to draw back or apostatize in matters of religion (Acts 21:21; 2
Thess. 2:3; 1 Tim. 4:1). This may be either partial (Prov.
14:14) or complete (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:38, 39). The apostasy may be
both doctrinal and moral.
(Deut. 32:27, R.V.). The Authorized Version reads, "should
behave themselves strangely;" i.e., not recognize the truth,
misunderstand or mistake the cause of Israel's ruin, which was
due to the fact that God had forsaken them on account of their
conjugal infidelity. An adulterer was a man who had illicit
intercourse with a married or a betrothed woman, and such a
woman was an adulteress. Intercourse between a married man and
an unmarried woman was fornication. Adultery was regarded as a
great social wrong, as well as a great sin.
The Mosaic law (Num. 5:11-31) prescribed that the suspected
wife should be tried by the ordeal of the "water of jealousy."
There is, however, no recorded instance of the application of
this law. In subsequent times the Rabbis made various
regulations with the view of discovering the guilty party, and
of bringing about a divorce. It has been inferred from John
8:1-11 that this sin became very common during the age preceding
the destruction of Jerusalem.
Idolatry, covetousness, and apostasy are spoken of as adultery
spiritually (Jer. 3:6, 8, 9; Ezek. 16:32; Hos. 1:2:3; Rev.
2:22). An apostate church is an adulteress (Isa. 1:21; Ezek.
23:4, 7, 37), and the Jews are styled "an adulterous generation"
(Matt. 12:39). (Comp. Rev. 12.)
Hosea, Prophecies of
This book stands first in order among the "Minor Prophets." "The
probable cause of the location of Hosea may be the thoroughly
national character of his oracles, their length, their earnest
tone, and vivid representations." This was the longest of the
prophetic books written before the Captivity. Hosea prophesied
in a dark and melancholy period of Israel's history, the period
of Israel's decline and fall. Their sins had brought upon them
great national disasters. "Their homicides and fornication,
their perjury and theft, their idolatry and impiety, are
censured and satirized with a faithful severity." He was a
contemporary of Isaiah. The book may be divided into two parts,
the first containing chapters 1-3, and symbolically representing
the idolatry of Israel under imagery borrowed from the
matrimonial relation. The figures of marriage and adultery are
common in the Old Testament writings to represent the spiritual
relations between Jehovah and the people of Israel. Here we see
the apostasy of Israel and their punishment, with their future
repentance, forgiveness, and restoration.
The second part, containing 4-14, is a summary of Hosea's
discourses, filled with denunciations, threatenings,
exhortations, promises, and revelations of mercy.
Quotations from Hosea are found in Matt. 2:15; 9:15; 12:7;
Rom. 9:25, 26. There are, in addition, various allusions to it
in other places (Luke 23:30; Rev. 6:16, comp. Hos. 10:8; Rom.
9:25, 26; 1 Pet. 2:10, comp. Hos. 1:10, etc.).
As regards the style of this writer, it has been said that
"each verse forms a whole for itself, like one heavy toll in a
funeral knell." "Inversions (7:8; 9:11, 13; 12: 8), anacolutha
(9:6; 12:8, etc.), ellipses (9:4; 13:9, etc.), paranomasias, and
plays upon words, are very characteristic of Hosea (8:7; 9:15;
10:5; 11:5; 12:11)."
Reuben, Tribe of
at the Exodus numbered 46,500 male adults, from twenty years old
and upwards (Num. 1:20, 21), and at the close of the wilderness
wanderings they numbered only 43,730 (26:7). This tribe united
with that of Gad in asking permission to settle in the "land of
Gilead," "on the other side of Jordan" (32:1-5). The lot
assigned to Reuben was the smallest of the lots given to the
trans-Jordanic tribes. It extended from the Arnon, in the south
along the coast of the Dead Sea to its northern end, where the
Jordan flows into it (Josh. 13:15-21, 23). It thus embraced the
original kingdom of Sihon. Reuben is "to the eastern tribes what
Simeon is to the western. 'Unstable as water,' he vanishes away
into a mere Arabian tribe. 'His men are few;' it is all he can
do 'to live and not die.' We hear of nothing beyond the
multiplication of their cattle in the land of Gilead, their
spoils of 'camels fifty thousand, and of asses two thousand' (1
Chr. 5:9, 10, 20, 21). In the great struggles of the nation he
never took part. The complaint against him in the song of
Deborah is the summary of his whole history. 'By the streams of
Reuben,' i.e., by the fresh streams which descend from the
eastern hills into the Jordan and the Dead Sea, on whose banks
the Bedouin chiefs met then as now to debate, in the 'streams'
of Reuben great were the 'desires'", i.e., resolutions which
were never carried out, the people idly resting among their
flocks as if it were a time of peace (Judg. 5:15, 16). Stanley's
Sinai and Israel.
All the three tribes on the east of Jordan at length fell into
complete apostasy, and the time of retribution came. God
"stirred up the spirit of Pul, king of Assyria, and the spirit
of Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria," to carry them away, the
first of the tribes, into captivity (1 Chr. 5:25, 26).
Thessalonians, Epistles to the
The first epistle to the Thessalonians was the first of all
Paul's epistles. It was in all probability written from Corinth,
where he abode a "long time" (Acts 18:11, 18), early in the
period of his residence there, about the end of A.D. 52.
The occasion of its being written was the return of Timotheus
from Macedonia, bearing tidings from Thessalonica regarding the
state of the church there (Acts 18:1-5; 1 Thess. 3:6). While, on
the whole, the report of Timothy was encouraging, it also showed
that divers errors and misunderstandings regarding the tenor of
Paul's teaching had crept in amongst them. He addresses them in
this letter with the view of correcting these errors, and
especially for the purpose of exhorting them to purity of life,
reminding them that their sanctification was the great end
desired by God regarding them.
The subscription erroneously states that this epistle was
written from Athens.
The second epistle to the Thessalonians was probably also
written from Corinth, and not many months after the first.
The occasion of the writing of this epistle was the arrival of
tidings that the tenor of the first epistle had been
misunderstood, especially with reference to the second advent of
Christ. The Thessalonians had embraced the idea that Paul had
taught that "the day of Christ was at hand", that Christ's
coming was just about to happen. This error is corrected
(2:1-12), and the apostle prophetically announces what first
must take place. "The apostasy" was first to arise. Various
explanations of this expression have been given, but that which
is most satisfactory refers it to the Church of Rome.
an Arabian tribe descended from Midian. They inhabited
principally the desert north of the peninsula of Arabia. The
peninsula of Sinai was the pasture-ground for their flocks. They
were virtually the rulers of Arabia, being the dominant tribe.
Like all Arabians, they were a nomad people. They early engaged
in commercial pursuits. It was to one of their caravans that
Joseph was sold (Gen. 37:28, 36). The next notice of them is in
connection with Moses' flight from Egypt (Ex. 2:15-21). Here in
Midian Moses became the servant and afterwards the son-in-law of
Reuel or Jethro, the priest. After the Exodus, the Midianites
were friendly to the Israelites so long as they traversed only
their outlying pasture-ground on the west of the Arabah; but
when, having passed the southern end of Edom, they entered into
the land of Midian proper, they joined with Balak, the king of
Moab, in a conspiracy against them (Num. 22:4-7). Balaam, who
had been sent for to curse Israel, having utterly failed to do
so, was dismissed by the king of Moab; nevertheless he still
tarried among the Midianites, and induced them to enter into
correspondence with the Israelites, so as to bring them into
association with them in the licentious orgies connected with
the worship of Baal-Peor. This crafty counsel prevailed. The
Israelites took part in the heathen festival, and so brought
upon themselves a curse indeed. Their apostasy brought upon them
a severe punishment. A plague broke out amongst them, and more
than twenty-four thousand of the people perished (Num. 25:9).
But the Midianites were not to be left unpunished. A terrible
vengeance was denounced against them. A thousand warriors from
each tribe, under the leadership of Phinehas, went forth against
them. The Midianites were utterly routed. Their cities were
consumed by fire, five of their kings were put to death, and the
whole nation was destroyed (Josh. 13:21, 22). Balaam also
perished by the sword, receiving the "wages of his
unrighteousness" (Num. 31:8; 2 Pet. 2:15). The whole of the
country on the east of Jordan, now conquered by the Israelites
(see SIHON ¯T0003427; OG ¯T0002771), was divided between the two
tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh.
Some two hundred and fifty years after this the Midianites had
regained their ancient power, and in confederation with the
Amalekites and the "children of the east" they made war against
their old enemies the Israelites, whom for seven years they
oppressed and held in subjection. They were at length assailed
by Gideon in that ever-memorable battle in the great plain of
Esdraelon, and utterly destroyed (Judg. 6:1-ch. 7). Frequent
allusions are afterwards made to this great victory (Ps. 83:10,
12; Isa. 9:4; 10:6). They now wholly pass away from the page of
history both sacred and profane.
is "any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of
God" (1 John 3:4; Rom. 4:15), in the inward state and habit of
the soul, as well as in the outward conduct of the life, whether
by omission or commission (Rom. 6:12-17; 7:5-24). It is "not a
mere violation of the law of our constitution, nor of the system
of things, but an offence against a personal lawgiver and moral
governor who vindicates his law with penalties. The soul that
sins is always conscious that his sin is (1) intrinsically vile
and polluting, and (2) that it justly deserves punishment, and
calls down the righteous wrath of God. Hence sin carries with it
two inalienable characters, (1) ill-desert, guilt (reatus); and
(2) pollution (macula).", Hodge's Outlines.
The moral character of a man's actions is determined by the
moral state of his heart. The disposition to sin, or the habit
of the soul that leads to the sinful act, is itself also sin
(Rom. 6:12-17; Gal. 5:17; James 1:14, 15).
The origin of sin is a mystery, and must for ever remain such
to us. It is plain that for some reason God has permitted sin to
enter this world, and that is all we know. His permitting it,
however, in no way makes God the author of sin.
Adam's sin (Gen. 3:1-6) consisted in his yielding to the
assaults of temptation and eating the forbidden fruit. It
involved in it, (1) the sin of unbelief, virtually making God a
liar; and (2) the guilt of disobedience to a positive command.
By this sin he became an apostate from God, a rebel in arms
against his Creator. He lost the favour of God and communion
with him; his whole nature became depraved, and he incurred the
penalty involved in the covenant of works.
Original sin. "Our first parents being the root of all
mankind, the guilt of their sin was imputed, and the same death
in sin and corrupted nature were conveyed to all their
posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation." Adam
was constituted by God the federal head and representative of
all his posterity, as he was also their natural head, and
therefore when he fell they fell with him (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor.
15:22-45). His probation was their probation, and his fall their
fall. Because of Adam's first sin all his posterity came into
the world in a state of sin and condemnation, i.e., (1) a state
of moral corruption, and (2) of guilt, as having judicially
imputed to them the guilt of Adam's first sin.
"Original sin" is frequently and properly used to denote only
the moral corruption of their whole nature inherited by all men
from Adam. This inherited moral corruption consists in, (1) the
loss of original righteousness; and (2) the presence of a
constant proneness to evil, which is the root and origin of all
actual sin. It is called "sin" (Rom. 6:12, 14, 17; 7:5-17), the
"flesh" (Gal. 5:17, 24), "lust" (James 1:14, 15), the "body of
sin" (Rom. 6:6), "ignorance," "blindness of heart," "alienation
from the life of God" (Eph. 4:18, 19). It influences and
depraves the whole man, and its tendency is still downward to
deeper and deeper corruption, there remaining no recuperative
element in the soul. It is a total depravity, and it is also
universally inherited by all the natural descendants of Adam
(Rom. 3:10-23; 5:12-21; 8:7). Pelagians deny original sin, and
regard man as by nature morally and spiritually well;
semi-Pelagians regard him as morally sick; Augustinians, or, as
they are also called, Calvinists, regard man as described above,
spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1; 1 John 3:14).
The doctrine of original sin is proved, (1.) From the fact of
the universal sinfulness of men. "There is no man that sinneth
not" (1 Kings 8:46; Isa. 53:6; Ps. 130:3; Rom. 3:19, 22, 23;
Gal. 3:22). (2.) From the total depravity of man. All men are
declared to be destitute of any principle of spiritual life;
man's apostasy from God is total and complete (Job 15:14-16;
Gen. 6:5,6). (3.) From its early manifestation (Ps. 58:3; Prov.
22:15). (4.) It is proved also from the necessity, absolutely
and universally, of regeneration (John 3:3; 2 Cor. 5:17). (5.)
From the universality of death (Rom. 5:12-20).
Various kinds of sin are mentioned, (1.) "Presumptuous sins,"
or as literally rendered, "sins with an uplifted hand", i.e.,
defiant acts of sin, in contrast with "errors" or
"inadvertencies" (Ps. 19:13). (2.) "Secret", i.e., hidden sins
(19:12); sins which escape the notice of the soul. (3.) "Sin
against the Holy Ghost" (q.v.), or a "sin unto death" (Matt.
12:31, 32; 1 John 5:16), which amounts to a wilful rejection of
Sin, a city in Egypt, called by the Greeks Pelusium, which
means, as does also the Hebrew name, "clayey" or "muddy," so
called from the abundance of clay found there. It is called by
Ezekel (Ezek. 30:15) "the strength of Egypt, "thus denoting its
importance as a fortified city. It has been identified with the
modern Tineh, "a miry place," where its ruins are to be found.
Of its boasted magnificence only four red granite columns
remain, and some few fragments of others.
originally called Simon (=Simeon ,i.e., "hearing"), a very
common Jewish name in the New Testament. He was the son of Jona
(Matt. 16:17). His mother is nowhere named in Scripture. He had
a younger brother called Andrew, who first brought him to Jesus
(John 1:40-42). His native town was Bethsaida, on the western
coast of the Sea of Galilee, to which also Philip belonged. Here
he was brought up by the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and was
trained to the occupation of a fisher. His father had probably
died while he was still young, and he and his brother were
brought up under the care of Zebedee and his wife Salome (Matt.
27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1). There the four youths, Simon, Andrew,
James, and John, spent their boyhood and early manhood in
constant fellowship. Simon and his brother doubtless enjoyed all
the advantages of a religious training, and were early
instructed in an acquaintance with the Scriptures and with the
great prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah. They did
not probably enjoy, however, any special training in the study
of the law under any of the rabbis. When Peter appeared before
the Sanhedrin, he looked like an "unlearned man" (Acts 4:13).
"Simon was a Galilean, and he was that out and out...The
Galileans had a marked character of their own. They had a
reputation for an independence and energy which often ran out
into turbulence. They were at the same time of a franker and
more transparent disposition than their brethren in the south.
In all these respects, in bluntness, impetuosity, headiness, and
simplicity, Simon was a genuine Galilean. They spoke a peculiar
dialect. They had a difficulty with the guttural sounds and some
others, and their pronunciation was reckoned harsh in Judea. The
Galilean accent stuck to Simon all through his career. It
betrayed him as a follower of Christ when he stood within the
judgment-hall (Mark 14:70). It betrayed his own nationality and
that of those conjoined with him on the day of Pentecost (Acts
2:7)." It would seem that Simon was married before he became an
apostle. His wife's mother is referred to (Matt. 8:14; Mark
1:30; Luke 4:38). He was in all probability accompanied by his
wife on his missionary journeys (1 Cor. 9:5; comp. 1 Pet. 5:13).
He appears to have been settled at Capernaum when Christ
entered on his public ministry, and may have reached beyond the
age of thirty. His house was large enough to give a home to his
brother Andrew, his wife's mother, and also to Christ, who seems
to have lived with him (Mark 1:29, 36; 2:1), as well as to his
own family. It was apparently two stories high (2:4).
At Bethabara (R.V., John 1:28, "Bethany"), beyond Jordan, John
the Baptist had borne testimony concerning Jesus as the "Lamb of
God" (John 1:29-36). Andrew and John hearing it, followed Jesus,
and abode with him where he was. They were convinced, by his
gracious words and by the authority with which he spoke, that he
was the Messiah (Luke 4:22; Matt. 7:29); and Andrew went forth
and found Simon and brought him to Jesus (John 1:41).
Jesus at once recognized Simon, and declared that hereafter he
would be called Cephas, an Aramaic name corresponding to the
Greek Petros, which means "a mass of rock detached from the
living rock." The Aramaic name does not occur again, but the
name Peter gradually displaces the old name Simon, though our
Lord himself always uses the name Simon when addressing him
(Matt. 17:25; Mark 14:37; Luke 22:31, comp. 21:15-17). We are
not told what impression the first interview with Jesus produced
on the mind of Simon. When we next meet him it is by the Sea of
Galilee (Matt. 4:18-22). There the four (Simon and Andrew, James
and John) had had an unsuccessful night's fishing. Jesus
appeared suddenly, and entering into Simon's boat, bade him
launch forth and let down the nets. He did so, and enclosed a
great multitude of fishes. This was plainly a miracle wrought
before Simon's eyes. The awe-stricken disciple cast himself at
the feet of Jesus, crying, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful
man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8). Jesus addressed him with the assuring
words, "Fear not," and announced to him his life's work. Simon
responded at once to the call to become a disciple, and after
this we find him in constant attendance on our Lord.
He is next called into the rank of the apostleship, and
becomes a "fisher of men" (Matt. 4:19) in the stormy seas of the
world of human life (Matt. 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:13-16),
and takes a more and more prominent part in all the leading
events of our Lord's life. It is he who utters that notable
profession of faith at Capernaum (John 6:66-69), and again at
Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-20).
This profession at Caesarea was one of supreme importance, and
our Lord in response used these memorable words: "Thou art
Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church."
"From that time forth" Jesus began to speak of his sufferings.
For this Peter rebuked him. But our Lord in return rebuked
Peter, speaking to him in sterner words than he ever used to any
other of his disciples (Matt. 16:21-23; Mark 8:31-33). At the
close of his brief sojourn at Caesarea our Lord took Peter and
James and John with him into "an high mountain apart," and was
transfigured before them. Peter on that occasion, under the
impression the scene produced on his mind, exclaimed, "Lord, it
is good for us to be here: let us make three tabernacles" (Matt.
On his return to Capernaum the collectors of the temple tax (a
didrachma, half a sacred shekel), which every Israelite of
twenty years old and upwards had to pay (Ex. 30:15), came to
Peter and reminded him that Jesus had not paid it (Matt.
17:24-27). Our Lord instructed Peter to go and catch a fish in
the lake and take from its mouth the exact amount needed for the
tax, viz., a stater, or two half-shekels. "That take," said our
Lord, "and give unto them for me and thee."
As the end was drawing nigh, our Lord sent Peter and John
(Luke 22:7-13) into the city to prepare a place where he should
keep the feast with his disciples. There he was forewarned of
the fearful sin into which he afterwards fell (22:31-34). He
accompanied our Lord from the guest-chamber to the garden of
Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46), which he and the other two who had
been witnesses of the transfiguration were permitted to enter
with our Lord, while the rest were left without. Here he passed
through a strange experience. Under a sudden impulse he cut off
the ear of Malchus (47-51), one of the band that had come forth
to take Jesus. Then follow the scenes of the judgment-hall
(54-61) and his bitter grief (62).
He is found in John's company early on the morning of the
resurrection. He boldly entered into the empty grave (John
20:1-10), and saw the "linen clothes laid by themselves" (Luke
24:9-12). To him, the first of the apostles, our risen Lord
revealed himself, thus conferring on him a signal honour, and
showing how fully he was restored to his favour (Luke 24:34; 1
Cor. 15:5). We next read of our Lord's singular interview with
Peter on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where he thrice asked
him, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?" (John 21:1-19). (See
After this scene at the lake we hear nothing of Peter till he
again appears with the others at the ascension (Acts 1:15-26).
It was he who proposed that the vacancy caused by the apostasy
of Judas should be filled up. He is prominent on the day of
Pentecost (2:14-40). The events of that day "completed the
change in Peter himself which the painful discipline of his fall
and all the lengthened process of previous training had been
slowly making. He is now no more the unreliable, changeful,
self-confident man, ever swaying between rash courage and weak
timidity, but the stead-fast, trusted guide and director of the
fellowship of believers, the intrepid preacher of Christ in
Jerusalem and abroad. And now that he is become Cephas indeed,
we hear almost nothing of the name Simon (only in Acts 10:5, 32;
15:14), and he is known to us finally as Peter."
After the miracle at the temple gate (Acts 3) persecution
arose against the Christians, and Peter was cast into prison. He
boldly defended himself and his companions at the bar of the
council (4:19, 20). A fresh outburst of violence against the
Christians (5:17-21) led to the whole body of the apostles being
cast into prison; but during the night they were wonderfully
delivered, and were found in the morning teaching in the temple.
A second time Peter defended them before the council (Acts
5:29-32), who, "when they had called the apostles and beaten
them, let them go."
The time had come for Peter to leave Jerusalem. After
labouring for some time in Samaria, he returned to Jerusalem,
and reported to the church there the results of his work (Acts
8:14-25). Here he remained for a period, during which he met
Paul for the first time since his conversion (9:26-30; Gal.
1:18). Leaving Jerusalem again, he went forth on a missionary
journey to Lydda and Joppa (Acts 9:32-43). He is next called on
to open the door of the Christian church to the Gentiles by the
admission of Cornelius of Caesarea (ch. 10).
After remaining for some time at Caesarea, he returned to
Jerusalem (Acts 11:1-18), where he defended his conduct with
reference to the Gentiles. Next we hear of his being cast into
prison by Herod Agrippa (12:1-19); but in the night an angel of
the Lord opened the prison gates, and he went forth and found
refuge in the house of Mary.
He took part in the deliberations of the council in Jerusalem
(Acts 15:1-31; Gal. 2:1-10) regarding the relation of the
Gentiles to the church. This subject had awakened new interest
at Antioch, and for its settlement was referred to the council
of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. Here Paul and Peter met
We have no further mention of Peter in the Acts of the
Apostles. He seems to have gone down to Antioch after the
council at Jerusalem, and there to have been guilty of
dissembling, for which he was severely reprimanded by Paul (Gal.
2:11-16), who "rebuked him to his face."
After this he appears to have carried the gospel to the east,
and to have laboured for a while at Babylon, on the Euphrates (1
Pet. 5:13). There is no satisfactory evidence that he was ever
at Rome. Where or when he died is not certainly known. Probably
he died between A.D. 64 and 67.