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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; which is a Greek translation of the Hebrew version, the Geneva Bible, and both the 1611 and New King James Versions, further affirm that the language accredits Ashur as being the founder of the cities of Nineveh, Rehoboth, Calah, and Resen.[5][6][7][8] The 1st century Judaeo-Roman historian Flavius Josephus 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). Ashur was an elder to Nimrod, and first cousins with his father Cush.

Ashur the son of Shem is sometimes compared with the figure of the deity Ashur, for whom a temple was dedicated in the early capital city of Aššur—traditionally by an early Assyrian king named Ushpia in ca. the 21st century BC. It is highly likely that the city and indeed the Assyrian nation and people, were named in honour of this deity.[9][verification needed]

Ashur, father of TekoaEdit

Another Ashur, the father of Tekoa, is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4 among the Judahite descendants.[10]


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).


  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. ^ Georges Roux - Ancient Iraq
  10. ^   Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Assur (2)". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.