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Ur
        light, or the moon city, a city "of the Chaldees," the
        birthplace of Haran (Gen. 11:28,31), the largest city of Shinar
        or northern Chaldea, and the principal commercial centre of the
        country as well as the centre of political power. It stood near
        the mouth of the Euphrates, on its western bank, and is
        represented by the mounds (of bricks cemented by bitumen) of
        el-Mugheir, i.e., "the bitumined," or "the town of bitumen," now
        150 miles from the sea and some 6 miles from the Euphrates, a
        little above the point where it receives the Shat el-Hie, an
        affluent from the Tigris. It was formerly a maritime city, as
        the waters of the Persian Gulf reached thus far inland. Ur was
        the port of Babylonia, whence trade was carried on with the
        dwellers on the gulf, and with the distant countries of India,
        Ethiopia, and Egypt. It was abandoned about B.C. 500, but long
        continued, like Erech, to be a great sacred cemetery city, as is
        evident from the number of tombs found there. (See ABRAHAM
        The oldest king of Ur known to us is Ur-Ba'u (servant of the
        goddess Ba'u), as Hommel reads the name, or Ur-Gur, as others
        read it. He lived some twenty-eight hundred years B.C., and took
        part in building the famous temple of the moon-god Sin in Ur
        itself. The illustration here given represents his cuneiform
        inscription, written in the Sumerian language, and stamped upon
        every brick of the temple in Ur. It reads: "Ur-Ba'u, king of Ur,
        who built the temple of the moon-god."
        "Ur was consecrated to the worship of Sin, the Babylonian
        moon-god. It shared this honour, however, with another city, and
        this city was Haran, or Harran. Harran was in Mesopotamia, and
        took its name from the highroad which led through it from the
        east to the west. The name is Babylonian, and bears witness to
        its having been founded by a Babylonian king. The same witness
        is still more decisively borne by the worship paid in it to the
        Babylonian moon-god and by its ancient temple of Sin. Indeed,
        the temple of the moon-god at Harran was perhaps even more
        famous in the Assyrian and Babylonian world than the temple of
        the moon-god at Ur.
        "Between Ur and Harran there must, consequently, have been a
        close connection in early times, the record of which has not yet
        been recovered. It may be that Harran owed its foundation to a
        king of Ur; at any rate the two cities were bound together by
        the worship of the same deity, the closest and most enduring
        bond of union that existed in the ancient world. That Terah
        should have migrated from Ur to Harran, therefore, ceases to be
        extraordinary. If he left Ur at all, it was the most natural
        place to which to go. It was like passing from one court of a
        temple into another.
        "Such a remarkable coincidence between the Biblical narrative
        and the evidence of archaeological research cannot be the result
        of chance. The narrative must be historical; no writer of late
        date, even if he were a Babylonian, could have invented a story
        so exactly in accordance with what we now know to have been the
        truth. For a story of the kind to have been the invention of
        Palestinian tradition is equally impossible. To the unprejudiced
        mind there is no escape from the conclusion that the history of
        the migration of Terah from Ur to Harran is founded on fact"
        (Sayce).
Bibliography Information
Easton, Matthew George. M.A., D.D., "Biblical Meaning for 'Ur' Eastons Bible Dictionary".
bible-history.com - Eastons; 1897.

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