elevation, father of Joseph in the line of our Lord's ancestry
dedicated to Ra; i.e., to the sun-god, the Egyptian to whom the
Ishmaelites sold Joseph (Gen. 39:1). He was "captain of the
guard", i.e., chief, probably, of the state police, who, while
they formed part of the Egyptian army, were also largely
employed in civil duties (37:36; marg., "chief of the
executioners"). Joseph, though a foreigner, gradually gained his
confidence, and became overseer over all his possessions.
Believing the false accusation which his profligate wife brought
against Joseph, Potiphar cast him into prison, where he remained
for some years. (See JOSEPH ¯T0002113.)
an Egyptian name, meaning "gift of the sun-god", daughter of
Potipherah, priest of On or Heliopolis, wife of Joseph (Gen.
41:45). She was the mother of Manasseh and Ephraim (50-52;
used in Gen. 50:26 with reference to the burial of Joseph. Here,
it means a mummy-chest. The same Hebrew word is rendered "chest"
in 2 Kings 12:9, 10.
son of Saba, the surname (1) of Joseph, also called Justus (Acts
1:23), some identify him with Barnabas; (2) of Judas, who was a
"prophet." Nothing more is known of him than what is mentioned
in Acts 15:32.
faltering; bashful, Rachel's handmaid, whom she gave to Jacob
(Gen. 29:29). She was the mother of Dan and Naphtali (Gen.
30:3-8). Reuben was cursed by his father for committing adultry
with her (35:22; 49:4). He was deprived of the birth-right,
which was given to the sons of Joseph.
gift. (1.) A priest of Baal, slain before his altar during the
reformation under Jehoiada (2 Kings 11:18).
(2.) The son of Eleazar, and father of Jacob, who was the
father of Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary (Matt. 1:15).
(3.) The father of Shephatiah (Jer. 38:1).
were among the presents Jacob sent into Egypt for the purpose of
conciliating Joseph (Gen. 43:11). This was the fruit of the
pistachio tree, which resembles the sumac. It is of the size of
an olive. In Cant. 6:11 a different Hebrew word ('egoz), which
means "walnuts," is used.
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).
double fruitfulness ("for God had made him fruitful in the land
of his affliction"). The second son of Joseph, born in Egypt
(Gen. 41:52; 46:20). The first incident recorded regarding him
is his being placed, along with his brother Manasseh, before
their grandfather, Jacob, that he might bless them (48:10; comp.
27:1). The intention of Joseph was that the right hand of the
aged patriarch should be placed on the head of the elder of the
two; but Jacob set Ephraim the younger before his brother,
"guiding his hands wittingly." Before Joseph's death, Ephraim's
family had reached the third generation (Gen. 50:23).
remover or increaser. (1.) The elder of the two sons of Jacob by
Rachel (Gen. 30:23, 24), who, on the occasion of his birth,
said, "God hath taken away [Heb. 'asaph] my reproach." "The Lord
shall add [Heb. yoseph] to me another son" (Gen. 30:24). He was
a child of probably six years of age when his father returned
from Haran to Canaan and took up his residence in the old
patriarchal town of Hebron. "Now Israel loved Joseph more than
all his children, because he was the son of his old age," and he
"made him a long garment with sleeves" (Gen. 37:3, R.V. marg.),
i.e., a garment long and full, such as was worn by the children
of nobles. This seems to be the correct rendering of the words.
The phrase, however, may also be rendered, "a coat of many
pieces", i.e., a patchwork of many small pieces of divers
When he was about seventeen years old Joseph incurred the
jealous hatred of his brothers (Gen. 37:4). They "hated him, and
could not speak peaceably unto him." Their anger was increased
when he told them his dreams (37:11).
Jacob desiring to hear tidings of his sons, who had gone to
Shechem with their flocks, some 60 miles from Hebron, sent
Joseph as his messenger to make inquiry regarding them. Joseph
found that they had left Shechem for Dothan, whither he followed
them. As soon as they saw him coming they began to plot against
him, and would have killed him had not Reuben interposed. They
ultimately sold him to a company of Ishmaelite merchants for
twenty pieces (shekels) of silver (about $2, 10s.), ten pieces
less than the current value of a slave, for "they cared little
what they had for him, if so be they were rid of him." These
merchants were going down with a varied assortment of
merchandise to the Egyptian market, and thither they conveyed
him, and ultimately sold him as a slave to Potiphar, an "officer
of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard" (Gen. 37:36). "The Lord
blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake," and Potiphar
made him overseer over his house. At length a false charge
having been brought against him by Potiphar's wife, he was at
once cast into the state prison (39; 40), where he remained for
at least two years. After a while the "chief of the cupbearers"
and the "chief of the bakers" of Pharaoh's household were cast
into the same prison (40:2). Each of these new prisoners dreamed
a dream in the same night, which Joseph interpreted, the event
occurring as he had said.
This led to Joseph's being remembered subsequently by the
chief butler when Pharaoh also dreamed. At his suggestion Joseph
was brought from prison to interpret the king's dreams. Pharaoh
was well pleased with Joseph's wisdom in interpreting his
dreams, and with his counsel with reference to the events then
predicted; and he set him over all the land of Egypt (Gen.
41:46), and gave him the name of Zaphnath-paaneah. He was
married to Asenath, the daughter of the priest of On, and thus
became a member of the priestly class. Joseph was now about
thirty years of age.
As Joseph had interpreted, seven years of plenty came, during
which he stored up great abundance of corn in granaries built
for the purpose. These years were followed by seven years of
famine "over all the face of the earth," when "all countries
came into Egypt to Joseph to buy corn" (Gen. 41:56, 57; 47:13,
14). Thus "Joseph gathered up all the money that was in the land
of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they
bought." Afterwards all the cattle and all the land, and at last
the Egyptians themselves, became the property of Pharaoh.
During this period of famine Joseph's brethren also came down
to Egypt to buy corn. The history of his dealings with them, and
of the manner in which he at length made himself known to them,
is one of the most interesting narratives that can be read (Gen.
42-45). Joseph directed his brethren to return and bring Jacob
and his family to the land of Egypt, saying, "I will give you
the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the
land. Regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land is
yours." Accordingly Jacob and his family, to the number of
threescore and ten souls, together with "all that they had,"
went down to Egypt. They were settled in the land of Goshen,
where Joseph met his father, and "fell on his neck, and wept on
his neck a good while" (Gen. 46:29).
The excavations of Dr. Naville have shown the land of Goshen
to be the Wady Tumilat, between Ismailia and Zagazig. In Goshen
(Egyptian Qosem) they had pasture for their flocks, were near
the Asiatic frontier of Egypt, and were out of the way of the
Egyptian people. An inscription speaks of it as a district given
up to the wandering shepherds of Asia.
Jacob at length died, and in fulfilment of a promise which he
had exacted, Joseph went up to Canaan to bury his father in "the
field of Ephron the Hittite" (Gen. 47:29-31; 50:1-14). This was
the last recorded act of Joseph, who again returned to Egypt.
"The 'Story of the Two Brothers,' an Egyptian romance written
for the son of the Pharaoh of the Oppression, contains an
episode very similar to the Biblical account of Joseph's
treatment by Potiphar's wife. Potiphar and Potipherah are the
Egyptian Pa-tu-pa-Ra, 'the gift of the sun-god.' The name given
to Joseph, Zaphnath-paaneah, is probably the Egyptian
Zaf-nti-pa-ankh, 'nourisher of the living one,' i.e., of the
Pharaoh. There are many instances in the inscriptions of
foreigners in Egypt receiving Egyptian names, and rising to the
highest offices of state."
By his wife Asenath, Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim
(Gen. 41:50). Joseph having obtained a promise from his brethren
that when the time should come that God would "bring them unto
the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob,"
they would carry up his bones out of Egypt, at length died, at
the age of one hundred and ten years; and "they embalmed him,
and he was put in a coffin" (Gen. 50:26). This promise was
faithfully observed. Their descendants, long after, when the
Exodus came, carried the body about with them during their forty
years' wanderings, and at length buried it in Shechem, in the
parcel of ground which Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor
(Josh. 24:32; comp. Gen. 33:19). With the death of Joseph the
patriarchal age of the history of Israel came to a close.
The Pharaoh of Joseph's elevation was probably Apepi, or
Apopis, the last of the Hyksos kings. Some, however, think that
Joseph came to Egypt in the reign of Thothmes III. (see PHARAOH
¯T0002923), long after the expulsion of the Hyksos.
The name Joseph denotes the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh
in Deut. 33:13-17; the kingdom of Israel in Ezek. 37:16, 19,
Amos 5:6; and the whole covenant people of Israel in Ps. 81:4.
(2.) One of the sons of Asaph, head of the first division of
sacred musicians (1 Chr. 25:2, 9).
(3.) The son of Judah, and father of Semei (Luke 3:26). Other
two of the same name in the ancestry of Christ are also
mentioned (3:24, 30).
(4.) The foster-father of our Lord (Matt. 1:16; Luke 3:23). He
lived at Nazareth in Galilee (Luke 2:4). He is called a "just
man." He was by trade a carpenter (Matt. 13:55). He is last
mentioned in connection with the journey to Jerusalem, when
Jesus was twelve years old. It is probable that he died before
Jesus entered on his public ministry. This is concluded from the
fact that Mary only was present at the marriage feast in Cana of
Galilee. His name does not appear in connection with the scenes
of the crucifixion along with that of Mary (q.v.), John 19:25.
(5.) A native of Arimathea, probably the Ramah of the Old
Testament (1 Sam. 1:19), a man of wealth, and a member of the
Sanhedrim (Matt. 27:57; Luke 23:50), an "honourable counsellor,
who waited for the kingdom of God." As soon as he heard the
tidings of Christ's death, he "went in boldly" (lit. "having
summoned courage, he went") "unto Pilate, and craved the body of
Jesus." Pilate having ascertained from the centurion that the
death had really taken place, granted Joseph's request, who
immediately, having purchased fine linen (Mark 15:46), proceeded
to Golgotha to take the body down from the cross. There,
assisted by Nicodemus, he took down the body and wrapped it in
the fine linen, sprinkling it with the myrrh and aloes which
Nicodemus had brought (John 19:39), and then conveyed the body
to the new tomb hewn by Joseph himself out of a rock in his
garden hard by. There they laid it, in the presence of Mary
Magdalene, Mary the mother of Joses, and other women, and rolled
a great stone to the entrance, and departed (Luke 23:53, 55).
This was done in haste, "for the Sabbath was drawing on" (comp.
(6.) Surnamed Barsabas (Acts 1:23); also called Justus. He was
one of those who "companied with the apostles all the time that
the Lord Jesus went out and in among them" (Acts 1:21), and was
one of the candidates for the place of Judas.
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.
a "city of the Jews" (Luke 23:51), the birth-place of Joseph in
whose sepulchre our Lord was laid (Matt. 27:57, 60; John 19:38).
It is probably the same place as Ramathaim in Ephraim, and the
birth-place of Samuel (1 Sam. 1:1, 19). Others identify it with
Ramleh in Dan, or Rama (q.v.) in Benjamin (Matt. 2:18).
buckthorn, a place where Joseph and his brethren, when on their
way from Egypt to Hebron with the remains of their father Jacob,
made for seven days a "great and very sore lamentation." On this
account the Canaanites called it "Abel-mizraim" (Gen. 50:10,
11). It was probably near Hebron. The word is rendered "bramble"
in Judg. 9:14, 15, and "thorns" in Ps. 58:9.
he-ass, a Hivite from whom Jacob purchased the plot of ground in
which Joseph was afterwards buried (Gen. 33:19). He is called
"Emmor" in Acts 7:16. His son Shechem founded the city of that
name which Simeon and Levi destroyed because of his crime in the
matter of Dinah, Jacob's daughter (Gen. 34:20). Hamor and
Shechem were also slain (ver. 26).
(1.) The patriarch Judah, son of Jacob (Luke 3:33; Heb. 7:14).
In Luke 1:39; Heb. 7:14; Rev. 5:5; 7:5, the word refers to the
tribe of Judah.
(2.) The father of Simeon in Christ's maternal ancestry (Luke
(3.) Son of Joanna, and father of Joseph in Christ's maternal
ancestry (26), probably identical with Abiud (Matt. 1:13), and
with Obadiah (1 Chr. 3:21).
(4.) One of the Lord's "brethren" (Mark 6:3).
gift of Jehovah. (1.) One of the sons of Jeduthun (1 Chr. 25:3,
(2.) The eldest son of Shallum, of the family of Korah (1 Chr.
(3.) One who stood by Ezra while reading the law (Neh. 8:4).
(4.) The son of Amos, and father of Joseph, in the genealogy
of our Lord (Luke 3:25).
(Luke 2:2; R.V., "enrolment"), "when Cyrenius was governor of
Syria," is simply a census of the people, or an enrolment of
them with a view to their taxation. The decree for the enrolment
was the occasion of Joseph and Mary's going up to Bethlehem. It
has been argued by some that Cyrenius (q.v.) was governor of
Cilicia and Syria both at the time of our Lord's birth and some
years afterwards. This decree for the taxing referred to the
whole Roman world, and not to Judea alone. (See CENSUS
the name which Pharaoh gave to Joseph when he raised him to the
rank of prime minister or grand vizier of the kingdom (Gen.
41:45). This is a pure Egyptian word, and has been variously
explained. Some think it means "creator," or "preserver of
life." Brugsch interprets it as "governor of the district of the
place of life", i.e., of Goshen, the chief city of which was
Pithom, "the place of life." Others explain it as meaning "a
revealer of secrets," or "the man to whom secrets are revealed."
God has frequently made use of dreams in communicating his will
to men. The most remarkable instances of this are recorded in
the history of Jacob (Gen. 28:12; 31:10), Laban (31:24), Joseph
(37:9-11), Gideon (Judg. 7), and Solomon (1 Kings 3:5). Other
significant dreams are also recorded, such as those of Abimelech
(Gen. 20:3-7), Pharaoh's chief butler and baker (40:5), Pharaoh
(41:1-8), the Midianites (Judg. 7:13), Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:1;
4:10, 18), the wise men from the east (Matt. 2:12), and Pilate's
To Joseph "the Lord appeared in a dream," and gave him
instructions regarding the infant Jesus (Matt. 1:20; 2:12, 13,
19). In a vision of the night a "man of Macedonia" stood before
Paul and said, "Come over into Macedonia and help us" (Acts
16:9; see also 18:9; 27:23).
praise, the fourth son of Jacob by Leah. The name originated in
Leah's words of praise to the Lord on account of his birth: "Now
will I praise [Heb. odeh] Jehovah, and she called his name
Yehudah" (Gen. 29:35).
It was Judah that interposed in behalf of Joseph, so that his
life was spared (Gen. 37:26, 27). He took a lead in the affairs
of the family, and "prevailed above his brethren" (Gen. 43:3-10;
44:14, 16-34; 46:28; 1 Chr. 5:2).
Soon after the sale of Joseph to the Ishmaelites, Judah went
to reside at Adullam, where he married a woman of Canaan. (See
ONAN ¯T0002787; TAMAR ¯T0003579.) After the death of his wife
Shuah, he returned to his father's house, and there exercised
much influence over the patriarch, taking a principal part in
the events which led to the whole family at length going down
into Egypt. We hear nothing more of him till he received his
father's blessing (Gen. 49:8-12).
hearing. (1.) The second son of Jacob by Leah (Gen. 29:33). He
was associated with Levi in the terrible act of vengeance
against Hamor and the Shechemites (34:25, 26). He was detained
by Joseph in Egypt as a hostage (42:24). His father, when dying,
pronounced a malediction against him (49:5-7). The words in the
Authorized Version (49:6), "they digged down a wall," ought to
be, as correctly rendered in the Revised Version, "they houghed
(2.) An aged saint who visited the temple when Jesus was being
presented before the Lord, and uttered lofty words of
thankgiving and of prophecy (Luke 2:29-35).
(3.) One of the ancestors of Joseph (Luke 3:30).
(4.) Surnamed Niger, i.e., "black," perhaps from his dark
complexion, a teacher of some distinction in the church of
Antioch (Acts 13:1-3). It has been supposed that this was the
Simon of Cyrene who bore Christ's cross. Note the number of
nationalities represented in the church at Antioch.
(5.) James (Acts 15:14) thus designates the apostle Peter
a mode of showing respect. Abraham "bowed himself to the people
of the land" (Gen. 23:7); so Jacob to Esau (Gen. 33:3); and the
brethren of Joseph before him as the governor of the land (Gen.
43:28). Bowing is also frequently mentioned as an act of
adoration to idols (Josh. 23:7; 2 Kings 5:18; Judg. 2:19; Isa.
44:15), and to God (Josh. 5:14; Ps. 22:29; 72:9; Micah 6:6; Ps.
95:6; Eph. 3:14).
the process of preserving a body by means of aromatics (Gen.
50:2, 3, 26). This art was practised by the Egyptians from the
earliest times, and there brought to great perfection. This
custom probably originated in the belief in the future reunion
of the soul with the body. The process became more and more
complicated, and to such perfection was it carried that bodies
embalmed thousands of years ago are preserved to the present day
in the numberless mummies that have been discovered in Egypt.
The embalming of Jacob and Joseph was according to the
Egyptian custom, which was partially followed by the Jews (2
Chr. 16:14), as in the case of king Asa, and of our Lord (John
19:39, 40; Luke 23:56; 24:1). (See PHARAOH ¯T0002923.)
behold a son!, the eldest son of Jacob and Leah (Gen. 29:32).
His sinful conduct, referred to in Gen. 35:22, brought down upon
him his dying father's malediction (48:4). He showed kindness to
Joseph, and was the means of saving his life when his other
brothers would have put him to death (37:21,22). It was he also
who pledged his life and the life of his sons when Jacob was
unwilling to let Benjamin go down into Egypt. After Jacob and
his family went down into Egypt (46:8) no further mention is
made of Reuben beyond what is recorded in ch. 49:3,4.
the rendering of a Hebrew word _bor_, which means a receptacle
for water conveyed to it; distinguished from _beer_, which
denotes a place where water rises on the spot (Jer. 2:13; Prov.
5:15; Isa. 36:16), a fountain. Cisterns are frequently mentioned
in Scripture. The scarcity of springs in Israel made it
necessary to collect rain-water in reservoirs and cisterns (Num.
21:22). (See WELL ¯T0003803.)
Empty cisterns were sometimes used as prisons (Jer. 38:6; Lam.
3:53; Ps. 40:2; 69:15). The "pit" into which Joseph was cast
(Gen. 37:24) was a _beer_ or dry well. There are numerous
remains of ancient cisterns in all parts of Israel.
(1.) Another name for Joseph, surnamed Barsabas. He and Matthias
are mentioned only in Acts 1:23. "They must have been among the
earliest disciples of Jesus, and must have been faithful to the
end; they must have been well known and esteemed among the
brethren. What became of them afterwards, and what work they
did, are entirely unknown" (Lindsay's Acts of the Apostles).
(2.) A Jewish proselyte at Corinth, in whose house, next door
to the synagogue, Paul held meetings and preached after he left
the synagogue (Acts 18:7).
(3.) A Jewish Christian, called Jesus, Paul's only
fellow-labourer at Rome, where he wrote his Epistle to the
Colossians (Col. 4:11).
Nativity of Christ
The birth of our Lord took place at the time and place predicted
by the prophets (Gen. 49:10; Isa. 7:14; Jer. 31:15; Micah 5:2;
Hag. 2:6-9; Dan. 9:24, 25). Joseph and Mary were providentially
led to go up to Bethlehem at this period, and there Christ was
born (Matt. 2:1, 6; Luke 2:1, 7). The exact year or month or day
of his birth cannot, however, now be exactly ascertained. We
know, however, that it took place in the "fulness of the time"
(Gal. 4:4), i.e., at the fittest time in the world's history.
Chronologists are now generally agreed that the year 4 before
the Christian era was the year of Christ's nativity, and
consequently that he was about four years old in the year 1 A.D.
(1.) In the natural and common sense (Matt. 1:2; Luke 3:1, 19).
(2.) A near relation, a cousin (Gen. 13:8; 14:16; Matt. 12:46;
John 7:3; Acts 1:14; Gal. 1:19).
(3.) Simply a fellow-countryman (Matt. 5:47; Acts 3:22; Heb.
(4.) A disciple or follower (Matt. 25:40; Heb. 2:11, 12).
(5.) One of the same faith (Amos 1:9; Acts 9:30; 11:29; 1 Cor.
5:11); whence the early disciples of our Lord were known to each
other as brethren.
(6.) A colleague in office (Ezra 3:2; 1 Cor. 1:1; 2 Cor. 1:1).
(7.) A fellow-man (Gen. 9:5; 19:7; Matt. 5:22, 23, 24; 7:5;
(8.) One beloved or closely united with another in affection
(2 Sam. 1:26; Acts 6:3; 1 Thess. 5:1). Brethren of Jesus (Matt.
1:25; 12:46, 50: Mark 3:31, 32; Gal. 1:19; 1 Cor. 9:5, etc.)
were probably the younger children of Joseph and Mary. Some have
supposed that they may have been the children of Joseph by a
former marriage, and others that they were the children of Mary,
the Virgin's sister, and wife of Cleophas. The first
interpretation, however, is the most natural.
Before the Exile the Jews had no regularly stamped money. They
made use of uncoined shekels or talents of silver, which they
weighed out (Gen. 23:16; Ex. 38:24; 2 Sam. 18:12). Probably the
silver ingots used in the time of Abraham may have been of a
fixed weight, which was in some way indicated on them. The
"pieces of silver" paid by Abimelech to Abraham (Gen. 20:16),
and those also for which Joseph was sold (37:28), were proably
in the form of rings. The shekel was the common standard of
weight and value among the Hebrews down to the time of the
Captivity. Only once is a shekel of gold mentioned (1 Chr.
21:25). The "six thousand of gold" mentioned in the transaction
between Naaman and Gehazi (2 Kings 5:5) were probably so many
shekels of gold. The "piece of money" mentioned in Job 42:11;
Gen. 33:19 (marg., "lambs") was the Hebrew _kesitah_, probably
an uncoined piece of silver of a certain weight in the form of a
sheep or lamb, or perhaps having on it such an impression. The
same Hebrew word is used in Josh. 24:32, which is rendered by
Wickliffe "an hundred yonge scheep."
Exodus, Book of
Exodus is the name given in the LXX. to the second book of the
Pentateuch (q.v.). It means "departure" or "outgoing." This name
was adopted in the Latin translation, and thence passed into
other languages. The Hebrews called it by the first words,
according to their custom, Ve-eleh shemoth (i.e., "and these are
It contains, (1.) An account of the increase and growth of the
Israelites in Egypt (ch. 1) (2.) Preparations for their
departure out of Egypt (2-12:36). (3.) Their journeyings from
Egypt to Sinai (12:37-19:2). (4.) The giving of the law and the
establishment of the institutions by which the organization of
the people was completed, the theocracy, "a kingdom of priest
and an holy nation" (19:3-ch. 40).
The time comprised in this book, from the death of Joseph to
the erection of the tabernacle in the wilderness, is about one
hundred and forty-five years, on the supposition that the four
hundred and thirty years (12:40) are to be computed from the
time of the promises made to Abraham (Gal. 3:17).
The authorship of this book, as well as of that of the other
books of the Pentateuch, is to be ascribed to Moses. The
unanimous voice of tradition and all internal evidences
abundantly support this opinion.
The first mentioned in Scripture was so grievous as to compel
Abraham to go down to the land of Egypt (Gen. 26:1). Another is
mentioned as having occurred in the days of Isaac, causing him
to go to Gerar (Gen. 26:1, 17). But the most remarkable of all
was that which arose in Egypt in the days of Joseph, which
lasted for seven years (Gen. 41-45).
Famines were sent as an effect of God's anger against a guilty
people (2 Kings 8:1, 2; Amos 8:11; Deut. 28:22-42; 2 Sam. 21:1;
2 Kings 6:25-28; 25:3; Jer. 14:15; 19:9; 42:17, etc.). A famine
was predicted by Agabus (Acts 11:28). Josephus makes mention of
the famine which occurred A.D. 45. Helena, queen of Adiabene,
being at Jerusalem at that time, procured corn from Alexandria
and figs from Cyprus for its poor inhabitants.
mentioned in Scripture, of Eden (Gen. 2:8, 9); Ahab's garden of
herbs (1 Kings 21:2); the royal garden (2 Kings 21:18); the
royal garden at Susa (Esther 1:5); the garden of Joseph of
Arimathea (John 19:41); of Gethsemane (John 18:1).
The "king's garden" mentioned 2 Kings 25:4, Neh. 3:15, was
near the Pool of Siloam.
Gardens were surrounded by hedges of thorns (Isa. 5:5) or by
walls of stone (Prov. 24:31). "Watch-towers" or "lodges" were
also built in them (Isa. 1:8; Mark 12:1), in which their keepers
sat. On account of their retirement they were frequently used as
places for secret prayer and communion with God (Gen. 24:63;
Matt. 26:30-36; John 1:48; 18:1, 2). The dead were sometimes
buried in gardens (Gen. 23:19, 20; 2 Kings 21:18, 26; 1 Sam.
25:1; Mark 15:46; John 19:41). (See PARADISE ¯T0002843.)
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).
light; the sun, (Gen. 41:45, 50), the great seat of sun-worship,
called also Bethshemesh (Jer. 43:13) and Aven (Ezek. 30:17),
stood on the east bank of the Nile, a few miles north of
Memphis, and near Cairo, in the north-east. The Vulgate and the
LXX. Versions have "Heliopolis" ("city of the sun") instead of
On in Genesis and of Aven in Ezekiel. The "city of destruction"
Isaiah speaks of (19:18, marg. "of Heres;" Heb. 'Ir-ha-heres,
which some MSS. read Ir-ha-heres, i.e., "city of the sun") may
be the name given to On, the prophecy being that the time will
come when that city which was known as the "city of the sun-god"
shall become the "city of destruction" of the sun-god, i.e.,
when idolatry shall cease, and the worship of the true God be
In ancient times this city was full of obelisks dedicated to
the sun. Of these only one now remains standing. "Cleopatra's
Needle" was one of those which stood in this city in front of
the Temple of Tum, i.e., "the sun." It is now erected on the
Thames Embankment, London.
"It was at On that Joseph wooed and won the dark-skinned
Asenath, the daughter of the high priest of its great temple."
This was a noted university town, and here Moses gained his
acquaintance with "all the wisdom of the Egyptians."
ewe, "the daughter", "the somewhat petulant, peevish, and
self-willed though beautiful younger daughter" of Laban, and one
of Jacob's wives (Gen. 29:6, 28). He served Laban fourteen years
for her, so deep was Jacob's affection for her. She was the
mother of Joseph (Gen. 30:22-24). Afterwards, on Jacob's
departure from Mesopotamia, she took with her her father's
teraphim (31:34, 35). As they journeyed on from Bethel, Rachel
died in giving birth to Benjamin (35:18, 19), and was buried "in
the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. And Jacob set a pillar
upon her grave". Her sepulchre is still regarded with great
veneration by the Jews. Its traditional site is about half a
mile from Jerusalem.
This name is used poetically by Jeremiah (31:15-17) to denote
God's people mourning under their calamities. This passage is
also quoted by Matthew as fulfilled in the lamentation at
Bethlehem on account of the slaughter of the infants there at
the command of Herod (Matt. 2:17, 18).
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).
Hebrew Miriam. (1.) The wife of Joseph, the mother of Jesus,
called the "Virgin Mary," though never so designated in
Scripture (Matt. 2:11; Acts 1:14). Little is known of her
personal history. Her genealogy is given in Luke 3. She was of
the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David (Ps. 132:11; Luke
1:32). She was connected by marriage with Elisabeth, who was of
the lineage of Aaron (Luke 1:36).
While she resided at Nazareth with her parents, before she
became the wife of Joseph, the angel Gabriel announced to her
that she was to be the mother of the promised Messiah (Luke
1:35). After this she went to visit her cousin Elisabeth, who
was living with her husband Zacharias (probably at Juttah, Josh.
15:55; 21:16, in the neighbourhood of Maon), at a considerable
distance, about 100 miles, from Nazareth. Immediately on
entering the house she was saluted by Elisabeth as the mother of
her Lord, and then forthwith gave utterance to her hymn of
thanksgiving (Luke 1:46-56; comp. 1 Sam. 2:1-10). After three
months Mary returned to Nazareth to her own home. Joseph was
supernaturally made aware (Matt. 1:18-25) of her condition, and
took her to his own home. Soon after this the decree of Augustus
(Luke 2:1) required that they should proceed to Bethlehem (Micah
5:2), some 80 or 90 miles from Nazareth; and while they were
there they found shelter in the inn or khan provided for
strangers (Luke 2:6, 7). But as the inn was crowded, Mary had to
retire to a place among the cattle, and there she brought forth
her son, who was called Jesus (Matt. 1:21), because he was to
save his people from their sins. This was followed by the
presentation in the temple, the flight into Egypt, and their
return in the following year and residence at Nazareth (Matt.
2). There for thirty years Mary, the wife of Joseph the
carpenter, resides, filling her own humble sphere, and pondering
over the strange things that had happened to her. During these
years only one event in the history of Jesus is recorded, viz.,
his going up to Jerusalem when twelve years of age, and his
being found among the doctors in the temple (Luke 2:41-52).
Probably also during this period Joseph died, for he is not
After the commencement of our Lord's public ministry little
notice is taken of Mary. She was present at the marriage in
Cana. A year and a half after this we find her at Capernaum
(Matt. 12:46, 48, 49), where Christ uttered the memorable words,
"Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched
forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother
and my brethren!" The next time we find her is at the cross
along with her sister Mary, and Mary Magdalene, and Salome, and
other women (John 19:26). From that hour John took her to his
own abode. She was with the little company in the upper room
after the Ascension (Acts 1:14). From this time she wholly
disappears from public notice. The time and manner of her death
(2.) Mary Magdalene, i.e., Mary of Magdala, a town on the
western shore of the Lake of Tiberias. She is for the first time
noticed in Luke 8:3 as one of the women who "ministered to
Christ of their substance." Their motive was that of gratitude
for deliverances he had wrought for them. Out of Mary were cast
seven demons. Gratitude to her great Deliverer prompted her to
become his follower. These women accompanied him also on his
last journey to Jerusalem (Matt. 27:55; Mark 15:41; Luke 23:55).
They stood near the cross. There Mary remained till all was
over, and the body was taken down and laid in Joseph's tomb.
Again, in the earliest dawn of the first day of the week she,
with Salome and Mary the mother of James (Matt. 28:1; Mark
16:2), came to the sepulchre, bringing with them sweet spices,
that they might anoint the body of Jesus. They found the
sepulchre empty, but saw the "vision of angels" (Matt. 28:5).
She hastens to tell Peter and John, who were probably living
together at this time (John 20:1, 2), and again immediately
returns to the sepulchre. There she lingers thoughtfully,
weeping at the door of the tomb. The risen Lord appears to her,
but at first she knows him not. His utterance of her name "Mary"
recalls her to consciousness, and she utters the joyful,
reverent cry, "Rabboni." She would fain cling to him, but he
forbids her, saying, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to
my Father." This is the last record regarding Mary of Magdala,
who now returned to Jerusalem. The idea that this Mary was "the
woman who was a sinner," or that she was unchaste, is altogether
(3.) Mary the sister of Lazarus is brought to our notice in
connection with the visits of our Lord to Bethany. She is
contrasted with her sister Martha, who was "cumbered about many
things" while Jesus was their guest, while Mary had chosen "the
good part." Her character also appears in connection with the
death of her brother (John 11:20,31,33). On the occasion of our
Lord's last visit to Bethany, Mary brought "a pound of ointment
of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus" as he
reclined at table in the house of one Simon, who had been a
leper (Matt. 26:6; Mark 14:3; John 12:2,3). This was an evidence
of her overflowing love to the Lord. Nothing is known of her
subsequent history. It would appear from this act of Mary's, and
from the circumstance that they possessed a family vault
(11:38), and that a large number of Jews from Jerusalem came to
condole with them on the death of Lazarus (11:19), that this
family at Bethany belonged to the wealthier class of the people.
(See MARTHA ¯T0002426.)
(4.) Mary the wife of Cleopas is mentioned (John 19:25) as
standing at the cross in company with Mary of Magdala and Mary
the mother of Jesus. By comparing Matt. 27:56 and Mark 15:40, we
find that this Mary and "Mary the mother of James the little"
are on and the same person, and that she was the sister of our
Lord's mother. She was that "other Mary" who was present with
Mary of Magdala at the burial of our Lord (Matt. 27:61; Mark
15:47); and she was one of those who went early in the morning
of the first day of the week to anoint the body, and thus became
one of the first witnesses of the resurrection (Matt. 28:1; Mark
16:1; Luke 24:1).
(5.) Mary the mother of John Mark was one of the earliest of
our Lord's disciples. She was the sister of Barnabas (Col.
4:10), and joined with him in disposing of their land and giving
the proceeds of the sale into the treasury of the Church (Acts
4:37; 12:12). Her house in Jerusalem was the common
meeting-place for the disciples there.
(6.) A Christian at Rome who treated Paul with special
kindness (Rom. 16:6).
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.
(1.) Joshua, the son of Nun (Acts 7:45; Heb. 4:8; R.V.,
(2.) A Jewish Christian surnamed Justus (Col. 4:11).
Je'sus, the proper, as Christ is the official, name of our
Lord. To distinguish him from others so called, he is spoken of
as "Jesus of Nazareth" (John 18:7), and "Jesus the son of
Joseph" (John 6:42).
This is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, which was
originally Hoshea (Num. 13:8, 16), but changed by Moses into
Jehoshua (Num. 13:16; 1 Chr. 7:27), or Joshua. After the Exile
it assumed the form Jeshua, whence the Greek form Jesus. It was
given to our Lord to denote the object of his mission, to save
The life of Jesus on earth may be divided into two great
periods, (1) that of his private life, till he was about thirty
years of age; and (2) that of his public life, which lasted
about three years.
In the "fulness of time" he was born at Bethlehem, in the
reign of the emperor Augustus, of Mary, who was betrothed to
Joseph, a carpenter (Matt. 1:1; Luke 3:23; comp. John 7:42). His
birth was announced to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-20). Wise men
from the east came to Bethlehem to see him who was born "King of
the Jews," bringing gifts with them (Matt. 2:1-12). Herod's
cruel jealousy led to Joseph's flight into Egypt with Mary and
the infant Jesus, where they tarried till the death of this king
(Matt. 2:13-23), when they returned and settled in Nazareth, in
Lower Galilee (2:23; comp. Luke 4:16; John 1:46, etc.). At the
age of twelve years he went up to Jerusalem to the Passover with
his parents. There, in the temple, "in the midst of the
doctors," all that heard him were "astonished at his
understanding and answers" (Luke 2:41, etc.).
Eighteen years pass, of which we have no record beyond this,
that he returned to Nazareth and "increased in wisdom and
stature, and in favour with God and man" (Luke 2:52).
He entered on his public ministry when he was about thirty
years of age. It is generally reckoned to have extended to about
three years. "Each of these years had peculiar features of its
own. (1.) The first year may be called the year of obscurity,
both because the records of it which we possess are very scanty,
and because he seems during it to have been only slowly emerging
into public notice. It was spent for the most part in Judea.
(2.) The second year was the year of public favour, during which
the country had become thoroughly aware of him; his activity was
incessant, and his frame rang through the length and breadth of
the land. It was almost wholly passed in Galilee. (3.) The third
was the year of opposition, when the public favour ebbed away.
His enemies multiplied and assailed him with more and more
pertinacity, and at last he fell a victim to their hatred. The
first six months of this final year were passed in Galilee, and
the last six in other parts of the land.", Stalker's Life of
Jesus Christ, p. 45.
The only reliable sources of information regarding the life of
Christ on earth are the Gospels, which present in historical
detail the words and the work of Christ in so many different
aspects. (See CHIRST ¯T0000818.)
a native of Syria and Israel. In form, blossoms, and fruit it
resembles the peach tree. Its blossoms are of a very pale pink
colour, and appear before its leaves. Its Hebrew name, _shaked_,
signifying "wakeful, hastening," is given to it on account of
its putting forth its blossoms so early, generally in February,
and sometimes even in January. In Eccl. 12:5, it is referred to
as illustrative, probably, of the haste with which old age
comes. There are others, however, who still contend for the old
interpretation here. "The almond tree bears its blossoms in the
midst of winter, on a naked, leafless stem, and these blossoms
(reddish or flesh-coloured in the beginning) seem at the time of
their fall exactly like white snow-flakes. In this way the
almond blossom is a very fitting symbol of old age, with its
silvery hair and its wintry, dry, barren, unfruitful condition."
In Jer. 1:11 "I see a rod of an almond tree [shaked]...for I
will hasten [shaked] my word to perform it" the word is used as
an emblem of promptitude. Jacob desired his sons (Gen. 43:11) to
take with them into Egypt of the best fruits of the land,
almonds, etc., as a present to Joseph, probably because this
tree was not a native of Egypt. Aaron's rod yielded almonds
(Num. 17:8; Heb. 9:4). Moses was directed to make certain parts
of the candlestick for the ark of carved work "like unto
almonds" (Ex. 25:33, 34). The Hebrew word _luz_, translated
"hazel" in the Authorized Version (Gen. 30:37), is rendered in
the Revised Version "almond." It is probable that _luz_ denotes
the wild almond, while _shaked_ denotes the cultivated variety.
This word has considerable latitude of meaning in Scripture.
Thus Joseph is called a child at the time when he was probably
about sixteen years of age (Gen. 37:3); and Benjamin is so
called when he was above thirty years (44:20). Solomon called
himself a little child when he came to the kingdom (1 Kings
The descendants of a man, however remote, are called his
children; as, "the children of Edom," "the children of Moab,"
"the children of Israel."
In the earliest times mothers did not wean their children till
they were from thirty months to three years old; and the day on
which they were weaned was kept as a festival day (Gen. 21:8;
Ex. 2:7, 9; 1 Sam. 1:22-24; Matt. 21:16). At the age of five,
children began to learn the arts and duties of life under the
care of their fathers (Deut. 6:20-25; 11:19).
To have a numerous family was regarded as a mark of divine
favour (Gen. 11:30; 30:1; 1 Sam. 2:5; 2 Sam. 6:23; Ps. 127:3;
Figuratively the name is used for those who are ignorant or
narrow-minded (Matt. 11:16; Luke 7:32; 1 Cor. 13:11). "When I
was a child, I spake as a child." "Brethren, be not children in
understanding" (1 Cor. 14:20). "That we henceforth be no more
children, tossed to and fro" (Eph. 4:14).
Children are also spoken of as representing simplicity and
humility (Matt. 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17).
Believers are "children of light" (Luke 16:8; 1 Thess. 5:5) and
"children of obedience" (1 Pet. 1:14).
the great deliverance wrought for the children of Isreal when
they were brought out of the land of Egypt with "a mighty hand
and with an outstretched arm" (Ex 12:51; Deut. 26:8; Ps 114;
136), about B.C. 1490, and four hundred and eighty years (1
Kings 6:1) before the building of Solomon's temple.
The time of their sojourning in Egypt was, according to Ex.
12:40, the space of four hundred and thirty years. In the LXX.,
the words are, "The sojourning of the children of Israel which
they sojourned in Egypt and in the land of Canaan was four
hundred and thirty years;" and the Samaritan version reads, "The
sojourning of the children of Israel and of their fathers which
they sojourned in the land of Canaan and in the land of Egypt
was four hundred and thirty years." In Gen. 15:13-16, the period
is prophetically given (in round numbers) as four hundred years.
This passage is quoted by Stephen in his defence before the
council (Acts 7:6).
The chronology of the "sojourning" is variously estimated.
Those who adopt the longer term reckon thus:
| From the descent of Jacob into Egypt to the
| death of Joseph 71
| From the death of Joseph to the birth of
| Moses 278
| From the birth of Moses to his flight into
| Midian 40
| From the flight of Moses to his return into
| Egypt 40
| From the return of Moses to the Exodus 1
Others contend for the shorter period of two hundred and
fifteen years, holding that the period of four hundred and
thirty years comprehends the years from the entrance of Abraham
into Canaan (see LXX. and Samaritan) to the descent of Jacob
into Egypt. They reckon thus:
| From Abraham's arrival in Canaan to Isaac's
| birth 25
| From Isaac's birth to that of his twin sons
| Esau and Jacob 60
| From Jacob's birth to the going down into
| Egypt 130
| From Jacob's going down into Egypt to the
| death of Joseph 71
| From death of Joseph to the birth of Moses 64
| From birth of Moses to the Exodus 80
| In all... 430
During the forty years of Moses' sojourn in the land of
Midian, the Hebrews in Egypt were being gradually prepared for
the great national crisis which was approaching. The plagues
that successively fell upon the land loosened the bonds by which
Pharaoh held them in slavery, and at length he was eager that
they should depart. But the Hebrews must now also be ready to
go. They were poor; for generations they had laboured for the
Egyptians without wages. They asked gifts from their neighbours
around them (Ex. 12:35), and these were readily bestowed. And
then, as the first step towards their independent national
organization, they observed the feast of the Passover, which was
now instituted as a perpetual memorial. The blood of the paschal
lamb was duly sprinkled on the door-posts and lintels of all
their houses, and they were all within, waiting the next
movement in the working out of God's plan. At length the last
stroke fell on the land of Egypt. "It came to pass, that at
midnight Jehovah smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt."
Pharaoh rose up in the night, and called for Moses and Aaron by
night, and said, "Rise up, and get you forth from among my
people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve
Jehovah, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds,
as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also." Thus was
Pharaoh (q.v.) completely humbled and broken down. These words
he spoke to Moses and Aaron "seem to gleam through the tears of
the humbled king, as he lamented his son snatched from him by so
sudden a death, and tremble with a sense of the helplessness
which his proud soul at last felt when the avenging hand of God
had visited even his palace."
The terror-stricken Egyptians now urged the instant departure
of the Hebrews. In the midst of the Passover feast, before the
dawn of the 15th day of the month Abib (our April nearly), which
was to be to them henceforth the beginning of the year, as it
was the commencement of a new epoch in their history, every
family, with all that appertained to it, was ready for the
march, which instantly began under the leadership of the heads
of tribes with their various sub-divisions. They moved onward,
increasing as they went forward from all the districts of
Goshen, over the whole of which they were scattered, to the
common centre. Three or four days perhaps elapsed before the
whole body of the people were assembled at Rameses, and ready to
set out under their leader Moses (Ex. 12:37; Num. 33:3). This
city was at that time the residence of the Egyptian court, and
here the interviews between Moses and Pharaoh had taken place.
From Rameses they journeyed to Succoth (Ex. 12:37), identified
with Tel-el-Maskhuta, about 12 miles west of Ismailia. (See
PITHOM ¯T0002968.) Their third station was Etham (q.v.), 13:20,
"in the edge of the wilderness," and was probably a little to
the west of the modern town of Ismailia, on the Suez Canal. Here
they were commanded "to turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth,
between Migdol and the sea", i.e., to change their route from
east to due south. The Lord now assumed the direction of their
march in the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night. They
were then led along the west shore of the Red Sea till they came
to an extensive camping-ground "before Pi-hahiroth," about 40
miles from Etham. This distance from Etham may have taken three
days to traverse, for the number of camping-places by no means
indicates the number of days spent on the journey: e.g., it took
fully a month to travel from Rameses to the wilderness of Sin
(Ex. 16:1), yet reference is made to only six camping-places
during all that time. The exact spot of their encampment before
they crossed the Red Sea cannot be determined. It was probably
somewhere near the present site of Suez.
Under the direction of God the children of Israel went
"forward" from the camp "before Pi-hahiroth," and the sea opened
a pathway for them, so that they crossed to the farther shore in
safety. The Egyptian host pursued after them, and, attempting to
follow through the sea, were overwhelmed in its returning
waters, and thus the whole military force of the Egyptians
perished. They "sank as lead in the mighty waters" (Ex. 15:1-9;
comp. Ps. 77:16-19).
Having reached the eastern shore of the sea, perhaps a little
way to the north of 'Ayun Musa ("the springs of Moses"), there
they encamped and rested probably for a day. Here Miriam and the
other women sang the triumphal song recorded in Ex. 15:1-21.
From 'Ayun Musa they went on for three days through a part of
the barren "wilderness of Shur" (22), called also the
"wilderness of Etham" (Num. 33:8; comp. Ex. 13:20), without
finding water. On the last of these days they came to Marah
(q.v.), where the "bitter" water was by a miracle made
Their next camping-place was Elim (q.v.), where were twelve
springs of water and a grove of "threescore and ten" palm trees
After a time the children of Israel "took their journey from
Elim," and encamped by the Red Sea (Num. 33:10), and thence
removed to the "wilderness of Sin" (to be distinguished from the
wilderness of Zin, 20:1), where they again encamped. Here,
probably the modern el-Markha, the supply of bread they had
brought with them out of Egypt failed. They began to "murmur"
for want of bread. God "heard their murmurings" and gave them
quails and manna, "bread from heaven" (Ex. 16:4-36). Moses
directed that an omer of manna should be put aside and preserved
as a perpetual memorial of God's goodness. They now turned
inland, and after three encampments came to the rich and fertile
valley of Rephidim, in the Wady Feiran. Here they found no
water, and again murmured against Moses. Directed by God, Moses
procured a miraculous supply of water from the "rock in Horeb,"
one of the hills of the Sinai group (17:1-7); and shortly
afterwards the children of Israel here fought their first battle
with the Amalekites, whom they smote with the edge of the sword.
From the eastern extremity of the Wady Feiran the line of
march now probably led through the Wady esh-Sheikh and the Wady
Solaf, meeting in the Wady er-Rahah, "the enclosed plain in
front of the magnificient cliffs of Ras Sufsafeh." Here they
encamped for more than a year (Num. 1:1; 10:11) before Sinai
The different encampments of the children of Israel, from the
time of their leaving Egypt till they reached the Promised Land,
are mentioned in Ex. 12:37-19; Num. 10-21; 33; Deut. 1, 2, 10.
It is worthy of notice that there are unmistakable evidences
that the Egyptians had a tradition of a great exodus from their
country, which could be none other than the exodus of the
The five books of Moses were collectively called the Pentateuch,
a word of Greek origin meaning "the five-fold book." The Jews
called them the Torah, i.e., "the law." It is probable that the
division of the Torah into five books proceeded from the Greek
translators of the Old Testament. The names by which these
several books are generally known are Greek.
The first book of the Pentateuch (q.v.) is called by the Jews
Bereshith, i.e., "in the beginning", because this is the first
word of the book. It is generally known among Christians by the
name of Genesis, i.e., "creation" or "generation," being the
name given to it in the LXX. as designating its character,
because it gives an account of the origin of all things. It
contains, according to the usual computation, the history of
about two thousand three hundred and sixty-nine years.
Genesis is divided into two principal parts. The first part
(1-11) gives a general history of mankind down to the time of
the Dispersion. The second part presents the early history of
Israel down to the death and burial of Joseph (12-50).
There are five principal persons brought in succession under
our notice in this book, and around these persons the history of
the successive periods is grouped, viz., Adam (1-3), Noah (4-9),
Abraham (10-25:18), Isaac (25:19-35:29), and Jacob (36-50).
In this book we have several prophecies concerning Christ
(3:15; 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; 49:10). The author of
this book was Moses. Under divine guidance he may indeed have
been led to make use of materials already existing in primeval
documents, or even of traditions in a trustworthy form that had
come down to his time, purifying them from all that was
unworthy; but the hand of Moses is clearly seen throughout in
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
Of uncoined money the first notice we have is in the history of
Abraham (Gen. 13:2; 20:16; 24:35). Next, this word is used in
connection with the purchase of the cave of Machpelah (23:16),
and again in connection with Jacob's purchase of a field at
Shalem (Gen. 33:18, 19) for "an hundred pieces of money"=an
hundred Hebrew kesitahs (q.v.), i.e., probably pieces of money,
as is supposed, bearing the figure of a lamb.
The history of Joseph affords evidence of the constant use of
money, silver of a fixed weight. This appears also in all the
subsequent history of the Jewish people, in all their internal
as well as foreign transactions. There were in common use in
trade silver pieces of a definite weight, shekels, half-shekels,
and quarter-shekels. But these were not properly coins, which
are pieces of metal authoritatively issued, and bearing a stamp.
Of the use of coined money we have no early notice among the
Hebrews. The first mentioned is of Persian coinage, the daric
(Ezra 2:69; Neh. 7:70) and the 'adarkon (Ezra 8:27). The daric
(q.v.) was a gold piece current in Israel in the time of
Cyrus. As long as the Jews, after the Exile, lived under Persian
rule, they used Persian coins. These gave place to Greek coins
when Israel came under the dominion of the Greeks (B.C. 331),
the coins consisting of gold, silver, and copper pieces. The
usual gold pieces were staters (q.v.), and the silver coins
tetradrachms and drachms.
In the year B.C. 140, Antiochus VII. gave permission to Simon
the Maccabee to coin Jewish money. Shekels (q.v.) were then
coined bearing the figure of the almond rod and the pot of
The first occasion on which we read of a prison is in the
history of Joseph in Egypt. Then Potiphar, "Joseph's master,
took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's
prisoners were bound" (Gen. 39:20-23). The Heb. word here used
(sohar) means properly a round tower or fortress. It seems to
have been a part of Potiphar's house, a place in which state
prisoners were kept.
The Mosaic law made no provision for imprisonment as a
punishment. In the wilderness two persons were "put in ward"
(Lev. 24:12; Num. 15:34), but it was only till the mind of God
concerning them should be ascertained. Prisons and prisoners are
mentioned in the book of Psalms (69:33; 79:11; 142:7). Samson
was confined in a Philistine prison (Judg. 16:21, 25). In the
subsequent history of Israel frequent references are made to
prisons (1 Kings 22:27; 2 Kings 17:4; 25:27, 29; 2 Chr. 16:10;
Isa. 42:7; Jer. 32:2). Prisons seem to have been common in New
Testament times (Matt. 11:2; 25:36, 43). The apostles were put
into the "common prison" at the instance of the Jewish council
(Acts 5:18, 23; 8:3); and at Philippi Paul and Silas were thrust
into the "inner prison" (16:24; comp. 4:3; 12:4, 5).
(1.) Trial; a being put to the test. Thus God "tempted [Gen. 22:
1; R.V., 'did prove'] Abraham;" and afflictions are said to
tempt, i.e., to try, men (James 1:2, 12; comp. Deut. 8:2),
putting their faith and patience to the test. (2.) Ordinarily,
however, the word means solicitation to that which is evil, and
hence Satan is called "the tempter" (Matt. 4:3). Our Lord was in
this way tempted in the wilderness. That temptation was not
internal, but by a real, active, subtle being. It was not
self-sought. It was submitted to as an act of obedience on his
part. "Christ was led, driven. An unseen personal force bore him
a certain violence is implied in the words" (Matt. 4:1-11).
The scene of the temptation of our Lord is generally supposed
to have been the mountain of Quarantania (q.v.), "a high and
precipitous wall of rock, 1,200 or 1,500 feet above the plain
west of Jordan, near Jericho."
Temptation is common to all (Dan. 12:10; Zech. 13:9; Ps.
66:10; Luke 22:31, 40; Heb. 11:17; James 1:12; 1 Pet. 1:7;
4:12). We read of the temptation of Joseph (Gen. 39), of David
(2 Sam. 24; 1 Chr. 21), of Hezekiah (2 Chr. 32:31), of Daniel
(Dan. 6), etc. So long as we are in this world we are exposed to
temptations, and need ever to be on our watch against them.
who makes to forget. "God hath made me forget" (Heb. nashshani),
Gen. 41:51. (1.) The elder of the two sons of Joseph. He and his
brother Ephraim were afterwards adopted by Jacob as his own sons
(48:1). There is an account of his marriage to a Syrian (1 Chr.
7:14); and the only thing afterwards recorded of him is, that
his grandchildren were "brought up upon Joseph's knees" (Gen.
50:23; R.V., "born upon Joseph's knees") i.e., were from their
birth adopted by Joseph as his own children.
The tribe of Manasseh was associated with that of Ephraim and
Benjamin during the wanderings in the wilderness. They encamped
on the west side of the tabernacle. According to the census
taken at Sinai, this tribe then numbered 32,200 (Num. 1:10, 35;
2:20, 21). Forty years afterwards its numbers had increased to
52,700 (26:34, 37), and it was at this time the most
distinguished of all the tribes.
The half of this tribe, along with Reuben and Gad, had their
territory assigned them by Moses on the east of the Jordan
(Josh. 13:7-14); but it was left for Joshua to define the limits
of each tribe. This territory on the east of Jordan was more
valuable and of larger extent than all that was allotted to the
nine and a half tribes in the land of Israel. It is sometimes
called "the land of Gilead," and is also spoken of as "on the
other side of Jordan." The portion given to the half tribe of
Manasseh was the largest on the east of Jordan. It embraced the
whole of Bashan. It was bounded on the south by Mahanaim, and
extended north to the foot of Lebanon. Argob, with its sixty
cities, that "ocean of basaltic rocks and boulders tossed about
in the wildest confusion," lay in the midst of this territory.
The whole "land of Gilead" having been conquered, the two and
a half tribes left their wives and families in the fortified
cities there, and accompanied the other tribes across the
Jordan, and took part with them in the wars of conquest. The
allotment of the land having been completed, Joshua dismissed
the two and a half tribes, commending them for their heroic
service (Josh. 22:1-34). Thus dismissed, they returned over
Jordan to their own inheritance. (See ED ¯T0001125.)
On the west of Jordan the other half of the tribe of Manasseh
was associated with Ephraim, and they had their portion in the
very centre of Israel, an area of about 1,300 square miles,
the most valuable part of the whole country, abounding in
springs of water. Manasseh's portion was immediately to the
north of that of Ephraim (Josh. 16). Thus the western Manasseh
defended the passes of Esdraelon as the eastern kept the passes
of the Hauran.
(2.) The only son and successor of Hezekiah on the throne of
Judah. He was twelve years old when he began to reign (2 Kings
21:1), and he reigned fifty-five years (B.C. 698-643). Though he
reigned so long, yet comparatively little is known of this king.
His reign was a continuation of that of Ahaz, both in religion
and national polity. He early fell under the influence of the
heathen court circle, and his reign was characterized by a sad
relapse into idolatry with all its vices, showing that the
reformation under his father had been to a large extent only
superficial (Isa. 7:10; 2 Kings 21:10-15). A systematic and
persistent attempt was made, and all too successfully, to banish
the worship of Jehovah out of the land. Amid this wide-spread
idolatry there were not wanting, however, faithful prophets
(Isaiah, Micah) who lifted up their voice in reproof and in
warning. But their fidelity only aroused bitter hatred, and a
period of cruel persecution against all the friends of the old
religion began. "The days of Alva in Holland, of Charles IX. in
France, or of the Covenanters under Charles II. in Scotland,
were anticipated in the Jewish capital. The streets were red
with blood." There is an old Jewish tradition that Isaiah was
put to death at this time (2 Kings 21:16; 24:3, 4; Jer. 2:30),
having been sawn asunder in the trunk of a tree. Psalms 49, 73,
77, 140, and 141 seem to express the feelings of the pious amid
the fiery trials of this great persecution. Manasseh has been
called the "Nero of Israel."
Esarhaddon, Sennacherib's successor on the Assyrian throne,
who had his residence in Babylon for thirteen years (the only
Assyrian monarch who ever reigned in Babylon), took Manasseh
prisoner (B.C. 681) to Babylon. Such captive kings were usually
treated with great cruelty. They were brought before the
conqueror with a hook or ring passed through their lips or their
jaws, having a cord attached to it, by which they were led. This
is referred to in 2 Chr. 33:11, where the Authorized Version
reads that Esarhaddon "took Manasseh among the thorns;" while
the Revised Version renders the words, "took Manasseh in
chains;" or literally, as in the margin, "with hooks." (Comp. 2
The severity of Manasseh's imprisonment brought him to
repentance. God heard his cry, and he was restored to his
kingdom (2 Chr. 33:11-13). He abandoned his idolatrous ways, and
enjoined the people to worship Jehovah; but there was no
thorough reformation. After a lengthened reign extending through
fifty-five years, the longest in the history of Judah, he died,
and was buried in the garden of Uzza, the "garden of his own
house" (2 Kings 21:17, 18; 2 Chr. 33:20), and not in the city of
David, among his ancestors. He was succeeded by his son Amon.
In Judg. 18:30 the correct reading is "Moses," and not
"Manasseh." The name "Manasseh" is supposed to have been
introduced by some transcriber to avoid the scandal of naming
the grandson of Moses the great lawgiver as the founder of an
a vehicle generally used for warlike purposes. Sometimes, though
but rarely, it is spoken of as used for peaceful purposes.
The first mention of the chariot is when Joseph, as a mark of
distinction, was placed in Pharaoh's second state chariot (Gen.
41:43); and the next, when he went out in his own chariot to
meet his father Jacob (46:29). Chariots formed part of the
funeral procession of Jacob (50:9). When Pharaoh pursued the
Israelites he took 600 war-chariots with him (Ex. 14:7). The
Canaanites in the valleys of Israel had chariots of iron
(Josh. 17:18; Judg. 1:19). Jabin, the king of Canaan, had 900
chariots (Judg. 4:3); and in Saul's time the Philistines had
30,000. In his wars with the king of Zobah and with the Syrians,
David took many chariots among the spoils (2 Sam. 8:4; 10:18).
Solomon maintained as part of his army 1,400 chariots (1 Kings
10:26), which were chiefly imported from Egypt (29). From this
time forward they formed part of the armies of Israel (1 Kings
22:34; 2 Kings 9:16, 21; 13:7, 14; 18:24; 23:30).
In the New Testament we have only one historical reference to
the use of chariots, in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts.
8:28, 29, 38).
This word is sometimes used figuratively for hosts (Ps. 68:17;
2 Kings 6:17). Elijah, by his prayers and his counsel, was "the
chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof." The rapid agency
of God in the phenomena of nature is also spoken of under the
similitude of a chariot (Ps. 104:3; Isa. 66:15; Hab. 3:8).
Chariot of the cherubim (1 Chr. 28:18), the chariot formed by
the two cherubs on the mercy-seat on which the Lord rides.
Chariot cities were set apart for storing the war-chariots in
time of peace (2 Chr. 1:14).
Chariot horses were such as were peculiarly fitted for service
in chariots (2 Kings 7:14).
Chariots of war are described in Ex. 14:7; 1 Sam. 13:5; 2 Sam.
8:4; 1 Chr. 18:4; Josh. 11:4; Judg. 4:3, 13. They were not used
by the Israelites till the time of David. Elijah was translated
in a "chariot of fire" (2 Kings 2:11). Comp. 2 Kings 6:17. This
vision would be to Elisha a source of strength and
encouragement, for now he could say, "They that be with us are
more than they that be with them."
of false prophets (Deut. 18:10, 14; Micah 3:6, 7, 11), of
necromancers (1 Sam. 28:8), of the Philistine priests and
diviners (1 Sam. 6:2), of Balaam (Josh. 13:22). Three kinds of
divination are mentioned in Ezek. 21:21, by arrows, consulting
with images (the teraphim), and by examining the entrails of
animals sacrificed. The practice of this art seems to have been
encouraged in ancient Egypt. Diviners also abounded among the
aborigines of Canaan and the Philistines (Isa. 2:6; 1 Sam. 28).
At a later period multitudes of magicians poured from Chaldea
and Arabia into the land of Israel, and pursued their
occupations (Isa. 8:19; 2 Kings 21:6; 2 Chr. 33:6). This
superstition widely spread, and in the time of the apostles
there were "vagabond Jews, exorcists" (Acts 19:13), and men like
Simon Magus (Acts 8:9), Bar-jesus (13:6, 8), and other jugglers
and impostors (19:19; 2 Tim. 3:13). Every species and degree of
this superstition was strictly forbidden by the law of Moses
(Ex. 22:18; Lev. 19:26, 31; 20:27; Deut. 18:10, 11).
But beyond these various forms of superstition, there are
instances of divination on record in the Scriptures by which God
was pleased to make known his will.
(1.) There was divination by lot, by which, when resorted to
in matters of moment, and with solemnity, God intimated his will
(Josh. 7:13). The land of Canaan was divided by lot (Num. 26:55,
56); Achan's guilt was detected (Josh. 7:16-19), Saul was
elected king (1 Sam. 10:20, 21), and Matthias chosen to the
apostleship, by the solem lot (Acts 1:26). It was thus also that
the scape-goat was determined (Lev. 16:8-10).
(2.) There was divination by dreams (Gen. 20:6; Deut. 13:1, 3;
Judg. 7:13, 15; Matt. 1:20; 2:12, 13, 19, 22). This is
illustrated in the history of Joseph (Gen. 41:25-32) and of
Daniel (2:27; 4:19-28).
(3.) By divine appointment there was also divination by the
Urim and Thummim (Num. 27:21), and by the ephod.
(4.) God was pleased sometimes to vouch-safe direct vocal
communications to men (Deut. 34:10; Ex. 3:4; 4:3; Deut. 4:14,
15; 1 Kings 19:12). He also communed with men from above the
mercy-seat (Ex. 25:22), and at the door of the tabernacle (Ex.
(5.) Through his prophets God revealed himself, and gave
intimations of his will (2 Kings 13:17; Jer. 51:63, 64).
the land of the Nile and the pyramids, the oldest kingdom of
which we have any record, holds a place of great significance in
The Egyptians belonged to the white race, and their original
home is still a matter of dispute. Many scholars believe that it
was in Southern Arabia, and recent excavations have shown that
the valley of the Nile was originally inhabited by a low-class
population, perhaps belonging to the Nigritian stock, before the
Egyptians of history entered it. The ancient Egyptian language,
of which the latest form is Coptic, is distantly connected with
the Semitic family of speech.
Egypt consists geographically of two halves, the northern
being the Delta, and the southern Upper Egypt, between Cairo and
the First Cataract. In the Old Testament, Northern or Lower
Egypt is called Mazor, "the fortified land" (Isa. 19:6; 37: 25,
where the A.V. mistranslates "defence" and "besieged places");
while Southern or Upper Egypt is Pathros, the Egyptian
Pa-to-Res, or "the land of the south" (Isa. 11:11). But the
whole country is generally mentioned under the dual name of
Mizraim, "the two Mazors."
The civilization of Egypt goes back to a very remote
antiquity. The two kingdoms of the north and south were united
by Menes, the founder of the first historical dynasty of kings.
The first six dynasties constitute what is known as the Old
Empire, which had its capital at Memphis, south of Cairo, called
in the Old Testament Moph (Hos. 9:6) and Noph. The native name
was Mennofer, "the good place."
The Pyramids were tombs of the monarchs of the Old Empire,
those of Gizeh being erected in the time of the Fourth Dynasty.
After the fall of the Old Empire came a period of decline and
obscurity. This was followed by the Middle Empire, the most
powerful dynasty of which was the Twelfth. The Fayyum was
rescued for agriculture by the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty; and
two obelisks were erected in front of the temple of the sun-god
at On or Heliopolis (near Cairo), one of which is still
standing. The capital of the Middle Empire was Thebes, in Upper
The Middle Empire was overthrown by the invasion of the
Hyksos, or shepherd princes from Asia, who ruled over Egypt,
more especially in the north, for several centuries, and of whom
there were three dynasties of kings. They had their capital at
Zoan or Tanis (now San), in the north-eastern part of the Delta.
It was in the time of the Hyksos that Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph
entered Egypt. The Hyksos were finally expelled about B.C. 1600,
by the hereditary princes of Thebes, who founded the Eighteenth
Dynasty, and carried the war into Asia. Canaan and Syria were
subdued, as well as Cyprus, and the boundaries of the Egyptian
Empire were fixed at the Euphrates. The Soudan, which had been
conquered by the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty, was again annexed
to Egypt, and the eldest son of the Pharaoh took the title of
"Prince of Cush."
One of the later kings of the dynasty, Amenophis IV., or
Khu-n-Aten, endeavoured to supplant the ancient state religion
of Egypt by a new faith derived from Asia, which was a sort of
pantheistic monotheism, the one supreme god being adored under
the image of the solar disk. The attempt led to religious and
civil war, and the Pharaoh retreated from Thebes to Central
Egypt, where he built a new capital, on the site of the present
Tell-el-Amarna. The cuneiform tablets that have been found there
represent his foreign correspondence (about B.C. 1400). He
surrounded himself with officials and courtiers of Asiatic, and
more especially Canaanitish, extraction; but the native party
succeeded eventually in overthrowing the government, the capital
of Khu-n-Aten was destroyed, and the foreigners were driven out
of the country, those that remained being reduced to serfdom.
The national triumph was marked by the rise of the Nineteenth
Dynasty, in the founder of which, Rameses I., we must see the
"new king, who knew not Joseph." His grandson, Rameses II.,
reigned sixty-seven years (B.C. 1348-1281), and was an
indefatigable builder. As Pithom, excavated by Dr. Naville in
1883, was one of the cities he built, he must have been the
Pharaoh of the Oppression. The Pharaoh of the Exodus may have
been one of his immediate successors, whose reigns were short.
Under them Egypt lost its empire in Asia, and was itself
attacked by barbarians from Libya and the north.
The Nineteenth Dynasty soon afterwards came to an end; Egypt
was distracted by civil war; and for a short time a Canaanite,
Arisu, ruled over it.
Then came the Twentieth Dynasty, the second Pharaoh of which,
Rameses III., restored the power of his country. In one of his
campaigns he overran the southern part of Israel, where the
Israelites had not yet settled. They must at the time have been
still in the wilderness. But it was during the reign of Rameses
III. that Egypt finally lost Gaza and the adjoining cities,
which were seized by the Pulista, or Philistines.
After Rameses III., Egypt fell into decay. Solomon married the
daughter of one of the last kings of the Twenty-first Dynasty,
which was overthrown by Shishak I., the general of the Libyan
mercenaries, who founded the Twenty-second Dynasty (1 Kings
11:40; 14:25, 26). A list of the places he captured in Israel
is engraved on the outside of the south wall of the temple of
In the time of Hezekiah, Egypt was conquered by Ethiopians
from the Soudan, who constituted the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. The
third of them was Tirhakah (2 Kings 19:9). In B.C. 674 it was
conquered by the Assyrians, who divided it into twenty
satrapies, and Tirhakah was driven back to his ancestral
dominions. Fourteen years later it successfully revolted under
Psammetichus I. of Sais, the founder of the Twenty-sixth
Dynasty. Among his successors were Necho (2 Kings 23:29) and
Hophra, or Apries (Jer. 37:5, 7, 11). The dynasty came to an end
in B.C. 525, when the country was subjugated by Cambyses. Soon
afterwards it was organized into a Persian satrapy.
The title of Pharaoh, given to the Egyptian kings, is the
Egyptian Per-aa, or "Great House," which may be compared to that
of "Sublime Porte." It is found in very early Egyptian texts.
The Egyptian religion was a strange mixture of pantheism and
animal worship, the gods being adored in the form of animals.
While the educated classes resolved their manifold deities into
manifestations of one omnipresent and omnipotent divine power,
the lower classes regarded the animals as incarnations of the
Under the Old Empire, Ptah, the Creator, the god of Memphis,
was at the head of the Pantheon; afterwards Amon, the god of
Thebes, took his place. Amon, like most of the other gods, was
identified with Ra, the sun-god of Heliopolis.
The Egyptians believed in a resurrection and future life, as
well as in a state of rewards and punishments dependent on our
conduct in this world. The judge of the dead was Osiris, who had
been slain by Set, the representative of evil, and afterwards
restored to life. His death was avenged by his son Horus, whom
the Egyptians invoked as their "Redeemer." Osiris and Horus,
along with Isis, formed a trinity, who were regarded as
representing the sun-god under different forms.
Even in the time of Abraham, Egypt was a flourishing and
settled monarchy. Its oldest capital, within the historic
period, was Memphis, the ruins of which may still be seen near
the Pyramids and the Sphinx. When the Old Empire of Menes came
to an end, the seat of empire was shifted to Thebes, some 300
miles farther up the Nile. A short time after that, the Delta
was conquered by the Hyksos, or shepherd kings, who fixed their
capital at Zoan, the Greek Tanis, now San, on the Tanic arm of
the Nile. All this occurred before the time of the new king
"which knew not Joseph" (Ex. 1:8). In later times Egypt was
conquered by the Persians (B.C. 525), and by the Greeks under
Alexander the Great (B.C. 332), after whom the Ptolemies ruled
the country for three centuries. Subsequently it was for a time
a province of the Roman Empire; and at last, in A.D. 1517, it
fell into the hands of the Turks, of whose empire it still forms
nominally a part. Abraham and Sarah went to Egypt in the time of
the shepherd kings. The exile of Joseph and the migration of
Jacob to "the land of Goshen" occurred about 200 years later. On
the death of Solomon, Shishak, king of Egypt, invaded Israel
(1 Kings 14:25). He left a list of the cities he conquered.
A number of remarkable clay tablets, discovered at
Tell-el-Amarna in Upper Egypt, are the most important historical
records ever found in connection with the Bible. They most fully
confirm the historical statements of the Book of Joshua, and
prove the antiquity of civilization in Syria and Israel. As
the clay in different parts of Israel differs, it has been
found possible by the clay alone to decide where the tablets
come from when the name of the writer is lost. The inscriptions
are cuneiform, and in the Aramaic language, resembling Assyrian.
The writers are Phoenicians, Amorites, and Philistines, but in
no instance Hittites, though Hittites are mentioned. The tablets
consist of official dispatches and letters, dating from B.C.
1480, addressed to the two Pharaohs, Amenophis III. and IV., the
last of this dynasty, from the kings and governors of Phoenicia
and Israel. There occur the names of three kings killed by
Joshua, Adoni-zedec, king of Jerusalem, Japhia, king of Lachish
(Josh. 10:3), and Jabin, king of Hazor (11:1); also the Hebrews
(Abiri) are said to have come from the desert.
The principal prophecies of Scripture regarding Egypt are
these, Isa. 19; Jer. 43: 8-13; 44:30; 46; Ezek. 29-32; and it
might be easily shown that they have all been remarkably
fulfilled. For example, the singular disappearance of Noph
(i.e., Memphis) is a fulfilment of Jer. 46:19, Ezek. 30:13.
(1.) The Egyptians let the hair of their head and beard grow
only when they were in mourning, shaving it off at other times.
"So particular were they on this point that to have neglected it
was a subject of reproach and ridicule; and whenever they
intended to convey the idea of a man of low condition, or a
slovenly person, the artists represented him with a beard."
Joseph shaved himself before going in to Pharoah (Gen. 41:14).
The women of Egypt wore their hair long and plaited. Wigs were
worn by priests and laymen to cover the shaven skull, and false
beards were common. The great masses of hair seen in the
portraits and statues of kings and priests are thus altogether
(2.) A precisely opposite practice, as regards men, prevailed
among the Assyrians. In Assyrian sculptures the hair always
appears long, and combed closely down upon the head. The beard
also was allowed to grow to its full length.
(3.) Among the Greeks the custom in this respect varied at
different times, as it did also among the Romans. In the time of
the apostle, among the Greeks the men wore short hair, while
that of the women was long (1 Cor. 11:14, 15). Paul reproves the
Corinthians for falling in with a style of manners which so far
confounded the distinction of the sexes and was hurtful to good
morals. (See, however, 1 Tim. 2:9, and 1 Pet. 3:3, as regards
(4.) Among the Hebrews the natural distinction between the
sexes was preserved by the women wearing long hair (Luke 7:38;
John 11:2; 1 Cor. 11:6), while the men preserved theirs as a
rule at a moderate length by frequent clipping.
Baldness disqualified any one for the priest's office (Lev.
Elijah is called a "hairy man" (2 Kings 1:8) from his flowing
locks, or more probably from the shaggy cloak of hair which he
wore. His raiment was of camel's hair.
Long hair is especially noticed in the description of
Absalom's person (2 Sam. 14:26); but the wearing of long hair
was unusual, and was only practised as an act of religious
observance by Nazarites (Num. 6:5; Judg. 13:5) and others in
token of special mercies (Acts 18:18).
In times of affliction the hair was cut off (Isa. 3:17, 24;
15:2; 22:12; Jer. 7:29; Amos 8:10). Tearing the hair and letting
it go dishevelled were also tokens of grief (Ezra 9:3). "Cutting
off the hair" is a figure of the entire destruction of a people
(Isa. 7:20). The Hebrews anointed the hair profusely with
fragrant ointments (Ruth 3:3; 2 Sam. 14:2; Ps. 23:5; 45:7,
etc.), especially in seasons of rejoicing (Matt. 6:17; Luke
(1.) Heb., pishet, pishtah, denotes "flax," of which linen is
made (Isa. 19:9); wrought flax, i.e., "linen cloth", Lev. 13:47,
48, 52, 59; Deut. 22:11.
Flax was early cultivated in Egypt (Ex. 9:31), and also in
Israel (Josh. 2:6; Hos. 2:9). Various articles were made of
it: garments (2 Sam. 6:14), girdles (Jer. 13:1), ropes and
thread (Ezek. 40:3), napkins (Luke 24:12; John 20:7), turbans
(Ezek. 44:18), and lamp-wicks (Isa. 42:3).
(2.) Heb. buts, "whiteness;" rendered "fine linen" in 1 Chr.
4:21; 15:27; 2 Chr. 2:14; 3:14; Esther 1:6; 8:15, and "white
linen" 2 Chr. 5:12. It is not certain whether this word means
cotton or linen.
(3.) Heb. bad; rendered "linen" Ex. 28:42; 39:28; Lev. 6:10;
16:4, 23, 32; 1 Sam. 2:18; 2 Sam. 6:14, etc. It is uniformly
used of the sacred vestments worn by the priests. The word is
from a root signifying "separation."
(4.) Heb. shesh; rendered "fine linen" Ex. 25:4; 26:1, 31, 36,
etc. In Prov. 31:22 it is rendered in Authorized Version "silk,"
and in Revised Version "fine linen." The word denotes Egyptian
linen of peculiar whiteness and fineness (byssus). The finest
Indian linen, the finest now made, has in an inch one hundred
threads of warp and eighty-four of woof; while the Egyptian had
sometimes one hundred and forty in the warp and sixty-four in
the woof. This was the usual dress of the Egyptian priest.
Pharaoh arrayed Joseph in a dress of linen (Gen. 41:42).
(5.) Heb. 'etun. Prov. 7:16, "fine linen of Egypt;" in Revised
Version, "the yarn of Egypt."
(6.) Heb. sadin. Prov. 31:24, "fine linen;" in Revised
Version, "linen garments" (Judg. 14:12, 13; Isa. 3:23). From
this Hebrew word is probably derived the Greek word sindon,
rendered "linen" in Mark 14:51, 52; 15:46; Matt. 27:59.
The word "linen" is used as an emblem of moral purity (Rev.
15:6). In Luke 16:19 it is mentioned as a mark of luxury.
an Arabian tribe descended from Midian. They inhabited
principally the desert north of the peninsula of Arabia. The
peninsula of Sinai was the pasture-ground for their flocks. They
were virtually the rulers of Arabia, being the dominant tribe.
Like all Arabians, they were a nomad people. They early engaged
in commercial pursuits. It was to one of their caravans that
Joseph was sold (Gen. 37:28, 36). The next notice of them is in
connection with Moses' flight from Egypt (Ex. 2:15-21). Here in
Midian Moses became the servant and afterwards the son-in-law of
Reuel or Jethro, the priest. After the Exodus, the Midianites
were friendly to the Israelites so long as they traversed only
their outlying pasture-ground on the west of the Arabah; but
when, having passed the southern end of Edom, they entered into
the land of Midian proper, they joined with Balak, the king of
Moab, in a conspiracy against them (Num. 22:4-7). Balaam, who
had been sent for to curse Israel, having utterly failed to do
so, was dismissed by the king of Moab; nevertheless he still
tarried among the Midianites, and induced them to enter into
correspondence with the Israelites, so as to bring them into
association with them in the licentious orgies connected with
the worship of Baal-Peor. This crafty counsel prevailed. The
Israelites took part in the heathen festival, and so brought
upon themselves a curse indeed. Their apostasy brought upon them
a severe punishment. A plague broke out amongst them, and more
than twenty-four thousand of the people perished (Num. 25:9).
But the Midianites were not to be left unpunished. A terrible
vengeance was denounced against them. A thousand warriors from
each tribe, under the leadership of Phinehas, went forth against
them. The Midianites were utterly routed. Their cities were
consumed by fire, five of their kings were put to death, and the
whole nation was destroyed (Josh. 13:21, 22). Balaam also
perished by the sword, receiving the "wages of his
unrighteousness" (Num. 31:8; 2 Pet. 2:15). The whole of the
country on the east of Jordan, now conquered by the Israelites
(see SIHON ¯T0003427; OG ¯T0002771), was divided between the two
tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh.
Some two hundred and fifty years after this the Midianites had
regained their ancient power, and in confederation with the
Amalekites and the "children of the east" they made war against
their old enemies the Israelites, whom for seven years they
oppressed and held in subjection. They were at length assailed
by Gideon in that ever-memorable battle in the great plain of
Esdraelon, and utterly destroyed (Judg. 6:1-ch. 7). Frequent
allusions are afterwards made to this great victory (Ps. 83:10,
12; Isa. 9:4; 10:6). They now wholly pass away from the page of
history both sacred and profane.
drawn (or Egypt. mesu, "son;" hence Rameses, royal son). On the
invitation of Pharaoh (Gen. 45:17-25), Jacob and his sons went
down into Egypt. This immigration took place probably about 350
years before the birth of Moses. Some centuries before Joseph,
Egypt had been conquered by a pastoral Semitic race from Asia,
the Hyksos, who brought into cruel subjection the native
Egyptians, who were an African race. Jacob and his retinue were
accustomed to a shepherd's life, and on their arrival in Egypt
were received with favour by the king, who assigned them the
"best of the land", the land of Goshen, to dwell in. The Hyksos
or "shepherd" king who thus showed favour to Joseph and his
family was in all probability the Pharaoh Apopi (or Apopis).
Thus favoured, the Israelites began to "multiply exceedingly"
(Gen. 47:27), and extended to the west and south. At length the
supremacy of the Hyksos came to an end. The descendants of Jacob
were allowed to retain their possession of Goshen undisturbed,
but after the death of Joseph their position was not so
favourable. The Egyptians began to despise them, and the period
of their "affliction" (Gen. 15:13) commenced. They were sorely
oppressed. They continued, however, to increase in numbers, and
"the land was filled with them" (Ex. 1:7). The native Egyptians
regarded them with suspicion, so that they felt all the hardship
of a struggle for existence.
In process of time "a king [probably Seti I.] arose who knew
not Joseph" (Ex. 1:8). (See PHARAOH ¯T0002923.) The
circumstances of the country were such that this king thought it
necessary to weaken his Israelite subjects by oppressing them,
and by degrees reducing their number. They were accordingly made
public slaves, and were employed in connection with his numerous
buildings, especially in the erection of store-cities, temples,
and palaces. The children of Israel were made to serve with
rigour. Their lives were made bitter with hard bondage, and "all
their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour"
(Ex. 1:13, 14). But this cruel oppression had not the result
expected of reducing their number. On the contrary, "the more
the Egyptians afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew"
The king next tried, through a compact secretly made with the
guild of midwives, to bring about the destruction of all the
Hebrew male children that might be born. But the king's wish was
not rigorously enforced; the male children were spared by the
midwives, so that "the people multiplied" more than ever. Thus
baffled, the king issued a public proclamation calling on the
people to put to death all the Hebrew male children by casting
them into the river (Ex. 1:22). But neither by this edict was
the king's purpose effected.
One of the Hebrew households into which this cruel edict of
the king brought great alarm was that of Amram, of the family of
the Kohathites (Ex. 6:16-20), who with his wife Jochebed and two
children, Miriam, a girl of perhaps fifteen years of age, and
Aaron, a boy of three years, resided in or near Memphis, the
capital city of that time. In this quiet home a male child was
born (B.C. 1571). His mother concealed him in the house for
three months from the knowledge of the civic authorities. But
when the task of concealment became difficult, Jochebed
contrived to bring her child under the notice of the daughter of
the king by constructing for him an ark of bulrushes, which she
laid among the flags which grew on the edge of the river at the
spot where the princess was wont to come down and bathe. Her
plan was successful. The king's daughter "saw the child; and
behold the child wept." The princess (see PHARAOH'S DAUGHTER
¯T0002924 ) sent Miriam, who was standing by, to fetch a
nurse. She went and brought the mother of the child, to whom the
princess said, "Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I
will give thee thy wages." Thus Jochebed's child, whom the
princess called "Moses", i.e., "Saved from the water" (Ex.
2:10), was ultimately restored to her.
As soon as the natural time for weaning the child had come, he
was transferred from the humble abode of his father to the royal
palace, where he was brought up as the adopted son of the
princess, his mother probably accompanying him and caring still
for him. He grew up amid all the grandeur and excitement of the
Egyptian court, maintaining, however, probably a constant
fellowship with his mother, which was of the highest importance
as to his religious belief and his interest in his "brethren."
His education would doubtless be carefully attended to, and he
would enjoy all the advantages of training both as to his body
and his mind. He at length became "learned in all the wisdom of
the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22). Egypt had then two chief seats of
learning, or universities, at one of which, probably that of
Heliopolis, his education was completed. Moses, being now about
twenty years of age, spent over twenty more before he came into
prominence in Bible history. These twenty years were probably
spent in military service. There is a tradition recorded by
Josephus that he took a lead in the war which was then waged
between Egypt and Ethiopia, in which he gained renown as a
skilful general, and became "mighty in deeds" (Acts 7:22).
After the termination of the war in Ethiopia, Moses returned
to the Egyptian court, where he might reasonably have expected
to be loaded with honours and enriched with wealth. But "beneath
the smooth current of his life hitherto, a life of alternate
luxury at the court and comparative hardness in the camp and in
the discharge of his military duties, there had lurked from
childhood to youth, and from youth to manhood, a secret
discontent, perhaps a secret ambition. Moses, amid all his
Egyptian surroundings, had never forgotten, had never wished to
forget, that he was a Hebrew." He now resolved to make himself
acquainted with the condition of his countrymen, and "went out
unto his brethren, and looked upon their burdens" (Ex. 2:11).
This tour of inspection revealed to him the cruel oppression and
bondage under which they everywhere groaned, and could not fail
to press on him the serious consideration of his duty regarding
them. The time had arrived for his making common cause with
them, that he might thereby help to break their yoke of bondage.
He made his choice accordingly (Heb. 11:25-27), assured that God
would bless his resolution for the welfare of his people. He now
left the palace of the king and took up his abode, probably in
his father's house, as one of the Hebrew people who had for
forty years been suffering cruel wrong at the hands of the
He could not remain indifferent to the state of things around
him, and going out one day among the people, his indignation was
roused against an Egyptian who was maltreating a Hebrew. He
rashly lifted up his hand and slew the Egyptian, and hid his
body in the sand. Next day he went out again and found two
Hebrews striving together. He speedily found that the deed of
the previous day was known. It reached the ears of Pharaoh (the
"great Rameses," Rameses II.), who "sought to slay Moses" (Ex.
2:15). Moved by fear, Moses fled from Egypt, and betook himself
to the land of Midian, the southern part of the peninsula of
Sinai, probably by much the same route as that by which, forty
years afterwards, he led the Israelites to Sinai. He was
providentially led to find a new home with the family of Reuel,
where he remained for forty years (Acts 7:30), under training
unconsciously for his great life's work.
Suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the burning
bush (Ex. 3), and commissioned him to go down to Egypt and
"bring forth the children of Israel" out of bondage. He was at
first unwilling to go, but at length he was obedient to the
heavenly vision, and left the land of Midian (4:18-26). On the
way he was met by Aaron (q.v.) and the elders of Israel (27-31).
He and Aaron had a hard task before them; but the Lord was with
them (ch. 7-12), and the ransomed host went forth in triumph.
(See EXODUS ¯T0001283.) After an eventful journey to and fro in
the wilderness, we see them at length encamped in the plains of
Moab, ready to cross over the Jordan into the Promised Land.
There Moses addressed the assembled elders (Deut. 1:1-4;
5:1-26:19; 27:11-30:20), and gives the people his last counsels,
and then rehearses the great song (Deut. 32), clothing in
fitting words the deep emotions of his heart at such a time, and
in review of such a marvellous history as that in which he had
acted so conspicious a part. Then, after blessing the tribes
(33), he ascends to "the mountain of Nebo (q.v.), to the top of
Pisgah, that is over against Jericho" (34:1), and from thence he
surveys the land. "Jehovah shewed him all the land of Gilead,
unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and
Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, and
the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of
palm trees, unto Zoar" (Deut. 34:2-3), the magnificient
inheritance of the tribes of whom he had been so long the
leader; and there he died, being one hundred and twenty years
old, according to the word of the Lord, and was buried by the
Lord "in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor"
(34:6). The people mourned for him during thirty days.
Thus died "Moses the man of God" (Deut. 33:1; Josh. 14:6). He
was distinguished for his meekness and patience and firmness,
and "he endured as seeing him who is invisible." "There arose
not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord
knew face to face, in all the signs and the wonders, which the
Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all
his servants, and to all his land, and in all that mighty hand,
and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of
all Israel" (Deut. 34:10-12).
The name of Moses occurs frequently in the Psalms and Prophets
as the chief of the prophets.
In the New Testament he is referred to as the representative
of the law and as a type of Christ (John 1:17; 2 Cor. 3:13-18;
Heb. 3:5, 6). Moses is the only character in the Old Testament
to whom Christ likens himself (John 5:46; comp. Deut. 18:15, 18,
19; Acts 7:37). In Heb. 3:1-19 this likeness to Moses is set
forth in various particulars.
In Jude 1:9 mention is made of a contention between Michael
and the devil about the body of Moses. This dispute is supposed
to have had reference to the concealment of the body of Moses so
as to prevent idolatry.
Frequent references are found in Scripture to, (1.) Mourning for
the dead. Abraham mourned for Sarah (Gen. 23:2); Jacob for
Joseph (37:34, 35); the Egyptians for Jacob (50:3-10); Israel
for Aaron (Num. 20:29), for Moses (Deut. 34:8), and for Samuel
(1 Sam. 25:1); David for Abner (2 Sam. 3:31, 35); Mary and
Martha for Lazarus (John 11); devout men for Stephen (Acts 8:2),
(2.) For calamities, Job (1:20, 21; 2:8); Israel (Ex. 33:4);
the Ninevites (Jonah 3:5); Israel, when defeated by Benjamin
(Judg. 20:26), etc.
(3.) Penitential mourning, by the Israelites on the day of
atonement (Lev. 23:27; Acts 27:9); under Samuel's ministry (1
Sam. 7:6); predicted in Zechariah (Zech. 12:10, 11); in many of
the psalms (51, etc.).
Mourning was expressed, (1) by weeping (Gen. 35:8, marg.; Luke
7:38, etc.); (2) by loud lamentation (Ruth 1:9; 1 Sam. 6:19; 2
Sam. 3:31); (3) by the disfigurement of the person, as rending
the clothes (Gen. 37:29, 34; Matt. 26:65), wearing sackcloth
(Gen. 37:34; Ps. 35:13), sprinkling dust or ashes on the person
(2 Sam. 13:19; Jer. 6:26; Job 2:12), shaving the head and
plucking out the hair of the head or beard (Lev. 10:6; Job
1:20), neglect of the person or the removal of ornaments (Ex.
33:4; Deut. 21:12, 13; 2 Sam. 14:2; 19:24; Matt. 6:16, 17),
fasting (2 Sam. 1:12), covering the upper lip (Lev. 13:45; Micah
3:7), cutting the flesh (Jer. 16:6, 7), and sitting in silence
(Judg. 20:26; 2 Sam. 12:16; 13:31; Job 1:20).
In the later times we find a class of mourners who could be
hired to give by their loud lamentation the external tokens of
sorrow (2 Chr. 35:25; Jer. 9:17; Matt. 9:23).
The period of mourning for the dead varied. For Jacob it was
seventy days (Gen. 50:3); for Aaron (Num. 20:29) and Moses
(Deut. 34:8) thirty days; and for Saul only seven days (1 Sam.
31:13). In 2 Sam. 3:31-35, we have a description of the great
mourning for the death of Abner.
one who follows on another's heels; supplanter, (Gen. 25:26;
27:36; Hos. 12:2-4), the second born of the twin sons of Isaac
by Rebekah. He was born probably at Lahai-roi, when his father
was fifty-nine and Abraham one hundred and fifty-nine years old.
Like his father, he was of a quiet and gentle disposition, and
when he grew up followed the life of a shepherd, while his
brother Esau became an enterprising hunter. His dealing with
Esau, however, showed much mean selfishness and cunning (Gen.
When Isaac was about 160 years of age, Jacob and his mother
conspired to deceive the aged patriarch (Gen. 27), with the view
of procuring the transfer of the birthright to himself. The
birthright secured to him who possessed it (1) superior rank in
his family (Gen. 49:3); (2) a double portion of the paternal
inheritance (Deut. 21:17); (3) the priestly office in the family
(Num. 8:17-19); and (4) the promise of the Seed in which all
nations of the earth were to be blessed (Gen. 22:18).
Soon after his acquisition of his father's blessing (Gen. 27),
Jacob became conscious of his guilt; and afraid of the anger of
Esau, at the suggestion of Rebekah Isaac sent him away to Haran,
400 miles or more, to find a wife among his cousins, the family
of Laban, the Syrian (28). There he met with Rachel (29). Laban
would not consent to give him his daughter in marriage till he
had served seven years; but to Jacob these years "seemed but a
few days, for the love he had to her." But when the seven years
were expired, Laban craftily deceived Jacob, and gave him his
daughter Leah. Other seven years of service had to be completed
probably before he obtained the beloved Rachel. But "life-long
sorrow, disgrace, and trials, in the retributive providence of
God, followed as a consequence of this double union."
At the close of the fourteen years of service, Jacob desired
to return to his parents, but at the entreaty of Laban he
tarried yet six years with him, tending his flocks (31:41). He
then set out with his family and property "to go to Isaac his
father in the land of Canaan" (Gen. 31). Laban was angry when he
heard that Jacob had set out on his journey, and pursued after
him, overtaking him in seven days. The meeting was of a painful
kind. After much recrimination and reproach directed against
Jacob, Laban is at length pacified, and taking an affectionate
farewell of his daughters, returns to his home in Padanaram. And
now all connection of the Israelites with Mesopotamia is at an
Soon after parting with Laban he is met by a company of
angels, as if to greet him on his return and welcome him back to
the Land of Promise (32:1, 2). He called the name of the place
Mahanaim, i.e., "the double camp," probably his own camp and
that of the angels. The vision of angels was the counterpart of
that he had formerly seen at Bethel, when, twenty years before,
the weary, solitary traveller, on his way to Padan-aram, saw the
angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder whose top
reached to heaven (28:12).
He now hears with dismay of the approach of his brother Esau
with a band of 400 men to meet him. In great agony of mind he
prepares for the worst. He feels that he must now depend only on
God, and he betakes himself to him in earnest prayer, and sends
on before him a munificent present to Esau, "a present to my
lord Esau from thy servant Jacob." Jacob's family were then
transported across the Jabbok; but he himself remained behind,
spending the night in communion with God. While thus engaged,
there appeared one in the form of a man who wrestled with him.
In this mysterious contest Jacob prevailed, and as a memorial of
it his name was changed to Israel (wrestler with God); and the
place where this occured he called Peniel, "for", said he, "I
have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved"
After this anxious night, Jacob went on his way, halting,
mysteriously weakened by the conflict, but strong in the
assurance of the divine favour. Esau came forth and met him; but
his spirit of revenge was appeased, and the brothers met as
friends, and during the remainder of their lives they maintained
friendly relations. After a brief sojourn at Succoth, Jacob
moved forward and pitched his tent near Shechem (q.v.), 33:18;
but at length, under divine directions, he moved to Bethel,
where he made an altar unto God (35:6,7), and where God appeared
to him and renewed the Abrahamic covenant. While journeying from
Bethel to Ephrath (the Canaanitish name of Bethlehem), Rachel
died in giving birth to her second son Benjamin (35:16-20),
fifteen or sixteen years after the birth of Joseph. He then
reached the old family residence at Mamre, to wait on the dying
bed of his father Isaac. The complete reconciliation between
Esau and Jacob was shown by their uniting in the burial of the
Jacob was soon after this deeply grieved by the loss of his
beloved son Joseph through the jealousy of his brothers (37:33).
Then follows the story of the famine, and the successive goings
down into Egypt to buy corn (42), which led to the discovery of
the long-lost Joseph, and the patriarch's going down with all
his household, numbering about seventy souls (Ex. 1:5; Deut.
10:22; Acts 7:14), to sojourn in the land of Goshen. Here Jacob,
"after being strangely tossed about on a very rough ocean, found
at last a tranquil harbour, where all the best affections of his
nature were gently exercised and largely unfolded" (Gen. 48). At
length the end of his checkered course draws nigh, and he
summons his sons to his bedside that he may bless them. Among
his last words he repeats the story of Rachel's death, although
forty years had passed away since that event took place, as
tenderly as if it had happened only yesterday; and when "he had
made an end of charging his sons, he gathered up his feet into
the bed, and yielded up the ghost" (49:33). His body was
embalmed and carried with great pomp into the land of Canaan,
and buried beside his wife Leah in the cave of Machpelah,
according to his dying charge. There, probably, his embalmed
body remains to this day (50:1-13). (See HEBRON ¯T0001712.)
The history of Jacob is referred to by the prophets Hosea
(12:3, 4, 12) and Malachi (1:2). In Micah 1:5 the name is a
poetic synonym for Israel, the kingdom of the ten tribes. There
are, besides the mention of his name along with those of the
other patriarchs, distinct references to events of his life in
Paul's epistles (Rom. 9:11-13; Heb. 12:16; 11:21). See
references to his vision at Bethel and his possession of land at
Shechem in John 1:51; 4:5, 12; also to the famine which was the
occasion of his going down into Egypt in Acts 7:12 (See LUZ
¯T0002335; BETHEL ¯T0000554.)
separated, generally supposed to be the Greek form of the Hebrew
_netser_, a "shoot" or "sprout." Some, however, think that the
name of the city must be connected with the name of the hill
behind it, from which one of the finest prospects in Israel
is obtained, and accordingly they derive it from the Hebrew
_notserah_, i.e., one guarding or watching, thus designating the
hill which overlooks and thus guards an extensive region.
This city is not mentioned in the Old Testament. It was the
home of Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:39), and here the angel
announced to the Virgin the birth of the Messiah (1:26-28). Here
Jesus grew up from his infancy to manhood (4:16); and here he
began his public ministry in the synagogue (Matt. 13:54), at
which the people were so offended that they sought to cast him
down from the precipice whereon their city was built (Luke
4:29). Twice they expelled him from their borders (4:16-29;
Matt. 13:54-58); and he finally retired from the city, where he
did not many mighty works because of their unbelief (Matt.
13:58), and took up his residence in Capernaum.
Nazareth is situated among the southern ridges of Lebanon, on
the steep slope of a hill, about 14 miles from the Sea of
Galilee and about 6 west from Mount Tabor. It is identified with
the modern village en-Nazirah, of six or ten thousand
inhabitants. It lies "as in a hollow cup" lower down upon the
hill than the ancient city. The main road for traffic between
Egypt and the interior of Asia passed by Nazareth near the foot
of Tabor, and thence northward to Damascus.
It is supposed from the words of Nathanael in John 1:46 that
the city of Nazareth was held in great disrepute, either
because, it is said, the people of Galilee were a rude and less
cultivated class, and were largely influenced by the Gentiles
who mingled with them, or because of their lower type of moral
and religious character. But there seems to be no sufficient
reason for these suppositions. The Jews believed that, according
to Micah 5:2, the birth of the Messiah would take place at
Bethlehem, and nowhere else. Nathanael held the same opinion as
his countrymen, and believed that the great "good" which they
were all expecting could not come from Nazareth. This is
probably what Nathanael meant. Moreover, there does not seem to
be any evidence that the inhabitants of Galilee were in any
respect inferior, or that a Galilean was held in contempt, in
the time of our Lord. (See Dr. Merrill's Galilee in the Time of
The population of this city (now about 10,000) in the time of
Christ probably amounted to 15,000 or 20,000 souls.
"The so-called 'Holy House' is a cave under the Latin church,
which appears to have been originally a tank. The 'brow of the
hill', site of the attempted precipitation, is probably the
northern cliff: the traditional site has been shown since the
middle ages at some distance to the south. None of the
traditional sites are traceable very early, and they have no
authority. The name Nazareth perhaps means 'a watch tower' (now
en-Nasrah), but is connected in the New Testament with Netzer,
'a branch' (Isa. 4:2; Jer. 23:5; Zech. 3:8; 6:12; Matt. 2:23),
Nazarene being quite a different word from Nazarite."
the official title borne by the Egyptian kings down to the time
when that country was conquered by the Greeks. (See EGYPT
¯T0001137.) The name is a compound, as some think, of the words
Ra, the "sun" or "sun-god," and the article phe, "the,"
prefixed; hence phera, "the sun," or "the sun-god." But others,
perhaps more correctly, think the name derived from Perao, "the
great house" = his majesty = in Turkish, "the Sublime Porte."
(1.) The Pharaoh who was on the throne when Abram went down
into Egypt (Gen. 12:10-20) was probably one of the Hyksos, or
"shepherd kings." The Egyptians called the nomad tribes of Syria
Shasu, "plunderers," their king or chief Hyk, and hence the name
of those invaders who conquered the native kings and established
a strong government, with Zoan or Tanis as their capital. They
were of Semitic origin, and of kindred blood accordingly with
Abram. They were probably driven forward by the pressure of the
Hittites. The name they bear on the monuments is "Mentiu."
(2.) The Pharaoh of Joseph's days (Gen. 41) was probably
Apopi, or Apopis, the last of the Hyksos kings. To the old
native Egyptians, who were an African race, shepherds were "an
abomination;" but to the Hyksos kings these Asiatic shepherds
who now appeared with Jacob at their head were congenial, and
being akin to their own race, had a warm welcome (Gen. 47:5, 6).
Some argue that Joseph came to Egypt in the reign of Thothmes
III., long after the expulsion of the Hyksos, and that his
influence is to be seen in the rise and progress of the
religious revolution in the direction of monotheism which
characterized the middle of the Eighteenth Dynasty. The wife of
Amenophis III., of that dynasty, was a Semite. Is this singular
fact to be explained from the presence of some of Joseph's
kindred at the Egyptian court? Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Thy
father and thy brethren are come unto thee: the land of Egypt is
before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and
brethren to dwell" (Gen. 47:5, 6).
(3.) The "new king who knew not Joseph" (Ex. 1:8-22) has been
generally supposed to have been Aahmes I., or Amosis, as he is
called by Josephus. Recent discoveries, however, have led to the
conclusion that Seti was the "new king."
For about seventy years the Hebrews in Egypt were under the
powerful protection of Joseph. After his death their condition
was probably very slowly and gradually changed. The invaders,
the Hyksos, who for some five centuries had been masters of
Egypt, were driven out, and the old dynasty restored. The
Israelites now began to be looked down upon. They began to be
afflicted and tyrannized over. In process of time a change
appears to have taken place in the government of Egypt. A new
dynasty, the Nineteenth, as it is called, came into power under
Seti I., who was its founder. He associated with him in his
government his son, Rameses II., when he was yet young, probably
ten or twelve years of age.
Note, Professor Maspero, keeper of the museum of Bulak, near
Cairo, had his attention in 1870 directed to the fact that
scarabs, i.e., stone and metal imitations of the beetle (symbols
of immortality), originally worn as amulets by royal personages,
which were evidently genuine relics of the time of the ancient
Pharaohs, were being sold at Thebes and different places along
the Nile. This led him to suspect that some hitherto
undiscovered burial-place of the Pharaohs had been opened, and
that these and other relics, now secretly sold, were a part of
the treasure found there. For a long time he failed, with all
his ingenuity, to find the source of these rare treasures. At
length one of those in the secret volunteered to give
information regarding this burial-place. The result was that a
party was conducted in 1881 to Dier el-Bahari, near Thebes, when
the wonderful discovery was made of thirty-six mummies of kings,
queens, princes, and high priests hidden away in a cavern
prepared for them, where they had lain undisturbed for thirty
centuries. "The temple of Deir el-Bahari stands in the middle of
a natural amphitheatre of cliffs, which is only one of a number
of smaller amphitheatres into which the limestone mountains of
the tombs are broken up. In the wall of rock separating this
basin from the one next to it some ancient Egyptian engineers
had constructed the hiding-place, whose secret had been kept for
nearly three thousand years." The exploring party being guided
to the place, found behind a great rock a shaft 6 feet square
and about 40 feet deep, sunk into the limestone. At the bottom
of this a passage led westward for 25 feet, and then turned
sharply northward into the very heart of the mountain, where in
a chamber 23 feet by 13, and 6 feet in height, they came upon
the wonderful treasures of antiquity. The mummies were all
carefully secured and brought down to Bulak, where they were
deposited in the royal museum, which has now been removed to
Among the most notable of the ancient kings of Egypt thus
discovered were Thothmes III., Seti I., and Rameses II. Thothmes
III. was the most distinguished monarch of the brilliant
Eighteenth Dynasty. When this mummy was unwound "once more,
after an interval of thirty-six centuries, human eyes gazed on
the features of the man who had conquered Syria and Cyprus and
Ethiopia, and had raised Egypt to the highest pinnacle of her
power. The spectacle, however, was of brief duration. The
remains proved to be in so fragile a state that there was only
time to take a hasty photograph, and then the features crumbled
to pieces and vanished like an apparition, and so passed away
from human view for ever." "It seems strange that though the
body of this man," who overran Israel with his armies two
hundred years before the birth of Moses, "mouldered to dust, the
flowers with which it had been wreathed were so wonderfully
preserved that even their colour could be distinguished"
(Manning's Land of the Pharaohs).
Seti I. (his throne name Merenptah), the father of Rameses
II., was a great and successful warrior, also a great builder.
The mummy of this Pharaoh, when unrolled, brought to view "the
most beautiful mummy head ever seen within the walls of the
museum. The sculptors of Thebes and Abydos did not flatter this
Pharaoh when they gave him that delicate, sweet, and smiling
profile which is the admiration of travellers. After a lapse of
thirty-two centuries, the mummy retains the same expression
which characterized the features of the living man. Most
remarkable of all, when compared with the mummy of Rameses II.,
is the striking resemblance between the father and the son. Seti
I. is, as it were, the idealized type of Rameses II. He must
have died at an advanced age. The head is shaven, the eyebrows
are white, the condition of the body points to considerably more
than threescore years of life, thus confirming the opinions of
the learned, who have attributed a long reign to this king."
(4.) Rameses II., the son of Seti I., is probably the Pharaoh
of the Oppression. During his forty years' residence at the
court of Egypt, Moses must have known this ruler well. During
his sojourn in Midian, however, Rameses died, after a reign of
sixty-seven years, and his body embalmed and laid in the royal
sepulchre in the Valley of the Tombs of Kings beside that of his
father. Like the other mummies found hidden in the cave of Deir
el-Bahari, it had been for some reason removed from its original
tomb, and probably carried from place to place till finally
deposited in the cave where it was so recently discovered.
In 1886, the mummy of this king, the "great Rameses," the
"Sesostris" of the Greeks, was unwound, and showed the body of
what must have been a robust old man. The features revealed to
view are thus described by Maspero: "The head is long and small
in proportion to the body. The top of the skull is quite bare.
On the temple there are a few sparse hairs, but at the poll the
hair is quite thick, forming smooth, straight locks about two
inches in length. White at the time of death, they have been
dyed a light yellow by the spices used in embalmment. The
forehead is low and narrow; the brow-ridge prominent; the
eye-brows are thick and white; the eyes are small and close
together; the nose is long, thin, arched like the noses of the
Bourbons; the temples are sunk; the cheek-bones very prominent;
the ears round, standing far out from the head, and pierced,
like those of a woman, for the wearing of earrings; the jaw-bone
is massive and strong; the chin very prominent; the mouth small,
but thick-lipped; the teeth worn and very brittle, but white and
well preserved. The moustache and beard are thin. They seem to
have been kept shaven during life, but were probably allowed to
grow during the king's last illness, or they may have grown
after death. The hairs are white, like those of the head and
eyebrows, but are harsh and bristly, and a tenth of an inch in
length. The skin is of an earthy-brown, streaked with black.
Finally, it may be said, the face of the mummy gives a fair idea
of the face of the living king. The expression is
unintellectual, perhaps slightly animal; but even under the
somewhat grotesque disguise of mummification there is plainly to
be seen an air of sovereign majesty, of resolve, and of pride."
Both on his father's and his mother's side it has been pretty
clearly shown that Rameses had Chaldean or Mesopotamian blood in
his veins to such a degree that he might be called an Assyrian.
This fact is thought to throw light on Isa. 52:4.
(5.) The Pharaoh of the Exodus was probably Menephtah I., the
fourteenth and eldest surviving son of Rameses II. He resided at
Zoan, where he had the various interviews with Moses and Aaron
recorded in the book of Exodus. His mummy was not among those
found at Deir el-Bahari. It is still a question, however,
whether Seti II. or his father Menephtah was the Pharaoh of the
Exodus. Some think the balance of evidence to be in favour of
the former, whose reign it is known began peacefully, but came
to a sudden and disastrous end. The "Harris papyrus," found at
Medinet-Abou in Upper Egypt in 1856, a state document written by
Rameses III., the second king of the Twentieth Dynasty, gives at
length an account of a great exodus from Egypt, followed by
wide-spread confusion and anarchy. This, there is great reason
to believe, was the Hebrew exodus, with which the Nineteenth
Dynasty of the Pharaohs came to an end. This period of anarchy
was brought to a close by Setnekht, the founder of the Twentieth
"In the spring of 1896, Professor Flinders Petrie discovered,
among the ruins of the temple of Menephtah at Thebes, a large
granite stela, on which is engraved a hymn of victory
commemorating the defeat of Libyan invaders who had overrun the
Delta. At the end other victories of Menephtah are glanced at,
and it is said that 'the Israelites (I-s-y-r-a-e-l-u) are
minished (?) so that they have no seed.' Menephtah was son and
successor of Rameses II., the builder of Pithom, and Egyptian
scholars have long seen in him the Pharaoh of the Exodus. The
Exodus is also placed in his reign by the Egyptian legend of the
event preserved by the historian Manetho. In the inscription the
name of the Israelites has no determinative of 'country' or
'district' attached to it, as is the case with all the other
names (Canaan, Ashkelon, Gezer, Khar or Southern Israel,
etc.) mentioned along with it, and it would therefore appear
that at the time the hymn was composed, the Israelites had
already been lost to the sight of the Egyptians in the desert.
At all events they must have had as yet no fixed home or
district of their own. We may therefore see in the reference to
them the Pharaoh's version of the Exodus, the disasters which
befell the Egyptians being naturally passed over in silence, and
only the destruction of the 'men children' of the Israelites
being recorded. The statement of the Egyptian poet is a
remarkable parallel to Ex. 1:10-22."
(6.) The Pharaoh of 1 Kings 11:18-22.
(7.) So, king of Egypt (2 Kings 17:4).
(8.) The Pharaoh of 1 Chr. 4:18.
(9.) Pharaoh, whose daughter Solomon married (1 Kings 3:1;
(10.) Pharaoh, in whom Hezekiah put his trust in his war
against Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:21).
(11.) The Pharaoh by whom Josiah was defeated and slain at
Megiddo (2 Chr. 35:20-24; 2 Kings 23:29, 30). (See NECHO
(12.) Pharaoh-hophra, who in vain sought to relieve Jerusalem
when it was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar (q.v.), 2 Kings 25:1-4;
comp. Jer. 37:5-8; Ezek. 17:11-13. (See ZEDEKIAH ¯T0003894.)
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.)
probably connected with the Roman family of the Pontii, and
called "Pilate" from the Latin pileatus, i.e., "wearing the
pileus", which was the "cap or badge of a manumitted slave," as
indicating that he was a "freedman," or the descendant of one.
He was the sixth in the order of the Roman procurators of Judea
(A.D. 26-36). His headquarters were at Caesarea, but he
frequently went up to Jerusalem. His reign extended over the
period of the ministry of John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ,
in connection with whose trial his name comes into prominent
notice. Pilate was a "typical Roman, not of the antique, simple
stamp, but of the imperial period, a man not without some
remains of the ancient Roman justice in his soul, yet
pleasure-loving, imperious, and corrupt. He hated the Jews whom
he ruled, and in times of irritation freely shed their blood.
They returned his hatred with cordiality, and accused him of
every crime, maladministration, cruelty, and robbery. He visited
Jerusalem as seldom as possible; for, indeed, to one accustomed
to the pleasures of Rome, with its theatres, baths, games, and
gay society, Jerusalem, with its religiousness and
ever-smouldering revolt, was a dreary residence. When he did
visit it he stayed in the palace of Herod the Great, it being
common for the officers sent by Rome into conquered countries to
occupy the palaces of the displaced sovereigns."
After his trial before the Sanhedrin, Jesus was brought to the
Roman procurator, Pilate, who had come up to Jerusalem as usual
to preserve order during the Passover, and was now residing,
perhaps, in the castle of Antonia, or it may be in Herod's
palace. Pilate came forth from his palace and met the deputation
from the Sanhedrin, who, in answer to his inquiry as to the
nature of the accusation they had to prefer against Jesus,
accused him of being a "malefactor." Pilate was not satisfied
with this, and they further accused him (1) of sedition, (2)
preventing the payment of the tribute to Caesar, and (3) of
assuming the title of king (Luke 23:2). Pilate now withdrew with
Jesus into the palace (John 18:33) and examined him in private
(37,38); and then going out to the deputation still standing
before the gate, he declared that he could find no fault in
Jesus (Luke 23:4). This only aroused them to more furious
clamour, and they cried that he excited the populace "throughout
all Jewry, beginning from Galilee." When Pilate heard of
Galilee, he sent the accused to Herod Antipas, who had
jurisdiction over that province, thus hoping to escape the
difficulty in which he found himself. But Herod, with his men of
war, set Jesus at nought, and sent him back again to Pilate,
clad in a purple robe of mockery (23:11, 12).
Pilate now proposed that as he and Herod had found no fault in
him, they should release Jesus; and anticipating that they would
consent to this proposal, he ascended the judgment-seat as if
ready to ratify the decision (Matt. 27:19). But at this moment
his wife (Claudia Procula) sent a message to him imploring him
to have nothing to do with the "just person." Pilate's feelings
of perplexity and awe were deepened by this incident, while the
crowd vehemently cried out, "Not this man, but Barabbas." Pilate
answered, "What then shall I do with Jesus?" The fierce cry
immediately followed. "Let him be crucified." Pilate, apparently
vexed, and not knowning what to do, said, "Why, what evil hath
he done?" but with yet fiercer fanaticism the crowd yelled out,
"Away with him! crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate yielded, and
sent Jesus away to be scourged. This scourging was usually
inflicted by lictors; but as Pilate was only a procurator he had
no lictor, and hence his soldiers inflicted this terrible
punishment. This done, the soldiers began to deride the
sufferer, and they threw around him a purple robe, probably some
old cast-off robe of state (Matt. 27:28; John 19:2), and putting
a reed in his right hand, and a crowd of thorns on his head,
bowed the knee before him in mockery, and saluted him, saying,
"Hail, King of the Jews!" They took also the reed and smote him
with it on the head and face, and spat in his face, heaping upon
him every indignity.
Pilate then led forth Jesus from within the Praetorium (Matt.
27:27) before the people, wearing the crown of thorns and the
purple robe, saying, "Behold the man!" But the sight of Jesus,
now scourged and crowned and bleeding, only stirred their hatred
the more, and again they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!"
and brought forth this additional charge against him, that he
professed to be "the Son of God." Pilate heard this accusation
with a superstitious awe, and taking him once more within the
Praetorium, asked him, "Whence art thou?" Jesus gave him no
answer. Pilate was irritated by his continued silence, and said,
"Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee?" Jesus,
with calm dignity, answered the Roman, "Thou couldest have no
power at all against me, except it were given thee from above."
After this Pilate seemed more resolved than ever to let Jesus
go. The crowd perceiving this cried out, "If thou let this man
go, thou art not Caesar's friend." This settled the matter. He
was afraid of being accused to the emperor. Calling for water,
he washed his hands in the sight of the people, saying, "I am
innocent of the blood of this just person." The mob, again
scorning his scruples, cried, "His blood be on us, and on our
children." Pilate was stung to the heart by their insults, and
putting forth Jesus before them, said, "Shall I crucify your
King?" The fatal moment had now come. They madly exclaimed, "We
have no king but Caesar;" and now Jesus is given up to them, and
led away to be crucified.
By the direction of Pilate an inscription was placed,
according to the Roman custom, over the cross, stating the crime
for which he was crucified. Having ascertained from the
centurion that he was dead, he gave up the body to Joseph of
Arimathea to be buried. Pilate's name now disappears from the
Gospel history. References to him, however, are found in the
Acts of the Apostles (3:13; 4:27; 13:28), and in 1 Tim. 6:13. In
A.D. 36 the governor of Syria brought serious accusations
against Pilate, and he was banished to Vienne in Gaul, where,
according to tradition, he committed suicide.