Dura

DURA (dū'ra). A plain in the province of Babylon where Nebuchadnezzar set up his great image of gold to be worshiped (Dan.3.1).


DURA dōōr’ ə, PLAIN OF (Aram. בִקְעַ֣ת דּוּרָ֔א, plain of Dura). A plain somewhere in the province of ancient Babylon, in which King Nebuchadnezzar erected his golden image, referred to only in Daniel 3:1 in the OT.

The Akkad. name dûru (from which the Aram. comes) means “circuit,” “walled place” and was common in Mesopotamian geographical names. This meaning of the Akkad. evidently prompted the LXX to tr. dûwrā', “Dura,” by περίβολος meaning an enclosed, or walled, area.

Of the three most likely identifications for the place, the first, near Carchemish (Polybius v. 48) was not a part of provincial Babylon, and the second, located beyond the Tigris not far from Apollonia (Polybius v. 52) is too far from the capital Babylon. Rather, the place may more likely be identified with the mounds or tells of Dura, a few m. to the S of the city of Babylon.

Bibliography

J. A. Montgomery, The Book of Daniel, ICC (1927), 197; C. F. Keil, Daniel (1955), 119.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

The name of the plain on which Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, set up the great golden image which all his subjects were ordered to worship (Da 3:1). Oppert placed it to the Southeast of Babylon, near a small river and mounds bearing the name of Douair or Duair, where, also, was what seemed to be the base of a great statue (Exped. scientifique en Mesopotamie, I, 238 f). Others have believed that name to indicate a portion of the actual site of Babylon within the great wall (duru) of the city--perhaps the rampart designated dur Su-anna, "the rampart (of the city) Lofty-defense," a name of Babylon.

The fact that the plain was within the city of Babylon precludes an identification with the city Duru, which seems to have lain in the neighborhood of Erech (Hommel, Grundriss, 264, note 5). It is noteworthy that the Septuagint substitutes Deeira, for Dura, suggesting that the Greek translators identified it with the Babylonian Deru, a city which apparently lay toward the Elamite border. It seems to have been called also Dur-ili, "god’s rampart." That it was at some distance is supported by the list WAI, IV, 36 [38], where Duru, Tutul and Gudua (Cuthah), intervene between Deru or Dur-ili and Tindir (Babylon). "The plain of the dur" or "rampart" within Babylon would therefore seem to be the best rendering.