hollow Syria, the name (not found in Scripture) given by the
Greeks to the extensive valley, about 100 miles long, between
the Lebanon and the Anti-Lebanon range of mountains.
dissection or separation, certain mountains mentioned in Cant.
2:17; probably near Lebanon.
tetrarch of Abilene (Luke 3:1), on the eastern slope of
Anti-Lebanon, near the city of Damascus.
smallness, a summit on the eastern ridge of Lebanon, near which
David lay after escaping from Absalom (Ps. 42:6). It may,
perhaps, be the present Jebel Ajlun, thus named, "the little",
in contrast with the greater elevation of Lebanon and Hermon.
(Gen. 10:17; 1 Chr. 1:15), a designation of certain descendants
from the Phoenicians or Sidonians, the inhabitants of Arka, 12
miles north of Tripoli, opposite the northern extremity of
wrapped up, a place on the north border of Israel. The "way
of Hethlon" (Ezek. 47:15; 48:1) is probably the pass at the end
of Lebanon from the Mediterranean to the great plain of Hamath
(q.v.), or the "entrance of Hamath."
a cave, a place in the northern boundary of Israel (Josh.
13:4). This may be the cave of Jezzin in Lebanon, 10 miles east
of Sidon, on the Damascus road; or probably, as others think,
Mogheirizeh, north-east of Sidon.
white, "the white mountain of Syria," is the loftiest and most
celebrated mountain range in Syria. It is a branch running
southward from the Caucasus, and at its lower end forking into
two parallel ranges, the eastern or Anti-Lebanon, and the
western or Lebanon proper. They enclose a long valley (Josh.
11:17) of from 5 to 8 miles in width, called by Roman writers
Coele-Syria, now called el-Buka'a, "the valley," a prolongation
of the valley of the Jordan.
Lebanon proper, Jebel es-Sharki, commences at its southern
extremity in the gorge of the Leontes, the ancient Litany, and
extends north-east, parallel to the Mediterranean coast, as far
as the river Eleutherus, at the plain of Emesa, "the entering of
Hamath" (Num. 34:8; 1 Kings 8:65), in all about 90 geographical
miles in extent. The average height of this range is from 6,000
to 8,000 feet; the peak of Jebel Mukhmel is about 10,200 feet,
and the Sannin about 9,000. The highest peaks are covered with
perpetual snow and ice. In the recesses of the range wild beasts
as of old still abound (2 Kings 14:9; Cant. 4:8). The scenes of
the Lebanon are remarkable for their grandeur and beauty, and
supplied the sacred writers with many expressive similes (Ps.
29:5, 6; 72:16; 104:16-18; Cant. 4:15; Isa. 2:13; 35:2; 60:13;
Hos. 14:5). It is famous for its cedars (Cant. 5:15), its wines
(Hos. 14:7), and its cool waters (Jer. 18:14). The ancient
inhabitants were Giblites and Hivites (Josh. 13:5; Judg. 3:3).
It was part of the Phoenician kingdom (1 Kings 5:2-6).
The eastern range, or Anti-Lebanon, or "Lebanon towards the
sunrising," runs nearly parallel with the western from the plain
of Emesa till it connects with the hills of Galilee in the
south. The height of this range is about 5,000 feet. Its highest
peak is Hermon (q.v.), from which a number of lesser ranges
Lebanon is first mentioned in the description of the boundary
of Israel (Deut. 1:7; 11:24). It was assigned to Israel, but
was never conquered (Josh. 13:2-6; Judg. 3:1-3).
The Lebanon range is now inhabited by a population of about
300,000 Christians, Maronites, and Druses, and is ruled by a
Christian governor. The Anti-Lebanon is inhabited by
Mohammedans, and is under a Turkish ruler.
a plain, a district lying on the east slope of the Anti-Lebanon
range; so called from its chief town, Abila (Luke 3:1), which
stood in the Suk Wady Barada, between Heliopolis (Baalbec) and
Damascus, 38 miles from the former and 18 from the latter.
Lysanias was governor or tetrarch of this province.
lord of Hermon. (1.) A city near Mount Hermon inhabited by the
Ephraimites (1 Chr. 5:23). Probably identical with Baal-gad
(2.) A mountain east of Lebanon (Judg. 3:3). Probably it may
be the same as Mount Hermon, or one of its three peaks.
the designation of one of the Phoenician tribes (Gen. 10:18) who
inhabited the town of Sumra, at the western base of the Lebanon
range. In the Amarna tablets (B.C. 1400) Zemar, or Zumur, was
one of the most important of the Phoenician cities, but it
afterwards almost disappears from history.
=Aram-Zobah, (Ps. 60, title), a Syrian province or kingdom to
the south of Coele-Syria, and extending from the eastern slopes
of Lebanon north and east toward the Euphrates. Saul and David
had war with the kings of Zobah (1 Sam. 14:47; 2 Sam. 8:3;
Israel is a hilly country (Deut. 3:25; 11:11; Ezek. 34:13).
West of Jordan the mountains stretch from Lebanon far down into
Galilee, terminating in Carmel. The isolated peak of Tabor rises
from the elevated plain of Esdraelon, which, in the south, is
shut in by hills spreading over the greater part of Samaria. The
mountains of Western and Middle Israel do not extend to the
sea, but gently slope into plains, and toward the Jordan fall
down into the Ghor.
East of the Jordan the Anti-Lebanon, stretching south,
terminates in the hilly district called Jebel Heish, which
reaches down to the Sea of Gennesareth. South of the river
Hieromax there is again a succession of hills, which are
traversed by wadies running toward the Jordan. These gradually
descend to a level at the river Arnon, which was the boundary of
the ancient trans-Jordanic territory toward the south.
The composition of the Palestinian hills is limestone, with
occasional strata of chalk, and hence the numerous caves, some
of large extent, found there.
stony (Heb. marg. "Amanah," perennial), the chief river of
Damascus (2 Kings 5:12). Its modern name is Barada, the
Chrysorrhoas, or "golden stream," of the Greeks. It rises in a
cleft of the Anti-Lebanon range, about 23 miles north-west of
Damascus, and after flowing southward for a little way parts
into three smaller streams, the central one flowing through
Damascus, and the other two on each side of the city, diffusing
beauty and fertility where otherwise there would be barrenness.
lord of fortune, or troop of Baal, a Canaanite city in the
valley of Lebanon at the foot of Hermon, hence called
Baal-hermon (Judge. 3:3; 1 Chr. 5:23), near the source of the
Jordan (Josh. 13:5; 11:17; 12:7). It was the most northern point
to which Joshua's conquests extended. It probably derived its
name from the worship of Baal. Its modern representative is
Banias. Some have supposed it to be the same as Baalbec.
(Heb. teashshur), mentioned in Isa. 60:13; 41:19, was, according
to some, a species of cedar growing in Lebanon. The words of
Ezek. 27:6 literally translated are, "Thy benches they have made
of ivory, the daughter of the ashur tree," i.e., inlaid with
ashur wood. The ashur is the box-tree, and accordingly the
Revised Version rightly reads "inlaid in box wood." This is the
Buxus sempervirens of botanists. It is remarkable for the beauty
of its evergreen foliage and for the utility of its hard and
fat; i.e., "fertile", (Ezek. 27: 18 only), a place whence wine
was brought to the great market of Tyre. It has been usually
identified with the modern Aleppo, called Haleb by the native
Arabs, but is more probably to be found in one of the villages
in the Wady Helbon, which is celebrated for its grapes, on the
east slope of Anti-Lebanon, north of the river Barada (Abana).
(1 Kings 4:6, R.V.; 5:13), forced service. The service of
tributaries was often thus exacted by kings. Solomon raised a
"great levy" of 30,000 men, about two per cent. of the
population, to work for him by courses on Lebanon. Adoram
(12:18) presided over this forced labour service (Ger.
Frohndienst; Fr. corvee).
Heb. tidhar, mentioned along with the fir-tree in Isa. 41:19;
60:13. This is probably the cypress; or it may be the
stone-pine, which is common on the northern slopes of Lebanon.
Some suppose that the elm, others that the oak, or holm, or
ilex, is meant by the Hebrew word. In Neh. 8:15 the Revised
Version has "wild olive" instead of "pine." (See FIR ¯T0001333.)
mentioned only in Luke 17:6. It is rendered by Luther "mulberry
tree" (q.v.), which is most probably the correct rendering. It
is found of two species, the black mulberry (Morus nigra) and
the white mulberry (Mourea), which are common in Israel. The
silk-worm feeds on their leaves. The rearing of them is one of
the chief industries of the peasantry of Lebanon and of other
parts of the land. It is of the order of the fig-tree. Some
contend, however, that this name denotes the sycamore-fig of
of Babel (Gen. 11:4), Edar (Gen. 35:21), Penuel (Judg. 8:9, 17),
Shechem (9:46), David (Cant. 4:4), Lebanon (7:4), Syene (Ezek.
29:10), Hananeel (Zech. 14:10), Siloam (Luke 13:4). There were
several towers in Jerusalem (2 Chr. 26:9; Ps. 48:12). They were
erected for various purposes, as watch-towers in vineyard (Isa.
5:2; Matt. 21:33) and towers for defence.
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.
applied in the New Testament to the traditions and speculations,
"cunningly devised fables", of the Jews on religious questions
(1 Tim. 1:4; 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:4; Titus 1:14; 2 Pet. 1:16). In such
passages the word means anything false and unreal. But the word
is used as almost equivalent to parable. Thus we have (1) the
fable of Jotham, in which the trees are spoken of as choosing a
king (Judg. 9:8-15); and (2) that of the cedars of Lebanon and
the thistle as Jehoash's answer to Amaziah (2 Kings 14:9).
Common in Israel in winter (Ps. 147:16). The snow on the tops
of the Lebanon range is almost always within view throughout the
whole year. The word is frequently used figuratively by the
sacred writers (Job 24:19; Ps. 51:7; 68:14; Isa. 1:18). It is
mentioned only once in the historical books (2 Sam. 23:20). It
was "carried to Tyre, Sidon, and Damascus as a luxury, and
labourers sweltering in the hot harvest-fields used it for the
purpose of cooling the water which they drank (Prov. 25:13; Jer.
18:14). No doubt Herod Antipas, at his feasts in Tiberias,
enjoyed also from this very source the modern luxury of
mentioned only in Rev. 18:12 among the articles which would
cease to be purchased when Babylon fell. It was called citrus,
citron wood, by the Romans. It was the Callitris quadrivalvis of
botanists, of the cone-bearing order of trees, and of the
cypress tribe of this order. The name of this wood is derived
from the Greek word _thuein_, "to sacrifice," and it was so
called because it was burnt in sacrifices, on account of its
fragrance. The wood of this tree was reckoned very valuable, and
was used for making articles of furniture by the Greeks and
Romans. Like the cedars of Lebanon, it is disappearing from the
forests of Israel.
(Heb. e'rez, Gr. kedros, Lat. cedrus), a tree very frequently
mentioned in Scripture. It was stately (Ezek. 31:3-5),
long-branched (Ps. 80:10; 92:12; Ezek. 31:6-9), odoriferous
(Cant. 4:11; Hos. 14:6), durable, and therefore much used for
boards, pillars, and ceilings (1 Kings 6:9, 10; 7:2; Jer.
22:14), for masts (Ezek. 27:5), and for carved images (Isa.
It grew very abundantly in Israel, and particularly on
Lebanon, of which it was "the glory" (Isa. 35:2; 60:13). Hiram
supplied Solomon with cedar trees from Lebanon for various
purposes connected with the construction of the temple and the
king's palace (2 Sam. 5:11; 7:2, 7; 1 Kings 5:6, 8,10; 6:9, 10,
15, 16, 18, 20; 7:2, 3, 7, 11, 12; 9:11, etc.). Cedars were used
also in the building of the second temple under Zerubbabel (Ezra
Of the ancient cedars of Lebanon there remain now only some
seven or eight. They are not standing together. But beside them
there are found between three hundred and four hundred of
younger growth. They stand in an amphitheatre fronting the west,
about 6,400 feet above the level of the sea.
The cedar is often figuratively alluded to in the sacred
Scriptures. "The mighty conquerors of olden days, the despots of
Assyria and the Pharaohs of Egypt, the proud and idolatrous
monarchs of Judah, the Hebrew commonwealth itself, the war-like
Ammonites of patriarchal times, and the moral majesty of the
Messianic age, are all compared to the towering cedar, in its
royal loftiness and supremacy (Isa. 2:13; Ezek. 17:3, 22, 23,
31:3-9; Amos 2:9; Zech. 11:1, 2; Job 40:17; Ps. 29:5; 80:10;
92:12, etc).", Groser's Scrip. Nat. Hist. (See BOX-TREE
fortress, the capital of one of the kingdoms of Upper Syria of
the same name, on the Orontes, in the valley of Lebanon, at the
northern boundary of Israel (Num. 13:21; 34:8), at the foot
of Hermon (Josh. 13:5) towards Damascus (Zech. 9:2; Jer. 49:23).
It is called "Hamath the great" in Amos 6:2, and "Hamath-zobah"
in 2 Chr. 8:3.
Hamath, now Hamah, had an Aramaean population, but Hittite
monuments discovered there show that it must have been at one
time occupied by the Hittites. It was among the conquests of the
Pharaoh Thothmes III. Its king, Tou or Toi, made alliance with
David (2 Sam. 8:10), and in B.C. 740 Azariah formed a league
with it against Assyria. It was, however, conquered by the
Assyrians, and its nineteen districts placed under Assyrian
governors. In B.C. 720 it revolted under a certain Yahu-bihdi,
whose name, compounded with that of the God of Israel (Yahu),
perhaps shows that he was of Jewish origin. But the revolt was
suppressed, and the people of Hamath were transported to Samaria
(2 Kings 17:24, 30), where they continued to worship their god
Ashima. Hamah is beautifully situated on the Orontes, 32 miles
north of Emesa, and 36 south of the ruins of Assamea.
The kingdom of Hamath comprehended the great plain lying on
both banks of the Orontes from the fountain near Riblah to
Assamea on the north, and from Lebanon on the west to the desert
on the east. The "entrance of Hamath" (Num. 34:8), which was the
north boundary of Israel, led from the west between the north
end of Lebanon and the Nusairiyeh mountains.
Heb. ya'ar, meaning a dense wood, from its luxuriance. Thus all
the great primeval forests of Syria (Eccl. 2:6; Isa. 44:14; Jer.
5:6; Micah 5:8). The most extensive was the trans-Jordanic
forest of Ephraim (2 Sam. 18:6, 8; Josh. 17:15, 18), which is
probably the same as the wood of Ephratah (Ps. 132:6), some part
of the great forest of Gilead. It was in this forest that
Absalom was slain by Joab. David withdrew to the forest of
Hareth in the mountains of Judah to avoid the fury of Saul (1
Sam. 22:5). We read also of the forest of Bethel (2 Kings 2:23,
24), and of that which the Israelites passed in their pursuit of
the Philistines (1 Sam. 14:25), and of the forest of the cedars
of Lebanon (1 Kings 4:33; 2 Kings 19:23; Hos. 14:5, 6).
"The house of the forest of Lebanon (1 Kings 7:2; 10:17; 2
Chr. 9:16) was probably Solomon's armoury, and was so called
because the wood of its many pillars came from Lebanon, and they
had the appearance of a forest. (See BAALBEC ¯T0000386.)
Heb. horesh, denoting a thicket of trees, underwood, jungle,
bushes, or trees entangled, and therefore affording a safe
hiding-place. place. This word is rendered "forest" only in 2
Chr. 27:4. It is also rendered "wood", the "wood" in the
"wilderness of Ziph," in which david concealed himself (1 Sam.
23:15), which lay south-east of Hebron. In Isa. 17:19 this word
is in Authorized Version rendered incorrectly "bough."
Heb. pardes, meaning an enclosed garden or plantation. Asaph
is (Neh. 2:8) called the "keeper of the king's forest." The same
Hebrew word is used Eccl. 2:5, where it is rendered in the
plural "orchards" (R.V., "parks"), and Cant. 4: 13, rendered
"orchard" (R.V. marg., "a paradise").
"The forest of the vintage" (Zech. 11:2, "inaccessible
forest," or R.V. "strong forest") is probably a figurative
allusion to Jerusalem, or the verse may simply point to the
devastation of the region referred to.
The forest is an image of unfruitfulness as contrasted with a
cultivated field (Isa. 29:17; 32:15; Jer. 26:18; Hos. 2:12).
Isaiah (10:19, 33, 34) likens the Assyrian host under
Sennacherib (q.v.) to the trees of some huge forest, to be
suddenly cut down by an unseen stroke.
(Judg. 1:31); Aphek (Josh. 13:4; 19:30), stronghold. (1.) A city
of the tribe of Asher. It was the scene of the licentious
worship of the Syrian Aphrodite. The ruins of the temple,
"magnificent ruins" in a "spot of strange wildness and beauty",
are still seen at Afka, on the north-west slopes of Lebanon,
near the source of the river Adonis (now Nahr Ibrahim), 12 miles
east of Gebal.
(2.) A city of the tribe of Issachar, near to Jezreel (1 Sam.
4:1; 29:1; comp. 28:4).
(3.) A town on the road from Damascus to Israel, in the
level plain east of Jordan, near which Benhadad was defeated by
the Israelites (1 Kings 20:26, 30; 2 Kings 13:17). It has been
identified with the modern Fik, 6 miles east of the Sea of
Galilee, opposite Tiberias.
the uniform rendering in the Authorized Version (marg. R.V.,
"cypress") of _berosh_ (2 Sam. 6:5; 1 Kings 5:8, 10; 6:15, 34;
9:11, etc.), a lofty tree (Isa. 55:13) growing on Lebanon
(37:24). Its wood was used in making musical instruments and
doors of houses, and for ceilings (2 Chr. 3:5), the decks of
ships (Ezek. 27:5), floorings and spear-shafts (Nah. 2:3, R.V.).
The true fir (abies) is not found in Israel, but the pine
tree, of which there are four species, is common.
The precise kind of tree meant by the "green fir tree" (Hos.
14:8) is uncertain. Some regard it as the sherbin tree, a
cypress resembling the cedar; others, the Aleppo or maritime
pine (Pinus halepensis), which resembles the Scotch fir; while
others think that the "stone-pine" (Pinus pinea) is probably
meant. (See PINE ¯T0002956.)
(Heb. kerah, from its smoothness) Job 37:10 (R.V., "ice"); Gen.
31:40; Jer. 36:30; rendered "ice" in Job 6:16, 38:29; and
"crystal" in Ezek. 1:22. "At the present day frost is entirely
unknown in the lower portions of the valley of the Jordan, but
slight frosts are sometimes felt on the sea-coast and near
Lebanon." Throughout Western Asia cold frosty nights are
frequently succeeded by warm days.
"Hoar frost" (Heb. kephor, so called from its covering the
ground) is mentioned in Ex. 16:14; Job 38:29; Ps. 147:16.
In Ps. 78:47 the word rendered "frost" (R.V. marg., "great
hail-stones"), _hanamal_, occurs only there. It is rendered by
Gesenius, the Hebrew lexicographer, "ant," and so also by
others, but the usual interpretation derived from the ancient
versions may be maintained.
mountain. (1.) One of the mountains of the chain of Seir or
Edom, on the confines of Idumea (Num. 20:22-29; 33:37). It was
one of the stations of the Israelites in the wilderness (33:37),
which they reached in the circuitous route they were obliged to
take because the Edomites refused them a passage through their
territory. It was during the encampment here that Aaron died
(Num. 33:37-41). (See AARON ¯T0000002.) The Israelites passed
this mountain several times in their wanderings. It bears the
modern name of Jebel Harun, and is the highest and most
conspicious of the whole range. It stands about midway between
the Dead Sea and the Elanitic gulf. It has two summits, in the
hallow between which it is supposed that Aaron died. Others,
however, suppose that this mountain is the modern Jebel Madurah,
on the opposite, i.e., the western, side of the Arabah.
(2.) One of the marks of the northern boundary of Israel
(Num. 34:7, 8). Nowhere else mentioned. Perhaps it is one of the
peaks of Lebanon.
Heb. bakah, "to weep;" rendered "Baca" (R.V., "weeping") in Ps.
84:6. The plural form of the Hebrew bekaim is rendered "mulberry
trees" in 2 Sam. 5:23, 24 and 1 Chr. 14:14, 15. The tree here
alluded to was probably the aspen or trembling poplar. "We know
with certainty that the black poplar, the aspen, and the
Lombardy poplar grew in Israel. The aspen, whose long
leaf-stalks cause the leaves to tremble with every breath of
wind, unites with the willow and the oak to overshadow the
watercourses of the Lebanon, and with the oleander and the
acacia to adorn the ravines of Southern Israel" (Kitto). By
"the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees" we are
to understand a rustling among the trees like the marching of an
army. This was the signal that the Lord himself would lead forth
David's army to victory. (See SYCAMINE ¯T0003540.)
Not in common use among the Hebrews. It is first mentioned in
Ex. 28:40 (A.V., "bonnets;" R.V., "head-tires"). It was used
especially for purposes of ornament (Job 29:14; Isa. 3:23;
62:3). The Hebrew word here used, _tsaniph_, properly means a
turban, folds of linen wound round the head. The Hebrew word
_peer_, used in Isa. 61:3, there rendered "beauty" (A.V.) and
"garland" (R.V.), is a head-dress or turban worn by females
(Isa. 3: 20, "bonnets"), priests (Ex. 39:28), a bridegroom (Isa.
61:10, "ornament;" R.V., "garland"). Ezek. 16:10 and Jonah 2:5
are to be understood of the turban wrapped round the head. The
Hebrew _shebisim_ (Isa. 3:18), in the Authorized Version
rendered "cauls," and marg. "networks," denotes probably a kind
of netted head-dress. The "horn" (Heb. keren) mentioned in 1
Sam. 2:1 is the head-dress called by the Druses of Mount Lebanon
high-born. (1.) Generally "Huram," one of the sons of Bela (1
(2.) Also "Huram" and "Horam," king of Tyre. He entered into
an alliance with David, and assisted him in building his palace
by sending him able workmen, and also cedar-trees and fir-trees
from Lebanon (2 Sam. 5:11; 1 Chr. 14:1). After the death of
David he entered into a similar alliance with Solomon, and
assisted him greatly in building the temple (1 Kings 5:1; 9:11;
2 Chr. 2:3). He also took part in Solomon's traffic to the
Eastern Seas (1 Kings 9:27; 10:11; 2 Chr. 8:18; 9:10).
(3.) The "master workman" whom Hiram sent to Solomon. He was
the son of a widow of Dan, and of a Tyrian father. In 2 Chr.
2:13 "Huram my father" should be Huram Abi, the word "Abi"
(rendered here "my father") being regarded as a proper name, or
it may perhaps be a title of distinction given to Huram, and
equivalent to "master." (Comp. 1 Kings 7:14; 2 Chr. 4:16.) He
cast the magnificent brazen works for Solomon's temple in
clay-beds in the valley of Jordan, between Succoth and Zarthan.
as a mineral, consists of carbonate of lime, its texture varying
from the highly crystalline to the compact. In Esther 1:6 there
are four Hebrew words which are rendered marble:, (1.) Shesh,
"pillars of marble." But this word probably designates dark-blue
limestone rather than marble. (2.) Dar, some regard as Parian
marble. It is here rendered "white marble." But nothing is
certainly known of it. (3.) Bahat, "red marble," probably the
verd-antique or half-porphyry of Egypt. (4.) Sohareth, "black
marble," probably some spotted variety of marble. "The marble
pillars and tesserae of various colours of the palace at Susa
came doubtless from Persia itself, where marble of various
colours is found, especially in the province of Hamadan
Susiana." The marble of Solomon's architectural works may have
been limestone from near Jerusalem, or from Lebanon, or possibly
white marble from Arabia. Herod employed Parian marble in the
temple, and marble columns still exist in great abundance at
(1.) The "Royal Quarries" (not found in Scripture) is the name
given to the vast caverns stretching far underneath the northern
hill, Bezetha, on which Jerusalem is built. Out of these mammoth
caverns stones, a hard lime-stone, have been quarried in ancient
times for the buildings in the city, and for the temples of
Solomon, Zerubbabel, and Herod. Huge blocks of stone are still
found in these caves bearing the marks of pick and chisel. The
general appearance of the whole suggests to the explorer the
idea that the Phoenician quarrymen have just suspended their
work. The supposition that the polished blocks of stone for
Solomon's temple were sent by Hiram from Lebanon or Tyre is not
supported by any evidence (comp. 1 Kings 5:8). Hiram sent masons
and stone-squarers to Jerusalem to assist Solomon's workmen in
their great undertaking, but did not send stones to Jerusalem,
where, indeed, they were not needed, as these royal quarries
(2.) The "quarries" (Heb. pesilim) by Gilgal (Judg. 3:19),
from which Ehud turned back for the purpose of carrying out his
design to put Eglon king of Moab to death, were probably the
"graven images" (as the word is rendered by the LXX. and the
Vulgate and in the marg. A.V. and R.V.), or the idol temples the
Moabites had erected at Gilgal, where the children of Israel
first encamped after crossing the Jordan. The Hebrew word is
rendered "graven images" in Deut. 7:25, and is not elsewhere
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.
beauty, a town in the portion of Dan (Josh. 19:46; A.V.,
"Japho"), on a sandy promontory between Caesarea and Gaza, and
at a distance of 30 miles north-west from Jerusalem. It is one
of the oldest towns in Asia. It was and still is the chief
sea-port of Judea. It was never wrested from the Phoenicians. It
became a Jewish town only in the second century B.C. It was from
this port that Jonah "took ship to flee from the presence of the
Lord" (Jonah 1:3). To this place also the wood cut in Lebanon by
Hiram's men for Solomon was brought in floats (2 Chr. 2:16); and
here the material for the building of the second temple was also
landed (Ezra 3:7). At Joppa, in the house of Simon the tanner,
"by the sea-side," Peter resided "many days," and here, "on the
house-top," he had his "vision of tolerance" (Acts 9:36-43). It
bears the modern name of Jaffa, and exibituds all the
decrepitude and squalor of cities ruled over by the Turks.
"Scarcely any other town has been so often overthrown, sacked,
pillaged, burned, and rebuilt." Its present population is said
to be about 16,000. It was taken by the French under Napoleon in
1799, who gave orders for the massacre here of 4,000 prisoners.
It is connected with Jerusalem by the only carriage road that
exists in the country, and also by a railway completed in 1892.
It is noticed on monuments B.C. 1600-1300, and was attacked by
Sannacharib B.C. 702.
Naphtali, Tribe of
On this tribe Jacob pronounced the patriarchal blessing,
"Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words" (Gen.
49:21). It was intended thus to set forth under poetic imagery
the future character and history of the tribe.
At the time of the Exodus this tribe numbered 53,400 adult
males (Num. 1:43), but at the close of the wanderings they
numbered only 45,400 (26:48-50). Along with Dan and Asher they
formed "the camp of Dan," under a common standard (2:25-31),
occupying a place during the march on the north side of the
The possession assigned to this tribe is set forth in Josh.
19:32-39. It lay in the north-eastern corner of the land,
bounded on the east by the Jordan and the lakes of Merom and
Galilee, and on the north it extended far into Coele-Syria, the
valley between the two Lebanon ranges. It comprehended a greater
variety of rich and beautiful scenery and of soil and climate
than fell to the lot of any other tribe. The territory of
Naphtali extended to about 800 square miles, being the double of
that of Issachar. The region around Kedesh, one of its towns,
was originally called Galil, a name afterwards given to the
whole northern division of Canaan. A large number of foreigners
settled here among the mountains, and hence it was called
"Galilee of the Gentiles" (q.v.), Matt. 4:15, 16. The southern
portion of Naphtali has been called the "Garden of Israel."
It was of unrivalled fertility. It was the principal scene of
our Lord's public ministry. Here most of his parables were
spoken and his miracles wrought.
This tribe was the first to suffer from the invasion of
Benhadad, king of Syria, in the reigns of Baasha, king of
Israel, and Asa, king of Judah (1 Kings 15:20; 2 Chr. 16:4). In
the reign of Pekah, king of Israel, the Assyrians under
Tiglath-pileser swept over the whole north of Israel, and
carried the people into captivity (2 Kings 15:29). Thus the
kingdom of Israel came to an end (B.C. 722).
Naphtali is now almost wholly a desert, the towns of Tiberias,
on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, and Safed being the only
places in it of any importance.
insolence; pride, a poetical name applied to Egypt in Ps. 87:4;
89:10; Isa. 51:9, as "the proud one."
Rahab, (Heb. Rahab; i.e., "broad," "large"). When the Hebrews
were encamped at Shittim, in the "Arabah" or Jordan valley
opposite Jericho, ready to cross the river, Joshua, as a final
preparation, sent out two spies to "spy the land." After five
days they returned, having swum across the river, which at this
season, the month Abib, overflowed its banks from the melting of
the snow on Lebanon. The spies reported how it had fared with
them (Josh. 2:1-7). They had been exposed to danger in Jericho,
and had been saved by the fidelity of Rahab the harlot, to whose
house they had gone for protection. When the city of Jericho
fell (6:17-25), Rahab and her whole family were preserved
according to the promise of the spies, and were incorporated
among the Jewish people. She afterwards became the wife of
Salmon, a prince of the tribe of Judah (Ruth 4:21; 1 Chr. 2:11;
Matt. 1:5). "Rahab's being asked to bring out the spies to the
soldiers (Josh. 2:3) sent for them, is in strict keeping with
Eastern manners, which would not permit any man to enter a
woman's house without her permission. The fact of her covering
the spies with bundles of flax which lay on her house-roof (2:6)
is an 'undesigned coincidence' which strictly corroborates the
narrative. It was the time of the barley harvest, and flax and
barley are ripe at the same time in the Jordan valley, so that
the bundles of flax stalks might have been expected to be drying
just then" (Geikie's Hours, etc., ii., 390).
(1.) Heb. bik'ah, a "cleft" of the mountains (Deut. 8:7; 11:11;
Ps. 104:8; Isa. 41:18); also a low plain bounded by mountains,
as the plain of Lebanon at the foot of Hermon around the sources
of the Jordan (Josh. 11:17; 12:7), and the valley of Megiddo (2
(2.) 'Emek, "deep;" "a long, low plain" (Job 39:10, 21; Ps.
65:13; Cant. 2:1), such as the plain of Esdraelon; the "valley
of giants" (Josh. 15:8), usually translated "valley of Rephaim"
(2 Sam. 5:18); of Elah (1 Sam. 17:2), of Berachah (2 Chr.
20:26); the king's "dale" (Gen. 14:17); of Jehoshaphat (Joel
3:2, 12), of Achor (Josh. 7:24; Isa. 65:10), Succoth (Ps. 60:6),
Ajalon (Josh. 10:12), Jezreel (Hos. 1:5).
(3.) Ge, "a bursting," a "flowing together," a narrow glen or
ravine, such as the valley of the children of Hinnom (2 Kings
23:10); of Eshcol (Deut. 1:24); of Sorek (Judg. 16:4), etc.
The "valley of vision" (Isa. 22:1) is usually regarded as
denoting Jerusalem, which "may be so called," says Barnes (Com.
on Isa.), "either (1) because there were several valleys within
the city and adjacent to it, as the vale between Mount Zion and
Moriah, the vale between Mount Moriah and Mount Ophel, between
these and Mount Bezetha, and the valley of Jehoshaphat, the
valley of the brook Kidron, etc., without the walls of the city;
or (2) more probably it was called the valley in reference to
its being compassed with hills rising to a considerable
elevation above the city" (Ps. 125:2; comp. also Jer. 21:13,
where Jerusalem is called a "valley").
(4.) Heb. nahal, a wady or water-course (Gen. 26:19; Cant.
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 southern portion of Babylonia, Lower Mesopotamia, lying
chiefly on the right bank of the Euphrates, but commonly used of
the whole of the Mesopotamian plain. The Hebrew name is Kasdim,
which is usually rendered "Chaldeans" (Jer. 50:10; 51:24,35).
The country so named is a vast plain formed by the deposits of
the Euphrates and the Tigris, extending to about 400 miles along
the course of these rivers, and about 100 miles in average
breadth. "In former days the vast plains of Babylon were
nourished by a complicated system of canals and water-courses,
which spread over the surface of the country like a network. The
wants of a teeming population were supplied by a rich soil, not
less bountiful than that on the banks of the Egyptian Nile. Like
islands rising from a golden sea of waving corn stood frequent
groves of palm-trees and pleasant gardens, affording to the
idler or traveller their grateful and highly-valued shade.
Crowds of passengers hurried along the dusty roads to and from
the busy city. The land was rich in corn and wine."
Recent discoveries, more especially in Babylonia, have thrown
much light on the history of the Hebrew patriarchs, and have
illustrated or confirmed the Biblical narrative in many points.
The ancestor of the Hebrew people, Abram, was, we are told, born
at "Ur of the Chaldees." "Chaldees" is a mistranslation of the
Hebrew _Kasdim_, Kasdim being the Old Testament name of the
Babylonians, while the Chaldees were a tribe who lived on the
shores of the Persian Gulf, and did not become a part of the
Babylonian population till the time of Hezekiah. Ur was one of
the oldest and most famous of the Babylonian cities. Its site is
now called Mugheir, or Mugayyar, on the western bank of the
Euphrates, in Southern Babylonia. About a century before the
birth of Abram it was ruled by a powerful dynasty of kings.
Their conquests extended to Elam on the one side, and to the
Lebanon on the other. They were followed by a dynasty of princes
whose capital was Babylon, and who seem to have been of South
Arabian origin. The founder of the dynasty was Sumu-abi ("Shem
is my father"). But soon afterwards Babylonia fell under Elamite
dominion. The kings of Babylon were compelled to acknowledge the
supremacy of Elam, and a rival kingdom to that of Babylon, and
governed by Elamites, sprang up at Larsa, not far from Ur, but
on the opposite bank of the river. In the time of Abram the king
of Larsa was Eri-Aku, the son of an Elamite prince, and Eri-Aku,
as has long been recognized, is the Biblical "Arioch king of
Ellasar" (Gen. 14:1). The contemporaneous king of Babylon in the
north, in the country termed Shinar in Scripture, was
Khammu-rabi. (See BABYLON ¯T0000409; ABRAHAM ¯T0000054; AMRAPHEL
(Gen. 10:14, R.V.; but in A.V., "Philistim"), a tribe allied to
the Phoenicians. They were a branch of the primitive race which
spread over the whole district of the Lebanon and the valley of
the Jordan, and Crete and other Mediterranean islands. Some
suppose them to have been a branch of the Rephaim (2 Sam.
21:16-22). In the time of Abraham they inhabited the south-west
of Judea, Abimelech of Gerar being their king (Gen. 21:32, 34;
26:1). They are, however, not noticed among the Canaanitish
tribes mentioned in the Pentateuch. They are spoken of by Amos
(9:7) and Jeremiah (47:4) as from Caphtor, i.e., probably Crete,
or, as some think, the Delta of Egypt. In the whole record from
Exodus to Samuel they are represented as inhabiting the tract of
country which lay between Judea and Egypt (Ex. 13:17; 15:14, 15;
Josh. 13:3; 1 Sam. 4).
This powerful tribe made frequent incursions against the
Hebrews. There was almost perpetual war between them. They
sometimes held the tribes, especially the southern tribes, in
degrading servitude (Judg. 15:11; 1 Sam. 13:19-22); at other
times they were defeated with great slaughter (1 Sam. 14:1-47;
17). These hostilities did not cease till the time of Hezekiah
(2 Kings 18:8), when they were entirely subdued. They still,
however, occupied their territory, and always showed their old
hatred to Israel (Ezek. 25:15-17). They were finally conquered
by the Romans.
The Philistines are called Pulsata or Pulista on the Egyptian
monuments; the land of the Philistines (Philistia) being termed
Palastu and Pilista in the Assyrian inscriptions. They occupied
the five cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath, in
the south-western corner of Canaan, which belonged to Egypt up
to the closing days of the Nineteenth Dynasty. The occupation
took place during the reign of Rameses III. of the Twentieth
Dynasty. The Philistines had formed part of the great naval
confederacy which attacked Egypt, but were eventually repulsed
by that Pharaoh, who, however, could not dislodge them from
their settlements in Israel. As they did not enter Israel
till the time of the Exodus, the use of the name Philistines in
Gen. 26:1 must be proleptic. Indeed the country was properly
Gerar, as in ch. 20.
They are called Allophyli, "foreigners," in the Septuagint,
and in the Books of Samuel they are spoken of as uncircumcised.
It would therefore appear that they were not of the Semitic
race, though after their establishment in Canaan they adopted
the Semitic language of the country. We learn from the Old
Testament that they came from Caphtor, usually supposed to be
Crete. From Philistia the name of the land of the Philistines
came to be extended to the whole of "Israel." Many scholars
identify the Philistines with the Pelethites of 2 Sam. 8:18.
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."
who makes to forget. "God hath made me forget" (Heb. nashshani),
Gen. 41:51. (1.) The elder of the two sons of Joseph. He and his
brother Ephraim were afterwards adopted by Jacob as his own sons
(48:1). There is an account of his marriage to a Syrian (1 Chr.
7:14); and the only thing afterwards recorded of him is, that
his grandchildren were "brought up upon Joseph's knees" (Gen.
50:23; R.V., "born upon Joseph's knees") i.e., were from their
birth adopted by Joseph as his own children.
The tribe of Manasseh was associated with that of Ephraim and
Benjamin during the wanderings in the wilderness. They encamped
on the west side of the tabernacle. According to the census
taken at Sinai, this tribe then numbered 32,200 (Num. 1:10, 35;
2:20, 21). Forty years afterwards its numbers had increased to
52,700 (26:34, 37), and it was at this time the most
distinguished of all the tribes.
The half of this tribe, along with Reuben and Gad, had their
territory assigned them by Moses on the east of the Jordan
(Josh. 13:7-14); but it was left for Joshua to define the limits
of each tribe. This territory on the east of Jordan was more
valuable and of larger extent than all that was allotted to the
nine and a half tribes in the land of Israel. It is sometimes
called "the land of Gilead," and is also spoken of as "on the
other side of Jordan." The portion given to the half tribe of
Manasseh was the largest on the east of Jordan. It embraced the
whole of Bashan. It was bounded on the south by Mahanaim, and
extended north to the foot of Lebanon. Argob, with its sixty
cities, that "ocean of basaltic rocks and boulders tossed about
in the wildest confusion," lay in the midst of this territory.
The whole "land of Gilead" having been conquered, the two and
a half tribes left their wives and families in the fortified
cities there, and accompanied the other tribes across the
Jordan, and took part with them in the wars of conquest. The
allotment of the land having been completed, Joshua dismissed
the two and a half tribes, commending them for their heroic
service (Josh. 22:1-34). Thus dismissed, they returned over
Jordan to their own inheritance. (See ED ¯T0001125.)
On the west of Jordan the other half of the tribe of Manasseh
was associated with Ephraim, and they had their portion in the
very centre of Israel, an area of about 1,300 square miles,
the most valuable part of the whole country, abounding in
springs of water. Manasseh's portion was immediately to the
north of that of Ephraim (Josh. 16). Thus the western Manasseh
defended the passes of Esdraelon as the eastern kept the passes
of the Hauran.
(2.) The only son and successor of Hezekiah on the throne of
Judah. He was twelve years old when he began to reign (2 Kings
21:1), and he reigned fifty-five years (B.C. 698-643). Though he
reigned so long, yet comparatively little is known of this king.
His reign was a continuation of that of Ahaz, both in religion
and national polity. He early fell under the influence of the
heathen court circle, and his reign was characterized by a sad
relapse into idolatry with all its vices, showing that the
reformation under his father had been to a large extent only
superficial (Isa. 7:10; 2 Kings 21:10-15). A systematic and
persistent attempt was made, and all too successfully, to banish
the worship of Jehovah out of the land. Amid this wide-spread
idolatry there were not wanting, however, faithful prophets
(Isaiah, Micah) who lifted up their voice in reproof and in
warning. But their fidelity only aroused bitter hatred, and a
period of cruel persecution against all the friends of the old
religion began. "The days of Alva in Holland, of Charles IX. in
France, or of the Covenanters under Charles II. in Scotland,
were anticipated in the Jewish capital. The streets were red
with blood." There is an old Jewish tradition that Isaiah was
put to death at this time (2 Kings 21:16; 24:3, 4; Jer. 2:30),
having been sawn asunder in the trunk of a tree. Psalms 49, 73,
77, 140, and 141 seem to express the feelings of the pious amid
the fiery trials of this great persecution. Manasseh has been
called the "Nero of Israel."
Esarhaddon, Sennacherib's successor on the Assyrian throne,
who had his residence in Babylon for thirteen years (the only
Assyrian monarch who ever reigned in Babylon), took Manasseh
prisoner (B.C. 681) to Babylon. Such captive kings were usually
treated with great cruelty. They were brought before the
conqueror with a hook or ring passed through their lips or their
jaws, having a cord attached to it, by which they were led. This
is referred to in 2 Chr. 33:11, where the Authorized Version
reads that Esarhaddon "took Manasseh among the thorns;" while
the Revised Version renders the words, "took Manasseh in
chains;" or literally, as in the margin, "with hooks." (Comp. 2
The severity of Manasseh's imprisonment brought him to
repentance. God heard his cry, and he was restored to his
kingdom (2 Chr. 33:11-13). He abandoned his idolatrous ways, and
enjoined the people to worship Jehovah; but there was no
thorough reformation. After a lengthened reign extending through
fifty-five years, the longest in the history of Judah, he died,
and was buried in the garden of Uzza, the "garden of his own
house" (2 Kings 21:17, 18; 2 Chr. 33:20), and not in the city of
David, among his ancestors. He was succeeded by his son Amon.
In Judg. 18:30 the correct reading is "Moses," and not
"Manasseh." The name "Manasseh" is supposed to have been
introduced by some transcriber to avoid the scandal of naming
the grandson of Moses the great lawgiver as the founder of an
peaceful, (Heb. Shelomoh), David's second son by Bathsheba,
i.e., the first after their legal marriage (2 Sam. 12). He was
probably born about B.C. 1035 (1 Chr. 22:5; 29:1). He succeeded
his father on the throne in early manhood, probably about
sixteen or eighteen years of age. Nathan, to whom his education
was intrusted, called him Jedidiah, i.e., "beloved of the Lord"
(2 Sam. 12:24, 25). He was the first king of Israel "born in the
purple." His father chose him as his successor, passing over the
claims of his elder sons: "Assuredly Solomon my son shall reign
after me." His history is recorded in 1 Kings 1-11 and 2 Chr.
1-9. His elevation to the throne took place before his father's
death, and was hastened on mainly by Nathan and Bathsheba, in
consequence of the rebellion of Adonijah (1 Kings 1:5-40).
During his long reign of forty years the Hebrew monarchy gained
its highest splendour. This period has well been called the
"Augustan age" of the Jewish annals. The first half of his reign
was, however, by far the brighter and more prosperous; the
latter half was clouded by the idolatries into which he fell,
mainly from his heathen intermarriages (1 Kings 11:1-8; 14:21,
Before his death David gave parting instructions to his son (1
Kings 2:1-9; 1 Chr. 22:7-16; 28). As soon as he had settled
himself in his kingdom, and arranged the affairs of his
extensive empire, he entered into an alliance with Egypt by the
marriage of the daughter of Pharaoh (1 Kings 3:1), of whom,
however, nothing further is recorded. He surrounded himself with
all the luxuries and the external grandeur of an Eastern
monarch, and his government prospered. He entered into an
alliance with Hiram, king of Tyre, who in many ways greatly
assisted him in his numerous undertakings. (See HIRAM
For some years before his death David was engaged in the
active work of collecting materials (1 Chr. 29:6-9; 2 Chr.
2:3-7) for building a temple in Jerusalem as a permanent abode
for the ark of the covenant. He was not permitted to build the
house of God (1 Chr. 22:8); that honour was reserved to his son
Solomon. (See TEMPLE ¯T0003610.)
After the completion of the temple, Solomon engaged in the
erection of many other buildings of importance in Jerusalem and
in other parts of his kingdom. For the long space of thirteen
years he was engaged in the erection of a royal palace on Ophel
(1 Kings 7:1-12). It was 100 cubits long, 50 broad, and 30 high.
Its lofty roof was supported by forty-five cedar pillars, so
that the hall was like a forest of cedar wood, and hence
probably it received the name of "The House of the Forest of
Lebanon." In front of this "house" was another building, which
was called the Porch of Pillars, and in front of this again was
the "Hall of Judgment," or Throne-room (1 Kings 7:7; 10:18-20; 2
Chr. 9:17-19), "the King's Gate," where he administered justice
and gave audience to his people. This palace was a building of
great magnificence and beauty. A portion of it was set apart as
the residence of the queen consort, the daughter of Pharaoh.
From the palace there was a private staircase of red and scented
sandal wood which led up to the temple.
Solomon also constructed great works for the purpose of
securing a plentiful supply of water for the city (Eccl. 2:4-6).
He then built Millo (LXX., "Acra") for the defence of the city,
completing a line of ramparts around it (1 Kings 9:15, 24;
11:27). He erected also many other fortifications for the
defence of his kingdom at various points where it was exposed to
the assault of enemies (1 Kings 9:15-19; 2 Chr. 8:2-6). Among
his great undertakings must also be mentioned the building of
Tadmor (q.v.) in the wilderness as a commercial depot, as well
as a military outpost.
During his reign Israel enjoyed great commercial
prosperity. Extensive traffic was carried on by land with Tyre
and Egypt and Arabia, and by sea with Spain and India and the
coasts of Africa, by which Solomon accumulated vast stores of
wealth and of the produce of all nations (1 Kings 9:26-28;
10:11, 12; 2 Chr. 8:17, 18; 9:21). This was the "golden age" of
Israel. The royal magnificence and splendour of Solomon's court
were unrivalled. He had seven hundred wives and three hundred
concubines, an evidence at once of his pride, his wealth, and
his sensuality. The maintenance of his household involved
immense expenditure. The provision required for one day was
"thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal,
ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an
hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallow-deer, and
fatted fowl" (1 Kings 4:22, 23).
Solomon's reign was not only a period of great material
prosperity, but was equally remarkable for its intellectual
activity. He was the leader of his people also in this uprising
amongst them of new intellectual life. "He spake three thousand
proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake
of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the
hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts,
and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes" (1 Kings
His fame was spread abroad through all lands, and men came
from far and near "to hear the wisdom of Solomon." Among others
thus attracted to Jerusalem was "the queen of the south" (Matt.
12:42), the queen of Sheba, a country in Arabia Felix. "Deep,
indeed, must have been her yearning, and great his fame, which
induced a secluded Arabian queen to break through the immemorial
custom of her dreamy land, and to put forth the energy required
for braving the burdens and perils of so long a journey across a
wilderness. Yet this she undertook, and carried it out with
safety." (1 Kings 10:1-13; 2 Chr. 9:1-12.) She was filled with
amazement by all she saw and heard: "there was no more spirit in
her." After an interchange of presents she returned to her
But that golden age of Jewish history passed away. The bright
day of Solomon's glory ended in clouds and darkness. His decline
and fall from his high estate is a sad record. Chief among the
causes of his decline were his polygamy and his great wealth.
"As he grew older he spent more of his time among his
favourites. The idle king living among these idle women, for
1,000 women, with all their idle and mischievous attendants,
filled the palaces and pleasure-houses which he had built (1
Kings 11:3), learned first to tolerate and then to imitate their
heathenish ways. He did not, indeed, cease to believe in the God
of Israel with his mind. He did not cease to offer the usual
sacrifices in the temple at the great feasts. But his heart was
not right with God; his worship became merely formal; his soul,
left empty by the dying out of true religious fervour, sought to
be filled with any religious excitement which offered itself.
Now for the first time a worship was publicly set up amongst the
people of the Lord which was not simply irregular or forbidden,
like that of Gideon (Judg. 8:27), or the Danites (Judg. 18:30,
31), but was downright idolatrous." (1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings
This brought upon him the divine displeasure. His enemies
prevailed against him (1 Kings 11:14-22, 23-25, 26-40), and one
judgment after another fell upon the land. And now the end of
all came, and he died, after a reign of forty years, and was
buried in the city of David, and "with him was buried the
short-lived glory and unity of Israel." "He leaves behind him
but one weak and worthless son, to dismember his kingdom and
disgrace his name."
"The kingdom of Solomon," says Rawlinson, "is one of the most
striking facts in the Biblical history. A petty nation, which
for hundreds of years has with difficulty maintained a separate
existence in the midst of warlike tribes, each of which has in
turn exercised dominion over it and oppressed it, is suddenly
raised by the genius of a soldier-monarch to glory and
greatness. An empire is established which extends from the
Euphrates to the borders of Egypt, a distance of 450 miles; and
this empire, rapidly constructed, enters almost immediately on a
period of peace which lasts for half a century. Wealth,
grandeur, architectural magnificence, artistic excellence,
commercial enterprise, a position of dignity among the great
nations of the earth, are enjoyed during this space, at the end
of which there is a sudden collapse. The ruling nation is split
in twain, the subject-races fall off, the pre-eminence lately
gained being wholly lost, the scene of struggle, strife,
oppression, recovery, inglorious submission, and desperate
effort, re-commences.", Historical Illustrations.
First mentioned in Gen. 10:11, which is rendered in the Revised
Version, "He [i.e., Nimrod] went forth into Assyria and builded
Nineveh." It is not again noticed till the days of Jonah, when
it is described (Jonah 3:3; 4:11) as a great and populous city,
the flourishing capital of the Assyrian empire (2 Kings 19:36;
Isa. 37:37). The book of the prophet Nahum is almost exclusively
taken up with prophetic denunciations against this city. Its
ruin and utter desolation are foretold (Nah.1:14; 3:19, etc.).
Zephaniah also (2:13-15) predicts its destruction along with the
fall of the empire of which it was the capital. From this time
there is no mention of it in Scripture till it is named in
gospel history (Matt. 12:41; Luke 11:32).
This "exceeding great city" lay on the eastern or left bank of
the river Tigris, along which it stretched for some 30 miles,
having an average breadth of 10 miles or more from the river
back toward the eastern hills. This whole extensive space is now
one immense area of ruins. Occupying a central position on the
great highway between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean,
thus uniting the East and the West, wealth flowed into it from
many sources, so that it became the greatest of all ancient
About B.C. 633 the Assyrian empire began to show signs of
weakness, and Nineveh was attacked by the Medes, who
subsequently, about B.C. 625, being joined by the Babylonians
and Susianians, again attacked it, when it fell, and was razed
to the ground. The Assyrian empire then came to an end, the
Medes and Babylonians dividing its provinces between them.
"After having ruled for more than six hundred years with hideous
tyranny and violence, from the Caucasus and the Caspian to the
Persian Gulf, and from beyond the Tigris to Asia Minor and
Egypt, it vanished like a dream" (Nah. 2:6-11). Its end was
strange, sudden, tragic. It was God's doing, his judgement on
Assyria's pride (Isa. 10:5-19).
Forty years ago our knowledge of the great Assyrian empire and
of its magnificent capital was almost wholly a blank. Vague
memories had indeed survived of its power and greatness, but
very little was definitely known about it. Other cities which
had perished, as Palmyra, Persepolis, and Thebes, had left ruins
to mark their sites and tell of their former greatness; but of
this city, imperial Nineveh, not a single vestige seemed to
remain, and the very place on which it had stood was only matter
of conjecture. In fulfilment of prophecy, God made "an utter end
of the place." It became a "desolation."
In the days of the Greek historian Herodotus, B.C. 400, it had
become a thing of the past; and when Xenophon the historian
passed the place in the "Retreat of the Ten Thousand," the very
memory of its name had been lost. It was buried out of sight,
and no one knew its grave. It is never again to rise from its
At length, after being lost for more than two thousand years,
the city was disentombed. A little more than forty years ago the
French consul at Mosul began to search the vast mounds that lay
along the opposite bank of the river. The Arabs whom he employed
in these excavations, to their great surprise, came upon the
ruins of a building at the mound of Khorsabad, which, on further
exploration, turned out to be the royal palace of Sargon, one of
the Assyrian kings. They found their way into its extensive
courts and chambers, and brought forth form its hidded depths
many wonderful sculptures and other relics of those ancient
The work of exploration has been carried on almost
continuously by M. Botta, Sir Henry Layard, George Smith, and
others, in the mounds of Nebi-Yunus, Nimrud, Koyunjik, and
Khorsabad, and a vast treasury of specimens of old Assyrian art
has been exhumed. Palace after palace has been discovered, with
their decorations and their sculptured slabs, revealing the life
and manners of this ancient people, their arts of war and peace,
the forms of their religion, the style of their architecture,
and the magnificence of their monarchs. The streets of the city
have been explored, the inscriptions on the bricks and tablets
and sculptured figures have been read, and now the secrets of
their history have been brought to light.
One of the most remarkable of recent discoveries is that of
the library of King Assur-bani-pal, or, as the Greek historians
call him, Sardanapalos, the grandson of Sennacherib (q.v.). (See
ASNAPPER ¯T0000347.) This library consists of about ten thousand
flat bricks or tablets, all written over with Assyrian
characters. They contain a record of the history, the laws, and
the religion of Assyria, of the greatest value. These strange
clay leaves found in the royal library form the most valuable of
all the treasuries of the literature of the old world. The
library contains also old Accadian documents, which are the
oldest extant documents in the world, dating as far back as
probably about the time of Abraham. (See SARGON ¯T0003227.)
"The Assyrian royalty is, perhaps, the most luxurious of our
century [reign of Assur-bani-pa]...Its victories and conquests,
uninterrupted for one hundred years, have enriched it with the
spoil of twenty peoples. Sargon has taken what remained to the
Hittites; Sennacherib overcame Chaldea, and the treasures of
Babylon were transferred to his coffers; Esarhaddon and
Assur-bani-pal himself have pillaged Egypt and her great cities,
Sais, Memphis, and Thebes of the hundred gates...Now foreign
merchants flock into Nineveh, bringing with them the most
valuable productions from all countries, gold and perfume from
South Arabia and the Chaldean Sea, Egyptian linen and
glass-work, carved enamels, goldsmiths' work, tin, silver,
Phoenician purple; cedar wood from Lebanon, unassailable by
worms; furs and iron from Asia Minor and Armenia" (Ancient Egypt
and Assyria, by G. Maspero, page 271).
The bas-reliefs, alabaster slabs, and sculptured monuments
found in these recovered palaces serve in a remarkable manner to
confirm the Old Testament history of the kings of Israel. The
appearance of the ruins shows that the destruction of the city
was due not only to the assailing foe but also to the flood and
the fire, thus confirming the ancient prophecies concerning it.
"The recent excavations," says Rawlinson, "have shown that fire
was a great instrument in the destruction of the Nineveh
palaces. Calcined alabaster, charred wood, and charcoal,
colossal statues split through with heat, are met with in parts
of the Nineveh mounds, and attest the veracity of prophecy."
Nineveh in its glory was (Jonah 3:4) an "exceeding great city
of three days' journey", i.e., probably in circuit. This would
give a circumference of about 60 miles. At the four corners of
an irregular quadrangle are the ruins of Kouyunjik, Nimrud,
Karamless and Khorsabad. These four great masses of ruins, with
the whole area included within the parallelogram they form by
lines drawn from the one to the other, are generally regarded as
composing the whole ruins of Nineveh.
originally denoted only the sea-coast of the land of Canaan
inhabited by the Philistines (Ex. 15:14; Isa. 14:29, 31; Joel
3:4), and in this sense exclusively the Hebrew name Pelesheth
(rendered "Philistia" in Ps. 60:8; 83:7; 87:4; 108:9) occurs in
the Old Testament.
Not till a late period in Jewish history was this name used to
denote "the land of the Hebrews" in general (Gen. 40:15). It is
also called "the holy land" (Zech. 2:12), the "land of Jehovah"
(Hos. 9:3; Ps. 85:1), the "land of promise" (Heb. 11:9), because
promised to Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 24:7), the "land of Canaan"
(Gen. 12:5), the "land of Israel" (1 Sam. 13:19), and the "land
of Judah" (Isa. 19:17).
The territory promised as an inheritance to the seed of
Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21; Num. 34:1-12) was bounded on the east by
the river Euphrates, on the west by the Mediterranean, on the
north by the "entrance of Hamath," and on the south by the
"river of Egypt." This extent of territory, about 60,000 square
miles, was at length conquered by David, and was ruled over also
by his son Solomon (2 Sam. 8; 1 Chr. 18; 1 Kings 4:1, 21). This
vast empire was the Promised Land; but Israel was only a part
of it, terminating in the north at the southern extremity of the
Lebanon range, and in the south in the wilderness of Paran, thus
extending in all to about 144 miles in length. Its average
breadth was about 60 miles from the Mediterranean on the west to
beyond the Jordan. It has fittingly been designated "the least
of all lands." Western Israel, on the south of Gaza, is only
about 40 miles in breadth from the Mediterranean to the Dead
Sea, narrowing gradually toward the north, where it is only 20
miles from the sea-coast to the Jordan.
Israel, "set in the midst" (Ezek. 5:5) of all other lands,
is the most remarkable country on the face of the earth. No
single country of such an extent has so great a variety of
climate, and hence also of plant and animal life. Moses
describes it as "a good land, a land of brooks of water, of
fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a
land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and
pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein
thou shalt not eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack
any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose
hills thou mayest dig brass" (Deut. 8:7-9).
"In the time of Christ the country looked, in all probability,
much as now. The whole land consists of rounded limestone hills,
fretted into countless stony valleys, offering but rarely level
tracts, of which Esdraelon alone, below Nazareth, is large
enough to be seen on the map. The original woods had for ages
disappeared, though the slopes were dotted, as now, with figs,
olives, and other fruit-trees where there was any soil.
Permanent streams were even then unknown, the passing rush of
winter torrents being all that was seen among the hills. The
autumn and spring rains, caught in deep cisterns hewn out like
huge underground jars in the soft limestone, with artificial
mud-banked ponds still found near all villages, furnished water.
Hills now bare, or at best rough with stunted growth, were then
terraced, so as to grow vines, olives, and grain. To-day almost
desolate, the country then teemed with population. Wine-presses
cut in the rocks, endless terraces, and the ruins of old
vineyard towers are now found amidst solitudes overgrown for
ages with thorns and thistles, or with wild shrubs and poor
gnarled scrub" (Geikie's Life of Christ).
From an early period the land was inhabited by the descendants
of Canaan, who retained possession of the whole land "from Sidon
to Gaza" till the time of the conquest by Joshua, when it was
occupied by the twelve tribes. Two tribes and a half had their
allotments given them by Moses on the east of the Jordan (Deut.
3:12-20; comp. Num. 1:17-46; Josh. 4:12-13). The remaining
tribes had their portion on the west of Jordan.
From the conquest till the time of Saul, about four hundred
years, the people were governed by judges. For a period of one
hundred and twenty years the kingdom retained its unity while it
was ruled by Saul and David and Solomon. On the death of
Solomon, his son Rehoboam ascended the throne; but his conduct
was such that ten of the tribes revolted, and formed an
independent monarchy, called the kingdom of Israel, or the
northern kingdom, the capital of which was first Shechem and
afterwards Samaria. This kingdom was destroyed. The Israelites
were carried captive by Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, B.C. 722,
after an independent existence of two hundred and fifty-three
years. The place of the captives carried away was supplied by
tribes brought from the east, and thus was formed the Samaritan
nation (2 Kings 17:24-29).
Nebuchadnezzar came up against the kingdom of the two tribes,
the kingdom of Judah, the capital of which was Jerusalem, one
hundred and thirty-four years after the overthrow of the kingdom
of Israel. He overthrew the city, plundered the temple, and
carried the people into captivity to Babylon (B.C. 587), where
they remained seventy years. At the close of the period of the
Captivity, they returned to their own land, under the edict of
Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4). They rebuilt the city and temple, and
restored the old Jewish commonwealth.
For a while after the Restoration the Jews were ruled by
Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and afterwards by the high
priests, assisted by the Sanhedrin. After the death of Alexander
the Great at Babylon (B.C. 323), his vast empire was divided
between his four generals. Egypt, Arabia, Israel, and
Coele-Syria fell to the lot of Ptolemy Lagus. Ptolemy took
possession of Israel in B.C. 320, and carried nearly one
hundred thousand of the inhabitants of Jerusalem into Egypt. He
made Alexandria the capital of his kingdom, and treated the Jews
with consideration, confirming them in the enjoyment of many
After suffering persecution at the hands of Ptolemy's
successors, the Jews threw off the Egyptian yoke, and became
subject to Antiochus the Great, the king of Syria. The cruelty
and opression of the successors of Antiochus at length led to
the revolt under the Maccabees (B.C. 163), when they threw off
the Syrian yoke.
In the year B.C. 68, Israel was reduced by Pompey the Great
to a Roman province. He laid the walls of the city in ruins, and
massacred some twelve thousand of the inhabitants. He left the
temple, however, unijured. About twenty-five years after this
the Jews revolted and cast off the Roman yoke. They were
however, subdued by Herod the Great (q.v.). The city and the
temple were destroyed, and many of the inhabitants were put to
death. About B.C. 20, Herod proceeded to rebuild the city and
restore the ruined temple, which in about nine years and a half
was so far completed that the sacred services could be resumed
in it (comp. John 2:20). He was succeeded by his son Archelaus,
who was deprived of his power, however, by Augustus, A.D. 6,
when Israel became a Roman province, ruled by Roman governors
or procurators. Pontius Pilate was the fifth of these
procurators. He was appointed to his office A.D. 25.
Exclusive of Idumea, the kingdom of Herod the Great
comprehended the whole of the country originally divided among
the twelve tribes, which he divided into four provinces or
districts. This division was recognized so long as Israel was
under the Roman dominion. These four provinces were, (1) Judea,
the southern portion of the country; (2) Samaria, the middle
province, the northern boundary of which ran along the hills to
the south of the plain of Esdraelon; (3) Galilee, the northern
province; and (4) Peraea (a Greek name meaning the "opposite
country"), the country lying east of the Jordan and the Dead
Sea. This province was subdivided into these districts, (1)
Peraea proper, lying between the rivers Arnon and Jabbok; (2)
Galaaditis (Gilead); (3) Batanaea; (4) Gaulonitis (Jaulan); (5)
Ituraea or Auranitis, the ancient Bashan; (6) Trachonitis; (7)
Abilene; (8) Decapolis, i.e., the region of the ten cities. The
whole territory of Israel, including the portions alloted to
the trans-Jordan tribes, extended to about eleven thousand
square miles. Recent exploration has shown the territory on the
west of Jordan alone to be six thousand square miles in extent,
the size of the principality of Wales.
Before his death David had "with all his might" provided
materials in great abundance for the building of the temple on
the summit of Mount Moriah (1 Chr. 22:14; 29:4; 2 Chr. 3:1), on
the east of the city, on the spot where Abraham had offered up
Isaac (Gen. 22:1-14). In the beginning of his reign Solomon set
about giving effect to the desire that had been so earnestly
cherished by his father, and prepared additional materials for
the building. From subterranean quarries at Jerusalem he
obtained huge blocks of stone for the foundations and walls of
the temple. These stones were prepared for their places in the
building under the eye of Tyrian master-builders. He also
entered into a compact with Hiram II., king of Tyre, for the
supply of whatever else was needed for the work, particularly
timber from the forests of Lebanon, which was brought in great
rafts by the sea to Joppa, whence it was dragged to Jerusalem (1
Kings 5). As the hill on which the temple was to be built did
not afford sufficient level space, a huge wall of solid masonry
of great height, in some places more than 200 feet high, was
raised across the south of the hill, and a similar wall on the
eastern side, and in the spaces between were erected many arches
and pillars, thus raising up the general surface to the required
level. Solomon also provided for a sufficient water supply for
the temple by hewing in the rocky hill vast cisterns, into which
water was conveyed by channels from the "pools" near Bethlehem.
One of these cisterns, the "great sea," was capable of
containing three millions of gallons. The overflow was led off
by a conduit to the Kidron.
In all these preparatory undertakings a space of about three
years was occupied; and now the process of the erection of the
great building began, under the direction of skilled Phoenician
builders and workmen, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign, 480
years after the Exodus (1 Kings 6; 2 Chr. 3). Many thousands of
labourers and skilled artisans were employed in the work. Stones
prepared in the quarries underneath the city (1 Kings 5:17, 18)
of huge dimension (see QUARRIES ¯T0003032) were gradually placed
on the massive walls, and closely fitted together without any
mortar between, till the whole structure was completed. No sound
of hammer or axe or any tool of iron was heard as the structure
arose (6:7). "Like some tall palm the noiseless fabric sprang."
The building was 60 cubits long, 20 cubits wide, and 30 cubits
high. The engineers of the Israel Exploration Fund, in their
explorations around the temple area, discovered what is believed
to have been the "chief corner stone" of the temple, "the most
interesting stone in the world." It lies at the bottom of the
south-eastern angle, and is 3 feet 8 inches high by 14 feet
long. It rests on the solid rock at a depth of 79 feet 3 inches
below the present surface. (See PINNACLE ¯T0002957.) In
examining the walls the engineers were "struck with admiration
at the vastness of the blocks and the general excellence of the
At length, in the autumn of the eleventh year of his reign,
seven and a half years after it had been begun, the temple was
completed in all its architectural magnificence and beauty. For
thirteen years there it stood, on the summit of Moriah, silent
and unused. The reasons for this strange delay in its
consecration are unknown. At the close of these thirteen years
preparations for the dedication of the temple were made on a
scale of the greatest magnificence. The ark was solemnly brought
from the tent in which David had deposited it to the place
prepared for it in the temple, and the glory-cloud, the symbol
of the divine presence, filled the house. Then Solomon ascended
a platform which had been erected for him, in the sight of all
the people, and lifting up his hands to heaven poured out his
heart to God in prayer (1 Kings 8; 2 Chr. 6, 7). The feast of
dedication, which lasted seven days, followed by the feast of
tabernacles, marked a new era in the history of Israel. On the
eighth day of the feast of tabernacles, Solomon dismissed the
vast assemblage of the people, who returned to their homes
filled with joy and gladness, "Had Solomon done no other service
beyond the building of the temple, he would still have
influenced the religious life of his people down to the latest
days. It was to them a perpetual reminder and visible symbol of
God's presence and protection, a strong bulwark of all the
sacred traditions of the law, a witness to duty, an impulse to
historic study, an inspiration of sacred song."
The temple consisted of, (1.) The oracle or most holy place (1
Kings 6:19; 8:6), called also the "inner house" (6:27), and the
"holiest of all" (Heb. 9:3). It was 20 cubits in length,
breadth, and height. It was floored and wainscotted with cedar
(1 Kings 6:16), and its walls and floor were overlaid with gold
(6:20, 21, 30). There was a two-leaved door between it and the
holy place overlaid with gold (2 Chr. 4:22); also a veil of blue
purple and crimson and fine linen (2 Chr. 3:14; comp. Ex.
26:33). It had no windows (1 Kings 8:12). It was indeed the
dwelling-place of God. (2.) The holy place (q.v.), 1 Kings
8:8-10, called also the "greater house" (2 Chr. 3:5) and the
"temple" (1 Kings 6:17). (3.) The porch or entrance before the
temple on the east (1 Kings 6:3; 2 Chr. 3:4; 29:7). In the porch
stood the two pillars Jachin and Boaz (1 Kings 7:21; 2 Kings
11:14; 23:3). (4.) The chambers, which were built about the
temple on the southern, western, and northern sides (1 Kings
6:5-10). These formed a part of the building.
Round about the building were, (1.) The court of the priests
(2 Chr. 4:9), called the "inner court" (1 Kings 6:36). It
contained the altar of burnt-offering (2 Chr. 15:8), the brazen
sea (4:2-5, 10), and ten lavers (1 Kings 7:38, 39). (2.) The
great court, which surrounded the whole temple (2 Chr. 4:9).
Here the people assembled to worship God (Jer. 19:14; 26:2).
This temple erected by Solomon was many times pillaged during
the course of its history, (1) 1 Kings 14:25, 26; (2) 2 Kings
14:14; (3) 2 Kings 16:8, 17, 18; (4) 2 Kings 18:15, 16. At last
it was pillaged and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:13;
2 Chr. 36:7). He burned the temple, and carried all its
treasures with him to Babylon (2 Kings 25:9-17; 2 Chr. 36:19;
Isa. 64:11). These sacred vessels were at length, at the close
of the Captivity, restored to the Jews by Cyrus (Ezra 1:7-11).