The name is used of both the people and the territory they controlled. The Arameans were a western Semitic people who infiltrated the northern part of the Fertile Crescent in the second millennium B.C. After the division of the Israelite kingdoms Aram became the strongest of the small states of the region, dominating Upper Mesopotamia. The patriarchs are described as Aramean (Dt 26:5), and took Aramean wives (Gen 24; 29:15ff.).

The third king of the south, Asa, sought Aramean support against the northern king, Baasha (1Kgs 15:16-22).

From the time of Ahab (874-853bce, 1Kgs 20, 22) Israel and Aram were regularly at war, until Jeroboam II regained a dominant position.

Mentions in Amos provide an ironic bracket, in 1:5 the Arameans are threatened with exile to Kir, while at 9:7 Adonai declares that just as he brought Israel up from Egypt he brought Aram from Kir!



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