Easton's Bible Dictionary
(Hebrew. Aram), The name in the Old Testament given to
the whole country which lay to the north-east of Phoenicia, extending to beyond
the Euphrates and the Tigris. Mesopotamia is called ( Genesis 24:10 ; Deuteronomy
23:4 ) Aram-naharain (=Syria of the two rivers), also Padan-aram ( Genesis 25:20
). Other portions of Syria were also known by separate names, as Aram-maahah (
1 Chronicles 19:6 ), Aram-beth-rehob ( 2 Samuel 10:6 ), Aram-zobah ( 2 Samuel
10:6 , 10:8 ). All these separate little kingdoms afterwards became subject to
Damascus. In the time of the Romans, Syria included also a part of Palestine and
"From the historic annals now accessible to us, the history of Syria may
be divided into three periods: The first, the period when the power of the Pharaohs
was dominant over the fertile fields or plains of Syria and the merchant cities
of Tyre and Sidon, and when such mighty conquerors as Thothmes III. and Rameses
II. could claim dominion and levy tribute from the nations from the banks of the
Euphrates to the borders of the Libyan desert. Second, this was followed by a
short period of independence, when the Jewish nation in the south was growing
in power, until it reached its early zenith in the golden days of Solomon; and
when Tyre and Sidon were rich cities, sending their traders far and wide, over
land and sea, as missionaries of civilization, while in the north the confederate
tribes of the Hittites held back the armies of the kings of Assyria. The third,
and to us most interesting, period is that during which the kings of Assyria were
dominant over the plains of Syria; when Tyre, Sidon, Ashdod, and Jerusalem bowed
beneath the conquering armies of Shalmaneser, Sargon, and Sennacherib; and when
at last Memphis and Thebes yielded to the power of the rulers of Nineveh and Babylon,
and the kings of Assyria completed with terrible fulness the bruising of the reed
of Egypt so clearly foretold by the Hebrew prophets.", Boscawen.
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
The term used throughout our version for the Hebrew Aram,
as well as for the Greek Zupia. Most probably Syria is for Tsyria, the country
about Tsur or Tyre which was the first of the Syrian towns known to the Greeks.
It is difficult to fix the limits of Syria. The limits of the Hebrew Aram and
its subdivisions are spoken of under ARAM. Syria proper was bounded by Amanus
and Taurus on the north by the Euphrates and the Arabian desert on the east, by
Palestine on the south, by the Mediterranean near the mouth of the Orontes, and
then by Phoenicia on the west. This tract is about 300 miles long from north to
south, and from 50 to 150 miles broad. It contains an area of about 30,000 square
General physical features . --
The general character of the tract is mountainous, as
the Hebrew name Aram (from a roof signifying "height") sufficiently implies. The
most fertile and valuable tract of Syria is the long valley intervening between
Libanus and Anti-Libanus. Of the various mountain ranges of Syria, Lebanon possesses
the greatest interest. It extends from the mouth of the Litany to Arka, a distance
of nearly 100 miles. Anti-Libanus, as the name implies, stands lover against Lebanon,
running in the same direction, i.e. nearly north and south, and extending the
same length. [LEBANON] The principal rivers of Syria are the Litany and the Orontes.
The Litany springs from a small lake situated in the middle of the Coele-Syrian
valley, about six miles to the southwest of Baalbek. It enters the sea about five
miles north of Tyre. The source of the Orontes is but about 15 miles from that
of the Litany. Its modern name is the Nahr-el-Asi , or "rebel stream," an appellation
given to it on account of its violence and impetuosity in many parts of its course.
The chief towns of Syria may be thus arranged, as nearly as possible in the order
of their importance:
5, Tadmor or Palmyra
7, Epiphania (Hamath)
9, Hierapolis (Mabug)
13, Laodicea ad Libanum
Of these, Samosata, Zeugma and Thapsacus are on the Euphrates; Seleucia, Laodicea,
Poseideum and Heraclea, on the seashore, Antioch, Apamea, Epiphania and Emesa
(Hems ), on the Orontes; Heliopolis and Laodicea ad Libanum, in Coele-Syria; Hierapolis,
Chalybon, Cyrrhus, Chalcis and Gindarns, in the northern highlands; Damascus on
the skirts, and Palmyra in the centre, of the eastern desert.
The first occupants of Syria appear to have been of Hamitic
descent --Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, etc. After a while the first comers,
who were still to a great extent nomads, received a Semitic infusion, while most
Probably came to them from the southeast. The only Syrian town whose existence
we find distinctly marked at this time is Damascus, ( Genesis 14:15 ; 15:2 ) which
appears to have been already a place of some importance. Next to Damascus must
be placed Hamath. ( Numbers 13:21 ; 34:8 ) Syria at this time, and for many centuries
afterward, seems to have been broken up among a number of petty kingdoms.
The Jews first come into hostile contact with the Syrians, under that name, in
the time of David. ( Genesis 15:18 ; 2 Samuel 8:3 , 8:4 , 8:13 ) When, a few years
later, the Ammonites determined on engaging in a war with David, and applied to
the Syrians for aid, Zolah, together with Beth-rehob sent them 20,000 footmen,
and two other Syrian kingdoms furnished 13,000. ( 2 Samuel 10:6 ) This army being
completely defeated by Joab, Hadadezer obtained aid from Mesopotamia, ibid. ver.
16, and tried the chance of a third battle, which likewise went against him, and
produced the general submission of Syria to the Jewish monarch. The submission
thus begun continued under the reign of Solomon. ( 1 Kings 4:21 ) The only part
of Syria which Solomon lost seems to have been Damascus, where an independent
kingdom was set up by Rezon, a native of Zobah. ( 1 Kings 11:23 - 25 )
On the separation of the two kingdoms, soon after the accession of Rehoboam, the
remainder of Syria no doubt shook off the yoke. Damascus now became decidedly
the leading state, Hamath being second to it, and the northern Hittites, whose
capital was Carchemish, near Bambuk , third. [DAMASCUS]
Syria became attached to the great Assyrian empire, from which it passed to the
Babylonians, and from them to the Persians, In B.C. 333 it submitted to Alexander
without a struggle. Upon the death of Alexander, Syria became, for the first time
the head of a great kingdom. On the division of the provinces among his generals,
B.C. 321, Seleucus Nicator received Mesopotamia and Syria. The city of Antioch
was begun in B.C. 300, and, being finished in a few years, was made the capital
of Seleucus kingdom. The country grew rich with the wealth which now flowed into
it on all sides.
Syria was added to the Roman empire by Pompey, B.C. 64, and as it holds an important
place, not only in the Old Testament but in the New, some account of its condition
under the Romans must be given. While the country generally was formed into a
Roman province, under governors who were at first proprietors or quaestors, then
procounsuls, and finally legates, there were exempted from the direct rule of
the governor in the first place, a number of "free cities" which retained the
administration of their own affairs, subject to a tribute levied according to
the Roman principles of taxation; secondly, a number of tracts, which were assigned
to petty princes, commonly natives, to be ruled at their pleasure, subject to
the same obligations with the free cities as to taxation. After the formal division
of the provinces between Augustus and the senate, Syria, being from its exposed
situation among the province principis, were ruled by legates, who were of consular
rank (consulares) and bore severally the full title of "Legatus Augusti pro praetore."
Judea occupied a peculiar position; a special procurator was therefore appointed
to rule it, who was subordinate to the governor of Syria, but within his own province
had the power of a legatus.
Syria continued without serious disturbance from the expulsion of the Parthians,
B.C. 38, to the breaking out of the Jewish war, A.D. 66. in A.D. 44-47 it was
the scene of a severe famine. A little earlier, Christianity had begun to spread
into it, partly by means of those who "were scattered" at the time of Stephens
persecution, ( Acts 11:19 ) partly by the exertions of St. Paul. ( Galatians 1:21
) The Syrian Church soon grew to be one of the most flourishing ( Acts 13:1 ;
15:23 , 15:35 , 15:41 ) etc. (Syria remained under Roman and Byzantine rule till
A.D. 634, when it was overrun by the Mohammedans; after which it was for many
years the scene of fierce contests, and was finally subjugated by the Turks, A.D.
1517, under whose rule it still remains. --ED.)
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
(1) sir'-i-a (Suria (Matthew 4:24; Luke 2:2)):
1. Name and Its Origin:
The name does not occur in the Massoretic Text nor the Peshitta of the Old Testament,
but is found in the Septuagint, in the Peshitta of the New Testament and in the
Mishna In the Septuagint it represents "Aram" in all its combinations, as Aram-zobah,
etc. The name itself first appears in Herodotus vii.63, where he says that "Syrians"
and "Assyrians" were the Greek and barbarian designations of the same people.
Otherwise he is quite vague in his use of the term. Xenophon is clearer when he
(Anab; vii.8, 25) distinguishes between Syria and Phoenicia. Syria is undoubtedly
an extension of the name "Suri" the ancient Babylonian designation of a district
in North Mesopotamia, but later embracing regions beyond the Euphrates to the
North and West, as far as the Taurus. Under the Seleucids, Syria was regarded
as coextensive with their kingdom, and the name shrank with its dimensions. Strabo,
Pliny and Ptolemy give its boundaries as the Taurus Mountains, the Euphrates,
the Syro-Arabian desert and the Mediterranean, and the territory within these
limits is still politically designated Syria, though popularly Palestine is generally
2. Other Designations:
Homer (Iliad ii.785) and Hesiod (Theog. 304) call the inhabitants of the district
"Arimoi," with which compare the cuneiform "Arimu" or "Aramu" for Arameans. The
earliest Assyrian name was "Martu," which Hommel regards as a contraction of "Amartu,"
the land of the "Amurru" or Amorites. In Egyptian records the country is named
"Ruten" or "Luten," and divided into "Lower" and "Upper," the former denoting
Palestine and the latter Syria proper.
(1) The Maritime Plain.
Syria, within the boundaries given, consists of a series of belts of low and high
land running North and South, parallel to the Mediterranean. The first of these
is the maritime plain. It consists of a broad strip of sand dunes covered by short
grass and low bushes, followed by a series of low undulating hills and wide valleys
which gradually rise to a height of about 500 ft. This belt begins in North Syria
with the narrow Plain of Issus, which extends to a few miles South of Alxandretta,
but farther South almost disappears, being represented only by the broader valleys
and the smaller plains occupied by such towns as Latakia, Tripolis and Beirut.
South of the last named the maritime belt is continuous, being interrupted only
where the Ladder of Tyre and Mt. Carmel descend abruptly into the sea. In the
Plain of Akka it has a breadth of 8 miles, and from Carmel southward it again
broadens out, till beyond Caesarea it has an average of 10 miles. Within the sand
dunes the soil is a rich alluvium and readily yields to cultivation. In ancient
times it was covered with palm trees, which, being thence introduced into Greece,
were from their place of origin named phoinikes.
(2) First Mountain Belt.
From the maritime plain we rise to the first mountain belt. It begins with the
Amanus, a branch of the Taurus in the North. Under that name it ceases with the
Orontes valley, but is continued in the Nuseiriyeh range (Mt. Cassius, 5,750 ft.),
till the Eleutherus valley is reached, and thence rising again in Lebanon (average
5,000 ft.), Jebel Sunnin (8,780 ft.), it continues to the Leontes or Quasmiyeh.
The range then breaks down into the rounded hills of Upper Galilee (3,500 ft.),
extends through the table-land of Western Palestine (2,500 ft.), and in the South
of Judea broadens out into the arid Badiet et-Tih or Wilderness of Wandering.
(3) Second Mountain Belt.
Along with this may be considered the parallel mountain range. Beginning in the
neighborhood of Riblah, the chain of anti-Lebanon extends southward to Hermon
(9,200 ft.), and thence stretches out into the plateau of the Jaulan and Hauran,
where we meet with the truncated cones of extinct volcanoes and great sheets of
basaltic lava, especially in el-Leja and Jebel ed-Druz. The same table-land continues
southward, with deep ravines piercing its sides, over Gilead, Moab and Edom.
(4) Great Central Valley.
Between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon lies the great valley of Coele-Syria. It is continued
northward along the Orontes and thence stretches away eastward to the Euphrates,
while southward it merges into the valleys of the Jordan and the Arabah. From
the sources of the Orontes and Leontes at Baalbek (4,000 ft.) it falls away gently
to the North; but to the South the descent is rapid. In Merj 'Ayun it has sunk
to 1,800 ft., at Lake Huleh it is over 7 ft., at the Lake of Tiberias--682 ft.,
and at the Dead Sea--1,292 ft., and thence it rises again to the Gulf of Akabah.
This great valley was caused by a line of fault or fracture of the earth's crust,
with parallel and branching faults. In ancient times the whole valley formed an
arm of the sea, and till the Glacial period at the end of the Tertiary (Pleistocene)
Age, a lake extended along the whole Jordan valley as far as the Huleh. We can
thus understand that the great plain and adjoining valleys consist mainly of alluvial
deposits with terraces of gravel and sand on the enclosing slopes.
NATURAL FEATURES; PALESTINE; PHOENICIA.
(5) The Eastern Belt.
To the East of the Anti-Lebanon belt there is a narrow stretch of cultivated land
which in some places attains a breadth of several miles, but this is always determined
by the distance to which the eastern streams from Anti-Lebanon flow. Around Damascus
the Abana (Barada) and neighboring streams have made the district an earthly paradise,
but they soon lose themselves in the salt marshes about 10 miles East of the city.
Elsewhere the fruitful strip gradually falls away into the sands and rocks of
the Syrian desert, barren alike of vegetable and animal life.
The mountain ranges determine the course of the rivers and their length. The streams
flowing westward are naturally short and little more than summer torrents. Those
flowing to the desert are of the same character, the only one of importance being
the Abana, to which Damascus owes its existence. Only the great central valley
permits the formation of larger rivers, and there we find the Orontes and Leontes
rising within a few feet of each other beside Baalbek, and draining Coele-Syria
to the North and South, till breaking through the mountains they reach the sea.
The Jordan is the only other stream of any size. In ancient, as also in modern
times, the direction of these streams determined the direction of the great trade
route from Mesopotamia to Egypt through Coele-Syria and across pal, as also the
position of the larger towns, but, not being themselves navigable, they did not
form a means of internal communication.
(7) Nature of Soil.
The variation in altitude both above and below the sea-level is naturally conducive
to a great variety of climate, while the nature of the disintegrating rocks and
the alluvial soil render great productivity possible. Both of the mountain belts
in their whole length consist chiefly of cretaceous limestone, mixed with friable
limestone with basaltic intrusions and volcanic products. The limestone is highly
porous, and during the rainy season absorbs the moisture which forms reservoirs
and feeds the numerous springs on both the eastern and western slopes. The rocks
too are soft and penetrable and can easily be turned into orchard land, a fact
that explains how much that now appears as barren wastes was productive in ancient
times as gardens and fruitful fields (Bab Talmud, Megh. 6a).
The western valleys and the maritime plain have the flora of the Mediterranean,
but the eastern slopes and the valleys facing the desert are poorer. On the southern
coasts and in the deeper valleys the vegetation is tropical, and there we meet
with the date-palm, the sugar-cane and the sycomore. Up to 1,600 ft., the products
include the carob and the pine, after which the vine, the fig and the olive are
met with amid great plantations of dwarf oak, till after 3,000 ft. is reached,
then cypresses and cedars till the height of 6,200 ft., after which only Alpine
plants are found. The once renowned "cedars of Lebanon" now exist only in the
Qadisha and Baruk valleys. The walnut and mulberry are plentiful everywhere, and
wheat, corn, barley, maize and lentils are widely cultivated. Pasture lands are
to be found in the valleys and plains, and even during the dry season sheep, goats
and cattle can glean sufficient pasturage among the low brushwood.
The animal world is almost as varied. The fox, jackal, hyena, bear, wolf and hog
are met nearly everywhere, and small tigers are sometimes seen (compare 2 Kings
14:9). The eagle, vulture, partridge and blue pigeon are plentiful, and gay birds
chirp everywhere. The fish in the Jordan and its lakes are peculiar and interesting.
There are in all 22 varieties, the largest being a kind of perch, the coracinus,
which is known elsewhere also in the Nile (Josephus, Ant, III, x, 8), and a peculiar
old-world variety locally named 'Abu-musht.
In both the eastern and the western mountain belts there are abundant supplies
of mineral wealth. They consist chiefly of coal, iron, bitumen, asphalt and mineral
oil, but they are mostly unworked. In the Jordan valley all the springs below
the level of the Mediterranean are brackish, and many of them are also hot and
sulfurous, the best known being those Tiberias.
(11) Central Position.
The country, being in virtue of its geographical configuration separated into
small isolated districts, naturally tended to break up into a series of petty
independent states. Still the central position between the Mesopotamian empires
on the one hand and Egypt and Arabia on the other made it the highway through
which the trade of the ancient world passed, gave it an importance far in excess
of its size or productivity, and made it a subject of contention whenever East
and West were ruled by different powers.
(1) Canaanitic Semites.
When history begins for us in the 3rd millennium BC, Syria was already occupied
by a Semitic population belonging to the Canaanitic wave of immigration, i.e.
such as spoke dialects akin to Hebrew or Phoenician. The Semites had been already
settled for a considerable time, for a millennium earlier in Egypt we find Semitic
names for Syrian articles of commerce as well as Semites depicted on the Egyptian
(2) Sargon of Agade.
Omitting as doubtful references to earlier relations between Babylonia and Syria,
we may consider ourselves on solid ground in accepting the statements of the Omen
Tablets which tell us that Sargon of Agade (2750 BC) four times visited the land
of Martu and made the peoples of one accord. His son Naram-sin, while extending
the empire in other directions maintained his authority here also. Commercial
relations were continued, and Babylonia claimed at least a supremacy over Martu,
and at times made it effective.
(3) Babylonian Supremacy.
Hammurabi and also his great-grandson Ammisatana designate
themselves in inscriptions as kings of Martu, and it is very likely that other
kings maintained the traditional limits of the empire. The long-continued supremacy
of Babylon not only made itself felt in imposing place-names, but it made Assyrian
the language of diplomacy, even between Syria and Egypt, as we see in the Tell
(4) Hittite and Aramean.
By the middle of the 2nd millennium BC we find considerable
change in the population. The Mitanni, a Hittite people, the remains of whose
language are to be found in the still undeciphered inscriptions at Carchemish,
Marash, Aleppo and Hamath, are now masters of North Syria.
The great discoveries of Dr. H. Winckler at Boghazkeui have furnished a most important
contribution to our knowledge. The preliminary account may be found in OLZ, December
15, 1906, and the Mitteilungen der deutschen orient. Gesellschaft, number 35,
Elsewhere the Aramean wave has become the predominant Semitic element of population,
the Canaanitic now occupying the coast towns (Phoenicians) and the Canaan of the
(5) Hittites and Egyptians.
At this time Babylonia was subject to the Kassites, an alien race of kings, and
when they fell, about 1100 BC, they gave place to a number of dynasties of short
duration. This gave the Egyptians, freed from the Hyksos rule, the opportunity
to lay claim to Syria, and accordingly we find the struggle to be between the
Hittites and the Egyptians. Thothmes I, about 1600 BCa overran Syria as far as
the Euphrates and brought the country into subjection. Thothmes III did the same,
and he has left us on the walls of Karnak an account of his campaigns and a list
of the towns he conquered.
(6) Amarna Period.
In the reign of Thothmes IV the Hittites began to leave their
mountains more and more and to press forward into Central Syria. The Tell el-Amarna
Letters show them to be the most serious opponents to the Egyptian authority in
Syria and Palestine during the reign of Amenhotep IV (circa 1380 BC), and before
Seti I came to the throne the power of the Pharaohs had greatly diminished in
Syria. Then the Egyptian sphere only reached to Carmel, while a neutral zone extended
thence to Kadesh, northward of which all belonged to the Hitites.
(7) Rameses II.
Rameses II entered energetically into the war against Hatesar,
king of the Hittites, and fought a battle near Kadesh. He claims a great victory,
but the only result seems to have been that his authority was further extended
into the neutral territory, and the sphere of Egyptian influence extended across
Syria from the Lycus (Dog River) to the South of Damascus. The arrangement was
confirmed by a treaty in which North Syria was formally recognized as the Hittite
sphere of influence, and, on the part of the Assyrians who were soon to become
the heirs of the Hittite pretensions, this treaty formed the basis of a claim
against Egypt. About the year 1200 BC the Hittites, weakened by this war, were
further encroached upon by the movements of northern races, and the empire broke
up into a number of small separate independent states.
Among the moving races that helped to weaken and break up the
Hittite influence in Syria were the Pulusati (or Purusati), a people whose origin
is not yet definitely settled. They entered Syria from the North and overcame
all who met them, after which they encamped within the Egyptian sphere of influence.
Rameses III marched against them, and he claims a great victory. Later, however,
we find them settled in Southeastern Palestine under the name of Philistines.
Their settlement at that time is in harmony with the Tell el-Amarna Letters in
which we find no trace of them, while in the 11th century BC they are there as
the inveterate foes of Israel.
(9) Tiglath-pileser I.
Assyria was now slowly rising into power, but it had to
settle with Babylon before it could do much in the West. Tiglath-pieser I, however,
crossed the Euphrates, defeated the Hittite king of Carchemish, advanced to the
coast of Arvad, hunted wild bulls in Lebanon and received gifts from the Pharaoh,
who thus recognized him as the successor of the Hittites in North Syria.
(10) Aramean States.
When the Hittite empire broke up, the Arameans in Central
Syria, now liberated, set up a number of separate Aramean states, which engaged
in war with one another, except when they had to combine against a common enemy.
Such states were established in Hamath, Hadrach, Zobah and Rehob. The exact position
of Hadrach is still unknown, but Hamath was evidently met on its southern border
by Rehob and Zobah, the former extending along the Biqa'a to the foot of Hermon,
while the latter stretched ~along the eastern slopes of Anti-Lebanon and included
Damascus, till Rezon broke away and there set up an independent kingdom, which
soon rose to be the leading state; Southeast of Hermon were the two smaller Aramean
states of Geshur and Maacah.
(11) Peaceful Development.
For nearly three centuries now, Syria and Palestine were, except on rare occasions,
left in peace by both Mesopotamia and Egypt. In the 12th century BC Babylonia
was wasted by the Elamite invasion, and thereafter a prolonged war was carried
on between Assyria and Babylonia, and although a lengthened period of peace succeeded,
it was wisely used by the peaceful rulers of Assyria for the strengthening of
their kingdom internally. In Egypt the successors of Rameses III were engaged
against the aggressive Theban hierarchy. During the XXIst Dynasty the throne was
usurped by the high priests of Amen, while the XXIId were Lybian usurpers, and
the three following dynasties Ethiopian conquerors.
(12) Shalmaneser II.
In the 9th century Asshur-nazirpal crossed the Euphrates and overran the recently
established state of Patin in the Plain of Antioch. He besieged its capital and
planted a colony in its territory, but the arrangement was not final, for his
successor, Shalmaneser II, had again to invade the territory and break up the
kingdom into a number of small principalities. Then in 854 BC he advanced into
Central Syria, but was met at Karkar by a strong confederacy consisting of Ben-hadad
of Damascus and his Syrian allies including Ahab of Israel. He claims a victory,
but made no advance for 5 years. He then made three unsuccessful expeditions against
Damascus, but in 842 received tribute from Tyre, Sidon and Jehu of Israel, as
recorded and depicted on the Black Obelisk. It was not till the year 797 that
Ramman-nirari, after subduing the coast of Phoenicia, was able to reduce Mari'a
of Damascus to obedience at which time also he seems to have carried his conquests
through Eastern Palestine as far as Edom. The Assyrian power now suffered a period
of decline, during which risings took place at Hadrach and Damascus, and Jeroboam
II of Israel was able (2 Kings 14:25) to extend his boundaries northward to the
(13) Tiglath-pileser III.
It thus happened that Tiglath-pileser III (745-728) had to reconquer the whole
of Syria. He captured Arpad after two years' warfare (742-740). Then he divided
the territory of Hamath among his generals. At this juncture Ahaz of Judah implored
his aid against Rezin of Damascus and Remaliah of Israel. Ahaz was relieved, but
was made subject to Assyria. Damascus fell in 732 BC and a Great Court was held
there, which the tributary princes of Syria, including Ahaz (2 Kings 16:10), attended.
The Assyrian empire now possessed the whole of Syria as far as the River of Egypt.
Sibahe, however, encouraged revolt in what had been the Egyptian sphere of infiuence
and insurrections took place in Phoenicia and Samaria.
(14) Shalmaneser IV and Sargon.
After some difficulty Shalmaneser IV compelled Tyre and Sidon to submit and to
pay tribute. Samaria, too, was besieged, but was not taken till Sargon came to
the throne in 722. Hamath and Carchemish again rose, but were finally reduced
in 720 and 717 respectively. Again in 711 Sargon overran Palestine and broke up
a fresh confederacy consisting of Egypt, Moab, Edom, Judah and the Philistines.
In 705 the Egyptians under Sibahe and their allies the Philistines under Hanun
of Gaza were defeated at Raphia.
The last three rulers of Assyria were in constant difficulties with Babylonia
and a great part of the empire was also overrun by the Scythians (circa 626 BC),
and so nothing further was done in the West save the annexation of the mainland
possessions of Phoenicia.
(15) Pharaoh-necoh and Nebuchadnezzar.
In 609 when Assyria was in the death grapple with Babylonia, Pharaoh-necoh took
advantage of the situation, invaded Syria, and, defeating Josiah en route, marched
to Carchemish. In 605, however, he was there completely defeated by Nebuchadnezzar,
and the whole of Syria became tributary to Babylonia. the former Syrian states
now appear as Babylonian provinces, and revolts in Judah reduced it also to that
position in 586 BC.
Under Persian rule these provinces remained as they were for a time, but ultimately
"Ebir nari" or Syria was formed into a satrapy. The Greek conquest with the Ptolemies
in Egypt and the Seleucids in Babylon brought back some of the old rivalry between
East and West, and the same unsettled conditions. On the advent of Rome, Syria
was separated from Babylonia and made into a province with Antioch as its capital,
and then the Semitic civilization which had continued practically untouched till
the beginning of the Christian era was brought more and more into contact with
the West. With the advent of Islam, Syria fell into Arab hands and Damascus became
for a short time (661-750 AD) the capital of the new empire, but the central authority
was soon removed to Babylonia. Thenceforward Syria sank to the level of a province
of the caliphate, first Abbasside (750-1258), then Fatimite (1258-1517), and finally
W. M. Christie
In Daniel 2:4, for the King James Version "Syriack" the Revised Version (British
and American) has "Syrian," and in the margin "Or, 'in Aramaic.'"
See ARAMAIC LANGUAGE; LANGUAGES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.
aram, bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, country, syria, zupia