:33ff.; Josh. 12:6; 13:7–12, 29–31; cf. Deut. 3:5; i Kings 4:13). In Roman times, as Adraene, it was a well-known town in Provincia Arabia, located on the highway leading from Bozrah to Bet Reshah (Capitolias) 24 mi. (40 km.) from the former and 16 mi. (26 km.) from the latter. Edrei contained a Jewish community up to the 14th century. It is identified with the modern town of Darʿā in Syria, near the Jordanian border, 1,887 ft. (575 m.) above sea level, with a population of about 8,000 Muslims. Potsherds ranging from the Early Bronze Age to the Arab period have been found on an adjacent tell. Within the town were discovered fragments of an early medieval Hebrew inscription. As a junction on the Hejaz Railway, Darʿā had great strategic importance during World War i and played a part in T.E. *Lawrence's campaign.

(2) A town in the territory of *Naphtali in Upper Galilee (Josh. 19:37). Aharoni identified it with the Edrei mentioned in Thutmosis iii's list.


S. Klein (ed.), Sefer ha-Yishuv (1939), s.v.; G. Schumacher, Across the Jordan (1886), 121–48; Albright in: basor, 19 (1925), 16; Alt, in: pjb, 29 (1933), 21; Abel, Geog, 2 (1938), 310; Noth, in: zdpv, 61 (1938), 56; Aharoni, Land, index; Press, Erez, 1 (1951), 10; T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1935), index, s.v.Deraa.add. bibliography: B. Margulies (Margalit), in: jbl, 89 (1970), 293–94.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]