"Syria" can mean the whole Mediterranean coast between Turkey and Egypt. More precisely, it is used as a modern equivalent of the Hebrew term "Aram".
The Aramean people occupied the city-states to the north and east of Israel, roughly in the area now occupied by Syria. These cities were usually dominated by Damascus, still the Syrian capital (pictured, above and left from Clack).
Though Israel and Syria sometimes banded together, for example in Ahab's time, to oppose Assyria, usually they were rivals. Jeroboam II is said to have conquered Damascus and restored both it and Hamath to Israelite control (2 Kings 14:28).
Its situation at an oasis, and at a place that the
major trade route must pass, made Damascus
commercially important. The main route cannot follow the coastline and is blocked
East and West of Damascus
by mountains and desert.
This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,
© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.