PHARPAR (far'par, Heb. parpar). The scornful Naaman contrasted the silt-laden waters of the Jordan with “Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus” (2Kgs.5.12). Abana is identified with the Barada. Pharpar is possibly the Awaj, a stream that rises east of Hermon, and one of whose sources is the Wadi Barbar. Naaman’s remark does not necessarily mean that the river is close to Damascus.

PHARPAR fär’ pär (פַּרְפַּ֜ר). One of the “rivers of Damascus” mentioned by Naaman (2 Kings 5:12); its location is uncertain. Perhaps two tributaries of the El-Barada, which flows through Damascus, are meant. It is more likely, however, that the two rivers are the two major rivers of the Damascus plain, El-Barada itself (usually identified with the Abana, q.v.) and El-Awaj, “The Crooked,” to be identified with the Pharpar. This would understand “Damascus” as referring to the whole plain. El-Awaj originates in the eastern foothills of Mt. Hermon and flows eastward passing some ten m. S of Damascus. During its early course it is known by the name “Sabirany,” but from Kisweh to its dispersal into several streams that drain into the Bahrit el-Hijaneh (Lake Hijaneh), it is known as El-Awaj. Its water flow varies greatly according to the season, being greatest in the spring when the snows are melting off the mountains and diminishing considerably during the summer. Much of the productivity of the southern Damascus plain is due to its waters; and its cool, fresh waters, particularly in the early spring, could provide a favorable contrast to the frequently sluggish waters of the lower Jordan.


“Damascus” and “Pharpar,” HDB (1900).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

A river of Damascus, mentioned in 2Ki 5:12, along with the Abana or Amana.e and James, Psalms of Solomon. xliv ff; Nicolas. Doctrines religieuses des juifs, 48 ff. See Abanah.