The New Bible Dictionary
edited by J.D. Douglas (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 1962)
HAVILAH (Heb., circle, district).
1. A land in the neighbourhood of Eden, through which meandered the river Pishon, and in which was found gold, bdellium and shoham-stone (Gn. 2:11-12). The location of the place is unknown.
2. An area mentioned in the phrase from Havilah to Shur; inhabited by the Ishmaelites (Gn. 25:18) and Amalekites (1 Sa. 15:7). It probably lay therefore in the area of Sinai and NW Arabia.
3. A name that occurs twice in Gn. 10; as a descendant of Ham through Cush (Gn. 10:7; 1 Ch. 1:9) and as a descendant of Shem through Joktan, Eber, Shelah and Arpachshad (Gn. 10:29; 1 Ch. 1:23). These may be entirely distinct, but as the names associated with them indicate a possible area of settlement in S Arabia and across the Bab el-Mandeb in Africa, it may be that the name indicates one strong tribe which had absorbed a weaker group.
Harper’s Bible Dictionary
edited by Paul J. Achtemier (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1985)
Havilah (Heb., perhaps
sandy area), the name given to more than one district east of Palestine.
Gen. 2:11 places it in Eden, surrounded by the river Pishon; Gen. 10:7 and 1
Chron. 1:9 relate Havilah to Cush, suggesting a region in southern Mesopotamia.
However, in Gen. 10:26-29 and 1 Chron. 1:20-23 Hazarmaveth, Sheba, Ophir, and
Havilah are closely related as descendants of Shem, indicating an area somewhere
in the east or southeast of Arabia. Gen. 25:18 places it in northeast Arabia,
saying the Ishmaelites dwelt from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt.
In 1 Sam. 15:7 Havilah should probably read Hachilah.
Edited for BibleTexts.com by Robert Nguyen Cramer