See SHECHEM ¯T0003330.
slave, the father of Gaal, in whom the men of Shechem "put
confidence" in their conspiracy against Abimelech (Judg. 9:26,
26, 30, 31).
the Hebrew word rendered "inhabitants" in Josh. 17:7, but
probably rather the name of the village Yeshepheh, probably
Yassuf, 8 miles south of Shechem.
prince, or summit, a place "in the land of Ephraim" (Judg.
12:15), now Fer'on, some 10 miles south-west of Shechem. This
was the home of Abdon the judge.
elevation, probably the same as Arumah (Judg. 9:41; 2 Kings
23:36), near Shechem. Others identify it with Tell Rumeh, in
Galilee, about 6 miles north of Nazareth.
approach to Shiloh, a place on the border of Ephraim (Josh.
16:6), probably the modern T'ana, a ruin 7 miles south-east of
Shechem, on the ridge east of the Mukhnah plain.
portion of the sun, where Joshua was buried (Judg. 2:9). It was
"in the mount of Ephraim, in the north side of the hill Gaash,"
10 miles south-west of Shechem. The same as the following.
judged; vindicated, daughter of Jacob by Leah, and sister of
Simeon and Levi (Gen. 30:21). She was seduced by Shechem, the
son of Hamor, the Hivite chief, when Jacob's camp was in the
neighbourhood of Shechem. This led to the terrible revenge of
Simeon and Levi in putting the Shechemites to death (Gen. 34).
Jacob makes frequent reference to this deed of blood with
abhorrence and regret (Gen. 34:30; 49:5-7). She is mentioned
among the rest of Jacob's family that went down into Egypt (Gen.
he-ass, a Hivite from whom Jacob purchased the plot of ground in
which Joseph was afterwards buried (Gen. 33:19). He is called
"Emmor" in Acts 7:16. His son Shechem founded the city of that
name which Simeon and Levi destroyed because of his crime in the
matter of Dinah, Jacob's daughter (Gen. 34:20). Hamor and
Shechem were also slain (ver. 26).
(Judg. 9:37; A.V., "the plain of Meonenim;" R.V., "the oak of
Meonenim") means properly "soothsayers" or "sorcerers,"
"wizards" (Deut. 18:10, 14; 2 Kings 21:6; Micah 5:12). This may
be the oak at Shechem under which Abram pitched his tent (see
SHECHEM ¯T0003330), the "enchanter's oak," so called, perhaps,
from Jacob's hiding the "strange gods" under it (Gen. 35:4).
shady. (1.) One of David's warriors, called the Ahohite (2 Sam.
23:28); called also Ilai (1 Chr. 11:29).
(2.) A wood near Shechem, from which Abimelech and his party
brought boughs and "put them to the hold" of Shechem, "and set
the hold on fire" (Judg. 9:48). Probably the southern peak of
Gerizim, now called Jebel Sulman. (See SALMON ¯T0003192.)
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).
Joshua at the capture of Ai lay in ambush, and so deceived the
inhabitants that he gained an easy victory (Josh. 8:4-26).
Shechem was taken in this manner (Judg. 9:30-45. Comp. Jer.
mighty one; God of Israel, the name which Jacob gave to the
alter which he erected on the piece of land where he pitched his
tent before Shechem, and which he afterwards purchased from the
sons of Hamor (Gen. 33:20).
loathing, the son of Ebed, in whom the Shechemites "placed their
confidence" when they became discontented with Abimelech. He
headed the revolution, and led out the men of Shechem against
Abimelech; but was defeated, and fled to his own home (Judg.
9:26-46). We hear no more of him after this battle.
Refuge, Cities of
were six in number (Num. 35). 1. On the west of Jordan were (1)
Kadesh, in Naphtali; (2) Shechem, in Mount Ephraim; (3) Hebron,
in Judah. 2. On the east of Jordan were, (1) Golan, in Bashan;
(2) Ramoth-Gilead, in Gad; and (3) Bezer, in Reuben. (See under
each of these names.)
(Heb. always with the article, "the" Millo). (1.) Probably the
Canaanite name of some fortification, consisting of walls filled
in with earth and stones, which protected Jerusalem on the north
as its outermost defence. It is always rendered Akra i.e., "the
citadel", in the LXX. It was already existing when David
conquered Jerusalem (2 Sam. 5:9). He extended it to the right
and left, thus completing the defence of the city. It was
rebuilt by Solomon (1 Kings 9:15, 24; 11:27) and repaired by
Hezekiah (2 Chr. 32:5).
(2.) In Judg. 9:6, 20 it is the name of a rampart in Shechem,
probably the "tower of Shechem" (9:46, 49).
brightness, a place some 11 miles north-east of Shechem, on the
road to Scythopolis, the modern Tabas. Abimelech led his army
against this place, because of its participation in the
conspiracy of the men of Shechem; but as he drew near to the
strong tower to which its inhabitants had fled for safety, and
was about to set fire to it, a woman cast a fragment of
millstone at him, and "all to brake his skull" i.e., "altogether
brake," etc. His armourbearer thereupon "thrust him through, and
he died" (Judg. 9:50-55).
covenant lord, the name of the god worshipped in Shechem after
the death of Gideon (Judg. 8:33; 9:4). In 9:46 he is called
simply "the god Berith." The name denotes the god of the
covenant into which the Israelites entered with the Canaanites,
contrary to the command of Jehovah (Ex. 34:12), when they began
to fall away to the worship of idols.
lightning. (1.) The residence of Adoni-bezek, in the lot of
Judah (Judg. 1:5). It was in the mountains, not far from
Jerusalem. Probably the modern Bezkah, 6 miles south-east of
(2.) The place where Saul numbered the forces of Israel and
Judah (1 Sam. 11:8); somewhere in the centre of the country,
near the Jordan valley. Probably the modern Ibzik, 13 miles
north-east of Shechem.
Gibeah of Phinehas
(Josh. 15:57, R.V. marg.), a city on Mount Ephraim which had
been given to Phinehas (24:33 "hill," A.V.; R.V. marg. and Heb.,
"Gibeah."). Here Eleazar the son of Aaron was buried. It has
been identified with the modern Khurbet Jibia, 5 miles north of
Guphna towards Shechem.
an archer, teacher; fruitful. (1.) A Canaanite probably who
inhabited the district south of Shechem, between Mounts Ebal and
Gerizim, and gave his name to the "plain" there (Gen. 12:6).
Here at this "plain," or rather (R.V.) "oak," of Moreh, Abraham
built his first altar in the land of Israel; and here the
Lord appeared unto him. He afterwards left this plain and moved
southward, and pitched his tent between Bethel on the west and
Hai on the east (Gen. 12:7, 8).
the height of Mizpeh or of the watch-tower (Josh. 13:26), a
place mentioned as one of the limits of Gad. There were two
Mizpehs on the east of the Jordan. This was the Mizpeh where
Jacob and Laban made a covenant, "Mizpeh of Gilead," called also
Galeed and Jegar-sahadutha. It has been identified with the
modern es-Salt, where the roads from Jericho and from Shechem to
Damascus unite, about 25 miles east of the Jordan and 13 south
of the Jabbok.
perfect, a place (probably the village of Salim) some 2 miles
east of Jacob's well. There is an abundant supply of water,
which may have been the reason for Jacob's settling at this
place (Gen. 33:18-20). The Revised Version translates this word,
and reads, "Jacob came in peace to the city of Shechem," thus
not regarding it as a proper name at all.
liar or drunkard (see Isa. 28:1, 7), has been from the time of
the Crusaders usually identified with Sychem or Shechem (John
4:5). It has now, however, as the result of recent explorations,
been identified with 'Askar, a small Samaritan town on the
southern base of Ebal, about a mile to the north of Jacob's
of Babel (Gen. 11:4), Edar (Gen. 35:21), Penuel (Judg. 8:9, 17),
Shechem (9:46), David (Cant. 4:4), Lebanon (7:4), Syene (Ezek.
29:10), Hananeel (Zech. 14:10), Siloam (Luke 13:4). There were
several towers in Jerusalem (2 Chr. 26:9; Ps. 48:12). They were
erected for various purposes, as watch-towers in vineyard (Isa.
5:2; Matt. 21:33) and towers for defence.
shoulder. (1.) The son of Hamor the Hivite (Gen. 33:19; 34).
(2.) A descendant of Manasseh (Num. 26:31; Josh. 17:2).
(3.) A city in Samaria (Gen. 33:18), called also Sichem
(12:6), Sychem (Acts 7:16). It stood in the narrow sheltered
valley between Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the south, these
mountains at their base being only some 500 yards apart. Here
Abraham pitched his tent and built his first altar in the
Promised Land, and received the first divine promise (Gen. 12:6,
7). Here also Jacob "bought a parcel of a field at the hands of
the children of Hamor" after his return from Mesopotamia, and
settled with his household, which he purged from idolatry by
burying the teraphim of his followers under an oak tree, which
was afterwards called "the oak of the sorcerer" (Gen. 33:19;
35:4; Judg. 9:37). (See MEONENIM ¯T0002483.) Here too, after a
while, he dug a well, which bears his name to this day (John
4:5, 39-42). To Shechem Joshua gathered all Israel "before God,"
and delivered to them his second parting address (Josh.
24:1-15). He "made a covenant with the people that day" at the
very place where, on first entering the land, they had responded
to the law from Ebal and Gerizim (Josh. 24:25), the terms of
which were recorded "in the book of the law of God", i.e., in
the roll of the law of Moses; and in memory of this solemn
transaction a great stone was set up "under an oak" (comp. Gen.
28:18; 31:44-48; Ex. 24:4; Josh. 4:3, 8, 9), possibly the old
"oak of Moreh," as a silent witness of the transaction to all
Shechem became one of the cities of refuge, the central city
of refuge for Western Israel (Josh. 20:7), and here the bones
of Joseph were buried (24:32). Rehoboam was appointed king in
Shechem (1 Kings 12:1, 19), but Jeroboam afterwards took up his
residence here. This city is mentioned in connection with our
Lord's conversation with the woman of Samaria (John 4:5); and
thus, remaining as it does to the present day, it is one of the
oldest cities of the world. It is the modern Nablus, a
contraction for Neapolis, the name given to it by Vespasian. It
lies about a mile and a half up the valley on its southern
slope, and on the north of Gerizim, which rises about 1,100 feet
above it, and is about 34 miles north of Jerusalem. It contains
about 10,000 inhabitants, of whom about 160 are Samaritans and
100 Jews, the rest being Christians and Mohammedans.
The site of Shechem is said to be of unrivalled beauty.
Stanley says it is "the most beautiful, perhaps the only very
beautiful, spot in Central Israel."
Gaza, near Shechem, only mentioned 1 Chr. 7:28, has entirely
disappeared. It was destroyed at the time of the Conquest, and
its place was taken by Shechem. (See SYCHAR ¯T0003542.)
the name given to the new and mixed inhabitants whom Esarhaddon
(B.C. 677), the king of Assyria, brought from Babylon and other
places and settled in the cities of Samaria, instead of the
original inhabitants whom Sargon (B.C. 721) had removed into
captivity (2 Kings 17:24; comp. Ezra 4:2, 9, 10). These
strangers (comp. Luke 17:18) amalgamated with the Jews still
remaining in the land, and gradually abandoned their old
idolatry and adopted partly the Jewish religion.
After the return from the Captivity, the Jews in Jerusalem
refused to allow them to take part with them in rebuilding the
temple, and hence sprang up an open enmity between them. They
erected a rival temple on Mount Gerizim, which was, however,
destroyed by a Jewish king (B.C. 130). They then built another
at Shechem. The bitter enmity between the Jews and Samaritans
continued in the time of our Lord: the Jews had "no dealings
with the Samaritans" (John 4:9; comp. Luke 9:52, 53). Our Lord
was in contempt called "a Samaritan" (John 8:48). Many of the
Samaritans early embraced the gospel (John 4:5-42; Acts 8:25;
9:31; 15:3). Of these Samaritans there still remains a small
population of about one hundred and sixty, who all reside in
Shechem, where they carefully observe the religious customs of
their fathers. They are the "smallest and oldest sect in the
pleasantness. (1.) An old royal city of the Canaanites, which
was destroyed by Joshua (Josh. 12:24). Jeroboam chose it for his
residence, and he removed to it from Shechem, which at first he
made the capital of his kingdom. It remained the chief residence
of the kings of Israel till Omri took Samaria (1 Kings 14:17;
15:21; 16:6, 8, etc.). Here Zimri perished amid the flames of
the palace to which in his despair he had set fire (1 Kings
16:18), and here Menahem smote Shallum (2 Kings 15:14, 16).
Solomon refers to its beauty (Cant. 6:4). It has been identified
with the modern mud hamlet Teiasir, 11 miles north of Shechem.
Others, however, would identify it with Telluza, a village about
6 miles east of Samaria.
(2.) The youngest of Zelophehad's five daughters (Num. 26:33;
shady; or Zalmon (q.v.), a hill covered with dark forests, south
of Shechem, from which Abimelech and his men gathered wood to
burn that city (Judg. 9:48). In Ps. 68:14 the change from war to
peace is likened to snow on the dark mountain, as some interpret
the expression. Others suppose the words here mean that the
bones of the slain left unburied covered the land, so that it
seemed to be white as if covered with snow. The reference,
however, of the psalm is probably to Josh. 11 and 12. The
scattering of the kings and their followers is fitly likened
unto the snow-flakes rapidly falling on the dark Salmon. It is
the modern Jebel Suleiman.
passing over; ford, one of the boundaries of Solomon's dominions
(1 Kings 4:24), probably "Thapsacus, a great and wealthy town on
the western bank of the Euphrates," about 100 miles north-east
of Tadmor. All the land traffic between the east and the west
passed through it. Menahem undertook an expedition against this
city, and "smote Tiphsah and all that were therein" (2 Kings
15:16). This expedition implied a march of some 300 miles from
Tirzah if by way of Tadmor, and about 400 if by way of Aleppo;
and its success showed the strength of the Israelite kingdom,
for it was practically a defiance to Assyria. Conder, however,
identifies this place with Khurbet Tafsah, some 6 miles west of
Jehovah is perfect. (1.) The youngest of Gideon's seventy sons.
He escaped when the rest were put to death by the order of
Abimelech (Judg. 9:5). When "the citizens of Shechem and the
whole house of Millo" were gathered together "by the plain of
the pillar" (i.e., the stone set up by Joshua, 24:26; comp. Gen.
35:4) "that was in Shechem, to make Abimelech king," from one of
the heights of Mount Gerizim he protested against their doing so
in the earliest parable, that of the bramble-king. His words
then spoken were prophetic. There came a recoil in the feelings
of the people toward Abimelech, and then a terrible revenge, in
which many were slain and the city of Shechem was destroyed by
Abimelech (Judg. 9:45). Having delivered his warning, Jotham
fled to Beer from the vengeance of Abimelech (9:7-21).
(2.) The son and successor of Uzziah on the throne of Judah.
As during his last years Uzziah was excluded from public life on
account of his leprosy, his son, then twenty-five years of age,
administered for seven years the affairs of the kingdom in his
father's stead (2 Chr. 26:21, 23; 27:1). After his father's
death he became sole monarch, and reigned for sixteen years
(B.C. 759-743). He ruled in the fear of God, and his reign was
prosperous. He was contemporary with the prophets Isaiah, Hosea,
and Micah, by whose ministrations he profited. He was buried in
the sepulchre of the kings, greatly lamented by the people (2
Kings 15:38; 2 Chr. 27:7-9).
stony. (1.) A mountain 3,076 feet above the level of the sea,
and 1,200 feet above the level of the valley, on the north side
of which stood the city of Shechem (q.v.). On this mountain six
of the tribes (Deut. 27:12,13) were appointed to take their
stand and respond according to a prescribed form to the
imprecations uttered in the valley, where the law was read by
the Levites (11:29; 29:4, 13). This mountain was also the site
of the first great altar erected to Jehovah (Deut. 27:5-8; Josh.
8:30-35). After this the name of Ebal does not again occur in
Jewish history. (See GERIZIM ¯T0001465.)
(2.) A descendant of Eber (1 Chr. 1:22), called also Obal
(3.) A descendant of Seir the Horite (Gen. 36:23).
a fawn. 1 Chr. 4:14. (1.) A city of Benjamin (Josh. 18:23);
probably identical with Ephron (2 Chr. 13:19) and Ephraim (John
(2.) "Of the Abi-ezrites." A city of Manasseh, 6 miles
south-west of Shechem, the residence of Gideon (Judg. 6:11;
8:27, 32). After his great victory over the Midianites, he slew
at this place the captive kings (8:18-21). He then assumed the
function of high priest, and sought to make Ophrah what Shiloh
should have been. This thing "became a snare" to Gideon and his
house. After Gideon's death his family resided here till they
were put to death by Abimelech (Judg. 9:5). It is identified
remaining portion, the city of Joshua in the hill country of
Ephraim, the same as Timnath-heres (Josh. 19:50; 24:30). "Of all
sites I have seen," says Lieut. Col. Conder, "none is so
striking as that of Joshua's home, surrounded as it is with deep
valleys and wild, rugged hills." Opposite the town is a hill, on
the northern side of which there are many excavated sepulchres.
Among these is the supposed tomb of Joshua, which is said to be
"the most striking monument in the country." It is a "square
chamber with five excavations in three of its sides, the central
one forming a passage leading into a second chamber beyond. A
great number of lamp-niches cover the walls of the porch,
upwards of two hundred, arranged in vertical rows. A single
cavity with a niche for a lamp has been thought to be the
resting-place of the warrior-chief of Israel." The modern Kefr
Haris, 10 miles south-west of Shechem.
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.
Judah, Kingdom of
When the disruption took place at Shechem, at first only the
tribe of Judah followed the house of David. But very soon after
the tribe of Benjamin joined the tribe of Judah, and Jerusalem
became the capital of the new kingdom (Josh. 18:28), which was
called the kingdom of Judah. It was very small in extent, being
only about the size of the Scottish county of Perth.
For the first sixty years the kings of Judah aimed at
re-establishing their authority over the kingdom of the other
ten tribes, so that there was a state of perpetual war between
them. For the next eighty years there was no open war between
them. For the most part they were in friendly alliance,
co-operating against their common enemies, especially against
Damascus. For about another century and a half Judah had a
somewhat checkered existence after the termination of the
kingdom of Israel till its final overthrow in the destruction of
the temple (B.C. 588) by Nebuzar-adan, who was captain of
Nebuchadnezzar's body-guard (2 Kings 25:8-21).
The kingdom maintained a separate existence for three hundred
and eighty-nine years. It occupied an area of 3,435 square
miles. (See ISRAEL, KINGDOM OF ¯T0001909.)
Practised by the Ishmaelites (Gen. 16:12), the Chaldeans and
Sabeans (Job 1:15, 17), and the men of Shechem (Judg. 9:25. See
also 1 Sam. 27:6-10; 30; Hos. 4:2; 6:9). Robbers infested Judea
in our Lord's time (Luke 10:30; John 18:40; Acts 5:36, 37;
21:38; 2 Cor. 11:26). The words of the Authorized Version,
"counted it not robbery to be equal," etc. (Phil. 2:6, 7), are
better rendered in the Revised Version, "counted it not a prize
to be on an equality," etc., i.e., "did not look upon equality
with God as a prize which must not slip from his grasp" = "did
not cling with avidity to the prerogatives of his divine
majesty; did not ambitiously display his equality with God."
"Robbers of churches" should be rendered, as in the Revised
Version, "of temples." In the temple at Ephesus there was a
great treasure-chamber, and as all that was laid up there was
under the guardianship of the goddess Diana, to steal from such
a place would be sacrilege (Acts 19:37).
Israel, Kingdom of
(B.C. 975-B.C. 722). Soon after the death of Solomon, Ahijah's
prophecy (1 Kings 11:31-35) was fulfilled, and the kingdom was
rent in twain. Rehoboam, the son and successor of Solomon, was
scarcely seated on his throne when the old jealousies between
Judah and the other tribes broke out anew, and Jeroboam was sent
for from Egypt by the malcontents (12:2,3). Rehoboam insolently
refused to lighten the burdensome taxation and services which
his father had imposed on his subjects (12:4), and the rebellion
became complete. Ephraim and all Israel raised the old cry,
"Every man to his tents, O Israel" (2 Sam. 20:1). Rehoboam fled
to Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:1-18; 2 Chr. 10), and Jeroboam was
proclaimed king over all Israel at Shechem, Judah and Benjamin
remaining faithful to Solomon's son. War, with varying success,
was carried on between the two kingdoms for about sixty years,
till Jehoshaphat entered into an alliance with the house of
Extent of the kingdom. In the time of Solomon the area of
Israel, excluding the Phoenician territories on the shore of
the Mediterranean, did not much exceed 13,000 square miles. The
kingdom of Israel comprehended about 9,375 square miles. Shechem
was the first capital of this kingdom (1 Kings 12:25),
afterwards Tirza (14:17). Samaria was subsequently chosen as the
capital (16:24), and continued to be so till the destruction of
the kingdom by the Assyrians (2 Kings 17:5). During the siege of
Samaria (which lasted for three years) by the Assyrians,
Shalmaneser died and was succeeded by Sargon, who himself thus
records the capture of that city: "Samaria I looked at, I
captured; 27,280 men who dwelt in it I carried away" (2 Kings
17:6) into Assyria. Thus after a duration of two hundred and
fifty-three years the kingdom of the ten tribes came to an end.
They were scattered throughout the East. (See CAPTIVITY
"Judah held its ground against Assyria for yet one hundred and
twenty-three years, and became the rallying-point of the
dispersed of every tribe, and eventually gave its name to the
whole race. Those of the people who in the last struggle escaped
into the territories of Judah or other neighbouring countries
naturally looked to Judah as the head and home of their race.
And when Judah itself was carried off to Babylon, many of the
exiled Israelites joined them from Assyria, and swelled that
immense population which made Babylonia a second Israel."
After the deportation of the ten tribes, the deserted land was
colonized by various eastern tribes, whom the king of Assyria
sent thither (Ezra 4:2, 10; 2 Kings 17:24-29). (See KINGS
In contrast with the kingdom of Judah is that of Israel. (1.)
"There was no fixed capital and no religious centre. (2.) The
army was often insubordinate. (3.) The succession was constantly
interrupted, so that out of nineteen kings there were no less
than nine dynasties, each ushered in by a revolution. (4.) The
authorized priests left the kingdom in a body, and the
priesthood established by Jeroboam had no divine sanction and no
promise; it was corrupt at its very source." (Maclean's O. T.
he enlarges the people, the successor of Solomon on the throne,
and apparently his only son. He was the son of Naamah "the
Ammonitess," some well-known Ammonitish princess (1 Kings 14:21;
2 Chr. 12:13). He was forty-one years old when he ascended the
throne, and he reigned seventeen years (B.C. 975-958). Although
he was acknowledged at once as the rightful heir to the throne,
yet there was a strongly-felt desire to modify the character of
the government. The burden of taxation to which they had been
subjected during Solomon's reign was very oppressive, and
therefore the people assembled at Shechem and demanded from the
king an alleviation of their burdens. He went to meet them at
Shechem, and heard their demands for relief (1 Kings 12:4).
After three days, having consulted with a younger generation of
courtiers that had grown up around him, instead of following the
advice of elders, he answered the people haughtily (6-15). "The
king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the
Lord" (comp. 11:31). This brought matters speedily to a crisis.
The terrible cry was heard (comp. 2 Sam. 20:1):
"What portion have we in David?
Neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse:
To your tents, O Israel:
Now see to thine own house, David" (1 Kings 12:16).
And now at once the kingdom was rent in twain. Rehoboam was
appalled, and tried concessions, but it was too late (18). The
tribe of Judah, Rehoboam's own tribe, alone remained faithful to
him. Benjamin was reckoned along with Judah, and these two
tribes formed the southern kingdom, with Jerusalem as its
capital; while the northern ten tribes formed themselves into a
separate kingdom, choosing Jeroboam as their king. Rehoboam
tried to win back the revolted ten tribes by making war against
them, but he was prevented by the prophet Shemaiah (21-24; 2
Chr. 11:1-4) from fulfilling his purpose. (See JEROBOAM
In the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign, Shishak (q.v.), one of
the kings of Egypt of the Assyrian dynasty, stirred up, no
doubt, by Jeroboam his son-in-law, made war against him.
Jerusalem submitted to the invader, who plundered the temple and
virtually reduced the kingdom to the position of a vassal of
Egypt (1 Kings 14:25, 26; 2 Chr. 12:5-9). A remarkable memorial
of this invasion has been discovered at Karnac, in Upper Egypt,
in certain sculptures on the walls of a small temple there.
These sculptures represent the king, Shishak, holding in his
hand a train of prisoners and other figures, with the names of
the captured towns of Judah, the towns which Rehoboam had
fortified (2 Chr. 11:5-12).
The kingdom of Judah, under Rehoboam, sank more and more in
moral and spiritual decay. "There was war between Rehoboam and
Jeroboam all their days." At length, in the fifty-eighth year of
his age, Rehoboam "slept with his fathers, and was buried with
his fathers in the city of David" (1 Kings 14:31). He was
succeeded by his son Abijah. (See EGYPT ¯T0001137.)
a mountain of Samaria, about 3,000 feet above the Mediterranean.
It was on the left of the valley containing the ancient town of
Shechem (q.v.), on the way to Jerusalem. It stood over against
Mount Ebal, the summits of these mountains being distant from
each other about 2 miles (Deut. 27; Josh. 8:30-35). On the
slopes of this mountain the tribes descended from the handmaids
of Leah and Rachel, together with the tribe of Reuben, were
gathered together, and gave the responses to the blessing
pronounced as the reward of obedience, when Joshua in the valley
below read the whole law in the hearing of all the people; as
those gathered on Ebal responded with a loud Amen to the
rehearsal of the curses pronounced on the disobedient. It was
probably at this time that the coffin containing the embalmed
body of Joseph was laid in the "parcel of ground which Jacob
bought of the sons of Hamor" (Gen. 33:19; 50:25).
Josephus relates (Ant. 11:8, 2-4) that Sanballat built a
temple for the Samaritans on this mountain, and instituted a
priesthood, as rivals to those of the Jews at Jerusalem. This
temple was destroyed after it had stood two hundred years. It
was afterwards rebuilt by Herod the Great. There is a Samaritan
tradition that it was the scene of the incident recorded in Gen.
22. There are many ruins on this mountain, some of which are
evidently of Christian buildings. To this mountain the woman of
Sychar referred in John 4:20. For centuries Gerizim was the
centre of political outbreaks. The Samaritans (q.v.), a small
but united body, still linger here, and keep up their ancient
rolling. (1.) From the solemn transaction of the reading of the
law in the valley of Shechem between Ebal and Gerizim the
Israelites moved forward to Gilgal, and there made a permanent
camp (Josh. 9:6; 10:6). It was "beside the oaks of Moreh," near
which Abraham erected his first altar (Gen. 12:6, 7). This was
one of the three towns to which Samuel resorted for the
administration of justice (1 Sam. 7:16), and here also he
offered sacrifices when the ark was no longer in the tabernacle
at Shiloh (1 Sam. 10:8; 13:7-9). To this place, as to a central
sanctuary, all Israel gathered to renew their allegiance to Saul
(11:14). At a later period it became the scene of idolatrous
worship (Hos. 4:15; 9:15). It has been identified with the ruins
of Jiljilieh, about 5 miles south-west of Shiloh and about the
same distance from Bethel.
(2.) The place in "the plains of Jericho," "in the east border
of Jericho," where the Israelites first encamped after crossing
the Jordan (Josh. 4:19, 20). Here they kept their first Passover
in the land of Canaan (5:10) and renewed the rite of
circumcision, and so "rolled away the reproach" of their
Egyptian slavery. Here the twelve memorial stones, taken from
the bed of the Jordan, were set up; and here also the tabernacle
remained till it was removed to Shiloh (18:1). It has been
identified with Tell Jiljulieh, about 5 miles from Jordan.
(3.) A place, probably in the hill country of Ephraim, where
there was a school of the prophets (2 Kings 4:38), and whence
Elijah and Elisha, who resided here, "went down" to Bethel
(2:1,2). It is mentioned also in Deut. 11:30. It is now known as
Jiljilia, a place 8 miles north of Bethel.
(John 4:5, 6). This is one of the few sites in Israel about
which there is no dispute. It was dug by Jacob, and hence its
name, in the "parcel of ground" which he purchased from the sons
of Hamor (Gen. 33:19). It still exists, but although after
copious rains it contains a little water, it is now usually
quite dry. It is at the entrance to the valley between Ebal and
Gerizim, about 2 miles south-east of Shechem. It is about 9 feet
in diameter and about 75 feet in depth, though in ancient times
it was no doubt much deeper, probably twice as deep. The digging
of such a well must have been a very laborious and costly
"Unfortunately, the well of Jacob has not escaped that
misplaced religious veneration which cannot be satisfied with
leaving the object of it as it is, but must build over it a
shrine to protect and make it sacred. A series of buildings of
various styles, and of different ages, have cumbered the ground,
choked up the well, and disfigured the natural beauty and
simplicity of the spot. At present the rubbish in the well has
been cleared out; but there is still a domed structure over it,
and you gaze down the shaft cut in the living rock and see at a
depth of 70 feet the surface of the water glimmering with a pale
blue light in the darkness, while you notice how the limestone
blocks that form its curb have been worn smooth, or else
furrowed by the ropes of centuries" (Hugh Macmillan).
At the entrance of the enclosure round the well is planted in
the ground one of the wooden poles that hold the telegraph wires
between Jerusalem and Haifa.
used to season food (Job 6:6), and mixed with the fodder of
cattle (Isa. 30:24, "clean;" in marg. of R.V. "salted"). All
meat-offerings were seasoned with salt (Lev. 2:13). To eat salt
with one is to partake of his hospitality, to derive subsistence
from him; and hence he who did so was bound to look after his
host's interests (Ezra 4:14, "We have maintenance from the
king's palace;" A.V. marg., "We are salted with the salt of the
palace;" R.V., "We eat the salt of the palace").
A "covenant of salt" (Num. 18:19; 2 Chr. 13:5) was a covenant
of perpetual obligation. New-born children were rubbed with salt
(Ezek. 16:4). Disciples are likened unto salt, with reference to
its cleansing and preserving uses (Matt. 5:13). When Abimelech
took the city of Shechem, he sowed the place with salt, that it
might always remain a barren soil (Judg. 9:45). Sir Lyon
Playfair argues, on scientific grounds, that under the generic
name of "salt," in certain passages, we are to understand
petroleum or its residue asphalt. Thus in Gen. 19:26 he would
read "pillar of asphalt;" and in Matt. 5:13, instead of "salt,"
"petroleum," which loses its essence by exposure, as salt does
not, and becomes asphalt, with which pavements were made.
The Jebel Usdum, to the south of the Dead Sea, is a mountain
of rock salt about 7 miles long and from 2 to 3 miles wide and
some hundreds of feet high.
The earliest mention of city-building is that of Enoch, which
was built by Cain (Gen. 4:17). After the confusion of tongues,
the descendants of Nimrod founded several cities (10:10-12).
Next, we have a record of the cities of the Canaanites, Sidon,
Gaza, Sodom, etc. (10:12, 19; 11:3, 9; 36:31-39). The earliest
description of a city is that of Sodom (19:1-22). Damascus is
said to be the oldest existing city in the world. Before the
time of Abraham there were cities in Egypt (Num. 13:22). The
Israelites in Egypt were employed in building the "treasure
cities" of Pithom and Raamses (Ex. 1:11); but it does not seem
that they had any cities of their own in Goshen (Gen. 46:34;
47:1-11). In the kingdom of Og in Bashan there were sixty "great
cities with walls," and twenty-three cities in Gilead partly
rebuilt by the tribes on the east of Jordan (Num. 21:21, 32, 33,
35; 32:1-3, 34-42; Deut. 3:4, 5, 14; 1 Kings 4:13). On the west
of Jordan were thirty-one "royal cities" (Josh. 12), besides
many others spoken of in the history of Israel.
A fenced city was a city surrounded by fortifications and high
walls, with watch-towers upon them (2 Chr. 11:11; Deut. 3:5).
There was also within the city generally a tower to which the
citizens might flee when danger threatened them (Judg. 9:46-52).
A city with suburbs was a city surrounded with open
pasture-grounds, such as the forty-eight cities which were given
to the Levites (Num. 35:2-7). There were six cities of refuge,
three on each side of Jordan, namely, Kadesh, Shechem, Hebron,
on the west of Jordan; and on the east, Bezer, Ramoth-gilead,
and Golan. The cities on each side of the river were nearly
opposite each other. The regulations concerning these cities are
given in Num. 35:9-34; Deut. 19:1-13; Ex. 21:12-14.
When David reduced the fortress of the Jebusites which stood
on Mount Zion, he built on the site of it a palace and a city,
which he called by his own name (1 Chr. 11:5), the city of
David. Bethlehem is also so called as being David's native town
Jerusalem is called the Holy City, the holiness of the temple
being regarded as extending in some measure over the whole city
Pithom and Raamses, built by the Israelites as "treasure
cities," were not places where royal treasures were kept, but
were fortified towns where merchants might store their goods and
transact their business in safety, or cities in which munitions
of war were stored. (See PITHOM ¯T0002968.)
Ephraim, The tribe of
took precedence over that of Manasseh by virtue of Jacob's
blessing (Gen. 41:52; 48:1). The descendants of Joseph formed
two of the tribes of Israel, whereas each of the other sons of
Jacob was the founder of only one tribe. Thus there were in
reality thirteen tribes; but the number twelve was preserved by
excluding that of Levi when Ephraim and Manasseh are mentioned
separately (Num. 1:32-34; Josh. 17:14, 17; 1 Chr. 7:20).
Territory of. At the time of the first census in the
wilderness this tribe numbered 40,500 (Num. 1:32, 33); forty
years later, when about to take possession of the Promised Land,
it numbered only 32,500. During the march (see CAMP ¯T0000700)
Ephraim's place was on the west side of the tabernacle (Num.
2:18-24). When the spies were sent out to spy the land, "Oshea
the son of Nun" of this tribe signalized himself.
The boundaries of the portion of the land assigned to Ephraim
are given in Josh. 16:1-10. It included most of what was
afterwards called Samaria as distinguished from Judea and
Galilee. It thus lay in the centre of all traffic, from north to
south, and from Jordan to the sea, and was about 55 miles long
and 30 broad. The tabernacle and the ark were deposited within
its limits at Shiloh, where it remained for four hundred years.
During the time of the judges and the first stage of the
monarchy this tribe manifested a domineering and haughty and
discontented spirit. "For more than five hundred years, a period
equal to that which elapsed between the Norman Conquest and the
War of the Roses, Ephraim, with its two dependent tribes of
Manasseh and Benjamin, exercised undisputed pre-eminence. Joshua
the first conqueror, Gideon the greatest of the judges, and Saul
the first king, belonged to one or other of the three tribes. It
was not till the close of the first period of Jewish history
that God 'refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the
tribe of Ephraim, but chose the tribe of Judah, the Mount Zion
which he loved' (Ps. 78:67, 68). When the ark was removed from
Shiloh to Zion the power of Ephraim was humbled."
Among the causes which operated to bring about the disruption
of Israel was Ephraim's jealousy of the growing power of Judah.
From the settlement of Canaan till the time of David and
Solomon, Ephraim had held the place of honour among the tribes.
It occupied the central and fairest portions of the land, and
had Shiloh and Shechem within its borders. But now when
Jerusalem became the capital of the kingdom, and the centre of
power and worship for the whole nation of Israel, Ephraim
declined in influence. The discontent came to a crisis by
Rehoboam's refusal to grant certain redresses that were demanded
(1 Kings 12).
There are six Hebrew words rendered "oak."
(1.) 'El occurs only in the word El-paran (Gen. 14:6). The
LXX. renders by "terebinth." In the plural form this word occurs
in Isa. 1:29; 57:5 (A.V. marg. and R.V., "among the oaks"); 61:3
("trees"). The word properly means strongly, mighty, and hence a
(2.) 'Elah, Gen. 35:4, "under the oak which was by Shechem"
(R.V. marg., "terebinth"). Isa. 6:13, A.V., "teil-tree;" R.V.,
"terebinth." Isa. 1:30, R.V. marg., "terebinth." Absalom in his
flight was caught in the branches of a "great oak" (2 Sam. 18:9;
R.V. marg., "terebinth").
(3.) 'Elon, Judg. 4:11; 9:6 (R.V., "oak;" A.V., following the
Targum, "plain") properly the deciduous species of oak shedding
its foliage in autumn.
(4.) 'Elan, only in Dan. 4:11,14,20, rendered "tree" in
Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Probably some species of the oak is
(5.) 'Allah, Josh. 24:26. The place here referred to is called
Allon-moreh ("the oak of Moreh," as in R.V.) in Gen. 12:6 and
(6.) 'Allon, always rendered "oak." Probably the evergreen oak
(called also ilex and holm oak) is intended. The oak woods of
Bashan are frequently alluded to (Isa. 2:13; Ezek. 27:6). Three
species of oaks are found in Israel, of which the "prickly
evergreen oak" (Quercus coccifera) is the most abundant. "It
covers the rocky hills of Israel with a dense brushwood of
trees from 8 to 12 feet high, branching from the base, thickly
covered with small evergreen rigid leaves, and bearing acorns
copiously." The so-called Abraham's oak at Hebron is of this
species. Tristram says that this oak near Hebron "has for
several centuries taken the place of the once renowned terebinth
which marked the site of Mamre on the other side of the city.
The terebinth existed at Mamre in the time of Vespasian, and
under it the captive Jews were sold as slaves. It disappeared
about A.D. 330, and no tree now marks the grove of Mamre. The
present oak is the noblest tree in Southern Israel, being 23
feet in girth, and the diameter of the foliage, which is
unsymmetrical, being about 90 feet." (See HEBRON ¯T0001712;
remover or increaser. (1.) The elder of the two sons of Jacob by
Rachel (Gen. 30:23, 24), who, on the occasion of his birth,
said, "God hath taken away [Heb. 'asaph] my reproach." "The Lord
shall add [Heb. yoseph] to me another son" (Gen. 30:24). He was
a child of probably six years of age when his father returned
from Haran to Canaan and took up his residence in the old
patriarchal town of Hebron. "Now Israel loved Joseph more than
all his children, because he was the son of his old age," and he
"made him a long garment with sleeves" (Gen. 37:3, R.V. marg.),
i.e., a garment long and full, such as was worn by the children
of nobles. This seems to be the correct rendering of the words.
The phrase, however, may also be rendered, "a coat of many
pieces", i.e., a patchwork of many small pieces of divers
When he was about seventeen years old Joseph incurred the
jealous hatred of his brothers (Gen. 37:4). They "hated him, and
could not speak peaceably unto him." Their anger was increased
when he told them his dreams (37:11).
Jacob desiring to hear tidings of his sons, who had gone to
Shechem with their flocks, some 60 miles from Hebron, sent
Joseph as his messenger to make inquiry regarding them. Joseph
found that they had left Shechem for Dothan, whither he followed
them. As soon as they saw him coming they began to plot against
him, and would have killed him had not Reuben interposed. They
ultimately sold him to a company of Ishmaelite merchants for
twenty pieces (shekels) of silver (about $2, 10s.), ten pieces
less than the current value of a slave, for "they cared little
what they had for him, if so be they were rid of him." These
merchants were going down with a varied assortment of
merchandise to the Egyptian market, and thither they conveyed
him, and ultimately sold him as a slave to Potiphar, an "officer
of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard" (Gen. 37:36). "The Lord
blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake," and Potiphar
made him overseer over his house. At length a false charge
having been brought against him by Potiphar's wife, he was at
once cast into the state prison (39; 40), where he remained for
at least two years. After a while the "chief of the cupbearers"
and the "chief of the bakers" of Pharaoh's household were cast
into the same prison (40:2). Each of these new prisoners dreamed
a dream in the same night, which Joseph interpreted, the event
occurring as he had said.
This led to Joseph's being remembered subsequently by the
chief butler when Pharaoh also dreamed. At his suggestion Joseph
was brought from prison to interpret the king's dreams. Pharaoh
was well pleased with Joseph's wisdom in interpreting his
dreams, and with his counsel with reference to the events then
predicted; and he set him over all the land of Egypt (Gen.
41:46), and gave him the name of Zaphnath-paaneah. He was
married to Asenath, the daughter of the priest of On, and thus
became a member of the priestly class. Joseph was now about
thirty years of age.
As Joseph had interpreted, seven years of plenty came, during
which he stored up great abundance of corn in granaries built
for the purpose. These years were followed by seven years of
famine "over all the face of the earth," when "all countries
came into Egypt to Joseph to buy corn" (Gen. 41:56, 57; 47:13,
14). Thus "Joseph gathered up all the money that was in the land
of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they
bought." Afterwards all the cattle and all the land, and at last
the Egyptians themselves, became the property of Pharaoh.
During this period of famine Joseph's brethren also came down
to Egypt to buy corn. The history of his dealings with them, and
of the manner in which he at length made himself known to them,
is one of the most interesting narratives that can be read (Gen.
42-45). Joseph directed his brethren to return and bring Jacob
and his family to the land of Egypt, saying, "I will give you
the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the
land. Regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land is
yours." Accordingly Jacob and his family, to the number of
threescore and ten souls, together with "all that they had,"
went down to Egypt. They were settled in the land of Goshen,
where Joseph met his father, and "fell on his neck, and wept on
his neck a good while" (Gen. 46:29).
The excavations of Dr. Naville have shown the land of Goshen
to be the Wady Tumilat, between Ismailia and Zagazig. In Goshen
(Egyptian Qosem) they had pasture for their flocks, were near
the Asiatic frontier of Egypt, and were out of the way of the
Egyptian people. An inscription speaks of it as a district given
up to the wandering shepherds of Asia.
Jacob at length died, and in fulfilment of a promise which he
had exacted, Joseph went up to Canaan to bury his father in "the
field of Ephron the Hittite" (Gen. 47:29-31; 50:1-14). This was
the last recorded act of Joseph, who again returned to Egypt.
"The 'Story of the Two Brothers,' an Egyptian romance written
for the son of the Pharaoh of the Oppression, contains an
episode very similar to the Biblical account of Joseph's
treatment by Potiphar's wife. Potiphar and Potipherah are the
Egyptian Pa-tu-pa-Ra, 'the gift of the sun-god.' The name given
to Joseph, Zaphnath-paaneah, is probably the Egyptian
Zaf-nti-pa-ankh, 'nourisher of the living one,' i.e., of the
Pharaoh. There are many instances in the inscriptions of
foreigners in Egypt receiving Egyptian names, and rising to the
highest offices of state."
By his wife Asenath, Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim
(Gen. 41:50). Joseph having obtained a promise from his brethren
that when the time should come that God would "bring them unto
the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob,"
they would carry up his bones out of Egypt, at length died, at
the age of one hundred and ten years; and "they embalmed him,
and he was put in a coffin" (Gen. 50:26). This promise was
faithfully observed. Their descendants, long after, when the
Exodus came, carried the body about with them during their forty
years' wanderings, and at length buried it in Shechem, in the
parcel of ground which Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor
(Josh. 24:32; comp. Gen. 33:19). With the death of Joseph the
patriarchal age of the history of Israel came to a close.
The Pharaoh of Joseph's elevation was probably Apepi, or
Apopis, the last of the Hyksos kings. Some, however, think that
Joseph came to Egypt in the reign of Thothmes III. (see PHARAOH
¯T0002923), long after the expulsion of the Hyksos.
The name Joseph denotes the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh
in Deut. 33:13-17; the kingdom of Israel in Ezek. 37:16, 19,
Amos 5:6; and the whole covenant people of Israel in Ps. 81:4.
(2.) One of the sons of Asaph, head of the first division of
sacred musicians (1 Chr. 25:2, 9).
(3.) The son of Judah, and father of Semei (Luke 3:26). Other
two of the same name in the ancestry of Christ are also
mentioned (3:24, 30).
(4.) The foster-father of our Lord (Matt. 1:16; Luke 3:23). He
lived at Nazareth in Galilee (Luke 2:4). He is called a "just
man." He was by trade a carpenter (Matt. 13:55). He is last
mentioned in connection with the journey to Jerusalem, when
Jesus was twelve years old. It is probable that he died before
Jesus entered on his public ministry. This is concluded from the
fact that Mary only was present at the marriage feast in Cana of
Galilee. His name does not appear in connection with the scenes
of the crucifixion along with that of Mary (q.v.), John 19:25.
(5.) A native of Arimathea, probably the Ramah of the Old
Testament (1 Sam. 1:19), a man of wealth, and a member of the
Sanhedrim (Matt. 27:57; Luke 23:50), an "honourable counsellor,
who waited for the kingdom of God." As soon as he heard the
tidings of Christ's death, he "went in boldly" (lit. "having
summoned courage, he went") "unto Pilate, and craved the body of
Jesus." Pilate having ascertained from the centurion that the
death had really taken place, granted Joseph's request, who
immediately, having purchased fine linen (Mark 15:46), proceeded
to Golgotha to take the body down from the cross. There,
assisted by Nicodemus, he took down the body and wrapped it in
the fine linen, sprinkling it with the myrrh and aloes which
Nicodemus had brought (John 19:39), and then conveyed the body
to the new tomb hewn by Joseph himself out of a rock in his
garden hard by. There they laid it, in the presence of Mary
Magdalene, Mary the mother of Joses, and other women, and rolled
a great stone to the entrance, and departed (Luke 23:53, 55).
This was done in haste, "for the Sabbath was drawing on" (comp.
(6.) Surnamed Barsabas (Acts 1:23); also called Justus. He was
one of those who "companied with the apostles all the time that
the Lord Jesus went out and in among them" (Acts 1:21), and was
one of the candidates for the place of Judas.
increase of the people. (1.) The son of Nebat (1 Kings
11:26-39), "an Ephrathite," the first king of the ten tribes,
over whom he reigned twenty-two years (B.C. 976-945). He was the
son of a widow of Zereda, and while still young was promoted by
Solomon to be chief superintendent of the "burnden", i.e., of
the bands of forced labourers. Influenced by the words of the
prophet Ahijah, he began to form conspiracies with the view of
becoming king of the ten tribes; but these having been
discovered, he fled to Egypt (1 Kings 11:29-40), where he
remained for a length of time under the protection of Shishak I.
On the death of Solomon, the ten tribes, having revolted, sent
to invite him to become their king. The conduct of Rehoboam
favoured the designs of Jeroboam, and he was accordingly
proclaimed "king of Israel" (1 Kings 12: 1-20). He rebuilt and
fortified Shechem as the capital of his kingdom. He at once
adopted means to perpetuate the division thus made between the
two parts of the kingdom, and erected at Dan and Bethel, the two
extremities of his kingdom, "golden calves," which he set up as
symbols of Jehovah, enjoining the people not any more to go up
to worship at Jerusalem, but to bring their offerings to the
shrines he had erected. Thus he became distinguished as the man
"who made Israel to sin." This policy was followed by all the
succeeding kings of Israel.
While he was engaged in offering incense at Bethel, a prophet
from Judah appeared before him with a warning message from the
Lord. Attempting to arrest the prophet for his bold words of
defiance, his hand was "dried up," and the altar before which he
stood was rent asunder. At his urgent entreaty his "hand was
restored him again" (1 Kings 13:1-6, 9; comp. 2 Kings 23:15);
but the miracle made no abiding impression on him. His reign was
one of constant war with the house of Judah. He died soon after
his son Abijah (1 Kings 14:1-18).
(2.) Jeroboam II., the son and successor of Jehoash, and the
fourteenth king of Israel, over which he ruled for forty-one
years, B.C. 825-784 (2 Kings 14:23). He followed the example of
the first Jeroboam in keeping up the worship of the golden
calves (2 Kings 14:24). His reign was contemporary with those of
Amaziah (2 Kings 14:23) and Uzziah (15:1), kings of Judah. He
was victorious over the Syrians (13:4; 14:26, 27), and extended
Israel to its former limits, from "the entering of Hamath to the
sea of the plain" (14:25; Amos 6:14). His reign of forty-one
years was the most prosperous that Israel had ever known as yet.
With all this outward prosperity, however, iniquity widely
prevailed in the land (Amos 2:6-8; 4:1; 6:6; Hos. 4:12-14). The
prophets Hosea (1:1), Joel (3:16; Amos 1:1, 2), Amos (1:1), and
Jonah (2 Kings 14:25) lived during his reign. He died, and was
buried with his ancestors (14:29). He was succeeded by his son
His name occurs in Scripture only in 2 Kings 13:13; 14:16, 23,
27, 28, 29; 15:1, 8; 1 Chr. 5:17; Hos. 1:1; Amos 1:1; 7:9, 10,
11. In all other passages it is Jeroboam the son of Nebat that
a watch-mountain or a watch-tower. In the heart of the mountains
of Israel, a few miles north-west of Shechem, stands the "hill
of Shomeron," a solitary mountain, a great "mamelon." It is an
oblong hill, with steep but not inaccessible sides, and a long
flat top. Omri, the king of Israel, purchased this hill from
Shemer its owner for two talents of silver, and built on its
broad summit the city to which he gave the name of "Shomeron",
i.e., Samaria, as the new capital of his kingdom instead of
Tirzah (1 Kings 16:24). As such it possessed many advantages.
Here Omri resided during the last six years of his reign. As the
result of an unsuccessful war with Syria, he appears to have
been obliged to grant to the Syrians the right to "make streets
in Samaria", i.e., probably permission to the Syrian merchants
to carry on their trade in the Israelite capital. This would
imply the existence of a considerable Syrian population. "It was
the only great city of Israel created by the sovereign. All
the others had been already consecrated by patriarchal tradition
or previous possession. But Samaria was the choice of Omri
alone. He, indeed, gave to the city which he had built the name
of its former owner, but its especial connection with himself as
its founder is proved by the designation which it seems Samaria
bears in Assyrian inscriptions, Beth-khumri ('the house or
palace of Omri').", Stanley.
Samaria was frequently besieged. In the days of Ahab, Benhadad
II. came up against it with thirty-two vassal kings, but was
defeated with a great slaughter (1 Kings 20:1-21). A second
time, next year, he assailed it; but was again utterly routed,
and was compelled to surrender to Ahab (20:28-34), whose army,
as compared with that of Benhadad, was no more than "two little
flocks of kids."
In the days of Jehoram this Benhadad again laid siege to
Samaria, during which the city was reduced to the direst
extremities. But just when success seemed to be within their
reach, they suddenly broke up the seige, alarmed by a mysterious
noise of chariots and horses and a great army, and fled, leaving
their camp with all its contents behind them. The famishing
inhabitants of the city were soon relieved with the abundance of
the spoil of the Syrian camp; and it came to pass, according to
the word of Elisha, that "a measure of fine flour was sold for a
shekel, and two measures of barely for a shekel, in the gates of
Samaria" (2 Kings 7:1-20).
Shalmaneser invaded Israel in the days of Hoshea, and reduced
it to vassalage. He laid siege to Samaria (B.C. 723), which held
out for three years, and was at length captured by Sargon, who
completed the conquest Shalmaneser had begun (2 Kings 18:9-12;
17:3), and removed vast numbers of the tribes into captivity.
(See SARGON ¯T0003227.)
This city, after passing through various vicissitudes, was
given by the emperor Augustus to Herod the Great, who rebuilt
it, and called it Sebaste (Gr. form of Augustus) in honour of
the emperor. In the New Testament the only mention of it is in
Acts 8:5-14, where it is recorded that Philip went down to the
city of Samaria and preached there.
It is now represented by the hamlet of Sebustieh, containing
about three hundred inhabitants. The ruins of the ancient town
are all scattered over the hill, down the sides of which they
have rolled. The shafts of about one hundred of what must have
been grand Corinthian columns are still standing, and attract
much attention, although nothing definite is known regarding
them. (Comp. Micah 1:6.)
In the time of Christ, Western Israel was divided into
three provinces, Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Samaria occupied
the centre of Israel (John 4:4). It is called in the Talmud
the "land of the Cuthim," and is not regarded as a part of the
Holy Land at all.
It may be noticed that the distance between Samaria and
Jerusalem, the respective capitals of the two kingdoms, is only
35 miles in a direct line.
one who follows on another's heels; supplanter, (Gen. 25:26;
27:36; Hos. 12:2-4), the second born of the twin sons of Isaac
by Rebekah. He was born probably at Lahai-roi, when his father
was fifty-nine and Abraham one hundred and fifty-nine years old.
Like his father, he was of a quiet and gentle disposition, and
when he grew up followed the life of a shepherd, while his
brother Esau became an enterprising hunter. His dealing with
Esau, however, showed much mean selfishness and cunning (Gen.
When Isaac was about 160 years of age, Jacob and his mother
conspired to deceive the aged patriarch (Gen. 27), with the view
of procuring the transfer of the birthright to himself. The
birthright secured to him who possessed it (1) superior rank in
his family (Gen. 49:3); (2) a double portion of the paternal
inheritance (Deut. 21:17); (3) the priestly office in the family
(Num. 8:17-19); and (4) the promise of the Seed in which all
nations of the earth were to be blessed (Gen. 22:18).
Soon after his acquisition of his father's blessing (Gen. 27),
Jacob became conscious of his guilt; and afraid of the anger of
Esau, at the suggestion of Rebekah Isaac sent him away to Haran,
400 miles or more, to find a wife among his cousins, the family
of Laban, the Syrian (28). There he met with Rachel (29). Laban
would not consent to give him his daughter in marriage till he
had served seven years; but to Jacob these years "seemed but a
few days, for the love he had to her." But when the seven years
were expired, Laban craftily deceived Jacob, and gave him his
daughter Leah. Other seven years of service had to be completed
probably before he obtained the beloved Rachel. But "life-long
sorrow, disgrace, and trials, in the retributive providence of
God, followed as a consequence of this double union."
At the close of the fourteen years of service, Jacob desired
to return to his parents, but at the entreaty of Laban he
tarried yet six years with him, tending his flocks (31:41). He
then set out with his family and property "to go to Isaac his
father in the land of Canaan" (Gen. 31). Laban was angry when he
heard that Jacob had set out on his journey, and pursued after
him, overtaking him in seven days. The meeting was of a painful
kind. After much recrimination and reproach directed against
Jacob, Laban is at length pacified, and taking an affectionate
farewell of his daughters, returns to his home in Padanaram. And
now all connection of the Israelites with Mesopotamia is at an
Soon after parting with Laban he is met by a company of
angels, as if to greet him on his return and welcome him back to
the Land of Promise (32:1, 2). He called the name of the place
Mahanaim, i.e., "the double camp," probably his own camp and
that of the angels. The vision of angels was the counterpart of
that he had formerly seen at Bethel, when, twenty years before,
the weary, solitary traveller, on his way to Padan-aram, saw the
angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder whose top
reached to heaven (28:12).
He now hears with dismay of the approach of his brother Esau
with a band of 400 men to meet him. In great agony of mind he
prepares for the worst. He feels that he must now depend only on
God, and he betakes himself to him in earnest prayer, and sends
on before him a munificent present to Esau, "a present to my
lord Esau from thy servant Jacob." Jacob's family were then
transported across the Jabbok; but he himself remained behind,
spending the night in communion with God. While thus engaged,
there appeared one in the form of a man who wrestled with him.
In this mysterious contest Jacob prevailed, and as a memorial of
it his name was changed to Israel (wrestler with God); and the
place where this occured he called Peniel, "for", said he, "I
have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved"
After this anxious night, Jacob went on his way, halting,
mysteriously weakened by the conflict, but strong in the
assurance of the divine favour. Esau came forth and met him; but
his spirit of revenge was appeased, and the brothers met as
friends, and during the remainder of their lives they maintained
friendly relations. After a brief sojourn at Succoth, Jacob
moved forward and pitched his tent near Shechem (q.v.), 33:18;
but at length, under divine directions, he moved to Bethel,
where he made an altar unto God (35:6,7), and where God appeared
to him and renewed the Abrahamic covenant. While journeying from
Bethel to Ephrath (the Canaanitish name of Bethlehem), Rachel
died in giving birth to her second son Benjamin (35:16-20),
fifteen or sixteen years after the birth of Joseph. He then
reached the old family residence at Mamre, to wait on the dying
bed of his father Isaac. The complete reconciliation between
Esau and Jacob was shown by their uniting in the burial of the
Jacob was soon after this deeply grieved by the loss of his
beloved son Joseph through the jealousy of his brothers (37:33).
Then follows the story of the famine, and the successive goings
down into Egypt to buy corn (42), which led to the discovery of
the long-lost Joseph, and the patriarch's going down with all
his household, numbering about seventy souls (Ex. 1:5; Deut.
10:22; Acts 7:14), to sojourn in the land of Goshen. Here Jacob,
"after being strangely tossed about on a very rough ocean, found
at last a tranquil harbour, where all the best affections of his
nature were gently exercised and largely unfolded" (Gen. 48). At
length the end of his checkered course draws nigh, and he
summons his sons to his bedside that he may bless them. Among
his last words he repeats the story of Rachel's death, although
forty years had passed away since that event took place, as
tenderly as if it had happened only yesterday; and when "he had
made an end of charging his sons, he gathered up his feet into
the bed, and yielded up the ghost" (49:33). His body was
embalmed and carried with great pomp into the land of Canaan,
and buried beside his wife Leah in the cave of Machpelah,
according to his dying charge. There, probably, his embalmed
body remains to this day (50:1-13). (See HEBRON ¯T0001712.)
The history of Jacob is referred to by the prophets Hosea
(12:3, 4, 12) and Malachi (1:2). In Micah 1:5 the name is a
poetic synonym for Israel, the kingdom of the ten tribes. There
are, besides the mention of his name along with those of the
other patriarchs, distinct references to events of his life in
Paul's epistles (Rom. 9:11-13; Heb. 12:16; 11:21). See
references to his vision at Bethel and his possession of land at
Shechem in John 1:51; 4:5, 12; also to the famine which was the
occasion of his going down into Egypt in Acts 7:12 (See LUZ
¯T0002335; BETHEL ¯T0000554.)
originally denoted only the sea-coast of the land of Canaan
inhabited by the Philistines (Ex. 15:14; Isa. 14:29, 31; Joel
3:4), and in this sense exclusively the Hebrew name Pelesheth
(rendered "Philistia" in Ps. 60:8; 83:7; 87:4; 108:9) occurs in
the Old Testament.
Not till a late period in Jewish history was this name used to
denote "the land of the Hebrews" in general (Gen. 40:15). It is
also called "the holy land" (Zech. 2:12), the "land of Jehovah"
(Hos. 9:3; Ps. 85:1), the "land of promise" (Heb. 11:9), because
promised to Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 24:7), the "land of Canaan"
(Gen. 12:5), the "land of Israel" (1 Sam. 13:19), and the "land
of Judah" (Isa. 19:17).
The territory promised as an inheritance to the seed of
Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21; Num. 34:1-12) was bounded on the east by
the river Euphrates, on the west by the Mediterranean, on the
north by the "entrance of Hamath," and on the south by the
"river of Egypt." This extent of territory, about 60,000 square
miles, was at length conquered by David, and was ruled over also
by his son Solomon (2 Sam. 8; 1 Chr. 18; 1 Kings 4:1, 21). This
vast empire was the Promised Land; but Israel was only a part
of it, terminating in the north at the southern extremity of the
Lebanon range, and in the south in the wilderness of Paran, thus
extending in all to about 144 miles in length. Its average
breadth was about 60 miles from the Mediterranean on the west to
beyond the Jordan. It has fittingly been designated "the least
of all lands." Western Israel, on the south of Gaza, is only
about 40 miles in breadth from the Mediterranean to the Dead
Sea, narrowing gradually toward the north, where it is only 20
miles from the sea-coast to the Jordan.
Israel, "set in the midst" (Ezek. 5:5) of all other lands,
is the most remarkable country on the face of the earth. No
single country of such an extent has so great a variety of
climate, and hence also of plant and animal life. Moses
describes it as "a good land, a land of brooks of water, of
fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a
land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and
pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein
thou shalt not eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack
any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose
hills thou mayest dig brass" (Deut. 8:7-9).
"In the time of Christ the country looked, in all probability,
much as now. The whole land consists of rounded limestone hills,
fretted into countless stony valleys, offering but rarely level
tracts, of which Esdraelon alone, below Nazareth, is large
enough to be seen on the map. The original woods had for ages
disappeared, though the slopes were dotted, as now, with figs,
olives, and other fruit-trees where there was any soil.
Permanent streams were even then unknown, the passing rush of
winter torrents being all that was seen among the hills. The
autumn and spring rains, caught in deep cisterns hewn out like
huge underground jars in the soft limestone, with artificial
mud-banked ponds still found near all villages, furnished water.
Hills now bare, or at best rough with stunted growth, were then
terraced, so as to grow vines, olives, and grain. To-day almost
desolate, the country then teemed with population. Wine-presses
cut in the rocks, endless terraces, and the ruins of old
vineyard towers are now found amidst solitudes overgrown for
ages with thorns and thistles, or with wild shrubs and poor
gnarled scrub" (Geikie's Life of Christ).
From an early period the land was inhabited by the descendants
of Canaan, who retained possession of the whole land "from Sidon
to Gaza" till the time of the conquest by Joshua, when it was
occupied by the twelve tribes. Two tribes and a half had their
allotments given them by Moses on the east of the Jordan (Deut.
3:12-20; comp. Num. 1:17-46; Josh. 4:12-13). The remaining
tribes had their portion on the west of Jordan.
From the conquest till the time of Saul, about four hundred
years, the people were governed by judges. For a period of one
hundred and twenty years the kingdom retained its unity while it
was ruled by Saul and David and Solomon. On the death of
Solomon, his son Rehoboam ascended the throne; but his conduct
was such that ten of the tribes revolted, and formed an
independent monarchy, called the kingdom of Israel, or the
northern kingdom, the capital of which was first Shechem and
afterwards Samaria. This kingdom was destroyed. The Israelites
were carried captive by Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, B.C. 722,
after an independent existence of two hundred and fifty-three
years. The place of the captives carried away was supplied by
tribes brought from the east, and thus was formed the Samaritan
nation (2 Kings 17:24-29).
Nebuchadnezzar came up against the kingdom of the two tribes,
the kingdom of Judah, the capital of which was Jerusalem, one
hundred and thirty-four years after the overthrow of the kingdom
of Israel. He overthrew the city, plundered the temple, and
carried the people into captivity to Babylon (B.C. 587), where
they remained seventy years. At the close of the period of the
Captivity, they returned to their own land, under the edict of
Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4). They rebuilt the city and temple, and
restored the old Jewish commonwealth.
For a while after the Restoration the Jews were ruled by
Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and afterwards by the high
priests, assisted by the Sanhedrin. After the death of Alexander
the Great at Babylon (B.C. 323), his vast empire was divided
between his four generals. Egypt, Arabia, Israel, and
Coele-Syria fell to the lot of Ptolemy Lagus. Ptolemy took
possession of Israel in B.C. 320, and carried nearly one
hundred thousand of the inhabitants of Jerusalem into Egypt. He
made Alexandria the capital of his kingdom, and treated the Jews
with consideration, confirming them in the enjoyment of many
After suffering persecution at the hands of Ptolemy's
successors, the Jews threw off the Egyptian yoke, and became
subject to Antiochus the Great, the king of Syria. The cruelty
and opression of the successors of Antiochus at length led to
the revolt under the Maccabees (B.C. 163), when they threw off
the Syrian yoke.
In the year B.C. 68, Israel was reduced by Pompey the Great
to a Roman province. He laid the walls of the city in ruins, and
massacred some twelve thousand of the inhabitants. He left the
temple, however, unijured. About twenty-five years after this
the Jews revolted and cast off the Roman yoke. They were
however, subdued by Herod the Great (q.v.). The city and the
temple were destroyed, and many of the inhabitants were put to
death. About B.C. 20, Herod proceeded to rebuild the city and
restore the ruined temple, which in about nine years and a half
was so far completed that the sacred services could be resumed
in it (comp. John 2:20). He was succeeded by his son Archelaus,
who was deprived of his power, however, by Augustus, A.D. 6,
when Israel became a Roman province, ruled by Roman governors
or procurators. Pontius Pilate was the fifth of these
procurators. He was appointed to his office A.D. 25.
Exclusive of Idumea, the kingdom of Herod the Great
comprehended the whole of the country originally divided among
the twelve tribes, which he divided into four provinces or
districts. This division was recognized so long as Israel was
under the Roman dominion. These four provinces were, (1) Judea,
the southern portion of the country; (2) Samaria, the middle
province, the northern boundary of which ran along the hills to
the south of the plain of Esdraelon; (3) Galilee, the northern
province; and (4) Peraea (a Greek name meaning the "opposite
country"), the country lying east of the Jordan and the Dead
Sea. This province was subdivided into these districts, (1)
Peraea proper, lying between the rivers Arnon and Jabbok; (2)
Galaaditis (Gilead); (3) Batanaea; (4) Gaulonitis (Jaulan); (5)
Ituraea or Auranitis, the ancient Bashan; (6) Trachonitis; (7)
Abilene; (8) Decapolis, i.e., the region of the ten cities. The
whole territory of Israel, including the portions alloted to
the trans-Jordan tribes, extended to about eleven thousand
square miles. Recent exploration has shown the territory on the
west of Jordan alone to be six thousand square miles in extent,
the size of the principality of Wales.