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Ashur (אַשּׁוּר) was the second son of Shem, the son of Noah. Ashur's brothers were Elam, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram.

Prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, there was contention in academic circles regarding whether Ashur or Nimrod built the Assyrian cities of Nineveh, Resen, Rehoboth-Ir and Calah, since the name Ashur can refer to both the person and the country (compare Genesis 10:8–12 AV and Genesis 10:8–12 ESV).[1] Sir Walter Raleigh devoted several pages in his History of the World (c. 1616) to reciting past scholarship regarding the question of whether it had been Nimrod or Ashur who built the cities in Assyria.[2] The Ge'ez version of the Book of Jubilees, affirmed by the 15 Jubilees scrolls found amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls, affirms that the contested lands in Genesis 10:8–12 were apportioned to Ashur.[3] Jubilees 9:3 states,

"And for Ashur came forth the second Portion, all the land of Ashur and Nineveh and Shinar and to the border of India, and it ascends and skirts the river."[4]

The Greek Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew version, the Geneva Bible, and both the 1611 and New King James Versions, further affirm that the language credits Ashur as the founder of the cities of Nineveh, Rehoboth, Calah, and Resen.[5][6][7][8] The 1st century Judaeo-Roman historian Flavius Josephus also gives the following statement:

"Ashur lived at the city of Nineveh; and named his subjects Assyrians, who became the most fortunate nation, beyond others" (Antiquities, i, vi, 4).

Flavius Josephus mentioning Ashur dwelling at Nineveh would make it impossible for Nimrod to have built the city, since Ashur was an elder to Nimrod.

Ashur, father of Tekoa

Another Ashur, the father of Tekoa, is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4 as one of the Judahite descendants.[9]


Helah was the first wife of Ashur and Naarah was his second wife.[citation needed] The name "na'arah" means "girl" or "maiden" in Hebrew. Naarah was of the tribe of Judah and gave birth to Ahuzam, Hepher, Temeni, and Haahashtari (1 Chr. 4:5, 6).

See also


  1. ^ Samuel Shuckford; James Talboys Wheeler (1858), The sacred and profane history of the world connected, Vol.1, pp. 106–107
  2. ^ Walter Raleigh, History of the World p. 358–365
  3. ^ VanderKam, "Jubilees, Book of" in L. H. Schiffman and J. C. VanderKam (eds.), Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Oxford University Press (2000), Vol. I, p. 435.
  4. ^ "Jubilees 9". Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  5. ^ Greek Septuagint.
  6. ^ Geneva Bible.
  7. ^ 1611 King James Bible.
  8. ^ New King James Version.
  9. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Assur (2)" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.