The Euphrates is the largest river in western Asia. As it approaches the Persian Gulf it joins with the Tigris River. Together, these rivers help to create the Fertile Crescent, a band of land suitable for farming. The Fertile Crescent runs northward along the coast of Palestine before following the Euphrates and Tigris rivers southeastward through Mesopotamia.
Abraham was originally from Ur, near the southern end of the Euphrates. Later he followed the general course of the river to the northwest, settling at Haran in what is today eastern Turkey (Genesis 11:31).
Babylon, another important city near the Euphrates, was the capital city of the Babylonian Empire. When the Babylonians captured Jerusalem in 587 B.C.E., many of the people of Judah were taken into exile along the Euphrates in the vicinity of Babylon, as remembered in Psalm 137:1.
AUTHOR: Robert Brusic, Seminary Pastor Emeritus