Water of purification
used in cases of ceremonial cleansings at the consecration of
the Levites (Num. 8:7). It signified, figuratively, that
purifying of the heart which must characterize the servants of
watchman. (1.) A Simeonite (1 Chr. 4:37).
(2.) The father of one of the "valiant men" of David's armies
(1 Chr. 11:45).
(3.) Assisted at the purification of the temple in the time of
Hezekiah (2 Chr. 29:13).
the process by which a person unclean, according to the
Levitical law, and thereby cut off from the sanctuary and the
festivals, was restored to the enjoyment of all these
The great annual purification of the people was on the Day of
But in the details of daily life there were special causes of
cermonial uncleanness which were severally provided for by
ceremonial laws enacted for each separate case. For example, the
case of the leper (Lev. 13, 14), and of the house defiled by
leprosy (14:49-53; see also Matt. 8:2-4). Uncleanness from
touching a dead body (Num. 19:11; Hos. 9:4; Hag. 2:13; Matt.
23:27; Luke 11:44). The case of the high priest and of the
Nazarite (Lev. 21:1-4, 10, 11; Num. 6:6, 7; Ezek. 44:25).
Purification was effected by bathing and washing the clothes
(Lev. 14:8, 9); by washing the hands (Deut. 21:6; Matt. 27:24);
washing the hands and feet (Ex. 30:18-21; Heb. 6:2, "baptisms",
R.V. marg., "washings;" 9:10); sprinkling with blood and water
(Ex. 24:5-8; Heb. 9:19), etc. Allusions to this rite are found
in Ps. 26:6; 51:7; Ezek. 36:25; Heb. 10:22.
i.e., the tenth part of an ephah (as in the R.V.), equal to an
omer or six pints. The recovered leper, to complete his
purification, was required to bring a trespass, a sin, and a
burnt offering, and to present a meal offering, a tenth deal or
an omer of flour for each, with oil to make it into bread or
cakes (Lev. 14:10, 21; comp. Ex. 16:36; 29:40).
Unconverted men are so called (1 Cor. 3:3). They are represented
as of a "carnal mind, which is enmity against God" (Rom. 8:6,
7). Enjoyments that minister to the wants and desires of man's
animal nature are so called (Rom. 15:27; 1 Cor. 9:11). The
ceremonial of the Mosaic law is spoken of as "carnal," because
it related to things outward, the bodies of men and of animals,
and the purification of the flesh (Heb. 7:16; 9:10). The weapons
of Christian warfare are "not carnal", that is, they are not of
man's device, nor are wielded by human power (2 Cor. 10:4).
As soon as a child was born it was washed, and rubbed with salt
(Ezek. 16:4), and then swathed with bandages (Job 38:9; Luke
2:7, 12). A Hebrew mother remained forty days in seclusion after
the birth of a son, and after the birth of a daughter double
that number of days. At the close of that period she entered
into the tabernacle or temple and offered up a sacrifice of
purification (Lev. 12:1-8; Luke 2:22). A son was circumcised on
the eighth day after his birth, being thereby consecrated to God
(Gen. 17:10-12; comp. Rom. 4:11). Seasons of misfortune are
likened to the pains of a woman in travail, and seasons of
prosperity to the joy that succeeds child-birth (Isa. 13:8; Jer.
4:31; John 16:21, 22). The natural birth is referred to as the
emblem of the new birth (John 3:3-8; Gal. 6:15; Titus 3:5,
portion of Jehovah. (1.) 1 Chr. 6:54. (2.) 1 Chr. 26:11. (3.)
The father of Eliakim (2 Kings 18:18, 26, 37). (4.) The father
of Gemariah (Jer. 29:3). (5.) The father of the prophet Jeremiah
(6.) The high priest in the reign of Josiah (1 Chr. 6:13; Ezra
7:1). To him and his deputy (2 Kings 23:5), along with the
ordinary priests and the Levites who had charge of the gates,
was entrusted the purification of the temple in Jerusalem. While
this was in progress, he discovered in some hidden corner of the
building a book called the "book of the law" (2 Kings 22:8) and
the "book of the covenant" (23:2). Some have supposed that this
"book" was nothing else than the original autograph copy of the
Pentateuch written by Moses (Deut. 31:9-26). This remarkable
discovery occurred in the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign
(B.C. 624), a discovery which permanently affected the whole
subsequent history of Israel. (See JOSIAH ¯T0002116; SHAPHAN
(7.) Neh. 12:7. (8.) Neh. 8:4.
for fastening. (1.) Hebrew yathed, "piercing," a peg or nail of
any material (Ezek. 15:3), more especially a tent-peg (Ex.
27:19; 35:18; 38:20), with one of which Jael (q.v.) pierced the
temples of Sisera (Judg. 4:21, 22). This word is also used
metaphorically (Zech. 10:4) for a prince or counsellor, just as
"the battle-bow" represents a warrior.
(2.) Masmer, a "point," the usual word for a nail. The words
of the wise are compared to "nails fastened by the masters of
assemblies" (Eccl. 12:11, A.V.). The Revised Version reads, "as
nails well fastened are the words of the masters," etc. Others
(as Plumptre) read, "as nails fastened are the masters of
assemblies" (comp. Isa. 22:23; Ezra 9:8). David prepared nails
for the temple (1 Chr. 22:3; 2 Chr. 3:9). The nails by which our
Lord was fixed to the cross are mentioned (John 20:25; Col.
Nail of the finger (Heb. tsipporen, "scraping"). To "pare the
nails" is in Deut. 21:12 (marg., "make," or "dress," or "suffer
to grow") one of the signs of purification, separation from
former heathenism (comp. Lev. 14:8; Num. 8:7). In Jer. 17:1 this
word is rendered "point."
Its peculiar peaceful and gentle habit its often referred to in
Scripture. A pair was offered in sacrifice by Mary at her
purification (Luke 2:24). The pigeon and the turtle-dove were
the only birds permitted to be offered in sacrifice (Lev. 1:14;
5:7; 14:22; 15:14, 29, etc.). The Latin name of this bird,
_turtur_, is derived from its note, and is a repetition of the
Hebrew name _tor_. Three species are found in Israel, (1) the
turtle-dove (Turtur auritus), (2) the collared turtle (T.
risorius), and (3) the palm turtle (T. Senegalensis). But it is
to the first of these species which the various passages of
Scripture refer. It is a migratory bird (Jer. 8:7; Cant. 2:11,
12). "Search the glades and valleys, even by sultry Jordan, at
the end of March, and not a turtle-dove is to be seen. Return in
the second week of April, and clouds of doves are feeding on the
clovers of the plain. They overspread the whole face of the
land." "Immediately on its arrival it pours forth from every
garden, grove, and wooded hill its melancholy yet soothing ditty
unceasingly from early dawn till sunset. It is from its
plaintive and continuous note, doubtless, that David, pouring
forth his heart's sorrow to God, compares himself to a
turtle-dove" (Ps. 74:19).
This number occurs frequently in Scripture, and in such
connections as lead to the supposition that it has some typical
meaning. On the seventh day God rested, and hallowed it (Gen.
2:2, 3). The division of time into weeks of seven days each
accounts for many instances of the occurrence of this number.
This number has been called the symbol of perfection, and also
the symbol of rest. "Jacob's seven years' service to Laban;
Pharaoh's seven fat oxen and seven lean ones; the seven branches
of the golden candlestick; the seven trumpets and the seven
priests who sounded them; the seven days' siege of Jericho; the
seven churches, seven spirits, seven stars, seven seals, seven
vials, and many others, sufficiently prove the importance of
this sacred number" (see Lev. 25:4; 1 Sam. 2:5; Ps. 12:6; 79:12;
Prov. 26:16; Isa. 4:1; Matt. 18:21, 22; Luke 17:4). The feast of
Passover (Ex. 12:15, 16), the feast of Weeks (Deut. 16:9), of
Tabernacles (13:15), and the Jubilee (Lev. 25:8), were all
ordered by seven. Seven is the number of sacrifice (2 Chr.
29:21; Job 42:8), of purification and consecration (Lev. 42:6,
17; 8:11, 33; 14:9, 51), of forgiveness (Matt. 18:21, 22; Luke
17:4), of reward (Deut. 28:7; 1 Sam. 2:5), and of punishment
(Lev. 26:21, 24, 28; Deut. 28:25). It is used for any round
number in such passages as Job 5:19; Prov. 26:16, 25; Isa. 4:1;
Matt. 12:45. It is used also to mean "abundantly" (Gen. 4:15,
24; Lev. 26:24; Ps. 79:12).
famous. (1.) A son of Gershon, and grandson of Levi (Num. 3:18;
1 Chr. 6:17, 29); called Shimi in Ex. 6:17.
(2.) A Benjamite of the house of Saul, who stoned and cursed
David when he reached Bahurim in his flight from Jerusalem on
the occasion of the rebellion of Absalom (2 Sam. 16:5-13). After
the defeat of Absalom he "came cringing to the king, humbly
suing for pardon, bringing with him a thousand of his Benjamite
tribesmen, and representing that he was heartily sorry for his
crime, and had hurried the first of all the house of Israel to
offer homage to the king" (19:16-23). David forgave him; but on
his death-bed he gave Solomon special instructions regarding
Shimei, of whose fidelity he seems to have been in doubt (1
Kings 2:8,9). He was put to death at the command of Solomon,
because he had violated his word by leaving Jerusalem and going
to Gath to recover two of his servants who had escaped (36-46).
(3.) One of David's mighty men who refused to acknowledge
Adonijah as David's successor (1 Kings 1:8). He is probably the
same person who is called elsewhere (4:18) "the son of Elah."
(4.) A son of Pedaiah, the brother of Zerubbabel (1 Chr.
(5.) A Simeonite (1 Chr. 4:26, 27).
(6.) A Reubenite (1 Chr. 5:4).
(7.) A Levite of the family of Gershon (1 Chr. 6:42).
(8.) A Ramathite who was "over the vineyards" of David (1 Chr.
(9.) One of the sons of Heman, who assisted in the
purification of the temple (2 Chr. 29:14).
(10.) A Levite (2 Chr. 31:12, 13).
(11.) Another Levite (Ezra 10:23). "The family of Shimei"
(Zech. 12:13; R.V., "the family of the Shimeites") were the
descendants of Shimei (1).
There were daily (Lev. 23), weekly, monthly, and yearly
festivals, and great stress was laid on the regular observance
of them in every particular (Num. 28:1-8; Ex. 29:38-42; Lev.
6:8-23; Ex. 30:7-9; 27:20).
(1.) The septenary festivals were,
(a) The weekly Sabbath (Lev. 23:1-3; Ex. 19:3-30; 20:8-11;
(b) The seventh new moon, or the feast of Trumpets (Num.
(c) The Sabbatical year (Ex. 23:10, 11; Lev. 25:2-7).
(d) The year of jubilee (Lev. 23-35; 25: 8-16; 27:16-25).
(2.) The great feasts were,
(a) The Passover. (b) The feast of Pentecost, or of weeks. (c)
The feast of Tabernacles, or of ingathering.
On each of these occasions every male Israelite was commanded
"to appear before the Lord" (Deut. 27:7; Neh. 8:9-12). The
attendance of women was voluntary. (Comp. Luke 2:41; 1 Sam. 1:7;
2:19.) The promise that God would protect their homes (Ex.
34:23, 24) while all the males were absent in Jerusalem at these
feasts was always fulfilled. "During the whole period between
Moses and Christ we never read of an enemy invading the land at
the time of the three festivals. The first instance on record is
thirty-three years after they had withdrawn from themselves the
divine protection by imbruing their hands in the Saviour's
blood, when Cestius, the Roman general, slew fifty of the people
of Lydda while all the rest had gone up to the feast of
Tabernacles, A.D. 66."
These festivals, besides their religious purpose, had an
important bearing on the maintenance among the people of the
feeling of a national unity. The times fixed for their
observance were arranged so as to interfere as little as
possible with the industry of the people. The Passover was kept
just before the harvest commenced, Pentecost at the conclusion
of the corn harvest and before the vintage, the feast of
Tabernacles after all the fruits of the ground had been gathered
(3.) The Day of Atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month
(Lev. 16:1, 34; 23:26-32; Num. 29:7-11). (See ATONEMENT, DAY OF
Of the post-Exilian festivals reference is made to the feast
of Dedication (John 10:22). This feast was appointed by Judas
Maccabaeus in commemoration of the purification of the temple
after it had been polluted by Antiochus Epiphanes. The "feast of
Purim" (q.v.), Esther 9:24-32, was also instituted after the
Exile. (Cf. John 5:1.)
cutting around. This rite, practised before, as some think, by
divers races, was appointed by God to be the special badge of
his chosen people, an abiding sign of their consecration to him.
It was established as a national ordinance (Gen. 17:10, 11). In
compliance with the divine command, Abraham, though ninety-nine
years of age, was circumcised on the same day with Ishmael, who
was thirteen years old (17:24-27). Slaves, whether home-born or
purchased, were circumcised (17:12, 13); and all foreigners must
have their males circumcised before they could enjoy the
privileges of Jewish citizenship (Ex. 12:48). During the journey
through the wilderness, the practice of circumcision fell into
disuse, but was resumed by the command of Joshua before they
entered the Promised Land (Josh. 5:2-9). It was observed always
afterwards among the tribes of israel, although it is not
expressly mentioned from the time of the settlement in Canaan
till the time of Christ, about 1,450 years. The Jews prided
themselves in the possession of this covenant distinction (Judg.
14:3; 15:18; 1 Sam. 14:6; 17:26; 2 Sam. 1:20; Ezek. 31:18).
As a rite of the church it ceased when the New Testament times
began (Gal. 6:15; Col. 3:11). Some Jewish Christians sought to
impose it, however, on the Gentile converts; but this the
apostles resolutely resisted (Acts 15:1; Gal. 6:12). Our Lord
was circumcised, for it "became him to fulfil all
righteousness," as of the seed of Abraham, according to the
flesh; and Paul "took and circumcised" Timothy (Acts 16:3), to
avoid giving offence to the Jews. It would render Timothy's
labours more acceptable to the Jews. But Paul would by no means
consent to the demand that Titus should be circumcised (Gal.
2:3-5). The great point for which he contended was the free
admission of uncircumcised Gentiles into the church. He
contended successfully in behalf of Titus, even in Jerusalem.
In the Old Testament a spiritual idea is attached to
circumcision. It was the symbol of purity (Isa. 52:1). We read
of uncircumcised lips (Ex. 6:12, 30), ears (Jer. 6:10), hearts
(Lev. 26:41). The fruit of a tree that is unclean is spoken of
as uncircumcised (Lev. 19:23).
It was a sign and seal of the covenant of grace as well as of
the national covenant between God and the Hebrews. (1.) It
sealed the promises made to Abraham, which related to the
commonwealth of Israel, national promises. (2.) But the promises
made to Abraham included the promise of redemption (Gal. 3:14),
a promise which has come upon us. The covenant with Abraham was
a dispensation or a specific form of the covenant of grace, and
circumcision was a sign and seal of that covenant. It had a
spiritual meaning. It signified purification of the heart,
inward circumcision effected by the Spirit (Deut. 10:16; 30:6;
Ezek. 44:7; Acts 7:51; Rom. 2:28; Col. 2:11). Circumcision as a
symbol shadowing forth sanctification by the Holy Spirit has now
given way to the symbol of baptism (q.v.). But the truth
embodied in both ordinances is ever the same, the removal of
sin, the sanctifying effects of grace in the heart.
Under the Jewish dispensation, church and state were
identical. No one could be a member of the one without also
being a member of the other. Circumcision was a sign and seal of
membership in both. Every circumcised person bore thereby
evidence that he was one of the chosen people, a member of the
church of God as it then existed, and consequently also a member
of the Jewish commonwealth.