the vernacular language of the ancient Romans (John 19:20).
Canaan, the language of
mentioned in Isa. 19:18, denotes the language spoken by the Jews
resident in Israel. The language of the Canaanites and of the
Hebrews was substantially the same. This is seen from the
fragments of the Phoenician language which still survive, which
show the closest analogy to the Hebrew. Yet the subject of the
language of the "Canaanites" is very obscure. The cuneiform
writing of Babylon, as well as the Babylonian language, was
taught in the Canaanitish schools, and the clay tablets of
Babylonian literature were stored in the Canaanitish libraries.
Even the Babylonian divinities were borrowed by the Canaanites.
employed by the sacred writers in certain portions of the Old
Testament, viz., Dan. 2:4-7, 28; Ezra 4:8-6:18; 7:12-26; Gen.
31:46; Jer. 10:11. It is the Aramaic dialect, as it is sometimes
called, as distinguished from the Hebrew dialect. It was the
language of commerce and of social intercourse in Western Asia,
and after the Exile gradually came to be the popular language of
Israel. It is called "Syrian" in 2 Kings 18:26. Some isolated
words in this language are preserved in the New Testament (Matt.
5:22; 6:24; 16:17; 27:46; Mark 3:17; 5:41; 7:34; 14:36; Acts
1:19; 1 Cor. 16:22). These are specimens of the vernacular
language of Israel at that period. The term "Hebrew" was also
sometimes applied to the Chaldee because it had become the
language of the Hebrews (John 5:2; 19:20).
Tongues, Confusion of
at Babel, the cause of the early separation of mankind and their
division into nations. The descendants of Noah built a tower to
prevent their dispersion; but God "confounded their language"
(Gen. 11:1-8), and they were scattered over the whole earth.
Till this time "the whole earth was of one language and of one
speech." (See SHINAR ¯T0003389.)
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.
or Chaldeans, the inhabitants of the country of which Babylon
was the capital. They were so called till the time of the
Captivity (2 Kings 25; Isa. 13:19; 23:13), when, particularly in
the Book of Daniel (5:30; 9:1), the name began to be used with
special reference to a class of learned men ranked with the
magicians and astronomers. These men cultivated the ancient
Cushite language of the original inhabitants of the land, for
they had a "learning" and a "tongue" (1:4) of their own. The
common language of the country at that time had become
assimilated to the Semitic dialect, especially through the
influence of the Assyrians, and was the language that was used
for all civil purposes. The Chaldeans were the learned class,
interesting themselves in science and religion, which consisted,
like that of the ancient Arabians and Syrians, in the worship of
the heavenly bodies. There are representations of this priestly
class, of magi and diviners, on the walls of the Assyrian
God his strength. (1.) One of Job's "three friends" who visited
him in his affliction (4:1). He was a "Temanite", i.e., a native
of Teman, in Idumea. He first enters into debate with Job. His
language is uniformly more delicate and gentle than that of the
other two, although he imputes to Job special sins as the cause
of his present sufferings. He states with remarkable force of
language the infinite purity and majesty of God (4:12-21;
(2.) The son of Esau by his wife Adah, and father of several
Edomitish tribes (Gen. 36:4, 10, 11, 16).
This Syriac or Chaldee word is found three times in the New
Testament (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6), and in each case is
followed by its Greek equivalent, which is translated "father."
It is a term expressing warm affection and filial confidence. It
has no perfect equivalent in our language. It has passed into
European languages as an ecclesiastical term, "abbot."
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
Grace, means of
an expression not used in Scripture, but employed (1) to denote
those institutions ordained by God to be the ordinary channels
of grace to the souls of men. These are the Word, Sacraments,
(2.) But in popular language the expression is used in a wider
sense to denote those exercises in which we engage for the
purpose of obtaining spiritual blessing; as hearing the gospel,
reading the Word, meditation, self-examination, Christian
a raised road for public use. Such roads were not found in
Israel; hence the force of the language used to describe the
return of the captives and the advent of the Messiah (Isa.
11:16; 35:8; 40:3; 62:10) under the figure of the preparation of
a grand thoroughfare for their march.
During their possession of Israel the Romans constructed
several important highways, as they did in all countries which
an inland province of Asia Minor, on the west of Cappadocia and
the south of Galatia. It was a Roman province, and its chief
towns were Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. The "speech of Lycaonia"
(Acts 14:11) was probably the ancient Assyrian language, or
perhaps, as others think, a corrupt Greek intermingled with
Syriac words. Paul preached in this region, and revisited it
(Acts 16:1-6; 18:23; 19:1).
chief of the princes, the name given to the chief cup-bearer or
the vizier of the Assyrian court; one of Sennacherib's
messengers to Hezekiah. See the speech he delivered, in the
Hebrew language, in the hearing of all the people, as he stood
near the wall on the north side of the city (2 Kings 18:17-37).
He and the other envoys returned to their master and reported
that Hezekiah and his people were obdurate, and would not
Anglicized form of the Greek word diaconos, meaning a "runner,"
"messenger," "servant." For a long period a feeling of mutual
jealousy had existed between the "Hebrews," or Jews proper, who
spoke the sacred language of palestine, and the "Hellenists," or
Jews of the Grecian speech, who had adopted the Grecian
language, and read the Septuagint version of the Bible instead
of the Hebrew. This jealousy early appeared in the Christian
community. It was alleged by the Hellenists that their widows
were overlooked in the daily distribution of alms. This spirit
must be checked. The apostles accordingly advised the disciples
to look out for seven men of good report, full of the Holy
Ghost, and men of practical wisdom, who should take entire
charge of this distribution, leaving them free to devote
themselves entirely to the spiritual functions of their office
(Acts 6:1-6). This was accordingly done. Seven men were chosen,
who appear from their names to have been Hellenists. The name
"deacon" is nowhere applied to them in the New Testament; they
are simply called "the seven" (21:8). Their office was at first
secular, but it afterwards became also spiritual; for among
other qualifications they must also be "apt to teach" (1 Tim. 3:
8-12). Both Philip and Stephen, who were of "the seven,"
preached; they did "the work of evangelists."
lyre, the singular form of the word (Deut. 3:17; Josh. 19:35),
which is also used in the plural form, Chinneroth, the name of a
fenced city which stood near the shore of the lake of Galilee, a
little to the south of Tiberias. The town seems to have given
its name to a district, as appears from 1 Kings 15:20, where the
plural form of the word is used.
The Sea of Chinnereth (Num. 34:11; Josh. 13:27), or of
Chinneroth (Josh. 12: 3), was the "lake of Gennesaret" or "sea
of Tiberias" (Deut. 3:17; Josh. 11:2). Chinnereth was probably
an ancient Canaanitish name adopted by the Israelites into their
(2 Kings 6:25) has been generally understood literally. There
are instances in history of the dung of pigeons being actually
used as food during a famine. Compare also the language of
Rabshakeh to the Jews (2 Kings 18:27; Isa. 36:12). This name,
however, is applied by the Arabs to different vegetable
substances, and there is room for the opinion of those who think
that some such substance is here referred to, as, e.g., the
seeds of a kind of millet, or a very inferior kind of pulse, or
the root of the ornithogalum, i.e., bird-milk, the
David at the cave of Adullam thus addressed his persecutor Saul
(1 Sam. 24:14): "After whom is the king of Israel come out?
after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea?" He
thus speaks of himself as the poor, contemptible object of the
monarch's pursuit, a "worthy object truly for an expedition of
the king of Israel with his picked troops!" This insect is in
Eastern language the popular emblem of insignificance. In 1 Sam.
26:20 the LXX. read "come out to seek my life" instead of "to
seek a flea."
is used to designate any action or word or thing as reckoned to
a person. Thus in doctrinal language (1) the sin of Adam is
imputed to all his descendants, i.e., it is reckoned as theirs,
and they are dealt with therefore as guilty; (2) the
righteousness of Christ is imputed to them that believe in him,
or so attributed to them as to be considered their own; and (3)
our sins are imputed to Christ, i.e., he assumed our
"law-place," undertook to answer the demands of justice for our
sins. In all these cases the nature of imputation is the same
(Rom. 5:12-19; comp. Philemon 1:18, 19).
Heb. la'anah, the Artemisia absinthium of botanists. It is noted
for its intense bitterness (Deut. 29:18; Prov. 5:4; Jer. 9:15;
Amos 5:7). It is a type of bitterness, affliction, remorse,
punitive suffering. In Amos 6:12 this Hebrew word is rendered
"hemlock" (R.V., "wormwood"). In the symbolical language of the
Apocalypse (Rev. 8:10, 11) a star is represented as falling on
the waters of the earth, causing the third part of the water to
The name by which the Greeks designated it, absinthion, means
"undrinkable." The absinthe of France is distilled from a
species of this plant. The "southernwood" or "old man,"
cultivated in cottage gardens on account of its fragrance, is
another species of it.
the high land or mountains, a city in the land of Shinar. It has
been identified with the mounds of Akker Kuf, some 50 miles to
the north of Babylon; but this is doubtful. It was one of the
cities of Nimrod's kingdom (Ge 10:10). It stood close to the
Euphrates, opposite Sippara. (See SEPHARVAIM ¯T0003277.)
It is also the name of the country of which this city was the
capital, namely, northern or upper Babylonia. The Accadians who
came from the "mountains of the east," where the ark rested,
attained to a high degree of civilization. In the Babylonian
inscriptions they are called "the black heads" and "the black
faces," in contrast to "the white race" of Semitic descent. They
invented the form of writing in pictorial hieroglyphics, and
also the cuneiform system, in which they wrote many books partly
on papyrus and partly on clay. The Semitic Babylonians ("the
white race"), or, as some scholars think, first the Cushites,
and afterwards, as a second immigration, the Semites, invaded
and conquered this country; and then the Accadian language
ceased to be a spoken language, although for the sake of its
literary treasures it continued to be studied by the educated
classes of Babylonia. A large portion of the Ninevite tablets
brought to light by Oriental research consists of interlinear or
parallel translations from Accadian into Assyrian; and thus that
long-forgotten language has been recovered by scholars. It
belongs to the class of languages called agglutinative, common
to the Tauranian race; i.e., it consists of words "glued
together," without declension of conjugation. These tablets in a
remarkable manner illustrate ancient history. Among other
notable records, they contain an account of the Creation which
closely resembles that given in the book of Genesis, of the
Sabbath as a day of rest, and of the Deluge and its cause. (See
BABYLON ¯T0000409; CHALDEA ¯T0000758.)
from the Vulgate firmamentum, which is used as the translation
of the Hebrew _raki'a_. This word means simply "expansion." It
denotes the space or expanse like an arch appearing immediately
above us. They who rendered _raki'a_ by firmamentum regarded it
as a solid body. The language of Scripture is not scientific but
popular, and hence we read of the sun rising and setting, and
also here the use of this particular word. It is plain that it
was used to denote solidity as well as expansion. It formed a
division between the waters above and the waters below (Gen.
1:7). The _raki'a_ supported the upper reservoir (Ps. 148:4). It
was the support also of the heavenly bodies (Gen. 1:14), and is
spoken of as having "windows" and "doors" (Gen. 7:11; Isa.
24:18; Mal. 3:10) through which the rain and snow might descend.
an ancient empire, extending from the Indus to Thrace, and from
the Caspian Sea to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. The
Persians were originally a Medic tribe which settled in Persia,
on the eastern side of the Persian Gulf. They were Aryans, their
language belonging to the eastern division of the Indo-European
group. One of their chiefs, Teispes, conquered Elam in the time
of the decay of the Assyrian Empire, and established himself in
the district of Anzan. His descendants branched off into two
lines, one line ruling in Anzan, while the other remained in
Persia. Cyrus II., king of Anzan, finally united the divided
power, conquered Media, Lydia, and Babylonia, and carried his
arms into the far East. His son, Cambyses, added Egypt to the
empire, which, however, fell to pieces after his death. It was
reconquered and thoroughly organized by Darius, the son of
Hystaspes, whose dominions extended from India to the Danube.
taken by Sargon, king of Assyria (2 Kings 17:24; 18:34; 19:13;
Isa. 37:13). It was a double city, and received the common name
Sepharvaim, i.e., "the two Sipparas," or "the two booktowns."
The Sippara on the east bank of the Euphrates is now called
Abu-Habba; that on the other bank was Accad, the old capital of
Sargon I., where he established a great library. (See SARGON
¯T0003227.) The recent discovery of cuneiform inscriptions at
Tel el-Amarna in Egypt, consisting of official despatches to
Pharaoh Amenophis IV. and his predecessor from their agents in
Israel, proves that in the century before the Exodus an
active literary intercourse was carried on between these
nations, and that the medium of the correspondence was the
Babylonian language and script. (See KIRJATH-SEPHER ¯T0002204.)
Tongues, Gift of
granted on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4), in fulfilment of a
promise Christ had made to his disciples (Mark 16:17). What this
gift actually was has been a subject of much discussion. Some
have argued that it was merely an outward sign of the presence
of the Holy Spirit among the disciples, typifying his manifold
gifts, and showing that salvation was to be extended to all
nations. But the words of Luke (Acts 2:9) clearly show that the
various peoples in Jerusalem at the time of Pentecost did really
hear themselves addressed in their own special language with
which they were naturally acquainted (comp. Joel 2:28, 29).
Among the gifts of the Spirit the apostle enumerates in 1 Cor.
12:10-14:30, "divers kinds of tongues" and the "interpretation
of tongues." This "gift" was a different manifestation of the
Spirit from that on Pentecost, although it resembled it in many
particulars. Tongues were to be "a sign to them that believe
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."
Isaiah, The Book of
consists of prophecies delivered (Isa. 1) in the reign of Uzziah
(1-5), (2) of Jotham (6), (3) Ahaz (7-14:28), (4) the first half
of Hezekiah's reign (14:28-35), (5) the second half of
Hezekiah's reign (36-66). Thus, counting from the fourth year
before Uzziah's death (B.C. 762) to the last year of Hezekiah
(B.C. 698), Isaiah's ministry extended over a period of
sixty-four years. He may, however, have survived Hezekiah, and
may have perished in the way indicated above.
The book, as a whole, has been divided into three main parts:
(1.) The first thirty-five chapters, almost wholly prophetic,
Israel's enemy Assyria, present the Messiah as a mighty Ruler
and King. (2.) Four chapters are historical (36-39), relating to
the times of Hezekiah. (3.) Prophetical (40-66), Israel's enemy
Babylon, describing the Messiah as a suffering victim, meek and
The genuineness of the section Isa. 40-66 has been keenly
opposed by able critics. They assert that it must be the
production of a deutero-Isaiah, who lived toward the close of
the Babylonian captivity. This theory was originated by Koppe, a
German writer at the close of the last century. There are other
portions of the book also (e.g., ch. 13; 24-27; and certain
verses in ch. 14 and 21) which they attribute to some other
prophet than Isaiah. Thus they say that some five or seven, or
even more, unknown prophets had a hand in the production of this
book. The considerations which have led to such a result are
various: (1.) They cannot, as some say, conceive it possible
that Isaiah, living in B.C. 700, could foretell the appearance
and the exploits of a prince called Cyrus, who would set the
Jews free from captivity one hundred and seventy years after.
(2.) It is alleged that the prophet takes the time of the
Captivity as his standpoint, and speaks of it as then present;
and (3) that there is such a difference between the style and
language of the closing section (40-66) and those of the
preceding chapters as to necessitate a different authorship, and
lead to the conclusion that there were at least two Isaiahs. But
even granting the fact of a great diversity of style and
language, this will not necessitate the conclusion attempted to
be drawn from it. The diversity of subjects treated of and the
peculiarities of the prophet's position at the time the
prophecies were uttered will sufficiently account for this.
The arguments in favour of the unity of the book are quite
conclusive. When the LXX. version was made (about B.C. 250) the
entire contents of the book were ascribed to Isaiah, the son of
Amoz. It is not called in question, moreover, that in the time
of our Lord the book existed in the form in which we now have
it. Many prophecies in the disputed portions are quoted in the
New Testament as the words of Isaiah (Matt. 3:3; Luke 3:4-6;
4:16-41; John 12:38; Acts 8:28; Rom. 10:16-21). Universal and
persistent tradition has ascribed the whole book to one author.
Besides this, the internal evidence, the similarity in the
language and style, in the thoughts and images and rhetorical
ornaments, all points to the same conclusion; and its local
colouring and allusions show that it is obviously of Palestinian
origin. The theory therefore of a double authorship of the book,
much less of a manifold authorship, cannot be maintained. The
book, with all the diversity of its contents, is one, and is, we
believe, the production of the great prophet whose name it
Matthew, Gospel according to
The author of this book was beyond a doubt the Matthew, an
apostle of our Lord, whose name it bears. He wrote the Gospel of
Christ according to his own plans and aims, and from his own
point of view, as did also the other "evangelists."
As to the time of its composition, there is little in the
Gospel itself to indicate. It was evidently written before the
destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 24), and some time after the
events it records. The probability is that it was written
between the years A.D. 60 and 65.
The cast of thought and the forms of expression employed by
the writer show that this Gospel was written for Jewish
Christians of Israel. His great object is to prove that Jesus
of Nazareth was the promised Messiah, and that in him the
ancient prophecies had their fulfilment. The Gospel is full of
allusions to those passages of the Old Testament in which Christ
is predicted and foreshadowed. The one aim prevading the whole
book is to show that Jesus is he "of whom Moses in the law and
the prophets did write." This Gospel contains no fewer than
sixty-five references to the Old Testament, forty-three of these
being direct verbal citations, thus greatly outnumbering those
found in the other Gospels. The main feature of this Gospel may
be expressed in the motto, "I am not come to destroy, but to
As to the language in which this Gospel was written there is
much controversy. Many hold, in accordance with old tradition,
that it was originally written in Hebrew (i.e., the Aramaic or
Syro-Chaldee dialect, then the vernacular of the inhabitants of
Israel), and afterwards translated into Greek, either by
Matthew himself or by some person unknown. This theory, though
earnestly maintained by able critics, we cannot see any ground
for adopting. From the first this Gospel in Greek was received
as of authority in the Church. There is nothing in it to show
that it is a translation. Though Matthew wrote mainly for the
Jews, yet they were everywhere familiar with the Greek language.
The same reasons which would have suggested the necessity of a
translation into Greek would have led the evangelist to write in
Greek at first. It is confessed that this Gospel has never been
found in any other form than that in which we now possess it.
The leading characteristic of this Gospel is that it sets
forth the kingly glory of Christ, and shows him to be the true
heir to David's throne. It is the Gospel of the kingdom. Matthew
uses the expression "kingdom of heaven" (thirty-two times),
while Luke uses the expression "kingdom of God" (thirty-three
times). Some Latinized forms occur in this Gospel, as kodrantes
(Matt. 5:26), for the Latin quadrans, and phragello (27:26), for
the Latin flagello. It must be remembered that Matthew was a
tax-gatherer for the Roman government, and hence in contact with
those using the Latin language.
As to the relation of the Gospels to each other, we must
maintain that each writer of the synoptics (the first three)
wrote independently of the other two, Matthew being probably
first in point of time.
"Out of a total of 1071 verses, Matthew has 387 in common with
Mark and Luke, 130 with Mark, 184 with Luke; only 387 being
peculiar to itself." (See MARK ¯T0002419; LUKE ¯T0002331;
The book is fitly divided into these four parts: (1.)
Containing the genealogy, the birth, and the infancy of Jesus
(2.) The discourses and actions of John the Baptist
preparatory to Christ's public ministry (3; 4:11).
(3.) The discourses and actions of Christ in Galilee
(4.) The sufferings, death and resurrection of our Lord
sacred land or high land, the name of a country on one of the
mountains of which the ark rested after the Flood subsided (Gen.
8:4). The "mountains" mentioned were probably the Kurdish range
of South Armenia. In 2 Kings 19:37, Isa. 37:38, the word is
rendered "Armenia" in the Authorized Version, but in the Revised
Version, "Land of Ararat." In Jer. 51:27, the name denotes the
central or southern portion of Armenia. It is, however,
generally applied to a high and almost inaccessible mountain
which rises majestically from the plain of the Araxes. It has
two conical peaks, about 7 miles apart, the one 14,300 feet and
the other 10,300 feet above the level of the plain. Three
thousand feet of the summit of the higher of these peaks is
covered with perpetual snow. It is called Kuh-i-nuh, i.e.,
"Noah's mountain", by the Persians. This part of Armenia was
inhabited by a people who spoke a language unlike any other now
known, though it may have been related to the modern Georgian.
About B.C. 900 they borrowed the cuneiform characters of
Nineveh, and from this time we have inscriptions of a line of
kings who at times contended with Assyria. At the close of the
seventh century B.C. the kingdom of Ararat came to an end, and
the country was occupied by a people who are ancestors of the
Armenians of the present day.
Babel, tower of
the name given to the tower which the primitive fathers of our
race built in the land of Shinar after the Deluge (Gen. 11:1-9).
Their object in building this tower was probably that it might
be seen as a rallying-point in the extensive plain of Shinar, to
which they had emigrated from the uplands of Armenia, and so
prevent their being scattered abroad. But God interposed and
defeated their design by condounding their language, and hence
the name Babel, meaning "confusion." In the Babylonian tablets
there is an account of this event, and also of the creation and
the deluge. (See CHALDEA ¯T0000758.)
The Temple of Belus, which is supposed to occupy its site, is
described by the Greek historian Herodotus as a temple of great
extent and magnificence, erected by the Babylonians for their
god Belus. The treasures Nebuchadnezzar brought from Jerusalem
were laid up in this temple (2 Chr. 36:7).
The Birs Nimrud, at ancient Borsippa, about 7 miles south-west
of Hillah, the modern town which occupies a part of the site of
ancient Babylon, and 6 miles from the Euphrates, is an immense
mass of broken and fire-blasted fragments, of about 2,300 feet
in circumference, rising suddenly to the height of 235 feet
above the desert-plain, and is with probability regarded as the
ruins of the tower of Babel. This is "one of the most imposing
ruins in the country." Others think it to be the ruins of the
Temple of Belus.
highland, the son of Shem (Gen. 10:22), and the name of the
country inhabited by his descendants (14:1, 9; Isa. 11:11; 21:2,
etc.) lying to the east of Babylonia, and extending to the shore
of the Mediterranean, a distance in a direct line of about 1,000
miles. The name Elam is an Assyrian word meaning "high."
"The inhabitants of Elam, or 'the Highlands,' to the east of
Babylon, were called Elamites. They were divided into several
branches, speaking different dialects of the same agglutinative
language. The race to which they belonged was brachycephalic, or
short-headed, like the pre-Semitic Sumerians of Babylonia.
"The earliest Elamite kingdom seems to have been that of
Anzan, the exact site of which is uncertain; but in the time of
Abraham, Shushan or Susa appears to have already become the
capital of the country. Babylonia was frequently invaded by the
Elamite kings, who at times asserted their supremacy over it (as
in the case of Chedorlaomer, the Kudur-Lagamar, or 'servant of
the goddess Lagamar,' of the cuneiform texts).
"The later Assyrian monarchs made several campaigns against
Elam, and finally Assur-bani-pal (about B.C. 650) succeeded in
conquering the country, which was ravaged with fire and sword.
On the fall of the Assyrian Empire, Elam passed into the hands
of the Persians" (A.H. Sayce).
This country was called by the Greeks Cissia or Susiana.
Habakkuk, Prophecies of
were probably written about B.C. 650-627, or, as some think, a
few years later. This book consists of three chapters, the
contents of which are thus comprehensively described: "When the
prophet in spirit saw the formidable power of the Chaldeans
approaching and menacing his land, and saw the great evils they
would cause in Judea, he bore his complaints and doubts before
Jehovah, the just and the pure (1:2-17). And on this occasion
the future punishment of the Chaldeans was revealed to him (2).
In the third chapter a presentiment of the destruction of his
country, in the inspired heart of the prophet, contends with his
hope that the enemy would be chastised." The third chapter is a
sublime song dedicated "to the chief musician," and therefore
intended apparently to be used in the worship of God. It is
"unequalled in majesty and splendour of language and imagery."
The passage in 2:4, "The just shall live by his faith," is
quoted by the apostle in Rom. 1:17. (Comp. Gal. 3:12; Heb.
(1.) Heb. kebes, a male lamb from the first to the third year.
Offered daily at the morning and the evening sacrifice (Ex.
29:38-42), on the Sabbath day (Num. 28:9), at the feast of the
New Moon (28:11), of Trumpets (29:2), of Tabernacles (13-40), of
Pentecost (Lev. 23:18-20), and of the Passover (Ex. 12:5), and
on many other occasions (1 Chr. 29:21; 2 Chr. 29:21; Lev. 9:3;
(2.) Heb. taleh, a young sucking lamb (1 Sam. 7:9; Isa.
65:25). In the symbolical language of Scripture the lamb is the
type of meekness and innocence (Isa. 11:6; 65:25; Luke 10:3;
The lamb was a symbol of Christ (Gen. 4:4; Ex. 12:3; 29:38;
Isa. 16:1; 53:7; John 1:36; Rev. 13:8).
Christ is called the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36), as the great
sacrifice of which the former sacrifices were only types (Num.
6:12; Lev. 14:12-17; Isa. 53:7; 1 Cor. 5:7).
a basalt stone, bearing an inscription by King Mesha, which was
discovered at Dibon by Klein, a German missionary at Jerusalem,
in 1868. It was 3 1/2 feet high and 2 in breadth and in
thickness, rounded at the top. It consisted of thirty-four
lines, written in Hebrew-Phoenician characters. It was set up by
Mesha as a record and memorial of his victories. It records (1)
Mesha's wars with Omri, (2) his public buildings, and (3) his
wars against Horonaim. This inscription in a remarkable degree
supplements and corroborates the history of King Mesha recorded
in 2 Kings 3:4-27.
With the exception of a very few variations, the Moabite
language in which the inscription is written is identical with
the Hebrew. The form of the letters here used supplies very
important and interesting information regarding the history of
the formation of the alphabet, as well as, incidentally,
regarding the arts of civilized life of those times in the land
This ancient monument, recording the heroic struggles of King
Mesha with Omri and Ahab, was erected about B.C. 900. Here "we
have the identical slab on which the workmen of the old world
carved the history of their own times, and from which the eye of
their contemporaries read thousands of years ago the record of
events of which they themselves had been the witnesses." It is
the oldest inscription written in alphabetic characters, and
hence is, apart from its value in the domain of Hebrew
antiquities, of great linguistic importance.
Job, Book of
A great diversity of opinion exists as to the authorship of this
book. From internal evidence, such as the similarity of
sentiment and language to those in the Psalms and Proverbs (see
Ps. 88 and 89), the prevalence of the idea of "wisdom," and the
style and character of the composition, it is supposed by some
to have been written in the time of David and Solomon. Others
argue that it was written by Job himself, or by Elihu, or
Isaiah, or perhaps more probably by Moses, who was "learned in
all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and mighty in words and deeds"
(Acts 7:22). He had opportunities in Midian for obtaining the
knowledge of the facts related. But the authorship is altogether
As to the character of the book, it is a historical poem, one
of the greatest and sublimest poems in all literature. Job was a
historical person, and the localities and names were real and
not fictious. It is "one of the grandest portions of the
inspired Scriptures, a heavenly-repleished storehouse of comfort
and instruction, the patriarchal Bible, and a precious monument
of primitive theology. It is to the Old Testament what the
Epistle to the Romans is to the New." It is a didactic narrative
in a dramatic form.
This book was apparently well known in the days of Ezekiel,
B.C. 600 (Ezek. 14:14). It formed a part of the sacred
Scriptures used by our Lord and his apostles, and is referred to
as a part of the inspired Word (Heb. 12:5; 1 Cor. 3:19).
The subject of the book is the trial of Job, its occasion,
nature, endurance, and issue. It exhibits the harmony of the
truths of revelation and the dealings of Providence, which are
seen to be at once inscrutable, just, and merciful. It shows the
blessedness of the truly pious, even amid sore afflictions, and
thus ministers comfort and hope to tried believers of every age.
It is a book of manifold instruction, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in
righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16).
It consists of,
(1.) An historical introduction in prose (ch. 1,2).
(2.) The controversy and its solution, in poetry (ch. 3-42:6).
Job's desponding lamentation (ch. 3) is the occasion of the
controversy which is carried on in three courses of dialogues
between Job and his three friends. The first course gives the
commencement of the controversy (ch. 4-14); the second the
growth of the controversy (15-21); and the third the height of
the controversy (22-27). This is followed by the solution of the
controversy in the speeches of Elihu and the address of Jehovah,
followed by Job's humble confession (42:1-6) of his own fault
(3.) The third division is the historical conclusion, in prose
Sir J. W. Dawson in "The Expositor" says: "It would now seem
that the language and theology of the book of Job can be better
explained by supposing it to be a portion of Minean [Southern
Arabia] literature obtained by Moses in Midian than in any other
way. This view also agrees better than any other with its
references to natural objects, the art of mining, and other
(1.) The name of Esau (q.v.), Gen. 25:30, "Feed me, I pray thee,
with that same red pottage [Heb. haadom, haadom, i.e., 'the red
pottage, the red pottage'] ...Therefore was his name called
Edom", i.e., Red.
(2.) Idumea (Isa. 34:5, 6; Ezek. 35:15). "The field of Edom"
(Gen. 32:3), "the land of Edom" (Gen. 36:16), was mountainous
(Obad. 1:8, 9, 19, 21). It was called the land, or "the mountain
of Seir," the rough hills on the east side of the Arabah. It
extended from the head of the Gulf of Akabah, the Elanitic gulf,
to the foot of the Dead Sea (1 Kings 9:26), and contained, among
other cities, the rock-hewn Sela (q.v.), generally known by the
Greek name Petra (2 Kings 14:7). It is a wild and rugged region,
traversed by fruitful valleys. Its old capital was Bozrah (Isa.
63:1). The early inhabitants of the land were Horites. They were
destroyed by the Edomites (Deut. 2:12), between whom and the
kings of Israel and Judah there was frequent war (2 Kings 8:20;
2 Chr. 28:17).
At the time of the Exodus they churlishly refused permission
to the Israelites to pass through their land (Num. 20:14-21),
and ever afterwards maintained an attitude of hostility toward
them. They were conquered by David (2 Sam. 8:14; comp. 1 Kings
9:26), and afterwards by Amaziah (2 Chr. 25:11, 12). But they
regained again their independence, and in later years, during
the decline of the Jewish kingdom (2 Kings 16:6; R.V. marg.,
"Edomites"), made war against Israel. They took part with the
Chaldeans when Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem, and afterwards
they invaded and held possession of the south of Israel as
far as Hebron. At length, however, Edom fell under the growing
Chaldean power (Jer. 27:3, 6).
There are many prophecies concerning Edom (Isa. 34:5, 6; Jer.
49:7-18; Ezek. 25:13; 35:1-15; Joel 3:19; Amos 1:11; Obad.; Mal.
1:3, 4) which have been remarkably fulfilled. The present
desolate condition of that land is a standing testimony to the
inspiration of these prophecies. After an existence as a people
for above seventeen hundred years, they have utterly
disappeared, and their language even is forgotten for ever. In
Petra, "where kings kept their court, and where nobles
assembled, there no man dwells; it is given by lot to birds, and
beasts, and reptiles."
The Edomites were Semites, closely related in blood and in
language to the Israelites. They dispossessed the Horites of
Mount Seir; though it is clear, from Gen. 36, that they
afterwards intermarried with the conquered population. Edomite
tribes settled also in the south of Judah, like the Kenizzites
(Gen. 36:11), to whom Caleb and Othniel belonged (Josh. 15:17).
The southern part of Edom was known as Teman.
This word is used, (1.) To express the idea that the Egyptians
considered themselves as defiled when they ate with strangers
(Gen. 43:32). The Jews subsequently followed the same practice,
holding it unlawful to eat or drink with foreigners (John 18:28;
Acts 10:28; 11:3).
(2.) Every shepherd was "an abomination" unto the Egyptians
(Gen. 46:34). This aversion to shepherds, such as the Hebrews,
arose probably from the fact that Lower and Middle Egypt had
formerly been held in oppressive subjection by a tribe of nomad
shepherds (the Hyksos), who had only recently been expelled, and
partly also perhaps from this other fact that the Egyptians
detested the lawless habits of these wandering shepherds.
(3.) Pharaoh was so moved by the fourth plague, that while he
refused the demand of Moses, he offered a compromise, granting
to the Israelites permission to hold their festival and offer
their sacrifices in Egypt. This permission could not be
accepted, because Moses said they would have to sacrifice "the
abomination of the Egyptians" (Ex. 8:26); i.e., the cow or ox,
which all the Egyptians held as sacred, and which they regarded
it as sacrilegious to kill.
(4.) Daniel (11:31), in that section of his prophecies which
is generally interpreted as referring to the fearful calamities
that were to fall on the Jews in the time of Antiochus
Epiphanes, says, "And they shall place the abomination that
maketh desolate." Antiochus Epiphanes caused an altar to be
erected on the altar of burnt-offering, on which sacrifices were
offered to Jupiter Olympus. (Comp. 1 Macc. 1:57). This was the
abomination of the desolation of Jerusalem. The same language is
employed in Dan. 9:27 (comp. Matt. 24:15), where the reference
is probably to the image-crowned standards which the Romans set
up at the east gate of the temple (A.D. 70), and to which they
paid idolatrous honours. "Almost the entire religion of the
Roman camp consisted in worshipping the ensign, swearing by the
ensign, and in preferring the ensign before all other gods."
These ensigns were an "abomination" to the Jews, the
"abomination of desolation."
This word is also used symbolically of sin in general (Isa.
66:3); an idol (44:19); the ceremonies of the apostate Church of
Rome (Rev. 17:4); a detestable act (Ezek. 22:11).
highlanders, or hillmen, the name given to the descendants of
one of the sons of Canaan (Gen. 14:7), called Amurra or Amurri
in the Assyrian and Egyptian inscriptions. On the early
Babylonian monuments all Syria, including Israel, is known as
"the land of the Amorites." The southern slopes of the mountains
of Judea are called the "mount of the Amorites" (Deut. 1:7, 19,
20). They seem to have originally occupied the land stretching
from the heights west of the Dead Sea (Gen. 14:7) to Hebron (13.
Comp. 13:8; Deut. 3:8; 4:46-48), embracing "all Gilead and all
Bashan" (Deut. 3:10), with the Jordan valley on the east of the
river (4:49), the land of the "two kings of the Amorites," Sihon
and Og (Deut. 31:4; Josh. 2:10; 9:10). The five kings of the
Amorites were defeated with great slaughter by Joshua (10:10).
They were again defeated at the waters of Merom by Joshua, who
smote them till there were none remaining (Josh. 11:8). It is
mentioned as a surprising circumstance that in the days of
Samuel there was peace between them and the Israelites (1 Sam.
7:14). The discrepancy supposed to exist between Deut. 1:44 and
Num. 14:45 is explained by the circumstance that the terms
"Amorites" and "Amalekites" are used synonymously for the
"Canaanites." In the same way we explain the fact that the
"Hivites" of Gen. 34:2 are the "Amorites" of 48:22. Comp. Josh.
10:6; 11:19 with 2 Sam. 21:2; also Num. 14:45 with Deut. 1:44.
The Amorites were warlike mountaineers. They are represented on
the Egyptian monuments with fair skins, light hair, blue eyes,
aquiline noses, and pointed beards. They are supposed to have
been men of great stature; their king, Og, is described by Moses
as the last "of the remnant of the giants" (Deut. 3:11). Both
Sihon and Og were independent kings. Only one word of the
Amorite language survives, "Shenir," the name they gave to Mount
Hermon (Deut. 3:9).
Daniel, Book of
is ranked by the Jews in that division of their Bible called the
Hagiographa (Heb. Khethubim). (See BIBLE ¯T0000580.) It consists
of two distinct parts. The first part, consisting of the first
six chapters, is chiefly historical; and the second part,
consisting of the remaining six chapters, is chiefly
The historical part of the book treats of the period of the
Captivity. Daniel is "the historian of the Captivity, the writer
who alone furnishes any series of events for that dark and
dismal period during which the harp of Israel hung on the trees
that grew by the Euphrates. His narrative may be said in general
to intervene between Kings and Chronicles on the one hand and
Ezra on the other, or (more strictly) to fill out the sketch
which the author of the Chronicles gives in a single verse in
his last chapter: 'And them that had escaped from the sword
carried he [i.e., Nebuchadnezzar] away to Babylon; where they
were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom
of Persia'" (2 Chr. 36:20).
The prophetical part consists of three visions and one
lengthened prophetical communication.
The genuineness of this book has been much disputed, but the
arguments in its favour fully establish its claims. (1.) We have
the testimony of Christ (Matt. 24:15; 25:31; 26:64) and his
apostles (1 Cor. 6:2; 2 Thess. 2:3) for its authority; and (2)
the important testimony of Ezekiel (14:14, 20; 28:3). (3.) The
character and records of the book are also entirely in harmony
with the times and circumstances in which the author lived. (4.)
The linguistic character of the book is, moreover, just such as
might be expected. Certain portions (Dan. 2:4; 7) are written in
the Chaldee language; and the portions written in Hebrew are in
a style and form having a close affinity with the later books of
the Old Testament, especially with that of Ezra. The writer is
familiar both with the Hebrew and the Chaldee, passing from the
one to the other just as his subject required. This is in strict
accordance with the position of the author and of the people for
whom his book was written. That Daniel is the writer of this
book is also testified to in the book itself (7:1, 28; 8:2; 9:2;
10:1, 2; 12:4, 5). (See BELSHAZZAR ¯T0000519.)
Jude, Epistle of
The author was "Judas, the brother of James" the Less (Jude
1:1), called also Lebbaeus (Matt. 10:3) and Thaddaeus (Mark
3:18). The genuineness of this epistle was early questioned, and
doubts regarding it were revived at the time of the Reformation;
but the evidences in support of its claims are complete. It has
all the marks of having proceeded from the writer whose name it
There is nothing very definite to determine the time and place
at which it was written. It was apparently written in the later
period of the apostolic age, for when it was written there were
persons still alive who had heard the apostles preach (ver. 17).
It may thus have been written about A.D. 66 or 70, and
apparently in Israel.
The epistle is addressed to Christians in general (ver. 1),
and its design is to put them on their guard against the
misleading efforts of a certain class of errorists to which they
were exposed. The style of the epistle is that of an
"impassioned invective, in the impetuous whirlwind of which the
writer is hurried along, collecting example after example of
divine vengeance on the ungodly; heaping epithet upon epithet,
and piling image upon image, and, as it were, labouring for
words and images strong enough to depict the polluted character
of the licentious apostates against whom he is warning the
Church; returning again and again to the subject, as though all
language was insufficient to give an adequate idea of their
profligacy, and to express his burning hatred of their
perversion of the doctrines of the gospel."
The striking resemblance this epistle bears to 2 Peter
suggests the idea that the author of the one had seen the
epistle of the other.
The doxology with which the epistle concludes is regarded as
the finest in the New Testament.
Proverbs, Book of
a collection of moral and philosophical maxims of a wide range
of subjects presented in a poetic form. This book sets forth the
"philosophy of practical life. It is the sign to us that the
Bible does not despise common sense and discretion. It impresses
upon us in the most forcible manner the value of intelligence
and prudence and of a good education. The whole strength of the
Hebrew language and of the sacred authority of the book is
thrown upon these homely truths. It deals, too, in that refined,
discriminating, careful view of the finer shades of human
character so often overlooked by theologians, but so necessary
to any true estimate of human life" (Stanley's Jewish Church).
As to the origin of this book, "it is probable that Solomon
gathered and recast many proverbs which sprang from human
experience in preceeding ages and were floating past him on the
tide of time, and that he also elaborated many new ones from the
material of his own experience. Towards the close of the book,
indeed, are preserved some of Solomon's own sayings that seem to
have fallen from his lips in later life and been gathered by
other hands' (Arnot's Laws from Heaven, etc.)
This book is usually divided into three parts: (1.) Consisting
of ch. 1-9, which contain an exhibition of wisdom as the highest
(2.) Consisting of ch. 10-24.
(3.) Containing proverbs of Solomon "which the men of
Hezekiah, the king of Judah, collected" (ch. 25-29).
These are followed by two supplements, (1) "The words of Agur"
(ch. 30); and (2) "The words of king Lemuel" (ch. 31).
Solomon is said to have written three thousand proverbs, and
those contained in this book may be a selection from these (1
Kings 4:32). In the New Testament there are thirty-five direct
quotations from this book or allusions to it.
Revelation, Book of
=The Apocalypse, the closing book and the only prophetical book
of the New Testament canon. The author of this book was
undoubtedly John the apostle. His name occurs four times in the
book itself (1:1, 4, 9; 22:8), and there is every reason to
conclude that the "John" here mentioned was the apostle. In a
manuscript of about the twelfth century he is called "John the
divine," but no reason can be assigned for this appellation.
The date of the writing of this book has generally been fixed
at A.D. 96, in the reign of Domitian. There are some, however,
who contend for an earlier date, A.D. 68 or 69, in the reign of
Nero. Those who are in favour of the later date appeal to the
testimony of the Christian father Irenaeus, who received
information relative to this book from those who had seen John
face to face. He says that the Apocalypse "was seen no long time
As to the relation between this book and the Gospel of John,
it has been well observed that "the leading ideas of both are
the same. The one gives us in a magnificent vision, the other in
a great historic drama, the supreme conflict between good and
evil and its issue. In both Jesus Christ is the central figure,
whose victory through defeat is the issue of the conflict. In
both the Jewish dispensation is the preparation for the gospel,
and the warfare and triumph of the Christ is described in
language saturated with the Old Testament. The difference of
date will go a long way toward explaining the difference of
style." Plummer's Gospel of St. John, Introd.
The offering up of sacrifices is to be regarded as a divine
institution. It did not originate with man. God himself
appointed it as the mode in which acceptable worship was to be
offered to him by guilty man. The language and the idea of
sacrifice pervade the whole Bible.
Sacrifices were offered in the ante-diluvian age. The Lord
clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of animals, which in all
probability had been offered in sacrifice (Gen. 3:21). Abel
offered a sacrifice "of the firstlings of his flock" (4:4; Heb.
11:4). A distinction also was made between clean and unclean
animals, which there is every reason to believe had reference to
the offering up of sacrifices (Gen. 7:2, 8), because animals
were not given to man as food till after the Flood.
The same practice is continued down through the patriarchal
age (Gen. 8:20; 12:7; 13:4, 18; 15:9-11; 22:1-18, etc.). In the
Mosaic period of Old Testament history definite laws were
prescribed by God regarding the different kinds of sacrifices
that were to be offered and the manner in which the offering was
to be made. The offering of stated sacrifices became indeed a
prominent and distinctive feature of the whole period (Ex.
12:3-27; Lev. 23:5-8; Num. 9:2-14). (See ALTAR ¯T0000185.)
We learn from the Epistle to the Hebrews that sacrifices had
in themselves no value or efficacy. They were only the "shadow
of good things to come," and pointed the worshippers forward to
the coming of the great High Priest, who, in the fullness of the
time, "was offered once for all to bear the sin of many."
Sacrifices belonged to a temporary economy, to a system of types
and emblems which served their purposes and have now passed
away. The "one sacrifice for sins" hath "perfected for ever them
that are sanctified."
Sacrifices were of two kinds: 1. Unbloody, such as (1)
first-fruits and tithes; (2) meat and drink-offerings; and (3)
incense. 2. Bloody, such as (1) burnt-offerings; (2)
peace-offerings; and (3) sin and trespass offerings. (See
a city, the modern Tubarich, on the western shore of the Sea of
Tiberias. It is said to have been founded by Herod Antipas (A.D.
16), on the site of the ruins of an older city called Rakkath,
and to have been thus named by him after the Emperor Tiberius.
It is mentioned only three times in the history of our Lord
(John 6:1,23; 21:1).
In 1837 about one-half of the inhabitants perished by an
earthquake. The population of the city is now about six
thousand, nearly the one-half being Jews. "We do not read that
our Lord ever entered this city. The reason of this is probably
to be found in the fact that it was practically a heathen city,
though standing upon Jewish soil. Herod, its founder, had
brought together the arts of Greece, the idolatry of Rome, and
the gross lewdness of Asia. There were in it a theatre for the
performance of comedies, a forum, a stadium, a palace roofed
with gold in imitation of those in Italy, statues of the Roman
gods, and busts of the deified emperors. He who was not sent but
to the lost sheep of the house of Israel might well hold himself
aloof from such scenes as these" (Manning's Those Holy Fields).
After the fall of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), Tiberias became one of
the chief residences of the Jews in Israel. It was for more
than three hundred years their metropolis. From about A.D. 150
the Sanhedrin settled here, and established rabbinical schools,
which rose to great celebrity. Here the Jerusalem (or
Palestinian) Talmud was compiled about the beginning of the
fifth century. To this same rabbinical school also we are
indebted for the Masora, a "body of traditions which transmitted
the readings of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, and
preserved, by means of the vowel-system, the pronunciation of
the Hebrew." In its original form, and in all manuscripts, the
Hebrew is written without vowels; hence, when it ceased to be a
spoken language, the importance of knowing what vowels to insert
between the consonants. This is supplied by the Masora, and
hence these vowels are called the "Masoretic vowel-points."
Luke, Gospel according to
was written by Luke. He does not claim to have been an
eye-witness of our Lord's ministry, but to have gone to the best
sources of information within his reach, and to have written an
orderly narrative of the facts (Luke 1:1-4). The authors of the
first three Gospels, the synoptics, wrote independently of each
other. Each wrote his independent narrative under the guidance
of the Holy Spirit.
Each writer has some things, both in matter and style,
peculiar to himself, yet all the three have much in common.
Luke's Gospel has been called "the Gospel of the nations, full
of mercy and hope, assured to the world by the love of a
suffering Saviour;" "the Gospel of the saintly life;" "the
Gospel for the Greeks; the Gospel of the future; the Gospel of
progressive Christianity, of the universality and gratuitousness
of the gospel; the historic Gospel; the Gospel of Jesus as the
good Physician and the Saviour of mankind;" the "Gospel of the
Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man;" "the Gospel of
womanhood;" "the Gospel of the outcast, of the Samaritan, the
publican, the harlot, and the prodigal;" "the Gospel of
tolerance." The main characteristic of this Gospel, as Farrar
(Cambridge Bible, Luke, Introd.) remarks, is fitly expressed in
the motto, "Who went about doing good, and healing all that were
oppressed of the devil" (Acts 10:38; comp. Luke 4:18). Luke
wrote for the "Hellenic world." This Gospel is indeed "rich and
"Out of a total of 1151 verses, Luke has 389 in common with
Matthew and Mark, 176 in common with Matthew alone, 41 in common
with Mark alone, leaving 544 peculiar to himself. In many
instances all three use identical language." (See MATTHEW
¯T0002442; MARK ¯T0002419; GOSPELS ¯T0001532.)
There are seventeen of our Lord's parables peculiar to this
Gospel. (See List of Parables in Appendix.) Luke also records
seven of our Lord's miracles which are omitted by Matthew and
Mark. (See List of Miracles in Appendix.) The synoptical Gospels
are related to each other after the following scheme. If the
contents of each Gospel be represented by 100, then when
compared this result is obtained:
Mark has 7 peculiarities, 93 coincidences.
Matthew 42 peculiarities, 58 coincidences.
Luke 59 peculiarities, 41 coincidences.
That is, thirteen-fourteenths of Mark, four-sevenths of Matthew,
and two-fifths of Luke are taken up in describing the same
things in very similar language.
Luke's style is more finished and classical than that of
Matthew and Mark. There is less in it of the Hebrew idiom. He
uses a few Latin words (Luke 12:6; 7:41; 8:30; 11:33; 19:20),
but no Syriac or Hebrew words except sikera, an exciting drink
of the nature of wine, but not made of grapes (from Heb. shakar,
"he is intoxicated", Lev. 10:9), probably palm wine.
This Gospel contains twenty-eight distinct references to the
The date of its composition is uncertain. It must have been
written before the Acts, the date of the composition of which is
generally fixed at about 63 or 64 A.D. This Gospel was written,
therefore, probably about 60 or 63, when Luke may have been at
Caesarea in attendance on Paul, who was then a prisoner. Others
have conjectured that it was written at Rome during Paul's
imprisonment there. But on this point no positive certainty can
It is commonly supposed that Luke wrote under the direction,
if not at the dictation of Paul. Many words and phrases are
common to both; e.g., compare:
Luke 4:22; with Col. 4:6.
Luke 4:32; with 1 Cor. 2:4.
Luke 6:36; with 2 Cor. 1:3.
Luke 6:39; with Rom. 2:19.
Luke 9:56; with 2 Cor. 10:8.
Luke 10:8; with 1 Cor. 10:27.
Luke 11:41; with Titus 1:15.
Luke 18:1; with 2 Thess. 1:11.
Luke 21:36; with Eph. 6:18.
Luke 22:19, 20; with 1 Cor. 11:23-29.
Luke 24:46; with Acts 17:3.
Luke 24:34; with 1 Cor. 15:5.
the usual name of the descendants of Ammon, the son of Lot (Gen.
19:38). From the very beginning (Deut. 2:16-20) of their history
till they are lost sight of (Judg. 5:2), this tribe is closely
associated with the Moabites (Judg. 10:11; 2 Chr. 20:1; Zeph.
2:8). Both of these tribes hired Balaam to curse Israel (Deut.
23:4). The Ammonites were probably more of a predatory tribe,
moving from place to place, while the Moabites were more
settled. They inhabited the country east of the Jordan and north
of Moab and the Dead Sea, from which they had expelled the
Zamzummims or Zuzims (Deut. 2:20; Gen. 14:5). They are known as
the Beni-ammi (Gen. 19:38), Ammi or Ammon being worshipped as
their chief god. They were of Semitic origin, and closely
related to the Hebrews in blood and language. They showed no
kindness to the Israelites when passing through their territory,
and therefore they were prohibited from "entering the
congregation of the Lord to the tenth generation" (Deut. 23:3).
They afterwards became hostile to Israel (Judg. 3:13). Jephthah
waged war against them, and "took twenty cities with a very
great slaughter" (Judg. 11:33). They were again signally
defeated by Saul (1 Sam. 11:11). David also defeated them and
their allies the Syrians (2 Sam. 10:6-14), and took their chief
city, Rabbah, with much spoil (2 Sam. 10:14; 12:26-31). The
subsequent events of their history are noted in 2 Chr. 20:25;
26:8; Jer. 49:1; Ezek. 25:3, 6. One of Solomon's wives was
Naamah, an Ammonite. She was the mother of Rehoboam (1 Kings
14:31; 2 Chr. 12:13).
The prophets predicted fearful judgments against the Ammonites
because of their hostility to Israel (Zeph. 2:8; Jer. 49:1-6;
Ezek. 25:1-5, 10; Amos 1:13-15).
The national idol worshipped by this people was Molech or
Milcom, at whose altar they offered human sacrifices (1 Kings
11:5, 7). The high places built for this idol by Solomon, at the
instigation of his Ammonitish wives, were not destroyed till the
time of Josiah (2 Kings 23:13).
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,
Lamentations, Book of
called in the Hebrew canon _'Ekhah_, meaning "How," being the
formula for the commencement of a song of wailing. It is the
first word of the book (see 2 Sam. 1:19-27). The LXX. adopted
the name rendered "Lamentations" (Gr. threnoi = Heb. qinoth) now
in common use, to denote the character of the book, in which the
prophet mourns over the desolations brought on the city and the
holy land by Chaldeans. In the Hebrew Bible it is placed among
the Khethubim. (See BIBLE ¯T0000580.)
As to its authorship, there is no room for hesitancy in
following the LXX. and the Targum in ascribing it to Jeremiah.
The spirit, tone, language, and subject-matter are in accord
with the testimony of tradition in assigning it to him.
According to tradition, he retired after the destruction of
Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar to a cavern outside the Damascus
gate, where he wrote this book. That cavern is still pointed
out. "In the face of a rocky hill, on the western side of the
city, the local belief has placed 'the grotto of Jeremiah.'
There, in that fixed attitude of grief which Michael Angelo has
immortalized, the prophet may well be supposed to have mourned
the fall of his country" (Stanley, Jewish Church).
The book consists of five separate poems. In chapter 1 the
prophet dwells on the manifold miseries oppressed by which the
city sits as a solitary widow weeping sorely. In chapter 2 these
miseries are described in connection with the national sins that
had caused them. Chapter 3 speaks of hope for the people of God.
The chastisement would only be for their good; a better day
would dawn for them. Chapter 4 laments the ruin and desolation
that had come upon the city and temple, but traces it only to
the people's sins. Chapter 5 is a prayer that Zion's reproach
may be taken away in the repentance and recovery of the people.
The first four poems (chapters) are acrostics, like some of
the Psalms (25, 34, 37, 119), i.e., each verse begins with a
letter of the Hebrew alphabet taken in order. The first, second,
and fourth have each twenty-two verses, the number of the
letters in the Hebrew alphabet. The third has sixty-six verses,
in which each three successive verses begin with the same
letter. The fifth is not acrostic.
Speaking of the "Wailing-place (q.v.) of the Jews" at
Jerusalem, a portion of the old wall of the temple of Solomon,
Schaff says: "There the Jews assemble every Friday afternoon to
bewail the downfall of the holy city, kissing the stone wall and
watering it with their tears. They repeat from their well-worn
Hebrew Bibles and prayer-books the Lamentations of Jeremiah and
(Gen. 10:14, R.V.; but in A.V., "Philistim"), a tribe allied to
the Phoenicians. They were a branch of the primitive race which
spread over the whole district of the Lebanon and the valley of
the Jordan, and Crete and other Mediterranean islands. Some
suppose them to have been a branch of the Rephaim (2 Sam.
21:16-22). In the time of Abraham they inhabited the south-west
of Judea, Abimelech of Gerar being their king (Gen. 21:32, 34;
26:1). They are, however, not noticed among the Canaanitish
tribes mentioned in the Pentateuch. They are spoken of by Amos
(9:7) and Jeremiah (47:4) as from Caphtor, i.e., probably Crete,
or, as some think, the Delta of Egypt. In the whole record from
Exodus to Samuel they are represented as inhabiting the tract of
country which lay between Judea and Egypt (Ex. 13:17; 15:14, 15;
Josh. 13:3; 1 Sam. 4).
This powerful tribe made frequent incursions against the
Hebrews. There was almost perpetual war between them. They
sometimes held the tribes, especially the southern tribes, in
degrading servitude (Judg. 15:11; 1 Sam. 13:19-22); at other
times they were defeated with great slaughter (1 Sam. 14:1-47;
17). These hostilities did not cease till the time of Hezekiah
(2 Kings 18:8), when they were entirely subdued. They still,
however, occupied their territory, and always showed their old
hatred to Israel (Ezek. 25:15-17). They were finally conquered
by the Romans.
The Philistines are called Pulsata or Pulista on the Egyptian
monuments; the land of the Philistines (Philistia) being termed
Palastu and Pilista in the Assyrian inscriptions. They occupied
the five cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath, in
the south-western corner of Canaan, which belonged to Egypt up
to the closing days of the Nineteenth Dynasty. The occupation
took place during the reign of Rameses III. of the Twentieth
Dynasty. The Philistines had formed part of the great naval
confederacy which attacked Egypt, but were eventually repulsed
by that Pharaoh, who, however, could not dislodge them from
their settlements in Israel. As they did not enter Israel
till the time of the Exodus, the use of the name Philistines in
Gen. 26:1 must be proleptic. Indeed the country was properly
Gerar, as in ch. 20.
They are called Allophyli, "foreigners," in the Septuagint,
and in the Books of Samuel they are spoken of as uncircumcised.
It would therefore appear that they were not of the Semitic
race, though after their establishment in Canaan they adopted
the Semitic language of the country. We learn from the Old
Testament that they came from Caphtor, usually supposed to be
Crete. From Philistia the name of the land of the Philistines
came to be extended to the whole of "Israel." Many scholars
identify the Philistines with the Pelethites of 2 Sam. 8:18.
The art of writing must have been known in the time of the early
Pharaohs. Moses is commanded "to write for a memorial in a book"
(Ex. 17:14) a record of the attack of Amalek. Frequent mention
is afterwards made of writing (28:11, 21, 29, 36; 31:18; 32:15,
16; 34:1, 28; 39:6, 14, 30). The origin of this art is unknown,
but there is reason to conclude that in the age of Moses it was
well known. The inspired books of Moses are the most ancient
extant writings, although there are written monuments as old as
about B.C. 2000. The words expressive of "writing," "book," and
"ink," are common to all the branches or dialects of the Semitic
language, and hence it has been concluded that this art must
have been known to the earliest Semites before they separated
into their various tribes, and nations, and families.
"The Old Testament and the discoveries of Oriental archaeology
alike tell us that the age of the Exodus was throughout the
world of Western Asia an age of literature and books, of readers
and writers, and that the cities of Israel were stored with
the contemporaneous records of past events inscribed on
imperishable clay. They further tell us that the kinsfolk and
neighbours of the Israelites were already acquainted with
alphabetic writing, that the wanderers in the desert and the
tribes of Edom were in contact with the cultured scribes and
traders of Ma'in [Southern Arabia], and that the 'house of
bondage' from which Israel had escaped was a land where the art
of writing was blazoned not only on the temples of the gods, but
also on the dwellings of the rich and powerful.", Sayce. (See
DEBIR ¯T0000995; PHOENICIA ¯T0002943.)
The "Book of the Dead" was a collection of prayers and
formulae, by the use of which the souls of the dead were
supposed to attain to rest and peace in the next world. It was
composed at various periods from the earliest time to the
Persian conquest. It affords an interesting glimpse into the
religious life and system of belief among the ancient Egyptians.
We learn from it that they believed in the existence of one
Supreme Being, the immortality of the soul, judgement after
death, and the resurrection of the body. It shows, too, a high
state of literary activity in Egypt in the time of Moses. It
refers to extensive libraries then existing. That of Ramessium,
in Thebes, e.g., built by Rameses II., contained 20,000 books.
When the Hebrews entered Canaan it is evident that the art of
writing was known to the original inhabitants, as appears, e.g.,
from the name of the city Debir having been at first
Kirjath-sepher, i.e., the "city of the book," or the "book town"
(Josh. 10:38; 15:15; Judg. 1:11).
The first mention of letter-writing is in the time of David (2
Sam. 11:14, 15). Letters are afterwards frequently spoken of (1
Kings 21:8, 9, 11; 2 Kings 10:1, 3, 6, 7; 19:14; 2 Chr.
21:12-15; 30:1, 6-9, etc.).
a translation of the holy Scriptures. This word is not found in
the Bible, nevertheless, as frequent references are made in this
work to various ancient as well as modern versions, it is
fitting that some brief account should be given of the most
important of these. These versions are important helps to the
right interpretation of the Word. (See SAMARITAN PENTATEUCH
1. The Targums. After the return from the Captivity, the Jews,
no longer familiar with the old Hebrew, required that their
Scriptures should be translated for them into the Chaldaic or
Aramaic language and interpreted. These translations and
paraphrases were at first oral, but they were afterwards reduced
to writing, and thus targums, i.e., "versions" or
"translations", have come down to us. The chief of these are,
(1.) The Onkelos Targum, i.e., the targum of Akelas=Aquila, a
targum so called to give it greater popularity by comparing it
with the Greek translation of Aquila mentioned below. This
targum originated about the second century after Christ. (2.)
The targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel comes next to that of Onkelos
in respect of age and value. It is more a paraphrase on the
Prophets, however, than a translation. Both of these targums
issued from the Jewish school which then flourished at Babylon.
2. The Greek Versions. (1.) The oldest of these is the
Septuagint, usually quoted as the LXX. The origin of this the
most important of all the versions is involved in much
obscurity. It derives its name from the popular notion that
seventy-two translators were employed on it by the direction of
Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, and that it was
accomplished in seventy-two days, for the use of the Jews
residing in that country. There is no historical warrant for
this notion. It is, however, an established fact that this
version was made at Alexandria; that it was begun about 280
B.C., and finished about 200 or 150 B.C.; that it was the work
of a number of translators who differed greatly both in their
knowledge of Hebrew and of Greek; and that from the earliest
times it has borne the name of "The Septuagint", i.e., The
"This version, with all its defects, must be of the greatest
interest, (a) as preserving evidence for the text far more
ancient than the oldest Hebrew manuscripts; (b) as the means by
which the Greek Language was wedded to Hebrew thought; (c) as
the source of the great majority of quotations from the Old
Testament by writers of the New Testament.
(2.) The New Testament manuscripts fall into two divisions,
Uncials, written in Greek capitals, with no distinction at all
between the different words, and very little even between the
different lines; and Cursives, in small Greek letters, and with
divisions of words and lines. The change between the two kinds
of Greek writing took place about the tenth century. Only five
manuscripts of the New Testament approaching to completeness are
more ancient than this dividing date. The first, numbered A, is
the Alexandrian manuscript. Though brought to this country by
Cyril Lucar, patriarch of Constantinople, as a present to
Charles I., it is believed that it was written, not in that
capital, but in Alexandria; whence its title. It is now dated in
the fifth century A.D. The second, known as B, is the Vatican
manuscript. (See VATICANUS ¯T0003766.) The Third, C, or the
Ephraem manuscript, was so called because it was written over
the writings of Ephraem, a Syrian theological author, a practice
very common in the days when writing materials were scarce and
dear. It is believed that it belongs to the fifth century, and
perhaps a slightly earlier period of it than the manuscript A.
The fourth, D, or the manuscript of Beza, was so called because
it belonged to the reformer Beza, who found it in the monastery
of St. Irenaeus at Lyons in 1562 A.D. It is imperfect, and is
dated in the sixth century. The fifth (called Aleph) is the
Sinaitic manuscript. (See SINAITICUS ¯T0003443.)
3. The Syriac Versions. (See SYRIAC ¯T0003549.)
4. The Latin Versions. A Latin version of the Scriptures,
called the "Old Latin," which originated in North Africa, was in
common use in the time of Tertullian (A.D. 150). Of this there
appear to have been various copies or recensions made. That made
in Italy, and called the Itala, was reckoned the most accurate.
This translation of the Old Testament seems to have been made
not from the original Hebrew but from the LXX.
This version became greatly corrupted by repeated
transcription, and to remedy the evil Jerome (A.D. 329-420) was
requested by Damasus, the bishop of Rome, to undertake a
complete revision of it. It met with opposition at first, but
was at length, in the seventh century, recognized as the
"Vulgate" version. It appeared in a printed from about A.D.
1455, the first book that ever issued from the press. The
Council of Trent (1546) declared it "authentic." It subsequently
underwent various revisions, but that which was executed (1592)
under the sanction of Pope Clement VIII. was adopted as the
basis of all subsequent editions. It is regarded as the sacred
original in the Roman Catholic Church. All modern European
versions have been more or less influenced by the Vulgate. This
version reads _ipsa_ instead of _ipse_ in Gen. 3:15, "She shall
bruise thy head."
5. There are several other ancient versions which are of
importance for Biblical critics, but which we need not mention
particularly, such as the Ethiopic, in the fourth century, from
the LXX.; two Egyptian versions, about the fourth century, the
Memphitic, circulated in Lower Egypt, and the Thebaic, designed
for Upper Egypt, both from the Greek; the Gothic, written in the
German language, but with the Greek alphabet, by Ulphilas (died
A.D. 388), of which only fragments of the Old Testament remain;
the Armenian, about A.D. 400; and the Slavonic, in the ninth
century, for ancient Moravia. Other ancient versions, as the
Arabic, the Persian, and the Anglo-Saxon, may be mentioned.
6. The history of the English versions begins properly with
Wyckliffe. Portions, however, of the Scriptures were rendered
into Saxon (as the Gospel according to John, by Bede, A.D. 735),
and also into English (by Orme, called the "Ormulum," a portion
of the Gospels and of the Acts in the form of a metrical
paraphrase, toward the close of the seventh century), long
before Wyckliffe; but it is to him that the honour belongs of
having first rendered the whole Bible into English (A.D. 1380).
This version was made from the Vulgate, and renders Gen. 3:15
after that Version, "She shall trede thy head."
This was followed by Tyndale's translation (1525-1531); Miles
Coverdale's (1535-1553); Thomas Matthew's (1537), really,
however, the work of John Rogers, the first martyr under the
reign of Queen Mary. This was properly the first Authorized
Version, Henry VIII. having ordered a copy of it to be got for
every church. This took place in less than a year after Tyndale
was martyred for the crime of translating the Scriptures. In
1539 Richard Taverner published a revised edition of Matthew's
Bible. The Great Bible, so called from its great size, called
also Cranmer's Bible, was published in 1539 and 1568. In the
strict sense, the "Great Bible" is "the only authorized version;
for the Bishops' Bible and the present Bible [the A.V.] never
had the formal sanction of royal authority." Next in order was
the Geneva version (1557-1560); the Bishops' Bible (1568); the
Rheims and Douai versions, under Roman Catholic auspices (1582,
1609); the Authorized Version (1611); and the Revised Version of
the New Testament in 1880 and of the Old Testament in 1884.
Bible, the English form of the Greek name _Biblia_, meaning
"books," the name which in the fifth century began to be given
to the entire collection of sacred books, the "Library of Divine
Revelation." The name Bible was adopted by Wickliffe, and came
gradually into use in our English language. The Bible consists
of sixty-six different books, composed by many different
writers, in three different languages, under different
circumstances; writers of almost every social rank, statesmen
and peasants, kings, herdsmen, fishermen, priests,
tax-gatherers, tentmakers; educated and uneducated, Jews and
Gentiles; most of them unknown to each other, and writing at
various periods during the space of about 1600 years: and yet,
after all, it is only one book dealing with only one subject in
its numberless aspects and relations, the subject of man's
It is divided into the Old Testament, containing thirty-nine
books, and the New Testament, containing twenty-seven books. The
names given to the Old in the writings of the New are "the
scriptures" (Matt. 21:42), "scripture" (2 Pet. 1:20), "the holy
scriptures" (Rom. 1:2), "the law" (John 12:34), "the law of
Moses, the prophets, and the psalms" (Luke 24:44), "the law and
the prophets" (Matt. 5:17), "the old covenant" (2 Cor. 3:14,
R.V.). There is a break of 400 years between the Old Testament
and the New. (See APOCRYPHA ¯T0000263.)
The Old Testament is divided into three parts:, 1. The Law
(Torah), consisting of the Pentateuch, or five books of Moses.
2. The Prophets, consisting of (1) the former, namely, Joshua,
Judges, the Books of Samuel, and the Books of Kings; (2) the
latter, namely, the greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and
Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets. 3. The Hagiographa, or
holy writings, including the rest of the books. These were
ranked in three divisions:, (1) The Psalms, Proverbs, and Job,
distinguished by the Hebrew name, a word formed of the initial
letters of these books, _emeth_, meaning truth. (2) Canticles,
Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther, called the five
rolls, as being written for the synagogue use on five separate
rolls. (3) Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 and 2 Chronicles.
Between the Old and the New Testament no addition was made to
the revelation God had already given. The period of New
Testament revelation, extending over a century, began with the
appearance of John the Baptist.
The New Testament consists of (1) the historical books, viz.,
the Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles; (2) the Epistles; and
(3) the book of prophecy, the Revelation.
The division of the Bible into chapters and verses is
altogether of human invention, designed to facilitate reference
to it. The ancient Jews divided the Old Testament into certain
sections for use in the synagogue service, and then at a later
period, in the ninth century A.D., into verses. Our modern
system of chapters for all the books of the Bible was introduced
by Cardinal Hugo about the middle of the thirteenth century (he
died 1263). The system of verses for the New Testament was
introduced by Stephens in 1551, and generally adopted, although
neither Tyndale's nor Coverdale's English translation of the
Bible has verses. The division is not always wisely made, yet it
is very useful. (See VERSION ¯T0003768.)
has been well defined as "the measured language of emotion."
Hebrew poetry deals almost exclusively with the great question
of man's relation to God. "Guilt, condemnation, punishment,
pardon, redemption, repentance are the awful themes of this
In the Hebrew scriptures there are found three distinct kinds
of poetry, (1) that of the Book of Job and the Song of Solomon,
which is dramatic; (2) that of the Book of Psalms, which is
lyrical; and (3) that of the Book of Ecclesiastes, which is
didactic and sententious.
Hebrew poetry has nothing akin to that of Western nations. It
has neither metre nor rhyme. Its great peculiarity consists in
the mutual correspondence of sentences or clauses, called
parallelism, or "thought-rhyme." Various kinds of this
parallelism have been pointed out:
(1.) Synonymous or cognate parallelism, where the same idea is
repeated in the same words (Ps. 93:3; 94:1; Prov. 6:2), or in
different words (Ps. 22, 23, 28, 114, etc.); or where it is
expressed in a positive form in the one clause and in a negative
in the other (Ps. 40:12; Prov. 6:26); or where the same idea is
expressed in three successive clauses (Ps. 40:15, 16); or in a
double parallelism, the first and second clauses corresponding
to the third and fourth (Isa. 9:1; 61:10, 11).
(2.) Antithetic parallelism, where the idea of the second
clause is the converse of that of the first (Ps. 20:8; 27:6, 7;
34:11; 37:9, 17, 21, 22). This is the common form of gnomic or
proverbial poetry. (See Prov. 10-15.)
(3.) Synthetic or constructive or compound parallelism, where
each clause or sentence contains some accessory idea enforcing
the main idea (Ps. 19:7-10; 85:12; Job 3:3-9; Isa. 1:5-9).
(4.) Introverted parallelism, in which of four clauses the
first answers to the fourth and the second to the third (Ps.
135:15-18; Prov. 23:15, 16), or where the second line reverses
the order of words in the first (Ps. 86:2).
Hebrew poetry sometimes assumes other forms than these. (1.)
An alphabetical arrangement is sometimes adopted for the purpose
of connecting clauses or sentences. Thus in the following the
initial words of the respective verses begin with the letters of
the alphabet in regular succession: Prov. 31:10-31; Lam. 1, 2,
3, 4; Ps. 25, 34, 37, 145. Ps. 119 has a letter of the alphabet
in regular order beginning every eighth verse.
(2.) The repetition of the same verse or of some emphatic
expression at intervals (Ps. 42, 107, where the refrain is in
verses, 8, 15, 21, 31). (Comp. also Isa. 9:8-10:4; Amos 1:3, 6,
9, 11, 13; 2:1, 4, 6.)
(3.) Gradation, in which the thought of one verse is resumed
in another (Ps. 121).
Several odes of great poetical beauty are found in the
historical books of the Old Testament, such as the song of Moses
(Ex. 15), the song of Deborah (Judg. 5), of Hannah (1 Sam. 2),
of Hezekiah (Isa. 38:9-20), of Habakkuk (Hab. 3), and David's
"song of the bow" (2 Sam. 1:19-27).
light, or the moon city, a city "of the Chaldees," the
birthplace of Haran (Gen. 11:28,31), the largest city of Shinar
or northern Chaldea, and the principal commercial centre of the
country as well as the centre of political power. It stood near
the mouth of the Euphrates, on its western bank, and is
represented by the mounds (of bricks cemented by bitumen) of
el-Mugheir, i.e., "the bitumined," or "the town of bitumen," now
150 miles from the sea and some 6 miles from the Euphrates, a
little above the point where it receives the Shat el-Hie, an
affluent from the Tigris. It was formerly a maritime city, as
the waters of the Persian Gulf reached thus far inland. Ur was
the port of Babylonia, whence trade was carried on with the
dwellers on the gulf, and with the distant countries of India,
Ethiopia, and Egypt. It was abandoned about B.C. 500, but long
continued, like Erech, to be a great sacred cemetery city, as is
evident from the number of tombs found there. (See ABRAHAM
The oldest king of Ur known to us is Ur-Ba'u (servant of the
goddess Ba'u), as Hommel reads the name, or Ur-Gur, as others
read it. He lived some twenty-eight hundred years B.C., and took
part in building the famous temple of the moon-god Sin in Ur
itself. The illustration here given represents his cuneiform
inscription, written in the Sumerian language, and stamped upon
every brick of the temple in Ur. It reads: "Ur-Ba'u, king of Ur,
who built the temple of the moon-god."
"Ur was consecrated to the worship of Sin, the Babylonian
moon-god. It shared this honour, however, with another city, and
this city was Haran, or Harran. Harran was in Mesopotamia, and
took its name from the highroad which led through it from the
east to the west. The name is Babylonian, and bears witness to
its having been founded by a Babylonian king. The same witness
is still more decisively borne by the worship paid in it to the
Babylonian moon-god and by its ancient temple of Sin. Indeed,
the temple of the moon-god at Harran was perhaps even more
famous in the Assyrian and Babylonian world than the temple of
the moon-god at Ur.
"Between Ur and Harran there must, consequently, have been a
close connection in early times, the record of which has not yet
been recovered. It may be that Harran owed its foundation to a
king of Ur; at any rate the two cities were bound together by
the worship of the same deity, the closest and most enduring
bond of union that existed in the ancient world. That Terah
should have migrated from Ur to Harran, therefore, ceases to be
extraordinary. If he left Ur at all, it was the most natural
place to which to go. It was like passing from one court of a
temple into another.
"Such a remarkable coincidence between the Biblical narrative
and the evidence of archaeological research cannot be the result
of chance. The narrative must be historical; no writer of late
date, even if he were a Babylonian, could have invented a story
so exactly in accordance with what we now know to have been the
truth. For a story of the kind to have been the invention of
Palestinian tradition is equally impossible. To the unprejudiced
mind there is no escape from the conclusion that the history of
the migration of Terah from Ur to Harran is founded on fact"
Chronicles, Books of
The two books were originally one. They bore the title in the
Massoretic Hebrew _Dibre hayyamim_, i.e., "Acts of the Days."
This title was rendered by Jerome in his Latin version
"Chronicon," and hence "Chronicles." In the Septuagint version
the book is divided into two, and bears the title Paraleipomena,
i.e., "things omitted," or "supplements", because containing
many things omitted in the Books of Kings.
The contents of these books are comprehended under four heads.
(1.) The first nine chapters of Book I. contain little more than
a list of genealogies in the line of Israel down to the time of
David. (2.) The remainder of the first book contains a history
of the reign of David. (3.) The first nine chapters of Book II.
contain the history of the reign of Solomon. (4.) The remaining
chapters of the second book contain the history of the separate
kingdom of Judah to the time of the return from Babylonian
The time of the composition of the Chronicles was, there is
every ground to conclude, subsequent to the Babylonian Exile,
probably between 450 and 435 B.C. The contents of this twofold
book, both as to matter and form, correspond closely with this
idea. The close of the book records the proclamation of Cyrus
permitting the Jews to return to their own land, and this forms
the opening passage of the Book of Ezra, which must be viewed as
a continuation of the Chronicles. The peculiar form of the
language, being Aramaean in its general character, harmonizes
also with that of the books which were written after the Exile.
The author was certainly contemporary with Zerubbabel, details
of whose family history are given (1 Chr. 3:19).
The time of the composition being determined, the question of
the authorship may be more easily decided. According to Jewish
tradition, which was universally received down to the middle of
the seventeenth century, Ezra was regarded as the author of the
Chronicles. There are many points of resemblance and of contact
between the Chronicles and the Book of Ezra which seem to
confirm this opinion. The conclusion of the one and the
beginning of the other are almost identical in expression. In
their spirit and characteristics they are the same, showing thus
also an identity of authorship.
In their general scope and design these books are not so much
historical as didactic. The principal aim of the writer appears
to be to present moral and religious truth. He does not give
prominence to political occurences, as is done in Samuel and
Kings, but to ecclesiastical institutions. "The genealogies, so
uninteresting to most modern readers, were really an important
part of the public records of the Hebrew state. They were the
basis on which not only the land was distributed and held, but
the public services of the temple were arranged and conducted,
the Levites and their descendants alone, as is well known, being
entitled and first fruits set apart for that purpose." The
"Chronicles" are an epitome of the sacred history from the days
of Adam down to the return from Babylonian Exile, a period of
about 3,500 years. The writer gathers up "the threads of the old
national life broken by the Captivity."
The sources whence the chronicler compiled his work were
public records, registers, and genealogical tables belonging to
the Jews. These are referred to in the course of the book (1
Chr. 27:24; 29:29; 2 Chr. 9:29; 12:15; 13:22; 20:34; 24:27;
26:22; 32:32; 33:18, 19; 27:7; 35:25). There are in Chronicles,
and the books of Samuel and Kings, forty parallels, often
verbal, proving that the writer both knew and used these records
(1 Chr. 17:18; comp. 2 Sam. 7:18-20; 1 Chr. 19; comp. 2 Sam. 10,
As compared with Samuel and Kings, the Book of Chronicles
omits many particulars there recorded (2 Sam. 6:20-23; 9; 11;
14-19, etc.), and includes many things peculiar to itself (1
Chr. 12; 22; 23-26; 27; 28; 29, etc.). Twenty whole chapters,
and twenty-four parts of chapters, are occupied with matter not
found elsewhere. It also records many things in fuller detail,
as (e.g.) the list of David's heroes (1 Chr. 12:1-37), the
removal of the ark from Kirjath-jearim to Mount Zion (1 Chr. 13;
15:2-24; 16:4-43; comp. 2 Sam. 6), Uzziah's leprosy and its
cause (2 Chr. 26:16-21; comp. 2 Kings 15:5), etc.
It has also been observed that another peculiarity of the book
is that it substitutes modern and more common expressions for
those that had then become unusual or obsolete. This is seen
particularly in the substitution of modern names of places, such
as were in use in the writer's day, for the old names; thus
Gezer (1 Chr. 20:4) is used instead of Gob (2 Sam. 21:18), etc.
The Books of Chronicles are ranked among the _khethubim_ or
hagiographa. They are alluded to, though not directly quoted, in
the New Testament (Heb. 5:4; Matt. 12:42; 23:35; Luke 1:5;
the land of the Nile and the pyramids, the oldest kingdom of
which we have any record, holds a place of great significance in
The Egyptians belonged to the white race, and their original
home is still a matter of dispute. Many scholars believe that it
was in Southern Arabia, and recent excavations have shown that
the valley of the Nile was originally inhabited by a low-class
population, perhaps belonging to the Nigritian stock, before the
Egyptians of history entered it. The ancient Egyptian language,
of which the latest form is Coptic, is distantly connected with
the Semitic family of speech.
Egypt consists geographically of two halves, the northern
being the Delta, and the southern Upper Egypt, between Cairo and
the First Cataract. In the Old Testament, Northern or Lower
Egypt is called Mazor, "the fortified land" (Isa. 19:6; 37: 25,
where the A.V. mistranslates "defence" and "besieged places");
while Southern or Upper Egypt is Pathros, the Egyptian
Pa-to-Res, or "the land of the south" (Isa. 11:11). But the
whole country is generally mentioned under the dual name of
Mizraim, "the two Mazors."
The civilization of Egypt goes back to a very remote
antiquity. The two kingdoms of the north and south were united
by Menes, the founder of the first historical dynasty of kings.
The first six dynasties constitute what is known as the Old
Empire, which had its capital at Memphis, south of Cairo, called
in the Old Testament Moph (Hos. 9:6) and Noph. The native name
was Mennofer, "the good place."
The Pyramids were tombs of the monarchs of the Old Empire,
those of Gizeh being erected in the time of the Fourth Dynasty.
After the fall of the Old Empire came a period of decline and
obscurity. This was followed by the Middle Empire, the most
powerful dynasty of which was the Twelfth. The Fayyum was
rescued for agriculture by the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty; and
two obelisks were erected in front of the temple of the sun-god
at On or Heliopolis (near Cairo), one of which is still
standing. The capital of the Middle Empire was Thebes, in Upper
The Middle Empire was overthrown by the invasion of the
Hyksos, or shepherd princes from Asia, who ruled over Egypt,
more especially in the north, for several centuries, and of whom
there were three dynasties of kings. They had their capital at
Zoan or Tanis (now San), in the north-eastern part of the Delta.
It was in the time of the Hyksos that Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph
entered Egypt. The Hyksos were finally expelled about B.C. 1600,
by the hereditary princes of Thebes, who founded the Eighteenth
Dynasty, and carried the war into Asia. Canaan and Syria were
subdued, as well as Cyprus, and the boundaries of the Egyptian
Empire were fixed at the Euphrates. The Soudan, which had been
conquered by the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty, was again annexed
to Egypt, and the eldest son of the Pharaoh took the title of
"Prince of Cush."
One of the later kings of the dynasty, Amenophis IV., or
Khu-n-Aten, endeavoured to supplant the ancient state religion
of Egypt by a new faith derived from Asia, which was a sort of
pantheistic monotheism, the one supreme god being adored under
the image of the solar disk. The attempt led to religious and
civil war, and the Pharaoh retreated from Thebes to Central
Egypt, where he built a new capital, on the site of the present
Tell-el-Amarna. The cuneiform tablets that have been found there
represent his foreign correspondence (about B.C. 1400). He
surrounded himself with officials and courtiers of Asiatic, and
more especially Canaanitish, extraction; but the native party
succeeded eventually in overthrowing the government, the capital
of Khu-n-Aten was destroyed, and the foreigners were driven out
of the country, those that remained being reduced to serfdom.
The national triumph was marked by the rise of the Nineteenth
Dynasty, in the founder of which, Rameses I., we must see the
"new king, who knew not Joseph." His grandson, Rameses II.,
reigned sixty-seven years (B.C. 1348-1281), and was an
indefatigable builder. As Pithom, excavated by Dr. Naville in
1883, was one of the cities he built, he must have been the
Pharaoh of the Oppression. The Pharaoh of the Exodus may have
been one of his immediate successors, whose reigns were short.
Under them Egypt lost its empire in Asia, and was itself
attacked by barbarians from Libya and the north.
The Nineteenth Dynasty soon afterwards came to an end; Egypt
was distracted by civil war; and for a short time a Canaanite,
Arisu, ruled over it.
Then came the Twentieth Dynasty, the second Pharaoh of which,
Rameses III., restored the power of his country. In one of his
campaigns he overran the southern part of Israel, where the
Israelites had not yet settled. They must at the time have been
still in the wilderness. But it was during the reign of Rameses
III. that Egypt finally lost Gaza and the adjoining cities,
which were seized by the Pulista, or Philistines.
After Rameses III., Egypt fell into decay. Solomon married the
daughter of one of the last kings of the Twenty-first Dynasty,
which was overthrown by Shishak I., the general of the Libyan
mercenaries, who founded the Twenty-second Dynasty (1 Kings
11:40; 14:25, 26). A list of the places he captured in Israel
is engraved on the outside of the south wall of the temple of
In the time of Hezekiah, Egypt was conquered by Ethiopians
from the Soudan, who constituted the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. The
third of them was Tirhakah (2 Kings 19:9). In B.C. 674 it was
conquered by the Assyrians, who divided it into twenty
satrapies, and Tirhakah was driven back to his ancestral
dominions. Fourteen years later it successfully revolted under
Psammetichus I. of Sais, the founder of the Twenty-sixth
Dynasty. Among his successors were Necho (2 Kings 23:29) and
Hophra, or Apries (Jer. 37:5, 7, 11). The dynasty came to an end
in B.C. 525, when the country was subjugated by Cambyses. Soon
afterwards it was organized into a Persian satrapy.
The title of Pharaoh, given to the Egyptian kings, is the
Egyptian Per-aa, or "Great House," which may be compared to that
of "Sublime Porte." It is found in very early Egyptian texts.
The Egyptian religion was a strange mixture of pantheism and
animal worship, the gods being adored in the form of animals.
While the educated classes resolved their manifold deities into
manifestations of one omnipresent and omnipotent divine power,
the lower classes regarded the animals as incarnations of the
Under the Old Empire, Ptah, the Creator, the god of Memphis,
was at the head of the Pantheon; afterwards Amon, the god of
Thebes, took his place. Amon, like most of the other gods, was
identified with Ra, the sun-god of Heliopolis.
The Egyptians believed in a resurrection and future life, as
well as in a state of rewards and punishments dependent on our
conduct in this world. The judge of the dead was Osiris, who had
been slain by Set, the representative of evil, and afterwards
restored to life. His death was avenged by his son Horus, whom
the Egyptians invoked as their "Redeemer." Osiris and Horus,
along with Isis, formed a trinity, who were regarded as
representing the sun-god under different forms.
Even in the time of Abraham, Egypt was a flourishing and
settled monarchy. Its oldest capital, within the historic
period, was Memphis, the ruins of which may still be seen near
the Pyramids and the Sphinx. When the Old Empire of Menes came
to an end, the seat of empire was shifted to Thebes, some 300
miles farther up the Nile. A short time after that, the Delta
was conquered by the Hyksos, or shepherd kings, who fixed their
capital at Zoan, the Greek Tanis, now San, on the Tanic arm of
the Nile. All this occurred before the time of the new king
"which knew not Joseph" (Ex. 1:8). In later times Egypt was
conquered by the Persians (B.C. 525), and by the Greeks under
Alexander the Great (B.C. 332), after whom the Ptolemies ruled
the country for three centuries. Subsequently it was for a time
a province of the Roman Empire; and at last, in A.D. 1517, it
fell into the hands of the Turks, of whose empire it still forms
nominally a part. Abraham and Sarah went to Egypt in the time of
the shepherd kings. The exile of Joseph and the migration of
Jacob to "the land of Goshen" occurred about 200 years later. On
the death of Solomon, Shishak, king of Egypt, invaded Israel
(1 Kings 14:25). He left a list of the cities he conquered.
A number of remarkable clay tablets, discovered at
Tell-el-Amarna in Upper Egypt, are the most important historical
records ever found in connection with the Bible. They most fully
confirm the historical statements of the Book of Joshua, and
prove the antiquity of civilization in Syria and Israel. As
the clay in different parts of Israel differs, it has been
found possible by the clay alone to decide where the tablets
come from when the name of the writer is lost. The inscriptions
are cuneiform, and in the Aramaic language, resembling Assyrian.
The writers are Phoenicians, Amorites, and Philistines, but in
no instance Hittites, though Hittites are mentioned. The tablets
consist of official dispatches and letters, dating from B.C.
1480, addressed to the two Pharaohs, Amenophis III. and IV., the
last of this dynasty, from the kings and governors of Phoenicia
and Israel. There occur the names of three kings killed by
Joshua, Adoni-zedec, king of Jerusalem, Japhia, king of Lachish
(Josh. 10:3), and Jabin, king of Hazor (11:1); also the Hebrews
(Abiri) are said to have come from the desert.
The principal prophecies of Scripture regarding Egypt are
these, Isa. 19; Jer. 43: 8-13; 44:30; 46; Ezek. 29-32; and it
might be easily shown that they have all been remarkably
fulfilled. For example, the singular disappearance of Noph
(i.e., Memphis) is a fulfilment of Jer. 46:19, Ezek. 30:13.
an ordinance immediately instituted by Christ (Matt. 28:19, 20),
and designed to be observed in the church, like that of the
Supper, "till he come." The words "baptize" and "baptism" are
simply Greek words transferred into English. This was
necessarily done by the translators of the Scriptures, for no
literal translation could properly express all that is implied
The mode of baptism can in no way be determined from the Greek
word rendered "baptize." Baptists say that it means "to dip,"
and nothing else. That is an incorrect view of the meaning of
the word. It means both (1) to dip a thing into an element or
liquid, and (2) to put an element or liquid over or on it.
Nothing therefore as to the mode of baptism can be concluded
from the mere word used. The word has a wide latitude of
meaning, not only in the New Testament, but also in the LXX.
Version of the Old Testament, where it is used of the ablutions
and baptisms required by the Mosaic law. These were effected by
immersion, and by affusion and sprinkling; and the same word,
"washings" (Heb. 9:10, 13, 19, 21) or "baptisms," designates
them all. In the New Testament there cannot be found a single
well-authenticated instance of the occurrence of the word where
it necessarily means immersion. Moreover, none of the instances
of baptism recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (2:38-41;
8:26-39; 9:17, 18; 22:12-16; 10:44-48; 16:32-34) favours the
idea that it was by dipping the person baptized, or by
immersion, while in some of them such a mode was highly
The gospel and its ordinances are designed for the whole
world, and it cannot be supposed that a form for the
administration of baptism would have been prescribed which would
in any place (as in a tropical country or in polar regions) or
under any circumstances be inapplicable or injurious or
Baptism and the Lord's Supper are the two symbolical
ordinances of the New Testament. The Supper represents the work
of Christ, and Baptism the work of the Spirit. As in the Supper
a small amount of bread and wine used in this ordinance exhibits
in symbol the great work of Christ, so in Baptism the work of
the Holy Spirit is fully seen in the water poured or sprinkled
on the person in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
That which is essential in baptism is only "washing with water,"
no mode being specified and none being necessary or essential to
the symbolism of the ordinance.
The apostles of our Lord were baptized with the Holy Ghost
(Matt. 3:11) by his coming upon them (Acts 1:8). The fire also
with which they were baptized sat upon them. The extraordinary
event of Pentecost was explained by Peter as a fulfilment of the
ancient promise that the Spirit would be poured out in the last
days (2:17). He uses also with the same reference the expression
shed forth as descriptive of the baptism of the Spirit (33). In
the Pentecostal baptism "the apostles were not dipped into the
Spirit, nor plunged into the Spirit; but the Spirit was shed
forth, poured out, fell on them (11:15), came upon them, sat on
them." That was a real and true baptism. We are warranted from
such language to conclude that in like manner when water is
poured out, falls, comes upon or rests upon a person when this
ordinance is administered, that person is baptized. Baptism is
therefore, in view of all these arguments "rightly administered
by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person."
The subjects of baptism. This raises questions of greater
importance than those relating to its mode.
1. The controversy here is not about "believers' baptism," for
that is common to all parties. Believers were baptized in
apostolic times, and they have been baptized in all time by all
the branches of the church. It is altogether a misrepresentation
to allege, as is sometimes done by Baptists, that their doctrine
is "believers' baptism." Every instance of adult baptism, or of
"believers' baptism," recorded in the New Testament (Acts 2:41;
8:37; 9:17, 18; 10:47; 16:15; 19:5, etc.) is just such as would
be dealt with in precisely the same way by all branches of the
Protestant Church, a profession of faith or of their being
"believers" would be required from every one of them before
baptism. The point in dispute is not the baptism of believers,
but whether the infant children of believers, i.e., of members
of the church, ought to be baptized.
2. In support of the doctrine of infant baptism, i.e., of the
baptism of the infants, or rather the "children," of believing
parents, the following considerations may be adduced:
The Church of Christ exists as a divinely organized community.
It is the "kingdom of God," one historic kingdom under all
dispensations. The commonwealth of Israel was the "church" (Acts
7:38; Rom. 9:4) under the Mosaic dispensation. The New Testament
church is not a new and different church, but one with that of
the Old Testament. The terms of admission into the church have
always been the same viz., a profession of faith and a promise
of subjection to the laws of the kingdom. Now it is a fact
beyond dispute that the children of God's people under the old
dispensation were recognized as members of the church.
Circumcision was the sign and seal of their membership. It was
not because of carnal descent from Abraham, but as being the
children of God's professing people, that this rite was
administered (Rom. 4:11). If children were members of the church
under the old dispensation, which they undoubtedly were, then
they are members of the church now by the same right, unless it
can be shown that they have been expressly excluded. Under the
Old Testament parents acted for their children and represented
them. (See Gen. 9:9; 17:10; Ex. 24:7, 8; Deut. 29:9-13.) When
parents entered into covenant with God, they brought their
children with them. This was a law in the Hebrew Church. When a
proselyte was received into membership, he could not enter
without bringing his children with him. The New Testament does
not exclude the children of believers from the church. It does
not deprive them of any privilege they enjoyed under the Old
Testament. There is no command or statement of any kind, that
can be interpreted as giving any countenance to such an idea,
anywhere to be found in the New Testament. The church membership
of infants has never been set aside. The ancient practice,
orginally appointed by God himself, must remain a law of his
kingdom till repealed by the same divine authority. There are
lambs in the fold of the Good Shepherd (John 21:15; comp. Luke
1:15; Matt. 19:14; 1 Cor. 7:14).
"In a company of converts applying for admission into Christ's
house there are likely to be some heads of families. How is
their case to be treated? How, for example, are Lydia and her
neighbour the keeper of the city prison to be treated? Both have
been converted. Both are heads of families. They desire to be
received into the infant church of Philippi. What is Christ's
direction to them? Shall we say that it is to this effect:
'Arise, and wash away your sins, and come into my house. But you
must come in by yourselves. These babes in your arms, you must
leave them outside. They cannot believe yet, and so they cannot
come in. Those other little ones by your side, their hearts may
perhaps have been touched with the love of God; still, they are
not old enough to make a personal profession, so they too must
be left outside...For the present you must leave them where they
are and come in by yourselves.' One may reasonably demand very
stringent proofs before accepting this as a fair representation
of the sort of welcome Christ offers to parents who come to his
door bringing their children with them. Surely it is more
consonant with all we know about him to suppose that his welcome
will be more ample in its scope, and will breathe a more
gracious tone. Surely it would be more like the Good Shepherd to
say, 'Come in, and bring your little ones along with you. The
youngest needs my salvation; and the youngest is accessible to
my salvation. You may be unable as yet to deal with them about
either sin or salvation, but my gracious power can find its way
into their hearts even now. I can impart to them pardon and a
new life. From Adam they have inherited sin and death; and I can
so unite them to myself that in me they shall be heirs of
righteousness and life. You may without misgiving bring them to
me. And the law of my house requires that the same day which
witnesses your reception into it by baptism must witness their
reception also'" (The Church, by Professor Binnie, D.D.).