(Ps. 35:15), the translation of a Hebrew word meaning smiters;
probably, in allusion to the tongue, slanderers. (Comp. Jer.
son of the tongue; i.e., "eloquent", a man of some note who
returned from the Captivity with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:2; Neh.
the name which the Jews gave in their proper tongue, i.e., in
Aramaic, to the field which was purchased with the money which
had been given to the betrayer of our Lord. The word means
"field of blood." It was previously called "the potter's field"
(Matt. 27:7, 8; Acts 1:19), and was appropriated as the
burial-place for strangers. It lies on a narrow level terrace on
the south face of the valley of Hinnom. Its modern name is Hak
denotes the estuary of the Dead Sea at the mouth of the Jordan
(Josh. 15:5; 18:19), also the southern extremity of the same sea
(15:2). The same Hebrew word is rendered "tongue" in Isa. 11:15,
where it is used with reference to the forked mouths of the
Bay in Zech. 6:3, 7 denotes the colour of horses, but the
original Hebrew means strong, and is here used rather to
describe the horses as fleet or spirited.
occurs only in Prov. 30:15 (Heb. 'alukah); the generic name for
any blood-sucking annelid. There are various species in the
marshes and pools of Israel. That here referred to, the
Hoemopis, is remarkable for the coarseness of its bite, and is
therefore not used for medical purposes. They are spoken of in
the East with feelings of aversion and horror, because of their
propensity to fasten on the tongue and nostrils of horses when
they come to drink out of the pools. The medicinal leech (Hirudo
medicinalis), besides other species of leeches, are common in
the waters of Syria.
of water like a dog, i.e., by putting the hand filled with water
to the mouth. The dog drinks by shaping the end of his long thin
tongue into the form of a spoon, thus rapidly lifting up water,
which he throws into his mouth. The three hundred men that went
with Gideon thus employed their hands and lapped the water out
of their hands (Judg. 7:7).
of the Hebrew was pointed, sometimes two-edged, was worn in a
sheath, and suspended from the girdle (Ex. 32:27; 1 Sam. 31:4; 1
Chr. 21:27; Ps. 149:6: Prov. 5:4; Ezek. 16:40; 21:3-5).
It is a symbol of divine chastisement (Deut. 32:25; Ps. 7:12;
78:62), and of a slanderous tongue (Ps. 57:4; 64:3; Prov.
12:18). The word of God is likened also to a sword (Heb. 4:12;
Eph. 6:17; Rev. 1:16). Gideon's watchword was, "The sword of the
Lord" (Judg. 7:20).
or Chaldeans, the inhabitants of the country of which Babylon
was the capital. They were so called till the time of the
Captivity (2 Kings 25; Isa. 13:19; 23:13), when, particularly in
the Book of Daniel (5:30; 9:1), the name began to be used with
special reference to a class of learned men ranked with the
magicians and astronomers. These men cultivated the ancient
Cushite language of the original inhabitants of the land, for
they had a "learning" and a "tongue" (1:4) of their own. The
common language of the country at that time had become
assimilated to the Semitic dialect, especially through the
influence of the Assyrians, and was the language that was used
for all civil purposes. The Chaldeans were the learned class,
interesting themselves in science and religion, which consisted,
like that of the ancient Arabians and Syrians, in the worship of
the heavenly bodies. There are representations of this priestly
class, of magi and diviners, on the walls of the Assyrian
It is by no means certain that the Hebrews were acquainted with
mineral coal, although it is found in Syria. Their common fuel
was dried dung of animals and wood charcoal. Two different words
are found in Hebrew to denote coal, both occurring in Prov.
26:21, "As coal [Heb. peham; i.e., "black coal"] is to burning
coal [Heb. gehalim]." The latter of these words is used in Job
41:21; Prov. 6:28; Isa. 44:19. The words "live coal" in Isa. 6:6
are more correctly "glowing stone." In Lam. 4:8 the expression
"blacker than a coal" is literally rendered in the margin of the
Revised Version "darker than blackness." "Coals of fire" (2 Sam.
22:9, 13; Ps. 18:8, 12, 13, etc.) is an expression used
metaphorically for lightnings proceeding from God. A false
tongue is compared to "coals of juniper" (Ps. 120:4; James 3:6).
"Heaping coals of fire on the head" symbolizes overcoming evil
with good. The words of Paul (Rom. 12:20) are equivalent to
saying, "By charity and kindness thou shalt soften down his
enmity as surely as heaping coals on the fire fuses the metal in
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.
(Gr. diaspora, "scattered," James 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:1) of the Jews.
At various times, and from the operation of divers causes, the
Jews were separated and scattered into foreign countries "to the
outmost parts of heaven" (Deut. 30:4).
(1.) Many were dispersed over Assyria, Media, Babylonia, and
Persia, descendants of those who had been transported thither by
the Exile. The ten tribes, after existing as a separate kingdom
for two hundred and fifty-five years, were carried captive (B.C.
721) by Shalmaneser (or Sargon), king of Assyria. They never
returned to their own land as a distinct people, although many
individuals from among these tribes, there can be no doubt,
joined with the bands that returned from Babylon on the
proclamation of Cyrus.
(2.) Many Jews migrated to Egypt and took up their abode
there. This migration began in the days of Solomon (2 Kings
18:21, 24; Isa. 30:7). Alexander the Great placed a large number
of Jews in Alexandria, which he had founded, and conferred on
them equal rights with the Egyptians. Ptolemy Philadelphus, it
is said, caused the Jewish Scriptures to be translated into
Greek (the work began B.C. 284), for the use of the Alexandrian
Jews. The Jews in Egypt continued for many ages to exercise a
powerful influence on the public interests of that country. From
Egypt they spread along the coast of Africa to Cyrene (Acts
2:10) and to Ethiopia (8:27).
(3.) After the time of Seleucus Nicator (B.C. 280), one of the
captains of Alexander the Great, large numbers of Jews migrated
into Syria, where they enjoyed equal rights with the
Macedonians. From Syria they found their way into Asia Minor.
Antiochus the Great, king of Syria and Asia, removed 3,000
families of Jews from Mesopotamia and Babylonia, and planted
them in Phrygia and Lydia.
(4.) From Asia Minor many Jews moved into Greece and
Macedonia, chiefly for purposes of commerce. In the apostles'
time they were found in considerable numbers in all the
From the time of Pompey the Great (B.C. 63) numbers of Jews
from Israel and Greece went to Rome, where they had a
separate quarter of the city assigned to them. Here they enjoyed
Thus were the Jews everywhere scattered abroad. This, in the
overruling providence of God, ultimately contributed in a great
degree toward opening the way for the spread of the gospel into
Dispersion, from the plain of Shinar. This was occasioned by
the confusion of tongues at Babel (Gen. 11:9). They were
scattered abroad "every one after his tongue, after their
families, in their nations" (Gen. 10:5, 20,31).
The tenth chapter of Genesis gives us an account of the
principal nations of the earth in their migrations from the
plain of Shinar, which was their common residence after the
Flood. In general, it may be said that the descendants of
Japheth were scattered over the north, those of Shem over the
central regions, and those of Ham over the extreme south. The
following table shows how the different families were dispersed:
| - Japheth
| - Gomer
| Cimmerians, Armenians
| - Magog
| Caucasians, Scythians
| - Madal
| Medes and Persian tribes
| - Javan
| - Elishah
| - Tarshish
| Etruscans, Romans
| - Chittim
| Cyprians, Macedonians
| - Dodanim
| - Tubal
| Tibareni, Tartars
| - Mechech
| Moschi, Muscovites
| - Tiras
| - Shem
| - Elam
| Persian tribes
| - Asshur
| - Arphaxad
| - Abraham
| - Isaac
| - Jacob
| - Esau
| - Ishmael
| Mingled with Arab tribes
| - Lud
| - Aram
| - Ham
| - Cush
| - Mizrain
| - Phut
| Lybians, Mauritanians
| - Canaan
| Canaanites, Phoenicians