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Bible Dictionaries

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary

Damascus

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One of the world’s most ancient cities, Damascus has existed from at least the time of Abraham (Genesis 14:15). It is important in the Bible story as capital of the nation Syria, which was much involved in Israel’s affairs from the time of the division of the Israelite kingdom in 930 BC to the conquest of Syria by Assyria in 732 BC. (For the history of Damascus during this period see SYRIA.)

The city of Damascus was on the major trade routes that crossed the region and was an important commercial centre (1 Kings 20:34; Ezekiel 27:18). It was also the religious centre of Syria. The ungodly Judean king Ahaz worshipped the Syrian gods there, and built a copy of the Syrian altar in Jerusalem (2 Kings 16:10-16; 2 Chronicles 28:22-24).

After Alexander the Great’s conquest in 333 BC, Syria was made into an important province of the eastern part of the Greek Empire. But instead of making Damascus the provincial capital, the new rulers built a new capital at Antioch. With the Roman conquest of 64 BC, Damascus came under the administration of Rome, though for one brief period it was in the hands of an Arab king called Aretas (2 Corinthians 11:32-33).

The great persecutor of the early Christians, Paul, was converted to Christianity while on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:1-19). There were several Jewish synagogues in the city, and the Jews opposed Paul so violently that he had to escape to save his life (Acts 9:20-25). After a period in Arabia, he returned to Damascus (Galatians 1:17). It is not known how often Paul visited Damascus, though it is known that on several occasions he visited churches in Syria (Acts 15:41; Galatians 1:21).

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Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Damascus'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/bbd/d/damascus.html. 2004.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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