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This page is about the ancient city. For the individual person, see Cutha.

CUTHAH, CUTHA, CUTH kooth’ ə, kooth (כּוּתָה or כּ֔וּת; LXX Χουά, Χουθά, Χουνθά, Χωθά; Babylonian kûtû or kûtê; Vul. Chutaei, Cutha; Luther Chuth, Cutha). One of the cities from which Sargon, king of Assyria, brought immigrants to repopulate the area of Samaria that he had sacked in 720 b.c. (2Kgs.17.24-2Kgs.17.30). Because of their numerical predominance, the inhabitants of Samaria were henceforth referred to as Cutheans. They began a syncretistic form of religion, worshiping both the true God and the gods of the nations they came from. This is one of the explanations for the deep antipathy existing between the Jews and the Samaritans even to NT times (John.4.9).

From the contract tablets found by Rassam at Tel-Ibrahim it now appears that the ancient name of Cuthah was Gudua or Kuta. This city of high culture and commerce lay NE of Babylon and was one of its most important centers. Rassam describes its almost perfect ruins as being about 3,000 feet (937.5 m.) in circumference and 280 feet (87.5 m.) high. In it was a sanctuary dedicated to Ibrahim (Abraham). Both the city and its great temple, the latter dedicated to Nergal, appear to date back to Sumerian times.

Additional Material

Source 1

One of the most important cities of ancient Babylonia—perhaps even the capital of an early Sumer. empire (2 Kings 17:24, 30). Today the site is marked by Tel-Ibrâhîm (c. twenty m. NE of Babylon) which was excavated superficially by Hormuzd Rassam (1881-82). The ruins are described as c. 3,000 ft. in circumference and 280 ft. high. Contract tablets were found which give the name as Gudua or Kutû. To the W lies a smaller mound crowned with a sanctuary in memory of Ibrâhîm (Abraham). Cuthah had a temple (E-shid-lam) dedicated to Nergal, king of the underworld. The city was prob. important commercially because it had two rivers (or canals). Sennacherib boasts that he destroyed Cuthah in one of his campaigns; Nebuchadnezzar later rebuilt its beautiful temple. Cuthah is one of the cities from which Sargon II deported colonists to repopulate N Israel after Samaria had capitulated (721 b.c.). Apparently these aliens were predominant because the inhabitants of Samaria were long called Cutheans.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

kuth, ku’-tha (kuth, kuthah; Choua, Chountha): The longer writing is the better of the two, and gives the Hebrew form of the name of one of the cities from which Sargon of Assyria brought colonists to fill the places of the Israelites which he deported from Samaria in 772 BC (2Ki 17:24,30). Probably in consequence of their predominating numbers, the inhabitants of Samaria in general were then called kuthiyim, or Cutbeans. 1. The Ruins of Cuthah:

From contract-tablets found at Tel-Ibrahim by the late Hormuzd Hassam, on which the ancient name of the place is given as Gudua or Kutu, it would seem that that is the site which has to be identified with the Biblical Cuthah. It lies to the Northeast of Babylon, and was one of the most important cities of the Babylonian empire. The explorer describes the ruins as being about 3,000 ft. in circumference and 280 ft. high, and adjoining them on the West lies a smaller mound, crowned with a sanctuary dedicated to Ibrahim (Abraham). From the nature of the ruins, Rassam came to the conclusion that the city was much more densely populated after the fall of Babylon than in earlier times. A portion of the ruins were in a very perfect state, and suggested an unfinished building.

2. The Temple:

The great temple of the city was called E-mes-lam, and was dedicated to Nergal (compare 2Ki 17:30), one of whose names was Meslam-ta-ea. Both city and temple would seem to have been old Sumerian foundations, as the name Gudua and its later Sere form, Kutu, imply.


See Rassam, Asshur and the Land of Nimrod, 396, 409, and, for details of the worship of Nergal, PSBA, December, 1906, 203-18.