Ur of the Chaldees

Reference:
  Gen 11:28, 31; 15:7;
Neh 9:7

The ruins of the ancient city is about 200 m. SSE of Bagdad and a few m. from the mouth of the present course of the Euphrates. Ur was a religious and cultural center of the region and the home of Abrahams family before they migrated to Haran.

Ur in close-up

Babylon

Reference:
  Gen 11:1-9

This ancient city on the left bank of the Euphrates is the site of the Tower of Babel, erected in the land of Shinar, modern Iraq. The city, first mentioned in the annals of Sargon of Akkad (c. 2350-2294), later became a cultural center and political capital of the region and pre-dates Abraham.

Babel / Babylon

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Mari

Reference:
  None.

An ancient city-state on the middle Euphrates occupied from the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC. Excavations uncovered the largest palace complex of any ancient city and a royal archive with over 20,000 tablets. The city's location between the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia made it a natural commercial center during the time of the biblical Patriarchs. Information in the archive supports the record of the biblical era of the Patriarchs. Mari is not mentioned in the Bible.

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Haran

Reference:
   Gen 11:31-32; 12:4-5; 27:43; 28:10; 29:4.

A city in northern Mesopotamia where Abraham's father Terah settled with his family after leaving Ur. Situated on the main trade route between Nineveh and the cities to the north, Haran was a flourishing trade center in the 19-18th centuries BC. Abraham left Haran and settled in Canaan. Both Abraham's son Isaac and grandson Jacob returned to Haran to seek a wife from Abraham's brother's family.

Haran

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Carchemesh

Reference:
  2 Chr 35:20

Located on the right bank of the Euphrates about 65 m. NE of Aleppo, Syria, caravans on the ancient trade route from Assyria in the East passed through this city on the way to Asia Minor in the North and Phoenicia and Egypt to the south. It is the site of the historic 605 BC battle in which Babylon defeated Egyptian forces in support of Assyria, making Babylonia the regional super power.

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Ebla

Reference:
None

This powerful 3rd millennium BC city-state located near the modern city of Aleppo, Syria was a rival of Mari, from whom the King of Ebla at one time defeated and collected in tribute 11,000 pounds of silver and 880 pounds of gold. A huge archive of tablets was discovered during the excavation of the site which supports the biblical narrative from the era of the Patriarchs, even recording names of individuals and Canaanite place names that are also found in Genesis. Ebla is not mentioned in the Bible.

Ebla

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Damascus

Reference:
  Gen 14:15; 15:2; Num 23:7.

A large oasis and gateway to the Syrian Desert to the southeast, to trade route cities to the N. and S., and to ancient Phoenician over the mountains to the W. Damascus water source is the river Barada (biblical Abanah) which rises in the snows of the Anti-Lebanon Range and gives the city an abundant water supply before it is depleted in the marshes of the Syrian Desert. This Syrian city is mentioned in the Egyptian Execration Texts (19th century BC), in the Mari Texts, in the Amarna Tablets, and it was a trade center in Abrahams time (his chief servant was from Damascus). In these early records the name Aram is more frequently used; it will become the capital of the 9th cent. BC Aramean kingdom.

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Hazor

Reference:
  Jos 11

Hazor stood at a strategic position in the region, straddling the crossroads of the main trade routes from the North and East that led southward into Egypt. It was one of the cities Joshua had to conquer in order to complete a successful conquest of Canaan in Jos 11

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Shekhem

Reference
Gen 18:1-15; 33:18-34:31; 35:4; 37:12-14

Shekhem in central Canaan located 40 m. north of Jerusalem at a pass in the mountains that opened on to a broad, fertile plain. A city existed at this site since the 3rd millennium BC. Abraham was staying near Shechem when he experienced the Theophany at the Oak of Mamre. His grandson Jacob settled at Shechem after his return from Mesopotamia and Jacobs daughter had a tragic romance with a prince of Shechem.

Shekhem Picture

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Bethel

Reference:
  Gen 12:8, 13:1-3; 28:10-22; 35:1-13

This site is located 14 m. north of Jerusalem. After the famine had passed in Canaan, Abraham left Egypt and returned to the Negeb and from there to Bethel where he settled for a time. Abraham built an altar at this site and began to worship Yahweh. His grandson Jacob received a Theophany of the Lord at the same location and erected a standing stone in commemoration of the event, naming the site place of God. Later, God told Jacob to return to the same site and settle there with his family. At Bethel God renewed His covenant with Abraham with Jacob, and Jacob dedicated his family to the worship of the God of Abraham.

Bethel Picture

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Jerusalem

Reference:
  Gen 14:17-24; 22:1-14; Ps 76:2; 2 Sam 6:12; 2 Chr 3:1

Originally named Salem ("peace"), this ancient city which was once a vassal city of the Egyptians is located on a mountain ridge in central Canaan. This city was the home of Gods priest-king Melchizedech who brought bread and wine to Abraham after his victory over the kings of Mesopotamia and to whom Abraham gave a tenth of his treasure from the campaign. God asked Abraham to offer his son Isaac in sacrifice on Mt. Moriah near Salem. After God spared his son, Abraham declared: "Yahweh Jireh," "Yahweh provides" (or, "will provide"), which is believed to be the origin of the citys name change from Salem to Jireh-salem/ Jerusalem: "(will) provide peace." It became the center of worship for the children of Israel when King David conquered the city in the 11th century BC, and his son Solomon built Yahwehs Temple on Mt. Moriah.

Jerusalem Picture

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Beersheba

Reference:
  Gen 21:14, 25-33; 22:19; 26:23, 31-33; 28:10; 46:1-5

A town located in the desert region of the Negeb. It was the place where Hagar fled from Sarah, and a covenant between Abraham and Abimelech over water rights was negotiated there. The place-name, "well of seven" or "well of the oath" possibly derived from the number of natural springs located there or from the covenant oath sworn between Abraham and Abimelech and the seven lambs that were sacrificed. Abrahams son Isaac made a similar covenant treaty at the same site. Beersheba became the home of both Abraham and Isaac and it was the site of a Theophany experienced by both Isaac and his son Jacob.

Beersheba Picture

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Sodom

Reference:
  Gen 10:19; 13:10-13; 14:1-16; 18:20-33; 19:20-28;

One of five cities on the plain near the Dead Sea which formed a political alliance in Gen 14:2, 8. It was chosen by Abrahams nephew Lot as his home when he separated from his uncle. The king of Sodom was one of the kings rescued by Abraham in the war with the Mesopotamian kings. When God announced that He would destroy this center of wickedness, Abraham pleaded with God to spear the city for the sake of ten righteous men. When even ten men could not be found, Lot and his family were spared but the city was destroyed by fire. The ruins of a site known as Bab edh-Dra, an ancient city dating to the era of Abraham and never resettled after it was destroyed by earthquakes and fire, has been discovered in the region of the Dead Sea and is possibly the ruins of the ancient city of Sodom.

Sodom Picture

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Gomorrah

Reference:
  Gen 10:19; 13:10; 14:2-11; 18:20; 19:24, 28.

One of five cities on the plain near the Dead Sea which formed a political alliance. Usually mentioned in association with Sodom. The archeological site of the ruins of Numera may be ancient Gomorrah or one of the other cities of the alliance. This site was also destroyed by fire and the city was never rebuilt.

Gomorrah Picture

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Goshen

Reference:
  Gen 12:10-20; 45:10; 46:28-34; 47:1, 4, 6, 27; 50:8

The lush delta region of Egypt where the children of Israel settled in Gen 46:34 may be the same region where Abraham settled when a famine in Canaan caused him to immigrate to Egypt.

Goshen Picture

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