Phoenicia

Phenicia, or Phoenicia, from the Greek phoinix, which meant both a palm, with an intended meaning of the land of palm-trees (palm trees were apparently found through the area - they're pictured on ancient Phoenician coins), and dark red, which may also well apply to the Phoenicians because they are believed by some to be the discoverers of the red-purple dye made from the murex shellfish. Although exact boundary definitions are not clear, Phoenicia was generally a strip of territory varying up to 20 miles / 32 kilometers wide, with a length of approximately 120 miles / 200 kilometers along The Mediterranean Sea from upper Galilee from what is today Haifa, north to the Lebanon range. Among the principal Phoenician cities were Tyre, Sidon, Byblos (Gebal) and Berytos (Beirut).

The Phoenician people were among the great masters of commerce of the ancient world, with colonies widely established along the Mediterranean (e.g. Carthage in North Africa). Due to its location at the "center of the world," Phoenicia became the hub of international finance with trade routes from Asia to Africa converging on the Phoenician coast. This is referred to in The Bible:

The Phoenicians, primarily through King Hiram of Tyre, were major suppliers of materials and skilled labor to Solomon for the building of the original Temple (see Temples), which God commanded to be built in Jerusalem:

The Phoenician religion was similar to that of the Canaanites, with Baal, and its related idols, the most prevalent. Jezebel (bel is a form of baal), a Phoenician woman from Sidon who married King Ahab of Israel (despite God's repeated command for the Israelites not to marry idol worshipers) was one of the most infamous corruptive influences to the Israelites in her time. She fiercely attempted to obliterate the worship of the True God - she commanded that the people forsake The Lord, and murdered as many of His prophets that she could find (1 Kings 18:4), including attempts on Elijah.

Phoenician dominance began to decline with the rise of the Assyrians (see Ancient Empires - Assyria), although later the Persians (see Ancient Empires - Persia) allowed Phoenicia to maintain itself as a regional ally, where the then still formidable Phoenician fleet was used against Greece and Egypt. The Greek warlord Alexander the Great (see Ancient Empires - Greece) eventually conquered Phoenicia, and with the rise of the Romans (see Ancient Empires - Rome) its power and influence were gone.

Fact Finder: Did Jesus Christ visit and preach in Phoenicia (i.e. Tyre and Sidon)?
Matthew 15:21

Bible Places Index | Daily Bible Study Home Page

Daily Bible Study
Copyright Information
Contact the Author or Web Site Administrator