One of the two rivers of Damascus referred to by the Syrian army commander Naaman when scorning Elisha’s instructions to bathe himself in the waters of the Jordan as a cure for his leprosy.—2Ki 5:12.
This river is generally identified with the Nahr Barada, which rises in the Anti-Lebanon mountains to the NW of Damascus and, after traversing the mountains, emerges from a gorge just to the W of Damascus. Then it courses through the northern part of the city and fans out to irrigate a large area before finally losing itself in a body of marshes to the E of the city. Its waters, used to irrigate fields and orchards by means of canals and conduits, create an extensive verdant oasis. It can well be said that Damascus owes its existence to the Barada. It has long been the source of water for the city’s cisterns, fountains, and baths. Classical writers called it Golden River (Chrysorrhoas). So, Naaman’s high opinion of the river appears to have had a solid basis.
The word “Amana” or “Amanah” is used instead of “Abanah” at 2 Kings 5:12 in An American Translation, also in the translation published by The Jewish Publication Society of America, and the margin of the Masoretic text as well as the Syriac Peshitta so read. At Song of Solomon 4:8 reference is made to “Amana” in many translations, and it is understood to refer to the Anti-Lebanon mountains in which the river here discussed has its source. Hence, the river may have taken on the name of the mountains in which it originated.