sun. (1.) "Mount Heres" (Judg. 1:35), Heb. Har-heres, i.e.,
"sun-mountain;" probably identical with Irshemesh in Josh.
(2.) Isa. 19:18, marg. (See ON ¯T0002786.)
light; the sun, (Gen. 41:45, 50), the great seat of sun-worship,
called also Bethshemesh (Jer. 43:13) and Aven (Ezek. 30:17),
stood on the east bank of the Nile, a few miles north of
Memphis, and near Cairo, in the north-east. The Vulgate and the
LXX. Versions have "Heliopolis" ("city of the sun") instead of
On in Genesis and of Aven in Ezekiel. The "city of destruction"
Isaiah speaks of (19:18, marg. "of Heres;" Heb. 'Ir-ha-heres,
which some MSS. read Ir-ha-heres, i.e., "city of the sun") may
be the name given to On, the prophecy being that the time will
come when that city which was known as the "city of the sun-god"
shall become the "city of destruction" of the sun-god, i.e.,
when idolatry shall cease, and the worship of the true God be
In ancient times this city was full of obelisks dedicated to
the sun. Of these only one now remains standing. "Cleopatra's
Needle" was one of those which stood in this city in front of
the Temple of Tum, i.e., "the sun." It is now erected on the
Thames Embankment, London.
"It was at On that Joseph wooed and won the dark-skinned
Asenath, the daughter of the high priest of its great temple."
This was a noted university town, and here Moses gained his
acquaintance with "all the wisdom of the Egyptians."
of the sun alluded to in Amos 8:9; Micah 3:6; Zech. 14:6; Joel
2:10. Eclipses were regarded as tokens of God's anger (Joel
3:15; Job 9:7). The darkness at the crucifixion has been
ascribed to an eclipse (Matt. 27:45); but on the other hand it
is argued that the great intensity of darkness caused by an
eclipse never lasts for more than six minutes, and this darkness
lasted for three hours. Moreover, at the time of the Passover
the moon was full, and therefore there could not be an eclipse
of the sun, which is caused by an interposition of the moon
between the sun and the earth.
a cubit, the name of a hill which Joab and Abishai reached as
the sun went down, when they were in pursuit of Abner (2 Sam.
2:24). It lay to the east of Gibeon.
one of the gods worshipped by the people of Sepharvaim, who
colonized Samaria (2 Kings 17:31). The name means "Anu is king."
It was a female deity representing the moon, as Adrammelech
(q.v.) was the male representing the sun.
an Egyptian name, meaning "gift of the sun-god", daughter of
Potipherah, priest of On or Heliopolis, wife of Joseph (Gen.
41:45). She was the mother of Manasseh and Ephraim (50-52;
given by Mithra, or dedicated to Mithra, i.e., the sun, the
Hebrew form of the Greek name Mithridates. (1.) The "treasurer"
of King Cyrus (Ezra 1:8).
(2.) Ezra 4:7, a Persian officer in Samaria.
O sun-god, defend the lord! (Ezra 1:8, 11), probably another
name for Zerubbabel (q.v.), Ezra 2:2; Hag. 1:12, 14; Zech. 4:6,
portion of the sun, where Joshua was buried (Judg. 2:9). It was
"in the mount of Ephraim, in the north side of the hill Gaash,"
10 miles south-west of Shechem. The same as the following.
fountain of the sun a spring which formed one of the landmarks
on the boundary between Judah and Benjamin (Josh. 15:7; 18:17).
It was between the "ascent of Adummim" and the spring of
En-rogel, and hence was on the east of Jerusalem and of the
Mount of Olives. It is the modern 'Ain-Haud i.e., the "well of
the apostles" about a mile east of Bethany, the only spring on
the road to Jericho. The sun shines on it the whole day long.
(Heb. shemesh), first mentioned along with the moon as the two
great luminaries of heaven (Gen. 1:14-18). By their motions and
influence they were intended to mark and divide times and
seasons. The worship of the sun was one of the oldest forms of
false religion (Job 31:26,27), and was common among the
Egyptians and Chaldeans and other pagan nations. The Jews were
warned against this form of idolatry (Deut. 4:19; 17:3; comp. 2
Kings 23:11; Jer. 19:13).
Adar the king. (1.) An idol; a form of the sun-god worshipped by
the inhabitants of Sepharvaim (2 Kings 17:31), and brought by
the Sepharvite colonists into Samaria. (2.) A son of
Sennacherib, king of Assyria (2 Kings 19:37; Isa. 37:38).
the apparent diurnal revolution of the sun round the earth (Ps.
19:6), and the changes of the wind (Eccl. 1:6). In Job 22:14,
"in the circuit of heaven" (R.V. marg., "on the vault of
heaven") means the "arch of heaven," which seems to be bent over
which precedes and accompanies the sun-rising. It is found only
in 2 Pet. 1:19, where it denotes the manifestation of Christ to
the soul, imparting spiritual light and comfort. He is the
"bright and morning star" of Rev. 2:28; 22:16. (Comp. Num.
Host of heaven
The sun, moon, and stars are so designated (Gen. 2:1). When the
Jews fell into idolatry they worshipped these (Deut. 4:19; 2
Kings 17:16; 21:3,5; 23:5; Jer. 19:13; Zeph. 1:5; Acts 7:42).
(Isa. 35:7), Heb. sharab, a "mirage", a phenomenon caused by the
refraction of the rays of the sun on the glowing sands of the
desert, causing them suddenly to assume the appearance of a
beautiful lake. It is called by the modern Arabs by the same
Hebrew name _serab_.
Heb. nechoth, identified with the Arabic naka'at, the gum
tragacanth, obtained from the astralagus, of which there are
about twenty species found in Israel. The tragacanth of
commerce is obtained from the A. tragacantha. "The gum exudes
plentifully under the heat of the sun on the leaves, thorns, and
exteremity of the twigs."
called by the Greeks Heliopolis i.e., "the city of the sun",
because of its famous Temple of the Sun, has by some been
supposed to be Solomon's "house of the forest of Lebanon" (1
Kings 7:2; 10:17; 2 Chr. 9:16); by others it is identified with
Baal-gad (q.v.). It was a city of Coele-Syria, on the lowest
declivity of Anti-Libanus, about 42 miles north-west of
Damascus. It was one of the most splendid of Syrian cities,
existing from a remote antiquity. After sustaining several
sieges under the Moslems and others, it was finally destroyed by
an earthquake in 1759. Its ruins are of great extent.
for the measurement of time, only once mentioned in the Bible,
erected by Ahaz (2 Kings 20:11; Isa. 38:8). The Hebrew word
(ma'aloth) is rendered "steps" in Ex. 20:26, 1 Kings 10:19, and
"degrees" in 2 Kings 20:9, 10, 11. The _ma'aloth_ was probably
stairs on which the shadow of a column or obelisk placed on the
top fell. The shadow would cover a greater or smaller number of
steps, according as the sun was low or high.
Probably the sun-dial was a Babylonian invention. Daniel at
Babylon (Dan. 3:6) is the first to make mention of the "hour."
properly only an opening in a house for the admission of light
and air, covered with lattice-work, which might be opened or
closed (2 Kings 1:2; Acts 20:9). The spies in Jericho and Paul
at Damascus were let down from the windows of houses abutting on
the town wall (Josh. 2:15; 2 Cor. 11:33). The clouds are
metaphorically called the "windows of heaven" (Gen. 7:11; Mal.
3:10). The word thus rendered in Isa. 54:12 ought rather to be
rendered "battlements" (LXX., "bulwarks;" R.V., "pinnacles"), or
as Gesenius renders it, "notched battlements, i.e., suns or rays
of the sun"= having a radiated appearance like the sun.
(1.) Heb. hatsir, ripe grass fit for mowing (1 Kings 18:5; Job
40:15; Ps. 104:14). As the herbage rapidly fades under the
scorching sun, it is used as an image of the brevity of human
life (Isa. 40:6, 7; Ps. 90:5). In Num. 11:5 this word is
(2.) Heb. deshe', green grass (Gen. 1:11, 12; Isa. 66:14;
Deut. 32:2). "The sickly and forced blades of grass which spring
up on the flat plastered roofs of houses in the East are used as
an emblem of speedy destruction, because they are small and
weak, and because, under the scorching rays of the sun, they
soon wither away" (2 Kings 19:26; Ps. 129:6; Isa. 37:27).
The dry stalks of grass were often used as fuel for the oven
(Matt. 6:30; 13:30; Luke 12:28).
"the land of" (Gen. 47:11), was probably "the land of Goshen"
(q.v.) 45:10. After the Hebrews had built Rameses, one of the
"treasure cities," it came to be known as the "land" in which
that city was built.
The city bearing this name (Ex. 12:37) was probably identical
with Zoan, which Rameses II. ("son of the sun") rebuilt. It
became his special residence, and ranked next in importance and
magnificance to Thebes. Huge masses of bricks, made of Nile mud,
sun-dried, some of them mixed with stubble, possibly moulded by
Jewish hands, still mark the site of Rameses. This was the
general rendezvous of the Israelites before they began their
march out of Egypt. Called also Raamses (Ex. 1:11).
the making of, formed the chief labour of the Israelites in
Egypt (Ex. 1:13, 14). Those found among the ruins of Babylon and
Nineveh are about a foot square and four inches thick. They were
usually dried in the sun, though also sometimes in kilns (2 Sam.
12:31; Jer. 43:9; Nah. 3:14). (See NEBUCHADNEZZAR ¯T0002684.)
The bricks used in the tower of Babel were burnt bricks,
cemented in the building by bitumen (Gen. 11:3).
the period following sunset with which the Jewish day began
(Gen. 1:5; Mark 13:35). The Hebrews reckoned two evenings of
each day, as appears from Ex. 16:12: 30:8; 12:6 (marg.); Lev.
23:5 (marg. R.V., "between the two evenings"). The "first
evening" was that period when the sun was verging towards
setting, and the "second evening" the moment of actual sunset.
The word "evenings" in Jer. 5:6 should be "deserts" (marg.
according to some MSS., meaning "city of destruction." Other
MSS. read _'Irhahares_; rendered "city of the sun", Isa. 19:18,
where alone the word occurs. This name may probably refer to
Heliopolis. The prophecy here points to a time when the Jews
would so increase in number there as that the city would fall
under their influence. This might be in the time of the
Ptolemies. (See ON ¯T0002786.)
Judah upon Jordan
The Authorized Version, following the Vulgate, has this
rendering in Josh. 19:34. It has been suggested that, following
the Masoretic punctuation, the expression should read thus, "and
Judah; the Jordan was toward the sun-rising." The sixty cities
(Havoth-jair, Num. 32:41) on the east of Jordan were reckoned as
belonging to Judah, because Jair, their founder, was a Manassite
only on his mother's side, but on his father's side of the tribe
of Judah (1 Chr. 2:5, 21-23).
(Prov. 25:20; R.V. marg., "soda"), properly "natron," a
substance so called because, rising from the bottom of the Lake
Natron in Egypt, it becomes dry and hard in the sun, and is the
soda which effervesces when vinegar is poured on it. It is a
carbonate of soda, not saltpetre, which the word generally
denotes (Jer. 2:22; R.V. "lye").
caused by the reflection and refraction of the rays of the sun
shining on falling rain. It was appointed as a witness of the
divine faithfulness (Gen. 9:12-17). It existed indeed before,
but it was then constituted as a sign of the covenant. Others,
however (as Delitzsch, Commentary on Pentateuch), think that it
"appeared then for the first time in the vault and clouds of
heaven." It is argued by those holding this opinion that the
atmosphere was differently constituted before the Flood. It is
referred to three other times in Scripture (Ezek. 1:27, 28; Rev.
a corruption of Dumuzi, the Accadian sun-god (the Adonis of the
Greeks), the husband of the goddess Ishtar. In the Chaldean
calendar there was a month set apart in honour of this god, the
month of June to July, the beginning of the summer solstice. At
this festival, which lasted six days, the worshippers, with loud
lamentations, bewailed the funeral of the god, they sat "weeping
for Tammuz" (Ezek. 8:14).
The name, also borrowed from Chaldea, of one of the months of
the Hebrew calendar.
heb. yareah, from its paleness (Ezra 6:15), and lebanah, the
"white" (Cant. 6:10; Isa. 24:23), was appointed by the Creator
to be with the sun "for signs, and for seasons, and for days,
and years" (Gen. 1:14-16). A lunation was among the Jews the
period of a month, and several of their festivals were held on
the day of the new moon. It is frequently referred to along with
the sun (Josh. 10:12; Ps. 72:5, 7, 17; 89:36, 37; Eccl. 12:2;
Isa. 24:23, etc.), and also by itself (Ps. 8:3; 121:6).
The great brilliance of the moon in Eastern countries led to
its being early an object of idolatrous worship (Deut. 4:19;
17:3; Job 31:26), a form of idolatry against which the Jews were
warned (Deut. 4:19; 17:3). They, however, fell into this
idolatry, and offered incense (2 Kings 23:5; Jer. 8:2), and also
cakes of honey, to the moon (Jer. 7:18; 44:17-19, 25).
(Ex. 28:17; 39:10; Ezek. 28:13). Heb. barkath; LXX. smaragdos;
Vulgate, smaragdus; Revised Version, marg., "emerald." The
Hebrew word is from a root meaning "to glitter," "lighten,"
"flash." When held up to the sun, this gem shines like a burning
coal, a dark-red glowing coal, and hence is called
"carbunculus", i.e., a little coal. It was one of the jewels in
the first row of the high priest's breastplate. It has been
conjectured by some that the garnet is meant. In Isa. 54:12 the
Hebrew word is _'ekdah_, used in the prophetic description of
the glory and beauty of the mansions above. Next to the diamond
it is the hardest and most costly of all precious stones.
(Heb. pishtah, i.e., "peeled", in allusion to the fact that the
stalks of flax when dried were first split or peeled before
being steeped in water for the purpose of destroying the pulp).
This plant was cultivated from earliest times. The flax of Egypt
was destroyed by the plague of hail when it "was bolled", i.e.,
was forming pods for seed (Ex. 9:31). It was extensively
cultivated both in Egypt and Israel. Reference is made in
Josh. 2:6 to the custom of drying flax-stalks by exposing them
to the sun on the flat roofs of houses. It was much used in
forming articles of clothing such as girdles, also cords and
bands (Lev. 13:48, 52, 59; Deut. 22:11). (See LINEN ¯T0002296.)
dedicated to Ra; i.e., to the sun-god, the Egyptian to whom the
Ishmaelites sold Joseph (Gen. 39:1). He was "captain of the
guard", i.e., chief, probably, of the state police, who, while
they formed part of the Egyptian army, were also largely
employed in civil duties (37:36; marg., "chief of the
executioners"). Joseph, though a foreigner, gradually gained his
confidence, and became overseer over all his possessions.
Believing the false accusation which his profligate wife brought
against Joseph, Potiphar cast him into prison, where he remained
for some years. (See JOSEPH ¯T0002113.)
Heb. shanah, meaning "repetition" or "revolution" (Gen. 1:14;
5:3). Among the ancient Egyptians the year consisted of twelve
months of thirty days each, with five days added to make it a
complete revolution of the earth round the sun. The Jews
reckoned the year in two ways, (1) according to a sacred
calendar, in which the year began about the time of the vernal
equinox, with the month Abib; and (2) according to a civil
calendar, in which the year began about the time of the autumnal
equinox, with the month Nisan. The month Tisri is now the
beginning of the Jewish year.
the moon goddess of the Phoenicians, representing the passive
principle in nature, their principal female deity; frequently
associated with the name of Baal, the sun-god, their chief male
deity (Judg. 10:6; 1 Sam. 7:4; 12:10). These names often occur
in the plural (Ashtaroth, Baalim), probably as indicating either
different statues or different modifications of the deities.
This deity is spoken of as Ashtoreth of the Zidonians. She was
the Ishtar of the Accadians and the Astarte of the Greeks (Jer.
44:17; 1 Kings 11:5, 33; 2 Kings 23:13). There was a temple of
this goddess among the Philistines in the time of Saul (1 Sam.
31:10). Under the name of Ishtar, she was one of the great
deities of the Assyrians. The Phoenicians called her Astarte.
Solomon introduced the worship of this idol (1 Kings 11:33).
Jezebel's 400 priests were probably employed in its service (1
Kings 18:19). It was called the "queen of heaven" (Jer. 44:25).
(1.) The orient (mizrah); the rising of the sun. Thus "the east
country" is the country lying to the east of Syria, the Elymais
(2). Properly what is in front of one, or a country that is
before or in front of another; the rendering of the word
_kedem_. In pointing out the quarters, a Hebrew always looked
with his face toward the east. The word _kedem_ is used when the
four quarters of the world are described (Gen. 13:14; 28:14);
and _mizrah_ when the east only is distinguished from the west
(Josh. 11:3; Ps. 50:1; 103:12, etc.). In Gen. 25:6 "eastward" is
literally "unto the land of kedem;" i.e., the lands lying east
of Israel, namely, Arabia, Mesopotamia, etc.
from the Vulgate firmamentum, which is used as the translation
of the Hebrew _raki'a_. This word means simply "expansion." It
denotes the space or expanse like an arch appearing immediately
above us. They who rendered _raki'a_ by firmamentum regarded it
as a solid body. The language of Scripture is not scientific but
popular, and hence we read of the sun rising and setting, and
also here the use of this particular word. It is plain that it
was used to denote solidity as well as expansion. It formed a
division between the waters above and the waters below (Gen.
1:7). The _raki'a_ supported the upper reservoir (Ps. 148:4). It
was the support also of the heavenly bodies (Gen. 1:14), and is
spoken of as having "windows" and "doors" (Gen. 7:11; Isa.
24:18; Mal. 3:10) through which the rain and snow might descend.
and Aij'alon, place of deer. (1.) A town and valley originally
assigned to the tribe of Dan, from which, however, they could
not drive the Amorites (Judg. 1:35). It was one of the Levitical
cities given to the Kohathites (1 Chr. 6:69). It was not far
from Beth-shemesh (2 Chr. 28:18). It was the boundary between
the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, and is frequently mentioned in
Jewish history (2 Chr. 11:10; 1 Sam. 14:31; 1 Chr. 8:13). With
reference to the valley named after the town, Joshua uttered the
celebrated command, "Sun, stand thou still on Gibeon; and thou,
Moon, in the valley of Ajalon" (Josh. 10:12). It has been
identified as the modern Yalo, at the foot of the Beth-horon
pass (q.v.). In the Tell Amarna letters Adoni-zedek (q.v.)
speaks of the destruction of the "city of Ajalon" by the
invaders, and describes himself as "afflicted, greatly
afflicted" by the calamities that had come on the land, urging
the king of Egypt to hasten to his help.
(2.) A city in the tribe of Zebulun (Judg. 12:12), the modern
Jalun, three miles north of Cabul.
builder. (1.) The governor of Samaria in the time of Ahab. The
prophet Micaiah was committed to his custody (1 Kings 22:26; 2
(2.) The son of Manasseh, and fourteenth king of Judah. He
restored idolatry, and set up the images which his father had
cast down. Zephaniah (1:4; 3:4, 11) refers to the moral
depravity prevailing in this king's reign.
He was assassinated (2 Kings 21:18-26: 2 Chr. 33:20-25) by his
own servants, who conspired against him.
(3.) An Egyptian god, usually depicted with a human body and
the head of a ram, referred to in Jer. 46:25, where the word
"multitudes" in the Authorized Version is more appropriately
rendered "Amon" in the Revised Version. In Nah. 3:8 the
expression "populous No" of the Authorized version is rendered
in the Revised Version "No-amon." Amon is identified with Ra,
the sun-god of Heliopolis.
(4.) Neh. 7:59.
house of the sun. (1.) A sacerdotal city in the tribe of Dan
(Josh. 21:16; 1 Sam. 6:15), on the north border of Judah (Josh.
15:10). It was the scene of an encounter between Jehoash, king
of Israel, and Amaziah, king of Judah, in which the latter was
made prisoner (2 Kings 14:11, 13). It was afterwards taken by
the Philistines (2 Chr. 28:18). It is the modern ruined Arabic
village 'Ain-shems, on the north-west slopes of the mountains of
Judah, 14 miles west of Jerusalem.
(2.) A city between Dothan and the Jordan, near the southern
border of Issachar (Josh. 19:22), 7 1/2 miles south of
Beth-shean. It is the modern Ain-esh-Shemsiyeh.
(3.) One of the fenced cities of Naphtali (Josh. 19:38),
between Mount Tabor and the Jordan. Now Khurbet Shema, 3 miles
west of Safed. But perhaps the same as No. 2.
(4.) An idol sanctuary in Egypt (Jer. 43:13); called by the
Greeks Heliopolis, and by the Egyptians On (q.v.), Gen. 41:45.
(1.) In Isa. 58:5 the rendering of a word which denotes
"belonging to a marsh," from the nature of the soil in which it
grows (Isa. 18:2). It was sometimes platted into ropes (Job.
41:2; A.V., "hook," R.V., "rope," lit. "cord of rushes").
(2.) In Ex. 2:3, Isa. 18:2 (R.V., "papyrus") this word is the
translation of the Hebrew _gome_, which designates the plant as
absorbing moisture. In Isa. 35:7 and Job 8:11 it is rendered
"rush." This was the Egyptian papyrus (papyrus Nilotica). It was
anciently very abundant in Egypt. The Egyptians made garments
and shoes and various utensils of it. It was used for the
construction of the ark of Moses (Ex. 2:3, 5). The root portions
of the stem were used for food. The inside bark was cut into
strips, which were sewed together and dried in the sun, forming
the papyrus used for writing. It is no longer found in Egypt,
but grows luxuriantly in Israel, in the marshes of the Huleh,
and in the swamps at the north end of the Lake of Gennesaret.
(See CANE ¯T0000710.)
Tents were in primitive times the common dwellings of men.
Houses were afterwards built, the walls of which were frequently
of mud (Job 24:16; Matt. 6:19, 20) or of sun-dried bricks.
God "dwells in light" (1 Tim. 6:16; 1 John 1:7), in heaven
(Ps. 123:1), in his church (Ps. 9:11; 1 John 4:12). Christ dwelt
on earth in the days of his humiliation (John 1:14). He now
dwells in the hearts of his people (Eph. 3:17-19). The Holy
Spirit dwells in believers (1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Tim. 1:14). We are
exhorted to "let the word of God dwell in us richly" (Col. 3:16;
Dwell deep occurs only in Jer. 49:8, and refers to the custom
of seeking refuge from impending danger, in retiring to the
recesses of rocks and caverns, or to remote places in the
(1.) Jonah's gourd (Jonah 4:6-10), bearing the Hebrew name
_kikayon_ (found only here), was probably the kiki of the
Egyptians, the croton. This is the castor-oil plant, a species
of ricinus, the palma Christi, so called from the palmate
division of its leaves. Others with more probability regard it
as the cucurbita the el-keroa of the Arabs, a kind of pumpkin
peculiar to the East. "It is grown in great abundance on the
alluvial banks of the Tigris and on the plain between the river
and the ruins of Nineveh." At the present day it is trained to
run over structures of mud and brush to form boots to protect
the gardeners from the heat of the noon-day sun. It grows with
extraordinary rapidity, and when cut or injured withers away
also with great rapidity.
(2.) Wild gourds (2 Kings 4:38-40), Heb. pakkuoth, belong to
the family of the cucumber-like plants, some of which are
poisonous. The species here referred to is probably the
colocynth (Cucumis colocynthus). The LXX. render the word by
"wild pumpkin." It abounds in the desert parts of Syria, Egypt,
and Arabia. There is, however, another species, called the
Cucumis prophetarum, from the idea that it afforded the gourd
which "the sons of the prophets" shred by mistake into their
(Heb. rothem), called by the Arabs retem, and known as Spanish
broom; ranked under the genus genista. It is a desert shrub, and
abounds in many parts of Israel. In the account of his
journey from Akabah to Jerusalem, Dr. Robinson says: "This is
the largest and most conspicuous shrub of these deserts, growing
thickly in the water-courses and valleys. Our Arabs always
selected the place of encampment, if possible, in a spot where
it grew, in order to be sheltered by it at night from the wind;
and during the day, when they often went on in advance of the
camels, we found them not unfrequently sitting or sleeping under
a bush of retem to shelter them from the sun. It was in this
very desert, a day's journey from Beersheba, that the prophet
Elijah lay down and slept beneath the same shrub" (1 Kings 19:4,
5). It afforded material for fuel, and also in cases of
extremity for human food (Ps. 120:4; Job 30:4). One of the
encampments in the wilderness of Paran is called Rithmah, i.e.,
"place of broom" (Num. 33:18).
"The Bedawin of Sinai still burn this very plant into a
charcoal which throws out the most intense heat."
the offspring of the divine command (Gen. 1:3). "All the more
joyous emotions of the mind, all the pleasing sensations of the
frame, all the happy hours of domestic intercourse were
habitually described among the Hebrews under imagery derived
from light" (1 Kings 11:36; Isa. 58:8; Esther 8:16; Ps. 97:11).
Light came also naturally to typify true religion and the
felicity it imparts (Ps. 119:105; Isa. 8:20; Matt. 4:16, etc.),
and the glorious inheritance of the redeemed (Col. 1:12; Rev.
21:23-25). God is said to dwell in light inaccessible (1 Tim.
6:16). It frequently signifies instruction (Matt. 5:16; John
5:35). In its highest sense it is applied to Christ as the "Sun
of righteousness" (Mal. 4:2; Luke 2:32; John 1:7-9). God is
styled "the Father of lights" (James 1:17). It is used of angels
(2 Cor. 11:14), and of John the Baptist, who was a "burning and
a shining light" (John 5:35), and of all true disciples, who are
styled "the light of the world" (Matt. 5:14).
Egyptian, Pa-Tum, "house of Tum," the sun-god, one of the
"treasure" cities built for Pharaoh Rameses II. by the
Israelites (Ex. 1:11). It was probably the Patumos of the Greek
historian Herodotus. It has now been satisfactorily identified
with Tell-el-Maskhuta, about 12 miles west of Ismailia, and 20
east of Tel-el-Kebir, on the southern bank of the present Suez
Canal. Here have recently (1883) been discovered the ruins of
supposed grain-chambers, and other evidences to show that this
was a great "store city." Its immense ruin-heaps show that it
was built of bricks, and partly also of bricks without straw.
Succoth (Ex. 12:37) is supposed by some to be the secular name
of this city, Pithom being its sacred name. This was the first
halting-place of the Israelites in their exodus. It has been
argued (Dr. Lansing) that these "store" cities "were residence
cities, royal dwellings, such as the Pharaohs of old, the Kings
of Israel, and our modern Khedives have ever loved to build,
thus giving employment to the superabundant muscle of their
enslaved peoples, and making a name for themselves."
(Herb. nesher; properly the griffon vulture or great vulture, so
called from its tearing its prey with its beak), referred to for
its swiftness of flight (Deut. 28:49; 2 Sam. 1:23), its mounting
high in the air (Job 39:27), its strength (Ps. 103:5), its
setting its nest in high places (Jer. 49:16), and its power of
vision (Job 39:27-30).
This "ravenous bird" is a symbol of those nations whom God
employs and sends forth to do a work of destruction, sweeping
away whatever is decaying and putrescent (Matt. 24:28; Isa.
46:11; Ezek. 39:4; Deut. 28:49; Jer. 4:13; 48:40). It is said
that the eagle sheds his feathers in the beginning of spring,
and with fresh plumage assumes the appearance of youth. To this,
allusion is made in Ps. 103:5 and Isa. 40:31. God's care over
his people is likened to that of the eagle in training its young
to fly (Ex. 19:4; Deut. 32:11, 12). An interesting illustration
is thus recorded by Sir Humphry Davy:, "I once saw a very
interesting sight above the crags of Ben Nevis. Two parent
eagles were teaching their offspring, two young birds, the
maneuvers of flight. They began by rising from the top of the
mountain in the eye of the sun. It was about mid-day, and bright
for the climate. They at first made small circles, and the young
birds imitated them. They paused on their wings, waiting till
they had made their flight, and then took a second and larger
gyration, always rising toward the sun, and enlarging their
circle of flight so as to make a gradually ascending spiral. The
young ones still and slowly followed, apparently flying better
as they mounted; and they continued this sublime exercise,
always rising till they became mere points in the air, and the
young ones were lost, and afterwards their parents, to our
aching sight." (See Isa. 40:31.)
There have been observed in Israel four distinct species of
eagles, (1) the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos); (2) the
spotted eagle (Aquila naevia); (3) the common species, the
imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca); and (4) the Circaetos gallicus,
which preys on reptiles. The eagle was unclean by the Levitical
law (Lev. 11:13; Deut. 14:12).
There are ten Hebrew words used in Scripture to signify locust.
In the New Testament locusts are mentioned as forming part of
the food of John the Baptist (Matt. 3:4; Mark 1:6). By the
Mosaic law they were reckoned "clean," so that he could lawfully
eat them. The name also occurs in Rev. 9:3, 7, in allusion to
this Oriental devastating insect.
Locusts belong to the class of Orthoptera, i.e.,
straight-winged. They are of many species. The ordinary Syrian
locust resembles the grasshopper, but is larger and more
destructive. "The legs and thighs of these insects are so
powerful that they can leap to a height of two hundred times the
length of their bodies. When so raised they spread their wings
and fly so close together as to appear like one compact moving
mass." Locusts are prepared as food in various ways. Sometimes
they are pounded, and then mixed with flour and water, and baked
into cakes; "sometimes boiled, roasted, or stewed in butter, and
then eaten." They were eaten in a preserved state by the ancient
The devastations they make in Eastern lands are often very
appalling. The invasions of locusts are the heaviest calamites
that can befall a country. "Their numbers exceed computation:
the hebrews called them 'the countless,' and the Arabs knew them
as 'the darkeners of the sun.' Unable to guide their own flight,
though capable of crossing large spaces, they are at the mercy
of the wind, which bears them as blind instruments of Providence
to the doomed region given over to them for the time.
Innumerable as the drops of water or the sands of the seashore,
their flight obscures the sun and casts a thick shadow on the
earth (Ex. 10:15; Judg. 6:5; 7:12; Jer. 46:23; Joel 2:10). It
seems indeed as if a great aerial mountain, many miles in
breadth, were advancing with a slow, unresting progress. Woe to
the countries beneath them if the wind fall and let them alight!
They descend unnumbered as flakes of snow and hide the ground.
It may be 'like the garden of Eden before them, but behind them
is a desolate wilderness. At their approach the people are in
anguish; all faces lose their colour' (Joel 2:6). No walls can
stop them; no ditches arrest them; fires kindled in their path
are forthwith extinguished by the myriads of their dead, and the
countless armies march on (Joel 2:8, 9). If a door or a window
be open, they enter and destroy everything of wood in the house.
Every terrace, court, and inner chamber is filled with them in a
moment. Such an awful visitation swept over Egypt (Ex. 10:1-19),
consuming before it every green thing, and stripping the trees,
till the land was bared of all signs of vegetation. A strong
north-west wind from the Mediterranean swept the locusts into
the Red Sea.", Geikie's Hours, etc., ii., 149.
(1.) Heb. aven, "nothingness;" "vanity" (Isa. 66:3; 41:29; Deut.
32:21; 1 Kings 16:13; Ps. 31:6; Jer. 8:19, etc.).
(2.) 'Elil, "a thing of naught" (Ps. 97:7; Isa. 19:3); a word
of contempt, used of the gods of Noph (Ezek. 30:13).
(3.) 'Emah, "terror," in allusion to the hideous form of idols
(4.) Miphletzeth, "a fright;" "horror" (1 Kings 15:13; 2 Chr.
(5.) Bosheth, "shame;" "shameful thing" (Jer. 11:13; Hos.
9:10); as characterizing the obscenity of the worship of Baal.
(6.) Gillulim, also a word of contempt, "dung;" "refuse"
(Ezek. 16:36; 20:8; Deut. 29:17, marg.).
(7.) Shikkuts, "filth;" "impurity" (Ezek. 37:23; Nah. 3:6).
(8.) Semel, "likeness;" "a carved image" (Deut. 4:16).
(9.) Tselem, "a shadow" (Dan. 3:1; 1 Sam. 6:5), as
distinguished from the "likeness," or the exact counterpart.
(10.) Temunah, "similitude" (Deut. 4:12-19). Here Moses
forbids the several forms of Gentile idolatry.
(11.) 'Atsab, "a figure;" from the root "to fashion," "to
labour;" denoting that idols are the result of man's labour
(Isa. 48:5; Ps. 139:24, "wicked way;" literally, as some
translate, "way of an idol").
(12.) Tsir, "a form;" "shape" (Isa. 45:16).
(13.) Matztzebah, a "statue" set up (Jer. 43:13); a memorial
stone like that erected by Jacob (Gen. 28:18; 31:45; 35:14, 20),
by Joshua (4:9), and by Samuel (1 Sam. 7:12). It is the name
given to the statues of Baal (2 Kings 3:2; 10:27).
(14.) Hammanim, "sun-images." Hamman is a synonym of Baal, the
sun-god of the Phoenicians (2 Chr. 34:4, 7; 14:3, 5; Isa. 17:8).
(15.) Maskith, "device" (Lev. 26:1; Num. 33:52). In Lev. 26:1,
the words "image of stone" (A.V.) denote "a stone or cippus with
the image of an idol, as Baal, Astarte, etc." In Ezek. 8:12,
"chambers of imagery" (maskith), are "chambers of which the
walls are painted with the figures of idols;" comp. ver. 10, 11.
(16.) Pesel, "a graven" or "carved image" (Isa. 44:10-20). It
denotes also a figure cast in metal (Deut. 7:25; 27:15; Isa.
(17.) Massekah, "a molten image" (Deut. 9:12; Judg. 17:3, 4).
(18.) Teraphim, pl., "images," family gods (penates)
worshipped by Abram's kindred (Josh. 24:14). Put by Michal in
David's bed (Judg. 17:5; 18:14, 17, 18, 20; 1 Sam. 19:13).
"Nothing can be more instructive and significant than this
multiplicity and variety of words designating the instruments
and inventions of idolatry."
lord. (1.) The name appropriated to the principal male god of
the Phoenicians. It is found in several places in the plural
BAALIM (Judg. 2:11; 10:10; 1 Kings 18:18; Jer. 2:23; Hos. 2:17).
Baal is identified with Molech (Jer. 19:5). It was known to the
Israelites as Baal-peor (Num. 25:3; Deut. 4:3), was worshipped
till the time of Samuel (1 Sam 7:4), and was afterwards the
religion of the ten tribes in the time of Ahab (1 Kings
16:31-33; 18:19, 22). It prevailed also for a time in the
kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 8:27; comp. 11:18; 16:3; 2 Chr. 28:2),
till finally put an end to by the severe discipline of the
Captivity (Zeph. 1:4-6). The priests of Baal were in great
numbers (1 Kings 18:19), and of various classes (2 Kings 10:19).
Their mode of offering sacrifices is described in 1 Kings
18:25-29. The sun-god, under the general title of Baal, or
"lord," was the chief object of worship of the Canaanites. Each
locality had its special Baal, and the various local Baals were
summed up under the name of Baalim, or "lords." Each Baal had a
wife, who was a colourless reflection of himself.
(2.) A Benjamite, son of Jehiel, the progenitor of the
Gibeonites (1 Chr. 8:30; 9:36).
(3.) The name of a place inhabited by the Simeonites, the same
probably as Baal-ath-beer (1 Chr. 4:33; Josh. 19:8).
Bel protect the king!, the last of the kings of Babylon (Dan.
5:1). He was the son of Nabonidus by Nitocris, who was the
daughter of Nebuchadnezzar and the widow of Nergal-sharezer.
When still young he made a great feast to a thousand of his
lords, and when heated with wine sent for the sacred vessels his
"father" (Dan. 5:2), or grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar had carried
away from the temple in Jerusalem, and he and his princes drank
out of them. In the midst of their mad revelry a hand was seen
by the king tracing on the wall the announcement of God's
judgment, which that night fell upon him. At the instance of the
queen (i.e., his mother) Daniel was brought in, and he
interpreted the writing. That night the kingdom of the Chaldeans
came to an end, and the king was slain (Dan. 5:30). (See
The absence of the name of Belshazzar on the monuments was
long regarded as an argument against the genuineness of the Book
of Daniel. In 1854 Sir Henry Rawlinson found an inscription of
Nabonidus which referred to his eldest son. Quite recently,
however, the side of a ravine undermined by heavy rains fell at
Hillah, a suburb of Babylon. A number of huge, coarse
earthenware vases were laid bare. These were filled with
tablets, the receipts and contracts of a firm of Babylonian
bankers, which showed that Belshazzar had a household, with
secretaries and stewards. One was dated in the third year of the
king Marduk-sar-uzur. As Marduk-sar-uzar was another name for
Baal, this Marduk-sar-uzur was found to be the Belshazzar of
Scripture. In one of these contract tablets, dated in the July
after the defeat of the army of Nabonidus, we find him paying
tithes for his sister to the temple of the sun-god at Sippara.
the lamp-stand, "candelabrum," which Moses was commanded to make
for the tabernacle, according to the pattern shown him. Its form
is described in Ex. 25:31-40; 37:17-24, and may be seen
represented on the Arch of Titus at Rome. It was among the
spoils taken by the Romans from the temple of Jerusalem (A.D.
70). It was made of fine gold, and with the utensils belonging
to it was a talent in weight.
The tabernacle was a tent without windows, and thus artificial
light was needed. This was supplied by the candlestick, which,
however, served also as a symbol of the church or people of God,
who are "the light of the world." The light which "symbolizes
the knowledge of God is not the sun or any natural light, but an
artificial light supplied with a specially prepared oil; for the
knowledge of God is in truth not natural nor common to all men,
but furnished over and above nature."
This candlestick was placed on the south side of the Holy
Place, opposite the table of shewbread (Ex. 27:21; 30:7, 8; Lev.
24:3; 1 Sam. 3:3). It was lighted every evening, and was
extinguished in the morning. In the morning the priests trimmed
the seven lamps, borne by the seven branches, with golden
snuffers, carrying away the ashes in golden dishes (Ex. 25:38),
and supplying the lamps at the same time with fresh oil. What
ultimately became of the candlestick is unknown.
In Solomon's temple there were ten separate candlesticks of
pure gold, five on the right and five on the left of the Holy
Place (1 Kings 7:49; 2 Chr. 4:7). Their structure is not
mentioned. They were carried away to Babylon (Jer. 52:19).
In the temple erected after the Exile there was again but one
candlestick, and like the first, with seven branches. It was
this which was afterwards carried away by Titus to Rome, where
it was deposited in the Temple of Peace. When Genseric plundered
Rome, he is said to have carried it to Carthage (A.D. 455). It
was recaptured by Belisarius (A.D. 533), and carried to
Constantinople and thence to Jerusalem, where it finally
"There is no dew properly so called in Israel, for there is
no moisture in the hot summer air to be chilled into dew-drops
by the coldness of the night. From May till October rain is
unknown, the sun shining with unclouded brightness day after
day. The heat becomes intense, the ground hard, and vegetation
would perish but for the moist west winds that come each night
from the sea. The bright skies cause the heat of the day to
radiate very quickly into space, so that the nights are as cold
as the day is the reverse, a peculiarity of climate from which
poor Jacob suffered thousands of years ago (Gen. 31:40). To this
coldness of the night air the indispensable watering of all
plant-life is due. The winds, loaded with moisture, are robbed
of it as they pass over the land, the cold air condensing it
into drops of water, which fall in a gracious rain of mist on
every thirsty blade. In the morning the fog thus created rests
like a sea over the plains, and far up the sides of the hills,
which raise their heads above it like so many islands. At
sunrise, however, the scene speedily changes. By the kindling
light the mist is transformed into vast snow-white clouds, which
presently break into separate masses and rise up the
mountain-sides, to disappear in the blue above, dissipated by
the increasing heat. These are 'the morning clouds and the early
dew that go away' of which Hosea (6:4; 13:3) speaks so
touchingly" (Geikie's The Holy Land, etc., i., p. 72). Dew is a
source of great fertility (Gen. 27:28; Deut. 33:13; Zech. 8:12),
and its withdrawal is regarded as a curse from God (2 Sam. 1:21;
1 Kings 17:1). It is the symbol of a multitude (2 Sam. 17:12;
Ps. 110:3); and from its refreshing influence it is an emblem of
brotherly love and harmony (Ps. 133:3), and of rich spiritual
blessings (Hos. 14:5).
a peak, the eastern prolongation of the Anti-Lebanon range,
reaching to the height of about 9,200 feet above the
Mediterranean. It marks the north boundary of Israel (Deut.
3:8, 4:48; Josh. 11:3, 17; 13:11; 12:1), and is seen from a
great distance. It is about 40 miles north of the Sea of
Galilee. It is called "the Hermonites" (Ps. 42:6) because it has
more than one summit. The Sidonians called it Sirion, and the
Amorites Shenir (Deut. 3:9; Cant. 4:8). It is also called
Baal-hermon (Judg. 3:3; 1 Chr. 5:23) and Sion (Deut. 4:48).
There is every probability that one of its three summits was the
scene of the transfiguration (q.v.). The "dew of Hermon" is
referred to (Ps. 89: 12). Its modern name is Jebel-esh-Sheikh,
"the chief mountain." It is one of the most conspicuous
mountains in Israel or Syria. "In whatever part of Israel
the Israelite turned his eye northward, Hermon was there,
terminating the view. From the plain along the coast, from the
Jordan valley, from the heights of Moab and Gilead, from the
plateau of Bashan, the pale, blue, snow-capped cone forms the
one feature in the northern horizon."
Our Lord and his disciples climbed this "high mountain apart"
one day, and remained on its summit all night, "weary after
their long and toilsome ascent." During the night "he was
transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun."
The next day they descended to Caesarea Philippi.
exterminator of shame; i.e., of idols. (1.) The name of Saul's
son by the concubine Rizpah (q.v.), the daughter of Aiah. He and
his brother Armoni were with five others "hanged on a hill
before the Lord" by the Gibeonites, and their bodies exposed in
the sun for five months (2 Sam. 21:8-10). (2.) The son of
Jonathan, and grandson of Saul (2 Sam. 4:4). He was but five
years old when his father and grandfather fell on Mount Gilboa.
The child's nurse hearing of this calamity, fled with him from
Gibeah, the royal residence, and stumbling in her haste, the
child was thrown to the ground and maimed in both his feet, and
ever after was unable to walk (19:26). He was carried to the
land of Gilead, where he found a refuge in the house of Machir,
the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar, by whom he was brought up.
Some years after this, when David had subdued all the
adversaries of Israel, he began to think of the family of
Jonathan, and discovered that Mephibosheth was residing in the
house of Machir. Thither he sent royal messengers, and brought
him and his infant son to Jerusalem, where he ever afterwards
resided (2 Sam. 9).
When David was a fugitive, according to the story of Ziba (2
Sam. 16:1-4) Mephibosheth proved unfaithful to him, and was
consequently deprived of half of his estates; but according to
his own story, however (19:24-30), he had remained loyal to his
friend. After this incident he is only mentioned as having been
protected by David against the vengeance the Gibeonites were
permitted to execute on the house of Saul (21:7). He is also
called Merib-baal (1 Chr. 8:34; 9:40). (See ZIBA ¯T0003919.)
The Mosaic legislation regarding the poor is specially
important. (1.) They had the right of gleaning the fields (Lev.
19:9, 10; Deut. 24:19,21).
(2.) In the sabbatical year they were to have their share of
the produce of the fields and the vineyards (Ex. 23:11; Lev.
(3.) In the year of jubilee they recovered their property
(4.) Usury was forbidden, and the pledged raiment was to be
returned before the sun went down (Ex. 22:25-27; Deut.
24:10-13). The rich were to be generous to the poor (Deut.
(5.) In the sabbatical and jubilee years the bond-servant was
to go free (Deut. 15:12-15; Lev. 25:39-42, 47-54).
(6.) Certain portions from the tithes were assigned to the
poor (Deut. 14:28, 29; 26:12, 13).
(7.) They shared in the feasts (Deut. 16:11, 14; Neh. 8:10).
(8.) Wages were to be paid at the close of each day (Lev.
In the New Testament (Luke 3:11; 14:13; Acts 6:1; Gal. 2:10;
James 2:15, 16) we have similar injunctions given with reference
to the poor. Begging was not common under the Old Testament,
while it was so in the New Testament times (Luke 16:20, 21,
etc.). But begging in the case of those who are able to work is
forbidden, and all such are enjoined to "work with their own
hands" as a Christian duty (1 Thess. 4:11; 2 Thess. 3:7-13; Eph.
4:28). This word is used figuratively in Matt. 5:3; Luke 6:20; 2
Cor. 8:9; Rev. 3:17.
of the sun, the son of Manoah, born at Zorah. The narrative of
his life is given in Judg. 13-16. He was a "Nazarite unto God"
from his birth, the first Nazarite mentioned in Scripture (Judg.
13:3-5; comp. Num. 6:1-21). The first recorded event of his life
was his marriage with a Philistine woman of Timnath (Judg.
14:1-5). Such a marriage was not forbidden by the law of Moses,
as the Philistines did not form one of the seven doomed
Canaanite nations (Ex. 34:11-16; Deut. 7:1-4). It was, however,
an ill-assorted and unblessed marriage. His wife was soon taken
from him and given "to his companion" (Judg. 14:20). For this
Samson took revenge by burning the "standing corn of the
Philistines" (15:1-8), who, in their turn, in revenge "burnt her
and her father with fire." Her death he terribly avenged
(15:7-19). During the twenty years following this he judged
Israel; but we have no record of his life. Probably these twenty
years may have been simultaneous with the last twenty years of
Eli's life. After this we have an account of his exploits at
Gaza (16:1-3), and of his infatuation for Delilah, and her
treachery (16:4-20), and then of his melancholy death
(16:21-31). He perished in the last terrible destruction he
brought upon his enemies. "So the dead which he slew at his
death were more [in social and political importance=the elite of
the people] than they which he slew in his life."
"Straining all his nerves, he bowed:
As with the force of winds and waters pent,
When mountains tremble, those two massy pillars
With horrible convulsion to and fro
He tugged, he shook, till down they came, and drew
The whole roof after them, with burst of thunder
Upon the heads of all who sat beneath,
Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, or priests,
Their choice nobility and flower."
Milton's Samson Agonistes.
the descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham. Migrating from their
original home, they seem to have reached the Persian Gulf, and
to have there sojourned for some time. They thence "spread to
the west, across the mountain chain of Lebanon to the very edge
of the Mediterranean Sea, occupying all the land which later
became Israel, also to the north-west as far as the mountain
chain of Taurus. This group was very numerous, and broken up
into a great many peoples, as we can judge from the list of
nations (Gen. 10), the 'sons of Canaan.'" Six different tribes
are mentioned in Ex. 3:8, 17; 23:23; 33:2; 34:11. In Ex. 13:5
the "Perizzites" are omitted. The "Girgashites" are mentioned in
addition to the foregoing in Deut. 7:1; Josh. 3:10.
The "Canaanites," as distinguished from the Amalekites, the
Anakim, and the Rephaim, were "dwellers in the lowlands" (Num.
13:29), the great plains and valleys, the richest and most
important parts of Israel. Tyre and Sidon, their famous
cities, were the centres of great commercial activity; and hence
the name "Canaanite" came to signify a "trader" or "merchant"
(Job 41:6; Prov. 31:24, lit. "Canaanites;" comp. Zeph. 1:11;
Ezek. 17:4). The name "Canaanite" is also sometimes used to
designate the non-Israelite inhabitants of the land in general
(Gen. 12:6; Num. 21:3; Judg. 1:10).
The Israelites, when they were led to the Promised Land, were
commanded utterly to destroy the descendants of Canaan then
possessing it (Ex. 23:23; Num. 33:52, 53; Deut. 20:16, 17). This
was to be done "by little and little," lest the beasts of the
field should increase (Ex. 23:29; Deut. 7:22, 23). The history
of these wars of conquest is given in the Book of Joshua. The
extermination of these tribes, however, was never fully carried
out. Jerusalem was not taken till the time of David (2 Sam. 5:6,
7). In the days of Solomon bond-service was exacted from the
fragments of the tribes still remaining in the land (1 Kings
9:20, 21). Even after the return from captivity survivors of
five of the Canaanitish tribes were still found in the land.
In the Tell-el-Amarna tablets Canaan is found under the forms
of Kinakhna and Kinakhkhi. Under the name of Kanana the
Canaanites appear on Egyptian monuments, wearing a coat of mail
and helmet, and distinguished by the use of spear and javelin
and the battle-axe. They were called Phoenicians by the Greeks
and Poeni by the Romans. By race the Canaanites were Semitic.
They were famous as merchants and seamen, as well as for their
artistic skill. The chief object of their worship was the
sun-god, who was addressed by the general name of Baal, "lord."
Each locality had its special Baal, and the various local Baals
were summed up under the name of Baalim, "lords."
the land of the Nile and the pyramids, the oldest kingdom of
which we have any record, holds a place of great significance in
The Egyptians belonged to the white race, and their original
home is still a matter of dispute. Many scholars believe that it
was in Southern Arabia, and recent excavations have shown that
the valley of the Nile was originally inhabited by a low-class
population, perhaps belonging to the Nigritian stock, before the
Egyptians of history entered it. The ancient Egyptian language,
of which the latest form is Coptic, is distantly connected with
the Semitic family of speech.
Egypt consists geographically of two halves, the northern
being the Delta, and the southern Upper Egypt, between Cairo and
the First Cataract. In the Old Testament, Northern or Lower
Egypt is called Mazor, "the fortified land" (Isa. 19:6; 37: 25,
where the A.V. mistranslates "defence" and "besieged places");
while Southern or Upper Egypt is Pathros, the Egyptian
Pa-to-Res, or "the land of the south" (Isa. 11:11). But the
whole country is generally mentioned under the dual name of
Mizraim, "the two Mazors."
The civilization of Egypt goes back to a very remote
antiquity. The two kingdoms of the north and south were united
by Menes, the founder of the first historical dynasty of kings.
The first six dynasties constitute what is known as the Old
Empire, which had its capital at Memphis, south of Cairo, called
in the Old Testament Moph (Hos. 9:6) and Noph. The native name
was Mennofer, "the good place."
The Pyramids were tombs of the monarchs of the Old Empire,
those of Gizeh being erected in the time of the Fourth Dynasty.
After the fall of the Old Empire came a period of decline and
obscurity. This was followed by the Middle Empire, the most
powerful dynasty of which was the Twelfth. The Fayyum was
rescued for agriculture by the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty; and
two obelisks were erected in front of the temple of the sun-god
at On or Heliopolis (near Cairo), one of which is still
standing. The capital of the Middle Empire was Thebes, in Upper
The Middle Empire was overthrown by the invasion of the
Hyksos, or shepherd princes from Asia, who ruled over Egypt,
more especially in the north, for several centuries, and of whom
there were three dynasties of kings. They had their capital at
Zoan or Tanis (now San), in the north-eastern part of the Delta.
It was in the time of the Hyksos that Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph
entered Egypt. The Hyksos were finally expelled about B.C. 1600,
by the hereditary princes of Thebes, who founded the Eighteenth
Dynasty, and carried the war into Asia. Canaan and Syria were
subdued, as well as Cyprus, and the boundaries of the Egyptian
Empire were fixed at the Euphrates. The Soudan, which had been
conquered by the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty, was again annexed
to Egypt, and the eldest son of the Pharaoh took the title of
"Prince of Cush."
One of the later kings of the dynasty, Amenophis IV., or
Khu-n-Aten, endeavoured to supplant the ancient state religion
of Egypt by a new faith derived from Asia, which was a sort of
pantheistic monotheism, the one supreme god being adored under
the image of the solar disk. The attempt led to religious and
civil war, and the Pharaoh retreated from Thebes to Central
Egypt, where he built a new capital, on the site of the present
Tell-el-Amarna. The cuneiform tablets that have been found there
represent his foreign correspondence (about B.C. 1400). He
surrounded himself with officials and courtiers of Asiatic, and
more especially Canaanitish, extraction; but the native party
succeeded eventually in overthrowing the government, the capital
of Khu-n-Aten was destroyed, and the foreigners were driven out
of the country, those that remained being reduced to serfdom.
The national triumph was marked by the rise of the Nineteenth
Dynasty, in the founder of which, Rameses I., we must see the
"new king, who knew not Joseph." His grandson, Rameses II.,
reigned sixty-seven years (B.C. 1348-1281), and was an
indefatigable builder. As Pithom, excavated by Dr. Naville in
1883, was one of the cities he built, he must have been the
Pharaoh of the Oppression. The Pharaoh of the Exodus may have
been one of his immediate successors, whose reigns were short.
Under them Egypt lost its empire in Asia, and was itself
attacked by barbarians from Libya and the north.
The Nineteenth Dynasty soon afterwards came to an end; Egypt
was distracted by civil war; and for a short time a Canaanite,
Arisu, ruled over it.
Then came the Twentieth Dynasty, the second Pharaoh of which,
Rameses III., restored the power of his country. In one of his
campaigns he overran the southern part of Israel, where the
Israelites had not yet settled. They must at the time have been
still in the wilderness. But it was during the reign of Rameses
III. that Egypt finally lost Gaza and the adjoining cities,
which were seized by the Pulista, or Philistines.
After Rameses III., Egypt fell into decay. Solomon married the
daughter of one of the last kings of the Twenty-first Dynasty,
which was overthrown by Shishak I., the general of the Libyan
mercenaries, who founded the Twenty-second Dynasty (1 Kings
11:40; 14:25, 26). A list of the places he captured in Israel
is engraved on the outside of the south wall of the temple of
In the time of Hezekiah, Egypt was conquered by Ethiopians
from the Soudan, who constituted the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. The
third of them was Tirhakah (2 Kings 19:9). In B.C. 674 it was
conquered by the Assyrians, who divided it into twenty
satrapies, and Tirhakah was driven back to his ancestral
dominions. Fourteen years later it successfully revolted under
Psammetichus I. of Sais, the founder of the Twenty-sixth
Dynasty. Among his successors were Necho (2 Kings 23:29) and
Hophra, or Apries (Jer. 37:5, 7, 11). The dynasty came to an end
in B.C. 525, when the country was subjugated by Cambyses. Soon
afterwards it was organized into a Persian satrapy.
The title of Pharaoh, given to the Egyptian kings, is the
Egyptian Per-aa, or "Great House," which may be compared to that
of "Sublime Porte." It is found in very early Egyptian texts.
The Egyptian religion was a strange mixture of pantheism and
animal worship, the gods being adored in the form of animals.
While the educated classes resolved their manifold deities into
manifestations of one omnipresent and omnipotent divine power,
the lower classes regarded the animals as incarnations of the
Under the Old Empire, Ptah, the Creator, the god of Memphis,
was at the head of the Pantheon; afterwards Amon, the god of
Thebes, took his place. Amon, like most of the other gods, was
identified with Ra, the sun-god of Heliopolis.
The Egyptians believed in a resurrection and future life, as
well as in a state of rewards and punishments dependent on our
conduct in this world. The judge of the dead was Osiris, who had
been slain by Set, the representative of evil, and afterwards
restored to life. His death was avenged by his son Horus, whom
the Egyptians invoked as their "Redeemer." Osiris and Horus,
along with Isis, formed a trinity, who were regarded as
representing the sun-god under different forms.
Even in the time of Abraham, Egypt was a flourishing and
settled monarchy. Its oldest capital, within the historic
period, was Memphis, the ruins of which may still be seen near
the Pyramids and the Sphinx. When the Old Empire of Menes came
to an end, the seat of empire was shifted to Thebes, some 300
miles farther up the Nile. A short time after that, the Delta
was conquered by the Hyksos, or shepherd kings, who fixed their
capital at Zoan, the Greek Tanis, now San, on the Tanic arm of
the Nile. All this occurred before the time of the new king
"which knew not Joseph" (Ex. 1:8). In later times Egypt was
conquered by the Persians (B.C. 525), and by the Greeks under
Alexander the Great (B.C. 332), after whom the Ptolemies ruled
the country for three centuries. Subsequently it was for a time
a province of the Roman Empire; and at last, in A.D. 1517, it
fell into the hands of the Turks, of whose empire it still forms
nominally a part. Abraham and Sarah went to Egypt in the time of
the shepherd kings. The exile of Joseph and the migration of
Jacob to "the land of Goshen" occurred about 200 years later. On
the death of Solomon, Shishak, king of Egypt, invaded Israel
(1 Kings 14:25). He left a list of the cities he conquered.
A number of remarkable clay tablets, discovered at
Tell-el-Amarna in Upper Egypt, are the most important historical
records ever found in connection with the Bible. They most fully
confirm the historical statements of the Book of Joshua, and
prove the antiquity of civilization in Syria and Israel. As
the clay in different parts of Israel differs, it has been
found possible by the clay alone to decide where the tablets
come from when the name of the writer is lost. The inscriptions
are cuneiform, and in the Aramaic language, resembling Assyrian.
The writers are Phoenicians, Amorites, and Philistines, but in
no instance Hittites, though Hittites are mentioned. The tablets
consist of official dispatches and letters, dating from B.C.
1480, addressed to the two Pharaohs, Amenophis III. and IV., the
last of this dynasty, from the kings and governors of Phoenicia
and Israel. There occur the names of three kings killed by
Joshua, Adoni-zedec, king of Jerusalem, Japhia, king of Lachish
(Josh. 10:3), and Jabin, king of Hazor (11:1); also the Hebrews
(Abiri) are said to have come from the desert.
The principal prophecies of Scripture regarding Egypt are
these, Isa. 19; Jer. 43: 8-13; 44:30; 46; Ezek. 29-32; and it
might be easily shown that they have all been remarkably
fulfilled. For example, the singular disappearance of Noph
(i.e., Memphis) is a fulfilment of Jer. 46:19, Ezek. 30:13.
image-worship or divine honour paid to any created object. Paul
describes the origin of idolatry in Rom. 1:21-25: men forsook
God, and sank into ignorance and moral corruption (1:28).
The forms of idolatry are, (1.) Fetishism, or the worship of
trees, rivers, hills, stones, etc.
(2.) Nature worship, the worship of the sun, moon, and stars,
as the supposed powers of nature.
(3.) Hero worship, the worship of deceased ancestors, or of
In Scripture, idolatry is regarded as of heathen origin, and
as being imported among the Hebrews through contact with heathen
nations. The first allusion to idolatry is in the account of
Rachel stealing her father's teraphim (Gen. 31:19), which were
the relics of the worship of other gods by Laban's progenitors
"on the other side of the river in old time" (Josh. 24:2).
During their long residence in Egypt the Hebrews fell into
idolatry, and it was long before they were delivered from it
(Josh. 24:14; Ezek. 20:7). Many a token of God's displeasure
fell upon them because of this sin.
The idolatry learned in Egypt was probably rooted out from
among the people during the forty years' wanderings; but when
the Jews entered Israel, they came into contact with the
monuments and associations of the idolatry of the old
Canaanitish races, and showed a constant tendency to depart from
the living God and follow the idolatrous practices of those
heathen nations. It was their great national sin, which was only
effectually rebuked by the Babylonian exile. That exile finally
purified the Jews of all idolatrous tendencies.
The first and second commandments are directed against
idolatry of every form. Individuals and communities were equally
amenable to the rigorous code. The individual offender was
devoted to destruction (Ex. 22:20). His nearest relatives were
not only bound to denounce him and deliver him up to punishment
(Deut. 13:20-10), but their hands were to strike the first blow
when, on the evidence of two witnesses at least, he was stoned
(Deut. 17:2-7). To attempt to seduce others to false worship was
a crime of equal enormity (13:6-10). An idolatrous nation shared
the same fate. No facts are more strongly declared in the Old
Testament than that the extermination of the Canaanites was the
punishment of their idolatry (Ex. 34:15, 16; Deut. 7; 12:29-31;
20:17), and that the calamities of the Israelites were due to
the same cause (Jer. 2:17). "A city guilty of idolatry was
looked upon as a cancer in the state; it was considered to be in
rebellion, and treated according to the laws of war. Its
inhabitants and all their cattle were put to death." Jehovah was
the theocratic King of Israel, the civil Head of the
commonwealth, and therefore to an Israelite idolatry was a state
offence (1 Sam. 15:23), high treason. On taking possession of
the land, the Jews were commanded to destroy all traces of every
kind of the existing idolatry of the Canaanites (Ex. 23:24, 32;
34:13; Deut. 7:5, 25; 12:1-3).
In the New Testament the term idolatry is used to designate
covetousness (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13; Col. 3:5; Eph. 5:5).
the official title borne by the Egyptian kings down to the time
when that country was conquered by the Greeks. (See EGYPT
¯T0001137.) The name is a compound, as some think, of the words
Ra, the "sun" or "sun-god," and the article phe, "the,"
prefixed; hence phera, "the sun," or "the sun-god." But others,
perhaps more correctly, think the name derived from Perao, "the
great house" = his majesty = in Turkish, "the Sublime Porte."
(1.) The Pharaoh who was on the throne when Abram went down
into Egypt (Gen. 12:10-20) was probably one of the Hyksos, or
"shepherd kings." The Egyptians called the nomad tribes of Syria
Shasu, "plunderers," their king or chief Hyk, and hence the name
of those invaders who conquered the native kings and established
a strong government, with Zoan or Tanis as their capital. They
were of Semitic origin, and of kindred blood accordingly with
Abram. They were probably driven forward by the pressure of the
Hittites. The name they bear on the monuments is "Mentiu."
(2.) The Pharaoh of Joseph's days (Gen. 41) was probably
Apopi, or Apopis, the last of the Hyksos kings. To the old
native Egyptians, who were an African race, shepherds were "an
abomination;" but to the Hyksos kings these Asiatic shepherds
who now appeared with Jacob at their head were congenial, and
being akin to their own race, had a warm welcome (Gen. 47:5, 6).
Some argue that Joseph came to Egypt in the reign of Thothmes
III., long after the expulsion of the Hyksos, and that his
influence is to be seen in the rise and progress of the
religious revolution in the direction of monotheism which
characterized the middle of the Eighteenth Dynasty. The wife of
Amenophis III., of that dynasty, was a Semite. Is this singular
fact to be explained from the presence of some of Joseph's
kindred at the Egyptian court? Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Thy
father and thy brethren are come unto thee: the land of Egypt is
before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and
brethren to dwell" (Gen. 47:5, 6).
(3.) The "new king who knew not Joseph" (Ex. 1:8-22) has been
generally supposed to have been Aahmes I., or Amosis, as he is
called by Josephus. Recent discoveries, however, have led to the
conclusion that Seti was the "new king."
For about seventy years the Hebrews in Egypt were under the
powerful protection of Joseph. After his death their condition
was probably very slowly and gradually changed. The invaders,
the Hyksos, who for some five centuries had been masters of
Egypt, were driven out, and the old dynasty restored. The
Israelites now began to be looked down upon. They began to be
afflicted and tyrannized over. In process of time a change
appears to have taken place in the government of Egypt. A new
dynasty, the Nineteenth, as it is called, came into power under
Seti I., who was its founder. He associated with him in his
government his son, Rameses II., when he was yet young, probably
ten or twelve years of age.
Note, Professor Maspero, keeper of the museum of Bulak, near
Cairo, had his attention in 1870 directed to the fact that
scarabs, i.e., stone and metal imitations of the beetle (symbols
of immortality), originally worn as amulets by royal personages,
which were evidently genuine relics of the time of the ancient
Pharaohs, were being sold at Thebes and different places along
the Nile. This led him to suspect that some hitherto
undiscovered burial-place of the Pharaohs had been opened, and
that these and other relics, now secretly sold, were a part of
the treasure found there. For a long time he failed, with all
his ingenuity, to find the source of these rare treasures. At
length one of those in the secret volunteered to give
information regarding this burial-place. The result was that a
party was conducted in 1881 to Dier el-Bahari, near Thebes, when
the wonderful discovery was made of thirty-six mummies of kings,
queens, princes, and high priests hidden away in a cavern
prepared for them, where they had lain undisturbed for thirty
centuries. "The temple of Deir el-Bahari stands in the middle of
a natural amphitheatre of cliffs, which is only one of a number
of smaller amphitheatres into which the limestone mountains of
the tombs are broken up. In the wall of rock separating this
basin from the one next to it some ancient Egyptian engineers
had constructed the hiding-place, whose secret had been kept for
nearly three thousand years." The exploring party being guided
to the place, found behind a great rock a shaft 6 feet square
and about 40 feet deep, sunk into the limestone. At the bottom
of this a passage led westward for 25 feet, and then turned
sharply northward into the very heart of the mountain, where in
a chamber 23 feet by 13, and 6 feet in height, they came upon
the wonderful treasures of antiquity. The mummies were all
carefully secured and brought down to Bulak, where they were
deposited in the royal museum, which has now been removed to
Among the most notable of the ancient kings of Egypt thus
discovered were Thothmes III., Seti I., and Rameses II. Thothmes
III. was the most distinguished monarch of the brilliant
Eighteenth Dynasty. When this mummy was unwound "once more,
after an interval of thirty-six centuries, human eyes gazed on
the features of the man who had conquered Syria and Cyprus and
Ethiopia, and had raised Egypt to the highest pinnacle of her
power. The spectacle, however, was of brief duration. The
remains proved to be in so fragile a state that there was only
time to take a hasty photograph, and then the features crumbled
to pieces and vanished like an apparition, and so passed away
from human view for ever." "It seems strange that though the
body of this man," who overran Israel with his armies two
hundred years before the birth of Moses, "mouldered to dust, the
flowers with which it had been wreathed were so wonderfully
preserved that even their colour could be distinguished"
(Manning's Land of the Pharaohs).
Seti I. (his throne name Merenptah), the father of Rameses
II., was a great and successful warrior, also a great builder.
The mummy of this Pharaoh, when unrolled, brought to view "the
most beautiful mummy head ever seen within the walls of the
museum. The sculptors of Thebes and Abydos did not flatter this
Pharaoh when they gave him that delicate, sweet, and smiling
profile which is the admiration of travellers. After a lapse of
thirty-two centuries, the mummy retains the same expression
which characterized the features of the living man. Most
remarkable of all, when compared with the mummy of Rameses II.,
is the striking resemblance between the father and the son. Seti
I. is, as it were, the idealized type of Rameses II. He must
have died at an advanced age. The head is shaven, the eyebrows
are white, the condition of the body points to considerably more
than threescore years of life, thus confirming the opinions of
the learned, who have attributed a long reign to this king."
(4.) Rameses II., the son of Seti I., is probably the Pharaoh
of the Oppression. During his forty years' residence at the
court of Egypt, Moses must have known this ruler well. During
his sojourn in Midian, however, Rameses died, after a reign of
sixty-seven years, and his body embalmed and laid in the royal
sepulchre in the Valley of the Tombs of Kings beside that of his
father. Like the other mummies found hidden in the cave of Deir
el-Bahari, it had been for some reason removed from its original
tomb, and probably carried from place to place till finally
deposited in the cave where it was so recently discovered.
In 1886, the mummy of this king, the "great Rameses," the
"Sesostris" of the Greeks, was unwound, and showed the body of
what must have been a robust old man. The features revealed to
view are thus described by Maspero: "The head is long and small
in proportion to the body. The top of the skull is quite bare.
On the temple there are a few sparse hairs, but at the poll the
hair is quite thick, forming smooth, straight locks about two
inches in length. White at the time of death, they have been
dyed a light yellow by the spices used in embalmment. The
forehead is low and narrow; the brow-ridge prominent; the
eye-brows are thick and white; the eyes are small and close
together; the nose is long, thin, arched like the noses of the
Bourbons; the temples are sunk; the cheek-bones very prominent;
the ears round, standing far out from the head, and pierced,
like those of a woman, for the wearing of earrings; the jaw-bone
is massive and strong; the chin very prominent; the mouth small,
but thick-lipped; the teeth worn and very brittle, but white and
well preserved. The moustache and beard are thin. They seem to
have been kept shaven during life, but were probably allowed to
grow during the king's last illness, or they may have grown
after death. The hairs are white, like those of the head and
eyebrows, but are harsh and bristly, and a tenth of an inch in
length. The skin is of an earthy-brown, streaked with black.
Finally, it may be said, the face of the mummy gives a fair idea
of the face of the living king. The expression is
unintellectual, perhaps slightly animal; but even under the
somewhat grotesque disguise of mummification there is plainly to
be seen an air of sovereign majesty, of resolve, and of pride."
Both on his father's and his mother's side it has been pretty
clearly shown that Rameses had Chaldean or Mesopotamian blood in
his veins to such a degree that he might be called an Assyrian.
This fact is thought to throw light on Isa. 52:4.
(5.) The Pharaoh of the Exodus was probably Menephtah I., the
fourteenth and eldest surviving son of Rameses II. He resided at
Zoan, where he had the various interviews with Moses and Aaron
recorded in the book of Exodus. His mummy was not among those
found at Deir el-Bahari. It is still a question, however,
whether Seti II. or his father Menephtah was the Pharaoh of the
Exodus. Some think the balance of evidence to be in favour of
the former, whose reign it is known began peacefully, but came
to a sudden and disastrous end. The "Harris papyrus," found at
Medinet-Abou in Upper Egypt in 1856, a state document written by
Rameses III., the second king of the Twentieth Dynasty, gives at
length an account of a great exodus from Egypt, followed by
wide-spread confusion and anarchy. This, there is great reason
to believe, was the Hebrew exodus, with which the Nineteenth
Dynasty of the Pharaohs came to an end. This period of anarchy
was brought to a close by Setnekht, the founder of the Twentieth
"In the spring of 1896, Professor Flinders Petrie discovered,
among the ruins of the temple of Menephtah at Thebes, a large
granite stela, on which is engraved a hymn of victory
commemorating the defeat of Libyan invaders who had overrun the
Delta. At the end other victories of Menephtah are glanced at,
and it is said that 'the Israelites (I-s-y-r-a-e-l-u) are
minished (?) so that they have no seed.' Menephtah was son and
successor of Rameses II., the builder of Pithom, and Egyptian
scholars have long seen in him the Pharaoh of the Exodus. The
Exodus is also placed in his reign by the Egyptian legend of the
event preserved by the historian Manetho. In the inscription the
name of the Israelites has no determinative of 'country' or
'district' attached to it, as is the case with all the other
names (Canaan, Ashkelon, Gezer, Khar or Southern Israel,
etc.) mentioned along with it, and it would therefore appear
that at the time the hymn was composed, the Israelites had
already been lost to the sight of the Egyptians in the desert.
At all events they must have had as yet no fixed home or
district of their own. We may therefore see in the reference to
them the Pharaoh's version of the Exodus, the disasters which
befell the Egyptians being naturally passed over in silence, and
only the destruction of the 'men children' of the Israelites
being recorded. The statement of the Egyptian poet is a
remarkable parallel to Ex. 1:10-22."
(6.) The Pharaoh of 1 Kings 11:18-22.
(7.) So, king of Egypt (2 Kings 17:4).
(8.) The Pharaoh of 1 Chr. 4:18.
(9.) Pharaoh, whose daughter Solomon married (1 Kings 3:1;
(10.) Pharaoh, in whom Hezekiah put his trust in his war
against Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:21).
(11.) The Pharaoh by whom Josiah was defeated and slain at
Megiddo (2 Chr. 35:20-24; 2 Kings 23:29, 30). (See NECHO
(12.) Pharaoh-hophra, who in vain sought to relieve Jerusalem
when it was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar (q.v.), 2 Kings 25:1-4;
comp. Jer. 37:5-8; Ezek. 17:11-13. (See ZEDEKIAH ¯T0003894.)
Joshua, The Book of
contains a history of the Israelites from the death of Moses to
that of Joshua. It consists of three parts: (1.) The history of
the conquest of the land (1-12). (2.) The allotment of the land
to the different tribes, with the appointment of cities of
refuge, the provision for the Levites (13-22), and the dismissal
of the eastern tribes to their homes. This section has been
compared to the Domesday Book of the Norman conquest. (3.) The
farewell addresses of Joshua, with an account of his death (23,
This book stands first in the second of the three sections,
(1) the Law, (2) the Prophets, (3) the "other writings" =
Hagiographa, into which the Jewish Church divided the Old
Testament. There is every reason for concluding that the uniform
tradition of the Jews is correct when they assign the authorship
of the book to Joshua, all except the concluding section; the
last verses (24:29-33) were added by some other hand.
There are two difficulties connected with this book which have
given rise to much discussion, (1.) The miracle of the standing
still of the sun and moon on Gibeon. The record of it occurs in
Joshua's impassioned prayer of faith, as quoted (Josh. 10:12-15)
from the "Book of Jasher" (q.v.). There are many explanations
given of these words. They need, however, present no difficulty
if we believe in the possibility of God's miraculous
interposition in behalf of his people. Whether it was caused by
the refraction of the light, or how, we know not.
(2.) Another difficulty arises out of the command given by God
utterly to exterminate the Canaanites. "Shall not the Judge of
all the earth do right?" It is enough that Joshua clearly knew
that this was the will of God, who employs his terrible
agencies, famine, pestilence, and war, in the righteous
government of this world. The Canaanites had sunk into a state
of immorality and corruption so foul and degrading that they had
to be rooted out of the land with the edge of the sword. "The
Israelites' sword, in its bloodiest executions, wrought a work
of mercy for all the countries of the earth to the very end of
This book resembles the Acts of the Apostles in the number and
variety of historical incidents it records, and in its many
references to persons and places; and as in the latter case the
epistles of Paul (see Paley's Horae Paul.) confirm its
historical accuracy by their incidental allusions and
"undesigned coincidences," so in the former modern discoveries
confirm its historicity. The Amarna tablets (see ADONIZEDEC
¯T0000099) are among the most remarkable discoveries of the age.
Dating from about B.C. 1480 down to the time of Joshua, and
consisting of official communications from Amorite, Phoenician,
and Philistine chiefs to the king of Egypt, they afford a
glimpse into the actual condition of Israel prior to the
Hebrew invasion, and illustrate and confirm the history of the
conquest. A letter, also still extant, from a military officer,
"master of the captains of Egypt," dating from near the end of
the reign of Rameses II., gives a curious account of a journey,
probably official, which he undertook through Israel as far
north as to Aleppo, and an insight into the social condition of
the country at that time. Among the things brought to light by
this letter and the Amarna tablets is the state of confusion and
decay that had now fallen on Egypt. The Egyptian garrisons that
had held possession of Israel from the time of Thothmes III.,
some two hundred years before, had now been withdrawn. The way
was thus opened for the Hebrews. In the history of the conquest
there is no mention of Joshua having encountered any Egyptian
force. The tablets contain many appeals to the king of Egypt for
help against the inroads of the Hebrews, but no help seems ever
to have been sent. Is not this just such a state of things as
might have been anticipated as the result of the disaster of the
Exodus? In many points, as shown under various articles, the
progress of the conquest is remarkably illustrated by the
tablets. The value of modern discoveries in their relation to
Old Testament history has been thus well described:
"The difficulty of establishing the charge of lack of
historical credibility, as against the testimony of the Old
Testament, has of late years greatly increased. The outcome of
recent excavations and explorations is altogether against it. As
long as these books contained, in the main, the only known
accounts of the events they mention, there was some plausibility
in the theory that perhaps these accounts were written rather to
teach moral lessons than to preserve an exact knowledge of
events. It was easy to say in those times men had not the
historic sense. But the recent discoveries touch the events
recorded in the Bible at very many different points in many
different generations, mentioning the same persons, countries,
peoples, events that are mentioned in the Bible, and showing
beyond question that these were strictly historic. The point is
not that the discoveries confirm the correctness of the Biblical
statements, though that is commonly the case, but that the
discoveries show that the peoples of those ages had the historic
sense, and, specifically, that the Biblical narratives they
touch are narratives of actual occurrences."
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.
=Saul (q.v.) was born about the same time as our Lord. His
circumcision-name was Saul, and probably the name Paul was also
given to him in infancy "for use in the Gentile world," as
"Saul" would be his Hebrew home-name. He was a native of Tarsus,
the capital of Cilicia, a Roman province in the south-east of
Asia Minor. That city stood on the banks of the river Cydnus,
which was navigable thus far; hence it became a centre of
extensive commercial traffic with many countries along the
shores of the Mediterranean, as well as with the countries of
central Asia Minor. It thus became a city distinguished for the
wealth of its inhabitants.
Tarsus was also the seat of a famous university, higher in
reputation even than the universities of Athens and Alexandria,
the only others that then existed. Here Saul was born, and here
he spent his youth, doubtless enjoying the best education his
native city could afford. His father was of the straitest sect
of the Jews, a Pharisee, of the tribe of Benjamin, of pure and
unmixed Jewish blood (Acts 23:6; Phil. 3:5). We learn nothing
regarding his mother; but there is reason to conclude that she
was a pious woman, and that, like-minded with her husband, she
exercised all a mother influence in moulding the character of
her son, so that he could afterwards speak of himself as being,
from his youth up, "touching the righteousness which is in the
law, blameless" (Phil. 3:6).
We read of his sister and his sister's son (Acts 23:16), and
of other relatives (Rom. 16:7, 11, 12). Though a Jew, his father
was a Roman citizen. How he obtained this privilege we are not
informed. "It might be bought, or won by distinguished service
to the state, or acquired in several other ways; at all events,
his son was freeborn. It was a valuable privilege, and one that
was to prove of great use to Paul, although not in the way in
which his father might have been expected to desire him to make
use of it." Perhaps the most natural career for the youth to
follow was that of a merchant. "But it was decided that...he
should go to college and become a rabbi, that is, a minister, a
teacher, and a lawyer all in one."
According to Jewish custom, however, he learned a trade before
entering on the more direct preparation for the sacred
profession. The trade he acquired was the making of tents from
goats' hair cloth, a trade which was one of the commonest in
His preliminary education having been completed, Saul was
sent, when about thirteen years of age probably, to the great
Jewish school of sacred learning at Jerusalem as a student of
the law. Here he became a pupil of the celebrated rabbi
Gamaliel, and here he spent many years in an elaborate study of
the Scriptures and of the many questions concerning them with
which the rabbis exercised themselves. During these years of
diligent study he lived "in all good conscience," unstained by
the vices of that great city.
After the period of his student-life expired, he probably left
Jerusalem for Tarsus, where he may have been engaged in
connection with some synagogue for some years. But we find him
back again at Jerusalem very soon after the death of our Lord.
Here he now learned the particulars regarding the crucifixion,
and the rise of the new sect of the "Nazarenes."
For some two years after Pentecost, Christianity was quietly
spreading its influence in Jerusalem. At length Stephen, one of
the seven deacons, gave forth more public and aggressive
testimony that Jesus was the Messiah, and this led to much
excitement among the Jews and much disputation in their
synagogues. Persecution arose against Stephen and the followers
of Christ generally, in which Saul of Tarsus took a prominent
part. He was at this time probably a member of the great
Sanhedrin, and became the active leader in the furious
persecution by which the rulers then sought to exterminate
But the object of this persecution also failed. "They that
were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word." The
anger of the persecutor was thereby kindled into a fiercer
flame. Hearing that fugitives had taken refuge in Damascus, he
obtained from the chief priest letters authorizing him to
proceed thither on his persecuting career. This was a long
journey of about 130 miles, which would occupy perhaps six days,
during which, with his few attendants, he steadily went onward,
"breathing out threatenings and slaughter." But the crisis of
his life was at hand. He had reached the last stage of his
journey, and was within sight of Damascus. As he and his
companions rode on, suddenly at mid-day a brilliant light shone
round them, and Saul was laid prostrate in terror on the ground,
a voice sounding in his ears, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou
me?" The risen Saviour was there, clothed in the vesture of his
glorified humanity. In answer to the anxious inquiry of the
stricken persecutor, "Who art thou, Lord?" he said, "I am Jesus
whom thou persecutest" (Acts 9:5; 22:8; 26:15).
This was the moment of his conversion, the most solemn in all
his life. Blinded by the dazzling light (Acts 9:8), his
companions led him into the city, where, absorbed in deep
thought for three days, he neither ate nor drank (9:11).
Ananias, a disciple living in Damascus, was informed by a vision
of the change that had happened to Saul, and was sent to him to
open his eyes and admit him by baptism into the Christian church
(9:11-16). The whole purpose of his life was now permanently
Immediately after his conversion he retired into the solitudes
of Arabia (Gal. 1:17), perhaps of "Sinai in Arabia," for the
purpose, probably, of devout study and meditation on the
marvellous revelation that had been made to him. "A veil of
thick darkness hangs over this visit to Arabia. Of the scenes
among which he moved, of the thoughts and occupations which
engaged him while there, of all the circumstances of a crisis
which must have shaped the whole tenor of his after-life,
absolutely nothing is known. 'Immediately,' says St. Paul, 'I
went away into Arabia.' The historian passes over the incident
[comp. Acts 9:23 and 1 Kings 11:38, 39]. It is a mysterious
pause, a moment of suspense, in the apostle's history, a
breathless calm, which ushers in the tumultuous storm of his
active missionary life." Coming back, after three years, to
Damascus, he began to preach the gospel "boldly in the name of
Jesus" (Acts 9:27), but was soon obliged to flee (9:25; 2 Cor.
11:33) from the Jews and betake himself to Jerusalem. Here he
tarried for three weeks, but was again forced to flee (Acts
9:28, 29) from persecution. He now returned to his native Tarsus
(Gal. 1:21), where, for probably about three years, we lose
sight of him. The time had not yet come for his entering on his
great life-work of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles.
At length the city of Antioch, the capital of Syria, became
the scene of great Christian activity. There the gospel gained a
firm footing, and the cause of Christ prospered. Barnabas
(q.v.), who had been sent from Jerusalem to superintend the work
at Antioch, found it too much for him, and remembering Saul, he
set out to Tarsus to seek for him. He readily responded to the
call thus addressed to him, and came down to Antioch, which for
"a whole year" became the scene of his labours, which were
crowned with great success. The disciples now, for the first
time, were called "Christians" (Acts 11:26).
The church at Antioch now proposed to send out missionaries to
the Gentiles, and Saul and Barnabas, with John Mark as their
attendant, were chosen for this work. This was a great epoch in
the history of the church. Now the disciples began to give
effect to the Master's command: "Go ye into all the world, and
preach the gospel to every creature."
The three missionaries went forth on the first missionary
tour. They sailed from Seleucia, the seaport of Antioch, across
to Cyprus, some 80 miles to the south-west. Here at Paphos,
Sergius Paulus, the Roman proconsul, was converted, and now Saul
took the lead, and was ever afterwards called Paul. The
missionaries now crossed to the mainland, and then proceeded 6
or 7 miles up the river Cestrus to Perga (Acts 13:13), where
John Mark deserted the work and returned to Jerusalem. The two
then proceeded about 100 miles inland, passing through
Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia. The towns mentioned in this
tour are the Pisidian Antioch, where Paul delivered his first
address of which we have any record (13:16-51; comp. 10:30-43),
Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. They returned by the same route to
see and encourage the converts they had made, and ordain elders
in every city to watch over the churches which had been
gathered. From Perga they sailed direct for Antioch, from which
they had set out.
After remaining "a long time", probably till A.D. 50 or 51, in
Antioch, a great controversy broke out in the church there
regarding the relation of the Gentiles to the Mosaic law. For
the purpose of obtaining a settlement of this question, Paul and
Barnabas were sent as deputies to consult the church at
Jerusalem. The council or synod which was there held (Acts 15)
decided against the Judaizing party; and the deputies,
accompanied by Judas and Silas, returned to Antioch, bringing
with them the decree of the council.
After a short rest at Antioch, Paul said to Barnabas: "Let us
go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have
preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do." Mark
proposed again to accompany them; but Paul refused to allow him
to go. Barnabas was resolved to take Mark, and thus he and Paul
had a sharp contention. They separated, and never again met.
Paul, however, afterwards speaks with honour of Barnabas, and
sends for Mark to come to him at Rome (Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11).
Paul took with him Silas, instead of Barnabas, and began his
second missionary journey about A.D. 51. This time he went by
land, revisiting the churches he had already founded in Asia.
But he longed to enter into "regions beyond," and still went
forward through Phrygia and Galatia (16:6). Contrary to his
intention, he was constrained to linger in Galatia (q.v.), on
account of some bodily affliction (Gal. 4:13, 14). Bithynia, a
populous province on the shore of the Black Sea, lay now before
him, and he wished to enter it; but the way was shut, the Spirit
in some manner guiding him in another direction, till he came
down to the shores of the AEgean and arrived at Troas, on the
north-western coast of Asia Minor (Acts 16:8). Of this long
journey from Antioch to Troas we have no account except some
references to it in his Epistle to the Galatians (4:13).
As he waited at Troas for indications of the will of God as to
his future movements, he saw, in the vision of the night, a man
from the opposite shores of Macedonia standing before him, and
heard him cry, "Come over, and help us" (Acts 16:9). Paul
recognized in this vision a message from the Lord, and the very
next day set sail across the Hellespont, which separated him
from Europe, and carried the tidings of the gospel into the
Western world. In Macedonia, churches were planted in Philippi,
Thessalonica, and Berea. Leaving this province, Paul passed into
Achaia, "the paradise of genius and renown." He reached Athens,
but quitted it after, probably, a brief sojourn (17:17-31). The
Athenians had received him with cold disdain, and he never
visited that city again. He passed over to Corinth, the seat of
the Roman government of Achaia, and remained there a year and a
half, labouring with much success. While at Corinth, he wrote
his two epistles to the church of Thessalonica, his earliest
apostolic letters, and then sailed for Syria, that he might be
in time to keep the feast of Pentecost at Jerusalem. He was
accompanied by Aquila and Priscilla, whom he left at Ephesus, at
which he touched, after a voyage of thirteen or fifteen days. He
landed at Caesarea, and went up to Jerusalem, and having
"saluted the church" there, and kept the feast, he left for
Antioch, where he abode "some time" (Acts 18:20-23).
He then began his third missionary tour. He journeyed by land
in the "upper coasts" (the more eastern parts) of Asia Minor,
and at length made his way to Ephesus, where he tarried for no
less than three years, engaged in ceaseless Christian labour.
"This city was at the time the Liverpool of the Mediterranean.
It possessed a splendid harbour, in which was concentrated the
traffic of the sea which was then the highway of the nations;
and as Liverpool has behind her the great towns of Lancashire,
so had Ephesus behind and around her such cities as those
mentioned along with her in the epistles to the churches in the
book of Revelation, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis,
Philadelphia, and Laodicea. It was a city of vast wealth, and it
was given over to every kind of pleasure, the fame of its
theatres and race-course being world-wide" (Stalker's Life of
St. Paul). Here a "great door and effectual" was opened to the
apostle. His fellow-labourers aided him in his work, carrying
the gospel to Colosse and Laodicea and other places which they
Very shortly before his departure from Ephesus, the apostle
wrote his First Epistle to the Corinthians (q.v.). The
silversmiths, whose traffic in the little images which they made
was in danger (see DEMETRIUS ¯T0001013), organized a riot
against Paul, and he left the city, and proceeded to Troas (2
Cor. 2:12), whence after some time he went to meet Titus in
Macedonia. Here, in consequence of the report Titus brought from
Corinth, he wrote his second epistle to that church. Having
spent probably most of the summer and autumn in Macedonia,
visiting the churches there, specially the churches of Philippi,
Thessalonica, and Berea, probably penetrating into the interior,
to the shores of the Adriatic (Rom. 15:19), he then came into
Greece, where he abode three month, spending probably the
greater part of this time in Corinth (Acts 20:2). During his
stay in this city he wrote his Epistle to the Galatians, and
also the great Epistle to the Romans. At the end of the three
months he left Achaia for Macedonia, thence crossed into Asia
Minor, and touching at Miletus, there addressed the Ephesian
presbyters, whom he had sent for to meet him (Acts 20:17), and
then sailed for Tyre, finally reaching Jerusalem, probably in
the spring of A.D. 58.
While at Jerusalem, at the feast of Pentecost, he was almost
murdered by a Jewish mob in the temple. (See TEMPLE, HEROD'S
¯T0003611.) Rescued from their violence by the Roman commandant,
he was conveyed as a prisoner to Caesarea, where, from various
causes, he was detained a prisoner for two years in Herod's
praetorium (Acts 23:35). "Paul was not kept in close
confinement; he had at least the range of the barracks in which
he was detained. There we can imagine him pacing the ramparts on
the edge of the Mediterranean, and gazing wistfully across the
blue waters in the direction of Macedonia, Achaia, and Ephesus,
where his spiritual children were pining for him, or perhaps
encountering dangers in which they sorely needed his presence.
It was a mysterious providence which thus arrested his energies
and condemned the ardent worker to inactivity; yet we can now
see the reason for it. Paul was needing rest. After twenty years
of incessant evangelization, he required leisure to garner the
harvest of experience...During these two years he wrote nothing;
it was a time of internal mental activity and silent progress"
(Stalker's Life of St. Paul).
At the end of these two years Felix (q.v.) was succeeded in
the governorship of Israel by Porcius Festus, before whom the
apostle was again heard. But judging it right at this crisis to
claim the privilege of a Roman citizen, he appealed to the
emperor (Acts 25:11). Such an appeal could not be disregarded,
and Paul was at once sent on to Rome under the charge of one
Julius, a centurion of the "Augustan cohort." After a long and
perilous voyage, he at length reached the imperial city in the
early spring, probably, of A.D. 61. Here he was permitted to
occupy his own hired house, under constant military custody.
This privilege was accorded to him, no doubt, because he was a
Roman citizen, and as such could not be put into prison without
a trial. The soldiers who kept guard over Paul were of course
changed at frequent intervals, and thus he had the opportunity
of preaching the gospel to many of them during these "two whole
years," and with the blessed result of spreading among the
imperial guards, and even in Caesar's household, an interest in
the truth (Phil. 1:13). His rooms were resorted to by many
anxious inquirers, both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 28:23, 30, 31),
and thus his imprisonment "turned rather to the furtherance of
the gospel," and his "hired house" became the centre of a
gracious influence which spread over the whole city. According
to a Jewish tradition, it was situated on the borders of the
modern Ghetto, which has been the Jewish quarters in Rome from
the time of Pompey to the present day. During this period the
apostle wrote his epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians,
Philippians, and to Philemon, and probably also to the Hebrews.
This first imprisonment came at length to a close, Paul having
been acquitted, probably because no witnesses appeared against
him. Once more he set out on his missionary labours, probably
visiting western and eastern Europe and Asia Minor. During this
period of freedom he wrote his First Epistle to Timothy and his
Epistle to Titus. The year of his release was signalized by the
burning of Rome, which Nero saw fit to attribute to the
Christians. A fierce persecution now broke out against the
Christians. Paul was siezed, and once more conveyed to Rome a
prisoner. During this imprisonment he probably wrote the Second
Epistle to Timothy, the last he ever wrote. "There can be little
doubt that he appered again at Nero's bar, and this time the
charge did not break down. In all history there is not a more
startling illustration of the irony of human life than this
scene of Paul at the bar of Nero. On the judgment-seat, clad in
the imperial purple, sat a man who, in a bad world, had attained
the eminence of being the very worst and meanest being in it, a
man stained with every crime, a man whose whole being was so
steeped in every nameable and unnameable vice, that body and
soul of him were, as some one said at the time, nothing but a
compound of mud and blood; and in the prisoner's dock stood the
best man the world possessed, his hair whitened with labours for
the good of men and the glory of God. The trial ended: Paul was
condemned, and delivered over to the executioner. He was led out
of the city, with a crowd of the lowest rabble at his heels. The
fatal spot was reached; he knelt beside the block; the
headsman's axe gleamed in the sun and fell; and the head of the
apostle of the world rolled down in the dust" (probably A.D.
66), four years before the fall of Jerusalem.