Aram-Naharaim (Aramaic: ארם נהריים) is a region that is
mentioned five times in the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. It is
commonly identified with Nahrima mentioned in three tablets of the
Amarna correspondence as a geographical description of the kingdom of
Mitanni. In Genesis, it is used somewhat interchangeably with the
Paddan Aram and Haran to denote the place where
briefly with his father Terah's family after leaving Ur of the
Chaldees, while en route to
Canaan (Gen. 11:31), and the place from
which later patriarchs obtained wives, rather than marry daughters of
Paddan Aram refers to the part of
Aram-Naharaim along the
upper Euphrates, while Haran is mainly identified with the ancient
Assyrian city of
Harran on the Balikh River. According to one
rabbinical Jewish tradition, the birthplace of
Abraham (Ur) was also
situated in Aram-Naharaim.
1 Location and etymology
2 See also
3 External links
Location and etymology
Josephus and the
Septuagint translate the name as Mesopotamia.
Ancient writers later used the name "Mesopotamia" for all of the land
Tigris and Euphrates. However the usage of the Hebrew name
"Aram-Naharaim" does not match this later usage of "Mesopotamia", the
Hebrew term referring to a northern region within Mesopotamia. The
Book of Jubilees
Book of Jubilees 9:5 places Aram's portion between the
Euphrates, and lying north of the Chaldeans, who are south of the
And for Aram there came forth the fourth portion, all the land of
Mesopotamia [Naharaim] between the
Tigris and the Euphrates to the
north of the Chaldees to the border of the mountains of Asshur and the
land of 'Arara.
The translation of the name as "Mesopotamia" was not consistent - the
Septuagint also uses a more precise translation "Mesopotamia of Syria"
as well as "Rivers of Syria".
Josephus refers to the subjects of
Chushan, king of Aram Naharaim, as Assyrians.
In Hebrew, Ashur denotes the region of
Assyria proper on the Tigris,
and is listed as distinct from Aram Naharaim in Jubilees. Aram
Naharaim lay west of Ashur, as it contained Haran. Haran lies on the
west bank of the Balikh, east of the Upper Euphrates. The traditional
Jewish location of Ur Kasdim (at Edessa) and the Balikh itself lie
west of the Khabur, and the latter may have been considered one of the
"two rivers" delineating this Aramaean homeland, the other being the
Euphrates. Jubilees, however, clearly associates the city of Ur Kesed
(Ur Kasdim, "Ur of the Chaldees") not with the descendants of Aram who
received Aram Naharaim as an inheritance, but rather with those of
Arpachshad, his brother, who was Abram's ancestor.
Jonathan ben Uzziel
Jonathan ben Uzziel and
Onkelos translate Aram Naharaim "Aram
which is on the Euphrates" as
Joshua explicitly stated: 'Long ago your
ancestors lived on the other side of the Euphrates.' (
Joshua 24, 2-3)
The Land of Aram (Syria)
^ Ramban on Lech Lecha Archived 2006-08-22 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Judges 3:8
^ Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, B