(Siʹdon), Sidonians (Si·doʹni·ans).
Canaan’s firstborn son Sidon was the progenitor of the Sidonians. The seaport town of Sidon was named after their forefather, and for many years it was the principal city of the Phoenicians, as the Greeks called the Sidonians. Today the city is known as Saida.
A colony of Sidonians also settled some twenty-two miles (35 kilometers) S of Sidon and called the place Tyre. In time Tyre surpassed Sidon in many respects, but she never completely lost her identity as a Sidonian settlement. The king of Tyre was sometimes called “the king of the Sidonians” (1 Ki. 16:31), and frequently Tyre and Sidon are mentioned together in prophecy. (Jer. 25:22; 27:3; 47:4; Joel 3:4; Zech. 9:2) Between the two cities was Zarephath, “which belongs to Sidon” and where Elijah was fed by a widow during a prolonged famine.—1 Ki. 17:9; Luke 4:25, 26.
Originally Sidon was considered the N limit of the Canaanite nations. (Gen. 10:19) After Joshua’s conquest of the kings of northern Canaan (who had been pursued as far N as “populous Sidon”) the land was divided among the nine and a half tribes who had as yet received no allotment. At that time land under Sidon’s control was yet remaining to be taken. (Josh. 11:8; 13:2, 6, 7; Num. 32:33) Asher received the coastal plains immediately S of Sidon, and, as had been prophesied, Zebulun’s territory lay with ‘his remote side toward Sidon,’ that is, in the N part of the Promised Land. (Josh. 19:24, 28; Gen. 49:13) The Asherites, however, instead of driving the Sidonians out of their God-assigned territory, were content to settle down among them. (Judg. 1:31, 32; 3:1, 3) During the period of the Judges the tribe of Dan annexed Laish, possibly a Sidonian colony, and renamed it Dan. The conquest was accomplished with apparent ease, for the people were “quiet and unsuspecting,” hence unprepared for the attack. (Judg. 18:7, 27-29) Sidon is also mentioned in connection with the census taken in David’s day.—2 Sam. 24:6.
A port city favored with two of the few harbors on the Phoenician coast, Sidon became a great trading center where overland caravans met and exchanged their wares for goods brought in vessels plying the shipping lanes of the Mediterranean. Among the Sidonians were wealthy merchants, skilled sailors and hardy rowers. (Isa. 23:2; compare Ezekiel 27:8, 9.) Sidonians were also famous for their craftsmanship in the manufacture of glass and perfumes, in their weaving and dyeing of cloth. They were also noted for their ability as loggers and lumbermen.—1 Ki. 5:6; 1 Chron. 22:4; Ezra 3:7.
SIDONIAN RELIGION AND ITS CONSEQUENCE
Religiously, the Sidonians were depraved, lewd sex orgies in connection with the goddess Ashtoreth being a prominent part of their worship. The Israelites, allowing the Sidonians to remain among them, were eventually ensnared into worshiping their false gods. (Judg. 10:6, 7, 11-13) Some of the foreign wives that Solomon married were Sidonians, and these caused the king to go after the disgusting fertility goddess Ashtoreth. (1 Ki. 11:1, 4-6; 2 Ki. 23:13) King Ahab also did what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes by marrying Jezebel, the daughter of a Sidonian king. Jezebel, in turn, zealously promoted false worship in Israel.—1 Ki. 16:29-33; 18:18, 19.
The Sidonians were made to drink of Jehovah’s wrath, first by hearing the pronouncements of his prophets, and later by the destruction meted out at the hands of the Babylonians and others. (Isa. 23:4, 12; Jer. 25:17, 22; 27:1-8; 47:4; Ezek. 28:20-24; 32:30; Joel 3:4-8; Zech. 9:1-4) Secular history reports that the empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome each in turn dominated Sidon.
SIDONIAN HISTORY DURING FIRST CENTURY C.E.
But, despite all the Sidonians’ corrupt manner of worship, they were not as reprehensible as wayward Israel. Hence, Jesus said it would be more tolerable on Judgment Day for the people of Sidon than for those Jews of Chorazin and Bethsaida who rejected Jesus as Messiah. (Matt. 11:20-22; Luke 10:13, 14) Sometime later, when Jesus was traveling through the district around Sidon, a Phoenician woman showed faith in him. (Matt. 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-31) However, the ‘crowds’ that Jesus had cured previously, among whom were some from around Tyre and Sidon, were no doubt in the majority Jews or proselytes. (Mark 3:7, 8; Luke 6:17) On his first trip to Rome as a prisoner Paul was permitted to visit with the brothers in Sidon.—Acts 27:1, 3.
For reasons not stated by history, Herod Agrippa I was in a “fighting mood” against the Sidonians, who were supplied with food from the king. When a day was set for reconciling matters, and the Sidonians were applauding Herod as speaking with “a god’s voice, and not a man’s,” Jehovah’s angel struck him so that he was soon eaten up with worms.—Acts 12:20-23.
SIGMA [C, Σ, σ, ς]. The eighteenth letter of the Greek alphabet, from which the English “s” originates. In the later cursive writing, when a word ends with sigʹma, its normal minuscular sign (σ) is not used, but ς is used in its place. However, when, as in the more ancient manuscripts, a word is in all capitals, the same letter (C or Σ) is used in all cases.
Sigʹma is derived from the Hebrew sin. As a number, accented sigma (σ΄) equals 200, and, with the subscript (,σ), 200,000. The final form of the letter when accented (ς΄) denotes six, as in Revelation 13:18.
[Heb., ʼohth; Gr., se·meiʹon].
Among the many signs that Jehovah has provided for human guidance, the first mentioned as such are the heavenly luminaries, the sun and the moon. (Gen. 1:14) They are time indicators as well as visible signs of God’s existence and qualities. (Ps. 19:1-4; Rom. 1:19, 20) Evidently because of looking to these luminaries as well as to the stars for omens, as by astrology, the nations have been “struck with terror,” as stated at Jeremiah 10:2. Other “signs” might include any object, act, situation or unusual display that served as a guide for present or future action or attitude.
PURPOSES OF SIGNS
Jehovah gave signs as an assurance of truthfulness and dependability of his words. (Jer. 44:29; 1 Sam. 2:31-34; 10:7, 9; 2 Ki. 20:8-11) They gave evidence of God’s backing of Moses or other servants (Ex. 3:11, 12; compare Judges 6:17, 20-22); of an apostle (2 Cor. 12:12); of the Christian congregation.—1 Cor. 14:22.
Signs were not essential to prove God’s backing, as is seen in the case of John the Baptist. (John 10:41; Matt. 11:9-11) Also, a false prophet might perform a sign, but he could be identified as false by the means Jehovah provided.—Deut. 13:1-5; 18:20-22; Isa. 44:25; Mark 13:22; 2 Thess. 2:9; Rev. 13:13, 14; 19:20.
Certain signs are reminders, remembrancers, memorials. (Gen. 9:12-14; 17:11; Rom. 4:11) The sabbaths and the Passover constituted memorial signs for the Jews. (Ex. 13:3-9; 31:13; Ezek. 20:12, 20) A sign of a literal or symbolic nature could serve as an identification.—Num. 2:2; Ex. 12:13.
A SIGN DEMANDED OF JESUS
During Jesus’ ministry he performed numerous signs that helped many to believe in him. (John 2:23) But the signs did not produce faith in hardhearted ones. (Luke 2:34; John 11:47, 53; 12:37; compare Numbers 14:11, 22.) When on two occasions religious leaders asked Jesus to display to them a sign from heaven they likely were demanding that he perform, as proof that he was the Messiah, the sign foretold at Daniel 7:13, 14, namely, the “son of man” appearing with the clouds of the heavens to take his kingdom power. But it was not God’s time for that prophecy to be fulfilled, and Christ would not perform a showy display