occurs only in connection with the sixth plague of Egypt (Ex.
9:9, 10). In Deut. 28:27, 35, it is called "the botch of Egypt."
It seems to have been the fearful disease of black leprosy, a
kind of elephantiasis, producing burning ulcers.
(rendered "botch" in Deut. 28:27, 35), an aggravated ulcer, as
in the case of Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:7; Isa. 38:21) or of the
Egyptians (Ex. 9:9, 10, 11; Deut. 28:27, 35). It designates the
disease of Job (2:7), which was probably the black leprosy.
pleasantness, a Syrian, the commander of the armies of Benhadad
II. in the time of Joram, king of Israel. He was afflicted with
leprosy; and when the little Hebrew slave-girl that waited on
his wife told her of a prophet in Samaria who could cure her
master, he obtained a letter from Benhadad and proceeded with it
to Joram. The king of Israel suspected in this some evil design
against him, and rent his clothes. Elisha the prophet hearing of
this, sent for Naaman, and the strange interview which took
place is recorded in 2 Kings 5. The narrative contains all that
is known of the Syrian commander. He was cured of his leprosy by
dipping himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word
of Elisha. His cure is alluded to by our Lord (Luke 4:27).
valley of vision, Elisha's trusted servant (2 Kings 4:31; 5:25;
8:4, 5). He appears in connection with the history of the
Shunammite (2 Kings 4:14, 31) and of Naaman the Syrian. On this
latter occasion he was guilty of duplicity and dishonesty of
conduct, causing Elisha to denounce his crime with righteous
sternness, and pass on him the terrible doom that the leprosy of
Naaman would cleave to him and his for ever (5:20-27).
He afterwards appeared before king Joram, to whom he recounted
the great deeds of his master (2 Kings 8:1-6).
(Heb. tsara'ath, a "smiting," a "stroke," because the disease
was regarded as a direct providential infliction). This name is
from the Greek lepra, by which the Greek physicians designated
the disease from its scaliness. We have the description of the
disease, as well as the regulations connected with it, in Lev.
13; 14; Num. 12:10-15, etc. There were reckoned six different
circumstances under which it might develop itself, (1) without
any apparent cause (Lev. 13:2-8); (2) its reappearance (9-17);
(3) from an inflammation (18-28); (4) on the head or chin
(29-37); (5) in white polished spots (38, 39); (6) at the back
or in the front of the head (40-44).
Lepers were required to live outside the camp or city (Num.
5:1-4; 12:10-15, etc.). This disease was regarded as an awful
punishment from the Lord (2 Kings 5:7; 2 Chr. 26:20). (See
MIRIAM ¯T0002562; GEHAZI ¯T0001452; UZZIAH ¯T0003760.)
This disease "begins with specks on the eyelids and on the
palms, gradually spreading over the body, bleaching the hair
white wherever they appear, crusting the affected parts with
white scales, and causing terrible sores and swellings. From the
skin the disease eats inward to the bones, rotting the whole
body piecemeal." "In Christ's day no leper could live in a
walled town, though he might in an open village. But wherever he
was he was required to have his outer garment rent as a sign of
deep grief, to go bareheaded, and to cover his beard with his
mantle, as if in lamentation at his own virtual death. He had
further to warn passers-by to keep away from him, by calling
out, 'Unclean! unclean!' nor could he speak to any one, or
receive or return a salutation, since in the East this involves
That the disease was not contagious is evident from the
regulations regarding it (Lev. 13:12, 13, 36; 2 Kings 5:1).
Leprosy was "the outward and visible sign of the innermost
spiritual corruption; a meet emblem in its small beginnings, its
gradual spread, its internal disfigurement, its dissolution
little by little of the whole body, of that which corrupts,
degrades, and defiles man's inner nature, and renders him unmeet
to enter the presence of a pure and holy God" (Maclear's
Handbook O.T). Our Lord cured lepers (Matt. 8:2, 3; Mark
1:40-42). This divine power so manifested illustrates his
gracious dealings with men in curing the leprosy of the soul,
the fatal taint of sin.
fenced enclosures consisting of "a low wall of stones in which
thick bundles of thorny acacia are inserted, the tangled
branches and long needle-like spikes forming a perfectly
impenetrable hedge around the encampment" of tents and cattle
which they sheltered. Such like enclosures abound in the
wilderness of Paran, which the Israelites entered after leaving
Sinai (Num. 11:35; 12:16; 33:17, 18). This third encampment of
the Israelites has been identified with the modern 'Ain
el-Hudhera, some 40 miles north-east of Sinai. Here Miriam
(q.v.), being displeased that Moses had married a Cushite wife
(Num. 12:1), induced Aaron to join with her in rebelling against
Moses. God vindicated the authority of his "servant Moses," and
Miriam was smitten with leprosy. Moses interceded for her, and
she was healed (Num. 12:4-16). From this encampment the
Israelites marched northward across the plateau of et-Tih, and
at length reached KADESH.
the process by which a person unclean, according to the
Levitical law, and thereby cut off from the sanctuary and the
festivals, was restored to the enjoyment of all these
The great annual purification of the people was on the Day of
But in the details of daily life there were special causes of
cermonial uncleanness which were severally provided for by
ceremonial laws enacted for each separate case. For example, the
case of the leper (Lev. 13, 14), and of the house defiled by
leprosy (14:49-53; see also Matt. 8:2-4). Uncleanness from
touching a dead body (Num. 19:11; Hos. 9:4; Hag. 2:13; Matt.
23:27; Luke 11:44). The case of the high priest and of the
Nazarite (Lev. 21:1-4, 10, 11; Num. 6:6, 7; Ezek. 44:25).
Purification was effected by bathing and washing the clothes
(Lev. 14:8, 9); by washing the hands (Deut. 21:6; Matt. 27:24);
washing the hands and feet (Ex. 30:18-21; Heb. 6:2, "baptisms",
R.V. marg., "washings;" 9:10); sprinkling with blood and water
(Ex. 24:5-8; Heb. 9:19), etc. Allusions to this rite are found
in Ps. 26:6; 51:7; Ezek. 36:25; Heb. 10:22.
Jehovah is perfect. (1.) The youngest of Gideon's seventy sons.
He escaped when the rest were put to death by the order of
Abimelech (Judg. 9:5). When "the citizens of Shechem and the
whole house of Millo" were gathered together "by the plain of
the pillar" (i.e., the stone set up by Joshua, 24:26; comp. Gen.
35:4) "that was in Shechem, to make Abimelech king," from one of
the heights of Mount Gerizim he protested against their doing so
in the earliest parable, that of the bramble-king. His words
then spoken were prophetic. There came a recoil in the feelings
of the people toward Abimelech, and then a terrible revenge, in
which many were slain and the city of Shechem was destroyed by
Abimelech (Judg. 9:45). Having delivered his warning, Jotham
fled to Beer from the vengeance of Abimelech (9:7-21).
(2.) The son and successor of Uzziah on the throne of Judah.
As during his last years Uzziah was excluded from public life on
account of his leprosy, his son, then twenty-five years of age,
administered for seven years the affairs of the kingdom in his
father's stead (2 Chr. 26:21, 23; 27:1). After his father's
death he became sole monarch, and reigned for sixteen years
(B.C. 759-743). He ruled in the fear of God, and his reign was
prosperous. He was contemporary with the prophets Isaiah, Hosea,
and Micah, by whose ministrations he profited. He was buried in
the sepulchre of the kings, greatly lamented by the people (2
Kings 15:38; 2 Chr. 27:7-9).
a contracted form of Azari'ah the Lord is my strength. (1.) One
of Amaziah's sons, whom the people made king of Judah in his
father's stead (2 Kings 14:21; 2 Chr. 26:1). His long reign of
about fifty-two years was "the most prosperous excepting that of
Jehosaphat since the time of Solomon." He was a vigorous and
able ruler, and "his name spread abroad, even to the entering in
of Egypt" (2 Chr. 26:8, 14). In the earlier part of his reign,
under the influence of Zechariah, he was faithful to Jehovah,
and "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord" (2 Kings
15:3; 2 Chr. 26:4, 5); but toward the close of his long life
"his heart was lifted up to his destruction," and he wantonly
invaded the priest's office (2 Chr. 26:16), and entering the
sanctuary proceeded to offer incense on the golden altar.
Azariah the high priest saw the tendency of such a daring act on
the part of the king, and with a band of eighty priests he
withstood him (2 Chr. 26:17), saying, "It appertaineth not unto
thee, Uzziah, to burn incense." Uzziah was suddenly struck with
leprosy while in the act of offering incense (26:19-21), and he
was driven from the temple and compelled to reside in "a several
house" to the day of his death (2 Kings 15:5, 27; 2 Chr. 26:3).
He was buried in a separate grave "in the field of the burial
which belonged to the kings" (2 Kings 15:7; 2 Chr. 26:23). "That
lonely grave in the royal necropolis would eloquently testify to
coming generations that all earthly monarchy must bow before the
inviolable order of the divine will, and that no interference
could be tolerated with that unfolding of the purposes of God,
which, in the fulness of time, would reveal the Christ, the true
High Priest and King for evermore" (Dr. Green's Kingdom of
(2.) The father of Jehonathan, one of David's overseers (1
God his salvation, the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah, who
became the attendant and disciple of Elijah (1 Kings 19:16-19).
His name first occurs in the command given to Elijah to anoint
him as his successor (1 Kings 19:16). This was the only one of
the three commands then given to Elijah which he accomplished.
On his way from Sinai to Damascus he found Elisha at his native
place engaged in the labours of the field, ploughing with twelve
yoke of oxen. He went over to him, threw over his shoulders his
rough mantle, and at once adopted him as a son, and invested him
with the prophetical office (comp. Luke 9:61, 62). Elisha
accepted the call thus given (about four years before the death
of Ahab), and for some seven or eight years became the close
attendant on Elijah till he was parted from him and taken up
into heaven. During all these years we hear nothing of Elisha
except in connection with the closing scenes of Elijah's life.
After Elijah, Elisha was accepted as the leader of the sons of
the prophets, and became noted in Israel. He possessed,
according to his own request, "a double portion" of Elijah's
spirit (2 Kings 2:9); and for the long period of about sixty
years (B.C. 892-832) held the office of "prophet in Israel" (2
After Elijah's departure, Elisha returned to Jericho, and
there healed the spring of water by casting salt into it (2
Kings 2:21). We next find him at Bethel (2:23), where, with the
sternness of his master, he cursed the youths who came out and
scoffed at him as a prophet of God: "Go up, thou bald head." The
judgment at once took effect, and God terribly visited the
dishonour done to his prophet as dishonour done to himself. We
next read of his predicting a fall of rain when the army of
Jehoram was faint from thirst (2 Kings 3:9-20); of the
multiplying of the poor widow's cruse of oil (4:1-7); the
miracle of restoring to life the son of the woman of Shunem
(4:18-37); the multiplication of the twenty loaves of new barley
into a sufficient supply for an hundred men (4:42-44); of the
cure of Naaman the Syrian of his leprosy (5:1-27); of the
punishment of Gehazi for his falsehood and his covetousness; of
the recovery of the axe lost in the waters of the Jordan
(6:1-7); of the miracle at Dothan, half-way on the road between
Samaria and Jezreel; of the siege of Samaria by the king of
Syria, and of the terrible sufferings of the people in
connection with it, and Elisha's prophecy as to the relief that
would come (2 Kings 6:24-7:2).
We then find Elisha at Damascus, to carry out the command
given to his master to anoint Hazael king over Syria (2 Kings
8:7-15); thereafter he directs one of the sons of the prophets
to anoint Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Israel, instead
of Ahab. Thus the three commands given to Elijah (9:1-10) were
at length carried out.
We do not again read of him till we find him on his death-bed
in his own house (2 Kings 13:14-19). Joash, the grandson of
Jehu, comes to mourn over his approaching departure, and utters
the same words as those of Elisha when Elijah was taken away:
"My father, my father! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen
Afterwards when a dead body is laid in Elisha's grave a year
after his burial, no sooner does it touch the hallowed remains
than the man "revived, and stood up on his feet" (2 Kings
Chronicles, Books of
The two books were originally one. They bore the title in the
Massoretic Hebrew _Dibre hayyamim_, i.e., "Acts of the Days."
This title was rendered by Jerome in his Latin version
"Chronicon," and hence "Chronicles." In the Septuagint version
the book is divided into two, and bears the title Paraleipomena,
i.e., "things omitted," or "supplements", because containing
many things omitted in the Books of Kings.
The contents of these books are comprehended under four heads.
(1.) The first nine chapters of Book I. contain little more than
a list of genealogies in the line of Israel down to the time of
David. (2.) The remainder of the first book contains a history
of the reign of David. (3.) The first nine chapters of Book II.
contain the history of the reign of Solomon. (4.) The remaining
chapters of the second book contain the history of the separate
kingdom of Judah to the time of the return from Babylonian
The time of the composition of the Chronicles was, there is
every ground to conclude, subsequent to the Babylonian Exile,
probably between 450 and 435 B.C. The contents of this twofold
book, both as to matter and form, correspond closely with this
idea. The close of the book records the proclamation of Cyrus
permitting the Jews to return to their own land, and this forms
the opening passage of the Book of Ezra, which must be viewed as
a continuation of the Chronicles. The peculiar form of the
language, being Aramaean in its general character, harmonizes
also with that of the books which were written after the Exile.
The author was certainly contemporary with Zerubbabel, details
of whose family history are given (1 Chr. 3:19).
The time of the composition being determined, the question of
the authorship may be more easily decided. According to Jewish
tradition, which was universally received down to the middle of
the seventeenth century, Ezra was regarded as the author of the
Chronicles. There are many points of resemblance and of contact
between the Chronicles and the Book of Ezra which seem to
confirm this opinion. The conclusion of the one and the
beginning of the other are almost identical in expression. In
their spirit and characteristics they are the same, showing thus
also an identity of authorship.
In their general scope and design these books are not so much
historical as didactic. The principal aim of the writer appears
to be to present moral and religious truth. He does not give
prominence to political occurences, as is done in Samuel and
Kings, but to ecclesiastical institutions. "The genealogies, so
uninteresting to most modern readers, were really an important
part of the public records of the Hebrew state. They were the
basis on which not only the land was distributed and held, but
the public services of the temple were arranged and conducted,
the Levites and their descendants alone, as is well known, being
entitled and first fruits set apart for that purpose." The
"Chronicles" are an epitome of the sacred history from the days
of Adam down to the return from Babylonian Exile, a period of
about 3,500 years. The writer gathers up "the threads of the old
national life broken by the Captivity."
The sources whence the chronicler compiled his work were
public records, registers, and genealogical tables belonging to
the Jews. These are referred to in the course of the book (1
Chr. 27:24; 29:29; 2 Chr. 9:29; 12:15; 13:22; 20:34; 24:27;
26:22; 32:32; 33:18, 19; 27:7; 35:25). There are in Chronicles,
and the books of Samuel and Kings, forty parallels, often
verbal, proving that the writer both knew and used these records
(1 Chr. 17:18; comp. 2 Sam. 7:18-20; 1 Chr. 19; comp. 2 Sam. 10,
As compared with Samuel and Kings, the Book of Chronicles
omits many particulars there recorded (2 Sam. 6:20-23; 9; 11;
14-19, etc.), and includes many things peculiar to itself (1
Chr. 12; 22; 23-26; 27; 28; 29, etc.). Twenty whole chapters,
and twenty-four parts of chapters, are occupied with matter not
found elsewhere. It also records many things in fuller detail,
as (e.g.) the list of David's heroes (1 Chr. 12:1-37), the
removal of the ark from Kirjath-jearim to Mount Zion (1 Chr. 13;
15:2-24; 16:4-43; comp. 2 Sam. 6), Uzziah's leprosy and its
cause (2 Chr. 26:16-21; comp. 2 Kings 15:5), etc.
It has also been observed that another peculiarity of the book
is that it substitutes modern and more common expressions for
those that had then become unusual or obsolete. This is seen
particularly in the substitution of modern names of places, such
as were in use in the writer's day, for the old names; thus
Gezer (1 Chr. 20:4) is used instead of Gob (2 Sam. 21:18), etc.
The Books of Chronicles are ranked among the _khethubim_ or
hagiographa. They are alluded to, though not directly quoted, in
the New Testament (Heb. 5:4; Matt. 12:42; 23:35; Luke 1:5;
the eldest son of Amram and Jochebed, a daughter of Levi (Ex.
6:20). Some explain the name as meaning mountaineer, others
mountain of strength, illuminator. He was born in Egypt three
years before his brother Moses, and a number of years after his
sister Miriam (2:1,4; 7:7). He married Elisheba, the daughter of
Amminadab of the house of Judah (6:23; 1 Chr. 2:10), by whom he
had four sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. When the
time for the deliverance of Isarael out of Egypt drew nigh, he
was sent by God (Ex. 4:14,27-30) to meet his long-absent
brother, that he might co-operate with him in all that they were
required to do in bringing about the Exodus. He was to be the
"mouth" or "prophet" of Moses, i.e., was to speak for him,
because he was a man of a ready utterance (7:1,2,9,10,19). He
was faithful to his trust, and stood by Moses in all his
interviews with Pharaoh.
When the ransomed tribes fought their first battle with Amalek
in Rephidim, Moses stood on a hill overlooking the scene of the
conflict with the rod of God in his outstretched hand. On this
occasion he was attended by Aaron and Hur, his sister's husband,
who held up his wearied hands till Joshua and the chosen
warriors of Israel gained the victory (17:8-13).
Afterwards, when encamped before Sinai, and when Moses at the
command of God ascended the mount to receive the tables of the
law, Aaron and his two sons, Nadab and Abihu, along with seventy
of the elders of Israel, were permitted to accompany him part of
the way, and to behold afar off the manifestation of the glory
of Israel's God (Ex. 19:24; 24:9-11). While Moses remained on
the mountain with God, Aaron returned unto the people; and
yielding through fear, or ignorance, or instability of
character, to their clamour, made unto them a golden calf, and
set it up as an object of worship (Ex. 32:4; Ps. 106:19). On the
return of Moses to the camp, Aaron was sternly rebuked by him
for the part he had acted in this matter; but he interceded for
him before God, who forgave his sin (Deut. 9:20).
On the mount, Moses received instructions regarding the system
of worship which was to be set up among the people; and in
accordance therewith Aaron and his sons were consecrated to the
priest's office (Lev. 8; 9). Aaron, as high priest, held
henceforth the prominent place appertaining to that office.
When Israel had reached Hazeroth, in "the wilderness of
Paran," Aaron joined with his sister Miriam in murmuring against
Moses, "because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married,"
probably after the death of Zipporah. But the Lord vindicated
his servant Moses, and punished Miriam with leprosy (Num. 12).
Aaron acknowledged his own and his sister's guilt, and at the
intercession of Moses they were forgiven.
Twenty years after this, when the children of Israel were
encamped in the wilderness of Paran, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram
conspired against Aaron and his sons; but a fearful judgment
from God fell upon them, and they were destroyed, and the next
day thousands of the people also perished by a fierce
pestilence, the ravages of which were only stayed by the
interposition of Aaron (Num. 16). That there might be further
evidence of the divine appointment of Aaron to the priestly
office, the chiefs of the tribes were each required to bring to
Moses a rod bearing on it the name of his tribe. And these,
along with the rod of Aaron for the tribe of Levi, were laid up
overnight in the tabernacle, and in the morning it was found
that while the other rods remained unchanged, that of Aaron "for
the house of Levi" budded, blossomed, and yielded almonds (Num.
17:1-10). This rod was afterwards preserved in the tabernacle
(Heb. 9:4) as a memorial of the divine attestation of his
appointment to the priesthood.
Aaron was implicated in the sin of his brother at Meribah
(Num. 20:8-13), and on that account was not permitted to enter
the Promised Land. When the tribes arrived at Mount Hor, "in the
edge of the land of Edom," at the command of God Moses led Aaron
and his son Eleazar to the top of that mountain, in the sight of
all the people. There he stripped Aaron of his priestly
vestments, and put them upon Eleazar; and there Aaron died on
the top of the mount, being 123 years old (Num. 20:23-29. Comp.
Deut. 10:6; 32:50), and was "gathered unto his people." The
people, "even all the house of Israel," mourned for him thirty
days. Of Aaron's sons two survived him, Eleazar, whose family
held the high-priesthood till the time of Eli; and Ithamar, in
whose family, beginning with Eli, the high-priesthood was held
till the time of Solomon. Aaron's other two sons had been struck
dead (Lev. 10:1,2) for the daring impiety of offering "strange
fire" on the alter of incense.
The Arabs still show with veneration the traditionary site of
Aaron's grave on one of the two summits of Mount Hor, which is
marked by a Mohammedan chapel. His name is mentioned in the
Koran, and there are found in the writings of the rabbins many
fabulous stories regarding him.
He was the first anointed priest. His descendants, "the house
of Aaron," constituted the priesthood in general. In the time of
David they were very numerous (1 Chr. 12:27). The other branches
of the tribe of Levi held subordinate positions in connection
with the sacred office. Aaron was a type of Christ in his
official character as the high priest. His priesthood was a
"shadow of heavenly things," and was intended to lead the people
of Israel to look forward to the time when "another priest"
would arise "after the order of Melchizedek" (Heb. 6:20). (See