we agree on the fact that the name Aram is synonymous with the word
Syria and that the Greeks translated or rather took the freedom and
changed the Hebrew bibles epithet of the name Aram, Arameans and Aram-
Naharaim to names that better fit their world, it is interesting to find
out where the name "Syria" comes from. This change came about when King
Ptolemy gathered 72 elders to translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek.
This took place in Alexandria between 3rd and 2nd
century BC. The name of this translation is known as the “Septuaginta”
as a reference to the number of the elders.
As we all know the name Lebanon
derives from the mountain with the same name. Later on the name was
applied to the land surrounding the mountain Lebanon. And according to
the Torah and the Bibles even the name Syria is a name of a mountain.
The name SIRION is appearing in different passages in the Holy Bible:
1 Chronicles 5:23;
This name was
alternated with Mount Hermon in The Bible. In Deuteronomy 3:9 the
Phoenicians called Mount Hermon for Sirion and that the Amorites called
it Senir. So different people called it different names.
5 Mos 4:48
".... From Aroer, this is by the bank of the river Arnon, even unto
mount Sirion, which is Hermon..."
In Psalm 29, which I prefer to reproduce the
whole psalm so the reader can better understand the meaning of the
psalm. King David gives us more facts.
Psalm 29 1. Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty,
give unto the LORD glory and strength. 2. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his
name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. 3. The voice of the LORD is upon the waters:
the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters. 4. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the
voice of the LORD is full of majesty. 5. The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars;
yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon. 6. He maketh them also to skip like a calf;
Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn. 7. The voice of the LORD divideth the flames
of fire. 8. The voice of the LORD shaketh the
wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh. 9. The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to
calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one
speak of his glory. 10. The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the
LORD sitteth King forever. 11. The LORD will give strength unto his
people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.
In this Psalm King David shows us that
the name Sirion was canonical for that mountain. This theory is
strengthening when the name appears in other passages in The Holy Bible.
Now that we have agreed on the fact that the name Sirion is
canonical (acknowledge and recognized) we can move to next step and that
is to tie the name to our people.
We have seen that the name Syria was
taken as an area name or country name even long before Lebanon became
independent in 1943. And today both mountains are names of two
Daniel Pipes writes in his book “Greater
University Press, 1992) that the
Greeks associated the Arameans (Aram Beth Maacah, Aram Beth Rehob, Aram
Geshur, etcetera) living around mount Sirion so closely to the mountain
that they called them sirions. Daniel Pipes has an example in Lebanon
where the people surrounding mount Lebanon is now days called Lebanese.
the connection is convincing.
It is therefore logical to the Greeks
to call the Aramaic language for Syriac and the people for Syrians, King
of Aram for King of Syria, etc, etc.
George Beth Ketto
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