|EUPHRATES AND TIGRIS RIVERS |
(eeu fray' teess uhnd ti grihss) Two of the greatest rivers of Western Asia. They originate in the Armenian mountains and unite about ninety miles from the Persian Gulf to form what is now called the Shatt-al-Arab which flows into the gulf. In ancient times the Tigris flowed through its own mouth into the gulf. The Euphrates and Tigris were included among the four rivers of Paradise (Genesis 2:14).
The Euphrates was known as “the great river” (Genesis 15:18;
Joshua 1:4) or “the river” (Numbers 22:5) to the Hebrews. It formed the northern boundary of the land promised by Yahweh to Israel (Genesis 15:18;
Deuteronomy 1:7). The Euphrates is mentioned in the Book of Revelation as the place where angels were bound (Deuteronomy 9:14) and where the sixth vial was poured out (Deuteronomy 16:12).
The Euphrates is the longest, largest, and most important river in Western Asia. Many significant cities were located on the Euphrates, Babylon being the most important. Others located on its banks were Mari and Carchemish, the latter being the site of a famous battle between Babylon and Egypt in 605 B.C. (Jeremiah 46:2).
The Tigris is not as prominent in the Bible as is the Euphrates, but it is the site of the major vision of the prophet Daniel (Daniel 10:4). Like the Euphrates, some significant cities were located on its banks. Nineveh, the ancient capital of the Assyrian Empire, was located on its east bank. Farther south was the site of Asshur, religious center and original capital of Assyria. See Babylon; Nineveh.
M. Stephen Davis