Aram, son of Shem

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For distinguishing the different entries on "Aram", see Aram.

Aram is a son of Shem, according to the Table of Nations in Genesis 10 of the Hebrew Bible, and the father of Uz, Hul, Gether and Mash.[1] The Book of Chronicles confirms Aram as one of Shem's sons, confirming Uz, Hul, Gether and Mash, as also on the list of Shem's descendants.[2] Aram son of Shem is recognized as a prophet in Mandaeism and as an Islamic prophet. Aram is usually regarded as being the eponymous ancestor of the Aramaean people of Northern Mesopotamia and Syria.

Name[edit]

The name Aram (אֲרָם or ʾĂrām) means "exalted", from the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, 'ărâm, and "highland", in Strong's Concordance, 'ărâm or arawm'. It is Hebrew word #758.[3][4] A related word, #759 ארמון 'armôn, is defined as "citadel, palace, fortress" by Brown-Driver-Briggs. The same word in Strong's Concordance is ארמון 'armôn or ar-mone', "From an unused root (meaning to be elevated); a citadel (from its height): - castle, palace." Strong's goes on to compare it with Hebrew word #2038 הרמון harmôn har-mone' "From the same as 2036; a castle (from its height): - palace."[5][6]

Masoretic Text[edit]

The Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible (Moses, c. 15th century BCE, later in Jewish sources)[7] uses the Hebrew word ארמי ărammìy for Aramean (or Syrian, some translations).[8] Bethuel the Aramean from Padan-aram is identified as the father-in-law of Isaac.[9] Laban the son of Bethuel is also referred to as an Aramean who lived in Haran in Padan-aram (map, bottom).[10] Deuteronomy 26:5 might refer to the fact that both Jacob and his grandfather Abraham had lived for a time in Syria, or to Jacob being the son of a Syrian mother: "Then you shall declare before the LORD your God: 'My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous.' " (New International Version)[11][12] The Hebrew word רמי rammîy is found at 2Chronicles 22:5, also translated Aramaean or Syrian.[13]

The land of Aram-Naharaim ("Aram of the Two Rivers") included Padan-Aram and the city of Haran (or Harran), Haran being mentioned ten times in the Bible.[14] This region is traditionally thought to be populated by descendants of Aram, as is the nearby land of Aram that included Aram Damascus and Aram Rehob. David wrote of his striving with Aram-Naharaim and Aram-Zobah (Psalms 60, title). Aram-Naharaim is mentioned five times in Young's Literal Translation.[15]

The Euphrates and Tigris Rivers flow (top left to bottom right) from Ararat (Turkey) through Aram (Syria), to Assyria (Iraq), and into the Persian Gulf.
A harran in padan-aram.
Syrian cities of the 2nd millennium B.C.E. (from left, clockwise): Ugarit, Ebla, Aleppo (Alep), Haran (Harran) and Mari.

Book of Division (Jubilees)[edit]

According to the Book of Jubilees (9:5,6), the inheritance of the Earth to be bequeathed to the descendants of Aram included all of the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers "to the north of the Chaldees to the border of the mountains of Asshur and the land of 'Arara."[16]

"The mountains of Asshur in the north, and all the land of Elam, Asshur, and Babel, and Susan and Ma'edai" (Persia, Assyria, Babylonia, and Media, i.e. the Medes the sons of Madai) were apportioned to sons of Shem (Jubilees 8:21) and, consistent with the statement of the Book of Jubilees on Aram, the Aramaeans have historically been predominant in the north here, specifically central Syria, where Aramaic was the lingua franca, or common language, before the advent of Christianity.[16][17]

Antiquity of historical references to people of Aram[edit]

The toponym A-ra-mu appears in an inscription at Ebla listing geographical names, and the term Armi, which is the Eblaite term for nearby Aleppo, occurs frequently in the Ebla tablets (ca. 2300 BC). The inscriptions of Naram-Sin of Akkad, in the Akkadian language, closely associated Arman (i.e. Aleppo) with Ebla.[18] One of the annals of Naram-Sin (22nd century, Sumerian King List, Dynasty of Akkad) mentions that he captured "Dubul, the ensi of A-ra-me" (Arame is seemingly a genitive form), in the course of a campaign against Simurrum in the northern mountains.[19]

Other early references to a place or people of "Aram" have appeared in the archives at Mari (c. 1900 BC) and at Ugarit (c. 1300 BC).

Tiglath-Pileser I (c. 1100 BC), in impressions of his later annals, referred to the Arameans: "I have crossed the Euphrates 28 times, twice in one year, in pursuit of the Aramaean Aḫlamū" (kurAḫ-la-me-e kurAr-ma-a-iameš).[20][21]

There may also have been a city named Arman east of the Tigris River.[22]

The Semitic storm-god, Hadad, was patron deity of both Aram and Ugarit. The King of Aram (Syria) was called Ben-Hadad (English: son of Hadad; Aramaic: Bar-Hadad).[23][24][25]

In Islam[edit]

Islamic prophet Hud, a Prophet of ancient Arabia, is believed by Muslim scholars to have been a descendant of Aram. Hud is said to have preached in ʿĀd, in Arabia, according to the Qur'an. The town's eponymous ancestor, Ad, is considered to have been the son of Uz, one of Aram's sons.[26][27][28][29]

The chapter of the Quran named Hud, Chapter 11, mentions the people of `Ad, and in verse 44, the ship of Noah is described as coming to rest on Mount Judi after "waves like mountains" brought "retribution" upon "wrongdoing folk."[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ New International Version, Genesis 10:22-23
  2. ^ Biblos.com, 1Chronicles 1:17
  3. ^ Hebrew word #758, Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Lexicon
  4. ^ Hebrew word #758, Strong's Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong, S.T.D., LL.D., 1890.
  5. ^ Hebrew word #759, Strong's Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong, S.T.D., LL.D., 1890.
  6. ^ Hebrew word #2038, Strong's Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong, S.T.D., LL.D., 1890.
  7. ^ BibleGateway.com, Deuteronomy 31:9,24
  8. ^ A Hebrew - English Bible According to the Masoretic Text and the JPS 1917 Edition, Genesis 28, verse 5
  9. ^ Biblos.com, Genesis 25:20
  10. ^ BibleGateway.com, Genesis 28:5; 29:4-5; 31:20,24
  11. ^ A Hebrew - English Bible According to the Masoretic Text and the JPS 1917 Edition, Deuteronomy 26, verse 5
  12. ^ Biblos.com, Deuteronomy 26:5
  13. ^ A Hebrew - English Bible According to the Masoretic Text and the JPS 1917 Edition, 2Chronicles 22, verse 5
  14. ^ BibleGateway.com, Genesis 11:31-32; 12:4-5; 27:43; 28:10; 29:4; 2Kings 19:12; Isaiah 37:12; Ezekiel 27:23
  15. ^ BibleGateway.com, Genesis 24:10; Deuteronomy 23:4; Judges 3:8; 1Chronicles 19:6; Psalms 60:1
  16. ^ a b The Book of Jubilees 9:5-6, Wesley Center Online, cited as from: "The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament" R.H. Charles Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913, Scanned and Edited by Joshua Williams Northwest Nazarene College
  17. ^ The Book of Jubilees 8:21, Wesley Center Online, cited as from: "The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament" R.H. Charles Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913, Scanned and Edited by Joshua Williams Northwest Nazarene College
  18. ^ Horowitz, Wayne, 1998, Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography, The Sargon Geography, The Text: Commentary, p. 82.
  19. ^ Year-Names for Naram-Sin
  20. ^ Lipiński, Edward, 2000, The Aramaeans, Their Ancient History, Culture, Religion, p. 25-27.
  21. ^ Lipiński, Edward, 2000, The Aramaeans, Their Ancient History, Culture, Religion, p. 35-36.
  22. ^ Brinkman, John Anthony, 1968, A Political History of Post-Kassite Babylonia, 1158-722 B.C., p. 195, last footnote
  23. ^ Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide, Sarah Iles Johnston, General Editor, p. 418.
  24. ^ Biblos.com, 1Kings 20:1
  25. ^ Hebrew word #1130, Strong's Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong, S.T.D., LL.D., 1890.
  26. ^ Qu'ran 7, verse 65
  27. ^ Qu'ran 11, verse 50
  28. ^ Nadwi, Syed Muzaffaruddin, 2009 (first published 1936), A Geographical History of the Qur'an, pp. 64-65
  29. ^ Qu'ran 89, verses 6-7
  30. ^ The Holy Quran, Hud verses 3,42,44