(1.) Denotes the plate of gold in the front of the high priest's
mitre (Ex. 29:6; 39:30). The same Hebrew word so rendered
(ne'zer) denotes the diadem worn by Saul in battle (2 Sam.
1:10), and also that which was used at the coronation of Joash
(2 Kings 11:12).
(2.) The more general name in Hebrew for a crown is "'atarah",
meaning a "circlet." This is used of crowns and head ornaments
of divers kinds, including royal crowns. Such was the crown
taken from the king of Ammon by David (2 Sam. 12:30). The crown
worn by the Assyrian kings was a high mitre, sometimes adorned
with flowers. There are sculptures also representing the crowns
worn by the early Egyptian and Persian kings. Sometimes a diadem
surrounded the royal head-dress of two or three fillets. This
probably signified that the wearer had dominion over two or
three countries. In Rev. 12:3; 13:1, we read of "many crowns," a
token of extended dominion.
(3.) The ancient Persian crown (Esther 1:11; 2:17; 6:8) was
called "kether"; i.e., "a chaplet," a high cap or tiara. Crowns
were worn sometimes to represent honour and power (Ezek. 23:42).
They were worn at marriages (Cant. 3:11; Isa. 61:10,
"ornaments;" R.V., "a garland"), and at feasts and public
The crown was among the Romans and Greeks a symbol of victory
and reward. The crown or wreath worn by the victors in the
Olympic games was made of leaves of the wild olive; in the
Pythian games, of laurel; in the Nemean games, of parsley; and
in the Isthmian games, of the pine. The Romans bestowed the
"civic crown" on him who saved the life of a citizen. It was
made of the leaves of the oak. In opposition to all these fading
crowns the apostles speak of the incorruptible crown, the crown
of life (James 1:12; Rev. 2:10) "that fadeth not away" (1 Pet.
5:4, Gr. amarantinos; compare 1:4). Probably the word "amaranth"
was applied to flowers we call "everlasting," the "immortal
the tiara of a king (Ezek. 21:26; Isa. 28:5; 62:3); the turban
(Job 29:14). In the New Testament a careful distinction is drawn
between the diadem as a badge of royalty (Rev. 12:3; 13:1;
19:12) and the crown as a mark of distinction in private life.
It is not known what the ancient Jewish "diadem" was. It was the
mark of Oriental sovereigns. (See CROWN T0000929.)
Crown of thorns
our Lord was crowned with a, in mockery by the Romans (Matt.
27:29). The object of Pilate's guard in doing this was probably
to insult, and not specially to inflict pain. There is nothing
to show that the shrub thus used was, as has been supposed, the
spina Christi, which could have been easily woven into a wreath.
It was probably the thorny nabk, which grew abundantly round
about Jerusalem, and whose flexible, pliant, and round branches
could easily be platted into the form of a crown. (See THORN
(in R.V., Isa. 11:8; 14:29; 59:5; Jer. 8:17), the "king
serpent," as the name imports; a fabulous serpent said to be
three spans long, with a spot on its head like a crown. Probably
the yellow snake is intended. (See COCKATRICE T0000854.)
the ornamental head or capital of a pillar. Three Hebrew words
are so rendered. (1.) "Cothereth" (1 Kings 7:16; 2 Kings 25:17;
2 Chr. 4:12), meaning a "diadem" or "crown." (2.) "Tzepheth" (2
Chr. 3:15). (3.) "Rosh" (Ex. 36:38; 38:17, 19, 28), properly a
"head" or "top."
(2 Sam. 12:30, Heb., R.V., "their king;" Jer. 49:1, 3, R.V.;
Zeph. 1:5), the national idol of the Ammonites. When Rabbah was
taken by David, the crown of this idol was among the spoils. The
weight is said to have been "a talent of gold" (above 100 lbs.).
The expression probably denotes its value rather than its
weight. It was adorned with precious stones.
crown, a member of the church at Corinth, whose family were
among those the apostle had baptized (1 Cor. 1:16; 16:15, 17).
He has been supposed by some to have been the "jailer of
Philippi" (compare Acts 16:33). The First Epistle to the
Corinthians was written from Philippi some six years after the
jailer's conversion, and he was with the apostle there at that
in the Revised Version of 1 Chr. 29:7; Ezra 2:69; 8:27; Neh.
7:70-72, where the Authorized Version has "dram." It is the
rendering of the Hebrew darkemon and the Greek dareikos. It was
a gold coin, bearing the figure of a Persian King with his crown
and armed with bow and arrow. It was current among the Jews
after their return from Babylon, i.e., while under the Persian
domination. It weighed about 128 grains troy, and was of the
value of about one guinea or rather more of our money. It is the
first coin mentioned in Scripture, and is the oldest that
history makes known to us.
(1.) Heb. hedek (Prov. 15:19), rendered "brier" in Micah 7:4.
Some thorny plant, of the Solanum family, suitable for hedges.
This is probably the so-called "apple of Sodom," which grows
very abundantly in the Jordan valley. "It is a shrubby plant,
from 3 to 5 feet high, with very branching stems, thickly clad
with spines, like those of the English brier, with leaves very
large and woolly on the under side, and thorny on the midriff."
(2.) Heb. kotz (Gen. 3:18; Hos. 10:8), rendered "akantha" by
the LXX. In the New Testament this word "akantha" is also
rendered "thorns" (Matt. 7:16; 13:7; Heb. 6:8). The word seems
to denote any thorny or prickly plant (Jer. 12:13). It has been
identified with the Ononis spinosa by some.
(3.) Heb. na'atzutz (Isa. 7:19; 55:13). This word has been
interpreted as denoting the Zizyphus spina Christi, or the
jujube-tree. It is supposed by some that the crown of thorns
placed in wanton cruelty by the Roman soldiers on our Saviour's
brow before his crucifixion was plaited of branches of this
tree. It overruns a great part of the Jordan valley. It is
sometimes called the lotus-tree. "The thorns are long and sharp
and recurved, and often create a festering wound." It often
grows to a great size. (See CROWN OF THORNS T0000930.)
(4.) Heb. atad (Ps. 58:9) is rendered in the LXX. and Vulgate
by Rhamnus, or Lycium Europoeum, a thorny shrub, which is common
all over Israel. From its resemblance to the box it is
frequently called the box-thorn.
succeeded his father Jehoiakin (B.C. 599) when only eight years
of age, and reigned for one hundred days (2 Chr. 36:9). He is
also called Jeconiah (Jer. 24:1; 27:20, etc.), and Coniah
(22:24; 37:1). He was succeeded by his uncle, Mattaniah =
Zedekiah (q.v.). He was the last direct heir to the Jewish
crown. He was carried captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar,
along with the flower of the nobility, all the leading men in
Jerusalem, and a great body of the general population, some
thirteen thousand in all (2 Kings 24:12-16; Jer. 52:28). After
an imprisonment of thirty-seven years (Jer. 52:31, 33), he was
liberated by Evil-merodach, and permitted to occupy a place in
the king's household and sit at his table, receiving "every day
a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life"
(1.) Heb. 'arabim (Lev. 23:40; Job 40:22; Isa. 15:7; 44:3, 4;
Ps. 137:1, 2). This was supposed to be the weeping willow,
called by Linnaeus Salix Babylonica, from the reference in Ps.
137. This tree is frequently found "on the coast, overhanging
wells and pools. There is a conspicuous tree of this species
over a pond in the plain of Acre, and others on the Phoenician
plain." There are several species of the salix in Israel, but
it is not indigenous to Babylonia, nor was it cultivated there.
Some are of opinion that the tree intended is the tamarisk or
(2.) Heb. tzaphtzaphah (Ezek. 17:5), called by the Arabs the
safsaf, the general name for the willow. This may be the Salix
AEgyptica of naturalists.
Tristram thinks that by the "willow by the water-courses," the
Nerium oleander, the rose-bay oleander, is meant. He says, "It
fringes the Upper Jordan, dipping its wavy crown of red into the
spray in the rapids under Hermon, and is nutured by the oozy
marshes in the Lower Jordan nearly as far as to Jericho...On the
Arnon, on the Jabbok, and the Yarmuk it forms a continuous
fringe. In many of the streams of Moab it forms a complete
screen, which the sun's rays can never penetrate to evaporate
the precious moisture. The wild boar lies safely ensconced under
its impervious cover."
retribution. (1.) The son of Jabesh, otherwise unknown. He
"conspired against Zachariah, and smote him before the people,
and slew him, and reigned in his stead" (2 Kings 15:10). He
reigned only "a month of days in Samaria" (15:13, marg.).
Menahem rose up against Shallum and put him to death (2 Kings
15:14, 15, 17), and became king in his stead.
(2.) Keeper of the temple vestments in the reign of Josiah (2
(3.) One of the posterity of Judah (1 Chr. 2:40, 41).
(4.) A descendant of Simeon (1 Chr. 4:25).
(5.) One of the line of the high priests (1 Chr. 6:13).
(6.) 1 Chr. 7:13.
(7.) A keeper of the gate in the reign of David (1 Chr. 9:17).
(8.) A Levite porter (1 Chr. 9:19, 31; Jer. 35:4).
(9.) An Ephraimite chief (2 Chr. 28:12).
(10.) The uncle of the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 32:7).
(11.) A son of king Josiah (1 Chr. 3:15; Jer. 22:11), who was
elected to succeed his father on the throne, although he was two
years younger than his brother Eliakim. He assumed the crown
under the name of Jehoahaz (q.v.). He did not imitate the
example of his father (2 Kings 23:32), but was "a young lion,
and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men" (Ezek. 19:3).
His policy was anti-Egyptian therefore. Necho, at that time at
Riblah, sent an army against Jerusalem, which at once yielded,
and Jehoahaz was carried captive to the Egyptian camp, Eliakim
being appointed king in his stead. He remained a captive in
Egypt till his death, and was the first king of Judah that died
portion; double cave, the cave which Abraham bought, together
with the field in which it stood, from Ephron the Hittite, for a
family burying-place (Gen. 23). It is one of those Bible
localities about the identification of which there can be no
doubt. It was on the slope of a hill on the east of Hebron,
"before Mamre." Here were laid the bodies of Abraham and Sarah,
Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah (Gen. 23:19; 25:9; 49:31;
50:13). Over the cave an ancient Christian church was erected,
probably in the time of Justinian, the Roman emperor. This
church has been converted into a Mohammedan mosque. The whole is
surrounded by the el-Haram i.e., "the sacred enclosure," about
200 feet long, 115 broad, and of an average height of about 50.
This building, from the immense size of some of its stones, and
the manner in which they are fitted together, is supposed by
some to have been erected in the days of David or of Solomon,
while others ascribe it to the time of Herod. It is looked upon
as the most ancient and finest relic of Jewish architecture.
On the floor of the mosque are erected six large cenotaphs as
monuments to the dead who are buried in the cave beneath.
Between the cenotaphs of Isaac and Rebekah there is a circular
opening in the floor into the cavern below, the cave of
Machpelah. Here it may be that the body of Jacob, which was
embalmed in Egypt, is still preserved (much older embalmed
bodies have recently been found in the cave of Deir el-Bahari in
Egypt, see PHARAOH T0002923), though those of the others there
buried may have long ago mouldered into dust. The interior of
the mosque was visited by the Prince of Wales in 1862 by a
special favour of the Mohammedan authorities. An interesting
account of this visit is given in Dean Stanley's Lectures on the
Jewish Church. It was also visited in 1866 by the Marquis of
Bute, and in 1869 by the late Emperor (Frederick) of Germany,
then the Crown Prince of Prussia. In 1881 it was visited by the
two sons of the Prince of Wales, accompanied by Sir C. Wilson
and others. (See Israel Quarterly Statement, October 1882).
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).
the name derived from the city Asshur on the Tigris, the
original capital of the country, was originally a colony from
Babylonia, and was ruled by viceroys from that kingdom. It was a
mountainous region lying to the north of Babylonia, extending
along the Tigris as far as to the high mountain range of
Armenia, the Gordiaean or Carduchian mountains. It was founded
in B.C. 1700 under Bel-kap-kapu, and became an independent and a
conquering power, and shook off the yoke of its Babylonian
masters. It subdued the whole of Northern Asia. The Assyrians
were Semites (Gen. 10:22), but in process of time non-Semite
tribes mingled with the inhabitants. They were a military
people, the "Romans of the East."
Of the early history of the kingdom of Assyria little is
positively known. In B.C. 1120 Tiglath-pileser I., the greatest
of the Assyrian kings, "crossed the Euphrates, defeated the
kings of the Hittites, captured the city of Carchemish, and
advanced as far as the shores of the Mediterranean." He may be
regarded as the founder of the first Assyrian empire. After this
the Assyrians gradually extended their power, subjugating the
states of Northern Syria. In the reign of Ahab, king of Israel,
Shalmaneser II. marched an army against the Syrian states, whose
allied army he encountered and vanquished at Karkar. This led to
Ahab's casting off the yoke of Damascus and allying himself with
Judah. Some years after this the Assyrian king marched an army
against Hazael, king of Damascus. He besieged and took that
city. He also brought under tribute Jehu, and the cities of Tyre
About a hundred years after this (B.C. 745) the crown was
seized by a military adventurer called Pul, who assumed the name
of Tiglath-pileser III. He directed his armies into Syria, which
had by this time regained its independence, and took (B.C. 740)
Arpad, near Aleppo, after a siege of three years, and reduced
Hamath. Azariah (Uzziah) was an ally of the king of Hamath, and
thus was compelled by Tiglath-pileser to do him homage and pay a
In B.C. 738, in the reign of Menahem, king of Israel, Pul
invaded Israel, and imposed on it a heavy tribute (2 Kings
15:19). Ahaz, the king of Judah, when engaged in a war against
Israel and Syria, appealed for help to this Assyrian king by
means of a present of gold and silver (2 Kings 16:8); who
accordingly "marched against Damascus, defeated and put Rezin to
death, and besieged the city itself." Leaving a portion of his
army to continue the siege, "he advanced through the province
east of Jordan, spreading fire and sword," and became master of
Philistia, and took Samaria and Damascus. He died B.C. 727, and
was succeeded by Shalmanezer IV., who ruled till B.C. 722. He
also invaded Syria (2 Kings 17:5), but was deposed in favour of
Sargon (q.v.) the Tartan, or commander-in-chief of the army, who
took Samaria (q.v.) after a siege of three years, and so put an
end to the kingdom of Israel, carrying the people away into
captivity, B.C. 722 (2 Kings 17:1-6, 24; 18:7, 9). He also
overran the land of Judah, and took the city of Jerusalem (Isa.
10:6, 12, 22, 24, 34). Mention is next made of Sennacherib (B.C.
705), the son and successor of Sargon (2 Kings 18:13; 19:37;
Isa. 7:17, 18); and then of Esar-haddon, his son and successor,
who took Manasseh, king of Judah, captive, and kept him for some
time a prisoner at Babylon, which he alone of all the Assyrian
kings made the seat of his government (2 Kings 19:37; Isa.
Assur-bani-pal, the son of Esarhaddon, became king, and in
Ezra 4:10 is referred to as Asnapper. From an early period
Assyria had entered on a conquering career, and having absorbed
Babylon, the kingdoms of Hamath, Damascus, and Samaria, it
conquered Phoenicia, and made Judea feudatory, and subjected
Philistia and Idumea. At length, however, its power declined. In
B.C. 727 the Babylonians threw off the rule of the Assyrians,
under the leadership of the powerful Chaldean prince
Merodach-baladan (2 Kings 20:12), who, after twelve years, was
subdued by Sargon, who now reunited the kingdom, and ruled over
a vast empire. But on his death the smouldering flames of
rebellion again burst forth, and the Babylonians and Medes
successfully asserted their independence (B.C. 625), and Assyria
fell according to the prophecies of Isaiah (10:5-19), Nahum
(3:19), and Zephaniah (3:13), and the many separate kingdoms of
which it was composed ceased to recognize the "great king" (2
Kings 18:19; Isa. 36:4). Ezekiel (31) attests (about B.C. 586)
how completely Assyria was overthrown. It ceases to be a nation.
(See NINEVEH T0002735; BABYLON T0000409.)
in the Babylonian orthography Nabu-kudur-uzur, which means
"Nebo, protect the crown!" or the "frontiers." In an inscription
he styles himself "Nebo's favourite." He was the son and
successor of Nabopolassar, who delivered Babylon from its
dependence on Assyria and laid Nineveh in ruins. He was the
greatest and most powerful of all the Babylonian kings. He
married the daughter of Cyaxares, and thus the Median and
Babylonian dynasties were united.
Necho II., the king of Egypt, gained a victory over the
Assyrians at Carchemish. (See JOSIAH T0002116; MEGIDDO
T0002463.) This secured to Egypt the possession of the Syrian
provinces of Assyria, including Israel. The remaining
provinces of the Assyrian empire were divided between Babylonia
and Media. But Nabopolassar was ambitious of reconquering from
Necho the western provinces of Syria, and for this purpose he
sent his son with a powerful army westward (Dan. 1:1). The
Egyptians met him at Carchemish, where a furious battle was
fought, resulting in the complete rout of the Egyptians, who
were driven back (Jer. 46:2-12), and Syria and Phoenicia brought
under the sway of Babylon (B.C. 606). From that time "the king
of Egypt came not again any more out of his land" (2 Kings
24:7). Nebuchadnezzar also subdued the whole of Israel, and
took Jerusalem, carrying away captive a great multitude of the
Jews, among whom were Daniel and his companions (Dan. 1:1, 2;
Jer. 27:19; 40:1).
Three years after this, Jehoiakim, who had reigned in
Jerusalem as a Babylonian vassal, rebelled against the
oppressor, trusting to help from Egypt (2 Kings 24:1). This led
Nebuchadnezzar to march an army again to the conquest of
Jerusalem, which at once yielded to him (B.C. 598). A third time
he came against it, and deposed Jehoiachin, whom he carried into
Babylon, with a large portion of the population of the city, and
the sacred vessels of the temple, placing Zedekiah on the throne
of Judah in his stead. He also, heedless of the warnings of the
prophet, entered into an alliance with Egypt, and rebelled
against Babylon. This brought about the final siege of the city,
which was at length taken and utterly destroyed (B.C. 586).
Zedekiah was taken captive, and had his eyes put out by order of
the king of Babylon, who made him a prisoner for the remainder
of his life.
An onyx cameo, now in the museum of Florence, bears on it an
arrow-headed inscription, which is certainly ancient and
genuine. The helmeted profile is said (Schrader) to be genuine
also, but it is more probable that it is the portrait of a
usurper in the time of Darius (Hystaspes), called Nidinta-Bel,
who took the name of "Nebuchadrezzar." The inscription has been
thus translated:, "In honour of Merodach, his lord,
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in his lifetime had this made."
A clay tablet, now in the British Museum, bears the following
inscription, the only one as yet found which refers to his wars:
"In the thirty-seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the
country of Babylon, he went to Egypt [Misr] to make war. Amasis,
king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread
abroad." Thus were fulfilled the words of the prophet (Jer.
46:13-26; Ezek. 29:2-20). Having completed the subjugation of
Phoenicia, and inflicted chastisement on Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar
now set himself to rebuild and adorn the city of Babylon (Dan.
4:30), and to add to the greatness and prosperity of his kingdom
by constructing canals and aqueducts and reservoirs surpassing
in grandeur and magnificence everything of the kind mentioned in
history (Dan. 2:37). He is represented as a "king of kings,"
ruling over a vast kingdom of many provinces, with a long list
of officers and rulers under him, "princes, governors,
captains," etc. (3:2, 3, 27). He may, indeed, be said to have
created the mighty empire over which he ruled.
"Modern research has shown that Nebuchadnezzar was the
greatest monarch that Babylon, or perhaps the East generally,
ever produced. He must have possessed an enormous command of
human labour, nine-tenths of Babylon itself, and
nineteen-twentieths of all the other ruins that in almost
countless profusion cover the land, are composed of bricks
stamped with his name. He appears to have built or restored
almost every city and temple in the whole country. His
inscriptions give an elaborate account of the immense works
which he constructed in and about Babylon itself, abundantly
illustrating the boast, 'Is not this great Babylon which I have
build?'" Rawlinson, Hist. Illustrations.
After the incident of the "burning fiery furnace" (Dan. 3)
into which the three Hebrew confessors were cast, Nebuchadnezzar
was afflicted with some peculiar mental aberration as a
punishment for his pride and vanity, probably the form of
madness known as lycanthropy (i.e, "the change of a man into a
wolf"). A remarkable confirmation of the Scripture narrative is
afforded by the recent discovery of a bronze door-step, which
bears an inscription to the effect that it was presented by
Nebuchadnezzar to the great temple at Borsippa as a votive
offering on account of his recovery from a terrible illness.
(See DANIEL T0000969.)
He survived his recovery for some years, and died B.C. 562, in
the eighty-third or eighty-fourth year of his age, after a reign
of forty-three years, and was succeeded by his son
Evil-merodach, who, after a reign of two years, was succeeded by
Neriglissar (559-555), who was succeeded by Nabonadius
(555-538), at the close of whose reign (less than a quarter of a
century after the death of Nebuchadnezzar) Babylon fell under
Cyrus at the head of the combined armies of Media and Persia.
"I have examined," says Sir Henry Rawlinson, "the bricks
belonging perhaps to a hundred different towns and cities in the
neighbourhood of Baghdad, and I never found any other legend
than that of Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabopolassar, king of
Babylon." Nine-tenths of all the bricks amid the ruins of
Babylon are stamped with his name.
probably connected with the Roman family of the Pontii, and
called "Pilate" from the Latin pileatus, i.e., "wearing the
pileus", which was the "cap or badge of a manumitted slave," as
indicating that he was a "freedman," or the descendant of one.
He was the sixth in the order of the Roman procurators of Judea
(A.D. 26-36). His headquarters were at Caesarea, but he
frequently went up to Jerusalem. His reign extended over the
period of the ministry of John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ,
in connection with whose trial his name comes into prominent
notice. Pilate was a "typical Roman, not of the antique, simple
stamp, but of the imperial period, a man not without some
remains of the ancient Roman justice in his soul, yet
pleasure-loving, imperious, and corrupt. He hated the Jews whom
he ruled, and in times of irritation freely shed their blood.
They returned his hatred with cordiality, and accused him of
every crime, maladministration, cruelty, and robbery. He visited
Jerusalem as seldom as possible; for, indeed, to one accustomed
to the pleasures of Rome, with its theatres, baths, games, and
gay society, Jerusalem, with its religiousness and
ever-smouldering revolt, was a dreary residence. When he did
visit it he stayed in the palace of Herod the Great, it being
common for the officers sent by Rome into conquered countries to
occupy the palaces of the displaced sovereigns."
After his trial before the Sanhedrin, Jesus was brought to the
Roman procurator, Pilate, who had come up to Jerusalem as usual
to preserve order during the Passover, and was now residing,
perhaps, in the castle of Antonia, or it may be in Herod's
palace. Pilate came forth from his palace and met the deputation
from the Sanhedrin, who, in answer to his inquiry as to the
nature of the accusation they had to prefer against Jesus,
accused him of being a "malefactor." Pilate was not satisfied
with this, and they further accused him (1) of sedition, (2)
preventing the payment of the tribute to Caesar, and (3) of
assuming the title of king (Luke 23:2). Pilate now withdrew with
Jesus into the palace (John 18:33) and examined him in private
(37,38); and then going out to the deputation still standing
before the gate, he declared that he could find no fault in
Jesus (Luke 23:4). This only aroused them to more furious
clamour, and they cried that he excited the populace "throughout
all Jewry, beginning from Galilee." When Pilate heard of
Galilee, he sent the accused to Herod Antipas, who had
jurisdiction over that province, thus hoping to escape the
difficulty in which he found himself. But Herod, with his men of
war, set Jesus at nought, and sent him back again to Pilate,
clad in a purple robe of mockery (23:11, 12).
Pilate now proposed that as he and Herod had found no fault in
him, they should release Jesus; and anticipating that they would
consent to this proposal, he ascended the judgment-seat as if
ready to ratify the decision (Matt. 27:19). But at this moment
his wife (Claudia Procula) sent a message to him imploring him
to have nothing to do with the "just person." Pilate's feelings
of perplexity and awe were deepened by this incident, while the
crowd vehemently cried out, "Not this man, but Barabbas." Pilate
answered, "What then shall I do with Jesus?" The fierce cry
immediately followed. "Let him be crucified." Pilate, apparently
vexed, and not knowning what to do, said, "Why, what evil hath
he done?" but with yet fiercer fanaticism the crowd yelled out,
"Away with him! crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate yielded, and
sent Jesus away to be scourged. This scourging was usually
inflicted by lictors; but as Pilate was only a procurator he had
no lictor, and hence his soldiers inflicted this terrible
punishment. This done, the soldiers began to deride the
sufferer, and they threw around him a purple robe, probably some
old cast-off robe of state (Matt. 27:28; John 19:2), and putting
a reed in his right hand, and a crowd of thorns on his head,
bowed the knee before him in mockery, and saluted him, saying,
"Hail, King of the Jews!" They took also the reed and smote him
with it on the head and face, and spat in his face, heaping upon
him every indignity.
Pilate then led forth Jesus from within the Praetorium (Matt.
27:27) before the people, wearing the crown of thorns and the
purple robe, saying, "Behold the man!" But the sight of Jesus,
now scourged and crowned and bleeding, only stirred their hatred
the more, and again they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!"
and brought forth this additional charge against him, that he
professed to be "the Son of God." Pilate heard this accusation
with a superstitious awe, and taking him once more within the
Praetorium, asked him, "Whence art thou?" Jesus gave him no
answer. Pilate was irritated by his continued silence, and said,
"Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee?" Jesus,
with calm dignity, answered the Roman, "Thou couldest have no
power at all against me, except it were given thee from above."
After this Pilate seemed more resolved than ever to let Jesus
go. The crowd perceiving this cried out, "If thou let this man
go, thou art not Caesar's friend." This settled the matter. He
was afraid of being accused to the emperor. Calling for water,
he washed his hands in the sight of the people, saying, "I am
innocent of the blood of this just person." The mob, again
scorning his scruples, cried, "His blood be on us, and on our
children." Pilate was stung to the heart by their insults, and
putting forth Jesus before them, said, "Shall I crucify your
King?" The fatal moment had now come. They madly exclaimed, "We
have no king but Caesar;" and now Jesus is given up to them, and
led away to be crucified.
By the direction of Pilate an inscription was placed,
according to the Roman custom, over the cross, stating the crime
for which he was crucified. Having ascertained from the
centurion that he was dead, he gave up the body to Joseph of
Arimathea to be buried. Pilate's name now disappears from the
Gospel history. References to him, however, are found in the
Acts of the Apostles (3:13; 4:27; 13:28), and in 1 Tim. 6:13. In
A.D. 36 the governor of Syria brought serious accusations
against Pilate, and he was banished to Vienne in Gaul, where,
according to tradition, he committed suicide.
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.