(1.) Of cities, as of Jerusalem (Jer. 37:13; Neh. 1:3; 2:3;
3:3), of Sodom (Gen. 19:1), of Gaza (Judg. 16:3).
(2.) Of royal palaces (Neh. 2:8).
(3.) Of the temple of Solomon (1 Kings 6:34, 35; 2 Kings
18:16); of the holy place (1 Kings 6:31, 32; Ezek. 41:23, 24);
of the outer courts of the temple, the beautiful gate (Acts
(4.) Tombs (Matt. 27:60).
(5.) Prisons (Acts 12:10; 16:27).
(6.) Caverns (1 Kings 19:13).
(7.) Camps (Ex. 32:26, 27; Heb. 13:12).
The materials of which gates were made were,
(1.) Iron and brass (Ps. 107:16; Isa. 45:2; Acts 12:10).
(2.) Stones and pearls (Isa. 54:12; Rev. 21:21).
(3.) Wood (Judg. 16:3) probably.
At the gates of cities courts of justice were frequently held,
and hence "judges of the gate" are spoken of (Deut. 16:18; 17:8;
21:19; 25:6, 7, etc.). At the gates prophets also frequently
delivered their messages (Prov. 1:21; 8:3; Isa. 29:21; Jer.
17:19, 20; 26:10). Criminals were punished without the gates (1
Kings 21:13; Acts 7:59). By the "gates of righteousness" we are
probably to understand those of the temple (Ps. 118:19). "The
gates of hell" (R.V., "gates of Hades") Matt. 16:18, are
generally interpreted as meaning the power of Satan, but
probably they may mean the power of death, denoting that the
Church of Christ shall never die.
daughter of many, the name of one of the gates of the city of
Heshbon, near which were pools (Cant.7:4).
one of the gates in the north wall of Jerusalem, so called
because built by the Jebusites (Neh. 3:6; 12:39).
one of the gates of Jerusalem mentioned by Nehemiah (3:1, 32;
12:39). It was in the eastern wall of the city.
Ephraim, Gate of
one of the gates of Jerusalem (2 Kings 14:13; 2 Chr. 25:23), on
the side of the city looking toward Ephraim, the north side.
two gates. (1.) A city in the plain of Judah (1 Sam. 17:52);
called also Sharaim (Josh. 15:36).
(2.) A town in Simeon (1 Chr. 4:31).
two gates (Josh. 15:36), more correctly Shaaraim (1 Sam. 17:52),
probably Tell Zakariya and Kefr Zakariya, in the valley of Elah,
3 1/2 miles north-west of Socoh.
the Bashan of the villages of Jair, the general name given to
Argob by Jair, the son of Manasseh (Deut. 3:14), containing
sixty cities with walls and brazen gates (Josh. 13:30; 1 Kings
4:13). (See ARGOB T0000302.)
the name of one of the gates of the temple (Acts 3:2). It is
supposed to have been the door which led from the court of the
Gentiles to the court of the women. It was of massive structure,
and covered with plates of Corinthian brass.
Shallecheth, The gate of
i.e., "the gate of casting out," hence supposed to be the refuse
gate; one of the gates of the house of the Lord, "by the
causeway of the going up" i.e., the causeway rising up from the
Tyropoeon valley = valley of the cheesemakers (1 Chr. 26:16).
the principal deity of the ancient Greeks and Romans. He was
worshipped by them under various epithets. Barnabas was
identified with this god by the Lycaonians (Acts 14:12), because
he was of stately and commanding presence, as they supposed
Jupiter to be. There was a temple dedicated to this god outside
the gates of Lystra (14:13).
a gate-keeper (2 Sam. 18:26; 2 Kings 7:10; 1 Chr. 9:21; 2 Chr.
8:14). Of the Levites, 4,000 were appointed as porters by David
(1 Chr. 23:5), who were arranged according to their families
(26:1-19) to take charge of the doors and gates of the temple.
They were sometimes employed as musicians (1 Chr. 15:18).
life of (i.e., from) God, a native of Bethel, who built (i.e.,
fortified) Jericho some seven hundred years after its
destruction by the Israelites. There fell on him for such an act
the imprecation of Joshua (6:26). He laid the foundation in his
first-born, and set up the gates in his youngest son (1 Kings
16:34), i.e., during the progress of the work all his children
God has gratified me, or is gracious. (1.) One of the sons of
Heman (1 Chr. 25:4, 25). (2.) A prophet who was sent to rebuke
king Asa for entering into a league with Benhadad I., king of
Syria, against Judah (2 Chr. 16:1-10). He was probably the
father of the prophet Jehu (1 Kings 16:7). (3.) Probably a
brother of Nehemiah (Neh. 1:2; 7:2), who reported to him the
melancholy condition of Jerusalem. Nehemiah afterwards appointed
him to have charge of the city gates.
any place of public resort, and hence a public place or broad
street (Matt. 11:16; 20:3), as well as a forum or market-place
proper, where goods were exposed for sale, and where public
assemblies and trials were held (Acts 16:19; 17:17). This word
occurs in the Old Testament only in Ezek. 27:13.
In early times markets were held at the gates of cities, where
commodities were exposed for sale (2 Kings 7:18). In large towns
the sale of particular articles seems to have been confined to
certain streets, as we may infer from such expressions as "the
bakers' street" (Jer. 37:21), and from the circumstance that in
the time of Josephus the valley between Mounts Zion and Moriah
was called the Tyropoeon or the "valley of the cheesemakers."
Siloam, Tower of
mentioned only Luke 13:4. The place here spoken of is the
village now called Silwan, or Kefr Silwan, on the east of the
valley of Kidron, and to the NE of the pool. It stands
on the west slope of the Mount of Olives.
As illustrative of the movement of small bands of Canaanites
from place to place, and the intermingling of Canaanites and
Israelites even in small towns in earlier times, M.C. Ganneau
records the following curious fact: "Among the inhabitants of
the village (of Siloam) there are a hundred or so domiciled for
the most part in the lower quarter, and forming a group apart
from the rest, called Dhiabrye, i.e., men of Dhiban. It appears
that at some remote period a colony from the capital of king
Mesha (Dibon-Moab) crossed the Jordan and fixed itself at the
gates of Jerusalem at Silwan. The memory of this migration is
still preserved; and I am assured by the people themselves that
many of their number are installed in other villages round
Jerusalem" (quoted by Henderson, Israel).
a tax imposed by the Romans. The tax-gatherers were termed
publicans (q.v.), who had their stations at the gates of cities,
and in the public highways, and at the place set apart for that
purpose, called the "receipt of custom" (Matt.9: 9; Mark 2:14),
where they collected the money that was to be paid on certain
goods (Matt.17:25). These publicans were tempted to exact more
from the people than was lawful, and were, in consequence of
their extortions, objects of great hatred. The Pharisees would
have no intercourse with them (Matt.5:46, 47; 9:10, 11).
A tax or tribute (q.v.) of half a shekel was annually paid by
every adult Jew for the temple. It had to be paid in Jewish coin
(Matt. 22:17-19; Mark 12:14, 15). Money-changers (q.v.) were
necessary, to enable the Jews who came up to Jerusalem at the
feasts to exchange their foreign coin for Jewish money; but as
it was forbidden by the law to carry on such a traffic for
emolument (Deut. 23:19, 20), our Lord drove them from the temple
(Matt. 21:12: Mark 11:15).
portion of Jehovah. (1.) 1 Chr. 6:54. (2.) 1 Chr. 26:11. (3.)
The father of Eliakim (2 Kings 18:18, 26, 37). (4.) The father
of Gemariah (Jer. 29:3). (5.) The father of the prophet Jeremiah
(6.) The high priest in the reign of Josiah (1 Chr. 6:13; Ezra
7:1). To him and his deputy (2 Kings 23:5), along with the
ordinary priests and the Levites who had charge of the gates,
was entrusted the purification of the temple in Jerusalem. While
this was in progress, he discovered in some hidden corner of the
building a book called the "book of the law" (2 Kings 22:8) and
the "book of the covenant" (23:2). Some have supposed that this
"book" was nothing else than the original autograph copy of the
Pentateuch written by Moses (Deut. 31:9-26). This remarkable
discovery occurred in the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign
(B.C. 624), a discovery which permanently affected the whole
subsequent history of Israel. (See JOSIAH T0002116; SHAPHAN
(7.) Neh. 12:7. (8.) Neh. 8:4.
When David was not permitted to build the temple, he proceeded,
among the last acts of his life, with the assistance of Zadok
and Ahimelech, to organize the priestly and musical services to
be conducted in the house of God. (1.) He divided the priests
into twenty-four courses (1 Chr. 24:1-19), sixteen being of the
house of Eleazar and eight of that of Ithamar. Each course was
under a head or chief, and ministered for a week, the order
being determined by lot. (2.) The rest of the 38,000 Levites
(23:4) were divided also into twenty-four courses, each to
render some allotted service in public worship: 4,000 in
twenty-four courses were set apart as singers and musicians
under separate leaders (25); 4,000 as porters or keepers of the
doors and gates of the sanctuary (26:1-19); and 6,000 as
officers and judges to see to the administration of the law in
all civil and ecclesiastical matters (20-32).
This arrangement was re-established by Hezekiah (2 Chr. 31:2);
and afterwards the four sacerdotal courses which are said to
have returned from the Captivity were re-divided into the
original number of twenty-four by Ezra (6:18).
stony heap, an "island," as it has been called, of rock about 30
miles by 20, rising 20 or 30 feet above the table-land of
Bashan; a region of crags and chasms wild and rugged in the
extreme. On this "island" stood sixty walled cities, ruled over
by Og. It is called Trachonitis ("the rugged region") in the New
Testament (Luke 3:1). These cities were conquered by the
Israelites (Deut. 3:4; 1 Kings 4:13). It is now called the
Lejah. Here "sixty walled cities are still traceable in a space
of 308 square miles. The architecture is ponderous and massive.
Solid walls 4 feet thick, and stones on one another without
cement; the roofs enormous slabs of basaltic rock, like iron;
the doors and gates are of stone 18 inches thick, secured by
ponderous bars. The land bears still the appearance of having
been called the 'land of giants' under the giant Og." "I have
more than once entered a deserted city in the evening, taken
possession of a comfortable house, and spent the night in peace.
Many of the houses in the ancient cities of Bashan are perfect,
as if only finished yesterday. The walls are sound, the roofs
unbroken, and even the window-shutters in their places. These
ancient cities of Bashan probably contain the very oldest
specimens of domestic architecture in the world" (Porter's Giant
Cities). (See BASHAN T0000461.)
called also Azzah, which is its Hebrew name (Deut. 2:23; 1 Kings
4:24; Jer. 25:20), strong, a city on the Mediterranean shore,
remarkable for its early importance as the chief centre of a
great commercial traffic with Egypt. It is one of the oldest
cities of the world (Gen. 10:19; Josh. 15:47). Its earliest
inhabitants were the Avims, who were conquered and displaced by
the Caphtorims (Deut. 2:23; Josh. 13:2, 3), a Philistine tribe.
In the division of the land it fell to the lot of Judah (Josh.
15:47; Judg. 1:18). It was the southernmost of the five great
Philistine cities which gave each a golden emerod as a
trespass-offering unto the Lord (1 Sam. 6:17). Its gates were
carried away by Samson (Judg. 16:1-3). Here he was afterwards a
prisoner, and "did grind in the prison house." Here he also
pulled down the temple of Dagon, and slew "all the lords of the
Philistines," himself also perishing in the ruin (Judg.
16:21-30). The prophets denounce the judgments of God against it
(Jer. 25:20; 47:5; Amos 1:6, 7; Zeph. 2:4). It is referred to in
Acts 8:26. Philip is here told to take the road from Jerusalem
to Gaza (about 6 miles south-west of Jerusalem), "which is
desert", i.e., the "desert road," probably by Hebron, through
the desert hills of Southern Judea. (See SAMSON T0003208.)
It is noticed on monuments as early as B.C. 1600. Its small
port is now called el-Mineh.
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.
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.)
chaste, the daughter of Ethbaal, the king of the Zidonians, and
the wife of Ahab, the king of Israel (1 Kings 16:31). This was
the "first time that a king of Israel had allied himself by
marriage with a heathen princess; and the alliance was in this
case of a peculiarly disastrous kind. Jezebel has stamped her
name on history as the representative of all that is designing,
crafty, malicious, revengeful, and cruel. She is the first great
instigator of persecution against the saints of God. Guided by
no principle, restrained by no fear of either God or man,
passionate in her attachment to her heathen worship, she spared
no pains to maintain idolatry around her in all its splendour.
Four hundred and fifty prophets ministered under her care to
Baal, besides four hundred prophets of the groves [R.V.,
'prophets of the Asherah'], which ate at her table (1 Kings
18:19). The idolatry, too, was of the most debased and sensual
kind." Her conduct was in many respects very disastrous to the
kingdom both of Israel and Judah (21:1-29). At length she came
to an untimely end. As Jehu rode into the gates of Jezreel, she
looked out at the window of the palace, and said, "Had Zimri
peace, who slew his master?" He looked up and called to her
chamberlains, who instantly threw her from the window, so that
she was dashed in pieces on the street, and his horses trod her
under their feet. She was immediately consumed by the dogs of
the street (2 Kings 9:7-37), according to the word of Elijah the
Tishbite (1 Kings 21:19).
Her name afterwards came to be used as the synonym for a
wicked woman (Rev. 2: 20).
It may be noted that she is said to have been the grand-aunt
of Dido, the founder of Carthage.
or No-A'mon, the home of Amon, the name of Thebes, the ancient
capital of what is called the Middle Empire, in Upper or
Southern Egypt. "The multitude of No" (Jer. 46:25) is more
correctly rendered, as in the Revised Version, "Amon of No",
i.e., No, where Jupiter Amon had his temple. In Ezek. 30:14, 16
it is simply called "No;" but in ver. 15 the name has the Hebrew
Hamon prefixed to it, "Hamon No." This prefix is probably the
name simply of the god usually styled Amon or Ammon. In Nah. 3:8
the "populous No" of the Authorized Version is in the Revised
Version correctly rendered "No-Amon."
It was the Diospolis or Thebes of the Greeks, celebrated for
its hundred gates and its vast population. It stood on both
sides of the Nile, and is by some supposed to have included
Karnak and Luxor. In grandeur and extent it can only be compared
to Nineveh. It is mentioned only in the prophecies referred to,
which point to its total destruction. It was first taken by the
Assyrians in the time of Sargon (Isa. 20). It was afterwards
"delivered into the hand" of Nebuchadnezzar and Assurbani-pal
(Jer. 46:25, 26). Cambyses, king of the Persians (B.C. 525),
further laid it waste by fire. Its ruin was completed (B.C. 81)
by Ptolemy Lathyrus. The ruins of this city are still among the
most notable in the valley of the Nile. They have formed a great
storehouse of interesting historic remains for more than two
thousand years. "As I wandered day after day with ever-growing
amazement amongst these relics of ancient magnificence, I felt
that if all the ruins in Europe, classical, Celtic, and
medieval, were brought together into one centre, they would fall
far short both in extent and grandeur of those of this single
Egyptian city." Manning, The Land of the Pharaohs.
he whom Jehovah has set up, the second son of Josiah, and
eighteenth king of Judah, which he ruled over for eleven years
(B.C. 610-599). His original name was Eliakim (q.v.).
On the death of his father his younger brother Jehoahaz
(=Shallum, Jer. 22:11), who favoured the Chaldeans against the
Egyptians, was made king by the people; but the king of Egypt,
Pharaoh-necho, invaded the land and deposed Jehoahaz (2 Kings
23:33, 34; Jer. 22:10-12), setting Eliakim on the throne in his
stead, and changing his name to Jehoiakim.
After this the king of Egypt took no part in Jewish politics,
having been defeated by the Chaldeans at Carchemish (2 Kings
24:7; Jer. 46:2). Israel was now invaded and conquered by
Nebuchadnezzar. Jehoiakim was taken prisoner and carried captive
to Babylon (2 Chr. 36:6, 7). It was at this time that Daniel
also and his three companions were taken captive to Babylon
(Dan. 1:1, 2).
Nebuchadnezzar reinstated Jehoiakim on his throne, but treated
him as a vassal king. In the year after this, Jeremiah caused
his prophecies to be read by Baruch in the court of the temple.
Jehoiakim, hearing of this, had them also read in the royal
palace before himself. The words displeased him, and taking the
roll from the hands of Baruch he cut it in pieces and threw it
into the fire (Jer. 36:23). During his disastrous reign there
was a return to the old idolatry and corruption of the days of
After three years of subjection to Babylon, Jehoiakim withheld
his tribute and threw off the yoke (2 Kings 24:1), hoping to
make himself independent. Nebuchadnezzar sent bands of
Chaldeans, Syrians, and Ammonites (2 Kings 24:2) to chastise his
rebellious vassal. They cruelly harassed the whole country
(compare Jer. 49:1-6). The king came to a violent death, and his
body having been thrown over the wall of Jerusalem, to convince
the beseieging army that he was dead, after having been dragged
away, was buried beyond the gates of Jerusalem "with the burial
of an ass," B.C. 599 (Jer. 22:18, 19; 36:30). Nebuchadnezzar
placed his son Jehoiachin on the throne, wishing still to retain
the kingdom of Judah as tributary to him.
(Heb. Ko'resh), the celebrated "King of Persia" (Elam) who was
conqueror of Babylon, and issued the decree of liberation to the
Jews (Ezra 1:1, 2). He was the son of Cambyses, the prince of
Persia, and was born about B.C. 599. In the year B.C. 559 he
became king of Persia, the kingdom of Media being added to it
partly by conquest. Cyrus was a great military leader, bent on
universal conquest. Babylon fell before his army (B.C. 538) on
the night of Belshazzar's feast (Dan. 5:30), and then the
ancient dominion of Assyria was also added to his empire (cf.,
"Go up, O Elam", Isa.21:2).
Hitherto the great kings of the earth had only oppressed the
Jews. Cyrus was to them as a "shepherd" (Isa. 44:28; 45:1). God
employed him in doing service to his ancient people. He may
posibly have gained, through contact with the Jews, some
knowledge of their religion.
The "first year of Cyrus" (Ezra 1:1) is not the year of his
elevation to power over the Medes, nor over the Persians, nor
the year of the fall of Babylon, but the year succeeding the two
years during which "Darius the Mede" was viceroy in Babylon
after its fall. At this time only (B.C. 536) Cyrus became actual
king over Israel, which became a part of his Babylonian
empire. The edict of Cyrus for the rebuilding of Jerusalem
marked a great epoch in the history of the Jewish people (2 Chr.
36:22, 23; Ezra 1:1-4; 4:3; 5:13-17; 6:3-5).
This decree was discovered "at Achmetha [R.V. marg.,
"Ecbatana"], in the palace that is in the province of the Medes"
(Ezra 6:2). A chronicle drawn up just after the conquest of
Babylonia by Cyrus, gives the history of the reign of Nabonidus
(Nabunahid), the last king of Babylon, and of the fall of the
Babylonian empire. In B.C. 538 there was a revolt in Southern
Babylonia, while the army of Cyrus entered the country from the
north. In June the Babylonian army was completely defeated at
Opis, and immediately afterwards Sippara opened its gates to the
conqueror. Gobryas (Ugbaru), the governor of Kurdistan, was then
sent to Babylon, which surrendered "without fighting," and the
daily services in the temples continued without a break. In
October, Cyrus himself arrived, and proclaimed a general
amnesty, which was communicated by Gobryas to "all the province
of Babylon," of which he had been made governor. Meanwhile,
Nabonidus, who had concealed himself, was captured, but treated
honourably; and when his wife died, Cambyses, the son of Cyrus,
conducted the funeral. Cyrus now assumed the title of "king of
Babylon," claimed to be the descendant of the ancient kings, and
made rich offerings to the temples. At the same time he allowed
the foreign populations who had been deported to Babylonia to
return to their old homes, carrying with them the images of
their gods. Among these populations were the Jews, who, as they
had no images, took with them the sacred vessels of the temple.
Sin (the god) sends many brothers, son of Sargon, whom he
succeeded on the throne of Assyria (B.C. 705), in the 23rd year
of Hezekiah. "Like the Persian Xerxes, he was weak and
vainglorious, cowardly under reverse, and cruel and boastful in
success." He first set himself to break up the powerful
combination of princes who were in league against him. Among
these was Hezekiah, who had entered into an alliance with Egypt
against Assyria. He accordingly led a very powerful army of at
least 200,000 men into Judea, and devastated the land on every
side, taking and destroying many cities (2 Kings 18:13-16; compare
Isa. 22, 24, 29, and 2 Chr. 32:1-8). His own account of this
invasion, as given in the Assyrian annals, is in these words:
"Because Hezekiah, king of Judah, would not submit to my yoke, I
came up against him, and by force of arms and by the might of my
power I took forty-six of his strong fenced cities; and of the
smaller towns which were scattered about, I took and plundered a
countless number. From these places I took and carried off
200,156 persons, old and young, male and female, together with
horses and mules, asses and camels, oxen and sheep, a countless
multitude; and Hezekiah himself I shut up in Jerusalem, his
capital city, like a bird in a cage, building towers round the
city to hem him in, and raising banks of earth against the
gates, so as to prevent escape...Then upon Hezekiah there fell
the fear of the power of my arms, and he sent out to me the
chiefs and the elders of Jerusalem with 30 talents of gold and
800 talents of silver, and divers treasures, a rich and immense
booty...All these things were brought to me at Nineveh, the seat
of my government." (Compare Isa. 22:1-13 for description of the
feelings of the inhabitants of Jerusalem at such a crisis.)
Hezekiah was not disposed to become an Assyrian feudatory. He
accordingly at once sought help from Egypt (2 Kings 18:20-24).
Sennacherib, hearing of this, marched a second time into
Israel (2 Kings 18:17, 37; 19; 2 Chr. 32:9-23; Isa. 36:2-22.
Isa. 37:25 should be rendered "dried up all the Nile-arms of
Matsor," i.e., of Egypt, so called from the "Matsor" or great
fortification across the isthmus of Suez, which protected it
from invasions from the east). Sennacherib sent envoys to try to
persuade Hezekiah to surrender, but in vain. (See TIRHAKAH
T0003676.) He next sent a threatening letter (2 Kings
19:10-14), which Hezekiah carried into the temple and spread
before the Lord. Isaiah again brought an encouraging message to
the pious king (2 Kings 19:20-34). "In that night" the angel of
the Lord went forth and smote the camp of the Assyrians. In the
morning, "behold, they were all dead corpses." The Assyrian army
This great disaster is not, as was to be expected, taken
notice of in the Assyrian annals.
Though Sennacherib survived this disaster some twenty years,
he never again renewed his attempt against Jerusalem. He was
murdered by two of his own sons (Adrammelech and Sharezer), and
was succeeded by another son, Esarhaddon (B.C. 681), after a
reign of twenty-four years.
a watch-mountain or a watch-tower. In the heart of the mountains
of Israel, a few miles north-west of Shechem, stands the "hill
of Shomeron," a solitary mountain, a great "mamelon." It is an
oblong hill, with steep but not inaccessible sides, and a long
flat top. Omri, the king of Israel, purchased this hill from
Shemer its owner for two talents of silver, and built on its
broad summit the city to which he gave the name of "Shomeron",
i.e., Samaria, as the new capital of his kingdom instead of
Tirzah (1 Kings 16:24). As such it possessed many advantages.
Here Omri resided during the last six years of his reign. As the
result of an unsuccessful war with Syria, he appears to have
been obliged to grant to the Syrians the right to "make streets
in Samaria", i.e., probably permission to the Syrian merchants
to carry on their trade in the Israelite capital. This would
imply the existence of a considerable Syrian population. "It was
the only great city of Israel created by the sovereign. All
the others had been already consecrated by patriarchal tradition
or previous possession. But Samaria was the choice of Omri
alone. He, indeed, gave to the city which he had built the name
of its former owner, but its especial connection with himself as
its founder is proved by the designation which it seems Samaria
bears in Assyrian inscriptions, Beth-khumri ('the house or
palace of Omri').", Stanley.
Samaria was frequently besieged. In the days of Ahab, Benhadad
II. came up against it with thirty-two vassal kings, but was
defeated with a great slaughter (1 Kings 20:1-21). A second
time, next year, he assailed it; but was again utterly routed,
and was compelled to surrender to Ahab (20:28-34), whose army,
as compared with that of Benhadad, was no more than "two little
flocks of kids."
In the days of Jehoram this Benhadad again laid siege to
Samaria, during which the city was reduced to the direst
extremities. But just when success seemed to be within their
reach, they suddenly broke up the seige, alarmed by a mysterious
noise of chariots and horses and a great army, and fled, leaving
their camp with all its contents behind them. The famishing
inhabitants of the city were soon relieved with the abundance of
the spoil of the Syrian camp; and it came to pass, according to
the word of Elisha, that "a measure of fine flour was sold for a
shekel, and two measures of barely for a shekel, in the gates of
Samaria" (2 Kings 7:1-20).
Shalmaneser invaded Israel in the days of Hoshea, and reduced
it to vassalage. He laid siege to Samaria (B.C. 723), which held
out for three years, and was at length captured by Sargon, who
completed the conquest Shalmaneser had begun (2 Kings 18:9-12;
17:3), and removed vast numbers of the tribes into captivity.
(See SARGON T0003227.)
This city, after passing through various vicissitudes, was
given by the emperor Augustus to Herod the Great, who rebuilt
it, and called it Sebaste (Gr. form of Augustus) in honour of
the emperor. In the New Testament the only mention of it is in
Acts 8:5-14, where it is recorded that Philip went down to the
city of Samaria and preached there.
It is now represented by the hamlet of Sebustieh, containing
about three hundred inhabitants. The ruins of the ancient town
are all scattered over the hill, down the sides of which they
have rolled. The shafts of about one hundred of what must have
been grand Corinthian columns are still standing, and attract
much attention, although nothing definite is known regarding
them. (Compare Micah 1:6.)
In the time of Christ, Western Israel was divided into
three provinces, Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Samaria occupied
the centre of Israel (John 4:4). It is called in the Talmud
the "land of the Cuthim," and is not regarded as a part of the
Holy Land at all.
It may be noticed that the distance between Samaria and
Jerusalem, the respective capitals of the two kingdoms, is only
35 miles in a direct line.
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.
beloved, the eighth and youngest son of Jesse, a citizen of
Bethlehem. His father seems to have been a man in humble life.
His mother's name is not recorded. Some think she was the Nahash
of 2 Sam. 17:25. As to his personal appearance, we only know
that he was red-haired, with beautiful eyes and a fair face (1
Sam. 16:12; 17:42).
His early occupation was that of tending his father's sheep on
the uplands of Judah. From what we know of his after history,
doubtless he frequently beguiled his time, when thus engaged,
with his shepherd's flute, while he drank in the many lessons
taught him by the varied scenes spread around him. His first
recorded exploits were his encounters with the wild beasts of
the field. He mentions that with his own unaided hand he slew a
lion and also a bear, when they came out against his flock,
beating them to death in open conflict with his club (1 Sam.
While David, in the freshness of ruddy youth, was thus engaged
with his flocks, Samuel paid an unexpected visit to Bethlehem,
having been guided thither by divine direction (1 Sam. 16:1-13).
There he offered up sacrifice, and called the elders of Israel
and Jesse's family to the sacrificial meal. Among all who
appeared before him he failed to discover the one he sought.
David was sent for, and the prophet immediately recognized him
as the chosen of God, chosen to succeed Saul, who was now
departing from the ways of God, on the throne of the kingdom. He
accordingly, in anticipation, poured on his head the anointing
oil. David went back again to his shepherd life, but "the Spirit
of the Lord came upon David from that day forward," and "the
Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul" (1 Sam. 16:13, 14).
Not long after this David was sent for to soothe with his harp
the troubled spirit of Saul, who suffered from a strange
melancholy dejection. He played before the king so skilfully
that Saul was greatly cheered, and began to entertain great
affection for the young shepherd. After this he went home to
Bethlehem. But he soon again came into prominence. The armies of
the Philistines and of Israel were in battle array in the valley
of Elah, some 16 miles south-west of Bethlehem; and David was
sent by his father with provisions for his three brothers, who
were then fighting on the side of the king. On his arrival in
the camp of Israel, David (now about twenty years of age) was
made aware of the state of matters when the champion of the
Philistines, Goliath of Gath, came forth to defy Israel. David
took his sling, and with a well-trained aim threw a stone "out
of the brook," which struck the giant's forehead, so that he
fell senseless to the ground. David then ran and slew him, and
cut off his head with his own sword (1 Sam. 17). The result was
a great victory to the Israelites, who pursued the Philistines
to the gates of Gath and Ekron.
David's popularity consequent on this heroic exploit awakened
Saul's jealousy (1 Sam. 18:6-16), which he showed in various
ways. He conceived a bitter hatred toward him, and by various
stratagems sought his death (1 Sam. 18-30). The deep-laid plots
of the enraged king, who could not fail to observe that David
"prospered exceedingly," all proved futile, and only endeared
the young hero the more to the people, and very specially to
Jonathan, Saul's son, between whom and David a life-long warm
friendship was formed.
A fugitive. To escape from the vengeance of Saul, David fled
to Ramah (1 Sam. 19:12-18) to Samuel, who received him, and he
dwelt among the sons of the prophets, who were there under
Samuel's training. It is supposed by some that the sixth,
seventh, and eleventh Psalms were composed by him at this time.
This place was only 3 miles from the residence of Saul, who soon
discovered whither the fugitive had gone, and tried
ineffectually to bring him back. Jonathan made a fruitless
effort to bring his father to a better state of mind toward
David (1 Sam. 20), who, being made aware of the fact, saw no
hope of safety but in flight to a distance. We accordingly find
him first at Nob (21:1-9) and then at Gath, the chief city of
the Philistines. The king of the Philistines would not admit him
into his service, as he expected that he would, and David
accordingly now betook himself to the stronghold of Adullam
(22:1-4; 1 Chr. 12:8-18). Here in a short time 400 men gathered
around him and acknowledged him as their leader. It was at this
time that David, amid the harassment and perils of his position,
cried, "Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well
of Bethlehem;" when three of his heroes broke through the lines
of the Philistines and brought him the water for which he longed
(2 Sam. 23:13-17), but which he would not drink.
In his rage at the failure of all his efforts to seize David,
Saul gave orders for the massacre of the entire priestly family
at Nob, "persons who wore a linen ephod", to the number of
eighty-five persons, who were put to death by Doeg the Edomite.
The sad tidings of the massacre were brought to David by
Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech, the only one who escaped. Compare
Hearing that Keilah, a town on the western frontier, was
harassed by the Philistines, David with his men relieved it (1
Sam. 23:1-14); and then, for fear of Saul, he fled to the
strongholds in the "hill country" of Judah. Compare Ps. 31. While
encamped there, in the forest in the district of Ziph, he was
visited by Jonathan, who spoke to him words of encouragement
(23:16-18). The two now parted never to meet again. Saul
continued his pursuit of David, who narrowly escaped from him at
this time, and fled to the crags and ravines of Engedi, on the
western shore of the Dead Sea (1 Sam. 23:29). Here Saul, who
still pursued him with his army, narrowly escaped, through the
generous forbearance of David, and was greatly affected by what
David had done for him. He returned home from pursuing him, and
David betook himself to Maon, where, with his 600 men, he
maintained himself by contributions gathered from the district.
Here occurred the incident connected with Nabal and his wife
Abigail (1 Sam. 25), whom David married after Nabal's death.
Saul again went forth (1 Sam. 26) in pursuit of David, who had
hid himself "in the hill Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon," in
the wilderness of Ziph, and was a second time spared through his
forbearance. He returned home, professing shame and penitence
for the way in which he had treated David, and predicting his
elevation to the throne.
Fighting against Israel. Harassed by the necessity of moving
from place to place through fear of Saul, David once more sought
refuge among the Philistines (1 Sam. 27). He was welcomed by the
king, who assigned him Ziklag as his residence. Here David lived
among his followers for some time as an independent chief
engaged in frequent war with the Amalekites and other tribes on
the south of Judah.
Achish summoned David with his men to join his army against
Saul; but the lords of the Philistines were suspicious of
David's loyalty, and therefore he was sent back to Ziklag, which
he found to his dismay may had been pillaged and burnt during
his brief absence. David pursued after the raiders, the
Amalekites, and completely routed them. On his return to Ziklag
tidings reached him of Saul's death (2 Sam. 1). An Amalekite
brought Saul's crown and bracelet and laid them at his feet.
David and his men rent their clothes and mourned for Saul, who
had been defeated in battle near Mount Gilboa. David composed a
beautiful elegy, the most beautiful of all extant Hebrew odes, a
"lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son" (2 Sam.
1:18-27). It bore the title of "The Bow," and was to be taught
to the children, that the memory of Saul and Jonathan might be
preserved among them. "Behold, it is written in the book of
David king over Judah. David and his men now set out for
Hebron under divine direction (2 Sam. 2:1-4). There they were
cordially welcomed, and he was at once anointed as king. He was
now about thirty years of age.
But his title to the throne was not undisputed. Abner took
Ish-bosheth, Saul's only remaining son, over the Jordan to
Mahanaim, and there crowned him as king. Then began a civil war
in Israel. The first encounter between the two opposing armies,
led on the one side by Abner, and on the other by Joab, took
place at the pool of Gibeon. It resulted in the defeat of Abner.
Other encounters, however, between Israel and Judah followed (2
Sam. 3:1, 5), but still success was on the side of David. For
the space of seven and a half years David reigned in Hebron.
Abner now sided with David, and sought to promote his
advancement; but was treacherously put to death by Joab in
revenge for his having slain his brother Asahel at Gibeon
(3:22-39). This was greatly to David's regret. He mourned for
the death of Abner. Shortly after this Ish-bosheth was also
treacherously put to death by two Canaanites of Beeroth; and
there being now no rival, David was anointed king over all
David king over all Israel (2 Sam. 5:1-5; 1 Chr. 11:1-3). The
elders of Israel now repaired to Hebron and offered allegiance
to David in name of all the people, among whom the greatest
enthusiasm prevailed. He was anointed king over all Israel, and
sought out a new seat of government, more suitable than Hebron,
as the capital of his empire. At this time there was a Jebusite
fortress, "the stronghold", on the hill of Zion, called also
Jebus. This David took from the Jebusites, and made it Israel's
capital, and established here his residence, and afterwards
built for himself a palace by the aid of Tyrian tradesmen. The
Philistines, who had for some time observed a kind of truce, now
made war against David; but were defeated in battle at a place
afterwards called, in remembrance of the victory, Baal-perazim.
Again they invaded the land, and were a second time routed by
him. He thus delivered Israel from their enemies.
David now resolved to bring up the ark of the covenant to his
new capital (2 Sam. 6). It was in the house of Abinadab at
Kirjath-jearim, about 7 miles from Jerusalem, where it had been
for many years, from the time when the Philistines had sent it
home (1 Sam. 6; 7). In consequence of the death of Uzzah (for it
was a divine ordinance that only the Levites should handle the
ark, Num. 4), who had put forth his hand to steady the ark when
the cart in which it was being conveyed shook by reason of the
roughness of the road, David stayed the procession, and conveyed
the ark into the house of Obed-edom, a Philistine from Gath.
After three months David brought the ark from the house of
Obed-edom up to Jerusalem. Compare Ps. 24. Here it was placed in a
new tent or tabernacle which David erected for the purpose.
About seventy years had passed since it had stood in the
tabernacle at Shiloh. The old tabernacle was now at Gibeah, at
which Zadok ministered. David now (1 Chr. 16) carefully set in
order all the ritual of divine worship at Jerusalem, along with
Abiathar the high priest. A new religious era began. The service
of praise was for the first time introduced into public worship.
Zion became henceforth "God's holy hill."
David's wars. David now entered on a series of conquests which
greatly extended and strengthened his kingdom (2 Sam. 8). In a
few years the whole territory from the Euphrates to the river of
Egypt, and from Gaza on the west to Thapsacus on the east, was
under his sway (2 Sam. 8:3-13; 10).
David's fall. He had now reached the height of his glory. He
ruled over a vast empire, and his capital was enriched with the
spoils of many lands. But in the midst of all this success he
fell, and his character became stained with the sin of adultery
(2 Sam. 11:2-27). It has been noted as characteristic of the
Bible that while his military triumphs are recorded in a few
verses, the sad story of his fall is given in detail, a story
full of warning, and therefore recorded. This crime, in the
attempt to conceal it, led to anoter. He was guilty of murder.
Uriah, whom he had foully wronged, an officer of the Gibborim,
the corps of heros (23:39), was, by his order, "set in the front
of the hottest battle" at the siege of Rabbah, in order that he
might be put to death. Nathan the prophet (2 Sam. 7:1-17;
12:1-23) was sent by God to bring home his crimes to the
conscience of the guilty monarch. He became a true penitent. He
bitterly bewailed his sins before God. The thirty-second and
fifty-first Psalms reveal the deep struggles of his soul, and
his spiritual recovery.
Bathsheba became his wife after Uriah's death. Her first-born
son died, according to the word of the prophet. She gave birth
to a second son, whom David called Solomon, and who ultimately
succeeded him on the throne (2 Sam. 12:24, 25).
Peace. After the successful termination of all his wars, David
formed the idea of building a temple for the ark of God. This he
was not permitted to carry into execution, because he had been a
man of war. God, however, sent Nathan to him with a gracious
message (2 Sam. 7:1-16). On receiving it he went into the
sanctuary, the tent where the ark was, and sat before the Lord,
and poured out his heart in words of devout thanksgiving
(18-29). The building of the temple was reserved for his son
Solomon, who would be a man of peace (1 Chr. 22:9; 28:3).
A cloudy evening. Hitherto David's carrer had been one of
great prosperity and success. Now cloudy and dark days came. His
eldest son Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam of Jezreel, was
guilty of a great and shameful crime (2 Sam. 13). This was the
beginning of the disasters of his later years. After two years
Absalom terribly avenged the crime against Tamar, and put Amnon
to death. This brought sore trouble to David's heart. Absalom,
afraid of the consequences of his guilt, fled to Geshur beyond
Jordan, where he remained for three years, when he was brought
back through the intrigue of Joab (2 Sam. 14).
After this there fell upon the land the calamity of three
years' famine (2 Sam. 21:1-14). This was soon after followed by
a pestilence, brought upon the land as a punishment for David's
sinful pride in numbering the people (2 Sam. 24), in which no
fewer than 70,000 perished in the space of three days.
Rebellion of Absalom. The personal respect for David was sadly
lowered by the incident of Bathsheba. There was a strong popular
sentiment against the taking of the census, and the outburst of
the plague in connection with it deepened the feeling of
jealously that had begun to manifest itself among some of the
tribes against David. Absalom, taking full advantage of this
state of things, gradually gained over the people, and at length
openly rebelled against his father, and usurped the throne.
Ahithophel was Absalom's chief counsellor. The revolt began in
Hebron, the capital of Judah. Absalom was there proclaimed king.
David was now in imminent danger, and he left Jerusalem (2 Sam.
15:13-20), and once more became a fugitive. It was a momentous
day in Israel. The incidents of it are recorded with a fulness
of detail greater than of any other day in Old Testament
history. David fled with his followers to Mahanarm, on the east
of Jordan. An unnatural civil war broke out. After a few weeks
the rival armies were mustered and organized. They met in
hostile array at the wood of Ephraim (2 Sam. 18:1-8). Absalom's
army was defeated, and himself put to death by the hand of Joab
(9-18). The tidings of the death of his rebellious son filled
the heart of David with the most poignant grief. He "went up to
the chamber over the gate, and wept" (33), giving utterance to
the heart-broken cry, "Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom,
my son, my son!" Peace was now restored, and David returned to
Jerusalem and resumed the direction of affairs. An unhappy
dispute arose between the men of Judah and the men of Israel
(19:41-43). Sheba, a Benjamite, headed a revolt of the men of
Israel. He was pursued to Abelbeth-maachah, and was there put to
death, and so the revolt came to an end.
The end. After the suppression of the rebellion of Absalom and
that of Sheba, ten comparatively peaceful years of David's life
passed away. During those years he seems to have been
principally engaged in accumulating treasures of every kind for
the great temple at Jerusalem, which it was reserved to his
successor to build (1 Chr. 22; 28; 29), a house which was to be
"exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all
countries" (22:5). The exciting and laborious life he had spent,
and the dangers and trials through which he had passed, had left
him an enfeebled man, prematurely old. It became apparent that
his life was now drawing to its close. A new palace conspiracy
broke out as to who should be his successor. Joab favoured
Adonijah. The chiefs of his party met at the "Fuller's spring,"
in the valley of Kidron, to proclaim him king; but Nathan
hastened on a decision on the part of David in favour of
Solomon, and so the aim of Adonijah's party failed. Solomon was
brought to Jerusalem, and was anointed king and seated on his
father's throne (1 Kings 1:11-53). David's last words are a
grand utterance, revealing his unfailing faith in God, and his
joyful confidence in his gracious covenant promises (2 Sam.
After a reign of forty years and six months (2 Sam. 5:5; 1
Chr. 3:4) David died (B.C. 1015) at the age of seventy years,
"and was buried in the city of David." His tomb is still pointed
out on Mount Zion.
Both in his prophetical and in his regal character David was a
type of the Messiah (1 Sam. 16:13). The book of Psalms commonly
bears the title of the "Psalms of David," from the circumstance
that he was the largest contributor (about eighty psalms) to the
collection. (See PSALMS T0003013.)
"The greatness of David was felt when he was gone. He had
lived in harmony with both the priesthood and the prophets; a
sure sign that the spirit of his government had been throughly
loyal to the higher aims of the theocracy. The nation had not
been oppressed by him, but had been left in the free enjoyment
of its ancient liberties. As far as his power went he had
striven to act justly to all (2 Sam. 8:15). His weak indulgence
to his sons, and his own great sin besides, had been bitterly
atoned, and were forgotten at his death in the remembrance of
his long-tried worth. He had reigned thirty-three years in
Jerusalem and seven and a half at Hebron (2 Sam. 5:5). Israel at
his accession had reached the lowest point of national
depression; its new-born unity rudely dissolved; its territory
assailed by the Philistines. But he had left it an imperial
power, with dominions like those of Egypt or Assyria. The
sceptre of Solomon was already, before his father's death, owned
from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates, and from the Orontes to
the Red Sea.", Geikie's Hours etc., iii.