Hamath was a district which lay north of Damascus in northern Syria (Zech 9:1-2). The modern city of Hama is derived from this ancient place and is situated either side of the Orontes River, 213 kilometres north of Damascus.

The mountain ranges of the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon peaks stretch northwards through Lebanon and Syria and terminate near the modern city of Homs. These two ranges act as a corridor through the land of Syria, and the sweeping plains north of that corridor are known in the Scriptures as “the entering in of Hamath” (cp Jud 3:3).

The Hamathites were a Hamitic race and are included among the descendants of Canaan (Gen 10:18). In the time of David we hear that Toi, king of Hamath, had “ had wars” with Hadadezer, king of Zobah, and on the defeat of the latter by David, sent his son to congratulate the Jewish monarch (2 Sam 8:10). The city and district were then included in the dominions of Solomon (1 Kings 4:21-24) where he went on to build “store cities” (2 Chron 8:4).

On the death of Solomon and the separation of the two kingdoms, Hamath seems to have regained its independence. In the Assyrian inscriptions of the time of Ahab it appears as a separate power in alliance with the Syrians of Damascus, the Hittites, and the Phoenicians. About 75 years later Jeroboam II “recovered Hamath” (2 Kings 14:28).

Our chief interest with Hamath lies in the fact that it is to become the northern boundary of the future cantons ruled by the tribe of Dan (Ezek 47:20; 48:1).