Dictionary of Bible Themes – 4260 rivers and streams
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4260 rivers and streams

4260 rivers and streams

The term river is used to refer to all kinds of watercourses, including wadis (dried-up desert river beds) and permanent rivers. It is also used symbolically to refer to things which threaten or overwhelm people and nations, such as invading nations, the peace of God and the Holy Spirit.

Different kinds of rivers and streams

Wadis 1Ki 17:7 Wadis were dry river beds in summer but became raging torrents in the rainy season. See also Ge 32:22 The Jabbok was a wadi, here in full flow; Nu 21:13-15; Job 6:15-17; Jer 15:18

Springs Ps 104:10 See also Ge 16:7; Ex 15:27; Jdg 1:14-15; 2Ki 2:19-22

Permanent rivers Ge 2:10-14 See also Ge 41:1-3; Nu 22:1; Dt 1:7; Isa 18:1

Canals Da 8:2 See also Ex 7:19; Ezr 8:21; Eze 1:1 Although called a river here, the Kebar was a canal of the Euphrates.

Some significant rivers and streams in Scripture

River Arnon The Arnon flowed through Moab to the mid point of the Dead Sea: Nu 21:13-15; Jdg 11:18; Isa 16:2; Jer 48:20

Rivers of Damascus 2Ki 5:12 The Abana flowed through the city of Damascus and the Pharpar just to the south of it.

River Euphrates The Euphrates flowed through Mesopotamia for some 1,700 miles (2,700 km) from its source in eastern Turkey to the Persian Gulf: Dt 1:7; 2Ki 23:29 pp 2Ch 35:20; Isa 11:15; Jer 51:63-64; Rev 16:12

River Habor 2Ki 17:6 pp 2Ki 18:11 The Habor was a tributary of the Euphrates.

River Jabbok The Jabbok flowed westward through Gilead into the Jordan about 20 miles (32 km) north of the Dead Sea: Ge 32:22; Nu 21:23-24; Dt 3:16; Jdg 11:13

River Jordan The Jordan flowed from the slopes of Mount Hermon through Lake Huleh and the Sea of Galilee, and on into the Dead Sea, providing a fertile basin on either side of the river: Ge 13:10-11; Ge 32:9-10; Nu 22:1; Jos 3:14-4:9; 2Ki 5:8-14; Mk 1:4-5 pp Mt 3:5-6

River Kebar The Kebar was a canal of the Euphrates in Babylon where the exiles gathered to pray: Eze 1:1; Eze 3:15; Eze 43:1-3

River Kerith 1Ki 17:2-7 The exact location of this wadi is uncertain, but it ran from the east into the Jordan or one of its tributaries.

River Kishon The Kishon flowed north-west across the Plain of Megiddo and could quickly flood as a result of storms: Jdg 4:6-7,13; Jdg 5:21; 1Ki 18:40; Ps 83:9

River Nile The Nile flowed north some 3,500 miles (5,600 km) from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean, providing a natural irrigation system in the desert through its annual floodings: Ex 1:22-2:10; Ex 7:17-21; Isa 19:5-8; Eze 29:3-5

River Tigris The Tigris flowed from the Armenian mountains through Mesopotamia to join the Euphrates some 40 miles (65 km) north of the Persian Gulf: Ge 2:14; Da 10:4-5; Na 2:6-8

The crossing of rivers and streams

Rivers crossed by fords Jos 2:7; Jdg 3:28; Jdg 12:5-6; 2Sa 17:16

Rivers crossed by miraculous intervention from God Jos 3:14-17; 2Ki 2:7-8,13-14

Human uses of rivers and streams

As boundaries Ge 15:18 See also Jos 1:2; Jos 12:2; 1Ki 4:21

For irrigation Dt 11:10 The reference may be to a machine operated by foot, or to the foot breaking through the mud walls of the irrigation channel to let the water flow into the fields. See also Eze 17:5-8; Eze 19:10

As places of prayer Ac 16:13 See also Ps 137:1-3; Eze 3:15

For ritual washing and baptism 2Ki 5:10 See also Mk 1:5 pp Mt 3:6; Ac 8:36-38

God as sovereign Creator is ruler and judge over all rivers and streams

Ps 74:15 See also Ps 78:13-16; Ps 107:33-35; Isa 19:5-8; Rev 8:10-11; Rev 16:12

The symbolic use of rivers and streams

A symbol of threatening circumstances Ps 124:1-5 See also Ps 32:6; Ps 88:16-17

A symbol of invading nations Jer 47:2 See also Isa 8:7-8; Jer 46:7-8

A symbol of God’s judgment on his enemies 2Sa 5:20 “Baal Perazim” means “the lord who breaks out”. The picture is of a river bursting its banks. See also Job 20:28-29; Isa 59:19; Na 1:7-8

A symbol of God’s peace Isa 48:18 See also Isa 66:12

A symbol of God’s sustaining power Ps 46:4-5 See also Isa 8:6

A symbol of God’s provision and blessing Joel 3:18 See also Ps 1:3; Ps 36:8-9; Isa 30:25

A symbol of renewal and life Isa 41:18 See also Eze 47:1-12; Rev 22:1-2

A symbol of the Holy Spirit Jn 7:37-39 See also Isa 44:3; Jn 4:13-14

See also

3215Holy Spirit & peace

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