Modern names for Biblical place names


While most of the major names of states and cities mentioned in the Bible (such as Jerusalem, Athens, Damascus, Alexandria, and Rome) have been used for centuries, others have changed over the years.
Even today, some of the names of the territories of the Holy Land are Arabized forms of ancient Hebrew and Canaanite place names used during biblical times or of later Aramaic or Greek formations. Most of these names have been handed down for thousands of years, and since the founding of Israel, in some parts of Palestine, many of the original names have been restored to Hebrew and referred to by their revised biblical names.

Nations of the past

A list of modern names compared to ancient territories given in the Bible:

  • Iraq – ancient Assyria (northern Iraq) and Babylon (southern Iraq). Assyria conquered the ten northern tribes, and Babylon conquered Judah and Jerusalem.
  • Iran – ancient Persia. Scene of the family stories of Daniel in the lion’s den and Esther.
  • Syria – ancient Aram. Rarely united in ancient times, leading to multiple Aramean countries. The most important one in the Bible had Damascus as its center.
  • Lebanon – home of the biblical cities of Tyre and Sidon and the ancient Phoenicians.
  • Jordan – colonized in biblical times, from north to south, by Israel (tribes of Manasseh, Reuben and Gad), Ammon, Moab and Edom.
  • West Bank – the modern name for the biblical lands of Judah (Judea), Ephraim and Manasseh (Samaria). Oddly enough, Israelis today do not live in most of the land that was the heart of ancient Israel.
  • Gaza Strip – once part of the land of the Philistines (no relation to today’s Palestinians except in name). Most of the Philistine land is inhabited by Israeli Jews today, including the coastal cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon.
  • Golan Heights – Biblical Bashan. Known for its cattle and oaks, but sparsely inhabited in the Biblical period.
  • Turkey – in the Old Testament period this was home to a variety of peoples who are less directly related to the Bible (including the Hittites). In the New Testament period, Paul founded and worked with many churches, including those in Galatia, Ephesus, and Colossae.
  • Greece – Paul of Tarsus’ second missionary journey focused on Macedonia (northern Greece) and Achaia (southern Greece). Macedonia includes the cities of Philippi and Thessalonica, while Achaia includes Athens and Corinth.

List of modern names for Biblical place names

Old Testament names

Biblical name Mentioned in Present name Province/Region Country Name Country Flag
Almon Joshua 21:18 Khirbet Almit Judea and Samaria Israel Israel
Babylon Jeremiah 50:1 – 50:46 Hillah Babil Governorate Iraq Iraq
Beth Arbel Hosea 10:14 Irbid Irbid Governorate Jordan Jordan
Beth-tappuah Joshua 15:53 Taffuh Judea and Samaria Israel Israel
Bozrah Amos 1:12 Bouseira Tafilah Governorate Jordan Jordan
Cuthah II Kings 17:24 Tell Ibrahim Babil Governorate Iraq Iraq
Dedan Ezekiel 38:13 Al-‘Ula Al Madinah Region Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia
Ecbatana Ezra 6:2 Hamadan Hamadan Province Iran Iran
Elim Exodus 16:1 Wadi Gharandel South Sinai Governorate Egypt Egypt
Erech Genesis 10:10 Uruk Al Muthanna Governorate Iraq Iraq
Etam II Chronicles 11:6 Solomon’s Pools Judea and Samaria Israel Israel
Gath Joshua 13:3 Ramla Central District Israel Israel
Gerar Genesis 10:19 Haluza Southern District Israel Israel
Gilo Joshua 15:51 Beit Jala Judea and Samaria Israel Israel
Gozan I Chronicles 5:26 Tell Halaf Al Hasakah Governorate Syria Syria
Harosheth Haggoyim Judges 4:13 El Ahwat Haifa District Israel Israel
Hamath II Samuel 8:9 Hama Hama Governorate Syria Syria
Hammath Joshua 19:35 Tiberias Northern District Israel Israel
Iron Joshua 19:38 Yaroun Nabatieh Governorate Lebanon Lebanon
Joppa Jonah 1:3 Jaffa Tel Aviv District Israel Israel
Kadesh Numbers 20:1 Petra Ma’an Governorate Jordan Jordan
Kir of Moab Isaiah 15:1 Al Karak Karak Governorate Jordan Jordan
Kiriath-Jearim Joshua 9:17 Abu Ghosh Jerusalem District Israel Israel
Kitron Judges 1:30 Sepphoris Northern District Israel Israel
Laish/Leshem Judges 18:29 & Joshua 19:47 Tel Dan (Banias) Northern District Israel Israel
Medeba Numbers 21:30 & Joshua 13:9 Madaba Madaba Governorate Jordan Jordan
Nephtoah Joshua 15:9 Lifta Jerusalem District Israel Israel
No Ezekiel 30:14 Alexandria Alexandria Governorate Egypt Egypt
Noph Isaiah 19:13 Memphis Giza Governorate Egypt Egypt
No-amon/Thebes Ezekiel30:16 & Nahum 3:8 Luxor Luxor Governorate Egypt Egypt
Noph Isaiah 19:13 Memphis Giza Governorate Egypt Egypt
On/Awen Genesis 46:20 Ayn Shams Cairo Governorate Egypt Egypt
Ono I Chronicles 8:12 Or Yehuda Central District Israel Israel
Ophir Job 22:24 Sri Lanka Island country Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
Pi-beseth/Bubastis Ezekiel 30:17 Tell Basta Al Sharqia Governorate Egypt Egypt
Qiryat Arba Joshua 14:15 Hebron Hebron Governorate Israel Israel
Rabbah Amos 1:14 Amman Amman Governorate Jordan Jordan
Rakkath Joshua 19:35 Tiberias Northern District Israel Israel
Sarepta I Kings 17:9 & Obadiah 20 Sarafand Southern Governorate Lebanon Lebanon
Seba (Saba) Psalm 72:10 Meroë River Nile Governorate Sudan Sudan
Sheba I Kings 10:1 Ma’rib Ma’rib Governorate Yemen Yemen
Shechem Genesis 12:6 Nablus Judea and Samaria Area Israel Israel
Shiloah Isaiah 8:6 Silwan Jerusalem District Israel Israel
Shomron (Samaria) I Kings 16:24 Sebaste Judea and Samaria Area Israel Israel
Sin/Pelusium Ezekiel 30:15 Tell el Farama North Sinai Governorate Egypt Egypt
Susa Nehemiah 1:1 Shush Khūzestān Province Iran Iran
Syene Ezekiel 29:10 & 30:6 Aswan Aswan Governorate Egypt Egypt
Tadmor II Chronicles 8:4 Palmyra Homs Governorate Syria Syria
Tahpanhes Jeremiah 44:1 Tell Defenneh Dakahlia Governorate Egypt Egypt
Timnah Judges 14:1 Khirbet Tibneh Jerusalem District Israel Israel
Timnath-heres Joshua 19:50 Kifl Haris Judea and Samaria Israel Israel
Ur Genesis 11:31 & Nehemiah 9:7 Tell el Muqayyar Dhi Qar Governorate Iraq Iraq
Zephathah (Zephath) II Chronicles 14:10 Tell es-Safi Jerusalem District Israel Israel
Ziddim Joshua 19:35 Hittin Northern District Israel Israel
Zoan Numbers 13:22 Tanis Al Sharqia Governorate Egypt Egypt

New Testament names

Biblical name Mentioned in Present name Province/Region Country Name Country Flag
Adramyttium Acts 27:2 Burhaniye Balıkesir Province Turkey Turkey
Antioch Acts 11:26 Antakya Hatay Province Turkey Turkey
Aphek Acts 23:31 Rosh HaAyin Central District Israel Israel
Assos Acts 20:13 Behramkale Çanakkale Province Turkey Turkey
Attalia Acts 14:25 Antalya Antalya Province Turkey Turkey
Berea Acts 17:10-13 Veria Imathia Greece Greece
Cauda Acts 27:16 Gavdos Chania Greece Greece
Cenchrea Romans 16:1 Kechries Korinthía Greece Greece
Gerasa Mark 5:1 & Luke 8:26 Jerash Jerash Governorate Jordan Jordan
Iconium Acts 14:1 Konya Konya Province Turkey Turkey
Lod Acts 9:32 Lod Central District Israel Israel
Lystra Acts 14:8 Klistra Konya Province Turkey Turkey
Mitylene Acts 20:14 Mytilene Lesbos Greece Greece
Myra Acts 27:5 Demre Antalya Province Turkey Turkey
Neapolis Acts 16:11 Kavala East Macedonia and Thrace Greece Greece
Nicopolis Titus 3:12 Preveza Epirus Greece Greece
Pergamum Revelation 2:12 Bergama İzmir Province Turkey Turkey
Philadelphia Revelation 3:7 Alaşehir Manisa Province Turkey Turkey
Ptolemais Acts 21:7 Acre Northern District Israel Israel
Puteoli Acts 28:13 Pozzuoli Campania Italy Italy
Rhegium Acts 28:13 Reggio Calabria Calabria Italy Italy
Smyrna Revelation 2:8 İzmir İzmir Province Turkey Turkey
Thessalonica I & II Thessalonians Thessaloniki Central Macedonia Greece Greece
Thyatira Revelation 2:18 Akhisar Manisa Province Turkey Turkey


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