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The word means a steppe, a desert plain; and it conveys the idea of a stretch of country, arid, unproductive, and desolate.In poetic passages it is used in parallelism with the word midbar .

Thus ( Isaiah ) we read: "Let the desert ( midbar ) and the cities thereof be exalted: Cedar shall dwell in houses", or rather, "the villages that Cedar doth inhabit".

Not that there were towns in the desert occupied by a stable population. For the desert was not a place regularly cultivated like the fields and gardens of ordinary civilized districts.

Books have been written to discuss the geography of this region.

Suffice it to say that it comprises the ground over which the Israelites travelled from their crossing of the Red Sea till their arrival in the Promised Land.

In the Vulgate are found the renderings ruinœ, solitudo, desolatio . The lexicon of Gesenius gives as the first meaning of horbah , "dryness"; then as a second meaning, "a desolation", "ruins".