whom Jehovah has graciously given. (1.) The grandson of
Zerubbabel, in the lineage of Christ (Luke 3:27); the same as
Hananiah (1 Chr. 3:19).
(2.) The wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod Antipas, tetrarch
of Galilee (Luke 8:3). She was one of the women who ministered
to our Lord, and to whom he appeared after his resurrection
(Luke 8:3; 24:10).
(Gr. basilikos, i.e., "king's man"), an officer of state (John
4:49) in the service of Herod Antipas. He is supposed to have
been the Chuza, Herod's steward, whose wife was one of those
women who "ministered unto the Lord of their substance" (Luke
8:3). This officer came to Jesus at Cana and besought him to go
down to Capernaum and heal his son, who lay there at the point
of death. Our Lord sent him away with the joyful assurance that
his son was alive.
(1.) Herod Antipas, a son of Herod the Great by his Samaritan
wife Malthace. He was tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea during the
whole period of our Lord's life on earth (Luke 23:7). He was a
frivolous and vain prince, and was chargeable with many infamous
crimes (Mark 8:15; Luke 3:19; 13:31, 32). He beheaded John the
Baptist (Matt. 14:1-12) at the instigation of Herodias, the wife
of his half-brother Herod-Philip, whom he had married. Pilate
sent Christ to him when he was at Jerusalem at the Passover
(Luke 23:7). He asked some idle questions of him, and after
causing him to be mocked, sent him back again to Pilate. The
wife of Chuza, his house-steward, was one of our Lord's
disciples (Luke 8:3).
(2.) A "faithful martyr" (Rev. 2:13), of whom nothing more is
a noose, the daughter of Bethuel, and the wife of Isaac (Gen.
22:23; 24:67). The circumstances under which Abraham's "steward"
found her at the "city of Nahor," in Padan-aram, are narrated in
Gen. 24-27. "She can hardly be regarded as an amiable woman.
When we first see her she is ready to leave her father's house
for ever at an hour's notice; and her future life showed not
only a full share of her brother Laban's duplicity, but the
grave fault of partiality in her relations to her children, and
a strong will, which soon controlled the gentler nature of her
husband." The time and circumstances of her death are not
recorded, but it is said that she was buried in the cave of
Machpelah (Gen. 49:31).
God his help. (1.) "Of Damascus," the "steward" (R.V.,
"possessor") of Abraham's house (Gen. 15:2, 3). It was probably
he who headed the embassy sent by Abraham to the old home of his
family in Padan-aram to seek a wife for his son Isaac. The
account of this embassy is given at length in Gen. 24.
(2.) The son of Becher, and grandson of Benjamin (1 Chr. 7:8).
(3.) One of the two sons of Moses, born during his sojourn in
Midian (Ex. 18:4; 1 Chr. 23:15, 17). He remained with his mother
and brother Gershom with Jethro when Moses returned to Egypt.
(Ex. 18:4). They were restored to Moses when Jethro heard of his
departure out of Egypt.
(4.) One of the priests who blew the trumpet before the ark
when it was brought to Jerusalem (1 Chr. 15:24).
(5.) Son of Zichri, and chief of the Reubenites under David (1
(6.) A prophet in the time of Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 20:37).
Others of this name are mentioned Luke 3:29; Ezra 8:16; 10:18,
activity, the most ancient of Oriental cities; the capital of
Syria (Isa. 7:8; 17:3); situated about 133 miles to the north of
Jerusalem. Its modern name is Esh-Sham; i.e., "the East."
The situation of this city is said to be the most beautiful of
all Western Asia. It is mentioned among the conquests of the
Egyptian king Thothmes III. (B.C. 1500), and in the Amarna
tablets (B.C. 1400).
It is first mentioned in Scripture in connection with
Abraham's victory over the confederate kings under Chedorlaomer
(Gen. 14:15). It was the native place of Abraham's steward
(15:2). It is not again noticed till the time of David, when
"the Syrians of Damascus came to succour Hadadezer" (q.v.), 2
Sam. 8:5; 1 Chr. 18:5. In the reign of Solomon, Rezon became
leader of a band who revolted from Hadadezer (1 Kings 11:23),
and betaking themselves to Damascus, settled there and made
their leader king. There was a long war, with varying success,
between the Israelites and Syrians, who at a later period became
allies of Israel against Judah (2 Kings 15:37).
The Syrians were at length subdued by the Assyrians, the city
of Damascus was taken and destroyed, and the inhabitants carried
captive into Assyria (2 Kings 16:7-9; comp. Isa. 7:8). In this,
prophecy was fulfilled (Isa. 17:1; Amos 1:4; Jer. 49:24). The
kingdom of Syria remained a province of Assyria till the capture
of Nineveh by the Medes (B.C. 625), when it fell under the
conquerors. After passing through various vicissitudes, Syria
was invaded by the Romans (B.C. 64), and Damascus became the
seat of the government of the province. In A.D. 37 Aretas, the
king of Arabia, became master of Damascus, having driven back
This city is memorable as the scene of Saul's conversion (Acts
9:1-25). The street called "Straight," in which Judas lived, in
whose house Saul was found by Ananias, is known by the name
Sultany, or "Queen's Street." It is the principal street of the
city. Paul visited Damascus again on his return from Arabia
(Gal. 1:16, 17). Christianity was planted here as a centre (Acts
9:20), from which it spread to the surrounding regions.
In A.D. 634 Damascus was conquered by the growing Mohammedan
power. In A.D. 1516 it fell under the dominion of the Turks, its
present rulers. It is now the largest city in Asiatic Turkey.
Christianity has again found a firm footing within its walls.
is in Scripture very generally used to denote one invested with
authority, whether extensive or limited. There were thirty-one
kings in Canaan (Josh. 12:9, 24), whom Joshua subdued.
Adonibezek subdued seventy kings (Judg. 1:7). In the New
Testament the Roman emperor is spoken of as a king (1 Pet. 2:13,
17); and Herod Antipas, who was only a tetrarch, is also called
a king (Matt. 14:9; Mark 6:22).
This title is applied to God (1 Tim. 1:17), and to Christ, the
Son of God (1 Tim. 6:15, 16; Matt. 27:11). The people of God are
also called "kings" (Dan. 7:22, 27; Matt. 19:28; Rev. 1:6,
etc.). Death is called the "king of terrors" (Job 18:14).
Jehovah was the sole King of the Jewish nation (1 Sam. 8:7;
Isa. 33:22). But there came a time in the history of that people
when a king was demanded, that they might be like other nations
(1 Sam. 8:5). The prophet Samuel remonstrated with them, but the
people cried out, "Nay, but we will have a king over us." The
misconduct of Samuel's sons was the immediate cause of this
The Hebrew kings did not rule in their own right, nor in name
of the people who had chosen them, but partly as servants and
partly as representatives of Jehovah, the true King of Israel (1
Sam. 10:1). The limits of the king's power were prescribed (1
Sam. 10:25). The officers of his court were, (1) the recorder or
remembrancer (2 Sam. 8:16; 1 Kings 4:3); (2) the scribe (2 Sam.
8:17; 20:25); (3) the officer over the house, the chief steward
(Isa. 22:15); (4) the "king's friend," a confidential companion
(1 Kings 4:5); (5) the keeper of the wardrobe (2 Kings 22:14);
(6) captain of the bodyguard (2 Sam. 20:23); (7) officers over
the king's treasures, etc. (1 Chr. 27:25-31); (8)
commander-in-chief of the army (1 Chr. 27:34); (9) the royal
counsellor (1 Chr. 27:32; 2 Sam. 16:20-23).
(For catalogue of kings of Israel and Judah see chronological
table in Appendix.)
(1.) Heb. nagid, a prominent, conspicuous person, whatever his
capacity: as, chief of the royal palace (2 Chr. 28:7; comp. 1
Kings 4:6), chief of the temple (1 Chr. 9:11; Jer. 20:1), the
leader of the Aaronites (1 Chr. 12:27), keeper of the sacred
treasury (26:24), captain of the army (13:1), the king (1 Sam.
9:16), the Messiah (Dan. 9:25).
(2.) Heb. nasi, raised; exalted. Used to denote the chiefs of
families (Num. 3:24, 30, 32, 35); also of tribes (2:3; 7:2;
3:32). These dignities appear to have been elective, not
(3.) Heb. pakid, an officer or magistrate. It is used of the
delegate of the high priest (2 Chr. 24:11), the Levites (Neh.
11:22), a military commander (2 Kings 25:19), Joseph's officers
in Egypt (Gen. 41:34).
(4.) Heb. shallit, one who has power, who rules (Gen. 42:6;
Ezra 4:20; Eccl. 8:8; Dan. 2:15; 5:29).
(5.) Heb. aluph, literally one put over a thousand, i.e., a
clan or a subdivision of a tribe. Used of the "dukes" of Edom
(Gen. 36), and of the Jewish chiefs (Zech. 9:7).
(6.) Heb. moshel, one who rules, holds dominion. Used of many
classes of rulers (Gen. 3:16; 24:2; 45:8; Ps. 105:20); of the
Messiah (Micah 5:2); of God (1 Chr. 29:12; Ps. 103:19).
(7.) Heb. sar, a ruler or chief; a word of very general use.
It is used of the chief baker of Pharaoh (Gen. 40:16); of the
chief butler (40:2, etc. See also Gen. 47:6; Ex. 1:11; Dan. 1:7;
Judg. 10:18; 1 Kings 22:26; 20:15; 2 Kings 1:9; 2 Sam. 24:2). It
is used also of angels, guardian angels (Dan. 10:13, 20, 21;
12:1; 10:13; 8:25).
(8.) Pehah, whence _pasha_, i.e., friend of the king;
adjutant; governor of a province (2 Kings 18:24; Isa. 36:9; Jer.
51: 57; Ezek. 23:6, 23; Dan. 3:2; Esther 3: 12), or a perfect
(Neh. 3:7; 5:14; Ezra 5:3; Hag. 1:1). This is a foreign word,
Assyrian, which was early adopted into the Hebrew idiom (1 Kings
(9.) The Chaldean word _segan_ is applied to the governors of
the Babylonian satrapies (Dan. 3:2, 27; 6:7); the prefects over
the Magi (2:48). The corresponding Hebrew word _segan_ is used
of provincial rulers (Jer. 51:23, 28, 57); also of chiefs and
rulers of the people of Jerusalem (Ezra 9:2; Neh. 2:16; 4:14,
19; 5:7, 17; 7:5; 12:40).
In the New Testament there are also different Greek words
(1.) Meaning an ethnarch (2 Cor. 11:32), which was an office
distinct from military command, with considerable latitude of
(2.) The procurator of Judea under the Romans (Matt. 27:2).
(Comp. Luke 2:2, where the verb from which the Greek word so
rendered is derived is used.)
(3.) Steward (Gal. 4:2).
(4.) Governor of the feast (John 2:9), who appears here to
have been merely an intimate friend of the bridegroom, and to
have presided at the marriage banquet in his stead.
(5.) A director, i.e., helmsman; Lat. gubernator, (James 3:4).
father of a multitude, son of Terah, named (Gen. 11:27) before
his older brothers Nahor and Haran, because he was the heir of
the promises. Till the age of seventy, Abram sojourned among his
kindred in his native country of Chaldea. He then, with his
father and his family and household, quitted the city of Ur, in
which he had hitherto dwelt, and went some 300 miles north to
Haran, where he abode fifteen years. The cause of his migration
was a call from God (Acts 7:2-4). There is no mention of this
first call in the Old Testament; it is implied, however, in Gen.
12. While they tarried at Haran, Terah died at the age of 205
years. Abram now received a second and more definite call,
accompanied by a promise from God (Gen. 12:1,2); whereupon he
took his departure, taking his nephew Lot with him, "not knowing
whither he went" (Heb. 11:8). He trusted implicitly to the
guidance of Him who had called him.
Abram now, with a large household of probably a thousand
souls, entered on a migratory life, and dwelt in tents. Passing
along the valley of the Jabbok, in the land of Canaan, he formed
his first encampment at Sichem (Gen. 12:6), in the vale or
oak-grove of Moreh, between Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the
south. Here he received the great promise, "I will make of thee
a great nation," etc. (Gen. 12:2,3,7). This promise comprehended
not only temporal but also spiritual blessings. It implied that
he was the chosen ancestor of the great Deliverer whose coming
had been long ago predicted (Gen. 3:15). Soon after this, for
some reason not mentioned, he removed his tent to the mountain
district between Bethel, then called Luz, and Ai, towns about
two miles apart, where he built an altar to "Jehovah." He again
moved into the southern tract of Israel, called by the
Hebrews the Negeb; and was at length, on account of a famine,
compelled to go down into Egypt. This took place in the time of
the Hyksos, a Semitic race which now held the Egyptians in
bondage. Here occurred that case of deception on the part of
Abram which exposed him to the rebuke of Pharaoh (Gen. 12:18).
Sarai was restored to him; and Pharaoh loaded him with presents,
recommending him to withdraw from the country. He returned to
Canaan richer than when he left it, "in cattle, in silver, and
in gold" (Gen. 12:8; 13:2. Comp. Ps. 105:13, 14). The whole
party then moved northward, and returned to their previous
station near Bethel. Here disputes arose between Lot's shepherds
and those of Abram about water and pasturage. Abram generously
gave Lot his choice of the pasture-ground. (Comp. 1 Cor. 6:7.)
He chose the well-watered plain in which Sodom was situated, and
removed thither; and thus the uncle and nephew were separated.
Immediately after this Abram was cheered by a repetition of the
promises already made to him, and then removed to the plain or
"oak-grove" of Mamre, which is in Hebron. He finally settled
here, pitching his tent under a famous oak or terebinth tree,
called "the oak of Mamre" (Gen. 13:18). This was his third
resting-place in the land.
Some fourteen years before this, while Abram was still in
Chaldea, Israel had been invaded by Chedorlaomer, King of
Elam, who brought under tribute to him the five cities in the
plain to which Lot had removed. This tribute was felt by the
inhabitants of these cities to be a heavy burden, and after
twelve years they revolted. This brought upon them the vengeance
of Chedorlaomer, who had in league with him four other kings. He
ravaged the whole country, plundering the towns, and carrying
the inhabitants away as slaves. Among those thus treated was
Lot. Hearing of the disaster that had fallen on his nephew,
Abram immediately gathered from his own household a band of 318
armed men, and being joined by the Amoritish chiefs Mamre, Aner,
and Eshcol, he pursued after Chedorlaomer, and overtook him near
the springs of the Jordan. They attacked and routed his army,
and pursued it over the range of Anti-Libanus as far as to
Hobah, near Damascus, and then returned, bringing back all the
spoils that had been carried away. Returning by way of Salem,
i.e., Jerusalem, the king of that place, Melchizedek, came forth
to meet them with refreshments. To him Abram presented a tenth
of the spoils, in recognition of his character as a priest of
the most high God (Gen. 14:18-20).
In a recently-discovered tablet, dated in the reign of the
grandfather of Amraphel (Gen. 14:1), one of the witnesses is
called "the Amorite, the son of Abiramu," or Abram.
Having returned to his home at Mamre, the promises already
made to him by God were repeated and enlarged (Gen. 13:14). "The
word of the Lord" (an expression occurring here for the first
time) "came to him" (15:1). He now understood better the future
that lay before the nation that was to spring from him. Sarai,
now seventy-five years old, in her impatience, persuaded Abram
to take Hagar, her Egyptian maid, as a concubine, intending that
whatever child might be born should be reckoned as her own.
Ishmael was accordingly thus brought up, and was regarded as the
heir of these promises (Gen. 16). When Ishmael was thirteen
years old, God again revealed yet more explicitly and fully his
gracious purpose; and in token of the sure fulfilment of that
purpose the patriarch's name was now changed from Abram to
Abraham (Gen. 17:4,5), and the rite of circumcision was
instituted as a sign of the covenant. It was then announced that
the heir to these covenant promises would be the son of Sarai,
though she was now ninety years old; and it was directed that
his name should be Isaac. At the same time, in commemoration of
the promises, Sarai's name was changed to Sarah. On that
memorable day of God's thus revealing his design, Abraham and
his son Ishmael and all the males of his house were circumcised
(Gen. 17). Three months after this, as Abraham sat in his tent
door, he saw three men approaching. They accepted his proffered
hospitality, and, seated under an oak-tree, partook of the fare
which Abraham and Sarah provided. One of the three visitants was
none other than the Lord, and the other two were angels in the
guise of men. The Lord renewed on this occasion his promise of a
son by Sarah, who was rebuked for her unbelief. Abraham
accompanied the three as they proceeded on their journey. The
two angels went on toward Sodom; while the Lord tarried behind
and talked with Abraham, making known to him the destruction
that was about to fall on that guilty city. The patriarch
interceded earnestly in behalf of the doomed city. But as not
even ten righteous persons were found in it, for whose sake the
city would have been spared, the threatened destruction fell
upon it; and early next morning Abraham saw the smoke of the
fire that consumed it as the "smoke of a furnace" (Gen.
After fifteen years' residence at Mamre, Abraham moved
southward, and pitched his tent among the Philistines, near to
Gerar. Here occurred that sad instance of prevarication on his
part in his relation to Abimelech the King (Gen. 20). (See
ABIMELECH ¯T0000040.) Soon after this event, the patriarch left
the vicinity of Gerar, and moved down the fertile valley about
25 miles to Beer-sheba. It was probably here that Isaac was
born, Abraham being now an hundred years old. A feeling of
jealousy now arose between Sarah and Hagar, whose son, Ishmael,
was no longer to be regarded as Abraham's heir. Sarah insisted
that both Hagar and her son should be sent away. This was done,
although it was a hard trial to Abraham (Gen. 21:12). (See HAGAR
¯T0001583; ISHMAEL ¯T0001903.)
At this point there is a blank in the patriarch's history of
perhaps twenty-five years. These years of peace and happiness
were spent at Beer-sheba. The next time we see him his faith is
put to a severe test by the command that suddenly came to him to
go and offer up Isaac, the heir of all the promises, as a
sacrifice on one of the mountains of Moriah. His faith stood the
test (Heb. 11:17-19). He proceeded in a spirit of unhesitating
obedience to carry out the command; and when about to slay his
son, whom he had laid on the altar, his uplifted hand was
arrested by the angel of Jehovah, and a ram, which was entangled
in a thicket near at hand, was seized and offered in his stead.
From this circumstance that place was called Jehovah-jireh,
i.e., "The Lord will provide." The promises made to Abraham were
again confirmed (and this was the last recorded word of God to
the patriarch); and he descended the mount with his son, and
returned to his home at Beer-sheba (Gen. 22:19), where he
resided for some years, and then moved northward to Hebron.
Some years after this Sarah died at Hebron, being 127 years
old. Abraham acquired now the needful possession of a
burying-place, the cave of Machpelah, by purchase from the owner
of it, Ephron the Hittite (Gen. 23); and there he buried Sarah.
His next care was to provide a wife for Isaac, and for this
purpose he sent his steward, Eliezer, to Haran (or Charran, Acts
7:2), where his brother Nahor and his family resided (Gen.
11:31). The result was that Rebekah, the daughter of Nahor's son
Bethuel, became the wife of Isaac (Gen. 24). Abraham then
himself took to wife Keturah, who became the mother of six sons,
whose descendants were afterwards known as the "children of the
east" (Judg. 6:3), and later as "Saracens." At length all his
wanderings came to an end. At the age of 175 years, 100 years
after he had first entered the land of Canaan, he died, and was
buried in the old family burying-place at Machpelah (Gen.
The history of Abraham made a wide and deep impression on the
ancient world, and references to it are interwoven in the
religious traditions of almost all Eastern nations. He is called
"the friend of God" (James 2:23), "faithful Abraham" (Gal. 3:9),
"the father of us all" (Rom. 4:16).