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HAVILAH (Heb. חֲוִילָה), name mentioned five times in the Bible, both as a personal and place name. The name Havilah was applied to the territory watered by the Pishon River (Gen. 2:11), which was noted for choice gold, bdellium, and lapis lazuli (Gen. 2:12). Josephus and most Church Fathers identified the land of Havilah with the Ganges Valley. While the proper identification is still unknown, there are various theories concerning its location. The association of the land of Havilah with the products mentioned above supports Y.M. Grintz's identification of Havilah with Aualis, an Abyssinian district mentioned in Greek and Latin sources. This Havilah, or Aualis, is perhaps the Meluhha referred to in cuneiform records and identified as the Egypt of the period of the Cushite dynasty; however, this latter point is especially questionable in relation to Havilah. Friedrich Delitzsch located the land of Havilah in the Syrian Desert, west and south of the Euphrates. P. Haupt, who regarded the Pishon as the belt of water formed by the Kerkha, Persian Gulf, and Red Sea, identified Havilah with Arabia. In E.A. Speiser's view, the identification of the whole geographic background revolves around the proper location of the biblical Cush, which is identified either as an African kingdom (Ethiopia) or as the Mesopotamian kingdom of the Kassites (Akk. Kaššû). Speiser prefers the latter identification. Thus the background of Havilah remains that of the Garden of *Eden in Babylonia (Persian Gulf). According to Cassuto, the common element in all five references to Havilah is the ethnic ties between the various peoples located on either bank of the Red Sea. The Bible, however, distinguishes the Havilah that serves as one of the boundaries of Ishmaelite territory from all other places named Havilah, with the qualifying phrase "by Shur, which is close to Egypt" (Gen. 25:18). It was in the area between this Havilah and Shur that Saul defeated the Amalekites and captured Agag, their king (I Sam. 15:7). The personal name Havilah appears in the Table of Nations (Gen. 10:7 = I Chron. 1:9) and in Abrahamic genealogies (Gen. 10:29 = I Chron. 1:23). In the former, Havilah is one of the five sons of *Cush the son of Ham. In the latter, Havilah is the sixth generation in lineal descent from Shem. The latter Havilah, the son of Joktan, apparently stands for a locality in South Arabia, as do Hadoram (Gen. 10:27), Sheba (Gen. 10:28), and Ophir (Gen. 10:29).


F. Delitzsch, Wo lag das Paradies? (1881), 301; W.F. Albright, in: jaos, 42 (1922), 317ff.; idem, in: AJSLL, 39 (1922), 15ff.; J.A. Knudtzon, Die El-Amarna Tafeln (1915); F. Hommel, Grundriss der Geographie und Geschichte des alten Orients (1926), 272 n. 1, 556 n. 4, 570; D.D. Luckenbill, Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, 1 (1925), 170; J. Skinner, Genesis (ICC, 1930), 62–66: S.A. Montgomery, Arabia and the Bible (1939), 39; E.A. Speiser, Oriental and Biblical Studies (1967), 23–34; Y.M. Grintz, Moẓa'ei Dorot (1969), 35–50.

[Mayer Irwin Gruber]

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