From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

The chief city of upper Syria, in the valley of the Orontes, commanding the whole valley, from the low hills which form the watershed between the Orontes and the Liturgy, to the defile of Daphne below Antioch; this was "the kingdom of Hamath." An Hamitie race ( Genesis 10:18). Akin to their neighbours the Hittites. "The entering in of Hamath," indicates that it (the long valley between Lebanon and Antilebanon) was the point of entrance into the land of Israel for any invading army, as the Assyrians and Babylonians, from the N. The southern approach to Hamath from Coelosyria between Libanus and Antilibanus formed the northern limit to Israel's inheritance ( Numbers 13:21;  Numbers 34:8;  Joshua 13:5).

It was an independent kingdom under Tou or Toi in David's time; Toi sent presents to David who had destroyed the power of Hadarezer, Toi's enemy ( 2 Samuel 8:9-11). Tributary to Solomon who built "store cities" in it ( 2 Chronicles 8:4) as staples for the trade which passed along the Orontes valley. Mentioned as an ally of the Syrians of Damascus in the Assyrian inscriptions of Ahab's time. Jeroboam II "recovered Hamath" ( 2 Kings 14:25); but it was subjugated soon by Assyria ( 2 Kings 18:34;  Amos 6:2;  Amos 6:14), Who calls it "Hamath the great." Solomon's feast congregated all Israel "from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt" ( 1 Kings 8:65). The same point from which Solomon's kingdom began was the point from which, according to Amos' prophecy, began the triumph of Israel's foes for Israel's sin. From Antiochus Epiphanes it afterward got the name Epiphaneia.

It has resumed its old name little changed, Hamah; remarkable for its great waterwheels for raising water from the Orontes for the gardens and houses. The Alah or "high land" of Syria abounds in ruins of villages, 365 according to the Arabs. Hamath stones have been found, four blocks of basalt inscribed with hieroglyphics, first noticed by Burckhardt in 1810; the characters in cameo raised from two to four lines, not incised, as other Syrian inscriptions. The names of Thothroes III and Amenophis I are read by some scholars in them. Burton thinks these inscriptions form a connecting link between picture writing and alphabetic writing. Probably they were Hittite in origin.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

HAMATH . A city on the Orontes, the capital of the kingdom of Hamath, to the territory of which the border of Israel extended in the reign of Solomon (  1 Kings 8:65 ), who is related to have built store-cities there (  2 Chronicles 8:4 ). Jeroboam ii., the son of Joash, restored the kingdom to this northern limit (  2 Kings 14:25;   2 Kings 14:28 ), and it was regarded as the legitimate border of the land of Israel (  Numbers 34:8 ,   Joshua 13:5 ), and was employed as a geographical term (  Numbers 13:21 , cf.   Judges 3:3 ). The Hamathite is mentioned last of the sons of Canaan in the table of nations (  Genesis 10:18 ,   1 Chronicles 1:16 ). During the time of David, Toi was king of Hamath (  2 Samuel 8:9 ); the greatness of the city is referred to by the prophet Amos (  Amos 6:2 ), and it is classed by Zechariah with Damascus, Tyre and Zidon (  Zechariah 9:1 f.). The city was conquered by Tiglath-pileser iii. and Sargon, and part of its inhabitants were deported and the land was largely colonized by Assyrians; its capture and subjugation are referred to in the prophetic literature (  Isaiah 10:9 ,   Jeremiah 49:23; cf. also   2 Kings 18:34 ,   Isaiah 36:19 ,   2 Kings 19:13 ). Hamath is mentioned as one of the places to which Israelites were exiled (  Isaiah 11:11 ), and it was also one of the places whose inhabitants were deported to colonize Israelite territory on the capture of Samaria (  2 Kings 17:24;   2 Kings 17:30 ). See Ashima.

L. W. King.

Holman Bible Dictionary [3]

The southern boundary of Hamath served as the northern boundary of Israel during the reigns of Solomon ( 1 Kings 8:65;  2 Chronicles 8:4 ) and Jeroboam II (2Kings 14:25, 2 Kings 14:28 ). The “entrance of Hamath” was treated as the northern border of Israel ( Numbers 34:8;  Joshua 13:5;  Ezekiel 47:15-17 ,Ezekiel 47:15-17, 47:20;  Ezekiel 48:1 ) and served as an accepted geographical expression ( Numbers 13:21;  Judges 3:3 ).

Toi, king of Hamath, sent his son to congratulate David after David defeated King Hadadezer of Zobah. Toi had frequently fought with Hadadezer ( 2 Samuel 8:9-10; 1Chronicles 18:3, 1 Chronicles 18:9-10 ). See Toi . In 853 B.C. King Irhuleni of Hamath joined a coalition including Ben-hadad II of Damascus and Ahab of Israel which successfully thwarted the advance of Shalmaneser II of Assyria into northern Syria. In about 802 B.C. Adad-nirari III of Assyria crushed Damascus and levied a heavy tax upon it. During the following decades, the king of Hamath, probably named Zakir, waged a successful rivalry with Damascus. Hamath reached the zenith of its power between 800,750 B.C.

In 738 B.C. Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria exacted tribute from Hamath together with other states including Israel. Following the fall of Samaria in 722-721 B.C., Hamath was devastated in 720 B.C. by Sargon II of Assyria ( Amos 6:2 ). Refugees from Samaria may have been exiled to Hamath by the Assyrians, while refugees from Hamath were brought to Samaria along with their god, Ashima (2Kings 17:24, 2 Kings 17:30;  Isaiah 11:11 ). From this time, Hamath's history seems to merge with that of Damascus ( Jeremiah 49:23 ).

In the Hellenistic period, Antiochus

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [4]

A celebrated city of Syria. Hamath, like Jerusalem and Damascus, is one of the few places in Syria and Palestine which have retained a certain degree of importance from the very earliest ages to the present time. The name occurs in  Genesis 10:18 , as the seat of a Canaanitish tribe; and it is often mentioned as the northern limits of Canaan in its widest extent,  Numbers 13:21;  Joshua 13:5;  Judges 3:3 . In David's time, Toi king of Hamath was his ally,  2 Samuel 8:9,10 .

Burckhardt describes Hamath as "situated on both sides of the Orontes; a part of it is built on the declivity of a hill, and a part in the plain. The town is of considerable extent, and must contain at least 30,000 inhabitants. There are four bridges over the Orontes in the town. The river supplies the upper town with water by means of buckets fixed to high wheels, which empty themselves into stone canals, supported by lofty arches on a level with the upper part of the town. There are about a dozen of the wheels; the largest of them is at least seventy feet in diameter. The principal trade of Hamath is with the Arabs, who buy here their tent furniture and clothes. The government of Hamath comprises about one hundred and twenty inhabited villages, and seventy or eighty which have been abandoned. The western part of its territory is the granary of the northern Syria, though the harvest never yields more than ten for one, chiefly in consequence of the immense numbers of mice, which sometimes wholly destroy the crops." "The entering in of Hamath" is the northern part of the valley which leads up to it from Palestine, between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon,  Numbers 13:21;  1 Kings 1:53 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [5]

 Numbers 13:21 34:8 Joshua 13:5 Zechariah 9:2 Jeremiah 49:23 Amos 6:2 2 Chronicles 8:3

Hamath, now Hamah, had an Aramaean population, but Hittite monuments discovered there show that it must have been at one time occupied by the Hittites. It was among the conquests of the Pharaoh Thothmes III. Its king, Tou or Toi, made alliance with David ( 2 Samuel 8:10 ), and in B.C. 740 Azariah formed a league with it against Assyria. It was, however, conquered by the Assyrians, and its nineteen districts placed under Assyrian governors. In B.C. 720 it revolted under a certain Yahu-bihdi, whose name, compounded with that of the God of Israel (Yahu), perhaps shows that he was of Jewish origin. But the revolt was suppressed, and the people of Hamath were transported to Samaria ( 2 Kings 17:24,30 ), where they continued to worship their god Ashima. Hamah is beautifully situated on the Orontes, 32 miles north of Emesa, and 36 south of the ruins of Assamea.

The kingdom of Hamath comprehended the great plain lying on both banks of the Orontes from the fountain near Riblah to Assamea on the north, and from Lebanon on the west to the desert on the east. The "entrance of Hamath" ( Numbers 34:8 ), which was the north boundary of Palestine, led from the west between the north end of Lebanon and the Nusairiyeh mountains.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [6]

Ha'math. (Fortress). The principal city of upper Syria, was situated in the valley of the Orontes, which it commanded from the low screen of hills, which forms the water-shed between the source of the Orontes and Antioch. The Hamathites were a Hamitic race, and are included among the descendants of Canaan.  Genesis 10:18.

Nothing appears of the power of Hamath, until the time of David.  2 Samuel 8:9. Hamath seems clearly to have been included in the dominions of Solomon.  1 Kings 4:21-24. The "store-cities" which Solomon "built in Hamath,"  2 Chronicles 8:4, were perhaps staples for trade. In the Assyrian inscriptions of the time of Ahab, (B.C. 900), Hamath appears as a separate power, in alliance with the Syrians of Damascus, the Hittites and the Phoenicians.

About three-quarters of a century later, Jeroboam, the Second, "recovered Hamath."  2 Kings 14:28. Soon afterwards, the Assyrians took it,  2 Kings 18:34;  2 Kings 19:13, etc., and from this time, it ceased to be a place of much importance. Antiochus Epiphanes changed its name to Epiphaneia. The natives, however, called it Hamath even in St. Jerome's time, and its present name, Hamah , is but slightly altered from the ancient form.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [7]

Hamath ( Hâ'Math ), Fortress, Citadel. A city of Syria. It was founded by a son of Canaan,  Genesis 10:18;  Numbers 34:8, and was situated in the valley of the Orontes. It was 165 miles in a straight line north of Jerusalem; was visited by the spies,  Numbers 13:21, and it is frequently noticed as the northern boundary of Palestine.  Numbers 34:8;  Joshua 13:5. Its king, Toi, blessed David for his victory over Zobah,  2 Samuel 8:9-12; Solomon extended his kingdom to Hamath,  1 Kings 8:65;  2 Chronicles 8:4, and built store-cities in that region; afterward the city and country became independent, but were again subdued by Jeroboam II.  2 Kings 14:25. 28. It was taken by the Assyrians,  2 Kings 18:34;  Isaiah 10:9; Amos calls it "Hamath the great," and speaks of its desolation.  Amos 6:2. Its modern name is Hamah, and it is now a place of 30,000 inhabitants.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [8]

The city of Hamath was situated in the north of Lebanon, at the end of the Lebanon ranges and on the edge of the Syrian plain. In the time of David its leaders were friendly with Israel ( 2 Samuel 8:9-10), and in the time of Solomon it was controlled by Israel ( 2 Chronicles 8:3-4). After Solomon’s death it regained its independence, but it again came briefly under Israelite control during the reign of Jeroboam II ( 2 Kings 14:25).

At the northern end of the Lebanon ranges was a prominent gap known as ‘the entrance of Hamath’, where Lebanon opened on to the plains of Syria. This gap, or pass, marked Israel’s ideal northern boundary ( Joshua 13:5;  Amos 6:14), but only in times of unusual growth and prosperity was it the actual boundary ( 2 Kings 14:25). (For further details see Lebanon .)

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [9]

a city of Syria, capital of a province of the same name, lying upon the Orontes,  Joshua 13:5;  Judges 3:3;  2 Kings 14:25;  2 Chronicles 7:8 . The king of Hamath cultivated a good understanding with David,  2 Samuel 8:9 . This city was taken by the kings of Judah, and afterward retaken by the Syrians, and recovered from them by Jeroboam the Second,  2 Kings 14:28 .

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [10]

hā´math ( חמת , ḥămā̄th  ; Ἡμάθ , Hēmáth , Αἱμάθ , Haimáth  ; Swete also has Hemath ): The word signifies a defense or citadel, and such designation was very suitable for this chief royal city of the Hittites, situated between their northern and southern capitals, Carchemish and Kadesh, on a gigantic mound beside the Orontes. In   Amos 6:2 it is named Great Hamath, but not necessarily to distinguish it from other places of the same name.

1. Early History

The Hamathite is mentioned in   Genesis 10:18 among the sons of Canaan, but in historic times the population, as the personal names testify, seems to have been for the most part Semitic. The ideal boundary of Israel reached the territory, but not the city of Hamath (  Numbers 34:8;  Joshua 13:5;  Ezekiel 47:13-21 ). David entered into friendly relations with Toi, its king ( 2 Samuel 8:9 ), and Solomon erected store cities in the land of Hamath ( 2 Chronicles 8:4 ). In the days of Ahab we meet with it on the cuneiform inscriptions, under the name mat hamatti , and its king Irhuleni was a party to the alliance of the Hittites with Ben-hadad of Damascus and Ahab of Israel against Shalmaneser II; but this was broken up by the battle of Qarqar in 854 bc, and Hamath became subject to Assyria. Jeroboam Ii attacked, partially destroyed, and held it for a short time ( 2 Kings 14:28;  Amos 6:2 ). In 730 bc, its king Eniilu paid tribute to Tiglath-pileser, but he divided its lands among his generals, and transported 1,223 of its inhabitants to Sura on the Tigris. In 720, Sargon "rooted out the land of Hamath and dyed the skin of Ilubi'idi (or Jau-bi'idi) its king, like wool" and colonized the country with 4,300 Assyrians, among whom was Deioces the Mede. A few years later Sennacherib also claims to have taken it ( 2 Kings 18:34;  2 Kings 19:13;  Isaiah 36:19;  Isaiah 37:13 ). In  Isaiah 11:11 , mention is made of Israelites in captivity at Hamath, and Hamathites were among the colonists settled in Samaria ( 2 Kings 17:24 ) by Esarhaddon in 675 bc. Their special object of worship was Ashima, which, notwithstanding various conjectures, has not been identified.

2. Later History

The Hamathite country is mentioned in  1 Maccabees 12:25 in connection with the movements of Demetrius and Jonathan. The Seleucids renamed it Epiphaneia (Josephus, Ant , I, vi, 2), and by this name it was known to the Greeks and the Romans, even appearing as Paphunya in Midrash Ber Rab chapter 37. Locally, however, the ancient name never disappeared, and since the Moslem conquest it has been known as Hama. Saladin's family ruled it for a century and a half, but after the death of Abul-fida in 1331 it sank into decay.

3. Modern Condition

The position of Hama in a fruitful plain to the East of the Nusairiyeh Mountains, on the most frequented highway between Mesopotamia and Egypt, and on the new railway, gives it again, as in ancient times, a singular significance, and it is once more rising in importance. The modern town is built in four quarters around the ancient citadel-mound, and it has a population of at least 80,000. It is now noted for its gigantic irrigating wheels. Here, too, the Hittite inscriptions were first found and designated Hamathite.

4. Entering in of Hamath

In connection with the northern boundary of Israel, "the entering in of Hamath" is frequently mentioned ( Numbers 13:21;  1 Kings 8:65 , etc., the American Standard Revised Version "entrance"). It has been sought in the Orontes valley, between Antioch and Seleucia, and also at Wādy Nahr el - Bārid , leading down from Homs to the Mediterranean to the North of Tripoli. But from the point of view of Palestine, it must mean some part of the great valley of Coele-Syria ( Biqa'a ). It seems that instead of translating, we should read here a place-name - "Libo of Hamath" - and the presence of the ancient site of Libo (modern Leboué ) 14 miles North-Northeast of Baalbek, at the head-waters of the Orontes, commanding the strategical point where the plain broadens out to the North and to the South, confirms us in this conjecture.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [11]

Ha´math, one of the smaller kingdoms of Syria, having Zobah on the east and Rehob on the south. This last kingdom, lying within the greater Mount Hermon, is expressly said to have been taken possession of by the Israelites, and, like Dan or Laish, which is represented to have been in the valley of Bethrehob , is used to denote the northern boundary of the Holy Land. The approach to it from the south is by an opening or mountain-pass, called 'the entrance of Hamath,' and 'the entering in of Hamath,' which, being the passage from the northern extremity of the land of Israel into Syria, is sometimes used to describe the boundary of the former in this direction, as 'from the entering in of Hamath to the river of Egypt' .

The kingdom of Hamath, or, at least, the southern or central parts of it, appear to have nearly corresponded with what was afterwards denominated Cœle-Syria; but northwards, it stretched as far as the city Hamath on the Orontes, which seems to have been the capital of the whole country. Toi was king of Hamath at the time when David conquered the Syrians of Zobah; and it appears that he had reason to rejoice in the humiliation of a dangerous neighbor, as he sent his own son Joram to congratulate the victor . In the time of Hezekiah the town along with its territory was conquered by the Assyrians (;;;; ); and afterwards by the Chaldeans . Hamath is still a picturesque town, of considerable circumference, and with wide and convenient streets. In Burckhardt's time the attached district contained 120 inhabited villages, and 70 or 80 that lay waste. The western part of this district forms the granary of Northern Syria, though the harvest never yields more than a tenfold return, chiefly on account of the immense numbers of mice, which sometimes completely destroy the crops.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [12]

Bibliography Information McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Hamath'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/h/hamath.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.