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Ancient Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia and the Bible



Mesopotamia and the Bible
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.5

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    arc-shaped, sacked, validate, biblical, onset, dynasty, horrific, disprove, latter, present-day, destruction, relocate, heavily, eternal, foundation, receding
     content words:    Fertile Crescent, Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf, Arabian Desert, To Christians, Old Testament, New Testament, Babylonian Exile, Babylonian Captivity, Second Kings


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Mesopotamia and the Bible
By Vickie Chao
  

1     Mesopotamia, home to the world's earliest civilization, was the foundation of modern culture. Located mostly in present-day Iraq, this stretch of land was part of the so-called Fertile Crescent. The Fertile Crescent is an arc-shaped area nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf. It borders the Arabian Desert to the south and the mountains of Armenia to the north. In the Fertile Crescent were scores of ancient kingdoms. On one end of it toward the Persian Gulf were the two powerhouses of Mesopotamia -- Babylonia and Assyria. On the other end of it next to the Mediterranean Sea were Israel and Egypt.
 
2     Israel was the birthplace of two major religions, Judaism and Christianity. The latter commands a huge following, with members exceeding 2 billion! To Christians everywhere, the Bible is their most sacred scripture. It consists of two parts -- the Old Testament and the New Testament. Both feature a collection of books with stories meant to provide useful lessons and to convey God's messages. Some of those stories carry direct references to Mesopotamia.
 
3     The most famous is quite possibly the story of Babylonian Exile or Babylonian Captivity. According to the Book of Second Kings, Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, sacked Jerusalem and forced thousands of Jews to relocate to Babylon. He kept them there for decades. Also equally famous is the story about Abraham. Abraham was a central figure not just in Judaism and Christianity. He was critical to Islam, too. The Book of Genesis said that Abraham was originally from Ur of the Chaldees (Chaldeans), a major city in the southern part of Mesopotamia. It was from there that he traveled to Haran before moving on to Canaan.

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