For two years the siege continued; then Damascus was taken, its last king slain, and its territory placed under an Assyrian satrap. Hamath had already fallen. A portion of its population had been transported to the north, and their places filled with settlers from Babylonia.
This Ben-Hadad is called Hadad-idri or Hadad-ezer in the Assyrian texts; Ben-Hadad, in fact, was a god, who was worshipped by the Syrians by the side of his father Hadad. In the struggle with Assyria the Aramæan forces were led by Hamath. Most of the states of western Asia contributed troops; even the "Arabs" took part in the conflict.
Sargon, as has been already observed when he removed the Israelites from Sumaria, supplied their place by colonists from Babylon, Cutha, Sippara, Ava, Hamath, and Arabia; this planting a foreign garrison in the region which would be likely to preserve its fidelity. Esar-haddon resolved to strengthen this element.
That the cities which Huram had restored to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there. And Solomon went to Hamathzobah, and prevailed against it. And he built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the store cities, which he built in Hamath. Also he built Bethhoron the upper, and Bethhoron the nether, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars;
Egyptian, Babylonian, Aramaean, Hittite, Memphis, Babylon, Hamath, Megiddo I swallowed them all thankfully, wrote them down and asked for more. Only once did I disgrace myself.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard ... with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.... They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.... And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
Probably it should be sought about Zobair, or a little further inland.. The chief provincial cities were Susa and Badaca in Susiana; Anat, Sirki, and Carchemish, on the Middle Euphrates; Sidikan on the Khabour; Harran on the Bilik; Hamath, Damascus, and Jerusalem, in Inner Syria; Tyre, Sidon, Ashdod, Ascalon, and Gaza, upon the coast.
While it is not certain if the twelve tribes were ever all of one race, it is quite certain that the northern ones had come to be contaminated very largely with Aramaean blood and infected by mid-Syrian influences, which the relations established and maintained by David and Solomon with Hamath and Phoenicia no doubt had accentuated, especially in the territories of Asher and Dan.
And the LORD said not that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash. Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, and all that he did, and his might, how he warred, and how he recovered Damascus, and Hamath, which belonged to Judah, for Israel, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
A Semitic element was predominant in the population of the plain, and especially in its chief town, Tarsus, throughout antiquity. But some uprising at Hamath recalled him then, and it was not till the latter part of his reign that eastern Cilicia was systematically subdued. Shalmaneser devoted a surprising amount of attention to this small and rather obscure corner of Asia Minor.