Old Testament: Phoenicians

As a child I was not taught very much about the Old Testament. As I got older and grew in my faith I began to become familiar with the stories found in the Old Testament and I realized how much they enhanced my relationship with Jesus. For that reason I have decided to do a series of posts on people of the Bible on which we do not generally focus. The first in this series will be a short post about the Phoenicians.

Phoenician Map of David and SolomonSidon and Tyre were the two most important cities in Phoenicia. Located on the Mediterranean Sea with the mountains of Lebanon behind them, they were both very important trading cities. A strong connection developed between Phoenicia and Jerusalem when Hiram, King of Tyre between 981-947BC became friends with King David. This relationship was strengthened when Hiram sent men and supplies to help David build his palace, 2 Sam 5:11. This friendship continued into the reign of Solomon and Hiram again sent men and supplies to help Solomon build the temple in Jerusalem, 1 Kings 5:8-10.

The reigns of both Hiram and Solomon came to an end resulting in a significant event in the lives of the Israelites. In 870BC Ahab, who was then King of Israel, married Jezebiel the daughter of the King of the Sidonieans. He then turned against God and began worshipping Baal, the Phoenician god, 1 Kings 16:31.

Time passed and the people of Phoenicia heard about Jesus. They began traveling to Galilee so they could hear His words and also be healed by Him, Luke 6:17. Jesus traveled to Sidon and Tyre also, to be with the Phoenicians, Matt. 15:21. After Jesus’ crucifixion the apostles also went to Phoenicia to preach and to teach, Acts 15:3.

Eventually Christianity became strong enough in Phoenicia that it became an important Christian center and sent a bishop to the Council of Nicaea in 325AD. One of the major outcomes of this council was the writing of the Nicene Creed which spelled out the beliefs of Christians at that time. This Creed was modified at Constantinople in 381 and became what we know today as the Nicene Creed. This creed is used today by many churches at services in which Holy Communion is offered. I have included a copy of the Nicene Creed on our Bits of Knowledge page under “Things to Know.” Please click here to read it.