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Holman Bible Dictionary


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(mihss uh puh tay' mih uh) Strictly speaking, Mesopotamia (from the Greek “between the rivers”) is the designation of the area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Mesopotamia applies more generally to the entire Tigris-Euphrates valley. At times in antiquity the culture of Mesopotamia dominated an even larger area, spreading east into Elam and Media, north into Asia Minor, and following the fertile cresent into Canaan and Egypt.

The Scriptures witness to a long history of contacts between the Hebrew people and the people of Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia was the homeland of the patriarchs (Genesis 11:31-12:4 ; Genesis 24:10 ; Genesis 28:6 ). A Mesopotamian king subdued Israel for a time during the period of the judges (Judges 3:8 ). Mesopotamia supplied mercenary chariots and cavalry for the Ammonites' war with David (1 Chronicles 19:6 ; superscription of Psalm 60:1 ). Both the Northern Kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 15:29 ; 1 Chronicles 5:26 ) and the Southern Kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 24:14-16 ; 2 Chronicles 36:20 ; Ezra 2:1 ) went into Exile in Mesopotamia.

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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 'Mesopotamia'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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