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English Bible Dictionary

Hamath

 

(fortress), the principal city of upper Syria, was situated in the valley of the Orontes, which it commanded from the low screen of hills which forms the water-shed between the source of the Orontes and Antioch. The Hamathites were a Hamitic race, and are included among the descendants of Canaan. (Genesis 10:18) Nothing appears of the power of Hamath until the time of David. (2 Samuel 8:9) Hamath seems clearly to have been included in the dominions of Solomon. (1 Kings 4:21-24) The "store-cities" which Solomon "built in Hamath," (2 Chronicles 8:4) were perhaps staples for trade, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. In the Assyrian inscriptions of the time of Ahab (B.C. 900) Hamath appears as a separate power, in alliance with the Syrians of Damascus, the Hittites and the Phoenicians. About three-quarters of a century later Jeroboam the Second "recovered Hamath." (2 Kings 14:28) Soon afterwards the Assyrians took it, (2 Kings 18:34; 19:13) etc., and from this time it ceased to be a place of much importance. Antiochus Epiphanes changed its name to Epiphaneia. The natives, however, called it Hamath even in St. Jerome's time, and its present name, Hamah, is but slightly altered from the ancient form.

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