MA'ALEH AKRABBIM (Heb. מַעֲלֵה עַקְרַבִּים; JPS, "ascent of Akrabbim"; "ascent of the scorpions"), locality mentioned several times in the Bible as being at the southern boundary of the Promised Land. According to Numbers 34:4, the border started "at the end of the Salt [Dead] Sea eastward" and turned south of Ma'aleh Akrabbim, continuing toward the "wilderness of Zin"; the account in Joshua 15:3 is similar. The border of the Amorites apparently ran from Ma'aleh Akrabbim, "from Sela, and upward" (Judg. 1:36). Abel identified it with Naqb al-Ṣafi to the west of the Arabah, while Mazar locates it to the east, on the road to Sela. The Akrabattine of I Maccabees 5:3 apparently refers to the district of Acraba to the north of Jerusalem.
Ma'aleh Akrabbim is now the name of a section of a road to Eilat that snakes down into the canyon of Naḥal Ẓin, about 2½ mi. (4 km.) west of the "Small Crater" (Makhtesh ha-Katan). Until the road to Eilat that passes through Ma'aleh ha-Aẓma'ut by Miẓpeh Ramon was built, all traffic to Eilat passed through Ma'aleh Akrabbim. The spot is an excellent lookout point over Naḥal Ẓin and the Arabah.
Abel, Geog, 2 (1938), 46–47; W.J. Phythian-Adams, in: PEFQS, 65 (1933), 143ff.; EM, 5 (1968), 195f.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.