The 2001 Commentaries

Where was the ChoBar river?

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Just where was the Prophet EzekiEl when he received his many visions and words from God?
He says that he was along the ChoBar (or CheBar) River in Babylon… and many assume that he was living in the city of Babylon along its Grand Canal (which could still be true). However, note that living in the land of Babylon isn’t necessarily the same as living in the City of Babylon; for the land of Babylon covered a vast empire.

Understand that when the kings of Babylon deported and resettled whole nations, there was obviously not enough room to keep them in just a single city. So it is likely that only the top officials or royalty were taken to their capital city, since the city itself was too small to handle the influx of millions of deported foreigners.

Therefore, although DaniEl and others of noble birth were in fact taken to the city of Babylon, it seems as though the majority of the commoners were deported to some other location in that land… Which would explain why EzekiEl speaks in awe of faithful DaniEl, but he doesn’t mention speaking to or dealing with him directly, as you would expect if they lived nearby.

However, even DaniEl didn’t live in Babylon after it was invaded.
Rather, we read that he lived in Persian city of Susa, where he had been taken by King Darius shortly before his death. For what is thought to be Daniel’s Tomb is still found there (see the link Susa).

A likely location for the Jewish resettlement (and that of EzekiEl) is actually quite some distance west of the city of Babylon and directly north of Palestine, on the eastern side of the land of Syria or in modern Turkey. For there we find a river with a name that has a very similar name to ChoBar, the Khabur. So, many Bible scholars now accept this as the site of that relocation and as the place where EzekiEl did his writing.

This location, which is much closer to JeruSalem, seems more likely, since EzekiEl’s prophecies were primarily against Judah and JeruSalem, and his messages were to be carried back there. This would of course have been difficult if EzekiEl did his prophesying and writing in the far-away city of Babylon (a three-month journey away).

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