trembling, a place on the southern boundary of Zebulun (Josh.
19:11). It has been identified with the modern M'alul, about 4
miles south-west of Nazareth.
pasture, a city in Zebulun on the border of Issachar (Josh.
19:15), the same as Nahalol (Judg. 1:30). It was given to the
Levites. It has been by some identified with Malul in the plain
of Esdraelon, 4 miles from Nazareth.
elevation, probably the same as Arumah (Judg. 9:41; 2 Kings
23:36), near Shechem. Others identify it with Tell Rumeh, in
Galilee, about 6 miles north of Nazareth.
watch-post, an ancient city of the Canaanites; with its
villages, allotted to Zebulun (Josh. 19:15); now probably
Semunieh, on the northern edge of the plain of Esdraelon, 5
miles west of Nazareth.
gathered by the people, (Josh. 19:11; 21:34), a city "of Carmel"
(12:22), i.e., on Carmel, allotted with its suburbs to the
Merarite Levites. It is the modern Tell Kaimon, about 12 miles
south-west of Nazareth, on the south of the river Kishon.
reedy, a town of Galilee, near Capernaum. Here our Lord wrought
his first miracle, the turning of water into wine (John 2:1-11;
4:46). It is also mentioned as the birth-place of Nathanael
(21:2). It is not mentioned in the Old Testament. It has been
identified with the modern Kana el-Jelil, also called Khurbet
Kana, a place 8 or 9 miles north of Nazareth. Others have
identified it with Kefr Kenna, which lies on the direct road to
the Sea of Galilee, about 5 miles north-east of Nazareth, and 12
in a direct course from Tiberias. It is called "Cana of
Galilee," to distinguish it from Cana of Asher (Josh. 19:28).
This epithet (Gr. Nazaraios) is applied to Christ only once
(Matt. 2:23). In all other cases the word is rendered "of
Nazareth" (Mark 1:24; 10:47; 14:67, etc.). When this Greek
designation was at first applied to our Lord, it was meant
simply to denote the place of his residence. In course of time
the word became a term of reproach. Thus the word "Nazarene"
carries with it an allusion to those prophecies which speak of
Christ as "despised of men" (Isa. 53:3). Some, however, think
that in this name there is an allusion to the Hebrew _netser_,
which signifies a branch or sprout. It is so applied to the
Messiah (Isa. 11:1), i.e., he whom the prophets called the
_Netse_, the "Branch."
The followers of Christ were called "the sect of Nazarenes"
(Acts 24:5). All over Israel and Syria this name is still
given to Christians. (See NAZARETH ¯T0002676.)
house of the ford, a place on the east bank of the Jordan, where
John was baptizing (John 1:28). It may be identical with
Bethbarah, the ancient ford of Jordan of which the men of
Ephraim took possession (Judg. 7:24). The Revised Version reads
"Bethany beyond Jordan." It was the great ford, and still bears
the name of "the ford," Makhadhet 'Abarah, "the ford of crossing
over," about 25 miles from Nazareth. (See BETHBARAH ¯T0000550.)
wine-press of the well, a town of Lower Galilee, about 5 miles
from Nazareth; the birthplace of Jonah (2 Kings 14:25); the same
as Gittah-hepher (Josh. 19:13). It has been identified with the
modern el-Meshed, a village on the top of a rocky hill. Here the
supposed tomb of Jonah, Neby Yunas, is still pointed out.
splendid. (1.) The king of Lachish, who joined in the
confederacy against Joshua (Josh. 10:3), and was defeated and
slain. In one of the Amarna tablets he speaks of himself as king
of Gezer. Called also Horam (Josh. 10:33).
(2.) One of the sons of David (2 Sam. 5:15), born in
(3.) A town in the southern boundary of Zebulum (Josh. 19:12);
now Yafa, 2 miles south-west of Nazareth.
separated, generally supposed to be the Greek form of the Hebrew
_netser_, a "shoot" or "sprout." Some, however, think that the
name of the city must be connected with the name of the hill
behind it, from which one of the finest prospects in Israel
is obtained, and accordingly they derive it from the Hebrew
_notserah_, i.e., one guarding or watching, thus designating the
hill which overlooks and thus guards an extensive region.
This city is not mentioned in the Old Testament. It was the
home of Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:39), and here the angel
announced to the Virgin the birth of the Messiah (1:26-28). Here
Jesus grew up from his infancy to manhood (4:16); and here he
began his public ministry in the synagogue (Matt. 13:54), at
which the people were so offended that they sought to cast him
down from the precipice whereon their city was built (Luke
4:29). Twice they expelled him from their borders (4:16-29;
Matt. 13:54-58); and he finally retired from the city, where he
did not many mighty works because of their unbelief (Matt.
13:58), and took up his residence in Capernaum.
Nazareth is situated among the southern ridges of Lebanon, on
the steep slope of a hill, about 14 miles from the Sea of
Galilee and about 6 west from Mount Tabor. It is identified with
the modern village en-Nazirah, of six or ten thousand
inhabitants. It lies "as in a hollow cup" lower down upon the
hill than the ancient city. The main road for traffic between
Egypt and the interior of Asia passed by Nazareth near the foot
of Tabor, and thence northward to Damascus.
It is supposed from the words of Nathanael in John 1:46 that
the city of Nazareth was held in great disrepute, either
because, it is said, the people of Galilee were a rude and less
cultivated class, and were largely influenced by the Gentiles
who mingled with them, or because of their lower type of moral
and religious character. But there seems to be no sufficient
reason for these suppositions. The Jews believed that, according
to Micah 5:2, the birth of the Messiah would take place at
Bethlehem, and nowhere else. Nathanael held the same opinion as
his countrymen, and believed that the great "good" which they
were all expecting could not come from Nazareth. This is
probably what Nathanael meant. Moreover, there does not seem to
be any evidence that the inhabitants of Galilee were in any
respect inferior, or that a Galilean was held in contempt, in
the time of our Lord. (See Dr. Merrill's Galilee in the Time of
The population of this city (now about 10,000) in the time of
Christ probably amounted to 15,000 or 20,000 souls.
"The so-called 'Holy House' is a cave under the Latin church,
which appears to have been originally a tank. The 'brow of the
hill', site of the attempted precipitation, is probably the
northern cliff: the traditional site has been shown since the
middle ages at some distance to the south. None of the
traditional sites are traceable very early, and they have no
authority. The name Nazareth perhaps means 'a watch tower' (now
en-Nasrah), but is connected in the New Testament with Netzer,
'a branch' (Isa. 4:2; Jer. 23:5; Zech. 3:8; 6:12; Matt. 2:23),
Nazarene being quite a different word from Nazarite."
(1.) Joshua, the son of Nun (Acts 7:45; Heb. 4:8; R.V.,
(2.) A Jewish Christian surnamed Justus (Col. 4:11).
Je'sus, the proper, as Christ is the official, name of our
Lord. To distinguish him from others so called, he is spoken of
as "Jesus of Nazareth" (John 18:7), and "Jesus the son of
Joseph" (John 6:42).
This is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, which was
originally Hoshea (Num. 13:8, 16), but changed by Moses into
Jehoshua (Num. 13:16; 1 Chr. 7:27), or Joshua. After the Exile
it assumed the form Jeshua, whence the Greek form Jesus. It was
given to our Lord to denote the object of his mission, to save
The life of Jesus on earth may be divided into two great
periods, (1) that of his private life, till he was about thirty
years of age; and (2) that of his public life, which lasted
about three years.
In the "fulness of time" he was born at Bethlehem, in the
reign of the emperor Augustus, of Mary, who was betrothed to
Joseph, a carpenter (Matt. 1:1; Luke 3:23; comp. John 7:42). His
birth was announced to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-20). Wise men
from the east came to Bethlehem to see him who was born "King of
the Jews," bringing gifts with them (Matt. 2:1-12). Herod's
cruel jealousy led to Joseph's flight into Egypt with Mary and
the infant Jesus, where they tarried till the death of this king
(Matt. 2:13-23), when they returned and settled in Nazareth, in
Lower Galilee (2:23; comp. Luke 4:16; John 1:46, etc.). At the
age of twelve years he went up to Jerusalem to the Passover with
his parents. There, in the temple, "in the midst of the
doctors," all that heard him were "astonished at his
understanding and answers" (Luke 2:41, etc.).
Eighteen years pass, of which we have no record beyond this,
that he returned to Nazareth and "increased in wisdom and
stature, and in favour with God and man" (Luke 2:52).
He entered on his public ministry when he was about thirty
years of age. It is generally reckoned to have extended to about
three years. "Each of these years had peculiar features of its
own. (1.) The first year may be called the year of obscurity,
both because the records of it which we possess are very scanty,
and because he seems during it to have been only slowly emerging
into public notice. It was spent for the most part in Judea.
(2.) The second year was the year of public favour, during which
the country had become thoroughly aware of him; his activity was
incessant, and his frame rang through the length and breadth of
the land. It was almost wholly passed in Galilee. (3.) The third
was the year of opposition, when the public favour ebbed away.
His enemies multiplied and assailed him with more and more
pertinacity, and at last he fell a victim to their hatred. The
first six months of this final year were passed in Galilee, and
the last six in other parts of the land.", Stalker's Life of
Jesus Christ, p. 45.
The only reliable sources of information regarding the life of
Christ on earth are the Gospels, which present in historical
detail the words and the work of Christ in so many different
aspects. (See CHIRST ¯T0000818.)
a Jew "born at Alexandria," a man well versed in the Scriptures
and eloquent (Acts 18:24; R.V., "learned"). He came to Ephesus
(about A.D. 49), where he spake "boldly" in the synagogue
(18:26), although he did not know as yet that Jesus of Nazareth
was the Messiah. Aquila and Priscilla instructed him more
perfectly in "the way of God", i.e., in the knowledge of Christ.
He then proceeded to Corinth, where he met Paul (Acts 18:27;
19:1). He was there very useful in watering the good seed Paul
had sown (1 Cor. 1:12), and in gaining many to Christ. His
disciples were much attached to him (1 Cor. 3:4-7, 22). He was
with Paul at Ephesus when he wrote the First Epistle to the
Corinthians; and Paul makes kindly reference to him in his
letter to Titus (3:13). Some have supposed, although without
sufficient ground, that he was the author of the Epistle to the
Hebrew Miriam. (1.) The wife of Joseph, the mother of Jesus,
called the "Virgin Mary," though never so designated in
Scripture (Matt. 2:11; Acts 1:14). Little is known of her
personal history. Her genealogy is given in Luke 3. She was of
the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David (Ps. 132:11; Luke
1:32). She was connected by marriage with Elisabeth, who was of
the lineage of Aaron (Luke 1:36).
While she resided at Nazareth with her parents, before she
became the wife of Joseph, the angel Gabriel announced to her
that she was to be the mother of the promised Messiah (Luke
1:35). After this she went to visit her cousin Elisabeth, who
was living with her husband Zacharias (probably at Juttah, Josh.
15:55; 21:16, in the neighbourhood of Maon), at a considerable
distance, about 100 miles, from Nazareth. Immediately on
entering the house she was saluted by Elisabeth as the mother of
her Lord, and then forthwith gave utterance to her hymn of
thanksgiving (Luke 1:46-56; comp. 1 Sam. 2:1-10). After three
months Mary returned to Nazareth to her own home. Joseph was
supernaturally made aware (Matt. 1:18-25) of her condition, and
took her to his own home. Soon after this the decree of Augustus
(Luke 2:1) required that they should proceed to Bethlehem (Micah
5:2), some 80 or 90 miles from Nazareth; and while they were
there they found shelter in the inn or khan provided for
strangers (Luke 2:6, 7). But as the inn was crowded, Mary had to
retire to a place among the cattle, and there she brought forth
her son, who was called Jesus (Matt. 1:21), because he was to
save his people from their sins. This was followed by the
presentation in the temple, the flight into Egypt, and their
return in the following year and residence at Nazareth (Matt.
2). There for thirty years Mary, the wife of Joseph the
carpenter, resides, filling her own humble sphere, and pondering
over the strange things that had happened to her. During these
years only one event in the history of Jesus is recorded, viz.,
his going up to Jerusalem when twelve years of age, and his
being found among the doctors in the temple (Luke 2:41-52).
Probably also during this period Joseph died, for he is not
After the commencement of our Lord's public ministry little
notice is taken of Mary. She was present at the marriage in
Cana. A year and a half after this we find her at Capernaum
(Matt. 12:46, 48, 49), where Christ uttered the memorable words,
"Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched
forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother
and my brethren!" The next time we find her is at the cross
along with her sister Mary, and Mary Magdalene, and Salome, and
other women (John 19:26). From that hour John took her to his
own abode. She was with the little company in the upper room
after the Ascension (Acts 1:14). From this time she wholly
disappears from public notice. The time and manner of her death
(2.) Mary Magdalene, i.e., Mary of Magdala, a town on the
western shore of the Lake of Tiberias. She is for the first time
noticed in Luke 8:3 as one of the women who "ministered to
Christ of their substance." Their motive was that of gratitude
for deliverances he had wrought for them. Out of Mary were cast
seven demons. Gratitude to her great Deliverer prompted her to
become his follower. These women accompanied him also on his
last journey to Jerusalem (Matt. 27:55; Mark 15:41; Luke 23:55).
They stood near the cross. There Mary remained till all was
over, and the body was taken down and laid in Joseph's tomb.
Again, in the earliest dawn of the first day of the week she,
with Salome and Mary the mother of James (Matt. 28:1; Mark
16:2), came to the sepulchre, bringing with them sweet spices,
that they might anoint the body of Jesus. They found the
sepulchre empty, but saw the "vision of angels" (Matt. 28:5).
She hastens to tell Peter and John, who were probably living
together at this time (John 20:1, 2), and again immediately
returns to the sepulchre. There she lingers thoughtfully,
weeping at the door of the tomb. The risen Lord appears to her,
but at first she knows him not. His utterance of her name "Mary"
recalls her to consciousness, and she utters the joyful,
reverent cry, "Rabboni." She would fain cling to him, but he
forbids her, saying, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to
my Father." This is the last record regarding Mary of Magdala,
who now returned to Jerusalem. The idea that this Mary was "the
woman who was a sinner," or that she was unchaste, is altogether
(3.) Mary the sister of Lazarus is brought to our notice in
connection with the visits of our Lord to Bethany. She is
contrasted with her sister Martha, who was "cumbered about many
things" while Jesus was their guest, while Mary had chosen "the
good part." Her character also appears in connection with the
death of her brother (John 11:20,31,33). On the occasion of our
Lord's last visit to Bethany, Mary brought "a pound of ointment
of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus" as he
reclined at table in the house of one Simon, who had been a
leper (Matt. 26:6; Mark 14:3; John 12:2,3). This was an evidence
of her overflowing love to the Lord. Nothing is known of her
subsequent history. It would appear from this act of Mary's, and
from the circumstance that they possessed a family vault
(11:38), and that a large number of Jews from Jerusalem came to
condole with them on the death of Lazarus (11:19), that this
family at Bethany belonged to the wealthier class of the people.
(See MARTHA ¯T0002426.)
(4.) Mary the wife of Cleopas is mentioned (John 19:25) as
standing at the cross in company with Mary of Magdala and Mary
the mother of Jesus. By comparing Matt. 27:56 and Mark 15:40, we
find that this Mary and "Mary the mother of James the little"
are on and the same person, and that she was the sister of our
Lord's mother. She was that "other Mary" who was present with
Mary of Magdala at the burial of our Lord (Matt. 27:61; Mark
15:47); and she was one of those who went early in the morning
of the first day of the week to anoint the body, and thus became
one of the first witnesses of the resurrection (Matt. 28:1; Mark
16:1; Luke 24:1).
(5.) Mary the mother of John Mark was one of the earliest of
our Lord's disciples. She was the sister of Barnabas (Col.
4:10), and joined with him in disposing of their land and giving
the proceeds of the sale into the treasury of the Church (Acts
4:37; 12:12). Her house in Jerusalem was the common
meeting-place for the disciples there.
(6.) A Christian at Rome who treated Paul with special
kindness (Rom. 16:6).
The practice of anointing with perfumed oil was common among the
Hebrews. (1.) The act of anointing was significant of
consecration to a holy or sacred use; hence the anointing of the
high priest (Ex. 29:29; Lev. 4:3) and of the sacred vessels (Ex.
30:26). The high priest and the king are thus called "the
anointed" (Lev. 4:3, 5, 16; 6:20; Ps. 132:10). Anointing a king
was equivalent to crowning him (1 Sam. 16:13; 2 Sam. 2:4, etc.).
Prophets were also anointed (1 Kings 19:16; 1 Chr. 16:22; Ps.
105:15). The expression, "anoint the shield" (Isa. 21:5), refers
to the custom of rubbing oil on the leather of the shield so as
to make it supple and fit for use in war.
(2.) Anointing was also an act of hospitality (Luke 7:38, 46).
It was the custom of the Jews in like manner to anoint
themselves with oil, as a means of refreshing or invigorating
their bodies (Deut. 28:40; Ruth 3:3; 2 Sam. 14:2; Ps. 104:15,
etc.). This custom is continued among the Arabians to the
(3.) Oil was used also for medicinal purposes. It was applied
to the sick, and also to wounds (Ps. 109:18; Isa. 1:6; Mark
6:13; James 5:14).
(4.) The bodies of the dead were sometimes anointed (Mark
14:8; Luke 23:56).
(5.) The promised Deliverer is twice called the "Anointed" or
Messiah (Ps. 2:2; Dan. 9:25, 26), because he was anointed with
the Holy Ghost (Isa. 61:1), figuratively styled the "oil of
gladness" (Ps. 45:7; Heb. 1:9). Jesus of Nazareth is this
anointed One (John 1:41; Acts 9:22; 17:2, 3; 18:5, 28), the
Messiah of the Old Testament.
house of bread. (1.) A city in the "hill country" of Judah. It
was originally called Ephrath (Gen. 35:16, 19; 48:7; Ruth 4:11).
It was also called Beth-lehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2),
Beth-lehem-judah (1 Sam. 17:12), and "the city of David" (Luke
2:4). It is first noticed in Scripture as the place where Rachel
died and was buried "by the wayside," directly to the north of
the city (Gen. 48:7). The valley to the east was the scene of
the story of Ruth the Moabitess. There are the fields in which
she gleaned, and the path by which she and Naomi returned to the
town. Here was David's birth-place, and here also, in after
years, he was anointed as king by Samuel (1 Sam. 16:4-13); and
it was from the well of Bethlehem that three of his heroes
brought water for him at the risk of their lives when he was in
the cave of Adullam (2 Sam. 23:13-17). But it was distinguished
above every other city as the birth-place of "Him whose goings
forth have been of old" (Matt. 2:6; comp. Micah 5:2). Afterwards
Herod, "when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men," sent
and slew "all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all
the coasts thereof, from two years old and under" (Matt. 2:16,
18; Jer. 31:15).
Bethlehem bears the modern name of Beit-Lahm, i.e., "house of
flesh." It is about 5 miles south of Jerusalem, standing at an
elevation of about 2,550 feet above the sea, thus 100 feet
higher than Jerusalem.
There is a church still existing, built by Constantine the
Great (A.D. 330), called the "Church of the Nativity," over a
grotto or cave called the "holy crypt," and said to be the
"stable" in which Jesus was born. This is perhaps the oldest
existing Christian church in the world. Close to it is another
grotto, where Jerome the Latin father is said to have spent
thirty years of his life in translating the Scriptures into
Latin. (See VERSION ¯T0003768.)
(2.) A city of Zebulun, mentioned only in Josh. 19:15. Now
Beit-Lahm, a ruined village about 6 miles west-north-west of
Nahum's town, a Galilean city frequently mentioned in the
history of our Lord. It is not mentioned in the Old Testament.
After our Lord's expulsion from Nazareth (Matt. 4:13-16; Luke
4:16-31), Capernaum became his "own city." It was the scene of
many acts and incidents of his life (Matt. 8:5, 14, 15; 9:2-6,
10-17; 15:1-20; Mark 1:32-34, etc.). The impenitence and
unbelief of its inhabitants after the many evidences our Lord
gave among them of the truth of his mission, brought down upon
them a heavy denunciation of judgement (Matt. 11:23).
It stood on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. The "land
of Gennesaret," near, if not in, which it was situated, was one
of the most prosperous and crowded districts of Israel. This
city lay on the great highway from Damascus to Acco and Tyre. It
has been identified with Tell Hum, about two miles south-west of
where the Jordan flows into the lake. Here are extensive ruins
of walls and foundations, and also the remains of what must have
been a beautiful synagogue, which it is conjectured may have
been the one built by the centurion (Luke 7:5), in which our
Lord frequently taught (John 6:59; Mark 1:21; Luke 4:33). Others
have conjectured that the ruins of the city are to be found at
Khan Minyeh, some three miles further to the south on the shore
of the lake. "If Tell Hum be Capernaum, the remains spoken of
are without doubt the ruins of the synagogue built by the Roman
centurion, and one of the most sacred places on earth. It was in
this building that our Lord gave the well-known discourse in
John 6; and it was not without a certain strange feeling that on
turning over a large block we found the pot of manna engraved on
its face, and remembered the words, 'I am that bread of life:
your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.'",
(The Recovery of Jerusalem.)
(Heb. mashiah), in all the thirty-nine instances of its
occurring in the Old Testament, is rendered by the LXX.
"Christos." It means anointed. Thus priests (Ex. 28:41; 40:15;
Num. 3:3), prophets (1 Kings 19:16), and kings (1 Sam. 9:16;
16:3; 2 Sam. 12:7) were anointed with oil, and so consecrated to
their respective offices. The great Messiah is anointed "above
his fellows" (Ps. 45:7); i.e., he embraces in himself all the
three offices. The Greek form "Messias" is only twice used in
the New Testament, in John 1:41 and 4:25 (R.V., "Messiah"), and
in the Old Testament the word Messiah, as the rendering of the
Hebrew, occurs only twice (Dan 9:25, 26; R.V., "the anointed
The first great promise (Gen. 3:15) contains in it the germ of
all the prophecies recorded in the Old Testament regarding the
coming of the Messiah and the great work he was to accomplish on
earth. The prophecies became more definite and fuller as the
ages rolled on; the light shone more and more unto the perfect
day. Different periods of prophetic revelation have been pointed
out, (1) the patriarchal; (2) the Mosaic; (3) the period of
David; (4) the period of prophetism, i.e., of those prophets
whose works form a part of the Old Testament canon. The
expectations of the Jews were thus kept alive from generation to
generation, till the "fulness of the times," when Messiah came,
"made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were
under the law." In him all these ancient prophecies have their
fulfilment. Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the great
Deliverer who was to come. (Comp. Matt. 26:54; Mark 9:12; Luke
18:31; 22:37; John 5:39; Acts 2; 16:31; 26:22, 23.)
circuit. Solomon rewarded Hiram for certain services rendered
him by the gift of an upland plain among the mountains of
Naphtali. Hiram was dissatisfied with the gift, and called it
"the land of Cabul" (q.v.). The Jews called it Galil. It
continued long to be occupied by the original inhabitants, and
hence came to be called "Galilee of the Gentiles" (Matt. 4:15),
and also "Upper Galilee," to distinguish it from the extensive
addition afterwards made to it toward the south, which was
usually called "Lower Galilee." In the time of our Lord, Galilee
embraced more than one-third of Western Israel, extending
"from Dan on the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, to the
ridges of Carmel and Gilboa on the south, and from the Jordan
valley on the east away across the splendid plains of Jezreel
and Acre to the shores of the Mediterranean on the west."
Israel was divided into three provinces, Judea, Samaria, and
Galilee, which comprehended the whole northern section of the
country (Acts 9:31), and was the largest of the three.
It was the scene of some of the most memorable events of
Jewish history. Galilee also was the home of our Lord during at
least thirty years of his life. The first three Gospels are
chiefly taken up with our Lord's public ministry in this
province. "The entire province is encircled with a halo of holy
associations connected with the life, works, and teachings of
Jesus of Nazareth." "It is noteworthy that of his thirty-two
beautiful parables, no less than ninteen were spoken in Galilee.
And it is no less remarkable that of his entire thirty-three
great miracles, twenty-five were wrought in this province. His
first miracle was wrought at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, and
his last, after his resurrection, on the shore of Galilee's sea.
In Galilee our Lord delivered the Sermon on The Mount, and the
discourses on 'The Bread of Life,' on 'Purity,' on
'Forgiveness,' and on 'Humility.' In Galilee he called his first
disciples; and there occurred the sublime scene of the
Transfiguration" (Porter's Through Samaria).
When the Sanhedrin were about to proceed with some plan for
the condemnation of our Lord (John 7:45-52), Nicodemus
interposed in his behalf. (Comp. Deut. 1:16,17; 17:8.) They
replied, "Art thou also of Galilee?.... Out of Galilee ariseth
no prophet." This saying of theirs was "not historically true,
for two prophets at least had arisen from Galilee, Jonah of
Gath-hepher, and the greatest of all the prophets, Elijah of
Thisbe, and perhaps also Nahum and Hosea. Their contempt for
Galilee made them lose sight of historical accuracy" (Alford,
The Galilean accent differed from that of Jerusalem in being
broader and more guttural (Mark 14:70).
John the Baptist
the "forerunner of our Lord." We have but fragmentary and
imperfect accounts of him in the Gospels. He was of priestly
descent. His father, Zacharias, was a priest of the course of
Abia (1 Chr. 24:10), and his mother, Elisabeth, was of the
daughters of Aaron (Luke 1:5). The mission of John was the
subject of prophecy (Matt. 3:3; Isa. 40:3; Mal. 3:1). His birth,
which took place six months before that of Jesus, was foretold
by an angel. Zacharias, deprived of the power of speech as a
token of God's truth and a reproof of his own incredulity with
reference to the birth of his son, had the power of speech
restored to him on the occasion of his circumcision (Luke 1:64).
After this no more is recorded of him for thirty years than what
is mentioned in Luke 1:80. John was a Nazarite from his birth
(Luke 1:15; Num. 6:1-12). He spent his early years in the
mountainous tract of Judah lying between Jerusalem and the Dead
Sea (Matt. 3:1-12).
At length he came forth into public life, and great multitudes
from "every quarter" were attracted to him. The sum of his
preaching was the necessity of repentance. He denounced the
Sadducees and Pharisees as a "generation of vipers," and warned
them of the folly of trusting to external privileges (Luke 3:8).
"As a preacher, John was eminently practical and discriminating.
Self-love and covetousness were the prevalent sins of the people
at large. On them, therefore, he enjoined charity and
consideration for others. The publicans he cautioned against
extortion, the soldiers against crime and plunder." His doctrine
and manner of life roused the entire south of Israel, and the
people from all parts flocked to the place where he was, on the
banks of the Jordan. There he baptized thousands unto
The fame of John reached the ears of Jesus in Nazareth (Matt.
3:5), and he came from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized of John,
on the special ground that it became him to "fulfil all
righteousness" (3:15). John's special office ceased with the
baptism of Jesus, who must now "increase" as the King come to
his kingdom. He continued, however, for a while to bear
testimony to the Messiahship of Jesus. He pointed him out to his
disciples, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God." His public ministry
was suddenly (after about six months probably) brought to a
close by his being cast into prison by Herod, whom he had
reproved for the sin of having taken to himself the wife of his
brother Philip (Luke 3:19). He was shut up in the castle of
Machaerus (q.v.), a fortress on the southern extremity of
Peraea, 9 miles east of the Dead Sea, and here he was beheaded.
His disciples, having consigned the headless body to the grave,
went and told Jesus all that had occurred (Matt. 14:3-12).
John's death occurred apparently just before the third Passover
of our Lord's ministry. Our Lord himself testified regarding him
that he was a "burning and a shining light" (John 5:35).
Matthew, Gospel according to
The author of this book was beyond a doubt the Matthew, an
apostle of our Lord, whose name it bears. He wrote the Gospel of
Christ according to his own plans and aims, and from his own
point of view, as did also the other "evangelists."
As to the time of its composition, there is little in the
Gospel itself to indicate. It was evidently written before the
destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 24), and some time after the
events it records. The probability is that it was written
between the years A.D. 60 and 65.
The cast of thought and the forms of expression employed by
the writer show that this Gospel was written for Jewish
Christians of Israel. His great object is to prove that Jesus
of Nazareth was the promised Messiah, and that in him the
ancient prophecies had their fulfilment. The Gospel is full of
allusions to those passages of the Old Testament in which Christ
is predicted and foreshadowed. The one aim prevading the whole
book is to show that Jesus is he "of whom Moses in the law and
the prophets did write." This Gospel contains no fewer than
sixty-five references to the Old Testament, forty-three of these
being direct verbal citations, thus greatly outnumbering those
found in the other Gospels. The main feature of this Gospel may
be expressed in the motto, "I am not come to destroy, but to
As to the language in which this Gospel was written there is
much controversy. Many hold, in accordance with old tradition,
that it was originally written in Hebrew (i.e., the Aramaic or
Syro-Chaldee dialect, then the vernacular of the inhabitants of
Israel), and afterwards translated into Greek, either by
Matthew himself or by some person unknown. This theory, though
earnestly maintained by able critics, we cannot see any ground
for adopting. From the first this Gospel in Greek was received
as of authority in the Church. There is nothing in it to show
that it is a translation. Though Matthew wrote mainly for the
Jews, yet they were everywhere familiar with the Greek language.
The same reasons which would have suggested the necessity of a
translation into Greek would have led the evangelist to write in
Greek at first. It is confessed that this Gospel has never been
found in any other form than that in which we now possess it.
The leading characteristic of this Gospel is that it sets
forth the kingly glory of Christ, and shows him to be the true
heir to David's throne. It is the Gospel of the kingdom. Matthew
uses the expression "kingdom of heaven" (thirty-two times),
while Luke uses the expression "kingdom of God" (thirty-three
times). Some Latinized forms occur in this Gospel, as kodrantes
(Matt. 5:26), for the Latin quadrans, and phragello (27:26), for
the Latin flagello. It must be remembered that Matthew was a
tax-gatherer for the Roman government, and hence in contact with
those using the Latin language.
As to the relation of the Gospels to each other, we must
maintain that each writer of the synoptics (the first three)
wrote independently of the other two, Matthew being probably
first in point of time.
"Out of a total of 1071 verses, Matthew has 387 in common with
Mark and Luke, 130 with Mark, 184 with Luke; only 387 being
peculiar to itself." (See MARK ¯T0002419; LUKE ¯T0002331;
The book is fitly divided into these four parts: (1.)
Containing the genealogy, the birth, and the infancy of Jesus
(2.) The discourses and actions of John the Baptist
preparatory to Christ's public ministry (3; 4:11).
(3.) The discourses and actions of Christ in Galilee
(4.) The sufferings, death and resurrection of our Lord
originally denoted only the sea-coast of the land of Canaan
inhabited by the Philistines (Ex. 15:14; Isa. 14:29, 31; Joel
3:4), and in this sense exclusively the Hebrew name Pelesheth
(rendered "Philistia" in Ps. 60:8; 83:7; 87:4; 108:9) occurs in
the Old Testament.
Not till a late period in Jewish history was this name used to
denote "the land of the Hebrews" in general (Gen. 40:15). It is
also called "the holy land" (Zech. 2:12), the "land of Jehovah"
(Hos. 9:3; Ps. 85:1), the "land of promise" (Heb. 11:9), because
promised to Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 24:7), the "land of Canaan"
(Gen. 12:5), the "land of Israel" (1 Sam. 13:19), and the "land
of Judah" (Isa. 19:17).
The territory promised as an inheritance to the seed of
Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21; Num. 34:1-12) was bounded on the east by
the river Euphrates, on the west by the Mediterranean, on the
north by the "entrance of Hamath," and on the south by the
"river of Egypt." This extent of territory, about 60,000 square
miles, was at length conquered by David, and was ruled over also
by his son Solomon (2 Sam. 8; 1 Chr. 18; 1 Kings 4:1, 21). This
vast empire was the Promised Land; but Israel was only a part
of it, terminating in the north at the southern extremity of the
Lebanon range, and in the south in the wilderness of Paran, thus
extending in all to about 144 miles in length. Its average
breadth was about 60 miles from the Mediterranean on the west to
beyond the Jordan. It has fittingly been designated "the least
of all lands." Western Israel, on the south of Gaza, is only
about 40 miles in breadth from the Mediterranean to the Dead
Sea, narrowing gradually toward the north, where it is only 20
miles from the sea-coast to the Jordan.
Israel, "set in the midst" (Ezek. 5:5) of all other lands,
is the most remarkable country on the face of the earth. No
single country of such an extent has so great a variety of
climate, and hence also of plant and animal life. Moses
describes it as "a good land, a land of brooks of water, of
fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a
land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and
pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein
thou shalt not eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack
any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose
hills thou mayest dig brass" (Deut. 8:7-9).
"In the time of Christ the country looked, in all probability,
much as now. The whole land consists of rounded limestone hills,
fretted into countless stony valleys, offering but rarely level
tracts, of which Esdraelon alone, below Nazareth, is large
enough to be seen on the map. The original woods had for ages
disappeared, though the slopes were dotted, as now, with figs,
olives, and other fruit-trees where there was any soil.
Permanent streams were even then unknown, the passing rush of
winter torrents being all that was seen among the hills. The
autumn and spring rains, caught in deep cisterns hewn out like
huge underground jars in the soft limestone, with artificial
mud-banked ponds still found near all villages, furnished water.
Hills now bare, or at best rough with stunted growth, were then
terraced, so as to grow vines, olives, and grain. To-day almost
desolate, the country then teemed with population. Wine-presses
cut in the rocks, endless terraces, and the ruins of old
vineyard towers are now found amidst solitudes overgrown for
ages with thorns and thistles, or with wild shrubs and poor
gnarled scrub" (Geikie's Life of Christ).
From an early period the land was inhabited by the descendants
of Canaan, who retained possession of the whole land "from Sidon
to Gaza" till the time of the conquest by Joshua, when it was
occupied by the twelve tribes. Two tribes and a half had their
allotments given them by Moses on the east of the Jordan (Deut.
3:12-20; comp. Num. 1:17-46; Josh. 4:12-13). The remaining
tribes had their portion on the west of Jordan.
From the conquest till the time of Saul, about four hundred
years, the people were governed by judges. For a period of one
hundred and twenty years the kingdom retained its unity while it
was ruled by Saul and David and Solomon. On the death of
Solomon, his son Rehoboam ascended the throne; but his conduct
was such that ten of the tribes revolted, and formed an
independent monarchy, called the kingdom of Israel, or the
northern kingdom, the capital of which was first Shechem and
afterwards Samaria. This kingdom was destroyed. The Israelites
were carried captive by Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, B.C. 722,
after an independent existence of two hundred and fifty-three
years. The place of the captives carried away was supplied by
tribes brought from the east, and thus was formed the Samaritan
nation (2 Kings 17:24-29).
Nebuchadnezzar came up against the kingdom of the two tribes,
the kingdom of Judah, the capital of which was Jerusalem, one
hundred and thirty-four years after the overthrow of the kingdom
of Israel. He overthrew the city, plundered the temple, and
carried the people into captivity to Babylon (B.C. 587), where
they remained seventy years. At the close of the period of the
Captivity, they returned to their own land, under the edict of
Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4). They rebuilt the city and temple, and
restored the old Jewish commonwealth.
For a while after the Restoration the Jews were ruled by
Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and afterwards by the high
priests, assisted by the Sanhedrin. After the death of Alexander
the Great at Babylon (B.C. 323), his vast empire was divided
between his four generals. Egypt, Arabia, Israel, and
Coele-Syria fell to the lot of Ptolemy Lagus. Ptolemy took
possession of Israel in B.C. 320, and carried nearly one
hundred thousand of the inhabitants of Jerusalem into Egypt. He
made Alexandria the capital of his kingdom, and treated the Jews
with consideration, confirming them in the enjoyment of many
After suffering persecution at the hands of Ptolemy's
successors, the Jews threw off the Egyptian yoke, and became
subject to Antiochus the Great, the king of Syria. The cruelty
and opression of the successors of Antiochus at length led to
the revolt under the Maccabees (B.C. 163), when they threw off
the Syrian yoke.
In the year B.C. 68, Israel was reduced by Pompey the Great
to a Roman province. He laid the walls of the city in ruins, and
massacred some twelve thousand of the inhabitants. He left the
temple, however, unijured. About twenty-five years after this
the Jews revolted and cast off the Roman yoke. They were
however, subdued by Herod the Great (q.v.). The city and the
temple were destroyed, and many of the inhabitants were put to
death. About B.C. 20, Herod proceeded to rebuild the city and
restore the ruined temple, which in about nine years and a half
was so far completed that the sacred services could be resumed
in it (comp. John 2:20). He was succeeded by his son Archelaus,
who was deprived of his power, however, by Augustus, A.D. 6,
when Israel became a Roman province, ruled by Roman governors
or procurators. Pontius Pilate was the fifth of these
procurators. He was appointed to his office A.D. 25.
Exclusive of Idumea, the kingdom of Herod the Great
comprehended the whole of the country originally divided among
the twelve tribes, which he divided into four provinces or
districts. This division was recognized so long as Israel was
under the Roman dominion. These four provinces were, (1) Judea,
the southern portion of the country; (2) Samaria, the middle
province, the northern boundary of which ran along the hills to
the south of the plain of Esdraelon; (3) Galilee, the northern
province; and (4) Peraea (a Greek name meaning the "opposite
country"), the country lying east of the Jordan and the Dead
Sea. This province was subdivided into these districts, (1)
Peraea proper, lying between the rivers Arnon and Jabbok; (2)
Galaaditis (Gilead); (3) Batanaea; (4) Gaulonitis (Jaulan); (5)
Ituraea or Auranitis, the ancient Bashan; (6) Trachonitis; (7)
Abilene; (8) Decapolis, i.e., the region of the ten cities. The
whole territory of Israel, including the portions alloted to
the trans-Jordan tribes, extended to about eleven thousand
square miles. Recent exploration has shown the territory on the
west of Jordan alone to be six thousand square miles in extent,
the size of the principality of Wales.
remover or increaser. (1.) The elder of the two sons of Jacob by
Rachel (Gen. 30:23, 24), who, on the occasion of his birth,
said, "God hath taken away [Heb. 'asaph] my reproach." "The Lord
shall add [Heb. yoseph] to me another son" (Gen. 30:24). He was
a child of probably six years of age when his father returned
from Haran to Canaan and took up his residence in the old
patriarchal town of Hebron. "Now Israel loved Joseph more than
all his children, because he was the son of his old age," and he
"made him a long garment with sleeves" (Gen. 37:3, R.V. marg.),
i.e., a garment long and full, such as was worn by the children
of nobles. This seems to be the correct rendering of the words.
The phrase, however, may also be rendered, "a coat of many
pieces", i.e., a patchwork of many small pieces of divers
When he was about seventeen years old Joseph incurred the
jealous hatred of his brothers (Gen. 37:4). They "hated him, and
could not speak peaceably unto him." Their anger was increased
when he told them his dreams (37:11).
Jacob desiring to hear tidings of his sons, who had gone to
Shechem with their flocks, some 60 miles from Hebron, sent
Joseph as his messenger to make inquiry regarding them. Joseph
found that they had left Shechem for Dothan, whither he followed
them. As soon as they saw him coming they began to plot against
him, and would have killed him had not Reuben interposed. They
ultimately sold him to a company of Ishmaelite merchants for
twenty pieces (shekels) of silver (about $2, 10s.), ten pieces
less than the current value of a slave, for "they cared little
what they had for him, if so be they were rid of him." These
merchants were going down with a varied assortment of
merchandise to the Egyptian market, and thither they conveyed
him, and ultimately sold him as a slave to Potiphar, an "officer
of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard" (Gen. 37:36). "The Lord
blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake," and Potiphar
made him overseer over his house. At length a false charge
having been brought against him by Potiphar's wife, he was at
once cast into the state prison (39; 40), where he remained for
at least two years. After a while the "chief of the cupbearers"
and the "chief of the bakers" of Pharaoh's household were cast
into the same prison (40:2). Each of these new prisoners dreamed
a dream in the same night, which Joseph interpreted, the event
occurring as he had said.
This led to Joseph's being remembered subsequently by the
chief butler when Pharaoh also dreamed. At his suggestion Joseph
was brought from prison to interpret the king's dreams. Pharaoh
was well pleased with Joseph's wisdom in interpreting his
dreams, and with his counsel with reference to the events then
predicted; and he set him over all the land of Egypt (Gen.
41:46), and gave him the name of Zaphnath-paaneah. He was
married to Asenath, the daughter of the priest of On, and thus
became a member of the priestly class. Joseph was now about
thirty years of age.
As Joseph had interpreted, seven years of plenty came, during
which he stored up great abundance of corn in granaries built
for the purpose. These years were followed by seven years of
famine "over all the face of the earth," when "all countries
came into Egypt to Joseph to buy corn" (Gen. 41:56, 57; 47:13,
14). Thus "Joseph gathered up all the money that was in the land
of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they
bought." Afterwards all the cattle and all the land, and at last
the Egyptians themselves, became the property of Pharaoh.
During this period of famine Joseph's brethren also came down
to Egypt to buy corn. The history of his dealings with them, and
of the manner in which he at length made himself known to them,
is one of the most interesting narratives that can be read (Gen.
42-45). Joseph directed his brethren to return and bring Jacob
and his family to the land of Egypt, saying, "I will give you
the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the
land. Regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land is
yours." Accordingly Jacob and his family, to the number of
threescore and ten souls, together with "all that they had,"
went down to Egypt. They were settled in the land of Goshen,
where Joseph met his father, and "fell on his neck, and wept on
his neck a good while" (Gen. 46:29).
The excavations of Dr. Naville have shown the land of Goshen
to be the Wady Tumilat, between Ismailia and Zagazig. In Goshen
(Egyptian Qosem) they had pasture for their flocks, were near
the Asiatic frontier of Egypt, and were out of the way of the
Egyptian people. An inscription speaks of it as a district given
up to the wandering shepherds of Asia.
Jacob at length died, and in fulfilment of a promise which he
had exacted, Joseph went up to Canaan to bury his father in "the
field of Ephron the Hittite" (Gen. 47:29-31; 50:1-14). This was
the last recorded act of Joseph, who again returned to Egypt.
"The 'Story of the Two Brothers,' an Egyptian romance written
for the son of the Pharaoh of the Oppression, contains an
episode very similar to the Biblical account of Joseph's
treatment by Potiphar's wife. Potiphar and Potipherah are the
Egyptian Pa-tu-pa-Ra, 'the gift of the sun-god.' The name given
to Joseph, Zaphnath-paaneah, is probably the Egyptian
Zaf-nti-pa-ankh, 'nourisher of the living one,' i.e., of the
Pharaoh. There are many instances in the inscriptions of
foreigners in Egypt receiving Egyptian names, and rising to the
highest offices of state."
By his wife Asenath, Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim
(Gen. 41:50). Joseph having obtained a promise from his brethren
that when the time should come that God would "bring them unto
the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob,"
they would carry up his bones out of Egypt, at length died, at
the age of one hundred and ten years; and "they embalmed him,
and he was put in a coffin" (Gen. 50:26). This promise was
faithfully observed. Their descendants, long after, when the
Exodus came, carried the body about with them during their forty
years' wanderings, and at length buried it in Shechem, in the
parcel of ground which Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor
(Josh. 24:32; comp. Gen. 33:19). With the death of Joseph the
patriarchal age of the history of Israel came to a close.
The Pharaoh of Joseph's elevation was probably Apepi, or
Apopis, the last of the Hyksos kings. Some, however, think that
Joseph came to Egypt in the reign of Thothmes III. (see PHARAOH
¯T0002923), long after the expulsion of the Hyksos.
The name Joseph denotes the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh
in Deut. 33:13-17; the kingdom of Israel in Ezek. 37:16, 19,
Amos 5:6; and the whole covenant people of Israel in Ps. 81:4.
(2.) One of the sons of Asaph, head of the first division of
sacred musicians (1 Chr. 25:2, 9).
(3.) The son of Judah, and father of Semei (Luke 3:26). Other
two of the same name in the ancestry of Christ are also
mentioned (3:24, 30).
(4.) The foster-father of our Lord (Matt. 1:16; Luke 3:23). He
lived at Nazareth in Galilee (Luke 2:4). He is called a "just
man." He was by trade a carpenter (Matt. 13:55). He is last
mentioned in connection with the journey to Jerusalem, when
Jesus was twelve years old. It is probable that he died before
Jesus entered on his public ministry. This is concluded from the
fact that Mary only was present at the marriage feast in Cana of
Galilee. His name does not appear in connection with the scenes
of the crucifixion along with that of Mary (q.v.), John 19:25.
(5.) A native of Arimathea, probably the Ramah of the Old
Testament (1 Sam. 1:19), a man of wealth, and a member of the
Sanhedrim (Matt. 27:57; Luke 23:50), an "honourable counsellor,
who waited for the kingdom of God." As soon as he heard the
tidings of Christ's death, he "went in boldly" (lit. "having
summoned courage, he went") "unto Pilate, and craved the body of
Jesus." Pilate having ascertained from the centurion that the
death had really taken place, granted Joseph's request, who
immediately, having purchased fine linen (Mark 15:46), proceeded
to Golgotha to take the body down from the cross. There,
assisted by Nicodemus, he took down the body and wrapped it in
the fine linen, sprinkling it with the myrrh and aloes which
Nicodemus had brought (John 19:39), and then conveyed the body
to the new tomb hewn by Joseph himself out of a rock in his
garden hard by. There they laid it, in the presence of Mary
Magdalene, Mary the mother of Joses, and other women, and rolled
a great stone to the entrance, and departed (Luke 23:53, 55).
This was done in haste, "for the Sabbath was drawing on" (comp.
(6.) Surnamed Barsabas (Acts 1:23); also called Justus. He was
one of those who "companied with the apostles all the time that
the Lord Jesus went out and in among them" (Acts 1:21), and was
one of the candidates for the place of Judas.