the inhabitants of a thirsty or scorched land; the Lybians, an
African nation under tribute to Egypt (2 Chr. 12:3; 16:8). Their
territory was apparently near Egypt. They were probably the
mortar, a place in or near Jerusalem inhabited by silver
merchants (Zeph. 1:11). It has been conjectured that it was the
"Phoenician quarter" of the city, where the traders of that
nation resided, after the Oriental custom.
Deut. 27:15; Ps. 97:7 (Heb. pesel), refers to the household gods
of idolaters. "Every nation and city had its own gods...Yet
every family had its separate household or tutelary god."
(1.) One of the sons of Cush (Gen. 10:7).
(2.) The name of a country and nation (Isa. 43:3; 45:14)
mentioned along with Egypt and Ethiopia, and therefore probably
in north-eastern Africa. The ancient name of Meroe. The kings of
Sheba and Seba are mentioned together in Ps. 72:10.
(1.) A son of Gomer, and grandson of Japheth (Gen. 10:3).
(2.) A nation which traded in horses and mules at the fairs of
Tyre (Ezek. 27:14; 38:6); probably an Armenian or a Scythian
race; descendants of (1).
(1.) The fifth son of Japheth (Gen. 10:2).
(2.) A nation, probably descended from the son of Japheth. It
is mentioned by Isaiah (66:19), along with Javan, and by Ezekiel
(27:13), along with Meshech, among the traders with Tyre, also
among the confederates of Gog (Ezek. 38:2, 3; 39:1), and with
Meshech among the nations which were to be destroyed (32:26).
This nation was probably the Tiberini of the Greek historian
Herodotus, a people of the Asiatic highland west of the Upper
Euphrates, the southern range of the Caucasus, on the east of
the Black Sea.
Atonement, Day of
the great annual day of humiliation and expiation for the sins
of the nation, "the fast" (Acts 27:9), and the only one
commanded in the law of Moses. The mode of its observance is
described in Lev. 16:3-10; 23:26-32; and Num. 29:7-11.
It was kept on the tenth day of the month Tisri, i.e., five
days before the feast of Tabernacles, and lasted from sunset to
sunset. (See AZAZEL ¯T0000374.)
a Greek word used in the New Testament (Rom. 1:14) to denote one
of another nation. In Col. 3:11, the word more definitely
designates those nations of the Roman empire that did not speak
Greek. In 1 Cor. 14:11, it simply refers to one speaking a
different language. The inhabitants of Malta are so called (Acts
28:1,2, 4). They were originally a Carthaginian colony. This
word nowhere in Scripture bears the meaning it does in modern
occurs only in Ps. 80:13. The same Hebrew word is elsewhere
rendered "swine" (Lev. 11:7; Deut. 14:8; Prov. 11:22; Isa. 65:4;
66:3, 17). The Hebrews abhorred swine's flesh, and accordingly
none of these animals were reared, except in the district beyond
the Sea of Galilee. In the psalm quoted above the powers that
destroyed the Jewish nation are compared to wild boars and wild
beasts of the field.
spoken of warriors (Ex. 15:4; Judg. 20:16), of the Hebrew nation
(Ps. 105:43; Deut. 7:7), of Jerusalem as the seat of the temple
(1 Kings 11:13). Christ is the "chosen" of God (Isa. 42:1); and
the apostles are "chosen" for their work (Acts 10:41). It is
said with regard to those who do not profit by their
opportunities that "many are called, but few are chosen" (Matt.
20:16). (See ELECTION ¯T0001149.)
(Heb., usually in plural, goyim), meaning in general all nations
except the Jews. In course of time, as the Jews began more and
more to pride themselves on their peculiar privileges, it
acquired unpleasant associations, and was used as a term of
In the New Testament the Greek word Hellenes, meaning
literally Greek (as in Acts 16:1, 3; 18:17; Rom. 1:14),
generally denotes any non-Jewish nation.
villagers; dwellers in the open country, the Canaanitish nation
inhabiting the fertile regions south and south-west of Carmel.
"They were the graziers, farmers, and peasants of the time."
They were to be driven out of the land by the descendants of
Abraham (Gen. 15:20; Ex. 3:8, 17; 23:23; 33:2; 34:11). They are
afterwards named among the conquered tribes (Josh. 24:11). Still
lingering in the land, however, they were reduced to servitude
by Solomon (1 Kings 9:20).
a lot, lots, a festival instituted by the Jews (Esther 9:24-32)
in ironical commemoration of Haman's consultation of the Pur (a
Persian word), for the purpose of ascertaining the auspicious
day for executing his cruel plot against their nation. It became
a national institution by the common consent of the Jews, and is
observed by them to the present day, on the 14th and 15th of the
month Adar, a month before the Passover.
a word first used by Josephus to denote that the Jews were under
the direct government of God himself. The nation was in all
things subject to the will of their invisible King. All the
people were the servants of Jehovah, who ruled over their public
and private affairs, communicating to them his will through the
medium of the prophets. They were the subjects of a heavenly,
not of an earthly, king. They were Jehovah's own subjects, ruled
directly by him (comp. 1 Sam. 8:6-9).
the name conferred on Jacob after the great prayer-struggle at
Peniel (Gen. 32:28), because "as a prince he had power with God
and prevailed." (See JACOB ¯T0001945.) This is the common name
given to Jacob's descendants. The whole people of the twelve
tribes are called "Israelites," the "children of Israel" (Josh.
3:17; 7:25; Judg. 8:27; Jer. 3:21), and the "house of Israel"
(Ex. 16:31; 40:38).
This name Israel is sometimes used emphatically for the true
Israel (Ps. 73:1: Isa. 45:17; 49:3; John 1:47; Rom. 9:6; 11:26).
After the death of Saul the ten tribes arrogated to themselves
this name, as if they were the whole nation (2 Sam. 2:9, 10, 17,
28; 3:10, 17; 19:40-43), and the kings of the ten tribes were
called "kings of Israel," while the kings of the two tribes were
called "kings of Judah."
After the Exile the name Israel was assumed as designating the
Bitterness is symbolical of affliction, misery, and servitude
(Ex. 1:14; Ruth 1:20; Jer. 9:15). The Chaldeans are called the
"bitter and hasty nation" (Hab. 1:6). The "gall of bitterness"
expresses a state of great wickedness (Acts 8:23). A "root of
bitterness" is a wicked person or a dangerous sin (Heb. 12:15).
The Passover was to be eaten with "bitter herbs" (Ex. 12:8;
Num. 9:11). The kind of herbs so designated is not known.
Probably they were any bitter herbs obtainable at the place and
time when the Passover was celebrated. They represented the
severity of the servitude under which the people groaned; and
have been regarded also as typical of the sufferings of Christ.
region of Gog, the second of the "sons" of Japheth (Gen. 10:2; 1
Chr. 1:5). In Ezekiel (38:2; 39:6) it is the name of a nation,
probably some Scythian or Tartar tribe descended from Japheth.
They are described as skilled horsemen, and expert in the use of
the bow. The Latin father Jerome says that this word denotes
"Scythian nations, fierce and innumerable, who live beyond the
Caucasus and the Lake Maeotis, and near the Caspian Sea, and
spread out even onward to India." Perhaps the name "represents
the Assyrian Mat Gugi, or 'country of Gugu,' the Gyges of the
Greeks" (Sayce's Races, etc.).
drawing out, the sixth son of Japheth (Gen. 10:2), the founder
of a tribe (1 Chr. 1:5; Ezek. 27:13; 38:2,3). They were in all
probability the Moschi, a people inhabiting the Moschian
Mountains, between the Black and the Caspian Seas. In Ps. 120:5
the name occurs as simply a synonym for foreigners or
barbarians. "During the ascendency of the Babylonians and
Persians in Western Asia, the Moschi were subdued; but it seems
probable that a large number of them crossed the Caucasus range
and spread over the northern steppes, mingling with the
Scythians. There they became known as Muscovs, and gave that
name to the Russian nation and its ancient capital by which they
are still generally known throughout the East"
"a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation" (Mark 7:26), i.e., a
Gentile born in the Phoenician part of Syria. (See PHENICIA
When our Lord retired into the borderland of Tyre and Sidon
(Matt. 15:21), a Syro-phoenician woman came to him, and
earnestly besought him, in behalf of her daughter, who was
grievously afflicted with a demon. Her faith in him was severely
tested by his silence (Matt. 15:23), refusal (24), and seeming
reproach that it was not meet to cast the children's bread to
dogs (26). But it stood the test, and her petition was
graciously granted, because of the greatness of her faith (28).
the last king of Egypt of the Ethiopian (the fifteenth) dynasty.
He was the brother-in-law of So (q.v.). He probably ascended the
throne about B.C. 692, having been previously king of Ethiopia
(2 Kings 19:9; Isa. 37:9), which with Egypt now formed one
nation. He was a great warrior, and but little is known of him.
The Assyrian armies under Esarhaddon, and again under
Assur-bani-pal, invaded Egypt and defeated Tirhakah, who
afterwards retired into Ethiopia, where he died, after reigning
happy, Jacob's eigth son; his mother was Zilpah, Leah's handmaid
(Gen. 30:13). Of the tribe founded by him nothing is recorded
beyond its holding a place in the list of the tribes (35:26;
46:17; Ex. 1:4, etc.) It increased in numbers twenty-nine
percent, during the thirty-eight years' wanderings. The place of
this tribe during the march through the desert was between Dan
and Naphtali (Num. 2:27). The boundaries of the inheritance
given to it, which contained some of the richest soil in
Israel, and the names of its towns, are recorded in Josh.
19:24-31; Judg. 1:31, 32. Asher and Simeon were the only tribes
west of the Jordan which furnished no hero or judge for the
nation. Anna the prophetess was of this tribe (Luke 2:36).
The mode of wearing it was definitely prescribed to the Jews
(Lev. 19:27; 21:5). Hence the import of Ezekiel's (5:1-4)
description of the "razor" i.e., the agents of an angry
providence being used against the guilty nation of the Jews. It
was a part of a Jew's daily toilet to anoint his beard with oil
and perfume (Ps. 133:2). Beards were trimmed with the most
fastidious care (2 Sam. 19:24), and their neglet was an
indication of deep sorrow (Isa. 15:2; Jer. 41:5). The custom was
to shave or pluck off the hair as a sign of mourning (Isa. 50:6;
Jer. 48:37; Ezra 9:3). The beards of David's ambassadors were
cut off by hanun (2 Sam. 10:4) as a mark of indignity.
On the other hand, the Egyptians carefully shaved the hair off
their faces, and they compelled their slaves to do so also (Gen.
spoken of counsellors who sat in public trials with the governor
of a province (Acts 25:12).
The Jewish councils were the Sanhedrim, or supreme council of
the nation, which had subordinate to it smaller tribunals (the
"judgment," perhaps, in Matt. 5:21, 22) in the cities of
Israel (Matt. 10:17; Mark 13:9). In the time of Christ the
functions of the Sanhedrim were limited (John 16:2; 2 Cor.
11:24). In Ps. 68:27 the word "council" means simply a company
of persons. (R.V. marg., "company.")
In ecclesiastical history the word is used to denote an
assembly of pastors or bishops for the discussion and regulation
of church affairs. The first of these councils was that of the
apostles and elders at Jerusalem, of which we have a detailed
account in Acts 15.
witness, a word not found in the original Hebrew, nor in the
LXX. and Vulgate, but added by the translators in the Authorized
Version, also in the Revised Version, of Josh. 22:34. The words
are literally rendered: "And the children of Reuben and the
children of Gad named the altar. It is a witness between us that
Jehovah is God." This great altar stood probably on the east
side of the Jordan, in the land of Gilead, "over against the
land of Canaan." After the division of the Promised Land, the
tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, on
returning to their own settlements on the east of Jordan (Josh.
22:1-6), erected a great altar, which they affirmed, in answer
to the challenge of the other tribes, was not for sacrifice, but
only as a witness ('Ed) or testimony to future generations that
they still retained the same interest in the nation as the other
a name; renown, the first mentioned of the sons of Noah (Gen.
5:32; 6:10). He was probably the eldest of Noah's sons. The
words "brother of Japheth the elder" in Gen. 10:21 are more
correctly rendered "the elder brother of Japheth," as in the
Revised Version. Shem's name is generally mentioned first in the
list of Noah's sons. He and his wife were saved in the ark
(7:13). Noah foretold his preeminence over Canaan (9:23-27). He
died at the age of six hundred years, having been for many years
contemporary with Abraham, according to the usual chronology.
The Israelitish nation sprang from him (Gen. 11:10-26; 1 Chr.
the name derived from the patriarch Judah, at first given to one
belonging to the tribe of Judah or to the separate kingdom of
Judah (2 Kings 16:6; 25:25; Jer. 32:12; 38:19; 40:11; 41:3), in
contradistinction from those belonging to the kingdom of the ten
tribes, who were called Israelites.
During the Captivity, and after the Restoration, the name,
however, was extended to all the Hebrew nation without
distinction (Esther 3:6, 10; Dan. 3:8, 12; Ezra 4:12; 5:1, 5).
Originally this people were called Hebrews (Gen. 39:14; 40:15;
Ex. 2:7; 3:18; 5:3; 1 Sam. 4:6, 9, etc.), but after the Exile
this name fell into disuse. But Paul was styled a Hebrew (2 Cor.
11:22; Phil. 3:5).
The history of the Jewish nation is interwoven with the
history of Israel and with the narratives of the lives of
their rulers and chief men. They are now  dispersed over
all lands, and to this day remain a separate people, "without a
king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without
an image [R.V. 'pillar,' marg. 'obelisk'], and without an ephod,
and without teraphim" (Hos. 3:4). Till about the beginning of
the present century  they were everywhere greatly
oppressed, and often cruelly persecuted; but now their condition
is greatly improved, and they are admitted in most European
countries to all the rights of free citizens. In 1860 the
"Jewish disabilities" were removed, and they were admitted to a
seat in the British Parliament. Their number in all is estimated
at about six millions, about four millions being in Europe.
There are three names used in the New Testament to designate
this people, (1.) Jews, as regards their nationality, to
distinguish them from Gentiles. (2.) Hebrews, with regard to
their language and education, to distinguish them from
Hellenists, i.e., Jews who spoke the Greek language. (3.)
Israelites, as respects their sacred privileges as the chosen
people of God. "To other races we owe the splendid inheritance
of modern civilization and secular culture; but the religious
education of mankind has been the gift of the Jew alone."
anciently held various important offices in the public affairs
of the nation. The Hebrew word so rendered (sopher) is first
used to designate the holder of some military office (Judg.
5:14; A.V., "pen of the writer;" R.V., "the marshal's staff;"
marg., "the staff of the scribe"). The scribes acted as
secretaries of state, whose business it was to prepare and issue
decrees in the name of the king (2 Sam. 8:17; 20:25; 1 Chr.
18:16; 24:6; 1 Kings 4:3; 2 Kings 12:9-11; 18:18-37, etc.). They
discharged various other important public duties as men of high
authority and influence in the affairs of state.
There was also a subordinate class of scribes, most of whom
were Levites. They were engaged in various ways as writers.
Such, for example, was Baruch, who "wrote from the mouth of
Jeremiah all the words of the Lord" (Jer. 36:4, 32).
In later times, after the Captivity, when the nation lost its
independence, the scribes turned their attention to the law,
gaining for themselves distinction by their intimate
acquaintance with its contents. On them devolved the duty of
multiplying copies of the law and of teaching it to others (Ezra
7:6, 10-12; Neh. 8:1, 4, 9, 13). It is evident that in New
Testament times the scribes belonged to the sect of the
Pharisees, who supplemented the ancient written law by their
traditions (Matt. 23), thereby obscuring it and rendering it of
none effect. The titles "scribes" and "lawyers" (q.v.) are in
the Gospels interchangeable (Matt. 22:35; Mark 12:28; Luke
20:39, etc.). They were in the time of our Lord the public
teachers of the people, and frequently came into collision with
him. They afterwards showed themselves greatly hostile to the
apostles (Acts 4:5; 6:12).
Some of the scribes, however, were men of a different spirit,
and showed themselves friendly to the gospel and its preachers.
Thus Gamaliel advised the Sanhedrin, when the apostles were
before them charged with "teaching in this name," to "refrain
from these men and let them alone" (Acts 5:34-39; comp. 23:9).
the name of several Syrian kings from B.C. 280 to B.C. 65. The
most notable of these were, (1.) Antiochus the Great, who
ascended the throne B.C. 223. He is regarded as the "king of the
north" referred to in Dan. 11:13-19. He was succeeded (B.C. 187)
by his son, Seleucus Philopater, spoken of by Daniel (11:20) as
"a raiser of taxes", in the Revised Version, "one that shall
cause an exactor to pass through the glory of the kingdom."
(2.) Antiochus IV., surnamed "Epiphanes" i.e., the
Illustrious, succeeded his brother Seleucus (B.C. 175). His
career and character are prophetically described by Daniel
(11:21-32). He was a "vile person." In a spirit of revenge he
organized an expedition against Jerusalem, which he destroyed,
putting vast multitudes of its inhabitants to death in the most
cruel manner. From this time the Jews began the great war of
independence under their heroic Maccabean leaders with marked
success, defeating the armies of Antiochus that were sent
against them. Enraged at this, Antiochus marched against them in
person, threatening utterly to exterminate the nation; but on
the way he was suddenly arrested by the hand of death (B.C.
(1.) The flag or banner of the larger kind, serving for three
tribes marching together. These standards, of which there were
four, were worked with embroidery and beautifully ornamented
(Num. 1:52; 2:2, 3, 10, 18, 25; Cant. 2:4; 6:4, 10).
(2.) The flag borne by each separate tribe, of a smaller form.
Probably it bore on it the name of the tribe to which it
belonged, or some distinguishing device (Num. 2:2,34).
(3.) A lofty signal-flag, not carried about, but stationary.
It was usually erected on a mountain or other lofty place. As
soon as it was seen the war-trumpets were blown (Ps. 60:4; Isa.
5:26; 11:12; 13:2; 18:3; 30:17; Jer. 4:6 21; Ezek. 27:7).
(4.) A "sign of fire" (Jer. 6:1) was sometimes used as a
The banners and ensigns of the Roman army had idolatrous
images upon them, and hence they are called the "abomination of
desolation" (q.v.). The principal Roman standard, however, was
an eagle. (See Matt. 24:28; Luke 17:37, where the Jewish nation
is compared to a dead body, which the eagles gather together to
God's setting up or giving a banner (Ps. 20:5; 60:4; Cant.
2:4) imports his presence and protection and aid extended to his
the Jewish high priest (A.D. 27-36) at the beginning of our
Lord's public ministry, in the reign of Tiberius (Luke 3:2), and
also at the time of his condemnation and crucifixion (Matt.
26:3,57; John 11:49; 18:13, 14). He held this office during the
whole of Pilate's administration. His wife was the daughter of
Annas, who had formerly been high priest, and was probably the
vicar or deputy (Heb. sagan) of Caiaphas. He was of the sect of
the Sadducees (Acts 5:17), and was a member of the council when
he gave his opinion that Jesus should be put to death "for the
people, and that the whole nation perish not" (John 11:50). In
these words he unconsciously uttered a prophecy. "Like Saul, he
was a prophet in spite of himself." Caiaphas had no power to
inflict the punishment of death, and therefore Jesus was sent to
Pilate, the Roman governor, that he might duly pronounce the
sentence against him (Matt. 27:2; John 18:28). At a later period
his hostility to the gospel is still manifest (Acts 4:6). (See
Exodus, Book of
Exodus is the name given in the LXX. to the second book of the
Pentateuch (q.v.). It means "departure" or "outgoing." This name
was adopted in the Latin translation, and thence passed into
other languages. The Hebrews called it by the first words,
according to their custom, Ve-eleh shemoth (i.e., "and these are
It contains, (1.) An account of the increase and growth of the
Israelites in Egypt (ch. 1) (2.) Preparations for their
departure out of Egypt (2-12:36). (3.) Their journeyings from
Egypt to Sinai (12:37-19:2). (4.) The giving of the law and the
establishment of the institutions by which the organization of
the people was completed, the theocracy, "a kingdom of priest
and an holy nation" (19:3-ch. 40).
The time comprised in this book, from the death of Joseph to
the erection of the tabernacle in the wilderness, is about one
hundred and forty-five years, on the supposition that the four
hundred and thirty years (12:40) are to be computed from the
time of the promises made to Abraham (Gal. 3:17).
The authorship of this book, as well as of that of the other
books of the Pentateuch, is to be ascribed to Moses. The
unanimous voice of tradition and all internal evidences
abundantly support this opinion.
as a mark of hospitality (Gen. 19:3; 2 Sam. 3:20; 2 Kings 6:23);
on occasions of domestic joy (Luke 15:23; Gen. 21:8); on
birthdays (Gen. 40:20; Job 1:4; Matt. 14:6); and on the occasion
of a marriage (Judg. 14:10; Gen. 29:22).
Feasting was a part of the observances connected with the
offering up of sacrifices (Deut. 12:6, 7; 1 Sam. 9:19; 16:3, 5),
and with the annual festivals (Deut. 16:11). "It was one of the
designs of the greater solemnities, which required the
attendance of the people at the sacred tent, that the oneness of
the nation might be maintained and cemented together, by
statedly congregating in one place, and with one soul taking
part in the same religious services. But that oneness was
primarily and chiefly a religious and not merely a political
one; the people were not merely to meet as among themselves, but
with Jehovah, and to present themselves before him as one body;
the meeting was in its own nature a binding of themselves in
fellowship with Jehovah; so that it was not politics and
commerce that had here to do, but the soul of the Mosaic
dispensation, the foundation of the religious and political
existence of Israel, the covenant with Jehovah. To keep the
people's consciousness alive to this, to revive, strengthen, and
perpetuate it, nothing could be so well adapated as these annual
feasts." (See FESTIVALS ¯T0001325.)
a rule of action. (1.) The Law of Nature is the will of God as
to human conduct, founded on the moral difference of things, and
discoverable by natural light (Rom. 1:20; 2:14, 15). This law
binds all men at all times. It is generally designated by the
term conscience, or the capacity of being influenced by the
moral relations of things.
(2.) The Ceremonial Law prescribes under the Old Testament the
rites and ceremonies of worship. This law was obligatory only
till Christ, of whom these rites were typical, had finished his
work (Heb. 7:9, 11; 10:1; Eph. 2:16). It was fulfilled rather
than abrogated by the gospel.
(3.) The Judicial Law, the law which directed the civil policy
of the Hebrew nation.
(4.) The Moral Law is the revealed will of God as to human
conduct, binding on all men to the end of time. It was
promulgated at Sinai. It is perfect (Ps. 19:7), perpetual (Matt.
5:17, 18), holy (Rom. 7:12), good, spiritual (14), and exceeding
broad (Ps. 119:96). Although binding on all, we are not under it
as a covenant of works (Gal. 3:17). (See COMMANDMENTS
(5.) Positive Laws are precepts founded only on the will of
God. They are right because God commands them.
(6.) Moral positive laws are commanded by God because they are
who is like God? (1.) The title given to one of the chief angels
(Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1). He had special charge of Israel as a
nation. He disputed with Satan (Jude 1:9) about the body of
Moses. He is also represented as warning against "that old
serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole
world" (Rev. 12:7-9).
(2.) The father of Sethur, the spy selected to represent Asher
(3.) 1 Chr. 7:3, a chief of the tribe of Issachar.
(4.) 1 Chr. 8:16, a Benjamite.
(5.) A chief Gadite in Bashan (1 Chr. 5:13).
(6.) A Manassite, "a captain of thousands" who joined David at
Ziklag (1 Chr. 12:20).
(7.) A Gershonite Levite (1 Chr. 6:40).
(8.) The father of Omri (1 Chr. 27:18).
(9.) One of the sons of king Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 21:2, 4). He
was murdered by his brother Jehoram.
a bee. (1.) Rebekah's nurse. She accompanied her mistress when
she left her father's house in Padan-aram to become the wife of
Isaac (Gen. 24:59). Many years afterwards she died at Bethel,
and was buried under the "oak of weeping", Allon-bachuth (35:8).
(2.) A prophetess, "wife" (woman?) of Lapidoth. Jabin, the
king of Hazor, had for twenty years held Israel in degrading
subjection. The spirit of patriotism seemed crushed out of the
nation. In this emergency Deborah roused the people from their
lethargy. Her fame spread far and wide. She became a "mother in
Israel" (Judg. 4:6, 14; 5:7), and "the children of Israel came
up to her for judgment" as she sat in her tent under the palm
tree "between Ramah and Bethel." Preparations were everywhere
made by her direction for the great effort to throw off the yoke
of bondage. She summoned Barak from Kadesh to take the command
of 10,000 men of Zebulun and Naphtali, and lead them to Mount
Tabor on the plain of Esdraelon at its north-east end. With his
aid she organized this army. She gave the signal for attack, and
the Hebrew host rushed down impetuously upon the army of Jabin,
which was commanded by Sisera, and gained a great and decisive
victory. The Canaanitish army almost wholly perished. That was a
great and ever-memorable day in Israel. In Judg. 5 is given the
grand triumphal ode, the "song of Deborah," which she wrote in
grateful commemoration of that great deliverance. (See LAPIDOTH
¯T0002240, JABIN ¯T0001938 .)
the Greek form of the Hebrew "Jezreel," the name of the great
plain (called by the natives Merj Ibn Amer; i.e., "the meadow of
the son of Amer") which stretches across Central Israel from
the Jordan to the Mediterraanean, separating the mountain ranges
of Carmel and Samaria from those of Galilee, extending about 14
miles from north to south, and 9 miles from east to west. It is
drained by "that ancient river" the Kishon, which flows westward
to the Mediterranean. From the foot of Mount Tabor it branches
out into three valleys, that on the north passing between Tabor
and Little Hermon (Judg. 4:14); that on the south between Mount
Gilboa and En-gannim (2 Kings 9:27); while the central portion,
the "valley of Jezreel" proper, runs into the Jordan valley
(which is about 1,000 feet lower than Esdraelon) by Bethshean.
Here Gideon gained his great victory over the Midianites (Judg.
7:1-25). Here also Barak defeated Sisera, and Saul's army was
defeated by the Philistines, and king Josiah, while fighting in
disguise against Necho, king of Egypt, was slain (2 Chr.
35:20-27; 2 Kings 23-29). This plain has been well called the
"battle-field of Israel." "It has been a chosen place for
encampment in every contest carried on in this country, from the
days of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians, in the history of
whose wars with Arphaxad it is mentioned as the Great Plain of
Esdraelon, until the disastrous march of Napoleon Bonaparte from
Egypt into Syria. Jews, Gentiles, Saracens, Crusaders,
Frenchmen, Egyptians, Persians, Druses, Turks, and Arabs,
warriors out of every nation which is under heaven, have pitched
their tents in the plain, and have beheld the various banners of
their nations wet with the dews of Tabor and Hermon" (Dr.
Numbering of the people
Besides the numbering of the tribes mentioned in the history of
the wanderings in the wilderness, we have an account of a
general census of the whole nation from Dan to Beersheba, which
David gave directions to Joab to make (1 Chr. 21:1). Joab very
reluctantly began to carry out the king's command.
This act of David in ordering a numbering of the people arose
from pride and a self-glorifying spirit. It indicated a reliance
on his part on an arm of flesh, an estimating of his power not
by the divine favour but by the material resources of his
kingdom. He thought of military achievement and of conquest, and
forgot that he was God's vicegerent. In all this he sinned
against God. While Joab was engaged in the census, David's heart
smote him, and he became deeply conscious of his fault; and in
profound humiliation he confessed, "I have sinned greatly in
what I have done." The prophet Gad was sent to him to put before
him three dreadful alternatives (2 Sam. 24:13; for "seven years"
in this verse, the LXX. and 1 Chr. 21:12 have "three years"),
three of Jehovah's four sore judgments (Ezek. 14:21). Two of
these David had already experienced. He had fled for some months
before Absalom, and had suffered three years' famine on account
of the slaughter of the Gibeonites. In his "strait" David said,
"Let me fall into the hands of the Lord." A pestilence broke out
among the people, and in three days swept away 70,000. At
David's intercession the plague was stayed, and at the
threshing-floor of Araunah (q.v.), where the destroying angel
was arrested in his progress, David erected an altar, and there
offered up sacrifies to God (2 Chr. 3:1).
The census, so far as completed, showed that there were at
least 1,300,000 fighting men in the kingdom, indicating at that
time a population of about six or seven millions in all. (See
Reuben, Tribe of
at the Exodus numbered 46,500 male adults, from twenty years old
and upwards (Num. 1:20, 21), and at the close of the wilderness
wanderings they numbered only 43,730 (26:7). This tribe united
with that of Gad in asking permission to settle in the "land of
Gilead," "on the other side of Jordan" (32:1-5). The lot
assigned to Reuben was the smallest of the lots given to the
trans-Jordanic tribes. It extended from the Arnon, in the south
along the coast of the Dead Sea to its northern end, where the
Jordan flows into it (Josh. 13:15-21, 23). It thus embraced the
original kingdom of Sihon. Reuben is "to the eastern tribes what
Simeon is to the western. 'Unstable as water,' he vanishes away
into a mere Arabian tribe. 'His men are few;' it is all he can
do 'to live and not die.' We hear of nothing beyond the
multiplication of their cattle in the land of Gilead, their
spoils of 'camels fifty thousand, and of asses two thousand' (1
Chr. 5:9, 10, 20, 21). In the great struggles of the nation he
never took part. The complaint against him in the song of
Deborah is the summary of his whole history. 'By the streams of
Reuben,' i.e., by the fresh streams which descend from the
eastern hills into the Jordan and the Dead Sea, on whose banks
the Bedouin chiefs met then as now to debate, in the 'streams'
of Reuben great were the 'desires'", i.e., resolutions which
were never carried out, the people idly resting among their
flocks as if it were a time of peace (Judg. 5:15, 16). Stanley's
Sinai and Israel.
All the three tribes on the east of Jordan at length fell into
complete apostasy, and the time of retribution came. God
"stirred up the spirit of Pul, king of Assyria, and the spirit
of Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria," to carry them away, the
first of the tribes, into captivity (1 Chr. 5:25, 26).
the most celebrated city in the world at the time of Christ. It
is said to have been founded B.C. 753. When the New Testament
was written, Rome was enriched and adorned with the spoils of
the world, and contained a population estimated at 1,200,000, of
which the half were slaves, and including representatives of
nearly every nation then known. It was distinguished for its
wealth and luxury and profligacy. The empire of which it was the
capital had then reached its greatest prosperity.
On the day of Pentecost there were in Jerusalem "strangers
from Rome," who doubtless carried with them back to Rome tidings
of that great day, and were instrumental in founding the church
there. Paul was brought to this city a prisoner, where he
remained for two years (Acts 28:30, 31) "in his own hired
house." While here, Paul wrote his epistles to the Philippians,
to the Ephesians, to the Colossians, to Philemon, and probably
also to the Hebrews. He had during these years for companions
Luke and Aristarchus (Acts 27:2), Timothy (Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:1),
Tychicus (Eph. 6: 21), Epaphroditus (Phil. 4:18), and John Mark
(Col. 4:10). (See PAUL ¯T0002871.)
Beneath this city are extensive galleries, called "catacombs,"
which were used from about the time of the apostles (one of the
inscriptions found in them bears the date A.D. 71) for some
three hundred years as places of refuge in the time of
persecution, and also of worship and burial. About four thousand
inscriptions have been found in the catacombs. These give an
interesting insight into the history of the church at Rome down
to the time of Constantine.
(Heb. Aram), the name in the Old Testament given to the whole
country which lay to the north-east of Phoenicia, extending to
beyond the Euphrates and the Tigris. Mesopotamia is called (Gen.
24:10; Deut. 23:4) Aram-naharain (=Syria of the two rivers),
also Padan-aram (Gen. 25:20). Other portions of Syria were also
known by separate names, as Aram-maahah (1 Chr. 19:6),
Aram-beth-rehob (2 Sam. 10:6), Aram-zobah (2 Sam. 10:6, 8). All
these separate little kingdoms afterwards became subject to
Damascus. In the time of the Romans, Syria included also a part
of Israel and Asia Minor.
"From the historic annals now accessible to us, the history of
Syria may be divided into three periods: The first, the period
when the power of the Pharaohs was dominant over the fertile
fields or plains of Syria and the merchant cities of Tyre and
Sidon, and when such mighty conquerors as Thothmes III. and
Rameses II. could claim dominion and levy tribute from the
nations from the banks of the Euphrates to the borders of the
Libyan desert. Second, this was followed by a short period of
independence, when the Jewish nation in the south was growing in
power, until it reached its early zenith in the golden days of
Solomon; and when Tyre and Sidon were rich cities, sending their
traders far and wide, over land and sea, as missionaries of
civilization, while in the north the confederate tribes of the
Hittites held back the armies of the kings of Assyria. The
third, and to us most interesting, period is that during which
the kings of Assyria were dominant over the plains of Syria;
when Tyre, Sidon, Ashdod, and Jerusalem bowed beneath the
conquering armies of Shalmaneser, Sargon, and Sennacherib; and
when at last Memphis and Thebes yielded to the power of the
rulers of Nineveh and Babylon, and the kings of Assyria
completed with terrible fulness the bruising of the reed of
Egypt so clearly foretold by the Hebrew prophets.", Boscawen.
arid, an extensive region in the south-west of Asia. It is
bounded on the west by the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea, on
the south by the Indian Ocean, and on the east by the Persian
Gulf and the Euphrates. It extends far into the north in barren
deserts, meeting those of Syria and Mesopotamia. It is one of
the few countries of the world from which the original
inhabitants have never been expelled.
It was anciently divided into three parts:, (1.) Arabia Felix
(Happy Arabia), so called from its fertility. It embraced a
large portion of the country now known by the name of Arabia.
The Arabs call it Yemen. It lies between the Red Sea and the
Persian Gulf. (2.) Arabia Deserta, the el-Badieh or "Great
Wilderness" of the Arabs. From this name is derived that which
is usually given to the nomadic tribes which wander over this
region, the "Bedaween," or, more generally, "Bedouin," (3.)
Arabia Petraea, i.e., the Rocky Arabia, so called from its rocky
mountains and stony plains. It comprehended all the north-west
portion of the country, and is much better known to travellers
than any other portion. This country is, however, divided by
modern geographers into (1) Arabia Proper, or the Arabian
Peninsula; (2) Northern Arabia, or the Arabian Desert; and (3)
Western Arabia, which includes the peninsula of Sinai and the
Desert of Petra, originally inhabited by the Horites (Gen. 14:6,
etc.), but in later times by the descendants of Esau, and known
as the Land of Edom or Idumea, also as the Desert of Seir or
The whole land appears (Gen. 10) to have been inhabited by a
variety of tribes of different lineage, Ishmaelites, Arabians,
Idumeans, Horites, and Edomites; but at length becoming
amalgamated, they came to be known by the general designation of
Arabs. The modern nation of Arabs is predominantly Ishmaelite.
Their language is the most developed and the richest of all the
Semitic languages, and is of great value to the student of
The Israelites wandered for forty years in Arabia. In the days
of Solomon, and subsequently, commercial intercourse was to a
considerable extent kept up with this country (1 Kings 10:15; 2
Chr. 9:14; 17:11). Arabians were present in Jerusalem at
Pentecost (Acts 2:11). Paul retired for a season into Arabia
after his conversion (Gal. 1:17). This country is frequently
referred to by the prophets (Isa. 21:11; 42:11; Jer. 25:24,
son of my right hand. (1.) The younger son of Jacob by Rachel
(Gen. 35:18). His birth took place at Ephrath, on the road
between Bethel and Bethlehem, at a short distance from the
latter place. His mother died in giving him birth, and with her
last breath named him Ben-oni, son of my pain, a name which was
changed by his father into Benjamin. His posterity are called
Benjamites (Gen. 49:27; Deut. 33:12; Josh. 18:21).
The tribe of Benjamin at the Exodus was the smallest but one
(Num. 1:36, 37; Ps. 68:27). During the march its place was along
with Manasseh and Ephraim on the west of the tabernacle. At the
entrance into Canaan it counted 45,600 warriors. It has been
inferred by some from the words of Jacob (Gen. 49:27) that the
figure of a wolf was on the tribal standard. This tribe is
mentioned in Rom. 11:1; Phil. 3:5.
The inheritance of this tribe lay immediately to the south of
that of Ephraim, and was about 26 miles in length and 12 in
breadth. Its eastern boundary was the Jordan. Dan intervened
between it and the Philistines. Its chief towns are named in
The history of the tribe contains a sad record of a desolating
civil war in which they were engaged with the other eleven
tribes. By it they were almost exterminated (Judg. 20:20, 21;
21:10). (See GIBEAH ¯T0001476.)
The first king of the Jews was Saul, a Benjamite. A close
alliance was formed between this tribe and that of Judah in the
time of David (2 Sam. 19:16, 17), which continued after his
death (1 Kings 11:13; 12:20). After the Exile these two tribes
formed the great body of the Jewish nation (Ezra 1:5; 10:9).
The tribe of Benjamin was famous for its archers (1 Sam.
20:20, 36; 2 Sam. 1:22; 1 Chr. 8:40; 12:2) and slingers (Judge.
The gate of Benjamin, on the north side of Jerusalem (Jer.
37:13; 38:7; Zech. 14:10), was so called because it led in the
direction of the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. It is
called by Jeremiah (20:2) "the high gate of Benjamin;" also "the
gate of the children of the people" (17:19). (Comp. 2 Kings
black. (1.) A son, probably the eldest, of Ham, and the father
of Nimrod (Gen. 10:8; 1 Chr. 1:10). From him the land of Cush
seems to have derived its name. The question of the precise
locality of the land of Cush has given rise to not a little
controversy. The second river of Paradise surrounded the whole
land of Cush (Gen. 2:13, R.V.). The term Cush is in the Old
Testament generally applied to the countries south of the
Israelites. It was the southern limit of Egypt (Ezek. 29:10,
A.V. "Ethiopia," Heb. Cush), with which it is generally
associated (Ps. 68:31; Isa. 18:1; Jer. 46:9, etc.). It stands
also associated with Elam (Isa. 11:11), with Persia (Ezek.
38:5), and with the Sabeans (Isa. 45:14). From these facts it
has been inferred that Cush included Arabia and the country on
the west coast of the Red Sea. Rawlinson takes it to be the
country still known as Khuzi-stan, on the east side of the Lower
Tigris. But there are intimations which warrant the conclusion
that there was also a Cush in Africa, the Ethiopia (so called by
the Greeks) of Africa. Ezekiel speaks (29:10; comp. 30:4-6) of
it as lying south of Egypt. It was the country now known to us
as Nubia and Abyssinia (Isa. 18:1; Zeph. 3:10, Heb. Cush). In
ancient Egyptian inscriptions Ethiopia is termed _Kesh_. The
Cushites appear to have spread along extensive tracts,
stretching from the Upper Nile to the Euphrates and Tigris. At
an early period there was a stream of migration of Cushites
"from Ethiopia, properly so called, through Arabia, Babylonia,
and Persia, to Western India." The Hamite races, soon after
their arrival in Africa, began to spread north, east, and west.
Three branches of the Cushite or Ethiopian stock, moving from
Western Asia, settled in the regions contiguous to the Persian
Gulf. One branch, called the Cossaeans, settled in the
mountainous district on the east of the Tigris, known afterwards
as Susiana; another occupied the lower regions of the Euphrates
and the Tigris; while a third colonized the southern shores and
islands of the gulf, whence they afterwards emigrated to the
Mediterranean and settled on the coast of Israel as the
Phoenicians. Nimrod was a great Cushite chief. He conquered the
Accadians, a Tauranian race, already settled in Mesopotamia, and
founded his kingdom, the Cushites mingling with the Accads, and
so forming the Chaldean nation.
(2.) A Benjamite of this name is mentioned in the title of Ps.
7. "Cush was probably a follower of Saul, the head of his tribe,
and had sought the friendship of David for the purpose of
'rewarding evil to him that was at peace with him.'"
Ephraim, The tribe of
took precedence over that of Manasseh by virtue of Jacob's
blessing (Gen. 41:52; 48:1). The descendants of Joseph formed
two of the tribes of Israel, whereas each of the other sons of
Jacob was the founder of only one tribe. Thus there were in
reality thirteen tribes; but the number twelve was preserved by
excluding that of Levi when Ephraim and Manasseh are mentioned
separately (Num. 1:32-34; Josh. 17:14, 17; 1 Chr. 7:20).
Territory of. At the time of the first census in the
wilderness this tribe numbered 40,500 (Num. 1:32, 33); forty
years later, when about to take possession of the Promised Land,
it numbered only 32,500. During the march (see CAMP ¯T0000700)
Ephraim's place was on the west side of the tabernacle (Num.
2:18-24). When the spies were sent out to spy the land, "Oshea
the son of Nun" of this tribe signalized himself.
The boundaries of the portion of the land assigned to Ephraim
are given in Josh. 16:1-10. It included most of what was
afterwards called Samaria as distinguished from Judea and
Galilee. It thus lay in the centre of all traffic, from north to
south, and from Jordan to the sea, and was about 55 miles long
and 30 broad. The tabernacle and the ark were deposited within
its limits at Shiloh, where it remained for four hundred years.
During the time of the judges and the first stage of the
monarchy this tribe manifested a domineering and haughty and
discontented spirit. "For more than five hundred years, a period
equal to that which elapsed between the Norman Conquest and the
War of the Roses, Ephraim, with its two dependent tribes of
Manasseh and Benjamin, exercised undisputed pre-eminence. Joshua
the first conqueror, Gideon the greatest of the judges, and Saul
the first king, belonged to one or other of the three tribes. It
was not till the close of the first period of Jewish history
that God 'refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the
tribe of Ephraim, but chose the tribe of Judah, the Mount Zion
which he loved' (Ps. 78:67, 68). When the ark was removed from
Shiloh to Zion the power of Ephraim was humbled."
Among the causes which operated to bring about the disruption
of Israel was Ephraim's jealousy of the growing power of Judah.
From the settlement of Canaan till the time of David and
Solomon, Ephraim had held the place of honour among the tribes.
It occupied the central and fairest portions of the land, and
had Shiloh and Shechem within its borders. But now when
Jerusalem became the capital of the kingdom, and the centre of
power and worship for the whole nation of Israel, Ephraim
declined in influence. The discontent came to a crisis by
Rehoboam's refusal to grant certain redresses that were demanded
(1 Kings 12).
called also Jerubbaal (Judg. 6:29, 32), was the first of the
judges whose history is circumstantially narrated (Judg. 6-8).
His calling is the commencement of the second period in the
history of the judges. After the victory gained by Deborah and
Barak over Jabin, Israel once more sank into idolatry, and the
Midianites (q.v.) and Amalekites, with other "children of the
east," crossed the Jordan each year for seven successive years
for the purpose of plundering and desolating the land. Gideon
received a direct call from God to undertake the task of
delivering the land from these warlike invaders. He was of the
family of Abiezer (Josh. 17:2; 1 Chr. 7:18), and of the little
township of Ophrah (Judg. 6:11). First, with ten of his
servants, he overthrew the altars of Baal and cut down the
asherah which was upon it, and then blew the trumpet of alarm,
and the people flocked to his standard on the crest of Mount
Gilboa to the number of twenty-two thousand men. These were,
however, reduced to only three hundred. These, strangely armed
with torches and pitchers and trumpets, rushed in from three
different points on the camp of Midian at midnight, in the
valley to the north of Moreh, with the terrible war-cry, "For
the Lord and for Gideon" (Judg. 7:18, R.V.). Terror-stricken,
the Midianites were put into dire confusion, and in the darkness
slew one another, so that only fifteen thousand out of the great
army of one hundred and twenty thousand escaped alive. The
memory of this great deliverance impressed itself deeply on the
mind of the nation (1 Sam. 12:11; Ps. 83:11; Isa. 9:4; 10:26;
Heb. 11:32). The land had now rest for forty years. Gideon died
in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of his
fathers. Soon after his death a change came over the people.
They again forgot Jehovah, and turned to the worship of Baalim,
"neither shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal" (Judg.
8:35). Gideon left behind him seventy sons, a feeble, sadly
degenerated race, with one exception, that of Abimelech, who
seems to have had much of the courage and energy of his father,
yet of restless and unscrupulous ambition. He gathered around
him a band who slaughtered all Gideon's sons, except Jotham,
upon one stone. (See OPHRAH ¯T0002798.)
the language of the Hebrew nation, and that in which the Old
Testament is written, with the exception of a few portions in
Chaldee. In the Old Testament it is only spoken of as "Jewish"
(2 Kings 18:26, 28; Isa. 36:11, 13; 2 Chr 32:18). This name is
first used by the Jews in times subsequent to the close of the
It is one of the class of languages called Semitic, because
they were chiefly spoken among the descendants of Shem.
When Abraham entered Canaan it is obvious that he found the
language of its inhabitants closely allied to his own. Isaiah
(19:18) calls it "the language of Canaan." Whether this
language, as seen in the earliest books of the Old Testament,
was the very dialect which Abraham brought with him into Canaan,
or whether it was the common tongue of the Canaanitish nations
which he only adopted, is uncertain; probably the latter opinion
is the correct one. For the thousand years between Moses and the
Babylonian exile the Hebrew language underwent little or no
modification. It preserves all through a remarkable uniformity
of structure. From the first it appears in its full maturity of
development. But through intercourse with Damascus, Assyria, and
Babylon, from the time of David, and more particularly from the
period of the Exile, it comes under the influence of the Aramaic
idiom, and this is seen in the writings which date from this
period. It was never spoken in its purity by the Jews after
their return from Babylon. They now spoke Hebrew with a large
admixture of Aramaic or Chaldee, which latterly became the
predominant element in the national language.
The Hebrew of the Old Testament has only about six thousand
words, all derived from about five hundred roots. Hence the same
word has sometimes a great variety of meanings. So long as it
was a living language, and for ages after, only the consonants
of the words were written. This also has been a source of
difficulty in interpreting certain words, for the meaning varies
according to the vowels which may be supplied. The Hebrew is one
of the oldest languages of which we have any knowledge. It is
essentially identical with the Phoenician language. (See MOABITE
STONE ¯T0002586.) The Semitic languages, to which class the
Hebrew and Phoenician belonged, were spoken over a very wide
area: in Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Israel and Arabia, in
all the countries from the Mediterranean to the borders of
Assyria, and from the mountains of Armenia to the Indian Ocean.
The rounded form of the letters, as seen in the Moabite stone,
was probably that in which the ancient Hebrew was written down
to the time of the Exile, when the present square or Chaldean
form was adopted.
is in Scripture very generally used to denote one invested with
authority, whether extensive or limited. There were thirty-one
kings in Canaan (Josh. 12:9, 24), whom Joshua subdued.
Adonibezek subdued seventy kings (Judg. 1:7). In the New
Testament the Roman emperor is spoken of as a king (1 Pet. 2:13,
17); and Herod Antipas, who was only a tetrarch, is also called
a king (Matt. 14:9; Mark 6:22).
This title is applied to God (1 Tim. 1:17), and to Christ, the
Son of God (1 Tim. 6:15, 16; Matt. 27:11). The people of God are
also called "kings" (Dan. 7:22, 27; Matt. 19:28; Rev. 1:6,
etc.). Death is called the "king of terrors" (Job 18:14).
Jehovah was the sole King of the Jewish nation (1 Sam. 8:7;
Isa. 33:22). But there came a time in the history of that people
when a king was demanded, that they might be like other nations
(1 Sam. 8:5). The prophet Samuel remonstrated with them, but the
people cried out, "Nay, but we will have a king over us." The
misconduct of Samuel's sons was the immediate cause of this
The Hebrew kings did not rule in their own right, nor in name
of the people who had chosen them, but partly as servants and
partly as representatives of Jehovah, the true King of Israel (1
Sam. 10:1). The limits of the king's power were prescribed (1
Sam. 10:25). The officers of his court were, (1) the recorder or
remembrancer (2 Sam. 8:16; 1 Kings 4:3); (2) the scribe (2 Sam.
8:17; 20:25); (3) the officer over the house, the chief steward
(Isa. 22:15); (4) the "king's friend," a confidential companion
(1 Kings 4:5); (5) the keeper of the wardrobe (2 Kings 22:14);
(6) captain of the bodyguard (2 Sam. 20:23); (7) officers over
the king's treasures, etc. (1 Chr. 27:25-31); (8)
commander-in-chief of the army (1 Chr. 27:34); (9) the royal
counsellor (1 Chr. 27:32; 2 Sam. 16:20-23).
(For catalogue of kings of Israel and Judah see chronological
table in Appendix.)
an Arabian tribe descended from Midian. They inhabited
principally the desert north of the peninsula of Arabia. The
peninsula of Sinai was the pasture-ground for their flocks. They
were virtually the rulers of Arabia, being the dominant tribe.
Like all Arabians, they were a nomad people. They early engaged
in commercial pursuits. It was to one of their caravans that
Joseph was sold (Gen. 37:28, 36). The next notice of them is in
connection with Moses' flight from Egypt (Ex. 2:15-21). Here in
Midian Moses became the servant and afterwards the son-in-law of
Reuel or Jethro, the priest. After the Exodus, the Midianites
were friendly to the Israelites so long as they traversed only
their outlying pasture-ground on the west of the Arabah; but
when, having passed the southern end of Edom, they entered into
the land of Midian proper, they joined with Balak, the king of
Moab, in a conspiracy against them (Num. 22:4-7). Balaam, who
had been sent for to curse Israel, having utterly failed to do
so, was dismissed by the king of Moab; nevertheless he still
tarried among the Midianites, and induced them to enter into
correspondence with the Israelites, so as to bring them into
association with them in the licentious orgies connected with
the worship of Baal-Peor. This crafty counsel prevailed. The
Israelites took part in the heathen festival, and so brought
upon themselves a curse indeed. Their apostasy brought upon them
a severe punishment. A plague broke out amongst them, and more
than twenty-four thousand of the people perished (Num. 25:9).
But the Midianites were not to be left unpunished. A terrible
vengeance was denounced against them. A thousand warriors from
each tribe, under the leadership of Phinehas, went forth against
them. The Midianites were utterly routed. Their cities were
consumed by fire, five of their kings were put to death, and the
whole nation was destroyed (Josh. 13:21, 22). Balaam also
perished by the sword, receiving the "wages of his
unrighteousness" (Num. 31:8; 2 Pet. 2:15). The whole of the
country on the east of Jordan, now conquered by the Israelites
(see SIHON ¯T0003427; OG ¯T0002771), was divided between the two
tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh.
Some two hundred and fifty years after this the Midianites had
regained their ancient power, and in confederation with the
Amalekites and the "children of the east" they made war against
their old enemies the Israelites, whom for seven years they
oppressed and held in subjection. They were at length assailed
by Gideon in that ever-memorable battle in the great plain of
Esdraelon, and utterly destroyed (Judg. 6:1-ch. 7). Frequent
allusions are afterwards made to this great victory (Ps. 83:10,
12; Isa. 9:4; 10:6). They now wholly pass away from the page of
history both sacred and profane.
or Miz'peh, watch-tower; the look-out. (1.) A place in Gilead,
so named by Laban, who overtook Jacob at this spot (Gen. 31:49)
on his return to Israel from Padan-aram. Here Jacob and Laban
set up their memorial cairn of stones. It is the same as
Ramath-mizpeh (Josh. 13:26).
(2.) A town in Gilead, where Jephthah resided, and where he
assumed the command of the Israelites in a time of national
danger. Here he made his rash vow; and here his daughter
submitted to her mysterious fate (Judg. 10:17; 11:11, 34). It
may be the same as Ramoth-Gilead (Josh. 20:8), but it is more
likely that it is identical with the foregoing, the Mizpeh of
Gen. 31:23, 25, 48, 49.
(3.) Another place in Gilead, at the foot of Mount Hermon,
inhabited by Hivites (Josh. 11:3, 8). The name in Hebrew here
has the article before it, "the Mizpeh," "the watch-tower." The
modern village of Metullah, meaning also "the look-out,"
probably occupies the site so called.
(4.) A town of Moab to which David removed his parents for
safety during his persecution by Saul (1 Sam. 22:3). This was
probably the citadel known as Kir-Moab, now Kerak. While David
resided here he was visited by the prophet Gad, here mentioned
for the first time, who was probably sent by Samuel to bid him
leave the land of Moab and betake himself to the land of Judah.
He accordingly removed to the forest of Hareth (q.v.), on the
edge of the mountain chain of Hebron.
(5.) A city of Benjamin, "the watch-tower", where the people
were accustomed to meet in great national emergencies (Josh.
18:26; Judg. 20:1, 3; 21:1, 5; 1 Sam. 7:5-16). It has been
supposed to be the same as Nob (1 Sam. 21:1; 22:9-19). It was
some 4 miles north-west of Jerusalem, and was situated on the
loftiest hill in the neighbourhood, some 600 feet above the
plain of Gibeon. This village has the modern name of Neby
Samwil, i.e., the prophet Samuel, from a tradition that Samuel's
tomb is here. (See NOB ¯T0002742.)
Samuel inaugurated the reformation that characterized his time
by convening a great assembly of all Israel at Mizpeh, now the
politico-religious centre of the nation. There, in deep
humiliation on account of their sins, they renewed their vows
and entered again into covenant with the God of their fathers.
It was a period of great religious awakening and of revived
national life. The Philistines heard of this assembly, and came
up against Israel. The Hebrews charged the Philistine host with
great fury, and they were totally routed. Samuel commemorated
this signal victory by erecting a memorial-stone, which he
called "Ebenezer" (q.v.), saying, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped
us" (1 Sam. 7:7-12).
of Sin (the moon god), called also Horeb, the name of the
mountain district which was reached by the Hebrews in the third
month after the Exodus. Here they remained encamped for about a
whole year. Their journey from the Red Sea to this encampment,
including all the windings of the route, was about 150 miles.
The last twenty-two chapters of Exodus, together with the whole
of Leviticus and Num. ch. 1-11, contain a record of all the
transactions which occurred while they were here. From Rephidim
(Ex. 17:8-13) the Israelites journeyed forward through the Wady
Solaf and Wady esh-Sheikh into the plain of er-Rahah, "the
desert of Sinai," about 2 miles long and half a mile broad, and
encamped there "before the mountain." The part of the mountain
range, a protruding lower bluff, known as the Ras Sasafeh
(Sufsafeh), rises almost perpendicularly from this plain, and is
in all probability the Sinai of history. Dean Stanley thus
describes the scene:, "The plain itself is not broken and uneven
and narrowly shut in, like almost all others in the range, but
presents a long retiring sweep, within which the people could
remove and stand afar off. The cliff, rising like a huge altar
in front of the whole congregation, and visible against the sky
in lonely grandeur from end to end of the whole plain, is the
very image of the 'mount that might be touched,' and from which
the voice of God might be heard far and wide over the plain
below." This was the scene of the giving of the law. From the
Ras Sufsafeh the law was proclaimed to the people encamped below
in the plain of er-Rahah. During the lengthened period of their
encampment here the Israelites passed through a very memorable
experience. An immense change passed over them. They are now an
organized nation, bound by covenant engagement to serve the Lord
their God, their ever-present divine Leader and Protector. At
length, in the second month of the second year of the Exodus,
they move their camp and march forward according to a prescribed
order. After three days they reach the "wilderness of Paran,"
the "et-Tih", i.e., "the desert", and here they make their first
encampment. At this time a spirit of discontent broke out
amongst them, and the Lord manifested his displeasure by a fire
which fell on the encampment and inflicted injury on them. Moses
called the place Taberah (q.v.), Num. 11:1-3. The journey
between Sinai and the southern boundary of the Promised Land
(about 150 miles) at Kadesh was accomplished in about a year.
(See MAP facing page 204.)
help. (1.) A priest among those that returned to Jerusalem under
Zerubabel (Neh. 12:1).
(2.) The "scribe" who led the second body of exiles that
returned from Babylon to Jerusalem B.C. 459, and author of the
book of Scripture which bears his name. He was the son, or
perhaps grandson, of Seraiah (2 Kings 25:18-21), and a lineal
descendant of Phinehas, the son of Aaron (Ezra 7:1-5). All we
know of his personal history is contained in the last four
chapters of his book, and in Neh. 8 and 12:26.
In the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus (see
DARIUS ¯T0000975), he obtained leave to go up to Jerusalem and
to take with him a company of Israelites (Ezra 8). Artaxerxes
manifested great interest in Ezra's undertaking, granting him
"all his request," and loading him with gifts for the house of
God. Ezra assembled the band of exiles, probably about 5,000 in
all, who were prepared to go up with him to Jerusalem, on the
banks of the Ahava, where they rested for three days, and were
put into order for their march across the desert, which was
completed in four months. His proceedings at Jerusalem on his
arrival there are recorded in his book.
He was "a ready scribe in the law of Moses," who "had prepared
his heart to seek the law of the Lord and to do it, and to teach
in Israel statutes and judgments." "He is," says Professor
Binnie, "the first well-defined example of an order of men who
have never since ceased in the church; men of sacred erudition,
who devote their lives to the study of the Holy Scriptures, in
order that they may be in a condition to interpret them for the
instruction and edification of the church. It is significant
that the earliest mention of the pulpit occurs in the history of
Ezra's ministry (Neh. 8:4). He was much more of a teacher than a
priest. We learn from the account of his labours in the book of
Nehemiah that he was careful to have the whole people instructed
in the law of Moses; and there is no reason to reject the
constant tradition of the Jews which connects his name with the
collecting and editing of the Old Testament canon. The final
completion of the canon may have been, and probably was, the
work of a later generation; but Ezra seems to have put it much
into the shape in which it is still found in the Hebrew Bible.
When it is added that the complete organization of the synagogue
dates from this period, it will be seen that the age was
emphatically one of Biblical study" (The Psalms: their History,
For about fourteen years, i.e., till B.C. 445, we have no
record of what went on in Jerusalem after Ezra had set in order
the ecclesiastical and civil affairs of the nation. In that year
another distinguished personage, Nehemiah, appears on the scene.
After the ruined wall of the city had been built by Nehemiah,
there was a great gathering of the people at Jerusalem
preparatory to the dedication of the wall. On the appointed day
the whole population assembled, and the law was read aloud to
them by Ezra and his assistants (Neh. 8:3). The remarkable scene
is described in detail. There was a great religious awakening.
For successive days they held solemn assemblies, confessing
their sins and offering up solemn sacrifices. They kept also the
feast of Tabernacles with great solemnity and joyous enthusiasm,
and then renewed their national covenant to be the Lord's.
Abuses were rectified, and arrangements for the temple service
completed, and now nothing remained but the dedication of the
walls of the city (Neh. 12).
Israel and Syria appear to have been originally inhabited by
three different tribes. (1.) The Semites, living on the east of
the isthmus of Suez. They were nomadic and pastoral tribes. (2.)
The Phoenicians, who were merchants and traders; and (3.) the
Hittites, who were the warlike element of this confederation of
tribes. They inhabited the whole region between the Euphrates
and Damascus, their chief cities being Carchemish on the
Euphrates, and Kadesh, now Tell Neby Mendeh, in the Orontes
valley, about six miles south of the Lake of Homs. These
Hittites seem to have risen to great power as a nation, as for a
long time they were formidable rivals of the Egyptian and
Assyrian empires. In the book of Joshua they always appear as
the dominant race to the north of Galilee.
Somewhere about the twenty-third century B.C. the Syrian
confederation, led probably by the Hittites, arched against
Lower Egypt, which they took possession of, making Zoan their
capital. Their rulers were the Hyksos, or shepherd kings. They
were at length finally driven out of Egypt. Rameses II. sought
vengeance against the "vile Kheta," as he called them, and
encountered and defeated them in the great battle of Kadesh,
four centuries after Abraham. (See JOSHUA ¯T0002114.)
They are first referred to in Scripture in the history of
Abraham, who bought from Ephron the Hittite the field and the
cave of Machpelah (Gen. 15:20: 23:3-18). They were then settled
at Kirjath-arba. From this tribe Esau took his first two wives
They are afterwards mentioned in the usual way among the
inhabitants of the Promised Land (Ex. 23:28). They were closely
allied to the Amorites, and are frequently mentioned along with
them as inhabiting the mountains of Israel. When the spies
entered the land they seem to have occupied with the Amorites
the mountain region of Judah (Num. 13:29). They took part with
the other Canaanites against the Israelites (Josh. 9:1; 11:3).
After this there are few references to them in Scripture.
Mention is made of "Ahimelech the Hittite" (1 Sam. 26:6), and of
"Uriah the Hittite," one of David's chief officers (2 Sam.
23:39; 1 Chr. 11:41). In the days of Solomon they were a
powerful confederation in the north of Syria, and were ruled by
"kings." They are met with after the Exile still a distinct
people (Ezra 9:1; comp. Neh. 13:23-28).
The Hebrew merchants exported horses from Egypt not only for
the kings of Israel, but also for the Hittites (1 Kings 10:28,
29). From the Egyptian monuments we learn that "the Hittites
were a people with yellow skins and 'Mongoloid' features, whose
receding foreheads, oblique eyes, and protruding upper jaws are
represented as faithfully on their own monuments as they are on
those of Egypt, so that we cannot accuse the Egyptian artists of
caricaturing their enemies. The Amorites, on the contrary, were
a tall and handsome people. They are depicted with white skins,
blue eyes, and reddish hair, all the characteristics, in fact,
of the white race" (Sayce's The Hittites). The original seat of
the Hittite tribes was the mountain ranges of Taurus. They
belonged to Asia Minor, and not to Syria.
image-worship or divine honour paid to any created object. Paul
describes the origin of idolatry in Rom. 1:21-25: men forsook
God, and sank into ignorance and moral corruption (1:28).
The forms of idolatry are, (1.) Fetishism, or the worship of
trees, rivers, hills, stones, etc.
(2.) Nature worship, the worship of the sun, moon, and stars,
as the supposed powers of nature.
(3.) Hero worship, the worship of deceased ancestors, or of
In Scripture, idolatry is regarded as of heathen origin, and
as being imported among the Hebrews through contact with heathen
nations. The first allusion to idolatry is in the account of
Rachel stealing her father's teraphim (Gen. 31:19), which were
the relics of the worship of other gods by Laban's progenitors
"on the other side of the river in old time" (Josh. 24:2).
During their long residence in Egypt the Hebrews fell into
idolatry, and it was long before they were delivered from it
(Josh. 24:14; Ezek. 20:7). Many a token of God's displeasure
fell upon them because of this sin.
The idolatry learned in Egypt was probably rooted out from
among the people during the forty years' wanderings; but when
the Jews entered Israel, they came into contact with the
monuments and associations of the idolatry of the old
Canaanitish races, and showed a constant tendency to depart from
the living God and follow the idolatrous practices of those
heathen nations. It was their great national sin, which was only
effectually rebuked by the Babylonian exile. That exile finally
purified the Jews of all idolatrous tendencies.
The first and second commandments are directed against
idolatry of every form. Individuals and communities were equally
amenable to the rigorous code. The individual offender was
devoted to destruction (Ex. 22:20). His nearest relatives were
not only bound to denounce him and deliver him up to punishment
(Deut. 13:20-10), but their hands were to strike the first blow
when, on the evidence of two witnesses at least, he was stoned
(Deut. 17:2-7). To attempt to seduce others to false worship was
a crime of equal enormity (13:6-10). An idolatrous nation shared
the same fate. No facts are more strongly declared in the Old
Testament than that the extermination of the Canaanites was the
punishment of their idolatry (Ex. 34:15, 16; Deut. 7; 12:29-31;
20:17), and that the calamities of the Israelites were due to
the same cause (Jer. 2:17). "A city guilty of idolatry was
looked upon as a cancer in the state; it was considered to be in
rebellion, and treated according to the laws of war. Its
inhabitants and all their cattle were put to death." Jehovah was
the theocratic King of Israel, the civil Head of the
commonwealth, and therefore to an Israelite idolatry was a state
offence (1 Sam. 15:23), high treason. On taking possession of
the land, the Jews were commanded to destroy all traces of every
kind of the existing idolatry of the Canaanites (Ex. 23:24, 32;
34:13; Deut. 7:5, 25; 12:1-3).
In the New Testament the term idolatry is used to designate
covetousness (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13; Col. 3:5; Eph. 5:5).
the name given to the chief of the three great historical annual
festivals of the Jews. It was kept in remembrance of the Lord's
passing over the houses of the Israelites (Ex. 12:13) when the
first born of all the Egyptians were destroyed. It is called
also the "feast of unleavened bread" (Ex. 23:15; Mark 14:1; Acts
12:3), because during its celebration no leavened bread was to
be eaten or even kept in the household (Ex. 12:15). The word
afterwards came to denote the lamb that was slain at the feast
(Mark 14:12-14; 1 Cor. 5:7).
A detailed account of the institution of this feast is given
in Ex. 12 and 13. It was afterwards incorporated in the
ceremonial law (Lev. 23:4-8) as one of the great festivals of
the nation. In after times many changes seem to have taken place
as to the mode of its celebration as compared with its first
celebration (comp. Deut. 16:2, 5, 6; 2 Chr. 30:16; Lev.
23:10-14; Num. 9:10, 11; 28:16-24). Again, the use of wine (Luke
22:17, 20), of sauce with the bitter herbs (John 13:26), and the
service of praise were introduced.
There is recorded only one celebration of this feast between
the Exodus and the entrance into Canaan, namely, that mentioned
in Num. 9:5. (See JOSIAH ¯T0002116.) It was primarily a
commemorative ordinance, reminding the children of Israel of
their deliverance out of Egypt; but it was, no doubt, also a
type of the great deliverance wrought by the Messiah for all his
people from the doom of death on account of sin, and from the
bondage of sin itself, a worse than Egyptian bondage (1 Cor.
5:7; John 1:29; 19:32-36; 1 Pet. 1:19; Gal. 4:4, 5). The
appearance of Jerusalem on the occasion of the Passover in the
time of our Lord is thus fittingly described: "The city itself
and the neighbourhood became more and more crowded as the feast
approached, the narrow streets and dark arched bazaars showing
the same throng of men of all nations as when Jesus had first
visited Jerusalem as a boy. Even the temple offered a strange
sight at this season, for in parts of the outer courts a wide
space was covered with pens for sheep, goats, and cattle to be
used for offerings. Sellers shouted the merits of their beasts,
sheep bleated, oxen lowed. Sellers of doves also had a place set
apart for them. Potters offered a choice from huge stacks of
clay dishes and ovens for roasting and eating the Passover lamb.
Booths for wine, oil, salt, and all else needed for sacrifices
invited customers. Persons going to and from the city shortened
their journey by crossing the temple grounds, often carrying
burdens...Stalls to change foreign money into the shekel of the
temple, which alone could be paid to the priests, were numerous,
the whole confusion making the sanctuary like a noisy market"
(Geikie's Life of Christ).
Philippians, Epistle to
was written by Paul during the two years when he was "in bonds"
in Rome (Phil. 1:7-13), probably early in the year A.D. 62 or in
the end of 61.
The Philippians had sent Epaphroditus, their messenger, with
contributions to meet the necessities of the apostle; and on his
return Paul sent back with him this letter. With this precious
communication Epaphroditus sets out on his homeward journey.
"The joy caused by his return, and the effect of this wonderful
letter when first read in the church of Philippi, are hidden
from us. And we may almost say that with this letter the church
itself passes from our view. To-day, in silent meadows, quiet
cattle browse among the ruins which mark the site of what was
once the flourishing Roman colony of Philippi, the home of the
most attractive church of the apostolic age. But the name and
fame and spiritual influence of that church will never pass. To
myriads of men and women in every age and nation the letter
written in a dungeon at Rome, and carried along the Egnatian Way
by an obscure Christian messenger, has been a light divine and a
cheerful guide along the most rugged paths of life" (Professor
The church at Philippi was the first-fruits of European
Christianity. Their attachment to the apostle was very fervent,
and so also was his affection for them. They alone of all the
churches helped him by their contributions, which he gratefully
acknowledges (Acts 20:33-35; 2 Cor. 11:7-12; 2 Thess. 3:8). The
pecuniary liberality of the Philippians comes out very
conspicuously (Phil. 4:15). "This was a characteristic of the
Macedonian missions, as 2 Cor. 8 and 9 amply and beautifully
prove. It is remarkable that the Macedonian converts were, as a
class, very poor (2 Cor. 8:2); and the parallel facts, their
poverty and their open-handed support of the great missionary
and his work, are deeply harmonious. At the present day the
missionary liberality of poor Christians is, in proportion,
really greater than that of the rich" (Moule's Philippians,
The contents of this epistle give an interesting insight into
the condition of the church at Rome at the time it was written.
Paul's imprisonment, we are informed, was no hindrance to his
preaching the gospel, but rather "turned out to the furtherance
of the gospel." The gospel spread very extensively among the
Roman soldiers, with whom he was in constant contact, and the
Christians grew into a "vast multitude." It is plain that
Christianity was at this time making rapid advancement in Rome.
The doctrinal statements of this epistle bear a close relation
to those of the Epistle to the Romans. Compare also Phil. 3:20
with Eph. 2:12, 19, where the church is presented under the idea
of a city or commonwealth for the first time in Paul's writings.
The personal glory of Christ is also set forth in almost
parallel forms of expression in Phil. 2:5-11, compared with Eph.
1:17-23; 2:8; and Col. 1:15-20. "This exposition of the grace
and wonder of His personal majesty, personal self-abasement, and
personal exaltation after it," found in these epistles, "is, in
a great measure, a new development in the revelations given
through St. Paul" (Moule). Other minuter analogies in forms of
expression and of thought are also found in these epistles of
or prediction, was one of the functions of the prophet. It has
been defined as a "miracle of knowledge, a declaration or
description or representation of something future, beyond the
power of human sagacity to foresee, discern, or conjecture."
(See PROPHET ¯T0003006.)
The great prediction which runs like a golden thread through
the whole contents of the Old Testament is that regarding the
coming and work of the Messiah; and the great use of prophecy
was to perpetuate faith in his coming, and to prepare the world
for that event. But there are many subordinate and intermediate
prophecies also which hold an important place in the great chain
of events which illustrate the sovereignty and all-wise
overruling providence of God.
Then there are many prophecies regarding the Jewish nation,
its founder Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3; 13:16; 15:5; 17:2, 4-6, etc.),
and his posterity, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants (12:7;
13:14, 15, 17; 15:18-21; Ex. 3:8, 17), which have all been
fulfilled. The twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy contains a
series of predictions which are even now in the present day
being fulfilled. In the writings of the prophets Isaiah
(2:18-21), Jeremiah (27:3-7; 29:11-14), Ezekiel (5:12; 8),
Daniel (8; 9:26, 27), Hosea (9:17), there are also many
prophecies regarding the events which were to befall that
There is in like manner a large number of prophecies relating
to those nations with which the Jews came into contact, as Tyre
(Ezek. 26:3-5, 14-21), Egypt (Ezek. 29:10, 15; 30:6, 12, 13),
Ethiopia (Nahum 3:8-10), Nineveh (Nahum 1:10; 2:8-13; 3:17-19),
Babylon (Isa. 13:4; Jer. 51:7; Isa. 44:27; Jer. 50:38; 51:36,
39, 57), the land of the Philistines (Jer. 47:4-7; Ezek.
25:15-17; Amos 1:6-8; Zeph. 2:4-7; Zech. 9:5-8), and of the four
great monarchies (Dan. 2:39, 40; 7:17-24; 8:9).
But the great body of Old Testament prophecy relates directly
to the advent of the Messiah, beginning with Gen. 3:15, the
first great promise, and extending in ever-increasing fulness
and clearness all through to the very close of the canon. The
Messianic prophecies are too numerous to be quoted. "To him gave
all the prophets witness." (Comp. Micah 5:2; Hag. 2:6-9; Isa.
7:14; 9:6, 7; 11:1, 2; 53; 60:10, 13; Ps. 16:11; 68:18.)
Many predictions also were delivered by Jesus and his
apostles. Those of Christ were very numerous. (Comp. Matt.
10:23:24; 11:23; 19:28; 21:43, 44; 24; 25:31-46; 26:17-35, 46,
64; Mark 9:1; 10:30; 13; 11:1-6, 14; 14:12-31, 42, 62; 16:17,
heard of God. The peculiar circumstances connected with his
birth are recorded in 1 Sam. 1:20. Hannah, one of the two wives
of Elkanah, who came up to Shiloh to worship before the Lord,
earnestly prayed to God that she might become the mother of a
son. Her prayer was graciously granted; and after the child was
weaned she brought him to Shiloh nd consecrated him to the Lord
as a perpetual Nazarite (1:23-2:11). Here his bodily wants and
training were attended to by the women who served in the
tabernacle, while Eli cared for his religious culture. Thus,
probably, twelve years of his life passed away. "The child
Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also
with men" (2:26; comp. Luke 2:52). It was a time of great and
growing degeneracy in Israel (Judg. 21:19-21; 1 Sam. 2:12-17,
22). The Philistines, who of late had greatly increased in
number and in power, were practically masters of the country,
and kept the people in subjection (1 Sam. 10:5; 13:3).
At this time new communications from God began to be made to
the pious child. A mysterious voice came to him in the night
season, calling him by name, and, instructed by Eli, he
answered, "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth." The message
that came from the Lord was one of woe and ruin to Eli and his
profligate sons. Samuel told it all to Eli, whose only answer to
the terrible denunciations (1 Sam. 3:11-18) was, "It is the
Lord; let him do what seemeth him good", the passive submission
of a weak character, not, in his case, the expression of the
highest trust and faith. The Lord revealed himself now in divers
manners to Samuel, and his fame and his influence increased
throughout the land as of one divinely called to the prophetical
office. A new period in the history of the kingdom of God now
The Philistine yoke was heavy, and the people, groaning under
the wide-spread oppression, suddenly rose in revolt, and "went
out against the Philistines to battle." A fierce and disastrous
battle was fought at Aphek, near to Ebenezer (1 Sam. 4:1, 2).
The Israelites were defeated, leaving 4,000 dead "in the field."
The chiefs of the people thought to repair this great disaster
by carrying with them the ark of the covenant as the symbol of
Jehovah's presence. They accordingly, without consulting Samuel,
fetched it out of Shiloh to the camp near Aphek. At the sight of
the ark among them the people "shouted with a great shout, so
that the earth rang again." A second battle was fought, and
again the Philistines defeated the Israelites, stormed their
camp, slew 30,000 men, and took the sacred ark. The tidings of
this fatal battle was speedily conveyed to Shiloh; and so soon
as the aged Eli heard that the ark of God was taken, he fell
backward from his seat at the entrance of the sanctuary, and his
neck brake, and he died. The tabernacle with its furniture was
probably, by the advice of Samuel, now about twenty years of
age, removed from Shiloh to some place of safety, and finally to
Nob, where it remained many years (21:1).
The Philistines followed up their advantage, and marched upon
Shiloh, which they plundered and destroyed (comp. Jer. 7:12; Ps.
78:59). This was a great epoch in the history of Israel. For
twenty years after this fatal battle at Aphek the whole land lay
under the oppression of the Philistines. During all these dreary
years Samuel was a spiritual power in the land. From Ramah, his
native place, where he resided, his influence went forth on
every side among the people. With unwearied zeal he went up and
down from place to place, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting the
people, endeavouring to awaken in them a sense of their
sinfulness, and to lead them to repentance. His labours were so
far successful that "all the house of Israel lamented after the
Lord." Samuel summoned the people to Mizpeh, one of the loftiest
hills in Central Israel, where they fasted and prayed, and
prepared themselves there, under his direction, for a great war
against the Philistines, who now marched their whole force
toward Mizpeh, in order to crush the Israelites once for all. At
the intercession of Samuel God interposed in behalf of Israel.
Samuel himself was their leader, the only occasion in which he
acted as a leader in war. The Philistines were utterly routed.
They fled in terror before the army of Israel, and a great
slaughter ensued. This battle, fought probably about B.C. 1095,
put an end to the forty years of Philistine oppression. In
memory of this great deliverance, and in token of gratitude for
the help vouchsafed, Samuel set up a great stone in the
battlefield, and called it "Ebenezer," saying, "Hitherto hath
the Lord helped us" (1 Sam. 7:1-12). This was the spot where,
twenty years before, the Israelites had suffered a great defeat,
when the ark of God was taken.
This victory over the Philistines was followed by a long
period of peace for Israel (1 Sam. 7:13, 14), during which
Samuel exercised the functions of judge, going "from year to
year in circuit" from his home in Ramah to Bethel, thence to
Gilgal (not that in the Jordan valley, but that which lay to the
west of Ebal and Gerizim), and returning by Mizpeh to Ramah. He
established regular services at Shiloh, where he built an altar;
and at Ramah he gathered a company of young men around him and
established a school of the prophets. The schools of the
prophets, thus originated, and afterwards established also at
Gibeah, Bethel, Gilgal, and Jericho, exercised an important
influence on the national character and history of the people in
maintaining pure religion in the midst of growing corruption.
They continued to the end of the Jewish commonwealth.
Many years now passed, during which Samuel exercised the
functions of his judicial office, being the friend and
counsellor of the people in all matters of private and public
interest. He was a great statesman as well as a reformer, and
all regarded him with veneration as the "seer," the prophet of
the Lord. At the close of this period, when he was now an old
man, the elders of Israel came to him at Ramah (1 Sam. 8:4, 5,
19-22); and feeling how great was the danger to which the nation
was exposed from the misconduct of Samuel's sons, whom he had
invested with judicial functions as his assistants, and had
placed at Beersheba on the Philistine border, and also from a
threatened invasion of the Ammonites, they demanded that a king
should be set over them. This request was very displeasing to
Samuel. He remonstrated with them, and warned them of the
consequences of such a step. At length, however, referring the
matter to God, he acceded to their desires, and anointed Saul
(q.v.) to be their king (11:15). Before retiring from public
life he convened an assembly of the people at Gilgal (ch. 12),
and there solemnly addressed them with reference to his own
relation to them as judge and prophet.
The remainder of his life he spent in retirement at Ramah,
only occasionally and in special circumstances appearing again
in public (1 Sam. 13, 15) with communications from God to king
Saul. While mourning over the many evils which now fell upon the
nation, he is suddenly summoned (ch.16) to go to Bethlehem and
anoint David, the son of Jesse, as king over Israel instead of
Saul. After this little is known of him till the time of his
death, which took place at Ramah when he was probably about
eighty years of age. "And all Israel gathered themselves
together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at
Ramah" (25:1), not in the house itself, but in the court or
garden of his house. (Comp. 2 Kings 21:18; 2 Chr. 33:20; 1 Kings
2:34; John 19:41.)
Samuel's devotion to God, and the special favour with which
God regarded him, are referred to in Jer. 15:1 and Ps. 99:6.
the name derived from the city Asshur on the Tigris, the
original capital of the country, was originally a colony from
Babylonia, and was ruled by viceroys from that kingdom. It was a
mountainous region lying to the north of Babylonia, extending
along the Tigris as far as to the high mountain range of
Armenia, the Gordiaean or Carduchian mountains. It was founded
in B.C. 1700 under Bel-kap-kapu, and became an independent and a
conquering power, and shook off the yoke of its Babylonian
masters. It subdued the whole of Northern Asia. The Assyrians
were Semites (Gen. 10:22), but in process of time non-Semite
tribes mingled with the inhabitants. They were a military
people, the "Romans of the East."
Of the early history of the kingdom of Assyria little is
positively known. In B.C. 1120 Tiglath-pileser I., the greatest
of the Assyrian kings, "crossed the Euphrates, defeated the
kings of the Hittites, captured the city of Carchemish, and
advanced as far as the shores of the Mediterranean." He may be
regarded as the founder of the first Assyrian empire. After this
the Assyrians gradually extended their power, subjugating the
states of Northern Syria. In the reign of Ahab, king of Israel,
Shalmaneser II. marched an army against the Syrian states, whose
allied army he encountered and vanquished at Karkar. This led to
Ahab's casting off the yoke of Damascus and allying himself with
Judah. Some years after this the Assyrian king marched an army
against Hazael, king of Damascus. He besieged and took that
city. He also brought under tribute Jehu, and the cities of Tyre
About a hundred years after this (B.C. 745) the crown was
seized by a military adventurer called Pul, who assumed the name
of Tiglath-pileser III. He directed his armies into Syria, which
had by this time regained its independence, and took (B.C. 740)
Arpad, near Aleppo, after a siege of three years, and reduced
Hamath. Azariah (Uzziah) was an ally of the king of Hamath, and
thus was compelled by Tiglath-pileser to do him homage and pay a
In B.C. 738, in the reign of Menahem, king of Israel, Pul
invaded Israel, and imposed on it a heavy tribute (2 Kings
15:19). Ahaz, the king of Judah, when engaged in a war against
Israel and Syria, appealed for help to this Assyrian king by
means of a present of gold and silver (2 Kings 16:8); who
accordingly "marched against Damascus, defeated and put Rezin to
death, and besieged the city itself." Leaving a portion of his
army to continue the siege, "he advanced through the province
east of Jordan, spreading fire and sword," and became master of
Philistia, and took Samaria and Damascus. He died B.C. 727, and
was succeeded by Shalmanezer IV., who ruled till B.C. 722. He
also invaded Syria (2 Kings 17:5), but was deposed in favour of
Sargon (q.v.) the Tartan, or commander-in-chief of the army, who
took Samaria (q.v.) after a siege of three years, and so put an
end to the kingdom of Israel, carrying the people away into
captivity, B.C. 722 (2 Kings 17:1-6, 24; 18:7, 9). He also
overran the land of Judah, and took the city of Jerusalem (Isa.
10:6, 12, 22, 24, 34). Mention is next made of Sennacherib (B.C.
705), the son and successor of Sargon (2 Kings 18:13; 19:37;
Isa. 7:17, 18); and then of Esar-haddon, his son and successor,
who took Manasseh, king of Judah, captive, and kept him for some
time a prisoner at Babylon, which he alone of all the Assyrian
kings made the seat of his government (2 Kings 19:37; Isa.
Assur-bani-pal, the son of Esarhaddon, became king, and in
Ezra 4:10 is referred to as Asnapper. From an early period
Assyria had entered on a conquering career, and having absorbed
Babylon, the kingdoms of Hamath, Damascus, and Samaria, it
conquered Phoenicia, and made Judea feudatory, and subjected
Philistia and Idumea. At length, however, its power declined. In
B.C. 727 the Babylonians threw off the rule of the Assyrians,
under the leadership of the powerful Chaldean prince
Merodach-baladan (2 Kings 20:12), who, after twelve years, was
subdued by Sargon, who now reunited the kingdom, and ruled over
a vast empire. But on his death the smouldering flames of
rebellion again burst forth, and the Babylonians and Medes
successfully asserted their independence (B.C. 625), and Assyria
fell according to the prophecies of Isaiah (10:5-19), Nahum
(3:19), and Zephaniah (3:13), and the many separate kingdoms of
which it was composed ceased to recognize the "great king" (2
Kings 18:19; Isa. 36:4). Ezekiel (31) attests (about B.C. 586)
how completely Assyria was overthrown. It ceases to be a nation.
(See NINEVEH ¯T0002735; BABYLON ¯T0000409.)
In all the Hebrew manuscripts the Pentateuch (q.v.) forms one
roll or volume divided into larger and smaller sections called
_parshioth_ and _sedarim_. It is not easy to say when it was
divided into five books. This was probably first done by the
Greek translators of the book, whom the Vulgate follows. The
fifth of these books was called by the Greeks Deuteronomion,
i.e., the second law, hence our name Deuteronomy, or a second
statement of the laws already promulgated. The Jews designated
the book by the two first Hebrew words that occur, _'Elle
haddabharim_, i.e., "These are the words." They divided it into
eleven _parshioth_. In the English Bible it contains thirty-four
It consists chiefly of three discourses delivered by Moses a
short time before his death. They were spoken to all Israel in
the plains of Moab, in the eleventh month of the last year of
The first discourse (1-4:40) recapitulates the chief events of
the last forty years in the wilderness, with earnest
exhortations to obedience to the divine ordinances, and warnings
against the danger of forsaking the God of their fathers.
The seond discourse (5-26:19) is in effect the body of the
whole book. The first address is introductory to it. It contains
practically a recapitulation of the law already given by God at
Mount Sinai, together with many admonitions and injunctions as
to the course of conduct they were to follow when they were
settled in Canaan.
The concluding discourse (ch. 27-30) relates almost wholly to
the solemn sanctions of the law, the blessings to the obedient,
and the curse that would fall on the rebellious. He solemnly
adjures them to adhere faithfully to the covenant God had made
with them, and so secure for themselves and their posterity the
These addresses to the people are followed by what may be
called three appendices, namely (1), a song which God had
commanded Moses to write (32:1-47); (2) the blessings he
pronounced on the separate tribes (ch. 33); and (3) the story of
his death (32:48-52) and burial (ch. 34), written by some other
hand, probably that of Joshua.
These farewell addresses of Moses to the tribes of Israel he
had so long led in the wilderness "glow in each line with the
emotions of a great leader recounting to his contemporaries the
marvellous story of their common experience. The enthusiasm they
kindle, even to-day, though obscured by translation, reveals
their matchless adaptation to the circumstances under which they
were first spoken. Confidence for the future is evoked by
remembrance of the past. The same God who had done mighty works
for the tribes since the Exodus would cover their head in the
day of battle with the nations of Israel, soon to be invaded.
Their great lawgiver stands before us, vigorous in his hoary
age, stern in his abhorrence of evil, earnest in his zeal for
God, but mellowed in all relations to earth by his nearness to
heaven. The commanding wisdom of his enactments, the dignity of
his position as the founder of the nation and the first of
prophets, enforce his utterances. But he touches our deepest
emotions by the human tenderness that breathes in all his words.
Standing on the verge of life, he speaks as a father giving his
parting counsels to those he loves; willing to depart and be
with God he has served so well, but fondly lengthening out his
last farewell to the dear ones of earth. No book can compare
with Deuteronomy in its mingled sublimity and tenderness."
Geikie, Hours, etc.
The whole style and method of this book, its tone and its
peculiarities of conception and expression, show that it must
have come from one hand. That the author was none other than
Moses is established by the following considerations: (1.) The
uniform tradition both of the Jewish and the Christian Church
down to recent times. (2.) The book professes to have been
written by Moses (1:1; 29:1; 31:1, 9-11, etc.), and was
obviously intended to be accepted as his work. (3.) The
incontrovertible testimony of our Lord and his apostles (Matt.
19:7, 8; Mark 10:3, 4; John 5:46, 47; Acts 3:22; 7:37; Rom.
10:19) establishes the same conclusion. (4.) The frequent
references to it in the later books of the canon (Josh. 8:31; 1
Kings 2:9; 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Chr. 23:18; 25:4; 34:14; Ezra 3:2;
7:6; Neh. 8:1; Dan. 9:11, 13) prove its antiquity; and (5) the
archaisms found in it are in harmony with the age in which Moses
lived. (6.) Its style and allusions are also strikingly
consistent with the circumstances and position of Moses and of
the people at that time.
This body of positive evidence cannot be set aside by the
conjectures and reasonings of modern critics, who contended that
the book was somewhat like a forgery, introduced among the Jews
some seven or eight centuries after the Exodus.
father of a multitude, son of Terah, named (Gen. 11:27) before
his older brothers Nahor and Haran, because he was the heir of
the promises. Till the age of seventy, Abram sojourned among his
kindred in his native country of Chaldea. He then, with his
father and his family and household, quitted the city of Ur, in
which he had hitherto dwelt, and went some 300 miles north to
Haran, where he abode fifteen years. The cause of his migration
was a call from God (Acts 7:2-4). There is no mention of this
first call in the Old Testament; it is implied, however, in Gen.
12. While they tarried at Haran, Terah died at the age of 205
years. Abram now received a second and more definite call,
accompanied by a promise from God (Gen. 12:1,2); whereupon he
took his departure, taking his nephew Lot with him, "not knowing
whither he went" (Heb. 11:8). He trusted implicitly to the
guidance of Him who had called him.
Abram now, with a large household of probably a thousand
souls, entered on a migratory life, and dwelt in tents. Passing
along the valley of the Jabbok, in the land of Canaan, he formed
his first encampment at Sichem (Gen. 12:6), in the vale or
oak-grove of Moreh, between Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the
south. Here he received the great promise, "I will make of thee
a great nation," etc. (Gen. 12:2,3,7). This promise comprehended
not only temporal but also spiritual blessings. It implied that
he was the chosen ancestor of the great Deliverer whose coming
had been long ago predicted (Gen. 3:15). Soon after this, for
some reason not mentioned, he removed his tent to the mountain
district between Bethel, then called Luz, and Ai, towns about
two miles apart, where he built an altar to "Jehovah." He again
moved into the southern tract of Israel, called by the
Hebrews the Negeb; and was at length, on account of a famine,
compelled to go down into Egypt. This took place in the time of
the Hyksos, a Semitic race which now held the Egyptians in
bondage. Here occurred that case of deception on the part of
Abram which exposed him to the rebuke of Pharaoh (Gen. 12:18).
Sarai was restored to him; and Pharaoh loaded him with presents,
recommending him to withdraw from the country. He returned to
Canaan richer than when he left it, "in cattle, in silver, and
in gold" (Gen. 12:8; 13:2. Comp. Ps. 105:13, 14). The whole
party then moved northward, and returned to their previous
station near Bethel. Here disputes arose between Lot's shepherds
and those of Abram about water and pasturage. Abram generously
gave Lot his choice of the pasture-ground. (Comp. 1 Cor. 6:7.)
He chose the well-watered plain in which Sodom was situated, and
removed thither; and thus the uncle and nephew were separated.
Immediately after this Abram was cheered by a repetition of the
promises already made to him, and then removed to the plain or
"oak-grove" of Mamre, which is in Hebron. He finally settled
here, pitching his tent under a famous oak or terebinth tree,
called "the oak of Mamre" (Gen. 13:18). This was his third
resting-place in the land.
Some fourteen years before this, while Abram was still in
Chaldea, Israel had been invaded by Chedorlaomer, King of
Elam, who brought under tribute to him the five cities in the
plain to which Lot had removed. This tribute was felt by the
inhabitants of these cities to be a heavy burden, and after
twelve years they revolted. This brought upon them the vengeance
of Chedorlaomer, who had in league with him four other kings. He
ravaged the whole country, plundering the towns, and carrying
the inhabitants away as slaves. Among those thus treated was
Lot. Hearing of the disaster that had fallen on his nephew,
Abram immediately gathered from his own household a band of 318
armed men, and being joined by the Amoritish chiefs Mamre, Aner,
and Eshcol, he pursued after Chedorlaomer, and overtook him near
the springs of the Jordan. They attacked and routed his army,
and pursued it over the range of Anti-Libanus as far as to
Hobah, near Damascus, and then returned, bringing back all the
spoils that had been carried away. Returning by way of Salem,
i.e., Jerusalem, the king of that place, Melchizedek, came forth
to meet them with refreshments. To him Abram presented a tenth
of the spoils, in recognition of his character as a priest of
the most high God (Gen. 14:18-20).
In a recently-discovered tablet, dated in the reign of the
grandfather of Amraphel (Gen. 14:1), one of the witnesses is
called "the Amorite, the son of Abiramu," or Abram.
Having returned to his home at Mamre, the promises already
made to him by God were repeated and enlarged (Gen. 13:14). "The
word of the Lord" (an expression occurring here for the first
time) "came to him" (15:1). He now understood better the future
that lay before the nation that was to spring from him. Sarai,
now seventy-five years old, in her impatience, persuaded Abram
to take Hagar, her Egyptian maid, as a concubine, intending that
whatever child might be born should be reckoned as her own.
Ishmael was accordingly thus brought up, and was regarded as the
heir of these promises (Gen. 16). When Ishmael was thirteen
years old, God again revealed yet more explicitly and fully his
gracious purpose; and in token of the sure fulfilment of that
purpose the patriarch's name was now changed from Abram to
Abraham (Gen. 17:4,5), and the rite of circumcision was
instituted as a sign of the covenant. It was then announced that
the heir to these covenant promises would be the son of Sarai,
though she was now ninety years old; and it was directed that
his name should be Isaac. At the same time, in commemoration of
the promises, Sarai's name was changed to Sarah. On that
memorable day of God's thus revealing his design, Abraham and
his son Ishmael and all the males of his house were circumcised
(Gen. 17). Three months after this, as Abraham sat in his tent
door, he saw three men approaching. They accepted his proffered
hospitality, and, seated under an oak-tree, partook of the fare
which Abraham and Sarah provided. One of the three visitants was
none other than the Lord, and the other two were angels in the
guise of men. The Lord renewed on this occasion his promise of a
son by Sarah, who was rebuked for her unbelief. Abraham
accompanied the three as they proceeded on their journey. The
two angels went on toward Sodom; while the Lord tarried behind
and talked with Abraham, making known to him the destruction
that was about to fall on that guilty city. The patriarch
interceded earnestly in behalf of the doomed city. But as not
even ten righteous persons were found in it, for whose sake the
city would have been spared, the threatened destruction fell
upon it; and early next morning Abraham saw the smoke of the
fire that consumed it as the "smoke of a furnace" (Gen.
After fifteen years' residence at Mamre, Abraham moved
southward, and pitched his tent among the Philistines, near to
Gerar. Here occurred that sad instance of prevarication on his
part in his relation to Abimelech the King (Gen. 20). (See
ABIMELECH ¯T0000040.) Soon after this event, the patriarch left
the vicinity of Gerar, and moved down the fertile valley about
25 miles to Beer-sheba. It was probably here that Isaac was
born, Abraham being now an hundred years old. A feeling of
jealousy now arose between Sarah and Hagar, whose son, Ishmael,
was no longer to be regarded as Abraham's heir. Sarah insisted
that both Hagar and her son should be sent away. This was done,
although it was a hard trial to Abraham (Gen. 21:12). (See HAGAR
¯T0001583; ISHMAEL ¯T0001903.)
At this point there is a blank in the patriarch's history of
perhaps twenty-five years. These years of peace and happiness
were spent at Beer-sheba. The next time we see him his faith is
put to a severe test by the command that suddenly came to him to
go and offer up Isaac, the heir of all the promises, as a
sacrifice on one of the mountains of Moriah. His faith stood the
test (Heb. 11:17-19). He proceeded in a spirit of unhesitating
obedience to carry out the command; and when about to slay his
son, whom he had laid on the altar, his uplifted hand was
arrested by the angel of Jehovah, and a ram, which was entangled
in a thicket near at hand, was seized and offered in his stead.
From this circumstance that place was called Jehovah-jireh,
i.e., "The Lord will provide." The promises made to Abraham were
again confirmed (and this was the last recorded word of God to
the patriarch); and he descended the mount with his son, and
returned to his home at Beer-sheba (Gen. 22:19), where he
resided for some years, and then moved northward to Hebron.
Some years after this Sarah died at Hebron, being 127 years
old. Abraham acquired now the needful possession of a
burying-place, the cave of Machpelah, by purchase from the owner
of it, Ephron the Hittite (Gen. 23); and there he buried Sarah.
His next care was to provide a wife for Isaac, and for this
purpose he sent his steward, Eliezer, to Haran (or Charran, Acts
7:2), where his brother Nahor and his family resided (Gen.
11:31). The result was that Rebekah, the daughter of Nahor's son
Bethuel, became the wife of Isaac (Gen. 24). Abraham then
himself took to wife Keturah, who became the mother of six sons,
whose descendants were afterwards known as the "children of the
east" (Judg. 6:3), and later as "Saracens." At length all his
wanderings came to an end. At the age of 175 years, 100 years
after he had first entered the land of Canaan, he died, and was
buried in the old family burying-place at Machpelah (Gen.
The history of Abraham made a wide and deep impression on the
ancient world, and references to it are interwoven in the
religious traditions of almost all Eastern nations. He is called
"the friend of God" (James 2:23), "faithful Abraham" (Gal. 3:9),
"the father of us all" (Rom. 4:16).
called also Salem, Ariel, Jebus, the "city of God," the "holy
city;" by the modern Arabs el-Khuds, meaning "the holy;" once
"the city of Judah" (2 Chr. 25:28). This name is in the original
in the dual form, and means "possession of peace," or
"foundation of peace." The dual form probably refers to the two
mountains on which it was built, viz., Zion and Moriah; or, as
some suppose, to the two parts of the city, the "upper" and the
"lower city." Jerusalem is a "mountain city enthroned on a
mountain fastness" (comp. Ps. 68:15, 16; 87:1; 125:2; 76:1, 2;
122:3). It stands on the edge of one of the highest table-lands
in Israel, and is surrounded on the south-eastern, the
southern, and the western sides by deep and precipitous ravines.
It is first mentioned in Scripture under the name Salem (Gen.
14:18; comp. Ps. 76:2). When first mentioned under the name
Jerusalem, Adonizedek was its king (Josh. 10:1). It is
afterwards named among the cities of Benjamin (Judg. 19:10; 1
Chr. 11:4); but in the time of David it was divided between
Benjamin and Judah. After the death of Joshua the city was taken
and set on fire by the men of Judah (Judg. 1:1-8); but the
Jebusites were not wholly driven out of it. The city is not
again mentioned till we are told that David brought the head of
Goliath thither (1 Sam. 17:54). David afterwards led his forces
against the Jebusites still residing within its walls, and drove
them out, fixing his own dwelling on Zion, which he called "the
city of David" (2 Sam. 5:5-9; 1 Chr. 11:4-8). Here he built an
altar to the Lord on the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite
(2 Sam. 24:15-25), and thither he brought up the ark of the
covenant and placed it in the new tabernacle which he had
prepared for it. Jerusalem now became the capital of the
After the death of David, Solomon built the temple, a house
for the name of the Lord, on Mount Moriah (B.C. 1010). He also
greatly strengthened and adorned the city, and it became the
great centre of all the civil and religious affairs of the
nation (Deut. 12:5; comp. 12:14; 14:23; 16:11-16; Ps. 122).
After the disruption of the kingdom on the accession to the
throne of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, Jerusalem became the
capital of the kingdom of the two tribes. It was subsequently
often taken and retaken by the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and by
the kings of Israel (2 Kings 14:13, 14; 18:15, 16; 23:33-35;
24:14; 2 Chr. 12:9; 26:9; 27:3, 4; 29:3; 32:30; 33:11), till
finally, for the abounding iniquities of the nation, after a
siege of three years, it was taken and utterly destroyed, its
walls razed to the ground, and its temple and palaces consumed
by fire, by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon (2 Kings 25; 2
Chr. 36; Jer. 39), B.C. 588. The desolation of the city and the
land was completed by the retreat of the principal Jews into
Egypt (Jer. 40-44), and by the final carrying captive into
Babylon of all that still remained in the land (52:3), so that
it was left without an inhabitant (B.C. 582). Compare the
predictions, Deut. 28; Lev. 26:14-39.
But the streets and walls of Jerusalem were again to be built,
in troublous times (Dan. 9:16, 19, 25), after a captivity of
seventy years. This restoration was begun B.C. 536, "in the
first year of Cyrus" (Ezra 1:2, 3, 5-11). The Books of Ezra and
Nehemiah contain the history of the re-building of the city and
temple, and the restoration of the kingdom of the Jews,
consisting of a portion of all the tribes. The kingdom thus
constituted was for two centuries under the dominion of Persia,
till B.C. 331; and thereafter, for about a century and a half,
under the rulers of the Greek empire in Asia, till B.C. 167. For
a century the Jews maintained their independence under native
rulers, the Asmonean princes. At the close of this period they
fell under the rule of Herod and of members of his family, but
practically under Rome, till the time of the destruction of
Jerusalem, A.D. 70. The city was then laid in ruins.
The modern Jerusalem by-and-by began to be built over the
immense beds of rubbish resulting from the overthrow of the
ancient city; and whilst it occupies certainly the same site,
there are no evidences that even the lines of its streets are
now what they were in the ancient city. Till A.D. 131 the Jews
who still lingered about Jerusalem quietly submitted to the
Roman sway. But in that year the emperor (Hadrian), in order to
hold them in subjection, rebuilt and fortified the city. The
Jews, however, took possession of it, having risen under the
leadership of one Bar-Chohaba (i.e., "the son of the star") in
revolt against the Romans. Some four years afterwards (A.D.
135), however, they were driven out of it with great slaughter,
and the city was again destroyed; and over its ruins was built a
Roman city called Aelia Capitolina, a name which it retained
till it fell under the dominion of the Mohammedans, when it was
called el-Khuds, i.e., "the holy."
In A.D. 326 Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine, made a
pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the view of discovering the places
mentioned in the life of our Lord. She caused a church to be
built on what was then supposed to be the place of the nativity
at Bethlehem. Constantine, animated by her example, searched for
the holy sepulchre, and built over the supposed site a
magnificent church, which was completed and dedicated A.D. 335.
He relaxed the laws against the Jews till this time in force,
and permitted them once a year to visit the city and wail over
the desolation of "the holy and beautiful house."
In A.D. 614 the Persians, after defeating the Roman forces of
the emperor Heraclius, took Jerusalem by storm, and retained it
till A.D. 637, when it was taken by the Arabians under the
Khalif Omar. It remained in their possession till it passed, in
A.D. 960, under the dominion of the Fatimite khalifs of Egypt,
and in A.D. 1073 under the Turcomans. In A.D. 1099 the crusader
Godfrey of Bouillon took the city from the Moslems with great
slaughter, and was elected king of Jerusalem. He converted the
Mosque of Omar into a Christian cathedral. During the
eighty-eight years which followed, many churches and convents
were erected in the holy city. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
was rebuilt during this period, and it alone remains to this
day. In A.D. 1187 the sultan Saladin wrested the city from the
Christians. From that time to the present day, with few
intervals, Jerusalem has remained in the hands of the Moslems.
It has, however, during that period been again and again taken
and retaken, demolished in great part and rebuilt, no city in
the world having passed through so many vicissitudes.
In the year 1850 the Greek and Latin monks residing in
Jerusalem had a fierce dispute about the guardianship of what
are called the "holy places." In this dispute the emperor
Nicholas of Russia sided with the Greeks, and Louis Napoleon,
the emperor of the French, with the Latins. This led the Turkish
authorities to settle the question in a way unsatisfactory to
Russia. Out of this there sprang the Crimean War, which was
protracted and sanguinary, but which had important consequences
in the way of breaking down the barriers of Turkish
Modern Jerusalem "lies near the summit of a broad
mountain-ridge, which extends without interruption from the
plain of Esdraelon to a line drawn between the southern end of
the Dead Sea and the southeastern corner of the Mediterranean."
This high, uneven table-land is everywhere from 20 to 25
geographical miles in breadth. It was anciently known as the
mountains of Ephraim and Judah.
"Jerusalem is a city of contrasts, and differs widely from
Damascus, not merely because it is a stone town in mountains,
whilst the latter is a mud city in a plain, but because while in
Damascus Moslem religion and Oriental custom are unmixed with
any foreign element, in Jerusalem every form of religion, every
nationality of East and West, is represented at one time."
Jerusalem is first mentioned under that name in the Book of
Joshua, and the Tell-el-Amarna collection of tablets includes
six letters from its Amorite king to Egypt, recording the attack
of the Abiri about B.C. 1480. The name is there spelt Uru-Salim
("city of peace"). Another monumental record in which the Holy
City is named is that of Sennacherib's attack in B.C. 702. The
"camp of the Assyrians" was still shown about A.D. 70, on the
flat ground to the north-west, included in the new quarter of
The city of David included both the upper city and Millo, and
was surrounded by a wall built by David and Solomon, who appear
to have restored the original Jebusite fortifications. The name
Zion (or Sion) appears to have been, like Ariel ("the hearth of
God"), a poetical term for Jerusalem, but in the Greek age was
more specially used of the Temple hill. The priests' quarter
grew up on Ophel, south of the Temple, where also was Solomon's
Palace outside the original city of David. The walls of the city
were extended by Jotham and Manasseh to include this suburb and
the Temple (2 Chr. 27:3; 33:14).
Jerusalem is now a town of some 50,000 inhabitants, with
ancient mediaeval walls, partly on the old lines, but extending
less far to the south. The traditional sites, as a rule, were
first shown in the 4th and later centuries A.D., and have no
authority. The results of excavation have, however, settled most
of the disputed questions, the limits of the Temple area, and
the course of the old walls having been traced.
asked for. (1.) A king of Edom (Gen. 36:37, 38); called Shaul in
1 Chr. 1:48.
(2.) The son of Kish (probably his only son, and a child of
prayer, "asked for"), of the tribe of Benjamin, the first king
of the Jewish nation. The singular providential circumstances
connected with his election as king are recorded in 1 Sam. 8-10.
His father's she-asses had strayed, and Saul was sent with a
servant to seek for them. Leaving his home at Gibeah (10:5, "the
hill of God," A.V.; lit., as in R.V. marg., "Gibeah of God"),
Saul and his servant went toward the north-west over Mount
Ephraim, and then turning north-east they came to "the land of
Shalisha," and thence eastward to the land of Shalim, and at
length came to the district of Zuph, near Samuel's home at Ramah
(9:5-10). At this point Saul proposed to return from the three
days' fruitless search, but his servant suggested that they
should first consult the "seer." Hearing that he was about to
offer sacrifice, the two hastened into Ramah, and "behold,
Samuel came out against them," on his way to the "bamah", i.e.,
the "height", where sacrifice was to be offered; and in answer
to Saul's question, "Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer's
house is," Samuel made himself known to him. Samuel had been
divinely prepared for his coming (9:15-17), and received Saul as
his guest. He took him with him to the sacrifice, and then after
the feast "communed with Saul upon the top of the house" of all
that was in his heart. On the morrow Samuel "took a vial of oil
and poured it on his head," and anointed Saul as king over
Israel (9:25-10:8), giving him three signs in confirmation of
his call to be king. When Saul reached his home in Gibeah the
last of these signs was fulfilled, and the Sprit of God came
upon him, and "he was turned into another man." The simple
countryman was transformed into the king of Israel, a remarkable
change suddenly took place in his whole demeanour, and the
people said in their astonishment, as they looked on the
stalwart son of Kish, "Is Saul also among the prophets?", a
saying which passed into a "proverb." (Comp. 19:24.)
The intercourse between Saul and Samuel was as yet unknown to
the people. The "anointing" had been in secret. But now the time
had come when the transaction must be confirmed by the nation.
Samuel accordingly summoned the people to a solemn assembly
"before the Lord" at Mizpeh. Here the lot was drawn (10:17-27),
and it fell upon Saul, and when he was presented before them,
the stateliest man in all Israel, the air was rent for the first
time in Israel by the loud cry, "God save the king!" He now
returned to his home in Gibeah, attended by a kind of bodyguard,
"a band of men whose hearts God had touched." On reaching his
home he dismissed them, and resumed the quiet toils of his
Soon after this, on hearing of the conduct of Nahash the
Ammonite at Jabeshgilead (q.v.), an army out of all the tribes
of Israel rallied at his summons to the trysting-place at Bezek,
and he led them forth a great army to battle, gaining a complete
victory over the Ammonite invaders at Jabesh (11:1-11). Amid the
universal joy occasioned by this victory he was now fully
recognized as the king of Israel. At the invitation of Samuel
"all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king
before the Lord in Gilgal." Samuel now officially anointed him
as king (11:15). Although Samuel never ceased to be a judge in
Israel, yet now his work in that capacity practically came to an
Saul now undertook the great and difficult enterprise of
freeing the land from its hereditary enemies the Philistines,
and for this end he gathered together an army of 3,000 men (1
Sam. 13:1, 2). The Philistines were encamped at Geba. Saul, with
2,000 men, occupied Michmash and Mount Bethel; while his son
Jonathan, with 1,000 men, occupied Gibeah, to the south of Geba,
and seemingly without any direction from his father "smote" the
Philistines in Geba. Thus roused, the Philistines, who gathered
an army of 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen, and "people as
the sand which is on the sea-shore in multitude," encamped in
Michmash, which Saul had evacuated for Gilgal. Saul now tarried
for seven days in Gilgal before making any movement, as Samuel
had appointed (10:8); but becoming impatient on the seventh day,
as it was drawing to a close, when he had made an end of
offering the burnt offering, Samuel appeared and warned him of
the fatal consequences of his act of disobedience, for he had
not waited long enough (13:13, 14).
When Saul, after Samuel's departure, went out from Gilgal with
his 600 men, his followers having decreased to that number
(13:15), against the Philistines at Michmash (q.v.), he had his
head-quarters under a pomegrante tree at Migron, over against
Michmash, the Wady esSuweinit alone intervening. Here at
Gibeah-Geba Saul and his army rested, uncertain what to do.
Jonathan became impatient, and with his armour-bearer planned an
assault against the Philistines, unknown to Saul and the army
(14:1-15). Jonathan and his armour-bearer went down into the
wady, and on their hands and knees climbed to the top of the
narrow rocky ridge called Bozez, where was the outpost of the
Philistine army. They surprised and then slew twenty of the
Philistines, and immediately the whole host of the Philistines
was thrown into disorder and fled in great terror. "It was a
very great trembling;" a supernatural panic seized the host.
Saul and his 600 men, a band which speedily increased to 10,000,
perceiving the confusion, pursued the army of the Philistines,
and the tide of battle rolled on as far as to Bethaven, halfway
between Michmash and Bethel. The Philistines were totally
routed. "So the Lord saved Israel that day." While pursuing the
Philistines, Saul rashly adjured the people, saying, "Cursed be
the man that eateth any food until evening." But though faint
and weary, the Israelites "smote the Philistines that day from
Michmash to Aijalon" (a distance of from 15 to 20 miles).
Jonathan had, while passing through the wood in pursuit of the
Philistines, tasted a little of the honeycomb which was abundant
there (14:27). This was afterwards discovered by Saul (ver. 42),
and he threatened to put his son to death. The people, however,
interposed, saying, "There shall not one hair of his head fall
to the ground." He whom God had so signally owned, who had
"wrought this great salvation in Israel," must not die. "Then
Saul went up from following the Philistines: and the Philistines
went to their own place" (1 Sam. 14:24-46); and thus the
campaign against the Philistines came to an end. This was Saul's
second great military success.
Saul's reign, however, continued to be one of almost constant
war against his enemies round about (14:47, 48), in all of which
he proved victorious. The war against the Amalekites is the only
one which is recorded at length (1 Sam. 15). These oldest and
hereditary (Ex. 17:8; Num. 14:43-45) enemies of Israel occupied
the territory to the south and south-west of Israel. Samuel
summoned Saul to execute the "ban" which God had pronounced
(Deut. 25:17-19) on this cruel and relentless foe of Israel. The
cup of their iniquity was now full. This command was "the test
of his moral qualification for being king." Saul proceeded to
execute the divine command; and gathering the people together,
marched from Telaim (1 Sam. 15:4) against the Amalekites, whom
he smote "from Havilah until thou comest to Shur," utterly
destroying "all the people with the edge of the sword", i.e.,
all that fell into his hands. He was, however, guilty of
rebellion and disobedience in sparing Agag their king, and in
conniving at his soldiers' sparing the best of the sheep and
cattle; and Samuel, following Saul to Gilgal, in the Jordan
valley, said unto him, "Because thou hast rejected the word of
the Lord, he also hath rejected thee from being king" (15:23).
The kingdom was rent from Saul and was given to another, even to
David, whom the Lord chose to be Saul's successor, and whom
Samuel anointed (16:1-13). From that day "the spirit of the Lord
departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled
him." He and Samuel parted only to meet once again at one of the
schools of the prophets.
David was now sent for as a "cunning player on an harp" (1
Sam. 16:16, 18), to play before Saul when the evil spirit
troubled him, and thus was introduced to the court of Saul. He
became a great favourite with the king. At length David returned
to his father's house and to his wonted avocation as a shepherd
for perhaps some three years. The Philistines once more invaded
the land, and gathered their army between Shochoh and Azekah, in
Ephes-dammim, on the southern slope of the valley of Elah. Saul
and the men of Israel went forth to meet them, and encamped on
the northern slope of the same valley which lay between the two
armies. It was here that David slew Goliath of Gath, the
champion of the Philistines (17:4-54), an exploit which led to
the flight and utter defeat of the Philistine army. Saul now
took David permanently into his service (18:2); but he became
jealous of him (ver. 9), and on many occasions showed his enmity
toward him (ver. 10, 11), his enmity ripening into a purpose of
murder which at different times he tried in vain to carry out.
After some time the Philistines "gathered themselves together"
in the plain of Esdraelon, and pitched their camp at Shunem, on
the slope of Little Hermon; and Saul "gathered all Israel
together," and "pitched in Gilboa" (1 Sam. 28:3-14). Being
unable to discover the mind of the Lord, Saul, accompanied by
two of his retinue, betook himself to the "witch of Endor," some
7 or 8 miles distant. Here he was overwhelmed by the startling
communication that was mysteriously made to him by Samuel (ver.
16-19), who appeared to him. "He fell straightway all along on
the earth, and was sore afraid, because of the words of Samuel"
(ver. 20). The Philistine host "fought against Israel: and the
men of Israel fled before the Philistines, and fell down slain
in Mount Gilboa" (31:1). In his despair at the disaster that had
befallen his army, Saul "took a sword and fell upon it." And the
Philistines on the morrow "found Saul and his three sons fallen
in Mount Gilboa." Having cut off his head, they sent it with his
weapons to Philistia, and hung up the skull in the temple of
Dagon at Ashdod. They suspended his headless body, with that of
Jonathan, from the walls of Bethshan. The men of Jabesh-gilead
afterwards removed the bodies from this position; and having
burnt the flesh, they buried the bodies under a tree at Jabesh.
The remains were, however, afterwards removed to the family
sepulchre at Zelah (2 Sam. 21:13, 14). (See DAVID ¯T0000982.)
(3.) "Who is also called Paul" (q.v.), the circumcision name
of the apostle, given to him, perhaps, in memory of King Saul
(Acts 7:58; 8:1; 9:1).
peaceful, (Heb. Shelomoh), David's second son by Bathsheba,
i.e., the first after their legal marriage (2 Sam. 12). He was
probably born about B.C. 1035 (1 Chr. 22:5; 29:1). He succeeded
his father on the throne in early manhood, probably about
sixteen or eighteen years of age. Nathan, to whom his education
was intrusted, called him Jedidiah, i.e., "beloved of the Lord"
(2 Sam. 12:24, 25). He was the first king of Israel "born in the
purple." His father chose him as his successor, passing over the
claims of his elder sons: "Assuredly Solomon my son shall reign
after me." His history is recorded in 1 Kings 1-11 and 2 Chr.
1-9. His elevation to the throne took place before his father's
death, and was hastened on mainly by Nathan and Bathsheba, in
consequence of the rebellion of Adonijah (1 Kings 1:5-40).
During his long reign of forty years the Hebrew monarchy gained
its highest splendour. This period has well been called the
"Augustan age" of the Jewish annals. The first half of his reign
was, however, by far the brighter and more prosperous; the
latter half was clouded by the idolatries into which he fell,
mainly from his heathen intermarriages (1 Kings 11:1-8; 14:21,
Before his death David gave parting instructions to his son (1
Kings 2:1-9; 1 Chr. 22:7-16; 28). As soon as he had settled
himself in his kingdom, and arranged the affairs of his
extensive empire, he entered into an alliance with Egypt by the
marriage of the daughter of Pharaoh (1 Kings 3:1), of whom,
however, nothing further is recorded. He surrounded himself with
all the luxuries and the external grandeur of an Eastern
monarch, and his government prospered. He entered into an
alliance with Hiram, king of Tyre, who in many ways greatly
assisted him in his numerous undertakings. (See HIRAM
For some years before his death David was engaged in the
active work of collecting materials (1 Chr. 29:6-9; 2 Chr.
2:3-7) for building a temple in Jerusalem as a permanent abode
for the ark of the covenant. He was not permitted to build the
house of God (1 Chr. 22:8); that honour was reserved to his son
Solomon. (See TEMPLE ¯T0003610.)
After the completion of the temple, Solomon engaged in the
erection of many other buildings of importance in Jerusalem and
in other parts of his kingdom. For the long space of thirteen
years he was engaged in the erection of a royal palace on Ophel
(1 Kings 7:1-12). It was 100 cubits long, 50 broad, and 30 high.
Its lofty roof was supported by forty-five cedar pillars, so
that the hall was like a forest of cedar wood, and hence
probably it received the name of "The House of the Forest of
Lebanon." In front of this "house" was another building, which
was called the Porch of Pillars, and in front of this again was
the "Hall of Judgment," or Throne-room (1 Kings 7:7; 10:18-20; 2
Chr. 9:17-19), "the King's Gate," where he administered justice
and gave audience to his people. This palace was a building of
great magnificence and beauty. A portion of it was set apart as
the residence of the queen consort, the daughter of Pharaoh.
From the palace there was a private staircase of red and scented
sandal wood which led up to the temple.
Solomon also constructed great works for the purpose of
securing a plentiful supply of water for the city (Eccl. 2:4-6).
He then built Millo (LXX., "Acra") for the defence of the city,
completing a line of ramparts around it (1 Kings 9:15, 24;
11:27). He erected also many other fortifications for the
defence of his kingdom at various points where it was exposed to
the assault of enemies (1 Kings 9:15-19; 2 Chr. 8:2-6). Among
his great undertakings must also be mentioned the building of
Tadmor (q.v.) in the wilderness as a commercial depot, as well
as a military outpost.
During his reign Israel enjoyed great commercial
prosperity. Extensive traffic was carried on by land with Tyre
and Egypt and Arabia, and by sea with Spain and India and the
coasts of Africa, by which Solomon accumulated vast stores of
wealth and of the produce of all nations (1 Kings 9:26-28;
10:11, 12; 2 Chr. 8:17, 18; 9:21). This was the "golden age" of
Israel. The royal magnificence and splendour of Solomon's court
were unrivalled. He had seven hundred wives and three hundred
concubines, an evidence at once of his pride, his wealth, and
his sensuality. The maintenance of his household involved
immense expenditure. The provision required for one day was
"thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal,
ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an
hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallow-deer, and
fatted fowl" (1 Kings 4:22, 23).
Solomon's reign was not only a period of great material
prosperity, but was equally remarkable for its intellectual
activity. He was the leader of his people also in this uprising
amongst them of new intellectual life. "He spake three thousand
proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake
of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the
hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts,
and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes" (1 Kings
His fame was spread abroad through all lands, and men came
from far and near "to hear the wisdom of Solomon." Among others
thus attracted to Jerusalem was "the queen of the south" (Matt.
12:42), the queen of Sheba, a country in Arabia Felix. "Deep,
indeed, must have been her yearning, and great his fame, which
induced a secluded Arabian queen to break through the immemorial
custom of her dreamy land, and to put forth the energy required
for braving the burdens and perils of so long a journey across a
wilderness. Yet this she undertook, and carried it out with
safety." (1 Kings 10:1-13; 2 Chr. 9:1-12.) She was filled with
amazement by all she saw and heard: "there was no more spirit in
her." After an interchange of presents she returned to her
But that golden age of Jewish history passed away. The bright
day of Solomon's glory ended in clouds and darkness. His decline
and fall from his high estate is a sad record. Chief among the
causes of his decline were his polygamy and his great wealth.
"As he grew older he spent more of his time among his
favourites. The idle king living among these idle women, for
1,000 women, with all their idle and mischievous attendants,
filled the palaces and pleasure-houses which he had built (1
Kings 11:3), learned first to tolerate and then to imitate their
heathenish ways. He did not, indeed, cease to believe in the God
of Israel with his mind. He did not cease to offer the usual
sacrifices in the temple at the great feasts. But his heart was
not right with God; his worship became merely formal; his soul,
left empty by the dying out of true religious fervour, sought to
be filled with any religious excitement which offered itself.
Now for the first time a worship was publicly set up amongst the
people of the Lord which was not simply irregular or forbidden,
like that of Gideon (Judg. 8:27), or the Danites (Judg. 18:30,
31), but was downright idolatrous." (1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings
This brought upon him the divine displeasure. His enemies
prevailed against him (1 Kings 11:14-22, 23-25, 26-40), and one
judgment after another fell upon the land. And now the end of
all came, and he died, after a reign of forty years, and was
buried in the city of David, and "with him was buried the
short-lived glory and unity of Israel." "He leaves behind him
but one weak and worthless son, to dismember his kingdom and
disgrace his name."
"The kingdom of Solomon," says Rawlinson, "is one of the most
striking facts in the Biblical history. A petty nation, which
for hundreds of years has with difficulty maintained a separate
existence in the midst of warlike tribes, each of which has in
turn exercised dominion over it and oppressed it, is suddenly
raised by the genius of a soldier-monarch to glory and
greatness. An empire is established which extends from the
Euphrates to the borders of Egypt, a distance of 450 miles; and
this empire, rapidly constructed, enters almost immediately on a
period of peace which lasts for half a century. Wealth,
grandeur, architectural magnificence, artistic excellence,
commercial enterprise, a position of dignity among the great
nations of the earth, are enjoyed during this space, at the end
of which there is a sudden collapse. The ruling nation is split
in twain, the subject-races fall off, the pre-eminence lately
gained being wholly lost, the scene of struggle, strife,
oppression, recovery, inglorious submission, and desperate
effort, re-commences.", Historical Illustrations.
whose God is Jehovah. (1.) "The Tishbite," the "Elias" of the
New Testament, is suddenly introduced to our notice in 1 Kings
17:1 as delivering a message from the Lord to Ahab. There is
mention made of a town called Thisbe, south of Kadesh, but it is
impossible to say whether this was the place referred to in the
name given to the prophet.
Having delivered his message to Ahab, he retired at the
command of God to a hiding-place by the brook Cherith, beyond
Jordan, where he was fed by ravens. When the brook dried up God
sent him to the widow of Zarephath, a city of Zidon, from whose
scanty store he was supported for the space of two years. During
this period the widow's son died, and was restored to life by
Elijah (1 Kings 17: 2-24).
During all these two years a famine prevailed in the land. At
the close of this period of retirement and of preparation for
his work (comp. Gal. 1:17, 18) Elijah met Obadiah, one of Ahab's
officers, whom he had sent out to seek for pasturage for the
cattle, and bade him go and tell his master that Elijah was
there. The king came and met Elijah, and reproached him as the
troubler of Israel. It was then proposed that sacrifices should
be publicly offered, for the purpose of determining whether Baal
or Jehovah were the true God. This was done on Carmel, with the
result that the people fell on their faces, crying, "The Lord,
he is the God." Thus was accomplished the great work of Elijah's
ministry. The prophets of Baal were then put to death by the
order of Elijah. Not one of them escaped. Then immediately
followed rain, according to the word of Elijah, and in answer to
his prayer (James 5:18).
Jezebel, enraged at the fate that had befallen her priests of
Baal, threatened to put Elijah to death (1 Kings 19:1-13). He
therefore fled in alarm to Beersheba, and thence went alone a
day's journey into the wilderness, and sat down in despondency
under a juniper tree. As he slept an angel touched him, and said
unto him, "Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for
thee." He arose and found a cake and a cruse of water. Having
partaken of the provision thus miraculously supplied, he went
forward on his solitary way for forty days and forty nights to
Horeb, the mount of God, where he took up his abode in a cave.
Here the Lord appeared unto him and said, "What dost thou here,
Elijah?" In answer to his despondent words God manifests to him
his glory, and then directs him to return to Damascus and anoint
Hazael king over Syria, and Jehu king over Israel, and Elisha to
be prophet in his room (1 Kings 19:13-21; comp. 2 Kings 8:7-15;
Some six years after this he warned Ahab and Jezebel of the
violent deaths they would die (1 Kings 21:19-24; 22:38). He
also, four years afterwards, warned Ahaziah (q.v.), who had
succeeded his father Ahab, of his approaching death (2 Kings
1:1-16). (See NABOTH ¯T0002645.) During these intervals he
probably withdrew to some quiet retirement, no one knew where.
His interview with Ahaziah's messengers on the way to Ekron, and
the account of the destruction of his captains with their
fifties, suggest the idea that he may have been in retirement at
this time on Mount Carmel.
The time now drew near when he was to be taken up into heaven
(2 Kings 2:1-12). He had a presentiment of what was awaiting
him. He went down to Gilgal, where was a school of the prophets,
and where his successor Elisha, whom he had anointed some years
before, resided. Elisha was solemnized by the thought of his
master's leaving him, and refused to be parted from him. "They
two went on," and came to Bethel and Jericho, and crossed the
Jordan, the waters of which were "divided hither and thither"
when smitten with Elijah's mantle. Arrived at the borders of
Gilead, which Elijah had left many years before, it "came to
pass as they still went on and talked" they were suddenly
separated by a chariot and horses of fire; and "Elijah went up
by a whirlwind into heaven, "Elisha receiving his mantle, which
fell from him as he ascended.
No one of the old prophets is so frequently referred to in the
New Testament. The priests and Levites said to the Baptist (John
1:25), "Why baptizest thou, if thou be not that Christ, nor
Elias?" Paul (Rom. 11:2) refers to an incident in his history to
illustrate his argument that God had not cast away his people.
James (5:17) finds in him an illustration of the power of
prayer. (See also Luke 4:25; 9:54.) He was a type of John the
Baptist in the sternness and power of his reproofs (Luke 9:8).
He was the Elijah that "must first come" (Matt. 11:11, 14), the
forerunner of our Lord announced by Malachi. Even outwardly the
Baptist corresponded so closely to the earlier prophet that he
might be styled a second Elijah. In him we see "the same
connection with a wild and wilderness country; the same long
retirement in the desert; the same sudden, startling entrance on
his work (1 Kings 17:1; Luke 3:2); even the same dress, a hairy
garment, and a leathern girdle about the loins (2 Kings 1:8;
How deep the impression was which Elijah made "on the mind of
the nation may be judged from the fixed belief, which rested on
the words of Malachi (4:5, 6), which many centuries after
prevailed that he would again appear for the relief and
restoration of the country. Each remarkable person as he arrives
on the scene, be his habits and characteristics what they may,
the stern John equally with his gentle Successor, is proclaimed
to be Elijah (Matt. 11:13, 14; 16:14; 17:10; Mark 9:11; 15:35;
Luke 9:7, 8; John 1:21). His appearance in glory on the mount of
transfiguration does not seem to have startled the disciples.
They were 'sore afraid,' but not apparently surprised."
(2.) The Elijah spoken of in 2 Chr. 21:12-15 is by some
supposed to be a different person from the foregoing. He lived
in the time of Jehoram, to whom he sent a letter of warning
(comp. 1 Chr. 28:19; Jer. 36), and acted as a prophet in Judah;
while the Tishbite was a prophet of the northern kingdom. But
there does not seem any necessity for concluding that the writer
of this letter was some other Elijah than the Tishbite. It may
be supposed either that Elijah anticipated the character of
Jehoram, and so wrote the warning message, which was preserved
in the schools of the prophets till Jehoram ascended the throne
after the Tishbite's translation, or that the translation did
not actually take place till after the accession of Jehoram to
the throne (2 Chr. 21:12; 2 Kings 8:16). The events of 2 Kings 2
may not be recorded in chronological order, and thus there may
be room for the opinion that Elijah was still alive in the
beginning of Jehoram's reign.
originally denoted only the sea-coast of the land of Canaan
inhabited by the Philistines (Ex. 15:14; Isa. 14:29, 31; Joel
3:4), and in this sense exclusively the Hebrew name Pelesheth
(rendered "Philistia" in Ps. 60:8; 83:7; 87:4; 108:9) occurs in
the Old Testament.
Not till a late period in Jewish history was this name used to
denote "the land of the Hebrews" in general (Gen. 40:15). It is
also called "the holy land" (Zech. 2:12), the "land of Jehovah"
(Hos. 9:3; Ps. 85:1), the "land of promise" (Heb. 11:9), because
promised to Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 24:7), the "land of Canaan"
(Gen. 12:5), the "land of Israel" (1 Sam. 13:19), and the "land
of Judah" (Isa. 19:17).
The territory promised as an inheritance to the seed of
Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21; Num. 34:1-12) was bounded on the east by
the river Euphrates, on the west by the Mediterranean, on the
north by the "entrance of Hamath," and on the south by the
"river of Egypt." This extent of territory, about 60,000 square
miles, was at length conquered by David, and was ruled over also
by his son Solomon (2 Sam. 8; 1 Chr. 18; 1 Kings 4:1, 21). This
vast empire was the Promised Land; but Israel was only a part
of it, terminating in the north at the southern extremity of the
Lebanon range, and in the south in the wilderness of Paran, thus
extending in all to about 144 miles in length. Its average
breadth was about 60 miles from the Mediterranean on the west to
beyond the Jordan. It has fittingly been designated "the least
of all lands." Western Israel, on the south of Gaza, is only
about 40 miles in breadth from the Mediterranean to the Dead
Sea, narrowing gradually toward the north, where it is only 20
miles from the sea-coast to the Jordan.
Israel, "set in the midst" (Ezek. 5:5) of all other lands,
is the most remarkable country on the face of the earth. No
single country of such an extent has so great a variety of
climate, and hence also of plant and animal life. Moses
describes it as "a good land, a land of brooks of water, of
fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a
land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and
pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein
thou shalt not eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack
any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose
hills thou mayest dig brass" (Deut. 8:7-9).
"In the time of Christ the country looked, in all probability,
much as now. The whole land consists of rounded limestone hills,
fretted into countless stony valleys, offering but rarely level
tracts, of which Esdraelon alone, below Nazareth, is large
enough to be seen on the map. The original woods had for ages
disappeared, though the slopes were dotted, as now, with figs,
olives, and other fruit-trees where there was any soil.
Permanent streams were even then unknown, the passing rush of
winter torrents being all that was seen among the hills. The
autumn and spring rains, caught in deep cisterns hewn out like
huge underground jars in the soft limestone, with artificial
mud-banked ponds still found near all villages, furnished water.
Hills now bare, or at best rough with stunted growth, were then
terraced, so as to grow vines, olives, and grain. To-day almost
desolate, the country then teemed with population. Wine-presses
cut in the rocks, endless terraces, and the ruins of old
vineyard towers are now found amidst solitudes overgrown for
ages with thorns and thistles, or with wild shrubs and poor
gnarled scrub" (Geikie's Life of Christ).
From an early period the land was inhabited by the descendants
of Canaan, who retained possession of the whole land "from Sidon
to Gaza" till the time of the conquest by Joshua, when it was
occupied by the twelve tribes. Two tribes and a half had their
allotments given them by Moses on the east of the Jordan (Deut.
3:12-20; comp. Num. 1:17-46; Josh. 4:12-13). The remaining
tribes had their portion on the west of Jordan.
From the conquest till the time of Saul, about four hundred
years, the people were governed by judges. For a period of one
hundred and twenty years the kingdom retained its unity while it
was ruled by Saul and David and Solomon. On the death of
Solomon, his son Rehoboam ascended the throne; but his conduct
was such that ten of the tribes revolted, and formed an
independent monarchy, called the kingdom of Israel, or the
northern kingdom, the capital of which was first Shechem and
afterwards Samaria. This kingdom was destroyed. The Israelites
were carried captive by Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, B.C. 722,
after an independent existence of two hundred and fifty-three
years. The place of the captives carried away was supplied by
tribes brought from the east, and thus was formed the Samaritan
nation (2 Kings 17:24-29).
Nebuchadnezzar came up against the kingdom of the two tribes,
the kingdom of Judah, the capital of which was Jerusalem, one
hundred and thirty-four years after the overthrow of the kingdom
of Israel. He overthrew the city, plundered the temple, and
carried the people into captivity to Babylon (B.C. 587), where
they remained seventy years. At the close of the period of the
Captivity, they returned to their own land, under the edict of
Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4). They rebuilt the city and temple, and
restored the old Jewish commonwealth.
For a while after the Restoration the Jews were ruled by
Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and afterwards by the high
priests, assisted by the Sanhedrin. After the death of Alexander
the Great at Babylon (B.C. 323), his vast empire was divided
between his four generals. Egypt, Arabia, Israel, and
Coele-Syria fell to the lot of Ptolemy Lagus. Ptolemy took
possession of Israel in B.C. 320, and carried nearly one
hundred thousand of the inhabitants of Jerusalem into Egypt. He
made Alexandria the capital of his kingdom, and treated the Jews
with consideration, confirming them in the enjoyment of many
After suffering persecution at the hands of Ptolemy's
successors, the Jews threw off the Egyptian yoke, and became
subject to Antiochus the Great, the king of Syria. The cruelty
and opression of the successors of Antiochus at length led to
the revolt under the Maccabees (B.C. 163), when they threw off
the Syrian yoke.
In the year B.C. 68, Israel was reduced by Pompey the Great
to a Roman province. He laid the walls of the city in ruins, and
massacred some twelve thousand of the inhabitants. He left the
temple, however, unijured. About twenty-five years after this
the Jews revolted and cast off the Roman yoke. They were
however, subdued by Herod the Great (q.v.). The city and the
temple were destroyed, and many of the inhabitants were put to
death. About B.C. 20, Herod proceeded to rebuild the city and
restore the ruined temple, which in about nine years and a half
was so far completed that the sacred services could be resumed
in it (comp. John 2:20). He was succeeded by his son Archelaus,
who was deprived of his power, however, by Augustus, A.D. 6,
when Israel became a Roman province, ruled by Roman governors
or procurators. Pontius Pilate was the fifth of these
procurators. He was appointed to his office A.D. 25.
Exclusive of Idumea, the kingdom of Herod the Great
comprehended the whole of the country originally divided among
the twelve tribes, which he divided into four provinces or
districts. This division was recognized so long as Israel was
under the Roman dominion. These four provinces were, (1) Judea,
the southern portion of the country; (2) Samaria, the middle
province, the northern boundary of which ran along the hills to
the south of the plain of Esdraelon; (3) Galilee, the northern
province; and (4) Peraea (a Greek name meaning the "opposite
country"), the country lying east of the Jordan and the Dead
Sea. This province was subdivided into these districts, (1)
Peraea proper, lying between the rivers Arnon and Jabbok; (2)
Galaaditis (Gilead); (3) Batanaea; (4) Gaulonitis (Jaulan); (5)
Ituraea or Auranitis, the ancient Bashan; (6) Trachonitis; (7)
Abilene; (8) Decapolis, i.e., the region of the ten cities. The
whole territory of Israel, including the portions alloted to
the trans-Jordan tribes, extended to about eleven thousand
square miles. Recent exploration has shown the territory on the
west of Jordan alone to be six thousand square miles in extent,
the size of the principality of Wales.
beloved, the eighth and youngest son of Jesse, a citizen of
Bethlehem. His father seems to have been a man in humble life.
His mother's name is not recorded. Some think she was the Nahash
of 2 Sam. 17:25. As to his personal appearance, we only know
that he was red-haired, with beautiful eyes and a fair face (1
Sam. 16:12; 17:42).
His early occupation was that of tending his father's sheep on
the uplands of Judah. From what we know of his after history,
doubtless he frequently beguiled his time, when thus engaged,
with his shepherd's flute, while he drank in the many lessons
taught him by the varied scenes spread around him. His first
recorded exploits were his encounters with the wild beasts of
the field. He mentions that with his own unaided hand he slew a
lion and also a bear, when they came out against his flock,
beating them to death in open conflict with his club (1 Sam.
While David, in the freshness of ruddy youth, was thus engaged
with his flocks, Samuel paid an unexpected visit to Bethlehem,
having been guided thither by divine direction (1 Sam. 16:1-13).
There he offered up sacrifice, and called the elders of Israel
and Jesse's family to the sacrificial meal. Among all who
appeared before him he failed to discover the one he sought.
David was sent for, and the prophet immediately recognized him
as the chosen of God, chosen to succeed Saul, who was now
departing from the ways of God, on the throne of the kingdom. He
accordingly, in anticipation, poured on his head the anointing
oil. David went back again to his shepherd life, but "the Spirit
of the Lord came upon David from that day forward," and "the
Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul" (1 Sam. 16:13, 14).
Not long after this David was sent for to soothe with his harp
the troubled spirit of Saul, who suffered from a strange
melancholy dejection. He played before the king so skilfully
that Saul was greatly cheered, and began to entertain great
affection for the young shepherd. After this he went home to
Bethlehem. But he soon again came into prominence. The armies of
the Philistines and of Israel were in battle array in the valley
of Elah, some 16 miles south-west of Bethlehem; and David was
sent by his father with provisions for his three brothers, who
were then fighting on the side of the king. On his arrival in
the camp of Israel, David (now about twenty years of age) was
made aware of the state of matters when the champion of the
Philistines, Goliath of Gath, came forth to defy Israel. David
took his sling, and with a well-trained aim threw a stone "out
of the brook," which struck the giant's forehead, so that he
fell senseless to the ground. David then ran and slew him, and
cut off his head with his own sword (1 Sam. 17). The result was
a great victory to the Israelites, who pursued the Philistines
to the gates of Gath and Ekron.
David's popularity consequent on this heroic exploit awakened
Saul's jealousy (1 Sam. 18:6-16), which he showed in various
ways. He conceived a bitter hatred toward him, and by various
stratagems sought his death (1 Sam. 18-30). The deep-laid plots
of the enraged king, who could not fail to observe that David
"prospered exceedingly," all proved futile, and only endeared
the young hero the more to the people, and very specially to
Jonathan, Saul's son, between whom and David a life-long warm
friendship was formed.
A fugitive. To escape from the vengeance of Saul, David fled
to Ramah (1 Sam. 19:12-18) to Samuel, who received him, and he
dwelt among the sons of the prophets, who were there under
Samuel's training. It is supposed by some that the sixth,
seventh, and eleventh Psalms were composed by him at this time.
This place was only 3 miles from the residence of Saul, who soon
discovered whither the fugitive had gone, and tried
ineffectually to bring him back. Jonathan made a fruitless
effort to bring his father to a better state of mind toward
David (1 Sam. 20), who, being made aware of the fact, saw no
hope of safety but in flight to a distance. We accordingly find
him first at Nob (21:1-9) and then at Gath, the chief city of
the Philistines. The king of the Philistines would not admit him
into his service, as he expected that he would, and David
accordingly now betook himself to the stronghold of Adullam
(22:1-4; 1 Chr. 12:8-18). Here in a short time 400 men gathered
around him and acknowledged him as their leader. It was at this
time that David, amid the harassment and perils of his position,
cried, "Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well
of Bethlehem;" when three of his heroes broke through the lines
of the Philistines and brought him the water for which he longed
(2 Sam. 23:13-17), but which he would not drink.
In his rage at the failure of all his efforts to seize David,
Saul gave orders for the massacre of the entire priestly family
at Nob, "persons who wore a linen ephod", to the number of
eighty-five persons, who were put to death by Doeg the Edomite.
The sad tidings of the massacre were brought to David by
Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech, the only one who escaped. Comp.
Hearing that Keilah, a town on the western frontier, was
harassed by the Philistines, David with his men relieved it (1
Sam. 23:1-14); and then, for fear of Saul, he fled to the
strongholds in the "hill country" of Judah. Comp. Ps. 31. While
encamped there, in the forest in the district of Ziph, he was
visited by Jonathan, who spoke to him words of encouragement
(23:16-18). The two now parted never to meet again. Saul
continued his pursuit of David, who narrowly escaped from him at
this time, and fled to the crags and ravines of Engedi, on the
western shore of the Dead Sea (1 Sam. 23:29). Here Saul, who
still pursued him with his army, narrowly escaped, through the
generous forbearance of David, and was greatly affected by what
David had done for him. He returned home from pursuing him, and
David betook himself to Maon, where, with his 600 men, he
maintained himself by contributions gathered from the district.
Here occurred the incident connected with Nabal and his wife
Abigail (1 Sam. 25), whom David married after Nabal's death.
Saul again went forth (1 Sam. 26) in pursuit of David, who had
hid himself "in the hill Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon," in
the wilderness of Ziph, and was a second time spared through his
forbearance. He returned home, professing shame and penitence
for the way in which he had treated David, and predicting his
elevation to the throne.
Fighting against Israel. Harassed by the necessity of moving
from place to place through fear of Saul, David once more sought
refuge among the Philistines (1 Sam. 27). He was welcomed by the
king, who assigned him Ziklag as his residence. Here David lived
among his followers for some time as an independent chief
engaged in frequent war with the Amalekites and other tribes on
the south of Judah.
Achish summoned David with his men to join his army against
Saul; but the lords of the Philistines were suspicious of
David's loyalty, and therefore he was sent back to Ziklag, which
he found to his dismay may had been pillaged and burnt during
his brief absence. David pursued after the raiders, the
Amalekites, and completely routed them. On his return to Ziklag
tidings reached him of Saul's death (2 Sam. 1). An Amalekite
brought Saul's crown and bracelet and laid them at his feet.
David and his men rent their clothes and mourned for Saul, who
had been defeated in battle near Mount Gilboa. David composed a
beautiful elegy, the most beautiful of all extant Hebrew odes, a
"lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son" (2 Sam.
1:18-27). It bore the title of "The Bow," and was to be taught
to the children, that the memory of Saul and Jonathan might be
preserved among them. "Behold, it is written in the book of
David king over Judah. David and his men now set out for
Hebron under divine direction (2 Sam. 2:1-4). There they were
cordially welcomed, and he was at once anointed as king. He was
now about thirty years of age.
But his title to the throne was not undisputed. Abner took
Ish-bosheth, Saul's only remaining son, over the Jordan to
Mahanaim, and there crowned him as king. Then began a civil war
in Israel. The first encounter between the two opposing armies,
led on the one side by Abner, and on the other by Joab, took
place at the pool of Gibeon. It resulted in the defeat of Abner.
Other encounters, however, between Israel and Judah followed (2
Sam. 3:1, 5), but still success was on the side of David. For
the space of seven and a half years David reigned in Hebron.
Abner now sided with David, and sought to promote his
advancement; but was treacherously put to death by Joab in
revenge for his having slain his brother Asahel at Gibeon
(3:22-39). This was greatly to David's regret. He mourned for
the death of Abner. Shortly after this Ish-bosheth was also
treacherously put to death by two Canaanites of Beeroth; and
there being now no rival, David was anointed king over all
David king over all Israel (2 Sam. 5:1-5; 1 Chr. 11:1-3). The
elders of Israel now repaired to Hebron and offered allegiance
to David in name of all the people, among whom the greatest
enthusiasm prevailed. He was anointed king over all Israel, and
sought out a new seat of government, more suitable than Hebron,
as the capital of his empire. At this time there was a Jebusite
fortress, "the stronghold", on the hill of Zion, called also
Jebus. This David took from the Jebusites, and made it Israel's
capital, and established here his residence, and afterwards
built for himself a palace by the aid of Tyrian tradesmen. The
Philistines, who had for some time observed a kind of truce, now
made war against David; but were defeated in battle at a place
afterwards called, in remembrance of the victory, Baal-perazim.
Again they invaded the land, and were a second time routed by
him. He thus delivered Israel from their enemies.
David now resolved to bring up the ark of the covenant to his
new capital (2 Sam. 6). It was in the house of Abinadab at
Kirjath-jearim, about 7 miles from Jerusalem, where it had been
for many years, from the time when the Philistines had sent it
home (1 Sam. 6; 7). In consequence of the death of Uzzah (for it
was a divine ordinance that only the Levites should handle the
ark, Num. 4), who had put forth his hand to steady the ark when
the cart in which it was being conveyed shook by reason of the
roughness of the road, David stayed the procession, and conveyed
the ark into the house of Obed-edom, a Philistine from Gath.
After three months David brought the ark from the house of
Obed-edom up to Jerusalem. Comp. Ps. 24. Here it was placed in a
new tent or tabernacle which David erected for the purpose.
About seventy years had passed since it had stood in the
tabernacle at Shiloh. The old tabernacle was now at Gibeah, at
which Zadok ministered. David now (1 Chr. 16) carefully set in
order all the ritual of divine worship at Jerusalem, along with
Abiathar the high priest. A new religious era began. The service
of praise was for the first time introduced into public worship.
Zion became henceforth "God's holy hill."
David's wars. David now entered on a series of conquests which
greatly extended and strengthened his kingdom (2 Sam. 8). In a
few years the whole territory from the Euphrates to the river of
Egypt, and from Gaza on the west to Thapsacus on the east, was
under his sway (2 Sam. 8:3-13; 10).
David's fall. He had now reached the height of his glory. He
ruled over a vast empire, and his capital was enriched with the
spoils of many lands. But in the midst of all this success he
fell, and his character became stained with the sin of adultery
(2 Sam. 11:2-27). It has been noted as characteristic of the
Bible that while his military triumphs are recorded in a few
verses, the sad story of his fall is given in detail, a story
full of warning, and therefore recorded. This crime, in the
attempt to conceal it, led to anoter. He was guilty of murder.
Uriah, whom he had foully wronged, an officer of the Gibborim,
the corps of heros (23:39), was, by his order, "set in the front
of the hottest battle" at the siege of Rabbah, in order that he
might be put to death. Nathan the prophet (2 Sam. 7:1-17;
12:1-23) was sent by God to bring home his crimes to the
conscience of the guilty monarch. He became a true penitent. He
bitterly bewailed his sins before God. The thirty-second and
fifty-first Psalms reveal the deep struggles of his soul, and
his spiritual recovery.
Bathsheba became his wife after Uriah's death. Her first-born
son died, according to the word of the prophet. She gave birth
to a second son, whom David called Solomon, and who ultimately
succeeded him on the throne (2 Sam. 12:24, 25).
Peace. After the successful termination of all his wars, David
formed the idea of building a temple for the ark of God. This he
was not permitted to carry into execution, because he had been a
man of war. God, however, sent Nathan to him with a gracious
message (2 Sam. 7:1-16). On receiving it he went into the
sanctuary, the tent where the ark was, and sat before the Lord,
and poured out his heart in words of devout thanksgiving
(18-29). The building of the temple was reserved for his son
Solomon, who would be a man of peace (1 Chr. 22:9; 28:3).
A cloudy evening. Hitherto David's carrer had been one of
great prosperity and success. Now cloudy and dark days came. His
eldest son Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam of Jezreel, was
guilty of a great and shameful crime (2 Sam. 13). This was the
beginning of the disasters of his later years. After two years
Absalom terribly avenged the crime against Tamar, and put Amnon
to death. This brought sore trouble to David's heart. Absalom,
afraid of the consequences of his guilt, fled to Geshur beyond
Jordan, where he remained for three years, when he was brought
back through the intrigue of Joab (2 Sam. 14).
After this there fell upon the land the calamity of three
years' famine (2 Sam. 21:1-14). This was soon after followed by
a pestilence, brought upon the land as a punishment for David's
sinful pride in numbering the people (2 Sam. 24), in which no
fewer than 70,000 perished in the space of three days.
Rebellion of Absalom. The personal respect for David was sadly
lowered by the incident of Bathsheba. There was a strong popular
sentiment against the taking of the census, and the outburst of
the plague in connection with it deepened the feeling of
jealously that had begun to manifest itself among some of the
tribes against David. Absalom, taking full advantage of this
state of things, gradually gained over the people, and at length
openly rebelled against his father, and usurped the throne.
Ahithophel was Absalom's chief counsellor. The revolt began in
Hebron, the capital of Judah. Absalom was there proclaimed king.
David was now in imminent danger, and he left Jerusalem (2 Sam.
15:13-20), and once more became a fugitive. It was a momentous
day in Israel. The incidents of it are recorded with a fulness
of detail greater than of any other day in Old Testament
history. David fled with his followers to Mahanarm, on the east
of Jordan. An unnatural civil war broke out. After a few weeks
the rival armies were mustered and organized. They met in
hostile array at the wood of Ephraim (2 Sam. 18:1-8). Absalom's
army was defeated, and himself put to death by the hand of Joab
(9-18). The tidings of the death of his rebellious son filled
the heart of David with the most poignant grief. He "went up to
the chamber over the gate, and wept" (33), giving utterance to
the heart-broken cry, "Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom,
my son, my son!" Peace was now restored, and David returned to
Jerusalem and resumed the direction of affairs. An unhappy
dispute arose between the men of Judah and the men of Israel
(19:41-43). Sheba, a Benjamite, headed a revolt of the men of
Israel. He was pursued to Abelbeth-maachah, and was there put to
death, and so the revolt came to an end.
The end. After the suppression of the rebellion of Absalom and
that of Sheba, ten comparatively peaceful years of David's life
passed away. During those years he seems to have been
principally engaged in accumulating treasures of every kind for
the great temple at Jerusalem, which it was reserved to his
successor to build (1 Chr. 22; 28; 29), a house which was to be
"exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all
countries" (22:5). The exciting and laborious life he had spent,
and the dangers and trials through which he had passed, had left
him an enfeebled man, prematurely old. It became apparent that
his life was now drawing to its close. A new palace conspiracy
broke out as to who should be his successor. Joab favoured
Adonijah. The chiefs of his party met at the "Fuller's spring,"
in the valley of Kidron, to proclaim him king; but Nathan
hastened on a decision on the part of David in favour of
Solomon, and so the aim of Adonijah's party failed. Solomon was
brought to Jerusalem, and was anointed king and seated on his
father's throne (1 Kings 1:11-53). David's last words are a
grand utterance, revealing his unfailing faith in God, and his
joyful confidence in his gracious covenant promises (2 Sam.
After a reign of forty years and six months (2 Sam. 5:5; 1
Chr. 3:4) David died (B.C. 1015) at the age of seventy years,
"and was buried in the city of David." His tomb is still pointed
out on Mount Zion.
Both in his prophetical and in his regal character David was a
type of the Messiah (1 Sam. 16:13). The book of Psalms commonly
bears the title of the "Psalms of David," from the circumstance
that he was the largest contributor (about eighty psalms) to the
collection. (See PSALMS ¯T0003013.)
"The greatness of David was felt when he was gone. He had
lived in harmony with both the priesthood and the prophets; a
sure sign that the spirit of his government had been throughly
loyal to the higher aims of the theocracy. The nation had not
been oppressed by him, but had been left in the free enjoyment
of its ancient liberties. As far as his power went he had
striven to act justly to all (2 Sam. 8:15). His weak indulgence
to his sons, and his own great sin besides, had been bitterly
atoned, and were forgotten at his death in the remembrance of
his long-tried worth. He had reigned thirty-three years in
Jerusalem and seven and a half at Hebron (2 Sam. 5:5). Israel at
his accession had reached the lowest point of national
depression; its new-born unity rudely dissolved; its territory
assailed by the Philistines. But he had left it an imperial
power, with dominions like those of Egypt or Assyria. The
sceptre of Solomon was already, before his father's death, owned
from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates, and from the Orontes to
the Red Sea.", Geikie's Hours etc., iii.