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Holman Bible Dictionary

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Additional Resources
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Hebrew - Lebo-hamath
Hebrew - Hamath the great
Hebrew - Hamathzobah, Hamath-zobah
Hebrew - Hamath

(hay' math) Place name meaning, “fortress” or “citadel.” City-state located in the valley of the Orontes River, roughly 120 miles north of Damascus. Excavation indicates this mound was occupied as early as Neolithic times. Hieroglyphic inscriptions first discovered by J. L. Burckhardt in 1810 attest early Hittite influence in Hamath. Throughout much of its existence, Hamath functioned as the capital of an independent kingdom.

The southern boundary of Hamath served as the northern boundary of Israel during the reigns of Solomon (1 Kings 8:65; 2 Chronicles 8:4) and Jeroboam II (2 Kings 14:25,2 Kings 14:28). The “entrance of Hamath” was treated as the northern border of Israel (Numbers 34:8; Joshua 13:5; Ezekiel 47:15-17,Ezekiel 47:20; Ezekiel 48:1) and served as an accepted geographical expression (Numbers 13:21; Judges 3:3).

Toi, king of Hamath, sent his son to congratulate David after David defeated King Hadadezer of Zobah. Toi had frequently fought with Hadadezer (2 Samuel 8:9-10; 1 Chronicles 18:3,1 Chronicles 18:9-10). See Toi. In 853 B.C. King Irhuleni of Hamath joined a coalition including Ben-hadad II of Damascus and Ahab of Israel which successfully thwarted the advance of Shalmaneser II of Assyria into northern Syria. In about 802 B.C. Adad-nirari III of Assyria crushed Damascus and levied a heavy tax upon it. During the following decades, the king of Hamath, probably named Zakir, waged a successful rivalry with Damascus. Hamath reached the zenith of its power between 800 and 750 B.C.

In 738 B.C. Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria exacted tribute from Hamath together with other states including Israel. Following the fall of Samaria in 722-721 B.C., Hamath was devastated in 720 B.C. by Sargon II of Assyria (Amos 6:2). Refugees from Samaria may have been exiled to Hamath by the Assyrians, while refugees from Hamath were brought to Samaria along with their god, Ashima (2 Kings 17:24,2 Kings 17:30; Isaiah 11:11). From this time, Hamath's history seems to merge with that of Damascus (Jeremiah 49:23).

In the Hellenistic period, Antiochus

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'HAMATH'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1991.


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