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Elam - Christian Resource Centre (Bermuda)
Biblical People
Elam (elam). [Heb. ïlam, meaning unknown.]

1.   Son of Shem, ancestor of the Elamites (Gen 10:22; 1 Chr 1:17).

2.   A Levite of the family of Korah in the time of David (1 Chr 26:3).

3.   A Benjamite who lived in Jerusalem (1 Chr 8:24, 28).

4.   The ancestral name of a clan of exiles of whom 1,254 returned to Palestine with Zerubbabel (Ezr 2:7; Neh 7:12), and another 71 with Ezra (Ezr 8:7). Some of these people were married to foreign wives in the time of Ezra (ch 10:2, 26). A representative of the family signed Nehemiah's covenant (Neh 10:14).

5.   The ancestral name of the clan of exiles called “the other Elam,” of whom 1,254 returned to Palestine with Zerubbabel (Ezr 2:31; Neh 7:34).

6.   A priest of Nehemiah's time who took part in the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem (Neh 12:42).

7.   A country lying in the Zagros Mountains east of Babylonia (see Ancient World in the Days of the Judges), called Susiana or Elymais by the Greeks (The Hellenistic World). The Medes were their northeastern and the Persians their southeastern neighbors. Their capital was *Susa (KJV Shushan). According to Gen 10:22; 1 Chr 1:17 the Elamites (e\\'la¾m|ts) Aramaic ÔElemayeÕ, Gr. Elamitai] were descendants of Shem, but their language belongs to the Asianic-Armenoid group of languages. The Elamites are mentioned in cuneiform inscriptions as early as the 3d millennium b.c. Their country was defeated by Sargon and Naram-Sin of Akkad. However, in the 20th cent. b.c. they put an end to the 3d dynasty of Ur by an invasion of Mesopotamia. During the following centuries the Elamites were so powerful that they occasionally controlled parts of Mesopotamia. It was during this time that the Biblical Chedorlaomer of Elam with 3 confederate kings subjugated certain Palestinian kings for 12 years and raided their country twice (Gen 14). In the time of the Assyrian Empire in the 1st millennium b.c. Elam was one of Assyria's chief opponents. Many times Elam sided with Babylon, which was eventually subjugated by the Assyrians. Sometimes the Elamites were also made vassals, and Elamite soldiers had to serve in the Assyrian army (Is 22:6). Sargon II, Sennacherib, and Ashurbanipal all campaigned against the Elamite capital, Susa. Finally, Ashurbanipal took the city in 639 b.c. Many of its citizens were deported to other parts of the Assyrian Empire, including Samaria (Ezr 4:9). Ezekiel's lament (Eze 32:24) may allude to this event. Elam later became part of the Babylonian Empire, an event to which the prophecy of Jer 49:34-39 may refer. Later it was taken over by Persia. The Persian kings made Susa (KJV “Shushan”) one of their residences (Dan 8:2; Est 1:2). The Elamites of Acts 2:9, who attended the feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem, where they came under the influence of the preaching of the gospel by the apostles, were probably Jews living in Elam.
Lit.: W. Hinz, CAH I:2, pp. 644-680; II:1, pp. 256-288; R. Labat, CAH II:2, pp. 379-416.

Horn, Siegfried H., Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association) 1979.

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