dry. (1.) For Jabesh-Gilead (1 Sam. 11:3,9,10).
(2.) The father of Shallum (2 Kings 15:10, 13, 14), who
usurped the throne of Israel on the death of Zachariah.
a town on the east of Jordan, on the top of one of the green
hills of Gilead, within the limits of the half tribe of
Manasseh, and in full view of Beth-shan. It is first mentioned
in connection with the vengeance taken on its inhabitants
because they had refused to come up to Mizpeh to take part with
Israel against the tribe of Benjamin (Judg. 21:8-14). After the
battles at Gibeah, that tribe was almost extinguished, only six
hundred men remaining. An expedition went against Jabesh-Gilead,
the whole of whose inhabitants were put to the sword, except
four hundred maidens, whom they brought as prisoners and sent to
"proclaim peace" to the Benjamites who had fled to the crag
Rimmon. These captives were given to them as wives, that the
tribe might be saved from extinction (Judg. 21).
This city was afterwards taken by Nahash, king of the
Ammonites, but was delivered by Saul, the newly-elected king of
Israel. In gratitude for this deliverance, forty years after
this, the men of Jabesh-Gilead took down the bodies of Saul and
of his three sons from the walls of Beth-shan, and after burning
them, buried the bones under a tree near the city (1 Sam.
31:11-13). David thanked them for this act of piety (2 Sam.
2:4-6), and afterwards transferred the remains to the royal
sepulchre (21:14). It is identified with the ruins of ed-Deir,
about 6 miles south of Pella, on the north of the Wady Yabis.
whom Jehovah gave, the name of fifteen or more persons that are
mentioned in Scripture. The chief of these are, (1.) A Levite
descended from Gershom (Judg. 18:30). His history is recorded in
17:7-13 and 18:30. The Rabbins changed this name into Manasseh
"to screen the memory of the great lawgiver from the stain of
having so unworthy an apostate among his near descendants." He
became priest of the idol image at Dan, and this office
continued in his family till the Captivity.
(2.) The eldest son of king Saul, and the bosom friend of
David. He is first mentioned when he was about thirty years of
age, some time after his father's accession to the throne (1
Sam. 13:2). Like his father, he was a man of great strength and
activity (2 Sam. 1:23), and excelled in archery and slinging (1
Chr. 12:2;2 Sam. 1:22). The affection that evidently subsisted
between him and his father was interrupted by the growth of
Saul's insanity. At length, "in fierce anger," he left his
father's presence and cast in his lot with the cause of David (1
Sam. 20:34). After an eventful career, interwoven to a great
extent with that of David, he fell, along with his father and
his two brothers, on the fatal field of Gilboa (1 Sam. 31:2, 8).
He was first buried at Jabesh-gilead, but his remains were
afterwards removed with those of his father to Zelah, in
Benjamin (2 Sam. 21:12-14). His death was the occasion of
David's famous elegy of "the Song of the Bow" (2 Sam. 1:17-27).
He left one son five years old, Merib-baal, or Mephibosheth (2
Sam. 4:4; comp. 1 Chr. 8:34).
(3.) Son of the high priest Abiathar, and one who adhered to
David at the time of Absalom's rebellion (2 Sam. 15:27, 36). He
is the last descendant of Eli of whom there is any record.
(4.) Son of Shammah, and David's nephew, and also one of his
chief warriors (2 Sam. 21:21). He slew a giant in Gath.
serpent. (1.) King of the Ammonites in the time of Saul. The
inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead having been exposed to great danger
from Nahash, sent messengers to Gibeah to inform Saul of their
extremity. He promptly responded to the call, and gathering
together an army he marched against Nahash. "And it came to pass
that they which remained were scattered, so that two of them
[the Ammonites] were not left together" (1 Sam. 11:1-11).
(2.) Another king of the Ammonites of the same name is
mentioned, who showed kindness to David during his wanderings (2
Sam. 10:2). On his death David sent an embassy of sympathy to
Hanun, his son and successor, at Rabbah Ammon, his capital. The
grievous insult which was put upon these ambassadors led to a
war against the Ammonites, who, with their allies the Syrians,
were completely routed in a battle fought at "the entering in of
the gate," probably of Medeba (2 Sam. 10:6-14). Again Hadarezer
rallied the Syrian host, which was totally destroyed by the
Israelite army under Joab in a decisive battle fought at Helam
(2 Sam. 10:17), near to Hamath (1 Chr. 18:3). "So the Syrians
feared to help the children of Ammon any more" (2 Sam. 10:19).
(3.) The father of Amasa, who was commander-in-chief of
Abasolom's army (2 Sam. 17:25). Jesse's wife had apparently been
first married to this man, to whom she bore Abigail and Zeruiah,
who were thus David's sisters, but only on the mother's side (1
asked for. (1.) A king of Edom (Gen. 36:37, 38); called Shaul in
1 Chr. 1:48.
(2.) The son of Kish (probably his only son, and a child of
prayer, "asked for"), of the tribe of Benjamin, the first king
of the Jewish nation. The singular providential circumstances
connected with his election as king are recorded in 1 Sam. 8-10.
His father's she-asses had strayed, and Saul was sent with a
servant to seek for them. Leaving his home at Gibeah (10:5, "the
hill of God," A.V.; lit., as in R.V. marg., "Gibeah of God"),
Saul and his servant went toward the north-west over Mount
Ephraim, and then turning north-east they came to "the land of
Shalisha," and thence eastward to the land of Shalim, and at
length came to the district of Zuph, near Samuel's home at Ramah
(9:5-10). At this point Saul proposed to return from the three
days' fruitless search, but his servant suggested that they
should first consult the "seer." Hearing that he was about to
offer sacrifice, the two hastened into Ramah, and "behold,
Samuel came out against them," on his way to the "bamah", i.e.,
the "height", where sacrifice was to be offered; and in answer
to Saul's question, "Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer's
house is," Samuel made himself known to him. Samuel had been
divinely prepared for his coming (9:15-17), and received Saul as
his guest. He took him with him to the sacrifice, and then after
the feast "communed with Saul upon the top of the house" of all
that was in his heart. On the morrow Samuel "took a vial of oil
and poured it on his head," and anointed Saul as king over
Israel (9:25-10:8), giving him three signs in confirmation of
his call to be king. When Saul reached his home in Gibeah the
last of these signs was fulfilled, and the Sprit of God came
upon him, and "he was turned into another man." The simple
countryman was transformed into the king of Israel, a remarkable
change suddenly took place in his whole demeanour, and the
people said in their astonishment, as they looked on the
stalwart son of Kish, "Is Saul also among the prophets?", a
saying which passed into a "proverb." (Comp. 19:24.)
The intercourse between Saul and Samuel was as yet unknown to
the people. The "anointing" had been in secret. But now the time
had come when the transaction must be confirmed by the nation.
Samuel accordingly summoned the people to a solemn assembly
"before the Lord" at Mizpeh. Here the lot was drawn (10:17-27),
and it fell upon Saul, and when he was presented before them,
the stateliest man in all Israel, the air was rent for the first
time in Israel by the loud cry, "God save the king!" He now
returned to his home in Gibeah, attended by a kind of bodyguard,
"a band of men whose hearts God had touched." On reaching his
home he dismissed them, and resumed the quiet toils of his
Soon after this, on hearing of the conduct of Nahash the
Ammonite at Jabeshgilead (q.v.), an army out of all the tribes
of Israel rallied at his summons to the trysting-place at Bezek,
and he led them forth a great army to battle, gaining a complete
victory over the Ammonite invaders at Jabesh (11:1-11). Amid the
universal joy occasioned by this victory he was now fully
recognized as the king of Israel. At the invitation of Samuel
"all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king
before the Lord in Gilgal." Samuel now officially anointed him
as king (11:15). Although Samuel never ceased to be a judge in
Israel, yet now his work in that capacity practically came to an
Saul now undertook the great and difficult enterprise of
freeing the land from its hereditary enemies the Philistines,
and for this end he gathered together an army of 3,000 men (1
Sam. 13:1, 2). The Philistines were encamped at Geba. Saul, with
2,000 men, occupied Michmash and Mount Bethel; while his son
Jonathan, with 1,000 men, occupied Gibeah, to the south of Geba,
and seemingly without any direction from his father "smote" the
Philistines in Geba. Thus roused, the Philistines, who gathered
an army of 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen, and "people as
the sand which is on the sea-shore in multitude," encamped in
Michmash, which Saul had evacuated for Gilgal. Saul now tarried
for seven days in Gilgal before making any movement, as Samuel
had appointed (10:8); but becoming impatient on the seventh day,
as it was drawing to a close, when he had made an end of
offering the burnt offering, Samuel appeared and warned him of
the fatal consequences of his act of disobedience, for he had
not waited long enough (13:13, 14).
When Saul, after Samuel's departure, went out from Gilgal with
his 600 men, his followers having decreased to that number
(13:15), against the Philistines at Michmash (q.v.), he had his
head-quarters under a pomegrante tree at Migron, over against
Michmash, the Wady esSuweinit alone intervening. Here at
Gibeah-Geba Saul and his army rested, uncertain what to do.
Jonathan became impatient, and with his armour-bearer planned an
assault against the Philistines, unknown to Saul and the army
(14:1-15). Jonathan and his armour-bearer went down into the
wady, and on their hands and knees climbed to the top of the
narrow rocky ridge called Bozez, where was the outpost of the
Philistine army. They surprised and then slew twenty of the
Philistines, and immediately the whole host of the Philistines
was thrown into disorder and fled in great terror. "It was a
very great trembling;" a supernatural panic seized the host.
Saul and his 600 men, a band which speedily increased to 10,000,
perceiving the confusion, pursued the army of the Philistines,
and the tide of battle rolled on as far as to Bethaven, halfway
between Michmash and Bethel. The Philistines were totally
routed. "So the Lord saved Israel that day." While pursuing the
Philistines, Saul rashly adjured the people, saying, "Cursed be
the man that eateth any food until evening." But though faint
and weary, the Israelites "smote the Philistines that day from
Michmash to Aijalon" (a distance of from 15 to 20 miles).
Jonathan had, while passing through the wood in pursuit of the
Philistines, tasted a little of the honeycomb which was abundant
there (14:27). This was afterwards discovered by Saul (ver. 42),
and he threatened to put his son to death. The people, however,
interposed, saying, "There shall not one hair of his head fall
to the ground." He whom God had so signally owned, who had
"wrought this great salvation in Israel," must not die. "Then
Saul went up from following the Philistines: and the Philistines
went to their own place" (1 Sam. 14:24-46); and thus the
campaign against the Philistines came to an end. This was Saul's
second great military success.
Saul's reign, however, continued to be one of almost constant
war against his enemies round about (14:47, 48), in all of which
he proved victorious. The war against the Amalekites is the only
one which is recorded at length (1 Sam. 15). These oldest and
hereditary (Ex. 17:8; Num. 14:43-45) enemies of Israel occupied
the territory to the south and south-west of Israel. Samuel
summoned Saul to execute the "ban" which God had pronounced
(Deut. 25:17-19) on this cruel and relentless foe of Israel. The
cup of their iniquity was now full. This command was "the test
of his moral qualification for being king." Saul proceeded to
execute the divine command; and gathering the people together,
marched from Telaim (1 Sam. 15:4) against the Amalekites, whom
he smote "from Havilah until thou comest to Shur," utterly
destroying "all the people with the edge of the sword", i.e.,
all that fell into his hands. He was, however, guilty of
rebellion and disobedience in sparing Agag their king, and in
conniving at his soldiers' sparing the best of the sheep and
cattle; and Samuel, following Saul to Gilgal, in the Jordan
valley, said unto him, "Because thou hast rejected the word of
the Lord, he also hath rejected thee from being king" (15:23).
The kingdom was rent from Saul and was given to another, even to
David, whom the Lord chose to be Saul's successor, and whom
Samuel anointed (16:1-13). From that day "the spirit of the Lord
departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled
him." He and Samuel parted only to meet once again at one of the
schools of the prophets.
David was now sent for as a "cunning player on an harp" (1
Sam. 16:16, 18), to play before Saul when the evil spirit
troubled him, and thus was introduced to the court of Saul. He
became a great favourite with the king. At length David returned
to his father's house and to his wonted avocation as a shepherd
for perhaps some three years. The Philistines once more invaded
the land, and gathered their army between Shochoh and Azekah, in
Ephes-dammim, on the southern slope of the valley of Elah. Saul
and the men of Israel went forth to meet them, and encamped on
the northern slope of the same valley which lay between the two
armies. It was here that David slew Goliath of Gath, the
champion of the Philistines (17:4-54), an exploit which led to
the flight and utter defeat of the Philistine army. Saul now
took David permanently into his service (18:2); but he became
jealous of him (ver. 9), and on many occasions showed his enmity
toward him (ver. 10, 11), his enmity ripening into a purpose of
murder which at different times he tried in vain to carry out.
After some time the Philistines "gathered themselves together"
in the plain of Esdraelon, and pitched their camp at Shunem, on
the slope of Little Hermon; and Saul "gathered all Israel
together," and "pitched in Gilboa" (1 Sam. 28:3-14). Being
unable to discover the mind of the Lord, Saul, accompanied by
two of his retinue, betook himself to the "witch of Endor," some
7 or 8 miles distant. Here he was overwhelmed by the startling
communication that was mysteriously made to him by Samuel (ver.
16-19), who appeared to him. "He fell straightway all along on
the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel"
(ver. 20). The Philistine host "fought against Israel: and the
men of Israel fled before the Philistines, and fell down slain
in Mount Gilboa" (31:1). In his despair at the disaster that had
befallen his army, Saul "took a sword and fell upon it." And the
Philistines on the morrow "found Saul and his three sons fallen
in Mount Gilboa." Having cut off his head, they sent it with his
weapons to Philistia, and hung up the skull in the temple of
Dagon at Ashdod. They suspended his headless body, with that of
Jonathan, from the walls of Bethshan. The men of Jabesh-gilead
afterwards removed the bodies from this position; and having
burnt the flesh, they buried the bodies under a tree at Jabesh.
The remains were, however, afterwards removed to the family
sepulchre at Zelah (2 Sam. 21:13, 14). (See DAVID ¯T0000982.)
(3.) "Who is also called Paul" (q.v.), the circumcision name
of the apostle, given to him, perhaps, in memory of King Saul
(Acts 7:58; 8:1; 9:1).
the queen, the daughter of Machir and sister of Gilead (1 Chr.
7:17, 18). Abiezer was one of her three children.
fullers, a town of Gilead, the residence of Barzillai the
Gileadite (2 Sam. 17:27; 19:31), probably near to Mahanaim.
Elijah the prophet was thus named (1 Kings 17:1; 21:17, 28,
etc.). In 1 Kings 17:1 the word rendered "inhabitants" is in the
original the same as that rendered "Tishbite," hence that verse
may be read as in the LXX., "Elijah the Tishbite of Tishbi in
Gilead." Some interpret this word as meaning "stranger," and
read the verse, "Elijah the stranger from among the strangers in
Gilead." This designation is probably given to the prophet as
denoting that his birthplace was Tishbi, a place in Upper
Galilee (mentioned in the apocryphal book of Tobit), from which
for some reason he migrated into Gilead. Josephus, the Jewish
historian (Ant. 8:13, 2), however, supposes that Tishbi was some
place in the land of Gilead. It has been identified by some with
el-Ishtib, a some place 22 miles due south of the Sea of
Galilee, among the mountains of Gilead.
hill of testimony, (Gen. 31:21), a mountainous region east of
Jordan. From its mountainous character it is called "the mount
of Gilead" (Gen. 31:25). It is called also "the land of Gilead"
(Num. 32:1), and sometimes simply "Gilead" (Ps. 60:7; Gen.
37:25). It comprised the possessions of the tribes of Gad and
Reuben and the south part of Manasseh (Deut. 3:13; Num. 32:40).
It was bounded on the north by Bashan, and on the south by Moab
and Ammon (Gen. 31:21; Deut. 3:12-17). "Half Gilead" was
possessed by Sihon, and the other half, separated from it by the
river Jabbok, by Og, king of Bashan. The deep ravine of the
river Hieromax (the modern Sheriat el-Mandhur) separated Bashan
from Gilead, which was about 60 miles in length and 20 in
breadth, extending from near the south end of the Lake of
Gennesaret to the north end of the Dead Sea. Abarim, Pisgah,
Nebo, and Peor are its mountains mentioned in Scripture.
a valiant man, (1 Kings 4:19), one of Solomon's purveyors,
having jurisdiction over a part of Gilead, comprising all the
kingdom of Sihon and part of the kingdom of Og (Deut. 2; 31).
no pasture, (2 Sam. 17:27), a town in Gilead not far from
Mahanaim, north of the Jabbok (9:4, 5). It is probably identical
with Debir (Josh. 13:26).
howling. (1.) Num. 32:42.
(2.) The name given to Kenath (q.v.) by Nobah when he
conquered it. It was on the east of Gilead (Judg. 8:11).
the land of the newly inhabited, (2 Sam. 24:6). It is
conjectured that, instead of this word, the reading should be,
"the Hittites of Kadesh," the Hittite capital, on the Orontes.
It was apparently some region east of the Jordan and north of
heights of Gilead, a city of refuge on the east of Jordan;
called "Ramoth in Gilead" (Deut. 4:43; Josh. 20:8; 21:38). Here
Ahab, who joined Jehoshaphat in an endeavour to rescue it from
the hands of the king of Syria, was mortally wounded (1 Kings
22:1-36). A similar attempt was afterwards made by Ahaziah and
Joram, when the latter was wounded (2 Kings 8:28). In this city
Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, was anointed by one of the sons of
the prophets (9:1, 4).
It has with probability been identified with Reimun, on the
northern slope of the Jabbok, about 5 miles west of Jerash or
Gerasa, one of the cities of Decapolis. Others identify it with
Gerosh, about 25 miles north-east of es-Salt, with which also
many have identified it. (See RAMATH-MIZPEH ¯T0003066.)
Ephraim, Wood of
a forest in which a fatal battle was fought between the army of
David and that of Absalom, who was killed there (2 Sam. 18:6,
8). It lay on the east of Jordan, not far from Mahanaim, and was
some part of the great forest of Gilead.
a well or stream. (1.) A royal city of the Canaanites taken by
(2.) The youngest son of Gilead (Num. 26:32; 27:1).
(3.) The second son of Asher (1 Chr. 4:6).
(4.) One of David's heroes (1 Chr. 11:36).
possession, a city of Gilead. It was captured by Nobah, who
called it by his own name (Num. 32:42). It has been identified
with Kunawat, on the slopes of Jebel Hauran (Mount Bashan), 60
miles east from the south end of the Sea of Galilee.
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.)
whom God sets free, or the breaker through, a "mighty man of
valour" who delivered Israel from the oppression of the
Ammonites (Judg. 11:1-33), and judged Israel six years (12:7).
He has been described as "a wild, daring, Gilead mountaineer, a
sort of warrior Elijah." After forty-five years of comparative
quiet Israel again apostatized, and in "process of time the
children of Ammon made war against Israel" (11:5). In their
distress the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the
land of Tob, to which he had fled when driven out wrongfully by
his brothers from his father's inheritance (2), and the people
made him their head and captain. The "elders of Gilead" in their
extremity summoned him to their aid, and he at once undertook
the conduct of the war against Ammon. Twice he sent an embassy
to the king of Ammon, but in vain. War was inevitable. The
people obeyed his summons, and "the spirit of the Lord came upon
him." Before engaging in war he vowed that if successful he
would offer as a "burnt-offering" whatever would come out of the
door of his house first to meet him on his return. The defeat of
the Ammonites was complete. "He smote them from Aroer, even till
thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of
the vineyards [Heb. 'Abel Keramim], with a very great slaughter"
(Judg. 11:33). The men of Ephraim regarded themselves as
insulted in not having been called by Jephthah to go with him to
war against Ammon. This led to a war between the men of Gilead
and Ephraim (12:4), in which many of the Ephraimites perished.
(See SHIBBOLETH ¯T0003366.) "Then died Jephthah the Gileadite,
and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead" (7).
Gilead, Balm of
The region of Gilead abounded in spices and aromatic gums, which
were exported to Egypt and Tyre (Gen. 37:25; Jer. 8:22; 46:11;
Ezek. 27:17). The word "balm" is a contracted form of "balsam,"
a word derived from the Greek _balsamon_, which was adopted as
the representative of the Hebrew words _baal shemen_, meaning
"lord" or "chief of oils."
The Hebrew name of this balm was _tsori_. The tree yielding
this medicinal oil was probably the Balsamodendron opobalsamum
of botanists, and the Amyris opobalsamum of Linnaeus. It is an
evergreen, rising to the height of about 14 feet. The oil or
resin, exuding through an orifice made in its bark in very small
quantities, is esteemed of great value for its supposed
medicinal qualities. (See BALM ¯T0000427.) It may be noted that
Coverdale's version reads in Jer. 8:22, "There is no triacle in
Galaad." The word "triacle" = "treacle" is used in the sense of
retribution. (1.) The son of Jabesh, otherwise unknown. He
"conspired against Zachariah, and smote him before the people,
and slew him, and reigned in his stead" (2 Kings 15:10). He
reigned only "a month of days in Samaria" (15:13, marg.).
Menahem rose up against Shallum and put him to death (2 Kings
15:14, 15, 17), and became king in his stead.
(2.) Keeper of the temple vestments in the reign of Josiah (2
(3.) One of the posterity of Judah (1 Chr. 2:40, 41).
(4.) A descendant of Simeon (1 Chr. 4:25).
(5.) One of the line of the high priests (1 Chr. 6:13).
(6.) 1 Chr. 7:13.
(7.) A keeper of the gate in the reign of David (1 Chr. 9:17).
(8.) A Levite porter (1 Chr. 9:19, 31; Jer. 35:4).
(9.) An Ephraimite chief (2 Chr. 28:12).
(10.) The uncle of the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 32:7).
(11.) A son of king Josiah (1 Chr. 3:15; Jer. 22:11), who was
elected to succeed his father on the throne, although he was two
years younger than his brother Eliakim. He assumed the crown
under the name of Jehoahaz (q.v.). He did not imitate the
example of his father (2 Kings 23:32), but was "a young lion,
and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men" (Ezek. 19:3).
His policy was anti-Egyptian therefore. Necho, at that time at
Riblah, sent an army against Jerusalem, which at once yielded,
and Jehoahaz was carried captive to the Egyptian camp, Eliakim
being appointed king in his stead. He remained a captive in
Egypt till his death, and was the first king of Judah that died
father of help; i.e., "helpful." (1.) The second of the three
sons of Hammoleketh, the sister of Gilead. He was the grandson
of Manasseh (1 Chr. 7:18). From his family Gideon sprang (Josh.
17:2; comp. Judg. 6:34; 8:2). He was also called Jeezer (Num.
(2.) One of David's thirty warriors (2 Sam. 23:27; comp. 1
(3.) The prince of the tribe of Dan at the Exodus (Num. 1:12).
swift, the southern boundary of the territory of Israel beyond
Jordan, separating it from the land of Moab (Deut. 3:8, 16).
This river (referred to twenty-four times in the Bible) rises in
the mountains of Gilead, and after a circuitous course of about
80 miles through a deep ravine it falls into the Dead Sea nearly
opposite Engedi. The stream is almost dry in summer. It is now
called el-Mujeb. The territory of the Amorites extended from the
Arnon to the Jabbok.
crowns. (1.) A city east of Jordan, not far from Gilead (Num.
(2.) A town on the border of Ephraim and Benjamin (Josh. 16:2,
7), called also Ataroth-adar (16:5). Now ed-Da'rieh.
(3.) "Ataroth, the house of Joab" (1 Chr. 2:54), a town of
Judah inhabited by the descendants of Caleb.
full of stalks, a place (Judg. 10:5) where Jair was buried. It
has usually been supposed to have been a city of Gilead, on the
east of Jordan. It is probably, however, the modern
Tell-el-Kaimun, on the southern slopes of Carmel, the Jokneam of
Carmel (Josh. 12:22; 1 Kings 4:12), since it is not at all
unlikely that after he became judge, Jair might find it more
convenient to live on the west side of Jordan; and that he was
buried where he had lived.
bridge, the name of a district or principality of Syria near
Gilead, between Mount Hermon and the Lake of Tiberias (2 Sam.
15:8; 1 Chr. 2:23). The Geshurites probably inhabited the rocky
fastness of Argob, the modern Lejah, in the north-east corner of
Bashan. In the time of David it was ruled by Talmai, whose
daughter he married, and who was the mother of Absalom, who fled
to Geshur after the murder of Amnon (2 Sam. 13:37).
hamlets of the enlightener a district in the east of Jordan.
(1.) Jair, the son of Manasseh, took some villages of Gilead and
called them by this name (Num. 32:41).
(2.) Again, it is said that Jair "took all the tract of
Argob," and called it Bashanhavoth-jair (Deut. 3:14). (See also
Josh. 13:30; 1 Kings 4:13; 1 Chr. 2:22, 23.)
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.
enlightener. (1.) The son of Segub. He was brought up with his
mother in Gilead, where he had possessions (1 Chr. 2:22). He
distinguished himself in an expedition against Bashan, and
settled in the part of Argob on the borders of Gilead. The small
towns taken by him there are called Havoth-jair, i.e., "Jair's
villages" (Num. 32:41; Deut. 3:14; Josh. 13:30).
(2.) The eighth judge of Israel, which he ruled for twenty-two
years. His opulence is described in Judg. 10:3-5. He had thirty
sons, each riding on "ass colts." They had possession of thirty
of the sixty cities (1 Kings 4:13; 1 Chr. 2:23) which formed the
(3.) A Benjamite, the father of Mordecai, Esther's uncle
(4.) The father of Elhanan, who slew Lahmi, the brother of
Goliath (1 Chr. 20:5).
he (God) helps, a city of the Amorites on the east of Jordan,
and assigned, with neighbouring places in Gilead, to Gad (Num.
32:1, 35; Josh. 13:25). It was allotted to the Merarite Levites
(21:39). In David's time it was occupied by the Hebronites,
i.e., the descendants of Kohath (1 Chr. 26:31). It is mentioned
in the "burdens" proclaimed over Moab (Isa. 16:8, 9; Jer.
48:32). Its site is marked by the modern ruin called Sar or
Seir, about 10 miles west of Amman, and 12 from Heshbon. "The
vineyards that once covered the hill-sides are gone; and the
wild Bedawin from the eastern desert make cultivation of any
or Miz'peh, watch-tower; the look-out. (1.) A place in Gilead,
so named by Laban, who overtook Jacob at this spot (Gen. 31:49)
on his return to Israel from Padan-aram. Here Jacob and Laban
set up their memorial cairn of stones. It is the same as
Ramath-mizpeh (Josh. 13:26).
(2.) A town in Gilead, where Jephthah resided, and where he
assumed the command of the Israelites in a time of national
danger. Here he made his rash vow; and here his daughter
submitted to her mysterious fate (Judg. 10:17; 11:11, 34). It
may be the same as Ramoth-Gilead (Josh. 20:8), but it is more
likely that it is identical with the foregoing, the Mizpeh of
Gen. 31:23, 25, 48, 49.
(3.) Another place in Gilead, at the foot of Mount Hermon,
inhabited by Hivites (Josh. 11:3, 8). The name in Hebrew here
has the article before it, "the Mizpeh," "the watch-tower." The
modern village of Metullah, meaning also "the look-out,"
probably occupies the site so called.
(4.) A town of Moab to which David removed his parents for
safety during his persecution by Saul (1 Sam. 22:3). This was
probably the citadel known as Kir-Moab, now Kerak. While David
resided here he was visited by the prophet Gad, here mentioned
for the first time, who was probably sent by Samuel to bid him
leave the land of Moab and betake himself to the land of Judah.
He accordingly removed to the forest of Hareth (q.v.), on the
edge of the mountain chain of Hebron.
(5.) A city of Benjamin, "the watch-tower", where the people
were accustomed to meet in great national emergencies (Josh.
18:26; Judg. 20:1, 3; 21:1, 5; 1 Sam. 7:5-16). It has been
supposed to be the same as Nob (1 Sam. 21:1; 22:9-19). It was
some 4 miles north-west of Jerusalem, and was situated on the
loftiest hill in the neighbourhood, some 600 feet above the
plain of Gibeon. This village has the modern name of Neby
Samwil, i.e., the prophet Samuel, from a tradition that Samuel's
tomb is here. (See NOB ¯T0002742.)
Samuel inaugurated the reformation that characterized his time
by convening a great assembly of all Israel at Mizpeh, now the
politico-religious centre of the nation. There, in deep
humiliation on account of their sins, they renewed their vows
and entered again into covenant with the God of their fathers.
It was a period of great religious awakening and of revived
national life. The Philistines heard of this assembly, and came
up against Israel. The Hebrews charged the Philistine host with
great fury, and they were totally routed. Samuel commemorated
this signal victory by erecting a memorial-stone, which he
called "Ebenezer" (q.v.), saying, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped
us" (1 Sam. 7:7-12).
first-born, of the tribe of Manasseh, and of the family of
Gilead; died in the wilderness. Having left no sons, his
daughters, concerned lest their father's name should be "done
away from among his family," made an appeal to Moses, who, by
divine direction, appointed it as "a statute of judgment" in
Israel that daughters should inherit their father's portion when
no sons were left (Num. 27:1-11). But that the possession of
Zelophehad might not pass away in the year of jubilee from the
tribe to which he belonged, it was ordained by Moses that his
daughters should not marry any one out of their father's tribe;
and this afterwards became a general law (Num. 36).
light soil, first mentioned in Gen. 14:5, where it is said that
Chedorlaomer and his confederates "smote the Rephaim in
Ashteroth," where Og the king of Bashan had his residence. At
the time of Israel's entrance into the Promised Land, Og came
out against them, but was utterly routed (Num. 21:33-35; Deut.
3:1-7). This country extended from Gilead in the south to Hermon
in the north, and from the Jordan on the west to Salcah on the
east. Along with the half of Gilead it was given to the
half-tribe of Manasseh (Josh. 13:29-31). Golan, one of its
cities, became a "city of refuge" (Josh. 21:27). Argob, in
Bashan, was one of Solomon's commissariat districts (1 Kings
4:13). The cities of Bashan were taken by Hazael (2 Kings
10:33), but were soon after reconquered by Jehoash (2 Kings
13:25), who overcame the Syrians in three battles, according to
the word of Elisha (19). From this time Bashan almost disappears
from history, although we read of the wild cattle of its rich
pastures (Ezek. 39:18; Ps. 22:12), the oaks of its forests (Isa.
2:13; Ezek. 27:6; Zech. 11:2), and the beauty of its extensive
plains (Amos 4:1; Jer. 50:19). Soon after the conquest, the name
"Gilead" was given to the whole country beyond Jordan. After the
Exile, Bashan was divided into four districts, (1.) Gaulonitis,
or Jaulan, the most western; (2.) Auranitis, the Hauran (Ezek.
47:16); (3.) Argob or Trachonitis, now the Lejah; and (4.)
Batanaea, now Ard-el-Bathanyeh, on the east of the Lejah, with
many deserted towns almost as perfect as when they were
inhabited. (See HAURAN ¯T0001675.)
a cutting; separation; a gorge, a torrent-bed or winter-stream,
a "brook," in whose banks the prophet Elijah hid himself during
the early part of the three years' drought (1 Kings 17:3, 5). It
has by some been identified as the Wady el-Kelt behind Jericho,
which is formed by the junction of many streams flowing from the
mountains west of Jericho. It is dry in summer. Travellers have
described it as one of the wildest ravines of this wild region,
and peculiarly fitted to afford a secure asylum to the
persecuted. But if the prophet's interview with Ahab was in
Samaria, and he thence journeyed toward the east, it is probable
that he crossed Jordan and found refuge in some of the ravines
of Gilead. The "brook" is said to have been "before Jordan,"
which probably means that it opened toward that river, into
which it flowed. This description would apply to the east as
well as to the west of Jordan. Thus Elijah's hiding-place may
have been the Jermuk, in the territory of the half-tribe of
ten cities=deka, ten, and polis, a city, a district on the east
and south-east of the Sea of Galilee containing "ten cities,"
which were chiefly inhabited by Greeks. It included a portion of
Bashan and Gilead, and is mentioned three times in the New
Testament (Matt. 4:25; Mark 5:20; 7:31). These cities were
Scythopolis, i.e., "city of the Scythians", (ancient Bethshean,
the only one of the ten cities on the west of Jordan), Hippos,
Gadara, Pella (to which the Christians fled just before the
destruction of Jerusalem), Philadelphia (ancient Rabbath-ammon),
Gerasa, Dion, Canatha, Raphana, and Damascus. When the Romans
conquered Syria (B.C. 65) they rebuilt, and endowed with certain
privileges, these "ten cities," and the province connected with
them they called "Decapolis."
witness, a word not found in the original Hebrew, nor in the
LXX. and Vulgate, but added by the translators in the Authorized
Version, also in the Revised Version, of Josh. 22:34. The words
are literally rendered: "And the children of Reuben and the
children of Gad named the altar. It is a witness between us that
Jehovah is God." This great altar stood probably on the east
side of the Jordan, in the land of Gilead, "over against the
land of Canaan." After the division of the Promised Land, the
tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, on
returning to their own settlements on the east of Jordan (Josh.
22:1-6), erected a great altar, which they affirmed, in answer
to the challenge of the other tribes, was not for sacrifice, but
only as a witness ('Ed) or testimony to future generations that
they still retained the same interest in the nation as the other
a pouring out, or a wrestling, one of the streams on the east of
Jordan, into which it falls about midway between the Sea of
Galilee and the Dead Sea, or about 45 miles below the Sea of
Galilee. It rises on the eastern side of the mountains of
Gilead, and runs a course of about 65 miles in a wild and deep
ravine. It was the boundary between the territory of the
Ammonites and that of Og, king of Bashan (Josh. 12:1-5; Num.
21:24); also between the tribe of Reuben and the half tribe of
Manasseh (21:24; Deut. 3:16). In its course westward across the
plains it passes more than once underground. "The scenery along
its banks is probably the most picturesque in Israel; and the
ruins of town and village and fortress which stud the
surrounding mountain-side render the country as interesting as
it is beautiful." This river is now called the Zerka, or blue
sold. (1.) Manasseh's oldest son (Josh. 17:1), or probably his
only son (see 1 Chr. 7:14, 15; comp. Num. 26:29-33; Josh.
13:31). His descendants are referred to under the name of
Machirites, being the offspring of Gilead (Num. 26:29). They
settled in land taken from the Amorites (Num. 32:39, 40; Deut.
3:15) by a special enactment (Num. 36:1-3; Josh. 17:3, 4). He is
once mentioned as the representative of the tribe of Manasseh
east of Jordan (Judg. 5:14).
(2.) A descendant of the preceding, residing at Lo-debar,
where he maintained Jonathan's son Mephibosheth till he was
taken under the care of David (2 Sam. 9:4), and where he
afterwards gave shelter to David himself when he was a fugitive
who is like Jehovah?, the son of Imlah, a faithful prophet of
Samaria (1 Kings 22:8-28). Three years after the great battle
with Ben-hadad (20:29-34), Ahab proposed to Jehoshaphat, king of
Judah, that they should go up against Ramoth-Gilead to do battle
again with Ben-hadad. Jehoshaphat agreed, but suggested that
inquiry should be first made "at the word of Jehovah." Ahab's
prophets approved of the expedition; but Jehoshaphat, still
dissatisfied, asked if there was no other prophet besides the
four hundred that had appeared, and was informed of this
Micaiah. He was sent for from prison, where he had been
confined, probably on account of some prediction disagreeable to
Ahab; and he condemned the expedition, and prophesied that it
would end, as it did, in disaster. We hear nothing further of
this prophet. Some have supposed that he was the unnamed prophet
referred to in 1 Kings 20:35-42.
river, or an ear of corn. The tribes living on the east of
Jordan, separated from their brethren on the west by the deep
ravines and the rapid river, gradually came to adopt peculiar
customs, and from mixing largely with the Moabites, Ishmaelites,
and Ammonites to pronounce certain letters in such a manner as
to distinguish them from the other tribes. Thus when the
Ephraimites from the west invaded Gilead, and were defeated by
the Gileadites under the leadership of Jephthah, and tried to
escape by the "passages of the Jordan," the Gileadites seized
the fords and would allow none to pass who could not pronounce
"shibboleth" with a strong aspirate. This the fugitives were
unable to do. They said "sibboleth," as the word was pronounced
by the tribes on the west, and thus they were detected (Judg.
12:1-6). Forty-two thousand were thus detected, and
"Without reprieve, adjudged to death,
For want of well-pronouncing shibboleth."
Reuben, Tribe of
at the Exodus numbered 46,500 male adults, from twenty years old
and upwards (Num. 1:20, 21), and at the close of the wilderness
wanderings they numbered only 43,730 (26:7). This tribe united
with that of Gad in asking permission to settle in the "land of
Gilead," "on the other side of Jordan" (32:1-5). The lot
assigned to Reuben was the smallest of the lots given to the
trans-Jordanic tribes. It extended from the Arnon, in the south
along the coast of the Dead Sea to its northern end, where the
Jordan flows into it (Josh. 13:15-21, 23). It thus embraced the
original kingdom of Sihon. Reuben is "to the eastern tribes what
Simeon is to the western. 'Unstable as water,' he vanishes away
into a mere Arabian tribe. 'His men are few;' it is all he can
do 'to live and not die.' We hear of nothing beyond the
multiplication of their cattle in the land of Gilead, their
spoils of 'camels fifty thousand, and of asses two thousand' (1
Chr. 5:9, 10, 20, 21). In the great struggles of the nation he
never took part. The complaint against him in the song of
Deborah is the summary of his whole history. 'By the streams of
Reuben,' i.e., by the fresh streams which descend from the
eastern hills into the Jordan and the Dead Sea, on whose banks
the Bedouin chiefs met then as now to debate, in the 'streams'
of Reuben great were the 'desires'", i.e., resolutions which
were never carried out, the people idly resting among their
flocks as if it were a time of peace (Judg. 5:15, 16). Stanley's
Sinai and Israel.
All the three tribes on the east of Jordan at length fell into
complete apostasy, and the time of retribution came. God
"stirred up the spirit of Pul, king of Assyria, and the spirit
of Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria," to carry them away, the
first of the tribes, into captivity (1 Chr. 5:25, 26).
contracted from Bal'sam, a general name for many oily or
resinous substances which flow or trickle from certain trees or
plants when an incision is made through the bark.
(1.) This word occurs in the Authorized Version (Gen. 37:25;
43:11; Jer. 8:22; 46:11; 51:8; Ezek. 27:17) as the rendering of
the Hebrew word _tsori_ or _tseri_, which denotes the gum of a
tree growing in Gilead (q.v.), which is very precious. It was
celebrated for its medicinal qualities, and was circulated as an
article of merchandise by Arab and Phoenician merchants. The
shrub so named was highly valued, and was almost peculiar to
Israel. In the time of Josephus it was cultivated in the
neighbourhood of Jericho and the Dead Sea. There is an Arab
tradition that the tree yielding this balm was brought by the
queen of Sheba as a present to Solomon, and that he planted it
in his gardens at Jericho.
(2.) There is another Hebrew word, _basam_ or _bosem_, from
which our word "balsam," as well as the corresponding Greek
balsamon, is derived. It is rendered "spice" (Cant. 5:1, 13;
6:2; margin of Revised Version, "balsam;" Ex. 35:28; 1 Kings
10:10), and denotes fragrance in general. _Basam_ also denotes
the true balsam-plant, a native of South Arabia (Cant. l.c.).
(1.) The fourth son of Ham (Gen. 10:6). His descendants were
under a curse in consequence of the transgression of his father
(9:22-27). His eldest son, Zidon, was the father of the
Sidonians and Phoenicians. He had eleven sons, who were the
founders of as many tribes (10:15-18).
(2.) The country which derived its name from the preceding.
The name as first used by the Phoenicians denoted only the
maritime plain on which Sidon was built. But in the time of
Moses and Joshua it denoted the whole country to the west of the
Jordan and the Dead Sea (Deut. 11:30). In Josh. 5:12 the LXX.
read, "land of the Phoenicians," instead of "land of Canaan."
The name signifies "the lowlands," as distinguished from the
land of Gilead on the east of Jordan, which was a mountainous
district. The extent and boundaries of Canaan are fully set
forth in different parts of Scripture (Gen. 10:19; 17:8; Num.
13:29; 34:8). (See CANAANITES ¯T0000705, PALESTINE ¯T0002828.)
whom God beholds, an officer of Ben-hadad II., king of Syria,
who ultimately came to the throne, according to the word of the
Lord to Elijah (1 Kings 19:15), after he had put the king to
death (2 Kings 8:15). His interview with Elisha is mentioned in
2 Kings 8. The Assyrians soon after his accession to the throne
came against him and defeated him with very great loss; and
three years afterwards again invaded Syria, but on this occasion
Hazael submitted to them. He then turned his arms against
Israel, and ravaged "all the land of Gilead," etc. (2 Kings
10:33), which he held in a degree of subjection to him (13:3-7,
22). He aimed at the subjugation also of the kingdom of Judah,
when Joash obtained peace by giving him "all the gold that was
found in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and in the
king's house" (2 Kings 12:18; 2 Chr. 24:24). He reigned about
forty-six years (B.C.886-840), and was succeeded on the throne
by his son Ben-hadad (2 Kings 13:22-25), who on several
occasions was defeated by Jehoash, the king of Israel, and
compelled to restore all the land of Israel his father had
an eminence, natural or artificial, where worship by sacrifice
or offerings was made (1 Kings 13:32; 2 Kings 17:29). The first
altar after the Flood was built on a mountain (Gen. 8:20).
Abraham also built an altar on a mountain (12:7, 8). It was on a
mountain in Gilead that Laban and Jacob offered sacrifices
(31:54). After the Israelites entered the Promised Land they
were strictly enjoined to overthrow the high places of the
Canaanites (Ex. 34:13; Deut. 7:5; 12:2, 3), and they were
forbidden to worship the Lord on high places (Deut. 12:11-14),
and were enjoined to use but one altar for sacrifices (Lev.
17:3, 4; Deut. 12; 16:21). The injunction against high places
was, however, very imperfectly obeyed, and we find again and
again mention made of them (2 Kings 14:4; 15:4, 35:2 Chr. 15:17,
middle district, Vulgate, Messa. (1.) A plain in that part of
the boundaries of Arabia inhabited by the descendants of Joktan
(2.) Heb. meysh'a, "deliverance," the eldest son of Caleb (1
Chr. 2:42), and brother of Jerahmeel.
(3.) Heb. id, a king of Moab, the son of Chemosh-Gad, a man of
great wealth in flocks and herds (2 Kings 3:4). After the death
of Ahab at Ramoth-Gilead, Mesha shook off the yoke of Israel;
but on the ascension of Jehoram to the throne of Israel, that
king sought the help of Jehoshaphat in an attempt to reduce the
Moabites again to their former condition. The united armies of
the two kings came unexpectedly on the army of the Moabites, and
gained over them an easy victory. The whole land was devastated
by the conquering armies, and Mesha sought refuge in his last
stronghold, Kir-harasheth (q.v.). Reduced to despair, he
ascended the wall of the city, and there, in the sight of the
allied armies, offered his first-born son a sacrifice to
Chemosh, the fire-god of the Moabites. This fearful spectacle
filled the beholders with horror, and they retired from before
the besieged city, and recrossed the Jordan laden with spoil (2
The exploits of Mesha are recorded in the Phoenician
inscription on a block of black basalt found at Dibon, in Moab,
usually called the "Moabite stone" (q.v.).
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.)
father's brother. (1.) The son of Omri, whom he succeeded as the
seventh king of Israel. His history is recorded in 1 Kings
16-22. His wife was Jezebel (q.v.), who exercised a very evil
influence over him. To the calf-worship introduced by Jeroboam
he added the worship of Baal. He was severely admonished by
Elijah (q.v.) for his wickedness. His anger was on this account
kindled against the prophet, and he sought to kill him. He
undertook three campaigns against Ben-hadad II., king of
Damascus. In the first two, which were defensive, he gained a
complete victory over Ben-hadad, who fell into his hands, and
was afterwards released on the condition of his restoring all
the cities of Israel he then held, and granting certain other
concessions to Ahab. After three years of peace, for some cause
Ahab renewed war (1 Kings 22:3) with Ben-hadad by assaulting the
city of Ramoth-gilead, although the prophet Micaiah warned him
that he would not succeed, and that the 400 false prophets who
encouraged him were only leading him to his ruin. Micaiah was
imprisoned for thus venturing to dissuade Ahab from his purpose.
Ahab went into the battle disguised, that he might if possible
escape the notice of his enemies; but an arrow from a bow "drawn
at a venture" pierced him, and though stayed up in his chariot
for a time he died towards evening, and Elijah's prophecy (1
Kings 21:19) was fulfilled. He reigned twenty-three years.
Because of his idolatry, lust, and covetousness, Ahab is
referred to as pre-eminently the type of a wicked king (2 Kings
8:18; 2 Chr. 22:3; Micah 6:16).
(2.) A false prophet referred to by Jeremiah (Jer. 29:21), of
whom nothing further is known.
highlanders, or hillmen, the name given to the descendants of
one of the sons of Canaan (Gen. 14:7), called Amurra or Amurri
in the Assyrian and Egyptian inscriptions. On the early
Babylonian monuments all Syria, including Israel, is known as
"the land of the Amorites." The southern slopes of the mountains
of Judea are called the "mount of the Amorites" (Deut. 1:7, 19,
20). They seem to have originally occupied the land stretching
from the heights west of the Dead Sea (Gen. 14:7) to Hebron (13.
Comp. 13:8; Deut. 3:8; 4:46-48), embracing "all Gilead and all
Bashan" (Deut. 3:10), with the Jordan valley on the east of the
river (4:49), the land of the "two kings of the Amorites," Sihon
and Og (Deut. 31:4; Josh. 2:10; 9:10). The five kings of the
Amorites were defeated with great slaughter by Joshua (10:10).
They were again defeated at the waters of Merom by Joshua, who
smote them till there were none remaining (Josh. 11:8). It is
mentioned as a surprising circumstance that in the days of
Samuel there was peace between them and the Israelites (1 Sam.
7:14). The discrepancy supposed to exist between Deut. 1:44 and
Num. 14:45 is explained by the circumstance that the terms
"Amorites" and "Amalekites" are used synonymously for the
"Canaanites." In the same way we explain the fact that the
"Hivites" of Gen. 34:2 are the "Amorites" of 48:22. Comp. Josh.
10:6; 11:19 with 2 Sam. 21:2; also Num. 14:45 with Deut. 1:44.
The Amorites were warlike mountaineers. They are represented on
the Egyptian monuments with fair skins, light hair, blue eyes,
aquiline noses, and pointed beards. They are supposed to have
been men of great stature; their king, Og, is described by Moses
as the last "of the remnant of the giants" (Deut. 3:11). Both
Sihon and Og were independent kings. Only one word of the
Amorite language survives, "Shenir," the name they gave to Mount
Hermon (Deut. 3:9).
a peak, the eastern prolongation of the Anti-Lebanon range,
reaching to the height of about 9,200 feet above the
Mediterranean. It marks the north boundary of Israel (Deut.
3:8, 4:48; Josh. 11:3, 17; 13:11; 12:1), and is seen from a
great distance. It is about 40 miles north of the Sea of
Galilee. It is called "the Hermonites" (Ps. 42:6) because it has
more than one summit. The Sidonians called it Sirion, and the
Amorites Shenir (Deut. 3:9; Cant. 4:8). It is also called
Baal-hermon (Judg. 3:3; 1 Chr. 5:23) and Sion (Deut. 4:48).
There is every probability that one of its three summits was the
scene of the transfiguration (q.v.). The "dew of Hermon" is
referred to (Ps. 89: 12). Its modern name is Jebel-esh-Sheikh,
"the chief mountain." It is one of the most conspicuous
mountains in Israel or Syria. "In whatever part of Israel
the Israelite turned his eye northward, Hermon was there,
terminating the view. From the plain along the coast, from the
Jordan valley, from the heights of Moab and Gilead, from the
plateau of Bashan, the pale, blue, snow-capped cone forms the
one feature in the northern horizon."
Our Lord and his disciples climbed this "high mountain apart"
one day, and remained on its summit all night, "weary after
their long and toilsome ascent." During the night "he was
transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun."
The next day they descended to Caesarea Philippi.
exterminator of shame; i.e., of idols. (1.) The name of Saul's
son by the concubine Rizpah (q.v.), the daughter of Aiah. He and
his brother Armoni were with five others "hanged on a hill
before the Lord" by the Gibeonites, and their bodies exposed in
the sun for five months (2 Sam. 21:8-10). (2.) The son of
Jonathan, and grandson of Saul (2 Sam. 4:4). He was but five
years old when his father and grandfather fell on Mount Gilboa.
The child's nurse hearing of this calamity, fled with him from
Gibeah, the royal residence, and stumbling in her haste, the
child was thrown to the ground and maimed in both his feet, and
ever after was unable to walk (19:26). He was carried to the
land of Gilead, where he found a refuge in the house of Machir,
the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar, by whom he was brought up.
Some years after this, when David had subdued all the
adversaries of Israel, he began to think of the family of
Jonathan, and discovered that Mephibosheth was residing in the
house of Machir. Thither he sent royal messengers, and brought
him and his infant son to Jerusalem, where he ever afterwards
resided (2 Sam. 9).
When David was a fugitive, according to the story of Ziba (2
Sam. 16:1-4) Mephibosheth proved unfaithful to him, and was
consequently deprived of half of his estates; but according to
his own story, however (19:24-30), he had remained loyal to his
friend. After this incident he is only mentioned as having been
protected by David against the vengeance the Gibeonites were
permitted to execute on the house of Saul (21:7). He is also
called Merib-baal (1 Chr. 8:34; 9:40). (See ZIBA ¯T0003919.)
(Matt. 2:18), the Greek form of Ramah. (1.) A city first
mentioned in Josh. 18:25, near Gibeah of Benjamin. It was
fortified by Baasha, king of Israel (1 Kings 15:17-22; 2 Chr.
16:1-6). Asa, king of Judah, employed Benhadad the Syrian king
to drive Baasha from this city (1 Kings 15:18, 20). Isaiah
(10:29) refers to it, and also Jeremiah, who was once a prisoner
there among the other captives of Jerusalem when it was taken by
Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 39:8-12; 40:1). Rachel, whose tomb lies
close to Bethlehem, is represented as weeping in Ramah (Jer.
31:15) for her slaughtered children. This prophecy is
illustrated and fulfilled in the re-awakening of Rachel's grief
at the slaughter of the infants in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:18). It is
identified with the modern village of er-Ram, between Gibeon and
Beeroth, about 5 miles due north of Jerusalem. (See SAMUEL
(2.) A town identified with Rameh, on the border of Asher,
about 13 miles south-east of Tyre, "on a solitary hill in the
midst of a basin of green fields" (Josh. 19:29).
(3.) One of the "fenced cities" of Naphtali (Josh. 19:36), on
a mountain slope, about seven and a half miles west-south-west
of Safed, and 15 miles west of the north end of the Sea of
Galilee, the present large and well-built village of Rameh.
(4.) The same as Ramathaim-zophim (q.v.), a town of Mount
Ephraim (1 Sam. 1:1, 19).
(5.) The same as Ramoth-gilead (q.v.), 2 Kings 8:29; 2 Chr.
who makes to forget. "God hath made me forget" (Heb. nashshani),
Gen. 41:51. (1.) The elder of the two sons of Joseph. He and his
brother Ephraim were afterwards adopted by Jacob as his own sons
(48:1). There is an account of his marriage to a Syrian (1 Chr.
7:14); and the only thing afterwards recorded of him is, that
his grandchildren were "brought up upon Joseph's knees" (Gen.
50:23; R.V., "born upon Joseph's knees") i.e., were from their
birth adopted by Joseph as his own children.
The tribe of Manasseh was associated with that of Ephraim and
Benjamin during the wanderings in the wilderness. They encamped
on the west side of the tabernacle. According to the census
taken at Sinai, this tribe then numbered 32,200 (Num. 1:10, 35;
2:20, 21). Forty years afterwards its numbers had increased to
52,700 (26:34, 37), and it was at this time the most
distinguished of all the tribes.
The half of this tribe, along with Reuben and Gad, had their
territory assigned them by Moses on the east of the Jordan
(Josh. 13:7-14); but it was left for Joshua to define the limits
of each tribe. This territory on the east of Jordan was more
valuable and of larger extent than all that was allotted to the
nine and a half tribes in the land of Israel. It is sometimes
called "the land of Gilead," and is also spoken of as "on the
other side of Jordan." The portion given to the half tribe of
Manasseh was the largest on the east of Jordan. It embraced the
whole of Bashan. It was bounded on the south by Mahanaim, and
extended north to the foot of Lebanon. Argob, with its sixty
cities, that "ocean of basaltic rocks and boulders tossed about
in the wildest confusion," lay in the midst of this territory.
The whole "land of Gilead" having been conquered, the two and
a half tribes left their wives and families in the fortified
cities there, and accompanied the other tribes across the
Jordan, and took part with them in the wars of conquest. The
allotment of the land having been completed, Joshua dismissed
the two and a half tribes, commending them for their heroic
service (Josh. 22:1-34). Thus dismissed, they returned over
Jordan to their own inheritance. (See ED ¯T0001125.)
On the west of Jordan the other half of the tribe of Manasseh
was associated with Ephraim, and they had their portion in the
very centre of Israel, an area of about 1,300 square miles,
the most valuable part of the whole country, abounding in
springs of water. Manasseh's portion was immediately to the
north of that of Ephraim (Josh. 16). Thus the western Manasseh
defended the passes of Esdraelon as the eastern kept the passes
of the Hauran.
(2.) The only son and successor of Hezekiah on the throne of
Judah. He was twelve years old when he began to reign (2 Kings
21:1), and he reigned fifty-five years (B.C. 698-643). Though he
reigned so long, yet comparatively little is known of this king.
His reign was a continuation of that of Ahaz, both in religion
and national polity. He early fell under the influence of the
heathen court circle, and his reign was characterized by a sad
relapse into idolatry with all its vices, showing that the
reformation under his father had been to a large extent only
superficial (Isa. 7:10; 2 Kings 21:10-15). A systematic and
persistent attempt was made, and all too successfully, to banish
the worship of Jehovah out of the land. Amid this wide-spread
idolatry there were not wanting, however, faithful prophets
(Isaiah, Micah) who lifted up their voice in reproof and in
warning. But their fidelity only aroused bitter hatred, and a
period of cruel persecution against all the friends of the old
religion began. "The days of Alva in Holland, of Charles IX. in
France, or of the Covenanters under Charles II. in Scotland,
were anticipated in the Jewish capital. The streets were red
with blood." There is an old Jewish tradition that Isaiah was
put to death at this time (2 Kings 21:16; 24:3, 4; Jer. 2:30),
having been sawn asunder in the trunk of a tree. Psalms 49, 73,
77, 140, and 141 seem to express the feelings of the pious amid
the fiery trials of this great persecution. Manasseh has been
called the "Nero of Israel."
Esarhaddon, Sennacherib's successor on the Assyrian throne,
who had his residence in Babylon for thirteen years (the only
Assyrian monarch who ever reigned in Babylon), took Manasseh
prisoner (B.C. 681) to Babylon. Such captive kings were usually
treated with great cruelty. They were brought before the
conqueror with a hook or ring passed through their lips or their
jaws, having a cord attached to it, by which they were led. This
is referred to in 2 Chr. 33:11, where the Authorized Version
reads that Esarhaddon "took Manasseh among the thorns;" while
the Revised Version renders the words, "took Manasseh in
chains;" or literally, as in the margin, "with hooks." (Comp. 2
The severity of Manasseh's imprisonment brought him to
repentance. God heard his cry, and he was restored to his
kingdom (2 Chr. 33:11-13). He abandoned his idolatrous ways, and
enjoined the people to worship Jehovah; but there was no
thorough reformation. After a lengthened reign extending through
fifty-five years, the longest in the history of Judah, he died,
and was buried in the garden of Uzza, the "garden of his own
house" (2 Kings 21:17, 18; 2 Chr. 33:20), and not in the city of
David, among his ancestors. He was succeeded by his son Amon.
In Judg. 18:30 the correct reading is "Moses," and not
"Manasseh." The name "Manasseh" is supposed to have been
introduced by some transcriber to avoid the scandal of naming
the grandson of Moses the great lawgiver as the founder of an
(1.) Of the kingdom of Israel. In the time of Pekah,
Tiglath-pileser II. carried away captive into Assyria (2 Kings
15:29; comp. Isa. 10:5, 6) a part of the inhabitants of Galilee
and of Gilead (B.C. 741).
After the destruction of Samaria (B.C. 720) by Shalmaneser and
Sargon (q.v.), there was a general deportation of the Israelites
into Mesopotamia and Media (2 Kings 17:6; 18:9; 1 Chr. 5:26).
(See ISRAEL, KINGDOM OF ¯T0001909.)
(2.) Of the kingdom of the two tribes, the kingdom of Judah.
Nebuchadnezzar, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Jer. 25:1),
invaded Judah, and carried away some royal youths, including
Daniel and his companions (B.C. 606), together with the sacred
vessels of the temple (2 Chr. 36:7; Dan. 1:2). In B.C. 598 (Jer.
52:28; 2 Kings 24:12), in the beginning of Jehoiachin's reign (2
Kings 24:8), Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive 3,023 eminent
Jews, including the king (2 Chr. 36:10), with his family and
officers (2 Kings 24:12), and a large number of warriors (16),
with very many persons of note (14), and artisans (16), leaving
behind only those who were poor and helpless. This was the first
general deportation to Babylon.
In B.C. 588, after the revolt of Zedekiah (q.v.), there was a
second general deportation of Jews by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer.
52:29; 2 Kings 25:8), including 832 more of the principal men of
the kingdom. He carried away also the rest of the sacred vessels
(2 Chr. 36:18). From this period, when the temple was destroyed
(2 Kings 25:9), to the complete restoration, B.C. 517 (Ezra
6:15), is the period of the "seventy years."
In B.C. 582 occurred the last and final deportation. The
entire number Nebuchadnezzar carried captive was 4,600 heads of
families with their wives and children and dependants (Jer.
52:30; 43:5-7; 2 Chr. 36:20, etc.). Thus the exiles formed a
very considerable community in Babylon.
When Cyrus granted permission to the Jews to return to their
own land (Ezra 1:5; 7:13), only a comparatively small number at
first availed themselves of the privilege. It cannot be
questioned that many belonging to the kingdom of Israel
ultimately joined the Jews under Ezra, Zerubbabel, and Nehemiah,
and returned along with them to Jerusalem (Jer. 50:4, 5, 17-20,
Large numbers had, however, settled in the land of Babylon,
and formed numerous colonies in different parts of the kingdom.
Their descendants very probably have spread far into Eastern
lands and become absorbed in the general population. (See JUDAH,
KINGDOM OF ¯T0002126; CAPTIVITY ¯T0000720.)
Heb. ya'ar, meaning a dense wood, from its luxuriance. Thus all
the great primeval forests of Syria (Eccl. 2:6; Isa. 44:14; Jer.
5:6; Micah 5:8). The most extensive was the trans-Jordanic
forest of Ephraim (2 Sam. 18:6, 8; Josh. 17:15, 18), which is
probably the same as the wood of Ephratah (Ps. 132:6), some part
of the great forest of Gilead. It was in this forest that
Absalom was slain by Joab. David withdrew to the forest of
Hareth in the mountains of Judah to avoid the fury of Saul (1
Sam. 22:5). We read also of the forest of Bethel (2 Kings 2:23,
24), and of that which the Israelites passed in their pursuit of
the Philistines (1 Sam. 14:25), and of the forest of the cedars
of Lebanon (1 Kings 4:33; 2 Kings 19:23; Hos. 14:5, 6).
"The house of the forest of Lebanon (1 Kings 7:2; 10:17; 2
Chr. 9:16) was probably Solomon's armoury, and was so called
because the wood of its many pillars came from Lebanon, and they
had the appearance of a forest. (See BAALBEC ¯T0000386.)
Heb. horesh, denoting a thicket of trees, underwood, jungle,
bushes, or trees entangled, and therefore affording a safe
hiding-place. place. This word is rendered "forest" only in 2
Chr. 27:4. It is also rendered "wood", the "wood" in the
"wilderness of Ziph," in which david concealed himself (1 Sam.
23:15), which lay south-east of Hebron. In Isa. 17:19 this word
is in Authorized Version rendered incorrectly "bough."
Heb. pardes, meaning an enclosed garden or plantation. Asaph
is (Neh. 2:8) called the "keeper of the king's forest." The same
Hebrew word is used Eccl. 2:5, where it is rendered in the
plural "orchards" (R.V., "parks"), and Cant. 4: 13, rendered
"orchard" (R.V. marg., "a paradise").
"The forest of the vintage" (Zech. 11:2, "inaccessible
forest," or R.V. "strong forest") is probably a figurative
allusion to Jerusalem, or the verse may simply point to the
devastation of the region referred to.
The forest is an image of unfruitfulness as contrasted with a
cultivated field (Isa. 29:17; 32:15; Jer. 26:18; Hos. 2:12).
Isaiah (10:19, 33, 34) likens the Assyrian host under
Sennacherib (q.v.) to the trees of some huge forest, to be
suddenly cut down by an unseen stroke.
fortune; luck. (1.) Jacob's seventh son, by Zilpah, Leah's
handmaid, and the brother of Asher (Gen. 30:11-13; 46:16, 18).
In the Authorized Version of 30:11 the words, "A troop cometh:
and she called," etc., should rather be rendered, "In fortune
[R.V., 'Fortunate']: and she called," etc., or "Fortune cometh,"
The tribe of Gad during the march through the wilderness had
their place with Simeon and Reuben on the south side of the
tabernacle (Num. 2:14). The tribes of Reuben and Gad continued
all through their history to follow the pastoral pursuits of the
patriarchs (Num. 32:1-5).
The portion allotted to the tribe of Gad was on the east of
Jordan, and comprehended the half of Gilead, a region of great
beauty and fertility (Deut. 3:12), bounded on the east by the
Arabian desert, on the west by the Jordan (Josh. 13:27), and on
the north by the river Jabbok. It thus included the whole of the
Jordan valley as far north as to the Sea of Galilee, where it
narrowed almost to a point.
This tribe was fierce and warlike; they were "strong men of
might, men of war for the battle, that could handle shield and
buckler, their faces the faces of lions, and like roes upon the
mountains for swiftness" (1 Chr. 12:8; 5:19-22). Barzillai (2
Sam. 17:27) and Elijah (1 Kings 17:1) were of this tribe. It was
carried into captivity at the same time as the other tribes of
the northern kingdom by Tiglath-pileser (1 Chr. 5:26), and in
the time of Jeremiah (49:1) their cities were inhabited by the
(2.) A prophet who joined David in the "hold," and at whose
advice he quitted it for the forest of Hareth (1 Chr. 29:29; 2
Chr. 29:25; 1 Sam. 22:5). Many years after we find mention made
of him in connection with the punishment inflicted for numbering
the people (2 Sam. 24:11-19; 1 Chr. 21:9-19). He wrote a book
called the "Acts of David" (1 Chr. 29:29), and assisted in the
arrangements for the musical services of the "house of God" (2
Chr. 29:25). He bore the title of "the king's seer" (2 Sam.
24:11, 13; 1 Chr. 21:9).
abounded in the Holy Land. To the rearing and management of them
the inhabitants chiefly devoted themselves (Deut. 8:13; 12:21; 1
Sam. 11:5; 12:3; Ps. 144:14; Jer. 3:24). They may be classified
(1.) Neat cattle. Many hundreds of these were yearly consumed
in sacrifices or used for food. The finest herds were found in
Bashan, beyond Jordan (Num. 32:4). Large herds also pastured on
the wide fertile plains of Sharon. They were yoked to the plough
(1 Kings 19:19), and were employed for carrying burdens (1 Chr.
12:40). They were driven with a pointed rod (Judg. 3:31) or goad
According to the Mosaic law, the mouths of cattle employed for
the threshing-floor were not to be muzzled, so as to prevent
them from eating of the provender over which they trampled
(Deut. 25:4). Whosoever stole and sold or slaughtered an ox must
give five in satisfaction (Ex. 22:1); but if it was found alive
in the possession of him who stole it, he was required to make
double restitution only (22:4). If an ox went astray, whoever
found it was required to bring it back to its owner (23:4; Deut.
22:1, 4). An ox and an ass could not be yoked together in the
plough (Deut. 22:10).
(2.) Small cattle. Next to herds of neat cattle, sheep formed
the most important of the possessions of the inhabitants of
Israel (Gen. 12:16; 13:5; 26:14; 21:27; 29:2, 3). They are
frequently mentioned among the booty taken in war (Num. 31:32;
Josh. 6:21; 1 Sam. 14:32; 15:3). There were many who were owners
of large flocks (1 Sam. 25:2; 2 Sam. 12:2, comp. Job 1:3). Kings
also had shepherds "over their flocks" (1 Chr. 27:31), from
which they derived a large portion of their revenue (2 Sam.
17:29; 1 Chr. 12:40). The districts most famous for their flocks
of sheep were the plain of Sharon (Isa. 65: 10), Mount Carmel
(Micah 7:14), Bashan and Gilead (Micah 7:14). In patriarchal
times the flocks of sheep were sometimes tended by the daughters
of the owners. Thus Rachel, the daughter of Laban, kept her
father's sheep (Gen. 29:9); as also Zipporah and her six sisters
had charge of their father Jethro's flocks (Ex. 2:16). Sometimes
they were kept by hired shepherds (John 10:12), and sometimes by
the sons of the family (1 Sam. 16:11; 17:15). The keepers so
familiarized their sheep with their voices that they knew them,
and followed them at their call. Sheep, but more especially rams
and lambs, were frequently offered in sacrifice. The shearing of
sheep was a great festive occasion (1 Sam. 25:4; 2 Sam. 13:23).
They were folded at night, and guarded by their keepers against
the attacks of the lion (Micah 5:8), the bear (1 Sam. 17:34),
and the wolf (Matt. 10:16; John 10:12). They were liable to
wander over the wide pastures and go astray (Ps. 119:176; Isa.
53:6; Hos. 4:16; Matt. 18:12).
Goats also formed a part of the pastoral wealth of Israel
(Gen. 15:9; 32:14; 37:31). They were used both for sacrifice and
for food (Deut. 14:4), especially the young males (Gen. 27:9,
14, 17; Judg. 6:19; 13:15; 1 Sam. 16:20). Goat's hair was used
for making tent cloth (Ex. 26:7; 36:14), and for mattresses and
bedding (1 Sam. 19:13, 16). (See GOAT ¯T0001509.)
Jehovah-judged. (1.) One of David's body-guard (1 Chr. 11:43).
(2.) One of the priests who accompanied the removal of the ark
to Jerusalem (1 Chr. 15:24).
(3.) Son of Ahilud, "recorder" or annalist under David and
Solomon (2 Sam. 8:16), a state officer of high rank, chancellor
or vizier of the kingdom.
(4.) Solomon's purveyor in Issachar (1 Kings 4:17).
(5.) The son and successor of Asa, king of Judah. After
fortifying his kingdom against Israel (2 Chr. 17:1, 2), he set
himself to cleanse the land of idolatry (1 Kings 22:43). In the
third year of his reign he sent out priests and Levites over the
land to instruct the people in the law (2 Chr. 17:7-9). He
enjoyed a great measure of peace and prosperity, the blessing of
God resting on the people "in their basket and their store."
The great mistake of his reign was his entering into an
alliance with Ahab, the king of Israel, which involved him in
much disgrace, and brought disaster on his kingdom (1 Kings
22:1-33). Escaping from the bloody battle of Ramoth-gilead, the
prophet Jehu (2 Chr. 19:1-3) reproached him for the course he
had been pursuing, whereupon he entered with rigour on his
former course of opposition to all idolatry, and of deepening
interest in the worship of God and in the righteous government
of the people (2 Chr. 19:4-11).
Again he entered into an alliance with Ahaziah, the king of
Israel, for the purpose of carrying on maritime commerce with
Ophir. But the fleet that was then equipped at Ezion-gaber was
speedily wrecked. A new fleet was fitted out without the
co-operation of the king of Israel, and although it was
successful, the trade was not prosecuted (2 Chr. 20:35-37; 1
He subsequently joined Jehoram, king of Israel, in a war
against the Moabites, who were under tribute to Israel. This war
was successful. The Moabites were subdued; but the dreadful act
of Mesha in offering his own son a sacrifice on the walls of
Kir-haresheth in the sight of the armies of Israel filled him
with horror, and he withdrew and returned to his own land (2
The last most notable event of his reign was that recorded in
2 Chr. 20. The Moabites formed a great and powerful confederacy
with the surrounding nations, and came against Jehoshaphat. The
allied forces were encamped at Engedi. The king and his people
were filled with alarm, and betook themselves to God in prayer.
The king prayed in the court of the temple, "O our God, wilt
thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great
company that cometh against us." Amid the silence that followed,
the voice of Jahaziel the Levite was heard announcing that on
the morrow all this great host would be overthrown. So it was,
for they quarrelled among themselves, and slew one another,
leaving to the people of Judah only to gather the rich spoils of
the slain. This was recognized as a great deliverance wrought
for them by God (B.C. 890). Soon after this Jehoshaphat died,
after a reign of twenty-five years, being sixty years of age,
and was succeeded by his son Jehoram (1 Kings 22:50). He had
this testimony, that "he sought the Lord with all his heart" (2
Chr. 22:9). The kingdom of Judah was never more prosperous than
under his reign.
(6.) The son of Nimshi, and father of Jehu, king of Israel (2
Kings 9:2, 14).
Jehovah is he. (1.) The son of Obed, and father of Azariah (1
(2.) One of the Benjamite slingers that joined David at Ziklag
(1 Chr. 12:3).
(3.) The son of Hanani, a prophet of Judah (1 Kings 16:1, 7; 2
Chr. 19:2; 20:34), who pronounced the sentence of God against
Baasha, the king of Israel.
(4.) King of Israel, the son of Jehoshaphat (2 Kings 9:2), and
grandson of Nimshi. The story of his exaltation to the throne is
deeply interesting. During the progress of a war against the
Syrians, who were becoming more and more troublesome to Israel,
in a battle at Ramoth-gilead Jehoram, the king of Israel, had
been wounded; and leaving his army there, had returned to
Jezreel, whither his ally, Ahaziah, king of Judah, had also gone
on a visit of sympathy with him (2 Kings 8:28, 29). The
commanders, being left in charge of the conduct of the war, met
in council; and while engaged in their deliberations, a
messenger from Elisha appeared in the camp, and taking Jehu from
the council, led him into a secret chamber, and there anointed
him king over Israel, and immediately retired and disappeared (2
Kings 9:5, 6). On being interrogated by his companions as to the
object of this mysterious visitor, he informed them of what had
been done, when immediately, with the utmost enthusiasm, they
blew their trumpets and proclaimed him king (2 Kings 9:11-14).
He then with a chosen band set forth with all speed to Jezreel,
where, with his own hand, he slew Jehoram, shooting him through
the heart with an arrow (9:24). The king of Judah, when trying
to escape, was fatally wounded by one of Jehu's soldiers at
Beth-gan. On entering the city, Jehu commanded the eunchs of the
royal palace to cast down Jezebel into the street, where her
mangled body was trodden under foot by the horses. Jehu was now
master of Jezreel, whence he communicated with the persons in
authority in Samaria the capital, commanding them to appear
before him on the morrow with the heads of all the royal princes
of Samaria. Accordingly on the morrow seventy heads were piled
up in two heaps at his gate. At "the shearing-house" (2 Kings
10:12-14) other forty-two connected with the house of Ahab were
put to death (2 Kings 10:14). As Jehu rode on toward Samaria, he
met Jehonadab (q.v.), whom he took into his chariot, and they
entered the capital together. By a cunning stratagem he cut off
all the worshippers of Baal found in Samaria (2 Kings 10:19-25),
and destroyed the temple of the idol (2 Kings 10:27).
Notwithstanding all this apparent zeal for the worship of
Jehovah, Jehu yet tolerated the worship of the golden calves at
Dan and Bethel. For this the divine displeasure rested upon him,
and his kingdom suffered disaster in war with the Syrians (2
Kings 10:29-33). He died after a reign of twenty-eight years
(B.C. 884-856), and was buried in Samaria (10:34-36). "He was
one of those decisive, terrible, and ambitious, yet prudent,
calculating, and passionless men whom God from time to time
raises up to change the fate of empires and execute his
judgments on the earth." He was the first Jewish king who came
in contact with the Assyrian power in the time of Shalmaneser
Heb. Yarden, "the descender;" Arab. Nahr-esh-Sheriah, "the
watering-place" the chief river of Israel. It flows from
north to south down a deep valley in the centre of the country.
The name descender is significant of the fact that there is
along its whole course a descent to its banks; or it may simply
denote the rapidity with which it "descends" to the Dead Sea.
It originates in the snows of Hermon, which feed its perennial
fountains. Two sources are generally spoken of. (1.) From the
western base of a hill on which once stood the city of Dan, the
northern border-city of Israel, there gushes forth a
considerable fountain called the Leddan, which is the largest
fountain in Syria and the principal source of the Jordan. (2.)
Beside the ruins of Banias, the ancient Caesarea Philippi and
the yet more ancient Panium, is a lofty cliff of limestone, at
the base of which is a fountain. This is the other source of the
Jordan, and has always been regarded by the Jews as its true
source. It rushes down to the plain in a foaming torrent, and
joins the Leddan about 5 miles south of Dan (Tell-el-Kady). (3.)
But besides these two historical fountains there is a third,
called the Hasbany, which rises in the bottom of a valley at the
western base of Hermon, 12 miles north of Tell-el-Kady. It joins
the main stream about a mile below the junction of the Leddan
and the Banias. The river thus formed is at this point about 45
feet wide, and flows in a channel from 12 to 20 feet below the
plain. After this it flows, "with a swift current and a
much-twisted course," through a marshy plain for some 6 miles,
when it falls into the Lake Huleh, "the waters of Merom" (q.v.).
During this part of its course the Jordan has descended about
1,100 feet. At Banias it is 1,080 feet above sea-level. Flowing
from the southern extremity of Lake Huleh, here almost on a
level with the sea, it flows for 2 miles "through a waste of
islets and papyrus," and then for 9 miles through a narrow gorge
in a foaming torrent onward to the Sea of Galilee (q.v.).
"In the whole valley of the Jordan from the Lake Huleh to the
Sea of Galilee there is not a single settled inhabitant. Along
the whole eastern bank of the river and the lakes, from the base
of Hermon to the ravine of Hieromax, a region of great
fertility, 30 miles long by 7 or 8 wide, there are only some
three inhabited villages. The western bank is almost as
desolate. Ruins are numerous enough. Every mile or two is an old
site of town or village, now well nigh hid beneath a dense
jungle of thorns and thistles. The words of Scripture here recur
to us with peculiar force: 'I will make your cities waste, and
bring your sanctuaries unto desolation...And I will bring the
land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall
be astonished at it...And your land shall be desolate, and your
cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as
it lieth desolate' (Lev. 26:31-34).", Dr. Porter's Handbook.
From the Sea of Galilee, at the level of 682 feet below the
Mediterranean, the river flows through a long, low plain called
"the region of Jordan" (Matt. 3:5), and by the modern Arabs the
Ghor, or "sunken plain." This section is properly the Jordan of
Scripture. Down through the midst of the "plain of Jordan" there
winds a ravine varying in breadth from 200 yards to half a mile,
and in depth from 40 to 150 feet. Through it the Jordan flows in
a rapid, rugged, tortuous course down to the Dead Sea. The whole
distance from the southern extremity of the Sea of Galilee to
the Dead Sea is in a straight line about 65 miles, but following
the windings of the river about 200 miles, during which it falls
618 feet. The total length of the Jordan from Banias is about
104 miles in a straight line, during which it falls 2,380 feet.
There are two considerable affluents which enter the river
between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, both from the east.
(1.) The Wady Mandhur, called the Yarmuk by the Rabbins and the
Hieromax by the Greeks. It formed the boundary between Bashan
and Gilead. It drains the plateau of the Hauran. (2.) The Jabbok
or Wady Zerka, formerly the northern boundary of Ammon. It
enters the Jordan about 20 miles north of Jericho.
The first historical notice of the Jordan is in the account of
the separation of Abraham and Lot (Gen. 13:10). "Lot beheld the
plain of Jordan as the garden of the Lord." Jacob crossed and
recrossed "this Jordan" (32:10). The Israelites passed over it
as "on dry ground" (Josh. 3:17; Ps. 114:3). Twice afterwards its
waters were miraculously divided at the same spot by Elijah and
Elisha (2 Kings 2:8, 14).
The Jordan is mentioned in the Old Testament about one hundred
and eighty times, and in the New Testament fifteen times. The
chief events in gospel history connected with it are (1) John
the Baptist's ministry, when "there went out to him Jerusalem,
and all Judaea, and were baptized of him in Jordan" (Matt. 3:6).
(2.) Jesus also "was baptized of John in Jordan" (Mark 1:9).
whose God is Jehovah. (1.) "The Tishbite," the "Elias" of the
New Testament, is suddenly introduced to our notice in 1 Kings
17:1 as delivering a message from the Lord to Ahab. There is
mention made of a town called Thisbe, south of Kadesh, but it is
impossible to say whether this was the place referred to in the
name given to the prophet.
Having delivered his message to Ahab, he retired at the
command of God to a hiding-place by the brook Cherith, beyond
Jordan, where he was fed by ravens. When the brook dried up God
sent him to the widow of Zarephath, a city of Zidon, from whose
scanty store he was supported for the space of two years. During
this period the widow's son died, and was restored to life by
Elijah (1 Kings 17: 2-24).
During all these two years a famine prevailed in the land. At
the close of this period of retirement and of preparation for
his work (comp. Gal. 1:17, 18) Elijah met Obadiah, one of Ahab's
officers, whom he had sent out to seek for pasturage for the
cattle, and bade him go and tell his master that Elijah was
there. The king came and met Elijah, and reproached him as the
troubler of Israel. It was then proposed that sacrifices should
be publicly offered, for the purpose of determining whether Baal
or Jehovah were the true God. This was done on Carmel, with the
result that the people fell on their faces, crying, "The Lord,
he is the God." Thus was accomplished the great work of Elijah's
ministry. The prophets of Baal were then put to death by the
order of Elijah. Not one of them escaped. Then immediately
followed rain, according to the word of Elijah, and in answer to
his prayer (James 5:18).
Jezebel, enraged at the fate that had befallen her priests of
Baal, threatened to put Elijah to death (1 Kings 19:1-13). He
therefore fled in alarm to Beersheba, and thence went alone a
day's journey into the wilderness, and sat down in despondency
under a juniper tree. As he slept an angel touched him, and said
unto him, "Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for
thee." He arose and found a cake and a cruse of water. Having
partaken of the provision thus miraculously supplied, he went
forward on his solitary way for forty days and forty nights to
Horeb, the mount of God, where he took up his abode in a cave.
Here the Lord appeared unto him and said, "What dost thou here,
Elijah?" In answer to his despondent words God manifests to him
his glory, and then directs him to return to Damascus and anoint
Hazael king over Syria, and Jehu king over Israel, and Elisha to
be prophet in his room (1 Kings 19:13-21; comp. 2 Kings 8:7-15;
Some six years after this he warned Ahab and Jezebel of the
violent deaths they would die (1 Kings 21:19-24; 22:38). He
also, four years afterwards, warned Ahaziah (q.v.), who had
succeeded his father Ahab, of his approaching death (2 Kings
1:1-16). (See NABOTH ¯T0002645.) During these intervals he
probably withdrew to some quiet retirement, no one knew where.
His interview with Ahaziah's messengers on the way to Ekron, and
the account of the destruction of his captains with their
fifties, suggest the idea that he may have been in retirement at
this time on Mount Carmel.
The time now drew near when he was to be taken up into heaven
(2 Kings 2:1-12). He had a presentiment of what was awaiting
him. He went down to Gilgal, where was a school of the prophets,
and where his successor Elisha, whom he had anointed some years
before, resided. Elisha was solemnized by the thought of his
master's leaving him, and refused to be parted from him. "They
two went on," and came to Bethel and Jericho, and crossed the
Jordan, the waters of which were "divided hither and thither"
when smitten with Elijah's mantle. Arrived at the borders of
Gilead, which Elijah had left many years before, it "came to
pass as they still went on and talked" they were suddenly
separated by a chariot and horses of fire; and "Elijah went up
by a whirlwind into heaven, "Elisha receiving his mantle, which
fell from him as he ascended.
No one of the old prophets is so frequently referred to in the
New Testament. The priests and Levites said to the Baptist (John
1:25), "Why baptizest thou, if thou be not that Christ, nor
Elias?" Paul (Rom. 11:2) refers to an incident in his history to
illustrate his argument that God had not cast away his people.
James (5:17) finds in him an illustration of the power of
prayer. (See also Luke 4:25; 9:54.) He was a type of John the
Baptist in the sternness and power of his reproofs (Luke 9:8).
He was the Elijah that "must first come" (Matt. 11:11, 14), the
forerunner of our Lord announced by Malachi. Even outwardly the
Baptist corresponded so closely to the earlier prophet that he
might be styled a second Elijah. In him we see "the same
connection with a wild and wilderness country; the same long
retirement in the desert; the same sudden, startling entrance on
his work (1 Kings 17:1; Luke 3:2); even the same dress, a hairy
garment, and a leathern girdle about the loins (2 Kings 1:8;
How deep the impression was which Elijah made "on the mind of
the nation may be judged from the fixed belief, which rested on
the words of Malachi (4:5, 6), which many centuries after
prevailed that he would again appear for the relief and
restoration of the country. Each remarkable person as he arrives
on the scene, be his habits and characteristics what they may,
the stern John equally with his gentle Successor, is proclaimed
to be Elijah (Matt. 11:13, 14; 16:14; 17:10; Mark 9:11; 15:35;
Luke 9:7, 8; John 1:21). His appearance in glory on the mount of
transfiguration does not seem to have startled the disciples.
They were 'sore afraid,' but not apparently surprised."
(2.) The Elijah spoken of in 2 Chr. 21:12-15 is by some
supposed to be a different person from the foregoing. He lived
in the time of Jehoram, to whom he sent a letter of warning
(comp. 1 Chr. 28:19; Jer. 36), and acted as a prophet in Judah;
while the Tishbite was a prophet of the northern kingdom. But
there does not seem any necessity for concluding that the writer
of this letter was some other Elijah than the Tishbite. It may
be supposed either that Elijah anticipated the character of
Jehoram, and so wrote the warning message, which was preserved
in the schools of the prophets till Jehoram ascended the throne
after the Tishbite's translation, or that the translation did
not actually take place till after the accession of Jehoram to
the throne (2 Chr. 21:12; 2 Kings 8:16). The events of 2 Kings 2
may not be recorded in chronological order, and thus there may
be room for the opinion that Elijah was still alive in the
beginning of Jehoram's reign.
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.
drawn (or Egypt. mesu, "son;" hence Rameses, royal son). On the
invitation of Pharaoh (Gen. 45:17-25), Jacob and his sons went
down into Egypt. This immigration took place probably about 350
years before the birth of Moses. Some centuries before Joseph,
Egypt had been conquered by a pastoral Semitic race from Asia,
the Hyksos, who brought into cruel subjection the native
Egyptians, who were an African race. Jacob and his retinue were
accustomed to a shepherd's life, and on their arrival in Egypt
were received with favour by the king, who assigned them the
"best of the land", the land of Goshen, to dwell in. The Hyksos
or "shepherd" king who thus showed favour to Joseph and his
family was in all probability the Pharaoh Apopi (or Apopis).
Thus favoured, the Israelites began to "multiply exceedingly"
(Gen. 47:27), and extended to the west and south. At length the
supremacy of the Hyksos came to an end. The descendants of Jacob
were allowed to retain their possession of Goshen undisturbed,
but after the death of Joseph their position was not so
favourable. The Egyptians began to despise them, and the period
of their "affliction" (Gen. 15:13) commenced. They were sorely
oppressed. They continued, however, to increase in numbers, and
"the land was filled with them" (Ex. 1:7). The native Egyptians
regarded them with suspicion, so that they felt all the hardship
of a struggle for existence.
In process of time "a king [probably Seti I.] arose who knew
not Joseph" (Ex. 1:8). (See PHARAOH ¯T0002923.) The
circumstances of the country were such that this king thought it
necessary to weaken his Israelite subjects by oppressing them,
and by degrees reducing their number. They were accordingly made
public slaves, and were employed in connection with his numerous
buildings, especially in the erection of store-cities, temples,
and palaces. The children of Israel were made to serve with
rigour. Their lives were made bitter with hard bondage, and "all
their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour"
(Ex. 1:13, 14). But this cruel oppression had not the result
expected of reducing their number. On the contrary, "the more
the Egyptians afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew"
The king next tried, through a compact secretly made with the
guild of midwives, to bring about the destruction of all the
Hebrew male children that might be born. But the king's wish was
not rigorously enforced; the male children were spared by the
midwives, so that "the people multiplied" more than ever. Thus
baffled, the king issued a public proclamation calling on the
people to put to death all the Hebrew male children by casting
them into the river (Ex. 1:22). But neither by this edict was
the king's purpose effected.
One of the Hebrew households into which this cruel edict of
the king brought great alarm was that of Amram, of the family of
the Kohathites (Ex. 6:16-20), who with his wife Jochebed and two
children, Miriam, a girl of perhaps fifteen years of age, and
Aaron, a boy of three years, resided in or near Memphis, the
capital city of that time. In this quiet home a male child was
born (B.C. 1571). His mother concealed him in the house for
three months from the knowledge of the civic authorities. But
when the task of concealment became difficult, Jochebed
contrived to bring her child under the notice of the daughter of
the king by constructing for him an ark of bulrushes, which she
laid among the flags which grew on the edge of the river at the
spot where the princess was wont to come down and bathe. Her
plan was successful. The king's daughter "saw the child; and
behold the child wept." The princess (see PHARAOH'S DAUGHTER
¯T0002924 ) sent Miriam, who was standing by, to fetch a
nurse. She went and brought the mother of the child, to whom the
princess said, "Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I
will give thee thy wages." Thus Jochebed's child, whom the
princess called "Moses", i.e., "Saved from the water" (Ex.
2:10), was ultimately restored to her.
As soon as the natural time for weaning the child had come, he
was transferred from the humble abode of his father to the royal
palace, where he was brought up as the adopted son of the
princess, his mother probably accompanying him and caring still
for him. He grew up amid all the grandeur and excitement of the
Egyptian court, maintaining, however, probably a constant
fellowship with his mother, which was of the highest importance
as to his religious belief and his interest in his "brethren."
His education would doubtless be carefully attended to, and he
would enjoy all the advantages of training both as to his body
and his mind. He at length became "learned in all the wisdom of
the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22). Egypt had then two chief seats of
learning, or universities, at one of which, probably that of
Heliopolis, his education was completed. Moses, being now about
twenty years of age, spent over twenty more before he came into
prominence in Bible history. These twenty years were probably
spent in military service. There is a tradition recorded by
Josephus that he took a lead in the war which was then waged
between Egypt and Ethiopia, in which he gained renown as a
skilful general, and became "mighty in deeds" (Acts 7:22).
After the termination of the war in Ethiopia, Moses returned
to the Egyptian court, where he might reasonably have expected
to be loaded with honours and enriched with wealth. But "beneath
the smooth current of his life hitherto, a life of alternate
luxury at the court and comparative hardness in the camp and in
the discharge of his military duties, there had lurked from
childhood to youth, and from youth to manhood, a secret
discontent, perhaps a secret ambition. Moses, amid all his
Egyptian surroundings, had never forgotten, had never wished to
forget, that he was a Hebrew." He now resolved to make himself
acquainted with the condition of his countrymen, and "went out
unto his brethren, and looked upon their burdens" (Ex. 2:11).
This tour of inspection revealed to him the cruel oppression and
bondage under which they everywhere groaned, and could not fail
to press on him the serious consideration of his duty regarding
them. The time had arrived for his making common cause with
them, that he might thereby help to break their yoke of bondage.
He made his choice accordingly (Heb. 11:25-27), assured that God
would bless his resolution for the welfare of his people. He now
left the palace of the king and took up his abode, probably in
his father's house, as one of the Hebrew people who had for
forty years been suffering cruel wrong at the hands of the
He could not remain indifferent to the state of things around
him, and going out one day among the people, his indignation was
roused against an Egyptian who was maltreating a Hebrew. He
rashly lifted up his hand and slew the Egyptian, and hid his
body in the sand. Next day he went out again and found two
Hebrews striving together. He speedily found that the deed of
the previous day was known. It reached the ears of Pharaoh (the
"great Rameses," Rameses II.), who "sought to slay Moses" (Ex.
2:15). Moved by fear, Moses fled from Egypt, and betook himself
to the land of Midian, the southern part of the peninsula of
Sinai, probably by much the same route as that by which, forty
years afterwards, he led the Israelites to Sinai. He was
providentially led to find a new home with the family of Reuel,
where he remained for forty years (Acts 7:30), under training
unconsciously for his great life's work.
Suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the burning
bush (Ex. 3), and commissioned him to go down to Egypt and
"bring forth the children of Israel" out of bondage. He was at
first unwilling to go, but at length he was obedient to the
heavenly vision, and left the land of Midian (4:18-26). On the
way he was met by Aaron (q.v.) and the elders of Israel (27-31).
He and Aaron had a hard task before them; but the Lord was with
them (ch. 7-12), and the ransomed host went forth in triumph.
(See EXODUS ¯T0001283.) After an eventful journey to and fro in
the wilderness, we see them at length encamped in the plains of
Moab, ready to cross over the Jordan into the Promised Land.
There Moses addressed the assembled elders (Deut. 1:1-4;
5:1-26:19; 27:11-30:20), and gives the people his last counsels,
and then rehearses the great song (Deut. 32), clothing in
fitting words the deep emotions of his heart at such a time, and
in review of such a marvellous history as that in which he had
acted so conspicious a part. Then, after blessing the tribes
(33), he ascends to "the mountain of Nebo (q.v.), to the top of
Pisgah, that is over against Jericho" (34:1), and from thence he
surveys the land. "Jehovah shewed him all the land of Gilead,
unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and
Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, and
the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of
palm trees, unto Zoar" (Deut. 34:2-3), the magnificient
inheritance of the tribes of whom he had been so long the
leader; and there he died, being one hundred and twenty years
old, according to the word of the Lord, and was buried by the
Lord "in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor"
(34:6). The people mourned for him during thirty days.
Thus died "Moses the man of God" (Deut. 33:1; Josh. 14:6). He
was distinguished for his meekness and patience and firmness,
and "he endured as seeing him who is invisible." "There arose
not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord
knew face to face, in all the signs and the wonders, which the
Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all
his servants, and to all his land, and in all that mighty hand,
and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of
all Israel" (Deut. 34:10-12).
The name of Moses occurs frequently in the Psalms and Prophets
as the chief of the prophets.
In the New Testament he is referred to as the representative
of the law and as a type of Christ (John 1:17; 2 Cor. 3:13-18;
Heb. 3:5, 6). Moses is the only character in the Old Testament
to whom Christ likens himself (John 5:46; comp. Deut. 18:15, 18,
19; Acts 7:37). In Heb. 3:1-19 this likeness to Moses is set
forth in various particulars.
In Jude 1:9 mention is made of a contention between Michael
and the devil about the body of Moses. This dispute is supposed
to have had reference to the concealment of the body of Moses so
as to prevent idolatry.