The northern border (Ezek 47:15-47:17)

“This shall be the boundary

Of the land.

On the north side,

From the Great Sea

By way of Hethlon

To Lebo-hamath

of Hamath,

On to Zedad,

Berothah,

Sibraim.

Sibraim lies between

The border of Damascus

With Hamath.

It shall go as far

As Hazer-hatticon,

That is on the border

Of Hauran.

So,

The boundary shall run

From the sea

To Hazar-enon,

That is north of the border

Of Damascus,

With the border of Hamath

To the north.

This shall be the north side.”

Ezekiel started with a longer description of the northern border than what was found in Numbers, chapter 34. Obviously, this northern border started with the sea, the Mediterranean Sea on the northwest side. However, it extends further north into Syria on the north side of Damascus. There was no indication where the Sea and the land met in the north, just the listing of a series of towns like Hethlon, Lebo-hamath, Zedad, Berothah, and Sibraim that are difficult to determine exactly where they are. The northeastern border was Hazar-enon, as in Numbers. Hamath was the capital of upper Syria, while Damascus as the capital of lower Syria. Thus, this northern Israelite boundary was between these 2 Syrian cities.

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Against Damascus (Jer 49:23-49:27)

“Concerning Damascus.

‘Hamath is confounded.

Arpad is confounded.

They have heard bad news.

They melt in fear.

They are troubled

Like the sea

That cannot be quiet.

Damascus has become feeble.

She turned to flee.

Panic seized her.

Anguish has taken hold of her.

Sorrows have taken hold of her,

As a woman in labor.

How the famous city is forsaken!

The joyful town!

Therefore her young men

Shall fall

In her squares.

All her soldiers

Shall be destroyed,

On that day.’

Says Yahweh of hosts!

‘I will kindle a fire

At the wall of Damascus.

It shall devour

The strongholds of Ben-hadad.’”

Damascus had been under the control of the Assyrians since around 740 BCE, before the fall of the northern Israelites to Assyria in 724 BCE. Now the Babylonians were taking over for the Assyrians. The two other cities mentioned with Damascus, were Hamath and Arpad. Hamath was in upper Syria with Arpad nearly a 100 miles further north. These northern towns were upset and troubled over the news about southern Damascus. They felt like they were on troubled waters and could not be quiet. Damascus itself was weak and in panic. This former joyful town saw people fleeing with panic. Once again they had become weak like women in labor. Their young men were dying in the squares since the soldiers had been killed. The soldiers also died. There was a huge fire that destroyed the walls and royal buildings of Ben-hadad. King Ben-hadad was a 9th century BCE king of Damascus who had some battles with King Asa of Judah and King Omri of Israel, in 1 Kings, chapter 20. However, there were 2 other kings with the same name, so that it clearly referred to the royal palaces or fortresses in Damascus. Once again there is no mention of a restoration for Damascus.