International Standard Bible EncyclopediaCOELE-SYRIA
se-le-sir'-i-a (the King James Version Celosyria; Koile Suria, "hollow Syria"): So the Greeks after the time of Alexander the Great named the valley lying between the two mountain ranges, Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon. It is referred to in the Old Testament as Biq`ath ha-Lebhanon, "the valley of Lebanon" (Joshua 11:17), a name the echo of which is still heard in el-Buqa`, the designation applied today to the southern part of the valley. This hollow, which extends about 100 miles in length, is the continuation northward of the Jordan valley. The main physical features are described under LEBANON (which see). The name, however, did not always indicate the same tract of territory. In Strabo (xvi.2) and Ptolemy (v.15), it covers the fertile land between Jebel esh-Sharqy and the desert presided over by Damascus. In 1 Esdras 2:17; 2 Maccabees 3:8, etc., it indicates the country South and East of Mt. Lebanon, and along with Phoenicia it contributed the whole of the Seleucid dominions which lay South of the river Eleutherus. Josephus includes in Coele-Syria the country East of the Jordan, along with Scythopolis (Beisan) which lay on the West, separated by the river from the other members of the Decapolis (Ant., XIII, xiii, 2, etc.). In XIV, iv, 5, he says that "Pompey committed Coele-Syria as far as the river Euphrates and Egypt to Scaurus." The term is therefore one of some elasticity.
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Smith's Bible DictionaryCoelesyria
(hollow Syria), the remarkable valley or hollow which intervenes between Libanus and Anti-Libanus, stretching a distance of nearly a hundred miles. The only mention of the region as a separate tract of country which the Jewish Scriptures contain is probably that in (Amos 1:5) where "the inhabitants of the plain of Aven" are threatened in conjunction with those of Damascus. The word is given in the Authorized Version as CELO-SYRIA.
Easton's Bible DictionaryHollow Syria, the name (not found in Scripture) given by the Greeks to the extensive valley, about 100 miles long, between the Lebanon and the Anti-Lebanon range of mountains.
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