the frame on which dead bodies were conveyed to the grave (Luke
the seat of the carnal affections (Titus 1:12; Phil. 3:19; Rom.
16:18). The word is used symbolically for the heart (Prov. 18:8;
20:27; 22:18, marg.). The "belly of hell" signifies the grave or
underworld (Jonah 2:2).
used to denote (1) the grave or the abyss (Rom. 10:7; Luke
8:31); (2) the deepest part of the sea (Ps. 69:15); (3) the
chaos mentioned in Gen. 1:2; (4) the bottomless pit, hell (Rev.
9:1, 2; 11:7; 20:13).
a hole in the ground (Ex. 21:33, 34), a cistern for water (Gen.
37:24; Jer. 14:3), a vault (41:9), a grave (Ps. 30:3). It is
used as a figure for mischief (Ps. 9:15), and is the name given
to the unseen place of woe (Rev. 20:1, 3). The slime-pits in the
vale of Siddim were wells which yielded asphalt (Gen. 14:10).
writing; i.e., a poem or song found in the titles of Ps. 16;
56-60. Some translate the word "golden", i.e., precious. It is
rendered in the LXX. by a word meaning "tablet inscription" or a
"stelograph." The root of the word means to stamp or grave, and
hence it is regarded as denoting a composition so precious as to
be worthy to be engraven on a durable tablet for preservation;
or, as others render, "a psalm precious as stamped gold," from
the word "kethem", "fine or stamped gold."
Burying was among the Jews the only mode of disposing of corpses
(Gen. 23:19; 25:9; 35:8, 9, etc.).
The first traces of burning the dead are found in 1 Sam.
31:12. The burning of the body was affixed by the law of Moses
as a penalty to certain crimes (Lev. 20:14; 21:9).
To leave the dead unburied was regarded with horror (1 Kings
13:22; 14:11; 16:4; 21:24, etc.).
In the earliest times of which we have record kinsmen carried
their dead to the grave (Gen. 25:9; 35:29; Judg. 16:31), but in
later times this was done by others (Amos 6:16).
Immediately after decease the body was washed, and then
wrapped in a large cloth (Acts 9:37; Matt. 27:59; Mark 15:46).
In the case of persons of distinction, aromatics were laid on
the folds of the cloth (John 19:39; compare John 12:7).
As a rule the burial (q.v.) took place on the very day of the
death (Acts 5:6, 10), and the body was removed to the grave in
an open coffin or on a bier (Luke 7:14). After the burial a
funeral meal was usually given (2 Sam. 3:35; Jer. 16:5, 7; Hos.
place of wasps, a town in the low country of Judah, afterwards
given to Dan (Josh. 19:41; Judg. 18:2), probably the same as
Zoreah (Josh. 15:33). This was Samson's birthplace (Judg. 13:2,
25), and near it he found a grave (16:31). It was situated on
the crest of a hill overlooking the valley of Sorek, and was
fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chr. 11:10). It has been identified
with Sur'ah, in the Wady Surar, 8 miles west of Jerusalem. It is
noticed on monuments in the fifteenth century B.C. as attacked
by the Abiri or Hebrews.
Storms of sand and dust sometimes overtake Eastern travellers.
They are very dreadful, many perishing under them. Jehovah
threatens to bring on the land of Israel, as a punishment for
forsaking him, a rain of "powder and dust" (Deut. 28:24).
To cast dust on the head was a sign of mourning (Josh. 7:6);
and to sit in dust, of extreme affliction (Isa. 47:1). "Dust" is
used to denote the grave (Job 7:21). "To shake off the dust from
one's feet" against another is to renounce all future
intercourse with him (Matt. 10:14; Acts 13:51). To "lick the
dust" is a sign of abject submission (Ps. 72:9); and to throw
dust at one is a sign of abhorrence (2 Sam. 16:13; compare Acts
Among the ancient Hebrews graves were outside of cities in the
open field (Luke 7:12; John 11:30). Kings (1 Kings 2:10) and
prophets (1 Sam. 25:1) were generally buried within cities.
Graves were generally grottoes or caves, natural or hewn out in
rocks (Isa. 22:16; Matt. 27:60). There were family cemeteries
(Gen. 47:29; 50:5; 2 Sam. 19:37). Public burial-places were
assigned to the poor (Jer. 26:23; 2 Kings 23:6). Graves were
usually closed with stones, which were whitewashed, to warn
strangers against contact with them (Matt. 23:27), which caused
ceremonial pollution (Num. 19:16).
There were no graves in Jerusalem except those of the kings,
and according to tradition that of the prophetess Huldah.
a noose, the daughter of Bethuel, and the wife of Isaac (Gen.
22:23; 24:67). The circumstances under which Abraham's "steward"
found her at the "city of Nahor," in Padan-aram, are narrated in
Gen. 24-27. "She can hardly be regarded as an amiable woman.
When we first see her she is ready to leave her father's house
for ever at an hour's notice; and her future life showed not
only a full share of her brother Laban's duplicity, but the
grave fault of partiality in her relations to her children, and
a strong will, which soon controlled the gentler nature of her
husband." The time and circumstances of her death are not
recorded, but it is said that she was buried in the cave of
Machpelah (Gen. 49:31).
may be simply defined as the termination of life. It is
represented under a variety of aspects in Scripture: (1.) "The
dust shall return to the earth as it was" (Eccl. 12:7).
(2.) "Thou takest away their breath, they die" (Ps. 104:29).
(3.) It is the dissolution of "our earthly house of this
tabernacle" (2 Cor. 5:1); the "putting off this tabernacle" (2
Pet. 1:13, 14).
(4.) Being "unclothed" (2 Cor. 5:3, 4).
(5.) "Falling on sleep" (Ps. 76:5; Jer. 51:39; Acts 13:36; 2
(6.) "I go whence I shall not return" (Job 10:21); "Make me to
know mine end" (Ps. 39:4); "to depart" (Phil. 1:23).
The grave is represented as "the gates of death" (Job 38:17;
Ps. 9:13; 107:18). The gloomy silence of the grave is spoken of
under the figure of the "shadow of death" (Jer. 2:6).
Death is the effect of sin (Heb. 2:14), and not a "debt of
nature." It is but once (9:27), universal (Gen. 3:19), necessary
(Luke 2:28-30). Jesus has by his own death taken away its sting
for all his followers (1 Cor. 15:55-57).
There is a spiritual death in trespasses and sins, i.e., the
death of the soul under the power of sin (Rom. 8:6; Eph. 2:1, 3;
The "second death" (Rev. 2:11) is the everlasting perdition of
the wicked (Rev. 21:8), and "second" in respect to natural or
THE DEATH OF CHRIST is the procuring cause incidentally of all
the blessings men enjoy on earth. But specially it is the
procuring cause of the actual salvation of all his people,
together with all the means that lead thereto. It does not make
their salvation merely possible, but certain (Matt. 18:11; Rom.
5:10; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 1:4; 3:13; Eph. 1:7; 2:16; Rom.
one of the seven deacons, who became a preacher of the gospel.
He was the first Christian martyr. His personal character and
history are recorded in Acts 6. "He fell asleep" with a prayer
for his persecutors on his lips (7:60). Devout men carried him
to his grave (8:2).
It was at the feet of the young Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus, that
those who stoned him laid their clothes (compare Deut. 17:5-7)
before they began their cruel work. The scene which Saul then
witnessed and the words he heard appear to have made a deep and
lasting impression on his mind (Acts 22:19, 20).
The speech of Stephen before the Jewish ruler is the first
apology for the universalism of the gospel as a message to the
Gentiles as well as the Jews. It is the longest speech contained
in the Acts, a place of prominence being given to it as a
a contracted form of Azari'ah the Lord is my strength. (1.) One
of Amaziah's sons, whom the people made king of Judah in his
father's stead (2 Kings 14:21; 2 Chr. 26:1). His long reign of
about fifty-two years was "the most prosperous excepting that of
Jehosaphat since the time of Solomon." He was a vigorous and
able ruler, and "his name spread abroad, even to the entering in
of Egypt" (2 Chr. 26:8, 14). In the earlier part of his reign,
under the influence of Zechariah, he was faithful to Jehovah,
and "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord" (2 Kings
15:3; 2 Chr. 26:4, 5); but toward the close of his long life
"his heart was lifted up to his destruction," and he wantonly
invaded the priest's office (2 Chr. 26:16), and entering the
sanctuary proceeded to offer incense on the golden altar.
Azariah the high priest saw the tendency of such a daring act on
the part of the king, and with a band of eighty priests he
withstood him (2 Chr. 26:17), saying, "It appertaineth not unto
thee, Uzziah, to burn incense." Uzziah was suddenly struck with
leprosy while in the act of offering incense (26:19-21), and he
was driven from the temple and compelled to reside in "a several
house" to the day of his death (2 Kings 15:5, 27; 2 Chr. 26:3).
He was buried in a separate grave "in the field of the burial
which belonged to the kings" (2 Kings 15:7; 2 Chr. 26:23). "That
lonely grave in the royal necropolis would eloquently testify to
coming generations that all earthly monarchy must bow before the
inviolable order of the divine will, and that no interference
could be tolerated with that unfolding of the purposes of God,
which, in the fulness of time, would reveal the Christ, the true
High Priest and King for evermore" (Dr. Green's Kingdom of
(2.) The father of Jehonathan, one of David's overseers (1
ewe, "the daughter", "the somewhat petulant, peevish, and
self-willed though beautiful younger daughter" of Laban, and one
of Jacob's wives (Gen. 29:6, 28). He served Laban fourteen years
for her, so deep was Jacob's affection for her. She was the
mother of Joseph (Gen. 30:22-24). Afterwards, on Jacob's
departure from Mesopotamia, she took with her her father's
teraphim (31:34, 35). As they journeyed on from Bethel, Rachel
died in giving birth to Benjamin (35:18, 19), and was buried "in
the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. And Jacob set a pillar
upon her grave". Her sepulchre is still regarded with great
veneration by the Jews. Its traditional site is about half a
mile from Jerusalem.
This name is used poetically by Jeremiah (31:15-17) to denote
God's people mourning under their calamities. This passage is
also quoted by Matthew as fulfilled in the lamentation at
Bethlehem on account of the slaughter of the infants there at
the command of Herod (Matt. 2:17, 18).
The first burial we have an account of is that of Sarah (Gen.
23). The first commercial transaction recorded is that of the
purchase of a burial-place, for which Abraham weighed to Ephron
"four hundred shekels of silver current money with the
merchants." Thus the patriarch became the owner of a part of the
land of Canaan, the only part he ever possessed. When he himself
died, "his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of
Machpelah," beside Sarah his wife (Gen. 25:9).
Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, was buried under Allon-bachuth, "the
oak of weeping" (Gen. 35:8), near to Bethel. Rachel died, and
was buried near Ephrath; "and Jacob set a pillar upon her grave"
(16-20). Isaac was buried at Hebron, where he had died (27, 29).
Jacob, when charging his sons to bury him in the cave of
Machpelah, said, "There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife;
there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried
Leah" (49:31). In compliance with the oath which he made him
swear unto him (47:29-31), Joseph, assisted by his brethren,
buried Jacob in the cave of Machpelah (50:2, 13). At the Exodus,
Moses "took the bones of Joseph with him," and they were buried
in the "parcel of ground" which Jacob had bought of the sons of
Hamor (Josh. 24:32), which became Joseph's inheritance (Gen.
48:22; 1 Chr. 5:1; John 4:5). Two burials are mentioned as
having taken place in the wilderness. That of Miriam (Num.
20:1), and that of Moses, "in the land of Moab" (Deut. 34:5, 6,
8). There is no account of the actual burial of Aaron, which
probably, however, took place on the summit of Mount Hor (Num.
Joshua was buried "in the border of his inheritance in
Timnath-serah" (Josh. 24: 30).
In Job we find a reference to burying-places, which were
probably the Pyramids (3:14, 15). The Hebrew word for "waste
places" here resembles in sound the Egyptian word for
Samuel, like Moses, was honoured with a national burial (1
Sam. 25:1). Joab (1 Kings 2:34) "was buried in his own house in
In connection with the burial of Saul and his three sons we
meet for the first time with the practice of burning the dead (1
Sam. 31:11-13). The same practice is again referred to by Amos
Absalom was buried "in the wood" where he was slain (2 Sam.
18:17, 18). The raising of the heap of stones over his grave was
intended to mark abhorrence of the person buried (compare Josh.
7:26 and 8:29). There was no fixed royal burying-place for the
Hebrew kings. We find several royal burials taking place,
however, "in the city of David" (1 Kings 2:10; 11:43; 15:8; 2
Kings 14:19, 20; 15:38; 1 Kings 14:31; 22:50; 2 Chr. 21:19, 20;
2 Chr. 24:25, etc.). Hezekiah was buried in the mount of the
sepulchres of the sons of David; "and all Judah and the
inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death" (2 Chr.
Little is said regarding the burial of the kings of Israel.
Some of them were buried in Samaria, the capital of their
kingdom (2 Kings 10:35; 13:9; 14:16).
Our Lord was buried in a new tomb, hewn out of the rock, which
Joseph of Arimathea had prepared for himself (Matt. 27:57-60;
Mark 15:46; John 19:41, 42).
The grave of Lazarus was "a cave, and a stone lay on it" (John
11:38). Graves were frequently either natural caverns or
artificial excavations formed in the sides of rocks (Gen. 23:9;
Matt. 27:60); and coffins were seldom used, unless when the body
was brought from a distance.
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.
that which is out of sight, a Greek word used to denote the
state or place of the dead. All the dead alike go into this
place. To be buried, to go down to the grave, to descend into
hades, are equivalent expressions. In the LXX. this word is the
usual rendering of the Hebrew sheol, the common receptacle of
the departed (Gen. 42:38; Ps. 139:8; Hos. 13:14; Isa. 14:9).
This term is of comparatively rare occurrence in the Greek New
Testament. Our Lord speaks of Capernaum as being "brought down
to hell" (hades), i.e., simply to the lowest debasement, (Matt.
11:23). It is contemplated as a kind of kingdom which could
never overturn the foundation of Christ's kingdom (16:18), i.e.,
Christ's church can never die.
In Luke 16:23 it is most distinctly associated with the doom
and misery of the lost.
In Acts 2:27-31 Peter quotes the LXX. version of Ps. 16:8-11,
plainly for the purpose of proving our Lord's resurrection from
the dead. David was left in the place of the dead, and his body
saw corruption. Not so with Christ. According to ancient
prophecy (Ps. 30:3) he was recalled to life.
Resurrection of the dead
will be simultaneous both of the just and the unjust (Dan. 12:2;
John 5:28, 29; Rom. 2:6-16; 2 Thess. 1:6-10). The qualities of
the resurrection body will be different from those of the body
laid in the grave (1 Cor. 15:53, 54; Phil. 3:21); but its
identity will nevertheless be preserved. It will still be the
same body (1 Cor. 15:42-44) which rises again.
As to the nature of the resurrection body, (1) it will be
spiritual (1 Cor. 15:44), i.e., a body adapted to the use of the
soul in its glorified state, and to all the conditions of the
heavenly state; (2) glorious, incorruptible, and powerful (54);
(3) like unto the glorified body of Christ (Phil. 3:21); and (4)
immortal (Rev. 21:4).
Christ's resurrection secures and illustrates that of his
people. "(1.) Because his resurrection seals and consummates his
redemptive power; and the redemption of our persons involves the
redemption of our bodies (Rom. 8:23). (2.) Because of our
federal and vital union with Christ (1 Cor. 15:21, 22; 1 Thess.
4:14). (3.) Because of his Spirit which dwells in us making our
bodies his members (1 Cor. 6:15; Rom. 8:11). (4.) Because Christ
by covenant is Lord both of the living and the dead (Rom. 14:9).
This same federal and vital union of the Christian with Christ
likewise causes the resurrection of the believer to be similar
to as well as consequent upon that of Christ (1 Cor. 15:49;
Phil. 3:21; 1 John 3:2)." Hodge's Outlines of Theology.
(1.) Heb. 'ohel (Gen. 9:21, 27). This word is used also of a
dwelling or habitation (1 Kings 8:66; Isa. 16:5; Jer. 4:20), and
of the temple (Ezek. 41:1). When used of the tabernacle, as in 1
Kings 1:39, it denotes the covering of goat's hair which was
placed over the mishcan.
(2.) Heb. mishcan (Cant. 1:8), used also of a dwelling (Job
18:21; Ps. 87:2), the grave (Isa. 22:16; compare 14:18), the
temple (Ps. 46:4; 84:2; 132:5), and of the tabernacle (Ex. 25:9;
26:1; 40:9; Num. 1:50, 53; 10:11). When distinguished from
'ohel, it denotes the twelve interior curtains which lay upon
the framework of the tabernacle (q.v.).
(3.) Heb. kubbah (Num. 25:8), a dome-like tent devoted to the
impure worship of Baal-peor.
(4.) Heb. succah (2 Sam. 11:11), a tent or booth made of green
boughs or branches (see Gen. 33:17; Lev. 23:34, 42; Ps. 18:11;
Jonah 4:5; Isa. 4:6; Neh. 8:15-17, where the word is variously
Jubal was "the father of such as dwell in tents" (Gen. 4:20).
The patriarchs were "dwellers in tents" (Gen. 9:21, 27; 12:8;
13:12; 26:17); and during their wilderness wanderings all Israel
dwelt in tents (Ex. 16:16; Deut. 33:18; Josh. 7:24). Tents have
always occupied a prominent place in Eastern life (1 Sam. 17:54;
2 Kings 7:7; Ps. 120:5; Cant. 1:5). Paul the apostle's
occupation was that of a tent-maker (Acts 18:3); i.e., perhaps a
maker of tent cloth.
Resurrection of Christ
one of the cardinal facts and doctrines of the gospel. If Christ
be not risen, our faith is vain (1 Cor. 15:14). The whole of the
New Testament revelation rests on this as an historical fact. On
the day of Pentecost Peter argued the necessity of Christ's
resurrection from the prediction in Ps. 16 (Acts 2:24-28). In
his own discourses, also, our Lord clearly intimates his
resurrection (Matt. 20:19; Mark 9:9; 14:28; Luke 18:33; John
The evangelists give circumstantial accounts of the facts
connected with that event, and the apostles, also, in their
public teaching largely insist upon it. Ten different
appearances of our risen Lord are recorded in the New Testament.
They may be arranged as follows:
(1.) To Mary Magdalene at the sepulchre alone. This is
recorded at length only by John (20:11-18), and alluded to by
(2.) To certain women, "the other Mary," Salome, Joanna, and
others, as they returned from the sepulchre. Matthew (28:1-10)
alone gives an account of this. (Compare Mark 16:1-8, and Luke
(3.) To Simon Peter alone on the day of the resurrection. (See
Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5.)
(4.) To the two disciples on the way to Emmaus on the day of
the resurrection, recorded fully only by Luke (24:13-35. Compare
Mark 16:12, 13).
(5.) To the ten disciples (Thomas being absent) and others
"with them," at Jerusalem on the evening of the resurrection
day. One of the evangelists gives an account of this appearance,
(6.) To the disciples again (Thomas being present) at
Jerusalem (Mark 16:14-18; Luke 24:33-40; John 20:26-28. See also
1 Cor. 15:5).
(7.) To the disciples when fishing at the Sea of Galilee. Of
this appearance also John (21:1-23) alone gives an account.
(8.) To the eleven, and above 500 brethren at once, at an
appointed place in Galilee (1 Cor. 15:6; compare Matt. 28:16-20).
(9.) To James, but under what circumstances we are not
informed (1 Cor. 15:7).
(10.) To the apostles immediately before the ascension. They
accompanied him from Jerusalem to Mount Olivet, and there they
saw him ascend "till a cloud received him out of their sight"
(Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-52; Acts 1:4-10).
It is worthy of note that it is distinctly related that on
most of these occasions our Lord afforded his disciples the
amplest opportunity of testing the fact of his resurrection. He
conversed with them face to face. They touched him (Matt. 28:9;
Luke 24:39; John 20:27), and he ate bread with them (Luke 24:42,
43; John 21:12, 13).
(11.) In addition to the above, mention might be made of
Christ's manifestation of himself to Paul at Damascus, who
speaks of it as an appearance of the risen Saviour (Acts 9:3-9,
17; 1 Cor. 15:8; 9:1).
It is implied in the words of Luke (Acts 1:3) that there may
have been other appearances of which we have no record.
The resurrection is spoken of as the act (1) of God the Father
(Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:24; 3:15; Rom. 8:11; Eph. 1:20; Col. 2:12;
Heb. 13:20); (2) of Christ himself (John 2:19; 10:18); and (3)
of the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 3:18).
The resurrection is a public testimony of Christ's release
from his undertaking as surety, and an evidence of the Father's
acceptance of his work of redemption. It is a victory over death
and the grave for all his followers.
The importance of Christ's resurrection will be seen when we
consider that if he rose the gospel is true, and if he rose not
it is false. His resurrection from the dead makes it manifest
that his sacrifice was accepted. Our justification was secured
by his obedience to the death, and therefore he was raised from
the dead (Rom. 4:25). His resurrection is a proof that he made a
full atonement for our sins, that his sacrifice was accepted as
a satisfaction to divine justice, and his blood a ransom for
sinners. It is also a pledge and an earnest of the resurrection
of all believers (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 6:14; 15:47-49; Phil. 3:21;
1 John 3:2). As he lives, they shall live also.
It proved him to be the Son of God, inasmuch as it
authenticated all his claims (John 2:19; 10:17). "If Christ did
not rise, the whole scheme of redemption is a failure, and all
the predictions and anticipations of its glorious results for
time and for eternity, for men and for angels of every rank and
order, are proved to be chimeras. 'But now is Christ risen from
the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept.'
Therefore the Bible is true from Genesis to Revelation. The
kingdom of darkness has been overthrown, Satan has fallen as
lightning from heaven, and the triumph of truth over error, of
good over evil, of happiness over misery is for ever secured."
With reference to the report which the Roman soldiers were
bribed (Matt. 28:12-14) to circulate concerning Christ's
resurrection, "his disciples came by night and stole him away
while we slept," Matthew Henry in his "Commentary," under John
20:1-10, fittingly remarks, "The grave-clothes in which Christ
had been buried were found in very good order, which serves for
an evidence that his body was not 'stolen away while men slept.'
Robbers of tombs have been known to take away 'the clothes' and
leave the body; but none ever took away 'the body' and left the
clothes, especially when they were 'fine linen' and new (Mark
15:46). Any one would rather choose to carry a dead body in its
clothes than naked. Or if they that were supposed to have stolen
it would have left the grave-clothes behind, yet it cannot be
supposed they would find leisure to 'fold up the linen.'"
hairy, Rebekah's first-born twin son (Gen. 25:25). The name of
Edom, "red", was also given to him from his conduct in
connection with the red lentil "pottage" for which he sold his
birthright (30, 31). The circumstances connected with his birth
foreshadowed the enmity which afterwards subsisted between the
twin brothers and the nations they founded (25:22, 23, 26). In
process of time Jacob, following his natural bent, became a
shepherd; while Esau, a "son of the desert," devoted himself to
the perilous and toilsome life of a huntsman. On a certain
occasion, on returning from the chase, urged by the cravings of
hunger, Esau sold his birthright to his brother, Jacob, who
thereby obtained the covenant blessing (Gen. 27:28, 29, 36; Heb.
12:16, 17). He afterwards tried to regain what he had so
recklessly parted with, but was defeated in his attempts through
the stealth of his brother (Gen. 27:4, 34, 38).
At the age of forty years, to the great grief of his parents,
he married (Gen. 26:34, 35) two Canaanite maidens, Judith, the
daughter of Beeri, and Bashemath, the daughter of Elon. When
Jacob was sent away to Padan-aram, Esau tried to conciliate his
parents (Gen. 28:8, 9) by marrying his cousin Mahalath, the
daughter of Ishmael. This led him to cast in his lot with the
Ishmaelite tribes; and driving the Horites out of Mount Seir, he
settled in that region. After some thirty years' sojourn in
Padan-aram Jacob returned to Canaan, and was reconciled to Esau,
who went forth to meet him (33:4). Twenty years after this,
Isaac their father died, when the two brothers met, probably for
the last time, beside his grave (35:29). Esau now permanently
left Canaan, and established himself as a powerful and wealthy
chief in the land of Edom (q.v.).
Long after this, when the descendants of Jacob came out of
Egypt, the Edomites remembered the old quarrel between the
brothers, and with fierce hatred they warred against Israel.
derived from the Saxon helan, to cover; hence the covered or the
invisible place. In Scripture there are three words so rendered:
(1.) Sheol, occurring in the Old Testament sixty-five times.
This word sheol is derived from a root-word meaning "to ask,"
"demand;" hence insatiableness (Prov. 30:15, 16). It is rendered
"grave" thirty-one times (Gen. 37:35; 42:38; 44:29, 31; 1 Sam.
2:6, etc.). The Revisers have retained this rendering in the
historical books with the original word in the margin, while in
the poetical books they have reversed this rule.
In thirty-one cases in the Authorized Version this word is
rendered "hell," the place of disembodied spirits. The
inhabitants of sheol are "the congregation of the dead" (Prov.
21:16). It is (a) the abode of the wicked (Num. 16:33; Job
24:19; Ps. 9:17; 31:17, etc.); (b) of the good (Ps. 16:10; 30:3;
49:15; 86:13, etc.).
Sheol is described as deep (Job 11:8), dark (10:21, 22), with
bars (17:16). The dead "go down" to it (Num. 16:30, 33; Ezek.
31:15, 16, 17).
(2.) The Greek word hades of the New Testament has the same
scope of signification as sheol of the Old Testament. It is a
prison (1 Pet. 3:19), with gates and bars and locks (Matt.
16:18; Rev. 1:18), and it is downward (Matt. 11:23; Luke 10:15).
The righteous and the wicked are separated. The blessed dead
are in that part of hades called paradise (Luke 23:43). They are
also said to be in Abraham's bosom (Luke 16:22).
(3.) Gehenna, in most of its occurrences in the Greek New
Testament, designates the place of the lost (Matt. 23:33). The
fearful nature of their condition there is described in various
figurative expressions (Matt. 8:12; 13:42; 22:13; 25:30; Luke
16:24, etc.). (See HINNOM T0001790.)
honouring God, a young disciple who was Paul's companion in many
of his journeyings. His mother, Eunice, and his grandmother,
Lois, are mentioned as eminent for their piety (2 Tim. 1:5). We
know nothing of his father but that he was a Greek (Acts 16:1).
He is first brought into notice at the time of Paul's second
visit to Lystra (16:2), where he probably resided, and where it
seems he was converted during Paul's first visit to that place
(1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 3:11). The apostle having formed a high
opinion of his "own son in the faith," arranged that he should
become his companion (Acts 16:3), and took and circumcised him,
so that he might conciliate the Jews. He was designated to the
office of an evangelist (1 Tim. 4:14), and went with Paul in his
journey through Phrygia, Galatia, and Mysia; also to Troas and
Philippi and Berea (Acts 17:14). Thence he followed Paul to
Athens, and was sent by him with Silas on a mission to
Thessalonica (17:15; 1 Thess. 3:2). We next find him at Corinth
(1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1) with Paul. He passes now out of
sight for a few years, and is again noticed as with the apostle
at Ephesus (Acts 19:22), whence he is sent on a mission into
Macedonia. He accompanied Paul afterwards into Asia (20:4),
where he was with him for some time. When the apostle was a
prisoner at Rome, Timothy joined him (Phil. 1:1), where it
appears he also suffered imprisonment (Heb. 13:23). During the
apostle's second imprisonment he wrote to Timothy, asking him to
rejoin him as soon as possible, and to bring with him certain
things which he had left at Troas, his cloak and parchments (2
Tim. 4:13). According to tradition, after the apostle's death he
settled in Ephesus as his sphere of labour, and there found a
a community; alliance. (1.) A city in the south end of the
valley of Eshcol, about midway between Jerusalem and Beersheba,
from which it is distant about 20 miles in a straight line. It
was built "seven years before Zoan in Egypt" (Gen. 13:18; Num.
13:22). It still exists under the same name, and is one of the
most ancient cities in the world. Its earlier name was
Kirjath-arba (Gen. 23:2; Josh. 14:15; 15:3). But "Hebron would
appear to have been the original name of the city, and it was
not till after Abraham's stay there that it received the name
Kirjath-arba, who [i.e., Arba] was not the founder but the
conqueror of the city, having led thither the tribe of the
Anakim, to which he belonged. It retained this name till it came
into the possession of Caleb, when the Israelites restored the
original name Hebron" (Keil, Com.). The name of this city does
not occur in any of the prophets or in the New Testament. It is
found about forty times in the Old. It was the favorite home of
Abraham. Here he pitched his tent under the oaks of Mamre, by
which name it came afterwards to be known; and here Sarah died,
and was buried in the cave of Machpelah (Gen. 23:17-20), which
he bought from Ephron the Hittite. From this place the patriarch
departed for Egypt by way of Beersheba (37:14; 46:1). It was
taken by Joshua and given to Caleb (Josh. 10:36, 37; 12:10;
14:13). It became a Levitical city and a city of refuge (20:7;
21:11). When David became king of Judah this was his royal
residence, and he resided here for seven and a half years (2
Sam. 5:5); and here he was anointed as king over all Israel (2
Sam. 2:1-4, 11; 1 Kings 2:11). It became the residence also of
the rebellious Absalom (2 Sam. 15:10), who probably expected to
find his chief support in the tribe of Judah, now called
In one part of the modern city is a great mosque, which is
built over the grave of Machpelah. The first European who was
permitted to enter this mosque was the Prince of Wales in 1862.
It was also visited by the Marquis of Bute in 1866, and by the
late Emperor Frederick of Germany (then Crown-Prince of Prussia)
One of the largest oaks in Israel is found in the valley of
Eshcol, about 3 miles north of the town. It is supposed by some
to be the tree under which Abraham pitched his tent, and is
called "Abraham's oak." (See OAK T0002758.)
(2.) The third son of Kohath the Levite (Ex. 6:18; 1 Chr. 6:2,
(3.) 1 Chr. 2:42, 43.
(4.) A town in the north border of Asher (Josh. 19:28).
Olves, Mount of
so called from the olive trees with which its sides are clothed,
is a mountain ridge on the east of Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:7;
Ezek. 11:23; Zech. 14:4), from which it is separated by the
valley of Kidron. It is first mentioned in connection with
David's flight from Jerusalem through the rebellion of Absalom
(2 Sam. 15:30), and is only once again mentioned in the Old
Testament, in Zech. 14:4. It is, however, frequently alluded to
(1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:13; Neh. 8:15; Ezek. 11:23).
It is frequently mentioned in the New Testament (Matt. 21:1;
26:30, etc.). It now bears the name of Jebel et-Tur, i.e.,
"Mount of the Summit;" also sometimes called Jebel ez-Zeitun,
i.e., "Mount of Olives." It is about 200 feet above the level of
the city. The road from Jerusalem to Bethany runs as of old over
this mount. It was on this mount that Jesus stood when he wept
over Jerusalem. "No name in Scripture," says Dr. Porter, "calls
up associations at once so sacred and so pleasing as that of
Olivet. The 'mount' is so intimately connected with the private,
the devotional life of the Saviour, that we read of it and look
at it with feelings of deepest interest and affection. Here he
often sat with his disciples, telling them of wondrous events
yet to come, of the destruction of the Holy City; of the
sufferings, the persecution, and the final triumph of his
followers (Matt. 24). Here he gave them the beautiful parables
of the ten virgins and the five talents (25); here he was wont
to retire on each evening for meditation, and prayer, and rest
of body, when weary and harassed by the labors and trials of
the day (Luke 21:37); and here he came on the night of his
betrayal to utter that wonderful prayer, 'O my Father, if it be
possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will,
but as thou wilt' (Matt. 26:39). And when the cup of God's wrath
had been drunk, and death and the grave conquered, he led his
disciples out again over Olivet as far as to Bethany, and after
a parting blessing ascended to heaven (Luke 24:50, 51; Acts
This mount, or rather mountain range, has four summits or
peaks: (1) the "Galilee" peak, so called from a tradition that
the angels stood here when they spoke to the disciples (Acts
1:11); (2) the "Mount of Ascension," the supposed site of that
event, which was, however, somewhere probably nearer Bethany
(Luke 24:51, 52); (3) the "Prophets," from the catacombs on its
side, called "the prophets' tombs;" and (4) the "Mount of
Corruption," so called because of the "high places" erected
there by Solomon for the idolatrous worship of his foreign wives
(1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:13; Vulg., "Mount of Offence").
father (i.e., "possessor or worshipper") of Jehovah. (1.) 1 Chr.
7:8. (2.) 1 Chr. 2:24.
(3.) The second son of Samuel (1 Sam. 8:2; 1 Chr. 6:28). His
conduct, along with that of his brother, as a judge in
Beersheba, to which office his father had appointed him, led to
popular discontent, and ultimately provoked the people to demand
a royal form of government.
(4.) A descendant of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, a chief of one
of the twenty-four orders into which the priesthood was divided
by David (1 Chr. 24:10). The order of Abijah was one of those
which did not return from the Captivity (Ezra 2:36-39; Neh.
(5.) The son of Rehoboam, whom he succeeded on the throne of
Judah (1 Chr. 3:10). He is also called Abijam (1 Kings 14:31;
15:1-8). He began his three years' reign (2 Chr. 12:16; 13:1,2)
with a strenuous but unsuccessful effort to bring back the ten
tribes to their allegiance. His address to "Jeroboam and all
Israel," before encountering them in battle, is worthy of being
specially noticed (2 Chr. 13:5-12). It was a very bloody battle,
no fewer than 500,000 of the army of Israel having perished on
the field. He is described as having walked "in all the sins of
his father" (1 Kings 15:3; 2 Chr. 11:20-22). It is said in 1
Kings 15:2 that "his mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of
Abishalom;" but in 2 Chr. 13:2 we read, "his mother's name was
Michaiah, the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah." The explanation is
that Maachah is just a variation of the name Michaiah, and that
Abishalom is probably the same as Absalom, the son of David. It
is probable that "Uriel of Gibeah" married Tamar, the daughter
of Absalom (2 Sam. 14:27), and by her had Maachah. The word
"daughter" in 1 Kings 15:2 will thus, as it frequently elsewhere
does, mean grand-daughter.
(6.) A son of Jeroboam, the first king of Israel. On account
of his severe illness when a youth, his father sent his wife to
consult the prophet Ahijah regarding his recovery. The prophet,
though blind with old age, knew the wife of Jeroboam as soon as
she approached, and under a divine impulse he announced to her
that inasmuch as in Abijah alone of all the house of Jeroboam
there was found "some good thing toward the Lord," he only would
come to his grave in peace. As his mother crossed the threshold
of the door on her return, the youth died, and "all Israel
mourned for him" (1 Kings 14:1-18).
(7.) The daughter of Zechariah (2 Chr. 29:1; compare Isa. 8:2),
and afterwards the wife of Ahaz. She is also called Abi (2 Kings
(8.) One of the sons of Becher, the son of Benjamin (1 Chr.
7:8). "Abiah," A.V.
John the Baptist
the "forerunner of our Lord." We have but fragmentary and
imperfect accounts of him in the Gospels. He was of priestly
descent. His father, Zacharias, was a priest of the course of
Abia (1 Chr. 24:10), and his mother, Elisabeth, was of the
daughters of Aaron (Luke 1:5). The mission of John was the
subject of prophecy (Matt. 3:3; Isa. 40:3; Mal. 3:1). His birth,
which took place six months before that of Jesus, was foretold
by an angel. Zacharias, deprived of the power of speech as a
token of God's truth and a reproof of his own incredulity with
reference to the birth of his son, had the power of speech
restored to him on the occasion of his circumcision (Luke 1:64).
After this no more is recorded of him for thirty years than what
is mentioned in Luke 1:80. John was a Nazarite from his birth
(Luke 1:15; Num. 6:1-12). He spent his early years in the
mountainous tract of Judah lying between Jerusalem and the Dead
Sea (Matt. 3:1-12).
At length he came forth into public life, and great multitudes
from "every quarter" were attracted to him. The sum of his
preaching was the necessity of repentance. He denounced the
Sadducees and Pharisees as a "generation of vipers," and warned
them of the folly of trusting to external privileges (Luke 3:8).
"As a preacher, John was eminently practical and discriminating.
Self-love and covetousness were the prevalent sins of the people
at large. On them, therefore, he enjoined charity and
consideration for others. The publicans he cautioned against
extortion, the soldiers against crime and plunder." His doctrine
and manner of life roused the entire south of Israel, and the
people from all parts flocked to the place where he was, on the
banks of the Jordan. There he baptized thousands unto
The fame of John reached the ears of Jesus in Nazareth (Matt.
3:5), and he came from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized of John,
on the special ground that it became him to "fulfil all
righteousness" (3:15). John's special office ceased with the
baptism of Jesus, who must now "increase" as the King come to
his kingdom. He continued, however, for a while to bear
testimony to the Messiahship of Jesus. He pointed him out to his
disciples, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God." His public ministry
was suddenly (after about six months probably) brought to a
close by his being cast into prison by Herod, whom he had
reproved for the sin of having taken to himself the wife of his
brother Philip (Luke 3:19). He was shut up in the castle of
Machaerus (q.v.), a fortress on the southern extremity of
Peraea, 9 miles east of the Dead Sea, and here he was beheaded.
His disciples, having consigned the headless body to the grave,
went and told Jesus all that had occurred (Matt. 14:3-12).
John's death occurred apparently just before the third Passover
of our Lord's ministry. Our Lord himself testified regarding him
that he was a "burning and a shining light" (John 5:35).
father of peace; i.e., "peaceful" David's son by Maacah (2 Sam.
3:3; compare 1 Kings 1:6). He was noted for his personal beauty
and for the extra-ordinary profusion of the hair of his head (2
Sam. 14:25,26). The first public act of his life was the
blood-revenge he executed against Amnon, David's eldest son, who
had basely wronged Absalom's sister Tamar. This revenge was
executed at the time of the festivities connected with a great
sheep-shearing at Baal-hazor. David's other sons fled from the
place in horror, and brought the tidings of the death of Amnon
to Jerusalem. Alarmed for the consequences of the act, Absalom
fled to his grandfather at Geshur, and there abode for three
years (2 Sam. 3:3; 13:23-38).
David mourned his absent son, now branded with the guilt of
fratricide. As the result of a stratagem carried out by a woman
of Tekoah, Joab received David's sanction to invite Absalom back
to Jerusalem. He returned accordingly, but two years elapsed
before his father admitted him into his presence (2 Sam. 14:28).
Absalom was now probably the oldest surviving son of David, and
as he was of royal descent by his mother as well as by his
father, he began to aspire to the throne. His pretensions were
favoured by the people. By many arts he gained their affection;
and after his return from Geshur (2 Sam. 15:7; marg., R.V.) he
went up to Hebron, the old capital of Judah, along with a great
body of the people, and there proclaimed himself king. The
revolt was so successful that David found it necessary to quit
Jerusalem and flee to Mahanaim, beyond Jordan; where upon
Absalom returned to Jerusalem and took possession of the throne
without opposition. Ahithophel, who had been David's chief
counsellor, deserted him and joined Absalom, whose chief
counsellor he now became. Hushai also joined Absalom, but only
for the purpose of trying to counteract the counsels of
Ahithophel, and so to advantage David's cause. He was so far
successful that by his advice, which was preferred to that of
Ahithophel, Absalom delayed to march an army against his father,
who thus gained time to prepare for the defence.
Absalom at length marched out against his father, whose army,
under the command of Joab, he encountered on the borders of the
forest of Ephraim. Twenty thousand of Absalom's army were slain
in that fatal battle, and the rest fled. Absalom fled on a swift
mule; but his long flowing hair, or more probably his head, was
caught in the bough of an oak, and there he was left suspended
till Joab came up and pierced him through with three darts. His
body was then taken down and cast into a pit dug in the forest,
and a heap of stones was raised over his grave. When the tidings
of the result of that battle were brought to David, as he sat
impatiently at the gate of Mahanaim, and he was told that
Absalom had been slain, he gave way to the bitter lamentation:
"O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died
for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!" (2 Sam. 18:33. Compare Ex.
32:32; Rom. 9:3).
Absalom's three sons (2 Sam. 14:27; compare 18:18) had all died
before him, so that he left only a daughter, Tamar, who became
the grandmother of Abijah.
God his salvation, the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah, who
became the attendant and disciple of Elijah (1 Kings 19:16-19).
His name first occurs in the command given to Elijah to anoint
him as his successor (1 Kings 19:16). This was the only one of
the three commands then given to Elijah which he accomplished.
On his way from Sinai to Damascus he found Elisha at his native
place engaged in the labors of the field, ploughing with twelve
yoke of oxen. He went over to him, threw over his shoulders his
rough mantle, and at once adopted him as a son, and invested him
with the prophetical office (compare Luke 9:61, 62). Elisha
accepted the call thus given (about four years before the death
of Ahab), and for some seven or eight years became the close
attendant on Elijah till he was parted from him and taken up
into heaven. During all these years we hear nothing of Elisha
except in connection with the closing scenes of Elijah's life.
After Elijah, Elisha was accepted as the leader of the sons of
the prophets, and became noted in Israel. He possessed,
according to his own request, "a double portion" of Elijah's
spirit (2 Kings 2:9); and for the long period of about sixty
years (B.C. 892-832) held the office of "prophet in Israel" (2
After Elijah's departure, Elisha returned to Jericho, and
there healed the spring of water by casting salt into it (2
Kings 2:21). We next find him at Bethel (2:23), where, with the
sternness of his master, he cursed the youths who came out and
scoffed at him as a prophet of God: "Go up, thou bald head." The
judgment at once took effect, and God terribly visited the
dishonour done to his prophet as dishonour done to himself. We
next read of his predicting a fall of rain when the army of
Jehoram was faint from thirst (2 Kings 3:9-20); of the
multiplying of the poor widow's cruse of oil (4:1-7); the
miracle of restoring to life the son of the woman of Shunem
(4:18-37); the multiplication of the twenty loaves of new barley
into a sufficient supply for an hundred men (4:42-44); of the
cure of Naaman the Syrian of his leprosy (5:1-27); of the
punishment of Gehazi for his falsehood and his covetousness; of
the recovery of the axe lost in the waters of the Jordan
(6:1-7); of the miracle at Dothan, half-way on the road between
Samaria and Jezreel; of the siege of Samaria by the king of
Syria, and of the terrible sufferings of the people in
connection with it, and Elisha's prophecy as to the relief that
would come (2 Kings 6:24-7:2).
We then find Elisha at Damascus, to carry out the command
given to his master to anoint Hazael king over Syria (2 Kings
8:7-15); thereafter he directs one of the sons of the prophets
to anoint Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Israel, instead
of Ahab. Thus the three commands given to Elijah (9:1-10) were
at length carried out.
We do not again read of him till we find him on his death-bed
in his own house (2 Kings 13:14-19). Joash, the grandson of
Jehu, comes to mourn over his approaching departure, and utters
the same words as those of Elisha when Elijah was taken away:
"My father, my father! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen
Afterwards when a dead body is laid in Elisha's grave a year
after his burial, no sooner does it touch the hallowed remains
than the man "revived, and stood up on his feet" (2 Kings
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
First mentioned in Gen. 10:11, which is rendered in the Revised
Version, "He [i.e., Nimrod] went forth into Assyria and builded
Nineveh." It is not again noticed till the days of Jonah, when
it is described (Jonah 3:3; 4:11) as a great and populous city,
the flourishing capital of the Assyrian empire (2 Kings 19:36;
Isa. 37:37). The book of the prophet Nahum is almost exclusively
taken up with prophetic denunciations against this city. Its
ruin and utter desolation are foretold (Nah.1:14; 3:19, etc.).
Zephaniah also (2:13-15) predicts its destruction along with the
fall of the empire of which it was the capital. From this time
there is no mention of it in Scripture till it is named in
gospel history (Matt. 12:41; Luke 11:32).
This "exceeding great city" lay on the eastern or left bank of
the river Tigris, along which it stretched for some 30 miles,
having an average breadth of 10 miles or more from the river
back toward the eastern hills. This whole extensive space is now
one immense area of ruins. Occupying a central position on the
great highway between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean,
thus uniting the East and the West, wealth flowed into it from
many sources, so that it became the greatest of all ancient
About B.C. 633 the Assyrian empire began to show signs of
weakness, and Nineveh was attacked by the Medes, who
subsequently, about B.C. 625, being joined by the Babylonians
and Susianians, again attacked it, when it fell, and was razed
to the ground. The Assyrian empire then came to an end, the
Medes and Babylonians dividing its provinces between them.
"After having ruled for more than six hundred years with hideous
tyranny and violence, from the Caucasus and the Caspian to the
Persian Gulf, and from beyond the Tigris to Asia Minor and
Egypt, it vanished like a dream" (Nah. 2:6-11). Its end was
strange, sudden, tragic. It was God's doing, his judgement on
Assyria's pride (Isa. 10:5-19).
Forty years ago our knowledge of the great Assyrian empire and
of its magnificent capital was almost wholly a blank. Vague
memories had indeed survived of its power and greatness, but
very little was definitely known about it. Other cities which
had perished, as Palmyra, Persepolis, and Thebes, had left ruins
to mark their sites and tell of their former greatness; but of
this city, imperial Nineveh, not a single vestige seemed to
remain, and the very place on which it had stood was only matter
of conjecture. In fulfilment of prophecy, God made "an utter end
of the place." It became a "desolation."
In the days of the Greek historian Herodotus, B.C. 400, it had
become a thing of the past; and when Xenophon the historian
passed the place in the "Retreat of the Ten Thousand," the very
memory of its name had been lost. It was buried out of sight,
and no one knew its grave. It is never again to rise from its
At length, after being lost for more than two thousand years,
the city was disentombed. A little more than forty years ago the
French consul at Mosul began to search the vast mounds that lay
along the opposite bank of the river. The Arabs whom he employed
in these excavations, to their great surprise, came upon the
ruins of a building at the mound of Khorsabad, which, on further
exploration, turned out to be the royal palace of Sargon, one of
the Assyrian kings. They found their way into its extensive
courts and chambers, and brought forth form its hidded depths
many wonderful sculptures and other relics of those ancient
The work of exploration has been carried on almost
continuously by M. Botta, Sir Henry Layard, George Smith, and
others, in the mounds of Nebi-Yunus, Nimrud, Koyunjik, and
Khorsabad, and a vast treasury of specimens of old Assyrian art
has been exhumed. Palace after palace has been discovered, with
their decorations and their sculptured slabs, revealing the life
and manners of this ancient people, their arts of war and peace,
the forms of their religion, the style of their architecture,
and the magnificence of their monarchs. The streets of the city
have been explored, the inscriptions on the bricks and tablets
and sculptured figures have been read, and now the secrets of
their history have been brought to light.
One of the most remarkable of recent discoveries is that of
the library of King Assur-bani-pal, or, as the Greek historians
call him, Sardanapalos, the grandson of Sennacherib (q.v.). (See
ASNAPPER T0000347.) This library consists of about ten thousand
flat bricks or tablets, all written over with Assyrian
characters. They contain a record of the history, the laws, and
the religion of Assyria, of the greatest value. These strange
clay leaves found in the royal library form the most valuable of
all the treasuries of the literature of the old world. The
library contains also old Accadian documents, which are the
oldest extant documents in the world, dating as far back as
probably about the time of Abraham. (See SARGON T0003227.)
"The Assyrian royalty is, perhaps, the most luxurious of our
century [reign of Assur-bani-pal...Its victories and conquests,
uninterrupted for one hundred years, have enriched it with the
spoil of twenty peoples. Sargon has taken what remained to the
Hittites; Sennacherib overcame Chaldea, and the treasures of
Babylon were transferred to his coffers; Esarhaddon and
Assur-bani-pal himself have pillaged Egypt and her great cities,
Sais, Memphis, and Thebes of the hundred gates...Now foreign
merchants flock into Nineveh, bringing with them the most
valuable productions from all countries, gold and perfume from
South Arabia and the Chaldean Sea, Egyptian linen and
glass-work, carved enamels, goldsmiths' work, tin, silver,
Phoenician purple; cedar wood from Lebanon, unassailable by
worms; furs and iron from Asia Minor and Armenia" (Ancient Egypt
and Assyria, by G. Maspero, page 271).
The bas-reliefs, alabaster slabs, and sculptured monuments
found in these recovered palaces serve in a remarkable manner to
confirm the Old Testament history of the kings of Israel. The
appearance of the ruins shows that the destruction of the city
was due not only to the assailing foe but also to the flood and
the fire, thus confirming the ancient prophecies concerning it.
"The recent excavations," says Rawlinson, "have shown that fire
was a great instrument in the destruction of the Nineveh
palaces. Calcined alabaster, charred wood, and charcoal,
colossal statues split through with heat, are met with in parts
of the Nineveh mounds, and attest the veracity of prophecy."
Nineveh in its glory was (Jonah 3:4) an "exceeding great city
of three days' journey", i.e., probably in circuit. This would
give a circumference of about 60 miles. At the four corners of
an irregular quadrangle are the ruins of Kouyunjik, Nimrud,
Karamless and Khorsabad. These four great masses of ruins, with
the whole area included within the parallelogram they form by
lines drawn from the one to the other, are generally regarded as
composing the whole ruins of Nineveh.
originally called Simon (=Simeon ,i.e., "hearing"), a very
common Jewish name in the New Testament. He was the son of Jona
(Matt. 16:17). His mother is nowhere named in Scripture. He had
a younger brother called Andrew, who first brought him to Jesus
(John 1:40-42). His native town was Bethsaida, on the western
coast of the Sea of Galilee, to which also Philip belonged. Here
he was brought up by the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and was
trained to the occupation of a fisher. His father had probably
died while he was still young, and he and his brother were
brought up under the care of Zebedee and his wife Salome (Matt.
27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1). There the four youths, Simon, Andrew,
James, and John, spent their boyhood and early manhood in
constant fellowship. Simon and his brother doubtless enjoyed all
the advantages of a religious training, and were early
instructed in an acquaintance with the Scriptures and with the
great prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah. They did
not probably enjoy, however, any special training in the study
of the law under any of the rabbis. When Peter appeared before
the Sanhedrin, he looked like an "unlearned man" (Acts 4:13).
"Simon was a Galilean, and he was that out and out...The
Galileans had a marked character of their own. They had a
reputation for an independence and energy which often ran out
into turbulence. They were at the same time of a franker and
more transparent disposition than their brethren in the south.
In all these respects, in bluntness, impetuosity, headiness, and
simplicity, Simon was a genuine Galilean. They spoke a peculiar
dialect. They had a difficulty with the guttural sounds and some
others, and their pronunciation was reckoned harsh in Judea. The
Galilean accent stuck to Simon all through his career. It
betrayed him as a follower of Christ when he stood within the
judgment-hall (Mark 14:70). It betrayed his own nationality and
that of those conjoined with him on the day of Pentecost (Acts
2:7)." It would seem that Simon was married before he became an
apostle. His wife's mother is referred to (Matt. 8:14; Mark
1:30; Luke 4:38). He was in all probability accompanied by his
wife on his missionary journeys (1 Cor. 9:5; compare 1 Pet. 5:13).
He appears to have been settled at Capernaum when Christ
entered on his public ministry, and may have reached beyond the
age of thirty. His house was large enough to give a home to his
brother Andrew, his wife's mother, and also to Christ, who seems
to have lived with him (Mark 1:29, 36; 2:1), as well as to his
own family. It was apparently two stories high (2:4).
At Bethabara (R.V., John 1:28, "Bethany"), beyond Jordan, John
the Baptist had borne testimony concerning Jesus as the "Lamb of
God" (John 1:29-36). Andrew and John hearing it, followed Jesus,
and abode with him where he was. They were convinced, by his
gracious words and by the authority with which he spoke, that he
was the Messiah (Luke 4:22; Matt. 7:29); and Andrew went forth
and found Simon and brought him to Jesus (John 1:41).
Jesus at once recognized Simon, and declared that hereafter he
would be called Cephas, an Aramaic name corresponding to the
Greek Petros, which means "a mass of rock detached from the
living rock." The Aramaic name does not occur again, but the
name Peter gradually displaces the old name Simon, though our
Lord himself always uses the name Simon when addressing him
(Matt. 17:25; Mark 14:37; Luke 22:31, compare 21:15-17). We are
not told what impression the first interview with Jesus produced
on the mind of Simon. When we next meet him it is by the Sea of
Galilee (Matt. 4:18-22). There the four (Simon and Andrew, James
and John) had had an unsuccessful night's fishing. Jesus
appeared suddenly, and entering into Simon's boat, bade him
launch forth and let down the nets. He did so, and enclosed a
great multitude of fishes. This was plainly a miracle wrought
before Simon's eyes. The awe-stricken disciple cast himself at
the feet of Jesus, crying, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful
man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8). Jesus addressed him with the assuring
words, "Fear not," and announced to him his life's work. Simon
responded at once to the call to become a disciple, and after
this we find him in constant attendance on our Lord.
He is next called into the rank of the apostleship, and
becomes a "fisher of men" (Matt. 4:19) in the stormy seas of the
world of human life (Matt. 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:13-16),
and takes a more and more prominent part in all the leading
events of our Lord's life. It is he who utters that notable
profession of faith at Capernaum (John 6:66-69), and again at
Caesarea Philippi (Matt. 16:13-20; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-20).
This profession at Caesarea was one of supreme importance, and
our Lord in response used these memorable words: "Thou art
Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church."
"From that time forth" Jesus began to speak of his sufferings.
For this Peter rebuked him. But our Lord in return rebuked
Peter, speaking to him in sterner words than he ever used to any
other of his disciples (Matt. 16:21-23; Mark 8:31-33). At the
close of his brief sojourn at Caesarea our Lord took Peter and
James and John with him into "an high mountain apart," and was
transfigured before them. Peter on that occasion, under the
impression the scene produced on his mind, exclaimed, "Lord, it
is good for us to be here: let us make three tabernacles" (Matt.
On his return to Capernaum the collectors of the temple tax (a
didrachma, half a sacred shekel), which every Israelite of
twenty years old and upwards had to pay (Ex. 30:15), came to
Peter and reminded him that Jesus had not paid it (Matt.
17:24-27). Our Lord instructed Peter to go and catch a fish in
the lake and take from its mouth the exact amount needed for the
tax, viz., a stater, or two half-shekels. "That take," said our
Lord, "and give unto them for me and thee."
As the end was drawing nigh, our Lord sent Peter and John
(Luke 22:7-13) into the city to prepare a place where he should
keep the feast with his disciples. There he was forewarned of
the fearful sin into which he afterwards fell (22:31-34). He
accompanied our Lord from the guest-chamber to the garden of
Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46), which he and the other two who had
been witnesses of the transfiguration were permitted to enter
with our Lord, while the rest were left without. Here he passed
through a strange experience. Under a sudden impulse he cut off
the ear of Malchus (47-51), one of the band that had come forth
to take Jesus. Then follow the scenes of the judgment-hall
(54-61) and his bitter grief (62).
He is found in John's company early on the morning of the
resurrection. He boldly entered into the empty grave (John
20:1-10), and saw the "linen clothes laid by themselves" (Luke
24:9-12). To him, the first of the apostles, our risen Lord
revealed himself, thus conferring on him a signal honour, and
showing how fully he was restored to his favour (Luke 24:34; 1
Cor. 15:5). We next read of our Lord's singular interview with
Peter on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where he thrice asked
him, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?" (John 21:1-19). (See
After this scene at the lake we hear nothing of Peter till he
again appears with the others at the ascension (Acts 1:15-26).
It was he who proposed that the vacancy caused by the apostasy
of Judas should be filled up. He is prominent on the day of
Pentecost (2:14-40). The events of that day "completed the
change in Peter himself which the painful discipline of his fall
and all the lengthened process of previous training had been
slowly making. He is now no more the unreliable, changeful,
self-confident man, ever swaying between rash courage and weak
timidity, but the stead-fast, trusted guide and director of the
fellowship of believers, the intrepid preacher of Christ in
Jerusalem and abroad. And now that he is become Cephas indeed,
we hear almost nothing of the name Simon (only in Acts 10:5, 32;
15:14), and he is known to us finally as Peter."
After the miracle at the temple gate (Acts 3) persecution
arose against the Christians, and Peter was cast into prison. He
boldly defended himself and his companions at the bar of the
council (4:19, 20). A fresh outburst of violence against the
Christians (5:17-21) led to the whole body of the apostles being
cast into prison; but during the night they were wonderfully
delivered, and were found in the morning teaching in the temple.
A second time Peter defended them before the council (Acts
5:29-32), who, "when they had called the apostles and beaten
them, let them go."
The time had come for Peter to leave Jerusalem. After
labouring for some time in Samaria, he returned to Jerusalem,
and reported to the church there the results of his work (Acts
8:14-25). Here he remained for a period, during which he met
Paul for the first time since his conversion (9:26-30; Gal.
1:18). Leaving Jerusalem again, he went forth on a missionary
journey to Lydda and Joppa (Acts 9:32-43). He is next called on
to open the door of the Christian church to the Gentiles by the
admission of Cornelius of Caesarea (ch. 10).
After remaining for some time at Caesarea, he returned to
Jerusalem (Acts 11:1-18), where he defended his conduct with
reference to the Gentiles. Next we hear of his being cast into
prison by Herod Agrippa (12:1-19); but in the night an angel of
the Lord opened the prison gates, and he went forth and found
refuge in the house of Mary.
He took part in the deliberations of the council in Jerusalem
(Acts 15:1-31; Gal. 2:1-10) regarding the relation of the
Gentiles to the church. This subject had awakened new interest
at Antioch, and for its settlement was referred to the council
of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. Here Paul and Peter met
We have no further mention of Peter in the Acts of the
Apostles. He seems to have gone down to Antioch after the
council at Jerusalem, and there to have been guilty of
dissembling, for which he was severely reprimanded by Paul (Gal.
2:11-16), who "rebuked him to his face."
After this he appears to have carried the gospel to the east,
and to have laboured for a while at Babylon, on the Euphrates (1
Pet. 5:13). There is no satisfactory evidence that he was ever
at Rome. Where or when he died is not certainly known. Probably
he died between A.D. 64 and 67.