Luke 15:23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill [it]; and let us eat, and be merry:
Scriptures Talking About The Fatted Calf
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Calves were commonly made use of in sacrifices, and are therefore frequently mentioned in Scripture. The "fatted calf" was regarded as the choicest of animal food; it was frequently also offered as a special sacrifice (1 Sam. 28:24; Amos 6:4; Luke 15:23). The words used in Jer. 34:18, 19, "cut the calf in twain," allude to the custom of dividing a sacrifice into two parts, between which the parties ratifying a covenant passed (Gen. 15:9, 10, 17, 18). The sacrifice of the lips, i.e., priase, is called "the calves of our lips" (Hos. 14:2, R.V., "as bullocks the offering of our lips." Compare Heb. 13:15; Ps. 116:7; Jer. 33:11). The golden calf which Aaron made (Ex. 32:4) was probably a copy of the god Moloch rather than of the god Apis, the sacred ox or calf of Egypt. The Jews showed all through their history a tendency toward the Babylonian and Canaanite idolatry rather than toward that of Egypt. Ages after this, Jeroboam, king of Israel, set up two idol calves, one at Dan, and the other at Bethel, that he might thus prevent the ten tribes from resorting to Jerusalem for worship (1 Kings 12:28). These calves continued to be a snare to the people till the time of their captivity. The calf at Dan was carried away in the reign of Pekah by Tiglath-pileser, and that at Bethel ten years later, in the reign of Hoshea, by Shalmaneser (2 Kings 15:29; 17:33). This sin of Jeroboam is almost always mentioned along with his name (2 Kings 15:28 etc.).
(Ex. 32:4,8; Deut. 9:16; Neh. 9:18). This was a molten image of a calf which the idolatrous Israelites formed at Sinai. This symbol was borrowed from the custom of the Egyptians. It was destroyed at the command of Moses (Ex. 32:20). (See AARON T0000002; MOSES T0002602.)
(1.) The translation of a word which is a generic name for horned cattle (Isa. 65:25). It is also rendered "cow" (Ezek. 4:15), "ox" (Gen. 12:16). (2.) The translation of a word always meaning an animal of the ox kind, without distinction of age or sex (Hos. 12:11). It is rendered "cow" (Num. 18:17) and "ox" (Lev. 17:3). (3.) Another word is rendered in the same way (Jer. 31:18). It is also translated "calf" (Lev. 9:3; Micah 6:6). It is the same word used of the "molten calf" (Ex. 32:4, 8) and "the golden calf" (1 Kings 12:28). (4.) In Judg. 6:25; Isa. 34:7, the Hebrew word is different. It is the customary word for bulls offered in sacrifice. In Hos. 14:2, the Authorized Version has "calves," the Revised Version "bullocks."
a calf. (1.) One of the sons of Midian, who was Abraham's son by Keturah (Gen. 25:4). (2.) The head of one of the families of trans-Jordanic Manasseh who were carried captive by Tiglath-pileser (1 Chr. 5:24).
(1.) A fatted animal for slaughter (2 Sam. 6:13; Isa. 11:6; Ezek. 39:18. Compare Matt. 22:4, where the word used in the original, sitistos, means literally "corn-fed;" i.e., installed, fat). (2.) Ps. 66:15 (Heb. meah, meaning "marrowy," "fat," a species of sheep). (3.) 1 Sam. 15:9 (Heb. mishneh, meaning "the second," and hence probably "cattle of a second quality," or lambs of the second birth, i.e., autmnal lambs, and therfore of less value).
A cow and her calf were not to be killed on the same day (Lev. 22:28; Ex. 23:19; Deut. 22:6, 7). The reason for this enactment is not given. A state of great poverty is described in the words of Isa. 7:21-25, where, instead of possessing great resources, a man shall depend for the subsistence of himself and his family on what a single cow and two sheep could yield.
father's brother. (1.) The son of Omri, whom he succeeded as the seventh king of Israel. His history is recorded in 1 Kings 16-22. His wife was Jezebel (q.v.), who exercised a very evil influence over him. To the calf-worship introduced by Jeroboam he added the worship of Baal. He was severely admonished by Elijah (q.v.) for his wickedness. His anger was on this account kindled against the prophet, and he sought to kill him. He undertook three campaigns against Ben-hadad II., king of Damascus. In the first two, which were defensive, he gained a complete victory over Ben-hadad, who fell into his hands, and was afterwards released on the condition of his restoring all the cities of Israel he then held, and granting certain other concessions to Ahab. After three years of peace, for some cause Ahab renewed war (1 Kings 22:3) with Ben-hadad by assaulting the city of Ramoth-gilead, although the prophet Micaiah warned him that he would not succeed, and that the 400 false prophets who encouraged him were only leading him to his ruin. Micaiah was imprisoned for thus venturing to dissuade Ahab from his purpose. Ahab went into the battle disguised, that he might if possible escape the notice of his enemies; but an arrow from a bow "drawn at a venture" pierced him, and though stayed up in his chariot for a time he died towards evening, and Elijah's prophecy (1 Kings 21:19) was fulfilled. He reigned twenty-three years. Because of his idolatry, lust, and covetousness, Ahab is referred to as pre-eminently the type of a wicked king (2 Kings 8:18; 2 Chr. 22:3; Micah 6:16). (2.) A false prophet referred to by Jeremiah (Jer. 29:21), of whom nothing further is known.
house of God. (1.) A place in Central Israel, about 10 miles north of Jerusalem, at the head of the pass of Michmash and Ai. It was originally the royal Canaanite city of Luz (Gen. 28:19). The name Bethel was at first apparently given to the sanctuary in the neighbourhood of Luz, and was not given to the city itself till after its conquest by the tribe of Ephraim. When Abram entered Canaan he formed his second encampment between Bethel and Hai (Gen. 12:8); and on his return from Egypt he came back to it, and again "called upon the name of the Lord" (13:4). Here Jacob, on his way from Beersheba to Haran, had a vision of the angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder whose top reached unto heaven (28:10, 19); and on his return he again visited this place, "where God talked with him" (35:1-15), and there he "built an altar, and called the place El-beth-el" (q.v.). To this second occasion of God's speaking with Jacob at Bethel, Hosea (12:4,5) makes reference. In troublous times the people went to Bethel to ask counsel of God (Judg. 20:18, 31; 21:2). Here the ark of the covenant was kept for a long time under the care of Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron (20:26-28). Here also Samuel held in rotation his court of justice (1 Sam. 7:16). It was included in Israel after the kingdom was divided, and it became one of the seats of the worship of the golden calf (1 Kings 12:28-33; 13:1). Hence the prophet Hosea (Hos. 4:15; 5:8; 10:5, 8) calls it in contempt Beth-aven, i.e., "house of idols." Bethel remained an abode of priests even after the kingdom of Israel was desolated by the king of Assyria (2 Kings 17:28, 29). At length all traces of the idolatries were extirpated by Josiah, king of Judah (2 Kings 23:15-18); and the place was still in existence after the Captivity (Ezra 2:28; Neh. 7:32). It has been identified with the ruins of Beitin, a small village amid extensive ruins some 9 miles south of Shiloh. (2.) Mount Bethel was a hilly district near Bethel (Josh. 16:1; 1 Sam. 13:2). (3.) A town in the south of Judah (Josh. 8:17; 12:16).
a descendant of the tribe of Levi (Ex. 6:25; Lev. 25:32; Num. 35:2; Josh. 21:3, 41). This name is, however, generally used as the title of that portion of the tribe which was set apart for the subordinate offices of the sanctuary service (1 Kings 8:4; Ezra 2:70), as assistants to the priests. When the Israelites left Egypt, the ancient manner of worship was still observed by them, the eldest son of each house inheriting the priest's office. At Sinai the first change in this ancient practice was made. A hereditary priesthood in the family of Aaron was then instituted (Ex. 28:1). But it was not till that terrible scene in connection with the sin of the golden calf that the tribe of Levi stood apart and began to occupy a distinct position (Ex. 32). The religious primogeniture was then conferred on this tribe, which henceforth was devoted to the service of the sanctuary (Num. 3:11-13). They were selected for this purpose because of their zeal for the glory of God (Ex. 32:26), and because, as the tribe to which Moses and Aaron belonged, they would naturally stand by the lawgiver in his work. The Levitical order consisted of all the descendants of Levi's three sons, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari; whilst Aaron, Amram's son (Amram, son of Kohat), and his issue constituted the priestly order. The age and qualification for Levitical service are specified in Num. 4:3, 23, 30, 39, 43, 47. They were not included among the armies of Israel (Num. 1:47; 2:33; 26:62), but were reckoned by themselves. They were the special guardians of the tabernacle (Num. 1:51; 18:22-24). The Gershonites pitched their tents on the west of the tabernacle (3:23), the Kohathites on the south (3:29), the Merarites on the north (3:35), and the priests on the east (3:38). It was their duty to move the tent and carry the parts of the sacred structure from place to place. They were given to Aaron and his sons the priests to wait upon them and do work for them at the sanctuary services (Num. 8:19; 18:2-6). As being wholly consecrated to the service of the Lord, they had no territorial possessions. Jehovah was their inheritance (Num. 18:20; 26:62; Deut. 10:9; 18:1, 2), and for their support it was ordained that they should receive from the other tribes the tithes of the produce of the land. Forty-eight cities also were assigned to them, thirteen of which were for the priests "to dwell in", i.e., along with their other inhabitants. Along with their dwellings they had "suburbs", i.e., "commons", for their herds and flocks, and also fields and vineyards (Num. 35:2-5). Nine of these cities were in Judah, three in Naphtali, and four in each of the other tribes (Josh. 21). Six of the Levitical cities were set apart as "cities of refuge" (q.v.). Thus the Levites were scattered among the tribes to keep alive among them the knowledge and service of God. (See PRIEST T0003001.)
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 MOSES T0002602.)
peaceful, (Heb. Shelomoh), David's second son by Bathsheba, i.e., the first after their legal marriage (2 Sam. 12). He was probably born about B.C. 1035 (1 Chr. 22:5; 29:1). He succeeded his father on the throne in early manhood, probably about sixteen or eighteen years of age. Nathan, to whom his education was intrusted, called him Jedidiah, i.e., "beloved of the Lord" (2 Sam. 12:24, 25). He was the first king of Israel "born in the purple." His father chose him as his successor, passing over the claims of his elder sons: "Assuredly Solomon my son shall reign after me." His history is recorded in 1 Kings 1-11 and 2 Chr. 1-9. His elevation to the throne took place before his father's death, and was hastened on mainly by Nathan and Bathsheba, in consequence of the rebellion of Adonijah (1 Kings 1:5-40). During his long reign of forty years the Hebrew monarchy gained its highest splendour. This period has well been called the "Augustan age" of the Jewish annals. The first half of his reign was, however, by far the brighter and more prosperous; the latter half was clouded by the idolatries into which he fell, mainly from his heathen intermarriages (1 Kings 11:1-8; 14:21, 31). Before his death David gave parting instructions to his son (1 Kings 2:1-9; 1 Chr. 22:7-16; 28). As soon as he had settled himself in his kingdom, and arranged the affairs of his extensive empire, he entered into an alliance with Egypt by the marriage of the daughter of Pharaoh (1 Kings 3:1), of whom, however, nothing further is recorded. He surrounded himself with all the luxuries and the external grandeur of an Eastern monarch, and his government prospered. He entered into an alliance with Hiram, king of Tyre, who in many ways greatly assisted him in his numerous undertakings. (See HIRAM T0001791.) For some years before his death David was engaged in the active work of collecting materials (1 Chr. 29:6-9; 2 Chr. 2:3-7) for building a temple in Jerusalem as a permanent abode for the ark of the covenant. He was not permitted to build the house of God (1 Chr. 22:8); that honour was reserved to his son Solomon. (See TEMPLE T0003610.) After the completion of the temple, Solomon engaged in the erection of many other buildings of importance in Jerusalem and in other parts of his kingdom. For the long space of thirteen years he was engaged in the erection of a royal palace on Ophel (1 Kings 7:1-12). It was 100 cubits long, 50 broad, and 30 high. Its lofty roof was supported by forty-five cedar pillars, so that the hall was like a forest of cedar wood, and hence probably it received the name of "The House of the Forest of Lebanon." In front of this "house" was another building, which was called the Porch of Pillars, and in front of this again was the "Hall of Judgment," or Throne-room (1 Kings 7:7; 10:18-20; 2 Chr. 9:17-19), "the King's Gate," where he administered justice and gave audience to his people. This palace was a building of great magnificence and beauty. A portion of it was set apart as the residence of the queen consort, the daughter of Pharaoh. From the palace there was a private staircase of red and scented sandal wood which led up to the temple. Solomon also constructed great works for the purpose of securing a plentiful supply of water for the city (Eccl. 2:4-6). He then built Millo (LXX., "Acra") for the defence of the city, completing a line of ramparts around it (1 Kings 9:15, 24; 11:27). He erected also many other fortifications for the defence of his kingdom at various points where it was exposed to the assault of enemies (1 Kings 9:15-19; 2 Chr. 8:2-6). Among his great undertakings must also be mentioned the building of Tadmor (q.v.) in the wilderness as a commercial depot, as well as a military outpost. During his reign Israel enjoyed great commercial prosperity. Extensive traffic was carried on by land with Tyre and Egypt and Arabia, and by sea with Spain and India and the coasts of Africa, by which Solomon accumulated vast stores of wealth and of the produce of all nations (1 Kings 9:26-28; 10:11, 12; 2 Chr. 8:17, 18; 9:21). This was the "golden age" of Israel. The royal magnificence and splendour of Solomon's court were unrivalled. He had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, an evidence at once of his pride, his wealth, and his sensuality. The maintenance of his household involved immense expenditure. The provision required for one day was "thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal, ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallow-deer, and fatted fowl" (1 Kings 4:22, 23). Solomon's reign was not only a period of great material prosperity, but was equally remarkable for its intellectual activity. He was the leader of his people also in this uprising amongst them of new intellectual life. "He spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes" (1 Kings 4:32, 33). His fame was spread abroad through all lands, and men came from far and near "to hear the wisdom of Solomon." Among others thus attracted to Jerusalem was "the queen of the south" (Matt. 12:42), the queen of Sheba, a country in Arabia Felix. "Deep, indeed, must have been her yearning, and great his fame, which induced a secluded Arabian queen to break through the immemorial custom of her dreamy land, and to put forth the energy required for braving the burdens and perils of so long a journey across a wilderness. Yet this she undertook, and carried it out with safety." (1 Kings 10:1-13; 2 Chr. 9:1-12.) She was filled with amazement by all she saw and heard: "there was no more spirit in her." After an interchange of presents she returned to her native land. But that golden age of Jewish history passed away. The bright day of Solomon's glory ended in clouds and darkness. His decline and fall from his high estate is a sad record. Chief among the causes of his decline were his polygamy and his great wealth. "As he grew older he spent more of his time among his favourites. The idle king living among these idle women, for 1,000 women, with all their idle and mischievous attendants, filled the palaces and pleasure-houses which he had built (1 Kings 11:3), learned first to tolerate and then to imitate their heathenish ways. He did not, indeed, cease to believe in the God of Israel with his mind. He did not cease to offer the usual sacrifices in the temple at the great feasts. But his heart was not right with God; his worship became merely formal; his soul, left empty by the dying out of true religious fervour, sought to be filled with any religious excitement which offered itself. Now for the first time a worship was publicly set up amongst the people of the Lord which was not simply irregular or forbidden, like that of Gideon (Judg. 8:27), or the Danites (Judg. 18:30, 31), but was downright idolatrous." (1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:13.) This brought upon him the divine displeasure. His enemies prevailed against him (1 Kings 11:14-22, 23-25, 26-40), and one judgment after another fell upon the land. And now the end of all came, and he died, after a reign of forty years, and was buried in the city of David, and "with him was buried the short-lived glory and unity of Israel." "He leaves behind him but one weak and worthless son, to dismember his kingdom and disgrace his name." "The kingdom of Solomon," says Rawlinson, "is one of the most striking facts in the Biblical history. A petty nation, which for hundreds of years has with difficulty maintained a separate existence in the midst of warlike tribes, each of which has in turn exercised dominion over it and oppressed it, is suddenly raised by the genius of a soldier-monarch to glory and greatness. An empire is established which extends from the Euphrates to the borders of Egypt, a distance of 450 miles; and this empire, rapidly constructed, enters almost immediately on a period of peace which lasts for half a century. Wealth, grandeur, architectural magnificence, artistic excellence, commercial enterprise, a position of dignity among the great nations of the earth, are enjoyed during this space, at the end of which there is a sudden collapse. The ruling nation is split in twain, the subject-races fall off, the pre-eminence lately gained being wholly lost, the scene of struggle, strife, oppression, recovery, inglorious submission, and desperate effort, re-commences.", Historical Illustrations.