Kir

KIR (kûr, kĭr, Heb. qîr, enclosure, wall). A place to which the Assyrians carried captive the inhabitants of Damascus (2Kgs.16.9; Amos.1.5) and from which they were to be restored to Syria (Amos.9.7). In Isa.22.6 soldiers from Kir are associated with others from Elam, and this may indicate the general direction in which to look for Kir. In Isa.15.1, Kir Hareseth is called Kir of Moab, a different Kir. Hebrew qir means “wall,” hence Kir may refer to a walled town or to an enclosure where prisoners were kept, and may not be a proper name at all.


KIR kur, kĭr (קִיר, wall). The place to which Pul, the king of Assyria, carried the captives of Damascus (2 Kings 16:9). Amos had prophesied that this would happen (Amos 1:5).

Apparently Kir (or Qir) had been the place of origin of the Syrians in their ancient history, and their departure from Kir is compared in Scripture to that of the departure of the Israelites from Egypt and the Philistines from Caphtor (Crete; Amos 9:7).

The place is mentioned also in connection with the Valley of Vision together with Elam in Isaiah 22:6. Some doubt that the Kir of Isaiah 22:6 is the same as that of Kings and Amos, but most consider the two the same.

The exact identity of this place and its people is not known. It is prob. located in the area of the Tigris River in S. Babylonia.

The Kir mentioned in Isaiah 15:1 is Kir-hareseth or nodetitle (q.v.).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

kur, kir (kir):

1. Meaning:

The meaning of Kir is "inclosure" or "walled place," and it is therefore doubtful whether it is a place-name in the true sense of the word. In 2Ki 16:9 it is mentioned as the place whither Tiglath-pileser IV carried the Syrian (Aramean) captives which he deported from Damascus after he had taken that city. In Am 1:5 the prophet announces that the people of Syria (Aram) shall go into captivity unto Kir, and in 9:7 it is again referred to as the place whence the Lord had brought the Syrians (Arameans) as Israel had been brought out of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor.

2. How Rendered in the Septuagint:

Except in one manuscript (Septuagint, Codex Alexandrinus), where it appears as the Libyan Cyrene (2Ki 16:9), it is never rendered in the Septuagint as a place-name. Thus the place whence the Syrians were brought (Am 9:7) is not Kir, but "the deep" or "the ditch" Septuagint ek bothrou, "pit"), probably a translation of some variant rather than of the word "Kit" itself. Comparing the Assyrian-Babylonian kiru (for qiru), "wall," "inclosure," "interior," or the like, Kir might have the general meaning of a place parted off for the reception of exiled captives. Parallels would be Kir Moab, "the enclosure of Moab," Kir Heres or Kir Chareseth, "the enclosure of brick" Septuagint hoi lithoi toni toichou). It seems probable that there was more than one place to which the Assyrians transported captives or exiles, and if their practice was to place them as far as they could from their native land, one would expect, for Palestinian exiles, a site or sites on the eastern side of the Tigris and Euphrates.

3. An Emendation of Isaiah 22:5:

In Isa 22:5 occurs the phrase, "a breaking down of the walls, and a crying to the mountains" (meqarqar qir we-shoa` ’el ha-har--"a surrounding of the wall," etc., would be better), and the mention of qir and shoa` here has caused Fried. Delitzsch to suggest that we have to read, instead of qir, qoa`, combined with shoa`, as in Eze 23:23. Following this, but retaining qir, Cheyne translates "Kir undermineth, and Shoa is at the mount," but others accept Delitzsch’s emendation, Winckler conjecturing that the rendering should be "Who stirreth up Koa` and Shoa` against the mountain" (Alttest. Untersuchungen, 177). In the next verse (Isa 22:6) Kir is mentioned with Elam--a position which a city for western exiles would require.

4. Soldiers of Kir in Assyrian Army:

The mention of Elam as taking the quiver, and Kir as uncovering the shield, apparently against "the valley of the vision" (in or close to Jerusalem), implies that soldiers from these two places, though one might expect them to be hostile to the Assyrians in general, were to be found in their armies, probably as mercenaries. See Fried. Delitzsch, Wo lag das Paradies? 233; Schrader, COT, 425.