(1.) Gr. katapausis, equivalent to the Hebrew word _noah_ (Heb.
(2.) Gr. anapausis, "rest from weariness" (Matt. 11:28).
(3.) Gr. anesis, "relaxation" (2 Thess. 1:7).
(4.) Gr. sabbatismos, a Sabbath rest, a rest from all work
(Heb. 4:9; R.V., "sabbath"), a rest like that of God when he had
finished the work of creation.
rest, a Danite, the father of Samson (Judg. 13:1-22, and
rest, the third son of Cush (Gen. 10:7; 1 Chr. 1:9).
(Gen. 49:4; 1 Chr. 5:1; Job 7:13; Ps. 6:6, etc.), a seat for
repose or rest. (See BED ¯T0000494.)
Covering of the eyes
occurs only in Gen. 20:16. In the Revised Version the rendering
is "it (i.e., Abimelech's present of 1,000 pieces of silver to
Abraham) is for thee a covering of the eyes." This has been
regarded as an implied advice to Sarah to conform to the custom
of married women, and wear a complete veil, covering the eyes as
well as the rest of the face.
or Jano'hah, rest. (1.) A town on the north-eastern border of
Ephraim, in the Jordan valley (Josh. 16:6, 7). Identified with
the modern Yanun, 8 miles south-east of Nablus.
(2.) A town of Northern Israel, within the boundaries of
Naphtali. It was taken by the king of Assyria (2 Kings 15:29).
rest. (1.) One of the four sons of Reuel, the son of Esau (Gen.
36:13, 17). (2.) A Kohathite Levite (1 Chr. 6:26). (3.) A
Levite, one of the overseers of the sacred offerings of the
temple (2 Chr. 31:13).
(Luke 16:22,23) refers to the custom of reclining on couches at
table, which was prevalent among the Jews, an arrangement which
brought the head of one person almost into the bosom of the one
who sat or reclined above him. To "be in Abraham's bosom" thus
meant to enjoy happiness and rest (Matt. 8:11; Luke 16:23) at
the banquet in Paradise. (See BANQUET ¯T0000434; MEALS
judged; vindicated, daughter of Jacob by Leah, and sister of
Simeon and Levi (Gen. 30:21). She was seduced by Shechem, the
son of Hamor, the Hivite chief, when Jacob's camp was in the
neighbourhood of Shechem. This led to the terrible revenge of
Simeon and Levi in putting the Shechemites to death (Gen. 34).
Jacob makes frequent reference to this deed of blood with
abhorrence and regret (Gen. 34:30; 49:5-7). She is mentioned
among the rest of Jacob's family that went down into Egypt (Gen.
whom God has loved, one of the seventy elders whom Moses
appointed (Num. 11:26, 27) to administer justice among the
people. He, with Medad, prophesied in the camp instead of going
with the rest to the tabernacle, as Moses had commanded. This
incident was announced to Moses by Joshua, who thought their
conduct in this respect irregular. Moses replied, "Enviest thou
for my sake? would God that all the Lord's people were prophets"
(Num. 11:24-30; comp. Mark 9:38; Luke 9:49).
an enclosure for flocks to rest together (Isa. 13:20).
Sheep-folds are mentioned Num. 32:16, 24, 36; 2 Sam. 7:8; Zeph.
2:6; John 10:1, etc. It was prophesied of the cities of Ammon
(Ezek. 25:5), Aroer (Isa. 17:2), and Judaea, that they would be
folds or couching-places for flocks. "Among the pots," of the
Authorized Version (Ps. 68:13), is rightly in the Revised
Version, "among the sheepfolds."
a Persian word (pardes), properly meaning a "pleasure-ground" or
"park" or "king's garden." (See EDEN ¯T0001127.) It came in
course of time to be used as a name for the world of happiness
and rest hereafter (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev. 2:7). For
"garden" in Gen. 2:8 the LXX. has "paradise."
(Heb. verb shabbath, meaning "to rest from labour"), the day of
rest. It is first mentioned as having been instituted in
Paradise, when man was in innocence (Gen. 2:2). "The sabbath was
made for man," as a day of rest and refreshment for the body and
of blessing to the soul.
It is next referred to in connection with the gift of manna to
the children of Israel in the wilderness (Ex. 16:23); and
afterwards, when the law was given from Sinai (20:11), the
people were solemnly charged to "remember the sabbath day, to
keep it holy." Thus it is spoken of as an institution already
In the Mosaic law strict regulations were laid down regarding
its observance (Ex. 35:2, 3; Lev. 23:3; 26:34). These were
peculiar to that dispensation.
In the subsequent history of the Jews frequent references are
made to the sanctity of the Sabbath (Isa. 56:2, 4, 6, 7; 58:13,
14; Jer. 17:20-22; Neh. 13:19). In later times they perverted
the Sabbath by their traditions. Our Lord rescued it from their
perversions, and recalled to them its true nature and intent
(Matt. 12:10-13; Mark 2:27; Luke 13:10-17).
The Sabbath, originally instituted for man at his creation, is
of permanent and universal obligation. The physical necessities
of man require a Sabbath of rest. He is so constituted that his
bodily welfare needs at least one day in seven for rest from
ordinary labour. Experience also proves that the moral and
spiritual necessities of men also demand a Sabbath of rest. "I
am more and more sure by experience that the reason for the
observance of the Sabbath lies deep in the everlasting
necessities of human nature, and that as long as man is man the
blessedness of keeping it, not as a day of rest only, but as a
day of spiritual rest, will never be annulled. I certainly do
feel by experience the eternal obligation, because of the
eternal necessity, of the Sabbath. The soul withers without it.
It thrives in proportion to its observance. The Sabbath was made
for man. God made it for men in a certain spiritual state
because they needed it. The need, therefore, is deeply hidden in
human nature. He who can dispense with it must be holy and
spiritual indeed. And he who, still unholy and unspiritual,
would yet dispense with it is a man that would fain be wiser
than his Maker" (F. W. Robertson).
The ancient Babylonian calendar, as seen from recently
recovered inscriptions on the bricks among the ruins of the
royal palace, was based on the division of time into weeks of
seven days. The Sabbath is in these inscriptions designated
Sabattu, and defined as "a day of rest for the heart" and "a day
of completion of labour."
The change of the day. Originally at creation the seventh day
of the week was set apart and consecrated as the Sabbath. The
first day of the week is now observed as the Sabbath. Has God
authorized this change? There is an obvious distinction between
the Sabbath as an institution and the particular day set apart
for its observance. The question, therefore, as to the change of
the day in no way affects the perpetual obligation of the
Sabbath as an institution. Change of the day or no change, the
Sabbath remains as a sacred institution the same. It cannot be
If any change of the day has been made, it must have been by
Christ or by his authority. Christ has a right to make such a
change (Mark 2:23-28). As Creator, Christ was the original Lord
of the Sabbath (John 1:3; Heb. 1:10). It was originally a
memorial of creation. A work vastly greater than that of
creation has now been accomplished by him, the work of
redemption. We would naturally expect just such a change as
would make the Sabbath a memorial of that greater work.
True, we can give no text authorizing the change in so many
words. We have no express law declaring the change. But there
are evidences of another kind. We know for a fact that the first
day of the week has been observed from apostolic times, and the
necessary conclusion is, that it was observed by the apostles
and their immediate disciples. This, we may be sure, they never
would have done without the permission or the authority of their
After his resurrection, which took place on the first day of
the week (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1), we never
find Christ meeting with his disciples on the seventh day. But
he specially honoured the first day by manifesting himself to
them on four separate occasions (Matt. 28:9; Luke 24:34, 18-33;
John 20:19-23). Again, on the next first day of the week, Jesus
appeared to his disciples (John 20:26).
Some have calculated that Christ's ascension took place on the
first day of the week. And there can be no doubt that the
descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost was on that day (Acts
2:1). Thus Christ appears as instituting a new day to be
observed by his people as the Sabbath, a day to be henceforth
known amongst them as the "Lord's day." The observance of this
"Lord's day" as the Sabbath was the general custom of the
primitive churches, and must have had apostolic sanction (comp.
Acts 20:3-7; 1 Cor. 16:1, 2) and authority, and so the sanction
and authority of Jesus Christ.
The words "at her sabbaths" (Lam. 1:7, A.V.) ought probably to
be, as in the Revised Version, "at her desolations."
(Heb. mittah), for rest at night (Ex. 8:3; 1 Sam. 19:13, 15, 16,
etc.); during sickness (Gen. 47:31; 48:2; 49:33, etc.); as a
sofa for rest (1 Sam. 28:23; Amos 3:12). Another Hebrew word
(er'es) so rendered denotes a canopied bed, or a bed with
curtains (Deut. 3:11; Ps. 132:3), for sickness (Ps. 6:6; 41:3).
In the New Testament it denotes sometimes a litter with a
coverlet (Matt. 9:2, 6; Luke 5:18; Acts 5:15).
The Jewish bedstead was frequently merely the divan or
platform along the sides of the house, sometimes a very slight
portable frame, sometimes only a mat or one or more quilts. The
only material for bed-clothes is mentioned in 1 Sam. 19:13.
Sleeping in the open air was not uncommon, the sleeper wrapping
himself in his outer garment (Ex. 22:26,27; Deut. 24:12,13).
physician, son of Abijah and grandson of Rehoboam, was the third
king of Judah. He was zealous in maintaining the true worship of
God, and in rooting all idolatry, with its accompanying
immoralities, out of the land (1 Kings 15:8-14). The Lord gave
him and his land rest and prosperity. It is recorded of him,
however, that in his old age, when afflicted, he "sought not to
the Lord, but to the physicians" (comp. Jer. 17:5). He died in
the forty-first year of his reign, greatly honoured by his
people (2 Chr. 16:1-13), and was succeeded by his son
Degrees, Song of
song of steps, a title given to each of these fifteen psalms,
120-134 inclusive. The probable origin of this name is the
circumstance that these psalms came to be sung by the people on
the ascents or goings up to Jerusalem to attend the three great
festivals (Deut. 16:16). They were well fitted for being sung by
the way from their peculiar form, and from the sentiments they
express. "They are characterized by brevity, by a key-word, by
epanaphora [i.e, repetition], and by their epigrammatic
style...More than half of them are cheerful, and all of them
hopeful." They are sometimes called "Pilgrim Songs." Four of
them were written by David, one (127) by Solomon, and the rest
God is the habitation of his people, who find rest and safety in
him (Ps. 71:3; 91:9). Justice and judgment are the habitation of
God's throne (Ps. 89:14, Heb. mekhon, "foundation"), because all
his acts are founded on justice and judgment. (See Ps. 132:5,
13; Eph. 2:22, of Canaan, Jerusalem, and the temple as God's
habitation.) God inhabits eternity (Isa. 57:15), i.e., dwells
not only among men, but in eternity, where time is unknown; and
"the praises of Israel" (Ps. 22:3), i.e., he dwells among those
praises and is continually surrounded by them.
lion of God, the first of the judges. His wife Achsah was the
daughter of Caleb (Josh. 15:16, 17; Judg. 1:13). He gained her
hand as a reward for his bravery in leading a successful
expedition against Debir (q.v.). Some thirty years after the
death of Joshua, the Israelites fell under the subjection of
Chushan-rishathaim (q.v.), the king of Mesopotamia. He oppressed
them for full eight years, when they "cried" unto Jehovah, and
Othniel was raised up to be their deliverer. He was the younger
brother of Caleb (Judg. 3:8, 9-11). He is the only judge
mentioned connected with the tribe of Judah. Under him the land
had rest forty years.
of the Israelites in the wilderness in consequence of their
rebellious fears to enter the Promised Land (Num. 14:26-35).
They wandered for forty years before they were permitted to
cross the Jordan (Josh. 4:19; 5:6).
The record of these wanderings is given in Num. 33:1-49. Many
of the stations at which they camped cannot now be identified.
Questions of an intricate nature have been discussed regarding
the "Wanderings," but it is enough for us to take the sacred
narrative as it stands, and rest assured that "He led them forth
by the right way" (Ps. 107:1-7, 33-35). (See WILDERNESS
From the beginning, time was divided into weeks, each consisting
of six days of working and one of rest (Gen. 2:2, 3; 7:10; 8:10,
12; 29:28). The references to this division of days becomes
afterwards more frequent (Ex. 34:22; Lev. 12:5; Num. 28:26;
Deut. 16:16; 2 Chr. 8:13; Jer. 5:24; Dan. 9:24-27; 10:2, 3). It
has been found to exist among almost all nations.
house of security or rest, a city which belonged to Manasseh (1
Chr. 7:29), on the west of Jordan. The bodies of Saul and his
sons were fastened to its walls. In Solomon's time it gave its
name to a district (1 Kings 4:12). The name is found in an
abridged form, Bethshan, in 1 Sam. 31:10, 12 and 2 Sam. 21:12.
It is on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus, about 5 miles from
the Jordan, and 14 from the south end of the Lake of Gennesaret.
After the Captivity it was called Scythopolis, i.e., "the city
of the Scythians," who about B.C. 640 came down from the steppes
of Southern Russia and settled in different places in Syria. It
is now called Beisan.
a state of mind in which one's desires are confined to his lot
whatever it may be (1 Tim. 6:6; 2 Cor. 9:8). It is opposed to
envy (James 3:16), avarice (Heb. 13:5), ambition (Prov. 13:10),
anxiety (Matt. 6:25, 34), and repining (1 Cor. 10:10). It arises
from the inward disposition, and is the offspring of humility,
and of an intelligent consideration of the rectitude and
benignity of divine providence (Ps. 96:1, 2; 145), the greatness
of the divine promises (2 Pet. 1:4), and our own unworthiness
(Gen. 32:10); as well as from the view the gospel opens up to us
of rest and peace hereafter (Rom. 5:2).
union. (1.) A descendant of Benjamin (1 Chr. 7:10), his
(2.) The son of Gera, of the tribe of Benjamin (Judg. 3:15).
After the death of Othniel the people again fell into idolatry,
and Eglon, the king of Moab, uniting his bands with those of the
Ammonites and the Amalekites, crossed the Jordan and took the
city of Jericho, and for eighteen years held that whole district
in subjection, exacting from it an annual tribute. At length
Ehud, by a stratagem, put Eglon to death with a two-edged dagger
a cubit long, and routed the Moabites at the fords of the
Jordan, putting 10,000 of them to death. Thenceforward the land,
at least Benjamin, enjoyed rest "for fourscore years" (Judg.
3:12-30). (See QUARRIES ¯T0003032 .) But in the south-west
the Philistines reduced the Israelites to great straits (Judg.
5:6). From this oppression Shamgar was raised up to be their
Under the patriarchs the property of a father was divided among
the sons of his legitimate wives (Gen. 21:10; 24:36; 25:5), the
eldest son getting a larger portion than the rest. The Mosaic
law made specific regulations regarding the transmission of real
property, which are given in detail in Deut. 21:17; Num. 27:8;
36:6; 27:9-11. Succession to property was a matter of right and
not of favour. Christ is the "heir of all things" (Heb. 1:2;
Col. 1:15). Believers are heirs of the "promise," "of
righteousness," "of the kingdom," "of the world," "of God,"
"joint heirs" with Christ (Gal 3:29; Heb. 6:17; 11:7; James 2:5;
Rom. 4:13; 8:17).
manliness. (1.) An Amoritish chief in alliance with Abraham
(Gen. 14:13, 24).
(2.) The name of the place in the neighbourhood of Hebron
(q.v.) where Abraham dwelt (Gen. 23:17, 19; 35:27); called also
in Authorized Version (13:18) the "plain of Mamre," but in
Revised Version more correctly "the oaks [marg., 'terebinths']
of Mamre." The name probably denotes the "oak grove" or the
"wood of Mamre," thus designated after Abraham's ally.
This "grove" must have been within sight of or "facing"
Machpelah (q.v.). The site of Mamre has been identified with
Ballatet Selta, i.e., "the oak of rest", where there is a tree
called "Abraham's oak," about a mile and a half west of Hebron.
Others identify it with er-Rameh, 2 miles north of Hebron.
Siloam, Tower of
mentioned only Luke 13:4. The place here spoken of is the
village now called Silwan, or Kefr Silwan, on the east of the
valley of Kidron, and to the north-east of the pool. It stands
on the west slope of the Mount of Olives.
As illustrative of the movement of small bands of Canaanites
from place to place, and the intermingling of Canaanites and
Israelites even in small towns in earlier times, M.C. Ganneau
records the following curious fact: "Among the inhabitants of
the village (of Siloam) there are a hundred or so domiciled for
the most part in the lower quarter, and forming a group apart
from the rest, called Dhiabrye, i.e., men of Dhiban. It appears
that at some remote period a colony from the capital of king
Mesha (Dibon-Moab) crossed the Jordan and fixed itself at the
gates of Jerusalem at Silwan. The memory of this migration is
still preserved; and I am assured by the people themselves that
many of their number are installed in other villages round
Jerusalem" (quoted by Henderson, Israel).
When David was not permitted to build the temple, he proceeded,
among the last acts of his life, with the assistance of Zadok
and Ahimelech, to organize the priestly and musical services to
be conducted in the house of God. (1.) He divided the priests
into twenty-four courses (1 Chr. 24:1-19), sixteen being of the
house of Eleazar and eight of that of Ithamar. Each course was
under a head or chief, and ministered for a week, the order
being determined by lot. (2.) The rest of the 38,000 Levites
(23:4) were divided also into twenty-four courses, each to
render some allotted service in public worship: 4,000 in
twenty-four courses were set apart as singers and musicians
under separate leaders (25); 4,000 as porters or keepers of the
doors and gates of the sanctuary (26:1-19); and 6,000 as
officers and judges to see to the administration of the law in
all civil and ecclesiastical matters (20-32).
This arrangement was re-established by Hezekiah (2 Chr. 31:2);
and afterwards the four sacerdotal courses which are said to
have returned from the Captivity were re-divided into the
original number of twenty-four by Ezra (6:18).
In their wild state doves generally build their nests in the
clefts of rocks, but when domesticated "dove-cots" are prepared
for them (Cant. 2:14; Jer. 48:28; Isa. 60:8). The dove was
placed on the standards of the Assyrians and Babylonians in
honour, it is supposed, of Semiramis (Jer. 25:38; Vulg.,
"fierceness of the dove;" comp. Jer. 46:16; 50:16). Doves and
turtle-doves were the only birds that could be offered in
sacrifice, as they were clean according to the Mosaic law (Ge.
15:9; Lev. 5:7; 12:6; Luke 2:24). The dove was the harbinger of
peace to Noah (Gen. 8:8, 10). It is often mentioned as the
emblem of purity (Ps. 68:13). It is a symbol of the Holy Spirit
(Gen. 1:2; Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32); also of
tender and devoted affection (Cant. 1:15; 2:14). David in his
distress wished that he had the wings of a dove, that he might
fly away and be at rest (Ps. 55:6-8). There is a species of dove
found at Damascus "whose feathers, all except the wings, are
literally as yellow as gold" (68:13).
This expression occurs in the Old Testament only in Dan. 12:2
(R.V., "everlasting life").
It occurs frequently in the New Testament (Matt. 7:14; 18:8,
9; Luke 10:28; comp. 18:18). It comprises the whole future of
the redeemed (Luke 16:9), and is opposed to "eternal punishment"
(Matt. 19:29; 25:46). It is the final reward and glory into
which the children of God enter (1 Tim. 6:12, 19; Rom. 6:22;
Gal. 6:8; 1 Tim. 1:16; Rom. 5:21); their Sabbath of rest (Heb.
4:9; comp. 12:22).
The newness of life which the believer derives from Christ
(Rom. 6:4) is the very essence of salvation, and hence the life
of glory or the eternal life must also be theirs (Rom. 6:8; 2
Tim. 2:11, 12; Rom. 5:17, 21; 8:30; Eph. 2:5, 6). It is the
"gift of God in Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). The life the
faithful have here on earth (John 3:36; 5:24; 6:47, 53-58) is
inseparably connected with the eternal life beyond, the endless
life of the future, the happy future of the saints in heaven
(Matt. 19:16, 29; 25:46).
generally understood as denoting the Messiah, "the peaceful
one," as the word signifies (Gen. 49:10). The Vulgate Version
translates the word, "he who is to be sent," in allusion to the
Messiah; the Revised Version, margin, "till he come to Shiloh;"
and the LXX., "until that which is his shall come to Shiloh." It
is most simple and natural to render the expression, as in the
Authorized Version, "till Shiloh come," interpreting it as a
proper name (comp. Isa. 9:6).
Shiloh, a place of rest, a city of Ephraim, "on the north side
of Bethel," from which it is distant 10 miles (Judg. 21:19); the
modern Seilun (the Arabic for Shiloh), a "mass of shapeless
ruins." Here the tabernacle was set up after the Conquest (Josh.
18:1-10), where it remained during all the period of the judges
till the ark fell into the hands of the Philistines. "No spot in
Central Israel could be more secluded than this early
sanctuary, nothing more featureless than the landscape around;
so featureless, indeed, the landscape and so secluded the spot
that from the time of St. Jerome till its re-discovery by Dr.
Robinson in 1838 the very site was forgotten and unknown." It is
referred to by Jeremiah (7:12, 14; 26:4-9) five hundred years
after its destruction.
Judges, Book of
is so called because it contains the history of the deliverance
and government of Israel by the men who bore the title of the
"judges." The book of Ruth originally formed part of this book,
but about A.D. 450 it was separated from it and placed in the
Hebrew scriptures immediately after the Song of Solomon.
The book contains, (1.) An introduction (1-3:6), connecting it
with the previous narrative in Joshua, as a "link in the chain
of books." (2.) The history of the thirteen judges (3:7-16:31)
in the following order:
| FIRST PERIOD (3:7-ch. 5)
| I. Servitude under Chushan-rishathaim of
| Mesopotamia 8
| 1. OTHNIEL delivers Israel, rest 40
| II. Servitude under Eglon of Moab:
| Ammon, Amalek 18
| 2. EHUD'S deliverance, rest 80
| 3. SHAMGAR Unknown.
| III. Servitude under Jabin of Hazor in
| Canaan 20
| 4. DEBORAH and,
| 5. BARAK 40
| SECOND PERIOD (6-10:5)
| IV. Servitude under Midian, Amalek, and
| children of the east 7
| 6. GIDEON 40
| ABIMELECH, Gideon's son, reigns as
| king over Israel 3
| 7. TOLA 23
| 8. JAIR 22
| THIRD PERIOD (10:6-ch. 12)
| V. Servitude under Ammonites with the
| Philistines 18
| 9. JEPHTHAH 6
| 10. IBZAN 7
| 11. ELON 10
| 12. ABDON 8
| FOURTH PERIOD (13-16)
| VI. Seritude under Philistines 40
| 13. SAMSON 20
| In all 410
Samson's exploits probably synchronize with the period
immediately preceding the national repentance and reformation
under Samuel (1 Sam. 7:2-6).
After Samson came Eli, who was both high priest and judge. He
directed the civil and religious affairs of the people for forty
years, at the close of which the Philistines again invaded the
land and oppressed it for twenty years. Samuel was raised up to
deliver the people from this oppression, and he judged Israel
for some twelve years, when the direction of affairs fell into
the hands of Saul, who was anointed king. If Eli and Samuel are
included, there were then fifteen judges. But the chronology of
this whole period is uncertain.
(3.) The historic section of the book is followed by an
appendix (17-21), which has no formal connection with that which
goes before. It records (a) the conquest (17, 18) of Laish by a
portion of the tribe of Dan; and (b) the almost total extinction
of the tribe of Benjamin by the other tribes, in consequence of
their assisting the men of Gibeah (19-21). This section properly
belongs to the period only a few years after the death of
Joshua. It shows the religious and moral degeneracy of the
The author of this book was most probably Samuel. The internal
evidence both of the first sixteen chapters and of the appendix
warrants this conclusion. It was probably composed during Saul's
reign, or at the very beginning of David's. The words in
18:30,31, imply that it was written after the taking of the ark
by the Philistines, and after it was set up at Nob (1 Sam. 21).
In David's reign the ark was at Gibeon (1 Chr. 16:39)
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).
the high land or mountains, a city in the land of Shinar. It has
been identified with the mounds of Akker Kuf, some 50 miles to
the north of Babylon; but this is doubtful. It was one of the
cities of Nimrod's kingdom (Ge 10:10). It stood close to the
Euphrates, opposite Sippara. (See SEPHARVAIM ¯T0003277.)
It is also the name of the country of which this city was the
capital, namely, northern or upper Babylonia. The Accadians who
came from the "mountains of the east," where the ark rested,
attained to a high degree of civilization. In the Babylonian
inscriptions they are called "the black heads" and "the black
faces," in contrast to "the white race" of Semitic descent. They
invented the form of writing in pictorial hieroglyphics, and
also the cuneiform system, in which they wrote many books partly
on papyrus and partly on clay. The Semitic Babylonians ("the
white race"), or, as some scholars think, first the Cushites,
and afterwards, as a second immigration, the Semites, invaded
and conquered this country; and then the Accadian language
ceased to be a spoken language, although for the sake of its
literary treasures it continued to be studied by the educated
classes of Babylonia. A large portion of the Ninevite tablets
brought to light by Oriental research consists of interlinear or
parallel translations from Accadian into Assyrian; and thus that
long-forgotten language has been recovered by scholars. It
belongs to the class of languages called agglutinative, common
to the Tauranian race; i.e., it consists of words "glued
together," without declension of conjugation. These tablets in a
remarkable manner illustrate ancient history. Among other
notable records, they contain an account of the Creation which
closely resembles that given in the book of Genesis, of the
Sabbath as a day of rest, and of the Deluge and its cause. (See
BABYLON ¯T0000409; CHALDEA ¯T0000758.)
This word is used of flocks or herds of grazing animals (Ex.
22:5; Num. 20:4, 8, 11; Ps. 78:48); of beasts of burden (Gen.
45:17); of eatable beasts (Prov. 9:2); and of swift beasts or
dromedaries (Isa. 60:6). In the New Testament it is used of a
domestic animal as property (Rev. 18:13); as used for food (1
Cor. 15:39), for service (Luke 10:34; Acts 23:24), and for
sacrifice (Acts 7:42).
When used in contradistinction to man (Ps. 36:6), it denotes a
brute creature generally, and when in contradistinction to
creeping things (Lev. 11:2-7; 27:26), a four-footed animal.
The Mosaic law required that beasts of labour should have rest
on the Sabbath (Ex. 20:10; 23:12), and in the Sabbatical year
all cattle were allowed to roam about freely, and eat whatever
grew in the fields (Ex. 23:11; Lev. 25:7). No animal could be
castrated (Lev. 22:24). Animals of different kinds were to be
always kept separate (Lev. 19:19; Deut. 22:10). Oxen when used
in threshing were not to be prevented from eating what was
within their reach (Deut. 25:4; 1 Cor.9:9).
This word is used figuratively of an infuriated multitude (1
Cor. 15:32; Acts 19:29; comp. Ps. 22:12, 16; Eccl. 3:18; Isa.
11:6-8), and of wicked men (2 Pet. 2:12). The four beasts of
Daniel 7:3, 17, 23 represent four kingdoms or kings.
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
Jehovah is perfect. (1.) The youngest of Gideon's seventy sons.
He escaped when the rest were put to death by the order of
Abimelech (Judg. 9:5). When "the citizens of Shechem and the
whole house of Millo" were gathered together "by the plain of
the pillar" (i.e., the stone set up by Joshua, 24:26; comp. Gen.
35:4) "that was in Shechem, to make Abimelech king," from one of
the heights of Mount Gerizim he protested against their doing so
in the earliest parable, that of the bramble-king. His words
then spoken were prophetic. There came a recoil in the feelings
of the people toward Abimelech, and then a terrible revenge, in
which many were slain and the city of Shechem was destroyed by
Abimelech (Judg. 9:45). Having delivered his warning, Jotham
fled to Beer from the vengeance of Abimelech (9:7-21).
(2.) The son and successor of Uzziah on the throne of Judah.
As during his last years Uzziah was excluded from public life on
account of his leprosy, his son, then twenty-five years of age,
administered for seven years the affairs of the kingdom in his
father's stead (2 Chr. 26:21, 23; 27:1). After his father's
death he became sole monarch, and reigned for sixteen years
(B.C. 759-743). He ruled in the fear of God, and his reign was
prosperous. He was contemporary with the prophets Isaiah, Hosea,
and Micah, by whose ministrations he profited. He was buried in
the sepulchre of the kings, greatly lamented by the people (2
Kings 15:38; 2 Chr. 27:7-9).
(John 2:1-11) "lasted usually for a whole week; but the cost of
such prolonged rejoicing is very small in the East. The guests
sit round the great bowl or bowls on the floor, the meal usually
consisting of a lamb or kid stewed in rice or barley. The most
honoured guests sit nearest, others behind; and all in eating
dip their hand into the one smoking mound, pieces of the thin
bread, bent together, serving for spoons when necessary. After
the first circle have satisfied themselves, those lower in
honour sit down to the rest, the whole company being men, for
women are never seen at a feast. Water is poured on the hands
before eating; and this is repeated when the meal closes, the
fingers having first been wiped on pieces of bread, which, after
serving the same purpose as table-napkins with us, are thrown on
the ground to be eaten by any dog that may have stolen in from
the streets through the ever-open door, or picked up by those
outside when gathered and tossed out to them (Matt. 15:27; Mark
7:28). Rising from the ground and retiring to the seats round
the walls, the guests then sit down cross-legged and gossip, or
listen to recitals, or puzzle over riddles, light being scantily
supplied by a small lamp or two, or if the night be chilly, by a
smouldering fire of weeds kindled in the middle of the room,
perhaps in a brazier, often in a hole in the floor. As to the
smoke, it escapes as it best may; but indeed there is little of
it, though enough to blacken the water or wine or milk skins
hung up on pegs on the wall. (Comp. Ps. 119:83.) To some such
marriage-feast Jesus and his five disciples were invited at Cana
of Galilee." Geikie's Life of Christ. (See CANA ¯T0000702.)
Numbers, Book of
the fourth of the books of the Pentateuch, called in the Hebrew
be-midbar, i.e., "in the wilderness." In the LXX. version it is
called "Numbers," and this name is now the usual title of the
book. It is so called because it contains a record of the
numbering of the people in the wilderness of Sinai (1-4), and of
their numbering afterwards on the plain of Moab (26).
This book is of special historical interest as furnishing us
with details as to the route of the Israelites in the wilderness
and their principal encampments. It may be divided into three
1. The numbering of the people at Sinai, and preparations for
their resuming their march (1-10:10). The sixth chapter gives an
account of the vow of a Nazarite.
2. An account of the journey from Sinai to Moab, the sending
out of the spies and the report they brought back, and the
murmurings (eight times) of the people at the hardships by the
3. The transactions in the plain of Moab before crossing the
Jordan (21:21-ch. 36).
The period comprehended in the history extends from the second
month of the second year after the Exodus to the beginning of
the eleventh month of the fortieth year, in all about
thirty-eight years and ten months; a dreary period of
wanderings, during which that disobedient generation all died in
the wilderness. They were fewer in number at the end of their
wanderings than when they left the land of Egypt. We see in this
history, on the one hand, the unceasing care of the Almighty
over his chosen people during their wanderings; and, on the
other hand, the murmurings and rebellions by which they offended
their heavenly Protector, drew down repeated marks of his
displeasure, and provoked him to say that they should "not enter
into his rest" because of their unbelief (Heb. 3:19).
This, like the other books of the Pentateuch, bears evidence
of having been written by Moses.
The expression "the book of the wars of the Lord," occurring
in 21:14, has given rise to much discussion. But, after all,
"what this book was is uncertain, whether some writing of Israel
not now extant, or some writing of the Amorites which contained
songs and triumphs of their king Sihon's victories, out of which
Moses may cite this testimony, as Paul sometimes does out of
heathen poets (Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12)."
or Rab'bath, great. (1.) "Rabbath of the children of Ammon," the
chief city of the Ammonites, among the eastern hills, some 20
miles east of the Jordan, on the southern of the two streams
which united with the Jabbok. Here the bedstead of Og was
preserved (Deut. 3:11), perhaps as a trophy of some victory
gained by the Ammonites over the king of Bashan. After David had
subdued all their allies in a great war, he sent Joab with a
strong force to take their city. For two years it held out
against its assailants. It was while his army was engaged in
this protracted siege that David was guilty of that deed of
shame which left a blot on his character and cast a gloom over
the rest of his life. At length, having taken the "royal city"
(or the "city of waters," 2 Sam. 12:27, i.e., the lower city on
the river, as distinguished from the citadel), Joab sent for
David to direct the final assault (11:1; 12:26-31). The city was
given up to plunder, and the people were ruthlessly put to
death, and "thus did he with all the cities of the children of
Ammon." The destruction of Rabbath was the last of David's
conquests. His kingdom now reached its farthest limits (2 Sam.
8:1-15; 1 Chr. 18:1-15). The capture of this city is referred to
by Amos (1:14), Jeremiah (49:2, 3), and Ezekiel (21:20; 25:5).
(2.) A city in the hill country of Judah (Josh. 15:60),
possibly the ruin Rubba, six miles north-east of Beit-Jibrin.
This number occurs frequently in Scripture, and in such
connections as lead to the supposition that it has some typical
meaning. On the seventh day God rested, and hallowed it (Gen.
2:2, 3). The division of time into weeks of seven days each
accounts for many instances of the occurrence of this number.
This number has been called the symbol of perfection, and also
the symbol of rest. "Jacob's seven years' service to Laban;
Pharaoh's seven fat oxen and seven lean ones; the seven branches
of the golden candlestick; the seven trumpets and the seven
priests who sounded them; the seven days' siege of Jericho; the
seven churches, seven spirits, seven stars, seven seals, seven
vials, and many others, sufficiently prove the importance of
this sacred number" (see Lev. 25:4; 1 Sam. 2:5; Ps. 12:6; 79:12;
Prov. 26:16; Isa. 4:1; Matt. 18:21, 22; Luke 17:4). The feast of
Passover (Ex. 12:15, 16), the feast of Weeks (Deut. 16:9), of
Tabernacles (13:15), and the Jubilee (Lev. 25:8), were all
ordered by seven. Seven is the number of sacrifice (2 Chr.
29:21; Job 42:8), of purification and consecration (Lev. 42:6,
17; 8:11, 33; 14:9, 51), of forgiveness (Matt. 18:21, 22; Luke
17:4), of reward (Deut. 28:7; 1 Sam. 2:5), and of punishment
(Lev. 26:21, 24, 28; Deut. 28:25). It is used for any round
number in such passages as Job 5:19; Prov. 26:16, 25; Isa. 4:1;
Matt. 12:45. It is used also to mean "abundantly" (Gen. 4:15,
24; Lev. 26:24; Ps. 79:12).
a word naturally of frequent occurence in Scripture. Sometimes
the word "pastor" is used instead (Jer. 2:8; 3:15; 10:21; 12:10;
17:16). This word is used figuratively to represent the relation
of rulers to their subjects and of God to his people (Ps. 23:1;
80:1; Isa. 40:11; 44:28; Jer. 25:34, 35; Nahum 3:18; John 10:11,
14; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 2:25; 5:4).
The duties of a shepherd in an unenclosed country like
Israel were very onerous. "In early morning he led forth the
flock from the fold, marching at its head to the spot where they
were to be pastured. Here he watched them all day, taking care
that none of the sheep strayed, and if any for a time eluded his
watch and wandered away from the rest, seeking diligently till
he found and brought it back. In those lands sheep require to be
supplied regularly with water, and the shepherd for this purpose
has to guide them either to some running stream or to wells dug
in the wilderness and furnished with troughs. At night he
brought the flock home to the fold, counting them as they passed
under the rod at the door to assure himself that none were
missing. Nor did his labours always end with sunset. Often he
had to guard the fold through the dark hours from the attack of
wild beasts, or the wily attempts of the prowling thief (see 1
Sam. 17:34).", Deane's David.
(1.) Of the kingdom of Israel. In the time of Pekah,
Tiglath-pileser II. carried away captive into Assyria (2 Kings
15:29; comp. Isa. 10:5, 6) a part of the inhabitants of Galilee
and of Gilead (B.C. 741).
After the destruction of Samaria (B.C. 720) by Shalmaneser and
Sargon (q.v.), there was a general deportation of the Israelites
into Mesopotamia and Media (2 Kings 17:6; 18:9; 1 Chr. 5:26).
(See ISRAEL, KINGDOM OF ¯T0001909.)
(2.) Of the kingdom of the two tribes, the kingdom of Judah.
Nebuchadnezzar, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Jer. 25:1),
invaded Judah, and carried away some royal youths, including
Daniel and his companions (B.C. 606), together with the sacred
vessels of the temple (2 Chr. 36:7; Dan. 1:2). In B.C. 598 (Jer.
52:28; 2 Kings 24:12), in the beginning of Jehoiachin's reign (2
Kings 24:8), Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive 3,023 eminent
Jews, including the king (2 Chr. 36:10), with his family and
officers (2 Kings 24:12), and a large number of warriors (16),
with very many persons of note (14), and artisans (16), leaving
behind only those who were poor and helpless. This was the first
general deportation to Babylon.
In B.C. 588, after the revolt of Zedekiah (q.v.), there was a
second general deportation of Jews by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer.
52:29; 2 Kings 25:8), including 832 more of the principal men of
the kingdom. He carried away also the rest of the sacred vessels
(2 Chr. 36:18). From this period, when the temple was destroyed
(2 Kings 25:9), to the complete restoration, B.C. 517 (Ezra
6:15), is the period of the "seventy years."
In B.C. 582 occurred the last and final deportation. The
entire number Nebuchadnezzar carried captive was 4,600 heads of
families with their wives and children and dependants (Jer.
52:30; 43:5-7; 2 Chr. 36:20, etc.). Thus the exiles formed a
very considerable community in Babylon.
When Cyrus granted permission to the Jews to return to their
own land (Ezra 1:5; 7:13), only a comparatively small number at
first availed themselves of the privilege. It cannot be
questioned that many belonging to the kingdom of Israel
ultimately joined the Jews under Ezra, Zerubbabel, and Nehemiah,
and returned along with them to Jerusalem (Jer. 50:4, 5, 17-20,
Large numbers had, however, settled in the land of Babylon,
and formed numerous colonies in different parts of the kingdom.
Their descendants very probably have spread far into Eastern
lands and become absorbed in the general population. (See JUDAH,
KINGDOM OF ¯T0002126; CAPTIVITY ¯T0000720.)
There were daily (Lev. 23), weekly, monthly, and yearly
festivals, and great stress was laid on the regular observance
of them in every particular (Num. 28:1-8; Ex. 29:38-42; Lev.
6:8-23; Ex. 30:7-9; 27:20).
(1.) The septenary festivals were,
(a) The weekly Sabbath (Lev. 23:1-3; Ex. 19:3-30; 20:8-11;
(b) The seventh new moon, or the feast of Trumpets (Num.
(c) The Sabbatical year (Ex. 23:10, 11; Lev. 25:2-7).
(d) The year of jubilee (Lev. 23-35; 25: 8-16; 27:16-25).
(2.) The great feasts were,
(a) The Passover. (b) The feast of Pentecost, or of weeks. (c)
The feast of Tabernacles, or of ingathering.
On each of these occasions every male Israelite was commanded
"to appear before the Lord" (Deut. 27:7; Neh. 8:9-12). The
attendance of women was voluntary. (Comp. Luke 2:41; 1 Sam. 1:7;
2:19.) The promise that God would protect their homes (Ex.
34:23, 24) while all the males were absent in Jerusalem at these
feasts was always fulfilled. "During the whole period between
Moses and Christ we never read of an enemy invading the land at
the time of the three festivals. The first instance on record is
thirty-three years after they had withdrawn from themselves the
divine protection by imbruing their hands in the Saviour's
blood, when Cestius, the Roman general, slew fifty of the people
of Lydda while all the rest had gone up to the feast of
Tabernacles, A.D. 66."
These festivals, besides their religious purpose, had an
important bearing on the maintenance among the people of the
feeling of a national unity. The times fixed for their
observance were arranged so as to interfere as little as
possible with the industry of the people. The Passover was kept
just before the harvest commenced, Pentecost at the conclusion
of the corn harvest and before the vintage, the feast of
Tabernacles after all the fruits of the ground had been gathered
(3.) The Day of Atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month
(Lev. 16:1, 34; 23:26-32; Num. 29:7-11). (See ATONEMENT, DAY OF
Of the post-Exilian festivals reference is made to the feast
of Dedication (John 10:22). This feast was appointed by Judas
Maccabaeus in commemoration of the purification of the temple
after it had been polluted by Antiochus Epiphanes. The "feast of
Purim" (q.v.), Esther 9:24-32, was also instituted after the
Exile. (Cf. John 5:1.)
called also Jerubbaal (Judg. 6:29, 32), was the first of the
judges whose history is circumstantially narrated (Judg. 6-8).
His calling is the commencement of the second period in the
history of the judges. After the victory gained by Deborah and
Barak over Jabin, Israel once more sank into idolatry, and the
Midianites (q.v.) and Amalekites, with other "children of the
east," crossed the Jordan each year for seven successive years
for the purpose of plundering and desolating the land. Gideon
received a direct call from God to undertake the task of
delivering the land from these warlike invaders. He was of the
family of Abiezer (Josh. 17:2; 1 Chr. 7:18), and of the little
township of Ophrah (Judg. 6:11). First, with ten of his
servants, he overthrew the altars of Baal and cut down the
asherah which was upon it, and then blew the trumpet of alarm,
and the people flocked to his standard on the crest of Mount
Gilboa to the number of twenty-two thousand men. These were,
however, reduced to only three hundred. These, strangely armed
with torches and pitchers and trumpets, rushed in from three
different points on the camp of Midian at midnight, in the
valley to the north of Moreh, with the terrible war-cry, "For
the Lord and for Gideon" (Judg. 7:18, R.V.). Terror-stricken,
the Midianites were put into dire confusion, and in the darkness
slew one another, so that only fifteen thousand out of the great
army of one hundred and twenty thousand escaped alive. The
memory of this great deliverance impressed itself deeply on the
mind of the nation (1 Sam. 12:11; Ps. 83:11; Isa. 9:4; 10:26;
Heb. 11:32). The land had now rest for forty years. Gideon died
in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of his
fathers. Soon after his death a change came over the people.
They again forgot Jehovah, and turned to the worship of Baalim,
"neither shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal" (Judg.
8:35). Gideon left behind him seventy sons, a feeble, sadly
degenerated race, with one exception, that of Abimelech, who
seems to have had much of the courage and energy of his father,
yet of restless and unscrupulous ambition. He gathered around
him a band who slaughtered all Gideon's sons, except Jotham,
upon one stone. (See OPHRAH ¯T0002798.)
The art of writing must have been known in the time of the early
Pharaohs. Moses is commanded "to write for a memorial in a book"
(Ex. 17:14) a record of the attack of Amalek. Frequent mention
is afterwards made of writing (28:11, 21, 29, 36; 31:18; 32:15,
16; 34:1, 28; 39:6, 14, 30). The origin of this art is unknown,
but there is reason to conclude that in the age of Moses it was
well known. The inspired books of Moses are the most ancient
extant writings, although there are written monuments as old as
about B.C. 2000. The words expressive of "writing," "book," and
"ink," are common to all the branches or dialects of the Semitic
language, and hence it has been concluded that this art must
have been known to the earliest Semites before they separated
into their various tribes, and nations, and families.
"The Old Testament and the discoveries of Oriental archaeology
alike tell us that the age of the Exodus was throughout the
world of Western Asia an age of literature and books, of readers
and writers, and that the cities of Israel were stored with
the contemporaneous records of past events inscribed on
imperishable clay. They further tell us that the kinsfolk and
neighbours of the Israelites were already acquainted with
alphabetic writing, that the wanderers in the desert and the
tribes of Edom were in contact with the cultured scribes and
traders of Ma'in [Southern Arabia], and that the 'house of
bondage' from which Israel had escaped was a land where the art
of writing was blazoned not only on the temples of the gods, but
also on the dwellings of the rich and powerful.", Sayce. (See
DEBIR ¯T0000995; PHOENICIA ¯T0002943.)
The "Book of the Dead" was a collection of prayers and
formulae, by the use of which the souls of the dead were
supposed to attain to rest and peace in the next world. It was
composed at various periods from the earliest time to the
Persian conquest. It affords an interesting glimpse into the
religious life and system of belief among the ancient Egyptians.
We learn from it that they believed in the existence of one
Supreme Being, the immortality of the soul, judgement after
death, and the resurrection of the body. It shows, too, a high
state of literary activity in Egypt in the time of Moses. It
refers to extensive libraries then existing. That of Ramessium,
in Thebes, e.g., built by Rameses II., contained 20,000 books.
When the Hebrews entered Canaan it is evident that the art of
writing was known to the original inhabitants, as appears, e.g.,
from the name of the city Debir having been at first
Kirjath-sepher, i.e., the "city of the book," or the "book town"
(Josh. 10:38; 15:15; Judg. 1:11).
The first mention of letter-writing is in the time of David (2
Sam. 11:14, 15). Letters are afterwards frequently spoken of (1
Kings 21:8, 9, 11; 2 Kings 10:1, 3, 6, 7; 19:14; 2 Chr.
21:12-15; 30:1, 6-9, etc.).
father of peace; i.e., "peaceful" David's son by Maacah (2 Sam.
3:3; comp. 1 Kings 1:6). He was noted for his personal beauty
and for the extra-ordinary profusion of the hair of his head (2
Sam. 14:25,26). The first public act of his life was the
blood-revenge he executed against Amnon, David's eldest son, who
had basely wronged Absalom's sister Tamar. This revenge was
executed at the time of the festivities connected with a great
sheep-shearing at Baal-hazor. David's other sons fled from the
place in horror, and brought the tidings of the death of Amnon
to Jerusalem. Alarmed for the consequences of the act, Absalom
fled to his grandfather at Geshur, and there abode for three
years (2 Sam. 3:3; 13:23-38).
David mourned his absent son, now branded with the guilt of
fratricide. As the result of a stratagem carried out by a woman
of Tekoah, Joab received David's sanction to invite Absalom back
to Jerusalem. He returned accordingly, but two years elapsed
before his father admitted him into his presence (2 Sam. 14:28).
Absalom was now probably the oldest surviving son of David, and
as he was of royal descent by his mother as well as by his
father, he began to aspire to the throne. His pretensions were
favoured by the people. By many arts he gained their affection;
and after his return from Geshur (2 Sam. 15:7; marg., R.V.) he
went up to Hebron, the old capital of Judah, along with a great
body of the people, and there proclaimed himself king. The
revolt was so successful that David found it necessary to quit
Jerusalem and flee to Mahanaim, beyond Jordan; where upon
Absalom returned to Jerusalem and took possession of the throne
without opposition. Ahithophel, who had been David's chief
counsellor, deserted him and joined Absalom, whose chief
counsellor he now became. Hushai also joined Absalom, but only
for the purpose of trying to counteract the counsels of
Ahithophel, and so to advantage David's cause. He was so far
successful that by his advice, which was preferred to that of
Ahithophel, Absalom delayed to march an army against his father,
who thus gained time to prepare for the defence.
Absalom at length marched out against his father, whose army,
under the command of Joab, he encountered on the borders of the
forest of Ephraim. Twenty thousand of Absalom's army were slain
in that fatal battle, and the rest fled. Absalom fled on a swift
mule; but his long flowing hair, or more probably his head, was
caught in the bough of an oak, and there he was left suspended
till Joab came up and pierced him through with three darts. His
body was then taken down and cast into a pit dug in the forest,
and a heap of stones was raised over his grave. When the tidings
of the result of that battle were brought to David, as he sat
impatiently at the gate of Mahanaim, and he was told that
Absalom had been slain, he gave way to the bitter lamentation:
"O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died
for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!" (2 Sam. 18:33. Comp. Ex.
32:32; Rom. 9:3).
Absalom's three sons (2 Sam. 14:27; comp. 18:18) had all died
before him, so that he left only a daughter, Tamar, who became
the grandmother of Abijah.
a person sent by another; a messenger; envoy. This word is once
used as a descriptive designation of Jesus Christ, the Sent of
the Father (Heb. 3:1; John 20:21). It is, however, generally
used as designating the body of disciples to whom he intrusted
the organization of his church and the dissemination of his
gospel, "the twelve," as they are called (Matt. 10:1-5; Mark
3:14; 6:7; Luke 6:13; 9:1). We have four lists of the apostles,
one by each of the synoptic evangelists (Matt. 10:2-4; Mark
3:16; Luke 6:14), and one in the Acts (1:13). No two of these
lists, however, perfectly coincide.
Our Lord gave them the "keys of the kingdom," and by the gift
of his Spirit fitted them to be the founders and governors of
his church (John 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26, 27; 16:7-15). To them, as
representing his church, he gave the commission to "preach the
gospel to every creature" (Matt. 28:18-20). After his ascension
he communicated to them, according to his promise, supernatural
gifts to qualify them for the discharge of their duties (Acts
2:4; 1 Cor. 2:16; 2:7, 10, 13; 2 Cor. 5:20; 1 Cor. 11:2). Judas
Iscariot, one of "the twelve," fell by transgression, and
Matthias was substituted in his place (Acts 1:21). Saul of
Tarsus was afterwards added to their number (Acts 9:3-20; 20:4;
26:15-18; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11).
Luke has given some account of Peter, John, and the two
Jameses (Acts 12:2, 17; 15:13; 21:18), but beyond this we know
nothing from authentic history of the rest of the original
twelve. After the martyrdom of James the Greater (Acts 12:2),
James the Less usually resided at Jerusalem, while Paul, "the
apostle of the uncircumcision," usually travelled as a
missionary among the Gentiles (Gal. 2:8). It was characteristic
of the apostles and necessary (1) that they should have seen the
Lord, and been able to testify of him and of his resurrection
from personal knowledge (John 15:27; Acts 1:21, 22; 1 Cor. 9:1;
Acts 22:14, 15). (2.) They must have been immediately called to
that office by Christ (Luke 6:13; Gal. 1:1). (3.) It was
essential that they should be infallibly inspired, and thus
secured against all error and mistake in their public teaching,
whether by word or by writing (John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Thess.
(4.) Another qualification was the power of working miracles
(Mark 16:20; Acts 2:43; 1 Cor. 12:8-11). The apostles therefore
could have had no successors. They are the only authoritative
teachers of the Christian doctrines. The office of an apostle
ceased with its first holders.
In 2 Cor. 8:23 and Phil. 2:25 the word "messenger" is the
rendering of the same Greek word, elsewhere rendered "apostle."
Bible, the English form of the Greek name _Biblia_, meaning
"books," the name which in the fifth century began to be given
to the entire collection of sacred books, the "Library of Divine
Revelation." The name Bible was adopted by Wickliffe, and came
gradually into use in our English language. The Bible consists
of sixty-six different books, composed by many different
writers, in three different languages, under different
circumstances; writers of almost every social rank, statesmen
and peasants, kings, herdsmen, fishermen, priests,
tax-gatherers, tentmakers; educated and uneducated, Jews and
Gentiles; most of them unknown to each other, and writing at
various periods during the space of about 1600 years: and yet,
after all, it is only one book dealing with only one subject in
its numberless aspects and relations, the subject of man's
It is divided into the Old Testament, containing thirty-nine
books, and the New Testament, containing twenty-seven books. The
names given to the Old in the writings of the New are "the
scriptures" (Matt. 21:42), "scripture" (2 Pet. 1:20), "the holy
scriptures" (Rom. 1:2), "the law" (John 12:34), "the law of
Moses, the prophets, and the psalms" (Luke 24:44), "the law and
the prophets" (Matt. 5:17), "the old covenant" (2 Cor. 3:14,
R.V.). There is a break of 400 years between the Old Testament
and the New. (See APOCRYPHA ¯T0000263.)
The Old Testament is divided into three parts:, 1. The Law
(Torah), consisting of the Pentateuch, or five books of Moses.
2. The Prophets, consisting of (1) the former, namely, Joshua,
Judges, the Books of Samuel, and the Books of Kings; (2) the
latter, namely, the greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and
Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets. 3. The Hagiographa, or
holy writings, including the rest of the books. These were
ranked in three divisions:, (1) The Psalms, Proverbs, and Job,
distinguished by the Hebrew name, a word formed of the initial
letters of these books, _emeth_, meaning truth. (2) Canticles,
Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther, called the five
rolls, as being written for the synagogue use on five separate
rolls. (3) Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 and 2 Chronicles.
Between the Old and the New Testament no addition was made to
the revelation God had already given. The period of New
Testament revelation, extending over a century, began with the
appearance of John the Baptist.
The New Testament consists of (1) the historical books, viz.,
the Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles; (2) the Epistles; and
(3) the book of prophecy, the Revelation.
The division of the Bible into chapters and verses is
altogether of human invention, designed to facilitate reference
to it. The ancient Jews divided the Old Testament into certain
sections for use in the synagogue service, and then at a later
period, in the ninth century A.D., into verses. Our modern
system of chapters for all the books of the Bible was introduced
by Cardinal Hugo about the middle of the thirteenth century (he
died 1263). The system of verses for the New Testament was
introduced by Stephens in 1551, and generally adopted, although
neither Tyndale's nor Coverdale's English translation of the
Bible has verses. The division is not always wisely made, yet it
is very useful. (See VERSION ¯T0003768.)
Galatians, Epistle to
The genuineness of this epistle is not called in question. Its
Pauline origin is universally acknowledged.
Occasion of. The churches of Galatia were founded by Paul
himself (Acts 16:6; Gal. 1:8; 4:13, 19). They seem to have been
composed mainly of converts from heathenism (4:8), but partly
also of Jewish converts, who probably, under the influence of
Judaizing teachers, sought to incorporate the rites of Judaism
with Christianity, and by their active zeal had succeeded in
inducing the majority of the churches to adopt their views (1:6;
3:1). This epistle was written for the purpose of counteracting
this Judaizing tendency, and of recalling the Galatians to the
simplicity of the gospel, and at the same time also of
vindicating Paul's claim to be a divinely-commissioned apostle.
Time and place of writing. The epistle was probably written
very soon after Paul's second visit to Galatia (Acts 18:23). The
references of the epistle appear to agree with this conclusion.
The visit to Jerusalem, mentioned in Gal. 2:1-10, was identical
with that of Acts 15, and it is spoken of as a thing of the
past, and consequently the epistle was written subsequently to
the council of Jerusalem. The similarity between this epistle
and that to the Romans has led to the conclusion that they were
both written at the same time, namely, in the winter of A.D.
57-8, during Paul's stay in Corinth (Acts 20:2, 3). This to the
Galatians is written on the urgency of the occasion, tidings
having reached him of the state of matters; and that to the
Romans in a more deliberate and systematic way, in exposition of
the same great doctrines of the gospel.
Contents of. The great question discussed is, Was the Jewish
law binding on Christians? The epistle is designed to prove
against the Jews that men are justified by faith without the
works of the law of Moses. After an introductory address (Gal.
1:1-10) the apostle discusses the subjects which had occasioned
the epistle. (1) He defends his apostolic authority (1:11-19;
2:1-14); (2) shows the evil influence of the Judaizers in
destroying the very essence of the gospel (3 and 4); (3) exhorts
the Galatian believers to stand fast in the faith as it is in
Jesus, and to abound in the fruits of the Spirit, and in a right
use of their Christian freedom (5-6:1-10); (4) and then
concludes with a summary of the topics discussed, and with the
The Epistle to the Galatians and that to the Romans taken
together "form a complete proof that justification is not to be
obtained meritoriously either by works of morality or by rites
and ceremonies, though of divine appointment; but that it is a
free gift, proceeding entirely from the mercy of God, to those
who receive it by faith in Jesus our Lord."
In the conclusion of the epistle (6:11) Paul says, "Ye see how
large a letter I have written with mine own hand." It is implied
that this was different from his ordinary usage, which was
simply to write the concluding salutation with his own hand,
indicating that the rest of the epistle was written by another
hand. Regarding this conclusion, Lightfoot, in his Commentary on
the epistle, says: "At this point the apostle takes the pen from
his amanuensis, and the concluding paragraph is written with his
own hand. From the time when letters began to be forged in his
name (2 Thess. 2:2; 3:17) it seems to have been his practice to
close with a few words in his own handwriting, as a precaution
against such forgeries...In the present case he writes a whole
paragraph, summing up the main lessons of the epistle in terse,
eager, disjointed sentences. He writes it, too, in large, bold
characters (Gr. pelikois grammasin), that his hand-writing may
reflect the energy and determination of his soul." (See
Galilee, Sea of
(Matt. 4:18; 15:29), is mentioned in the Bible under three other
names. (1.) In the Old Testament it is called the "sea of
Chinnereth" (Num. 34:11; Josh. 12:3; 13:27), as is supposed from
its harp-like shape. (2). The "lake of Gennesareth" once by Luke
(5:1), from the flat district lying on its west coast. (3.) John
(6:1; 21:1) calls it the "sea of Tiberias" (q.v.). The modern
Arabs retain this name, Bahr Tabariyeh.
This lake is 12 1/2 miles long, and from 4 to 7 1/2 broad. Its
surface is 682 feet below the level of the Mediterranean. Its
depth is from 80 to 160 feet. The Jordan enters it 10 1/2 miles
below the southern extremity of the Huleh Lake, or about 26 1/2
miles from its source. In this distance of 26 1/2 miles there is
a fall in the river of 1,682 feet, or of more than 60 feet to
the mile. It is 27 miles east of the Mediterranean, and about 60
miles north-east of Jerusalem. It is of an oval shape, and
abounds in fish.
Its present appearance is thus described: "The utter
loneliness and absolute stillness of the scene are exceedingly
impressive. It seems as if all nature had gone to rest,
languishing under the scorching heat. How different it was in
the days of our Lord! Then all was life and bustle along the
shores; the cities and villages that thickly studded them
resounded with the hum of a busy population; while from
hill-side and corn-field came the cheerful cry of shepherd and
ploughman. The lake, too, was dotted with dark fishing-boats and
spangled with white sails. Now a mournful, solitary silence
reigns over sea and shore. The cities are in ruins!"
This sea is chiefly of interest as associated with the public
ministry of our Lord. Capernaum, "his own city" (Matt. 9:1),
stood on its shores. From among the fishermen who plied their
calling on its waters he chose Peter and his brother Andrew, and
James and John, to be disciples, and sent them forth to be
"fishers of men" (Matt. 4:18,22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5: 1-11). He
stilled its tempest, saying to the storm that swept over it,
"Peace, be still" (Matt. 8:23-27; Mark 7:31-35); and here also
he showed himself after his resurrection to his disciples (John
"The Sea of Galilee is indeed the cradle of the gospel. The
subterranean fires of nature prepared a lake basin, through
which a river afterwards ran, keeping its waters always fresh.
In this basin a vast quantity of shell-fish swarmed, and
multiplied to such an extent that they formed the food of an
extraordinary profusion of fish. The great variety and abundance
of the fish in the lake attracted to its shores a larger and
more varied population than existed elsewhere in Israel,
whereby this secluded district was brought into contact with all
parts of the world. And this large and varied population, with
access to all nations and countries, attracted the Lord Jesus,
and induced him to make this spot the centre of his public
(1.) Definitions. The phrase "heaven and earth" is used to
indicate the whole universe (Gen. 1:1; Jer. 23:24; Acts 17:24).
According to the Jewish notion there were three heavens,
(a) The firmament, as "fowls of the heaven" (Gen. 2:19; 7:3,
23; Ps. 8:8, etc.), "the eagles of heaven" (Lam. 4:19), etc.
(b) The starry heavens (Deut. 17:3; Jer. 8:2; Matt. 24:29).
(c) "The heaven of heavens," or "the third heaven" (Deut.
10:14; 1 Kings 8:27; Ps. 115:16; 148:4; 2 Cor. 12:2).
(2.) Meaning of words in the original,
(a) The usual Hebrew word for "heavens" is _shamayim_, a
plural form meaning "heights," "elevations" (Gen. 1:1; 2:1).
(b) The Hebrew word _marom_ is also used (Ps. 68:18; 93:4;
102:19, etc.) as equivalent to _shamayim_, "high places,"
(c) Heb. galgal, literally a "wheel," is rendered "heaven" in
Ps. 77:18 (R.V., "whirlwind").
(d) Heb. shahak, rendered "sky" (Deut. 33:26; Job 37:18; Ps.
18:11), plural "clouds" (Job 35:5; 36:28; Ps. 68:34, marg.
"heavens"), means probably the firmament.
(e) Heb. rakia is closely connected with (d), and is rendered
"firmamentum" in the Vulgate, whence our "firmament" (Gen. 1:6;
Deut. 33:26, etc.), regarded as a solid expanse.
(3.) Metaphorical meaning of term. Isa. 14:13, 14; "doors of
heaven" (Ps. 78:23); heaven "shut" (1 Kings 8:35); "opened"
(Ezek. 1:1). (See 1 Chr. 21:16.)
(4.) Spiritual meaning. The place of the everlasting
blessedness of the righteous; the abode of departed spirits.
(a) Christ calls it his "Father's house" (John 14:2).
(b) It is called "paradise" (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev.
(c) "The heavenly Jerusalem" (Gal. 4: 26; Heb. 12:22; Rev.
(d) The "kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 25:1; James 2:5).
(e) The "eternal kingdom" (2 Pet. 1:11).
(f) The "eternal inheritance" (1 Pet. 1:4; Heb. 9:15).
(g) The "better country" (Heb. 11:14, 16).
(h) The blessed are said to "sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob," and to be "in Abraham's bosom" (Luke 16:22; Matt. 8:11);
to "reign with Christ" (2 Tim. 2:12); and to enjoy "rest" (Heb.
In heaven the blessedness of the righteous consists in the
possession of "life everlasting," "an eternal weight of glory"
(2 Cor. 4:17), an exemption from all sufferings for ever, a
deliverance from all evils (2 Cor. 5:1, 2) and from the society
of the wicked (2 Tim. 4:18), bliss without termination, the
"fulness of joy" for ever (Luke 20:36; 2 Cor. 4:16, 18; 1 Pet.
1:4; 5:10; 1 John 3:2). The believer's heaven is not only a
state of everlasting blessedness, but also a "place", a place
"prepared" for them (John 14:2).
Olves, Mount of
so called from the olive trees with which its sides are clothed,
is a mountain ridge on the east of Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:7;
Ezek. 11:23; Zech. 14:4), from which it is separated by the
valley of Kidron. It is first mentioned in connection with
David's flight from Jerusalem through the rebellion of Absalom
(2 Sam. 15:30), and is only once again mentioned in the Old
Testament, in Zech. 14:4. It is, however, frequently alluded to
(1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:13; Neh. 8:15; Ezek. 11:23).
It is frequently mentioned in the New Testament (Matt. 21:1;
26:30, etc.). It now bears the name of Jebel et-Tur, i.e.,
"Mount of the Summit;" also sometimes called Jebel ez-Zeitun,
i.e., "Mount of Olives." It is about 200 feet above the level of
the city. The road from Jerusalem to Bethany runs as of old over
this mount. It was on this mount that Jesus stood when he wept
over Jerusalem. "No name in Scripture," says Dr. Porter, "calls
up associations at once so sacred and so pleasing as that of
Olivet. The 'mount' is so intimately connected with the private,
the devotional life of the Saviour, that we read of it and look
at it with feelings of deepest interest and affection. Here he
often sat with his disciples, telling them of wondrous events
yet to come, of the destruction of the Holy City; of the
sufferings, the persecution, and the final triumph of his
followers (Matt. 24). Here he gave them the beautiful parables
of the ten virgins and the five talents (25); here he was wont
to retire on each evening for meditation, and prayer, and rest
of body, when weary and harassed by the labours and trials of
the day (Luke 21:37); and here he came on the night of his
betrayal to utter that wonderful prayer, 'O my Father, if it be
possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will,
but as thou wilt' (Matt. 26:39). And when the cup of God's wrath
had been drunk, and death and the grave conquered, he led his
disciples out again over Olivet as far as to Bethany, and after
a parting blessing ascended to heaven (Luke 24:50, 51; Acts
This mount, or rather mountain range, has four summits or
peaks: (1) the "Galilee" peak, so called from a tradition that
the angels stood here when they spoke to the disciples (Acts
1:11); (2) the "Mount of Ascension," the supposed site of that
event, which was, however, somewhere probably nearer Bethany
(Luke 24:51, 52); (3) the "Prophets," from the catacombs on its
side, called "the prophets' tombs;" and (4) the "Mount of
Corruption," so called because of the "high places" erected
there by Solomon for the idolatrous worship of his foreign wives
(1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:13; Vulg., "Mount of Offence").
The psalms are the production of various authors. "Only a
portion of the Book of Psalms claims David as its author. Other
inspired poets in successive generations added now one now
another contribution to the sacred collection, and thus in the
wisdom of Providence it more completely reflects every phase of
human emotion and circumstances than it otherwise could." But it
is specially to David and his contemporaries that we owe this
precious book. In the "titles" of the psalms, the genuineness of
which there is no sufficient reason to doubt, 73 are ascribed to
David. Peter and John (Acts 4:25) ascribe to him also the second
psalm, which is one of the 48 that are anonymous. About
two-thirds of the whole collection have been ascribed to David.
Psalms 39, 62, and 77 are addressed to Jeduthun, to be sung
after his manner or in his choir. Psalms 50 and 73-83 are
addressed to Asaph, as the master of his choir, to be sung in
the worship of God. The "sons of Korah," who formed a leading
part of the Kohathite singers (2 Chr. 20:19), were intrusted
with the arranging and singing of Ps. 42, 44-49, 84, 85, 87, and
In Luke 24:44 the word "psalms" means the Hagiographa, i.e.,
the holy writings, one of the sections into which the Jews
divided the Old Testament. (See BIBLE ¯T0000580.)
None of the psalms can be proved to have been of a later date
than the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, hence the whole collection
extends over a period of about 1,000 years. There are in the New
Testament 116 direct quotations from the Psalter.
The Psalter is divided, after the analogy of the Pentateuch,
into five books, each closing with a doxology or benediction:
(1.) The first book comprises the first 41 psalms, all of
which are ascribed to David except 1, 2, 10, and 33, which,
though anonymous, may also be ascribed to him.
(2.) Book second consists of the next 31 psalms (42-72), 18 of
which are ascribed to David and 1 to Solomon (the 72nd). The
rest are anonymous.
(3.) The third book contains 17 psalms (73-89), of which the
86th is ascribed to David, the 88th to Heman the Ezrahite, and
the 89th to Ethan the Ezrahite.
(4.) The fourth book also contains 17 psalms (90-106), of
which the 90th is ascribed to Moses, and the 101st and 103rd to
(5.) The fifth book contains the remaining psalms, 44 in
number. Of these, 15 are ascribed to David, and the 127th to
Ps. 136 is generally called "the great hallel." But the Talmud
includes also Ps. 120-135. Ps. 113-118, inclusive, constitute
the "hallel" recited at the three great feasts, at the new moon,
and on the eight days of the feast of dedication.
"It is presumed that these several collections were made at
times of high religious life: the first, probably, near the
close of David's life; the second in the days of Solomon; the
third by the singers of Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 20:19); the fourth
by the men of Hezekiah (29, 30, 31); and the fifth in the days
The Mosaic ritual makes no provision for the service of song
in the worship of God. David first taught the Church to sing the
praises of the Lord. He first introduced into the ritual of the
tabernacle music and song.
Divers names are given to the psalms. (1.) Some bear the
Hebrew designation _shir_ (Gr. ode, a song). Thirteen have this
title. It means the flow of speech, as it were, in a straight
line or in a regular strain. This title includes secular as well
as sacred song.
(2.) Fifty-eight psalms bear the designation (Heb.) _mitsmor_
(Gr. psalmos, a psalm), a lyric ode, or a song set to music; a
sacred song accompanied with a musical instrument.
(3.) Ps. 145, and many others, have the designation (Heb.)
_tehillah_ (Gr. hymnos, a hymn), meaning a song of praise; a
song the prominent thought of which is the praise of God.
(4.) Six psalms (16, 56-60) have the title (Heb.) _michtam_
(5.) Ps. 7 and Hab. 3 bear the title (Heb.) _shiggaion_
shoulder. (1.) The son of Hamor the Hivite (Gen. 33:19; 34).
(2.) A descendant of Manasseh (Num. 26:31; Josh. 17:2).
(3.) A city in Samaria (Gen. 33:18), called also Sichem
(12:6), Sychem (Acts 7:16). It stood in the narrow sheltered
valley between Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the south, these
mountains at their base being only some 500 yards apart. Here
Abraham pitched his tent and built his first altar in the
Promised Land, and received the first divine promise (Gen. 12:6,
7). Here also Jacob "bought a parcel of a field at the hands of
the children of Hamor" after his return from Mesopotamia, and
settled with his household, which he purged from idolatry by
burying the teraphim of his followers under an oak tree, which
was afterwards called "the oak of the sorcerer" (Gen. 33:19;
35:4; Judg. 9:37). (See MEONENIM ¯T0002483.) Here too, after a
while, he dug a well, which bears his name to this day (John
4:5, 39-42). To Shechem Joshua gathered all Israel "before God,"
and delivered to them his second parting address (Josh.
24:1-15). He "made a covenant with the people that day" at the
very place where, on first entering the land, they had responded
to the law from Ebal and Gerizim (Josh. 24:25), the terms of
which were recorded "in the book of the law of God", i.e., in
the roll of the law of Moses; and in memory of this solemn
transaction a great stone was set up "under an oak" (comp. Gen.
28:18; 31:44-48; Ex. 24:4; Josh. 4:3, 8, 9), possibly the old
"oak of Moreh," as a silent witness of the transaction to all
Shechem became one of the cities of refuge, the central city
of refuge for Western Israel (Josh. 20:7), and here the bones
of Joseph were buried (24:32). Rehoboam was appointed king in
Shechem (1 Kings 12:1, 19), but Jeroboam afterwards took up his
residence here. This city is mentioned in connection with our
Lord's conversation with the woman of Samaria (John 4:5); and
thus, remaining as it does to the present day, it is one of the
oldest cities of the world. It is the modern Nablus, a
contraction for Neapolis, the name given to it by Vespasian. It
lies about a mile and a half up the valley on its southern
slope, and on the north of Gerizim, which rises about 1,100 feet
above it, and is about 34 miles north of Jerusalem. It contains
about 10,000 inhabitants, of whom about 160 are Samaritans and
100 Jews, the rest being Christians and Mohammedans.
The site of Shechem is said to be of unrivalled beauty.
Stanley says it is "the most beautiful, perhaps the only very
beautiful, spot in Central Israel."
Gaza, near Shechem, only mentioned 1 Chr. 7:28, has entirely
disappeared. It was destroyed at the time of the Conquest, and
its place was taken by Shechem. (See SYCHAR ¯T0003542.)
Tilling the ground (Gen. 2:15; 4:2, 3, 12) and rearing cattle
were the chief employments in ancient times. The Egyptians
excelled in agriculture. And after the Israelites entered into
the possession of the Promised Land, their circumstances
favoured in the highest degree a remarkable development of this
art. Agriculture became indeed the basis of the Mosaic
The year in Israel was divided into six agricultural
I. SOWING TIME.
Tisri, latter half
(beginning about the autumnal equinox.)
Kisleu, former half.
Early rain due = first showers of autumn.
II. UNRIPE TIME.
Kisleu, latter half.
Sebat, former half.
III. COLD SEASON.
Sebat, latter half.
Nisan, former half.
Latter rain due (Deut. 11:14; Jer. 5:24; Hos. 6:3; Zech. 10:1;
James 5:7; Job 29:23).
IV. HARVEST TIME.
Nisan, latter half.
(Beginning about vernal equinox. Barley green. Passover.)
Sivan, former half., Wheat ripe. Pentecost.
V. SUMMER (total absence of rain)
Sivan, latter half.
Ab, former half.
VI. SULTRY SEASON
Ab, latter half.
Tisri, former half., Ingathering of fruits.
The six months from the middle of Tisri to the middle of Nisan
were occupied with the work of cultivation, and the rest of the
year mainly with the gathering in of the fruits. The extensive
and easily-arranged system of irrigation from the rills and
streams from the mountains made the soil in every part of
Israel richly productive (Ps. 1:3; 65:10; Prov. 21:1; Isa.
30:25; 32:2, 20; Hos. 12:11), and the appliances of careful
cultivation and of manure increased its fertility to such an
extent that in the days of Solomon, when there was an abundant
population, "20,000 measures of wheat year by year" were sent to
Hiram in exchange for timber (1 Kings 5:11), and in large
quantities also wheat was sent to the Tyrians for the
merchandise in which they traded (Ezek. 27:17). The wheat
sometimes produced an hundredfold (Gen. 26:12; Matt. 13:23).
Figs and pomegranates were very plentiful (Num. 13:23), and the
vine and the olive grew luxuriantly and produced abundant fruit
Lest the productiveness of the soil should be exhausted, it
was enjoined that the whole land should rest every seventh year,
when all agricultural labour would entirely cease (Lev. 25:1-7;
It was forbidden to sow a field with divers seeds (Deut.
22:9). A passer-by was at liberty to eat any quantity of corn or
grapes, but he was not permitted to carry away any (Deut. 23:24,
25; Matt. 12:1). The poor were permitted to claim the corners of
the fields and the gleanings. A forgotten sheaf in the field was
to be left also for the poor. (See Lev. 19:9, 10; Deut. 24:19.)
Agricultural implements and operations.
The sculptured monuments and painted tombs of Egypt and
Assyria throw much light on this subject, and on the general
operations of agriculture. Ploughs of a simple construction were
known in the time of Moses (Deut. 22:10; comp. Job 1:14). They
were very light, and required great attention to keep them in
the ground (Luke 9:62). They were drawn by oxen (Job 1:14), cows
(1 Sam. 6:7), and asses (Isa. 30:24); but an ox and an ass must
not be yoked together in the same plough (Deut. 22:10). Men
sometimes followed the plough with a hoe to break the clods
(Isa. 28:24). The oxen were urged on by a "goad," or long staff
pointed at the end, so that if occasion arose it could be used
as a spear also (Judg. 3:31; 1 Sam. 13:21).
When the soil was prepared, the seed was sown broadcast over
the field (Matt. 13:3-8). The "harrow" mentioned in Job 39:10
was not used to cover the seeds, but to break the clods, being
little more than a thick block of wood. In highly irrigated
spots the seed was trampled in by cattle (Isa. 32:20); but
doubtless there was some kind of harrow also for covering in the
seed scattered in the furrows of the field.
The reaping of the corn was performed either by pulling it up
by the roots, or cutting it with a species of sickle, according
to circumstances. The corn when cut was generally put up in
sheaves (Gen. 37:7; Lev. 23:10-15; Ruth 2:7, 15; Job 24:10; Jer.
9:22; Micah 4:12), which were afterwards gathered to the
threshing-floor or stored in barns (Matt. 6:26).
The process of threshing was performed generally by spreading
the sheaves on the threshing-floor and causing oxen and cattle
to tread repeatedly over them (Deut. 25:4; Isa. 28:28). On
occasions flails or sticks were used for this purpose (Ruth
2:17; Isa. 28:27). There was also a "threshing instrument" (Isa.
41:15; Amos 1:3) which was drawn over the corn. It was called by
the Hebrews a moreg, a threshing roller or sledge (2 Sam. 24:22;
1 Chr. 21:23; Isa. 3:15). It was somewhat like the Roman
tribulum, or threshing instrument.
When the grain was threshed, it was winnowed by being thrown
up against the wind (Jer. 4:11), and afterwards tossed with
wooden scoops (Isa. 30:24). The shovel and the fan for winnowing
are mentioned in Ps. 35:5, Job 21:18, Isa. 17:13. The refuse of
straw and chaff was burned (Isa. 5:24). Freed from impurities,
the grain was then laid up in granaries till used (Deut. 28:8;
Prov. 3:10; Matt. 6:26; 13:30; Luke 12:18).
Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a certain
statement is true (Phil. 1:27; 2 Thess. 2:13). Its primary idea
is trust. A thing is true, and therefore worthy of trust. It
admits of many degrees up to full assurance of faith, in
accordance with the evidence on which it rests.
Faith is the result of teaching (Rom. 10:14-17). Knowledge is
an essential element in all faith, and is sometimes spoken of as
an equivalent to faith (John 10:38; 1 John 2:3). Yet the two are
distinguished in this respect, that faith includes in it assent,
which is an act of the will in addition to the act of the
understanding. Assent to the truth is of the essence of faith,
and the ultimate ground on which our assent to any revealed
truth rests is the veracity of God.
Historical faith is the apprehension of and assent to certain
statements which are regarded as mere facts of history.
Temporary faith is that state of mind which is awakened in men
(e.g., Felix) by the exhibition of the truth and by the
influence of religious sympathy, or by what is sometimes styled
the common operation of the Holy Spirit.
Saving faith is so called because it has eternal life
inseparably connected with it. It cannot be better defined than
in the words of the Assembly's Shorter Catechism: "Faith in
Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon
him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel."
The object of saving faith is the whole revealed Word of God.
Faith accepts and believes it as the very truth most sure. But
the special act of faith which unites to Christ has as its
object the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ (John
7:38; Acts 16:31). This is the specific act of faith by which a
sinner is justified before God (Rom. 3:22, 25; Gal. 2:16; Phil.
3:9; John 3:16-36; Acts 10:43; 16:31). In this act of faith the
believer appropriates and rests on Christ alone as Mediator in
all his offices.
This assent to or belief in the truth received upon the divine
testimony has always associated with it a deep sense of sin, a
distinct view of Christ, a consenting will, and a loving heart,
together with a reliance on, a trusting in, or resting in
Christ. It is that state of mind in which a poor sinner,
conscious of his sin, flees from his guilty self to Christ his
Saviour, and rolls over the burden of all his sins on him. It
consists chiefly, not in the assent given to the testimony of
God in his Word, but in embracing with fiducial reliance and
trust the one and only Saviour whom God reveals. This trust and
reliance is of the essence of faith. By faith the believer
directly and immediately appropriates Christ as his own. Faith
in its direct act makes Christ ours. It is not a work which God
graciously accepts instead of perfect obedience, but is only the
hand by which we take hold of the person and work of our
Redeemer as the only ground of our salvation.
Saving faith is a moral act, as it proceeds from a renewed
will, and a renewed will is necessary to believing assent to the
truth of God (1 Cor. 2:14; 2 Cor. 4:4). Faith, therefore, has
its seat in the moral part of our nature fully as much as in the
intellectual. The mind must first be enlightened by divine
teaching (John 6:44; Acts 13:48; 2 Cor. 4:6; Eph. 1:17, 18)
before it can discern the things of the Spirit.
Faith is necessary to our salvation (Mark 16:16), not because
there is any merit in it, but simply because it is the sinner's
taking the place assigned him by God, his falling in with what
God is doing.
The warrant or ground of faith is the divine testimony, not
the reasonableness of what God says, but the simple fact that he
says it. Faith rests immediately on, "Thus saith the Lord." But
in order to this faith the veracity, sincerity, and truth of God
must be owned and appreciated, together with his
unchangeableness. God's word encourages and emboldens the sinner
personally to transact with Christ as God's gift, to close with
him, embrace him, give himself to Christ, and take Christ as
his. That word comes with power, for it is the word of God who
has revealed himself in his works, and especially in the cross.
God is to be believed for his word's sake, but also for his
Faith in Christ secures for the believer freedom from
condemnation, or justification before God; a participation in
the life that is in Christ, the divine life (John 14:19; Rom.
6:4-10; Eph. 4:15,16, etc.); "peace with God" (Rom. 5:1); and
sanctification (Acts 26:18; Gal. 5:6; Acts 15:9).
All who thus believe in Christ will certainly be saved (John
6:37, 40; 10:27, 28; Rom. 8:1).
The faith=the gospel (Acts 6:7; Rom. 1:5; Gal. 1:23; 1 Tim.
3:9; Jude 1:3).
hill-city, "one of the royal cities, greater than Ai, and all
the men thereof were mighty" (Josh. 10:2). Its inhabitants were
Hivites (11:19). It lay within the territory of Benjamin, and
became a priest-city (18:25; 21:17). Here the tabernacle was set
up after the destruction of Nob, and here it remained many years
till the temple was built by Solomon. It is represented by the
modern el-Jib, to the south-west of Ai, and about 5 1/2 miles
north-north-west of Jerusalem.
A deputation of the Gibeonites, with their allies from three
other cities (Josh. 9;17), visited the camp at Gilgal, and by
false representations induced Joshua to enter into a league with
them, although the Israelites had been specially warned against
any league with the inhabitants of Canaan (Ex. 23:32; 34:12;
Num. 33:55; Deut. 7:2). The deception practised on Joshua was
detected three days later; but the oath rashly sworn "by Jehovah
God of Israel" was kept, and the lives of the Gibeonites were
spared. They were, however, made "bondmen" to the sanctuary
The most remarkable incident connected with this city was the
victory Joshua gained over the kings of Israel (Josh.
10:16-27). The battle here fought has been regarded as "one of
the most important in the history of the world." The kings of
southern Canaan entered into a confederacy against Gibeon
(because it had entered into a league with Joshua) under the
leadership of Adoni-zedec, king of Jerusalem, and marched upon
Gibeon with the view of taking possession of it. The Gibeonites
entreated Joshua to come to their aid with the utmost speed. His
army came suddenly upon that of the Amorite kings as it lay
encamped before the city. It was completely routed, and only
broken remnants of their great host found refuge in the fenced
cities. The five confederate kings who led the army were taken
prisoners, and put to death at Makkedah (q.v.). This eventful
battle of Beth-horon sealed the fate of all the cities of
Southern Israel. Among the Amarna tablets is a letter from
Adoni-zedec (q.v.) to the king of Egypt, written probably at
Makkedah after the defeat, showing that the kings contemplated
flight into Egypt.
This place is again brought into notice as the scene of a
battle between the army of Ish-bosheth under Abner and that of
David led by Joab. At the suggestion of Abner, to spare the
effusion of blood twelve men on either side were chosen to
decide the battle. The issue was unexpected; for each of the men
slew his fellow, and thus they all perished. The two armies then
engaged in battle, in which Abner and his host were routed and
put to flight (2 Sam. 2:12-17). This battle led to a virtual
truce between Judah and Israel, Judah, under David, increasing
in power; and Israel, under Ish-bosheth, continually losing
Soon after the death of Absalom and David's restoration to his
throne his kingdom was visited by a grievous famine, which was
found to be a punishment for Saul's violation (2 Sam. 21:2, 5)
of the covenant with the Gibeonites (Josh. 9:3-27). The
Gibeonites demanded blood for the wrong that had been done to
them, and accordingly David gave up to them the two sons of
Rizpah (q.v.) and the five sons of Michal, and these the
Gibeonites took and hanged or crucified "in the hill before the
Lord" (2 Sam. 21:9); and there the bodies hung for six months
(21:10), and all the while Rizpah watched over the blackening
corpses and "suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on
them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night." David
afterwards removed the bones of Saul and Jonathan at
Jabeshgilead (21:12, 13).
Here, "at the great stone," Amasa was put to death by Joab (2
Sam. 20:5-10). To the altar of burnt-offering which was at
Gibeon, Joab (1 Kings 2:28-34), who had taken the side of
Adonijah, fled for sanctuary in the beginning of Solomon's
reign, and was there also slain by the hand of Benaiah.
Soon after he came to the throne, Solomon paid a visit of
state to Gibeon, there to offer sacrifices (1 Kings 3:4; 2 Chr.
1:3). On this occasion the Lord appeared to him in a memorable
dream, recorded in 1 Kings 3:5-15; 2 Chr. 1:7-12. When the
temple was built "all the men of Israel assembled themselves" to
king Solomon, and brought up from Gibeon the tabernacle and "all
the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle" to Jerusalem,
where they remained till they were carried away by
Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:13).
the five-fold volume, consisting of the first five books of the
Old Testament. This word does not occur in Scripture, nor is it
certainly known when the roll was thus divided into five
portions Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.
Probably that was done by the LXX. translators. Some modern
critics speak of a Hexateuch, introducing the Book of Joshua as
one of the group. But this book is of an entirely different
character from the other books, and has a different author. It
stands by itself as the first of a series of historical books
beginning with the entrance of the Israelites into Canaan. (See
The books composing the Pentateuch are properly but one book,
the "Law of Moses," the "Book of the Law of Moses," the "Book of
Moses," or, as the Jews designate it, the "Torah" or "Law." That
in its present form it "proceeds from a single author is proved
by its plan and aim, according to which its whole contents refer
to the covenant concluded between Jehovah and his people, by the
instrumentality of Moses, in such a way that everything before
his time is perceived to be preparatory to this fact, and all
the rest to be the development of it. Nevertheless, this unity
has not been stamped upon it as a matter of necessity by the
latest redactor: it has been there from the beginning, and is
visible in the first plan and in the whole execution of the
work.", Keil, Einl. i.d. A. T.
A certain school of critics have set themselves to reconstruct
the books of the Old Testament. By a process of "scientific
study" they have discovered that the so-called historical books
of the Old Testament are not history at all, but a miscellaneous
collection of stories, the inventions of many different writers,
patched together by a variety of editors! As regards the
Pentateuch, they are not ashamed to attribute fraud, and even
conspiracy, to its authors, who sought to find acceptance to
their work which was composed partly in the age of Josiah, and
partly in that of Ezra and Nehemiah, by giving it out to be the
work of Moses! This is not the place to enter into the details
of this controversy. We may say frankly, however, that we have
no faith in this "higher criticism." It degrades the books of
the Old Testament below the level of fallible human writings,
and the arguments on which its speculations are built are
The evidences in favour of the Mosaic authorship of the
Pentateuch are conclusive. We may thus state some of them
(1.) These books profess to have been written by Moses in the
name of God (Ex. 17:14; 24:3, 4, 7; 32:7-10, 30-34; 34:27; Lev.
26:46; 27:34; Deut. 31:9, 24, 25).
(2.) This also is the uniform and persistent testimony of the
Jews of all sects in all ages and countries (comp. Josh. 8:31,
32; 1 Kings 2:3; Jer. 7:22; Ezra 6:18; Neh. 8:1; Mal. 4:4; Matt.
22:24; Acts 15:21).
(3.) Our Lord plainly taught the Mosaic authorship of these
books (Matt. 5:17, 18; 19:8; 22:31, 32; 23:2; Mark 10:9; 12:26;
Luke 16:31; 20:37; 24:26, 27, 44; John 3:14; 5:45, 46, 47; 6:32,
49; 7:19, 22). In the face of this fact, will any one venture to
allege either that Christ was ignorant of the composition of the
Bible, or that, knowing the true state of the case, he yet
encouraged the people in the delusion they clung to?
(4.) From the time of Joshua down to the time of Ezra there
is, in the intermediate historical books, a constant reference
to the Pentateuch as the "Book of the Law of Moses." This is a
point of much importance, inasmuch as the critics deny that
there is any such reference; and hence they deny the historical
character of the Pentateuch. As regards the Passover, e.g., we
find it frequently spoken of or alluded to in the historical
books following the Pentateuch, showing that the "Law of Moses"
was then certainly known. It was celebrated in the time of
Joshua (Josh. 5:10, cf. 4:19), Hezekiah (2 Chr. 30), Josiah (2
Kings 23; 2 Chr. 35), and Zerubbabel (Ezra 6:19-22), and is
referred to in such passages as 2 Kings 23:22; 2 Chr. 35:18; 1
Kings 9:25 ("three times in a year"); 2 Chr. 8:13. Similarly we
might show frequent references to the Feast of Tabernacles and
other Jewish institutions, although we do not admit that any
valid argument can be drawn from the silence of Scripture in
such a case. An examination of the following texts, 1 Kings 2:9;
2 Kings 14:6; 2 Chr. 23:18; 25:4; 34:14; Ezra 3:2; 7:6; Dan.
9:11, 13, will also plainly show that the "Law of Moses" was
known during all these centuries.
Granting that in the time of Moses there existed certain oral
traditions or written records and documents which he was
divinely led to make use of in his history, and that his writing
was revised by inspired successors, this will fully account for
certain peculiarities of expression which critics have called
"anachronisms" and "contradictions," but in no way militates
against the doctrine that Moses was the original author of the
whole of the Pentateuch. It is not necessary for us to affirm
that the whole is an original composition; but we affirm that
the evidences clearly demonstrate that Moses was the author of
those books which have come down to us bearing his name. The
Pentateuch is certainly the basis and necessary preliminary of
the whole of the Old Testament history and literature. (See
=Saul (q.v.) was born about the same time as our Lord. His
circumcision-name was Saul, and probably the name Paul was also
given to him in infancy "for use in the Gentile world," as
"Saul" would be his Hebrew home-name. He was a native of Tarsus,
the capital of Cilicia, a Roman province in the south-east of
Asia Minor. That city stood on the banks of the river Cydnus,
which was navigable thus far; hence it became a centre of
extensive commercial traffic with many countries along the
shores of the Mediterranean, as well as with the countries of
central Asia Minor. It thus became a city distinguished for the
wealth of its inhabitants.
Tarsus was also the seat of a famous university, higher in
reputation even than the universities of Athens and Alexandria,
the only others that then existed. Here Saul was born, and here
he spent his youth, doubtless enjoying the best education his
native city could afford. His father was of the straitest sect
of the Jews, a Pharisee, of the tribe of Benjamin, of pure and
unmixed Jewish blood (Acts 23:6; Phil. 3:5). We learn nothing
regarding his mother; but there is reason to conclude that she
was a pious woman, and that, like-minded with her husband, she
exercised all a mother influence in moulding the character of
her son, so that he could afterwards speak of himself as being,
from his youth up, "touching the righteousness which is in the
law, blameless" (Phil. 3:6).
We read of his sister and his sister's son (Acts 23:16), and
of other relatives (Rom. 16:7, 11, 12). Though a Jew, his father
was a Roman citizen. How he obtained this privilege we are not
informed. "It might be bought, or won by distinguished service
to the state, or acquired in several other ways; at all events,
his son was freeborn. It was a valuable privilege, and one that
was to prove of great use to Paul, although not in the way in
which his father might have been expected to desire him to make
use of it." Perhaps the most natural career for the youth to
follow was that of a merchant. "But it was decided that...he
should go to college and become a rabbi, that is, a minister, a
teacher, and a lawyer all in one."
According to Jewish custom, however, he learned a trade before
entering on the more direct preparation for the sacred
profession. The trade he acquired was the making of tents from
goats' hair cloth, a trade which was one of the commonest in
His preliminary education having been completed, Saul was
sent, when about thirteen years of age probably, to the great
Jewish school of sacred learning at Jerusalem as a student of
the law. Here he became a pupil of the celebrated rabbi
Gamaliel, and here he spent many years in an elaborate study of
the Scriptures and of the many questions concerning them with
which the rabbis exercised themselves. During these years of
diligent study he lived "in all good conscience," unstained by
the vices of that great city.
After the period of his student-life expired, he probably left
Jerusalem for Tarsus, where he may have been engaged in
connection with some synagogue for some years. But we find him
back again at Jerusalem very soon after the death of our Lord.
Here he now learned the particulars regarding the crucifixion,
and the rise of the new sect of the "Nazarenes."
For some two years after Pentecost, Christianity was quietly
spreading its influence in Jerusalem. At length Stephen, one of
the seven deacons, gave forth more public and aggressive
testimony that Jesus was the Messiah, and this led to much
excitement among the Jews and much disputation in their
synagogues. Persecution arose against Stephen and the followers
of Christ generally, in which Saul of Tarsus took a prominent
part. He was at this time probably a member of the great
Sanhedrin, and became the active leader in the furious
persecution by which the rulers then sought to exterminate
But the object of this persecution also failed. "They that
were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word." The
anger of the persecutor was thereby kindled into a fiercer
flame. Hearing that fugitives had taken refuge in Damascus, he
obtained from the chief priest letters authorizing him to
proceed thither on his persecuting career. This was a long
journey of about 130 miles, which would occupy perhaps six days,
during which, with his few attendants, he steadily went onward,
"breathing out threatenings and slaughter." But the crisis of
his life was at hand. He had reached the last stage of his
journey, and was within sight of Damascus. As he and his
companions rode on, suddenly at mid-day a brilliant light shone
round them, and Saul was laid prostrate in terror on the ground,
a voice sounding in his ears, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou
me?" The risen Saviour was there, clothed in the vesture of his
glorified humanity. In answer to the anxious inquiry of the
stricken persecutor, "Who art thou, Lord?" he said, "I am Jesus
whom thou persecutest" (Acts 9:5; 22:8; 26:15).
This was the moment of his conversion, the most solemn in all
his life. Blinded by the dazzling light (Acts 9:8), his
companions led him into the city, where, absorbed in deep
thought for three days, he neither ate nor drank (9:11).
Ananias, a disciple living in Damascus, was informed by a vision
of the change that had happened to Saul, and was sent to him to
open his eyes and admit him by baptism into the Christian church
(9:11-16). The whole purpose of his life was now permanently
Immediately after his conversion he retired into the solitudes
of Arabia (Gal. 1:17), perhaps of "Sinai in Arabia," for the
purpose, probably, of devout study and meditation on the
marvellous revelation that had been made to him. "A veil of
thick darkness hangs over this visit to Arabia. Of the scenes
among which he moved, of the thoughts and occupations which
engaged him while there, of all the circumstances of a crisis
which must have shaped the whole tenor of his after-life,
absolutely nothing is known. 'Immediately,' says St. Paul, 'I
went away into Arabia.' The historian passes over the incident
[comp. Acts 9:23 and 1 Kings 11:38, 39]. It is a mysterious
pause, a moment of suspense, in the apostle's history, a
breathless calm, which ushers in the tumultuous storm of his
active missionary life." Coming back, after three years, to
Damascus, he began to preach the gospel "boldly in the name of
Jesus" (Acts 9:27), but was soon obliged to flee (9:25; 2 Cor.
11:33) from the Jews and betake himself to Jerusalem. Here he
tarried for three weeks, but was again forced to flee (Acts
9:28, 29) from persecution. He now returned to his native Tarsus
(Gal. 1:21), where, for probably about three years, we lose
sight of him. The time had not yet come for his entering on his
great life-work of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles.
At length the city of Antioch, the capital of Syria, became
the scene of great Christian activity. There the gospel gained a
firm footing, and the cause of Christ prospered. Barnabas
(q.v.), who had been sent from Jerusalem to superintend the work
at Antioch, found it too much for him, and remembering Saul, he
set out to Tarsus to seek for him. He readily responded to the
call thus addressed to him, and came down to Antioch, which for
"a whole year" became the scene of his labours, which were
crowned with great success. The disciples now, for the first
time, were called "Christians" (Acts 11:26).
The church at Antioch now proposed to send out missionaries to
the Gentiles, and Saul and Barnabas, with John Mark as their
attendant, were chosen for this work. This was a great epoch in
the history of the church. Now the disciples began to give
effect to the Master's command: "Go ye into all the world, and
preach the gospel to every creature."
The three missionaries went forth on the first missionary
tour. They sailed from Seleucia, the seaport of Antioch, across
to Cyprus, some 80 miles to the south-west. Here at Paphos,
Sergius Paulus, the Roman proconsul, was converted, and now Saul
took the lead, and was ever afterwards called Paul. The
missionaries now crossed to the mainland, and then proceeded 6
or 7 miles up the river Cestrus to Perga (Acts 13:13), where
John Mark deserted the work and returned to Jerusalem. The two
then proceeded about 100 miles inland, passing through
Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia. The towns mentioned in this
tour are the Pisidian Antioch, where Paul delivered his first
address of which we have any record (13:16-51; comp. 10:30-43),
Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. They returned by the same route to
see and encourage the converts they had made, and ordain elders
in every city to watch over the churches which had been
gathered. From Perga they sailed direct for Antioch, from which
they had set out.
After remaining "a long time", probably till A.D. 50 or 51, in
Antioch, a great controversy broke out in the church there
regarding the relation of the Gentiles to the Mosaic law. For
the purpose of obtaining a settlement of this question, Paul and
Barnabas were sent as deputies to consult the church at
Jerusalem. The council or synod which was there held (Acts 15)
decided against the Judaizing party; and the deputies,
accompanied by Judas and Silas, returned to Antioch, bringing
with them the decree of the council.
After a short rest at Antioch, Paul said to Barnabas: "Let us
go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have
preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do." Mark
proposed again to accompany them; but Paul refused to allow him
to go. Barnabas was resolved to take Mark, and thus he and Paul
had a sharp contention. They separated, and never again met.
Paul, however, afterwards speaks with honour of Barnabas, and
sends for Mark to come to him at Rome (Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11).
Paul took with him Silas, instead of Barnabas, and began his
second missionary journey about A.D. 51. This time he went by
land, revisiting the churches he had already founded in Asia.
But he longed to enter into "regions beyond," and still went
forward through Phrygia and Galatia (16:6). Contrary to his
intention, he was constrained to linger in Galatia (q.v.), on
account of some bodily affliction (Gal. 4:13, 14). Bithynia, a
populous province on the shore of the Black Sea, lay now before
him, and he wished to enter it; but the way was shut, the Spirit
in some manner guiding him in another direction, till he came
down to the shores of the AEgean and arrived at Troas, on the
north-western coast of Asia Minor (Acts 16:8). Of this long
journey from Antioch to Troas we have no account except some
references to it in his Epistle to the Galatians (4:13).
As he waited at Troas for indications of the will of God as to
his future movements, he saw, in the vision of the night, a man
from the opposite shores of Macedonia standing before him, and
heard him cry, "Come over, and help us" (Acts 16:9). Paul
recognized in this vision a message from the Lord, and the very
next day set sail across the Hellespont, which separated him
from Europe, and carried the tidings of the gospel into the
Western world. In Macedonia, churches were planted in Philippi,
Thessalonica, and Berea. Leaving this province, Paul passed into
Achaia, "the paradise of genius and renown." He reached Athens,
but quitted it after, probably, a brief sojourn (17:17-31). The
Athenians had received him with cold disdain, and he never
visited that city again. He passed over to Corinth, the seat of
the Roman government of Achaia, and remained there a year and a
half, labouring with much success. While at Corinth, he wrote
his two epistles to the church of Thessalonica, his earliest
apostolic letters, and then sailed for Syria, that he might be
in time to keep the feast of Pentecost at Jerusalem. He was
accompanied by Aquila and Priscilla, whom he left at Ephesus, at
which he touched, after a voyage of thirteen or fifteen days. He
landed at Caesarea, and went up to Jerusalem, and having
"saluted the church" there, and kept the feast, he left for
Antioch, where he abode "some time" (Acts 18:20-23).
He then began his third missionary tour. He journeyed by land
in the "upper coasts" (the more eastern parts) of Asia Minor,
and at length made his way to Ephesus, where he tarried for no
less than three years, engaged in ceaseless Christian labour.
"This city was at the time the Liverpool of the Mediterranean.
It possessed a splendid harbour, in which was concentrated the
traffic of the sea which was then the highway of the nations;
and as Liverpool has behind her the great towns of Lancashire,
so had Ephesus behind and around her such cities as those
mentioned along with her in the epistles to the churches in the
book of Revelation, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis,
Philadelphia, and Laodicea. It was a city of vast wealth, and it
was given over to every kind of pleasure, the fame of its
theatres and race-course being world-wide" (Stalker's Life of
St. Paul). Here a "great door and effectual" was opened to the
apostle. His fellow-labourers aided him in his work, carrying
the gospel to Colosse and Laodicea and other places which they
Very shortly before his departure from Ephesus, the apostle
wrote his First Epistle to the Corinthians (q.v.). The
silversmiths, whose traffic in the little images which they made
was in danger (see DEMETRIUS ¯T0001013), organized a riot
against Paul, and he left the city, and proceeded to Troas (2
Cor. 2:12), whence after some time he went to meet Titus in
Macedonia. Here, in consequence of the report Titus brought from
Corinth, he wrote his second epistle to that church. Having
spent probably most of the summer and autumn in Macedonia,
visiting the churches there, specially the churches of Philippi,
Thessalonica, and Berea, probably penetrating into the interior,
to the shores of the Adriatic (Rom. 15:19), he then came into
Greece, where he abode three month, spending probably the
greater part of this time in Corinth (Acts 20:2). During his
stay in this city he wrote his Epistle to the Galatians, and
also the great Epistle to the Romans. At the end of the three
months he left Achaia for Macedonia, thence crossed into Asia
Minor, and touching at Miletus, there addressed the Ephesian
presbyters, whom he had sent for to meet him (Acts 20:17), and
then sailed for Tyre, finally reaching Jerusalem, probably in
the spring of A.D. 58.
While at Jerusalem, at the feast of Pentecost, he was almost
murdered by a Jewish mob in the temple. (See TEMPLE, HEROD'S
¯T0003611.) Rescued from their violence by the Roman commandant,
he was conveyed as a prisoner to Caesarea, where, from various
causes, he was detained a prisoner for two years in Herod's
praetorium (Acts 23:35). "Paul was not kept in close
confinement; he had at least the range of the barracks in which
he was detained. There we can imagine him pacing the ramparts on
the edge of the Mediterranean, and gazing wistfully across the
blue waters in the direction of Macedonia, Achaia, and Ephesus,
where his spiritual children were pining for him, or perhaps
encountering dangers in which they sorely needed his presence.
It was a mysterious providence which thus arrested his energies
and condemned the ardent worker to inactivity; yet we can now
see the reason for it. Paul was needing rest. After twenty years
of incessant evangelization, he required leisure to garner the
harvest of experience...During these two years he wrote nothing;
it was a time of internal mental activity and silent progress"
(Stalker's Life of St. Paul).
At the end of these two years Felix (q.v.) was succeeded in
the governorship of Israel by Porcius Festus, before whom the
apostle was again heard. But judging it right at this crisis to
claim the privilege of a Roman citizen, he appealed to the
emperor (Acts 25:11). Such an appeal could not be disregarded,
and Paul was at once sent on to Rome under the charge of one
Julius, a centurion of the "Augustan cohort." After a long and
perilous voyage, he at length reached the imperial city in the
early spring, probably, of A.D. 61. Here he was permitted to
occupy his own hired house, under constant military custody.
This privilege was accorded to him, no doubt, because he was a
Roman citizen, and as such could not be put into prison without
a trial. The soldiers who kept guard over Paul were of course
changed at frequent intervals, and thus he had the opportunity
of preaching the gospel to many of them during these "two whole
years," and with the blessed result of spreading among the
imperial guards, and even in Caesar's household, an interest in
the truth (Phil. 1:13). His rooms were resorted to by many
anxious inquirers, both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 28:23, 30, 31),
and thus his imprisonment "turned rather to the furtherance of
the gospel," and his "hired house" became the centre of a
gracious influence which spread over the whole city. According
to a Jewish tradition, it was situated on the borders of the
modern Ghetto, which has been the Jewish quarters in Rome from
the time of Pompey to the present day. During this period the
apostle wrote his epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians,
Philippians, and to Philemon, and probably also to the Hebrews.
This first imprisonment came at length to a close, Paul having
been acquitted, probably because no witnesses appeared against
him. Once more he set out on his missionary labours, probably
visiting western and eastern Europe and Asia Minor. During this
period of freedom he wrote his First Epistle to Timothy and his
Epistle to Titus. The year of his release was signalized by the
burning of Rome, which Nero saw fit to attribute to the
Christians. A fierce persecution now broke out against the
Christians. Paul was siezed, and once more conveyed to Rome a
prisoner. During this imprisonment he probably wrote the Second
Epistle to Timothy, the last he ever wrote. "There can be little
doubt that he appered again at Nero's bar, and this time the
charge did not break down. In all history there is not a more
startling illustration of the irony of human life than this
scene of Paul at the bar of Nero. On the judgment-seat, clad in
the imperial purple, sat a man who, in a bad world, had attained
the eminence of being the very worst and meanest being in it, a
man stained with every crime, a man whose whole being was so
steeped in every nameable and unnameable vice, that body and
soul of him were, as some one said at the time, nothing but a
compound of mud and blood; and in the prisoner's dock stood the
best man the world possessed, his hair whitened with labours for
the good of men and the glory of God. The trial ended: Paul was
condemned, and delivered over to the executioner. He was led out
of the city, with a crowd of the lowest rabble at his heels. The
fatal spot was reached; he knelt beside the block; the
headsman's axe gleamed in the sun and fell; and the head of the
apostle of the world rolled down in the dust" (probably A.D.
66), four years before the fall of Jerusalem.
originally called Simon (=Simeon ,i.e., "hearing"), a very
common Jewish name in the New Testament. He was the son of Jona
(Matt. 16:17). His mother is nowhere named in Scripture. He had
a younger brother called Andrew, who first brought him to Jesus
(John 1:40-42). His native town was Bethsaida, on the western
coast of the Sea of Galilee, to which also Philip belonged. Here
he was brought up by the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and was
trained to the occupation of a fisher. His father had probably
died while he was still young, and he and his brother were
brought up under the care of Zebedee and his wife Salome (Matt.
27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1). There the four youths, Simon, Andrew,
James, and John, spent their boyhood and early manhood in
constant fellowship. Simon and his brother doubtless enjoyed all
the advantages of a religious training, and were early
instructed in an acquaintance with the Scriptures and with the
great prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah. They did
not probably enjoy, however, any special training in the study
of the law under any of the rabbis. When Peter appeared before
the Sanhedrin, he looked like an "unlearned man" (Acts 4:13).
"Simon was a Galilean, and he was that out and out...The
Galileans had a marked character of their own. They had a
reputation for an independence and energy which often ran out
into turbulence. They were at the same time of a franker and
more transparent disposition than their brethren in the south.
In all these respects, in bluntness, impetuosity, headiness, and
simplicity, Simon was a genuine Galilean. They spoke a peculiar
dialect. They had a difficulty with the guttural sounds and some
others, and their pronunciation was reckoned harsh in Judea. The
Galilean accent stuck to Simon all through his career. It
betrayed him as a follower of Christ when he stood within the
judgment-hall (Mark 14:70). It betrayed his own nationality and
that of those conjoined with him on the day of Pentecost (Acts
2:7)." It would seem that Simon was married before he became an
apostle. His wife's mother is referred to (Matt. 8:14; Mark
1:30; Luke 4:38). He was in all probability accompanied by his
wife on his missionary journeys (1 Cor. 9:5; comp. 1 Pet. 5:13).
He appears to have been settled at Capernaum when Christ
entered on his public ministry, and may have reached beyond the
age of thirty. His house was large enough to give a home to his
brother Andrew, his wife's mother, and also to Christ, who seems
to have lived with him (Mark 1:29, 36; 2:1), as well as to his
own family. It was apparently two stories high (2:4).
At Bethabara (R.V., John 1:28, "Bethany"), beyond Jordan, John
the Baptist had borne testimony concerning Jesus as the "Lamb of
God" (John 1:29-36). Andrew and John hearing it, followed Jesus,
and abode with him where he was. They were convinced, by his
gracious words and by the authority with which he spoke, that he
was the Messiah (Luke 4:22; Matt. 7:29); and Andrew went forth
and found Simon and brought him to Jesus (John 1:41).
Jesus at once recognized Simon, and declared that hereafter he
would be called Cephas, an Aramaic name corresponding to the
Greek Petros, which means "a mass of rock detached from the
living rock." The Aramaic name does not occur again, but the
name Peter gradually displaces the old name Simon, though our
Lord himself always uses the name Simon when addressing him
(Matt. 17:25; Mark 14:37; Luke 22:31, comp. 21:15-17). We are
not told what impression the first interview with Jesus produced
on the mind of Simon. When we next meet him it is by the Sea of
Galilee (Matt. 4:18-22). There the four (Simon and Andrew, James
and John) had had an unsuccessful night's fishing. Jesus
appeared suddenly, and entering into Simon's boat, bade him
launch forth and let down the nets. He did so, and enclosed a
great multitude of fishes. This was plainly a miracle wrought
before Simon's eyes. The awe-stricken disciple cast himself at
the feet of Jesus, crying, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful
man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8). Jesus addressed him with the assuring
words, "Fear not," and announced to him his life's work. Simon
responded at once to the call to become a disciple, and after
this we find him in constant attendance on our Lord.
He is next called into the rank of the apostleship, and
becomes a "fisher of men" (Matt. 4:19) in the stormy seas of the
world of human life (Matt. 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:13-16),
and takes a more and more prominent part in all the leading
events of our Lord's life. It is he who utters that notable
profession of faith at Capernaum (John 6:66-69), and again at
Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-20).
This profession at Caesarea was one of supreme importance, and
our Lord in response used these memorable words: "Thou art
Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church."
"From that time forth" Jesus began to speak of his sufferings.
For this Peter rebuked him. But our Lord in return rebuked
Peter, speaking to him in sterner words than he ever used to any
other of his disciples (Matt. 16:21-23; Mark 8:31-33). At the
close of his brief sojourn at Caesarea our Lord took Peter and
James and John with him into "an high mountain apart," and was
transfigured before them. Peter on that occasion, under the
impression the scene produced on his mind, exclaimed, "Lord, it
is good for us to be here: let us make three tabernacles" (Matt.
On his return to Capernaum the collectors of the temple tax (a
didrachma, half a sacred shekel), which every Israelite of
twenty years old and upwards had to pay (Ex. 30:15), came to
Peter and reminded him that Jesus had not paid it (Matt.
17:24-27). Our Lord instructed Peter to go and catch a fish in
the lake and take from its mouth the exact amount needed for the
tax, viz., a stater, or two half-shekels. "That take," said our
Lord, "and give unto them for me and thee."
As the end was drawing nigh, our Lord sent Peter and John
(Luke 22:7-13) into the city to prepare a place where he should
keep the feast with his disciples. There he was forewarned of
the fearful sin into which he afterwards fell (22:31-34). He
accompanied our Lord from the guest-chamber to the garden of
Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46), which he and the other two who had
been witnesses of the transfiguration were permitted to enter
with our Lord, while the rest were left without. Here he passed
through a strange experience. Under a sudden impulse he cut off
the ear of Malchus (47-51), one of the band that had come forth
to take Jesus. Then follow the scenes of the judgment-hall
(54-61) and his bitter grief (62).
He is found in John's company early on the morning of the
resurrection. He boldly entered into the empty grave (John
20:1-10), and saw the "linen clothes laid by themselves" (Luke
24:9-12). To him, the first of the apostles, our risen Lord
revealed himself, thus conferring on him a signal honour, and
showing how fully he was restored to his favour (Luke 24:34; 1
Cor. 15:5). We next read of our Lord's singular interview with
Peter on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where he thrice asked
him, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?" (John 21:1-19). (See
After this scene at the lake we hear nothing of Peter till he
again appears with the others at the ascension (Acts 1:15-26).
It was he who proposed that the vacancy caused by the apostasy
of Judas should be filled up. He is prominent on the day of
Pentecost (2:14-40). The events of that day "completed the
change in Peter himself which the painful discipline of his fall
and all the lengthened process of previous training had been
slowly making. He is now no more the unreliable, changeful,
self-confident man, ever swaying between rash courage and weak
timidity, but the stead-fast, trusted guide and director of the
fellowship of believers, the intrepid preacher of Christ in
Jerusalem and abroad. And now that he is become Cephas indeed,
we hear almost nothing of the name Simon (only in Acts 10:5, 32;
15:14), and he is known to us finally as Peter."
After the miracle at the temple gate (Acts 3) persecution
arose against the Christians, and Peter was cast into prison. He
boldly defended himself and his companions at the bar of the
council (4:19, 20). A fresh outburst of violence against the
Christians (5:17-21) led to the whole body of the apostles being
cast into prison; but during the night they were wonderfully
delivered, and were found in the morning teaching in the temple.
A second time Peter defended them before the council (Acts
5:29-32), who, "when they had called the apostles and beaten
them, let them go."
The time had come for Peter to leave Jerusalem. After
labouring for some time in Samaria, he returned to Jerusalem,
and reported to the church there the results of his work (Acts
8:14-25). Here he remained for a period, during which he met
Paul for the first time since his conversion (9:26-30; Gal.
1:18). Leaving Jerusalem again, he went forth on a missionary
journey to Lydda and Joppa (Acts 9:32-43). He is next called on
to open the door of the Christian church to the Gentiles by the
admission of Cornelius of Caesarea (ch. 10).
After remaining for some time at Caesarea, he returned to
Jerusalem (Acts 11:1-18), where he defended his conduct with
reference to the Gentiles. Next we hear of his being cast into
prison by Herod Agrippa (12:1-19); but in the night an angel of
the Lord opened the prison gates, and he went forth and found
refuge in the house of Mary.
He took part in the deliberations of the council in Jerusalem
(Acts 15:1-31; Gal. 2:1-10) regarding the relation of the
Gentiles to the church. This subject had awakened new interest
at Antioch, and for its settlement was referred to the council
of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. Here Paul and Peter met
We have no further mention of Peter in the Acts of the
Apostles. He seems to have gone down to Antioch after the
council at Jerusalem, and there to have been guilty of
dissembling, for which he was severely reprimanded by Paul (Gal.
2:11-16), who "rebuked him to his face."
After this he appears to have carried the gospel to the east,
and to have laboured for a while at Babylon, on the Euphrates (1
Pet. 5:13). There is no satisfactory evidence that he was ever
at Rome. Where or when he died is not certainly known. Probably
he died between A.D. 64 and 67.