A famous river of Asia, which has its source in the mountains of America, runs along the frontiers of Cappadocia, Syria, Arabia Deserta, Chaldea, and Mesopotamia, and falls into the Persian Gulf. According to the recent researches of Chesney, it receives the Tigris at a place called Shat-el-Arab. Five miles below the junction of these two mighty rivers, the Shat-el-Arab receives from the northeast the Kerkhah, which has a course of upwards of five hundred miles. Sixty-two miles below the mouth of the Kerkhah, another large river, the Kuran, comes in from the east. At present it enters the Shat-el-Arab forty miles above its mouth; but formerly it flowed channel, east of the main stream. According to that view which places the Garden of Eden near the junction of the Tigris with the Euphrates, these might be regarded as the four rivers of Paradise. We might well suppose that the Kuran, in very ancient times, as now, entered the Shat-el-Arab; and perhaps still farther from its mouth. Scripture often calls the Euphrates simply "the river," Ex 23:31; Isa 7:20; 8:7; Jer 2:18; or "the great river," and assigns it for the eastern boundary of that land which God promised to the Hebrews, De 1:7; Jos 1:4. It overflows in summer like the Nile, when the snow on the mountains of Armenia, the nearest springs of both are but a few miles apart.
The Euphrates is a river of consequence in Scripture geography, being the utmost limit, east, of the territory of the Israelites. It was indeed only occasionally that the dominion of the Hebrews extended so far; but it would appear that even Egypt, under Pharaoh Necho, made conquests to the western bank of the Euphrates. The river is about eighteen hundred miles long. Its general direction is southeast; but in a part of its course it runs westerly, and approaches the Mediterranean near Cilicia. It is accompanied in its general course by the Tigris. There are many towns on its banks, which are in general rather level than mountainous. The river does not appear to be of very great breadth, varying, however, from sixty to six hundred yards. Its current, after reaching the plains of Mesopotamia, is somewhat sluggish, and in this part of its course many canals, etc., were dug, to prevent injury and secure benefit from the yearly overflows. At Seleucia, and Hilleh the ancient Babylon, it approaches near the Tigris, and some of its waters are drawn off by canals to the latter river. Again, however, they diverge, and only unite in the same channel about one hundred and twenty miles from the Persian Gulf. It is not well adapted for navigation, yet light vessels go up about one thousand miles, and the modern steam-boat which now ascends from the ocean, meets the same kind of goat-skin floats on which produce was rafted down the river thousands of years ago.
Hebrew, Perath; Assyrian, Purat; Persian cuneiform, Ufratush, whence Greek Euphrates, meaning "sweet water." The Assyrian name means "the stream," or "the great stream." It is generally called in the Bible simply "the river" (Ex 23:31), or "the great river" (De 1:7).
The Euphrates is first mentioned in Ge 2:14 as one of the rivers of Paradise. It is next mentioned in connection with the covenant which God entered into with Abraham (Ge 15:18), when he promised to his descendants the land from the river of Egypt to the river Euphrates (comp. De 11:24; Jos 1:4), a covenant promise afterwards fulfilled in the extended conquests of David (2Sa 8:2-14; 1Ch 18:3; 1Ki 4:24). It was then the boundary of the kingdom to the north-east. In the ancient history of Assyria, and Babylon, and Egypt many events are recorded in which mention is made of the "great river." Just as the Nile represented in prophecy the power of Egypt, so the Euphrates represented the Assyrian power (Isa 8:7; Jer 2:18).
It is by far the largest and most important of all the rivers of Western Asia. From its source in the Armenian mountains to the Persian Gulf, into which it empties itself, it has a course of about 1,700 miles. It has two sources, (1) the Frat or Kara-su (i.e., "the black river"), which rises 25 miles north-east of Erzeroum; and (2) the Muradchai (i.e., "the river of desire"), which rises near Ararat, on the northern slope of Ala-tagh. At Kebban Maden, 400 miles from the source of the former, and 270 from that of the latter, they meet and form the majestic stream, which is at length joined by the Tigris at Koornah, after which it is called Shat-el-Arab, which runs in a deep and broad stream for above 140 miles to the sea. It is estimated that the alluvium brought down by these rivers encroaches on the sea at the rate of about one mile in thirty years.
Illustration: Course of the Euphrates
Eu, Sanskrit su, denotes "good"; the second syllable denotes "abundant." Hebrew Prath, now Frat. Eden, wherein it is mentioned as one of the four, rivers. (See EDEN.) The bound to which God promised the land given to Abraham's seed should extend. Called "the river," "the great river," as being the largest with which Israel was acquainted, in contrast to the soon drying up torrents of Palestine (Isa 8:7; Ge 15:18; De 1:7). The largest and longest of the rivers of western Asia. It has two sources in the Armenian mountains, one at Domli, 25 miles N.E. of Erzeroum, the other N. of the mountain range Ala Tagh, not far from Ararat; the two branches meet at Kebban Maden, the one having run 400 the other 270 miles. The united river runs S.W. and S. through the Taurus and Antitaurus ranges toward the Mediterranean; but the ranges N. of Lebanon preventing its reaching that sea, it turns S.E. 1,000 miles to the Persian gulf. N. of Sumeisat (Samosata) the stream runs in a narrow valley between mountains.
From Sumeisat to Hit it runs amidst a more open but hilly country. From Hit downwards it runs through a low, flat, alluvial plain. The whole course is 1,750 miles, 650 more than the Tigris and only 200 short of the Indus; for 1,200 it is navigable for boats and small steamers. Its greatest width is 700 or 800 miles from the mouth, namely, 400 yards across, from its junction with the Khabour (Chebar) at Carchemish, to Werai, a village. Below the Khabour it has no tributaries, and so its depth and width decrease. At Babylon its width has decreased to 200 yards, with a depth of 15 ft. Farther down 120 wide, 12 deep. Moreover, its water here and lower down is much employed in irrigation; and it has a tendency to expend itself in vast marshes. But 40 miles below Lamlum it increases to 200 yards wide, and when joined by the Tigris it is half a mile wide The yearly inundation in May is clue to the melting of the snows in the Armenian mountains.
Nebuchadnezzar (Abyden., Fr. 8) controlled the inundation by turning the water through sluices into channels for distribution over the whole country. Boats of wicker work, coated with bitumen and covered with skins, are still to be seen on the river, as more than two thousand years ago in Herodotus' time. By this river the East and West carried on mutual commerce during the successive periods of Babylonian and Persian rule. As Babylon represents mystically the apostate church, so the waters of Euphrates, "where the whore sitteth" (in impious parody of Jehovah who "sitteth upon the flood"), represent the "peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues," which were her main support (Re 17:15-16). The drying up of Babylon's waters answers to the ten kings' stripping, eating, and burning the whore, which is now being enacted in many European countries (Re 16:12).
The kings of the Euphrates (compare Re 1:6) are the saints of Israel and the Gentiles accompanying the king of Israel in "glory returning from the way of the East" (Eze 43:2; Mt 24:27). The obstacles which stood in the way of Israel and her king returning, namely, the apostate church (both Rome and the Greek apostasy) and her multitudinous peoples, shall be dried up, her resources being drained off, just as Cyrus marched into Babylon through the dry channel of the Euphrates.
The promise to Abraham that his seed's inheritance should reach the Euphrates (Ge 15:18; De 1:7; Jos 1:4) received a very partial fulfillment in Reuben's pastoral possessions (1Ch 5:9-10) (the Hagarites here encountered them, the inscriptions confirming scripture as to their appearance upon the middle Euphrates in the later empire); a fuller accomplishment under David and Solomon, when an annual tribute was paid from subject petty kingdoms in that quarter, as Hadadezer king of Zobah, etc. (1Ch 18:3; 2Sa 8:3-8; 1Ki 4:21; 2Ch 9:26.) The full accomplishment awaits Messiah's coming again. (See CANAAN.) The Euphrates was the boundary between Assyria and the Hittite country, after Solomon's times, according to inscriptions. But Assyria at last drove back the Hittites from the right bank. (See CARCHEMISH.)
EUPHRATES, one of the rivers of Eden (Ge 2:14), derives its name from the Assyrian Purat, which is itself taken from the Sumerian Pura, 'water,' or Pura-nun, 'the great water.' Purat became Ufr
This river is first mentioned in connection with the garden of Eden, but cannot be thereby traced. Ge 2:14. It was the N.E. boundary of the land promised to Abraham, as the river of Egypt was the S.W. Ge 15:18. It is called the great river, the river Euphrates, De 1:7, and at times is merely called 'the river.' Ge 31:21. David was able to possess the land to the Euphrates, 2Sa 8:3, which also Solomon maintained. 1Ki 4:24.
In one of Jeremiah's typical actions he hid his girdle by the Euphrates then found it spoiled and useless; so should the pride of Judah and Jerusalem be marred (Jer 13:4-11)
is probably a word of Aryan origin, signifying "the good and abounding river." It is most frequently denoted in the Bible by the term "the river." The Euphrates is the largest, the longest and by far the most important of the rivers of western Asia. It rises from two chief sources in the Armenian mountains, and flows into the Persian Gulf. The entire course is 1780 miles, and of this distance more than two-thirds (1200 miles) is navigable for boats. The width of the river is greatest at the distance of 700 or 800 miles from its mouth --that is to say, from it junction with the Khabour to the village of Werai. It there averages 400 yards. The annual inundation of the Euphrates is caused by the melting of the snows in the Armenian highlands. It occurs in the month of May. The great hydraulic works ascribed to Nebuchadnezzar had for their chief object to control the inundation. The Euphrates is first mentioned in Scripture as one of the four rivers of Eden.
We next hear of it in the covenant made with Abraham.
During the reigns of David and Solomon it formed the boundary of the promised land to the northeast.
De 11:24; Jos 1:4
Prophetical reference to the Euphrates is found in
The Euphrates is linked with the most important events in ancient history. On its banks stood the city of Babylon; the army of Necho was defeated on its banks by Nebuchadnezzar; Cyrus the Younger and Crassus perished after crossing it; Alexander crossed it, and Trajan and Severus descended it. --Appleton's Cyc.
EUPHRATES, a river of Asiatic Turkey, which rises from the mountains of Armenia, as some have said, in two streams, a few miles to the north- east of Erzeron, the streams uniting to the south-west near that city; and chiefly pursuing a south-west direction to Semisat, where it would fall into the Mediterranean, if not prevented by a high range of mountains. In this part of its course the Euphrates is joined by the Morad, a stream almost doubling in length that of the Euphrates, so that the latter river might more justly be said to spring from Mount Ararat, about one hundred and sixty British miles to the east of the imputed source. At Semisat, the ancient Samosata, this noble river assumes a southerly direction, then runs an extensive course to the southeast, and after receiving the Tigris, falls by two or three mouths into the gulf of Persia, about fifty miles south-east of Bassora; north latitude 29 50'; east longitude 66 55'. The comparative course of the Euphrates may be estimated at about one thousand four hundred British miles. This river is navigable for a considerable distance from the sea. In its course it separates Aladulia from Armenia, Syria from Diarbekir, and Diarbekir from Arabia, and passing through the Arabian Irak, joins the Tigris. The Euphrates and Tigris, the most considerable as well as the most renowned rivers of western Asia, are remarkable for their rising within a few miles of each other, running the same course, never being more than one hundred and fifty miles asunder, and sometimes, before their final junction, approaching within fifteen miles of each other, as in the latitude of Bagdad. The space included between the two is the ancient country of Mesopotamia. But the Euphrates is by far the more noble river of the two. Sir R. K. Porter, describing this river in its course through the ruins of Babylon, observes, "The whole view was particularly solemn. The majestic stream of the Euphrates wandering in solitude, like a pilgrim monarch through the silent ruins of his devastated kingdom, still appeared a noble river, even under all the disadvantages of its desert- tracked course. Its banks were hoary with reeds; and the grey osier willows were yet there, on which the captives of Israel hung up their harps, and, while Jerusalem was not, refused to be comforted." The Scripture calls it "the great river," and assigns it for the eastern boundary of that land which God promised to the Israelites, De 1:7; Jos 1:4.