true, the father of Jonah the prophet, a native of Gath-hepher
(2 Kings 14:25; Jonah 1:1).
son of Jonah, the patronymic of Peter (Matt. 16:17; John 1:42),
because his father's name was Jonas. (See PETER ¯T0002911.)
beauty, a sea-port in Dan (Josh. 19:46); called Joppa (q.v.) in
2 Chr. 2:16; Ezra 3:7; Jonah 1:3; and in New Testament.
wine-press of the well, a town of Lower Galilee, about 5 miles
from Nazareth; the birthplace of Jonah (2 Kings 14:25); the same
as Gittah-hepher (Josh. 19:13). It has been identified with the
modern el-Meshed, a village on the top of a rocky hill. Here the
supposed tomb of Jonah, Neby Yunas, is still pointed out.
the seat of the carnal affections (Titus 1:12; Phil. 3:19; Rom.
16:18). The word is used symbolically for the heart (Prov. 18:8;
20:27; 22:18, marg.). The "belly of hell" signifies the grave or
underworld (Jonah 2:2).
(1.) Greek form of Jonah (Matt. 12:39, 40, 41, etc.).
(2.) The father of the apostles Peter (John 21:15-17) and
Andrew; but the reading should be (also in 1:42), as in the
Revised Version, "John," instead of Jonas.
Jonah, Book of
This book professes to give an account of what actually took
place in the experience of the prophet. Some critics have sought
to interpret the book as a parable or allegory, and not as a
history. They have done so for various reasons. Thus (1) some
reject it on the ground that the miraculous element enters so
largely into it, and that it is not prophetical but narrative in
its form; (2) others, denying the possibility of miracles
altogether, hold that therefore it cannot be true history.
Jonah and his story is referred to by our Lord (Matt. 12:39,
40; Luke 11:29), a fact to which the greatest weight must be
attached. It is impossible to interpret this reference on any
other theory. This one argument is of sufficient importance to
settle the whole question. No theories devised for the purpose
of getting rid of difficulties can stand against such a proof
that the book is a veritable history.
There is every reason to believe that this book was written by
Jonah himself. It gives an account of (1) his divine commission
to go to Nineveh, his disobedience, and the punishment following
(1:1-17); (2) his prayer and miraculous deliverance (1:17-2:10);
(3) the second commission given to him, and his prompt obedience
in delivering the message from God, and its results in the
repentance of the Ninevites, and God's long-sparing mercy toward
them (ch. 3); (4) Jonah's displeasure at God's merciful
decision, and the rebuke tendered to the impatient prophet (ch.
4). Nineveh was spared after Jonah's mission for more than a
century. The history of Jonah may well be regarded "as a part of
that great onward movement which was before the Law and under
the Law; which gained strength and volume as the fulness of the
times drew near.", Perowne's Jonah.
used to denote the means by which a door is bolted (Neh. 3:3); a
rock in the sea (Jonah 2:6); the shore of the sea (Job 38:10);
strong fortifications and powerful impediments, etc. (Isa. 45:2;
Amos 1:5); defences of a city (1 Kings 4:13). A bar for a door
was of iron (Isa. 45:2), brass (Ps. 107:16), or wood (Nah.
the wind coming from the east (Job 27:21; Isa. 27:8, etc.).
Blight caused by this wind, "thin ears" (Gen. 41:6); the
withered "gourd" (Jonah 4: 8). It was the cause and also the
emblem of evil (Ezek. 17:10; 19:12; Hos. 13:15). In Israel
this wind blows from a burning desert, and hence is destitute of
moisture necessary for vegetation.
south-east billow, the name of the wind which blew in the
Adriatic Gulf, and which struck the ship in which Paul was
wrecked on the coast of Malta (Acts 27:14; R.V., "Euraquilo,"
i.e., north-east wind). It is called a "tempestuous wind," i.e.,
as literally rendered, a "typhonic wind," or a typhoon. It is
the modern Gregalia or Levanter. (Comp. Jonah 1:4.)
cloth made of black goats' hair, coarse, rough, and thick, used
for sacks, and also worn by mourners (Gen. 37:34; 42:25; 2 Sam.
3:31; Esther 4:1, 2; Ps. 30:11, etc.), and as a sign of
repentance (Matt. 11:21). It was put upon animals by the people
of Nineveh (Jonah 3:8).
voluntary promises which, when once made, were to be kept if the
thing vowed was right. They were made under a great variety of
circumstances (Gen. 28: 18-22; Lev. 7:16; Num. 30:2-13; Deut.
23:18; Judg. 11:30, 39; 1 Sam. 1:11; Jonah 1:16; Acts 18:18;
(Heb., or rather Egyptian, ahu, Job 8:11), rendered "meadow" in
Gen. 41:2, 18; probably the Cyperus esculentus, a species of
rush eaten by cattle, the Nile reed. It also grows in Israel.
In Ex. 2:3, 5, Isa. 19:6, it is the rendering of the Hebrew
_suph_, a word which occurs frequently in connection with _yam_;
as _yam suph_, to denote the "Red Sea" (q.v.) or the sea of
weeds (as this word is rendered, Jonah 2:5). It denotes some
kind of sedge or reed which grows in marshy places. (See PAPER
¯T0002840, REED ¯T0003087.)
a dove, the son of Amittai of Gath-hepher. He was a prophet of
Israel, and predicted the restoration of the ancient boundaries
(2 Kings 14:25-27) of the kingdom. He exercised his ministry
very early in the reign of Jeroboam II., and thus was
contemporary with Hosea and Amos; or possibly he preceded them,
and consequently may have been the very oldest of all the
prophets whose writings we possess. His personal history is
mainly to be gathered from the book which bears his name. It is
chiefly interesting from the two-fold character in which he
appears, (1) as a missionary to heathen Nineveh, and (2) as a
type of the "Son of man."
called _dag_ by the Hebrews, a word denoting great fecundity
(Gen. 9:2; Num. 11:22; Jonah 2:1, 10). No fish is mentioned by
name either in the Old or in the New Testament. Fish abounded in
the Mediterranean and in the lakes of the Jordan, so that the
Hebrews were no doubt acquainted with many species. Two of the
villages on the shores of the Sea of Galilee derived their names
from their fisheries, Bethsaida (the "house of fish") on the
east and on the west. There is probably no other sheet of water
in the world of equal dimensions that contains such a variety
and profusion of fish. About thirty-seven different kinds have
been found. Some of the fishes are of a European type, such as
the roach, the barbel, and the blenny; others are markedly
African and tropical, such as the eel-like silurus. There was a
regular fish-market apparently in Jerusalem (2 Chr. 33:14; Neh.
3:3; 12:39; Zeph. 1:10), as there was a fish-gate which was
probably contiguous to it.
Sidon is the oldest fishing establishment known in history.
(1.) Heb. sas (Isa. 51:8), denotes the caterpillar of the
(2.) The manna bred worms (tola'im), but on the Sabbath there
was not any worm (rimmah) therein (Ex. 16:20, 24). Here these
words refer to caterpillars or larvae, which feed on corrupting
These two Hebrew words appear to be interchangeable (Job 25:6;
Isa. 14:11). Tola'im in some places denotes the caterpillar
(Deut. 28:39; Jonah 4:7), and rimmah, the larvae, as bred from
putridity (Job 17:14; 21:26; 24:20). In Micah 7:17, where it is
said, "They shall move out of their holes like worms," perhaps
serpents or "creeping things," or as in the Revised Version,
"crawling things," are meant.
The word is used figuratively in Job 25:6; Ps. 22:6; Isa.
41:14; Mark 9:44, 46, 48; Isa. 66:24.
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.
The Hebrew word _tan_ (plural, tannin) is so rendered in Job
7:12 (A.V.; but R.V., "sea-monster"). It is rendered by
"dragons" in Deut. 32:33; Ps. 91:13; Jer. 51:34; Ps. 74:13
(marg., "whales;" and marg. of R.V., "sea-monsters"); Isa. 27:1;
and "serpent" in Ex. 7:9 (R.V. marg., "any large reptile," and
so in ver. 10, 12). The words of Job (7:12), uttered in bitter
irony, where he asks, "Am I a sea or a whale?" simply mean,
"Have I a wild, untamable nature, like the waves of the sea,
which must be confined and held within bounds, that they cannot
pass?" "The serpent of the sea, which was but the wild, stormy
sea itself, wound itself around the land, and threatened to
swallow it up...Job inquires if he must be watched and plagued
like this monster, lest he throw the world into disorder"
The whale tribe are included under the general Hebrew name
_tannin_ (Gen. 1:21; Lam. 4:3). "Even the sea-monsters
[tanninim] draw out the breast." The whale brings forth its
young alive, and suckles them.
It is to be noticed of the story of Jonah's being "three days
and three nights in the whale's belly," as recorded in Matt.
12:40, that here the Gr. ketos means properly any kind of
sea-monster of the shark or the whale tribe, and that in the
book of Jonah (1:17) it is only said that "a great fish" was
prepared to swallow Jonah. This fish may have been, therefore,
some great shark. The white shark is known to frequent the
Mediterranean Sea, and is sometimes found 30 feet in length.
(1.) Jonah's gourd (Jonah 4:6-10), bearing the Hebrew name
_kikayon_ (found only here), was probably the kiki of the
Egyptians, the croton. This is the castor-oil plant, a species
of ricinus, the palma Christi, so called from the palmate
division of its leaves. Others with more probability regard it
as the cucurbita the el-keroa of the Arabs, a kind of pumpkin
peculiar to the East. "It is grown in great abundance on the
alluvial banks of the Tigris and on the plain between the river
and the ruins of Nineveh." At the present day it is trained to
run over structures of mud and brush to form boots to protect
the gardeners from the heat of the noon-day sun. It grows with
extraordinary rapidity, and when cut or injured withers away
also with great rapidity.
(2.) Wild gourds (2 Kings 4:38-40), Heb. pakkuoth, belong to
the family of the cucumber-like plants, some of which are
poisonous. The species here referred to is probably the
colocynth (Cucumis colocynthus). The LXX. render the word by
"wild pumpkin." It abounds in the desert parts of Syria, Egypt,
and Arabia. There is, however, another species, called the
Cucumis prophetarum, from the idea that it afforded the gourd
which "the sons of the prophets" shred by mistake into their
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
Nahum, Book of
Nahum prophesied, according to some, in the beginning of the
reign of Ahaz (B.C. 743). Others, however, think that his
prophecies are to be referred to the latter half of the reign of
Hezekiah (about B.C. 709). This is the more probable opinion,
internal evidences leading to that conclusion. Probably the book
was written in Jerusalem (soon after B.C. 709), where he
witnessed the invasion of Sennacherib and the destruction of his
host (2 Kings 19:35).
The subject of this prophecy is the approaching complete and
final destruction of Nineveh, the capital of the great and at
that time flourishing Assyrian empire. Assur-bani-pal was at the
height of his glory. Nineveh was a city of vast extent, and was
then the centre of the civilzation and commerce of the world, a
"bloody city all full of lies and robbery" (Nah. 3:1), for it
had robbed and plundered all the neighbouring nations. It was
strongly fortified on every side, bidding defiance to every
enemy; yet it was to be utterly destroyed as a punishment for
the great wickedness of its inhabitants.
Jonah had already uttered his message of warning, and Nahum
was followed by Zephaniah, who also predicted (Zeph. 2:4-15) the
destruction of the city, predictions which were remarkably
fulfilled (B.C. 625) when Nineveh was destroyed apparently by
fire, and the Assyrian empire came to an end, an event which
changed the face of Asia. (See NINEVEH ¯T0002735.)
(1.) Heb. 'ohel (Gen. 9:21, 27). This word is used also of a
dwelling or habitation (1 Kings 8:66; Isa. 16:5; Jer. 4:20), and
of the temple (Ezek. 41:1). When used of the tabernacle, as in 1
Kings 1:39, it denotes the covering of goat's hair which was
placed over the mishcan.
(2.) Heb. mishcan (Cant. 1:8), used also of a dwelling (Job
18:21; Ps. 87:2), the grave (Isa. 22:16; comp. 14:18), the
temple (Ps. 46:4; 84:2; 132:5), and of the tabernacle (Ex. 25:9;
26:1; 40:9; Num. 1:50, 53; 10:11). When distinguished from
'ohel, it denotes the twelve interior curtains which lay upon
the framework of the tabernacle (q.v.).
(3.) Heb. kubbah (Num. 25:8), a dome-like tent devoted to the
impure worship of Baal-peor.
(4.) Heb. succah (2 Sam. 11:11), a tent or booth made of green
boughs or branches (see Gen. 33:17; Lev. 23:34, 42; Ps. 18:11;
Jonah 4:5; Isa. 4:6; Neh. 8:15-17, where the word is variously
Jubal was "the father of such as dwell in tents" (Gen. 4:20).
The patriarchs were "dwellers in tents" (Gen. 9:21, 27; 12:8;
13:12; 26:17); and during their wilderness wanderings all Israel
dwelt in tents (Ex. 16:16; Deut. 33:18; Josh. 7:24). Tents have
always occupied a prominent place in Eastern life (1 Sam. 17:54;
2 Kings 7:7; Ps. 120:5; Cant. 1:5). Paul the apostle's
occupation was that of a tent-maker (Acts 18:3); i.e., perhaps a
maker of tent cloth.
The sole fast required by the law of Moses was that of the great
Day of Atonement (q.v.), Lev. 23:26-32. It is called "the fast"
The only other mention of a periodical fast in the Old
Testament is in Zech. 7:1-7; 8:19, from which it appears that
during their captivity the Jews observed four annual fasts.
(1.) The fast of the fourth month, kept on the seventeenth day
of Tammuz, the anniversary of the capture of Jerusalem by the
Chaldeans; to commemorate also the incident recorded Ex. 32:19.
(Comp. Jer. 52:6, 7.)
(2.) The fast of the fifth month, kept on the ninth of Ab
(comp. Num. 14:27), to commemorate the burning of the city and
temple (Jer. 52:12, 13).
(3.) The fast of the seventh month, kept on the third of Tisri
(comp. 2 Kings 25), the anniversary of the murder of Gedaliah
(Jer. 41:1, 2).
(4.) The fast of the tenth month (comp. Jer. 52:4; Ezek.
33:21; 2 Kings 25:1), to commemorate the beginning of the siege
of the holy city by Nebuchadnezzar.
There was in addition to these the fast appointed by Esther
Public national fasts on account of sin or to supplicate
divine favour were sometimes held. (1.) 1 Sam. 7:6; (2.) 2 Chr.
20:3; (3.) Jer. 36:6-10; (4.) Neh. 9:1.
There were also local fasts. (1.) Judg. 20:26; (2.) 2 Sam.
1:12; (3.) 1 Sam. 31:13; (4.) 1 Kings 21:9-12; (5.) Ezra
8:21-23: (6.) Jonah 3:5-9.
There are many instances of private occasional fasting (1 Sam.
1:7: 20:34; 2 Sam. 3:35; 12:16; 1 Kings 21:27; Ezra 10:6; Neh.
1:4; Dan. 10:2,3). Moses fasted forty days (Ex. 24:18; 34:28),
and so also did Elijah (1 Kings 19:8). Our Lord fasted forty
days in the wilderness (Matt. 4:2).
In the lapse of time the practice of fasting was lamentably
abused (Isa. 58:4; Jer. 14:12; Zech. 7:5). Our Lord rebuked the
Pharisees for their hypocritical pretences in fasting (Matt.
6:16). He himself appointed no fast. The early Christians,
however, observed the ordinary fasts according to the law of
their fathers (Acts 13:3; 14:23; 2 Cor. 6:5).
circuit. Solomon rewarded Hiram for certain services rendered
him by the gift of an upland plain among the mountains of
Naphtali. Hiram was dissatisfied with the gift, and called it
"the land of Cabul" (q.v.). The Jews called it Galil. It
continued long to be occupied by the original inhabitants, and
hence came to be called "Galilee of the Gentiles" (Matt. 4:15),
and also "Upper Galilee," to distinguish it from the extensive
addition afterwards made to it toward the south, which was
usually called "Lower Galilee." In the time of our Lord, Galilee
embraced more than one-third of Western Israel, extending
"from Dan on the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, to the
ridges of Carmel and Gilboa on the south, and from the Jordan
valley on the east away across the splendid plains of Jezreel
and Acre to the shores of the Mediterranean on the west."
Israel was divided into three provinces, Judea, Samaria, and
Galilee, which comprehended the whole northern section of the
country (Acts 9:31), and was the largest of the three.
It was the scene of some of the most memorable events of
Jewish history. Galilee also was the home of our Lord during at
least thirty years of his life. The first three Gospels are
chiefly taken up with our Lord's public ministry in this
province. "The entire province is encircled with a halo of holy
associations connected with the life, works, and teachings of
Jesus of Nazareth." "It is noteworthy that of his thirty-two
beautiful parables, no less than ninteen were spoken in Galilee.
And it is no less remarkable that of his entire thirty-three
great miracles, twenty-five were wrought in this province. His
first miracle was wrought at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, and
his last, after his resurrection, on the shore of Galilee's sea.
In Galilee our Lord delivered the Sermon on The Mount, and the
discourses on 'The Bread of Life,' on 'Purity,' on
'Forgiveness,' and on 'Humility.' In Galilee he called his first
disciples; and there occurred the sublime scene of the
Transfiguration" (Porter's Through Samaria).
When the Sanhedrin were about to proceed with some plan for
the condemnation of our Lord (John 7:45-52), Nicodemus
interposed in his behalf. (Comp. Deut. 1:16,17; 17:8.) They
replied, "Art thou also of Galilee?.... Out of Galilee ariseth
no prophet." This saying of theirs was "not historically true,
for two prophets at least had arisen from Galilee, Jonah of
Gath-hepher, and the greatest of all the prophets, Elijah of
Thisbe, and perhaps also Nahum and Hosea. Their contempt for
Galilee made them lose sight of historical accuracy" (Alford,
The Galilean accent differed from that of Jerusalem in being
broader and more guttural (Mark 14:70).
Frequent references are found in Scripture to, (1.) Mourning for
the dead. Abraham mourned for Sarah (Gen. 23:2); Jacob for
Joseph (37:34, 35); the Egyptians for Jacob (50:3-10); Israel
for Aaron (Num. 20:29), for Moses (Deut. 34:8), and for Samuel
(1 Sam. 25:1); David for Abner (2 Sam. 3:31, 35); Mary and
Martha for Lazarus (John 11); devout men for Stephen (Acts 8:2),
(2.) For calamities, Job (1:20, 21; 2:8); Israel (Ex. 33:4);
the Ninevites (Jonah 3:5); Israel, when defeated by Benjamin
(Judg. 20:26), etc.
(3.) Penitential mourning, by the Israelites on the day of
atonement (Lev. 23:27; Acts 27:9); under Samuel's ministry (1
Sam. 7:6); predicted in Zechariah (Zech. 12:10, 11); in many of
the psalms (51, etc.).
Mourning was expressed, (1) by weeping (Gen. 35:8, marg.; Luke
7:38, etc.); (2) by loud lamentation (Ruth 1:9; 1 Sam. 6:19; 2
Sam. 3:31); (3) by the disfigurement of the person, as rending
the clothes (Gen. 37:29, 34; Matt. 26:65), wearing sackcloth
(Gen. 37:34; Ps. 35:13), sprinkling dust or ashes on the person
(2 Sam. 13:19; Jer. 6:26; Job 2:12), shaving the head and
plucking out the hair of the head or beard (Lev. 10:6; Job
1:20), neglect of the person or the removal of ornaments (Ex.
33:4; Deut. 21:12, 13; 2 Sam. 14:2; 19:24; Matt. 6:16, 17),
fasting (2 Sam. 1:12), covering the upper lip (Lev. 13:45; Micah
3:7), cutting the flesh (Jer. 16:6, 7), and sitting in silence
(Judg. 20:26; 2 Sam. 12:16; 13:31; Job 1:20).
In the later times we find a class of mourners who could be
hired to give by their loud lamentation the external tokens of
sorrow (2 Chr. 35:25; Jer. 9:17; Matt. 9:23).
The period of mourning for the dead varied. For Jacob it was
seventy days (Gen. 50:3); for Aaron (Num. 20:29) and Moses
(Deut. 34:8) thirty days; and for Saul only seven days (1 Sam.
31:13). In 2 Sam. 3:31-35, we have a description of the great
mourning for the death of Abner.
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.
increase of the people. (1.) The son of Nebat (1 Kings
11:26-39), "an Ephrathite," the first king of the ten tribes,
over whom he reigned twenty-two years (B.C. 976-945). He was the
son of a widow of Zereda, and while still young was promoted by
Solomon to be chief superintendent of the "burnden", i.e., of
the bands of forced labourers. Influenced by the words of the
prophet Ahijah, he began to form conspiracies with the view of
becoming king of the ten tribes; but these having been
discovered, he fled to Egypt (1 Kings 11:29-40), where he
remained for a length of time under the protection of Shishak I.
On the death of Solomon, the ten tribes, having revolted, sent
to invite him to become their king. The conduct of Rehoboam
favoured the designs of Jeroboam, and he was accordingly
proclaimed "king of Israel" (1 Kings 12: 1-20). He rebuilt and
fortified Shechem as the capital of his kingdom. He at once
adopted means to perpetuate the division thus made between the
two parts of the kingdom, and erected at Dan and Bethel, the two
extremities of his kingdom, "golden calves," which he set up as
symbols of Jehovah, enjoining the people not any more to go up
to worship at Jerusalem, but to bring their offerings to the
shrines he had erected. Thus he became distinguished as the man
"who made Israel to sin." This policy was followed by all the
succeeding kings of Israel.
While he was engaged in offering incense at Bethel, a prophet
from Judah appeared before him with a warning message from the
Lord. Attempting to arrest the prophet for his bold words of
defiance, his hand was "dried up," and the altar before which he
stood was rent asunder. At his urgent entreaty his "hand was
restored him again" (1 Kings 13:1-6, 9; comp. 2 Kings 23:15);
but the miracle made no abiding impression on him. His reign was
one of constant war with the house of Judah. He died soon after
his son Abijah (1 Kings 14:1-18).
(2.) Jeroboam II., the son and successor of Jehoash, and the
fourteenth king of Israel, over which he ruled for forty-one
years, B.C. 825-784 (2 Kings 14:23). He followed the example of
the first Jeroboam in keeping up the worship of the golden
calves (2 Kings 14:24). His reign was contemporary with those of
Amaziah (2 Kings 14:23) and Uzziah (15:1), kings of Judah. He
was victorious over the Syrians (13:4; 14:26, 27), and extended
Israel to its former limits, from "the entering of Hamath to the
sea of the plain" (14:25; Amos 6:14). His reign of forty-one
years was the most prosperous that Israel had ever known as yet.
With all this outward prosperity, however, iniquity widely
prevailed in the land (Amos 2:6-8; 4:1; 6:6; Hos. 4:12-14). The
prophets Hosea (1:1), Joel (3:16; Amos 1:1, 2), Amos (1:1), and
Jonah (2 Kings 14:25) lived during his reign. He died, and was
buried with his ancestors (14:29). He was succeeded by his son
His name occurs in Scripture only in 2 Kings 13:13; 14:16, 23,
27, 28, 29; 15:1, 8; 1 Chr. 5:17; Hos. 1:1; Amos 1:1; 7:9, 10,
11. In all other passages it is Jeroboam the son of Nebat that
(Heb. goral, a "pebble"), a small stone used in casting lots
(Num. 33:54; Jonah 1:7). The lot was always resorted to by the
Hebrews with strictest reference to the interposition of God,
and as a method of ascertaining the divine will (Prov. 16:33),
and in serious cases of doubt (Esther 3:7). Thus the lot was
used at the division of the land of Canaan among the serveral
tribes (Num. 26:55; 34:13), at the detection of Achan (Josh.
7:14, 18), the election of Saul to be king (1 Sam. 10:20, 21),
the distribution of the priestly offices of the temple service
(1 Chr. 24:3, 5, 19; Luke 1:9), and over the two goats at the
feast of Atonement (Lev. 16:8). Matthias, who was "numbered with
the eleven" (Acts 1:24-26), was chosen by lot.
This word also denotes a portion or an inheritance (Josh.
15:1; Ps. 125:3; Isa. 17:4), and a destiny, as assigned by God
(Ps. 16:5; Dan. 12:13).
Lot, (Heb. lot), a covering; veil, the son of Haran, and
nephew of Abraham (Gen. 11:27). On the death of his father, he
was left in charge of his grandfather Terah (31), after whose
death he accompanied his uncle Abraham into Canaan (12:5),
thence into Egypt (10), and back again to Canaan (13:1). After
this he separated from him and settled in Sodom (13:5-13). There
his righteous soul was "vexed" from day to day (2 Pet. 2:7), and
he had great cause to regret this act. Not many years after the
separation he was taken captive by Chedorlaomer, and was rescued
by Abraham (Gen. 14). At length, when the judgment of God
descended on the guilty cities of the plain (Gen. 19:1-20), Lot
was miraculously delivered. When fleeing from the doomed city
his wife "looked back from behind him, and became a pillar of
salt." There is to this day a peculiar crag at the south end of
the Dead Sea, near Kumran, which the Arabs call Bint Sheik Lot,
i.e., Lot's wife. It is "a tall, isolated needle of rock, which
really does bear a curious resemblance to an Arab woman with a
child upon her shoulder." From the words of warning in Luke
17:32, "Remember Lot's wife," it would seem as if she had gone
back, or tarried so long behind in the desire to save some of
her goods, that she became involved in the destruction which
fell on the city, and became a stiffened corpse, fixed for a
time in the saline incrustations. She became "a pillar of salt",
i.e., as some think, of asphalt. (See SALT ¯T0003196.)
Lot and his daughters sought refuge first in Zoar, and then,
fearing to remain there longer, retired to a cave in the
neighbouring mountains (Gen. 19:30). Lot has recently been
connected with the people called on the Egyptian monuments
Rotanu or Lotanu, who is supposed to have been the hero of the
Edomite tribe Lotan.
(Heb. nabi, from a root meaning "to bubble forth, as from a
fountain," hence "to utter", comp. Ps. 45:1). This Hebrew word
is the first and the most generally used for a prophet. In the
time of Samuel another word, _ro'eh_, "seer", began to be used
(1 Sam. 9:9). It occurs seven times in reference to Samuel.
Afterwards another word, _hozeh_, "seer" (2 Sam. 24:11), was
employed. In 1 Ch. 29:29 all these three words are used: "Samuel
the seer (ro'eh), Nathan the prophet (nabi'), Gad the seer"
(hozeh). In Josh. 13:22 Balaam is called (Heb.) a _kosem_
"diviner," a word used only of a false prophet.
The "prophet" proclaimed the message given to him, as the
"seer" beheld the vision of God. (See Num. 12:6, 8.) Thus a
prophet was a spokesman for God; he spake in God's name and by
his authority (Ex. 7:1). He is the mouth by which God speaks to
men (Jer. 1:9; Isa. 51:16), and hence what the prophet says is
not of man but of God (2 Pet. 1:20, 21; comp. Heb. 3:7; Acts
4:25; 28:25). Prophets were the immediate organs of God for the
communication of his mind and will to men (Deut. 18:18, 19). The
whole Word of God may in this general sense be spoken of as
prophetic, inasmuch as it was written by men who received the
revelation they communicated from God, no matter what its nature
might be. The foretelling of future events was not a necessary
but only an incidental part of the prophetic office. The great
task assigned to the prophets whom God raised up among the
people was "to correct moral and religious abuses, to proclaim
the great moral and religious truths which are connected with
the character of God, and which lie at the foundation of his
Any one being a spokesman for God to man might thus be called
a prophet. Thus Enoch, Abraham, and the patriarchs, as bearers
of God's message (Gen. 20:7; Ex. 7:1; Ps. 105:15), as also Moses
(Deut. 18:15; 34:10; Hos. 12:13), are ranked among the prophets.
The seventy elders of Israel (Num. 11:16-29), "when the spirit
rested upon them, prophesied;" Asaph and Jeduthun "prophesied
with a harp" (1 Chr. 25:3). Miriam and Deborah were prophetesses
(Ex. 15:20; Judg. 4:4). The title thus has a general application
to all who have messages from God to men.
But while the prophetic gift was thus exercised from the
beginning, the prophetical order as such began with Samuel.
Colleges, "schools of the prophets", were instituted for the
training of prophets, who were constituted, a distinct order (1
Sam. 19:18-24; 2 Kings 2:3, 15; 4:38), which continued to the
close of the Old Testament. Such "schools" were established at
Ramah, Bethel, Gilgal, Gibeah, and Jericho. The "sons" or
"disciples" of the prophets were young men (2 Kings 5:22; 9:1,
4) who lived together at these different "schools" (4:38-41).
These young men were taught not only the rudiments of secular
knowledge, but they were brought up to exercise the office of
prophet, "to preach pure morality and the heart-felt worship of
Jehovah, and to act along and co-ordinately with the priesthood
and monarchy in guiding the state aright and checking all
attempts at illegality and tyranny."
In New Testament times the prophetical office was continued.
Our Lord is frequently spoken of as a prophet (Luke 13:33;
24:19). He was and is the great Prophet of the Church. There was
also in the Church a distinct order of prophets (1 Cor. 12:28;
Eph. 2:20; 3:5), who made new revelations from God. They
differed from the "teacher," whose office it was to impart
truths already revealed.
Of the Old Testament prophets there are sixteen, whose
prophecies form part of the inspired canon. These are divided
into four groups:
(1.) The prophets of the northern kingdom (Israel), viz.,
Hosea, Amos, Joel, Jonah.
(2.) The prophets of Judah, viz., Isaiah, Jeremiah, Obadiah,
Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah.
(3.) The prophets of Captivity, viz., Ezekiel and Daniel.
(4.) The prophets of the Restoration, viz., Haggai, Zechariah,