🔼The name Arabah in the Bible
It's not wholly certain whether Arabah is supposed to be the proper name of a specific region or rather a general term (like "the Boondocks" or "the Bad Lands"). The various English translations seem somewhat arbitrary about when they transliterate ערבה as Arabah or translate it with words like plain or desert (for instance: KJV, Darby and Young read "the plain" in Deuteronomy 1:1, while NAS, NIV, JSP and ASV read Arabah, yet in Zechariah 14:10, NAS, KJV and Young read "a plain," whereas NIV, JSP, ASV and Darby have Arabah).
The "name" Arabah is the feminine version of the Hebrew name for Arabia and is applied to the region east of the Jordan (Deuteronomy 1:1, 1:7, 3:17, 2 Samuel 2:29), to the region west of the Jordan (Deuteronomy 11:30, Joshua 8:14), apparently also to the region close to Mount Seir (Deuteronomy 2:8), and the area south of Gennesaret (Joshua 11:2, 12:3).
The Dead Sea or Salt Sea was known as the sea of Arabah (Deuteronomy 4:49, Joshua 3:16, 2 Kings 14:25). The Arabah was conquered by Joshua (Joshua 11:16, 12:8), and a place called Beth-arabah would mark the territory of Judah, west of the Jordan (Joshua 15:6, 15:61). The tribe of Benjamin was assigned territory within the lands of Judah, and Benjamin's land bordered on the Arabah (Joshua 18:18) and included Beth-arabah (Joshua 18:22).
The Arabah, apparently, was notoriously barren and desolate (Isaiah 33:9, 35:1, 35:6, Ezekiel 47:8) but also a fine place for hiding, as David and his men hid there while on the run from Saul (1 Samuel 23:24). It contained a brook (Amos 6:14), and possibly a permanent population called the Arbathites, of whom David's mighty-man Abi-albon was one (2 Samuel 23:31).
Just north of the Arabah, and north of the hill of Hachilah, began the Jeshimon, which was yet another stretch of dead earth (1 Samuel 23:24).
🔼Etymology of the name Arabah
The name or term Arabah comes from the cluster of roots that have the form ערב ('rb):
The name Arabah, like Arabia, literally means Nomadia.