high-born. (1.) Generally "Huram," one of the sons of Bela (1
(2.) Also "Huram" and "Horam," king of Tyre. He entered into
an alliance with David, and assisted him in building his palace
by sending him able workmen, and also cedar-trees and fir-trees
from Lebanon (2 Sam. 5:11; 1 Chr. 14:1). After the death of
David he entered into a similar alliance with Solomon, and
assisted him greatly in building the temple (1 Kings 5:1; 9:11;
2 Chr. 2:3). He also took part in Solomon's traffic to the
Eastern Seas (1 Kings 9:27; 10:11; 2 Chr. 8:18; 9:10).
(3.) The "master workman" whom Hiram sent to Solomon. He was
the son of a widow of Dan, and of a Tyrian father. In 2 Chr.
2:13 "Huram my father" should be Huram Abi, the word "Abi"
(rendered here "my father") being regarded as a proper name, or
it may perhaps be a title of distinction given to Huram, and
equivalent to "master." (Comp. 1 Kings 7:14; 2 Chr. 4:16.) He
cast the magnificent brazen works for Solomon's temple in
clay-beds in the valley of Jordan, between Succoth and Zarthan.
the master of the eunuchs of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 1:3), the
"Rabsaris" of the court. His position was similar to that of the
Kislar-aga of the modern Turkish sultans.
(1.) Heb. pattish, used by gold-beaters (Isa. 41:7) and by
quarry-men (Jer. 23:29). Metaphorically of Babylon (Jer. 50:23)
(2.) Heb. makabah, a stone-cutter's mallet (1 Kings 6:7), or
of any workman (Judg. 4:21; Isa. 44:12).
(3.) Heb. halmuth, a poetical word for a workman's hammer,
found only in Judg. 5:26, where it denotes the mallet with which
the pins of the tent of the nomad are driven into the ground.
(4.) Heb. mappets, rendered "battle-axe" in Jer. 51:20. This
was properly a "mace," which is thus described by Rawlinson:
"The Assyrian mace was a short, thin weapon, and must either
have been made of a very tough wood or (and this is more
probable) of metal. It had an ornamented head, which was
sometimes very beautifully modelled, and generally a strap or
string at the lower end by which it could be grasped with
master of the horse, a "fellow-soldier" of Paul's (Philemon
1:2), whom he exhorts to renewed activity (Col. 4:17). He was a
member of Philemon's family, probably his son.
probably a Persian word meaning master of wine, i.e., chief
butler; the title of an officer at the Babylonian court (Dan.
1:11, 16) who had charge of the diet of the Hebrew youths.
my master, a title of dignity given by the Jews to their doctors
of the law and their distinguished teachers. It is sometimes
applied to Christ (Matt. 23:7, 8; Mark 9:5 (R.V.); John 1:38,
49; 3:2; 6:25, etc.); also to John (3:26).
useful, a slave who, after robbing his master Philemon (q.v.) at
Colosse, fled to Rome, where he was converted by the apostle
Paul, who sent him back to his master with the epistle which
bears his name. In it he beseeches Philemon to receive his slave
as a "faithful and beloved brother." Paul offers to pay to
Philemon anything his slave had taken, and to bear the wrong he
had done him. He was accompanied on his return by Tychicus, the
bearer of the Epistle to the Colossians (Philemon 1:16, 18).
The story of this fugitive Colossian slave is a remarkable
evidence of the freedom of access to the prisoner which was
granted to all, and "a beautiful illustration both of the
character of St. Paul and the transfiguring power and righteous
principles of the gospel."
a harbour in the south of Crete, some 5 miles to the east of
which was the town of Lasea (Acts 27:8). Here the ship of
Alexandria in which Paul and his companions sailed was detained
a considerable time waiting for a favourable wind. Contrary to
Paul's advice, the master of the ship determined to prosecute
the voyage, as the harbour was deemed incommodious for wintering
in (9-12). The result was that, after a stormy voyage, the
vessel was finally wrecked on the coast of Malta (27:40-44).
Heb. ba'al parash, "master of a horse." The "horsemen" mentioned
Ex. 14:9 were "mounted men", i.e., men who rode in chariots. The
army of Pharaoh consisted of a chariot and infantry force. We
find that at a later period, however, the Egyptians had cavalry
(2 Chr. 12:3). (See HORSE ¯T0001825.)
chief of the princes, the name given to the chief cup-bearer or
the vizier of the Assyrian court; one of Sennacherib's
messengers to Hezekiah. See the speech he delivered, in the
Hebrew language, in the hearing of all the people, as he stood
near the wall on the north side of the city (2 Kings 18:17-37).
He and the other envoys returned to their master and reported
that Hezekiah and his people were obdurate, and would not
habitation, the governor of Shechem under Abimelech (Judg. 9:28,
30, 36). He informed his master of the intention of the people
of Shechem to transfer their allegiance to the Hivite tribe of
Hamor. This led to Abimelech's destroying the city, when he put
its entire population to the sword, and sowed the ruins with
salt (Judg. 9:28-45).
Philemon, Epistle to
was written from Rome at the same time as the epistles to the
Colossians and Ephesians, and was sent also by Onesimus. It was
addressed to Philemon and the members of his family.
It was written for the purpose of interceding for Onesimus
(q.v.), who had deserted his master Philemon and been
"unprofitable" to him. Paul had found Onesimus at Rome, and had
there been instrumental in his conversion, and now he sends him
back to his master with this letter.
This epistle has the character of a strictly private letter,
and is the only one of such epistles preserved to us. "It
exhibits the apostle in a new light. He throws off as far as
possible his apostolic dignity and his fatherly authority over
his converts. He speaks simply as Christian to Christian. He
speaks, therefore, with that peculiar grace of humility and
courtesy which has, under the reign of Christianity, developed
the spirit of chivalry and what is called 'the character of a
gentleman,' certainly very little known in the old Greek and
Roman civilization" (Dr. Barry). (See SLAVE ¯T0003458.)
(Luke 2:46; 5:17; Acts 5:34), a teacher. The Jewish doctors
taught and disputed in synagogues, or wherever they could find
an audience. Their disciples were allowed to propose to them
questions. They assumed the office without any appointment to
it. The doctors of the law were principally of the sect of the
Pharisees. Schools were established after the destruction of
Jerusalem at Babylon and Tiberias, in which academical degrees
were conferred on those who passed a certain examination. Those
of the school of Tiberias were called by the title "rabbi," and
those of Babylon by that of "master."
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).
Punished by restitution, the proportions of which are noted in 2
Sam. 12:6. If the thief could not pay the fine, he was to be
sold to a Hebrew master till he could pay (Ex. 22:1-4). A
night-thief might be smitten till he died, and there would be no
blood-guiltiness for him (22:2). A man-stealer was to be put to
death (21:16). All theft is forbidden (Ex. 20:15; 21:16; Lev.
19:11; Deut. 5:19; 24:7; Ps. 50:18; Zech. 5:3; Matt. 19:18; Rom.
13:9; Eph. 4:28; 1 Pet. 4:15).
There are various Hebrew and Greek words so rendered.
(1.) Heb. Jehovah, has been rendered in the English Bible
LORD, printed in small capitals. This is the proper name of the
God of the Hebrews. The form "Jehovah" is retained only in Ex.
6:3; Ps. 83:18; Isa. 12:2; 26:4, both in the Authorized and the
(2.) Heb. 'adon, means one possessed of absolute control. It
denotes a master, as of slaves (Gen. 24:14, 27), or a ruler of
his subjects (45:8), or a husband, as lord of his wife (18:12).
The old plural form of this Hebrew word is _'adonai_. From a
superstitious reverence for the name "Jehovah," the Jews, in
reading their Scriptures, whenever that name occurred, always
pronounced it _'Adonai_.
(3.) Greek kurios, a supreme master, etc. In the LXX. this is
invariably used for "Jehovah" and "'Adonai."
(4.) Heb. ba'al, a master, as having domination. This word is
applied to human relations, as that of husband, to persons
skilled in some art or profession, and to heathen deities. "The
men of Shechem," literally "the baals of Shechem" (Judg. 9:2,
3). These were the Israelite inhabitants who had reduced the
Canaanites to a condition of vassalage (Josh. 16:10; 17:13).
(5.) Heb. seren, applied exclusively to the "lords of the
Philistines" (Judg. 3:3). The LXX. render it by satrapies. At
this period the Philistines were not, as at a later period (1
Sam. 21:10), under a kingly government. (See Josh. 13:3; 1 Sam.
6:18.) There were five such lordships, viz., Gath, Ashdod, Gaza,
Ashkelon, and Ekron.
convener, or collector. (1.) A Levite; one of the leaders of
David's choir (1 Chr. 6:39). Psalms 50 and 73-83 inclusive are
attributed to him. He is mentioned along with David as skilled
in music, and a "seer" (2 Chr. 29:30). The "sons of Asaph,"
mentioned in 1 Chr. 25:1, 2 Chr. 20:14, and Ezra 2:41, were his
descendants, or more probably a class of poets or singers who
recognized him as their master.
(2.) The "recorder" in the time of Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:18,
(3.) The "keeper of the king's forest," to whom Nehemiah
requested from Artaxerxes a "letter" that he might give him
timber for the temple at Jerusalem (Neh. 2:8).
pleasantness, a Syrian, the commander of the armies of Benhadad
II. in the time of Joram, king of Israel. He was afflicted with
leprosy; and when the little Hebrew slave-girl that waited on
his wife told her of a prophet in Samaria who could cure her
master, he obtained a letter from Benhadad and proceeded with it
to Joram. The king of Israel suspected in this some evil design
against him, and rent his clothes. Elisha the prophet hearing of
this, sent for Naaman, and the strange interview which took
place is recorded in 2 Kings 5. The narrative contains all that
is known of the Syrian commander. He was cured of his leprosy by
dipping himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word
of Elisha. His cure is alluded to by our Lord (Luke 4:27).
one who serves, as distinguished from the master. (1.) Heb.
meshereth, applied to an attendant on one of superior rank, as
to Joshua, the servant of Moses (Ex. 33:11), and to the servant
of Elisha (2 Kings 4:43). This name is also given to attendants
at court (2 Chr. 22:8), and to the priests and Levites (Jer.
33:21; Ezek. 44:11).
(2.) Heb. pelah (Ezra 7:24), a "minister" of religion. Here
used of that class of sanctuary servants called "Solomon's
servants" in Ezra 2:55-58 and Neh. 7:57-60.
(3.) Greek leitourgos, a subordinate public administrator, and
in this sense applied to magistrates (Rom. 13:6). It is applied
also to our Lord (Heb. 8:2), and to Paul in relation to Christ
(4.) Greek hyperetes (literally, "under-rower"), a personal
attendant on a superior, thus of the person who waited on the
officiating priest in the synagogue (Luke 4:20). It is applied
also to John Mark, the attendant on Paul and Barnabas (Acts
(5.) Greek diaconos, usually a subordinate officer or
assistant employed in relation to the ministry of the gospel, as
to Paul and Apollos (1 Cor. 3:5), Tychicus (Eph. 6:21), Epaphras
(Col. 1:7), Timothy (1 Thess. 3:2), and also to Christ (Rom.
a feast provided for the entertainment of a company of guests
(Esther 5; 7; 1 Pet. 4:3); such as was provided for our Lord by
his friends in Bethany (Matt. 26:6; Mark 14:3; comp. John 12:2).
These meals were in the days of Christ usually called "suppers,"
after the custom of the Romans, and were partaken of toward the
close of the day. It was usual to send a second invitation
(Matt. 22:3; Luke 14:17) to those who had been already invited.
When the whole company was assembled, the master of the house
shut the door with his own hands (Luke 13:25; Matt. 25:10).
The guests were first refreshed with water and fragrant oil
(Luke 7:38; Mark 7:4). A less frequent custom was that of
supplying each guest with a robe to be worn during the feast
(Eccles. 9:8; Rev. 3:4, 5; Matt. 22:11). At private banquets the
master of the house presided; but on public occasions a
"governor of the feast" was chosen (John 2:8). The guests were
placed in order according to seniority (Gen. 43:33), or
according to the rank they held (Prov. 25:6,7; Matt. 23:6; Luke
As spoons and knives and forks are a modern invention, and
were altogether unknown in the East, the hands alone were
necessarily used, and were dipped in the dish, which was common
to two of the guests (John 13:26). In the days of our Lord the
guests reclined at table; but the ancient Israelites sat around
low tables, cross-legged, like the modern Orientals. Guests were
specially honoured when extra portions were set before them
(Gen. 43:34), and when their cup was filled with wine till it
ran over (Ps. 23:5). The hands of the guests were usually
cleaned by being rubbed on bread, the crumbs of which fell to
the ground, and were the portion for dogs (Matt. 15:27; Luke
At the time of the three annual festivals at Jerusalem family
banquets were common. To these the "widow, and the fatherless,
and the stranger" were welcome (Deut. 16:11). Sacrifices also
included a banquet (Ex. 34:15; Judg. 16:23). Birthday banquets
are mentioned (Gen. 40:20; Matt. 14:6). They were sometimes
protracted, and attended with revelry and excess (Gen. 21:8;
29:22; 1 Sam. 25:2,36; 2 Sam. 13:23). Portions were sometimes
sent from the table to poorer friends (Neh. 8:10; Esther 9:19,
22). (See MEALS ¯T0002451.)
God his salvation, the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah, who
became the attendant and disciple of Elijah (1 Kings 19:16-19).
His name first occurs in the command given to Elijah to anoint
him as his successor (1 Kings 19:16). This was the only one of
the three commands then given to Elijah which he accomplished.
On his way from Sinai to Damascus he found Elisha at his native
place engaged in the labours of the field, ploughing with twelve
yoke of oxen. He went over to him, threw over his shoulders his
rough mantle, and at once adopted him as a son, and invested him
with the prophetical office (comp. Luke 9:61, 62). Elisha
accepted the call thus given (about four years before the death
of Ahab), and for some seven or eight years became the close
attendant on Elijah till he was parted from him and taken up
into heaven. During all these years we hear nothing of Elisha
except in connection with the closing scenes of Elijah's life.
After Elijah, Elisha was accepted as the leader of the sons of
the prophets, and became noted in Israel. He possessed,
according to his own request, "a double portion" of Elijah's
spirit (2 Kings 2:9); and for the long period of about sixty
years (B.C. 892-832) held the office of "prophet in Israel" (2
After Elijah's departure, Elisha returned to Jericho, and
there healed the spring of water by casting salt into it (2
Kings 2:21). We next find him at Bethel (2:23), where, with the
sternness of his master, he cursed the youths who came out and
scoffed at him as a prophet of God: "Go up, thou bald head." The
judgment at once took effect, and God terribly visited the
dishonour done to his prophet as dishonour done to himself. We
next read of his predicting a fall of rain when the army of
Jehoram was faint from thirst (2 Kings 3:9-20); of the
multiplying of the poor widow's cruse of oil (4:1-7); the
miracle of restoring to life the son of the woman of Shunem
(4:18-37); the multiplication of the twenty loaves of new barley
into a sufficient supply for an hundred men (4:42-44); of the
cure of Naaman the Syrian of his leprosy (5:1-27); of the
punishment of Gehazi for his falsehood and his covetousness; of
the recovery of the axe lost in the waters of the Jordan
(6:1-7); of the miracle at Dothan, half-way on the road between
Samaria and Jezreel; of the siege of Samaria by the king of
Syria, and of the terrible sufferings of the people in
connection with it, and Elisha's prophecy as to the relief that
would come (2 Kings 6:24-7:2).
We then find Elisha at Damascus, to carry out the command
given to his master to anoint Hazael king over Syria (2 Kings
8:7-15); thereafter he directs one of the sons of the prophets
to anoint Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Israel, instead
of Ahab. Thus the three commands given to Elijah (9:1-10) were
at length carried out.
We do not again read of him till we find him on his death-bed
in his own house (2 Kings 13:14-19). Joash, the grandson of
Jehu, comes to mourn over his approaching departure, and utters
the same words as those of Elisha when Elijah was taken away:
"My father, my father! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen
Afterwards when a dead body is laid in Elisha's grave a year
after his burial, no sooner does it touch the hallowed remains
than the man "revived, and stood up on his feet" (2 Kings
(1.) God blesses his people when he bestows on them some gift
temporal or spiritual (Gen. 1:22; 24:35; Job 42:12; Ps. 45:2;
(2.) We bless God when we thank him for his mercies (Ps.
103:1, 2; 145:1, 2).
(3.) A man blesses himself when he invokes God's blessing
(Isa. 65:16), or rejoices in God's goodness to him (Deut. 29:19;
(4.) One blesses another when he expresses good wishes or
offers prayer to God for his welfare (Gen. 24:60; 31:55; 1 Sam.
2:20). Sometimes blessings were uttered under divine
inspiration, as in the case of Noah, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses
(Gen. 9:26, 27; 27:28, 29, 40; 48:15-20; 49:1-28; Deut. 33). The
priests were divinely authorized to bless the people (Deut.
10:8; Num. 6:22-27). We have many examples of apostolic
benediction (2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 6:23, 24; 2 Thess. 3:16, 18;
Heb. 13:20, 21; 1 Pet. 5:10, 11).
(5.) Among the Jews in their thank-offerings the master of the
feast took a cup of wine in his hand, and after having blessed
God for it and for other mercies then enjoyed, handed it to his
guests, who all partook of it. Ps. 116:13 refers to this custom.
It is also alluded to in 1 Cor. 10:16, where the apostle speaks
of the "cup of blessing."
Entertainments, "feasts," were sometimes connected with a public
festival (Deut. 16:11, 14), and accompanied by offerings (1 Sam.
9:13), in token of alliances (Gen. 26:30); sometimes in
connection with domestic or social events, as at the weaning of
children (Gen. 21:8), at weddings (Gen. 29:22; John 2:1), on
birth-days (Matt. 14:6), at the time of sheep-shearing (2 Sam.
13:23), and of vintage (Judg. 9:27), and at funerals (2 Sam.
3:35; Jer. 16:7).
The guests were invited by servants (Prov. 9:3; Matt. 22:3),
who assigned them their respective places (1 Sam. 9:22; Luke
14:8; Mark 12:39). Like portions were sent by the master to each
guest (1 Sam. 1:4; 2 Sam. 6:19), except when special honour was
intended, when the portion was increased (Gen. 43:34).
The Israelites were forbidden to attend heathenish sacrificial
entertainments (Ex. 34:15), because these were in honour of
false gods, and because at such feast they would be liable to
partake of unclean flesh (1 Cor. 10:28).
In the entertainments common in apostolic times among the
Gentiles were frequent "revellings," against which Christians
were warned (Rom. 13:13; Gal. 5:21; 1 Pet. 4:3). (See BANQUET
chaste, the daughter of Ethbaal, the king of the Zidonians, and
the wife of Ahab, the king of Israel (1 Kings 16:31). This was
the "first time that a king of Israel had allied himself by
marriage with a heathen princess; and the alliance was in this
case of a peculiarly disastrous kind. Jezebel has stamped her
name on history as the representative of all that is designing,
crafty, malicious, revengeful, and cruel. She is the first great
instigator of persecution against the saints of God. Guided by
no principle, restrained by no fear of either God or man,
passionate in her attachment to her heathen worship, she spared
no pains to maintain idolatry around her in all its splendour.
Four hundred and fifty prophets ministered under her care to
Baal, besides four hundred prophets of the groves [R.V.,
'prophets of the Asherah'], which ate at her table (1 Kings
18:19). The idolatry, too, was of the most debased and sensual
kind." Her conduct was in many respects very disastrous to the
kingdom both of Israel and Judah (21:1-29). At length she came
to an untimely end. As Jehu rode into the gates of Jezreel, she
looked out at the window of the palace, and said, "Had Zimri
peace, who slew his master?" He looked up and called to her
chamberlains, who instantly threw her from the window, so that
she was dashed in pieces on the street, and his horses trod her
under their feet. She was immediately consumed by the dogs of
the street (2 Kings 9:7-37), according to the word of Elijah the
Tishbite (1 Kings 21:19).
Her name afterwards came to be used as the synonym for a
wicked woman (Rev. 2: 20).
It may be noted that she is said to have been the grand-aunt
of Dido, the founder of Carthage.
the Graecized form of Judah. (1.) The patriarch (Matt. 1:2, 3).
(2.) Son of Simon (John 6:71; 13:2, 26), surnamed Iscariot,
i.e., a man of Kerioth (Josh. 15:25). His name is uniformly the
last in the list of the apostles, as given in the synoptic
(i.e., the first three) Gospels. The evil of his nature probably
gradually unfolded itself till "Satan entered into him" (John
13:27), and he betrayed our Lord (18:3). Afterwards he owned his
sin with "an exceeding bitter cry," and cast the money he had
received as the wages of his iniquity down on the floor of the
sanctuary, and "departed and went and hanged himself" (Matt.
27:5). He perished in his guilt, and "went unto his own place"
(Acts 1:25). The statement in Acts 1:18 that he "fell headlong
and burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out,"
is in no way contrary to that in Matt. 27:5. The sucide first
hanged himself, perhaps over the valley of Hinnom, "and the rope
giving way, or the branch to which he hung breaking, he fell
down headlong on his face, and was crushed and mangled on the
rocky pavement below."
Why such a man was chosen to be an apostle we know not, but it
is written that "Jesus knew from the beginning who should betray
him" (John 6:64). Nor can any answer be satisfactorily given to
the question as to the motives that led Judas to betray his
Master. "Of the motives that have been assigned we need not care
to fix on any one as that which simply led him on. Crime is, for
the most part, the result of a hundred motives rushing with
bewildering fury through the mind of the criminal."
(3.) A Jew of Damascus (Acts 9:11), to whose house Ananias was
sent. The street called "Straight" in which it was situated is
identified with the modern "street of bazaars," where is still
pointed out the so-called "house of Judas."
(4.) A Christian teacher, surnamed Barsabas. He was sent from
Jerusalem to Antioch along with Paul and Barnabas with the
decision of the council (Acts 15:22, 27, 32). He was a "prophet"
and a "chief man among the brethren."
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).
God is my judge, or judge of God. (1.) David's second son, "born
unto him in Hebron, of Abigail the Carmelitess" (1 Chr. 3:1). He
is called also Chileab (2 Sam. 3:3).
(2.) One of the four great prophets, although he is not once
spoken of in the Old Testament as a prophet. His life and
prophecies are recorded in the Book of Daniel. He was descended
from one of the noble families of Judah (Dan. 1:3), and was
probably born in Jerusalem about B.C. 623, during the reign of
Josiah. At the first deportation of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar
(the kingdom of Israel had come to an end nearly a century
before), or immediately after his victory over the Egyptians at
the second battle of Carchemish, in the fourth year of the reign
of Jehoiakim (B.C. 606), Daniel and other three noble youths
were carried off to Babylon, along with part of the vessels of
the temple. There he was obliged to enter into the service of
the king of Babylon, and in accordance with the custom of the
age received the Chaldean name of Belteshazzar, i.e., "prince of
Bel," or "Bel protect the king!" His residence in Babylon was
very probably in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, now identified
with a mass of shapeless mounds called the Kasr, on the right
bank of the river.
His training in the schools of the wise men in Babylon (Dan.
1:4) was to fit him for service to the empire. He was
distinguished during this period for his piety and his stict
observance of the Mosaic law (1:8-16), and gained the confidence
and esteem of those who were over him. His habit of attention
gained during his education in Jerusalem enabled him soon to
master the wisdom and learning of the Chaldeans, and even to
excel his compeers.
At the close of his three years of discipline and training in
the royal schools, Daniel was distinguished for his proficiency
in the "wisdom" of his day, and was brought out into public
life. He soon became known for his skill in the interpretation
of dreams (1:17; 2:14), and rose to the rank of governor of the
province of Babylon, and became "chief of the governors" (Chald.
Rab-signin) over all the wise men of Babylon. He made known and
also interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream; and many years
afterwards, when he was now an old man, amid the alarm and
consternation of the terrible night of Belshazzar's impious
feast, he was called in at the instance of the queen-mother
(perhaps Nitocris, the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar) to interpret
the mysterious handwriting on the wall. He was rewarded with a
purple robe and elevation to the rank of "third ruler." The
place of "second ruler" was held by Belshazzar as associated
with his father, Nabonidus, on the throne (5:16). Daniel
interpreted the handwriting, and "in that night was Belshazzar
the king of the Chaldeans slain."
After the taking of Babylon, Cyrus, who was now master of all
Asia from India to the Dardanelles, placed Darius (q.v.), a
Median prince, on the throne, during the two years of whose
reign Daniel held the office of first of the "three presidents"
of the empire, and was thus practically at the head of affairs,
no doubt interesting himself in the prospects of the captive
Jews (Dan. 9), whom he had at last the happiness of seeing
restored to their own land, although he did not return with
them, but remained still in Babylon. His fidelity to God exposed
him to persecution, and he was cast into a den of lions, but was
miraculously delivered; after which Darius issued a decree
enjoining reverence for "the God of Daniel" (6:26). He
"prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the
Persian," whom he probably greatly influenced in the matter of
the decree which put an end to the Captivity (B.C. 536).
He had a series of prophetic visions vouch-safed to him which
opened up the prospect of a glorious future for the people of
God, and must have imparted peace and gladness to his spirit in
his old age as he waited on at his post till the "end of the
days." The time and circumstances of his death are not recorded.
He probably died at Susa, about eighty-five years of age.
Ezekiel, with whom he was contemporary, mentions him as a
pattern of righteousness (14:14, 20) and wisdom (28:3). (See
a common Jewish name, the same as Hananiah. (1.) One of the
members of the church at Jerusalem, who conspired with his wife
Sapphira to deceive the brethren, and who fell down and
immediately expired after he had uttered the falsehood (Acts
5:5). By common agreement the members of the early Christian
community devoted their property to the work of furthering the
gospel and of assisting the poor and needy. The proceeds of the
possessions they sold were placed at the disposal of the
apostles (Acts 4:36, 37). Ananias might have kept his property
had he so chosen; but he professed agreement with the brethren
in the common purpose, and had of his own accord devoted it all,
as he said, to these sacred ends. Yet he retained a part of it
for his own ends, and thus lied in declaring that he had given
it all. "The offence of Ananias and Sapphira showed contempt of
God, vanity and ambition in the offenders, and utter disregard
of the corruption which they were bringing into the society.
Such sin, committed in despite of the light which they
possessed, called for a special mark of divine indignation."
(2.) A Christian at Damascus (Acts 9:10). He became Paul's
instructor; but when or by what means he himself became a
Christian we have no information. He was "a devout man according
to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt" at
(3.) The high priest before whom Paul was brought in the
procuratorship of Felix (Acts 23:2, 5, 24). He was so enraged at
Paul's noble declaration, "I have lived in all good conscience
before God until this day," that he commanded one of his
attendants to smite him on the mouth. Smarting under this
unprovoked insult, Paul quickly replied, "God shall smite thee,
thou whited wall." Being reminded that Ananias was the high
priest, to whose office all respect was to be paid, he answered,
"I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest" (Acts 23:5).
This expression has occasioned some difficulty, as it is
scarcely probable that Paul should have been ignorant of so
public a fact. The expression may mean (a) that Paul had at the
moment overlooked the honour due to the high priest; or (b), as
others think, that Paul spoke ironically, as if he had said,
"The high priest breaking the law! God's high priest a tyrant
and a lawbreaker! I see a man in white robes, and have heard his
voice, but surely it cannot, it ought not to be, the voice of
the high priest." (See Dr. Lindsay on Acts, _in loco_.) (c)
Others think that from defect of sight Paul could not observe
that the speaker was the high priest. In all this, however, it
may be explained, Paul, with all his excellency, comes short of
the example of his divine Master, who, when he was reviled,
reviled not again.
frequently mentioned throughout Scripture. Of the domesticated
species we read of, (1.) The she ass (Heb. 'athon), so named
from its slowness (Gen. 12:16; 45:23; Num. 22:23; 1 Sam. 9:3).
(2.) The male ass (Heb. hamor), the common working ass of
Western Asia, so called from its red colour. Issachar is
compared to a strong ass (Gen. 49:14). It was forbidden to yoke
together an ass and an ox in the plough (Deut. 22:10). (3.) The
ass's colt (Heb. 'air), mentioned Judg. 10:4; 12:14. It is
rendered "foal" in Gen. 32:15; 49:11. (Comp. Job 11:12; Isa.
30:6.) The ass is an unclean animal, because it does not chew
the cud (Lev. 11:26. Comp. 2 Kings 6:25). Asses constituted a
considerable portion of wealth in ancient times (Gen. 12:16;
30:43; 1 Chr. 27:30; Job 1:3; 42:12). They were noted for their
spirit and their attachment to their master (Isa. 1:3). They are
frequently spoken of as having been ridden upon, as by Abraham
(Gen. 22:3), Balaam (Num. 22:21), the disobedient prophet (1
Kings 13:23), the family of Abdon the judge, seventy in number
(Judg. 12:14), Zipporah (Ex. 4:20), the Shunammite (1 Sam.
25:30), etc. Zechariah (9:9) predicted our Lord's triumphal
entrance into Jerusalem, "riding upon an ass, and upon a colt,"
etc. (Matt. 21:5, R.V.).
Of wild asses two species are noticed, (1) that called in
Hebrew _'arod_, mentioned Job 39:5 and Dan. 5:21, noted for its
swiftness; and (2) that called _pe're_, the wild ass of Asia
(Job 39:6-8; 6:5; 11:12; Isa. 32:14; Jer. 2:24; 14:6, etc.). The
wild ass was distinguished for its fleetness and its extreme
shyness. In allusion to his mode of life, Ishmael is likened to
a wild ass (Gen. 16:12. Here the word is simply rendered "wild"
in the Authorized Version, but in the Revised Version, "wild-ass
activity, the most ancient of Oriental cities; the capital of
Syria (Isa. 7:8; 17:3); situated about 133 miles to the north of
Jerusalem. Its modern name is Esh-Sham; i.e., "the East."
The situation of this city is said to be the most beautiful of
all Western Asia. It is mentioned among the conquests of the
Egyptian king Thothmes III. (B.C. 1500), and in the Amarna
tablets (B.C. 1400).
It is first mentioned in Scripture in connection with
Abraham's victory over the confederate kings under Chedorlaomer
(Gen. 14:15). It was the native place of Abraham's steward
(15:2). It is not again noticed till the time of David, when
"the Syrians of Damascus came to succour Hadadezer" (q.v.), 2
Sam. 8:5; 1 Chr. 18:5. In the reign of Solomon, Rezon became
leader of a band who revolted from Hadadezer (1 Kings 11:23),
and betaking themselves to Damascus, settled there and made
their leader king. There was a long war, with varying success,
between the Israelites and Syrians, who at a later period became
allies of Israel against Judah (2 Kings 15:37).
The Syrians were at length subdued by the Assyrians, the city
of Damascus was taken and destroyed, and the inhabitants carried
captive into Assyria (2 Kings 16:7-9; comp. Isa. 7:8). In this,
prophecy was fulfilled (Isa. 17:1; Amos 1:4; Jer. 49:24). The
kingdom of Syria remained a province of Assyria till the capture
of Nineveh by the Medes (B.C. 625), when it fell under the
conquerors. After passing through various vicissitudes, Syria
was invaded by the Romans (B.C. 64), and Damascus became the
seat of the government of the province. In A.D. 37 Aretas, the
king of Arabia, became master of Damascus, having driven back
This city is memorable as the scene of Saul's conversion (Acts
9:1-25). The street called "Straight," in which Judas lived, in
whose house Saul was found by Ananias, is known by the name
Sultany, or "Queen's Street." It is the principal street of the
city. Paul visited Damascus again on his return from Arabia
(Gal. 1:16, 17). Christianity was planted here as a centre (Acts
9:20), from which it spread to the surrounding regions.
In A.D. 634 Damascus was conquered by the growing Mohammedan
power. In A.D. 1516 it fell under the dominion of the Turks, its
present rulers. It is now the largest city in Asiatic Turkey.
Christianity has again found a firm footing within its walls.
from the Hebrew _gamal_, "to repay" or "requite," as the camel
does the care of its master. There are two distinct species of
camels, having, however, the common characteristics of being
"ruminants without horns, without muzzle, with nostrils forming
oblique slits, the upper lip divided and separately movable and
extensile, the soles of the feet horny, with two toes covered by
claws, the limbs long, the abdomen drawn up, while the neck,
long and slender, is bent up and down, the reverse of that of a
horse, which is arched."
(1.) The Bactrian camel is distinguished by two humps. It is a
native of the high table-lands of Central Asia.
(2.) The Arabian camel or dromedary, from the Greek _dromos_,
"a runner" (Isa. 60:6; Jer. 2:23), has but one hump, and is a
native of Western Asia or Africa.
The camel was early used both for riding and as a beast of
burden (Gen. 24:64; 37:25), and in war (1 Sam. 30:17; Isa.
21:7). Mention is made of the camel among the cattle given by
Pharaoh to Abraham (Gen. 12:16). Its flesh was not to be eaten,
as it was ranked among unclean animals (Lev. 11:4; Deut. 14:7).
Abraham's servant rode on a camel when he went to fetch a wife
for Isaac (Gen. 24:10, 11). Jacob had camels as a portion of his
wealth (30:43), as Abraham also had (24:35). He sent a present
of thirty milch camels to his brother Esau (32:15). It appears
to have been little in use among the Jews after the conquest. It
is, however, mentioned in the history of David (1 Chr. 27:30),
and after the Exile (Ezra 2:67; Neh. 7:69). Camels were much in
use among other nations in the East. The queen of Sheba came
with a caravan of camels when she came to see the wisdom of
Solomon (1 Kings 10:2; 2 Chr. 9:1). Benhadad of Damascus also
sent a present to Elisha, "forty camels' burden" (2 Kings 8:9).
To show the difficulty in the way of a rich man's entering
into the kingdom, our Lord uses the proverbial expression that
it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle
To strain at (rather, out) a gnat and swallow a camel was also
a proverbial expression (Matt. 23:24), used with reference to
those who were careful to avoid small faults, and yet did not
hesitate to commit the greatest sins. The Jews carefully
filtered their wine before drinking it, for fear of swallowing
along with it some insect forbidden in the law as unclean, and
yet they omitted openly the "weightier matters" of the law.
The raiment worn by John the Baptist was made of camel's hair
(Matt. 3:4; Mark 1:6), by which he was distinguished from those
who resided in royal palaces and wore soft raiment. This was
also the case with Elijah (2 Kings 1:8), who is called "a hairy
man," from his wearing such raiment. "This is one of the most
admirable materials for clothing; it keeps out the heat, cold,
and rain." The "sackcloth" so often alluded to (2 Kings 1:8;
Isa. 15:3; Zech. 13:4, etc.) was probably made of camel's hair.
Jehovah is he. (1.) The son of Obed, and father of Azariah (1
(2.) One of the Benjamite slingers that joined David at Ziklag
(1 Chr. 12:3).
(3.) The son of Hanani, a prophet of Judah (1 Kings 16:1, 7; 2
Chr. 19:2; 20:34), who pronounced the sentence of God against
Baasha, the king of Israel.
(4.) King of Israel, the son of Jehoshaphat (2 Kings 9:2), and
grandson of Nimshi. The story of his exaltation to the throne is
deeply interesting. During the progress of a war against the
Syrians, who were becoming more and more troublesome to Israel,
in a battle at Ramoth-gilead Jehoram, the king of Israel, had
been wounded; and leaving his army there, had returned to
Jezreel, whither his ally, Ahaziah, king of Judah, had also gone
on a visit of sympathy with him (2 Kings 8:28, 29). The
commanders, being left in charge of the conduct of the war, met
in council; and while engaged in their deliberations, a
messenger from Elisha appeared in the camp, and taking Jehu from
the council, led him into a secret chamber, and there anointed
him king over Israel, and immediately retired and disappeared (2
Kings 9:5, 6). On being interrogated by his companions as to the
object of this mysterious visitor, he informed them of what had
been done, when immediately, with the utmost enthusiasm, they
blew their trumpets and proclaimed him king (2 Kings 9:11-14).
He then with a chosen band set forth with all speed to Jezreel,
where, with his own hand, he slew Jehoram, shooting him through
the heart with an arrow (9:24). The king of Judah, when trying
to escape, was fatally wounded by one of Jehu's soldiers at
Beth-gan. On entering the city, Jehu commanded the eunchs of the
royal palace to cast down Jezebel into the street, where her
mangled body was trodden under foot by the horses. Jehu was now
master of Jezreel, whence he communicated with the persons in
authority in Samaria the capital, commanding them to appear
before him on the morrow with the heads of all the royal princes
of Samaria. Accordingly on the morrow seventy heads were piled
up in two heaps at his gate. At "the shearing-house" (2 Kings
10:12-14) other forty-two connected with the house of Ahab were
put to death (2 Kings 10:14). As Jehu rode on toward Samaria, he
met Jehonadab (q.v.), whom he took into his chariot, and they
entered the capital together. By a cunning stratagem he cut off
all the worshippers of Baal found in Samaria (2 Kings 10:19-25),
and destroyed the temple of the idol (2 Kings 10:27).
Notwithstanding all this apparent zeal for the worship of
Jehovah, Jehu yet tolerated the worship of the golden calves at
Dan and Bethel. For this the divine displeasure rested upon him,
and his kingdom suffered disaster in war with the Syrians (2
Kings 10:29-33). He died after a reign of twenty-eight years
(B.C. 884-856), and was buried in Samaria (10:34-36). "He was
one of those decisive, terrible, and ambitious, yet prudent,
calculating, and passionless men whom God from time to time
raises up to change the fate of empires and execute his
judgments on the earth." He was the first Jewish king who came
in contact with the Assyrian power in the time of Shalmaneser
The psalms are the production of various authors. "Only a
portion of the Book of Psalms claims David as its author. Other
inspired poets in successive generations added now one now
another contribution to the sacred collection, and thus in the
wisdom of Providence it more completely reflects every phase of
human emotion and circumstances than it otherwise could." But it
is specially to David and his contemporaries that we owe this
precious book. In the "titles" of the psalms, the genuineness of
which there is no sufficient reason to doubt, 73 are ascribed to
David. Peter and John (Acts 4:25) ascribe to him also the second
psalm, which is one of the 48 that are anonymous. About
two-thirds of the whole collection have been ascribed to David.
Psalms 39, 62, and 77 are addressed to Jeduthun, to be sung
after his manner or in his choir. Psalms 50 and 73-83 are
addressed to Asaph, as the master of his choir, to be sung in
the worship of God. The "sons of Korah," who formed a leading
part of the Kohathite singers (2 Chr. 20:19), were intrusted
with the arranging and singing of Ps. 42, 44-49, 84, 85, 87, and
In Luke 24:44 the word "psalms" means the Hagiographa, i.e.,
the holy writings, one of the sections into which the Jews
divided the Old Testament. (See BIBLE ¯T0000580.)
None of the psalms can be proved to have been of a later date
than the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, hence the whole collection
extends over a period of about 1,000 years. There are in the New
Testament 116 direct quotations from the Psalter.
The Psalter is divided, after the analogy of the Pentateuch,
into five books, each closing with a doxology or benediction:
(1.) The first book comprises the first 41 psalms, all of
which are ascribed to David except 1, 2, 10, and 33, which,
though anonymous, may also be ascribed to him.
(2.) Book second consists of the next 31 psalms (42-72), 18 of
which are ascribed to David and 1 to Solomon (the 72nd). The
rest are anonymous.
(3.) The third book contains 17 psalms (73-89), of which the
86th is ascribed to David, the 88th to Heman the Ezrahite, and
the 89th to Ethan the Ezrahite.
(4.) The fourth book also contains 17 psalms (90-106), of
which the 90th is ascribed to Moses, and the 101st and 103rd to
(5.) The fifth book contains the remaining psalms, 44 in
number. Of these, 15 are ascribed to David, and the 127th to
Ps. 136 is generally called "the great hallel." But the Talmud
includes also Ps. 120-135. Ps. 113-118, inclusive, constitute
the "hallel" recited at the three great feasts, at the new moon,
and on the eight days of the feast of dedication.
"It is presumed that these several collections were made at
times of high religious life: the first, probably, near the
close of David's life; the second in the days of Solomon; the
third by the singers of Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 20:19); the fourth
by the men of Hezekiah (29, 30, 31); and the fifth in the days
The Mosaic ritual makes no provision for the service of song
in the worship of God. David first taught the Church to sing the
praises of the Lord. He first introduced into the ritual of the
tabernacle music and song.
Divers names are given to the psalms. (1.) Some bear the
Hebrew designation _shir_ (Gr. ode, a song). Thirteen have this
title. It means the flow of speech, as it were, in a straight
line or in a regular strain. This title includes secular as well
as sacred song.
(2.) Fifty-eight psalms bear the designation (Heb.) _mitsmor_
(Gr. psalmos, a psalm), a lyric ode, or a song set to music; a
sacred song accompanied with a musical instrument.
(3.) Ps. 145, and many others, have the designation (Heb.)
_tehillah_ (Gr. hymnos, a hymn), meaning a song of praise; a
song the prominent thought of which is the praise of God.
(4.) Six psalms (16, 56-60) have the title (Heb.) _michtam_
(5.) Ps. 7 and Hab. 3 bear the title (Heb.) _shiggaion_
the name derived from the city Asshur on the Tigris, the
original capital of the country, was originally a colony from
Babylonia, and was ruled by viceroys from that kingdom. It was a
mountainous region lying to the north of Babylonia, extending
along the Tigris as far as to the high mountain range of
Armenia, the Gordiaean or Carduchian mountains. It was founded
in B.C. 1700 under Bel-kap-kapu, and became an independent and a
conquering power, and shook off the yoke of its Babylonian
masters. It subdued the whole of Northern Asia. The Assyrians
were Semites (Gen. 10:22), but in process of time non-Semite
tribes mingled with the inhabitants. They were a military
people, the "Romans of the East."
Of the early history of the kingdom of Assyria little is
positively known. In B.C. 1120 Tiglath-pileser I., the greatest
of the Assyrian kings, "crossed the Euphrates, defeated the
kings of the Hittites, captured the city of Carchemish, and
advanced as far as the shores of the Mediterranean." He may be
regarded as the founder of the first Assyrian empire. After this
the Assyrians gradually extended their power, subjugating the
states of Northern Syria. In the reign of Ahab, king of Israel,
Shalmaneser II. marched an army against the Syrian states, whose
allied army he encountered and vanquished at Karkar. This led to
Ahab's casting off the yoke of Damascus and allying himself with
Judah. Some years after this the Assyrian king marched an army
against Hazael, king of Damascus. He besieged and took that
city. He also brought under tribute Jehu, and the cities of Tyre
About a hundred years after this (B.C. 745) the crown was
seized by a military adventurer called Pul, who assumed the name
of Tiglath-pileser III. He directed his armies into Syria, which
had by this time regained its independence, and took (B.C. 740)
Arpad, near Aleppo, after a siege of three years, and reduced
Hamath. Azariah (Uzziah) was an ally of the king of Hamath, and
thus was compelled by Tiglath-pileser to do him homage and pay a
In B.C. 738, in the reign of Menahem, king of Israel, Pul
invaded Israel, and imposed on it a heavy tribute (2 Kings
15:19). Ahaz, the king of Judah, when engaged in a war against
Israel and Syria, appealed for help to this Assyrian king by
means of a present of gold and silver (2 Kings 16:8); who
accordingly "marched against Damascus, defeated and put Rezin to
death, and besieged the city itself." Leaving a portion of his
army to continue the siege, "he advanced through the province
east of Jordan, spreading fire and sword," and became master of
Philistia, and took Samaria and Damascus. He died B.C. 727, and
was succeeded by Shalmanezer IV., who ruled till B.C. 722. He
also invaded Syria (2 Kings 17:5), but was deposed in favour of
Sargon (q.v.) the Tartan, or commander-in-chief of the army, who
took Samaria (q.v.) after a siege of three years, and so put an
end to the kingdom of Israel, carrying the people away into
captivity, B.C. 722 (2 Kings 17:1-6, 24; 18:7, 9). He also
overran the land of Judah, and took the city of Jerusalem (Isa.
10:6, 12, 22, 24, 34). Mention is next made of Sennacherib (B.C.
705), the son and successor of Sargon (2 Kings 18:13; 19:37;
Isa. 7:17, 18); and then of Esar-haddon, his son and successor,
who took Manasseh, king of Judah, captive, and kept him for some
time a prisoner at Babylon, which he alone of all the Assyrian
kings made the seat of his government (2 Kings 19:37; Isa.
Assur-bani-pal, the son of Esarhaddon, became king, and in
Ezra 4:10 is referred to as Asnapper. From an early period
Assyria had entered on a conquering career, and having absorbed
Babylon, the kingdoms of Hamath, Damascus, and Samaria, it
conquered Phoenicia, and made Judea feudatory, and subjected
Philistia and Idumea. At length, however, its power declined. In
B.C. 727 the Babylonians threw off the rule of the Assyrians,
under the leadership of the powerful Chaldean prince
Merodach-baladan (2 Kings 20:12), who, after twelve years, was
subdued by Sargon, who now reunited the kingdom, and ruled over
a vast empire. But on his death the smouldering flames of
rebellion again burst forth, and the Babylonians and Medes
successfully asserted their independence (B.C. 625), and Assyria
fell according to the prophecies of Isaiah (10:5-19), Nahum
(3:19), and Zephaniah (3:13), and the many separate kingdoms of
which it was composed ceased to recognize the "great king" (2
Kings 18:19; Isa. 36:4). Ezekiel (31) attests (about B.C. 586)
how completely Assyria was overthrown. It ceases to be a nation.
(See NINEVEH ¯T0002735; BABYLON ¯T0000409.)
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."
comforted by Jehovah. (1.) Ezra 2:2; Neh. 7:7. (2.) Neh. 3:16.
(3.) The son of Hachaliah (Neh. 1:1), and probably of the
tribe of Judah. His family must have belonged to Jerusalem (Neh.
2:3). He was one of the "Jews of the dispersion," and in his
youth was appointed to the important office of royal cup-bearer
at the palace of Shushan. The king, Artaxerxes Longimanus, seems
to have been on terms of friendly familiarity with his
attendant. Through his brother Hanani, and perhaps from other
sources (Neh. 1:2; 2:3), he heard of the mournful and desolate
condition of the Holy City, and was filled with sadness of
heart. For many days he fasted and mourned and prayed for the
place of his fathers' sepulchres. At length the king observed
his sadness of countenance and asked the reason of it. Nehemiah
explained it all to the king, and obtained his permission to go
up to Jerusalem and there to act as _tirshatha_, or governor of
Judea. He went up in the spring of B.C. 446 (eleven years after
Ezra), with a strong escort supplied by the king, and with
letters to all the pashas of the provinces through which he had
to pass, as also to Asaph, keeper of the royal forests,
directing him to assist Nehemiah. On his arrival he set himself
to survey the city, and to form a plan for its restoration; a
plan which he carried out with great skill and energy, so that
the whole was completed in about six months. He remained in
Judea for thirteen years as governor, carrying out many reforms,
notwithstanding much opposition that he encountered (Neh.
13:11). He built up the state on the old lines, "supplementing
and completing the work of Ezra," and making all arrangements
for the safety and good government of the city. At the close of
this important period of his public life, he returned to Persia
to the service of his royal master at Shushan or Ecbatana. Very
soon after this the old corrupt state of things returned,
showing the worthlessness to a large extent of the professions
that had been made at the feast of the dedication of the walls
of the city (Neh. 12. See EZRA ¯T0001294). Malachi now appeared
among the people with words of stern reproof and solemn warning;
and Nehemiah again returned from Persia (after an absence of
some two years), and was grieved to see the widespread moral
degeneracy that had taken place during his absence. He set
himself with vigour to rectify the flagrant abuses that had
sprung up, and restored the orderly administration of public
worship and the outward observance of the law of Moses. Of his
subsequent history we know nothing. Probably he remained at his
post as governor till his death (about B.C. 413) in a good old
age. The place of his death and burial is, however, unknown. "He
resembled Ezra in his fiery zeal, in his active spirit of
enterprise, and in the piety of his life: but he was of a
bluffer and a fiercer mood; he had less patience with
transgressors; he was a man of action rather than a man of
thought, and more inclined to use force than persuasion. His
practical sagacity and high courage were very markedly shown in
the arrangement with which he carried through the rebuilding of
the wall and balked the cunning plans of the 'adversaries.' The
piety of his heart, his deeply religious spirit and constant
sense of communion with and absolute dependence upon God, are
strikingly exhibited, first in the long prayer recorded in ch.
1:5-11, and secondly and most remarkably in what have been
called his 'interjectional prayers', those short but moving
addresses to Almighty God which occur so frequently in his
writings, the instinctive outpouring of a heart deeply moved,
but ever resting itself upon God, and looking to God alone for
aid in trouble, for the frustration of evil designs, and for
final reward and acceptance" (Rawlinson). Nehemiah was the last
of the governors sent from the Persian court. Judea after this
was annexed to the satrapy of Coele-Syria, and was governed by
the high priest under the jurisdiction of the governor of Syria,
and the internal government of the country became more and more
whose God is Jehovah. (1.) "The Tishbite," the "Elias" of the
New Testament, is suddenly introduced to our notice in 1 Kings
17:1 as delivering a message from the Lord to Ahab. There is
mention made of a town called Thisbe, south of Kadesh, but it is
impossible to say whether this was the place referred to in the
name given to the prophet.
Having delivered his message to Ahab, he retired at the
command of God to a hiding-place by the brook Cherith, beyond
Jordan, where he was fed by ravens. When the brook dried up God
sent him to the widow of Zarephath, a city of Zidon, from whose
scanty store he was supported for the space of two years. During
this period the widow's son died, and was restored to life by
Elijah (1 Kings 17: 2-24).
During all these two years a famine prevailed in the land. At
the close of this period of retirement and of preparation for
his work (comp. Gal. 1:17, 18) Elijah met Obadiah, one of Ahab's
officers, whom he had sent out to seek for pasturage for the
cattle, and bade him go and tell his master that Elijah was
there. The king came and met Elijah, and reproached him as the
troubler of Israel. It was then proposed that sacrifices should
be publicly offered, for the purpose of determining whether Baal
or Jehovah were the true God. This was done on Carmel, with the
result that the people fell on their faces, crying, "The Lord,
he is the God." Thus was accomplished the great work of Elijah's
ministry. The prophets of Baal were then put to death by the
order of Elijah. Not one of them escaped. Then immediately
followed rain, according to the word of Elijah, and in answer to
his prayer (James 5:18).
Jezebel, enraged at the fate that had befallen her priests of
Baal, threatened to put Elijah to death (1 Kings 19:1-13). He
therefore fled in alarm to Beersheba, and thence went alone a
day's journey into the wilderness, and sat down in despondency
under a juniper tree. As he slept an angel touched him, and said
unto him, "Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for
thee." He arose and found a cake and a cruse of water. Having
partaken of the provision thus miraculously supplied, he went
forward on his solitary way for forty days and forty nights to
Horeb, the mount of God, where he took up his abode in a cave.
Here the Lord appeared unto him and said, "What dost thou here,
Elijah?" In answer to his despondent words God manifests to him
his glory, and then directs him to return to Damascus and anoint
Hazael king over Syria, and Jehu king over Israel, and Elisha to
be prophet in his room (1 Kings 19:13-21; comp. 2 Kings 8:7-15;
Some six years after this he warned Ahab and Jezebel of the
violent deaths they would die (1 Kings 21:19-24; 22:38). He
also, four years afterwards, warned Ahaziah (q.v.), who had
succeeded his father Ahab, of his approaching death (2 Kings
1:1-16). (See NABOTH ¯T0002645.) During these intervals he
probably withdrew to some quiet retirement, no one knew where.
His interview with Ahaziah's messengers on the way to Ekron, and
the account of the destruction of his captains with their
fifties, suggest the idea that he may have been in retirement at
this time on Mount Carmel.
The time now drew near when he was to be taken up into heaven
(2 Kings 2:1-12). He had a presentiment of what was awaiting
him. He went down to Gilgal, where was a school of the prophets,
and where his successor Elisha, whom he had anointed some years
before, resided. Elisha was solemnized by the thought of his
master's leaving him, and refused to be parted from him. "They
two went on," and came to Bethel and Jericho, and crossed the
Jordan, the waters of which were "divided hither and thither"
when smitten with Elijah's mantle. Arrived at the borders of
Gilead, which Elijah had left many years before, it "came to
pass as they still went on and talked" they were suddenly
separated by a chariot and horses of fire; and "Elijah went up
by a whirlwind into heaven, "Elisha receiving his mantle, which
fell from him as he ascended.
No one of the old prophets is so frequently referred to in the
New Testament. The priests and Levites said to the Baptist (John
1:25), "Why baptizest thou, if thou be not that Christ, nor
Elias?" Paul (Rom. 11:2) refers to an incident in his history to
illustrate his argument that God had not cast away his people.
James (5:17) finds in him an illustration of the power of
prayer. (See also Luke 4:25; 9:54.) He was a type of John the
Baptist in the sternness and power of his reproofs (Luke 9:8).
He was the Elijah that "must first come" (Matt. 11:11, 14), the
forerunner of our Lord announced by Malachi. Even outwardly the
Baptist corresponded so closely to the earlier prophet that he
might be styled a second Elijah. In him we see "the same
connection with a wild and wilderness country; the same long
retirement in the desert; the same sudden, startling entrance on
his work (1 Kings 17:1; Luke 3:2); even the same dress, a hairy
garment, and a leathern girdle about the loins (2 Kings 1:8;
How deep the impression was which Elijah made "on the mind of
the nation may be judged from the fixed belief, which rested on
the words of Malachi (4:5, 6), which many centuries after
prevailed that he would again appear for the relief and
restoration of the country. Each remarkable person as he arrives
on the scene, be his habits and characteristics what they may,
the stern John equally with his gentle Successor, is proclaimed
to be Elijah (Matt. 11:13, 14; 16:14; 17:10; Mark 9:11; 15:35;
Luke 9:7, 8; John 1:21). His appearance in glory on the mount of
transfiguration does not seem to have startled the disciples.
They were 'sore afraid,' but not apparently surprised."
(2.) The Elijah spoken of in 2 Chr. 21:12-15 is by some
supposed to be a different person from the foregoing. He lived
in the time of Jehoram, to whom he sent a letter of warning
(comp. 1 Chr. 28:19; Jer. 36), and acted as a prophet in Judah;
while the Tishbite was a prophet of the northern kingdom. But
there does not seem any necessity for concluding that the writer
of this letter was some other Elijah than the Tishbite. It may
be supposed either that Elijah anticipated the character of
Jehoram, and so wrote the warning message, which was preserved
in the schools of the prophets till Jehoram ascended the throne
after the Tishbite's translation, or that the translation did
not actually take place till after the accession of Jehoram to
the throne (2 Chr. 21:12; 2 Kings 8:16). The events of 2 Kings 2
may not be recorded in chronological order, and thus there may
be room for the opinion that Elijah was still alive in the
beginning of Jehoram's reign.
Before his death David had "with all his might" provided
materials in great abundance for the building of the temple on
the summit of Mount Moriah (1 Chr. 22:14; 29:4; 2 Chr. 3:1), on
the east of the city, on the spot where Abraham had offered up
Isaac (Gen. 22:1-14). In the beginning of his reign Solomon set
about giving effect to the desire that had been so earnestly
cherished by his father, and prepared additional materials for
the building. From subterranean quarries at Jerusalem he
obtained huge blocks of stone for the foundations and walls of
the temple. These stones were prepared for their places in the
building under the eye of Tyrian master-builders. He also
entered into a compact with Hiram II., king of Tyre, for the
supply of whatever else was needed for the work, particularly
timber from the forests of Lebanon, which was brought in great
rafts by the sea to Joppa, whence it was dragged to Jerusalem (1
Kings 5). As the hill on which the temple was to be built did
not afford sufficient level space, a huge wall of solid masonry
of great height, in some places more than 200 feet high, was
raised across the south of the hill, and a similar wall on the
eastern side, and in the spaces between were erected many arches
and pillars, thus raising up the general surface to the required
level. Solomon also provided for a sufficient water supply for
the temple by hewing in the rocky hill vast cisterns, into which
water was conveyed by channels from the "pools" near Bethlehem.
One of these cisterns, the "great sea," was capable of
containing three millions of gallons. The overflow was led off
by a conduit to the Kidron.
In all these preparatory undertakings a space of about three
years was occupied; and now the process of the erection of the
great building began, under the direction of skilled Phoenician
builders and workmen, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign, 480
years after the Exodus (1 Kings 6; 2 Chr. 3). Many thousands of
labourers and skilled artisans were employed in the work. Stones
prepared in the quarries underneath the city (1 Kings 5:17, 18)
of huge dimension (see QUARRIES ¯T0003032) were gradually placed
on the massive walls, and closely fitted together without any
mortar between, till the whole structure was completed. No sound
of hammer or axe or any tool of iron was heard as the structure
arose (6:7). "Like some tall palm the noiseless fabric sprang."
The building was 60 cubits long, 20 cubits wide, and 30 cubits
high. The engineers of the Israel Exploration Fund, in their
explorations around the temple area, discovered what is believed
to have been the "chief corner stone" of the temple, "the most
interesting stone in the world." It lies at the bottom of the
south-eastern angle, and is 3 feet 8 inches high by 14 feet
long. It rests on the solid rock at a depth of 79 feet 3 inches
below the present surface. (See PINNACLE ¯T0002957.) In
examining the walls the engineers were "struck with admiration
at the vastness of the blocks and the general excellence of the
At length, in the autumn of the eleventh year of his reign,
seven and a half years after it had been begun, the temple was
completed in all its architectural magnificence and beauty. For
thirteen years there it stood, on the summit of Moriah, silent
and unused. The reasons for this strange delay in its
consecration are unknown. At the close of these thirteen years
preparations for the dedication of the temple were made on a
scale of the greatest magnificence. The ark was solemnly brought
from the tent in which David had deposited it to the place
prepared for it in the temple, and the glory-cloud, the symbol
of the divine presence, filled the house. Then Solomon ascended
a platform which had been erected for him, in the sight of all
the people, and lifting up his hands to heaven poured out his
heart to God in prayer (1 Kings 8; 2 Chr. 6, 7). The feast of
dedication, which lasted seven days, followed by the feast of
tabernacles, marked a new era in the history of Israel. On the
eighth day of the feast of tabernacles, Solomon dismissed the
vast assemblage of the people, who returned to their homes
filled with joy and gladness, "Had Solomon done no other service
beyond the building of the temple, he would still have
influenced the religious life of his people down to the latest
days. It was to them a perpetual reminder and visible symbol of
God's presence and protection, a strong bulwark of all the
sacred traditions of the law, a witness to duty, an impulse to
historic study, an inspiration of sacred song."
The temple consisted of, (1.) The oracle or most holy place (1
Kings 6:19; 8:6), called also the "inner house" (6:27), and the
"holiest of all" (Heb. 9:3). It was 20 cubits in length,
breadth, and height. It was floored and wainscotted with cedar
(1 Kings 6:16), and its walls and floor were overlaid with gold
(6:20, 21, 30). There was a two-leaved door between it and the
holy place overlaid with gold (2 Chr. 4:22); also a veil of blue
purple and crimson and fine linen (2 Chr. 3:14; comp. Ex.
26:33). It had no windows (1 Kings 8:12). It was indeed the
dwelling-place of God. (2.) The holy place (q.v.), 1 Kings
8:8-10, called also the "greater house" (2 Chr. 3:5) and the
"temple" (1 Kings 6:17). (3.) The porch or entrance before the
temple on the east (1 Kings 6:3; 2 Chr. 3:4; 29:7). In the porch
stood the two pillars Jachin and Boaz (1 Kings 7:21; 2 Kings
11:14; 23:3). (4.) The chambers, which were built about the
temple on the southern, western, and northern sides (1 Kings
6:5-10). These formed a part of the building.
Round about the building were, (1.) The court of the priests
(2 Chr. 4:9), called the "inner court" (1 Kings 6:36). It
contained the altar of burnt-offering (2 Chr. 15:8), the brazen
sea (4:2-5, 10), and ten lavers (1 Kings 7:38, 39). (2.) The
great court, which surrounded the whole temple (2 Chr. 4:9).
Here the people assembled to worship God (Jer. 19:14; 26:2).
This temple erected by Solomon was many times pillaged during
the course of its history, (1) 1 Kings 14:25, 26; (2) 2 Kings
14:14; (3) 2 Kings 16:8, 17, 18; (4) 2 Kings 18:15, 16. At last
it was pillaged and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:13;
2 Chr. 36:7). He burned the temple, and carried all its
treasures with him to Babylon (2 Kings 25:9-17; 2 Chr. 36:19;
Isa. 64:11). These sacred vessels were at length, at the close
of the Captivity, restored to the Jews by Cyrus (Ezra 1:7-11).