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Elam, Biblical Figure

Elam (which means forever in Hebrew) is the one of the sons of Shem, who was the son of Noah. His siblings are Arphaxad, Asshur, Lud, and Aram.

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‘Elam (/ˈiːləm/) was an ancient Pre-Iranic civilization centered in the far west and southwest of what is now modern-day Iran.’

There is also Elam (the nation) which may have been named after him. It is located towards the west of ancient Persia and today’s Iran. Bordered by the Zagros Mountains which are east and north, and then there is the Persian Gulf in the south and the Tigris River towards the west.

Elam is recorded in history at the time of Sagron of Akkad around 2300 BC where it is listed on the Bible Timeline. Not long after the Elamites pillaged Ur and founded an Elamite kingdom inside Shnunna. The Elamites went on to take Babylon up till Hammurabi around 1700 BC.

Following Hammurabi, the Kassites took over Elam and reigned till around 1200 BC. Then the upcoming era was the greatest peak of Elam’s power. The entirety of western Iran was ruled by them until the Romans stepped in once again. An Assyrian named Ashurbanipal traveled through the area on several missions to take over Susa during 641 BC. Before that, Elam had included Anshan, (which one day became Cyrus the Great’s) as part of the district. Once Assyria became weak, Elam and Anshan were combined with the reign of Medes. As a result, they were with the Babylonians during the loss of the Assyrian Empire.

Afterward, Elam had hardly any independence as part of their history and stayed as a piece of the Medes and Persian kingdoms. Biblically Elam’s role could have been as an agent for the larger kingdoms in its donations of armies.

Elam is found in the Bible as stories and prophecies. Abraham battled against Chedorlaomer, king of Elam to ensure Lot’s departure. (Gen 14:1). Isaiah’s message of hope incorporated the assurance that God would confiscate His people out of Elam (Isaiah 11:11). Through Isaiah 21:2 and 22:6 Elam’s strength in battle is mentioned. Elam was asked to go to Babylon (Isaiah 21:1). Another point in the Bible concerning Elam is the reference to contributing in God’s judgment towards Judah. Jeremiah 25:25 incorporates Elam as a nation ‘which must drink the cup of God’s wrath’. Afterwards, Jeremiah during the time of Zedekiah announced judgment towards Elam. There was no reasoning given for it; however Elam, working under Babylon might have been involved in the invasion of Jerusalem. Ezekiel portrayed Elam inside the ‘pit’ (Sheol) where it was shamed and disciplined for destroying so much (Ezekiel 32:24).

There is more reference to Elam as a person’s name or ‘homeland’. An intriguing indication was the men that come from Elam, who were there on the day of the Pentecost. They might have been Jews originating from Elam or brought over to Judaism (Acts 2:9).

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2 thoughts on “Elam, Biblical Figure

  1. What were the years of the king Chedorlaomer of Elam???? reply by Thanks.

  2. who were elams descendanrs

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