|Cities of Ancient Israel|
L1 on the Map.
esh-Sham. Capital of the kingdom of Syria (Aram). Damascus is around 70 miles from the Mediterranean Sea coast. It is just east of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains, in the valley of the Abana, a great plain about 2,300 feet above sea level. The Abana and Pharpar rivers water the area. Ancient Accadian and Egytptian documents mention Damascus as an important caravan center and a fertile oasis. It is a very fertile area, with many gardens, orchards, and meadows.
It was located at an important junction of trade routes. In fact 3 major roads led out of the city. The western road led toward Egypt, the southern road led to Mecca, and the eastern road led to Babylon. Damascus was often associated with Abraham; Gen. 14:15; 15:2. There were many conflicts in this area with Israel, 1 Kgs. 11:24; 20:l ff; 22:l ff; 2 Kgs. 6ff; 16:5 ff; Isa. 7:l ff. Damascus was conquered by the Assyrians in 732 B.C., 2 Kgs. 16:9; and Ezekiel mentions it as a commercial city, Ezek. 27:18.
In N.T. times Damascus contained Jewish inhabitants, Acts 9:2 ff, and Christianity made early converts there inculding Paul the apostle, Acts 9:10, 19. Although in the Roman province of Syria, it was reckoned as belonging to Decapolis, and Aretas king of the Nabataeans (Arabia Petraea) had authority there, 2 Cor. 11:32. On the eve of the Roman war (66 A.D.) the Jews of Damascus were murdered by its gentile inhabitants.
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