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Tel Abib

TEL AVIV, TEL ABIB (tĕl' ā'vĭv, tĕl' ā'bĭb, Heb. tēl ’āvîv). A place by the river Kebar in Babylonia where Ezekiel visited and ministered to the Jewish exiles (Ezek.3.15). It is not to be confused with the modern city Tel Aviv in Palestine.

TEL-ABIB tĕl’ ə bĭb’ (תֵּ֣ל ֠אָבִיב). Tel-abib was a locality in Babylonia by the great irrigation canal, the Chebar. It was here that Ezekiel made his first contact with the Jewish exiles in 597 b.c., and he was constrained to share their despair and desolation before being permitted to speak to them (Ezek 3:15). The “tel” in the name suggests that the place was an ancient city site reduced to a mound (tel) by flood, decay, and long erosion. The name prob. means “hill of corn,” and modern Tel Aviv of Israel certainly bears this significance. In the Mesopotamian conquest it may be a rendering of Akkad. Til-abubi, “mound of the flood.”

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(tel ’abhibh; Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) ad acervum novarum frugum):

1. The Name and Its Meaining:

As written in Hebrew, Tel-abib means "hill of barley-ears" and is mentioned in Eze 3:15 as the place to which the prophet went, and where he found Jewish captives "that dwelt by the river Chebar." That Tel-abib is written, as Fried. Delitzsch suggests, for Til Ababi, "Mound of the Flood" (which may have been a not uncommon village-name in Babylonia) is uncertain. Moreover, if the captives themselves were the authors of the name, it is more likely to have been in the Hebrew language. Septuagint, which has meteoros, "passing on high," referring to the manner in which the prophet reached Tel-abib, must have had a different Hebrew reading.

2. The Position of the Settlement:

If the Chebar be the nar Kabari, as suggested by Hilprecht, Tel-abib must have been situated somewhere in the neighborhood of Niffer, the city identified with the Calneh of Ge 10:10. The tablet mentioning the river Kabaru refers to grain (barley?) seemingly sent by boat from Niffer in Nisan of the 21st year of Artaxerxes I. Being a navigable waterway, this was probably a good trading-center.


See Hilprecht and Clay, Business Documents of Murasha Sons ("Pennsylvania Exp.," Vol IX, 28); Clay, Light on the Old Testament from Babel, 405.

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