In the Old Testament ZIDON, now called Saida, was celebrated city of Phoenicia, on the Mediterranean Sea, twenty miles north of Tyre and as many south of Beyroot. It is one of the most ancient cities in the world, Ge 49:13, and is believed to have been founded by Zidon, the eldest son of Canaan, Ge 10:15; 49:13. In the time of Homer, the Zidonians were eminent for their trade and commerce, their wealth and prosperity, their skill in navigation, astronomy, architecture, and for their manufactures of glass, etc. They had then a commodious harbor, now choked with sand and inaccessible to any but the smallest vessels. Upon the division of Canaan among the tribes by Joshua, Great Zidon fell to the lot of Asher, Jos 11:8; 19:28; but that tribe never succeeded in obtaining possession, Jg 1:31; 3:3; 10:12. The Zidonians continued long under their own government and kings, though sometimes tributary to the kings of Tyre. They were subdued successively by the Babyloniaus, Egyptians, Seleucidae, and Romans the latter of whom deprived them of their freedom. Many of the inhabitants of Sidon became followers of our Savior, Mr 3:8, and he himself visited their freedom. Many of them also resorted to him in Galilee, Lu 6:17. The gospel was proclaimed to the Jews at Sidon after the martyrdom of Stephen, Ac 11:19, and there was a Christian church there, when Paul visited it on his voyage to Rome, Ac 27:3. It is at present, like most of the other Turkish towns in Syria, dirty and full of ruins, thought it still retains a little coasting trade, and has five thousand inhabitants. It incurred the judgments of God for its sins, Eze 28:21-24, though less ruinously than Tyre. Our Savior refers to both cities, in reproaching the Jews as more highly favored and less excusable than they, Mt 11:22. Saida occupies an elevated promontory, projecting into the sea, and defended by walls. Its environs watered by a stream from their beautiful gardens, and fruit trees of every kind.
("fishing town"); SIDON or ZIDON. Ge 10:9,15; Jos 11:8; 19:28; Jg 1:31. Sidon was in Asher (Isa 23:2,4,12). An ancient mercantile city of Phoenicia, in the narrow plain between Lebanon and the Mediterranean, where the mountains recede two miles from the sea; 20 miles N. of Tyre. Now Saida. Old Sidon stands on the northern slope of a promontory projecting a few hundred yards into the sea, having thus "a fine naturally formed harbour" (Strabo). The citadel occupies the hill behind on the south. Sidon is called (Ge 10:15) the firstborn of Canaan, and "great Sidon" or the metropolis (Jos 11:8). Sidonians is the generic name of the Phoenicians or Canaanites (Jos 13:6; Jg 18:7); in Jg 18:28 Laish is said to be "far from Sidon," whereas Tyre, 20 miles nearer, would have been specified if it had then been a city of leading importance. (See TYRE.) So in Homer Sidon is named, but not Tyre.
Justin Martyr makes (Jg 18:3) Tyre a colony planted by Sidon when the king of Ascalon took Sidon the year before the fall of Troy. Tyre is first mentioned in Scripture in Jos 19:29 as "the strong city," the "daughter of Sidon" (Isa 23:12.) Sidon and Sidonians are names often subsequently used for Tyre, Tyrians. Thus Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians (1Ki 16:31), is called by Menander in Josephus (Ant. 8:13, section 2) king of the Tyrians. By the time of Zechariah (Zec 9:2) Tyre has the precedency, "Tyrus and Sidon." Sidon revolted from the yoke of Tyre when Shalmaneser's invasion gave the opportunity. Rivalry with Tyre influenced Sidon to submit without resistance to Nebuchadnezzar. Its rebellion against the Persian Artaxerxes Ochus entailed great havoc on its citizens, Tennes its king proving traitor. Its fleet helped Alexander the Great against Tyre (Arrian, Anab. Al., 2:15).
Augustus took away its liberties. Its population is now 5,000. Its trade and navigation have left it for Beirut. It was famed for elaborate embroidery, working of metals artistically, glass, the blowpipe, lathe, and graver, and cast mirrors. (Pliny 36:26, H. N. 5:17; 1Ki 5:6, "not any can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians".) Their seafaring is alluded to (Isa 23:2). Self indulgent ease followed in the train of their wealth, so that "the manner of the Sidonians" was proverbial (Jg 18:7).. Sidon had her own king (Jer 25:22; 27:3). Sidonian women in Solomon's harem seduced him to worship Ashtoreth "the goddess of the Sidonians" (1Ki 11:1,4; 2Ki 23:13).
Joel reproves Sidon and Tyre for selling children of Judah and Jerusalem to the Grecians, and threatens them with a like fate, Judah selling their sons and daughters to the Sabeans. So Ezekiel (Eze 28:22-24) threatens Sidon with pestilence and blood in her streets, so that she shall be no more a pricking brier unto Israel. Jesus went once to the coasts of Tyre and Sidon (Mt 15:21). Paul touched at Sidon on his voyage from Caesarea to Rome (Ac 27:3); by Julius' courteous permission Paul there "went unto his friends to refresh himself." Tyre and Sidon's doom shall be more tolerable in the day of judgment than that of those who witnessed Christ's works and teaching, yet repented not (Mt 11:21-22). On a coin of the age of Antiochus IV Tyre claims to be "mother of the Sidonians," being at that time the capital city.
Si'don Sidonians. Sido'nians
See ZIDON and ZIDONIANS.
the Greek form of the Phoenician name Zidon. [ZIDON]
See Zidon, or Sidon
SIDON, or ZIDON, a celebrated city and port of Phenicia, and one of the most ancient cities in the world; as it is supposed to have been founded by Sidon, the eldest son of Canaan, which will carry it up to above two thousand years before Christ. But if it was founded by Sidon, his descendants were driven out by a body of Phenician colonists, or Cushim from the east; who are supposed either to have given it its name, or to have retained the old one in compliment to their god Siton, or Dagon. Its inhabitants appear to have early acquired a preeminence in arts, manufactures, and commerce; and from their superior skill in hewing timber, by which must be understood their cutting it out and preparing it for building, as well as the mere act of felling it, Sidonian workmen were hired by Solomon to prepare the wood for the building of his temple. The Sidonians are said to have been the first manufacturers of glass; and Homer often speaks of them as excelling in many useful and ingenious arts, giving them the title of ????????????. Add to this, they were, if not the first shipwrights and navigators, the first who ventured beyond their own coasts, and in those early ages engrossed the greatest part of the then commerce of the world. The natural result of these exclusive advantages to the inhabitants of Sidon was, a high degree of wealth and prosperity; and content with the riches which their trade and manufactures brought them, they lived in ease and luxury, trusting the defence of their city and property, like the Tyrians after them, to hired troops; so that to live in ease and security, is said in Scripture to be after the manner of the Sidonians. In all these respects, however, Sidon was totally eclipsed by her neighbour and rival, Tyre; whose more enterprising inhabitants pushed their commercial dealings to the extremities of the known world, raised their city to a rank in power and opulence unknown before, and converted it into a luxurious metropolis, and the emporium of the produce of all nations. After the subversion of the Grecian empire by the Romans, Sidon fell into the hands of the latter; who, to put an end to the frequent revolt of the inhabitants, deprived it of its freedom. It then fell successively under the power of the Saracens, the Seljukian Turks, and the sultans of Egypt; who, in 1289, that they might never more afford shelter to the Christians, destroyed both it and Tyre. But it again somewhat revived, and has ever since been in the possession of the Ottoman Turks.