Ahava

Aha'va (Hebrew Ahava', אהֲוָא, prob. water; Sept. Α᾿ουέ in Ezr 8:21,31, but Ε᾿υεί v. r. Ε᾿υί in verse 15), the "river" (נָהָר) by which the Jewish exiles assembled their second caravan under Ezra, in returning from Babylon to Jerusalem; or, rather, as appears from verse 15 ("the river that runneth to Ahava"), the name of some spot (according to Michaelis, a city; comp. De Wette, Einleit. 2, 1:289; but more probably the river Euphrates itself, which is still called "the river" by way of eminence, Gesenius, Heb. Lex. s.v.), in the direction of which the stream where they encamped ran. Some have inferred from the mention of Casiphia (q.v.), apparently in the same neighborhood (ver. 17), that the place in question was situated near the Caspian Sea, or, at least, in Media; but this would be entirely out of the required direction, and no corresponding name has been found in that vicinity. Others have sought the Ahava in the Lycus or Little Zab, finding that this river was anciently called Adiaba or Diaba (i. c. of Adiabene, Ammian. Marcel. 23, 6; comp. Mannert, 5, 429). But these names would, in Hebrew, have no resemblance to אהוא and it is exceedingly unlikely that the rendezvous for a Palestine caravan should have been in the north- eastern part of Assyria, with the Tigris and Euphrates between them and the plains they were to traverse (Le Clerc, in loc.). Rosenmuller, on the other hand, supposes (Bibl. Geogr. I, 2, 93) that it lay to the south-west of Babylonia, because that was in the direction of Palestine; but caravan routes seldom run straight between two places. In this case a straight line would have taken the caravan through the whole breadth of a desert seldom traversed but by the Arabs; and to avoid this the usual route for large caravans lay, and still lies, northwest through Mesopotamia, much above Babylonia; and then, the Euphrates being crossed, the direction is south-west to Palestine. The greater probability, therefore, is that the "river" in question (whether the Ahava itself or a branch running into it) was one of the streams or canals of Mesopotamia communicating with the Euphrates, somewhere in the north-west of Babylonia. The name, however, may be the designation of a place, and the latest researches are in favor of its being the modern Hit, on the Euphrates, due east of Damascus, the name of which is known to have been in the post-biblical times ohi, or

Jehe de-kera (Talm. יהֵיא דּקֵירָא), "the spring of bitumen" (Rawlinson's Herodotus, 1, 246, note). But this is rather the Ava (q.v.) or Ivah of 2Ki 17:24,30. In the parallel passage of the Apocrypha (1 Esdras 8:41, 60) the name is given Theras (Θεράς). Josephus (Ant. 11, 5, 2) merely says "beyond the Euphrates" (εἰς τὸ πέραν τοῦ Εὐφράτου).

Bible concordance for AHAVA.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

 
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