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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary

Ur

(uhr) Place name meaning, “five oven.” An ancient city in lower Mesopotamia that is mentioned in the Bible as Abraham's birthplace. Ur, Kish, and Uruk were three important population centers in Sumerian and Babylonian civilization. Abraham's family home is alluded to in Genesis 12:1 and Acts 7:2 . The site associated with Ur is located in present-day Iraq, in the lower eastern portion of the Fertile Crescent. It is identified with tell el-Muqayyar some 350 km (220 mi) southeast of Baghdad. The site is an oval shape and had harbor facilities on the Euphrates River, until its course shifted twelve miles east from the city's western limit. With the river's shift, the city lost both its population and prominence. Other sites have been proposed for the biblical Ur, such as Urartu (Turkey) or Urfa (northwest of Haran). Occupation of tell el-Muqayyar began about 4000 B.C. and was important in Sumerian, Babylonian, and neo-Babylonian cultures. The third dynasty of Ur was its most prosperous and highly developed period. Important remains discovered were a zighygurat (a three stage, stepped pyramid) and royal tombs. This Sumerian site is most probably to be identified as Abraham's city of origin. Yet, as with most identifications, such can be questioned. See Abraham; Babylon; Chaldees; Mesopotamia; Sumeria.

David M. Fleming

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Ur'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/u/ur.html. 1991.

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