Under the patriarchs the property of a father was divided among
the sons of his legitimate wives (Gen. 21:10; 24:36; 25:5), the
eldest son getting a larger portion than the rest. The Mosaic
law made specific regulations regarding the transmission of real
property, which are given in detail in Deut. 21:17; Num. 27:8;
36:6; 27:9-11. Succession to property was a matter of right and
not of favour. Christ is the "heir of all things" (Heb. 1:2;
Col. 1:15). Believers are heirs of the "promise," "of
righteousness," "of the kingdom," "of the world," "of God,"
"joint heirs" with Christ (Gal 3:29; Heb. 6:17; 11:7; James 2:5;
Rom. 4:13; 8:17).
whom I asked of God, the son of Jeconiah (Matt. 1:12; 1 Chr.
3:17); also called the son of Neri (Luke 3:27). The probable
explanation of the apparent discrepancy is that he was the son
of Neri, the descendant of Nathan, and thus heir to the throne
of David on the death of Jeconiah (comp. Jer. 22:30).
Jehovah is liberal; or, whom Jehovah impels. (1.) A son of
Shimeah, and nephew of David. It was he who gave the fatal
wicked advice to Amnon, the heir to the throne (2 Sam. 13:3-6).
He was very "subtil," but unprincipled.
(2.) A son of Rechab, the founder of a tribe who bound
themselves by a vow to abstain from wine (Jer. 35:6-19). There
were different settlements of Rechabites (Judg. 1:16; 4:11; 1
Chr. 2:55). (See RECHABITE ¯T0003080.) His interview and
alliance with Jehu are mentioned in 2 Kings 10:15-23. He went
with Jehu in his chariot to Samaria.
my Lord is Jehovah. (1.) The fourth son of David (2 Sam. 3:4).
After the death of his elder brothers, Amnon and Absalom, he
became heir-apparent to the throne. But Solomon, a younger
brother, was preferred to him. Adonijah, however, when his
father was dying, caused himself to be proclaimed king. But
Nathan and Bathsheba induced David to give orders that Solomon
should at once be proclaimed and admitted to the throne.
Adonijah fled and took refuge at the altar, and received pardon
for his conduct from Solomon on the condition that he showed
himself "a worthy man" (1 Kings 1:5-53). He afterwards made a
second attempt to gain the throne, but was seized and put to
death (1 Kings 2:13-25).
(2.) A Levite sent with the princes to teach the book of the
law to the inhabitants of Judah (2 Chr. 17:8).
(3.) One of the "chiefs of the people" after the Captivity
succeeded his father Jehoiakin (B.C. 599) when only eight years
of age, and reigned for one hundred days (2 Chr. 36:9). He is
also called Jeconiah (Jer. 24:1; 27:20, etc.), and Coniah
(22:24; 37:1). He was succeeded by his uncle, Mattaniah =
Zedekiah (q.v.). He was the last direct heir to the Jewish
crown. He was carried captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar,
along with the flower of the nobility, all the leading men in
Jerusalem, and a great body of the general population, some
thirteen thousand in all (2 Kings 24:12-16; Jer. 52:28). After
an imprisonment of thirty-seven years (Jer. 52:31, 33), he was
liberated by Evil-merodach, and permitted to occupy a place in
the king's household and sit at his table, receiving "every day
a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life"
oppression, a small Syrian kingdom near Geshur, east of the
Hauran, the district of Batanea (Josh. 13:13; 2 Sam. 10:6,8; 1
(2.) A daughter of Talmai, king of the old native population
of Geshur. She became one of David's wives, and was the mother
of Absalom (2 Sam. 3:3).
(3.) The father of Hanan, who was one of David's body-guard (1
(4.) The daughter of Abishalom (called Absalom, 2 Chr.
11:20-22), the third wife of Rehoboam, and mother of Abijam (1
Kings 15:2). She is called "Michaiah the daughter of Uriel," who
was the husband of Absalom's daughter Tamar (2 Chr. 13:2). Her
son Abijah or Abijam was heir to the throne.
(5.) The father of Achish, the king of Gath (1 Kings 2:39),
called also Maoch (1 Sam. 27:2).
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).
Matthew, Gospel according to
The author of this book was beyond a doubt the Matthew, an
apostle of our Lord, whose name it bears. He wrote the Gospel of
Christ according to his own plans and aims, and from his own
point of view, as did also the other "evangelists."
As to the time of its composition, there is little in the
Gospel itself to indicate. It was evidently written before the
destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 24), and some time after the
events it records. The probability is that it was written
between the years A.D. 60 and 65.
The cast of thought and the forms of expression employed by
the writer show that this Gospel was written for Jewish
Christians of Israel. His great object is to prove that Jesus
of Nazareth was the promised Messiah, and that in him the
ancient prophecies had their fulfilment. The Gospel is full of
allusions to those passages of the Old Testament in which Christ
is predicted and foreshadowed. The one aim prevading the whole
book is to show that Jesus is he "of whom Moses in the law and
the prophets did write." This Gospel contains no fewer than
sixty-five references to the Old Testament, forty-three of these
being direct verbal citations, thus greatly outnumbering those
found in the other Gospels. The main feature of this Gospel may
be expressed in the motto, "I am not come to destroy, but to
As to the language in which this Gospel was written there is
much controversy. Many hold, in accordance with old tradition,
that it was originally written in Hebrew (i.e., the Aramaic or
Syro-Chaldee dialect, then the vernacular of the inhabitants of
Israel), and afterwards translated into Greek, either by
Matthew himself or by some person unknown. This theory, though
earnestly maintained by able critics, we cannot see any ground
for adopting. From the first this Gospel in Greek was received
as of authority in the Church. There is nothing in it to show
that it is a translation. Though Matthew wrote mainly for the
Jews, yet they were everywhere familiar with the Greek language.
The same reasons which would have suggested the necessity of a
translation into Greek would have led the evangelist to write in
Greek at first. It is confessed that this Gospel has never been
found in any other form than that in which we now possess it.
The leading characteristic of this Gospel is that it sets
forth the kingly glory of Christ, and shows him to be the true
heir to David's throne. It is the Gospel of the kingdom. Matthew
uses the expression "kingdom of heaven" (thirty-two times),
while Luke uses the expression "kingdom of God" (thirty-three
times). Some Latinized forms occur in this Gospel, as kodrantes
(Matt. 5:26), for the Latin quadrans, and phragello (27:26), for
the Latin flagello. It must be remembered that Matthew was a
tax-gatherer for the Roman government, and hence in contact with
those using the Latin language.
As to the relation of the Gospels to each other, we must
maintain that each writer of the synoptics (the first three)
wrote independently of the other two, Matthew being probably
first in point of time.
"Out of a total of 1071 verses, Matthew has 387 in common with
Mark and Luke, 130 with Mark, 184 with Luke; only 387 being
peculiar to itself." (See MARK ¯T0002419; LUKE ¯T0002331;
The book is fitly divided into these four parts: (1.)
Containing the genealogy, the birth, and the infancy of Jesus
(2.) The discourses and actions of John the Baptist
preparatory to Christ's public ministry (3; 4:11).
(3.) The discourses and actions of Christ in Galilee
(4.) The sufferings, death and resurrection of our Lord
he enlarges the people, the successor of Solomon on the throne,
and apparently his only son. He was the son of Naamah "the
Ammonitess," some well-known Ammonitish princess (1 Kings 14:21;
2 Chr. 12:13). He was forty-one years old when he ascended the
throne, and he reigned seventeen years (B.C. 975-958). Although
he was acknowledged at once as the rightful heir to the throne,
yet there was a strongly-felt desire to modify the character of
the government. The burden of taxation to which they had been
subjected during Solomon's reign was very oppressive, and
therefore the people assembled at Shechem and demanded from the
king an alleviation of their burdens. He went to meet them at
Shechem, and heard their demands for relief (1 Kings 12:4).
After three days, having consulted with a younger generation of
courtiers that had grown up around him, instead of following the
advice of elders, he answered the people haughtily (6-15). "The
king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the
Lord" (comp. 11:31). This brought matters speedily to a crisis.
The terrible cry was heard (comp. 2 Sam. 20:1):
"What portion have we in David?
Neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse:
To your tents, O Israel:
Now see to thine own house, David" (1 Kings 12:16).
And now at once the kingdom was rent in twain. Rehoboam was
appalled, and tried concessions, but it was too late (18). The
tribe of Judah, Rehoboam's own tribe, alone remained faithful to
him. Benjamin was reckoned along with Judah, and these two
tribes formed the southern kingdom, with Jerusalem as its
capital; while the northern ten tribes formed themselves into a
separate kingdom, choosing Jeroboam as their king. Rehoboam
tried to win back the revolted ten tribes by making war against
them, but he was prevented by the prophet Shemaiah (21-24; 2
Chr. 11:1-4) from fulfilling his purpose. (See JEROBOAM
In the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign, Shishak (q.v.), one of
the kings of Egypt of the Assyrian dynasty, stirred up, no
doubt, by Jeroboam his son-in-law, made war against him.
Jerusalem submitted to the invader, who plundered the temple and
virtually reduced the kingdom to the position of a vassal of
Egypt (1 Kings 14:25, 26; 2 Chr. 12:5-9). A remarkable memorial
of this invasion has been discovered at Karnac, in Upper Egypt,
in certain sculptures on the walls of a small temple there.
These sculptures represent the king, Shishak, holding in his
hand a train of prisoners and other figures, with the names of
the captured towns of Judah, the towns which Rehoboam had
fortified (2 Chr. 11:5-12).
The kingdom of Judah, under Rehoboam, sank more and more in
moral and spiritual decay. "There was war between Rehoboam and
Jeroboam all their days." At length, in the fifty-eighth year of
his age, Rehoboam "slept with his fathers, and was buried with
his fathers in the city of David" (1 Kings 14:31). He was
succeeded by his son Abijah. (See EGYPT ¯T0001137.)
is converse with God; the intercourse of the soul with God, not
in contemplation or meditation, but in direct address to him.
Prayer may be oral or mental, occasional or constant,
ejaculatory or formal. It is a "beseeching the Lord" (Ex.
32:11); "pouring out the soul before the Lord" (1 Sam. 1:15);
"praying and crying to heaven" (2 Chr. 32:20); "seeking unto God
and making supplication" (Job 8:5); "drawing near to God" (Ps.
73:28); "bowing the knees" (Eph. 3:14).
Prayer presupposes a belief in the personality of God, his
ability and willingness to hold intercourse with us, his
personal control of all things and of all his creatures and all
Acceptable prayer must be sincere (Heb. 10:22), offered with
reverence and godly fear, with a humble sense of our own
insignificance as creatures and of our own unworthiness as
sinners, with earnest importunity, and with unhesitating
submission to the divine will. Prayer must also be offered in
the faith that God is, and is the hearer and answerer of prayer,
and that he will fulfil his word, "Ask, and ye shall receive"
(Matt. 7:7, 8; 21:22; Mark 11:24; John 14:13, 14), and in the
name of Christ (16:23, 24; 15:16; Eph. 2:18; 5:20; Col. 3:17; 1
Prayer is of different kinds, secret (Matt. 6:6); social, as
family prayers, and in social worship; and public, in the
service of the sanctuary.
Intercessory prayer is enjoined (Num. 6:23; Job 42:8; Isa.
62:6; Ps. 122:6; 1 Tim. 2:1; James 5:14), and there are many
instances on record of answers having been given to such
prayers, e.g., of Abraham (Gen. 17:18, 20; 18:23-32; 20:7, 17,
18), of Moses for Pharaoh (Ex. 8:12, 13, 30, 31; Ex. 9:33), for
the Israelites (Ex. 17:11, 13; 32:11-14, 31-34; Num. 21:7, 8;
Deut. 9:18, 19, 25), for Miriam (Num. 12:13), for Aaron (Deut.
9:20), of Samuel (1 Sam. 7:5-12), of Solomon (1 Kings 8; 2 Chr.
6), Elijah (1 Kings 17:20-23), Elisha (2 Kings 4:33-36), Isaiah
(2 Kings 19), Jeremiah (42:2-10), Peter (Acts 9:40), the church
(12:5-12), Paul (28:8).
No rules are anywhere in Scripture laid down for the manner of
prayer or the attitude to be assumed by the suppliant. There is
mention made of kneeling in prayer (1 Kings 8:54; 2 Chr. 6:13;
Ps. 95:6; Isa. 45:23; Luke 22:41; Acts 7:60; 9:40; Eph. 3:14,
etc.); of bowing and falling prostrate (Gen. 24:26, 52; Ex.
4:31; 12:27; Matt. 26:39; Mark 14:35, etc.); of spreading out
the hands (1 Kings 8:22, 38, 54; Ps. 28:2; 63:4; 88:9; 1 Tim.
2:8, etc.); and of standing (1 Sam. 1:26; 1 Kings 8:14, 55; 2
Chr. 20:9; Mark 11:25; Luke 18:11, 13).
If we except the "Lord's Prayer" (Matt. 6:9-13), which is,
however, rather a model or pattern of prayer than a set prayer
to be offered up, we have no special form of prayer for general
use given us in Scripture.
Prayer is frequently enjoined in Scripture (Ex. 22:23, 27; 1
Kings 3:5; 2 Chr. 7:14; Ps. 37:4; Isa. 55:6; Joel 2:32; Ezek.
36:37, etc.), and we have very many testimonies that it has been
answered (Ps. 3:4; 4:1; 6:8; 18:6; 28:6; 30:2; 34:4; 118:5;
James 5:16-18, etc.).
"Abraham's servant prayed to God, and God directed him to the
person who should be wife to his master's son and heir (Gen.
"Jacob prayed to God, and God inclined the heart of his
irritated brother, so that they met in peace and friendship
(Gen. 32:24-30; 33:1-4).
"Samson prayed to God, and God showed him a well where he
quenched his burning thirst, and so lived to judge Israel (Judg.
"David prayed, and God defeated the counsel of Ahithophel (2
Sam. 15:31; 16:20-23; 17:14-23).
"Daniel prayed, and God enabled him both to tell
Nebuchadnezzar his dream and to give the interpretation of it
(Dan. 2: 16-23).
"Nehemiah prayed, and God inclined the heart of the king of
Persia to grant him leave of absence to visit and rebuild
Jerusalem (Neh. 1:11; 2:1-6).
"Esther and Mordecai prayed, and God defeated the purpose of
Haman, and saved the Jews from destruction (Esther 4:15-17; 6:7,
"The believers in Jerusalem prayed, and God opened the prison
doors and set Peter at liberty, when Herod had resolved upon his
death (Acts 12:1-12).
"Paul prayed that the thorn in the flesh might be removed, and
his prayer brought a large increase of spiritual strength, while
the thorn perhaps remained (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
"Prayer is like the dove that Noah sent forth, which blessed
him not only when it returned with an olive-leaf in its mouth,
but when it never returned at all.", Robinson's Job.