Zobah or Aram-Zobah (Hebrew צובה or ארם צובא) was an early Aramean state which extended from the Beqaa Valley along the eastern side of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains reaching Hamath to the north and Damascus to the south, at one time of considerable importance. In I Samuel 14:47, the kings of Zobah were said to have fought with Israelite king Saul, but this is unconfirmed. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges suggests that "the 'kings' were apparently independent chiefs", but by the time of King David there was a single king, Hadadezer bar Rehob.
King Hadadezer bar Rehob allied with Ammon against David, who defeated Zobah and made the kingdom tributary to Israel (II Samuel 10). In this war, Arameans from across the Euphrates came to Hadadezer's aid (II Sam. 10:16). Upon the accession of Solomon, Zobah became independent of Israel (compare I Kings xi. 23 et seq.). Berothai, a city belonging to Hadadezer (II Sam. 8:8) is identified by many with Berothah (Ezekiel xlvii. 16), which was between Hamath and Damascus. Zobah was probably located near this city, though Joseph Halévy claims to have identified Zobah with Chalcis. On either view, the area in question would be found in the far south of Syria and parts of Lebanon.
After the 10th century BCE, Zobah is not mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, but the city of Subiti, which is mentioned in the annals of Ashurbanipal as having been conquered by him in the 7th century BCE, is probably identical with it (compare Schrader, "K. B." ii. 217). The same city is mentioned in some broken cuneiform lists of towns in connection with Hamath and Damascus. It also appears (as "Aram-Zobah") in the chapter-heading of Psalm 60.
From the 11th century, it was common Rabbinic usage to apply the term "Aram Zobah" to the area of Aleppo, and this is perpetuated by Syrian Jews to this day. However, Saadia Gaon (882‒942 CE), in his Judeo-Arabic translation (Tafsīr) of the book of Psalms has identified Aram-zobah with Nisibis.
Some sources indicate that Zobah city is the current Anjar. In later Assyrian documents it may have been named a provincial center that derived from the recently incorporated city of Damascus, which might be Deir Khabiyah west of Al-Kiswah.
- Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on 1 Samuel 14, accessed 8 May 2017
- The Book of Psalms (with Rabbi Saadia Gaon's Translation and Commentary), editor: Yosef Qafih, Machon Moshe: 2nd edition, Jerusalem 2010, s.v. Psalm 60:2.
- http://www.subaa.com/chapterDetails.php?chapterID=25 كتاب صوبا - تاريخ وطن وحياة قرية (in Arabic)
- http://www.nesrosuryoyo.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2257 مملكة آرام حماة (in Arabic)
- Schrader, K. B. ii. 121 et seq;
- Delitzsch, Wo Lag das Paradies? pp. 279 et seq.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Singer, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906). "Aram-zobah". Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
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