A celebrated city of Syria. Hamath, like Jerusalem and Damascus, is one of the few places in Syria and Palestine which have retained a certain degree of importance from the very earliest ages to the present time. The name occurs in Genesis 10:18, as the seat of a Canaanitish tribe; and it is often mentioned as the northern limits of Canaan in its widest extent, Numbers 13:21; Joshua 13:5; Judges 3:3. In David’s time, Toi king of Hamath was his ally, 2 Samuel 8:9,10.
Burckhardt describes Hamath as "situated on both sides of the Orontes; a part of it is built on the declivity of a hill, and a part in the plain. The town is of considerable extent, and must contain at least 30,000 inhabitants. There are four bridges over the Orontes in the town. The river supplies the upper town with water by means of buckets fixed to high wheels, which empty themselves into stone canals, supported by lofty arches on a level with the upper part of the town. There are about a dozen of the wheels; the largest of them is at least seventy feet in diameter. The principal trade of Hamath is with the Arabs, who buy here their tent furniture and clothes. The government of Hamath comprises about one hundred and twenty inhabited villages, and seventy or eighty which have been abandoned. The western part of its territory is the granary of the northern Syria, though the harvest never yields more than ten for one, chiefly in consequence of the immense numbers of mice, which sometimes wholly destroy the crops." "The entering in of Hamath" is the northern part of the valley which leads up to it from Palestine, between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, Numbers 13:21; 1 Kings 1:53.