or Abi'dah, father of knowledge; knowing, one of the five sons
of Midian, who was the son of Abraham by Keturah (1 Chr. 1:33),
and apparently the chief of an Arab tribe.
an inhabitant of Colosse, and apparently a person of some note
among the citizens (Col. 4:9; Philemon 1:2). He was brought to a
knowledge of the gospel through the instrumentality of Paul
(19), and held a prominent place in the Christian community for
his piety and beneficence (4-7). He is called in the epistle a
"fellow-labourer," and therefore probably held some office in
the church at Colosse; at all events, the title denotes that he
took part in the work of spreading a knowledge of the gospel.
happily conquering, the mother of Timothy, a believing Jewess,
but married to a Greek (Acts 16:1). She trained her son from his
childhood in the knowledge of the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:15). She
was distinguished by her "unfeigned faith."
the whole of practical piety (1 Tim. 4:8; 2 Pet. 1:6). "It
supposes knowledge, veneration, affection, dependence,
submission, gratitude, and obedience." In 1 Tim. 3:16 it denotes
the substance of revealed religion.
a pretender to supernatural knowledge and power, "a knowing
one," as the original Hebrew word signifies. Such an one was
forbidden on pain of death to practise his deceptions (Lev.
19:31; 20:6, 27; 1 Sam. 28:3; Isa. 8:19; 19:3).
frequently mentioned in Scripture. It is called in Hebrew
_maphteah_, i.e., the opener (Judg. 3:25); and in the Greek New
Testament _kleis_, from its use in shutting (Matt. 16:19; Luke
11:52; Rev. 1:18, etc.). Figures of ancient Egyptian keys are
frequently found on the monuments, also of Assyrian locks and
keys of wood, and of a large size (comp. Isa. 22:22).
The word is used figuratively of power or authority or office
(Isa. 22:22; Rev. 3:7; Rev. 1:8; comp. 9:1; 20:1; comp. also
Matt. 16:19; 18:18). The "key of knowledge" (Luke 11:52; comp.
Matt. 23:13) is the means of attaining the knowledge regarding
the kingdom of God. The "power of the keys" is a phrase in
general use to denote the extent of ecclesiastical authority.
used of children generally (Matt. 11:25; 21:16; Luke 10:21; Rom.
2:20). It is used also of those who are weak in Christian faith
and knowledge (1 Cor. 3:1; Heb. 5:13; 1 Pet. 2:2). In Isa. 3:4
the word "babes" refers to a succession of weak and wicked
princes who reigned over Judah from the death of Josiah downward
to the destruction of Jerusalem.
Foreknowledge of God
Acts 2:23; Rom. 8:29; 11:2; 1 Pet. 1:2), one of those high
attributes essentially appertaining to him the full import of
which we cannot comprehend. In the most absolute sense his
knowledge is infinite (1 Sam. 23:9-13; Jer. 38:17-23; 42:9-22,
Matt. 11:21, 23; Acts 15:18).
Tree of the knowledge of good and evil
stood in the midst of the garden of Eden, beside the tree of
life (Gen. 2, 3). Adam and Eve were forbidden to take of the
fruit which grew upon it. But they disobeyed the divine
injunction, and so sin and death by sin entered our world and
became the heritage of Adam's posterity. (See ADAM ¯T0000077.)
In the East objects are carried in the bosom which Europeans
carry in the pocket. To have in one's bosom indicates kindness,
secrecy, or intimacy (Gen. 16:5; 2 Sam. 12:8). Christ is said to
have been in "the bosom of the Father," i.e., he had the most
perfect knowledge of the Father, had the closest intimacy with
him (John 1:18). John (13:23) was "leaning on Jesus' bosom" at
the last supper. Our Lord carries his lambs in his bosom, i.e.,
has a tender, watchful care over them (Isa. 40:11).
(Luke 10:31). "It was not by chance that the priest came down by
that road at that time, but by a specific arrangement and in
exact fulfilment of a plan; not the plan of the priest, nor the
plan of the wounded traveller, but the plan of God. By
coincidence (Gr. sungkuria) the priest came down, that is, by
the conjunction of two things, in fact, which were previously
constituted a pair in the providence of God. In the result they
fell together according to the omniscient Designer's plan. This
is the true theory of the divine government." Compare the
meeting of Philip with the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26, 27). There is
no "chance" in God's empire. "Chance" is only another word for
our want of knowledge as to the way in which one event falls in
with another (1 Sam. 6:9; Eccl. 9:11).
Heb. ramoth, meaning "heights;" i.e., "high-priced" or valuable
things, or, as some suppose, "that which grows high," like a
tree (Job 28:18; Ezek. 27:16), according to the Rabbins, red
coral, which was in use for ornaments.
The coral is a cretaceous marine product, the deposit by
minute polypous animals of calcareous matter in cells in which
the animal lives. It is of numberless shapes as it grows, but
usually is branched like a tree. Great coral reefs and coral
islands abound in the Red Sea, whence probably the Hebrews
derived their knowledge of it. It is found of different colours,
white, black, and red. The red, being esteemed the most
precious, was used, as noticed above, for ornamental purposes.
In its primary sense, as denoting the first principles or
constituents of things, it is used in 2 Pet. 3:10: "The elements
shall be dissolved." In a secondary sense it denotes the first
principles of any art or science. In this sense it is used in
Gal. 4:3, 9; Col. 2:8, 20, where the expressions, "elements of
the world," "week and beggarly elements," denote that state of
religious knowledge existing among the Jews before the coming of
Christ, the rudiments of religious teaching. They are "of the
world," because they are made up of types which appeal to the
senses. They are "weak," because insufficient; and "beggarly,"
or "poor," because they are dry and barren, not being
accompanied by an outpouring of spiritual gifts and graces, as
the gospel is.
Word of God
(Heb. 4:12, etc.). The Bible so called because the writers of
its several books were God's organs in communicating his will to
men. It is his "word," because he speaks to us in its sacred
pages. Whatever the inspired writers here declare to be true and
binding upon us, God declares to be true and binding. This word
is infallible, because written under the guidance of the Holy
Spirit, and therefore free from all error of fact or doctrine or
precept. (See INSPIRATION ¯T0001884; BIBLE ¯T0000580.) All
saving knowledge is obtained from the word of God. In the case
of adults it is an indispensable means of salvation, and is
efficacious thereunto by the gracious influence of the Holy
Spirit (John 17:17; 2 Tim. 3:15, 16; 1 Pet. 1:23).
the lamp-stand, "candelabrum," which Moses was commanded to make
for the tabernacle, according to the pattern shown him. Its form
is described in Ex. 25:31-40; 37:17-24, and may be seen
represented on the Arch of Titus at Rome. It was among the
spoils taken by the Romans from the temple of Jerusalem (A.D.
70). It was made of fine gold, and with the utensils belonging
to it was a talent in weight.
The tabernacle was a tent without windows, and thus artificial
light was needed. This was supplied by the candlestick, which,
however, served also as a symbol of the church or people of God,
who are "the light of the world." The light which "symbolizes
the knowledge of God is not the sun or any natural light, but an
artificial light supplied with a specially prepared oil; for the
knowledge of God is in truth not natural nor common to all men,
but furnished over and above nature."
This candlestick was placed on the south side of the Holy
Place, opposite the table of shewbread (Ex. 27:21; 30:7, 8; Lev.
24:3; 1 Sam. 3:3). It was lighted every evening, and was
extinguished in the morning. In the morning the priests trimmed
the seven lamps, borne by the seven branches, with golden
snuffers, carrying away the ashes in golden dishes (Ex. 25:38),
and supplying the lamps at the same time with fresh oil. What
ultimately became of the candlestick is unknown.
In Solomon's temple there were ten separate candlesticks of
pure gold, five on the right and five on the left of the Holy
Place (1 Kings 7:49; 2 Chr. 4:7). Their structure is not
mentioned. They were carried away to Babylon (Jer. 52:19).
In the temple erected after the Exile there was again but one
candlestick, and like the first, with seven branches. It was
this which was afterwards carried away by Titus to Rome, where
it was deposited in the Temple of Peace. When Genseric plundered
Rome, he is said to have carried it to Carthage (A.D. 455). It
was recaptured by Belisarius (A.D. 533), and carried to
Constantinople and thence to Jerusalem, where it finally
a Jew "born at Alexandria," a man well versed in the Scriptures
and eloquent (Acts 18:24; R.V., "learned"). He came to Ephesus
(about A.D. 49), where he spake "boldly" in the synagogue
(18:26), although he did not know as yet that Jesus of Nazareth
was the Messiah. Aquila and Priscilla instructed him more
perfectly in "the way of God", i.e., in the knowledge of Christ.
He then proceeded to Corinth, where he met Paul (Acts 18:27;
19:1). He was there very useful in watering the good seed Paul
had sown (1 Cor. 1:12), and in gaining many to Christ. His
disciples were much attached to him (1 Cor. 3:4-7, 22). He was
with Paul at Ephesus when he wrote the First Epistle to the
Corinthians; and Paul makes kindly reference to him in his
letter to Titus (3:13). Some have supposed, although without
sufficient ground, that he was the author of the Epistle to the
(Heb. tappuah, meaning "fragrance"). Probably the apricot or
quince is intended by the word, as Israel was too hot for the
growth of apples proper. It is enumerated among the most
valuable trees of Israel (Joel 1:12), and frequently referred
to in Canticles, and noted for its beauty (2:3, 5; 8:5). There
is nothing to show that it was the "tree of the knowledge of
good and evil." Dr. Tristram has suggested that the apricot has
better claims than any other fruit-tree to be the apple of
Scripture. It grows to a height of 30 feet, has a roundish mass
of glossy leaves, and bears an orange coloured fruit that gives
out a delicious perfume. The "apple of the eye" is the Heb.
_ishon_, meaning manikin, i.e., the pupil of the eye (Prov.
7:2). (Comp. the promise, Zech. 2:8; the prayer, Ps. 17:8; and
its fulfilment, Deut. 32:10.)
The so-called "apple of Sodom" some have supposed to be the
Solanum sanctum (Heb. hedek), rendered "brier" (q.v.) in Micah
7:4, a thorny plant bearing fruit like the potato-apple. This
shrub abounds in the Jordan valley. (See ENGEDI ¯T0001207.)
(1.) With God, consisting in the knowledge of his will (Job
22:21; John 17:3); agreement with his designs (Amos 3:2); mutual
affection (Rom. 8: 38, 39); enjoyment of his presence (Ps. 4:6);
conformity to his image (1 John 2:6; 1:6); and participation of
his felicity (1 John 1:3, 4; Eph. 3:14-21).
(2.) Of saints with one another, in duties (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor.
12:1; 1 Thess. 5:17, 18); in ordinances (Heb. 10:25; Acts 2:46);
in grace, love, joy, etc. (Mal. 3:16; 2 Cor. 8:4); mutual
interest, spiritual and temporal (Rom. 12:4, 13; Heb. 13:16); in
sufferings (Rom. 15:1, 2; Gal. 6:1, 2; Rom. 12:15; and in glory
the evangelist, was a Gentile. The date and circumstances of his
conversion are unknown. According to his own statement (Luke
1:2), he was not an "eye-witness and minister of the word from
the beginning." It is probable that he was a physician in Troas,
and was there converted by Paul, to whom he attached himself. He
accompanied him to Philippi, but did not there share his
imprisonment, nor did he accompany him further after his release
in his missionary journey at this time (Acts 17:1). On Paul's
third visit to Philippi (20:5, 6) we again meet with Luke, who
probably had spent all the intervening time in that city, a
period of seven or eight years. From this time Luke was Paul's
constant companion during his journey to Jerusalem (20:6-21:18).
He again disappears from view during Paul's imprisonment at
Jerusalem and Caesarea, and only reappears when Paul sets out
for Rome (27:1), whither he accompanies him (28:2, 12-16), and
where he remains with him till the close of his first
imprisonment (Philemon 1:24; Col. 4:14). The last notice of the
"beloved physician" is in 2 Tim. 4:11.
There are many passages in Paul's epistles, as well as in the
writings of Luke, which show the extent and accuracy of his
There are three Greek words used in the New Testament to denote
repentance. (1.) The verb _metamelomai_ is used of a change of
mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of
sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used
with reference to the repentance of Judas (Matt. 27:3).
(2.) Metanoeo, meaning to change one's mind and purpose, as
the result of after knowledge. This verb, with (3) the cognate
noun _metanoia_, is used of true repentance, a change of mind
and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised.
Evangelical repentance consists of (1) a true sense of one's
own guilt and sinfulness; (2) an apprehension of God's mercy in
Christ; (3) an actual hatred of sin (Ps. 119:128; Job 42:5, 6; 2
Cor. 7:10) and turning from it to God; and (4) a persistent
endeavour after a holy life in a walking with God in the way of
The true penitent is conscious of guilt (Ps. 51:4, 9), of
pollution (51:5, 7, 10), and of helplessness (51:11; 109:21,
22). Thus he apprehends himself to be just what God has always
seen him to be and declares him to be. But repentance
comprehends not only such a sense of sin, but also an
apprehension of mercy, without which there can be no true
repentance (Ps. 51:1; 130:4).
lord of the people; foreigner or glutton, as interpreted by
others, the son of Beor, was a man of some rank among the
Midianites (Num. 31:8; comp. 16). He resided at Pethor (Deut.
23:4), in Mesopotamia (Num. 23:7). It is evident that though
dwelling among idolaters he had some knowledge of the true God;
and was held in such reputation that it was supposed that he
whom he blessed was blessed, and he whom he cursed was cursed.
When the Israelites were encamped on the plains of Moab, on the
east of Jordan, by Jericho, Balak sent for Balaam "from Aram,
out of the mountains of the east," to curse them; but by the
remarkable interposition of God he was utterly unable to fulfil
Balak's wish, however desirous he was to do so. The apostle
Peter refers (2 Pet. 2:15, 16) to this as an historical event.
In Micah 6:5 reference also is made to the relations between
Balaam and Balak. Though Balaam could not curse Israel, yet he
suggested a mode by which the divine displeasure might be caused
to descend upon them (Num. 25). In a battle between Israel and
the Midianites (q.v.) Balaam was slain while fighting on the
side of Balak (Num. 31:8).
The "doctrine of Balaam" is spoken of in Rev. 2:14, in
allusion to the fact that it was through the teaching of Balaam
that Balak learned the way by which the Israelites might be led
into sin. (See NICOLAITANES ¯T0002725.) Balaam was constrained
to utter prophecies regarding the future of Israel of wonderful
magnificence and beauty of expression (Num. 24:5-9, 17).
the language of the Hebrew nation, and that in which the Old
Testament is written, with the exception of a few portions in
Chaldee. In the Old Testament it is only spoken of as "Jewish"
(2 Kings 18:26, 28; Isa. 36:11, 13; 2 Chr 32:18). This name is
first used by the Jews in times subsequent to the close of the
It is one of the class of languages called Semitic, because
they were chiefly spoken among the descendants of Shem.
When Abraham entered Canaan it is obvious that he found the
language of its inhabitants closely allied to his own. Isaiah
(19:18) calls it "the language of Canaan." Whether this
language, as seen in the earliest books of the Old Testament,
was the very dialect which Abraham brought with him into Canaan,
or whether it was the common tongue of the Canaanitish nations
which he only adopted, is uncertain; probably the latter opinion
is the correct one. For the thousand years between Moses and the
Babylonian exile the Hebrew language underwent little or no
modification. It preserves all through a remarkable uniformity
of structure. From the first it appears in its full maturity of
development. But through intercourse with Damascus, Assyria, and
Babylon, from the time of David, and more particularly from the
period of the Exile, it comes under the influence of the Aramaic
idiom, and this is seen in the writings which date from this
period. It was never spoken in its purity by the Jews after
their return from Babylon. They now spoke Hebrew with a large
admixture of Aramaic or Chaldee, which latterly became the
predominant element in the national language.
The Hebrew of the Old Testament has only about six thousand
words, all derived from about five hundred roots. Hence the same
word has sometimes a great variety of meanings. So long as it
was a living language, and for ages after, only the consonants
of the words were written. This also has been a source of
difficulty in interpreting certain words, for the meaning varies
according to the vowels which may be supplied. The Hebrew is one
of the oldest languages of which we have any knowledge. It is
essentially identical with the Phoenician language. (See MOABITE
STONE ¯T0002586.) The Semitic languages, to which class the
Hebrew and Phoenician belonged, were spoken over a very wide
area: in Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Israel and Arabia, in
all the countries from the Mediterranean to the borders of
Assyria, and from the mountains of Armenia to the Indian Ocean.
The rounded form of the letters, as seen in the Moabite stone,
was probably that in which the ancient Hebrew was written down
to the time of the Exile, when the present square or Chaldean
form was adopted.
Job, Book of
A great diversity of opinion exists as to the authorship of this
book. From internal evidence, such as the similarity of
sentiment and language to those in the Psalms and Proverbs (see
Ps. 88 and 89), the prevalence of the idea of "wisdom," and the
style and character of the composition, it is supposed by some
to have been written in the time of David and Solomon. Others
argue that it was written by Job himself, or by Elihu, or
Isaiah, or perhaps more probably by Moses, who was "learned in
all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and mighty in words and deeds"
(Acts 7:22). He had opportunities in Midian for obtaining the
knowledge of the facts related. But the authorship is altogether
As to the character of the book, it is a historical poem, one
of the greatest and sublimest poems in all literature. Job was a
historical person, and the localities and names were real and
not fictious. It is "one of the grandest portions of the
inspired Scriptures, a heavenly-repleished storehouse of comfort
and instruction, the patriarchal Bible, and a precious monument
of primitive theology. It is to the Old Testament what the
Epistle to the Romans is to the New." It is a didactic narrative
in a dramatic form.
This book was apparently well known in the days of Ezekiel,
B.C. 600 (Ezek. 14:14). It formed a part of the sacred
Scriptures used by our Lord and his apostles, and is referred to
as a part of the inspired Word (Heb. 12:5; 1 Cor. 3:19).
The subject of the book is the trial of Job, its occasion,
nature, endurance, and issue. It exhibits the harmony of the
truths of revelation and the dealings of Providence, which are
seen to be at once inscrutable, just, and merciful. It shows the
blessedness of the truly pious, even amid sore afflictions, and
thus ministers comfort and hope to tried believers of every age.
It is a book of manifold instruction, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in
righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16).
It consists of,
(1.) An historical introduction in prose (ch. 1,2).
(2.) The controversy and its solution, in poetry (ch. 3-42:6).
Job's desponding lamentation (ch. 3) is the occasion of the
controversy which is carried on in three courses of dialogues
between Job and his three friends. The first course gives the
commencement of the controversy (ch. 4-14); the second the
growth of the controversy (15-21); and the third the height of
the controversy (22-27). This is followed by the solution of the
controversy in the speeches of Elihu and the address of Jehovah,
followed by Job's humble confession (42:1-6) of his own fault
(3.) The third division is the historical conclusion, in prose
Sir J. W. Dawson in "The Expositor" says: "It would now seem
that the language and theology of the book of Job can be better
explained by supposing it to be a portion of Minean [Southern
Arabia] literature obtained by Moses in Midian than in any other
way. This view also agrees better than any other with its
references to natural objects, the art of mining, and other
Kings, The Books of
The two books of Kings formed originally but one book in the
Hebrew Scriptures. The present division into two books was first
made by the LXX., which now, with the Vulgate, numbers them as
the third and fourth books of Kings, the two books of Samuel
being the first and second books of Kings.
They contain the annals of the Jewish commonwealth from the
accession of Solomon till the subjugation of the kingdom by
Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians (apparently a period of about
four hundred and fifty-three years). The books of Chronicles
(q.v.) are more comprehensive in their contents than those of
Kings. The latter synchronize with 1 Chr. 28-2 Chr. 36:21. While
in the Chronicles greater prominence is given to the priestly or
Levitical office, in the Kings greater prominence is given to
The authorship of these books is uncertain. There are some
portions of them and of Jeremiah that are almost identical,
e.g., 2 Kings 24:18-25 and Jer. 52; 39:1-10; 40:7-41:10. There
are also many undesigned coincidences between Jeremiah and Kings
(2 Kings 21-23 and Jer. 7:15; 15:4; 19:3, etc.), and events
recorded in Kings of which Jeremiah had personal knowledge.
These facts countenance in some degree the tradition that
Jeremiah was the author of the books of Kings. But the more
probable supposition is that Ezra, after the Captivity, compiled
them from documents written perhaps by David, Solomon, Nathan,
Gad, and Iddo, and that he arranged them in the order in which
they now exist.
In the threefold division of the Scriptures by the Jews, these
books are ranked among the "Prophets." They are frequently
quoted or alluded to by our Lord and his apostles (Matt. 6:29;
12:42; Luke 4:25, 26; 10:4; comp. 2 Kings 4:29; Mark 1:6; comp.
2 Kings 1:8; Matt. 3:4, etc.).
The sources of the narrative are referred to (1) "the book of
the acts of Solomon" (1 Kings 11:41); (2) the "book of the
chronicles of the kings of Judah" (14:29; 15:7, 23, etc.); (3)
the "book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel" (14:19;
15:31; 16:14, 20, 27, etc.).
The date of its composition was some time between B.C. 561,
the date of the last chapter (2 Kings 25), when Jehoiachin was
released from captivity by Evil-merodach, and B.C. 538, the date
of the decree of deliverance by Cyrus.
a descendant of the tribe of Levi (Ex. 6:25; Lev. 25:32; Num.
35:2; Josh. 21:3, 41). This name is, however, generally used as
the title of that portion of the tribe which was set apart for
the subordinate offices of the sanctuary service (1 Kings 8:4;
Ezra 2:70), as assistants to the priests.
When the Israelites left Egypt, the ancient manner of worship
was still observed by them, the eldest son of each house
inheriting the priest's office. At Sinai the first change in
this ancient practice was made. A hereditary priesthood in the
family of Aaron was then instituted (Ex. 28:1). But it was not
till that terrible scene in connection with the sin of the
golden calf that the tribe of Levi stood apart and began to
occupy a distinct position (Ex. 32). The religious primogeniture
was then conferred on this tribe, which henceforth was devoted
to the service of the sanctuary (Num. 3:11-13). They were
selected for this purpose because of their zeal for the glory of
God (Ex. 32:26), and because, as the tribe to which Moses and
Aaron belonged, they would naturally stand by the lawgiver in
The Levitical order consisted of all the descendants of Levi's
three sons, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari; whilst Aaron, Amram's
son (Amram, son of Kohat), and his issue constituted the
The age and qualification for Levitical service are specified
in Num. 4:3, 23, 30, 39, 43, 47.
They were not included among the armies of Israel (Num. 1:47;
2:33; 26:62), but were reckoned by themselves. They were the
special guardians of the tabernacle (Num. 1:51; 18:22-24). The
Gershonites pitched their tents on the west of the tabernacle
(3:23), the Kohathites on the south (3:29), the Merarites on the
north (3:35), and the priests on the east (3:38). It was their
duty to move the tent and carry the parts of the sacred
structure from place to place. They were given to Aaron and his
sons the priests to wait upon them and do work for them at the
sanctuary services (Num. 8:19; 18:2-6).
As being wholly consecrated to the service of the Lord, they
had no territorial possessions. Jehovah was their inheritance
(Num. 18:20; 26:62; Deut. 10:9; 18:1, 2), and for their support
it was ordained that they should receive from the other tribes
the tithes of the produce of the land. Forty-eight cities also
were assigned to them, thirteen of which were for the priests
"to dwell in", i.e., along with their other inhabitants. Along
with their dwellings they had "suburbs", i.e., "commons", for
their herds and flocks, and also fields and vineyards (Num.
35:2-5). Nine of these cities were in Judah, three in Naphtali,
and four in each of the other tribes (Josh. 21). Six of the
Levitical cities were set apart as "cities of refuge" (q.v.).
Thus the Levites were scattered among the tribes to keep alive
among them the knowledge and service of God. (See PRIEST
(1.) Heb. 'Adam, used as the proper name of the first man. The
name is derived from a word meaning "to be red," and thus the
first man was called Adam because he was formed from the red
earth. It is also the generic name of the human race (Gen. 1:26,
27; 5:2; 8:21; Deut. 8:3). Its equivalents are the Latin homo
and the Greek anthropos (Matt. 5:13, 16). It denotes also man in
opposition to woman (Gen. 3:12; Matt. 19:10).
(2.) Heb. 'ish, like the Latin vir and Greek aner, denotes
properly a man in opposition to a woman (1 Sam. 17:33; Matt.
14:21); a husband (Gen. 3:16; Hos. 2:16); man with reference to
excellent mental qualities.
(3.) Heb. 'enosh, man as mortal, transient, perishable (2 Chr.
14:11; Isa. 8:1; Job 15:14; Ps. 8:4; 9:19, 20; 103:15). It is
applied to women (Josh. 8:25).
(4.) Heb. geber, man with reference to his strength, as
distinguished from women (Deut. 22:5) and from children (Ex.
12:37); a husband (Prov. 6:34).
(5.) Heb. methim, men as mortal (Isa. 41:14), and as opposed
to women and children (Deut. 3:6; Job 11:3; Isa. 3:25).
Man was created by the immediate hand of God, and is
generically different from all other creatures (Gen. 1:26, 27;
2:7). His complex nature is composed of two elements, two
distinct substances, viz., body and soul (Gen. 2:7; Eccl. 12:7;
2 Cor. 5:1-8).
The words translated "spirit" and "soul," in 1 Thess. 5:23,
Heb. 4:12, are habitually used interchangeably (Matt. 10:28;
16:26; 1 Pet. 1:22). The "spirit" (Gr. pneuma) is the soul as
rational; the "soul" (Gr. psuche) is the same, considered as the
animating and vital principle of the body.
Man was created in the likeness of God as to the perfection of
his nature, in knowledge (Col. 3:10), righteousness, and
holiness (Eph. 4:24), and as having dominion over all the
inferior creatures (Gen. 1:28). He had in his original state
God's law written on his heart, and had power to obey it, and
yet was capable of disobeying, being left to the freedom of his
own will. He was created with holy dispositions, prompting him
to holy actions; but he was fallible, and did fall from his
integrity (3:1-6). (See FALL ¯T0001304.)
red, a Babylonian word, the generic name for man, having the
same meaning in the Hebrew and the Assyrian languages. It was
the name given to the first man, whose creation, fall, and
subsequent history and that of his descendants are detailed in
the first book of Moses (Gen. 1:27-ch. 5). "God created man
[Heb., Adam] in his own image, in the image of God created he
him; male and female created he them."
Adam was absolutely the first man whom God created. He was
formed out of the dust of the earth (and hence his name), and
God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and gave him
dominion over all the lower creatures (Gen. 1:26; 2:7). He was
placed after his creation in the Garden of Eden, to cultivate
it, and to enjoy its fruits under this one prohibition: "Of the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it;
for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
The first recorded act of Adam was his giving names to the
beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, which God brought
to him for this end. Thereafter the Lord caused a deep sleep to
fall upon him, and while in an unconscious state took one of his
ribs, and closed up his flesh again; and of this rib he made a
woman, whom he presented to him when he awoke. Adam received her
as his wife, and said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh
of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken
out of Man." He called her Eve, because she was the mother of
Being induced by the tempter in the form of a serpent to eat
the forbidden fruit, Eve persuaded Adam, and he also did eat.
Thus man fell, and brought upon himself and his posterity all
the sad consequences of his transgression. The narrative of the
Fall comprehends in it the great promise of a Deliverer (Gen.
3:15), the "first gospel" message to man. They were expelled
from Eden, and at the east of the garden God placed a flame,
which turned every way, to prevent access to the tree of life
(Gen. 3). How long they were in Paradise is matter of mere
Shortly after their expulsion Eve brought forth her
first-born, and called him Cain. Although we have the names of
only three of Adam's sons, viz., Cain, Abel, and Seth, yet it is
obvious that he had several sons and daughters (Gen. 5:4). He
died aged 930 years.
Adam and Eve were the progenitors of the whole human race.
Evidences of varied kinds are abundant in proving the unity of
the human race. The investigations of science, altogether
independent of historical evidence, lead to the conclusion that
God "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on
all the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26. Comp. Rom. 5:12-12; 1
a person sent by another; a messenger; envoy. This word is once
used as a descriptive designation of Jesus Christ, the Sent of
the Father (Heb. 3:1; John 20:21). It is, however, generally
used as designating the body of disciples to whom he intrusted
the organization of his church and the dissemination of his
gospel, "the twelve," as they are called (Matt. 10:1-5; Mark
3:14; 6:7; Luke 6:13; 9:1). We have four lists of the apostles,
one by each of the synoptic evangelists (Matt. 10:2-4; Mark
3:16; Luke 6:14), and one in the Acts (1:13). No two of these
lists, however, perfectly coincide.
Our Lord gave them the "keys of the kingdom," and by the gift
of his Spirit fitted them to be the founders and governors of
his church (John 14:16, 17, 26; 15:26, 27; 16:7-15). To them, as
representing his church, he gave the commission to "preach the
gospel to every creature" (Matt. 28:18-20). After his ascension
he communicated to them, according to his promise, supernatural
gifts to qualify them for the discharge of their duties (Acts
2:4; 1 Cor. 2:16; 2:7, 10, 13; 2 Cor. 5:20; 1 Cor. 11:2). Judas
Iscariot, one of "the twelve," fell by transgression, and
Matthias was substituted in his place (Acts 1:21). Saul of
Tarsus was afterwards added to their number (Acts 9:3-20; 20:4;
26:15-18; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11).
Luke has given some account of Peter, John, and the two
Jameses (Acts 12:2, 17; 15:13; 21:18), but beyond this we know
nothing from authentic history of the rest of the original
twelve. After the martyrdom of James the Greater (Acts 12:2),
James the Less usually resided at Jerusalem, while Paul, "the
apostle of the uncircumcision," usually travelled as a
missionary among the Gentiles (Gal. 2:8). It was characteristic
of the apostles and necessary (1) that they should have seen the
Lord, and been able to testify of him and of his resurrection
from personal knowledge (John 15:27; Acts 1:21, 22; 1 Cor. 9:1;
Acts 22:14, 15). (2.) They must have been immediately called to
that office by Christ (Luke 6:13; Gal. 1:1). (3.) It was
essential that they should be infallibly inspired, and thus
secured against all error and mistake in their public teaching,
whether by word or by writing (John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Thess.
(4.) Another qualification was the power of working miracles
(Mark 16:20; Acts 2:43; 1 Cor. 12:8-11). The apostles therefore
could have had no successors. They are the only authoritative
teachers of the Christian doctrines. The office of an apostle
ceased with its first holders.
In 2 Cor. 8:23 and Phil. 2:25 the word "messenger" is the
rendering of the same Greek word, elsewhere rendered "apostle."
(Heb. Ko'resh), the celebrated "King of Persia" (Elam) who was
conqueror of Babylon, and issued the decree of liberation to the
Jews (Ezra 1:1, 2). He was the son of Cambyses, the prince of
Persia, and was born about B.C. 599. In the year B.C. 559 he
became king of Persia, the kingdom of Media being added to it
partly by conquest. Cyrus was a great military leader, bent on
universal conquest. Babylon fell before his army (B.C. 538) on
the night of Belshazzar's feast (Dan. 5:30), and then the
ancient dominion of Assyria was also added to his empire (cf.,
"Go up, O Elam", Isa.21:2).
Hitherto the great kings of the earth had only oppressed the
Jews. Cyrus was to them as a "shepherd" (Isa. 44:28; 45:1). God
employed him in doing service to his ancient people. He may
posibly have gained, through contact with the Jews, some
knowledge of their religion.
The "first year of Cyrus" (Ezra 1:1) is not the year of his
elevation to power over the Medes, nor over the Persians, nor
the year of the fall of Babylon, but the year succeeding the two
years during which "Darius the Mede" was viceroy in Babylon
after its fall. At this time only (B.C. 536) Cyrus became actual
king over Israel, which became a part of his Babylonian
empire. The edict of Cyrus for the rebuilding of Jerusalem
marked a great epoch in the history of the Jewish people (2 Chr.
36:22, 23; Ezra 1:1-4; 4:3; 5:13-17; 6:3-5).
This decree was discovered "at Achmetha [R.V. marg.,
"Ecbatana"], in the palace that is in the province of the Medes"
(Ezra 6:2). A chronicle drawn up just after the conquest of
Babylonia by Cyrus, gives the history of the reign of Nabonidus
(Nabunahid), the last king of Babylon, and of the fall of the
Babylonian empire. In B.C. 538 there was a revolt in Southern
Babylonia, while the army of Cyrus entered the country from the
north. In June the Babylonian army was completely defeated at
Opis, and immediately afterwards Sippara opened its gates to the
conqueror. Gobryas (Ugbaru), the governor of Kurdistan, was then
sent to Babylon, which surrendered "without fighting," and the
daily services in the temples continued without a break. In
October, Cyrus himself arrived, and proclaimed a general
amnesty, which was communicated by Gobryas to "all the province
of Babylon," of which he had been made governor. Meanwhile,
Nabonidus, who had concealed himself, was captured, but treated
honourably; and when his wife died, Cambyses, the son of Cyrus,
conducted the funeral. Cyrus now assumed the title of "king of
Babylon," claimed to be the descendant of the ancient kings, and
made rich offerings to the temples. At the same time he allowed
the foreign populations who had been deported to Babylonia to
return to their old homes, carrying with them the images of
their gods. Among these populations were the Jews, who, as they
had no images, took with them the sacred vessels of the temple.
(1.) Heb. midbar, "pasture-ground;" an open tract for pasturage;
a common (Joel 2:22). The "backside of the desert" (Ex. 3:1) is
the west of the desert, the region behind a man, as the east is
the region in front. The same Hebrew word is rendered
"wildernes," and is used of the country lying between Egypt and
Israel (Gen. 21:14, 21; Ex. 4:27; 19:2; Josh. 1:4), the
wilderness of the wanderings. It was a grazing tract, where the
flocks and herds of the Israelites found pasturage during the
whole of their journey to the Promised Land.
The same Hebrew word is used also to denote the wilderness of
Arabia, which in winter and early spring supplies good pasturage
to the flocks of the nomad tribes than roam over it (1 Kings
The wilderness of Judah is the mountainous region along the
western shore of the Dead Sea, where David fed his father's
flocks (1 Sam. 17:28; 26:2). Thus in both of these instances the
word denotes a country without settled inhabitants and without
streams of water, but having good pasturage for cattle; a
country of wandering tribes, as distinguished from that of a
settled people (Isa. 35:1; 50:2; Jer. 4:11). Such, also, is the
meaning of the word "wilderness" in Matt. 3:3; 15:33; Luke 15:4.
(2.) The translation of the Hebrew _Aribah'_, "an arid tract"
(Isa. 35:1, 6; 40:3; 41:19; 51:3, etc.). The name Arabah is
specially applied to the deep valley of the Jordan (the Ghor of
the Arabs), which extends from the lake of Tiberias to the
Elanitic gulf. While _midbar_ denotes properly a pastoral
region, _arabah_ denotes a wilderness. It is also translated
"plains;" as "the plains of Jericho" (Josh. 5:10; 2 Kings 25:5),
"the plains of Moab" (Num. 22:1; Deut. 34:1, 8), "the plains of
the wilderness" (2 Sam. 17:16).
(3.) In the Revised Version of Num. 21:20 the Hebrew word
_jeshimon_ is properly rendered "desert," meaning the waste
tracts on both shores of the Dead Sea. This word is also
rendered "desert" in Ps. 78:40; 106:14; Isa. 43:19, 20. It
denotes a greater extent of uncultivated country than the other
words so rendered. It is especially applied to the desert of the
peninsula of Arabia (Num. 21:20; 23:28), the most terrible of
all the deserts with which the Israelites were acquainted. It is
called "the desert" in Ex. 23:31; Deut. 11:24. (See JESHIMON
(4.) A dry place; hence a desolation (Ps. 9:6), desolate (Lev.
26:34); the rendering of the Hebrew word _horbah'_. It is
rendered "desert" only in Ps. 102:6, Isa. 48:21, and Ezek. 13:4,
where it means the wilderness of Sinai.
(5.) This word is the symbol of the Jewish church when they
had forsaken God (Isa. 40:3). Nations destitute of the knowledge
of God are called a "wilderness" (32:15, _midbar_). It is a
symbol of temptation, solitude, and persecution (Isa. 27:10,
_midbar_; 33:9, _arabah_).
or prediction, was one of the functions of the prophet. It has
been defined as a "miracle of knowledge, a declaration or
description or representation of something future, beyond the
power of human sagacity to foresee, discern, or conjecture."
(See PROPHET ¯T0003006.)
The great prediction which runs like a golden thread through
the whole contents of the Old Testament is that regarding the
coming and work of the Messiah; and the great use of prophecy
was to perpetuate faith in his coming, and to prepare the world
for that event. But there are many subordinate and intermediate
prophecies also which hold an important place in the great chain
of events which illustrate the sovereignty and all-wise
overruling providence of God.
Then there are many prophecies regarding the Jewish nation,
its founder Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3; 13:16; 15:5; 17:2, 4-6, etc.),
and his posterity, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants (12:7;
13:14, 15, 17; 15:18-21; Ex. 3:8, 17), which have all been
fulfilled. The twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy contains a
series of predictions which are even now in the present day
being fulfilled. In the writings of the prophets Isaiah
(2:18-21), Jeremiah (27:3-7; 29:11-14), Ezekiel (5:12; 8),
Daniel (8; 9:26, 27), Hosea (9:17), there are also many
prophecies regarding the events which were to befall that
There is in like manner a large number of prophecies relating
to those nations with which the Jews came into contact, as Tyre
(Ezek. 26:3-5, 14-21), Egypt (Ezek. 29:10, 15; 30:6, 12, 13),
Ethiopia (Nahum 3:8-10), Nineveh (Nahum 1:10; 2:8-13; 3:17-19),
Babylon (Isa. 13:4; Jer. 51:7; Isa. 44:27; Jer. 50:38; 51:36,
39, 57), the land of the Philistines (Jer. 47:4-7; Ezek.
25:15-17; Amos 1:6-8; Zeph. 2:4-7; Zech. 9:5-8), and of the four
great monarchies (Dan. 2:39, 40; 7:17-24; 8:9).
But the great body of Old Testament prophecy relates directly
to the advent of the Messiah, beginning with Gen. 3:15, the
first great promise, and extending in ever-increasing fulness
and clearness all through to the very close of the canon. The
Messianic prophecies are too numerous to be quoted. "To him gave
all the prophets witness." (Comp. Micah 5:2; Hag. 2:6-9; Isa.
7:14; 9:6, 7; 11:1, 2; 53; 60:10, 13; Ps. 16:11; 68:18.)
Many predictions also were delivered by Jesus and his
apostles. Those of Christ were very numerous. (Comp. Matt.
10:23:24; 11:23; 19:28; 21:43, 44; 24; 25:31-46; 26:17-35, 46,
64; Mark 9:1; 10:30; 13; 11:1-6, 14; 14:12-31, 42, 62; 16:17,
Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a certain
statement is true (Phil. 1:27; 2 Thess. 2:13). Its primary idea
is trust. A thing is true, and therefore worthy of trust. It
admits of many degrees up to full assurance of faith, in
accordance with the evidence on which it rests.
Faith is the result of teaching (Rom. 10:14-17). Knowledge is
an essential element in all faith, and is sometimes spoken of as
an equivalent to faith (John 10:38; 1 John 2:3). Yet the two are
distinguished in this respect, that faith includes in it assent,
which is an act of the will in addition to the act of the
understanding. Assent to the truth is of the essence of faith,
and the ultimate ground on which our assent to any revealed
truth rests is the veracity of God.
Historical faith is the apprehension of and assent to certain
statements which are regarded as mere facts of history.
Temporary faith is that state of mind which is awakened in men
(e.g., Felix) by the exhibition of the truth and by the
influence of religious sympathy, or by what is sometimes styled
the common operation of the Holy Spirit.
Saving faith is so called because it has eternal life
inseparably connected with it. It cannot be better defined than
in the words of the Assembly's Shorter Catechism: "Faith in
Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon
him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel."
The object of saving faith is the whole revealed Word of God.
Faith accepts and believes it as the very truth most sure. But
the special act of faith which unites to Christ has as its
object the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ (John
7:38; Acts 16:31). This is the specific act of faith by which a
sinner is justified before God (Rom. 3:22, 25; Gal. 2:16; Phil.
3:9; John 3:16-36; Acts 10:43; 16:31). In this act of faith the
believer appropriates and rests on Christ alone as Mediator in
all his offices.
This assent to or belief in the truth received upon the divine
testimony has always associated with it a deep sense of sin, a
distinct view of Christ, a consenting will, and a loving heart,
together with a reliance on, a trusting in, or resting in
Christ. It is that state of mind in which a poor sinner,
conscious of his sin, flees from his guilty self to Christ his
Saviour, and rolls over the burden of all his sins on him. It
consists chiefly, not in the assent given to the testimony of
God in his Word, but in embracing with fiducial reliance and
trust the one and only Saviour whom God reveals. This trust and
reliance is of the essence of faith. By faith the believer
directly and immediately appropriates Christ as his own. Faith
in its direct act makes Christ ours. It is not a work which God
graciously accepts instead of perfect obedience, but is only the
hand by which we take hold of the person and work of our
Redeemer as the only ground of our salvation.
Saving faith is a moral act, as it proceeds from a renewed
will, and a renewed will is necessary to believing assent to the
truth of God (1 Cor. 2:14; 2 Cor. 4:4). Faith, therefore, has
its seat in the moral part of our nature fully as much as in the
intellectual. The mind must first be enlightened by divine
teaching (John 6:44; Acts 13:48; 2 Cor. 4:6; Eph. 1:17, 18)
before it can discern the things of the Spirit.
Faith is necessary to our salvation (Mark 16:16), not because
there is any merit in it, but simply because it is the sinner's
taking the place assigned him by God, his falling in with what
God is doing.
The warrant or ground of faith is the divine testimony, not
the reasonableness of what God says, but the simple fact that he
says it. Faith rests immediately on, "Thus saith the Lord." But
in order to this faith the veracity, sincerity, and truth of God
must be owned and appreciated, together with his
unchangeableness. God's word encourages and emboldens the sinner
personally to transact with Christ as God's gift, to close with
him, embrace him, give himself to Christ, and take Christ as
his. That word comes with power, for it is the word of God who
has revealed himself in his works, and especially in the cross.
God is to be believed for his word's sake, but also for his
Faith in Christ secures for the believer freedom from
condemnation, or justification before God; a participation in
the life that is in Christ, the divine life (John 14:19; Rom.
6:4-10; Eph. 4:15,16, etc.); "peace with God" (Rom. 5:1); and
sanctification (Acts 26:18; Gal. 5:6; Acts 15:9).
All who thus believe in Christ will certainly be saved (John
6:37, 40; 10:27, 28; Rom. 8:1).
The faith=the gospel (Acts 6:7; Rom. 1:5; Gal. 1:23; 1 Tim.
3:9; Jude 1:3).
Joshua, The Book of
contains a history of the Israelites from the death of Moses to
that of Joshua. It consists of three parts: (1.) The history of
the conquest of the land (1-12). (2.) The allotment of the land
to the different tribes, with the appointment of cities of
refuge, the provision for the Levites (13-22), and the dismissal
of the eastern tribes to their homes. This section has been
compared to the Domesday Book of the Norman conquest. (3.) The
farewell addresses of Joshua, with an account of his death (23,
This book stands first in the second of the three sections,
(1) the Law, (2) the Prophets, (3) the "other writings" =
Hagiographa, into which the Jewish Church divided the Old
Testament. There is every reason for concluding that the uniform
tradition of the Jews is correct when they assign the authorship
of the book to Joshua, all except the concluding section; the
last verses (24:29-33) were added by some other hand.
There are two difficulties connected with this book which have
given rise to much discussion, (1.) The miracle of the standing
still of the sun and moon on Gibeon. The record of it occurs in
Joshua's impassioned prayer of faith, as quoted (Josh. 10:12-15)
from the "Book of Jasher" (q.v.). There are many explanations
given of these words. They need, however, present no difficulty
if we believe in the possibility of God's miraculous
interposition in behalf of his people. Whether it was caused by
the refraction of the light, or how, we know not.
(2.) Another difficulty arises out of the command given by God
utterly to exterminate the Canaanites. "Shall not the Judge of
all the earth do right?" It is enough that Joshua clearly knew
that this was the will of God, who employs his terrible
agencies, famine, pestilence, and war, in the righteous
government of this world. The Canaanites had sunk into a state
of immorality and corruption so foul and degrading that they had
to be rooted out of the land with the edge of the sword. "The
Israelites' sword, in its bloodiest executions, wrought a work
of mercy for all the countries of the earth to the very end of
This book resembles the Acts of the Apostles in the number and
variety of historical incidents it records, and in its many
references to persons and places; and as in the latter case the
epistles of Paul (see Paley's Horae Paul.) confirm its
historical accuracy by their incidental allusions and
"undesigned coincidences," so in the former modern discoveries
confirm its historicity. The Amarna tablets (see ADONIZEDEC
¯T0000099) are among the most remarkable discoveries of the age.
Dating from about B.C. 1480 down to the time of Joshua, and
consisting of official communications from Amorite, Phoenician,
and Philistine chiefs to the king of Egypt, they afford a
glimpse into the actual condition of Israel prior to the
Hebrew invasion, and illustrate and confirm the history of the
conquest. A letter, also still extant, from a military officer,
"master of the captains of Egypt," dating from near the end of
the reign of Rameses II., gives a curious account of a journey,
probably official, which he undertook through Israel as far
north as to Aleppo, and an insight into the social condition of
the country at that time. Among the things brought to light by
this letter and the Amarna tablets is the state of confusion and
decay that had now fallen on Egypt. The Egyptian garrisons that
had held possession of Israel from the time of Thothmes III.,
some two hundred years before, had now been withdrawn. The way
was thus opened for the Hebrews. In the history of the conquest
there is no mention of Joshua having encountered any Egyptian
force. The tablets contain many appeals to the king of Egypt for
help against the inroads of the Hebrews, but no help seems ever
to have been sent. Is not this just such a state of things as
might have been anticipated as the result of the disaster of the
Exodus? In many points, as shown under various articles, the
progress of the conquest is remarkably illustrated by the
tablets. The value of modern discoveries in their relation to
Old Testament history has been thus well described:
"The difficulty of establishing the charge of lack of
historical credibility, as against the testimony of the Old
Testament, has of late years greatly increased. The outcome of
recent excavations and explorations is altogether against it. As
long as these books contained, in the main, the only known
accounts of the events they mention, there was some plausibility
in the theory that perhaps these accounts were written rather to
teach moral lessons than to preserve an exact knowledge of
events. It was easy to say in those times men had not the
historic sense. But the recent discoveries touch the events
recorded in the Bible at very many different points in many
different generations, mentioning the same persons, countries,
peoples, events that are mentioned in the Bible, and showing
beyond question that these were strictly historic. The point is
not that the discoveries confirm the correctness of the Biblical
statements, though that is commonly the case, but that the
discoveries show that the peoples of those ages had the historic
sense, and, specifically, that the Biblical narratives they
touch are narratives of actual occurrences."
(Heb. nabi, from a root meaning "to bubble forth, as from a
fountain," hence "to utter", comp. Ps. 45:1). This Hebrew word
is the first and the most generally used for a prophet. In the
time of Samuel another word, _ro'eh_, "seer", began to be used
(1 Sam. 9:9). It occurs seven times in reference to Samuel.
Afterwards another word, _hozeh_, "seer" (2 Sam. 24:11), was
employed. In 1 Ch. 29:29 all these three words are used: "Samuel
the seer (ro'eh), Nathan the prophet (nabi'), Gad the seer"
(hozeh). In Josh. 13:22 Balaam is called (Heb.) a _kosem_
"diviner," a word used only of a false prophet.
The "prophet" proclaimed the message given to him, as the
"seer" beheld the vision of God. (See Num. 12:6, 8.) Thus a
prophet was a spokesman for God; he spake in God's name and by
his authority (Ex. 7:1). He is the mouth by which God speaks to
men (Jer. 1:9; Isa. 51:16), and hence what the prophet says is
not of man but of God (2 Pet. 1:20, 21; comp. Heb. 3:7; Acts
4:25; 28:25). Prophets were the immediate organs of God for the
communication of his mind and will to men (Deut. 18:18, 19). The
whole Word of God may in this general sense be spoken of as
prophetic, inasmuch as it was written by men who received the
revelation they communicated from God, no matter what its nature
might be. The foretelling of future events was not a necessary
but only an incidental part of the prophetic office. The great
task assigned to the prophets whom God raised up among the
people was "to correct moral and religious abuses, to proclaim
the great moral and religious truths which are connected with
the character of God, and which lie at the foundation of his
Any one being a spokesman for God to man might thus be called
a prophet. Thus Enoch, Abraham, and the patriarchs, as bearers
of God's message (Gen. 20:7; Ex. 7:1; Ps. 105:15), as also Moses
(Deut. 18:15; 34:10; Hos. 12:13), are ranked among the prophets.
The seventy elders of Israel (Num. 11:16-29), "when the spirit
rested upon them, prophesied;" Asaph and Jeduthun "prophesied
with a harp" (1 Chr. 25:3). Miriam and Deborah were prophetesses
(Ex. 15:20; Judg. 4:4). The title thus has a general application
to all who have messages from God to men.
But while the prophetic gift was thus exercised from the
beginning, the prophetical order as such began with Samuel.
Colleges, "schools of the prophets", were instituted for the
training of prophets, who were constituted, a distinct order (1
Sam. 19:18-24; 2 Kings 2:3, 15; 4:38), which continued to the
close of the Old Testament. Such "schools" were established at
Ramah, Bethel, Gilgal, Gibeah, and Jericho. The "sons" or
"disciples" of the prophets were young men (2 Kings 5:22; 9:1,
4) who lived together at these different "schools" (4:38-41).
These young men were taught not only the rudiments of secular
knowledge, but they were brought up to exercise the office of
prophet, "to preach pure morality and the heart-felt worship of
Jehovah, and to act along and co-ordinately with the priesthood
and monarchy in guiding the state aright and checking all
attempts at illegality and tyranny."
In New Testament times the prophetical office was continued.
Our Lord is frequently spoken of as a prophet (Luke 13:33;
24:19). He was and is the great Prophet of the Church. There was
also in the Church a distinct order of prophets (1 Cor. 12:28;
Eph. 2:20; 3:5), who made new revelations from God. They
differed from the "teacher," whose office it was to impart
truths already revealed.
Of the Old Testament prophets there are sixteen, whose
prophecies form part of the inspired canon. These are divided
into four groups:
(1.) The prophets of the northern kingdom (Israel), viz.,
Hosea, Amos, Joel, Jonah.
(2.) The prophets of Judah, viz., Isaiah, Jeremiah, Obadiah,
Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah.
(3.) The prophets of Captivity, viz., Ezekiel and Daniel.
(4.) The prophets of the Restoration, viz., Haggai, Zechariah,
a contract or agreement between two parties. In the Old
Testament the Hebrew word _berith_ is always thus translated.
_Berith_ is derived from a root which means "to cut," and hence
a covenant is a "cutting," with reference to the cutting or
dividing of animals into two parts, and the contracting parties
passing between them, in making a covenant (Gen. 15; Jer. 34:18,
The corresponding word in the New Testament Greek is
_diatheke_, which is, however, rendered "testament" generally in
the Authorized Version. It ought to be rendered, just as the
word _berith_ of the Old Testament, "covenant."
This word is used (1) of a covenant or compact between man and
man (Gen. 21:32), or between tribes or nations (1 Sam. 11:1;
Josh. 9:6, 15). In entering into a convenant, Jehovah was
solemnly called on to witness the transaction (Gen. 31:50), and
hence it was called a "covenant of the Lord" (1 Sam. 20:8). The
marriage compact is called "the covenant of God" (Prov. 2:17),
because the marriage was made in God's name. Wicked men are
spoken of as acting as if they had made a "covenant with death"
not to destroy them, or with hell not to devour them (Isa.
(2.) The word is used with reference to God's revelation of
himself in the way of promise or of favour to men. Thus God's
promise to Noah after the Flood is called a covenant (Gen. 9;
Jer. 33:20, "my covenant"). We have an account of God's
covernant with Abraham (Gen. 17, comp. Lev. 26:42), of the
covenant of the priesthood (Num. 25:12, 13; Deut. 33:9; Neh.
13:29), and of the covenant of Sinai (Ex. 34:27, 28; Lev.
26:15), which was afterwards renewed at different times in the
history of Israel (Deut. 29; Josh. 1:24; 2 Chr. 15; 23; 29; 34;
Ezra 10; Neh. 9). In conformity with human custom, God's
covenant is said to be confirmed with an oath (Deut. 4:31; Ps.
89:3), and to be accompanied by a sign (Gen. 9; 17). Hence the
covenant is called God's "counsel," "oath," "promise" (Ps. 89:3,
4; 105:8-11; Heb. 6:13-20; Luke 1:68-75). God's covenant
consists wholly in the bestowal of blessing (Isa. 59:21; Jer.
The term covenant is also used to designate the regular
succession of day and night (Jer. 33:20), the Sabbath (Ex.
31:16), circumcision (Gen. 17:9, 10), and in general any
ordinance of God (Jer. 34:13, 14).
A "covenant of salt" signifies an everlasting covenant, in the
sealing or ratifying of which salt, as an emblem of perpetuity,
is used (Num. 18:19; Lev. 2:13; 2 Chr. 13:5).
COVENANT OF WORKS, the constitution under which Adam was
placed at his creation. In this covenant, (1.) The contracting
parties were (a) God the moral Governor, and (b) Adam, a free
moral agent, and representative of all his natural posterity
(Rom. 5:12-19). (2.) The promise was "life" (Matt. 19:16, 17;
Gal. 3:12). (3.) The condition was perfect obedience to the law,
the test in this case being abstaining from eating the fruit of
the "tree of knowledge," etc. (4.) The penalty was death (Gen.
This covenant is also called a covenant of nature, as made
with man in his natural or unfallen state; a covenant of life,
because "life" was the promise attached to obedience; and a
legal covenant, because it demanded perfect obedience to the
The "tree of life" was the outward sign and seal of that life
which was promised in the covenant, and hence it is usually
called the seal of that covenant.
This covenant is abrogated under the gospel, inasmuch as
Christ has fulfilled all its conditions in behalf of his people,
and now offers salvation on the condition of faith. It is still
in force, however, as it rests on the immutable justice of God,
and is binding on all who have not fled to Christ and accepted
CONVENANT OF GRACE, the eternal plan of redemption entered
into by the three persons of the Godhead, and carried out by
them in its several parts. In it the Father represented the
Godhead in its indivisible sovereignty, and the Son his people
as their surety (John 17:4, 6, 9; Isa. 42:6; Ps. 89:3).
The conditions of this covenant were, (1.) On the part of the
Father (a) all needful preparation to the Son for the
accomplishment of his work (Heb. 10:5; Isa. 42:1-7); (b) support
in the work (Luke 22:43); and (c) a glorious reward in the
exaltation of Christ when his work was done (Phil. 2:6-11), his
investiture with universal dominion (John 5:22; Ps. 110:1), his
having the administration of the covenant committed into his
hands (Matt. 28:18; John 1:12; 17:2; Acts 2:33), and in the
final salvation of all his people (Isa. 35:10; 53:10, 11; Jer.
31:33; Titus 1:2). (2.) On the part of the Son the conditions
were (a) his becoming incarnate (Gal. 4:4, 5); and (b) as the
second Adam his representing all his people, assuming their
place and undertaking all their obligations under the violated
covenant of works; (c) obeying the law (Ps. 40:8; Isa. 42:21;
John 9:4, 5), and (d) suffering its penalty (Isa. 53; 2 Cor.
5:21; Gal. 3:13), in their stead.
Christ, the mediator of, fulfils all its conditions in behalf
of his people, and dispenses to them all its blessings. In Heb.
8:6; 9:15; 12:24, this title is given to Christ. (See
First mentioned in Gen. 10:11, which is rendered in the Revised
Version, "He [i.e., Nimrod] went forth into Assyria and builded
Nineveh." It is not again noticed till the days of Jonah, when
it is described (Jonah 3:3; 4:11) as a great and populous city,
the flourishing capital of the Assyrian empire (2 Kings 19:36;
Isa. 37:37). The book of the prophet Nahum is almost exclusively
taken up with prophetic denunciations against this city. Its
ruin and utter desolation are foretold (Nah.1:14; 3:19, etc.).
Zephaniah also (2:13-15) predicts its destruction along with the
fall of the empire of which it was the capital. From this time
there is no mention of it in Scripture till it is named in
gospel history (Matt. 12:41; Luke 11:32).
This "exceeding great city" lay on the eastern or left bank of
the river Tigris, along which it stretched for some 30 miles,
having an average breadth of 10 miles or more from the river
back toward the eastern hills. This whole extensive space is now
one immense area of ruins. Occupying a central position on the
great highway between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean,
thus uniting the East and the West, wealth flowed into it from
many sources, so that it became the greatest of all ancient
About B.C. 633 the Assyrian empire began to show signs of
weakness, and Nineveh was attacked by the Medes, who
subsequently, about B.C. 625, being joined by the Babylonians
and Susianians, again attacked it, when it fell, and was razed
to the ground. The Assyrian empire then came to an end, the
Medes and Babylonians dividing its provinces between them.
"After having ruled for more than six hundred years with hideous
tyranny and violence, from the Caucasus and the Caspian to the
Persian Gulf, and from beyond the Tigris to Asia Minor and
Egypt, it vanished like a dream" (Nah. 2:6-11). Its end was
strange, sudden, tragic. It was God's doing, his judgement on
Assyria's pride (Isa. 10:5-19).
Forty years ago our knowledge of the great Assyrian empire and
of its magnificent capital was almost wholly a blank. Vague
memories had indeed survived of its power and greatness, but
very little was definitely known about it. Other cities which
had perished, as Palmyra, Persepolis, and Thebes, had left ruins
to mark their sites and tell of their former greatness; but of
this city, imperial Nineveh, not a single vestige seemed to
remain, and the very place on which it had stood was only matter
of conjecture. In fulfilment of prophecy, God made "an utter end
of the place." It became a "desolation."
In the days of the Greek historian Herodotus, B.C. 400, it had
become a thing of the past; and when Xenophon the historian
passed the place in the "Retreat of the Ten Thousand," the very
memory of its name had been lost. It was buried out of sight,
and no one knew its grave. It is never again to rise from its
At length, after being lost for more than two thousand years,
the city was disentombed. A little more than forty years ago the
French consul at Mosul began to search the vast mounds that lay
along the opposite bank of the river. The Arabs whom he employed
in these excavations, to their great surprise, came upon the
ruins of a building at the mound of Khorsabad, which, on further
exploration, turned out to be the royal palace of Sargon, one of
the Assyrian kings. They found their way into its extensive
courts and chambers, and brought forth form its hidded depths
many wonderful sculptures and other relics of those ancient
The work of exploration has been carried on almost
continuously by M. Botta, Sir Henry Layard, George Smith, and
others, in the mounds of Nebi-Yunus, Nimrud, Koyunjik, and
Khorsabad, and a vast treasury of specimens of old Assyrian art
has been exhumed. Palace after palace has been discovered, with
their decorations and their sculptured slabs, revealing the life
and manners of this ancient people, their arts of war and peace,
the forms of their religion, the style of their architecture,
and the magnificence of their monarchs. The streets of the city
have been explored, the inscriptions on the bricks and tablets
and sculptured figures have been read, and now the secrets of
their history have been brought to light.
One of the most remarkable of recent discoveries is that of
the library of King Assur-bani-pal, or, as the Greek historians
call him, Sardanapalos, the grandson of Sennacherib (q.v.). (See
ASNAPPER ¯T0000347.) This library consists of about ten thousand
flat bricks or tablets, all written over with Assyrian
characters. They contain a record of the history, the laws, and
the religion of Assyria, of the greatest value. These strange
clay leaves found in the royal library form the most valuable of
all the treasuries of the literature of the old world. The
library contains also old Accadian documents, which are the
oldest extant documents in the world, dating as far back as
probably about the time of Abraham. (See SARGON ¯T0003227.)
"The Assyrian royalty is, perhaps, the most luxurious of our
century [reign of Assur-bani-pa]...Its victories and conquests,
uninterrupted for one hundred years, have enriched it with the
spoil of twenty peoples. Sargon has taken what remained to the
Hittites; Sennacherib overcame Chaldea, and the treasures of
Babylon were transferred to his coffers; Esarhaddon and
Assur-bani-pal himself have pillaged Egypt and her great cities,
Sais, Memphis, and Thebes of the hundred gates...Now foreign
merchants flock into Nineveh, bringing with them the most
valuable productions from all countries, gold and perfume from
South Arabia and the Chaldean Sea, Egyptian linen and
glass-work, carved enamels, goldsmiths' work, tin, silver,
Phoenician purple; cedar wood from Lebanon, unassailable by
worms; furs and iron from Asia Minor and Armenia" (Ancient Egypt
and Assyria, by G. Maspero, page 271).
The bas-reliefs, alabaster slabs, and sculptured monuments
found in these recovered palaces serve in a remarkable manner to
confirm the Old Testament history of the kings of Israel. The
appearance of the ruins shows that the destruction of the city
was due not only to the assailing foe but also to the flood and
the fire, thus confirming the ancient prophecies concerning it.
"The recent excavations," says Rawlinson, "have shown that fire
was a great instrument in the destruction of the Nineveh
palaces. Calcined alabaster, charred wood, and charcoal,
colossal statues split through with heat, are met with in parts
of the Nineveh mounds, and attest the veracity of prophecy."
Nineveh in its glory was (Jonah 3:4) an "exceeding great city
of three days' journey", i.e., probably in circuit. This would
give a circumference of about 60 miles. At the four corners of
an irregular quadrangle are the ruins of Kouyunjik, Nimrud,
Karamless and Khorsabad. These four great masses of ruins, with
the whole area included within the parallelogram they form by
lines drawn from the one to the other, are generally regarded as
composing the whole ruins of Nineveh.
a translation of the holy Scriptures. This word is not found in
the Bible, nevertheless, as frequent references are made in this
work to various ancient as well as modern versions, it is
fitting that some brief account should be given of the most
important of these. These versions are important helps to the
right interpretation of the Word. (See SAMARITAN PENTATEUCH
1. The Targums. After the return from the Captivity, the Jews,
no longer familiar with the old Hebrew, required that their
Scriptures should be translated for them into the Chaldaic or
Aramaic language and interpreted. These translations and
paraphrases were at first oral, but they were afterwards reduced
to writing, and thus targums, i.e., "versions" or
"translations", have come down to us. The chief of these are,
(1.) The Onkelos Targum, i.e., the targum of Akelas=Aquila, a
targum so called to give it greater popularity by comparing it
with the Greek translation of Aquila mentioned below. This
targum originated about the second century after Christ. (2.)
The targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel comes next to that of Onkelos
in respect of age and value. It is more a paraphrase on the
Prophets, however, than a translation. Both of these targums
issued from the Jewish school which then flourished at Babylon.
2. The Greek Versions. (1.) The oldest of these is the
Septuagint, usually quoted as the LXX. The origin of this the
most important of all the versions is involved in much
obscurity. It derives its name from the popular notion that
seventy-two translators were employed on it by the direction of
Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, and that it was
accomplished in seventy-two days, for the use of the Jews
residing in that country. There is no historical warrant for
this notion. It is, however, an established fact that this
version was made at Alexandria; that it was begun about 280
B.C., and finished about 200 or 150 B.C.; that it was the work
of a number of translators who differed greatly both in their
knowledge of Hebrew and of Greek; and that from the earliest
times it has borne the name of "The Septuagint", i.e., The
"This version, with all its defects, must be of the greatest
interest, (a) as preserving evidence for the text far more
ancient than the oldest Hebrew manuscripts; (b) as the means by
which the Greek Language was wedded to Hebrew thought; (c) as
the source of the great majority of quotations from the Old
Testament by writers of the New Testament.
(2.) The New Testament manuscripts fall into two divisions,
Uncials, written in Greek capitals, with no distinction at all
between the different words, and very little even between the
different lines; and Cursives, in small Greek letters, and with
divisions of words and lines. The change between the two kinds
of Greek writing took place about the tenth century. Only five
manuscripts of the New Testament approaching to completeness are
more ancient than this dividing date. The first, numbered A, is
the Alexandrian manuscript. Though brought to this country by
Cyril Lucar, patriarch of Constantinople, as a present to
Charles I., it is believed that it was written, not in that
capital, but in Alexandria; whence its title. It is now dated in
the fifth century A.D. The second, known as B, is the Vatican
manuscript. (See VATICANUS ¯T0003766.) The Third, C, or the
Ephraem manuscript, was so called because it was written over
the writings of Ephraem, a Syrian theological author, a practice
very common in the days when writing materials were scarce and
dear. It is believed that it belongs to the fifth century, and
perhaps a slightly earlier period of it than the manuscript A.
The fourth, D, or the manuscript of Beza, was so called because
it belonged to the reformer Beza, who found it in the monastery
of St. Irenaeus at Lyons in 1562 A.D. It is imperfect, and is
dated in the sixth century. The fifth (called Aleph) is the
Sinaitic manuscript. (See SINAITICUS ¯T0003443.)
3. The Syriac Versions. (See SYRIAC ¯T0003549.)
4. The Latin Versions. A Latin version of the Scriptures,
called the "Old Latin," which originated in North Africa, was in
common use in the time of Tertullian (A.D. 150). Of this there
appear to have been various copies or recensions made. That made
in Italy, and called the Itala, was reckoned the most accurate.
This translation of the Old Testament seems to have been made
not from the original Hebrew but from the LXX.
This version became greatly corrupted by repeated
transcription, and to remedy the evil Jerome (A.D. 329-420) was
requested by Damasus, the bishop of Rome, to undertake a
complete revision of it. It met with opposition at first, but
was at length, in the seventh century, recognized as the
"Vulgate" version. It appeared in a printed from about A.D.
1455, the first book that ever issued from the press. The
Council of Trent (1546) declared it "authentic." It subsequently
underwent various revisions, but that which was executed (1592)
under the sanction of Pope Clement VIII. was adopted as the
basis of all subsequent editions. It is regarded as the sacred
original in the Roman Catholic Church. All modern European
versions have been more or less influenced by the Vulgate. This
version reads _ipsa_ instead of _ipse_ in Gen. 3:15, "She shall
bruise thy head."
5. There are several other ancient versions which are of
importance for Biblical critics, but which we need not mention
particularly, such as the Ethiopic, in the fourth century, from
the LXX.; two Egyptian versions, about the fourth century, the
Memphitic, circulated in Lower Egypt, and the Thebaic, designed
for Upper Egypt, both from the Greek; the Gothic, written in the
German language, but with the Greek alphabet, by Ulphilas (died
A.D. 388), of which only fragments of the Old Testament remain;
the Armenian, about A.D. 400; and the Slavonic, in the ninth
century, for ancient Moravia. Other ancient versions, as the
Arabic, the Persian, and the Anglo-Saxon, may be mentioned.
6. The history of the English versions begins properly with
Wyckliffe. Portions, however, of the Scriptures were rendered
into Saxon (as the Gospel according to John, by Bede, A.D. 735),
and also into English (by Orme, called the "Ormulum," a portion
of the Gospels and of the Acts in the form of a metrical
paraphrase, toward the close of the seventh century), long
before Wyckliffe; but it is to him that the honour belongs of
having first rendered the whole Bible into English (A.D. 1380).
This version was made from the Vulgate, and renders Gen. 3:15
after that Version, "She shall trede thy head."
This was followed by Tyndale's translation (1525-1531); Miles
Coverdale's (1535-1553); Thomas Matthew's (1537), really,
however, the work of John Rogers, the first martyr under the
reign of Queen Mary. This was properly the first Authorized
Version, Henry VIII. having ordered a copy of it to be got for
every church. This took place in less than a year after Tyndale
was martyred for the crime of translating the Scriptures. In
1539 Richard Taverner published a revised edition of Matthew's
Bible. The Great Bible, so called from its great size, called
also Cranmer's Bible, was published in 1539 and 1568. In the
strict sense, the "Great Bible" is "the only authorized version;
for the Bishops' Bible and the present Bible [the A.V.] never
had the formal sanction of royal authority." Next in order was
the Geneva version (1557-1560); the Bishops' Bible (1568); the
Rheims and Douai versions, under Roman Catholic auspices (1582,
1609); the Authorized Version (1611); and the Revised Version of
the New Testament in 1880 and of the Old Testament in 1884.
drawn (or Egypt. mesu, "son;" hence Rameses, royal son). On the
invitation of Pharaoh (Gen. 45:17-25), Jacob and his sons went
down into Egypt. This immigration took place probably about 350
years before the birth of Moses. Some centuries before Joseph,
Egypt had been conquered by a pastoral Semitic race from Asia,
the Hyksos, who brought into cruel subjection the native
Egyptians, who were an African race. Jacob and his retinue were
accustomed to a shepherd's life, and on their arrival in Egypt
were received with favour by the king, who assigned them the
"best of the land", the land of Goshen, to dwell in. The Hyksos
or "shepherd" king who thus showed favour to Joseph and his
family was in all probability the Pharaoh Apopi (or Apopis).
Thus favoured, the Israelites began to "multiply exceedingly"
(Gen. 47:27), and extended to the west and south. At length the
supremacy of the Hyksos came to an end. The descendants of Jacob
were allowed to retain their possession of Goshen undisturbed,
but after the death of Joseph their position was not so
favourable. The Egyptians began to despise them, and the period
of their "affliction" (Gen. 15:13) commenced. They were sorely
oppressed. They continued, however, to increase in numbers, and
"the land was filled with them" (Ex. 1:7). The native Egyptians
regarded them with suspicion, so that they felt all the hardship
of a struggle for existence.
In process of time "a king [probably Seti I.] arose who knew
not Joseph" (Ex. 1:8). (See PHARAOH ¯T0002923.) The
circumstances of the country were such that this king thought it
necessary to weaken his Israelite subjects by oppressing them,
and by degrees reducing their number. They were accordingly made
public slaves, and were employed in connection with his numerous
buildings, especially in the erection of store-cities, temples,
and palaces. The children of Israel were made to serve with
rigour. Their lives were made bitter with hard bondage, and "all
their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour"
(Ex. 1:13, 14). But this cruel oppression had not the result
expected of reducing their number. On the contrary, "the more
the Egyptians afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew"
The king next tried, through a compact secretly made with the
guild of midwives, to bring about the destruction of all the
Hebrew male children that might be born. But the king's wish was
not rigorously enforced; the male children were spared by the
midwives, so that "the people multiplied" more than ever. Thus
baffled, the king issued a public proclamation calling on the
people to put to death all the Hebrew male children by casting
them into the river (Ex. 1:22). But neither by this edict was
the king's purpose effected.
One of the Hebrew households into which this cruel edict of
the king brought great alarm was that of Amram, of the family of
the Kohathites (Ex. 6:16-20), who with his wife Jochebed and two
children, Miriam, a girl of perhaps fifteen years of age, and
Aaron, a boy of three years, resided in or near Memphis, the
capital city of that time. In this quiet home a male child was
born (B.C. 1571). His mother concealed him in the house for
three months from the knowledge of the civic authorities. But
when the task of concealment became difficult, Jochebed
contrived to bring her child under the notice of the daughter of
the king by constructing for him an ark of bulrushes, which she
laid among the flags which grew on the edge of the river at the
spot where the princess was wont to come down and bathe. Her
plan was successful. The king's daughter "saw the child; and
behold the child wept." The princess (see PHARAOH'S DAUGHTER
¯T0002924 ) sent Miriam, who was standing by, to fetch a
nurse. She went and brought the mother of the child, to whom the
princess said, "Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I
will give thee thy wages." Thus Jochebed's child, whom the
princess called "Moses", i.e., "Saved from the water" (Ex.
2:10), was ultimately restored to her.
As soon as the natural time for weaning the child had come, he
was transferred from the humble abode of his father to the royal
palace, where he was brought up as the adopted son of the
princess, his mother probably accompanying him and caring still
for him. He grew up amid all the grandeur and excitement of the
Egyptian court, maintaining, however, probably a constant
fellowship with his mother, which was of the highest importance
as to his religious belief and his interest in his "brethren."
His education would doubtless be carefully attended to, and he
would enjoy all the advantages of training both as to his body
and his mind. He at length became "learned in all the wisdom of
the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22). Egypt had then two chief seats of
learning, or universities, at one of which, probably that of
Heliopolis, his education was completed. Moses, being now about
twenty years of age, spent over twenty more before he came into
prominence in Bible history. These twenty years were probably
spent in military service. There is a tradition recorded by
Josephus that he took a lead in the war which was then waged
between Egypt and Ethiopia, in which he gained renown as a
skilful general, and became "mighty in deeds" (Acts 7:22).
After the termination of the war in Ethiopia, Moses returned
to the Egyptian court, where he might reasonably have expected
to be loaded with honours and enriched with wealth. But "beneath
the smooth current of his life hitherto, a life of alternate
luxury at the court and comparative hardness in the camp and in
the discharge of his military duties, there had lurked from
childhood to youth, and from youth to manhood, a secret
discontent, perhaps a secret ambition. Moses, amid all his
Egyptian surroundings, had never forgotten, had never wished to
forget, that he was a Hebrew." He now resolved to make himself
acquainted with the condition of his countrymen, and "went out
unto his brethren, and looked upon their burdens" (Ex. 2:11).
This tour of inspection revealed to him the cruel oppression and
bondage under which they everywhere groaned, and could not fail
to press on him the serious consideration of his duty regarding
them. The time had arrived for his making common cause with
them, that he might thereby help to break their yoke of bondage.
He made his choice accordingly (Heb. 11:25-27), assured that God
would bless his resolution for the welfare of his people. He now
left the palace of the king and took up his abode, probably in
his father's house, as one of the Hebrew people who had for
forty years been suffering cruel wrong at the hands of the
He could not remain indifferent to the state of things around
him, and going out one day among the people, his indignation was
roused against an Egyptian who was maltreating a Hebrew. He
rashly lifted up his hand and slew the Egyptian, and hid his
body in the sand. Next day he went out again and found two
Hebrews striving together. He speedily found that the deed of
the previous day was known. It reached the ears of Pharaoh (the
"great Rameses," Rameses II.), who "sought to slay Moses" (Ex.
2:15). Moved by fear, Moses fled from Egypt, and betook himself
to the land of Midian, the southern part of the peninsula of
Sinai, probably by much the same route as that by which, forty
years afterwards, he led the Israelites to Sinai. He was
providentially led to find a new home with the family of Reuel,
where he remained for forty years (Acts 7:30), under training
unconsciously for his great life's work.
Suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the burning
bush (Ex. 3), and commissioned him to go down to Egypt and
"bring forth the children of Israel" out of bondage. He was at
first unwilling to go, but at length he was obedient to the
heavenly vision, and left the land of Midian (4:18-26). On the
way he was met by Aaron (q.v.) and the elders of Israel (27-31).
He and Aaron had a hard task before them; but the Lord was with
them (ch. 7-12), and the ransomed host went forth in triumph.
(See EXODUS ¯T0001283.) After an eventful journey to and fro in
the wilderness, we see them at length encamped in the plains of
Moab, ready to cross over the Jordan into the Promised Land.
There Moses addressed the assembled elders (Deut. 1:1-4;
5:1-26:19; 27:11-30:20), and gives the people his last counsels,
and then rehearses the great song (Deut. 32), clothing in
fitting words the deep emotions of his heart at such a time, and
in review of such a marvellous history as that in which he had
acted so conspicious a part. Then, after blessing the tribes
(33), he ascends to "the mountain of Nebo (q.v.), to the top of
Pisgah, that is over against Jericho" (34:1), and from thence he
surveys the land. "Jehovah shewed him all the land of Gilead,
unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and
Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, and
the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of
palm trees, unto Zoar" (Deut. 34:2-3), the magnificient
inheritance of the tribes of whom he had been so long the
leader; and there he died, being one hundred and twenty years
old, according to the word of the Lord, and was buried by the
Lord "in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor"
(34:6). The people mourned for him during thirty days.
Thus died "Moses the man of God" (Deut. 33:1; Josh. 14:6). He
was distinguished for his meekness and patience and firmness,
and "he endured as seeing him who is invisible." "There arose
not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord
knew face to face, in all the signs and the wonders, which the
Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all
his servants, and to all his land, and in all that mighty hand,
and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of
all Israel" (Deut. 34:10-12).
The name of Moses occurs frequently in the Psalms and Prophets
as the chief of the prophets.
In the New Testament he is referred to as the representative
of the law and as a type of Christ (John 1:17; 2 Cor. 3:13-18;
Heb. 3:5, 6). Moses is the only character in the Old Testament
to whom Christ likens himself (John 5:46; comp. Deut. 18:15, 18,
19; Acts 7:37). In Heb. 3:1-19 this likeness to Moses is set
forth in various particulars.
In Jude 1:9 mention is made of a contention between Michael
and the devil about the body of Moses. This dispute is supposed
to have had reference to the concealment of the body of Moses so
as to prevent idolatry.