hollow Syria, the name (not found in Scripture) given by the
Greeks to the extensive valley, about 100 miles long, between
the Lebanon and the Anti-Lebanon range of mountains.
vision, the father of Tabrimon, and grandfather of Ben-hadad,
king of Syria (1 Kings 15:18).
good is Rimmon, the father of Benhadad, king of Syria (1 Kings
(Isa. 3:18), anklets of silver or gold, etc., such as are still
used by women in Syria and the East.
the Grecized form of Quirinus. His full name was Publius
Sulpicius Quirinus. Recent historical investigation has proved
that Quirinus was governor of Cilicia, which was annexed to
Syria at the time of our Lord's birth. Cilicia, which he ruled,
being a province of Syria, he is called the governor, which he
was de jure, of Syria. Some ten years afterwards he was
appointed governor of Syria for the second time. During his
tenure of office, at the time of our Lord's birth (Luke 2:2), a
"taxing" (R.V., "enrolment;" i.e., a registration) of the people
was "first made;" i.e., was made for the first time under his
government. (See TAXING ¯T0003595.)
goodness of God, the father of one whom the kings of Syria and
Samaria in vain attempted to place on the throne of Ahaz (Isa.
the standing title of the Syrian kings, meaning "the son of
Hadad." (See HADADEZER ¯T0001569.)
(1.) The king of Syria whom Asa, king of Judah, employed to
invade Israel (1 Kings 15:18).
(2.) Son of the preceding, also king of Syria. He was long
engaged in war against Israel. He was murdered probably by
Hazael, by whom he was succeeded (2 Kings 8:7-15), after a reign
of some thirty years.
(3.) King of Damascus, and successor of his father Hazael on
the throne of Syria (2 Kings 13:3, 4). His misfortunes in war
are noticed by Amos (1:4).
wandering, (Ezek. 27:8), a small island and city on the coast of
Syria, mentioned as furnishing mariners and soldiers for Tyre.
The inhabitants were called Arvadites. The name is written
Aruada or Arada in the Tell-el-Amarna tablets.
Heb. luz, (Gen. 30:37), a nutbearing tree. The Hebrew word is
rendered in the Vulgate by amygdalinus, "the almond-tree," which
is probably correct. That tree flourishes in Syria.
a ruin, a city of Naphtali, captured by Ben-hadad of Syria at
the instance of Asa (1 Kings 15:20), and afterwards by
Tiglath-pileser of Assyria (2 Kings 15:29) in the reign of
Pekah; now el-Khiam.
a maritime city of Galilee (Acts 21:7). It was originally called
"Accho" (q.v.), and received the name Ptolemais from Ptolemy
Soter when he was in possession of Coele-Syria.
(Luke 2:2; R.V., "enrolment"), "when Cyrenius was governor of
Syria," is simply a census of the people, or an enrolment of
them with a view to their taxation. The decree for the enrolment
was the occasion of Joseph and Mary's going up to Bethlehem. It
has been argued by some that Cyrenius (q.v.) was governor of
Cilicia and Syria both at the time of our Lord's birth and some
years afterwards. This decree for the taxing referred to the
whole Roman world, and not to Judea alone. (See CENSUS
(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.
mentioned in 2 Sam. 17:28 as having been brought to David when
flying from Absalom. They formed a constituent in the bread
Ezekiel (4:9) was commanded to make, as they were in general
much used as an article of diet. They are extensively cultivated
in Egypt and Arabia and Syria.
one of the cities of Hadarezer, king of Syria. David procured
brass (i.e., bronze or copper) from it for the temple (1 Chr.
18:8). It is called Berothai in 2 Sam. 8:8; probably the same as
Berothah in Ezek. 47:16.
a rose, an island to the south of the western extremity of Asia
Minor, between Coos and Patara, about 46 miles long and 18 miles
broad. Here the apostle probably landed on his way from Greece
to Syria (Acts 21:1), on returning from his third missionary
the bearded darnel, mentioned only in Matt. 13:25-30. It is the
Lolium temulentum, a species of rye-grass, the seeds of which
are a strong soporific poison. It bears the closest resemblance
to wheat till the ear appears, and only then the difference is
discovered. It grows plentifully in Syria and Israel.
Tob, The land of
a district on the east of Jodan, about 13 miles south-east of
the Sea of Galilee, to which Jephthah fled from his brethren
(Judg. 11:3, 5). It was on the northern boundary of Perea,
between Syria and the land of Ammon (2 Sam. 10:6, 8). Its modern
name is Taiyibeh.
(Heb. tsabh). Ranked among the unclean animals (Lev. 11:29).
Land tortoises are common in Syria. The LXX. renders the word by
"land crocodile." The word, however, more probably denotes a
lizard, called by the modern Arabs _dhabb_.
=Aram-Zobah, (Ps. 60, title), a Syrian province or kingdom to
the south of Coele-Syria, and extending from the eastern slopes
of Lebanon north and east toward the Euphrates. Saul and David
had war with the kings of Zobah (1 Sam. 14:47; 2 Sam. 8:3;
the son of Shem (Gen. 10:22); according to Gen. 22:21, a
grandson of Nahor. In Matt. 1:3, 4, and Luke 3:33, this word is
the Greek form of Ram, the father of Amminadab (1 Chr. 2:10).
The word means high, or highlands, and as the name of a
country denotes that elevated region extending from the
northeast of Israel to the Euphrates. It corresponded
generally with the Syria and Mesopotamia of the Greeks and
Romans. In Gen. 25:20; 31:20, 24; Deut. 26:5, the word "Syrian"
is properly "Aramean" (R.V., marg.). Damascus became at length
the capital of the several smaller kingdoms comprehended under
the designation "Aram" or "Syria."
(Heb. 'arnebeth) was prohibited as food according to the Mosaic
law (Lev. 11:6; Deut. 14:7), "because he cheweth the cud, but
divideth not the hoof." The habit of this animal is to grind its
teeth and move its jaw as if it actually chewed the cud. But,
like the cony (q.v.), it is not a ruminant with four stomachs,
but a rodent like the squirrel, rat, etc. Moses speaks of it
according to appearance. It is interdicted because, though
apparently chewing the cud, it did not divide the hoof.
There are two species in Syria, (1) the Lepus Syriacus or
Syrian hare, which is like the English hare; and (2) the Lepus
Sinaiticus, or hare of the desert. No rabbits are found in
Aram of the two rivers, is Mesopotamia (as it is rendered in
Gen. 24:10), the country enclosed between the Tigris on the east
and the Euphrates on the west (Ps. 60, title); called also the
"field of Aram" (Hos. 12:12, R.V.) i.e., the open country of
Aram; in the Authorized Version, "country of Syria." Padan-aram
(q.v.) was a portion of this country.
(Heb. o'ren, "tremulous"), mentioned only Isa. 44:14 (R.V., "fir
tree"). It is rendered "pine tree" both in the LXX. and Vulgate
versions. There is a tree called by the Arabs _aran_, found
still in the valleys of Arabia Petraea, whose leaf resembles
that of the mountain ash. This may be the tree meant. Our ash
tree is not known in Syria.
millet, the eastern harbour of Corinth, from which it was
distant about 9 miles east, and the outlet for its trade with
the Asiatic shores of the Mediterranean. When Paul returned from
his second missionary journey to Syria, he sailed from this port
(Acts 18:18). In Rom. 16:1 he speaks as if there were at the
time of his writing that epistle an organized church there. The
western harbour of Corinth was Lechaeum, about a mile and a half
from the city. It was the channel of its trade with Italy and
only in Deut. 14:5 (Heb. zemer), an animal of the deer or
gazelle species. It bears this Hebrew name from its leaping or
springing. The animal intended is probably the wild sheep (Ovis
tragelephus), which is still found in Sinai and in the broken
ridges of Stony Arabia. The LXX. and Vulgate render the word by
camelopardus, i.e., the giraffe; but this is an animal of
Central Africa, and is not at all known in Syria.
(Isa. 28:25, 27), the rendering of the Hebrew _ketsah_, "without
doubt the Nigella sativa, a small annual of the order
Ranunculacece, which grows wild in the Mediterranean countries,
and is cultivated in Egypt and Syria for its seed." It is
rendered in margin of the Revised Version "black cummin." The
seeds are used as a condiment.
In Ezek. 4:9 this word is the rendering of the Hebrew
_kussemeth_ (incorrectly rendered "rye" in the Authorized
Version of Ex. 9:32 and Isa. 28:25, but "spelt" in the Revised
Version). The reading "fitches" here is an error; it should be
Almost every kind of combustible matter was used for fuel, such
as the withered stalks of herbs (Matt. 6:30), thorns (Ps. 58:9;
Eccl. 7:6), animal excrements (Ezek. 4:12-15; 15:4, 6; 21:32).
Wood or charcoal is much used still in all the towns of Syria
and Egypt. It is largely brought from the region of Hebron to
Jerusalem. (See COAL ¯T0000851.)
(Heb. borith mekabbeshim, i.e., "alkali of those treading
cloth"). Mention is made (Prov. 25:20; Jer. 2:22) of nitre and
also (Mal. 3:2) of soap (Heb. borith) used by the fuller in his
operations. Nitre is found in Syria, and vegetable alkali was
obtained from the ashes of certain plants. (See SOAP ¯T0003467.)
bridge, the name of a district or principality of Syria near
Gilead, between Mount Hermon and the Lake of Tiberias (2 Sam.
15:8; 1 Chr. 2:23). The Geshurites probably inhabited the rocky
fastness of Argob, the modern Lejah, in the north-east corner of
Bashan. In the time of David it was ruled by Talmai, whose
daughter he married, and who was the mother of Absalom, who fled
to Geshur after the murder of Amnon (2 Sam. 13:37).
cave-land, mentioned only in Ezek. 47:16, 18. It was one of the
ancient divisions of Bashan (q.v.), and lay on the south-east of
Gaulanitis or the Jaulan, and on the south of Lejah, extending
from the Arnon to the Hieromax. It was the most fertile region
in Syria, and to this day abounds in the ruins of towns, many of
which have stone doors and massive walls. It retains its ancient
name. It was known by the Greeks and Romans as "Auranitis."
(Heb. tsir), that on which a door revolves. "Doors in the East
turn rather on pivots than on what we term hinges. In Syria, and
especially in the Hauran, there are many ancient doors,
consisting of stone slabs with pivots carved out of the same
piece inserted in sockets above and below, and fixed during the
building of the house" (Prov. 26:14).
occurs only in Prov. 30:15 (Heb. 'alukah); the generic name for
any blood-sucking annelid. There are various species in the
marshes and pools of Israel. That here referred to, the
Hoemopis, is remarkable for the coarseness of its bite, and is
therefore not used for medical purposes. They are spoken of in
the East with feelings of aversion and horror, because of their
propensity to fasten on the tongue and nostrils of horses when
they come to drink out of the pools. The medicinal leech (Hirudo
medicinalis), besides other species of leeches, are common in
the waters of Syria.
After the Captivity this name was applied to the whole of the
country west of the Jordan (Hag. 1:1, 14; 2:2). But under the
Romans, in the time of Christ, it denoted the southernmost of
the three divisions of Israel (Matt. 2:1, 5; 3:1; 4:25),
although it was also sometimes used for Israel generally
The province of Judea, as distinguished from Galilee and
Samaria, included the territories of the tribes of Judah,
Benjamin, Dan, Simeon, and part of Ephraim. Under the Romans it
was a part of the province of Syria, and was governed by a
(1.) The name of a tribe referred to in the covenant God made
with Abraham (Gen. 15:19). They are not mentioned among the
original inhabitants of Canaan (Ex. 3:8; Josh. 3:10), and
probably they inhabited some part of Arabia, in the confines of
(2.) A designation given to Caleb (R.V., Num. 32:12; A.V.,
(Heb. 'adashim), a species of vetch (Gen. 25:34; 2 Sam. 23:11),
common in Syria under the name addas. The red pottage made by
Jacob was of lentils (Gen. 25:29-34). They were among the
provisions brought to David when he fled from Absalom (2 Sam.
17:28). It is the Ervum lens of Linnaeus, a leguminous plant
which produces a fruit resembling a bean.
(Heb. namer, so called because spotted, Cant. 4:8), was that
great spotted feline which anciently infested the mountains of
Syria, more appropriately called a panther (Felis pardus). Its
fierceness (Isa. 11:6), its watching for its prey (Jer. 5:6),
its swiftness (Hab. 1:8), and the spots of its skin (Jer.
13:23), are noticed. This word is used symbolically (Dan. 7:6;
The Hebrew word so rendered means "boiling" or "effervescing."
From Isa. 33:12 it appears that lime was made in a kiln lighted
by thorn-bushes. In Amos 2:1 it is recorded that the king of
Moab "burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime." The same
Hebrew word is used in Deut. 27:2-4, and is there rendered
"plaster." Limestone is the chief constituent of the mountains
plunder speedeth; spoil hasteth, (Isa. 8:1-3; comp. Zeph. 1:14),
a name Isaiah was commanded first to write in large characters
on a tablet, and afterwards to give as a symbolical name to a
son that was to be born to him (Isa. 8:1, 3), as denoting the
sudden attack on Damascus and Syria by the Assyrian army.
(Miletum, 2 Tim. 4:20), a seaport town and the ancient capital
of Ionia, about 36 miles south of Ephesus. On his voyage from
Greece to Syria, Paul touched at this port, and delivered that
noble and pathetic address to the elders ("presbyters," ver. 28)
of Ephesus recorded in Acts 20:15-35. The site of Miletus is now
some 10 miles from the coast. (See EPHESIANS, EPISTLE TO
division, one of the sons of Eber; so called because "in his
days was the earth divided" (Gen. 10:25). Possibly he may have
lived at the time of the dispersion from Babel. But more
probably the reference is to the dispersion of the two races
which sprang from Eber, the one spreading towards Mesopotamia
and Syria, and the other southward into Arabia.
firm; a prince, a king of Syria, who joined Pekah (q.v.) in an
invasion of the kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 15:37; 16:5-9; Isa.
7:1-8). Ahaz induced Tiglath-pileser III. to attack Damascus,
and this caused Rezin to withdraw for the purpose of defending
his own kingdom. Damascus was taken, and Rezin was slain in
battle by the Assyrian king, and his people carried into
captivity, B.C. 732 (2 Kings 16:9).
prince, son of Eliadah. Abandoning the service of Hadadezer, the
king of Zobah, on the occasion of his being defeated by David,
he became the "captain over a band" of marauders, and took
Damascus, and became king of Syria (1 Kings 11:23-25; 2 Sam.
8:3-8). For centuries after this the Syrians were the foes of
Israel. He "became an adversary to Israel all the days of
the sea-port of Antioch, near the mouth of the Orontes. Paul and
his companions sailed from this port on their first missionary
journey (Acts 13:4). This city was built by Seleucus Nicator,
the "king of Syria." It is said of him that "few princes have
ever lived with so great a passion for the building of cities.
He is reputed to have built in all nine Seleucias, sixteen
Antiochs, and six Laodiceas." Seleucia became a city of great
importance, and was made a "free city" by Pompey. It is now a
small village, called el-Kalusi.
used for a great variety of purposes, as may be judged from the
frequent references to it in Scripture. It first appears in
commerce in Gen. 13:2; 23:15, 16. It was largely employed for
making vessels for the sanctuary in the wilderness (Ex. 26:19;
27:17; Num. 7:13, 19; 10:2). There is no record of its having
been found in Syria or Israel. It was brought in large
quantities by foreign merchants from abroad, from Spain and
India and other countries probably.
whom God beholds, an officer of Ben-hadad II., king of Syria,
who ultimately came to the throne, according to the word of the
Lord to Elijah (1 Kings 19:15), after he had put the king to
death (2 Kings 8:15). His interview with Elisha is mentioned in
2 Kings 8. The Assyrians soon after his accession to the throne
came against him and defeated him with very great loss; and
three years afterwards again invaded Syria, but on this occasion
Hazael submitted to them. He then turned his arms against
Israel, and ravaged "all the land of Gilead," etc. (2 Kings
10:33), which he held in a degree of subjection to him (13:3-7,
22). He aimed at the subjugation also of the kingdom of Judah,
when Joash obtained peace by giving him "all the gold that was
found in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and in the
king's house" (2 Kings 12:18; 2 Chr. 24:24). He reigned about
forty-six years (B.C.886-840), and was succeeded on the throne
by his son Ben-hadad (2 Kings 13:22-25), who on several
occasions was defeated by Jehoash, the king of Israel, and
compelled to restore all the land of Israel his father had
the country between the two rivers (Heb. Aram-naharaim; i.e.,
"Syria of the two rivers"), the name given by the Greeks and
Romans to the region between the Euphrates and the Tigris (Gen.
24:10; Deut. 23:4; Judg. 3:8, 10). In the Old Testament it is
mentioned also under the name "Padan-aram;" i.e., the plain of
Aram, or Syria (Gen. 25:20). The northern portion of this
fertile plateau was the original home of the ancestors of the
Hebrews (Gen. 11; Acts 7:2). From this region Isaac obtained his
wife Rebecca (Gen. 24:10, 15), and here also Jacob sojourned
(28:2-7) and obtained his wives, and here most of his sons were
born (35:26; 46:15). The petty, independent tribes of this
region, each under its own prince, were warlike, and used
chariots in battle. They maintained their independence till
after the time of David, when they fell under the dominion of
Assyria, and were absorbed into the empire (2 Kings 19:13).
called by the Greeks Heliopolis i.e., "the city of the sun",
because of its famous Temple of the Sun, has by some been
supposed to be Solomon's "house of the forest of Lebanon" (1
Kings 7:2; 10:17; 2 Chr. 9:16); by others it is identified with
Baal-gad (q.v.). It was a city of Coele-Syria, on the lowest
declivity of Anti-Libanus, about 42 miles north-west of
Damascus. It was one of the most splendid of Syrian cities,
existing from a remote antiquity. After sustaining several
sieges under the Moslems and others, it was finally destroyed by
an earthquake in 1759. Its ruins are of great extent.
Heb. kinamon, the Cinnamomum zeylanicum of botanists, a tree of
the Laurel family, which grows only in India on the Malabar
coast, in Ceylon, and China. There is no trace of it in Egypt,
and it was unknown in Syria. The inner rind when dried and
rolled into cylinders forms the cinnamon of commerce. The fruit
and coarser pieces of bark when boiled yield a fragrant oil. It
was one of the principal ingredients in the holy anointing oil
(Ex. 30:23). It is mentioned elsewhere only in Prov. 7:17; Cant.
4:14; Rev. 18:13. The mention of it indicates a very early and
extensive commerce carried on between Israel and the East.
(Heb. shahaph), from a root meaning "to be lean; slender." This
bird is mentioned only in Lev. 11:16 and Deut. 14:15 (R.V.,
"seamew"). Some have interpreted the Hebrew word by "petrel" or
"shearwater" (Puffinus cinereus), which is found on the coast of
Syria; others think it denotes the "sea-gull" or "seamew." The
common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) feeds on reptiles and large
insects. It is found in Asia and Africa as well as in Europe. It
only passes the winter in Israel. The Arabs suppose it to
utter the cry _Yakub_, and hence they call it _tir el-Yakub_;
i.e., "Jacob's bird."
dwelling, the Dora of the Romans, an ancient royal city of the
Canaanites (Josh. 11:1, 2; 12:23). It was the most southern
settlement of the Phoenicians on the coast of Syria. The
original inhabitants seem never to have been expelled, although
they were made tributary by David. It was one of Solomon's
commissariat districts (Judg. 1:27; 1 Kings 4:11). It has been
identified with Tantura (so named from the supposed resemblance
of its tower to a tantur, i.e., "a horn"). This tower fell in
1895, and nothing remains but debris and foundation walls, the
remains of an old Crusading fortress. It is about 8 miles north
of Caesarea, "a sad and sickly hamlet of wretched huts on a
(1.) Used as manure (Luke 13:8); collected outside the city
walls (Neh. 2:13). Of sacrifices, burned outside the camp (Ex.
29:14; Lev. 4:11; 8:17; Num. 19:5). To be "cast out as dung," a
figurative expression (1 Kings 14:10; 2 Kings 9:37; Jer. 8:2;
Ps. 18:42), meaning to be rejected as unprofitable.
(2.) Used as fuel, a substitute for firewood, which was with
difficulty procured in Syria, Arabia, and Egypt (Ezek. 4:12-15),
where cows' and camels' dung is used to the present day for this
Very few species of flowers are mentioned in the Bible although
they abounded in Israel. It has been calculated that in
Western Syria and Israel from two thousand to two thousand
five hundred plants are found, of which about five hundred
probably are British wild-flowers. Their beauty is often alluded
to (Cant. 2:12; Matt. 6:28). They are referred to as affording
an emblem of the transitory nature of human life (Job 14:2; Ps.
103:15; Isa. 28:1; 40:6; James 1:10). Gardens containing flowers
and fragrant herbs are spoken of (Cant. 4:16; 6:2).
is exalted. (1.) The son of Tou, king of Hamath, sent by his
father to congratulate David on his victory over Hadarezer, king
of Syria (1 Chr. 18:10; called Joram 2 Sam. 8:10).
(2.) The fifth son of Joktan, the founder of an Arab tribe
(Gen. 10:27; 1 Chr. 1:21).
(3.) One who was "over the tribute;" i.e., "over the levy." He
was stoned by the Israelites after they had revolted from
Rehoboam (2 Chr. 10:18). Called also Adoram (2 Sam. 20:24) and
Adoniram (1 Kings 4:6).
God has gratified me, or is gracious. (1.) One of the sons of
Heman (1 Chr. 25:4, 25). (2.) A prophet who was sent to rebuke
king Asa for entering into a league with Benhadad I., king of
Syria, against Judah (2 Chr. 16:1-10). He was probably the
father of the prophet Jehu (1 Kings 16:7). (3.) Probably a
brother of Nehemiah (Neh. 1:2; 7:2), who reported to him the
melancholy condition of Jerusalem. Nehemiah afterwards appointed
him to have charge of the city gates.
(Heb. netz, a word expressive of strong and rapid flight, and
hence appropriate to the hawk). It is an unclean bird (Lev.
11:16; Deut. 14:15). It is common in Syria and surrounding
countries. The Hebrew word includes various species of
Falconidae, with special reference perhaps to the kestrel (Falco
tinnunculus), the hobby (Hypotriorchis subbuteo), and the lesser
kestrel (Tin, Cenchris). The kestrel remains all the year in
Israel, but some ten or twelve other species are all migrants
from the south. Of those summer visitors to Israel special
mention may be made of the Falco sacer and the Falco lanarius.
(See NIGHT-HAWK ¯T0002729.)
The city of this name mentioned in Scripture lay on the confines
of Phrygia and Lydia, about 40 miles east of Ephesus (Rev.
3:14), on the banks of the Lycus. It was originally called
Diospolis and then Rhoas, but afterwards Laodicea, from Laodice,
the wife of Antiochus II., king of Syria, who rebuilt it. It was
one of the most important and flourishing cities of Asia Minor.
At a very early period it became one of the chief seats of
Christianity (Col. 2:1; 4:15; Rev. 1:11, etc.). It is now a
deserted place, called by the Turks Eski-hissar or "old castle."
(Gr. heduosmon, i.e., "having a sweet smell"), one of the garden
herbs of which the Pharisees paid tithes (Matt. 23:23; Luke
11:42). It belongs to the labiate family of plants. The species
most common in Syria is the Mentha sylvestris, the wild mint,
which grows much larger than the garden mint (M. sativa). It was
much used in domestic economy as a condiment, and also as a
medicine. The paying of tithes of mint was in accordance with
the Mosiac law (Deut. 14:22), but the error of the Pharisees lay
in their being more careful about this little matter of the mint
than about weightier matters.
mentioned only in Judg. 3:31, the weapon with which Shamgar
(q.v.) slew six hundred Philistines. "The ploughman still
carries his goad, a weapon apparently more fitted for the hand
of the soldier than the peaceful husbandman. The one I saw was
of the 'oak of Bashan,' and measured upwards of ten feet in
length. At one end was an iron spear, and at the other a piece
of the same metal flattened. One can well understand how a
warrior might use such a weapon with effect in the battle-field"
(Porter's Syria, etc.). (See GOAD ¯T0001508.)
street; broad place. (1.) The father of Hadadezer, king of Tobah
(2 Sam. 8:3, 12).
(2.) Neh. 10:11.
(3.) The same, probably, as Beth-rehob (2 Sam. 10:6, 8; Judg.
18:28), a place in the north of Israel (Num. 13:21). It is
now supposed to be represented by the castle of Hunin,
south-west of Dan, on the road from Hamath into Coele-Syria.
(4.) A town of Asher (Josh. 19:28), to the east of Zidon.
(5.) Another town of Asher (Josh. 19:30), kept possession of
by the Canaanites (Judg. 1:31).
Many varieties of the rose proper are indigenous to Syria. The
famed rose of Damascus is white, but there are also red and
yellow roses. In Cant. 2:1 and Isa. 35:1 the Hebrew word
_habatstseleth_ (found only in these passages), rendered "rose"
(R.V. marg., "autumn crocus"), is supposed by some to mean the
oleander, by others the sweet-scented narcissus (a native of
Israel), the tulip, or the daisy; but nothing definite can be
affirmed regarding it.
The "rose of Sharon" is probably the cistus or rock-rose,
several species of which abound in Israel. "Mount Carmel
especially abounds in the cistus, which in April covers some of
the barer parts of the mountain with a glow not inferior to that
of the Scottish heather." (See MYRRH ¯T0002632 .)
The street called "Straight" at Damascus (Acts 9:11) is "a long
broad street, running from east to west, about a mile in length,
and forming the principal thoroughfare in the city." In Oriental
towns streets are usually narrow and irregular and filthy (Ps.
18:42; Isa. 10:6). "It is remarkable," says Porter, "that all
the important cities of Israel and Syria Samaria, Caesarea,
Gerasa, Bozrah, Damascus, Palmyra, had their 'straight streets'
running through the centre of the city, and lined with stately
rows of columns. The most perfect now remaining are those of
Palmyra and Gerasa, where long ranges of the columns still
stand.", Through Samaria, etc.
"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).
(1.) An Assyrian king. It has been a question whether he was
identical with Tiglath-pileser III. (q.v.), or was his
predecessor. The weight of evidence is certainly in favour of
their identity. Pul was the throne-name he bore in Babylonia as
king of Babylon, and Tiglath-pileser the throne-name he bore as
king of Assyria. He was the founder of what is called the second
Assyrian empire. He consolidated and organized his conquests on
a large scale. He subdued Northern Syria and Hamath, and the
kings of Syria rendered him homage and paid him tribute. His
ambition was to found in Western Asia a kingdom which should
embrace the whole civilized world, having Nineveh as its centre.
Menahem, king of Israel, gave him the enormous tribute of a
thousand talents of silver, "that his hand might be with him" (2
Kings 15:19; 1 Chr. 5:26). The fact that this tribute could be
paid showed the wealthy condition of the little kingdom of
Israel even in this age of disorder and misgovernment. Having
reduced Syria, he turned his arms against Babylon, which he
subdued. The Babylonian king was slain, and Babylon and other
Chaldean cities were taken, and Pul assumed the title of "King
of Sumer [i.e., Shinar] and Accad." He was succeeded by
(2.) A geographical name in Isa. 66:19. Probably = Phut (Gen.
10:6; Jer. 46:9, R.V. "Put;" Ezek. 27:10).
activity, the most ancient of Oriental cities; the capital of
Syria (Isa. 7:8; 17:3); situated about 133 miles to the north of
Jerusalem. Its modern name is Esh-Sham; i.e., "the East."
The situation of this city is said to be the most beautiful of
all Western Asia. It is mentioned among the conquests of the
Egyptian king Thothmes III. (B.C. 1500), and in the Amarna
tablets (B.C. 1400).
It is first mentioned in Scripture in connection with
Abraham's victory over the confederate kings under Chedorlaomer
(Gen. 14:15). It was the native place of Abraham's steward
(15:2). It is not again noticed till the time of David, when
"the Syrians of Damascus came to succour Hadadezer" (q.v.), 2
Sam. 8:5; 1 Chr. 18:5. In the reign of Solomon, Rezon became
leader of a band who revolted from Hadadezer (1 Kings 11:23),
and betaking themselves to Damascus, settled there and made
their leader king. There was a long war, with varying success,
between the Israelites and Syrians, who at a later period became
allies of Israel against Judah (2 Kings 15:37).
The Syrians were at length subdued by the Assyrians, the city
of Damascus was taken and destroyed, and the inhabitants carried
captive into Assyria (2 Kings 16:7-9; comp. Isa. 7:8). In this,
prophecy was fulfilled (Isa. 17:1; Amos 1:4; Jer. 49:24). The
kingdom of Syria remained a province of Assyria till the capture
of Nineveh by the Medes (B.C. 625), when it fell under the
conquerors. After passing through various vicissitudes, Syria
was invaded by the Romans (B.C. 64), and Damascus became the
seat of the government of the province. In A.D. 37 Aretas, the
king of Arabia, became master of Damascus, having driven back
This city is memorable as the scene of Saul's conversion (Acts
9:1-25). The street called "Straight," in which Judas lived, in
whose house Saul was found by Ananias, is known by the name
Sultany, or "Queen's Street." It is the principal street of the
city. Paul visited Damascus again on his return from Arabia
(Gal. 1:16, 17). Christianity was planted here as a centre (Acts
9:20), from which it spread to the surrounding regions.
In A.D. 634 Damascus was conquered by the growing Mohammedan
power. In A.D. 1516 it fell under the dominion of the Turks, its
present rulers. It is now the largest city in Asiatic Turkey.
Christianity has again found a firm footing within its walls.
white, "the white mountain of Syria," is the loftiest and most
celebrated mountain range in Syria. It is a branch running
southward from the Caucasus, and at its lower end forking into
two parallel ranges, the eastern or Anti-Lebanon, and the
western or Lebanon proper. They enclose a long valley (Josh.
11:17) of from 5 to 8 miles in width, called by Roman writers
Coele-Syria, now called el-Buka'a, "the valley," a prolongation
of the valley of the Jordan.
Lebanon proper, Jebel es-Sharki, commences at its southern
extremity in the gorge of the Leontes, the ancient Litany, and
extends north-east, parallel to the Mediterranean coast, as far
as the river Eleutherus, at the plain of Emesa, "the entering of
Hamath" (Num. 34:8; 1 Kings 8:65), in all about 90 geographical
miles in extent. The average height of this range is from 6,000
to 8,000 feet; the peak of Jebel Mukhmel is about 10,200 feet,
and the Sannin about 9,000. The highest peaks are covered with
perpetual snow and ice. In the recesses of the range wild beasts
as of old still abound (2 Kings 14:9; Cant. 4:8). The scenes of
the Lebanon are remarkable for their grandeur and beauty, and
supplied the sacred writers with many expressive similes (Ps.
29:5, 6; 72:16; 104:16-18; Cant. 4:15; Isa. 2:13; 35:2; 60:13;
Hos. 14:5). It is famous for its cedars (Cant. 5:15), its wines
(Hos. 14:7), and its cool waters (Jer. 18:14). The ancient
inhabitants were Giblites and Hivites (Josh. 13:5; Judg. 3:3).
It was part of the Phoenician kingdom (1 Kings 5:2-6).
The eastern range, or Anti-Lebanon, or "Lebanon towards the
sunrising," runs nearly parallel with the western from the plain
of Emesa till it connects with the hills of Galilee in the
south. The height of this range is about 5,000 feet. Its highest
peak is Hermon (q.v.), from which a number of lesser ranges
Lebanon is first mentioned in the description of the boundary
of Israel (Deut. 1:7; 11:24). It was assigned to Israel, but
was never conquered (Josh. 13:2-6; Judg. 3:1-3).
The Lebanon range is now inhabited by a population of about
300,000 Christians, Maronites, and Druses, and is ruled by a
Christian governor. The Anti-Lebanon is inhabited by
Mohammedans, and is under a Turkish ruler.
house of security or rest, a city which belonged to Manasseh (1
Chr. 7:29), on the west of Jordan. The bodies of Saul and his
sons were fastened to its walls. In Solomon's time it gave its
name to a district (1 Kings 4:12). The name is found in an
abridged form, Bethshan, in 1 Sam. 31:10, 12 and 2 Sam. 21:12.
It is on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus, about 5 miles from
the Jordan, and 14 from the south end of the Lake of Gennesaret.
After the Captivity it was called Scythopolis, i.e., "the city
of the Scythians," who about B.C. 640 came down from the steppes
of Southern Russia and settled in different places in Syria. It
is now called Beisan.
a maritime province in the south-east of Asia Minor. Tarsus, the
birth-place of Paul, was one of its chief towns, and the seat of
a celebrated school of philosophy. Its luxurious climate
attracted to it many Greek residents after its incorporation
with the Macedonian empire. It was formed into a Roman province,
B.C. 67. The Jews of Cilicia had a synagogue at Jerusalem (Acts
6:9). Paul visited it soon after his conversion (Gal. 1:21; Acts
9:30), and again, on his second missionary journey (15:41), "he
went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches." It was
famous for its goat's-hair cloth, called cilicium. Paul learned
in his youth the trade of making tents of this cloth.
ten cities=deka, ten, and polis, a city, a district on the east
and south-east of the Sea of Galilee containing "ten cities,"
which were chiefly inhabited by Greeks. It included a portion of
Bashan and Gilead, and is mentioned three times in the New
Testament (Matt. 4:25; Mark 5:20; 7:31). These cities were
Scythopolis, i.e., "city of the Scythians", (ancient Bethshean,
the only one of the ten cities on the west of Jordan), Hippos,
Gadara, Pella (to which the Christians fled just before the
destruction of Jerusalem), Philadelphia (ancient Rabbath-ammon),
Gerasa, Dion, Canatha, Raphana, and Damascus. When the Romans
conquered Syria (B.C. 65) they rebuilt, and endowed with certain
privileges, these "ten cities," and the province connected with
them they called "Decapolis."
(1.) The orient (mizrah); the rising of the sun. Thus "the east
country" is the country lying to the east of Syria, the Elymais
(2). Properly what is in front of one, or a country that is
before or in front of another; the rendering of the word
_kedem_. In pointing out the quarters, a Hebrew always looked
with his face toward the east. The word _kedem_ is used when the
four quarters of the world are described (Gen. 13:14; 28:14);
and _mizrah_ when the east only is distinguished from the west
(Josh. 11:3; Ps. 50:1; 103:12, etc.). In Gen. 25:6 "eastward" is
literally "unto the land of kedem;" i.e., the lands lying east
of Israel, namely, Arabia, Mesopotamia, etc.
in New Testament times, was a Roman province lying north of
Greece. It was governed by a propraetor with the title of
proconsul. Paul was summoned by the vision of the "man of
Macedonia" to preach the gospel there (Acts 16:9). Frequent
allusion is made to this event (18:5; 19:21; Rom. 15:26; 2 Cor.
1:16; 11:9; Phil. 4:15). The history of Paul's first journey
through Macedonia is given in detail in Acts 16:10-17:15. At the
close of this journey he returned from Corinth to Syria. He
again passed through this country (20:1-6), although the details
of the route are not given. After many years he probably visited
it for a third time (Phil. 2:24; 1 Tim. 1:3). The first convert
made by Paul in Europe was (Acts 16:13-15) Lydia (q.v.), a
"seller of purple," residing in Philippi, the chief city of the
eastern division of Macedonia.
This epithet (Gr. Nazaraios) is applied to Christ only once
(Matt. 2:23). In all other cases the word is rendered "of
Nazareth" (Mark 1:24; 10:47; 14:67, etc.). When this Greek
designation was at first applied to our Lord, it was meant
simply to denote the place of his residence. In course of time
the word became a term of reproach. Thus the word "Nazarene"
carries with it an allusion to those prophecies which speak of
Christ as "despised of men" (Isa. 53:3). Some, however, think
that in this name there is an allusion to the Hebrew _netser_,
which signifies a branch or sprout. It is so applied to the
Messiah (Isa. 11:1), i.e., he whom the prophets called the
_Netse_, the "Branch."
The followers of Christ were called "the sect of Nazarenes"
(Acts 24:5). All over Israel and Syria this name is still
given to Christians. (See NAZARETH ¯T0002676.)
open-eyed, the son of Remaliah a captain in the army of
Pekahiah, king of Israel, whom he slew, with the aid of a band
of Gileadites, and succeeded (B.C. 758) on the throne (2 Kings
15:25). Seventeen years after this he entered into an alliance
with Rezin, king of Syria, and took part with him in besieging
Jerusalem (2 Kings 15:37; 16:5). But Tiglath-pilser, who was in
alliance with Ahaz, king of Judah, came up against Pekah, and
carried away captive many of the inhabitants of his kingdom (2
Kings 15:29). This was the beginning of the "Captivity." Soon
after this Pekah was put to death by Hoshea, the son of Elah,
who usurped the throne (2 Kings 15:30; 16:1-9. Comp. Isa. 7:16;
8:4; 9:12). He is supposed by some to have been the "shephard"
mentioned in Zech. 11:16.
heights of Gilead, a city of refuge on the east of Jordan;
called "Ramoth in Gilead" (Deut. 4:43; Josh. 20:8; 21:38). Here
Ahab, who joined Jehoshaphat in an endeavour to rescue it from
the hands of the king of Syria, was mortally wounded (1 Kings
22:1-36). A similar attempt was afterwards made by Ahaziah and
Joram, when the latter was wounded (2 Kings 8:28). In this city
Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, was anointed by one of the sons of
the prophets (9:1, 4).
It has with probability been identified with Reimun, on the
northern slope of the Jabbok, about 5 miles west of Jerash or
Gerasa, one of the cities of Decapolis. Others identify it with
Gerosh, about 25 miles north-east of es-Salt, with which also
many have identified it. (See RAMATH-MIZPEH ¯T0003066.)
=Se'lah, rock, the capital of Edom, situated in the great valley
extending from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea (2 Kings 14:7). It
was near Mount Hor, close by the desert of Zin. It is called
"the rock" (Judg. 1:36). When Amaziah took it he called it
Joktheel (q.v.) It is mentioned by the prophets (Isa. 16:1;
Obad. 1:3) as doomed to destruction.
It appears in later history and in the Vulgate Version under
the name of Petra. "The caravans from all ages, from the
interior of Arabia and from the Gulf of Persia, from Hadramaut
on the ocean, and even from Sabea or Yemen, appear to have
pointed to Petra as a common centre; and from Petra the tide
seems again to have branched out in every direction, to Egypt,
Israel, and Syria, through Arsinoe, Gaza, Tyre, Jerusalem,
and Damascus, and by other routes, terminating at the
Mediterranean." (See EDOM ¯T0001129 .)
(1.) In Syria, on the river Orontes, about 16 miles from the
Mediterranean, and some 300 miles north of Jerusalem. It was the
metropolis of Syria, and afterwards became the capital of the
Roman province in Asia. It ranked third, after Rome and
Alexandria, in point of importance, of the cities of the Roman
empire. It was called the "first city of the East." Christianity
was early introduced into it (Acts 11:19, 21, 24), and the name
"Christian" was first applied here to its professors (Acts
11:26). It is intimately connected with the early history of the
gospel (Acts 6:5; 11:19, 27, 28, 30; 12:25; 15:22-35; Gal. 2:11,
12). It was the great central point whence missionaries to the
Gentiles were sent forth. It was the birth-place of the famous
Christian father Chrysostom, who died A.D. 407. It bears the
modern name of Antakia, and is now a miserable, decaying Turkish
town. Like Philippi, it was raised to the rank of a Roman
colony. Such colonies were ruled by "praetors" (R.V. marg., Acts
(2.) In the extreme north of Pisidia; was visited by Paul and
Barnabas on the first missionary journey (Acts 13:14). Here they
found a synagogue and many proselytes. They met with great
success in preaching the gospel, but the Jews stirred up a
violent opposition against them, and they were obliged to leave
the place. On his return, Paul again visited Antioch for the
purpose of confirming the disciples (Acts 14:21). It has been
identified with the modern Yalobatch, lying to the east of
Naphtali, Tribe of
On this tribe Jacob pronounced the patriarchal blessing,
"Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words" (Gen.
49:21). It was intended thus to set forth under poetic imagery
the future character and history of the tribe.
At the time of the Exodus this tribe numbered 53,400 adult
males (Num. 1:43), but at the close of the wanderings they
numbered only 45,400 (26:48-50). Along with Dan and Asher they
formed "the camp of Dan," under a common standard (2:25-31),
occupying a place during the march on the north side of the
The possession assigned to this tribe is set forth in Josh.
19:32-39. It lay in the north-eastern corner of the land,
bounded on the east by the Jordan and the lakes of Merom and
Galilee, and on the north it extended far into Coele-Syria, the
valley between the two Lebanon ranges. It comprehended a greater
variety of rich and beautiful scenery and of soil and climate
than fell to the lot of any other tribe. The territory of
Naphtali extended to about 800 square miles, being the double of
that of Issachar. The region around Kedesh, one of its towns,
was originally called Galil, a name afterwards given to the
whole northern division of Canaan. A large number of foreigners
settled here among the mountains, and hence it was called
"Galilee of the Gentiles" (q.v.), Matt. 4:15, 16. The southern
portion of Naphtali has been called the "Garden of Israel."
It was of unrivalled fertility. It was the principal scene of
our Lord's public ministry. Here most of his parables were
spoken and his miracles wrought.
This tribe was the first to suffer from the invasion of
Benhadad, king of Syria, in the reigns of Baasha, king of
Israel, and Asa, king of Judah (1 Kings 15:20; 2 Chr. 16:4). In
the reign of Pekah, king of Israel, the Assyrians under
Tiglath-pileser swept over the whole north of Israel, and
carried the people into captivity (2 Kings 15:29). Thus the
kingdom of Israel came to an end (B.C. 722).
Naphtali is now almost wholly a desert, the towns of Tiberias,
on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, and Safed being the only
places in it of any importance.
(Gr. diaspora, "scattered," James 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:1) of the Jews.
At various times, and from the operation of divers causes, the
Jews were separated and scattered into foreign countries "to the
outmost parts of heaven" (Deut. 30:4).
(1.) Many were dispersed over Assyria, Media, Babylonia, and
Persia, descendants of those who had been transported thither by
the Exile. The ten tribes, after existing as a separate kingdom
for two hundred and fifty-five years, were carried captive (B.C.
721) by Shalmaneser (or Sargon), king of Assyria. They never
returned to their own land as a distinct people, although many
individuals from among these tribes, there can be no doubt,
joined with the bands that returned from Babylon on the
proclamation of Cyrus.
(2.) Many Jews migrated to Egypt and took up their abode
there. This migration began in the days of Solomon (2 Kings
18:21, 24; Isa. 30:7). Alexander the Great placed a large number
of Jews in Alexandria, which he had founded, and conferred on
them equal rights with the Egyptians. Ptolemy Philadelphus, it
is said, caused the Jewish Scriptures to be translated into
Greek (the work began B.C. 284), for the use of the Alexandrian
Jews. The Jews in Egypt continued for many ages to exercise a
powerful influence on the public interests of that country. From
Egypt they spread along the coast of Africa to Cyrene (Acts
2:10) and to Ethiopia (8:27).
(3.) After the time of Seleucus Nicator (B.C. 280), one of the
captains of Alexander the Great, large numbers of Jews migrated
into Syria, where they enjoyed equal rights with the
Macedonians. From Syria they found their way into Asia Minor.
Antiochus the Great, king of Syria and Asia, removed 3,000
families of Jews from Mesopotamia and Babylonia, and planted
them in Phrygia and Lydia.
(4.) From Asia Minor many Jews moved into Greece and
Macedonia, chiefly for purposes of commerce. In the apostles'
time they were found in considerable numbers in all the
From the time of Pompey the Great (B.C. 63) numbers of Jews
from Israel and Greece went to Rome, where they had a
separate quarter of the city assigned to them. Here they enjoyed
Thus were the Jews everywhere scattered abroad. This, in the
overruling providence of God, ultimately contributed in a great
degree toward opening the way for the spread of the gospel into
Dispersion, from the plain of Shinar. This was occasioned by
the confusion of tongues at Babel (Gen. 11:9). They were
scattered abroad "every one after his tongue, after their
families, in their nations" (Gen. 10:5, 20,31).
The tenth chapter of Genesis gives us an account of the
principal nations of the earth in their migrations from the
plain of Shinar, which was their common residence after the
Flood. In general, it may be said that the descendants of
Japheth were scattered over the north, those of Shem over the
central regions, and those of Ham over the extreme south. The
following table shows how the different families were dispersed:
| - Japheth
| - Gomer
| Cimmerians, Armenians
| - Magog
| Caucasians, Scythians
| - Madal
| Medes and Persian tribes
| - Javan
| - Elishah
| - Tarshish
| Etruscans, Romans
| - Chittim
| Cyprians, Macedonians
| - Dodanim
| - Tubal
| Tibareni, Tartars
| - Mechech
| Moschi, Muscovites
| - Tiras
| - Shem
| - Elam
| Persian tribes
| - Asshur
| - Arphaxad
| - Abraham
| - Isaac
| - Jacob
| - Esau
| - Ishmael
| Mingled with Arab tribes
| - Lud
| - Aram
| - Ham
| - Cush
| - Mizrain
| - Phut
| Lybians, Mauritanians
| - Canaan
| Canaanites, Phoenicians
Israel and Syria appear to have been originally inhabited by
three different tribes. (1.) The Semites, living on the east of
the isthmus of Suez. They were nomadic and pastoral tribes. (2.)
The Phoenicians, who were merchants and traders; and (3.) the
Hittites, who were the warlike element of this confederation of
tribes. They inhabited the whole region between the Euphrates
and Damascus, their chief cities being Carchemish on the
Euphrates, and Kadesh, now Tell Neby Mendeh, in the Orontes
valley, about six miles south of the Lake of Homs. These
Hittites seem to have risen to great power as a nation, as for a
long time they were formidable rivals of the Egyptian and
Assyrian empires. In the book of Joshua they always appear as
the dominant race to the north of Galilee.
Somewhere about the twenty-third century B.C. the Syrian
confederation, led probably by the Hittites, arched against
Lower Egypt, which they took possession of, making Zoan their
capital. Their rulers were the Hyksos, or shepherd kings. They
were at length finally driven out of Egypt. Rameses II. sought
vengeance against the "vile Kheta," as he called them, and
encountered and defeated them in the great battle of Kadesh,
four centuries after Abraham. (See JOSHUA ¯T0002114.)
They are first referred to in Scripture in the history of
Abraham, who bought from Ephron the Hittite the field and the
cave of Machpelah (Gen. 15:20: 23:3-18). They were then settled
at Kirjath-arba. From this tribe Esau took his first two wives
They are afterwards mentioned in the usual way among the
inhabitants of the Promised Land (Ex. 23:28). They were closely
allied to the Amorites, and are frequently mentioned along with
them as inhabiting the mountains of Israel. When the spies
entered the land they seem to have occupied with the Amorites
the mountain region of Judah (Num. 13:29). They took part with
the other Canaanites against the Israelites (Josh. 9:1; 11:3).
After this there are few references to them in Scripture.
Mention is made of "Ahimelech the Hittite" (1 Sam. 26:6), and of
"Uriah the Hittite," one of David's chief officers (2 Sam.
23:39; 1 Chr. 11:41). In the days of Solomon they were a
powerful confederation in the north of Syria, and were ruled by
"kings." They are met with after the Exile still a distinct
people (Ezra 9:1; comp. Neh. 13:23-28).
The Hebrew merchants exported horses from Egypt not only for
the kings of Israel, but also for the Hittites (1 Kings 10:28,
29). From the Egyptian monuments we learn that "the Hittites
were a people with yellow skins and 'Mongoloid' features, whose
receding foreheads, oblique eyes, and protruding upper jaws are
represented as faithfully on their own monuments as they are on
those of Egypt, so that we cannot accuse the Egyptian artists of
caricaturing their enemies. The Amorites, on the contrary, were
a tall and handsome people. They are depicted with white skins,
blue eyes, and reddish hair, all the characteristics, in fact,
of the white race" (Sayce's The Hittites). The original seat of
the Hittite tribes was the mountain ranges of Taurus. They
belonged to Asia Minor, and not to Syria.
eagle, a native of Pontus, by occupation a tent-maker, whom Paul
met on his first visit to Corinth (Acts 18:2). Along with his
wife Priscilla he had fled from Rome in consequence of a decree
(A.D. 50) by Claudius commanding all Jews to leave the city.
Paul sojourned with him at Corinth, and they wrought together at
their common trade, making Cilician hair-cloth for tents. On
Paul's departure from Corinth after eighteen months, Aquila and
his wife accompanied him to Ephesus, where they remained, while
he proceeded to Syria (Acts 18:18, 26). When they became
Christians we are not informed, but in Ephesus they were (1 Cor.
16:19) Paul's "helpers in Christ Jesus." We find them afterwards
at Rome (Rom. 16:3), interesting themselves still in the cause
of Christ. They are referred to some years after this as being
at Ephesus (2 Tim. 4:19). This is the last notice we have of
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.)
a vehicle moving on wheels, and usually drawn by oxen (2 Sam.
6:3). The Hebrew word thus rendered, _'agalah_ (1 Sam. 6:7, 8),
is also rendered "wagon" (Gen. 45:19). It is used also to denote
a war-chariot (Ps. 46:9). Carts were used for the removal of the
ark and its sacred utensils (Num. 7:3, 6). After retaining the
ark amongst them for seven months, the Philistines sent it back
to the Israelites. On this occasion they set it in a new cart,
probably a rude construction, with solid wooden wheels like that
still used in Western Asia, which was drawn by two milch cows,
which conveyed it straight to Beth-shemesh.
A "cart rope," for the purpose of fastening loads on carts, is
used (Isa. 5:18) as a symbol of the power of sinful pleasures or
habits over him who indulges them. (See CORD ¯T0000898.) In
Syria and Israel wheel-carriages for any other purpose than
the conveyance of agricultural produce are almost unknown.
(= Khudur-Lagamar of the inscriptions), king of Elam. Many
centuries before the age of Abraham, Canaan and even the
Sinaitic peninsula had been conquered by Babylonian kings, and
in the time of Abraham himself Babylonia was ruled by a dynasty
which claimed sovereignity over Syria and Israel. The kings
of the dynasty bore names which were not Babylonian, but at once
South Arabic and Hebrew. The most famous king of the dynasty was
Khammu-rabi, who united Babylonia under one rule, and made
Babylon its capital. When he ascended the throne, the country
was under the suzerainty of the Elamites, and was divided into
two kingdoms, that of Babylon (the Biblical Shinar) and that of
Larsa (the Biblical Ellasar). The king of Larsa was Eri-Aku
("the servant of the moon-god"), the son of an Elamite prince,
Kudur-Mabug, who is entitled "the father of the land of the
Amorites." A recently discovered tablet enumerates among the
enemies of Khammu-rabi, Kudur-Lagamar ("the servant of the
goddess Lagamar") or Chedorlaomer, Eri-Aku or Arioch, and
Tudkhula or Tidal. Khammu-rabi, whose name is also read
Ammi-rapaltu or Amraphel by some scholars, succeeded in
overcoming Eri-Aku and driving the Elamites out of Babylonia.
Assur-bani-pal, the last of the Assyrian conquerors, mentions in
two inscriptions that he took Susa 1635 years after
Kedor-nakhunta, king of Elam, had conquered Babylonia. It was in
the year B.C. 660 that Assur-bani-pal took Susa.
It is by no means certain that the Hebrews were acquainted with
mineral coal, although it is found in Syria. Their common fuel
was dried dung of animals and wood charcoal. Two different words
are found in Hebrew to denote coal, both occurring in Prov.
26:21, "As coal [Heb. peham; i.e., "black coal"] is to burning
coal [Heb. gehalim]." The latter of these words is used in Job
41:21; Prov. 6:28; Isa. 44:19. The words "live coal" in Isa. 6:6
are more correctly "glowing stone." In Lam. 4:8 the expression
"blacker than a coal" is literally rendered in the margin of the
Revised Version "darker than blackness." "Coals of fire" (2 Sam.
22:9, 13; Ps. 18:8, 12, 13, etc.) is an expression used
metaphorically for lightnings proceeding from God. A false
tongue is compared to "coals of juniper" (Ps. 120:4; James 3:6).
"Heaping coals of fire on the head" symbolizes overcoming evil
with good. The words of Paul (Rom. 12:20) are equivalent to
saying, "By charity and kindness thou shalt soften down his
enmity as surely as heaping coals on the fire fuses the metal in
mighty; strength. (1.) One of the chief towns of the kingdom of
Bashan (Josh. 12:4, 5). Here Og was defeated by the Israelites,
and the strength of the Amorites broken (Num. 21:33-35). It
subsequently belonged to Manasseh, for a short time apparently,
and afterwards became the abode of banditti and outlaws (Josh.
13:31). It has been identified with the modern Edr'a, which
stands on a rocky promontory on the south-west edge of the Lejah
(the Argob of the Hebrews, and Trachonitis of the Greeks). The
ruins of Edr'a are the most extensive in the Hauran. They are 3
miles in circumference. A number of the ancient houses still
remain; the walls, roofs, and doors being all of stone. The wild
region of which Edrei was the capital is thus described in its
modern aspect: "Elevated about 20 feet above the plain, it is a
labyrinth of clefts and crevasses in the rock, formed by
volcanic action; and owing to its impenetrable condition, it has
become a refuge for outlaws and turbulent characters, who make
it a sort of Cave of Adullam...It is, in fact, an impregnable
natural fortress, about 20 miles in length and 15 in breadth"
(Porter's Syria, etc.). Beneath this wonderful city there is
also a subterranean city, hollowed out probably as a refuge for
the population of the upper city in times of danger. (See BASHAN
(2.) A town of Naphtali (Josh. 19:37).
(1.) Jonah's gourd (Jonah 4:6-10), bearing the Hebrew name
_kikayon_ (found only here), was probably the kiki of the
Egyptians, the croton. This is the castor-oil plant, a species
of ricinus, the palma Christi, so called from the palmate
division of its leaves. Others with more probability regard it
as the cucurbita the el-keroa of the Arabs, a kind of pumpkin
peculiar to the East. "It is grown in great abundance on the
alluvial banks of the Tigris and on the plain between the river
and the ruins of Nineveh." At the present day it is trained to
run over structures of mud and brush to form boots to protect
the gardeners from the heat of the noon-day sun. It grows with
extraordinary rapidity, and when cut or injured withers away
also with great rapidity.
(2.) Wild gourds (2 Kings 4:38-40), Heb. pakkuoth, belong to
the family of the cucumber-like plants, some of which are
poisonous. The species here referred to is probably the
colocynth (Cucumis colocynthus). The LXX. render the word by
"wild pumpkin." It abounds in the desert parts of Syria, Egypt,
and Arabia. There is, however, another species, called the
Cucumis prophetarum, from the idea that it afforded the gourd
which "the sons of the prophets" shred by mistake into their
Herod Agrippa I.
son of Aristobulus and Bernice, and grandson of Herod the Great.
He was made tetrarch of the provinces formerly held by Lysanias
II., and ultimately possessed the entire kingdom of his
grandfather, Herod the Great, with the title of king. He put the
apostle James the elder to death, and cast Peter into prison
(Luke 3:1; Acts 12:1-19). On the second day of a festival held
in honour of the emperor Claudius, he appeared in the great
theatre of Caesarea. "The king came in clothed in magnificent
robes, of which silver was the costly brilliant material. It was
early in the day, and the sun's rays fell on the king, so that
the eyes of the beholders were dazzled with the brightness which
surrounded him. Voices here and there from the crowd exclaimed
that it was the apparition of something divine. And when he
spoke and made an oration to them, they gave a shout, saying,
'It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.' But in the midst
of this idolatrous ostentation an angel of God suddenly smote
him. He was carried out of the theatre a dying man." He died
(A.D. 44) of the same loathsome malady which slew his
grandfather (Acts. 12:21-23), in the fifty-fourth year of his
age, having reigned four years as tetrarch and three as king
over the whole of Israel. After his death his kingdom came
under the control of the prefect of Syria, and Israel was now
fully incorporated with the empire.
(Heb. nahash; Gr. ophis), frequently noticed in Scripture. More
than forty species are found in Syria and Arabia. The poisonous
character of the serpent is alluded to in Jacob's blessing on
Dan (Gen. 49:17; see Prov. 30:18, 19; James 3:7; Jer. 8:17).
(See ADDER ¯T0000085.)
This word is used symbolically of a deadly, subtle, malicious
enemy (Luke 10:19).
The serpent is first mentioned in connection with the history
of the temptation and fall of our first parents (Gen. 3). It has
been well remarked regarding this temptation: "A real serpent
was the agent of the temptation, as is plain from what is said
of the natural characteristic of the serpent in the first verse
of the chapter (3:1), and from the curse pronounced upon the
animal itself. But that Satan was the actual tempter, and that
he used the serpent merely as his instrument, is evident (1)
from the nature of the transaction; for although the serpent may
be the most subtle of all the beasts of the field, yet he has
not the high intellectual faculties which the tempter here
displayed. (2.) In the New Testament it is both directly
asserted and in various forms assumed that Satan seduced our
first parents into sin (John 8:44; Rom. 16:20; 2 Cor. 11:3, 14;
Rev. 12:9; 20:2)." Hodge's System. Theol., ii. 127.
God his salvation, the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah, who
became the attendant and disciple of Elijah (1 Kings 19:16-19).
His name first occurs in the command given to Elijah to anoint
him as his successor (1 Kings 19:16). This was the only one of
the three commands then given to Elijah which he accomplished.
On his way from Sinai to Damascus he found Elisha at his native
place engaged in the labours of the field, ploughing with twelve
yoke of oxen. He went over to him, threw over his shoulders his
rough mantle, and at once adopted him as a son, and invested him
with the prophetical office (comp. Luke 9:61, 62). Elisha
accepted the call thus given (about four years before the death
of Ahab), and for some seven or eight years became the close
attendant on Elijah till he was parted from him and taken up
into heaven. During all these years we hear nothing of Elisha
except in connection with the closing scenes of Elijah's life.
After Elijah, Elisha was accepted as the leader of the sons of
the prophets, and became noted in Israel. He possessed,
according to his own request, "a double portion" of Elijah's
spirit (2 Kings 2:9); and for the long period of about sixty
years (B.C. 892-832) held the office of "prophet in Israel" (2
After Elijah's departure, Elisha returned to Jericho, and
there healed the spring of water by casting salt into it (2
Kings 2:21). We next find him at Bethel (2:23), where, with the
sternness of his master, he cursed the youths who came out and
scoffed at him as a prophet of God: "Go up, thou bald head." The
judgment at once took effect, and God terribly visited the
dishonour done to his prophet as dishonour done to himself. We
next read of his predicting a fall of rain when the army of
Jehoram was faint from thirst (2 Kings 3:9-20); of the
multiplying of the poor widow's cruse of oil (4:1-7); the
miracle of restoring to life the son of the woman of Shunem
(4:18-37); the multiplication of the twenty loaves of new barley
into a sufficient supply for an hundred men (4:42-44); of the
cure of Naaman the Syrian of his leprosy (5:1-27); of the
punishment of Gehazi for his falsehood and his covetousness; of
the recovery of the axe lost in the waters of the Jordan
(6:1-7); of the miracle at Dothan, half-way on the road between
Samaria and Jezreel; of the siege of Samaria by the king of
Syria, and of the terrible sufferings of the people in
connection with it, and Elisha's prophecy as to the relief that
would come (2 Kings 6:24-7:2).
We then find Elisha at Damascus, to carry out the command
given to his master to anoint Hazael king over Syria (2 Kings
8:7-15); thereafter he directs one of the sons of the prophets
to anoint Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Israel, instead
of Ahab. Thus the three commands given to Elijah (9:1-10) were
at length carried out.
We do not again read of him till we find him on his death-bed
in his own house (2 Kings 13:14-19). Joash, the grandson of
Jehu, comes to mourn over his approaching departure, and utters
the same words as those of Elisha when Elijah was taken away:
"My father, my father! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen
Afterwards when a dead body is laid in Elisha's grave a year
after his burial, no sooner does it touch the hallowed remains
than the man "revived, and stood up on his feet" (2 Kings
a native of Syria and Israel. In form, blossoms, and fruit it
resembles the peach tree. Its blossoms are of a very pale pink
colour, and appear before its leaves. Its Hebrew name, _shaked_,
signifying "wakeful, hastening," is given to it on account of
its putting forth its blossoms so early, generally in February,
and sometimes even in January. In Eccl. 12:5, it is referred to
as illustrative, probably, of the haste with which old age
comes. There are others, however, who still contend for the old
interpretation here. "The almond tree bears its blossoms in the
midst of winter, on a naked, leafless stem, and these blossoms
(reddish or flesh-coloured in the beginning) seem at the time of
their fall exactly like white snow-flakes. In this way the
almond blossom is a very fitting symbol of old age, with its
silvery hair and its wintry, dry, barren, unfruitful condition."
In Jer. 1:11 "I see a rod of an almond tree [shaked]...for I
will hasten [shaked] my word to perform it" the word is used as
an emblem of promptitude. Jacob desired his sons (Gen. 43:11) to
take with them into Egypt of the best fruits of the land,
almonds, etc., as a present to Joseph, probably because this
tree was not a native of Egypt. Aaron's rod yielded almonds
(Num. 17:8; Heb. 9:4). Moses was directed to make certain parts
of the candlestick for the ark of carved work "like unto
almonds" (Ex. 25:33, 34). The Hebrew word _luz_, translated
"hazel" in the Authorized Version (Gen. 30:37), is rendered in
the Revised Version "almond." It is probable that _luz_ denotes
the wild almond, while _shaked_ denotes the cultivated variety.
highlanders, or hillmen, the name given to the descendants of
one of the sons of Canaan (Gen. 14:7), called Amurra or Amurri
in the Assyrian and Egyptian inscriptions. On the early
Babylonian monuments all Syria, including Israel, is known as
"the land of the Amorites." The southern slopes of the mountains
of Judea are called the "mount of the Amorites" (Deut. 1:7, 19,
20). They seem to have originally occupied the land stretching
from the heights west of the Dead Sea (Gen. 14:7) to Hebron (13.
Comp. 13:8; Deut. 3:8; 4:46-48), embracing "all Gilead and all
Bashan" (Deut. 3:10), with the Jordan valley on the east of the
river (4:49), the land of the "two kings of the Amorites," Sihon
and Og (Deut. 31:4; Josh. 2:10; 9:10). The five kings of the
Amorites were defeated with great slaughter by Joshua (10:10).
They were again defeated at the waters of Merom by Joshua, who
smote them till there were none remaining (Josh. 11:8). It is
mentioned as a surprising circumstance that in the days of
Samuel there was peace between them and the Israelites (1 Sam.
7:14). The discrepancy supposed to exist between Deut. 1:44 and
Num. 14:45 is explained by the circumstance that the terms
"Amorites" and "Amalekites" are used synonymously for the
"Canaanites." In the same way we explain the fact that the
"Hivites" of Gen. 34:2 are the "Amorites" of 48:22. Comp. Josh.
10:6; 11:19 with 2 Sam. 21:2; also Num. 14:45 with Deut. 1:44.
The Amorites were warlike mountaineers. They are represented on
the Egyptian monuments with fair skins, light hair, blue eyes,
aquiline noses, and pointed beards. They are supposed to have
been men of great stature; their king, Og, is described by Moses
as the last "of the remnant of the giants" (Deut. 3:11). Both
Sihon and Og were independent kings. Only one word of the
Amorite language survives, "Shenir," the name they gave to Mount
Hermon (Deut. 3:9).
son of consolation, the surname of Joses, a Levite (Acts 4:36).
His name stands first on the list of prophets and teachers of
the church at Antioch (13:1). Luke speaks of him as a "good man"
(11:24). He was born of Jewish parents of the tribe of Levi. He
was a native of Cyprus, where he had a possession of land (Acts
4:36, 37), which he sold. His personal appearance is supposed to
have been dignified and commanding (Acts 14:11, 12). When Paul
returned to Jerusalem after his conversion, Barnabas took him
and introduced him to the apostles (9:27). They had probably
been companions as students in the school of Gamaliel.
The prosperity of the church at Antioch led the apostles and
brethren at Jerusalem to send Barnabas thither to superintend
the movement. He found the work so extensive and weighty that he
went to Tarsus in search of Saul to assist him. Saul returned
with him to Antioch and laboured with him for a whole year (Acts
11:25, 26). The two were at the end of this period sent up to
Jerusalem with the contributions the church at Antioch had made
for the poorer brethren there (11:28-30). Shortly after they
returned, bringing John Mark with them, they were appointed as
missionaries to the heathen world, and in this capacity visited
Cyprus and some of the principal cities of Asia Minor (Acts
13:14). Returning from this first missionary journey to Antioch,
they were again sent up to Jerusalem to consult with the church
there regarding the relation of Gentiles to the church (Acts
15:2: Gal. 2:1). This matter having been settled, they returned
again to Antioch, bringing the decree of the council as the rule
by which Gentiles were to be admitted into the church.
When about to set forth on a second missionary journey, a
dispute arose between Saul and Barnabas as to the propriety of
taking John Mark with them again. The dispute ended by Saul and
Barnabas taking separate routes. Saul took Silas as his
companion, and journeyed through Syria and Cilicia; while
Barnabas took his nephew John Mark, and visited Cyprus (Acts
15:36-41). Barnabas is not again mentioned by Luke in the Acts.
There are numerous natural caves among the limestone rocks of
Syria, many of which have been artificially enlarged for various
The first notice of a cave occurs in the history of Lot (Gen.
The next we read of is the cave of Machpelah (q.v.), which
Abraham purchased from the sons of Heth (Gen. 25:9, 10). It was
the burying-place of Sarah and of Abraham himself, also of
Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, and Jacob (Gen. 49:31; 50:13).
The cave of Makkedah, into which the five Amorite kings
retired after their defeat by Joshua (10:16, 27).
The cave of Adullam (q.v.), an immense natural cavern, where
David hid himself from Saul (1 Sam. 22:1, 2).
The cave of Engedi (q.v.), now called 'Ain Jidy, i.e., the
"Fountain of the Kid", where David cut off the skirt of Saul's
robe (24:4). Here he also found a shelter for himself and his
followers to the number of 600 (23:29; 24:1). "On all sides the
country is full of caverns which might serve as lurking-places
for David and his men, as they do for outlaws at the present
The cave in which Obadiah hid the prophets (1 Kings 18:4) was
probably in the north, but it cannot be identified.
The cave of Elijah (1 Kings 19:9), and the "cleft" of Moses on
Horeb (Ex. 33:22), cannot be determined.
In the time of Gideon the Israelites took refuge from the
Midianites in dens and caves, such as abounded in the mountain
regions of Manasseh (Judg. 6:2).
Caves were frequently used as dwelling-places (Num. 24:21;
Cant. 2:14; Jer. 49:16; Obad. 1:3). "The excavations at Deir
Dubban, on the south side of the wady leading to Santa Hanneh,
are probably the dwellings of the Horites," the ancient
inhabitants of Idumea Proper. The pits or cavities in rocks were
also sometimes used as prisons (Isa. 24:22; 51:14; Zech. 9:11).
Those which had niches in their sides were occupied as
burying-places (Ezek. 32:23; John 11:38).
the Greek form of the Hebrew "Jezreel," the name of the great
plain (called by the natives Merj Ibn Amer; i.e., "the meadow of
the son of Amer") which stretches across Central Israel from
the Jordan to the Mediterraanean, separating the mountain ranges
of Carmel and Samaria from those of Galilee, extending about 14
miles from north to south, and 9 miles from east to west. It is
drained by "that ancient river" the Kishon, which flows westward
to the Mediterranean. From the foot of Mount Tabor it branches
out into three valleys, that on the north passing between Tabor
and Little Hermon (Judg. 4:14); that on the south between Mount
Gilboa and En-gannim (2 Kings 9:27); while the central portion,
the "valley of Jezreel" proper, runs into the Jordan valley
(which is about 1,000 feet lower than Esdraelon) by Bethshean.
Here Gideon gained his great victory over the Midianites (Judg.
7:1-25). Here also Barak defeated Sisera, and Saul's army was
defeated by the Philistines, and king Josiah, while fighting in
disguise against Necho, king of Egypt, was slain (2 Chr.
35:20-27; 2 Kings 23-29). This plain has been well called the
"battle-field of Israel." "It has been a chosen place for
encampment in every contest carried on in this country, from the
days of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians, in the history of
whose wars with Arphaxad it is mentioned as the Great Plain of
Esdraelon, until the disastrous march of Napoleon Bonaparte from
Egypt into Syria. Jews, Gentiles, Saracens, Crusaders,
Frenchmen, Egyptians, Persians, Druses, Turks, and Arabs,
warriors out of every nation which is under heaven, have pitched
their tents in the plain, and have beheld the various banners of
their nations wet with the dews of Tabor and Hermon" (Dr.
fortress, the capital of one of the kingdoms of Upper Syria of
the same name, on the Orontes, in the valley of Lebanon, at the
northern boundary of Israel (Num. 13:21; 34:8), at the foot
of Hermon (Josh. 13:5) towards Damascus (Zech. 9:2; Jer. 49:23).
It is called "Hamath the great" in Amos 6:2, and "Hamath-zobah"
in 2 Chr. 8:3.
Hamath, now Hamah, had an Aramaean population, but Hittite
monuments discovered there show that it must have been at one
time occupied by the Hittites. It was among the conquests of the
Pharaoh Thothmes III. Its king, Tou or Toi, made alliance with
David (2 Sam. 8:10), and in B.C. 740 Azariah formed a league
with it against Assyria. It was, however, conquered by the
Assyrians, and its nineteen districts placed under Assyrian
governors. In B.C. 720 it revolted under a certain Yahu-bihdi,
whose name, compounded with that of the God of Israel (Yahu),
perhaps shows that he was of Jewish origin. But the revolt was
suppressed, and the people of Hamath were transported to Samaria
(2 Kings 17:24, 30), where they continued to worship their god
Ashima. Hamah is beautifully situated on the Orontes, 32 miles
north of Emesa, and 36 south of the ruins of Assamea.
The kingdom of Hamath comprehended the great plain lying on
both banks of the Orontes from the fountain near Riblah to
Assamea on the north, and from Lebanon on the west to the desert
on the east. The "entrance of Hamath" (Num. 34:8), which was the
north boundary of Israel, led from the west between the north
end of Lebanon and the Nusairiyeh mountains.
enclosed; fortified. (1.) A stronghold of the Canaanites in the
mountains north of Lake Merom (Josh. 11:1-5). Jabin the king
with his allied tribes here encountered Joshua in a great
battle. Joshua gained a signal victory, which virtually
completed his conquest of Canaan (11:10-13). This city was,
however, afterwards rebuilt by the Canaanites, and was ruled by
a king with the same hereditary name of Jabin. His army, under a
noted leader of the name of Sisera, swept down upon the south,
aiming at the complete subjugation of the country. This powerful
army was met by the Israelites under Barak, who went forth by
the advice of the prophetess Deborah. The result was one of the
most remarkable victories for Israel recorded in the Old
Testament (Josh. 19:36; Judg. 4:2; 1 Sam. 12:9). The city of
Hazor was taken and occupied by the Israelites. It was fortified
by Solomon to defend the entrance into the kingdom from Syria
and Assyria. When Tiglath-pileser, the Assyrian king, invaded
the land, this was one of the first cities he captured, carrying
its inhabitants captive into Assyria (2 Kings 15:29). It has
been identified with Khurbet Harrah, 2 1/2 miles south-east of
(2.) A city in the south of Judah (Josh. 15:23). The name here
should probably be connected with the word following, Ithnan,
HAZOR-ITHNAN instead of "Hazor and Ithnan."
(3.) A district in Arabia (Jer. 49:28-33), supposed by some to
be Jetor, i.e., Ituraea.
(4.) "Kerioth and Hezron" (Josh. 15: 25) should be
"Kerioth-hezron" (as in the R.V.), the two names being joined
together as the name of one place (e.g., like Kirjath-jearim),
"the same is Hazor" (R.V.). This place has been identified with
el-Kuryetein, and has been supposed to be the home of Judas
Iscariot. (See KERIOTH ¯T0002177.)
a peak, the eastern prolongation of the Anti-Lebanon range,
reaching to the height of about 9,200 feet above the
Mediterranean. It marks the north boundary of Israel (Deut.
3:8, 4:48; Josh. 11:3, 17; 13:11; 12:1), and is seen from a
great distance. It is about 40 miles north of the Sea of
Galilee. It is called "the Hermonites" (Ps. 42:6) because it has
more than one summit. The Sidonians called it Sirion, and the
Amorites Shenir (Deut. 3:9; Cant. 4:8). It is also called
Baal-hermon (Judg. 3:3; 1 Chr. 5:23) and Sion (Deut. 4:48).
There is every probability that one of its three summits was the
scene of the transfiguration (q.v.). The "dew of Hermon" is
referred to (Ps. 89: 12). Its modern name is Jebel-esh-Sheikh,
"the chief mountain." It is one of the most conspicuous
mountains in Israel or Syria. "In whatever part of Israel
the Israelite turned his eye northward, Hermon was there,
terminating the view. From the plain along the coast, from the
Jordan valley, from the heights of Moab and Gilead, from the
plateau of Bashan, the pale, blue, snow-capped cone forms the
one feature in the northern horizon."
Our Lord and his disciples climbed this "high mountain apart"
one day, and remained on its summit all night, "weary after
their long and toilsome ascent." During the night "he was
transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun."
The next day they descended to Caesarea Philippi.
Jehovah is his father. (1.) One of the three sons of Zeruiah,
David's sister, and "captain of the host" during the whole of
David's reign (2 Sam. 2:13; 10:7; 11:1; 1 Kings 11:15). His
father's name is nowhere mentioned, although his sepulchre at
Bethlehem is mentioned (2 Sam. 2:32). His two brothers were
Abishai and Asahel, the swift of foot, who was killed by Abner
(2 Sam. 2:13-32), whom Joab afterwards treacherously murdered
(3:22-27). He afterwards led the assault at the storming of the
fortress on Mount Zion, and for this service was raised to the
rank of "prince of the king's army" (2 Sam. 5:6-10; 1 Chr.
27:34). His chief military achievements were, (1) against the
allied forces of Syria and Ammon; (2) against Edom (1 Kings
11:15, 16); and (3) against the Ammonites (2 Sam. 10:7-19; 11:1,
11). His character is deeply stained by the part he willingly
took in the murder of Uriah (11:14-25). He acted apparently from
a sense of duty in putting Absalom to death (18:1-14). David was
unmindful of the many services Joab had rendered to him, and
afterwards gave the command of the army to Amasa, Joab's cousin
(2 Sam. 20:1-13; 19:13). When David was dying Joab espoused the
cause of Adonijah in preference to that of Solomon. He was
afterwards slain by Benaiah, by the command of Solomon, in
accordance with his father's injunction (2 Sam. 3:29; 20:5-13),
at the altar to which he had fled for refuge. Thus this hoary
conspirator died without one to lift up a voice in his favour.
He was buried in his own property in the "wilderness," probably
in the north-east of Jerusalem (1 Kings 2:5, 28-34). Benaiah
succeeded him as commander-in-chief of the army.
(2.) 1 Chr. 4:14.
(3.) Ezra 2:6.
The Hebrew name shushan or shoshan, i.e., "whiteness", was used
as the general name of several plants common to Syria, such as
the tulip, iris, anemone, gladiolus, ranunculus, etc. Some
interpret it, with much probability, as denoting in the Old
Testament the water-lily (Nymphoea lotus of Linn.), or lotus
(Cant. 2:1, 2; 2:16; 4:5; 5:13; 6:2, 3; 7:2). "Its flowers are
large, and they are of a white colour, with streaks of pink.
They supplied models for the ornaments of the pillars and the
molten sea" (1 Kings 7:19, 22, 26; 2 Chr. 4:5). In the Canticles
its beauty and fragrance shadow forth the preciousness of Christ
to the Church. Groser, however (Scrip. Nat. Hist.), strongly
argues that the word, both in the Old and New Testaments,
denotes liliaceous plants in general, or if one genus is to be
selected, that it must be the genus Iris, which is "large,
vigorous, elegant in form, and gorgeous in colouring."
The lilies (Gr. krinia) spoken of in the New Testament (Matt.
6:28; Luke 12:27) were probably the scarlet martagon (Lilium
Chalcedonicum) or "red Turk's-cap lily", which "comes into
flower at the season of the year when our Lord's sermon on the
mount is supposed to have been delivered. It is abundant in the
district of Galilee; and its fine scarlet flowers render it a
very conspicous and showy object, which would naturally attract
the attention of the hearers" (Balfour's Plants of the Bible).
Of the true "floral glories of Israel" the pheasant's eye
(Adonis Palestina), the ranunuculus (R. Asiaticus), and the
anemone (A coronaria), the last named is however, with the
greatest probability regarded as the "lily of the field" to
which our Lord refers. "Certainly," says Tristram (Nat. Hist. of
the Bible), "if, in the wondrous richness of bloom which
characterizes the land of Israel in spring, any one plant can
claim pre-eminence, it is the anemone, the most natural flower
for our Lord to pluck and seize upon as an illustration, whether
walking in the fields or sitting on the hill-side." "The white
water-lily (Nymphcea alba) and the yellow water-lily (Nuphar
lutea) are both abundant in the marshes of the Upper Jordan, but
have no connection with the lily of Scripture."
Heb. mor. (1.) First mentioned as a principal ingredient in the
holy anointing oil (Ex. 30:23). It formed part of the gifts
brought by the wise men from the east, who came to worship the
infant Jesus (Matt. 2:11). It was used in embalming (John
19:39), also as a perfume (Esther 2:12; Ps. 45:8; Prov. 7:17).
It was a custom of the Jews to give those who were condemned to
death by crucifixion "wine mingled with myrrh" to produce
insensibility. This drugged wine was probably partaken of by the
two malefactors, but when the Roman soldiers pressed it upon
Jesus "he received it not" (Mark 15:23). (See GALL ¯T0001419.)
This was the gum or viscid white liquid which flows from a
tree resembling the acacia, found in Africa and Arabia, the
Balsamodendron myrrha of botanists. The "bundle of myrrh" in
Cant. 1:13 is rather a "bag" of myrrh or a scent-bag.
(2.) Another word _lot_ is also translated "myrrh" (Gen.
37:25; 43:11; R.V., marg., "or ladanum"). What was meant by this
word is uncertain. It has been thought to be the chestnut,
mastich, stacte, balsam, turpentine, pistachio nut, or the
lotus. It is probably correctly rendered by the Latin word
ladanum, the Arabic ladan, an aromatic juice of a shrub called
the Cistus or rock rose, which has the same qualities, though in
a slight degree, of opium, whence a decoction of opium is called
laudanum. This plant was indigenous to Syria and Arabia.