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HARAN ( = "road"; compare Assyrian "ḥarranu"):

City to which Terah went from Ur of the Chaldees, and where Terah died (Gen. xi. 31, 32). It was situated in Aram-naharaim, generally translated "Mesopotamia" (Gen. xxiv. 10), and is definitely indicated as in Padan-aram (Gen. xxv. 20; xxviii. 2, 5-7). As Nahor was the only son of Terah who settled at Haran, it was called "the city of Nahor" (comp. Gen. xxiv. 10, xxvii. 43). Haran was the birthplace of Rebekah, and it was thither that Eliezer went to meet her (Gen. xxiv. 10). Thither, also, Jacob fled from before his brother Esau; there he married his uncle Laban's daughters, and there he acquired his great wealth (Gen. xxviii. 10, xxix.-xxxi. passim). Haran occurs again in the Bible in connection with a much later period. It is mentioned as being taken by the Assyrian kings (II Kings xix. 12), and as having had commercial intercourse with Tyre (Ezek. xxvii. 23). The statement of II Kings xix. 12 is confirmed by Assyrian inscriptions in which Haran is very frequently mentioned. The inscriptions also affirm that Assurbanipal (Sardanapalus) was crowned at Haran, and that Nabunaid restored the temple of Sin at Haran (Schrader, "K. B." i. 39, ii. 52, et al.). The general opinion is that the Biblical Haran is identical with the Carrhæ, in Mesopotamia, famous for the defeat of Crassus by the Parthians and known to the Arabs as "Ḥarran," the abode of the Sabeans. Joseph Halévy, however, concluded that Haran must be sought for in Syria and not in Mesopotamia. Halévy, translating "Ḥaran" as "hollow place," is inclined to identify it with a place named "Spelunca" by Ptolemy, not far from Damascus. The Arabian geographers certainly identify the Ḥarran of the Sabeans with the Biblical Haran. Yaḳut ("Mu'jam al-Buldan") says that according to some the city was built by Haran, the brother of Abraham, and that it was then called , but that according to others Haran was the first city built after the Flood. Haran (Carrhæ) is in the territory of Muḍar, a day's journey southeast of Edessa.

Bibliography:
  • Mez, Gesch. der Stadt Harran, 1892;
  • Joseph Halévy, Mélanges d'Epigraphie et d'Archéologie Sémitiques, pp. 72-85, Paris, 1874;
  • idem, in Rev. Sém. 1894, pp. 193-198;
  • Nöldeke, in Zeit. für Assyr. xi. 107-109.
J. M. Sel.
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