dweller in a valley, the son of Eliphaz and grandson of Esau
(Gen. 36:12; 1 Chr. 1:36); the chief of an Idumean tribe (Gen.
36:16). His mother was a Horite, a tribe whose territory the
descendants of Esau had seized.
fortress, one of the Edomitish "dukes" descended from Esau (Gen.
36:42; 1 Chr. 1:53).
despair, one of the four sons of Reuel, the son of Esau (Gen.
hairy, Rebekah's first-born twin son (Gen. 25:25). The name of
Edom, "red", was also given to him from his conduct in
connection with the red lentil "pottage" for which he sold his
birthright (30, 31). The circumstances connected with his birth
foreshadowed the enmity which afterwards subsisted between the
twin brothers and the nations they founded (25:22, 23, 26). In
process of time Jacob, following his natural bent, became a
shepherd; while Esau, a "son of the desert," devoted himself to
the perilous and toilsome life of a huntsman. On a certain
occasion, on returning from the chase, urged by the cravings of
hunger, Esau sold his birthright to his brother, Jacob, who
thereby obtained the covenant blessing (Gen. 27:28, 29, 36; Heb.
12:16, 17). He afterwards tried to regain what he had so
recklessly parted with, but was defeated in his attempts through
the stealth of his brother (Gen. 27:4, 34, 38).
At the age of forty years, to the great grief of his parents,
he married (Gen. 26:34, 35) two Canaanite maidens, Judith, the
daughter of Beeri, and Bashemath, the daughter of Elon. When
Jacob was sent away to Padan-aram, Esau tried to conciliate his
parents (Gen. 28:8, 9) by marrying his cousin Mahalath, the
daughter of Ishmael. This led him to cast in his lot with the
Ishmaelite tribes; and driving the Horites out of Mount Seir, he
settled in that region. After some thirty years' sojourn in
Padan-aram Jacob returned to Canaan, and was reconciled to Esau,
who went forth to meet him (33:4). Twenty years after this,
Isaac their father died, when the two brothers met, probably for
the last time, beside his grave (35:29). Esau now permanently
left Canaan, and established himself as a powerful and wealthy
chief in the land of Edom (q.v.).
Long after this, when the descendants of Jacob came out of
Egypt, the Edomites remembered the old quarrel between the
brothers, and with fierce hatred they warred against Israel.
illustrious, or the well-man. (1.) The father of Judith, one of
the wives of Esau (Gen. 26:34), the same as Adah (Gen. 36:2).
(2.) The father of the prophet Hosea (1:1).
a lute; lyre. (1.) The daughter of Ishmael, and third wife of
Esau (Gen. 28:9); called also Bashemath (Gen. 36:3).
(2.) The daughter of Jerimoth, who was one of David's sons.
She was one of Rehoboam's wives (2 Chr. 11:18).
rest. (1.) One of the four sons of Reuel, the son of Esau (Gen.
36:13, 17). (2.) A Kohathite Levite (1 Chr. 6:26). (3.) A
Levite, one of the overseers of the sacred offerings of the
temple (2 Chr. 31:13).
tent of the height, the name given to Judith, the daughter of
Beeri = Anah (Gen. 26:34; 36:2), when she became the wife of
Esau. A district among the mountains of Edom, probably near
Mount Hor, was called after her name, or it may be that she
received her name from the district. From her descended three
tribes of Edomites, founded by her three sons.
cave-men, a race of Troglodytes who dwelt in the limestone caves
which abounded in Edom. Their ancestor was "Seir," who probably
gave his name to the district where he lived. They were a branch
of the Hivites (Gen. 14:6; 36:20-30; 1 Chr. 1:38, 39). They were
dispossessed by the descendants of Esau, and as a people
gradually became extinct (Deut. 2:12-22).
hunter. (1.) One of the sons of Eliphaz, the son of Esau. He
became the chief of an Edomitish tribe (Gen. 36:11, 15, 42).
(2.) Caleb's younger brother, and father of Othniel (Josh.
15:17), whose family was of importance in Israel down to the
time of David (1 Chr. 27:15). Some think that Othniel (Judg.
1:13), and not Kenaz, was Caleb's brother.
(3.) Caleb's grandson (1 Chr. 4:15).
friend of God. (1.) A son of Esau and Bashemath (Gen. 36:4, 10;
1 Chr. 1:35). (2.) "The priest of Midian," Moses' father-in-law
(Ex. 2:18)=Raguel (Num. 10:29). If he be identified with Jethro
(q.v.), then this may be regarded as his proper name, and Jether
or Jethro (i.e., "excellency") as his official title. (3.) Num.
2:14, called also Deuel (1:14; 7:42).
id. (1.) A grandson of Esau, one of the "dukes of Edom" (Gen.
36:11, 15, 42).
(2.) A place in Southern Idumea, the land of "the sons of the
east," frequently mentioned in the Old Testament. It was noted
for the wisdom of its inhabitants (Amos 1:12; Obad. 1:8; Jer.
49:7; Ezek. 25:13). It was divided from the hills of Paran by
the low plain of Arabah (Hab. 3:3).
a mode of showing respect. Abraham "bowed himself to the people
of the land" (Gen. 23:7); so Jacob to Esau (Gen. 33:3); and the
brethren of Joseph before him as the governor of the land (Gen.
43:28). Bowing is also frequently mentioned as an act of
adoration to idols (Josh. 23:7; 2 Kings 5:18; Judg. 2:19; Isa.
44:15), and to God (Josh. 5:14; Ps. 22:29; 72:9; Micah 6:6; Ps.
95:6; Eph. 3:14).
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).
mentioned first in Gen. 10:9 in connection with Nimrod. Esau was
"a cunning hunter" (Gen. 25:27). Hunting was practised by the
Hebrews after their settlement in the "Land of Promise" (Lev.
17:15; Prov. 12:27). The lion and other ravenous beasts were
found in Israel (1 Sam. 17:34; 2 Sam. 23:20; 1 Kings 13:24;
Ezek. 19:3-8), and it must have been necessary to hunt and
destroy them. Various snares and gins were used in hunting (Ps.
91:3; Amos 3:5; 2 Sam. 23:20).
War is referred to under the idea of hunting (Jer. 16:16;
one who follows on another's heels; supplanter, (Gen. 25:26;
27:36; Hos. 12:2-4), the second born of the twin sons of Isaac
by Rebekah. He was born probably at Lahai-roi, when his father
was fifty-nine and Abraham one hundred and fifty-nine years old.
Like his father, he was of a quiet and gentle disposition, and
when he grew up followed the life of a shepherd, while his
brother Esau became an enterprising hunter. His dealing with
Esau, however, showed much mean selfishness and cunning (Gen.
When Isaac was about 160 years of age, Jacob and his mother
conspired to deceive the aged patriarch (Gen. 27), with the view
of procuring the transfer of the birthright to himself. The
birthright secured to him who possessed it (1) superior rank in
his family (Gen. 49:3); (2) a double portion of the paternal
inheritance (Deut. 21:17); (3) the priestly office in the family
(Num. 8:17-19); and (4) the promise of the Seed in which all
nations of the earth were to be blessed (Gen. 22:18).
Soon after his acquisition of his father's blessing (Gen. 27),
Jacob became conscious of his guilt; and afraid of the anger of
Esau, at the suggestion of Rebekah Isaac sent him away to Haran,
400 miles or more, to find a wife among his cousins, the family
of Laban, the Syrian (28). There he met with Rachel (29). Laban
would not consent to give him his daughter in marriage till he
had served seven years; but to Jacob these years "seemed but a
few days, for the love he had to her." But when the seven years
were expired, Laban craftily deceived Jacob, and gave him his
daughter Leah. Other seven years of service had to be completed
probably before he obtained the beloved Rachel. But "life-long
sorrow, disgrace, and trials, in the retributive providence of
God, followed as a consequence of this double union."
At the close of the fourteen years of service, Jacob desired
to return to his parents, but at the entreaty of Laban he
tarried yet six years with him, tending his flocks (31:41). He
then set out with his family and property "to go to Isaac his
father in the land of Canaan" (Gen. 31). Laban was angry when he
heard that Jacob had set out on his journey, and pursued after
him, overtaking him in seven days. The meeting was of a painful
kind. After much recrimination and reproach directed against
Jacob, Laban is at length pacified, and taking an affectionate
farewell of his daughters, returns to his home in Padanaram. And
now all connection of the Israelites with Mesopotamia is at an
Soon after parting with Laban he is met by a company of
angels, as if to greet him on his return and welcome him back to
the Land of Promise (32:1, 2). He called the name of the place
Mahanaim, i.e., "the double camp," probably his own camp and
that of the angels. The vision of angels was the counterpart of
that he had formerly seen at Bethel, when, twenty years before,
the weary, solitary traveller, on his way to Padan-aram, saw the
angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder whose top
reached to heaven (28:12).
He now hears with dismay of the approach of his brother Esau
with a band of 400 men to meet him. In great agony of mind he
prepares for the worst. He feels that he must now depend only on
God, and he betakes himself to him in earnest prayer, and sends
on before him a munificent present to Esau, "a present to my
lord Esau from thy servant Jacob." Jacob's family were then
transported across the Jabbok; but he himself remained behind,
spending the night in communion with God. While thus engaged,
there appeared one in the form of a man who wrestled with him.
In this mysterious contest Jacob prevailed, and as a memorial of
it his name was changed to Israel (wrestler with God); and the
place where this occured he called Peniel, "for", said he, "I
have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved"
After this anxious night, Jacob went on his way, halting,
mysteriously weakened by the conflict, but strong in the
assurance of the divine favour. Esau came forth and met him; but
his spirit of revenge was appeased, and the brothers met as
friends, and during the remainder of their lives they maintained
friendly relations. After a brief sojourn at Succoth, Jacob
moved forward and pitched his tent near Shechem (q.v.), 33:18;
but at length, under divine directions, he moved to Bethel,
where he made an altar unto God (35:6,7), and where God appeared
to him and renewed the Abrahamic covenant. While journeying from
Bethel to Ephrath (the Canaanite name of Bethlehem), Rachel
died in giving birth to her second son Benjamin (35:16-20),
fifteen or sixteen years after the birth of Joseph. He then
reached the old family residence at Mamre, to wait on the dying
bed of his father Isaac. The complete reconciliation between
Esau and Jacob was shown by their uniting in the burial of the
Jacob was soon after this deeply grieved by the loss of his
beloved son Joseph through the jealousy of his brothers (37:33).
Then follows the story of the famine, and the successive goings
down into Egypt to buy corn (42), which led to the discovery of
the long-lost Joseph, and the patriarch's going down with all
his household, numbering about seventy souls (Ex. 1:5; Deut.
10:22; Acts 7:14), to sojourn in the land of Goshen. Here Jacob,
"after being strangely tossed about on a very rough ocean, found
at last a tranquil harbour, where all the best affections of his
nature were gently exercised and largely unfolded" (Gen. 48). At
length the end of his checkered course draws nigh, and he
summons his sons to his bedside that he may bless them. Among
his last words he repeats the story of Rachel's death, although
forty years had passed away since that event took place, as
tenderly as if it had happened only yesterday; and when "he had
made an end of charging his sons, he gathered up his feet into
the bed, and yielded up the ghost" (49:33). His body was
embalmed and carried with great pomp into the land of Canaan,
and buried beside his wife Leah in the cave of Machpelah,
according to his dying charge. There, probably, his embalmed
body remains to this day (50:1-13). (See HEBRON T0001712.)
The history of Jacob is referred to by the prophets Hosea
(12:3, 4, 12) and Malachi (1:2). In Micah 1:5 the name is a
poetic synonym for Israel, the kingdom of the ten tribes. There
are, besides the mention of his name along with those of the
other patriarchs, distinct references to events of his life in
Paul's epistles (Rom. 9:11-13; Heb. 12:16; 11:21). See
references to his vision at Bethel and his possession of land at
Shechem in John 1:51; 4:5, 12; also to the famine which was the
occasion of his going down into Egypt in Acts 7:12 (See LUZ
T0002335; BETHEL T0000554.)
rough; hairy. (1.) A Horite; one of the "dukes" of Edom (Gen.
(2.) The name of a mountainous region occupied by the
Edomites, extending along the eastern side of the Arabah from
the south-eastern extremity of the Dead Sea to near the Akabah,
or the eastern branch of the Red Sea. It was originally occupied
by the Horites (Gen. 14:6), who were afterwards driven out by
the Edomites (Gen. 32:3; 33:14, 16). It was allotted to the
descendants of Esau (Deut. 2:4, 22; Josh. 24:4; 2 Chr. 20:10;
Isa. 21:11; Exek. 25:8).
(3.) A mountain range (not the Edomite range, Gen. 32:3) lying
between the Wady Aly and the Wady Ghurab (Josh. 15:10).
(1.) This word denotes the special privileges and advantages
belonging to the first-born son among the Jews. He became the
priest of the family. Thus Reuben was the first-born of the
patriarchs, and so the priesthood of the tribes belonged to him.
That honour was, however, transferred by God from Reuben to Levi
(Num. 3:12, 13; 8:18).
(2.) The first-born son had allotted to him also a double
portion of the paternal inheritance (Deut. 21:15-17). Reuben
was, because of his undutiful conduct, deprived of his
birth-right (Gen. 49:4; 1 Chr. 5:1). Esau transferred his
birth-right to Jacob (Gen. 25:33).
(3.) The first-born inherited the judicial authority of his
father, whatever it might be (2 Chr. 21:3). By divine
appointment, however, David excluded Adonijah in favour of
(4.) The Jews attached a sacred importance to the rank of
"first-born" and "first-begotten" as applied to the Messiah
(Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:18; Heb. 1:4-6). As first-born he has an
inheritance superior to his brethren, and is the alone true
booths. (1.) The first encampment of the Israelites after
leaving Ramesses (Ex. 12:37); the civil name of Pithom (q.v.).
(2.) A city on the east of Jordan, identified with Tell
Dar'ala, a high mound, a mass of debris, in the plain north of
Jabbok and about one mile from it (Josh. 13:27). Here Jacob
(Gen. 32:17, 30; 33:17), on his return from Padan-aram after his
interview with Esau, built a house for himself and made booths
for his cattle. The princes of this city churlishly refused to
afford help to Gideon and his 300 men when "faint yet pursuing"
they followed one of the bands of the fugitive Midianites after
the great victory at Gilboa. After overtaking and routing this
band at Karkor, Gideon on his return visited the rulers of the
city with severe punishment. "He took the elders of the city,
and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught
the men of Succoth" (Judg. 8:13-16). At this place were erected
the foundries for casting the metal-work for the temple (1 Kings
ice, hail. (1.) The third son of Esau, by Aholibamah (Gen.
36:14; 1 Chr. 1:35).
(2.) A Levite, the son of Izhar, the brother of Amram, the
father of Moses and Aaron (Ex. 6:21). The institution of the
Aaronic priesthood and the Levitical service at Sinai was a
great religious revolution. The old priesthood of the heads of
families passed away. This gave rise to murmurings and
discontent, while the Israelites were encamped at Kadesh for the
first time, which came to a head in a rebellion against Moses
and Aaron, headed by Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Two hundred and
fifty princes, "men of renown" i.e., well-known men from among
the other tribes, joined this conspiracy. The whole company
demanded of Moses and Aaron that the old state of things should
be restored, alleging that "they took too much upon them" (Num.
16:1-3). On the morning after the outbreak, Korah and his
associates presented themselves at the door of the tabernacle,
and "took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid
incense thereon." But immediately "fire from the Lord" burst
forth and destroyed them all (Num. 16:35). Dathan and Abiram
"came out and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives,
and their sons, and their little children," and it came to pass
"that the ground clave asunder that was under them; and the
earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up." A plague
thereafter began among the people who sympathized in the
rebellion, and was only stayed by Aaron's appearing between the
living and the dead, and making "an atonement for the people"
The descendants of the sons of Korah who did not participate
in the rebellion afterwards rose to eminence in the Levitical
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,
(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; compare 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.
laughter. (1) Israel, or the kingdom of the ten tribes (Amos
(2.) The only son of Abraham by Sarah. He was the longest
lived of the three patriarchs (Gen. 21:1-3). He was circumcised
when eight days old (4-7); and when he was probably two years
old a great feast was held in connection with his being weaned.
The next memorable event in his life is that connected with
the command of God given to Abraham to offer him up as a
sacrifice on a mountain in the land of Moriah (Gen. 22). (See
ABRAHAM T0000055.) When he was forty years of age Rebekah was
chosen for his wife (Gen. 24). After the death and burial of his
father he took up his residence at Beer-lahai-roi (25:7-11),
where his two sons, Esau and Jacob, were born (21-26), the
former of whom seems to have been his favourite son (27,28).
In consequence of a famine (Gen. 26:1) Isaac went to Gerar,
where he practised deception as to his relation to Rebekah,
imitating the conduct of his father in Egypt (12:12-20) and in
Gerar (20:2). The Philistine king rebuked him for his
After sojourning for some time in the land of the Philistines,
he returned to Beersheba, where God gave him fresh assurance of
covenant blessing, and where Abimelech entered into a covenant
of peace with him.
The next chief event in his life was the blessing of his sons
(Gen. 27:1). He died at Mamre, "being old and full of days"
(35:27-29), one hundred and eighty years old, and was buried in
the cave of Machpelah.
In the New Testament reference is made to his having been
"offered up" by his father (Heb. 11:17; James 2:21), and to his
blessing his sons (Heb. 11:20). As the child of promise, he is
contrasted with Ishmael (Rom. 9:7, 10; Gal. 4:28; Heb. 11:18).
Isaac is "at once a counterpart of his father in simple
devoutness and purity of life, and a contrast in his passive
weakness of character, which in part, at least, may have sprung
from his relations to his mother and wife. After the expulsion
of Ishmael and Hagar, Isaac had no competitor, and grew up in
the shade of Sarah's tent, moulded into feminine softness by
habitual submission to her strong, loving will." His life was so
quiet and uneventful that it was spent "within the circle of a
few miles; so guileless that he let Jacob overreach him rather
than disbelieve his assurance; so tender that his mother's death
was the poignant sorrow of years; so patient and gentle that
peace with his neighbours was dearer than even such a coveted
possession as a well of living water dug by his own men; so
grandly obedient that he put his life at his father's disposal;
so firm in his reliance on God that his greatest concern through
life was to honour the divine promise given to his race.",
Geikie's Hours, etc.
from the Hebrew "gamal", "to repay" or "requite," as the camel
does the care of its master. There are two distinct species of
camels, having, however, the common characteristics of being
"ruminants without horns, without muzzle, with nostrils forming
oblique slits, the upper lip divided and separately movable and
extensile, the soles of the feet horny, with two toes covered by
claws, the limbs long, the abdomen drawn up, while the neck,
long and slender, is bent up and down, the reverse of that of a
horse, which is arched."
(1.) The Bactrian camel is distinguished by two humps. It is a
native of the high table-lands of Central Asia.
(2.) The Arabian camel or dromedary, from the Greek "dromos",
"a runner" (Isa. 60:6; Jer. 2:23), has but one hump, and is a
native of Western Asia or Africa.
The camel was early used both for riding and as a beast of
burden (Gen. 24:64; 37:25), and in war (1 Sam. 30:17; Isa.
21:7). Mention is made of the camel among the cattle given by
Pharaoh to Abraham (Gen. 12:16). Its flesh was not to be eaten,
as it was ranked among unclean animals (Lev. 11:4; Deut. 14:7).
Abraham's servant rode on a camel when he went to fetch a wife
for Isaac (Gen. 24:10, 11). Jacob had camels as a portion of his
wealth (30:43), as Abraham also had (24:35). He sent a present
of thirty milch camels to his brother Esau (32:15). It appears
to have been little in use among the Jews after the conquest. It
is, however, mentioned in the history of David (1 Chr. 27:30),
and after the Exile (Ezra 2:67; Neh. 7:69). Camels were much in
use among other nations in the East. The queen of Sheba came
with a caravan of camels when she came to see the wisdom of
Solomon (1 Kings 10:2; 2 Chr. 9:1). Benhadad of Damascus also
sent a present to Elisha, "forty camels' burden" (2 Kings 8:9).
To show the difficulty in the way of a rich man's entering
into the kingdom, our Lord uses the proverbial expression that
it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle
To strain at (rather, out) a gnat and swallow a camel was also
a proverbial expression (Matt. 23:24), used with reference to
those who were careful to avoid small faults, and yet did not
hesitate to commit the greatest sins. The Jews carefully
filtered their wine before drinking it, for fear of swallowing
along with it some insect forbidden in the law as unclean, and
yet they omitted openly the "weightier matters" of the law.
The raiment worn by John the Baptist was made of camel's hair
(Matt. 3:4; Mark 1:6), by which he was distinguished from those
who resided in royal palaces and wore soft raiment. This was
also the case with Elijah (2 Kings 1:8), who is called "a hairy
man," from his wearing such raiment. "This is one of the most
admirable materials for clothing; it keeps out the heat, cold,
and rain." The "sackcloth" so often alluded to (2 Kings 1:8;
Isa. 15:3; Zech. 13:4, etc.) was probably made of camel's hair.
(Gr. diaspora, "scattered," James 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:1) of the Jews.
At various times, and from the operation of divers causes, the
Jews were separated and scattered into foreign countries "to the
outmost parts of heaven" (Deut. 30:4).
(1.) Many were dispersed over Assyria, Media, Babylonia, and
Persia, descendants of those who had been transported thither by
the Exile. The ten tribes, after existing as a separate kingdom
for two hundred and fifty-five years, were carried captive (B.C.
721) by Shalmaneser (or Sargon), king of Assyria. They never
returned to their own land as a distinct people, although many
individuals from among these tribes, there can be no doubt,
joined with the bands that returned from Babylon on the
proclamation of Cyrus.
(2.) Many Jews migrated to Egypt and took up their abode
there. This migration began in the days of Solomon (2 Kings
18:21, 24; Isa. 30:7). Alexander the Great placed a large number
of Jews in Alexandria, which he had founded, and conferred on
them equal rights with the Egyptians. Ptolemy Philadelphus, it
is said, caused the Jewish Scriptures to be translated into
Greek (the work began B.C. 284), for the use of the Alexandrian
Jews. The Jews in Egypt continued for many ages to exercise a
powerful influence on the public interests of that country. From
Egypt they spread along the coast of Africa to Cyrene (Acts
2:10) and to Ethiopia (8:27).
(3.) After the time of Seleucus Nicator (B.C. 280), one of the
captains of Alexander the Great, large numbers of Jews migrated
into Syria, where they enjoyed equal rights with the
Macedonians. From Syria they found their way into Asia Minor.
Antiochus the Great, king of Syria and Asia, removed 3,000
families of Jews from Mesopotamia and Babylonia, and planted
them in Phrygia and Lydia.
(4.) From Asia Minor many Jews moved into Greece and
Macedonia, chiefly for purposes of commerce. In the apostles'
time they were found in considerable numbers in all the
From the time of Pompey the Great (B.C. 63) numbers of Jews
from Israel and Greece went to Rome, where they had a
separate quarter of the city assigned to them. Here they enjoyed
Thus were the Jews everywhere scattered abroad. This, in the
overruling providence of God, ultimately contributed in a great
degree toward opening the way for the spread of the gospel into
Dispersion, from the plain of Shinar. This was occasioned by
the confusion of tongues at Babel (Gen. 11:9). They were
scattered abroad "every one after his tongue, after their
families, in their nations" (Gen. 10:5, 20,31).
The tenth chapter of Genesis gives us an account of the
principal nations of the earth in their migrations from the
plain of Shinar, which was their common residence after the
Flood. In general, it may be said that the descendants of
Japheth were scattered over the north, those of Shem over the
central regions, and those of Ham over the extreme south. The
following table shows how the different families were dispersed:
| - Japheth
| - Gomer
| Cimmerians, Armenians
| - Magog
| Caucasians, Scythians
| - Madal
| Medes and Persian tribes
| - Javan
| - Elishah
| - Tarshish
| Etruscans, Romans
| - Chittim
| Cyprians, Macedonians
| - Dodanim
| - Tubal
| Tibareni, Tartars
| - Mechech
| Moschi, Muscovites
| - Tiras
| - Shem
| - Elam
| Persian tribes
| - Asshur
| - Arphaxad
| - Abraham
| - Isaac
| - Jacob
| - Esau
| - Ishmael
| Mingled with Arab tribes
| - Lud
| - Aram
| - Ham
| - Cush
| - Mizrain
| - Phut
| Lybians, Mauritanians
| - Canaan
| Canaanites, Phoenicians
Israel and Syria appear to have been originally inhabited by
three different tribes. (1.) The Semites, living on the east of
the isthmus of Suez. They were nomadic and pastoral tribes. (2.)
The Phoenicians, who were merchants and traders; and (3.) the
Hittites, who were the warlike element of this confederation of
tribes. They inhabited the whole region between the Euphrates
and Damascus, their chief cities being Carchemish on the
Euphrates, and Kadesh, now Tell Neby Mendeh, in the Orontes
valley, about six miles south of the Lake of Homs. These
Hittites seem to have risen to great power as a nation, as for a
long time they were formidable rivals of the Egyptian and
Assyrian empires. In the book of Joshua they always appear as
the dominant race to the north of Galilee.
Somewhere about the twenty-third century B.C. the Syrian
confederation, led probably by the Hittites, arched against
Lower Egypt, which they took possession of, making Zoan their
capital. Their rulers were the Hyksos, or shepherd kings. They
were at length finally driven out of Egypt. Rameses II. sought
vengeance against the "vile Kheta," as he called them, and
encountered and defeated them in the great battle of Kadesh,
four centuries after Abraham. (See JOSHUA T0002114.)
They are first referred to in Scripture in the history of
Abraham, who bought from Ephron the Hittite the field and the
cave of Machpelah (Gen. 15:20: 23:3-18). They were then settled
at Kirjath-arba. From this tribe Esau took his first two wives
They are afterwards mentioned in the usual way among the
inhabitants of the Promised Land (Ex. 23:28). They were closely
allied to the Amorites, and are frequently mentioned along with
them as inhabiting the mountains of Israel. When the spies
entered the land they seem to have occupied with the Amorites
the mountain region of Judah (Num. 13:29). They took part with
the other Canaanites against the Israelites (Josh. 9:1; 11:3).
After this there are few references to them in Scripture.
Mention is made of "Ahimelech the Hittite" (1 Sam. 26:6), and of
"Uriah the Hittite," one of David's chief officers (2 Sam.
23:39; 1 Chr. 11:41). In the days of Solomon they were a
powerful confederation in the north of Syria, and were ruled by
"kings." They are met with after the Exile still a distinct
people (Ezra 9:1; compare Neh. 13:23-28).
The Hebrew merchants exported horses from Egypt not only for
the kings of Israel, but also for the Hittites (1 Kings 10:28,
29). From the Egyptian monuments we learn that "the Hittites
were a people with yellow skins and 'Mongoloid' features, whose
receding foreheads, oblique eyes, and protruding upper jaws are
represented as faithfully on their own monuments as they are on
those of Egypt, so that we cannot accuse the Egyptian artists of
caricaturing their enemies. The Amorites, on the contrary, were
a tall and handsome people. They are depicted with white skins,
blue eyes, and reddish hair, all the characteristics, in fact,
of the white race" (Sayce's The Hittites). The original seat of
the Hittite tribes was the mountain ranges of Taurus. They
belonged to Asia Minor, and not to Syria.
The common Hebrew word for wine is "yayin", from a root meaning
"to boil up," "to be in a ferment." Others derive it from a root
meaning "to tread out," and hence the juice of the grape trodden
out. The Greek word for wine is "oinos", and the Latin "vinun".
But besides this common Hebrew word, there are several others
which are thus rendered.
(1.) Ashishah (2 Sam. 6:19; 1 Chr. 16:3; Cant. 2:5; Hos. 3:1),
which, however, rather denotes a solid cake of pressed grapes,
or, as in the Revised Version, a cake of raisins.
(2.) 'Asis, "sweet wine," or "new wine," the product of the
same year (Cant. 8:2; Isa. 49:26; Joel 1:5; 3:18; Amos 9:13),
from a root meaning "to tread," hence juice trodden out or
pressed out, thus referring to the method by which the juice is
obtained. The power of intoxication is ascribed to it.
(3.) Hometz. See VINEGAR T0003771.
(4.) Hemer, Deut. 32:14 (rendered "blood of the grape") Isa.
27:2 ("red wine"), Ezra 6:9; 7:22; Dan. 5:1, 2, 4. This word
conveys the idea of "foaming," as in the process of
fermentation, or when poured out. It is derived from the root
"hamar", meaning "to boil up," and also "to be red," from the
idea of boiling or becoming inflamed.
(5.) 'Enabh, a grape (Deut. 32:14). The last clause of this
verse should be rendered as in the Revised Version, "and of the
blood of the grape ['enabh] thou drankest wine [hemer]." In Hos.
3:1 the phrase in Authorized Version, "flagons of wine," is in
the Revised Version correctly "cakes of raisins." (Compare Gen.
49:11; Num. 6:3; Deut. 23:24, etc., where this Hebrew word is
rendered in the plural "grapes.")
(6.) Mesekh, properly a mixture of wine and water with spices
that increase its stimulating properties (Isa. 5:22). Ps. 75:8,
"The wine [yayin] is red; it is full of mixture [mesekh];" Prov.
23:30, "mixed wine;" Isa. 65:11, "drink offering" (R.V.,
(7.) Tirosh, properly "must," translated "wine" (Deut. 28:51);
"new wine" (Prov. 3:10); "sweet wine" (Micah 6:15; R.V.,
"vintage"). This Hebrew word has been traced to a root meaning
"to take possession of" and hence it is supposed that tirosh is
so designated because in intoxicating it takes possession of the
brain. Among the blessings promised to Esau (Gen. 27:28) mention
is made of "plenty of corn and tirosh." Israel is called "a
land of corn and tirosh" (Deut. 33:28; compare Isa. 36:17). See
also Deut. 28:51; 2 Chr. 32:28; Joel 2:19; Hos. 4:11, ("wine
[yayin] and new wine [tirosh] take away the heart").
(8.) Sobhe (root meaning "to drink to excess," "to suck up,"
"absorb"), found only in Isa. 1:22, Hos. 4:18 ("their drink;"
Gesen. and marg. of R.V., "their carouse"), and Nah. 1:10
("drunken as drunkards;" lit., "soaked according to their
drink;" R.V., "drenched, as it were, in their drink", i.e.,
according to their sobhe).
(9.) Shekar, "strong drink," any intoxicating liquor; from a
root meaning "to drink deeply," "to be drunken", a generic term
applied to all fermented liquors, however obtained. Num. 28:7,
"strong wine" (R.V., "strong drink"). It is sometimes
distinguished from wine, c.g., Lev. 10:9, "Do not drink wine
[yayin] nor strong drink [shekar];" Num. 6:3; Judg. 13:4, 7;
Isa. 28:7 (in all these places rendered "strong drink").
Translated "strong drink" also in Isa. 5:11; 24:9; 29:9; 56:12;
Prov. 20:1; 31:6; Micah 2:11.
(10.) Yekebh (Deut. 16:13, but in R.V. correctly
"wine-press"), a vat into which the new wine flowed from the
press. Joel 2:24, "their vats;" 3:13, "the fats;" Prov. 3:10,
"Thy presses shall burst out with new wine [tirosh];" Hag. 2:16;
Jer. 48:33, "wine-presses;" 2 Kings 6:27; Job. 24:11.
(11.) Shemarim (only in plural), "lees" or "dregs" of wine. In
Isa. 25:6 it is rendered "wines on the lees", i.e., wine that
has been kept on the lees, and therefore old wine.
(12.) Mesek, "a mixture," mixed or spiced wine, not diluted
with water, but mixed with drugs and spices to increase its
strength, or, as some think, mingled with the lees by being
shaken (Ps. 75:8; Prov. 23:30).
In Acts 2:13 the word "gleukos", rendered "new wine," denotes
properly "sweet wine." It must have been intoxicating.
In addition to wine the Hebrews also made use of what they
called "debash", which was obtained by boiling down must to
one-half or one-third of its original bulk. In Gen. 43:11 this
word is rendered "honey." It was a kind of syrup, and is called
by the Arabs at the present day dibs. This word occurs in the
phrase "a land flowing with milk and honey" (debash), Ex. 3:8,
17; 13:5; 33:3; Lev. 20:24; Num. 13: 27. (See HONEY T0001809.)
Our Lord miraculously supplied wine at the marriage feast in
Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11). The Rechabites were forbidden the
use of wine (Jer. 35). The Nazarites also were to abstain from
its use during the period of their vow (Num. 6:1-4); and those
who were dedicated as Nazarites from their birth were
perpetually to abstain from it (Judg. 13:4, 5; Luke 1:15; 7:33).
The priests, too, were forbidden the use of wine and strong
drink when engaged in their sacred functions (Lev. 10:1, 9-11).
"Wine is little used now in the East, from the fact that
Mohammedans are not allowed to taste it, and very few of other
creeds touch it. When it is drunk, water is generally mixed with
it, and this was the custom in the days of Christ also. The
people indeed are everywhere very sober in hot climates; a
drunken person, in fact, is never seen", (Geikie's Life of
Christ). The sin of drunkenness, however, must have been not
uncommon in the olden times, for it is mentioned either
metaphorically or literally more than seventy times in the
A drink-offering of wine was presented with the daily
sacrifice (Ex. 29:40, 41), and also with the offering of the
first-fruits (Lev. 23:13), and with various other sacrifices
(Num. 15:5, 7, 10). Wine was used at the celebration of the
Passover. And when the Lord's Supper was instituted, the wine
and the unleavened bread then on the paschal table were by our
Lord set apart as memorials of his body and blood.
Several emphatic warnings are given in the New Testament
against excess in the use of wine (Luke 21:34; Rom. 13:13; Eph.
5:18; 1 Tim. 3:8; Titus 1:7).
the great deliverance wrought for the children of Isreal when
they were brought out of the land of Egypt with "a mighty hand
and with an outstretched arm" (Ex 12:51; Deut. 26:8; Ps 114;
136), about B.C. 1490, and four hundred and eighty years (1
Kings 6:1) before the building of Solomon's temple.
The time of their sojourning in Egypt was, according to Ex.
12:40, the space of four hundred and thirty years. In the LXX.,
the words are, "The sojourning of the children of Israel which
they sojourned in Egypt and in the land of Canaan was four
hundred and thirty years;" and the Samaritan version reads, "The
sojourning of the children of Israel and of their fathers which
they sojourned in the land of Canaan and in the land of Egypt
was four hundred and thirty years." In Gen. 15:13-16, the period
is prophetically given (in round numbers) as four hundred years.
This passage is quoted by Stephen in his defence before the
council (Acts 7:6).
The chronology of the "sojourning" is variously estimated.
Those who adopt the longer term reckon thus:
| From the descent of Jacob into Egypt to the
| death of Joseph 71
| From the death of Joseph to the birth of
| Moses 278
| From the birth of Moses to his flight into
| Midian 40
| From the flight of Moses to his return into
| Egypt 40
| From the return of Moses to the Exodus 1
Others contend for the shorter period of two hundred and
fifteen years, holding that the period of four hundred and
thirty years comprehends the years from the entrance of Abraham
into Canaan (see LXX. and Samaritan) to the descent of Jacob
into Egypt. They reckon thus:
| From Abraham's arrival in Canaan to Isaac's
| birth 25
| From Isaac's birth to that of his twin sons
| Esau and Jacob 60
| From Jacob's birth to the going down into
| Egypt 130
| From Jacob's going down into Egypt to the
| death of Joseph 71
| From death of Joseph to the birth of Moses 64
| From birth of Moses to the Exodus 80
| In all... 430
During the forty years of Moses' sojourn in the land of
Midian, the Hebrews in Egypt were being gradually prepared for
the great national crisis which was approaching. The plagues
that successively fell upon the land loosened the bonds by which
Pharaoh held them in slavery, and at length he was eager that
they should depart. But the Hebrews must now also be ready to
go. They were poor; for generations they had laboured for the
Egyptians without wages. They asked gifts from their neighbours
around them (Ex. 12:35), and these were readily bestowed. And
then, as the first step towards their independent national
organization, they observed the feast of the Passover, which was
now instituted as a perpetual memorial. The blood of the paschal
lamb was duly sprinkled on the doorposts and lintels of all
their houses, and they were all within, waiting the next
movement in the working out of God's plan. At length the last
stroke fell on the land of Egypt. "It came to pass, that at
midnight Jehovah smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt."
Pharaoh rose up in the night, and called for Moses and Aaron by
night, and said, "Rise up, and get you forth from among my
people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve
Jehovah, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds,
as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also." Thus was
Pharaoh (q.v.) completely humbled and broken down. These words
he spoke to Moses and Aaron "seem to gleam through the tears of
the humbled king, as he lamented his son snatched from him by so
sudden a death, and tremble with a sense of the helplessness
which his proud soul at last felt when the avenging hand of God
had visited even his palace."
The terror-stricken Egyptians now urged the instant departure
of the Hebrews. In the midst of the Passover feast, before the
dawn of the 15th day of the month Abib (our April nearly), which
was to be to them henceforth the beginning of the year, as it
was the commencement of a new epoch in their history, every
family, with all that appertained to it, was ready for the
march, which instantly began under the leadership of the heads
of tribes with their various sub-divisions. They moved onward,
increasing as they went forward from all the districts of
Goshen, over the whole of which they were scattered, to the
common centre. Three or four days perhaps elapsed before the
whole body of the people were assembled at Rameses, and ready to
set out under their leader Moses (Ex. 12:37; Num. 33:3). This
city was at that time the residence of the Egyptian court, and
here the interviews between Moses and Pharaoh had taken place.
From Rameses they journeyed to Succoth (Ex. 12:37), identified
with Tel-el-Maskhuta, about 12 miles west of Ismailia. (See
PITHOM T0002968.) Their third station was Etham (q.v.), 13:20,
"in the edge of the wilderness," and was probably a little to
the west of the modern town of Ismailia, on the Suez Canal. Here
they were commanded "to turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth,
between Migdol and the sea", i.e., to change their route from
east to due south. The Lord now assumed the direction of their
march in the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night. They
were then led along the west shore of the Red Sea till they came
to an extensive camping-ground "before Pi-hahiroth," about 40
miles from Etham. This distance from Etham may have taken three
days to traverse, for the number of camping-places by no means
indicates the number of days spent on the journey: e.g., it took
fully a month to travel from Rameses to the wilderness of Sin
(Ex. 16:1), yet reference is made to only six camping-places
during all that time. The exact spot of their encampment before
they crossed the Red Sea cannot be determined. It was probably
somewhere near the present site of Suez.
Under the direction of God the children of Israel went
"forward" from the camp "before Pi-hahiroth," and the sea opened
a pathway for them, so that they crossed to the farther shore in
safety. The Egyptian host pursued after them, and, attempting to
follow through the sea, were overwhelmed in its returning
waters, and thus the whole military force of the Egyptians
perished. They "sank as lead in the mighty waters" (Ex. 15:1-9;
compare Ps. 77:16-19).
Having reached the eastern shore of the sea, perhaps a little
way to the north of 'Ayun Musa ("the springs of Moses"), there
they encamped and rested probably for a day. Here Miriam and the
other women sang the triumphal song recorded in Ex. 15:1-21.
From 'Ayun Musa they went on for three days through a part of
the barren "wilderness of Shur" (22), called also the
"wilderness of Etham" (Num. 33:8; compare Ex. 13:20), without
finding water. On the last of these days they came to Marah
(q.v.), where the "bitter" water was by a miracle made
Their next camping-place was Elim (q.v.), where were twelve
springs of water and a grove of "threescore and ten" palm trees
After a time the children of Israel "took their journey from
Elim," and encamped by the Red Sea (Num. 33:10), and thence
removed to the "wilderness of Sin" (to be distinguished from the
wilderness of Zin, 20:1), where they again encamped. Here,
probably the modern el-Markha, the supply of bread they had
brought with them out of Egypt failed. They began to "murmur"
for want of bread. God "heard their murmurings" and gave them
quails and manna, "bread from heaven" (Ex. 16:4-36). Moses
directed that an omer of manna should be put aside and preserved
as a perpetual memorial of God's goodness. They now turned
inland, and after three encampments came to the rich and fertile
valley of Rephidim, in the Wady Feiran. Here they found no
water, and again murmured against Moses. Directed by God, Moses
procured a miraculous supply of water from the "rock in Horeb,"
one of the hills of the Sinai group (17:1-7); and shortly
afterwards the children of Israel here fought their first battle
with the Amalekites, whom they smote with the edge of the sword.
From the eastern extremity of the Wady Feiran the line of
march now probably led through the Wady esh-Sheikh and the Wady
Solaf, meeting in the Wady er-Rahah, "the enclosed plain in
front of the magnificient cliffs of Ras Sufsafeh." Here they
encamped for more than a year (Num. 1:1; 10:11) before Sinai
The different encampments of the children of Israel, from the
time of their leaving Egypt till they reached the Promised Land,
are mentioned in Ex. 12:37-19; Num. 10-21; 33; Deut. 1, 2, 10.
It is worthy of notice that there are unmistakable evidences
that the Egyptians had a tradition of a great exodus from their
country, which could be none other than the exodus of the