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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Ha´math, one of the smaller kingdoms of Syria, having Zobah on the east and Rehob on the south. This last kingdom, lying within the greater Mount Hermon, is expressly said to have been taken possession of by the Israelites, and, like Dan or Laish, which is represented to have been in the valley of Bethrehob (), is used to denote the northern boundary of the Holy Land. The approach to it from the south is by an opening or mountain-pass, called 'the entrance of Hamath,' and 'the entering in of Hamath,' which, being the passage from the northern extremity of the land of Israel into Syria, is sometimes used to describe the boundary of the former in this direction, as 'from the entering in of Hamath to the river of Egypt' ().

The kingdom of Hamath, or, at least, the southern or central parts of it, appear to have nearly corresponded with what was afterwards denominated Cœle-Syria; but northwards, it stretched as far as the city Hamath on the Orontes, which seems to have been the capital of the whole country. Toi was king of Hamath at the time when David conquered the Syrians of Zobah; and it appears that he had reason to rejoice in the humiliation of a dangerous neighbor, as he sent his own son Joram to congratulate the victor (). In the time of Hezekiah the town along with its territory was conquered by the Assyrians (; ; ; ; ); and afterwards by the Chaldeans (; ). Hamath is still a picturesque town, of considerable circumference, and with wide and convenient streets. In Burckhardt's time the attached district contained 120 inhabited villages, and 70 or 80 that lay waste. The western part of this district forms the granary of Northern Syria, though the harvest never yields more than a tenfold return, chiefly on account of the immense numbers of mice, which sometimes completely destroy the crops.





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Hamath'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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