Definitions

Shinar

Shinar

[shahy-nahr]
Shinar, in the Bible, the whole or a part of Babylonia.
Shinar (Hebrew שִׁנְעָר Šin`ar, Septuagint Σεννααρ Sennaar 'land of the rivers') is a broad designation applied to Mesopotamia, occurring eight times in the Hebrew Bible. In the Book of Genesis 10:10, the beginning of Nimrod's kingdom is said to have been "Babel, and Uruk, and Akkad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar." The following chapter, 11:2, states that Shinar was a plain settled after the flood, where mankind, still speaking one language, built the Tower of Babel. In Genesis 14:1,9 Shinar is the land ruled by king Amraphel, who reigned in Babylon. "Shinar" is further mentioned in Joshua 7:21; Isaiah 11:11; Daniel 1:2; and Zechariah 5:11, as a general synonym for Babylonia.

If Shinar included both Babylon ("Babel") and Erech, then "Shinar" broadly denoted southern Babylonia. Any cognate relation with Šumer, an Akkadian name used for a non-Semitic people who called themselves Kiengir, is not simple to explain and has been the subject of varied speculation. The Egyptian term for Babylonia / Mesopotamia was Sngr (Sangara), identified with the Sanhar of the Amarna letters by Sayce.

Some scholars have suggested that Shinar must have been confined to the northern part of Mesopotamia, based on Jubilees 9:3 which allots "Shinar" (or in the Ethiopic text, "Sadna Sena`or") to Asshur. However, 10:20 states that the Tower was built with bitumen from the sea of Shinar. Other scholars such as David Rohl, however, have proposed that the Tower was actually located in Eridu, once located on the Persian Gulf, where there are ruins of a massive, ancient ziggurat worked from bitumen.

This is where the sons of Shem, Ham and Japheth went after they tarried in the highlands of Armenia, after the flood (Vuibert, Ancient History, 25).

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