(Isa. 7:23). Literally the words are "at a thousand of silver",
i.e., "pieces of silver," or shekels.
silver, a place between Babylon and Jerusalem, where Iddo
resided (Ezra 8:17); otherwise unknown.
(Isa. 3:18), anklets of silver or gold, etc., such as are still
used by women in Syria and the East.
a worker in silver and gold (Prov. 25:4). In Judg. 17:4 the word
(tsoreph) is rendered "founder," and in Isa. 41:7 "goldsmith."
little models and medallions of the temple and image of Diana of
Ephesus (Acts 19:24). The manufacture of these was a very large
and profitable business.
mortar, a place in or near Jerusalem inhabited by silver
merchants (Zeph. 1:11). It has been conjectured that it was the
"Phoenician quarter" of the city, where the traders of that
nation resided, after the Oriental custom.
a bowl or deep dish. The silver vessels given by the heads of
the tribes for the services of the tabernacle are so named (Num.
7:13, etc.). The "charger" in which the Baptist's head was
presented was a platter or flat wooden trencher (Matt. 14:8, 11;
Mark 6:25, 28). The chargers of gold and silver of Ezra 1:9 were
probably basins for receiving the blood of sacrifices.
of silver contained 3,000 shekels (Ex. 38:25, 26), and was equal
to 94 3/7 lbs. avoirdupois. The Greek talent, however, as in the
LXX., was only 82 1/4 lbs. It was in the form of a circular
mass, as the Hebrew name _kikkar_ denotes. A talent of gold was
double the weight of a talent of silver (2 Sam. 12:30). Parable
of the talents (Matt. 18:24; 25:15).
a particular quivering sound of the silver trumpets to give
warning to the Hebrews on their journey through the wilderness
(Num. 10:5, 6), a call to arms, or a war-note (Jer. 4:19; 49:2;
Before the Exile the Jews had no regularly stamped money. They
made use of uncoined shekels or talents of silver, which they
weighed out (Gen. 23:16; Ex. 38:24; 2 Sam. 18:12). Probably the
silver ingots used in the time of Abraham may have been of a
fixed weight, which was in some way indicated on them. The
"pieces of silver" paid by Abimelech to Abraham (Gen. 20:16),
and those also for which Joseph was sold (37:28), were proably
in the form of rings. The shekel was the common standard of
weight and value among the Hebrews down to the time of the
Captivity. Only once is a shekel of gold mentioned (1 Chr.
21:25). The "six thousand of gold" mentioned in the transaction
between Naaman and Gehazi (2 Kings 5:5) were probably so many
shekels of gold. The "piece of money" mentioned in Job 42:11;
Gen. 33:19 (marg., "lambs") was the Hebrew _kesitah_, probably
an uncoined piece of silver of a certain weight in the form of a
sheep or lamb, or perhaps having on it such an impression. The
same Hebrew word is used in Josh. 24:32, which is rendered by
Wickliffe "an hundred yonge scheep."
Covering of the eyes
occurs only in Gen. 20:16. In the Revised Version the rendering
is "it (i.e., Abimelech's present of 1,000 pieces of silver to
Abraham) is for thee a covering of the eyes." This has been
regarded as an implied advice to Sarah to conform to the custom
of married women, and wear a complete veil, covering the eyes as
well as the rest of the face.
the impurities of silver separated from the one in the process
of melting (Prov. 25:4; 26:23; Ps. 119:119). It is also used to
denote the base metal itself, probably before it is smelted, in
Isa. 1:22, 25.
(Ezek. 1:4, 27; 8:2. Heb., hashmal, rendered by the LXX.
elektron, and by the Vulgate electrum), a metal compounded of
silver and gold. Some translate the word by "polished brass,"
others "fine brass," as in Rev. 1:15; 2:18. It was probably the
mixture now called electrum. The word has no connection,
however, with what is now called amber, which is a gummy
substance, reckoned as belonging to the mineral kingdom though
of vegetable origin, a fossil resin.
ore of gold or silver. (1.) A city of the Reubenites; one of the
three cities of refuge on the east of Jordan (Deut. 4: 43; Josh.
20:8). It has been identified with the modern ruined village of
Burazin, some 12 miles north of Heshbon; also with
Kasur-el-Besheir, 2 miles south-west of Dibon.
(2.) A descendant of Asher (1 Chr. 7:37).
the curb put into the mouths of horses to restrain them. The
Hebrew word (metheg) so rendered in Ps. 32:9 is elsewhere
translated "bridle" (2 Kings 19:28; Prov. 26:3; Isa. 37:29).
Bits were generally made of bronze or iron, but sometimes also
of gold or silver. In James 3:3 the Authorized Version
translates the Greek word by "bits," but the Revised Version by
the covering (1 Kings 7:3,7) of the inside roof and walls of a
house with planks of wood (2 Chr. 3:5; Jer. 22:14). Ceilings
were sometimes adorned with various ornaments in stucco, gold,
silver, gems, and ivory. The ceilings of the temple and of
Solomon's palace are described 1 Kings 6:9, 15; 7:3; 2 Chr.
The Authorized Version understood the word 'adarkonim (1 Chr.
29:7; Ezra 8:27), and the similar word darkomnim (Ezra 2:69;
Neh. 7:70), as equivalent to the Greek silver coin the drachma.
But the Revised Version rightly regards it as the Greek
dareikos, a Persian gold coin (the daric) of the value of about
1 pound, 2s., which was first struck by Darius, the son of
Hystaspes, and was current in Western Asia long after the fall
of the Persian empire. (See DARIC ¯T0000974.)
fawn-like. (1.) The son of Zohar a Hittite, the owner of the
field and cave of Machpelah (q.v.), which Abraham bought for 400
shekels of silver (Gen. 23:8-17; 25:9; 49:29, 30).
(2.) A mountain range which formed one of the landmarks on the
north boundary of the tribe of Judah (Josh. 15:9), probably the
range on the west side of the Wady Beit-Hanina.
(Gen. 33:19, R.V., marg., a Hebrew word, rendered, A.V., pl.
"pieces of money," marg., "lambs;" Josh. 24:32, "pieces of
silver;" Job 42:11, "piece of money"). The kesitah was probably
a piece of money of a particular weight, cast in the form of a
lamb. The monuments of Egypt show that such weights were used.
(See PIECES ¯T0002950.)
conforting, the son of Gadi, and successor of Shallum, king of
Israel, whom he slew. After a reign of about ten years (B.C.
771-760) he died, leaving the throne to his son Pekahiah. His
reign was one of cruelty and oppression (2 Kings 15:14-22).
During his reign, Pul (q.v.), king of Assyria, came with a
powerful force against Israel, but was induced to retire by a
gift from Menahem of 1,000 talents of silver.
Of uncoined money the first notice we have is in the history of
Abraham (Gen. 13:2; 20:16; 24:35). Next, this word is used in
connection with the purchase of the cave of Machpelah (23:16),
and again in connection with Jacob's purchase of a field at
Shalem (Gen. 33:18, 19) for "an hundred pieces of money"=an
hundred Hebrew kesitahs (q.v.), i.e., probably pieces of money,
as is supposed, bearing the figure of a lamb.
The history of Joseph affords evidence of the constant use of
money, silver of a fixed weight. This appears also in all the
subsequent history of the Jewish people, in all their internal
as well as foreign transactions. There were in common use in
trade silver pieces of a definite weight, shekels, half-shekels,
and quarter-shekels. But these were not properly coins, which
are pieces of metal authoritatively issued, and bearing a stamp.
Of the use of coined money we have no early notice among the
Hebrews. The first mentioned is of Persian coinage, the daric
(Ezra 2:69; Neh. 7:70) and the 'adarkon (Ezra 8:27). The daric
(q.v.) was a gold piece current in Israel in the time of
Cyrus. As long as the Jews, after the Exile, lived under Persian
rule, they used Persian coins. These gave place to Greek coins
when Israel came under the dominion of the Greeks (B.C. 331),
the coins consisting of gold, silver, and copper pieces. The
usual gold pieces were staters (q.v.), and the silver coins
tetradrachms and drachms.
In the year B.C. 140, Antiochus VII. gave permission to Simon
the Maccabee to coin Jewish money. Shekels (q.v.) were then
coined bearing the figure of the almond rod and the pot of
used for a great variety of purposes, as may be judged from the
frequent references to it in Scripture. It first appears in
commerce in Gen. 13:2; 23:15, 16. It was largely employed for
making vessels for the sanctuary in the wilderness (Ex. 26:19;
27:17; Num. 7:13, 19; 10:2). There is no record of its having
been found in Syria or Israel. It was brought in large
quantities by foreign merchants from abroad, from Spain and
India and other countries probably.
weight, the common standard both of weight and value among the
Hebrews. It is estimated at 220 English grains, or a little more
than half an ounce avoirdupois. The "shekel of the sanctuary"
(Ex. 30:13; Num. 3:47) was equal to twenty gerahs (Ezek. 45:12).
There were shekels of gold (1 Chr. 21:25), of silver (1 Sam.
9:8), of brass (17:5), and of iron (7). When it became a coined
piece of money, the shekel of gold was equivalent to about 2
pound of our money. Six gold shekels, according to the later
Jewish system, were equal in value to fifty silver ones.
The temple contribution, with which the public sacrifices were
bought (Ex. 30:13; 2 Chr. 24:6), consisted of one common shekel,
or a sanctuary half-shekel, equal to two Attic drachmas. The
coin, a stater (q.v.), which Peter found in the fish's mouth
paid this contribution for both him and Christ (Matt. 17:24,
27). A zuza, or quarter of a shekel, was given by Saul to Samuel
(1 Sam. 9:8).
and pl. Asherim in Revised Version, instead of "grove" and
"groves" of the Authorized Version. This was the name of a
sensual Canaanitish goddess Astarte, the feminine of the
Assyrian Ishtar. Its symbol was the stem of a tree deprived of
its boughs, and rudely shaped into an image, and planted in the
ground. Such religious symbols ("groves") are frequently alluded
to in Scripture (Ex. 34:13; Judg. 6:25; 2 Kings 23:6; 1 Kings
16:33, etc.). These images were also sometimes made of silver or
of carved stone (2 Kings 21:7; "the graven image of Asherah,"
R.V.). (See GROVE ¯T0001556 .).
(1.) A silversmith at Ephesus, whose chief occupation was to
make "silver shrines for Diana" (q.v.), Acts 19:24,i.e., models
either of the temple of Diana or of the statue of the goddess.
This trade brought to him and his fellow-craftsmen "no small
gain," for these shrines found a ready sale among the countless
thousands who came to this temple from all parts of Asia Minor.
This traffic was greatly endangered by the progress of the
gospel, and hence Demetrius excited the tradesmen employed in
the manufacture of these shrines, and caused so great a tumult
that "the whole city was filled with confusion."
(2.) A Christian who is spoken of as having "a good report of
all men, and of the truth itself" (3 John 1:12).
(Gr. denarion), a silver coin of the value of about 7 1/2d. or
8d. of our present money. It is thus rendered in the New
Testament, and is more frequently mentioned than any other coin
(Matt. 18:28; 20:2, 9, 13; Mark 6:37; 14:5, etc.). It was the
daily pay of a Roman soldier in the time of Christ. In the reign
of Edward III. an English penny was a labourer's day's wages.
This was the "tribute money" with reference to which our Lord
said, "Whose image and superscription is this?" When they
answered, "Caesar's," he replied, "Render therefore to Caesar
the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are
God's" (Matt. 22:19; Mark 12:15).
Heb. bedil (Num. 31:22; Ezek. 22:18, 20), a metal well known in
ancient times. It is the general opinion that the Phoenicians of
Tyre and Sidon obtained their supplies of tin from the British
Isles. In Ezek. 27:12 it is said to have been brought from
Tarshish, which was probably a commercial emporium supplied with
commodities from other places. In Isa. 1:25 the word so rendered
is generally understood of lead, the alloy with which the silver
had become mixed (ver. 22). The fire of the Babylonish Captivity
would be the means of purging out the idolatrous alloy that had
corrupted the people.
were of a great variety of forms, and were made of divers
materials. Some were made of silver (Num. 10:2), and were used
only by the priests in announcing the approach of festivals and
in giving signals of war. Some were also made of rams' horns
(Josh. 6:8). They were blown at special festivals, and to herald
the arrival of special seasons (Lev. 23:24; 25:9; 1 Chr. 15:24;
2 Chr. 29:27; Ps. 81:3; 98:6).
"Trumpets" are among the symbols used in the Book of
Revelation (Rev. 1:10; 8:2). (See HORN ¯T0001821.)
called also Achar, i.e., one who troubles (1 Chr. 2:7), in
commemoration of his crime, which brought upon him an awful
destruction (Josh. 7:1). On the occasion of the fall of Jericho,
he seized, contrary to the divine command, an ingot of gold, a
quantity of silver, and a costly Babylonish garment, which he
hid in his tent. Joshua was convinced that the defeat which the
Israelites afterwards sustained before Ai was a proof of the
divine displeasure on account of some crime, and he at once
adopted means by the use of the lot for discovering the
criminal. It was then found that Achan was guilty, and he was
stoned to death in the valley of Achor. He and all that belonged
to him were then consumed by fire, and a heap of stones was
raised over the ashes.
(1) of silver. In Ps. 68:30 denotes "fragments," and not
properly money. In 1 Sam. 2:36 (Heb. agorah), properly a "small
sum" as wages, weighed rather than coined. Josh. 24:32 (Heb.
kesitah, q.v.), supposed by some to have been a piece of money
bearing the figure of a lamb, but rather simply a certain
amount. (Comp. Gen. 33:19).
(2.) The word pieces is omitted in many passages, as Gen.
20:16; 37:28; 45:22, etc. The passage in Zech. 11:12, 13 is
quoted in the Gospel (Matt. 26:15), and from this we know that
the word to be supplied is "shekels." In all these omissions we
may thus warrantably supply this word.
(3.) The "piece of money" mentioned in Matt. 17:27 is a
stater=a Hebrew shekel, or four Greek drachmae; and that in Luke
15:8, 9, Act 19:19, a Greek drachma=a denarius. (See PENNY
Reduced to English troy-weight, the Hebrew weights were: (1.)
The gerah (Lev. 27:25; Num. 3:47), a Hebrew word, meaning a
grain or kernel, and hence a small weight. It was the twentieth
part of a shekel, and equal to 12 grains.
(2.) Bekah (Ex. 38:26), meaning "a half" i.e., "half a
shekel," equal to 5 pennyweight.
(3.) Shekel, "a weight," only in the Old Testament, and
frequently in its original form (Gen. 23:15, 16; Ex. 21:32;
30:13, 15; 38:24-29, etc.). It was equal to 10 pennyweight.
(4.) Ma'neh, "a part" or "portion" (Ezek. 45:12), equal to 60
shekels, i.e., to 2 lbs. 6 oz.
(5.) Talent of silver (2 Kings 5:22), equal to 3,000 shekels,
i.e., 125 lbs.
(6.) Talent of gold (Ex. 25:39), double the preceding, i.e.,
(1.) A pocket of a cone-like shape in which Naaman bound two
pieces of silver for Gehazi (2 Kings 5:23). The same Hebrew word
occurs elsewhere only in Isa. 3:22, where it is rendered
"crisping-pins," but denotes the reticules (or as R.V.,
"satchels") carried by Hebrew women.
(2.) Another word (kees) so rendered means a bag for carrying
weights (Deut. 25:13; Prov. 16:11; Micah 6:11). It also denotes
a purse (Prov. 1:14) and a cup (23:31).
(3.) Another word rendered "bag" in 1 Sam. 17:40 is rendered
"sack" in Gen. 42:25; and in 1 Sam. 9:7; 21:5 "vessel," or
wallet for carrying food.
(4.) The word rendered in the Authorized Version "bags," in
which the priests bound up the money contributed for the
restoration of the temple (2 Kings 12:10), is also rendered
"bundle" (Gen. 42:35; 1 Sam. 25:29). It denotes bags used by
travellers for carrying money during a journey (Prov. 7:20; Hag.
(5.) The "bag" of Judas was a small box (John 12:6; 13:29).
Herod Agrippa I.
son of Aristobulus and Bernice, and grandson of Herod the Great.
He was made tetrarch of the provinces formerly held by Lysanias
II., and ultimately possessed the entire kingdom of his
grandfather, Herod the Great, with the title of king. He put the
apostle James the elder to death, and cast Peter into prison
(Luke 3:1; Acts 12:1-19). On the second day of a festival held
in honour of the emperor Claudius, he appeared in the great
theatre of Caesarea. "The king came in clothed in magnificent
robes, of which silver was the costly brilliant material. It was
early in the day, and the sun's rays fell on the king, so that
the eyes of the beholders were dazzled with the brightness which
surrounded him. Voices here and there from the crowd exclaimed
that it was the apparition of something divine. And when he
spoke and made an oration to them, they gave a shout, saying,
'It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.' But in the midst
of this idolatrous ostentation an angel of God suddenly smote
him. He was carried out of the theatre a dying man." He died
(A.D. 44) of the same loathsome malady which slew his
grandfather (Acts. 12:21-23), in the fifty-fourth year of his
age, having reigned four years as tetrarch and three as king
over the whole of Israel. After his death his kingdom came
under the control of the prefect of Syria, and Israel was now
fully incorporated with the empire.
Tubal-Cain is the first-mentioned worker in iron (Gen. 4:22).
The Egyptians wrought it at Sinai before the Exodus. David
prepared it in great abundance for the temple (1 Chr. 22:3:
29:7). The merchants of Dan and Javan brought it to the market
of Tyre (Ezek. 27:19). Various instruments are mentioned as made
of iron (Deut. 27:5; 19:5; Josh. 17:16, 18; 1 Sam. 17:7; 2 Sam.
12:31; 2 Kings 6:5, 6; 1 Chr. 22:3; Isa. 10:34).
Figuratively, a yoke of iron (Deut. 28:48) denotes hard
service; a rod of iron (Ps. 2:9), a stern government; a pillar
of iron (Jer. 1:18), a strong support; a furnace of iron (Deut.
4:20), severe labour; a bar of iron (Job 40:18), strength;
fetters of iron (Ps. 107:10), affliction; giving silver for iron
(Isa. 60:17), prosperity.
a Sanscrit or Aryan word, meaning "the sea coast." (1.) One of
the "sons" of Javan (Gen. 10:4; 1 Chr. 1:7).
(2.) The name of a place which first comes into notice in the
days of Solomon. The question as to the locality of Tarshish has
given rise to not a little discussion. Some think there was a
Tarshish in the East, on the Indian coast, seeing that "ships of
Tarshish" sailed from Eziongeber, on the Red Sea (1 Kings 9:26;
22:48; 2 Chr. 9:21). Some, again, argue that Carthage was the
place so named. There can be little doubt, however, that this is
the name of a Phoenician port in Spain, between the two mouths
of the Guadalquivir (the name given to the river by the Arabs,
and meaning "the great wady" or water-course). It was founded by
a Carthaginian colony, and was the farthest western harbour of
Tyrian sailors. It was to this port Jonah's ship was about to
sail from Joppa. It has well been styled "the Peru of Tyrian
adventure;" it abounded in gold and silver mines.
It appears that this name also is used without reference to
any locality. "Ships of Tarshish" is an expression sometimes
denoting simply ships intended for a long voyage (Isa. 23:1,
14), ships of a large size (sea-going ships), whatever might be
the port to which they sailed. Solomon's ships were so styled (1
Kings 10:22; 22:49).
(Heb. kahal), the Hebrew people collectively as a holy community
(Num. 15:15). Every circumcised Hebrew from twenty years old and
upward was a member of the congregation. Strangers resident in
the land, if circumcised, were, with certain exceptions (Ex.
12:19; Num. 9:14; Deut. 23:1-3), admitted to the privileges of
citizenship, and spoken of as members of the congregation (Ex.
12:19; Num. 9:14; 15:15). The congregation were summonded
together by the sound of two silver trumpets, and they met at
the door of the tabernacle (Num. 10:3). These assemblies were
convened for the purpose of engaging in solemn religious
services (Ex. 12:27; Num. 25:6; Joel 2:15), or of receiving new
commandments (Ex. 19:7, 8). The elders, who were summonded by
the sound of one trumpet (Num. 10:4), represented on various
occasions the whole congregation (Ex. 3:16; 12:21; 17:5; 24:1).
After the conquest of Canaan, the people were assembled only
on occasions of the highest national importance (Judg. 20; 2
Chr. 30:5; 34:29; 1 Sam. 10:17; 2 Sam. 5:1-5; 1 Kings 12:20; 2
Kings 11:19; 21:24; 23:30). In subsequent times the congregation
was represented by the Sanhedrim; and the name synagogue,
applied in the Septuagint version exclusively to the
congregation, came to be used to denote the places of worship
established by the Jews. (See CHURCH ¯T0000828.)
In Acts 13:43, where alone it occurs in the New Testament, it
is the same word as that rendered "synagogue" (q.v.) in ver. 42,
and is so rendered in ver. 43 in R.V.
An encampment was the resting-place for a longer or shorter
period of an army or company of travellers (Ex. 13:20; 14:19;
Josh. 10:5; 11:5).
The manner in which the Israelites encamped during their march
through the wilderness is described in Num. 2 and 3. The order
of the encampment (see CAMP ¯T0000700) was preserved in the
march (Num. 2:17), the signal for which was the blast of two
silver trumpets. Detailed regulations affecting the camp for
sanitary purposes are given (Lev. 4:11, 12; 6:11; 8:17; 10:4, 5;
13:46; 14:3; Num. 12:14, 15; 31:19; Deut. 23:10, 12).
Criminals were executed without the camp (Lev. 4:12; comp.
John 19:17, 20), and there also the young bullock for a
sin-offering was burnt (Lev. 24:14; comp. Heb. 13:12).
In the subsequent history of Israel frequent mention is made
of their encampments in the time of war (Judg. 7:18; 1 Sam.
13:2, 3, 16, 23; 17:3; 29:1; 30:9, 24). The temple was sometimes
called "the camp of the Lord" (2 Chr. 31:2, R.V.; comp. Ps.
78:28). The multitudes who flocked to David are styled "a great
host (i.e., "camp;" Heb. mahaneh), like the host of God" (1 Chr.
(1.) Heb. zahab, so called from its yellow colour (Ex. 25:11; 1
Chr. 28:18; 2 Chr. 3:5).
(2.) Heb. segor, from its compactness, or as being enclosed or
treasured up; thus precious or "fine gold" (1 Kings 6:20; 7:49).
(3.) Heb. paz, native or pure gold (Job 28:17; Ps. 19:10;
(4.) Heb. betzer, "ore of gold or silver" as dug out of the
mine (Job 36:19, where it means simply riches).
(5.) Heb. kethem, i.e., something concealed or separated (Job
28:16,19; Ps. 45:9; Prov. 25:12). Rendered "golden wedge" in
(6.) Heb. haruts, i.e., dug out; poetic for gold (Prov. 8:10;
16:16; Zech. 9:3).
Gold was known from the earliest times (Gen. 2:11). It was
principally used for ornaments (Gen. 24:22). It was very
abundant (1 Chr. 22:14; Nah. 2:9; Dan. 3:1). Many tons of it
were used in connection with the temple (2 Chr. 1:15). It was
found in Arabia, Sheba, and Ophir (1 Kings 9:28; 10:1; Job
28:16), but not in Israel.
In Dan. 2:38, the Babylonian Empire is spoken of as a "head of
gold" because of its great riches; and Babylon was called by
Isaiah (14:4) the "golden city" (R.V. marg., "exactress,"
adopting the reading _marhebah_, instead of the usual word
(1.) An Assyrian king. It has been a question whether he was
identical with Tiglath-pileser III. (q.v.), or was his
predecessor. The weight of evidence is certainly in favour of
their identity. Pul was the throne-name he bore in Babylonia as
king of Babylon, and Tiglath-pileser the throne-name he bore as
king of Assyria. He was the founder of what is called the second
Assyrian empire. He consolidated and organized his conquests on
a large scale. He subdued Northern Syria and Hamath, and the
kings of Syria rendered him homage and paid him tribute. His
ambition was to found in Western Asia a kingdom which should
embrace the whole civilized world, having Nineveh as its centre.
Menahem, king of Israel, gave him the enormous tribute of a
thousand talents of silver, "that his hand might be with him" (2
Kings 15:19; 1 Chr. 5:26). The fact that this tribute could be
paid showed the wealthy condition of the little kingdom of
Israel even in this age of disorder and misgovernment. Having
reduced Syria, he turned his arms against Babylon, which he
subdued. The Babylonian king was slain, and Babylon and other
Chaldean cities were taken, and Pul assumed the title of "King
of Sumer [i.e., Shinar] and Accad." He was succeeded by
(2.) A geographical name in Isa. 66:19. Probably = Phut (Gen.
10:6; Jer. 46:9, R.V. "Put;" Ezek. 27:10).
givers of prosperity, idols in human shape, large or small,
analogous to the images of ancestors which were revered by the
Romans. In order to deceive the guards sent by Saul to seize
David, Michal his wife prepared one of the household teraphim,
putting on it the goat's-hair cap worn by sleepers and invalids,
and laid it in a bed, covering it with a mantle. She pointed it
out to the soldiers, and alleged that David was confined to his
bed by a sudden illness (1 Sam. 19:13-16). Thus she gained time
for David's escape. It seems strange to read of teraphim, images
of ancestors, preserved for superstitious purposes, being in the
house of David. Probably they had been stealthily brought by
Michal from her father's house. "Perhaps," says Bishop
Wordsworth, "Saul, forsaken by God and possessed by the evil
spirit, had resorted to teraphim (as he afterwards resorted to
witchcraft); and God overruled evil for good, and made his very
teraphim (by the hand of his own daughter) to be an instrument
for David's escape.", Deane's David, p. 32. Josiah attempted to
suppress this form of idolatry (2 Kings 23:24). The ephod and
teraphim are mentioned together in Hos. 3:4. It has been
supposed by some (Cheyne's Hosea) that the "ephod" here
mentioned, and also in Judg. 8:24-27, was not the part of the
sacerdotal dress so called (Ex. 28:6-14), but an image of
Jehovah overlaid with gold or silver (comp. Judg. 17, 18; 1 Sam.
21:9; 23:6, 9; 30:7, 8), and is thus associated with the
teraphim. (See THUMMIM ¯T0003648.)
whom Jehovah has strengthened. (1.) Son of Ahaz (2 Kings 18:1; 2
Chr. 29:1), whom he succeeded on the throne of the kingdom of
Judah. He reigned twenty-nine years (B.C. 726-697). The history
of this king is contained in 2 Kings 18:20, Isa. 36-39, and 2
Chr. 29-32. He is spoken of as a great and good king. In public
life he followed the example of his great-granfather Uzziah. He
set himself to abolish idolatry from his kingdom, and among
other things which he did for this end, he destroyed the "brazen
serpent," which had been removed to Jerusalem, and had become an
object of idolatrous worship (Num. 21:9). A great reformation
was wrought in the kingdom of Judah in his day (2 Kings 18:4; 2
On the death of Sargon and the accession of his son
Sennacherib to the throne of Assyria, Hezekiah refused to pay
the tribute which his father had paid, and "rebelled against the
king of Assyria, and served him not," but entered into a league
with Egypt (Isa. 30; 31; 36:6-9). This led to the invasion of
Judah by Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:13-16), who took forty cities,
and besieged Jerusalem with mounds. Hezekiah yielded to the
demands of the Assyrian king, and agreed to pay him three
hundred talents of silver and thirty of gold (18:14).
But Sennacherib dealt treacherously with Hezekiah (Isa. 33:1),
and a second time within two years invaded his kingdom (2 Kings
18:17; 2 Chr. 32:9; Isa. 36). This invasion issued in the
destruction of Sennacherib's army. Hezekiah prayed to God, and
"that night the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the
camp of the Assyrians 185,000 men." Sennacherib fled with the
shattered remnant of his forces to Nineveh, where, seventeen
years after, he was assassinated by his sons Adrammelech and
Sharezer (2 Kings 19:37). (See SENNACHERIB ¯T0003273.)
The narrative of Hezekiah's sickness and miraculous recovery
is found in 2 Kings 20:1, 2 Chr. 32:24, Isa. 38:1. Various
ambassadors came to congratulate him on his recovery, and among
them Merodach-baladan, the viceroy of Babylon (2 Chr. 32:23; 2
Kings 20:12). He closed his days in peace and prosperity, and
was succeeded by his son Manasseh. He was buried in the
"chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David" (2 Chr.
32:27-33). He had "after him none like him among all the kings
of Judah, nor any that were before him" (2 Kings 18:5). (See
my father a king, or father of a king, a common name of the
Philistine kings, as "Pharaoh" was of the Egyptian kings. (1.)
The Philistine king of Gerar in the time of Abraham (Gen.
20:1-18). By an interposition of Providence, Sarah was delivered
from his harem, and was restored to her husband Abraham. As a
mark of respect he gave to Abraham valuable gifts, and offered
him a settlement in any part of his country; while at the same
time he delicately and yet severely rebuked him for having
practised a deception upon him in pretending that Sarah was only
his sister. Among the gifts presented by the king were a
thousand pieces of silver as a "covering of the eyes" for Sarah;
i.e., either as an atoning gift and a testimony of her innocence
in the sight of all, or rather for the purpose of procuring a
veil for Sarah to conceal her beauty, and thus as a reproof to
her for not having worn a veil which, as a married woman, she
ought to have done. A few years after this Abimelech visited
Abraham, who had removed southward beyond his territory, and
there entered into a league of peace and friendship with him.
This league was the first of which we have any record. It was
confirmed by a mutual oath at Beer-sheba (Gen. 21:22-34).
(2.) A king of Gerar in the time of Isaac, probably the son of
the preceeding (Gen. 26:1-22). Isaac sought refuge in his
territory during a famine, and there he acted a part with
reference to his wife Rebekah similar to that of his father
Abraham with reference to Sarah. Abimelech rebuked him for the
deception, which he accidentally discovered. Isaac settled for a
while here, and prospered. Abimelech desired him, however, to
leave his territory, which Isaac did. Abimelech afterwards
visited him when he was encamped at Beer-sheba, and expressed a
desire to renew the covenant which had been entered into between
their fathers (Gen. 26:26-31).
(3.) A son of Gideon (Judg. 9:1), who was proclaimed king
after the death of his father (Judg. 8:33-9:6). One of his first
acts was to murder his brothers, seventy in number, "on one
stone," at Ophrah. Only one named Jotham escaped. He was an
unprincipled, ambitious ruler, often engaged in war with his own
subjects. When engaged in reducing the town of Thebez, which had
revolted, he was struck mortally on his head by a mill-stone,
thrown by the hand of a woman from the wall above. Perceiving
that the wound was mortal, he desired his armour-bearer to
thrust him through with his sword, that it might not be said he
had perished by the hand of a woman (Judg. 9:50-57).
(4.) The son of Abiathar, and high priest in the time of David
(1 Chr. 18:16). In the parallel passage, 2 Sam. 8:17, we have
the name Ahimelech, and Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech. This
most authorities consider the more correct reading. (5.) Achish,
king of Gath, in the title of Ps. 34. (Comp. 1 Sam. 21:10-15.)
place of fragrance, a fenced city in the midst of a vast grove
of palm trees, in the plain of Jordan, over against the place
where that river was crossed by the Israelites (Josh. 3:16). Its
site was near the 'Ain es-Sultan, Elisha's Fountain (2 Kings
2:19-22), about 5 miles west of Jordan. It was the most
important city in the Jordan valley (Num. 22:1; 34:15), and the
strongest fortress in all the land of Canaan. It was the key to
This city was taken in a very remarkable manner by the
Israelites (Josh. 6). God gave it into their hands. The city was
"accursed" (Heb. herem, "devoted" to Jehovah), and accordingly
(Josh. 6:17; comp. Lev. 27:28, 29; Deut. 13:16) all the
inhabitants and all the spoil of the city were to be destroyed,
"only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of
iron" were reserved and "put into the treasury of the house of
Jehovah" (Josh. 6:24; comp. Num. 31:22, 23, 50-54). Only Rahab
"and her father's household, and all that she had," were
preserved from destruction, according to the promise of the
spies (Josh. 2:14). In one of the Amarna tablets Adoni-zedec
(q.v.) writes to the king of Egypt informing him that the 'Abiri
(Hebrews) had prevailed, and had taken the fortress of Jericho,
and were plundering "all the king's lands." It would seem that
the Egyptian troops had before this been withdrawn from
This city was given to the tribe of Benjamin (Josh. 18:21),
and it was inhabited in the time of the Judges (Judg. 3:13; 2
Sam. 10:5). It is not again mentioned till the time of David (2
Sam. 10:5). "Children of Jericho" were among the captives who
returned under Zerubbabel Ezra 2:34; Neh. 7:36). Hiel (q.v.) the
Bethelite attempted to make it once more a fortified city (1
Kings 16:34). Between the beginning and the end of his
undertaking all his children were cut off.
In New Testament times Jericho stood some distance to the
south-east of the ancient one, and near the opening of the
valley of Achor. It was a rich and flourishing town, having a
considerable trade, and celebrated for the palm trees which
adorned the plain around. It was visited by our Lord on his last
journey to Jerusalem. Here he gave sight to two blind men (Matt.
20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52), and brought salvation to the house of
Zacchaeus the publican (Luke 19:2-10).
The poor hamlet of er-Riha, the representative of modern
Jericho, is situated some two miles farther to the east. It is
in a ruinous condition, having been destroyed by the Turks in
1840. "The soil of the plain," about the middle of which the
ancient city stood, "is unsurpassed in fertility; there is
abundance of water for irrigation, and many of the old aqueducts
are almost perfect; yet nearly the whole plain is waste and
desolate...The climate of Jericho is exceedingly hot and
unhealthy. This is accounted for by the depression of the plain,
which is about 1,200 feet below the level of the sea."
There were three different Jerichos, on three different sites,
the Jericho of Joshua, the Jericho of Herod, and the Jericho of
the Crusades. Er-Riha, the modern Jericho, dates from the time
of the Crusades. Dr. Bliss has found in a hollow scooped out for
some purpose or other near the foot of the biggest mound above
the Sultan's Spring specimens of Amorite or pre-Israelitish
pottery precisely identical with what he had discovered on the
site of ancient Lachish. He also traced in this place for a
short distance a mud brick wall in situ, which he supposes to be
the very wall that fell before the trumpets of Joshua. The wall
is not far from the foot of the great precipice of Quarantania
and its numerous caverns, and the spies of Joshua could easily
have fled from the city and been speedily hidden in these
a watch-mountain or a watch-tower. In the heart of the mountains
of Israel, a few miles north-west of Shechem, stands the "hill
of Shomeron," a solitary mountain, a great "mamelon." It is an
oblong hill, with steep but not inaccessible sides, and a long
flat top. Omri, the king of Israel, purchased this hill from
Shemer its owner for two talents of silver, and built on its
broad summit the city to which he gave the name of "Shomeron",
i.e., Samaria, as the new capital of his kingdom instead of
Tirzah (1 Kings 16:24). As such it possessed many advantages.
Here Omri resided during the last six years of his reign. As the
result of an unsuccessful war with Syria, he appears to have
been obliged to grant to the Syrians the right to "make streets
in Samaria", i.e., probably permission to the Syrian merchants
to carry on their trade in the Israelite capital. This would
imply the existence of a considerable Syrian population. "It was
the only great city of Israel created by the sovereign. All
the others had been already consecrated by patriarchal tradition
or previous possession. But Samaria was the choice of Omri
alone. He, indeed, gave to the city which he had built the name
of its former owner, but its especial connection with himself as
its founder is proved by the designation which it seems Samaria
bears in Assyrian inscriptions, Beth-khumri ('the house or
palace of Omri').", Stanley.
Samaria was frequently besieged. In the days of Ahab, Benhadad
II. came up against it with thirty-two vassal kings, but was
defeated with a great slaughter (1 Kings 20:1-21). A second
time, next year, he assailed it; but was again utterly routed,
and was compelled to surrender to Ahab (20:28-34), whose army,
as compared with that of Benhadad, was no more than "two little
flocks of kids."
In the days of Jehoram this Benhadad again laid siege to
Samaria, during which the city was reduced to the direst
extremities. But just when success seemed to be within their
reach, they suddenly broke up the seige, alarmed by a mysterious
noise of chariots and horses and a great army, and fled, leaving
their camp with all its contents behind them. The famishing
inhabitants of the city were soon relieved with the abundance of
the spoil of the Syrian camp; and it came to pass, according to
the word of Elisha, that "a measure of fine flour was sold for a
shekel, and two measures of barely for a shekel, in the gates of
Samaria" (2 Kings 7:1-20).
Shalmaneser invaded Israel in the days of Hoshea, and reduced
it to vassalage. He laid siege to Samaria (B.C. 723), which held
out for three years, and was at length captured by Sargon, who
completed the conquest Shalmaneser had begun (2 Kings 18:9-12;
17:3), and removed vast numbers of the tribes into captivity.
(See SARGON ¯T0003227.)
This city, after passing through various vicissitudes, was
given by the emperor Augustus to Herod the Great, who rebuilt
it, and called it Sebaste (Gr. form of Augustus) in honour of
the emperor. In the New Testament the only mention of it is in
Acts 8:5-14, where it is recorded that Philip went down to the
city of Samaria and preached there.
It is now represented by the hamlet of Sebustieh, containing
about three hundred inhabitants. The ruins of the ancient town
are all scattered over the hill, down the sides of which they
have rolled. The shafts of about one hundred of what must have
been grand Corinthian columns are still standing, and attract
much attention, although nothing definite is known regarding
them. (Comp. Micah 1:6.)
In the time of Christ, Western Israel was divided into
three provinces, Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Samaria occupied
the centre of Israel (John 4:4). It is called in the Talmud
the "land of the Cuthim," and is not regarded as a part of the
Holy Land at all.
It may be noticed that the distance between Samaria and
Jerusalem, the respective capitals of the two kingdoms, is only
35 miles in a direct line.
Sin (the god) sends many brothers, son of Sargon, whom he
succeeded on the throne of Assyria (B.C. 705), in the 23rd year
of Hezekiah. "Like the Persian Xerxes, he was weak and
vainglorious, cowardly under reverse, and cruel and boastful in
success." He first set himself to break up the powerful
combination of princes who were in league against him. Among
these was Hezekiah, who had entered into an alliance with Egypt
against Assyria. He accordingly led a very powerful army of at
least 200,000 men into Judea, and devastated the land on every
side, taking and destroying many cities (2 Kings 18:13-16; comp.
Isa. 22, 24, 29, and 2 Chr. 32:1-8). His own account of this
invasion, as given in the Assyrian annals, is in these words:
"Because Hezekiah, king of Judah, would not submit to my yoke, I
came up against him, and by force of arms and by the might of my
power I took forty-six of his strong fenced cities; and of the
smaller towns which were scattered about, I took and plundered a
countless number. From these places I took and carried off
200,156 persons, old and young, male and female, together with
horses and mules, asses and camels, oxen and sheep, a countless
multitude; and Hezekiah himself I shut up in Jerusalem, his
capital city, like a bird in a cage, building towers round the
city to hem him in, and raising banks of earth against the
gates, so as to prevent escape...Then upon Hezekiah there fell
the fear of the power of my arms, and he sent out to me the
chiefs and the elders of Jerusalem with 30 talents of gold and
800 talents of silver, and divers treasures, a rich and immense
booty...All these things were brought to me at Nineveh, the seat
of my government." (Comp. Isa. 22:1-13 for description of the
feelings of the inhabitants of Jerusalem at such a crisis.)
Hezekiah was not disposed to become an Assyrian feudatory. He
accordingly at once sought help from Egypt (2 Kings 18:20-24).
Sennacherib, hearing of this, marched a second time into
Israel (2 Kings 18:17, 37; 19; 2 Chr. 32:9-23; Isa. 36:2-22.
Isa. 37:25 should be rendered "dried up all the Nile-arms of
Matsor," i.e., of Egypt, so called from the "Matsor" or great
fortification across the isthmus of Suez, which protected it
from invasions from the east). Sennacherib sent envoys to try to
persuade Hezekiah to surrender, but in vain. (See TIRHAKAH
¯T0003676.) He next sent a threatening letter (2 Kings
19:10-14), which Hezekiah carried into the temple and spread
before the Lord. Isaiah again brought an encouraging message to
the pious king (2 Kings 19:20-34). "In that night" the angel of
the Lord went forth and smote the camp of the Assyrians. In the
morning, "behold, they were all dead corpses." The Assyrian army
This great disaster is not, as was to be expected, taken
notice of in the Assyrian annals.
Though Sennacherib survived this disaster some twenty years,
he never again renewed his attempt against Jerusalem. He was
murdered by two of his own sons (Adrammelech and Sharezer), and
was succeeded by another son, Esarhaddon (B.C. 681), after a
reign of twenty-four years.
the name derived from the city Asshur on the Tigris, the
original capital of the country, was originally a colony from
Babylonia, and was ruled by viceroys from that kingdom. It was a
mountainous region lying to the north of Babylonia, extending
along the Tigris as far as to the high mountain range of
Armenia, the Gordiaean or Carduchian mountains. It was founded
in B.C. 1700 under Bel-kap-kapu, and became an independent and a
conquering power, and shook off the yoke of its Babylonian
masters. It subdued the whole of Northern Asia. The Assyrians
were Semites (Gen. 10:22), but in process of time non-Semite
tribes mingled with the inhabitants. They were a military
people, the "Romans of the East."
Of the early history of the kingdom of Assyria little is
positively known. In B.C. 1120 Tiglath-pileser I., the greatest
of the Assyrian kings, "crossed the Euphrates, defeated the
kings of the Hittites, captured the city of Carchemish, and
advanced as far as the shores of the Mediterranean." He may be
regarded as the founder of the first Assyrian empire. After this
the Assyrians gradually extended their power, subjugating the
states of Northern Syria. In the reign of Ahab, king of Israel,
Shalmaneser II. marched an army against the Syrian states, whose
allied army he encountered and vanquished at Karkar. This led to
Ahab's casting off the yoke of Damascus and allying himself with
Judah. Some years after this the Assyrian king marched an army
against Hazael, king of Damascus. He besieged and took that
city. He also brought under tribute Jehu, and the cities of Tyre
About a hundred years after this (B.C. 745) the crown was
seized by a military adventurer called Pul, who assumed the name
of Tiglath-pileser III. He directed his armies into Syria, which
had by this time regained its independence, and took (B.C. 740)
Arpad, near Aleppo, after a siege of three years, and reduced
Hamath. Azariah (Uzziah) was an ally of the king of Hamath, and
thus was compelled by Tiglath-pileser to do him homage and pay a
In B.C. 738, in the reign of Menahem, king of Israel, Pul
invaded Israel, and imposed on it a heavy tribute (2 Kings
15:19). Ahaz, the king of Judah, when engaged in a war against
Israel and Syria, appealed for help to this Assyrian king by
means of a present of gold and silver (2 Kings 16:8); who
accordingly "marched against Damascus, defeated and put Rezin to
death, and besieged the city itself." Leaving a portion of his
army to continue the siege, "he advanced through the province
east of Jordan, spreading fire and sword," and became master of
Philistia, and took Samaria and Damascus. He died B.C. 727, and
was succeeded by Shalmanezer IV., who ruled till B.C. 722. He
also invaded Syria (2 Kings 17:5), but was deposed in favour of
Sargon (q.v.) the Tartan, or commander-in-chief of the army, who
took Samaria (q.v.) after a siege of three years, and so put an
end to the kingdom of Israel, carrying the people away into
captivity, B.C. 722 (2 Kings 17:1-6, 24; 18:7, 9). He also
overran the land of Judah, and took the city of Jerusalem (Isa.
10:6, 12, 22, 24, 34). Mention is next made of Sennacherib (B.C.
705), the son and successor of Sargon (2 Kings 18:13; 19:37;
Isa. 7:17, 18); and then of Esar-haddon, his son and successor,
who took Manasseh, king of Judah, captive, and kept him for some
time a prisoner at Babylon, which he alone of all the Assyrian
kings made the seat of his government (2 Kings 19:37; Isa.
Assur-bani-pal, the son of Esarhaddon, became king, and in
Ezra 4:10 is referred to as Asnapper. From an early period
Assyria had entered on a conquering career, and having absorbed
Babylon, the kingdoms of Hamath, Damascus, and Samaria, it
conquered Phoenicia, and made Judea feudatory, and subjected
Philistia and Idumea. At length, however, its power declined. In
B.C. 727 the Babylonians threw off the rule of the Assyrians,
under the leadership of the powerful Chaldean prince
Merodach-baladan (2 Kings 20:12), who, after twelve years, was
subdued by Sargon, who now reunited the kingdom, and ruled over
a vast empire. But on his death the smouldering flames of
rebellion again burst forth, and the Babylonians and Medes
successfully asserted their independence (B.C. 625), and Assyria
fell according to the prophecies of Isaiah (10:5-19), Nahum
(3:19), and Zephaniah (3:13), and the many separate kingdoms of
which it was composed ceased to recognize the "great king" (2
Kings 18:19; Isa. 36:4). Ezekiel (31) attests (about B.C. 586)
how completely Assyria was overthrown. It ceases to be a nation.
(See NINEVEH ¯T0002735; BABYLON ¯T0000409.)
The first burial we have an account of is that of Sarah (Gen.
23). The first commercial transaction recorded is that of the
purchase of a burial-place, for which Abraham weighed to Ephron
"four hundred shekels of silver current money with the
merchants." Thus the patriarch became the owner of a part of the
land of Canaan, the only part he ever possessed. When he himself
died, "his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of
Machpelah," beside Sarah his wife (Gen. 25:9).
Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, was buried under Allon-bachuth, "the
oak of weeping" (Gen. 35:8), near to Bethel. Rachel died, and
was buried near Ephrath; "and Jacob set a pillar upon her grave"
(16-20). Isaac was buried at Hebron, where he had died (27, 29).
Jacob, when charging his sons to bury him in the cave of
Machpelah, said, "There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife;
there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried
Leah" (49:31). In compliance with the oath which he made him
swear unto him (47:29-31), Joseph, assisted by his brethren,
buried Jacob in the cave of Machpelah (50:2, 13). At the Exodus,
Moses "took the bones of Joseph with him," and they were buried
in the "parcel of ground" which Jacob had bought of the sons of
Hamor (Josh. 24:32), which became Joseph's inheritance (Gen.
48:22; 1 Chr. 5:1; John 4:5). Two burials are mentioned as
having taken place in the wilderness. That of Miriam (Num.
20:1), and that of Moses, "in the land of Moab" (Deut. 34:5, 6,
8). There is no account of the actual burial of Aaron, which
probably, however, took place on the summit of Mount Hor (Num.
Joshua was buried "in the border of his inheritance in
Timnath-serah" (Josh. 24: 30).
In Job we find a reference to burying-places, which were
probably the Pyramids (3:14, 15). The Hebrew word for "waste
places" here resembles in sound the Egyptian word for
Samuel, like Moses, was honoured with a national burial (1
Sam. 25:1). Joab (1 Kings 2:34) "was buried in his own house in
In connection with the burial of Saul and his three sons we
meet for the first time with the practice of burning the dead (1
Sam. 31:11-13). The same practice is again referred to by Amos
Absalom was buried "in the wood" where he was slain (2 Sam.
18:17, 18). The raising of the heap of stones over his grave was
intended to mark abhorrence of the person buried (comp. Josh.
7:26 and 8:29). There was no fixed royal burying-place for the
Hebrew kings. We find several royal burials taking place,
however, "in the city of David" (1 Kings 2:10; 11:43; 15:8; 2
Kings 14:19, 20; 15:38; 1 Kings 14:31; 22:50; 2 Chr. 21:19, 20;
2 Chr. 24:25, etc.). Hezekiah was buried in the mount of the
sepulchres of the sons of David; "and all Judah and the
inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death" (2 Chr.
Little is said regarding the burial of the kings of Israel.
Some of them were buried in Samaria, the capital of their
kingdom (2 Kings 10:35; 13:9; 14:16).
Our Lord was buried in a new tomb, hewn out of the rock, which
Joseph of Arimathea had prepared for himself (Matt. 27:57-60;
Mark 15:46; John 19:41, 42).
The grave of Lazarus was "a cave, and a stone lay on it" (John
11:38). Graves were frequently either natural caverns or
artificial excavations formed in the sides of rocks (Gen. 23:9;
Matt. 27:60); and coffins were seldom used, unless when the body
was brought from a distance.
(1.) Of Israel. The kingdom of the ten tribes was successively
invaded by several Assyrian kings. Pul (q.v.) imposed a tribute
on Menahem of a thousand talents of silver (2 Kings 15:19, 20; 1
Chr. 5:26) (B.C. 762), and Tiglath-pileser, in the days of Pekah
(B.C. 738), carried away the trans-Jordanic tribes and the
inhabitants of Galilee into Assyria (2 Kings 15:29; Isa. 9:1).
Subsequently Shalmaneser invaded Israel and laid siege to
Samaria, the capital of the kingdom. During the siege he died,
and was succeeded by Sargon, who took the city, and transported
the great mass of the people into Assyria (B.C. 721), placing
them in Halah and in Habor, and in the cities of the Medes (2
Kings 17:3, 5). Samaria was never again inhabited by the
Israelites. The families thus removed were carried to distant
cities, many of them not far from the Caspian Sea, and their
place was supplied by colonists from Babylon and Cuthah, etc. (2
Kings 17:24). Thus terminated the kingdom of the ten tribes,
after a separate duration of two hundred and fifty-five years
Many speculations have been indulged in with reference to
these ten tribes. But we believe that all, except the number
that probably allied themselves with Judah and shared in their
restoration under Cyrus, are finally lost.
"Like the dew on the mountain, Like the
foam on the river,
Like the bubble on the fountain,
They are gone, and for ever."
(2.) Of Judah. In the third year of Jehoiachim, the eighteenth
king of Judah (B.C. 605), Nebuchadnezzar having overcome the
Egyptians at Carchemish, advanced to Jerusalem with a great
army. After a brief siege he took that city, and carried away
the vessels of the sanctuary to Babylon, and dedicated them in
the Temple of Belus (2 Kings 24:1; 2 Chr. 36:6, 7; Dan. 1:1, 2).
He also carried away the treasures of the king, whom he made his
vassal. At this time, from which is dated the "seventy years" of
captivity (Jer. 25; Dan. 9:1, 2), Daniel and his companions were
carried to Babylon, there to be brought up at the court and
trained in all the learning of the Chaldeans. After this, in the
fifth year of Jehoiakim, a great national fast was appointed
(Jer. 36:9), during which the king, to show his defiance, cut up
the leaves of the book of Jeremiah's prophecies as they were
read to him in his winter palace, and threw them into the fire.
In the same spirit he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings
24:1), who again a second time (B.C. 598) marched against
Jerusalem, and put Jehoiachim to death, placing his son
Jehoiachin on the throne in his stead. But Jehoiachin's
counsellors displeasing Nebuchadnezzar, he again a third time
turned his army against Jerusalem, and carried away to Babylon a
second detachment of Jews as captives, to the number of 10,000
(2 Kings 24:13; Jer. 24:1; 2 Chr. 36:10), among whom were the
king, with his mother and all his princes and officers, also
Ezekiel, who with many of his companions were settled on the
banks of the river Chebar (q.v.). He also carried away all the
remaining treasures of the temple and the palace, and the golden
vessels of the sanctuary.
Mattaniah, the uncle of Jehoiachin, was now made king over
what remained of the kingdom of Judah, under the name of
Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:17; 2 Chr. 36:10). After a troubled reign
of eleven years his kingdom came to an end (2 Chr. 36:11).
Nebuchadnezzar, with a powerful army, besieged Jerusalem, and
Zedekiah became a prisoner in Babylon. His eyes were put out,
and he was kept in close confinement till his death (2 Kings
25:7). The city was spoiled of all that was of value, and then
given up to the flames. The temple and palaces were consumed,
and the walls of the city were levelled with the ground (B.C.
586), and all that remained of the people, except a number of
the poorest class who were left to till the ground and dress the
vineyards, were carried away captives to Babylon. This was the
third and last deportation of Jewish captives. The land was now
utterly desolate, and was abondoned to anarchy.
In the first year of his reign as king of Babylon (B.C. 536),
Cyrus issued a decree liberating the Jewish captives, and
permitting them to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and
the temple (2 Chr. 36:22, 23; Ezra 1; 2). The number of the
people forming the first caravan, under Zerubbabel, amounted in
all to 42,360 (Ezra 2:64, 65), besides 7,337 men-servants and
maid-servants. A considerable number, 12,000 probably, from the
ten tribes who had been carried away into Assyria no doubt
combined with this band of liberated captives.
At a later period other bands of the Jews returned (1) under
Ezra (7:7) (B.C. 458), and (2) Nehemiah (7:66) (B.C. 445). But
the great mass of the people remained still in the land to which
they had been carried, and became a portion of the Jews of the
"dispersion" (John 7:35; 1 Pet. 1:1). The whole number of the
exiles that chose to remain was probably about six times the
number of those who returned.
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.
(1.) A house or dwelling-place (Job 5:24; 18:6, etc.).
(2.) A portable shrine (comp. Acts 19:24) containing the image
of Moloch (Amos 5:26; marg. and R.V., "Siccuth").
(3.) The human body (2 Cor. 5:1, 4); a tent, as opposed to a
(4.) The sacred tent (Heb. mishkan, "the dwelling-place"); the
movable tent-temple which Moses erected for the service of God,
according to the "pattern" which God himself showed to him on
the mount (Ex. 25:9; Heb. 8:5). It is called "the tabernacle of
the congregation," rather "of meeting", i.e., where God promised
to meet with Israel (Ex. 29:42); the "tabernacle of the
testimony" (Ex. 38:21; Num. 1:50), which does not, however,
designate the whole structure, but only the enclosure which
contained the "ark of the testimony" (Ex. 25:16, 22; Num. 9:15);
the "tabernacle of witness" (Num. 17:8); the "house of the Lord"
(Deut. 23:18); the "temple of the Lord" (Josh. 6:24); a
"sanctuary" (Ex. 25:8).
A particular account of the materials which the people
provided for the erection and of the building itself is recorded
in Ex. 25-40. The execution of the plan mysteriously given to
Moses was intrusted to Bezaleel and Aholiab, who were specially
endowed with wisdom and artistic skill, probably gained in
Egypt, for this purpose (Ex. 35:30-35). The people provided
materials for the tabernacle so abundantly that Moses was under
the necessity of restraining them (36:6). These stores, from
which they so liberally contributed for this purpose, must have
consisted in a great part of the gifts which the Egyptians so
readily bestowed on them on the eve of the Exodus (12:35, 36).
The tabernacle was a rectangular enclosure, in length about 45
feet (i.e., reckoning a cubit at 18 inches) and in breadth and
height about 15. Its two sides and its western end were made of
boards of acacia wood, placed on end, resting in sockets of
brass, the eastern end being left open (Ex. 26:22). This
framework was covered with four coverings, the first of linen,
in which figures of the symbolic cherubim were wrought with
needlework in blue and purple and scarlet threads, and probably
also with threads of gold (Ex. 26:1-6; 36:8-13). Above this was
a second covering of twelve curtains of black goats'-hair cloth,
reaching down on the outside almost to the ground (Ex. 26:7-11).
The third covering was of rams' skins dyed red, and the fourth
was of badgers' skins (Heb. tahash, i.e., the dugong, a species
of seal), Ex. 25:5; 26:14; 35:7, 23; 36:19; 39:34.
Internally it was divided by a veil into two chambers, the
exterior of which was called the holy place, also "the
sanctuary" (Heb. 9:2) and the "first tabernacle" (6); and the
interior, the holy of holies, "the holy place," "the Holiest,"
the "second tabernacle" (Ex. 28:29; Heb. 9:3, 7). The veil
separating these two chambers was a double curtain of the finest
workmanship, which was never passed except by the high priest
once a year, on the great Day of Atonement. The holy place was
separated from the outer court which enclosed the tabernacle by
a curtain, which hung over the six pillars which stood at the
east end of the tabernacle, and by which it was entered.
The order as well as the typical character of the services of
the tabernacle are recorded in Heb. 9; 10:19-22.
The holy of holies, a cube of 10 cubits, contained the "ark of
the testimony", i.e., the oblong chest containing the two tables
of stone, the pot of manna, and Aaron's rod that budded.
The holy place was the western and larger chamber of the
tabernacle. Here were placed the table for the shewbread, the
golden candlestick, and the golden altar of incense.
Round about the tabernacle was a court, enclosed by curtains
hung upon sixty pillars (Ex. 27:9-18). This court was 150 feet
long and 75 feet broad. Within it were placed the altar of burnt
offering, which measured 7 1/2 feet in length and breadth and 4
1/2 feet high, with horns at the four corners, and the laver of
brass (Ex. 30:18), which stood between the altar and the
The whole tabernacle was completed in seven months. On the
first day of the first month of the second year after the
Exodus, it was formally set up, and the cloud of the divine
presence descended on it (Ex. 39:22-43; 40:1-38). It cost 29
talents 730 shekels of gold, 100 talents 1,775 shekels of
silver, 70 talents 2,400 shekels of brass (Ex. 38:24-31).
The tabernacle was so constructed that it could easily be
taken down and conveyed from place to place during the
wanderings in the wilderness. The first encampment of the
Israelites after crossing the Jordan was at Gilgal, and there
the tabernacle remained for seven years (Josh. 4:19). It was
afterwards removed to Shiloh (Josh. 18:1), where it remained
during the time of the Judges, till the days of Eli, when the
ark, having been carried out into the camp when the Israelites
were at war with the Philistines, was taken by the enemy (1 Sam.
4), and was never afterwards restored to its place in the
tabernacle. The old tabernacle erected by Moses in the
wilderness was transferred to Nob (1 Sam. 21:1), and after the
destruction of that city by Saul (22:9; 1 Chr. 16:39, 40), to
Gibeon. It is mentioned for the last time in 1 Chr. 21:29. A new
tabernacle was erected by David at Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6:17; 1
Chr. 16:1), and the ark was brought from Perez-uzzah and
deposited in it (2 Sam. 6:8-17; 2 Chr. 1:4).
The word thus rendered ('ohel) in Ex. 33:7 denotes simply a
tent, probably Moses' own tent, for the tabernacle was not yet
father of a multitude, son of Terah, named (Gen. 11:27) before
his older brothers Nahor and Haran, because he was the heir of
the promises. Till the age of seventy, Abram sojourned among his
kindred in his native country of Chaldea. He then, with his
father and his family and household, quitted the city of Ur, in
which he had hitherto dwelt, and went some 300 miles north to
Haran, where he abode fifteen years. The cause of his migration
was a call from God (Acts 7:2-4). There is no mention of this
first call in the Old Testament; it is implied, however, in Gen.
12. While they tarried at Haran, Terah died at the age of 205
years. Abram now received a second and more definite call,
accompanied by a promise from God (Gen. 12:1,2); whereupon he
took his departure, taking his nephew Lot with him, "not knowing
whither he went" (Heb. 11:8). He trusted implicitly to the
guidance of Him who had called him.
Abram now, with a large household of probably a thousand
souls, entered on a migratory life, and dwelt in tents. Passing
along the valley of the Jabbok, in the land of Canaan, he formed
his first encampment at Sichem (Gen. 12:6), in the vale or
oak-grove of Moreh, between Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the
south. Here he received the great promise, "I will make of thee
a great nation," etc. (Gen. 12:2,3,7). This promise comprehended
not only temporal but also spiritual blessings. It implied that
he was the chosen ancestor of the great Deliverer whose coming
had been long ago predicted (Gen. 3:15). Soon after this, for
some reason not mentioned, he removed his tent to the mountain
district between Bethel, then called Luz, and Ai, towns about
two miles apart, where he built an altar to "Jehovah." He again
moved into the southern tract of Israel, called by the
Hebrews the Negeb; and was at length, on account of a famine,
compelled to go down into Egypt. This took place in the time of
the Hyksos, a Semitic race which now held the Egyptians in
bondage. Here occurred that case of deception on the part of
Abram which exposed him to the rebuke of Pharaoh (Gen. 12:18).
Sarai was restored to him; and Pharaoh loaded him with presents,
recommending him to withdraw from the country. He returned to
Canaan richer than when he left it, "in cattle, in silver, and
in gold" (Gen. 12:8; 13:2. Comp. Ps. 105:13, 14). The whole
party then moved northward, and returned to their previous
station near Bethel. Here disputes arose between Lot's shepherds
and those of Abram about water and pasturage. Abram generously
gave Lot his choice of the pasture-ground. (Comp. 1 Cor. 6:7.)
He chose the well-watered plain in which Sodom was situated, and
removed thither; and thus the uncle and nephew were separated.
Immediately after this Abram was cheered by a repetition of the
promises already made to him, and then removed to the plain or
"oak-grove" of Mamre, which is in Hebron. He finally settled
here, pitching his tent under a famous oak or terebinth tree,
called "the oak of Mamre" (Gen. 13:18). This was his third
resting-place in the land.
Some fourteen years before this, while Abram was still in
Chaldea, Israel had been invaded by Chedorlaomer, King of
Elam, who brought under tribute to him the five cities in the
plain to which Lot had removed. This tribute was felt by the
inhabitants of these cities to be a heavy burden, and after
twelve years they revolted. This brought upon them the vengeance
of Chedorlaomer, who had in league with him four other kings. He
ravaged the whole country, plundering the towns, and carrying
the inhabitants away as slaves. Among those thus treated was
Lot. Hearing of the disaster that had fallen on his nephew,
Abram immediately gathered from his own household a band of 318
armed men, and being joined by the Amoritish chiefs Mamre, Aner,
and Eshcol, he pursued after Chedorlaomer, and overtook him near
the springs of the Jordan. They attacked and routed his army,
and pursued it over the range of Anti-Libanus as far as to
Hobah, near Damascus, and then returned, bringing back all the
spoils that had been carried away. Returning by way of Salem,
i.e., Jerusalem, the king of that place, Melchizedek, came forth
to meet them with refreshments. To him Abram presented a tenth
of the spoils, in recognition of his character as a priest of
the most high God (Gen. 14:18-20).
In a recently-discovered tablet, dated in the reign of the
grandfather of Amraphel (Gen. 14:1), one of the witnesses is
called "the Amorite, the son of Abiramu," or Abram.
Having returned to his home at Mamre, the promises already
made to him by God were repeated and enlarged (Gen. 13:14). "The
word of the Lord" (an expression occurring here for the first
time) "came to him" (15:1). He now understood better the future
that lay before the nation that was to spring from him. Sarai,
now seventy-five years old, in her impatience, persuaded Abram
to take Hagar, her Egyptian maid, as a concubine, intending that
whatever child might be born should be reckoned as her own.
Ishmael was accordingly thus brought up, and was regarded as the
heir of these promises (Gen. 16). When Ishmael was thirteen
years old, God again revealed yet more explicitly and fully his
gracious purpose; and in token of the sure fulfilment of that
purpose the patriarch's name was now changed from Abram to
Abraham (Gen. 17:4,5), and the rite of circumcision was
instituted as a sign of the covenant. It was then announced that
the heir to these covenant promises would be the son of Sarai,
though she was now ninety years old; and it was directed that
his name should be Isaac. At the same time, in commemoration of
the promises, Sarai's name was changed to Sarah. On that
memorable day of God's thus revealing his design, Abraham and
his son Ishmael and all the males of his house were circumcised
(Gen. 17). Three months after this, as Abraham sat in his tent
door, he saw three men approaching. They accepted his proffered
hospitality, and, seated under an oak-tree, partook of the fare
which Abraham and Sarah provided. One of the three visitants was
none other than the Lord, and the other two were angels in the
guise of men. The Lord renewed on this occasion his promise of a
son by Sarah, who was rebuked for her unbelief. Abraham
accompanied the three as they proceeded on their journey. The
two angels went on toward Sodom; while the Lord tarried behind
and talked with Abraham, making known to him the destruction
that was about to fall on that guilty city. The patriarch
interceded earnestly in behalf of the doomed city. But as not
even ten righteous persons were found in it, for whose sake the
city would have been spared, the threatened destruction fell
upon it; and early next morning Abraham saw the smoke of the
fire that consumed it as the "smoke of a furnace" (Gen.
After fifteen years' residence at Mamre, Abraham moved
southward, and pitched his tent among the Philistines, near to
Gerar. Here occurred that sad instance of prevarication on his
part in his relation to Abimelech the King (Gen. 20). (See
ABIMELECH ¯T0000040.) Soon after this event, the patriarch left
the vicinity of Gerar, and moved down the fertile valley about
25 miles to Beer-sheba. It was probably here that Isaac was
born, Abraham being now an hundred years old. A feeling of
jealousy now arose between Sarah and Hagar, whose son, Ishmael,
was no longer to be regarded as Abraham's heir. Sarah insisted
that both Hagar and her son should be sent away. This was done,
although it was a hard trial to Abraham (Gen. 21:12). (See HAGAR
¯T0001583; ISHMAEL ¯T0001903.)
At this point there is a blank in the patriarch's history of
perhaps twenty-five years. These years of peace and happiness
were spent at Beer-sheba. The next time we see him his faith is
put to a severe test by the command that suddenly came to him to
go and offer up Isaac, the heir of all the promises, as a
sacrifice on one of the mountains of Moriah. His faith stood the
test (Heb. 11:17-19). He proceeded in a spirit of unhesitating
obedience to carry out the command; and when about to slay his
son, whom he had laid on the altar, his uplifted hand was
arrested by the angel of Jehovah, and a ram, which was entangled
in a thicket near at hand, was seized and offered in his stead.
From this circumstance that place was called Jehovah-jireh,
i.e., "The Lord will provide." The promises made to Abraham were
again confirmed (and this was the last recorded word of God to
the patriarch); and he descended the mount with his son, and
returned to his home at Beer-sheba (Gen. 22:19), where he
resided for some years, and then moved northward to Hebron.
Some years after this Sarah died at Hebron, being 127 years
old. Abraham acquired now the needful possession of a
burying-place, the cave of Machpelah, by purchase from the owner
of it, Ephron the Hittite (Gen. 23); and there he buried Sarah.
His next care was to provide a wife for Isaac, and for this
purpose he sent his steward, Eliezer, to Haran (or Charran, Acts
7:2), where his brother Nahor and his family resided (Gen.
11:31). The result was that Rebekah, the daughter of Nahor's son
Bethuel, became the wife of Isaac (Gen. 24). Abraham then
himself took to wife Keturah, who became the mother of six sons,
whose descendants were afterwards known as the "children of the
east" (Judg. 6:3), and later as "Saracens." At length all his
wanderings came to an end. At the age of 175 years, 100 years
after he had first entered the land of Canaan, he died, and was
buried in the old family burying-place at Machpelah (Gen.
The history of Abraham made a wide and deep impression on the
ancient world, and references to it are interwoven in the
religious traditions of almost all Eastern nations. He is called
"the friend of God" (James 2:23), "faithful Abraham" (Gal. 3:9),
"the father of us all" (Rom. 4:16).
remover or increaser. (1.) The elder of the two sons of Jacob by
Rachel (Gen. 30:23, 24), who, on the occasion of his birth,
said, "God hath taken away [Heb. 'asaph] my reproach." "The Lord
shall add [Heb. yoseph] to me another son" (Gen. 30:24). He was
a child of probably six years of age when his father returned
from Haran to Canaan and took up his residence in the old
patriarchal town of Hebron. "Now Israel loved Joseph more than
all his children, because he was the son of his old age," and he
"made him a long garment with sleeves" (Gen. 37:3, R.V. marg.),
i.e., a garment long and full, such as was worn by the children
of nobles. This seems to be the correct rendering of the words.
The phrase, however, may also be rendered, "a coat of many
pieces", i.e., a patchwork of many small pieces of divers
When he was about seventeen years old Joseph incurred the
jealous hatred of his brothers (Gen. 37:4). They "hated him, and
could not speak peaceably unto him." Their anger was increased
when he told them his dreams (37:11).
Jacob desiring to hear tidings of his sons, who had gone to
Shechem with their flocks, some 60 miles from Hebron, sent
Joseph as his messenger to make inquiry regarding them. Joseph
found that they had left Shechem for Dothan, whither he followed
them. As soon as they saw him coming they began to plot against
him, and would have killed him had not Reuben interposed. They
ultimately sold him to a company of Ishmaelite merchants for
twenty pieces (shekels) of silver (about $2, 10s.), ten pieces
less than the current value of a slave, for "they cared little
what they had for him, if so be they were rid of him." These
merchants were going down with a varied assortment of
merchandise to the Egyptian market, and thither they conveyed
him, and ultimately sold him as a slave to Potiphar, an "officer
of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard" (Gen. 37:36). "The Lord
blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake," and Potiphar
made him overseer over his house. At length a false charge
having been brought against him by Potiphar's wife, he was at
once cast into the state prison (39; 40), where he remained for
at least two years. After a while the "chief of the cupbearers"
and the "chief of the bakers" of Pharaoh's household were cast
into the same prison (40:2). Each of these new prisoners dreamed
a dream in the same night, which Joseph interpreted, the event
occurring as he had said.
This led to Joseph's being remembered subsequently by the
chief butler when Pharaoh also dreamed. At his suggestion Joseph
was brought from prison to interpret the king's dreams. Pharaoh
was well pleased with Joseph's wisdom in interpreting his
dreams, and with his counsel with reference to the events then
predicted; and he set him over all the land of Egypt (Gen.
41:46), and gave him the name of Zaphnath-paaneah. He was
married to Asenath, the daughter of the priest of On, and thus
became a member of the priestly class. Joseph was now about
thirty years of age.
As Joseph had interpreted, seven years of plenty came, during
which he stored up great abundance of corn in granaries built
for the purpose. These years were followed by seven years of
famine "over all the face of the earth," when "all countries
came into Egypt to Joseph to buy corn" (Gen. 41:56, 57; 47:13,
14). Thus "Joseph gathered up all the money that was in the land
of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they
bought." Afterwards all the cattle and all the land, and at last
the Egyptians themselves, became the property of Pharaoh.
During this period of famine Joseph's brethren also came down
to Egypt to buy corn. The history of his dealings with them, and
of the manner in which he at length made himself known to them,
is one of the most interesting narratives that can be read (Gen.
42-45). Joseph directed his brethren to return and bring Jacob
and his family to the land of Egypt, saying, "I will give you
the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the
land. Regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land is
yours." Accordingly Jacob and his family, to the number of
threescore and ten souls, together with "all that they had,"
went down to Egypt. They were settled in the land of Goshen,
where Joseph met his father, and "fell on his neck, and wept on
his neck a good while" (Gen. 46:29).
The excavations of Dr. Naville have shown the land of Goshen
to be the Wady Tumilat, between Ismailia and Zagazig. In Goshen
(Egyptian Qosem) they had pasture for their flocks, were near
the Asiatic frontier of Egypt, and were out of the way of the
Egyptian people. An inscription speaks of it as a district given
up to the wandering shepherds of Asia.
Jacob at length died, and in fulfilment of a promise which he
had exacted, Joseph went up to Canaan to bury his father in "the
field of Ephron the Hittite" (Gen. 47:29-31; 50:1-14). This was
the last recorded act of Joseph, who again returned to Egypt.
"The 'Story of the Two Brothers,' an Egyptian romance written
for the son of the Pharaoh of the Oppression, contains an
episode very similar to the Biblical account of Joseph's
treatment by Potiphar's wife. Potiphar and Potipherah are the
Egyptian Pa-tu-pa-Ra, 'the gift of the sun-god.' The name given
to Joseph, Zaphnath-paaneah, is probably the Egyptian
Zaf-nti-pa-ankh, 'nourisher of the living one,' i.e., of the
Pharaoh. There are many instances in the inscriptions of
foreigners in Egypt receiving Egyptian names, and rising to the
highest offices of state."
By his wife Asenath, Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim
(Gen. 41:50). Joseph having obtained a promise from his brethren
that when the time should come that God would "bring them unto
the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob,"
they would carry up his bones out of Egypt, at length died, at
the age of one hundred and ten years; and "they embalmed him,
and he was put in a coffin" (Gen. 50:26). This promise was
faithfully observed. Their descendants, long after, when the
Exodus came, carried the body about with them during their forty
years' wanderings, and at length buried it in Shechem, in the
parcel of ground which Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor
(Josh. 24:32; comp. Gen. 33:19). With the death of Joseph the
patriarchal age of the history of Israel came to a close.
The Pharaoh of Joseph's elevation was probably Apepi, or
Apopis, the last of the Hyksos kings. Some, however, think that
Joseph came to Egypt in the reign of Thothmes III. (see PHARAOH
¯T0002923), long after the expulsion of the Hyksos.
The name Joseph denotes the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh
in Deut. 33:13-17; the kingdom of Israel in Ezek. 37:16, 19,
Amos 5:6; and the whole covenant people of Israel in Ps. 81:4.
(2.) One of the sons of Asaph, head of the first division of
sacred musicians (1 Chr. 25:2, 9).
(3.) The son of Judah, and father of Semei (Luke 3:26). Other
two of the same name in the ancestry of Christ are also
mentioned (3:24, 30).
(4.) The foster-father of our Lord (Matt. 1:16; Luke 3:23). He
lived at Nazareth in Galilee (Luke 2:4). He is called a "just
man." He was by trade a carpenter (Matt. 13:55). He is last
mentioned in connection with the journey to Jerusalem, when
Jesus was twelve years old. It is probable that he died before
Jesus entered on his public ministry. This is concluded from the
fact that Mary only was present at the marriage feast in Cana of
Galilee. His name does not appear in connection with the scenes
of the crucifixion along with that of Mary (q.v.), John 19:25.
(5.) A native of Arimathea, probably the Ramah of the Old
Testament (1 Sam. 1:19), a man of wealth, and a member of the
Sanhedrim (Matt. 27:57; Luke 23:50), an "honourable counsellor,
who waited for the kingdom of God." As soon as he heard the
tidings of Christ's death, he "went in boldly" (lit. "having
summoned courage, he went") "unto Pilate, and craved the body of
Jesus." Pilate having ascertained from the centurion that the
death had really taken place, granted Joseph's request, who
immediately, having purchased fine linen (Mark 15:46), proceeded
to Golgotha to take the body down from the cross. There,
assisted by Nicodemus, he took down the body and wrapped it in
the fine linen, sprinkling it with the myrrh and aloes which
Nicodemus had brought (John 19:39), and then conveyed the body
to the new tomb hewn by Joseph himself out of a rock in his
garden hard by. There they laid it, in the presence of Mary
Magdalene, Mary the mother of Joses, and other women, and rolled
a great stone to the entrance, and departed (Luke 23:53, 55).
This was done in haste, "for the Sabbath was drawing on" (comp.
(6.) Surnamed Barsabas (Acts 1:23); also called Justus. He was
one of those who "companied with the apostles all the time that
the Lord Jesus went out and in among them" (Acts 1:21), and was
one of the candidates for the place of Judas.