(R.V. Micah 1:10), house of dust. The Authorized Version reads
"in the house of Aphrah." This is probably the name of a town in
the Shephelah, or "low country," between Joppa and Gaza.
a female antelope, or gazelle, a pious Christian widow at Joppa
whom Peter restored to life (Acts 9:36-41). She was a
Hellenistic Jewess, called Tabitha by the Jews and Dorcas by the
beauty, a sea-port in Dan (Josh. 19:46); called Joppa (q.v.) in
2 Chr. 2:16; Ezra 3:7; Jonah 1:3; and in New Testament.
a place upon the shore, a town belonging to Dan (Josh. 19:46).
It is now Tell er-Rakkeit, 6 miles north of Joppa, on the
sea-shore, near the mouth of the river 'Aujeh, i.e., "yellow
water." (See KANAH ¯T0002155.)
choice vine, the name of a valley, i.e., a torrent-bed, now the
Wady Surar, "valley of the fertile spot," which drains the
western Judean hills, and flowing by Makkedah and Jabneel, falls
into the sea some eight miles south of Joppa. This was the home
of Deliah, whom Samson loved (Judg. 16:4).
a town in the tribe of Ephraim, mentioned only in the New
Testament (Acts 9:32, 35, 38) as the scene of Peter's miracle in
healing the paralytic AEneas. It lay about 9 miles east of
Joppa, on the road from the sea-port to Jerusalem. In the Old
Testament (1 Chr. 8:12) it is called Lod. It was burned by the
Romans, but was afterwards rebuilt, and was known by the name of
Diospolis. Its modern name is Ludd. The so-called patron saint
of England, St. George, is said to have been born here.
(in Greek called Dorcas), gazelle, a disciple at Joppa. She was
distinguished for her alms-deeds and good works. Peter, who was
sent for from Lydda on the occasion of her death, prayed over
the dead body, and said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her
eyes and sat up; and Peter "gave her his hand, and raised her
up; and calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive"
reedy; brook of reeds. (1.) A stream forming the boundary
between Ephraim and Manasseh, from the Mediterranean eastward to
Tappuah (Josh. 16:8). It has been identified with the sedgy
streams that constitute the Wady Talaik, which enters the sea
between Joppa and Caesarea. Others identify it with the river'
(2.) A town in the north of Asher (Josh. 19:28). It has been
identified with 'Ain-Kana, a village on the brow of a valley
some 7 miles south-east of Tyre. About a mile north of this
place are many colossal ruins strown about. And in the side of a
neighbouring ravine are figures of men, women, and children cut
in the face of the rock. These are supposed to be of Phoenician
stronghold, a Philistine city (Josh. 15:47), about midway
between Gaza and Joppa, and 3 miles from the Mediterranean. It
was one of the chief seats of the worship of Dagon (1 Sam. 5:5).
It belonged to the tribe of Judah (Josh. 15:47), but it never
came into their actual possession. It was an important city, as
it stood on the highroad from Egypt to Israel, and hence was
strongly fortified (2 Chr. 26:6; Isa. 20:1). Uzziah took it, but
fifty years after his death it was taken by the Assyrians (B.C.
758). According to Sargon's record, it was captured by him in
B.C. 711. The only reference to it in the New Testament, where
it is called Azotus, is in the account of Philip's return from
Gaza (Acts 8:40). It is now called Eshdud.
"Though Orientals are very jealous of their privacy, they never
knock when about to enter your room, but walk in without warning
or ceremony. It is nearly impossible to teach an Arab servant to
knock at your door. They give warning at the outer gate either
by calling or knocking. To stand and call is a very common and
respectful mode. Thus Moses commanded the holder of a pledge to
stand without and call to the owner to come forth (Deut. 24:10).
This was to avoid the violent intrusion of cruel creditors.
Peter stood knocking at the outer door (Acts 12:13, 16), and the
three men sent to Joppa by Cornelius made inquiry and 'stood
before the gate' (10:17, 18). The idea is that the guard over
your privacy is to be placed at the entrance."
Knocking is used as a sign of importunity (Matt. 7:7, 8; Luke
13:25), and of the coming of Christ (Luke 12:36; Rev. 3:20).
beauty, a town in the portion of Dan (Josh. 19:46; A.V.,
"Japho"), on a sandy promontory between Caesarea and Gaza, and
at a distance of 30 miles north-west from Jerusalem. It is one
of the oldest towns in Asia. It was and still is the chief
sea-port of Judea. It was never wrested from the Phoenicians. It
became a Jewish town only in the second century B.C. It was from
this port that Jonah "took ship to flee from the presence of the
Lord" (Jonah 1:3). To this place also the wood cut in Lebanon by
Hiram's men for Solomon was brought in floats (2 Chr. 2:16); and
here the material for the building of the second temple was also
landed (Ezra 3:7). At Joppa, in the house of Simon the tanner,
"by the sea-side," Peter resided "many days," and here, "on the
house-top," he had his "vision of tolerance" (Acts 9:36-43). It
bears the modern name of Jaffa, and exibituds all the
decrepitude and squalor of cities ruled over by the Turks.
"Scarcely any other town has been so often overthrown, sacked,
pillaged, burned, and rebuilt." Its present population is said
to be about 16,000. It was taken by the French under Napoleon in
1799, who gave orders for the massacre here of 4,000 prisoners.
It is connected with Jerusalem by the only carriage road that
exists in the country, and also by a railway completed in 1892.
It is noticed on monuments B.C. 1600-1300, and was attacked by
Sannacharib B.C. 702.
house of the hollow, or of the cavern, the name of two towns or
villages (2 Chr. 8:5; 1 Chr. 7:24) in the territory of Ephraim,
on the way from Jerusalem to Joppa. They are distinguished as
Beth-horon "the upper" and Beth-horon "the nether." They are
about 2 miles apart, the former being about 10 miles north-west
of Jerusalem. Between the two places was the ascent and descent
of Beth-horon, leading from Gibeon down to the western plain
(Josh. 10:10, 11; 18:13, 14), down which the five kings of the
Amorites were driven by Joshua in that great battle, the most
important in which the Hebrews had been as yet engaged, being
their first conflict with their enemies in the open field.
Jehovah interposed in behalf of Israel by a terrific hailstorm,
which caused more deaths among the Canaanites than did the
swords of the Israelites. Beth-horon is mentioned as having been
taken by Shishak, B.C. 945, in the list of his conquests, and
the pass was the scene of a victory of Judas Maccabeus. (Comp.
Ex. 9:19, 25; Job 38:22, 23; Ps. 18:12-14; Isa. 30:30.) The
modern name of these places is Beit-ur, distinguished by
el-Foka, "the upper," and el-Tahta, "the nether." The lower was
at the foot of the pass, and the upper, 500 feet higher, at the
top, west of Gibeon. (See GIBEON ¯T0001480.)
a Sanscrit or Aryan word, meaning "the sea coast." (1.) One of
the "sons" of Javan (Gen. 10:4; 1 Chr. 1:7).
(2.) The name of a place which first comes into notice in the
days of Solomon. The question as to the locality of Tarshish has
given rise to not a little discussion. Some think there was a
Tarshish in the East, on the Indian coast, seeing that "ships of
Tarshish" sailed from Eziongeber, on the Red Sea (1 Kings 9:26;
22:48; 2 Chr. 9:21). Some, again, argue that Carthage was the
place so named. There can be little doubt, however, that this is
the name of a Phoenician port in Spain, between the two mouths
of the Guadalquivir (the name given to the river by the Arabs,
and meaning "the great wady" or water-course). It was founded by
a Carthaginian colony, and was the farthest western harbour of
Tyrian sailors. It was to this port Jonah's ship was about to
sail from Joppa. It has well been styled "the Peru of Tyrian
adventure;" it abounded in gold and silver mines.
It appears that this name also is used without reference to
any locality. "Ships of Tarshish" is an expression sometimes
denoting simply ships intended for a long voyage (Isa. 23:1,
14), ships of a large size (sea-going ships), whatever might be
the port to which they sailed. Solomon's ships were so styled (1
Kings 10:22; 22:49).
a judge. (1.) The fifth son of Jacob. His mother was Bilhah,
Rachel's maid (Gen. 30:6, "God hath judged me", Heb. dananni).
The blessing pronounced on him by his father was, "Dan shall
judge his people" (49:16), probably in allusion to the judgeship
of Samson, who was of the tribe of Dan.
The tribe of Dan had their place in the march through the
wilderness on the north side of the tabernacle (Num. 2:25, 31;
10:25). It was the last of the tribes to receive a portion in
the Land of Promise. Its position and extent are described in
The territory of Dan extended from the west of that of Ephraim
and Benjamin to the sea. It was a small territory, but was very
fertile. It included in it, among others, the cities of Lydda,
Ekron, and Joppa, which formed its northern boundary. But this
district was too limited. "Squeezed into the narrow strip
between the mountains and the sea, its energies were great
beyond its numbers." Being pressed by the Amorites and the
Philistines, whom they were unable to conquer, they longed for a
wider space. They accordingly sent out five spies from two of
their towns, who went north to the sources of the Jordan, and
brought back a favourable report regarding that region. "Arise,"
they said, "be not slothful to go, and to possess the land," for
it is "a place where there is no want of any thing that is in
the earth" (Judg. 18:10). On receiving this report, 600 Danites
girded on their weapons of war, and taking with them their wives
and their children, marched to the foot of Hermon, and fought
against Leshem, and took it from the Sidonians, and dwelt
therein, and changed the name of the conquered town to Dan
(Josh. 19:47). This new city of Dan became to them a new home,
and was wont to be spoken of as the northern limit of Israel,
the length of which came to be denoted by the expression "from
Dan to Beersheba", i.e., about 144 miles.
"But like Lot under a similar temptation, they seem to have
succumbed to the evil influences around them, and to have sunk
down into a condition of semi-heathenism from which they never
emerged. The mounds of ruins which mark the site of the city
show that it covered a considerable extent of ground. But there
remains no record of any noble deed wrought by the degenerate
tribe. Their name disappears from the roll-book of the natural
and the spiritual Israel.", Manning's Those Holy Fields.
This old border city was originally called Laish. Its modern
name is Tell el-Kady, "Hill of the Judge." It stands about four
miles below Caesarea Philippi, in the midst of a region of
surpassing richness and beauty.
(2.) This name occurs in Ezek 27:19, Authorize Version; but
the words there, "Dan also," should be simply, as in the Revised
Version, "Vedan," an Arabian city, from which various kinds of
merchandise were brought to Tyre. Some suppose it to have been
the city of Aden in Arabia. (See MAHANEH-DAN ¯T0002375.)
the abbreviated form of Simeon. (1.) One of the twelve apostles,
called the Canaanite (Matt. 10:4; Mark 3:18). This word
"Canaanite" does not mean a native of Canaan, but is derived
from the Syriac word Kanean or Kaneniah, which was the name of a
Jewish sect. The Revised Version has "Cananaean;" marg., "or
Zealot" He is also called "Zelotes" (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13; R.V.,
"the Zealot"), because previous to his call to the apostleship
he had been a member of the fanatical sect of the Zealots. There
is no record regarding him.
(2.) The father of Judas Iscariot (John 6:71; 13:2, 26).
(3.) One of the brothers of our Lord (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3).
(4.) A Pharisee in whose house "a woman of the city which was
a sinner" anointed our Lord's feet with ointment (Luke 7:36-38).
(5.) A leper of Bethany, in whose house Mary anointed our
Lord's head with ointment "as he sat at meat" (Matt. 26:6-13;
(6.) A Jew of Cyrene, in North Africa, then a province of
Libya. A hundred thousand Jews from Israel had been settled
in this province by Ptolemy Soter (B.C. 323-285), where by this
time they had greatly increased in number. They had a synagogue
in Jerusalem for such of their number as went thither to the
annual feasts. Simon was seized by the soldiers as the
procession wended its way to the place of crucifixion as he was
passing by, and the heavy cross which Christ from failing
strength could no longer bear was laid on his shoulders. Perhaps
they seized him because he showed sympathy with Jesus. He was
the "father of Alexander and Rufus" (Matt. 27:32). Possibly this
Simon may have been one of the "men of Cyrene" who preached the
word to the Greeks (Acts 11:20).
(7.) A sorcerer of great repute for his magical arts among the
Samaritans (Acts 8:9-11). He afterwards became a professed
convert to the faith under the preaching of Philip the deacon
and evangelist (12, 13). His profession was, however, soon found
to be hollow. His conduct called forth from Peter a stern rebuke
(8:18-23). From this moment he disappears from the Church's
history. The term "Simony," as denoting the purchase for money
of spiritual offices, is derived from him.
(8.) A Christian at Joppa, a tanner by trade, with whom Peter
on one occasion lodged (Acts 9:43).
(9.) Simon Peter (Matt. 4:18). See PETER ¯T0002911.
(1.) Heb. 'abel (Judg. 11:33), a "grassy plain" or "meadow."
Instead of "plains of the vineyards," as in the Authorized
Version, the Revised Version has "Abel-cheramim" (q.v.), comp.
Judg. 11:22; 2 Chr. 16:4.
(2.) Heb. 'elon (Gen. 12:6; 13:18; 14:13; 18:1; Deut. 11:30;
Judg. 9:6), more correctly "oak," as in the Revised Version;
(3.) Heb. bik'ah (Gen. 11:2; Neh. 6:2; Ezek. 3:23; Dan. 3:1),
properly a valley, as rendered in Isa. 40:4, a broad plain
between mountains. In Amos 1:5 the margin of Authorized Version
(4.) Heb. kikar, "the circle," used only of the Ghor, or the
low ground along the Jordan (Gen. 13:10-12; 19:17, 25, 28, 29;
Deut. 34:3; 2 Sam. 18:23; 1 Kings 7:46; 2 Chr. 4:17; Neh. 3:22;
12:28), the floor of the valley through which it flows. This
name is applied to the Jordan valley as far north as Succoth.
(5.) Heb. mishor, "level ground," smooth, grassy table-land
(Deut. 3:10; 4:43; Josh. 13:9, 16, 17, 21; 20:8; Jer. 48:21), an
expanse of rolling downs without rock or stone. In these
passages, with the article prefixed, it denotes the plain in the
tribe of Reuben. In 2 Chr. 26:10 the plain of Judah is meant.
Jerusalem is called "the rock of the plain" in Jer. 21:13,
because the hills on which it is built rise high above the
(6.) Heb. 'arabah, the valley from the Sea of Galilee
southward to the Dead Sea (the "sea of the plain," 2 Kings
14:25; Deut. 1:1; 2:8), a distance of about 70 miles. It is
called by the modern Arabs the Ghor. This Hebrew name is found
in Authorized Version (Josh. 18:18), and is uniformly used in
the Revised Version. Down through the centre of this plain is a
ravine, from 200 to 300 yards wide, and from 50 to 100 feet
deep, through which the Jordan flows in a winding course. This
ravine is called the "lower plain."
The name Arabah is also applied to the whole Jordan valley
from Mount Hermon to the eastern branch of the Red Sea, a
distance of about 200 miles, as well as to that portion of the
valley which stretches from the Sea of Galilee to the same
branch of the Red Sea, i.e., to the Gulf of Akabah about 100
miles in all.
(7.) Heb. shephelah, "low ground," "low hill-land," rendered
"vale" or "valley" in Authorized Version (Josh. 9:1; 10:40;
11:2; 12:8; Judg. 1:9; 1 Kings 10:27). In Authorized Version (1
Chr. 27:28; 2 Chr. 26:10) it is also rendered "low country." In
Jer. 17:26, Obad. 1:19, Zech. 7:7, "plain." The Revised Version
renders it uniformly "low land." When it is preceded by the
article, as in Deut. 1:7, Josh. 11:16; 15:33, Jer. 32:44; 33:13,
Zech. 7:7, "the shephelah," it denotes the plain along the
Mediterranean from Joppa to Gaza, "the plain of the
Philistines." (See VALLEY ¯T0003764.)
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).
originally called Simon (=Simeon ,i.e., "hearing"), a very
common Jewish name in the New Testament. He was the son of Jona
(Matt. 16:17). His mother is nowhere named in Scripture. He had
a younger brother called Andrew, who first brought him to Jesus
(John 1:40-42). His native town was Bethsaida, on the western
coast of the Sea of Galilee, to which also Philip belonged. Here
he was brought up by the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and was
trained to the occupation of a fisher. His father had probably
died while he was still young, and he and his brother were
brought up under the care of Zebedee and his wife Salome (Matt.
27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1). There the four youths, Simon, Andrew,
James, and John, spent their boyhood and early manhood in
constant fellowship. Simon and his brother doubtless enjoyed all
the advantages of a religious training, and were early
instructed in an acquaintance with the Scriptures and with the
great prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah. They did
not probably enjoy, however, any special training in the study
of the law under any of the rabbis. When Peter appeared before
the Sanhedrin, he looked like an "unlearned man" (Acts 4:13).
"Simon was a Galilean, and he was that out and out...The
Galileans had a marked character of their own. They had a
reputation for an independence and energy which often ran out
into turbulence. They were at the same time of a franker and
more transparent disposition than their brethren in the south.
In all these respects, in bluntness, impetuosity, headiness, and
simplicity, Simon was a genuine Galilean. They spoke a peculiar
dialect. They had a difficulty with the guttural sounds and some
others, and their pronunciation was reckoned harsh in Judea. The
Galilean accent stuck to Simon all through his career. It
betrayed him as a follower of Christ when he stood within the
judgment-hall (Mark 14:70). It betrayed his own nationality and
that of those conjoined with him on the day of Pentecost (Acts
2:7)." It would seem that Simon was married before he became an
apostle. His wife's mother is referred to (Matt. 8:14; Mark
1:30; Luke 4:38). He was in all probability accompanied by his
wife on his missionary journeys (1 Cor. 9:5; comp. 1 Pet. 5:13).
He appears to have been settled at Capernaum when Christ
entered on his public ministry, and may have reached beyond the
age of thirty. His house was large enough to give a home to his
brother Andrew, his wife's mother, and also to Christ, who seems
to have lived with him (Mark 1:29, 36; 2:1), as well as to his
own family. It was apparently two stories high (2:4).
At Bethabara (R.V., John 1:28, "Bethany"), beyond Jordan, John
the Baptist had borne testimony concerning Jesus as the "Lamb of
God" (John 1:29-36). Andrew and John hearing it, followed Jesus,
and abode with him where he was. They were convinced, by his
gracious words and by the authority with which he spoke, that he
was the Messiah (Luke 4:22; Matt. 7:29); and Andrew went forth
and found Simon and brought him to Jesus (John 1:41).
Jesus at once recognized Simon, and declared that hereafter he
would be called Cephas, an Aramaic name corresponding to the
Greek Petros, which means "a mass of rock detached from the
living rock." The Aramaic name does not occur again, but the
name Peter gradually displaces the old name Simon, though our
Lord himself always uses the name Simon when addressing him
(Matt. 17:25; Mark 14:37; Luke 22:31, comp. 21:15-17). We are
not told what impression the first interview with Jesus produced
on the mind of Simon. When we next meet him it is by the Sea of
Galilee (Matt. 4:18-22). There the four (Simon and Andrew, James
and John) had had an unsuccessful night's fishing. Jesus
appeared suddenly, and entering into Simon's boat, bade him
launch forth and let down the nets. He did so, and enclosed a
great multitude of fishes. This was plainly a miracle wrought
before Simon's eyes. The awe-stricken disciple cast himself at
the feet of Jesus, crying, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful
man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8). Jesus addressed him with the assuring
words, "Fear not," and announced to him his life's work. Simon
responded at once to the call to become a disciple, and after
this we find him in constant attendance on our Lord.
He is next called into the rank of the apostleship, and
becomes a "fisher of men" (Matt. 4:19) in the stormy seas of the
world of human life (Matt. 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:13-16),
and takes a more and more prominent part in all the leading
events of our Lord's life. It is he who utters that notable
profession of faith at Capernaum (John 6:66-69), and again at
Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-20).
This profession at Caesarea was one of supreme importance, and
our Lord in response used these memorable words: "Thou art
Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church."
"From that time forth" Jesus began to speak of his sufferings.
For this Peter rebuked him. But our Lord in return rebuked
Peter, speaking to him in sterner words than he ever used to any
other of his disciples (Matt. 16:21-23; Mark 8:31-33). At the
close of his brief sojourn at Caesarea our Lord took Peter and
James and John with him into "an high mountain apart," and was
transfigured before them. Peter on that occasion, under the
impression the scene produced on his mind, exclaimed, "Lord, it
is good for us to be here: let us make three tabernacles" (Matt.
On his return to Capernaum the collectors of the temple tax (a
didrachma, half a sacred shekel), which every Israelite of
twenty years old and upwards had to pay (Ex. 30:15), came to
Peter and reminded him that Jesus had not paid it (Matt.
17:24-27). Our Lord instructed Peter to go and catch a fish in
the lake and take from its mouth the exact amount needed for the
tax, viz., a stater, or two half-shekels. "That take," said our
Lord, "and give unto them for me and thee."
As the end was drawing nigh, our Lord sent Peter and John
(Luke 22:7-13) into the city to prepare a place where he should
keep the feast with his disciples. There he was forewarned of
the fearful sin into which he afterwards fell (22:31-34). He
accompanied our Lord from the guest-chamber to the garden of
Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46), which he and the other two who had
been witnesses of the transfiguration were permitted to enter
with our Lord, while the rest were left without. Here he passed
through a strange experience. Under a sudden impulse he cut off
the ear of Malchus (47-51), one of the band that had come forth
to take Jesus. Then follow the scenes of the judgment-hall
(54-61) and his bitter grief (62).
He is found in John's company early on the morning of the
resurrection. He boldly entered into the empty grave (John
20:1-10), and saw the "linen clothes laid by themselves" (Luke
24:9-12). To him, the first of the apostles, our risen Lord
revealed himself, thus conferring on him a signal honour, and
showing how fully he was restored to his favour (Luke 24:34; 1
Cor. 15:5). We next read of our Lord's singular interview with
Peter on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where he thrice asked
him, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?" (John 21:1-19). (See
After this scene at the lake we hear nothing of Peter till he
again appears with the others at the ascension (Acts 1:15-26).
It was he who proposed that the vacancy caused by the apostasy
of Judas should be filled up. He is prominent on the day of
Pentecost (2:14-40). The events of that day "completed the
change in Peter himself which the painful discipline of his fall
and all the lengthened process of previous training had been
slowly making. He is now no more the unreliable, changeful,
self-confident man, ever swaying between rash courage and weak
timidity, but the stead-fast, trusted guide and director of the
fellowship of believers, the intrepid preacher of Christ in
Jerusalem and abroad. And now that he is become Cephas indeed,
we hear almost nothing of the name Simon (only in Acts 10:5, 32;
15:14), and he is known to us finally as Peter."
After the miracle at the temple gate (Acts 3) persecution
arose against the Christians, and Peter was cast into prison. He
boldly defended himself and his companions at the bar of the
council (4:19, 20). A fresh outburst of violence against the
Christians (5:17-21) led to the whole body of the apostles being
cast into prison; but during the night they were wonderfully
delivered, and were found in the morning teaching in the temple.
A second time Peter defended them before the council (Acts
5:29-32), who, "when they had called the apostles and beaten
them, let them go."
The time had come for Peter to leave Jerusalem. After
labouring for some time in Samaria, he returned to Jerusalem,
and reported to the church there the results of his work (Acts
8:14-25). Here he remained for a period, during which he met
Paul for the first time since his conversion (9:26-30; Gal.
1:18). Leaving Jerusalem again, he went forth on a missionary
journey to Lydda and Joppa (Acts 9:32-43). He is next called on
to open the door of the Christian church to the Gentiles by the
admission of Cornelius of Caesarea (ch. 10).
After remaining for some time at Caesarea, he returned to
Jerusalem (Acts 11:1-18), where he defended his conduct with
reference to the Gentiles. Next we hear of his being cast into
prison by Herod Agrippa (12:1-19); but in the night an angel of
the Lord opened the prison gates, and he went forth and found
refuge in the house of Mary.
He took part in the deliberations of the council in Jerusalem
(Acts 15:1-31; Gal. 2:1-10) regarding the relation of the
Gentiles to the church. This subject had awakened new interest
at Antioch, and for its settlement was referred to the council
of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. Here Paul and Peter met
We have no further mention of Peter in the Acts of the
Apostles. He seems to have gone down to Antioch after the
council at Jerusalem, and there to have been guilty of
dissembling, for which he was severely reprimanded by Paul (Gal.
2:11-16), who "rebuked him to his face."
After this he appears to have carried the gospel to the east,
and to have laboured for a while at Babylon, on the Euphrates (1
Pet. 5:13). There is no satisfactory evidence that he was ever
at Rome. Where or when he died is not certainly known. Probably
he died between A.D. 64 and 67.