What do we know about the Sumerians?

Sumerians lived in ancient times in what is now southern Iraq. They came from northern Mesopotamia or Assyria and created several city-states. Hammurabi was the last Sumerian king. His land was invaded and taken from him by the Babylonians in about 1700 BC.

Sumerians are famous for developing cuneiform, one of the first written languages. Cuneiform uses wedge-shaped marks and survives on fired clay tablets or pillars on which it was written with a tool such as a stylus. One of the most famous surviving cuneiform writings is the Epic of Gilgamesh which recounts a heroic king, but also includes a story about a great flood similar to the one in Genesis.

Sumerians built the Ziggurat of Ur in a city of the same name to worship a moon deity, Nanna. The Sumerians are thought to have been powerful warriors, skilled at agriculture, architecture, and literature. Historians consider Sumerians "proto-Euphrateans" who lived near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Genesis 2:14 mentions both of these rivers as two of the four which flowed from the garden of Eden. The area was and is known as the "Fertile Crescent" and the "cradle of civilization" and is where the wheel, irrigation, and other developments were invented.

Ur, where the Sumerians lived, is identified as Abram's (later Abraham) birthplace. Though the Bible does not specifically say, Abraham may have been a Sumerian. He was living in Mesopotamia when God called him to leave there and go to a new land that God would show him (the land of Canaan, present day Lebanon and Israel) (Genesis 12:1–3; Hebrews 11:8–9). Abraham had faith in the Lord, believing His promises and following Him. God promised that He would bless the nations through Abraham, which He did most significantly in sending Jesus Christ, our Messiah, through Abraham's lineage. Now, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" (Galatians 3:28–29). Abraham is considered the spiritual father of all who have faith in Jesus today (Genesis 17:5; Acts 3:25; Romans 4:12, 16).

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