Justice of God
that perfection of his nature whereby he is infinitely righteous
in himself and in all he does, the righteousness of the divine
nature exercised in his moral government. At first God imposes
righteous laws on his creatures and executes them righteously.
Justice is not an optional product of his will, but an
unchangeable principle of his very nature. His legislative
justice is his requiring of his rational creatures conformity in
all respects to the moral law. His rectoral or distributive
justice is his dealing with his accountable creatures according
to the requirements of the law in rewarding or punishing them
(Ps. 89:14). In remunerative justice he distributes rewards
(James 1:12; 2 Tim. 4:8); in vindictive or punitive justice he
inflicts punishment on account of transgression (2 Thess. 1:6).
He cannot, as being infinitely righteous, do otherwise than
regard and hate sin as intrinsically hateful and deserving of
punishment. "He cannot deny himself" (2 Tim. 2:13). His
essential and eternal righteousness immutably determines him to
visit every sin as such with merited punishment.
is rendering to every one that which is his due. It has been
distinguished from equity in this respect, that while justice
means merely the doing what positive law demands, equity means
the doing of what is fair and right in every separate case.
Acts 16:35, 38 (R.V., "lictors"), officers who attended the
magistrates and assisted them in the execution of justice.
Gr. basanos (Matt. 4:24), the "touch-stone" of justice; hence
inquisition by torture, and then any disease which racks and
tortures the limbs.
God is the habitation of his people, who find rest and safety in
him (Ps. 71:3; 91:9). Justice and judgment are the habitation of
God's throne (Ps. 89:14, Heb. mekhon, "foundation"), because all
his acts are founded on justice and judgment. (See Ps. 132:5,
13; Eph. 2:22, of Canaan, Jerusalem, and the temple as God's
habitation.) God inhabits eternity (Isa. 57:15), i.e., dwells
not only among men, but in eternity, where time is unknown; and
"the praises of Israel" (Ps. 22:3), i.e., he dwells among those
praises and is continually surrounded by them.
as represented by Ezekiel (1-10) and John (Rev. 4, etc.), are
the cherubim. They are distinguished from angels (Rev. 15:7);
they join the elders in the "new song" (5:8, 9); they warn of
danger from divine justice (Isa. 6:3-5), and deliver the
commission to those who execute it (Ezek. 10:2, 7); they
associate with the elders in their sympathy with the hundred and
forty-four thousand who sing the new song (Rev. 14:3), and with
the Church in the overthrow of her enemies (19:4).
They are supposed to represent mercy, as distinguished from
justice, mercy in its various instrumentalities, and especially
as connected with the throne of God, the "throne of grace."
a change from enmity to friendship. It is mutual, i.e., it is a
change wrought in both parties who have been at enmity.
(1.) In Col. 1:21, 22, the word there used refers to a change
wrought in the personal character of the sinner who ceases to be
an enemy to God by wicked works, and yields up to him his full
confidence and love. In 2 Cor. 5:20 the apostle beseeches the
Corinthians to be "reconciled to God", i.e., to lay aside their
(2.) Rom. 5:10 refers not to any change in our disposition
toward God, but to God himself, as the party reconciled. Romans
5:11 teaches the same truth. From God we have received "the
reconciliation" (R.V.), i.e., he has conferred on us the token
of his friendship. So also 2 Cor. 5:18, 19 speaks of a
reconciliation originating with God, and consisting in the
removal of his merited wrath. In Eph. 2:16 it is clear that the
apostle does not refer to the winning back of the sinner in love
and loyalty to God, but to the restoration of God's forfeited
favour. This is effected by his justice being satisfied, so that
he can, in consistency with his own nature, be favourable toward
sinners. Justice demands the punishment of sinners. The death of
Christ satisfies justice, and so reconciles God to us. This
reconciliation makes God our friend, and enables him to pardon
and save us. (See ATONEMENT T0000362.)
flame, the usual title of the Amalekite kings, as "Pharaoh" was
of the Egyptian. (1.) A king of the Amalekites referred to by
Balaam (Num. 24:7). He lived at the time of the Exodus.
(2.) Another king of the Amalekites whom Saul spared
unlawfully, but whom Samuel on his arrival in the camp of Saul
ordered, in retributive justice (Judg. 1), to be brought out and
cut in pieces (1 Sam. 15:8-33. Compare Ex. 17:11; Num. 14:45).
whom God has loved, one of the seventy elders whom Moses
appointed (Num. 11:26, 27) to administer justice among the
people. He, with Medad, prophesied in the camp instead of going
with the rest to the tabernacle, as Moses had commanded. This
incident was announced to Moses by Joshua, who thought their
conduct in this respect irregular. Moses replied, "Enviest thou
for my sake? would God that all the Lord's people were prophets"
(Num. 11:24-30; compare Mark 9:38; Luke 9:49).
the Latin form of the Greek word rendered "Mars' hill." But it
denotes also the council or court of justice which met in the
open air on the hill. It was a rocky height to the west of the
Acropolis at Athens, on the south-east summit of which the
council was held which was constituted by Solon, and consisted
of nine archons or chief magistrates who were then in office,
and the ex-archons of blameless life.
On this hill of Mars (Gr. Ares) Paul delivered his memorable
address to the "men of Athens" (Acts 17:22-31).
one who bears witness of the truth, and suffers death in the
cause of Christ (Acts 22:20; Rev. 2:13; 17:6). In this sense
Stephen was the first martyr. The Greek word so rendered in all
other cases is translated "witness." (1.) In a court of justice
(Matt. 18:16; 26:65; Acts 6:13; 7:58; Heb. 10:28; 1 Tim. 5:19).
(2.) As of one bearing testimony to the truth of what he has
seen or known (Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8, 22; Rom. 1:9; 1 Thess. 2:5,
10; 1 John 1:2).
occurs in Lev. 19:36 and Isa. 46:6, as the rendering of the
Hebrew "kanch'", which properly means "a reed" or "a cane," then
a rod or beam of a balance. This same word is translated
"measuring reed" in Ezek. 40:3,5; 42:16-18. There is another
Hebrew word, "mozena'yim", i.e., "two poisers", also so rendered
(Dan. 5:27). The balances as represented on the most ancient
Egyptian monuments resemble those now in use. A "pair of
balances" is a symbol of justice and fair dealing (Job 31:6; Ps.
62:9; Prov. 11:1). The expression denotes great want and
scarcity in Rev. 6:5.
is used to designate any action or word or thing as reckoned to
a person. Thus in doctrinal language (1) the sin of Adam is
imputed to all his descendants, i.e., it is reckoned as theirs,
and they are dealt with therefore as guilty; (2) the
righteousness of Christ is imputed to them that believe in him,
or so attributed to them as to be considered their own; and (3)
our sins are imputed to Christ, i.e., he assumed our
"law-place," undertook to answer the demands of justice for our
sins. In all these cases the nature of imputation is the same
(Rom. 5:12-19; compare Philemon 1:18, 19).
the designation of the Holy Ghost (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7;
R.V. marg., "or Advocate, or Helper; Gr. paracletos"). The same
Greek word thus rendered is translated "Advocate" in 1 John 2:1
as applicable to Christ. It means properly "one who is summoned
to the side of another" to help him in a court of justice by
defending him, "one who is summoned to plead a cause."
"Advocate" is the proper rendering of the word in every case
where it occurs.
It is worthy of notice that although Paul nowhere uses the
word paracletos, he yet presents the idea it embodies when he
speaks of the "intercession" both of Christ and the Spirit (Rom.
Goodness of God
a perfection of his character which he exercises towards his
creatures according to their various circumstances and relations
(Ps. 145:8, 9; 103:8; 1 John 4:8). Viewed generally, it is
benevolence; as exercised with respect to the miseries of his
creatures it is mercy, pity, compassion, and in the case of
impenitent sinners, long-suffering patience; as exercised in
communicating favour on the unworthy it is grace. "Goodness and
justice are the several aspects of one unchangeable, infinitely
wise, and sovereign moral perfection. God is not sometimes
merciful and sometimes just, but he is eternally infinitely just
and merciful." God is infinitely and unchangeably good (Zeph.
3:17), and his goodness is incomprehensible by the finite mind
(Rom. 11: 35, 36). "God's goodness appears in two things, giving
The New Testament lays down the general principles of good
government, but contains no code of laws for the punishment of
offenders. Punishment proceeds on the principle that there is an
eternal distinction between right and wrong, and that this
distinction must be maintained for its own sake. It is not
primarily intended for the reformation of criminals, nor for the
purpose of deterring others from sin. These results may be
gained, but crime in itself demands punishment. (See MURDER
T0002621; THEFT T0003632.)
Endless, of the impenitent and unbelieving. The rejection of
this doctrine "cuts the ground from under the gospel...blots out
the attribute of retributive justice; transmutes sin into
misfortune instead of guilt; turns all suffering into
chastisement; converts the piacular work of Christ into moral
influence...The attempt to retain the evangelical theology in
connection with it is futile" (Shedd).
This word does not occur in the Authorized Version of the New
Testament except in Rom. 5:11, where in the Revised Version the
word "reconciliation" is used. In the Old Testament it is of
The meaning of the word is simply at-one-ment, i.e., the state
of being at one or being reconciled, so that atonement is
reconciliation. Thus it is used to denote the effect which flows
from the death of Christ.
But the word is also used to denote that by which this
reconciliation is brought about, viz., the death of Christ
itself; and when so used it means satisfaction, and in this
sense to make an atonement for one is to make satisfaction for
his offences (Ex. 32:30; Lev. 4:26; 5:16; Num. 6:11), and, as
regards the person, to reconcile, to propitiate God in his
By the atonement of Christ we generally mean his work by which
he expiated our sins. But in Scripture usage the word denotes
the reconciliation itself, and not the means by which it is
effected. When speaking of Christ's saving work, the word
"satisfaction," the word used by the theologians of the
Reformation, is to be preferred to the word "atonement."
Christ's satisfaction is all he did in the room and in behalf of
sinners to satisfy the demands of the law and justice of God.
Christ's work consisted of suffering and obedience, and these
were vicarious, i.e., were not merely for our benefit, but were
in our stead, as the suffering and obedience of our vicar, or
substitute. Our guilt is expiated by the punishment which our
vicar bore, and thus God is rendered propitious, i.e., it is now
consistent with his justice to manifest his love to
transgressors. Expiation has been made for sin, i.e., it is
covered. The means by which it is covered is vicarious
satisfaction, and the result of its being covered is atonement
or reconciliation. To make atonement is to do that by virtue of
which alienation ceases and reconciliation is brought about.
Christ's mediatorial work and sufferings are the ground or
efficient cause of reconciliation with God. They rectify the
disturbed relations between God and man, taking away the
obstacles interposed by sin to their fellowship and concord. The
reconciliation is mutual, i.e., it is not only that of sinners
toward God, but also and pre-eminently that of God toward
sinners, effected by the sin-offering he himself provided, so
that consistently with the other attributes of his character his
love might flow forth in all its fulness of blessing to men. The
primary idea presented to us in different forms throughout the
Scripture is that the death of Christ is a satisfaction of
infinite worth rendered to the law and justice of God (q.v.),
and accepted by him in room of the very penalty man had
incurred. It must also be constantly kept in mind that the
atonement is not the cause but the consequence of God's love to
guilty men (John 3:16; Rom. 3:24, 25; Eph. 1:7; 1 John 1:9;
4:9). The atonement may also be regarded as necessary, not in an
absolute but in a relative sense, i.e., if man is to be saved,
there is no other way than this which God has devised and
carried out (Ex. 34:7; Josh. 24:19; Ps. 5:4; 7:11; Nahum 1:2, 6;
Rom. 3:5). This is God's plan, clearly revealed; and that is
enough for us to know.
means simply presence, as when it is recorded that Adam and Eve
hid themselves from the "face [R.V., 'presence'] of the Lord
God" (Gen. 3:8; compare Ex. 33:14, 15, where the same Hebrew word
is rendered "presence"). The "light of God's countenance" is his
favour (Ps. 44:3; Dan. 9:17). "Face" signifies also anger,
justice, severity (Gen. 16:6, 8; Ex. 2:15; Ps. 68:1; Rev. 6:16).
To "provoke God to his face" (Isa. 65:3) is to sin against him
The Jews prayed with their faces toward the temple and
Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:38, 44, 48; Dan. 6:10). To "see God's face"
is to have access to him and to enjoy his favour (Ps. 17:15;
27:8). This is the privilege of holy angels (Matt. 18:10; Luke
1:19). The "face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6) is the office and
person of Christ, the revealer of the glory of God (John 1:14,
a public civil officer invested with authority. The Hebrew
shophetim, or judges, were magistrates having authority in the
land (Deut. 1:16, 17). In Judg. 18:7 the word "magistrate"
(A.V.) is rendered in the Revised Version "possessing
authority", i.e., having power to do them harm by invasion. In
the time of Ezra (9:2) and Nehemiah (2:16; 4:14; 13:11) the
Jewish magistrates were called "seganim", properly meaning
"nobles." In the New Testament the Greek word "archon", rendered
"magistrate" (Luke 12:58; Titus 3:1), means one first in power,
and hence a prince, as in Matt. 20:25, 1 Cor. 2:6, 8. This term
is used of the Messiah, "Prince of the kings of the earth" (Rev.
1:5). In Acts 16:20, 22, 35, 36, 38, the Greek term "strategos",
rendered "magistrate," properly signifies the leader of an army,
a general, one having military authority. The "strategoi" were
the duumviri, the two praetors appointed to preside over the
administration of justice in the colonies of the Romans. They
were attended by the sergeants (properly lictors or "rod
lord of justice or righteousness, was king in Jerusalem at the
time when the Israelites invaded Israel (Josh. 10:1,3). He
formed a confederacy with the other Canaanite kings against
the Israelites, but was utterly routed by Joshua when he was
engaged in besieging the Gibeonites. The history of this victory
and of the treatment of the five confederated kings is recorded
in Josh. 10:1-27. (Compare Deut. 21:23). Among the Tell Amarna
tablets (see EGYPT T0001137) are some very interesting letters
from Adoni-zedec to the King of Egypt. These illustrate in a
very remarkable manner the history recorded in Josh. 10, and
indeed throw light on the wars of conquest generally, so that
they may be read as a kind of commentary on the book of Joshua.
Here the conquering career of the Abiri (i.e., Hebrews) is
graphically described: "Behold, I say that the land of the king
my lord is ruined", "The wars are mighty against me", "The
Hebrew chiefs plunder all the king's lands", "Behold, I the
chief of the Amorites am breaking to pieces." Then he implores
the king of Egypt to send soldiers to help him, directing that
the army should come by sea to Ascalon or Gaza, and thence march
to Wru-sa-lim (Jerusalem) by the valley of Elah.
(1.) Of cities, as of Jerusalem (Jer. 37:13; Neh. 1:3; 2:3;
3:3), of Sodom (Gen. 19:1), of Gaza (Judg. 16:3).
(2.) Of royal palaces (Neh. 2:8).
(3.) Of the temple of Solomon (1 Kings 6:34, 35; 2 Kings
18:16); of the holy place (1 Kings 6:31, 32; Ezek. 41:23, 24);
of the outer courts of the temple, the beautiful gate (Acts
(4.) Tombs (Matt. 27:60).
(5.) Prisons (Acts 12:10; 16:27).
(6.) Caverns (1 Kings 19:13).
(7.) Camps (Ex. 32:26, 27; Heb. 13:12).
The materials of which gates were made were,
(1.) Iron and brass (Ps. 107:16; Isa. 45:2; Acts 12:10).
(2.) Stones and pearls (Isa. 54:12; Rev. 21:21).
(3.) Wood (Judg. 16:3) probably.
At the gates of cities courts of justice were frequently held,
and hence "judges of the gate" are spoken of (Deut. 16:18; 17:8;
21:19; 25:6, 7, etc.). At the gates prophets also frequently
delivered their messages (Prov. 1:21; 8:3; Isa. 29:21; Jer.
17:19, 20; 26:10). Criminals were punished without the gates (1
Kings 21:13; Acts 7:59). By the "gates of righteousness" we are
probably to understand those of the temple (Ps. 118:19). "The
gates of hell" (R.V., "gates of Hades") Matt. 16:18, are
generally interpreted as meaning the power of Satan, but
probably they may mean the power of death, denoting that the
Church of Christ shall never die.
one who intervenes between two persons who are at variance, with
a view to reconcile them. This word is not found in the Old
Testament; but the idea it expresses is found in Job 9:33, in
the word "daysman" (q.v.), marg., "umpire."
This word is used in the New Testament to denote simply an
internuncius, an ambassador, one who acts as a medium of
communication between two contracting parties. In this sense
Moses is called a mediator in Gal. 3:19.
Christ is the one and only mediator between God and man (1
Tim. 2:5; Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24). He makes reconciliation
between God and man by his all-perfect atoning sacrifice. Such a
mediator must be at once divine and human, divine, that his
obedience and his sufferings might possess infinite worth, and
that he might possess infinite wisdom and knowlege and power to
direct all things in the kingdoms of providence and grace which
are committed to his hands (Matt. 28:18; John 5:22, 25, 26, 27);
and human, that in his work he might represent man, and be
capable of rendering obedience to the law and satisfying the
claims of justice (Heb. 2:17, 18; 4:15, 16), and that in his
glorified humanity he might be the head of a glorified Church
This office involves the three functions of prophet, priest,
and king, all of which are discharged by Christ both in his
estate of humiliation and exaltation. These functions are so
inherent in the one office that the quality appertaining to each
gives character to every mediatorial act. They are never
separated in the exercise of the office of mediator.
rolling. (1.) From the solemn transaction of the reading of the
law in the valley of Shechem between Ebal and Gerizim the
Israelites moved forward to Gilgal, and there made a permanent
camp (Josh. 9:6; 10:6). It was "beside the oaks of Moreh," near
which Abraham erected his first altar (Gen. 12:6, 7). This was
one of the three towns to which Samuel resorted for the
administration of justice (1 Sam. 7:16), and here also he
offered sacrifices when the ark was no longer in the tabernacle
at Shiloh (1 Sam. 10:8; 13:7-9). To this place, as to a central
sanctuary, all Israel gathered to renew their allegiance to Saul
(11:14). At a later period it became the scene of idolatrous
worship (Hos. 4:15; 9:15). It has been identified with the ruins
of Jiljilieh, about 5 miles south-west of Shiloh and about the
same distance from Bethel.
(2.) The place in "the plains of Jericho," "in the east border
of Jericho," where the Israelites first encamped after crossing
the Jordan (Josh. 4:19, 20). Here they kept their first Passover
in the land of Canaan (5:10) and renewed the rite of
circumcision, and so "rolled away the reproach" of their
Egyptian slavery. Here the twelve memorial stones, taken from
the bed of the Jordan, were set up; and here also the tabernacle
remained till it was removed to Shiloh (18:1). It has been
identified with Tell Jiljulieh, about 5 miles from Jordan.
(3.) A place, probably in the hill country of Ephraim, where
there was a school of the prophets (2 Kings 4:38), and whence
Elijah and Elisha, who resided here, "went down" to Bethel
(2:1,2). It is mentioned also in Deut. 11:30. It is now known as
Jiljilia, a place 8 miles north of Bethel.
Judgment, The final
the sentence that will be passed on our actions at the last day
(Matt. 25; Rom. 14:10, 11; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Thess. 1:7-10).
The judge is Jesus Christ, as mediator. All judgment is
committed to him (Acts 17:31; John 5:22, 27; Rev. 1:7). "It
pertains to him as mediator to complete and publicly manifest
the salvation of his people and the overthrow of his enemies,
together with the glorious righteousness of his work in both
The persons to be judged are, (1) the whole race of Adam
without a single exception (Matt. 25:31-46; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52;
Rev. 20:11-15); and (2) the fallen angels (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude
The rule of judgment is the standard of God's law as revealed
to men, the heathen by the law as written on their hearts (Luke
12:47,48; Rom. 2:12-16); the Jew who "sinned in the law shall be
judged by the law" (Rom. 2:12); the Christian enjoying the light
of revelation, by the will of God as made known to him (Matt.
11:20-24; John 3:19). Then the secrets of all hearts will be
brought to light (1 Cor. 4:5; Luke 8:17; 12:2,3) to vindicate
the justice of the sentence pronounced.
The time of the judgment will be after the resurrection (Heb.
9:27; Acts 17:31).
As the Scriptures represent the final judgment "as certain
[Eccl. 11:9], universal [2 Cor. 5:10], righteous [Rom. 2:5],
decisive [1 Cor. 15:52], and eternal as to its consequences
[Heb. 6:2], let us be concerned for the welfare of our immortal
interests, flee to the refuge set before us, improve our
precious time, depend on the merits of the Redeemer, and adhere
to the dictates of the divine word, that we may be found of him
the purchase back of something that had been lost, by the
payment of a ransom. The Greek word so rendered is
"apolutrosis", a word occurring nine times in Scripture, and
always with the idea of a ransom or price paid, i.e., redemption
by a lutron (see Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45). There are instances
in the LXX. Version of the Old Testament of the use of "lutron"
in man's relation to man (Lev. 19:20; 25:51; Ex. 21:30; Num.
35:31, 32; Isa. 45:13; Prov. 6:35), and in the same sense of
man's relation to God (Num. 3:49; 18:15).
There are many passages in the New Testament which represent
Christ's sufferings under the idea of a ransom or price, and the
result thereby secured is a purchase or redemption (compare Acts
20:28; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; Gal. 3:13; 4:4, 5; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14;
1 Tim. 2:5, 6; Titus 2:14; Heb. 9:12; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19; Rev.
5:9). The idea running through all these texts, however various
their reference, is that of payment made for our redemption. The
debt against us is not viewed as simply cancelled, but is fully
paid. Christ's blood or life, which he surrendered for them, is
the "ransom" by which the deliverance of his people from the
servitude of sin and from its penal consequences is secured. It
is the plain doctrine of Scripture that "Christ saves us neither
by the mere exercise of power, nor by his doctrine, nor by his
example, nor by the moral influence which he exerted, nor by any
subjective influence on his people, whether natural or mystical,
but as a satisfaction to divine justice, as an expiation for
sin, and as a ransom from the curse and authority of the law,
thus reconciling us to God by making it consistent with his
perfection to exercise mercy toward sinners" (Hodge's Systematic
borne; a burden, one of the twelve minor prophets. He was a
native of Tekota, the modern Tekua, a town about 12 miles
south-east of Bethlehem. He was a man of humble birth, neither a
"prophet nor a prophet's son," but "an herdman and a dresser of
sycomore trees," R.V. He prophesied in the days of Uzziah, king
of Judah, and was contemporary with Isaiah and Hosea (Amos 1:1;
7:14, 15; Zech. 14:5), who survived him a few years. Under
Jeroboam II. the kingdom of Israel rose to the zenith of its
prosperity; but that was followed by the prevalence of luxury
and vice and idolatry. At this period Amos was called from his
obscurity to remind the people of the law of God's retributive
justice, and to call them to repentance.
The Book of Amos consists of three parts:
(1.) The nations around are summoned to judgment because of
their sins (1:1-2:3). He quotes Joel 3:16.
(2.) The spiritual condition of Judah, and especially of
Israel, is described (2:4-6:14).
(3.) In 7:1-9:10 are recorded five prophetic visions. (a) The
first two (7:1-6) refer to judgments against the guilty people.
(b) The next two (7:7-9; 8:1-3) point out the ripeness of the
people for the threatened judgements. 7:10-17 consists of a
conversation between the prophet and the priest of Bethel. (c)
The fifth describes the overthrow and ruin of Israel (9:1-10);
to which is added the promise of the restoration of the kingdom
and its final glory in the Messiah's kingdom.
The style is peculiar in the number of the allusions made to
natural objects and to agricultural occupations. Other allusions
show also that Amos was a student of the law as well as a "child
of nature." These phrases are peculiar to him: "Cleanness of
teeth" [i.e., want of bread] (4:6); "The excellency of Jacob"
(6:8; 8:7); "The high places of Isaac" (7:9); "The house of
Isaac" (7:16); "He that createth the wind" (4:13). Quoted, Acts
house of God. (1.) A place in Central Israel, about 10 miles
north of Jerusalem, at the head of the pass of Michmash and Ai.
It was originally the royal Canaanite city of Luz (Gen. 28:19).
The name Bethel was at first apparently given to the sanctuary
in the neighbourhood of Luz, and was not given to the city
itself till after its conquest by the tribe of Ephraim. When
Abram entered Canaan he formed his second encampment between
Bethel and Hai (Gen. 12:8); and on his return from Egypt he came
back to it, and again "called upon the name of the Lord" (13:4).
Here Jacob, on his way from Beersheba to Haran, had a vision of
the angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder whose
top reached unto heaven (28:10, 19); and on his return he again
visited this place, "where God talked with him" (35:1-15), and
there he "built an altar, and called the place El-beth-el"
(q.v.). To this second occasion of God's speaking with Jacob at
Bethel, Hosea (12:4,5) makes reference.
In troublous times the people went to Bethel to ask counsel of
God (Judg. 20:18, 31; 21:2). Here the ark of the covenant was
kept for a long time under the care of Phinehas, the grandson of
Aaron (20:26-28). Here also Samuel held in rotation his court of
justice (1 Sam. 7:16). It was included in Israel after the
kingdom was divided, and it became one of the seats of the
worship of the golden calf (1 Kings 12:28-33; 13:1). Hence the
prophet Hosea (Hos. 4:15; 5:8; 10:5, 8) calls it in contempt
Beth-aven, i.e., "house of idols." Bethel remained an abode of
priests even after the kingdom of Israel was desolated by the
king of Assyria (2 Kings 17:28, 29). At length all traces of the
idolatries were extirpated by Josiah, king of Judah (2 Kings
23:15-18); and the place was still in existence after the
Captivity (Ezra 2:28; Neh. 7:32). It has been identified with
the ruins of Beitin, a small village amid extensive ruins some 9
miles south of Shiloh.
(2.) Mount Bethel was a hilly district near Bethel (Josh.
16:1; 1 Sam. 13:2).
(3.) A town in the south of Judah (Josh. 8:17; 12:16).
This word has a comprehensive meaning in Scripture. In the Old
Testament it is the rendering of the Hebrew word "sepher", which
properly means a "writing," and then a "volume" (Ex. 17:14;
Deut. 28:58; 29:20; Job 19:23) or "roll of a book" (Jer. 36:2,
Books were originally written on skins, on linen or cotton
cloth, and on Egyptian papyrus, whence our word "paper." The
leaves of the book were generally written in columns, designated
by a Hebrew word properly meaning "doors" and "valves" (Jer.
36:23, R.V., marg. "columns").
Among the Hebrews books were generally rolled up like our
maps, or if very long they were rolled from both ends, forming
two rolls (Luke 4:17-20). Thus they were arranged when the
writing was on flexible materials; but if the writing was on
tablets of wood or brass or lead, then the several tablets were
bound together by rings through which a rod was passed.
A sealed book is one whose contents are secret (Isa. 29:11;
Rev. 5:1-3). To "eat" a book (Jer. 15:16; Ezek. 2:8-10; 3:1-3;
Rev. 10:9) is to study its contents carefully.
The book of judgment (Dan. 7:10) refers to the method of human
courts of justice as illustrating the proceedings which will
take place at the day of God's final judgment.
The book of the wars of the Lord (Num. 21:14), the book of
Jasher (Josh. 10:13), and the book of the chronicles of the
kings of Judah and Israel (2 Chr. 25:26), were probably ancient
documents known to the Hebrews, but not forming a part of the
The book of life (Ps. 69:28) suggests the idea that as the
redeemed form a community or citizenship (Phil. 3:20; 4:3), a
catalogue of the citizens' names is preserved (Luke 10:20; Rev.
20:15). Their names are registered in heaven (Luke 10:20; Rev.
The book of the covenant (Ex. 24:7), containing Ex.
20:22-23:33, is the first book actually mentioned as a part of
the written word. It contains a series of laws, civil, social,
and religious, given to Moses at Sinai immediately after the
delivery of the decalogue. These were written in this "book."
a name frequently used in the Old Testament as denoting a person
clothed with authority, and entitled to respect and reverence
(Gen. 50:7). It also denoted a political office (Num. 22:7). The
"elders of Israel" held a rank among the people indicative of
authority. Moses opened his commission to them (Ex. 3:16). They
attended Moses on all important occasions. Seventy of them
attended on him at the giving of the law (Ex. 24:1). Seventy
also were selected from the whole number to bear with Moses the
burden of the people (Num. 11:16, 17). The "elder" is the
keystone of the social and political fabric wherever the
patriarchal system exists. At the present day this is the case
among the Arabs, where the sheik (i.e., "the old man") is the
highest authority in the tribe. The body of the "elders" of
Israel were the representatives of the people from the very
first, and were recognized as such by Moses. All down through
the history of the Jews we find mention made of the elders as
exercising authority among the people. They appear as governors
(Deut. 31:28), as local magistrates (16:18), administering
justice (19:12). They were men of extensive influence (1 Sam.
30:26-31). In New Testament times they also appear taking an
active part in public affairs (Matt. 16:21; 21:23; 26:59).
The Jewish eldership was transferred from the old dispensation
to the new. "The creation of the office of elder is nowhere
recorded in the New Testament, as in the case of deacons and
apostles, because the latter offices were created to meet new
and special emergencies, while the former was transmitted from
the earlies times. In other words, the office of elder was the
only permanent essential office of the church under either
The "elders" of the New Testament church were the "pastors"
(Eph. 4:11), "bishops or overseers" (Acts 20:28), "leaders" and
"rulers" (Heb. 13:7; 1 Thess. 5:12) of the flock. Everywhere in
the New Testament bishop and presbyter are titles given to one
and the same officer of the Christian church. He who is called
presbyter or elder on account of his age or gravity is also
called bishop or overseer with reference to the duty that lay
upon him (Titus 1:5-7; Acts 20:17-28; Phil. 1:1).
a contract or agreement between two parties. In the Old
Testament the Hebrew word "berith" is always thus translated.
"Berith" is derived from a root which means "to cut," and hence
a covenant is a "cutting," with reference to the cutting or
dividing of animals into two parts, and the contracting parties
passing between them, in making a covenant (Gen. 15; Jer. 34:18,
The corresponding word in the New Testament Greek is
"diatheke", which is, however, rendered "testament" generally in
the Authorized Version. It ought to be rendered, just as the
word "berith" of the Old Testament, "covenant."
This word is used (1) of a covenant or compact between man and
man (Gen. 21:32), or between tribes or nations (1 Sam. 11:1;
Josh. 9:6, 15). In entering into a convenant, Jehovah was
solemnly called on to witness the transaction (Gen. 31:50), and
hence it was called a "covenant of the Lord" (1 Sam. 20:8). The
marriage compact is called "the covenant of God" (Prov. 2:17),
because the marriage was made in God's name. Wicked men are
spoken of as acting as if they had made a "covenant with death"
not to destroy them, or with hell not to devour them (Isa.
(2.) The word is used with reference to God's revelation of
himself in the way of promise or of favour to men. Thus God's
promise to Noah after the Flood is called a covenant (Gen. 9;
Jer. 33:20, "my covenant"). We have an account of God's
covernant with Abraham (Gen. 17, compare Lev. 26:42), of the
covenant of the priesthood (Num. 25:12, 13; Deut. 33:9; Neh.
13:29), and of the covenant of Sinai (Ex. 34:27, 28; Lev.
26:15), which was afterwards renewed at different times in the
history of Israel (Deut. 29; Josh. 1:24; 2 Chr. 15; 23; 29; 34;
Ezra 10; Neh. 9). In conformity with human custom, God's
covenant is said to be confirmed with an oath (Deut. 4:31; Ps.
89:3), and to be accompanied by a sign (Gen. 9; 17). Hence the
covenant is called God's "counsel," "oath," "promise" (Ps. 89:3,
4; 105:8-11; Heb. 6:13-20; Luke 1:68-75). God's covenant
consists wholly in the bestowal of blessing (Isa. 59:21; Jer.
The term covenant is also used to designate the regular
succession of day and night (Jer. 33:20), the Sabbath (Ex.
31:16), circumcision (Gen. 17:9, 10), and in general any
ordinance of God (Jer. 34:13, 14).
A "covenant of salt" signifies an everlasting covenant, in the
sealing or ratifying of which salt, as an emblem of perpetuity,
is used (Num. 18:19; Lev. 2:13; 2 Chr. 13:5).
COVENANT OF WORKS, the constitution under which Adam was
placed at his creation. In this covenant, (1.) The contracting
parties were (a) God the moral Governor, and (b) Adam, a free
moral agent, and representative of all his natural posterity
(Rom. 5:12-19). (2.) The promise was "life" (Matt. 19:16, 17;
Gal. 3:12). (3.) The condition was perfect obedience to the law,
the test in this case being abstaining from eating the fruit of
the "tree of knowledge," etc. (4.) The penalty was death (Gen.
This covenant is also called a covenant of nature, as made
with man in his natural or unfallen state; a covenant of life,
because "life" was the promise attached to obedience; and a
legal covenant, because it demanded perfect obedience to the
The "tree of life" was the outward sign and seal of that life
which was promised in the covenant, and hence it is usually
called the seal of that covenant.
This covenant is abrogated under the gospel, inasmuch as
Christ has fulfilled all its conditions in behalf of his people,
and now offers salvation on the condition of faith. It is still
in force, however, as it rests on the immutable justice of God,
and is binding on all who have not fled to Christ and accepted
CONVENANT OF GRACE, the eternal plan of redemption entered
into by the three persons of the Godhead, and carried out by
them in its several parts. In it the Father represented the
Godhead in its indivisible sovereignty, and the Son his people
as their surety (John 17:4, 6, 9; Isa. 42:6; Ps. 89:3).
The conditions of this covenant were, (1.) On the part of the
Father (a) all needful preparation to the Son for the
accomplishment of his work (Heb. 10:5; Isa. 42:1-7); (b) support
in the work (Luke 22:43); and (c) a glorious reward in the
exaltation of Christ when his work was done (Phil. 2:6-11), his
investiture with universal dominion (John 5:22; Ps. 110:1), his
having the administration of the covenant committed into his
hands (Matt. 28:18; John 1:12; 17:2; Acts 2:33), and in the
final salvation of all his people (Isa. 35:10; 53:10, 11; Jer.
31:33; Titus 1:2). (2.) On the part of the Son the conditions
were (a) his becoming incarnate (Gal. 4:4, 5); and (b) as the
second Adam his representing all his people, assuming their
place and undertaking all their obligations under the violated
covenant of works; (c) obeying the law (Ps. 40:8; Isa. 42:21;
John 9:4, 5), and (d) suffering its penalty (Isa. 53; 2 Cor.
5:21; Gal. 3:13), in their stead.
Christ, the mediator of, fulfils all its conditions in behalf
of his people, and dispenses to them all its blessings. In Heb.
8:6; 9:15; 12:24, this title is given to Christ. (See
Resurrection of Christ
one of the cardinal facts and doctrines of the gospel. If Christ
be not risen, our faith is vain (1 Cor. 15:14). The whole of the
New Testament revelation rests on this as an historical fact. On
the day of Pentecost Peter argued the necessity of Christ's
resurrection from the prediction in Ps. 16 (Acts 2:24-28). In
his own discourses, also, our Lord clearly intimates his
resurrection (Matt. 20:19; Mark 9:9; 14:28; Luke 18:33; John
The evangelists give circumstantial accounts of the facts
connected with that event, and the apostles, also, in their
public teaching largely insist upon it. Ten different
appearances of our risen Lord are recorded in the New Testament.
They may be arranged as follows:
(1.) To Mary Magdalene at the sepulchre alone. This is
recorded at length only by John (20:11-18), and alluded to by
(2.) To certain women, "the other Mary," Salome, Joanna, and
others, as they returned from the sepulchre. Matthew (28:1-10)
alone gives an account of this. (Compare Mark 16:1-8, and Luke
(3.) To Simon Peter alone on the day of the resurrection. (See
Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5.)
(4.) To the two disciples on the way to Emmaus on the day of
the resurrection, recorded fully only by Luke (24:13-35. Compare
Mark 16:12, 13).
(5.) To the ten disciples (Thomas being absent) and others
"with them," at Jerusalem on the evening of the resurrection
day. One of the evangelists gives an account of this appearance,
(6.) To the disciples again (Thomas being present) at
Jerusalem (Mark 16:14-18; Luke 24:33-40; John 20:26-28. See also
1 Cor. 15:5).
(7.) To the disciples when fishing at the Sea of Galilee. Of
this appearance also John (21:1-23) alone gives an account.
(8.) To the eleven, and above 500 brethren at once, at an
appointed place in Galilee (1 Cor. 15:6; compare Matt. 28:16-20).
(9.) To James, but under what circumstances we are not
informed (1 Cor. 15:7).
(10.) To the apostles immediately before the ascension. They
accompanied him from Jerusalem to Mount Olivet, and there they
saw him ascend "till a cloud received him out of their sight"
(Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-52; Acts 1:4-10).
It is worthy of note that it is distinctly related that on
most of these occasions our Lord afforded his disciples the
amplest opportunity of testing the fact of his resurrection. He
conversed with them face to face. They touched him (Matt. 28:9;
Luke 24:39; John 20:27), and he ate bread with them (Luke 24:42,
43; John 21:12, 13).
(11.) In addition to the above, mention might be made of
Christ's manifestation of himself to Paul at Damascus, who
speaks of it as an appearance of the risen Saviour (Acts 9:3-9,
17; 1 Cor. 15:8; 9:1).
It is implied in the words of Luke (Acts 1:3) that there may
have been other appearances of which we have no record.
The resurrection is spoken of as the act (1) of God the Father
(Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:24; 3:15; Rom. 8:11; Eph. 1:20; Col. 2:12;
Heb. 13:20); (2) of Christ himself (John 2:19; 10:18); and (3)
of the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 3:18).
The resurrection is a public testimony of Christ's release
from his undertaking as surety, and an evidence of the Father's
acceptance of his work of redemption. It is a victory over death
and the grave for all his followers.
The importance of Christ's resurrection will be seen when we
consider that if he rose the gospel is true, and if he rose not
it is false. His resurrection from the dead makes it manifest
that his sacrifice was accepted. Our justification was secured
by his obedience to the death, and therefore he was raised from
the dead (Rom. 4:25). His resurrection is a proof that he made a
full atonement for our sins, that his sacrifice was accepted as
a satisfaction to divine justice, and his blood a ransom for
sinners. It is also a pledge and an earnest of the resurrection
of all believers (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 6:14; 15:47-49; Phil. 3:21;
1 John 3:2). As he lives, they shall live also.
It proved him to be the Son of God, inasmuch as it
authenticated all his claims (John 2:19; 10:17). "If Christ did
not rise, the whole scheme of redemption is a failure, and all
the predictions and anticipations of its glorious results for
time and for eternity, for men and for angels of every rank and
order, are proved to be chimeras. 'But now is Christ risen from
the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept.'
Therefore the Bible is true from Genesis to Revelation. The
kingdom of darkness has been overthrown, Satan has fallen as
lightning from heaven, and the triumph of truth over error, of
good over evil, of happiness over misery is for ever secured."
With reference to the report which the Roman soldiers were
bribed (Matt. 28:12-14) to circulate concerning Christ's
resurrection, "his disciples came by night and stole him away
while we slept," Matthew Henry in his "Commentary," under John
20:1-10, fittingly remarks, "The grave-clothes in which Christ
had been buried were found in very good order, which serves for
an evidence that his body was not 'stolen away while men slept.'
Robbers of tombs have been known to take away 'the clothes' and
leave the body; but none ever took away 'the body' and left the
clothes, especially when they were 'fine linen' and new (Mark
15:46). Any one would rather choose to carry a dead body in its
clothes than naked. Or if they that were supposed to have stolen
it would have left the grave-clothes behind, yet it cannot be
supposed they would find leisure to 'fold up the linen.'"
probably connected with the Roman family of the Pontii, and
called "Pilate" from the Latin pileatus, i.e., "wearing the
pileus", which was the "cap or badge of a manumitted slave," as
indicating that he was a "freedman," or the descendant of one.
He was the sixth in the order of the Roman procurators of Judea
(A.D. 26-36). His headquarters were at Caesarea, but he
frequently went up to Jerusalem. His reign extended over the
period of the ministry of John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ,
in connection with whose trial his name comes into prominent
notice. Pilate was a "typical Roman, not of the antique, simple
stamp, but of the imperial period, a man not without some
remains of the ancient Roman justice in his soul, yet
pleasure-loving, imperious, and corrupt. He hated the Jews whom
he ruled, and in times of irritation freely shed their blood.
They returned his hatred with cordiality, and accused him of
every crime, maladministration, cruelty, and robbery. He visited
Jerusalem as seldom as possible; for, indeed, to one accustomed
to the pleasures of Rome, with its theatres, baths, games, and
gay society, Jerusalem, with its religiousness and
ever-smouldering revolt, was a dreary residence. When he did
visit it he stayed in the palace of Herod the Great, it being
common for the officers sent by Rome into conquered countries to
occupy the palaces of the displaced sovereigns."
After his trial before the Sanhedrin, Jesus was brought to the
Roman procurator, Pilate, who had come up to Jerusalem as usual
to preserve order during the Passover, and was now residing,
perhaps, in the castle of Antonia, or it may be in Herod's
palace. Pilate came forth from his palace and met the deputation
from the Sanhedrin, who, in answer to his inquiry as to the
nature of the accusation they had to prefer against Jesus,
accused him of being a "malefactor." Pilate was not satisfied
with this, and they further accused him (1) of sedition, (2)
preventing the payment of the tribute to Caesar, and (3) of
assuming the title of king (Luke 23:2). Pilate now withdrew with
Jesus into the palace (John 18:33) and examined him in private
(37,38); and then going out to the deputation still standing
before the gate, he declared that he could find no fault in
Jesus (Luke 23:4). This only aroused them to more furious
clamour, and they cried that he excited the populace "throughout
all Jewry, beginning from Galilee." When Pilate heard of
Galilee, he sent the accused to Herod Antipas, who had
jurisdiction over that province, thus hoping to escape the
difficulty in which he found himself. But Herod, with his men of
war, set Jesus at nought, and sent him back again to Pilate,
clad in a purple robe of mockery (23:11, 12).
Pilate now proposed that as he and Herod had found no fault in
him, they should release Jesus; and anticipating that they would
consent to this proposal, he ascended the judgment-seat as if
ready to ratify the decision (Matt. 27:19). But at this moment
his wife (Claudia Procula) sent a message to him imploring him
to have nothing to do with the "just person." Pilate's feelings
of perplexity and awe were deepened by this incident, while the
crowd vehemently cried out, "Not this man, but Barabbas." Pilate
answered, "What then shall I do with Jesus?" The fierce cry
immediately followed. "Let him be crucified." Pilate, apparently
vexed, and not knowning what to do, said, "Why, what evil hath
he done?" but with yet fiercer fanaticism the crowd yelled out,
"Away with him! crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate yielded, and
sent Jesus away to be scourged. This scourging was usually
inflicted by lictors; but as Pilate was only a procurator he had
no lictor, and hence his soldiers inflicted this terrible
punishment. This done, the soldiers began to deride the
sufferer, and they threw around him a purple robe, probably some
old cast-off robe of state (Matt. 27:28; John 19:2), and putting
a reed in his right hand, and a crowd of thorns on his head,
bowed the knee before him in mockery, and saluted him, saying,
"Hail, King of the Jews!" They took also the reed and smote him
with it on the head and face, and spat in his face, heaping upon
him every indignity.
Pilate then led forth Jesus from within the Praetorium (Matt.
27:27) before the people, wearing the crown of thorns and the
purple robe, saying, "Behold the man!" But the sight of Jesus,
now scourged and crowned and bleeding, only stirred their hatred
the more, and again they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!"
and brought forth this additional charge against him, that he
professed to be "the Son of God." Pilate heard this accusation
with a superstitious awe, and taking him once more within the
Praetorium, asked him, "Whence art thou?" Jesus gave him no
answer. Pilate was irritated by his continued silence, and said,
"Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee?" Jesus,
with calm dignity, answered the Roman, "Thou couldest have no
power at all against me, except it were given thee from above."
After this Pilate seemed more resolved than ever to let Jesus
go. The crowd perceiving this cried out, "If thou let this man
go, thou art not Caesar's friend." This settled the matter. He
was afraid of being accused to the emperor. Calling for water,
he washed his hands in the sight of the people, saying, "I am
innocent of the blood of this just person." The mob, again
scorning his scruples, cried, "His blood be on us, and on our
children." Pilate was stung to the heart by their insults, and
putting forth Jesus before them, said, "Shall I crucify your
King?" The fatal moment had now come. They madly exclaimed, "We
have no king but Caesar;" and now Jesus is given up to them, and
led away to be crucified.
By the direction of Pilate an inscription was placed,
according to the Roman custom, over the cross, stating the crime
for which he was crucified. Having ascertained from the
centurion that he was dead, he gave up the body to Joseph of
Arimathea to be buried. Pilate's name now disappears from the
Gospel history. References to him, however, are found in the
Acts of the Apostles (3:13; 4:27; 13:28), and in 1 Tim. 6:13. In
A.D. 36 the governor of Syria brought serious accusations
against Pilate, and he was banished to Vienne in Gaul, where,
according to tradition, he committed suicide.
peaceful, (Heb. Shelomoh), David's second son by Bathsheba,
i.e., the first after their legal marriage (2 Sam. 12). He was
probably born about B.C. 1035 (1 Chr. 22:5; 29:1). He succeeded
his father on the throne in early manhood, probably about
sixteen or eighteen years of age. Nathan, to whom his education
was intrusted, called him Jedidiah, i.e., "beloved of the Lord"
(2 Sam. 12:24, 25). He was the first king of Israel "born in the
purple." His father chose him as his successor, passing over the
claims of his elder sons: "Assuredly Solomon my son shall reign
after me." His history is recorded in 1 Kings 1-11 and 2 Chr.
1-9. His elevation to the throne took place before his father's
death, and was hastened on mainly by Nathan and Bathsheba, in
consequence of the rebellion of Adonijah (1 Kings 1:5-40).
During his long reign of forty years the Hebrew monarchy gained
its highest splendour. This period has well been called the
"Augustan age" of the Jewish annals. The first half of his reign
was, however, by far the brighter and more prosperous; the
latter half was clouded by the idolatries into which he fell,
mainly from his heathen intermarriages (1 Kings 11:1-8; 14:21,
Before his death David gave parting instructions to his son (1
Kings 2:1-9; 1 Chr. 22:7-16; 28). As soon as he had settled
himself in his kingdom, and arranged the affairs of his
extensive empire, he entered into an alliance with Egypt by the
marriage of the daughter of Pharaoh (1 Kings 3:1), of whom,
however, nothing further is recorded. He surrounded himself with
all the luxuries and the external grandeur of an Eastern
monarch, and his government prospered. He entered into an
alliance with Hiram, king of Tyre, who in many ways greatly
assisted him in his numerous undertakings. (See HIRAM
For some years before his death David was engaged in the
active work of collecting materials (1 Chr. 29:6-9; 2 Chr.
2:3-7) for building a temple in Jerusalem as a permanent abode
for the ark of the covenant. He was not permitted to build the
house of God (1 Chr. 22:8); that honour was reserved to his son
Solomon. (See TEMPLE T0003610.)
After the completion of the temple, Solomon engaged in the
erection of many other buildings of importance in Jerusalem and
in other parts of his kingdom. For the long space of thirteen
years he was engaged in the erection of a royal palace on Ophel
(1 Kings 7:1-12). It was 100 cubits long, 50 broad, and 30 high.
Its lofty roof was supported by forty-five cedar pillars, so
that the hall was like a forest of cedar wood, and hence
probably it received the name of "The House of the Forest of
Lebanon." In front of this "house" was another building, which
was called the Porch of Pillars, and in front of this again was
the "Hall of Judgment," or Throne-room (1 Kings 7:7; 10:18-20; 2
Chr. 9:17-19), "the King's Gate," where he administered justice
and gave audience to his people. This palace was a building of
great magnificence and beauty. A portion of it was set apart as
the residence of the queen consort, the daughter of Pharaoh.
From the palace there was a private staircase of red and scented
sandal wood which led up to the temple.
Solomon also constructed great works for the purpose of
securing a plentiful supply of water for the city (Eccl. 2:4-6).
He then built Millo (LXX., "Acra") for the defence of the city,
completing a line of ramparts around it (1 Kings 9:15, 24;
11:27). He erected also many other fortifications for the
defence of his kingdom at various points where it was exposed to
the assault of enemies (1 Kings 9:15-19; 2 Chr. 8:2-6). Among
his great undertakings must also be mentioned the building of
Tadmor (q.v.) in the wilderness as a commercial depot, as well
as a military outpost.
During his reign Israel enjoyed great commercial
prosperity. Extensive traffic was carried on by land with Tyre
and Egypt and Arabia, and by sea with Spain and India and the
coasts of Africa, by which Solomon accumulated vast stores of
wealth and of the produce of all nations (1 Kings 9:26-28;
10:11, 12; 2 Chr. 8:17, 18; 9:21). This was the "golden age" of
Israel. The royal magnificence and splendour of Solomon's court
were unrivalled. He had seven hundred wives and three hundred
concubines, an evidence at once of his pride, his wealth, and
his sensuality. The maintenance of his household involved
immense expenditure. The provision required for one day was
"thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal,
ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an
hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallow-deer, and
fatted fowl" (1 Kings 4:22, 23).
Solomon's reign was not only a period of great material
prosperity, but was equally remarkable for its intellectual
activity. He was the leader of his people also in this uprising
amongst them of new intellectual life. "He spake three thousand
proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake
of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the
hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts,
and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes" (1 Kings
His fame was spread abroad through all lands, and men came
from far and near "to hear the wisdom of Solomon." Among others
thus attracted to Jerusalem was "the queen of the south" (Matt.
12:42), the queen of Sheba, a country in Arabia Felix. "Deep,
indeed, must have been her yearning, and great his fame, which
induced a secluded Arabian queen to break through the immemorial
custom of her dreamy land, and to put forth the energy required
for braving the burdens and perils of so long a journey across a
wilderness. Yet this she undertook, and carried it out with
safety." (1 Kings 10:1-13; 2 Chr. 9:1-12.) She was filled with
amazement by all she saw and heard: "there was no more spirit in
her." After an interchange of presents she returned to her
But that golden age of Jewish history passed away. The bright
day of Solomon's glory ended in clouds and darkness. His decline
and fall from his high estate is a sad record. Chief among the
causes of his decline were his polygamy and his great wealth.
"As he grew older he spent more of his time among his
favourites. The idle king living among these idle women, for
1,000 women, with all their idle and mischievous attendants,
filled the palaces and pleasure-houses which he had built (1
Kings 11:3), learned first to tolerate and then to imitate their
heathenish ways. He did not, indeed, cease to believe in the God
of Israel with his mind. He did not cease to offer the usual
sacrifices in the temple at the great feasts. But his heart was
not right with God; his worship became merely formal; his soul,
left empty by the dying out of true religious fervour, sought to
be filled with any religious excitement which offered itself.
Now for the first time a worship was publicly set up amongst the
people of the Lord which was not simply irregular or forbidden,
like that of Gideon (Judg. 8:27), or the Danites (Judg. 18:30,
31), but was downright idolatrous." (1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings
This brought upon him the divine displeasure. His enemies
prevailed against him (1 Kings 11:14-22, 23-25, 26-40), and one
judgment after another fell upon the land. And now the end of
all came, and he died, after a reign of forty years, and was
buried in the city of David, and "with him was buried the
short-lived glory and unity of Israel." "He leaves behind him
but one weak and worthless son, to dismember his kingdom and
disgrace his name."
"The kingdom of Solomon," says Rawlinson, "is one of the most
striking facts in the Biblical history. A petty nation, which
for hundreds of years has with difficulty maintained a separate
existence in the midst of warlike tribes, each of which has in
turn exercised dominion over it and oppressed it, is suddenly
raised by the genius of a soldier-monarch to glory and
greatness. An empire is established which extends from the
Euphrates to the borders of Egypt, a distance of 450 miles; and
this empire, rapidly constructed, enters almost immediately on a
period of peace which lasts for half a century. Wealth,
grandeur, architectural magnificence, artistic excellence,
commercial enterprise, a position of dignity among the great
nations of the earth, are enjoyed during this space, at the end
of which there is a sudden collapse. The ruling nation is split
in twain, the subject-races fall off, the pre-eminence lately
gained being wholly lost, the scene of struggle, strife,
oppression, recovery, inglorious submission, and desperate
effort, re-commences.", Historical Illustrations.