("fishing town"); SIDON or ZIDON. Genesis 10:9; Genesis 10:15; Joshua 11:8; Joshua 19:28; Judges 1:31. Sidon was in Asher (Isaiah 23:2; Isaiah 23:4; Isaiah 23:12). An ancient mercantile city of Phoenicia, in the narrow plain between Lebanon and the Mediterranean, where the mountains recede two miles from the sea; 20 miles N. of Tyre. Now Saida. Old Sidon stands on the northern slope of a promontory projecting a few hundred yards into the sea, having thus "a fine naturally formed harbour" (Strabo). The citadel occupies the hill behind on the south. Sidon is called (Genesis 10:15) the firstborn of Canaan, and "great Sidon" or the metropolis (Joshua 11:8). Sidonians is the generic name of the Phoenicians or Canaanites (Joshua 13:6; Judges 18:7); in Judges 18:28 Laish is said to be "far from Sidon," whereas Tyre, 20 miles nearer, would have been specified if it had then been a city of leading importance. (See TYRE.) So in Homer Sidon is named, but not Tyre.
Justin Martyr makes (Judges 18:3) Tyre a colony planted by Sidon when the king of Ascalon took Sidon the year before the fall of Troy. Tyre is first mentioned in Scripture in Joshua 19:29 as "the strong city," the "daughter of Sidon" (Isaiah 23:12.) Sidon and Sidonians are names often subsequently used for Tyre, Tyrians. Thus Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians (1 Kings 16:31), is called by Menander in Josephus (Ant. 8:13, section 2) king of the Tyrians. By the time of Zechariah (Zechariah 9:2) Tyre has the precedency, "Tyrus and Sidon." Sidon revolted from the yoke of Tyre when Shalmaneser's invasion gave the opportunity. Rivalry with Tyre influenced Sidon to submit without resistance to Nebuchadnezzar. Its rebellion against the Persian Artaxerxes Ochus entailed great havoc on its citizens, Tennes its king proving traitor. Its fleet helped Alexander the Great against Tyre (Arrian, Anab. Al., 2:15).
Augustus took away its liberties. Its population is now 5,000. Its trade and navigation have left it for Beirut. It was famed for elaborate embroidery, working of metals artistically, glass, the blowpipe, lathe, and graver, and cast mirrors. (Pliny 36:26, H. N. 5:17; 1 Kings 5:6, "not any can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians".) Their seafaring is alluded to (Isaiah 23:2). Self indulgent ease followed in the train of their wealth, so that "the manner of the Sidonians" was proverbial (Judges 18:7).. Sidon had her own king (Jeremiah 25:22; Jeremiah 27:3). Sidonian women in Solomon's harem seduced him to worship Ashtoreth "the goddess of the Sidonians" (1 Kings 11:1; 1 Kings 11:4; 2 Kings 23:13).
Joel reproves Sidon and Tyre for selling children of Judah and Jerusalem to the Grecians, and threatens them with a like fate, Judah selling their sons and daughters to the Sabeans. So Ezekiel (Ezekiel 28:22-24) threatens Sidon with pestilence and blood in her streets, so that she shall be no more a pricking brier unto Israel. Jesus went once to the coasts of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 15:21). Paul touched at Sidon on his voyage from Caesarea to Rome (Acts 27:3); by Julius' courteous permission Paul there "went unto his friends to refresh himself." Tyre and Sidon's doom shall be more tolerable in the day of judgment than that of those who witnessed Christ's works and teaching, yet repented not (Matthew 11:21-22). On a coin of the age of Antiochus IV Tyre claims to be "mother of the Sidonians," being at that time the capital city.
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