(Keʹdar) [from a root meaning “be dark”].
2. An Arab tribe descended from Ishmael’s son Kedar and classed with “the sons of the East.” Their land is also called Kedar. (Jer 2:10; 49:28, 29) A nomadic and pastoral people, having herds of sheep, goats, and camels (Isa 60:7; Jer 49:28, 29), the Kedarites evidently inhabited the Syro-Arabian desert E of Palestine in the NW part of the Arabian Peninsula. The reference to “the settlements that Kedar inhabits” (Isa 42:11), while possibly referring to temporary encampments, may instead indicate that a portion of them were somewhat settled. Perhaps because of their importance among the Arab tribes, the name of Kedar in later times came to apply to desert tribes in general. In the Targums and in rabbinic literature, Arabia itself is sometimes called Kedar.
The Shulammite girl of The Song of Solomon likened her swarthy appearance to “the tents of Kedar” (Ca 1:5, 6; compare Ps 120:5), these likely being made of black goat’s hair, as are the tents of many modern-day Bedouin. Ezekiel’s prophecy mentions “the chieftains of Kedar” along with the Arabs as merchants of male lambs, rams, and he-goats for the commercial city of Tyre.—Eze 27:21.
During the time of Assyria’s dominance in the Middle East, the prophet Isaiah foretold the sudden decline of Kedar’s glory, her mighty bowmen being reduced to a mere remnant. (Isa 21:16, 17) The Kedarites are evidently the Qidri or Qadri referred to in Assyrian records of warring campaigns. Assyrian King Ashurbanipal includes them with the Aribi (Arabs) and Nebaioth (compare Isa 60:7) in one campaign account and boasts of the asses, camels, and sheep taken from them as booty.
At a later time, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, struck down Kedar. (Jer 49:28, 29) The monarch’s conquest of N Arabia is mentioned by Babylonian historian Berossus, quoted by Josephus.—Against Apion, I, 129, 133 (19).
A silver bowl (considered to be of the fifth century B.C.E.) found at Tell el-Maskhutah in Egypt bears the Aramaic inscription: “Qainu bar [son of] Gesem [Geshem], king of Qedar [Kedar].” The Geshem meant in this case may possibly be “Geshem the Arabian” who opposed the work of rebuilding Jerusalem’s wall in Nehemiah’s day.—Ne 2:19; 6:1, 2, 6.
Assyrian records indicate that at the shrine of King Hazail of Kedar there were images of the following false deities: Atarsamain (the Assyrians identified her with Ishtar Dilbat), Dai, Nahai, Ruldaiu, Atarquruma, and Abirillu. A star of gold decorated with precious stones served as a symbol of the goddess Atarsamain. According to the Babylonian Talmud (Taʽanit 5b), the people of Kedar also worshiped water.