second son of Shem (Gen. 10:22; 1 Chr. 1:17). He went from the
land of Shinar and built Nineveh, etc. (Gen. 10:11,12). He
probably gave his name to Assyria, which is the usual
translation of the word, although the form Asshur is sometimes
retained (Num. 24:22, 24; Ezek. 27:23, etc.). In Gen. 2:14
"Assyria" ought to be "Asshur," which was the original capital
of Assyria, a city represented by the mounds of Kalah Sherghat,
on the west bank of the Tigris. This city was founded by
Bel-kap-kapu about B.C. 1700. At a later date the capital was
shifted to Ninua, or Nineveh, now Koyunjik, on the eastern bank
of the river. (See CALAH T0000688; NINEVEH T0002735.)
(god) protect the king!, a son of Sennacherib, king of Assyria.
He and his brother Adrammelech murdered their father, and then
fled into the land of Armenia (2 Kings 19:37).
an Assyrian king (Hos. 10:14), identified with Shalmaneser II.
(Sayce) or IV. (Lenormant), the successor of Pul on the throne
of Assyria (B.C. 728). He made war against Hoshea, the king of
Israel, whom he subdued and compelled to pay an annual tribute.
Hoshea, however, soon after rebelled against his Assyrian
conquerer. Shalmaneser again marched against Samaria, which,
after a siege of three years, was taken (2 Kings 17:3-5; 18:9)
by Sargon (q.v.). A revolution meantime had broken out in
Assyria, and Shalmaneser was deposed. Sargon usurped the vacant
throne. Schrader thinks that this is probably the name of a king
of Moab mentioned on an inscription of Tiglath-pileser as
or Thelasar, (Isa. 37:12; 2 Kings 19:12), a province in the
south-east of Assyria, probably in Babylonia. Some have
identified it with Tel Afer, a place in Mesopotamia, some 30
miles from Sinjar.
a place in Assyria from which colonies were brought to Samaria
(2 Kings 17:24). It is probably the same with Ivah (18:34;
19:13; Isa. 37:13). It has been identified with Hit on the
a ruin, a city of Naphtali, captured by Ben-hadad of Syria at
the instance of Asa (1 Kings 15:20), and afterwards by
Tiglath-pileser of Assyria (2 Kings 15:29) in the reign of
Pekah; now el-Khiam.
house of God's court, a place alluded to by Hosea (10:14) as the
scene of some great military exploit, but not otherwise
mentioned in Scripture. The Shalman here named was probably
Shalmaneser, the king of Assyria (2 Kings 17:3).
death; slaughter, the name of a Babylonian god, probably the
planet Mars (Jer. 50:2), or it may be another name of Bel, the
guardian divinity of Babylon. This name frequently occurs as a
surname to the kings of Assyria and Babylon.
one of the most ancient cities of Assyria. "Out of that land he
[i.e., Nimrod] went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh,
Rehoboth-Ir, and Calah, and Resen" (Gen. 10:11, R.V.). Its site
is now marked probably by the Nimrud ruins on the left bank of
the Tigris. These cover an area of about 1,000 acres, and are
second only in size and importance to the mass of ruins opposite
Mosul. This city was at one time the capital of the empire, and
was the residence of Sardanapalus and his successors down to the
time of Sargon, who built a new capital, the modern Khorsabad.
It has been conjectured that these four cities mentioned in Gen.
10:11 were afterwards all united into one and called Nineveh
Adar the king. (1.) An idol; a form of the sun-god worshipped by
the inhabitants of Sepharvaim (2 Kings 17:31), and brought by
the Sepharvite colonists into Samaria. (2.) A son of
Sennacherib, king of Assyria (2 Kings 19:37; Isa. 37:38).
mountainous land, a province of Assyria (1 Chr. 5:26), between
the Tigris and the Euphrates, along the banks of the Khabur, to
which some of the Israelite captives were carried. It has not
been identified. Some think the word a variation of Haran.
probably the same as Assur-bani-pal (Sardanapalos of the
Greeks), styled the "great and noble" (Ezra 4:10), was the son
and successor (B.C. 668) of Esar-haddon (q.v.). He was
"luxurious, ambitious, and cruel, but a magnificent patron of
literature." He formed at Nineveh a library of clay tablets,
numbering about 10,000. These are now mostly in the British
Museum. They throw much light on the history and antiquities of
Assur-bani-pal was a munificent patron of literature, and the
conqueror of Elam. Towards the middle of his reign his empire
was shaken by a great rebellion headed by his brother in
Babylon. The rebellion was finally put down, but Egypt was lost,
and the military power of Assyria was so exhausted that it could
with difficulty resist the hordes of Kimmerians who poured over
Western Asia. (See NINEVEH T0002735.)
or Jano'hah, rest. (1.) A town on the NEern border of
Ephraim, in the Jordan valley (Josh. 16:6, 7). Identified with
the modern Yanun, 8 miles south-east of Nablus.
(2.) A town of Northern Israel, within the boundaries of
Naphtali. It was taken by the king of Assyria (2 Kings 15:29).
firm, a descendant of Cush, the son of Ham. He was the first who
claimed to be a "mighty one in the earth." Babel was the
beginning of his kingdom, which he gradually enlarged (Gen.
10:8-10). The "land of Nimrod" (Micah 5:6) is a designation of
Assyria or of Shinar, which is a part of it.
(Heb. tsaphon), a "hidden" or "dark place," as opposed to the
sunny south (Deut. 3:27). A Hebrew in speaking of the points of
the compass was considered as always having his face to the
east, and hence "the left hand" (Gen. 14:15; Job 23:9) denotes
the north. The "kingdoms of the north" are Chaldea, Assyria,
the oak or heap of Assyria, a territory in Asia of which Arioch
was king (Gen. 14:1, 9). It is supposed that the old Chaldean
town of Larsa was the metropolis of this kingdom, situated
nearly half-way between Ur (now Mugheir) and Erech, on the left
bank of the Euphrates. This town is represented by the mounds of
Senkereh, a little to the east of Erech.
conforting, the son of Gadi, and successor of Shallum, king of
Israel, whom he slew. After a reign of about ten years (B.C.
771-760) he died, leaving the throne to his son Pekahiah. His
reign was one of cruelty and oppression (2 Kings 15:14-22).
During his reign, Pul (q.v.), king of Assyria, came with a
powerful force against Israel, but was induced to retire by a
gift from Menahem of 1,000 talents of silver.
(Heb. Aram), the name in the Old Testament given to the whole
country which lay to the NE of Phoenicia, extending to
beyond the Euphrates and the Tigris. Mesopotamia is called (Gen.
24:10; Deut. 23:4) Aram-naharain (=Syria of the two rivers),
also Padan-aram (Gen. 25:20). Other portions of Syria were also
known by separate names, as Aram-maahah (1 Chr. 19:6),
Aram-beth-rehob (2 Sam. 10:6), Aram-zobah (2 Sam. 10:6, 8). All
these separate little kingdoms afterwards became subject to
Damascus. In the time of the Romans, Syria included also a part
of Israel and Asia Minor.
"From the historic annals now accessible to us, the history of
Syria may be divided into three periods: The first, the period
when the power of the Pharaohs was dominant over the fertile
fields or plains of Syria and the merchant cities of Tyre and
Sidon, and when such mighty conquerors as Thothmes III. and
Rameses II. could claim dominion and levy tribute from the
nations from the banks of the Euphrates to the borders of the
Libyan desert. Second, this was followed by a short period of
independence, when the Jewish nation in the south was growing in
power, until it reached its early zenith in the golden days of
Solomon; and when Tyre and Sidon were rich cities, sending their
traders far and wide, over land and sea, as missionaries of
civilization, while in the north the confederate tribes of the
Hittites held back the armies of the kings of Assyria. The
third, and to us most interesting, period is that during which
the kings of Assyria were dominant over the plains of Syria;
when Tyre, Sidon, Ashdod, and Jerusalem bowed beneath the
conquering armies of Shalmaneser, Sargon, and Sennacherib; and
when at last Memphis and Thebes yielded to the power of the
rulers of Nineveh and Babylon, and the kings of Assyria
completed with terrible fulness the bruising of the reed of
Egypt so clearly foretold by the Hebrew prophets.", Boscawen.
probably a poetic or prolonged name of the land of Cush, the
Arabian Cush (Hab. 3:7). Some have, however, supposed this to be
the same as Chushan-rishathaim (Judg. 3:8, 10), i.e., taking the
latter part of the name as a title or local appellation, Chushan
"of the two iniquities" (= oppressing Israel, and provoking them
to idolatry), a Mesopotamian king, identified by Rawlinson with
Asshur-ris-ilim (the father of Tiglathpileser I.); but
incorrectly, for the empire of Assyria was not yet founded. He
held Israel in bondage for eight years.
the chief city of Cilicia. It was distinguished for its wealth
and for its schools of learning, in which it rivalled, nay,
excelled even Athens and Alexandria, and hence was spoken of as
"no mean city." It was the native place of the Apostle Paul
(Acts 21:39). It stood on the banks of the river Cydnus, about
12 miles north of the Mediterranean. It is said to have been
founded by Sardanapalus, king of Assyria. It is now a filthy,
ruinous Turkish town, called Tersous. (See PAUL T0002871.)
tender youth, "treasurer" over the house in the reign of
Hezekiah, i.e., comptroller or governor of the palace. On
account of his pride he was ejected from his office, and Eliakim
was promoted to it (Isa. 22:15-25). He appears to have been the
leader of the party who favoured an alliance with Egypt against
Assyria. It is conjectured that "Shebna the scribe," who was one
of those whom the king sent to confer with the Assyrian
ambassador (2 Kings 18:18, 26, 37; 19:2; Isa. 36:3, 11, 22;
37:2), was a different person.
proclaimer; prophet. (1.) A Chaldean god whose worship was
introduced into Assyria by Pul (Isa. 46:1; Jer. 48:1). To this
idol was dedicated the great temple whose ruins are still seen
at Birs Nimrud. A statue of Nebo found at Calah, where it was
set up by Pul, king of Assyria, is now in the British Museum.
(2.) A mountain in the land of Moab from which Moses looked
for the first and the last time on the Promised Land (Deut.
32:49; 34:1). It has been identified with Jebel Nebah, on the
eastern shore of the Dead Sea, near its northern end, and about
5 miles south-west of Heshbon. It was the summit of the ridge of
Pisgah (q.v.), which was a part of the range of the "mountains
of Abarim." It is about 2,643 feet in height, but from its
position it commands a view of Western Israel. Close below it
are the plains of Moab, where Balaam, and afterwards Moses, saw
the tents of Israel spread along.
(3.) A town on the east of Jordan which was taken possession
of and rebuilt by the tribe of Reuben (Num. 32:3,38; 1 Chr.
5:8). It was about 8 miles south of Heshbon.
(4.) The "children of Nebo" (Ezra 2:29; Neh. 7:33) were of
those who returned from Babylon. It was a town in Benjamin,
probably the modern Beit Nubah, about 7 miles north-west of
the united stream, or, according to others, with beautiful
banks, the name of a river in Assyria, and also of the district
through which it flowed (1 Chr. 5:26). There is a river called
Khabur which rises in the central highlands of Kurdistan, and
flows south-west till it falls into the Tigris, about 70 miles
above Mosul. This was not, however, the Habor of Scripture.
There is another river of the same name (the Chaboras) which,
after a course of about 200 miles, flows into the Euphrates at
Karkesia, the ancient Circesium. This was, there can be little
doubt, the ancient Habor.
Israel, Kingdom of
(B.C. 975-B.C. 722). Soon after the death of Solomon, Ahijah's
prophecy (1 Kings 11:31-35) was fulfilled, and the kingdom was
rent in twain. Rehoboam, the son and successor of Solomon, was
scarcely seated on his throne when the old jealousies between
Judah and the other tribes broke out anew, and Jeroboam was sent
for from Egypt by the malcontents (12:2,3). Rehoboam insolently
refused to lighten the burdensome taxation and services which
his father had imposed on his subjects (12:4), and the rebellion
became complete. Ephraim and all Israel raised the old cry,
"Every man to his tents, O Israel" (2 Sam. 20:1). Rehoboam fled
to Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:1-18; 2 Chr. 10), and Jeroboam was
proclaimed king over all Israel at Shechem, Judah and Benjamin
remaining faithful to Solomon's son. War, with varying success,
was carried on between the two kingdoms for about sixty years,
till Jehoshaphat entered into an alliance with the house of
Extent of the kingdom. In the time of Solomon the area of
Israel, excluding the Phoenician territories on the shore of
the Mediterranean, did not much exceed 13,000 square miles. The
kingdom of Israel comprehended about 9,375 square miles. Shechem
was the first capital of this kingdom (1 Kings 12:25),
afterwards Tirza (14:17). Samaria was subsequently chosen as the
capital (16:24), and continued to be so till the destruction of
the kingdom by the Assyrians (2 Kings 17:5). During the siege of
Samaria (which lasted for three years) by the Assyrians,
Shalmaneser died and was succeeded by Sargon, who himself thus
records the capture of that city: "Samaria I looked at, I
captured; 27,280 men who dwelt in it I carried away" (2 Kings
17:6) into Assyria. Thus after a duration of two hundred and
fifty-three years the kingdom of the ten tribes came to an end.
They were scattered throughout the East. (See CAPTIVITY
"Judah held its ground against Assyria for yet one hundred and
twenty-three years, and became the rallying-point of the
dispersed of every tribe, and eventually gave its name to the
whole race. Those of the people who in the last struggle escaped
into the territories of Judah or other neighbouring countries
naturally looked to Judah as the head and home of their race.
And when Judah itself was carried off to Babylon, many of the
exiled Israelites joined them from Assyria, and swelled that
immense population which made Babylonia a second Israel."
After the deportation of the ten tribes, the deserted land was
colonized by various eastern tribes, whom the king of Assyria
sent thither (Ezra 4:2, 10; 2 Kings 17:24-29). (See KINGS
In contrast with the kingdom of Judah is that of Israel. (1.)
"There was no fixed capital and no religious centre. (2.) The
army was often insubordinate. (3.) The succession was constantly
interrupted, so that out of nineteen kings there were no less
than nine dynasties, each ushered in by a revolution. (4.) The
authorized priests left the kingdom in a body, and the
priesthood established by Jeroboam had no divine sanction and no
promise; it was corrupt at its very source." (Maclean's O. T.
passing over; ford, one of the boundaries of Solomon's dominions
(1 Kings 4:24), probably "Thapsacus, a great and wealthy town on
the western bank of the Euphrates," about 100 miles NE
of Tadmor. All the land traffic between the east and the west
passed through it. Menahem undertook an expedition against this
city, and "smote Tiphsah and all that were therein" (2 Kings
15:16). This expedition implied a march of some 300 miles from
Tirzah if by way of Tadmor, and about 400 if by way of Aleppo;
and its success showed the strength of the Israelite kingdom,
for it was practically a defiance to Assyria. Conder, however,
identifies this place with Khurbet Tafsah, some 6 miles west of
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.)
taken by Sargon, king of Assyria (2 Kings 17:24; 18:34; 19:13;
Isa. 37:13). It was a double city, and received the common name
Sepharvaim, i.e., "the two Sipparas," or "the two booktowns."
The Sippara on the east bank of the Euphrates is now called
Abu-Habba; that on the other bank was Accad, the old capital of
Sargon I., where he established a great library. (See SARGON
T0003227.) The recent discovery of cuneiform inscriptions at
Tel el-Amarna in Egypt, consisting of official despatches to
Pharaoh Amenophis IV. and his predecessor from their agents in
Israel, proves that in the century before the Exodus an
active literary intercourse was carried on between these
nations, and that the medium of the correspondence was the
Babylonian language and script. (See KIRJATH-SEPHER T0002204.)
enclosed; fortified. (1.) A stronghold of the Canaanites in the
mountains north of Lake Merom (Josh. 11:1-5). Jabin the king
with his allied tribes here encountered Joshua in a great
battle. Joshua gained a signal victory, which virtually
completed his conquest of Canaan (11:10-13). This city was,
however, afterwards rebuilt by the Canaanites, and was ruled by
a king with the same hereditary name of Jabin. His army, under a
noted leader of the name of Sisera, swept down upon the south,
aiming at the complete subjugation of the country. This powerful
army was met by the Israelites under Barak, who went forth by
the advice of the prophetess Deborah. The result was one of the
most remarkable victories for Israel recorded in the Old
Testament (Josh. 19:36; Judg. 4:2; 1 Sam. 12:9). The city of
Hazor was taken and occupied by the Israelites. It was fortified
by Solomon to defend the entrance into the kingdom from Syria
and Assyria. When Tiglath-pileser, the Assyrian king, invaded
the land, this was one of the first cities he captured, carrying
its inhabitants captive into Assyria (2 Kings 15:29). It has
been identified with Khurbet Harrah, 2 1/2 miles south-east of
(2.) A city in the south of Judah (Josh. 15:23). The name here
should probably be connected with the word following, Ithnan,
HAZOR-ITHNAN instead of "Hazor and Ithnan."
(3.) A district in Arabia (Jer. 49:28-33), supposed by some to
be Jetor, i.e., Ituraea.
(4.) "Kerioth and Hezron" (Josh. 15: 25) should be
"Kerioth-hezron" (as in the R.V.), the two names being joined
together as the name of one place (e.g., like Kirjath-jearim),
"the same is Hazor" (R.V.). This place has been identified with
el-Kuryetein, and has been supposed to be the home of Judas
Iscariot. (See KERIOTH T0002177.)
(Heb. Yesh'yahu, i.e., "the salvation of Jehovah"). (1.) The son
of Amoz (Isa. 1:1; 2:1), who was apparently a man of humble
rank. His wife was called "the prophetess" (8:3), either because
she was endowed with the prophetic gift, like Deborah (Judg.
4:4) and Huldah (2 Kings 22:14-20), or simply because she was
the wife of "the prophet" (Isa. 38:1). He had two sons, who bore
He exercised the functions of his office during the reigns of
Uzziah (or Azariah), Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (1:1). Uzziah
reigned fifty-two years (B.C. 810-759), and Isaiah must have
begun his career a few years before Uzziah's death, probably
B.C. 762. He lived till the fourteenth year of Hezekiah, and in
all likelihood outlived that monarch (who died B.C. 698), and
may have been contemporary for some years with Manasseh. Thus
Isaiah may have prophesied for the long period of at least
His first call to the prophetical office is not recorded. A
second call came to him "in the year that King Uzziah died"
(Isa. 6:1). He exercised his ministry in a spirit of
uncompromising firmness and boldness in regard to all that bore
on the interests of religion. He conceals nothing and keeps
nothing back from fear of man. He was also noted for his
spirituality and for his deep-toned reverence toward "the holy
One of Israel."
In early youth Isaiah must have been moved by the invasion of
Israel by the Assyrian monarch Pul (q.v.), 2 Kings 15:19; and
again, twenty years later, when he had already entered on his
office, by the invasion of Tiglath-pileser and his career of
conquest. Ahaz, king of Judah, at this crisis refused to
co-operate with the kings of Israel and Syria in opposition to
the Assyrians, and was on that account attacked and defeated by
Rezin of Damascus and Pekah of Samaria (2 Kings 16:5; 2 Chr.
28:5, 6). Ahaz, thus humbled, sided with Assyria, and sought the
aid of Tiglath-pileser against Israel and Syria. The consequence
was that Rezin and Pekah were conquered and many of the people
carried captive to Assyria (2 Kings 15:29; 16:9; 1 Chr. 5:26).
Soon after this Shalmaneser determined wholly to subdue the
kingdom of Israel. Samaria was taken and destroyed (B.C. 722).
So long as Ahaz reigned, the kingdom of Judah was unmolested by
the Assyrian power; but on his accession to the throne, Hezekiah
(B.C. 726), who "rebelled against the king of Assyria" (2 Kings
18:7), in which he was encouraged by Isaiah, who exhorted the
people to place all their dependence on Jehovah (Isa. 10:24;
37:6), entered into an alliance with the king of Egypt (Isa.
30:2-4). This led the king of Assyria to threaten the king of
Judah, and at length to invade the land. Sennacherib (B.C. 701)
led a powerful army into Israel. Hezekiah was reduced to
despair, and submitted to the Assyrians (2 Kings 18:14-16). But
after a brief interval war broke out again, and again
Sennacherib (q.v.) led an army into Israel, one detachment of
which threatened Jerusalem (Isa. 36:2-22; 37:8). Isaiah on that
occasion encouraged Hezekiah to resist the Assyrians (37:1-7),
whereupon Sennacherib sent a threatening letter to Hezekiah,
which he "spread before the Lord" (37:14). The judgement of God
now fell on the Assyrian host. "Like Xerxes in Greece,
Sennacherib never recovered from the shock of the disaster in
Judah. He made no more expeditions against either Southern
Israel or Egypt." The remaining years of Hezekiah's reign
were peaceful (2 Chr. 32:23, 27-29). Isaiah probably lived to
its close, and possibly into the reign of Manasseh, but the time
and manner of his death are unknown. There is a tradition that
he suffered martyrdom in the heathen reaction in the time of
(2.) One of the heads of the singers in the time of David (1
Chr. 25:3,15, "Jeshaiah").
(3.) A Levite (1 Chr. 26:25).
(4.) Ezra 8:7.
(5.) Neh. 11:7.
possessor. (1.) A grandson of Jonathan (1 Chr. 8:35; 9:42).
(2.) The son and successor of Jotham, king of Judah (2 Kings
16; Isa. 7-9; 2 Chr. 28). He gave himself up to a life of
wickedness and idolatry. Notwithstanding the remonstrances and
warnings of Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah, he appealed for help
against Rezin, king of Damascus, and Pekah, king of Israel, who
threatened Jerusalem, to Tiglath-pileser, the king of Assyria,
to the great injury of his kingdom and his own humilating
subjection to the Assyrians (2 Kings 16:7, 9; 15:29). He also
introduced among his people many heathen and idolatrous customs
(Isa. 8:19; 38:8; 2 Kings 23:12). He died at the age of
thirty-five years, after reigning sixteen years (B.C. 740-724),
and was succeeded by his son Hezekiah. Because of his wickedness
he was "not brought into the sepulchre of the kings."
(Heb. mazkir, i.e., "the mentioner," "rememberancer"), the
office first held by Jehoshaphat in the court of David (2 Sam.
8:16), also in the court of Solomon (1 Kings 4:3). The next
recorder mentioned is Joah, in the reign of Hezekiah (2 Kings
18:18, 37; Isa. 36:3, 22). In the reign of Josiah another of the
name of Joah filled this office (2 Chr. 34:8). The "recorder"
was the chancellor or vizier of the kingdom. He brought all
weighty matters under the notice of the king, "such as
complaints, petitions, and wishes of subjects or foreigners. He
also drew up papers for the king's guidance, and prepared drafts
of the royal will for the scribes. All treaties came under his
oversight; and he had the care of the national archives or
records, to which, as royal historiographer, like the same state
officer in Assyria and Egypt, he added the current annals of the
Reuben, Tribe of
at the Exodus numbered 46,500 male adults, from twenty years old
and upwards (Num. 1:20, 21), and at the close of the wilderness
wanderings they numbered only 43,730 (26:7). This tribe united
with that of Gad in asking permission to settle in the "land of
Gilead," "on the other side of Jordan" (32:1-5). The lot
assigned to Reuben was the smallest of the lots given to the
trans-Jordanic tribes. It extended from the Arnon, in the south
along the coast of the Dead Sea to its northern end, where the
Jordan flows into it (Josh. 13:15-21, 23). It thus embraced the
original kingdom of Sihon. Reuben is "to the eastern tribes what
Simeon is to the western. 'Unstable as water,' he vanishes away
into a mere Arabian tribe. 'His men are few;' it is all he can
do 'to live and not die.' We hear of nothing beyond the
multiplication of their cattle in the land of Gilead, their
spoils of 'camels fifty thousand, and of asses two thousand' (1
Chr. 5:9, 10, 20, 21). In the great struggles of the nation he
never took part. The complaint against him in the song of
Deborah is the summary of his whole history. 'By the streams of
Reuben,' i.e., by the fresh streams which descend from the
eastern hills into the Jordan and the Dead Sea, on whose banks
the Bedouin chiefs met then as now to debate, in the 'streams'
of Reuben great were the 'desires'", i.e., resolutions which
were never carried out, the people idly resting among their
flocks as if it were a time of peace (Judg. 5:15, 16). Stanley's
Sinai and Israel.
All the three tribes on the east of Jordan at length fell into
complete apostasy, and the time of retribution came. God
"stirred up the spirit of Pul, king of Assyria, and the spirit
of Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria," to carry them away, the
first of the tribes, into captivity (1 Chr. 5:25, 26).
the country between the two rivers (Heb. Aram-naharaim; i.e.,
"Syria of the two rivers"), the name given by the Greeks and
Romans to the region between the Euphrates and the Tigris (Gen.
24:10; Deut. 23:4; Judg. 3:8, 10). In the Old Testament it is
mentioned also under the name "Padan-aram;" i.e., the plain of
Aram, or Syria (Gen. 25:20). The northern portion of this
fertile plateau was the original home of the ancestors of the
Hebrews (Gen. 11; Acts 7:2). From this region Isaac obtained his
wife Rebecca (Gen. 24:10, 15), and here also Jacob sojourned
(28:2-7) and obtained his wives, and here most of his sons were
born (35:26; 46:15). The petty, independent tribes of this
region, each under its own prince, were warlike, and used
chariots in battle. They maintained their independence till
after the time of David, when they fell under the dominion of
Assyria, and were absorbed into the empire (2 Kings 19:13).
Zebulun, Tribe of
numbered at Sinai (Num. 1:31) and before entering Canaan
(26:27). It was one of the tribes which did not drive out the
Canaanites, but only made them tributary (Judg. 1:30). It took
little interest in public affairs. It responded, however,
readily to the summons of Gideon (6:35), and afterwards assisted
in enthroning David at Hebron (1 Chr. 12:33, 40). Along with the
other northern tribes, Zebulun was carried away into the land of
Assyria by Tiglath-pileser (2 Kings 15:29).
In Deborah's song the words, "Out of Zebulun they that handle
the pen of the writer" (Judg. 5:14) has been rendered in the
R.V., "They that handle the marshal's staff." This is a
questionable rendering. "The word "sopher" ('scribe' or
'writer') defines the word "shebhet" ('rod' or 'pen') with which
it is conjoined. The 'rod of the scribe' on the Assyrian
monuments was the stylus of wood or metal, with the help of
which the clay tablet was engraved, or the papyrus inscribed
with characters. The scribe who wielded it was the associate and
assistant of the 'lawgivers.'" (Sayce).
activity, the most ancient of Oriental cities; the capital of
Syria (Isa. 7:8; 17:3); situated about 133 miles to the north of
Jerusalem. Its modern name is Esh-Sham; i.e., "the East."
The situation of this city is said to be the most beautiful of
all Western Asia. It is mentioned among the conquests of the
Egyptian king Thothmes III. (B.C. 1500), and in the Amarna
tablets (B.C. 1400).
It is first mentioned in Scripture in connection with
Abraham's victory over the confederate kings under Chedorlaomer
(Gen. 14:15). It was the native place of Abraham's steward
(15:2). It is not again noticed till the time of David, when
"the Syrians of Damascus came to succour Hadadezer" (q.v.), 2
Sam. 8:5; 1 Chr. 18:5. In the reign of Solomon, Rezon became
leader of a band who revolted from Hadadezer (1 Kings 11:23),
and betaking themselves to Damascus, settled there and made
their leader king. There was a long war, with varying success,
between the Israelites and Syrians, who at a later period became
allies of Israel against Judah (2 Kings 15:37).
The Syrians were at length subdued by the Assyrians, the city
of Damascus was taken and destroyed, and the inhabitants carried
captive into Assyria (2 Kings 16:7-9; compare Isa. 7:8). In this,
prophecy was fulfilled (Isa. 17:1; Amos 1:4; Jer. 49:24). The
kingdom of Syria remained a province of Assyria till the capture
of Nineveh by the Medes (B.C. 625), when it fell under the
conquerors. After passing through various vicissitudes, Syria
was invaded by the Romans (B.C. 64), and Damascus became the
seat of the government of the province. In A.D. 37 Aretas, the
king of Arabia, became master of Damascus, having driven back
This city is memorable as the scene of Saul's conversion (Acts
9:1-25). The street called "Straight," in which Judas lived, in
whose house Saul was found by Ananias, is known by the name
Sultany, or "Queen's Street." It is the principal street of the
city. Paul visited Damascus again on his return from Arabia
(Gal. 1:16, 17). Christianity was planted here as a centre (Acts
9:20), from which it spread to the surrounding regions.
In A.D. 634 Damascus was conquered by the growing Mohammedan
power. In A.D. 1516 it fell under the dominion of the Turks, its
present rulers. It is now the largest city in Asiatic Turkey.
Christianity has again found a firm footing within its walls.
(1.) Heb. haran; i.e., "mountaineer." The eldest son of Terah,
brother of Abraham and Nahor, and father of Lot, Milcah, and
Iscah. He died before his father (Gen. 11:27), in Ur of the
(2.) Heb. haran, i.e., "parched;" or probably from the
Accadian charana, meaning "a road." A celebrated city of Western
Asia, now Harran, where Abram remained, after he left Ur of the
Chaldees, till his father Terah died (Gen. 11:31, 32), when he
continued his journey into the land of Canaan. It is called
"Charran" in the LXX. and in Acts 7:2. It is called the "city of
Nahor" (Gen. 24:10), and Jacob resided here with Laban (30:43).
It stood on the river Belik, an affluent of the Euphrates, about
70 miles above where it joins that river in Upper Mesopotamia or
Padan-aram, and about 600 miles northwest of Ur in a direct
line. It was on the caravan route between the east and west. It
is afterwards mentioned among the towns taken by the king of
Assyria (2 Kings 19:12; Isa. 37:12). It was known to the Greeks
and Romans under the name Carrhae.
(3.) The son of Caleb of Judah (1 Chr. 2:46) by his concubine
the language of the Hebrew nation, and that in which the Old
Testament is written, with the exception of a few portions in
Chaldee. In the Old Testament it is only spoken of as "Jewish"
(2 Kings 18:26, 28; Isa. 36:11, 13; 2 Chr 32:18). This name is
first used by the Jews in times subsequent to the close of the
It is one of the class of languages called Semitic, because
they were chiefly spoken among the descendants of Shem.
When Abraham entered Canaan it is obvious that he found the
language of its inhabitants closely allied to his own. Isaiah
(19:18) calls it "the language of Canaan." Whether this
language, as seen in the earliest books of the Old Testament,
was the very dialect which Abraham brought with him into Canaan,
or whether it was the common tongue of the Canaanite nations
which he only adopted, is uncertain; probably the latter opinion
is the correct one. For the thousand years between Moses and the
Babylonian exile the Hebrew language underwent little or no
modification. It preserves all through a remarkable uniformity
of structure. From the first it appears in its full maturity of
development. But through intercourse with Damascus, Assyria, and
Babylon, from the time of David, and more particularly from the
period of the Exile, it comes under the influence of the Aramaic
idiom, and this is seen in the writings which date from this
period. It was never spoken in its purity by the Jews after
their return from Babylon. They now spoke Hebrew with a large
admixture of Aramaic or Chaldee, which latterly became the
predominant element in the national language.
The Hebrew of the Old Testament has only about six thousand
words, all derived from about five hundred roots. Hence the same
word has sometimes a great variety of meanings. So long as it
was a living language, and for ages after, only the consonants
of the words were written. This also has been a source of
difficulty in interpreting certain words, for the meaning varies
according to the vowels which may be supplied. The Hebrew is one
of the oldest languages of which we have any knowledge. It is
essentially identical with the Phoenician language. (See MOABITE
STONE T0002586.) The Semitic languages, to which class the
Hebrew and Phoenician belonged, were spoken over a very wide
area: in Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Israel and Arabia, in
all the countries from the Mediterranean to the borders of
Assyria, and from the mountains of Armenia to the Indian Ocean.
The rounded form of the letters, as seen in the Moabite stone,
was probably that in which the ancient Hebrew was written down
to the time of the Exile, when the present square or Chaldean
form was adopted.
whom Jehovah has strengthened. (1.) Son of Ahaz (2 Kings 18:1; 2
Chr. 29:1), whom he succeeded on the throne of the kingdom of
Judah. He reigned twenty-nine years (B.C. 726-697). The history
of this king is contained in 2 Kings 18:20, Isa. 36-39, and 2
Chr. 29-32. He is spoken of as a great and good king. In public
life he followed the example of his great-granfather Uzziah. He
set himself to abolish idolatry from his kingdom, and among
other things which he did for this end, he destroyed the "brazen
serpent," which had been removed to Jerusalem, and had become an
object of idolatrous worship (Num. 21:9). A great reformation
was wrought in the kingdom of Judah in his day (2 Kings 18:4; 2
On the death of Sargon and the accession of his son
Sennacherib to the throne of Assyria, Hezekiah refused to pay
the tribute which his father had paid, and "rebelled against the
king of Assyria, and served him not," but entered into a league
with Egypt (Isa. 30; 31; 36:6-9). This led to the invasion of
Judah by Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:13-16), who took forty cities,
and besieged Jerusalem with mounds. Hezekiah yielded to the
demands of the Assyrian king, and agreed to pay him three
hundred talents of silver and thirty of gold (18:14).
But Sennacherib dealt treacherously with Hezekiah (Isa. 33:1),
and a second time within two years invaded his kingdom (2 Kings
18:17; 2 Chr. 32:9; Isa. 36). This invasion issued in the
destruction of Sennacherib's army. Hezekiah prayed to God, and
"that night the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the
camp of the Assyrians 185,000 men." Sennacherib fled with the
shattered remnant of his forces to Nineveh, where, seventeen
years after, he was assassinated by his sons Adrammelech and
Sharezer (2 Kings 19:37). (See SENNACHERIB T0003273.)
The narrative of Hezekiah's sickness and miraculous recovery
is found in 2 Kings 20:1, 2 Chr. 32:24, Isa. 38:1. Various
ambassadors came to congratulate him on his recovery, and among
them Merodach-baladan, the viceroy of Babylon (2 Chr. 32:23; 2
Kings 20:12). He closed his days in peace and prosperity, and
was succeeded by his son Manasseh. He was buried in the
"chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David" (2 Chr.
32:27-33). He had "after him none like him among all the kings
of Judah, nor any that were before him" (2 Kings 18:5). (See
sacred land or high land, the name of a country on one of the
mountains of which the ark rested after the Flood subsided (Gen.
8:4). The "mountains" mentioned were probably the Kurdish range
of South Armenia. In 2 Kings 19:37, Isa. 37:38, the word is
rendered "Armenia" in the Authorized Version, but in the Revised
Version, "Land of Ararat." In Jer. 51:27, the name denotes the
central or southern portion of Armenia. It is, however,
generally applied to a high and almost inaccessible mountain
which rises majestically from the plain of the Araxes. It has
two conical peaks, about 7 miles apart, the one 14,300 feet and
the other 10,300 feet above the level of the plain. Three
thousand feet of the summit of the higher of these peaks is
covered with perpetual snow. It is called Kuh-i-nuh, i.e.,
"Noah's mountain", by the Persians. This part of Armenia was
inhabited by a people who spoke a language unlike any other now
known, though it may have been related to the modern Georgian.
About B.C. 900 they borrowed the cuneiform characters of
Nineveh, and from this time we have inscriptions of a line of
kings who at times contended with Assyria. At the close of the
seventh century B.C. the kingdom of Ararat came to an end, and
the country was occupied by a people who are ancestors of the
Armenians of the present day.
(1.) An Assyrian king. It has been a question whether he was
identical with Tiglath-pileser III. (q.v.), or was his
predecessor. The weight of evidence is certainly in favour of
their identity. Pul was the throne-name he bore in Babylonia as
king of Babylon, and Tiglath-pileser the throne-name he bore as
king of Assyria. He was the founder of what is called the second
Assyrian empire. He consolidated and organized his conquests on
a large scale. He subdued Northern Syria and Hamath, and the
kings of Syria rendered him homage and paid him tribute. His
ambition was to found in Western Asia a kingdom which should
embrace the whole civilized world, having Nineveh as its centre.
Menahem, king of Israel, gave him the enormous tribute of a
thousand talents of silver, "that his hand might be with him" (2
Kings 15:19; 1 Chr. 5:26). The fact that this tribute could be
paid showed the wealthy condition of the little kingdom of
Israel even in this age of disorder and misgovernment. Having
reduced Syria, he turned his arms against Babylon, which he
subdued. The Babylonian king was slain, and Babylon and other
Chaldean cities were taken, and Pul assumed the title of "King
of Sumer [i.e., Shinar] and Accad." He was succeeded by
(2.) A geographical name in Isa. 66:19. Probably = Phut (Gen.
10:6; Jer. 46:9, R.V. "Put;" Ezek. 27:10).
the name given to the new and mixed inhabitants whom Esarhaddon
(B.C. 677), the king of Assyria, brought from Babylon and other
places and settled in the cities of Samaria, instead of the
original inhabitants whom Sargon (B.C. 721) had removed into
captivity (2 Kings 17:24; compare Ezra 4:2, 9, 10). These
strangers (compare Luke 17:18) amalgamated with the Jews still
remaining in the land, and gradually abandoned their old
idolatry and adopted partly the Jewish religion.
After the return from the Captivity, the Jews in Jerusalem
refused to allow them to take part with them in rebuilding the
temple, and hence sprang up an open enmity between them. They
erected a rival temple on Mount Gerizim, which was, however,
destroyed by a Jewish king (B.C. 130). They then built another
at Shechem. The bitter enmity between the Jews and Samaritans
continued in the time of our Lord: the Jews had "no dealings
with the Samaritans" (John 4:9; compare Luke 9:52, 53). Our Lord
was in contempt called "a Samaritan" (John 8:48). Many of the
Samaritans early embraced the gospel (John 4:5-42; Acts 8:25;
9:31; 15:3). Of these Samaritans there still remains a small
population of about one hundred and sixty, who all reside in
Shechem, where they carefully observe the religious customs of
their fathers. They are the "smallest and oldest sect in the
"In the beginning" God created, i.e., called into being, all
things out of nothing. This creative act on the part of God was
absolutely free, and for infinitely wise reasons. The cause of
all things exists only in the will of God. The work of creation
is attributed (1) to the Godhead (Gen. 1:1, 26); (2) to the
Father (1 Cor. 8:6); (3) to the Son (John 1:3; Col. 1:16, 17);
(4) to the Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13; Ps. 104:30). The
fact that he is the Creator distinguishes Jehovah as the true
God (Isa. 37:16; 40:12, 13; 54:5; Ps. 96:5; Jer. 10:11, 12). The
one great end in the work of creation is the manifestation of
the glory of the Creator (Col. 1:16; Rev. 4:11; Rom. 11:36).
God's works, equally with God's word, are a revelation from him;
and between the teachings of the one and those of the other,
when rightly understood, there can be no contradiction.
Traditions of the creation, disfigured by corruptions, are
found among the records of ancient Eastern nations. (See ACCAD
T0000060.) A peculiar interest belongs to the traditions of the
Accadians, the primitive inhabitants of the plains of Lower
Mesopotamia. These within the last few years have been brought
to light in the tablets and cylinders which have been rescued
from the long-buried palaces and temples of Assyria. They bear a
remarkable resemblance to the record of Genesis.
an Egyptian king, the son and successor of Psammetichus (B.C.
610-594), the contemporary of Josiah, king of Judah. For some
reason he proclaimed war against the king of Assyria. He led
forth a powerful army and marched northward, but was met by the
king of Judah at Megiddo, who refused him a passage through his
territory. Here a fierce battle was fought and Josiah was slain
(2 Chr. 35:20-24). Possibly, as some suppose, Necho may have
brought his army by sea to some port to the north of Dor (compare
Josh. 11:2; 12:23), a Phoenician town at no great distance from
Megiddo. After this battle Necho marched on to Carchemish
(q.v.), where he met and conquered the Assyrian army, and thus
all the Syrian provinces, including Israel, came under his
On his return march he deposed Jehoahaz, who had succeeded his
father Josiah, and made Eliakim, Josiah's eldest son, whose name
he changed into Jehoiakim, king. Jehoahaz he carried down into
Egypt, where he died (2 Kings 23:31; 2 Chr. 36:1-4). Four years
after this conquest Necho again marched to the Euphrates; but
here he was met and his army routed by the Chaldeans (B.C. 606)
under Nebuchadnezzar, who drove the Egyptians back, and took
from them all the territory they had conquered, from the
Euphrates unto the "river of Egypt" (Jer. 46:2; 2 Kings 24:7,
8). Soon after this Necho died, and was succeeded by his son,
Psammetichus II. (See NEBUCHADNEZZAR T0002684.)
(Gr. diaspora, "scattered," James 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:1) of the Jews.
At various times, and from the operation of divers causes, the
Jews were separated and scattered into foreign countries "to the
outmost parts of heaven" (Deut. 30:4).
(1.) Many were dispersed over Assyria, Media, Babylonia, and
Persia, descendants of those who had been transported thither by
the Exile. The ten tribes, after existing as a separate kingdom
for two hundred and fifty-five years, were carried captive (B.C.
721) by Shalmaneser (or Sargon), king of Assyria. They never
returned to their own land as a distinct people, although many
individuals from among these tribes, there can be no doubt,
joined with the bands that returned from Babylon on the
proclamation of Cyrus.
(2.) Many Jews migrated to Egypt and took up their abode
there. This migration began in the days of Solomon (2 Kings
18:21, 24; Isa. 30:7). Alexander the Great placed a large number
of Jews in Alexandria, which he had founded, and conferred on
them equal rights with the Egyptians. Ptolemy Philadelphus, it
is said, caused the Jewish Scriptures to be translated into
Greek (the work began B.C. 284), for the use of the Alexandrian
Jews. The Jews in Egypt continued for many ages to exercise a
powerful influence on the public interests of that country. From
Egypt they spread along the coast of Africa to Cyrene (Acts
2:10) and to Ethiopia (8:27).
(3.) After the time of Seleucus Nicator (B.C. 280), one of the
captains of Alexander the Great, large numbers of Jews migrated
into Syria, where they enjoyed equal rights with the
Macedonians. From Syria they found their way into Asia Minor.
Antiochus the Great, king of Syria and Asia, removed 3,000
families of Jews from Mesopotamia and Babylonia, and planted
them in Phrygia and Lydia.
(4.) From Asia Minor many Jews moved into Greece and
Macedonia, chiefly for purposes of commerce. In the apostles'
time they were found in considerable numbers in all the
From the time of Pompey the Great (B.C. 63) numbers of Jews
from Israel and Greece went to Rome, where they had a
separate quarter of the city assigned to them. Here they enjoyed
Thus were the Jews everywhere scattered abroad. This, in the
overruling providence of God, ultimately contributed in a great
degree toward opening the way for the spread of the gospel into
Dispersion, from the plain of Shinar. This was occasioned by
the confusion of tongues at Babel (Gen. 11:9). They were
scattered abroad "every one after his tongue, after their
families, in their nations" (Gen. 10:5, 20,31).
The tenth chapter of Genesis gives us an account of the
principal nations of the earth in their migrations from the
plain of Shinar, which was their common residence after the
Flood. In general, it may be said that the descendants of
Japheth were scattered over the north, those of Shem over the
central regions, and those of Ham over the extreme south. The
following table shows how the different families were dispersed:
| - Japheth
| - Gomer
| Cimmerians, Armenians
| - Magog
| Caucasians, Scythians
| - Madal
| Medes and Persian tribes
| - Javan
| - Elishah
| - Tarshish
| Etruscans, Romans
| - Chittim
| Cyprians, Macedonians
| - Dodanim
| - Tubal
| Tibareni, Tartars
| - Mechech
| Moschi, Muscovites
| - Tiras
| - Shem
| - Elam
| Persian tribes
| - Asshur
| - Arphaxad
| - Abraham
| - Isaac
| - Jacob
| - Esau
| - Ishmael
| Mingled with Arab tribes
| - Lud
| - Aram
| - Ham
| - Cush
| - Mizrain
| - Phut
| Lybians, Mauritanians
| - Canaan
| Canaanites, Phoenicians
healed by Jehovah, or Jehovah will support. The son of Amon, and
his successor on the throne of Judah (2 Kings 22:1; 2 Chr.
34:1). His history is contained in 2 Kings 22, 23. He stands
foremost among all the kings of the line of David for unswerving
loyalty to Jehovah (23:25). He "did that which was right in the
sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his
father." He ascended the throne at the early age of eight years,
and it appears that not till eight years afterwards did he begin
"to seek after the God of David his father." At that age he
devoted himself to God. He distinguished himself by beginning a
war of extermination against the prevailing idolatry, which had
practically been the state religion for some seventy years (2
Chr. 34:3; compare Jer. 25:3, 11, 29).
In the eighteenth year of his reign he proceeded to repair and
beautify the temple, which by time and violence had become
sorely dilapidated (2 Kings 22:3, 5, 6; 23:23; 2 Chr. 34:11).
While this work was being carried on, Hilkiah, the high priest,
discovered a roll, which was probably the original copy of the
law, the entire Pentateuch, written by Moses.
When this book was read to him, the king was alarmed by the
things it contained, and sent for Huldah, the "prophetess," for
her counsel. She spoke to him words of encouragement, telling
him that he would be gathered to his fathers in peace before the
threatened days of judgment came. Josiah immediately gathered
the people together, and engaged them in a renewal of their
ancient national covenant with God. The Passover was then
celebrated, as in the days of his great predecessor, Hezekiah,
with unusual magnificence. Nevertheless, "the Lord turned not
from the fierceness of his great wrath wherewith his anger was
kindled against Judah" (2 Kings 22:3-20; 23:21-27; 2 Chr.
35:1-19). During the progress of this great religious revolution
Jeremiah helped it on by his earnest exhortations.
Soon after this, Pharaoh-Necho II. (q.v.), king of Egypt, in
an expedition against the king of Assyria, with the view of
gaining possession of Carchemish, sought a passage through the
territory of Judah for his army. This Josiah refused to permit.
He had probably entered into some new alliance with the king of
Assyria, and faithful to his word he sought to oppose the
progress of Necho.
The army of Judah went out and encountered that of Egypt at
Megiddo, on the verge of the plain of Esdraelon. Josiah went
into the field in disguise, and was fatally wounded by a random
arrow. His attendants conveyed him toward Jerusalem, but had
only reached Hadadrimmon, a few miles south of Megiddo, when he
died (2 Kings 23:28, 30; compare 2 Chr. 35:20-27), after a reign
of thirty-one years. He was buried with the greatest honours in
fulfilment of Huldah's prophecy (2 Kings 22:20; compare Jer.
34:5). Jeremiah composed a funeral elegy on this the best of the
kings of Israel (Lam. 4:20; 2 Chr. 35:25). The outburst of
national grief on account of his death became proverbial (Zech.
12:11; compare Rev. 16:16).
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.
(1.) Of Israel. The kingdom of the ten tribes was successively
invaded by several Assyrian kings. Pul (q.v.) imposed a tribute
on Menahem of a thousand talents of silver (2 Kings 15:19, 20; 1
Chr. 5:26) (B.C. 762), and Tiglath-pileser, in the days of Pekah
(B.C. 738), carried away the trans-Jordanic tribes and the
inhabitants of Galilee into Assyria (2 Kings 15:29; Isa. 9:1).
Subsequently Shalmaneser invaded Israel and laid siege to
Samaria, the capital of the kingdom. During the siege he died,
and was succeeded by Sargon, who took the city, and transported
the great mass of the people into Assyria (B.C. 721), placing
them in Halah and in Habor, and in the cities of the Medes (2
Kings 17:3, 5). Samaria was never again inhabited by the
Israelites. The families thus removed were carried to distant
cities, many of them not far from the Caspian Sea, and their
place was supplied by colonists from Babylon and Cuthah, etc. (2
Kings 17:24). Thus terminated the kingdom of the ten tribes,
after a separate duration of two hundred and fifty-five years
Many speculations have been indulged in with reference to
these ten tribes. But we believe that all, except the number
that probably allied themselves with Judah and shared in their
restoration under Cyrus, are finally lost.
"Like the dew on the mountain, Like the
foam on the river,
Like the bubble on the fountain,
They are gone, and for ever."
(2.) Of Judah. In the third year of Jehoiachim, the eighteenth
king of Judah (B.C. 605), Nebuchadnezzar having overcome the
Egyptians at Carchemish, advanced to Jerusalem with a great
army. After a brief siege he took that city, and carried away
the vessels of the sanctuary to Babylon, and dedicated them in
the Temple of Belus (2 Kings 24:1; 2 Chr. 36:6, 7; Dan. 1:1, 2).
He also carried away the treasures of the king, whom he made his
vassal. At this time, from which is dated the "seventy years" of
captivity (Jer. 25; Dan. 9:1, 2), Daniel and his companions were
carried to Babylon, there to be brought up at the court and
trained in all the learning of the Chaldeans. After this, in the
fifth year of Jehoiakim, a great national fast was appointed
(Jer. 36:9), during which the king, to show his defiance, cut up
the leaves of the book of Jeremiah's prophecies as they were
read to him in his winter palace, and threw them into the fire.
In the same spirit he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings
24:1), who again a second time (B.C. 598) marched against
Jerusalem, and put Jehoiachim to death, placing his son
Jehoiachin on the throne in his stead. But Jehoiachin's
counsellors displeasing Nebuchadnezzar, he again a third time
turned his army against Jerusalem, and carried away to Babylon a
second detachment of Jews as captives, to the number of 10,000
(2 Kings 24:13; Jer. 24:1; 2 Chr. 36:10), among whom were the
king, with his mother and all his princes and officers, also
Ezekiel, who with many of his companions were settled on the
banks of the river Chebar (q.v.). He also carried away all the
remaining treasures of the temple and the palace, and the golden
vessels of the sanctuary.
Mattaniah, the uncle of Jehoiachin, was now made king over
what remained of the kingdom of Judah, under the name of
Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:17; 2 Chr. 36:10). After a troubled reign
of eleven years his kingdom came to an end (2 Chr. 36:11).
Nebuchadnezzar, with a powerful army, besieged Jerusalem, and
Zedekiah became a prisoner in Babylon. His eyes were put out,
and he was kept in close confinement till his death (2 Kings
25:7). The city was spoiled of all that was of value, and then
given up to the flames. The temple and palaces were consumed,
and the walls of the city were levelled with the ground (B.C.
586), and all that remained of the people, except a number of
the poorest class who were left to till the ground and dress the
vineyards, were carried away captives to Babylon. This was the
third and last deportation of Jewish captives. The land was now
utterly desolate, and was abondoned to anarchy.
In the first year of his reign as king of Babylon (B.C. 536),
Cyrus issued a decree liberating the Jewish captives, and
permitting them to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and
the temple (2 Chr. 36:22, 23; Ezra 1; 2). The number of the
people forming the first caravan, under Zerubbabel, amounted in
all to 42,360 (Ezra 2:64, 65), besides 7,337 men-servants and
maid-servants. A considerable number, 12,000 probably, from the
ten tribes who had been carried away into Assyria no doubt
combined with this band of liberated captives.
At a later period other bands of the Jews returned (1) under
Ezra (7:7) (B.C. 458), and (2) Nehemiah (7:66) (B.C. 445). But
the great mass of the people remained still in the land to which
they had been carried, and became a portion of the Jews of the
"dispersion" (John 7:35; 1 Pet. 1:1). The whole number of the
exiles that chose to remain was probably about six times the
number of those who returned.
fortress, the capital of one of the kingdoms of Upper Syria of
the same name, on the Orontes, in the valley of Lebanon, at the
northern boundary of Israel (Num. 13:21; 34:8), at the foot
of Hermon (Josh. 13:5) towards Damascus (Zech. 9:2; Jer. 49:23).
It is called "Hamath the great" in Amos 6:2, and "Hamath-zobah"
in 2 Chr. 8:3.
Hamath, now Hamah, had an Aramaean population, but Hittite
monuments discovered there show that it must have been at one
time occupied by the Hittites. It was among the conquests of the
Pharaoh Thothmes III. Its king, Tou or Toi, made alliance with
David (2 Sam. 8:10), and in B.C. 740 Azariah formed a league
with it against Assyria. It was, however, conquered by the
Assyrians, and its nineteen districts placed under Assyrian
governors. In B.C. 720 it revolted under a certain Yahu-bihdi,
whose name, compounded with that of the God of Israel (Yahu),
perhaps shows that he was of Jewish origin. But the revolt was
suppressed, and the people of Hamath were transported to Samaria
(2 Kings 17:24, 30), where they continued to worship their god
Ashima. Hamah is beautifully situated on the Orontes, 32 miles
north of Emesa, and 36 south of the ruins of Assamea.
The kingdom of Hamath comprehended the great plain lying on
both banks of the Orontes from the fountain near Riblah to
Assamea on the north, and from Lebanon on the west to the desert
on the east. The "entrance of Hamath" (Num. 34:8), which was the
north boundary of Israel, led from the west between the north
end of Lebanon and the Nusairiyeh mountains.
place of troops, originally one of the royal cities of the
Canaanites (Josh. 12:21), belonged to the tribe of Manasseh
(Judg. 1:27), but does not seem to have been fully occupied by
the Israelites till the time of Solomon (1 Kings 4:12; 9:15).
The valley or plain of Megiddo was part of the plain of
Esdraelon, the great battle-field of Israel. It was here
Barak gained a notable victory over Jabin, the king of Hazor,
whose general, Sisera, led on the hostile army. Barak rallied
the warriors of the northern tribes, and under the encouragement
of Deborah (q.v.), the prophetess, attacked the Canaanites in
the great plain. The army of Sisera was thrown into complete
confusion, and was engulfed in the waters of the Kishon, which
had risen and overflowed its banks (Judg. 4:5).
Many years after this (B.C. 610), Pharaohnecho II., on his
march against the king of Assyria, passed through the plains of
Philistia and Sharon; and King Josiah, attempting to bar his
progress in the plain of Megiddo, was defeated by the Egyptians.
He was wounded in battle, and died as they bore him away in his
chariot towards Jerusalem (2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chr. 35:22-24), and
all Israel mourned for him. So general and bitter was this
mourning that it became a proverb, to which Zechariah (12:11,
12) alludes. Megiddo has been identified with the modern
el-Lejjun, at the head of the Kishon, under the NEern
brow of Carmel, on the south-western edge of the plain of
Esdraelon, and 9 miles west of Jezreel. Others identify it with
Mujedd'a, 4 miles south-west of Bethshean, but the question of
its site is still undetermined.
(Heb. e'rez, Gr. kedros, Lat. cedrus), a tree very frequently
mentioned in Scripture. It was stately (Ezek. 31:3-5),
long-branched (Ps. 80:10; 92:12; Ezek. 31:6-9), odoriferous
(Cant. 4:11; Hos. 14:6), durable, and therefore much used for
boards, pillars, and ceilings (1 Kings 6:9, 10; 7:2; Jer.
22:14), for masts (Ezek. 27:5), and for carved images (Isa.
It grew very abundantly in Israel, and particularly on
Lebanon, of which it was "the glory" (Isa. 35:2; 60:13). Hiram
supplied Solomon with cedar trees from Lebanon for various
purposes connected with the construction of the temple and the
king's palace (2 Sam. 5:11; 7:2, 7; 1 Kings 5:6, 8,10; 6:9, 10,
15, 16, 18, 20; 7:2, 3, 7, 11, 12; 9:11, etc.). Cedars were used
also in the building of the second temple under Zerubbabel (Ezra
Of the ancient cedars of Lebanon there remain now only some
seven or eight. They are not standing together. But beside them
there are found between three hundred and four hundred of
younger growth. They stand in an amphitheatre fronting the west,
about 6,400 feet above the level of the sea.
The cedar is often figuratively alluded to in the sacred
Scriptures. "The mighty conquerors of olden days, the despots of
Assyria and the Pharaohs of Egypt, the proud and idolatrous
monarchs of Judah, the Hebrew commonwealth itself, the war-like
Ammonites of patriarchal times, and the moral majesty of the
Messianic age, are all compared to the towering cedar, in its
royal loftiness and supremacy (Isa. 2:13; Ezek. 17:3, 22, 23,
31:3-9; Amos 2:9; Zech. 11:1, 2; Job 40:17; Ps. 29:5; 80:10;
92:12, etc).", Groser's Scrip. Nat. Hist. (See BOX-TREE
Hebrew, Perath; Assyrian, Purat; Persian cuneiform, Ufratush,
whence Greek Euphrates, meaning "sweet water." The Assyrian name
means "the stream," or "the great stream." It is generally
called in the Bible simply "the river" (Ex. 23:31), or "the
great river" (Deut. 1:7).
The Euphrates is first mentioned in Gen. 2:14 as one of the
rivers of Paradise. It is next mentioned in connection with the
covenant which God entered into with Abraham (15:18), when he
promised to his descendants the land from the river of Egypt to
the river Euphrates (compare Deut. 11:24; Josh. 1:4), a covenant
promise afterwards fulfilled in the extended conquests of David
(2 Sam. 8:2-14; 1 Chr. 18:3; 1 Kings 4:24). It was then the
boundary of the kingdom to the NE. In the ancient
history of Assyria, and Babylon, and Egypt many events are
recorded in which mention is made of the "great river." Just as
the Nile represented in prophecy the power of Egypt, so the
Euphrates represented the Assyrian power (Isa. 8:7; Jer. 2:18).
It is by far the largest and most important of all the rivers
of Western Asia. From its source in the Armenian mountains to
the Persian Gulf, into which it empties itself, it has a course
of about 1,700 miles. It has two sources, (1) the Frat or
Kara-su (i.e., "the black river"), which rises 25 miles
NE of Erzeroum; and (2) the Muradchai (i.e., "the river
of desire"), which rises near Ararat, on the northern slope of
Ala-tagh. At Kebban Maden, 400 miles from the source of the
former, and 270 from that of the latter, they meet and form the
majestic stream, which is at length joined by the Tigris at
Koornah, after which it is called Shat-el-Arab, which runs in a
deep and broad stream for above 140 miles to the sea. It is
estimated that the alluvium brought down by these rivers
encroaches on the sea at the rate of about one mile in thirty
impregnable, a royal Canaanite city in the Shephelah, or
maritime plain of Israel (Josh. 10:3, 5; 12:11). It was taken
and destroyed by the Israelites (Josh. 10:31-33). It afterwards
became, under Rehoboam, one of the strongest fortresses of Judah
(2 Chr. 10:9). It was assaulted and probably taken by
Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:14, 17; 19:8; Isa. 36:2). An account of
this siege is given on some slabs found in the chambers of the
palace of Koyunjik, and now in the British Museum. The
inscription has been deciphered as follows:, "Sennacherib, the
mighty king, king of the country of Assyria, sitting on the
throne of judgment before the city of Lachish: I gave permission
for its slaughter." (See NINEVEH T0002735.)
Lachish has been identified with Tell-el-Hesy, where a
cuneiform tablet has been found, containing a letter supposed to
be from Amenophis at Amarna in reply to one of the Amarna
tablets sent by Zimrida from Lachish. This letter is from the
chief of Atim (=Etam, 1 Chr. 4:32) to the chief of Lachish, in
which the writer expresses great alarm at the approach of
marauders from the Hebron hills. "They have entered the land,"
he says, "to lay waste...strong is he who has come down. He lays
waste." This letter shows that "the communication by tablets in
cuneiform script was not only usual in writing to Egypt, but in
the internal correspondence of the country. The letter, though
not so important in some ways as the Moabite stone and the
Siloam text, is one of the most valuable discoveries ever made
in Israel" (Conder's Tell Amarna Tablets, p. 134).
Excavations at Lachish are still going on, and among other
discoveries is that of an iron blast-furnace, with slag and
ashes, which is supposed to have existed B.C. 1500. If the
theories of experts are correct, the use of the hot-air blast
instead of cold air (an improvement in iron manufacture patented
by Neilson in 1828) was known fifteen hundred years before
Christ. (See FURNACE T0001398.)
Heb. Madai, which is rendered in the Authorized Version (1)
"Madai," Gen. 10:2; (2) "Medes," 2 Kings 17:6; 18:11; (3)
"Media," Esther 1:3; 10:2; Isa. 21:2; Dan. 8:20; (4) "Mede,"
only in Dan. 11:1.
We first hear of this people in the Assyrian cuneiform
records, under the name of Amada, about B.C. 840. They appear to
have been a branch of the Aryans, who came from the east bank of
the Indus, and were probably the predominant race for a while in
the Mesopotamian valley. They consisted for three or four
centuries of a number of tribes, each ruled by its own chief,
who at length were brought under the Assyrian yoke (2 Kings
17:6). From this subjection they achieved deliverance, and
formed themselves into an empire under Cyaxares (B.C. 633). This
monarch entered into an alliance with the king of Babylon, and
invaded Assyria, capturing and destroying the city of Nineveh
(B.C. 625), thus putting an end to the Assyrian monarchy (Nah.
1:8; 2:5,6; 3:13, 14).
Media now rose to a place of great power, vastly extending its
boundaries. But it did not long exist as an independent kingdom.
It rose with Cyaxares, its first king, and it passed away with
him; for during the reign of his son and successor Astyages, the
Persians waged war against the Medes and conquered them, the two
nations being united under one monarch, Cyrus the Persian (B.C.
The "cities of the Medes" are first mentioned in connection
with the deportation of the Israelites on the destruction of
Samaria (2 Kings 17:6; 18:11). Soon afterwards Isaiah (13:17;
21:2) speaks of the part taken by the Medes in the destruction
of Babylon (compare Jer. 51:11, 28). Daniel gives an account of
the reign of Darius the Mede, who was made viceroy by Cyrus
(Dan. 6:1-28). The decree of Cyrus, Ezra informs us (6:2-5), was
found in "the palace that is in the province of the Medes,"
Achmetha or Ecbatana of the Greeks, which is the only Median
city mentioned in Scripture.
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.
house of God. (1.) A place in Central Israel, about 10 miles
north of Jerusalem, at the head of the pass of Michmash and Ai.
It was originally the royal Canaanite city of Luz (Gen. 28:19).
The name Bethel was at first apparently given to the sanctuary
in the neighbourhood of Luz, and was not given to the city
itself till after its conquest by the tribe of Ephraim. When
Abram entered Canaan he formed his second encampment between
Bethel and Hai (Gen. 12:8); and on his return from Egypt he came
back to it, and again "called upon the name of the Lord" (13:4).
Here Jacob, on his way from Beersheba to Haran, had a vision of
the angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder whose
top reached unto heaven (28:10, 19); and on his return he again
visited this place, "where God talked with him" (35:1-15), and
there he "built an altar, and called the place El-beth-el"
(q.v.). To this second occasion of God's speaking with Jacob at
Bethel, Hosea (12:4,5) makes reference.
In troublous times the people went to Bethel to ask counsel of
God (Judg. 20:18, 31; 21:2). Here the ark of the covenant was
kept for a long time under the care of Phinehas, the grandson of
Aaron (20:26-28). Here also Samuel held in rotation his court of
justice (1 Sam. 7:16). It was included in Israel after the
kingdom was divided, and it became one of the seats of the
worship of the golden calf (1 Kings 12:28-33; 13:1). Hence the
prophet Hosea (Hos. 4:15; 5:8; 10:5, 8) calls it in contempt
Beth-aven, i.e., "house of idols." Bethel remained an abode of
priests even after the kingdom of Israel was desolated by the
king of Assyria (2 Kings 17:28, 29). At length all traces of the
idolatries were extirpated by Josiah, king of Judah (2 Kings
23:15-18); and the place was still in existence after the
Captivity (Ezra 2:28; Neh. 7:32). It has been identified with
the ruins of Beitin, a small village amid extensive ruins some 9
miles south of Shiloh.
(2.) Mount Bethel was a hilly district near Bethel (Josh.
16:1; 1 Sam. 13:2).
(3.) A town in the south of Judah (Josh. 8:17; 12:16).
(1.) Of the kingdom of Israel. In the time of Pekah,
Tiglath-pileser II. carried away captive into Assyria (2 Kings
15:29; compare Isa. 10:5, 6) a part of the inhabitants of Galilee
and of Gilead (B.C. 741).
After the destruction of Samaria (B.C. 720) by Shalmaneser and
Sargon (q.v.), there was a general deportation of the Israelites
into Mesopotamia and Media (2 Kings 17:6; 18:9; 1 Chr. 5:26).
(See ISRAEL, KINGDOM OF T0001909.)
(2.) Of the kingdom of the two tribes, the kingdom of Judah.
Nebuchadnezzar, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Jer. 25:1),
invaded Judah, and carried away some royal youths, including
Daniel and his companions (B.C. 606), together with the sacred
vessels of the temple (2 Chr. 36:7; Dan. 1:2). In B.C. 598 (Jer.
52:28; 2 Kings 24:12), in the beginning of Jehoiachin's reign (2
Kings 24:8), Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive 3,023 eminent
Jews, including the king (2 Chr. 36:10), with his family and
officers (2 Kings 24:12), and a large number of warriors (16),
with very many persons of note (14), and artisans (16), leaving
behind only those who were poor and helpless. This was the first
general deportation to Babylon.
In B.C. 588, after the revolt of Zedekiah (q.v.), there was a
second general deportation of Jews by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer.
52:29; 2 Kings 25:8), including 832 more of the principal men of
the kingdom. He carried away also the rest of the sacred vessels
(2 Chr. 36:18). From this period, when the temple was destroyed
(2 Kings 25:9), to the complete restoration, B.C. 517 (Ezra
6:15), is the period of the "seventy years."
In B.C. 582 occurred the last and final deportation. The
entire number Nebuchadnezzar carried captive was 4,600 heads of
families with their wives and children and dependants (Jer.
52:30; 43:5-7; 2 Chr. 36:20, etc.). Thus the exiles formed a
very considerable community in Babylon.
When Cyrus granted permission to the Jews to return to their
own land (Ezra 1:5; 7:13), only a comparatively small number at
first availed themselves of the privilege. It cannot be
questioned that many belonging to the kingdom of Israel
ultimately joined the Jews under Ezra, Zerubbabel, and Nehemiah,
and returned along with them to Jerusalem (Jer. 50:4, 5, 17-20,
Large numbers had, however, settled in the land of Babylon,
and formed numerous colonies in different parts of the kingdom.
Their descendants very probably have spread far into Eastern
lands and become absorbed in the general population. (See JUDAH,
KINGDOM OF T0002126; CAPTIVITY T0000720.)
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.
(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.
the name given to Noah's flood, the history of which is recorded
in Gen. 7 and 8.
It began in the year 2516 B.C., and continued twelve lunar
months and ten days, or exactly one solar year.
The cause of this judgment was the corruption and violence
that filled the earth in the ninth generation from Adam. God in
righteous indignation determined to purge the earth of the
ungodly race. Amid a world of crime and guilt there was one
household that continued faithful and true to God, the household
of Noah. "Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations."
At the command of God, Noah made an ark 300 cubits long, 50
broad, and 30 high. He slowly proceeded with this work during a
period of one hundred and twenty years (Gen. 6:3). At length the
purpose of God began to be carried into effect. The following
table exhibits the order of events as they occurred:
In the six hundredth year of his life Noah is commanded by God
to enter the ark, taking with him his wife, and his three sons
with their wives (Gen. 7:1-10).
The rain begins on the seventeenth day of the second month
The rain ceases, the waters prevail, fifteen cubits upward
The ark grounds on one of the mountains of Ararat on the
seventeenth day of the seventh month, or one hundred and fifty
days after the Deluge began (Gen. 8:1-4).
Tops of the mountains visible on the first day of the tenth
month (Gen. 8:5).
Raven and dove sent out forty days after this (Gen. 8:6-9).
Dove again sent out seven days afterwards; and in the evening
she returns with an olive leaf in her mouth (Gen. 8:10, 11).
Dove sent out the third time after an interval of other seven
days, and returns no more (Gen. 8:12).
The ground becomes dry on the first day of the first month of
the new year (Gen. 8:13).
Noah leaves the ark on the twenty-seventh day of the second
month (Gen. 8:14-19).
The historical truth of the narrative of the Flood is
established by the references made to it by our Lord (Matt.
24:37; compare Luke 17:26). Peter speaks of it also (1 Pet. 3:20;
2 Pet. 2:5). In Isa. 54:9 the Flood is referred to as "the
waters of Noah." The Biblical narrative clearly shows that so
far as the human race was concerned the Deluge was universal;
that it swept away all men living except Noah and his family,
who were preserved in the ark; and that the present human race
is descended from those who were thus preserved.
Traditions of the Deluge are found among all the great
divisions of the human family; and these traditions, taken as a
whole, wonderfully agree with the Biblical narrative, and agree
with it in such a way as to lead to the conclusion that the
Biblical is the authentic narrative, of which all these
traditions are more or less corrupted versions. The most
remarkable of these traditions is that recorded on tablets
prepared by order of Assur-bani-pal, the king of Assyria. These
were, however, copies of older records which belonged to
somewhere about B.C. 2000, and which formed part of the priestly
library at Erech (q.v.), "the ineradicable remembrance of a real
and terrible event." (See NOAH T0002741; CHALDEA T0000758.)
a rock, now es-Sur; an ancient Phoenician city, about 23 miles,
in a direct line, north of Acre, and 20 south of Sidon. Sidon
was the oldest Phoenician city, but Tyre had a longer and more
illustrious history. The commerce of the whole world was
gathered into the warehouses of Tyre. "Tyrian merchants were the
first who ventured to navigate the Mediterranean waters; and
they founded their colonies on the coasts and neighbouring
islands of the AEgean Sea, in Greece, on the northern coast of
Africa, at Carthage and other places, in Sicily and Corsica, in
Spain at Tartessus, and even beyond the pillars of Hercules at
Gadeira (Cadiz)" (Driver's Isaiah). In the time of David a
friendly alliance was entered into between the Hebrews and the
Tyrians, who were long ruled over by their native kings (2 Sam.
5:11; 1 Kings 5:1; 2 Chr. 2:3).
Tyre consisted of two distinct parts, a rocky fortress on the
mainland, called "Old Tyre," and the city, built on a small,
rocky island about half-a-mile distant from the shore. It was a
place of great strength. It was besieged by Shalmaneser, who was
assisted by the Phoenicians of the mainland, for five years, and
by Nebuchadnezzar (B.C. 586-573) for thirteen years, apparently
without success. It afterwards fell under the power of Alexander
the Great, after a siege of seven months, but continued to
maintain much of its commercial importance till the Christian
era. It is referred to in Matt. 11:21 and Acts 12:20. In A.D.
1291 it was taken by the Saracens, and has remained a desolate
ruin ever since.
"The purple dye of Tyre had a worldwide celebrity on account
of the durability of its beautiful tints, and its manufacture
proved a source of abundant wealth to the inhabitants of that
Both Tyre and Sidon "were crowded with glass-shops, dyeing and
weaving establishments; and among their cunning workmen not the
least important class were those who were celebrated for the
engraving of precious stones." (2 Chr. 2:7,14).
The wickedness and idolatry of this city are frequently
denounced by the prophets, and its final destruction predicted
(Isa. 23:1; Jer. 25:22; Ezek. 26; 28:1-19; Amos 1:9, 10; Zech.
Here a church was founded soon after the death of Stephen, and
Paul, on his return from his third missionary journey spent a
week in intercourse with the disciples there (Acts 21:4). Here
the scene at Miletus was repeated on his leaving them. They all,
with their wives and children, accompanied him to the sea-shore.
The sea-voyage of the apostle terminated at Ptolemais, about 38
miles from Tyre. Thence he proceeded to Caesarea (Acts 21:5-8).
"It is noticed on monuments as early as B.C. 1500, and
claiming, according to Herodotus, to have been founded about
B.C. 2700. It had two ports still existing, and was of
commercial importance in all ages, with colonies at Carthage
(about B.C. 850) and all over the Mediterranean. It was often
attacked by Egypt and Assyria, and taken by Alexander the Great
after a terrible siege in B.C. 332. It is now a town of 3,000
inhabitants, with ancient tombs and a ruined cathedral. A short
Phoenician text of the fourth century B.C. is the only monument
the Greek form of BABEL; Semitic form Babilu, meaning "The Gate
of God." In the Assyrian tablets it means "The city of the
dispersion of the tribes." The monumental list of its kings
reaches back to B.C. 2300, and includes Khammurabi, or Amraphel
(q.v.), the contemporary of Abraham. It stood on the Euphrates,
about 200 miles above its junction with the Tigris, which flowed
through its midst and divided it into two almost equal parts.
The Elamites invaded Chaldea (i.e., Lower Mesopotamia, or
Shinar, and Upper Mesopotamia, or Accad, now combined into one)
and held it in subjection. At length Khammu-rabi delivered it
from the foreign yoke, and founded the new empire of Chaldea
(q.v.), making Babylon the capital of the united kingdom. This
city gradually grew in extent and grandeur, but in process of
time it became subject to Assyria. On the fall of Nineveh (B.C.
606) it threw off the Assyrian yoke, and became the capital of
the growing Babylonian empire. Under Nebuchadnezzar it became
one of the most splendid cities of the ancient world.
After passing through various vicissitudes the city was
occupied by Cyrus, "king of Elam," B.C. 538, who issued a decree
permitting the Jews to return to their own land (Ezra 1). It
then ceased to be the capital of an empire. It was again and
again visited by hostile armies, till its inhabitants were all
driven from their homes, and the city became a complete
desolation, its very site being forgotten from among men.
On the west bank of the Euphrates, about 50 miles south of
Bagdad, there is found a series of artificial mounds of vast
extent. These are the ruins of this once famous proud city.
These ruins are principally (1) the great mound called Babil by
the Arabs. This was probably the noted Temple of Belus, which
was a pyramid about 480 feet high. (2) The Kasr (i.e., "the
palace"). This was the great palace of Nebuchadnezzar. It is
almost a square, each side of which is about 700 feet long. The
little town of Hillah, near the site of Babylon, is built almost
wholly of bricks taken from this single mound. (3) A lofty
mound, on the summit of which stands a modern tomb called Amran
ibn-Ali. This is probably the most ancient portion of the
remains of the city, and represents the ruins of the famous
hanging-gardens, or perhaps of some royal palace. The utter
desolation of the city once called "The glory of kingdoms"
(Isa.13:19) was foretold by the prophets (Isa.13:4-22; Jer.
25:12; 50:2, 3; Dan. 2:31-38).
The Babylon mentioned in 1 Pet. 5:13 was not Rome, as some
have thought, but the literal city of Babylon, which was
inhabited by many Jews at the time Peter wrote.
In Rev. 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; and 18:2, "Babylon" is supposed to
mean Rome, not considered as pagan, but as the prolongation of
the ancient power in the papal form. Rome, pagan and papal, is
regarded as one power. "The literal Babylon was the beginner and
supporter of tyranny and idolatry...This city and its whole
empire were taken by the Persians under Cyrus; the Persians were
subdued by the Macedonians, and the Macedonians by the Romans;
so that Rome succeeded to the power of old Babylon. And it was
her method to adopt the worship of the false deities she had
conquered; so that by her own act she became the heiress and
successor of all the Babylonian idolatry, and of all that was
introduced into it by the immediate successors of Babylon, and
consequently of all the idolatry of the earth." Rome, or
"mystical Babylon," is "that great city which reigneth over the
kings of the earth" (17:18).
Isaiah, The Book of
consists of prophecies delivered (Isa. 1) in the reign of Uzziah
(1-5), (2) of Jotham (6), (3) Ahaz (7-14:28), (4) the first half
of Hezekiah's reign (14:28-35), (5) the second half of
Hezekiah's reign (36-66). Thus, counting from the fourth year
before Uzziah's death (B.C. 762) to the last year of Hezekiah
(B.C. 698), Isaiah's ministry extended over a period of
sixty-four years. He may, however, have survived Hezekiah, and
may have perished in the way indicated above.
The book, as a whole, has been divided into three main parts:
(1.) The first thirty-five chapters, almost wholly prophetic,
Israel's enemy Assyria, present the Messiah as a mighty Ruler
and King. (2.) Four chapters are historical (36-39), relating to
the times of Hezekiah. (3.) Prophetical (40-66), Israel's enemy
Babylon, describing the Messiah as a suffering victim, meek and
The genuineness of the section Isa. 40-66 has been keenly
opposed by able critics. They assert that it must be the
production of a deutero-Isaiah, who lived toward the close of
the Babylonian captivity. This theory was originated by Koppe, a
German writer at the close of the last century. There are other
portions of the book also (e.g., ch. 13; 24-27; and certain
verses in ch. 14 and 21) which they attribute to some other
prophet than Isaiah. Thus they say that some five or seven, or
even more, unknown prophets had a hand in the production of this
book. The considerations which have led to such a result are
various: (1.) They cannot, as some say, conceive it possible
that Isaiah, living in B.C. 700, could foretell the appearance
and the exploits of a prince called Cyrus, who would set the
Jews free from captivity one hundred and seventy years after.
(2.) It is alleged that the prophet takes the time of the
Captivity as his standpoint, and speaks of it as then present;
and (3) that there is such a difference between the style and
language of the closing section (40-66) and those of the
preceding chapters as to necessitate a different authorship, and
lead to the conclusion that there were at least two Isaiahs. But
even granting the fact of a great diversity of style and
language, this will not necessitate the conclusion attempted to
be drawn from it. The diversity of subjects treated of and the
peculiarities of the prophet's position at the time the
prophecies were uttered will sufficiently account for this.
The arguments in favour of the unity of the book are quite
conclusive. When the LXX. version was made (about B.C. 250) the
entire contents of the book were ascribed to Isaiah, the son of
Amoz. It is not called in question, moreover, that in the time
of our Lord the book existed in the form in which we now have
it. Many prophecies in the disputed portions are quoted in the
New Testament as the words of Isaiah (Matt. 3:3; Luke 3:4-6;
4:16-41; John 12:38; Acts 8:28; Rom. 10:16-21). Universal and
persistent tradition has ascribed the whole book to one author.
Besides this, the internal evidence, the similarity in the
language and style, in the thoughts and images and rhetorical
ornaments, all points to the same conclusion; and its local
colouring and allusions show that it is obviously of Palestinian
origin. The theory therefore of a double authorship of the book,
much less of a manifold authorship, cannot be maintained. The
book, with all the diversity of its contents, is one, and is, we
believe, the production of the great prophet whose name it
Babylon, kingdom of
called "the land of the Chaldeans" (Jer. 24:5; Ezek, 12:13), was
an extensive province in Central Asia along the valley of the
Tigris from the Persian Gulf northward for some 300 miles. It
was famed for its fertility and its riches. Its capital was the
city of Babylon, a great commercial centre (Ezek. 17:4; Isa.
43:14). Babylonia was divided into the two districts of Accad in
the north, and Summer (probably the Shinar of the Old Testament)
in the south. Among its chief cities may be mentioned Ur (now
Mugheir or Mugayyar), on the western bank of the Euphrates;
Uruk, or Erech (Gen. 10:10) (now Warka), between Ur and Babylon;
Larsa (now Senkereh), the Ellasar of Gen. 14:1, a little to the
east of Erech; Nipur (now Niffer), south-east of Babylon;
Sepharvaim (2 Kings 17:24), "the two Sipparas" (now Abu-Habba),
considerably to the north of Babylon; and Eridu, "the good city"
(now Abu-Shahrein), which lay originally on the shore of the
Persian Gulf, but is now, owing to the silting up of the sand,
about 100 miles distant from it. Another city was Kulunu, or
Calneh (Gen. 10:10).
The salt-marshes at the mouths of the Euphrates and Tigris
were called Marratu, "the bitter" or "salt", the Merathaim of
Jer. 50:21. They were the original home of the Kalda, or
The most famous of the early kings of Babylonia were Sargon of
Accad (B.C.3800) and his son, Naram-Sin, who conquered a large
part of Western Asia, establishing their power in Israel, and
even carrying their arms to the Sinaitic peninsula. A great
Babylonian library was founded in the reign of Sargon. Babylonia
was subsequently again broken up into more than one state, and
at one time fell under the domination of Elam. This was put an
end to by Khammu-rabi (Amraphel), who drove the Elamites out of
the country, and overcame Arioch, the son of an Elamite prince.
From this time forward Babylonia was a united monarchy. About
B.C. 1750 it was conquered by the Kassi, or Kosseans, from the
mountains of Elam, and a Kassite dynasty ruled over it for 576
years and 9 months.
In the time of Khammu-rabi, Syria and Israel were subject
to Babylonia and its Elamite suzerain; and after the overthrow
of the Elamite supremacy, the Babylonian kings continued to
exercise their influence and power in what was called "the land
of the Amorites." In the epoch of the Kassite dynasty, however,
Canaan passed into the hands of Egypt.
In B.C. 729, Babylonia was conquered by the Assyrian king
Tiglath-pileser III.; but on the death of Shalmaneser IV. it was
seized by the Kalda or "Chaldean" prince Merodach-baladan (2
Kings 20:12-19), who held it till B.C. 709, when he was driven
out by Sargon.
Under Sennacherib, Babylonia revolted from Assyria several
times, with the help of the Elamites, and after one of these
revolts Babylon was destroyed by Sennacherib, B.C. 689. It was
rebuilt by Esarhaddon, who made it his residence during part of
the year, and it was to Babylon that Manasseh was brought a
prisoner (2 Chr. 33:11). After the death of Esarhaddon,
Saul-sumyukin, the viceroy of Babylonia, revolted against his
brother the Assyrian king, and the revolt was suppressed with
When Nineveh was destroyed, B.C. 606, Nabopolassar, the
viceroy of Babylonia, who seems to have been of Chaldean
descent, made himself independent. His son Nebuchadrezzar
(Nabu-kudur-uzur), after defeating the Egyptians at Carchemish,
succeeded him as king, B.C. 604, and founded the Babylonian
empire. He strongly fortified Babylon, and adorned it with
palaces and other buildings. His son, Evil-merodach, who
succeeded him in B.C. 561, was murdered after a reign of two
years. The last monarch of the Babylonian empire was Nabonidus
(Nabu-nahid), B.C. 555-538, whose eldest son, Belshazzar
(Bilu-sar-uzur), is mentioned in several inscriptions. Babylon
was captured by Cyrus, B.C. 538, and though it revolted more
than once in later years, it never succeeded in maintaining its
Tilling the ground (Gen. 2:15; 4:2, 3, 12) and rearing cattle
were the chief employments in ancient times. The Egyptians
excelled in agriculture. And after the Israelites entered into
the possession of the Promised Land, their circumstances
favoured in the highest degree a remarkable development of this
art. Agriculture became indeed the basis of the Mosaic
The year in Israel was divided into six agricultural
I. SOWING TIME.
Tisri, latter half
(beginning about the autumnal equinox.)
Kisleu, former half.
Early rain due = first showers of autumn.
II. UNRIPE TIME.
Kisleu, latter half.
Sebat, former half.
III. COLD SEASON.
Sebat, latter half.
Nisan, former half.
Latter rain due (Deut. 11:14; Jer. 5:24; Hos. 6:3; Zech. 10:1;
James 5:7; Job 29:23).
IV. HARVEST TIME.
Nisan, latter half.
(Beginning about vernal equinox. Barley green. Passover.)
Sivan, former half., Wheat ripe. Pentecost.
V. SUMMER (total absence of rain)
Sivan, latter half.
Ab, former half.
VI. SULTRY SEASON
Ab, latter half.
Tisri, former half., Ingathering of fruits.
The six months from the middle of Tisri to the middle of Nisan
were occupied with the work of cultivation, and the rest of the
year mainly with the gathering in of the fruits. The extensive
and easily-arranged system of irrigation from the rills and
streams from the mountains made the soil in every part of
Israel richly productive (Ps. 1:3; 65:10; Prov. 21:1; Isa.
30:25; 32:2, 20; Hos. 12:11), and the appliances of careful
cultivation and of manure increased its fertility to such an
extent that in the days of Solomon, when there was an abundant
population, "20,000 measures of wheat year by year" were sent to
Hiram in exchange for timber (1 Kings 5:11), and in large
quantities also wheat was sent to the Tyrians for the
merchandise in which they traded (Ezek. 27:17). The wheat
sometimes produced an hundredfold (Gen. 26:12; Matt. 13:23).
Figs and pomegranates were very plentiful (Num. 13:23), and the
vine and the olive grew luxuriantly and produced abundant fruit
Lest the productiveness of the soil should be exhausted, it
was enjoined that the whole land should rest every seventh year,
when all agricultural labour would entirely cease (Lev. 25:1-7;
It was forbidden to sow a field with divers seeds (Deut.
22:9). A passer-by was at liberty to eat any quantity of corn or
grapes, but he was not permitted to carry away any (Deut. 23:24,
25; Matt. 12:1). The poor were permitted to claim the corners of
the fields and the gleanings. A forgotten sheaf in the field was
to be left also for the poor. (See Lev. 19:9, 10; Deut. 24:19.)
Agricultural implements and operations.
The sculptured monuments and painted tombs of Egypt and
Assyria throw much light on this subject, and on the general
operations of agriculture. Ploughs of a simple construction were
known in the time of Moses (Deut. 22:10; compare Job 1:14). They
were very light, and required great attention to keep them in
the ground (Luke 9:62). They were drawn by oxen (Job 1:14), cows
(1 Sam. 6:7), and asses (Isa. 30:24); but an ox and an ass must
not be yoked together in the same plough (Deut. 22:10). Men
sometimes followed the plough with a hoe to break the clods
(Isa. 28:24). The oxen were urged on by a "goad," or long staff
pointed at the end, so that if occasion arose it could be used
as a spear also (Judg. 3:31; 1 Sam. 13:21).
When the soil was prepared, the seed was sown broadcast over
the field (Matt. 13:3-8). The "harrow" mentioned in Job 39:10
was not used to cover the seeds, but to break the clods, being
little more than a thick block of wood. In highly irrigated
spots the seed was trampled in by cattle (Isa. 32:20); but
doubtless there was some kind of harrow also for covering in the
seed scattered in the furrows of the field.
The reaping of the corn was performed either by pulling it up
by the roots, or cutting it with a species of sickle, according
to circumstances. The corn when cut was generally put up in
sheaves (Gen. 37:7; Lev. 23:10-15; Ruth 2:7, 15; Job 24:10; Jer.
9:22; Micah 4:12), which were afterwards gathered to the
threshing-floor or stored in barns (Matt. 6:26).
The process of threshing was performed generally by spreading
the sheaves on the threshing-floor and causing oxen and cattle
to tread repeatedly over them (Deut. 25:4; Isa. 28:28). On
occasions flails or sticks were used for this purpose (Ruth
2:17; Isa. 28:27). There was also a "threshing instrument" (Isa.
41:15; Amos 1:3) which was drawn over the corn. It was called by
the Hebrews a moreg, a threshing roller or sledge (2 Sam. 24:22;
1 Chr. 21:23; Isa. 3:15). It was somewhat like the Roman
tribulum, or threshing instrument.
When the grain was threshed, it was winnowed by being thrown
up against the wind (Jer. 4:11), and afterwards tossed with
wooden scoops (Isa. 30:24). The shovel and the fan for winnowing
are mentioned in Ps. 35:5, Job 21:18, Isa. 17:13. The refuse of
straw and chaff was burned (Isa. 5:24). Freed from impurities,
the grain was then laid up in granaries till used (Deut. 28:8;
Prov. 3:10; Matt. 6:26; 13:30; Luke 12:18).
originally denoted only the sea-coast of the land of Canaan
inhabited by the Philistines (Ex. 15:14; Isa. 14:29, 31; Joel
3:4), and in this sense exclusively the Hebrew name Pelesheth
(rendered "Philistia" in Ps. 60:8; 83:7; 87:4; 108:9) occurs in
the Old Testament.
Not till a late period in Jewish history was this name used to
denote "the land of the Hebrews" in general (Gen. 40:15). It is
also called "the holy land" (Zech. 2:12), the "land of Jehovah"
(Hos. 9:3; Ps. 85:1), the "land of promise" (Heb. 11:9), because
promised to Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 24:7), the "land of Canaan"
(Gen. 12:5), the "land of Israel" (1 Sam. 13:19), and the "land
of Judah" (Isa. 19:17).
The territory promised as an inheritance to the seed of
Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21; Num. 34:1-12) was bounded on the east by
the river Euphrates, on the west by the Mediterranean, on the
north by the "entrance of Hamath," and on the south by the
"river of Egypt." This extent of territory, about 60,000 square
miles, was at length conquered by David, and was ruled over also
by his son Solomon (2 Sam. 8; 1 Chr. 18; 1 Kings 4:1, 21). This
vast empire was the Promised Land; but Israel was only a part
of it, terminating in the north at the southern extremity of the
Lebanon range, and in the south in the wilderness of Paran, thus
extending in all to about 144 miles in length. Its average
breadth was about 60 miles from the Mediterranean on the west to
beyond the Jordan. It has fittingly been designated "the least
of all lands." Western Israel, on the south of Gaza, is only
about 40 miles in breadth from the Mediterranean to the Dead
Sea, narrowing gradually toward the north, where it is only 20
miles from the sea-coast to the Jordan.
Israel, "set in the midst" (Ezek. 5:5) of all other lands,
is the most remarkable country on the face of the earth. No
single country of such an extent has so great a variety of
climate, and hence also of plant and animal life. Moses
describes it as "a good land, a land of brooks of water, of
fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a
land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and
pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein
thou shalt not eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack
any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose
hills thou mayest dig brass" (Deut. 8:7-9).
"In the time of Christ the country looked, in all probability,
much as now. The whole land consists of rounded limestone hills,
fretted into countless stony valleys, offering but rarely level
tracts, of which Esdraelon alone, below Nazareth, is large
enough to be seen on the map. The original woods had for ages
disappeared, though the slopes were dotted, as now, with figs,
olives, and other fruit-trees where there was any soil.
Permanent streams were even then unknown, the passing rush of
winter torrents being all that was seen among the hills. The
autumn and spring rains, caught in deep cisterns hewn out like
huge underground jars in the soft limestone, with artificial
mud-banked ponds still found near all villages, furnished water.
Hills now bare, or at best rough with stunted growth, were then
terraced, so as to grow vines, olives, and grain. To-day almost
desolate, the country then teemed with population. Wine-presses
cut in the rocks, endless terraces, and the ruins of old
vineyard towers are now found amidst solitudes overgrown for
ages with thorns and thistles, or with wild shrubs and poor
gnarled scrub" (Geikie's Life of Christ).
From an early period the land was inhabited by the descendants
of Canaan, who retained possession of the whole land "from Sidon
to Gaza" till the time of the conquest by Joshua, when it was
occupied by the twelve tribes. Two tribes and a half had their
allotments given them by Moses on the east of the Jordan (Deut.
3:12-20; compare Num. 1:17-46; Josh. 4:12-13). The remaining
tribes had their portion on the west of Jordan.
From the conquest till the time of Saul, about four hundred
years, the people were governed by judges. For a period of one
hundred and twenty years the kingdom retained its unity while it
was ruled by Saul and David and Solomon. On the death of
Solomon, his son Rehoboam ascended the throne; but his conduct
was such that ten of the tribes revolted, and formed an
independent monarchy, called the kingdom of Israel, or the
northern kingdom, the capital of which was first Shechem and
afterwards Samaria. This kingdom was destroyed. The Israelites
were carried captive by Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, B.C. 722,
after an independent existence of two hundred and fifty-three
years. The place of the captives carried away was supplied by
tribes brought from the east, and thus was formed the Samaritan
nation (2 Kings 17:24-29).
Nebuchadnezzar came up against the kingdom of the two tribes,
the kingdom of Judah, the capital of which was Jerusalem, one
hundred and thirty-four years after the overthrow of the kingdom
of Israel. He overthrew the city, plundered the temple, and
carried the people into captivity to Babylon (B.C. 587), where
they remained seventy years. At the close of the period of the
Captivity, they returned to their own land, under the edict of
Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4). They rebuilt the city and temple, and
restored the old Jewish commonwealth.
For a while after the Restoration the Jews were ruled by
Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and afterwards by the high
priests, assisted by the Sanhedrin. After the death of Alexander
the Great at Babylon (B.C. 323), his vast empire was divided
between his four generals. Egypt, Arabia, Israel, and
Coele-Syria fell to the lot of Ptolemy Lagus. Ptolemy took
possession of Israel in B.C. 320, and carried nearly one
hundred thousand of the inhabitants of Jerusalem into Egypt. He
made Alexandria the capital of his kingdom, and treated the Jews
with consideration, confirming them in the enjoyment of many
After suffering persecution at the hands of Ptolemy's
successors, the Jews threw off the Egyptian yoke, and became
subject to Antiochus the Great, the king of Syria. The cruelty
and opression of the successors of Antiochus at length led to
the revolt under the Maccabees (B.C. 163), when they threw off
the Syrian yoke.
In the year B.C. 68, Israel was reduced by Pompey the Great
to a Roman province. He laid the walls of the city in ruins, and
massacred some twelve thousand of the inhabitants. He left the
temple, however, unijured. About twenty-five years after this
the Jews revolted and cast off the Roman yoke. They were
however, subdued by Herod the Great (q.v.). The city and the
temple were destroyed, and many of the inhabitants were put to
death. About B.C. 20, Herod proceeded to rebuild the city and
restore the ruined temple, which in about nine years and a half
was so far completed that the sacred services could be resumed
in it (compare John 2:20). He was succeeded by his son Archelaus,
who was deprived of his power, however, by Augustus, A.D. 6,
when Israel became a Roman province, ruled by Roman governors
or procurators. Pontius Pilate was the fifth of these
procurators. He was appointed to his office A.D. 25.
Exclusive of Idumea, the kingdom of Herod the Great
comprehended the whole of the country originally divided among
the twelve tribes, which he divided into four provinces or
districts. This division was recognized so long as Israel was
under the Roman dominion. These four provinces were, (1) Judea,
the southern portion of the country; (2) Samaria, the middle
province, the northern boundary of which ran along the hills to
the south of the plain of Esdraelon; (3) Galilee, the northern
province; and (4) Peraea (a Greek name meaning the "opposite
country"), the country lying east of the Jordan and the Dead
Sea. This province was subdivided into these districts, (1)
Peraea proper, lying between the rivers Arnon and Jabbok; (2)
Galaaditis (Gilead); (3) Batanaea; (4) Gaulonitis (Jaulan); (5)
Ituraea or Auranitis, the ancient Bashan; (6) Trachonitis; (7)
Abilene; (8) Decapolis, i.e., the region of the ten cities. The
whole territory of Israel, including the portions alloted to
the trans-Jordan tribes, extended to about eleven thousand
square miles. Recent exploration has shown the territory on the
west of Jordan alone to be six thousand square miles in extent,
the size of the principality of Wales.
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.