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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Habor

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(Heb. Chabor', חָבוֹר, if of Shemitic origin, from חָבִר, to join, meaning the united stream; if of Persic derivation, from khubpadr= εὔκρημνος, with beautiful banks [Furst, Lex. s.v.]; Sept. Ἀβώρ and ᾿Χαβώρ), a river, and apparently also a district of Assyria, to which considerable interest is attached in connection, with the first captivity. We read in 1 Chronicles 5, 26, that Tilgathpilneser carried away "the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan." About seventeen years later, Shalmaneser, the successor of the former monarch, "took Samaia, and cared Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah, and in fabor, the river of Gozan" (A.V., "by the river Gozan," 2 Kings 17:6; 2 Kings 18:11). There are two rivers still bearing this name, and geographers are not agreed as to which Is here referred to. (See CAPTIVITY).

1. A river called Khabur rises in the central highlands of Kurdistan. flows in a south-westerly direction, and falls into the Tigris about seventy miles above Mosul (Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, p. 56; Schultens, Index Geogr. in vitain Saladizi, s.v.). Many suppose this to be the Habor of Scripture for the following reasons:

1. It is within Assyria proper, which Ptolemy says was bounded on the west-by the Tigris (6, 1).

2. It is affirmed that the Assyrian monarch would place his captives in a central part of his kingdom, such as this is, and not in the outskirts (Keil on 2 Kings 17:4-6).

3. Habor is termed "a river of Gozan" (חָבוֹר נְהִר גּוֹזָן ); and Gozan is supposed to signify "pasture," and to be identical with the word Zozan, now applied by the Nestorians to the pasture-lands in the highlands of Assyria, where the Khabur takes its rise (Grant, The Nestorian Christians, p. 124).

4. Ptolemy mentions a mountain called Chabor (Χαβώρας) which divides Assyria from Media (6, 1); and Bochart says the river Chabor has its source in that mountain (Opera, 1, 194, 242, 362). Some have supposed that the modern Nestorians are the descendants of the captive Jews (Grant, 1. c.). (See GOZAN).

2. The other and much more celebrated river, Khabur, is that famous affluent of the Euphrates, which is called Aborrhas (Ἀβόῤῥας) by Strabo (16, 1, 27) and Procopius (Bell. Pers. 2, 5); Aburas (Ἀβούρας) by Isidore of Charax (p. 4); Abora (Ἀβώρα ) by Zosimus (3, 12); and Chaboras by Ptolemy (Χάβώρας, 5, 18) and Pliny (Fl. N. 30, 3). "It rises about lat. 363 40', long 40' flows only a little south of east to its junction near Kaukab with the Jerujer or river of Nisibis, which comes down from Mons Masius. Both of these branches are formed by the union of a number of streams. Neither of them is fordable for some distance above their junction; and below it they constitute a river of such magnitude as to be navigable for a considerable distance by steamers. The course of the Khabur below Kaukab is tortuous [through rich meads covered with flowers, having a general direction about S.S.W. to its junction with the Euphrates at Karkesia, the ancient Circesium]. The entire length of the stream is not less than 200 miles" (Rawlinson, Ancient Monarchies, 1, 236; see Ainsworth, Travels in the Track of the Ten Thousand, p. 79; Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, p. 304). Ritter (Erdkü nde, 10, 248), Gesenius (Thesaurus), Layard, Rawlinson, and others, maintain that this is the ancient Habor. There can be no doubt that Assyria proper was confined to the country lying along the banks of the Upper Tigris, and stretching eastward to Media. But its territory gradually expanded so as to include Babylonia (Heroaotus, 3, 92), Mesopotamia (Pliny, H. N. 6, 26), and even the country westward to the confines of Iilicia and Phoenicia (Strabo, 16). At the time of the captivity the power of Assyria was at its height. The Jewish captives were as secure on the banks of the western as of the eastern Habor. The ruins of Assyrian towns are scattered over the whole of northern Mesopotamia. "On the banks of the lower Khabur are the remains of a royal palace, besides many other traces of the tract through which it runs having been permanently occupied by the Assyrian people. Even near Seruj, in the country between Haran and the Euphrates, some evidence has been found not only of conquest, but of occupation" (Rawlinson, Ancient Monarchies, 1, 247; see Chesney, Euphrates Expedition, i, 114; Layard, Ain. and Bab. p. 275, 279-300, 312). There can be no doubt that the Khabur was in Assyria, and near the center of the kingdom, at the time of the captivity. Further, Ptolemy mentions a province in Mesopotamia called Gauzanitis (5, 18). It lay around the Khabur, and was doubtless identical with Gozan, hence the phrase "Habor, the river of Gozan" (2 Kings 17:6), Chalcitis, which appears to be identical with Ialah, mentioned in the same passage, adjoined Gauzanitis. It is a remarkable fact that down as late as the 12th century there were large Jewish communities on the banks of the Khabfir (Benjamin of Tudela, in Early Travels in Pal. p. 92 sq.). The district along the banks probably took its name from the river, as would seem from a comparison with 1 Chronicles 5:26., Ptolemy mentions a town called Chabor (5. 18). The Khablr occurs under that name in an Assyrian inscription of the 9th century before our era (Layard, Nin. and Bab. p. 354) (See CUNEIFORM INSCRIPTIONS).

It seems doubtful whether Habor was identical with the river Chebar (כַּבָר ), on which Ezekiel saw his visions. The latter was perhaps farther south in Babylnia (Ezekiel 1:3, etc.). (See CHEBAR).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Habor'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/h/habor.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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