Calves were commonly made use of in sacrifices, and are
therefore frequently mentioned in Scripture. The "fatted calf"
was regarded as the choicest of animal food; it was frequently
also offered as a special sacrifice (1 Sam. 28:24; Amos 6:4;
Luke 15:23). The words used in Jer. 34:18, 19, "cut the calf in
twain," allude to the custom of dividing a sacrifice into two
parts, between which the parties ratifying a covenant passed
(Gen. 15:9, 10, 17, 18). The sacrifice of the lips, i.e.,
priase, is called "the calves of our lips" (Hos. 14:2, R.V., "as
bullocks the offering of our lips." Comp. Heb. 13:15; Ps. 116:7;
The golden calf which Aaron made (Ex. 32:4) was probably a
copy of the god Moloch rather than of the god Apis, the sacred
ox or calf of Egypt. The Jews showed all through their history a
tendency toward the Babylonian and Canaanitish idolatry rather
than toward that of Egypt.
Ages after this, Jeroboam, king of Israel, set up two idol
calves, one at Dan, and the other at Bethel, that he might thus
prevent the ten tribes from resorting to Jerusalem for worship
(1 Kings 12:28). These calves continued to be a snare to the
people till the time of their captivity. The calf at Dan was
carried away in the reign of Pekah by Tiglath-pileser, and that
at Bethel ten years later, in the reign of Hoshea, by
Shalmaneser (2 Kings 15:29; 17:33). This sin of Jeroboam is
almost always mentioned along with his name (2 Kings 15:28
(Ex. 32:4,8; Deut. 9:16; Neh. 9:18). This was a molten image of
a calf which the idolatrous Israelites formed at Sinai. This
symbol was borrowed from the custom of the Egyptians. It was
destroyed at the command of Moses (Ex. 32:20). (See AARON
¯T0000002; MOSES ¯T0002602.)
(1.) The translation of a word which is a generic name for
horned cattle (Isa. 65:25). It is also rendered "cow" (Ezek.
4:15), "ox" (Gen. 12:16).
(2.) The translation of a word always meaning an animal of the
ox kind, without distinction of age or sex (Hos. 12:11). It is
rendered "cow" (Num. 18:17) and "ox" (Lev. 17:3).
(3.) Another word is rendered in the same way (Jer. 31:18). It
is also translated "calf" (Lev. 9:3; Micah 6:6). It is the same
word used of the "molten calf" (Ex. 32:4, 8) and "the golden
calf" (1 Kings 12:28).
(4.) In Judg. 6:25; Isa. 34:7, the Hebrew word is different.
It is the customary word for bulls offered in sacrifice. In Hos.
14:2, the Authorized Version has "calves," the Revised Version
a calf. (1.) One of the sons of Midian, who was Abraham's son by
Keturah (Gen. 25:4).
(2.) The head of one of the families of trans-Jordanic
Manasseh who were carried captive by Tiglath-pileser (1 Chr.
(1.) A fatted animal for slaughter (2 Sam. 6:13; Isa. 11:6;
Ezek. 39:18. Comp. Matt. 22:4, where the word used in the
original, sitistos, means literally "corn-fed;" i.e., installed,
fat). (2.) Ps. 66:15 (Heb. meah, meaning "marrowy," "fat," a
species of sheep). (3.) 1 Sam. 15:9 (Heb. mishneh, meaning "the
second," and hence probably "cattle of a second quality," or
lambs of the second birth, i.e., autmnal lambs, and therfore of
A cow and her calf were not to be killed on the same day (Lev.
22:28; Ex. 23:19; Deut. 22:6, 7). The reason for this enactment
is not given. A state of great poverty is described in the words
of Isa. 7:21-25, where, instead of possessing great resources, a
man shall depend for the subsistence of himself and his family
on what a single cow and two sheep could yield.
father's brother. (1.) The son of Omri, whom he succeeded as the
seventh king of Israel. His history is recorded in 1 Kings
16-22. His wife was Jezebel (q.v.), who exercised a very evil
influence over him. To the calf-worship introduced by Jeroboam
he added the worship of Baal. He was severely admonished by
Elijah (q.v.) for his wickedness. His anger was on this account
kindled against the prophet, and he sought to kill him. He
undertook three campaigns against Ben-hadad II., king of
Damascus. In the first two, which were defensive, he gained a
complete victory over Ben-hadad, who fell into his hands, and
was afterwards released on the condition of his restoring all
the cities of Israel he then held, and granting certain other
concessions to Ahab. After three years of peace, for some cause
Ahab renewed war (1 Kings 22:3) with Ben-hadad by assaulting the
city of Ramoth-gilead, although the prophet Micaiah warned him
that he would not succeed, and that the 400 false prophets who
encouraged him were only leading him to his ruin. Micaiah was
imprisoned for thus venturing to dissuade Ahab from his purpose.
Ahab went into the battle disguised, that he might if possible
escape the notice of his enemies; but an arrow from a bow "drawn
at a venture" pierced him, and though stayed up in his chariot
for a time he died towards evening, and Elijah's prophecy (1
Kings 21:19) was fulfilled. He reigned twenty-three years.
Because of his idolatry, lust, and covetousness, Ahab is
referred to as pre-eminently the type of a wicked king (2 Kings
8:18; 2 Chr. 22:3; Micah 6:16).
(2.) A false prophet referred to by Jeremiah (Jer. 29:21), of
whom nothing further is known.
house of God. (1.) A place in Central Israel, about 10 miles
north of Jerusalem, at the head of the pass of Michmash and Ai.
It was originally the royal Canaanite city of Luz (Gen. 28:19).
The name Bethel was at first apparently given to the sanctuary
in the neighbourhood of Luz, and was not given to the city
itself till after its conquest by the tribe of Ephraim. When
Abram entered Canaan he formed his second encampment between
Bethel and Hai (Gen. 12:8); and on his return from Egypt he came
back to it, and again "called upon the name of the Lord" (13:4).
Here Jacob, on his way from Beersheba to Haran, had a vision of
the angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder whose
top reached unto heaven (28:10, 19); and on his return he again
visited this place, "where God talked with him" (35:1-15), and
there he "built an altar, and called the place El-beth-el"
(q.v.). To this second occasion of God's speaking with Jacob at
Bethel, Hosea (12:4,5) makes reference.
In troublous times the people went to Bethel to ask counsel of
God (Judg. 20:18, 31; 21:2). Here the ark of the covenant was
kept for a long time under the care of Phinehas, the grandson of
Aaron (20:26-28). Here also Samuel held in rotation his court of
justice (1 Sam. 7:16). It was included in Israel after the
kingdom was divided, and it became one of the seats of the
worship of the golden calf (1 Kings 12:28-33; 13:1). Hence the
prophet Hosea (Hos. 4:15; 5:8; 10:5, 8) calls it in contempt
Beth-aven, i.e., "house of idols." Bethel remained an abode of
priests even after the kingdom of Israel was desolated by the
king of Assyria (2 Kings 17:28, 29). At length all traces of the
idolatries were extirpated by Josiah, king of Judah (2 Kings
23:15-18); and the place was still in existence after the
Captivity (Ezra 2:28; Neh. 7:32). It has been identified with
the ruins of Beitin, a small village amid extensive ruins some 9
miles south of Shiloh.
(2.) Mount Bethel was a hilly district near Bethel (Josh.
16:1; 1 Sam. 13:2).
(3.) A town in the south of Judah (Josh. 8:17; 12:16).
a descendant of the tribe of Levi (Ex. 6:25; Lev. 25:32; Num.
35:2; Josh. 21:3, 41). This name is, however, generally used as
the title of that portion of the tribe which was set apart for
the subordinate offices of the sanctuary service (1 Kings 8:4;
Ezra 2:70), as assistants to the priests.
When the Israelites left Egypt, the ancient manner of worship
was still observed by them, the eldest son of each house
inheriting the priest's office. At Sinai the first change in
this ancient practice was made. A hereditary priesthood in the
family of Aaron was then instituted (Ex. 28:1). But it was not
till that terrible scene in connection with the sin of the
golden calf that the tribe of Levi stood apart and began to
occupy a distinct position (Ex. 32). The religious primogeniture
was then conferred on this tribe, which henceforth was devoted
to the service of the sanctuary (Num. 3:11-13). They were
selected for this purpose because of their zeal for the glory of
God (Ex. 32:26), and because, as the tribe to which Moses and
Aaron belonged, they would naturally stand by the lawgiver in
The Levitical order consisted of all the descendants of Levi's
three sons, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari; whilst Aaron, Amram's
son (Amram, son of Kohat), and his issue constituted the
The age and qualification for Levitical service are specified
in Num. 4:3, 23, 30, 39, 43, 47.
They were not included among the armies of Israel (Num. 1:47;
2:33; 26:62), but were reckoned by themselves. They were the
special guardians of the tabernacle (Num. 1:51; 18:22-24). The
Gershonites pitched their tents on the west of the tabernacle
(3:23), the Kohathites on the south (3:29), the Merarites on the
north (3:35), and the priests on the east (3:38). It was their
duty to move the tent and carry the parts of the sacred
structure from place to place. They were given to Aaron and his
sons the priests to wait upon them and do work for them at the
sanctuary services (Num. 8:19; 18:2-6).
As being wholly consecrated to the service of the Lord, they
had no territorial possessions. Jehovah was their inheritance
(Num. 18:20; 26:62; Deut. 10:9; 18:1, 2), and for their support
it was ordained that they should receive from the other tribes
the tithes of the produce of the land. Forty-eight cities also
were assigned to them, thirteen of which were for the priests
"to dwell in", i.e., along with their other inhabitants. Along
with their dwellings they had "suburbs", i.e., "commons", for
their herds and flocks, and also fields and vineyards (Num.
35:2-5). Nine of these cities were in Judah, three in Naphtali,
and four in each of the other tribes (Josh. 21). Six of the
Levitical cities were set apart as "cities of refuge" (q.v.).
Thus the Levites were scattered among the tribes to keep alive
among them the knowledge and service of God. (See PRIEST
peaceful, (Heb. Shelomoh), David's second son by Bathsheba,
i.e., the first after their legal marriage (2 Sam. 12). He was
probably born about B.C. 1035 (1 Chr. 22:5; 29:1). He succeeded
his father on the throne in early manhood, probably about
sixteen or eighteen years of age. Nathan, to whom his education
was intrusted, called him Jedidiah, i.e., "beloved of the Lord"
(2 Sam. 12:24, 25). He was the first king of Israel "born in the
purple." His father chose him as his successor, passing over the
claims of his elder sons: "Assuredly Solomon my son shall reign
after me." His history is recorded in 1 Kings 1-11 and 2 Chr.
1-9. His elevation to the throne took place before his father's
death, and was hastened on mainly by Nathan and Bathsheba, in
consequence of the rebellion of Adonijah (1 Kings 1:5-40).
During his long reign of forty years the Hebrew monarchy gained
its highest splendour. This period has well been called the
"Augustan age" of the Jewish annals. The first half of his reign
was, however, by far the brighter and more prosperous; the
latter half was clouded by the idolatries into which he fell,
mainly from his heathen intermarriages (1 Kings 11:1-8; 14:21,
Before his death David gave parting instructions to his son (1
Kings 2:1-9; 1 Chr. 22:7-16; 28). As soon as he had settled
himself in his kingdom, and arranged the affairs of his
extensive empire, he entered into an alliance with Egypt by the
marriage of the daughter of Pharaoh (1 Kings 3:1), of whom,
however, nothing further is recorded. He surrounded himself with
all the luxuries and the external grandeur of an Eastern
monarch, and his government prospered. He entered into an
alliance with Hiram, king of Tyre, who in many ways greatly
assisted him in his numerous undertakings. (See HIRAM
For some years before his death David was engaged in the
active work of collecting materials (1 Chr. 29:6-9; 2 Chr.
2:3-7) for building a temple in Jerusalem as a permanent abode
for the ark of the covenant. He was not permitted to build the
house of God (1 Chr. 22:8); that honour was reserved to his son
Solomon. (See TEMPLE ¯T0003610.)
After the completion of the temple, Solomon engaged in the
erection of many other buildings of importance in Jerusalem and
in other parts of his kingdom. For the long space of thirteen
years he was engaged in the erection of a royal palace on Ophel
(1 Kings 7:1-12). It was 100 cubits long, 50 broad, and 30 high.
Its lofty roof was supported by forty-five cedar pillars, so
that the hall was like a forest of cedar wood, and hence
probably it received the name of "The House of the Forest of
Lebanon." In front of this "house" was another building, which
was called the Porch of Pillars, and in front of this again was
the "Hall of Judgment," or Throne-room (1 Kings 7:7; 10:18-20; 2
Chr. 9:17-19), "the King's Gate," where he administered justice
and gave audience to his people. This palace was a building of
great magnificence and beauty. A portion of it was set apart as
the residence of the queen consort, the daughter of Pharaoh.
From the palace there was a private staircase of red and scented
sandal wood which led up to the temple.
Solomon also constructed great works for the purpose of
securing a plentiful supply of water for the city (Eccl. 2:4-6).
He then built Millo (LXX., "Acra") for the defence of the city,
completing a line of ramparts around it (1 Kings 9:15, 24;
11:27). He erected also many other fortifications for the
defence of his kingdom at various points where it was exposed to
the assault of enemies (1 Kings 9:15-19; 2 Chr. 8:2-6). Among
his great undertakings must also be mentioned the building of
Tadmor (q.v.) in the wilderness as a commercial depot, as well
as a military outpost.
During his reign Israel enjoyed great commercial
prosperity. Extensive traffic was carried on by land with Tyre
and Egypt and Arabia, and by sea with Spain and India and the
coasts of Africa, by which Solomon accumulated vast stores of
wealth and of the produce of all nations (1 Kings 9:26-28;
10:11, 12; 2 Chr. 8:17, 18; 9:21). This was the "golden age" of
Israel. The royal magnificence and splendour of Solomon's court
were unrivalled. He had seven hundred wives and three hundred
concubines, an evidence at once of his pride, his wealth, and
his sensuality. The maintenance of his household involved
immense expenditure. The provision required for one day was
"thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal,
ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an
hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallow-deer, and
fatted fowl" (1 Kings 4:22, 23).
Solomon's reign was not only a period of great material
prosperity, but was equally remarkable for its intellectual
activity. He was the leader of his people also in this uprising
amongst them of new intellectual life. "He spake three thousand
proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake
of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the
hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts,
and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes" (1 Kings
His fame was spread abroad through all lands, and men came
from far and near "to hear the wisdom of Solomon." Among others
thus attracted to Jerusalem was "the queen of the south" (Matt.
12:42), the queen of Sheba, a country in Arabia Felix. "Deep,
indeed, must have been her yearning, and great his fame, which
induced a secluded Arabian queen to break through the immemorial
custom of her dreamy land, and to put forth the energy required
for braving the burdens and perils of so long a journey across a
wilderness. Yet this she undertook, and carried it out with
safety." (1 Kings 10:1-13; 2 Chr. 9:1-12.) She was filled with
amazement by all she saw and heard: "there was no more spirit in
her." After an interchange of presents she returned to her
But that golden age of Jewish history passed away. The bright
day of Solomon's glory ended in clouds and darkness. His decline
and fall from his high estate is a sad record. Chief among the
causes of his decline were his polygamy and his great wealth.
"As he grew older he spent more of his time among his
favourites. The idle king living among these idle women, for
1,000 women, with all their idle and mischievous attendants,
filled the palaces and pleasure-houses which he had built (1
Kings 11:3), learned first to tolerate and then to imitate their
heathenish ways. He did not, indeed, cease to believe in the God
of Israel with his mind. He did not cease to offer the usual
sacrifices in the temple at the great feasts. But his heart was
not right with God; his worship became merely formal; his soul,
left empty by the dying out of true religious fervour, sought to
be filled with any religious excitement which offered itself.
Now for the first time a worship was publicly set up amongst the
people of the Lord which was not simply irregular or forbidden,
like that of Gideon (Judg. 8:27), or the Danites (Judg. 18:30,
31), but was downright idolatrous." (1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings
This brought upon him the divine displeasure. His enemies
prevailed against him (1 Kings 11:14-22, 23-25, 26-40), and one
judgment after another fell upon the land. And now the end of
all came, and he died, after a reign of forty years, and was
buried in the city of David, and "with him was buried the
short-lived glory and unity of Israel." "He leaves behind him
but one weak and worthless son, to dismember his kingdom and
disgrace his name."
"The kingdom of Solomon," says Rawlinson, "is one of the most
striking facts in the Biblical history. A petty nation, which
for hundreds of years has with difficulty maintained a separate
existence in the midst of warlike tribes, each of which has in
turn exercised dominion over it and oppressed it, is suddenly
raised by the genius of a soldier-monarch to glory and
greatness. An empire is established which extends from the
Euphrates to the borders of Egypt, a distance of 450 miles; and
this empire, rapidly constructed, enters almost immediately on a
period of peace which lasts for half a century. Wealth,
grandeur, architectural magnificence, artistic excellence,
commercial enterprise, a position of dignity among the great
nations of the earth, are enjoyed during this space, at the end
of which there is a sudden collapse. The ruling nation is split
in twain, the subject-races fall off, the pre-eminence lately
gained being wholly lost, the scene of struggle, strife,
oppression, recovery, inglorious submission, and desperate
effort, re-commences.", Historical Illustrations.
the eldest son of Amram and Jochebed, a daughter of Levi (Ex.
6:20). Some explain the name as meaning mountaineer, others
mountain of strength, illuminator. He was born in Egypt three
years before his brother Moses, and a number of years after his
sister Miriam (2:1,4; 7:7). He married Elisheba, the daughter of
Amminadab of the house of Judah (6:23; 1 Chr. 2:10), by whom he
had four sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. When the
time for the deliverance of Isarael out of Egypt drew nigh, he
was sent by God (Ex. 4:14,27-30) to meet his long-absent
brother, that he might co-operate with him in all that they were
required to do in bringing about the Exodus. He was to be the
"mouth" or "prophet" of Moses, i.e., was to speak for him,
because he was a man of a ready utterance (7:1,2,9,10,19). He
was faithful to his trust, and stood by Moses in all his
interviews with Pharaoh.
When the ransomed tribes fought their first battle with Amalek
in Rephidim, Moses stood on a hill overlooking the scene of the
conflict with the rod of God in his outstretched hand. On this
occasion he was attended by Aaron and Hur, his sister's husband,
who held up his wearied hands till Joshua and the chosen
warriors of Israel gained the victory (17:8-13).
Afterwards, when encamped before Sinai, and when Moses at the
command of God ascended the mount to receive the tables of the
law, Aaron and his two sons, Nadab and Abihu, along with seventy
of the elders of Israel, were permitted to accompany him part of
the way, and to behold afar off the manifestation of the glory
of Israel's God (Ex. 19:24; 24:9-11). While Moses remained on
the mountain with God, Aaron returned unto the people; and
yielding through fear, or ignorance, or instability of
character, to their clamour, made unto them a golden calf, and
set it up as an object of worship (Ex. 32:4; Ps. 106:19). On the
return of Moses to the camp, Aaron was sternly rebuked by him
for the part he had acted in this matter; but he interceded for
him before God, who forgave his sin (Deut. 9:20).
On the mount, Moses received instructions regarding the system
of worship which was to be set up among the people; and in
accordance therewith Aaron and his sons were consecrated to the
priest's office (Lev. 8; 9). Aaron, as high priest, held
henceforth the prominent place appertaining to that office.
When Israel had reached Hazeroth, in "the wilderness of
Paran," Aaron joined with his sister Miriam in murmuring against
Moses, "because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married,"
probably after the death of Zipporah. But the Lord vindicated
his servant Moses, and punished Miriam with leprosy (Num. 12).
Aaron acknowledged his own and his sister's guilt, and at the
intercession of Moses they were forgiven.
Twenty years after this, when the children of Israel were
encamped in the wilderness of Paran, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram
conspired against Aaron and his sons; but a fearful judgment
from God fell upon them, and they were destroyed, and the next
day thousands of the people also perished by a fierce
pestilence, the ravages of which were only stayed by the
interposition of Aaron (Num. 16). That there might be further
evidence of the divine appointment of Aaron to the priestly
office, the chiefs of the tribes were each required to bring to
Moses a rod bearing on it the name of his tribe. And these,
along with the rod of Aaron for the tribe of Levi, were laid up
overnight in the tabernacle, and in the morning it was found
that while the other rods remained unchanged, that of Aaron "for
the house of Levi" budded, blossomed, and yielded almonds (Num.
17:1-10). This rod was afterwards preserved in the tabernacle
(Heb. 9:4) as a memorial of the divine attestation of his
appointment to the priesthood.
Aaron was implicated in the sin of his brother at Meribah
(Num. 20:8-13), and on that account was not permitted to enter
the Promised Land. When the tribes arrived at Mount Hor, "in the
edge of the land of Edom," at the command of God Moses led Aaron
and his son Eleazar to the top of that mountain, in the sight of
all the people. There he stripped Aaron of his priestly
vestments, and put them upon Eleazar; and there Aaron died on
the top of the mount, being 123 years old (Num. 20:23-29. Comp.
Deut. 10:6; 32:50), and was "gathered unto his people." The
people, "even all the house of Israel," mourned for him thirty
days. Of Aaron's sons two survived him, Eleazar, whose family
held the high-priesthood till the time of Eli; and Ithamar, in
whose family, beginning with Eli, the high-priesthood was held
till the time of Solomon. Aaron's other two sons had been struck
dead (Lev. 10:1,2) for the daring impiety of offering "strange
fire" on the alter of incense.
The Arabs still show with veneration the traditionary site of
Aaron's grave on one of the two summits of Mount Hor, which is
marked by a Mohammedan chapel. His name is mentioned in the
Koran, and there are found in the writings of the rabbins many
fabulous stories regarding him.
He was the first anointed priest. His descendants, "the house
of Aaron," constituted the priesthood in general. In the time of
David they were very numerous (1 Chr. 12:27). The other branches
of the tribe of Levi held subordinate positions in connection
with the sacred office. Aaron was a type of Christ in his
official character as the high priest. His priesthood was a
"shadow of heavenly things," and was intended to lead the people
of Israel to look forward to the time when "another priest"
would arise "after the order of Melchizedek" (Heb. 6:20). (See