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Aram (Hebrew: ארם, ʼArām; Aramaic: ܐܪܡ, ʼArām; "Name means::exalted"), was the fifth son of son of::Shem, the son of Noah, and the progenitor of the Aramaeans, according to Genesis 10:22 . Aram probably lived around 2000 BC. His brothers were brother of::Arpachshad, brother of::Asshur, brother of::Elam, and brother of::Lud. Additionally, he was the father of father of::Uz, father of::Hul, father of::Gether, and father of::Mash (Genesis 10:22 ).


Y-Chromosomal Haplogroup J.


There once existed in the Middle East, centered around the territory called Syria today, a nation of people called the Aramaeans, who are often mistaken with Amorites by historians. The "Cuthite" Samaritans are said to be of Aramaean descent. The toponym A-ra-mu appears in an inscription at Ebla listing geographical names, and the term Armi, which is the Eblaite term for nearby Aleppo, occurs frequently in the Ebla tablets (ca. 2300 BC). One of the annals of Naram-Sin of Akkad (c. 2250 BC) mentions that he captured "Dubul, the ensi of A-ra-me" (Arame is seemingly a genitive form), in the course of a campaign against Simurrum in the northern mountains.[1] Other early references to a place or people of "Aram" have appeared at the archives of Mari (c. 1900 BC) and at Ugarit (c. 1300 BC). Another early mention of the Aramaeans as a people is in the inscriptions of Tiglath Pileser I (c. 1100 BC).[2]

Their racial type ranged from Mediterranid to Alpinid or Nordid (similar to the sub-racial varieties found amongst the Hebrews compare with Deuteronomy 26:5 . In other words, Aram gave rise to a white, Caucasian people, occasionally with blonde hair.

As Dr. Robert Gayre, in his work on The Syro-Mesopotamian Ethnology as Revealed in Genesis X, wrote:

… we come to Aram. This refers to the land of the Aramaeans … These were definitely an Indo-European people, as their features from the Egyptian monuments make plain without any doubt, both as to colour and form.

They became settled in Syria and in the land of Nahor (Nahorim) and also in the city of Ur (that which is in Mesopotamia, and not that in Babylon). It was from this city that Abraham emigrated in the first instance … This then is the stock from which Israel came.

… at the time of the Patriarch there is even reason to believe that as Syrians they were of northern European type.[3]

However, the Mediterranean type was much more common than the northern European type among the Aramaeans, as is evidenced by physical remains. The New Bible Dictionary concurs, warning that the Aramaeans are called "Syrians" in the English Old Testament where the Hebrew is “Aram”. In other words, they were not Arabic-type peoples which are extant today in Syria and who go by that name.

The Ghassanids (ca. 250 AD), who were of the Al-Azd tribe of the Kahlan branch of Qahtani Arab tribes, were the last major non-Islamic Arab migration northward out of Yemen. They initially settled in the Hauran region, eventually spreading to modern Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan, briefly securing governorship of Syria away from the Nabataeans. At the time of the Arab conquest of Byzantine Syria by the Muslim Rashidun army led by Khalid ibn al-Walid in 649 AD, resulting in the area's becoming part of the Islamic empire, the region had been inhabited mainly by local Aramaean Christians (like Mardaites and Melkites), Ghassanid, Nabataean, Ituraean Arabs, as well as minorities of Jews and Samaritans.

The population of the region did not become predominantly Muslim and Arab in identity until several centuries after the conquest. Those Arabic-type peoples, who are descendants of Joktan and Ishmael, migrated into Syria and Mesopotamia from south of the northern Arabian Desert and through the Iranian mountains. The Greeks called them "Syrians" because they were part of the Assyrian Empire. Some Aramaeans joined with the Neo-Hittites in northern Syria while others settled in Babylonia mixing with the Arabic peoples there. Those that mingled with the Arabs in Syria are known as Syrians. The Syrians today are still quite distinct from the Joktanite and Ishmaelite Arabs of Arabia Petraea, Arabia Deserta, Arabia Felix, and Mesopotamia. They are, ethnically, a blend of the various Greek and Arab conquerors and Arabized Aramaeans who are indigenous to the region.

"Aram" means to be "high" or "exalted," later coming to mean "a mountain." The name indicates that they were a people of ruling class attributes similar to his closest brother Arpachshad where "Ar" means to be "high" or "noble" and "chesed" means to be "clever" or "wise."

Rebekah, Isaac’s wife, was an Aramaean (Genesis 28:2) as was her brother Laban (Jacob’s father-in-law) and of course Jacob’s wives, Leah and Rachel. This is why Jacob is called an Aramaean in the Book of Deuteronomy. Laban lived in Aram-Naharaim (Deuteronomy 26:5), which means "Aram of the two rivers" (i.e. the Tigris and Euphrates rivers). It was also known as Haran, where Terah, Abram, and their family once lived (Genesis 24:10). Nahor, Abram’s brother (and not to be confused with his grandfather of the same name) had a son called Aram (Genesis 22:21-32). One would assume that his descendants intermarried with the Aramaeans, his racial kin. We also find a curiosity in 1 Chronicles 1:17 where the sons of Aram are elevated to be, along with their father, sons of Shem, their grandfather.

Both history and the inspired Bible reveal that the Assyrians took them captive and placed them in Kir or Kur, near Armenia. In 2 Kings we are told:

"The king of Assyria complied by attacking Damascus and capturing it. He deported its inhabitants to Kir and put Rezin to death." - 2_Kings 16:9

The prophet Amos mentioned much the same:

"I will break down the gate of Damascus; I will destroy the king who is in the Valley of Aven and the one who holds the scepter in Beth Eden. The people of Aram will go into exile to Kir," says the LORD." - Amos 1:3

Josephus wrote similarly in his famous Antiquities of the Jews. He wrote that the Assyrians

“… transplanted the people of Damascus into Upper Media and brought a colony of Assyrians, and planted them in Damascus.”[4]
Notice – they settled close to related nations. But where else could they be today, aside from Syria? Pliny makes mention that the Syrians were known as Arimaeans and Aramaeans[5]. He also mentions a people called Aramii in southern Russia amongst the Scythians. With them were the Arimaspi.

See Also

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  1. Year-Names for Naram-Sin
  2. Lipinski, 2000, p. 25-27.
  3. The Syro-Mesopotamian Ethnology as Revealed in Genesis X by Dr. Robert Gayre (1973)
  4. Antiquities 9:2:3
  5. Natural History: I 2.34

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