|1.||a republic in W Asia, on the Mediterranean: ruled by the Ottoman Turks (1516--1918); made a French mandate in 1920; became independent in 1944; joined Egypt in the United Arab Republic (1958--61). Official language: Arabic. Religion: Muslim majority. Currency: Syrian pound. Capital: Damascus. Pop: 18 223 000 (2004 est). Area: 185 180 sq km (71 498 sq miles)|
|2.||(formerly) the region between the Mediterranean, the Euphrates, the Taurus, and the Arabian Desert|
An ancient city in Syria (and still its capital today). The Apostle Paul, then an official called Saul, was on his way from Jerusalem to Damascus to arrest Christians. He underwent a dramatic conversion on the road, in which he fell from his horse, saw a dazzling light, and “heard a voice saying unto him, ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? &ellipsis; I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest.’”
Note: The “road to Damascus” is an image for a sudden turning point in a person's life.
Capital of Syria and largest city in the country, located in southwestern Syria; the country's administrative, financial, and communications center.
Note: Inhabited since prehistoric times, Damascus is widely regarded as the world's oldest city.
Republic in the Middle East, bordered by Turkey to the northwest, north, and northeast; Iraq to the east and south; Jordan to the south; and Israel, the Mediterranean Sea, and Lebanon to the west. Its capital and largest city is Damascus.
Note: Syria was established from former Ottoman Empire territory in 1920 but dominated by France until the 1940s. It is extremely hostile toward Israel.
Note: In the Six-Day War, in 1967, Israeli troops dislodged Syrian forces from the Golan Heights, which overlook Israeli territory.
activity, the most ancient of Oriental cities; the capital of Syria (Isa. 7:8; 17:3); situated about 133 miles to the north of Jerusalem. Its modern name is Esh-Sham; i.e., "the East." The situation of this city is said to be the most beautiful of all Western Asia. It is mentioned among the conquests of the Egyptian king Thothmes III. (B.C. 1500), and in the Amarna tablets (B.C. 1400). It is first mentioned in Scripture in connection with Abraham's victory over the confederate kings under Chedorlaomer (Gen. 14:15). It was the native place of Abraham's steward (15:2). It is not again noticed till the time of David, when "the Syrians of Damascus came to succour Hadadezer" (q.v.), 2 Sam. 8:5; 1 Chr. 18:5. In the reign of Solomon, Rezon became leader of a band who revolted from Hadadezer (1 Kings 11:23), and betaking themselves to Damascus, settled there and made their leader king. There was a long war, with varying success, between the Israelites and Syrians, who at a later period became allies of Israel against Judah (2 Kings 15:37). The Syrians were at length subdued by the Assyrians, the city of Damascus was taken and destroyed, and the inhabitants carried captive into Assyria (2 Kings 16:7-9; comp. Isa. 7:8). In this, prophecy was fulfilled (Isa. 17:1; Amos 1:4; Jer. 49:24). The kingdom of Syria remained a province of Assyria till the capture of Nineveh by the Medes (B.C. 625), when it fell under the conquerors. After passing through various vicissitudes, Syria was invaded by the Romans (B.C. 64), and Damascus became the seat of the government of the province. In A.D. 37 Aretas, the king of Arabia, became master of Damascus, having driven back Herod Antipas. This city is memorable as the scene of Saul's conversion (Acts 9:1-25). The street called "Straight," in which Judas lived, in whose house Saul was found by Ananias, is known by the name Sultany, or "Queen's Street." It is the principal street of the city. Paul visited Damascus again on his return from Arabia (Gal. 1:16, 17). Christianity was planted here as a centre (Acts 9:20), from which it spread to the surrounding regions. In A.D. 634 Damascus was conquered by the growing Mohammedan power. In A.D. 1516 it fell under the dominion of the Turks, its present rulers. It is now the largest city in Asiatic Turkey. Christianity has again found a firm footing within its walls.
(Heb. Aram), the name in the Old Testament given to the whole country which lay to the north-east of Phoenicia, extending to beyond the Euphrates and the Tigris. Mesopotamia is called (Gen. 24:10; Deut. 23:4) Aram-naharain (=Syria of the two rivers), also Padan-aram (Gen. 25:20). Other portions of Syria were also known by separate names, as Aram-maahah (1 Chr. 19:6), Aram-beth-rehob (2 Sam. 10:6), Aram-zobah (2 Sam. 10:6, 8). All these separate little kingdoms afterwards became subject to Damascus. In the time of the Romans, Syria included also a part of Palestine and Asia Minor. "From the historic annals now accessible to us, the history of Syria may be divided into three periods: The first, the period when the power of the Pharaohs was dominant over the fertile fields or plains of Syria and the merchant cities of Tyre and Sidon, and when such mighty conquerors as Thothmes III. and Rameses II. could claim dominion and levy tribute from the nations from the banks of the Euphrates to the borders of the Libyan desert. Second, this was followed by a short period of independence, when the Jewish nation in the south was growing in power, until it reached its early zenith in the golden days of Solomon; and when Tyre and Sidon were rich cities, sending their traders far and wide, over land and sea, as missionaries of civilization, while in the north the confederate tribes of the Hittites held back the armies of the kings of Assyria. The third, and to us most interesting, period is that during which the kings of Assyria were dominant over the plains of Syria; when Tyre, Sidon, Ashdod, and Jerusalem bowed beneath the conquering armies of Shalmaneser, Sargon, and Sennacherib; and when at last Memphis and Thebes yielded to the power of the rulers of Nineveh and Babylon, and the kings of Assyria completed with terrible fulness the bruising of the reed of Egypt so clearly foretold by the Hebrew prophets.", Boscawen.