a company of the colonists whom the Assyrian king planted in
Samaria (Ezra 5:6; 6:6).
another of the tribes removed to Samaria (Ezra 4:9), or perhaps
the same as the preceding.
one of the nations planted by the Assyrians in Samaria (Ezra
4:9); the men of Erech.
the lion, the name of one of the body-guard slain with Pekahiah
at Samaria (2 Kings 15:25) by the conspirator Pekah.
a Persian governor of Samaria, who joined others in the attempt
to prevent the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Ezra 4:7).
one who has judicial authority, literally, a "lord of
judgement;" a title given to the Persian governor of Samaria
(Ezra 4:8, 9, 17).
barker, the name of an idol, supposed to be an evil demon of the
Zabians. It was set up in Samaria by the Avites (2 Kings 17:31),
probably in the form of a dog.
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.
prince of darkness, one of the gods of the Arvites, who
colonized part of Samaria after the deportation of Israel by
Shalmaneser (2 Kings 17:31).
one of the gods worshipped by the people of Sepharvaim, who
colonized Samaria (2 Kings 17:31). The name means "Anu is king."
It was a female deity representing the moon, as Adrammelech
(q.v.) was the male representing the sun.
villagers, one of the Assyrian tribes which Asnapper sent to
repopulate Samaria (Ezra 4:9). They were probably a nomad
Persian tribe on the east of the Caspian Sea, and near the Sea
given by Mithra, or dedicated to Mithra, i.e., the sun, the
Hebrew form of the Greek name Mithridates. (1.) The "treasurer"
of King Cyrus (Ezra 1:8).
(2.) Ezra 4:7, a Persian officer in Samaria.
tents of daughters, supposed to be the name of a Babylonian
deity, the goddess Zir-banit, the wife of Merodach, worshipped
by the colonists in Samaria (2 Kings 17:30).
a watch-mountain or a watch-tower. In the heart of the mountains
of Israel, a few miles north-west of Shechem, stands the "hill
of Shomeron," a solitary mountain, a great "mamelon." It is an
oblong hill, with steep but not inaccessible sides, and a long
flat top. Omri, the king of Israel, purchased this hill from
Shemer its owner for two talents of silver, and built on its
broad summit the city to which he gave the name of "Shomeron",
i.e., Samaria, as the new capital of his kingdom instead of
Tirzah (1 Kings 16:24). As such it possessed many advantages.
Here Omri resided during the last six years of his reign. As the
result of an unsuccessful war with Syria, he appears to have
been obliged to grant to the Syrians the right to "make streets
in Samaria", i.e., probably permission to the Syrian merchants
to carry on their trade in the Israelite capital. This would
imply the existence of a considerable Syrian population. "It was
the only great city of Israel created by the sovereign. All
the others had been already consecrated by patriarchal tradition
or previous possession. But Samaria was the choice of Omri
alone. He, indeed, gave to the city which he had built the name
of its former owner, but its especial connection with himself as
its founder is proved by the designation which it seems Samaria
bears in Assyrian inscriptions, Beth-khumri ('the house or
palace of Omri').", Stanley.
Samaria was frequently besieged. In the days of Ahab, Benhadad
II. came up against it with thirty-two vassal kings, but was
defeated with a great slaughter (1 Kings 20:1-21). A second
time, next year, he assailed it; but was again utterly routed,
and was compelled to surrender to Ahab (20:28-34), whose army,
as compared with that of Benhadad, was no more than "two little
flocks of kids."
In the days of Jehoram this Benhadad again laid siege to
Samaria, during which the city was reduced to the direst
extremities. But just when success seemed to be within their
reach, they suddenly broke up the seige, alarmed by a mysterious
noise of chariots and horses and a great army, and fled, leaving
their camp with all its contents behind them. The famishing
inhabitants of the city were soon relieved with the abundance of
the spoil of the Syrian camp; and it came to pass, according to
the word of Elisha, that "a measure of fine flour was sold for a
shekel, and two measures of barely for a shekel, in the gates of
Samaria" (2 Kings 7:1-20).
Shalmaneser invaded Israel in the days of Hoshea, and reduced
it to vassalage. He laid siege to Samaria (B.C. 723), which held
out for three years, and was at length captured by Sargon, who
completed the conquest Shalmaneser had begun (2 Kings 18:9-12;
17:3), and removed vast numbers of the tribes into captivity.
(See SARGON ¯T0003227.)
This city, after passing through various vicissitudes, was
given by the emperor Augustus to Herod the Great, who rebuilt
it, and called it Sebaste (Gr. form of Augustus) in honour of
the emperor. In the New Testament the only mention of it is in
Acts 8:5-14, where it is recorded that Philip went down to the
city of Samaria and preached there.
It is now represented by the hamlet of Sebustieh, containing
about three hundred inhabitants. The ruins of the ancient town
are all scattered over the hill, down the sides of which they
have rolled. The shafts of about one hundred of what must have
been grand Corinthian columns are still standing, and attract
much attention, although nothing definite is known regarding
them. (Comp. Micah 1:6.)
In the time of Christ, Western Israel was divided into
three provinces, Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Samaria occupied
the centre of Israel (John 4:4). It is called in the Talmud
the "land of the Cuthim," and is not regarded as a part of the
Holy Land at all.
It may be noticed that the distance between Samaria and
Jerusalem, the respective capitals of the two kingdoms, is only
35 miles in a direct line.
Adar the king. (1.) An idol; a form of the sun-god worshipped by
the inhabitants of Sepharvaim (2 Kings 17:31), and brought by
the Sepharvite colonists into Samaria. (2.) A son of
Sennacherib, king of Assyria (2 Kings 19:37; Isa. 37:38).
a place in Assyria from which colonies were brought to Samaria
(2 Kings 17:24). It is probably the same with Ivah (18:34;
19:13; Isa. 37:13). It has been identified with Hit on the
overturning, a city of the Assyrians, whence colonists were
brought to Samaria (2 Kings 18:34; 19:13). It lay on the
Euphrates, between Sepharvaim and Henah, and is supposed by some
to have been the Ahava of Ezra (8:15).
the Lord opened his eyes, the son and successor of Menahem on
the throne of Israel. He was murdered in the royal palace of
Samaria by Pekah, one of the captains of his army (2 Kings
15:23-26), after a reign of two years (B.C. 761-759). He "did
that which was evil in the sight of the Lord."
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.
ruler of the people, son of Herod the Great, by Malthace, a
Samaritan woman. He was educated along with his brother Antipas
at Rome. He inherited from his father a third part of his
kingdom viz., Idumea, Judea, and Samaria, and hence is called
"king" (Matt. 2:22). It was for fear of him that Joseph and Mary
turned aside on their way back from Egypt. Till a few days
before his death Herod had named Antipas as his successor, but
in his last moments he named Archelaus.
one of the Babylonian cities or districts from which Shalmaneser
transplanted certain colonists to Samaria (2 Kings 17:24). Some
have conjectured that the "Cutheans" were identical with the
"Cossaeans" who inhabited the hill-country to the north of the
river Choaspes. Cuthah is now identified with Tell Ibrahim, 15
miles north-east of Babylon.
=Gerasa, identified with the modern Khersa, "over against
Galilee," close to the lake. This was probably the scene of the
miracle, Mark 5:1-20, etc. "From the base of the great plateau
of Bashan, 2,000 feet or more overhead, the ground slopes down
steeply, in places precipitously, to the shore. And at the foot
of the declivity a bold spur runs out to the water's edge. By it
the frantic swine would rush on headlong into the lake and
perish." Porter's Through Samaria. (See GADARA ¯T0001406.)
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
held some place of authority in Samaria when Nehemiah went up to
Jerusalem to rebuild its ruined walls. He vainly attempted to
hinder this work (Neh. 2:10, 19; 4:1-12; 6). His daughter became
the wife of one of the sons of Joiada, a son of the high priest,
much to the grief of Nehemiah (13:28).
(2 Kings 10:12, 14; marg., "house of shepherds binding sheep."
R.V., "the shearing-house of the shepherds;" marg., "house of
gathering"), some place between Samaria and Jezreel, where Jehu
slew "two and forty men" of the royal family of Judah. The Heb.
word Beth-eked so rendered is supposed by some to be a proper
pleasantness. (1.) An old royal city of the Canaanites, which
was destroyed by Joshua (Josh. 12:24). Jeroboam chose it for his
residence, and he removed to it from Shechem, which at first he
made the capital of his kingdom. It remained the chief residence
of the kings of Israel till Omri took Samaria (1 Kings 14:17;
15:21; 16:6, 8, etc.). Here Zimri perished amid the flames of
the palace to which in his despair he had set fire (1 Kings
16:18), and here Menahem smote Shallum (2 Kings 15:14, 16).
Solomon refers to its beauty (Cant. 6:4). It has been identified
with the modern mud hamlet Teiasir, 11 miles north of Shechem.
Others, however, would identify it with Telluza, a village about
6 miles east of Samaria.
(2.) The youngest of Zelophehad's five daughters (Num. 26:33;
the grandson of Herod the Great, and son of Aristobulus and
Bernice. The Roman emperor Caligula made him governor first of
the territories of Philip, then of the tetrarchy of Lysanias,
with the title of king ("king Herod"), and finally of that of
Antipas, who was banished, and of Samaria and Judea. Thus he
became ruler over the whole of Israel. He was a persecutor of
the early Christians. He slew James, and imprisoned Peter (Acts
12:1-4). He died at Caesarea, being "eaten of worms" (Acts
12:23), A.D. 44. (Comp. Josephus, Ant. xix. 8.)
two wells, a famous pasture-ground where Joseph found his
brethren watching their flocks. Here, at the suggestion of
Judah, they sold him to the Ishmaelite merchants (Gen. 37:17).
It is mentioned on monuments in B.C. 1600.
It was the residence of Elisha (2 Kings 6:13), and the scene
of a remarkable vision of chariots and horses of fire
surrounding the mountain on which the city stood. It is
identified with the modern Tell-Dothan, on the south side of the
plain of Jezreel, about 12 miles north of Samaria, among the
hills of Gilboa. The "two wells" are still in existence, one of
which bears the name of the "pit of Joseph" (Jubb Yusuf).
the central mountainous district of Israel occupied by the
tribe of Ephraim (Josh. 17:15; 19:50; 20:7), extending from
Bethel to the plain of Jezreel. In Joshua's time (Josh. 17:18)
these hills were densely wooded. They were intersected by
well-watered, fertile valleys, referred to in Jer. 50:19. Joshua
was buried at Timnath-heres among the mountains of Ephraim, on
the north side of the hill of Gaash (Judg. 2:9). This region is
also called the "mountains of Israel" (Josh. 11:21) and the
"mountains of Samaria" (Jer. 31:5, 6: Amos 3:9).
Heb. 'eglah, (Deut. 21:4, 6; Jer. 46:20). Untrained to the yoke
(Hos. 10:11); giving milk (Isa. 7:21); ploughing (Judg. 14:18);
treading out grain (Jer. 50:11); unsubdued to the yoke an emblem
of Judah (Isa. 15:5; Jer. 48:34).
Heb. parah (Gen. 41:2; Num. 19:2). Bearing the yoke (Hos.
4:16); "heifers of Bashan" (Amos 4:1), metaphorical for the
voluptuous females of Samaria. The ordinance of sacrifice of the
"red heifer" described in Num. 19:1-10; comp. Heb. 9:13.
Jehovah is liberal; or, whom Jehovah impels. (1.) A son of
Shimeah, and nephew of David. It was he who gave the fatal
wicked advice to Amnon, the heir to the throne (2 Sam. 13:3-6).
He was very "subtil," but unprincipled.
(2.) A son of Rechab, the founder of a tribe who bound
themselves by a vow to abstain from wine (Jer. 35:6-19). There
were different settlements of Rechabites (Judg. 1:16; 4:11; 1
Chr. 2:55). (See RECHABITE ¯T0003080.) His interview and
alliance with Jehu are mentioned in 2 Kings 10:15-23. He went
with Jehu in his chariot to Samaria.
(Isa. 41:19; R.V. marg., "oleaster"), Heb. 'etz shemen, rendered
"olive tree" in 1 Kings 6:23, 31, 32, 33 (R.V., "olive wood")
and "pine branches" in Neh. 8:15 (R.V., "branches of wild
olive"), was some tree distinct from the olive. It was probably
the oleaster (Eleagnus angustifolius), which grows abundantly in
almost all parts of Israel, especially about Hebron and
Samaria. "It has a fine hard wood," says Tristram, "and yields
an inferior oil, but it has no relationship to the olive, which,
however, it resembles in general appearance."
Jehovah is he. (1.) The son of Obed, and father of Azariah (1
(2.) One of the Benjamite slingers that joined David at Ziklag
(1 Chr. 12:3).
(3.) The son of Hanani, a prophet of Judah (1 Kings 16:1, 7; 2
Chr. 19:2; 20:34), who pronounced the sentence of God against
Baasha, the king of Israel.
(4.) King of Israel, the son of Jehoshaphat (2 Kings 9:2), and
grandson of Nimshi. The story of his exaltation to the throne is
deeply interesting. During the progress of a war against the
Syrians, who were becoming more and more troublesome to Israel,
in a battle at Ramoth-gilead Jehoram, the king of Israel, had
been wounded; and leaving his army there, had returned to
Jezreel, whither his ally, Ahaziah, king of Judah, had also gone
on a visit of sympathy with him (2 Kings 8:28, 29). The
commanders, being left in charge of the conduct of the war, met
in council; and while engaged in their deliberations, a
messenger from Elisha appeared in the camp, and taking Jehu from
the council, led him into a secret chamber, and there anointed
him king over Israel, and immediately retired and disappeared (2
Kings 9:5, 6). On being interrogated by his companions as to the
object of this mysterious visitor, he informed them of what had
been done, when immediately, with the utmost enthusiasm, they
blew their trumpets and proclaimed him king (2 Kings 9:11-14).
He then with a chosen band set forth with all speed to Jezreel,
where, with his own hand, he slew Jehoram, shooting him through
the heart with an arrow (9:24). The king of Judah, when trying
to escape, was fatally wounded by one of Jehu's soldiers at
Beth-gan. On entering the city, Jehu commanded the eunchs of the
royal palace to cast down Jezebel into the street, where her
mangled body was trodden under foot by the horses. Jehu was now
master of Jezreel, whence he communicated with the persons in
authority in Samaria the capital, commanding them to appear
before him on the morrow with the heads of all the royal princes
of Samaria. Accordingly on the morrow seventy heads were piled
up in two heaps at his gate. At "the shearing-house" (2 Kings
10:12-14) other forty-two connected with the house of Ahab were
put to death (2 Kings 10:14). As Jehu rode on toward Samaria, he
met Jehonadab (q.v.), whom he took into his chariot, and they
entered the capital together. By a cunning stratagem he cut off
all the worshippers of Baal found in Samaria (2 Kings 10:19-25),
and destroyed the temple of the idol (2 Kings 10:27).
Notwithstanding all this apparent zeal for the worship of
Jehovah, Jehu yet tolerated the worship of the golden calves at
Dan and Bethel. For this the divine displeasure rested upon him,
and his kingdom suffered disaster in war with the Syrians (2
Kings 10:29-33). He died after a reign of twenty-eight years
(B.C. 884-856), and was buried in Samaria (10:34-36). "He was
one of those decisive, terrible, and ambitious, yet prudent,
calculating, and passionless men whom God from time to time
raises up to change the fate of empires and execute his
judgments on the earth." He was the first Jewish king who came
in contact with the Assyrian power in the time of Shalmaneser
a cutting; separation; a gorge, a torrent-bed or winter-stream,
a "brook," in whose banks the prophet Elijah hid himself during
the early part of the three years' drought (1 Kings 17:3, 5). It
has by some been identified as the Wady el-Kelt behind Jericho,
which is formed by the junction of many streams flowing from the
mountains west of Jericho. It is dry in summer. Travellers have
described it as one of the wildest ravines of this wild region,
and peculiarly fitted to afford a secure asylum to the
persecuted. But if the prophet's interview with Ahab was in
Samaria, and he thence journeyed toward the east, it is probable
that he crossed Jordan and found refuge in some of the ravines
of Gilead. The "brook" is said to have been "before Jordan,"
which probably means that it opened toward that river, into
which it flowed. This description would apply to the east as
well as to the west of Jordan. Thus Elijah's hiding-place may
have been the Jermuk, in the territory of the half-tribe of
fountain of gardens. (1.) A town in the plains of Judah (Josh.
15:34), north-west of Jerusalem, between Zanoah and Tappuah. It
is the modern Umm Jina.
(2.) A city on the border of Machar (Josh. 19:21), allotted to
the Gershonite Levites (21:29). It is identified with the modern
Jenin, a large and prosperous town of about 4,000 inhabitants,
situated 15 miles south of Mount Tabor, through which the road
from Jezreel to Samaria and Jerusalem passes. When Ahaziah, king
of Judah, attempted to escape from Jehu, he "fled by the way of
the garden house" i.e., by way of En-gannim. Here he was
overtaken by Jehu and wounded in his chariot, and turned aside
and fled to Megiddo, a distance of about 20 miles, to die there.
(LXX., "Orech"), length, or Moon-town, one of the cities of
Nimrod's kingdom in the plain of Shinar (Gen. 10:10); the Orchoe
of the Greeks and Romans. It was probably the city of the
Archevites, who were transplanted to Samaria by Asnapper (Ezra
4:9). It lay on the left bank of the Euphrates, about 120 miles
south-east of Babylon, and is now represented by the mounds and
ruins of Warka. It appears to have been the necropolis of the
Assyrian kings, as the whole region is strewed with bricks and
the remains of coffins. "Standing on the summit of the principal
edifice, called the Buwarizza, a tower 200 feet square in the
centre of the ruins, the beholder is struck with astonishment at
the enormous accumulation of mounds and ancient relics at his
feet. An irregular circle, nearly 6 miles in circumference, is
defined by the traces of an earthen rampart, in some places 40
(Acts 19:13). "In that sceptical and therefore superstitious age
professional exorcist abounded. Many of these professional
exorcists were disreputable Jews, like Simon in Samaria and
Elymas in Cyprus (8:9; 13:6)." Other references to exorcism as
practised by the Jews are found in Matt. 12:27; Mark 9:38; Luke
9:49, 50. It would seem that it was an opinion among the Jews
that miracles might be wrought by invoking the divine name. Thus
also these "vagabond Jews" pretended that they could expel
The power of casting out devils was conferred by Christ on his
apostles (Matt. 10:8), and on the seventy (Luke 10:17-19), and
was exercised by believers after his ascension (Mark 16:17; Acts
16:18); but this power was never spoken of as exorcism.
who is like Jehovah?, the son of Imlah, a faithful prophet of
Samaria (1 Kings 22:8-28). Three years after the great battle
with Ben-hadad (20:29-34), Ahab proposed to Jehoshaphat, king of
Judah, that they should go up against Ramoth-Gilead to do battle
again with Ben-hadad. Jehoshaphat agreed, but suggested that
inquiry should be first made "at the word of Jehovah." Ahab's
prophets approved of the expedition; but Jehoshaphat, still
dissatisfied, asked if there was no other prophet besides the
four hundred that had appeared, and was informed of this
Micaiah. He was sent for from prison, where he had been
confined, probably on account of some prediction disagreeable to
Ahab; and he condemned the expedition, and prophesied that it
would end, as it did, in disaster. We hear nothing further of
this prophet. Some have supposed that he was the unnamed prophet
referred to in 1 Kings 20:35-42.
Israel is a hilly country (Deut. 3:25; 11:11; Ezek. 34:13).
West of Jordan the mountains stretch from Lebanon far down into
Galilee, terminating in Carmel. The isolated peak of Tabor rises
from the elevated plain of Esdraelon, which, in the south, is
shut in by hills spreading over the greater part of Samaria. The
mountains of Western and Middle Israel do not extend to the
sea, but gently slope into plains, and toward the Jordan fall
down into the Ghor.
East of the Jordan the Anti-Lebanon, stretching south,
terminates in the hilly district called Jebel Heish, which
reaches down to the Sea of Gennesareth. South of the river
Hieromax there is again a succession of hills, which are
traversed by wadies running toward the Jordan. These gradually
descend to a level at the river Arnon, which was the boundary of
the ancient trans-Jordanic territory toward the south.
The composition of the Palestinian hills is limestone, with
occasional strata of chalk, and hence the numerous caves, some
of large extent, found there.
pleasantness, a Syrian, the commander of the armies of Benhadad
II. in the time of Joram, king of Israel. He was afflicted with
leprosy; and when the little Hebrew slave-girl that waited on
his wife told her of a prophet in Samaria who could cure her
master, he obtained a letter from Benhadad and proceeded with it
to Joram. The king of Israel suspected in this some evil design
against him, and rent his clothes. Elisha the prophet hearing of
this, sent for Naaman, and the strange interview which took
place is recorded in 2 Kings 5. The narrative contains all that
is known of the Syrian commander. He was cured of his leprosy by
dipping himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word
of Elisha. His cure is alluded to by our Lord (Luke 4:27).
"Eastern modes of salutation are not unfrequently so prolonged
as to become wearisome and a positive waste of time. The
profusely polite Arab asks so many questions after your health,
your happiness, your welfare, your house, and other things, that
a person ignorant of the habits of the country would imagine
there must be some secret ailment or mysterious sorrow
oppressing you, which you wished to conceal, so as to spare the
feelings of a dear, sympathizing friend, but which he, in the
depth of his anxiety, would desire to hear of. I have often
listened to these prolonged salutations in the house, the
street, and the highway, and not unfrequently I have experienced
their tedious monotony, and I have bitterly lamented useless
waste of time" (Porter, Through Samaria, etc.). The work on
which the disciples were sent forth was one of urgency, which
left no time for empty compliments and prolonged greetings (Luke
an Assyrian king (Hos. 10:14), identified with Shalmaneser II.
(Sayce) or IV. (Lenormant), the successor of Pul on the throne
of Assyria (B.C. 728). He made war against Hoshea, the king of
Israel, whom he subdued and compelled to pay an annual tribute.
Hoshea, however, soon after rebelled against his Assyrian
conquerer. Shalmaneser again marched against Samaria, which,
after a siege of three years, was taken (2 Kings 17:3-5; 18:9)
by Sargon (q.v.). A revolution meantime had broken out in
Assyria, and Shalmaneser was deposed. Sargon usurped the vacant
throne. Schrader thinks that this is probably the name of a king
of Moab mentioned on an inscription of Tiglath-pileser as
two resting-places, a little village in the tribe of Issachar,
to the north of Jezreel and south of Mount Gilboa (Josh. 19:18),
where the Philistines encamped when they came against Saul (1
Sam. 28:4), and where Elisha was hospitably entertained by a
rich woman of the place. On the sudden death of this woman's son
she hastened to Carmel, 20 miles distant across the plain, to
tell Elisha, and to bring him with her to Shunem. There, in the
"prophet's chamber," the dead child lay; and Elisha entering it,
shut the door and prayed earnestly: and the boy was restored to
life (2 Kings 4:8-37). This woman afterwards retired during the
famine to the low land of the Philistines; and on returning a
few years afterwards, found her house and fields in the
possession of a stranger. She appealed to the king at Samaria,
and had them in a somewhat remarkable manner restored to her
(comp. 2 Kings 8:1-6).
Herod the Great
(Matt. 2:1-22; Luke 1:5; Acts 23:35), the son of Antipater, an
Idumaean, and Cypros, an Arabian of noble descent. In the year
B.C. 47 Julius Caesar made Antipater, a "wily Idumaean,"
procurator of Judea, who divided his territories between his
four sons, Galilee falling to the lot of Herod, who was
afterwards appointed tetrarch of Judea by Mark Antony (B.C. 40),
and also king of Judea by the Roman senate.
He was of a stern and cruel disposition. "He was brutish and a
stranger to all humanity." Alarmed by the tidings of one "born
King of the Jews," he sent forth and "slew all the children that
were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years
old and under" (Matt. 2:16). He was fond of splendour, and
lavished great sums in rebuilding and adorning the cities of his
empire. He rebuilt the city of Caesarea (q.v.) on the coast, and
also the city of Samaria (q.v.), which he called Sebaste, in
honour of Augustus. He restored the ruined temple of Jerusalem,
a work which was begun B.C. 20, but was not finished till after
Herod's death, probably not till about A.D. 50 (John 2:20).
After a troubled reign of thirty-seven years, he died at Jericho
amid great agonies both of body and mind, B.C. 4, i.e.,
according to the common chronology, in the year in which Jesus
After his death his kingdom was divided among three of his
sons. Of these, Philip had the land east of Jordan, between
Caesarea Philippi and Bethabara, Antipas had Galilee and Peraea,
while Archelaus had Judea and Samaria.
servant of Jehovah. When Elah was murdered by Zimri at Tirzah (1
Kings 16:15-27), Omri, his captain, was made king (B.C. 931).
For four years there was continued opposition to his reign,
Tibni, another claimant to the throne, leading the opposing
party; but at the close of that period all his rivals were
defeated, and he became king of Israel, "Tibni died and Omri
reigned" (B.C. 927). By his vigour and power he gained great
eminence and consolidated the kingdom. He fixed his dynasty on
the throne so firmly that it continued during four succeeding
reigns. Tirza was for six years the seat of his government. He
then removed the capital to Samaria (q.v.), where he died, and
was succeeded by his son Ahab. "He wrought evil in the eyes of
the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him."
Beth-omri, "the house" or "city of Omri," is the name usually
found on Assyrian inscriptions for Samaria. In the stele of
Mesha (the "Moabite stone"), which was erected in Moab about
twenty or thirty years after Omri's death, it is recorded that
Omri oppressed Moab till Mesha delivered the land: "Omri, king
of Israel, oppressed Moab many days, for Chemosh was angry with
his land. His son succeeded him, and he also said, I will
oppress Moab" (comp. 2 Kings 1:1; 3:4, 5). The "Moabite stone"
also records that "Omri took the land of Medeba, and occupied it
in his day and in the days of his son forty years."
(In the inscriptions, "Sarra-yukin" [the god] has appointed the
king; also "Sarru-kinu," the legitimate king.) On the death of
Shalmaneser (B.C. 723), one of the Assyrian generals established
himself on the vacant throne, taking the name of "Sargon," after
that of the famous monarch, the Sargon of Accad, founder of the
first Semitic empire, as well as of one of the most famous
libraries of Chaldea. He forthwith began a conquering career,
and became one of the most powerful of the Assyrian monarchs. He
is mentioned by name in the Bible only in connection with the
siege of Ashdod (Isa. 20:1).
At the very beginning of his reign he besieged and took the
city of Samaria (2 Kings 17:6; 18:9-12). On an inscription found
in the palace he built at Khorsabad, near Nieveh, he says, "The
city of Samaria I besieged, I took; 27,280 of its inhabitants I
carried away; fifty chariots that were among them I collected,"
etc. The northern kingdom he changed into an Assyrian satrapy.
He afterwards drove Merodach-baladan (q.v.), who kept him at bay
for twelve years, out of Babylon, which he entered in triumph.
By a succession of victories he gradually enlarged and
consolidated the empire, which now extended from the frontiers
of Egypt in the west to the mountains of Elam in the east, and
thus carried almost to completion the ambitious designs of
Tiglath-pileser (q.v.). He was murdered by one of his own
soldiers (B.C. 705) in his palace at Khorsabad, after a reign of
sixteen years, and was succeeded by his son Sennacherib.
Israel, Kingdom of
(B.C. 975-B.C. 722). Soon after the death of Solomon, Ahijah's
prophecy (1 Kings 11:31-35) was fulfilled, and the kingdom was
rent in twain. Rehoboam, the son and successor of Solomon, was
scarcely seated on his throne when the old jealousies between
Judah and the other tribes broke out anew, and Jeroboam was sent
for from Egypt by the malcontents (12:2,3). Rehoboam insolently
refused to lighten the burdensome taxation and services which
his father had imposed on his subjects (12:4), and the rebellion
became complete. Ephraim and all Israel raised the old cry,
"Every man to his tents, O Israel" (2 Sam. 20:1). Rehoboam fled
to Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:1-18; 2 Chr. 10), and Jeroboam was
proclaimed king over all Israel at Shechem, Judah and Benjamin
remaining faithful to Solomon's son. War, with varying success,
was carried on between the two kingdoms for about sixty years,
till Jehoshaphat entered into an alliance with the house of
Extent of the kingdom. In the time of Solomon the area of
Israel, excluding the Phoenician territories on the shore of
the Mediterranean, did not much exceed 13,000 square miles. The
kingdom of Israel comprehended about 9,375 square miles. Shechem
was the first capital of this kingdom (1 Kings 12:25),
afterwards Tirza (14:17). Samaria was subsequently chosen as the
capital (16:24), and continued to be so till the destruction of
the kingdom by the Assyrians (2 Kings 17:5). During the siege of
Samaria (which lasted for three years) by the Assyrians,
Shalmaneser died and was succeeded by Sargon, who himself thus
records the capture of that city: "Samaria I looked at, I
captured; 27,280 men who dwelt in it I carried away" (2 Kings
17:6) into Assyria. Thus after a duration of two hundred and
fifty-three years the kingdom of the ten tribes came to an end.
They were scattered throughout the East. (See CAPTIVITY
"Judah held its ground against Assyria for yet one hundred and
twenty-three years, and became the rallying-point of the
dispersed of every tribe, and eventually gave its name to the
whole race. Those of the people who in the last struggle escaped
into the territories of Judah or other neighbouring countries
naturally looked to Judah as the head and home of their race.
And when Judah itself was carried off to Babylon, many of the
exiled Israelites joined them from Assyria, and swelled that
immense population which made Babylonia a second Israel."
After the deportation of the ten tribes, the deserted land was
colonized by various eastern tribes, whom the king of Assyria
sent thither (Ezra 4:2, 10; 2 Kings 17:24-29). (See KINGS
In contrast with the kingdom of Judah is that of Israel. (1.)
"There was no fixed capital and no religious centre. (2.) The
army was often insubordinate. (3.) The succession was constantly
interrupted, so that out of nineteen kings there were no less
than nine dynasties, each ushered in by a revolution. (4.) The
authorized priests left the kingdom in a body, and the
priesthood established by Jeroboam had no divine sanction and no
promise; it was corrupt at its very source." (Maclean's O. T.
builder. (1.) The governor of Samaria in the time of Ahab. The
prophet Micaiah was committed to his custody (1 Kings 22:26; 2
(2.) The son of Manasseh, and fourteenth king of Judah. He
restored idolatry, and set up the images which his father had
cast down. Zephaniah (1:4; 3:4, 11) refers to the moral
depravity prevailing in this king's reign.
He was assassinated (2 Kings 21:18-26: 2 Chr. 33:20-25) by his
own servants, who conspired against him.
(3.) An Egyptian god, usually depicted with a human body and
the head of a ram, referred to in Jer. 46:25, where the word
"multitudes" in the Authorized Version is more appropriately
rendered "Amon" in the Revised Version. In Nah. 3:8 the
expression "populous No" of the Authorized version is rendered
in the Revised Version "No-amon." Amon is identified with Ra,
the sun-god of Heliopolis.
(4.) Neh. 7:59.
fountain of the kid, place in the wilderness of Judah (Josh.
15:62), on the western shore of the Dead Sea (Ezek. 47:10), and
nearly equidistant from both extremities. To the wilderness near
this town David fled for fear of Saul (Josh. 15:62; 1 Sam.
23:29). It was at first called Hazezon-tamar (Gen. 14:7), a city
of the Amorites.
The vineyards of Engedi were celebrated in Solomon's time
(Cant. 1:4). It is the modern 'Ain Jidy. The "fountain" from
which it derives its name rises on the mountain side about 600
feet above the sea, and in its rapid descent spreads luxuriance
all around it. Along its banks the osher grows abundantly. That
shrub is thus described by Porter: "The stem is stout, measuring
sometimes nearly a foot in diameter, and the plant grows to the
height of 15 feet or more. It has a grayish bark and long oval
leaves, which when broken off discharge a milky fluid. The fruit
resembles an apple, and hangs in clusters of two or three. When
ripe it is of a rich yellow colour, but on being pressed it
explodes like a puff-ball. It is chiefly filled with air...This
is the so-called 'apple of Sodom.'" Through Samaria, etc. (See
Assur has given a brother, successor of Sennacherib (2 Kings
19:37; Isa. 37:38). He ascended the throne about B.C. 681.
Nothing further is recorded of him in Scripture, except that he
settled certain colonists in Samaria (Ezra 4:2). But from the
monuments it appears that he was the most powerful of all the
Assyrian monarchs. He built many temples and palaces, the most
magnificent of which was the south-west palace at Nimrud, which
is said to have been in its general design almost the same as
Solomon's palace, only much larger (1 Kings 7:1-12).
In December B.C. 681 Sennacherib was murdered by two of his
sons, who, after holding Nineveh for forty-two days, were
compelled to fly to Erimenas of Ararat, or Armenia. Their
brother Esarhaddon, who had been engaged in a campaign against
Armenia, led his army against them. They were utterly overthrown
in a battle fought April B.C. 680, near Malatiyeh, and in the
following month Esarhaddon was crowned at Nineveh. He restored
Babylon, conquered Egypt, and received tribute from Manasseh of
Judah. He died in October B.C. 668, while on the march to
suppress an Egyptian revolt, and was succeeded by his son
Assur-bani-pal, whose younger brother was made viceroy of
salvation. (1.) The original name of the son of Nun, afterwards
called Joshua (Num. 13:8, 16; Deut. 32:44).
(2.) 1 Chr. 27:20. The ruler of Ephraim in David's time.
(3.) The last king of Israel. He conspired against and slew
his predecessor, Pekah (Isa. 7:16), but did not ascend the
throne till after an interregnum of warfare of eight years (2
Kings 17:1, 2). Soon after this he submitted to Shalmaneser, the
Assyrian king, who a second time invaded the land to punish
Hoshea, because of his withholding tribute which he had promised
to pay. A second revolt brought back the Assyrian king Sargon,
who besieged Samaria, and carried the ten tribes away beyond the
Euphrates, B.C. 720 (2 Kings 17:5, 6; 18:9-12). No more is heard
of Hoshea. He disappeared like "foam upon the water" (Hos. 10:7;
The Jews seem early to have consulted the teraphim (q.v.) for
oracular answers (Judg. 18:5, 6; Zech. 10:2). There is a
remarkable illustration of this divining by teraphim in Ezek.
21:19-22. We read also of the divining cup of Joseph (Gen.
44:5). The magicians of Egypt are frequently referred to in the
history of the Exodus. Magic was an inherent part of the ancient
Egyptian religion, and entered largely into their daily life.
All magical arts were distinctly prohibited under penalty of
death in the Mosaic law. The Jews were commanded not to learn
the "abomination" of the people of the Promised Land (Lev.
19:31; Deut. 18:9-14). The history of Saul's consulting the
witch of Endor (1 Sam. 28:3-20) gives no warrant for attributing
supernatural power to magicians. From the first the witch is
here only a bystander. The practice of magic lingered among the
people till after the Captivity, when they gradually abandoned
It is not much referred to in the New Testament. The Magi
mentioned in Matt. 2:1-12 were not magicians in the ordinary
sense of the word. They belonged to a religious caste, the
followers of Zoroaster, the astrologers of the East. Simon, a
magician, was found by Philip at Samaria (Acts 8:9-24); and Paul
and Barnabas encountered Elymas, a Jewish sorcerer, at Paphos
(13:6-12). At Ephesus there was a great destruction of magical
books (Acts 19:18, 19).
the name given to the new and mixed inhabitants whom Esarhaddon
(B.C. 677), the king of Assyria, brought from Babylon and other
places and settled in the cities of Samaria, instead of the
original inhabitants whom Sargon (B.C. 721) had removed into
captivity (2 Kings 17:24; comp. Ezra 4:2, 9, 10). These
strangers (comp. Luke 17:18) amalgamated with the Jews still
remaining in the land, and gradually abandoned their old
idolatry and adopted partly the Jewish religion.
After the return from the Captivity, the Jews in Jerusalem
refused to allow them to take part with them in rebuilding the
temple, and hence sprang up an open enmity between them. They
erected a rival temple on Mount Gerizim, which was, however,
destroyed by a Jewish king (B.C. 130). They then built another
at Shechem. The bitter enmity between the Jews and Samaritans
continued in the time of our Lord: the Jews had "no dealings
with the Samaritans" (John 4:9; comp. Luke 9:52, 53). Our Lord
was in contempt called "a Samaritan" (John 8:48). Many of the
Samaritans early embraced the gospel (John 4:5-42; Acts 8:25;
9:31; 15:3). Of these Samaritans there still remains a small
population of about one hundred and sixty, who all reside in
Shechem, where they carefully observe the religious customs of
their fathers. They are the "smallest and oldest sect in the
circuit. Solomon rewarded Hiram for certain services rendered
him by the gift of an upland plain among the mountains of
Naphtali. Hiram was dissatisfied with the gift, and called it
"the land of Cabul" (q.v.). The Jews called it Galil. It
continued long to be occupied by the original inhabitants, and
hence came to be called "Galilee of the Gentiles" (Matt. 4:15),
and also "Upper Galilee," to distinguish it from the extensive
addition afterwards made to it toward the south, which was
usually called "Lower Galilee." In the time of our Lord, Galilee
embraced more than one-third of Western Israel, extending
"from Dan on the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, to the
ridges of Carmel and Gilboa on the south, and from the Jordan
valley on the east away across the splendid plains of Jezreel
and Acre to the shores of the Mediterranean on the west."
Israel was divided into three provinces, Judea, Samaria, and
Galilee, which comprehended the whole northern section of the
country (Acts 9:31), and was the largest of the three.
It was the scene of some of the most memorable events of
Jewish history. Galilee also was the home of our Lord during at
least thirty years of his life. The first three Gospels are
chiefly taken up with our Lord's public ministry in this
province. "The entire province is encircled with a halo of holy
associations connected with the life, works, and teachings of
Jesus of Nazareth." "It is noteworthy that of his thirty-two
beautiful parables, no less than ninteen were spoken in Galilee.
And it is no less remarkable that of his entire thirty-three
great miracles, twenty-five were wrought in this province. His
first miracle was wrought at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, and
his last, after his resurrection, on the shore of Galilee's sea.
In Galilee our Lord delivered the Sermon on The Mount, and the
discourses on 'The Bread of Life,' on 'Purity,' on
'Forgiveness,' and on 'Humility.' In Galilee he called his first
disciples; and there occurred the sublime scene of the
Transfiguration" (Porter's Through Samaria).
When the Sanhedrin were about to proceed with some plan for
the condemnation of our Lord (John 7:45-52), Nicodemus
interposed in his behalf. (Comp. Deut. 1:16,17; 17:8.) They
replied, "Art thou also of Galilee?.... Out of Galilee ariseth
no prophet." This saying of theirs was "not historically true,
for two prophets at least had arisen from Galilee, Jonah of
Gath-hepher, and the greatest of all the prophets, Elijah of
Thisbe, and perhaps also Nahum and Hosea. Their contempt for
Galilee made them lose sight of historical accuracy" (Alford,
The Galilean accent differed from that of Jerusalem in being
broader and more guttural (Mark 14:70).
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.)
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
shoulder. (1.) The son of Hamor the Hivite (Gen. 33:19; 34).
(2.) A descendant of Manasseh (Num. 26:31; Josh. 17:2).
(3.) A city in Samaria (Gen. 33:18), called also Sichem
(12:6), Sychem (Acts 7:16). It stood in the narrow sheltered
valley between Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the south, these
mountains at their base being only some 500 yards apart. Here
Abraham pitched his tent and built his first altar in the
Promised Land, and received the first divine promise (Gen. 12:6,
7). Here also Jacob "bought a parcel of a field at the hands of
the children of Hamor" after his return from Mesopotamia, and
settled with his household, which he purged from idolatry by
burying the teraphim of his followers under an oak tree, which
was afterwards called "the oak of the sorcerer" (Gen. 33:19;
35:4; Judg. 9:37). (See MEONENIM ¯T0002483.) Here too, after a
while, he dug a well, which bears his name to this day (John
4:5, 39-42). To Shechem Joshua gathered all Israel "before God,"
and delivered to them his second parting address (Josh.
24:1-15). He "made a covenant with the people that day" at the
very place where, on first entering the land, they had responded
to the law from Ebal and Gerizim (Josh. 24:25), the terms of
which were recorded "in the book of the law of God", i.e., in
the roll of the law of Moses; and in memory of this solemn
transaction a great stone was set up "under an oak" (comp. Gen.
28:18; 31:44-48; Ex. 24:4; Josh. 4:3, 8, 9), possibly the old
"oak of Moreh," as a silent witness of the transaction to all
Shechem became one of the cities of refuge, the central city
of refuge for Western Israel (Josh. 20:7), and here the bones
of Joseph were buried (24:32). Rehoboam was appointed king in
Shechem (1 Kings 12:1, 19), but Jeroboam afterwards took up his
residence here. This city is mentioned in connection with our
Lord's conversation with the woman of Samaria (John 4:5); and
thus, remaining as it does to the present day, it is one of the
oldest cities of the world. It is the modern Nablus, a
contraction for Neapolis, the name given to it by Vespasian. It
lies about a mile and a half up the valley on its southern
slope, and on the north of Gerizim, which rises about 1,100 feet
above it, and is about 34 miles north of Jerusalem. It contains
about 10,000 inhabitants, of whom about 160 are Samaritans and
100 Jews, the rest being Christians and Mohammedans.
The site of Shechem is said to be of unrivalled beauty.
Stanley says it is "the most beautiful, perhaps the only very
beautiful, spot in Central Israel."
Gaza, near Shechem, only mentioned 1 Chr. 7:28, has entirely
disappeared. It was destroyed at the time of the Conquest, and
its place was taken by Shechem. (See SYCHAR ¯T0003542.)
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.
a mountain of Samaria, about 3,000 feet above the Mediterranean.
It was on the left of the valley containing the ancient town of
Shechem (q.v.), on the way to Jerusalem. It stood over against
Mount Ebal, the summits of these mountains being distant from
each other about 2 miles (Deut. 27; Josh. 8:30-35). On the
slopes of this mountain the tribes descended from the handmaids
of Leah and Rachel, together with the tribe of Reuben, were
gathered together, and gave the responses to the blessing
pronounced as the reward of obedience, when Joshua in the valley
below read the whole law in the hearing of all the people; as
those gathered on Ebal responded with a loud Amen to the
rehearsal of the curses pronounced on the disobedient. It was
probably at this time that the coffin containing the embalmed
body of Joseph was laid in the "parcel of ground which Jacob
bought of the sons of Hamor" (Gen. 33:19; 50:25).
Josephus relates (Ant. 11:8, 2-4) that Sanballat built a
temple for the Samaritans on this mountain, and instituted a
priesthood, as rivals to those of the Jews at Jerusalem. This
temple was destroyed after it had stood two hundred years. It
was afterwards rebuilt by Herod the Great. There is a Samaritan
tradition that it was the scene of the incident recorded in Gen.
22. There are many ruins on this mountain, some of which are
evidently of Christian buildings. To this mountain the woman of
Sychar referred in John 4:20. For centuries Gerizim was the
centre of political outbreaks. The Samaritans (q.v.), a small
but united body, still linger here, and keep up their ancient
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.
Heb. Madai, which is rendered in the Authorized Version (1)
"Madai," Gen. 10:2; (2) "Medes," 2 Kings 17:6; 18:11; (3)
"Media," Esther 1:3; 10:2; Isa. 21:2; Dan. 8:20; (4) "Mede,"
only in Dan. 11:1.
We first hear of this people in the Assyrian cuneiform
records, under the name of Amada, about B.C. 840. They appear to
have been a branch of the Aryans, who came from the east bank of
the Indus, and were probably the predominant race for a while in
the Mesopotamian valley. They consisted for three or four
centuries of a number of tribes, each ruled by its own chief,
who at length were brought under the Assyrian yoke (2 Kings
17:6). From this subjection they achieved deliverance, and
formed themselves into an empire under Cyaxares (B.C. 633). This
monarch entered into an alliance with the king of Babylon, and
invaded Assyria, capturing and destroying the city of Nineveh
(B.C. 625), thus putting an end to the Assyrian monarchy (Nah.
1:8; 2:5,6; 3:13, 14).
Media now rose to a place of great power, vastly extending its
boundaries. But it did not long exist as an independent kingdom.
It rose with Cyaxares, its first king, and it passed away with
him; for during the reign of his son and successor Astyages, the
Persians waged war against the Medes and conquered them, the two
nations being united under one monarch, Cyrus the Persian (B.C.
The "cities of the Medes" are first mentioned in connection
with the deportation of the Israelites on the destruction of
Samaria (2 Kings 17:6; 18:11). Soon afterwards Isaiah (13:17;
21:2) speaks of the part taken by the Medes in the destruction
of Babylon (comp. Jer. 51:11, 28). Daniel gives an account of
the reign of Darius the Mede, who was made viceroy by Cyrus
(Dan. 6:1-28). The decree of Cyrus, Ezra informs us (6:2-5), was
found in "the palace that is in the province of the Medes,"
Achmetha or Ecbatana of the Greeks, which is the only Median
city mentioned in Scripture.
a pond, or reservoir, for holding water (Heb. berekhah; modern
Arabic, birket), an artificial cistern or tank. Mention is made
of the pool of Gibeon (2 Sam. 2:13); the pool of Hebron (4:12);
the upper pool at Jerusalem (2 Kings 18:17; 20:20); the pool of
Samaria (1 Kings 22:38); the king's pool (Neh. 2:14); the pool
of Siloah (Neh. 3:15; Eccles. 2:6); the fishpools of Heshbon
(Cant. 7:4); the "lower pool," and the "old pool" (Isa.
The "pool of Bethesda" (John 5:2,4, 7) and the "pool of
Siloam" (John 9:7, 11) are also mentioned. Isaiah (35:7) says,
"The parched ground shall become a pool." This is rendered in
the Revised Version "glowing sand," etc. (marg., "the mirage,"
etc.). The Arabs call the mirage "serab," plainly the same as
the Hebrew word _sarab_, here rendered "parched ground." "The
mirage shall become a pool", i.e., the mock-lake of the burning
desert shall become a real lake, "the pledge of refreshment and
joy." The "pools" spoken of in Isa. 14:23 are the marshes caused
by the ruin of the canals of the Euphrates in the neighbourhood
The cisterns or pools of the Holy City are for the most part
excavations beneath the surface. Such are the vast cisterns in
the temple hill that have recently been discovered by the
engineers of the Israel Exploration Fund. These underground
caverns are about thirty-five in number, and are capable of
storing about ten million gallons of water. They are connected
with one another by passages and tunnels.
retribution. (1.) The son of Jabesh, otherwise unknown. He
"conspired against Zachariah, and smote him before the people,
and slew him, and reigned in his stead" (2 Kings 15:10). He
reigned only "a month of days in Samaria" (15:13, marg.).
Menahem rose up against Shallum and put him to death (2 Kings
15:14, 15, 17), and became king in his stead.
(2.) Keeper of the temple vestments in the reign of Josiah (2
(3.) One of the posterity of Judah (1 Chr. 2:40, 41).
(4.) A descendant of Simeon (1 Chr. 4:25).
(5.) One of the line of the high priests (1 Chr. 6:13).
(6.) 1 Chr. 7:13.
(7.) A keeper of the gate in the reign of David (1 Chr. 9:17).
(8.) A Levite porter (1 Chr. 9:19, 31; Jer. 35:4).
(9.) An Ephraimite chief (2 Chr. 28:12).
(10.) The uncle of the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 32:7).
(11.) A son of king Josiah (1 Chr. 3:15; Jer. 22:11), who was
elected to succeed his father on the throne, although he was two
years younger than his brother Eliakim. He assumed the crown
under the name of Jehoahaz (q.v.). He did not imitate the
example of his father (2 Kings 23:32), but was "a young lion,
and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men" (Ezek. 19:3).
His policy was anti-Egyptian therefore. Necho, at that time at
Riblah, sent an army against Jerusalem, which at once yielded,
and Jehoahaz was carried captive to the Egyptian camp, Eliakim
being appointed king in his stead. He remained a captive in
Egypt till his death, and was the first king of Judah that died
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
(1.) Of Israel. The kingdom of the ten tribes was successively
invaded by several Assyrian kings. Pul (q.v.) imposed a tribute
on Menahem of a thousand talents of silver (2 Kings 15:19, 20; 1
Chr. 5:26) (B.C. 762), and Tiglath-pileser, in the days of Pekah
(B.C. 738), carried away the trans-Jordanic tribes and the
inhabitants of Galilee into Assyria (2 Kings 15:29; Isa. 9:1).
Subsequently Shalmaneser invaded Israel and laid siege to
Samaria, the capital of the kingdom. During the siege he died,
and was succeeded by Sargon, who took the city, and transported
the great mass of the people into Assyria (B.C. 721), placing
them in Halah and in Habor, and in the cities of the Medes (2
Kings 17:3, 5). Samaria was never again inhabited by the
Israelites. The families thus removed were carried to distant
cities, many of them not far from the Caspian Sea, and their
place was supplied by colonists from Babylon and Cuthah, etc. (2
Kings 17:24). Thus terminated the kingdom of the ten tribes,
after a separate duration of two hundred and fifty-five years
Many speculations have been indulged in with reference to
these ten tribes. But we believe that all, except the number
that probably allied themselves with Judah and shared in their
restoration under Cyrus, are finally lost.
"Like the dew on the mountain, Like the
foam on the river,
Like the bubble on the fountain,
They are gone, and for ever."
(2.) Of Judah. In the third year of Jehoiachim, the eighteenth
king of Judah (B.C. 605), Nebuchadnezzar having overcome the
Egyptians at Carchemish, advanced to Jerusalem with a great
army. After a brief siege he took that city, and carried away
the vessels of the sanctuary to Babylon, and dedicated them in
the Temple of Belus (2 Kings 24:1; 2 Chr. 36:6, 7; Dan. 1:1, 2).
He also carried away the treasures of the king, whom he made his
vassal. At this time, from which is dated the "seventy years" of
captivity (Jer. 25; Dan. 9:1, 2), Daniel and his companions were
carried to Babylon, there to be brought up at the court and
trained in all the learning of the Chaldeans. After this, in the
fifth year of Jehoiakim, a great national fast was appointed
(Jer. 36:9), during which the king, to show his defiance, cut up
the leaves of the book of Jeremiah's prophecies as they were
read to him in his winter palace, and threw them into the fire.
In the same spirit he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings
24:1), who again a second time (B.C. 598) marched against
Jerusalem, and put Jehoiachim to death, placing his son
Jehoiachin on the throne in his stead. But Jehoiachin's
counsellors displeasing Nebuchadnezzar, he again a third time
turned his army against Jerusalem, and carried away to Babylon a
second detachment of Jews as captives, to the number of 10,000
(2 Kings 24:13; Jer. 24:1; 2 Chr. 36:10), among whom were the
king, with his mother and all his princes and officers, also
Ezekiel, who with many of his companions were settled on the
banks of the river Chebar (q.v.). He also carried away all the
remaining treasures of the temple and the palace, and the golden
vessels of the sanctuary.
Mattaniah, the uncle of Jehoiachin, was now made king over
what remained of the kingdom of Judah, under the name of
Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:17; 2 Chr. 36:10). After a troubled reign
of eleven years his kingdom came to an end (2 Chr. 36:11).
Nebuchadnezzar, with a powerful army, besieged Jerusalem, and
Zedekiah became a prisoner in Babylon. His eyes were put out,
and he was kept in close confinement till his death (2 Kings
25:7). The city was spoiled of all that was of value, and then
given up to the flames. The temple and palaces were consumed,
and the walls of the city were levelled with the ground (B.C.
586), and all that remained of the people, except a number of
the poorest class who were left to till the ground and dress the
vineyards, were carried away captives to Babylon. This was the
third and last deportation of Jewish captives. The land was now
utterly desolate, and was abondoned to anarchy.
In the first year of his reign as king of Babylon (B.C. 536),
Cyrus issued a decree liberating the Jewish captives, and
permitting them to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and
the temple (2 Chr. 36:22, 23; Ezra 1; 2). The number of the
people forming the first caravan, under Zerubbabel, amounted in
all to 42,360 (Ezra 2:64, 65), besides 7,337 men-servants and
maid-servants. A considerable number, 12,000 probably, from the
ten tribes who had been carried away into Assyria no doubt
combined with this band of liberated captives.
At a later period other bands of the Jews returned (1) under
Ezra (7:7) (B.C. 458), and (2) Nehemiah (7:66) (B.C. 445). But
the great mass of the people remained still in the land to which
they had been carried, and became a portion of the Jews of the
"dispersion" (John 7:35; 1 Pet. 1:1). The whole number of the
exiles that chose to remain was probably about six times the
number of those who returned.
(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.
Ephraim, The tribe of
took precedence over that of Manasseh by virtue of Jacob's
blessing (Gen. 41:52; 48:1). The descendants of Joseph formed
two of the tribes of Israel, whereas each of the other sons of
Jacob was the founder of only one tribe. Thus there were in
reality thirteen tribes; but the number twelve was preserved by
excluding that of Levi when Ephraim and Manasseh are mentioned
separately (Num. 1:32-34; Josh. 17:14, 17; 1 Chr. 7:20).
Territory of. At the time of the first census in the
wilderness this tribe numbered 40,500 (Num. 1:32, 33); forty
years later, when about to take possession of the Promised Land,
it numbered only 32,500. During the march (see CAMP ¯T0000700)
Ephraim's place was on the west side of the tabernacle (Num.
2:18-24). When the spies were sent out to spy the land, "Oshea
the son of Nun" of this tribe signalized himself.
The boundaries of the portion of the land assigned to Ephraim
are given in Josh. 16:1-10. It included most of what was
afterwards called Samaria as distinguished from Judea and
Galilee. It thus lay in the centre of all traffic, from north to
south, and from Jordan to the sea, and was about 55 miles long
and 30 broad. The tabernacle and the ark were deposited within
its limits at Shiloh, where it remained for four hundred years.
During the time of the judges and the first stage of the
monarchy this tribe manifested a domineering and haughty and
discontented spirit. "For more than five hundred years, a period
equal to that which elapsed between the Norman Conquest and the
War of the Roses, Ephraim, with its two dependent tribes of
Manasseh and Benjamin, exercised undisputed pre-eminence. Joshua
the first conqueror, Gideon the greatest of the judges, and Saul
the first king, belonged to one or other of the three tribes. It
was not till the close of the first period of Jewish history
that God 'refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the
tribe of Ephraim, but chose the tribe of Judah, the Mount Zion
which he loved' (Ps. 78:67, 68). When the ark was removed from
Shiloh to Zion the power of Ephraim was humbled."
Among the causes which operated to bring about the disruption
of Israel was Ephraim's jealousy of the growing power of Judah.
From the settlement of Canaan till the time of David and
Solomon, Ephraim had held the place of honour among the tribes.
It occupied the central and fairest portions of the land, and
had Shiloh and Shechem within its borders. But now when
Jerusalem became the capital of the kingdom, and the centre of
power and worship for the whole nation of Israel, Ephraim
declined in influence. The discontent came to a crisis by
Rehoboam's refusal to grant certain redresses that were demanded
(1 Kings 12).
(1.) Of the kingdom of Israel. In the time of Pekah,
Tiglath-pileser II. carried away captive into Assyria (2 Kings
15:29; comp. Isa. 10:5, 6) a part of the inhabitants of Galilee
and of Gilead (B.C. 741).
After the destruction of Samaria (B.C. 720) by Shalmaneser and
Sargon (q.v.), there was a general deportation of the Israelites
into Mesopotamia and Media (2 Kings 17:6; 18:9; 1 Chr. 5:26).
(See ISRAEL, KINGDOM OF ¯T0001909.)
(2.) Of the kingdom of the two tribes, the kingdom of Judah.
Nebuchadnezzar, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Jer. 25:1),
invaded Judah, and carried away some royal youths, including
Daniel and his companions (B.C. 606), together with the sacred
vessels of the temple (2 Chr. 36:7; Dan. 1:2). In B.C. 598 (Jer.
52:28; 2 Kings 24:12), in the beginning of Jehoiachin's reign (2
Kings 24:8), Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive 3,023 eminent
Jews, including the king (2 Chr. 36:10), with his family and
officers (2 Kings 24:12), and a large number of warriors (16),
with very many persons of note (14), and artisans (16), leaving
behind only those who were poor and helpless. This was the first
general deportation to Babylon.
In B.C. 588, after the revolt of Zedekiah (q.v.), there was a
second general deportation of Jews by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer.
52:29; 2 Kings 25:8), including 832 more of the principal men of
the kingdom. He carried away also the rest of the sacred vessels
(2 Chr. 36:18). From this period, when the temple was destroyed
(2 Kings 25:9), to the complete restoration, B.C. 517 (Ezra
6:15), is the period of the "seventy years."
In B.C. 582 occurred the last and final deportation. The
entire number Nebuchadnezzar carried captive was 4,600 heads of
families with their wives and children and dependants (Jer.
52:30; 43:5-7; 2 Chr. 36:20, etc.). Thus the exiles formed a
very considerable community in Babylon.
When Cyrus granted permission to the Jews to return to their
own land (Ezra 1:5; 7:13), only a comparatively small number at
first availed themselves of the privilege. It cannot be
questioned that many belonging to the kingdom of Israel
ultimately joined the Jews under Ezra, Zerubbabel, and Nehemiah,
and returned along with them to Jerusalem (Jer. 50:4, 5, 17-20,
Large numbers had, however, settled in the land of Babylon,
and formed numerous colonies in different parts of the kingdom.
Their descendants very probably have spread far into Eastern
lands and become absorbed in the general population. (See JUDAH,
KINGDOM OF ¯T0002126; CAPTIVITY ¯T0000720.)
Jehovah-given. (1.) The son of King Ahaziah. While yet an
infant, he was saved from the general massacre of the family by
his aunt Jehosheba, and was apparently the only surviving
descendant of Solomon (2 Chr. 21:4, 17). His uncle, the high
priest Jehoiada, brought him forth to public notice when he was
eight years of age, and crowned and anointed him king of Judah
with the usual ceremonies. Athaliah was taken by surprise when
she heard the shout of the people, "Long live the king;" and
when she appeared in the temple, Jehoiada commanded her to be
led forth to death (2 Kings 11:13-20). While the high priest
lived, Jehoash favoured the worship of God and observed the law;
but on his death he fell away into evil courses, and the land
was defiled with idolatry. Zechariah, the son and successor of
the high priest, was put to death. These evil deeds brought down
on the land the judgement of God, and it was oppressed by the
Syrian invaders. He is one of the three kings omitted by Matthew
(1:8) in the genealogy of Christ, the other two being Ahaziah
and Amaziah. He was buried in the city of David (2 Kings 12:21).
(See JOASH ¯T0002078 .)
(2.) The son and successor of Jehoahaz, king of Israel (2
Kings 14:1; comp. 12:1; 13:10). When he ascended the throne the
kingdom was suffering from the invasion of the Syrians. Hazael
"was cutting Israel short." He tolerated the worship of the
golden calves, yet seems to have manifested a character of
sincere devotion to the God of his fathers. He held the prophet
Elisha in honour, and wept by his bedside when he was dying,
addressing him in the words Elisha himself had used when Elijah
was carried up into heaven: "O my father, my father, the chariot
of Israel and the horsemen thereof." He was afterwards involved
in war with Amaziah, the king of Judah (2 Chr. 25:23-24), whom
he utterly defeated at Beth-shemesh, on the borders of Dan and
Philistia, and advancing on Jerusalem, broke down a portion of
the wall, and carried away the treasures of the temple and the
palace. He soon after died (B.C. 825), and was buried in Samaria
(2 Kings 14:1-17, 19, 20). He was succeeded by his son. (See
JOASH ¯T0002078 [5.].)
lover of horses. (1.) One of the twelve apostles; a native of
Bethsaida, "the city of Andrew and Peter" (John 1:44). He
readily responded to the call of Jesus when first addressed to
him (43), and forthwith brought Nathanael also to Jesus (45,46).
He seems to have held a prominent place among the apostles
(Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; John 6:5-7; 12:21, 22; 14:8, 9; Acts
1:13). Of his later life nothing is certainly known. He is said
to have preached in Phrygia, and to have met his death at
(2.) One of the "seven" (Acts 6:5), called also "the
evangelist" (21:8, 9). He was one of those who were "scattered
abroad" by the persecution that arose on the death of Stephen.
He went first to Samaria, where he laboured as an evangelist
with much success (8:5-13). While he was there he received a
divine command to proceed toward the south, along the road
leading from Jerusalem to Gaza. These towns were connected by
two roads. The one Philip was directed to take was that which
led through Hebron, and thence through a district little
inhabited, and hence called "desert." As he travelled along this
road he was overtaken by a chariot in which sat a man of
Ethiopia, the eunuch or chief officer of Queen Candace, who was
at that moment reading, probably from the Septuagint version, a
portion of the prophecies of Isaiah (53:6,7). Philip entered
into conversation with him, and expounded these verses,
preaching to him the glad tidings of the Saviour. The eunuch
received the message and believed, and was forthwith baptized,
and then "went on his way rejoicing." Philip was instantly
caught away by the Spirit after the baptism, and the eunuch saw
him no more. He was next found at Azotus, whence he went forth
in his evangelistic work till he came to Caesarea. He is not
mentioned again for about twenty years, when he is still found
at Caesarea (Acts 21:8) when Paul and his companions were on the
way to Jerusalem. He then finally disappears from the page of
(3.) Mentioned only in connection with the imprisonment of
John the Baptist (Matt. 14:3; Mark 6:17; Luke 3:19). He was the
son of Herod the Great, and the first husband of Herodias, and
the father of Salome. (See HEROD PHILIP I. ¯T0001763)
(4.) The "tetrarch of Ituraea" (Luke 3:1); a son of Herod the
Great, and brother of Herod Antipas. The city of
Caesarea-Philippi was named partly after him (Matt. 16:13; Mark
8:27). (See HEROD PHILIP II. ¯T0001764)
Jehovah-exalted. (1.) Son of Toi, king of Hamath, sent by his
father to congratulate David on the occasion of his victory over
Hadadezer (2 Sam. 8:10).
(2.) A Levite of the family of Gershom (1 Chr. 26:25).
(3.) A priest sent by Jehoshaphat to instructruct the people
in Judah (2 Chr. 17:8).
(4.) The son of Ahab and Jezebel, and successor to his brother
Ahaziah on the throne of Israel. He reigned twelve years, B.C.
896-884 (2 Kings 1:17; 3:1). His first work was to reduce to
subjection the Moabites, who had asserted their independence in
the reign of his brother. Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, assisted
Jehoram in this effort. He was further helped by his ally the
king of Edom. Elisha went forth with the confederated army (2
Kings 3:1-19), and at the solicitation of Jehoshaphat encouraged
the army with the assurance from the Lord of a speedy victory.
The Moabites under Mesha their king were utterly routed and
their cities destroyed. At Kir-haraseth Mesha made a final
stand. The Israelites refrained from pressing their victory
further, and returned to their own land.
Elisha afterwards again befriended Jehoram when a war broke
out between the Syrians and Israel, and in a remarkable way
brought that war to a bloodless close (2 Kings 6:23). But
Jehoram, becoming confident in his own power, sank into
idolatry, and brought upon himself and his land another Syrian
invasion, which led to great suffering and distress in Samaria
(2 Kings 6:24-33). By a remarkable providential interposition
the city was saved from utter destruction, and the Syrians were
put to flight (2 Kings 7:6-15).
Jehoram was wounded in a battle with the Syrians at Ramah, and
obliged to return to Jezreel (2 Kings 8:29; 9:14, 15), and soon
after the army proclaimed their leader Jehu king of Israel, and
revolted from their allegiance to Jehoram (2 Kings 9). Jehoram
was pierced by an arrow from Jehu's bow on the piece of ground
at Jezreel which Ahab had taken from Naboth, and there he died
(2 Kings 9:21-29).
(5.) The eldest son and successor of Jehoshaphat, king of
Judah. He reigned eight years (B.C. 892-885) alone as king of
Judah, having been previously for some years associated with his
father (2 Chr. 21:5, 20; 2 Kings 8:16). His wife was Athaliah,
the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. His daughter Jehosheba was
married to the high priest Jehoiada. He sank into gross
idolatry, and brought upon himself and his kingdom the anger of
Jehovah. The Edomites revolted from under his yoke, and the
Philistines and the Arabians and Cushites invaded the land, and
carried away great spoil, along with Jehoram's wives and all his
children, except Ahaziah. He died a painful death from a fearful
malady, and was refused a place in the sepulchre of the kings (2
Kings 8:16-24; 2 Chr. 21).
originally denoted only the sea-coast of the land of Canaan
inhabited by the Philistines (Ex. 15:14; Isa. 14:29, 31; Joel
3:4), and in this sense exclusively the Hebrew name Pelesheth
(rendered "Philistia" in Ps. 60:8; 83:7; 87:4; 108:9) occurs in
the Old Testament.
Not till a late period in Jewish history was this name used to
denote "the land of the Hebrews" in general (Gen. 40:15). It is
also called "the holy land" (Zech. 2:12), the "land of Jehovah"
(Hos. 9:3; Ps. 85:1), the "land of promise" (Heb. 11:9), because
promised to Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 24:7), the "land of Canaan"
(Gen. 12:5), the "land of Israel" (1 Sam. 13:19), and the "land
of Judah" (Isa. 19:17).
The territory promised as an inheritance to the seed of
Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21; Num. 34:1-12) was bounded on the east by
the river Euphrates, on the west by the Mediterranean, on the
north by the "entrance of Hamath," and on the south by the
"river of Egypt." This extent of territory, about 60,000 square
miles, was at length conquered by David, and was ruled over also
by his son Solomon (2 Sam. 8; 1 Chr. 18; 1 Kings 4:1, 21). This
vast empire was the Promised Land; but Israel was only a part
of it, terminating in the north at the southern extremity of the
Lebanon range, and in the south in the wilderness of Paran, thus
extending in all to about 144 miles in length. Its average
breadth was about 60 miles from the Mediterranean on the west to
beyond the Jordan. It has fittingly been designated "the least
of all lands." Western Israel, on the south of Gaza, is only
about 40 miles in breadth from the Mediterranean to the Dead
Sea, narrowing gradually toward the north, where it is only 20
miles from the sea-coast to the Jordan.
Israel, "set in the midst" (Ezek. 5:5) of all other lands,
is the most remarkable country on the face of the earth. No
single country of such an extent has so great a variety of
climate, and hence also of plant and animal life. Moses
describes it as "a good land, a land of brooks of water, of
fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a
land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and
pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein
thou shalt not eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack
any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose
hills thou mayest dig brass" (Deut. 8:7-9).
"In the time of Christ the country looked, in all probability,
much as now. The whole land consists of rounded limestone hills,
fretted into countless stony valleys, offering but rarely level
tracts, of which Esdraelon alone, below Nazareth, is large
enough to be seen on the map. The original woods had for ages
disappeared, though the slopes were dotted, as now, with figs,
olives, and other fruit-trees where there was any soil.
Permanent streams were even then unknown, the passing rush of
winter torrents being all that was seen among the hills. The
autumn and spring rains, caught in deep cisterns hewn out like
huge underground jars in the soft limestone, with artificial
mud-banked ponds still found near all villages, furnished water.
Hills now bare, or at best rough with stunted growth, were then
terraced, so as to grow vines, olives, and grain. To-day almost
desolate, the country then teemed with population. Wine-presses
cut in the rocks, endless terraces, and the ruins of old
vineyard towers are now found amidst solitudes overgrown for
ages with thorns and thistles, or with wild shrubs and poor
gnarled scrub" (Geikie's Life of Christ).
From an early period the land was inhabited by the descendants
of Canaan, who retained possession of the whole land "from Sidon
to Gaza" till the time of the conquest by Joshua, when it was
occupied by the twelve tribes. Two tribes and a half had their
allotments given them by Moses on the east of the Jordan (Deut.
3:12-20; comp. Num. 1:17-46; Josh. 4:12-13). The remaining
tribes had their portion on the west of Jordan.
From the conquest till the time of Saul, about four hundred
years, the people were governed by judges. For a period of one
hundred and twenty years the kingdom retained its unity while it
was ruled by Saul and David and Solomon. On the death of
Solomon, his son Rehoboam ascended the throne; but his conduct
was such that ten of the tribes revolted, and formed an
independent monarchy, called the kingdom of Israel, or the
northern kingdom, the capital of which was first Shechem and
afterwards Samaria. This kingdom was destroyed. The Israelites
were carried captive by Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, B.C. 722,
after an independent existence of two hundred and fifty-three
years. The place of the captives carried away was supplied by
tribes brought from the east, and thus was formed the Samaritan
nation (2 Kings 17:24-29).
Nebuchadnezzar came up against the kingdom of the two tribes,
the kingdom of Judah, the capital of which was Jerusalem, one
hundred and thirty-four years after the overthrow of the kingdom
of Israel. He overthrew the city, plundered the temple, and
carried the people into captivity to Babylon (B.C. 587), where
they remained seventy years. At the close of the period of the
Captivity, they returned to their own land, under the edict of
Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4). They rebuilt the city and temple, and
restored the old Jewish commonwealth.
For a while after the Restoration the Jews were ruled by
Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and afterwards by the high
priests, assisted by the Sanhedrin. After the death of Alexander
the Great at Babylon (B.C. 323), his vast empire was divided
between his four generals. Egypt, Arabia, Israel, and
Coele-Syria fell to the lot of Ptolemy Lagus. Ptolemy took
possession of Israel in B.C. 320, and carried nearly one
hundred thousand of the inhabitants of Jerusalem into Egypt. He
made Alexandria the capital of his kingdom, and treated the Jews
with consideration, confirming them in the enjoyment of many
After suffering persecution at the hands of Ptolemy's
successors, the Jews threw off the Egyptian yoke, and became
subject to Antiochus the Great, the king of Syria. The cruelty
and opression of the successors of Antiochus at length led to
the revolt under the Maccabees (B.C. 163), when they threw off
the Syrian yoke.
In the year B.C. 68, Israel was reduced by Pompey the Great
to a Roman province. He laid the walls of the city in ruins, and
massacred some twelve thousand of the inhabitants. He left the
temple, however, unijured. About twenty-five years after this
the Jews revolted and cast off the Roman yoke. They were
however, subdued by Herod the Great (q.v.). The city and the
temple were destroyed, and many of the inhabitants were put to
death. About B.C. 20, Herod proceeded to rebuild the city and
restore the ruined temple, which in about nine years and a half
was so far completed that the sacred services could be resumed
in it (comp. John 2:20). He was succeeded by his son Archelaus,
who was deprived of his power, however, by Augustus, A.D. 6,
when Israel became a Roman province, ruled by Roman governors
or procurators. Pontius Pilate was the fifth of these
procurators. He was appointed to his office A.D. 25.
Exclusive of Idumea, the kingdom of Herod the Great
comprehended the whole of the country originally divided among
the twelve tribes, which he divided into four provinces or
districts. This division was recognized so long as Israel was
under the Roman dominion. These four provinces were, (1) Judea,
the southern portion of the country; (2) Samaria, the middle
province, the northern boundary of which ran along the hills to
the south of the plain of Esdraelon; (3) Galilee, the northern
province; and (4) Peraea (a Greek name meaning the "opposite
country"), the country lying east of the Jordan and the Dead
Sea. This province was subdivided into these districts, (1)
Peraea proper, lying between the rivers Arnon and Jabbok; (2)
Galaaditis (Gilead); (3) Batanaea; (4) Gaulonitis (Jaulan); (5)
Ituraea or Auranitis, the ancient Bashan; (6) Trachonitis; (7)
Abilene; (8) Decapolis, i.e., the region of the ten cities. The
whole territory of Israel, including the portions alloted to
the trans-Jordan tribes, extended to about eleven thousand
square miles. Recent exploration has shown the territory on the
west of Jordan alone to be six thousand square miles in extent,
the size of the principality of Wales.
Acts of the Apostles
the title now given to the fifth and last of the historical
books of the New Testament. The author styles it a "treatise"
(1:1). It was early called "The Acts," "The Gospel of the Holy
Ghost," and "The Gospel of the Resurrection." It contains
properly no account of any of the apostles except Peter and
Paul. John is noticed only three times; and all that is recorded
of James, the son of Zebedee, is his execution by Herod. It is
properly therefore not the history of the "Acts of the
Apostles," a title which was given to the book at a later date,
but of "Acts of Apostles," or more correctly, of "Some Acts of
As regards its authorship, it was certainly the work of Luke,
the "beloved physician" (comp. Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1). This is
the uniform tradition of antiquity, although the writer nowhere
makes mention of himself by name. The style and idiom of the
Gospel of Luke and of the Acts, and the usage of words and
phrases common to both, strengthen this opinion. The writer
first appears in the narrative in 16:11, and then disappears
till Paul's return to Philippi two years afterwards, when he and
Paul left that place together (20:6), and the two seem
henceforth to have been constant companions to the end. He was
certainly with Paul at Rome (28; Col. 4:14). Thus he wrote a
great portion of that history from personal observation. For
what lay beyond his own experience he had the instruction of
Paul. If, as is very probable, 2 Tim. was written during Paul's
second imprisonment at Rome, Luke was with him then as his
faithful companion to the last (2 Tim. 4:11). Of his subsequent
history we have no certain information.
The design of Luke's Gospel was to give an exhibition of the
character and work of Christ as seen in his history till he was
taken up from his disciples into heaven; and of the Acts, as its
sequel, to give an illustration of the power and working of the
gospel when preached among all nations, "beginning at
Jerusalem." The opening sentences of the Acts are just an
expansion and an explanation of the closing words of the Gospel.
In this book we have just a continuation of the history of the
church after Christ's ascension. Luke here carries on the
history in the same spirit in which he had commenced it. It is
only a book of beginnings, a history of the founding of
churches, the initial steps in the formation of the Christian
society in the different places visited by the apostles. It
records a cycle of "representative events."
All through the narrative we see the ever-present,
all-controlling power of the ever-living Saviour. He worketh all
and in all in spreading abroad his truth among men by his Spirit
and through the instrumentality of his apostles.
The time of the writing of this history may be gathered from
the fact that the narrative extends down to the close of the
second year of Paul's first imprisonment at Rome. It could not
therefore have been written earlier than A.D. 61 or 62, nor
later than about the end of A.D. 63. Paul was probably put to
death during his second imprisonment, about A.D. 64, or, as some
The place where the book was written was probably Rome, to
which Luke accompanied Paul.
The key to the contents of the book is in 1:8, "Ye shall be
witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in
Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." After
referring to what had been recorded in a "former treatise" of
the sayings and doings of Jesus Christ before his ascension, the
author proceeds to give an account of the circumstances
connected with that event, and then records the leading facts
with reference to the spread and triumphs of Christianity over
the world during a period of about thirty years. The record
begins with Pentecost (A.D. 33) and ends with Paul's first
imprisonment (A.D. 63 or 64). The whole contents of the book may
be divided into these three parts:
(1.) Chaps. 1-12, describing the first twelve years of the
Christian church. This section has been entitled "From Jerusalem
to Antioch." It contains the history of the planting and
extension of the church among the Jews by the ministry of Peter.
(2.) Chaps. 13-21, Paul's missionary journeys, giving the
history of the extension and planting of the church among the
(3.) Chaps. 21-28, Paul at Rome, and the events which led to
this. Chaps. 13-28 have been entitled "From Antioch to Rome."
In this book it is worthy of note that no mention is made of
the writing by Paul of any of his epistles. This may be
accounted for by the fact that the writer confined himself to a
history of the planting of the church, and not to that of its
training or edification. The relation, however, between this
history and the epistles of Paul is of such a kind, i.e., brings
to light so many undesigned coincidences, as to prove the
genuineness and authenticity of both, as is so ably shown by
Paley in his _Horae Paulinae_. "No ancient work affords so many
tests of veracity; for no other has such numerous points of
contact in all directions with contemporary history, politics,
and topography, whether Jewish, or Greek, or Roman." Lightfoot.
(See PAUL ¯T0002871.)
The first burial we have an account of is that of Sarah (Gen.
23). The first commercial transaction recorded is that of the
purchase of a burial-place, for which Abraham weighed to Ephron
"four hundred shekels of silver current money with the
merchants." Thus the patriarch became the owner of a part of the
land of Canaan, the only part he ever possessed. When he himself
died, "his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of
Machpelah," beside Sarah his wife (Gen. 25:9).
Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, was buried under Allon-bachuth, "the
oak of weeping" (Gen. 35:8), near to Bethel. Rachel died, and
was buried near Ephrath; "and Jacob set a pillar upon her grave"
(16-20). Isaac was buried at Hebron, where he had died (27, 29).
Jacob, when charging his sons to bury him in the cave of
Machpelah, said, "There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife;
there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried
Leah" (49:31). In compliance with the oath which he made him
swear unto him (47:29-31), Joseph, assisted by his brethren,
buried Jacob in the cave of Machpelah (50:2, 13). At the Exodus,
Moses "took the bones of Joseph with him," and they were buried
in the "parcel of ground" which Jacob had bought of the sons of
Hamor (Josh. 24:32), which became Joseph's inheritance (Gen.
48:22; 1 Chr. 5:1; John 4:5). Two burials are mentioned as
having taken place in the wilderness. That of Miriam (Num.
20:1), and that of Moses, "in the land of Moab" (Deut. 34:5, 6,
8). There is no account of the actual burial of Aaron, which
probably, however, took place on the summit of Mount Hor (Num.
Joshua was buried "in the border of his inheritance in
Timnath-serah" (Josh. 24: 30).
In Job we find a reference to burying-places, which were
probably the Pyramids (3:14, 15). The Hebrew word for "waste
places" here resembles in sound the Egyptian word for
Samuel, like Moses, was honoured with a national burial (1
Sam. 25:1). Joab (1 Kings 2:34) "was buried in his own house in
In connection with the burial of Saul and his three sons we
meet for the first time with the practice of burning the dead (1
Sam. 31:11-13). The same practice is again referred to by Amos
Absalom was buried "in the wood" where he was slain (2 Sam.
18:17, 18). The raising of the heap of stones over his grave was
intended to mark abhorrence of the person buried (comp. Josh.
7:26 and 8:29). There was no fixed royal burying-place for the
Hebrew kings. We find several royal burials taking place,
however, "in the city of David" (1 Kings 2:10; 11:43; 15:8; 2
Kings 14:19, 20; 15:38; 1 Kings 14:31; 22:50; 2 Chr. 21:19, 20;
2 Chr. 24:25, etc.). Hezekiah was buried in the mount of the
sepulchres of the sons of David; "and all Judah and the
inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death" (2 Chr.
Little is said regarding the burial of the kings of Israel.
Some of them were buried in Samaria, the capital of their
kingdom (2 Kings 10:35; 13:9; 14:16).
Our Lord was buried in a new tomb, hewn out of the rock, which
Joseph of Arimathea had prepared for himself (Matt. 27:57-60;
Mark 15:46; John 19:41, 42).
The grave of Lazarus was "a cave, and a stone lay on it" (John
11:38). Graves were frequently either natural caverns or
artificial excavations formed in the sides of rocks (Gen. 23:9;
Matt. 27:60); and coffins were seldom used, unless when the body
was brought from a distance.
originally called Simon (=Simeon ,i.e., "hearing"), a very
common Jewish name in the New Testament. He was the son of Jona
(Matt. 16:17). His mother is nowhere named in Scripture. He had
a younger brother called Andrew, who first brought him to Jesus
(John 1:40-42). His native town was Bethsaida, on the western
coast of the Sea of Galilee, to which also Philip belonged. Here
he was brought up by the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and was
trained to the occupation of a fisher. His father had probably
died while he was still young, and he and his brother were
brought up under the care of Zebedee and his wife Salome (Matt.
27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1). There the four youths, Simon, Andrew,
James, and John, spent their boyhood and early manhood in
constant fellowship. Simon and his brother doubtless enjoyed all
the advantages of a religious training, and were early
instructed in an acquaintance with the Scriptures and with the
great prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah. They did
not probably enjoy, however, any special training in the study
of the law under any of the rabbis. When Peter appeared before
the Sanhedrin, he looked like an "unlearned man" (Acts 4:13).
"Simon was a Galilean, and he was that out and out...The
Galileans had a marked character of their own. They had a
reputation for an independence and energy which often ran out
into turbulence. They were at the same time of a franker and
more transparent disposition than their brethren in the south.
In all these respects, in bluntness, impetuosity, headiness, and
simplicity, Simon was a genuine Galilean. They spoke a peculiar
dialect. They had a difficulty with the guttural sounds and some
others, and their pronunciation was reckoned harsh in Judea. The
Galilean accent stuck to Simon all through his career. It
betrayed him as a follower of Christ when he stood within the
judgment-hall (Mark 14:70). It betrayed his own nationality and
that of those conjoined with him on the day of Pentecost (Acts
2:7)." It would seem that Simon was married before he became an
apostle. His wife's mother is referred to (Matt. 8:14; Mark
1:30; Luke 4:38). He was in all probability accompanied by his
wife on his missionary journeys (1 Cor. 9:5; comp. 1 Pet. 5:13).
He appears to have been settled at Capernaum when Christ
entered on his public ministry, and may have reached beyond the
age of thirty. His house was large enough to give a home to his
brother Andrew, his wife's mother, and also to Christ, who seems
to have lived with him (Mark 1:29, 36; 2:1), as well as to his
own family. It was apparently two stories high (2:4).
At Bethabara (R.V., John 1:28, "Bethany"), beyond Jordan, John
the Baptist had borne testimony concerning Jesus as the "Lamb of
God" (John 1:29-36). Andrew and John hearing it, followed Jesus,
and abode with him where he was. They were convinced, by his
gracious words and by the authority with which he spoke, that he
was the Messiah (Luke 4:22; Matt. 7:29); and Andrew went forth
and found Simon and brought him to Jesus (John 1:41).
Jesus at once recognized Simon, and declared that hereafter he
would be called Cephas, an Aramaic name corresponding to the
Greek Petros, which means "a mass of rock detached from the
living rock." The Aramaic name does not occur again, but the
name Peter gradually displaces the old name Simon, though our
Lord himself always uses the name Simon when addressing him
(Matt. 17:25; Mark 14:37; Luke 22:31, comp. 21:15-17). We are
not told what impression the first interview with Jesus produced
on the mind of Simon. When we next meet him it is by the Sea of
Galilee (Matt. 4:18-22). There the four (Simon and Andrew, James
and John) had had an unsuccessful night's fishing. Jesus
appeared suddenly, and entering into Simon's boat, bade him
launch forth and let down the nets. He did so, and enclosed a
great multitude of fishes. This was plainly a miracle wrought
before Simon's eyes. The awe-stricken disciple cast himself at
the feet of Jesus, crying, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful
man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8). Jesus addressed him with the assuring
words, "Fear not," and announced to him his life's work. Simon
responded at once to the call to become a disciple, and after
this we find him in constant attendance on our Lord.
He is next called into the rank of the apostleship, and
becomes a "fisher of men" (Matt. 4:19) in the stormy seas of the
world of human life (Matt. 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:13-16),
and takes a more and more prominent part in all the leading
events of our Lord's life. It is he who utters that notable
profession of faith at Capernaum (John 6:66-69), and again at
Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-20).
This profession at Caesarea was one of supreme importance, and
our Lord in response used these memorable words: "Thou art
Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church."
"From that time forth" Jesus began to speak of his sufferings.
For this Peter rebuked him. But our Lord in return rebuked
Peter, speaking to him in sterner words than he ever used to any
other of his disciples (Matt. 16:21-23; Mark 8:31-33). At the
close of his brief sojourn at Caesarea our Lord took Peter and
James and John with him into "an high mountain apart," and was
transfigured before them. Peter on that occasion, under the
impression the scene produced on his mind, exclaimed, "Lord, it
is good for us to be here: let us make three tabernacles" (Matt.
On his return to Capernaum the collectors of the temple tax (a
didrachma, half a sacred shekel), which every Israelite of
twenty years old and upwards had to pay (Ex. 30:15), came to
Peter and reminded him that Jesus had not paid it (Matt.
17:24-27). Our Lord instructed Peter to go and catch a fish in
the lake and take from its mouth the exact amount needed for the
tax, viz., a stater, or two half-shekels. "That take," said our
Lord, "and give unto them for me and thee."
As the end was drawing nigh, our Lord sent Peter and John
(Luke 22:7-13) into the city to prepare a place where he should
keep the feast with his disciples. There he was forewarned of
the fearful sin into which he afterwards fell (22:31-34). He
accompanied our Lord from the guest-chamber to the garden of
Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46), which he and the other two who had
been witnesses of the transfiguration were permitted to enter
with our Lord, while the rest were left without. Here he passed
through a strange experience. Under a sudden impulse he cut off
the ear of Malchus (47-51), one of the band that had come forth
to take Jesus. Then follow the scenes of the judgment-hall
(54-61) and his bitter grief (62).
He is found in John's company early on the morning of the
resurrection. He boldly entered into the empty grave (John
20:1-10), and saw the "linen clothes laid by themselves" (Luke
24:9-12). To him, the first of the apostles, our risen Lord
revealed himself, thus conferring on him a signal honour, and
showing how fully he was restored to his favour (Luke 24:34; 1
Cor. 15:5). We next read of our Lord's singular interview with
Peter on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where he thrice asked
him, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?" (John 21:1-19). (See
After this scene at the lake we hear nothing of Peter till he
again appears with the others at the ascension (Acts 1:15-26).
It was he who proposed that the vacancy caused by the apostasy
of Judas should be filled up. He is prominent on the day of
Pentecost (2:14-40). The events of that day "completed the
change in Peter himself which the painful discipline of his fall
and all the lengthened process of previous training had been
slowly making. He is now no more the unreliable, changeful,
self-confident man, ever swaying between rash courage and weak
timidity, but the stead-fast, trusted guide and director of the
fellowship of believers, the intrepid preacher of Christ in
Jerusalem and abroad. And now that he is become Cephas indeed,
we hear almost nothing of the name Simon (only in Acts 10:5, 32;
15:14), and he is known to us finally as Peter."
After the miracle at the temple gate (Acts 3) persecution
arose against the Christians, and Peter was cast into prison. He
boldly defended himself and his companions at the bar of the
council (4:19, 20). A fresh outburst of violence against the
Christians (5:17-21) led to the whole body of the apostles being
cast into prison; but during the night they were wonderfully
delivered, and were found in the morning teaching in the temple.
A second time Peter defended them before the council (Acts
5:29-32), who, "when they had called the apostles and beaten
them, let them go."
The time had come for Peter to leave Jerusalem. After
labouring for some time in Samaria, he returned to Jerusalem,
and reported to the church there the results of his work (Acts
8:14-25). Here he remained for a period, during which he met
Paul for the first time since his conversion (9:26-30; Gal.
1:18). Leaving Jerusalem again, he went forth on a missionary
journey to Lydda and Joppa (Acts 9:32-43). He is next called on
to open the door of the Christian church to the Gentiles by the
admission of Cornelius of Caesarea (ch. 10).
After remaining for some time at Caesarea, he returned to
Jerusalem (Acts 11:1-18), where he defended his conduct with
reference to the Gentiles. Next we hear of his being cast into
prison by Herod Agrippa (12:1-19); but in the night an angel of
the Lord opened the prison gates, and he went forth and found
refuge in the house of Mary.
He took part in the deliberations of the council in Jerusalem
(Acts 15:1-31; Gal. 2:1-10) regarding the relation of the
Gentiles to the church. This subject had awakened new interest
at Antioch, and for its settlement was referred to the council
of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. Here Paul and Peter met
We have no further mention of Peter in the Acts of the
Apostles. He seems to have gone down to Antioch after the
council at Jerusalem, and there to have been guilty of
dissembling, for which he was severely reprimanded by Paul (Gal.
2:11-16), who "rebuked him to his face."
After this he appears to have carried the gospel to the east,
and to have laboured for a while at Babylon, on the Euphrates (1
Pet. 5:13). There is no satisfactory evidence that he was ever
at Rome. Where or when he died is not certainly known. Probably
he died between A.D. 64 and 67.