Fausset Bible Dictionary: Abana

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Fausset Bible Dictionary: Abana


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The chief river of Damascus, the modern Barada, called by the Greeks "the golden stream," flowing through the heart of the city and supplying it with water. The Pharpar mentioned with it in is further from Damascus, and answers to the Awaj. The Barada rises in the Antilibanus mountain range, 23 miles from the city, and has the large spring Ain Fijah as a tributary. It passes the site of Abila and the Assyrian ruin Tell es Salahiyeh, and empties itself in the marsh Bahret el Kibliyeh or Bahr el Merj, "lake of the meadow." Porter calculates that 14 villages and 150,000 souls depend on it for their water supply. Hence, we see the significance of Naaman's boast, "Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?"

These rivers render the environs of Damascus though bordering on a desert one of the loveliest spots on earth; whereas the Israelite streams, excepting Jordan, are dry for a large part of the year, and running in deep channels but little fertilize the land through which they flow. Amana, "perennial"), is the reading of the Hebrew margin (the Qeri): "b" and "m" often are interchanged in eastern languages. Soon after issuing from Antilebanon, it parts into three smaller streams, the central flowing through Damascus and the other two one on each side of the city, diffusing beauty and fertility where otherwise there would be the same barrenness as characterizes the vast contiguous plains. Spiritually, men through proud self sufficiency refuse the waters of Shiloah that go softly (), the gospel "fountain opened for uncleanness," preferring earthly "waters" (; ).