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
properly the absence of all colour. In Prov. 7:9 the Hebrew word
means, as in the margin of the Revised Version, "the pupil of
the eye." It is translated "apple" of the eye in Deut. 32:10;
Ps. 17:8; Prov. 7:2. It is a different word which is rendered
"black" in Lev. 13:31,37; Cant. 1:5; 5:11; and Zech. 6:2, 6. It
is uncertain what the "black marble" of Esther 1:6 was which
formed a part of the mosaic pavement.
so called by the Romans; called Artemis by the Greeks, the
"great" goddess worshipped among heathen nations under various
modifications. Her most noted temple was that at Ephesus. It was
built outside the city walls, and was one of the seven wonders
of the ancient world. "First and last it was the work of 220
years; built of shining marble; 342 feet long by 164 feet broad;
supported by a forest of columns, each 56 feet high; a sacred
museum of masterpieces of sculpture and painting. At the centre,
hidden by curtains, within a gorgeous shrine, stood the very
ancient image of the goddess, on wood or ebony reputed to have
fallen from the sky. Behind the shrine was a treasury, where, as
in 'the safest bank in Asia,' nations and kings stored their
most precious things. The temple as St. Paul saw it subsisted
till A.D. 262, when it was ruined by the Goths" (Acts
19:23-41)., Moule on Ephesians: Introd.
palm, a city built by Solomon "in the wilderness" (2 Chr. 8:4).
In 1 Kings 9:18, where the word occurs in the Authorized
Version, the Hebrew text and the Revised Version read "Tamar,"
which is properly a city on the southern border of Israel and
toward the wilderness (comp. Ezek. 47:19; 48:28). In 2 Chr. 8:14
Tadmor is mentioned in connection with Hamath-zobah. It is
called Palmyra by the Greeks and Romans. It stood in the great
Syrian wilderness, 176 miles from Damascus and 130 from the
Mediterranean and was the centre of a vast commercial traffic
with Western Asia. It was also an important military station.
(See SOLOMON ¯T0003473.) "Remains of ancient temples and
palaces, surrounded by splendid colonnades of white marble, many
of which are yet standing, and thousands of prostrate pillars,
scattered over a large extent of space, attest the ancient
magnificence of this city of palms, surpassing that of the
renowned cities of Greece and Rome."
occurs only in the New Testament in connection with the box of
"ointment of spikenard very precious," with the contents of
which a woman anointed the head of Jesus as he sat at supper in
the house of Simon the leper (Matt. 26:7; Mark 14:3; Luke 7:37).
These boxes were made from a stone found near Alabastron in
Egypt, and from this circumstance the Greeks gave them the name
of the city where they were made. The name was then given to the
stone of which they were made; and finally to all perfume
vessels, of whatever material they were formed. The woman
"broke" the vessel; i.e., she broke off, as was usually done,
the long and narrow neck so as to reach the contents. This stone
resembles marble, but is softer in its texture, and hence very
easily wrought into boxes. Mark says (14:5) that this box of
ointment was worth more than 300 pence, i.e., denarii, each of
the value of sevenpence halfpenny of our money, and therefore
worth about 10 pounds. But if we take the denarius as the day's
wage of a labourer (Matt. 20:2), say two shillings of our money,
then the whole would be worth about 30 pounds, so costly was
Till their sojourn in Egypt the Hebrews dwelt in tents. They
then for the first time inhabited cities (Gen. 47:3; Ex. 12:7;
Heb. 11:9). From the earliest times the Assyrians and the
Canaanites were builders of cities. The Hebrews after the
Conquest took possession of the captured cities, and seem to
have followed the methods of building that had been pursued by
the Canaanites. Reference is made to the stone (1 Kings 7:9;
Isa. 9:10) and marble (1 Chr. 29:2) used in building, and to the
internal wood-work of the houses (1 Kings 6:15; 7:2; 10:11, 12;
2 Chr. 3:5; Jer. 22:14). "Ceiled houses" were such as had beams
inlaid in the walls to which wainscotting was fastened (Ezra
6:4; Jer. 22:14; Hag. 1:4). "Ivory houses" had the upper parts
of the walls adorned with figures in stucco with gold and ivory
(1 Kings 22:39; 2 Chr. 3:6; Ps. 45:8).
The roofs of the dwelling-houses were flat, and are often
alluded to in Scripture (2 Sam. 11:2; Isa. 22:1; Matt. 24:17).
Sometimes tents or booths were erected on them (2 Sam. 16:22).
They were protected by parapets or low walls (Deut. 22:8). On
the house-tops grass sometimes grew (Prov. 19:13; 27:15; Ps.
129:6, 7). They were used, not only as places of recreation in
the evening, but also sometimes as sleeping-places at night (1
Sam. 9:25, 26; 2 Sam. 11:2; 16:22; Dan. 4:29; Job 27:18; Prov.
21:9), and as places of devotion (Jer. 32:29; 19:13).
The subject of colours holds an important place in the
White occurs as the translation of various Hebrew words. It is
applied to milk (Gen. 49:12), manna (Ex. 16:31), snow (Isa.
1:18), horses (Zech. 1:8), raiment (Eccl. 9:8). Another Hebrew
word so rendered is applied to marble (Esther 1:6), and a
cognate word to the lily (Cant. 2:16). A different term, meaning
"dazzling," is applied to the countenance (Cant. 5:10).
This colour was an emblem of purity and innocence (Mark 16:5;
John 20:12; Rev. 19:8, 14), of joy (Eccl. 9:8), and also of
victory (Zech. 6:3; Rev. 6:2). The hangings of the tabernacle
court (Ex. 27:9; 38:9), the coats, mitres, bonnets, and breeches
of the priests (Ex. 39:27,28), and the dress of the high priest
on the day of Atonement (Lev. 16:4,32), were white.
Black, applied to the hair (Lev. 13:31; Cant. 5:11), the
complexion (Cant. 1:5), and to horses (Zech. 6:2,6). The word
rendered "brown" in Gen. 30:32 (R.V., "black") means properly
"scorched", i.e., the colour produced by the influence of the
sun's rays. "Black" in Job 30:30 means dirty, blackened by
sorrow and disease. The word is applied to a mourner's robes
(Jer. 8:21; 14:2), to a clouded sky (1 Kings 18:45), to night
(Micah 3:6; Jer. 4:28), and to a brook rendered turbid by melted
snow (Job 6:16). It is used as symbolical of evil in Zech. 6:2,
6 and Rev. 6:5. It was the emblem of mourning, affliction,
calamity (Jer. 14:2; Lam. 4:8; 5:10).
Red, applied to blood (2 Kings 3;22), a heifer (Num. 19:2),
pottage of lentils (Gen. 25:30), a horse (Zech. 1:8), wine
(Prov. 23:31), the complexion (Gen. 25:25; Cant. 5:10). This
colour is symbolical of bloodshed (Zech. 6:2; Rev. 6:4; 12:3).
Purple, a colour obtained from the secretion of a species of
shell-fish (the Murex trunculus) which was found in the
Mediterranean, and particularly on the coasts of Phoenicia and
Asia Minor. The colouring matter in each separate shell-fish
amounted to only a single drop, and hence the great value of
this dye. Robes of this colour were worn by kings (Judg. 8:26)
and high officers (Esther 8:15). They were also worn by the
wealthy and luxurious (Jer. 10:9; Ezek. 27:7; Luke 16:19; Rev.
17:4). With this colour was associated the idea of royalty and
majesty (Judg. 8:26; Cant. 3:10; 7:5; Dan. 5:7, 16,29).
Blue. This colour was also procured from a species of
shell-fish, the chelzon of the Hebrews, and the Helix ianthina
of modern naturalists. The tint was emblematic of the sky, the
deep dark hue of the Eastern sky. This colour was used in the
same way as purple. The ribbon and fringe of the Hebrew dress
were of this colour (Num. 15:38). The loops of the curtains (Ex.
26:4), the lace of the high priest's breastplate, the robe of
the ephod, and the lace on his mitre, were blue (Ex. 28:28, 31,
Scarlet, or Crimson. In Isa. 1:18 a Hebrew word is used which
denotes the worm or grub whence this dye was procured. In Gen.
38:28,30, the word so rendered means "to shine," and expresses
the brilliancy of the colour. The small parasitic insects from
which this dye was obtained somewhat resembled the cochineal
which is found in Eastern countries. It is called by naturalists
Coccus ilics. The dye was procured from the female grub alone.
The only natural object to which this colour is applied in
Scripture is the lips, which are likened to a scarlet thread
(Cant. 4:3). Scarlet robes were worn by the rich and luxurious
(2 Sam. 1:24; Prov. 31:21; Jer. 4:30. Rev. 17:4). It was also
the hue of the warrior's dress (Nah. 2:3; Isa. 9:5). The
Phoenicians excelled in the art of dyeing this colour (2 Chr.
These four colours--white, purple, blue, and scarlet--were
used in the textures of the tabernacle curtains (Ex. 26:1, 31,
36), and also in the high priest's ephod, girdle, and
breastplate (Ex. 28:5, 6, 8, 15). Scarlet thread is mentioned in
connection with the rites of cleansing the leper (Lev. 14:4, 6,
51) and of burning the red heifer (Num. 19:6). It was a crimson
thread that Rahab was to bind on her window as a sign that she
was to be saved alive (Josh. 2:18; 6:25) when the city of
Jericho was taken.
Vermilion, the red sulphuret of mercury, or cinnabar; a colour
used for drawing the figures of idols on the walls of temples
(Ezek. 23:14), or for decorating the walls and beams of houses