The region commonly called Mesopotamia (“between the rivers”) was home to some of the oldest civilizations in the world and is often speculated to be the location of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8-14). Located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, Mesopotamia formed a large portion of what is often called the Fertile Crescent, and it gave rise to the nations of Elam, Babylonia, and Assyria, each of which interacted with the people of Israel at various points history. Mesopotamia was the birthplace of Abraham, the ancestor of the Israelite people. Much later during the Old Testament the Assyrians exiled many Israelites to Assyrian lands (2 Kings 15:29; 17:1-6; 1 Chronicles 5:26), and the Babylonians exiled many other Israelites (primarily from the tribe of Judah) to Babylon and its surroundings (2 Kings 24:15-17; 25:8-12; 2 Chronicles 36:20). Hundreds of years later in the time of Jesus, Magi (priestly astrologers) traveled from this region to worship Jesus, for they had seen a sign in the heavens that signaled the birth of the king of the Jews (Matthew 2).

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