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Sela (Arabic: السلع , Hebrew: סֶּלַע, transliteration Sela‛, meaning rock; Arabic: as-Sala‛; Greek: πέτρα; Latin: petra) was the capital of Edom, situated in the great valley extending from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea (2 Kings 14:7). It was near Mount Hor, close by the desert of Zin. It is called "the rock" (Judges 1:36). When Amaziah took it he called it Joktheel (also spelled Jokteel (JPS) and Jectehel (DRB)) (q.v.) (Hebrew: יָקְתְאֵל, Jiqhat-’Ēl, "the blessedness of God" or "subdued by God"; Latin: Jectehel) or Kathoel (Greek: Καθοηλ) in the Septuagint. It is mentioned by the prophets (Isaiah 15:1; 16:1; Obadiah 1:3) as doomed to destruction.
Sela appears in later history and in the Vulgate under the name of Petra. "The caravan of all ages, from the interior of Arabia and from the Gulf of Persia, from Hadhramaut on the ocean, and even from Sabea (Sheba) or Yemen, appear to have pointed to Petra as a common centre; and from Petra the tide seems again to have branched out in every direction, to Egypt, Palestine, and Syria, through Arsinoe, Gaza, Tyre, Jerusalem, and Damascus, and by other routes, terminating at the Mediterranean." (See Edom .)
- This entry incorporates text from the public domain Easton's Bible Dictionary, originally published in 1897.