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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Naharaim

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A region somewhat ill-defined, mentioned six times in the Bible. In the title of Psalms 60, and in 1 Chronicles 19:6, it is used for the region beyond the Euphrates (compare 2 Samuel 10:16). It is stated in Judges 3:8,10, that the king of Aram-Naharaim invaded Palestine. Genesis 24:10 calls the region of Haran, Aram-Naharaim (compare Genesis 28:10); while Deuteronomy 23:5 calls Pethor, the home of Balaam, a city of Aram-Naharaim. Pethor appears as a city of the region near the Euphrates in a list of Thothmes III. in the fifteenth century B.C. (compare Müller, "Asien und Europa," p. 267), and in an inscription of Shalmaneser II. of the ninth century B.C. (compare Schrader, "K. B." 2:163) as a city west of that river.

Aram-Naharaim, literally, "Aram of the two rivers," suggested to the ancients the region between the Euphrates and the Tigris; to some moderns, that between the Euphrates and Chaboras (Ḥabur) (see Kiepert, "Lehrbuch der Alten Geographie," p. 154); to others, the Euphrates and Orontes (Howorth, in "Academy," Jan. 17, 1891, p. 65); while still others select different rivers. Meyer ("Gesch. Ægyptens," p. 227), Müller ("Asien und Europa," pp. 249 et seq.), and Moore (Commentary on Judges, pp. 87, 89) are probably right in regarding the Hebrew dual as fictitious. If plural, it was no doubt the country called by the Egyptians "Naharin," an Aramaic name, meaning "the land of the rivers." It embraced a considerable extent on both sides of the Euphrates, extending east as far as the Tigris and west to the Orontes, running south not only to Hamath, but to Kadesh (compare Müller, ib. pp. 249-267). All the Biblical references are to places in this region. The name is not found in Babylonian or Assyrian inscriptions, but occurs as Nahrima in three of the El-Amarna letters. Nahrima is associated with the Hittites—a fact which confirms the view taken above.

J. Jr.
G. A. B.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Naharaim'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/n/naharaim.html. 1901.

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