(Matt. 2:22), the brother of Antipas (q.v.).
chamberlain to king Herod Agrippa I. (Acts 12:20). Such persons
generally had great influence with their masters.
Herod Philip I.
(Mark 6:17), the son of Herod the Great by Mariamne, the
daughter of Simon, the high priest. He is distinguished from
another Philip called "the tetrarch." He lived at Rome as a
private person with his wife Herodias and his daughter Salome.
consoler, a Christian teacher at Antioch. Nothing else is known
of him beyond what is stated in Acts 13:1, where he is spoken of
as having been brought up with (Gr. syntrophos; rendered in R.V.
"foster brother" of) Herod, i.e., Herod Antipas, the tetrach,
who, with his brother Archelaus, was educated at Rome.
(Matt. 14:3-11; Mark 6:17-28; Luke 3:19), the daughter of
Aristobulus and Bernice. While residing at Rome with her husband
Herod Philip I. and her daughter, Herod Antipas fell in with her
during one of his journeys to that city. She consented to leave
her husband and become his wife. Some time after, Herod met John
the Baptist, who boldly declared the marriage to be unlawful.
For this he was "cast into prison," in the castle probably of
Machaerus (q.v.), and was there subsequently beheaded.
the father-in-law of Herod Antipas, and king of Arabia Petraea.
His daughter returned to him on the occasion of her husband's
entering into an adulterous alliance with Herodias, the wife of
Herod-Philip, his half-brother (Luke 3:19, 20; Mark 6:17; Matt.
14:3). This led to a war between Aretas and Herod Antipas.
Herod's army was wholly destroyed (A.D. 36). Aretas, taking
advantage of the complications of the times on account of the
death of the Emperor Tiberius (A.D. 37), took possession of
Damascus (2 Cor. 11:32; comp. Acts 9:25). At this time Paul
returned to Damascus from Arabia.
Herod's son by Malthace (Matt. 14:1; Luke 3:1, 19; 9:7; Acts
13:1). (See ANTIPAS ¯T0000252.)
a woman of Hebrew birth, as Eunice, the mother of Timothy (Acts
16:1; 2 Tim. 1:5), and Drusilla (Acts 24:24), wife of Felix, and
daughter of Herod Agrippa I.
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.
bearer of victory, the eldest daughter of Agrippa I., the Herod
Agrippa of Acts 12:20. After the early death of her first
husband she was married to her uncle Herod, king of Chalcis.
After his death (A.D. 40) she lived in incestuous connection
with her brother Agrippa II. (Acts 25:13, 23; 26:30). They
joined the Romans at the outbreak of the final war between them
and the Jews, and lived afterwards at Rome.
Herod Arippa II.
the son of Herod Agrippa I. and Cypros. The emperor Claudius
made him tetrarch of the provinces of Philip and Lysanias, with
the title of king (Acts 25:13; 26:2, 7). He enlarged the city of
Caesarea Philippi, and called it Neronias, in honour of Nero. It
was before him and his sister that Paul made his defence at
Caesarea (Acts 25:12-27). He died at Rome A.D. 100, in the third
year of the emperor Trajan.
Herod Philip II.
the son of Herod the Great and Cleopatra of Jerusalem. He was
"tetrarch" of Batanea, Iturea, Trachonitis, and Auranitis. He
rebuilt the city of Caesarea Philippi, calling it by his own
name to distinguish it from the Caesarea on the sea-coast which
was the seat of the Roman government. He married Salome, the
daughter of Herodias (Matt. 16:13; Mark 8:27; Luke 3:1).
strictly the ruler over the fourth part of a province; but the
word denotes a ruler of a province generally (Matt. 14:1; Luke
3:1, 19; 9:7; Acts 13:1). Herod and Phasael, the sons of
Antipater, were the first tetrarchs in Israel. Herod the
tetrarch had the title of king (Matt. 14:9).
(1.) Herod Antipas, a son of Herod the Great by his Samaritan
wife Malthace. He was tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea during the
whole period of our Lord's life on earth (Luke 23:7). He was a
frivolous and vain prince, and was chargeable with many infamous
crimes (Mark 8:15; Luke 3:19; 13:31, 32). He beheaded John the
Baptist (Matt. 14:1-12) at the instigation of Herodias, the wife
of his half-brother Herod-Philip, whom he had married. Pilate
sent Christ to him when he was at Jerusalem at the Passover
(Luke 23:7). He asked some idle questions of him, and after
causing him to be mocked, sent him back again to Pilate. The
wife of Chuza, his house-steward, was one of our Lord's
disciples (Luke 8:3).
(2.) A "faithful martyr" (Rev. 2:13), of whom nothing more is
the Black Fortress, was built by Herod the Great in the gorge of
Callirhoe, one of the wadies 9 miles east of the Dead Sea, as a
frontier rampart against Arab marauders. John the Baptist was
probably cast into the prison connected with this castle by
Herod Antipas, whom he had reproved for his adulterous marriage
with Herodias. Here Herod "made a supper" on his birthday. He
was at this time marching against Aretas, king of Perea, to
whose daughter he had been married. During the revelry of the
banquet held in the border fortress, to please Salome, who
danced before him, he sent an executioner, who beheaded John,
and "brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel"
(Mark 6:14-29). This castle stood "starkly bold and clear" 3,860
feet above the Dead Sea, and 2,546 above the Mediterranean. Its
ruins, now called M'khaur, are still visible on the northern end
of Jebel Attarus.
house of the height; i.e., "mountain-house", one of the towns of
Gad, 3 miles east of Jordan, opposite Jericho (Josh. 13:27).
Probably the same as Beth-haran in Num. 32:36. It was called by
king Herod, Julias, or Livias, after Livia, the wife of
Augustus. It is now called Beit-haran.
a name derived from "Golan" (q.v.), one of the cities of refuge
in the territory of Manasseh (Josh. 20:8; 21:27; Deut. 4:43).
This was one of the provinces ruled by Herod Antipas. It lay to
the east of the Lake of Galilee, and included among its towns
Bethsaida-Julias (Mark 8:22) and Seleucia.
the grandson of Herod the Great, and son of Aristobulus and
Bernice. The Roman emperor Caligula made him governor first of
the territories of Philip, then of the tetrarchy of Lysanias,
with the title of king ("king Herod"), and finally of that of
Antipas, who was banished, and of Samaria and Judea. Thus he
became ruler over the whole of Israel. He was a persecutor of
the early Christians. He slew James, and imprisoned Peter (Acts
12:1-4). He died at Caesarea, being "eaten of worms" (Acts
12:23), A.D. 44. (Comp. Josephus, Ant. xix. 8.)
perfect. (1.) The wife of Zebedee and mother of James and John
(Mat. 27:56), and probably the sister of Mary, the mother of our
Lord (John 19:25). She sought for her sons places of honour in
Christ's kingdom (Matt. 20:20, 21; comp. 19:28). She witnessed
the crucifixion (Mark 15:40), and was present with the other
women at the sepulchre (Matt. 27:56).
(2.) "The daughter of Herodias," not named in the New
Testament. On the occasion of the birthday festival held by
Herod Antipas, who had married her mother Herodias, in the
fortress of Machaerus, she "came in and danced, and pleased
Herod" (Mark 6:14-29). John the Baptist, at that time a prisoner
in the dungeons underneath the castle, was at her request
beheaded by order of Herod, and his head given to the damsel in
a charger, "and the damsel gave it to her mother," whose
revengeful spirit was thus gratified. "A luxurious feast of the
period" (says Farrar, Life of Christ) "was not regarded as
complete unless it closed with some gross pantomimic
representation; and doubtless Herod had adopted the evil fashion
of his day. But he had not anticipated for his guests the rare
luxury of seeing a princess, his own niece, a grand-daughter of
Herod the Great and of Mariamne, a descendant, therefore, of
Simon the high priest and the great line of Maccabean princes, a
princess who afterwards became the wife of a tetrarch [Philip,
tetrarch of Trachonitis] and the mother of a king, honouring
them by degrading herself into a scenic dancer."
Herod Agrippa I.
son of Aristobulus and Bernice, and grandson of Herod the Great.
He was made tetrarch of the provinces formerly held by Lysanias
II., and ultimately possessed the entire kingdom of his
grandfather, Herod the Great, with the title of king. He put the
apostle James the elder to death, and cast Peter into prison
(Luke 3:1; Acts 12:1-19). On the second day of a festival held
in honour of the emperor Claudius, he appeared in the great
theatre of Caesarea. "The king came in clothed in magnificent
robes, of which silver was the costly brilliant material. It was
early in the day, and the sun's rays fell on the king, so that
the eyes of the beholders were dazzled with the brightness which
surrounded him. Voices here and there from the crowd exclaimed
that it was the apparition of something divine. And when he
spoke and made an oration to them, they gave a shout, saying,
'It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.' But in the midst
of this idolatrous ostentation an angel of God suddenly smote
him. He was carried out of the theatre a dying man." He died
(A.D. 44) of the same loathsome malady which slew his
grandfather (Acts. 12:21-23), in the fifty-fourth year of his
age, having reigned four years as tetrarch and three as king
over the whole of Israel. After his death his kingdom came
under the control of the prefect of Syria, and Israel was now
fully incorporated with the empire.
a city built by Herod the Great, and called by this name in
honour of his father, Antipater. It lay between Caesarea and
Lydda, two miles inland, on the great Roman road from Caesarea
to Jerusalem. To this place Paul was brought by night (Acts
23:31) on his way to Caesarea, from which it was distant 28
miles. It is identified with the modern, Ras-el-Ain, where rise
the springs of Aujeh, the largest springs in Israel.
third and youngest daughter of Herod Agrippa I. (Acts 12:1-4,
20-23). Felix, the Roman procurator of Judea, induced her to
leave her husband, Azizus, the king of Emesa, and become his
wife. She was present with Felix when Paul reasoned of
"righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come" (Acts 24:24).
She and her son perished in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, A.D.
(Mark 6:27). Instead of the Greek word, Mark here uses a Latin
word, speculator, which literally means "a scout," "a spy," and
at length came to denote one of the armed bodyguard of the
emperor. Herod Antipas, in imitation of the emperor, had in
attendance on him a company of speculatores. They were sometimes
employed as executioners, but this was a mere accident of their
office. (See MARK, GOSPEL OF ¯T0002421.)
whom Jehovah has graciously given. (1.) The grandson of
Zerubbabel, in the lineage of Christ (Luke 3:27); the same as
Hananiah (1 Chr. 3:19).
(2.) The wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod Antipas, tetrarch
of Galilee (Luke 8:3). She was one of the women who ministered
to our Lord, and to whom he appeared after his resurrection
(Luke 8:3; 24:10).
(Gr. basilikos, i.e., "king's man"), an officer of state (John
4:49) in the service of Herod Antipas. He is supposed to have
been the Chuza, Herod's steward, whose wife was one of those
women who "ministered unto the Lord of their substance" (Luke
8:3). This officer came to Jesus at Cana and besought him to go
down to Capernaum and heal his son, who lay there at the point
of death. Our Lord sent him away with the joyful assurance that
his son was alive.
a band of four soldiers. Peter was committed by Herod to the
custody of four quaternions, i.e., one quaternion for each watch
of the night (Acts 12:4). Thus every precaution was taken
against his escape from prison. Two of each quaternion were in
turn stationed at the door (12:6), and to two the apostle was
chained according to Roman custom.
lover of horses. (1.) One of the twelve apostles; a native of
Bethsaida, "the city of Andrew and Peter" (John 1:44). He
readily responded to the call of Jesus when first addressed to
him (43), and forthwith brought Nathanael also to Jesus (45,46).
He seems to have held a prominent place among the apostles
(Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; John 6:5-7; 12:21, 22; 14:8, 9; Acts
1:13). Of his later life nothing is certainly known. He is said
to have preached in Phrygia, and to have met his death at
(2.) One of the "seven" (Acts 6:5), called also "the
evangelist" (21:8, 9). He was one of those who were "scattered
abroad" by the persecution that arose on the death of Stephen.
He went first to Samaria, where he laboured as an evangelist
with much success (8:5-13). While he was there he received a
divine command to proceed toward the south, along the road
leading from Jerusalem to Gaza. These towns were connected by
two roads. The one Philip was directed to take was that which
led through Hebron, and thence through a district little
inhabited, and hence called "desert." As he travelled along this
road he was overtaken by a chariot in which sat a man of
Ethiopia, the eunuch or chief officer of Queen Candace, who was
at that moment reading, probably from the Septuagint version, a
portion of the prophecies of Isaiah (53:6,7). Philip entered
into conversation with him, and expounded these verses,
preaching to him the glad tidings of the Saviour. The eunuch
received the message and believed, and was forthwith baptized,
and then "went on his way rejoicing." Philip was instantly
caught away by the Spirit after the baptism, and the eunuch saw
him no more. He was next found at Azotus, whence he went forth
in his evangelistic work till he came to Caesarea. He is not
mentioned again for about twenty years, when he is still found
at Caesarea (Acts 21:8) when Paul and his companions were on the
way to Jerusalem. He then finally disappears from the page of
(3.) Mentioned only in connection with the imprisonment of
John the Baptist (Matt. 14:3; Mark 6:17; Luke 3:19). He was the
son of Herod the Great, and the first husband of Herodias, and
the father of Salome. (See HEROD PHILIP I. ¯T0001763)
(4.) The "tetrarch of Ituraea" (Luke 3:1); a son of Herod the
Great, and brother of Herod Antipas. The city of
Caesarea-Philippi was named partly after him (Matt. 16:13; Mark
8:27). (See HEROD PHILIP II. ¯T0001764)
a city on the northeast of the marshy plain of el-Huleh, 120
miles north of Jerusalem, and 20 miles north of the Sea of
Galilee, at the "upper source" of the Jordan, and near the base
of Mount Hermon. It is mentioned in Matt. 16:13 and Mark 8:27 as
the northern limit of our Lord's public ministry. According to
some its original name was Baal-Gad (Josh. 11:17), or
Baal-Hermon (Judg. 3:3; 1 Chr. 5:23), when it was a Canaanite
sanctuary of Baal. It was afterwards called Panium or Paneas,
from a deep cavern full of water near the town. This name was
given to the cavern by the Greeks of the Macedonian kingdom of
Antioch because of its likeness to the grottos of Greece, which
were always associated with the worship of their god Pan. Its
modern name is Banias. Here Herod built a temple, which he
dedicated to Augustus Caesar. This town was afterwards enlarged
and embellished by Herod Philip, the tetrarch of Trachonitis, of
whose territory it formed a part, and was called by him Caesarea
Philippi, partly after his own name, and partly after that of
the emperor Tiberius Caesar. It is thus distinguished from the
Caesarea of Israel. (See JORDAN ¯T0002112.)
a fortress in Jerusalem, at the north-west corner of the temple
area. It is called "the castle" (Acts 21:34, 37). From the
stairs of this castle Paul delivered his famous speech to the
multitude in the area below (Acts 22:1-21). It was originally a
place in which were kept the vestments of the high priest. Herod
fortified it, and called it Antonia in honour of his friend Mark
Antony. It was of great size, and commanded the temple. It was
built on a plateau of rock, separated on the north from the hill
Bezetha by a ditch about 30 feet deep and 165 feet wide.
a military fortress (1 Chr. 11:7), also probably a kind of tower
used by the priests for making known anything discovered at a
distance (1 Chr. 6:54). Castles are also mentioned (Gen. 25:16)
as a kind of watch-tower, from which shepherds kept watch over
their flocks by night. The "castle" into which the chief captain
commanded Paul to be brought was the quarters of the Roman
soldiers in the fortress of Antonia (so called by Herod after
his patron Mark Antony), which was close to the north-west
corner of the temple (Acts 21:34), which it commanded.
Common in Israel in winter (Ps. 147:16). The snow on the tops
of the Lebanon range is almost always within view throughout the
whole year. The word is frequently used figuratively by the
sacred writers (Job 24:19; Ps. 51:7; 68:14; Isa. 1:18). It is
mentioned only once in the historical books (2 Sam. 23:20). It
was "carried to Tyre, Sidon, and Damascus as a luxury, and
labourers sweltering in the hot harvest-fields used it for the
purpose of cooling the water which they drank (Prov. 25:13; Jer.
18:14). No doubt Herod Antipas, at his feasts in Tiberias,
enjoyed also from this very source the modern luxury of
(Palestinae), a city on the shore of the Mediterranean, on the
great road from Tyre to Egypt, about 70 miles northwest of
Jerusalem, at the northern extremity of the plain of Sharon. It
was built by Herod the Great (B.C. 10), who named it after
Caesar Augustus, hence called Caesarea Sebaste (Gr. Sebastos =
"Augustus"), on the site of an old town called "Strato's Tower."
It was the capital of the Roman province of Judaea, the seat of
the governors or procurators, and the headquarters of the Roman
troops. It was the great Gentile city of Israel, with a
spacious artificial harbour. It was adorned with many buildings
of great splendour, after the manner of the Roman cities of the
West. Here Cornelius the centurion was converted through the
instrumentality of Peter (Acts 10:1, 24), and thus for the first
time the door of faith was opened to the Gentiles. Philip the
evangelist resided here with his four daughters (21:8). From
this place Saul sailed for his native Tarsus when forced to flee
from Jerusalem (9:30), and here he landed when returning from
his second missionary journey (18:22). He remained as a prisoner
here for two years before his voyage to Rome (Acts 24:27; 25:1,
4, 6, 13). Here on a "set day," when games were celebrated in
the theatre in honour of the emperor Claudius, Herod Agrippa I.
appeared among the people in great pomp, and in the midst of the
idolatrous homage paid to him was suddenly smitten by an angel,
and carried out a dying man. He was "eaten of worms" (12:19-23),
thus perishing by the same loathsome disease as his granfather,
Herod the Great. It still retains its ancient name Kaiseriyeh,
but is now desolate. "The present inhabitants of the ruins are
snakes, scorpions, lizards, wild boars, and jackals." It is
described as the most desolate city of all Israel.
lame. (1.) The fourth Roman emperor. He succeeded Caligula (A.D.
41). Though in general he treated the Jews, especially those in
Asia and Egypt, with great indulgence, yet about the middle of
his reign (A.D. 49) he banished them all from Rome (Acts 18:2).
In this edict the Christians were included, as being, as was
supposed, a sect of Jews. The Jews, however soon again returned
During the reign of this emperor, several persecutions of the
Christians by the Jews took place in the dominions of Herod
Agrippa, in one of which the apostle James was "killed" (12:2).
He died A.D. 54.
(2.) Claudius Lysias, a Greek who, having obtained by purchase
the privilege of Roman citizenship, took the name of Claudius
(Acts 21:31-40; 22:28; 23:26).
happy, the Roman procurator of Judea before whom Paul "reasoned"
(Acts 24:25). He appears to have expected a bribe from Paul, and
therefore had several interviews with him. The "worthy deeds"
referred to in 24:2 was his clearing the country of banditti and
At the end of a two years' term, Porcius Festus was appointed
in the room of Felix (A.D. 60), who proceeded to Rome, and was
there accused of cruelty and malversation of office by the Jews
of Caesarea. The accusation was rendered nugatory by the
influence of his brother Pallas with Nero. (See Josephus, Ant.
xx. 8, 9.)
Drusilla, the daughter of Herod Agrippa, having been induced
by Felix to desert her husband, the king of Emesa, became his
adulterous companion. She was seated beside him when Paul
"reasoned" before the judge. When Felix gave place to Festus,
being "willing to do the Jews a pleasure," he left Paul bound.
the successor of Felix (A.D. 60) as procurator of Judea (Acts
24:27). A few weeks after he had entered on his office the case
of Paul, then a prisoner at Caesarea, was reported to him. The
"next day," after he had gone down to Caesarea, he heard Paul
defend himself in the presence of Herod Agrippa II. and his
sister Bernice, and not finding in him anything worthy of death
or of bonds, would have set him free had he not appealed unto
Caesar (Acts 25:11, 12). In consequence of this appeal Paul was
sent to Rome. Festus, after being in office less than two years,
died in Judea. (See AGRIPPA ¯T0000126.)
Herod the Great
(Matt. 2:1-22; Luke 1:5; Acts 23:35), the son of Antipater, an
Idumaean, and Cypros, an Arabian of noble descent. In the year
B.C. 47 Julius Caesar made Antipater, a "wily Idumaean,"
procurator of Judea, who divided his territories between his
four sons, Galilee falling to the lot of Herod, who was
afterwards appointed tetrarch of Judea by Mark Antony (B.C. 40),
and also king of Judea by the Roman senate.
He was of a stern and cruel disposition. "He was brutish and a
stranger to all humanity." Alarmed by the tidings of one "born
King of the Jews," he sent forth and "slew all the children that
were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years
old and under" (Matt. 2:16). He was fond of splendour, and
lavished great sums in rebuilding and adorning the cities of his
empire. He rebuilt the city of Caesarea (q.v.) on the coast, and
also the city of Samaria (q.v.), which he called Sebaste, in
honour of Augustus. He restored the ruined temple of Jerusalem,
a work which was begun B.C. 20, but was not finished till after
Herod's death, probably not till about A.D. 50 (John 2:20).
After a troubled reign of thirty-seven years, he died at Jericho
amid great agonies both of body and mind, B.C. 4, i.e.,
according to the common chronology, in the year in which Jesus
After his death his kingdom was divided among three of his
sons. Of these, Philip had the land east of Jordan, between
Caesarea Philippi and Bethabara, Antipas had Galilee and Peraea,
while Archelaus had Judea and Samaria.
a city, the modern Tubarich, on the western shore of the Sea of
Tiberias. It is said to have been founded by Herod Antipas (A.D.
16), on the site of the ruins of an older city called Rakkath,
and to have been thus named by him after the Emperor Tiberius.
It is mentioned only three times in the history of our Lord
(John 6:1,23; 21:1).
In 1837 about one-half of the inhabitants perished by an
earthquake. The population of the city is now about six
thousand, nearly the one-half being Jews. "We do not read that
our Lord ever entered this city. The reason of this is probably
to be found in the fact that it was practically a heathen city,
though standing upon Jewish soil. Herod, its founder, had
brought together the arts of Greece, the idolatry of Rome, and
the gross lewdness of Asia. There were in it a theatre for the
performance of comedies, a forum, a stadium, a palace roofed
with gold in imitation of those in Italy, statues of the Roman
gods, and busts of the deified emperors. He who was not sent but
to the lost sheep of the house of Israel might well hold himself
aloof from such scenes as these" (Manning's Those Holy Fields).
After the fall of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), Tiberias became one of
the chief residences of the Jews in Israel. It was for more
than three hundred years their metropolis. From about A.D. 150
the Sanhedrin settled here, and established rabbinical schools,
which rose to great celebrity. Here the Jerusalem (or
Palestinian) Talmud was compiled about the beginning of the
fifth century. To this same rabbinical school also we are
indebted for the Masora, a "body of traditions which transmitted
the readings of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, and
preserved, by means of the vowel-system, the pronunciation of
the Hebrew." In its original form, and in all manuscripts, the
Hebrew is written without vowels; hence, when it ceased to be a
spoken language, the importance of knowing what vowels to insert
between the consonants. This is supplied by the Masora, and
hence these vowels are called the "Masoretic vowel-points."
(Heb. shu'al, a name derived from its digging or burrowing under
ground), the Vulpes thaleb, or Syrian fox, the only species of
this animal indigenous to Israel. It burrows, is silent and
solitary in its habits, is destructive to vineyards, being a
plunderer of ripe grapes (Cant. 2:15). The Vulpes Niloticus, or
Egyptian dog-fox, and the Vulpes vulgaris, or common fox, are
also found in Israel.
The proverbial cunning of the fox is alluded to in Ezek. 13:4,
and in Luke 13:32, where our Lord calls Herod "that fox." In
Judg. 15:4, 5, the reference is in all probability to the
jackal. The Hebrew word _shu'al_ through the Persian _schagal_
becomes our jackal (Canis aureus), so that the word may bear
that signification here. The reasons for preferring the
rendering "jackal" are (1) that it is more easily caught than
the fox; (2) that the fox is shy and suspicious, and flies
mankind, while the jackal does not; and (3) that foxes are
difficult, jackals comparatively easy, to treat in the way here
described. Jackals hunt in large numbers, and are still very
numerous in Southern Israel.
as a mineral, consists of carbonate of lime, its texture varying
from the highly crystalline to the compact. In Esther 1:6 there
are four Hebrew words which are rendered marble:, (1.) Shesh,
"pillars of marble." But this word probably designates dark-blue
limestone rather than marble. (2.) Dar, some regard as Parian
marble. It is here rendered "white marble." But nothing is
certainly known of it. (3.) Bahat, "red marble," probably the
verd-antique or half-porphyry of Egypt. (4.) Sohareth, "black
marble," probably some spotted variety of marble. "The marble
pillars and tesserae of various colours of the palace at Susa
came doubtless from Persia itself, where marble of various
colours is found, especially in the province of Hamadan
Susiana." The marble of Solomon's architectural works may have
been limestone from near Jerusalem, or from Lebanon, or possibly
white marble from Arabia. Herod employed Parian marble in the
temple, and marble columns still exist in great abundance at
(1.) Formerly Crenides, "the fountain," the capital of the
province of Macedonia. It stood near the head of the Sea, about
8 miles north-west of Kavalla. It is now a ruined village,
called Philibedjik. Philip of Macedonia fortified the old
Thracian town of Crenides, and called it after his own name
Philippi (B.C. 359-336). In the time of the Emperor Augustus
this city became a Roman colony, i.e., a military settlement of
Roman soldiers, there planted for the purpose of controlling the
district recently conquered. It was a "miniature Rome," under
the municipal law of Rome, and governed by military officers,
called duumviri, who were appointed directly from Rome. Having
been providentially guided thither, here Paul and his companion
Silas preached the gospel and formed the first church in Europe.
(See LYDIA ¯T0002339.) This success stirred up the enmity of the
people, and they were "shamefully entreated" (Acts 16:9-40; 1
Thess. 2:2). Paul and Silas at length left this city and
proceeded to Amphipolis (q.v.).
(2.) When Philip the tetrarch, the son of Herod, succeeded to
the government of the northern portion of his kingdom, he
enlarged the city of Paneas, and called it Caesarea, in honour
of the emperor. But in order to distinguish it from the Caesarea
on the sea coast, he added to it subsequently his own name, and
called it Caesarea-Philippi (q.v.).
(1.) The "Royal Quarries" (not found in Scripture) is the name
given to the vast caverns stretching far underneath the northern
hill, Bezetha, on which Jerusalem is built. Out of these mammoth
caverns stones, a hard lime-stone, have been quarried in ancient
times for the buildings in the city, and for the temples of
Solomon, Zerubbabel, and Herod. Huge blocks of stone are still
found in these caves bearing the marks of pick and chisel. The
general appearance of the whole suggests to the explorer the
idea that the Phoenician quarrymen have just suspended their
work. The supposition that the polished blocks of stone for
Solomon's temple were sent by Hiram from Lebanon or Tyre is not
supported by any evidence (comp. 1 Kings 5:8). Hiram sent masons
and stone-squarers to Jerusalem to assist Solomon's workmen in
their great undertaking, but did not send stones to Jerusalem,
where, indeed, they were not needed, as these royal quarries
(2.) The "quarries" (Heb. pesilim) by Gilgal (Judg. 3:19),
from which Ehud turned back for the purpose of carrying out his
design to put Eglon king of Moab to death, were probably the
"graven images" (as the word is rendered by the LXX. and the
Vulgate and in the marg. A.V. and R.V.), or the idol temples the
Moabites had erected at Gilgal, where the children of Israel
first encamped after crossing the Jordan. The Hebrew word is
rendered "graven images" in Deut. 7:25, and is not elsewhere
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).
house of bread. (1.) A city in the "hill country" of Judah. It
was originally called Ephrath (Gen. 35:16, 19; 48:7; Ruth 4:11).
It was also called Beth-lehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2),
Beth-lehem-judah (1 Sam. 17:12), and "the city of David" (Luke
2:4). It is first noticed in Scripture as the place where Rachel
died and was buried "by the wayside," directly to the north of
the city (Gen. 48:7). The valley to the east was the scene of
the story of Ruth the Moabitess. There are the fields in which
she gleaned, and the path by which she and Naomi returned to the
town. Here was David's birth-place, and here also, in after
years, he was anointed as king by Samuel (1 Sam. 16:4-13); and
it was from the well of Bethlehem that three of his heroes
brought water for him at the risk of their lives when he was in
the cave of Adullam (2 Sam. 23:13-17). But it was distinguished
above every other city as the birth-place of "Him whose goings
forth have been of old" (Matt. 2:6; comp. Micah 5:2). Afterwards
Herod, "when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men," sent
and slew "all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all
the coasts thereof, from two years old and under" (Matt. 2:16,
18; Jer. 31:15).
Bethlehem bears the modern name of Beit-Lahm, i.e., "house of
flesh." It is about 5 miles south of Jerusalem, standing at an
elevation of about 2,550 feet above the sea, thus 100 feet
higher than Jerusalem.
There is a church still existing, built by Constantine the
Great (A.D. 330), called the "Church of the Nativity," over a
grotto or cave called the "holy crypt," and said to be the
"stable" in which Jesus was born. This is perhaps the oldest
existing Christian church in the world. Close to it is another
grotto, where Jerome the Latin father is said to have spent
thirty years of his life in translating the Scriptures into
Latin. (See VERSION ¯T0003768.)
(2.) A city of Zebulun, mentioned only in Josh. 19:15. Now
Beit-Lahm, a ruined village about 6 miles west-north-west of
among the Jews was suited to the climate and conditions of the
country. They probably adopted the kind of architecture for
their dwellings which they found already existing when they
entered Canaan (Deut. 6:10; Num. 13:19). Phoenician artists (2
Sam. 5:11; 1 Kings 5:6, 18) assisted at the erection of the
royal palace and the temple at Jerusalem. Foreigners also
assisted at the restoration of the temple after the Exile (Ezra
In Gen. 11:3, 9, we have the first recorded instance of the
erection of buildings. The cities of the plain of Shinar were
founded by the descendants of Shem (10:11, 12, 22).
The Israelites were by occupation shepherds and dwellers in
tents (Gen. 47:3); but from the time of their entering Canaan
they became dwellers in towns, and in houses built of the native
limestone of Israel. Much building was carried on in
Solomon's time. Besides the buildings he completed at Jerusalem,
he also built Baalath and Tadmor (1 Kings 9:15, 24). Many of the
kings of Israel and Judah were engaged in erecting various
Herod and his sons and successors restored the temple, and
built fortifications and other structures of great magnificence
in Jerusalem (Luke 21:5).
The instruments used in building are mentioned as the
plumb-line (Amos 7:7), the measuring-reed (Ezek. 40:3), and the
saw (1 Kings 7:9).
Believers are "God's building" (1 Cor. 3:9); and heaven is
called "a building of God" (2 Cor. 5:1). Christ is the only
foundation of his church (1 Cor. 3:10-12), of which he also is
the builder (Matt. 16:18).
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
(1.) The son of Zebedee and Salome; an elder brother of John the
apostle. He was one of the twelve. He was by trade a fisherman,
in partnership with Peter (Matt. 20:20; 27:56). With John and
Peter he was present at the transfiguration (Matt. 17:1; Mark
9:2), at the raising of Jairus's daughter (Mark 5:37-43), and in
the garden with our Lord (14:33). Because, probably, of their
boldness and energy, he and John were called Boanerges, i.e.,
"sons of thunder." He was the first martyr among the apostles,
having been beheaded by King Herod Agrippa (Acts 12:1, 2), A.D.
44. (Comp. Matt. 4:21; 20:20-23).
(2.) The son of Alphaeus, or Cleopas, "the brother" or near
kinsman or cousin of our Lord (Gal. 1:18, 19), called James "the
Less," or "the Little," probably because he was of low stature.
He is mentioned along with the other apostles (Matt. 10:3; Mark
3:18; Luke 6:15). He had a separate interview with our Lord
after his resurrection (1 Cor. 15:7), and is mentioned as one of
the apostles of the circumcision (Acts 1:13). He appears to have
occupied the position of head of the Church at Jerusalem, where
he presided at the council held to consider the case of the
Gentiles (Acts 12:17; 15:13-29: 21:18-24). This James was the
author of the epistle which bears his name.
portion; double cave, the cave which Abraham bought, together
with the field in which it stood, from Ephron the Hittite, for a
family burying-place (Gen. 23). It is one of those Bible
localities about the identification of which there can be no
doubt. It was on the slope of a hill on the east of Hebron,
"before Mamre." Here were laid the bodies of Abraham and Sarah,
Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah (Gen. 23:19; 25:9; 49:31;
50:13). Over the cave an ancient Christian church was erected,
probably in the time of Justinian, the Roman emperor. This
church has been converted into a Mohammedan mosque. The whole is
surrounded by the el-Haram i.e., "the sacred enclosure," about
200 feet long, 115 broad, and of an average height of about 50.
This building, from the immense size of some of its stones, and
the manner in which they are fitted together, is supposed by
some to have been erected in the days of David or of Solomon,
while others ascribe it to the time of Herod. It is looked upon
as the most ancient and finest relic of Jewish architecture.
On the floor of the mosque are erected six large cenotaphs as
monuments to the dead who are buried in the cave beneath.
Between the cenotaphs of Isaac and Rebekah there is a circular
opening in the floor into the cavern below, the cave of
Machpelah. Here it may be that the body of Jacob, which was
embalmed in Egypt, is still preserved (much older embalmed
bodies have recently been found in the cave of Deir el-Bahari in
Egypt, see PHARAOH ¯T0002923), though those of the others there
buried may have long ago mouldered into dust. The interior of
the mosque was visited by the Prince of Wales in 1862 by a
special favour of the Mohammedan authorities. An interesting
account of this visit is given in Dean Stanley's Lectures on the
Jewish Church. It was also visited in 1866 by the Marquis of
Bute, and in 1869 by the late Emperor (Frederick) of Germany,
then the Crown Prince of Prussia. In 1881 it was visited by the
two sons of the Prince of Wales, accompanied by Sir C. Wilson
and others. (See Israel Quarterly Statement, October 1882).
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.
more correctly Sanhedrin (Gr. synedrion), meaning "a sitting
together," or a "council." This word (rendered "council," A.V.)
is frequently used in the New Testament (Matt. 5:22; 26:59; Mark
15:1, etc.) to denote the supreme judicial and administrative
council of the Jews, which, it is said, was first instituted by
Moses, and was composed of seventy men (Num. 11:16, 17). But
that seems to have been only a temporary arrangement which Moses
made. This council is with greater probability supposed to have
originated among the Jews when they were under the domination of
the Syrian kings in the time of the Maccabees. The name is first
employed by the Jewish historian Josephus. This "council" is
referred to simply as the "chief priests and elders of the
people" (Matt. 26:3, 47, 57, 59; 27:1, 3, 12, 20, etc.), before
whom Christ was tried on the charge of claiming to be the
Messiah. Peter and John were also brought before it for
promulgating heresy (Acts. 4:1-23; 5:17-41); as was also Stephen
on a charge of blasphemy (6:12-15), and Paul for violating a
temple by-law (22:30; 23:1-10).
The Sanhedrin is said to have consisted of seventy-one
members, the high priest being president. They were of three
classes (1) the chief priests, or heads of the twenty-four
priestly courses (1 Chr. 24), (2) the scribes, and (3) the
elders. As the highest court of judicature, "in all causes and
over all persons, ecclesiastical and civil, supreme," its
decrees were binding, not only on the Jews in Israel, but on
all Jews wherever scattered abroad. Its jurisdiction was greatly
curtailed by Herod, and afterwards by the Romans. Its usual
place of meeting was within the precincts of the temple, in the
hall "Gazith," but it sometimes met also in the house of the
high priest (Matt. 26:3), who was assisted by two
The temple erected by the exiles on their return from Babylon
had stood for about five hundred years, when Herod the Great
became king of Judea. The building had suffered considerably
from natural decay as well as from the assaults of hostile
armies, and Herod, desirous of gaining the favour of the Jews,
proposed to rebuild it. This offer was accepted, and the work
was begun (B.C. 18), and carried out at great labour and
expense, and on a scale of surpassing splendour. The main part
of the building was completed in ten years, but the erection of
the outer courts and the embellishment of the whole were carried
on during the entire period of our Lord's life on earth (John
2:16, 19-21), and the temple was completed only A.D. 65. But it
was not long permitted to exist. Within forty years after our
Lord's crucifixion, his prediction of its overthrow was
accomplished (Luke 19: 41-44). The Roman legions took the city
of Jerusalem by storm, and notwithstanding the strenuous efforts
Titus made to preserve the temple, his soldiers set fire to it
in several places, and it was utterly destroyed (A.D. 70), and
was never rebuilt.
Several remains of Herod's stately temple have by recent
explorations been brought to light. It had two courts, one
intended for the Israelites only, and the other, a large outer
court, called "the court of the Gentiles," intended for the use
of strangers of all nations. These two courts were separated by
a low wall, as Josephus states, some 4 1/2 feet high, with
thirteen openings. Along the top of this dividing wall, at
regular intervals, were placed pillars bearing in Greek an
inscription to the effect that no stranger was, on the pain of
death, to pass from the court of the Gentiles into that of the
Jews. At the entrance to a graveyard at the north-western angle
of the Haram wall, a stone was discovered by M. Ganneau in 1871,
built into the wall, bearing the following inscription in Greek
capitals: "No stranger is to enter within the partition wall and
enclosure around the sanctuary. Whoever is caught will be
responsible to himself for his death, which will ensue."
There can be no doubt that the stone thus discovered was one
of those originally placed on the boundary wall which separated
the Jews from the Gentiles, of which Josephus speaks.
It is of importance to notice that the word rendered
"sanctuary" in the inscription was used in a specific sense of
the inner court, the court of the Israelites, and is the word
rendered "temple" in John 2:15 and Acts 21:28, 29. When Paul
speaks of the middle wall of partition (Eph. 2:14), he probably
makes allusion to this dividing wall. Within this partition wall
stood the temple proper, consisting of, (1) the court of the
women, 8 feet higher than the outer court; (2) 10 feet higher
than this court was the court of Israel; (3) the court of the
priests, again 3 feet higher; and lastly (4) the temple floor, 8
feet above that; thus in all 29 feet above the level of the
The summit of Mount Moriah, on which the temple stood, is now
occupied by the Haram esh-Sherif, i.e., "the sacred enclosure."
This enclosure is about 1,500 feet from north to south, with a
breadth of about 1,000 feet, covering in all a space of about 35
acres. About the centre of the enclosure is a raised platform,
16 feet above the surrounding space, and paved with large stone
slabs, on which stands the Mohammedan mosque called Kubbet
es-Sahkra i.e., the "Dome of the Rock," or the Mosque of Omar.
This mosque covers the site of Solomon's temple. In the centre
of the dome there is a bare, projecting rock, the highest part
of Moriah (q.v.), measuring 60 feet by 40, standing 6 feet above
the floor of the mosque, called the sahkra, i.e., "rock." Over
this rock the altar of burnt-offerings stood. It was the
threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite. The exact position on
this "sacred enclosure" which the temple occupied has not been
yet definitely ascertained. Some affirm that Herod's temple
covered the site of Solomon's temple and palace, and in addition
enclosed a square of 300 feet at the south-western angle. The
temple courts thus are supposed to have occupied the southern
portion of the "enclosure," forming in all a square of more than
900 feet. It is argued by others that Herod's temple occupied a
square of 600 feet at the south-west of the "enclosure."
activity, the most ancient of Oriental cities; the capital of
Syria (Isa. 7:8; 17:3); situated about 133 miles to the north of
Jerusalem. Its modern name is Esh-Sham; i.e., "the East."
The situation of this city is said to be the most beautiful of
all Western Asia. It is mentioned among the conquests of the
Egyptian king Thothmes III. (B.C. 1500), and in the Amarna
tablets (B.C. 1400).
It is first mentioned in Scripture in connection with
Abraham's victory over the confederate kings under Chedorlaomer
(Gen. 14:15). It was the native place of Abraham's steward
(15:2). It is not again noticed till the time of David, when
"the Syrians of Damascus came to succour Hadadezer" (q.v.), 2
Sam. 8:5; 1 Chr. 18:5. In the reign of Solomon, Rezon became
leader of a band who revolted from Hadadezer (1 Kings 11:23),
and betaking themselves to Damascus, settled there and made
their leader king. There was a long war, with varying success,
between the Israelites and Syrians, who at a later period became
allies of Israel against Judah (2 Kings 15:37).
The Syrians were at length subdued by the Assyrians, the city
of Damascus was taken and destroyed, and the inhabitants carried
captive into Assyria (2 Kings 16:7-9; comp. Isa. 7:8). In this,
prophecy was fulfilled (Isa. 17:1; Amos 1:4; Jer. 49:24). The
kingdom of Syria remained a province of Assyria till the capture
of Nineveh by the Medes (B.C. 625), when it fell under the
conquerors. After passing through various vicissitudes, Syria
was invaded by the Romans (B.C. 64), and Damascus became the
seat of the government of the province. In A.D. 37 Aretas, the
king of Arabia, became master of Damascus, having driven back
This city is memorable as the scene of Saul's conversion (Acts
9:1-25). The street called "Straight," in which Judas lived, in
whose house Saul was found by Ananias, is known by the name
Sultany, or "Queen's Street." It is the principal street of the
city. Paul visited Damascus again on his return from Arabia
(Gal. 1:16, 17). Christianity was planted here as a centre (Acts
9:20), from which it spread to the surrounding regions.
In A.D. 634 Damascus was conquered by the growing Mohammedan
power. In A.D. 1516 it fell under the dominion of the Turks, its
present rulers. It is now the largest city in Asiatic Turkey.
Christianity has again found a firm footing within its walls.
is in Scripture very generally used to denote one invested with
authority, whether extensive or limited. There were thirty-one
kings in Canaan (Josh. 12:9, 24), whom Joshua subdued.
Adonibezek subdued seventy kings (Judg. 1:7). In the New
Testament the Roman emperor is spoken of as a king (1 Pet. 2:13,
17); and Herod Antipas, who was only a tetrarch, is also called
a king (Matt. 14:9; Mark 6:22).
This title is applied to God (1 Tim. 1:17), and to Christ, the
Son of God (1 Tim. 6:15, 16; Matt. 27:11). The people of God are
also called "kings" (Dan. 7:22, 27; Matt. 19:28; Rev. 1:6,
etc.). Death is called the "king of terrors" (Job 18:14).
Jehovah was the sole King of the Jewish nation (1 Sam. 8:7;
Isa. 33:22). But there came a time in the history of that people
when a king was demanded, that they might be like other nations
(1 Sam. 8:5). The prophet Samuel remonstrated with them, but the
people cried out, "Nay, but we will have a king over us." The
misconduct of Samuel's sons was the immediate cause of this
The Hebrew kings did not rule in their own right, nor in name
of the people who had chosen them, but partly as servants and
partly as representatives of Jehovah, the true King of Israel (1
Sam. 10:1). The limits of the king's power were prescribed (1
Sam. 10:25). The officers of his court were, (1) the recorder or
remembrancer (2 Sam. 8:16; 1 Kings 4:3); (2) the scribe (2 Sam.
8:17; 20:25); (3) the officer over the house, the chief steward
(Isa. 22:15); (4) the "king's friend," a confidential companion
(1 Kings 4:5); (5) the keeper of the wardrobe (2 Kings 22:14);
(6) captain of the bodyguard (2 Sam. 20:23); (7) officers over
the king's treasures, etc. (1 Chr. 27:25-31); (8)
commander-in-chief of the army (1 Chr. 27:34); (9) the royal
counsellor (1 Chr. 27:32; 2 Sam. 16:20-23).
(For catalogue of kings of Israel and Judah see chronological
table in Appendix.)
originally denoted only the sea-coast of the land of Canaan
inhabited by the Philistines (Ex. 15:14; Isa. 14:29, 31; Joel
3:4), and in this sense exclusively the Hebrew name Pelesheth
(rendered "Philistia" in Ps. 60:8; 83:7; 87:4; 108:9) occurs in
the Old Testament.
Not till a late period in Jewish history was this name used to
denote "the land of the Hebrews" in general (Gen. 40:15). It is
also called "the holy land" (Zech. 2:12), the "land of Jehovah"
(Hos. 9:3; Ps. 85:1), the "land of promise" (Heb. 11:9), because
promised to Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 24:7), the "land of Canaan"
(Gen. 12:5), the "land of Israel" (1 Sam. 13:19), and the "land
of Judah" (Isa. 19:17).
The territory promised as an inheritance to the seed of
Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21; Num. 34:1-12) was bounded on the east by
the river Euphrates, on the west by the Mediterranean, on the
north by the "entrance of Hamath," and on the south by the
"river of Egypt." This extent of territory, about 60,000 square
miles, was at length conquered by David, and was ruled over also
by his son Solomon (2 Sam. 8; 1 Chr. 18; 1 Kings 4:1, 21). This
vast empire was the Promised Land; but Israel was only a part
of it, terminating in the north at the southern extremity of the
Lebanon range, and in the south in the wilderness of Paran, thus
extending in all to about 144 miles in length. Its average
breadth was about 60 miles from the Mediterranean on the west to
beyond the Jordan. It has fittingly been designated "the least
of all lands." Western Israel, on the south of Gaza, is only
about 40 miles in breadth from the Mediterranean to the Dead
Sea, narrowing gradually toward the north, where it is only 20
miles from the sea-coast to the Jordan.
Israel, "set in the midst" (Ezek. 5:5) of all other lands,
is the most remarkable country on the face of the earth. No
single country of such an extent has so great a variety of
climate, and hence also of plant and animal life. Moses
describes it as "a good land, a land of brooks of water, of
fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a
land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and
pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein
thou shalt not eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack
any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose
hills thou mayest dig brass" (Deut. 8:7-9).
"In the time of Christ the country looked, in all probability,
much as now. The whole land consists of rounded limestone hills,
fretted into countless stony valleys, offering but rarely level
tracts, of which Esdraelon alone, below Nazareth, is large
enough to be seen on the map. The original woods had for ages
disappeared, though the slopes were dotted, as now, with figs,
olives, and other fruit-trees where there was any soil.
Permanent streams were even then unknown, the passing rush of
winter torrents being all that was seen among the hills. The
autumn and spring rains, caught in deep cisterns hewn out like
huge underground jars in the soft limestone, with artificial
mud-banked ponds still found near all villages, furnished water.
Hills now bare, or at best rough with stunted growth, were then
terraced, so as to grow vines, olives, and grain. To-day almost
desolate, the country then teemed with population. Wine-presses
cut in the rocks, endless terraces, and the ruins of old
vineyard towers are now found amidst solitudes overgrown for
ages with thorns and thistles, or with wild shrubs and poor
gnarled scrub" (Geikie's Life of Christ).
From an early period the land was inhabited by the descendants
of Canaan, who retained possession of the whole land "from Sidon
to Gaza" till the time of the conquest by Joshua, when it was
occupied by the twelve tribes. Two tribes and a half had their
allotments given them by Moses on the east of the Jordan (Deut.
3:12-20; comp. Num. 1:17-46; Josh. 4:12-13). The remaining
tribes had their portion on the west of Jordan.
From the conquest till the time of Saul, about four hundred
years, the people were governed by judges. For a period of one
hundred and twenty years the kingdom retained its unity while it
was ruled by Saul and David and Solomon. On the death of
Solomon, his son Rehoboam ascended the throne; but his conduct
was such that ten of the tribes revolted, and formed an
independent monarchy, called the kingdom of Israel, or the
northern kingdom, the capital of which was first Shechem and
afterwards Samaria. This kingdom was destroyed. The Israelites
were carried captive by Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, B.C. 722,
after an independent existence of two hundred and fifty-three
years. The place of the captives carried away was supplied by
tribes brought from the east, and thus was formed the Samaritan
nation (2 Kings 17:24-29).
Nebuchadnezzar came up against the kingdom of the two tribes,
the kingdom of Judah, the capital of which was Jerusalem, one
hundred and thirty-four years after the overthrow of the kingdom
of Israel. He overthrew the city, plundered the temple, and
carried the people into captivity to Babylon (B.C. 587), where
they remained seventy years. At the close of the period of the
Captivity, they returned to their own land, under the edict of
Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4). They rebuilt the city and temple, and
restored the old Jewish commonwealth.
For a while after the Restoration the Jews were ruled by
Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and afterwards by the high
priests, assisted by the Sanhedrin. After the death of Alexander
the Great at Babylon (B.C. 323), his vast empire was divided
between his four generals. Egypt, Arabia, Israel, and
Coele-Syria fell to the lot of Ptolemy Lagus. Ptolemy took
possession of Israel in B.C. 320, and carried nearly one
hundred thousand of the inhabitants of Jerusalem into Egypt. He
made Alexandria the capital of his kingdom, and treated the Jews
with consideration, confirming them in the enjoyment of many
After suffering persecution at the hands of Ptolemy's
successors, the Jews threw off the Egyptian yoke, and became
subject to Antiochus the Great, the king of Syria. The cruelty
and opression of the successors of Antiochus at length led to
the revolt under the Maccabees (B.C. 163), when they threw off
the Syrian yoke.
In the year B.C. 68, Israel was reduced by Pompey the Great
to a Roman province. He laid the walls of the city in ruins, and
massacred some twelve thousand of the inhabitants. He left the
temple, however, unijured. About twenty-five years after this
the Jews revolted and cast off the Roman yoke. They were
however, subdued by Herod the Great (q.v.). The city and the
temple were destroyed, and many of the inhabitants were put to
death. About B.C. 20, Herod proceeded to rebuild the city and
restore the ruined temple, which in about nine years and a half
was so far completed that the sacred services could be resumed
in it (comp. John 2:20). He was succeeded by his son Archelaus,
who was deprived of his power, however, by Augustus, A.D. 6,
when Israel became a Roman province, ruled by Roman governors
or procurators. Pontius Pilate was the fifth of these
procurators. He was appointed to his office A.D. 25.
Exclusive of Idumea, the kingdom of Herod the Great
comprehended the whole of the country originally divided among
the twelve tribes, which he divided into four provinces or
districts. This division was recognized so long as Israel was
under the Roman dominion. These four provinces were, (1) Judea,
the southern portion of the country; (2) Samaria, the middle
province, the northern boundary of which ran along the hills to
the south of the plain of Esdraelon; (3) Galilee, the northern
province; and (4) Peraea (a Greek name meaning the "opposite
country"), the country lying east of the Jordan and the Dead
Sea. This province was subdivided into these districts, (1)
Peraea proper, lying between the rivers Arnon and Jabbok; (2)
Galaaditis (Gilead); (3) Batanaea; (4) Gaulonitis (Jaulan); (5)
Ituraea or Auranitis, the ancient Bashan; (6) Trachonitis; (7)
Abilene; (8) Decapolis, i.e., the region of the ten cities. The
whole territory of Israel, including the portions alloted to
the trans-Jordan tribes, extended to about eleven thousand
square miles. Recent exploration has shown the territory on the
west of Jordan alone to be six thousand square miles in extent,
the size of the principality of Wales.
place of fragrance, a fenced city in the midst of a vast grove
of palm trees, in the plain of Jordan, over against the place
where that river was crossed by the Israelites (Josh. 3:16). Its
site was near the 'Ain es-Sultan, Elisha's Fountain (2 Kings
2:19-22), about 5 miles west of Jordan. It was the most
important city in the Jordan valley (Num. 22:1; 34:15), and the
strongest fortress in all the land of Canaan. It was the key to
This city was taken in a very remarkable manner by the
Israelites (Josh. 6). God gave it into their hands. The city was
"accursed" (Heb. herem, "devoted" to Jehovah), and accordingly
(Josh. 6:17; comp. Lev. 27:28, 29; Deut. 13:16) all the
inhabitants and all the spoil of the city were to be destroyed,
"only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of
iron" were reserved and "put into the treasury of the house of
Jehovah" (Josh. 6:24; comp. Num. 31:22, 23, 50-54). Only Rahab
"and her father's household, and all that she had," were
preserved from destruction, according to the promise of the
spies (Josh. 2:14). In one of the Amarna tablets Adoni-zedec
(q.v.) writes to the king of Egypt informing him that the 'Abiri
(Hebrews) had prevailed, and had taken the fortress of Jericho,
and were plundering "all the king's lands." It would seem that
the Egyptian troops had before this been withdrawn from
This city was given to the tribe of Benjamin (Josh. 18:21),
and it was inhabited in the time of the Judges (Judg. 3:13; 2
Sam. 10:5). It is not again mentioned till the time of David (2
Sam. 10:5). "Children of Jericho" were among the captives who
returned under Zerubbabel Ezra 2:34; Neh. 7:36). Hiel (q.v.) the
Bethelite attempted to make it once more a fortified city (1
Kings 16:34). Between the beginning and the end of his
undertaking all his children were cut off.
In New Testament times Jericho stood some distance to the
south-east of the ancient one, and near the opening of the
valley of Achor. It was a rich and flourishing town, having a
considerable trade, and celebrated for the palm trees which
adorned the plain around. It was visited by our Lord on his last
journey to Jerusalem. Here he gave sight to two blind men (Matt.
20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52), and brought salvation to the house of
Zacchaeus the publican (Luke 19:2-10).
The poor hamlet of er-Riha, the representative of modern
Jericho, is situated some two miles farther to the east. It is
in a ruinous condition, having been destroyed by the Turks in
1840. "The soil of the plain," about the middle of which the
ancient city stood, "is unsurpassed in fertility; there is
abundance of water for irrigation, and many of the old aqueducts
are almost perfect; yet nearly the whole plain is waste and
desolate...The climate of Jericho is exceedingly hot and
unhealthy. This is accounted for by the depression of the plain,
which is about 1,200 feet below the level of the sea."
There were three different Jerichos, on three different sites,
the Jericho of Joshua, the Jericho of Herod, and the Jericho of
the Crusades. Er-Riha, the modern Jericho, dates from the time
of the Crusades. Dr. Bliss has found in a hollow scooped out for
some purpose or other near the foot of the biggest mound above
the Sultan's Spring specimens of Amorite or pre-Israelitish
pottery precisely identical with what he had discovered on the
site of ancient Lachish. He also traced in this place for a
short distance a mud brick wall in situ, which he supposes to be
the very wall that fell before the trumpets of Joshua. The wall
is not far from the foot of the great precipice of Quarantania
and its numerous caverns, and the spies of Joshua could easily
have fled from the city and been speedily hidden in these
John the Baptist
the "forerunner of our Lord." We have but fragmentary and
imperfect accounts of him in the Gospels. He was of priestly
descent. His father, Zacharias, was a priest of the course of
Abia (1 Chr. 24:10), and his mother, Elisabeth, was of the
daughters of Aaron (Luke 1:5). The mission of John was the
subject of prophecy (Matt. 3:3; Isa. 40:3; Mal. 3:1). His birth,
which took place six months before that of Jesus, was foretold
by an angel. Zacharias, deprived of the power of speech as a
token of God's truth and a reproof of his own incredulity with
reference to the birth of his son, had the power of speech
restored to him on the occasion of his circumcision (Luke 1:64).
After this no more is recorded of him for thirty years than what
is mentioned in Luke 1:80. John was a Nazarite from his birth
(Luke 1:15; Num. 6:1-12). He spent his early years in the
mountainous tract of Judah lying between Jerusalem and the Dead
Sea (Matt. 3:1-12).
At length he came forth into public life, and great multitudes
from "every quarter" were attracted to him. The sum of his
preaching was the necessity of repentance. He denounced the
Sadducees and Pharisees as a "generation of vipers," and warned
them of the folly of trusting to external privileges (Luke 3:8).
"As a preacher, John was eminently practical and discriminating.
Self-love and covetousness were the prevalent sins of the people
at large. On them, therefore, he enjoined charity and
consideration for others. The publicans he cautioned against
extortion, the soldiers against crime and plunder." His doctrine
and manner of life roused the entire south of Israel, and the
people from all parts flocked to the place where he was, on the
banks of the Jordan. There he baptized thousands unto
The fame of John reached the ears of Jesus in Nazareth (Matt.
3:5), and he came from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized of John,
on the special ground that it became him to "fulfil all
righteousness" (3:15). John's special office ceased with the
baptism of Jesus, who must now "increase" as the King come to
his kingdom. He continued, however, for a while to bear
testimony to the Messiahship of Jesus. He pointed him out to his
disciples, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God." His public ministry
was suddenly (after about six months probably) brought to a
close by his being cast into prison by Herod, whom he had
reproved for the sin of having taken to himself the wife of his
brother Philip (Luke 3:19). He was shut up in the castle of
Machaerus (q.v.), a fortress on the southern extremity of
Peraea, 9 miles east of the Dead Sea, and here he was beheaded.
His disciples, having consigned the headless body to the grave,
went and told Jesus all that had occurred (Matt. 14:3-12).
John's death occurred apparently just before the third Passover
of our Lord's ministry. Our Lord himself testified regarding him
that he was a "burning and a shining light" (John 5:35).
a watch-mountain or a watch-tower. In the heart of the mountains
of Israel, a few miles north-west of Shechem, stands the "hill
of Shomeron," a solitary mountain, a great "mamelon." It is an
oblong hill, with steep but not inaccessible sides, and a long
flat top. Omri, the king of Israel, purchased this hill from
Shemer its owner for two talents of silver, and built on its
broad summit the city to which he gave the name of "Shomeron",
i.e., Samaria, as the new capital of his kingdom instead of
Tirzah (1 Kings 16:24). As such it possessed many advantages.
Here Omri resided during the last six years of his reign. As the
result of an unsuccessful war with Syria, he appears to have
been obliged to grant to the Syrians the right to "make streets
in Samaria", i.e., probably permission to the Syrian merchants
to carry on their trade in the Israelite capital. This would
imply the existence of a considerable Syrian population. "It was
the only great city of Israel created by the sovereign. All
the others had been already consecrated by patriarchal tradition
or previous possession. But Samaria was the choice of Omri
alone. He, indeed, gave to the city which he had built the name
of its former owner, but its especial connection with himself as
its founder is proved by the designation which it seems Samaria
bears in Assyrian inscriptions, Beth-khumri ('the house or
palace of Omri').", Stanley.
Samaria was frequently besieged. In the days of Ahab, Benhadad
II. came up against it with thirty-two vassal kings, but was
defeated with a great slaughter (1 Kings 20:1-21). A second
time, next year, he assailed it; but was again utterly routed,
and was compelled to surrender to Ahab (20:28-34), whose army,
as compared with that of Benhadad, was no more than "two little
flocks of kids."
In the days of Jehoram this Benhadad again laid siege to
Samaria, during which the city was reduced to the direst
extremities. But just when success seemed to be within their
reach, they suddenly broke up the seige, alarmed by a mysterious
noise of chariots and horses and a great army, and fled, leaving
their camp with all its contents behind them. The famishing
inhabitants of the city were soon relieved with the abundance of
the spoil of the Syrian camp; and it came to pass, according to
the word of Elisha, that "a measure of fine flour was sold for a
shekel, and two measures of barely for a shekel, in the gates of
Samaria" (2 Kings 7:1-20).
Shalmaneser invaded Israel in the days of Hoshea, and reduced
it to vassalage. He laid siege to Samaria (B.C. 723), which held
out for three years, and was at length captured by Sargon, who
completed the conquest Shalmaneser had begun (2 Kings 18:9-12;
17:3), and removed vast numbers of the tribes into captivity.
(See SARGON ¯T0003227.)
This city, after passing through various vicissitudes, was
given by the emperor Augustus to Herod the Great, who rebuilt
it, and called it Sebaste (Gr. form of Augustus) in honour of
the emperor. In the New Testament the only mention of it is in
Acts 8:5-14, where it is recorded that Philip went down to the
city of Samaria and preached there.
It is now represented by the hamlet of Sebustieh, containing
about three hundred inhabitants. The ruins of the ancient town
are all scattered over the hill, down the sides of which they
have rolled. The shafts of about one hundred of what must have
been grand Corinthian columns are still standing, and attract
much attention, although nothing definite is known regarding
them. (Comp. Micah 1:6.)
In the time of Christ, Western Israel was divided into
three provinces, Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Samaria occupied
the centre of Israel (John 4:4). It is called in the Talmud
the "land of the Cuthim," and is not regarded as a part of the
Holy Land at all.
It may be noticed that the distance between Samaria and
Jerusalem, the respective capitals of the two kingdoms, is only
35 miles in a direct line.
Acts of the Apostles
the title now given to the fifth and last of the historical
books of the New Testament. The author styles it a "treatise"
(1:1). It was early called "The Acts," "The Gospel of the Holy
Ghost," and "The Gospel of the Resurrection." It contains
properly no account of any of the apostles except Peter and
Paul. John is noticed only three times; and all that is recorded
of James, the son of Zebedee, is his execution by Herod. It is
properly therefore not the history of the "Acts of the
Apostles," a title which was given to the book at a later date,
but of "Acts of Apostles," or more correctly, of "Some Acts of
As regards its authorship, it was certainly the work of Luke,
the "beloved physician" (comp. Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1). This is
the uniform tradition of antiquity, although the writer nowhere
makes mention of himself by name. The style and idiom of the
Gospel of Luke and of the Acts, and the usage of words and
phrases common to both, strengthen this opinion. The writer
first appears in the narrative in 16:11, and then disappears
till Paul's return to Philippi two years afterwards, when he and
Paul left that place together (20:6), and the two seem
henceforth to have been constant companions to the end. He was
certainly with Paul at Rome (28; Col. 4:14). Thus he wrote a
great portion of that history from personal observation. For
what lay beyond his own experience he had the instruction of
Paul. If, as is very probable, 2 Tim. was written during Paul's
second imprisonment at Rome, Luke was with him then as his
faithful companion to the last (2 Tim. 4:11). Of his subsequent
history we have no certain information.
The design of Luke's Gospel was to give an exhibition of the
character and work of Christ as seen in his history till he was
taken up from his disciples into heaven; and of the Acts, as its
sequel, to give an illustration of the power and working of the
gospel when preached among all nations, "beginning at
Jerusalem." The opening sentences of the Acts are just an
expansion and an explanation of the closing words of the Gospel.
In this book we have just a continuation of the history of the
church after Christ's ascension. Luke here carries on the
history in the same spirit in which he had commenced it. It is
only a book of beginnings, a history of the founding of
churches, the initial steps in the formation of the Christian
society in the different places visited by the apostles. It
records a cycle of "representative events."
All through the narrative we see the ever-present,
all-controlling power of the ever-living Saviour. He worketh all
and in all in spreading abroad his truth among men by his Spirit
and through the instrumentality of his apostles.
The time of the writing of this history may be gathered from
the fact that the narrative extends down to the close of the
second year of Paul's first imprisonment at Rome. It could not
therefore have been written earlier than A.D. 61 or 62, nor
later than about the end of A.D. 63. Paul was probably put to
death during his second imprisonment, about A.D. 64, or, as some
The place where the book was written was probably Rome, to
which Luke accompanied Paul.
The key to the contents of the book is in 1:8, "Ye shall be
witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in
Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." After
referring to what had been recorded in a "former treatise" of
the sayings and doings of Jesus Christ before his ascension, the
author proceeds to give an account of the circumstances
connected with that event, and then records the leading facts
with reference to the spread and triumphs of Christianity over
the world during a period of about thirty years. The record
begins with Pentecost (A.D. 33) and ends with Paul's first
imprisonment (A.D. 63 or 64). The whole contents of the book may
be divided into these three parts:
(1.) Chaps. 1-12, describing the first twelve years of the
Christian church. This section has been entitled "From Jerusalem
to Antioch." It contains the history of the planting and
extension of the church among the Jews by the ministry of Peter.
(2.) Chaps. 13-21, Paul's missionary journeys, giving the
history of the extension and planting of the church among the
(3.) Chaps. 21-28, Paul at Rome, and the events which led to
this. Chaps. 13-28 have been entitled "From Antioch to Rome."
In this book it is worthy of note that no mention is made of
the writing by Paul of any of his epistles. This may be
accounted for by the fact that the writer confined himself to a
history of the planting of the church, and not to that of its
training or edification. The relation, however, between this
history and the epistles of Paul is of such a kind, i.e., brings
to light so many undesigned coincidences, as to prove the
genuineness and authenticity of both, as is so ably shown by
Paley in his _Horae Paulinae_. "No ancient work affords so many
tests of veracity; for no other has such numerous points of
contact in all directions with contemporary history, politics,
and topography, whether Jewish, or Greek, or Roman." Lightfoot.
(See PAUL ¯T0002871.)
(Heb. mizbe'ah, from a word meaning "to slay"), any structure of
earth (Ex. 20:24) or unwrought stone (20:25) on which sacrifices
were offered. Altars were generally erected in conspicuous
places (Gen. 22:9; Ezek. 6:3; 2 Kings 23:12; 16:4; 23:8; Acts
14:13). The word is used in Heb. 13:10 for the sacrifice offered
upon it--the sacrifice Christ offered.
Paul found among the many altars erected in Athens one bearing
the inscription, "To the unknown God" (Acts 17:23), or rather
"to an [i.e., some] unknown God." The reason for this
inscription cannot now be accurately determined. It afforded the
apostle the occasion of proclaiming the gospel to the "men of
The first altar we read of is that erected by Noah (Gen.
8:20). Altars were erected by Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 13:4; 22:9),
by Isaac (Gen. 26:25), by Jacob (33:20; 35:1, 3), and by Moses
(Ex. 17:15, "Jehovah-nissi").
In the tabernacle, and afterwards in the temple, two altars
(1.) The altar of burnt offering (Ex. 30:28), called also the
"brasen altar" (Ex. 39:39) and "the table of the Lord" (Mal.
This altar, as erected in the tabernacle, is described in Ex.
27:1-8. It was a hollow square, 5 cubits in length and in
breadth, and 3 cubits in height. It was made of shittim wood,
and was overlaid with plates of brass. Its corners were
ornamented with "horns" (Ex. 29:12; Lev. 4:18).
In Ex. 27:3 the various utensils appertaining to the altar are
enumerated. They were made of brass. (Comp. 1 Sam. 2:13, 14;
Lev. 16:12; Num. 16:6, 7.)
In Solomon's temple the altar was of larger dimensions (2 Chr.
4:1. Comp. 1 Kings 8:22, 64; 9:25), and was made wholly of
brass, covering a structure of stone or earth. This altar was
renewed by Asa (2 Chr. 15:8). It was removed by Ahaz (2 Kings
16:14), and "cleansed" by Hezekiah, in the latter part of whose
reign it was rebuilt. It was finally broken up and carried away
by the Babylonians (Jer. 52:17).
After the return from captivity it was re-erected (Ezra 3:3,
6) on the same place where it had formerly stood. (Comp. 1 Macc.
4:47.) When Antiochus Epiphanes pillaged Jerusalem the altar of
burnt offering was taken away.
Again the altar was erected by Herod, and remained in its
place till the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans (70 A.D.).
The fire on the altar was not permitted to go out (Lev. 6:9).
In the Mosque of Omar, immediately underneath the great dome,
which occupies the site of the old temple, there is a rough
projection of the natural rock, of about 60 feet in its extreme
length, and 50 in its greatest breadth, and in its highest part
about 4 feet above the general pavement. This rock seems to have
been left intact when Solomon's temple was built. It was in all
probability the site of the altar of burnt offering. Underneath
this rock is a cave, which may probably have been the granary of
Araunah's threshing-floor (1 Chr. 21:22).
(2.) The altar of incense (Ex. 30:1-10), called also "the
golden altar" (39:38; Num. 4:11), stood in the holy place
"before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony." On this
altar sweet spices were continually burned with fire taken from
the brazen altar. The morning and the evening services were
commenced by the high priest offering incense on this altar. The
burning of the incense was a type of prayer (Ps. 141:2; Rev.
5:8; 8:3, 4).
This altar was a small movable table, made of acacia wood
overlaid with gold (Ex. 37:25, 26). It was 1 cubit in length and
breadth, and 2 cubits in height.
In Solomon's temple the altar was similar in size, but was
made of cedar-wood (1 Kings 6:20; 7:48) overlaid with gold. In
Ezek. 41:22 it is called "the altar of wood." (Comp. Ex.
In the temple built after the Exile the altar was restored.
Antiochus Epiphanes took it away, but it was afterwards restored
by Judas Maccabaeus (1 Macc. 1:23; 4:49). Among the trophies
carried away by Titus on the destruction of Jerusalem the altar
of incense is not found, nor is any mention made of it in Heb.
9. It was at this altar Zacharias ministered when an angel
appeared to him (Luke 1:11). It is the only altar which appears
in the heavenly temple (Isa. 6:6; Rev. 8:3,4).
is converse with God; the intercourse of the soul with God, not
in contemplation or meditation, but in direct address to him.
Prayer may be oral or mental, occasional or constant,
ejaculatory or formal. It is a "beseeching the Lord" (Ex.
32:11); "pouring out the soul before the Lord" (1 Sam. 1:15);
"praying and crying to heaven" (2 Chr. 32:20); "seeking unto God
and making supplication" (Job 8:5); "drawing near to God" (Ps.
73:28); "bowing the knees" (Eph. 3:14).
Prayer presupposes a belief in the personality of God, his
ability and willingness to hold intercourse with us, his
personal control of all things and of all his creatures and all
Acceptable prayer must be sincere (Heb. 10:22), offered with
reverence and godly fear, with a humble sense of our own
insignificance as creatures and of our own unworthiness as
sinners, with earnest importunity, and with unhesitating
submission to the divine will. Prayer must also be offered in
the faith that God is, and is the hearer and answerer of prayer,
and that he will fulfil his word, "Ask, and ye shall receive"
(Matt. 7:7, 8; 21:22; Mark 11:24; John 14:13, 14), and in the
name of Christ (16:23, 24; 15:16; Eph. 2:18; 5:20; Col. 3:17; 1
Prayer is of different kinds, secret (Matt. 6:6); social, as
family prayers, and in social worship; and public, in the
service of the sanctuary.
Intercessory prayer is enjoined (Num. 6:23; Job 42:8; Isa.
62:6; Ps. 122:6; 1 Tim. 2:1; James 5:14), and there are many
instances on record of answers having been given to such
prayers, e.g., of Abraham (Gen. 17:18, 20; 18:23-32; 20:7, 17,
18), of Moses for Pharaoh (Ex. 8:12, 13, 30, 31; Ex. 9:33), for
the Israelites (Ex. 17:11, 13; 32:11-14, 31-34; Num. 21:7, 8;
Deut. 9:18, 19, 25), for Miriam (Num. 12:13), for Aaron (Deut.
9:20), of Samuel (1 Sam. 7:5-12), of Solomon (1 Kings 8; 2 Chr.
6), Elijah (1 Kings 17:20-23), Elisha (2 Kings 4:33-36), Isaiah
(2 Kings 19), Jeremiah (42:2-10), Peter (Acts 9:40), the church
(12:5-12), Paul (28:8).
No rules are anywhere in Scripture laid down for the manner of
prayer or the attitude to be assumed by the suppliant. There is
mention made of kneeling in prayer (1 Kings 8:54; 2 Chr. 6:13;
Ps. 95:6; Isa. 45:23; Luke 22:41; Acts 7:60; 9:40; Eph. 3:14,
etc.); of bowing and falling prostrate (Gen. 24:26, 52; Ex.
4:31; 12:27; Matt. 26:39; Mark 14:35, etc.); of spreading out
the hands (1 Kings 8:22, 38, 54; Ps. 28:2; 63:4; 88:9; 1 Tim.
2:8, etc.); and of standing (1 Sam. 1:26; 1 Kings 8:14, 55; 2
Chr. 20:9; Mark 11:25; Luke 18:11, 13).
If we except the "Lord's Prayer" (Matt. 6:9-13), which is,
however, rather a model or pattern of prayer than a set prayer
to be offered up, we have no special form of prayer for general
use given us in Scripture.
Prayer is frequently enjoined in Scripture (Ex. 22:23, 27; 1
Kings 3:5; 2 Chr. 7:14; Ps. 37:4; Isa. 55:6; Joel 2:32; Ezek.
36:37, etc.), and we have very many testimonies that it has been
answered (Ps. 3:4; 4:1; 6:8; 18:6; 28:6; 30:2; 34:4; 118:5;
James 5:16-18, etc.).
"Abraham's servant prayed to God, and God directed him to the
person who should be wife to his master's son and heir (Gen.
"Jacob prayed to God, and God inclined the heart of his
irritated brother, so that they met in peace and friendship
(Gen. 32:24-30; 33:1-4).
"Samson prayed to God, and God showed him a well where he
quenched his burning thirst, and so lived to judge Israel (Judg.
"David prayed, and God defeated the counsel of Ahithophel (2
Sam. 15:31; 16:20-23; 17:14-23).
"Daniel prayed, and God enabled him both to tell
Nebuchadnezzar his dream and to give the interpretation of it
(Dan. 2: 16-23).
"Nehemiah prayed, and God inclined the heart of the king of
Persia to grant him leave of absence to visit and rebuild
Jerusalem (Neh. 1:11; 2:1-6).
"Esther and Mordecai prayed, and God defeated the purpose of
Haman, and saved the Jews from destruction (Esther 4:15-17; 6:7,
"The believers in Jerusalem prayed, and God opened the prison
doors and set Peter at liberty, when Herod had resolved upon his
death (Acts 12:1-12).
"Paul prayed that the thorn in the flesh might be removed, and
his prayer brought a large increase of spiritual strength, while
the thorn perhaps remained (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
"Prayer is like the dove that Noah sent forth, which blessed
him not only when it returned with an olive-leaf in its mouth,
but when it never returned at all.", Robinson's Job.
called also Salem, Ariel, Jebus, the "city of God," the "holy
city;" by the modern Arabs el-Khuds, meaning "the holy;" once
"the city of Judah" (2 Chr. 25:28). This name is in the original
in the dual form, and means "possession of peace," or
"foundation of peace." The dual form probably refers to the two
mountains on which it was built, viz., Zion and Moriah; or, as
some suppose, to the two parts of the city, the "upper" and the
"lower city." Jerusalem is a "mountain city enthroned on a
mountain fastness" (comp. Ps. 68:15, 16; 87:1; 125:2; 76:1, 2;
122:3). It stands on the edge of one of the highest table-lands
in Israel, and is surrounded on the south-eastern, the
southern, and the western sides by deep and precipitous ravines.
It is first mentioned in Scripture under the name Salem (Gen.
14:18; comp. Ps. 76:2). When first mentioned under the name
Jerusalem, Adonizedek was its king (Josh. 10:1). It is
afterwards named among the cities of Benjamin (Judg. 19:10; 1
Chr. 11:4); but in the time of David it was divided between
Benjamin and Judah. After the death of Joshua the city was taken
and set on fire by the men of Judah (Judg. 1:1-8); but the
Jebusites were not wholly driven out of it. The city is not
again mentioned till we are told that David brought the head of
Goliath thither (1 Sam. 17:54). David afterwards led his forces
against the Jebusites still residing within its walls, and drove
them out, fixing his own dwelling on Zion, which he called "the
city of David" (2 Sam. 5:5-9; 1 Chr. 11:4-8). Here he built an
altar to the Lord on the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite
(2 Sam. 24:15-25), and thither he brought up the ark of the
covenant and placed it in the new tabernacle which he had
prepared for it. Jerusalem now became the capital of the
After the death of David, Solomon built the temple, a house
for the name of the Lord, on Mount Moriah (B.C. 1010). He also
greatly strengthened and adorned the city, and it became the
great centre of all the civil and religious affairs of the
nation (Deut. 12:5; comp. 12:14; 14:23; 16:11-16; Ps. 122).
After the disruption of the kingdom on the accession to the
throne of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, Jerusalem became the
capital of the kingdom of the two tribes. It was subsequently
often taken and retaken by the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and by
the kings of Israel (2 Kings 14:13, 14; 18:15, 16; 23:33-35;
24:14; 2 Chr. 12:9; 26:9; 27:3, 4; 29:3; 32:30; 33:11), till
finally, for the abounding iniquities of the nation, after a
siege of three years, it was taken and utterly destroyed, its
walls razed to the ground, and its temple and palaces consumed
by fire, by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon (2 Kings 25; 2
Chr. 36; Jer. 39), B.C. 588. The desolation of the city and the
land was completed by the retreat of the principal Jews into
Egypt (Jer. 40-44), and by the final carrying captive into
Babylon of all that still remained in the land (52:3), so that
it was left without an inhabitant (B.C. 582). Compare the
predictions, Deut. 28; Lev. 26:14-39.
But the streets and walls of Jerusalem were again to be built,
in troublous times (Dan. 9:16, 19, 25), after a captivity of
seventy years. This restoration was begun B.C. 536, "in the
first year of Cyrus" (Ezra 1:2, 3, 5-11). The Books of Ezra and
Nehemiah contain the history of the re-building of the city and
temple, and the restoration of the kingdom of the Jews,
consisting of a portion of all the tribes. The kingdom thus
constituted was for two centuries under the dominion of Persia,
till B.C. 331; and thereafter, for about a century and a half,
under the rulers of the Greek empire in Asia, till B.C. 167. For
a century the Jews maintained their independence under native
rulers, the Asmonean princes. At the close of this period they
fell under the rule of Herod and of members of his family, but
practically under Rome, till the time of the destruction of
Jerusalem, A.D. 70. The city was then laid in ruins.
The modern Jerusalem by-and-by began to be built over the
immense beds of rubbish resulting from the overthrow of the
ancient city; and whilst it occupies certainly the same site,
there are no evidences that even the lines of its streets are
now what they were in the ancient city. Till A.D. 131 the Jews
who still lingered about Jerusalem quietly submitted to the
Roman sway. But in that year the emperor (Hadrian), in order to
hold them in subjection, rebuilt and fortified the city. The
Jews, however, took possession of it, having risen under the
leadership of one Bar-Chohaba (i.e., "the son of the star") in
revolt against the Romans. Some four years afterwards (A.D.
135), however, they were driven out of it with great slaughter,
and the city was again destroyed; and over its ruins was built a
Roman city called Aelia Capitolina, a name which it retained
till it fell under the dominion of the Mohammedans, when it was
called el-Khuds, i.e., "the holy."
In A.D. 326 Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine, made a
pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the view of discovering the places
mentioned in the life of our Lord. She caused a church to be
built on what was then supposed to be the place of the nativity
at Bethlehem. Constantine, animated by her example, searched for
the holy sepulchre, and built over the supposed site a
magnificent church, which was completed and dedicated A.D. 335.
He relaxed the laws against the Jews till this time in force,
and permitted them once a year to visit the city and wail over
the desolation of "the holy and beautiful house."
In A.D. 614 the Persians, after defeating the Roman forces of
the emperor Heraclius, took Jerusalem by storm, and retained it
till A.D. 637, when it was taken by the Arabians under the
Khalif Omar. It remained in their possession till it passed, in
A.D. 960, under the dominion of the Fatimite khalifs of Egypt,
and in A.D. 1073 under the Turcomans. In A.D. 1099 the crusader
Godfrey of Bouillon took the city from the Moslems with great
slaughter, and was elected king of Jerusalem. He converted the
Mosque of Omar into a Christian cathedral. During the
eighty-eight years which followed, many churches and convents
were erected in the holy city. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
was rebuilt during this period, and it alone remains to this
day. In A.D. 1187 the sultan Saladin wrested the city from the
Christians. From that time to the present day, with few
intervals, Jerusalem has remained in the hands of the Moslems.
It has, however, during that period been again and again taken
and retaken, demolished in great part and rebuilt, no city in
the world having passed through so many vicissitudes.
In the year 1850 the Greek and Latin monks residing in
Jerusalem had a fierce dispute about the guardianship of what
are called the "holy places." In this dispute the emperor
Nicholas of Russia sided with the Greeks, and Louis Napoleon,
the emperor of the French, with the Latins. This led the Turkish
authorities to settle the question in a way unsatisfactory to
Russia. Out of this there sprang the Crimean War, which was
protracted and sanguinary, but which had important consequences
in the way of breaking down the barriers of Turkish
Modern Jerusalem "lies near the summit of a broad
mountain-ridge, which extends without interruption from the
plain of Esdraelon to a line drawn between the southern end of
the Dead Sea and the southeastern corner of the Mediterranean."
This high, uneven table-land is everywhere from 20 to 25
geographical miles in breadth. It was anciently known as the
mountains of Ephraim and Judah.
"Jerusalem is a city of contrasts, and differs widely from
Damascus, not merely because it is a stone town in mountains,
whilst the latter is a mud city in a plain, but because while in
Damascus Moslem religion and Oriental custom are unmixed with
any foreign element, in Jerusalem every form of religion, every
nationality of East and West, is represented at one time."
Jerusalem is first mentioned under that name in the Book of
Joshua, and the Tell-el-Amarna collection of tablets includes
six letters from its Amorite king to Egypt, recording the attack
of the Abiri about B.C. 1480. The name is there spelt Uru-Salim
("city of peace"). Another monumental record in which the Holy
City is named is that of Sennacherib's attack in B.C. 702. The
"camp of the Assyrians" was still shown about A.D. 70, on the
flat ground to the north-west, included in the new quarter of
The city of David included both the upper city and Millo, and
was surrounded by a wall built by David and Solomon, who appear
to have restored the original Jebusite fortifications. The name
Zion (or Sion) appears to have been, like Ariel ("the hearth of
God"), a poetical term for Jerusalem, but in the Greek age was
more specially used of the Temple hill. The priests' quarter
grew up on Ophel, south of the Temple, where also was Solomon's
Palace outside the original city of David. The walls of the city
were extended by Jotham and Manasseh to include this suburb and
the Temple (2 Chr. 27:3; 33:14).
Jerusalem is now a town of some 50,000 inhabitants, with
ancient mediaeval walls, partly on the old lines, but extending
less far to the south. The traditional sites, as a rule, were
first shown in the 4th and later centuries A.D., and have no
authority. The results of excavation have, however, settled most
of the disputed questions, the limits of the Temple area, and
the course of the old walls having been traced.
originally called Simon (=Simeon ,i.e., "hearing"), a very
common Jewish name in the New Testament. He was the son of Jona
(Matt. 16:17). His mother is nowhere named in Scripture. He had
a younger brother called Andrew, who first brought him to Jesus
(John 1:40-42). His native town was Bethsaida, on the western
coast of the Sea of Galilee, to which also Philip belonged. Here
he was brought up by the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and was
trained to the occupation of a fisher. His father had probably
died while he was still young, and he and his brother were
brought up under the care of Zebedee and his wife Salome (Matt.
27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1). There the four youths, Simon, Andrew,
James, and John, spent their boyhood and early manhood in
constant fellowship. Simon and his brother doubtless enjoyed all
the advantages of a religious training, and were early
instructed in an acquaintance with the Scriptures and with the
great prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah. They did
not probably enjoy, however, any special training in the study
of the law under any of the rabbis. When Peter appeared before
the Sanhedrin, he looked like an "unlearned man" (Acts 4:13).
"Simon was a Galilean, and he was that out and out...The
Galileans had a marked character of their own. They had a
reputation for an independence and energy which often ran out
into turbulence. They were at the same time of a franker and
more transparent disposition than their brethren in the south.
In all these respects, in bluntness, impetuosity, headiness, and
simplicity, Simon was a genuine Galilean. They spoke a peculiar
dialect. They had a difficulty with the guttural sounds and some
others, and their pronunciation was reckoned harsh in Judea. The
Galilean accent stuck to Simon all through his career. It
betrayed him as a follower of Christ when he stood within the
judgment-hall (Mark 14:70). It betrayed his own nationality and
that of those conjoined with him on the day of Pentecost (Acts
2:7)." It would seem that Simon was married before he became an
apostle. His wife's mother is referred to (Matt. 8:14; Mark
1:30; Luke 4:38). He was in all probability accompanied by his
wife on his missionary journeys (1 Cor. 9:5; comp. 1 Pet. 5:13).
He appears to have been settled at Capernaum when Christ
entered on his public ministry, and may have reached beyond the
age of thirty. His house was large enough to give a home to his
brother Andrew, his wife's mother, and also to Christ, who seems
to have lived with him (Mark 1:29, 36; 2:1), as well as to his
own family. It was apparently two stories high (2:4).
At Bethabara (R.V., John 1:28, "Bethany"), beyond Jordan, John
the Baptist had borne testimony concerning Jesus as the "Lamb of
God" (John 1:29-36). Andrew and John hearing it, followed Jesus,
and abode with him where he was. They were convinced, by his
gracious words and by the authority with which he spoke, that he
was the Messiah (Luke 4:22; Matt. 7:29); and Andrew went forth
and found Simon and brought him to Jesus (John 1:41).
Jesus at once recognized Simon, and declared that hereafter he
would be called Cephas, an Aramaic name corresponding to the
Greek Petros, which means "a mass of rock detached from the
living rock." The Aramaic name does not occur again, but the
name Peter gradually displaces the old name Simon, though our
Lord himself always uses the name Simon when addressing him
(Matt. 17:25; Mark 14:37; Luke 22:31, comp. 21:15-17). We are
not told what impression the first interview with Jesus produced
on the mind of Simon. When we next meet him it is by the Sea of
Galilee (Matt. 4:18-22). There the four (Simon and Andrew, James
and John) had had an unsuccessful night's fishing. Jesus
appeared suddenly, and entering into Simon's boat, bade him
launch forth and let down the nets. He did so, and enclosed a
great multitude of fishes. This was plainly a miracle wrought
before Simon's eyes. The awe-stricken disciple cast himself at
the feet of Jesus, crying, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful
man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8). Jesus addressed him with the assuring
words, "Fear not," and announced to him his life's work. Simon
responded at once to the call to become a disciple, and after
this we find him in constant attendance on our Lord.
He is next called into the rank of the apostleship, and
becomes a "fisher of men" (Matt. 4:19) in the stormy seas of the
world of human life (Matt. 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:13-16),
and takes a more and more prominent part in all the leading
events of our Lord's life. It is he who utters that notable
profession of faith at Capernaum (John 6:66-69), and again at
Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-20).
This profession at Caesarea was one of supreme importance, and
our Lord in response used these memorable words: "Thou art
Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church."
"From that time forth" Jesus began to speak of his sufferings.
For this Peter rebuked him. But our Lord in return rebuked
Peter, speaking to him in sterner words than he ever used to any
other of his disciples (Matt. 16:21-23; Mark 8:31-33). At the
close of his brief sojourn at Caesarea our Lord took Peter and
James and John with him into "an high mountain apart," and was
transfigured before them. Peter on that occasion, under the
impression the scene produced on his mind, exclaimed, "Lord, it
is good for us to be here: let us make three tabernacles" (Matt.
On his return to Capernaum the collectors of the temple tax (a
didrachma, half a sacred shekel), which every Israelite of
twenty years old and upwards had to pay (Ex. 30:15), came to
Peter and reminded him that Jesus had not paid it (Matt.
17:24-27). Our Lord instructed Peter to go and catch a fish in
the lake and take from its mouth the exact amount needed for the
tax, viz., a stater, or two half-shekels. "That take," said our
Lord, "and give unto them for me and thee."
As the end was drawing nigh, our Lord sent Peter and John
(Luke 22:7-13) into the city to prepare a place where he should
keep the feast with his disciples. There he was forewarned of
the fearful sin into which he afterwards fell (22:31-34). He
accompanied our Lord from the guest-chamber to the garden of
Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46), which he and the other two who had
been witnesses of the transfiguration were permitted to enter
with our Lord, while the rest were left without. Here he passed
through a strange experience. Under a sudden impulse he cut off
the ear of Malchus (47-51), one of the band that had come forth
to take Jesus. Then follow the scenes of the judgment-hall
(54-61) and his bitter grief (62).
He is found in John's company early on the morning of the
resurrection. He boldly entered into the empty grave (John
20:1-10), and saw the "linen clothes laid by themselves" (Luke
24:9-12). To him, the first of the apostles, our risen Lord
revealed himself, thus conferring on him a signal honour, and
showing how fully he was restored to his favour (Luke 24:34; 1
Cor. 15:5). We next read of our Lord's singular interview with
Peter on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where he thrice asked
him, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?" (John 21:1-19). (See
After this scene at the lake we hear nothing of Peter till he
again appears with the others at the ascension (Acts 1:15-26).
It was he who proposed that the vacancy caused by the apostasy
of Judas should be filled up. He is prominent on the day of
Pentecost (2:14-40). The events of that day "completed the
change in Peter himself which the painful discipline of his fall
and all the lengthened process of previous training had been
slowly making. He is now no more the unreliable, changeful,
self-confident man, ever swaying between rash courage and weak
timidity, but the stead-fast, trusted guide and director of the
fellowship of believers, the intrepid preacher of Christ in
Jerusalem and abroad. And now that he is become Cephas indeed,
we hear almost nothing of the name Simon (only in Acts 10:5, 32;
15:14), and he is known to us finally as Peter."
After the miracle at the temple gate (Acts 3) persecution
arose against the Christians, and Peter was cast into prison. He
boldly defended himself and his companions at the bar of the
council (4:19, 20). A fresh outburst of violence against the
Christians (5:17-21) led to the whole body of the apostles being
cast into prison; but during the night they were wonderfully
delivered, and were found in the morning teaching in the temple.
A second time Peter defended them before the council (Acts
5:29-32), who, "when they had called the apostles and beaten
them, let them go."
The time had come for Peter to leave Jerusalem. After
labouring for some time in Samaria, he returned to Jerusalem,
and reported to the church there the results of his work (Acts
8:14-25). Here he remained for a period, during which he met
Paul for the first time since his conversion (9:26-30; Gal.
1:18). Leaving Jerusalem again, he went forth on a missionary
journey to Lydda and Joppa (Acts 9:32-43). He is next called on
to open the door of the Christian church to the Gentiles by the
admission of Cornelius of Caesarea (ch. 10).
After remaining for some time at Caesarea, he returned to
Jerusalem (Acts 11:1-18), where he defended his conduct with
reference to the Gentiles. Next we hear of his being cast into
prison by Herod Agrippa (12:1-19); but in the night an angel of
the Lord opened the prison gates, and he went forth and found
refuge in the house of Mary.
He took part in the deliberations of the council in Jerusalem
(Acts 15:1-31; Gal. 2:1-10) regarding the relation of the
Gentiles to the church. This subject had awakened new interest
at Antioch, and for its settlement was referred to the council
of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. Here Paul and Peter met
We have no further mention of Peter in the Acts of the
Apostles. He seems to have gone down to Antioch after the
council at Jerusalem, and there to have been guilty of
dissembling, for which he was severely reprimanded by Paul (Gal.
2:11-16), who "rebuked him to his face."
After this he appears to have carried the gospel to the east,
and to have laboured for a while at Babylon, on the Euphrates (1
Pet. 5:13). There is no satisfactory evidence that he was ever
at Rome. Where or when he died is not certainly known. Probably
he died between A.D. 64 and 67.