the country between the two rivers (Heb. Aram-naharaim; i.e., "Syria of the two rivers"), the name given by the Greeks and Romans to the region between the Euphrates and the Tigris ( Genesis 24:10 ; Deuteronomy 23:4 ; Judges 3:8 Judges 3:10 ). In the Old Testament it is mentioned also under the name "Padan-aram;" i.e., the plain of Aram, or Syria ( Genesis 25:20 ). The northern portion of this fertile plateau was the original home of the ancestors of the Hebrews ( Genesis 11 ; Acts 7:2 ). From this region Isaac obtained his wife Rebecca ( Genesis 24:10 Genesis 24:15 ), and here also Jacob sojourned ( 28:2-7 ) and obtained his wives, and here most of his sons were born ( 35:26 ; 46:15 ). The petty, independent tribes of this region, each under its own prince, were warlike, and used chariots in battle. They maintained their independence till after the time of David, when they fell under the dominion of Assyria, and were absorbed into the empire ( 2 Kings 19:13 ).
between two rivers
(between the rivers ), the entire country between the two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates. This is a tract nearly 700 miles long and from 20 to 250 miles broad, extending in a southeasterly direction from Telek to Kurnah . The Arabian geographers term it "the Island," a name which is almost literally correct, since a few miles only intervene between the source of the Tigris and the Euphrates at Telek . But the region which bears the name of Mesopotamia, par excellence , both in Scripture and in the classical writers, is the northwestern portion of this tract, or the country between the great bend of the Euphrates, lat. 35 degrees to 37 degrees 30, and the upper Tigris. We first hear of Mesopotamia in Scripture as the country where Nahor and his family settled after quitting Ur of the Chaldees. ( Genesis 24:10 ) Here lived Bethuel and Laban; and hither Abraham sent his servants to fetch Isaac a wife. Ibid. ver. 38. Hither too, a century later, came Jacob on the same errand; and hence he returned with his two wives after an absence of twenty-one years. After this we have no mention of Mesopotamia till the close of the wanderings int he wilderness. ( 23:4 ) About half a century later we find, for the first and last time, Mesopotamia the seat of a powerful monarchy. ( Judges 3:1 ) ... Finally, the children of Ammon, having provoked a war with David, "sent a thousand talents of silver to hire them chariots and horsemen out of Mesopotamia, and out of Syria-maachah, and out of Zobah." ( 1 Chronicles 19:6 ) According to the Assyrian inscriptions Mesopotamia was inhabited in the early times of the empire, B.C. 1200-1100, by a vast number of petty tribes, each under its own prince, and all quite independent of one another. The Assyrian monarchs contended with these chiefs at great advantage, and by the time of Jehu, B.C. 880, had fully established their dominion over them. On the destruction of the Assyrian empire, Mesopotamia seems to have been divided between the Medes and the Babylonians. The conquests of Cyrus brought it wholly under the Persian yoke; and thus it continued to the time of Alexander. Since 1516 it has formed a part of the Turkish empire. It is full of ruins and mounds of ancient cities, some of which are now throwing much light on the Scripture.