a cave, a place in the northern boundary of Israel (Josh.
13:4). This may be the cave of Jezzin in Lebanon, 10 miles east
of Sidon, on the Damascus road; or probably, as others think,
Mogheirizeh, north-east of Sidon.
fishing; fishery, Gen. 10:15, 19 (A.V. marg., Tzidon; R.V.,
Zidon); Matt. 11:21, 22; Luke 6:17. (See ZIDON ¯T0003926.)
with Baal, a king of Sidon (B.C. 940-908), father of Jezebel,
who was the wife of Ahab (1 Kings 16:31). He is said to have
been also a priest of Astarte, whose worship was closely allied
to that of Baal, and this may account for his daughter's zeal in
promoting idolatry in Israel. This marriage of Ahab was most
fatal to both Israel and Judah. Dido, the founder of Carthage,
was his granddaughter.
smelting-shop, "a workshop for the refining and smelting of
metals", a small Phoenician town, now Surafend, about a mile
from the coast, almost midway on the road between Tyre and
Sidon. Here Elijah sojourned with a poor widow during the "great
famine," when the "heaven was shut up three years and six
months" (Luke 4:26; 1 Kings 17:10). It is called Sarepta in the
New Testament (Luke 4:26).
Common in Israel in winter (Ps. 147:16). The snow on the tops
of the Lebanon range is almost always within view throughout the
whole year. The word is frequently used figuratively by the
sacred writers (Job 24:19; Ps. 51:7; 68:14; Isa. 1:18). It is
mentioned only once in the historical books (2 Sam. 23:20). It
was "carried to Tyre, Sidon, and Damascus as a luxury, and
labourers sweltering in the hot harvest-fields used it for the
purpose of cooling the water which they drank (Prov. 25:13; Jer.
18:14). No doubt Herod Antipas, at his feasts in Tiberias,
enjoyed also from this very source the modern luxury of
"a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation" (Mark 7:26), i.e., a
Gentile born in the Phoenician part of Syria. (See PHENICIA
When our Lord retired into the borderland of Tyre and Sidon
(Matt. 15:21), a Syro-phoenician woman came to him, and
earnestly besought him, in behalf of her daughter, who was
grievously afflicted with a demon. Her faith in him was severely
tested by his silence (Matt. 15:23), refusal (24), and seeming
reproach that it was not meet to cast the children's bread to
dogs (26). But it stood the test, and her petition was
graciously granted, because of the greatness of her faith (28).
Heb. bedil (Num. 31:22; Ezek. 22:18, 20), a metal well known in
ancient times. It is the general opinion that the Phoenicians of
Tyre and Sidon obtained their supplies of tin from the British
Isles. In Ezek. 27:12 it is said to have been brought from
Tarshish, which was probably a commercial emporium supplied with
commodities from other places. In Isa. 1:25 the word so rendered
is generally understood of lead, the alloy with which the silver
had become mixed (ver. 22). The fire of the Babylonish Captivity
would be the means of purging out the idolatrous alloy that had
corrupted the people.
(Heb. Aram), the name in the Old Testament given to the whole
country which lay to the north-east of Phoenicia, extending to
beyond the Euphrates and the Tigris. Mesopotamia is called (Gen.
24:10; Deut. 23:4) Aram-naharain (=Syria of the two rivers),
also Padan-aram (Gen. 25:20). Other portions of Syria were also
known by separate names, as Aram-maahah (1 Chr. 19:6),
Aram-beth-rehob (2 Sam. 10:6), Aram-zobah (2 Sam. 10:6, 8). All
these separate little kingdoms afterwards became subject to
Damascus. In the time of the Romans, Syria included also a part
of Israel and Asia Minor.
"From the historic annals now accessible to us, the history of
Syria may be divided into three periods: The first, the period
when the power of the Pharaohs was dominant over the fertile
fields or plains of Syria and the merchant cities of Tyre and
Sidon, and when such mighty conquerors as Thothmes III. and
Rameses II. could claim dominion and levy tribute from the
nations from the banks of the Euphrates to the borders of the
Libyan desert. Second, this was followed by a short period of
independence, when the Jewish nation in the south was growing in
power, until it reached its early zenith in the golden days of
Solomon; and when Tyre and Sidon were rich cities, sending their
traders far and wide, over land and sea, as missionaries of
civilization, while in the north the confederate tribes of the
Hittites held back the armies of the kings of Assyria. The
third, and to us most interesting, period is that during which
the kings of Assyria were dominant over the plains of Syria;
when Tyre, Sidon, Ashdod, and Jerusalem bowed beneath the
conquering armies of Shalmaneser, Sargon, and Sennacherib; and
when at last Memphis and Thebes yielded to the power of the
rulers of Nineveh and Babylon, and the kings of Assyria
completed with terrible fulness the bruising of the reed of
Egypt so clearly foretold by the Hebrew prophets.", Boscawen.
This word, besides its natural and proper sense, is used to
designate, (1.) A niece or any female descendant (Gen. 20:12;
24:48; 28:6). (2.) Women as natives of a place, or as professing
the religion of a place; as, "the daughters of Zion" (Isa.
3:16), "daughters of the Philistines" (2 Sam. 1:20). (3.) Small
towns and villages lying around a city are its "daughters," as
related to the metropolis or mother city. Tyre is in this sense
called the daughter of Sidon (Isa. 23:12). (4.) The people of
Jerusalem are spoken of as "the daughters of Zion" (Isa. 37:22).
(5.) The daughters of a tree are its boughs (Gen. 49:22). (6.)
The "daughters of music" (Eccl. 12:4) are singing women.
called _dag_ by the Hebrews, a word denoting great fecundity
(Gen. 9:2; Num. 11:22; Jonah 2:1, 10). No fish is mentioned by
name either in the Old or in the New Testament. Fish abounded in
the Mediterranean and in the lakes of the Jordan, so that the
Hebrews were no doubt acquainted with many species. Two of the
villages on the shores of the Sea of Galilee derived their names
from their fisheries, Bethsaida (the "house of fish") on the
east and on the west. There is probably no other sheet of water
in the world of equal dimensions that contains such a variety
and profusion of fish. About thirty-seven different kinds have
been found. Some of the fishes are of a European type, such as
the roach, the barbel, and the blenny; others are markedly
African and tropical, such as the eel-like silurus. There was a
regular fish-market apparently in Jerusalem (2 Chr. 33:14; Neh.
3:3; 12:39; Zeph. 1:10), as there was a fish-gate which was
probably contiguous to it.
Sidon is the oldest fishing establishment known in history.
a fishery, a town on the Mediterranean coast, about 25 miles
north of Tyre. It received its name from the "first-born" of
Canaan, the grandson of Noah (Gen. 10:15, 19). It was the first
home of the Phoenicians on the coast of Israel, and from its
extensive commercial relations became a "great" city (Josh.
11:8; 19:28). It was the mother city of Tyre. It lay within the
lot of the tribe of Asher, but was never subdued (Judg. 1:31).
The Zidonians long oppressed Israel (Judg. 10:12). From the time
of David its glory began to wane, and Tyre, its "virgin
daughter" (Isa. 23:12), rose to its place of pre-eminence.
Solomon entered into a matrimonial alliance with the Zidonians,
and thus their form of idolatrous worship found a place in the
land of Israel (1 Kings 11:1, 33). This city was famous for its
manufactures and arts, as well as for its commerce (1 Kings 5:6;
1 Chr. 22:4; Ezek. 27:8). It is frequently referred to by the
prophets (Isa. 23:2, 4, 12; Jer. 25:22; 27:3; 47:4; Ezek. 27:8;
28:21, 22; 32:30; Joel 3:4). Our Lord visited the "coasts" of
Tyre and Zidon = Sidon (q.v.), Matt. 15:21; Mark 7:24; Luke
4:26; and from this region many came forth to hear him preaching
(Mark 3:8; Luke 6:17). From Sidon, at which the ship put in
after leaving Caesarea, Paul finally sailed for Rome (Acts 27:3,
This city is now a town of 10,000 inhabitants, with remains of
walls built in the twelfth century A.D. In 1855, the sarcophagus
of Eshmanezer was discovered. From a Phoenician inscription on
its lid, it appears that he was a "king of the Sidonians,"
probably in the third century B.C., and that his mother was a
priestess of Ashtoreth, "the goddess of the Sidonians." In this
inscription Baal is mentioned as the chief god of the Sidonians.
a rock, now es-Sur; an ancient Phoenician city, about 23 miles,
in a direct line, north of Acre, and 20 south of Sidon. Sidon
was the oldest Phoenician city, but Tyre had a longer and more
illustrious history. The commerce of the whole world was
gathered into the warehouses of Tyre. "Tyrian merchants were the
first who ventured to navigate the Mediterranean waters; and
they founded their colonies on the coasts and neighbouring
islands of the AEgean Sea, in Greece, on the northern coast of
Africa, at Carthage and other places, in Sicily and Corsica, in
Spain at Tartessus, and even beyond the pillars of Hercules at
Gadeira (Cadiz)" (Driver's Isaiah). In the time of David a
friendly alliance was entered into between the Hebrews and the
Tyrians, who were long ruled over by their native kings (2 Sam.
5:11; 1 Kings 5:1; 2 Chr. 2:3).
Tyre consisted of two distinct parts, a rocky fortress on the
mainland, called "Old Tyre," and the city, built on a small,
rocky island about half-a-mile distant from the shore. It was a
place of great strength. It was besieged by Shalmaneser, who was
assisted by the Phoenicians of the mainland, for five years, and
by Nebuchadnezzar (B.C. 586-573) for thirteen years, apparently
without success. It afterwards fell under the power of Alexander
the Great, after a siege of seven months, but continued to
maintain much of its commercial importance till the Christian
era. It is referred to in Matt. 11:21 and Acts 12:20. In A.D.
1291 it was taken by the Saracens, and has remained a desolate
ruin ever since.
"The purple dye of Tyre had a worldwide celebrity on account
of the durability of its beautiful tints, and its manufacture
proved a source of abundant wealth to the inhabitants of that
Both Tyre and Sidon "were crowded with glass-shops, dyeing and
weaving establishments; and among their cunning workmen not the
least important class were those who were celebrated for the
engraving of precious stones." (2 Chr. 2:7,14).
The wickedness and idolatry of this city are frequently
denounced by the prophets, and its final destruction predicted
(Isa. 23:1; Jer. 25:22; Ezek. 26; 28:1-19; Amos 1:9, 10; Zech.
Here a church was founded soon after the death of Stephen, and
Paul, on his return from his third missionary journey spent a
week in intercourse with the disciples there (Acts 21:4). Here
the scene at Miletus was repeated on his leaving them. They all,
with their wives and children, accompanied him to the sea-shore.
The sea-voyage of the apostle terminated at Ptolemais, about 38
miles from Tyre. Thence he proceeded to Caesarea (Acts 21:5-8).
"It is noticed on monuments as early as B.C. 1500, and
claiming, according to Herodotus, to have been founded about
B.C. 2700. It had two ports still existing, and was of
commercial importance in all ages, with colonies at Carthage
(about B.C. 850) and all over the Mediterranean. It was often
attacked by Egypt and Assyria, and taken by Alexander the Great
after a terrible siege in B.C. 332. It is now a town of 3,000
inhabitants, with ancient tombs and a ruined cathedral. A short
Phoenician text of the fourth century B.C. is the only monument
(1.) The fourth son of Ham (Gen. 10:6). His descendants were
under a curse in consequence of the transgression of his father
(9:22-27). His eldest son, Zidon, was the father of the
Sidonians and Phoenicians. He had eleven sons, who were the
founders of as many tribes (10:15-18).
(2.) The country which derived its name from the preceding.
The name as first used by the Phoenicians denoted only the
maritime plain on which Sidon was built. But in the time of
Moses and Joshua it denoted the whole country to the west of the
Jordan and the Dead Sea (Deut. 11:30). In Josh. 5:12 the LXX.
read, "land of the Phoenicians," instead of "land of Canaan."
The name signifies "the lowlands," as distinguished from the
land of Gilead on the east of Jordan, which was a mountainous
district. The extent and boundaries of Canaan are fully set
forth in different parts of Scripture (Gen. 10:19; 17:8; Num.
13:29; 34:8). (See CANAANITES ¯T0000705, PALESTINE ¯T0002828.)
(Acts 21:2) = Phenice (11:19; 15:3; R.V., Phoenicia), Gr.
phoinix, "a palm", the land of palm-trees; a strip of land of an
average breadth of about 20 miles along the shores of the
Mediterranean, from the river Eleutherus in the north to the
promotory of Carmel in the south, about 120 miles in length.
This name is not found in the Old Testament, and in the New
Testament it is mentioned only in the passages above referred
"In the Egyptian inscriptions Phoenicia is called Keft, the
inhabitants being Kefa; and since Keft-ur, or 'Greater
Phoenicia,' was the name given to the delta of the Nile from the
Phoenician colonies settled upon it, the Philistines who came
from Caphtor or Keft-ur must have been of Phoenician origin"
(comp. Deut. 2:23; Jer. 47:4; Amos 9:7)., Sayce's Bible and the
Phoenicia lay in the very centre of the old world, and was the
natural entrepot for commerce with foreign nations. It was the
"England of antiquity." "The trade routes from all Asia
converged on the Phoenician coast; the centres of commerce on
the Euphrates and Tigris forwarding their goods by way of Tyre
to the Nile, to Arabia, and to the west; and, on the other hand,
the productions of the vast regions bordering the Mediterranean
passing through the Canaanite capital to the eastern world." It
was "situate at the entry of the sea, a merchant of the people
for many isles" (Ezek. 27:3, 4). The far-reaching commercial
activity of the Phoenicians, especially with Tarshish and the
western world, enriched them with vast wealth, which introduced
boundless luxury and developed among them a great activity in
all manner of arts and manufactures. (See TYRE ¯T0003737.)
The Phoenicians were the most enterprising merchants of the
old world, establishing colonies at various places, of which
Carthage was the chief. They were a Canaanite branch of the race
of Ham, and are frequently called Sidonians, from their
principal city of Sidon. None could "skill to hew timber like
unto the Sidonians" (1 Kings 5:6). King Hiram rendered important
service to Solomon in connection with the planning and building
of the temple, casting for him all the vessels for the temple
service, and the two pillars which stood in the front of the
porch, and "the molten sea" (1 Kings 7:21-23). Singular marks
have been found by recent exploration on the great stones that
form the substructure of the temple. These marks, both painted
and engraved, have been regarded as made by the workmen in the
quarries, and as probably intended to indicate the place of
these stones in the building. "The Biblical account (1 Kings
5:17, 18) is accurately descriptive of the massive masonry now
existing at the south-eastern angle (of the temple area), and
standing on the native rock 80 feet below the present surface.
The Royal Engineers found, buried deeply among the rubbish of
many centuries, great stones, costly and hewed stones, forming
the foundation of the sanctuary wall; while Phoenician fragments
of pottery and Phoenician marks painted on the massive blocks
seem to proclaim that the stones were prepared in the quarry by
the cunning workmen of Hiram, the king of Tyre." (See TEMPLE
The Phoenicians have been usually regarded as the inventors of
alphabetic writing. The Egyptians expressed their thoughts by
certain symbols, called "hieroglyphics", i.e., sacred carvings,
so styled because used almost exclusively on sacred subjects.
The recent discovery, however, of inscriptions in Southern
Arabia (Yemen and Hadramaut), known as Hemyaritic, in connection
with various philogical considerations, has led some to the
conclusion that the Phoenician alphabet was derived from the
Mineans (admitting the antiquity of the kingdom of Ma'in, Judg.
10:12; 2 Chr. 26:7). Thus the Phoenician alphabet ceases to be
the mother alphabet. Sayce thinks "it is more than possible that
the Egyptians themselves were emigrants from Southern Arabia."
(See MOABITE STONE ¯T0002586.)
"The Phoenicians were renowned in ancient times for the
manufacture of glass, and some of the specimens of this work
that have been preserved are still the wonder of mankind...In
the matter of shipping, whether ship-building be thought of or
traffic upon the sea, the Phoenicians surpassed all other
nations." "The name Phoenicia is of uncertain origin, though it
may be derived from Fenkhu, the name given in the Egyptian
inscriptions to the natives of Israel. Among the chief
Phoenician cities were Tyre and Sidon, Gebal north of Beirut,
Arvad or Arados and Zemar."
the descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham. Migrating from their
original home, they seem to have reached the Persian Gulf, and
to have there sojourned for some time. They thence "spread to
the west, across the mountain chain of Lebanon to the very edge
of the Mediterranean Sea, occupying all the land which later
became Israel, also to the north-west as far as the mountain
chain of Taurus. This group was very numerous, and broken up
into a great many peoples, as we can judge from the list of
nations (Gen. 10), the 'sons of Canaan.'" Six different tribes
are mentioned in Ex. 3:8, 17; 23:23; 33:2; 34:11. In Ex. 13:5
the "Perizzites" are omitted. The "Girgashites" are mentioned in
addition to the foregoing in Deut. 7:1; Josh. 3:10.
The "Canaanites," as distinguished from the Amalekites, the
Anakim, and the Rephaim, were "dwellers in the lowlands" (Num.
13:29), the great plains and valleys, the richest and most
important parts of Israel. Tyre and Sidon, their famous
cities, were the centres of great commercial activity; and hence
the name "Canaanite" came to signify a "trader" or "merchant"
(Job 41:6; Prov. 31:24, lit. "Canaanites;" comp. Zeph. 1:11;
Ezek. 17:4). The name "Canaanite" is also sometimes used to
designate the non-Israelite inhabitants of the land in general
(Gen. 12:6; Num. 21:3; Judg. 1:10).
The Israelites, when they were led to the Promised Land, were
commanded utterly to destroy the descendants of Canaan then
possessing it (Ex. 23:23; Num. 33:52, 53; Deut. 20:16, 17). This
was to be done "by little and little," lest the beasts of the
field should increase (Ex. 23:29; Deut. 7:22, 23). The history
of these wars of conquest is given in the Book of Joshua. The
extermination of these tribes, however, was never fully carried
out. Jerusalem was not taken till the time of David (2 Sam. 5:6,
7). In the days of Solomon bond-service was exacted from the
fragments of the tribes still remaining in the land (1 Kings
9:20, 21). Even after the return from captivity survivors of
five of the Canaanitish tribes were still found in the land.
In the Tell-el-Amarna tablets Canaan is found under the forms
of Kinakhna and Kinakhkhi. Under the name of Kanana the
Canaanites appear on Egyptian monuments, wearing a coat of mail
and helmet, and distinguished by the use of spear and javelin
and the battle-axe. They were called Phoenicians by the Greeks
and Poeni by the Romans. By race the Canaanites were Semitic.
They were famous as merchants and seamen, as well as for their
artistic skill. The chief object of their worship was the
sun-god, who was addressed by the general name of Baal, "lord."
Each locality had its special Baal, and the various local Baals
were summed up under the name of Baalim, "lords."
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.)
Ezekiel, Book of
consists mainly of three groups of prophecies. After an account
of his call to the prophetical office (1-3:21), Ezekiel (1)
utters words of denunciation against the Jews (3:22-24), warning
them of the certain destruction of Jerusalem, in opposition to
the words of the false prophets (4:1-3). The symbolical acts, by
which the extremities to which Jerusalem would be reduced are
described in ch. 4,5, show his intimate acquaintance with the
Levitical legislation. (See Ex. 22:30; Deut. 14:21; Lev. 5:2;
7:18,24; 17:15; 19:7; 22:8, etc.)
(2.) Prophecies against various surrounding nations: against
the Ammonites (Ezek. 25:1-7), the Moabites (8-11), the Edomites
(12-14), the Philistines (15-17), Tyre and Sidon (26-28), and
against Egypt (29-32).
(3.) Prophecies delivered after the destruction of Jerusalem
by Nebuchadnezzar: the triumphs of Israel and of the kingdom of
God on earth (Ezek. 33-39); Messianic times, and the
establishment and prosperity of the kingdom of God (40;48).
The closing visions of this book are referred to in the book
of Revelation (Ezek. 38=Rev. 20:8; Ezek. 47:1-8=Rev. 22:1,2).
Other references to this book are also found in the New
Testament. (Comp. Rom. 2:24 with Ezek. 36:2; Rom. 10:5, Gal.
3:12 with Ezek. 20:11; 2 Pet. 3:4 with Ezek. 12:22.)
It may be noted that Daniel, fourteen years after his
deportation from Jerusalem, is mentioned by Ezekiel (14:14)
along with Noah and Job as distinguished for his righteousness,
and some five years later he is spoken of as pre-eminent for his
Ezekiel's prophecies are characterized by symbolical and
allegorical representations, "unfolding a rich series of
majestic visions and of colossal symbols." There are a great
many also of "symbolcal actions embodying vivid conceptions on
the part of the prophet" (4:1-4; 5:1-4; 12:3-6; 24:3-5; 37:16,
etc.) "The mode of representation, in which symbols and
allegories occupy a prominent place, gives a dark, mysterious
character to the prophecies of Ezekiel. They are obscure and
enigmatical. A cloudy mystery overhangs them which it is almost
impossible to penetrate. Jerome calls the book 'a labyrith of
the mysteries of God.' It was because of this obscurity that the
Jews forbade any one to read it till he had attained the age of
Ezekiel is singular in the frequency with which he refers to
the Pentateuch (e.g., Ezek. 27; 28:13; 31:8; 36:11, 34; 47:13,
etc.). He shows also an acquaintance with the writings of Hosea
(Ezek. 37:22), Isaiah (Ezek. 8:12; 29:6), and especially with
those of Jeremiah, his older contemporary (Jer. 24:7, 9; 48:37).
the name derived from the city Asshur on the Tigris, the
original capital of the country, was originally a colony from
Babylonia, and was ruled by viceroys from that kingdom. It was a
mountainous region lying to the north of Babylonia, extending
along the Tigris as far as to the high mountain range of
Armenia, the Gordiaean or Carduchian mountains. It was founded
in B.C. 1700 under Bel-kap-kapu, and became an independent and a
conquering power, and shook off the yoke of its Babylonian
masters. It subdued the whole of Northern Asia. The Assyrians
were Semites (Gen. 10:22), but in process of time non-Semite
tribes mingled with the inhabitants. They were a military
people, the "Romans of the East."
Of the early history of the kingdom of Assyria little is
positively known. In B.C. 1120 Tiglath-pileser I., the greatest
of the Assyrian kings, "crossed the Euphrates, defeated the
kings of the Hittites, captured the city of Carchemish, and
advanced as far as the shores of the Mediterranean." He may be
regarded as the founder of the first Assyrian empire. After this
the Assyrians gradually extended their power, subjugating the
states of Northern Syria. In the reign of Ahab, king of Israel,
Shalmaneser II. marched an army against the Syrian states, whose
allied army he encountered and vanquished at Karkar. This led to
Ahab's casting off the yoke of Damascus and allying himself with
Judah. Some years after this the Assyrian king marched an army
against Hazael, king of Damascus. He besieged and took that
city. He also brought under tribute Jehu, and the cities of Tyre
About a hundred years after this (B.C. 745) the crown was
seized by a military adventurer called Pul, who assumed the name
of Tiglath-pileser III. He directed his armies into Syria, which
had by this time regained its independence, and took (B.C. 740)
Arpad, near Aleppo, after a siege of three years, and reduced
Hamath. Azariah (Uzziah) was an ally of the king of Hamath, and
thus was compelled by Tiglath-pileser to do him homage and pay a
In B.C. 738, in the reign of Menahem, king of Israel, Pul
invaded Israel, and imposed on it a heavy tribute (2 Kings
15:19). Ahaz, the king of Judah, when engaged in a war against
Israel and Syria, appealed for help to this Assyrian king by
means of a present of gold and silver (2 Kings 16:8); who
accordingly "marched against Damascus, defeated and put Rezin to
death, and besieged the city itself." Leaving a portion of his
army to continue the siege, "he advanced through the province
east of Jordan, spreading fire and sword," and became master of
Philistia, and took Samaria and Damascus. He died B.C. 727, and
was succeeded by Shalmanezer IV., who ruled till B.C. 722. He
also invaded Syria (2 Kings 17:5), but was deposed in favour of
Sargon (q.v.) the Tartan, or commander-in-chief of the army, who
took Samaria (q.v.) after a siege of three years, and so put an
end to the kingdom of Israel, carrying the people away into
captivity, B.C. 722 (2 Kings 17:1-6, 24; 18:7, 9). He also
overran the land of Judah, and took the city of Jerusalem (Isa.
10:6, 12, 22, 24, 34). Mention is next made of Sennacherib (B.C.
705), the son and successor of Sargon (2 Kings 18:13; 19:37;
Isa. 7:17, 18); and then of Esar-haddon, his son and successor,
who took Manasseh, king of Judah, captive, and kept him for some
time a prisoner at Babylon, which he alone of all the Assyrian
kings made the seat of his government (2 Kings 19:37; Isa.
Assur-bani-pal, the son of Esarhaddon, became king, and in
Ezra 4:10 is referred to as Asnapper. From an early period
Assyria had entered on a conquering career, and having absorbed
Babylon, the kingdoms of Hamath, Damascus, and Samaria, it
conquered Phoenicia, and made Judea feudatory, and subjected
Philistia and Idumea. At length, however, its power declined. In
B.C. 727 the Babylonians threw off the rule of the Assyrians,
under the leadership of the powerful Chaldean prince
Merodach-baladan (2 Kings 20:12), who, after twelve years, was
subdued by Sargon, who now reunited the kingdom, and ruled over
a vast empire. But on his death the smouldering flames of
rebellion again burst forth, and the Babylonians and Medes
successfully asserted their independence (B.C. 625), and Assyria
fell according to the prophecies of Isaiah (10:5-19), Nahum
(3:19), and Zephaniah (3:13), and the many separate kingdoms of
which it was composed ceased to recognize the "great king" (2
Kings 18:19; Isa. 36:4). Ezekiel (31) attests (about B.C. 586)
how completely Assyria was overthrown. It ceases to be a nation.
(See NINEVEH ¯T0002735; BABYLON ¯T0000409.)
originally denoted only the sea-coast of the land of Canaan
inhabited by the Philistines (Ex. 15:14; Isa. 14:29, 31; Joel
3:4), and in this sense exclusively the Hebrew name Pelesheth
(rendered "Philistia" in Ps. 60:8; 83:7; 87:4; 108:9) occurs in
the Old Testament.
Not till a late period in Jewish history was this name used to
denote "the land of the Hebrews" in general (Gen. 40:15). It is
also called "the holy land" (Zech. 2:12), the "land of Jehovah"
(Hos. 9:3; Ps. 85:1), the "land of promise" (Heb. 11:9), because
promised to Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 24:7), the "land of Canaan"
(Gen. 12:5), the "land of Israel" (1 Sam. 13:19), and the "land
of Judah" (Isa. 19:17).
The territory promised as an inheritance to the seed of
Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21; Num. 34:1-12) was bounded on the east by
the river Euphrates, on the west by the Mediterranean, on the
north by the "entrance of Hamath," and on the south by the
"river of Egypt." This extent of territory, about 60,000 square
miles, was at length conquered by David, and was ruled over also
by his son Solomon (2 Sam. 8; 1 Chr. 18; 1 Kings 4:1, 21). This
vast empire was the Promised Land; but Israel was only a part
of it, terminating in the north at the southern extremity of the
Lebanon range, and in the south in the wilderness of Paran, thus
extending in all to about 144 miles in length. Its average
breadth was about 60 miles from the Mediterranean on the west to
beyond the Jordan. It has fittingly been designated "the least
of all lands." Western Israel, on the south of Gaza, is only
about 40 miles in breadth from the Mediterranean to the Dead
Sea, narrowing gradually toward the north, where it is only 20
miles from the sea-coast to the Jordan.
Israel, "set in the midst" (Ezek. 5:5) of all other lands,
is the most remarkable country on the face of the earth. No
single country of such an extent has so great a variety of
climate, and hence also of plant and animal life. Moses
describes it as "a good land, a land of brooks of water, of
fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a
land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and
pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein
thou shalt not eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack
any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose
hills thou mayest dig brass" (Deut. 8:7-9).
"In the time of Christ the country looked, in all probability,
much as now. The whole land consists of rounded limestone hills,
fretted into countless stony valleys, offering but rarely level
tracts, of which Esdraelon alone, below Nazareth, is large
enough to be seen on the map. The original woods had for ages
disappeared, though the slopes were dotted, as now, with figs,
olives, and other fruit-trees where there was any soil.
Permanent streams were even then unknown, the passing rush of
winter torrents being all that was seen among the hills. The
autumn and spring rains, caught in deep cisterns hewn out like
huge underground jars in the soft limestone, with artificial
mud-banked ponds still found near all villages, furnished water.
Hills now bare, or at best rough with stunted growth, were then
terraced, so as to grow vines, olives, and grain. To-day almost
desolate, the country then teemed with population. Wine-presses
cut in the rocks, endless terraces, and the ruins of old
vineyard towers are now found amidst solitudes overgrown for
ages with thorns and thistles, or with wild shrubs and poor
gnarled scrub" (Geikie's Life of Christ).
From an early period the land was inhabited by the descendants
of Canaan, who retained possession of the whole land "from Sidon
to Gaza" till the time of the conquest by Joshua, when it was
occupied by the twelve tribes. Two tribes and a half had their
allotments given them by Moses on the east of the Jordan (Deut.
3:12-20; comp. Num. 1:17-46; Josh. 4:12-13). The remaining
tribes had their portion on the west of Jordan.
From the conquest till the time of Saul, about four hundred
years, the people were governed by judges. For a period of one
hundred and twenty years the kingdom retained its unity while it
was ruled by Saul and David and Solomon. On the death of
Solomon, his son Rehoboam ascended the throne; but his conduct
was such that ten of the tribes revolted, and formed an
independent monarchy, called the kingdom of Israel, or the
northern kingdom, the capital of which was first Shechem and
afterwards Samaria. This kingdom was destroyed. The Israelites
were carried captive by Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, B.C. 722,
after an independent existence of two hundred and fifty-three
years. The place of the captives carried away was supplied by
tribes brought from the east, and thus was formed the Samaritan
nation (2 Kings 17:24-29).
Nebuchadnezzar came up against the kingdom of the two tribes,
the kingdom of Judah, the capital of which was Jerusalem, one
hundred and thirty-four years after the overthrow of the kingdom
of Israel. He overthrew the city, plundered the temple, and
carried the people into captivity to Babylon (B.C. 587), where
they remained seventy years. At the close of the period of the
Captivity, they returned to their own land, under the edict of
Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4). They rebuilt the city and temple, and
restored the old Jewish commonwealth.
For a while after the Restoration the Jews were ruled by
Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and afterwards by the high
priests, assisted by the Sanhedrin. After the death of Alexander
the Great at Babylon (B.C. 323), his vast empire was divided
between his four generals. Egypt, Arabia, Israel, and
Coele-Syria fell to the lot of Ptolemy Lagus. Ptolemy took
possession of Israel in B.C. 320, and carried nearly one
hundred thousand of the inhabitants of Jerusalem into Egypt. He
made Alexandria the capital of his kingdom, and treated the Jews
with consideration, confirming them in the enjoyment of many
After suffering persecution at the hands of Ptolemy's
successors, the Jews threw off the Egyptian yoke, and became
subject to Antiochus the Great, the king of Syria. The cruelty
and opression of the successors of Antiochus at length led to
the revolt under the Maccabees (B.C. 163), when they threw off
the Syrian yoke.
In the year B.C. 68, Israel was reduced by Pompey the Great
to a Roman province. He laid the walls of the city in ruins, and
massacred some twelve thousand of the inhabitants. He left the
temple, however, unijured. About twenty-five years after this
the Jews revolted and cast off the Roman yoke. They were
however, subdued by Herod the Great (q.v.). The city and the
temple were destroyed, and many of the inhabitants were put to
death. About B.C. 20, Herod proceeded to rebuild the city and
restore the ruined temple, which in about nine years and a half
was so far completed that the sacred services could be resumed
in it (comp. John 2:20). He was succeeded by his son Archelaus,
who was deprived of his power, however, by Augustus, A.D. 6,
when Israel became a Roman province, ruled by Roman governors
or procurators. Pontius Pilate was the fifth of these
procurators. He was appointed to his office A.D. 25.
Exclusive of Idumea, the kingdom of Herod the Great
comprehended the whole of the country originally divided among
the twelve tribes, which he divided into four provinces or
districts. This division was recognized so long as Israel was
under the Roman dominion. These four provinces were, (1) Judea,
the southern portion of the country; (2) Samaria, the middle
province, the northern boundary of which ran along the hills to
the south of the plain of Esdraelon; (3) Galilee, the northern
province; and (4) Peraea (a Greek name meaning the "opposite
country"), the country lying east of the Jordan and the Dead
Sea. This province was subdivided into these districts, (1)
Peraea proper, lying between the rivers Arnon and Jabbok; (2)
Galaaditis (Gilead); (3) Batanaea; (4) Gaulonitis (Jaulan); (5)
Ituraea or Auranitis, the ancient Bashan; (6) Trachonitis; (7)
Abilene; (8) Decapolis, i.e., the region of the ten cities. The
whole territory of Israel, including the portions alloted to
the trans-Jordan tribes, extended to about eleven thousand
square miles. Recent exploration has shown the territory on the
west of Jordan alone to be six thousand square miles in extent,
the size of the principality of Wales.