If Syria Crisis Is about Isaiah 17:1, Then What about Psalm 83?

“Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap.” (Isaiah 17:1) Pictured is Palmyra ruins, northeast of Damascus, Syria. Source: Anothertravelguide

The real significance of the current crisis in Syria is, as many now point out, and perhaps obvious, seen at the reflection of Isaiah 17, namely the verses 1 & 2 and et al, which foretells the total destruction of Damascus – city listed as the oldest continuously inhabited in the world – of which when fulfilled raises another concern on Psalm 83 war.
Let us, then, expand on what most conventional theories on the above two tend to miss.


Isaiah 17:1-2
1. The burden against Damascus. “Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap.
2. The cities of Aroer are forsaken; they will be for flocks which lie down, and no one will make them afraid.

The forecast here is extremely serious and severe. Targum reads the verse 1 as “the burden of the cup of cursing to give Damascus to drink” and it is so great that, as it is to be read in Hebrews scriptures, the Damascus will be ‘removed’ from its existence as a city (Keil & Delitsch).

Note verse two. Cities of Aroer, whose exact location is much disputed, but there is a tendency to agreement that it refers to a place(s) within the jurisdiction of Damascus, Syria, will also be of similar fate. Clarke, however, opposes this and follows the Septuagint read which interprets the verse as “forever” or “for a long duration” in a different reading arrangement.

Either interpretation we take (i.e. either it was a city in Syria or we take Hebrew inscription word for a verb) it doesn’t make a big difference in the end for Damascus has been and is the capital of Syria, and the destruction of the Damascus would mean the destruction of Syria, including other cities within.

If we have to note the following verse, verse 3, then it is not applicable to current Israel, as no part of Israel is confederated with Syrians as the Samaria once was (Isaiah 7:1-2). If, and only if, the prophecy was double-folded, perhaps it could be stretched to refer to possible conflict(s) in Golan heights should Assad fall.

Now the prophecy was, I should say partly here, fulfilled by Assyrian King Tiglath-Pileser III (2 Kings 16:9) and afterwards by Nebuchadnezzar II (Jeremiah 49:23-27) after which it was rebuilt again to stand till this day.   The fact that Damascus was rebuilt as we see it tells that the prophecy, keeping in mind on the degree of destruction as noted above, was perhaps not fully fulfilled – it could in fact mean the prophecy itself was double or triple folded.

“A Syrian army soldier walks in a partially destroyed neighborhood in the al-Midan area in Damascus on July 20, 2012” (AFP Photo / Louai Beshara via RT)

If it’s about to be ‘fully’ fulfilled, in the civil war continuing or Israel stepping-in to prevent the chemical weapons falling into Islamic militia (or there could be more scenarios), then this would, in turn, indicate war of Psalm 83 had, perhaps (or not) already taken place.

What, then, about Psalm 83?


Psalm 83:2-8 KJV
2. For, lo, Thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate Thee
have lifted up the head.

3. They have taken crafty counsel against Thy people, and consulted against Thy hidden ones.
4. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
5. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are
confederate against Thee:

6. The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab,
and the Hagarenes;

7. Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the
inhabitants of Tyre;

8. Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.

At this point, it is appropriate that we recognise Joel Richardson on his unique remarks on a) Psalm 83 was likely to be a prayer of lament and perhaps not a prophecy and b) even if it is to be regarded as a prophecy, then it bears close resemblance to Ezekiel 38-39, of which it’s to be equated with in which he sees modern-day Turkey is also included in Psalm 83 as Assyria back then covered parts of modern-day Iraq, Syria and Turkey. This, to an extent, is a view that we ought to keep in mind, however, considering Russia is revealing itself as a prominent candidate to play that leading role in Ezekiel 38-39 more and more of which Psalm 83 alone cannot describe if it is to be equated to Ezekiel 38-9, and for the sake of view here, let us keep Richardson’s view aside for the time being.

My suggested view on Psalm 83, however, and now (as it has changed), is a little different to that of conventional – in half believing , that it has already taken place in 1948 and 1973 (as well as wars in between) wars. The other half belief would be, perhaps conventional this time, that it’s yet to come. This all depends on whether to read Hagarene as written or as Hagarite (1 Chronicles 5:10,19-20)

Let us expand on my first half belief by first listing the modern-day nations from the described (this will require to take Hagarenes as Hagrites the Aram Syrians):

Tabernacles of Edom & Moab & Ammon & Descendents of Lot: “Palestinians” / PLO (Until July 1971 due to Black September) &
Jordanians (Former Transjordanians)

Ishmaelites: Southern Jordanians, Saudis, and just about all Islamic
Middle Eastern and North Africa including Lybia, Sudan, Tunisia,
Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, etc (Joel Richardson) & Muslim Brotherhood

Hagarenes: Egyptians & Muslim Brotherhood

{Bill Salus’ work on how Hagarenes and Hagarites (or Hagrites) differ and thus why it’s appropriate to see Egypt part of confederacy of haters (as well as enemies, though they are to be distinguished according to Salus) in Psalm 83 is to be much treasured.}

If, however, taken as Hagarites (or Hagrites): Syrians

Gebal and Tyre: Hezbollah / Lebanon

Amalek: Arabs of Sinai (Salus) so Egyptians.

Philistia: Hamas of Gaza

Assur:  If referring to a city Assur, then Iraq. If referring to Assyrians, then still Iraq

Let us now compare the above with the participants of Arab-Israeli conflicts from 1948 – 1973: 1948-49 War of Independence, 1967 Six-Day War, 1967-70 War of Attrition, 1973 Yom Kippur War   [“Minor” conflicts omitted & asterisk mark denotes participation as an either expeditionary or supporter]

Egypt [War of Independence, Six-Day War, War of Attrition, Yom Kippur War]

Transjordan/Jordan [War of Independence, Six-Day War, War of Attrition, Yom Kippur War*]

Iraq [War of Independence, Six-Day War*, Yom Kippur War*]

Syria [War of Independence, Six-Day War, War of Attrition, Yom Kippur War]

Saudi Arabia [War of Independence, Six-Day War*, Yom Kippur War*]

Sudan [War of Independence (as Egypt Anglo-Egyptian Sudan), Six-Day War*]

PLO [Six-Day War*, War of Attrition, Yom Kippur War*]

Lybia [War of Independence (as Egypt Anglo-Egyptian Sudan), Six-Day War*]

Lebanon [War of Independence]

Algeria [Six-Day War*, Yom Kippur War*]

Kuwait [Six-Day War*]

Yemen [War of Independence]

Morocco [Six-Day War*]

Tunisia [Six-Day War*, Yom Kippur War*]

Muslim Brotherhood [War of Independence]

Mauritania “declared war” on Israel as a result of Six-day war (wikipedia)

Aside to the above, we have Pakistan, Soviet Union (no, it’s not Russia), Cuba and North Korea being directly/indirectly involved in at least one of the wars listed.
We also ought to take note that most members of Arab League and Muslim majority nations regardless of their participation in any of the wars listed above do not recognise state of Israel, including UAE and Bahrain.

Should I’m to believe Psalm 83, over instalments of events in efforts to wipe Israel off the map, has already been fulfilled then I believe the above records made the point. In similar context, my earlier post noted on how Psalm 53:5 and Isaiah 17:13-14 (Do not be confused) were continuously fulfilled during miraculous 6-day-war and other wars. No doubt, this will be also true of future wars.

As for my other half belief on it’s a war yet to come to be sound, it perhaps needs to meet two conditions: 1) Hagarenes are to be read as Hagarenes the Egyptians, thus removing the chances of Syrians included in the list of Psalm 83 and 2) Jordan needs to break peace treaty with Israel and engage in enmity soon. If so, then we ought to monitor Jordan now and then on its movements. Again, there could be more scenarios than we could ever imagine, though in one way or the other, it’s bound to happen.


Now, the news on Annan’s resignation as a UN peace envoy for Syrian crisis is no match to that of Russia, who though has denied reports, sending three naval vessels and 360 marines to secure its base in Syrian port of Tartous. As noted on my Leviathan article Russia’s naval presence in Tartous (or Tartus) is extremely significant.  The loss of such facility at Assad’s fall would, of course, mean loss of her influences in Arab-Mediterranean world.

Such move, then, as an effort to keep Tartous in her hands, hints (it’s said that Russia has operational intelligence and electronic stations operating inside Syria so they know better), to either aid Assad should he decide to withdraw to Latakia and Tartous where it’s much more defensible, or attempting to make a deal with Washington in setting agreeable transitional government which will allow Russia to keep the port.

So Russia definitely being another variable, it’s not that easy to predict exactly on how it shall unfold. We, then, ought to remain open on all possibilities rather than being dogmatic on one theory or two.


Recall when putting the puzzles together, there will always be times when a piece or more not necessarily fitting into the place where we had originally thought it should, but in the end, regardless of such ups and downs, puzzles do come together, as they should, to complete the entire picture. Same is true during our course of journey to meet Christ Jesus Who shall indeed return soon.
The purpose of prophecy is to make one believe in Him Who has set it in the first place (John 13:19) when it happens just as the purpose of putting puzzles together is not at how it comes to accomplishment, but to complete the picture. In one way or the other, Syrian crisis and other array of events as recorded in the Bible will come to fulfilments in signalling our Saviour’s return is at the door. Just as the events that are in line with the prophecies are and will be real, so will His return be. It is that real!  Maranatha!


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