Syria was the region that was located to the northeast of Palestine. Its principal city was Damascus. In Old Testament times, the region was called Aram. The king of Syria was an opponent of King Solomon (1 Kings 11:23-25). Later, a king of Syria joined with King Ahaz of the northern kingdom of Israel in an attempt to throw off Assyrian domination. When the southern kingdom of Judah refused to join the rebellion, Syria and Israel attacked Judah in a conflict known as the Syro-Ephraimitic war. The Assyrians conquered the Syrian capital in 732 B.C.E. In New Testament times, Jesus' reputation as a healer spread into Syria (Matthew 4:24). Paul's encounter with the risen Christ took place near Damascus in Syria (Acts 9:1-9). There were a number of Christian communities in Syria, which Paul contacted during his missionary efforts (Acts 15:23, 41; Gal 1:21).
AUTHOR: Robert Brusic, Seminary Pastor Emeritus