Arabian tribes (Jer 25:23-25:24)

“I went to

Dedan,

Tema,

Buz.

I went to

All who have shaven temples.

I went

To all the kings

Of Arabia,

To all the kings

Of the mixed peoples

That live in the desert.”

Dedan, Tema, and Buz were desert tribes in northern Arabia. The shaven temple people were mentioned in chapter 9 as people who lived in the desert of Arabia. Thus Jeremiah went to all the kings of Arabia as well as all the mixed people who lived in the desert among the various Arab tribes.

Oracle about Arabia (Isa 21:13-21:15)

“The oracle concerning the desert plain.

In the scrub of the desert plain

You will lodge.

O caravans of Dedanites!

Bring water to the thirsty!

Meet the fugitive with bread!

O inhabitants of the land of Tema!

They have fled

From the swords,

From the drawn sword,

From the bent bow,

From the stress of battle.”

This oracle is about the wandering Arab tribes in the desert of Arabia, currently known as Saudi Arabia. They lived among the scrubs of the desert. They lodged in caravans. These people were called Dedanites, as a reference to northern Arabs. However, they seem to be very peaceful people. They brought water to the thirsty and gave bread to the people fleeing. Tema was an oasis in northwest Arabia that was mentioned 4 other times in the Bible. This also was a peaceful place, since people went there to get away from drawn swords, bent bows, and the stress of battles itself.

Job is not happy with his companions (Job 6:14-6:20)

“Those who withhold kindness from a friend

Reject the fear of the Almighty Shaddai.

My companions are as treacherous as a flood.

My companions are like streams of water that pass away.

They are like dark spots on ice.

They are like murky spots on melting snow.

In time of heat they disappear.

When it is hot,

They vanish from their place.

The caravans turn aside from their course.

They go up into the waste.

They perish.

The caravans of Tema look.

The travelers of Sheba hope.

They are disappointed

Because they were confident.

They come there

But they are confused.”

Job then turned on his 3 companions. He said that they were not so friendly. However, they did come to spend some time with him. He, however, called them treacherous. He compared them to a flood of water, an uncontrolled stream of water. He also compared them to a flash flood. In other words, they were like quick and destructive flows of water. He also compared them to dark ice and murky snow in that when it got hot, they would disappear. Then he compared them to caravans from Tema, an Arab tribe descendent from Ishmael, and Sheba that got lost in the desert. Both these caravans in ancient times were very confident but in the end they were confused. Job was comparing his 3 friends to these lost confusing caravans. They were not helping him with their torrent of confusing words.

The descendents of Ishmael (1 Chr 1:29-1:31)

“These are their genealogies. The first-born of Ishmael was Nebaioth, with Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These are the sons of Ishmael.”

This section is based on Genesis, chapter 25, with has exactly the same names. Ishmael had 12 sons who then became 12 princes, much like Jacob who will have 12 sons. Ishmael was the hard luck outcast, but important because he was technically the first born of Abraham. Among his 12 sons, (1) Nebaioth will be the father of the people who settle in Edom. The descendents of (2) Kedar settled in the Arabian Desert. (3) Adbeel settled somewhere southwest of the Dead Sea. There are two other people named (4) Mibsam and (5) Mishma in the bible. There are a number of places named after (6) Dumah, the most famous on the Syrian border. The (7) Massa descendents settled somewhere near the Babylonian border. (8) Hadad frequently turns up as a name of some princes in Edom. A town in Syria is named after (9) Tema. (10) Jetur, (11) Naphish, and (12) Kedemah seem to be associated with the Hagrites.   They mostly settled in the Arabian Desert. Thus you have the 12 tribes or sons of Ishmael just like there will be 12 tribes or sons of Jacob.