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Sidon

Sidon, sometimes spelt Zidon, and known to its inhabitants as Saida, is the third-largest city in Lebanon. It is on the Mediterranean coast, about 25 miles north of Tyre and 30 miles south of the capital Beirut. Its name means a fishery. It was one of the most important Phoenician cities.

In 1900 it was a town of 10,000 inhabitants, but in 2000 its population was around 200,000. It contains the remains of walls built in the 12th century AD. In 1855, the sarcophagus of Eshmanezer[?] was discovered. From a Phoenician inscription on its lid, it appears that he was a "king of the Sidonians," probably in the 3rd century BC, and that his mother was a priestess of Ashtoreth[?], "the goddess of the Sidonians." In this inscription Baal is mentioned as the chief god of the Sidonians.

The Bible describes Sidon at various places:

  • It received its name from the "first-born" of Canaan, the grandson of Noah (Genesis 10:15, 19).
  • It was the first home of the Phoenicians on the coast of Canaan, and from its extensive commercial relations became a "great" city. (Joshua 11:8; 19:28).
  • It was the mother city of Tyre. It lay within the lot of the tribe of Asher, but was never subdued (Judges 1:31).
  • The Sidonians long oppressed Israel (Judges 10:12).
  • From the time of David its glory began to wane, and Tyre, its "virgin daughter" (Isaiah 23:12), rose to its place of pre-eminence.
  • Solomon entered into a matrimonial alliance with the Sidonians, and thus their form of idolatrous worship found a place in the land of Israel (1 Kings 11:1, 33).
  • It was famous for its manufactures and arts, as well as for its commerce (1 Kings 5:6; 1 Chronicles 22:4; Ezekiel 27:8).
  • It is frequently referred to by the prophets (Isaiah 23:2, 4, 12; Jeremiah 25:22; 27:3; 47:4; Ezekiel 27:8; 28:21, 22; 32:30; Joel 3:4).
  • Jesus Christ visited the "coasts" of Tyre and Sidon [Matthew 15:21; Mark 7:24; Luke 4:26; and from this region many came forth to hear him preaching (Mark 3:8; Luke 6:17).
  • From Sidon, at which the ship put in after leaving Caesarea, Paul finally sailed for Rome (Acts 27:3, 4).

Initial text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897, with some modernization -- please update as needed.



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