Ca'lah (Heb. Ke'lach,כֶּלִח, vigrorous old age, as in Job 5:26; in pause Ka'lach, כּ לִח; Sept. Χαλάχ, Vulg. Chale), one of the most ancient cities of Assyria, whose foundation is ascribed either to Asshur or Nimrod (Ge 10:11). The place has been thought identical with the ChalLach (חֲלִח, Sept. Α᾿λαέ) named elsewhere, SEE HALAH, (2Ki 17:6; 2Ki 18:11; 1Ch 5:26); but, on monumental evidence, the Rawlinsons (Herod. 1:368) regard the site of Calah as marked by the Nimruid ruins, which have furnished so large a proportion of the Assyrian antiquities. The Talmud (Yoma, x) locates it on the Euphrates, near Borsippa (בּוֹרסַיŠ). If at Nimrud, Calah must be considered to have been at one time (about B.C. 930-720) the capital of the empire. It was the residence of the warlike Sardanapalus and his successors down to the time of Sargon, who built a new capital, which he called by his own name, on the site occupied by the modern Khorsabad. This place still continued under the later kings to be a town of importance, and was especially favored by Esarhaddon, who built there one of the grandest of the Assyrian palaces. In later times Calah gave name to one of the chief districts of the country, which appears as Calacioe (Καλακινή, Ptolem. 6:1, 2), or Calachek (Καλαχηνή, 'Strabo, xvi, p. 530, 736), in the geographers. Layard (Nineveh and its Remaiss, 2:55) suggests that it may possibly be extant in the very extensive ruins called Kaleh Shergat, on the west side of the Tigris, above its junction with the Lesser Zab. But SEE RESEN. Less probable is the identification with Chanlan, the former summer residence of the caliphs in Arabia or Babylonian Irak, according to Abulfeda, five days' journey north of Bagdad (in Anville, 63° long., 34° lat.), which, according to Assemani (Bibl. Or. III, 2:418 sq., 753), is also called Chalcha (comp. Michaelis, Suppl. p. 767; Rosenmüller, Alterth. I, 2:98).
Ephraem Syrus (in loc. Gen.) understands the old Mesopotamian Chetro on the Tigris (Rosenmüller, ib. p. 120; but see Michaelis, Spicileg. 1:245 sq.). As it would seem to have been at some distance from Nineveh, the city of Resen lying between them, most earlier writers concur in placing it on the Great Zab (the ancient Lycus), not far from its junction with the Tigris, and Resen is placed higher up on the same river, so as to be between it and Nineveh (Bochart, Phaleg, 4:22). SEE ASSYRIA.