Tel Abib

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"Kebar River" redirects here. For the river in Iran, see Kebar Dam.

Tel Abib (Hebrew: תל-אביב‎‎, Tel Aviv; lit. "Spring Mound", where Spring (Aviv) is the season) is an unidentified place on the Kebar Canal, near Nippur in what is now Iraq. Tel Abib is mentioned in Ezekiel 3:15:

Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel Abib, that lived by the river Chebar, and to where they lived; and I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days.

The biblical place name was adopted by Nahum Sokolow as the title for his Hebrew translation of Theodor Herzl's Altneuland ("Old New Land"). It later gave its name to the modern Israeli city of Tel Aviv; the Hebrew letter ב without dagesh represents a sound like [v] but is traditionally transcribed 'b' in English translations of the Bible.


The Kebar or Chebar Canal (or River) is the setting of several important scenes of the book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew Bible, including the opening verse: "Now it came about in the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was by the river Chebar among the exiles, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God". (New American Standard Bible) Ezekiel references this river eight times in total (1:1,3; Ezekiel 3:15, 23; 10:15, 20, 22; and 43:3).

Some old commentaries identified the Chebar with the Khabur River in what is now Syria. The Khabur is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 5:26 as the "Habor".

However, more recent scholarship is agreed that the location of the Kebar Canal is near Nippur in Iraq. The ka-ba-ru waterway (Akkadian) is mentioned among the 5th century BCE Murashu archives from Nippur.[1] It was part of a complex network of irrigation and transport canals that also included the Shatt el-Nil, a silted up canal toward the east of Babylon.[2][3]

It is not to be confused with the Kebar River in Iran, site of Kebar Dam, the oldest surviving arch dam.


  1. ^ Thompson, Henry O. (1992). "Chebar," in Anchor Bible Dictionary. Vol 1: Doubleday. p. 893. ISBN 0-385-19351-3. 
  2. ^ Allen, Leslie C. (1994). Word Bible Commentary: Ezekiel 1–19. Dallas: Word, Incorporated. p. 22. ISBN 0-8499-0830-2. 
  3. ^ Block, Daniel I. (1997). NICOT: The Book of Ezekiel: Chapters 1–24. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans. p. 84. ISBN 0802825354.