The Euphrates River

The Euphrates River is one of the largest rivers of western Asia, about 1700 miles long. In the Bible it is referred to by several names such as the "great river" or just "the river" and is among the four rivers, which flowed from the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:14). It formed the northeastern limit of the Promised Land (Gen 15:18).

The river, which receives its waters from the mountains of Armenia, flows through a deep and narrow gorge, but as it descends toward Babylon, the Euphrates and the Tigris take different routes, which form the great broad plain of Mesopotamia.

The Euphrates has a very strong current and therefore is navigable only in its lower parts. Along its shores flourished some of the important cities of Mesopotamia. The greatest of which was Babylon. Another, Carchemish, was an important road junction and a river crossing for the caravans coming from the Far East.

Throughout periods of history (even to the Roman period) the Euphrates River formed the boundary between east and west.Some of the great battles of history took place on the Euphrates, one of which was the battle between Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon and Pharaoh Necho II of Egypt in 605 BC. (Jer 46:2).