(1.) Heb. ya'ar, occurs only 1 Sam. 14:25, 27, 29; Cant. 5:1,
where it denotes the honey of bees. Properly the word signifies
a forest or copse, and refers to honey found in woods.
(2.) Nopheth, honey that drops (Ps. 19:10; Prov. 5:3; Cant.
(3.) Debash denotes bee-honey (Judg. 14:8); but also
frequently a vegetable honey distilled from trees (Gen. 43:11;
Ezek. 27:17). In these passages it may probably mean "dibs," or
syrup of grapes, i.e., the juice of ripe grapes boiled down to
one-third of its bulk.
(4.) Tsuph, the cells of the honey-comb full of honey (Prov.
16:24; Ps. 19:10).
(5.) "Wild honey" (Matt. 3:4) may have been the vegetable
honey distilled from trees, but rather was honey stored by bees
in rocks or in trees (Deut. 32:13; Ps. 81:16; 1 Sam. 14:25-29).
Canaan was a "land flowing with milk and honey" (Ex. 3:8).
Milk and honey were among the chief dainties in the earlier
ages, as they are now among the Bedawin; and butter and honey
are also mentioned among articles of food (Isa. 7:15). The
ancients used honey instead of sugar (Ps. 119:103; Prov. 24:13);
but when taken in great quantities it caused nausea, a fact
referred to in Prov. 25:16, 17 to inculcate moderation in
pleasures. Honey and milk also are put for sweet discourse
(Heb. shekar'), an intoxicating liquor (Judg. 13:4; Luke 1:15;
Isa. 5:11; Micah 2:11) distilled from corn, honey, or dates. The
effects of the use of strong drink are referred to in Ps.
107:27; Isa. 24:20; 49:26; 51:17-22. Its use prohibited, Prov.
20:1. (See WINE T0003816.)
First mentioned in Deut. 1:44. Swarms of bees, and the danger of
their attacks, are mentioned in Ps. 118:12. Samson found a
"swarm of bees" in the carcass of a lion he had slain (Judg.
14:8). Wild bees are described as laying up honey in woods and
in clefts of rocks (Deut. 32:13; Ps. 81:16). In Isa. 7:18 the
"fly" and the "bee" are personifications of the Egyptians and
Assyrians, the inveterate enemies of Israel.
heb. yareah, from its paleness (Ezra 6:15), and lebanah, the
"white" (Cant. 6:10; Isa. 24:23), was appointed by the Creator
to be with the sun "for signs, and for seasons, and for days,
and years" (Gen. 1:14-16). A lunation was among the Jews the
period of a month, and several of their festivals were held on
the day of the new moon. It is frequently referred to along with
the sun (Josh. 10:12; Ps. 72:5, 7, 17; 89:36, 37; Eccl. 12:2;
Isa. 24:23, etc.), and also by itself (Ps. 8:3; 121:6).
The great brilliance of the moon in Eastern countries led to
its being early an object of idolatrous worship (Deut. 4:19;
17:3; Job 31:26), a form of idolatry against which the Jews were
warned (Deut. 4:19; 17:3). They, however, fell into this
idolatry, and offered incense (2 Kings 23:5; Jer. 8:2), and also
cakes of honey, to the moon (Jer. 7:18; 44:17-19, 25).
(1.) Hebrew halabh, "new milk", milk in its fresh state (Judg.
4:19). It is frequently mentioned in connection with honey (Ex.
3:8; 13:5; Josh. 5:6; Isa. 7:15, 22; Jer. 11:5). Sheep (Deut.
32:14) and goats (Prov. 27:27) and camels (Gen. 32:15), as well
as cows, are made to give their milk for the use of man. Milk is
used figuratively as a sign of abundance (Gen. 49:12; Ezek.
25:4; Joel 3:18). It is also a symbol of the rudiments of
doctrine (1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12, 13), and of the unadulterated
word of God (1 Pet. 2:2).
(2.) Heb. hem'ah, always rendered "butter" in the Authorized
Version. It means "butter," but also more frequently "cream," or
perhaps, as some think, "curdled milk," such as that which
Abraham set before the angels (Gen. 18:8), and which Jael gave
to Sisera (Judg. 5:25). In this state milk was used by
travellers (2 Sam. 17:29). If kept long enough, it acquired a
slightly intoxicating or soporific power.
This Hebrew word is also sometimes used for milk in general
(Deut. 32:14; Job 20:17).
Cakes made of wheat or barley were offered in the temple. They
were salted, but unleavened (Ex. 29:2; Lev. 2:4). In idolatrous
worship thin cakes or wafers were offered "to the queen of
heaven" (Jer. 7:18; 44:19).
Pancakes are described in 2 Sam. 13:8, 9. Cakes mingled with
oil and baked in the oven are mentioned in Lev. 2:4, and "wafers
unleavened anointed with oil," in Ex. 29:2; Lev. 8:26; 1 Chr.
23:29. "Cracknels," a kind of crisp cakes, were among the things
Jeroboam directed his wife to take with her when she went to
consult Ahijah the prophet at Shiloh (1 Kings 14:3). Such hard
cakes were carried by the Gibeonites when they came to Joshua
(9:5, 12). They described their bread as "mouldy;" but the
Hebrew word "nikuddim", here used, ought rather to be rendered
"hard as biscuit." It is rendered "cracknels" in 1 Kings 14:3.
The ordinary bread, when kept for a few days, became dry and
excessively hard. The Gibeonites pointed to this hardness of
their bread as an evidence that they had come a long journey.
We read also of honey-cakes (Ex. 16:31), "cakes of figs" (1
Sam. 25:18), "cake" as denoting a whole piece of bread (1 Kings
17:12), and "a [round] cake of barley bread" (Judg. 7:13). In
Lev. 2 is a list of the different kinds of bread and cakes which
were fit for offerings.
(1.) An gratuity (Prov. 19:6) to secure favour (18:16; 21:14), a
thank-offering (Num. 18:11), or a dowry (Gen. 34:12).
(2.) An oblation or proppitatory gift (2Sa 8:2,6; 1Ch 18:2,6;
2Ch 26:8; Ps. 45:12; 72:10).
(3.) A bribe to a judge to obtain a favourable verdict (Ex.
23:8; Deut. 16:19).
(4.) Simply a thing given (Matt. 7:11; Luke 11:13; Eph. 4:8);
sacrifical (Matt. 5:23, 24; 8:4); eleemosynary (Luke 21:1); a
gratuity (John 4:10; Acts 8:20). In Acts 2:38 the generic word
dorea is rendered "gift." It differs from the charisma (1 Cor.
12:4) as denoting not miraculous powers but the working of a new
spirit in men, and that spirit from God.
The giving of presents entered largely into the affairs of
common life in the East. The nature of the presents was as
various as were the occasions: food (1 Sam. 9:7; 16:20), sheep
and cattle (Gen. 32:13-15), gold (2 Sam. 18:11), jewels (Gen.
24:53), furniture, and vessels for eating and drinking (2 Sam.
17:28); delicacies, as spices, honey, etc. (1 Kings 10:25; 2
Kings 5: 22). The mode of presentation was with as much parade
as possible: the presents were conveyed by the hands of servants
(Judg. 3:18), or still better, on the backs of beasts of burden
(2 Kings 8:9). The refusal of a present was regarded as a high
indignity; and this constituted the aggravated insult noticed in
Matt. 22:11, the marriage robe having been offered and refused.
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).
Heb. man-hu, "What is that?" the name given by the Israelites to
the food miraculously supplied to them during their wanderings
in the wilderness (Ex. 16:15-35). The name is commonly taken as
derived from "man", an expression of surprise, "What is it?" but
more probably it is derived from "manan", meaning "to allot,"
and hence denoting an "allotment" or a "gift." This "gift" from
God is described as "a small round thing," like the "hoar-frost
on the ground," and "like coriander seed," "of the colour of
bdellium," and in taste "like wafers made with honey." It was
capable of being baked and boiled, ground in mills, or beaten in
a mortar (Ex. 16:23; Num. 11:7). If any was kept over till the
following morning, it became corrupt with worms; but as on the
Sabbath none fell, on the preceding day a double portion was
given, and that could be kept over to supply the wants of the
Sabbath without becoming corrupt. Directions concerning the
gathering of it are fully given (Ex. 16:16-18, 33; Deut. 8:3,
16). It fell for the first time after the eighth encampment in
the desert of Sin, and was daily furnished, except on the
Sabbath, for all the years of the wanderings, till they encamped
at Gilgal, after crossing the Jordan, when it suddenly ceased,
and where they "did eat of the old corn of the land; neither had
the children of Israel manna any more" (Josh. 5:12). They now no
longer needed the "bread of the wilderness."
This manna was evidently altogether a miraculous gift, wholly
different from any natural product with which we are acquainted,
and which bears this name. The manna of European commerce comes
chiefly from Calabria and Sicily. It drops from the twigs of a
species of ash during the months of June and July. At night it
is fluid and resembles dew, but in the morning it begins to
harden. The manna of the Sinaitic peninsula is an exudation from
the "manna-tamarisk" tree (Tamarix mannifera), the el-tarfah of
the Arabs. This tree is found at the present day in certain
well-watered valleys in the peninsula of Sinai. The manna with
which the people of Israel were fed for forty years differs in
many particulars from all these natural products.
Our Lord refers to the manna when he calls himself the "true
bread from heaven" (John 6:31-35; 48-51). He is also the "hidden
manna" (Rev. 2:17; compare John 6:49,51).
originally denoted only the sea-coast of the land of Canaan
inhabited by the Philistines (Ex. 15:14; Isa. 14:29, 31; Joel
3:4), and in this sense exclusively the Hebrew name Pelesheth
(rendered "Philistia" in Ps. 60:8; 83:7; 87:4; 108:9) occurs in
the Old Testament.
Not till a late period in Jewish history was this name used to
denote "the land of the Hebrews" in general (Gen. 40:15). It is
also called "the holy land" (Zech. 2:12), the "land of Jehovah"
(Hos. 9:3; Ps. 85:1), the "land of promise" (Heb. 11:9), because
promised to Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 24:7), the "land of Canaan"
(Gen. 12:5), the "land of Israel" (1 Sam. 13:19), and the "land
of Judah" (Isa. 19:17).
The territory promised as an inheritance to the seed of
Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21; Num. 34:1-12) was bounded on the east by
the river Euphrates, on the west by the Mediterranean, on the
north by the "entrance of Hamath," and on the south by the
"river of Egypt." This extent of territory, about 60,000 square
miles, was at length conquered by David, and was ruled over also
by his son Solomon (2 Sam. 8; 1 Chr. 18; 1 Kings 4:1, 21). This
vast empire was the Promised Land; but Israel was only a part
of it, terminating in the north at the southern extremity of the
Lebanon range, and in the south in the wilderness of Paran, thus
extending in all to about 144 miles in length. Its average
breadth was about 60 miles from the Mediterranean on the west to
beyond the Jordan. It has fittingly been designated "the least
of all lands." Western Israel, on the south of Gaza, is only
about 40 miles in breadth from the Mediterranean to the Dead
Sea, narrowing gradually toward the north, where it is only 20
miles from the sea-coast to the Jordan.
Israel, "set in the midst" (Ezek. 5:5) of all other lands,
is the most remarkable country on the face of the earth. No
single country of such an extent has so great a variety of
climate, and hence also of plant and animal life. Moses
describes it as "a good land, a land of brooks of water, of
fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a
land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and
pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein
thou shalt not eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack
any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose
hills thou mayest dig brass" (Deut. 8:7-9).
"In the time of Christ the country looked, in all probability,
much as now. The whole land consists of rounded limestone hills,
fretted into countless stony valleys, offering but rarely level
tracts, of which Esdraelon alone, below Nazareth, is large
enough to be seen on the map. The original woods had for ages
disappeared, though the slopes were dotted, as now, with figs,
olives, and other fruit-trees where there was any soil.
Permanent streams were even then unknown, the passing rush of
winter torrents being all that was seen among the hills. The
autumn and spring rains, caught in deep cisterns hewn out like
huge underground jars in the soft limestone, with artificial
mud-banked ponds still found near all villages, furnished water.
Hills now bare, or at best rough with stunted growth, were then
terraced, so as to grow vines, olives, and grain. To-day almost
desolate, the country then teemed with population. Wine-presses
cut in the rocks, endless terraces, and the ruins of old
vineyard towers are now found amidst solitudes overgrown for
ages with thorns and thistles, or with wild shrubs and poor
gnarled scrub" (Geikie's Life of Christ).
From an early period the land was inhabited by the descendants
of Canaan, who retained possession of the whole land "from Sidon
to Gaza" till the time of the conquest by Joshua, when it was
occupied by the twelve tribes. Two tribes and a half had their
allotments given them by Moses on the east of the Jordan (Deut.
3:12-20; compare Num. 1:17-46; Josh. 4:12-13). The remaining
tribes had their portion on the west of Jordan.
From the conquest till the time of Saul, about four hundred
years, the people were governed by judges. For a period of one
hundred and twenty years the kingdom retained its unity while it
was ruled by Saul and David and Solomon. On the death of
Solomon, his son Rehoboam ascended the throne; but his conduct
was such that ten of the tribes revolted, and formed an
independent monarchy, called the kingdom of Israel, or the
northern kingdom, the capital of which was first Shechem and
afterwards Samaria. This kingdom was destroyed. The Israelites
were carried captive by Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, B.C. 722,
after an independent existence of two hundred and fifty-three
years. The place of the captives carried away was supplied by
tribes brought from the east, and thus was formed the Samaritan
nation (2 Kings 17:24-29).
Nebuchadnezzar came up against the kingdom of the two tribes,
the kingdom of Judah, the capital of which was Jerusalem, one
hundred and thirty-four years after the overthrow of the kingdom
of Israel. He overthrew the city, plundered the temple, and
carried the people into captivity to Babylon (B.C. 587), where
they remained seventy years. At the close of the period of the
Captivity, they returned to their own land, under the edict of
Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4). They rebuilt the city and temple, and
restored the old Jewish commonwealth.
For a while after the Restoration the Jews were ruled by
Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and afterwards by the high
priests, assisted by the Sanhedrin. After the death of Alexander
the Great at Babylon (B.C. 323), his vast empire was divided
between his four generals. Egypt, Arabia, Israel, and
Coele-Syria fell to the lot of Ptolemy Lagus. Ptolemy took
possession of Israel in B.C. 320, and carried nearly one
hundred thousand of the inhabitants of Jerusalem into Egypt. He
made Alexandria the capital of his kingdom, and treated the Jews
with consideration, confirming them in the enjoyment of many
After suffering persecution at the hands of Ptolemy's
successors, the Jews threw off the Egyptian yoke, and became
subject to Antiochus the Great, the king of Syria. The cruelty
and opression of the successors of Antiochus at length led to
the revolt under the Maccabees (B.C. 163), when they threw off
the Syrian yoke.
In the year B.C. 68, Israel was reduced by Pompey the Great
to a Roman province. He laid the walls of the city in ruins, and
massacred some twelve thousand of the inhabitants. He left the
temple, however, unijured. About twenty-five years after this
the Jews revolted and cast off the Roman yoke. They were
however, subdued by Herod the Great (q.v.). The city and the
temple were destroyed, and many of the inhabitants were put to
death. About B.C. 20, Herod proceeded to rebuild the city and
restore the ruined temple, which in about nine years and a half
was so far completed that the sacred services could be resumed
in it (compare John 2:20). He was succeeded by his son Archelaus,
who was deprived of his power, however, by Augustus, A.D. 6,
when Israel became a Roman province, ruled by Roman governors
or procurators. Pontius Pilate was the fifth of these
procurators. He was appointed to his office A.D. 25.
Exclusive of Idumea, the kingdom of Herod the Great
comprehended the whole of the country originally divided among
the twelve tribes, which he divided into four provinces or
districts. This division was recognized so long as Israel was
under the Roman dominion. These four provinces were, (1) Judea,
the southern portion of the country; (2) Samaria, the middle
province, the northern boundary of which ran along the hills to
the south of the plain of Esdraelon; (3) Galilee, the northern
province; and (4) Peraea (a Greek name meaning the "opposite
country"), the country lying east of the Jordan and the Dead
Sea. This province was subdivided into these districts, (1)
Peraea proper, lying between the rivers Arnon and Jabbok; (2)
Galaaditis (Gilead); (3) Batanaea; (4) Gaulonitis (Jaulan); (5)
Ituraea or Auranitis, the ancient Bashan; (6) Trachonitis; (7)
Abilene; (8) Decapolis, i.e., the region of the ten cities. The
whole territory of Israel, including the portions alloted to
the trans-Jordan tribes, extended to about eleven thousand
square miles. Recent exploration has shown the territory on the
west of Jordan alone to be six thousand square miles in extent,
the size of the principality of Wales.