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Bible Dictionaries

Morrish Bible Dictionary


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One of the oldest cities in the world, being mentioned as a known city in the days of Abraham. Genesis 14:15; Genesis 15:2 . Josephus says it was founded by Uz, grandson of Shem. It is not again mentioned in scripture until the time of David. It was the capital of Syria. Isaiah 7:8 . The Syriansof Damascus sided with Hadadezer, king of Zobah, against Israel, but David slew 22,000 of the Syrians. 2 Samuel 8:5 . David put garrisons in Syria, and they brought him gifts. 1 Chronicles 18:3-6 . Rezon escaped and established himself at Damascus as king of Syria and was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon. 1 Kings 11:23-25 .

A few years later Ben-hadad was induced by Judah to attack Baasha king of Israel, when all the land of Naphtali was smitten. 1 Kings 15:16-20 . About 30 years after this Benhadad II. besieged Samaria; but God wrought for their deliverance, and Ben-hadad was taken prisoner; but Ahab called him 'brother' and released him, for which he was rebuked by a prophet. 1 Kings 20 . About B.C. 890 Hazael murdered Ben-hadad and became king of Syria; and we read that Jehovah began to cut Israel short and He used Hazael as His instrument. He smote all the coasts of Israel, from Jordan eastward, in Gilead and the lands of Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh. 2 Kings 10:32,33 . He took also Gath, and was only diverted from Jerusalem by Jehoash giving up the royal and temple treasures. 2 Kings 12:17,18 . Ben-hadad III. his son continued to exercise dominion over Israel, 2 Kings 13:3-7,22; but Jehovah had compassion on Israel, and Joash, according to the dying prophecy of Elisha, overcame the king of Syria three times and recovered the cities of Israel. 2 Kings 13:14-19,23-25 . Jeroboam also 'restored' the coast of Israel, and recovered Damascus and Hamath, according to the prophecy of Jonah. 2 Kings 14:23-28 .

About a century later, Rezin king of Syria and Pekah king of Israel attacked Ahaz and besieged Jerusalem. Ahaz sent the royal and temple treasures to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria to induce him to resist Rezin. He attacked Damascus, and took it, and carried away the inhabitants to Kir, and slew Rezin, about B.C. 740. 2 Kings 16:5-9; Isaiah 7:1-9 .

Isaiah prophesied that Damascus should be a ruinous heap, because of its confederacy with Ephraim against God's city Jerusalem. Isaiah 17:1 : cf. also Amos 1:3-5; Jeremiah 49:23-27; Zechariah 9:1 . God had used the kings of Syria to punish Israel; but, as in other cases, He afterwards for their arrogance and cruelty brought them to nought.

In the time of the Medo-Persian kingdom, Damascus was again rebuilt and was the most famous city of Syria; it afterwards belonged to the Greeks, and later to the Romans, and eventually to the Arabs, Saracens, and Turks.

In the N.T. Damascus is of note as the city near to which Paul was converted, and where he received his sight, and began to preach. He escaped from his enemies by being let down by the wall in a basket. Acts 9:2-27; Acts 22:5-11 . In 2 Corinthians 11:32 its inhabitants are called DAMASCENES. Damascus was the first Gentile city in which Jesus was preached as 'the Son of God;' and though it is now in possession of Muslims, yet in their great mosque a stone has been preserved that formed part of a church erected on the spot, bearing this inscription in Greek: " Thy kingdom, O Christ, is an everlasting kingdom, and Thy dominion endureth throughout all generations. " The city is also lamentably memorable on account of the outburst of Muslim hatred in 1860, when on the 9th, 10th and 11th of July not less than 2,500 adult Christians were murdered by them in cold blood, and many besides lost their lives in their flight.

The city is beautifully situated (33 30' N, 36 18' E ) at the foot of the south-east range of Antilibanus on a large plain, watered by the two rivers Barada and Awaj (the Abana and Pharpar of 2 Kings 5:12 ), the former of which runs through the city, and may be said to be the life of the place. The plain abounds in corn-fields, olive-groves, and meadows, with vines, figs, apricots, citrons, plums, pomegranates, and other fruits. There is a long street of more than a mile in length that may well have been called 'Straight,' but is now a street of Bazaars. This was divided into rows by Corinthian columns, the remains of which can still be traced.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Damascus'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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