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RESEN (Heb. רֶסֶן), according to Genesis 10:12, one of the cities (?) which Nimrod built "between Nineveh and Calah, the latter is the great[er] city." The verse describes the situation of the cities in the "Assyrian triangle" (inner Assyria) in the latter part of the second millennium, when Calah was still a more important city than Nineveh (cf. the differences of opinion between Rashi and Ibn Ezra). While the traditional interpretation of the verse takes Resen to be the name of a city like Calah and Nineveh, other interpretations have been advanced.

According to one possibility, Resen is related to the Akkadian stem rsn and is derived from the verb rasānu or resēnu, "to wash, to irrigate (?)," whence the noun risnu, "washing, cleansing." A second, more fruitful possibility is that Resen was part of a waterwork (standing between Nineveh and Calah). This suggestion is advanced by D. Dossin and E.A. Speiser, who interpreted Resen as a sandhi of the original rēšīnī or the Assyrian rēš ēne (Heb. ראש העין) meaning, especially in Assyrian, "source of water, spring." The term exists not only as a common noun (see Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, 7 (1960), 158) but also as an actual place-name, URU ("city") Re-eš-e-ne (see D.D. Luckenbill, The Annals of Sennacherib (1924), 79:91), near Nineveh, which was a station of the aqueduct to Nineveh reconstructed by Sennacherib.


Th. Jacobsen and S. Lloyd, Sennacherib's Aqueduct at Jerwan (1935); E.A. Speiser, Genesis (1964), 68; S. Parpola, Neo-Assyrian Toponyms (1970), 293.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.