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Abana, Abanah

See also Abana

ABANA, ABANAH (ASV) ăb’ ə nə (אֲבָנָה, H76, stony KB with ?, unless simply a labial variant, BDB, of), AMANA å mā’ ná (אֲמָנָ֨ה, steady), alternate Heb. Qere reading, Targ., Syr. (?), ASVmg., RSVmg. A river of Damascus.

Rising in the Anti-Lebanons near Zebdany, Syria, at c. 1150 ft., the Abana flows through Damascus, twenty m. to the SE, before it fans out and disappears in the salt marsh of Bahret el Kibliyeh, twenty m. farther E. The modern Nahr (River) Barada, it was known to the Greeks as χρυσορρόας, the golden stream; for its waters transform arid Damascus into a veritable oasis. Cf. Naaman’s disdain for the Jordan in comparison (2 Kings 5:12).

The alternate name, Amana, applies primarily to the Anti-Lebanon mountain range (Assyrian: “Ammana”) with its peak of Hermon (Senir) to the SW (Song of Solomon 4:8), but then by extension to the river that arises from it.

Bibliography J. Montgomery, ICC, Kings (1951), 377, 379; D. Baly, The Geography of the Bible (1957), 109-111.