the sign and token of our Lord's great agony (Luke 22:44).
to sit on a, was a sign of the deepest dejection (1 Sam. 2:8;
Ps. 113:7; Lam. 4:5).
To go barefoot was a sign of great distress (Isa. 20:2, 3, 4),
or of some great calamity having fallen on a person (2 Sam.
Storms of sand and dust sometimes overtake Eastern travellers.
They are very dreadful, many perishing under them. Jehovah
threatens to bring on the land of Israel, as a punishment for
forsaking him, a rain of "powder and dust" (Deut. 28:24).
To cast dust on the head was a sign of mourning (Josh. 7:6);
and to sit in dust, of extreme affliction (Isa. 47:1). "Dust" is
used to denote the grave (Job 7:21). "To shake off the dust from
one's feet" against another is to renounce all future
intercourse with him (Matt. 10:14; Acts 13:51). To "lick the
dust" is a sign of abject submission (Ps. 72:9); and to throw
dust at one is a sign of abhorrence (2 Sam. 16:13; comp. Acts
Found only once, in Ezek. 5:1, where reference is made to the
Jewish custom of shaving the head as a sign of mourning. The
Nazarites were untouched by the razor from their birth (Num.
6:5). Comp. Judg. 16:19.
in Ps. 92:3 means the murmuring tone of the harp. In Ps. 9:16 it
is a musical sign, denoting probably a pause in the instrumental
interlude. In Ps. 19:14 the word is rendered "meditation;" and
in Lam. 3:62, "device" (R.V., "imagination").
from natural causes was uncommon (2 Kings 2:23; Isa. 3:24). It
was included apparently under "scab" and "scurf," which
disqualified for the priesthood (Lev. 21:20). The Egyptians were
rarely subject to it. This probably arose from their custom of
constantly shaving the head, only allowing the hair to grow as a
sign of mourning. With the Jews artificial baldness was a sign
of mourning (Isa. 22:12; Jer. 7:29; 16:6); it also marked the
conclusion of a Nazarite's vow (Acts 18:18; 21:24; Num. 6:9). It
is often alluded to (Micah 1:16; Amos 8:10; Jer. 47:5). The Jews
were forbidden to follow the customs of surrounding nations in
making themselves bald (Deut. 14:1).
Tongues, Gift of
granted on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4), in fulfilment of a
promise Christ had made to his disciples (Mark 16:17). What this
gift actually was has been a subject of much discussion. Some
have argued that it was merely an outward sign of the presence
of the Holy Spirit among the disciples, typifying his manifold
gifts, and showing that salvation was to be extended to all
nations. But the words of Luke (Acts 2:9) clearly show that the
various peoples in Jerusalem at the time of Pentecost did really
hear themselves addressed in their own special language with
which they were naturally acquainted (comp. Joel 2:28, 29).
Among the gifts of the Spirit the apostle enumerates in 1 Cor.
12:10-14:30, "divers kinds of tongues" and the "interpretation
of tongues." This "gift" was a different manifestation of the
Spirit from that on Pentecost, although it resembled it in many
particulars. Tongues were to be "a sign to them that believe
Desolation, Abomination of
(Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14; comp. Luke 21:20), is interpreted of
the eagles, the standards of the Roman army, which were an
abomination to the Jews. These standards, rising over the site
of the temple, were a sign that the holy place had fallen under
the idolatrous Romans. The references are to Dan. 9:27. (See
used frequently in a figurative sense (Ps. 34:15). To "uncover
the ear" is to show respect to a person (1 Sam. 20:2 marg.). To
have the "ear heavy", or to have "uncircumcised ears" (Isa.
6:10), is to be inattentive and disobedient. To have the ear
"bored" through with an awl was a sign of perpetual servitude
The practice common among Oriental nations of colouring the
forehead or impressing on it some distinctive mark as a sign of
devotion to some deity is alluded to in Rev. 13:16, 17; 14:9;
The "jewel on thy forehead" mentioned in Ezek. 16:12 (R.V., "a
ring upon thy nose") was in all probability the "nose-ring"
In Ezek. 3:7 the word "impudent" is rightly rendered in the
Revised Version "an hard forehead." (See also ver. 8, 9.)
used sometimes figuratively. To "lay down the neck" (Rom. 16:4)
is to hazard one's life. Threatenings of coming judgments are
represented by the prophets by their laying bands upon the
people's necks (Deut. 28:48; Isa. 10:27; Jer. 27:2). Conquerors
put their feet on the necks of their enemies as a sign of their
subjection (Josh. 10:24; 2 Sam. 22:41).
caused by the reflection and refraction of the rays of the sun
shining on falling rain. It was appointed as a witness of the
divine faithfulness (Gen. 9:12-17). It existed indeed before,
but it was then constituted as a sign of the covenant. Others,
however (as Delitzsch, Commentary on Pentateuch), think that it
"appeared then for the first time in the vault and clouds of
heaven." It is argued by those holding this opinion that the
atmosphere was differently constituted before the Flood. It is
referred to three other times in Scripture (Ezek. 1:27, 28; Rev.
cloth made of black goats' hair, coarse, rough, and thick, used
for sacks, and also worn by mourners (Gen. 37:34; 42:25; 2 Sam.
3:31; Esther 4:1, 2; Ps. 30:11, etc.), and as a sign of
repentance (Matt. 11:21). It was put upon animals by the people
of Nineveh (Jonah 3:8).
The mode of wearing it was definitely prescribed to the Jews
(Lev. 19:27; 21:5). Hence the import of Ezekiel's (5:1-4)
description of the "razor" i.e., the agents of an angry
providence being used against the guilty nation of the Jews. It
was a part of a Jew's daily toilet to anoint his beard with oil
and perfume (Ps. 133:2). Beards were trimmed with the most
fastidious care (2 Sam. 19:24), and their neglet was an
indication of deep sorrow (Isa. 15:2; Jer. 41:5). The custom was
to shave or pluck off the hair as a sign of mourning (Isa. 50:6;
Jer. 48:37; Ezra 9:3). The beards of David's ambassadors were
cut off by hanun (2 Sam. 10:4) as a mark of indignity.
On the other hand, the Egyptians carefully shaved the hair off
their faces, and they compelled their slaves to do so also (Gen.
cutting around. This rite, practised before, as some think, by
divers races, was appointed by God to be the special badge of
his chosen people, an abiding sign of their consecration to him.
It was established as a national ordinance (Gen. 17:10, 11). In
compliance with the divine command, Abraham, though ninety-nine
years of age, was circumcised on the same day with Ishmael, who
was thirteen years old (17:24-27). Slaves, whether home-born or
purchased, were circumcised (17:12, 13); and all foreigners must
have their males circumcised before they could enjoy the
privileges of Jewish citizenship (Ex. 12:48). During the journey
through the wilderness, the practice of circumcision fell into
disuse, but was resumed by the command of Joshua before they
entered the Promised Land (Josh. 5:2-9). It was observed always
afterwards among the tribes of israel, although it is not
expressly mentioned from the time of the settlement in Canaan
till the time of Christ, about 1,450 years. The Jews prided
themselves in the possession of this covenant distinction (Judg.
14:3; 15:18; 1 Sam. 14:6; 17:26; 2 Sam. 1:20; Ezek. 31:18).
As a rite of the church it ceased when the New Testament times
began (Gal. 6:15; Col. 3:11). Some Jewish Christians sought to
impose it, however, on the Gentile converts; but this the
apostles resolutely resisted (Acts 15:1; Gal. 6:12). Our Lord
was circumcised, for it "became him to fulfil all
righteousness," as of the seed of Abraham, according to the
flesh; and Paul "took and circumcised" Timothy (Acts 16:3), to
avoid giving offence to the Jews. It would render Timothy's
labours more acceptable to the Jews. But Paul would by no means
consent to the demand that Titus should be circumcised (Gal.
2:3-5). The great point for which he contended was the free
admission of uncircumcised Gentiles into the church. He
contended successfully in behalf of Titus, even in Jerusalem.
In the Old Testament a spiritual idea is attached to
circumcision. It was the symbol of purity (Isa. 52:1). We read
of uncircumcised lips (Ex. 6:12, 30), ears (Jer. 6:10), hearts
(Lev. 26:41). The fruit of a tree that is unclean is spoken of
as uncircumcised (Lev. 19:23).
It was a sign and seal of the covenant of grace as well as of
the national covenant between God and the Hebrews. (1.) It
sealed the promises made to Abraham, which related to the
commonwealth of Israel, national promises. (2.) But the promises
made to Abraham included the promise of redemption (Gal. 3:14),
a promise which has come upon us. The covenant with Abraham was
a dispensation or a specific form of the covenant of grace, and
circumcision was a sign and seal of that covenant. It had a
spiritual meaning. It signified purification of the heart,
inward circumcision effected by the Spirit (Deut. 10:16; 30:6;
Ezek. 44:7; Acts 7:51; Rom. 2:28; Col. 2:11). Circumcision as a
symbol shadowing forth sanctification by the Holy Spirit has now
given way to the symbol of baptism (q.v.). But the truth
embodied in both ordinances is ever the same, the removal of
sin, the sanctifying effects of grace in the heart.
Under the Jewish dispensation, church and state were
identical. No one could be a member of the one without also
being a member of the other. Circumcision was a sign and seal of
membership in both. Every circumcised person bore thereby
evidence that he was one of the chosen people, a member of the
church of God as it then existed, and consequently also a member
of the Jewish commonwealth.
(1.) Heb. 'oth, a military standard, especially of a single
tribe (Num. 2:2). Each separate tribe had its own "sign" or
(2.) Heb. nes, a lofty signal, as a column or high pole (Num.
21:8, 9); a standard or signal or flag placed on high mountains
to point out to the people a place of rendezvous on the
irruption of an enemy (Isa. 5:26; 11:12; 18:3; 62:10; Jer. 4:6,
21; Ps. 60:4). This was an occasional signal, and not a military
standard. Elevation and conspicuity are implied in the word.
(3.) The Hebrew word _degel_ denotes the standard given to
each of the four divisions of the host of the Israelites at the
Exodus (Num. 1:52; 2:2; 10:14). In Cant. 2:4 it is rendered
"banner." We have no definite information as to the nature of
these military standards. (See BANNER ¯T0000433.)
"Though Orientals are very jealous of their privacy, they never
knock when about to enter your room, but walk in without warning
or ceremony. It is nearly impossible to teach an Arab servant to
knock at your door. They give warning at the outer gate either
by calling or knocking. To stand and call is a very common and
respectful mode. Thus Moses commanded the holder of a pledge to
stand without and call to the owner to come forth (Deut. 24:10).
This was to avoid the violent intrusion of cruel creditors.
Peter stood knocking at the outer door (Acts 12:13, 16), and the
three men sent to Joppa by Cornelius made inquiry and 'stood
before the gate' (10:17, 18). The idea is that the guard over
your privacy is to be placed at the entrance."
Knocking is used as a sign of importunity (Matt. 7:7, 8; Luke
13:25), and of the coming of Christ (Luke 12:36; Rev. 3:20).
in the New Testament the instrument of crucifixion, and hence
used for the crucifixion of Christ itself (Eph. 2:16; Heb. 12:2;
1 Cor. 1:17, 18; Gal. 5:11; 6:12, 14; Phil. 3:18). The word is
also used to denote any severe affliction or trial (Matt. 10:38;
16:24; Mark 8:34; 10:21).
The forms in which the cross is represented are these:
1. The crux simplex (I), a "single piece without transom."
2. The crux decussata (X), or St. Andrew's cross.
3. The crux commissa (T), or St. Anthony's cross.
4. The crux immissa (t), or Latin cross, which was the kind of
cross on which our Saviour died. Above our Lord's head, on the
projecting beam, was placed the "title." (See CRUCIFIXION
After the conversion, so-called, of Constantine the Great
(B.C. 313), the cross first came into use as an emblem of
Christianity. He pretended at a critical moment that he saw a
flaming cross in the heavens bearing the inscription, "In hoc
signo vinces", i.e., By this sign thou shalt conquer, and that
on the following night Christ himself appeared and ordered him
to take for his standard the sign of this cross. In this form a
new standard, called the Labarum, was accordingly made, and
borne by the Roman armies. It remained the standard of the Roman
army till the downfall of the Western empire. It bore the
embroidered monogram of Christ, i.e., the first two Greek
letters of his name, X and P (chi and rho), with the Alpha and
Omega. (See A ¯T0000001.)
(1.) The flag or banner of the larger kind, serving for three
tribes marching together. These standards, of which there were
four, were worked with embroidery and beautifully ornamented
(Num. 1:52; 2:2, 3, 10, 18, 25; Cant. 2:4; 6:4, 10).
(2.) The flag borne by each separate tribe, of a smaller form.
Probably it bore on it the name of the tribe to which it
belonged, or some distinguishing device (Num. 2:2,34).
(3.) A lofty signal-flag, not carried about, but stationary.
It was usually erected on a mountain or other lofty place. As
soon as it was seen the war-trumpets were blown (Ps. 60:4; Isa.
5:26; 11:12; 13:2; 18:3; 30:17; Jer. 4:6 21; Ezek. 27:7).
(4.) A "sign of fire" (Jer. 6:1) was sometimes used as a
The banners and ensigns of the Roman army had idolatrous
images upon them, and hence they are called the "abomination of
desolation" (q.v.). The principal Roman standard, however, was
an eagle. (See Matt. 24:28; Luke 17:37, where the Jewish nation
is compared to a dead body, which the eagles gather together to
God's setting up or giving a banner (Ps. 20:5; 60:4; Cant.
2:4) imports his presence and protection and aid extended to his
occurs only in Ex. 13:16; Deut. 6:8, and 11:18. The meaning of
the injunction to the Israelites, with regard to the statues and
precepts given them, that they should "bind them for a sign upon
their hand, and have them as frontlets between their eyes," was
that they should keep them distinctly in view and carefully
attend to them. But soon after their return from Babylon they
began to interpret this injunction literally, and had
accordingly portions of the law written out and worn about their
person. These they called tephillin, i.e., "prayers." The
passages so written out on strips of parchment were these, Ex.
12:2-10; 13:11-21; Deut. 6:4-9; 11:18-21. They were then "rolled
up in a case of black calfskin, which was attached to a stiffer
piece of leather, having a thong one finger broad and one cubit
and a half long. Those worn on the forehead were written on four
strips of parchment, and put into four little cells within a
square case, which had on it the Hebrew letter called shin, the
three points of which were regarded as an emblem of God." This
case tied around the forehead in a particular way was called
"the tephillah on the head." (See PHYLACTERY ¯T0002947.)
(1.) Hebrew halabh, "new milk", milk in its fresh state (Judg.
4:19). It is frequently mentioned in connection with honey (Ex.
3:8; 13:5; Josh. 5:6; Isa. 7:15, 22; Jer. 11:5). Sheep (Deut.
32:14) and goats (Prov. 27:27) and camels (Gen. 32:15), as well
as cows, are made to give their milk for the use of man. Milk is
used figuratively as a sign of abundance (Gen. 49:12; Ezek.
25:4; Joel 3:18). It is also a symbol of the rudiments of
doctrine (1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12, 13), and of the unadulterated
word of God (1 Pet. 2:2).
(2.) Heb. hem'ah, always rendered "butter" in the Authorized
Version. It means "butter," but also more frequently "cream," or
perhaps, as some think, "curdled milk," such as that which
Abraham set before the angels (Gen. 18:8), and which Jael gave
to Sisera (Judg. 5:25). In this state milk was used by
travellers (2 Sam. 17:29). If kept long enough, it acquired a
slightly intoxicating or soporific power.
This Hebrew word is also sometimes used for milk in general
(Deut. 32:14; Job 20:17).
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.)
(Heb. tsara'ath, a "smiting," a "stroke," because the disease
was regarded as a direct providential infliction). This name is
from the Greek lepra, by which the Greek physicians designated
the disease from its scaliness. We have the description of the
disease, as well as the regulations connected with it, in Lev.
13; 14; Num. 12:10-15, etc. There were reckoned six different
circumstances under which it might develop itself, (1) without
any apparent cause (Lev. 13:2-8); (2) its reappearance (9-17);
(3) from an inflammation (18-28); (4) on the head or chin
(29-37); (5) in white polished spots (38, 39); (6) at the back
or in the front of the head (40-44).
Lepers were required to live outside the camp or city (Num.
5:1-4; 12:10-15, etc.). This disease was regarded as an awful
punishment from the Lord (2 Kings 5:7; 2 Chr. 26:20). (See
MIRIAM ¯T0002562; GEHAZI ¯T0001452; UZZIAH ¯T0003760.)
This disease "begins with specks on the eyelids and on the
palms, gradually spreading over the body, bleaching the hair
white wherever they appear, crusting the affected parts with
white scales, and causing terrible sores and swellings. From the
skin the disease eats inward to the bones, rotting the whole
body piecemeal." "In Christ's day no leper could live in a
walled town, though he might in an open village. But wherever he
was he was required to have his outer garment rent as a sign of
deep grief, to go bareheaded, and to cover his beard with his
mantle, as if in lamentation at his own virtual death. He had
further to warn passers-by to keep away from him, by calling
out, 'Unclean! unclean!' nor could he speak to any one, or
receive or return a salutation, since in the East this involves
That the disease was not contagious is evident from the
regulations regarding it (Lev. 13:12, 13, 36; 2 Kings 5:1).
Leprosy was "the outward and visible sign of the innermost
spiritual corruption; a meet emblem in its small beginnings, its
gradual spread, its internal disfigurement, its dissolution
little by little of the whole body, of that which corrupts,
degrades, and defiles man's inner nature, and renders him unmeet
to enter the presence of a pure and holy God" (Maclear's
Handbook O.T). Our Lord cured lepers (Matt. 8:2, 3; Mark
1:40-42). This divine power so manifested illustrates his
gracious dealings with men in curing the leprosy of the soul,
the fatal taint of sin.
a possession; a spear. (1.) The first-born son of Adam and Eve
(Gen. 4). He became a tiller of the ground, as his brother Abel
followed the pursuits of pastoral life. He was "a sullen,
self-willed, haughty, vindictive man; wanting the religious
element in his character, and defiant even in his attitude
towards God." It came to pass "in process of time" (marg. "at
the end of days"), i.e., probably on the Sabbath, that the two
brothers presented their offerings to the Lord. Abel's offering
was of the "firstlings of his flock and of the fat," while
Cain's was "of the fruit of the ground." Abel's sacrifice was
"more excellent" (Heb. 11:4) than Cain's, and was accepted by
God. On this account Cain was "very wroth," and cherished
feelings of murderous hatred against his brother, and was at
length guilty of the desperate outrage of putting him to death
(1 John 3:12). For this crime he was expelled from Eden, and
henceforth led the life of an exile, bearing upon him some mark
which God had set upon him in answer to his own cry for mercy,
so that thereby he might be protected from the wrath of his
fellow-men; or it may be that God only gave him some sign to
assure him that he would not be slain (Gen. 4:15). Doomed to be
a wanderer and a fugitive in the earth, he went forth into the
"land of Nod", i.e., the land of "exile", which is said to have
been in the "east of Eden," and there he built a city, the first
we read of, and called it after his son's name, Enoch. His
descendants are enumerated to the sixth generation. They
gradually degenerated in their moral and spiritual condition
till they became wholly corrupt before God. This corruption
prevailed, and at length the Deluge was sent by God to prevent
the final triumph of evil. (See ABEL ¯T0000015.)
(2.) A town of the Kenites, a branch of the Midianites (Josh.
15:57), on the east edge of the mountain above Engedi; probably
the "nest in a rock" mentioned by Balaam (Num. 24:21). It is
identified with the modern Yekin, 3 miles south-east of Hebron.
First mentioned in Gen. 3:7. The fig-tree is mentioned (Deut.
8:8) as one of the valuable products of Israel. It was a sign
of peace and prosperity (1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4; Zech. 3:10).
Figs were used medicinally (2 Kings 20:7), and pressed together
and formed into "cakes" as articles of diet (1 Sam. 30:12; Jer.
Our Lord's cursing the fig-tree near Bethany (Mark 11:13) has
occasioned much perplexity from the circumstance, as mentioned
by the evangelist, that "the time of figs was not yet." The
explanation of the words, however, lies in the simple fact that
the fruit of the fig-tree appears before the leaves, and hence
that if the tree produced leaves it ought also to have had
fruit. It ought to have had fruit if it had been true to its
"pretensions," in showing its leaves at this particular season.
"This tree, so to speak, vaunted itself to be in advance of all
the other trees, challenged the passer-by that he should come
and refresh himself with its fruit. Yet when the Lord accepted
its challenge and drew near, it proved to be but as the others,
without fruit as they; for indeed, as the evangelist observes,
the time of figs had not yet arrived. Its fault, if one may use
the word, lay in its pretensions, in its making a show to run
before the rest when it did not so indeed" (Trench, Miracles).
The fig-tree of Israel (Ficus carica) produces two and
sometimes three crops of figs in a year, (1) the bikkurah, or
"early-ripe fig" (Micah 7:1; Isa. 28:4; Hos. 9:10, R.V.), which
is ripe about the end of June, dropping off as soon as it is
ripe (Nah. 3:12); (2) the kermus, or "summer fig," then begins
to be formed, and is ripe about August; and (3) the pag (plural
"green figs," Cant. 2:13; Gr. olynthos, Rev. 6:13, "the untimely
fig"), or "winter fig," which ripens in sheltered spots in
Proverbs, Book of
a collection of moral and philosophical maxims of a wide range
of subjects presented in a poetic form. This book sets forth the
"philosophy of practical life. It is the sign to us that the
Bible does not despise common sense and discretion. It impresses
upon us in the most forcible manner the value of intelligence
and prudence and of a good education. The whole strength of the
Hebrew language and of the sacred authority of the book is
thrown upon these homely truths. It deals, too, in that refined,
discriminating, careful view of the finer shades of human
character so often overlooked by theologians, but so necessary
to any true estimate of human life" (Stanley's Jewish Church).
As to the origin of this book, "it is probable that Solomon
gathered and recast many proverbs which sprang from human
experience in preceeding ages and were floating past him on the
tide of time, and that he also elaborated many new ones from the
material of his own experience. Towards the close of the book,
indeed, are preserved some of Solomon's own sayings that seem to
have fallen from his lips in later life and been gathered by
other hands' (Arnot's Laws from Heaven, etc.)
This book is usually divided into three parts: (1.) Consisting
of ch. 1-9, which contain an exhibition of wisdom as the highest
(2.) Consisting of ch. 10-24.
(3.) Containing proverbs of Solomon "which the men of
Hezekiah, the king of Judah, collected" (ch. 25-29).
These are followed by two supplements, (1) "The words of Agur"
(ch. 30); and (2) "The words of king Lemuel" (ch. 31).
Solomon is said to have written three thousand proverbs, and
those contained in this book may be a selection from these (1
Kings 4:32). In the New Testament there are thirty-five direct
quotations from this book or allusions to it.
rest, (Heb. Noah) the grandson of Methuselah (Gen. 5:25-29), who
was for two hundred and fifty years contemporary with Adam, and
the son of Lamech, who was about fifty years old at the time of
Adam's death. This patriarch is rightly regarded as the
connecting link between the old and the new world. He is the
second great progenitor of the human family.
The words of his father Lamech at his birth (Gen. 5:29) have
been regarded as in a sense prophetical, designating Noah as a
type of Him who is the true "rest and comfort" of men under the
burden of life (Matt.11:28).
He lived five hundred years, and then there were born unto him
three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Gen. 5:32). He was a "just
man and perfect in his generation," and "walked with God" (comp.
Ezek. 14:14,20). But now the descendants of Cain and of Seth
began to intermarry, and then there sprang up a race
distinguished for their ungodliness. Men became more and more
corrupt, and God determined to sweep the earth of its wicked
population (Gen. 6:7). But with Noah God entered into a
covenant, with a promise of deliverance from the threatened
deluge (18). He was accordingly commanded to build an ark
(6:14-16) for the saving of himself and his house. An interval
of one hundred and twenty years elapsed while the ark was being
built (6:3), during which Noah bore constant testimony against
the unbelief and wickedness of that generation (1 Pet. 3:18-20;
2 Pet. 2:5).
When the ark of "gopher-wood" (mentioned only here) was at
length completed according to the command of the Lord, the
living creatures that were to be preserved entered into it; and
then Noah and his wife and sons and daughters-in-law entered it,
and the "Lord shut him in" (Gen.7:16). The judgment-threatened
now fell on the guilty world, "the world that then was, being
overflowed with water, perished" (2 Pet. 3:6). The ark floated
on the waters for one hundred and fifty days, and then rested on
the mountains of Ararat (Gen. 8:3,4); but not for a considerable
time after this was divine permission given him to leave the
ark, so that he and his family were a whole year shut up within
it (Gen. 6-14).
On leaving the ark Noah's first act was to erect an altar, the
first of which there is any mention, and offer the sacrifices of
adoring thanks and praise to God, who entered into a covenant
with him, the first covenant between God and man, granting him
possession of the earth by a new and special charter, which
remains in force to the present time (Gen. 8:21-9:17). As a sign
and witness of this covenant, the rainbow was adopted and set
apart by God, as a sure pledge that never again would the earth
be destroyed by a flood.
But, alas! Noah after this fell into grievous sin (Gen. 9:21);
and the conduct of Ham on this sad occasion led to the memorable
prediction regarding his three sons and their descendants. Noah
"lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years, and he
died" (28:29). (See DELUGE ¯T0001011).
Noah, motion, (Heb. No'ah) one of the five daughters of
Zelophehad (Num.26:33; 27:1; 36:11; Josh. 17:3).
a contract or agreement between two parties. In the Old
Testament the Hebrew word _berith_ is always thus translated.
_Berith_ is derived from a root which means "to cut," and hence
a covenant is a "cutting," with reference to the cutting or
dividing of animals into two parts, and the contracting parties
passing between them, in making a covenant (Gen. 15; Jer. 34:18,
The corresponding word in the New Testament Greek is
_diatheke_, which is, however, rendered "testament" generally in
the Authorized Version. It ought to be rendered, just as the
word _berith_ of the Old Testament, "covenant."
This word is used (1) of a covenant or compact between man and
man (Gen. 21:32), or between tribes or nations (1 Sam. 11:1;
Josh. 9:6, 15). In entering into a convenant, Jehovah was
solemnly called on to witness the transaction (Gen. 31:50), and
hence it was called a "covenant of the Lord" (1 Sam. 20:8). The
marriage compact is called "the covenant of God" (Prov. 2:17),
because the marriage was made in God's name. Wicked men are
spoken of as acting as if they had made a "covenant with death"
not to destroy them, or with hell not to devour them (Isa.
(2.) The word is used with reference to God's revelation of
himself in the way of promise or of favour to men. Thus God's
promise to Noah after the Flood is called a covenant (Gen. 9;
Jer. 33:20, "my covenant"). We have an account of God's
covernant with Abraham (Gen. 17, comp. Lev. 26:42), of the
covenant of the priesthood (Num. 25:12, 13; Deut. 33:9; Neh.
13:29), and of the covenant of Sinai (Ex. 34:27, 28; Lev.
26:15), which was afterwards renewed at different times in the
history of Israel (Deut. 29; Josh. 1:24; 2 Chr. 15; 23; 29; 34;
Ezra 10; Neh. 9). In conformity with human custom, God's
covenant is said to be confirmed with an oath (Deut. 4:31; Ps.
89:3), and to be accompanied by a sign (Gen. 9; 17). Hence the
covenant is called God's "counsel," "oath," "promise" (Ps. 89:3,
4; 105:8-11; Heb. 6:13-20; Luke 1:68-75). God's covenant
consists wholly in the bestowal of blessing (Isa. 59:21; Jer.
The term covenant is also used to designate the regular
succession of day and night (Jer. 33:20), the Sabbath (Ex.
31:16), circumcision (Gen. 17:9, 10), and in general any
ordinance of God (Jer. 34:13, 14).
A "covenant of salt" signifies an everlasting covenant, in the
sealing or ratifying of which salt, as an emblem of perpetuity,
is used (Num. 18:19; Lev. 2:13; 2 Chr. 13:5).
COVENANT OF WORKS, the constitution under which Adam was
placed at his creation. In this covenant, (1.) The contracting
parties were (a) God the moral Governor, and (b) Adam, a free
moral agent, and representative of all his natural posterity
(Rom. 5:12-19). (2.) The promise was "life" (Matt. 19:16, 17;
Gal. 3:12). (3.) The condition was perfect obedience to the law,
the test in this case being abstaining from eating the fruit of
the "tree of knowledge," etc. (4.) The penalty was death (Gen.
This covenant is also called a covenant of nature, as made
with man in his natural or unfallen state; a covenant of life,
because "life" was the promise attached to obedience; and a
legal covenant, because it demanded perfect obedience to the
The "tree of life" was the outward sign and seal of that life
which was promised in the covenant, and hence it is usually
called the seal of that covenant.
This covenant is abrogated under the gospel, inasmuch as
Christ has fulfilled all its conditions in behalf of his people,
and now offers salvation on the condition of faith. It is still
in force, however, as it rests on the immutable justice of God,
and is binding on all who have not fled to Christ and accepted
CONVENANT OF GRACE, the eternal plan of redemption entered
into by the three persons of the Godhead, and carried out by
them in its several parts. In it the Father represented the
Godhead in its indivisible sovereignty, and the Son his people
as their surety (John 17:4, 6, 9; Isa. 42:6; Ps. 89:3).
The conditions of this covenant were, (1.) On the part of the
Father (a) all needful preparation to the Son for the
accomplishment of his work (Heb. 10:5; Isa. 42:1-7); (b) support
in the work (Luke 22:43); and (c) a glorious reward in the
exaltation of Christ when his work was done (Phil. 2:6-11), his
investiture with universal dominion (John 5:22; Ps. 110:1), his
having the administration of the covenant committed into his
hands (Matt. 28:18; John 1:12; 17:2; Acts 2:33), and in the
final salvation of all his people (Isa. 35:10; 53:10, 11; Jer.
31:33; Titus 1:2). (2.) On the part of the Son the conditions
were (a) his becoming incarnate (Gal. 4:4, 5); and (b) as the
second Adam his representing all his people, assuming their
place and undertaking all their obligations under the violated
covenant of works; (c) obeying the law (Ps. 40:8; Isa. 42:21;
John 9:4, 5), and (d) suffering its penalty (Isa. 53; 2 Cor.
5:21; Gal. 3:13), in their stead.
Christ, the mediator of, fulfils all its conditions in behalf
of his people, and dispenses to them all its blessings. In Heb.
8:6; 9:15; 12:24, this title is given to Christ. (See
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
(1.) Materials used. The earliest and simplest an apron of
fig-leaves sewed together (Gen. 3:7); then skins of animals
(3:21). Elijah's dress was probably the skin of a sheep (2 Kings
1:8). The Hebrews were early acquainted with the art of weaving
hair into cloth (Ex. 26:7; 35:6), which formed the sackcloth of
mourners. This was the material of John the Baptist's robe
(Matt. 3:4). Wool was also woven into garments (Lev. 13:47;
Deut. 22:11; Ezek. 34:3; Job 31:20; Prov. 27:26). The Israelites
probably learned the art of weaving linen when they were in
Egypt (1 Chr. 4:21). Fine linen was used in the vestments of the
high priest (Ex. 28:5), as well as by the rich (Gen. 41:42;
Prov. 31:22; Luke 16:19). The use of mixed material, as wool and
flax, was forbidden (Lev. 19:19; Deut. 22:11).
(2.) Colour. The prevailing colour was the natural white of
the material used, which was sometimes rendered purer by the
fuller's art (Ps. 104:1, 2; Isa. 63:3; Mark 9:3). The Hebrews
were acquainted with the art of dyeing (Gen. 37:3, 23). Various
modes of ornamentation were adopted in the process of weaving
(Ex. 28:6; 26:1, 31; 35:25), and by needle-work (Judg. 5:30; Ps.
45:13). Dyed robes were imported from foreign countries,
particularly from Phoenicia (Zeph. 1:8). Purple and scarlet
robes were the marks of the wealthy (Luke 16:19; 2 Sam. 1:24).
(3.) Form. The robes of men and women were not very much
different in form from each other.
(a) The "coat" (kethoneth), of wool, cotton, or linen, was
worn by both sexes. It was a closely-fitting garment, resembling
in use and form our shirt (John 19:23). It was kept close to the
body by a girdle (John 21:7). A person wearing this "coat" alone
was described as naked (1 Sam. 19:24; Isa. 20:2; 2 Kings 6:30;
John 21:7); deprived of it he would be absolutely naked.
(b) A linen cloth or wrapper (sadin) of fine linen, used
somewhat as a night-shirt (Mark 14:51). It is mentioned in Judg.
14:12, 13, and rendered there "sheets."
(c) An upper tunic (meil), longer than the "coat" (1 Sam.
2:19; 24:4; 28:14). In 1 Sam. 28:14 it is the mantle in which
Samuel was enveloped; in 1 Sam. 24:4 it is the "robe" under
which Saul slept. The disciples were forbidden to wear two
"coats" (Matt. 10:10; Luke 9:3).
(d) The usual outer garment consisted of a piece of woollen
cloth like a Scotch plaid, either wrapped round the body or
thrown over the shoulders like a shawl, with the ends hanging
down in front, or it might be thrown over the head so as to
conceal the face (2 Sam. 15:30; Esther 6:12). It was confined to
the waist by a girdle, and the fold formed by the overlapping of
the robe served as a pocket (2 Kings 4:39; Ps. 79:12; Hag. 2:12;
Prov. 17:23; 21:14).
Female dress. The "coat" was common to both sexes (Cant. 5:3).
But peculiar to females were (1) the "veil" or "wimple," a kind
of shawl (Ruth 3:15; rendered "mantle," R.V., Isa. 3:22); (2)
the "mantle," also a species of shawl (Isa. 3:22); (3) a "veil,"
probably a light summer dress (Gen. 24:65); (4) a "stomacher," a
holiday dress (Isa. 3:24). The outer garment terminated in an
ample fringe or border, which concealed the feet (Isa. 47:2;
The dress of the Persians is described in Dan. 3:21.
The reference to the art of sewing are few, inasmuch as the
garments generally came forth from the loom ready for being
worn, and all that was required in the making of clothes
devolved on the women of a family (Prov. 31:22; Acts 9:39).
Extravagance in dress is referred to in Jer. 4:30; Ezek.
16:10; Zeph. 1:8 (R.V., "foreign apparel"); 1 Tim. 2:9; 1 Pet.
3:3. Rending the robes was expressive of grief (Gen. 37:29, 34),
fear (1 Kings 21:27), indignation (2 Kings 5:7), or despair
(Judg. 11:35; Esther 4:1).
Shaking the garments, or shaking the dust from off them, was a
sign of renunciation (Acts 18:6); wrapping them round the head,
of awe (1 Kings 19:13) or grief (2 Sam. 15:30; casting them off,
of excitement (Acts 22:23); laying hold of them, of supplication
(1 Sam. 15:27). In the case of travelling, the outer garments
were girded up (1 Kings 18:46). They were thrown aside also when
they would impede action (Mark 10:50; John 13:4; Acts 7:58).
an event in the external world brought about by the immediate
agency or the simple volition of God, operating without the use
of means capable of being discerned by the senses, and designed
to authenticate the divine commission of a religious teacher and
the truth of his message (John 2:18; Matt. 12:38). It is an
occurrence at once above nature and above man. It shows the
intervention of a power that is not limited by the laws either
of matter or of mind, a power interrupting the fixed laws which
govern their movements, a supernatural power.
"The suspension or violation of the laws of nature involved in
miracles is nothing more than is constantly taking place around
us. One force counteracts another: vital force keeps the
chemical laws of matter in abeyance; and muscular force can
control the action of physical force. When a man raises a weight
from the ground, the law of gravity is neither suspended nor
violated, but counteracted by a stronger force. The same is true
as to the walking of Christ on the water and the swimming of
iron at the command of the prophet. The simple and grand truth
that the universe is not under the exclusive control of physical
forces, but that everywhere and always there is above, separate
from and superior to all else, an infinite personal will, not
superseding, but directing and controlling all physical causes,
acting with or without them." God ordinarily effects his purpose
through the agency of second causes; but he has the power also
of effecting his purpose immediately and without the
intervention of second causes, i.e., of invading the fixed
order, and thus of working miracles. Thus we affirm the
possibility of miracles, the possibility of a higher hand
intervening to control or reverse nature's ordinary movements.
In the New Testament these four Greek words are principally
used to designate miracles: (1.) Semeion, a "sign", i.e., an
evidence of a divine commission; an attestation of a divine
message (Matt. 12:38, 39; 16:1, 4; Mark 8:11; Luke 11:16; 23:8;
John 2:11, 18, 23; Acts 6:8, etc.); a token of the presence and
working of God; the seal of a higher power.
(2.) Terata, "wonders;" wonder-causing events; portents;
producing astonishment in the beholder (Acts 2:19).
(3.) Dunameis, "might works;" works of superhuman power (Acts
2:22; Rom. 15:19; 2 Thess. 2:9); of a new and higher power.
(4.) Erga, "works;" the works of Him who is "wonderful in
working" (John 5:20, 36).
Miracles are seals of a divine mission. The sacred writers
appealed to them as proofs that they were messengers of God. Our
Lord also appealed to miracles as a conclusive proof of his
divine mission (John 5:20, 36; 10:25, 38). Thus, being out of
the common course of nature and beyond the power of man, they
are fitted to convey the impression of the presence and power of
God. Where miracles are there certainly God is. The man,
therefore, who works a miracle affords thereby clear proof that
he comes with the authority of God; they are his credentials
that he is God's messenger. The teacher points to these
credentials, and they are a proof that he speaks with the
authority of God. He boldly says, "God bears me witness, both
with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles."
The credibility of miracles is established by the evidence of
the senses on the part of those who are witnesses of them, and
to all others by the testimony of such witnesses. The witnesses
were competent, and their testimony is trustworthy. Unbelievers,
following Hume, deny that any testimony can prove a miracle,
because they say miracles are impossible. We have shown that
miracles are possible, and surely they can be borne witness to.
Surely they are credible when we have abundant and trustworthy
evidence of their occurrence. They are credible just as any
facts of history well authenticated are credible. Miracles, it
is said, are contrary to experience. Of course they are contrary
to our experience, but that does not prove that they were
contrary to the experience of those who witnessed them. We
believe a thousand facts, both of history and of science, that
are contrary to our experience, but we believe them on the
ground of competent testimony. An atheist or a pantheist must,
as a matter of course, deny the possibility of miracles; but to
one who believes in a personal God, who in his wisdom may see
fit to interfere with the ordinary processes of nature, miracles
are not impossible, nor are they incredible. (See LIST OF
an ordinance immediately instituted by Christ (Matt. 28:19, 20),
and designed to be observed in the church, like that of the
Supper, "till he come." The words "baptize" and "baptism" are
simply Greek words transferred into English. This was
necessarily done by the translators of the Scriptures, for no
literal translation could properly express all that is implied
The mode of baptism can in no way be determined from the Greek
word rendered "baptize." Baptists say that it means "to dip,"
and nothing else. That is an incorrect view of the meaning of
the word. It means both (1) to dip a thing into an element or
liquid, and (2) to put an element or liquid over or on it.
Nothing therefore as to the mode of baptism can be concluded
from the mere word used. The word has a wide latitude of
meaning, not only in the New Testament, but also in the LXX.
Version of the Old Testament, where it is used of the ablutions
and baptisms required by the Mosaic law. These were effected by
immersion, and by affusion and sprinkling; and the same word,
"washings" (Heb. 9:10, 13, 19, 21) or "baptisms," designates
them all. In the New Testament there cannot be found a single
well-authenticated instance of the occurrence of the word where
it necessarily means immersion. Moreover, none of the instances
of baptism recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (2:38-41;
8:26-39; 9:17, 18; 22:12-16; 10:44-48; 16:32-34) favours the
idea that it was by dipping the person baptized, or by
immersion, while in some of them such a mode was highly
The gospel and its ordinances are designed for the whole
world, and it cannot be supposed that a form for the
administration of baptism would have been prescribed which would
in any place (as in a tropical country or in polar regions) or
under any circumstances be inapplicable or injurious or
Baptism and the Lord's Supper are the two symbolical
ordinances of the New Testament. The Supper represents the work
of Christ, and Baptism the work of the Spirit. As in the Supper
a small amount of bread and wine used in this ordinance exhibits
in symbol the great work of Christ, so in Baptism the work of
the Holy Spirit is fully seen in the water poured or sprinkled
on the person in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
That which is essential in baptism is only "washing with water,"
no mode being specified and none being necessary or essential to
the symbolism of the ordinance.
The apostles of our Lord were baptized with the Holy Ghost
(Matt. 3:11) by his coming upon them (Acts 1:8). The fire also
with which they were baptized sat upon them. The extraordinary
event of Pentecost was explained by Peter as a fulfilment of the
ancient promise that the Spirit would be poured out in the last
days (2:17). He uses also with the same reference the expression
shed forth as descriptive of the baptism of the Spirit (33). In
the Pentecostal baptism "the apostles were not dipped into the
Spirit, nor plunged into the Spirit; but the Spirit was shed
forth, poured out, fell on them (11:15), came upon them, sat on
them." That was a real and true baptism. We are warranted from
such language to conclude that in like manner when water is
poured out, falls, comes upon or rests upon a person when this
ordinance is administered, that person is baptized. Baptism is
therefore, in view of all these arguments "rightly administered
by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person."
The subjects of baptism. This raises questions of greater
importance than those relating to its mode.
1. The controversy here is not about "believers' baptism," for
that is common to all parties. Believers were baptized in
apostolic times, and they have been baptized in all time by all
the branches of the church. It is altogether a misrepresentation
to allege, as is sometimes done by Baptists, that their doctrine
is "believers' baptism." Every instance of adult baptism, or of
"believers' baptism," recorded in the New Testament (Acts 2:41;
8:37; 9:17, 18; 10:47; 16:15; 19:5, etc.) is just such as would
be dealt with in precisely the same way by all branches of the
Protestant Church, a profession of faith or of their being
"believers" would be required from every one of them before
baptism. The point in dispute is not the baptism of believers,
but whether the infant children of believers, i.e., of members
of the church, ought to be baptized.
2. In support of the doctrine of infant baptism, i.e., of the
baptism of the infants, or rather the "children," of believing
parents, the following considerations may be adduced:
The Church of Christ exists as a divinely organized community.
It is the "kingdom of God," one historic kingdom under all
dispensations. The commonwealth of Israel was the "church" (Acts
7:38; Rom. 9:4) under the Mosaic dispensation. The New Testament
church is not a new and different church, but one with that of
the Old Testament. The terms of admission into the church have
always been the same viz., a profession of faith and a promise
of subjection to the laws of the kingdom. Now it is a fact
beyond dispute that the children of God's people under the old
dispensation were recognized as members of the church.
Circumcision was the sign and seal of their membership. It was
not because of carnal descent from Abraham, but as being the
children of God's professing people, that this rite was
administered (Rom. 4:11). If children were members of the church
under the old dispensation, which they undoubtedly were, then
they are members of the church now by the same right, unless it
can be shown that they have been expressly excluded. Under the
Old Testament parents acted for their children and represented
them. (See Gen. 9:9; 17:10; Ex. 24:7, 8; Deut. 29:9-13.) When
parents entered into covenant with God, they brought their
children with them. This was a law in the Hebrew Church. When a
proselyte was received into membership, he could not enter
without bringing his children with him. The New Testament does
not exclude the children of believers from the church. It does
not deprive them of any privilege they enjoyed under the Old
Testament. There is no command or statement of any kind, that
can be interpreted as giving any countenance to such an idea,
anywhere to be found in the New Testament. The church membership
of infants has never been set aside. The ancient practice,
orginally appointed by God himself, must remain a law of his
kingdom till repealed by the same divine authority. There are
lambs in the fold of the Good Shepherd (John 21:15; comp. Luke
1:15; Matt. 19:14; 1 Cor. 7:14).
"In a company of converts applying for admission into Christ's
house there are likely to be some heads of families. How is
their case to be treated? How, for example, are Lydia and her
neighbour the keeper of the city prison to be treated? Both have
been converted. Both are heads of families. They desire to be
received into the infant church of Philippi. What is Christ's
direction to them? Shall we say that it is to this effect:
'Arise, and wash away your sins, and come into my house. But you
must come in by yourselves. These babes in your arms, you must
leave them outside. They cannot believe yet, and so they cannot
come in. Those other little ones by your side, their hearts may
perhaps have been touched with the love of God; still, they are
not old enough to make a personal profession, so they too must
be left outside...For the present you must leave them where they
are and come in by yourselves.' One may reasonably demand very
stringent proofs before accepting this as a fair representation
of the sort of welcome Christ offers to parents who come to his
door bringing their children with them. Surely it is more
consonant with all we know about him to suppose that his welcome
will be more ample in its scope, and will breathe a more
gracious tone. Surely it would be more like the Good Shepherd to
say, 'Come in, and bring your little ones along with you. The
youngest needs my salvation; and the youngest is accessible to
my salvation. You may be unable as yet to deal with them about
either sin or salvation, but my gracious power can find its way
into their hearts even now. I can impart to them pardon and a
new life. From Adam they have inherited sin and death; and I can
so unite them to myself that in me they shall be heirs of
righteousness and life. You may without misgiving bring them to
me. And the law of my house requires that the same day which
witnesses your reception into it by baptism must witness their
reception also'" (The Church, by Professor Binnie, D.D.).
father of a multitude, son of Terah, named (Gen. 11:27) before
his older brothers Nahor and Haran, because he was the heir of
the promises. Till the age of seventy, Abram sojourned among his
kindred in his native country of Chaldea. He then, with his
father and his family and household, quitted the city of Ur, in
which he had hitherto dwelt, and went some 300 miles north to
Haran, where he abode fifteen years. The cause of his migration
was a call from God (Acts 7:2-4). There is no mention of this
first call in the Old Testament; it is implied, however, in Gen.
12. While they tarried at Haran, Terah died at the age of 205
years. Abram now received a second and more definite call,
accompanied by a promise from God (Gen. 12:1,2); whereupon he
took his departure, taking his nephew Lot with him, "not knowing
whither he went" (Heb. 11:8). He trusted implicitly to the
guidance of Him who had called him.
Abram now, with a large household of probably a thousand
souls, entered on a migratory life, and dwelt in tents. Passing
along the valley of the Jabbok, in the land of Canaan, he formed
his first encampment at Sichem (Gen. 12:6), in the vale or
oak-grove of Moreh, between Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the
south. Here he received the great promise, "I will make of thee
a great nation," etc. (Gen. 12:2,3,7). This promise comprehended
not only temporal but also spiritual blessings. It implied that
he was the chosen ancestor of the great Deliverer whose coming
had been long ago predicted (Gen. 3:15). Soon after this, for
some reason not mentioned, he removed his tent to the mountain
district between Bethel, then called Luz, and Ai, towns about
two miles apart, where he built an altar to "Jehovah." He again
moved into the southern tract of Israel, called by the
Hebrews the Negeb; and was at length, on account of a famine,
compelled to go down into Egypt. This took place in the time of
the Hyksos, a Semitic race which now held the Egyptians in
bondage. Here occurred that case of deception on the part of
Abram which exposed him to the rebuke of Pharaoh (Gen. 12:18).
Sarai was restored to him; and Pharaoh loaded him with presents,
recommending him to withdraw from the country. He returned to
Canaan richer than when he left it, "in cattle, in silver, and
in gold" (Gen. 12:8; 13:2. Comp. Ps. 105:13, 14). The whole
party then moved northward, and returned to their previous
station near Bethel. Here disputes arose between Lot's shepherds
and those of Abram about water and pasturage. Abram generously
gave Lot his choice of the pasture-ground. (Comp. 1 Cor. 6:7.)
He chose the well-watered plain in which Sodom was situated, and
removed thither; and thus the uncle and nephew were separated.
Immediately after this Abram was cheered by a repetition of the
promises already made to him, and then removed to the plain or
"oak-grove" of Mamre, which is in Hebron. He finally settled
here, pitching his tent under a famous oak or terebinth tree,
called "the oak of Mamre" (Gen. 13:18). This was his third
resting-place in the land.
Some fourteen years before this, while Abram was still in
Chaldea, Israel had been invaded by Chedorlaomer, King of
Elam, who brought under tribute to him the five cities in the
plain to which Lot had removed. This tribute was felt by the
inhabitants of these cities to be a heavy burden, and after
twelve years they revolted. This brought upon them the vengeance
of Chedorlaomer, who had in league with him four other kings. He
ravaged the whole country, plundering the towns, and carrying
the inhabitants away as slaves. Among those thus treated was
Lot. Hearing of the disaster that had fallen on his nephew,
Abram immediately gathered from his own household a band of 318
armed men, and being joined by the Amoritish chiefs Mamre, Aner,
and Eshcol, he pursued after Chedorlaomer, and overtook him near
the springs of the Jordan. They attacked and routed his army,
and pursued it over the range of Anti-Libanus as far as to
Hobah, near Damascus, and then returned, bringing back all the
spoils that had been carried away. Returning by way of Salem,
i.e., Jerusalem, the king of that place, Melchizedek, came forth
to meet them with refreshments. To him Abram presented a tenth
of the spoils, in recognition of his character as a priest of
the most high God (Gen. 14:18-20).
In a recently-discovered tablet, dated in the reign of the
grandfather of Amraphel (Gen. 14:1), one of the witnesses is
called "the Amorite, the son of Abiramu," or Abram.
Having returned to his home at Mamre, the promises already
made to him by God were repeated and enlarged (Gen. 13:14). "The
word of the Lord" (an expression occurring here for the first
time) "came to him" (15:1). He now understood better the future
that lay before the nation that was to spring from him. Sarai,
now seventy-five years old, in her impatience, persuaded Abram
to take Hagar, her Egyptian maid, as a concubine, intending that
whatever child might be born should be reckoned as her own.
Ishmael was accordingly thus brought up, and was regarded as the
heir of these promises (Gen. 16). When Ishmael was thirteen
years old, God again revealed yet more explicitly and fully his
gracious purpose; and in token of the sure fulfilment of that
purpose the patriarch's name was now changed from Abram to
Abraham (Gen. 17:4,5), and the rite of circumcision was
instituted as a sign of the covenant. It was then announced that
the heir to these covenant promises would be the son of Sarai,
though she was now ninety years old; and it was directed that
his name should be Isaac. At the same time, in commemoration of
the promises, Sarai's name was changed to Sarah. On that
memorable day of God's thus revealing his design, Abraham and
his son Ishmael and all the males of his house were circumcised
(Gen. 17). Three months after this, as Abraham sat in his tent
door, he saw three men approaching. They accepted his proffered
hospitality, and, seated under an oak-tree, partook of the fare
which Abraham and Sarah provided. One of the three visitants was
none other than the Lord, and the other two were angels in the
guise of men. The Lord renewed on this occasion his promise of a
son by Sarah, who was rebuked for her unbelief. Abraham
accompanied the three as they proceeded on their journey. The
two angels went on toward Sodom; while the Lord tarried behind
and talked with Abraham, making known to him the destruction
that was about to fall on that guilty city. The patriarch
interceded earnestly in behalf of the doomed city. But as not
even ten righteous persons were found in it, for whose sake the
city would have been spared, the threatened destruction fell
upon it; and early next morning Abraham saw the smoke of the
fire that consumed it as the "smoke of a furnace" (Gen.
After fifteen years' residence at Mamre, Abraham moved
southward, and pitched his tent among the Philistines, near to
Gerar. Here occurred that sad instance of prevarication on his
part in his relation to Abimelech the King (Gen. 20). (See
ABIMELECH ¯T0000040.) Soon after this event, the patriarch left
the vicinity of Gerar, and moved down the fertile valley about
25 miles to Beer-sheba. It was probably here that Isaac was
born, Abraham being now an hundred years old. A feeling of
jealousy now arose between Sarah and Hagar, whose son, Ishmael,
was no longer to be regarded as Abraham's heir. Sarah insisted
that both Hagar and her son should be sent away. This was done,
although it was a hard trial to Abraham (Gen. 21:12). (See HAGAR
¯T0001583; ISHMAEL ¯T0001903.)
At this point there is a blank in the patriarch's history of
perhaps twenty-five years. These years of peace and happiness
were spent at Beer-sheba. The next time we see him his faith is
put to a severe test by the command that suddenly came to him to
go and offer up Isaac, the heir of all the promises, as a
sacrifice on one of the mountains of Moriah. His faith stood the
test (Heb. 11:17-19). He proceeded in a spirit of unhesitating
obedience to carry out the command; and when about to slay his
son, whom he had laid on the altar, his uplifted hand was
arrested by the angel of Jehovah, and a ram, which was entangled
in a thicket near at hand, was seized and offered in his stead.
From this circumstance that place was called Jehovah-jireh,
i.e., "The Lord will provide." The promises made to Abraham were
again confirmed (and this was the last recorded word of God to
the patriarch); and he descended the mount with his son, and
returned to his home at Beer-sheba (Gen. 22:19), where he
resided for some years, and then moved northward to Hebron.
Some years after this Sarah died at Hebron, being 127 years
old. Abraham acquired now the needful possession of a
burying-place, the cave of Machpelah, by purchase from the owner
of it, Ephron the Hittite (Gen. 23); and there he buried Sarah.
His next care was to provide a wife for Isaac, and for this
purpose he sent his steward, Eliezer, to Haran (or Charran, Acts
7:2), where his brother Nahor and his family resided (Gen.
11:31). The result was that Rebekah, the daughter of Nahor's son
Bethuel, became the wife of Isaac (Gen. 24). Abraham then
himself took to wife Keturah, who became the mother of six sons,
whose descendants were afterwards known as the "children of the
east" (Judg. 6:3), and later as "Saracens." At length all his
wanderings came to an end. At the age of 175 years, 100 years
after he had first entered the land of Canaan, he died, and was
buried in the old family burying-place at Machpelah (Gen.
The history of Abraham made a wide and deep impression on the
ancient world, and references to it are interwoven in the
religious traditions of almost all Eastern nations. He is called
"the friend of God" (James 2:23), "faithful Abraham" (Gal. 3:9),
"the father of us all" (Rom. 4:16).
beloved, the eighth and youngest son of Jesse, a citizen of
Bethlehem. His father seems to have been a man in humble life.
His mother's name is not recorded. Some think she was the Nahash
of 2 Sam. 17:25. As to his personal appearance, we only know
that he was red-haired, with beautiful eyes and a fair face (1
Sam. 16:12; 17:42).
His early occupation was that of tending his father's sheep on
the uplands of Judah. From what we know of his after history,
doubtless he frequently beguiled his time, when thus engaged,
with his shepherd's flute, while he drank in the many lessons
taught him by the varied scenes spread around him. His first
recorded exploits were his encounters with the wild beasts of
the field. He mentions that with his own unaided hand he slew a
lion and also a bear, when they came out against his flock,
beating them to death in open conflict with his club (1 Sam.
While David, in the freshness of ruddy youth, was thus engaged
with his flocks, Samuel paid an unexpected visit to Bethlehem,
having been guided thither by divine direction (1 Sam. 16:1-13).
There he offered up sacrifice, and called the elders of Israel
and Jesse's family to the sacrificial meal. Among all who
appeared before him he failed to discover the one he sought.
David was sent for, and the prophet immediately recognized him
as the chosen of God, chosen to succeed Saul, who was now
departing from the ways of God, on the throne of the kingdom. He
accordingly, in anticipation, poured on his head the anointing
oil. David went back again to his shepherd life, but "the Spirit
of the Lord came upon David from that day forward," and "the
Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul" (1 Sam. 16:13, 14).
Not long after this David was sent for to soothe with his harp
the troubled spirit of Saul, who suffered from a strange
melancholy dejection. He played before the king so skilfully
that Saul was greatly cheered, and began to entertain great
affection for the young shepherd. After this he went home to
Bethlehem. But he soon again came into prominence. The armies of
the Philistines and of Israel were in battle array in the valley
of Elah, some 16 miles south-west of Bethlehem; and David was
sent by his father with provisions for his three brothers, who
were then fighting on the side of the king. On his arrival in
the camp of Israel, David (now about twenty years of age) was
made aware of the state of matters when the champion of the
Philistines, Goliath of Gath, came forth to defy Israel. David
took his sling, and with a well-trained aim threw a stone "out
of the brook," which struck the giant's forehead, so that he
fell senseless to the ground. David then ran and slew him, and
cut off his head with his own sword (1 Sam. 17). The result was
a great victory to the Israelites, who pursued the Philistines
to the gates of Gath and Ekron.
David's popularity consequent on this heroic exploit awakened
Saul's jealousy (1 Sam. 18:6-16), which he showed in various
ways. He conceived a bitter hatred toward him, and by various
stratagems sought his death (1 Sam. 18-30). The deep-laid plots
of the enraged king, who could not fail to observe that David
"prospered exceedingly," all proved futile, and only endeared
the young hero the more to the people, and very specially to
Jonathan, Saul's son, between whom and David a life-long warm
friendship was formed.
A fugitive. To escape from the vengeance of Saul, David fled
to Ramah (1 Sam. 19:12-18) to Samuel, who received him, and he
dwelt among the sons of the prophets, who were there under
Samuel's training. It is supposed by some that the sixth,
seventh, and eleventh Psalms were composed by him at this time.
This place was only 3 miles from the residence of Saul, who soon
discovered whither the fugitive had gone, and tried
ineffectually to bring him back. Jonathan made a fruitless
effort to bring his father to a better state of mind toward
David (1 Sam. 20), who, being made aware of the fact, saw no
hope of safety but in flight to a distance. We accordingly find
him first at Nob (21:1-9) and then at Gath, the chief city of
the Philistines. The king of the Philistines would not admit him
into his service, as he expected that he would, and David
accordingly now betook himself to the stronghold of Adullam
(22:1-4; 1 Chr. 12:8-18). Here in a short time 400 men gathered
around him and acknowledged him as their leader. It was at this
time that David, amid the harassment and perils of his position,
cried, "Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well
of Bethlehem;" when three of his heroes broke through the lines
of the Philistines and brought him the water for which he longed
(2 Sam. 23:13-17), but which he would not drink.
In his rage at the failure of all his efforts to seize David,
Saul gave orders for the massacre of the entire priestly family
at Nob, "persons who wore a linen ephod", to the number of
eighty-five persons, who were put to death by Doeg the Edomite.
The sad tidings of the massacre were brought to David by
Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech, the only one who escaped. Comp.
Hearing that Keilah, a town on the western frontier, was
harassed by the Philistines, David with his men relieved it (1
Sam. 23:1-14); and then, for fear of Saul, he fled to the
strongholds in the "hill country" of Judah. Comp. Ps. 31. While
encamped there, in the forest in the district of Ziph, he was
visited by Jonathan, who spoke to him words of encouragement
(23:16-18). The two now parted never to meet again. Saul
continued his pursuit of David, who narrowly escaped from him at
this time, and fled to the crags and ravines of Engedi, on the
western shore of the Dead Sea (1 Sam. 23:29). Here Saul, who
still pursued him with his army, narrowly escaped, through the
generous forbearance of David, and was greatly affected by what
David had done for him. He returned home from pursuing him, and
David betook himself to Maon, where, with his 600 men, he
maintained himself by contributions gathered from the district.
Here occurred the incident connected with Nabal and his wife
Abigail (1 Sam. 25), whom David married after Nabal's death.
Saul again went forth (1 Sam. 26) in pursuit of David, who had
hid himself "in the hill Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon," in
the wilderness of Ziph, and was a second time spared through his
forbearance. He returned home, professing shame and penitence
for the way in which he had treated David, and predicting his
elevation to the throne.
Fighting against Israel. Harassed by the necessity of moving
from place to place through fear of Saul, David once more sought
refuge among the Philistines (1 Sam. 27). He was welcomed by the
king, who assigned him Ziklag as his residence. Here David lived
among his followers for some time as an independent chief
engaged in frequent war with the Amalekites and other tribes on
the south of Judah.
Achish summoned David with his men to join his army against
Saul; but the lords of the Philistines were suspicious of
David's loyalty, and therefore he was sent back to Ziklag, which
he found to his dismay may had been pillaged and burnt during
his brief absence. David pursued after the raiders, the
Amalekites, and completely routed them. On his return to Ziklag
tidings reached him of Saul's death (2 Sam. 1). An Amalekite
brought Saul's crown and bracelet and laid them at his feet.
David and his men rent their clothes and mourned for Saul, who
had been defeated in battle near Mount Gilboa. David composed a
beautiful elegy, the most beautiful of all extant Hebrew odes, a
"lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son" (2 Sam.
1:18-27). It bore the title of "The Bow," and was to be taught
to the children, that the memory of Saul and Jonathan might be
preserved among them. "Behold, it is written in the book of
David king over Judah. David and his men now set out for
Hebron under divine direction (2 Sam. 2:1-4). There they were
cordially welcomed, and he was at once anointed as king. He was
now about thirty years of age.
But his title to the throne was not undisputed. Abner took
Ish-bosheth, Saul's only remaining son, over the Jordan to
Mahanaim, and there crowned him as king. Then began a civil war
in Israel. The first encounter between the two opposing armies,
led on the one side by Abner, and on the other by Joab, took
place at the pool of Gibeon. It resulted in the defeat of Abner.
Other encounters, however, between Israel and Judah followed (2
Sam. 3:1, 5), but still success was on the side of David. For
the space of seven and a half years David reigned in Hebron.
Abner now sided with David, and sought to promote his
advancement; but was treacherously put to death by Joab in
revenge for his having slain his brother Asahel at Gibeon
(3:22-39). This was greatly to David's regret. He mourned for
the death of Abner. Shortly after this Ish-bosheth was also
treacherously put to death by two Canaanites of Beeroth; and
there being now no rival, David was anointed king over all
David king over all Israel (2 Sam. 5:1-5; 1 Chr. 11:1-3). The
elders of Israel now repaired to Hebron and offered allegiance
to David in name of all the people, among whom the greatest
enthusiasm prevailed. He was anointed king over all Israel, and
sought out a new seat of government, more suitable than Hebron,
as the capital of his empire. At this time there was a Jebusite
fortress, "the stronghold", on the hill of Zion, called also
Jebus. This David took from the Jebusites, and made it Israel's
capital, and established here his residence, and afterwards
built for himself a palace by the aid of Tyrian tradesmen. The
Philistines, who had for some time observed a kind of truce, now
made war against David; but were defeated in battle at a place
afterwards called, in remembrance of the victory, Baal-perazim.
Again they invaded the land, and were a second time routed by
him. He thus delivered Israel from their enemies.
David now resolved to bring up the ark of the covenant to his
new capital (2 Sam. 6). It was in the house of Abinadab at
Kirjath-jearim, about 7 miles from Jerusalem, where it had been
for many years, from the time when the Philistines had sent it
home (1 Sam. 6; 7). In consequence of the death of Uzzah (for it
was a divine ordinance that only the Levites should handle the
ark, Num. 4), who had put forth his hand to steady the ark when
the cart in which it was being conveyed shook by reason of the
roughness of the road, David stayed the procession, and conveyed
the ark into the house of Obed-edom, a Philistine from Gath.
After three months David brought the ark from the house of
Obed-edom up to Jerusalem. Comp. Ps. 24. Here it was placed in a
new tent or tabernacle which David erected for the purpose.
About seventy years had passed since it had stood in the
tabernacle at Shiloh. The old tabernacle was now at Gibeah, at
which Zadok ministered. David now (1 Chr. 16) carefully set in
order all the ritual of divine worship at Jerusalem, along with
Abiathar the high priest. A new religious era began. The service
of praise was for the first time introduced into public worship.
Zion became henceforth "God's holy hill."
David's wars. David now entered on a series of conquests which
greatly extended and strengthened his kingdom (2 Sam. 8). In a
few years the whole territory from the Euphrates to the river of
Egypt, and from Gaza on the west to Thapsacus on the east, was
under his sway (2 Sam. 8:3-13; 10).
David's fall. He had now reached the height of his glory. He
ruled over a vast empire, and his capital was enriched with the
spoils of many lands. But in the midst of all this success he
fell, and his character became stained with the sin of adultery
(2 Sam. 11:2-27). It has been noted as characteristic of the
Bible that while his military triumphs are recorded in a few
verses, the sad story of his fall is given in detail, a story
full of warning, and therefore recorded. This crime, in the
attempt to conceal it, led to anoter. He was guilty of murder.
Uriah, whom he had foully wronged, an officer of the Gibborim,
the corps of heros (23:39), was, by his order, "set in the front
of the hottest battle" at the siege of Rabbah, in order that he
might be put to death. Nathan the prophet (2 Sam. 7:1-17;
12:1-23) was sent by God to bring home his crimes to the
conscience of the guilty monarch. He became a true penitent. He
bitterly bewailed his sins before God. The thirty-second and
fifty-first Psalms reveal the deep struggles of his soul, and
his spiritual recovery.
Bathsheba became his wife after Uriah's death. Her first-born
son died, according to the word of the prophet. She gave birth
to a second son, whom David called Solomon, and who ultimately
succeeded him on the throne (2 Sam. 12:24, 25).
Peace. After the successful termination of all his wars, David
formed the idea of building a temple for the ark of God. This he
was not permitted to carry into execution, because he had been a
man of war. God, however, sent Nathan to him with a gracious
message (2 Sam. 7:1-16). On receiving it he went into the
sanctuary, the tent where the ark was, and sat before the Lord,
and poured out his heart in words of devout thanksgiving
(18-29). The building of the temple was reserved for his son
Solomon, who would be a man of peace (1 Chr. 22:9; 28:3).
A cloudy evening. Hitherto David's carrer had been one of
great prosperity and success. Now cloudy and dark days came. His
eldest son Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam of Jezreel, was
guilty of a great and shameful crime (2 Sam. 13). This was the
beginning of the disasters of his later years. After two years
Absalom terribly avenged the crime against Tamar, and put Amnon
to death. This brought sore trouble to David's heart. Absalom,
afraid of the consequences of his guilt, fled to Geshur beyond
Jordan, where he remained for three years, when he was brought
back through the intrigue of Joab (2 Sam. 14).
After this there fell upon the land the calamity of three
years' famine (2 Sam. 21:1-14). This was soon after followed by
a pestilence, brought upon the land as a punishment for David's
sinful pride in numbering the people (2 Sam. 24), in which no
fewer than 70,000 perished in the space of three days.
Rebellion of Absalom. The personal respect for David was sadly
lowered by the incident of Bathsheba. There was a strong popular
sentiment against the taking of the census, and the outburst of
the plague in connection with it deepened the feeling of
jealously that had begun to manifest itself among some of the
tribes against David. Absalom, taking full advantage of this
state of things, gradually gained over the people, and at length
openly rebelled against his father, and usurped the throne.
Ahithophel was Absalom's chief counsellor. The revolt began in
Hebron, the capital of Judah. Absalom was there proclaimed king.
David was now in imminent danger, and he left Jerusalem (2 Sam.
15:13-20), and once more became a fugitive. It was a momentous
day in Israel. The incidents of it are recorded with a fulness
of detail greater than of any other day in Old Testament
history. David fled with his followers to Mahanarm, on the east
of Jordan. An unnatural civil war broke out. After a few weeks
the rival armies were mustered and organized. They met in
hostile array at the wood of Ephraim (2 Sam. 18:1-8). Absalom's
army was defeated, and himself put to death by the hand of Joab
(9-18). The tidings of the death of his rebellious son filled
the heart of David with the most poignant grief. He "went up to
the chamber over the gate, and wept" (33), giving utterance to
the heart-broken cry, "Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom,
my son, my son!" Peace was now restored, and David returned to
Jerusalem and resumed the direction of affairs. An unhappy
dispute arose between the men of Judah and the men of Israel
(19:41-43). Sheba, a Benjamite, headed a revolt of the men of
Israel. He was pursued to Abelbeth-maachah, and was there put to
death, and so the revolt came to an end.
The end. After the suppression of the rebellion of Absalom and
that of Sheba, ten comparatively peaceful years of David's life
passed away. During those years he seems to have been
principally engaged in accumulating treasures of every kind for
the great temple at Jerusalem, which it was reserved to his
successor to build (1 Chr. 22; 28; 29), a house which was to be
"exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all
countries" (22:5). The exciting and laborious life he had spent,
and the dangers and trials through which he had passed, had left
him an enfeebled man, prematurely old. It became apparent that
his life was now drawing to its close. A new palace conspiracy
broke out as to who should be his successor. Joab favoured
Adonijah. The chiefs of his party met at the "Fuller's spring,"
in the valley of Kidron, to proclaim him king; but Nathan
hastened on a decision on the part of David in favour of
Solomon, and so the aim of Adonijah's party failed. Solomon was
brought to Jerusalem, and was anointed king and seated on his
father's throne (1 Kings 1:11-53). David's last words are a
grand utterance, revealing his unfailing faith in God, and his
joyful confidence in his gracious covenant promises (2 Sam.
After a reign of forty years and six months (2 Sam. 5:5; 1
Chr. 3:4) David died (B.C. 1015) at the age of seventy years,
"and was buried in the city of David." His tomb is still pointed
out on Mount Zion.
Both in his prophetical and in his regal character David was a
type of the Messiah (1 Sam. 16:13). The book of Psalms commonly
bears the title of the "Psalms of David," from the circumstance
that he was the largest contributor (about eighty psalms) to the
collection. (See PSALMS ¯T0003013.)
"The greatness of David was felt when he was gone. He had
lived in harmony with both the priesthood and the prophets; a
sure sign that the spirit of his government had been throughly
loyal to the higher aims of the theocracy. The nation had not
been oppressed by him, but had been left in the free enjoyment
of its ancient liberties. As far as his power went he had
striven to act justly to all (2 Sam. 8:15). His weak indulgence
to his sons, and his own great sin besides, had been bitterly
atoned, and were forgotten at his death in the remembrance of
his long-tried worth. He had reigned thirty-three years in
Jerusalem and seven and a half at Hebron (2 Sam. 5:5). Israel at
his accession had reached the lowest point of national
depression; its new-born unity rudely dissolved; its territory
assailed by the Philistines. But he had left it an imperial
power, with dominions like those of Egypt or Assyria. The
sceptre of Solomon was already, before his father's death, owned
from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates, and from the Orontes to
the Red Sea.", Geikie's Hours etc., iii.