Zidon/Sidon was an ancient Phoenician city that dates back to over 3000 years. The seaport Zidon, was called the “great Zidon” during the era of the Hebrew conquest (Joshua 11:8). The city was mentioned in Egyptian hieroglyphic and Mesopotamian cuneiform texts, as the most important of the Phoenician city-states from the earliest times. It was used by the Phoenicians as a seaport for trade and business.
According to the Bible, the Canaanites built the city of Zidon. Canaan was the son of Ham and the grandson of Noah. Canaan had a son named Sidon who was the father of the Sidonian people (Genesis 10:15). The inhabitants of Sidon were Mariners, seafarers, traders and the worshipers of many gods. Sidon specialized in producing glass and purple dye.
Many Phoenicians then called themselves Zidonians even though they were from other close cities. The Zidonians inhabited Cyprus and established colonies in Cilicia and Caria in Asia Minor, on various Greek islands, on Crete, and on the Black Sea.
The government among the cities of Phoenicia passed from Zidon to its neighbor city Tyre about 1100 B.C. Once Tyre became an established seaport, an instant rivalry formed between both of the cities to control business and sea trade. Esarhaddon claimed to have defeated Tyre, but Nebuchadnezzar, after seizing Tyre, failed to overcome it after a 13 year siege. Consequently, Zidon once more played a significant role, during the Persian era. Later, it was fully ruined by Artaxerxes III in 351 B.C. The same destiny came upon Tyre, when Alexander captured it in 332 B.C., thus, ending the flourishing era of the Phoenician city-states.
Zidon/Sidon was an ancient culture that worshiped false pagan gods. They primarily worshiped Baal, Ashtoreth and the fish-god Dagon. God had to judge its people because of their idolatry and corrupt immoral religious practices. The prophet Ezekiel pronounced a prophecy against it, “Son of man, set your face toward Sidon, and prophesy against her, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, O Sidon; I will be glorified in your midst; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I execute judgments in her and am hallowed in her” (Ezekiel 28: 21-22).
Relation to Israel
Zidon/Sidon was the enemy of Israel for its corrupting idolatrous influence. During the time of the judges, the Israelites were negatively influenced by the evil worship of the gods of Canaanites and of Zidon (Judge 10:6). The Bible records that the Zidonians attacked Israel in Judges 10:12.
In era of the Kings, David and Solomon hired help from Zidonians to build the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 5:6). And later on, the Lord commanded the prophet Elijah to go to a Zidon city called Zeraphath where he will be taken care of by a widow (1 Kings 17:9).
After the exile, the Israelites did business with the people of Zidon to acquire materials for building the Jerusalem wall (Ezra 3:7). And during the time of Jeremiah, the prophet predicted that the Lord will punish Zidon for its persistent wickedness (Jeremiah 47:4).
In His service,
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