(2 Kings 18:26; Ezra 4:7; Dan. 2:4), more correctly rendered
"Aramaic," including both the Syriac and the Chaldee languages.
In the New Testament there are several Syriac words, such as
"Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" (Mark 15:34; Matt. 27:46 gives
the Heb. form, "Eli, Eli"), "Raca" (Matt. 5:22), "Ephphatha"
(Mark 7:34), "Maran-atha" (1 Cor. 16:22).
A Syriac version of the Old Testament, containing all the
canonical books, along with some apocryphal books (called the
Peshitto, i.e., simple translation, and not a paraphrase), was
made early in the second century, and is therefore the first
Christian translation of the Old Testament. It was made directly
from the original, and not from the LXX. Version. The New
Testament was also translated from Greek into Syriac about the
same time. It is noticeable that this version does not contain
the Second and Third Epistles of John, 2 Peter, Jude, and the
Apocalypse. These were, however, translated subsequently and
placed in the version. (See VERSION T0003768.)
brother of goodness = good. (1.) The son of Phinehas. On the
death of his grandfather Eli he succeeded to the office of high
priest, and was himself succeeded by his son Ahijah (1 Sam.
14:3; 22:9, 11, 12, 20).
(2.) The father of Zadok, who was made high priest by Saul
after the extermination of the family of Ahimelech (1 Chr. 6:7,
8; 2 Sam. 8:17).
ascent, the high priest when the ark was at Shiloh (1 Sam. 1:3,
9). He was the first of the line of Ithamar, Aaron's fourth son
(1 Chr. 24:3; compare 2 Sam. 8:17), who held that office. The
office remained in his family till the time of Abiathar (1 Kings
2:26, 27), whom Solomon deposed, and appointed Zadok, of the
family of Eleazar, in his stead (35). He acted also as a civil
judge in Israel after the death of Samson (1 Sam. 4:18), and
judged Israel for forty years.
His sons Hophni and Phinehas grossly misconducted themselves,
to the great disgust of the people (1 Sam. 2:27-36). They were
licentious reprobates. He failed to reprove them so sternly as
he ought to have done, and so brought upon his house the
judgment of God (2:22-33; 3:18). The Israelites proclaimed war
against the Philistines, whose army was encamped at Aphek. The
battle, fought a short way beyond Mizpeh, ended in the total
defeat of Israel. Four thousand of them fell in "battle array".
They now sought safety in having the "ark of the covenant of the
Lord" among them. They fetched it from Shiloh, and Hophni and
Phinehas accompanied it. This was the first time since the
settlement of Israel in Canaan that the ark had been removed
from the sanctuary. The Philistines put themselves again in
array against Israel, and in the battle which ensued "Israel was
smitten, and there was a very great slaughter." The tidings of
this great disaster were speedily conveyed to Shiloh, about 20
miles distant, by a messenger, a Benjamite from the army. There
Eli sat outside the gate of the sanctuary by the wayside,
anxiously waiting for tidings from the battle-field. The full
extent of the national calamity was speedily made known to him:
"Israel is fled before the Philistines, there has also been a
great slaughter among the people, thy two sons Hophni and
Phinehas are dead, and the ark of God is taken" (1 Sam.
4:12-18). When the old man, whose eyes were "stiffened" (i.e.,
fixed, as of a blind eye unaffected by the light) with age,
heard this sad story of woe, he fell backward from off his seat
and died, being ninety and eight years old. (See ITHAMAR
Eli, Heb. eli, "my God", (Matt. 27:46), an exclamation used by
Christ on the cross. Mark (15:34), as usual, gives the original
Aramaic form of the word, Eloi.
pugilist or client, one of the two sons of Eli, the high priest
(1 Sam. 1:3; 2:34), who, because he was "very old," resigned to
them the active duties of his office. By their scandalous
conduct they brought down a curse on their father's house (2:22,
12-27, 27-36; 3:11-14). For their wickedness they were called
"sons of Belial," i.e., worthless men (2:12). They both perished
in the disastrous battle with the Philistines at Aphek (4:11).
(See PHINEHAS T0002941.)
palm isle, the fourth and youngest son of Aaron (1 Chr. 6:3). He
was consecrated to the priesthood along with his brothers (Ex.
6:23); and after the death of Nadab and Abihu, he and Eleazar
alone discharged the functions of that office (Lev. 10:6, 12;
Num. 3:4). He and his family occupied the position of common
priest till the high priesthood passed into his family in the
person of Eli (1 Kings 2:27), the reasons for which are not
recorded. (See ZADOK T0003864.)
mouth of brass, or from old Egypt, the negro. (1.) Son of
Eleazar, the high priest (Ex. 6:25). While yet a youth he
distinguished himself at Shittim by his zeal against the
immorality into which the Moabites had tempted the people (Num.
25:1-9), and thus "stayed the plague" that had broken out among
the people, and by which twenty-four thousand of them perished.
For his faithfulness on that occasion he received the divine
approbation (10-13). He afterwards commanded the army that went
out against the Midianites (31:6-8). When representatives of the
people were sent to expostulate with the two and a half tribes
who, just after crossing Jordan, built an altar and departed
without giving any explanation, Phinehas was their leader, and
addressed them in the words recorded in Josh. 22:16-20. Their
explanation follows. This great altar was intended to be all
ages only a witness that they still formed a part of Israel.
Phinehas was afterwards the chief adviser in the war with the
Benjamites. He is commemorated in Ps. 106:30, 31. (See ED
(2.) One of the sons of Eli, the high priest (1 Sam. 1:3;
2:12). He and his brother Hophni were guilty of great crimes,
for which destruction came on the house of Eli (31). He died in
battle with the Philistines (1 Sam. 4:4, 11); and his wife, on
hearing of his death, gave birth to a son, whom she called
"Ichabod," and then she died (19-22).
said by Jehovah. (1.) One of the descendants of Aaron by Eleazar
(1 Chr. 6:7,52). He was probably the last of the high priests of
Eleazar's line prior to the transfer of that office to Eli, of
the line of Ithamar.
(2.) A Levite, son of Hebron, of the lineage of Moses (1 Chr.
(3.) A "chief priest" who took an active part in the
reformation under Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 19:11); probably the same
as mentioned in 1 Chr. 6:9.
(4.) 1 Chr. 6:11; Ezra 7:3. (5.) One of the high priests in
the time of Hezekiah (2 Chr. 31:15). (6.) Zeph. 1:1. (7.) Neh.
11:4. (8.) Neh. 10:3. (9.) Ezra 10:42.
brother of the king, the son of Ahitub and father of Abiathar (1
Sam. 22:20-23). He descended from Eli in the line of Ithamar. In
1 Chr. 18:16 he is called Abimelech, and is probably the same as
Ahiah (1 Sam. 14:3, 18). He was the twelfth high priest, and
officiated at Nob, where he was visited by David (to whom and
his companions he gave five loaves of the showbread) when he
fled from Saul (1 Sam. 21:1-9). He was summoned into Saul's
presence, and accused, on the information of Doeg the Edomite,
of disloyalty because of his kindness to David; whereupon the
king commanded that he, with the other priests who stood beside
him (86 in all), should be put to death. This sentence was
carried into execution by Doeg in the most cruel manner (1 Sam.
22:9-23). Possibly Abiathar had a son also called Ahimelech, or
the two names, as some think, may have been accidentally
transposed in 2 Sam. 8:17; 1 Chr. 18:16, marg.; 24:3, 6, 31.
favour, grace, one of the wives of Elkanah the Levite, and the
mother of Samuel (1 Sam. 1; 2). Her home was at
Ramathaim-zophim, whence she was wont every year to go to
Shiloh, where the tabernacle had been pitched by Joshua, to
attend the offering of sacrifices there according to the law
(Ex. 23:15; 34:18; Deut. 16:16), probably at the feast of the
Passover (compare Ex. 13:10). On occasion of one of these "yearly"
visits, being grieved by reason of Peninnah's conduct toward
her, she went forth alone, and kneeling before the Lord at the
sanctuary she prayed inaudibly. Eli the high priest, who sat at
the entrance to the holy place, observed her, and
misunderstanding her character he harshly condemned her conduct
(1 Sam. 1:14-16). After hearing her explanation he retracted his
injurious charge and said to her, "Go in peace: and the God of
Israel grant thee thy petition." Perhaps the story of the wife
of Manoah was not unknown to her. Thereafter Elkanah and his
family retired to their quiet home, and there, before another
Passover, Hannah gave birth to a son, whom, in grateful memory
of the Lord's goodness, she called Samuel, i.e., "heard of God."
After the child was weaned (probably in his third year) she
brought him to Shiloh into the house of the Lord, and said to
Eli the aged priest, "Oh my lord, I am the woman that stood by
thee here, praying unto the Lord. For this child I prayed; and
the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him:
therefore I also have granted him to the Lord; as long as he
liveth he is granted to the Lord" (1 Sam. 1:27, 28, R.V.). Her
gladness of heart then found vent in that remarkable prophetic
song (2:1-10; compare Luke 1:46-55) which contains the first
designation of the Messiah under that name (1 Sam. 2:10,
"Annointed" = "Messiah"). And so Samuel and his parents parted.
He was left at Shiloh to minister "before the Lord." And each
year, when they came up to Shiloh, Hannah brought to her absent
child "a little coat" (Heb. meil, a term used to denote the
"robe" of the ephod worn by the high priest, Ex. 28:31), a
priestly robe, a long upper tunic (1 Chr. 15:27), in which to
minister in the tabernacle (1 Sam. 2:19; 15:27; Job 2:12). "And
the child Samuel grew before the Lord." After Samuel, Hannah had
three sons and two daughters.
heard of God. The peculiar circumstances connected with his
birth are recorded in 1 Sam. 1:20. Hannah, one of the two wives
of Elkanah, who came up to Shiloh to worship before the Lord,
earnestly prayed to God that she might become the mother of a
son. Her prayer was graciously granted; and after the child was
weaned she brought him to Shiloh nd consecrated him to the Lord
as a perpetual Nazarite (1:23-2:11). Here his bodily wants and
training were attended to by the women who served in the
tabernacle, while Eli cared for his religious culture. Thus,
probably, twelve years of his life passed away. "The child
Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also
with men" (2:26; compare Luke 2:52). It was a time of great and
growing degeneracy in Israel (Judg. 21:19-21; 1 Sam. 2:12-17,
22). The Philistines, who of late had greatly increased in
number and in power, were practically masters of the country,
and kept the people in subjection (1 Sam. 10:5; 13:3).
At this time new communications from God began to be made to
the pious child. A mysterious voice came to him in the night
season, calling him by name, and, instructed by Eli, he
answered, "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth." The message
that came from the Lord was one of woe and ruin to Eli and his
profligate sons. Samuel told it all to Eli, whose only answer to
the terrible denunciations (1 Sam. 3:11-18) was, "It is the
Lord; let him do what seemeth him good", the passive submission
of a weak character, not, in his case, the expression of the
highest trust and faith. The Lord revealed himself now in divers
manners to Samuel, and his fame and his influence increased
throughout the land as of one divinely called to the prophetical
office. A new period in the history of the kingdom of God now
The Philistine yoke was heavy, and the people, groaning under
the wide-spread oppression, suddenly rose in revolt, and "went
out against the Philistines to battle." A fierce and disastrous
battle was fought at Aphek, near to Ebenezer (1 Sam. 4:1, 2).
The Israelites were defeated, leaving 4,000 dead "in the field."
The chiefs of the people thought to repair this great disaster
by carrying with them the ark of the covenant as the symbol of
Jehovah's presence. They accordingly, without consulting Samuel,
fetched it out of Shiloh to the camp near Aphek. At the sight of
the ark among them the people "shouted with a great shout, so
that the earth rang again." A second battle was fought, and
again the Philistines defeated the Israelites, stormed their
camp, slew 30,000 men, and took the sacred ark. The tidings of
this fatal battle was speedily conveyed to Shiloh; and so soon
as the aged Eli heard that the ark of God was taken, he fell
backward from his seat at the entrance of the sanctuary, and his
neck brake, and he died. The tabernacle with its furniture was
probably, by the advice of Samuel, now about twenty years of
age, removed from Shiloh to some place of safety, and finally to
Nob, where it remained many years (21:1).
The Philistines followed up their advantage, and marched upon
Shiloh, which they plundered and destroyed (compare Jer. 7:12; Ps.
78:59). This was a great epoch in the history of Israel. For
twenty years after this fatal battle at Aphek the whole land lay
under the oppression of the Philistines. During all these dreary
years Samuel was a spiritual power in the land. From Ramah, his
native place, where he resided, his influence went forth on
every side among the people. With unwearied zeal he went up and
down from place to place, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting the
people, endeavouring to awaken in them a sense of their
sinfulness, and to lead them to repentance. His labors were so
far successful that "all the house of Israel lamented after the
Lord." Samuel summoned the people to Mizpeh, one of the loftiest
hills in Central Israel, where they fasted and prayed, and
prepared themselves there, under his direction, for a great war
against the Philistines, who now marched their whole force
toward Mizpeh, in order to crush the Israelites once for all. At
the intercession of Samuel God interposed in behalf of Israel.
Samuel himself was their leader, the only occasion in which he
acted as a leader in war. The Philistines were utterly routed.
They fled in terror before the army of Israel, and a great
slaughter ensued. This battle, fought probably about B.C. 1095,
put an end to the forty years of Philistine oppression. In
memory of this great deliverance, and in token of gratitude for
the help vouchsafed, Samuel set up a great stone in the
battlefield, and called it "Ebenezer," saying, "Hitherto hath
the Lord helped us" (1 Sam. 7:1-12). This was the spot where,
twenty years before, the Israelites had suffered a great defeat,
when the ark of God was taken.
This victory over the Philistines was followed by a long
period of peace for Israel (1 Sam. 7:13, 14), during which
Samuel exercised the functions of judge, going "from year to
year in circuit" from his home in Ramah to Bethel, thence to
Gilgal (not that in the Jordan valley, but that which lay to the
west of Ebal and Gerizim), and returning by Mizpeh to Ramah. He
established regular services at Shiloh, where he built an altar;
and at Ramah he gathered a company of young men around him and
established a school of the prophets. The schools of the
prophets, thus originated, and afterwards established also at
Gibeah, Bethel, Gilgal, and Jericho, exercised an important
influence on the national character and history of the people in
maintaining pure religion in the midst of growing corruption.
They continued to the end of the Jewish commonwealth.
Many years now passed, during which Samuel exercised the
functions of his judicial office, being the friend and
counsellor of the people in all matters of private and public
interest. He was a great statesman as well as a reformer, and
all regarded him with veneration as the "seer," the prophet of
the Lord. At the close of this period, when he was now an old
man, the elders of Israel came to him at Ramah (1 Sam. 8:4, 5,
19-22); and feeling how great was the danger to which the nation
was exposed from the misconduct of Samuel's sons, whom he had
invested with judicial functions as his assistants, and had
placed at Beersheba on the Philistine border, and also from a
threatened invasion of the Ammonites, they demanded that a king
should be set over them. This request was very displeasing to
Samuel. He remonstrated with them, and warned them of the
consequences of such a step. At length, however, referring the
matter to God, he acceded to their desires, and anointed Saul
(q.v.) to be their king (11:15). Before retiring from public
life he convened an assembly of the people at Gilgal (ch. 12),
and there solemnly addressed them with reference to his own
relation to them as judge and prophet.
The remainder of his life he spent in retirement at Ramah,
only occasionally and in special circumstances appearing again
in public (1 Sam. 13, 15) with communications from God to king
Saul. While mourning over the many evils which now fell upon the
nation, he is suddenly summoned (ch.16) to go to Bethlehem and
anoint David, the son of Jesse, as king over Israel instead of
Saul. After this little is known of him till the time of his
death, which took place at Ramah when he was probably about
eighty years of age. "And all Israel gathered themselves
together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at
Ramah" (25:1), not in the house itself, but in the court or
garden of his house. (Compare 2 Kings 21:18; 2 Chr. 33:20; 1 Kings
2:34; John 19:41.)
Samuel's devotion to God, and the special favour with which
God regarded him, are referred to in Jer. 15:1 and Ps. 99:6.
Judges, Book of
is so called because it contains the history of the deliverance
and government of Israel by the men who bore the title of the
"judges." The book of Ruth originally formed part of this book,
but about A.D. 450 it was separated from it and placed in the
Hebrew scriptures immediately after the Song of Solomon.
The book contains, (1.) An introduction (1-3:6), connecting it
with the previous narrative in Joshua, as a "link in the chain
of books." (2.) The history of the thirteen judges (3:7-16:31)
in the following order:
| FIRST PERIOD (3:7-ch. 5)
| I. Servitude under Chushan-rishathaim of
| Mesopotamia 8
| 1. OTHNIEL delivers Israel, rest 40
| II. Servitude under Eglon of Moab:
| Ammon, Amalek 18
| 2. EHUD'S deliverance, rest 80
| 3. SHAMGAR Unknown.
| III. Servitude under Jabin of Hazor in
| Canaan 20
| 4. DEBORAH and,
| 5. BARAK 40
| SECOND PERIOD (6-10:5)
| IV. Servitude under Midian, Amalek, and
| children of the east 7
| 6. GIDEON 40
| ABIMELECH, Gideon's son, reigns as
| king over Israel 3
| 7. TOLA 23
| 8. JAIR 22
| THIRD PERIOD (10:6-ch. 12)
| V. Servitude under Ammonites with the
| Philistines 18
| 9. JEPHTHAH 6
| 10. IBZAN 7
| 11. ELON 10
| 12. ABDON 8
| FOURTH PERIOD (13-16)
| VI. Seritude under Philistines 40
| 13. SAMSON 20
| In all 410
Samson's exploits probably synchronize with the period
immediately preceding the national repentance and reformation
under Samuel (1 Sam. 7:2-6).
After Samson came Eli, who was both high priest and judge. He
directed the civil and religious affairs of the people for forty
years, at the close of which the Philistines again invaded the
land and oppressed it for twenty years. Samuel was raised up to
deliver the people from this oppression, and he judged Israel
for some twelve years, when the direction of affairs fell into
the hands of Saul, who was anointed king. If Eli and Samuel are
included, there were then fifteen judges. But the chronology of
this whole period is uncertain.
(3.) The historic section of the book is followed by an
appendix (17-21), which has no formal connection with that which
goes before. It records (a) the conquest (17, 18) of Laish by a
portion of the tribe of Dan; and (b) the almost total extinction
of the tribe of Benjamin by the other tribes, in consequence of
their assisting the men of Gibeah (19-21). This section properly
belongs to the period only a few years after the death of
Joshua. It shows the religious and moral degeneracy of the
The author of this book was most probably Samuel. The internal
evidence both of the first sixteen chapters and of the appendix
warrants this conclusion. It was probably composed during Saul's
reign, or at the very beginning of David's. The words in
18:30,31, imply that it was written after the taking of the ark
by the Philistines, and after it was set up at Nob (1 Sam. 21).
In David's reign the ark was at Gibeon (1 Chr. 16:39)
father of abundance, or my father excels, the son of Ahimelech
the high priest. He was the tenth high priest, and the fourth in
descent from Eli. When his father was slain with the priests of
Nob, he escaped, and bearing with him the ephod, he joined
David, who was then in the cave of Adullam (1 Sam. 22:20-23;
23:6). He remained with David, and became priest of the party of
which he was the leader (1 Sam. 30:7). When David ascended the
throne of Judah, Abiathar was appointed high priest (1 Chr.
15:11; 1 Kings 2:26) and the "king's companion" (1 Chr. 27:34).
Meanwhile Zadok, of the house of Eleazar, had been made high
priest. These appointments continued in force till the end of
David's reign (1 Kings 4:4). Abiathar was deposed (the sole
historical instance of the deposition of a high priest) and
banished to his home at Anathoth by Solomon, because he took
part in the attempt to raise Adonijah to the throne. The
priesthood thus passed from the house of Ithamar (1 Sam.
2:30-36; 1 Kings 1:19; 2:26, 27). Zadok now became sole high
priest. In Mark 2:26, reference is made to an occurrence in "the
days of Abiathar the high priest." But from 1 Sam. 22, we learn
explicitly that this event took place when Ahimelech, the father
of Abiathar, was high priest. The apparent discrepancy is
satisfactorily explained by interpreting the words in Mark as
referring to the life-time of Abiathar, and not to the term of
his holding the office of high priest. It is not implied in Mark
that he was actual high priest at the time referred to. Others,
however, think that the loaves belonged to Abiathar, who was at
that time (Lev. 24:9) a priest, and that he either himself gave
them to David, or persuaded his father to give them.
(Heb. shophet, pl. shophetim), properly a magistrate or ruler,
rather than one who judges in the sense of trying a cause. This
is the name given to those rulers who presided over the affairs
of the Israelites during the interval between the death of
Joshua and the accession of Saul (Judg. 2:18), a period of
general anarchy and confusion. "The office of judges or regents
was held during life, but it was not hereditary, neither could
they appoint their successors. Their authority was limited by
the law alone, and in doubtful cases they were directed to
consult the divine King through the priest by Urim and Thummim
(Num. 27:21). Their authority extended only over those tribes by
whom they had been elected or acknowledged. There was no income
attached to their office, and they bore no external marks of
dignity. The only cases of direct divine appointment are those
of Gideon and Samson, and the latter stood in the peculiar
position of having been from before his birth ordained 'to begin
to deliver Israel.' Deborah was called to deliver Israel, but
was already a judge. Samuel was called by the Lord to be a
prophet but not a judge, which ensued from the high gifts the
people recognized as dwelling in him; and as to Eli, the office
of judge seems to have devolved naturally or rather ex officio
upon him." Of five of the judges, Tola (Judg. 10:1), Jair (3),
Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon (12:8-15), we have no record at all
beyond the bare fact that they were judges. Sacred history is
not the history of individuals but of the kingdom of God in its
In Ex. 2:14 Moses is so styled. This fact may indicate that
while for revenue purposes the "taskmasters" were over the
people, they were yet, just as at a later time when under the
Romans, governed by their own rulers.
Samuel, Books of
The LXX. translators regarded the books of Samuel and of Kings
as forming one continuous history, which they divided into four
books, which they called "Books of the Kingdom." The Vulgate
version followed this division, but styled them "Books of the
Kings." These books of Samuel they accordingly called the
"First" and "Second" Books of Kings, and not, as in the modern
Protestant versions, the "First" and "Second" Books of Samuel.
The authors of the books of Samuel were probably Samuel, Gad,
and Nathan. Samuel penned the first twenty-four chapters of the
first book. Gad, the companion of David (1 Sam. 22:5), continued
the history thus commenced; and Nathan completed it, probably
arranging the whole in the form in which we now have it (1 Chr.
The contents of the books. The first book comprises a period
of about a hundred years, and nearly coincides with the life of
Samuel. It contains (1) the history of Eli (1-4); (2) the
history of Samuel (5-12); (3) the history of Saul, and of David
in exile (13-31). The second book, comprising a period of
perhaps fifty years, contains a history of the reign of David
(1) over Judah (1-4), and (2) over all Israel (5-24), mainly in
its political aspects. The last four chapters of Second Samuel
may be regarded as a sort of appendix recording various events,
but not chronologically. These books do not contain complete
histories. Frequent gaps are met with in the record, because
their object is to present a history of the kingdom of God in
its gradual development, and not of the events of the reigns of
the successive rulers. It is noticeable that the section (2 Sam.
11:2-12: 29) containing an account of David's sin in the matter
of Bathsheba is omitted in the corresponding passage in 1 Chr.
whom Jehovah gave, the name of fifteen or more persons that are
mentioned in Scripture. The chief of these are, (1.) A Levite
descended from Gershom (Judg. 18:30). His history is recorded in
17:7-13 and 18:30. The Rabbins changed this name into Manasseh
"to screen the memory of the great lawgiver from the stain of
having so unworthy an apostate among his near descendants." He
became priest of the idol image at Dan, and this office
continued in his family till the Captivity.
(2.) The eldest son of king Saul, and the bosom friend of
David. He is first mentioned when he was about thirty years of
age, some time after his father's accession to the throne (1
Sam. 13:2). Like his father, he was a man of great strength and
activity (2 Sam. 1:23), and excelled in archery and slinging (1
Chr. 12:2;2 Sam. 1:22). The affection that evidently subsisted
between him and his father was interrupted by the growth of
Saul's insanity. At length, "in fierce anger," he left his
father's presence and cast in his lot with the cause of David (1
Sam. 20:34). After an eventful career, interwoven to a great
extent with that of David, he fell, along with his father and
his two brothers, on the fatal field of Gilboa (1 Sam. 31:2, 8).
He was first buried at Jabesh-gilead, but his remains were
afterwards removed with those of his father to Zelah, in
Benjamin (2 Sam. 21:12-14). His death was the occasion of
David's famous elegy of "the Song of the Bow" (2 Sam. 1:17-27).
He left one son five years old, Merib-baal, or Mephibosheth (2
Sam. 4:4; compare 1 Chr. 8:34).
(3.) Son of the high priest Abiathar, and one who adhered to
David at the time of Absalom's rebellion (2 Sam. 15:27, 36). He
is the last descendant of Eli of whom there is any record.
(4.) Son of Shammah, and David's nephew, and also one of his
chief warriors (2 Sam. 21:21). He slew a giant in Gath.
God has helped. (1.) The third son of Aaron (Ex. 6:23). His
wife, a daughter of Putiel, bore him Phinehas (Ex. 6:25). After
the death of Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10:12; Num. 3:4) he was
appointed to the charge of the sanctuary (Num. 3:32). On Mount
Hor he was clothed with the sacred vestments, which Moses took
from off his brother Aaron and put upon him as successor to his
father in the high priest's office, which he held for more than
twenty years (Num. 20:25-29). He took part with Moses in
numbering the people (26:3, 4), and assisted at the inauguration
of Joshua. He assisted in the distribution of the land after the
conquest (Josh. 14:1). The high-priesthood remained in his
family till the time of Eli, into whose family it passed, till
it was restored to the family of Eleazar in the person of Zadok
(1 Sam. 2:35; compare 1 Kings 2:27). "And Eleazar the son of Aaron
died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas
his son" (Josh. 24:33). The word here rendered "hill" is Gibeah,
the name of several towns in Israel which were generally on
or near a hill. The words may be more suitably rendered, "They
buried him in Gibeah of Phinehas", i.e., in the city of
Phinehas, which has been identified, in accordance with Jewish
and Samaritan traditions, with Kefr Ghuweirah='Awertah, about 7
miles north of Shiloh, and a few miles south-east of Nablus.
"His tomb is still shown there, overshadowed by venerable
terebinths." Others, however, have identified it with the
village of Gaba or Gebena of Eusebius, the modern Khurbet Jibia,
5 miles north of Guphna towards Nablus.
(2.) An inhabitant of Kirjath-jearim who was "sanctified" to
take charge of the ark, although not allowed to touch it, while
it remained in the house of his father Abinadab (1 Sam. 7:1, 2;
compare Num. 3:31; 4:15).
(3.) The son of Dodo the Ahohite, of the tribe of Benjamin,
one of the three most eminent of David's thirty-seven heroes (1
Chr. 11:12) who broke through the Philistine host and brought
him water from the well of Bethlehem (2 Sam. 23:9, 16).
(4.) A son of Phinehas associated with the priests in taking
charge of the sacred vessels brought back to Jerusalem after the
Exile (Ezra 8:33).
(5.) A Levite of the family of Merari (1 Chr. 23:21, 22).
the Oldest son of Amram and Jochebed, a daughter of Levi (Ex.
6:20). Some explain the name as meaning mountaineer, others
mountain of strength, illuminator. He was born in Egypt three
years before his brother Moses, and a number of years after his
sister Miriam (2:1,4; 7:7). He married Elisheba, the daughter of
Amminadab of the house of Judah (6:23; 1 Chr. 2:10), by whom he
had four sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. When the
time for the deliverance of Isarael out of Egypt drew nigh, he
was sent by God (Ex. 4:14,27-30) to meet his long-absent
brother, that he might co-operate with him in all that they were
required to do in bringing about the Exodus. He was to be the
"mouth" or "prophet" of Moses, i.e., was to speak for him,
because he was a man of a ready utterance (7:1,2,9,10,19). He
was faithful to his trust, and stood by Moses in all his
interviews with Pharaoh.
When the ransomed tribes fought their first battle with Amalek
in Rephidim, Moses stood on a hill overlooking the scene of the
conflict with the rod of God in his outstretched hand. On this
occasion he was attended by Aaron and Hur, his sister's husband,
who held up his wearied hands till Joshua and the chosen
warriors of Israel gained the victory (17:8-13).
Afterwards, when encamped before Sinai, and when Moses at the
command of God ascended the mount to receive the tables of the
law, Aaron and his two sons, Nadab and Abihu, along with seventy
of the elders of Israel, were permitted to accompany him part of
the way, and to behold afar off the manifestation of the glory
of Israel's God (Ex. 19:24; 24:9-11). While Moses remained on
the mountain with God, Aaron returned unto the people; and
yielding through fear, or ignorance, or instability of
character, to their clamour, made unto them a golden calf, and
set it up as an object of worship (Ex. 32:4; Ps. 106:19). On the
return of Moses to the camp, Aaron was sternly rebuked by him
for the part he had acted in this matter; but he interceded for
him before God, who forgave his sin (Deut. 9:20).
On the mount, Moses received instructions regarding the system
of worship which was to be set up among the people; and in
accordance therewith Aaron and his sons were consecrated to the
priest's office (Lev. 8; 9). Aaron, as high priest, held
henceforth the prominent place appertaining to that office.
When Israel had reached Hazeroth, in "the wilderness of
Paran," Aaron joined with his sister Miriam in murmuring against
Moses, "because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married,"
probably after the death of Zipporah. But the Lord vindicated
his servant Moses, and punished Miriam with leprosy (Num. 12).
Aaron acknowledged his own and his sister's guilt, and at the
intercession of Moses they were forgiven.
Twenty years after this, when the children of Israel were
encamped in the wilderness of Paran, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram
conspired against Aaron and his sons; but a fearful judgment
from God fell upon them, and they were destroyed, and the next
day thousands of the people also perished by a fierce
pestilence, the ravages of which were only stayed by the
interposition of Aaron (Num. 16). That there might be further
evidence of the divine appointment of Aaron to the priestly
office, the chiefs of the tribes were each required to bring to
Moses a rod bearing on it the name of his tribe. And these,
along with the rod of Aaron for the tribe of Levi, were laid up
overnight in the tabernacle, and in the morning it was found
that while the other rods remained unchanged, that of Aaron "for
the house of Levi" budded, blossomed, and yielded almonds (Num.
17:1-10). This rod was afterwards preserved in the tabernacle
(Heb. 9:4) as a memorial of the divine attestation of his
appointment to the priesthood.
Aaron was implicated in the sin of his brother at Meribah
(Num. 20:8-13), and on that account was not permitted to enter
the Promised Land. When the tribes arrived at Mount Hor, "in the
edge of the land of Edom," at the command of God Moses led Aaron
and his son Eleazar to the top of that mountain, in the sight of
all the people. There he stripped Aaron of his priestly
vestments, and put them upon Eleazar; and there Aaron died on
the top of the mount, being 123 years old (Num. 20:23-29. Compare
Deut. 10:6; 32:50), and was "gathered unto his people." The
people, "even all the house of Israel," mourned for him thirty
days. Of Aaron's sons two survived him, Eleazar, whose family
held the high-priesthood till the time of Eli; and Ithamar, in
whose family, beginning with Eli, the high-priesthood was held
till the time of Solomon. Aaron's other two sons had been struck
dead (Lev. 10:1,2) for the daring impiety of offering "strange
fire" on the alter of incense.
The Arabs still show with veneration the traditionary site of
Aaron's grave on one of the two summits of Mount Hor, which is
marked by a Mohammedan chapel. His name is mentioned in the
Koran, and there are found in the writings of the rabbins many
fabulous stories regarding him.
He was the first anointed priest. His descendants, "the house
of Aaron," constituted the priesthood in general. In the time of
David they were very numerous (1 Chr. 12:27). The other branches
of the tribe of Levi held subordinate positions in connection
with the sacred office. Aaron was a type of Christ in his
official character as the high priest. His priesthood was a
"shadow of heavenly things," and was intended to lead the people
of Israel to look forward to the time when "another priest"
would arise "after the order of Melchizedek" (Heb. 6:20). (See
Aaron was the first who was solemnly set apart to this office
(Ex. 29:7; 30:23; Lev. 8:12). He wore a peculiar dress, which on
his death passed to his successor in office (Ex. 29:29, 30).
Besides those garments which he wore in common with all priests,
there were four that were peculiar to himself as high priest:
(1.) The "robe" of the ephod, all of blue, of "woven work,"
worn immediately under the ephod. It was without seam or
sleeves. The hem or skirt was ornamented with pomegranates and
golden bells, seventy-two of each in alternate order. The
sounding of the bells intimated to the people in the outer court
the time when the high priest entered into the holy place to
burn incense before the Lord (Ex. 28).
(2.) The "ephod" consisted of two parts, one of which covered
the back and the other the breast, which were united by the
"curious girdle." It was made of fine twined linen, and
ornamented with gold and purple. Each of the shoulder-straps was
adorned with a precious stone, on which the names of the twelve
tribes were engraved. This was the high priest's distinctive
vestment (1 Sam. 2:28; 14:3; 21:9; 23:6, 9; 30:7).
(3.) The "breastplate of judgment" (Ex. 28:6-12, 25-28;
39:2-7) of "cunning work." It was a piece of cloth doubled, of
one span square. It bore twelve precious stones, set in four
rows of three in a row, which constituted the Urim and Thummim
(q.v.). These stones had the names of the twelve tribes engraved
on them. When the high priest, clothed with the ephod and the
breastplate, inquired of the Lord, answers were given in some
mysterious way by the Urim and Thummim (1 Sam. 14:3, 18, 19;
23:2, 4, 9, 11,12; 28:6; 2 Sam. 5:23).
(4.) The "mitre," or upper turban, a twisted band of eight
yards of fine linen coiled into a cap, with a gold plate in
front, engraved with "Holiness to the Lord," fastened to it by a
ribbon of blue.
To the high priest alone it was permitted to enter the holy of
holies, which he did only once a year, on the great Day of
Atonement, for "the way into the holiest of all was not yet made
manifest" (Heb. 9; 10). Wearing his gorgeous priestly vestments,
he entered the temple before all the people, and then, laying
them aside and assuming only his linen garments in secret, he
entered the holy of holies alone, and made expiation, sprinkling
the blood of the sin offering on the mercy seat, and offering up
incense. Then resuming his splendid robes, he reappeared before
the people (Lev. 16). Thus the wearing of these robes came to be
identified with the Day of Atonement.
The office, dress, and ministration of the high priest were
typical of the priesthood of our Lord (Heb. 4:14; 7:25; 9:12,
It is supposed that there were in all eighty-three high
priests, beginning with Aaron (B.C. 1657) and ending with
Phannias (A.D. 70). At its first institution the office of high
priest was held for life (but compare 1 Kings 2:27), and was
hereditary in the family of Aaron (Num. 3:10). The office
continued in the line of Eleazar, Aaron's eldest son, for two
hundred and ninety-six years, when it passed to Eli, the first
of the line of Ithamar, who was the fourth son of Aaron. In this
line it continued to Abiathar, whom Solomon deposed, and
appointed Zadok, of the family of Eleazar, in his stead (1 Kings
2:35), in which it remained till the time of the Captivity.
After the Return, Joshua, the son of Josedek, of the family of
Eleazar, was appointed to this office. After him the succession
was changed from time to time under priestly or political
Noah's ark, a building of gopher-wood, and covered with pitch,
300 cubits long, 50 cubits broad, and 30 cubits high (Gen.
6:14-16); an oblong floating house of three stories, with a door
in the side and a window in the roof. It was 100 years in
building (Gen. 5:32; 7:6). It was intended to preserve certain
persons and animals from the deluge which God was about to bring
over the earth. It contained eight persons (Gen. 7:13; 2 Pet.
2:5), and of all "clean" animals seven pairs, and of "unclean"
one pair, and of birds seven pairs of each sort (Gen. 7:2, 3).
It was in the form of an oblong square, with flat bottom and
sloping roof. Traditions of the Deluge, by which the race of man
was swept from the earth, and of the ark of Noah have been found
existing among all nations.
The ark of bulrushes in which the infant Moses was laid (Ex.
2:3) is called in the Hebrew "teebah", a word derived from the
Egyptian "teb", meaning "a chest." It was daubed with slime and
with pitch. The bulrushes of which it was made were the papyrus
The sacred ark is designated by a different Hebrew word,
"'aron'", which is the common name for a chest or coffer used
for any purpose (Gen. 50:26; 2 Kings 12:9, 10). It is
distinguished from all others by such titles as the "ark of God"
(1 Sam. 3:3), "ark of the covenant" (Josh. 3:6; Heb. 9:4), "ark
of the testimony" (Ex. 25:22). It was made of acacia or shittim
wood, a cubit and a half broad and high and two cubits long, and
covered all over with the purest gold. Its upper surface or lid,
the mercy-seat, was surrounded with a rim of gold; and on each
of the two sides were two gold rings, in which were placed two
gold-covered poles by which the ark could be carried (Num. 7:9;
10:21; 4:5,19, 20; 1 Kings 8:3, 6). Over the ark, at the two
extremities, were two cherubim, with their faces turned toward
each other (Lev. 16:2; Num. 7:89). Their outspread wings over
the top of the ark formed the throne of God, while the ark
itself was his footstool (Ex. 25:10-22; 37:1-9). The ark was
deposited in the "holy of holies," and was so placed that one
end of the poles by which it was carried touched the veil which
separated the two apartments of the tabernacle (1 Kings 8:8).
The two tables of stone which constituted the "testimony" or
evidence of God's covenant with the people (Deut. 31:26), the
"pot of manna" (Ex. 16:33), and "Aaron's rod that budded" (Num.
17:10), were laid up in the ark (Heb. 9:4). (See TABERNACLE
T0003559) The ark and the sanctuary were "the beauty of Israel"
(Lam. 2:1). During the journeys of the Israelites the ark was
carried by the priests in advance of the host (Num. 4:5, 6;
10:33-36; Ps. 68:1; 132:8). It was borne by the priests into the
bed of the Jordan, which separated, opening a pathway for the
whole of the host to pass over (Josh. 3:15, 16; 4:7, 10, 11, 17,
18). It was borne in the procession round Jericho (Josh. 6:4, 6,
8, 11, 12). When carried it was always wrapped in the veil, the
badgers' skins, and blue cloth, and carefully concealed even
from the eyes of the Levites who carried it. After the
settlement of Israel in Israel the ark remained in the
tabernacle at Gilgal for a season, and was then removed to
Shiloh till the time of Eli, between 300 and 400 years (Jer.
7:12), when it was carried into the field of battle so as to
secure, as they supposed, victory to the Hebrews, and was taken
by the Philistines (1 Sam. 4:3-11), who sent it back after
retaining it seven months (1 Sam. 5:7, 8). It remained then at
Kirjath-jearim (7:1,2) till the time of David (twenty years),
who wished to remove it to Jerusalem; but the proper mode of
removing it having been neglected, Uzzah was smitten with death
for putting "forth his hand to the ark of God," and in
consequence of this it was left in the house of Obed-edom in
Gath-rimmon for three months (2 Sam. 6:1-11), at the end of
which time David removed it in a grand procession to Jerusalem,
where it was kept till a place was prepared for it (12-19). It
was afterwards deposited by Solomon in the temple (1 Kings
8:6-9). When the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and plundered
the temple, the ark was probably taken away by Nebuchadnezzar
and destroyed, as no trace of it is afterwards to be found. The
absence of the ark from the second temple was one of the points
in which it was inferior to the first temple.
(1.) A house or dwelling-place (Job 5:24; 18:6, etc.).
(2.) A portable shrine (compare Acts 19:24) containing the image
of Moloch (Amos 5:26; marg. and R.V., "Siccuth").
(3.) The human body (2 Cor. 5:1, 4); a tent, as opposed to a
(4.) The sacred tent (Heb. mishkan, "the dwelling-place"); the
movable tent-temple which Moses erected for the service of God,
according to the "pattern" which God himself showed to him on
the mount (Ex. 25:9; Heb. 8:5). It is called "the tabernacle of
the congregation," rather "of meeting", i.e., where God promised
to meet with Israel (Ex. 29:42); the "tabernacle of the
testimony" (Ex. 38:21; Num. 1:50), which does not, however,
designate the whole structure, but only the enclosure which
contained the "ark of the testimony" (Ex. 25:16, 22; Num. 9:15);
the "tabernacle of witness" (Num. 17:8); the "house of the Lord"
(Deut. 23:18); the "temple of the Lord" (Josh. 6:24); a
"sanctuary" (Ex. 25:8).
A particular account of the materials which the people
provided for the erection and of the building itself is recorded
in Ex. 25-40. The execution of the plan mysteriously given to
Moses was intrusted to Bezaleel and Aholiab, who were specially
endowed with wisdom and artistic skill, probably gained in
Egypt, for this purpose (Ex. 35:30-35). The people provided
materials for the tabernacle so abundantly that Moses was under
the necessity of restraining them (36:6). These stores, from
which they so liberally contributed for this purpose, must have
consisted in a great part of the gifts which the Egyptians so
readily bestowed on them on the eve of the Exodus (12:35, 36).
The tabernacle was a rectangular enclosure, in length about 45
feet (i.e., reckoning a cubit at 18 inches) and in breadth and
height about 15. Its two sides and its western end were made of
boards of acacia wood, placed on end, resting in sockets of
brass, the eastern end being left open (Ex. 26:22). This
framework was covered with four coverings, the first of linen,
in which figures of the symbolic cherubim were wrought with
needlework in blue and purple and scarlet threads, and probably
also with threads of gold (Ex. 26:1-6; 36:8-13). Above this was
a second covering of twelve curtains of black goats'-hair cloth,
reaching down on the outside almost to the ground (Ex. 26:7-11).
The third covering was of rams' skins dyed red, and the fourth
was of badgers' skins (Heb. tahash, i.e., the dugong, a species
of seal), Ex. 25:5; 26:14; 35:7, 23; 36:19; 39:34.
Internally it was divided by a veil into two chambers, the
exterior of which was called the holy place, also "the
sanctuary" (Heb. 9:2) and the "first tabernacle" (6); and the
interior, the holy of holies, "the holy place," "the Holiest,"
the "second tabernacle" (Ex. 28:29; Heb. 9:3, 7). The veil
separating these two chambers was a double curtain of the finest
workmanship, which was never passed except by the high priest
once a year, on the great Day of Atonement. The holy place was
separated from the outer court which enclosed the tabernacle by
a curtain, which hung over the six pillars which stood at the
east end of the tabernacle, and by which it was entered.
The order as well as the typical character of the services of
the tabernacle are recorded in Heb. 9; 10:19-22.
The holy of holies, a cube of 10 cubits, contained the "ark of
the testimony", i.e., the oblong chest containing the two tables
of stone, the pot of manna, and Aaron's rod that budded.
The holy place was the western and larger chamber of the
tabernacle. Here were placed the table for the shewbread, the
golden candlestick, and the golden altar of incense.
Round about the tabernacle was a court, enclosed by curtains
hung upon sixty pillars (Ex. 27:9-18). This court was 150 feet
long and 75 feet broad. Within it were placed the altar of burnt
offering, which measured 7 1/2 feet in length and breadth and 4
1/2 feet high, with horns at the four corners, and the laver of
brass (Ex. 30:18), which stood between the altar and the
The whole tabernacle was completed in seven months. On the
first day of the first month of the second year after the
Exodus, it was formally set up, and the cloud of the divine
presence descended on it (Ex. 39:22-43; 40:1-38). It cost 29
talents 730 shekels of gold, 100 talents 1,775 shekels of
silver, 70 talents 2,400 shekels of brass (Ex. 38:24-31).
The tabernacle was so constructed that it could easily be
taken down and conveyed from place to place during the
wanderings in the wilderness. The first encampment of the
Israelites after crossing the Jordan was at Gilgal, and there
the tabernacle remained for seven years (Josh. 4:19). It was
afterwards removed to Shiloh (Josh. 18:1), where it remained
during the time of the Judges, till the days of Eli, when the
ark, having been carried out into the camp when the Israelites
were at war with the Philistines, was taken by the enemy (1 Sam.
4), and was never afterwards restored to its place in the
tabernacle. The old tabernacle erected by Moses in the
wilderness was transferred to Nob (1 Sam. 21:1), and after the
destruction of that city by Saul (22:9; 1 Chr. 16:39, 40), to
Gibeon. It is mentioned for the last time in 1 Chr. 21:29. A new
tabernacle was erected by David at Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6:17; 1
Chr. 16:1), and the ark was brought from Perez-uzzah and
deposited in it (2 Sam. 6:8-17; 2 Chr. 1:4).
The word thus rendered ('ohel) in Ex. 33:7 denotes simply a
tent, probably Moses' own tent, for the tabernacle was not yet