ARAD


ARAD (Heb. עֲרָד), an important biblical city in the eastern Negev which controlled the main road to Edom and Elath.

Ancient Arad

"The Canaanite, the king of Arad, who dwelt in the South [Negev]" prevented the Israelite tribes from penetrating into Canaan directly from Kadesh-Barnea "by the way of Atharim" (Num. 21:1; 33:40) and he defeated them at neighboring Hormah (Num 14:44–45; Deut. 1:44). Another biblical tradition, however, recounts a second battle between the Israelites and the king of Arad near Hormah. This time the Canaanites were defeated and the victorious Israelites "utterly destroyed them and their cities." The name Hormah ("utter destruction") is derived from this event (Num. 21:2–3). In the list of defeated Canaanite kings in Joshua 12:14, which follows the latter tradition, the kings of Arad and Hormah appear side by side. It is further recorded in the Bible (Judg. 1:16) that "the children of the Kenite, Moses' father-in-law [the Septuagint reads "the children of Hobab the Kenite"] went up out of the city of palm-trees with the children of Judah into the wilderness of Judah, which is in the south [Negev] of Arad, and they went and dwelt with the people" (Heb. ha-am; but the Septuagint reads the "Amalekite"; cf. I Sam. 15:6). This account of the settlement of the important Kenite family in the vicinity of Arad acquired special significance after the modern discovery of the sanctuary at Arad. Pharaoh Shishak in listing cities conquered by him in Ereẓ Israel (c. 920 B.C.E.) records the capture of two places in the Negev with the name Arad (No. 107–112), i.e., "the fortresses of Arad Rabbat [Arad the Great] and Arad of the House of Yeroḥam." It seems, therefore, that in the days of Solomon there were two fortresses with the name Arad: a large, main city and a second named for the family of Yeroḥam (probably the biblical Jerahmeelites; and cf. "the South [Negev] of the Jerahmeelites" and "the cities of the Jerahmeelites" in I Samuel 27:10 and 30:29). Eder (Heb. עֵדֶר), which is mentioned as the second city in the Negev district of Judah (Josh. 15:21) is apparently a corruption of the name Arad. A village called Arad was still known to Eusebius in the fourth century C.E. (Onom. 14:2), 20 mi. from Hebron and four mi. from Malaatha (Moleatha), a description which fits Tell Arad, which is about 18½ mi. (30 km.) E.N.E. of Beer-sheba. On the *Madaba Map, Arad is erroneously placed south of Beersheba.

Excavations conducted by Y. Aharoni and R. Amiran at Tell Arad from 1962 to 1967 uncovered a large city from the Early Bronze Age II (c. 2900–2700 B.C.E.) which was built over a scattered, unfortified settlement from the Late Chalcolithic period. The Early Bronze Age city was surrounded by a stone wall, 8¼ ft. (2.50 m.) thick, which was strengthened at intervals by semicircular towers. It was a well-planned city which was divided into various quarters by narrow lanes. The houses were built according to a uniform architectural design and were of a typical "broad house" construction – a rectangular room with the entrance on one of the long sides. Of major importance was the discovery of imported pottery from Egypt as well as an abundance of decorated pottery which had previously been known mainly from first dynasty tombs in Egypt (Abydos ware). This pottery is of great chronological value and it proves that commercial ties between Egypt and Arad were already well-developed at that time.

The ancient town was destroyed not later than 2700 B.C.E. and the site remained deserted until some time in the 11th century B.C.E. when a small settlement rose. In the center of the village, a sacred precinct with a bamah ("high place") and altar was built. This was undoubtedly the Kenite sanctuary whose priests traced their sacerdotal heritage back to Moses (Judg. 1:16). In the tenth century B.C.E., probably during Solomon's reign, a strong citadel was built on the site which was in existence until close to the destruction of the First Temple. The citadel was destroyed six times during this period. It was followed by a succession of Persian, Hellenistic and Roman fortresses. The latest stratum at Arad dates to the beginning of the Arabic period.

The outstanding discovery at Arad was the temple which stood on the northwestern corner of the Israelite citadel. It is the first Israelite sanctuary to be uncovered in excavations. Its westward orientation, contents, and general layout in many ways recall Solomon's temple in Jerusalem but the temple shows an even more striking resemblance to the biblical description of the Tabernacle in the desert. The sanctuary consists of a main hall from which three steps lead up to the Holy of Holies, in the entrance of which were found two incense altars. In the center of the Holy of Holies were a small bamah and a maẓẓevah ("stone stele"). Along the eastern side of the hall was a large courtyard which was divided by a stone sill into an outer courtyard and an inner one (porch). Flanking the entrance to the hall were two stone slabs which apparently served as bases of pillars similar to the Jachin and Boaz in the Jerusalem temple (cf. II Chron. 3:17). In the outer courtyard stood an altar for burnt offerings, which was a square of five cubits, the exact measurement of the Tabernacle (Ex. 27:1; cf. II Chron. 6:13), and built of earth and unhewn field stones (cf. Ex. 20:22, 25). Among the various finds and ritual objects discovered in the temple, two ostraca (ink-inscribed sherds) are of interest. These bear the names of Pashhur and Mere-moth – two priestly families known from the Bible. A third ostracon contains a list of family names including, among others, "the sons of Korah." The temple was built over the early Kenite high place at the same time as the first citadel, probably during the days of Solomon, and it was destroyed when the last Israelite citadel was erected in the days of Josiah. The destruction of the temple was certainly connected with Josiah's concentration of the religious ritual in Jerusalem which is described in II Kings 22.

In addition to the ostraca found in the temple, numerous others inscribed in Hebrew and Aramaic were also uncovered and these considerably enrich knowledge of ancient Hebrew epigraphy. One group belongs to the archives of "Eliashib, son of Eshyahu," who was a high-ranking official and perhaps the commander of the last Israelite citadel (c. 600 B.C.E.) Most of these contain orders to supply rations of wine and bread to travelers, including the "Kittim," who were apparently a group of mercenaries of Aegean origin. One of the letters mentions Beersheba and another contains a reference to "the house of YHWH," apparently the Temple in Jerusalem. Another ostracon from the same period contains an order for the urgent dispatch of reinforcements from Arad to Ramat Negev ("Ramah of the South," Josh. 19:8; I Sam. 30:27) to head off a threatening Edomite attack. This is possibly a reference to the Edomite invasion during the time of Nebuchadnezzar, hinted at in II Kings 24:2 (reading Edom instead of Aram).

The generally accepted theory that Tell Arad is Arad of the Canaanite period has been refuted by excavation of the site since no traces of settlement from the Middle or Late Bronze Ages were found. Its identification with Israelite Arad, on the other hand, was confirmed, the name even found inscribed on two ostraca. There are two possible solutions to this problem: (1) In the Canaanite period, Arad was the name of a region and not of a specific city; (2) The site of Canaanite Arad is Tell el-Milḥ (present-day Malḥata) 7½ mi. (12 km.) southwest of Tell Arad where strong fortifications dating from the Hyksos period (Middle Bronze Age) have been discovered. This identification is substantiated by the inscription of Pharaoh Shishak according to which it can be assumed that "Arad of the House of Yeroḥam" is the early Arad which was settled by the Jerahmeelite family (cf. I Sam. 27; 30:29) and "Arad Rabbat" (Arad the Great) was the strong citadel established in the days of Solomon in the Negev of Judah on the site of the Kenite sacred precinct.

[Yohanan Aharoni]

Since the writing of the above by one of the excavators of the site, Yohanan Aharoni, considerable research and a number of key publications have appeared furthering our understanding of the development of the Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements at Arad. R. Amiran and her associates, notably O. Ilan, have concentrated their efforts in furthering the publication of the Bronze Age site. Bronze Age Arad is generally regarded as the southernmost bastion of Canaanite culture, although one scholar (Finkelstein) has suggested that it might actually be the other way around, i.e., the site should be viewed as the northernmost cultural manifestation of the desert peoples of the time. It is now clear that the Bronze Age site had five separate strata (I–V): Stratum V representing the remains of a scattered Chalcolithic settlement (c. 4000–3400 B.C.E.); Stratum IV representing an unfortified small hamlet dated to the Early Bronze IB (3200–3000 B.C.E.), with evidence that trade with Egypt had already begun by that time, and with the discovery of a jar fragment with the incised serekh of Narmer, the last king of Dynasty O, which provided important synchronism between the Canaanite and Egyptian chronologies; and Stratum III (destroyed in c. 2800 B.C.E.) representing the oldest urban level of the city, with the construction of the city wall, a palace and other public structures, as well as the reservoir. Stratum II, the uppermost urban phase of the Bronze Age city, was the main focus of Amiran's excavations, and seems to have been built not long after the destruction of Stratum III. The urban fabric of the Stratum II was studied in some detail by the excavators: the city was surrounded by a wall (a circumference of 3,858 ft. (1,176 m.) with semi-circular towers and at least two gates and a few posterns; numerous houses of broad room plan with a doorway in the long wall, with benches lining the interior walls and with a ceiling supported by a pillar – of a type now known as the "Arad House" type (a ceramic model of such a house was also found) – were excavated; public and elite areas were also investigated: notably, a market area, a palace, a sacred precinct, and reservoir district. Stratum I represented a sparse settlement (of squatters?) in the ruins of the former Stratum II city. There can be no doubt that Arad was a primary trading center in the Early Bronze Age and was the focal point for much of the region's economic activities.

New information regarding the Iron Age period site, formerly excavated by Y. Aharoni, has also come to light as a result of recent research activities. In addition to this, an important reassessment of the stratigraphy of the site was made by Z. Herzog, who undertook some excavations at the site in 1977. The continued identification of the site as that of biblical Arad (Num. 21:1; 33:40; Josh. 12:14, 15:21; Jud. 1:16) and as the place mentioned as 'Arad n-bt (i.e. "Greater Arad") in the Egyptian Sheshonq's list of the cities he reached (925 B.C.E.) has also been strengthened by the discovery at the site of a potsherd inscribed with the name Arad four times. It is now clear that the Iron Age site had 12 strata (I–XII): Stratum XII representing the sparse remains of the early Iron Age village (11th century B.C.E.). The original excavator's identification of a cultic temenos with a bamah at the site has been reassessed and it would appear that they were ordinary domestic installations instead. Stratum XI (10th century B.C.E.) represents the first fortified fortress 180 × 165 ft. (55 × 50 m.), with a casemate wall and projecting towers, and with a gate on the east side. Strata X–VI represent the major changes that were made to the fortress: the casemate wall was replaced by a solid wall with a glacis reinforcement, and only two gate towers. The water system and the temple were both first constructed during this stage. The defensive wall and the water system continued to be used until the end of Stratum VI with few changes. The suggestion made by the original excavator that a casemate wall replaced the solid wall during Strata VIIVI, appears to be incorrect and the casemate actually represents portions of an unfinished Hellenistic tower. The abolition of the temple at Arad is attributed to the cultic reforms made by King Hezekiah in 715 B.C.E. (see II Kings 18:22). Strata V–I represent the later remains at the site from the Persian, Hellenistic, Roman, Early Islamic, and Ottoman periods. The site was substantially restored for visitors in conjunction with the National Parks Authority of Israel.

[Shimon Gibson (2nd ed.)]

Modern Arad

Modern Arad, town 32 mi. (45 km.) east of Beersheba, 6 mi. (9 km.) east of ancient Arad, situated above the Judean Desert plateau overlooking the Dead Sea, 610 m. above sea level. Arad was founded in 1961 in an area formerly inhabited by nomadic Bedouin tribes. Town planners envisaged Arad as the urban center of an industrial development region. A previous attempt at settlement in the region in 1921, by a group which included Izhak *Ben-Zvi, was unsuccessful.

Designed in six high-density neighborhoods, grouped around the civic center, with a separate industrial sector, resort area and suburbs, Arad was the first Israel development town to be planned by a group of architects and engineers living on the site. The group was responsible, inter alia, for the patio flat, an innovation in public housing, consisting of inter-locking four-storey desert apartment buildings, with private courtyards and maximum shade and protection.

The local economy was planned on the region's chemical deposits: potash from the Dead Sea and phosphates and gas located in the area. An industrial complex was constructed to produce fertilizers, chemical and petrochemical products. Employment was also provided by a prefabricated-housing plant and a knitwear factory.

The dry pollen-free climate, the high altitude, and picturesque location combined to attract tourists, and people suffering from respiratory diseases. From the mid-1980s Arad hosted a Hebrew song festival in the summers, attracting many youngsters. However, after three teenagers were crushed to death at a live concerts in 1995, the event was canceled for a few years and never regained its popularity.

In contrast to other development towns, Arad at first drew its population mostly from among Israel-born citizens rather than newly arrived immigrants. Planned as a community of 50,000, the town numbered 4,500 inhabitants in 1968, and only with the arrival of some 12,000 immigrants in the 1990s, mostly from the former Soviet Union, did the town grow significantly, reaching a population of around 18,000 in the mid-1990s, when it received municipal status, and 24,500 in 2002, the municipal area extending over 3.5 sq. mi. (9 sq. km.). Residents continued to be employed mainly in the chemical industry as well as in the hotels of the Dead Sea area.

[Daniel Gavron /

Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Abel, Geog, 2 (1938), 248f.; N. Glueck, Rivers in the Desert (1959), 50–53, 114f.; Aharoni and Amiran, in: IEJ, 14 (1964), 131–47; idem, in: Archaeology, 17 (1964), 43–54; Mazar, in: JNES, 24 (1965), 297–303; Aharoni, in: IEJ, 17 (1967), 233–49; idem, in: Fourth World Congress of Jewish Studies, Papers, 1 (1967), 11–13; idem, in: BASOR, 184 (1966), 14–16; idem, in: BA, 31 (1968), 2ff.; idem, in: D.N. Freedman and J.C. Greenfield (eds.), New Directions in Biblical Archeology (1969), 25–39 (incl. bibl.); Naor, in: PAAJR, 36 (1968), 95–105; idem, in: Eretz Israel, 9 (1969), 10–21; idem, in: Ariel, no. 24 (1969), 21–36. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: R. Amiran et al., Early Arad I: The Chalcolithic Settlement and Early Bronze City (1978); R. Amiran and O. Ilan, Early Arad II: The Chalcolithic and Early Bronze IB Settlements and the Early Bronze II City (1996); Y. Aharoni et al., Arad Inscriptions (1981); Z. Herzog et al., "The Israelite Fortress at Arad," in: BASOR, 254 (1984), 1–34. WEBSITE: www.arad.muni.il.


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.