Sunday, 25 October 2009
A Biblical and Theological Dictionary, John Farrar, 1884:
There is a difference between the meaning of the word desert as it occurs in Scripture, and the ordinary signification. The word generally rendered DESERT in Scripture, means a grazing-tract uncultivated and destitute of wood, but fit for pasture. The "pastures of the wilderness" are named in Scripture. Psal. lxv. 12; Joel i. 19. These deserts greatly varied with the seasons of the year. In summer they were burnt up with excessive drought; in the winter they were covered with pasturage. Whence it is that the Arabian tribes retreat into their deserts at the approach of autumnal rains, and when the drought commences they return to the lands of rivers and mountains, in search of the pastures which the deserts no longer afford. In the Bible, the different tracts mentioned as deserts are, Sin, Paran, Shur, Sinai, Kadesh, Judea, & c. The Hebrew word YESHIMON is applied to the desert of Arabia Petrea, in which the Israelites sojourned under the guidance of Moses. Numb. xxi 20; xxiii. 28. This was the most terrible of the deserts in which the Israelites dwelt: "A land of drought and of the shadow of death, a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt." Jer. ii. 6. "A waste howling wilderness." Deut. xxxii. 10
A Concise Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, Walter Skeat, 1897:
Series, a row. [L.] L. series, a row. - L. serere, to join or bind together [pp. sertus].
desert , a waste. [F. - L.] O.F. desert, a wilderness. - L. desertus, waste; pp. of deserere, to desert, abandon. - L. de, away [negative]; serere, to join.