John 4:20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
Scriptures Talking About Samaritans Worship At Gerizim
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shady. (1.) One of David's warriors, called the Ahohite (2 Sam. 23:28); called also Ilai (1 Chr. 11:29). (2.) A wood near Shechem, from which Abimelech and his party brought boughs and "put them to the hold" of Shechem, "and set the hold on fire" (Judg. 9:48). Probably the southern peak of Gerizim, now called Jebel Sulman. (See SALMON T0003192.)
an archer, teacher; fruitful. (1.) A Canaanite probably who inhabited the district south of Shechem, between Mounts Ebal and Gerizim, and gave his name to the "plain" there (Gen. 12:6). Here at this "plain," or rather (R.V.) "oak," of Moreh, Abraham built his first altar in the land of Israel; and here the Lord appeared unto him. He afterwards left this plain and moved southward, and pitched his tent between Bethel on the west and Hai on the east (Gen. 12:7, 8).
a mountain of Samaria, about 3,000 feet above the Mediterranean. It was on the left of the valley containing the ancient town of Shechem (q.v.), on the way to Jerusalem. It stood over against Mount Ebal, the summits of these mountains being distant from each other about 2 miles (Deut. 27; Josh. 8:30-35). On the slopes of this mountain the tribes descended from the handmaids of Leah and Rachel, together with the tribe of Reuben, were gathered together, and gave the responses to the blessing pronounced as the reward of obedience, when Joshua in the valley below read the whole law in the hearing of all the people; as those gathered on Ebal responded with a loud Amen to the rehearsal of the curses pronounced on the disobedient. It was probably at this time that the coffin containing the embalmed body of Joseph was laid in the "parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor" (Gen. 33:19; 50:25). Josephus relates (Ant. 11:8, 2-4) that Sanballat built a temple for the Samaritans on this mountain, and instituted a priesthood, as rivals to those of the Jews at Jerusalem. This temple was destroyed after it had stood two hundred years. It was afterwards rebuilt by Herod the Great. There is a Samaritan tradition that it was the scene of the incident recorded in Gen. 22. There are many ruins on this mountain, some of which are evidently of Christian buildings. To this mountain the woman of Sychar referred in John 4:20. For centuries Gerizim was the centre of political outbreaks. The Samaritans (q.v.), a small but united body, still linger here, and keep up their ancient ceremonial worship.
stony. (1.) A mountain 3,076 feet above the level of the sea, and 1,200 feet above the level of the valley, on the north side of which stood the city of Shechem (q.v.). On this mountain six of the tribes (Deut. 27:12,13) were appointed to take their stand and respond according to a prescribed form to the imprecations uttered in the valley, where the law was read by the Levites (11:29; 29:4, 13). This mountain was also the site of the first great altar erected to Jehovah (Deut. 27:5-8; Josh. 8:30-35). After this the name of Ebal does not again occur in Jewish history. (See GERIZIM T0001465.) (2.) A descendant of Eber (1 Chr. 1:22), called also Obal (Gen. 10:28). (3.) A descendant of Seir the Horite (Gen. 36:23).
shoulder. (1.) The son of Hamor the Hivite (Gen. 33:19; 34). (2.) A descendant of Manasseh (Num. 26:31; Josh. 17:2). (3.) A city in Samaria (Gen. 33:18), called also Sichem (12:6), Sychem (Acts 7:16). It stood in the narrow sheltered valley between Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the south, these mountains at their base being only some 500 yards apart. Here Abraham pitched his tent and built his first altar in the Promised Land, and received the first divine promise (Gen. 12:6, 7). Here also Jacob "bought a parcel of a field at the hands of the children of Hamor" after his return from Mesopotamia, and settled with his household, which he purged from idolatry by burying the teraphim of his followers under an oak tree, which was afterwards called "the oak of the sorcerer" (Gen. 33:19; 35:4; Judg. 9:37). (See MEONENIM T0002483.) Here too, after a while, he dug a well, which bears his name to this day (John 4:5, 39-42). To Shechem Joshua gathered all Israel "before God," and delivered to them his second parting address (Josh. 24:1-15). He "made a covenant with the people that day" at the very place where, on first entering the land, they had responded to the law from Ebal and Gerizim (Josh. 24:25), the terms of which were recorded "in the book of the law of God", i.e., in the roll of the law of Moses; and in memory of this solemn transaction a great stone was set up "under an oak" (compare Gen. 28:18; 31:44-48; Ex. 24:4; Josh. 4:3, 8, 9), possibly the old "oak of Moreh," as a silent witness of the transaction to all coming time. Shechem became one of the cities of refuge, the central city of refuge for Western Israel (Josh. 20:7), and here the bones of Joseph were buried (24:32). Rehoboam was appointed king in Shechem (1 Kings 12:1, 19), but Jeroboam afterwards took up his residence here. This city is mentioned in connection with our Lord's conversation with the woman of Samaria (John 4:5); and thus, remaining as it does to the present day, it is one of the oldest cities of the world. It is the modern Nablus, a contraction for Neapolis, the name given to it by Vespasian. It lies about a mile and a half up the valley on its southern slope, and on the north of Gerizim, which rises about 1,100 feet above it, and is about 34 miles north of Jerusalem. It contains about 10,000 inhabitants, of whom about 160 are Samaritans and 100 Jews, the rest being Christians and Mohammedans. The site of Shechem is said to be of unrivalled beauty. Stanley says it is "the most beautiful, perhaps the only very beautiful, spot in Central Israel." Gaza, near Shechem, only mentioned 1 Chr. 7:28, has entirely disappeared. It was destroyed at the time of the Conquest, and its place was taken by Shechem. (See SYCHAR T0003542.)
the chosen of Jehovah. Some contend that Mount Gerizim is meant, but most probably we are to regard this as one of the hills of Jerusalem. Here Solomon's temple was built, on the spot that had been the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite (2 Sam. 24:24, 25; 2 Chr. 3:1). It is usually included in Zion, to the NE of which it lay, and from which it was separated by the Tyropoean valley. This was "the land of Moriah" to which Abraham went to offer up his son Isaac (Gen. 22:2). It has been supposed that the highest point of the temple hill, which is now covered by the Mohammedan Kubbetes-Sakhrah, or "Dome of the Rock," is the actual site of Araunah's threshing-floor. Here also, one thousand years after Abraham, David built an altar and offered sacrifices to God. (See JERUSALEM T0002043; NUMBERING THE PEOPLE T0002753.)
hired (Gen. 30:18). "God hath given me," said Leah, "my hire (Heb. sekhari)...and she called his name Issachar." He was Jacob's ninth son, and was born in Padan-aram (compare 28:2). He had four sons at the going down into Egypt (46:13; Num. 26:23, 25). Issachar, Tribe of, during the journey through the wilderness, along with Judah and Zebulun (Num. 2:5), marched on the east of the tabernacle. This tribe contained 54,400 fighting men when the census was taken at Sinai. After the entrance into the Promised Land, this tribe was one of the six which stood on Gerizim during the ceremony of the blessing and cursing (Deut. 27:12). The allotment of Issachar is described in Josh. 19:17-23. It included the plain of Esdraelon (=Jezreel), which was and still is the richest portion of Israel (Deut. 33:18, 19; 1 Chr. 12:40). The prophetic blessing pronounced by Jacob on Issachar corresponds with that of Moses (Gen. 49:14, 15; compare Deut. 33:18, 19).
the name given to the new and mixed inhabitants whom Esarhaddon (B.C. 677), the king of Assyria, brought from Babylon and other places and settled in the cities of Samaria, instead of the original inhabitants whom Sargon (B.C. 721) had removed into captivity (2 Kings 17:24; compare Ezra 4:2, 9, 10). These strangers (compare Luke 17:18) amalgamated with the Jews still remaining in the land, and gradually abandoned their old idolatry and adopted partly the Jewish religion. After the return from the Captivity, the Jews in Jerusalem refused to allow them to take part with them in rebuilding the temple, and hence sprang up an open enmity between them. They erected a rival temple on Mount Gerizim, which was, however, destroyed by a Jewish king (B.C. 130). They then built another at Shechem. The bitter enmity between the Jews and Samaritans continued in the time of our Lord: the Jews had "no dealings with the Samaritans" (John 4:9; compare Luke 9:52, 53). Our Lord was in contempt called "a Samaritan" (John 8:48). Many of the Samaritans early embraced the gospel (John 4:5-42; Acts 8:25; 9:31; 15:3). Of these Samaritans there still remains a small population of about one hundred and sixty, who all reside in Shechem, where they carefully observe the religious customs of their fathers. They are the "smallest and oldest sect in the world."
Jehovah is perfect. (1.) The youngest of Gideon's seventy sons. He escaped when the rest were put to death by the order of Abimelech (Judg. 9:5). When "the citizens of Shechem and the whole house of Millo" were gathered together "by the plain of the pillar" (i.e., the stone set up by Joshua, 24:26; compare Gen. 35:4) "that was in Shechem, to make Abimelech king," from one of the heights of Mount Gerizim he protested against their doing so in the earliest parable, that of the bramble-king. His words then spoken were prophetic. There came a recoil in the feelings of the people toward Abimelech, and then a terrible revenge, in which many were slain and the city of Shechem was destroyed by Abimelech (Judg. 9:45). Having delivered his warning, Jotham fled to Beer from the vengeance of Abimelech (9:7-21). (2.) The son and successor of Uzziah on the throne of Judah. As during his last years Uzziah was excluded from public life on account of his leprosy, his son, then twenty-five years of age, administered for seven years the affairs of the kingdom in his father's stead (2 Chr. 26:21, 23; 27:1). After his father's death he became sole monarch, and reigned for sixteen years (B.C. 759-743). He ruled in the fear of God, and his reign was prosperous. He was contemporary with the prophets Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah, by whose ministrations he profited. He was buried in the sepulchre of the kings, greatly lamented by the people (2 Kings 15:38; 2 Chr. 27:7-9).
Commandments, the Ten
(Ex. 34:28; Deut. 10:4, marg. "ten words") i.e., the Decalogue (q.v.), is a summary of the immutable moral law. These commandments were first given in their written form to the people of Israel when they were encamped at Sinai, about fifty days after they came out of Egypt (Ex. 19:10-25). They were written by the finger of God on two tables of stone. The first tables were broken by Moses when he brought them down from the mount (32:19), being thrown by him on the ground. At the command of God he took up into the mount two other tables, and God wrote on them "the words that were on the first tables" (34:1). These tables were afterwards placed in the ark of the covenant (Deut. 10:5; 1 Kings 8:9). Their subsequent history is unknown. They are as a whole called "the covenant" (Deut. 4:13), and "the tables of the covenant" (9:9, 11; Heb. 9:4), and "the testimony." They are obviously "ten" in number, but their division is not fixed, hence different methods of numbering them have been adopted. The Jews make the "Preface" one of the commandments, and then combine the first and second. The Roman Catholics and Lutherans combine the first and second and divide the tenth into two. The Jews and Josephus divide them equally. The Lutherans and Roman Catholics refer three commandments to the first table and seven to the second. The Greek and Reformed Churches refer four to the first and six to the second table. The Samaritans add to the second that Gerizim is the mount of worship. (See LAW T0002249.)
(John 4:5, 6). This is one of the few sites in Israel about which there is no dispute. It was dug by Jacob, and hence its name, in the "parcel of ground" which he purchased from the sons of Hamor (Gen. 33:19). It still exists, but although after copious rains it contains a little water, it is now usually quite dry. It is at the entrance to the valley between Ebal and Gerizim, about 2 miles south-east of Shechem. It is about 9 feet in diameter and about 75 feet in depth, though in ancient times it was no doubt much deeper, probably twice as deep. The digging of such a well must have been a very laborious and costly undertaking. "Unfortunately, the well of Jacob has not escaped that misplaced religious veneration which cannot be satisfied with leaving the object of it as it is, but must build over it a shrine to protect and make it sacred. A series of buildings of various styles, and of different ages, have cumbered the ground, choked up the well, and disfigured the natural beauty and simplicity of the spot. At present the rubbish in the well has been cleared out; but there is still a domed structure over it, and you gaze down the shaft cut in the living rock and see at a depth of 70 feet the surface of the water glimmering with a pale blue light in the darkness, while you notice how the limestone blocks that form its curb have been worn smooth, or else furrowed by the ropes of centuries" (Hugh Macmillan). At the entrance of the enclosure round the well is planted in the ground one of the wooden poles that hold the telegraph wires between Jerusalem and Haifa.
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.
On the return from the Exile, the Jews refused the Samaritans participation with them in the worship at Jerusalem, and the latter separated from all fellowship with them, and built a temple for themselves on Mount Gerizim. This temple was razed to the ground more than one hundred years B.C. Then a system of worship was instituted similar to that of the temple at Jerusalem. It was founded on the Law, copies of which had been multiplied in Israel as well as in Judah. Thus the Pentateuch was preserved among the Samaritans, although they never called it by this name, but always "the Law," which they read as one book. The division into five books, as we now have it, however, was adopted by the Samaritans, as it was by the Jews, in all their priests' copies of "the Law," for the sake of convenience. This was the only portion of the Old Testament which was accepted by the Samaritans as of divine authority. The form of the letters in the manuscript copies of the Samaritan Pentateuch is different from that of the Hebrew copies, and is probably the same as that which was in general use before the Captivity. There are other peculiarities in the writing which need not here be specified. There are important differences between the Hebrew and the Samaritan copies of the Pentateuch in the readings of many sentences. In about two thousand instances in which the Samaritan and the Jewish texts differ, the LXX. agrees with the former. The New Testament also, when quoting from the Old Testament, agrees as a rule with the Samaritan text, where that differs from the Jewish. Thus Ex. 12:40 in the Samaritan reads, "Now the sojourning of the children of Israel and of their fathers which they had dwelt in the land of Canaan and in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years" (compare Gal. 3:17). It may be noted that the LXX. has the same reading of this text.
heard of God. The peculiar circumstances connected with his birth are recorded in 1 Sam. 1:20. Hannah, one of the two wives of Elkanah, who came up to Shiloh to worship before the Lord, earnestly prayed to God that she might become the mother of a son. Her prayer was graciously granted; and after the child was weaned she brought him to Shiloh nd consecrated him to the Lord as a perpetual Nazarite (1:23-2:11). Here his bodily wants and training were attended to by the women who served in the tabernacle, while Eli cared for his religious culture. Thus, probably, twelve years of his life passed away. "The child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men" (2:26; compare Luke 2:52). It was a time of great and growing degeneracy in Israel (Judg. 21:19-21; 1 Sam. 2:12-17, 22). The Philistines, who of late had greatly increased in number and in power, were practically masters of the country, and kept the people in subjection (1 Sam. 10:5; 13:3). At this time new communications from God began to be made to the pious child. A mysterious voice came to him in the night season, calling him by name, and, instructed by Eli, he answered, "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth." The message that came from the Lord was one of woe and ruin to Eli and his profligate sons. Samuel told it all to Eli, whose only answer to the terrible denunciations (1 Sam. 3:11-18) was, "It is the Lord; let him do what seemeth him good", the passive submission of a weak character, not, in his case, the expression of the highest trust and faith. The Lord revealed himself now in divers manners to Samuel, and his fame and his influence increased throughout the land as of one divinely called to the prophetical office. A new period in the history of the kingdom of God now commenced. The Philistine yoke was heavy, and the people, groaning under the wide-spread oppression, suddenly rose in revolt, and "went out against the Philistines to battle." A fierce and disastrous battle was fought at Aphek, near to Ebenezer (1 Sam. 4:1, 2). The Israelites were defeated, leaving 4,000 dead "in the field." The chiefs of the people thought to repair this great disaster by carrying with them the ark of the covenant as the symbol of Jehovah's presence. They accordingly, without consulting Samuel, fetched it out of Shiloh to the camp near Aphek. At the sight of the ark among them the people "shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again." A second battle was fought, and again the Philistines defeated the Israelites, stormed their camp, slew 30,000 men, and took the sacred ark. The tidings of this fatal battle was speedily conveyed to Shiloh; and so soon as the aged Eli heard that the ark of God was taken, he fell backward from his seat at the entrance of the sanctuary, and his neck brake, and he died. The tabernacle with its furniture was probably, by the advice of Samuel, now about twenty years of age, removed from Shiloh to some place of safety, and finally to Nob, where it remained many years (21:1). The Philistines followed up their advantage, and marched upon Shiloh, which they plundered and destroyed (compare Jer. 7:12; Ps. 78:59). This was a great epoch in the history of Israel. For twenty years after this fatal battle at Aphek the whole land lay under the oppression of the Philistines. During all these dreary years Samuel was a spiritual power in the land. From Ramah, his native place, where he resided, his influence went forth on every side among the people. With unwearied zeal he went up and down from place to place, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting the people, endeavouring to awaken in them a sense of their sinfulness, and to lead them to repentance. His labors were so far successful that "all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord." Samuel summoned the people to Mizpeh, one of the loftiest hills in Central Israel, where they fasted and prayed, and prepared themselves there, under his direction, for a great war against the Philistines, who now marched their whole force toward Mizpeh, in order to crush the Israelites once for all. At the intercession of Samuel God interposed in behalf of Israel. Samuel himself was their leader, the only occasion in which he acted as a leader in war. The Philistines were utterly routed. They fled in terror before the army of Israel, and a great slaughter ensued. This battle, fought probably about B.C. 1095, put an end to the forty years of Philistine oppression. In memory of this great deliverance, and in token of gratitude for the help vouchsafed, Samuel set up a great stone in the battlefield, and called it "Ebenezer," saying, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us" (1 Sam. 7:1-12). This was the spot where, twenty years before, the Israelites had suffered a great defeat, when the ark of God was taken. This victory over the Philistines was followed by a long period of peace for Israel (1 Sam. 7:13, 14), during which Samuel exercised the functions of judge, going "from year to year in circuit" from his home in Ramah to Bethel, thence to Gilgal (not that in the Jordan valley, but that which lay to the west of Ebal and Gerizim), and returning by Mizpeh to Ramah. He established regular services at Shiloh, where he built an altar; and at Ramah he gathered a company of young men around him and established a school of the prophets. The schools of the prophets, thus originated, and afterwards established also at Gibeah, Bethel, Gilgal, and Jericho, exercised an important influence on the national character and history of the people in maintaining pure religion in the midst of growing corruption. They continued to the end of the Jewish commonwealth. Many years now passed, during which Samuel exercised the functions of his judicial office, being the friend and counsellor of the people in all matters of private and public interest. He was a great statesman as well as a reformer, and all regarded him with veneration as the "seer," the prophet of the Lord. At the close of this period, when he was now an old man, the elders of Israel came to him at Ramah (1 Sam. 8:4, 5, 19-22); and feeling how great was the danger to which the nation was exposed from the misconduct of Samuel's sons, whom he had invested with judicial functions as his assistants, and had placed at Beersheba on the Philistine border, and also from a threatened invasion of the Ammonites, they demanded that a king should be set over them. This request was very displeasing to Samuel. He remonstrated with them, and warned them of the consequences of such a step. At length, however, referring the matter to God, he acceded to their desires, and anointed Saul (q.v.) to be their king (11:15). Before retiring from public life he convened an assembly of the people at Gilgal (ch. 12), and there solemnly addressed them with reference to his own relation to them as judge and prophet. The remainder of his life he spent in retirement at Ramah, only occasionally and in special circumstances appearing again in public (1 Sam. 13, 15) with communications from God to king Saul. While mourning over the many evils which now fell upon the nation, he is suddenly summoned (ch.16) to go to Bethlehem and anoint David, the son of Jesse, as king over Israel instead of Saul. After this little is known of him till the time of his death, which took place at Ramah when he was probably about eighty years of age. "And all Israel gathered themselves together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah" (25:1), not in the house itself, but in the court or garden of his house. (Compare 2 Kings 21:18; 2 Chr. 33:20; 1 Kings 2:34; John 19:41.) Samuel's devotion to God, and the special favour with which God regarded him, are referred to in Jer. 15:1 and Ps. 99:6.
father of a multitude, son of Terah, named (Gen. 11:27) before his older brothers Nahor and Haran, because he was the heir of the promises. Till the age of seventy, Abram sojourned among his kindred in his native country of Chaldea. He then, with his father and his family and household, quitted the city of Ur, in which he had hitherto dwelt, and went some 300 miles north to Haran, where he abode fifteen years. The cause of his migration was a call from God (Acts 7:2-4). There is no mention of this first call in the Old Testament; it is implied, however, in Gen. 12. While they tarried at Haran, Terah died at the age of 205 years. Abram now received a second and more definite call, accompanied by a promise from God (Gen. 12:1,2); whereupon he took his departure, taking his nephew Lot with him, "not knowing whither he went" (Heb. 11:8). He trusted implicitly to the guidance of Him who had called him. Abram now, with a large household of probably a thousand souls, entered on a migratory life, and dwelt in tents. Passing along the valley of the Jabbok, in the land of Canaan, he formed his first encampment at Sichem (Gen. 12:6), in the vale or oak-grove of Moreh, between Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the south. Here he received the great promise, "I will make of thee a great nation," etc. (Gen. 12:2,3,7). This promise comprehended not only temporal but also spiritual blessings. It implied that he was the chosen ancestor of the great Deliverer whose coming had been long ago predicted (Gen. 3:15). Soon after this, for some reason not mentioned, he removed his tent to the mountain district between Bethel, then called Luz, and Ai, towns about two miles apart, where he built an altar to "Jehovah." He again moved into the southern tract of Israel, called by the Hebrews the Negeb; and was at length, on account of a famine, compelled to go down into Egypt. This took place in the time of the Hyksos, a Semitic race which now held the Egyptians in bondage. Here occurred that case of deception on the part of Abram which exposed him to the rebuke of Pharaoh (Gen. 12:18). Sarai was restored to him; and Pharaoh loaded him with presents, recommending him to withdraw from the country. He returned to Canaan richer than when he left it, "in cattle, in silver, and in gold" (Gen. 12:8; 13:2. Compare Ps. 105:13, 14). The whole party then moved northward, and returned to their previous station near Bethel. Here disputes arose between Lot's shepherds and those of Abram about water and pasturage. Abram generously gave Lot his choice of the pasture-ground. (Compare 1 Cor. 6:7.) He chose the well-watered plain in which Sodom was situated, and removed thither; and thus the uncle and nephew were separated. Immediately after this Abram was cheered by a repetition of the promises already made to him, and then removed to the plain or "oak-grove" of Mamre, which is in Hebron. He finally settled here, pitching his tent under a famous oak or terebinth tree, called "the oak of Mamre" (Gen. 13:18). This was his third resting-place in the land. Some fourteen years before this, while Abram was still in Chaldea, Israel had been invaded by Chedorlaomer, King of Elam, who brought under tribute to him the five cities in the plain to which Lot had removed. This tribute was felt by the inhabitants of these cities to be a heavy burden, and after twelve years they revolted. This brought upon them the vengeance of Chedorlaomer, who had in league with him four other kings. He ravaged the whole country, plundering the towns, and carrying the inhabitants away as slaves. Among those thus treated was Lot. Hearing of the disaster that had fallen on his nephew, Abram immediately gathered from his own household a band of 318 armed men, and being joined by the Amoritish chiefs Mamre, Aner, and Eshcol, he pursued after Chedorlaomer, and overtook him near the springs of the Jordan. They attacked and routed his army, and pursued it over the range of Anti-Libanus as far as to Hobah, near Damascus, and then returned, bringing back all the spoils that had been carried away. Returning by way of Salem, i.e., Jerusalem, the king of that place, Melchizedek, came forth to meet them with refreshments. To him Abram presented a tenth of the spoils, in recognition of his character as a priest of the most high God (Gen. 14:18-20). In a recently-discovered tablet, dated in the reign of the grandfather of Amraphel (Gen. 14:1), one of the witnesses is called "the Amorite, the son of Abiramu," or Abram. Having returned to his home at Mamre, the promises already made to him by God were repeated and enlarged (Gen. 13:14). "The word of the Lord" (an expression occurring here for the first time) "came to him" (15:1). He now understood better the future that lay before the nation that was to spring from him. Sarai, now seventy-five years old, in her impatience, persuaded Abram to take Hagar, her Egyptian maid, as a concubine, intending that whatever child might be born should be reckoned as her own. Ishmael was accordingly thus brought up, and was regarded as the heir of these promises (Gen. 16). When Ishmael was thirteen years old, God again revealed yet more explicitly and fully his gracious purpose; and in token of the sure fulfilment of that purpose the patriarch's name was now changed from Abram to Abraham (Gen. 17:4,5), and the rite of circumcision was instituted as a sign of the covenant. It was then announced that the heir to these covenant promises would be the son of Sarai, though she was now ninety years old; and it was directed that his name should be Isaac. At the same time, in commemoration of the promises, Sarai's name was changed to Sarah. On that memorable day of God's thus revealing his design, Abraham and his son Ishmael and all the males of his house were circumcised (Gen. 17). Three months after this, as Abraham sat in his tent door, he saw three men approaching. They accepted his proffered hospitality, and, seated under an oak-tree, partook of the fare which Abraham and Sarah provided. One of the three visitants was none other than the Lord, and the other two were angels in the guise of men. The Lord renewed on this occasion his promise of a son by Sarah, who was rebuked for her unbelief. Abraham accompanied the three as they proceeded on their journey. The two angels went on toward Sodom; while the Lord tarried behind and talked with Abraham, making known to him the destruction that was about to fall on that guilty city. The patriarch interceded earnestly in behalf of the doomed city. But as not even ten righteous persons were found in it, for whose sake the city would have been spared, the threatened destruction fell upon it; and early next morning Abraham saw the smoke of the fire that consumed it as the "smoke of a furnace" (Gen. 19:1-28). After fifteen years' residence at Mamre, Abraham moved southward, and pitched his tent among the Philistines, near to Gerar. Here occurred that sad instance of prevarication on his part in his relation to Abimelech the King (Gen. 20). (See ABIMELECH T0000040.) Soon after this event, the patriarch left the vicinity of Gerar, and moved down the fertile valley about 25 miles to Beersheba. It was probably here that Isaac was born, Abraham being now an hundred years old. A feeling of jealousy now arose between Sarah and Hagar, whose son, Ishmael, was no longer to be regarded as Abraham's heir. Sarah insisted that both Hagar and her son should be sent away. This was done, although it was a hard trial to Abraham (Gen. 21:12). (See HAGAR T0001583; ISHMAEL T0001903.) At this point there is a blank in the patriarch's history of perhaps twenty-five years. These years of peace and happiness were spent at Beersheba. The next time we see him his faith is put to a severe test by the command that suddenly came to him to go and offer up Isaac, the heir of all the promises, as a sacrifice on one of the mountains of Moriah. His faith stood the test (Heb. 11:17-19). He proceeded in a spirit of unhesitating obedience to carry out the command; and when about to slay his son, whom he had laid on the altar, his uplifted hand was arrested by the angel of Jehovah, and a ram, which was entangled in a thicket near at hand, was seized and offered in his stead. From this circumstance that place was called Jehovah-jireh, i.e., "The Lord will provide." The promises made to Abraham were again confirmed (and this was the last recorded word of God to the patriarch); and he descended the mount with his son, and returned to his home at Beersheba (Gen. 22:19), where he resided for some years, and then moved northward to Hebron. Some years after this Sarah died at Hebron, being 127 years old. Abraham acquired now the needful possession of a burying-place, the cave of Machpelah, by purchase from the owner of it, Ephron the Hittite (Gen. 23); and there he buried Sarah. His next care was to provide a wife for Isaac, and for this purpose he sent his steward, Eliezer, to Haran (or Charran, Acts 7:2), where his brother Nahor and his family resided (Gen. 11:31). The result was that Rebekah, the daughter of Nahor's son Bethuel, became the wife of Isaac (Gen. 24). Abraham then himself took to wife Keturah, who became the mother of six sons, whose descendants were afterwards known as the "children of the east" (Judg. 6:3), and later as "Saracens." At length all his wanderings came to an end. At the age of 175 years, 100 years after he had first entered the land of Canaan, he died, and was buried in the old family burying-place at Machpelah (Gen. 25:7-10). The history of Abraham made a wide and deep impression on the ancient world, and references to it are interwoven in the religious traditions of almost all Eastern nations. He is called "the friend of God" (James 2:23), "faithful Abraham" (Gal. 3:9), "the father of us all" (Rom. 4:16).