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.
restoring, or setting up. (1.) Father of the prophet Azariah (2
Chr. 15:1, 8).
(2.) A prophet in the time of Ahaz and Pekah (2 Chr. 28:9-15).
covering. (1.) One of the nine sons of Becher, the son of
Benjamin (1 Chr. 7:8).
(2.) One of the sons of Jehoadah, or Jarah, son of Ahaz (1
(3.) A sacerdotal city of Benjamin (1 Chr. 6:60), called also
Almon (Josh. 21:18), now Almit, a mile north-east of the ancient
burden. (1.) The son of Abigail, a sister of king David (1 Chr.
2:17; 2 Sam. 17:25). He was appointed by David to command the
army in room of his cousin Joab (2 Sam. 19:13), who afterwards
treacherously put him to death as a dangerous rival (2 Sam.
(2.) A son of Hadlai, and chief of Ephraim (2 Chr. 28:12) in
the reign of Ahaz.
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).
a portion. (1.) A town of Judah (Josh. 15:10). The Philistines
took possession of it in the days of Ahaz (2 Chr. 28:18). It was
about 20 miles west of Jerusalem. It has been identified with
Timnatha of Dan (Josh. 19:43), and also with Timnath (Judg.
(2.) A city in the mountains of Judah (Josh.15:57)= Tibna near
(3.) A "duke" or sheik of Edom (Gen. 36:40).
the Lord is my light. (1.) A Hittite, the husband of Bathsheba,
whom David first seduced, and then after Uriah's death married.
He was one of the band of David's "mighty men." The sad story of
the curel wrongs inflicted upon him by David and of his mournful
death are simply told in the sacred record (2 Sam. 11:2-12:26).
(See BATHSHEBA ¯T0000474; DAVID ¯T0000982.)
(2.) A priest of the house of Ahaz (Isa. 8:2).
(3.) The father of Meremoth, mentioned in Ezra 8:33.
for the measurement of time, only once mentioned in the Bible,
erected by Ahaz (2 Kings 20:11; Isa. 38:8). The Hebrew word
(ma'aloth) is rendered "steps" in Ex. 20:26, 1 Kings 10:19, and
"degrees" in 2 Kings 20:9, 10, 11. The _ma'aloth_ was probably
stairs on which the shadow of a column or obelisk placed on the
top fell. The shadow would cover a greater or smaller number of
steps, according as the sun was low or high.
Probably the sun-dial was a Babylonian invention. Daniel at
Babylon (Dan. 3:6) is the first to make mention of the "hour."
the lord is my light. (1.) A high priest in the time of Ahaz (2
Kings 16:10-16), at whose bidding he constructed an idolatrous
altar like one the king had seen at Damascus, to be set up
instead of the brazen altar.
(2.) One of the priests who stood at the right hand of Ezra's
pulpit when he read and expounded the law (Neh. 8:4).
(3.) A prophet of Kirjath-jearim in the reign of Jehoiakim,
king of Judah (Jer. 26:20-23). He fled into Egypt from the
cruelty of the king, but having been brought back he was
beheaded and his body "cast into the graves of the common
the work of Jehovah. (1.) One of the Levites whom David
appointed as porter for the ark (1 Chr. 15:18, 20).
(2.) One of the "captains of hundreds" associated with
Jehoiada in restoring king Jehoash to the throne (2 Chr. 23:1).
(3.) The "king's son," probably one of the sons of king Ahaz,
killed by Zichri in the invasion of Judah by Pekah, king of
Israel (2 Chr. 28:7).
(4.) One who was sent by king Josiah to repair the temple (2
Chr. 34:8). He was governor (Heb. sar, rendered elsewhere in the
Authorized Version "prince," "chief captain," chief ruler") of
(5.) The father of the priest Zephaniah (Jer. 21:1; 37:3).
(6.) The father of the false prophet Zedekiah (Jer. 29:21).
Maase'iah, refuge is Jehovah, a priest, the father of Neriah
(Jer. 32:12; 51:59).
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.
Sea, The molten
the great laver made by Solomon for the use of the priests in
the temple, described in 1 Kings 7:23-26; 2 Chr. 4:2-5. It stood
in the south-eastern corner of the inner court. It was 5 cubits
high, 10 in diameter from brim to brim, and 30 in circumference.
It was placed on the backs of twelve oxen, standing with their
faces outward. It was capable of containing two or three
thousand baths of water (comp. 2 Chr. 4:5), which was originally
supplied by the Gibeonites, but was afterwards brought by a
conduit from the pools of Bethlehem. It was made of "brass"
(copper), which Solomon had taken from the captured cities of
Hadarezer, the king of Zobah (1 Chr. 18:8). Ahaz afterwards
removed this laver from the oxen, and placed it on a stone
pavement (2 Kings 16:17). It was destroyed by the Chaldeans
possessor. (1.) A grandson of Jonathan (1 Chr. 8:35; 9:42).
(2.) The son and successor of Jotham, king of Judah (2 Kings
16; Isa. 7-9; 2 Chr. 28). He gave himself up to a life of
wickedness and idolatry. Notwithstanding the remonstrances and
warnings of Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah, he appealed for help
against Rezin, king of Damascus, and Pekah, king of Israel, who
threatened Jerusalem, to Tiglath-pileser, the king of Assyria,
to the great injury of his kingdom and his own humilating
subjection to the Assyrians (2 Kings 16:7, 9; 15:29). He also
introduced among his people many heathen and idolatrous customs
(Isa. 8:19; 38:8; 2 Kings 23:12). He died at the age of
thirty-five years, after reigning sixteen years (B.C. 740-724),
and was succeeded by his son Hezekiah. Because of his wickedness
he was "not brought into the sepulchre of the kings."
(Heb. Yesh'yahu, i.e., "the salvation of Jehovah"). (1.) The son
of Amoz (Isa. 1:1; 2:1), who was apparently a man of humble
rank. His wife was called "the prophetess" (8:3), either because
she was endowed with the prophetic gift, like Deborah (Judg.
4:4) and Huldah (2 Kings 22:14-20), or simply because she was
the wife of "the prophet" (Isa. 38:1). He had two sons, who bore
He exercised the functions of his office during the reigns of
Uzziah (or Azariah), Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (1:1). Uzziah
reigned fifty-two years (B.C. 810-759), and Isaiah must have
begun his career a few years before Uzziah's death, probably
B.C. 762. He lived till the fourteenth year of Hezekiah, and in
all likelihood outlived that monarch (who died B.C. 698), and
may have been contemporary for some years with Manasseh. Thus
Isaiah may have prophesied for the long period of at least
His first call to the prophetical office is not recorded. A
second call came to him "in the year that King Uzziah died"
(Isa. 6:1). He exercised his ministry in a spirit of
uncompromising firmness and boldness in regard to all that bore
on the interests of religion. He conceals nothing and keeps
nothing back from fear of man. He was also noted for his
spirituality and for his deep-toned reverence toward "the holy
One of Israel."
In early youth Isaiah must have been moved by the invasion of
Israel by the Assyrian monarch Pul (q.v.), 2 Kings 15:19; and
again, twenty years later, when he had already entered on his
office, by the invasion of Tiglath-pileser and his career of
conquest. Ahaz, king of Judah, at this crisis refused to
co-operate with the kings of Israel and Syria in opposition to
the Assyrians, and was on that account attacked and defeated by
Rezin of Damascus and Pekah of Samaria (2 Kings 16:5; 2 Chr.
28:5, 6). Ahaz, thus humbled, sided with Assyria, and sought the
aid of Tiglath-pileser against Israel and Syria. The consequence
was that Rezin and Pekah were conquered and many of the people
carried captive to Assyria (2 Kings 15:29; 16:9; 1 Chr. 5:26).
Soon after this Shalmaneser determined wholly to subdue the
kingdom of Israel. Samaria was taken and destroyed (B.C. 722).
So long as Ahaz reigned, the kingdom of Judah was unmolested by
the Assyrian power; but on his accession to the throne, Hezekiah
(B.C. 726), who "rebelled against the king of Assyria" (2 Kings
18:7), in which he was encouraged by Isaiah, who exhorted the
people to place all their dependence on Jehovah (Isa. 10:24;
37:6), entered into an alliance with the king of Egypt (Isa.
30:2-4). This led the king of Assyria to threaten the king of
Judah, and at length to invade the land. Sennacherib (B.C. 701)
led a powerful army into Israel. Hezekiah was reduced to
despair, and submitted to the Assyrians (2 Kings 18:14-16). But
after a brief interval war broke out again, and again
Sennacherib (q.v.) led an army into Israel, one detachment of
which threatened Jerusalem (Isa. 36:2-22; 37:8). Isaiah on that
occasion encouraged Hezekiah to resist the Assyrians (37:1-7),
whereupon Sennacherib sent a threatening letter to Hezekiah,
which he "spread before the Lord" (37:14). The judgement of God
now fell on the Assyrian host. "Like Xerxes in Greece,
Sennacherib never recovered from the shock of the disaster in
Judah. He made no more expeditions against either Southern
Israel or Egypt." The remaining years of Hezekiah's reign
were peaceful (2 Chr. 32:23, 27-29). Isaiah probably lived to
its close, and possibly into the reign of Manasseh, but the time
and manner of his death are unknown. There is a tradition that
he suffered martyrdom in the heathen reaction in the time of
(2.) One of the heads of the singers in the time of David (1
Chr. 25:3,15, "Jeshaiah").
(3.) A Levite (1 Chr. 26:25).
(4.) Ezra 8:7.
(5.) Neh. 11:7.
Nahum, Book of
Nahum prophesied, according to some, in the beginning of the
reign of Ahaz (B.C. 743). Others, however, think that his
prophecies are to be referred to the latter half of the reign of
Hezekiah (about B.C. 709). This is the more probable opinion,
internal evidences leading to that conclusion. Probably the book
was written in Jerusalem (soon after B.C. 709), where he
witnessed the invasion of Sennacherib and the destruction of his
host (2 Kings 19:35).
The subject of this prophecy is the approaching complete and
final destruction of Nineveh, the capital of the great and at
that time flourishing Assyrian empire. Assur-bani-pal was at the
height of his glory. Nineveh was a city of vast extent, and was
then the centre of the civilzation and commerce of the world, a
"bloody city all full of lies and robbery" (Nah. 3:1), for it
had robbed and plundered all the neighbouring nations. It was
strongly fortified on every side, bidding defiance to every
enemy; yet it was to be utterly destroyed as a punishment for
the great wickedness of its inhabitants.
Jonah had already uttered his message of warning, and Nahum
was followed by Zephaniah, who also predicted (Zeph. 2:4-15) the
destruction of the city, predictions which were remarkably
fulfilled (B.C. 625) when Nineveh was destroyed apparently by
fire, and the Assyrian empire came to an end, an event which
changed the face of Asia. (See NINEVEH ¯T0002735.)
Micah, Book of
the sixth in order of the so-called minor prophets. The
superscription to this book states that the prophet exercised
his office in the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. If we
reckon from the beginning of Jotham's reign to the end of
Hezekiah's (B.C. 759-698), then he ministered for about
fifty-nine years; but if we reckon from the death of Jotham to
the accession of Hezekiah (B.C. 743-726), his ministry lasted
only sixteen years. It has been noticed as remarkable that this
book commences with the last words of another prophet, "Micaiah
the son of Imlah" (1 Kings 22:28): "Hearken, O people, every one
The book consists of three sections, each commencing with a
rebuke, "Hear ye," etc., and closing with a promise, (1) ch. 1;
2; (2) ch. 3-5, especially addressed to the princes and heads of
the people; (3) ch. 6-7, in which Jehovah is represented as
holding a controversy with his people: the whole concluding with
a song of triumph at the great deliverance which the Lord will
achieve for his people. The closing verse is quoted in the song
of Zacharias (Luke 1:72, 73). The prediction regarding the place
"where Christ should be born," one of the most remarkable
Messianic prophecies (Micah 5:2), is quoted in Matt. 2:6.
There are the following references to this book in the New
5:2, with Matt. 2:6; John 7:42.
7:6, with Matt. 10:21,35,36.
7:20, with Luke 1:72,73.
or Tilgath-Pil-neser, the Assyrian throne-name of Pul (q.v.). He
appears in the Assyrian records as gaining, in the fifth year of
his reign (about B.C. 741), a victory over Azariah (= Uzziah in
2 Chr.26:1), king of Judah, whose achievements are described in
2 Chr. 26:6-15. He is first mentioned in Scripture, however, as
gaining a victory over Pekah, king of Israel, and Rezin of
Damascus, who were confederates. He put Rezin to death, and
punished Pekah by taking a considerable portion of his kingdom,
and carrying off (B.C. 734) a vast number of its inhabitants
into captivity (2 Kings 15:29; 16:5-9; 1 Chr. 5:6, 26), the
Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh whom he
settled in Gozan. In the Assyrian annals it is further related
that, before he returned from Syria, he held a court at
Damascus, and received submission and tribute from the
neighbouring kings, among whom were Pekah of Samaria and
"Yahu-khazi [i.e., Ahaz], king of Judah" (comp. 2 Kings
He was the founder of what is called "the second Assyrian
empire," an empire meant to embrace the whole world, the centre
of which should be Nineveh. He died B.C. 728, and was succeeded
by a general of his army, Ulula, who assumed the name
whom Jehovah has strengthened. (1.) Son of Ahaz (2 Kings 18:1; 2
Chr. 29:1), whom he succeeded on the throne of the kingdom of
Judah. He reigned twenty-nine years (B.C. 726-697). The history
of this king is contained in 2 Kings 18:20, Isa. 36-39, and 2
Chr. 29-32. He is spoken of as a great and good king. In public
life he followed the example of his great-granfather Uzziah. He
set himself to abolish idolatry from his kingdom, and among
other things which he did for this end, he destroyed the "brazen
serpent," which had been removed to Jerusalem, and had become an
object of idolatrous worship (Num. 21:9). A great reformation
was wrought in the kingdom of Judah in his day (2 Kings 18:4; 2
On the death of Sargon and the accession of his son
Sennacherib to the throne of Assyria, Hezekiah refused to pay
the tribute which his father had paid, and "rebelled against the
king of Assyria, and served him not," but entered into a league
with Egypt (Isa. 30; 31; 36:6-9). This led to the invasion of
Judah by Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:13-16), who took forty cities,
and besieged Jerusalem with mounds. Hezekiah yielded to the
demands of the Assyrian king, and agreed to pay him three
hundred talents of silver and thirty of gold (18:14).
But Sennacherib dealt treacherously with Hezekiah (Isa. 33:1),
and a second time within two years invaded his kingdom (2 Kings
18:17; 2 Chr. 32:9; Isa. 36). This invasion issued in the
destruction of Sennacherib's army. Hezekiah prayed to God, and
"that night the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the
camp of the Assyrians 185,000 men." Sennacherib fled with the
shattered remnant of his forces to Nineveh, where, seventeen
years after, he was assassinated by his sons Adrammelech and
Sharezer (2 Kings 19:37). (See SENNACHERIB ¯T0003273.)
The narrative of Hezekiah's sickness and miraculous recovery
is found in 2 Kings 20:1, 2 Chr. 32:24, Isa. 38:1. Various
ambassadors came to congratulate him on his recovery, and among
them Merodach-baladan, the viceroy of Babylon (2 Chr. 32:23; 2
Kings 20:12). He closed his days in peace and prosperity, and
was succeeded by his son Manasseh. He was buried in the
"chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David" (2 Chr.
32:27-33). He had "after him none like him among all the kings
of Judah, nor any that were before him" (2 Kings 18:5). (See
father (i.e., "possessor or worshipper") of Jehovah. (1.) 1 Chr.
7:8. (2.) 1 Chr. 2:24.
(3.) The second son of Samuel (1 Sam. 8:2; 1 Chr. 6:28). His
conduct, along with that of his brother, as a judge in
Beer-sheba, to which office his father had appointed him, led to
popular discontent, and ultimately provoked the people to demand
a royal form of government.
(4.) A descendant of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, a chief of one
of the twenty-four orders into which the priesthood was divided
by David (1 Chr. 24:10). The order of Abijah was one of those
which did not return from the Captivity (Ezra 2:36-39; Neh.
(5.) The son of Rehoboam, whom he succeeded on the throne of
Judah (1 Chr. 3:10). He is also called Abijam (1 Kings 14:31;
15:1-8). He began his three years' reign (2 Chr. 12:16; 13:1,2)
with a strenuous but unsuccessful effort to bring back the ten
tribes to their allegiance. His address to "Jeroboam and all
Israel," before encountering them in battle, is worthy of being
specially noticed (2 Chr. 13:5-12). It was a very bloody battle,
no fewer than 500,000 of the army of Israel having perished on
the field. He is described as having walked "in all the sins of
his father" (1 Kings 15:3; 2 Chr. 11:20-22). It is said in 1
Kings 15:2 that "his mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of
Abishalom;" but in 2 Chr. 13:2 we read, "his mother's name was
Michaiah, the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah." The explanation is
that Maachah is just a variation of the name Michaiah, and that
Abishalom is probably the same as Absalom, the son of David. It
is probable that "Uriel of Gibeah" married Tamar, the daughter
of Absalom (2 Sam. 14:27), and by her had Maachah. The word
"daughter" in 1 Kings 15:2 will thus, as it frequently elsewhere
does, mean grand-daughter.
(6.) A son of Jeroboam, the first king of Israel. On account
of his severe illness when a youth, his father sent his wife to
consult the prophet Ahijah regarding his recovery. The prophet,
though blind with old age, knew the wife of Jeroboam as soon as
she approached, and under a divine impulse he announced to her
that inasmuch as in Abijah alone of all the house of Jeroboam
there was found "some good thing toward the Lord," he only would
come to his grave in peace. As his mother crossed the threshold
of the door on her return, the youth died, and "all Israel
mourned for him" (1 Kings 14:1-18).
(7.) The daughter of Zechariah (2 Chr. 29:1; comp. Isa. 8:2),
and afterwards the wife of Ahaz. She is also called Abi (2 Kings
(8.) One of the sons of Becher, the son of Benjamin (1 Chr.
7:8). "Abiah," A.V.
Isaiah, The Book of
consists of prophecies delivered (Isa. 1) in the reign of Uzziah
(1-5), (2) of Jotham (6), (3) Ahaz (7-14:28), (4) the first half
of Hezekiah's reign (14:28-35), (5) the second half of
Hezekiah's reign (36-66). Thus, counting from the fourth year
before Uzziah's death (B.C. 762) to the last year of Hezekiah
(B.C. 698), Isaiah's ministry extended over a period of
sixty-four years. He may, however, have survived Hezekiah, and
may have perished in the way indicated above.
The book, as a whole, has been divided into three main parts:
(1.) The first thirty-five chapters, almost wholly prophetic,
Israel's enemy Assyria, present the Messiah as a mighty Ruler
and King. (2.) Four chapters are historical (36-39), relating to
the times of Hezekiah. (3.) Prophetical (40-66), Israel's enemy
Babylon, describing the Messiah as a suffering victim, meek and
The genuineness of the section Isa. 40-66 has been keenly
opposed by able critics. They assert that it must be the
production of a deutero-Isaiah, who lived toward the close of
the Babylonian captivity. This theory was originated by Koppe, a
German writer at the close of the last century. There are other
portions of the book also (e.g., ch. 13; 24-27; and certain
verses in ch. 14 and 21) which they attribute to some other
prophet than Isaiah. Thus they say that some five or seven, or
even more, unknown prophets had a hand in the production of this
book. The considerations which have led to such a result are
various: (1.) They cannot, as some say, conceive it possible
that Isaiah, living in B.C. 700, could foretell the appearance
and the exploits of a prince called Cyrus, who would set the
Jews free from captivity one hundred and seventy years after.
(2.) It is alleged that the prophet takes the time of the
Captivity as his standpoint, and speaks of it as then present;
and (3) that there is such a difference between the style and
language of the closing section (40-66) and those of the
preceding chapters as to necessitate a different authorship, and
lead to the conclusion that there were at least two Isaiahs. But
even granting the fact of a great diversity of style and
language, this will not necessitate the conclusion attempted to
be drawn from it. The diversity of subjects treated of and the
peculiarities of the prophet's position at the time the
prophecies were uttered will sufficiently account for this.
The arguments in favour of the unity of the book are quite
conclusive. When the LXX. version was made (about B.C. 250) the
entire contents of the book were ascribed to Isaiah, the son of
Amoz. It is not called in question, moreover, that in the time
of our Lord the book existed in the form in which we now have
it. Many prophecies in the disputed portions are quoted in the
New Testament as the words of Isaiah (Matt. 3:3; Luke 3:4-6;
4:16-41; John 12:38; Acts 8:28; Rom. 10:16-21). Universal and
persistent tradition has ascribed the whole book to one author.
Besides this, the internal evidence, the similarity in the
language and style, in the thoughts and images and rhetorical
ornaments, all points to the same conclusion; and its local
colouring and allusions show that it is obviously of Palestinian
origin. The theory therefore of a double authorship of the book,
much less of a manifold authorship, cannot be maintained. The
book, with all the diversity of its contents, is one, and is, we
believe, the production of the great prophet whose name it
(Heb. mizbe'ah, from a word meaning "to slay"), any structure of
earth (Ex. 20:24) or unwrought stone (20:25) on which sacrifices
were offered. Altars were generally erected in conspicuous
places (Gen. 22:9; Ezek. 6:3; 2 Kings 23:12; 16:4; 23:8; Acts
14:13). The word is used in Heb. 13:10 for the sacrifice offered
upon it--the sacrifice Christ offered.
Paul found among the many altars erected in Athens one bearing
the inscription, "To the unknown God" (Acts 17:23), or rather
"to an [i.e., some] unknown God." The reason for this
inscription cannot now be accurately determined. It afforded the
apostle the occasion of proclaiming the gospel to the "men of
The first altar we read of is that erected by Noah (Gen.
8:20). Altars were erected by Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 13:4; 22:9),
by Isaac (Gen. 26:25), by Jacob (33:20; 35:1, 3), and by Moses
(Ex. 17:15, "Jehovah-nissi").
In the tabernacle, and afterwards in the temple, two altars
(1.) The altar of burnt offering (Ex. 30:28), called also the
"brasen altar" (Ex. 39:39) and "the table of the Lord" (Mal.
This altar, as erected in the tabernacle, is described in Ex.
27:1-8. It was a hollow square, 5 cubits in length and in
breadth, and 3 cubits in height. It was made of shittim wood,
and was overlaid with plates of brass. Its corners were
ornamented with "horns" (Ex. 29:12; Lev. 4:18).
In Ex. 27:3 the various utensils appertaining to the altar are
enumerated. They were made of brass. (Comp. 1 Sam. 2:13, 14;
Lev. 16:12; Num. 16:6, 7.)
In Solomon's temple the altar was of larger dimensions (2 Chr.
4:1. Comp. 1 Kings 8:22, 64; 9:25), and was made wholly of
brass, covering a structure of stone or earth. This altar was
renewed by Asa (2 Chr. 15:8). It was removed by Ahaz (2 Kings
16:14), and "cleansed" by Hezekiah, in the latter part of whose
reign it was rebuilt. It was finally broken up and carried away
by the Babylonians (Jer. 52:17).
After the return from captivity it was re-erected (Ezra 3:3,
6) on the same place where it had formerly stood. (Comp. 1 Macc.
4:47.) When Antiochus Epiphanes pillaged Jerusalem the altar of
burnt offering was taken away.
Again the altar was erected by Herod, and remained in its
place till the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans (70 A.D.).
The fire on the altar was not permitted to go out (Lev. 6:9).
In the Mosque of Omar, immediately underneath the great dome,
which occupies the site of the old temple, there is a rough
projection of the natural rock, of about 60 feet in its extreme
length, and 50 in its greatest breadth, and in its highest part
about 4 feet above the general pavement. This rock seems to have
been left intact when Solomon's temple was built. It was in all
probability the site of the altar of burnt offering. Underneath
this rock is a cave, which may probably have been the granary of
Araunah's threshing-floor (1 Chr. 21:22).
(2.) The altar of incense (Ex. 30:1-10), called also "the
golden altar" (39:38; Num. 4:11), stood in the holy place
"before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony." On this
altar sweet spices were continually burned with fire taken from
the brazen altar. The morning and the evening services were
commenced by the high priest offering incense on this altar. The
burning of the incense was a type of prayer (Ps. 141:2; Rev.
5:8; 8:3, 4).
This altar was a small movable table, made of acacia wood
overlaid with gold (Ex. 37:25, 26). It was 1 cubit in length and
breadth, and 2 cubits in height.
In Solomon's temple the altar was similar in size, but was
made of cedar-wood (1 Kings 6:20; 7:48) overlaid with gold. In
Ezek. 41:22 it is called "the altar of wood." (Comp. Ex.
In the temple built after the Exile the altar was restored.
Antiochus Epiphanes took it away, but it was afterwards restored
by Judas Maccabaeus (1 Macc. 1:23; 4:49). Among the trophies
carried away by Titus on the destruction of Jerusalem the altar
of incense is not found, nor is any mention made of it in Heb.
9. It was at this altar Zacharias ministered when an angel
appeared to him (Luke 1:11). It is the only altar which appears
in the heavenly temple (Isa. 6:6; Rev. 8:3,4).
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.)
who makes to forget. "God hath made me forget" (Heb. nashshani),
Gen. 41:51. (1.) The elder of the two sons of Joseph. He and his
brother Ephraim were afterwards adopted by Jacob as his own sons
(48:1). There is an account of his marriage to a Syrian (1 Chr.
7:14); and the only thing afterwards recorded of him is, that
his grandchildren were "brought up upon Joseph's knees" (Gen.
50:23; R.V., "born upon Joseph's knees") i.e., were from their
birth adopted by Joseph as his own children.
The tribe of Manasseh was associated with that of Ephraim and
Benjamin during the wanderings in the wilderness. They encamped
on the west side of the tabernacle. According to the census
taken at Sinai, this tribe then numbered 32,200 (Num. 1:10, 35;
2:20, 21). Forty years afterwards its numbers had increased to
52,700 (26:34, 37), and it was at this time the most
distinguished of all the tribes.
The half of this tribe, along with Reuben and Gad, had their
territory assigned them by Moses on the east of the Jordan
(Josh. 13:7-14); but it was left for Joshua to define the limits
of each tribe. This territory on the east of Jordan was more
valuable and of larger extent than all that was allotted to the
nine and a half tribes in the land of Israel. It is sometimes
called "the land of Gilead," and is also spoken of as "on the
other side of Jordan." The portion given to the half tribe of
Manasseh was the largest on the east of Jordan. It embraced the
whole of Bashan. It was bounded on the south by Mahanaim, and
extended north to the foot of Lebanon. Argob, with its sixty
cities, that "ocean of basaltic rocks and boulders tossed about
in the wildest confusion," lay in the midst of this territory.
The whole "land of Gilead" having been conquered, the two and
a half tribes left their wives and families in the fortified
cities there, and accompanied the other tribes across the
Jordan, and took part with them in the wars of conquest. The
allotment of the land having been completed, Joshua dismissed
the two and a half tribes, commending them for their heroic
service (Josh. 22:1-34). Thus dismissed, they returned over
Jordan to their own inheritance. (See ED ¯T0001125.)
On the west of Jordan the other half of the tribe of Manasseh
was associated with Ephraim, and they had their portion in the
very centre of Israel, an area of about 1,300 square miles,
the most valuable part of the whole country, abounding in
springs of water. Manasseh's portion was immediately to the
north of that of Ephraim (Josh. 16). Thus the western Manasseh
defended the passes of Esdraelon as the eastern kept the passes
of the Hauran.
(2.) The only son and successor of Hezekiah on the throne of
Judah. He was twelve years old when he began to reign (2 Kings
21:1), and he reigned fifty-five years (B.C. 698-643). Though he
reigned so long, yet comparatively little is known of this king.
His reign was a continuation of that of Ahaz, both in religion
and national polity. He early fell under the influence of the
heathen court circle, and his reign was characterized by a sad
relapse into idolatry with all its vices, showing that the
reformation under his father had been to a large extent only
superficial (Isa. 7:10; 2 Kings 21:10-15). A systematic and
persistent attempt was made, and all too successfully, to banish
the worship of Jehovah out of the land. Amid this wide-spread
idolatry there were not wanting, however, faithful prophets
(Isaiah, Micah) who lifted up their voice in reproof and in
warning. But their fidelity only aroused bitter hatred, and a
period of cruel persecution against all the friends of the old
religion began. "The days of Alva in Holland, of Charles IX. in
France, or of the Covenanters under Charles II. in Scotland,
were anticipated in the Jewish capital. The streets were red
with blood." There is an old Jewish tradition that Isaiah was
put to death at this time (2 Kings 21:16; 24:3, 4; Jer. 2:30),
having been sawn asunder in the trunk of a tree. Psalms 49, 73,
77, 140, and 141 seem to express the feelings of the pious amid
the fiery trials of this great persecution. Manasseh has been
called the "Nero of Israel."
Esarhaddon, Sennacherib's successor on the Assyrian throne,
who had his residence in Babylon for thirteen years (the only
Assyrian monarch who ever reigned in Babylon), took Manasseh
prisoner (B.C. 681) to Babylon. Such captive kings were usually
treated with great cruelty. They were brought before the
conqueror with a hook or ring passed through their lips or their
jaws, having a cord attached to it, by which they were led. This
is referred to in 2 Chr. 33:11, where the Authorized Version
reads that Esarhaddon "took Manasseh among the thorns;" while
the Revised Version renders the words, "took Manasseh in
chains;" or literally, as in the margin, "with hooks." (Comp. 2
The severity of Manasseh's imprisonment brought him to
repentance. God heard his cry, and he was restored to his
kingdom (2 Chr. 33:11-13). He abandoned his idolatrous ways, and
enjoined the people to worship Jehovah; but there was no
thorough reformation. After a lengthened reign extending through
fifty-five years, the longest in the history of Judah, he died,
and was buried in the garden of Uzza, the "garden of his own
house" (2 Kings 21:17, 18; 2 Chr. 33:20), and not in the city of
David, among his ancestors. He was succeeded by his son Amon.
In Judg. 18:30 the correct reading is "Moses," and not
"Manasseh." The name "Manasseh" is supposed to have been
introduced by some transcriber to avoid the scandal of naming
the grandson of Moses the great lawgiver as the founder of an