In a prophecy concerning our Lord, Isaiah (7:14) says, "A virgin
[R.V. marg., 'the virgin'] shall conceive, and bear a son"
(comp. Luke 1:31-35). The people of the land of Zidon are thus
referred to by Isaiah (23:12), "O thou oppressed virgin,
daughter of Zidon;" and of the people of Israel, Jeremiah
(18:13) says, "The virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible
gift. (1.) A priest of Baal, slain before his altar during the
reformation under Jehoiada (2 Kings 11:18).
(2.) The son of Eleazar, and father of Jacob, who was the
father of Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary (Matt. 1:15).
(3.) The father of Shephatiah (Jer. 38:1).
Fountain of the Virgin
the perennial source from which the Pool of Siloam (q.v.) is
supplied, the waters flowing in a copious stream to it through a
tunnel cut through the rock, the actual length of which is 1,750
feet. The spring rises in a cave 20 feet by 7. A serpentine
tunnel 67 feet long runs from it toward the left, off which the
tunnel to the Pool of Siloam branches. It is the only unfailing
fountain in Jerusalem.
The fountain received its name from the "fantastic legend"
that here the virgin washed the swaddling-clothes of our Lord.
This spring has the singular characteristic of being
intermittent, flowing from three to five times daily in winter,
twice daily in summer, and only once daily in autumn. This
peculiarity is accounted for by the supposition that the outlet
from the reservoir is by a passage in the form of a siphon.
man of God, or virgin of God, or house of God. (1.) The son of
Nahor by Milcah; nephew of Abraham, and father of Rebekah (Gen.
22:22, 23; 24:15, 24, 47). He appears in person only once
(2.) A southern city of Judah (1 Chr. 4:30); called also
Bethul (Josh. 19:4) and Bethel (12:16; 1 Sam. 30:27).
fountain of the treaders; i.e., "foot-fountain;" also called the
"fullers' fountain," because fullers here trod the clothes in
water. It has been identified with the "fountain of the virgin"
(q.v.), the modern 'Ain Ummel-Daraj. Others identify it, with
perhaps some probability, with the Bir Eyub, to the south of the
Pool of Siloam, and below the junction of the valleys of Kidron
and Hinnom. (See FOUNTAIN ¯T0001378.)
It was at this fountain that Jonathan and Ahimaaz lay hid
after the flight of David (2 Sam. 17:17); and here also Adonijah
held the feast when he aspired to the throne of his father (1
The Bir Eyub, or "Joab's well," "is a singular work of ancient
enterprise. The shaft sunk through the solid rock in the bed of
the Kidron is 125 feet deep...The water is pure and entirely
sweet, quite different from that of Siloam; which proves that
there is no connection between them." Thomson's Land and the
house of mercy, a reservoir (Gr. kolumbethra, "a swimming bath")
with five porches, close to the sheep-gate or market (Neh. 3:1;
John 5:2). Eusebius the historian (A.D. 330) calls it "the
sheep-pool." It is also called "Bethsaida" and "Beth-zatha"
(John 5:2, R.V. marg.). Under these "porches" or colonnades were
usually a large number of infirm people waiting for the
"troubling of the water." It is usually identified with the
modern so-called Fountain of the Virgin, in the valley of the
Kidron, and not far from the Pool of Siloam (q.v.); and also
with the Birket Israel, a pool near the mouth of the valley
which runs into the Kidron south of "St. Stephen's Gate." Others
again identify it with the twin pools called the "Souterrains,"
under the convent of the Sisters of Zion, situated in what must
have been the rock-hewn ditch between Bezetha and the fortress
of Antonia. But quite recently Schick has discovered a large
tank, as sketched here, situated about 100 feet north-west of
St. Anne's Church, which is, as he contends, very probably the
Pool of Bethesda. No certainty as to its identification,
however, has as yet been arrived at. (See FOUNTAIN ¯T0001378;
a stream. (1.) One of the four rivers of Eden (Gen. 2:13). It
has been identified with the Nile. Others regard it as the Oxus,
or the Araxes, or the Ganges. But as, according to the sacred
narrative, all these rivers of Eden took their origin from the
head-waters of the Euphrates and the Trigris, it is probable
that the Gihon is the ancient Araxes, which, under the modern
name of the Arras, discharges itself into the Caspian Sea. It
was the Asiatic and not the African "Cush" which the Gihon
compassed (Gen. 10:7-10). (See EDEN ¯T0001127.)
(2.) The only natural spring of water in or near Jerusalem is
the "Fountain of the Virgin" (q.v.), which rises outside the
city walls on the west bank of the Kidron valley. On the
occasion of the approach of the Assyrian army under Sennacherib,
Hezekiah, in order to prevent the besiegers from finding water,
"stopped the upper water course of Gihon, and brought it
straight down to the west side of the city of David" (2 Chr.
32:30; 33:14). This "fountain" or spring is therefore to be
regarded as the "upper water course of Gihon." From this
"fountain" a tunnel cut through the ridge which forms the south
part of the temple hill conveys the water to the Pool of Siloam,
which lies on the opposite side of this ridge at the head of the
Tyropoeon ("cheesemakers'") valley, or valley of the son of
Hinnom, now filled up by rubbish. The length of this tunnel is
about 1,750 feet. In 1880 an inscription was accidentally
discovered on the wall of the tunnel about nineteen feet from
where it opens into the Pool of Siloam. This inscription was
executed in all probability by Hezekiah's workmen. It briefly
narrates the history of the excavation. It may, however, be
possible that this tunnel was executed in the time of Solomon.
If the "waters of Shiloah that go softly" (Isa. 8:6) refers to
the gentle stream that still flows through the tunnel into the
Pool of Siloam, then this excavation must have existed before
the time of Hezekiah.
In the upper part of the Tyropoeoan valley there are two pools
still existing, the first, called Birket el-Mamilla, to the west
of the Jaffa gate; the second, to the south of the first, called
Birket es-Sultan. It is the opinion of some that the former was
the "upper" and the latter the "lower" Pool of Gihon (2 Kings
18:17; Isa. 7:3; 36:2; 22:9). (See CONDUIT ¯T0000877; SILOAM
Siloam, Pool of
sent or sending. Here a notable miracle was wrought by our Lord
in giving sight to the blind (John 9:7-11). It has been
identified with the Birket Silwan in the lower Tyropoeon valley,
to the south-east of the hill of Zion.
The water which flows into this pool intermittingly by a
subterranean channel springs from the "Fountain of the Virgin"
(q.v.). The length of this channel, which has several windings,
is 1,750 feet, though the direct distance is only 1,100 feet.
The pool is 53 feet in length from north to south, 18 feet wide,
and 19 deep. The water passes from it by a channel cut in the
rock into the gardens below. (See EN-ROGEL ¯T0001214.)
Many years ago (1880) a youth, while wading up the conduit by
which the water enters the pool, accidentally discovered an
inscription cut in the rock, on the eastern side, about 19 feet
from the pool. This is the oldest extant Hebrew record of the
kind. It has with great care been deciphered by scholars, and
has been found to be an account of the manner in which the
tunnel was constructed. Its whole length is said to be "twelve
hundred cubits;" and the inscription further notes that the
workmen, like the excavators of the Mont Cenis Tunnel, excavated
from both ends, meeting in the middle.
Some have argued that the inscription was cut in the time of
Solomon; others, with more probability, refer it to the reign of
Hezekiah. A more ancient tunnel was discovered in 1889 some 20
feet below the ground. It is of smaller dimensions, but more
direct in its course. It is to this tunnel that Isaiah (8:6)
The Siloam inscription above referred to was surreptitiously
cut from the wall of the tunnel in 1891 and broken into
fragments. These were, however, recovered by the efforts of the
British Consul at Jerusalem, and have been restored to their
a fishery, a town on the Mediterranean coast, about 25 miles
north of Tyre. It received its name from the "first-born" of
Canaan, the grandson of Noah (Gen. 10:15, 19). It was the first
home of the Phoenicians on the coast of Israel, and from its
extensive commercial relations became a "great" city (Josh.
11:8; 19:28). It was the mother city of Tyre. It lay within the
lot of the tribe of Asher, but was never subdued (Judg. 1:31).
The Zidonians long oppressed Israel (Judg. 10:12). From the time
of David its glory began to wane, and Tyre, its "virgin
daughter" (Isa. 23:12), rose to its place of pre-eminence.
Solomon entered into a matrimonial alliance with the Zidonians,
and thus their form of idolatrous worship found a place in the
land of Israel (1 Kings 11:1, 33). This city was famous for its
manufactures and arts, as well as for its commerce (1 Kings 5:6;
1 Chr. 22:4; Ezek. 27:8). It is frequently referred to by the
prophets (Isa. 23:2, 4, 12; Jer. 25:22; 27:3; 47:4; Ezek. 27:8;
28:21, 22; 32:30; Joel 3:4). Our Lord visited the "coasts" of
Tyre and Zidon = Sidon (q.v.), Matt. 15:21; Mark 7:24; Luke
4:26; and from this region many came forth to hear him preaching
(Mark 3:8; Luke 6:17). From Sidon, at which the ship put in
after leaving Caesarea, Paul finally sailed for Rome (Acts 27:3,
This city is now a town of 10,000 inhabitants, with remains of
walls built in the twelfth century A.D. In 1855, the sarcophagus
of Eshmanezer was discovered. From a Phoenician inscription on
its lid, it appears that he was a "king of the Sidonians,"
probably in the third century B.C., and that his mother was a
priestess of Ashtoreth, "the goddess of the Sidonians." In this
inscription Baal is mentioned as the chief god of the Sidonians.
separated, generally supposed to be the Greek form of the Hebrew
_netser_, a "shoot" or "sprout." Some, however, think that the
name of the city must be connected with the name of the hill
behind it, from which one of the finest prospects in Israel
is obtained, and accordingly they derive it from the Hebrew
_notserah_, i.e., one guarding or watching, thus designating the
hill which overlooks and thus guards an extensive region.
This city is not mentioned in the Old Testament. It was the
home of Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:39), and here the angel
announced to the Virgin the birth of the Messiah (1:26-28). Here
Jesus grew up from his infancy to manhood (4:16); and here he
began his public ministry in the synagogue (Matt. 13:54), at
which the people were so offended that they sought to cast him
down from the precipice whereon their city was built (Luke
4:29). Twice they expelled him from their borders (4:16-29;
Matt. 13:54-58); and he finally retired from the city, where he
did not many mighty works because of their unbelief (Matt.
13:58), and took up his residence in Capernaum.
Nazareth is situated among the southern ridges of Lebanon, on
the steep slope of a hill, about 14 miles from the Sea of
Galilee and about 6 west from Mount Tabor. It is identified with
the modern village en-Nazirah, of six or ten thousand
inhabitants. It lies "as in a hollow cup" lower down upon the
hill than the ancient city. The main road for traffic between
Egypt and the interior of Asia passed by Nazareth near the foot
of Tabor, and thence northward to Damascus.
It is supposed from the words of Nathanael in John 1:46 that
the city of Nazareth was held in great disrepute, either
because, it is said, the people of Galilee were a rude and less
cultivated class, and were largely influenced by the Gentiles
who mingled with them, or because of their lower type of moral
and religious character. But there seems to be no sufficient
reason for these suppositions. The Jews believed that, according
to Micah 5:2, the birth of the Messiah would take place at
Bethlehem, and nowhere else. Nathanael held the same opinion as
his countrymen, and believed that the great "good" which they
were all expecting could not come from Nazareth. This is
probably what Nathanael meant. Moreover, there does not seem to
be any evidence that the inhabitants of Galilee were in any
respect inferior, or that a Galilean was held in contempt, in
the time of our Lord. (See Dr. Merrill's Galilee in the Time of
The population of this city (now about 10,000) in the time of
Christ probably amounted to 15,000 or 20,000 souls.
"The so-called 'Holy House' is a cave under the Latin church,
which appears to have been originally a tank. The 'brow of the
hill', site of the attempted precipitation, is probably the
northern cliff: the traditional site has been shown since the
middle ages at some distance to the south. None of the
traditional sites are traceable very early, and they have no
authority. The name Nazareth perhaps means 'a watch tower' (now
en-Nasrah), but is connected in the New Testament with Netzer,
'a branch' (Isa. 4:2; Jer. 23:5; Zech. 3:8; 6:12; Matt. 2:23),
Nazarene being quite a different word from Nazarite."
Hebrew Miriam. (1.) The wife of Joseph, the mother of Jesus,
called the "Virgin Mary," though never so designated in
Scripture (Matt. 2:11; Acts 1:14). Little is known of her
personal history. Her genealogy is given in Luke 3. She was of
the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David (Ps. 132:11; Luke
1:32). She was connected by marriage with Elisabeth, who was of
the lineage of Aaron (Luke 1:36).
While she resided at Nazareth with her parents, before she
became the wife of Joseph, the angel Gabriel announced to her
that she was to be the mother of the promised Messiah (Luke
1:35). After this she went to visit her cousin Elisabeth, who
was living with her husband Zacharias (probably at Juttah, Josh.
15:55; 21:16, in the neighbourhood of Maon), at a considerable
distance, about 100 miles, from Nazareth. Immediately on
entering the house she was saluted by Elisabeth as the mother of
her Lord, and then forthwith gave utterance to her hymn of
thanksgiving (Luke 1:46-56; comp. 1 Sam. 2:1-10). After three
months Mary returned to Nazareth to her own home. Joseph was
supernaturally made aware (Matt. 1:18-25) of her condition, and
took her to his own home. Soon after this the decree of Augustus
(Luke 2:1) required that they should proceed to Bethlehem (Micah
5:2), some 80 or 90 miles from Nazareth; and while they were
there they found shelter in the inn or khan provided for
strangers (Luke 2:6, 7). But as the inn was crowded, Mary had to
retire to a place among the cattle, and there she brought forth
her son, who was called Jesus (Matt. 1:21), because he was to
save his people from their sins. This was followed by the
presentation in the temple, the flight into Egypt, and their
return in the following year and residence at Nazareth (Matt.
2). There for thirty years Mary, the wife of Joseph the
carpenter, resides, filling her own humble sphere, and pondering
over the strange things that had happened to her. During these
years only one event in the history of Jesus is recorded, viz.,
his going up to Jerusalem when twelve years of age, and his
being found among the doctors in the temple (Luke 2:41-52).
Probably also during this period Joseph died, for he is not
After the commencement of our Lord's public ministry little
notice is taken of Mary. She was present at the marriage in
Cana. A year and a half after this we find her at Capernaum
(Matt. 12:46, 48, 49), where Christ uttered the memorable words,
"Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched
forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother
and my brethren!" The next time we find her is at the cross
along with her sister Mary, and Mary Magdalene, and Salome, and
other women (John 19:26). From that hour John took her to his
own abode. She was with the little company in the upper room
after the Ascension (Acts 1:14). From this time she wholly
disappears from public notice. The time and manner of her death
(2.) Mary Magdalene, i.e., Mary of Magdala, a town on the
western shore of the Lake of Tiberias. She is for the first time
noticed in Luke 8:3 as one of the women who "ministered to
Christ of their substance." Their motive was that of gratitude
for deliverances he had wrought for them. Out of Mary were cast
seven demons. Gratitude to her great Deliverer prompted her to
become his follower. These women accompanied him also on his
last journey to Jerusalem (Matt. 27:55; Mark 15:41; Luke 23:55).
They stood near the cross. There Mary remained till all was
over, and the body was taken down and laid in Joseph's tomb.
Again, in the earliest dawn of the first day of the week she,
with Salome and Mary the mother of James (Matt. 28:1; Mark
16:2), came to the sepulchre, bringing with them sweet spices,
that they might anoint the body of Jesus. They found the
sepulchre empty, but saw the "vision of angels" (Matt. 28:5).
She hastens to tell Peter and John, who were probably living
together at this time (John 20:1, 2), and again immediately
returns to the sepulchre. There she lingers thoughtfully,
weeping at the door of the tomb. The risen Lord appears to her,
but at first she knows him not. His utterance of her name "Mary"
recalls her to consciousness, and she utters the joyful,
reverent cry, "Rabboni." She would fain cling to him, but he
forbids her, saying, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to
my Father." This is the last record regarding Mary of Magdala,
who now returned to Jerusalem. The idea that this Mary was "the
woman who was a sinner," or that she was unchaste, is altogether
(3.) Mary the sister of Lazarus is brought to our notice in
connection with the visits of our Lord to Bethany. She is
contrasted with her sister Martha, who was "cumbered about many
things" while Jesus was their guest, while Mary had chosen "the
good part." Her character also appears in connection with the
death of her brother (John 11:20,31,33). On the occasion of our
Lord's last visit to Bethany, Mary brought "a pound of ointment
of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus" as he
reclined at table in the house of one Simon, who had been a
leper (Matt. 26:6; Mark 14:3; John 12:2,3). This was an evidence
of her overflowing love to the Lord. Nothing is known of her
subsequent history. It would appear from this act of Mary's, and
from the circumstance that they possessed a family vault
(11:38), and that a large number of Jews from Jerusalem came to
condole with them on the death of Lazarus (11:19), that this
family at Bethany belonged to the wealthier class of the people.
(See MARTHA ¯T0002426.)
(4.) Mary the wife of Cleopas is mentioned (John 19:25) as
standing at the cross in company with Mary of Magdala and Mary
the mother of Jesus. By comparing Matt. 27:56 and Mark 15:40, we
find that this Mary and "Mary the mother of James the little"
are on and the same person, and that she was the sister of our
Lord's mother. She was that "other Mary" who was present with
Mary of Magdala at the burial of our Lord (Matt. 27:61; Mark
15:47); and she was one of those who went early in the morning
of the first day of the week to anoint the body, and thus became
one of the first witnesses of the resurrection (Matt. 28:1; Mark
16:1; Luke 24:1).
(5.) Mary the mother of John Mark was one of the earliest of
our Lord's disciples. She was the sister of Barnabas (Col.
4:10), and joined with him in disposing of their land and giving
the proceeds of the sale into the treasury of the Church (Acts
4:37; 12:12). Her house in Jerusalem was the common
meeting-place for the disciples there.
(6.) A Christian at Rome who treated Paul with special
kindness (Rom. 16:6).