A'ram (Heb. Aram', אֲרָם, prob. from רָם, high, q. d. highlands; Sept. and N.,T. Α᾿ράμ see Gesenius, Thes. Heb. p. 151; Forbiger, Alte Geogr. 2, 641, Anm.), the name of a nation or country, with that of its founder and two or three other men. SEE BETHARAM. Comp. SEE CUNEIFORM INSCRIPTIONS.
1. ARAMAEA (Sept. and later versions SYRIA) was the name given by the Hebrews to the tract of country lying between Phoenicia on the west, Palestine on the south, Arabia Deserta and the River Tigris on the east, and the mountain range of Taurus on the north. Many parts of this extensive territory have a much lower level than Palestine; but it might receive the designation of "highlands," because it does rise to a greater elevation than that country at most points of immediate contact, and especially on the side of Lebanon. Aram, or Aramaea, seems to have corresponded generally to the Syria (q.v.) and Mesopotamia (q.v.) of the Greeks and Romans. We find the following divisions expressly noticed in Scripture. SEE CANAAN.
1. ARAM'-DAMME'SEK; אֲרִם דִּמֶּשֶׂק, the "Syria of Damascus" conquered by David. 2Sa 8:5-6, where it denotes only the territory around Damascus; but elsewhere "Aram," in connection with its capital "Damascus," appears to be used in a wider sense for Syria Proper (Isa 7:1,8; Isa 17:3; Am 1:5). At a later period Damascus gave name to a district, the Syria Damascena of Pliny (v. 13). To this part of Aram the "land of Hadrach" seems to have belonged (Zec 9:1). SEE DAMASCUS.
2. ARAM'I-MAAKAH', אֲרִם מִעֲכָה (1Ch 19:6), or simply Maakah (2Sa 10:6,8), which, if formed from מָעִך, to "press together," would describe a country enclosed and hemmed in by mountains, in contradistinction to the next division, Aram-beth-Rehob, i.e. Syria the wide or broad, בֵּית being used in Syria for a "district of country." Aram-Maachah was not far from the northern border of the Israelites on the east of the Jordan (comp. De 3:14, with Jos 13:11,13). In 2Sa 10:6, the text has "King Maachah," but it is to be corrected from the parallel passage in 1Ch 19:7, "king of Maachah." SEE MAACHAH.
3. ARAM'-BEYTH-RECHOB', אֲרִם בֵּית רחוֹב, the meaning of which may be that given above, but the precise locality cannot with certainty be determined (2Sa 10:6). Some connect it with the Beth-rehob of Jg 18:28, which Rosenmüller identifies with the Rehob of Nu 13:21, situated "as men come to Hamath," and supposes the district to be that now known as the Ardh el-Hhule at the foot of Anti- Libanus, near the sources of the Jordan. A place called Rehob is also mentioned in Jg 1:31; Jos 19:28,30; Jos 21:31; but it is doubtful if it be the same. Michaelis thinks of the Rechoboth-han-Nahar (lit. streets, i.e. the village or town on the River Euphrates) of Ge 36:37i but still more improbable is the idea of Bellermann and Jahn that Aram-beth- Rehob was beyond the Tigris in Assyria. SEE REHOB.
4. ARAM'-TSOBAH', אֲרִם צוֹבָה or, in the Syriac form, צוֹבָא, Tsoba (2Sa 10:6). Jewish tradition has placed Zobah at Aleppo (see the Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela), whereas Syrian tradition identifies it with Nisibis, a city in the north-east of Mesopotamia. Though the latter opinion long obtained currency under the authority of Michaelis (in his Dissert. de Syria Sobaea, to be found in the Comment. Soc. Gotting. 1769), yet the former seems a much nearer approximation to the truth. We may gather from 2Sa 8:3; 2Sa 10:16, that the eastern boundary of Aram-Zobah was the Euphrates, but Nisibis was far beyond that river; besides that in the title of the sixtieth (supposing it genuine) Aram-Zobah is clearly distinguished from Aram-Naharaim, or Mesopotamia. It is true, indeed, that in 2Sa 10:16, it is said that Hadarezer, king of Zobah, brought against David "Aramites from beyond the river," but these were auxiliaries, and not his own subjects. The people of Zobah are uniformly spoken of as near neighbors of the Israelites, the Damascenes, and other Syrians; and in one place (2Ch 8:3) Hamath is called Hamath-Zobah, as pertaining to that district. We therefore conclude that Aram-Zobah extended from the Euphrates westward, perhaps as far north as to Aleppo. It was long the most powerful of the petty kingdoms of Arammea, its princes commonly bearing the name of Hadadezer or Hadarezer. SEE ZOBAH.
5. ARAM'-NAHARA'YIM; אֲרִם נִהֲרִיִם, i.e. Aram of the Two Rivers, called in Syriac "Beth-Nahrin,' i.e. "the land of the rivers," following the analogy by which the Greeks formed the name Μεσοποταμία, "the country between the rivers." For that Mesopotamia is here designated is admitted universally. The rivers which enclose Mesopotamia are the Euphrates on the west and the Tigris on the east; but it is doubtful whether the Aram- Naharaim of Scripture embraces the whole of that tract or only the northern portion of it (Ge 24:10; De 23:4; Jg 3:8; 1Ch 19:6; Ps 60, title). A part of this region of Aram is also called Paddan'-Aram', פִּדִּן אֲרָם, the plain of Aram (Ge 25:20; Ge 28:2,6-7; Ge 31:18; Ge 33:18), and once simply Paddan (Ge 48:7), also Sedeh'-Aram', שׂדֵה אֲרָם, the field of Aram (Ho 12:13), whence the "Campi Mesopotamiae" of Quintus Curtius (3:2, 3; 3:8, 1; 4:9, 6). SEE PADAN; SEE SADEH. But that the whole of Aram-Naharaim did not belong to the flat country of Mesopotamia appears from the circumstance that Balaam, who (De 23:4) is called a native of Aram-Naharaim, says (Nu 23:7) that he was brought "from Aram, out of the mountains of the east." The Septuagint, in some of these places, has Μεσοποταμία Συρίας, and in others Συρία Ποταμῶν, which the Latins rendered by Syria Interamna. SEE MESOPOTAMIA.
6. But though the districts now enumerated be the only ones expressly named in the Bible as belonging to Aram, there is no doubt that many more territories were included in that extensive region, e.g. Geshur, Hul, Arpad, Riblah, Hamath, Helbon, Betheden, Berothai, Tadmor, Hauran, Abilene, etc., though some of them may have formed part of the divisions already specified. SEE ISH-TOB.
A native of Aram was called אֲרִמִּי, Arammi', an Aramaean, used of a Syrian (2Ki 5:20), and of a Mesopotamian (Ge 25:20). The feminine was אֲרִמִּיָּה, Arammiyah', an Aramitess (1Ch 7:14), and the plural אֲרִמִּים, Aramminm (2Ki 8:29), once (2Ch 22:5) in a shortened form רִמִּים, Rammim'. SEE ARAMAEAN LANGUAGE. Traces of the name of the Aramaeans are to be found in the ῎Αριμοι and Α᾿ραμαῖοι of the Greeks (Strabo, 13:4, 6; 16:4, 27; comp. Homer's Iliad, 2, 783; Hesiod, Theogn. 804). SEE ASSYRIA. The religion of the Syrians was a worship of the powers of nature (Jude. 10:6; 2Ch 28:23; see Creuzer, Symbol. 2, 55 sq.). They were so noted for idolatry, that in the language of the later Jews ארמיותא was used as synonymous with heathenism (see the Mischna of Surenhusius, 2:401; Onkelos on Le 25:47). Castell, in his Lexic. Heptaglott. col. 229, says the same form of speech prevails in Syriac and Ethiopic. The Hebrew letters ר, resh, and ד, daleth, are so alike, that they were often mistaken by transcribers; and hence, in the Old Testament, ארם, Aram, is sometimes found instead of אדם, Edom, and vice versa. Thus in 2Ki 16:6, according to the text, the Aramaeans are spoken of as possessing Elath on the Red Sea; but the Masoretic marginal reading has "the Edomites," which is also found in many manuscripts, in the Septuagint and Vulgate, and it is obviously the correct reading (Gesenius, Thes. Heb. s. vv.).
It appears from the ethnographic table in the tenth chapter of Genesis (ver. 22, 23) that Aram was a son of Sham, and that his own sons were Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash. If these gave names to districts, Uz was in the north of Arabia Deserta, unless its name was derived rather from Huz, son of Nahor, Abraham's brother (Ge 22:21). Hul was probably Coele- Syria; Mash, the Mons Masius north of Nisibis in Mesopotamia; Gether is unknown. Another Aram is mentioned (Ge 22:21) as the grandson of Nahor and son of Kemuel, but he is not to be thought of here. The descent of the Aramaeans from a son of Shem is confirmed by their language, which was one of the branches of the Semitic family, and nearly allied to the Hebrew. Many writers, who have copied without acknowledgment the words of Calmet, maintain that the Aramaeans came from Kir, appealing to Am 9:7; but while that passage is not free from obscurity, it seems evidently to point, not to the aboriginal abode of the people, but to the country whence God would recover them when banished. The prophet had said (Am 1:5) that the people of Aram should go into captivity to Kir (probably the country on the River Kur or Cyrus), a prediction of which we read the accomplishment in 2Ki 16:9; and the allusion here is to their subsequent restoration. Hartmann thinks Armenia obtained its name from Aram. (See generally Michaelis, Spicileg. 2:121 sq.; Wahl, Alt. u. N. Asien, 1, 299 sq.; Gatterer, Handb. 1, 248; Rosenmüller, Alterth. I, 1:232 sq.; Ritter, Erdkunde, 10:16; Lengerke, Kenaan, 1:218 sq.). SEE SYRIA.
2. The first named son of Kemuel and grandson of Nahor (Ge 22:21), B.C. cir. 2000. He is incorrectly thought by many to have given name to Syria, hence the Sept. translates Σύροι. By some he is regarded as same with RAM SEE RAM of Job 32:2.
3. The last named of the four sons of Shamer or Shomer of the tribe of Asher (1Ch 7:34), B.C. cir. 1618.
4. The Greek form among the ancestors of Christ (Mt 1:3-4; Lu 3:33) of the Heb. RAM SEE RAM (q.v.), the son of Hezron and father of Amminadab (1Ch 2:9-10).