embrace, the eighth of the twelve minor prophets. Of his
personal history we have no reliable information. He was
probably a member of the Levitical choir. He was contemporary
with Jeremiah and Zephaniah.
dwelling, the sixth and youngest son of Jacob and Leah (Gen.
30:20). Little is known of his personal history. He had three
Samuel, Books of
The LXX. translators regarded the books of Samuel and of Kings
as forming one continuous history, which they divided into four
books, which they called "Books of the Kingdom." The Vulgate
version followed this division, but styled them "Books of the
Kings." These books of Samuel they accordingly called the
"First" and "Second" Books of Kings, and not, as in the modern
Protestant versions, the "First" and "Second" Books of Samuel.
The authors of the books of Samuel were probably Samuel, Gad,
and Nathan. Samuel penned the first twenty-four chapters of the
first book. Gad, the companion of David (1 Sam. 22:5), continued
the history thus commenced; and Nathan completed it, probably
arranging the whole in the form in which we now have it (1 Chr.
The contents of the books. The first book comprises a period
of about a hundred years, and nearly coincides with the life of
Samuel. It contains (1) the history of Eli (1-4); (2) the
history of Samuel (5-12); (3) the history of Saul, and of David
in exile (13-31). The second book, comprising a period of
perhaps fifty years, contains a history of the reign of David
(1) over Judah (1-4), and (2) over all Israel (5-24), mainly in
its political aspects. The last four chapters of Second Samuel
may be regarded as a sort of appendix recording various events,
but not chronologically. These books do not contain complete
histories. Frequent gaps are met with in the record, because
their object is to present a history of the kingdom of God in
its gradual development, and not of the events of the reigns of
the successive rulers. It is noticeable that the section (2 Sam.
11:2-12: 29) containing an account of David's sin in the matter
of Bathsheba is omitted in the corresponding passage in 1 Chr.
Maccabees, Books of the
There were originally five books of the Maccabees. The first
contains a history of the war of independence, commencing (B.C.
175) in a series of patriotic struggles against the tyranny of
Antiochus Epiphanes, and terminating B.C. 135. It became part of
the Vulgate Version of the Bible, and was thus retained among
The second gives a history of the Maccabees' struggle from
B.C. 176 to B.C. 161. Its object is to encourage and admonish
the Jews to be faithful to the religion of their fathers.
The third does not hold a place in the Apocrypha, but is read
in the Greek Church. Its design is to comfort the Alexandrian
Jews in their persecution. Its writer was evidently an
The fourth was found in the Library of Lyons, but was
afterwards burned. The fifth contains a history of the Jews from
B.C. 184 to B.C. 86. It is a compilation made by a Jew after the
destruction of Jerusalem, from ancient memoirs, to which he had
access. It need scarcely be added that none of these books has
any divine authority.
strong, the father of the prophet Isaiah (2 Kings 19:2, 20;
20:1; Isa. 1:1; 2:1). As to his personal history little is
positively known. He is supposed by some to have been the "man
of God" spoken of in 2 Chr. 25:7, 8.
a Jewish mystical sect somewhat resembling the Pharisees. They
affected great purity. They originated about B.C. 100, and
disappeared from history after the destruction of Jerusalem.
They are not directly mentioned in Scripture, although they may
be referred to in Matt. 19:11, 12, Col. 2:8, 18, 23.
(not mentioned in Scripture) was the most famous of the monarchs
of the first Assyrian empire (about B.C. 1110). After his death,
for two hundred years the empire fell into decay. The history of
David and Solomon falls within this period. He was succeeded by
his son, Shalmaneser II.
the designation of one of the Phoenician tribes (Gen. 10:18) who
inhabited the town of Sumra, at the western base of the Lebanon
range. In the Amarna tablets (B.C. 1400) Zemar, or Zumur, was
one of the most important of the Phoenician cities, but it
afterwards almost disappears from history.
Acts of the Apostles
the title now given to the fifth and last of the historical
books of the New Testament. The author styles it a "treatise"
(1:1). It was early called "The Acts," "The Gospel of the Holy
Ghost," and "The Gospel of the Resurrection." It contains
properly no account of any of the apostles except Peter and
Paul. John is noticed only three times; and all that is recorded
of James, the son of Zebedee, is his execution by Herod. It is
properly therefore not the history of the "Acts of the
Apostles," a title which was given to the book at a later date,
but of "Acts of Apostles," or more correctly, of "Some Acts of
As regards its authorship, it was certainly the work of Luke,
the "beloved physician" (comp. Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1). This is
the uniform tradition of antiquity, although the writer nowhere
makes mention of himself by name. The style and idiom of the
Gospel of Luke and of the Acts, and the usage of words and
phrases common to both, strengthen this opinion. The writer
first appears in the narrative in 16:11, and then disappears
till Paul's return to Philippi two years afterwards, when he and
Paul left that place together (20:6), and the two seem
henceforth to have been constant companions to the end. He was
certainly with Paul at Rome (28; Col. 4:14). Thus he wrote a
great portion of that history from personal observation. For
what lay beyond his own experience he had the instruction of
Paul. If, as is very probable, 2 Tim. was written during Paul's
second imprisonment at Rome, Luke was with him then as his
faithful companion to the last (2 Tim. 4:11). Of his subsequent
history we have no certain information.
The design of Luke's Gospel was to give an exhibition of the
character and work of Christ as seen in his history till he was
taken up from his disciples into heaven; and of the Acts, as its
sequel, to give an illustration of the power and working of the
gospel when preached among all nations, "beginning at
Jerusalem." The opening sentences of the Acts are just an
expansion and an explanation of the closing words of the Gospel.
In this book we have just a continuation of the history of the
church after Christ's ascension. Luke here carries on the
history in the same spirit in which he had commenced it. It is
only a book of beginnings, a history of the founding of
churches, the initial steps in the formation of the Christian
society in the different places visited by the apostles. It
records a cycle of "representative events."
All through the narrative we see the ever-present,
all-controlling power of the ever-living Saviour. He worketh all
and in all in spreading abroad his truth among men by his Spirit
and through the instrumentality of his apostles.
The time of the writing of this history may be gathered from
the fact that the narrative extends down to the close of the
second year of Paul's first imprisonment at Rome. It could not
therefore have been written earlier than A.D. 61 or 62, nor
later than about the end of A.D. 63. Paul was probably put to
death during his second imprisonment, about A.D. 64, or, as some
The place where the book was written was probably Rome, to
which Luke accompanied Paul.
The key to the contents of the book is in 1:8, "Ye shall be
witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in
Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." After
referring to what had been recorded in a "former treatise" of
the sayings and doings of Jesus Christ before his ascension, the
author proceeds to give an account of the circumstances
connected with that event, and then records the leading facts
with reference to the spread and triumphs of Christianity over
the world during a period of about thirty years. The record
begins with Pentecost (A.D. 33) and ends with Paul's first
imprisonment (A.D. 63 or 64). The whole contents of the book may
be divided into these three parts:
(1.) Chaps. 1-12, describing the first twelve years of the
Christian church. This section has been entitled "From Jerusalem
to Antioch." It contains the history of the planting and
extension of the church among the Jews by the ministry of Peter.
(2.) Chaps. 13-21, Paul's missionary journeys, giving the
history of the extension and planting of the church among the
(3.) Chaps. 21-28, Paul at Rome, and the events which led to
this. Chaps. 13-28 have been entitled "From Antioch to Rome."
In this book it is worthy of note that no mention is made of
the writing by Paul of any of his epistles. This may be
accounted for by the fact that the writer confined himself to a
history of the planting of the church, and not to that of its
training or edification. The relation, however, between this
history and the epistles of Paul is of such a kind, i.e., brings
to light so many undesigned coincidences, as to prove the
genuineness and authenticity of both, as is so ably shown by
Paley in his _Horae Paulinae_. "No ancient work affords so many
tests of veracity; for no other has such numerous points of
contact in all directions with contemporary history, politics,
and topography, whether Jewish, or Greek, or Roman." Lightfoot.
(See PAUL ¯T0002871.)
There are three kings designated by this name in Scripture. (1.)
The father of Darius the Mede, mentioned in Dan. 9:1. This was
probably the Cyaxares I. known by this name in profane history,
the king of Media and the conqueror of Nineveh.
(2.) The king mentioned in Ezra 4:6, probably the Cambyses of
profane history, the son and successor of Cyrus (B.C. 529).
(3.) The son of Darius Hystaspes, the king named in the Book
of Esther. He ruled over the kingdoms of Persia, Media, and
Babylonia, "from India to Ethiopia." This was in all probability
the Xerxes of profane history, who succeeded his father Darius
(B.C. 485). In the LXX. version of the Book of Esther the name
Artaxerxes occurs for Ahasuerus. He reigned for twenty-one years
(B.C. 486-465). He invaded Greece with an army, it is said, of
more than 2,000,000 soldiers, only 5,000 of whom returned with
him. Leonidas, with his famous 300, arrested his progress at the
Pass of Thermopylae, and then he was defeated disastrously by
Themistocles at Salamis. It was after his return from this
invasion that Esther was chosen as his queen.
Ezra, Book of
This book is the record of events occurring at the close of the
Babylonian exile. It was at one time included in Nehemiah, the
Jews regarding them as one volume. The two are still
distinguished in the Vulgate version as I. and II. Esdras. It
consists of two principal divisions:
(1.) The history of the first return of exiles, in the first
year of Cyrus (B.C. 536), till the completion and dedication of
the new temple, in the sixth year of Darius Hystapes (B.C. 515),
ch. 1-6. From the close of the sixth to the opening of the
seventh chapter there is a blank in the history of about sixty
(2.) The history of the second return under Ezra, in the
seventh year of Artaxerxes Longimanus, and of the events that
took place at Jerusalem after Ezra's arrival there (7-10).
The book thus contains memorabilia connected with the Jews,
from the decree of Cyrus (B.C. 536) to the reformation by Ezra
(B.C. 456), extending over a period of about eighty years.
There is no quotation from this book in the New Testament, but
there never has been any doubt about its being canonical. Ezra
was probably the author of this book, at least of the greater
part of it (comp. 7:27, 28; 8:1, etc.), as he was also of the
Books of Chronicles, the close of which forms the opening
passage of Ezra.
Gen. 2:4, "These are the generations," means the "history." 5:1,
"The book of the generations," means a family register, or
history of Adam. 37:2, "The generations of Jacob" = the history
of Jacob and his descendants. 7:1, "In this generation" = in
this age. Ps. 49:19, "The generation of his fathers" = the
dwelling of his fathers, i.e., the grave. Ps. 73:15, "The
generation of thy children" = the contemporary race. Isa. 53:8,
"Who shall declare his generation?" = His manner of life who
shall declare? or rather = His race, posterity, shall be so
numerous that no one shall be able to declare it.
In Matt. 1:17, the word means a succession or series of
persons from the same stock. Matt. 3:7, "Generation of vipers" =
brood of vipers. 24:34, "This generation" = the persons then
living contemporary with Christ. 1 Pet. 2:9, "A chosen
generation" = a chosen people.
The Hebrews seem to have reckoned time by the generation. In
the time of Abraham a generation was an hundred years, thus:
Gen. 15:16, "In the fourth generation" = in four hundred years
(comp. verse 13 and Ex. 12:40). In Deut. 1:35 and 2:14 a
generation is a period of thirty-eight years.
a basalt stone, bearing an inscription by King Mesha, which was
discovered at Dibon by Klein, a German missionary at Jerusalem,
in 1868. It was 3 1/2 feet high and 2 in breadth and in
thickness, rounded at the top. It consisted of thirty-four
lines, written in Hebrew-Phoenician characters. It was set up by
Mesha as a record and memorial of his victories. It records (1)
Mesha's wars with Omri, (2) his public buildings, and (3) his
wars against Horonaim. This inscription in a remarkable degree
supplements and corroborates the history of King Mesha recorded
in 2 Kings 3:4-27.
With the exception of a very few variations, the Moabite
language in which the inscription is written is identical with
the Hebrew. The form of the letters here used supplies very
important and interesting information regarding the history of
the formation of the alphabet, as well as, incidentally,
regarding the arts of civilized life of those times in the land
This ancient monument, recording the heroic struggles of King
Mesha with Omri and Ahab, was erected about B.C. 900. Here "we
have the identical slab on which the workmen of the old world
carved the history of their own times, and from which the eye of
their contemporaries read thousands of years ago the record of
events of which they themselves had been the witnesses." It is
the oldest inscription written in alphabetic characters, and
hence is, apart from its value in the domain of Hebrew
antiquities, of great linguistic importance.
used only in Gal. 4:24, where the apostle refers to the history
of Isaac the free-born, and Ishmael the slave-born, and makes
use of it allegorically.
Every parable is an allegory. Nathan (2 Sam. 12:1-4) addresses
David in an allegorical narrative. In the eightieth Psalm there
is a beautiful allegory: "Thou broughtest a vine out of Egypt,"
etc. In Eccl. 12:2-6, there is a striking allegorical
description of old age.
the Greek form of the name of several Persian kings. (1.) The
king who obstructed the rebuilding of the temple (Ezra 4:7). He
was probably the Smerdis of profane history.
(2.) The king mentioned in Ezra 7:1, in the seventh year (B.C.
458) of whose reign Ezra led a second colony of Jews back to
Jerusalem, was probably Longimanus, who reigned for forty years
(B.C. 464-425); the grandson of Darius, who, fourteen years
later, permitted Nehemiah to return and rebuild Jerusalem.
In the Old Testament the rendering of the Hebrew word _mamzer'_,
which means "polluted." In Deut. 23:2, it occurs in the ordinary
sense of illegitimate offspring. In Zech. 9:6, the word is used
in the sense of foreigner. From the history of Jephthah we learn
that there were bastard offspring among the Jews (Judg. 11:1-7).
In Heb. 12:8, the word (Gr. nothoi) is used in its ordinary
sense, and denotes those who do not share the privileges of
a province in Asia Minor, to the south of the Euxine and
Propontis. Christian congregations were here formed at an early
time (1 Pet. 1:1). Paul was prevented by the Spirit from
entering this province (Acts 16:7). It is noted in church
history as the province ruled over by Pliny as Roman proconsul,
who was perplexed as to the course he should take with the
numerous Christians brought before his tribunal on account of
their profession of Christianity and their conduct, and wrote to
Trajan, the emperor, for instructions (A.D. 107).
mild, a Christian of Philippi, Paul's "fellow-labourer," whose
name he mentions as "in the book of life" (Phil. 4:3). It was an
opinion of ancient writers that he was the Clement of Rome whose
name is well known in church history, and that he was the author
of an Epistle to the Corinthians, the only known manuscript of
which is appended to the Alexandrian Codex, now in the British
Museum. It is of some historical interest, and has given rise to
much discussion among critics. It makes distinct reference to
Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians.
a centurion whose history is narrated in Acts 10. He was a
"devout man," and like the centurion of Capernaum, believed in
the God of Israel. His residence at Caesrea probably brought him
into contact with Jews who communicated to him their
expectations regarding the Messiah; and thus he was prepared to
welcome the message Peter brought him. He became the first fruit
of the Gentile world to Christ. He and his family were baptized
and admitted into the Christian church (Acts 10:1, 44-48). (See
an officer of high rank with Egyptian, Persian, Assyrian, and
Jewish monarchs. The cup-bearer of the king of Egypt is
mentioned in connection with Joseph's history (Gen. 40:1-21;
41:9). Rabshakeh (q.v.) was cup-bearer in the Assyrian court (2
Kings 18:17). Nehemiah filled this office to the king of Persia
(Neh. 1:11). We read also of Solomon's cup-bearers (1 Kings
10:5; 2 Chr. 9:4).
leaders, a race descended from Javan (Gen. 10:4). They are known
in profane history as the Dardani, originally inhabiting
Illyricum. They were a semi-Pelasgic race, and in the
ethnographical table (Gen. 10) they are grouped with the Chittim
(q.v.). In 1 Chr. 1:7, they are called Rodanim. The LXX. and the
Samaritan Version also read Rhodii, whence some have concluded
that the Rhodians, the inhabitants of the island of Rhodes, are
The five books of Moses were collectively called the Pentateuch,
a word of Greek origin meaning "the five-fold book." The Jews
called them the Torah, i.e., "the law." It is probable that the
division of the Torah into five books proceeded from the Greek
translators of the Old Testament. The names by which these
several books are generally known are Greek.
The first book of the Pentateuch (q.v.) is called by the Jews
Bereshith, i.e., "in the beginning", because this is the first
word of the book. It is generally known among Christians by the
name of Genesis, i.e., "creation" or "generation," being the
name given to it in the LXX. as designating its character,
because it gives an account of the origin of all things. It
contains, according to the usual computation, the history of
about two thousand three hundred and sixty-nine years.
Genesis is divided into two principal parts. The first part
(1-11) gives a general history of mankind down to the time of
the Dispersion. The second part presents the early history of
Israel down to the death and burial of Joseph (12-50).
There are five principal persons brought in succession under
our notice in this book, and around these persons the history of
the successive periods is grouped, viz., Adam (1-3), Noah (4-9),
Abraham (10-25:18), Isaac (25:19-35:29), and Jacob (36-50).
In this book we have several prophecies concerning Christ
(3:15; 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; 49:10). The author of
this book was Moses. Under divine guidance he may indeed have
been led to make use of materials already existing in primeval
documents, or even of traditions in a trustworthy form that had
come down to his time, purifying them from all that was
unworthy; but the hand of Moses is clearly seen throughout in
Heb. 'arar, (Jer. 17:6; 48:6), a species of juniper called by
the Arabs by the same name ('arar), the Juniperus sabina or
savin. "Its gloomy, stunted appearance, with its scale-like
leaves pressed close to its gnarled stem, and cropped close by
the wild goats, as it clings to the rocks about Petra, gives
great force to the contrast suggested by the prophet, between
him that trusteth in man, naked and destitute, and the man that
trusteth in the Lord, flourishing as a tree planted by the
waters" (Tristram, Natural History of the Bible).
Acts 18:2; 27:1, 6; Heb. 13:24), like most geographical names,
was differently used at different periods of history. As the
power of Rome advanced, nations were successively conquered and
added to it till it came to designate the whole country to the
south of the Alps. There was constant intercourse between
Israel and Italy in the time of the Romans.
Jonah, Book of
This book professes to give an account of what actually took
place in the experience of the prophet. Some critics have sought
to interpret the book as a parable or allegory, and not as a
history. They have done so for various reasons. Thus (1) some
reject it on the ground that the miraculous element enters so
largely into it, and that it is not prophetical but narrative in
its form; (2) others, denying the possibility of miracles
altogether, hold that therefore it cannot be true history.
Jonah and his story is referred to by our Lord (Matt. 12:39,
40; Luke 11:29), a fact to which the greatest weight must be
attached. It is impossible to interpret this reference on any
other theory. This one argument is of sufficient importance to
settle the whole question. No theories devised for the purpose
of getting rid of difficulties can stand against such a proof
that the book is a veritable history.
There is every reason to believe that this book was written by
Jonah himself. It gives an account of (1) his divine commission
to go to Nineveh, his disobedience, and the punishment following
(1:1-17); (2) his prayer and miraculous deliverance (1:17-2:10);
(3) the second commission given to him, and his prompt obedience
in delivering the message from God, and its results in the
repentance of the Ninevites, and God's long-sparing mercy toward
them (ch. 3); (4) Jonah's displeasure at God's merciful
decision, and the rebuke tendered to the impatient prophet (ch.
4). Nineveh was spared after Jonah's mission for more than a
century. The history of Jonah may well be regarded "as a part of
that great onward movement which was before the Law and under
the Law; which gained strength and volume as the fulness of the
times drew near.", Perowne's Jonah.
their rebellion. (1.) The sister of Moses and Aaron (Ex. 2:4-10;
1 Chr. 6:3). Her name is prominent in the history of the Exodus.
She is called "the prophetess" (Ex. 15:20). She took the lead in
the song of triumph after the passage of the Red Sea. She died
at Kadesh during the second encampment at that place, toward the
close of the wanderings in the wilderness, and was buried there
(Num. 20:1). (See AARON ¯T0000002; MOSES ¯T0002602.)
(2.) 1 Chr. 4:17, one of the descendants of Judah.
Heb. dishon, "springing", (Deut. 14:5), one of the animals
permitted for food. It is supposed to be the Antelope addax. It
is described as "a large animal, over 3 1/2 feet high at the
shoulder, and, with its gently-twisted horns, 2 1/2 feet long.
Its colour is pure white, with the exception of a short black
mane, and a tinge of tawny on the shoulders and back.",
Tristram's Natural History.
lord of justice or righteousness, was king in Jerusalem at the
time when the Israelites invaded Israel (Josh. 10:1,3). He
formed a confederacy with the other Canaanitish kings against
the Israelites, but was utterly routed by Joshua when he was
engaged in besieging the Gibeonites. The history of this victory
and of the treatment of the five confederated kings is recorded
in Josh. 10:1-27. (Comp. Deut. 21:23). Among the Tell Amarna
tablets (see EGYPT ¯T0001137) are some very interesting letters
from Adoni-zedec to the King of Egypt. These illustrate in a
very remarkable manner the history recorded in Josh. 10, and
indeed throw light on the wars of conquest generally, so that
they may be read as a kind of commentary on the book of Joshua.
Here the conquering career of the Abiri (i.e., Hebrews) is
graphically described: "Behold, I say that the land of the king
my lord is ruined", "The wars are mighty against me", "The
Hebrew chiefs plunder all the king's lands", "Behold, I the
chief of the Amorites am breaking to pieces." Then he implores
the king of Egypt to send soldiers to help him, directing that
the army should come by sea to Ascalon or Gaza, and thence march
to Wru-sa-lim (Jerusalem) by the valley of Elah.
The Jews seem early to have consulted the teraphim (q.v.) for
oracular answers (Judg. 18:5, 6; Zech. 10:2). There is a
remarkable illustration of this divining by teraphim in Ezek.
21:19-22. We read also of the divining cup of Joseph (Gen.
44:5). The magicians of Egypt are frequently referred to in the
history of the Exodus. Magic was an inherent part of the ancient
Egyptian religion, and entered largely into their daily life.
All magical arts were distinctly prohibited under penalty of
death in the Mosaic law. The Jews were commanded not to learn
the "abomination" of the people of the Promised Land (Lev.
19:31; Deut. 18:9-14). The history of Saul's consulting the
witch of Endor (1 Sam. 28:3-20) gives no warrant for attributing
supernatural power to magicians. From the first the witch is
here only a bystander. The practice of magic lingered among the
people till after the Captivity, when they gradually abandoned
It is not much referred to in the New Testament. The Magi
mentioned in Matt. 2:1-12 were not magicians in the ordinary
sense of the word. They belonged to a religious caste, the
followers of Zoroaster, the astrologers of the East. Simon, a
magician, was found by Philip at Samaria (Acts 8:9-24); and Paul
and Barnabas encountered Elymas, a Jewish sorcerer, at Paphos
(13:6-12). At Ephesus there was a great destruction of magical
books (Acts 19:18, 19).
Peter, Second Epistle of
The question of the authenticity of this epistle has been much
discussed, but the weight of evidence is wholly in favour of its
claim to be the production of the apostle whose name it bears.
It appears to have been written shortly before the apostle's
death (1:14). This epistle contains eleven references to the Old
Testament. It also contains (3:15, 16) a remarkable reference to
Paul's epistles. Some think this reference is to 1 Thess.
4:13-5:11. A few years ago, among other documents, a parchment
fragment, called the "Gospel of Peter," was discovered in a
Christian tomb at Akhmim in Upper Egypt. Origen (obiit A.D.
254), Eusebius (obiit 340), and Jerome (obiit 420) refer to such
a work, and hence it has been concluded that it was probably
written about the middle of the second century. It professes to
give a history of our Lord's resurrection and ascension. While
differing in not a few particulars from the canonical Gospels,
the writer shows plainly that he was acquinted both with the
synoptics and with the Gospel of John. Though apocryphal, it is
of considerable value as showing that the main facts of the
history of our Lord were then widely known.
sweet-smelling. (1.) The daughter of Ishmael, the last of Esau's
three wives (Gen. 36:3, 4, 13), from whose son Reuel four tribes
of the Edomites sprung. She is also called Mahalath (Gen. 28:9).
It is noticeable that Esau's three wives receive different names
in the genealogical table of the Edomites (Gen. 36) from those
given to them in the history (Gen. 26:34; 28:9).
(2.) A daughter of Solomon, and wife of Ahimaaz, one of his
officers (1 Kings 4:15).
(Heb. kammon; i.e., a "condiment"), the fruit or seed of an
umbelliferous plant, the Cuminum sativum, still extensively
cultivated in the East. Its fruit is mentioned in Isa. 28:25,
27. In the New Testament it is mentioned in Matt. 23:23, where
our Lord pronounces a "woe" on the scribes and Pharisees, who
were zealous in paying tithes of "mint and anise and cummin,"
while they omitted the weightier matters of the law." "It is
used as a spice, both bruised, to mix with bread, and also
boiled, in the various messes and stews which compose an
Oriental banquet." Tristram, Natural History.
in the Revised Version of 1 Chr. 29:7; Ezra 2:69; 8:27; Neh.
7:70-72, where the Authorized Version has "dram." It is the
rendering of the Hebrew darkemon and the Greek dareikos. It was
a gold coin, bearing the figure of a Persian King with his crown
and armed with bow and arrow. It was current among the Jews
after their return from Babylon, i.e., while under the Persian
domination. It weighed about 128 grains troy, and was of the
value of about one guinea or rather more of our money. It is the
first coin mentioned in Scripture, and is the oldest that
history makes known to us.
(2 Kings 6:25) has been generally understood literally. There
are instances in history of the dung of pigeons being actually
used as food during a famine. Compare also the language of
Rabshakeh to the Jews (2 Kings 18:27; Isa. 36:12). This name,
however, is applied by the Arabs to different vegetable
substances, and there is room for the opinion of those who think
that some such substance is here referred to, as, e.g., the
seeds of a kind of millet, or a very inferior kind of pulse, or
the root of the ornithogalum, i.e., bird-milk, the
valley of vision, Elisha's trusted servant (2 Kings 4:31; 5:25;
8:4, 5). He appears in connection with the history of the
Shunammite (2 Kings 4:14, 31) and of Naaman the Syrian. On this
latter occasion he was guilty of duplicity and dishonesty of
conduct, causing Elisha to denounce his crime with righteous
sternness, and pass on him the terrible doom that the leprosy of
Naaman would cleave to him and his for ever (5:20-27).
He afterwards appeared before king Joram, to whom he recounted
the great deeds of his master (2 Kings 8:1-6).
(1.) Timely (1 Chr. 6:21). A Gershonite Levite.
(2.) Lovely. The son of Zechariah (1 Chr. 27:21), the ruler of
Manasseh in David's time.
(3.) Timely. The father of Ahinadab, who was one of Solomon's
purveyors (1 Kings 4:14).
(4.) Lovely. A prophet of Judah who wrote the history of
Rehoboam and Abijah (2 Chr. 12:15). He has been identified with
Oded (2 Chr. 15:1).
(5.) Lovely. The father of Berachiah, and grandfather of the
prophet Zechariah (Zech. 1:1, 7). He returned from Babylon (Neh.
Jehovah is his God. (1.) The oldest of Samuel's two sons
appointed by him as judges in Beersheba (1 Sam. 8:2). (See
VASHNI ¯(n/a).) (2.) A descendant of Reuben (1 Chr. 5:4,8). (3.)
One of David's famous warriors (1 Chr. 11:38). (4.) A Levite of
the family of Gershom (1 Chr. 15:7, 11). (5.) 1 Chr. 7:3. (6.) 1
Chr. 27:20. (7.) The second of the twelve minor prophets. He was
the son of Pethuel. His personal history is only known from his
a dove, the son of Amittai of Gath-hepher. He was a prophet of
Israel, and predicted the restoration of the ancient boundaries
(2 Kings 14:25-27) of the kingdom. He exercised his ministry
very early in the reign of Jeroboam II., and thus was
contemporary with Hosea and Amos; or possibly he preceded them,
and consequently may have been the very oldest of all the
prophets whose writings we possess. His personal history is
mainly to be gathered from the book which bears his name. It is
chiefly interesting from the two-fold character in which he
appears, (1) as a missionary to heathen Nineveh, and (2) as a
type of the "Son of man."
the art of, was early practised among all nations. Various
materials seem to have been employed by the potter. Earthenware
is mentioned in connection with the history of Melchizedek (Gen.
14:18), of Abraham (18:4-8), of Rebekah (27:14), of Rachel
(29:2, 3, 8, 10). The potter's wheel is mentioned by Jeremiah
(18:3). See also 1 Chr. 4:23; Ps. 2:9; Isa. 45:9; 64:8; Jer.
19:1; Lam. 4:2; Zech. 11:13; Rom. 9:21.
every seventh year, during which the land, according to the law
of Moses, had to remain uncultivated (Lev. 25:2-7; comp. Ex.
23:10, 11, 12; Lev. 26:34, 35). Whatever grew of itself during
that year was not for the owner of the land, but for the poor
and the stranger and the beasts of the field. All debts, except
those of foreigners, were to be remitted (Deut. 15:1-11). There
is little notice of the observance of this year in Biblical
history. It appears to have been much neglected (2 Chr. 36:20,
a name sometimes applied to the prophets because of the visions
granted to them. It is first found in 1 Sam. 9:9. It is
afterwards applied to Zadok, Gad, etc. (2 Sam. 15:27; 24:11; 1
Chr. 9:22; 25:5; 2 Chr. 9:29; Amos 7:12; Micah 3:7). The
"sayings of the seers" (2 Chr. 33:18, 19) is rendered in the
Revised Version "the history of Hozai" (marg., the seers; so the
LXX.), of whom, however, nothing is known. (See PROPHET
Simeon, The tribe of
was "divided and scattered" according to the prediction in Gen.
49:5-7. They gradually dwindled in number, and sank into a
position of insignificance among the other tribes. They
decreased in the wilderness by about two-thirds (comp. Num.
1:23; 26:14). Moses pronounces no blessing on this tribe. It is
passed by in silence (Deut. 33).
This tribe received as their portion a part of the territory
already allotted to Judah (Josh. 19:1-9). It lay in the
south-west of the land, with Judah on the east and Dan on the
north; but whether it was a compact territory or not cannot be
determined. The subsequent notices of this tribe are but few (1
Chr. 4:24-43). Like Reuben on the east of Jordan, this tribe had
little influence on the history of Israel.
i.e., as known in Roman history, Tiberius Claudius Nero, only
mentioned in Luke 3:1. He was the stepson of Augustus, whom he
succeeded on the throne, A.D. 14. He was noted for his vicious
and infamous life. In the fifteenth year of his reign John the
Baptist entered on his public ministry, and under him also our
Lord taught and suffered. He died A.D. 37. He is frequently
referred to simply as "Caesar" (Matt. 22:17, 21; Mark 12:14, 16,
17; Luke 20:22, 24, 25; 23:2; John 19:12, 15).
is said to be the oldest extant vellum manuscript. It and the
Codex Sinaiticus are the two oldest uncial manuscripts. They
were probably written in the fourth century. The Vaticanus was
placed in the Vatican Library at Rome by Pope Nicolas V. in
1448, its previous history being unknown. It originally
consisted in all probability of a complete copy of the
Septuagint and of the New Testament. It is now imperfect, and
consists of 759 thin, delicate leaves, of which the New
Testament fills 142. Like the Sinaiticus, it is of the greatest
value to Biblical scholars in aiding in the formation of a
correct text of the New Testament. It is referred to by critics
as Codex B.
Heb. hometz, Gr. oxos, Fr. vin aigre; i.e., "sour wine." The
Hebrew word is rendered vinegar in Ps. 69:21, a prophecy
fulfilled in the history of the crucifixion (Matt. 27:34). This
was the common sour wine (posea) daily made use of by the Roman
soldiers. They gave it to Christ, not in derision, but from
compassion, to assuage his thirst. Prov. 10:26 shows that there
was also a stronger vinegar, which was not fit for drinking. The
comparison, "vinegar upon nitre," probably means "vinegar upon
soda" (as in the marg. of the R.V.), which then effervesces.
Of uncoined money the first notice we have is in the history of
Abraham (Gen. 13:2; 20:16; 24:35). Next, this word is used in
connection with the purchase of the cave of Machpelah (23:16),
and again in connection with Jacob's purchase of a field at
Shalem (Gen. 33:18, 19) for "an hundred pieces of money"=an
hundred Hebrew kesitahs (q.v.), i.e., probably pieces of money,
as is supposed, bearing the figure of a lamb.
The history of Joseph affords evidence of the constant use of
money, silver of a fixed weight. This appears also in all the
subsequent history of the Jewish people, in all their internal
as well as foreign transactions. There were in common use in
trade silver pieces of a definite weight, shekels, half-shekels,
and quarter-shekels. But these were not properly coins, which
are pieces of metal authoritatively issued, and bearing a stamp.
Of the use of coined money we have no early notice among the
Hebrews. The first mentioned is of Persian coinage, the daric
(Ezra 2:69; Neh. 7:70) and the 'adarkon (Ezra 8:27). The daric
(q.v.) was a gold piece current in Israel in the time of
Cyrus. As long as the Jews, after the Exile, lived under Persian
rule, they used Persian coins. These gave place to Greek coins
when Israel came under the dominion of the Greeks (B.C. 331),
the coins consisting of gold, silver, and copper pieces. The
usual gold pieces were staters (q.v.), and the silver coins
tetradrachms and drachms.
In the year B.C. 140, Antiochus VII. gave permission to Simon
the Maccabee to coin Jewish money. Shekels (q.v.) were then
coined bearing the figure of the almond rod and the pot of
ruins. (1.) A town on the north bank of the Arnon (Deut. 4:48;
Judg. 11:26; 2 Kings 10:33), the southern boundary of the
kingdom of Sihon (Josh. 12:2). It is now called Arair, 13 miles
west of the Dead Sea.
(2.) One of the towns built by the tribe of Gad (Num. 32:34)
"before Rabbah" (Josh. 13:25), the Ammonite capital. It was
famous in the history of Jephthah (Judg. 11:33) and of David (2
Sam. 24:5). (Comp. Isa. 17:2; 2 Kings 15:29.)
(3.) A city in the south of Judah, 12 miles south-east of
Beersheba, to which David sent presents after recovering the
spoil from the Amalekites at Ziklag (1 Sam. 30:26, 28). It was
the native city of two of David's warriors (1 Chr. 11:44). It is
now called Ar'arah.
probably the same as Assur-bani-pal (Sardanapalos of the
Greeks), styled the "great and noble" (Ezra 4:10), was the son
and successor (B.C. 668) of Esar-haddon (q.v.). He was
"luxurious, ambitious, and cruel, but a magnificent patron of
literature." He formed at Nineveh a library of clay tablets,
numbering about 10,000. These are now mostly in the British
Museum. They throw much light on the history and antiquities of
Assur-bani-pal was a munificent patron of literature, and the
conqueror of Elam. Towards the middle of his reign his empire
was shaken by a great rebellion headed by his brother in
Babylon. The rebellion was finally put down, but Egypt was lost,
and the military power of Assyria was so exhausted that it could
with difficulty resist the hordes of Kimmerians who poured over
Western Asia. (See NINEVEH ¯T0002735.)
the capital of Attica, the most celebrated city of the ancient
world, the seat of Greek literature and art during the golden
period of Grecian history. Its inhabitants were fond of novelty
(Acts 17:21), and were remarkable for their zeal in the worship
of the gods. It was a sarcastic saying of the Roman satirist
that it was "easier to find a god at Athens than a man."
On his second missionary journey Paul visited this city (Acts
17:15; comp. 1 Thess. 3:1), and delivered in the Areopagus his
famous speech (17:22-31). The altar of which Paul there speaks
as dedicated "to the [properly "an"] unknown God" (23) was
probably one of several which bore the same inscription. It is
supposed that they originated in the practice of letting loose a
flock of sheep and goats in the streets of Athens on the
occasion of a plague, and of offering them up in sacrifice, at
the spot where they lay down, "to the god concerned."
spoken of counsellors who sat in public trials with the governor
of a province (Acts 25:12).
The Jewish councils were the Sanhedrim, or supreme council of
the nation, which had subordinate to it smaller tribunals (the
"judgment," perhaps, in Matt. 5:21, 22) in the cities of
Israel (Matt. 10:17; Mark 13:9). In the time of Christ the
functions of the Sanhedrim were limited (John 16:2; 2 Cor.
11:24). In Ps. 68:27 the word "council" means simply a company
of persons. (R.V. marg., "company.")
In ecclesiastical history the word is used to denote an
assembly of pastors or bishops for the discussion and regulation
of church affairs. The first of these councils was that of the
apostles and elders at Jerusalem, of which we have a detailed
account in Acts 15.
(Heb. plur. kishshuim; i.e., "hard," "difficult" of digestion,
only in Num. 11:5). This vegetable is extensively cultivated in
the East at the present day, as it appears to have been in
earlier times among the Hebrews. It belongs to the gourd family
of plants. In the East its cooling pulp and juice are most
refreshing. "We need not altogether wonder that the Israelites,
wearily marching through the arid solitudes of the Sinaitic
peninsula, thought more of the cucumbers and watermelons of
which they had had no lack in Egypt, rather than of the cruel
bondage which was the price of these luxuries." Groser's
Scripture Natural History.
Isaiah speaks of a "lodge" (1:8; Heb. sukkah), i.e., a shed or
edifice more solid than a booth, for the protection throughout
the season from spring to autumn of the watchers in a "garden of
a city (now Tripoli) in Upper Libya, North Africa, founded by a
colony of Greeks (B.C. 630). It contained latterly a large
number of Jews, who were introduced into the city by Ptolemy,
the son of Lagus, because he thought they would contribute to
the security of the place. They increased in number and
influence; and we are thus prepared for the frequent references
to them in connection with the early history of Christianity.
Simon, who bore our Lord's cross, was a native of this place
(Matt. 27:32; Mark 15:21). Jews from Cyrene were in Jerusalem at
Pentecost (Acts 2:10); and Cyrenian Jews had a synagogue at
Jerusalem (6:9). Converts belonging to Cyrene contributed to the
formation of the first Gentile church at Antioch (11:20). Among
"the prophets and teachers" who "ministered to the Lord at
Antioch" was Lucius of Cyrene (13:1).
stony. (1.) A mountain 3,076 feet above the level of the sea,
and 1,200 feet above the level of the valley, on the north side
of which stood the city of Shechem (q.v.). On this mountain six
of the tribes (Deut. 27:12,13) were appointed to take their
stand and respond according to a prescribed form to the
imprecations uttered in the valley, where the law was read by
the Levites (11:29; 29:4, 13). This mountain was also the site
of the first great altar erected to Jehovah (Deut. 27:5-8; Josh.
8:30-35). After this the name of Ebal does not again occur in
Jewish history. (See GERIZIM ¯T0001465.)
(2.) A descendant of Eber (1 Chr. 1:22), called also Obal
(3.) A descendant of Seir the Horite (Gen. 36:23).
called _dag_ by the Hebrews, a word denoting great fecundity
(Gen. 9:2; Num. 11:22; Jonah 2:1, 10). No fish is mentioned by
name either in the Old or in the New Testament. Fish abounded in
the Mediterranean and in the lakes of the Jordan, so that the
Hebrews were no doubt acquainted with many species. Two of the
villages on the shores of the Sea of Galilee derived their names
from their fisheries, Bethsaida (the "house of fish") on the
east and on the west. There is probably no other sheet of water
in the world of equal dimensions that contains such a variety
and profusion of fish. About thirty-seven different kinds have
been found. Some of the fishes are of a European type, such as
the roach, the barbel, and the blenny; others are markedly
African and tropical, such as the eel-like silurus. There was a
regular fish-market apparently in Jerusalem (2 Chr. 33:14; Neh.
3:3; 12:39; Zeph. 1:10), as there was a fish-gate which was
probably contiguous to it.
Sidon is the oldest fishing establishment known in history.
was known to the Egyptians at a very early period of their
national history, at least B.C. 1500. Various articles both
useful and ornamental were made of it, as bottles, vases, etc. A
glass bottle with the name of Sargon on it was found among the
ruins of the north-west palace of Nimroud. The Hebrew word
_zekukith_ (Job 28:17), rendered in the Authorized Version
"crystal," is rightly rendered in the Revised Version "glass."
This is the only allusion to glass found in the Old Testament.
It is referred to in the New Testament in Rev. 4:6; 15:2; 21:18,
21. In Job 37:18, the word rendered "looking-glass" is in the
Revised Version properly rendered "mirror," formed, i.e., of
some metal. (Comp. Ex. 38:8: "looking-glasses" are brazen
mirrors, R.V.). A mirror is referred to also in James 1:23.
persecuted, an Arabian patriarch who resided in the land of Uz
(q.v.). While living in the midst of great prosperity, he was
suddenly overwhelmed by a series of sore trials that fell upon
him. Amid all his sufferings he maintained his integrity. Once
more God visited him with the rich tokens of his goodness and
even greater prosperity than he had enjoyed before. He survived
the period of trial for one hundred and forty years, and died in
a good old age, an example to succeeding generations of
integrity (Ezek. 14:14, 20) and of submissive patience under the
sorest calamities (James 5:11). His history, so far as it is
known, is recorded in his book.
in New Testament times, was a Roman province lying north of
Greece. It was governed by a propraetor with the title of
proconsul. Paul was summoned by the vision of the "man of
Macedonia" to preach the gospel there (Acts 16:9). Frequent
allusion is made to this event (18:5; 19:21; Rom. 15:26; 2 Cor.
1:16; 11:9; Phil. 4:15). The history of Paul's first journey
through Macedonia is given in detail in Acts 16:10-17:15. At the
close of this journey he returned from Corinth to Syria. He
again passed through this country (20:1-6), although the details
of the route are not given. After many years he probably visited
it for a third time (Phil. 2:24; 1 Tim. 1:3). The first convert
made by Paul in Europe was (Acts 16:13-15) Lydia (q.v.), a
"seller of purple," residing in Philippi, the chief city of the
eastern division of Macedonia.
a shortened form of Micaiah, who is like Jehovah? (1.) A man of
Mount Ephraim, whose history so far is introduced in Judg. 17,
apparently for the purpose of leading to an account of the
settlement of the tribe of Dan in Northern Israel, and for
the purpose also of illustrating the lawlessness of the times in
which he lived (Judg. 18; 19:1-29; 21:25).
(2.) The son of Merib-baal (Mephibosheth), 1 Chr. 8:34, 35.
(3.) The first in rank of the priests of the family of
Kohathites (1 Chr. 23:20).
(4.) A descendant of Joel the Reubenite (1 Chr. 5:5).
(5.) "The Morasthite," so called to distinguish him from
Micaiah, the son of Imlah (1 Kings 22:8). He was a prophet of
Judah, a contemporary of Isaiah (Micah 1:1), a native of
Moresheth of Gath (1:14, 15). Very little is known of the
circumstances of his life (comp. Jer. 26:18, 19).
Nativity of Christ
The birth of our Lord took place at the time and place predicted
by the prophets (Gen. 49:10; Isa. 7:14; Jer. 31:15; Micah 5:2;
Hag. 2:6-9; Dan. 9:24, 25). Joseph and Mary were providentially
led to go up to Bethlehem at this period, and there Christ was
born (Matt. 2:1, 6; Luke 2:1, 7). The exact year or month or day
of his birth cannot, however, now be exactly ascertained. We
know, however, that it took place in the "fulness of the time"
(Gal. 4:4), i.e., at the fittest time in the world's history.
Chronologists are now generally agreed that the year 4 before
the Christian era was the year of Christ's nativity, and
consequently that he was about four years old in the year 1 A.D.
the two heights of the Zophites or of the watchers (only in 1
Sam. 1:1), "in the land of Zuph" (9:5). Ramathaim is another
name for Ramah (4).
One of the Levitical families descended from Kohath, that of
Zuph or Zophai (1 Chr. 6:26, 35), had a district assigned to
them in Ephraim, which from this circumstance was called "the
land of Zuph," and hence the name of the town, "Zophim." It was
the birth-place of Samuel and the seat of his authority (1 Sam.
2:11; 7:17). It is frequently mentioned in the history of that
prophet and of David (15:34; 16:13; 19:18-23). Here Samuel died
and was buried (25:1).
This town has been identified with the modern Neby Samwil
("the prophet Samuel"), about 4 or 5 miles north-west of
Jerusalem. But there is no certainty as to its precise locality.
Some have supposed that it may be identical with Arimathea of
the New Testament. (See MIZPAH ¯T0002579).
Ruth The Book of
was originally a part of the Book of Judges, but it now forms
one of the twenty-four separate books of the Hebrew Bible.
The history it contains refers to a period perhaps about one
hundred and twenty-six years before the birth of David. It gives
(1) an account of Naomi's going to Moab with her husband,
Elimelech, and of her subsequent return to Bethlehem with her
daughter-in-law; (2) the marriage of Boaz and Ruth; and (3) the
birth of Obed, of whom David sprang.
The author of this book was probably Samuel, according to
"Brief as this book is, and simple as is its story, it is
remarkably rich in examples of faith, patience, industry, and
kindness, nor less so in indications of the care which God takes
of those who put their trust in him."
=Se'lah, rock, the capital of Edom, situated in the great valley
extending from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea (2 Kings 14:7). It
was near Mount Hor, close by the desert of Zin. It is called
"the rock" (Judg. 1:36). When Amaziah took it he called it
Joktheel (q.v.) It is mentioned by the prophets (Isa. 16:1;
Obad. 1:3) as doomed to destruction.
It appears in later history and in the Vulgate Version under
the name of Petra. "The caravans from all ages, from the
interior of Arabia and from the Gulf of Persia, from Hadramaut
on the ocean, and even from Sabea or Yemen, appear to have
pointed to Petra as a common centre; and from Petra the tide
seems again to have branched out in every direction, to Egypt,
Israel, and Syria, through Arsinoe, Gaza, Tyre, Jerusalem,
and Damascus, and by other routes, terminating at the
Mediterranean." (See EDOM ¯T0001129 .)
Shinar, The Land of
LXX. and Vulgate "Senaar;" in the inscriptions, "Shumir;"
probably identical with Babylonia or Southern Mesopotamia,
extending almost to the Persian Gulf. Here the tower of Babel
was built (Gen. 11:1-6), and the city of Babylon. The name
occurs later in Jewish history (Isa. 11:11; Zech. 5:11). Shinar
was apparently first peopled by Turanian tribes, who tilled the
land and made bricks and built cities. Then tribes of Semites
invaded the land and settled in it, and became its rulers. This
was followed in course of time by an Elamite invasion; from
which the land was finally delivered by Khammurabi, the son of
Amarpel ("Amraphel, king of Shinar," Gen. 14:1), who became the
founder of the new empire of Chaldea. (See AMRAPHEL ¯T0000221.)
one of the seven deacons, who became a preacher of the gospel.
He was the first Christian martyr. His personal character and
history are recorded in Acts 6. "He fell asleep" with a prayer
for his persecutors on his lips (7:60). Devout men carried him
to his grave (8:2).
It was at the feet of the young Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus, that
those who stoned him laid their clothes (comp. Deut. 17:5-7)
before they began their cruel work. The scene which Saul then
witnessed and the words he heard appear to have made a deep and
lasting impression on his mind (Acts 22:19, 20).
The speech of Stephen before the Jewish ruler is the first
apology for the universalism of the gospel as a message to the
Gentiles as well as the Jews. It is the longest speech contained
in the Acts, a place of prominence being given to it as a
the wanderer; loiterer, for some unknown reason emigrated with
his family from his native mountains in the north to the plains
of Mesopotamia. He had three sons, Haran, Nahor, and Abraham,
and one daughter, Sarah. He settled in "Ur of the Chaldees,"
where his son Haran died, leaving behind him his son Lot. Nahor
settled at Haran, a place on the way to Ur. Terah afterwards
migrated with Abraham (probably his youngest son) and Lot (his
grandson), together with their families, from Ur, intending to
go with them to Canaan; but he tarried at Haran, where he spent
the remainder of his days, and died at the age of two hundred
and five years (Gen. 11:24-32; Josh. 24:2). What a wonderful
part the descendants of this Chaldean shepherd have played in
the history of the world!
a treaty between nations, or between individuals, for their
Abraham formed an alliance with some of the Canaanitish
princes (Gen. 14:13), also with Abimelech (21:22-32). Joshua and
the elders of Israel entered into an alliance with the
Gibeonites (Josh. 9:3-27). When the Israelites entered Israel
they were forbidden to enter into alliances with the inhabitants
of the country (Lev. 18:3, 4; 20:22, 23).
Solomon formed a league with Hiram (1 Kings 5:12). This
"brotherly covenant" is referred to 250 years afterwards (Amos
1:9). He also appears to have entered into an alliance with
Pharaoh (1 Kings 10:28, 29).
In the subsequent history of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel
various alliances were formed between them and also with
neighbouring nations at different times.
From patriarchal times a covenant of alliance was sealed by
the blood of some sacrificial victim. The animal sacrificed was
cut in two (except birds), and between these two parts the
persons contracting the alliance passed (Gen. 15:10). There are
frequent allusions to this practice (Jer. 34:18). Such alliances
were called "covenants of salt" (Num. 18:19; 2 Chr. 13:5), salt
being the symbol of perpetuity. A pillar was set up as a
memorial of the alliance between Laban and Jacob (Gen. 31:52).
The Jews throughout their whole history attached great
importance to fidelity to their engagements. Divine wrath fell
upon the violators of them (Josh. 9:18; 2 Sam. 21:1, 2; Ezek.
festive, one of the twelve so-called minor prophets. He was the
first of the three (Zechariah, his contemporary, and Malachi,
who was about one hundred years later, being the other two)
whose ministry belonged to the period of Jewish history which
began after the return from captivity in Babylon. Scarcely
anything is known of his personal history. He may have been one
of the captives taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. He began his
ministry about sixteen years after the Return. The work of
rebuilding the temple had been put a stop to through the
intrigues of the Samaritans. After having been suspended for
fifteen years, the work was resumed through the efforts of
Haggai and Zechariah (Ezra 6:14), who by their exhortations
roused the people from their lethargy, and induced them to take
advantage of the favourable opportunity that had arisen in a
change in the policy of the Persian government. (See DARIUS
¯T0000975 .) Haggai's prophecies have thus been
characterized:, "There is a ponderous and simple dignity in the
emphatic reiteration addressed alike to every class of the
community, prince, priest, and people, 'Be strong, be strong, be
strong' (2:4). 'Cleave, stick fast, to the work you have to do;'
or again, 'Consider your ways, consider, consider, consider'
(1:5, 7;2:15, 18). It is the Hebrew phrase for the endeavour,
characteristic of the gifted seers of all times, to compel their
hearers to turn the inside of their hearts outwards to their own
view, to take the mask from off their consciences, to 'see life
steadily, and to see it wholly.'", Stanley's Jewish Church. (See
the name derived from the patriarch Judah, at first given to one
belonging to the tribe of Judah or to the separate kingdom of
Judah (2 Kings 16:6; 25:25; Jer. 32:12; 38:19; 40:11; 41:3), in
contradistinction from those belonging to the kingdom of the ten
tribes, who were called Israelites.
During the Captivity, and after the Restoration, the name,
however, was extended to all the Hebrew nation without
distinction (Esther 3:6, 10; Dan. 3:8, 12; Ezra 4:12; 5:1, 5).
Originally this people were called Hebrews (Gen. 39:14; 40:15;
Ex. 2:7; 3:18; 5:3; 1 Sam. 4:6, 9, etc.), but after the Exile
this name fell into disuse. But Paul was styled a Hebrew (2 Cor.
11:22; Phil. 3:5).
The history of the Jewish nation is interwoven with the
history of Israel and with the narratives of the lives of
their rulers and chief men. They are now  dispersed over
all lands, and to this day remain a separate people, "without a
king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without
an image [R.V. 'pillar,' marg. 'obelisk'], and without an ephod,
and without teraphim" (Hos. 3:4). Till about the beginning of
the present century  they were everywhere greatly
oppressed, and often cruelly persecuted; but now their condition
is greatly improved, and they are admitted in most European
countries to all the rights of free citizens. In 1860 the
"Jewish disabilities" were removed, and they were admitted to a
seat in the British Parliament. Their number in all is estimated
at about six millions, about four millions being in Europe.
There are three names used in the New Testament to designate
this people, (1.) Jews, as regards their nationality, to
distinguish them from Gentiles. (2.) Hebrews, with regard to
their language and education, to distinguish them from
Hellenists, i.e., Jews who spoke the Greek language. (3.)
Israelites, as respects their sacred privileges as the chosen
people of God. "To other races we owe the splendid inheritance
of modern civilization and secular culture; but the religious
education of mankind has been the gift of the Jew alone."
John, Gospel of
The genuineness of this Gospel, i.e., the fact that the apostle
John was its author, is beyond all reasonable doubt. In recent
times, from about 1820, many attempts have been made to impugn
its genuineness, but without success.
The design of John in writing this Gospel is stated by himself
(John 20:31). It was at one time supposed that he wrote for the
purpose of supplying the omissions of the synoptical, i.e., of
the first three, Gospels, but there is no evidence for this.
"There is here no history of Jesus and his teaching after the
manner of the other evangelists. But there is in historical form
a representation of the Christian faith in relation to the
person of Christ as its central point; and in this
representation there is a picture on the one hand of the
antagonism of the world to the truth revealed in him, and on the
other of the spiritual blessedness of the few who yield
themselves to him as the Light of life" (Reuss).
After the prologue (1:1-5), the historical part of the book
begins with verse 6, and consists of two parts. The first part
(1:6-ch. 12) contains the history of our Lord's public ministry
from the time of his introduction to it by John the Baptist to
its close. The second part (ch. 13-21) presents our Lord in the
retirement of private life and in his intercourse with his
immediate followers (13-17), and gives an account of his
sufferings and of his appearances to the disciples after his
The peculiarities of this Gospel are the place it gives (1) to
the mystical relation of the Son to the Father, and (2) of the
Redeemer to believers; (3) the announcement of the Holy Ghost as
the Comforter; (4) the prominence given to love as an element in
the Christian character. It was obviously addressed primarily to
It was probably written at Ephesus, which, after the
destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), became the centre of
Christian life and activity in the East, about A.D. 90.
(Heb. shophet, pl. shophetim), properly a magistrate or ruler,
rather than one who judges in the sense of trying a cause. This
is the name given to those rulers who presided over the affairs
of the Israelites during the interval between the death of
Joshua and the accession of Saul (Judg. 2:18), a period of
general anarchy and confusion. "The office of judges or regents
was held during life, but it was not hereditary, neither could
they appoint their successors. Their authority was limited by
the law alone, and in doubtful cases they were directed to
consult the divine King through the priest by Urim and Thummim
(Num. 27:21). Their authority extended only over those tribes by
whom they had been elected or acknowledged. There was no income
attached to their office, and they bore no external marks of
dignity. The only cases of direct divine appointment are those
of Gideon and Samson, and the latter stood in the peculiar
position of having been from before his birth ordained 'to begin
to deliver Israel.' Deborah was called to deliver Israel, but
was already a judge. Samuel was called by the Lord to be a
prophet but not a judge, which ensued from the high gifts the
people recognized as dwelling in him; and as to Eli, the office
of judge seems to have devolved naturally or rather ex officio
upon him." Of five of the judges, Tola (Judg. 10:1), Jair (3),
Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon (12:8-15), we have no record at all
beyond the bare fact that they were judges. Sacred history is
not the history of individuals but of the kingdom of God in its
In Ex. 2:14 Moses is so styled. This fact may indicate that
while for revenue purposes the "taskmasters" were over the
people, they were yet, just as at a later time when under the
Romans, governed by their own rulers.
king of righteousness, the king of Salem (q.v.). All we know of
him is recorded in Gen. 14:18-20. He is subsequently mentioned
only once in the Old Testament, in Ps. 110:4. The typical
significance of his history is set forth in detail in the
Epistle to the Hebrews, ch. 7. The apostle there points out the
superiority of his priesthood to that of Aaron in these several
respects, (1) Even Abraham paid him tithes; (2) he blessed
Abraham; (3) he is the type of a Priest who lives for ever; (4)
Levi, yet unborn, paid him tithes in the person of Abraham; (5)
the permanence of his priesthood in Christ implied the
abrogation of the Levitical system; (6) he was made priest not
without an oath; and (7) his priesthood can neither be
transmitted nor interrupted by death: "this man, because he
continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood."
The question as to who this mysterious personage was has given
rise to a great deal of modern speculation. It is an old
tradition among the Jews that he was Shem, the son of Noah, who
may have survived to this time. Melchizedek was a Canaanitish
prince, a worshipper of the true God, and in his peculiar
history and character an instructive type of our Lord, the great
High Priest (Heb. 5:6, 7; 6:20). One of the Amarna tablets is
from Ebed-Tob, king of Jerusalem, the successor of Melchizedek,
in which he claims the very attributes and dignity given to
Melchizedek in the Epistle to the Hebrews.
fruits, "the Jezreelite," was the owner of a portion of ground
on the eastern slope of the hill of Jezreel (2 Kings 9:25, 26).
This small "plat of ground" seems to have been all he possessed.
It was a vineyard, and lay "hard by the palace of Ahab" (1 Kings
21:1, 2), who greatly coveted it. Naboth, however, refused on
any terms to part with it to the king. He had inherited it from
his fathers, and no Israelite could lawfully sell his property
(Lev. 25:23). Jezebel, Ahab's wife, was grievously offended at
Naboth's refusal to part with his vineyard. By a crafty and
cruel plot she compassed his death. His sons also shared his
fate (2 Kings 9:26; 1 Kings 21:19). She then came to Ahab and
said, "Arise, take possession of the vineyard; for Naboth is not
alive, but dead." Ahab arose and went forth into the garden
which had so treacherously and cruelly been acquired, seemingly
enjoying his new possession, when, lo, Elijah suddenly appeared
before him and pronounced against him a fearful doom (1 Kings
21:17-24). Jehu and Bidcar were with Ahab at this time, and so
deeply were the words of Elijah imprinted on Jehu's memory that
many years afterwards he refers to them (2 Kings 9:26), and he
was the chief instrument in inflicting this sentence on Ahab and
Jezebel and all their house (9:30-37). The house of Ahab was
extinguished by him. Not one of all his great men and his
kinsfolk and his priests did Jehu spare (10:11).
Ahab humbled himself at Elijah's words (1 Kings 21:28, 29),
and therefore the prophecy was fulfilled not in his fate but in
that of his son Joram (2 Kings 9:25).
The history of Naboth, compared with that of Ahab and Jezebel,
furnishes a remarkable illustration of the law of a retributive
providence, a law which runs through all history (comp. Ps.
Numbers, Book of
the fourth of the books of the Pentateuch, called in the Hebrew
be-midbar, i.e., "in the wilderness." In the LXX. version it is
called "Numbers," and this name is now the usual title of the
book. It is so called because it contains a record of the
numbering of the people in the wilderness of Sinai (1-4), and of
their numbering afterwards on the plain of Moab (26).
This book is of special historical interest as furnishing us
with details as to the route of the Israelites in the wilderness
and their principal encampments. It may be divided into three
1. The numbering of the people at Sinai, and preparations for
their resuming their march (1-10:10). The sixth chapter gives an
account of the vow of a Nazarite.
2. An account of the journey from Sinai to Moab, the sending
out of the spies and the report they brought back, and the
murmurings (eight times) of the people at the hardships by the
3. The transactions in the plain of Moab before crossing the
Jordan (21:21-ch. 36).
The period comprehended in the history extends from the second
month of the second year after the Exodus to the beginning of
the eleventh month of the fortieth year, in all about
thirty-eight years and ten months; a dreary period of
wanderings, during which that disobedient generation all died in
the wilderness. They were fewer in number at the end of their
wanderings than when they left the land of Egypt. We see in this
history, on the one hand, the unceasing care of the Almighty
over his chosen people during their wanderings; and, on the
other hand, the murmurings and rebellions by which they offended
their heavenly Protector, drew down repeated marks of his
displeasure, and provoked him to say that they should "not enter
into his rest" because of their unbelief (Heb. 3:19).
This, like the other books of the Pentateuch, bears evidence
of having been written by Moses.
The expression "the book of the wars of the Lord," occurring
in 21:14, has given rise to much discussion. But, after all,
"what this book was is uncertain, whether some writing of Israel
not now extant, or some writing of the Amorites which contained
songs and triumphs of their king Sihon's victories, out of which
Moses may cite this testimony, as Paul sometimes does out of
heathen poets (Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12)."
The first occasion on which we read of a prison is in the
history of Joseph in Egypt. Then Potiphar, "Joseph's master,
took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's
prisoners were bound" (Gen. 39:20-23). The Heb. word here used
(sohar) means properly a round tower or fortress. It seems to
have been a part of Potiphar's house, a place in which state
prisoners were kept.
The Mosaic law made no provision for imprisonment as a
punishment. In the wilderness two persons were "put in ward"
(Lev. 24:12; Num. 15:34), but it was only till the mind of God
concerning them should be ascertained. Prisons and prisoners are
mentioned in the book of Psalms (69:33; 79:11; 142:7). Samson
was confined in a Philistine prison (Judg. 16:21, 25). In the
subsequent history of Israel frequent references are made to
prisons (1 Kings 22:27; 2 Kings 17:4; 25:27, 29; 2 Chr. 16:10;
Isa. 42:7; Jer. 32:2). Prisons seem to have been common in New
Testament times (Matt. 11:2; 25:36, 43). The apostles were put
into the "common prison" at the instance of the Jewish council
(Acts 5:18, 23; 8:3); and at Philippi Paul and Silas were thrust
into the "inner prison" (16:24; comp. 4:3; 12:4, 5).
Chronicles, Books of
The two books were originally one. They bore the title in the
Massoretic Hebrew _Dibre hayyamim_, i.e., "Acts of the Days."
This title was rendered by Jerome in his Latin version
"Chronicon," and hence "Chronicles." In the Septuagint version
the book is divided into two, and bears the title Paraleipomena,
i.e., "things omitted," or "supplements", because containing
many things omitted in the Books of Kings.
The contents of these books are comprehended under four heads.
(1.) The first nine chapters of Book I. contain little more than
a list of genealogies in the line of Israel down to the time of
David. (2.) The remainder of the first book contains a history
of the reign of David. (3.) The first nine chapters of Book II.
contain the history of the reign of Solomon. (4.) The remaining
chapters of the second book contain the history of the separate
kingdom of Judah to the time of the return from Babylonian
The time of the composition of the Chronicles was, there is
every ground to conclude, subsequent to the Babylonian Exile,
probably between 450 and 435 B.C. The contents of this twofold
book, both as to matter and form, correspond closely with this
idea. The close of the book records the proclamation of Cyrus
permitting the Jews to return to their own land, and this forms
the opening passage of the Book of Ezra, which must be viewed as
a continuation of the Chronicles. The peculiar form of the
language, being Aramaean in its general character, harmonizes
also with that of the books which were written after the Exile.
The author was certainly contemporary with Zerubbabel, details
of whose family history are given (1 Chr. 3:19).
The time of the composition being determined, the question of
the authorship may be more easily decided. According to Jewish
tradition, which was universally received down to the middle of
the seventeenth century, Ezra was regarded as the author of the
Chronicles. There are many points of resemblance and of contact
between the Chronicles and the Book of Ezra which seem to
confirm this opinion. The conclusion of the one and the
beginning of the other are almost identical in expression. In
their spirit and characteristics they are the same, showing thus
also an identity of authorship.
In their general scope and design these books are not so much
historical as didactic. The principal aim of the writer appears
to be to present moral and religious truth. He does not give
prominence to political occurences, as is done in Samuel and
Kings, but to ecclesiastical institutions. "The genealogies, so
uninteresting to most modern readers, were really an important
part of the public records of the Hebrew state. They were the
basis on which not only the land was distributed and held, but
the public services of the temple were arranged and conducted,
the Levites and their descendants alone, as is well known, being
entitled and first fruits set apart for that purpose." The
"Chronicles" are an epitome of the sacred history from the days
of Adam down to the return from Babylonian Exile, a period of
about 3,500 years. The writer gathers up "the threads of the old
national life broken by the Captivity."
The sources whence the chronicler compiled his work were
public records, registers, and genealogical tables belonging to
the Jews. These are referred to in the course of the book (1
Chr. 27:24; 29:29; 2 Chr. 9:29; 12:15; 13:22; 20:34; 24:27;
26:22; 32:32; 33:18, 19; 27:7; 35:25). There are in Chronicles,
and the books of Samuel and Kings, forty parallels, often
verbal, proving that the writer both knew and used these records
(1 Chr. 17:18; comp. 2 Sam. 7:18-20; 1 Chr. 19; comp. 2 Sam. 10,
As compared with Samuel and Kings, the Book of Chronicles
omits many particulars there recorded (2 Sam. 6:20-23; 9; 11;
14-19, etc.), and includes many things peculiar to itself (1
Chr. 12; 22; 23-26; 27; 28; 29, etc.). Twenty whole chapters,
and twenty-four parts of chapters, are occupied with matter not
found elsewhere. It also records many things in fuller detail,
as (e.g.) the list of David's heroes (1 Chr. 12:1-37), the
removal of the ark from Kirjath-jearim to Mount Zion (1 Chr. 13;
15:2-24; 16:4-43; comp. 2 Sam. 6), Uzziah's leprosy and its
cause (2 Chr. 26:16-21; comp. 2 Kings 15:5), etc.
It has also been observed that another peculiarity of the book
is that it substitutes modern and more common expressions for
those that had then become unusual or obsolete. This is seen
particularly in the substitution of modern names of places, such
as were in use in the writer's day, for the old names; thus
Gezer (1 Chr. 20:4) is used instead of Gob (2 Sam. 21:18), etc.
The Books of Chronicles are ranked among the _khethubim_ or
hagiographa. They are alluded to, though not directly quoted, in
the New Testament (Heb. 5:4; Matt. 12:42; 23:35; Luke 1:5;
Joshua, The Book of
contains a history of the Israelites from the death of Moses to
that of Joshua. It consists of three parts: (1.) The history of
the conquest of the land (1-12). (2.) The allotment of the land
to the different tribes, with the appointment of cities of
refuge, the provision for the Levites (13-22), and the dismissal
of the eastern tribes to their homes. This section has been
compared to the Domesday Book of the Norman conquest. (3.) The
farewell addresses of Joshua, with an account of his death (23,
This book stands first in the second of the three sections,
(1) the Law, (2) the Prophets, (3) the "other writings" =
Hagiographa, into which the Jewish Church divided the Old
Testament. There is every reason for concluding that the uniform
tradition of the Jews is correct when they assign the authorship
of the book to Joshua, all except the concluding section; the
last verses (24:29-33) were added by some other hand.
There are two difficulties connected with this book which have
given rise to much discussion, (1.) The miracle of the standing
still of the sun and moon on Gibeon. The record of it occurs in
Joshua's impassioned prayer of faith, as quoted (Josh. 10:12-15)
from the "Book of Jasher" (q.v.). There are many explanations
given of these words. They need, however, present no difficulty
if we believe in the possibility of God's miraculous
interposition in behalf of his people. Whether it was caused by
the refraction of the light, or how, we know not.
(2.) Another difficulty arises out of the command given by God
utterly to exterminate the Canaanites. "Shall not the Judge of
all the earth do right?" It is enough that Joshua clearly knew
that this was the will of God, who employs his terrible
agencies, famine, pestilence, and war, in the righteous
government of this world. The Canaanites had sunk into a state
of immorality and corruption so foul and degrading that they had
to be rooted out of the land with the edge of the sword. "The
Israelites' sword, in its bloodiest executions, wrought a work
of mercy for all the countries of the earth to the very end of
This book resembles the Acts of the Apostles in the number and
variety of historical incidents it records, and in its many
references to persons and places; and as in the latter case the
epistles of Paul (see Paley's Horae Paul.) confirm its
historical accuracy by their incidental allusions and
"undesigned coincidences," so in the former modern discoveries
confirm its historicity. The Amarna tablets (see ADONIZEDEC
¯T0000099) are among the most remarkable discoveries of the age.
Dating from about B.C. 1480 down to the time of Joshua, and
consisting of official communications from Amorite, Phoenician,
and Philistine chiefs to the king of Egypt, they afford a
glimpse into the actual condition of Israel prior to the
Hebrew invasion, and illustrate and confirm the history of the
conquest. A letter, also still extant, from a military officer,
"master of the captains of Egypt," dating from near the end of
the reign of Rameses II., gives a curious account of a journey,
probably official, which he undertook through Israel as far
north as to Aleppo, and an insight into the social condition of
the country at that time. Among the things brought to light by
this letter and the Amarna tablets is the state of confusion and
decay that had now fallen on Egypt. The Egyptian garrisons that
had held possession of Israel from the time of Thothmes III.,
some two hundred years before, had now been withdrawn. The way
was thus opened for the Hebrews. In the history of the conquest
there is no mention of Joshua having encountered any Egyptian
force. The tablets contain many appeals to the king of Egypt for
help against the inroads of the Hebrews, but no help seems ever
to have been sent. Is not this just such a state of things as
might have been anticipated as the result of the disaster of the
Exodus? In many points, as shown under various articles, the
progress of the conquest is remarkably illustrated by the
tablets. The value of modern discoveries in their relation to
Old Testament history has been thus well described:
"The difficulty of establishing the charge of lack of
historical credibility, as against the testimony of the Old
Testament, has of late years greatly increased. The outcome of
recent excavations and explorations is altogether against it. As
long as these books contained, in the main, the only known
accounts of the events they mention, there was some plausibility
in the theory that perhaps these accounts were written rather to
teach moral lessons than to preserve an exact knowledge of
events. It was easy to say in those times men had not the
historic sense. But the recent discoveries touch the events
recorded in the Bible at very many different points in many
different generations, mentioning the same persons, countries,
peoples, events that are mentioned in the Bible, and showing
beyond question that these were strictly historic. The point is
not that the discoveries confirm the correctness of the Biblical
statements, though that is commonly the case, but that the
discoveries show that the peoples of those ages had the historic
sense, and, specifically, that the Biblical narratives they
touch are narratives of actual occurrences."
help. (1.) A priest among those that returned to Jerusalem under
Zerubabel (Neh. 12:1).
(2.) The "scribe" who led the second body of exiles that
returned from Babylon to Jerusalem B.C. 459, and author of the
book of Scripture which bears his name. He was the son, or
perhaps grandson, of Seraiah (2 Kings 25:18-21), and a lineal
descendant of Phinehas, the son of Aaron (Ezra 7:1-5). All we
know of his personal history is contained in the last four
chapters of his book, and in Neh. 8 and 12:26.
In the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus (see
DARIUS ¯T0000975), he obtained leave to go up to Jerusalem and
to take with him a company of Israelites (Ezra 8). Artaxerxes
manifested great interest in Ezra's undertaking, granting him
"all his request," and loading him with gifts for the house of
God. Ezra assembled the band of exiles, probably about 5,000 in
all, who were prepared to go up with him to Jerusalem, on the
banks of the Ahava, where they rested for three days, and were
put into order for their march across the desert, which was
completed in four months. His proceedings at Jerusalem on his
arrival there are recorded in his book.
He was "a ready scribe in the law of Moses," who "had prepared
his heart to seek the law of the Lord and to do it, and to teach
in Israel statutes and judgments." "He is," says Professor
Binnie, "the first well-defined example of an order of men who
have never since ceased in the church; men of sacred erudition,
who devote their lives to the study of the Holy Scriptures, in
order that they may be in a condition to interpret them for the
instruction and edification of the church. It is significant
that the earliest mention of the pulpit occurs in the history of
Ezra's ministry (Neh. 8:4). He was much more of a teacher than a
priest. We learn from the account of his labours in the book of
Nehemiah that he was careful to have the whole people instructed
in the law of Moses; and there is no reason to reject the
constant tradition of the Jews which connects his name with the
collecting and editing of the Old Testament canon. The final
completion of the canon may have been, and probably was, the
work of a later generation; but Ezra seems to have put it much
into the shape in which it is still found in the Hebrew Bible.
When it is added that the complete organization of the synagogue
dates from this period, it will be seen that the age was
emphatically one of Biblical study" (The Psalms: their History,
For about fourteen years, i.e., till B.C. 445, we have no
record of what went on in Jerusalem after Ezra had set in order
the ecclesiastical and civil affairs of the nation. In that year
another distinguished personage, Nehemiah, appears on the scene.
After the ruined wall of the city had been built by Nehemiah,
there was a great gathering of the people at Jerusalem
preparatory to the dedication of the wall. On the appointed day
the whole population assembled, and the law was read aloud to
them by Ezra and his assistants (Neh. 8:3). The remarkable scene
is described in detail. There was a great religious awakening.
For successive days they held solemn assemblies, confessing
their sins and offering up solemn sacrifices. They kept also the
feast of Tabernacles with great solemnity and joyous enthusiasm,
and then renewed their national covenant to be the Lord's.
Abuses were rectified, and arrangements for the temple service
completed, and now nothing remained but the dedication of the
walls of the city (Neh. 12).
and Aij'alon, place of deer. (1.) A town and valley originally
assigned to the tribe of Dan, from which, however, they could
not drive the Amorites (Judg. 1:35). It was one of the Levitical
cities given to the Kohathites (1 Chr. 6:69). It was not far
from Beth-shemesh (2 Chr. 28:18). It was the boundary between
the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, and is frequently mentioned in
Jewish history (2 Chr. 11:10; 1 Sam. 14:31; 1 Chr. 8:13). With
reference to the valley named after the town, Joshua uttered the
celebrated command, "Sun, stand thou still on Gibeon; and thou,
Moon, in the valley of Ajalon" (Josh. 10:12). It has been
identified as the modern Yalo, at the foot of the Beth-horon
pass (q.v.). In the Tell Amarna letters Adoni-zedek (q.v.)
speaks of the destruction of the "city of Ajalon" by the
invaders, and describes himself as "afflicted, greatly
afflicted" by the calamities that had come on the land, urging
the king of Egypt to hasten to his help.
(2.) A city in the tribe of Zebulun (Judg. 12:12), the modern
Jalun, three miles north of Cabul.
manliness, a Greek name; one of the apostles of our Lord. He was
of Bethsaida in Galilee (John 1:44), and was the brother of
Simon Peter (Matt. 4:18; 10:2). On one occasion John the
Baptist, whose disciple he then was, pointing to Jesus, said,
"Behold the Lamb of God" (John 1:40); and Andrew, hearing him,
immediately became a follower of Jesus, the first of his
disciples. After he had been led to recognize Jesus as the
Messiah, his first care was to bring also his brother Simon to
Jesus. The two brothers seem to have after this pursued for a
while their usual calling as fishermen, and did not become the
stated attendants of the Lord till after John's imprisonment
(Matt. 4:18, 19; Mark 1:16, 17). Very little is related of
Andrew. He was one of the confidential disciples (John 6:8;
12:22), and with Peter, James, and John inquired of our Lord
privately regarding his future coming (Mark 13:3). He was
present at the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:9), and he
introduced the Greeks who desired to see Jesus (John 12:22); but
of his subsequent history little is known. It is noteworthy that
Andrew thrice brings others to Christ, (1) Peter; (2) the lad
with the loaves; and (3) certain Greeks. These incidents may be
regarded as a key to his character.
(Heb. shaphan; i.e., "the hider"), an animal which inhabits the
mountain gorges and the rocky districts of Arabia Petraea and
the Holy Land. "The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they
their houses in the rocks" (Prov. 30:26; Ps. 104:18). They are
gregarious, and "exceeding wise" (Prov. 30:24), and are
described as chewing the cud (Lev. 11:5; Deut. 14:7).
The animal intended by this name is known among naturalists as
the Hyrax Syriacus. It is neither a ruminant nor a rodent, but
is regarded as akin to the rhinoceros. When it is said to "chew
the cud," the Hebrew word so used does not necessarily imply the
possession of a ruminant stomach. "The lawgiver speaks according
to appearances; and no one can watch the constant motion of the
little creature's jaws, as it sits continually working its
teeth, without recognizing the naturalness of the expression"
(Tristram, Natural History of the Bible). It is about the size
and color of a rabbit, though clumsier in structure, and without
a tail. Its feet are not formed for digging, and therefore it
has its home not in burrows but in the clefts of the rocks.
"Coney" is an obsolete English word for "rabbit."
God has frequently made use of dreams in communicating his will
to men. The most remarkable instances of this are recorded in
the history of Jacob (Gen. 28:12; 31:10), Laban (31:24), Joseph
(37:9-11), Gideon (Judg. 7), and Solomon (1 Kings 3:5). Other
significant dreams are also recorded, such as those of Abimelech
(Gen. 20:3-7), Pharaoh's chief butler and baker (40:5), Pharaoh
(41:1-8), the Midianites (Judg. 7:13), Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:1;
4:10, 18), the wise men from the east (Matt. 2:12), and Pilate's
To Joseph "the Lord appeared in a dream," and gave him
instructions regarding the infant Jesus (Matt. 1:20; 2:12, 13,
19). In a vision of the night a "man of Macedonia" stood before
Paul and said, "Come over into Macedonia and help us" (Acts
16:9; see also 18:9; 27:23).
country of burnt faces; the Greek word by which the Hebrew Cush
is rendered (Gen. 2:13; 2 Kings 19:9; Esther 1:1; Job 28:19; Ps.
68:31; 87:4), a country which lay to the south of Egypt,
beginning at Syene on the First Cataract (Ezek. 29:10; 30:6),
and extending to beyond the confluence of the White and Blue
Nile. It corresponds generally with what is now known as the
Soudan (i.e., the land of the blacks). This country was known to
the Hebrews, and is described in Isa. 18:1; Zeph. 3:10. They
carried on some commercial intercourse with it (Isa. 45:14).
Its inhabitants were descendants of Ham (Gen. 10:6; Jer.
13:23; Isa. 18:2, "scattered and peeled," A.V.; but in R.V.,
"tall and smooth"). Herodotus, the Greek historian, describes
them as "the tallest and handsomest of men." They are frequently
represented on Egyptian monuments, and they are all of the type
of the true negro. As might be expected, the history of this
country is interwoven with that of Egypt.
Ethiopia is spoken of in prophecy (Ps. 68:31; 87:4; Isa.
45:14; Ezek. 30:4-9; Dan. 11:43; Nah. 3:8-10; Hab. 3:7; Zeph.
a word of Anglo-Saxon origin, and meaning "God's spell", i.e.,
word of God, or rather, according to others, "good spell", i.e.,
good news. It is the rendering of the Greek _evangelion_, i.e.,
"good message." It denotes (1) "the welcome intelligence of
salvation to man as preached by our Lord and his followers. (2.)
It was afterwards transitively applied to each of the four
histories of our Lord's life, published by those who are
therefore called 'Evangelists', writers of the history of the
gospel (the evangelion). (3.) The term is often used to express
collectively the gospel doctrines; and 'preaching the gospel' is
often used to include not only the proclaiming of the good
tidings, but the teaching men how to avail themselves of the
offer of salvation, the declaring of all the truths, precepts,
promises, and threatenings of Christianity." It is termed "the
gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24), "the gospel of the
kingdom" (Matt. 4:23), "the gospel of Christ" (Rom. 1:16), "the
gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15), "the glorious gospel," "the
everlasting gospel," "the gospel of salvation" (Eph. 1:13).
portion of Jehovah. (1.) 1 Chr. 6:54. (2.) 1 Chr. 26:11. (3.)
The father of Eliakim (2 Kings 18:18, 26, 37). (4.) The father
of Gemariah (Jer. 29:3). (5.) The father of the prophet Jeremiah
(6.) The high priest in the reign of Josiah (1 Chr. 6:13; Ezra
7:1). To him and his deputy (2 Kings 23:5), along with the
ordinary priests and the Levites who had charge of the gates,
was entrusted the purification of the temple in Jerusalem. While
this was in progress, he discovered in some hidden corner of the
building a book called the "book of the law" (2 Kings 22:8) and
the "book of the covenant" (23:2). Some have supposed that this
"book" was nothing else than the original autograph copy of the
Pentateuch written by Moses (Deut. 31:9-26). This remarkable
discovery occurred in the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign
(B.C. 624), a discovery which permanently affected the whole
subsequent history of Israel. (See JOSIAH ¯T0002116; SHAPHAN
(7.) Neh. 12:7. (8.) Neh. 8:4.
gift of God, a common Jewish name after the Exile. He was the
son of Alphaeus, and was a publican or tax-gatherer at
Capernaum. On one occasion Jesus, coming up from the side of the
lake, passed the custom-house where Matthew was seated, and said
to him, "Follow me." Matthew arose and followed him, and became
his disciple (Matt. 9:9). Formerly the name by which he was
known was Levi (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27); he now changed it,
possibly in grateful memory of his call, to Matthew. The same
day on which Jesus called him he made a "great feast" (Luke
5:29), a farewell feast, to which he invited Jesus and his
disciples, and probably also many of old associates. He was
afterwards selected as one of the twelve (6:15). His name does
not occur again in the Gospel history except in the lists of the
apostles. The last notice of him is in Acts 1:13. The time and
manner of his death are unknown.
Jubal was the inventor of musical instruments (Gen. 4:21). The
Hebrews were much given to the cultivation of music. Their whole
history and literature afford abundant evidence of this. After
the Deluge, the first mention of music is in the account of
Laban's interview with Jacob (Gen. 31:27). After their triumphal
passage of the Red Sea, Moses and the children of Israel sang
their song of deliverance (Ex. 15).
But the period of Samuel, David, and Solomon was the golden
age of Hebrew music, as it was of Hebrew poetry. Music was now
for the first time systematically cultivated. It was an
essential part of training in the schools of the prophets (1
Sam. 10:5; 19:19-24; 2 Kings 3:15; 1 Chr. 25:6). There now arose
also a class of professional singers (2 Sam. 19:35; Eccl. 2:8).
The temple, however, was the great school of music. In the
conducting of its services large bands of trained singers and
players on instruments were constantly employed (2 Sam. 6:5; 1
Chr. 15; 16; 23;5; 25:1-6).
In private life also music seems to have held an important
place among the Hebrews (Eccl. 2:8; Amos 6:4-6; Isa. 5:11, 12;
24:8, 9; Ps. 137; Jer. 48:33; Luke 15:25).
Nehemiah, Book of
The author of this book was no doubt Nehemiah himself. There are
portions of the book written in the first person (ch. 1-7;
12:27-47, and 13). But there are also portions of it in which
Nehemiah is spoken of in the third person (ch. 8; 9; 10). It is
supposed that these portions may have been written by Ezra; of
this, however, there is no distinct evidence. These portions had
their place assigned them in the book, there can be no doubt, by
Nehemiah. He was the responsible author of the whole book, with
the exception of ch. 12:11, 22, 23.
The date at which the book was written was probably about B.C.
431-430, when Nehemiah had returned the second time to Jerusalem
after his visit to Persia.
The book, which may historically be regarded as a continuation
of the book of Ezra, consists of four parts. (1.) An account of
the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, and of the register
Nehemiah had found of those who had returned from Babylon (ch.
1-7). (2.) An account of the state of religion among the Jews
during this time (8-10). (3.) Increase of the inhabitants of
Jerusalem; the census of the adult male population, and names of
the chiefs, together with lists of priests and Levites
(11-12:1-26). (4.) Dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the
arrangement of the temple officers, and the reforms carried out
by Nehemiah (12:27-ch. 13).
This book closes the history of the Old Testament. Malachi the
prophet was contemporary with Nehemiah.
high place, a city of the priests, first mentioned in the
history of David's wanderings (1 Sam. 21:1). Here the tabernacle
was then standing, and here Ahimelech the priest resided. (See
AHIMELECH ¯T0000143.) From Isa. 10:28-32 it seems to have been
near Jerusalem. It has been identified by some with el-Isawiyeh,
one mile and a half to the north-east of Jerusalem. But
according to Isa. 10:28-32 it was on the south of Geba, on the
road to Jerusalem, and within sight of the city. This
identification does not meet these conditions, and hence others
(as Dean Stanley) think that it was the northern summit of Mount
Olivet, the place where David "worshipped God" when fleeing from
Absalom (2 Sam. 15:32), or more probably (Conder) that it was
the same as Mizpeh (q.v.), Judg. 20:1; Josh. 18:26; 1 Sam. 7:16,
at Nebi Samwil, about 5 miles north-west of Jerusalem.
After being supplied with the sacred loaves of showbread, and
girding on the sword of Goliath, which was brought forth from
behind the ephod, David fled from Nob and sought refuge at the
court of Achish, the king of Gath, where he was cast into
prison. (Comp. titles of Ps. 34 and 56.)
a name employed in the New Testament with reference to Abraham
(Heb. 7:4), the sons of Jacob (Acts 7:8, 9), and to David
(2:29). This name is generally applied to the progenitors of
families or "heads of the fathers" (Josh. 14:1) mentioned in
Scripture, and they are spoken of as antediluvian (from Adam to
Noah) and post-diluvian (from Noah to Jacob) patriachs. But the
expression "the patriarch," by way of eminence, is applied to
the twelve sons of Jacob, or to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
"Patriachal longevity presents itself as one of the most
striking of the facts concerning mankind which the early history
of the Book of Genesis places before us...There is a large
amount of consentient tradition to the effect that the life of
man was originally far more prolonged than it is at present,
extending to at least several hundred years. The Babylonians,
Egyptians, and Chinese exaggerated these hundreds into
thousands. The Greeks and Romans, with more moderation, limited
human life within a thousand or eight hundred years. The Hindus
still farther shortened the term. Their books taught that in the
first age of the world man was free from diseases, and lived
ordinarily four hundred years; in the second age the term of
life was reduced from four hundred to three hundred; in the
third it became two hundred; in the fourth and last it was
brought down to one hundred" (Rawlinson's Historical
The first great persecution for religious opinion of which we
have any record was that which broke out against the worshippers
of God among the Jews in the days of Ahab, when that king, at
the instigation of his wife Jezebel, "a woman in whom, with the
reckless and licentious habits of an Oriental queen, were united
the fiercest and sternest qualities inherent in the old Semitic
race", sought in the most relentless manner to extirpate the
worship of Jehovah and substitute in its place the worship of
Ashtoreth and Baal. Ahab's example in this respect was followed
by Manasseh, who "shed innocent blood very much, till he had
filled Jerusalem from one end to another" (2 Kings 21:16; comp.
24:4). In all ages, in one form or another, the people of God
have had to suffer persecution. In its earliest history the
Christian church passed through many bloody persecutions. Of
subsequent centuries in our own and in other lands the same sad
record may be made.
Christians are forbidden to seek the propagation of the gospel
by force (Matt. 7:1; Luke 9:54-56; Rom. 14:4; James 4:11, 12).
The words of Ps. 7:13, "He ordaineth his arrows against the
persecutors," ought rather to be, as in the Revised Version, "He
maketh his arrows fiery [shafts]."
(Heb. nahash; Gr. ophis), frequently noticed in Scripture. More
than forty species are found in Syria and Arabia. The poisonous
character of the serpent is alluded to in Jacob's blessing on
Dan (Gen. 49:17; see Prov. 30:18, 19; James 3:7; Jer. 8:17).
(See ADDER ¯T0000085.)
This word is used symbolically of a deadly, subtle, malicious
enemy (Luke 10:19).
The serpent is first mentioned in connection with the history
of the temptation and fall of our first parents (Gen. 3). It has
been well remarked regarding this temptation: "A real serpent
was the agent of the temptation, as is plain from what is said
of the natural characteristic of the serpent in the first verse
of the chapter (3:1), and from the curse pronounced upon the
animal itself. But that Satan was the actual tempter, and that
he used the serpent merely as his instrument, is evident (1)
from the nature of the transaction; for although the serpent may
be the most subtle of all the beasts of the field, yet he has
not the high intellectual faculties which the tempter here
displayed. (2.) In the New Testament it is both directly
asserted and in various forms assumed that Satan seduced our
first parents into sin (John 8:44; Rom. 16:20; 2 Cor. 11:3, 14;
Rev. 12:9; 20:2)." Hodge's System. Theol., ii. 127.
one of the most important products of Israel. The first
mention of it is in the history of Noah (Gen. 9:20). It is
afterwards frequently noticed both in the Old and New
Testaments, and in the ruins of terraced vineyards there are
evidences that it was extensively cultivated by the Jews. It was
cultivated in Israel before the Israelites took possession of
it. The men sent out by Moses brought with them from the Valley
of Eshcol a cluster of grapes so large that "they bare it
between two upon a staff" (Num. 13: 23). The vineyards of
En-gedi (Cant. 1:14), Heshbon, Sibmah, Jazer, Elealeh (Isa.
16:8-10; Jer. 48:32, 34), and Helbon (Ezek. 27:18), as well as
of Eshcol, were celebrated.
The Church is compared to a vine (Ps. 80:8), and Christ says
of himself, "I am the vine" (John 15:1). In one of his parables
also (Matt. 21:33) our Lord compares his Church to a vineyard
which "a certain householder planted, and hedged round about,"
Hos. 10:1 is rendered in the Revised Version, "Israel is a
luxuriant vine, which putteth forth his fruit," instead of
"Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself,"
of the Authorized Version.
The Israelites had to take possession of the Promised Land by
conquest. They had to engage in a long and bloody war before the
Canaanitish tribes were finally subdued. Except in the case of
Jericho and Ai, the war did not become aggressive till after the
death of Joshua. Till then the attack was always first made by
the Canaanites. Now the measure of the iniquity of the
Canaanites was full, and Israel was employed by God to sweep
them away from off the face of the earth. In entering on this
new stage of the war, the tribe of Judah, according to divine
direction, took the lead.
In the days of Saul and David the people of Israel engaged in
many wars with the nations around, and after the division of the
kingdom into two they often warred with each other. They had to
defend themselves also against the inroads of the Egyptians, the
Assyrians, and the Babylonians. The whole history of Israel from
first to last presents but few periods of peace.
The Christian life is represented as a warfare, and the
Christian graces are also represented under the figure of pieces
of armour (Eph. 6:11-17; 1 Thess. 5:8; 2 Tim. 2:3, 4). The final
blessedness of believers is attained as the fruit of victory
The ordinance of marriage was sanctioned in Paradise (Gen. 2:24;
Matt. 19:4-6). Monogamy was the original law under which man
lived, but polygamy early commenced (Gen. 4:19), and continued
to prevail all down through Jewish history. The law of Moses
regulated but did not prohibit polygamy. A man might have a
plurality of wives, but a wife could have only one husband. A
wife's legal rights (Ex. 21:10) and her duties (Prov. 31:10-31;
1 Tim. 5:14) are specified. She could be divorced in special
cases (Deut. 22:13-21), but could not divorce her husband.
Divorce was restricted by our Lord to the single case of
adultery (Matt. 19:3-9). The duties of husbands and wives in
their relations to each other are distinctly set forth in the
New Testament (1 Cor. 7:2-5; Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18, 19; 1 Pet.
the usual name of the descendants of Ammon, the son of Lot (Gen.
19:38). From the very beginning (Deut. 2:16-20) of their history
till they are lost sight of (Judg. 5:2), this tribe is closely
associated with the Moabites (Judg. 10:11; 2 Chr. 20:1; Zeph.
2:8). Both of these tribes hired Balaam to curse Israel (Deut.
23:4). The Ammonites were probably more of a predatory tribe,
moving from place to place, while the Moabites were more
settled. They inhabited the country east of the Jordan and north
of Moab and the Dead Sea, from which they had expelled the
Zamzummims or Zuzims (Deut. 2:20; Gen. 14:5). They are known as
the Beni-ammi (Gen. 19:38), Ammi or Ammon being worshipped as
their chief god. They were of Semitic origin, and closely
related to the Hebrews in blood and language. They showed no
kindness to the Israelites when passing through their territory,
and therefore they were prohibited from "entering the
congregation of the Lord to the tenth generation" (Deut. 23:3).
They afterwards became hostile to Israel (Judg. 3:13). Jephthah
waged war against them, and "took twenty cities with a very
great slaughter" (Judg. 11:33). They were again signally
defeated by Saul (1 Sam. 11:11). David also defeated them and
their allies the Syrians (2 Sam. 10:6-14), and took their chief
city, Rabbah, with much spoil (2 Sam. 10:14; 12:26-31). The
subsequent events of their history are noted in 2 Chr. 20:25;
26:8; Jer. 49:1; Ezek. 25:3, 6. One of Solomon's wives was
Naamah, an Ammonite. She was the mother of Rehoboam (1 Kings
14:31; 2 Chr. 12:13).
The prophets predicted fearful judgments against the Ammonites
because of their hostility to Israel (Zeph. 2:8; Jer. 49:1-6;
Ezek. 25:1-5, 10; Amos 1:13-15).
The national idol worshipped by this people was Molech or
Milcom, at whose altar they offered human sacrifices (1 Kings
11:5, 7). The high places built for this idol by Solomon, at the
instigation of his Ammonitish wives, were not destroyed till the
time of Josiah (2 Kings 23:13).
called also Jerubbaal (Judg. 6:29, 32), was the first of the
judges whose history is circumstantially narrated (Judg. 6-8).
His calling is the commencement of the second period in the
history of the judges. After the victory gained by Deborah and
Barak over Jabin, Israel once more sank into idolatry, and the
Midianites (q.v.) and Amalekites, with other "children of the
east," crossed the Jordan each year for seven successive years
for the purpose of plundering and desolating the land. Gideon
received a direct call from God to undertake the task of
delivering the land from these warlike invaders. He was of the
family of Abiezer (Josh. 17:2; 1 Chr. 7:18), and of the little
township of Ophrah (Judg. 6:11). First, with ten of his
servants, he overthrew the altars of Baal and cut down the
asherah which was upon it, and then blew the trumpet of alarm,
and the people flocked to his standard on the crest of Mount
Gilboa to the number of twenty-two thousand men. These were,
however, reduced to only three hundred. These, strangely armed
with torches and pitchers and trumpets, rushed in from three
different points on the camp of Midian at midnight, in the
valley to the north of Moreh, with the terrible war-cry, "For
the Lord and for Gideon" (Judg. 7:18, R.V.). Terror-stricken,
the Midianites were put into dire confusion, and in the darkness
slew one another, so that only fifteen thousand out of the great
army of one hundred and twenty thousand escaped alive. The
memory of this great deliverance impressed itself deeply on the
mind of the nation (1 Sam. 12:11; Ps. 83:11; Isa. 9:4; 10:26;
Heb. 11:32). The land had now rest for forty years. Gideon died
in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of his
fathers. Soon after his death a change came over the people.
They again forgot Jehovah, and turned to the worship of Baalim,
"neither shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal" (Judg.
8:35). Gideon left behind him seventy sons, a feeble, sadly
degenerated race, with one exception, that of Abimelech, who
seems to have had much of the courage and energy of his father,
yet of restless and unscrupulous ambition. He gathered around
him a band who slaughtered all Gideon's sons, except Jotham,
upon one stone. (See OPHRAH ¯T0002798.)
(A.S. and Dutch God; Dan. Gud; Ger. Gott), the name of the
Divine Being. It is the rendering (1) of the Hebrew _'El_, from
a word meaning to be strong; (2) of _'Eloah_, plural _'Elohim_.
The singular form, _Eloah_, is used only in poetry. The plural
form is more commonly used in all parts of the Bible, The Hebrew
word Jehovah (q.v.), the only other word generally employed to
denote the Supreme Being, is uniformly rendered in the
Authorized Version by "LORD," printed in small capitals. The
existence of God is taken for granted in the Bible. There is
nowhere any argument to prove it. He who disbelieves this truth
is spoken of as one devoid of understanding (Ps. 14:1).
The arguments generally adduced by theologians in proof of the
being of God are:
(1.) The a priori argument, which is the testimony afforded by
(2.) The a posteriori argument, by which we proceed logically
from the facts of experience to causes. These arguments are,
(a) The cosmological, by which it is proved that there must be
a First Cause of all things, for every effect must have a cause.
(b) The teleological, or the argument from design. We see
everywhere the operations of an intelligent Cause in nature.
(c) The moral argument, called also the anthropological
argument, based on the moral consciousness and the history of
mankind, which exhibits a moral order and purpose which can only
be explained on the supposition of the existence of God.
Conscience and human history testify that "verily there is a God
that judgeth in the earth."
The attributes of God are set forth in order by Moses in Ex.
34:6,7. (see also Deut. 6:4; 10:17; Num. 16:22; Ex. 15:11;
33:19; Isa. 44:6; Hab. 3:6; Ps. 102:26; Job 34:12.) They are
also systematically classified in Rev. 5:12 and 7:12.
God's attributes are spoken of by some as absolute, i.e., such
as belong to his essence as Jehovah, Jah, etc.; and relative,
i.e., such as are ascribed to him with relation to his
creatures. Others distinguish them into communicable, i.e.,
those which can be imparted in degree to his creatures:
goodness, holiness, wisdom, etc.; and incommunicable, which
cannot be so imparted: independence, immutability, immensity,
and eternity. They are by some also divided into natural
attributes, eternity, immensity, etc.; and moral, holiness,
the five-fold volume, consisting of the first five books of the
Old Testament. This word does not occur in Scripture, nor is it
certainly known when the roll was thus divided into five
portions Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.
Probably that was done by the LXX. translators. Some modern
critics speak of a Hexateuch, introducing the Book of Joshua as
one of the group. But this book is of an entirely different
character from the other books, and has a different author. It
stands by itself as the first of a series of historical books
beginning with the entrance of the Israelites into Canaan. (See
The books composing the Pentateuch are properly but one book,
the "Law of Moses," the "Book of the Law of Moses," the "Book of
Moses," or, as the Jews designate it, the "Torah" or "Law." That
in its present form it "proceeds from a single author is proved
by its plan and aim, according to which its whole contents refer
to the covenant concluded between Jehovah and his people, by the
instrumentality of Moses, in such a way that everything before
his time is perceived to be preparatory to this fact, and all
the rest to be the development of it. Nevertheless, this unity
has not been stamped upon it as a matter of necessity by the
latest redactor: it has been there from the beginning, and is
visible in the first plan and in the whole execution of the
work.", Keil, Einl. i.d. A. T.
A certain school of critics have set themselves to reconstruct
the books of the Old Testament. By a process of "scientific
study" they have discovered that the so-called historical books
of the Old Testament are not history at all, but a miscellaneous
collection of stories, the inventions of many different writers,
patched together by a variety of editors! As regards the
Pentateuch, they are not ashamed to attribute fraud, and even
conspiracy, to its authors, who sought to find acceptance to
their work which was composed partly in the age of Josiah, and
partly in that of Ezra and Nehemiah, by giving it out to be the
work of Moses! This is not the place to enter into the details
of this controversy. We may say frankly, however, that we have
no faith in this "higher criticism." It degrades the books of
the Old Testament below the level of fallible human writings,
and the arguments on which its speculations are built are
The evidences in favour of the Mosaic authorship of the
Pentateuch are conclusive. We may thus state some of them
(1.) These books profess to have been written by Moses in the
name of God (Ex. 17:14; 24:3, 4, 7; 32:7-10, 30-34; 34:27; Lev.
26:46; 27:34; Deut. 31:9, 24, 25).
(2.) This also is the uniform and persistent testimony of the
Jews of all sects in all ages and countries (comp. Josh. 8:31,
32; 1 Kings 2:3; Jer. 7:22; Ezra 6:18; Neh. 8:1; Mal. 4:4; Matt.
22:24; Acts 15:21).
(3.) Our Lord plainly taught the Mosaic authorship of these
books (Matt. 5:17, 18; 19:8; 22:31, 32; 23:2; Mark 10:9; 12:26;
Luke 16:31; 20:37; 24:26, 27, 44; John 3:14; 5:45, 46, 47; 6:32,
49; 7:19, 22). In the face of this fact, will any one venture to
allege either that Christ was ignorant of the composition of the
Bible, or that, knowing the true state of the case, he yet
encouraged the people in the delusion they clung to?
(4.) From the time of Joshua down to the time of Ezra there
is, in the intermediate historical books, a constant reference
to the Pentateuch as the "Book of the Law of Moses." This is a
point of much importance, inasmuch as the critics deny that
there is any such reference; and hence they deny the historical
character of the Pentateuch. As regards the Passover, e.g., we
find it frequently spoken of or alluded to in the historical
books following the Pentateuch, showing that the "Law of Moses"
was then certainly known. It was celebrated in the time of
Joshua (Josh. 5:10, cf. 4:19), Hezekiah (2 Chr. 30), Josiah (2
Kings 23; 2 Chr. 35), and Zerubbabel (Ezra 6:19-22), and is
referred to in such passages as 2 Kings 23:22; 2 Chr. 35:18; 1
Kings 9:25 ("three times in a year"); 2 Chr. 8:13. Similarly we
might show frequent references to the Feast of Tabernacles and
other Jewish institutions, although we do not admit that any
valid argument can be drawn from the silence of Scripture in
such a case. An examination of the following texts, 1 Kings 2:9;
2 Kings 14:6; 2 Chr. 23:18; 25:4; 34:14; Ezra 3:2; 7:6; Dan.
9:11, 13, will also plainly show that the "Law of Moses" was
known during all these centuries.
Granting that in the time of Moses there existed certain oral
traditions or written records and documents which he was
divinely led to make use of in his history, and that his writing
was revised by inspired successors, this will fully account for
certain peculiarities of expression which critics have called
"anachronisms" and "contradictions," but in no way militates
against the doctrine that Moses was the original author of the
whole of the Pentateuch. It is not necessary for us to affirm
that the whole is an original composition; but we affirm that
the evidences clearly demonstrate that Moses was the author of
those books which have come down to us bearing his name. The
Pentateuch is certainly the basis and necessary preliminary of
the whole of the Old Testament history and literature. (See
(Heb. Ko'resh), the celebrated "King of Persia" (Elam) who was
conqueror of Babylon, and issued the decree of liberation to the
Jews (Ezra 1:1, 2). He was the son of Cambyses, the prince of
Persia, and was born about B.C. 599. In the year B.C. 559 he
became king of Persia, the kingdom of Media being added to it
partly by conquest. Cyrus was a great military leader, bent on
universal conquest. Babylon fell before his army (B.C. 538) on
the night of Belshazzar's feast (Dan. 5:30), and then the
ancient dominion of Assyria was also added to his empire (cf.,
"Go up, O Elam", Isa.21:2).
Hitherto the great kings of the earth had only oppressed the
Jews. Cyrus was to them as a "shepherd" (Isa. 44:28; 45:1). God
employed him in doing service to his ancient people. He may
posibly have gained, through contact with the Jews, some
knowledge of their religion.
The "first year of Cyrus" (Ezra 1:1) is not the year of his
elevation to power over the Medes, nor over the Persians, nor
the year of the fall of Babylon, but the year succeeding the two
years during which "Darius the Mede" was viceroy in Babylon
after its fall. At this time only (B.C. 536) Cyrus became actual
king over Israel, which became a part of his Babylonian
empire. The edict of Cyrus for the rebuilding of Jerusalem
marked a great epoch in the history of the Jewish people (2 Chr.
36:22, 23; Ezra 1:1-4; 4:3; 5:13-17; 6:3-5).
This decree was discovered "at Achmetha [R.V. marg.,
"Ecbatana"], in the palace that is in the province of the Medes"
(Ezra 6:2). A chronicle drawn up just after the conquest of
Babylonia by Cyrus, gives the history of the reign of Nabonidus
(Nabunahid), the last king of Babylon, and of the fall of the
Babylonian empire. In B.C. 538 there was a revolt in Southern
Babylonia, while the army of Cyrus entered the country from the
north. In June the Babylonian army was completely defeated at
Opis, and immediately afterwards Sippara opened its gates to the
conqueror. Gobryas (Ugbaru), the governor of Kurdistan, was then
sent to Babylon, which surrendered "without fighting," and the
daily services in the temples continued without a break. In
October, Cyrus himself arrived, and proclaimed a general
amnesty, which was communicated by Gobryas to "all the province
of Babylon," of which he had been made governor. Meanwhile,
Nabonidus, who had concealed himself, was captured, but treated
honourably; and when his wife died, Cambyses, the son of Cyrus,
conducted the funeral. Cyrus now assumed the title of "king of
Babylon," claimed to be the descendant of the ancient kings, and
made rich offerings to the temples. At the same time he allowed
the foreign populations who had been deported to Babylonia to
return to their old homes, carrying with them the images of
their gods. Among these populations were the Jews, who, as they
had no images, took with them the sacred vessels of the temple.
Fall of man
an expression probably borrowed from the Apocryphal Book of
Wisdom, to express the fact of the revolt of our first parents
from God, and the consequent sin and misery in which they and
all their posterity were involved.
The history of the Fall is recorded in Gen. 2 and 3. That
history is to be literally interpreted. It records facts which
underlie the whole system of revealed truth. It is referred to
by our Lord and his apostles not only as being true, but as
furnishing the ground of all God's subsequent dispensations and
dealings with the children of men. The record of Adam's
temptation and fall must be taken as a true historical account,
if we are to understand the Bible at all as a revelation of
God's purpose of mercy.
The effects of this first sin upon our first parents
themselves were (1) "shame, a sense of degradation and
pollution; (2) dread of the displeasure of God, or a sense of
guilt, and the consequent desire to hide from his presence.
These effects were unavoidable. They prove the loss not only of
innocence but of original righteousness, and, with it, of the
favour and fellowship of God. The state therefore to which Adam
was reduced by his disobedience, so far as his subjective
condition is concerned, was analogous to that of the fallen
angels. He was entirely and absolutely ruined" (Hodge's
But the unbelief and disobedience of our first parents brought
not only on themselves this misery and ruin, it entailed also
the same sad consequences on all their descendants. (1.) The
guilt, i.e., liability to punishment, of that sin comes by
imputation upon all men, because all were represented by Adam in
the covenant of works (q.v.). (See IMPUTATION ¯T0001878.)
(2.) Hence, also, all his descendants inherit a corrupt
nature. In all by nature there is an inherent and prevailing
tendency to sin. This universal depravity is taught by universal
experience. All men sin as soon as they are capable of moral
actions. The testimony of the Scriptures to the same effect is
most abundant (Rom. 1; 2; 3:1-19, etc.).
(3.) This innate depravity is total: we are by nature "dead in
trespasses and sins," and must be "born again" before we can
enter into the kingdom (John 3:7, etc.).
(4.) Resulting from this "corruption of our whole nature" is
our absolute moral inability to change our nature or to obey the
law of God.
Commenting on John 9:3, Ryle well remarks: "A deep and
instructive principle lies in these words. They surely throw
some light on that great question, the origin of evil. God has
thought fit to allow evil to exist in order that he may have a
platform for showing his mercy, grace, and compassion. If man
had never fallen there would have been no opportunity of showing
divine mercy. But by permitting evil, mysterious as it seems,
God's works of grace, mercy, and wisdom in saving sinners have
been wonderfully manifested to all his creatures. The redeeming
of the church of elect sinners is the means of 'showing to
principalities and powers the manifold wisdom of God' (Eph.
3:10). Without the Fall we should have known nothing of the
Cross and the Gospel."
On the monuments of Egypt are found representations of a deity
in human form, piercing with a spear the head of a serpent. This
is regarded as an illustration of the wide dissemination of the
tradition of the Fall. The story of the "golden age," which
gives place to the "iron age", the age of purity and innocence,
which is followed by a time when man becomes a prey to sin and
misery, as represented in the mythology of Greece and Rome, has
also been regarded as a tradition of the Fall.