1. A city founded by Nimrod in the land of Shinar. (Ge 10:10) It thus evidently lay in southern Mesopotamia, but the location is uncertain. Nippur, an ancient Babylonian city about 85 km (50 mi) SE of Babylon, has long been suggested as its site, based on Talmudic tradition and other factors. Some scholars, however, prefer an identification with Kulunu, the early name of a city of some importance near Babylon. A third possibility is a twin city of Kish called Hursagkalama, the latter part of the name (-kalama) supposedly representing Calneh. Some translations (RS, JB, NE) render Calneh, not as a place-name, but as the phrase “all of them” so that the text reads, “Babel, Erech, and Accad, all of them in the land of Shinar.” This, however, requires an adjustment in the vowel pointing of the Masoretic text.
2. A place mentioned by the prophet Amos, along with the cities of Hamath and Gath, when warning the people of Israel and Judah of coming calamity. (Am 6:2) While some commentators consider it to be the same as No. 1 above, most scholars view its association with Hamath and Gath as indicating a location in the region adjacent to the eastern Mediterranean Sea, rather than in Mesopotamia. They suggest an identification with Kullani of the Assyrian inscriptions in northern Syria (apparently represented today by modern Kullan Köy, about 16 km [10 mi] SE of Arpad), mentioned by Tiglath-pileser III as among the places subjugated during an Assyrian campaign in the west. If this identification is correct, then Calneh here may be the same as Calno of Isaiah 10:9.