Reference: Zidon, Or Sidon
Zi'don, or Si'don,
( Joel 4:4 ); Zech 9:2; Matt 11:21,22; 15:21; Mark 3:8; 1:24,31; Luke 6:17; 10:13,14 an ancient and wealthy city of Phoenicia, on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, less than twenty English miles to the north of Tyre. Its Hebrew name, Tsidon, signifies fishing or fishery. Its modern name is Saida. It is situated in the narrow plain between the Lebanon and the sea. From a biblical point of view this city is inferior in interest to its neighbor Tyre; though in early times Sidon was the more influential of the two cities. This view is confirmed by Zidonians being used as the generic name of Phoenicians or Canaanites.
From the time of Solomon to the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar Zidon is not often directly mentioned in the Bible, and it appears to have been subordinate to Tyre. When the people called "Zidonians" are mentioned, it sometimes seems that the Phoenicians of the plain of Zidon are meant.
All that is known are respecting the city is very scanty, amounting to scarcely more than that one of its sources of gain was trade in slaves, in which the inhabitants did not shrink from selling inhabitants of Palestine and that it was governed by kings.
During the Persian domination Zidon seems to have attained its highest point of prosperity; and it is recorded that, toward the close of that period, it far excelled all other Phoenician cities in wealth and importance. Its prosperity was suddenly cut short by an unsuccessful revolt against Persia, which ended in the destruction of the town, B.C. 351. Its king, Tennes had proved a traitor and betrayed the city to Ochus, king of the Persians; the Persian troops were admitted within the gates, and occupied the city walls. The Zidonians, before the arrival of Ochus, had burnt their vessels to prevent any one's leaving the town; and when they saw themselves surrounded by the Persian troops, they adopted the desperate resolution of shutting themselves up with their families, and setting fire each man to his own house. Forty thousand persons are said to have perished in the flames. Zidon however, gradually recovered from the blow, and became again a flourishing town. It is about fifty miles distant from Nazareth, and is the most northern city which is mentioned in connection with Christ's journeys. (The town Saida still shows signs of its former wealth, and its houses are better constructed and more solid than those of Tyre, many of them being built of stone; but it is a poor, miserable place, without trade or manufactures worthy of the name. The city that once divided with Tyre the empire of the seas is now almost without a vessel. Silk and fruit are its staple products. Its population is estimated at 10,000, 7000 of whom are Moslems, and the rest Catholics, Maronites and Protestants. --McClintock and Strong's Cyclopaedia. There is a flourishing Protestant mission here. --ED.)