|ABANAH - |
ab'-a-na, a-ba'-na ('abhanah (Kethibh, Septuagint, Vulgate)), or AMANA a-ma'-na ('amanah (Qere, Peshitta, Targum); the King James Version Abana (American Standard Revised Version, margin Amana), the Revised Version (British and American) ABANAH (Revised Version, margin Amanah)):
Mentioned in 2 Kings 5:12, along with the PHARPAR (which see), as one of the principal rivers of Damascus. The reading Amana (meaning possibly the "constant," or perennial stream) is on the whole preferable. Both forms of the name may have been in use, as the interchange of an aspirated b (bh = v) and m is not without parallel (compare Evil-merodach = Amilmarduk).
The Abanah is identified with the Chrysorrhoas ("golden stream") of the Greeks, the modern Nahr Barada (the "cold"), which rises in the Anti-Lebanon, one of its sources, the Ain Barada, being near the village of Zebedani, and flows in a southerly and then southeasterly direction toward Damascus. A few miles southeast of Suk Wady Barada (the ancient Abila; see ABILENE) the volume of the stream is more than doubled by a torrent of clear, cold water from the beautifully situated spring `Ain Fijeh (Greek pege, "fountain"), after which it flows through a picturesque gorge till it reaches Damascus, whose many fountains and gardens it supplies liberally with water. In the neighborhood of Damascus a number of streams branch off from the parent river, and spread out like an opening fan on the surrounding plain. The Barada, along with the streams which it feeds, loses itself in the marshes of the Meadow Lakes about 18 miles East of the city.
The water of the Barada, though not perfectly wholesome in the city itself, is for the most part clear and cool; its course is picturesque, and its value to Damascus, as the source alike of fertility and of charm, is inestimable.
C. H. Thomson