spoken of warriors (Ex. 15:4; Judg. 20:16), of the Hebrew nation
(Ps. 105:43; Deut. 7:7), of Jerusalem as the seat of the temple
(1 Kings 11:13). Christ is the "chosen" of God (Isa. 42:1); and
the apostles are "chosen" for their work (Acts 10:41). It is
said with regard to those who do not profit by their
opportunities that "many are called, but few are chosen" (Matt.
20:16). (See ELECTION T0001149.)
Election of Grace
The Scripture speaks (1) of the election of individuals to
office or to honour and privilege, e.g., Abraham, Jacob, Saul,
David, Solomon, were all chosen by God for the positions they
held; so also were the apostles. (2) There is also an election
of nations to special privileges, e.g., the Hebrews (Deut. 7:6;
Rom. 9:4). (3) But in addition there is an election of
individuals to eternal life (2 Thess. 2:13; Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet.
1:2; John 13:18).
The ground of this election to salvation is the good pleasure
of God (Eph. 1:5, 11; Matt. 11:25, 26; John 15:16, 19). God
claims the right so to do (Rom. 9:16, 21).
It is not conditioned on faith or repentance, but is of
soverign grace (Rom. 11:4-6; Eph. 1:3-6). All that pertain to
salvation, the means (Eph. 2:8; 2 Thess. 2:13) as well as the
end, are of God (Acts 5:31; 2 Tim. 2:25; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 2:5,
10). Faith and repentance and all other graces are the exercises
of a regenerated soul; and regeneration is God's work, a "new
Men are elected "to salvation," "to the adoption of sons," "to
be holy and without blame before him in love" (2 Thess. 2:13;
Gal. 4:4, 5; Eph. 1:4). The ultimate end of election is the
praise of God's grace (Eph. 1:6, 12). (See PREDESTINATION
chosen, one of David's sons (1 Chr. 3:6; 2 Sam. 5:15).
praise-worthy. (1.) A son of Salu, slain by Phinehas, the son of
Eleazar, because of his wickedness in bringing a Midianitish
woman into his tent (Num. 25:6-15).
(2.) Murdered Elah at Tirzah, and succeeded him on the throne
of Israel (1 Kings 16:8-10). He reigned only seven days, for
Omri, whom the army elected as king, laid siege to Tirzah,
whereupon Zimri set fire to the palace and perished amid its
ruins (11-20). Omri succeeded to the throne only after four
years of fierce war with Tibni, another claimant to the throne.
Flame of fire
is the chosen symbol of the holiness of God (Ex. 3:2; Rev.
2:18), as indicating "the intense, all-consuming operation of
his holiness in relation to sin."
is used to denote Proconsular Asia, a Roman province which
embraced the western parts of Asia Minor, and of which Ephesus
was the capital, in Acts 2:9; 6:9; 16:6; 19:10,22; 20:4, 16, 18,
etc., and probably Asia Minor in Acts 19:26, 27; 21:27; 24:18;
27:2. Proconsular Asia contained the seven churches of the
Apocalypse (Rev. 1:11). The "chiefs of Asia" (Acts 19:31) were
certain wealthy citizens who were annually elected to preside
over the games and religious festivals of the several cities to
which they belonged. Some of these "Asiarchs" were Paul's
from a Greek word signifying (1) a choice, (2) the opinion
chosen, and (3) the sect holding the opinion. In the Acts of the
Apostles (5:17; 15:5; 24:5, 14; 26:5) it denotes a sect, without
reference to its character. Elsewhere, however, in the New
Testament it has a different meaning attached to it. Paul ranks
"heresies" with crimes and seditions (Gal. 5:20). This word also
denotes divisions or schisms in the church (1 Cor. 11:19). In
Titus 3:10 a "heretical person" is one who follows his own
self-willed "questions," and who is to be avoided. Heresies thus
came to signify self-chosen doctrines not emanating from God (2
wood, a prominent member of the church at Jerusalem; also called
Silvanus. He and Judas, surnamed Barsabas, were chosen by the
church there to accompany Paul and Barnabas on their return to
Antioch from the council of the apostles and elders (Acts
15:22), as bearers of the decree adopted by the council. He
assisted Paul there in his evangelistic labors, and was also
chosen by him to be his companion on his second missionary tour
(Acts 16:19-24). He is referred to in the epistles under the
name of Silvanus (2 Cor. 1:19; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1; 1
Pet. 5:12). There is no record of the time or place of his
(Neh. 10:34; 13:31). It would seem that in the time of Nehemiah
arrangements were made, probably on account of the comparative
scarcity of wood, by which certain districts were required, as
chosen by lot, to furnish wood to keep the altar fire
perpetually burning (Lev. 6:13).
father of (i.e., "given to") error, a young woman of Shunem,
distinguished for her beauty. She was chosen to minister to
David in his old age. She became his wife (1 Kings 1:3,4,15).
After David's death Adonijah persuaded Bathsheba, Solomon's
mother, to entreat the king to permit him to marry Abishag.
Solomon suspected in this request an aspiration to the throne,
and therefore caused him to be put to death (1 Kings 2:17-25).
(Gr. hairesis, usually rendered "heresy", Acts 24:14; 1 Chr.
11:19; Gal. 5:20, etc.), meaning properly "a choice," then "a
chosen manner of life," and then "a religious party," as the
"sect" of the Sadducees (Acts 5:17), of the Pharisees (15:5),
the Nazarenes, i.e., Christians (24:5). It afterwards came to be
used in a bad sense, of those holding pernicious error,
divergent forms of belief (2 Pet. 2:1; Gal. 5:20).
Gen. 2:4, "These are the generations," means the "history." 5:1,
"The book of the generations," means a family register, or
history of Adam. 37:2, "The generations of Jacob" = the history
of Jacob and his descendants. 7:1, "In this generation" = in
this age. Ps. 49:19, "The generation of his fathers" = the
dwelling of his fathers, i.e., the grave. Ps. 73:15, "The
generation of thy children" = the contemporary race. Isa. 53:8,
"Who shall declare his generation?" = His manner of life who
shall declare? or rather = His race, posterity, shall be so
numerous that no one shall be able to declare it.
In Matt. 1:17, the word means a succession or series of
persons from the same stock. Matt. 3:7, "Generation of vipers" =
brood of vipers. 24:34, "This generation" = the persons then
living contemporary with Christ. 1 Pet. 2:9, "A chosen
generation" = a chosen people.
The Hebrews seem to have reckoned time by the generation. In
the time of Abraham a generation was an hundred years, thus:
Gen. 15:16, "In the fourth generation" = in four hundred years
(compare verse 13 and Ex. 12:40). In Deut. 1:35 and 2:14 a
generation is a period of thirty-eight years.
of false prophets (Deut. 18:10, 14; Micah 3:6, 7, 11), of
necromancers (1 Sam. 28:8), of the Philistine priests and
diviners (1 Sam. 6:2), of Balaam (Josh. 13:22). Three kinds of
divination are mentioned in Ezek. 21:21, by arrows, consulting
with images (the teraphim), and by examining the entrails of
animals sacrificed. The practice of this art seems to have been
encouraged in ancient Egypt. Diviners also abounded among the
aborigines of Canaan and the Philistines (Isa. 2:6; 1 Sam. 28).
At a later period multitudes of magicians poured from Chaldea
and Arabia into the land of Israel, and pursued their
occupations (Isa. 8:19; 2 Kings 21:6; 2 Chr. 33:6). This
superstition widely spread, and in the time of the apostles
there were "vagabond Jews, exorcists" (Acts 19:13), and men like
Simon Magus (Acts 8:9), Bar-jesus (13:6, 8), and other jugglers
and impostors (19:19; 2 Tim. 3:13). Every species and degree of
this superstition was strictly forbidden by the law of Moses
(Ex. 22:18; Lev. 19:26, 31; 20:27; Deut. 18:10, 11).
But beyond these various forms of superstition, there are
instances of divination on record in the Scriptures by which God
was pleased to make known his will.
(1.) There was divination by lot, by which, when resorted to
in matters of moment, and with solemnity, God intimated his will
(Josh. 7:13). The land of Canaan was divided by lot (Num. 26:55,
56); Achan's guilt was detected (Josh. 7:16-19), Saul was
elected king (1 Sam. 10:20, 21), and Matthias chosen to the
apostleship, by the solem lot (Acts 1:26). It was thus also that
the scape-goat was determined (Lev. 16:8-10).
(2.) There was divination by dreams (Gen. 20:6; Deut. 13:1, 3;
Judg. 7:13, 15; Matt. 1:20; 2:12, 13, 19, 22). This is
illustrated in the history of Joseph (Gen. 41:25-32) and of
Daniel (2:27; 4:19-28).
(3.) By divine appointment there was also divination by the
Urim and Thummim (Num. 27:21), and by the ephod.
(4.) God was pleased sometimes to vouch-safe direct vocal
communications to men (Deut. 34:10; Ex. 3:4; 4:3; Deut. 4:14,
15; 1 Kings 19:12). He also communed with men from above the
mercy-seat (Ex. 25:22), and at the door of the tabernacle (Ex.
(5.) Through his prophets God revealed himself, and gave
intimations of his will (2 Kings 13:17; Jer. 51:63, 64).
a town on the east of Jordan, on the top of one of the green
hills of Gilead, within the limits of the half tribe of
Manasseh, and in full view of Beth-shan. It is first mentioned
in connection with the vengeance taken on its inhabitants
because they had refused to come up to Mizpeh to take part with
Israel against the tribe of Benjamin (Judg. 21:8-14). After the
battles at Gibeah, that tribe was almost extinguished, only six
hundred men remaining. An expedition went against Jabesh-Gilead,
the whole of whose inhabitants were put to the sword, except
four hundred maidens, whom they brought as prisoners and sent to
"proclaim peace" to the Benjamites who had fled to the crag
Rimmon. These captives were given to them as wives, that the
tribe might be saved from extinction (Judg. 21).
This city was afterwards taken by Nahash, king of the
Ammonites, but was delivered by Saul, the newly-elected king of
Israel. In gratitude for this deliverance, forty years after
this, the men of Jabesh-Gilead took down the bodies of Saul and
of his three sons from the walls of Beth-shan, and after burning
them, buried the bones under a tree near the city (1 Sam.
31:11-13). David thanked them for this act of piety (2 Sam.
2:4-6), and afterwards transferred the remains to the royal
sepulchre (21:14). It is identified with the ruins of ed-Deir,
about 6 miles south of Pella, on the north of the Wady Yabis.
a Roman officer in command of a hundred men (Mark 15:39, 44,
45). Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, was a centurion (Acts
10:1, 22). Other centurions are mentioned in Matt. 8:5, 8, 13;
Luke 7:2, 6; Acts 21:32; 22:25, 26; 23:17, 23; 24:23; 27:1, 6,
11, 31, 43; 28:16. A centurion watched the crucifixion of our
Lord (Matt. 27:54; Luke 23:47), and when he saw the wonders
attending it, exclaimed, "Truly this man was the Son of God."
"The centurions mentioned in the New Testament are uniformly
spoken of in terms of praise, whether in the Gospels or in the
Acts. It is interesting to compare this with the statement of
Polybius (vi. 24), that the centurions were chosen by merit, and
so were men remarkable not so much for their daring courage as
for their deliberation, constancy, and strength of mind.", Dr.
Maclear's N. T. Hist.
the chosen of Jehovah. Some contend that Mount Gerizim is meant,
but most probably we are to regard this as one of the hills of
Jerusalem. Here Solomon's temple was built, on the spot that had
been the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite (2 Sam. 24:24,
25; 2 Chr. 3:1). It is usually included in Zion, to the
NE of which it lay, and from which it was separated by
the Tyropoean valley. This was "the land of Moriah" to which
Abraham went to offer up his son Isaac (Gen. 22:2). It has been
supposed that the highest point of the temple hill, which is now
covered by the Mohammedan Kubbetes-Sakhrah, or "Dome of the
Rock," is the actual site of Araunah's threshing-floor. Here
also, one thousand years after Abraham, David built an altar and
offered sacrifices to God. (See JERUSALEM T0002043; NUMBERING
THE PEOPLE T0002753.)
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).
retribution. (1.) The son of Jabesh, otherwise unknown. He
"conspired against Zachariah, and smote him before the people,
and slew him, and reigned in his stead" (2 Kings 15:10). He
reigned only "a month of days in Samaria" (15:13, marg.).
Menahem rose up against Shallum and put him to death (2 Kings
15:14, 15, 17), and became king in his stead.
(2.) Keeper of the temple vestments in the reign of Josiah (2
(3.) One of the posterity of Judah (1 Chr. 2:40, 41).
(4.) A descendant of Simeon (1 Chr. 4:25).
(5.) One of the line of the high priests (1 Chr. 6:13).
(6.) 1 Chr. 7:13.
(7.) A keeper of the gate in the reign of David (1 Chr. 9:17).
(8.) A Levite porter (1 Chr. 9:19, 31; Jer. 35:4).
(9.) An Ephraimite chief (2 Chr. 28:12).
(10.) The uncle of the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 32:7).
(11.) A son of king Josiah (1 Chr. 3:15; Jer. 22:11), who was
elected to succeed his father on the throne, although he was two
years younger than his brother Eliakim. He assumed the crown
under the name of Jehoahaz (q.v.). He did not imitate the
example of his father (2 Kings 23:32), but was "a young lion,
and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men" (Ezek. 19:3).
His policy was anti-Egyptian therefore. Necho, at that time at
Riblah, sent an army against Jerusalem, which at once yielded,
and Jehoahaz was carried captive to the Egyptian camp, Eliakim
being appointed king in his stead. He remained a captive in
Egypt till his death, and was the first king of Judah that died
There are three kings designated by this name in Scripture. (1.)
The father of Darius the Mede, mentioned in Dan. 9:1. This was
probably the Cyaxares I. known by this name in profane history,
the king of Media and the conqueror of Nineveh.
(2.) The king mentioned in Ezra 4:6, probably the Cambyses of
profane history, the son and successor of Cyrus (B.C. 529).
(3.) The son of Darius Hystaspes, the king named in the Book
of Esther. He ruled over the kingdoms of Persia, Media, and
Babylonia, "from India to Ethiopia." This was in all probability
the Xerxes of profane history, who succeeded his father Darius
(B.C. 485). In the LXX. version of the Book of Esther the name
Artaxerxes occurs for Ahasuerus. He reigned for twenty-one years
(B.C. 486-465). He invaded Greece with an army, it is said, of
more than 2,000,000 soldiers, only 5,000 of whom returned with
him. Leonidas, with his famous 300, arrested his progress at the
Pass of Thermopylae, and then he was defeated disastrously by
Themistocles at Salamis. It was after his return from this
invasion that Esther was chosen as his queen.
a friend, a Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, whose father,
Elimelech, had settled in the land of Moab. On the death of
Elimelech and Mahlon, Naomi came with Ruth, her daughter-in-law,
who refused to leave her, to Bethlehem, the old home from which
Elimelech had migrated. There she had a rich relative, Boaz, to
whom Ruth was eventually married. She became the mother of Obed,
the grandfather of David. Thus Ruth, a Gentile, is among the
maternal progenitors of our Lord (Matt. 1:5). The story of "the
gleaner Ruth illustrates the friendly relations between the good
Boaz and his reapers, the Jewish land system, the method of
transferring property from one person to another, the working of
the Mosaic law for the relief of distressed and ruined families;
but, above all, handing down the unselfishness, the brave love,
the unshaken trustfulness of her who, though not of the chosen
race, was, like the Canaanitess Tamar (Gen. 38:29; Matt. 1:3)
and the Canaanitess Rahab (Matt. 1:5), privileged to become the
ancestress of David, and so of 'great David's greater Son'"
(Heb. shophet, pl. shophetim), properly a magistrate or ruler,
rather than one who judges in the sense of trying a cause. This
is the name given to those rulers who presided over the affairs
of the Israelites during the interval between the death of
Joshua and the accession of Saul (Judg. 2:18), a period of
general anarchy and confusion. "The office of judges or regents
was held during life, but it was not hereditary, neither could
they appoint their successors. Their authority was limited by
the law alone, and in doubtful cases they were directed to
consult the divine King through the priest by Urim and Thummim
(Num. 27:21). Their authority extended only over those tribes by
whom they had been elected or acknowledged. There was no income
attached to their office, and they bore no external marks of
dignity. The only cases of direct divine appointment are those
of Gideon and Samson, and the latter stood in the peculiar
position of having been from before his birth ordained 'to begin
to deliver Israel.' Deborah was called to deliver Israel, but
was already a judge. Samuel was called by the Lord to be a
prophet but not a judge, which ensued from the high gifts the
people recognized as dwelling in him; and as to Eli, the office
of judge seems to have devolved naturally or rather ex officio
upon him." Of five of the judges, Tola (Judg. 10:1), Jair (3),
Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon (12:8-15), we have no record at all
beyond the bare fact that they were judges. Sacred history is
not the history of individuals but of the kingdom of God in its
In Ex. 2:14 Moses is so styled. This fact may indicate that
while for revenue purposes the "taskmasters" were over the
people, they were yet, just as at a later time when under the
Romans, governed by their own rulers.
=Topheth, from Heb. toph "a drum," because the cries of children
here sacrificed by the priests of Moloch were drowned by the
noise of such an instrument; or from taph or toph, meaning "to
burn," and hence a place of burning, the name of a particular
part in the valley of Hinnom. "Fire being the most destructive
of all elements, is chosen by the sacred writers to symbolize
the agency by which God punishes or destroys the wicked. We are
not to assume from prophetical figures that material fire is the
precise agent to be used. It was not the agency employed in the
destruction of Sennacherib, mentioned in Isa. 30:33...Tophet
properly begins where the Vale of Hinnom bends round to the
east, having the cliffs of Zion on the north, and the Hill of
Evil Counsel on the south. It terminates at Beer 'Ayub, where it
joins the Valley of Jehoshaphat. The cliffs on the southern side
especially abound in ancient tombs. Here the dead carcasses of
beasts and every offal and abomination were cast, and left to be
either devoured by that worm that never died or consumed by that
fire that was never quenched." Thus Tophet came to represent the
place of punishment. (See HINNOM T0001790.)
a section of the western wall of the temple area, where the Jews
assemble every Friday afternoon to bewail their desolate
condition (Ps. 79:1, 4, 5). The stones in this part of the wall
are of great size, and were placed, as is generally believed, in
the position in which they are now found in the time of Solomon.
"The congregation at the wailing-place is one of the most solemn
gatherings left to the Jewish Church, and as the writer gazed at
the motley concourse he experienced a feeling of sorrow that the
remnants of the chosen race should be heartlessly thrust outside
the sacred enclosure of their fathers' holy temple by men of an
alien race and an alien creed. Many of the elders, seated on the
ground, with their backs against the wall, on the west side of
the area, and with their faces turned toward the eternal house,
read out of their well-thumbed Hebrew books passages from the
prophetic writings, such as Isa. 64:9-12" (King's Recent
Discoveries, etc.). The wailing-place of the Jews, viewed in its
past spiritual and historic relations, is indeed "the saddest
nook in this vale of tears." (See LAMENTATIONS, BOOK OF
Anglicized form of the Greek word diaconos, meaning a "runner,"
"messenger," "servant." For a long period a feeling of mutual
jealousy had existed between the "Hebrews," or Jews proper, who
spoke the sacred language of palestine, and the "Hellenists," or
Jews of the Grecian speech, who had adopted the Grecian
language, and read the Septuagint version of the Bible instead
of the Hebrew. This jealousy early appeared in the Christian
community. It was alleged by the Hellenists that their widows
were overlooked in the daily distribution of alms. This spirit
must be checked. The apostles accordingly advised the disciples
to look out for seven men of good report, full of the Holy
Ghost, and men of practical wisdom, who should take entire
charge of this distribution, leaving them free to devote
themselves entirely to the spiritual functions of their office
(Acts 6:1-6). This was accordingly done. Seven men were chosen,
who appear from their names to have been Hellenists. The name
"deacon" is nowhere applied to them in the New Testament; they
are simply called "the seven" (21:8). Their office was at first
secular, but it afterwards became also spiritual; for among
other qualifications they must also be "apt to teach" (1 Tim. 3:
8-12). Both Philip and Stephen, who were of "the seven,"
preached; they did "the work of evangelists."
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.
cutting around. This rite, practised before, as some think, by
divers races, was appointed by God to be the special badge of
his chosen people, an abiding sign of their consecration to him.
It was established as a national ordinance (Gen. 17:10, 11). In
compliance with the divine command, Abraham, though ninety-nine
years of age, was circumcised on the same day with Ishmael, who
was thirteen years old (17:24-27). Slaves, whether home-born or
purchased, were circumcised (17:12, 13); and all foreigners must
have their males circumcised before they could enjoy the
privileges of Jewish citizenship (Ex. 12:48). During the journey
through the wilderness, the practice of circumcision fell into
disuse, but was resumed by the command of Joshua before they
entered the Promised Land (Josh. 5:2-9). It was observed always
afterwards among the tribes of israel, although it is not
expressly mentioned from the time of the settlement in Canaan
till the time of Christ, about 1,450 years. The Jews prided
themselves in the possession of this covenant distinction (Judg.
14:3; 15:18; 1 Sam. 14:6; 17:26; 2 Sam. 1:20; Ezek. 31:18).
As a rite of the church it ceased when the New Testament times
began (Gal. 6:15; Col. 3:11). Some Jewish Christians sought to
impose it, however, on the Gentile converts; but this the
apostles resolutely resisted (Acts 15:1; Gal. 6:12). Our Lord
was circumcised, for it "became him to fulfil all
righteousness," as of the seed of Abraham, according to the
flesh; and Paul "took and circumcised" Timothy (Acts 16:3), to
avoid giving offence to the Jews. It would render Timothy's
labors more acceptable to the Jews. But Paul would by no means
consent to the demand that Titus should be circumcised (Gal.
2:3-5). The great point for which he contended was the free
admission of uncircumcised Gentiles into the church. He
contended successfully in behalf of Titus, even in Jerusalem.
In the Old Testament a spiritual idea is attached to
circumcision. It was the symbol of purity (Isa. 52:1). We read
of uncircumcised lips (Ex. 6:12, 30), ears (Jer. 6:10), hearts
(Lev. 26:41). The fruit of a tree that is unclean is spoken of
as uncircumcised (Lev. 19:23).
It was a sign and seal of the covenant of grace as well as of
the national covenant between God and the Hebrews. (1.) It
sealed the promises made to Abraham, which related to the
commonwealth of Israel, national promises. (2.) But the promises
made to Abraham included the promise of redemption (Gal. 3:14),
a promise which has come upon us. The covenant with Abraham was
a dispensation or a specific form of the covenant of grace, and
circumcision was a sign and seal of that covenant. It had a
spiritual meaning. It signified purification of the heart,
inward circumcision effected by the Spirit (Deut. 10:16; 30:6;
Ezek. 44:7; Acts 7:51; Rom. 2:28; Col. 2:11). Circumcision as a
symbol shadowing forth sanctification by the Holy Spirit has now
given way to the symbol of baptism (q.v.). But the truth
embodied in both ordinances is ever the same, the removal of
sin, the sanctifying effects of grace in the heart.
Under the Jewish dispensation, church and state were
identical. No one could be a member of the one without also
being a member of the other. Circumcision was a sign and seal of
membership in both. Every circumcised person bore thereby
evidence that he was one of the chosen people, a member of the
church of God as it then existed, and consequently also a member
of the Jewish commonwealth.
the name derived from the patriarch Judah, at first given to one
belonging to the tribe of Judah or to the separate kingdom of
Judah (2 Kings 16:6; 25:25; Jer. 32:12; 38:19; 40:11; 41:3), in
contradistinction from those belonging to the kingdom of the ten
tribes, who were called Israelites.
During the Captivity, and after the Restoration, the name,
however, was extended to all the Hebrew nation without
distinction (Esther 3:6, 10; Dan. 3:8, 12; Ezra 4:12; 5:1, 5).
Originally this people were called Hebrews (Gen. 39:14; 40:15;
Ex. 2:7; 3:18; 5:3; 1 Sam. 4:6, 9, etc.), but after the Exile
this name fell into disuse. But Paul was styled a Hebrew (2 Cor.
11:22; Phil. 3:5).
The history of the Jewish nation is interwoven with the
history of Israel and with the narratives of the lives of
their rulers and chief men. They are now  dispersed over
all lands, and to this day remain a separate people, "without a
king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without
an image [R.V. 'pillar,' marg. 'obelisk'], and without an ephod,
and without teraphim" (Hos. 3:4). Till about the beginning of
the present century  they were everywhere greatly
oppressed, and often cruelly persecuted; but now their condition
is greatly improved, and they are admitted in most European
countries to all the rights of free citizens. In 1860 the
"Jewish disabilities" were removed, and they were admitted to a
seat in the British Parliament. Their number in all is estimated
at about six millions, about four millions being in Europe.
There are three names used in the New Testament to designate
this people, (1.) Jews, as regards their nationality, to
distinguish them from Gentiles. (2.) Hebrews, with regard to
their language and education, to distinguish them from
Hellenists, i.e., Jews who spoke the Greek language. (3.)
Israelites, as respects their sacred privileges as the chosen
people of God. "To other races we owe the splendid inheritance
of modern civilization and secular culture; but the religious
education of mankind has been the gift of the Jew alone."
is in Scripture very generally used to denote one invested with
authority, whether extensive or limited. There were thirty-one
kings in Canaan (Josh. 12:9, 24), whom Joshua subdued.
Adonibezek subdued seventy kings (Judg. 1:7). In the New
Testament the Roman emperor is spoken of as a king (1 Pet. 2:13,
17); and Herod Antipas, who was only a tetrarch, is also called
a king (Matt. 14:9; Mark 6:22).
This title is applied to God (1 Tim. 1:17), and to Christ, the
Son of God (1 Tim. 6:15, 16; Matt. 27:11). The people of God are
also called "kings" (Dan. 7:22, 27; Matt. 19:28; Rev. 1:6,
etc.). Death is called the "king of terrors" (Job 18:14).
Jehovah was the sole King of the Jewish nation (1 Sam. 8:7;
Isa. 33:22). But there came a time in the history of that people
when a king was demanded, that they might be like other nations
(1 Sam. 8:5). The prophet Samuel remonstrated with them, but the
people cried out, "Nay, but we will have a king over us." The
misconduct of Samuel's sons was the immediate cause of this
The Hebrew kings did not rule in their own right, nor in name
of the people who had chosen them, but partly as servants and
partly as representatives of Jehovah, the true King of Israel (1
Sam. 10:1). The limits of the king's power were prescribed (1
Sam. 10:25). The officers of his court were, (1) the recorder or
remembrancer (2 Sam. 8:16; 1 Kings 4:3); (2) the scribe (2 Sam.
8:17; 20:25); (3) the officer over the house, the chief steward
(Isa. 22:15); (4) the "king's friend," a confidential companion
(1 Kings 4:5); (5) the keeper of the wardrobe (2 Kings 22:14);
(6) captain of the bodyguard (2 Sam. 20:23); (7) officers over
the king's treasures, etc. (1 Chr. 27:25-31); (8)
commander-in-chief of the army (1 Chr. 27:34); (9) the royal
counsellor (1 Chr. 27:32; 2 Sam. 16:20-23).
(For catalogue of kings of Israel and Judah see chronological
table in Appendix.)
the Graecized form of Judah. (1.) The patriarch (Matt. 1:2, 3).
(2.) Son of Simon (John 6:71; 13:2, 26), surnamed Iscariot,
i.e., a man of Kerioth (Josh. 15:25). His name is uniformly the
last in the list of the apostles, as given in the synoptic
(i.e., the first three) Gospels. The evil of his nature probably
gradually unfolded itself till "Satan entered into him" (John
13:27), and he betrayed our Lord (18:3). Afterwards he owned his
sin with "an exceeding bitter cry," and cast the money he had
received as the wages of his iniquity down on the floor of the
sanctuary, and "departed and went and hanged himself" (Matt.
27:5). He perished in his guilt, and "went unto his own place"
(Acts 1:25). The statement in Acts 1:18 that he "fell headlong
and burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out,"
is in no way contrary to that in Matt. 27:5. The sucide first
hanged himself, perhaps over the valley of Hinnom, "and the rope
giving way, or the branch to which he hung breaking, he fell
down headlong on his face, and was crushed and mangled on the
rocky pavement below."
Why such a man was chosen to be an apostle we know not, but it
is written that "Jesus knew from the beginning who should betray
him" (John 6:64). Nor can any answer be satisfactorily given to
the question as to the motives that led Judas to betray his
Master. "Of the motives that have been assigned we need not care
to fix on any one as that which simply led him on. Crime is, for
the most part, the result of a hundred motives rushing with
bewildering fury through the mind of the criminal."
(3.) A Jew of Damascus (Acts 9:11), to whose house Ananias was
sent. The street called "Straight" in which it was situated is
identified with the modern "street of bazaars," where is still
pointed out the so-called "house of Judas."
(4.) A Christian teacher, surnamed Barsabas. He was sent from
Jerusalem to Antioch along with Paul and Barnabas with the
decision of the council (Acts 15:22, 27, 32). He was a "prophet"
and a "chief man among the brethren."
a feast provided for the entertainment of a company of guests
(Esther 5; 7; 1 Pet. 4:3); such as was provided for our Lord by
his friends in Bethany (Matt. 26:6; Mark 14:3; compare John 12:2).
These meals were in the days of Christ usually called "suppers,"
after the custom of the Romans, and were partaken of toward the
close of the day. It was usual to send a second invitation
(Matt. 22:3; Luke 14:17) to those who had been already invited.
When the whole company was assembled, the master of the house
shut the door with his own hands (Luke 13:25; Matt. 25:10).
The guests were first refreshed with water and fragrant oil
(Luke 7:38; Mark 7:4). A less frequent custom was that of
supplying each guest with a robe to be worn during the feast
(Eccles. 9:8; Rev. 3:4, 5; Matt. 22:11). At private banquets the
master of the house presided; but on public occasions a
"governor of the feast" was chosen (John 2:8). The guests were
placed in order according to seniority (Gen. 43:33), or
according to the rank they held (Prov. 25:6,7; Matt. 23:6; Luke
As spoons and knives and forks are a modern invention, and
were altogether unknown in the East, the hands alone were
necessarily used, and were dipped in the dish, which was common
to two of the guests (John 13:26). In the days of our Lord the
guests reclined at table; but the ancient Israelites sat around
low tables, cross-legged, like the modern Orientals. Guests were
specially honoured when extra portions were set before them
(Gen. 43:34), and when their cup was filled with wine till it
ran over (Ps. 23:5). The hands of the guests were usually
cleaned by being rubbed on bread, the crumbs of which fell to
the ground, and were the portion for dogs (Matt. 15:27; Luke
At the time of the three annual festivals at Jerusalem family
banquets were common. To these the "widow, and the fatherless,
and the stranger" were welcome (Deut. 16:11). Sacrifices also
included a banquet (Ex. 34:15; Judg. 16:23). Birthday banquets
are mentioned (Gen. 40:20; Matt. 14:6). They were sometimes
protracted, and attended with revelry and excess (Gen. 21:8;
29:22; 1 Sam. 25:2,36; 2 Sam. 13:23). Portions were sometimes
sent from the table to poorer friends (Neh. 8:10; Esther 9:19,
22). (See MEALS T0002451.)
Numbers, Book of
the fourth of the books of the Pentateuch, called in the Hebrew
be-midbar, i.e., "in the wilderness." In the LXX. version it is
called "Numbers," and this name is now the usual title of the
book. It is so called because it contains a record of the
numbering of the people in the wilderness of Sinai (1-4), and of
their numbering afterwards on the plain of Moab (26).
This book is of special historical interest as furnishing us
with details as to the route of the Israelites in the wilderness
and their principal encampments. It may be divided into three
1. The numbering of the people at Sinai, and preparations for
their resuming their march (1-10:10). The sixth chapter gives an
account of the vow of a Nazarite.
2. An account of the journey from Sinai to Moab, the sending
out of the spies and the report they brought back, and the
murmurings (eight times) of the people at the hardships by the
3. The transactions in the plain of Moab before crossing the
Jordan (21:21-ch. 36).
The period comprehended in the history extends from the second
month of the second year after the Exodus to the beginning of
the eleventh month of the fortieth year, in all about
thirty-eight years and ten months; a dreary period of
wanderings, during which that disobedient generation all died in
the wilderness. They were fewer in number at the end of their
wanderings than when they left the land of Egypt. We see in this
history, on the one hand, the unceasing care of the Almighty
over his chosen people during their wanderings; and, on the
other hand, the murmurings and rebellions by which they offended
their heavenly Protector, drew down repeated marks of his
displeasure, and provoked him to say that they should "not enter
into his rest" because of their unbelief (Heb. 3:19).
This, like the other books of the Pentateuch, bears evidence
of having been written by Moses.
The expression "the book of the wars of the Lord," occurring
in 21:14, has given rise to much discussion. But, after all,
"what this book was is uncertain, whether some writing of Israel
not now extant, or some writing of the Amorites which contained
songs and triumphs of their king Sihon's victories, out of which
Moses may cite this testimony, as Paul sometimes does out of
heathen poets (Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12)."
a common Jewish name, the same as Hananiah. (1.) One of the
members of the church at Jerusalem, who conspired with his wife
Sapphira to deceive the brethren, and who fell down and
immediately expired after he had uttered the falsehood (Acts
5:5). By common agreement the members of the early Christian
community devoted their property to the work of furthering the
gospel and of assisting the poor and needy. The proceeds of the
possessions they sold were placed at the disposal of the
apostles (Acts 4:36, 37). Ananias might have kept his property
had he so chosen; but he professed agreement with the brethren
in the common purpose, and had of his own accord devoted it all,
as he said, to these sacred ends. Yet he retained a part of it
for his own ends, and thus lied in declaring that he had given
it all. "The offence of Ananias and Sapphira showed contempt of
God, vanity and ambition in the offenders, and utter disregard
of the corruption which they were bringing into the society.
Such sin, committed in despite of the light which they
possessed, called for a special mark of divine indignation."
(2.) A Christian at Damascus (Acts 9:10). He became Paul's
instructor; but when or by what means he himself became a
Christian we have no information. He was "a devout man according
to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt" at
(3.) The high priest before whom Paul was brought in the
procuratorship of Felix (Acts 23:2, 5, 24). He was so enraged at
Paul's noble declaration, "I have lived in all good conscience
before God until this day," that he commanded one of his
attendants to smite him on the mouth. Smarting under this
unprovoked insult, Paul quickly replied, "God shall smite thee,
thou whited wall." Being reminded that Ananias was the high
priest, to whose office all respect was to be paid, he answered,
"I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest" (Acts 23:5).
This expression has occasioned some difficulty, as it is
scarcely probable that Paul should have been ignorant of so
public a fact. The expression may mean (a) that Paul had at the
moment overlooked the honour due to the high priest; or (b), as
others think, that Paul spoke ironically, as if he had said,
"The high priest breaking the law! God's high priest a tyrant
and a lawbreaker! I see a man in white robes, and have heard his
voice, but surely it cannot, it ought not to be, the voice of
the high priest." (See Dr. Lindsay on Acts, "in loco".) (c)
Others think that from defect of sight Paul could not observe
that the speaker was the high priest. In all this, however, it
may be explained, Paul, with all his excellency, comes short of
the example of his divine Master, who, when he was reviled,
reviled not again.
laughter. (1) Israel, or the kingdom of the ten tribes (Amos
(2.) The only son of Abraham by Sarah. He was the longest
lived of the three patriarchs (Gen. 21:1-3). He was circumcised
when eight days old (4-7); and when he was probably two years
old a great feast was held in connection with his being weaned.
The next memorable event in his life is that connected with
the command of God given to Abraham to offer him up as a
sacrifice on a mountain in the land of Moriah (Gen. 22). (See
ABRAHAM T0000055.) When he was forty years of age Rebekah was
chosen for his wife (Gen. 24). After the death and burial of his
father he took up his residence at Beer-lahai-roi (25:7-11),
where his two sons, Esau and Jacob, were born (21-26), the
former of whom seems to have been his favourite son (27,28).
In consequence of a famine (Gen. 26:1) Isaac went to Gerar,
where he practised deception as to his relation to Rebekah,
imitating the conduct of his father in Egypt (12:12-20) and in
Gerar (20:2). The Philistine king rebuked him for his
After sojourning for some time in the land of the Philistines,
he returned to Beersheba, where God gave him fresh assurance of
covenant blessing, and where Abimelech entered into a covenant
of peace with him.
The next chief event in his life was the blessing of his sons
(Gen. 27:1). He died at Mamre, "being old and full of days"
(35:27-29), one hundred and eighty years old, and was buried in
the cave of Machpelah.
In the New Testament reference is made to his having been
"offered up" by his father (Heb. 11:17; James 2:21), and to his
blessing his sons (Heb. 11:20). As the child of promise, he is
contrasted with Ishmael (Rom. 9:7, 10; Gal. 4:28; Heb. 11:18).
Isaac is "at once a counterpart of his father in simple
devoutness and purity of life, and a contrast in his passive
weakness of character, which in part, at least, may have sprung
from his relations to his mother and wife. After the expulsion
of Ishmael and Hagar, Isaac had no competitor, and grew up in
the shade of Sarah's tent, moulded into feminine softness by
habitual submission to her strong, loving will." His life was so
quiet and uneventful that it was spent "within the circle of a
few miles; so guileless that he let Jacob overreach him rather
than disbelieve his assurance; so tender that his mother's death
was the poignant sorrow of years; so patient and gentle that
peace with his neighbours was dearer than even such a coveted
possession as a well of living water dug by his own men; so
grandly obedient that he put his life at his father's disposal;
so firm in his reliance on God that his greatest concern through
life was to honour the divine promise given to his race.",
Geikie's Hours, etc.
(Heb. goral, a "pebble"), a small stone used in casting lots
(Num. 33:54; Jonah 1:7). The lot was always resorted to by the
Hebrews with strictest reference to the interposition of God,
and as a method of ascertaining the divine will (Prov. 16:33),
and in serious cases of doubt (Esther 3:7). Thus the lot was
used at the division of the land of Canaan among the serveral
tribes (Num. 26:55; 34:13), at the detection of Achan (Josh.
7:14, 18), the election of Saul to be king (1 Sam. 10:20, 21),
the distribution of the priestly offices of the temple service
(1 Chr. 24:3, 5, 19; Luke 1:9), and over the two goats at the
feast of Atonement (Lev. 16:8). Matthias, who was "numbered with
the eleven" (Acts 1:24-26), was chosen by lot.
This word also denotes a portion or an inheritance (Josh.
15:1; Ps. 125:3; Isa. 17:4), and a destiny, as assigned by God
(Ps. 16:5; Dan. 12:13).
Lot, (Heb. lot), a covering; veil, the son of Haran, and
nephew of Abraham (Gen. 11:27). On the death of his father, he
was left in charge of his grandfather Terah (31), after whose
death he accompanied his uncle Abraham into Canaan (12:5),
thence into Egypt (10), and back again to Canaan (13:1). After
this he separated from him and settled in Sodom (13:5-13). There
his righteous soul was "vexed" from day to day (2 Pet. 2:7), and
he had great cause to regret this act. Not many years after the
separation he was taken captive by Chedorlaomer, and was rescued
by Abraham (Gen. 14). At length, when the judgment of God
descended on the guilty cities of the plain (Gen. 19:1-20), Lot
was miraculously delivered. When fleeing from the doomed city
his wife "looked back from behind him, and became a pillar of
salt." There is to this day a peculiar crag at the south end of
the Dead Sea, near Kumran, which the Arabs call Bint Sheik Lot,
i.e., Lot's wife. It is "a tall, isolated needle of rock, which
really does bear a curious resemblance to an Arab woman with a
child upon her shoulder." From the words of warning in Luke
17:32, "Remember Lot's wife," it would seem as if she had gone
back, or tarried so long behind in the desire to save some of
her goods, that she became involved in the destruction which
fell on the city, and became a stiffened corpse, fixed for a
time in the saline incrustations. She became "a pillar of salt",
i.e., as some think, of asphalt. (See SALT T0003196.)
Lot and his daughters sought refuge first in Zoar, and then,
fearing to remain there longer, retired to a cave in the
neighbouring mountains (Gen. 19:30). Lot has recently been
connected with the people called on the Egyptian monuments
Rotanu or Lotanu, who is supposed to have been the hero of the
Edomite tribe Lotan.
Israel, Kingdom of
(B.C. 975-B.C. 722). Soon after the death of Solomon, Ahijah's
prophecy (1 Kings 11:31-35) was fulfilled, and the kingdom was
rent in twain. Rehoboam, the son and successor of Solomon, was
scarcely seated on his throne when the old jealousies between
Judah and the other tribes broke out anew, and Jeroboam was sent
for from Egypt by the malcontents (12:2,3). Rehoboam insolently
refused to lighten the burdensome taxation and services which
his father had imposed on his subjects (12:4), and the rebellion
became complete. Ephraim and all Israel raised the old cry,
"Every man to his tents, O Israel" (2 Sam. 20:1). Rehoboam fled
to Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:1-18; 2 Chr. 10), and Jeroboam was
proclaimed king over all Israel at Shechem, Judah and Benjamin
remaining faithful to Solomon's son. War, with varying success,
was carried on between the two kingdoms for about sixty years,
till Jehoshaphat entered into an alliance with the house of
Extent of the kingdom. In the time of Solomon the area of
Israel, excluding the Phoenician territories on the shore of
the Mediterranean, did not much exceed 13,000 square miles. The
kingdom of Israel comprehended about 9,375 square miles. Shechem
was the first capital of this kingdom (1 Kings 12:25),
afterwards Tirza (14:17). Samaria was subsequently chosen as the
capital (16:24), and continued to be so till the destruction of
the kingdom by the Assyrians (2 Kings 17:5). During the siege of
Samaria (which lasted for three years) by the Assyrians,
Shalmaneser died and was succeeded by Sargon, who himself thus
records the capture of that city: "Samaria I looked at, I
captured; 27,280 men who dwelt in it I carried away" (2 Kings
17:6) into Assyria. Thus after a duration of two hundred and
fifty-three years the kingdom of the ten tribes came to an end.
They were scattered throughout the East. (See CAPTIVITY
"Judah held its ground against Assyria for yet one hundred and
twenty-three years, and became the rallying-point of the
dispersed of every tribe, and eventually gave its name to the
whole race. Those of the people who in the last struggle escaped
into the territories of Judah or other neighbouring countries
naturally looked to Judah as the head and home of their race.
And when Judah itself was carried off to Babylon, many of the
exiled Israelites joined them from Assyria, and swelled that
immense population which made Babylonia a second Israel."
After the deportation of the ten tribes, the deserted land was
colonized by various eastern tribes, whom the king of Assyria
sent thither (Ezra 4:2, 10; 2 Kings 17:24-29). (See KINGS
In contrast with the kingdom of Judah is that of Israel. (1.)
"There was no fixed capital and no religious centre. (2.) The
army was often insubordinate. (3.) The succession was constantly
interrupted, so that out of nineteen kings there were no less
than nine dynasties, each ushered in by a revolution. (4.) The
authorized priests left the kingdom in a body, and the
priesthood established by Jeroboam had no divine sanction and no
promise; it was corrupt at its very source." (Maclean's O. T.
Jehovah is he. (1.) The son of Obed, and father of Azariah (1
(2.) One of the Benjamite slingers that joined David at Ziklag
(1 Chr. 12:3).
(3.) The son of Hanani, a prophet of Judah (1 Kings 16:1, 7; 2
Chr. 19:2; 20:34), who pronounced the sentence of God against
Baasha, the king of Israel.
(4.) King of Israel, the son of Jehoshaphat (2 Kings 9:2), and
grandson of Nimshi. The story of his exaltation to the throne is
deeply interesting. During the progress of a war against the
Syrians, who were becoming more and more troublesome to Israel,
in a battle at Ramoth-gilead Jehoram, the king of Israel, had
been wounded; and leaving his army there, had returned to
Jezreel, whither his ally, Ahaziah, king of Judah, had also gone
on a visit of sympathy with him (2 Kings 8:28, 29). The
commanders, being left in charge of the conduct of the war, met
in council; and while engaged in their deliberations, a
messenger from Elisha appeared in the camp, and taking Jehu from
the council, led him into a secret chamber, and there anointed
him king over Israel, and immediately retired and disappeared (2
Kings 9:5, 6). On being interrogated by his companions as to the
object of this mysterious visitor, he informed them of what had
been done, when immediately, with the utmost enthusiasm, they
blew their trumpets and proclaimed him king (2 Kings 9:11-14).
He then with a chosen band set forth with all speed to Jezreel,
where, with his own hand, he slew Jehoram, shooting him through
the heart with an arrow (9:24). The king of Judah, when trying
to escape, was fatally wounded by one of Jehu's soldiers at
Beth-gan. On entering the city, Jehu commanded the eunchs of the
royal palace to cast down Jezebel into the street, where her
mangled body was trodden under foot by the horses. Jehu was now
master of Jezreel, whence he communicated with the persons in
authority in Samaria the capital, commanding them to appear
before him on the morrow with the heads of all the royal princes
of Samaria. Accordingly on the morrow seventy heads were piled
up in two heaps at his gate. At "the shearing-house" (2 Kings
10:12-14) other forty-two connected with the house of Ahab were
put to death (2 Kings 10:14). As Jehu rode on toward Samaria, he
met Jehonadab (q.v.), whom he took into his chariot, and they
entered the capital together. By a cunning stratagem he cut off
all the worshippers of Baal found in Samaria (2 Kings 10:19-25),
and destroyed the temple of the idol (2 Kings 10:27).
Notwithstanding all this apparent zeal for the worship of
Jehovah, Jehu yet tolerated the worship of the golden calves at
Dan and Bethel. For this the divine displeasure rested upon him,
and his kingdom suffered disaster in war with the Syrians (2
Kings 10:29-33). He died after a reign of twenty-eight years
(B.C. 884-856), and was buried in Samaria (10:34-36). "He was
one of those decisive, terrible, and ambitious, yet prudent,
calculating, and passionless men whom God from time to time
raises up to change the fate of empires and execute his
judgments on the earth." He was the first Jewish king who came
in contact with the Assyrian power in the time of Shalmaneser
hill-city, "one of the royal cities, greater than Ai, and all
the men thereof were mighty" (Josh. 10:2). Its inhabitants were
Hivites (11:19). It lay within the territory of Benjamin, and
became a priest-city (18:25; 21:17). Here the tabernacle was set
up after the destruction of Nob, and here it remained many years
till the temple was built by Solomon. It is represented by the
modern el-Jib, to the south-west of Ai, and about 5 1/2 miles
north-north-west of Jerusalem.
A deputation of the Gibeonites, with their allies from three
other cities (Josh. 9;17), visited the camp at Gilgal, and by
false representations induced Joshua to enter into a league with
them, although the Israelites had been specially warned against
any league with the inhabitants of Canaan (Ex. 23:32; 34:12;
Num. 33:55; Deut. 7:2). The deception practised on Joshua was
detected three days later; but the oath rashly sworn "by Jehovah
God of Israel" was kept, and the lives of the Gibeonites were
spared. They were, however, made "bondmen" to the sanctuary
The most remarkable incident connected with this city was the
victory Joshua gained over the kings of Israel (Josh.
10:16-27). The battle here fought has been regarded as "one of
the most important in the history of the world." The kings of
southern Canaan entered into a confederacy against Gibeon
(because it had entered into a league with Joshua) under the
leadership of Adoni-zedec, king of Jerusalem, and marched upon
Gibeon with the view of taking possession of it. The Gibeonites
entreated Joshua to come to their aid with the utmost speed. His
army came suddenly upon that of the Amorite kings as it lay
encamped before the city. It was completely routed, and only
broken remnants of their great host found refuge in the fenced
cities. The five confederate kings who led the army were taken
prisoners, and put to death at Makkedah (q.v.). This eventful
battle of Beth-horon sealed the fate of all the cities of
Southern Israel. Among the Amarna tablets is a letter from
Adoni-zedec (q.v.) to the king of Egypt, written probably at
Makkedah after the defeat, showing that the kings contemplated
flight into Egypt.
This place is again brought into notice as the scene of a
battle between the army of Ish-bosheth under Abner and that of
David led by Joab. At the suggestion of Abner, to spare the
effusion of blood twelve men on either side were chosen to
decide the battle. The issue was unexpected; for each of the men
slew his fellow, and thus they all perished. The two armies then
engaged in battle, in which Abner and his host were routed and
put to flight (2 Sam. 2:12-17). This battle led to a virtual
truce between Judah and Israel, Judah, under David, increasing
in power; and Israel, under Ish-bosheth, continually losing
Soon after the death of Absalom and David's restoration to his
throne his kingdom was visited by a grievous famine, which was
found to be a punishment for Saul's violation (2 Sam. 21:2, 5)
of the covenant with the Gibeonites (Josh. 9:3-27). The
Gibeonites demanded blood for the wrong that had been done to
them, and accordingly David gave up to them the two sons of
Rizpah (q.v.) and the five sons of Michal, and these the
Gibeonites took and hanged or crucified "in the hill before the
Lord" (2 Sam. 21:9); and there the bodies hung for six months
(21:10), and all the while Rizpah watched over the blackening
corpses and "suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on
them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night." David
afterwards removed the bones of Saul and Jonathan at
Jabeshgilead (21:12, 13).
Here, "at the great stone," Amasa was put to death by Joab (2
Sam. 20:5-10). To the altar of burnt-offering which was at
Gibeon, Joab (1 Kings 2:28-34), who had taken the side of
Adonijah, fled for sanctuary in the beginning of Solomon's
reign, and was there also slain by the hand of Benaiah.
Soon after he came to the throne, Solomon paid a visit of
state to Gibeon, there to offer sacrifices (1 Kings 3:4; 2 Chr.
1:3). On this occasion the Lord appeared to him in a memorable
dream, recorded in 1 Kings 3:5-15; 2 Chr. 1:7-12. When the
temple was built "all the men of Israel assembled themselves" to
king Solomon, and brought up from Gibeon the tabernacle and "all
the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle" to Jerusalem,
where they remained till they were carried away by
Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:13).
the Oldest son of Amram and Jochebed, a daughter of Levi (Ex.
6:20). Some explain the name as meaning mountaineer, others
mountain of strength, illuminator. He was born in Egypt three
years before his brother Moses, and a number of years after his
sister Miriam (2:1,4; 7:7). He married Elisheba, the daughter of
Amminadab of the house of Judah (6:23; 1 Chr. 2:10), by whom he
had four sons, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. When the
time for the deliverance of Isarael out of Egypt drew nigh, he
was sent by God (Ex. 4:14,27-30) to meet his long-absent
brother, that he might co-operate with him in all that they were
required to do in bringing about the Exodus. He was to be the
"mouth" or "prophet" of Moses, i.e., was to speak for him,
because he was a man of a ready utterance (7:1,2,9,10,19). He
was faithful to his trust, and stood by Moses in all his
interviews with Pharaoh.
When the ransomed tribes fought their first battle with Amalek
in Rephidim, Moses stood on a hill overlooking the scene of the
conflict with the rod of God in his outstretched hand. On this
occasion he was attended by Aaron and Hur, his sister's husband,
who held up his wearied hands till Joshua and the chosen
warriors of Israel gained the victory (17:8-13).
Afterwards, when encamped before Sinai, and when Moses at the
command of God ascended the mount to receive the tables of the
law, Aaron and his two sons, Nadab and Abihu, along with seventy
of the elders of Israel, were permitted to accompany him part of
the way, and to behold afar off the manifestation of the glory
of Israel's God (Ex. 19:24; 24:9-11). While Moses remained on
the mountain with God, Aaron returned unto the people; and
yielding through fear, or ignorance, or instability of
character, to their clamour, made unto them a golden calf, and
set it up as an object of worship (Ex. 32:4; Ps. 106:19). On the
return of Moses to the camp, Aaron was sternly rebuked by him
for the part he had acted in this matter; but he interceded for
him before God, who forgave his sin (Deut. 9:20).
On the mount, Moses received instructions regarding the system
of worship which was to be set up among the people; and in
accordance therewith Aaron and his sons were consecrated to the
priest's office (Lev. 8; 9). Aaron, as high priest, held
henceforth the prominent place appertaining to that office.
When Israel had reached Hazeroth, in "the wilderness of
Paran," Aaron joined with his sister Miriam in murmuring against
Moses, "because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married,"
probably after the death of Zipporah. But the Lord vindicated
his servant Moses, and punished Miriam with leprosy (Num. 12).
Aaron acknowledged his own and his sister's guilt, and at the
intercession of Moses they were forgiven.
Twenty years after this, when the children of Israel were
encamped in the wilderness of Paran, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram
conspired against Aaron and his sons; but a fearful judgment
from God fell upon them, and they were destroyed, and the next
day thousands of the people also perished by a fierce
pestilence, the ravages of which were only stayed by the
interposition of Aaron (Num. 16). That there might be further
evidence of the divine appointment of Aaron to the priestly
office, the chiefs of the tribes were each required to bring to
Moses a rod bearing on it the name of his tribe. And these,
along with the rod of Aaron for the tribe of Levi, were laid up
overnight in the tabernacle, and in the morning it was found
that while the other rods remained unchanged, that of Aaron "for
the house of Levi" budded, blossomed, and yielded almonds (Num.
17:1-10). This rod was afterwards preserved in the tabernacle
(Heb. 9:4) as a memorial of the divine attestation of his
appointment to the priesthood.
Aaron was implicated in the sin of his brother at Meribah
(Num. 20:8-13), and on that account was not permitted to enter
the Promised Land. When the tribes arrived at Mount Hor, "in the
edge of the land of Edom," at the command of God Moses led Aaron
and his son Eleazar to the top of that mountain, in the sight of
all the people. There he stripped Aaron of his priestly
vestments, and put them upon Eleazar; and there Aaron died on
the top of the mount, being 123 years old (Num. 20:23-29. Compare
Deut. 10:6; 32:50), and was "gathered unto his people." The
people, "even all the house of Israel," mourned for him thirty
days. Of Aaron's sons two survived him, Eleazar, whose family
held the high-priesthood till the time of Eli; and Ithamar, in
whose family, beginning with Eli, the high-priesthood was held
till the time of Solomon. Aaron's other two sons had been struck
dead (Lev. 10:1,2) for the daring impiety of offering "strange
fire" on the alter of incense.
The Arabs still show with veneration the traditionary site of
Aaron's grave on one of the two summits of Mount Hor, which is
marked by a Mohammedan chapel. His name is mentioned in the
Koran, and there are found in the writings of the rabbins many
fabulous stories regarding him.
He was the first anointed priest. His descendants, "the house
of Aaron," constituted the priesthood in general. In the time of
David they were very numerous (1 Chr. 12:27). The other branches
of the tribe of Levi held subordinate positions in connection
with the sacred office. Aaron was a type of Christ in his
official character as the high priest. His priesthood was a
"shadow of heavenly things," and was intended to lead the people
of Israel to look forward to the time when "another priest"
would arise "after the order of Melchizedek" (Heb. 6:20). (See
Hebrew Miriam. (1.) The wife of Joseph, the mother of Jesus,
called the "Virgin Mary," though never so designated in
Scripture (Matt. 2:11; Acts 1:14). Little is known of her
personal history. Her genealogy is given in Luke 3. She was of
the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David (Ps. 132:11; Luke
1:32). She was connected by marriage with Elisabeth, who was of
the lineage of Aaron (Luke 1:36).
While she resided at Nazareth with her parents, before she
became the wife of Joseph, the angel Gabriel announced to her
that she was to be the mother of the promised Messiah (Luke
1:35). After this she went to visit her cousin Elisabeth, who
was living with her husband Zacharias (probably at Juttah, Josh.
15:55; 21:16, in the neighbourhood of Maon), at a considerable
distance, about 100 miles, from Nazareth. Immediately on
entering the house she was saluted by Elisabeth as the mother of
her Lord, and then forthwith gave utterance to her hymn of
thanksgiving (Luke 1:46-56; compare 1 Sam. 2:1-10). After three
months Mary returned to Nazareth to her own home. Joseph was
supernaturally made aware (Matt. 1:18-25) of her condition, and
took her to his own home. Soon after this the decree of Augustus
(Luke 2:1) required that they should proceed to Bethlehem (Micah
5:2), some 80 or 90 miles from Nazareth; and while they were
there they found shelter in the inn or khan provided for
strangers (Luke 2:6, 7). But as the inn was crowded, Mary had to
retire to a place among the cattle, and there she brought forth
her son, who was called Jesus (Matt. 1:21), because he was to
save his people from their sins. This was followed by the
presentation in the temple, the flight into Egypt, and their
return in the following year and residence at Nazareth (Matt.
2). There for thirty years Mary, the wife of Joseph the
carpenter, resides, filling her own humble sphere, and pondering
over the strange things that had happened to her. During these
years only one event in the history of Jesus is recorded, viz.,
his going up to Jerusalem when twelve years of age, and his
being found among the doctors in the temple (Luke 2:41-52).
Probably also during this period Joseph died, for he is not
After the commencement of our Lord's public ministry little
notice is taken of Mary. She was present at the marriage in
Cana. A year and a half after this we find her at Capernaum
(Matt. 12:46, 48, 49), where Christ uttered the memorable words,
"Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched
forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother
and my brethren!" The next time we find her is at the cross
along with her sister Mary, and Mary Magdalene, and Salome, and
other women (John 19:26). From that hour John took her to his
own abode. She was with the little company in the upper room
after the Ascension (Acts 1:14). From this time she wholly
disappears from public notice. The time and manner of her death
(2.) Mary Magdalene, i.e., Mary of Magdala, a town on the
western shore of the Lake of Tiberias. She is for the first time
noticed in Luke 8:3 as one of the women who "ministered to
Christ of their substance." Their motive was that of gratitude
for deliverances he had wrought for them. Out of Mary were cast
seven demons. Gratitude to her great Deliverer prompted her to
become his follower. These women accompanied him also on his
last journey to Jerusalem (Matt. 27:55; Mark 15:41; Luke 23:55).
They stood near the cross. There Mary remained till all was
over, and the body was taken down and laid in Joseph's tomb.
Again, in the earliest dawn of the first day of the week she,
with Salome and Mary the mother of James (Matt. 28:1; Mark
16:2), came to the sepulchre, bringing with them sweet spices,
that they might anoint the body of Jesus. They found the
sepulchre empty, but saw the "vision of angels" (Matt. 28:5).
She hastens to tell Peter and John, who were probably living
together at this time (John 20:1, 2), and again immediately
returns to the sepulchre. There she lingers thoughtfully,
weeping at the door of the tomb. The risen Lord appears to her,
but at first she knows him not. His utterance of her name "Mary"
recalls her to consciousness, and she utters the joyful,
reverent cry, "Rabboni." She would fain cling to him, but he
forbids her, saying, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to
my Father." This is the last record regarding Mary of Magdala,
who now returned to Jerusalem. The idea that this Mary was "the
woman who was a sinner," or that she was unchaste, is altogether
(3.) Mary the sister of Lazarus is brought to our notice in
connection with the visits of our Lord to Bethany. She is
contrasted with her sister Martha, who was "cumbered about many
things" while Jesus was their guest, while Mary had chosen "the
good part." Her character also appears in connection with the
death of her brother (John 11:20,31,33). On the occasion of our
Lord's last visit to Bethany, Mary brought "a pound of ointment
of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus" as he
reclined at table in the house of one Simon, who had been a
leper (Matt. 26:6; Mark 14:3; John 12:2,3). This was an evidence
of her overflowing love to the Lord. Nothing is known of her
subsequent history. It would appear from this act of Mary's, and
from the circumstance that they possessed a family vault
(11:38), and that a large number of Jews from Jerusalem came to
condole with them on the death of Lazarus (11:19), that this
family at Bethany belonged to the wealthier class of the people.
(See MARTHA T0002426.)
(4.) Mary the wife of Cleopas is mentioned (John 19:25) as
standing at the cross in company with Mary of Magdala and Mary
the mother of Jesus. By comparing Matt. 27:56 and Mark 15:40, we
find that this Mary and "Mary the mother of James the little"
are on and the same person, and that she was the sister of our
Lord's mother. She was that "other Mary" who was present with
Mary of Magdala at the burial of our Lord (Matt. 27:61; Mark
15:47); and she was one of those who went early in the morning
of the first day of the week to anoint the body, and thus became
one of the first witnesses of the resurrection (Matt. 28:1; Mark
16:1; Luke 24:1).
(5.) Mary the mother of John Mark was one of the earliest of
our Lord's disciples. She was the sister of Barnabas (Col.
4:10), and joined with him in disposing of their land and giving
the proceeds of the sale into the treasury of the Church (Acts
4:37; 12:12). Her house in Jerusalem was the common
meeting-place for the disciples there.
(6.) A Christian at Rome who treated Paul with special
kindness (Rom. 16:6).
called also Salem, Ariel, Jebus, the "city of God," the "holy
city;" by the modern Arabs el-Khuds, meaning "the holy;" once
"the city of Judah" (2 Chr. 25:28). This name is in the original
in the dual form, and means "possession of peace," or
"foundation of peace." The dual form probably refers to the two
mountains on which it was built, viz., Zion and Moriah; or, as
some suppose, to the two parts of the city, the "upper" and the
"lower city." Jerusalem is a "mountain city enthroned on a
mountain fastness" (compare Ps. 68:15, 16; 87:1; 125:2; 76:1, 2;
122:3). It stands on the edge of one of the highest table-lands
in Israel, and is surrounded on the south-eastern, the
southern, and the western sides by deep and precipitous ravines.
It is first mentioned in Scripture under the name Salem (Gen.
14:18; compare Ps. 76:2). When first mentioned under the name
Jerusalem, Adonizedek was its king (Josh. 10:1). It is
afterwards named among the cities of Benjamin (Judg. 19:10; 1
Chr. 11:4); but in the time of David it was divided between
Benjamin and Judah. After the death of Joshua the city was taken
and set on fire by the men of Judah (Judg. 1:1-8); but the
Jebusites were not wholly driven out of it. The city is not
again mentioned till we are told that David brought the head of
Goliath thither (1 Sam. 17:54). David afterwards led his forces
against the Jebusites still residing within its walls, and drove
them out, fixing his own dwelling on Zion, which he called "the
city of David" (2 Sam. 5:5-9; 1 Chr. 11:4-8). Here he built an
altar to the Lord on the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite
(2 Sam. 24:15-25), and thither he brought up the ark of the
covenant and placed it in the new tabernacle which he had
prepared for it. Jerusalem now became the capital of the
After the death of David, Solomon built the temple, a house
for the name of the Lord, on Mount Moriah (B.C. 1010). He also
greatly strengthened and adorned the city, and it became the
great centre of all the civil and religious affairs of the
nation (Deut. 12:5; compare 12:14; 14:23; 16:11-16; Ps. 122).
After the disruption of the kingdom on the accession to the
throne of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, Jerusalem became the
capital of the kingdom of the two tribes. It was subsequently
often taken and retaken by the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and by
the kings of Israel (2 Kings 14:13, 14; 18:15, 16; 23:33-35;
24:14; 2 Chr. 12:9; 26:9; 27:3, 4; 29:3; 32:30; 33:11), till
finally, for the abounding iniquities of the nation, after a
siege of three years, it was taken and utterly destroyed, its
walls razed to the ground, and its temple and palaces consumed
by fire, by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon (2 Kings 25; 2
Chr. 36; Jer. 39), B.C. 588. The desolation of the city and the
land was completed by the retreat of the principal Jews into
Egypt (Jer. 40-44), and by the final carrying captive into
Babylon of all that still remained in the land (52:3), so that
it was left without an inhabitant (B.C. 582). Compare the
predictions, Deut. 28; Lev. 26:14-39.
But the streets and walls of Jerusalem were again to be built,
in troublous times (Dan. 9:16, 19, 25), after a captivity of
seventy years. This restoration was begun B.C. 536, "in the
first year of Cyrus" (Ezra 1:2, 3, 5-11). The Books of Ezra and
Nehemiah contain the history of the re-building of the city and
temple, and the restoration of the kingdom of the Jews,
consisting of a portion of all the tribes. The kingdom thus
constituted was for two centuries under the dominion of Persia,
till B.C. 331; and thereafter, for about a century and a half,
under the rulers of the Greek empire in Asia, till B.C. 167. For
a century the Jews maintained their independence under native
rulers, the Asmonean princes. At the close of this period they
fell under the rule of Herod and of members of his family, but
practically under Rome, till the time of the destruction of
Jerusalem, A.D. 70. The city was then laid in ruins.
The modern Jerusalem by-and-by began to be built over the
immense beds of rubbish resulting from the overthrow of the
ancient city; and whilst it occupies certainly the same site,
there are no evidences that even the lines of its streets are
now what they were in the ancient city. Till A.D. 131 the Jews
who still lingered about Jerusalem quietly submitted to the
Roman sway. But in that year the emperor (Hadrian), in order to
hold them in subjection, rebuilt and fortified the city. The
Jews, however, took possession of it, having risen under the
leadership of one Bar-Chohaba (i.e., "the son of the star") in
revolt against the Romans. Some four years afterwards (A.D.
135), however, they were driven out of it with great slaughter,
and the city was again destroyed; and over its ruins was built a
Roman city called Aelia Capitolina, a name which it retained
till it fell under the dominion of the Mohammedans, when it was
called el-Khuds, i.e., "the holy."
In A.D. 326 Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine, made a
pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the view of discovering the places
mentioned in the life of our Lord. She caused a church to be
built on what was then supposed to be the place of the nativity
at Bethlehem. Constantine, animated by her example, searched for
the holy sepulchre, and built over the supposed site a
magnificent church, which was completed and dedicated A.D. 335.
He relaxed the laws against the Jews till this time in force,
and permitted them once a year to visit the city and wail over
the desolation of "the holy and beautiful house."
In A.D. 614 the Persians, after defeating the Roman forces of
the emperor Heraclius, took Jerusalem by storm, and retained it
till A.D. 637, when it was taken by the Arabians under the
Khalif Omar. It remained in their possession till it passed, in
A.D. 960, under the dominion of the Fatimite khalifs of Egypt,
and in A.D. 1073 under the Turcomans. In A.D. 1099 the crusader
Godfrey of Bouillon took the city from the Moslems with great
slaughter, and was elected king of Jerusalem. He converted the
Mosque of Omar into a Christian cathedral. During the
eighty-eight years which followed, many churches and convents
were erected in the holy city. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
was rebuilt during this period, and it alone remains to this
day. In A.D. 1187 the sultan Saladin wrested the city from the
Christians. From that time to the present day, with few
intervals, Jerusalem has remained in the hands of the Moslems.
It has, however, during that period been again and again taken
and retaken, demolished in great part and rebuilt, no city in
the world having passed through so many vicissitudes.
In the year 1850 the Greek and Latin monks residing in
Jerusalem had a fierce dispute about the guardianship of what
are called the "holy places." In this dispute the emperor
Nicholas of Russia sided with the Greeks, and Louis Napoleon,
the emperor of the French, with the Latins. This led the Turkish
authorities to settle the question in a way unsatisfactory to
Russia. Out of this there sprang the Crimean War, which was
protracted and sanguinary, but which had important consequences
in the way of breaking down the barriers of Turkish
Modern Jerusalem "lies near the summit of a broad
mountain-ridge, which extends without interruption from the
plain of Esdraelon to a line drawn between the southern end of
the Dead Sea and the southeastern corner of the Mediterranean."
This high, uneven table-land is everywhere from 20 to 25
geographical miles in breadth. It was anciently known as the
mountains of Ephraim and Judah.
"Jerusalem is a city of contrasts, and differs widely from
Damascus, not merely because it is a stone town in mountains,
whilst the latter is a mud city in a plain, but because while in
Damascus Moslem religion and Oriental custom are unmixed with
any foreign element, in Jerusalem every form of religion, every
nationality of East and West, is represented at one time."
Jerusalem is first mentioned under that name in the Book of
Joshua, and the Tell-el-Amarna collection of tablets includes
six letters from its Amorite king to Egypt, recording the attack
of the Abiri about B.C. 1480. The name is there spelt Uru-Salim
("city of peace"). Another monumental record in which the Holy
City is named is that of Sennacherib's attack in B.C. 702. The
"camp of the Assyrians" was still shown about A.D. 70, on the
flat ground to the north-west, included in the new quarter of
The city of David included both the upper city and Millo, and
was surrounded by a wall built by David and Solomon, who appear
to have restored the original Jebusite fortifications. The name
Zion (or Sion) appears to have been, like Ariel ("the hearth of
God"), a poetical term for Jerusalem, but in the Greek age was
more specially used of the Temple hill. The priests' quarter
grew up on Ophel, south of the Temple, where also was Solomon's
Palace outside the original city of David. The walls of the city
were extended by Jotham and Manasseh to include this suburb and
the Temple (2 Chr. 27:3; 33:14).
Jerusalem is now a town of some 50,000 inhabitants, with
ancient mediaeval walls, partly on the old lines, but extending
less far to the south. The traditional sites, as a rule, were
first shown in the 4th and later centuries A.D., and have no
authority. The results of excavation have, however, settled most
of the disputed questions, the limits of the Temple area, and
the course of the old walls having been traced.
beloved, the eighth and youngest son of Jesse, a citizen of
Bethlehem. His father seems to have been a man in humble life.
His mother's name is not recorded. Some think she was the Nahash
of 2 Sam. 17:25. As to his personal appearance, we only know
that he was red-haired, with beautiful eyes and a fair face (1
Sam. 16:12; 17:42).
His early occupation was that of tending his father's sheep on
the uplands of Judah. From what we know of his after history,
doubtless he frequently beguiled his time, when thus engaged,
with his shepherd's flute, while he drank in the many lessons
taught him by the varied scenes spread around him. His first
recorded exploits were his encounters with the wild beasts of
the field. He mentions that with his own unaided hand he slew a
lion and also a bear, when they came out against his flock,
beating them to death in open conflict with his club (1 Sam.
While David, in the freshness of ruddy youth, was thus engaged
with his flocks, Samuel paid an unexpected visit to Bethlehem,
having been guided thither by divine direction (1 Sam. 16:1-13).
There he offered up sacrifice, and called the elders of Israel
and Jesse's family to the sacrificial meal. Among all who
appeared before him he failed to discover the one he sought.
David was sent for, and the prophet immediately recognized him
as the chosen of God, chosen to succeed Saul, who was now
departing from the ways of God, on the throne of the kingdom. He
accordingly, in anticipation, poured on his head the anointing
oil. David went back again to his shepherd life, but "the Spirit
of the Lord came upon David from that day forward," and "the
Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul" (1 Sam. 16:13, 14).
Not long after this David was sent for to soothe with his harp
the troubled spirit of Saul, who suffered from a strange
melancholy dejection. He played before the king so skilfully
that Saul was greatly cheered, and began to entertain great
affection for the young shepherd. After this he went home to
Bethlehem. But he soon again came into prominence. The armies of
the Philistines and of Israel were in battle array in the valley
of Elah, some 16 miles south-west of Bethlehem; and David was
sent by his father with provisions for his three brothers, who
were then fighting on the side of the king. On his arrival in
the camp of Israel, David (now about twenty years of age) was
made aware of the state of matters when the champion of the
Philistines, Goliath of Gath, came forth to defy Israel. David
took his sling, and with a well-trained aim threw a stone "out
of the brook," which struck the giant's forehead, so that he
fell senseless to the ground. David then ran and slew him, and
cut off his head with his own sword (1 Sam. 17). The result was
a great victory to the Israelites, who pursued the Philistines
to the gates of Gath and Ekron.
David's popularity consequent on this heroic exploit awakened
Saul's jealousy (1 Sam. 18:6-16), which he showed in various
ways. He conceived a bitter hatred toward him, and by various
stratagems sought his death (1 Sam. 18-30). The deep-laid plots
of the enraged king, who could not fail to observe that David
"prospered exceedingly," all proved futile, and only endeared
the young hero the more to the people, and very specially to
Jonathan, Saul's son, between whom and David a life-long warm
friendship was formed.
A fugitive. To escape from the vengeance of Saul, David fled
to Ramah (1 Sam. 19:12-18) to Samuel, who received him, and he
dwelt among the sons of the prophets, who were there under
Samuel's training. It is supposed by some that the sixth,
seventh, and eleventh Psalms were composed by him at this time.
This place was only 3 miles from the residence of Saul, who soon
discovered whither the fugitive had gone, and tried
ineffectually to bring him back. Jonathan made a fruitless
effort to bring his father to a better state of mind toward
David (1 Sam. 20), who, being made aware of the fact, saw no
hope of safety but in flight to a distance. We accordingly find
him first at Nob (21:1-9) and then at Gath, the chief city of
the Philistines. The king of the Philistines would not admit him
into his service, as he expected that he would, and David
accordingly now betook himself to the stronghold of Adullam
(22:1-4; 1 Chr. 12:8-18). Here in a short time 400 men gathered
around him and acknowledged him as their leader. It was at this
time that David, amid the harassment and perils of his position,
cried, "Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well
of Bethlehem;" when three of his heroes broke through the lines
of the Philistines and brought him the water for which he longed
(2 Sam. 23:13-17), but which he would not drink.
In his rage at the failure of all his efforts to seize David,
Saul gave orders for the massacre of the entire priestly family
at Nob, "persons who wore a linen ephod", to the number of
eighty-five persons, who were put to death by Doeg the Edomite.
The sad tidings of the massacre were brought to David by
Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech, the only one who escaped. Compare
Hearing that Keilah, a town on the western frontier, was
harassed by the Philistines, David with his men relieved it (1
Sam. 23:1-14); and then, for fear of Saul, he fled to the
strongholds in the "hill country" of Judah. Compare Ps. 31. While
encamped there, in the forest in the district of Ziph, he was
visited by Jonathan, who spoke to him words of encouragement
(23:16-18). The two now parted never to meet again. Saul
continued his pursuit of David, who narrowly escaped from him at
this time, and fled to the crags and ravines of Engedi, on the
western shore of the Dead Sea (1 Sam. 23:29). Here Saul, who
still pursued him with his army, narrowly escaped, through the
generous forbearance of David, and was greatly affected by what
David had done for him. He returned home from pursuing him, and
David betook himself to Maon, where, with his 600 men, he
maintained himself by contributions gathered from the district.
Here occurred the incident connected with Nabal and his wife
Abigail (1 Sam. 25), whom David married after Nabal's death.
Saul again went forth (1 Sam. 26) in pursuit of David, who had
hid himself "in the hill Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon," in
the wilderness of Ziph, and was a second time spared through his
forbearance. He returned home, professing shame and penitence
for the way in which he had treated David, and predicting his
elevation to the throne.
Fighting against Israel. Harassed by the necessity of moving
from place to place through fear of Saul, David once more sought
refuge among the Philistines (1 Sam. 27). He was welcomed by the
king, who assigned him Ziklag as his residence. Here David lived
among his followers for some time as an independent chief
engaged in frequent war with the Amalekites and other tribes on
the south of Judah.
Achish summoned David with his men to join his army against
Saul; but the lords of the Philistines were suspicious of
David's loyalty, and therefore he was sent back to Ziklag, which
he found to his dismay may had been pillaged and burnt during
his brief absence. David pursued after the raiders, the
Amalekites, and completely routed them. On his return to Ziklag
tidings reached him of Saul's death (2 Sam. 1). An Amalekite
brought Saul's crown and bracelet and laid them at his feet.
David and his men rent their clothes and mourned for Saul, who
had been defeated in battle near Mount Gilboa. David composed a
beautiful elegy, the most beautiful of all extant Hebrew odes, a
"lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son" (2 Sam.
1:18-27). It bore the title of "The Bow," and was to be taught
to the children, that the memory of Saul and Jonathan might be
preserved among them. "Behold, it is written in the book of
David king over Judah. David and his men now set out for
Hebron under divine direction (2 Sam. 2:1-4). There they were
cordially welcomed, and he was at once anointed as king. He was
now about thirty years of age.
But his title to the throne was not undisputed. Abner took
Ish-bosheth, Saul's only remaining son, over the Jordan to
Mahanaim, and there crowned him as king. Then began a civil war
in Israel. The first encounter between the two opposing armies,
led on the one side by Abner, and on the other by Joab, took
place at the pool of Gibeon. It resulted in the defeat of Abner.
Other encounters, however, between Israel and Judah followed (2
Sam. 3:1, 5), but still success was on the side of David. For
the space of seven and a half years David reigned in Hebron.
Abner now sided with David, and sought to promote his
advancement; but was treacherously put to death by Joab in
revenge for his having slain his brother Asahel at Gibeon
(3:22-39). This was greatly to David's regret. He mourned for
the death of Abner. Shortly after this Ish-bosheth was also
treacherously put to death by two Canaanites of Beeroth; and
there being now no rival, David was anointed king over all
David king over all Israel (2 Sam. 5:1-5; 1 Chr. 11:1-3). The
elders of Israel now repaired to Hebron and offered allegiance
to David in name of all the people, among whom the greatest
enthusiasm prevailed. He was anointed king over all Israel, and
sought out a new seat of government, more suitable than Hebron,
as the capital of his empire. At this time there was a Jebusite
fortress, "the stronghold", on the hill of Zion, called also
Jebus. This David took from the Jebusites, and made it Israel's
capital, and established here his residence, and afterwards
built for himself a palace by the aid of Tyrian tradesmen. The
Philistines, who had for some time observed a kind of truce, now
made war against David; but were defeated in battle at a place
afterwards called, in remembrance of the victory, Baal-perazim.
Again they invaded the land, and were a second time routed by
him. He thus delivered Israel from their enemies.
David now resolved to bring up the ark of the covenant to his
new capital (2 Sam. 6). It was in the house of Abinadab at
Kirjath-jearim, about 7 miles from Jerusalem, where it had been
for many years, from the time when the Philistines had sent it
home (1 Sam. 6; 7). In consequence of the death of Uzzah (for it
was a divine ordinance that only the Levites should handle the
ark, Num. 4), who had put forth his hand to steady the ark when
the cart in which it was being conveyed shook by reason of the
roughness of the road, David stayed the procession, and conveyed
the ark into the house of Obed-edom, a Philistine from Gath.
After three months David brought the ark from the house of
Obed-edom up to Jerusalem. Compare Ps. 24. Here it was placed in a
new tent or tabernacle which David erected for the purpose.
About seventy years had passed since it had stood in the
tabernacle at Shiloh. The old tabernacle was now at Gibeah, at
which Zadok ministered. David now (1 Chr. 16) carefully set in
order all the ritual of divine worship at Jerusalem, along with
Abiathar the high priest. A new religious era began. The service
of praise was for the first time introduced into public worship.
Zion became henceforth "God's holy hill."
David's wars. David now entered on a series of conquests which
greatly extended and strengthened his kingdom (2 Sam. 8). In a
few years the whole territory from the Euphrates to the river of
Egypt, and from Gaza on the west to Thapsacus on the east, was
under his sway (2 Sam. 8:3-13; 10).
David's fall. He had now reached the height of his glory. He
ruled over a vast empire, and his capital was enriched with the
spoils of many lands. But in the midst of all this success he
fell, and his character became stained with the sin of adultery
(2 Sam. 11:2-27). It has been noted as characteristic of the
Bible that while his military triumphs are recorded in a few
verses, the sad story of his fall is given in detail, a story
full of warning, and therefore recorded. This crime, in the
attempt to conceal it, led to anoter. He was guilty of murder.
Uriah, whom he had foully wronged, an officer of the Gibborim,
the corps of heros (23:39), was, by his order, "set in the front
of the hottest battle" at the siege of Rabbah, in order that he
might be put to death. Nathan the prophet (2 Sam. 7:1-17;
12:1-23) was sent by God to bring home his crimes to the
conscience of the guilty monarch. He became a true penitent. He
bitterly bewailed his sins before God. The thirty-second and
fifty-first Psalms reveal the deep struggles of his soul, and
his spiritual recovery.
Bathsheba became his wife after Uriah's death. Her first-born
son died, according to the word of the prophet. She gave birth
to a second son, whom David called Solomon, and who ultimately
succeeded him on the throne (2 Sam. 12:24, 25).
Peace. After the successful termination of all his wars, David
formed the idea of building a temple for the ark of God. This he
was not permitted to carry into execution, because he had been a
man of war. God, however, sent Nathan to him with a gracious
message (2 Sam. 7:1-16). On receiving it he went into the
sanctuary, the tent where the ark was, and sat before the Lord,
and poured out his heart in words of devout thanksgiving
(18-29). The building of the temple was reserved for his son
Solomon, who would be a man of peace (1 Chr. 22:9; 28:3).
A cloudy evening. Hitherto David's carrer had been one of
great prosperity and success. Now cloudy and dark days came. His
eldest son Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam of Jezreel, was
guilty of a great and shameful crime (2 Sam. 13). This was the
beginning of the disasters of his later years. After two years
Absalom terribly avenged the crime against Tamar, and put Amnon
to death. This brought sore trouble to David's heart. Absalom,
afraid of the consequences of his guilt, fled to Geshur beyond
Jordan, where he remained for three years, when he was brought
back through the intrigue of Joab (2 Sam. 14).
After this there fell upon the land the calamity of three
years' famine (2 Sam. 21:1-14). This was soon after followed by
a pestilence, brought upon the land as a punishment for David's
sinful pride in numbering the people (2 Sam. 24), in which no
fewer than 70,000 perished in the space of three days.
Rebellion of Absalom. The personal respect for David was sadly
lowered by the incident of Bathsheba. There was a strong popular
sentiment against the taking of the census, and the outburst of
the plague in connection with it deepened the feeling of
jealously that had begun to manifest itself among some of the
tribes against David. Absalom, taking full advantage of this
state of things, gradually gained over the people, and at length
openly rebelled against his father, and usurped the throne.
Ahithophel was Absalom's chief counsellor. The revolt began in
Hebron, the capital of Judah. Absalom was there proclaimed king.
David was now in imminent danger, and he left Jerusalem (2 Sam.
15:13-20), and once more became a fugitive. It was a momentous
day in Israel. The incidents of it are recorded with a fulness
of detail greater than of any other day in Old Testament
history. David fled with his followers to Mahanarm, on the east
of Jordan. An unnatural civil war broke out. After a few weeks
the rival armies were mustered and organized. They met in
hostile array at the wood of Ephraim (2 Sam. 18:1-8). Absalom's
army was defeated, and himself put to death by the hand of Joab
(9-18). The tidings of the death of his rebellious son filled
the heart of David with the most poignant grief. He "went up to
the chamber over the gate, and wept" (33), giving utterance to
the heart-broken cry, "Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom,
my son, my son!" Peace was now restored, and David returned to
Jerusalem and resumed the direction of affairs. An unhappy
dispute arose between the men of Judah and the men of Israel
(19:41-43). Sheba, a Benjamite, headed a revolt of the men of
Israel. He was pursued to Abelbeth-maachah, and was there put to
death, and so the revolt came to an end.
The end. After the suppression of the rebellion of Absalom and
that of Sheba, ten comparatively peaceful years of David's life
passed away. During those years he seems to have been
principally engaged in accumulating treasures of every kind for
the great temple at Jerusalem, which it was reserved to his
successor to build (1 Chr. 22; 28; 29), a house which was to be
"exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all
countries" (22:5). The exciting and laborious life he had spent,
and the dangers and trials through which he had passed, had left
him an enfeebled man, prematurely old. It became apparent that
his life was now drawing to its close. A new palace conspiracy
broke out as to who should be his successor. Joab favoured
Adonijah. The chiefs of his party met at the "Fuller's spring,"
in the valley of Kidron, to proclaim him king; but Nathan
hastened on a decision on the part of David in favour of
Solomon, and so the aim of Adonijah's party failed. Solomon was
brought to Jerusalem, and was anointed king and seated on his
father's throne (1 Kings 1:11-53). David's last words are a
grand utterance, revealing his unfailing faith in God, and his
joyful confidence in his gracious covenant promises (2 Sam.
After a reign of forty years and six months (2 Sam. 5:5; 1
Chr. 3:4) David died (B.C. 1015) at the age of seventy years,
"and was buried in the city of David." His tomb is still pointed
out on Mount Zion.
Both in his prophetical and in his regal character David was a
type of the Messiah (1 Sam. 16:13). The book of Psalms commonly
bears the title of the "Psalms of David," from the circumstance
that he was the largest contributor (about eighty psalms) to the
collection. (See PSALMS T0003013.)
"The greatness of David was felt when he was gone. He had
lived in harmony with both the priesthood and the prophets; a
sure sign that the spirit of his government had been throughly
loyal to the higher aims of the theocracy. The nation had not
been oppressed by him, but had been left in the free enjoyment
of its ancient liberties. As far as his power went he had
striven to act justly to all (2 Sam. 8:15). His weak indulgence
to his sons, and his own great sin besides, had been bitterly
atoned, and were forgotten at his death in the remembrance of
his long-tried worth. He had reigned thirty-three years in
Jerusalem and seven and a half at Hebron (2 Sam. 5:5). Israel at
his accession had reached the lowest point of national
depression; its new-born unity rudely dissolved; its territory
assailed by the Philistines. But he had left it an imperial
power, with dominions like those of Egypt or Assyria. The
sceptre of Solomon was already, before his father's death, owned
from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates, and from the Orontes to
the Red Sea.", Geikie's Hours etc., iii.
father of a multitude, son of Terah, named (Gen. 11:27) before
his older brothers Nahor and Haran, because he was the heir of
the promises. Till the age of seventy, Abram sojourned among his
kindred in his native country of Chaldea. He then, with his
father and his family and household, quitted the city of Ur, in
which he had hitherto dwelt, and went some 300 miles north to
Haran, where he abode fifteen years. The cause of his migration
was a call from God (Acts 7:2-4). There is no mention of this
first call in the Old Testament; it is implied, however, in Gen.
12. While they tarried at Haran, Terah died at the age of 205
years. Abram now received a second and more definite call,
accompanied by a promise from God (Gen. 12:1,2); whereupon he
took his departure, taking his nephew Lot with him, "not knowing
whither he went" (Heb. 11:8). He trusted implicitly to the
guidance of Him who had called him.
Abram now, with a large household of probably a thousand
souls, entered on a migratory life, and dwelt in tents. Passing
along the valley of the Jabbok, in the land of Canaan, he formed
his first encampment at Sichem (Gen. 12:6), in the vale or
oak-grove of Moreh, between Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the
south. Here he received the great promise, "I will make of thee
a great nation," etc. (Gen. 12:2,3,7). This promise comprehended
not only temporal but also spiritual blessings. It implied that
he was the chosen ancestor of the great Deliverer whose coming
had been long ago predicted (Gen. 3:15). Soon after this, for
some reason not mentioned, he removed his tent to the mountain
district between Bethel, then called Luz, and Ai, towns about
two miles apart, where he built an altar to "Jehovah." He again
moved into the southern tract of Israel, called by the
Hebrews the Negeb; and was at length, on account of a famine,
compelled to go down into Egypt. This took place in the time of
the Hyksos, a Semitic race which now held the Egyptians in
bondage. Here occurred that case of deception on the part of
Abram which exposed him to the rebuke of Pharaoh (Gen. 12:18).
Sarai was restored to him; and Pharaoh loaded him with presents,
recommending him to withdraw from the country. He returned to
Canaan richer than when he left it, "in cattle, in silver, and
in gold" (Gen. 12:8; 13:2. Compare Ps. 105:13, 14). The whole
party then moved northward, and returned to their previous
station near Bethel. Here disputes arose between Lot's shepherds
and those of Abram about water and pasturage. Abram generously
gave Lot his choice of the pasture-ground. (Compare 1 Cor. 6:7.)
He chose the well-watered plain in which Sodom was situated, and
removed thither; and thus the uncle and nephew were separated.
Immediately after this Abram was cheered by a repetition of the
promises already made to him, and then removed to the plain or
"oak-grove" of Mamre, which is in Hebron. He finally settled
here, pitching his tent under a famous oak or terebinth tree,
called "the oak of Mamre" (Gen. 13:18). This was his third
resting-place in the land.
Some fourteen years before this, while Abram was still in
Chaldea, Israel had been invaded by Chedorlaomer, King of
Elam, who brought under tribute to him the five cities in the
plain to which Lot had removed. This tribute was felt by the
inhabitants of these cities to be a heavy burden, and after
twelve years they revolted. This brought upon them the vengeance
of Chedorlaomer, who had in league with him four other kings. He
ravaged the whole country, plundering the towns, and carrying
the inhabitants away as slaves. Among those thus treated was
Lot. Hearing of the disaster that had fallen on his nephew,
Abram immediately gathered from his own household a band of 318
armed men, and being joined by the Amoritish chiefs Mamre, Aner,
and Eshcol, he pursued after Chedorlaomer, and overtook him near
the springs of the Jordan. They attacked and routed his army,
and pursued it over the range of Anti-Libanus as far as to
Hobah, near Damascus, and then returned, bringing back all the
spoils that had been carried away. Returning by way of Salem,
i.e., Jerusalem, the king of that place, Melchizedek, came forth
to meet them with refreshments. To him Abram presented a tenth
of the spoils, in recognition of his character as a priest of
the most high God (Gen. 14:18-20).
In a recently-discovered tablet, dated in the reign of the
grandfather of Amraphel (Gen. 14:1), one of the witnesses is
called "the Amorite, the son of Abiramu," or Abram.
Having returned to his home at Mamre, the promises already
made to him by God were repeated and enlarged (Gen. 13:14). "The
word of the Lord" (an expression occurring here for the first
time) "came to him" (15:1). He now understood better the future
that lay before the nation that was to spring from him. Sarai,
now seventy-five years old, in her impatience, persuaded Abram
to take Hagar, her Egyptian maid, as a concubine, intending that
whatever child might be born should be reckoned as her own.
Ishmael was accordingly thus brought up, and was regarded as the
heir of these promises (Gen. 16). When Ishmael was thirteen
years old, God again revealed yet more explicitly and fully his
gracious purpose; and in token of the sure fulfilment of that
purpose the patriarch's name was now changed from Abram to
Abraham (Gen. 17:4,5), and the rite of circumcision was
instituted as a sign of the covenant. It was then announced that
the heir to these covenant promises would be the son of Sarai,
though she was now ninety years old; and it was directed that
his name should be Isaac. At the same time, in commemoration of
the promises, Sarai's name was changed to Sarah. On that
memorable day of God's thus revealing his design, Abraham and
his son Ishmael and all the males of his house were circumcised
(Gen. 17). Three months after this, as Abraham sat in his tent
door, he saw three men approaching. They accepted his proffered
hospitality, and, seated under an oak-tree, partook of the fare
which Abraham and Sarah provided. One of the three visitants was
none other than the Lord, and the other two were angels in the
guise of men. The Lord renewed on this occasion his promise of a
son by Sarah, who was rebuked for her unbelief. Abraham
accompanied the three as they proceeded on their journey. The
two angels went on toward Sodom; while the Lord tarried behind
and talked with Abraham, making known to him the destruction
that was about to fall on that guilty city. The patriarch
interceded earnestly in behalf of the doomed city. But as not
even ten righteous persons were found in it, for whose sake the
city would have been spared, the threatened destruction fell
upon it; and early next morning Abraham saw the smoke of the
fire that consumed it as the "smoke of a furnace" (Gen.
After fifteen years' residence at Mamre, Abraham moved
southward, and pitched his tent among the Philistines, near to
Gerar. Here occurred that sad instance of prevarication on his
part in his relation to Abimelech the King (Gen. 20). (See
ABIMELECH T0000040.) Soon after this event, the patriarch left
the vicinity of Gerar, and moved down the fertile valley about
25 miles to Beersheba. It was probably here that Isaac was
born, Abraham being now an hundred years old. A feeling of
jealousy now arose between Sarah and Hagar, whose son, Ishmael,
was no longer to be regarded as Abraham's heir. Sarah insisted
that both Hagar and her son should be sent away. This was done,
although it was a hard trial to Abraham (Gen. 21:12). (See HAGAR
T0001583; ISHMAEL T0001903.)
At this point there is a blank in the patriarch's history of
perhaps twenty-five years. These years of peace and happiness
were spent at Beersheba. The next time we see him his faith is
put to a severe test by the command that suddenly came to him to
go and offer up Isaac, the heir of all the promises, as a
sacrifice on one of the mountains of Moriah. His faith stood the
test (Heb. 11:17-19). He proceeded in a spirit of unhesitating
obedience to carry out the command; and when about to slay his
son, whom he had laid on the altar, his uplifted hand was
arrested by the angel of Jehovah, and a ram, which was entangled
in a thicket near at hand, was seized and offered in his stead.
From this circumstance that place was called Jehovah-jireh,
i.e., "The Lord will provide." The promises made to Abraham were
again confirmed (and this was the last recorded word of God to
the patriarch); and he descended the mount with his son, and
returned to his home at Beersheba (Gen. 22:19), where he
resided for some years, and then moved northward to Hebron.
Some years after this Sarah died at Hebron, being 127 years
old. Abraham acquired now the needful possession of a
burying-place, the cave of Machpelah, by purchase from the owner
of it, Ephron the Hittite (Gen. 23); and there he buried Sarah.
His next care was to provide a wife for Isaac, and for this
purpose he sent his steward, Eliezer, to Haran (or Charran, Acts
7:2), where his brother Nahor and his family resided (Gen.
11:31). The result was that Rebekah, the daughter of Nahor's son
Bethuel, became the wife of Isaac (Gen. 24). Abraham then
himself took to wife Keturah, who became the mother of six sons,
whose descendants were afterwards known as the "children of the
east" (Judg. 6:3), and later as "Saracens." At length all his
wanderings came to an end. At the age of 175 years, 100 years
after he had first entered the land of Canaan, he died, and was
buried in the old family burying-place at Machpelah (Gen.
The history of Abraham made a wide and deep impression on the
ancient world, and references to it are interwoven in the
religious traditions of almost all Eastern nations. He is called
"the friend of God" (James 2:23), "faithful Abraham" (Gal. 3:9),
"the father of us all" (Rom. 4:16).
=Saul (q.v.) was born about the same time as our Lord. His
circumcision-name was Saul, and probably the name Paul was also
given to him in infancy "for use in the Gentile world," as
"Saul" would be his Hebrew home-name. He was a native of Tarsus,
the capital of Cilicia, a Roman province in the south-east of
Asia Minor. That city stood on the banks of the river Cydnus,
which was navigable thus far; hence it became a centre of
extensive commercial traffic with many countries along the
shores of the Mediterranean, as well as with the countries of
central Asia Minor. It thus became a city distinguished for the
wealth of its inhabitants.
Tarsus was also the seat of a famous university, higher in
reputation even than the universities of Athens and Alexandria,
the only others that then existed. Here Saul was born, and here
he spent his youth, doubtless enjoying the best education his
native city could afford. His father was of the straitest sect
of the Jews, a Pharisee, of the tribe of Benjamin, of pure and
unmixed Jewish blood (Acts 23:6; Phil. 3:5). We learn nothing
regarding his mother; but there is reason to conclude that she
was a pious woman, and that, like-minded with her husband, she
exercised all a mother influence in moulding the character of
her son, so that he could afterwards speak of himself as being,
from his youth up, "touching the righteousness which is in the
law, blameless" (Phil. 3:6).
We read of his sister and his sister's son (Acts 23:16), and
of other relatives (Rom. 16:7, 11, 12). Though a Jew, his father
was a Roman citizen. How he obtained this privilege we are not
informed. "It might be bought, or won by distinguished service
to the state, or acquired in several other ways; at all events,
his son was freeborn. It was a valuable privilege, and one that
was to prove of great use to Paul, although not in the way in
which his father might have been expected to desire him to make
use of it." Perhaps the most natural career for the youth to
follow was that of a merchant. "But it was decided that...he
should go to college and become a rabbi, that is, a minister, a
teacher, and a lawyer all in one."
According to Jewish custom, however, he learned a trade before
entering on the more direct preparation for the sacred
profession. The trade he acquired was the making of tents from
goats' hair cloth, a trade which was one of the commonest in
His preliminary education having been completed, Saul was
sent, when about thirteen years of age probably, to the great
Jewish school of sacred learning at Jerusalem as a student of
the law. Here he became a pupil of the celebrated rabbi
Gamaliel, and here he spent many years in an elaborate study of
the Scriptures and of the many questions concerning them with
which the rabbis exercised themselves. During these years of
diligent study he lived "in all good conscience," unstained by
the vices of that great city.
After the period of his student-life expired, he probably left
Jerusalem for Tarsus, where he may have been engaged in
connection with some synagogue for some years. But we find him
back again at Jerusalem very soon after the death of our Lord.
Here he now learned the particulars regarding the crucifixion,
and the rise of the new sect of the "Nazarenes."
For some two years after Pentecost, Christianity was quietly
spreading its influence in Jerusalem. At length Stephen, one of
the seven deacons, gave forth more public and aggressive
testimony that Jesus was the Messiah, and this led to much
excitement among the Jews and much disputation in their
synagogues. Persecution arose against Stephen and the followers
of Christ generally, in which Saul of Tarsus took a prominent
part. He was at this time probably a member of the great
Sanhedrin, and became the active leader in the furious
persecution by which the rulers then sought to exterminate
But the object of this persecution also failed. "They that
were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word." The
anger of the persecutor was thereby kindled into a fiercer
flame. Hearing that fugitives had taken refuge in Damascus, he
obtained from the chief priest letters authorizing him to
proceed thither on his persecuting career. This was a long
journey of about 130 miles, which would occupy perhaps six days,
during which, with his few attendants, he steadily went onward,
"breathing out threatenings and slaughter." But the crisis of
his life was at hand. He had reached the last stage of his
journey, and was within sight of Damascus. As he and his
companions rode on, suddenly at mid-day a brilliant light shone
round them, and Saul was laid prostrate in terror on the ground,
a voice sounding in his ears, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou
me?" The risen Saviour was there, clothed in the vesture of his
glorified humanity. In answer to the anxious inquiry of the
stricken persecutor, "Who art thou, Lord?" he said, "I am Jesus
whom thou persecutest" (Acts 9:5; 22:8; 26:15).
This was the moment of his conversion, the most solemn in all
his life. Blinded by the dazzling light (Acts 9:8), his
companions led him into the city, where, absorbed in deep
thought for three days, he neither ate nor drank (9:11).
Ananias, a disciple living in Damascus, was informed by a vision
of the change that had happened to Saul, and was sent to him to
open his eyes and admit him by baptism into the Christian church
(9:11-16). The whole purpose of his life was now permanently
Immediately after his conversion he retired into the solitudes
of Arabia (Gal. 1:17), perhaps of "Sinai in Arabia," for the
purpose, probably, of devout study and meditation on the
marvellous revelation that had been made to him. "A veil of
thick darkness hangs over this visit to Arabia. Of the scenes
among which he moved, of the thoughts and occupations which
engaged him while there, of all the circumstances of a crisis
which must have shaped the whole tenor of his after-life,
absolutely nothing is known. 'Immediately,' says St. Paul, 'I
went away into Arabia.' The historian passes over the incident
[compare Acts 9:23 and 1 Kings 11:38, 39]. It is a mysterious
pause, a moment of suspense, in the apostle's history, a
breathless calm, which ushers in the tumultuous storm of his
active missionary life." Coming back, after three years, to
Damascus, he began to preach the gospel "boldly in the name of
Jesus" (Acts 9:27), but was soon obliged to flee (9:25; 2 Cor.
11:33) from the Jews and betake himself to Jerusalem. Here he
tarried for three weeks, but was again forced to flee (Acts
9:28, 29) from persecution. He now returned to his native Tarsus
(Gal. 1:21), where, for probably about three years, we lose
sight of him. The time had not yet come for his entering on his
great life-work of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles.
At length the city of Antioch, the capital of Syria, became
the scene of great Christian activity. There the gospel gained a
firm footing, and the cause of Christ prospered. Barnabas
(q.v.), who had been sent from Jerusalem to superintend the work
at Antioch, found it too much for him, and remembering Saul, he
set out to Tarsus to seek for him. He readily responded to the
call thus addressed to him, and came down to Antioch, which for
"a whole year" became the scene of his labors, which were
crowned with great success. The disciples now, for the first
time, were called "Christians" (Acts 11:26).
The church at Antioch now proposed to send out missionaries to
the Gentiles, and Saul and Barnabas, with John Mark as their
attendant, were chosen for this work. This was a great epoch in
the history of the church. Now the disciples began to give
effect to the Master's command: "Go ye into all the world, and
preach the gospel to every creature."
The three missionaries went forth on the first missionary
tour. They sailed from Seleucia, the seaport of Antioch, across
to Cyprus, some 80 miles to the south-west. Here at Paphos,
Sergius Paulus, the Roman proconsul, was converted, and now Saul
took the lead, and was ever afterwards called Paul. The
missionaries now crossed to the mainland, and then proceeded 6
or 7 miles up the river Cestrus to Perga (Acts 13:13), where
John Mark deserted the work and returned to Jerusalem. The two
then proceeded about 100 miles inland, passing through
Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia. The towns mentioned in this
tour are the Pisidian Antioch, where Paul delivered his first
address of which we have any record (13:16-51; compare 10:30-43),
Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. They returned by the same route to
see and encourage the converts they had made, and ordain elders
in every city to watch over the churches which had been
gathered. From Perga they sailed direct for Antioch, from which
they had set out.
After remaining "a long time", probably till A.D. 50 or 51, in
Antioch, a great controversy broke out in the church there
regarding the relation of the Gentiles to the Mosaic law. For
the purpose of obtaining a settlement of this question, Paul and
Barnabas were sent as deputies to consult the church at
Jerusalem. The council or synod which was there held (Acts 15)
decided against the Judaizing party; and the deputies,
accompanied by Judas and Silas, returned to Antioch, bringing
with them the decree of the council.
After a short rest at Antioch, Paul said to Barnabas: "Let us
go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have
preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do." Mark
proposed again to accompany them; but Paul refused to allow him
to go. Barnabas was resolved to take Mark, and thus he and Paul
had a sharp contention. They separated, and never again met.
Paul, however, afterwards speaks with honour of Barnabas, and
sends for Mark to come to him at Rome (Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11).
Paul took with him Silas, instead of Barnabas, and began his
second missionary journey about A.D. 51. This time he went by
land, revisiting the churches he had already founded in Asia.
But he longed to enter into "regions beyond," and still went
forward through Phrygia and Galatia (16:6). Contrary to his
intention, he was constrained to linger in Galatia (q.v.), on
account of some bodily affliction (Gal. 4:13, 14). Bithynia, a
populous province on the shore of the Black Sea, lay now before
him, and he wished to enter it; but the way was shut, the Spirit
in some manner guiding him in another direction, till he came
down to the shores of the AEgean and arrived at Troas, on the
north-western coast of Asia Minor (Acts 16:8). Of this long
journey from Antioch to Troas we have no account except some
references to it in his Epistle to the Galatians (4:13).
As he waited at Troas for indications of the will of God as to
his future movements, he saw, in the vision of the night, a man
from the opposite shores of Macedonia standing before him, and
heard him cry, "Come over, and help us" (Acts 16:9). Paul
recognized in this vision a message from the Lord, and the very
next day set sail across the Hellespont, which separated him
from Europe, and carried the tidings of the gospel into the
Western world. In Macedonia, churches were planted in Philippi,
Thessalonica, and Berea. Leaving this province, Paul passed into
Achaia, "the paradise of genius and renown." He reached Athens,
but quitted it after, probably, a brief sojourn (17:17-31). The
Athenians had received him with cold disdain, and he never
visited that city again. He passed over to Corinth, the seat of
the Roman government of Achaia, and remained there a year and a
half, labouring with much success. While at Corinth, he wrote
his two epistles to the church of Thessalonica, his earliest
apostolic letters, and then sailed for Syria, that he might be
in time to keep the feast of Pentecost at Jerusalem. He was
accompanied by Aquila and Priscilla, whom he left at Ephesus, at
which he touched, after a voyage of thirteen or fifteen days. He
landed at Caesarea, and went up to Jerusalem, and having
"saluted the church" there, and kept the feast, he left for
Antioch, where he abode "some time" (Acts 18:20-23).
He then began his third missionary tour. He journeyed by land
in the "upper coasts" (the more eastern parts) of Asia Minor,
and at length made his way to Ephesus, where he tarried for no
less than three years, engaged in ceaseless Christian labour.
"This city was at the time the Liverpool of the Mediterranean.
It possessed a splendid harbour, in which was concentrated the
traffic of the sea which was then the highway of the nations;
and as Liverpool has behind her the great towns of Lancashire,
so had Ephesus behind and around her such cities as those
mentioned along with her in the epistles to the churches in the
book of Revelation, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis,
Philadelphia, and Laodicea. It was a city of vast wealth, and it
was given over to every kind of pleasure, the fame of its
theatres and race-course being world-wide" (Stalker's Life of
St. Paul). Here a "great door and effectual" was opened to the
apostle. His fellow-labourers aided him in his work, carrying
the gospel to Colosse and Laodicea and other places which they
Very shortly before his departure from Ephesus, the apostle
wrote his First Epistle to the Corinthians (q.v.). The
silversmiths, whose traffic in the little images which they made
was in danger (see DEMETRIUS T0001013), organized a riot
against Paul, and he left the city, and proceeded to Troas (2
Cor. 2:12), whence after some time he went to meet Titus in
Macedonia. Here, in consequence of the report Titus brought from
Corinth, he wrote his second epistle to that church. Having
spent probably most of the summer and autumn in Macedonia,
visiting the churches there, specially the churches of Philippi,
Thessalonica, and Berea, probably penetrating into the interior,
to the shores of the Adriatic (Rom. 15:19), he then came into
Greece, where he abode three month, spending probably the
greater part of this time in Corinth (Acts 20:2). During his
stay in this city he wrote his Epistle to the Galatians, and
also the great Epistle to the Romans. At the end of the three
months he left Achaia for Macedonia, thence crossed into Asia
Minor, and touching at Miletus, there addressed the Ephesian
presbyters, whom he had sent for to meet him (Acts 20:17), and
then sailed for Tyre, finally reaching Jerusalem, probably in
the spring of A.D. 58.
While at Jerusalem, at the feast of Pentecost, he was almost
murdered by a Jewish mob in the temple. (See TEMPLE, HEROD'S
T0003611.) Rescued from their violence by the Roman commandant,
he was conveyed as a prisoner to Caesarea, where, from various
causes, he was detained a prisoner for two years in Herod's
praetorium (Acts 23:35). "Paul was not kept in close
confinement; he had at least the range of the barracks in which
he was detained. There we can imagine him pacing the ramparts on
the edge of the Mediterranean, and gazing wistfully across the
blue waters in the direction of Macedonia, Achaia, and Ephesus,
where his spiritual children were pining for him, or perhaps
encountering dangers in which they sorely needed his presence.
It was a mysterious providence which thus arrested his energies
and condemned the ardent worker to inactivity; yet we can now
see the reason for it. Paul was needing rest. After twenty years
of incessant evangelization, he required leisure to garner the
harvest of experience...During these two years he wrote nothing;
it was a time of internal mental activity and silent progress"
(Stalker's Life of St. Paul).
At the end of these two years Felix (q.v.) was succeeded in
the governorship of Israel by Porcius Festus, before whom the
apostle was again heard. But judging it right at this crisis to
claim the privilege of a Roman citizen, he appealed to the
emperor (Acts 25:11). Such an appeal could not be disregarded,
and Paul was at once sent on to Rome under the charge of one
Julius, a centurion of the "Augustan cohort." After a long and
perilous voyage, he at length reached the imperial city in the
early spring, probably, of A.D. 61. Here he was permitted to
occupy his own hired house, under constant military custody.
This privilege was accorded to him, no doubt, because he was a
Roman citizen, and as such could not be put into prison without
a trial. The soldiers who kept guard over Paul were of course
changed at frequent intervals, and thus he had the opportunity
of preaching the gospel to many of them during these "two whole
years," and with the blessed result of spreading among the
imperial guards, and even in Caesar's household, an interest in
the truth (Phil. 1:13). His rooms were resorted to by many
anxious inquirers, both Jews and Gentiles (Acts 28:23, 30, 31),
and thus his imprisonment "turned rather to the furtherance of
the gospel," and his "hired house" became the centre of a
gracious influence which spread over the whole city. According
to a Jewish tradition, it was situated on the borders of the
modern Ghetto, which has been the Jewish quarters in Rome from
the time of Pompey to the present day. During this period the
apostle wrote his epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians,
Philippians, and to Philemon, and probably also to the Hebrews.
This first imprisonment came at length to a close, Paul having
been acquitted, probably because no witnesses appeared against
him. Once more he set out on his missionary labors, probably
visiting western and eastern Europe and Asia Minor. During this
period of freedom he wrote his First Epistle to Timothy and his
Epistle to Titus. The year of his release was signalized by the
burning of Rome, which Nero saw fit to attribute to the
Christians. A fierce persecution now broke out against the
Christians. Paul was siezed, and once more conveyed to Rome a
prisoner. During this imprisonment he probably wrote the Second
Epistle to Timothy, the last he ever wrote. "There can be little
doubt that he appered again at Nero's bar, and this time the
charge did not break down. In all history there is not a more
startling illustration of the irony of human life than this
scene of Paul at the bar of Nero. On the judgment-seat, clad in
the imperial purple, sat a man who, in a bad world, had attained
the eminence of being the very worst and meanest being in it, a
man stained with every crime, a man whose whole being was so
steeped in every nameable and unnameable vice, that body and
soul of him were, as some one said at the time, nothing but a
compound of mud and blood; and in the prisoner's dock stood the
best man the world possessed, his hair whitened with labors for
the good of men and the glory of God. The trial ended: Paul was
condemned, and delivered over to the executioner. He was led out
of the city, with a crowd of the lowest rabble at his heels. The
fatal spot was reached; he knelt beside the block; the
headsman's axe gleamed in the sun and fell; and the head of the
apostle of the world rolled down in the dust" (probably A.D.
66), four years before the fall of Jerusalem.