About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

Home Page



A Message About Damascus (ch. 49:23 - 27) 


Jeremiah wrote these words more than a hundred years after Isaiah wrote his prophetic words against Damascus, which you can read in Isaiah 17.  The first mention of Damascus in the Bible is found in Genesis 14:15. There we see Abram, before he was renamed Abraham, rescuing Lot from his enemies.  Abram gathered an army of men from his family and drove the enemy of Lot to a place just north of Damascus.  It is understood by historians that the city of Damascus is the longest continuing inhabited city in history.  Though it has been invaded many times throughout history, it has never been totally destroyed.  It is presently the capital city of Syria. 


Here in 2013 Syria and Damascus are in the news every day.  The present day civil war in Syria just might be that which triggers the events we see here in Jeremiah 49 and also in Isaiah 17.  We'll just have to wait and see how things turn out.


Upon reading this section of Jeremiah you should also read Isaiah 17 because it speaks further about the destruction of Damascus and some other events that go along with her destruction, including the fading of Israeli glory as Isaiah puts it.


In Jeremiah 49:23 we see two cities mentioned.  They are Hamath and Arpad.  Both of these cities were, and still are, about 130 miles north of Damascus.  Hamath is the present day city of Hama.  Citizens of Hama were part of those in the initial stage of the present revolt that began in 2011.


In 1982 those in Hama revolted against then Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, father of Hafez al-Assad who is president of Syria here in 2013.  On February 3, 1982, Syrian troops entered Hama and massacred an estimated 20,000 people.  It is called the "Massacre of Hama". 


Arpad was another Syrian city that Jeremiah speaks of in this chapter. Arpad was just north of Hamath and was always closely related to Hamath.  It's now the present day city of tell Erfad, near present day Aleppo.  Both of these towns are in the news here in 2013 because of the civil war in Syria.


It's clear to me that the Lord has kept these cities intact for judgment.  Knowing that they still exist is simply a miracle of God.  I believe they exist because God is not finished with them yet.  What Jeremiah says about these cities must be fulfilled.


Verse 23 says that both Hamath and Arpad are dismayed, disheartened, troubled, and restless, because they have heard bad news about Damascus.  Verse 24 tells us that Damascus has become feeble.  She has lost all of her strength.  In today's world, Syria is one of the strongest military nations in that part of the world, but this will not always be the case.  The city is gripped with panic.  Pain and anguish will seize her as Jeremiah says here. It's clear to me that Jeremiah is talking about Damascus being under some kind of major military attack.


In verse 25 Jeremiah wonders why Damascus hasn't been abandoned.  Of course, he is seeing the future that those in the city don't see.    


Verse 26 speaks of the day that the men in the streets of Damascus will fall.  The soldiers will be silenced.  This is the destruction spoken of by Isaiah in Isaiah 17:1. Again, to me, the demise of Damascus suggests some kind of military attack, especially with the use of the word "soldiers".   


In verse 27, God through Jeremiah, says that He will set fire to the city of Damascus.  Jeremiah would not have understood how this fire could consume the city.  He knew nothing of bombs or missiles.  He knew nothing about nuclear warfare as we know it today.   


Verse 27 also says that this fire will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad.  Ben-Haddad means "son of god" and was often associated with the kings of Syria.  What God is saying here, and the text does say that it is God who sets the city on fire, is that Damascus will be destroyed by fire because of the Syrian king's claim to dictatorial supremacy as if they were some kind of god.  This often was the case back then in pagan cultures.  Only God is supreme.  No dictator who abuses his people as if he were some kind of all-powerful god will stand before the Lord in the final analyses.  In this case the Syrian government will fall along with her capital city  


It's clear that the destruction of Damascus hasn't happened because the city still exists.  The day will come, and maybe it's not far off, that this prophecy against the city of Damascus will take place exactly as stated her by Jeremiah and Isaiah. 


For more details about the destruction of Damascus refer to my commentary on this same subject as seen in Isaiah 17.                            



Home Page