Hill of Evil Counsel
on the south of the Valley of Hinnom. It is so called from a
tradition that the house of the high priest Caiaphas, when the
rulers of the Jews resolved to put Christ to death, stood here.
(Judg. 5:7, 11). The Hebrew word thus rendered (perazon) means
habitations in the open country, unwalled villages (Deut. 3:5; 1
Sam. 6:18). Others, however, following the LXX. and the Vulgate
versions, render the word "rulers."
a Jewish political party who sympathized with (Mark 3:6; 12:13;
Matt, 22:16; Luke 20:20) the Herodian rulers in their general
policy of government, and in the social customs which they
introduced from Rome. They were at one with the Sadducees in
holding the duty of submission to Rome, and of supporting the
Herods on the throne. (Comp. Mark 8:15; Matt. 16:6.)
his excellence, or gain, a prince or priest of Midian, who
succeeded his father Reuel. Moses spent forty years after his
exile from the Egyptian court as keeper of Jethro's flocks.
While the Israelites were encamped at Sinai, and soon after
their victory over Amalek, Jethro came to meet Moses, bringing
with him Zipporah and her two sons. They met at the "mount of
God," and "Moses told him all that the Lord had done unto
Pharaoh" (Ex. 18:8). On the following day Jethro, observing the
multiplicity of the duties devolving on Moses, advised him to
appoint subordinate judges, rulers of thousands, of hundreds, of
fifties, and of tens, to decide smaller matters, leaving only
the weightier matters to be referred to Moses, to be laid before
the Lord. This advice Moses adopted (Ex. 18). He was also called
Hobab (q.v.), which was probably his personal name, while Jethro
was an official name. (See MOSES ¯T0002602.)
Shinar, The Land of
LXX. and Vulgate "Senaar;" in the inscriptions, "Shumir;"
probably identical with Babylonia or Southern Mesopotamia,
extending almost to the Persian Gulf. Here the tower of Babel
was built (Gen. 11:1-6), and the city of Babylon. The name
occurs later in Jewish history (Isa. 11:11; Zech. 5:11). Shinar
was apparently first peopled by Turanian tribes, who tilled the
land and made bricks and built cities. Then tribes of Semites
invaded the land and settled in it, and became its rulers. This
was followed in course of time by an Elamite invasion; from
which the land was finally delivered by Khammurabi, the son of
Amarpel ("Amraphel, king of Shinar," Gen. 14:1), who became the
founder of the new empire of Chaldea. (See AMRAPHEL ¯T0000221.)
(Heb. shophet, pl. shophetim), properly a magistrate or ruler,
rather than one who judges in the sense of trying a cause. This
is the name given to those rulers who presided over the affairs
of the Israelites during the interval between the death of
Joshua and the accession of Saul (Judg. 2:18), a period of
general anarchy and confusion. "The office of judges or regents
was held during life, but it was not hereditary, neither could
they appoint their successors. Their authority was limited by
the law alone, and in doubtful cases they were directed to
consult the divine King through the priest by Urim and Thummim
(Num. 27:21). Their authority extended only over those tribes by
whom they had been elected or acknowledged. There was no income
attached to their office, and they bore no external marks of
dignity. The only cases of direct divine appointment are those
of Gideon and Samson, and the latter stood in the peculiar
position of having been from before his birth ordained 'to begin
to deliver Israel.' Deborah was called to deliver Israel, but
was already a judge. Samuel was called by the Lord to be a
prophet but not a judge, which ensued from the high gifts the
people recognized as dwelling in him; and as to Eli, the office
of judge seems to have devolved naturally or rather ex officio
upon him." Of five of the judges, Tola (Judg. 10:1), Jair (3),
Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon (12:8-15), we have no record at all
beyond the bare fact that they were judges. Sacred history is
not the history of individuals but of the kingdom of God in its
In Ex. 2:14 Moses is so styled. This fact may indicate that
while for revenue purposes the "taskmasters" were over the
people, they were yet, just as at a later time when under the
Romans, governed by their own rulers.
(1.) Heb. nagid, a prominent, conspicuous person, whatever his
capacity: as, chief of the royal palace (2 Chr. 28:7; comp. 1
Kings 4:6), chief of the temple (1 Chr. 9:11; Jer. 20:1), the
leader of the Aaronites (1 Chr. 12:27), keeper of the sacred
treasury (26:24), captain of the army (13:1), the king (1 Sam.
9:16), the Messiah (Dan. 9:25).
(2.) Heb. nasi, raised; exalted. Used to denote the chiefs of
families (Num. 3:24, 30, 32, 35); also of tribes (2:3; 7:2;
3:32). These dignities appear to have been elective, not
(3.) Heb. pakid, an officer or magistrate. It is used of the
delegate of the high priest (2 Chr. 24:11), the Levites (Neh.
11:22), a military commander (2 Kings 25:19), Joseph's officers
in Egypt (Gen. 41:34).
(4.) Heb. shallit, one who has power, who rules (Gen. 42:6;
Ezra 4:20; Eccl. 8:8; Dan. 2:15; 5:29).
(5.) Heb. aluph, literally one put over a thousand, i.e., a
clan or a subdivision of a tribe. Used of the "dukes" of Edom
(Gen. 36), and of the Jewish chiefs (Zech. 9:7).
(6.) Heb. moshel, one who rules, holds dominion. Used of many
classes of rulers (Gen. 3:16; 24:2; 45:8; Ps. 105:20); of the
Messiah (Micah 5:2); of God (1 Chr. 29:12; Ps. 103:19).
(7.) Heb. sar, a ruler or chief; a word of very general use.
It is used of the chief baker of Pharaoh (Gen. 40:16); of the
chief butler (40:2, etc. See also Gen. 47:6; Ex. 1:11; Dan. 1:7;
Judg. 10:18; 1 Kings 22:26; 20:15; 2 Kings 1:9; 2 Sam. 24:2). It
is used also of angels, guardian angels (Dan. 10:13, 20, 21;
12:1; 10:13; 8:25).
(8.) Pehah, whence _pasha_, i.e., friend of the king;
adjutant; governor of a province (2 Kings 18:24; Isa. 36:9; Jer.
51: 57; Ezek. 23:6, 23; Dan. 3:2; Esther 3: 12), or a perfect
(Neh. 3:7; 5:14; Ezra 5:3; Hag. 1:1). This is a foreign word,
Assyrian, which was early adopted into the Hebrew idiom (1 Kings
(9.) The Chaldean word _segan_ is applied to the governors of
the Babylonian satrapies (Dan. 3:2, 27; 6:7); the prefects over
the Magi (2:48). The corresponding Hebrew word _segan_ is used
of provincial rulers (Jer. 51:23, 28, 57); also of chiefs and
rulers of the people of Jerusalem (Ezra 9:2; Neh. 2:16; 4:14,
19; 5:7, 17; 7:5; 12:40).
In the New Testament there are also different Greek words
(1.) Meaning an ethnarch (2 Cor. 11:32), which was an office
distinct from military command, with considerable latitude of
(2.) The procurator of Judea under the Romans (Matt. 27:2).
(Comp. Luke 2:2, where the verb from which the Greek word so
rendered is derived is used.)
(3.) Steward (Gal. 4:2).
(4.) Governor of the feast (John 2:9), who appears here to
have been merely an intimate friend of the bridegroom, and to
have presided at the marriage banquet in his stead.
(5.) A director, i.e., helmsman; Lat. gubernator, (James 3:4).
In Egypt herdsmen were probably of the lowest caste. Some of
Joseph's brethren were made rulers over Pharaoh's cattle (Gen.
47:6, 17). The Israelites were known in Egypt as "keepers of
cattle;" and when they left it they took their flocks and herds
with them (Ex. 12:38). Both David and Saul came from "following
the herd" to occupy the throne (1 Sam. 9; 11:5; Ps. 78:70).
David's herd-masters were among his chief officers of state. The
daughters also of wealthy chiefs were wont to tend the flocks of
the family (Gen. 29:9; Ex. 2:16). The "chief of the herdsmen"
was in the time of the monarchy an officer of high rank (1 Sam.
21:7; comp. 1 Chr. 27:29). The herdsmen lived in tents (Isa.
38:12; Jer. 6:3); and there were folds for the cattle (Num.
32:16), and watch-towers for the herdsmen, that he might
therefrom observe any coming danger (Micah 4:8; Nah. 3:8).
booths. (1.) The first encampment of the Israelites after
leaving Ramesses (Ex. 12:37); the civil name of Pithom (q.v.).
(2.) A city on the east of Jordan, identified with Tell
Dar'ala, a high mound, a mass of debris, in the plain north of
Jabbok and about one mile from it (Josh. 13:27). Here Jacob
(Gen. 32:17, 30; 33:17), on his return from Padan-aram after his
interview with Esau, built a house for himself and made booths
for his cattle. The princes of this city churlishly refused to
afford help to Gideon and his 300 men when "faint yet pursuing"
they followed one of the bands of the fugitive Midianites after
the great victory at Gilboa. After overtaking and routing this
band at Karkor, Gideon on his return visited the rulers of the
city with severe punishment. "He took the elders of the city,
and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught
the men of Succoth" (Judg. 8:13-16). At this place were erected
the foundries for casting the metal-work for the temple (1 Kings
first mentioned in the command (Ex. 30:11-16) that every Jew
from twenty years and upward should pay an annual tax of "half a
shekel for an offering to the Lord." This enactment was
faithfully observed for many generations (2 Chr. 24:6; Matt.
Afterwards, when the people had kings to reign over them, they
began, as Samuel had warned them (1 Sam. 8:10-18), to pay taxes
for civil purposes (1 Kings 4:7; 9:15; 12:4). Such taxes, in
increased amount, were afterwards paid to the foreign princes
that ruled over them.
In the New Testament the payment of taxes, imposed by lawful
rulers, is enjoined as a duty (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13, 14).
Mention is made of the tax (telos) on merchandise and travellers
(Matt. 17:25); the annual tax (phoros) on property (Luke 20:22;
23:2); the poll-tax (kensos, "tribute," Matt. 17:25; 22:17; Mark
12:14); and the temple-tax ("tribute money" = two drachmas =
half shekel, Matt. 17:24-27; comp. Ex. 30:13). (See TRIBUTE
a large and populous city on the Thermaic bay. It was the
capital of one of the four Roman districts of Macedonia, and was
ruled by a praetor. It was named after Thessalonica, the wife of
Cassander, who built the city. She was so called by her father,
Philip, because he first heard of her birth on the day of his
gaining a victory over the Thessalians. On his second missionary
journey, Paul preached in the synagogue here, the chief
synagogue of the Jews in that part of Macedonia, and laid the
foundations of a church (Acts 17:1-4; 1 Thes. 1:9). The violence
of the Jews drove him from the city, when he fled to Berea (Acts
17:5-10). The "rulers of the city" before whom the Jews "drew
Jason," with whom Paul and Silas lodged, are in the original
called politarchai, an unusual word, which was found, however,
inscribed on an arch in Thessalonica. This discovery confirms
the accuracy of the historian. Paul visited the church here on a
subsequent occasion (20:1-3). This city long retained its
importance. It is the most important town of European Turkey,
under the name of Saloniki, with a mixed population of about
(Gr. sunagoge, i.e., "an assembly"), found only once in the
Authorized Version of Ps. 74:8, where the margin of Revised
Version has "places of assembly," which is probably correct; for
while the origin of synagogues is unknown, it may well be
supposed that buildings or tents for the accommodation of
worshippers may have existed in the land from an early time, and
thus the system of synagogues would be gradually developed.
Some, however, are of opinion that it was specially during the
Babylonian captivity that the system of synagogue worship, if
not actually introduced, was at least reorganized on a
systematic plan (Ezek. 8:1; 14:1). The exiles gathered together
for the reading of the law and the prophets as they had
opportunity, and after their return synagogues were established
all over the land (Ezra 8:15; Neh. 8:2). In after years, when
the Jews were dispersed abroad, wherever they went they erected
synagogues and kept up the stated services of worship (Acts
9:20; 13:5; 17:1; 17:17; 18:4). The form and internal
arrangements of the synagogue would greatly depend on the wealth
of the Jews who erected it, and on the place where it was built.
"Yet there are certain traditional pecularities which have
doubtless united together by a common resemblance the Jewish
synagogues of all ages and countries. The arrangements for the
women's place in a separate gallery or behind a partition of
lattice-work; the desk in the centre, where the reader, like
Ezra in ancient days, from his 'pulpit of wood,' may 'open the
book in the sight of all of people and read in the book of the
law of God distinctly, and give the sense, and cause them to
understand the reading' (Neh. 8:4, 8); the carefully closed ark
on the side of the building nearest to Jerusalem, for the
preservation of the rolls or manuscripts of the law; the seats
all round the building, whence 'the eyes of all them that are in
the synagogue' may 'be fastened' on him who speaks (Luke 4:20);
the 'chief seats' (Matt. 23:6) which were appropriated to the
'ruler' or 'rulers' of the synagogue, according as its
organization may have been more or less complete;", these were
features common to all the synagogues.
Where perfected into a system, the services of the synagogue,
which were at the same hours as those of the temple, consisted,
(1) of prayer, which formed a kind of liturgy, there were in all
eighteen prayers; (2) the reading of the Scriptures in certain
definite portions; and (3) the exposition of the portions read.
(See Luke 4:15, 22; Acts 13:14.)
The synagogue was also sometimes used as a court of
judicature, in which the rulers presided (Matt. 10:17; Mark
5:22; Luke 12:11; 21:12; Acts 13:15; 22:19); also as public
The establishment of synagogues wherever the Jews were found
in sufficient numbers helped greatly to keep alive Israel's hope
of the coming of the Messiah, and to prepare the way for the
spread of the gospel in other lands. The worship of the
Christian Church was afterwards modelled after that of the
Christ and his disciples frequently taught in the synagogues
(Matt. 13:54; Mark 6:2; John 18:20; Acts 13:5, 15, 44; 14:1;
17:2-4, 10, 17; 18:4, 26; 19:8).
To be "put out of the synagogue," a phrase used by John (9:22;
12:42; 16:2), means to be excommunicated.
the name derived from the patriarch Judah, at first given to one
belonging to the tribe of Judah or to the separate kingdom of
Judah (2 Kings 16:6; 25:25; Jer. 32:12; 38:19; 40:11; 41:3), in
contradistinction from those belonging to the kingdom of the ten
tribes, who were called Israelites.
During the Captivity, and after the Restoration, the name,
however, was extended to all the Hebrew nation without
distinction (Esther 3:6, 10; Dan. 3:8, 12; Ezra 4:12; 5:1, 5).
Originally this people were called Hebrews (Gen. 39:14; 40:15;
Ex. 2:7; 3:18; 5:3; 1 Sam. 4:6, 9, etc.), but after the Exile
this name fell into disuse. But Paul was styled a Hebrew (2 Cor.
11:22; Phil. 3:5).
The history of the Jewish nation is interwoven with the
history of Israel and with the narratives of the lives of
their rulers and chief men. They are now  dispersed over
all lands, and to this day remain a separate people, "without a
king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without
an image [R.V. 'pillar,' marg. 'obelisk'], and without an ephod,
and without teraphim" (Hos. 3:4). Till about the beginning of
the present century  they were everywhere greatly
oppressed, and often cruelly persecuted; but now their condition
is greatly improved, and they are admitted in most European
countries to all the rights of free citizens. In 1860 the
"Jewish disabilities" were removed, and they were admitted to a
seat in the British Parliament. Their number in all is estimated
at about six millions, about four millions being in Europe.
There are three names used in the New Testament to designate
this people, (1.) Jews, as regards their nationality, to
distinguish them from Gentiles. (2.) Hebrews, with regard to
their language and education, to distinguish them from
Hellenists, i.e., Jews who spoke the Greek language. (3.)
Israelites, as respects their sacred privileges as the chosen
people of God. "To other races we owe the splendid inheritance
of modern civilization and secular culture; but the religious
education of mankind has been the gift of the Jew alone."
Samuel, Books of
The LXX. translators regarded the books of Samuel and of Kings
as forming one continuous history, which they divided into four
books, which they called "Books of the Kingdom." The Vulgate
version followed this division, but styled them "Books of the
Kings." These books of Samuel they accordingly called the
"First" and "Second" Books of Kings, and not, as in the modern
Protestant versions, the "First" and "Second" Books of Samuel.
The authors of the books of Samuel were probably Samuel, Gad,
and Nathan. Samuel penned the first twenty-four chapters of the
first book. Gad, the companion of David (1 Sam. 22:5), continued
the history thus commenced; and Nathan completed it, probably
arranging the whole in the form in which we now have it (1 Chr.
The contents of the books. The first book comprises a period
of about a hundred years, and nearly coincides with the life of
Samuel. It contains (1) the history of Eli (1-4); (2) the
history of Samuel (5-12); (3) the history of Saul, and of David
in exile (13-31). The second book, comprising a period of
perhaps fifty years, contains a history of the reign of David
(1) over Judah (1-4), and (2) over all Israel (5-24), mainly in
its political aspects. The last four chapters of Second Samuel
may be regarded as a sort of appendix recording various events,
but not chronologically. These books do not contain complete
histories. Frequent gaps are met with in the record, because
their object is to present a history of the kingdom of God in
its gradual development, and not of the events of the reigns of
the successive rulers. It is noticeable that the section (2 Sam.
11:2-12: 29) containing an account of David's sin in the matter
of Bathsheba is omitted in the corresponding passage in 1 Chr.
a word naturally of frequent occurence in Scripture. Sometimes
the word "pastor" is used instead (Jer. 2:8; 3:15; 10:21; 12:10;
17:16). This word is used figuratively to represent the relation
of rulers to their subjects and of God to his people (Ps. 23:1;
80:1; Isa. 40:11; 44:28; Jer. 25:34, 35; Nahum 3:18; John 10:11,
14; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 2:25; 5:4).
The duties of a shepherd in an unenclosed country like
Israel were very onerous. "In early morning he led forth the
flock from the fold, marching at its head to the spot where they
were to be pastured. Here he watched them all day, taking care
that none of the sheep strayed, and if any for a time eluded his
watch and wandered away from the rest, seeking diligently till
he found and brought it back. In those lands sheep require to be
supplied regularly with water, and the shepherd for this purpose
has to guide them either to some running stream or to wells dug
in the wilderness and furnished with troughs. At night he
brought the flock home to the fold, counting them as they passed
under the rod at the door to assure himself that none were
missing. Nor did his labours always end with sunset. Often he
had to guard the fold through the dark hours from the attack of
wild beasts, or the wily attempts of the prowling thief (see 1
Sam. 17:34).", Deane's David.
(Heb. Aram), the name in the Old Testament given to the whole
country which lay to the north-east of Phoenicia, extending to
beyond the Euphrates and the Tigris. Mesopotamia is called (Gen.
24:10; Deut. 23:4) Aram-naharain (=Syria of the two rivers),
also Padan-aram (Gen. 25:20). Other portions of Syria were also
known by separate names, as Aram-maahah (1 Chr. 19:6),
Aram-beth-rehob (2 Sam. 10:6), Aram-zobah (2 Sam. 10:6, 8). All
these separate little kingdoms afterwards became subject to
Damascus. In the time of the Romans, Syria included also a part
of Israel and Asia Minor.
"From the historic annals now accessible to us, the history of
Syria may be divided into three periods: The first, the period
when the power of the Pharaohs was dominant over the fertile
fields or plains of Syria and the merchant cities of Tyre and
Sidon, and when such mighty conquerors as Thothmes III. and
Rameses II. could claim dominion and levy tribute from the
nations from the banks of the Euphrates to the borders of the
Libyan desert. Second, this was followed by a short period of
independence, when the Jewish nation in the south was growing in
power, until it reached its early zenith in the golden days of
Solomon; and when Tyre and Sidon were rich cities, sending their
traders far and wide, over land and sea, as missionaries of
civilization, while in the north the confederate tribes of the
Hittites held back the armies of the kings of Assyria. The
third, and to us most interesting, period is that during which
the kings of Assyria were dominant over the plains of Syria;
when Tyre, Sidon, Ashdod, and Jerusalem bowed beneath the
conquering armies of Shalmaneser, Sargon, and Sennacherib; and
when at last Memphis and Thebes yielded to the power of the
rulers of Nineveh and Babylon, and the kings of Assyria
completed with terrible fulness the bruising of the reed of
Egypt so clearly foretold by the Hebrew prophets.", Boscawen.
(1.) Heb. sar (1 Sam. 22:2; 2 Sam. 23:19). Rendered "chief,"
Gen. 40:2; 41:9; rendered also "prince," Dan. 1:7; "ruler,"
Judg. 9:30; "governor,' 1 Kings 22:26. This same Hebrew word
denotes a military captain (Ex. 18:21; 2 Kings 1:9; Deut. 1:15;
1 Sam. 18:13, etc.), the "captain of the body-guard" (Gen.
37:36; 39:1; 41:10; Jer. 40:1), or, as the word may be rendered,
"chief of the executioners" (marg.). The officers of the king's
body-guard frequently acted as executioners. Nebuzar-adan (Jer.
39:13) and Arioch (Dan. 2:14) held this office in Babylon.
The "captain of the guard" mentioned in Acts 28:16 was the
Praetorian prefect, the commander of the Praetorian troops.
(2.) Another word (Heb. katsin) so translated denotes
sometimes a military (Josh. 10:24; Judg. 11:6, 11; Isa. 22:3
"rulers;" Dan. 11:18) and sometimes a civil command, a judge,
magistrate, Arab. _kady_, (Isa. 1:10; 3:6; Micah 3:1, 9).
(3.) It is also the rendering of a Hebrew word (shalish)
meaning "a third man," or "one of three." The LXX. render in
plural by _tristatai_; i.e., "soldiers fighting from chariots,"
so called because each war-chariot contained three men, one of
whom acted as charioteer while the other two fought (Ex. 14:7;
15:4; 1 Kings 9:22; comp. 2 Kings 9:25). This word is used also
to denote the king's body-guard (2 Kings 10:25; 1 Chr. 12:18; 2
Chr. 11:11) or aides-de-camp.
(4.) The "captain of the temple" mentioned in Acts 4:1 and
5:24 was not a military officer, but superintendent of the guard
of priests and Levites who kept watch in the temple by night.
(Comp. "the ruler of the house of God," 1 Chr. 9:11; 2 Chr.
31:13; Neh. 11:11.)
(5.) The Captain of our salvation is a name given to our Lord
(Heb. 2:10), because he is the author and source of our
salvation, the head of his people, whom he is conducting to
glory. The "captain of the Lord's host" (Josh. 5:14, 15) is the
name given to that mysterious person who manifested himself to
Abraham (Gen. 12:7), and to Moses in the bush (Ex. 3:2, 6, etc.)
the Angel of the covenant. (See ANGEL ¯T0000240.)
plural cherubim, the name of certain symbolical figures
frequently mentioned in Scripture. They are first mentioned in
connection with the expulsion of our first parents from Eden
(Gen. 3:24). There is no intimation given of their shape or
form. They are next mentioned when Moses was commanded to
provide furniture for the tabernacle (Ex. 25:17-20; 26:1, 31).
God promised to commune with Moses "from between the cherubim"
(25:22). This expression was afterwards used to denote the
Divine abode and presence (Num. 7:89; 1 Sam. 4:4; Isa. 37:16;
Ps. 80:1; 99:1). In Ezekiel's vision (10:1-20) they appear as
living creatures supporting the throne of God. From Ezekiel's
description of them (1;10; 41:18, 19), they appear to have been
compound figures, unlike any real object in nature; artificial
images possessing the features and properties of several
animals. Two cherubim were placed on the mercy-seat of the ark;
two of colossal size overshadowed it in Solomon's temple.
Ezekiel (1:4-14) speaks of four; and this number of "living
creatures" is mentioned in Rev. 4:6. Those on the ark are called
the "cherubim of glory" (Heb. 9:5), i.e., of the Shechinah, or
cloud of glory, for on them the visible glory of God rested.
They were placed one at each end of the mercy-seat, with wings
stretched upward, and their faces "toward each other and toward
the mercy-seat." They were anointed with holy oil, like the ark
itself and the other sacred furniture.
The cherubim were symbolical. They were intended to represent
spiritual existences in immediate contact with Jehovah. Some
have regarded them as symbolical of the chief ruling power by
which God carries on his operations in providence (Ps. 18:10).
Others interpret them as having reference to the redemption of
men, and as symbolizing the great rulers or ministers of the
church. Many other opinions have been held regarding them which
need not be referred to here. On the whole, it seems to be most
satisfactory to regard the interpretation of the symbol to be
variable, as is the symbol itself.
Their office was, (1) on the expulsion of our first parents
from Eden, to prevent all access to the tree of life; and (2) to
form the throne and chariot of Jehovah in his manifestation of
himself on earth. He dwelleth between and sitteth on the
cherubim (1 Sam. 4:4; Ps. 80:1; Ezek. 1:26, 28).
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.
a name frequently used in the Old Testament as denoting a person
clothed with authority, and entitled to respect and reverence
(Gen. 50:7). It also denoted a political office (Num. 22:7). The
"elders of Israel" held a rank among the people indicative of
authority. Moses opened his commission to them (Ex. 3:16). They
attended Moses on all important occasions. Seventy of them
attended on him at the giving of the law (Ex. 24:1). Seventy
also were selected from the whole number to bear with Moses the
burden of the people (Num. 11:16, 17). The "elder" is the
keystone of the social and political fabric wherever the
patriarchal system exists. At the present day this is the case
among the Arabs, where the sheik (i.e., "the old man") is the
highest authority in the tribe. The body of the "elders" of
Israel were the representatives of the people from the very
first, and were recognized as such by Moses. All down through
the history of the Jews we find mention made of the elders as
exercising authority among the people. They appear as governors
(Deut. 31:28), as local magistrates (16:18), administering
justice (19:12). They were men of extensive influence (1 Sam.
30:26-31). In New Testament times they also appear taking an
active part in public affairs (Matt. 16:21; 21:23; 26:59).
The Jewish eldership was transferred from the old dispensation
to the new. "The creation of the office of elder is nowhere
recorded in the New Testament, as in the case of deacons and
apostles, because the latter offices were created to meet new
and special emergencies, while the former was transmitted from
the earlies times. In other words, the office of elder was the
only permanent essential office of the church under either
The "elders" of the New Testament church were the "pastors"
(Eph. 4:11), "bishops or overseers" (Acts 20:28), "leaders" and
"rulers" (Heb. 13:7; 1 Thess. 5:12) of the flock. Everywhere in
the New Testament bishop and presbyter are titles given to one
and the same officer of the Christian church. He who is called
presbyter or elder on account of his age or gravity is also
called bishop or overseer with reference to the duty that lay
upon him (Titus 1:5-7; Acts 20:17-28; Phil. 1:1).
an Arabian tribe descended from Midian. They inhabited
principally the desert north of the peninsula of Arabia. The
peninsula of Sinai was the pasture-ground for their flocks. They
were virtually the rulers of Arabia, being the dominant tribe.
Like all Arabians, they were a nomad people. They early engaged
in commercial pursuits. It was to one of their caravans that
Joseph was sold (Gen. 37:28, 36). The next notice of them is in
connection with Moses' flight from Egypt (Ex. 2:15-21). Here in
Midian Moses became the servant and afterwards the son-in-law of
Reuel or Jethro, the priest. After the Exodus, the Midianites
were friendly to the Israelites so long as they traversed only
their outlying pasture-ground on the west of the Arabah; but
when, having passed the southern end of Edom, they entered into
the land of Midian proper, they joined with Balak, the king of
Moab, in a conspiracy against them (Num. 22:4-7). Balaam, who
had been sent for to curse Israel, having utterly failed to do
so, was dismissed by the king of Moab; nevertheless he still
tarried among the Midianites, and induced them to enter into
correspondence with the Israelites, so as to bring them into
association with them in the licentious orgies connected with
the worship of Baal-Peor. This crafty counsel prevailed. The
Israelites took part in the heathen festival, and so brought
upon themselves a curse indeed. Their apostasy brought upon them
a severe punishment. A plague broke out amongst them, and more
than twenty-four thousand of the people perished (Num. 25:9).
But the Midianites were not to be left unpunished. A terrible
vengeance was denounced against them. A thousand warriors from
each tribe, under the leadership of Phinehas, went forth against
them. The Midianites were utterly routed. Their cities were
consumed by fire, five of their kings were put to death, and the
whole nation was destroyed (Josh. 13:21, 22). Balaam also
perished by the sword, receiving the "wages of his
unrighteousness" (Num. 31:8; 2 Pet. 2:15). The whole of the
country on the east of Jordan, now conquered by the Israelites
(see SIHON ¯T0003427; OG ¯T0002771), was divided between the two
tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh.
Some two hundred and fifty years after this the Midianites had
regained their ancient power, and in confederation with the
Amalekites and the "children of the east" they made war against
their old enemies the Israelites, whom for seven years they
oppressed and held in subjection. They were at length assailed
by Gideon in that ever-memorable battle in the great plain of
Esdraelon, and utterly destroyed (Judg. 6:1-ch. 7). Frequent
allusions are afterwards made to this great victory (Ps. 83:10,
12; Isa. 9:4; 10:6). They now wholly pass away from the page of
history both sacred and profane.
Israel and Syria appear to have been originally inhabited by
three different tribes. (1.) The Semites, living on the east of
the isthmus of Suez. They were nomadic and pastoral tribes. (2.)
The Phoenicians, who were merchants and traders; and (3.) the
Hittites, who were the warlike element of this confederation of
tribes. They inhabited the whole region between the Euphrates
and Damascus, their chief cities being Carchemish on the
Euphrates, and Kadesh, now Tell Neby Mendeh, in the Orontes
valley, about six miles south of the Lake of Homs. These
Hittites seem to have risen to great power as a nation, as for a
long time they were formidable rivals of the Egyptian and
Assyrian empires. In the book of Joshua they always appear as
the dominant race to the north of Galilee.
Somewhere about the twenty-third century B.C. the Syrian
confederation, led probably by the Hittites, arched against
Lower Egypt, which they took possession of, making Zoan their
capital. Their rulers were the Hyksos, or shepherd kings. They
were at length finally driven out of Egypt. Rameses II. sought
vengeance against the "vile Kheta," as he called them, and
encountered and defeated them in the great battle of Kadesh,
four centuries after Abraham. (See JOSHUA ¯T0002114.)
They are first referred to in Scripture in the history of
Abraham, who bought from Ephron the Hittite the field and the
cave of Machpelah (Gen. 15:20: 23:3-18). They were then settled
at Kirjath-arba. From this tribe Esau took his first two wives
They are afterwards mentioned in the usual way among the
inhabitants of the Promised Land (Ex. 23:28). They were closely
allied to the Amorites, and are frequently mentioned along with
them as inhabiting the mountains of Israel. When the spies
entered the land they seem to have occupied with the Amorites
the mountain region of Judah (Num. 13:29). They took part with
the other Canaanites against the Israelites (Josh. 9:1; 11:3).
After this there are few references to them in Scripture.
Mention is made of "Ahimelech the Hittite" (1 Sam. 26:6), and of
"Uriah the Hittite," one of David's chief officers (2 Sam.
23:39; 1 Chr. 11:41). In the days of Solomon they were a
powerful confederation in the north of Syria, and were ruled by
"kings." They are met with after the Exile still a distinct
people (Ezra 9:1; comp. Neh. 13:23-28).
The Hebrew merchants exported horses from Egypt not only for
the kings of Israel, but also for the Hittites (1 Kings 10:28,
29). From the Egyptian monuments we learn that "the Hittites
were a people with yellow skins and 'Mongoloid' features, whose
receding foreheads, oblique eyes, and protruding upper jaws are
represented as faithfully on their own monuments as they are on
those of Egypt, so that we cannot accuse the Egyptian artists of
caricaturing their enemies. The Amorites, on the contrary, were
a tall and handsome people. They are depicted with white skins,
blue eyes, and reddish hair, all the characteristics, in fact,
of the white race" (Sayce's The Hittites). The original seat of
the Hittite tribes was the mountain ranges of Taurus. They
belonged to Asia Minor, and not to Syria.
Jehovah is renowned or remembered. (1.) A prophet of Judah, the
eleventh of the twelve minor prophets. Like Ezekiel, he was of
priestly extraction. He describes himself (1:1) as "the son of
Berechiah." In Ezra 5:1 and 6:14 he is called "the son of Iddo,"
who was properly his grandfather. His prophetical career began
in the second year of Darius (B.C. 520), about sixteen years
after the return of the first company from exile. He was
contemporary with Haggai (Ezra 5:1).
His book consists of two distinct parts, (1) chapters 1 to 8,
inclusive, and (2) 9 to the end. It begins with a preface
(1:1-6), which recalls the nation's past history, for the
purpose of presenting a solemn warning to the present
generation. Then follows a series of eight visions (1:7-6:8),
succeeding one another in one night, which may be regarded as a
symbolical history of Israel, intended to furnish consolation to
the returned exiles and stir up hope in their minds. The
symbolical action, the crowning of Joshua (6:9-15), describes
how the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of God's
Chapters 7 and 8, delivered two years later, are an answer to
the question whether the days of mourning for the destruction of
the city should be any longer kept, and an encouraging address
to the people, assuring them of God's presence and blessing.
The second part of the book (ch. 9-14) bears no date. It is
probable that a considerable interval separates it from the
first part. It consists of two burdens.
The first burden (ch. 9-11) gives an outline of the course of
God's providential dealings with his people down to the time of
The second burden (ch. 12-14) points out the glories that
await Israel in "the latter day", the final conflict and triumph
of God's kingdom.
(2.) The son or grandson of Jehoiada, the high priest in the
times of Ahaziah and Joash. After the death of Jehoiada he
boldly condemned both the king and the people for their
rebellion against God (2 Chr. 24:20), which so stirred up their
resentment against him that at the king's commandment they
stoned him with stones, and he died "in the court of the house
of the Lord" (24:21). Christ alludes to this deed of murder in
Matt. 23:35, Luke 11:51. (See ZACHARIAS ¯T0003862 .)
(3.) A prophet, who had "understanding in the seeing of God,"
in the time of Uzziah, who was much indebted to him for his wise
counsel (2 Chr. 26:5).
Besides these, there is a large number of persons mentioned in
Scripture bearing this name of whom nothing is known.
(4.) One of the chiefs of the tribe of Reuben (1 Chr. 5:7).
(5.) One of the porters of the tabernacle (1 Chr. 9:21).
(6.) 1 Chr. 9:37.
(7.) A Levite who assisted at the bringing up of the ark from
the house of Obededom (1 Chr. 15:20-24).
(8.) A Kohathite Levite (1 Chr. 24:25).
(9.) A Merarite Levite (1 Chr. 27:21).
(10.) The father of Iddo (1 Chr. 27:21).
(11.) One who assisted in teaching the law to the people in
the time of Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 17:7).
(12.) A Levite of the sons of Asaph (2 Chr. 20:14).
(13.) One of Jehoshaphat's sons (2 Chr. 21:2).
(14.) The father of Abijah, who was the mother of Hezekiah (2
(15.) One of the sons of Asaph (2 Chr. 29:13).
(16.) One of the "rulers of the house of God" (2 Chr. 35:8).
(17.) A chief of the people in the time of Ezra, who consulted
him about the return from captivity (Ezra 8:16); probably the
same as mentioned in Neh. 8:4,
(18.) Neh. 11:12.
(19.) Neh. 12:16.
(20.) Neh. 12:35,41.
(21.) Isa. 8:2.
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.
in the Babylonian orthography Nabu-kudur-uzur, which means
"Nebo, protect the crown!" or the "frontiers." In an inscription
he styles himself "Nebo's favourite." He was the son and
successor of Nabopolassar, who delivered Babylon from its
dependence on Assyria and laid Nineveh in ruins. He was the
greatest and most powerful of all the Babylonian kings. He
married the daughter of Cyaxares, and thus the Median and
Babylonian dynasties were united.
Necho II., the king of Egypt, gained a victory over the
Assyrians at Carchemish. (See JOSIAH ¯T0002116; MEGIDDO
¯T0002463.) This secured to Egypt the possession of the Syrian
provinces of Assyria, including Israel. The remaining
provinces of the Assyrian empire were divided between Babylonia
and Media. But Nabopolassar was ambitious of reconquering from
Necho the western provinces of Syria, and for this purpose he
sent his son with a powerful army westward (Dan. 1:1). The
Egyptians met him at Carchemish, where a furious battle was
fought, resulting in the complete rout of the Egyptians, who
were driven back (Jer. 46:2-12), and Syria and Phoenicia brought
under the sway of Babylon (B.C. 606). From that time "the king
of Egypt came not again any more out of his land" (2 Kings
24:7). Nebuchadnezzar also subdued the whole of Israel, and
took Jerusalem, carrying away captive a great multitude of the
Jews, among whom were Daniel and his companions (Dan. 1:1, 2;
Jer. 27:19; 40:1).
Three years after this, Jehoiakim, who had reigned in
Jerusalem as a Babylonian vassal, rebelled against the
oppressor, trusting to help from Egypt (2 Kings 24:1). This led
Nebuchadnezzar to march an army again to the conquest of
Jerusalem, which at once yielded to him (B.C. 598). A third time
he came against it, and deposed Jehoiachin, whom he carried into
Babylon, with a large portion of the population of the city, and
the sacred vessels of the temple, placing Zedekiah on the throne
of Judah in his stead. He also, heedless of the warnings of the
prophet, entered into an alliance with Egypt, and rebelled
against Babylon. This brought about the final siege of the city,
which was at length taken and utterly destroyed (B.C. 586).
Zedekiah was taken captive, and had his eyes put out by order of
the king of Babylon, who made him a prisoner for the remainder
of his life.
An onyx cameo, now in the museum of Florence, bears on it an
arrow-headed inscription, which is certainly ancient and
genuine. The helmeted profile is said (Schrader) to be genuine
also, but it is more probable that it is the portrait of a
usurper in the time of Darius (Hystaspes), called Nidinta-Bel,
who took the name of "Nebuchadrezzar." The inscription has been
thus translated:, "In honour of Merodach, his lord,
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in his lifetime had this made."
A clay tablet, now in the British Museum, bears the following
inscription, the only one as yet found which refers to his wars:
"In the thirty-seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the
country of Babylon, he went to Egypt [Misr] to make war. Amasis,
king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread
abroad." Thus were fulfilled the words of the prophet (Jer.
46:13-26; Ezek. 29:2-20). Having completed the subjugation of
Phoenicia, and inflicted chastisement on Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar
now set himself to rebuild and adorn the city of Babylon (Dan.
4:30), and to add to the greatness and prosperity of his kingdom
by constructing canals and aqueducts and reservoirs surpassing
in grandeur and magnificence everything of the kind mentioned in
history (Dan. 2:37). He is represented as a "king of kings,"
ruling over a vast kingdom of many provinces, with a long list
of officers and rulers under him, "princes, governors,
captains," etc. (3:2, 3, 27). He may, indeed, be said to have
created the mighty empire over which he ruled.
"Modern research has shown that Nebuchadnezzar was the
greatest monarch that Babylon, or perhaps the East generally,
ever produced. He must have possessed an enormous command of
human labour, nine-tenths of Babylon itself, and
nineteen-twentieths of all the other ruins that in almost
countless profusion cover the land, are composed of bricks
stamped with his name. He appears to have built or restored
almost every city and temple in the whole country. His
inscriptions give an elaborate account of the immense works
which he constructed in and about Babylon itself, abundantly
illustrating the boast, 'Is not this great Babylon which I have
build?'" Rawlinson, Hist. Illustrations.
After the incident of the "burning fiery furnace" (Dan. 3)
into which the three Hebrew confessors were cast, Nebuchadnezzar
was afflicted with some peculiar mental aberration as a
punishment for his pride and vanity, probably the form of
madness known as lycanthropy (i.e, "the change of a man into a
wolf"). A remarkable confirmation of the Scripture narrative is
afforded by the recent discovery of a bronze door-step, which
bears an inscription to the effect that it was presented by
Nebuchadnezzar to the great temple at Borsippa as a votive
offering on account of his recovery from a terrible illness.
(See DANIEL ¯T0000969.)
He survived his recovery for some years, and died B.C. 562, in
the eighty-third or eighty-fourth year of his age, after a reign
of forty-three years, and was succeeded by his son
Evil-merodach, who, after a reign of two years, was succeeded by
Neriglissar (559-555), who was succeeded by Nabonadius
(555-538), at the close of whose reign (less than a quarter of a
century after the death of Nebuchadnezzar) Babylon fell under
Cyrus at the head of the combined armies of Media and Persia.
"I have examined," says Sir H. Rawlinson, "the bricks
belonging perhaps to a hundred different towns and cities in the
neighbourhood of Baghdad, and I never found any other legend
than that of Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabopolassar, king of
Babylon." Nine-tenths of all the bricks amid the ruins of
Babylon are stamped with his name.
=Saul (q.v.) was born about the same time as our Lord. His
circumcision-name was Saul, and probably the name Paul was also
given to him in infancy "for use in the Gentile world," as
"Saul" would be his Hebrew home-name. He was a native of Tarsus,
the capital of Cilicia, a Roman province in the south-east of
Asia Minor. That city stood on the banks of the river Cydnus,
which was navigable thus far; hence it became a centre of
extensive commercial traffic with many countries along the
shores of the Mediterranean, as well as with the countries of
central Asia Minor. It thus became a city distinguished for the
wealth of its inhabitants.
Tarsus was also the seat of a famous university, higher in
reputation even than the universities of Athens and Alexandria,
the only others that then existed. Here Saul was born, and here
he spent his youth, doubtless enjoying the best education his
native city could afford. His father was of the straitest sect
of the Jews, a Pharisee, of the tribe of Benjamin, of pure and
unmixed Jewish blood (Acts 23:6; Phil. 3:5). We learn nothing
regarding his mother; but there is reason to conclude that she
was a pious woman, and that, like-minded with her husband, she
exercised all a mother influence in moulding the character of
her son, so that he could afterwards speak of himself as being,
from his youth up, "touching the righteousness which is in the
law, blameless" (Phil. 3:6).
We read of his sister and his sister's son (Acts 23:16), and
of other relatives (Rom. 16:7, 11, 12). Though a Jew, his father
was a Roman citizen. How he obtained this privilege we are not
informed. "It might be bought, or won by distinguished service
to the state, or acquired in several other ways; at all events,
his son was freeborn. It was a valuable privilege, and one that
was to prove of great use to Paul, although not in the way in
which his father might have been expected to desire him to make
use of it." Perhaps the most natural career for the youth to
follow was that of a merchant. "But it was decided that...he
should go to college and become a rabbi, that is, a minister, a
teacher, and a lawyer all in one."
According to Jewish custom, however, he learned a trade before
entering on the more direct preparation for the sacred
profession. The trade he acquired was the making of tents from
goats' hair cloth, a trade which was one of the commonest in
His preliminary education having been completed, Saul was
sent, when about thirteen years of age probably, to the great
Jewish school of sacred learning at Jerusalem as a student of
the law. Here he became a pupil of the celebrated rabbi
Gamaliel, and here he spent many years in an elaborate study of
the Scriptures and of the many questions concerning them with
which the rabbis exercised themselves. During these years of
diligent study he lived "in all good conscience," unstained by
the vices of that great city.
After the period of his student-life expired, he probably left
Jerusalem for Tarsus, where he may have been engaged in
connection with some synagogue for some years. But we find him
back again at Jerusalem very soon after the death of our Lord.
Here he now learned the particulars regarding the crucifixion,
and the rise of the new sect of the "Nazarenes."
For some two years after Pentecost, Christianity was quietly
spreading its influence in Jerusalem. At length Stephen, one of
the seven deacons, gave forth more public and aggressive
testimony that Jesus was the Messiah, and this led to much
excitement among the Jews and much disputation in their
synagogues. Persecution arose against Stephen and the followers
of Christ generally, in which Saul of Tarsus took a prominent
part. He was at this time probably a member of the great
Sanhedrin, and became the active leader in the furious
persecution by which the rulers then sought to exterminate
But the object of this persecution also failed. "They that
were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word." The
anger of the persecutor was thereby kindled into a fiercer
flame. Hearing that fugitives had taken refuge in Damascus, he
obtained from the chief priest letters authorizing him to
proceed thither on his persecuting career. This was a long
journey of about 130 miles, which would occupy perhaps six days,
during which, with his few attendants, he steadily went onward,
"breathing out threatenings and slaughter." But the crisis of
his life was at hand. He had reached the last stage of his
journey, and was within sight of Damascus. As he and his
companions rode on, suddenly at mid-day a brilliant light shone
round them, and Saul was laid prostrate in terror on the ground,
a voice sounding in his ears, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou
me?" The risen Saviour was there, clothed in the vesture of his
glorified humanity. In answer to the anxious inquiry of the
stricken persecutor, "Who art thou, Lord?" he said, "I am Jesus
whom thou persecutest" (Acts 9:5; 22:8; 26:15).
This was the moment of his conversion, the most solemn in all
his life. Blinded by the dazzling light (Acts 9:8), his
companions led him into the city, where, absorbed in deep
thought for three days, he neither ate nor drank (9:11).
Ananias, a disciple living in Damascus, was informed by a vision
of the change that had happened to Saul, and was sent to him to
open his eyes and admit him by baptism into the Christian church
(9:11-16). The whole purpose of his life was now permanently
Immediately after his conversion he retired into the solitudes
of Arabia (Gal. 1:17), perhaps of "Sinai in Arabia," for the
purpose, probably, of devout study and meditation on the
marvellous revelation that had been made to him. "A veil of
thick darkness hangs over this visit to Arabia. Of the scenes
among which he moved, of the thoughts and occupations which
engaged him while there, of all the circumstances of a crisis
which must have shaped the whole tenor of his after-life,
absolutely nothing is known. 'Immediately,' says St. Paul, 'I
went away into Arabia.' The historian passes over the incident
[comp. Acts 9:23 and 1 Kings 11:38, 39]. It is a mysterious
pause, a moment of suspense, in the apostle's history, a
breathless calm, which ushers in the tumultuous storm of his
active missionary life." Coming back, after three years, to
Damascus, he began to preach the gospel "boldly in the name of
Jesus" (Acts 9:27), but was soon obliged to flee (9:25; 2 Cor.
11:33) from the Jews and betake himself to Jerusalem. Here he
tarried for three weeks, but was again forced to flee (Acts
9:28, 29) from persecution. He now returned to his native Tarsus
(Gal. 1:21), where, for probably about three years, we lose
sight of him. The time had not yet come for his entering on his
great life-work of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles.
At length the city of Antioch, the capital of Syria, became
the scene of great Christian activity. There the gospel gained a
firm footing, and the cause of Christ prospered. Barnabas
(q.v.), who had been sent from Jerusalem to superintend the work
at Antioch, found it too much for him, and remembering Saul, he
set out to Tarsus to seek for him. He readily responded to the
call thus addressed to him, and came down to Antioch, which for
"a whole year" became the scene of his labours, which were
crowned with great success. The disciples now, for the first
time, were called "Christians" (Acts 11:26).
The church at Antioch now proposed to send out missionaries to
the Gentiles, and Saul and Barnabas, with John Mark as their
attendant, were chosen for this work. This was a great epoch in
the history of the church. Now the disciples began to give
effect to the Master's command: "Go ye into all the world, and
preach the gospel to every creature."
The three missionaries went forth on the first missionary
tour. They sailed from Seleucia, the seaport of Antioch, across
to Cyprus, some 80 miles to the south-west. Here at Paphos,
Sergius Paulus, the Roman proconsul, was converted, and now Saul
took the lead, and was ever afterwards called Paul. The
missionaries now crossed to the mainland, and then proceeded 6
or 7 miles up the river Cestrus to Perga (Acts 13:13), where
John Mark deserted the work and returned to Jerusalem. The two
then proceeded about 100 miles inland, passing through
Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia. The towns mentioned in this
tour are the Pisidian Antioch, where Paul delivered his first
address of which we have any record (13:16-51; comp. 10:30-43),
Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. They returned by the same route to
see and encourage the converts they had made, and ordain elders
in every city to watch over the churches which had been
gathered. From Perga they sailed direct for Antioch, from which
they had set out.
After remaining "a long time", probably till A.D. 50 or 51, in
Antioch, a great controversy broke out in the church there
regarding the relation of the Gentiles to the Mosaic law. For
the purpose of obtaining a settlement of this question, Paul and
Barnabas were sent as deputies to consult the church at
Jerusalem. The council or synod which was there held (Acts 15)
decided against the Judaizing party; and the deputies,
accompanied by Judas and Silas, returned to Antioch, bringing
with them the decree of the council.
After a short rest at Antioch, Paul said to Barnabas: "Let us
go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have
preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do." Mark
proposed again to accompany them; but Paul refused to allow him
to go. Barnabas was resolved to take Mark, and thus he and Paul
had a sharp contention. They separated, and never again met.
Paul, however, afterwards speaks with honour of Barnabas, and
sends for Mark to come to him at Rome (Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11).
Paul took with him Silas, instead of Barnabas, and began his
second missionary journey about A.D. 51. This time he went by
land, revisiting the churches he had already founded in Asia.
But he longed to enter into "regions beyond," and still went
forward through Phrygia and Galatia (16:6). Contrary to his
intention, he was constrained to linger in Galatia (q.v.), on
account of some bodily affliction (Gal. 4:13, 14). Bithynia, a
populous province on the shore of the Black Sea, lay now before
him, and he wished to enter it; but the way was shut, the Spirit
in some manner guiding him in another direction, till he came
down to the shores of the AEgean and arrived at Troas, on the
north-western coast of Asia Minor (Acts 16:8). Of this long
journey from Antioch to Troas we have no account except some
references to it in his Epistle to the Galatians (4:13).
As he waited at Troas for indications of the will of God as to
his future movements, he saw, in the vision of the night, a man
from the opposite shores of Macedonia standing before him, and
heard him cry, "Come over, and help us" (Acts 16:9). Paul
recognized in this vision a message from the Lord, and the very
next day set sail across the Hellespont, which separated him
from Europe, and carried the tidings of the gospel into the
Western world. In Macedonia, churches were planted in Philippi,
Thessalonica, and Berea. Leaving this province, Paul passed into
Achaia, "the paradise of genius and renown." He reached Athens,
but quitted it after, probably, a brief sojourn (17:17-31). The
Athenians had received him with cold disdain, and he never
visited that city again. He passed over to Corinth, the seat of
the Roman government of Achaia, and remained there a year and a
half, labouring with much success. While at Corinth, he wrote
his two epistles to the church of Thessalonica, his earliest
apostolic letters, and then sailed for Syria, that he might be
in time to keep the feast of Pentecost at Jerusalem. He was
accompanied by Aquila and Priscilla, whom he left at Ephesus, at
which he touched, after a voyage of thirteen or fifteen days. He
landed at Caesarea, and went up to Jerusalem, and having
"saluted the church" there, and kept the feast, he left for
Antioch, where he abode "some time" (Acts 18:20-23).
He then began his third missionary tour. He journeyed by land
in the "upper coasts" (the more eastern parts) of Asia Minor,
and at length made his way to Ephesus, where he tarried for no
less than three years, engaged in ceaseless Christian labour.
"This city was at the time the Liverpool of the Mediterranean.
It possessed a splendid harbour, in which was concentrated the
traffic of the sea which was then the highway of the nations;
and as Liverpool has behind her the great towns of Lancashire,
so had Ephesus behind and around her such cities as those
mentioned along with her in the epistles to the churches in the
book of Revelation, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis,
Philadelphia, and Laodicea. It was a city of vast wealth, and it
was given over to every kind of pleasure, the fame of its
theatres and race-course being world-wide" (Stalker's Life of
St. Paul). Here a "great door and effectual" was opened to the
apostle. His fellow-labourers aided him in his work, carrying
the gospel to Colosse and Laodicea and other places which they
Very shortly before his departure from Ephesus, the apostle
wrote his First Epistle to the Corinthians (q.v.). The
silversmiths, whose traffic in the little images which they made
was in danger (see DEMETRIUS ¯T0001013), organized a riot
against Paul, and he left the city, and proceeded to Troas (2
Cor. 2:12), whence after some time he went to meet Titus in
Macedonia. Here, in consequence of the report Titus brought from
Corinth, he wrote his second epistle to that church. Having
spent probably most of the summer and autumn in Macedonia,
visiting the churches there, specially the churches of Philippi,
Thessalonica, and Berea, probably penetrating into the interior,
to the shores of the Adriatic (Rom. 15:19), he then came into
Greece, where he abode three month, spending probably the
greater part of this time in Corinth (Acts 20:2). During his
stay in this city he wrote his Epistle to the Galatians, and
also the great Epistle to the Romans. At the end of the three
months he left Achaia for Macedonia, thence crossed into Asia
Minor, and touching at Miletus, there addressed the Ephesian
presbyters, whom he had sent for to meet him (Acts 20:17), and
then sailed for Tyre, finally reaching Jerusalem, probably in
the spring of A.D. 58.
While at Jerusalem, at the feast of Pentecost, he was almost
murdered by a Jewish mob in the temple. (See TEMPLE, HEROD'S
¯T0003611.) Rescued from their violence by the Roman commandant,
he was conveyed as a prisoner to Caesarea, where, from various
causes, he was detained a prisoner for two years in Herod's
praetorium (Acts 23:35). "Paul was not kept in close
confinement; he had at least the range of the barracks in which
he was detained. There we can imagine him pacing the ramparts on
the edge of the Mediterranean, and gazing wistfully across the
blue waters in the direction of Macedonia, Achaia, and Ephesus,
where his spiritual children were pining for him, or perhaps
encountering dangers in which they sorely needed his presence.
It was a mysterious providence which thus arrested his energies
and condemned the ardent worker to inactivity; yet we can now
see the reason for it. Paul was needing rest. After twenty years
of incessant evangelization, he required leisure to garner the
harvest of experience...During these two years he wrote nothing;
it was a time of internal mental activity and silent progress"
(Stalker's Life of St. Paul).
At the end of these two years Felix (q.v.) was succeeded in
the governorship of Israel by Porcius Festus, before whom the
apostle was again heard. But judging it right at this crisis to
claim the privilege of a Roman citizen, he appealed to the
emperor (Acts 25:11). Such an appeal could not be disregarded,
and Paul was at once sent on to Rome under the charge of one
Julius, a centurion of the "Augustan cohort." After a long and
perilous voyage, he at length reached the imperial city in the
early spring, probably, of A.D. 61. Here he was permitted to
occupy his own hired house, under constant military custody.
This privilege was accorded to him, no doubt, because he was a
Roman citizen, and as such could not be put into prison without
a trial. The soldiers who kept guard over Paul were of course
changed at frequent intervals, and thus he had the opportunity
of preaching the gospel to many of them during these "two whole
years," and with the blessed result of spreading among the
imperial guards, and even in Caesar's household, an interest in
the truth (Phil. 1:13). His rooms were resorted to by many
anxious inquirers, both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 28:23, 30, 31),
and thus his imprisonment "turned rather to the furtherance of
the gospel," and his "hired house" became the centre of a
gracious influence which spread over the whole city. According
to a Jewish tradition, it was situated on the borders of the
modern Ghetto, which has been the Jewish quarters in Rome from
the time of Pompey to the present day. During this period the
apostle wrote his epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians,
Philippians, and to Philemon, and probably also to the Hebrews.
This first imprisonment came at length to a close, Paul having
been acquitted, probably because no witnesses appeared against
him. Once more he set out on his missionary labours, probably
visiting western and eastern Europe and Asia Minor. During this
period of freedom he wrote his First Epistle to Timothy and his
Epistle to Titus. The year of his release was signalized by the
burning of Rome, which Nero saw fit to attribute to the
Christians. A fierce persecution now broke out against the
Christians. Paul was siezed, and once more conveyed to Rome a
prisoner. During this imprisonment he probably wrote the Second
Epistle to Timothy, the last he ever wrote. "There can be little
doubt that he appered again at Nero's bar, and this time the
charge did not break down. In all history there is not a more
startling illustration of the irony of human life than this
scene of Paul at the bar of Nero. On the judgment-seat, clad in
the imperial purple, sat a man who, in a bad world, had attained
the eminence of being the very worst and meanest being in it, a
man stained with every crime, a man whose whole being was so
steeped in every nameable and unnameable vice, that body and
soul of him were, as some one said at the time, nothing but a
compound of mud and blood; and in the prisoner's dock stood the
best man the world possessed, his hair whitened with labours for
the good of men and the glory of God. The trial ended: Paul was
condemned, and delivered over to the executioner. He was led out
of the city, with a crowd of the lowest rabble at his heels. The
fatal spot was reached; he knelt beside the block; the
headsman's axe gleamed in the sun and fell; and the head of the
apostle of the world rolled down in the dust" (probably A.D.
66), four years before the fall of Jerusalem.