A Greek name meaning “between the rivers.” As used by Greek writers from the second century BCE, it denotes the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers from roughly the northern and western borders of present‐day Iraq to where the two rivers came close together near present‐day Baghdad (Map 14:H3).

“Mesopotamia” occurs eight times in the NRSV (Deut. 23.4; 1 Chron. 19.6; Jth. 2:24; 5:7–8; 8:26; Acts 2:9; 7.2). In the first two cases, the Hebrew is ʾăram nahărayim, meaning “Aram of the two rivers”; the Hebrew transliterated as Aram‐naharaim is used in the NRSV three times (Gen. 24.10; Judg. 3.8; Ps. 60:1). The Septuagint has “Mesopotamia” at Genesis 24.10 and Deuteronomy 23.4, but “Syria of rivers” at Judges 3.8 and “Syria of Mesopotamia” at 1 Chronicles 19.6.

The phrase “Aram of the two rivers” is similar to “Aram of Bet‐Rehov” (2 Sam. 10.6), “Aram of Damascus” (2 Sam. 8.5), and “Aram of Zobah” (2 Sam. 10.6); strictly, it means Aramean territory between the two rivers, that is, northwest Iraq and northeast Syria. Where the Septuagint has “Mesopotamia,” this is not a translation of the Hebrew but the use of an equivalent geographical name. Because of the difference in meaning between the modern use of “Mesopotamia” and the ancient use, translations are not consistent in the use of the term, and modern tendency is to avoid the word altogether or to modify it.

For further treatment of the history and cultures of Mesopotamia, see Assyria; Babylon; Sumer.

J. W. Rogerson