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Padan Aram

Padan Aram (also variously rendered as Padanaram, Paddan Aram and Padan-aram), meaning plain of Aram, was the name for the region around the northern-Syria city of Haran, located at the northernmost reach of the Euphrates River (the territorial definition of Syria has varied over the course of history - see Syria). One of the greatest ironies of Bible History is that two of modern-day Israel's most persistent enemies have been Syria and Iraq. Why is that so ironic? Abraham was born in what is today Iraq, and all but one of the Israelite patriarchs were born in what is today Syria. The language of Aram (see the Fact Finder question below) was also one of the languages spoken by Jesus Christ.

Padan Aram

Syria Isaac's wife Rebekah was a "Syrian" from Padan-aram:

"And Isaac [see also Isaac's Faith And Obedience] was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian." (Genesis 25:20 KJV)

When the time came for Jacob to marry, his father Isaac sent him to Padan Aram to find a wife from among his mother's Syrian people:

"And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan [see also The Land Of Canaan]. Arise, go to Padanaram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother." (Genesis 28:1-2 KJV)

To escape the wrath of his brother Esau, Jacob spent over 20 years living with his mother Rebekah's brother Laban in Syria (see Jacob and Laban). It was there that all of Jacob's sons, except Benjamin (Benjamin was the only Israelite patriarch who was actually born in the land of Israel), and Jacob's daughter Dinah, were born:

"Now the sons of Jacob were twelve:
The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi [see Levites], and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun:
The sons of Rachel; Joseph [see Coat Of Many Colors], and Benjamin:
And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali:
And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid; Gad, and Asher:
These are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram." (Genesis 35:22-26 KJV)

It was upon his return from Padan Aram that God renamed Jacob as Israel:

"And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him. And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel."

"And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land." (Genesis 35:9-12 KJV)

Fact Finder: What language of Aram did Jesus Christ speak?
See Aramaic

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