used only in the proverb, "to pass through a needle's eye"
(Matt. 19:24; Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25). Some interpret the
expression as referring to the side gate, close to the principal
gate, usually called the "eye of a needle" in the East; but it
is rather to be taken literally. The Hebrew females were skilled
in the use of the needle (Ex. 28:39; 26:36; Judg. 5:30).
fenced enclosures consisting of "a low wall of stones in which
thick bundles of thorny acacia are inserted, the tangled
branches and long needle-like spikes forming a perfectly
impenetrable hedge around the encampment" of tents and cattle
which they sheltered. Such like enclosures abound in the
wilderness of Paran, which the Israelites entered after leaving
Sinai (Num. 11:35; 12:16; 33:17, 18). This third encampment of
the Israelites has been identified with the modern 'Ain
el-Hudhera, some 40 miles north-east of Sinai. Here Miriam
(q.v.), being displeased that Moses had married a Cushite wife
(Num. 12:1), induced Aaron to join with her in rebelling against
Moses. God vindicated the authority of his "servant Moses," and
Miriam was smitten with leprosy. Moses interceded for her, and
she was healed (Num. 12:4-16). From this encampment the
Israelites marched northward across the plateau of et-Tih, and
at length reached KADESH.
light; the sun, (Gen. 41:45, 50), the great seat of sun-worship,
called also Bethshemesh (Jer. 43:13) and Aven (Ezek. 30:17),
stood on the east bank of the Nile, a few miles north of
Memphis, and near Cairo, in the north-east. The Vulgate and the
LXX. Versions have "Heliopolis" ("city of the sun") instead of
On in Genesis and of Aven in Ezekiel. The "city of destruction"
Isaiah speaks of (19:18, marg. "of Heres;" Heb. 'Ir-ha-heres,
which some MSS. read Ir-ha-heres, i.e., "city of the sun") may
be the name given to On, the prophecy being that the time will
come when that city which was known as the "city of the sun-god"
shall become the "city of destruction" of the sun-god, i.e.,
when idolatry shall cease, and the worship of the true God be
In ancient times this city was full of obelisks dedicated to
the sun. Of these only one now remains standing. "Cleopatra's
Needle" was one of those which stood in this city in front of
the Temple of Tum, i.e., "the sun." It is now erected on the
Thames Embankment, London.
"It was at On that Joseph wooed and won the dark-skinned
Asenath, the daughter of the high priest of its great temple."
This was a noted university town, and here Moses gained his
acquaintance with "all the wisdom of the Egyptians."
from the Hebrew _gamal_, "to repay" or "requite," as the camel
does the care of its master. There are two distinct species of
camels, having, however, the common characteristics of being
"ruminants without horns, without muzzle, with nostrils forming
oblique slits, the upper lip divided and separately movable and
extensile, the soles of the feet horny, with two toes covered by
claws, the limbs long, the abdomen drawn up, while the neck,
long and slender, is bent up and down, the reverse of that of a
horse, which is arched."
(1.) The Bactrian camel is distinguished by two humps. It is a
native of the high table-lands of Central Asia.
(2.) The Arabian camel or dromedary, from the Greek _dromos_,
"a runner" (Isa. 60:6; Jer. 2:23), has but one hump, and is a
native of Western Asia or Africa.
The camel was early used both for riding and as a beast of
burden (Gen. 24:64; 37:25), and in war (1 Sam. 30:17; Isa.
21:7). Mention is made of the camel among the cattle given by
Pharaoh to Abraham (Gen. 12:16). Its flesh was not to be eaten,
as it was ranked among unclean animals (Lev. 11:4; Deut. 14:7).
Abraham's servant rode on a camel when he went to fetch a wife
for Isaac (Gen. 24:10, 11). Jacob had camels as a portion of his
wealth (30:43), as Abraham also had (24:35). He sent a present
of thirty milch camels to his brother Esau (32:15). It appears
to have been little in use among the Jews after the conquest. It
is, however, mentioned in the history of David (1 Chr. 27:30),
and after the Exile (Ezra 2:67; Neh. 7:69). Camels were much in
use among other nations in the East. The queen of Sheba came
with a caravan of camels when she came to see the wisdom of
Solomon (1 Kings 10:2; 2 Chr. 9:1). Benhadad of Damascus also
sent a present to Elisha, "forty camels' burden" (2 Kings 8:9).
To show the difficulty in the way of a rich man's entering
into the kingdom, our Lord uses the proverbial expression that
it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle
To strain at (rather, out) a gnat and swallow a camel was also
a proverbial expression (Matt. 23:24), used with reference to
those who were careful to avoid small faults, and yet did not
hesitate to commit the greatest sins. The Jews carefully
filtered their wine before drinking it, for fear of swallowing
along with it some insect forbidden in the law as unclean, and
yet they omitted openly the "weightier matters" of the law.
The raiment worn by John the Baptist was made of camel's hair
(Matt. 3:4; Mark 1:6), by which he was distinguished from those
who resided in royal palaces and wore soft raiment. This was
also the case with Elijah (2 Kings 1:8), who is called "a hairy
man," from his wearing such raiment. "This is one of the most
admirable materials for clothing; it keeps out the heat, cold,
and rain." The "sackcloth" so often alluded to (2 Kings 1:8;
Isa. 15:3; Zech. 13:4, etc.) was probably made of camel's hair.
(Heb. goral, a "pebble"), a small stone used in casting lots
(Num. 33:54; Jonah 1:7). The lot was always resorted to by the
Hebrews with strictest reference to the interposition of God,
and as a method of ascertaining the divine will (Prov. 16:33),
and in serious cases of doubt (Esther 3:7). Thus the lot was
used at the division of the land of Canaan among the serveral
tribes (Num. 26:55; 34:13), at the detection of Achan (Josh.
7:14, 18), the election of Saul to be king (1 Sam. 10:20, 21),
the distribution of the priestly offices of the temple service
(1 Chr. 24:3, 5, 19; Luke 1:9), and over the two goats at the
feast of Atonement (Lev. 16:8). Matthias, who was "numbered with
the eleven" (Acts 1:24-26), was chosen by lot.
This word also denotes a portion or an inheritance (Josh.
15:1; Ps. 125:3; Isa. 17:4), and a destiny, as assigned by God
(Ps. 16:5; Dan. 12:13).
Lot, (Heb. lot), a covering; veil, the son of Haran, and
nephew of Abraham (Gen. 11:27). On the death of his father, he
was left in charge of his grandfather Terah (31), after whose
death he accompanied his uncle Abraham into Canaan (12:5),
thence into Egypt (10), and back again to Canaan (13:1). After
this he separated from him and settled in Sodom (13:5-13). There
his righteous soul was "vexed" from day to day (2 Pet. 2:7), and
he had great cause to regret this act. Not many years after the
separation he was taken captive by Chedorlaomer, and was rescued
by Abraham (Gen. 14). At length, when the judgment of God
descended on the guilty cities of the plain (Gen. 19:1-20), Lot
was miraculously delivered. When fleeing from the doomed city
his wife "looked back from behind him, and became a pillar of
salt." There is to this day a peculiar crag at the south end of
the Dead Sea, near Kumran, which the Arabs call Bint Sheik Lot,
i.e., Lot's wife. It is "a tall, isolated needle of rock, which
really does bear a curious resemblance to an Arab woman with a
child upon her shoulder." From the words of warning in Luke
17:32, "Remember Lot's wife," it would seem as if she had gone
back, or tarried so long behind in the desire to save some of
her goods, that she became involved in the destruction which
fell on the city, and became a stiffened corpse, fixed for a
time in the saline incrustations. She became "a pillar of salt",
i.e., as some think, of asphalt. (See SALT ¯T0003196.)
Lot and his daughters sought refuge first in Zoar, and then,
fearing to remain there longer, retired to a cave in the
neighbouring mountains (Gen. 19:30). Lot has recently been
connected with the people called on the Egyptian monuments
Rotanu or Lotanu, who is supposed to have been the hero of the
Edomite tribe Lotan.
(1.) Materials used. The earliest and simplest an apron of
fig-leaves sewed together (Gen. 3:7); then skins of animals
(3:21). Elijah's dress was probably the skin of a sheep (2 Kings
1:8). The Hebrews were early acquainted with the art of weaving
hair into cloth (Ex. 26:7; 35:6), which formed the sackcloth of
mourners. This was the material of John the Baptist's robe
(Matt. 3:4). Wool was also woven into garments (Lev. 13:47;
Deut. 22:11; Ezek. 34:3; Job 31:20; Prov. 27:26). The Israelites
probably learned the art of weaving linen when they were in
Egypt (1 Chr. 4:21). Fine linen was used in the vestments of the
high priest (Ex. 28:5), as well as by the rich (Gen. 41:42;
Prov. 31:22; Luke 16:19). The use of mixed material, as wool and
flax, was forbidden (Lev. 19:19; Deut. 22:11).
(2.) Colour. The prevailing colour was the natural white of
the material used, which was sometimes rendered purer by the
fuller's art (Ps. 104:1, 2; Isa. 63:3; Mark 9:3). The Hebrews
were acquainted with the art of dyeing (Gen. 37:3, 23). Various
modes of ornamentation were adopted in the process of weaving
(Ex. 28:6; 26:1, 31; 35:25), and by needle-work (Judg. 5:30; Ps.
45:13). Dyed robes were imported from foreign countries,
particularly from Phoenicia (Zeph. 1:8). Purple and scarlet
robes were the marks of the wealthy (Luke 16:19; 2 Sam. 1:24).
(3.) Form. The robes of men and women were not very much
different in form from each other.
(a) The "coat" (kethoneth), of wool, cotton, or linen, was
worn by both sexes. It was a closely-fitting garment, resembling
in use and form our shirt (John 19:23). It was kept close to the
body by a girdle (John 21:7). A person wearing this "coat" alone
was described as naked (1 Sam. 19:24; Isa. 20:2; 2 Kings 6:30;
John 21:7); deprived of it he would be absolutely naked.
(b) A linen cloth or wrapper (sadin) of fine linen, used
somewhat as a night-shirt (Mark 14:51). It is mentioned in Judg.
14:12, 13, and rendered there "sheets."
(c) An upper tunic (meil), longer than the "coat" (1 Sam.
2:19; 24:4; 28:14). In 1 Sam. 28:14 it is the mantle in which
Samuel was enveloped; in 1 Sam. 24:4 it is the "robe" under
which Saul slept. The disciples were forbidden to wear two
"coats" (Matt. 10:10; Luke 9:3).
(d) The usual outer garment consisted of a piece of woollen
cloth like a Scotch plaid, either wrapped round the body or
thrown over the shoulders like a shawl, with the ends hanging
down in front, or it might be thrown over the head so as to
conceal the face (2 Sam. 15:30; Esther 6:12). It was confined to
the waist by a girdle, and the fold formed by the overlapping of
the robe served as a pocket (2 Kings 4:39; Ps. 79:12; Hag. 2:12;
Prov. 17:23; 21:14).
Female dress. The "coat" was common to both sexes (Cant. 5:3).
But peculiar to females were (1) the "veil" or "wimple," a kind
of shawl (Ruth 3:15; rendered "mantle," R.V., Isa. 3:22); (2)
the "mantle," also a species of shawl (Isa. 3:22); (3) a "veil,"
probably a light summer dress (Gen. 24:65); (4) a "stomacher," a
holiday dress (Isa. 3:24). The outer garment terminated in an
ample fringe or border, which concealed the feet (Isa. 47:2;
The dress of the Persians is described in Dan. 3:21.
The reference to the art of sewing are few, inasmuch as the
garments generally came forth from the loom ready for being
worn, and all that was required in the making of clothes
devolved on the women of a family (Prov. 31:22; Acts 9:39).
Extravagance in dress is referred to in Jer. 4:30; Ezek.
16:10; Zeph. 1:8 (R.V., "foreign apparel"); 1 Tim. 2:9; 1 Pet.
3:3. Rending the robes was expressive of grief (Gen. 37:29, 34),
fear (1 Kings 21:27), indignation (2 Kings 5:7), or despair
(Judg. 11:35; Esther 4:1).
Shaking the garments, or shaking the dust from off them, was a
sign of renunciation (Acts 18:6); wrapping them round the head,
of awe (1 Kings 19:13) or grief (2 Sam. 15:30; casting them off,
of excitement (Acts 22:23); laying hold of them, of supplication
(1 Sam. 15:27). In the case of travelling, the outer garments
were girded up (1 Kings 18:46). They were thrown aside also when
they would impede action (Mark 10:50; John 13:4; Acts 7:58).