The name given to a river or canal, as well as a place nearby, located in Babylonia, NW of Babylon, where Ezra gathered together certain Jews and held a fast before undertaking the trek to Jerusalem. (Ezr 8:15, 21, 31) It evidently was a journey of about eight or nine days from Babylon. (Compare Ezr 7:9; 8:15, 31.) Herodotus (I, 179) speaks of a little river named Is, which flows into the Euphrates, and states that the city of Is on this river is about eight days’ journey from Babylon. Is has been identified with the modern Hit, and some suggest this as the probable location of Ahava.
Concerning the town of Hit, The New Encyclopædia Britannica (1987, Vol. 5, p. 949) says: “On the Euphrates River, Hit is a small walled town built on two mounds on the site of an ancient city; bitumen wells in the vicinity have been utilized for at least 3,000 years and were used in the building of Babylon.” This source of bitumen may correspond to the Biblical account of the construction of the Tower of Babel, in which bitumen served for mortar.—Ge 11:3.