virgins, a musical term (1 Chr. 15:20), denoting that the psalm
which bears this inscription (Ps. 46) was to be sung by soprano
or female voices.
(Dan. 5:25, 26), numbered, one of the words of the mysterious
inscription written "upon the plaister of the wall" in
Belshazzar's palace at Babylon. The writing was explained by
Daniel. (See BELSHAZZAR ¯T0000519.)
salvation, the son of Beeri, and author of the book of
prophecies bearing his name. He belonged to the kingdom of
Israel. "His Israelitish origin is attested by the peculiar,
rough, Aramaizing diction, pointing to the northern part of
Israel; by the intimate acquaintance he evinces with the
localities of Ephraim (5:1; 6:8, 9; 12:12; 14:6, etc.); by
passages like 1:2, where the kingdom is styled 'the land', and
7:5, where the Israelitish king is designated as 'our' king."
The period of his ministry (extending to some sixty years) is
indicated in the superscription (Hos. 1:1, 2). He is the only
prophet of Israel who has left any written prophecy.
(Gr. denarion), a silver coin of the value of about 7 1/2d. or
8d. of our present money. It is thus rendered in the New
Testament, and is more frequently mentioned than any other coin
(Matt. 18:28; 20:2, 9, 13; Mark 6:37; 14:5, etc.). It was the
daily pay of a Roman soldier in the time of Christ. In the reign
of Edward III. an English penny was a labourer's day's wages.
This was the "tribute money" with reference to which our Lord
said, "Whose image and superscription is this?" When they
answered, "Caesar's," he replied, "Render therefore to Caesar
the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are
God's" (Matt. 22:19; Mark 12:15).
a basalt stone, bearing an inscription by King Mesha, which was
discovered at Dibon by Klein, a German missionary at Jerusalem,
in 1868. It was 3 1/2 feet high and 2 in breadth and in
thickness, rounded at the top. It consisted of thirty-four
lines, written in Hebrew-Phoenician characters. It was set up by
Mesha as a record and memorial of his victories. It records (1)
Mesha's wars with Omri, (2) his public buildings, and (3) his
wars against Horonaim. This inscription in a remarkable degree
supplements and corroborates the history of King Mesha recorded
in 2 Kings 3:4-27.
With the exception of a very few variations, the Moabite
language in which the inscription is written is identical with
the Hebrew. The form of the letters here used supplies very
important and interesting information regarding the history of
the formation of the alphabet, as well as, incidentally,
regarding the arts of civilized life of those times in the land
This ancient monument, recording the heroic struggles of King
Mesha with Omri and Ahab, was erected about B.C. 900. Here "we
have the identical slab on which the workmen of the old world
carved the history of their own times, and from which the eye of
their contemporaries read thousands of years ago the record of
events of which they themselves had been the witnesses." It is
the oldest inscription written in alphabetic characters, and
hence is, apart from its value in the domain of Hebrew
antiquities, of great linguistic importance.
a tax imposed by a king on his subjects (2 Sam. 20:24; 1 Kings
4:6; Rom. 13:6). In Matt. 17:24-27 the word denotes the temple
rate (the "didrachma," the "half-shekel," as rendered by the
R.V.) which was required to be paid for the support of the
temple by every Jew above twenty years of age (Ex. 30:12; 2
Kings 12:4; 2 Chr. 24:6, 9). It was not a civil but a religious
In Matt. 22:17, Mark 12:14, Luke 20:22, the word may be
interpreted as denoting the capitation tax which the Romans
imposed on the Jewish people. It may, however, be legitimately
regarded as denoting any tax whatever imposed by a foreign power
on the people of Israel. The "tribute money" shown to our Lord
(Matt. 22:19) was the denarius, bearing Caesar's superscription.
It was the tax paid by every Jew to the Romans. (See PENNY
writing; i.e., a poem or song found in the titles of Ps. 16;
56-60. Some translate the word "golden", i.e., precious. It is
rendered in the LXX. by a word meaning "tablet inscription" or a
"stelograph." The root of the word means to stamp or grave, and
hence it is regarded as denoting a composition so precious as to
be worthy to be engraven on a durable tablet for preservation;
or, as others render, "a psalm precious as stamped gold," from
the word _kethem_, "fine or stamped gold."
Siloam, Pool of
sent or sending. Here a notable miracle was wrought by our Lord
in giving sight to the blind (John 9:7-11). It has been
identified with the Birket Silwan in the lower Tyropoeon valley,
to the south-east of the hill of Zion.
The water which flows into this pool intermittingly by a
subterranean channel springs from the "Fountain of the Virgin"
(q.v.). The length of this channel, which has several windings,
is 1,750 feet, though the direct distance is only 1,100 feet.
The pool is 53 feet in length from north to south, 18 feet wide,
and 19 deep. The water passes from it by a channel cut in the
rock into the gardens below. (See EN-ROGEL ¯T0001214.)
Many years ago (1880) a youth, while wading up the conduit by
which the water enters the pool, accidentally discovered an
inscription cut in the rock, on the eastern side, about 19 feet
from the pool. This is the oldest extant Hebrew record of the
kind. It has with great care been deciphered by scholars, and
has been found to be an account of the manner in which the
tunnel was constructed. Its whole length is said to be "twelve
hundred cubits;" and the inscription further notes that the
workmen, like the excavators of the Mont Cenis Tunnel, excavated
from both ends, meeting in the middle.
Some have argued that the inscription was cut in the time of
Solomon; others, with more probability, refer it to the reign of
Hezekiah. A more ancient tunnel was discovered in 1889 some 20
feet below the ground. It is of smaller dimensions, but more
direct in its course. It is to this tunnel that Isaiah (8:6)
The Siloam inscription above referred to was surreptitiously
cut from the wall of the tunnel in 1891 and broken into
fragments. These were, however, recovered by the efforts of the
British Consul at Jerusalem, and have been restored to their
angry, perhaps only a general title of royalty applicable to the
Philistine kings. (1.) The king with whom David sought refuge
when he fled from Saul (1 Sam. 21:10-15). He is called Abimelech
in the superscription of Ps. 34. It was probably this same king
to whom David a second time repaired at the head of a band of
600 warriors, and who assigned him Ziklag, whence he carried on
war against the surrounding tribes (1 Sam. 27:5-12). Achish had
great confidence in the valour and fidelity of David (1 Sam.
28:1,2), but at the instigation of his courtiers did not permit
him to go up to battle along with the Philistine hosts (1 Sam.
29:2-11). David remained with Achish a year and four months.
(2.) Another king of Gath, probably grandson of the foregoing,
to whom the two servants of Shimei fled. This led Shimei to go
to Gath in pursuit of them, and the consequence was that Solomon
put him to death (1 Kings 2:39-46).
the sacred city of the Hittites, on the left bank of the
Orontes, about 4 miles south of the Lake of Homs. It is
identified with the great mound Tell Neby Mendeh, some 50 to 100
feet high, and 400 yards long. On the ruins of the temple of
Karnak, in Egypt, has been found an inscription recording the
capture of this city by Rameses II. (See PHARAOH ¯T0002923.)
Here the sculptor "has chiselled in deep work on the stone, with
a bold execution of the several parts, the procession of the
warriors, the battle before Kadesh, the storming of the
fortress, the overthrow of the enemy, and the camp life of the
Egyptians." (See HITTITES ¯T0001794.)
(Heb. mitsnepheth), something rolled round the head; the turban
or head-dress of the high priest (Ex. 28:4, 37, 39; 29:6, etc.).
In the Authorized Version of Ezek. 21:26, this Hebrew word is
rendered "diadem," but in the Revised Version, "mitre." It was a
twisted band of fine linen, 8 yards in length, coiled into the
form of a cap, and worn on official occasions (Lev. 8:9; 16:4;
Zech. 3:5). On the front of it was a golden plate with the
inscription, "Holiness to the Lord." The mitsnepheth differed
from the mitre or head-dress (migba'ah) of the common priest.
(See BONNET ¯T0000621.)
Micah, Book of
the sixth in order of the so-called minor prophets. The
superscription to this book states that the prophet exercised
his office in the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. If we
reckon from the beginning of Jotham's reign to the end of
Hezekiah's (B.C. 759-698), then he ministered for about
fifty-nine years; but if we reckon from the death of Jotham to
the accession of Hezekiah (B.C. 743-726), his ministry lasted
only sixteen years. It has been noticed as remarkable that this
book commences with the last words of another prophet, "Micaiah
the son of Imlah" (1 Kings 22:28): "Hearken, O people, every one
The book consists of three sections, each commencing with a
rebuke, "Hear ye," etc., and closing with a promise, (1) ch. 1;
2; (2) ch. 3-5, especially addressed to the princes and heads of
the people; (3) ch. 6-7, in which Jehovah is represented as
holding a controversy with his people: the whole concluding with
a song of triumph at the great deliverance which the Lord will
achieve for his people. The closing verse is quoted in the song
of Zacharias (Luke 1:72, 73). The prediction regarding the place
"where Christ should be born," one of the most remarkable
Messianic prophecies (Micah 5:2), is quoted in Matt. 2:6.
There are the following references to this book in the New
5:2, with Matt. 2:6; John 7:42.
7:6, with Matt. 10:21,35,36.
7:20, with Luke 1:72,73.
the capital of Attica, the most celebrated city of the ancient
world, the seat of Greek literature and art during the golden
period of Grecian history. Its inhabitants were fond of novelty
(Acts 17:21), and were remarkable for their zeal in the worship
of the gods. It was a sarcastic saying of the Roman satirist
that it was "easier to find a god at Athens than a man."
On his second missionary journey Paul visited this city (Acts
17:15; comp. 1 Thess. 3:1), and delivered in the Areopagus his
famous speech (17:22-31). The altar of which Paul there speaks
as dedicated "to the [properly "an"] unknown God" (23) was
probably one of several which bore the same inscription. It is
supposed that they originated in the practice of letting loose a
flock of sheep and goats in the streets of Athens on the
occasion of a plague, and of offering them up in sacrifice, at
the spot where they lay down, "to the god concerned."
an Assyrian king (Hos. 10:14), identified with Shalmaneser II.
(Sayce) or IV. (Lenormant), the successor of Pul on the throne
of Assyria (B.C. 728). He made war against Hoshea, the king of
Israel, whom he subdued and compelled to pay an annual tribute.
Hoshea, however, soon after rebelled against his Assyrian
conquerer. Shalmaneser again marched against Samaria, which,
after a siege of three years, was taken (2 Kings 17:3-5; 18:9)
by Sargon (q.v.). A revolution meantime had broken out in
Assyria, and Shalmaneser was deposed. Sargon usurped the vacant
throne. Schrader thinks that this is probably the name of a king
of Moab mentioned on an inscription of Tiglath-pileser as
described as an animal of great ferocity and strength (Num.
23:22, R.V., "wild ox," marg., "ox-antelope;" 24:8; Isa. 34:7,
R.V., "wild oxen"), and untamable (Job 39:9). It was in reality
a two-horned animal; but the exact reference of the word so
rendered (reem) is doubtful. Some have supposed it to be the
buffalo; others, the white antelope, called by the Arabs rim.
Most probably, however, the word denotes the Bos primigenius
("primitive ox"), which is now extinct all over the world. This
was the auerochs of the Germans, and the urus described by
Caesar (Gal. Bel., vi.28) as inhabiting the Hercynian forest.
The word thus rendered has been found in an Assyrian inscription
written over the wild ox or bison, which some also suppose to be
the animal intended (comp. Deut. 33:17; Ps. 22:21; 29:6; 92:10).
a stream. (1.) One of the four rivers of Eden (Gen. 2:13). It
has been identified with the Nile. Others regard it as the Oxus,
or the Araxes, or the Ganges. But as, according to the sacred
narrative, all these rivers of Eden took their origin from the
head-waters of the Euphrates and the Trigris, it is probable
that the Gihon is the ancient Araxes, which, under the modern
name of the Arras, discharges itself into the Caspian Sea. It
was the Asiatic and not the African "Cush" which the Gihon
compassed (Gen. 10:7-10). (See EDEN ¯T0001127.)
(2.) The only natural spring of water in or near Jerusalem is
the "Fountain of the Virgin" (q.v.), which rises outside the
city walls on the west bank of the Kidron valley. On the
occasion of the approach of the Assyrian army under Sennacherib,
Hezekiah, in order to prevent the besiegers from finding water,
"stopped the upper water course of Gihon, and brought it
straight down to the west side of the city of David" (2 Chr.
32:30; 33:14). This "fountain" or spring is therefore to be
regarded as the "upper water course of Gihon." From this
"fountain" a tunnel cut through the ridge which forms the south
part of the temple hill conveys the water to the Pool of Siloam,
which lies on the opposite side of this ridge at the head of the
Tyropoeon ("cheesemakers'") valley, or valley of the son of
Hinnom, now filled up by rubbish. The length of this tunnel is
about 1,750 feet. In 1880 an inscription was accidentally
discovered on the wall of the tunnel about nineteen feet from
where it opens into the Pool of Siloam. This inscription was
executed in all probability by Hezekiah's workmen. It briefly
narrates the history of the excavation. It may, however, be
possible that this tunnel was executed in the time of Solomon.
If the "waters of Shiloah that go softly" (Isa. 8:6) refers to
the gentle stream that still flows through the tunnel into the
Pool of Siloam, then this excavation must have existed before
the time of Hezekiah.
In the upper part of the Tyropoeoan valley there are two pools
still existing, the first, called Birket el-Mamilla, to the west
of the Jaffa gate; the second, to the south of the first, called
Birket es-Sultan. It is the opinion of some that the former was
the "upper" and the latter the "lower" Pool of Gihon (2 Kings
18:17; Isa. 7:3; 36:2; 22:9). (See CONDUIT ¯T0000877; SILOAM
a fishery, a town on the Mediterranean coast, about 25 miles
north of Tyre. It received its name from the "first-born" of
Canaan, the grandson of Noah (Gen. 10:15, 19). It was the first
home of the Phoenicians on the coast of Israel, and from its
extensive commercial relations became a "great" city (Josh.
11:8; 19:28). It was the mother city of Tyre. It lay within the
lot of the tribe of Asher, but was never subdued (Judg. 1:31).
The Zidonians long oppressed Israel (Judg. 10:12). From the time
of David its glory began to wane, and Tyre, its "virgin
daughter" (Isa. 23:12), rose to its place of pre-eminence.
Solomon entered into a matrimonial alliance with the Zidonians,
and thus their form of idolatrous worship found a place in the
land of Israel (1 Kings 11:1, 33). This city was famous for its
manufactures and arts, as well as for its commerce (1 Kings 5:6;
1 Chr. 22:4; Ezek. 27:8). It is frequently referred to by the
prophets (Isa. 23:2, 4, 12; Jer. 25:22; 27:3; 47:4; Ezek. 27:8;
28:21, 22; 32:30; Joel 3:4). Our Lord visited the "coasts" of
Tyre and Zidon = Sidon (q.v.), Matt. 15:21; Mark 7:24; Luke
4:26; and from this region many came forth to hear him preaching
(Mark 3:8; Luke 6:17). From Sidon, at which the ship put in
after leaving Caesarea, Paul finally sailed for Rome (Acts 27:3,
This city is now a town of 10,000 inhabitants, with remains of
walls built in the twelfth century A.D. In 1855, the sarcophagus
of Eshmanezer was discovered. From a Phoenician inscription on
its lid, it appears that he was a "king of the Sidonians,"
probably in the third century B.C., and that his mother was a
priestess of Ashtoreth, "the goddess of the Sidonians." In this
inscription Baal is mentioned as the chief god of the Sidonians.
occurs only in the superscription (which is probably spurious,
and is altogether omitted in the R.V.) to the Second Epistle to
Timothy. He became emperor of Rome when he was about seventeen
years of age (A.D. 54), and soon began to exhibit the character
of a cruel tyrant and heathen debauchee. In May A.D. 64, a
terrible conflagration broke out in Rome, which raged for six
days and seven nights, and totally destroyed a great part of the
city. The guilt of this fire was attached to him at the time,
and the general verdict of history accuses him of the crime.
"Hence, to suppress the rumour," says Tacitus (Annals, xv. 44),
"he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished with the most
exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who
are hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of that
name, was put to death as a criminal by Pontius Pilate,
procurator of Judea, in the reign of Tiberius; but the
pernicious superstition, repressed for a time, broke out again,
not only throughout Judea, where the mischief originated, but
through the city of Rome also, whither all things horrible and
disgraceful flow, from all quarters, as to a common receptacle,
and where they are encouraged. Accordingly, first three were
seized, who confessed they were Christians. Next, on their
information, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much on the
charge of burning the city as of hating the human race. And in
their deaths they were also made the subjects of sport; for they
were covered with the hides of wild beasts and worried to death
by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set fire to, and, when day
declined, burned to serve for nocturnal lights. Nero offered his
own gardens for that spectacle, and exhibited a Circensian game,
indiscriminately mingling with the common people in the habit of
a charioteer, or else standing in his chariot; whence a feeling
of compassion arose toward the sufferers, though guilty and
deserving to be made examples of by capital punishment, because
they seemed not to be cut off for the public good, but victims
to the ferocity of one man." Another Roman historian, Suetonius
(Nero, xvi.), says of him: "He likewise inflicted punishments on
the Christians, a sort of people who hold a new and impious
superstition" (Forbes's Footsteps of St. Paul, p. 60).
Nero was the emperor before whom Paul was brought on his first
imprisonment at Rome, and the apostle is supposed to have
suffered martyrdom during this persecution. He is repeatedly
alluded to in Scripture (Acts 25:11; Phil. 1:12, 13; 4:22). He
died A.D. 68.
=Askelon=Ascalon, was one of the five cities of the Philistines
(Josh. 13:3; 1 Sam. 6:17). It stood on the shore of the
Mediterranean, 12 miles north of Gaza. It is mentioned on an
inscription at Karnak in Egypt as having been taken by king
Rameses II., the oppressor of the Hebrews. In the time of the
judges (Judg. 1:18) it fell into the possession of the tribe of
Judah; but it was soon after retaken by the Philistines (2 Sam.
1:20), who were not finally dispossessed till the time of
Alexander the Great. Samson went down to this place from
Timnath, and slew thirty men and took their spoil. The prophets
foretold its destruction (Jer. 25:20; 47:5, 7). It became a
noted place in the Middle Ages, having been the scene of many a
bloody battle between the Saracens and the Crusaders. It was
beseiged and taken by Richard the Lion-hearted, and "within its
walls and towers now standing he held his court." Among the Tell
Amarna tablets (see EGYPT ¯T0001137) are found letters or
official despatches from Yadaya, "captain of horse and dust of
the king's feet," to the "great king" of Egypt, dated from
Ascalon. It is now called 'Askalan.
middle district, Vulgate, Messa. (1.) A plain in that part of
the boundaries of Arabia inhabited by the descendants of Joktan
(2.) Heb. meysh'a, "deliverance," the eldest son of Caleb (1
Chr. 2:42), and brother of Jerahmeel.
(3.) Heb. id, a king of Moab, the son of Chemosh-Gad, a man of
great wealth in flocks and herds (2 Kings 3:4). After the death
of Ahab at Ramoth-Gilead, Mesha shook off the yoke of Israel;
but on the ascension of Jehoram to the throne of Israel, that
king sought the help of Jehoshaphat in an attempt to reduce the
Moabites again to their former condition. The united armies of
the two kings came unexpectedly on the army of the Moabites, and
gained over them an easy victory. The whole land was devastated
by the conquering armies, and Mesha sought refuge in his last
stronghold, Kir-harasheth (q.v.). Reduced to despair, he
ascended the wall of the city, and there, in the sight of the
allied armies, offered his first-born son a sacrifice to
Chemosh, the fire-god of the Moabites. This fearful spectacle
filled the beholders with horror, and they retired from before
the besieged city, and recrossed the Jordan laden with spoil (2
The exploits of Mesha are recorded in the Phoenician
inscription on a block of black basalt found at Dibon, in Moab,
usually called the "Moabite stone" (q.v.).
a seal used to attest documents (Dan. 6:8-10, 12). In 6:17, this
word properly denotes a ring. The impression of a signet ring on
fine clay has recently been discovered among the ruins at
Nineveh. It bears the name and title of an Egyptian king. Two
actual signet rings of ancient Egyptian monarchs (Cheops and
Horus) have also been discovered.
When digging a shaft close to the south wall of the temple
area, the engineers of the Israel Exploration Fund, at a
depth of 12 feet below the surface, came upon a pavement of
polished stones, formerly one of the streets of the city. Under
this pavement they found a stratum of 16 feet of concrete, and
among this concrete, 10 feet down, they found a signet stone
bearing the inscription, in Old Hebrew characters, "Haggai, son
of Shebaniah." It has been asked, Might not this be the actual
seal of Haggai the prophet? We know that he was in Jerusalem
after the Captivity; and it is somewhat singular that he alone
of all the minor prophets makes mention of a signet (Hag. 2:23).
(See SEAL ¯T0003246.)
in the Babylonian orthography Nabu-kudur-uzur, which means
"Nebo, protect the crown!" or the "frontiers." In an inscription
he styles himself "Nebo's favourite." He was the son and
successor of Nabopolassar, who delivered Babylon from its
dependence on Assyria and laid Nineveh in ruins. He was the
greatest and most powerful of all the Babylonian kings. He
married the daughter of Cyaxares, and thus the Median and
Babylonian dynasties were united.
Necho II., the king of Egypt, gained a victory over the
Assyrians at Carchemish. (See JOSIAH ¯T0002116; MEGIDDO
¯T0002463.) This secured to Egypt the possession of the Syrian
provinces of Assyria, including Israel. The remaining
provinces of the Assyrian empire were divided between Babylonia
and Media. But Nabopolassar was ambitious of reconquering from
Necho the western provinces of Syria, and for this purpose he
sent his son with a powerful army westward (Dan. 1:1). The
Egyptians met him at Carchemish, where a furious battle was
fought, resulting in the complete rout of the Egyptians, who
were driven back (Jer. 46:2-12), and Syria and Phoenicia brought
under the sway of Babylon (B.C. 606). From that time "the king
of Egypt came not again any more out of his land" (2 Kings
24:7). Nebuchadnezzar also subdued the whole of Israel, and
took Jerusalem, carrying away captive a great multitude of the
Jews, among whom were Daniel and his companions (Dan. 1:1, 2;
Jer. 27:19; 40:1).
Three years after this, Jehoiakim, who had reigned in
Jerusalem as a Babylonian vassal, rebelled against the
oppressor, trusting to help from Egypt (2 Kings 24:1). This led
Nebuchadnezzar to march an army again to the conquest of
Jerusalem, which at once yielded to him (B.C. 598). A third time
he came against it, and deposed Jehoiachin, whom he carried into
Babylon, with a large portion of the population of the city, and
the sacred vessels of the temple, placing Zedekiah on the throne
of Judah in his stead. He also, heedless of the warnings of the
prophet, entered into an alliance with Egypt, and rebelled
against Babylon. This brought about the final siege of the city,
which was at length taken and utterly destroyed (B.C. 586).
Zedekiah was taken captive, and had his eyes put out by order of
the king of Babylon, who made him a prisoner for the remainder
of his life.
An onyx cameo, now in the museum of Florence, bears on it an
arrow-headed inscription, which is certainly ancient and
genuine. The helmeted profile is said (Schrader) to be genuine
also, but it is more probable that it is the portrait of a
usurper in the time of Darius (Hystaspes), called Nidinta-Bel,
who took the name of "Nebuchadrezzar." The inscription has been
thus translated:, "In honour of Merodach, his lord,
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in his lifetime had this made."
A clay tablet, now in the British Museum, bears the following
inscription, the only one as yet found which refers to his wars:
"In the thirty-seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the
country of Babylon, he went to Egypt [Misr] to make war. Amasis,
king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread
abroad." Thus were fulfilled the words of the prophet (Jer.
46:13-26; Ezek. 29:2-20). Having completed the subjugation of
Phoenicia, and inflicted chastisement on Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar
now set himself to rebuild and adorn the city of Babylon (Dan.
4:30), and to add to the greatness and prosperity of his kingdom
by constructing canals and aqueducts and reservoirs surpassing
in grandeur and magnificence everything of the kind mentioned in
history (Dan. 2:37). He is represented as a "king of kings,"
ruling over a vast kingdom of many provinces, with a long list
of officers and rulers under him, "princes, governors,
captains," etc. (3:2, 3, 27). He may, indeed, be said to have
created the mighty empire over which he ruled.
"Modern research has shown that Nebuchadnezzar was the
greatest monarch that Babylon, or perhaps the East generally,
ever produced. He must have possessed an enormous command of
human labour, nine-tenths of Babylon itself, and
nineteen-twentieths of all the other ruins that in almost
countless profusion cover the land, are composed of bricks
stamped with his name. He appears to have built or restored
almost every city and temple in the whole country. His
inscriptions give an elaborate account of the immense works
which he constructed in and about Babylon itself, abundantly
illustrating the boast, 'Is not this great Babylon which I have
build?'" Rawlinson, Hist. Illustrations.
After the incident of the "burning fiery furnace" (Dan. 3)
into which the three Hebrew confessors were cast, Nebuchadnezzar
was afflicted with some peculiar mental aberration as a
punishment for his pride and vanity, probably the form of
madness known as lycanthropy (i.e, "the change of a man into a
wolf"). A remarkable confirmation of the Scripture narrative is
afforded by the recent discovery of a bronze door-step, which
bears an inscription to the effect that it was presented by
Nebuchadnezzar to the great temple at Borsippa as a votive
offering on account of his recovery from a terrible illness.
(See DANIEL ¯T0000969.)
He survived his recovery for some years, and died B.C. 562, in
the eighty-third or eighty-fourth year of his age, after a reign
of forty-three years, and was succeeded by his son
Evil-merodach, who, after a reign of two years, was succeeded by
Neriglissar (559-555), who was succeeded by Nabonadius
(555-538), at the close of whose reign (less than a quarter of a
century after the death of Nebuchadnezzar) Babylon fell under
Cyrus at the head of the combined armies of Media and Persia.
"I have examined," says Sir H. Rawlinson, "the bricks
belonging perhaps to a hundred different towns and cities in the
neighbourhood of Baghdad, and I never found any other legend
than that of Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabopolassar, king of
Babylon." Nine-tenths of all the bricks amid the ruins of
Babylon are stamped with his name.
The temple erected by the exiles on their return from Babylon
had stood for about five hundred years, when Herod the Great
became king of Judea. The building had suffered considerably
from natural decay as well as from the assaults of hostile
armies, and Herod, desirous of gaining the favour of the Jews,
proposed to rebuild it. This offer was accepted, and the work
was begun (B.C. 18), and carried out at great labour and
expense, and on a scale of surpassing splendour. The main part
of the building was completed in ten years, but the erection of
the outer courts and the embellishment of the whole were carried
on during the entire period of our Lord's life on earth (John
2:16, 19-21), and the temple was completed only A.D. 65. But it
was not long permitted to exist. Within forty years after our
Lord's crucifixion, his prediction of its overthrow was
accomplished (Luke 19: 41-44). The Roman legions took the city
of Jerusalem by storm, and notwithstanding the strenuous efforts
Titus made to preserve the temple, his soldiers set fire to it
in several places, and it was utterly destroyed (A.D. 70), and
was never rebuilt.
Several remains of Herod's stately temple have by recent
explorations been brought to light. It had two courts, one
intended for the Israelites only, and the other, a large outer
court, called "the court of the Gentiles," intended for the use
of strangers of all nations. These two courts were separated by
a low wall, as Josephus states, some 4 1/2 feet high, with
thirteen openings. Along the top of this dividing wall, at
regular intervals, were placed pillars bearing in Greek an
inscription to the effect that no stranger was, on the pain of
death, to pass from the court of the Gentiles into that of the
Jews. At the entrance to a graveyard at the north-western angle
of the Haram wall, a stone was discovered by M. Ganneau in 1871,
built into the wall, bearing the following inscription in Greek
capitals: "No stranger is to enter within the partition wall and
enclosure around the sanctuary. Whoever is caught will be
responsible to himself for his death, which will ensue."
There can be no doubt that the stone thus discovered was one
of those originally placed on the boundary wall which separated
the Jews from the Gentiles, of which Josephus speaks.
It is of importance to notice that the word rendered
"sanctuary" in the inscription was used in a specific sense of
the inner court, the court of the Israelites, and is the word
rendered "temple" in John 2:15 and Acts 21:28, 29. When Paul
speaks of the middle wall of partition (Eph. 2:14), he probably
makes allusion to this dividing wall. Within this partition wall
stood the temple proper, consisting of, (1) the court of the
women, 8 feet higher than the outer court; (2) 10 feet higher
than this court was the court of Israel; (3) the court of the
priests, again 3 feet higher; and lastly (4) the temple floor, 8
feet above that; thus in all 29 feet above the level of the
The summit of Mount Moriah, on which the temple stood, is now
occupied by the Haram esh-Sherif, i.e., "the sacred enclosure."
This enclosure is about 1,500 feet from north to south, with a
breadth of about 1,000 feet, covering in all a space of about 35
acres. About the centre of the enclosure is a raised platform,
16 feet above the surrounding space, and paved with large stone
slabs, on which stands the Mohammedan mosque called Kubbet
es-Sahkra i.e., the "Dome of the Rock," or the Mosque of Omar.
This mosque covers the site of Solomon's temple. In the centre
of the dome there is a bare, projecting rock, the highest part
of Moriah (q.v.), measuring 60 feet by 40, standing 6 feet above
the floor of the mosque, called the sahkra, i.e., "rock." Over
this rock the altar of burnt-offerings stood. It was the
threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite. The exact position on
this "sacred enclosure" which the temple occupied has not been
yet definitely ascertained. Some affirm that Herod's temple
covered the site of Solomon's temple and palace, and in addition
enclosed a square of 300 feet at the south-western angle. The
temple courts thus are supposed to have occupied the southern
portion of the "enclosure," forming in all a square of more than
900 feet. It is argued by others that Herod's temple occupied a
square of 600 feet at the south-west of the "enclosure."
Bel protect the king!, the last of the kings of Babylon (Dan.
5:1). He was the son of Nabonidus by Nitocris, who was the
daughter of Nebuchadnezzar and the widow of Nergal-sharezer.
When still young he made a great feast to a thousand of his
lords, and when heated with wine sent for the sacred vessels his
"father" (Dan. 5:2), or grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar had carried
away from the temple in Jerusalem, and he and his princes drank
out of them. In the midst of their mad revelry a hand was seen
by the king tracing on the wall the announcement of God's
judgment, which that night fell upon him. At the instance of the
queen (i.e., his mother) Daniel was brought in, and he
interpreted the writing. That night the kingdom of the Chaldeans
came to an end, and the king was slain (Dan. 5:30). (See
The absence of the name of Belshazzar on the monuments was
long regarded as an argument against the genuineness of the Book
of Daniel. In 1854 Sir Henry Rawlinson found an inscription of
Nabonidus which referred to his eldest son. Quite recently,
however, the side of a ravine undermined by heavy rains fell at
Hillah, a suburb of Babylon. A number of huge, coarse
earthenware vases were laid bare. These were filled with
tablets, the receipts and contracts of a firm of Babylonian
bankers, which showed that Belshazzar had a household, with
secretaries and stewards. One was dated in the third year of the
king Marduk-sar-uzur. As Marduk-sar-uzar was another name for
Baal, this Marduk-sar-uzur was found to be the Belshazzar of
Scripture. In one of these contract tablets, dated in the July
after the defeat of the army of Nabonidus, we find him paying
tithes for his sister to the temple of the sun-god at Sippara.
in the New Testament the instrument of crucifixion, and hence
used for the crucifixion of Christ itself (Eph. 2:16; Heb. 12:2;
1 Cor. 1:17, 18; Gal. 5:11; 6:12, 14; Phil. 3:18). The word is
also used to denote any severe affliction or trial (Matt. 10:38;
16:24; Mark 8:34; 10:21).
The forms in which the cross is represented are these:
1. The crux simplex (I), a "single piece without transom."
2. The crux decussata (X), or St. Andrew's cross.
3. The crux commissa (T), or St. Anthony's cross.
4. The crux immissa (t), or Latin cross, which was the kind of
cross on which our Saviour died. Above our Lord's head, on the
projecting beam, was placed the "title." (See CRUCIFIXION
After the conversion, so-called, of Constantine the Great
(B.C. 313), the cross first came into use as an emblem of
Christianity. He pretended at a critical moment that he saw a
flaming cross in the heavens bearing the inscription, "In hoc
signo vinces", i.e., By this sign thou shalt conquer, and that
on the following night Christ himself appeared and ordered him
to take for his standard the sign of this cross. In this form a
new standard, called the Labarum, was accordingly made, and
borne by the Roman armies. It remained the standard of the Roman
army till the downfall of the Western empire. It bore the
embroidered monogram of Christ, i.e., the first two Greek
letters of his name, X and P (chi and rho), with the Alpha and
Omega. (See A ¯T0000001.)
impregnable, a royal Canaanitish city in the Shephelah, or
maritime plain of Israel (Josh. 10:3, 5; 12:11). It was taken
and destroyed by the Israelites (Josh. 10:31-33). It afterwards
became, under Rehoboam, one of the strongest fortresses of Judah
(2 Chr. 10:9). It was assaulted and probably taken by
Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:14, 17; 19:8; Isa. 36:2). An account of
this siege is given on some slabs found in the chambers of the
palace of Koyunjik, and now in the British Museum. The
inscription has been deciphered as follows:, "Sennacherib, the
mighty king, king of the country of Assyria, sitting on the
throne of judgment before the city of Lachish: I gave permission
for its slaughter." (See NINEVEH ¯T0002735.)
Lachish has been identified with Tell-el-Hesy, where a
cuneiform tablet has been found, containing a letter supposed to
be from Amenophis at Amarna in reply to one of the Amarna
tablets sent by Zimrida from Lachish. This letter is from the
chief of Atim (=Etam, 1 Chr. 4:32) to the chief of Lachish, in
which the writer expresses great alarm at the approach of
marauders from the Hebron hills. "They have entered the land,"
he says, "to lay waste...strong is he who has come down. He lays
waste." This letter shows that "the communication by tablets in
cuneiform script was not only usual in writing to Egypt, but in
the internal correspondence of the country. The letter, though
not so important in some ways as the Moabite stone and the
Siloam text, is one of the most valuable discoveries ever made
in Israel" (Conder's Tell Amarna Tablets, p. 134).
Excavations at Lachish are still going on, and among other
discoveries is that of an iron blast-furnace, with slag and
ashes, which is supposed to have existed B.C. 1500. If the
theories of experts are correct, the use of the hot-air blast
instead of cold air (an improvement in iron manufacture patented
by Neilson in 1828) was known fifteen hundred years before
Christ. (See FURNACE ¯T0001398.)
(In the inscriptions, "Sarra-yukin" [the god] has appointed the
king; also "Sarru-kinu," the legitimate king.) On the death of
Shalmaneser (B.C. 723), one of the Assyrian generals established
himself on the vacant throne, taking the name of "Sargon," after
that of the famous monarch, the Sargon of Accad, founder of the
first Semitic empire, as well as of one of the most famous
libraries of Chaldea. He forthwith began a conquering career,
and became one of the most powerful of the Assyrian monarchs. He
is mentioned by name in the Bible only in connection with the
siege of Ashdod (Isa. 20:1).
At the very beginning of his reign he besieged and took the
city of Samaria (2 Kings 17:6; 18:9-12). On an inscription found
in the palace he built at Khorsabad, near Nieveh, he says, "The
city of Samaria I besieged, I took; 27,280 of its inhabitants I
carried away; fifty chariots that were among them I collected,"
etc. The northern kingdom he changed into an Assyrian satrapy.
He afterwards drove Merodach-baladan (q.v.), who kept him at bay
for twelve years, out of Babylon, which he entered in triumph.
By a succession of victories he gradually enlarged and
consolidated the empire, which now extended from the frontiers
of Egypt in the west to the mountains of Elam in the east, and
thus carried almost to completion the ambitious designs of
Tiglath-pileser (q.v.). He was murdered by one of his own
soldiers (B.C. 705) in his palace at Khorsabad, after a reign of
sixteen years, and was succeeded by his son Sennacherib.
(Heb. mizbe'ah, from a word meaning "to slay"), any structure of
earth (Ex. 20:24) or unwrought stone (20:25) on which sacrifices
were offered. Altars were generally erected in conspicuous
places (Gen. 22:9; Ezek. 6:3; 2 Kings 23:12; 16:4; 23:8; Acts
14:13). The word is used in Heb. 13:10 for the sacrifice offered
upon it--the sacrifice Christ offered.
Paul found among the many altars erected in Athens one bearing
the inscription, "To the unknown God" (Acts 17:23), or rather
"to an [i.e., some] unknown God." The reason for this
inscription cannot now be accurately determined. It afforded the
apostle the occasion of proclaiming the gospel to the "men of
The first altar we read of is that erected by Noah (Gen.
8:20). Altars were erected by Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 13:4; 22:9),
by Isaac (Gen. 26:25), by Jacob (33:20; 35:1, 3), and by Moses
(Ex. 17:15, "Jehovah-nissi").
In the tabernacle, and afterwards in the temple, two altars
(1.) The altar of burnt offering (Ex. 30:28), called also the
"brasen altar" (Ex. 39:39) and "the table of the Lord" (Mal.
This altar, as erected in the tabernacle, is described in Ex.
27:1-8. It was a hollow square, 5 cubits in length and in
breadth, and 3 cubits in height. It was made of shittim wood,
and was overlaid with plates of brass. Its corners were
ornamented with "horns" (Ex. 29:12; Lev. 4:18).
In Ex. 27:3 the various utensils appertaining to the altar are
enumerated. They were made of brass. (Comp. 1 Sam. 2:13, 14;
Lev. 16:12; Num. 16:6, 7.)
In Solomon's temple the altar was of larger dimensions (2 Chr.
4:1. Comp. 1 Kings 8:22, 64; 9:25), and was made wholly of
brass, covering a structure of stone or earth. This altar was
renewed by Asa (2 Chr. 15:8). It was removed by Ahaz (2 Kings
16:14), and "cleansed" by Hezekiah, in the latter part of whose
reign it was rebuilt. It was finally broken up and carried away
by the Babylonians (Jer. 52:17).
After the return from captivity it was re-erected (Ezra 3:3,
6) on the same place where it had formerly stood. (Comp. 1 Macc.
4:47.) When Antiochus Epiphanes pillaged Jerusalem the altar of
burnt offering was taken away.
Again the altar was erected by Herod, and remained in its
place till the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans (70 A.D.).
The fire on the altar was not permitted to go out (Lev. 6:9).
In the Mosque of Omar, immediately underneath the great dome,
which occupies the site of the old temple, there is a rough
projection of the natural rock, of about 60 feet in its extreme
length, and 50 in its greatest breadth, and in its highest part
about 4 feet above the general pavement. This rock seems to have
been left intact when Solomon's temple was built. It was in all
probability the site of the altar of burnt offering. Underneath
this rock is a cave, which may probably have been the granary of
Araunah's threshing-floor (1 Chr. 21:22).
(2.) The altar of incense (Ex. 30:1-10), called also "the
golden altar" (39:38; Num. 4:11), stood in the holy place
"before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony." On this
altar sweet spices were continually burned with fire taken from
the brazen altar. The morning and the evening services were
commenced by the high priest offering incense on this altar. The
burning of the incense was a type of prayer (Ps. 141:2; Rev.
5:8; 8:3, 4).
This altar was a small movable table, made of acacia wood
overlaid with gold (Ex. 37:25, 26). It was 1 cubit in length and
breadth, and 2 cubits in height.
In Solomon's temple the altar was similar in size, but was
made of cedar-wood (1 Kings 6:20; 7:48) overlaid with gold. In
Ezek. 41:22 it is called "the altar of wood." (Comp. Ex.
In the temple built after the Exile the altar was restored.
Antiochus Epiphanes took it away, but it was afterwards restored
by Judas Maccabaeus (1 Macc. 1:23; 4:49). Among the trophies
carried away by Titus on the destruction of Jerusalem the altar
of incense is not found, nor is any mention made of it in Heb.
9. It was at this altar Zacharias ministered when an angel
appeared to him (Luke 1:11). It is the only altar which appears
in the heavenly temple (Isa. 6:6; Rev. 8:3,4).
Used now only of royal dwellings, although originally meaning
simply (as the Latin word palatium, from which it is derived,
shows) a building surrounded by a fence or a paling. In the
Authorized Version there are many different words so rendered,
presenting different ideas, such as that of citadel or lofty
fortress or royal residence (Neh. 1:1; Dan. 8:2). It is the name
given to the temple fortress (Neh. 2:8) and to the temple itself
(1 Chr. 29:1). It denotes also a spacious building or a great
house (Dan. 1:4; 4:4, 29: Esther 1:5; 7:7), and a fortified
place or an enclosure (Ezek. 25:4). Solomon's palace is
described in 1 Kings 7:1-12 as a series of buildings rather than
a single great structure. Thirteen years were spent in their
erection. This palace stood on the eastern hill, adjoining the
temple on the south.
In the New Testament it designates the official residence of
Pilate or that of the high priest (Matt. 26:3, 58, 69; Mark
14:54, 66; John 18:15). In Phil. 1:13 this word is the rendering
of the Greek praitorion, meaning the praetorian cohorts at Rome
(the life-guard of the Caesars). Paul was continually chained to
a soldier of that corps (Acts 28:16), and hence his name and
sufferings became known in all the praetorium. The "soldiers
that kept" him would, on relieving one another on guard,
naturally spread the tidings regarding him among their comrades.
Some, however, regard the praetroium (q.v.) as the barrack
within the palace (the palatium) of the Caesars in Rome where a
detachment of these praetorian guards was stationed, or as the
camp of the guards placed outside the eastern walls of Rome.
"In the chambers which were occupied as guard-rooms," says Dr.
Manning, "by the praetorian troops on duty in the palace, a
number of rude caricatures are found roughly scratched upon the
walls, just such as may be seen upon barrack walls in every part
of the world. Amongst these is one of a human figure nailed upon
a cross. To add to the 'offence of the cross,' the crucified one
is represented with the head of an animal, probably that of an
ass. Before it stands the figure of a Roman legionary with one
hand upraised in the attitude of worship. Underneath is the
rude, misspelt, ungrammatical inscription, Alexamenos worships
his god. It can scarcely be doubted that we have here a
contemporary caricature, executed by one of the praetorian
guard, ridiculing the faith of a Christian comrade."
light, or the moon city, a city "of the Chaldees," the
birthplace of Haran (Gen. 11:28,31), the largest city of Shinar
or northern Chaldea, and the principal commercial centre of the
country as well as the centre of political power. It stood near
the mouth of the Euphrates, on its western bank, and is
represented by the mounds (of bricks cemented by bitumen) of
el-Mugheir, i.e., "the bitumined," or "the town of bitumen," now
150 miles from the sea and some 6 miles from the Euphrates, a
little above the point where it receives the Shat el-Hie, an
affluent from the Tigris. It was formerly a maritime city, as
the waters of the Persian Gulf reached thus far inland. Ur was
the port of Babylonia, whence trade was carried on with the
dwellers on the gulf, and with the distant countries of India,
Ethiopia, and Egypt. It was abandoned about B.C. 500, but long
continued, like Erech, to be a great sacred cemetery city, as is
evident from the number of tombs found there. (See ABRAHAM
The oldest king of Ur known to us is Ur-Ba'u (servant of the
goddess Ba'u), as Hommel reads the name, or Ur-Gur, as others
read it. He lived some twenty-eight hundred years B.C., and took
part in building the famous temple of the moon-god Sin in Ur
itself. The illustration here given represents his cuneiform
inscription, written in the Sumerian language, and stamped upon
every brick of the temple in Ur. It reads: "Ur-Ba'u, king of Ur,
who built the temple of the moon-god."
"Ur was consecrated to the worship of Sin, the Babylonian
moon-god. It shared this honour, however, with another city, and
this city was Haran, or Harran. Harran was in Mesopotamia, and
took its name from the highroad which led through it from the
east to the west. The name is Babylonian, and bears witness to
its having been founded by a Babylonian king. The same witness
is still more decisively borne by the worship paid in it to the
Babylonian moon-god and by its ancient temple of Sin. Indeed,
the temple of the moon-god at Harran was perhaps even more
famous in the Assyrian and Babylonian world than the temple of
the moon-god at Ur.
"Between Ur and Harran there must, consequently, have been a
close connection in early times, the record of which has not yet
been recovered. It may be that Harran owed its foundation to a
king of Ur; at any rate the two cities were bound together by
the worship of the same deity, the closest and most enduring
bond of union that existed in the ancient world. That Terah
should have migrated from Ur to Harran, therefore, ceases to be
extraordinary. If he left Ur at all, it was the most natural
place to which to go. It was like passing from one court of a
temple into another.
"Such a remarkable coincidence between the Biblical narrative
and the evidence of archaeological research cannot be the result
of chance. The narrative must be historical; no writer of late
date, even if he were a Babylonian, could have invented a story
so exactly in accordance with what we now know to have been the
truth. For a story of the kind to have been the invention of
Palestinian tradition is equally impossible. To the unprejudiced
mind there is no escape from the conclusion that the history of
the migration of Terah from Ur to Harran is founded on fact"
probably connected with the Roman family of the Pontii, and
called "Pilate" from the Latin pileatus, i.e., "wearing the
pileus", which was the "cap or badge of a manumitted slave," as
indicating that he was a "freedman," or the descendant of one.
He was the sixth in the order of the Roman procurators of Judea
(A.D. 26-36). His headquarters were at Caesarea, but he
frequently went up to Jerusalem. His reign extended over the
period of the ministry of John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ,
in connection with whose trial his name comes into prominent
notice. Pilate was a "typical Roman, not of the antique, simple
stamp, but of the imperial period, a man not without some
remains of the ancient Roman justice in his soul, yet
pleasure-loving, imperious, and corrupt. He hated the Jews whom
he ruled, and in times of irritation freely shed their blood.
They returned his hatred with cordiality, and accused him of
every crime, maladministration, cruelty, and robbery. He visited
Jerusalem as seldom as possible; for, indeed, to one accustomed
to the pleasures of Rome, with its theatres, baths, games, and
gay society, Jerusalem, with its religiousness and
ever-smouldering revolt, was a dreary residence. When he did
visit it he stayed in the palace of Herod the Great, it being
common for the officers sent by Rome into conquered countries to
occupy the palaces of the displaced sovereigns."
After his trial before the Sanhedrin, Jesus was brought to the
Roman procurator, Pilate, who had come up to Jerusalem as usual
to preserve order during the Passover, and was now residing,
perhaps, in the castle of Antonia, or it may be in Herod's
palace. Pilate came forth from his palace and met the deputation
from the Sanhedrin, who, in answer to his inquiry as to the
nature of the accusation they had to prefer against Jesus,
accused him of being a "malefactor." Pilate was not satisfied
with this, and they further accused him (1) of sedition, (2)
preventing the payment of the tribute to Caesar, and (3) of
assuming the title of king (Luke 23:2). Pilate now withdrew with
Jesus into the palace (John 18:33) and examined him in private
(37,38); and then going out to the deputation still standing
before the gate, he declared that he could find no fault in
Jesus (Luke 23:4). This only aroused them to more furious
clamour, and they cried that he excited the populace "throughout
all Jewry, beginning from Galilee." When Pilate heard of
Galilee, he sent the accused to Herod Antipas, who had
jurisdiction over that province, thus hoping to escape the
difficulty in which he found himself. But Herod, with his men of
war, set Jesus at nought, and sent him back again to Pilate,
clad in a purple robe of mockery (23:11, 12).
Pilate now proposed that as he and Herod had found no fault in
him, they should release Jesus; and anticipating that they would
consent to this proposal, he ascended the judgment-seat as if
ready to ratify the decision (Matt. 27:19). But at this moment
his wife (Claudia Procula) sent a message to him imploring him
to have nothing to do with the "just person." Pilate's feelings
of perplexity and awe were deepened by this incident, while the
crowd vehemently cried out, "Not this man, but Barabbas." Pilate
answered, "What then shall I do with Jesus?" The fierce cry
immediately followed. "Let him be crucified." Pilate, apparently
vexed, and not knowning what to do, said, "Why, what evil hath
he done?" but with yet fiercer fanaticism the crowd yelled out,
"Away with him! crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate yielded, and
sent Jesus away to be scourged. This scourging was usually
inflicted by lictors; but as Pilate was only a procurator he had
no lictor, and hence his soldiers inflicted this terrible
punishment. This done, the soldiers began to deride the
sufferer, and they threw around him a purple robe, probably some
old cast-off robe of state (Matt. 27:28; John 19:2), and putting
a reed in his right hand, and a crowd of thorns on his head,
bowed the knee before him in mockery, and saluted him, saying,
"Hail, King of the Jews!" They took also the reed and smote him
with it on the head and face, and spat in his face, heaping upon
him every indignity.
Pilate then led forth Jesus from within the Praetorium (Matt.
27:27) before the people, wearing the crown of thorns and the
purple robe, saying, "Behold the man!" But the sight of Jesus,
now scourged and crowned and bleeding, only stirred their hatred
the more, and again they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!"
and brought forth this additional charge against him, that he
professed to be "the Son of God." Pilate heard this accusation
with a superstitious awe, and taking him once more within the
Praetorium, asked him, "Whence art thou?" Jesus gave him no
answer. Pilate was irritated by his continued silence, and said,
"Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee?" Jesus,
with calm dignity, answered the Roman, "Thou couldest have no
power at all against me, except it were given thee from above."
After this Pilate seemed more resolved than ever to let Jesus
go. The crowd perceiving this cried out, "If thou let this man
go, thou art not Caesar's friend." This settled the matter. He
was afraid of being accused to the emperor. Calling for water,
he washed his hands in the sight of the people, saying, "I am
innocent of the blood of this just person." The mob, again
scorning his scruples, cried, "His blood be on us, and on our
children." Pilate was stung to the heart by their insults, and
putting forth Jesus before them, said, "Shall I crucify your
King?" The fatal moment had now come. They madly exclaimed, "We
have no king but Caesar;" and now Jesus is given up to them, and
led away to be crucified.
By the direction of Pilate an inscription was placed,
according to the Roman custom, over the cross, stating the crime
for which he was crucified. Having ascertained from the
centurion that he was dead, he gave up the body to Joseph of
Arimathea to be buried. Pilate's name now disappears from the
Gospel history. References to him, however, are found in the
Acts of the Apostles (3:13; 4:27; 13:28), and in 1 Tim. 6:13. In
A.D. 36 the governor of Syria brought serious accusations
against Pilate, and he was banished to Vienne in Gaul, where,
according to tradition, he committed suicide.
remover or increaser. (1.) The elder of the two sons of Jacob by
Rachel (Gen. 30:23, 24), who, on the occasion of his birth,
said, "God hath taken away [Heb. 'asaph] my reproach." "The Lord
shall add [Heb. yoseph] to me another son" (Gen. 30:24). He was
a child of probably six years of age when his father returned
from Haran to Canaan and took up his residence in the old
patriarchal town of Hebron. "Now Israel loved Joseph more than
all his children, because he was the son of his old age," and he
"made him a long garment with sleeves" (Gen. 37:3, R.V. marg.),
i.e., a garment long and full, such as was worn by the children
of nobles. This seems to be the correct rendering of the words.
The phrase, however, may also be rendered, "a coat of many
pieces", i.e., a patchwork of many small pieces of divers
When he was about seventeen years old Joseph incurred the
jealous hatred of his brothers (Gen. 37:4). They "hated him, and
could not speak peaceably unto him." Their anger was increased
when he told them his dreams (37:11).
Jacob desiring to hear tidings of his sons, who had gone to
Shechem with their flocks, some 60 miles from Hebron, sent
Joseph as his messenger to make inquiry regarding them. Joseph
found that they had left Shechem for Dothan, whither he followed
them. As soon as they saw him coming they began to plot against
him, and would have killed him had not Reuben interposed. They
ultimately sold him to a company of Ishmaelite merchants for
twenty pieces (shekels) of silver (about $2, 10s.), ten pieces
less than the current value of a slave, for "they cared little
what they had for him, if so be they were rid of him." These
merchants were going down with a varied assortment of
merchandise to the Egyptian market, and thither they conveyed
him, and ultimately sold him as a slave to Potiphar, an "officer
of Pharaoh's, and captain of the guard" (Gen. 37:36). "The Lord
blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake," and Potiphar
made him overseer over his house. At length a false charge
having been brought against him by Potiphar's wife, he was at
once cast into the state prison (39; 40), where he remained for
at least two years. After a while the "chief of the cupbearers"
and the "chief of the bakers" of Pharaoh's household were cast
into the same prison (40:2). Each of these new prisoners dreamed
a dream in the same night, which Joseph interpreted, the event
occurring as he had said.
This led to Joseph's being remembered subsequently by the
chief butler when Pharaoh also dreamed. At his suggestion Joseph
was brought from prison to interpret the king's dreams. Pharaoh
was well pleased with Joseph's wisdom in interpreting his
dreams, and with his counsel with reference to the events then
predicted; and he set him over all the land of Egypt (Gen.
41:46), and gave him the name of Zaphnath-paaneah. He was
married to Asenath, the daughter of the priest of On, and thus
became a member of the priestly class. Joseph was now about
thirty years of age.
As Joseph had interpreted, seven years of plenty came, during
which he stored up great abundance of corn in granaries built
for the purpose. These years were followed by seven years of
famine "over all the face of the earth," when "all countries
came into Egypt to Joseph to buy corn" (Gen. 41:56, 57; 47:13,
14). Thus "Joseph gathered up all the money that was in the land
of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they
bought." Afterwards all the cattle and all the land, and at last
the Egyptians themselves, became the property of Pharaoh.
During this period of famine Joseph's brethren also came down
to Egypt to buy corn. The history of his dealings with them, and
of the manner in which he at length made himself known to them,
is one of the most interesting narratives that can be read (Gen.
42-45). Joseph directed his brethren to return and bring Jacob
and his family to the land of Egypt, saying, "I will give you
the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the
land. Regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land is
yours." Accordingly Jacob and his family, to the number of
threescore and ten souls, together with "all that they had,"
went down to Egypt. They were settled in the land of Goshen,
where Joseph met his father, and "fell on his neck, and wept on
his neck a good while" (Gen. 46:29).
The excavations of Dr. Naville have shown the land of Goshen
to be the Wady Tumilat, between Ismailia and Zagazig. In Goshen
(Egyptian Qosem) they had pasture for their flocks, were near
the Asiatic frontier of Egypt, and were out of the way of the
Egyptian people. An inscription speaks of it as a district given
up to the wandering shepherds of Asia.
Jacob at length died, and in fulfilment of a promise which he
had exacted, Joseph went up to Canaan to bury his father in "the
field of Ephron the Hittite" (Gen. 47:29-31; 50:1-14). This was
the last recorded act of Joseph, who again returned to Egypt.
"The 'Story of the Two Brothers,' an Egyptian romance written
for the son of the Pharaoh of the Oppression, contains an
episode very similar to the Biblical account of Joseph's
treatment by Potiphar's wife. Potiphar and Potipherah are the
Egyptian Pa-tu-pa-Ra, 'the gift of the sun-god.' The name given
to Joseph, Zaphnath-paaneah, is probably the Egyptian
Zaf-nti-pa-ankh, 'nourisher of the living one,' i.e., of the
Pharaoh. There are many instances in the inscriptions of
foreigners in Egypt receiving Egyptian names, and rising to the
highest offices of state."
By his wife Asenath, Joseph had two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim
(Gen. 41:50). Joseph having obtained a promise from his brethren
that when the time should come that God would "bring them unto
the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob,"
they would carry up his bones out of Egypt, at length died, at
the age of one hundred and ten years; and "they embalmed him,
and he was put in a coffin" (Gen. 50:26). This promise was
faithfully observed. Their descendants, long after, when the
Exodus came, carried the body about with them during their forty
years' wanderings, and at length buried it in Shechem, in the
parcel of ground which Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor
(Josh. 24:32; comp. Gen. 33:19). With the death of Joseph the
patriarchal age of the history of Israel came to a close.
The Pharaoh of Joseph's elevation was probably Apepi, or
Apopis, the last of the Hyksos kings. Some, however, think that
Joseph came to Egypt in the reign of Thothmes III. (see PHARAOH
¯T0002923), long after the expulsion of the Hyksos.
The name Joseph denotes the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh
in Deut. 33:13-17; the kingdom of Israel in Ezek. 37:16, 19,
Amos 5:6; and the whole covenant people of Israel in Ps. 81:4.
(2.) One of the sons of Asaph, head of the first division of
sacred musicians (1 Chr. 25:2, 9).
(3.) The son of Judah, and father of Semei (Luke 3:26). Other
two of the same name in the ancestry of Christ are also
mentioned (3:24, 30).
(4.) The foster-father of our Lord (Matt. 1:16; Luke 3:23). He
lived at Nazareth in Galilee (Luke 2:4). He is called a "just
man." He was by trade a carpenter (Matt. 13:55). He is last
mentioned in connection with the journey to Jerusalem, when
Jesus was twelve years old. It is probable that he died before
Jesus entered on his public ministry. This is concluded from the
fact that Mary only was present at the marriage feast in Cana of
Galilee. His name does not appear in connection with the scenes
of the crucifixion along with that of Mary (q.v.), John 19:25.
(5.) A native of Arimathea, probably the Ramah of the Old
Testament (1 Sam. 1:19), a man of wealth, and a member of the
Sanhedrim (Matt. 27:57; Luke 23:50), an "honourable counsellor,
who waited for the kingdom of God." As soon as he heard the
tidings of Christ's death, he "went in boldly" (lit. "having
summoned courage, he went") "unto Pilate, and craved the body of
Jesus." Pilate having ascertained from the centurion that the
death had really taken place, granted Joseph's request, who
immediately, having purchased fine linen (Mark 15:46), proceeded
to Golgotha to take the body down from the cross. There,
assisted by Nicodemus, he took down the body and wrapped it in
the fine linen, sprinkling it with the myrrh and aloes which
Nicodemus had brought (John 19:39), and then conveyed the body
to the new tomb hewn by Joseph himself out of a rock in his
garden hard by. There they laid it, in the presence of Mary
Magdalene, Mary the mother of Joses, and other women, and rolled
a great stone to the entrance, and departed (Luke 23:53, 55).
This was done in haste, "for the Sabbath was drawing on" (comp.
(6.) Surnamed Barsabas (Acts 1:23); also called Justus. He was
one of those who "companied with the apostles all the time that
the Lord Jesus went out and in among them" (Acts 1:21), and was
one of the candidates for the place of Judas.
the official title borne by the Egyptian kings down to the time
when that country was conquered by the Greeks. (See EGYPT
¯T0001137.) The name is a compound, as some think, of the words
Ra, the "sun" or "sun-god," and the article phe, "the,"
prefixed; hence phera, "the sun," or "the sun-god." But others,
perhaps more correctly, think the name derived from Perao, "the
great house" = his majesty = in Turkish, "the Sublime Porte."
(1.) The Pharaoh who was on the throne when Abram went down
into Egypt (Gen. 12:10-20) was probably one of the Hyksos, or
"shepherd kings." The Egyptians called the nomad tribes of Syria
Shasu, "plunderers," their king or chief Hyk, and hence the name
of those invaders who conquered the native kings and established
a strong government, with Zoan or Tanis as their capital. They
were of Semitic origin, and of kindred blood accordingly with
Abram. They were probably driven forward by the pressure of the
Hittites. The name they bear on the monuments is "Mentiu."
(2.) The Pharaoh of Joseph's days (Gen. 41) was probably
Apopi, or Apopis, the last of the Hyksos kings. To the old
native Egyptians, who were an African race, shepherds were "an
abomination;" but to the Hyksos kings these Asiatic shepherds
who now appeared with Jacob at their head were congenial, and
being akin to their own race, had a warm welcome (Gen. 47:5, 6).
Some argue that Joseph came to Egypt in the reign of Thothmes
III., long after the expulsion of the Hyksos, and that his
influence is to be seen in the rise and progress of the
religious revolution in the direction of monotheism which
characterized the middle of the Eighteenth Dynasty. The wife of
Amenophis III., of that dynasty, was a Semite. Is this singular
fact to be explained from the presence of some of Joseph's
kindred at the Egyptian court? Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Thy
father and thy brethren are come unto thee: the land of Egypt is
before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and
brethren to dwell" (Gen. 47:5, 6).
(3.) The "new king who knew not Joseph" (Ex. 1:8-22) has been
generally supposed to have been Aahmes I., or Amosis, as he is
called by Josephus. Recent discoveries, however, have led to the
conclusion that Seti was the "new king."
For about seventy years the Hebrews in Egypt were under the
powerful protection of Joseph. After his death their condition
was probably very slowly and gradually changed. The invaders,
the Hyksos, who for some five centuries had been masters of
Egypt, were driven out, and the old dynasty restored. The
Israelites now began to be looked down upon. They began to be
afflicted and tyrannized over. In process of time a change
appears to have taken place in the government of Egypt. A new
dynasty, the Nineteenth, as it is called, came into power under
Seti I., who was its founder. He associated with him in his
government his son, Rameses II., when he was yet young, probably
ten or twelve years of age.
Note, Professor Maspero, keeper of the museum of Bulak, near
Cairo, had his attention in 1870 directed to the fact that
scarabs, i.e., stone and metal imitations of the beetle (symbols
of immortality), originally worn as amulets by royal personages,
which were evidently genuine relics of the time of the ancient
Pharaohs, were being sold at Thebes and different places along
the Nile. This led him to suspect that some hitherto
undiscovered burial-place of the Pharaohs had been opened, and
that these and other relics, now secretly sold, were a part of
the treasure found there. For a long time he failed, with all
his ingenuity, to find the source of these rare treasures. At
length one of those in the secret volunteered to give
information regarding this burial-place. The result was that a
party was conducted in 1881 to Dier el-Bahari, near Thebes, when
the wonderful discovery was made of thirty-six mummies of kings,
queens, princes, and high priests hidden away in a cavern
prepared for them, where they had lain undisturbed for thirty
centuries. "The temple of Deir el-Bahari stands in the middle of
a natural amphitheatre of cliffs, which is only one of a number
of smaller amphitheatres into which the limestone mountains of
the tombs are broken up. In the wall of rock separating this
basin from the one next to it some ancient Egyptian engineers
had constructed the hiding-place, whose secret had been kept for
nearly three thousand years." The exploring party being guided
to the place, found behind a great rock a shaft 6 feet square
and about 40 feet deep, sunk into the limestone. At the bottom
of this a passage led westward for 25 feet, and then turned
sharply northward into the very heart of the mountain, where in
a chamber 23 feet by 13, and 6 feet in height, they came upon
the wonderful treasures of antiquity. The mummies were all
carefully secured and brought down to Bulak, where they were
deposited in the royal museum, which has now been removed to
Among the most notable of the ancient kings of Egypt thus
discovered were Thothmes III., Seti I., and Rameses II. Thothmes
III. was the most distinguished monarch of the brilliant
Eighteenth Dynasty. When this mummy was unwound "once more,
after an interval of thirty-six centuries, human eyes gazed on
the features of the man who had conquered Syria and Cyprus and
Ethiopia, and had raised Egypt to the highest pinnacle of her
power. The spectacle, however, was of brief duration. The
remains proved to be in so fragile a state that there was only
time to take a hasty photograph, and then the features crumbled
to pieces and vanished like an apparition, and so passed away
from human view for ever." "It seems strange that though the
body of this man," who overran Israel with his armies two
hundred years before the birth of Moses, "mouldered to dust, the
flowers with which it had been wreathed were so wonderfully
preserved that even their colour could be distinguished"
(Manning's Land of the Pharaohs).
Seti I. (his throne name Merenptah), the father of Rameses
II., was a great and successful warrior, also a great builder.
The mummy of this Pharaoh, when unrolled, brought to view "the
most beautiful mummy head ever seen within the walls of the
museum. The sculptors of Thebes and Abydos did not flatter this
Pharaoh when they gave him that delicate, sweet, and smiling
profile which is the admiration of travellers. After a lapse of
thirty-two centuries, the mummy retains the same expression
which characterized the features of the living man. Most
remarkable of all, when compared with the mummy of Rameses II.,
is the striking resemblance between the father and the son. Seti
I. is, as it were, the idealized type of Rameses II. He must
have died at an advanced age. The head is shaven, the eyebrows
are white, the condition of the body points to considerably more
than threescore years of life, thus confirming the opinions of
the learned, who have attributed a long reign to this king."
(4.) Rameses II., the son of Seti I., is probably the Pharaoh
of the Oppression. During his forty years' residence at the
court of Egypt, Moses must have known this ruler well. During
his sojourn in Midian, however, Rameses died, after a reign of
sixty-seven years, and his body embalmed and laid in the royal
sepulchre in the Valley of the Tombs of Kings beside that of his
father. Like the other mummies found hidden in the cave of Deir
el-Bahari, it had been for some reason removed from its original
tomb, and probably carried from place to place till finally
deposited in the cave where it was so recently discovered.
In 1886, the mummy of this king, the "great Rameses," the
"Sesostris" of the Greeks, was unwound, and showed the body of
what must have been a robust old man. The features revealed to
view are thus described by Maspero: "The head is long and small
in proportion to the body. The top of the skull is quite bare.
On the temple there are a few sparse hairs, but at the poll the
hair is quite thick, forming smooth, straight locks about two
inches in length. White at the time of death, they have been
dyed a light yellow by the spices used in embalmment. The
forehead is low and narrow; the brow-ridge prominent; the
eye-brows are thick and white; the eyes are small and close
together; the nose is long, thin, arched like the noses of the
Bourbons; the temples are sunk; the cheek-bones very prominent;
the ears round, standing far out from the head, and pierced,
like those of a woman, for the wearing of earrings; the jaw-bone
is massive and strong; the chin very prominent; the mouth small,
but thick-lipped; the teeth worn and very brittle, but white and
well preserved. The moustache and beard are thin. They seem to
have been kept shaven during life, but were probably allowed to
grow during the king's last illness, or they may have grown
after death. The hairs are white, like those of the head and
eyebrows, but are harsh and bristly, and a tenth of an inch in
length. The skin is of an earthy-brown, streaked with black.
Finally, it may be said, the face of the mummy gives a fair idea
of the face of the living king. The expression is
unintellectual, perhaps slightly animal; but even under the
somewhat grotesque disguise of mummification there is plainly to
be seen an air of sovereign majesty, of resolve, and of pride."
Both on his father's and his mother's side it has been pretty
clearly shown that Rameses had Chaldean or Mesopotamian blood in
his veins to such a degree that he might be called an Assyrian.
This fact is thought to throw light on Isa. 52:4.
(5.) The Pharaoh of the Exodus was probably Menephtah I., the
fourteenth and eldest surviving son of Rameses II. He resided at
Zoan, where he had the various interviews with Moses and Aaron
recorded in the book of Exodus. His mummy was not among those
found at Deir el-Bahari. It is still a question, however,
whether Seti II. or his father Menephtah was the Pharaoh of the
Exodus. Some think the balance of evidence to be in favour of
the former, whose reign it is known began peacefully, but came
to a sudden and disastrous end. The "Harris papyrus," found at
Medinet-Abou in Upper Egypt in 1856, a state document written by
Rameses III., the second king of the Twentieth Dynasty, gives at
length an account of a great exodus from Egypt, followed by
wide-spread confusion and anarchy. This, there is great reason
to believe, was the Hebrew exodus, with which the Nineteenth
Dynasty of the Pharaohs came to an end. This period of anarchy
was brought to a close by Setnekht, the founder of the Twentieth
"In the spring of 1896, Professor Flinders Petrie discovered,
among the ruins of the temple of Menephtah at Thebes, a large
granite stela, on which is engraved a hymn of victory
commemorating the defeat of Libyan invaders who had overrun the
Delta. At the end other victories of Menephtah are glanced at,
and it is said that 'the Israelites (I-s-y-r-a-e-l-u) are
minished (?) so that they have no seed.' Menephtah was son and
successor of Rameses II., the builder of Pithom, and Egyptian
scholars have long seen in him the Pharaoh of the Exodus. The
Exodus is also placed in his reign by the Egyptian legend of the
event preserved by the historian Manetho. In the inscription the
name of the Israelites has no determinative of 'country' or
'district' attached to it, as is the case with all the other
names (Canaan, Ashkelon, Gezer, Khar or Southern Israel,
etc.) mentioned along with it, and it would therefore appear
that at the time the hymn was composed, the Israelites had
already been lost to the sight of the Egyptians in the desert.
At all events they must have had as yet no fixed home or
district of their own. We may therefore see in the reference to
them the Pharaoh's version of the Exodus, the disasters which
befell the Egyptians being naturally passed over in silence, and
only the destruction of the 'men children' of the Israelites
being recorded. The statement of the Egyptian poet is a
remarkable parallel to Ex. 1:10-22."
(6.) The Pharaoh of 1 Kings 11:18-22.
(7.) So, king of Egypt (2 Kings 17:4).
(8.) The Pharaoh of 1 Chr. 4:18.
(9.) Pharaoh, whose daughter Solomon married (1 Kings 3:1;
(10.) Pharaoh, in whom Hezekiah put his trust in his war
against Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:21).
(11.) The Pharaoh by whom Josiah was defeated and slain at
Megiddo (2 Chr. 35:20-24; 2 Kings 23:29, 30). (See NECHO
(12.) Pharaoh-hophra, who in vain sought to relieve Jerusalem
when it was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar (q.v.), 2 Kings 25:1-4;
comp. Jer. 37:5-8; Ezek. 17:11-13. (See ZEDEKIAH ¯T0003894.)