The city of Damascus is located in an oasis in Syria. An important trade route known as the King's Highway went from Damascus south through Moab and Edom to the Gulf of Aqabah. In Old Testament times, Damascus was the capital of Syria or Aram. The king of Damascus was an opponent of Solomon (1 Kings 11:23-25). In the Syro-Ephraimitic war, the kings of Damascus and Israel tried unsuccessfully to pressure King Ahaz of Judah into joining them in rebellion against Assyria. Isaiah told the king to resist them, for they would be defeated (Isaiah 7:8). On that occasion, Isaiah said that a young woman would bear a son called Immanuel, which means "God with us" (Isaiah 7:14). The Assyrians conquered Damascus in 732 B.C.E.
In the book of Acts, Paul travels to Damascus to persecute the Christians there when the risen Christ appears to him on the road. Paul is blinded and taken to Damascus, where a Christian named Ananias heals him. Because of local opposition, Paul later escapes from Damascus by being let down over the wall in a basket (Acts 9).
AUTHOR: Robert Brusic, Seminary Pastor Emeritus