hardness, a city of Issachar assigned to the Gershonite Levites
(Josh. 19:20), the same as Kishon (21:28).
whom Jehovah hath made. "Chief of the Levites," probably a
Kohathite (1 Chr. 15:22), and therefore not the same as
mentioned in 26:29.
dunghill, a city of Zebulun given to the Merarite Levites (Josh.
21:35). In 1 Chr. 6:77 the name "Rimmon" is substituted.
(1.) Neh. 3:10. (2.) One of the Levites whom Ezra appointed to
interpret the law to the people (Neh. 9:5).
a boy. (1.) A Canaanitish chief who joined his forces with those
of Abraham in pursuit of Chedorlaomer (Gen. 14:13,24).
(2.) A city of Manasseh given to the Levites of Kohath's
family (1 Chr. 6:70).
majesty of Jehovah. (1.) One of the Levites who assisted Ezra in
expounding the law (Neh. 8:7; 9:5). (2.) Neh. 10:18, a Levite
who sealed the covenant.
gathering of the people, a city of Ephraim, which was given with
its suburbs to the Levites (1 Chr. 6:68). It lay somewhere in
the Jordan valley (1 Kings 4:12, R.V.; but in A.V. incorrectly
before God; i.e., his servant, one of the Levites who returned
with Zerubbabel from the Captivity (Neh. 9:4; 10:9; 12:8).
city, a town in the tribe of Zebulun assigned to the Levites of
the family of Merari (Josh. 21:34). It is identical with Kattath
(19:15), and perhaps also with Kitron (Judg. 1:30).
double city, a town of Naphali, assigned to the Gershonite
Levites, and one of the cities of refuge (Josh. 21:32). It was
probably near the north-western shore of the Sea of Tiberias,
identical with the ruined village el-Katanah.
beginnings; easternmost, a city of Reuben, assigned to the
Levites of the family of Merari (Josh. 13:18). It lay not far
north-east of Dibon-gad, east of the Dead Sea.
two heaps, a city of Ephraim, assigned to the Kohathite Levites,
and appointed as a city of refuge (Josh. 21: 22). It is also
called Jokmeam (1 Chr. 6:68).
pasture, a city in Zebulun on the border of Issachar (Josh.
19:15), the same as Nahalol (Judg. 1:30). It was given to the
Levites. It has been by some identified with Malul in the plain
of Esdraelon, 4 miles from Nazareth.
Water of purification
used in cases of ceremonial cleansings at the consecration of
the Levites (Num. 8:7). It signified, figuratively, that
purifying of the heart which must characterize the servants of
regarded by Jehovah. (1.) Merarite Levite (1 Chr. 6:45; 9:14).
(2.) A son of Jeduthun (25:3, 19). (3.) Son of Kemuel (26:30).
(4.) One of the chief Levites (2 Chr. 35:9). (5.) A Levite (Neh.
11:22). (6.) One of the chief priests in the time of Ezra (Ezra
8:24). (7.) A chief of the Levites (Neh. 12:24). (8.) Ezra 8:19.
(9.) Neh. 3:17.
gathered by the people, (Josh. 19:11; 21:34), a city "of Carmel"
(12:22), i.e., on Carmel, allotted with its suburbs to the
Merarite Levites. It is the modern Tell Kaimon, about 12 miles
south-west of Nazareth, on the south of the river Kishon.
sad; bitter, the youngest son of Levi, born before the descent
of Jacob into Egypt, and one of the seventy who accompanied him
thither (Gen. 46:11; Ex. 6:16). He became the head of one of the
great divisions of the Levites (Ex. 6:19). (See MERARITES
The Nazarites were forbidden to make use of the razor (Num. 6:5;
Judg. 13:5). At their consecration the Levites were shaved all
over with a razor (Num. 8:7; comp. Ps. 52:2; Ezek. 5:1).
snatched away by God. (1.) A descendant of Benjamin (1 Chr.
(2.) One of the Levites who took part in praising God on the
removal of the ark to Jerusalem (1 Chr. 16:5).
(3.) 2 Chr. 29:13. A Levite of the sons of Asaph.
(4.) 2 Chr. 26:11. A scribe.
(5.) 1 Chr. 5:7. A Reubenite chief.
(6.) One of the chief Levites, who made an offering for the
restoration of the Passover by Josiah (2 Chr. 35:9).
(7.) Ezra 8:13.
(8.) Ezra 10:43.
the name given to the hereditary temple servants in all the
post-Exilian books of Scripture. The word means given, i.e.,
"those set apart", viz., to the menial work of the sanctuary for
the Levites. The name occurs seventeen times, and in each case
in the Authorized Version incorrectly terminates in "s",
"Nethinims;" in the Revised Version, correctly without the "s"
(Ezra 2:70; 7:7, 24; 8:20, etc.). The tradition is that the
Gibeonites (Josh. 9:27) were the original caste, afterwards
called Nethinim. Their numbers were added to afterwards from
captives taken in battle; and they were formally given by David
to the Levites (Ezra 8:20), and so were called Nethinim, i.e.,
the given ones, given to the Levites to be their servants. Only
612 Nethinim returned from Babylon (Ezra 2:58; 8:20). They were
under the control of a chief from among themselves (2:43; Neh.
7:46). No reference to them appears in the New Testament,
because it is probable that they became merged in the general
body of the Jewish people.
God's living one. (1.) The father of Gibeon (1 Chr. 9:35).
(2.) One of David's guard (1 Chr. 11:44).
(3.) One of the Levites "of the second degree," appointed to
conduct the music on the occasion of the ark's being removed to
Jerusalem (1 Chr. 15:18, 20).
(4.) A Hachmonite, a tutor in the family of David toward the
close of his reign (1 Chr. 27:32).
(5.) The second of Jehoshaphat's six sons (2 Chr. 21:2).
(6.) One of the Levites of the family of Heman who assisted
Hezekiah in his work of reformation (2 Chr. 29:14).
(7.) A "prince" and "ruler of the house of God" who
contributed liberally to the renewal of the temple sacrifices
under Josiah (2 Chr. 35:8).
(8.) The father of Obadiah (Ezra 8:9).
(9.) One of the "sons" of Elam (Ezra 10:26).
(10.) Ezra 10:21.
the lion of God. (1.) One of the chief men sent by Ezra to
procure Levites for the sanctuary (Ezra 8:16).
(2.) A symbolic name for Jerusalem (Isa. 29:1, 2, 7) as
"victorious under God," and in Ezek. 43:15, 16, for the altar
(marg., Heb. 'ariel) of burnt offerings, the secret of Israel's
merciful. (1.) A Benjamite (1 Chr. 8:23). (2.) One of David's
heroes (1 Chr. 11:43). (3.) Jer. 35:4. (4.) A descendant of Saul
(1 Chr. 8:38). (5.) One of the Nethinim (Ezra 2:46). (6.) One of
the Levites who assisted Ezra (Neh. 8:7). (7.) One of the chiefs
who subscribed the covenant (Neh. 10:22).
the descendants of Kohath. They formed the first of the three
divisions of the Levites (Ex. 6:16, 18; Num. 3:17). In the
journeyings of the Israelites they had the charge of the most
holy portion of the vessels of the tabernacle, including the ark
(Num. 4). Their place in the marching and encampment was south
of the tabernacle (Num. 3:29, 31). Their numbers at different
times are specified (3:28; 4:36; 26:57, 62). Samuel was of this
a gate-keeper (2 Sam. 18:26; 2 Kings 7:10; 1 Chr. 9:21; 2 Chr.
8:14). Of the Levites, 4,000 were appointed as porters by David
(1 Chr. 23:5), who were arranged according to their families
(26:1-19) to take charge of the doors and gates of the temple.
They were sometimes employed as musicians (1 Chr. 15:18).
a sandy place, an ancient royal city of the Canaanites, on the
south-western border of the plain of Esdraelon, 4 miles south of
Megiddo. Its king was conquered by Joshua (12:21). It was
assigned to the Levites of the family of Kohath (17:11-18;
21:25). It is mentioned in the song of Deborah (Judg. 5:19). It
is identified with the small modern village of Ta'annuk.
Jehovah has made perfect. (1.) The son of Shaphan, and one of
the Levites of the temple in the time of Jehoiakim (Jer. 36:10;
2 Kings 22:12). Baruch read aloud to the people from Gemariah's
chamber, and again in the hearing of Gemariah and other scribes,
the prophecies of Jeremiah (Jer. 36:11-20), which filled him
with terror. He joined with others in entreating the king not to
destroy the roll of the prophecies which Baruch had read
(2.) The son of Hilkiah, who accompanied Shaphan with the
tribute-money from Zedekiah to Nebuchadnezzar, and was the
bearer at the same time of a letter from Jeremiah to the Jewish
captives at Babylon (Jer. 29:3, 4).
he (God) helps, a city of the Amorites on the east of Jordan,
and assigned, with neighbouring places in Gilead, to Gad (Num.
32:1, 35; Josh. 13:25). It was allotted to the Merarite Levites
(21:39). In David's time it was occupied by the Hebronites,
i.e., the descendants of Kohath (1 Chr. 26:31). It is mentioned
in the "burdens" proclaimed over Moab (Isa. 16:8, 9; Jer.
48:32). Its site is marked by the modern ruin called Sar or
Seir, about 10 miles west of Amman, and 12 from Heshbon. "The
vineyards that once covered the hill-sides are gone; and the
wild Bedawin from the eastern desert make cultivation of any
trodden down (called also Jahaza, Josh. 13:18; Jahazah, 21:36;
Jahzah, 1 Chr. 6:78), a town where Sihon was defeated, in the
borders of Moab and in the land of the Ammonites beyond Jordan,
and north of the river Arnon (Num. 21:23; Deut. 2:32). It was
situated in the tribe of Reuben, and was assigned to the
Merarite Levites (Josh. 13:18; 21:36). Here was fought the
decisive battle in which Sihon (q.v.) was completely routed, and
his territory (the modern Belka) came into the possession of
Israel. This town is mentioned in the denunciations of the
prophets against Moab (Isa. 15:4; Jer. 48:34).
the Lord is my strength. (1.) The son of Bukki, and a descendant
of Aaron (1 Chr. 6:5, 51; Ezra 7:4).
(2.) A grandson of Issachar (1 Chr. 7:2, 3).
(3.) A son of Bela, and grandson of Benjamin (1 Chr. 7:7).
(4.) A Benjamite, a chief in the tribe (1 Chr. 9:8).
(5.) A son of Bani. He had the oversight of the Levites after
the return from captivity (Neh. 11:22).
(6.) The head of the house of Jedaiah, one of "the chief of
the priests" (Neh. 12:19).
(7.) A priest who assisted in the dedication of the walls of
Jerusalem (Neh. 12:42).
stony. (1.) A mountain 3,076 feet above the level of the sea,
and 1,200 feet above the level of the valley, on the north side
of which stood the city of Shechem (q.v.). On this mountain six
of the tribes (Deut. 27:12,13) were appointed to take their
stand and respond according to a prescribed form to the
imprecations uttered in the valley, where the law was read by
the Levites (11:29; 29:4, 13). This mountain was also the site
of the first great altar erected to Jehovah (Deut. 27:5-8; Josh.
8:30-35). After this the name of Ebal does not again occur in
Jewish history. (See GERIZIM ¯T0001465.)
(2.) A descendant of Eber (1 Chr. 1:22), called also Obal
(3.) A descendant of Seir the Horite (Gen. 36:23).
fountain of gardens. (1.) A town in the plains of Judah (Josh.
15:34), north-west of Jerusalem, between Zanoah and Tappuah. It
is the modern Umm Jina.
(2.) A city on the border of Machar (Josh. 19:21), allotted to
the Gershonite Levites (21:29). It is identified with the modern
Jenin, a large and prosperous town of about 4,000 inhabitants,
situated 15 miles south of Mount Tabor, through which the road
from Jezreel to Samaria and Jerusalem passes. When Ahaziah, king
of Judah, attempted to escape from Jehu, he "fled by the way of
the garden house" i.e., by way of En-gannim. Here he was
overtaken by Jehu and wounded in his chariot, and turned aside
and fled to Megiddo, a distance of about 20 miles, to die there.
a precipice, an ancient royal Canaanitish city (Josh. 10:33;
12:12). It was allotted with its suburbs to the Kohathite
Levites (21:21; 1 Chr. 6:67). It stood between the lower
Beth-horon and the sea (Josh. 16:3; 1 Kings 9:17). It was the
last point to which David pursued the Philistines (2 Sam. 5:25;
1 Chr. 14:16) after the battle of Baal-perazim. The Canaanites
retained possession of it till the time of Solomon, when the
king of Egypt took it and gave it to Solomon as a part of the
dowry of the Egyptian princess whom he married (1 Kings
9:15-17). It is identified with Tell el-Jezer, about 10 miles
south-west of Beth-horon. It is mentioned in the Amarna tablets.
praise, the name given to the group of Psalms 113-118, which are
preeminently psalms of praise. It is called "The Egyptian
Hallel," because it was chanted in the temple whilst the
Passover lambs were being slain. It was chanted also on other
festival occasions, as at Pentecost, the feast of Tabernacles,
and the feast of Dedication. The Levites, standing before the
altar, chanted it verse by verse, the people responding by
repeating the verses or by intoned hallelujahs. It was also
chanted in private families at the feast of Passover. This was
probably the hymn which our Saviour and his disciples sung at
the conclusion of the Passover supper kept by them in the upper
room at Jerusalem (Matt. 26:30; Mark 14:26).
There is also another group called "The Great Hallel,"
comprehending Psalms 118-136, which was recited on the first
evening at the Passover supper and on occasions of great joy.
the work of Jehovah. (1.) One of the Levites whom David
appointed as porter for the ark (1 Chr. 15:18, 20).
(2.) One of the "captains of hundreds" associated with
Jehoiada in restoring king Jehoash to the throne (2 Chr. 23:1).
(3.) The "king's son," probably one of the sons of king Ahaz,
killed by Zichri in the invasion of Judah by Pekah, king of
Israel (2 Chr. 28:7).
(4.) One who was sent by king Josiah to repair the temple (2
Chr. 34:8). He was governor (Heb. sar, rendered elsewhere in the
Authorized Version "prince," "chief captain," chief ruler") of
(5.) The father of the priest Zephaniah (Jer. 21:1; 37:3).
(6.) The father of the false prophet Zedekiah (Jer. 29:21).
Maase'iah, refuge is Jehovah, a priest, the father of Neriah
(Jer. 32:12; 51:59).
befriended. (1.) One of the chief Gadites in Bashan in the time
of Jotham (1 Chr. 5:13).
(2.) Grandfather of Shaphan, "the scribe," in the reign of
Josiah (2 Kings 22:3).
(3.) A priest, father of Hilkiah (1 Chr. 9:11; Neh. 11:11), in
the reign of Ammon; called Shallum in 1 Chr. 6:12.
(4.) A Levite of the family of Kohath (2 Chr. 34:12), in the
reign of Josiah.
(5.) 1 Chr. 8:17.
(6.) 1 Chr. 3:19.
(7.) Neh. 12:13.
(8.) A chief priest (Neh. 12:16).
(9.) One of the leading Levites in the time of Ezra (8:16).
(10.) A priest (1 Chr. 9:12).
(11.) One of the principal Israelites who supported Ezra when
expounding the law to the people (Neh. 8:4).
(1.) Lev. 11:35. Probably a cooking furnace for two or more
pots, as the Hebrew word here is in the dual number; or perhaps
a fire-place fitted to receive a pair of ovens.
(2.) 2 Kings 11:8. A Hebrew word is here used different from
the preceding, meaning "ranks of soldiers." The Levites were
appointed to guard the king's person within the temple (2 Chr.
23:7), while the soldiers were his guard in the court, and in
going from the temple to the palace. The soldiers are here
commanded to slay any one who should break through the "ranks"
(as rendered in the R.V.) to come near the king. In 2 Kings
11:15 the expression, "Have her forth without the ranges," is in
the Revised Version, "Have her forth between the ranks;" i.e.,
Jehoiada orders that Athaliah should be kept surrounded by his
own guards, and at the same time conveyed beyond the precincts
of the temple.
whom Jehovah helps. (1.) Son of Ethan, of the tribe of Judah (1
(2.) Son of Ahimaaz, who succeeded his grandfather Zadok as
high priest (1 Chr. 6:9; 1 Kings 4:2) in the days of Solomon. He
officiated at the consecration of the temple (1 Chr. 6:10).
(3.) The son of Johanan, high priest in the reign of Abijah
and Asa (2 Chr. 6:10, 11).
(4.) High priest in the reign of Uzziah, king of Judah (2
Kings 14:21; 2 Chr. 26:17-20). He was contemporary with the
prophets Isaiah, Amos, and Joel.
(5.) High priest in the days of Hezekiah (2 Chr. 31:10-13). Of
the house of Zadok.
(6.) Several other priests and Levites of this name are
mentioned (1 Chr. 6:36; Ezra 7:1; 1 Chr. 9:11; Neh. 3:23, etc.).
(7.) The original name of Abed-nego (Dan. 1:6, 7, 11, 16). He
was of the royal family of Judah, and with his other two
companions remarkable for his personal beauty and his
intelligence as well as piety.
(8.) The son of Oded, a remarkable prophet in the days of Asa
(2 Chr. 15:1). He stirred up the king and the people to a great
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).
First-born, Redemption of
From the beginning the office of the priesthood in each family
belonged to the eldest son. But when the extensive plan of
sacrificial worship was introduced, requiring a company of men
to be exclusively devoted to this ministry, the primitive office
of the first-born was superseded by that of the Levites (Num.
3:11-13), and it was ordained that the first-born of man and of
unclean animals should henceforth be redeemed (18:15).
The laws concerning this redemption of the first-born of man
are recorded in Ex. 13:12-15; 22:29; 34:20; Num. 3:45; 8:17;
18:16; Lev. 12:2, 4.
The first-born male of every clean animal was to be given up
to the priest for sacrifice (Deut. 12:6; Ex. 13:12; 34:20; Num.
But the first-born of unclean animals was either to be
redeemed or sold and the price given to the priest (Lev.
27:11-13, 27). The first-born of an ass, if not redeemed, was to
be put to death (Ex. 13:13; 34:20).
portion of Jehovah. (1.) 1 Chr. 6:54. (2.) 1 Chr. 26:11. (3.)
The father of Eliakim (2 Kings 18:18, 26, 37). (4.) The father
of Gemariah (Jer. 29:3). (5.) The father of the prophet Jeremiah
(6.) The high priest in the reign of Josiah (1 Chr. 6:13; Ezra
7:1). To him and his deputy (2 Kings 23:5), along with the
ordinary priests and the Levites who had charge of the gates,
was entrusted the purification of the temple in Jerusalem. While
this was in progress, he discovered in some hidden corner of the
building a book called the "book of the law" (2 Kings 22:8) and
the "book of the covenant" (23:2). Some have supposed that this
"book" was nothing else than the original autograph copy of the
Pentateuch written by Moses (Deut. 31:9-26). This remarkable
discovery occurred in the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign
(B.C. 624), a discovery which permanently affected the whole
subsequent history of Israel. (See JOSIAH ¯T0002116; SHAPHAN
(7.) Neh. 12:7. (8.) Neh. 8:4.
sanctuary. (1.) A place in the extreme south of Judah (Josh.
15:23). Probably the same as Kadesh-barnea (q.v.).
(2.) A city of Issachar (1 Chr. 6:72). Possibly Tell Abu
Kadeis, near Lejjun.
(3.) A "fenced city" of Naphtali, one of the cities of refuge
(Josh. 19:37; Judg. 4:6). It was assigned to the Gershonite
Levites (Josh. 21:32). It was originally a Canaanite royal city
(Josh. 12:22), and was the residence of Barak (Judg. 4:6); and
here he and Deborah assembled the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali
before the commencement of the conflict with Sisera in the plain
of Esdraelon, "for Jehovah among the mighty" (9, 10). In the
reign of Pekah it was taken by Tiglath-Pileser (2 Kings 15:29).
It was situated near the "plain" (rather "the oak") of Zaanaim,
and has been identified with the modern Kedes, on the hills
fully four miles north-west of Lake El Huleh.
It has been supposed by some that the Kedesh of the narrative,
where Barak assembled his troops, was not the place in Upper
Galilee so named, which was 30 miles distant from the plain of
Esdraelon, but Kedish, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, 12
miles from Tabor.
one who serves, as distinguished from the master. (1.) Heb.
meshereth, applied to an attendant on one of superior rank, as
to Joshua, the servant of Moses (Ex. 33:11), and to the servant
of Elisha (2 Kings 4:43). This name is also given to attendants
at court (2 Chr. 22:8), and to the priests and Levites (Jer.
33:21; Ezek. 44:11).
(2.) Heb. pelah (Ezra 7:24), a "minister" of religion. Here
used of that class of sanctuary servants called "Solomon's
servants" in Ezra 2:55-58 and Neh. 7:57-60.
(3.) Greek leitourgos, a subordinate public administrator, and
in this sense applied to magistrates (Rom. 13:6). It is applied
also to our Lord (Heb. 8:2), and to Paul in relation to Christ
(4.) Greek hyperetes (literally, "under-rower"), a personal
attendant on a superior, thus of the person who waited on the
officiating priest in the synagogue (Luke 4:20). It is applied
also to John Mark, the attendant on Paul and Barnabas (Acts
(5.) Greek diaconos, usually a subordinate officer or
assistant employed in relation to the ministry of the gospel, as
to Paul and Apollos (1 Cor. 3:5), Tychicus (Eph. 6:21), Epaphras
(Col. 1:7), Timothy (1 Thess. 3:2), and also to Christ (Rom.
Nehemiah, Book of
The author of this book was no doubt Nehemiah himself. There are
portions of the book written in the first person (ch. 1-7;
12:27-47, and 13). But there are also portions of it in which
Nehemiah is spoken of in the third person (ch. 8; 9; 10). It is
supposed that these portions may have been written by Ezra; of
this, however, there is no distinct evidence. These portions had
their place assigned them in the book, there can be no doubt, by
Nehemiah. He was the responsible author of the whole book, with
the exception of ch. 12:11, 22, 23.
The date at which the book was written was probably about B.C.
431-430, when Nehemiah had returned the second time to Jerusalem
after his visit to Persia.
The book, which may historically be regarded as a continuation
of the book of Ezra, consists of four parts. (1.) An account of
the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, and of the register
Nehemiah had found of those who had returned from Babylon (ch.
1-7). (2.) An account of the state of religion among the Jews
during this time (8-10). (3.) Increase of the inhabitants of
Jerusalem; the census of the adult male population, and names of
the chiefs, together with lists of priests and Levites
(11-12:1-26). (4.) Dedication of the wall of Jerusalem, the
arrangement of the temple officers, and the reforms carried out
by Nehemiah (12:27-ch. 13).
This book closes the history of the Old Testament. Malachi the
prophet was contemporary with Nehemiah.
whom Jehovah heard. (1.) A prophet in the reign of Rehoboam (1
(2.) Neh. 3:29.
(3.) A Simeonite (1 Chr. 4:37).
(4.) A priest (Neh. 12:42).
(5.) A Levite (1 Chr. 9:16).
(6.) 1 Chr. 9:14; Neh. 11:15.
(7.) A Levite in the time of David, who with 200 of his
brethren took part in the bringing up of the ark from Obed-edom
to Hebron (1 Chr. 15:8).
(8.) A Levite (1 Chr. 24:6).
(9.) The eldest son of Obed-edom (1 Chr. 26:4-8).
(10.) A Levite (2 Chr. 29:14).
(11.) A false prophet who hindered the rebuilding of Jerusalem
(12.) A prince of Judah who assisted at the dedication of the
wall of Jerusalem (Neh. 12:34-36).
(13.) A false prophet who opposed Jeremiah (Jer. 29:24-32).
(14.) One of the Levites whom Jehoshaphat appointed to teach
the law (2 Chr. 17:8).
(15.) A Levite appointed to "distribute the oblations of the
Lord" (2 Chr. 31:15).
(16.) A Levite (2 Chr. 35:9).
(17.) The father of Urijah the prophet (Jer. 26:20).
(18.) The father of a prince in the reign of Jehoiakim (Jer.
delight. (1.) The garden in which our first parents dewlt (Gen.
2:8-17). No geographical question has been so much discussed as
that bearing on its site. It has been placed in Armenia, in the
region west of the Caspian Sea, in Media, near Damascus, in
Israel, in Southern Arabia, and in Babylonia. The site must
undoubtedly be sought for somewhere along the course of the
great streams the Tigris and the Euphrates of Western Asia, in
"the land of Shinar" or Babylonia. The region from about lat. 33
degrees 30' to lat. 31 degrees, which is a very rich and fertile
tract, has been by the most competent authorities agreed on as
the probable site of Eden. "It is a region where streams abound,
where they divide and re-unite, where alone in the Mesopotamian
tract can be found the phenomenon of a single river parting into
four arms, each of which is or has been a river of consequence."
Among almost all nations there are traditions of the primitive
innocence of our race in the garden of Eden. This was the
"golden age" to which the Greeks looked back. Men then lived a
"life free from care, and without labour and sorrow. Old age was
unknown; the body never lost its vigour; existence was a
perpetual feast without a taint of evil. The earth brought forth
spontaneously all things that were good in profuse abundance."
(2.) One of the markets whence the merchants of Tyre obtained
richly embroidered stuffs (Ezek. 27:23); the same, probably, as
that mentioned in 2 Kings 19:12, and Isa. 37:12, as the name of
a region conquered by the Assyrians.
(3.) Son of Joah, and one of the Levites who assisted in
reforming the public worship of the sanctuary in the time of
Hezekiah (2 Chr. 29:12).
two camps, a place near the Jabbok, beyond Jordan, where Jacob
was met by the "angels of God," and where he divided his retinue
into "two hosts" on his return from Padan-aram (Gen. 32:2). This
name was afterwards given to the town which was built at that
place. It was the southern boundary of Bashan (Josh. 13:26, 30),
and became a city of the Levites (21:38). Here Saul's son
Ishbosheth reigned (2 Sam. 2:8, 12), while David reigned at
Hebron. Here also, after a troubled reign, Ishbosheth was
murdered by two of his own bodyguard (2 Sam. 4:5-7), who brought
his head to David at Hebron, but were, instead of being
rewarded, put to death by him for their cold-blooded murder.
Many years after this, when he fled from Jerusalem on the
rebellion of his son Absalom, David made Mahanaim, where
Barzillai entertained him, his headquarters, and here he
mustered his forces which were led against the army that had
gathered around Absalom. It was while sitting at the gate of
this town that tidings of the great and decisive battle between
the two hosts and of the death of his son Absalom reached him,
when he gave way to the most violent grief (2 Sam. 17:24-27).
The only other reference to Mahanaim is as a station of one of
Solomon's purveyors (1 Kings 4:14). It has been identified with
the modern Mukhumah, a ruin found in a depressed plain called
el-Bukie'a, "the little vale," near Penuel, south of the Jabbok,
and north-east of es-Salt.
anciently held various important offices in the public affairs
of the nation. The Hebrew word so rendered (sopher) is first
used to designate the holder of some military office (Judg.
5:14; A.V., "pen of the writer;" R.V., "the marshal's staff;"
marg., "the staff of the scribe"). The scribes acted as
secretaries of state, whose business it was to prepare and issue
decrees in the name of the king (2 Sam. 8:17; 20:25; 1 Chr.
18:16; 24:6; 1 Kings 4:3; 2 Kings 12:9-11; 18:18-37, etc.). They
discharged various other important public duties as men of high
authority and influence in the affairs of state.
There was also a subordinate class of scribes, most of whom
were Levites. They were engaged in various ways as writers.
Such, for example, was Baruch, who "wrote from the mouth of
Jeremiah all the words of the Lord" (Jer. 36:4, 32).
In later times, after the Captivity, when the nation lost its
independence, the scribes turned their attention to the law,
gaining for themselves distinction by their intimate
acquaintance with its contents. On them devolved the duty of
multiplying copies of the law and of teaching it to others (Ezra
7:6, 10-12; Neh. 8:1, 4, 9, 13). It is evident that in New
Testament times the scribes belonged to the sect of the
Pharisees, who supplemented the ancient written law by their
traditions (Matt. 23), thereby obscuring it and rendering it of
none effect. The titles "scribes" and "lawyers" (q.v.) are in
the Gospels interchangeable (Matt. 22:35; Mark 12:28; Luke
20:39, etc.). They were in the time of our Lord the public
teachers of the people, and frequently came into collision with
him. They afterwards showed themselves greatly hostile to the
apostles (Acts 4:5; 6:12).
Some of the scribes, however, were men of a different spirit,
and showed themselves friendly to the gospel and its preachers.
Thus Gamaliel advised the Sanhedrin, when the apostles were
before them charged with "teaching in this name," to "refrain
from these men and let them alone" (Acts 5:34-39; comp. 23:9).
a tenth of the produce of the earth consecrated and set apart
for special purposes. The dedication of a tenth to God was
recognized as a duty before the time of Moses. Abraham paid
tithes to Melchizedek (Gen. 14:20; Heb. 7:6); and Jacob vowed
unto the Lord and said, "Of all that thou shalt give me I will
surely give the tenth unto thee."
The first Mosaic law on this subject is recorded in Lev.
27:30-32. Subsequent legislation regulated the destination of
the tithes (Num. 18:21-24, 26-28; Deut. 12:5, 6, 11, 17; 14:22,
23). The paying of the tithes was an important part of the
Jewish religious worship. In the days of Hezekiah one of the
first results of the reformation of religion was the eagerness
with which the people brought in their tithes (2 Chr. 31:5, 6).
The neglect of this duty was sternly rebuked by the prophets
(Amos 4:4; Mal. 3:8-10). It cannot be affirmed that the Old
Testament law of tithes is binding on the Christian Church,
nevertheless the principle of this law remains, and is
incorporated in the gospel (1 Cor. 9:13, 14); and if, as is the
case, the motive that ought to prompt to liberality in the cause
of religion and of the service of God be greater now than in Old
Testament times, then Christians outght to go beyond the ancient
Hebrew in consecrating both themselves and their substance to
Every Jew was required by the Levitical law to pay three
tithes of his property (1) one tithe for the Levites; (2) one
for the use of the temple and the great feasts; and (3) one for
the poor of the land.
(1.) Heb. sar (1 Sam. 22:2; 2 Sam. 23:19). Rendered "chief,"
Gen. 40:2; 41:9; rendered also "prince," Dan. 1:7; "ruler,"
Judg. 9:30; "governor,' 1 Kings 22:26. This same Hebrew word
denotes a military captain (Ex. 18:21; 2 Kings 1:9; Deut. 1:15;
1 Sam. 18:13, etc.), the "captain of the body-guard" (Gen.
37:36; 39:1; 41:10; Jer. 40:1), or, as the word may be rendered,
"chief of the executioners" (marg.). The officers of the king's
body-guard frequently acted as executioners. Nebuzar-adan (Jer.
39:13) and Arioch (Dan. 2:14) held this office in Babylon.
The "captain of the guard" mentioned in Acts 28:16 was the
Praetorian prefect, the commander of the Praetorian troops.
(2.) Another word (Heb. katsin) so translated denotes
sometimes a military (Josh. 10:24; Judg. 11:6, 11; Isa. 22:3
"rulers;" Dan. 11:18) and sometimes a civil command, a judge,
magistrate, Arab. _kady_, (Isa. 1:10; 3:6; Micah 3:1, 9).
(3.) It is also the rendering of a Hebrew word (shalish)
meaning "a third man," or "one of three." The LXX. render in
plural by _tristatai_; i.e., "soldiers fighting from chariots,"
so called because each war-chariot contained three men, one of
whom acted as charioteer while the other two fought (Ex. 14:7;
15:4; 1 Kings 9:22; comp. 2 Kings 9:25). This word is used also
to denote the king's body-guard (2 Kings 10:25; 1 Chr. 12:18; 2
Chr. 11:11) or aides-de-camp.
(4.) The "captain of the temple" mentioned in Acts 4:1 and
5:24 was not a military officer, but superintendent of the guard
of priests and Levites who kept watch in the temple by night.
(Comp. "the ruler of the house of God," 1 Chr. 9:11; 2 Chr.
31:13; Neh. 11:11.)
(5.) The Captain of our salvation is a name given to our Lord
(Heb. 2:10), because he is the author and source of our
salvation, the head of his people, whom he is conducting to
glory. The "captain of the Lord's host" (Josh. 5:14, 15) is the
name given to that mysterious person who manifested himself to
Abraham (Gen. 12:7), and to Moses in the bush (Ex. 3:2, 6, etc.)
the Angel of the covenant. (See ANGEL ¯T0000240.)
The earliest mention of city-building is that of Enoch, which
was built by Cain (Gen. 4:17). After the confusion of tongues,
the descendants of Nimrod founded several cities (10:10-12).
Next, we have a record of the cities of the Canaanites, Sidon,
Gaza, Sodom, etc. (10:12, 19; 11:3, 9; 36:31-39). The earliest
description of a city is that of Sodom (19:1-22). Damascus is
said to be the oldest existing city in the world. Before the
time of Abraham there were cities in Egypt (Num. 13:22). The
Israelites in Egypt were employed in building the "treasure
cities" of Pithom and Raamses (Ex. 1:11); but it does not seem
that they had any cities of their own in Goshen (Gen. 46:34;
47:1-11). In the kingdom of Og in Bashan there were sixty "great
cities with walls," and twenty-three cities in Gilead partly
rebuilt by the tribes on the east of Jordan (Num. 21:21, 32, 33,
35; 32:1-3, 34-42; Deut. 3:4, 5, 14; 1 Kings 4:13). On the west
of Jordan were thirty-one "royal cities" (Josh. 12), besides
many others spoken of in the history of Israel.
A fenced city was a city surrounded by fortifications and high
walls, with watch-towers upon them (2 Chr. 11:11; Deut. 3:5).
There was also within the city generally a tower to which the
citizens might flee when danger threatened them (Judg. 9:46-52).
A city with suburbs was a city surrounded with open
pasture-grounds, such as the forty-eight cities which were given
to the Levites (Num. 35:2-7). There were six cities of refuge,
three on each side of Jordan, namely, Kadesh, Shechem, Hebron,
on the west of Jordan; and on the east, Bezer, Ramoth-gilead,
and Golan. The cities on each side of the river were nearly
opposite each other. The regulations concerning these cities are
given in Num. 35:9-34; Deut. 19:1-13; Ex. 21:12-14.
When David reduced the fortress of the Jebusites which stood
on Mount Zion, he built on the site of it a palace and a city,
which he called by his own name (1 Chr. 11:5), the city of
David. Bethlehem is also so called as being David's native town
Jerusalem is called the Holy City, the holiness of the temple
being regarded as extending in some measure over the whole city
Pithom and Raamses, built by the Israelites as "treasure
cities," were not places where royal treasures were kept, but
were fortified towns where merchants might store their goods and
transact their business in safety, or cities in which munitions
of war were stored. (See PITHOM ¯T0002968.)
a descendant of the tribe of Levi (Ex. 6:25; Lev. 25:32; Num.
35:2; Josh. 21:3, 41). This name is, however, generally used as
the title of that portion of the tribe which was set apart for
the subordinate offices of the sanctuary service (1 Kings 8:4;
Ezra 2:70), as assistants to the priests.
When the Israelites left Egypt, the ancient manner of worship
was still observed by them, the eldest son of each house
inheriting the priest's office. At Sinai the first change in
this ancient practice was made. A hereditary priesthood in the
family of Aaron was then instituted (Ex. 28:1). But it was not
till that terrible scene in connection with the sin of the
golden calf that the tribe of Levi stood apart and began to
occupy a distinct position (Ex. 32). The religious primogeniture
was then conferred on this tribe, which henceforth was devoted
to the service of the sanctuary (Num. 3:11-13). They were
selected for this purpose because of their zeal for the glory of
God (Ex. 32:26), and because, as the tribe to which Moses and
Aaron belonged, they would naturally stand by the lawgiver in
The Levitical order consisted of all the descendants of Levi's
three sons, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari; whilst Aaron, Amram's
son (Amram, son of Kohat), and his issue constituted the
The age and qualification for Levitical service are specified
in Num. 4:3, 23, 30, 39, 43, 47.
They were not included among the armies of Israel (Num. 1:47;
2:33; 26:62), but were reckoned by themselves. They were the
special guardians of the tabernacle (Num. 1:51; 18:22-24). The
Gershonites pitched their tents on the west of the tabernacle
(3:23), the Kohathites on the south (3:29), the Merarites on the
north (3:35), and the priests on the east (3:38). It was their
duty to move the tent and carry the parts of the sacred
structure from place to place. They were given to Aaron and his
sons the priests to wait upon them and do work for them at the
sanctuary services (Num. 8:19; 18:2-6).
As being wholly consecrated to the service of the Lord, they
had no territorial possessions. Jehovah was their inheritance
(Num. 18:20; 26:62; Deut. 10:9; 18:1, 2), and for their support
it was ordained that they should receive from the other tribes
the tithes of the produce of the land. Forty-eight cities also
were assigned to them, thirteen of which were for the priests
"to dwell in", i.e., along with their other inhabitants. Along
with their dwellings they had "suburbs", i.e., "commons", for
their herds and flocks, and also fields and vineyards (Num.
35:2-5). Nine of these cities were in Judah, three in Naphtali,
and four in each of the other tribes (Josh. 21). Six of the
Levitical cities were set apart as "cities of refuge" (q.v.).
Thus the Levites were scattered among the tribes to keep alive
among them the knowledge and service of God. (See PRIEST
(1.) Heb. nagid, a prominent, conspicuous person, whatever his
capacity: as, chief of the royal palace (2 Chr. 28:7; comp. 1
Kings 4:6), chief of the temple (1 Chr. 9:11; Jer. 20:1), the
leader of the Aaronites (1 Chr. 12:27), keeper of the sacred
treasury (26:24), captain of the army (13:1), the king (1 Sam.
9:16), the Messiah (Dan. 9:25).
(2.) Heb. nasi, raised; exalted. Used to denote the chiefs of
families (Num. 3:24, 30, 32, 35); also of tribes (2:3; 7:2;
3:32). These dignities appear to have been elective, not
(3.) Heb. pakid, an officer or magistrate. It is used of the
delegate of the high priest (2 Chr. 24:11), the Levites (Neh.
11:22), a military commander (2 Kings 25:19), Joseph's officers
in Egypt (Gen. 41:34).
(4.) Heb. shallit, one who has power, who rules (Gen. 42:6;
Ezra 4:20; Eccl. 8:8; Dan. 2:15; 5:29).
(5.) Heb. aluph, literally one put over a thousand, i.e., a
clan or a subdivision of a tribe. Used of the "dukes" of Edom
(Gen. 36), and of the Jewish chiefs (Zech. 9:7).
(6.) Heb. moshel, one who rules, holds dominion. Used of many
classes of rulers (Gen. 3:16; 24:2; 45:8; Ps. 105:20); of the
Messiah (Micah 5:2); of God (1 Chr. 29:12; Ps. 103:19).
(7.) Heb. sar, a ruler or chief; a word of very general use.
It is used of the chief baker of Pharaoh (Gen. 40:16); of the
chief butler (40:2, etc. See also Gen. 47:6; Ex. 1:11; Dan. 1:7;
Judg. 10:18; 1 Kings 22:26; 20:15; 2 Kings 1:9; 2 Sam. 24:2). It
is used also of angels, guardian angels (Dan. 10:13, 20, 21;
12:1; 10:13; 8:25).
(8.) Pehah, whence _pasha_, i.e., friend of the king;
adjutant; governor of a province (2 Kings 18:24; Isa. 36:9; Jer.
51: 57; Ezek. 23:6, 23; Dan. 3:2; Esther 3: 12), or a perfect
(Neh. 3:7; 5:14; Ezra 5:3; Hag. 1:1). This is a foreign word,
Assyrian, which was early adopted into the Hebrew idiom (1 Kings
(9.) The Chaldean word _segan_ is applied to the governors of
the Babylonian satrapies (Dan. 3:2, 27; 6:7); the prefects over
the Magi (2:48). The corresponding Hebrew word _segan_ is used
of provincial rulers (Jer. 51:23, 28, 57); also of chiefs and
rulers of the people of Jerusalem (Ezra 9:2; Neh. 2:16; 4:14,
19; 5:7, 17; 7:5; 12:40).
In the New Testament there are also different Greek words
(1.) Meaning an ethnarch (2 Cor. 11:32), which was an office
distinct from military command, with considerable latitude of
(2.) The procurator of Judea under the Romans (Matt. 27:2).
(Comp. Luke 2:2, where the verb from which the Greek word so
rendered is derived is used.)
(3.) Steward (Gal. 4:2).
(4.) Governor of the feast (John 2:9), who appears here to
have been merely an intimate friend of the bridegroom, and to
have presided at the marriage banquet in his stead.
(5.) A director, i.e., helmsman; Lat. gubernator, (James 3:4).
Jehovah-judged. (1.) One of David's body-guard (1 Chr. 11:43).
(2.) One of the priests who accompanied the removal of the ark
to Jerusalem (1 Chr. 15:24).
(3.) Son of Ahilud, "recorder" or annalist under David and
Solomon (2 Sam. 8:16), a state officer of high rank, chancellor
or vizier of the kingdom.
(4.) Solomon's purveyor in Issachar (1 Kings 4:17).
(5.) The son and successor of Asa, king of Judah. After
fortifying his kingdom against Israel (2 Chr. 17:1, 2), he set
himself to cleanse the land of idolatry (1 Kings 22:43). In the
third year of his reign he sent out priests and Levites over the
land to instruct the people in the law (2 Chr. 17:7-9). He
enjoyed a great measure of peace and prosperity, the blessing of
God resting on the people "in their basket and their store."
The great mistake of his reign was his entering into an
alliance with Ahab, the king of Israel, which involved him in
much disgrace, and brought disaster on his kingdom (1 Kings
22:1-33). Escaping from the bloody battle of Ramoth-gilead, the
prophet Jehu (2 Chr. 19:1-3) reproached him for the course he
had been pursuing, whereupon he entered with rigour on his
former course of opposition to all idolatry, and of deepening
interest in the worship of God and in the righteous government
of the people (2 Chr. 19:4-11).
Again he entered into an alliance with Ahaziah, the king of
Israel, for the purpose of carrying on maritime commerce with
Ophir. But the fleet that was then equipped at Ezion-gaber was
speedily wrecked. A new fleet was fitted out without the
co-operation of the king of Israel, and although it was
successful, the trade was not prosecuted (2 Chr. 20:35-37; 1
He subsequently joined Jehoram, king of Israel, in a war
against the Moabites, who were under tribute to Israel. This war
was successful. The Moabites were subdued; but the dreadful act
of Mesha in offering his own son a sacrifice on the walls of
Kir-haresheth in the sight of the armies of Israel filled him
with horror, and he withdrew and returned to his own land (2
The last most notable event of his reign was that recorded in
2 Chr. 20. The Moabites formed a great and powerful confederacy
with the surrounding nations, and came against Jehoshaphat. The
allied forces were encamped at Engedi. The king and his people
were filled with alarm, and betook themselves to God in prayer.
The king prayed in the court of the temple, "O our God, wilt
thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great
company that cometh against us." Amid the silence that followed,
the voice of Jahaziel the Levite was heard announcing that on
the morrow all this great host would be overthrown. So it was,
for they quarrelled among themselves, and slew one another,
leaving to the people of Judah only to gather the rich spoils of
the slain. This was recognized as a great deliverance wrought
for them by God (B.C. 890). Soon after this Jehoshaphat died,
after a reign of twenty-five years, being sixty years of age,
and was succeeded by his son Jehoram (1 Kings 22:50). He had
this testimony, that "he sought the Lord with all his heart" (2
Chr. 22:9). The kingdom of Judah was never more prosperous than
under his reign.
(6.) The son of Nimshi, and father of Jehu, king of Israel (2
Kings 9:2, 14).
Noah's ark, a building of gopher-wood, and covered with pitch,
300 cubits long, 50 cubits broad, and 30 cubits high (Gen.
6:14-16); an oblong floating house of three stories, with a door
in the side and a window in the roof. It was 100 years in
building (Gen. 5:32; 7:6). It was intended to preserve certain
persons and animals from the deluge which God was about to bring
over the earth. It contained eight persons (Gen. 7:13; 2 Pet.
2:5), and of all "clean" animals seven pairs, and of "unclean"
one pair, and of birds seven pairs of each sort (Gen. 7:2, 3).
It was in the form of an oblong square, with flat bottom and
sloping roof. Traditions of the Deluge, by which the race of man
was swept from the earth, and of the ark of Noah have been found
existing among all nations.
The ark of bulrushes in which the infant Moses was laid (Ex.
2:3) is called in the Hebrew _teebah_, a word derived from the
Egyptian _teb_, meaning "a chest." It was daubed with slime and
with pitch. The bulrushes of which it was made were the papyrus
The sacred ark is designated by a different Hebrew word,
_'aron'_, which is the common name for a chest or coffer used
for any purpose (Gen. 50:26; 2 Kings 12:9, 10). It is
distinguished from all others by such titles as the "ark of God"
(1 Sam. 3:3), "ark of the covenant" (Josh. 3:6; Heb. 9:4), "ark
of the testimony" (Ex. 25:22). It was made of acacia or shittim
wood, a cubit and a half broad and high and two cubits long, and
covered all over with the purest gold. Its upper surface or lid,
the mercy-seat, was surrounded with a rim of gold; and on each
of the two sides were two gold rings, in which were placed two
gold-covered poles by which the ark could be carried (Num. 7:9;
10:21; 4:5,19, 20; 1 Kings 8:3, 6). Over the ark, at the two
extremities, were two cherubim, with their faces turned toward
each other (Lev. 16:2; Num. 7:89). Their outspread wings over
the top of the ark formed the throne of God, while the ark
itself was his footstool (Ex. 25:10-22; 37:1-9). The ark was
deposited in the "holy of holies," and was so placed that one
end of the poles by which it was carried touched the veil which
separated the two apartments of the tabernacle (1 Kings 8:8).
The two tables of stone which constituted the "testimony" or
evidence of God's covenant with the people (Deut. 31:26), the
"pot of manna" (Ex. 16:33), and "Aaron's rod that budded" (Num.
17:10), were laid up in the ark (Heb. 9:4). (See TABERNACLE
¯T0003559) The ark and the sanctuary were "the beauty of Israel"
(Lam. 2:1). During the journeys of the Israelites the ark was
carried by the priests in advance of the host (Num. 4:5, 6;
10:33-36; Ps. 68:1; 132:8). It was borne by the priests into the
bed of the Jordan, which separated, opening a pathway for the
whole of the host to pass over (Josh. 3:15, 16; 4:7, 10, 11, 17,
18). It was borne in the procession round Jericho (Josh. 6:4, 6,
8, 11, 12). When carried it was always wrapped in the veil, the
badgers' skins, and blue cloth, and carefully concealed even
from the eyes of the Levites who carried it. After the
settlement of Israel in Israel the ark remained in the
tabernacle at Gilgal for a season, and was then removed to
Shiloh till the time of Eli, between 300 and 400 years (Jer.
7:12), when it was carried into the field of battle so as to
secure, as they supposed, victory to the Hebrews, and was taken
by the Philistines (1 Sam. 4:3-11), who sent it back after
retaining it seven months (1 Sam. 5:7, 8). It remained then at
Kirjath-jearim (7:1,2) till the time of David (twenty years),
who wished to remove it to Jerusalem; but the proper mode of
removing it having been neglected, Uzzah was smitten with death
for putting "forth his hand to the ark of God," and in
consequence of this it was left in the house of Obed-edom in
Gath-rimmon for three months (2 Sam. 6:1-11), at the end of
which time David removed it in a grand procession to Jerusalem,
where it was kept till a place was prepared for it (12-19). It
was afterwards deposited by Solomon in the temple (1 Kings
8:6-9). When the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and plundered
the temple, the ark was probably taken away by Nebuchadnezzar
and destroyed, as no trace of it is afterwards to be found. The
absence of the ark from the second temple was one of the points
in which it was inferior to the first temple.
Chronicles, Books of
The two books were originally one. They bore the title in the
Massoretic Hebrew _Dibre hayyamim_, i.e., "Acts of the Days."
This title was rendered by Jerome in his Latin version
"Chronicon," and hence "Chronicles." In the Septuagint version
the book is divided into two, and bears the title Paraleipomena,
i.e., "things omitted," or "supplements", because containing
many things omitted in the Books of Kings.
The contents of these books are comprehended under four heads.
(1.) The first nine chapters of Book I. contain little more than
a list of genealogies in the line of Israel down to the time of
David. (2.) The remainder of the first book contains a history
of the reign of David. (3.) The first nine chapters of Book II.
contain the history of the reign of Solomon. (4.) The remaining
chapters of the second book contain the history of the separate
kingdom of Judah to the time of the return from Babylonian
The time of the composition of the Chronicles was, there is
every ground to conclude, subsequent to the Babylonian Exile,
probably between 450 and 435 B.C. The contents of this twofold
book, both as to matter and form, correspond closely with this
idea. The close of the book records the proclamation of Cyrus
permitting the Jews to return to their own land, and this forms
the opening passage of the Book of Ezra, which must be viewed as
a continuation of the Chronicles. The peculiar form of the
language, being Aramaean in its general character, harmonizes
also with that of the books which were written after the Exile.
The author was certainly contemporary with Zerubbabel, details
of whose family history are given (1 Chr. 3:19).
The time of the composition being determined, the question of
the authorship may be more easily decided. According to Jewish
tradition, which was universally received down to the middle of
the seventeenth century, Ezra was regarded as the author of the
Chronicles. There are many points of resemblance and of contact
between the Chronicles and the Book of Ezra which seem to
confirm this opinion. The conclusion of the one and the
beginning of the other are almost identical in expression. In
their spirit and characteristics they are the same, showing thus
also an identity of authorship.
In their general scope and design these books are not so much
historical as didactic. The principal aim of the writer appears
to be to present moral and religious truth. He does not give
prominence to political occurences, as is done in Samuel and
Kings, but to ecclesiastical institutions. "The genealogies, so
uninteresting to most modern readers, were really an important
part of the public records of the Hebrew state. They were the
basis on which not only the land was distributed and held, but
the public services of the temple were arranged and conducted,
the Levites and their descendants alone, as is well known, being
entitled and first fruits set apart for that purpose." The
"Chronicles" are an epitome of the sacred history from the days
of Adam down to the return from Babylonian Exile, a period of
about 3,500 years. The writer gathers up "the threads of the old
national life broken by the Captivity."
The sources whence the chronicler compiled his work were
public records, registers, and genealogical tables belonging to
the Jews. These are referred to in the course of the book (1
Chr. 27:24; 29:29; 2 Chr. 9:29; 12:15; 13:22; 20:34; 24:27;
26:22; 32:32; 33:18, 19; 27:7; 35:25). There are in Chronicles,
and the books of Samuel and Kings, forty parallels, often
verbal, proving that the writer both knew and used these records
(1 Chr. 17:18; comp. 2 Sam. 7:18-20; 1 Chr. 19; comp. 2 Sam. 10,
As compared with Samuel and Kings, the Book of Chronicles
omits many particulars there recorded (2 Sam. 6:20-23; 9; 11;
14-19, etc.), and includes many things peculiar to itself (1
Chr. 12; 22; 23-26; 27; 28; 29, etc.). Twenty whole chapters,
and twenty-four parts of chapters, are occupied with matter not
found elsewhere. It also records many things in fuller detail,
as (e.g.) the list of David's heroes (1 Chr. 12:1-37), the
removal of the ark from Kirjath-jearim to Mount Zion (1 Chr. 13;
15:2-24; 16:4-43; comp. 2 Sam. 6), Uzziah's leprosy and its
cause (2 Chr. 26:16-21; comp. 2 Kings 15:5), etc.
It has also been observed that another peculiarity of the book
is that it substitutes modern and more common expressions for
those that had then become unusual or obsolete. This is seen
particularly in the substitution of modern names of places, such
as were in use in the writer's day, for the old names; thus
Gezer (1 Chr. 20:4) is used instead of Gob (2 Sam. 21:18), etc.
The Books of Chronicles are ranked among the _khethubim_ or
hagiographa. They are alluded to, though not directly quoted, in
the New Testament (Heb. 5:4; Matt. 12:42; 23:35; Luke 1:5;
Joshua, The Book of
contains a history of the Israelites from the death of Moses to
that of Joshua. It consists of three parts: (1.) The history of
the conquest of the land (1-12). (2.) The allotment of the land
to the different tribes, with the appointment of cities of
refuge, the provision for the Levites (13-22), and the dismissal
of the eastern tribes to their homes. This section has been
compared to the Domesday Book of the Norman conquest. (3.) The
farewell addresses of Joshua, with an account of his death (23,
This book stands first in the second of the three sections,
(1) the Law, (2) the Prophets, (3) the "other writings" =
Hagiographa, into which the Jewish Church divided the Old
Testament. There is every reason for concluding that the uniform
tradition of the Jews is correct when they assign the authorship
of the book to Joshua, all except the concluding section; the
last verses (24:29-33) were added by some other hand.
There are two difficulties connected with this book which have
given rise to much discussion, (1.) The miracle of the standing
still of the sun and moon on Gibeon. The record of it occurs in
Joshua's impassioned prayer of faith, as quoted (Josh. 10:12-15)
from the "Book of Jasher" (q.v.). There are many explanations
given of these words. They need, however, present no difficulty
if we believe in the possibility of God's miraculous
interposition in behalf of his people. Whether it was caused by
the refraction of the light, or how, we know not.
(2.) Another difficulty arises out of the command given by God
utterly to exterminate the Canaanites. "Shall not the Judge of
all the earth do right?" It is enough that Joshua clearly knew
that this was the will of God, who employs his terrible
agencies, famine, pestilence, and war, in the righteous
government of this world. The Canaanites had sunk into a state
of immorality and corruption so foul and degrading that they had
to be rooted out of the land with the edge of the sword. "The
Israelites' sword, in its bloodiest executions, wrought a work
of mercy for all the countries of the earth to the very end of
This book resembles the Acts of the Apostles in the number and
variety of historical incidents it records, and in its many
references to persons and places; and as in the latter case the
epistles of Paul (see Paley's Horae Paul.) confirm its
historical accuracy by their incidental allusions and
"undesigned coincidences," so in the former modern discoveries
confirm its historicity. The Amarna tablets (see ADONIZEDEC
¯T0000099) are among the most remarkable discoveries of the age.
Dating from about B.C. 1480 down to the time of Joshua, and
consisting of official communications from Amorite, Phoenician,
and Philistine chiefs to the king of Egypt, they afford a
glimpse into the actual condition of Israel prior to the
Hebrew invasion, and illustrate and confirm the history of the
conquest. A letter, also still extant, from a military officer,
"master of the captains of Egypt," dating from near the end of
the reign of Rameses II., gives a curious account of a journey,
probably official, which he undertook through Israel as far
north as to Aleppo, and an insight into the social condition of
the country at that time. Among the things brought to light by
this letter and the Amarna tablets is the state of confusion and
decay that had now fallen on Egypt. The Egyptian garrisons that
had held possession of Israel from the time of Thothmes III.,
some two hundred years before, had now been withdrawn. The way
was thus opened for the Hebrews. In the history of the conquest
there is no mention of Joshua having encountered any Egyptian
force. The tablets contain many appeals to the king of Egypt for
help against the inroads of the Hebrews, but no help seems ever
to have been sent. Is not this just such a state of things as
might have been anticipated as the result of the disaster of the
Exodus? In many points, as shown under various articles, the
progress of the conquest is remarkably illustrated by the
tablets. The value of modern discoveries in their relation to
Old Testament history has been thus well described:
"The difficulty of establishing the charge of lack of
historical credibility, as against the testimony of the Old
Testament, has of late years greatly increased. The outcome of
recent excavations and explorations is altogether against it. As
long as these books contained, in the main, the only known
accounts of the events they mention, there was some plausibility
in the theory that perhaps these accounts were written rather to
teach moral lessons than to preserve an exact knowledge of
events. It was easy to say in those times men had not the
historic sense. But the recent discoveries touch the events
recorded in the Bible at very many different points in many
different generations, mentioning the same persons, countries,
peoples, events that are mentioned in the Bible, and showing
beyond question that these were strictly historic. The point is
not that the discoveries confirm the correctness of the Biblical
statements, though that is commonly the case, but that the
discoveries show that the peoples of those ages had the historic
sense, and, specifically, that the Biblical narratives they
touch are narratives of actual occurrences."
whose God is Jehovah. (1.) "The Tishbite," the "Elias" of the
New Testament, is suddenly introduced to our notice in 1 Kings
17:1 as delivering a message from the Lord to Ahab. There is
mention made of a town called Thisbe, south of Kadesh, but it is
impossible to say whether this was the place referred to in the
name given to the prophet.
Having delivered his message to Ahab, he retired at the
command of God to a hiding-place by the brook Cherith, beyond
Jordan, where he was fed by ravens. When the brook dried up God
sent him to the widow of Zarephath, a city of Zidon, from whose
scanty store he was supported for the space of two years. During
this period the widow's son died, and was restored to life by
Elijah (1 Kings 17: 2-24).
During all these two years a famine prevailed in the land. At
the close of this period of retirement and of preparation for
his work (comp. Gal. 1:17, 18) Elijah met Obadiah, one of Ahab's
officers, whom he had sent out to seek for pasturage for the
cattle, and bade him go and tell his master that Elijah was
there. The king came and met Elijah, and reproached him as the
troubler of Israel. It was then proposed that sacrifices should
be publicly offered, for the purpose of determining whether Baal
or Jehovah were the true God. This was done on Carmel, with the
result that the people fell on their faces, crying, "The Lord,
he is the God." Thus was accomplished the great work of Elijah's
ministry. The prophets of Baal were then put to death by the
order of Elijah. Not one of them escaped. Then immediately
followed rain, according to the word of Elijah, and in answer to
his prayer (James 5:18).
Jezebel, enraged at the fate that had befallen her priests of
Baal, threatened to put Elijah to death (1 Kings 19:1-13). He
therefore fled in alarm to Beersheba, and thence went alone a
day's journey into the wilderness, and sat down in despondency
under a juniper tree. As he slept an angel touched him, and said
unto him, "Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for
thee." He arose and found a cake and a cruse of water. Having
partaken of the provision thus miraculously supplied, he went
forward on his solitary way for forty days and forty nights to
Horeb, the mount of God, where he took up his abode in a cave.
Here the Lord appeared unto him and said, "What dost thou here,
Elijah?" In answer to his despondent words God manifests to him
his glory, and then directs him to return to Damascus and anoint
Hazael king over Syria, and Jehu king over Israel, and Elisha to
be prophet in his room (1 Kings 19:13-21; comp. 2 Kings 8:7-15;
Some six years after this he warned Ahab and Jezebel of the
violent deaths they would die (1 Kings 21:19-24; 22:38). He
also, four years afterwards, warned Ahaziah (q.v.), who had
succeeded his father Ahab, of his approaching death (2 Kings
1:1-16). (See NABOTH ¯T0002645.) During these intervals he
probably withdrew to some quiet retirement, no one knew where.
His interview with Ahaziah's messengers on the way to Ekron, and
the account of the destruction of his captains with their
fifties, suggest the idea that he may have been in retirement at
this time on Mount Carmel.
The time now drew near when he was to be taken up into heaven
(2 Kings 2:1-12). He had a presentiment of what was awaiting
him. He went down to Gilgal, where was a school of the prophets,
and where his successor Elisha, whom he had anointed some years
before, resided. Elisha was solemnized by the thought of his
master's leaving him, and refused to be parted from him. "They
two went on," and came to Bethel and Jericho, and crossed the
Jordan, the waters of which were "divided hither and thither"
when smitten with Elijah's mantle. Arrived at the borders of
Gilead, which Elijah had left many years before, it "came to
pass as they still went on and talked" they were suddenly
separated by a chariot and horses of fire; and "Elijah went up
by a whirlwind into heaven, "Elisha receiving his mantle, which
fell from him as he ascended.
No one of the old prophets is so frequently referred to in the
New Testament. The priests and Levites said to the Baptist (John
1:25), "Why baptizest thou, if thou be not that Christ, nor
Elias?" Paul (Rom. 11:2) refers to an incident in his history to
illustrate his argument that God had not cast away his people.
James (5:17) finds in him an illustration of the power of
prayer. (See also Luke 4:25; 9:54.) He was a type of John the
Baptist in the sternness and power of his reproofs (Luke 9:8).
He was the Elijah that "must first come" (Matt. 11:11, 14), the
forerunner of our Lord announced by Malachi. Even outwardly the
Baptist corresponded so closely to the earlier prophet that he
might be styled a second Elijah. In him we see "the same
connection with a wild and wilderness country; the same long
retirement in the desert; the same sudden, startling entrance on
his work (1 Kings 17:1; Luke 3:2); even the same dress, a hairy
garment, and a leathern girdle about the loins (2 Kings 1:8;
How deep the impression was which Elijah made "on the mind of
the nation may be judged from the fixed belief, which rested on
the words of Malachi (4:5, 6), which many centuries after
prevailed that he would again appear for the relief and
restoration of the country. Each remarkable person as he arrives
on the scene, be his habits and characteristics what they may,
the stern John equally with his gentle Successor, is proclaimed
to be Elijah (Matt. 11:13, 14; 16:14; 17:10; Mark 9:11; 15:35;
Luke 9:7, 8; John 1:21). His appearance in glory on the mount of
transfiguration does not seem to have startled the disciples.
They were 'sore afraid,' but not apparently surprised."
(2.) The Elijah spoken of in 2 Chr. 21:12-15 is by some
supposed to be a different person from the foregoing. He lived
in the time of Jehoram, to whom he sent a letter of warning
(comp. 1 Chr. 28:19; Jer. 36), and acted as a prophet in Judah;
while the Tishbite was a prophet of the northern kingdom. But
there does not seem any necessity for concluding that the writer
of this letter was some other Elijah than the Tishbite. It may
be supposed either that Elijah anticipated the character of
Jehoram, and so wrote the warning message, which was preserved
in the schools of the prophets till Jehoram ascended the throne
after the Tishbite's translation, or that the translation did
not actually take place till after the accession of Jehoram to
the throne (2 Chr. 21:12; 2 Kings 8:16). The events of 2 Kings 2
may not be recorded in chronological order, and thus there may
be room for the opinion that Elijah was still alive in the
beginning of Jehoram's reign.
beloved, the eighth and youngest son of Jesse, a citizen of
Bethlehem. His father seems to have been a man in humble life.
His mother's name is not recorded. Some think she was the Nahash
of 2 Sam. 17:25. As to his personal appearance, we only know
that he was red-haired, with beautiful eyes and a fair face (1
Sam. 16:12; 17:42).
His early occupation was that of tending his father's sheep on
the uplands of Judah. From what we know of his after history,
doubtless he frequently beguiled his time, when thus engaged,
with his shepherd's flute, while he drank in the many lessons
taught him by the varied scenes spread around him. His first
recorded exploits were his encounters with the wild beasts of
the field. He mentions that with his own unaided hand he slew a
lion and also a bear, when they came out against his flock,
beating them to death in open conflict with his club (1 Sam.
While David, in the freshness of ruddy youth, was thus engaged
with his flocks, Samuel paid an unexpected visit to Bethlehem,
having been guided thither by divine direction (1 Sam. 16:1-13).
There he offered up sacrifice, and called the elders of Israel
and Jesse's family to the sacrificial meal. Among all who
appeared before him he failed to discover the one he sought.
David was sent for, and the prophet immediately recognized him
as the chosen of God, chosen to succeed Saul, who was now
departing from the ways of God, on the throne of the kingdom. He
accordingly, in anticipation, poured on his head the anointing
oil. David went back again to his shepherd life, but "the Spirit
of the Lord came upon David from that day forward," and "the
Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul" (1 Sam. 16:13, 14).
Not long after this David was sent for to soothe with his harp
the troubled spirit of Saul, who suffered from a strange
melancholy dejection. He played before the king so skilfully
that Saul was greatly cheered, and began to entertain great
affection for the young shepherd. After this he went home to
Bethlehem. But he soon again came into prominence. The armies of
the Philistines and of Israel were in battle array in the valley
of Elah, some 16 miles south-west of Bethlehem; and David was
sent by his father with provisions for his three brothers, who
were then fighting on the side of the king. On his arrival in
the camp of Israel, David (now about twenty years of age) was
made aware of the state of matters when the champion of the
Philistines, Goliath of Gath, came forth to defy Israel. David
took his sling, and with a well-trained aim threw a stone "out
of the brook," which struck the giant's forehead, so that he
fell senseless to the ground. David then ran and slew him, and
cut off his head with his own sword (1 Sam. 17). The result was
a great victory to the Israelites, who pursued the Philistines
to the gates of Gath and Ekron.
David's popularity consequent on this heroic exploit awakened
Saul's jealousy (1 Sam. 18:6-16), which he showed in various
ways. He conceived a bitter hatred toward him, and by various
stratagems sought his death (1 Sam. 18-30). The deep-laid plots
of the enraged king, who could not fail to observe that David
"prospered exceedingly," all proved futile, and only endeared
the young hero the more to the people, and very specially to
Jonathan, Saul's son, between whom and David a life-long warm
friendship was formed.
A fugitive. To escape from the vengeance of Saul, David fled
to Ramah (1 Sam. 19:12-18) to Samuel, who received him, and he
dwelt among the sons of the prophets, who were there under
Samuel's training. It is supposed by some that the sixth,
seventh, and eleventh Psalms were composed by him at this time.
This place was only 3 miles from the residence of Saul, who soon
discovered whither the fugitive had gone, and tried
ineffectually to bring him back. Jonathan made a fruitless
effort to bring his father to a better state of mind toward
David (1 Sam. 20), who, being made aware of the fact, saw no
hope of safety but in flight to a distance. We accordingly find
him first at Nob (21:1-9) and then at Gath, the chief city of
the Philistines. The king of the Philistines would not admit him
into his service, as he expected that he would, and David
accordingly now betook himself to the stronghold of Adullam
(22:1-4; 1 Chr. 12:8-18). Here in a short time 400 men gathered
around him and acknowledged him as their leader. It was at this
time that David, amid the harassment and perils of his position,
cried, "Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well
of Bethlehem;" when three of his heroes broke through the lines
of the Philistines and brought him the water for which he longed
(2 Sam. 23:13-17), but which he would not drink.
In his rage at the failure of all his efforts to seize David,
Saul gave orders for the massacre of the entire priestly family
at Nob, "persons who wore a linen ephod", to the number of
eighty-five persons, who were put to death by Doeg the Edomite.
The sad tidings of the massacre were brought to David by
Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech, the only one who escaped. Comp.
Hearing that Keilah, a town on the western frontier, was
harassed by the Philistines, David with his men relieved it (1
Sam. 23:1-14); and then, for fear of Saul, he fled to the
strongholds in the "hill country" of Judah. Comp. Ps. 31. While
encamped there, in the forest in the district of Ziph, he was
visited by Jonathan, who spoke to him words of encouragement
(23:16-18). The two now parted never to meet again. Saul
continued his pursuit of David, who narrowly escaped from him at
this time, and fled to the crags and ravines of Engedi, on the
western shore of the Dead Sea (1 Sam. 23:29). Here Saul, who
still pursued him with his army, narrowly escaped, through the
generous forbearance of David, and was greatly affected by what
David had done for him. He returned home from pursuing him, and
David betook himself to Maon, where, with his 600 men, he
maintained himself by contributions gathered from the district.
Here occurred the incident connected with Nabal and his wife
Abigail (1 Sam. 25), whom David married after Nabal's death.
Saul again went forth (1 Sam. 26) in pursuit of David, who had
hid himself "in the hill Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon," in
the wilderness of Ziph, and was a second time spared through his
forbearance. He returned home, professing shame and penitence
for the way in which he had treated David, and predicting his
elevation to the throne.
Fighting against Israel. Harassed by the necessity of moving
from place to place through fear of Saul, David once more sought
refuge among the Philistines (1 Sam. 27). He was welcomed by the
king, who assigned him Ziklag as his residence. Here David lived
among his followers for some time as an independent chief
engaged in frequent war with the Amalekites and other tribes on
the south of Judah.
Achish summoned David with his men to join his army against
Saul; but the lords of the Philistines were suspicious of
David's loyalty, and therefore he was sent back to Ziklag, which
he found to his dismay may had been pillaged and burnt during
his brief absence. David pursued after the raiders, the
Amalekites, and completely routed them. On his return to Ziklag
tidings reached him of Saul's death (2 Sam. 1). An Amalekite
brought Saul's crown and bracelet and laid them at his feet.
David and his men rent their clothes and mourned for Saul, who
had been defeated in battle near Mount Gilboa. David composed a
beautiful elegy, the most beautiful of all extant Hebrew odes, a
"lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son" (2 Sam.
1:18-27). It bore the title of "The Bow," and was to be taught
to the children, that the memory of Saul and Jonathan might be
preserved among them. "Behold, it is written in the book of
David king over Judah. David and his men now set out for
Hebron under divine direction (2 Sam. 2:1-4). There they were
cordially welcomed, and he was at once anointed as king. He was
now about thirty years of age.
But his title to the throne was not undisputed. Abner took
Ish-bosheth, Saul's only remaining son, over the Jordan to
Mahanaim, and there crowned him as king. Then began a civil war
in Israel. The first encounter between the two opposing armies,
led on the one side by Abner, and on the other by Joab, took
place at the pool of Gibeon. It resulted in the defeat of Abner.
Other encounters, however, between Israel and Judah followed (2
Sam. 3:1, 5), but still success was on the side of David. For
the space of seven and a half years David reigned in Hebron.
Abner now sided with David, and sought to promote his
advancement; but was treacherously put to death by Joab in
revenge for his having slain his brother Asahel at Gibeon
(3:22-39). This was greatly to David's regret. He mourned for
the death of Abner. Shortly after this Ish-bosheth was also
treacherously put to death by two Canaanites of Beeroth; and
there being now no rival, David was anointed king over all
David king over all Israel (2 Sam. 5:1-5; 1 Chr. 11:1-3). The
elders of Israel now repaired to Hebron and offered allegiance
to David in name of all the people, among whom the greatest
enthusiasm prevailed. He was anointed king over all Israel, and
sought out a new seat of government, more suitable than Hebron,
as the capital of his empire. At this time there was a Jebusite
fortress, "the stronghold", on the hill of Zion, called also
Jebus. This David took from the Jebusites, and made it Israel's
capital, and established here his residence, and afterwards
built for himself a palace by the aid of Tyrian tradesmen. The
Philistines, who had for some time observed a kind of truce, now
made war against David; but were defeated in battle at a place
afterwards called, in remembrance of the victory, Baal-perazim.
Again they invaded the land, and were a second time routed by
him. He thus delivered Israel from their enemies.
David now resolved to bring up the ark of the covenant to his
new capital (2 Sam. 6). It was in the house of Abinadab at
Kirjath-jearim, about 7 miles from Jerusalem, where it had been
for many years, from the time when the Philistines had sent it
home (1 Sam. 6; 7). In consequence of the death of Uzzah (for it
was a divine ordinance that only the Levites should handle the
ark, Num. 4), who had put forth his hand to steady the ark when
the cart in which it was being conveyed shook by reason of the
roughness of the road, David stayed the procession, and conveyed
the ark into the house of Obed-edom, a Philistine from Gath.
After three months David brought the ark from the house of
Obed-edom up to Jerusalem. Comp. Ps. 24. Here it was placed in a
new tent or tabernacle which David erected for the purpose.
About seventy years had passed since it had stood in the
tabernacle at Shiloh. The old tabernacle was now at Gibeah, at
which Zadok ministered. David now (1 Chr. 16) carefully set in
order all the ritual of divine worship at Jerusalem, along with
Abiathar the high priest. A new religious era began. The service
of praise was for the first time introduced into public worship.
Zion became henceforth "God's holy hill."
David's wars. David now entered on a series of conquests which
greatly extended and strengthened his kingdom (2 Sam. 8). In a
few years the whole territory from the Euphrates to the river of
Egypt, and from Gaza on the west to Thapsacus on the east, was
under his sway (2 Sam. 8:3-13; 10).
David's fall. He had now reached the height of his glory. He
ruled over a vast empire, and his capital was enriched with the
spoils of many lands. But in the midst of all this success he
fell, and his character became stained with the sin of adultery
(2 Sam. 11:2-27). It has been noted as characteristic of the
Bible that while his military triumphs are recorded in a few
verses, the sad story of his fall is given in detail, a story
full of warning, and therefore recorded. This crime, in the
attempt to conceal it, led to anoter. He was guilty of murder.
Uriah, whom he had foully wronged, an officer of the Gibborim,
the corps of heros (23:39), was, by his order, "set in the front
of the hottest battle" at the siege of Rabbah, in order that he
might be put to death. Nathan the prophet (2 Sam. 7:1-17;
12:1-23) was sent by God to bring home his crimes to the
conscience of the guilty monarch. He became a true penitent. He
bitterly bewailed his sins before God. The thirty-second and
fifty-first Psalms reveal the deep struggles of his soul, and
his spiritual recovery.
Bathsheba became his wife after Uriah's death. Her first-born
son died, according to the word of the prophet. She gave birth
to a second son, whom David called Solomon, and who ultimately
succeeded him on the throne (2 Sam. 12:24, 25).
Peace. After the successful termination of all his wars, David
formed the idea of building a temple for the ark of God. This he
was not permitted to carry into execution, because he had been a
man of war. God, however, sent Nathan to him with a gracious
message (2 Sam. 7:1-16). On receiving it he went into the
sanctuary, the tent where the ark was, and sat before the Lord,
and poured out his heart in words of devout thanksgiving
(18-29). The building of the temple was reserved for his son
Solomon, who would be a man of peace (1 Chr. 22:9; 28:3).
A cloudy evening. Hitherto David's carrer had been one of
great prosperity and success. Now cloudy and dark days came. His
eldest son Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam of Jezreel, was
guilty of a great and shameful crime (2 Sam. 13). This was the
beginning of the disasters of his later years. After two years
Absalom terribly avenged the crime against Tamar, and put Amnon
to death. This brought sore trouble to David's heart. Absalom,
afraid of the consequences of his guilt, fled to Geshur beyond
Jordan, where he remained for three years, when he was brought
back through the intrigue of Joab (2 Sam. 14).
After this there fell upon the land the calamity of three
years' famine (2 Sam. 21:1-14). This was soon after followed by
a pestilence, brought upon the land as a punishment for David's
sinful pride in numbering the people (2 Sam. 24), in which no
fewer than 70,000 perished in the space of three days.
Rebellion of Absalom. The personal respect for David was sadly
lowered by the incident of Bathsheba. There was a strong popular
sentiment against the taking of the census, and the outburst of
the plague in connection with it deepened the feeling of
jealously that had begun to manifest itself among some of the
tribes against David. Absalom, taking full advantage of this
state of things, gradually gained over the people, and at length
openly rebelled against his father, and usurped the throne.
Ahithophel was Absalom's chief counsellor. The revolt began in
Hebron, the capital of Judah. Absalom was there proclaimed king.
David was now in imminent danger, and he left Jerusalem (2 Sam.
15:13-20), and once more became a fugitive. It was a momentous
day in Israel. The incidents of it are recorded with a fulness
of detail greater than of any other day in Old Testament
history. David fled with his followers to Mahanarm, on the east
of Jordan. An unnatural civil war broke out. After a few weeks
the rival armies were mustered and organized. They met in
hostile array at the wood of Ephraim (2 Sam. 18:1-8). Absalom's
army was defeated, and himself put to death by the hand of Joab
(9-18). The tidings of the death of his rebellious son filled
the heart of David with the most poignant grief. He "went up to
the chamber over the gate, and wept" (33), giving utterance to
the heart-broken cry, "Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom,
my son, my son!" Peace was now restored, and David returned to
Jerusalem and resumed the direction of affairs. An unhappy
dispute arose between the men of Judah and the men of Israel
(19:41-43). Sheba, a Benjamite, headed a revolt of the men of
Israel. He was pursued to Abelbeth-maachah, and was there put to
death, and so the revolt came to an end.
The end. After the suppression of the rebellion of Absalom and
that of Sheba, ten comparatively peaceful years of David's life
passed away. During those years he seems to have been
principally engaged in accumulating treasures of every kind for
the great temple at Jerusalem, which it was reserved to his
successor to build (1 Chr. 22; 28; 29), a house which was to be
"exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all
countries" (22:5). The exciting and laborious life he had spent,
and the dangers and trials through which he had passed, had left
him an enfeebled man, prematurely old. It became apparent that
his life was now drawing to its close. A new palace conspiracy
broke out as to who should be his successor. Joab favoured
Adonijah. The chiefs of his party met at the "Fuller's spring,"
in the valley of Kidron, to proclaim him king; but Nathan
hastened on a decision on the part of David in favour of
Solomon, and so the aim of Adonijah's party failed. Solomon was
brought to Jerusalem, and was anointed king and seated on his
father's throne (1 Kings 1:11-53). David's last words are a
grand utterance, revealing his unfailing faith in God, and his
joyful confidence in his gracious covenant promises (2 Sam.
After a reign of forty years and six months (2 Sam. 5:5; 1
Chr. 3:4) David died (B.C. 1015) at the age of seventy years,
"and was buried in the city of David." His tomb is still pointed
out on Mount Zion.
Both in his prophetical and in his regal character David was a
type of the Messiah (1 Sam. 16:13). The book of Psalms commonly
bears the title of the "Psalms of David," from the circumstance
that he was the largest contributor (about eighty psalms) to the
collection. (See PSALMS ¯T0003013.)
"The greatness of David was felt when he was gone. He had
lived in harmony with both the priesthood and the prophets; a
sure sign that the spirit of his government had been throughly
loyal to the higher aims of the theocracy. The nation had not
been oppressed by him, but had been left in the free enjoyment
of its ancient liberties. As far as his power went he had
striven to act justly to all (2 Sam. 8:15). His weak indulgence
to his sons, and his own great sin besides, had been bitterly
atoned, and were forgotten at his death in the remembrance of
his long-tried worth. He had reigned thirty-three years in
Jerusalem and seven and a half at Hebron (2 Sam. 5:5). Israel at
his accession had reached the lowest point of national
depression; its new-born unity rudely dissolved; its territory
assailed by the Philistines. But he had left it an imperial
power, with dominions like those of Egypt or Assyria. The
sceptre of Solomon was already, before his father's death, owned
from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates, and from the Orontes to
the Red Sea.", Geikie's Hours etc., iii.