Syria

Northern neighbor to Israel, descendants of Esau

Syria

A name of Greek origin designating a loosely defined region to the northeast of Israel, occupying approximately the same area as the modern nation of Syria. Apparently Herodotus first applied the name Syria to this area, perhaps as a ­shortened form of the name “Assyria,” which ­historically refers to a separate and distinct ­geographic, cultural, and political entity. The King James Version. The Aramean states most often mentioned in the Bible are Zobah and Damascus. The Israelites gained control of Aram ­during the reign of David but lost control of it by the end of Solomon’s reign. The Bible depicts relations between the northern kingdom of Israel and the Arameans as generally antagonistic during the period of the Israelite Divided Monarchy.

Book of Mormon usage follows the KJV in employing Syria and Syrians to designate Aram. Syrians occurs in 2 Nephi 19:12 // Isaiah 9:12, while Syria occurs in 2 Nephi 17:1–8 // Isaiah 7:1–8. This latter passage recounts an attempt by Pekah, king of Israel, and Rezin, king of Damascus, the most powerful state in southern Aram, to force Ahaz, king of Judah, to join them in an ­anti- ­Assyrian coalition. They besieged Jerusalem and threatened to dethrone Ahaz if he did not join them. Isaiah prophesied that patient faith in the Lord would ensure the continued rule of Ahaz over J udah. Ahaz, however, procured the services of the king of Assyria to deliver him from this coalition.

In partial response to the invitation of Ahaz, the Assyrians invaded and conquered the area of Aram, along with the northern portion of Israel, in 732 B. C. A decade later , the Assyrians completely conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and deported thousands of Israelites, who became known as the ten lost ­tribes. See also Chronology, Bible; Isaiah chapter reviews; Israel, historical background of; Israel, kingdom ­of.

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