The temple erected by the exiles on their return from Babylon
had stood for about five hundred years, when Herod the Great
became king of Judea. The building had suffered considerably
from natural decay as well as from the assaults of hostile
armies, and Herod, desirous of gaining the favour of the Jews,
proposed to rebuild it. This offer was accepted, and the work
was begun (B.C. 18), and carried out at great labour and
expense, and on a scale of surpassing splendour. The main part
of the building was completed in ten years, but the erection of
the outer courts and the embellishment of the whole were carried
on during the entire period of our Lord's life on earth (John
2:16, 19-21), and the temple was completed only A.D. 65. But it
was not long permitted to exist. Within forty years after our
Lord's crucifixion, his prediction of its overthrow was
accomplished (Luke 19: 41-44). The Roman legions took the city
of Jerusalem by storm, and notwithstanding the strenuous efforts
Titus made to preserve the temple, his soldiers set fire to it
in several places, and it was utterly destroyed (A.D. 70), and
was never rebuilt.
Several remains of Herod's stately temple have by recent
explorations been brought to light. It had two courts, one
intended for the Israelites only, and the other, a large outer
court, called "the court of the Gentiles," intended for the use
of strangers of all nations. These two courts were separated by
a low wall, as Josephus states, some 4 1/2 feet high, with
thirteen openings. Along the top of this dividing wall, at
regular intervals, were placed pillars bearing in Greek an
inscription to the effect that no stranger was, on the pain of
death, to pass from the court of the Gentiles into that of the
Jews. At the entrance to a graveyard at the north-western angle
of the Haram wall, a stone was discovered by M. Ganneau in 1871,
built into the wall, bearing the following inscription in Greek
capitals: "No stranger is to enter within the partition wall and
enclosure around the sanctuary. Whoever is caught will be
responsible to himself for his death, which will ensue."
There can be no doubt that the stone thus discovered was one
of those originally placed on the boundary wall which separated
the Jews from the Gentiles, of which Josephus speaks.
It is of importance to notice that the word rendered
"sanctuary" in the inscription was used in a specific sense of
the inner court, the court of the Israelites, and is the word
rendered "temple" in John 2:15 and Acts 21:28, 29. When Paul
speaks of the middle wall of partition (Eph. 2:14), he probably
makes allusion to this dividing wall. Within this partition wall
stood the temple proper, consisting of, (1) the court of the
women, 8 feet higher than the outer court; (2) 10 feet higher
than this court was the court of Israel; (3) the court of the
priests, again 3 feet higher; and lastly (4) the temple floor, 8
feet above that; thus in all 29 feet above the level of the
The summit of Mount Moriah, on which the temple stood, is now
occupied by the Haram esh-Sherif, i.e., "the sacred enclosure."
This enclosure is about 1,500 feet from north to south, with a
breadth of about 1,000 feet, covering in all a space of about 35
acres. About the centre of the enclosure is a raised platform,
16 feet above the surrounding space, and paved with large stone
slabs, on which stands the Mohammedan mosque called Kubbet
es-Sahkra i.e., the "Dome of the Rock," or the Mosque of Omar.
This mosque covers the site of Solomon's temple. In the centre
of the dome there is a bare, projecting rock, the highest part
of Moriah (q.v.), measuring 60 feet by 40, standing 6 feet above
the floor of the mosque, called the sahkra, i.e., "rock." Over
this rock the altar of burnt-offerings stood. It was the
threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite. The exact position on
this "sacred enclosure" which the temple occupied has not been
yet definitely ascertained. Some affirm that Herod's temple
covered the site of Solomon's temple and palace, and in addition
enclosed a square of 300 feet at the south-western angle. The
temple courts thus are supposed to have occupied the southern
portion of the "enclosure," forming in all a square of more than
900 feet. It is argued by others that Herod's temple occupied a
square of 600 feet at the south-west of the "enclosure."
a little wing, (Matt. 4:5; Luke 4:9). On the southern side of
the temple court was a range of porches or cloisters forming
three arcades. At the south-eastern corner the roof of this
cloister was some 300 feet above the Kidron valley. The
pinnacle, some parapet or wing-like projection, was above this
roof, and hence at a great height, probably 350 feet or more
above the valley.
Heb. dishon, "springing", (Deut. 14:5), one of the animals
permitted for food. It is supposed to be the Antelope addax. It
is described as "a large animal, over 3 1/2 feet high at the
shoulder, and, with its gently-twisted horns, 2 1/2 feet long.
Its colour is pure white, with the exception of a short black
mane, and a tinge of tawny on the shoulders and back.",
Tristram's Natural History.
Siloam, Pool of
sent or sending. Here a notable miracle was wrought by our Lord
in giving sight to the blind (John 9:7-11). It has been
identified with the Birket Silwan in the lower Tyropoeon valley,
to the south-east of the hill of Zion.
The water which flows into this pool intermittingly by a
subterranean channel springs from the "Fountain of the Virgin"
(q.v.). The length of this channel, which has several windings,
is 1,750 feet, though the direct distance is only 1,100 feet.
The pool is 53 feet in length from north to south, 18 feet wide,
and 19 deep. The water passes from it by a channel cut in the
rock into the gardens below. (See EN-ROGEL T0001214.)
Many years ago (1880) a youth, while wading up the conduit by
which the water enters the pool, accidentally discovered an
inscription cut in the rock, on the eastern side, about 19 feet
from the pool. This is the oldest extant Hebrew record of the
kind. It has with great care been deciphered by scholars, and
has been found to be an account of the manner in which the
tunnel was constructed. Its whole length is said to be "twelve
hundred cubits;" and the inscription further notes that the
workmen, like the excavators of the Mont Cenis Tunnel, excavated
from both ends, meeting in the middle.
Some have argued that the inscription was cut in the time of
Solomon; others, with more probability, refer it to the reign of
Hezekiah. A more ancient tunnel was discovered in 1889 some 20
feet below the ground. It is of smaller dimensions, but more
direct in its course. It is to this tunnel that Isaiah (8:6)
The Siloam inscription above referred to was surreptitiously
cut from the wall of the tunnel in 1891 and broken into
fragments. These were, however, recovered by the efforts of the
British Consul at Jerusalem, and have been restored to their
(Heb. hargol, meaning "leaper"). Mention of it is made only in
Lev. 11:22, where it is obvious the word cannot mean properly
the beetle. It denotes some winged creeper with at least four
feet, "which has legs above its feet, to leap withal." The
description plainly points to the locust (q.v.). This has been
an article of food from the earliest times in the East to the
present day. The word is rendered "cricket" in the Revised
so called by the Romans; called Artemis by the Greeks, the
"great" goddess worshipped among heathen nations under various
modifications. Her most noted temple was that at Ephesus. It was
built outside the city walls, and was one of the seven wonders
of the ancient world. "First and last it was the work of 220
years; built of shining marble; 342 feet long by 164 feet broad;
supported by a forest of columns, each 56 feet high; a sacred
museum of masterpieces of sculpture and painting. At the centre,
hidden by curtains, within a gorgeous shrine, stood the very
ancient image of the goddess, on wood or ebony reputed to have
fallen from the sky. Behind the shrine was a treasury, where, as
in 'the safest bank in Asia,' nations and kings stored their
most precious things. The temple as St. Paul saw it subsisted
till A.D. 262, when it was ruined by the Goths" (Acts
19:23-41)., Moule on Ephesians: Introd.
(LXX., "Orech"), length, or Moon-town, one of the cities of
Nimrod's kingdom in the plain of Shinar (Gen. 10:10); the Orchoe
of the Greeks and Romans. It was probably the city of the
Archevites, who were transplanted to Samaria by Asnapper (Ezra
4:9). It lay on the left bank of the Euphrates, about 120 miles
south-east of Babylon, and is now represented by the mounds and
ruins of Warka. It appears to have been the necropolis of the
Assyrian kings, as the whole region is strewed with bricks and
the remains of coffins. "Standing on the summit of the principal
edifice, called the Buwarizza, a tower 200 feet square in the
centre of the ruins, the beholder is struck with astonishment at
the enormous accumulation of mounds and ancient relics at his
feet. An irregular circle, nearly 6 miles in circumference, is
defined by the traces of an earthen rampart, in some places 40
Fountain of the Virgin
the perennial source from which the Pool of Siloam (q.v.) is
supplied, the waters flowing in a copious stream to it through a
tunnel cut through the rock, the actual length of which is 1,750
feet. The spring rises in a cave 20 feet by 7. A serpentine
tunnel 67 feet long runs from it toward the left, off which the
tunnel to the Pool of Siloam branches. It is the only unfailing
fountain in Jerusalem.
The fountain received its name from the "fantastic legend"
that here the virgin washed the swaddling-clothes of our Lord.
This spring has the singular characteristic of being
intermittent, flowing from three to five times daily in winter,
twice daily in summer, and only once daily in autumn. This
peculiarity is accounted for by the supposition that the outlet
from the reservoir is by a passage in the form of a siphon.
a mountain some 1,200 feet high, about 7 miles north-west of
Jericho, the traditional scene of our Lord's temptation (Matt.
a stadium, a Greek measure of distance equal to 606 feet and 9
inches (Luke 24:13; John 6:19; 11:18; Rev. 14:20; 21:16).
a fortress in Jerusalem, at the north-west corner of the temple
area. It is called "the castle" (Acts 21:34, 37). From the
stairs of this castle Paul delivered his famous speech to the
multitude in the area below (Acts 22:1-21). It was originally a
place in which were kept the vestments of the high priest. Herod
fortified it, and called it Antonia in honour of his friend Mark
Antony. It was of great size, and commanded the temple. It was
built on a plateau of rock, separated on the north from the hill
Bezetha by a ditch about 30 feet deep and 165 feet wide.
a seal used to attest documents (Dan. 6:8-10, 12). In 6:17, this
word properly denotes a ring. The impression of a signet ring on
fine clay has recently been discovered among the ruins at
Nineveh. It bears the name and title of an Egyptian king. Two
actual signet rings of ancient Egyptian monarchs (Cheops and
Horus) have also been discovered.
When digging a shaft close to the south wall of the temple
area, the engineers of the Israel Exploration Fund, at a
depth of 12 feet below the surface, came upon a pavement of
polished stones, formerly one of the streets of the city. Under
this pavement they found a stratum of 16 feet of concrete, and
among this concrete, 10 feet down, they found a signet stone
bearing the inscription, in Old Hebrew characters, "Haggai, son
of Shebaniah." It has been asked, Might not this be the actual
seal of Haggai the prophet? We know that he was in Jerusalem
after the Captivity; and it is somewhat singular that he alone
of all the minor prophets makes mention of a signet (Hag. 2:23).
(See SEAL T0003246.)
(Old A.S. faethm, "bosom," or the outstretched arms), a span of
six feet (Acts 27:28). Gr. orguia (from orego, "I stretch"), the
distance between the extremities of both arms fully stretched
(from Lat. mille, "a thousand;" Matt. 5:41), a Roman measure of
1,000 paces of 5 feet each. Thus the Roman mile has 1618 yards,
being 142 yards shorter than the English mile.
are frequently met with at the waters of Merom and the Sea of
Galilee. The pelican is ranked among unclean birds (Lev. 11:18;
Deut. 14:17). It is of an enormous size, being about 6 feet
long, with wings stretching out over 12 feet. The Hebrew name
(kaath, i.e., "vomiter") of this bird is incorrectly rendered
"cormorant" in the Authorized Version of Isa. 34:11 and Zeph.
2:14, but correctly in the Revised Version. It receives its
Hebrew name from its habit of storing in its pouch large
quantities of fish, which it disgorges when it feeds its young.
Two species are found on the Syrian coast, the Pelicanus
onocrotalus, or white pelican, and the Pelicanus crispus, or
a lily, the Susa of Greek and Roman writers, once the capital of
Elam. It lay in the uplands of Susiana, on the east of the
Tigris, about 150 miles to the north of the head of the Persian
Gulf. It is the modern Shush, on the northwest of Shuster. Once
a magnificent city, it is now an immense mass of ruins. Here
Daniel saw one of his visions (Dan. 8); and here also Nehemiah
(Neh. 1) began his public life. Most of the events recorded in
the Book of Esther took place here. Modern explorers have
brought to light numerous relics, and the ground-plan of the
splendid palace of Shushan, one of the residences of the great
king, together with numerous specimens of ancient art, which
illustrate the statements of Scripture regarding it (Dan. 8:2).
The great hall of this palace (Esther 1) "consisted of several
magnificent groups of columns, together with a frontage of 343
feet 9 inches, and a depth of 244 feet. These groups were
arranged into a central phalanx of thirty-six columns (six rows
of six each), flanked on the west, north, and east by an equal
number, disposed in double rows of six each, and distant from
them 64 feet 2 inches." The inscriptions on the ruins represent
that the palace was founded by Darius and completed by
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
(3.) A descendant of Seir the Horite (Gen. 36:23).
sacred land or high land, the name of a country on one of the
mountains of which the ark rested after the Flood subsided (Gen.
8:4). The "mountains" mentioned were probably the Kurdish range
of South Armenia. In 2 Kings 19:37, Isa. 37:38, the word is
rendered "Armenia" in the Authorized Version, but in the Revised
Version, "Land of Ararat." In Jer. 51:27, the name denotes the
central or southern portion of Armenia. It is, however,
generally applied to a high and almost inaccessible mountain
which rises majestically from the plain of the Araxes. It has
two conical peaks, about 7 miles apart, the one 14,300 feet and
the other 10,300 feet above the level of the plain. Three
thousand feet of the summit of the higher of these peaks is
covered with perpetual snow. It is called Kuh-i-nuh, i.e.,
"Noah's mountain", by the Persians. This part of Armenia was
inhabited by a people who spoke a language unlike any other now
known, though it may have been related to the modern Georgian.
About B.C. 900 they borrowed the cuneiform characters of
Nineveh, and from this time we have inscriptions of a line of
kings who at times contended with Assyria. At the close of the
seventh century B.C. the kingdom of Ararat came to an end, and
the country was occupied by a people who are ancestors of the
Armenians of the present day.
terebinth or oak. (1.) Valley of, where the Israelites were
encamped when David killed Goliath (1 Sam. 17:2, 19). It was
near Shochoh of Judah and Azekah (17:1). It is the modern Wady
es-Sunt, i.e., "valley of the acacia." "The terebinths from
which the valley of Elah takes its name still cling to their
ancient soil. On the west side of the valley, near Shochoh,
there is a very large and ancient tree of this kind known as the
'terebinth of Wady Sur,' 55 feet in height, its trunk 17 feet in
circumference, and the breadth of its shade no less than 75
feet. It marks the upper end of the Elah valley, and forms a
noted object, being one of the largest terebinths in Israel."
Geikie's, The Holy Land, etc.
(2.) One of the Edomite chiefs or "dukes" of Mount Seir (Gen.
(3.) The second of the three sons of Caleb, the son of
Jephunneh (1 Chr. 4:15).
(4.) The son and successor of Baasha, king of Israel (1 Kings
16:8-10). He was killed while drunk by Zimri, one of the
captains of his chariots, and was the last king of the line of
Baasha. Thus was fullfilled the prophecy of Jehu (6, 7, 11-14).
(5.) The father of Hoshea, the last king of Israel (2 Kings
used sometimes figuratively. To "lay down the neck" (Rom. 16:4)
is to hazard one's life. Threatenings of coming judgments are
represented by the prophets by their laying bands upon the
people's necks (Deut. 28:48; Isa. 10:27; Jer. 27:2). Conquerors
put their feet on the necks of their enemies as a sign of their
subjection (Josh. 10:24; 2 Sam. 22:41).
(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
"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.
= Kedron = Cedron, turbid, the winter torrent which flows
through the Valley of Jehoshaphat, on the eastern side of
Jerusalem, between the city and the Mount of Olives. This valley
is known in Scripture only by the name "the brook Kidron." David
crossed this brook bare-foot and weeping, when fleeing from
Absalom (2 Sam. 15:23, 30), and it was frequently crossed by our
Lord in his journeyings to and fro (John 18:1). Here Asa burned
the obscene idols of his mother (1 Kings 15:13), and here
Athaliah was executed (2 Kings 11:16). It afterwards became the
receptacle for all manner of impurities (2 Chr. 29:16; 30:14);
and in the time of Josiah this valley was the common cemetery of
the city (2 Kings 23:6; compare Jer. 26:23).
Through this mountain ravine no water runs, except after heavy
rains in the mountains round about Jerusalem. Its length from
its head to en-Rogel is 2 3/4 miles. Its precipitous, rocky
banks are filled with ancient tombs, especially the left bank
opposite the temple area. The greatest desire of the Jews is to
be buried there, from the idea that the Kidron is the "valley of
Jehoshaphat" mentioned in Joel 3:2.
Below en-Rogel the Kidron has no historical or sacred
interest. It runs in a winding course through the wilderness of
Judea to the north-western shore of the Dead Sea. Its whole
length, in a straight line, is only some 20 miles, but in this
space its descent is about 3,912 feet. (See KEDRON T0002166.)
Recent excavations have brought to light the fact that the old
bed of the Kidron is about 40 feet lower than its present bed,
and about 70 feet nearer the sanctuary wall.
(Egypt. Ses-Ra, "servant of Ra"). (1.) The captain of Jabin's
army (Judg. 4:2), which was routed and destroyed by the army of
Barak on the plain of Esdraelon. After all was lost he fled to
the settlement of Heber the Kenite in the plain of Zaanaim.
Jael, Heber's wife, received him into her tent with apparent
hospitality, and "gave him butter" (i.e., lebben, or curdled
milk) "in a lordly dish." Having drunk the refreshing beverage,
he lay down, and soon sank into the sleep of the weary. While he
lay asleep Jael crept stealthily up to him, and taking in her
hand one of the tent pegs, with a mallet she drove it with such
force through his temples that it entered into the ground where
he lay, and "at her feet he bowed, he fell; where he bowed,
there he fell down dead." The part of Deborah's song (Judg.
5:24-27) referring to the death of Sisera (which is a "mere
patriotic outburst," and "is no proof that purer eyes would have
failed to see gross sin mingling with Jael's service to Israel")
is thus rendered by Professor Roberts (Old Testament Revision):
"Extolled above women be Jael,
The wife of Heber the Kenite,
Extolled above women in the tent.
He asked for water, she gave him milk;
She brought him cream in a lordly dish.
She stretched forth her hand to the nail,
Her right hand to the workman's hammer,
And she smote Sisera; she crushed his head,
She crashed through and transfixed his temples.
At her feet he curled himself, he fell, he lay still;
At her feet he curled himself, he fell;
And where he curled himself, there he fell dead."
(2.) The ancestor of some of the Nethinim who returned with
Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:53; Neh. 7:55).
(Heb. tamar), the date-palm characteristic of Israel. It is
described as "flourishing" (Ps. 92:12), tall (Cant. 7:7),
"upright" (Jer. 10:5). Its branches are a symbol of victory
(Rev. 7:9). "Rising with slender stem 40 or 50, at times even
80, feet aloft, its only branches, the feathery, snow-like,
pale-green fronds from 6 to 12 feet long, bending from its top,
the palm attracts the eye wherever it is seen." The whole land
of Israel was called by the Greeks and Romans Phoenicia,
i.e., "the land of palms." Tadmor in the desert was called by
the Greeks and Romans Palmyra, i.e., "the city of palms." The
finest specimens of this tree grew at Jericho (Deut. 34:3) and
Engedi and along the banks of the Jordan. Branches of the palm
tree were carried at the feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:40). At
our Lord's triumphal entrance into Jerusalem the crowds took
palm branches, and went forth to meet him, crying, "Hosanna:
Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the
Lord" (Matt. 21:8; John 12:13). (See DATE T0000979.)
Ex. 25:30 (R.V. marg., "presence bread"); 1 Chr. 9:32 (marg.,
"bread of ordering"); Num. 4:7: called "hallowed bread" (R.V.,
"holy bread") in 1 Sam. 21:1-6.
This bread consisted of twelve loaves made of the finest
flour. They were flat and thin, and were placed in two rows of
six each on a table in the holy place before the Lord. They were
renewed every Sabbath (Lev. 24:5-9), and those that were removed
to give place to the new ones were to be eaten by the priests
only in the holy place (see 1 Sam. 21:3-6; compare Matt. 12:3, 4).
The number of the loaves represented the twelve tribes of
Israel, and also the entire spiritual Israel, "the true Israel;"
and the placing of them on the table symbolized the entire
consecration of Israel to the Lord, and their acceptance of God
as their God. The table for the bread was made of acacia wood, 3
feet long, 18 inches broad, and 2 feet 3 inches high. It was
plated with pure gold. Two staves, plated with gold, passed
through golden rings, were used for carrying it.
(i.e., "Valley of the Cheesemongers"), the name given by
Josephus the historian to the valley or rugged ravine which in
ancient times separated Mount Moriah from Mount Zion. This
valley, now filled up with a vast accumulation of rubbish, and
almost a plain, was spanned by bridges, the most noted of which
was Zion Bridge, which was probably the ordinary means of
communication between the royal palace on Zion and the temple. A
fragment of the arch (q.v.) of this bridge (called "Robinson's
Arch"), where it projects from the sanctuary wall, was
discovered by Robinson in 1839. This arch was destroyed by the
Romans when Jerusalem was taken.
The western wall of the temple area rose up from the bottom of
this valley to the height of 84 feet, where it was on a level
with the area, and above this, and as a continuance of it, the
wall of Solomon's cloister rose to the height of about 50 feet,
"so that this section of the wall would originally present to
view a stupendous mass of masonry scarcely to be surpassed by
any mural masonry in the world."
occurs only in Job 30:4 (R.V., "saltwort"). The word so rendered
(malluah, from melah, "salt") most probably denotes the Atriplex
halimus of Linnaeus, a species of sea purslane found on the
shores of the Dead Sea, as also of the Mediterranean, and in
salt marshes. It is a tall shrubby orach, growing to the height
sometimes of 10 feet. Its buds and leaves, with those of other
saline plants, are eaten by the poor in Israel.
Pools of Solomon
the name given to three large open cisterns at Etam, at the head
of the Wady Urtas, having an average length of 400 feet by 220
in breadth, and 20 to 30 in depth. These pools derive their
chief supply of water from a spring called "the sealed
fountain," about 200 yards to the north-west of the upper pool,
to which it is conveyed by a large subterranean passage. They
are 150 feet distant from each other, and each pool is 20 feet
lower than that above it, the conduits being so arranged that
the lowest, which is the largest and finest of the three, is
filled first, and then in succession the others. It has been
estimated that these pools cover in all a space of about 7
acres, and are capable of containing three million gallons of
water. They were, as is generally supposed, constructed in the
days of Solomon. They are probably referred to in Eccles. 2:6.
On the fourth day after his victory over the Ammonites, etc., in
the wilderness of Tekoa, Jehoshaphat assembled his army in the
valley of Berachah ("blessing"), and there blessed the Lord.
Berachah has been identified with the modern Bereikut, some 5
miles south of Wady Urtas, and hence the "valley of Berachah"
may be this valley of pools, for the word means both "blessing"
and "pools;" and it has been supposed, therefore, that this
victory was celebrated beside Solomon's pools (2 Chr. 20:26).
These pools were primarily designed to supply Jerusalem with
water. From the lower pool an aqueduct has been traced conveying
the water through Bethlehem and across the valley of Gihon, and
along the west slope of the Tyropoeon valley, till it finds its
way into the great cisterns underneath the temple hill. The
water, however, from the pools reaches now only to Bethlehem.
The aqueduct beyond this has been destroyed.
The Philistines from the maritime plain had made incursions into
the Hebrew upland for the purposes of plunder, when one of this
name, the son of Anath, otherwise unknown, headed a rising for
the purpose of freeing the land from this oppression. He
repelled the invasion, slaying 600 men with an "ox goad" (q.v.).
The goad was a formidable sharpointed instrument, sometimes ten
feet long. He was probably contemporary for a time with Deborah
and Barak (Judg. 3:31; 5:6).
Heb. Yarden, "the descender;" Arab. Nahr-esh-Sheriah, "the
watering-place" the chief river of Israel. It flows from
north to south down a deep valley in the centre of the country.
The name descender is significant of the fact that there is
along its whole course a descent to its banks; or it may simply
denote the rapidity with which it "descends" to the Dead Sea.
It originates in the snows of Hermon, which feed its perennial
fountains. Two sources are generally spoken of. (1.) From the
western base of a hill on which once stood the city of Dan, the
northern border-city of Israel, there gushes forth a
considerable fountain called the Leddan, which is the largest
fountain in Syria and the principal source of the Jordan. (2.)
Beside the ruins of Banias, the ancient Caesarea Philippi and
the yet more ancient Panium, is a lofty cliff of limestone, at
the base of which is a fountain. This is the other source of the
Jordan, and has always been regarded by the Jews as its true
source. It rushes down to the plain in a foaming torrent, and
joins the Leddan about 5 miles south of Dan (Tell-el-Kady). (3.)
But besides these two historical fountains there is a third,
called the Hasbany, which rises in the bottom of a valley at the
western base of Hermon, 12 miles north of Tell-el-Kady. It joins
the main stream about a mile below the junction of the Leddan
and the Banias. The river thus formed is at this point about 45
feet wide, and flows in a channel from 12 to 20 feet below the
plain. After this it flows, "with a swift current and a
much-twisted course," through a marshy plain for some 6 miles,
when it falls into the Lake Huleh, "the waters of Merom" (q.v.).
During this part of its course the Jordan has descended about
1,100 feet. At Banias it is 1,080 feet above sea-level. Flowing
from the southern extremity of Lake Huleh, here almost on a
level with the sea, it flows for 2 miles "through a waste of
islets and papyrus," and then for 9 miles through a narrow gorge
in a foaming torrent onward to the Sea of Galilee (q.v.).
"In the whole valley of the Jordan from the Lake Huleh to the
Sea of Galilee there is not a single settled inhabitant. Along
the whole eastern bank of the river and the lakes, from the base
of Hermon to the ravine of Hieromax, a region of great
fertility, 30 miles long by 7 or 8 wide, there are only some
three inhabited villages. The western bank is almost as
desolate. Ruins are numerous enough. Every mile or two is an old
site of town or village, now well nigh hid beneath a dense
jungle of thorns and thistles. The words of Scripture here recur
to us with peculiar force: 'I will make your cities waste, and
bring your sanctuaries unto desolation...And I will bring the
land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall
be astonished at it...And your land shall be desolate, and your
cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as
it lieth desolate' (Lev. 26:31-34).", Dr. Porter's Handbook.
From the Sea of Galilee, at the level of 682 feet below the
Mediterranean, the river flows through a long, low plain called
"the region of Jordan" (Matt. 3:5), and by the modern Arabs the
Ghor, or "sunken plain." This section is properly the Jordan of
Scripture. Down through the midst of the "plain of Jordan" there
winds a ravine varying in breadth from 200 yards to half a mile,
and in depth from 40 to 150 feet. Through it the Jordan flows in
a rapid, rugged, tortuous course down to the Dead Sea. The whole
distance from the southern extremity of the Sea of Galilee to
the Dead Sea is in a straight line about 65 miles, but following
the windings of the river about 200 miles, during which it falls
618 feet. The total length of the Jordan from Banias is about
104 miles in a straight line, during which it falls 2,380 feet.
There are two considerable affluents which enter the river
between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, both from the east.
(1.) The Wady Mandhur, called the Yarmuk by the Rabbins and the
Hieromax by the Greeks. It formed the boundary between Bashan
and Gilead. It drains the plateau of the Hauran. (2.) The Jabbok
or Wady Zerka, formerly the northern boundary of Ammon. It
enters the Jordan about 20 miles north of Jericho.
The first historical notice of the Jordan is in the account of
the separation of Abraham and Lot (Gen. 13:10). "Lot beheld the
plain of Jordan as the garden of the Lord." Jacob crossed and
recrossed "this Jordan" (32:10). The Israelites passed over it
as "on dry ground" (Josh. 3:17; Ps. 114:3). Twice afterwards its
waters were miraculously divided at the same spot by Elijah and
Elisha (2 Kings 2:8, 14).
The Jordan is mentioned in the Old Testament about one hundred
and eighty times, and in the New Testament fifteen times. The
chief events in gospel history connected with it are (1) John
the Baptist's ministry, when "there went out to him Jerusalem,
and all Judaea, and were baptized of him in Jordan" (Matt. 3:6).
(2.) Jesus also "was baptized of John in Jordan" (Mark 1:9).
house of a vineyard, a place in the tribe of Judah (Neh. 3:14)
where the Benjamites were to set up a beacon when they heard the
trumpet against the invading army of the Babylonians (Jer. 6:1).
It is probable that this place is the modern 'Ain Karim, or
"well of the vineyards," near which there is a ridge on which
are cairns which may have served as beacons of old, one of which
is 40 feet high and 130 in diameter.
=Gerasa, identified with the modern Khersa, "over against
Galilee," close to the lake. This was probably the scene of the
miracle, Mark 5:1-20, etc. "From the base of the great plateau
of Bashan, 2,000 feet or more overhead, the ground slopes down
steeply, in places precipitously, to the shore. And at the foot
of the declivity a bold spur runs out to the water's edge. By it
the frantic swine would rush on headlong into the lake and
perish." Porter's Through Samaria. (See GADARA T0001406.)
lame on the feet (Gen. 32:31; Ps. 38:17). To "halt between two
opinions" (1 Kings 18:21) is supposed by some to be an
expression used in "allusion to birds, which hop from spray to
spray, forwards and backwards." The LXX. render the expression
"How long go ye lame on both knees?" The Hebrew verb rendered
"halt" is used of the irregular dance ("leaped upon") around the
altar (ver. 26). It indicates a lame, uncertain gait, going now
in one direction, now in another, in the frenzy of wild leaping.
fountain of the kid, place in the wilderness of Judah (Josh.
15:62), on the western shore of the Dead Sea (Ezek. 47:10), and
nearly equidistant from both extremities. To the wilderness near
this town David fled for fear of Saul (Josh. 15:62; 1 Sam.
23:29). It was at first called Hazezon-tamar (Gen. 14:7), a city
of the Amorites.
The vineyards of Engedi were celebrated in Solomon's time
(Cant. 1:4). It is the modern 'Ain Jidy. The "fountain" from
which it derives its name rises on the mountain side about 600
feet above the sea, and in its rapid descent spreads luxuriance
all around it. Along its banks the osher grows abundantly. That
shrub is thus described by Porter: "The stem is stout, measuring
sometimes nearly a foot in diameter, and the plant grows to the
height of 15 feet or more. It has a grayish bark and long oval
leaves, which when broken off discharge a milky fluid. The fruit
resembles an apple, and hangs in clusters of two or three. When
ripe it is of a rich yellow colour, but on being pressed it
explodes like a puff-ball. It is chiefly filled with air...This
is the so-called 'apple of Sodom.'" Through Samaria, etc. (See
Heb. gad, (Ex. 16:31; Num. 11:7), seed to which the manna is
likened in its form and colour. It is the Coriandrum sativum of
botanists, an umbelliferous annual plant with a round stalk,
about two feet high. It is widely cultivated in Eastern
countries and in the south of Europe for the sake of its seeds,
which are in the form of a little ball of the size of a
peppercorn. They are used medicinally and as a spice. The Greek
name of this plant is korion or koriannon, whence the name
The word "full" is from the Anglo-Saxon fullian, meaning "to
whiten." To full is to press or scour cloth in a mill. This art
is one of great antiquity. Mention is made of "fuller's soap"
(Mal. 3:2), and of "the fuller's field" (2 Kings 18:17). At his
transfiguration our Lord's rainment is said to have been white
"so as no fuller on earth could white them" (Mark 9:3). En-rogel
(q.v.), meaning literally "foot-fountain," has been interpreted
as the "fuller's fountain," because there the fullers trod the
cloth with their feet.
the fruit of the olive-tree. This tree yielded oil which was
highly valued. The best oil was from olives that were plucked
before being fully ripe, and then beaten or squeezed (Deut.
24:20; Isa. 17:6; 24:13). It was called "beaten," or "fresh oil"
(Ex. 27:20). There were also oil-presses, in which the oil was
trodden out by the feet (Micah 6:15). James (3:12) calls the
fruit "olive berries." The phrase "vineyards and olives" (Judg.
15:5, A.V.) should be simply "olive-yard," or "olive-garden," as
in the Revised Version. (See OIL T0002774.)
hill; mound, the long, narrow, rounded promontory on the
southern slope of the temple hill, between the Tyropoeon and the
Kedron valley (2 Chr. 27:3; 33:14; Neh. 3:26, 27). It was
surrounded by a separate wall, and was occupied by the Nethinim
after the Captivity. This wall has been discovered by the
engineers of the Israel Exploration Fund at the south-eastern
angle of the temple area. It is 4 feet below the present
surface. In 2 Kings 5:24 this word is translated "tower" (R.V.,
"hill"), denoting probably some eminence near Elisha's house.
mentioned only in Judg. 3:31, the weapon with which Shamgar
(q.v.) slew six hundred Philistines. "The ploughman still
carries his goad, a weapon apparently more fitted for the hand
of the soldier than the peaceful husbandman. The one I saw was
of the 'oak of Bashan,' and measured upwards of ten feet in
length. At one end was an iron spear, and at the other a piece
of the same metal flattened. One can well understand how a
warrior might use such a weapon with effect in the battle-field"
(Porter's Syria, etc.). (See GOAD T0001508.)
When the Hebrews crossed the Jordan, as soon as the feet of the
priests were dipped in the water, the flow of the stream was
arrested. The point of arrest was the "city of Adam beside
Zaretan," probably near Succoth, at the mouth of the Jabbok,
some 30 miles up the river from where the people were encamped.
There the water "stood and rose upon an heap." Thus the whole
space of 30 miles of the river-bed was dry, that the tribes
might pass over (Josh. 3:16, 17; compare Ps. 104:3).
stony heap, an "island," as it has been called, of rock about 30
miles by 20, rising 20 or 30 feet above the table-land of
Bashan; a region of crags and chasms wild and rugged in the
extreme. On this "island" stood sixty walled cities, ruled over
by Og. It is called Trachonitis ("the rugged region") in the New
Testament (Luke 3:1). These cities were conquered by the
Israelites (Deut. 3:4; 1 Kings 4:13). It is now called the
Lejah. Here "sixty walled cities are still traceable in a space
of 308 square miles. The architecture is ponderous and massive.
Solid walls 4 feet thick, and stones on one another without
cement; the roofs enormous slabs of basaltic rock, like iron;
the doors and gates are of stone 18 inches thick, secured by
ponderous bars. The land bears still the appearance of having
been called the 'land of giants' under the giant Og." "I have
more than once entered a deserted city in the evening, taken
possession of a comfortable house, and spent the night in peace.
Many of the houses in the ancient cities of Bashan are perfect,
as if only finished yesterday. The walls are sound, the roofs
unbroken, and even the window-shutters in their places. These
ancient cities of Bashan probably contain the very oldest
specimens of domestic architecture in the world" (Porter's Giant
Cities). (See BASHAN T0000461.)
There are six Hebrew words rendered "oak."
(1.) 'El occurs only in the word El-paran (Gen. 14:6). The
LXX. renders by "terebinth." In the plural form this word occurs
in Isa. 1:29; 57:5 (A.V. marg. and R.V., "among the oaks"); 61:3
("trees"). The word properly means strongly, mighty, and hence a
(2.) 'Elah, Gen. 35:4, "under the oak which was by Shechem"
(R.V. marg., "terebinth"). Isa. 6:13, A.V., "teil-tree;" R.V.,
"terebinth." Isa. 1:30, R.V. marg., "terebinth." Absalom in his
flight was caught in the branches of a "great oak" (2 Sam. 18:9;
R.V. marg., "terebinth").
(3.) 'Elon, Judg. 4:11; 9:6 (R.V., "oak;" A.V., following the
Targum, "plain") properly the deciduous species of oak shedding
its foliage in autumn.
(4.) 'Elan, only in Dan. 4:11,14,20, rendered "tree" in
Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Probably some species of the oak is
(5.) 'Allah, Josh. 24:26. The place here referred to is called
Allon-moreh ("the oak of Moreh," as in R.V.) in Gen. 12:6 and
(6.) 'Allon, always rendered "oak." Probably the evergreen oak
(called also ilex and holm oak) is intended. The oak woods of
Bashan are frequently alluded to (Isa. 2:13; Ezek. 27:6). Three
species of oaks are found in Israel, of which the "prickly
evergreen oak" (Quercus coccifera) is the most abundant. "It
covers the rocky hills of Israel with a dense brushwood of
trees from 8 to 12 feet high, branching from the base, thickly
covered with small evergreen rigid leaves, and bearing acorns
copiously." The so-called Abraham's oak at Hebron is of this
species. Tristram says that this oak near Hebron "has for
several centuries taken the place of the once renowned terebinth
which marked the site of Mamre on the other side of the city.
The terebinth existed at Mamre in the time of Vespasian, and
under it the captive Jews were sold as slaves. It disappeared
about A.D. 330, and no tree now marks the grove of Mamre. The
present oak is the noblest tree in Southern Israel, being 23
feet in girth, and the diameter of the foliage, which is
unsymmetrical, being about 90 feet." (See HEBRON T0001712;
(Heb. malmad, only in Judg. 3: 31), an instrument used by
ploughmen for guiding their oxen. Shamgar slew six hundred
Philistines with an ox-goad. "The goad is a formidable weapon.
It is sometimes ten feet long, and has a sharp point. We could
now see that the feat of Shamgar was not so very wonderful as
some have been accustomed to think."
In 1 Sam. 13:21, a different Hebrew word is used, "dorban",
meaning something pointed. The expression (Acts 9:5, omitted in
the R.V.), "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks",
i.e., against the goad, was proverbial for unavailing resistance
to superior power.
Jezreel, Fountain of
where Saul encamped before the battle of Gilboa (1 Sam. 29:1).
In the valley under Zerin there are two considerable springs,
one of which, perhaps that here referred to, "flows from under a
sort of cavern in the wall of conglomerate rock which here forms
the base of Gilboa. The water is excellent; and issuing from
crevices in the rocks, it spreads out at once into a fine limpid
pool forty or fifty feet in diameter, full of fish" (Robinson).
This may be identical with the "well of Harod" (Judg. 7:1; compare
2 Sam. 23:25), probably the 'Ain Jalud, i.e., the "spring of
Babel, tower of
the name given to the tower which the primitive fathers of our
race built in the land of Shinar after the Deluge (Gen. 11:1-9).
Their object in building this tower was probably that it might
be seen as a rallying-point in the extensive plain of Shinar, to
which they had emigrated from the uplands of Armenia, and so
prevent their being scattered abroad. But God interposed and
defeated their design by condounding their language, and hence
the name Babel, meaning "confusion." In the Babylonian tablets
there is an account of this event, and also of the creation and
the deluge. (See CHALDEA T0000758.)
The Temple of Belus, which is supposed to occupy its site, is
described by the Greek historian Herodotus as a temple of great
extent and magnificence, erected by the Babylonians for their
god Belus. The treasures Nebuchadnezzar brought from Jerusalem
were laid up in this temple (2 Chr. 36:7).
The Birs Nimrud, at ancient Borsippa, about 7 miles south-west
of Hillah, the modern town which occupies a part of the site of
ancient Babylon, and 6 miles from the Euphrates, is an immense
mass of broken and fire-blasted fragments, of about 2,300 feet
in circumference, rising suddenly to the height of 235 feet
above the desert-plain, and is with probability regarded as the
ruins of the tower of Babel. This is "one of the most imposing
ruins in the country." Others think it to be the ruins of the
Temple of Belus.
Galilee, Sea of
(Matt. 4:18; 15:29), is mentioned in the Bible under three other
names. (1.) In the Old Testament it is called the "sea of
Chinnereth" (Num. 34:11; Josh. 12:3; 13:27), as is supposed from
its harp-like shape. (2). The "lake of Gennesareth" once by Luke
(5:1), from the flat district lying on its west coast. (3.) John
(6:1; 21:1) calls it the "sea of Tiberias" (q.v.). The modern
Arabs retain this name, Bahr Tabariyeh.
This lake is 12 1/2 miles long, and from 4 to 7 1/2 broad. Its
surface is 682 feet below the level of the Mediterranean. Its
depth is from 80 to 160 feet. The Jordan enters it 10 1/2 miles
below the southern extremity of the Huleh Lake, or about 26 1/2
miles from its source. In this distance of 26 1/2 miles there is
a fall in the river of 1,682 feet, or of more than 60 feet to
the mile. It is 27 miles east of the Mediterranean, and about 60
miles NE of Jerusalem. It is of an oval shape, and
abounds in fish.
Its present appearance is thus described: "The utter
loneliness and absolute stillness of the scene are exceedingly
impressive. It seems as if all nature had gone to rest,
languishing under the scorching heat. How different it was in
the days of our Lord! Then all was life and bustle along the
shores; the cities and villages that thickly studded them
resounded with the hum of a busy population; while from
hill-side and corn-field came the cheerful cry of shepherd and
ploughman. The lake, too, was dotted with dark fishing-boats and
spangled with white sails. Now a mournful, solitary silence
reigns over sea and shore. The cities are in ruins!"
This sea is chiefly of interest as associated with the public
ministry of our Lord. Capernaum, "his own city" (Matt. 9:1),
stood on its shores. From among the fishermen who plied their
calling on its waters he chose Peter and his brother Andrew, and
James and John, to be disciples, and sent them forth to be
"fishers of men" (Matt. 4:18,22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5: 1-11). He
stilled its tempest, saying to the storm that swept over it,
"Peace, be still" (Matt. 8:23-27; Mark 7:31-35); and here also
he showed himself after his resurrection to his disciples (John
"The Sea of Galilee is indeed the cradle of the gospel. The
subterranean fires of nature prepared a lake basin, through
which a river afterwards ran, keeping its waters always fresh.
In this basin a vast quantity of shell-fish swarmed, and
multiplied to such an extent that they formed the food of an
extraordinary profusion of fish. The great variety and abundance
of the fish in the lake attracted to its shores a larger and
more varied population than existed elsewhere in Israel,
whereby this secluded district was brought into contact with all
parts of the world. And this large and varied population, with
access to all nations and countries, attracted the Lord Jesus,
and induced him to make this spot the centre of his public
white, "the white mountain of Syria," is the loftiest and most
celebrated mountain range in Syria. It is a branch running
southward from the Caucasus, and at its lower end forking into
two parallel ranges, the eastern or Anti-Lebanon, and the
western or Lebanon proper. They enclose a long valley (Josh.
11:17) of from 5 to 8 miles in width, called by Roman writers
Coele-Syria, now called el-Buka'a, "the valley," a prolongation
of the valley of the Jordan.
Lebanon proper, Jebel es-Sharki, commences at its southern
extremity in the gorge of the Leontes, the ancient Litany, and
extends NE, parallel to the Mediterranean coast, as far
as the river Eleutherus, at the plain of Emesa, "the entering of
Hamath" (Num. 34:8; 1 Kings 8:65), in all about 90 geographical
miles in extent. The average height of this range is from 6,000
to 8,000 feet; the peak of Jebel Mukhmel is about 10,200 feet,
and the Sannin about 9,000. The highest peaks are covered with
perpetual snow and ice. In the recesses of the range wild beasts
as of old still abound (2 Kings 14:9; Cant. 4:8). The scenes of
the Lebanon are remarkable for their grandeur and beauty, and
supplied the sacred writers with many expressive similes (Ps.
29:5, 6; 72:16; 104:16-18; Cant. 4:15; Isa. 2:13; 35:2; 60:13;
Hos. 14:5). It is famous for its cedars (Cant. 5:15), its wines
(Hos. 14:7), and its cool waters (Jer. 18:14). The ancient
inhabitants were Giblites and Hivites (Josh. 13:5; Judg. 3:3).
It was part of the Phoenician kingdom (1 Kings 5:2-6).
The eastern range, or Anti-Lebanon, or "Lebanon towards the
sunrising," runs nearly parallel with the western from the plain
of Emesa till it connects with the hills of Galilee in the
south. The height of this range is about 5,000 feet. Its highest
peak is Hermon (q.v.), from which a number of lesser ranges
Lebanon is first mentioned in the description of the boundary
of Israel (Deut. 1:7; 11:24). It was assigned to Israel, but
was never conquered (Josh. 13:2-6; Judg. 3:1-3).
The Lebanon range is now inhabited by a population of about
300,000 Christians, Maronites, and Druses, and is ruled by a
Christian governor. The Anti-Lebanon is inhabited by
Mohammedans, and is under a Turkish ruler.
Heb. raham = "parental affection," Lev. 11:18; Deut. 14:17;
R.V., "vulture"), a species of vulture living entirely on
carrion. "It is about the size of a raven; has an almost
triangular, bald, and wrinkled head, a strong pointed beak,
black at the tip, large eyes and ears, the latter entirely on
the outside, and long feet." It is common in Egypt, where it is
popularly called "Pharaoh's chicken" (the Neophron
percnopterus), and is found in Israel only during summer.
Tristram thinks that the Hebrew name, which is derived from a
root meaning "to love," is given to it from the fact that the
male and female bird never part company.
the sacred city of the Hittites, on the left bank of the
Orontes, about 4 miles south of the Lake of Homs. It is
identified with the great mound Tell Neby Mendeh, some 50 to 100
feet high, and 400 yards long. On the ruins of the temple of
Karnak, in Egypt, has been found an inscription recording the
capture of this city by Rameses II. (See PHARAOH T0002923.)
Here the sculptor "has chiselled in deep work on the stone, with
a bold execution of the several parts, the procession of the
warriors, the battle before Kadesh, the storming of the
fortress, the overthrow of the enemy, and the camp life of the
Egyptians." (See HITTITES T0001794.)
only in Hos. 9:6, Hebrew Moph. In Isa. 19:13; Jer. 2:16; 46:14,
19; Ezek. 30:13, 16, it is mentioned under the name Noph. It was
the capital of Lower, i.e., of Northern Egypt. From certain
remains found half buried in the sand, the site of this ancient
city has been discovered near the modern village of Minyet
Rahinch, or Mitraheny, about 16 miles above the ancient head of
the Delta, and 9 miles south of Cairo, on the west bank of the
Nile. It is said to have been founded by Menes, the first king
of Egypt, and to have been in circumference about 19 miles.
"There are few remains above ground," says Manning (The Land of
the Pharaohs), "of the splendour of ancient Memphis. The city
has utterly disappeared. If any traces yet exist, they are
buried beneath the vast mounds of crumbling bricks and broken
pottery which meet the eye in every direction. Near the village
of Mitraheny is a colossal statue of Rameses the Great. It is
apparently one of the two described by Herodotus and Diodorus as
standing in front of the temple of Ptah. They were originally 50
feet in height. The one which remains, though mutilated,
measures 48 feet. It is finely carved in limestone, which takes
a high polish, and is evidently a portrait. It lies in a pit,
which, during the inundation, is filled with water. As we gaze
on this fallen and battered statue of the mighty conqueror who
was probably contemporaneous with Moses, it is impossible not to
remember the words of the prophet Isaiah, 19:13; 44:16-19, and
height, a lake in Northern Israel through which the Jordan
flows. It was the scene of the third and last great victory
gained by Joshua over the Canaanites (Josh. 11:5-7). It is not
again mentioned in Scripture. Its modern name is Bakrat
el-Huleh. "The Ard el-Huleh, the centre of which the lake
occupies, is a nearly level plain of 16 miles in length from
north to south, and its breadth from east to west is from 7 to 8
miles. On the west it is walled in by the steep and lofty range
of the hills of Kedesh-Naphtali; on the east it is bounded by
the lower and more gradually ascending slopes of Bashan; on the
north it is shut in by a line of hills hummocky and irregular in
shape and of no great height, and stretching across from the
mountains of Naphtali to the roots of Mount Hermon, which towers
up at the NEern angle of the plain to a height of 10,000
feet. At its southern extremity the plain is similarly traversed
by elevated and broken ground, through which, by deep and narrow
clefts, the Jordan, after passing through Lake Huleh, makes its
rapid descent to the Sea of Galilee."
The lake is triangular in form, about 4 1/2 miles in length by
3 1/2 at its greatest breadth. Its surface is 7 feet above that
of the Mediterranean. It is surrounded by a morass, which is
thickly covered with canes and papyrus reeds, which are
impenetrable. Macgregor with his canoe, the Rob Roy, was the
first that ever, in modern times, sailed on its waters. (See
the name given by Greek writers of the second century to that
inland sea called in Scripture the "salt sea" (Gen. 14:3; Num.
34:12), the "sea of the plain" (Deut. 3:17), the "east sea"
(Ezek. 47:18; Joel 2:20), and simply "the sea" (Ezek. 47:8). The
Arabs call it Bahr Lut, i.e., the Sea of Lot. It lies about 16
miles in a straight line to the east of Jerusalem. Its surface
is 1,292 feet below the surface of the Mediterranean Sea. It
covers an area of about 300 square miles. Its depth varies from
1,310 to 11 feet. From various phenomena that have been
observed, its bottom appears to be still subsiding. It is about
53 miles long, and of an average breadth of 10 miles. It has no
outlet, the great heat of that region causing such rapid
evaporation that its average depth, notwithstanding the rivers
that run into it (see JORDAN T0002112), is maintained with
little variation. The Jordan alone discharges into it no less
than six million tons of water every twenty-four hours.
The waters of the Dead Sea contain 24.6 per cent. of mineral
salts, about seven times as much as in ordinary sea-water; thus
they are unusually buoyant. Chloride of magnesium is most
abundant; next to that chloride of sodium (common salt). But
terraces of alluvial deposits in the deep valley of the Jordan
show that formerly one great lake extended from the Waters of
Merom to the foot of the watershed in the Arabah. The waters
were then about 1,400 feet above the present level of the Dead
Sea, or slightly above that of the Mediterranean, and at that
time were much less salt.
Nothing living can exist in this sea. "The fish carried down
by the Jordan at once die, nor can even mussels or corals live
in it; but it is a fable that no bird can fly over it, or that
there are no living creatures on its banks. Dr. Tristram found
on the shores three kinds of kingfishers, gulls, ducks, and
grebes, which he says live on the fish which enter the sea in
shoals, and presently die. He collected one hundred and eighteen
species of birds, some new to science, on the shores, or
swimming or flying over the waters. The cane-brakes which fringe
it at some parts are the homes of about forty species of
mammalia, several of them animals unknown in England; and
innumerable tropical or semi-tropical plants perfume the
atmosphere wherever fresh water can reach. The climate is
perfect and most delicious, and indeed there is perhaps no place
in the world where a sanatorium could be established with so
much prospect of benefit as at Ain Jidi (Engedi).", Geikie's
Storms of sand and dust sometimes overtake Eastern travellers.
They are very dreadful, many perishing under them. Jehovah
threatens to bring on the land of Israel, as a punishment for
forsaking him, a rain of "powder and dust" (Deut. 28:24).
To cast dust on the head was a sign of mourning (Josh. 7:6);
and to sit in dust, of extreme affliction (Isa. 47:1). "Dust" is
used to denote the grave (Job 7:21). "To shake off the dust from
one's feet" against another is to renounce all future
intercourse with him (Matt. 10:14; Acts 13:51). To "lick the
dust" is a sign of abject submission (Ps. 72:9); and to throw
dust at one is a sign of abhorrence (2 Sam. 16:13; compare Acts
(Heb. 'ahalim), a fragrant wood (Num. 24:6; Ps. 45:8; Prov.
7:17; Cant. 4:14), the Aquilaria agallochum of botanists, or, as
some suppose, the costly gum or perfume extracted from the wood.
It is found in China, Siam, and Northern India, and grows to the
height sometimes of 120 feet. This species is of great rarity
even in India. There is another and more common species, called
by Indians aghil, whence Europeans have given it the name of
Lignum aquile, or eagle-wood. Aloewood was used by the Egyptians
for embalming dead bodies. Nicodemus brought it (pounded
aloe-wood) to embalm the body of Christ (John 19:39); but
whether this was the same as that mentioned elsewhere is
The bitter aloes of the apothecary is the dried juice of the
leaves Aloe vulgaris.
(Heb. 'ezob; LXX. hyssopos), first mentioned in Ex. 12:22 in
connection with the institution of the Passover. We find it
afterwards mentioned in Lev. 14:4, 6, 52; Num. 19:6, 18; Heb.
9:19. It is spoken of as a plant "springing out of the wall" (1
Kings 4:33). Many conjectures have been formed as to what this
plant really was. Some contend that it was a species of marjoram
(origanum), six species of which are found in Israel. Others
with more probability think that it was the caper plant, the
Capparis spinosa of Linnaeus. This plant grew in Egypt, in the
desert of Sinai, and in Israel. It was capable of producing a
stem three or four feet in length (Matt. 27:48; Mark 15:36.
Compare John 19:29).
(Heb. copher), mentioned in Cant. 1:14 (R.V., "henna-flowers");
4:13 (R.V., "henna"), is the al-henna of the Arabs, a native of
Egypt, producing clusters of small white and yellow odoriferous
flowers, whence is made the Oleum Cyprineum. From its leaves is
made the peculiar auburn dye with which Eastern women stain
their nails and the palms of their hands. It is found only at
Engedi, on the shore of the Dead Sea. It is known to botanists
by the name Lawsonia alba or inermis, a kind of privet, which
grows 6 or 8 feet high. The margin of the Authorized Version of
the passages above referred to has "or cypress," not with
reference to the conifer so called, but to the circumstance that
one of the most highly appreciated species of this plant grew in
the island of Cyprus.
a wine-vat, one of the five royal cities of the Philistines
(Josh. 13:3) on which the ark brought calamity (1 Sam. 5:8, 9;
6:17). It was famous also as being the birthplace or residence
of Goliath (1 Sam. 17:4). David fled from Saul to Achish, king
of Gath (1 Sam. 21:10; 27:2-4; Ps. 56), and his connection with
it will account for the words in 2 Sam. 1:20. It was afterwards
conquered by David (2 Sam. 8:1). It occupied a strong position
on the borders of Judah and Philistia (1 Sam. 21:10; 1 Chr.
18:1). Its site has been identified with the hill called Tell
esSafieh, the Alba Specula of the Middle Ages, which rises 695
feet above the plain on its east edge. It is noticed on
monuments about B.C. 1500. (See METHEGAMMAH T0002516.)
or Bason. (1.) A trough or laver (Heb. aggan') for washing (Ex.
24:6); rendered also "goblet" (Cant. 7:2) and "cups" (Isa.
(2.) A covered dish or urn (Heb. k'for) among the vessels of
the temple (1 Chr. 28:17; Ezra 1:10; 8:27).
(3.) A vase (Heb. mizrak) from which to sprinkle anything. A
metallic vessel; sometimes rendered "bowl" (Amos 6:6; Zech.
9:15). The vessels of the tabernacle were of brass (Ex. 27:3),
while those of the temple were of gold (2 Chr. 4:8).
(4.) A utensil (Heb. saph) for holding the blood of the
victims (Ex. 12:22); also a basin for domestic purposes (2 Sam.
The various vessels spoken of by the names "basin, bowl,
charger, cup, and dish," cannot now be accurately distinguished.
The basin in which our Lord washed the disciples' feet (John
13:5) must have been larger and deeper than the hand-basin.
(Heb. lebonah; Gr. libanos, i.e., "white"), an odorous resin
imported from Arabia (Isa. 60:6; Jer. 6:20), yet also growing in
Israel (Cant. 4:14). It was one of the ingredients in the
perfume of the sanctuary (Ex. 30:34), and was used as an
accompaniment of the meat-offering (Lev. 2:1, 16; 6:15; 24:7).
When burnt it emitted a fragrant odour, and hence the incense
became a symbol of the Divine name (Mal. 1:11; Cant. 1:3) and an
emblem of prayer (Ps. 141:2; Luke 1:10; Rev. 5:8; 8:3).
This frankincense, or olibanum, used by the Jews in the temple
services is not to be confounded with the frankincense of modern
commerce, which is an exudation of the Norway spruce fir, the
Pinus abies. It was probably a resin from the Indian tree known
to botanists by the name of Boswellia serrata or thurifera,
which grows to the height of forty feet.
Gilead, Balm of
The region of Gilead abounded in spices and aromatic gums, which
were exported to Egypt and Tyre (Gen. 37:25; Jer. 8:22; 46:11;
Ezek. 27:17). The word "balm" is a contracted form of "balsam,"
a word derived from the Greek "balsamon", which was adopted as
the representative of the Hebrew words "baal shemen", meaning
"lord" or "chief of oils."
The Hebrew name of this balm was "tsori". The tree yielding
this medicinal oil was probably the Balsamodendron opobalsamum
of botanists, and the Amyris opobalsamum of Linnaeus. It is an
evergreen, rising to the height of about 14 feet. The oil or
resin, exuding through an orifice made in its bark in very small
quantities, is esteemed of great value for its supposed
medicinal qualities. (See BALM T0000427.) It may be noted that
Coverdale's version reads in Jer. 8:22, "There is no triacle in
Galaad." The word "triacle" = "treacle" is used in the sense of
the Black Fortress, was built by Herod the Great in the gorge of
Callirhoe, one of the wadies 9 miles east of the Dead Sea, as a
frontier rampart against Arab marauders. John the Baptist was
probably cast into the prison connected with this castle by
Herod Antipas, whom he had reproved for his adulterous marriage
with Herodias. Here Herod "made a supper" on his birthday. He
was at this time marching against Aretas, king of Perea, to
whose daughter he had been married. During the revelry of the
banquet held in the border fortress, to please Salome, who
danced before him, he sent an executioner, who beheaded John,
and "brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel"
(Mark 6:14-29). This castle stood "starkly bold and clear" 3,860
feet above the Dead Sea, and 2,546 above the Mediterranean. Its
ruins, now called M'khaur, are still visible on the northern end
of Jebel Attarus.
for grinding corn, mentioned as used in the time of Abraham
(Gen. 18:6). That used by the Hebrews consisted of two circular
stones, each 2 feet in diameter and half a foot thick, the lower
of which was called the "nether millstone" (Job 41:24) and the
upper the "rider." The upper stone was turned round by a stick
fixed in it as a handle. There were then no public mills, and
thus each family required to be provided with a hand-mill. The
corn was ground daily, generally by the women of the house (Isa.
47:1, 2; Matt. 24:41). It was with the upper stone of a
hand-mill that "a certain woman" at Thebez broke Abimelech's
skull (Judg. 9:53, "a piece of a millstone;" literally, "a
millstone rider", i.e., the "runner," the stone which revolves.
Compare 2 Sam. 11:21). Millstones could not be pledged (Deut.
24:6), as they were necessary in every family.
(1.) Heb. haral, "pricking" or "burning," Prov. 24:30, 31 (R.V.
marg., "wild vetches"); Job 30:7; Zeph. 2:9. Many have supposed
that some thorny or prickly plant is intended by this word, such
as the bramble, the thistle, the wild plum, the cactus or
prickly pear, etc. It may probably be a species of mustard, the
Sinapis arvensis, which is a pernicious weed abounding in
corn-fields. Tristram thinks that this word "designates the
prickly acanthus (Acanthus spinosus), a very common and
troublesome weed in the plains of Israel."
(2.) Heb. qimmosh, Isa. 34:13; Hos. 9:6; Prov. 24:31 (in both
versions, "thorns"). This word has been regarded as denoting
thorns, thistles, wild camomile; but probably it is correctly
rendered "nettle," the Urtica pilulifera, "a tall and vigorous
plant, often 6 feet high, the sting of which is much more severe
and irritating than that of our common nettle."
one of the seven deacons, who became a preacher of the gospel.
He was the first Christian martyr. His personal character and
history are recorded in Acts 6. "He fell asleep" with a prayer
for his persecutors on his lips (7:60). Devout men carried him
to his grave (8:2).
It was at the feet of the young Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus, that
those who stoned him laid their clothes (compare Deut. 17:5-7)
before they began their cruel work. The scene which Saul then
witnessed and the words he heard appear to have made a deep and
lasting impression on his mind (Acts 22:19, 20).
The speech of Stephen before the Jewish ruler is the first
apology for the universalism of the gospel as a message to the
Gentiles as well as the Jews. It is the longest speech contained
in the Acts, a place of prominence being given to it as a
sunny; height, one of the eminences on which Jerusalem was
built. It was surrounded on all sides, except the north, by deep
valleys, that of the Tyropoeon (q.v.) separating it from Moriah
(q.v.), which it surpasses in height by 105 feet. It was the
south-eastern hill of Jerusalem.
When David took it from the Jebusites (Josh. 15:63; 2 Sam.
5:7) he built on it a citadel and a palace, and it became "the
city of David" (1 Kings 8:1; 2 Kings 19:21, 31; 1 Chr. 11:5). In
the later books of the Old Testament this name was sometimes
used (Ps. 87:2; 149:2; Isa. 33:14; Joel 2:1) to denote Jerusalem
in general, and sometimes God's chosen Israel (Ps. 51:18; 87:5).
In the New Testament (see SION T0003448) it is used sometimes
to denote the Church of God (Heb. 12:22), and sometimes the
heavenly city (Rev. 14:1).
(1.) A house or dwelling-place (Job 5:24; 18:6, etc.).
(2.) A portable shrine (compare Acts 19:24) containing the image
of Moloch (Amos 5:26; marg. and R.V., "Siccuth").
(3.) The human body (2 Cor. 5:1, 4); a tent, as opposed to a
(4.) The sacred tent (Heb. mishkan, "the dwelling-place"); the
movable tent-temple which Moses erected for the service of God,
according to the "pattern" which God himself showed to him on
the mount (Ex. 25:9; Heb. 8:5). It is called "the tabernacle of
the congregation," rather "of meeting", i.e., where God promised
to meet with Israel (Ex. 29:42); the "tabernacle of the
testimony" (Ex. 38:21; Num. 1:50), which does not, however,
designate the whole structure, but only the enclosure which
contained the "ark of the testimony" (Ex. 25:16, 22; Num. 9:15);
the "tabernacle of witness" (Num. 17:8); the "house of the Lord"
(Deut. 23:18); the "temple of the Lord" (Josh. 6:24); a
"sanctuary" (Ex. 25:8).
A particular account of the materials which the people
provided for the erection and of the building itself is recorded
in Ex. 25-40. The execution of the plan mysteriously given to
Moses was intrusted to Bezaleel and Aholiab, who were specially
endowed with wisdom and artistic skill, probably gained in
Egypt, for this purpose (Ex. 35:30-35). The people provided
materials for the tabernacle so abundantly that Moses was under
the necessity of restraining them (36:6). These stores, from
which they so liberally contributed for this purpose, must have
consisted in a great part of the gifts which the Egyptians so
readily bestowed on them on the eve of the Exodus (12:35, 36).
The tabernacle was a rectangular enclosure, in length about 45
feet (i.e., reckoning a cubit at 18 inches) and in breadth and
height about 15. Its two sides and its western end were made of
boards of acacia wood, placed on end, resting in sockets of
brass, the eastern end being left open (Ex. 26:22). This
framework was covered with four coverings, the first of linen,
in which figures of the symbolic cherubim were wrought with
needlework in blue and purple and scarlet threads, and probably
also with threads of gold (Ex. 26:1-6; 36:8-13). Above this was
a second covering of twelve curtains of black goats'-hair cloth,
reaching down on the outside almost to the ground (Ex. 26:7-11).
The third covering was of rams' skins dyed red, and the fourth
was of badgers' skins (Heb. tahash, i.e., the dugong, a species
of seal), Ex. 25:5; 26:14; 35:7, 23; 36:19; 39:34.
Internally it was divided by a veil into two chambers, the
exterior of which was called the holy place, also "the
sanctuary" (Heb. 9:2) and the "first tabernacle" (6); and the
interior, the holy of holies, "the holy place," "the Holiest,"
the "second tabernacle" (Ex. 28:29; Heb. 9:3, 7). The veil
separating these two chambers was a double curtain of the finest
workmanship, which was never passed except by the high priest
once a year, on the great Day of Atonement. The holy place was
separated from the outer court which enclosed the tabernacle by
a curtain, which hung over the six pillars which stood at the
east end of the tabernacle, and by which it was entered.
The order as well as the typical character of the services of
the tabernacle are recorded in Heb. 9; 10:19-22.
The holy of holies, a cube of 10 cubits, contained the "ark of
the testimony", i.e., the oblong chest containing the two tables
of stone, the pot of manna, and Aaron's rod that budded.
The holy place was the western and larger chamber of the
tabernacle. Here were placed the table for the shewbread, the
golden candlestick, and the golden altar of incense.
Round about the tabernacle was a court, enclosed by curtains
hung upon sixty pillars (Ex. 27:9-18). This court was 150 feet
long and 75 feet broad. Within it were placed the altar of burnt
offering, which measured 7 1/2 feet in length and breadth and 4
1/2 feet high, with horns at the four corners, and the laver of
brass (Ex. 30:18), which stood between the altar and the
The whole tabernacle was completed in seven months. On the
first day of the first month of the second year after the
Exodus, it was formally set up, and the cloud of the divine
presence descended on it (Ex. 39:22-43; 40:1-38). It cost 29
talents 730 shekels of gold, 100 talents 1,775 shekels of
silver, 70 talents 2,400 shekels of brass (Ex. 38:24-31).
The tabernacle was so constructed that it could easily be
taken down and conveyed from place to place during the
wanderings in the wilderness. The first encampment of the
Israelites after crossing the Jordan was at Gilgal, and there
the tabernacle remained for seven years (Josh. 4:19). It was
afterwards removed to Shiloh (Josh. 18:1), where it remained
during the time of the Judges, till the days of Eli, when the
ark, having been carried out into the camp when the Israelites
were at war with the Philistines, was taken by the enemy (1 Sam.
4), and was never afterwards restored to its place in the
tabernacle. The old tabernacle erected by Moses in the
wilderness was transferred to Nob (1 Sam. 21:1), and after the
destruction of that city by Saul (22:9; 1 Chr. 16:39, 40), to
Gibeon. It is mentioned for the last time in 1 Chr. 21:29. A new
tabernacle was erected by David at Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6:17; 1
Chr. 16:1), and the ark was brought from Perez-uzzah and
deposited in it (2 Sam. 6:8-17; 2 Chr. 1:4).
The word thus rendered ('ohel) in Ex. 33:7 denotes simply a
tent, probably Moses' own tent, for the tabernacle was not yet
one of the royal cities of the Canaanites, now 'Aid-el-ma (Josh.
12:15; 15:35). It stood on the old Roman road in the valley of
Elah (q.v.), which was the scene of David's memorable victory
over Goliath (1 Sam. 17:2), and not far from Gath. It was one of
the towns which Rehoboam fortified against Egypt (2 Chr. 11:7).
It was called "the glory of Israel" (Micah 1:15).
The Cave of Adullam has been discovered about 2 miles south of
the scene of David's triumph, and about 13 miles west from
Bethlehem. At this place is a hill some 500 feet high pierced
with numerous caverns, in one of which David gathered together
"every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt,
and every one that was discontented" (1 Sam. 22:2). Some of
these caverns are large enough to hold 200 or 300 men. According
to tradition this cave was at Wady Khureitun, between Bethlehem
and the Dead Sea, but this view cannot be well maintained.
this word is found in Ex. 25:5; 26:14; 35:7, 23; 36:19; 39:34;
Num. 4:6, etc. The tabernacle was covered with badgers' skins;
the shoes of women were also made of them (Ezek. 16:10). Our
translators seem to have been misled by the similarity in sound
of the Hebrew "tachash" and the Latin "taxus", "a badger." The
revisers have correctly substituted "seal skins." The Arabs of
the Sinaitic peninsula apply the name "tucash" to the seals and
dugongs which are common in the Red Sea, and the skins of which
are largely used as leather and for sandals. Though the badger
is common in Israel, and might occur in the wilderness, its
small hide would have been useless as a tent covering. The
dugong, very plentiful in the shallow waters on the shores of
the Red Sea, is a marine animal from 12 to 30 feet long,
something between a whale and a seal, never leaving the water,
but very easily caught. It grazes on seaweed, and is known by
naturalists as Halicore tabernaculi.
fountain of the treaders; i.e., "foot-fountain;" also called the
"fullers' fountain," because fullers here trod the clothes in
water. It has been identified with the "fountain of the virgin"
(q.v.), the modern 'Ain Ummel-Daraj. Others identify it, with
perhaps some probability, with the Bir Eyub, to the south of the
Pool of Siloam, and below the junction of the valleys of Kidron
and Hinnom. (See FOUNTAIN T0001378.)
It was at this fountain that Jonathan and Ahimaaz lay hid
after the flight of David (2 Sam. 17:17); and here also Adonijah
held the feast when he aspired to the throne of his father (1
The Bir Eyub, or "Joab's well," "is a singular work of ancient
enterprise. The shaft sunk through the solid rock in the bed of
the Kidron is 125 feet deep...The water is pure and entirely
sweet, quite different from that of Siloam; which proves that
there is no connection between them." Thomson's Land and the
house of bread. (1.) A city in the "hill country" of Judah. It
was originally called Ephrath (Gen. 35:16, 19; 48:7; Ruth 4:11).
It was also called Beth-lehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2),
Beth-lehem-judah (1 Sam. 17:12), and "the city of David" (Luke
2:4). It is first noticed in Scripture as the place where Rachel
died and was buried "by the wayside," directly to the north of
the city (Gen. 48:7). The valley to the east was the scene of
the story of Ruth the Moabitess. There are the fields in which
she gleaned, and the path by which she and Naomi returned to the
town. Here was David's birthplace, and here also, in after
years, he was anointed as king by Samuel (1 Sam. 16:4-13); and
it was from the well of Bethlehem that three of his heroes
brought water for him at the risk of their lives when he was in
the cave of Adullam (2 Sam. 23:13-17). But it was distinguished
above every other city as the birthplace of "Him whose goings
forth have been of old" (Matt. 2:6; compare Micah 5:2). Afterwards
Herod, "when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men," sent
and slew "all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all
the coasts thereof, from two years old and under" (Matt. 2:16,
18; Jer. 31:15).
Bethlehem bears the modern name of Beit-Lahm, i.e., "house of
flesh." It is about 5 miles south of Jerusalem, standing at an
elevation of about 2,550 feet above the sea, thus 100 feet
higher than Jerusalem.
There is a church still existing, built by Constantine the
Great (A.D. 330), called the "Church of the Nativity," over a
grotto or cave called the "holy crypt," and said to be the
"stable" in which Jesus was born. This is perhaps the oldest
existing Christian church in the world. Close to it is another
grotto, where Jerome the Latin father is said to have spent
thirty years of his life in translating the Scriptures into
Latin. (See VERSION T0003768.)
(2.) A city of Zebulun, mentioned only in Josh. 19:15. Now
Beit-Lahm, a ruined village about 6 miles west-north-west of
a stream. (1.) One of the four rivers of Eden (Gen. 2:13). It
has been identified with the Nile. Others regard it as the Oxus,
or the Araxes, or the Ganges. But as, according to the sacred
narrative, all these rivers of Eden took their origin from the
head-waters of the Euphrates and the Trigris, it is probable
that the Gihon is the ancient Araxes, which, under the modern
name of the Arras, discharges itself into the Caspian Sea. It
was the Asiatic and not the African "Cush" which the Gihon
compassed (Gen. 10:7-10). (See EDEN T0001127.)
(2.) The only natural spring of water in or near Jerusalem is
the "Fountain of the Virgin" (q.v.), which rises outside the
city walls on the west bank of the Kidron valley. On the
occasion of the approach of the Assyrian army under Sennacherib,
Hezekiah, in order to prevent the besiegers from finding water,
"stopped the upper water course of Gihon, and brought it
straight down to the west side of the city of David" (2 Chr.
32:30; 33:14). This "fountain" or spring is therefore to be
regarded as the "upper water course of Gihon." From this
"fountain" a tunnel cut through the ridge which forms the south
part of the temple hill conveys the water to the Pool of Siloam,
which lies on the opposite side of this ridge at the head of the
Tyropoeon ("cheesemakers'") valley, or valley of the son of
Hinnom, now filled up by rubbish. The length of this tunnel is
about 1,750 feet. In 1880 an inscription was accidentally
discovered on the wall of the tunnel about nineteen feet from
where it opens into the Pool of Siloam. This inscription was
executed in all probability by Hezekiah's workmen. It briefly
narrates the history of the excavation. It may, however, be
possible that this tunnel was executed in the time of Solomon.
If the "waters of Shiloah that go softly" (Isa. 8:6) refers to
the gentle stream that still flows through the tunnel into the
Pool of Siloam, then this excavation must have existed before
the time of Hezekiah.
In the upper part of the Tyropoeoan valley there are two pools
still existing, the first, called Birket el-Mamilla, to the west
of the Jaffa gate; the second, to the south of the first, called
Birket es-Sultan. It is the opinion of some that the former was
the "upper" and the latter the "lower" Pool of Gihon (2 Kings
18:17; Isa. 7:3; 36:2; 22:9). (See CONDUIT T0000877; SILOAM
(Heb. tappuah, meaning "fragrance"). Probably the apricot or
quince is intended by the word, as Israel was too hot for the
growth of apples proper. It is enumerated among the most
valuable trees of Israel (Joel 1:12), and frequently referred
to in Canticles, and noted for its beauty (2:3, 5; 8:5). There
is nothing to show that it was the "tree of the knowledge of
good and evil." Dr. Tristram has suggested that the apricot has
better claims than any other fruit-tree to be the apple of
Scripture. It grows to a height of 30 feet, has a roundish mass
of glossy leaves, and bears an orange coloured fruit that gives
out a delicious perfume. The "apple of the eye" is the Heb.
"ishon", meaning manikin, i.e., the pupil of the eye (Prov.
7:2). (Compare the promise, Zech. 2:8; the prayer, Ps. 17:8; and
its fulfilment, Deut. 32:10.)
The so-called "apple of Sodom" some have supposed to be the
Solanum sanctum (Heb. hedek), rendered "brier" (q.v.) in Micah
7:4, a thorny plant bearing fruit like the potato-apple. This
shrub abounds in the Jordan valley. (See ENGEDI T0001207.)
=Askelon=Ascalon, was one of the five cities of the Philistines
(Josh. 13:3; 1 Sam. 6:17). It stood on the shore of the
Mediterranean, 12 miles north of Gaza. It is mentioned on an
inscription at Karnak in Egypt as having been taken by king
Rameses II., the oppressor of the Hebrews. In the time of the
judges (Judg. 1:18) it fell into the possession of the tribe of
Judah; but it was soon after retaken by the Philistines (2 Sam.
1:20), who were not finally dispossessed till the time of
Alexander the Great. Samson went down to this place from
Timnath, and slew thirty men and took their spoil. The prophets
foretold its destruction (Jer. 25:20; 47:5, 7). It became a
noted place in the Middle Ages, having been the scene of many a
bloody battle between the Saracens and the Crusaders. It was
beseiged and taken by Richard the Lion-hearted, and "within its
walls and towers now standing he held his court." Among the Tell
Amarna tablets (see EGYPT T0001137) are found letters or
official despatches from Yadaya, "captain of horse and dust of
the king's feet," to the "great king" of Egypt, dated from
Ascalon. It is now called 'Askalan.
house of mercy, a reservoir (Gr. kolumbethra, "a swimming bath")
with five porches, close to the sheep-gate or market (Neh. 3:1;
John 5:2). Eusebius the historian (A.D. 330) calls it "the
sheep-pool." It is also called "Bethsaida" and "Beth-zatha"
(John 5:2, R.V. marg.). Under these "porches" or colonnades were
usually a large number of infirm people waiting for the
"troubling of the water." It is usually identified with the
modern so-called Fountain of the Virgin, in the valley of the
Kidron, and not far from the Pool of Siloam (q.v.); and also
with the Birket Israel, a pool near the mouth of the valley
which runs into the Kidron south of "St. Stephen's Gate." Others
again identify it with the twin pools called the "Souterrains,"
under the convent of the Sisters of Zion, situated in what must
have been the rock-hewn ditch between Bezetha and the fortress
of Antonia. But quite recently Schick has discovered a large
tank, as sketched here, situated about 100 feet north-west of
St. Anne's Church, which is, as he contends, very probably the
Pool of Bethesda. No certainty as to its identification,
however, has as yet been arrived at. (See FOUNTAIN T0001378;
(Heb. shaphan; i.e., "the hider"), an animal which inhabits the
mountain gorges and the rocky districts of Arabia Petraea and
the Holy Land. "The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they
their houses in the rocks" (Prov. 30:26; Ps. 104:18). They are
gregarious, and "exceeding wise" (Prov. 30:24), and are
described as chewing the cud (Lev. 11:5; Deut. 14:7).
The animal intended by this name is known among naturalists as
the Hyrax Syriacus. It is neither a ruminant nor a rodent, but
is regarded as akin to the rhinoceros. When it is said to "chew
the cud," the Hebrew word so used does not necessarily imply the
possession of a ruminant stomach. "The lawgiver speaks according
to appearances; and no one can watch the constant motion of the
little creature's jaws, as it sits continually working its
teeth, without recognizing the naturalness of the expression"
(Tristram, Natural History of the Bible). It is about the size
and color of a rabbit, though clumsier in structure, and without
a tail. Its feet are not formed for digging, and therefore it
has its home not in burrows but in the clefts of the rocks.
"Coney" is an obsolete English word for "rabbit."
the capital of the Roman province of Peraea. It stood on the
summit of a mountain about 6 miles south-east of the Sea of
Galilee. Mark (5:1) and Luke (8:26-39) describe the miracle of
the healing of the demoniac (Matthew [8:28-34] says two
demoniacs) as having been wrought "in the country of the
Gadarenes," thus describing the scene generally. The miracle
could not have been wrought at Gadara itself, for between the
lake and this town there is the deep, almost impassable ravine
of the Hieromax (Jarmuk). It is identified with the modern
village of Um-Keis, which is surrounded by very extensive ruins,
all bearing testimony to the splendour of ancient Gadara.
"The most interesting remains of Gadara are its tombs, which
dot the cliffs for a considerable distance round the city,
chiefly on the NE declivity; but many beautifully
sculptured sarcophagi are scattered over the surrounding
heights. They are excavated in the limestone rock, and consist
of chambers of various dimensions, some more than 20 feet
square, with recesses in the sides for bodies...The present
inhabitants of Um-Keis are all troglodytes, 'dwelling in tombs,'
like the poor maniacs of old, and occasionally they are almost
as dangerous to unprotected travellers."
great. (1.) A famous giant of Gath, who for forty days openly
defied the armies of Israel, but was at length slain by David
with a stone from a sling (1 Sam. 17:4). He was probably
descended from the Rephaim who found refuge among the
Philistines after they were dispersed by the Ammonites (Deut.
2:20, 21). His height was "six cubits and a span," which, taking
the cubit at 21 inches, is equal to 10 1/2 feet. David cut off
his head (1 Sam. 17:51) and brought it to Jerusalem, while he
hung the armour which he took from him in his tent. His sword
was preserved at Nob as a religious trophy (21:9). David's
victory over Goliath was the turning point in his life. He came
into public notice now as the deliverer of Israel and the chief
among Saul's men of war (18:5), and the devoted friend of
(2.) In 2 Sam. 21:19 there is another giant of the same name
mentioned as slain by Elhanan. The staff of his apear "was like
a weaver's beam." The Authorized Version interpolates the words
"the brother of" from 1 Chr. 20:5, where this giant is called
(Heb. kiyor), a "basin" for boiling in, a "pan" for cooking (1
Sam. 2:14), a "fire-pan" or hearth (Zech. 12:6), the sacred
wash-bowl of the tabernacle and temple (Ex. 30:18, 28; 31:9;
35:16; 38:8; 39:39; 40:7, 11, 30, etc.), a basin for the water
used by the priests in their ablutions.
That which was originally used in the tabernacle was of brass
(rather copper; Heb. nihsheth), made from the metal mirrors the
women brought out of Egypt (Ex. 38:8). It contained water
wherewith the priests washed their hands and feet when they
entered the tabernacle (40:32). It stood in the court between
the altar and the door of the tabernacle (30:19, 21).
In the temple there were ten lavers used for the sacrifices,
and the molten sea for the ablutions of the priests (2 Chr.
4:6). The position and uses of these are described 1 Kings
7:23-39; 2 Chr. 4:6. The "molten sea" was made of copper, taken
from Tibhath and Chun, cities of Hadarezer, king of Zobah (1
Chr. 18:8; 1 Kings 7:23-26).
No lavers are mentioned in the second temple.
Heb. tinshameth (Lev. 11:30), probably signifies some species of
lizard (rendered in R.V., "chameleon"). In Lev. 11:18, Deut.
14:16, it is rendered, in Authorized Version, "swan" (R.V.,
The Heb. holed (Lev. 11:29), rendered "weasel," was probably
the mole-rat. The true mole (Talpa Europoea) is not found in
Israel. The mole-rat (Spalax typhlus) "is twice the size of
our mole, with no external eyes, and with only faint traces
within of the rudimentary organ; no apparent ears, but, like the
mole, with great internal organs of hearing; a strong, bare
snout, and with large gnawing teeth; its colour a pale slate;
its feet short, and provided with strong nails; its tail only
In Isa. 2:20, this word is the rendering of two words "haphar
peroth", which are rendered by Gesenius "into the digging of
rats", i.e., rats' holes. But these two Hebrew words ought
probably to be combined into one (lahporperoth) and translated
"to the moles", i.e., the rat-moles. This animal "lives in
underground communities, making large subterranean chambers for
its young and for storehouses, with many runs connected with
them, and is decidedly partial to the loose debris among ruins
and stone-heaps, where it can form its chambers with least
a height. (1.) Now Jebel et-Tur, a cone-like prominent mountain,
11 miles west of the Sea of Galilee. It is about 1,843 feet
high. The view from the summit of it is said to be singularly
extensive and grand. This is alluded to in Ps. 89:12; Jer.
46:18. It was here that Barak encamped before the battle with
Sisera (q.v.) Judg. 4:6-14. There is an old tradition, which,
however, is unfounded, that it was the scene of the
transfiguration of our Lord. (See HERMON T0001754.) "The
prominence and isolation of Tabor, standing, as it does, on the
border-land between the northern and southern tribes, between
the mountains and the central plain, made it a place of note in
all ages, and evidently led the psalmist to associate it with
Hermon, the one emblematic of the south, the other of the
north." There are some who still hold that this was the scene of
the transfiguration (q.v.).
(2.) A town of Zebulum (1 Chr. 6:77).
(3.) The "plain of Tabor" (1 Sam. 10:3) should be, as in the
Revised Version, "the oak of Tabor." This was probably the
Allon-bachuth of Gen. 35:8.
a park; generally with the article, "the park." (1.) A prominent
headland of Central Israel, consisting of several connected
hills extending from the plain of Esdraelon to the sea, a
distance of some 12 miles or more. At the east end, in its
highest part, it is 1,728 feet high, and at the west end it
forms a promontory to the bay of Acre about 600 feet above the
sea. It lay within the tribe of Asher. It was here, at the east
end of the ridge, at a place called el-Mukhrakah (i.e., the
place of burning), that Elijah brought back the people to their
allegiance to God, and slew the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18).
Here were consumed the "fifties" of the royal guard; and here
also Elisha received the visit of the bereaved mother whose son
was restored by him to life (2 Kings 4:25-37). "No mountain in
or around Israel retains its ancient beauty so much as
Carmel. Two or three villages and some scattered cottages are
found on it; its groves are few but luxuriant; it is no place
for crags and precipices or rocks of wild goats; but its surface
is covered with a rich and constant verdure." "The whole
mountain-side is dressed with blossom, and flowering shrubs, and
fragrant herbs." The western extremity of the ridge is, however,
more rocky and bleak than the eastern. The head of the bride in
Cant. 7:5 is compared to Carmel. It is ranked with Bashan on
account of its rich pastures (Isa. 33:9; Jer. 50:19; Amos 1:2).
The whole ridge is deeply furrowed with rocky ravines filled
with dense jungle. There are many caves in its sides, which at
one time were inhabited by swarms of monks. These caves are
referred to in Amos 9:3. To them Elijah and Elisha often
resorted (1 Kings 18:19, 42; 2 Kings 2:25). On its north-west
summit there is an ancient establishment of Carmelite monks.
Vineyards have recently been planted on the mount by the German
colonists of Haifa. The modern Arabic name of the mount is
Kurmul, but more commonly Jebel Mar Elyas, i.e., Mount St.
Elias, from the Convent of Elias.
(2.) A town in the hill country of Judah (Josh. 15:55), the
residence of Nabal (1 Sam. 25:2, 5, 7, 40), and the native place
of Abigail, who became David's wife (1 Sam. 27:3). Here king
Uzziah had his vineyards (2 Chr. 26:10). The ruins of this town
still remain under the name of Kurmul, about 10 miles
south-south-east of Hebron, close to those of Maon.
bitterness, the sister of Lazarus and Mary, and probably the
eldest of the family, who all resided at Bethany (Luke 10:38,
40, 41; John 11:1-39). From the residence being called "her
house," some have supposed that she was a widow, and that her
brother and sister lodged with her. She seems to have been of an
anxious, bustling spirit, anxious to be helpful in providing the
best things for the Master's use, in contrast to the quiet
earnestness of Mary, who was more concerned to avail herself of
the opportunity of sitting at his feet and learning of him.
Afterwards at a supper given to Christ and his disciples in her
house "Martha served." Nothing further is known of her.
"Mary and Martha are representatives of two orders of human
character. One was absorbed, preoccupied, abstracted; the other
was concentrated and single-hearted. Her own world was the all
of Martha; Christ was the first thought with Mary. To Martha
life was 'a succession of particular businesses;' to Mary life
'was rather the flow of one spirit.' Martha was Petrine, Mary
was Johannine. The one was a well-meaning, bustling busybody;
the other was a reverent disciple, a wistful listener." Paul had
such a picture as that of Martha in his mind when he spoke of
serving the Lord "without distraction" (1 Cor. 7:35).
the process by which a person unclean, according to the
Levitical law, and thereby cut off from the sanctuary and the
festivals, was restored to the enjoyment of all these
The great annual purification of the people was on the Day of
But in the details of daily life there were special causes of
cermonial uncleanness which were severally provided for by
ceremonial laws enacted for each separate case. For example, the
case of the leper (Lev. 13, 14), and of the house defiled by
leprosy (14:49-53; see also Matt. 8:2-4). Uncleanness from
touching a dead body (Num. 19:11; Hos. 9:4; Hag. 2:13; Matt.
23:27; Luke 11:44). The case of the high priest and of the
Nazarite (Lev. 21:1-4, 10, 11; Num. 6:6, 7; Ezek. 44:25).
Purification was effected by bathing and washing the clothes
(Lev. 14:8, 9); by washing the hands (Deut. 21:6; Matt. 27:24);
washing the hands and feet (Ex. 30:18-21; Heb. 6:2, "baptisms",
R.V. marg., "washings;" 9:10); sprinkling with blood and water
(Ex. 24:5-8; Heb. 9:19), etc. Allusions to this rite are found
in Ps. 26:6; 51:7; Ezek. 36:25; Heb. 10:22.
(1.) "Paper reeds" (Isa. 19:7; R.V., "reeds"). Heb. 'aroth,
properly green herbage growing in marshy places.
(2.) Heb. kaneh (1 Kings 14:15; Job 40:21; Isa. 19:6), whence
the Gr. kanna, a "cane," a generic name for a reed of any kind.
The reed of Egypt and Israel is the Arundo donax, which
grows to the height of 12 feet, its stalk jointed like the
bamboo, "with a magnificent panicle of blossom at the top, and
so slender and yielding that it will lie perfectly flat under a
gust of wind, and immediately resume its upright position." It
is used to illustrate weakness (2 Kings 18:21; Ezek. 29:6), also
fickleness or instability (Matt. 11:7; compare Eph. 4:14).
A "bruised reed" (Isa. 42:3; Matt. 12:20) is an emblem of a
believer weak in grace. A reed was put into our Lord's hands in
derision (Matt. 27:29); and "they took the reed and smote him on
the head" (30). The "reed" on which they put the sponge filled
with vinegar (Matt. 27:48) was, according to John (19:29), a
hyssop stalk, which must have been of some length, or perhaps a
bunch of hyssop twigs fastened to a rod with the sponge. (See
house of the hollow, or of the cavern, the name of two towns or
villages (2 Chr. 8:5; 1 Chr. 7:24) in the territory of Ephraim,
on the way from Jerusalem to Joppa. They are distinguished as
Beth-horon "the upper" and Beth-horon "the nether." They are
about 2 miles apart, the former being about 10 miles north-west
of Jerusalem. Between the two places was the ascent and descent
of Beth-horon, leading from Gibeon down to the western plain
(Josh. 10:10, 11; 18:13, 14), down which the five kings of the
Amorites were driven by Joshua in that great battle, the most
important in which the Hebrews had been as yet engaged, being
their first conflict with their enemies in the open field.
Jehovah interposed in behalf of Israel by a terrific hailstorm,
which caused more deaths among the Canaanites than did the
swords of the Israelites. Beth-horon is mentioned as having been
taken by Shishak, B.C. 945, in the list of his conquests, and
the pass was the scene of a victory of Judas Maccabeus. (Compare
Ex. 9:19, 25; Job 38:22, 23; Ps. 18:12-14; Isa. 30:30.) The
modern name of these places is Beit-ur, distinguished by
el-Foka, "the upper," and el-Tahta, "the nether." The lower was
at the foot of the pass, and the upper, 500 feet higher, at the
top, west of Gibeon. (See GIBEON T0001480.)
mighty; strength. (1.) One of the chief towns of the kingdom of
Bashan (Josh. 12:4, 5). Here Og was defeated by the Israelites,
and the strength of the Amorites broken (Num. 21:33-35). It
subsequently belonged to Manasseh, for a short time apparently,
and afterwards became the abode of banditti and outlaws (Josh.
13:31). It has been identified with the modern Edr'a, which
stands on a rocky promontory on the south-west edge of the Lejah
(the Argob of the Hebrews, and Trachonitis of the Greeks). The
ruins of Edr'a are the most extensive in the Hauran. They are 3
miles in circumference. A number of the ancient houses still
remain; the walls, roofs, and doors being all of stone. The wild
region of which Edrei was the capital is thus described in its
modern aspect: "Elevated about 20 feet above the plain, it is a
labyrinth of clefts and crevasses in the rock, formed by
volcanic action; and owing to its impenetrable condition, it has
become a refuge for outlaws and turbulent characters, who make
it a sort of Cave of Adullam...It is, in fact, an impregnable
natural fortress, about 20 miles in length and 15 in breadth"
(Porter's Syria, etc.). Beneath this wonderful city there is
also a subterranean city, hollowed out probably as a refuge for
the population of the upper city in times of danger. (See BASHAN
(2.) A town of Naphtali (Josh. 19:37).
life; living, the name given by Adam to his wife (Gen. 3:20;
4:1). The account of her creation is given in Gen. 2:21, 22. The
Creator, by declaring that it was not good for man to be alone,
and by creating for him a suitable companion, gave sanction to
monogamy. The commentator Matthew Henry says: "This companion
was taken from his side to signify that she was to be dear unto
him as his own flesh. Not from his head, lest she should rule
over him; nor from his feet, lest he should tyrannize over her;
but from his side, to denote that species of equality which is
to subsist in the marriage state." And again, "That wife that is
of God's making by special grace, and of God's bringing by
special providence, is likely to prove a helpmeet to her
husband." Through the subtle temptation of the serpent she
violated the commandment of God by taking of the forbidden
fruit, which she gave also unto her husband (1 Tim. 2:13-15; 2
Cor. 11:3). When she gave birth to her first son, she said, "I
have gotten a man from the Lord" (R.V., "I have gotten a man
with the help of the Lord," Gen. 4:1). Thus she welcomed Cain,
as some think, as if he had been the Promised One the "Seed of
proclaimer; prophet. (1.) A Chaldean god whose worship was
introduced into Assyria by Pul (Isa. 46:1; Jer. 48:1). To this
idol was dedicated the great temple whose ruins are still seen
at Birs Nimrud. A statue of Nebo found at Calah, where it was
set up by Pul, king of Assyria, is now in the British Museum.
(2.) A mountain in the land of Moab from which Moses looked
for the first and the last time on the Promised Land (Deut.
32:49; 34:1). It has been identified with Jebel Nebah, on the
eastern shore of the Dead Sea, near its northern end, and about
5 miles south-west of Heshbon. It was the summit of the ridge of
Pisgah (q.v.), which was a part of the range of the "mountains
of Abarim." It is about 2,643 feet in height, but from its
position it commands a view of Western Israel. Close below it
are the plains of Moab, where Balaam, and afterwards Moses, saw
the tents of Israel spread along.
(3.) A town on the east of Jordan which was taken possession
of and rebuilt by the tribe of Reuben (Num. 32:3,38; 1 Chr.
5:8). It was about 8 miles south of Heshbon.
(4.) The "children of Nebo" (Ezra 2:29; Neh. 7:33) were of
those who returned from Babylon. It was a town in Benjamin,
probably the modern Beit Nubah, about 7 miles north-west of
a peak, the eastern prolongation of the Anti-Lebanon range,
reaching to the height of about 9,200 feet above the
Mediterranean. It marks the north boundary of Israel (Deut.
3:8, 4:48; Josh. 11:3, 17; 13:11; 12:1), and is seen from a
great distance. It is about 40 miles north of the Sea of
Galilee. It is called "the Hermonites" (Ps. 42:6) because it has
more than one summit. The Sidonians called it Sirion, and the
Amorites Shenir (Deut. 3:9; Cant. 4:8). It is also called
Baal-hermon (Judg. 3:3; 1 Chr. 5:23) and Sion (Deut. 4:48).
There is every probability that one of its three summits was the
scene of the transfiguration (q.v.). The "dew of Hermon" is
referred to (Ps. 89: 12). Its modern name is Jebel-esh-Sheikh,
"the chief mountain." It is one of the most conspicuous
mountains in Israel or Syria. "In whatever part of Israel
the Israelite turned his eye northward, Hermon was there,
terminating the view. From the plain along the coast, from the
Jordan valley, from the heights of Moab and Gilead, from the
plateau of Bashan, the pale, blue, snow-capped cone forms the
one feature in the northern horizon."
Our Lord and his disciples climbed this "high mountain apart"
one day, and remained on its summit all night, "weary after
their long and toilsome ascent." During the night "he was
transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun."
The next day they descended to Caesarea Philippi.
a basalt stone, bearing an inscription by King Mesha, which was
discovered at Dibon by Klein, a German missionary at Jerusalem,
in 1868. It was 3 1/2 feet high and 2 in breadth and in
thickness, rounded at the top. It consisted of thirty-four
lines, written in Hebrew-Phoenician characters. It was set up by
Mesha as a record and memorial of his victories. It records (1)
Mesha's wars with Omri, (2) his public buildings, and (3) his
wars against Horonaim. This inscription in a remarkable degree
supplements and corroborates the history of King Mesha recorded
in 2 Kings 3:4-27.
With the exception of a very few variations, the Moabite
language in which the inscription is written is identical with
the Hebrew. The form of the letters here used supplies very
important and interesting information regarding the history of
the formation of the alphabet, as well as, incidentally,
regarding the arts of civilized life of those times in the land
This ancient monument, recording the heroic struggles of King
Mesha with Omri and Ahab, was erected about B.C. 900. Here "we
have the identical slab on which the workmen of the old world
carved the history of their own times, and from which the eye of
their contemporaries read thousands of years ago the record of
events of which they themselves had been the witnesses." It is
the oldest inscription written in alphabetic characters, and
hence is, apart from its value in the domain of Hebrew
antiquities, of great linguistic importance.
used to season food (Job 6:6), and mixed with the fodder of
cattle (Isa. 30:24, "clean;" in marg. of R.V. "salted"). All
meat-offerings were seasoned with salt (Lev. 2:13). To eat salt
with one is to partake of his hospitality, to derive subsistence
from him; and hence he who did so was bound to look after his
host's interests (Ezra 4:14, "We have maintenance from the
king's palace;" A.V. marg., "We are salted with the salt of the
palace;" R.V., "We eat the salt of the palace").
A "covenant of salt" (Num. 18:19; 2 Chr. 13:5) was a covenant
of perpetual obligation. New-born children were rubbed with salt
(Ezek. 16:4). Disciples are likened unto salt, with reference to
its cleansing and preserving uses (Matt. 5:13). When Abimelech
took the city of Shechem, he sowed the place with salt, that it
might always remain a barren soil (Judg. 9:45). Sir Lyon
Playfair argues, on scientific grounds, that under the generic
name of "salt," in certain passages, we are to understand
petroleum or its residue asphalt. Thus in Gen. 19:26 he would
read "pillar of asphalt;" and in Matt. 5:13, instead of "salt,"
"petroleum," which loses its essence by exposure, as salt does
not, and becomes asphalt, with which pavements were made.
The Jebel Usdum, to the south of the Dead Sea, is a mountain
of rock salt about 7 miles long and from 2 to 3 miles wide and
some hundreds of feet high.
(1.) Trial; a being put to the test. Thus God "tempted [Gen. 22:
1; R.V., 'did prove'] Abraham;" and afflictions are said to
tempt, i.e., to try, men (James 1:2, 12; compare Deut. 8:2),
putting their faith and patience to the test. (2.) Ordinarily,
however, the word means solicitation to that which is evil, and
hence Satan is called "the tempter" (Matt. 4:3). Our Lord was in
this way tempted in the wilderness. That temptation was not
internal, but by a real, active, subtle being. It was not
self-sought. It was submitted to as an act of obedience on his
part. "Christ was led, driven. An unseen personal force bore him
a certain violence is implied in the words" (Matt. 4:1-11).
The scene of the temptation of our Lord is generally supposed
to have been the mountain of Quarantania (q.v.), "a high and
precipitous wall of rock, 1,200 or 1,500 feet above the plain
west of Jordan, near Jericho."
Temptation is common to all (Dan. 12:10; Zech. 13:9; Ps.
66:10; Luke 22:31, 40; Heb. 11:17; James 1:12; 1 Pet. 1:7;
4:12). We read of the temptation of Joseph (Gen. 39), of David
(2 Sam. 24; 1 Chr. 21), of Hezekiah (2 Chr. 32:31), of Daniel
(Dan. 6), etc. So long as we are in this world we are exposed to
temptations, and need ever to be on our watch against them.
(1.) Heb. hedek (Prov. 15:19), rendered "brier" in Micah 7:4.
Some thorny plant, of the Solanum family, suitable for hedges.
This is probably the so-called "apple of Sodom," which grows
very abundantly in the Jordan valley. "It is a shrubby plant,
from 3 to 5 feet high, with very branching stems, thickly clad
with spines, like those of the English brier, with leaves very
large and woolly on the under side, and thorny on the midriff."
(2.) Heb. kotz (Gen. 3:18; Hos. 10:8), rendered "akantha" by
the LXX. In the New Testament this word "akantha" is also
rendered "thorns" (Matt. 7:16; 13:7; Heb. 6:8). The word seems
to denote any thorny or prickly plant (Jer. 12:13). It has been
identified with the Ononis spinosa by some.
(3.) Heb. na'atzutz (Isa. 7:19; 55:13). This word has been
interpreted as denoting the Zizyphus spina Christi, or the
jujube-tree. It is supposed by some that the crown of thorns
placed in wanton cruelty by the Roman soldiers on our Saviour's
brow before his crucifixion was plaited of branches of this
tree. It overruns a great part of the Jordan valley. It is
sometimes called the lotus-tree. "The thorns are long and sharp
and recurved, and often create a festering wound." It often
grows to a great size. (See CROWN OF THORNS T0000930.)
(4.) Heb. atad (Ps. 58:9) is rendered in the LXX. and Vulgate
by Rhamnus, or Lycium Europoeum, a thorny shrub, which is common
all over Israel. From its resemblance to the box it is
frequently called the box-thorn.
Before his death David had "with all his might" provided
materials in great abundance for the building of the temple on
the summit of Mount Moriah (1 Chr. 22:14; 29:4; 2 Chr. 3:1), on
the east of the city, on the spot where Abraham had offered up
Isaac (Gen. 22:1-14). In the beginning of his reign Solomon set
about giving effect to the desire that had been so earnestly
cherished by his father, and prepared additional materials for
the building. From subterranean quarries at Jerusalem he
obtained huge blocks of stone for the foundations and walls of
the temple. These stones were prepared for their places in the
building under the eye of Tyrian master-builders. He also
entered into a compact with Hiram II., king of Tyre, for the
supply of whatever else was needed for the work, particularly
timber from the forests of Lebanon, which was brought in great
rafts by the sea to Joppa, whence it was dragged to Jerusalem (1
Kings 5). As the hill on which the temple was to be built did
not afford sufficient level space, a huge wall of solid masonry
of great height, in some places more than 200 feet high, was
raised across the south of the hill, and a similar wall on the
eastern side, and in the spaces between were erected many arches
and pillars, thus raising up the general surface to the required
level. Solomon also provided for a sufficient water supply for
the temple by hewing in the rocky hill vast cisterns, into which
water was conveyed by channels from the "pools" near Bethlehem.
One of these cisterns, the "great sea," was capable of
containing three millions of gallons. The overflow was led off
by a conduit to the Kidron.
In all these preparatory undertakings a space of about three
years was occupied; and now the process of the erection of the
great building began, under the direction of skilled Phoenician
builders and workmen, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign, 480
years after the Exodus (1 Kings 6; 2 Chr. 3). Many thousands of
labourers and skilled artisans were employed in the work. Stones
prepared in the quarries underneath the city (1 Kings 5:17, 18)
of huge dimension (see QUARRIES T0003032) were gradually placed
on the massive walls, and closely fitted together without any
mortar between, till the whole structure was completed. No sound
of hammer or axe or any tool of iron was heard as the structure
arose (6:7). "Like some tall palm the noiseless fabric sprang."
The building was 60 cubits long, 20 cubits wide, and 30 cubits
high. The engineers of the Israel Exploration Fund, in their
explorations around the temple area, discovered what is believed
to have been the "chief corner stone" of the temple, "the most
interesting stone in the world." It lies at the bottom of the
south-eastern angle, and is 3 feet 8 inches high by 14 feet
long. It rests on the solid rock at a depth of 79 feet 3 inches
below the present surface. (See PINNACLE T0002957.) In
examining the walls the engineers were "struck with admiration
at the vastness of the blocks and the general excellence of the
At length, in the autumn of the eleventh year of his reign,
seven and a half years after it had been begun, the temple was
completed in all its architectural magnificence and beauty. For
thirteen years there it stood, on the summit of Moriah, silent
and unused. The reasons for this strange delay in its
consecration are unknown. At the close of these thirteen years
preparations for the dedication of the temple were made on a
scale of the greatest magnificence. The ark was solemnly brought
from the tent in which David had deposited it to the place
prepared for it in the temple, and the glory-cloud, the symbol
of the divine presence, filled the house. Then Solomon ascended
a platform which had been erected for him, in the sight of all
the people, and lifting up his hands to heaven poured out his
heart to God in prayer (1 Kings 8; 2 Chr. 6, 7). The feast of
dedication, which lasted seven days, followed by the feast of
tabernacles, marked a new era in the history of Israel. On the
eighth day of the feast of tabernacles, Solomon dismissed the
vast assemblage of the people, who returned to their homes
filled with joy and gladness, "Had Solomon done no other service
beyond the building of the temple, he would still have
influenced the religious life of his people down to the latest
days. It was to them a perpetual reminder and visible symbol of
God's presence and protection, a strong bulwark of all the
sacred traditions of the law, a witness to duty, an impulse to
historic study, an inspiration of sacred song."
The temple consisted of, (1.) The oracle or most holy place (1
Kings 6:19; 8:6), called also the "inner house" (6:27), and the
"holiest of all" (Heb. 9:3). It was 20 cubits in length,
breadth, and height. It was floored and wainscotted with cedar
(1 Kings 6:16), and its walls and floor were overlaid with gold
(6:20, 21, 30). There was a two-leaved door between it and the
holy place overlaid with gold (2 Chr. 4:22); also a veil of blue
purple and crimson and fine linen (2 Chr. 3:14; compare Ex.
26:33). It had no windows (1 Kings 8:12). It was indeed the
dwelling-place of God. (2.) The holy place (q.v.), 1 Kings
8:8-10, called also the "greater house" (2 Chr. 3:5) and the
"temple" (1 Kings 6:17). (3.) The porch or entrance before the
temple on the east (1 Kings 6:3; 2 Chr. 3:4; 29:7). In the porch
stood the two pillars Jachin and Boaz (1 Kings 7:21; 2 Kings
11:14; 23:3). (4.) The chambers, which were built about the
temple on the southern, western, and northern sides (1 Kings
6:5-10). These formed a part of the building.
Round about the building were, (1.) The court of the priests
(2 Chr. 4:9), called the "inner court" (1 Kings 6:36). It
contained the altar of burnt-offering (2 Chr. 15:8), the brazen
sea (4:2-5, 10), and ten lavers (1 Kings 7:38, 39). (2.) The
great court, which surrounded the whole temple (2 Chr. 4:9).
Here the people assembled to worship God (Jer. 19:14; 26:2).
This temple erected by Solomon was many times pillaged during
the course of its history, (1) 1 Kings 14:25, 26; (2) 2 Kings
14:14; (3) 2 Kings 16:8, 17, 18; (4) 2 Kings 18:15, 16. At last
it was pillaged and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:13;
2 Chr. 36:7). He burned the temple, and carried all its
treasures with him to Babylon (2 Kings 25:9-17; 2 Chr. 36:19;
Isa. 64:11). These sacred vessels were at length, at the close
of the Captivity, restored to the Jews by Cyrus (Ezra 1:7-11).
or washing, was practised, (1.) When a person was initiated into
a higher state: e.g., when Aaron and his sons were set apart to
the priest's office, they were washed with water previous to
their investiture with the priestly robes (Lev. 8:6).
(2.) Before the priests approached the altar of God, they were
required, on pain of death, to wash their hands and their feet
to cleanse them from the soil of common life (Ex. 30:17-21). To
this practice the Psalmist alludes, Ps. 26:6.
(3.) There were washings prescribed for the purpose of
cleansing from positive defilement contracted by particular
acts. Of such washings eleven different species are prescribed
in the Levitical law (Lev. 12-15).
(4.) A fourth class of ablutions is mentioned, by which a
person purified or absolved himself from the guilt of some
particular act. For example, the elders of the nearest village
where some murder was committed were required, when the murderer
was unknown, to wash their hands over the expiatory heifer which
was beheaded, and in doing so to say, "Our hands have not shed
this blood, neither have our eyes seen it" (Deut. 21:1-9). So
also Pilate declared himself innocent of the blood of Jesus by
washing his hands (Matt. 27:24). This act of Pilate may not,
however, have been borrowed from the custom of the Jews. The
same practice was common among the Greeks and Romans.
The Pharisees carried the practice of ablution to great
excess, thereby claiming extraordinary purity (Matt. 23:25).
Mark (7:1-5) refers to the ceremonial ablutions. The Pharisees
washed their hands "oft," more correctly, "with the fist" (R.V.,
"diligently"), or as an old father, Theophylact, explains it,
"up to the elbow." (Compare also Mark 7:4; Lev. 6:28; 11: 32-36;
15:22) (See WASHING T0003788.)
the Greek form of the Hebrew "Jezreel," the name of the great
plain (called by the natives Merj Ibn Amer; i.e., "the meadow of
the son of Amer") which stretches across Central Israel from
the Jordan to the Mediterraanean, separating the mountain ranges
of Carmel and Samaria from those of Galilee, extending about 14
miles from north to south, and 9 miles from east to west. It is
drained by "that ancient river" the Kishon, which flows westward
to the Mediterranean. From the foot of Mount Tabor it branches
out into three valleys, that on the north passing between Tabor
and Little Hermon (Judg. 4:14); that on the south between Mount
Gilboa and En-gannim (2 Kings 9:27); while the central portion,
the "valley of Jezreel" proper, runs into the Jordan valley
(which is about 1,000 feet lower than Esdraelon) by Bethshean.
Here Gideon gained his great victory over the Midianites (Judg.
7:1-25). Here also Barak defeated Sisera, and Saul's army was
defeated by the Philistines, and king Josiah, while fighting in
disguise against Necho, king of Egypt, was slain (2 Chr.
35:20-27; 2 Kings 23-29). This plain has been well called the
"battle-field of Israel." "It has been a chosen place for
encampment in every contest carried on in this country, from the
days of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians, in the history of
whose wars with Arphaxad it is mentioned as the Great Plain of
Esdraelon, until the disastrous march of Napoleon Bonaparte from
Egypt into Syria. Jews, Gentiles, Saracens, Crusaders,
Frenchmen, Egyptians, Persians, Druses, Turks, and Arabs,
warriors out of every nation which is under heaven, have pitched
their tents in the plain, and have beheld the various banners of
their nations wet with the dews of Tabor and Hermon" (Dr.
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
exterminator of shame; i.e., of idols. (1.) The name of Saul's
son by the concubine Rizpah (q.v.), the daughter of Aiah. He and
his brother Armoni were with five others "hanged on a hill
before the Lord" by the Gibeonites, and their bodies exposed in
the sun for five months (2 Sam. 21:8-10). (2.) The son of
Jonathan, and grandson of Saul (2 Sam. 4:4). He was but five
years old when his father and grandfather fell on Mount Gilboa.
The child's nurse hearing of this calamity, fled with him from
Gibeah, the royal residence, and stumbling in her haste, the
child was thrown to the ground and maimed in both his feet, and
ever after was unable to walk (19:26). He was carried to the
land of Gilead, where he found a refuge in the house of Machir,
the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar, by whom he was brought up.
Some years after this, when David had subdued all the
adversaries of Israel, he began to think of the family of
Jonathan, and discovered that Mephibosheth was residing in the
house of Machir. Thither he sent royal messengers, and brought
him and his infant son to Jerusalem, where he ever afterwards
resided (2 Sam. 9).
When David was a fugitive, according to the story of Ziba (2
Sam. 16:1-4) Mephibosheth proved unfaithful to him, and was
consequently deprived of half of his estates; but according to
his own story, however (19:24-30), he had remained loyal to his
friend. After this incident he is only mentioned as having been
protected by David against the vengeance the Gibeonites were
permitted to execute on the house of Saul (21:7). He is also
called Merib-baal (1 Chr. 8:34; 9:40). (See ZIBA T0003919.)
The Hebrew word "tan" (plural, tannin) is so rendered in Job
7:12 (A.V.; but R.V., "sea-monster"). It is rendered by
"dragons" in Deut. 32:33; Ps. 91:13; Jer. 51:34; Ps. 74:13
(marg., "whales;" and marg. of R.V., "sea-monsters"); Isa. 27:1;
and "serpent" in Ex. 7:9 (R.V. marg., "any large reptile," and
so in ver. 10, 12). The words of Job (7:12), uttered in bitter
irony, where he asks, "Am I a sea or a whale?" simply mean,
"Have I a wild, untamable nature, like the waves of the sea,
which must be confined and held within bounds, that they cannot
pass?" "The serpent of the sea, which was but the wild, stormy
sea itself, wound itself around the land, and threatened to
swallow it up...Job inquires if he must be watched and plagued
like this monster, lest he throw the world into disorder"
The whale tribe are included under the general Hebrew name
"tannin" (Gen. 1:21; Lam. 4:3). "Even the sea-monsters
[tanninim] draw out the breast." The whale brings forth its
young alive, and suckles them.
It is to be noticed of the story of Jonah's being "three days
and three nights in the whale's belly," as recorded in Matt.
12:40, that here the Gr. ketos means properly any kind of
sea-monster of the shark or the whale tribe, and that in the
book of Jonah (1:17) it is only said that "a great fish" was
prepared to swallow Jonah. This fish may have been, therefore,
some great shark. The white shark is known to frequent the
Mediterranean Sea, and is sometimes found 30 feet in length.
the Greek form of BABEL; Semitic form Babilu, meaning "The Gate
of God." In the Assyrian tablets it means "The city of the
dispersion of the tribes." The monumental list of its kings
reaches back to B.C. 2300, and includes Khammurabi, or Amraphel
(q.v.), the contemporary of Abraham. It stood on the Euphrates,
about 200 miles above its junction with the Tigris, which flowed
through its midst and divided it into two almost equal parts.
The Elamites invaded Chaldea (i.e., Lower Mesopotamia, or
Shinar, and Upper Mesopotamia, or Accad, now combined into one)
and held it in subjection. At length Khammu-rabi delivered it
from the foreign yoke, and founded the new empire of Chaldea
(q.v.), making Babylon the capital of the united kingdom. This
city gradually grew in extent and grandeur, but in process of
time it became subject to Assyria. On the fall of Nineveh (B.C.
606) it threw off the Assyrian yoke, and became the capital of
the growing Babylonian empire. Under Nebuchadnezzar it became
one of the most splendid cities of the ancient world.
After passing through various vicissitudes the city was
occupied by Cyrus, "king of Elam," B.C. 538, who issued a decree
permitting the Jews to return to their own land (Ezra 1). It
then ceased to be the capital of an empire. It was again and
again visited by hostile armies, till its inhabitants were all
driven from their homes, and the city became a complete
desolation, its very site being forgotten from among men.
On the west bank of the Euphrates, about 50 miles south of
Bagdad, there is found a series of artificial mounds of vast
extent. These are the ruins of this once famous proud city.
These ruins are principally (1) the great mound called Babil by
the Arabs. This was probably the noted Temple of Belus, which
was a pyramid about 480 feet high. (2) The Kasr (i.e., "the
palace"). This was the great palace of Nebuchadnezzar. It is
almost a square, each side of which is about 700 feet long. The
little town of Hillah, near the site of Babylon, is built almost
wholly of bricks taken from this single mound. (3) A lofty
mound, on the summit of which stands a modern tomb called Amran
ibn-Ali. This is probably the most ancient portion of the
remains of the city, and represents the ruins of the famous
hanging-gardens, or perhaps of some royal palace. The utter
desolation of the city once called "The glory of kingdoms"
(Isa.13:19) was foretold by the prophets (Isa.13:4-22; Jer.
25:12; 50:2, 3; Dan. 2:31-38).
The Babylon mentioned in 1 Pet. 5:13 was not Rome, as some
have thought, but the literal city of Babylon, which was
inhabited by many Jews at the time Peter wrote.
In Rev. 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; and 18:2, "Babylon" is supposed to
mean Rome, not considered as pagan, but as the prolongation of
the ancient power in the papal form. Rome, pagan and papal, is
regarded as one power. "The literal Babylon was the beginner and
supporter of tyranny and idolatry...This city and its whole
empire were taken by the Persians under Cyrus; the Persians were
subdued by the Macedonians, and the Macedonians by the Romans;
so that Rome succeeded to the power of old Babylon. And it was
her method to adopt the worship of the false deities she had
conquered; so that by her own act she became the heiress and
successor of all the Babylonian idolatry, and of all that was
introduced into it by the immediate successors of Babylon, and
consequently of all the idolatry of the earth." Rome, or
"mystical Babylon," is "that great city which reigneth over the
kings of the earth" (17:18).