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    ARAM

    The country of Aram was Aramsæa or Syria, and Northern Mesopotamia, that is, the country north of Palestine and Phenicia, and the north country between the Euphrates and the Tigris below Armenia. In Numbers 23:7 the Hebrew word Arâm is rendered Aram, while in Judges 3:10 the same word is translated Mesopotamia, and in Judges 10:6 it is translated Syria. Where David conquered and put garrisons in “Syria of Damascus,” it is in Hebrew, Aram-Dammesek. Wherever the Hebrew word Aram is used with reference to the people of Aram, King James’s version always translates it Syrians. Damascus was the capital of Syria-Aramæa-and Isaiah 7:8 says, “The head of Syria is Damascus.” Damascus is one of the very oldest cities in the world. It was “unto Hobah which is on the left hand of Damascus” that Abraham pursued “Chedor-laomer and the kings that were with him” after he had defeated them at Dan. Eliezer of Damascus was the steward of Abram’s house. There were many wars between Syria and Israel. Naaman the Syrian was healed of his leprosy by the direction of Elisha the prophet; yet he at first disdained to wash in Jordan because that Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, were better than all the waters of Israel. 2 Kings 5. The king of Syria with his horses and chariots surrounded the city of Dothan in the night, to take Elisha the next morning, “and when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw; and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:13-17. It was as Saul of Tarsus came near to Damascus, on his errand of persecution, that he was “apprehended of Christ Jesus.” And after he had gone into Arabia, he returned to Damascus, and the governor of the city, under Aretas the king, kept the city with a garrison desirous to apprehend him: and through a widow, in a basket, was he let down by the wall and escaped his hands. Damascus was for a time the capital of the Mahometan Empire, and in the palmy days of Saracen rule was one of the greatest manufacturing cities in the world.POTE 293.2

    Aram had four sons, Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash.POTE 295.1

    Uz gave his name to a portion of country known as “the land of Uz” of which Job was an inhabitant. It lay a little southeast of Palestine, above the thirtieth parallel, and toward the border of Chaldea, in what is known as Arabia Deserta.POTE 295.2

    Hul dwelt in and gave name to a district at the foot of the mountains of Lebanon, north of Lake Merom through which the Jordan flows. The Arabic name of the lake is yet Bahr-el-Huleh.POTE 295.3

    Gether is not now known, says “Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible.” “No satisfactory trace of the people sprung from this stock has been found.”POTE 295.4

    Mash inhabited the country of the mountains of Masius-Mons Masius-which form the northern boundary of Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and the Euphrates.POTE 295.5

    “And Arphaxad begat Salah, and Salah begat Eber. And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days the earth was divided; and his brother’s name wasPOTE 295.6

    Joktan, who, in Arabic is called Kahtan, the great progenitor of all the purest tribes of Central and Southern Arabia.”-Rawlinson, Origin of Nations. Joktan had thirteen sons: Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. “All these were the sons of Joktan.” The dwelling-place is given us by the Scripture itself, “And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the East.” Genesis 10:30. The limits here defined would give all of South-western Arabia below the twentieth parallel, and is mostly comprised in the provinces of Hadramaut and Yemen, and is a part of Arabia Felix, that is, Arabia the Happy. As the region is thus plainly pointed out it will not be necessary to mention the sons of Joktan in detail. We shall only locate the most important ones.POTE 295.7

    Hazarmareth is the one from whom comes the name Hadramaut that now defines the central region of the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula.POTE 296.1

    Ophir. The place where Ophir dwelt is proverbial in the Scriptures for the fineness and preciousness of its gold. Of Arabia the Happy, Gibbon says, “The soil was impregnated with gold and gems, and both the land and sea were taught to exhale the odors of aromatic sweets. Agatharcides affirms that lumps of pure gold were found from the size of an olive to that of a nut; that iron was twice, and silver ten times the value of gold. These real or imaginary treasures are vanished; and no gold mines are at present known in Arabia.”-Decline and Fall, chap. 1, par. 2 and note.POTE 296.2

    Sheba was a place whence came incense. Says the Lord by Jeremiah, “To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and sweet cane from a far country.” Jeremiah 6:20. “The aromatics, especially the thus, or frankincense, of Arabia, occupy the twelfth book of Pliny.” Our great poet (Paradise Lost, book iv.) introduces, in a simile, the spicy odors that are blown by the northeast wind from the Sabæan Coast:-POTE 296.3

    ’-Many a league,POTE 296.4

    Pleased with the grateful scent old Ocean smiles.’”-Id.POTE 296.5

    Sheba was the most notable of the sons of Joktan, and this name was for a time equivalent to the whole district peopled by the Joktanidæ. It was the queen of this Sheba that made the memorable visit to Solomon. Nor has Joktan been behind any of the other sons of Shem in the matter of empire. In a. d. 622 there arose one of the sons of Joktan-Mahomet-and started a course of conquest that never halted nor suffered a check until, through his successors, “their empire comprised the whole basin of the Mediterranean, with the exception of its northern side; in Africa its only limits were the great central desert; in Asia the plateau of Kobi and the Indus, and throughout almost all these regions the Arab element either remained absolutely predominant down to our own time, or has at least left distinct traces of its existence;” and established a religion that to-day is held by about one-seventh of the inhabitants of the world.POTE 297.1

    “These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations; and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.”POTE 297.2

    Noah said, “God shall enlarge Japheth,” and so we see the word fulfilled, even to the width of the world. For, speaking without definite lines, Ham peopled Africa, Palestine, and Phenicia; Shem peopled Asia Minor, the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates, and Arabia; and Japheth peopled all the rest of the world.POTE 297.3

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