|Cities of Ancient Israel|
G1 on the Map.
Saida. Chief city of Phoenicia. Sidonians were referred to as not merely the people of Sidon but the Phoenicians. Phoenicia had two capitals, at different time periods, Tyre and Sidon. Sidon also known as Zidon or "Great Zidon" was the mother city, and said to have been built by Noah's great-grandson, therefore the name, Zidon. Sidon was one the most important ancient Phoenician cities. It was situated in the narrow fertile plain between the mountains of Lebanon and Mediterranean 25 miles north of Tyre.
Sidon was the first Phoenician city to send ships in to the open seas, and at that time they navigated using the stars. They were a wealthy community and a commercial city, famous for their gold and silver and their manufactures of embroidery, dies, metals, but especially glass. They found many commercial colonies along the shores of the Mediterranean. A famous ancient proverb about the prosperity of the people of Sidon was, "dwell carelessly, after the manner of the Sidonians."
Although Sidon was barely within the limits of the Promised Land, it was never possessed by the Israelites. The tribe of Asher, to whom it belonged, were unwilling to drive out their wealthy neighbors. During the time of the Judges, Israel was oppressed by the Sidonians. The prophets declared judgments against Sidon, and they were all literally fulfilled when the Assyrian rulers campaigned against it. When Nebuchadnezzar conquered Sidon more than half of its inhabitants died of a plague. Artaxerxes III of Persia annihilated Sidon in 352 B.C. Under Alexander the Great they enjoyed peace for a little while, but when he died the Ptolemies and Seleucids became a thorn in their side and finally in 64 B.C. Sidon was taken by Pompey.
It is interesting that Jezebel, whom king Ahab had married, was the daughter of the king of Sidon. It was Jezebel who had introduced certain new cults into Israel.
During the first century A.D. a Syro-Phoenician woman came to Jesus when he was at "the borders of Tyre," in the district which Solomon gave to king Hiram, to which he gave the name Cabul, or Gabul, "the off scourings," of his dominions. Jesus cured the daughter of the Syro-Phoenician woman because she showed faith in him (Matt 15: 21 -28; Mk 7:24 -30). While Paul was on his way to Rome as a prisoner he was allowed to visit his friends in this city (Acts 27:1,3).
Judg. 1:31; 1 Kgs. 17:9; Isa. 23:2, 4:12; Joel 3:48; Matt. 11:21; Acts 27:3.
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