(Isa. 41:19; R.V., "acacia tree"). Shittah wood was employed in
making the various parts of the tabernacle in the wilderness,
and must therefore have been indigenous in the desert in which
the Israelites wandered. It was the acacia or mimosa (Acacia
Nilotica and A. seyal). "The wild acacia (Mimosa Nilotica),
under the name of _sunt_, everywhere represents the seneh, or
senna, of the burning bush. A slightly different form of the
tree, equally common under the name of _seyal_, is the ancient
'shittah,' or, as more usually expressed in the plural form, the
'shittim,' of which the tabernacle was made." Stanley's Sinai,
etc. (Ex. 25:10, 13, 23, 28).
in which Jehovah appeared to Moses in the wilderness (Ex. 3:2;
Acts 7:30). It is difficult to say what particular kind of plant
or bush is here meant. Probably it was the mimosa or acacia. The
words "in the bush" in Mark 12:26; Luke 20:37, mean "in the
passage or paragraph on the bush;" i.e., in Ex. 3.
a palm branch, or a thorn bush, a town in the south (the negeb)
of Judah (Josh. 15:31); called also Hazarsusah (19:5), or
Hazar-susim (1 Chr. 4:31).
=Zared, luxuriance; willow bush, a brook or valley communicating
with the Dead Sea near its southern extremity (Num. 21:12; Deut.
2:14). It is called the "brook of the willows" (Isa. 15:7) and
the "river of the wilderness" (Amos 6:14). It has been
identified with the Wady el-Aksy.
burning, a Roman Christian to whom Paul sent salutations (Rom.
servant of Nego=Nebo, the Chaldee name given to Azariah, one of
Daniel's three companions (Dan. 2:49). With Shadrach and
Meshach, he was delivered from the burning fiery furnace
the translation in Lev. 26:16 (R.V., "fever") of the Hebrew word
kaddah'ath, meaning "kindling", i.e., an inflammatory or burning
fever. In Deut. 28:22 the word is rendered "fever."
burning, a place in the wilderness of Paran, where the "fire of
the Lord" consumed the murmuring Israelites (Num. 11:3; Deut.
9:22). It was also called Kibroth-hattaavah (q.v.).
This word occurs frequently, and is the translation of several
different terms. (1.) Micah 7:4, it denotes a species of thorn
shrub used for hedges. In Prov. 15:19 the word is rendered
"thorn" (Heb. _hedek_, "stinging"), supposed by some to be what
is called the "apple of Sodom" (q.v.).
(2.) Ezek. 28:24, _sallon'_, properly a "prickle," such as is
found on the shoots of the palm tree.
(3.) Isa. 55:13, probably simply a thorny bush. Some,
following the Vulgate Version, regard it as the "nettle."
(4.) Isa. 5:6; 7:23-25, etc., frequently used to denote thorny
shrubs in general. In 10:17; 27:4, it means troublesome men.
(5.) In Heb. 6:8 the Greek word (tribolos) so rendered means
"three-pronged," and denotes the land caltrop, a low throny
shrub resembling in its spikes the military "crow-foot." Comp.
Matt. 7:16, "thistle."
occurs only in connection with the sixth plague of Egypt (Ex.
9:9, 10). In Deut. 28:27, 35, it is called "the botch of Egypt."
It seems to have been the fearful disease of black leprosy, a
kind of elephantiasis, producing burning ulcers.
whom God has given. (1.) An inhabitant of Jerusalem, the father
of Nehushta, who was the mother of king Jehoiachin (2 Kings
24:8). Probably the same who tried to prevent Jehoiakim from
burning the roll of Jeremiah's prophecies (Jer. 26:22; 36:12).
(2.) Ezra 8:16.
Isa. 7:4, Amos 4:11, Zech. 3:2, denotes the burnt end of a stick
(Heb. 'ud); in Judg. 15:4, a lamp or torch, a flambeau (Heb.
lappid); in Prov. 26:18 (comp. Eph. 6:16), burning darts or
arrows (Heb. zikkim).
burning of waters, supposed to be salt-pans, or lime-kilns, or
glass-factories, a place to which Joshua pursued a party of
Canaanites after the defeat of Jabin (Josh. 11:8). It is
identified with the ruin Musheirifeh, at the promontory of
en-Nakhurah, some 11 miles north of Acre.
(Neh. 10:34; 13:31). It would seem that in the time of Nehemiah
arrangements were made, probably on account of the comparative
scarcity of wood, by which certain districts were required, as
chosen by lot, to furnish wood to keep the altar fire
perpetually burning (Lev. 6:13).
from the Old Testament in the New, which are very numerous, are
not made according to any uniform method. When the New Testament
was written, the Old was not divided, as it now is, into
chapters and verses, and hence such peculiarities as these: When
Luke (20:37) refers to Ex. 3:6, he quotes from "Moses at the
bush", i.e., the section containing the record of Moses at the
bush. So also Mark (2:26) refers to 1 Sam. 21:1-6, in the words,
"in the days of Abiathar;" and Paul (Rom. 11:2) refers to 1
Kings ch. 17-19, in the words, "in Elias", i.e., in the portion
of the history regarding Elias.
In general, the New Testament writers quote from the
Septuagint (q.v.) version of the Old Testament, as it was then
in common use among the Jews. But it is noticeable that these
quotations are not made in any uniform manner. Sometimes, e.g.,
the quotation does not agree literally either with the LXX. or
the Hebrew text. This occurs in about one hundred instances.
Sometimes the LXX. is literally quoted (in about ninety
instances), and sometimes it is corrected or altered in the
quotations (in over eighty instances).
Quotations are sometimes made also directly from the Hebrew
text (Matt. 4:15, 16; John 19:37; 1 Cor. 15:54). Besides the
quotations made directly, there are found numberless allusions,
more or less distinct, showing that the minds of the New
Testament writers were filled with the expressions and ideas as
well as historical facts recorded in the Old.
There are in all two hundred and eighty-three direct
quotations from the Old Testament in the New, but not one clear
and certain case of quotation from the Apocrypha (q.v.).
Besides quotations in the New from the Old Testament, there
are in Paul's writings three quotations from certain Greek
poets, Acts 17:28; 1 Cor. 15:33; Titus 1:12. These quotations
are memorials of his early classical education.
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.
(Heb. rothem), called by the Arabs retem, and known as Spanish
broom; ranked under the genus genista. It is a desert shrub, and
abounds in many parts of Israel. In the account of his
journey from Akabah to Jerusalem, Dr. Robinson says: "This is
the largest and most conspicuous shrub of these deserts, growing
thickly in the water-courses and valleys. Our Arabs always
selected the place of encampment, if possible, in a spot where
it grew, in order to be sheltered by it at night from the wind;
and during the day, when they often went on in advance of the
camels, we found them not unfrequently sitting or sleeping under
a bush of retem to shelter them from the sun. It was in this
very desert, a day's journey from Beersheba, that the prophet
Elijah lay down and slept beneath the same shrub" (1 Kings 19:4,
5). It afforded material for fuel, and also in cases of
extremity for human food (Ps. 120:4; Job 30:4). One of the
encampments in the wilderness of Paran is called Rithmah, i.e.,
"place of broom" (Num. 33:18).
"The Bedawin of Sinai still burn this very plant into a
charcoal which throws out the most intense heat."
the wind coming from the east (Job 27:21; Isa. 27:8, etc.).
Blight caused by this wind, "thin ears" (Gen. 41:6); the
withered "gourd" (Jonah 4: 8). It was the cause and also the
emblem of evil (Ezek. 17:10; 19:12; Hos. 13:15). In Israel
this wind blows from a burning desert, and hence is destitute of
moisture necessary for vegetation.
(Ex. 27:3; 38:3), one of the vessels of the temple service
(rendered "snuff-dish" Ex. 25:38; 37:23; and "censer" Lev. 10:1;
16:12). It was probably a metallic cinder-basin used for the
purpose of carrying live coal for burning incense, and of
carrying away the snuff in trimming the lamps.
Heb. ah (Jer. 36:22, 23; R.V., "brazier"), meaning a large pot
like a brazier, a portable furnace in which fire was kept in the
king's winter apartment.
Heb. kiyor (Zech. 12:6; R.V., "pan"), a fire-pan.
Heb. moqed (Ps. 102:3; R.V., "fire-brand"), properly a fagot.
Heb. yaqud (Isa. 30:14), a burning mass on a hearth.
who is like God! (1.) A Levite; the eldest of the three sons of
Uzziel (Ex. 6:22).
(2.) One of the three Hebrew youths who were trained with
Daniel in Babylon (Dan. 1:11, 19), and promoted to the rank of
Magi. He and his companions were afterwards cast into the
burning fiery furnace for refusing to worship the idol the king
had set up, from which they were miraculously delivered
(3:13-30). His Chaldean name was Meshach (q.v.).
Burying was among the Jews the only mode of disposing of corpses
(Gen. 23:19; 25:9; 35:8, 9, etc.).
The first traces of burning the dead are found in 1 Sam.
31:12. The burning of the body was affixed by the law of Moses
as a penalty to certain crimes (Lev. 20:14; 21:9).
To leave the dead unburied was regarded with horror (1 Kings
13:22; 14:11; 16:4; 21:24, etc.).
In the earliest times of which we have record kinsmen carried
their dead to the grave (Gen. 25:9; 35:29; Judg. 16:31), but in
later times this was done by others (Amos 6:16).
Immediately after decease the body was washed, and then
wrapped in a large cloth (Acts 9:37; Matt. 27:59; Mark 15:46).
In the case of persons of distinction, aromatics were laid on
the folds of the cloth (John 19:39; comp. John 12:7).
As a rule the burial (q.v.) took place on the very day of the
death (Acts 5:6, 10), and the body was removed to the grave in
an open coffin or on a bier (Luke 7:14). After the burial a
funeral meal was usually given (2 Sam. 3:35; Jer. 16:5, 7; Hos.
(Ex. 28:17; 39:10; Ezek. 28:13). Heb. barkath; LXX. smaragdos;
Vulgate, smaragdus; Revised Version, marg., "emerald." The
Hebrew word is from a root meaning "to glitter," "lighten,"
"flash." When held up to the sun, this gem shines like a burning
coal, a dark-red glowing coal, and hence is called
"carbunculus", i.e., a little coal. It was one of the jewels in
the first row of the high priest's breastplate. It has been
conjectured by some that the garnet is meant. In Isa. 54:12 the
Hebrew word is _'ekdah_, used in the prophetic description of
the glory and beauty of the mansions above. Next to the diamond
it is the hardest and most costly of all precious stones.
(Deut. 28:22; Matt. 8:14; Mark 1:30; John 4:52; Acts 28:8), a
burning heat, as the word so rendered denotes, which attends all
febrile attacks. In all Eastern countries such diseases are very
common. Peter's wife's mother is said to have suffered from a
"great fever" (Luke 4:38), an instance of Luke's professional
exactitude in describing disease. He adopts here the technical
medical distinction, as in those times fevers were divided into
the "great" and the "less."
mentioned in Isa. 6:2, 3, 6, 7. This word means fiery ones, in
allusion, as is supposed, to their burning love. They are
represented as "standing" above the King as he sat upon his
throne, ready at once to minister unto him. Their form appears
to have been human, with the addition of wings. (See ANGELS
¯T0000240.) This word, in the original, is used elsewhere only
of the "fiery serpents" (Num. 21:6, 8; Deut. 8:15; comp. Isa.
14:29; 30:6) sent by God as his instruments to inflict on the
people the righteous penalty of sin.
(originally Ge bene Hinnom; i.e., "the valley of the sons of
Hinnom"), a deep, narrow glen to the south of Jerusalem, where
the idolatrous Jews offered their children in sacrifice to
Molech (2 Chr. 28:3; 33:6; Jer. 7:31; 19:2-6). This valley
afterwards became the common receptacle for all the refuse of
the city. Here the dead bodies of animals and of criminals, and
all kinds of filth, were cast and consumed by fire kept always
burning. It thus in process of time became the image of the
place of everlasting destruction. In this sense it is used by
our Lord in Matt. 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark
9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5. In these passages, and also in James
3:6, the word is uniformly rendered "hell," the Revised Version
placing "Gehenna" in the margin. (See HELL ¯T0001731; HINNOM
(Heb. kapporeth, a "covering;" LXX. and N.T., hilasterion;
Vulg., propitiatorium), the covering or lid of the ark of the
covenant (q.v.). It was of acacia wood, overlaid with gold, or
perhaps rather a plate of solid gold, 2 1/2 cubits long and 1
1/2 broad (Ex. 25:17; 30:6; 31:7). It is compared to the throne
of grace (Heb. 9:5; Eph. 2:6). The holy of holies is called the
"place of the mercy-seat" (1 Chr. 28:11: Lev. 16:2).
It has been conjectured that the censer (thumiaterion, meaning
"anything having regard to or employed in the burning of
incense") mentioned in Heb. 9:4 was the "mercy-seat," at which
the incense was burned by the high priest on the great day of
atonement, and upon or toward which the blood of the goat was
sprinkled (Lev. 16:11-16; comp. Num. 7:89 and Ex. 25:22).
(1.) Heb. haral, "pricking" or "burning," Prov. 24:30, 31 (R.V.
marg., "wild vetches"); Job 30:7; Zeph. 2:9. Many have supposed
that some thorny or prickly plant is intended by this word, such
as the bramble, the thistle, the wild plum, the cactus or
prickly pear, etc. It may probably be a species of mustard, the
Sinapis arvensis, which is a pernicious weed abounding in
corn-fields. Tristram thinks that this word "designates the
prickly acanthus (Acanthus spinosus), a very common and
troublesome weed in the plains of Israel."
(2.) Heb. qimmosh, Isa. 34:13; Hos. 9:6; Prov. 24:31 (in both
versions, "thorns"). This word has been regarded as denoting
thorns, thistles, wild camomile; but probably it is correctly
rendered "nettle," the Urtica pilulifera, "a tall and vigorous
plant, often 6 feet high, the sting of which is much more severe
and irritating than that of our common nettle."
(LXX. "deadly," Vulg. "burning"), Num. 21:6, probably the naja
haje of Egypt; some swift-springing, deadly snake (Isa. 14:29).
After setting out from their encampment at Ezion-gaber, the
Israelites entered on a wide sandy desert, which stretches from
the mountains of Edom as far as the Persian Gulf. While
traversing this region, the people began to murmur and utter
loud complaints against Moses. As a punishment, the Lord sent
serpents among them, and much people of Israel died. Moses
interceded on their behalf, and by divine direction he made a
"brazen serpent," and raised it on a pole in the midst of the
camp, and all the wounded Israelites who looked on it were at
once healed. (Comp. John 3:14, 15.) (See ASP ¯T0000348.) This
"brazen serpent" was preserved by the Israelites till the days
of Hezekiah, when it was destroyed (2 Kings 18:4). (See BRASS
Aku's command, the Chaldean name given to Hananiah, one of the
Hebrew youths whom Nebuchadnezzar carried captive to Babylon
(Dan. 1:6, 7; 3:12-30). He and his two companions refused to bow
down before the image which Nebuchadnezzar had set up on the
plains of Dura. Their conduct filled the king with the greatest
fury, and he commanded them to be cast into the burning fiery
furnace. Here, amid the fiery flames, they were miraculously
preserved from harm. Over them the fire had no power, "neither
was a hair of their head singed, neither had the smell of fire
passed on them." Thus Nebuchadnezzar learned the greatness of
the God of Israel. (See ABEDNEGO ¯T0000014.)
(1.) Heb. sar (1 Sam. 22:2; 2 Sam. 23:19). Rendered "chief,"
Gen. 40:2; 41:9; rendered also "prince," Dan. 1:7; "ruler,"
Judg. 9:30; "governor,' 1 Kings 22:26. This same Hebrew word
denotes a military captain (Ex. 18:21; 2 Kings 1:9; Deut. 1:15;
1 Sam. 18:13, etc.), the "captain of the body-guard" (Gen.
37:36; 39:1; 41:10; Jer. 40:1), or, as the word may be rendered,
"chief of the executioners" (marg.). The officers of the king's
body-guard frequently acted as executioners. Nebuzar-adan (Jer.
39:13) and Arioch (Dan. 2:14) held this office in Babylon.
The "captain of the guard" mentioned in Acts 28:16 was the
Praetorian prefect, the commander of the Praetorian troops.
(2.) Another word (Heb. katsin) so translated denotes
sometimes a military (Josh. 10:24; Judg. 11:6, 11; Isa. 22:3
"rulers;" Dan. 11:18) and sometimes a civil command, a judge,
magistrate, Arab. _kady_, (Isa. 1:10; 3:6; Micah 3:1, 9).
(3.) It is also the rendering of a Hebrew word (shalish)
meaning "a third man," or "one of three." The LXX. render in
plural by _tristatai_; i.e., "soldiers fighting from chariots,"
so called because each war-chariot contained three men, one of
whom acted as charioteer while the other two fought (Ex. 14:7;
15:4; 1 Kings 9:22; comp. 2 Kings 9:25). This word is used also
to denote the king's body-guard (2 Kings 10:25; 1 Chr. 12:18; 2
Chr. 11:11) or aides-de-camp.
(4.) The "captain of the temple" mentioned in Acts 4:1 and
5:24 was not a military officer, but superintendent of the guard
of priests and Levites who kept watch in the temple by night.
(Comp. "the ruler of the house of God," 1 Chr. 9:11; 2 Chr.
31:13; Neh. 11:11.)
(5.) The Captain of our salvation is a name given to our Lord
(Heb. 2:10), because he is the author and source of our
salvation, the head of his people, whom he is conducting to
glory. The "captain of the Lord's host" (Josh. 5:14, 15) is the
name given to that mysterious person who manifested himself to
Abraham (Gen. 12:7), and to Moses in the bush (Ex. 3:2, 6, etc.)
the Angel of the covenant. (See ANGEL ¯T0000240.)
The bow was in use in early times both in war and in the chase
(Gen. 21:20; 27:3; 48:22). The tribe of Benjamin were famous for
the use of the bow (1 Chr. 8:40; 12:2; 2 Chr. 14:8; 17:17); so
also were the Elamites (Isa. 22:6) and the Lydians (Jer. 46:9).
The Hebrew word commonly used for bow means properly to tread (1
Chr. 5:18; 8:40), and hence it is concluded that the foot was
employed in bending the bow. Bows of steel (correctly "copper")
are mentioned (2 Sam. 22:35; Ps. 18:34).
The arrows were carried in a quiver (Gen. 27:3; Isa. 22:6;
49:2; Ps. 127:5). They were apparently sometimes shot with some
burning material attached to them (Ps. 120:4).
The bow is a symbol of victory (Ps. 7:12). It denotes also
falsehood, deceit (Ps. 64:3, 4; Hos. 7:16; Jer. 9:3).
"The use of the bow" in 2 Sam. 1:18 (A.V.) ought to be "the
song of the bow," as in the Revised Version.
It is by no means certain that the Hebrews were acquainted with
mineral coal, although it is found in Syria. Their common fuel
was dried dung of animals and wood charcoal. Two different words
are found in Hebrew to denote coal, both occurring in Prov.
26:21, "As coal [Heb. peham; i.e., "black coal"] is to burning
coal [Heb. gehalim]." The latter of these words is used in Job
41:21; Prov. 6:28; Isa. 44:19. The words "live coal" in Isa. 6:6
are more correctly "glowing stone." In Lam. 4:8 the expression
"blacker than a coal" is literally rendered in the margin of the
Revised Version "darker than blackness." "Coals of fire" (2 Sam.
22:9, 13; Ps. 18:8, 12, 13, etc.) is an expression used
metaphorically for lightnings proceeding from God. A false
tongue is compared to "coals of juniper" (Ps. 120:4; James 3:6).
"Heaping coals of fire on the head" symbolizes overcoming evil
with good. The words of Paul (Rom. 12:20) are equivalent to
saying, "By charity and kindness thou shalt soften down his
enmity as surely as heaping coals on the fire fuses the metal in
(1.) Chald. attun, a large furnace with a wide open mouth, at
the top of which materials were cast in (Dan. 3:22, 23; comp.
Jer. 29:22). This furnace would be in constant requisition, for
the Babylonians disposed of their dead by cremation, as did also
the Accadians who invaded Mesopotamia.
(2.) Heb. kibshan, a smelting furnace (Gen. 19:28), also a
lime-kiln (Isa. 33:12; Amos 2:1).
(3.) Heb. kur, a refining furnace (Prov. 17:3; 27:21; Ezek.
(4.) Heb. alil, a crucible; only used in Ps. 12:6.
(5.) Heb. tannur, oven for baking bread (Gen. 15:17; Isa.
31:9; Neh. 3:11). It was a large pot, narrowing towards the top.
When it was heated by a fire made within, the dough was spread
over the heated surface, and thus was baked. "A smoking furnace
and a burning lamp" (Gen. 15:17), the symbol of the presence of
the Almighty, passed between the divided pieces of Abraham's
sacrifice in ratification of the covenant God made with him.
(See OVEN ¯T0002814.)
(6.) Gr. kamnos, a furnace, kiln, or oven (Matt. 13:42, 50;
Rev. 1:15; 9:2).
a deep, narrow ravine separating Mount Zion from the so-called
"Hill of Evil Counsel." It took its name from "some ancient
hero, the son of Hinnom." It is first mentioned in Josh. 15:8.
It had been the place where the idolatrous Jews burned their
children alive to Moloch and Baal. A particular part of the
valley was called Tophet, or the "fire-stove," where the
children were burned. After the Exile, in order to show their
abhorrence of the locality, the Jews made this valley the
receptacle of the offal of the city, for the destruction of
which a fire was, as is supposed, kept constantly burning there.
The Jews associated with this valley these two ideas, (1) that
of the sufferings of the victims that had there been sacrificed;
and (2) that of filth and corruption. It became thus to the
popular mind a symbol of the abode of the wicked hereafter. It
came to signify hell as the place of the wicked. "It might be
shown by infinite examples that the Jews expressed hell, or the
place of the damned, by this word. The word Gehenna [the Greek
contraction of Hinnom] was never used in the time of Christ in
any other sense than to denote the place of future punishment."
About this fact there can be no question. In this sense the word
is used eleven times in our Lord's discourses (Matt. 23:33; Luke
12:5; Matt. 5:22, etc.).
the offspring of the divine command (Gen. 1:3). "All the more
joyous emotions of the mind, all the pleasing sensations of the
frame, all the happy hours of domestic intercourse were
habitually described among the Hebrews under imagery derived
from light" (1 Kings 11:36; Isa. 58:8; Esther 8:16; Ps. 97:11).
Light came also naturally to typify true religion and the
felicity it imparts (Ps. 119:105; Isa. 8:20; Matt. 4:16, etc.),
and the glorious inheritance of the redeemed (Col. 1:12; Rev.
21:23-25). God is said to dwell in light inaccessible (1 Tim.
6:16). It frequently signifies instruction (Matt. 5:16; John
5:35). In its highest sense it is applied to Christ as the "Sun
of righteousness" (Mal. 4:2; Luke 2:32; John 1:7-9). God is
styled "the Father of lights" (James 1:17). It is used of angels
(2 Cor. 11:14), and of John the Baptist, who was a "burning and
a shining light" (John 5:35), and of all true disciples, who are
styled "the light of the world" (Matt. 5:14).
Only olive oil seems to have been used among the Hebrews. It was
used for many purposes: for anointing the body or the hair (Ex.
29:7; 2 Sam. 14:2; Ps. 23:5; 92:10; 104:15; Luke 7:46); in some
of the offerings (Ex. 29:40; Lev. 7:12; Num. 6:15; 15:4), but
was excluded from the sin-offering (Lev. 5:11) and the
jealousy-offering (Num. 5:15); for burning in lamps (Ex. 25:6;
27:20; Matt. 25:3); for medicinal purposes (Isa. 1:6; Luke
10:34; James 5:14); and for anointing the dead (Matt. 26:12;
It was one of the most valuable products of the country (Deut.
32:13; Ezek. 16:13), and formed an article of extensive commerce
with Tyre (27:17).
The use of it was a sign of gladness (Ps. 92:10; Isa. 61:3),
and its omission a token of sorrow (2 Sam. 14:2; Matt. 6:17). It
was very abundant in Galilee. (See OLIVE ¯T0002778.)
a vessel of metal or earthenware used in culinary operations; a
cooking-pan or frying-pan frequently referred to in the Old
Testament (Lev. 2:5; 6:21; Num. 11:8; 1 Sam. 2:14, etc.).
The "ash-pans" mentioned in Ex. 27:3 were made of copper, and
were used in connection with the altar of burnt-offering. The
"iron pan" mentioned in Ezek. 4:3 (marg., "flat plate " or
"slice") was probably a mere plate of iron used for baking. The
"fire-pans" of Ex. 27:3 were fire-shovels used for taking up
coals. The same Hebrew word is rendered "snuff-dishes" (25:38;
37:23) and "censers" (Lev. 10:1; 16:12; Num. 4:14, etc.). These
were probably simply metal vessels employed for carrying burning
embers from the brazen altar to the altar of incense.
The "frying-pan" mentioned in Lev. 2:7; 7:9 was a pot for
burning; the walled, a city in the vale of Siddim (Gen. 13:10;
14:1-16). The wickedness of its inhabitants brought down upon it
fire from heaven, by which it was destroyed (18:16-33; 19:1-29;
Deut. 23:17). This city and its awful destruction are frequently
alluded to in Scripture (Deut. 29:23; 32:32; Isa. 1:9, 10; 3:9;
13:19; Jer. 23:14; Ezek. 16:46-56; Zeph. 2:9; Matt. 10:15; Rom.
9:29; 2 Pet. 2:6, etc.). No trace of it or of the other cities
of the plain has been discovered, so complete was their
destruction. Just opposite the site of Zoar, on the south-west
coast of the Dead Sea, is a range of low hills, forming a mass
of mineral salt called Jebel Usdum, "the hill of Sodom." It has
been concluded, from this and from other considerations, that
the cities of the plain stood at the southern end of the Dead
Sea. Others, however, with much greater probability, contend
that they stood at the northern end of the sea. [in 1897].
Heb. hasidah, meaning "kindness," indicating thus the character
of the bird, which is noted for its affection for its young. It
is in the list of birds forbidden to be eaten by the Levitical
law (Lev. 11:19; Deut. 14:18). It is like the crane, but larger
in size. Two species are found in Israel, the white, which
are dispersed in pairs over the whole country; and the black,
which live in marshy places and in great flocks. They migrate to
Israel periodically (about the 22nd of March). Jeremiah
alludes to this (Jer. 8:7). At the appointed time they return
with unerring sagacity to their old haunts, and re-occupy their
old nests. "There is a well-authenticated account of the
devotion of a stork which, at the burning of the town of Delft,
after repeated and unsuccessful attempts to carry off her young,
chose rather to remain and perish with them than leave them to
their fate. Well might the Romans call it the pia avis!"
In Job 39:13 (A.V.), instead of the expression "or wings and
feathers unto the ostrich" (marg., "the feathers of the stork
and ostrich"), the Revised Version has "are her pinions and
feathers kindly" (marg., instead of "kindly," reads "like the
stork's"). The object of this somewhat obscure verse seems to be
to point out a contrast between the stork, as distinguished for
her affection for her young, and the ostrich, as distinguished
for her indifference.
Zechariah (5:9) alludes to the beauty and power of the stork's
=Topheth, from Heb. toph "a drum," because the cries of children
here sacrificed by the priests of Moloch were drowned by the
noise of such an instrument; or from taph or toph, meaning "to
burn," and hence a place of burning, the name of a particular
part in the valley of Hinnom. "Fire being the most destructive
of all elements, is chosen by the sacred writers to symbolize
the agency by which God punishes or destroys the wicked. We are
not to assume from prophetical figures that material fire is the
precise agent to be used. It was not the agency employed in the
destruction of Sennacherib, mentioned in Isa. 30:33...Tophet
properly begins where the Vale of Hinnom bends round to the
east, having the cliffs of Zion on the north, and the Hill of
Evil Counsel on the south. It terminates at Beer 'Ayub, where it
joins the Valley of Jehoshaphat. The cliffs on the southern side
especially abound in ancient tombs. Here the dead carcasses of
beasts and every offal and abomination were cast, and left to be
either devoured by that worm that never died or consumed by that
fire that was never quenched." Thus Tophet came to represent the
place of punishment. (See HINNOM ¯T0001790.)
(1.) For sacred purposes. The sacrifices were consumed by fire
(Gen. 8:20). The ever-burning fire on the altar was first
kindled from heaven (Lev. 6:9, 13; 9:24), and afterwards
rekindled at the dedication of Solomon's temple (2 Chr. 7:1, 3).
The expressions "fire from heaven" and "fire of the Lord"
generally denote lightning, but sometimes also the fire of the
altar was so called (Ex. 29:18; Lev. 1:9; 2:3; 3:5, 9).
Fire for a sacred purpose obtained otherwise than from the
altar was called "strange fire" (Lev. 10:1, 2; Num. 3:4).
The victims slain for sin offerings were afterwards consumed
by fire outside the camp (Lev. 4:12, 21; 6:30; 16:27; Heb.
(2.) For domestic purposes, such as baking, cooking, warmth,
etc. (Jer. 36:22; Mark 14:54; John 18:18). But on Sabbath no
fire for any domestic purpose was to be kindled (Ex. 35:3; Num.
(3.) Punishment of death by fire was inflicted on such as were
guilty of certain forms of unchastity and incest (Lev. 20:14;
21:9). The burning of captives in war was not unknown among the
Jews (2 Sam. 12:31; Jer. 29:22). The bodies of infamous persons
who were executed were also sometimes burned (Josh. 7:25; 2
(4.) In war, fire was used in the destruction of cities, as
Jericho (Josh. 6:24), Ai (8:19), Hazor (11:11), Laish (Judg.
18:27), etc. The war-chariots of the Canaanites were burnt
(Josh. 11:6, 9, 13). The Israelites burned the images (2 Kings
10:26; R.V., "pillars") of the house of Baal. These objects of
worship seem to have been of the nature of obelisks, and were
sometimes evidently made of wood.
Torches were sometimes carried by the soldiers in battle
(5.) Figuratively, fire is a symbol of Jehovah's presence and
the instrument of his power (Ex. 14:19; Num. 11:1, 3; Judg.
13:20; 1 Kings 18:38; 2 Kings 1:10, 12; 2:11; Isa. 6:4; Ezek.
1:4; Rev. 1:14, etc.).
God's word is also likened unto fire (Jer. 23:29). It is
referred to as an emblem of severe trials or misfortunes (Zech.
12:6; Luke 12:49; 1 Cor. 3:13, 15; 1 Pet. 1:7), and of eternal
punishment (Matt. 5:22; Mark 9:44; Rev. 14:10; 21:8).
The influence of the Holy Ghost is likened unto fire (Matt.
3:11). His descent was denoted by the appearance of tongues as
of fire (Acts 2:3).
the vessel in which incense was presented on "the golden altar"
before the Lord in the temple (Ex. 30:1-9). The priest filled
the censer with live coal from the sacred fire on the altar of
burnt-offering, and having carried it into the sanctuary, there
threw upon the burning coals the sweet incense (Lev. 16:12, 13),
which sent up a cloud of smoke, filling the apartment with
fragrance. The censers in daily use were of brass (Num. 16:39),
and were designated by a different Hebrew name, _miktereth_ (2
Chr. 26:19; Ezek. 8:11): while those used on the day of
Atonement were of gold, and were denoted by a word (mahtah)
meaning "something to take fire with;" LXX. pureion = a
fire-pan. Solomon prepared for the temple censers of pure gold
(1 Kings 7:50; 2 Chr. 4:22). The angel in the Apocalypse is
represented with a golden censer (Rev. 8:3, 5). Paul speaks of
the golden censer as belonging to the tabernacle (Heb. 9:4). The
Greek word thumiaterion, here rendered "censer," may more
appropriately denote, as in the margin of Revised Version, "the
altar of incense." Paul does not here say that the thumiaterion
was in the holiest, for it was in the holy place, but that the
holiest had it, i.e., that it belonged to the holiest (1 Kings
6:22). It was intimately connected with the high priest's
service in the holiest.
The manner in which the censer is to be used is described in
Num. 4:14; Lev. 16:12.
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.
Jude, Epistle of
The author was "Judas, the brother of James" the Less (Jude
1:1), called also Lebbaeus (Matt. 10:3) and Thaddaeus (Mark
3:18). The genuineness of this epistle was early questioned, and
doubts regarding it were revived at the time of the Reformation;
but the evidences in support of its claims are complete. It has
all the marks of having proceeded from the writer whose name it
There is nothing very definite to determine the time and place
at which it was written. It was apparently written in the later
period of the apostolic age, for when it was written there were
persons still alive who had heard the apostles preach (ver. 17).
It may thus have been written about A.D. 66 or 70, and
apparently in Israel.
The epistle is addressed to Christians in general (ver. 1),
and its design is to put them on their guard against the
misleading efforts of a certain class of errorists to which they
were exposed. The style of the epistle is that of an
"impassioned invective, in the impetuous whirlwind of which the
writer is hurried along, collecting example after example of
divine vengeance on the ungodly; heaping epithet upon epithet,
and piling image upon image, and, as it were, labouring for
words and images strong enough to depict the polluted character
of the licentious apostates against whom he is warning the
Church; returning again and again to the subject, as though all
language was insufficient to give an adequate idea of their
profligacy, and to express his burning hatred of their
perversion of the doctrines of the gospel."
The striking resemblance this epistle bears to 2 Peter
suggests the idea that the author of the one had seen the
epistle of the other.
The doxology with which the epistle concludes is regarded as
the finest in the New Testament.
a pond, or reservoir, for holding water (Heb. berekhah; modern
Arabic, birket), an artificial cistern or tank. Mention is made
of the pool of Gibeon (2 Sam. 2:13); the pool of Hebron (4:12);
the upper pool at Jerusalem (2 Kings 18:17; 20:20); the pool of
Samaria (1 Kings 22:38); the king's pool (Neh. 2:14); the pool
of Siloah (Neh. 3:15; Eccles. 2:6); the fishpools of Heshbon
(Cant. 7:4); the "lower pool," and the "old pool" (Isa.
The "pool of Bethesda" (John 5:2,4, 7) and the "pool of
Siloam" (John 9:7, 11) are also mentioned. Isaiah (35:7) says,
"The parched ground shall become a pool." This is rendered in
the Revised Version "glowing sand," etc. (marg., "the mirage,"
etc.). The Arabs call the mirage "serab," plainly the same as
the Hebrew word _sarab_, here rendered "parched ground." "The
mirage shall become a pool", i.e., the mock-lake of the burning
desert shall become a real lake, "the pledge of refreshment and
joy." The "pools" spoken of in Isa. 14:23 are the marshes caused
by the ruin of the canals of the Euphrates in the neighbourhood
The cisterns or pools of the Holy City are for the most part
excavations beneath the surface. Such are the vast cisterns in
the temple hill that have recently been discovered by the
engineers of the Israel Exploration Fund. These underground
caverns are about thirty-five in number, and are capable of
storing about ten million gallons of water. They are connected
with one another by passages and tunnels.
of the sun, the son of Manoah, born at Zorah. The narrative of
his life is given in Judg. 13-16. He was a "Nazarite unto God"
from his birth, the first Nazarite mentioned in Scripture (Judg.
13:3-5; comp. Num. 6:1-21). The first recorded event of his life
was his marriage with a Philistine woman of Timnath (Judg.
14:1-5). Such a marriage was not forbidden by the law of Moses,
as the Philistines did not form one of the seven doomed
Canaanite nations (Ex. 34:11-16; Deut. 7:1-4). It was, however,
an ill-assorted and unblessed marriage. His wife was soon taken
from him and given "to his companion" (Judg. 14:20). For this
Samson took revenge by burning the "standing corn of the
Philistines" (15:1-8), who, in their turn, in revenge "burnt her
and her father with fire." Her death he terribly avenged
(15:7-19). During the twenty years following this he judged
Israel; but we have no record of his life. Probably these twenty
years may have been simultaneous with the last twenty years of
Eli's life. After this we have an account of his exploits at
Gaza (16:1-3), and of his infatuation for Delilah, and her
treachery (16:4-20), and then of his melancholy death
(16:21-31). He perished in the last terrible destruction he
brought upon his enemies. "So the dead which he slew at his
death were more [in social and political importance=the elite of
the people] than they which he slew in his life."
"Straining all his nerves, he bowed:
As with the force of winds and waters pent,
When mountains tremble, those two massy pillars
With horrible convulsion to and fro
He tugged, he shook, till down they came, and drew
The whole roof after them, with burst of thunder
Upon the heads of all who sat beneath,
Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, or priests,
Their choice nobility and flower."
Milton's Samson Agonistes.
a park; generally with the article, "the park." (1.) A prominent
headland of Central Israel, consisting of several connected
hills extending from the plain of Esdraelon to the sea, a
distance of some 12 miles or more. At the east end, in its
highest part, it is 1,728 feet high, and at the west end it
forms a promontory to the bay of Acre about 600 feet above the
sea. It lay within the tribe of Asher. It was here, at the east
end of the ridge, at a place called el-Mukhrakah (i.e., the
place of burning), that Elijah brought back the people to their
allegiance to God, and slew the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18).
Here were consumed the "fifties" of the royal guard; and here
also Elisha received the visit of the bereaved mother whose son
was restored by him to life (2 Kings 4:25-37). "No mountain in
or around Israel retains its ancient beauty so much as
Carmel. Two or three villages and some scattered cottages are
found on it; its groves are few but luxuriant; it is no place
for crags and precipices or rocks of wild goats; but its surface
is covered with a rich and constant verdure." "The whole
mountain-side is dressed with blossom, and flowering shrubs, and
fragrant herbs." The western extremity of the ridge is, however,
more rocky and bleak than the eastern. The head of the bride in
Cant. 7:5 is compared to Carmel. It is ranked with Bashan on
account of its rich pastures (Isa. 33:9; Jer. 50:19; Amos 1:2).
The whole ridge is deeply furrowed with rocky ravines filled
with dense jungle. There are many caves in its sides, which at
one time were inhabited by swarms of monks. These caves are
referred to in Amos 9:3. To them Elijah and Elisha often
resorted (1 Kings 18:19, 42; 2 Kings 2:25). On its north-west
summit there is an ancient establishment of Carmelite monks.
Vineyards have recently been planted on the mount by the German
colonists of Haifa. The modern Arabic name of the mount is
Kurmul, but more commonly Jebel Mar Elyas, i.e., Mount St.
Elias, from the Convent of Elias.
(2.) A town in the hill country of Judah (Josh. 15:55), the
residence of Nabal (1 Sam. 25:2, 5, 7, 40), and the native place
of Abigail, who became David's wife (1 Sam. 27:3). Here king
Uzziah had his vineyards (2 Chr. 26:10). The ruins of this town
still remain under the name of Kurmul, about 10 miles
south-south-east of Hebron, close to those of Maon.
The sole fast required by the law of Moses was that of the great
Day of Atonement (q.v.), Lev. 23:26-32. It is called "the fast"
The only other mention of a periodical fast in the Old
Testament is in Zech. 7:1-7; 8:19, from which it appears that
during their captivity the Jews observed four annual fasts.
(1.) The fast of the fourth month, kept on the seventeenth day
of Tammuz, the anniversary of the capture of Jerusalem by the
Chaldeans; to commemorate also the incident recorded Ex. 32:19.
(Comp. Jer. 52:6, 7.)
(2.) The fast of the fifth month, kept on the ninth of Ab
(comp. Num. 14:27), to commemorate the burning of the city and
temple (Jer. 52:12, 13).
(3.) The fast of the seventh month, kept on the third of Tisri
(comp. 2 Kings 25), the anniversary of the murder of Gedaliah
(Jer. 41:1, 2).
(4.) The fast of the tenth month (comp. Jer. 52:4; Ezek.
33:21; 2 Kings 25:1), to commemorate the beginning of the siege
of the holy city by Nebuchadnezzar.
There was in addition to these the fast appointed by Esther
Public national fasts on account of sin or to supplicate
divine favour were sometimes held. (1.) 1 Sam. 7:6; (2.) 2 Chr.
20:3; (3.) Jer. 36:6-10; (4.) Neh. 9:1.
There were also local fasts. (1.) Judg. 20:26; (2.) 2 Sam.
1:12; (3.) 1 Sam. 31:13; (4.) 1 Kings 21:9-12; (5.) Ezra
8:21-23: (6.) Jonah 3:5-9.
There are many instances of private occasional fasting (1 Sam.
1:7: 20:34; 2 Sam. 3:35; 12:16; 1 Kings 21:27; Ezra 10:6; Neh.
1:4; Dan. 10:2,3). Moses fasted forty days (Ex. 24:18; 34:28),
and so also did Elijah (1 Kings 19:8). Our Lord fasted forty
days in the wilderness (Matt. 4:2).
In the lapse of time the practice of fasting was lamentably
abused (Isa. 58:4; Jer. 14:12; Zech. 7:5). Our Lord rebuked the
Pharisees for their hypocritical pretences in fasting (Matt.
6:16). He himself appointed no fast. The early Christians,
however, observed the ordinary fasts according to the law of
their fathers (Acts 13:3; 14:23; 2 Cor. 6:5).
occurs only in the superscription (which is probably spurious,
and is altogether omitted in the R.V.) to the Second Epistle to
Timothy. He became emperor of Rome when he was about seventeen
years of age (A.D. 54), and soon began to exhibit the character
of a cruel tyrant and heathen debauchee. In May A.D. 64, a
terrible conflagration broke out in Rome, which raged for six
days and seven nights, and totally destroyed a great part of the
city. The guilt of this fire was attached to him at the time,
and the general verdict of history accuses him of the crime.
"Hence, to suppress the rumour," says Tacitus (Annals, xv. 44),
"he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished with the most
exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who
are hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of that
name, was put to death as a criminal by Pontius Pilate,
procurator of Judea, in the reign of Tiberius; but the
pernicious superstition, repressed for a time, broke out again,
not only throughout Judea, where the mischief originated, but
through the city of Rome also, whither all things horrible and
disgraceful flow, from all quarters, as to a common receptacle,
and where they are encouraged. Accordingly, first three were
seized, who confessed they were Christians. Next, on their
information, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much on the
charge of burning the city as of hating the human race. And in
their deaths they were also made the subjects of sport; for they
were covered with the hides of wild beasts and worried to death
by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set fire to, and, when day
declined, burned to serve for nocturnal lights. Nero offered his
own gardens for that spectacle, and exhibited a Circensian game,
indiscriminately mingling with the common people in the habit of
a charioteer, or else standing in his chariot; whence a feeling
of compassion arose toward the sufferers, though guilty and
deserving to be made examples of by capital punishment, because
they seemed not to be cut off for the public good, but victims
to the ferocity of one man." Another Roman historian, Suetonius
(Nero, xvi.), says of him: "He likewise inflicted punishments on
the Christians, a sort of people who hold a new and impious
superstition" (Forbes's Footsteps of St. Paul, p. 60).
Nero was the emperor before whom Paul was brought on his first
imprisonment at Rome, and the apostle is supposed to have
suffered martyrdom during this persecution. He is repeatedly
alluded to in Scripture (Acts 25:11; Phil. 1:12, 13; 4:22). He
died A.D. 68.
John the Baptist
the "forerunner of our Lord." We have but fragmentary and
imperfect accounts of him in the Gospels. He was of priestly
descent. His father, Zacharias, was a priest of the course of
Abia (1 Chr. 24:10), and his mother, Elisabeth, was of the
daughters of Aaron (Luke 1:5). The mission of John was the
subject of prophecy (Matt. 3:3; Isa. 40:3; Mal. 3:1). His birth,
which took place six months before that of Jesus, was foretold
by an angel. Zacharias, deprived of the power of speech as a
token of God's truth and a reproof of his own incredulity with
reference to the birth of his son, had the power of speech
restored to him on the occasion of his circumcision (Luke 1:64).
After this no more is recorded of him for thirty years than what
is mentioned in Luke 1:80. John was a Nazarite from his birth
(Luke 1:15; Num. 6:1-12). He spent his early years in the
mountainous tract of Judah lying between Jerusalem and the Dead
Sea (Matt. 3:1-12).
At length he came forth into public life, and great multitudes
from "every quarter" were attracted to him. The sum of his
preaching was the necessity of repentance. He denounced the
Sadducees and Pharisees as a "generation of vipers," and warned
them of the folly of trusting to external privileges (Luke 3:8).
"As a preacher, John was eminently practical and discriminating.
Self-love and covetousness were the prevalent sins of the people
at large. On them, therefore, he enjoined charity and
consideration for others. The publicans he cautioned against
extortion, the soldiers against crime and plunder." His doctrine
and manner of life roused the entire south of Israel, and the
people from all parts flocked to the place where he was, on the
banks of the Jordan. There he baptized thousands unto
The fame of John reached the ears of Jesus in Nazareth (Matt.
3:5), and he came from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized of John,
on the special ground that it became him to "fulfil all
righteousness" (3:15). John's special office ceased with the
baptism of Jesus, who must now "increase" as the King come to
his kingdom. He continued, however, for a while to bear
testimony to the Messiahship of Jesus. He pointed him out to his
disciples, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God." His public ministry
was suddenly (after about six months probably) brought to a
close by his being cast into prison by Herod, whom he had
reproved for the sin of having taken to himself the wife of his
brother Philip (Luke 3:19). He was shut up in the castle of
Machaerus (q.v.), a fortress on the southern extremity of
Peraea, 9 miles east of the Dead Sea, and here he was beheaded.
His disciples, having consigned the headless body to the grave,
went and told Jesus all that had occurred (Matt. 14:3-12).
John's death occurred apparently just before the third Passover
of our Lord's ministry. Our Lord himself testified regarding him
that he was a "burning and a shining light" (John 5:35).
(Heb. mizbe'ah, from a word meaning "to slay"), any structure of
earth (Ex. 20:24) or unwrought stone (20:25) on which sacrifices
were offered. Altars were generally erected in conspicuous
places (Gen. 22:9; Ezek. 6:3; 2 Kings 23:12; 16:4; 23:8; Acts
14:13). The word is used in Heb. 13:10 for the sacrifice offered
upon it--the sacrifice Christ offered.
Paul found among the many altars erected in Athens one bearing
the inscription, "To the unknown God" (Acts 17:23), or rather
"to an [i.e., some] unknown God." The reason for this
inscription cannot now be accurately determined. It afforded the
apostle the occasion of proclaiming the gospel to the "men of
The first altar we read of is that erected by Noah (Gen.
8:20). Altars were erected by Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 13:4; 22:9),
by Isaac (Gen. 26:25), by Jacob (33:20; 35:1, 3), and by Moses
(Ex. 17:15, "Jehovah-nissi").
In the tabernacle, and afterwards in the temple, two altars
(1.) The altar of burnt offering (Ex. 30:28), called also the
"brasen altar" (Ex. 39:39) and "the table of the Lord" (Mal.
This altar, as erected in the tabernacle, is described in Ex.
27:1-8. It was a hollow square, 5 cubits in length and in
breadth, and 3 cubits in height. It was made of shittim wood,
and was overlaid with plates of brass. Its corners were
ornamented with "horns" (Ex. 29:12; Lev. 4:18).
In Ex. 27:3 the various utensils appertaining to the altar are
enumerated. They were made of brass. (Comp. 1 Sam. 2:13, 14;
Lev. 16:12; Num. 16:6, 7.)
In Solomon's temple the altar was of larger dimensions (2 Chr.
4:1. Comp. 1 Kings 8:22, 64; 9:25), and was made wholly of
brass, covering a structure of stone or earth. This altar was
renewed by Asa (2 Chr. 15:8). It was removed by Ahaz (2 Kings
16:14), and "cleansed" by Hezekiah, in the latter part of whose
reign it was rebuilt. It was finally broken up and carried away
by the Babylonians (Jer. 52:17).
After the return from captivity it was re-erected (Ezra 3:3,
6) on the same place where it had formerly stood. (Comp. 1 Macc.
4:47.) When Antiochus Epiphanes pillaged Jerusalem the altar of
burnt offering was taken away.
Again the altar was erected by Herod, and remained in its
place till the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans (70 A.D.).
The fire on the altar was not permitted to go out (Lev. 6:9).
In the Mosque of Omar, immediately underneath the great dome,
which occupies the site of the old temple, there is a rough
projection of the natural rock, of about 60 feet in its extreme
length, and 50 in its greatest breadth, and in its highest part
about 4 feet above the general pavement. This rock seems to have
been left intact when Solomon's temple was built. It was in all
probability the site of the altar of burnt offering. Underneath
this rock is a cave, which may probably have been the granary of
Araunah's threshing-floor (1 Chr. 21:22).
(2.) The altar of incense (Ex. 30:1-10), called also "the
golden altar" (39:38; Num. 4:11), stood in the holy place
"before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony." On this
altar sweet spices were continually burned with fire taken from
the brazen altar. The morning and the evening services were
commenced by the high priest offering incense on this altar. The
burning of the incense was a type of prayer (Ps. 141:2; Rev.
5:8; 8:3, 4).
This altar was a small movable table, made of acacia wood
overlaid with gold (Ex. 37:25, 26). It was 1 cubit in length and
breadth, and 2 cubits in height.
In Solomon's temple the altar was similar in size, but was
made of cedar-wood (1 Kings 6:20; 7:48) overlaid with gold. In
Ezek. 41:22 it is called "the altar of wood." (Comp. Ex.
In the temple built after the Exile the altar was restored.
Antiochus Epiphanes took it away, but it was afterwards restored
by Judas Maccabaeus (1 Macc. 1:23; 4:49). Among the trophies
carried away by Titus on the destruction of Jerusalem the altar
of incense is not found, nor is any mention made of it in Heb.
9. It was at this altar Zacharias ministered when an angel
appeared to him (Luke 1:11). It is the only altar which appears
in the heavenly temple (Isa. 6:6; Rev. 8:3,4).
The first burial we have an account of is that of Sarah (Gen.
23). The first commercial transaction recorded is that of the
purchase of a burial-place, for which Abraham weighed to Ephron
"four hundred shekels of silver current money with the
merchants." Thus the patriarch became the owner of a part of the
land of Canaan, the only part he ever possessed. When he himself
died, "his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of
Machpelah," beside Sarah his wife (Gen. 25:9).
Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, was buried under Allon-bachuth, "the
oak of weeping" (Gen. 35:8), near to Bethel. Rachel died, and
was buried near Ephrath; "and Jacob set a pillar upon her grave"
(16-20). Isaac was buried at Hebron, where he had died (27, 29).
Jacob, when charging his sons to bury him in the cave of
Machpelah, said, "There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife;
there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried
Leah" (49:31). In compliance with the oath which he made him
swear unto him (47:29-31), Joseph, assisted by his brethren,
buried Jacob in the cave of Machpelah (50:2, 13). At the Exodus,
Moses "took the bones of Joseph with him," and they were buried
in the "parcel of ground" which Jacob had bought of the sons of
Hamor (Josh. 24:32), which became Joseph's inheritance (Gen.
48:22; 1 Chr. 5:1; John 4:5). Two burials are mentioned as
having taken place in the wilderness. That of Miriam (Num.
20:1), and that of Moses, "in the land of Moab" (Deut. 34:5, 6,
8). There is no account of the actual burial of Aaron, which
probably, however, took place on the summit of Mount Hor (Num.
Joshua was buried "in the border of his inheritance in
Timnath-serah" (Josh. 24: 30).
In Job we find a reference to burying-places, which were
probably the Pyramids (3:14, 15). The Hebrew word for "waste
places" here resembles in sound the Egyptian word for
Samuel, like Moses, was honoured with a national burial (1
Sam. 25:1). Joab (1 Kings 2:34) "was buried in his own house in
In connection with the burial of Saul and his three sons we
meet for the first time with the practice of burning the dead (1
Sam. 31:11-13). The same practice is again referred to by Amos
Absalom was buried "in the wood" where he was slain (2 Sam.
18:17, 18). The raising of the heap of stones over his grave was
intended to mark abhorrence of the person buried (comp. Josh.
7:26 and 8:29). There was no fixed royal burying-place for the
Hebrew kings. We find several royal burials taking place,
however, "in the city of David" (1 Kings 2:10; 11:43; 15:8; 2
Kings 14:19, 20; 15:38; 1 Kings 14:31; 22:50; 2 Chr. 21:19, 20;
2 Chr. 24:25, etc.). Hezekiah was buried in the mount of the
sepulchres of the sons of David; "and all Judah and the
inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death" (2 Chr.
Little is said regarding the burial of the kings of Israel.
Some of them were buried in Samaria, the capital of their
kingdom (2 Kings 10:35; 13:9; 14:16).
Our Lord was buried in a new tomb, hewn out of the rock, which
Joseph of Arimathea had prepared for himself (Matt. 27:57-60;
Mark 15:46; John 19:41, 42).
The grave of Lazarus was "a cave, and a stone lay on it" (John
11:38). Graves were frequently either natural caverns or
artificial excavations formed in the sides of rocks (Gen. 23:9;
Matt. 27:60); and coffins were seldom used, unless when the body
was brought from a distance.
The subject of colours holds an important place in the
White occurs as the translation of various Hebrew words. It is
applied to milk (Gen. 49:12), manna (Ex. 16:31), snow (Isa.
1:18), horses (Zech. 1:8), raiment (Eccl. 9:8). Another Hebrew
word so rendered is applied to marble (Esther 1:6), and a
cognate word to the lily (Cant. 2:16). A different term, meaning
"dazzling," is applied to the countenance (Cant. 5:10).
This colour was an emblem of purity and innocence (Mark 16:5;
John 20:12; Rev. 19:8, 14), of joy (Eccl. 9:8), and also of
victory (Zech. 6:3; Rev. 6:2). The hangings of the tabernacle
court (Ex. 27:9; 38:9), the coats, mitres, bonnets, and breeches
of the priests (Ex. 39:27,28), and the dress of the high priest
on the day of Atonement (Lev. 16:4,32), were white.
Black, applied to the hair (Lev. 13:31; Cant. 5:11), the
complexion (Cant. 1:5), and to horses (Zech. 6:2,6). The word
rendered "brown" in Gen. 30:32 (R.V., "black") means properly
"scorched", i.e., the colour produced by the influence of the
sun's rays. "Black" in Job 30:30 means dirty, blackened by
sorrow and disease. The word is applied to a mourner's robes
(Jer. 8:21; 14:2), to a clouded sky (1 Kings 18:45), to night
(Micah 3:6; Jer. 4:28), and to a brook rendered turbid by melted
snow (Job 6:16). It is used as symbolical of evil in Zech. 6:2,
6 and Rev. 6:5. It was the emblem of mourning, affliction,
calamity (Jer. 14:2; Lam. 4:8; 5:10).
Red, applied to blood (2 Kings 3;22), a heifer (Num. 19:2),
pottage of lentils (Gen. 25:30), a horse (Zech. 1:8), wine
(Prov. 23:31), the complexion (Gen. 25:25; Cant. 5:10). This
colour is symbolical of bloodshed (Zech. 6:2; Rev. 6:4; 12:3).
Purple, a colour obtained from the secretion of a species of
shell-fish (the Murex trunculus) which was found in the
Mediterranean, and particularly on the coasts of Phoenicia and
Asia Minor. The colouring matter in each separate shell-fish
amounted to only a single drop, and hence the great value of
this dye. Robes of this colour were worn by kings (Judg. 8:26)
and high officers (Esther 8:15). They were also worn by the
wealthy and luxurious (Jer. 10:9; Ezek. 27:7; Luke 16:19; Rev.
17:4). With this colour was associated the idea of royalty and
majesty (Judg. 8:26; Cant. 3:10; 7:5; Dan. 5:7, 16,29).
Blue. This colour was also procured from a species of
shell-fish, the chelzon of the Hebrews, and the Helix ianthina
of modern naturalists. The tint was emblematic of the sky, the
deep dark hue of the Eastern sky. This colour was used in the
same way as purple. The ribbon and fringe of the Hebrew dress
were of this colour (Num. 15:38). The loops of the curtains (Ex.
26:4), the lace of the high priest's breastplate, the robe of
the ephod, and the lace on his mitre, were blue (Ex. 28:28, 31,
Scarlet, or Crimson. In Isa. 1:18 a Hebrew word is used which
denotes the worm or grub whence this dye was procured. In Gen.
38:28,30, the word so rendered means "to shine," and expresses
the brilliancy of the colour. The small parasitic insects from
which this dye was obtained somewhat resembled the cochineal
which is found in Eastern countries. It is called by naturalists
Coccus ilics. The dye was procured from the female grub alone.
The only natural object to which this colour is applied in
Scripture is the lips, which are likened to a scarlet thread
(Cant. 4:3). Scarlet robes were worn by the rich and luxurious
(2 Sam. 1:24; Prov. 31:21; Jer. 4:30. Rev. 17:4). It was also
the hue of the warrior's dress (Nah. 2:3; Isa. 9:5). The
Phoenicians excelled in the art of dyeing this colour (2 Chr.
These four colours--white, purple, blue, and scarlet--were
used in the textures of the tabernacle curtains (Ex. 26:1, 31,
36), and also in the high priest's ephod, girdle, and
breastplate (Ex. 28:5, 6, 8, 15). Scarlet thread is mentioned in
connection with the rites of cleansing the leper (Lev. 14:4, 6,
51) and of burning the red heifer (Num. 19:6). It was a crimson
thread that Rahab was to bind on her window as a sign that she
was to be saved alive (Josh. 2:18; 6:25) when the city of
Jericho was taken.
Vermilion, the red sulphuret of mercury, or cinnabar; a colour
used for drawing the figures of idols on the walls of temples
(Ezek. 23:14), or for decorating the walls and beams of houses
in the Babylonian orthography Nabu-kudur-uzur, which means
"Nebo, protect the crown!" or the "frontiers." In an inscription
he styles himself "Nebo's favourite." He was the son and
successor of Nabopolassar, who delivered Babylon from its
dependence on Assyria and laid Nineveh in ruins. He was the
greatest and most powerful of all the Babylonian kings. He
married the daughter of Cyaxares, and thus the Median and
Babylonian dynasties were united.
Necho II., the king of Egypt, gained a victory over the
Assyrians at Carchemish. (See JOSIAH ¯T0002116; MEGIDDO
¯T0002463.) This secured to Egypt the possession of the Syrian
provinces of Assyria, including Israel. The remaining
provinces of the Assyrian empire were divided between Babylonia
and Media. But Nabopolassar was ambitious of reconquering from
Necho the western provinces of Syria, and for this purpose he
sent his son with a powerful army westward (Dan. 1:1). The
Egyptians met him at Carchemish, where a furious battle was
fought, resulting in the complete rout of the Egyptians, who
were driven back (Jer. 46:2-12), and Syria and Phoenicia brought
under the sway of Babylon (B.C. 606). From that time "the king
of Egypt came not again any more out of his land" (2 Kings
24:7). Nebuchadnezzar also subdued the whole of Israel, and
took Jerusalem, carrying away captive a great multitude of the
Jews, among whom were Daniel and his companions (Dan. 1:1, 2;
Jer. 27:19; 40:1).
Three years after this, Jehoiakim, who had reigned in
Jerusalem as a Babylonian vassal, rebelled against the
oppressor, trusting to help from Egypt (2 Kings 24:1). This led
Nebuchadnezzar to march an army again to the conquest of
Jerusalem, which at once yielded to him (B.C. 598). A third time
he came against it, and deposed Jehoiachin, whom he carried into
Babylon, with a large portion of the population of the city, and
the sacred vessels of the temple, placing Zedekiah on the throne
of Judah in his stead. He also, heedless of the warnings of the
prophet, entered into an alliance with Egypt, and rebelled
against Babylon. This brought about the final siege of the city,
which was at length taken and utterly destroyed (B.C. 586).
Zedekiah was taken captive, and had his eyes put out by order of
the king of Babylon, who made him a prisoner for the remainder
of his life.
An onyx cameo, now in the museum of Florence, bears on it an
arrow-headed inscription, which is certainly ancient and
genuine. The helmeted profile is said (Schrader) to be genuine
also, but it is more probable that it is the portrait of a
usurper in the time of Darius (Hystaspes), called Nidinta-Bel,
who took the name of "Nebuchadrezzar." The inscription has been
thus translated:, "In honour of Merodach, his lord,
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in his lifetime had this made."
A clay tablet, now in the British Museum, bears the following
inscription, the only one as yet found which refers to his wars:
"In the thirty-seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the
country of Babylon, he went to Egypt [Misr] to make war. Amasis,
king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread
abroad." Thus were fulfilled the words of the prophet (Jer.
46:13-26; Ezek. 29:2-20). Having completed the subjugation of
Phoenicia, and inflicted chastisement on Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar
now set himself to rebuild and adorn the city of Babylon (Dan.
4:30), and to add to the greatness and prosperity of his kingdom
by constructing canals and aqueducts and reservoirs surpassing
in grandeur and magnificence everything of the kind mentioned in
history (Dan. 2:37). He is represented as a "king of kings,"
ruling over a vast kingdom of many provinces, with a long list
of officers and rulers under him, "princes, governors,
captains," etc. (3:2, 3, 27). He may, indeed, be said to have
created the mighty empire over which he ruled.
"Modern research has shown that Nebuchadnezzar was the
greatest monarch that Babylon, or perhaps the East generally,
ever produced. He must have possessed an enormous command of
human labour, nine-tenths of Babylon itself, and
nineteen-twentieths of all the other ruins that in almost
countless profusion cover the land, are composed of bricks
stamped with his name. He appears to have built or restored
almost every city and temple in the whole country. His
inscriptions give an elaborate account of the immense works
which he constructed in and about Babylon itself, abundantly
illustrating the boast, 'Is not this great Babylon which I have
build?'" Rawlinson, Hist. Illustrations.
After the incident of the "burning fiery furnace" (Dan. 3)
into which the three Hebrew confessors were cast, Nebuchadnezzar
was afflicted with some peculiar mental aberration as a
punishment for his pride and vanity, probably the form of
madness known as lycanthropy (i.e, "the change of a man into a
wolf"). A remarkable confirmation of the Scripture narrative is
afforded by the recent discovery of a bronze door-step, which
bears an inscription to the effect that it was presented by
Nebuchadnezzar to the great temple at Borsippa as a votive
offering on account of his recovery from a terrible illness.
(See DANIEL ¯T0000969.)
He survived his recovery for some years, and died B.C. 562, in
the eighty-third or eighty-fourth year of his age, after a reign
of forty-three years, and was succeeded by his son
Evil-merodach, who, after a reign of two years, was succeeded by
Neriglissar (559-555), who was succeeded by Nabonadius
(555-538), at the close of whose reign (less than a quarter of a
century after the death of Nebuchadnezzar) Babylon fell under
Cyrus at the head of the combined armies of Media and Persia.
"I have examined," says Sir H. Rawlinson, "the bricks
belonging perhaps to a hundred different towns and cities in the
neighbourhood of Baghdad, and I never found any other legend
than that of Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabopolassar, king of
Babylon." Nine-tenths of all the bricks amid the ruins of
Babylon are stamped with his name.
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.
=Saul (q.v.) was born about the same time as our Lord. His
circumcision-name was Saul, and probably the name Paul was also
given to him in infancy "for use in the Gentile world," as
"Saul" would be his Hebrew home-name. He was a native of Tarsus,
the capital of Cilicia, a Roman province in the south-east of
Asia Minor. That city stood on the banks of the river Cydnus,
which was navigable thus far; hence it became a centre of
extensive commercial traffic with many countries along the
shores of the Mediterranean, as well as with the countries of
central Asia Minor. It thus became a city distinguished for the
wealth of its inhabitants.
Tarsus was also the seat of a famous university, higher in
reputation even than the universities of Athens and Alexandria,
the only others that then existed. Here Saul was born, and here
he spent his youth, doubtless enjoying the best education his
native city could afford. His father was of the straitest sect
of the Jews, a Pharisee, of the tribe of Benjamin, of pure and
unmixed Jewish blood (Acts 23:6; Phil. 3:5). We learn nothing
regarding his mother; but there is reason to conclude that she
was a pious woman, and that, like-minded with her husband, she
exercised all a mother influence in moulding the character of
her son, so that he could afterwards speak of himself as being,
from his youth up, "touching the righteousness which is in the
law, blameless" (Phil. 3:6).
We read of his sister and his sister's son (Acts 23:16), and
of other relatives (Rom. 16:7, 11, 12). Though a Jew, his father
was a Roman citizen. How he obtained this privilege we are not
informed. "It might be bought, or won by distinguished service
to the state, or acquired in several other ways; at all events,
his son was freeborn. It was a valuable privilege, and one that
was to prove of great use to Paul, although not in the way in
which his father might have been expected to desire him to make
use of it." Perhaps the most natural career for the youth to
follow was that of a merchant. "But it was decided that...he
should go to college and become a rabbi, that is, a minister, a
teacher, and a lawyer all in one."
According to Jewish custom, however, he learned a trade before
entering on the more direct preparation for the sacred
profession. The trade he acquired was the making of tents from
goats' hair cloth, a trade which was one of the commonest in
His preliminary education having been completed, Saul was
sent, when about thirteen years of age probably, to the great
Jewish school of sacred learning at Jerusalem as a student of
the law. Here he became a pupil of the celebrated rabbi
Gamaliel, and here he spent many years in an elaborate study of
the Scriptures and of the many questions concerning them with
which the rabbis exercised themselves. During these years of
diligent study he lived "in all good conscience," unstained by
the vices of that great city.
After the period of his student-life expired, he probably left
Jerusalem for Tarsus, where he may have been engaged in
connection with some synagogue for some years. But we find him
back again at Jerusalem very soon after the death of our Lord.
Here he now learned the particulars regarding the crucifixion,
and the rise of the new sect of the "Nazarenes."
For some two years after Pentecost, Christianity was quietly
spreading its influence in Jerusalem. At length Stephen, one of
the seven deacons, gave forth more public and aggressive
testimony that Jesus was the Messiah, and this led to much
excitement among the Jews and much disputation in their
synagogues. Persecution arose against Stephen and the followers
of Christ generally, in which Saul of Tarsus took a prominent
part. He was at this time probably a member of the great
Sanhedrin, and became the active leader in the furious
persecution by which the rulers then sought to exterminate
But the object of this persecution also failed. "They that
were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word." The
anger of the persecutor was thereby kindled into a fiercer
flame. Hearing that fugitives had taken refuge in Damascus, he
obtained from the chief priest letters authorizing him to
proceed thither on his persecuting career. This was a long
journey of about 130 miles, which would occupy perhaps six days,
during which, with his few attendants, he steadily went onward,
"breathing out threatenings and slaughter." But the crisis of
his life was at hand. He had reached the last stage of his
journey, and was within sight of Damascus. As he and his
companions rode on, suddenly at mid-day a brilliant light shone
round them, and Saul was laid prostrate in terror on the ground,
a voice sounding in his ears, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou
me?" The risen Saviour was there, clothed in the vesture of his
glorified humanity. In answer to the anxious inquiry of the
stricken persecutor, "Who art thou, Lord?" he said, "I am Jesus
whom thou persecutest" (Acts 9:5; 22:8; 26:15).
This was the moment of his conversion, the most solemn in all
his life. Blinded by the dazzling light (Acts 9:8), his
companions led him into the city, where, absorbed in deep
thought for three days, he neither ate nor drank (9:11).
Ananias, a disciple living in Damascus, was informed by a vision
of the change that had happened to Saul, and was sent to him to
open his eyes and admit him by baptism into the Christian church
(9:11-16). The whole purpose of his life was now permanently
Immediately after his conversion he retired into the solitudes
of Arabia (Gal. 1:17), perhaps of "Sinai in Arabia," for the
purpose, probably, of devout study and meditation on the
marvellous revelation that had been made to him. "A veil of
thick darkness hangs over this visit to Arabia. Of the scenes
among which he moved, of the thoughts and occupations which
engaged him while there, of all the circumstances of a crisis
which must have shaped the whole tenor of his after-life,
absolutely nothing is known. 'Immediately,' says St. Paul, 'I
went away into Arabia.' The historian passes over the incident
[comp. Acts 9:23 and 1 Kings 11:38, 39]. It is a mysterious
pause, a moment of suspense, in the apostle's history, a
breathless calm, which ushers in the tumultuous storm of his
active missionary life." Coming back, after three years, to
Damascus, he began to preach the gospel "boldly in the name of
Jesus" (Acts 9:27), but was soon obliged to flee (9:25; 2 Cor.
11:33) from the Jews and betake himself to Jerusalem. Here he
tarried for three weeks, but was again forced to flee (Acts
9:28, 29) from persecution. He now returned to his native Tarsus
(Gal. 1:21), where, for probably about three years, we lose
sight of him. The time had not yet come for his entering on his
great life-work of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles.
At length the city of Antioch, the capital of Syria, became
the scene of great Christian activity. There the gospel gained a
firm footing, and the cause of Christ prospered. Barnabas
(q.v.), who had been sent from Jerusalem to superintend the work
at Antioch, found it too much for him, and remembering Saul, he
set out to Tarsus to seek for him. He readily responded to the
call thus addressed to him, and came down to Antioch, which for
"a whole year" became the scene of his labours, which were
crowned with great success. The disciples now, for the first
time, were called "Christians" (Acts 11:26).
The church at Antioch now proposed to send out missionaries to
the Gentiles, and Saul and Barnabas, with John Mark as their
attendant, were chosen for this work. This was a great epoch in
the history of the church. Now the disciples began to give
effect to the Master's command: "Go ye into all the world, and
preach the gospel to every creature."
The three missionaries went forth on the first missionary
tour. They sailed from Seleucia, the seaport of Antioch, across
to Cyprus, some 80 miles to the south-west. Here at Paphos,
Sergius Paulus, the Roman proconsul, was converted, and now Saul
took the lead, and was ever afterwards called Paul. The
missionaries now crossed to the mainland, and then proceeded 6
or 7 miles up the river Cestrus to Perga (Acts 13:13), where
John Mark deserted the work and returned to Jerusalem. The two
then proceeded about 100 miles inland, passing through
Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia. The towns mentioned in this
tour are the Pisidian Antioch, where Paul delivered his first
address of which we have any record (13:16-51; comp. 10:30-43),
Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. They returned by the same route to
see and encourage the converts they had made, and ordain elders
in every city to watch over the churches which had been
gathered. From Perga they sailed direct for Antioch, from which
they had set out.
After remaining "a long time", probably till A.D. 50 or 51, in
Antioch, a great controversy broke out in the church there
regarding the relation of the Gentiles to the Mosaic law. For
the purpose of obtaining a settlement of this question, Paul and
Barnabas were sent as deputies to consult the church at
Jerusalem. The council or synod which was there held (Acts 15)
decided against the Judaizing party; and the deputies,
accompanied by Judas and Silas, returned to Antioch, bringing
with them the decree of the council.
After a short rest at Antioch, Paul said to Barnabas: "Let us
go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have
preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do." Mark
proposed again to accompany them; but Paul refused to allow him
to go. Barnabas was resolved to take Mark, and thus he and Paul
had a sharp contention. They separated, and never again met.
Paul, however, afterwards speaks with honour of Barnabas, and
sends for Mark to come to him at Rome (Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11).
Paul took with him Silas, instead of Barnabas, and began his
second missionary journey about A.D. 51. This time he went by
land, revisiting the churches he had already founded in Asia.
But he longed to enter into "regions beyond," and still went
forward through Phrygia and Galatia (16:6). Contrary to his
intention, he was constrained to linger in Galatia (q.v.), on
account of some bodily affliction (Gal. 4:13, 14). Bithynia, a
populous province on the shore of the Black Sea, lay now before
him, and he wished to enter it; but the way was shut, the Spirit
in some manner guiding him in another direction, till he came
down to the shores of the AEgean and arrived at Troas, on the
north-western coast of Asia Minor (Acts 16:8). Of this long
journey from Antioch to Troas we have no account except some
references to it in his Epistle to the Galatians (4:13).
As he waited at Troas for indications of the will of God as to
his future movements, he saw, in the vision of the night, a man
from the opposite shores of Macedonia standing before him, and
heard him cry, "Come over, and help us" (Acts 16:9). Paul
recognized in this vision a message from the Lord, and the very
next day set sail across the Hellespont, which separated him
from Europe, and carried the tidings of the gospel into the
Western world. In Macedonia, churches were planted in Philippi,
Thessalonica, and Berea. Leaving this province, Paul passed into
Achaia, "the paradise of genius and renown." He reached Athens,
but quitted it after, probably, a brief sojourn (17:17-31). The
Athenians had received him with cold disdain, and he never
visited that city again. He passed over to Corinth, the seat of
the Roman government of Achaia, and remained there a year and a
half, labouring with much success. While at Corinth, he wrote
his two epistles to the church of Thessalonica, his earliest
apostolic letters, and then sailed for Syria, that he might be
in time to keep the feast of Pentecost at Jerusalem. He was
accompanied by Aquila and Priscilla, whom he left at Ephesus, at
which he touched, after a voyage of thirteen or fifteen days. He
landed at Caesarea, and went up to Jerusalem, and having
"saluted the church" there, and kept the feast, he left for
Antioch, where he abode "some time" (Acts 18:20-23).
He then began his third missionary tour. He journeyed by land
in the "upper coasts" (the more eastern parts) of Asia Minor,
and at length made his way to Ephesus, where he tarried for no
less than three years, engaged in ceaseless Christian labour.
"This city was at the time the Liverpool of the Mediterranean.
It possessed a splendid harbour, in which was concentrated the
traffic of the sea which was then the highway of the nations;
and as Liverpool has behind her the great towns of Lancashire,
so had Ephesus behind and around her such cities as those
mentioned along with her in the epistles to the churches in the
book of Revelation, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis,
Philadelphia, and Laodicea. It was a city of vast wealth, and it
was given over to every kind of pleasure, the fame of its
theatres and race-course being world-wide" (Stalker's Life of
St. Paul). Here a "great door and effectual" was opened to the
apostle. His fellow-labourers aided him in his work, carrying
the gospel to Colosse and Laodicea and other places which they
Very shortly before his departure from Ephesus, the apostle
wrote his First Epistle to the Corinthians (q.v.). The
silversmiths, whose traffic in the little images which they made
was in danger (see DEMETRIUS ¯T0001013), organized a riot
against Paul, and he left the city, and proceeded to Troas (2
Cor. 2:12), whence after some time he went to meet Titus in
Macedonia. Here, in consequence of the report Titus brought from
Corinth, he wrote his second epistle to that church. Having
spent probably most of the summer and autumn in Macedonia,
visiting the churches there, specially the churches of Philippi,
Thessalonica, and Berea, probably penetrating into the interior,
to the shores of the Adriatic (Rom. 15:19), he then came into
Greece, where he abode three month, spending probably the
greater part of this time in Corinth (Acts 20:2). During his
stay in this city he wrote his Epistle to the Galatians, and
also the great Epistle to the Romans. At the end of the three
months he left Achaia for Macedonia, thence crossed into Asia
Minor, and touching at Miletus, there addressed the Ephesian
presbyters, whom he had sent for to meet him (Acts 20:17), and
then sailed for Tyre, finally reaching Jerusalem, probably in
the spring of A.D. 58.
While at Jerusalem, at the feast of Pentecost, he was almost
murdered by a Jewish mob in the temple. (See TEMPLE, HEROD'S
¯T0003611.) Rescued from their violence by the Roman commandant,
he was conveyed as a prisoner to Caesarea, where, from various
causes, he was detained a prisoner for two years in Herod's
praetorium (Acts 23:35). "Paul was not kept in close
confinement; he had at least the range of the barracks in which
he was detained. There we can imagine him pacing the ramparts on
the edge of the Mediterranean, and gazing wistfully across the
blue waters in the direction of Macedonia, Achaia, and Ephesus,
where his spiritual children were pining for him, or perhaps
encountering dangers in which they sorely needed his presence.
It was a mysterious providence which thus arrested his energies
and condemned the ardent worker to inactivity; yet we can now
see the reason for it. Paul was needing rest. After twenty years
of incessant evangelization, he required leisure to garner the
harvest of experience...During these two years he wrote nothing;
it was a time of internal mental activity and silent progress"
(Stalker's Life of St. Paul).
At the end of these two years Felix (q.v.) was succeeded in
the governorship of Israel by Porcius Festus, before whom the
apostle was again heard. But judging it right at this crisis to
claim the privilege of a Roman citizen, he appealed to the
emperor (Acts 25:11). Such an appeal could not be disregarded,
and Paul was at once sent on to Rome under the charge of one
Julius, a centurion of the "Augustan cohort." After a long and
perilous voyage, he at length reached the imperial city in the
early spring, probably, of A.D. 61. Here he was permitted to
occupy his own hired house, under constant military custody.
This privilege was accorded to him, no doubt, because he was a
Roman citizen, and as such could not be put into prison without
a trial. The soldiers who kept guard over Paul were of course
changed at frequent intervals, and thus he had the opportunity
of preaching the gospel to many of them during these "two whole
years," and with the blessed result of spreading among the
imperial guards, and even in Caesar's household, an interest in
the truth (Phil. 1:13). His rooms were resorted to by many
anxious inquirers, both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 28:23, 30, 31),
and thus his imprisonment "turned rather to the furtherance of
the gospel," and his "hired house" became the centre of a
gracious influence which spread over the whole city. According
to a Jewish tradition, it was situated on the borders of the
modern Ghetto, which has been the Jewish quarters in Rome from
the time of Pompey to the present day. During this period the
apostle wrote his epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians,
Philippians, and to Philemon, and probably also to the Hebrews.
This first imprisonment came at length to a close, Paul having
been acquitted, probably because no witnesses appeared against
him. Once more he set out on his missionary labours, probably
visiting western and eastern Europe and Asia Minor. During this
period of freedom he wrote his First Epistle to Timothy and his
Epistle to Titus. The year of his release was signalized by the
burning of Rome, which Nero saw fit to attribute to the
Christians. A fierce persecution now broke out against the
Christians. Paul was siezed, and once more conveyed to Rome a
prisoner. During this imprisonment he probably wrote the Second
Epistle to Timothy, the last he ever wrote. "There can be little
doubt that he appered again at Nero's bar, and this time the
charge did not break down. In all history there is not a more
startling illustration of the irony of human life than this
scene of Paul at the bar of Nero. On the judgment-seat, clad in
the imperial purple, sat a man who, in a bad world, had attained
the eminence of being the very worst and meanest being in it, a
man stained with every crime, a man whose whole being was so
steeped in every nameable and unnameable vice, that body and
soul of him were, as some one said at the time, nothing but a
compound of mud and blood; and in the prisoner's dock stood the
best man the world possessed, his hair whitened with labours for
the good of men and the glory of God. The trial ended: Paul was
condemned, and delivered over to the executioner. He was led out
of the city, with a crowd of the lowest rabble at his heels. The
fatal spot was reached; he knelt beside the block; the
headsman's axe gleamed in the sun and fell; and the head of the
apostle of the world rolled down in the dust" (probably A.D.
66), four years before the fall of Jerusalem.