Ke•dem is the most frequently used word for the east in the Bible. Its meaning is ‘early’ and ‘forward.’ Both relate to the east, the direction of the sun, from different points of view. ‘Early’ relates to time. Time was perceived to begin in the east with the light that begins to shine in the morning. East then is ‘early.’ The other perspective of kedem relates to space. Again, the place from which the sun comes is a kind of a ‘starting point,’ and, therefore, the east is forward in relation to any other location.
Example of ke•dem as ancient times:
“Have you not heard long ago how I have done it, and of ancient times that I have formed it? Now have I brought it to pass, that fortified cities should be laid waste into ruinous heaps”
Example of ke•dem as east direction:
“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed”
Example of ke•dem as east location:
“And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the people of the east, and all the wisdom of Egypt”