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The ancient Israelites oriented (orient means east) themselves to the east when determining direction. It may well have been the first direction that they thought of each day, since sunrise occurs to the east. The Hebrew words translated as east in English are pronounced kaw-deem, which means the front part, and miz-rawkh, which means sunrise.

A Compass East was often prominent in events Bible History:

"And The Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east [see Where Was The Garden Of Eden?]; and there He put the man whom He had formed." (Genesis 2:8 RSV) (see The Creation Of Adam And Eve)

"Then Cain went away from the presence of The Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden." (Genesis 4:16 RSV) (see Cain and Abel)

"And as men migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens." (Genesis 11:2-4 RSV) (see Tower Of Babel)

"And those to encamp before the Tabernacle [see The Tabernacle In The Wilderness] on the east, before the tent of meeting toward the sunrise, were Moses and Aaron and his sons [see Levites], having charge of the rites within the sanctuary." (Numbers 3:38 RSV)

"The lot for the tribe of the people of Judah according to their families reached southward to the boundary of Edom, to the wilderness of Zin at the farthest south ... And the east boundary is the Salt Sea, to the mouth of the Jordan." (Joshua 15:1,5 RSV) (see Tribal Lands)

"There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job ... this man was the greatest of all the people of the east." (Job 1:1,3 RSV)

East is also seen in Prophecy:

"Then the he-goat magnified himself exceedingly; but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven [see Alexander The Great In Prophecy]. Out of one of them came forth a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land." (Daniel 8:8-9 RSV)

"On that day His feet shall stand on The Mount Of Olives which lies before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley; so that one half of the Mount shall withdraw northward, and the other half southward." (Zechariah 14:4 RSV)

"For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man." (Matthew 24:27 RSV) (see The Return Of Jesus Christ)

"The sixth angel poured his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east ... And they assembled them at the place which is called in Hebrew Armageddon." (Revelation 16:12,16 RSV) (see The Seven Seals)

Fact Finder: Where did the Magi come from to visit the newborn Christ?
Matthew 2:1-2
See also The Magi

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