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Bible history - ancient cities- Sidon

Updated on November 26, 2010


Zidon of the Old Testament

Sidon, the Zidon of the Old Testament, an ancient and wealthy city of Phoenicia, on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, in lat­itude 30° 34/ 05" north, less than twenty English miles north of Tyre and about the same distance south of the present city of Beirut. Its modern name is Saida. It is situated in the nar­row plain between Lebanon and the sea.

The most ancient cities in the world

Sidon is one of the most ancient cities in the world, and is mentioned by Jacob in Genesis xlix. 13. Historically, it has been inhabited since 4000 BC and perhaps as early as Neolithic times (6000 - 4000 BC). In a Bible context it is believed to have been founded by Zidon, the eldest son of Canaan, soon after the deluge.

'Mother City' of Phoenicia

It was one of the most important Phoenician cities, and may have been the oldest. From here, and other ports, a great Mediterranean commercial empire was founded. It was once a place of great wealth and importance, possessing a splendid harbor and an extensive maritime trade. It was also from Zidon that a colonizing party went to found the city of Tyre, which progressed from a colony to challenge Zidon for greatness and the claim to be the metropolis ('Mother City') of Phoenicia.

Famous for its commerce

From the time of David its glory began to wane, and Tyre, its "virgin daughter" (Isaiah 23:12), rose to its place of pre-eminence. Solomon entered into a matrimonial alliance with the Sidonians, and thus their form of idolatrous worship found a place in the land of Israel(1 Kings 11:1, 33).

The  inhabitants of Zidon were famous for their success in commerce, their skill in navigation, Astronomy, architecture, and glass-naking. No less than Homer, praised the skill of its craftsmen in producing glass and purple dyes.

Jesus and St. paul visited

Elijah stayed a while in Sidon, performing miracles (1 Kings 17:9-24; Luke 4:26), and Jesus visited the "coasts" of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 15:21Mark 7:24) and from this region many came forth to hear him preaching (Mark 3:8; Luke 6:17). It was from Sidon that Paul finally sailed for Rome after leaving  Caesarea (Acts 27:3, 4).

Bible references

Gen. x. 19, 15 ; Josh. xi. 8 ; xix. 28 ; Judg. i. 31; xviii. 28 ; 1 Chron. i. 13; Isa. xxiii. 2, 4, 12; Jer. xxv. 22 ; xxvii. 3 ; Ezek. xxviii. 21, 22; Joel iii. 4 [iv. 4]; Zech. ix. 2; 2 Esdr. i. 11 ; Jud. ii. 28 ; 1 Mace. v. 15; Matt. xi. 21, 22 ; xv. 21 ; Mark iii. 8 ; vii. 24, 31; Luke iv. 26 ; vi. 17 ; x. 13, 14; Acts xii. 20; xxvii. 3).


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