Dictionary of Bible Names

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Bible Meaning: Silent is the sackcloth weaver
Strong's Concordance #H1834, #G1154

Damascus, the capital of modern Syria that is located roughly 130 miles (209 kilometers) from Jerusalem, is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited places on earth. Evidence of a significant population living in the area dates to at least the second millennium B.C.

Damascus, in the KJV Bible, is directly named at least sixty times. The city's first mention is in the book of Genesis, where it is connected with Abraham's military victory over a confederation of kings led by Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14:15). The city was both a strategic and commercial hub as it was the starting point for the major north-south route, east of the Jordan River, called the King's Highway.

Naaman, a Syrian officer, complained to Elisha that his healing from leprosy should take place in one of the two rivers of Damascus instead of in the Jordan. He ultimately relented, however, bathing in the Jordan and miraculously healed (2Kings 5, see also Luke 4:23 - 27).

The Repentance of Saul

Saul's repentance, which eventually turned him into the Apostle Paul, began with a trip to the city. Before his conversion, He traveled to the city to haul off to jail all those in the synagogues who believed in Jesus (Acts 9:2). God, however, strikes him blind during his journey begins to lead him to repentance.

Location of Damascus and its two rivers Map
Location of Damascus Near Abana River

The Lord, after Saul had fasted for three days, contacts a disciple named Ananias in the city. He commands him to not only visit and heal Saul of his blindness, but also to baptize him (Acts 9:10 - 18). After Saul receives God's spirit, he immediately begins to evangelize the city. His teachings and the ability to prove that Jesus is the Messiah are so effective that Jews quickly seek to murder him (Acts 9:20 - 25)!

Paul, after he fled Damascus, stays in Arabia to be taught by Jesus. He returns to the city after leaving Arabia.

Important Verses

1Kings 15:18
Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants: and king Asa sent them to Benhadad, the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying,

2Kings 5:1, 10 - 12
Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valor, but he was a leper . . .

And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. But Naaman was wroth . . .

Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.

Acts 9:1 - 22, 22, 27
And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,

And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he (Saul) found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem . . .

But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ . . .

But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

Galatians 1:11 - 12, 17
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ . . .

Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

Additional Studies

Dictionary of Biblical Names
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Series Notes
References are based on the
King James Bible translation (KJV).