submersion, one of the five cities of the plain of Siddim (q.v.)
which were destroyed by fire (Gen. 10:19; 13:10; 19:24, 28).
These cities probably stood close together, and were near the
northern extremity of what is now the Dead Sea. This city is
always mentioned next after Sodom, both of which were types of
impiety and wickedness (Gen. 18:20; Rom. 9:29). Their
destruction is mentioned as an "ensample unto those that after
should live ungodly" (2 Pet. 2:6; Jude 1:4-7). Their wickedness
became proverbial (Deut. 32:32; Isa. 1:9, 10; Jer. 23:14). But
that wickedness may be exceeded (Matt. 10:15; Mark 6:11). (See
DEAD SEA T0000991).
a man's wall, a town in the plain of Judah (Josh. 15:40). It has
been identified with Jelameh.
son of wickedness, a king of Gomorrah whom Abraham succoured in
the invasion of Chedorlaomer (Gen. 14:2).
wickedness in secret, (Neh. 11:34), probably the village of Beit
Nebala, about 4 miles north of Lydda.
Unconverted men are so called (1 Cor. 3:3). They are represented
as of a "carnal mind, which is enmity against God" (Rom. 8:6,
7). Enjoyments that minister to the wants and desires of man's
animal nature are so called (Rom. 15:27; 1 Cor. 9:11). The
ceremonial of the Mosaic law is spoken of as "carnal," because
it related to things outward, the bodies of men and of animals,
and the purification of the flesh (Heb. 7:16; 9:10). The weapons
of Christian warfare are "not carnal", that is, they are not of
man's device, nor are wielded by human power (2 Cor. 10:4).
(Acts 18:14), villany or wickedness, not lewdness in the modern
sense of the word. The word "lewd" is from the Saxon, and means
properly "ignorant," "unlearned," and hence low, vicious (Acts
a rent or opening in a wall (Ezek. 13:5; compare Amos 4:3). The
false prophets did not stand in the gap (Ezek. 22: 30), i.e.,
they did nothing to stop the outbreak of wickedness.
those who imitated the licentious wickedness of Sodom (Deut.
23:17; 1 Kings 14:24; Rom. 1:26, 27). Asa destroyed them "out of
the land" (1 Kings 15:12), as did also his son Jehoshaphat
Jehovah will see; i.e., will provide, the name given by Abraham
to the scene of his offering up the ram which was caught in the
thicket on Mount Moriah. The expression used in Gen. 22:14, "in
the mount of the Lord it shall be seen," has been regarded as
equivalent to the saying, "Man's extremity is God's
possessor. (1.) A grandson of Jonathan (1 Chr. 8:35; 9:42).
(2.) The son and successor of Jotham, king of Judah (2 Kings
16; Isa. 7-9; 2 Chr. 28). He gave himself up to a life of
wickedness and idolatry. Notwithstanding the remonstrances and
warnings of Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah, he appealed for help
against Rezin, king of Damascus, and Pekah, king of Israel, who
threatened Jerusalem, to Tiglath-pileser, the king of Assyria,
to the great injury of his kingdom and his own humilating
subjection to the Assyrians (2 Kings 16:7, 9; 15:29). He also
introduced among his people many heathen and idolatrous customs
(Isa. 8:19; 38:8; 2 Kings 23:12). He died at the age of
thirty-five years, after reigning sixteen years (B.C. 740-724),
and was succeeded by his son Hezekiah. Because of his wickedness
he was "not brought into the sepulchre of the kings."
a sect of Greek philosophers at Athens, so called from the Greek
word stoa i.e., a "porch" or "portico," where they have been
called "the Pharisees of Greek paganism." The founder of the
Stoics was Zeno, who flourished about B.C. 300. He taught his
disciples that a man's happiness consisted in bringing himself
into harmony with the course of the universe. They were trained
to bear evils with indifference, and so to be independent of
externals. Materialism, pantheism, fatalism, and pride were the
leading features of this philosophy.
the refuse of winnowed corn. It was usually burned (Ex. 15:7;
Isa. 5:24; Matt. 3:12). This word sometimes, however, means
dried grass or hay (Isa. 5:24; 33:11). Chaff is used as a figure
of abortive wickedness (Ps. 1:4; Matt. 3:12). False doctrines
are also called chaff (Jer. 23:28), or more correctly rendered
"chopped straw." The destruction of the wicked, and their
powerlessness, are likened to the carrying away of chaff by the
wind (Isa. 17:13; Hos. 13:3; Zeph. 2:2).
pugilist or client, one of the two sons of Eli, the high priest
(1 Sam. 1:3; 2:34), who, because he was "very old," resigned to
them the active duties of his office. By their scandalous
conduct they brought down a curse on their father's house (2:22,
12-27, 27-36; 3:11-14). For their wickedness they were called
"sons of Belial," i.e., worthless men (2:12). They both perished
in the disastrous battle with the Philistines at Aphek (4:11).
(See PHINEHAS T0002941.)
praise-worthy. (1.) A son of Salu, slain by Phinehas, the son of
Eleazar, because of his wickedness in bringing a Midianitish
woman into his tent (Num. 25:6-15).
(2.) Murdered Elah at Tirzah, and succeeded him on the throne
of Israel (1 Kings 16:8-10). He reigned only seven days, for
Omri, whom the army elected as king, laid siege to Tirzah,
whereupon Zimri set fire to the palace and perished amid its
ruins (11-20). Omri succeeded to the throne only after four
years of fierce war with Tibni, another claimant to the throne.
used to denote the period of a man's life (Gen. 47:28), the
maturity of life (John 9:21), the latter end of life (Job
11:17), a generation of the human race (Job 8:8), and an
indefinite period (Eph. 2:7; 3:5, 21; Col. 1:26). Respect to be
shown to the aged (Lev. 19:32). It is a blessing to communities
when they have old men among them (Isa. 65:20; Zech. 8:4). The
aged supposed to excel in understanding (Job 12:20; 15:10; 32:4,
9; 1 Kings 12:6, 8). A full age the reward of piety (Job 5:26;
Bitterness is symbolical of affliction, misery, and servitude
(Ex. 1:14; Ruth 1:20; Jer. 9:15). The Chaldeans are called the
"bitter and hasty nation" (Hab. 1:6). The "gall of bitterness"
expresses a state of great wickedness (Acts 8:23). A "root of
bitterness" is a wicked person or a dangerous sin (Heb. 12:15).
The Passover was to be eaten with "bitter herbs" (Ex. 12:8;
Num. 9:11). The kind of herbs so designated is not known.
Probably they were any bitter herbs obtainable at the place and
time when the Passover was celebrated. They represented the
severity of the servitude under which the people groaned; and
have been regarded also as typical of the sufferings of Christ.
the chief city of Mysia, in Asia Minor. One of the "seven
churches" was planted here (Rev. 1:11; 2:17). It was noted for
its wickedness, insomuch that our Lord says "Satan's seat" was
there. The church of Pergamos was rebuked for swerving from the
truth and embracing the doctrines of Balaam and the
Nicolaitanes. Antipas, Christ's "faithful martyr," here sealed
his testimony with his blood.
This city stood on the banks of the river Caicus, about 20
miles from the sea. It is now called Bergama, and has a
population of some twenty thousand, of whom about two thousand
profess to be Christians. Parchment (q.v.) was first made here,
and was called by the Greeks pergamene, from the name of the
Siddim, Vale of
valley of the broad plains, "which is the salt sea" (Gen. 14:3,
8, 10), between Engedi and the cities of the plain, at the south
end of the Dead Sea. It was "full of slime-pits" (R.V., "bitumen
pits"). Here Chedorlaomer and the confederate kings overthrew
the kings of Sodom and the cities of the plain. God afterwards,
on account of their wickedness, "overthrew those cities, and all
the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities;" and the smoke
of their destruction "went up as the smoke of a furnace"
(19:24-28), and was visible from Mamre, where Abraham dwelt.
Some, however, contend that the "cities of the plain" were
somewhere at the north of the Dead Sea. (See SODOM T0003469.)
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
among the Jews was generally made of wheat (Ex. 29:2; Judg.
6:19), though also sometimes of other grains (Gen. 14:18; Judg.
7:13). Parched grain was sometimes used for food without any
other preparation (Ruth 2:14).
Bread was prepared by kneading in wooden bowls or "kneading
troughs" (Gen. 18:6; Ex. 12:34; Jer. 7:18). The dough was mixed
with leaven and made into thin cakes, round or oval, and then
baked. The bread eaten at the Passover was always unleavened
(Ex. 12:15-20; Deut. 16:3). In the towns there were public
ovens, which were much made use of for baking bread; there were
also bakers by trade (Hos. 7:4; Jer. 37:21). Their ovens were
not unlike those of modern times. But sometimes the bread was
baked by being placed on the ground that had been heated by a
fire, and by covering it with the embers (1 Kings 19:6). This
was probably the mode in which Sarah prepared bread on the
occasion referred to in Gen. 18:6.
In Lev. 2 there is an account of the different kinds of bread
and cakes used by the Jews. (See BAKE T0000419.)
The shew-bread (q.v.) consisted of twelve loaves of unleavened
bread prepared and presented hot on the golden table every
Sabbath. They were square or oblong, and represented the twelve
tribes of Israel. The old loaves were removed every Sabbath, and
were to be eaten only by the priests in the court of the
sanctuary (Ex. 25:30; Lev. 24:8; 1 Sam. 21:1-6; Matt. 12:4).
The word bread is used figuratively in such expressions as
"bread of sorrows" (Ps. 127:2), "bread of tears" (80:5), i.e.,
sorrow and tears are like one's daily bread, they form so great
a part in life. The bread of "wickedness" (Prov. 4:17) and "of
deceit" (20:17) denote in like manner that wickedness and deceit
are a part of the daily life.
(Gr. diabolos), a slanderer, the arch-enemy of man's spiritual
interest (Job 1:6; Rev. 2:10; Zech. 3:1). He is called also "the
accuser of the brethen" (Rev. 12:10).
In Lev. 17:7 the word "devil" is the translation of the Hebrew
"sair", meaning a "goat" or "satyr" (Isa. 13:21; 34:14),
alluding to the wood-daemons, the objects of idolatrous worship
among the heathen.
In Deut. 32:17 and Ps. 106:37 it is the translation of Hebrew
"shed", meaning lord, and idol, regarded by the Jews as a
"demon," as the word is rendered in the Revised Version.
In the narratives of the Gospels regarding the "casting out of
devils" a different Greek word (daimon) is used. In the time of
our Lord there were frequent cases of demoniacal possession
(Matt. 12:25-30; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 4:35; 10:18, etc.).
Wilful murder was distinguished from accidental homicide, and
was invariably visited with capital punishment (Num. 35:16, 18,
21, 31; Lev. 24:17). This law in its principle is founded on the
fact of man's having been made in the likeness of God (Gen. 9:5,
6; John 8:44; 1 John 3:12, 15). The Mosiac law prohibited any
compensation for murder or the reprieve of the murderer (Ex.
21:12, 14; Deut. 19:11, 13; 2 Sam. 17:25; 20:10). Two witnesses
were required in any capital case (Num. 35:19-30; Deut.
17:6-12). If the murderer could not be discovered, the city
nearest the scene of the murder was required to make expiation
for the crime committed (Deut. 21:1-9). These offences also were
to be punished with death, (1) striking a parent; (2) cursing a
parent; (3) kidnapping (Ex. 21:15-17; Deut. 27:16).
the Greek rendering of the Hebrew "Koheleth", which means
"Preacher." The old and traditional view of the authorship of
this book attributes it to Solomon. This view can be
satisfactorily maintained, though others date it from the
Captivity. The writer represents himself implicitly as Solomon
(1:12). It has been appropriately styled The Confession of King
Solomon. "The writer is a man who has sinned in giving way to
selfishness and sensuality, who has paid the penalty of that sin
in satiety and weariness of life, but who has through all this
been under the discipline of a divine education, and has learned
from it the lesson which God meant to teach him." "The writer
concludes by pointing out that the secret of a true life is that
a man should consecrate the vigour of his youth to God." The
key-note of the book is sounded in ch. 1:2,
"Vanity of vanities! saith the Preacher,
Vanity of vanities! all is vanity!"
i.e., all man's efforts to find happiness apart from God are
Cush of double wickedness, or governor of two presidencies, the
king of Mesopotamia who oppressed Israel in the generation
immediately following Joshua (Judg. 3:8). We learn from the
Tell-el-Amarna tablets that Israel had been invaded by the
forces of Aram-naharaim (A.V., "Mesopotamia") more than once,
long before the Exodus, and that at the time they were written
the king of Aram-naharaim was still intriguing in Canaan. It is
mentioned among the countries which took part in the attack upon
Egypt in the reign of Rameses III. (of the Twentieth Dynasty),
but as its king is not one of the princes stated to have been
conquered by the Pharaoh, it would seem that he did not actually
enter Egypt. As the reign of Rameses III. corresponds with the
Israelitish occupation of Canaan, it is probable that the
Egyptian monuments refer to the oppression of the Israelites by
Chushan-rishathaim. Canaan was still regarded as a province of
Egypt, so that, in attacking it Chushan-rishathaim would have
been considered to be attacking Egypt.
burning; the walled, a city in the vale of Siddim (Gen. 13:10;
14:1-16). The wickedness of its inhabitants brought down upon it
fire from heaven, by which it was destroyed (18:16-33; 19:1-29;
Deut. 23:17). This city and its awful destruction are frequently
alluded to in Scripture (Deut. 29:23; 32:32; Isa. 1:9, 10; 3:9;
13:19; Jer. 23:14; Ezek. 16:46-56; Zeph. 2:9; Matt. 10:15; Rom.
9:29; 2 Pet. 2:6, etc.). No trace of it or of the other cities
of the plain has been discovered, so complete was their
destruction. Just opposite the site of Zoar, on the south-west
coast of the Dead Sea, is a range of low hills, forming a mass
of mineral salt called Jebel Usdum, "the hill of Sodom." It has
been concluded, from this and from other considerations, that
the cities of the plain stood at the southern end of the Dead
Sea. Others, however, with much greater probability, contend
that they stood at the northern end of the sea. [in 1897].
held by Jehovah. (1.) The son and successor of Ahab. He followed
the counsels of his mother Jezebel, and imitated in wickedness
the ways of his father. In his reign the Moabites revolted from
under his authority (2 Kings 3:5-7). He united with Jehoshaphat
in an attempt to revive maritime trade by the Red Sea, which
proved a failure (2 Chr. 20:35-37). His messengers, sent to
consult the god of Ekron regarding his recovery from the effects
of a fall from the roof-gallery of his palace, were met on the
way by Elijah, who sent them back to tell the king that he would
never rise from his bed (1 Kings 22:51; 2 Kings 1:18).
(2.) The son of Joram, or Jehoram, and sixth king of Judah.
Called Jehoahaz (2 Chr. 21:17; 25:23), and Azariah (2 Chr.
22:6). Guided by his idolatrous mother Athaliah, his reign was
disastrous (2 Kings 8:24-29; 9:29). He joined his uncle Jehoram,
king of Israel, in an expedition against Hazael, king of
Damascus; but was wounded at the pass of Gur when attempting to
escape, and had strength only to reach Megiddo, where he died (2
Kings 9:22-28). He reigned only one year.
Nahum, Book of
Nahum prophesied, according to some, in the beginning of the
reign of Ahaz (B.C. 743). Others, however, think that his
prophecies are to be referred to the latter half of the reign of
Hezekiah (about B.C. 709). This is the more probable opinion,
internal evidences leading to that conclusion. Probably the book
was written in Jerusalem (soon after B.C. 709), where he
witnessed the invasion of Sennacherib and the destruction of his
host (2 Kings 19:35).
The subject of this prophecy is the approaching complete and
final destruction of Nineveh, the capital of the great and at
that time flourishing Assyrian empire. Assur-bani-pal was at the
height of his glory. Nineveh was a city of vast extent, and was
then the centre of the civilzation and commerce of the world, a
"bloody city all full of lies and robbery" (Nah. 3:1), for it
had robbed and plundered all the neighbouring nations. It was
strongly fortified on every side, bidding defiance to every
enemy; yet it was to be utterly destroyed as a punishment for
the great wickedness of its inhabitants.
Jonah had already uttered his message of warning, and Nahum
was followed by Zephaniah, who also predicted (Zeph. 2:4-15) the
destruction of the city, predictions which were remarkably
fulfilled (B.C. 625) when Nineveh was destroyed apparently by
fire, and the Assyrian empire came to an end, an event which
changed the face of Asia. (See NINEVEH T0002735.)
the graves of the longing or of lust, one of the stations of the
Israelites in the wilderness. It was probably in the Wady
Murrah, and has been identified with the Erweis el-Ebeirig,
where the remains of an ancient encampment have been found,
about 30 miles NE of Sinai, and exactly a day's journey
from 'Ain Hudherah.
"Here began the troubles of the journey. First, complaints
broke out among the people, probably at the heat, the toil, and
the privations of the march; and then God at once punished them
by lightning, which fell on the hinder part of the camp, and
killed many persons, but ceased at the intercession of Moses
(Num. 11:1, 2). Then a disgust fell on the multitude at having
nothing to eat but the manna day after day, no change, no flesh,
no fish, no high-flavoured vegetables, no luscious fruits...The
people loathed the 'light food,' and cried out to Moses, 'Give
us flesh, give us flesh, that we may eat.'" In this emergency
Moses, in despair, cried unto God. An answer came. God sent "a
prodigious flight of quails, on which the people satiated their
gluttonous appetite for a full month. Then punishment fell on
them: they loathed the food which they had desired; it bred
disease in them; the divine anger aggravated the disease into a
plague, and a heavy mortality was the consequence. The dead were
buried without the camp; and in memory of man's sin and of the
divine wrath this name, Kibroth-hattaavah, the Graves of Lust,
was given to the place of their sepulchre" (Num. 11:34, 35;
33:16, 17; Deut. 9:22; compare Ps. 78:30, 31)., Rawlinson's Moses,
p. 175. From this encampment they journeyed in a NEern
direction to Hazeroth.
father's brother. (1.) The son of Omri, whom he succeeded as the
seventh king of Israel. His history is recorded in 1 Kings
16-22. His wife was Jezebel (q.v.), who exercised a very evil
influence over him. To the calf-worship introduced by Jeroboam
he added the worship of Baal. He was severely admonished by
Elijah (q.v.) for his wickedness. His anger was on this account
kindled against the prophet, and he sought to kill him. He
undertook three campaigns against Ben-hadad II., king of
Damascus. In the first two, which were defensive, he gained a
complete victory over Ben-hadad, who fell into his hands, and
was afterwards released on the condition of his restoring all
the cities of Israel he then held, and granting certain other
concessions to Ahab. After three years of peace, for some cause
Ahab renewed war (1 Kings 22:3) with Ben-hadad by assaulting the
city of Ramoth-gilead, although the prophet Micaiah warned him
that he would not succeed, and that the 400 false prophets who
encouraged him were only leading him to his ruin. Micaiah was
imprisoned for thus venturing to dissuade Ahab from his purpose.
Ahab went into the battle disguised, that he might if possible
escape the notice of his enemies; but an arrow from a bow "drawn
at a venture" pierced him, and though stayed up in his chariot
for a time he died towards evening, and Elijah's prophecy (1
Kings 21:19) was fulfilled. He reigned twenty-three years.
Because of his idolatry, lust, and covetousness, Ahab is
referred to as pre-eminently the type of a wicked king (2 Kings
8:18; 2 Chr. 22:3; Micah 6:16).
(2.) A false prophet referred to by Jeremiah (Jer. 29:21), of
whom nothing further is known.
The resurrection of Jesus (Acts 17:31) is the "assurance" (Gr.
pistis, generally rendered "faith") or pledge God has given that
his revelation is true and worthy of acceptance. The "full
assurance [Gr. plerophoria, 'full bearing'] of faith" (Heb.
10:22) is a fulness of faith in God which leaves no room for
doubt. The "full assurance of understanding" (Col. 2:2) is an
entire unwavering conviction of the truth of the declarations of
Scripture, a joyful steadfastness on the part of any one of
conviction that he has grasped the very truth. The "full
assurance of hope" (Heb. 6:11) is a sure and well-grounded
expectation of eternal glory (2 Tim. 4:7, 8). This assurance of
hope is the assurance of a man's own particular salvation.
This infallible assurance, which believers may attain unto as
to their own personal salvation, is founded on the truth of the
promises (Heb. 6:18), on the inward evidence of Christian
graces, and on the testimony of the Spirit of adoption (Rom.
8:16). That such a certainty may be attained appears from the
testimony of Scripture (Rom. 8:16; 1 John 2:3; 3:14), from the
command to seek after it (Heb. 6:11; 2 Pet. 1:10), and from the
fact that it has been attained (2 Tim. 1:12; 4:7, 8; 1 John 2:3;
This full assurance is not of the essence of saving faith. It
is the result of faith, and posterior to it in the order of
nature, and so frequently also in the order of time. True
believers may be destitute of it. Trust itself is something
different from the evidence that we do trust. Believers,
moreover, are exhorted to go on to something beyond what they at
present have when they are exhorted to seek the grace of full
assurance (Heb. 10:22; 2 Pet. 1:5-10). The attainment of this
grace is a duty, and is to be diligently sought.
"Genuine assurance naturally leads to a legitimate and abiding
peace and joy, and to love and thankfulness to God; and these
from the very laws of our being to greater buoyancy, strength,
and cheerfulness in the practice of obedience in every
department of duty."
This assurance may in various ways be shaken, diminished, and
intermitted, but the principle out of which it springs can never
be lost. (See FAITH T0001302.)
God hears. (1.) Abraham's eldest son, by Hagar the concubine
(Gen. 16:15; 17:23). He was born at Mamre, when Abraham was
eighty-six years of age, eleven years after his arrival in
Canaan (16:3; 21:5). At the age of thirteen he was circumcised
(17:25). He grew up a true child of the desert, wild and
wayward. On the occasion of the weaning of Isaac his rude and
wayward spirit broke out in expressions of insult and mockery
(21:9, 10); and Sarah, discovering this, said to Abraham, "Expel
this slave and her son." Influenced by a divine admonition,
Abraham dismissed Hagar and her son with no more than a skin of
water and some bread. The narrative describing this act is one
of the most beautiful and touching incidents of patriarchal life
(Gen. 21:14-16). (See HAGAR T0001583.)
Ishmael settled in the land of Paran, a region lying between
Canaan and the mountains of Sinai; and "God was with him, and he
became a great archer" (Gen. 21:9-21). He became a great desert
chief, but of his history little is recorded. He was about
ninety years of age when his father Abraham died, in connection
with whose burial he once more for a moment reappears. On this
occasion the two brothers met after being long separated. "Isaac
with his hundreds of household slaves, Ishmael with his troops
of wild retainers and half-savage allies, in all the state of a
Bedouin prince, gathered before the cave of Machpelah, in the
midst of the men of Heth, to pay the last duties to the 'father
of the faithful,' would make a notable subject for an artist"
(Gen. 25:9). Of the after events of his life but little is
known. He died at the age of one hundred and thirty-seven years,
but where and when are unknown (25:17). He had twelve sons, who
became the founders of so many Arab tribes or colonies, the
Ishmaelites, who spread over the wide desert spaces of Northern
Arabia from the Red Sea to the Euphrates (Gen. 37:25, 27, 28;
39:1), "their hand against every man, and every man's hand
(2.) The son of Nethaniah, "of the seed royal" (Jer. 40:8,
15). He plotted against Gedaliah, and treacherously put him and
others to death. He carried off many captives, "and departed to
go over to the Ammonites."
(Heb. tsara'ath, a "smiting," a "stroke," because the disease
was regarded as a direct providential infliction). This name is
from the Greek lepra, by which the Greek physicians designated
the disease from its scaliness. We have the description of the
disease, as well as the regulations connected with it, in Lev.
13; 14; Num. 12:10-15, etc. There were reckoned six different
circumstances under which it might develop itself, (1) without
any apparent cause (Lev. 13:2-8); (2) its reappearance (9-17);
(3) from an inflammation (18-28); (4) on the head or chin
(29-37); (5) in white polished spots (38, 39); (6) at the back
or in the front of the head (40-44).
Lepers were required to live outside the camp or city (Num.
5:1-4; 12:10-15, etc.). This disease was regarded as an awful
punishment from the Lord (2 Kings 5:7; 2 Chr. 26:20). (See
MIRIAM T0002562; GEHAZI T0001452; UZZIAH T0003760.)
This disease "begins with specks on the eyelids and on the
palms, gradually spreading over the body, bleaching the hair
white wherever they appear, crusting the affected parts with
white scales, and causing terrible sores and swellings. From the
skin the disease eats inward to the bones, rotting the whole
body piecemeal." "In Christ's day no leper could live in a
walled town, though he might in an open village. But wherever he
was he was required to have his outer garment rent as a sign of
deep grief, to go bareheaded, and to cover his beard with his
mantle, as if in lamentation at his own virtual death. He had
further to warn passers-by to keep away from him, by calling
out, 'Unclean! unclean!' nor could he speak to any one, or
receive or return a salutation, since in the East this involves
That the disease was not contagious is evident from the
regulations regarding it (Lev. 13:12, 13, 36; 2 Kings 5:1).
Leprosy was "the outward and visible sign of the innermost
spiritual corruption; a meet emblem in its small beginnings, its
gradual spread, its internal disfigurement, its dissolution
little by little of the whole body, of that which corrupts,
degrades, and defiles man's inner nature, and renders him unmeet
to enter the presence of a pure and holy God" (Maclear's
Handbook O.T). Our Lord cured lepers (Matt. 8:2, 3; Mark
1:40-42). This divine power so manifested illustrates his
gracious dealings with men in curing the leprosy of the soul,
the fatal taint of sin.
(1.) Heb. aven, "nothingness;" "vanity" (Isa. 66:3; 41:29; Deut.
32:21; 1 Kings 16:13; Ps. 31:6; Jer. 8:19, etc.).
(2.) 'Elil, "a thing of naught" (Ps. 97:7; Isa. 19:3); a word
of contempt, used of the gods of Noph (Ezek. 30:13).
(3.) 'Emah, "terror," in allusion to the hideous form of idols
(4.) Miphletzeth, "a fright;" "horror" (1 Kings 15:13; 2 Chr.
(5.) Bosheth, "shame;" "shameful thing" (Jer. 11:13; Hos.
9:10); as characterizing the obscenity of the worship of Baal.
(6.) Gillulim, also a word of contempt, "dung;" "refuse"
(Ezek. 16:36; 20:8; Deut. 29:17, marg.).
(7.) Shikkuts, "filth;" "impurity" (Ezek. 37:23; Nah. 3:6).
(8.) Semel, "likeness;" "a carved image" (Deut. 4:16).
(9.) Tselem, "a shadow" (Dan. 3:1; 1 Sam. 6:5), as
distinguished from the "likeness," or the exact counterpart.
(10.) Temunah, "similitude" (Deut. 4:12-19). Here Moses
forbids the several forms of Gentile idolatry.
(11.) 'Atsab, "a figure;" from the root "to fashion," "to
labour;" denoting that idols are the result of man's labour
(Isa. 48:5; Ps. 139:24, "wicked way;" literally, as some
translate, "way of an idol").
(12.) Tsir, "a form;" "shape" (Isa. 45:16).
(13.) Matztzebah, a "statue" set up (Jer. 43:13); a memorial
stone like that erected by Jacob (Gen. 28:18; 31:45; 35:14, 20),
by Joshua (4:9), and by Samuel (1 Sam. 7:12). It is the name
given to the statues of Baal (2 Kings 3:2; 10:27).
(14.) Hammanim, "sun-images." Hamman is a synonym of Baal, the
sun-god of the Phoenicians (2 Chr. 34:4, 7; 14:3, 5; Isa. 17:8).
(15.) Maskith, "device" (Lev. 26:1; Num. 33:52). In Lev. 26:1,
the words "image of stone" (A.V.) denote "a stone or cippus with
the image of an idol, as Baal, Astarte, etc." In Ezek. 8:12,
"chambers of imagery" (maskith), are "chambers of which the
walls are painted with the figures of idols;" compare ver. 10, 11.
(16.) Pesel, "a graven" or "carved image" (Isa. 44:10-20). It
denotes also a figure cast in metal (Deut. 7:25; 27:15; Isa.
(17.) Massekah, "a molten image" (Deut. 9:12; Judg. 17:3, 4).
(18.) Teraphim, pl., "images," family gods (penates)
worshipped by Abram's kindred (Josh. 24:14). Put by Michal in
David's bed (Judg. 17:5; 18:14, 17, 18, 20; 1 Sam. 19:13).
"Nothing can be more instructive and significant than this
multiplicity and variety of words designating the instruments
and inventions of idolatry."
is "any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of
God" (1 John 3:4; Rom. 4:15), in the inward state and habit of
the soul, as well as in the outward conduct of the life, whether
by omission or commission (Rom. 6:12-17; 7:5-24). It is "not a
mere violation of the law of our constitution, nor of the system
of things, but an offence against a personal lawgiver and moral
governor who vindicates his law with penalties. The soul that
sins is always conscious that his sin is (1) intrinsically vile
and polluting, and (2) that it justly deserves punishment, and
calls down the righteous wrath of God. Hence sin carries with it
two inalienable characters, (1) ill-desert, guilt (reatus); and
(2) pollution (macula).", Hodge's Outlines.
The moral character of a man's actions is determined by the
moral state of his heart. The disposition to sin, or the habit
of the soul that leads to the sinful act, is itself also sin
(Rom. 6:12-17; Gal. 5:17; James 1:14, 15).
The origin of sin is a mystery, and must for ever remain such
to us. It is plain that for some reason God has permitted sin to
enter this world, and that is all we know. His permitting it,
however, in no way makes God the author of sin.
Adam's sin (Gen. 3:1-6) consisted in his yielding to the
assaults of temptation and eating the forbidden fruit. It
involved in it, (1) the sin of unbelief, virtually making God a
liar; and (2) the guilt of disobedience to a positive command.
By this sin he became an apostate from God, a rebel in arms
against his Creator. He lost the favour of God and communion
with him; his whole nature became depraved, and he incurred the
penalty involved in the covenant of works.
Original sin. "Our first parents being the root of all
mankind, the guilt of their sin was imputed, and the same death
in sin and corrupted nature were conveyed to all their
posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation." Adam
was constituted by God the federal head and representative of
all his posterity, as he was also their natural head, and
therefore when he fell they fell with him (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor.
15:22-45). His probation was their probation, and his fall their
fall. Because of Adam's first sin all his posterity came into
the world in a state of sin and condemnation, i.e., (1) a state
of moral corruption, and (2) of guilt, as having judicially
imputed to them the guilt of Adam's first sin.
"Original sin" is frequently and properly used to denote only
the moral corruption of their whole nature inherited by all men
from Adam. This inherited moral corruption consists in, (1) the
loss of original righteousness; and (2) the presence of a
constant proneness to evil, which is the root and origin of all
actual sin. It is called "sin" (Rom. 6:12, 14, 17; 7:5-17), the
"flesh" (Gal. 5:17, 24), "lust" (James 1:14, 15), the "body of
sin" (Rom. 6:6), "ignorance," "blindness of heart," "alienation
from the life of God" (Eph. 4:18, 19). It influences and
depraves the whole man, and its tendency is still downward to
deeper and deeper corruption, there remaining no recuperative
element in the soul. It is a total depravity, and it is also
universally inherited by all the natural descendants of Adam
(Rom. 3:10-23; 5:12-21; 8:7). Pelagians deny original sin, and
regard man as by nature morally and spiritually well;
semi-Pelagians regard him as morally sick; Augustinians, or, as
they are also called, Calvinists, regard man as described above,
spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1; 1 John 3:14).
The doctrine of original sin is proved, (1.) From the fact of
the universal sinfulness of men. "There is no man that sinneth
not" (1 Kings 8:46; Isa. 53:6; Ps. 130:3; Rom. 3:19, 22, 23;
Gal. 3:22). (2.) From the total depravity of man. All men are
declared to be destitute of any principle of spiritual life;
man's apostasy from God is total and complete (Job 15:14-16;
Gen. 6:5,6). (3.) From its early manifestation (Ps. 58:3; Prov.
22:15). (4.) It is proved also from the necessity, absolutely
and universally, of regeneration (John 3:3; 2 Cor. 5:17). (5.)
From the universality of death (Rom. 5:12-20).
Various kinds of sin are mentioned, (1.) "Presumptuous sins,"
or as literally rendered, "sins with an uplifted hand", i.e.,
defiant acts of sin, in contrast with "errors" or
"inadvertencies" (Ps. 19:13). (2.) "Secret", i.e., hidden sins
(19:12); sins which escape the notice of the soul. (3.) "Sin
against the Holy Ghost" (q.v.), or a "sin unto death" (Matt.
12:31, 32; 1 John 5:16), which amounts to a wilful rejection of
Sin, a city in Egypt, called by the Greeks Pelusium, which
means, as does also the Hebrew name, "clayey" or "muddy," so
called from the abundance of clay found there. It is called by
Ezekel (Ezek. 30:15) "the strength of Egypt, "thus denoting its
importance as a fortified city. It has been identified with the
modern Tineh, "a miry place," where its ruins are to be found.
Of its boasted magnificence only four red granite columns
remain, and some few fragments of others.
Bible, the English form of the Greek name "Biblia", meaning
"books," the name which in the fifth century began to be given
to the entire collection of sacred books, the "Library of Divine
Revelation." The name Bible was adopted by Wickliffe, and came
gradually into use in our English language. The Bible consists
of sixty-six different books, composed by many different
writers, in three different languages, under different
circumstances; writers of almost every social rank, statesmen
and peasants, kings, herdsmen, fishermen, priests,
tax-gatherers, tentmakers; educated and uneducated, Jews and
Gentiles; most of them unknown to each other, and writing at
various periods during the space of about 1600 years: and yet,
after all, it is only one book dealing with only one subject in
its numberless aspects and relations, the subject of man's
It is divided into the Old Testament, containing thirty-nine
books, and the New Testament, containing twenty-seven books. The
names given to the Old in the writings of the New are "the
scriptures" (Matt. 21:42), "scripture" (2 Pet. 1:20), "the holy
scriptures" (Rom. 1:2), "the law" (John 12:34), "the law of
Moses, the prophets, and the psalms" (Luke 24:44), "the law and
the prophets" (Matt. 5:17), "the old covenant" (2 Cor. 3:14,
R.V.). There is a break of 400 years between the Old Testament
and the New. (See APOCRYPHA T0000263.)
The Old Testament is divided into three parts:, 1. The Law
(Torah), consisting of the Pentateuch, or five books of Moses.
2. The Prophets, consisting of (1) the former, namely, Joshua,
Judges, the Books of Samuel, and the Books of Kings; (2) the
latter, namely, the greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and
Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets. 3. The Hagiographa, or
holy writings, including the rest of the books. These were
ranked in three divisions:, (1) The Psalms, Proverbs, and Job,
distinguished by the Hebrew name, a word formed of the initial
letters of these books, "emeth", meaning truth. (2) Canticles,
Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther, called the five
rolls, as being written for the synagogue use on five separate
rolls. (3) Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 and 2 Chronicles.
Between the Old and the New Testament no addition was made to
the revelation God had already given. The period of New
Testament revelation, extending over a century, began with the
appearance of John the Baptist.
The New Testament consists of (1) the historical books, viz.,
the Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles; (2) the Epistles; and
(3) the book of prophecy, the Revelation.
The division of the Bible into chapters and verses is
altogether of human invention, designed to facilitate reference
to it. The ancient Jews divided the Old Testament into certain
sections for use in the synagogue service, and then at a later
period, in the ninth century A.D., into verses. Our modern
system of chapters for all the books of the Bible was introduced
by Cardinal Hugo about the middle of the thirteenth century (he
died 1263). The system of verses for the New Testament was
introduced by Stephens in 1551, and generally adopted, although
neither Tyndale's nor Coverdale's English translation of the
Bible has verses. The division is not always wisely made, yet it
is very useful. (See VERSION T0003768.)
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.
has been well defined as "the measured language of emotion."
Hebrew poetry deals almost exclusively with the great question
of man's relation to God. "Guilt, condemnation, punishment,
pardon, redemption, repentance are the awful themes of this
In the Hebrew scriptures there are found three distinct kinds
of poetry, (1) that of the Book of Job and the Song of Solomon,
which is dramatic; (2) that of the Book of Psalms, which is
lyrical; and (3) that of the Book of Ecclesiastes, which is
didactic and sententious.
Hebrew poetry has nothing akin to that of Western nations. It
has neither metre nor rhyme. Its great peculiarity consists in
the mutual correspondence of sentences or clauses, called
parallelism, or "thought-rhyme." Various kinds of this
parallelism have been pointed out:
(1.) Synonymous or cognate parallelism, where the same idea is
repeated in the same words (Ps. 93:3; 94:1; Prov. 6:2), or in
different words (Ps. 22, 23, 28, 114, etc.); or where it is
expressed in a positive form in the one clause and in a negative
in the other (Ps. 40:12; Prov. 6:26); or where the same idea is
expressed in three successive clauses (Ps. 40:15, 16); or in a
double parallelism, the first and second clauses corresponding
to the third and fourth (Isa. 9:1; 61:10, 11).
(2.) Antithetic parallelism, where the idea of the second
clause is the converse of that of the first (Ps. 20:8; 27:6, 7;
34:11; 37:9, 17, 21, 22). This is the common form of gnomic or
proverbial poetry. (See Prov. 10-15.)
(3.) Synthetic or constructive or compound parallelism, where
each clause or sentence contains some accessory idea enforcing
the main idea (Ps. 19:7-10; 85:12; Job 3:3-9; Isa. 1:5-9).
(4.) Introverted parallelism, in which of four clauses the
first answers to the fourth and the second to the third (Ps.
135:15-18; Prov. 23:15, 16), or where the second line reverses
the order of words in the first (Ps. 86:2).
Hebrew poetry sometimes assumes other forms than these. (1.)
An alphabetical arrangement is sometimes adopted for the purpose
of connecting clauses or sentences. Thus in the following the
initial words of the respective verses begin with the letters of
the alphabet in regular succession: Prov. 31:10-31; Lam. 1, 2,
3, 4; Ps. 25, 34, 37, 145. Ps. 119 has a letter of the alphabet
in regular order beginning every eighth verse.
(2.) The repetition of the same verse or of some emphatic
expression at intervals (Ps. 42, 107, where the refrain is in
verses, 8, 15, 21, 31). (Compare also Isa. 9:8-10:4; Amos 1:3, 6,
9, 11, 13; 2:1, 4, 6.)
(3.) Gradation, in which the thought of one verse is resumed
in another (Ps. 121).
Several odes of great poetical beauty are found in the
historical books of the Old Testament, such as the song of Moses
(Ex. 15), the song of Deborah (Judg. 5), of Hannah (1 Sam. 2),
of Hezekiah (Isa. 38:9-20), of Habakkuk (Hab. 3), and David's
"song of the bow" (2 Sam. 1:19-27).
rest, (Heb. Noah) the grandson of Methuselah (Gen. 5:25-29), who
was for two hundred and fifty years contemporary with Adam, and
the son of Lamech, who was about fifty years old at the time of
Adam's death. This patriarch is rightly regarded as the
connecting link between the old and the new world. He is the
second great progenitor of the human family.
The words of his father Lamech at his birth (Gen. 5:29) have
been regarded as in a sense prophetical, designating Noah as a
type of Him who is the true "rest and comfort" of men under the
burden of life (Matt.11:28).
He lived five hundred years, and then there were born unto him
three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Gen. 5:32). He was a "just
man and perfect in his generation," and "walked with God" (compare
Ezek. 14:14,20). But now the descendants of Cain and of Seth
began to intermarry, and then there sprang up a race
distinguished for their ungodliness. Men became more and more
corrupt, and God determined to sweep the earth of its wicked
population (Gen. 6:7). But with Noah God entered into a
covenant, with a promise of deliverance from the threatened
deluge (18). He was accordingly commanded to build an ark
(6:14-16) for the saving of himself and his house. An interval
of one hundred and twenty years elapsed while the ark was being
built (6:3), during which Noah bore constant testimony against
the unbelief and wickedness of that generation (1 Pet. 3:18-20;
2 Pet. 2:5).
When the ark of "gopher-wood" (mentioned only here) was at
length completed according to the command of the Lord, the
living creatures that were to be preserved entered into it; and
then Noah and his wife and sons and daughters-in-law entered it,
and the "Lord shut him in" (Gen.7:16). The judgment-threatened
now fell on the guilty world, "the world that then was, being
overflowed with water, perished" (2 Pet. 3:6). The ark floated
on the waters for one hundred and fifty days, and then rested on
the mountains of Ararat (Gen. 8:3,4); but not for a considerable
time after this was divine permission given him to leave the
ark, so that he and his family were a whole year shut up within
it (Gen. 6-14).
On leaving the ark Noah's first act was to erect an altar, the
first of which there is any mention, and offer the sacrifices of
adoring thanks and praise to God, who entered into a covenant
with him, the first covenant between God and man, granting him
possession of the earth by a new and special charter, which
remains in force to the present time (Gen. 8:21-9:17). As a sign
and witness of this covenant, the rainbow was adopted and set
apart by God, as a sure pledge that never again would the earth
be destroyed by a flood.
But, alas! Noah after this fell into grievous sin (Gen. 9:21);
and the conduct of Ham on this sad occasion led to the memorable
prediction regarding his three sons and their descendants. Noah
"lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years, and he
died" (28:29). (See DELUGE T0001011).
Noah, motion, (Heb. No'ah) one of the five daughters of
Zelophehad (Num.26:33; 27:1; 36:11; Josh. 17:3).
a rock, now es-Sur; an ancient Phoenician city, about 23 miles,
in a direct line, north of Acre, and 20 south of Sidon. Sidon
was the oldest Phoenician city, but Tyre had a longer and more
illustrious history. The commerce of the whole world was
gathered into the warehouses of Tyre. "Tyrian merchants were the
first who ventured to navigate the Mediterranean waters; and
they founded their colonies on the coasts and neighbouring
islands of the AEgean Sea, in Greece, on the northern coast of
Africa, at Carthage and other places, in Sicily and Corsica, in
Spain at Tartessus, and even beyond the pillars of Hercules at
Gadeira (Cadiz)" (Driver's Isaiah). In the time of David a
friendly alliance was entered into between the Hebrews and the
Tyrians, who were long ruled over by their native kings (2 Sam.
5:11; 1 Kings 5:1; 2 Chr. 2:3).
Tyre consisted of two distinct parts, a rocky fortress on the
mainland, called "Old Tyre," and the city, built on a small,
rocky island about half-a-mile distant from the shore. It was a
place of great strength. It was besieged by Shalmaneser, who was
assisted by the Phoenicians of the mainland, for five years, and
by Nebuchadnezzar (B.C. 586-573) for thirteen years, apparently
without success. It afterwards fell under the power of Alexander
the Great, after a siege of seven months, but continued to
maintain much of its commercial importance till the Christian
era. It is referred to in Matt. 11:21 and Acts 12:20. In A.D.
1291 it was taken by the Saracens, and has remained a desolate
ruin ever since.
"The purple dye of Tyre had a worldwide celebrity on account
of the durability of its beautiful tints, and its manufacture
proved a source of abundant wealth to the inhabitants of that
Both Tyre and Sidon "were crowded with glass-shops, dyeing and
weaving establishments; and among their cunning workmen not the
least important class were those who were celebrated for the
engraving of precious stones." (2 Chr. 2:7,14).
The wickedness and idolatry of this city are frequently
denounced by the prophets, and its final destruction predicted
(Isa. 23:1; Jer. 25:22; Ezek. 26; 28:1-19; Amos 1:9, 10; Zech.
Here a church was founded soon after the death of Stephen, and
Paul, on his return from his third missionary journey spent a
week in intercourse with the disciples there (Acts 21:4). Here
the scene at Miletus was repeated on his leaving them. They all,
with their wives and children, accompanied him to the sea-shore.
The sea-voyage of the apostle terminated at Ptolemais, about 38
miles from Tyre. Thence he proceeded to Caesarea (Acts 21:5-8).
"It is noticed on monuments as early as B.C. 1500, and
claiming, according to Herodotus, to have been founded about
B.C. 2700. It had two ports still existing, and was of
commercial importance in all ages, with colonies at Carthage
(about B.C. 850) and all over the Mediterranean. It was often
attacked by Egypt and Assyria, and taken by Alexander the Great
after a terrible siege in B.C. 332. It is now a town of 3,000
inhabitants, with ancient tombs and a ruined cathedral. A short
Phoenician text of the fourth century B.C. is the only monument
Ephesians, Epistle to
was written by Paul at Rome about the same time as that to the
Colossians, which in many points it resembles.
Contents of. The Epistle to the Colossians is mainly
polemical, designed to refute certain theosophic errors that had
crept into the church there. That to the Ephesians does not seem
to have originated in any special circumstances, but is simply a
letter springing from Paul's love to the church there, and
indicative of his earnest desire that they should be fully
instructed in the profound doctrines of the gospel. It contains
(1) the salutation (1:1, 2); (2) a general description of the
blessings the gospel reveals, as to their source, means by which
they are attained, purpose for which they are bestowed, and
their final result, with a fervent prayer for the further
spiritual enrichment of the Ephesians (1:3-2:10); (3) "a record
of that marked change in spiritual position which the Gentile
believers now possessed, ending with an account of the writer's
selection to and qualification for the apostolate of heathendom,
a fact so considered as to keep them from being dispirited, and
to lead him to pray for enlarged spiritual benefactions on his
absent sympathizers" (2:12-3:21); (4) a chapter on unity as
undisturbed by diversity of gifts (4:1-16); (5) special
injunctions bearing on ordinary life (4:17-6:10); (6) the
imagery of a spiritual warfare, mission of Tychicus, and
valedictory blessing (6:11-24).
Planting of the church at Ephesus. Paul's first and hurried
visit for the space of three months to Ephesus is recorded in
Acts 18:19-21. The work he began on this occasion was carried
forward by Apollos (24-26) and Aquila and Priscilla. On his
second visit, early in the following year, he remained at
Ephesus "three years," for he found it was the key to the
western provinces of Asia Minor. Here "a great door and
effectual" was opened to him (1 Cor. 16:9), and the church was
established and strengthened by his assiduous labors there
(Acts 20:20, 31). From Ephesus as a centre the gospel spread
abroad "almost throughout all Asia" (19:26). The word "mightily
grew and prevailed" despite all the opposition and persecution
On his last journey to Jerusalem the apostle landed at
Miletus, and summoning together the elders of the church from
Ephesus, delivered to them his remarkable farewell charge (Acts
20:18-35), expecting to see them no more.
The following parallels between this epistle and the Milesian
charge may be traced:
(1.) Acts 20:19 = Eph. 4:2. The phrase "lowliness of mind"
occurs nowhere else.
(2.) Acts 20:27 = Eph. 1:11. The word "counsel," as denoting
the divine plan, occurs only here and Heb. 6:17.
(3.) Acts 20:32 = Eph. 3:20. The divine ability.
(4.) Acts 20:32 = Eph. 2:20. The building upon the foundation.
(5.) Acts 20:32 = Eph. 1:14, 18. "The inheritance of the
Place and date of the writing of the letter. It was evidently
written from Rome during Paul's first imprisonment (3:1; 4:1;
6:20), and probably soon after his arrival there, about the year
62, four years after he had parted with the Ephesian elders at
Miletus. The subscription of this epistle is correct.
There seems to have been no special occasion for the writing
of this letter, as already noted. Paul's object was plainly not
polemical. No errors had sprung up in the church which he sought
to point out and refute. The object of the apostle is "to set
forth the ground, the cause, and the aim and end of the church
of the faithful in Christ. He speaks to the Ephesians as a type
or sample of the church universal." The church's foundations,
its course, and its end, are his theme. "Everywhere the
foundation of the church is the will of the Father; the course
of the church is by the satisfaction of the Son; the end of the
church is the life in the Holy Spirit." In the Epistle to the
Romans, Paul writes from the point of view of justification by
the imputed righteousness of Christ; here he writes from the
point of view specially of union to the Redeemer, and hence of
the oneness of the true church of Christ. "This is perhaps the
profoundest book in existence." It is a book "which sounds the
lowest depths of Christian doctrine, and scales the loftiest
heights of Christian experience;" and the fact that the apostle
evidently expected the Ephesians to understand it is an evidence
of the "proficiency which Paul's converts had attained under his
preaching at Ephesus."
Relation between this epistle and that to the Colossians
(q.v.). "The letters of the apostle are the fervent outburst of
pastoral zeal and attachment, written without reserve and in
unaffected simplicity; sentiments come warm from the heart,
without the shaping out, pruning, and punctilious arrangement of
a formal discourse. There is such a fresh and familiar
transcription of feeling, so frequent an introduction of
coloquial idiom, and so much of conversational frankness and
vivacity, that the reader associates the image of the writer
with every paragraph, and the ear seems to catch and recognize
the very tones of living address." "Is it then any matter of
amazement that one letter should resemble another, or that two
written about the same time should have so much in common and so
much that is peculiar? The close relation as to style and
subject between the epistles to Colosse and Ephesus must strike
every reader. Their precise relation to each other has given
rise to much discussion. The great probability is that the
epistle to Colosse was first written; the parallel passages in
Ephesians, which amount to about forty-two in number, having the
appearance of being expansions from the epistle to Colosse.
Eph 1:7; Col 1:14
Eph 1:10; Col 1:20
Eph 3:2; Col 1:25
Eph 5:19; Col 3:16
Eph 6:22; Col 4:8
Eph 1:19-2:5; Col 2:12,13
Eph 4:2-4; Col 3:12-15
Eph 4:16; Col 2:19
Eph 4:32; Col 3:13
Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9,10
Eph 5:6-8; Col 3:6-8
Eph 5:15,16; Col 4:5
Eph 6:19,20; Col 4:3,4
Eph 5:22-6:9; Col 3:18-4:1
"The style of this epistle is exceedingly animated, and
corresponds with the state of the apostle's mind at the time of
writing. Overjoyed with the account which their messenger had
brought him of their faith and holiness (Eph. 1:15), and
transported with the consideration of the unsearchable wisdom of
God displayed in the work of man's redemption, and of his
astonishing love towards the Gentiles in making them partakers
through faith of all the benefits of Christ's death, he soars
high in his sentiments on those grand subjects, and gives his
thoughts utterance in sublime and copious expression."