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What the scriptures say about
PHOENICIA
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Easton's Bible Dictionary | Smith's Bible Dictionary | International Standard Bible Encyclopedia | Thompson Chain Reference
MAP and article on Phoenicia, along coastal Canaan; Wikipedia

PHOENICIA in scriptures [BibleGateway Search]   Site search: FreeFind

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Mark 7:26 - The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia (Syrophoenician)
Acts 11:19 - Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews.
Acts 15:3 - The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted.
Acts 21:2 - We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail.


PHENICIA (PHOENICIA) [Easton's Bible Dictionary]

(Acts 21:2) = Phenice (11:19; 15:3; RSV, Phoenicia), Gr. phoinix, "a palm", the land of palm-trees; a strip of land of an average breadth of about 20 miles along the shores of the Mediterranean, from the river Eleutherus in the north to the promotory of Carmel in the south, about 120 miles in length. This name is not found in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament it is mentioned only in the passages above referred to.

"In the Egyptian inscriptions Phoenicia is called Keft, the inhabitants being Kefa; and since Keft-ur, or 'Greater Phoenicia,' was the name given to the delta of the Nile from the Phoenician colonies settled upon it, the Philistines who came from Caphtor or Keft-ur must have been of Phoenician origin" (Compare Deuteronomy 2:23; Jeremiah 47:4; Amos 9:7), Sayce's Bible and the Monuments.

Phoenicia lay in the very centre of the old world, and was the natural entrepot for commerce with foreign nations. It was the "England of antiquity."

"The trade routes from all Asia converged on the Phoenician coast; the centres of commerce on the Euphrates and Tigris forwarding their goods by way of Tyre to the Nile, to Arabia, and to the west; and, on the other hand, the productions of the vast regions bordering the Mediterranean passing through the Canaanite capital to the eastern world."
It was "situate at the entry of the sea, a merchant of the people for many isles" (Ezekiel 27:3,4). The far-reaching commercial activity of the Phoenicians, especially with Tarshish and the western world, enriched them with vast wealth, which introduced boundless luxury and developed among them a great activity in all manner of arts and manufactures. (See TYRE .)

The Phoenicians were the most enterprising merchants of the old world, establishing colonies at various places, of which Carthage was the chief. They were a Canaanite branch of the race of Ham, and are frequently called Sidonians, from their principal city of Sidon. None could "skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians" (1 Kings 5:6). King Hiram rendered important service to Solomon in connection with the planning and building of the temple, casting for him all the vessels for the temple service, and the two pillars which stood in the front of the porch, and "the molten sea" (1 Kings 7:21-23). Singular marks have been found by recent exploration on the great stones that form the substructure of the temple. These marks, both painted and engraved, have been regarded as made by the workmen in the quarries, and as probably intended to indicate the place of these stones in the building. "The Biblical account (1 Kings 5:17,18) is accurately descriptive of the massive masonry now existing at the south-eastern angle (of the temple area), and standing on the native rock 80 feet below the present surface. The Royal Engineers found, buried deeply among the rubbish of many centuries, great stones, costly and hewed stones, forming the foundation of the sanctuary wall; while Phoenician fragments of pottery and Phoenician marks painted on the massive blocks seem to proclaim that the stones were prepared in the quarry by the cunning workmen of Hiram, the king of Tyre." (See TEMPLE .)

The Phoenicians have been usually regarded as the inventors of alphabetic writing. The Egyptians expressed their thoughts by certain symbols, called "hieroglyphics", i.e., sacred carvings, so styled because used almost exclusively on sacred subjects. The recent discovery, however, of inscriptions in Southern Arabia (Yemen and Hadramaut), known as Hemyaritic, in connection with various philogical considerations, has led some to the conclusion that the Phoenician alphabet was derived from the Mineans (admitting the antiquity of the kingdom of Ma'in, Judg. 10:12; 2Chr 26:7). Thus the Phoenician alphabet ceases to be the mother alphabet. Sayce thinks "it is more than possible that the Egyptians themselves were emigrants from Southern Arabia." (See MOABITE STONE .)

"The Phoenicians were renowned in ancient times for the manufacture of glass, and some of the specimens of this work that have been preserved are still the wonder of mankind...In the matter of shipping, whether ship-building be thought of or traffic upon the sea, the Phoenicians surpassed all other nations." "The name Phoenicia is of uncertain origin, though it may be derived from Fenkhu, the name given in the Egyptian inscriptions to the natives of Palestine. Among the chief Phoenician cities were Tyre and Sidon, Gebal north of Beirut, Arvad or Arados and Zemar."


PHOENICIA [Smith's Bible Dictionary]

Phoeni’ce, Phoenic’ia (land of palm trees ) a tract of country, of which Tyre and Sidon were the principal cities, to the north of Palestine, along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea bounded by that sea on the west, and by the mountain range of Lebanon on the east. The name was not the one by which its native inhabitants called it, but was given to it by the Greeks, from the Greek word for the palm tree. The native name of Phoenicia was Kenaan (Canaan) or Kna , signifying lowland, so named in contrast to the ad joining Aram, i.e. highland, the Hebrew name of Syria. The length of coast to which the name of Phoenicia was applied varied at different times.
  1. What may be termed Phoenicia proper was a narrow undulating plain, extending from the pass of Ras el-Beyad or Abyad, the Promontorium Album of the ancients, about six miles south of Tyre, to the Nahr el-Auly, the ancient Bostrenus, two miles north of Sidon. The plain is only 28 miles in length. Its average breadth is about a mile; but near Sidon the mountains retreat to a distance of two miles, and near Tyre to a distance of five miles.
  2. A longer district, which afterward became entitled to the name of Phoenicia, extended up the coast to a point marked by the island of Aradus, and by Antaradus toward the north; the southern boundary remaining the same as in Phoenicia proper. Phoenicia, thus defined is estimated to have been about 120 miles in length; while its breadth, between Lebanon and the sea, never exceeded 20 miles, and was generally much less. The whole of Phoenicia proper is well watered by various streams from the adjoining hills. The havens of Tyre and Sidon afforded water of sufficient depth for all the requirements of ancient navigation, and the neighboring range of the Lebanon, in its extensive forests, furnished what then seemed a nearly inexhaustible supply of timber for ship-building.
    Language and race.
    --The Phoenicians spoke a branch of the Semitic language so closely allied to Hebrew that Phoenician and Hebrew, though different dialects, may practically be regarded as the same language. Concerning the original race to which the Phoenicians belonged, nothing can be known with certainty, because they are found already established along the Mediterranean Sea at the earliest dawn of authentic history, and for centuries afterward there is no record of their origin. According to Herodotus, vii. 89, they said of themselves in his time that they came in days of old from the shores of the Red Sea and in this there would be nothing in the slightest degree improbable as they spoke a language cognate to that of the Arabians, who inhabited the east coast of that sea. Still neither the truth nor the falsehood of the tradition can now be proved. But there is one point respecting their race which can be proved to be in the highest degree probable, and which has peculiar interest as bearing on the Jews, viz., that the Phoenicians were of the same race as the Canaanites.
    Commerce, etc .
    --In regard to Phoenician trade, connected with the Israelites, it must be recollected that up to the time of David not one of the twelve tribes seems to have possessed a single harbor on the seacoast; it was impossible there fore that they could become a commercial people. But from the time that David had conquered Edom, an opening for trade was afforded to the Israelites. Solomon continued this trade with its king, obtained timber from its territory and employed its sailors and workmen. (2 Samuel 5:11; 1 Kings 5:9,17,18) The religion of the Phoenicians, opposed to Monotheism, was a pantheistical personification of the forces of nature and in its most philosophical shadowing forth of the supreme powers it may be said to have represented the male and female principles of production. In its popular form it was especially a worship of the sun, moon and five planets, or, as it might have been expressed according to ancient notions, of the seven planets --the most beautiful and perhaps the most natural form of idolatry ever presented to the human imagination. Their worship was a constant temptation for the Hebrews to Polytheism and idolatry --
  3. Because undoubtedly the Phoenicians, as a great commercial people, were more generally intelligent, and as we should now say civilized, than the inland agricultural population of Palestine. When the simple-minded Jews, therefore, came in contact with a people more versatile and apparently more enlightened than themselves, but who nevertheless, either in a philosophical or in a popular form admitted a system of Polytheism an influence would be exerted on Jewish minds tending to make them regard their exclusive devotion to their own one God Jehovah, however transcendent his attributes, as unsocial and morose.
  4. The Phoenician religion had in other respects an injurious effect on the people of Palestine, being in some points essentially demoralizing, For example, it mentioned the dreadful superstition of burning children as sacrifices to a Phoenician god. Again, parts of the Phoenician religion, especially the worship of Astarte, fended to encourage dissoluteness in the relations of the sexes, and even to sanctify impurities of the most abominable description. The only other fact respecting the Phoenicians that need be mentioned here is that the invention of letters was universally asserted by the Greeks and Romans to have been communicated by the Phoenicians to the Greeks. For further details respecting the Phoenicians see TYRE and ZIDON. Phoenicia is now a land of ruins.


PHOENICIA; PHOENICIANS [International Standard Bible Encyclopedia]

Phoenicia and Phoenicians


PHOENICIA [Thompson Chain Reference]
   (country northwest of Palestine)
    Acts 11:19
    Acts 15:3
    Acts 21:2