“And out of the ground, the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field…” (Gen 2:1920).
Euphrates and Mesopotamia
The Tigres and Euphrates Rivers dominate Mesopotamia. Both rivers originate in the high mountains foe aster Turkey and flow south-Southeastward to the Persian Gulf.
Large distances separate the rivers for most of their journey, but near Baghdad they converge to within 20 miles. Near the head of the Persian Gulf the rivers merge into a marshland, a feature characteristic of both ancient and modern times.
The Euphrates (1,780 miles long) is longer and slower than the Tigris (1,150 miles long), but more suited for transportation. All important cities of Mesopotamia are along one of the two rivers.
Both rivers flooded annually, bringing damage to the cities. Central and southern Mesopotamia maintained sophisticated system of canals, dikes, and dams from earliest times to protect their cities and to distribute water to thirsty fields.
Southern and northern Mesopotamia differs in terms of geography, climate, and natural resources.
The dividing line between the two is roughly near modern Baghdad, approximately 350 miles.
In the north the summers were very hot, winter’s mild, rainfall scarce, so crops depended entirely on irrigation.
The south lacks many resources; few building materials were available so houses, temples, and palaces were built of mud brick. Metals and timber had to be imported.
Yet, crops of barley were excellent, the basic staple used for cakes, beer, and some wheat.
Dates grew in abundance and sesame oil supplied essential carbohydrates for the diet. Fish from the marshlands and rivers provided much of the meat.
Babylon and Ur prospered greatly from the vitality of the Mesopotamia area.
North of Baghdad, uplands and steppes contrast with flat plain of the south. Rolling hills emerge from the high mountains that border Mesopotamia to the north.
Rainfall amounts are higher here; some sections received up to 20 inches annually. Summers are somewhat milder than in the south, but winters harsher due to the higher elevations.
Near Mosul in the middle Tigris Valley; Asshur, Nineveh, and Calah (Nimrud) mark the heartland of ancient Assyria.
Portions of Assyria produced crops of barley and wheat, but not enough for them to be self-sufficient. Metals necessary for weapons and implements – copper, iron, tin, zinc, and lead – had to be imported along with cedar and food supplies.
Due west of Assyria lay northwest Mesopotamia associated with the Balikh and Habor Rivers.
The Bible associates Abraham closely with this region. The biblical term Aram-naharaim (Gen 24:10, Deut 23:4), often translated Mesopotamia,” refers to the land of the Balikh and Habor Rivers.
You will hear more about Nineveh, mostly in the book of Jonah. It was extremely powerful and cruel.