Obadiah, Book of
consists of one chapter, "concerning Edom," its impending doom
(1:1-16), and the restoration of Israel (1:17-21). This is the
shortest book of the Old Testament.
There are on record the account of four captures of Jerusalem,
(1) by Shishak in the reign of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:25); (2) by
the Philistines and Arabians in the reign of Jehoram (2 Chr.
21:16); (3) by Joash, the king of Israel, in the reign of
Amaziah (2 Kings 14:13); and (4) by the Babylonians, when
Jerusalem was taken and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (B.C. 586).
Obadiah (1:11-14) speaks of this capture as a thing past. He
sees the calamity as having already come on Jerusalem, and the
Edomites as joining their forces with those of the Chaldeans in
bringing about the degradation and ruin of Israel. We do not
indeed read that the Edomites actually took part with the
Chaldeans, but the probabilities are that they did so, and this
explains the words of Obadiah in denouncing against Edom the
judgments of God. The date of his prophecies was thus in or
about the year of the destruction of Jerusalem.
Edom is the type of Israel's and of God's last foe (Isa.
63:1-4). These will finally all be vanquished, and the kingdom
will be the Lord's (compare Ps. 22:28).
In a prophecy concerning our Lord, Isaiah (7:14) says, "A virgin
[R.V. marg., 'the virgin'] shall conceive, and bear a son"
(compare Luke 1:31-35). The people of the land of Zidon are thus
referred to by Isaiah (23:12), "O thou oppressed virgin,
daughter of Zidon;" and of the people of Israel, Jeremiah
(18:13) says, "The virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible
salvation, the son of Beeri, and author of the book of
prophecies bearing his name. He belonged to the kingdom of
Israel. "His Israelitish origin is attested by the peculiar,
rough, Aramaizing diction, pointing to the northern part of
Israel; by the intimate acquaintance he evinces with the
localities of Ephraim (5:1; 6:8, 9; 12:12; 14:6, etc.); by
passages like 1:2, where the kingdom is styled 'the land', and
7:5, where the Israelitish king is designated as 'our' king."
The period of his ministry (extending to some sixty years) is
indicated in the superscription (Hos. 1:1, 2). He is the only
prophet of Israel who has left any written prophecy.
(1.) The name of Esau (q.v.), Gen. 25:30, "Feed me, I pray thee,
with that same red pottage [Heb. haadom, haadom, i.e., 'the red
pottage, the red pottage'] ...Therefore was his name called
Edom", i.e., Red.
(2.) Idumea (Isa. 34:5, 6; Ezek. 35:15). "The field of Edom"
(Gen. 32:3), "the land of Edom" (Gen. 36:16), was mountainous
(Obad. 1:8, 9, 19, 21). It was called the land, or "the mountain
of Seir," the rough hills on the east side of the Arabah. It
extended from the head of the Gulf of Akabah, the Elanitic gulf,
to the foot of the Dead Sea (1 Kings 9:26), and contained, among
other cities, the rock-hewn Sela (q.v.), generally known by the
Greek name Petra (2 Kings 14:7). It is a wild and rugged region,
traversed by fruitful valleys. Its old capital was Bozrah (Isa.
63:1). The early inhabitants of the land were Horites. They were
destroyed by the Edomites (Deut. 2:12), between whom and the
kings of Israel and Judah there was frequent war (2 Kings 8:20;
2 Chr. 28:17).
At the time of the Exodus they churlishly refused permission
to the Israelites to pass through their land (Num. 20:14-21),
and ever afterwards maintained an attitude of hostility toward
them. They were conquered by David (2 Sam. 8:14; compare 1 Kings
9:26), and afterwards by Amaziah (2 Chr. 25:11, 12). But they
regained again their independence, and in later years, during
the decline of the Jewish kingdom (2 Kings 16:6; R.V. marg.,
"Edomites"), made war against Israel. They took part with the
Chaldeans when Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem, and afterwards
they invaded and held possession of the south of Israel as
far as Hebron. At length, however, Edom fell under the growing
Chaldean power (Jer. 27:3, 6).
There are many prophecies concerning Edom (Isa. 34:5, 6; Jer.
49:7-18; Ezek. 25:13; 35:1-15; Joel 3:19; Amos 1:11; Obad.; Mal.
1:3, 4) which have been remarkably fulfilled. The present
desolate condition of that land is a standing testimony to the
inspiration of these prophecies. After an existence as a people
for above seventeen hundred years, they have utterly
disappeared, and their language even is forgotten for ever. In
Petra, "where kings kept their court, and where nobles
assembled, there no man dwells; it is given by lot to birds, and
beasts, and reptiles."
The Edomites were Semites, closely related in blood and in
language to the Israelites. They dispossessed the Horites of
Mount Seir; though it is clear, from Gen. 36, that they
afterwards intermarried with the conquered population. Edomite
tribes settled also in the south of Judah, like the Kenizzites
(Gen. 36:11), to whom Caleb and Othniel belonged (Josh. 15:17).
The southern part of Edom was known as Teman.
dedicated to God, a king whom his mother instructed (Prov.
31:1-9). Nothing is certainly known concerning him. The rabbis
identified him with Solomon.
Book of Zephaniah
The book of the prophecies of Zephaniah consists of:
(a) An introduction (1:1-6), announcing the judgment of the world, and the judgment upon Israel, because of their transgressions.
(b) The description of the judgment (1:7-18).
(c) An exhortation to seek God while there is still time (2:1-3).
(d) The announcement of judgment on the heathen (2:4-15).
(e) The hopeless misery of Jerusalem (3:1-7).
(f) The promise of salvation (3:8-20).
for answering; i.e., in singing, occurs in the title to Ps. 88.
The title "Mahalath (q.v.) Leannoth" may be rendered "concerning
sickness, to be sung" i.e., perhaps, to be sung in sickness.
Mahalath Leannoth Maschil
This word leannoth seems to point to some kind of instrument
unknown (Ps. 88, title). The whole phrase has by others been
rendered, "On the sickness of affliction: a lesson;" or,
"Concerning afflictive sickness: a didactic psalm."
The five books of Moses were collectively called the Pentateuch,
a word of Greek origin meaning "the five-fold book." The Jews
called them the Torah, i.e., "the law." It is probable that the
division of the Torah into five books proceeded from the Greek
translators of the Old Testament. The names by which these
several books are generally known are Greek.
The first book of the Pentateuch (q.v.) is called by the Jews
Bereshith, i.e., "in the beginning", because this is the first
word of the book. It is generally known among Christians by the
name of Genesis, i.e., "creation" or "generation," being the
name given to it in the LXX. as designating its character,
because it gives an account of the origin of all things. It
contains, according to the usual computation, the history of
about two thousand three hundred and sixty-nine years.
Genesis is divided into two principal parts. The first part
(1-11) gives a general history of mankind down to the time of
the Dispersion. The second part presents the early history of
Israel down to the death and burial of Joseph (12-50).
There are five principal persons brought in succession under
our notice in this book, and around these persons the history of
the successive periods is grouped, viz., Adam (1-3), Noah (4-9),
Abraham (10-25:18), Isaac (25:19-35:29), and Jacob (36-50).
In this book we have several prophecies concerning Christ
(3:15; 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; 49:10). The author of
this book was Moses. Under divine guidance he may indeed have
been led to make use of materials already existing in primeval
documents, or even of traditions in a trustworthy form that had
come down to his time, purifying them from all that was
unworthy; but the hand of Moses is clearly seen throughout in
a coney, a scribe or secretary of king Josiah (2 Kings 22:3-7).
He consulted Huldah concerning the newly-discovered copy of the
law which was delivered to him by Hilkiah the priest (8-14). His
grandson Gedaliah was governor of Judea (25:22).
(Heb. 'asham, "debt"), the law concerning, given in Lev.
5:14-6:7; also in Num. 5:5-8. The idea of sin as a "debt"
pervades this legislation. The "asham", which was always a ram,
was offered in cases where sins were more private. (See OFFERING
Ezekiel, Book of
consists mainly of three groups of prophecies. After an account
of his call to the prophetical office (1-3:21), Ezekiel (1)
utters words of denunciation against the Jews (3:22-24), warning
them of the certain destruction of Jerusalem, in opposition to
the words of the false prophets (4:1-3). The symbolical acts, by
which the extremities to which Jerusalem would be reduced are
described in ch. 4,5, show his intimate acquaintance with the
Levitical legislation. (See Ex. 22:30; Deut. 14:21; Lev. 5:2;
7:18,24; 17:15; 19:7; 22:8, etc.)
(2.) Prophecies against various surrounding nations: against
the Ammonites (Ezek. 25:1-7), the Moabites (8-11), the Edomites
(12-14), the Philistines (15-17), Tyre and Sidon (26-28), and
against Egypt (29-32).
(3.) Prophecies delivered after the destruction of Jerusalem
by Nebuchadnezzar: the triumphs of Israel and of the kingdom of
God on earth (Ezek. 33-39); Messianic times, and the
establishment and prosperity of the kingdom of God (40;48).
The closing visions of this book are referred to in the book
of Revelation (Ezek. 38=Rev. 20:8; Ezek. 47:1-8=Rev. 22:1,2).
Other references to this book are also found in the New
Testament. (Compare Rom. 2:24 with Ezek. 36:2; Rom. 10:5, Gal.
3:12 with Ezek. 20:11; 2 Pet. 3:4 with Ezek. 12:22.)
It may be noted that Daniel, fourteen years after his
deportation from Jerusalem, is mentioned by Ezekiel (14:14)
along with Noah and Job as distinguished for his righteousness,
and some five years later he is spoken of as pre-eminent for his
Ezekiel's prophecies are characterized by symbolical and
allegorical representations, "unfolding a rich series of
majestic visions and of colossal symbols." There are a great
many also of "symbolcal actions embodying vivid conceptions on
the part of the prophet" (4:1-4; 5:1-4; 12:3-6; 24:3-5; 37:16,
etc.) "The mode of representation, in which symbols and
allegories occupy a prominent place, gives a dark, mysterious
character to the prophecies of Ezekiel. They are obscure and
enigmatical. A cloudy mystery overhangs them which it is almost
impossible to penetrate. Jerome calls the book 'a labyrith of
the mysteries of God.' It was because of this obscurity that the
Jews forbade any one to read it till he had attained the age of
Ezekiel is singular in the frequency with which he refers to
the Pentateuch (e.g., Ezek. 27; 28:13; 31:8; 36:11, 34; 47:13,
etc.). He shows also an acquaintance with the writings of Hosea
(Ezek. 37:22), Isaiah (Ezek. 8:12; 29:6), and especially with
those of Jeremiah, his older contemporary (Jer. 24:7, 9; 48:37).
Jehovah has made perfect. (1.) The son of Shaphan, and one of
the Levites of the temple in the time of Jehoiakim (Jer. 36:10;
2 Kings 22:12). Baruch read aloud to the people from Gemariah's
chamber, and again in the hearing of Gemariah and other scribes,
the prophecies of Jeremiah (Jer. 36:11-20), which filled him
with terror. He joined with others in entreating the king not to
destroy the roll of the prophecies which Baruch had read
(2.) The son of Hilkiah, who accompanied Shaphan with the
tribute-money from Zedekiah to Nebuchadnezzar, and was the
bearer at the same time of a letter from Jeremiah to the Jewish
captives at Babylon (Jer. 29:3, 4).
whom God has given. (1.) An inhabitant of Jerusalem, the father
of Nehushta, who was the mother of king Jehoiachin (2 Kings
24:8). Probably the same who tried to prevent Jehoiakim from
burning the roll of Jeremiah's prophecies (Jer. 26:22; 36:12).
(2.) Ezra 8:16.
This epithet (Gr. Nazaraios) is applied to Christ only once
(Matt. 2:23). In all other cases the word is rendered "of
Nazareth" (Mark 1:24; 10:47; 14:67, etc.). When this Greek
designation was at first applied to our Lord, it was meant
simply to denote the place of his residence. In course of time
the word became a term of reproach. Thus the word "Nazarene"
carries with it an allusion to those prophecies which speak of
Christ as "despised of men" (Isa. 53:3). Some, however, think
that in this name there is an allusion to the Hebrew "netser",
which signifies a branch or sprout. It is so applied to the
Messiah (Isa. 11:1), i.e., he whom the prophets called the
"Netse", the "Branch."
The followers of Christ were called "the sect of Nazarenes"
(Acts 24:5). All over Israel and Syria this name is still
given to Christians. (See NAZARETH T0002676.)
or prediction, was one of the functions of the prophet. It has
been defined as a "miracle of knowledge, a declaration or
description or representation of something future, beyond the
power of human sagacity to foresee, discern, or conjecture."
(See PROPHET T0003006.)
The great prediction which runs like a golden thread through
the whole contents of the Old Testament is that regarding the
coming and work of the Messiah; and the great use of prophecy
was to perpetuate faith in his coming, and to prepare the world
for that event. But there are many subordinate and intermediate
prophecies also which hold an important place in the great chain
of events which illustrate the sovereignty and all-wise
overruling providence of God.
Then there are many prophecies regarding the Jewish nation,
its founder Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3; 13:16; 15:5; 17:2, 4-6, etc.),
and his posterity, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants (12:7;
13:14, 15, 17; 15:18-21; Ex. 3:8, 17), which have all been
fulfilled. The twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy contains a
series of predictions which are even now in the present day
being fulfilled. In the writings of the prophets Isaiah
(2:18-21), Jeremiah (27:3-7; 29:11-14), Ezekiel (5:12; 8),
Daniel (8; 9:26, 27), Hosea (9:17), there are also many
prophecies regarding the events which were to befall that
There is in like manner a large number of prophecies relating
to those nations with which the Jews came into contact, as Tyre
(Ezek. 26:3-5, 14-21), Egypt (Ezek. 29:10, 15; 30:6, 12, 13),
Ethiopia (Nahum 3:8-10), Nineveh (Nahum 1:10; 2:8-13; 3:17-19),
Babylon (Isa. 13:4; Jer. 51:7; Isa. 44:27; Jer. 50:38; 51:36,
39, 57), the land of the Philistines (Jer. 47:4-7; Ezek.
25:15-17; Amos 1:6-8; Zeph. 2:4-7; Zech. 9:5-8), and of the four
great monarchies (Dan. 2:39, 40; 7:17-24; 8:9).
But the great body of Old Testament prophecy relates directly
to the advent of the Messiah, beginning with Gen. 3:15, the
first great promise, and extending in ever-increasing fulness
and clearness all through to the very close of the canon. The
Messianic prophecies are too numerous to be quoted. "To him gave
all the prophets witness." (Compare Micah 5:2; Hag. 2:6-9; Isa.
7:14; 9:6, 7; 11:1, 2; 53; 60:10, 13; Ps. 16:11; 68:18.)
Many predictions also were delivered by Jesus and his
apostles. Those of Christ were very numerous. (Compare Matt.
10:23:24; 11:23; 19:28; 21:43, 44; 24; 25:31-46; 26:17-35, 46,
64; Mark 9:1; 10:30; 13; 11:1-6, 14; 14:12-31, 42, 62; 16:17,
messenger or angel, the last of the minor prophets, and the
writer of the last book of the Old Testament canon (Mal. 4:4, 5,
6). Nothing is known of him beyond what is contained in his book
of prophecies. Some have supposed that the name is simply a
title descriptive of his character as a messenger of Jehovah,
and not a proper name. There is reason, however, to conclude
that Malachi was the ordinary name of the prophet.
He was contemporary with Nehemiah (compare Mal. 2:8 with Neh.
13:15; Mal. 2:10-16 with Neh. 13:23). No allusion is made to him
by Ezra, and he does not mention the restoration of the temple,
and hence it is inferred that he prophesied after Haggai and
Zechariah, and when the temple services were still in existence
(Mal. 1:10; 3:1, 10). It is probable that he delivered his
prophecies about B.C. 420, after the second return of Nehemiah
from Persia (Neh. 13:6), or possibly before his return.
Malachi, Prophecies of
The contents of the book are comprised in four chapters. In the
Hebrew text the third and fourth chapters (of the A.V.) form but
one. The whole consists of three sections, preceded by an
introduction (Mal. 1:1-5), in which the prophet reminds Israel
of Jehovah's love to them. The first section (1:6-2:9) contains
a stern rebuke addressed to the priests who had despised the
name of Jehovah, and been leaders in a departure from his
worship and from the covenant, and for their partiality in
administering the law. In the second (2:9-16) the people are
rebuked for their intermarriages with idolatrous heathen. In the
third (2:17-4:6) he addresses the people as a whole, and warns
them of the coming of the God of judgment, preceded by the
advent of the Messiah.
This book is frequently referred to in the New Testament
(Matt. 11:10; 17:12; Mark 1:2; 9:11, 12; Luke 1:17; Rom. 9:13).
(Heb. mashiah), in all the thirty-nine instances of its
occurring in the Old Testament, is rendered by the LXX.
"Christos." It means anointed. Thus priests (Ex. 28:41; 40:15;
Num. 3:3), prophets (1 Kings 19:16), and kings (1 Sam. 9:16;
16:3; 2 Sam. 12:7) were anointed with oil, and so consecrated to
their respective offices. The great Messiah is anointed "above
his fellows" (Ps. 45:7); i.e., he embraces in himself all the
three offices. The Greek form "Messias" is only twice used in
the New Testament, in John 1:41 and 4:25 (R.V., "Messiah"), and
in the Old Testament the word Messiah, as the rendering of the
Hebrew, occurs only twice (Dan 9:25, 26; R.V., "the anointed
The first great promise (Gen. 3:15) contains in it the germ of
all the prophecies recorded in the Old Testament regarding the
coming of the Messiah and the great work he was to accomplish on
earth. The prophecies became more definite and fuller as the
ages rolled on; the light shone more and more unto the perfect
day. Different periods of prophetic revelation have been pointed
out, (1) the patriarchal; (2) the Mosaic; (3) the period of
David; (4) the period of prophetism, i.e., of those prophets
whose works form a part of the Old Testament canon. The
expectations of the Jews were thus kept alive from generation to
generation, till the "fulness of the times," when Messiah came,
"made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were
under the law." In him all these ancient prophecies have their
fulfilment. Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, the great
Deliverer who was to come. (Compare Matt. 26:54; Mark 9:12; Luke
18:31; 22:37; John 5:39; Acts 2; 16:31; 26:22, 23.)
consolation, the seventh of the so-called minor prophets, an
Elkoshite. All we know of him is recorded in the book of his
prophecies. He was probably a native of Galilee, and after the
deportation of the ten tribes took up his residence in
Jerusalem. Others think that Elkosh was the name of a place on
the east bank of the Tigris, and that Nahum dwelt there.
lord of the people; foreigner or glutton, as interpreted by
others, the son of Beor, was a man of some rank among the
Midianites (Num. 31:8; compare 16). He resided at Pethor (Deut.
23:4), in Mesopotamia (Num. 23:7). It is evident that though
dwelling among idolaters he had some knowledge of the true God;
and was held in such reputation that it was supposed that he
whom he blessed was blessed, and he whom he cursed was cursed.
When the Israelites were encamped on the plains of Moab, on the
east of Jordan, by Jericho, Balak sent for Balaam "from Aram,
out of the mountains of the east," to curse them; but by the
remarkable interposition of God he was utterly unable to fulfil
Balak's wish, however desirous he was to do so. The apostle
Peter refers (2 Pet. 2:15, 16) to this as an historical event.
In Micah 6:5 reference also is made to the relations between
Balaam and Balak. Though Balaam could not curse Israel, yet he
suggested a mode by which the divine displeasure might be caused
to descend upon them (Num. 25). In a battle between Israel and
the Midianites (q.v.) Balaam was slain while fighting on the
side of Balak (Num. 31:8).
The "doctrine of Balaam" is spoken of in Rev. 2:14, in
allusion to the fact that it was through the teaching of Balaam
that Balak learned the way by which the Israelites might be led
into sin. (See NICOLAITANES T0002725.) Balaam was constrained
to utter prophecies regarding the future of Israel of wonderful
magnificence and beauty of expression (Num. 24:5-9, 17).
Fishing, the art of
was prosecuted with great industry in the waters of Israel.
It was from the fishing-nets that Jesus called his disciples
(Mark 1:16-20), and it was in a fishing-boat he rebuked the
winds and the waves (Matt. 8:26) and delivered that remarkable
series of prophecies recorded in Matt. 13. He twice miraculously
fed multitudes with fish and bread (Matt. 14:19; 15:36). It was
in the mouth of a fish that the tribute-money was found (Matt.
17:27). And he "ate a piece of broiled fish" with his disciples
after his resurrection (Luke 24:42, 43; compare Acts 1:3). At the
Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-14), in obedience to his direction,
the disciples cast their net "on the right side of the ship,"
and enclosed so many that "they were not able to draw it for the
multitude of fishes."
Two kinds of fishing-nets are mentioned in the New Testament:
(1.) The casting-net (Matt. 4:18; Mark 1:16).
(2.) The drag-net or seine (Matt. 13:48).
Fish were also caught by the fishing-hook (Matt. 17:27). (See
The first occasion on which we read of a prison is in the
history of Joseph in Egypt. Then Potiphar, "Joseph's master,
took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's
prisoners were bound" (Gen. 39:20-23). The Heb. word here used
(sohar) means properly a round tower or fortress. It seems to
have been a part of Potiphar's house, a place in which state
prisoners were kept.
The Mosaic law made no provision for imprisonment as a
punishment. In the wilderness two persons were "put in ward"
(Lev. 24:12; Num. 15:34), but it was only till the mind of God
concerning them should be ascertained. Prisons and prisoners are
mentioned in the book of Psalms (69:33; 79:11; 142:7). Samson
was confined in a Philistine prison (Judg. 16:21, 25). In the
subsequent history of Israel frequent references are made to
prisons (1 Kings 22:27; 2 Kings 17:4; 25:27, 29; 2 Chr. 16:10;
Isa. 42:7; Jer. 32:2). Prisons seem to have been common in New
Testament times (Matt. 11:2; 25:36, 43). The apostles were put
into the "common prison" at the instance of the Jewish council
(Acts 5:18, 23; 8:3); and at Philippi Paul and Silas were thrust
into the "inner prison" (16:24; compare 4:3; 12:4, 5).
Hosea, Prophecies of
This book stands first in order among the "Minor Prophets." "The
probable cause of the location of Hosea may be the thoroughly
national character of his oracles, their length, their earnest
tone, and vivid representations." This was the longest of the
prophetic books written before the Captivity. Hosea prophesied
in a dark and melancholy period of Israel's history, the period
of Israel's decline and fall. Their sins had brought upon them
great national disasters. "Their homicides and fornication,
their perjury and theft, their idolatry and impiety, are
censured and satirized with a faithful severity." He was a
contemporary of Isaiah. The book may be divided into two parts,
the first containing chapters 1-3, and symbolically representing
the idolatry of Israel under imagery borrowed from the
matrimonial relation. The figures of marriage and adultery are
common in the Old Testament writings to represent the spiritual
relations between Jehovah and the people of Israel. Here we see
the apostasy of Israel and their punishment, with their future
repentance, forgiveness, and restoration.
The second part, containing 4-14, is a summary of Hosea's
discourses, filled with denunciations, threatenings,
exhortations, promises, and revelations of mercy.
Quotations from Hosea are found in Matt. 2:15; 9:15; 12:7;
Rom. 9:25, 26. There are, in addition, various allusions to it
in other places (Luke 23:30; Rev. 6:16, compare Hos. 10:8; Rom.
9:25, 26; 1 Pet. 2:10, compare Hos. 1:10, etc.).
As regards the style of this writer, it has been said that
"each verse forms a whole for itself, like one heavy toll in a
funeral knell." "Inversions (7:8; 9:11, 13; 12: 8), anacolutha
(9:6; 12:8, etc.), ellipses (9:4; 13:9, etc.), paranomasias, and
plays upon words, are very characteristic of Hosea (8:7; 9:15;
10:5; 11:5; 12:11)."
brother (i.e., "friend") of Jehovah. (1.) One of the sons of
Bela (1 Chr. 8:7, R.V.). In A.V. called "Ahiah."
(2.) One of the five sons of Jerahmeel, who was great-grandson
of Judah (1 Chr. 2:25).
(3.) Son of Ahitub (1 Sam. 14:3, 18), Ichabod's brother; the
same probably as Ahimelech, who was high priest at Nob in the
reign of Saul (1 Sam. 22:11). Some, however, suppose that
Ahimelech was the brother of Ahijah, and that they both
officiated as high priests, Ahijah at Gibeah or Kirjath-jearim,
and Ahimelech at Nob.
(4.) A Pelonite, one of David's heroes (1 Chr. 11:36); called
also Eliam (2 Sam. 23:34).
(5.) A Levite having charge of the sacred treasury in the
temple (1 Chr. 26:20).
(6.) One of Solomon's secretaries (1 Kings 4:3).
(7.) A prophet of Shiloh (1 Kings 11:29; 14:2), called the
"Shilonite," in the days of Rehoboam. We have on record two of
his remarkable prophecies, 1 Kings 11:31-39, announcing the
rending of the ten tribes from Solomon; and 1 Kings 14:6-16,
delivered to Jeroboam's wife, foretelling the death of Abijah
the king's son, the destruction of Jeroboam's house, and the
captivity of Israel "beyond the river." Jeroboam bears testimony
to the high esteem in which he was held as a prophet of God (1
the third book of the Pentateuch; so called in the Vulgate,
after the LXX., because it treats chiefly of the Levitical
In the first section of the book (1-17), which exhibits the
worship itself, there is, (1.) A series of laws (1-7) regarding
sacrifices, burnt-offerings, meat-offerings, and thank-offerings
(1-3), sin-offerings and trespass-offerings (4; 5), followed by
the law of the priestly duties in connection with the offering
of sacrifices (6; 7). (2.) An historical section (8-10), giving
an account of the consecration of Aaron and his sons (8);
Aaron's first offering for himself and the people (9); Nadab and
Abihu's presumption in offering "strange fire before Jehovah,"
and their punishment (10). (3.) Laws concerning purity, and the
sacrifices and ordinances for putting away impurity (11-16). An
interesting fact may be noted here. Canon Tristram, speaking of
the remarkable discoveries regarding the flora and fauna of the
Holy Land by the Israel Exploration officers, makes the
following statement:, "Take these two catalogues of the clean
and unclean animals in the books of Leviticus  and
Deuteronomy . There are eleven in Deuteronomy which do not
occur in Leviticus, and these are nearly all animals and birds
which are not found in Egypt or the Holy Land, but which are
numerous in the Arabian desert. They are not named in Leviticus
a few weeks after the departure from Egypt; but after the people
were thirty-nine years in the desert they are named, a strong
proof that the list in Deuteronomy was written at the end of the
journey, and the list in Leviticus at the beginning. It fixes
the writing of that catalogue to one time and period only, viz.,
that when the children of Israel were familiar with the fauna
and the flora of the desert" (Palest. Expl. Quart., Jan. 1887).
(4.) Laws marking the separation between Israel and the heathen
(17-20). (5.) Laws about the personal purity of the priests, and
their eating of the holy things (20; 21); about the offerings of
Israel, that they were to be without blemish (22:17-33); and
about the due celebration of the great festivals (23; 25). (6.)
Then follow promises and warnings to the people regarding
obedience to these commandments, closing with a section on vows.
The various ordinances contained in this book were all
delivered in the space of a month (compare Ex. 40:17; Num. 1:1),
the first month of the second year after the Exodus. It is the
third book of Moses.
No book contains more of the very words of God. He is almost
throughout the whole of it the direct speaker. This book is a
prophecy of things to come, a shadow whereof the substance is
Christ and his kingdom. The principles on which it is to be
interpreted are laid down in the Epistle to the Hebrews. It
contains in its complicated ceremonial the gospel of the grace
Jeremiah, Book of
consists of twenty-three separate and independent sections,
arranged in five books. I. The introduction, ch. 1. II. Reproofs
of the sins of the Jews, consisting of seven sections, (1.) ch.
2; (2.) ch. 3-6; (3.) ch. 7-10; (4.) ch. 11-13; (5.) ch.
14-17:18; (6.) ch. 17:19-ch. 20; (7.) ch. 21-24. III. A general
review of all nations, in two sections, (1.) ch. 46-49; (2.) ch.
25; with an historical appendix of three sections, (1.) ch. 26;
(2.) ch. 27; (3.) ch. 28, 29. IV. Two sections picturing the
hopes of better times, (1.) ch. 30, 31; (2.) ch. 32,33; to which
is added an historical appendix in three sections, (1.) ch.
34:1-7; (2.) ch. 34:8-22; (3.) ch. 35. V. The conclusion, in two
sections, (1.) ch. 36; (2.) ch. 45.
In Egypt, after an interval, Jeremiah is supposed to have
added three sections, viz., ch. 37-39; 40-43; and 44.
The principal Messianic prophecies are found in 23:1-8;
31:31-40; and 33:14-26.
Jeremiah's prophecies are noted for the frequent repetitions
found in them of the same words and phrases and imagery. They
cover the period of about 30 years. They are not recorded in the
order of time. When and under what circumstances this book
assumed its present form we know not.
The LXX. Version of this book is, in its arrangement and in
other particulars, singularly at variance with the original. The
LXX. omits 10:6-8; 27:19-22; 29:16-20; 33:14-26; 39:4-13; 52:2,
3, 15, 28-30, etc. About 2,700 words in all of the original are
omitted. These omissions, etc., are capricious and arbitrary,
and render the version unreliable.
Jehovah has concealed, or Jehovah of darkness. (1.) The son of
Cushi, and great-grandson of Hezekiah, and the ninth in the
order of the minor prophets. He prophesied in the days of
Josiah, king of Judah (B.C. 641-610), and was contemporary with
Jeremiah, with whom he had much in common. The book of his
prophecies consists of:
(a) An introduction (1:1-6), announcing the judgment of the
world, and the judgment upon Israel, because of their
(b) The description of the judgment (1:7-18).
(c) An exhortation to seek God while there is still time
(d) The announcement of judgment on the heathen (2:4-15).
(e) The hopeless misery of Jerusalem (3:1-7).
(f) The promise of salvation (3:8-20).
(2.) The son of Maaseiah, the "second priest" in the reign of
Zedekiah, often mentioned in Jeremiah as having been sent from
the king to inquire (Jer. 21:1) regarding the coming woes which
he had denounced, and to entreat the prophet's intercession that
the judgment threatened might be averted (Jer. 29:25, 26, 29;
37:3; 52:24). He, along with some other captive Jews, was put to
death by the king of Babylon "at Riblah in the land of Hamath"
(2 Kings 25:21).
(3.) A Kohathite ancestor of the prophet Samuel (1 Chr. 6:36).
(4.) The father of Josiah, the priest who dwelt in Jerusalem
when Darius issued the decree that the temple should be rebuilt
Humiliation of Christ
(Phil. 2:8), seen in (1) his birth (Gal. 4:4; Luke 2:7; John
1:46; Heb. 2:9), (2) his circumstances, (3) his reputation (Isa.
53; Matt. 26:59, 67; Ps. 22:6; Matt. 26:68), (4) his soul (Ps.
22:1; Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 22:44; Heb. 2:17, 18; 4:15), (5) his
death (Luke 23; John 19; Mark 15:24, 25), (6) and his burial
(Isa. 53:9; Matt. 27:57, 58, 60).
His humiliation was necessary (1) to execute the purpose of
God (Acts 2:23, 24; Ps. 40:6-8), (2) fulfil the Old Testament
types and prophecies, (3) satisfy the law in the room of the
guilty (Isa. 53; Heb. 9:12, 15), procure for them eternal
redemption, (4) and to show us an example.
First-born, Redemption of
From the beginning the office of the priesthood in each family
belonged to the eldest son. But when the extensive plan of
sacrificial worship was introduced, requiring a company of men
to be exclusively devoted to this ministry, the primitive office
of the first-born was superseded by that of the Levites (Num.
3:11-13), and it was ordained that the first-born of man and of
unclean animals should henceforth be redeemed (18:15).
The laws concerning this redemption of the first-born of man
are recorded in Ex. 13:12-15; 22:29; 34:20; Num. 3:45; 8:17;
18:16; Lev. 12:2, 4.
The first-born male of every clean animal was to be given up
to the priest for sacrifice (Deut. 12:6; Ex. 13:12; 34:20; Num.
But the first-born of unclean animals was either to be
redeemed or sold and the price given to the priest (Lev.
27:11-13, 27). The first-born of an ass, if not redeemed, was to
be put to death (Ex. 13:13; 34:20).
a word as used in Scripture denoting produce in general, whether
vegetable or animal. The Hebrews divided the fruits of the land
into three classes:,
(1.) The fruit of the field, "corn-fruit" (Heb. dagan); all
kinds of grain and pulse.
(2.) The fruit of the vine, "vintage-fruit" (Heb. tirosh);
grapes, whether moist or dried.
(3.) "Orchard-fruits" (Heb. yitshar), as dates, figs, citrons,
Injunctions concerning offerings and tithes were expressed by
these Hebrew terms alone (Num. 18:12; Deut. 14:23). This word
"fruit" is also used of children or offspring (Gen. 30:2; Deut.
7:13; Luke 1:42; Ps. 21:10; 132:11); also of the progeny of
beasts (Deut. 28:51; Isa. 14:29).
It is used metaphorically in a variety of forms (Ps. 104:13;
Prov. 1:31; 11:30; 31:16; Isa. 3:10; 10:12; Matt. 3:8; 21:41;
26:29; Heb. 13:15; Rom. 7:4, 5; 15:28).
The fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23; Eph. 5:9; James 3:17,
18) are those gracious dispositions and habits which the Spirit
produces in those in whom he dwells and works.
Heb. man-hu, "What is that?" the name given by the Israelites to
the food miraculously supplied to them during their wanderings
in the wilderness (Ex. 16:15-35). The name is commonly taken as
derived from "man", an expression of surprise, "What is it?" but
more probably it is derived from "manan", meaning "to allot,"
and hence denoting an "allotment" or a "gift." This "gift" from
God is described as "a small round thing," like the "hoar-frost
on the ground," and "like coriander seed," "of the colour of
bdellium," and in taste "like wafers made with honey." It was
capable of being baked and boiled, ground in mills, or beaten in
a mortar (Ex. 16:23; Num. 11:7). If any was kept over till the
following morning, it became corrupt with worms; but as on the
Sabbath none fell, on the preceding day a double portion was
given, and that could be kept over to supply the wants of the
Sabbath without becoming corrupt. Directions concerning the
gathering of it are fully given (Ex. 16:16-18, 33; Deut. 8:3,
16). It fell for the first time after the eighth encampment in
the desert of Sin, and was daily furnished, except on the
Sabbath, for all the years of the wanderings, till they encamped
at Gilgal, after crossing the Jordan, when it suddenly ceased,
and where they "did eat of the old corn of the land; neither had
the children of Israel manna any more" (Josh. 5:12). They now no
longer needed the "bread of the wilderness."
This manna was evidently altogether a miraculous gift, wholly
different from any natural product with which we are acquainted,
and which bears this name. The manna of European commerce comes
chiefly from Calabria and Sicily. It drops from the twigs of a
species of ash during the months of June and July. At night it
is fluid and resembles dew, but in the morning it begins to
harden. The manna of the Sinaitic peninsula is an exudation from
the "manna-tamarisk" tree (Tamarix mannifera), the el-tarfah of
the Arabs. This tree is found at the present day in certain
well-watered valleys in the peninsula of Sinai. The manna with
which the people of Israel were fed for forty years differs in
many particulars from all these natural products.
Our Lord refers to the manna when he calls himself the "true
bread from heaven" (John 6:31-35; 48-51). He is also the "hidden
manna" (Rev. 2:17; compare John 6:49,51).
blessed. (1.) The secretary of the prophet Jeremiah (32:12;
36:4). He was of the tribe of Judah (51:59). To him Jeremiah
dictated his prophecies regarding the invasion of the
Babylonians and the Captivity. These he read to the people from
a window in the temple in the fourth year of the reign of
Jehoiakim, king of Judah (Jer. 36). He afterwards read them
before the counsellors of the king at a private interview; and
then to the king himself, who, after hearing a part of the roll,
cut it with a penknife, and threw it into the fire of his winter
parlour, where he was sitting.
During the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, he was the
keeper of the deed of purchase Jeremiah had made of the
territory of Hanameel (Jer. 32:12). Being accused by his enemies
of favouring the Chaldeans, he was cast, with Jeremiah, into
prison, where he remained till the capture of Jerusalem (B.C.
586). He probably died in Babylon.
(2.) Neh. 3:20; 10:6; 11:5.
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
a name employed in the New Testament with reference to Abraham
(Heb. 7:4), the sons of Jacob (Acts 7:8, 9), and to David
(2:29). This name is generally applied to the progenitors of
families or "heads of the fathers" (Josh. 14:1) mentioned in
Scripture, and they are spoken of as antediluvian (from Adam to
Noah) and post-diluvian (from Noah to Jacob) patriachs. But the
expression "the patriarch," by way of eminence, is applied to
the twelve sons of Jacob, or to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
"Patriachal longevity presents itself as one of the most
striking of the facts concerning mankind which the early history
of the Book of Genesis places before us...There is a large
amount of consentient tradition to the effect that the life of
man was originally far more prolonged than it is at present,
extending to at least several hundred years. The Babylonians,
Egyptians, and Chinese exaggerated these hundreds into
thousands. The Greeks and Romans, with more moderation, limited
human life within a thousand or eight hundred years. The Hindus
still farther shortened the term. Their books taught that in the
first age of the world man was free from diseases, and lived
ordinarily four hundred years; in the second age the term of
life was reduced from four hundred to three hundred; in the
third it became two hundred; in the fourth and last it was
brought down to one hundred" (Rawlinson's Historical
Habakkuk, Prophecies of
were probably written about B.C. 650-627, or, as some think, a
few years later. This book consists of three chapters, the
contents of which are thus comprehensively described: "When the
prophet in spirit saw the formidable power of the Chaldeans
approaching and menacing his land, and saw the great evils they
would cause in Judea, he bore his complaints and doubts before
Jehovah, the just and the pure (1:2-17). And on this occasion
the future punishment of the Chaldeans was revealed to him (2).
In the third chapter a presentiment of the destruction of his
country, in the inspired heart of the prophet, contends with his
hope that the enemy would be chastised." The third chapter is a
sublime song dedicated "to the chief musician," and therefore
intended apparently to be used in the worship of God. It is
"unequalled in majesty and splendour of language and imagery."
The passage in 2:4, "The just shall live by his faith," is
quoted by the apostle in Rom. 1:17. (Compare Gal. 3:12; Heb.
the name conferred on Jacob after the great prayer-struggle at
Peniel (Gen. 32:28), because "as a prince he had power with God
and prevailed." (See JACOB T0001945.) This is the common name
given to Jacob's descendants. The whole people of the twelve
tribes are called "Israelites," the "children of Israel" (Josh.
3:17; 7:25; Judg. 8:27; Jer. 3:21), and the "house of Israel"
(Ex. 16:31; 40:38).
This name Israel is sometimes used emphatically for the true
Israel (Ps. 73:1: Isa. 45:17; 49:3; John 1:47; Rom. 9:6; 11:26).
After the death of Saul the ten tribes arrogated to themselves
this name, as if they were the whole nation (2 Sam. 2:9, 10, 17,
28; 3:10, 17; 19:40-43), and the kings of the ten tribes were
called "kings of Israel," while the kings of the two tribes were
called "kings of Judah."
After the Exile the name Israel was assumed as designating the
he whom Jehovah has set up, the second son of Josiah, and
eighteenth king of Judah, which he ruled over for eleven years
(B.C. 610-599). His original name was Eliakim (q.v.).
On the death of his father his younger brother Jehoahaz
(=Shallum, Jer. 22:11), who favoured the Chaldeans against the
Egyptians, was made king by the people; but the king of Egypt,
Pharaoh-necho, invaded the land and deposed Jehoahaz (2 Kings
23:33, 34; Jer. 22:10-12), setting Eliakim on the throne in his
stead, and changing his name to Jehoiakim.
After this the king of Egypt took no part in Jewish politics,
having been defeated by the Chaldeans at Carchemish (2 Kings
24:7; Jer. 46:2). Israel was now invaded and conquered by
Nebuchadnezzar. Jehoiakim was taken prisoner and carried captive
to Babylon (2 Chr. 36:6, 7). It was at this time that Daniel
also and his three companions were taken captive to Babylon
(Dan. 1:1, 2).
Nebuchadnezzar reinstated Jehoiakim on his throne, but treated
him as a vassal king. In the year after this, Jeremiah caused
his prophecies to be read by Baruch in the court of the temple.
Jehoiakim, hearing of this, had them also read in the royal
palace before himself. The words displeased him, and taking the
roll from the hands of Baruch he cut it in pieces and threw it
into the fire (Jer. 36:23). During his disastrous reign there
was a return to the old idolatry and corruption of the days of
After three years of subjection to Babylon, Jehoiakim withheld
his tribute and threw off the yoke (2 Kings 24:1), hoping to
make himself independent. Nebuchadnezzar sent bands of
Chaldeans, Syrians, and Ammonites (2 Kings 24:2) to chastise his
rebellious vassal. They cruelly harassed the whole country
(compare Jer. 49:1-6). The king came to a violent death, and his
body having been thrown over the wall of Jerusalem, to convince
the beseieging army that he was dead, after having been dragged
away, was buried beyond the gates of Jerusalem "with the burial
of an ass," B.C. 599 (Jer. 22:18, 19; 36:30). Nebuchadnezzar
placed his son Jehoiachin on the throne, wishing still to retain
the kingdom of Judah as tributary to him.
The earliest mention of city-building is that of Enoch, which
was built by Cain (Gen. 4:17). After the confusion of tongues,
the descendants of Nimrod founded several cities (10:10-12).
Next, we have a record of the cities of the Canaanites, Sidon,
Gaza, Sodom, etc. (10:12, 19; 11:3, 9; 36:31-39). The earliest
description of a city is that of Sodom (19:1-22). Damascus is
said to be the oldest existing city in the world. Before the
time of Abraham there were cities in Egypt (Num. 13:22). The
Israelites in Egypt were employed in building the "treasure
cities" of Pithom and Raamses (Ex. 1:11); but it does not seem
that they had any cities of their own in Goshen (Gen. 46:34;
47:1-11). In the kingdom of Og in Bashan there were sixty "great
cities with walls," and twenty-three cities in Gilead partly
rebuilt by the tribes on the east of Jordan (Num. 21:21, 32, 33,
35; 32:1-3, 34-42; Deut. 3:4, 5, 14; 1 Kings 4:13). On the west
of Jordan were thirty-one "royal cities" (Josh. 12), besides
many others spoken of in the history of Israel.
A fenced city was a city surrounded by fortifications and high
walls, with watch-towers upon them (2 Chr. 11:11; Deut. 3:5).
There was also within the city generally a tower to which the
citizens might flee when danger threatened them (Judg. 9:46-52).
A city with suburbs was a city surrounded with open
pasture-grounds, such as the forty-eight cities which were given
to the Levites (Num. 35:2-7). There were six cities of refuge,
three on each side of Jordan, namely, Kadesh, Shechem, Hebron,
on the west of Jordan; and on the east, Bezer, Ramoth-gilead,
and Golan. The cities on each side of the river were nearly
opposite each other. The regulations concerning these cities are
given in Num. 35:9-34; Deut. 19:1-13; Ex. 21:12-14.
When David reduced the fortress of the Jebusites which stood
on Mount Zion, he built on the site of it a palace and a city,
which he called by his own name (1 Chr. 11:5), the city of
David. Bethlehem is also so called as being David's native town
Jerusalem is called the Holy City, the holiness of the temple
being regarded as extending in some measure over the whole city
Pithom and Raamses, built by the Israelites as "treasure
cities," were not places where royal treasures were kept, but
were fortified towns where merchants might store their goods and
transact their business in safety, or cities in which munitions
of war were stored. (See PITHOM T0002968.)
a general name for the countries that lay north of Israel.
Most of the invading armies entered Israel from the north
(Isa. 41:25; Jer. 1:14,15; 50:3,9,41; 51:48; Ezek. 26:7).
Thorn in the flesh
(2 Cor. 12:7-10). Many interpretations have been given of this
passage. (1.) Roman Catholic writers think that it denotes
suggestions to impiety.
(2.) Luther, Calvin, and other Reformers interpret the
expression as denoting temptation to unbelief.
(3.) Others suppose the expression refers to "a pain in the
ear or head," epileptic fits, or, in general, to some severe
physical infirmity, which was a hindrance to the apostle in his
work (compare 1 Cor. 2:3; 2 Cor. 10:10; 11:30; Gal. 4:13, 14;
6:17). With a great amount of probability, it has been alleged
that his malady was defect of sight, consequent on the dazzling
light which shone around him at his conversion, acute opthalmia.
This would account for the statements in Gal. 4:14; 2 Cor.
10:10; also Acts 23:5, and for his generally making use of the
help of an amanuensis (compare Rom. 16:22, etc.).
(4.) Another view which has been maintained is that this
"thorn" consisted in an infirmity of temper, to which he
occasionally gave way, and which interfered with his success
(compare Acts 15:39; 23:2-5). If we consider the fact, "which the
experience of God's saints in all ages has conclusively
established, of the difficulty of subduing an infirmity of
temper, as well as the pain, remorse, and humiliation such an
infirmity is wont to cause to those who groan under it, we may
be inclined to believe that not the least probable hypothesis
concerning the 'thorn' or 'stake' in the flesh is that the
loving heart of the apostle bewailed as his sorest trial the
misfortune that, by impatience in word, he had often wounded
those for whom he would willingly have given his life" (Lias's
Second Cor., Introd.).
Orientals, the name of a Canaanite tribe which inhabited the
NEern part of Israel in the time of Abraham (Gen.
15:19). Probably they were identical with the "children of the
east," who inhabited the country between Israel and the
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.)
Nahum, Book of
Nahum prophesied, according to some, in the beginning of the
reign of Ahaz (B.C. 743). Others, however, think that his
prophecies are to be referred to the latter half of the reign of
Hezekiah (about B.C. 709). This is the more probable opinion,
internal evidences leading to that conclusion. Probably the book
was written in Jerusalem (soon after B.C. 709), where he
witnessed the invasion of Sennacherib and the destruction of his
host (2 Kings 19:35).
The subject of this prophecy is the approaching complete and
final destruction of Nineveh, the capital of the great and at
that time flourishing Assyrian empire. Assur-bani-pal was at the
height of his glory. Nineveh was a city of vast extent, and was
then the centre of the civilzation and commerce of the world, a
"bloody city all full of lies and robbery" (Nah. 3:1), for it
had robbed and plundered all the neighbouring nations. It was
strongly fortified on every side, bidding defiance to every
enemy; yet it was to be utterly destroyed as a punishment for
the great wickedness of its inhabitants.
Jonah had already uttered his message of warning, and Nahum
was followed by Zephaniah, who also predicted (Zeph. 2:4-15) the
destruction of the city, predictions which were remarkably
fulfilled (B.C. 625) when Nineveh was destroyed apparently by
fire, and the Assyrian empire came to an end, an event which
changed the face of Asia. (See NINEVEH T0002735.)
(Heb. holedh), enumerated among unclean animals (Lev. 11:29).
Some think that this Hebrew word rather denotes the mole (Spalax
typhlus) common in Israel. There is no sufficient reason,
however, to depart from the usual translation. The weasel tribe
are common also in Israel.
ascent of the scorpions; i.e., "scorpion-hill", a pass on the
south-eastern border of Israel (Num. 34:4; Josh. 15:3). It is
identified with the pass of Sufah, entering Israel from the
great Wady el-Fikreh, south of the Dead Sea. (See AKRABBIM
Micah, Book of
the sixth in order of the so-called minor prophets. The
superscription to this book states that the prophet exercised
his office in the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. If we
reckon from the beginning of Jotham's reign to the end of
Hezekiah's (B.C. 759-698), then he ministered for about
fifty-nine years; but if we reckon from the death of Jotham to
the accession of Hezekiah (B.C. 743-726), his ministry lasted
only sixteen years. It has been noticed as remarkable that this
book commences with the last words of another prophet, "Micaiah
the son of Imlah" (1 Kings 22:28): "Hearken, O people, every one
The book consists of three sections, each commencing with a
rebuke, "Hear ye," etc., and closing with a promise, (1) ch. 1;
2; (2) ch. 3-5, especially addressed to the princes and heads of
the people; (3) ch. 6-7, in which Jehovah is represented as
holding a controversy with his people: the whole concluding with
a song of triumph at the great deliverance which the Lord will
achieve for his people. The closing verse is quoted in the song
of Zacharias (Luke 1:72, 73). The prediction regarding the place
"where Christ should be born," one of the most remarkable
Messianic prophecies (Micah 5:2), is quoted in Matt. 2:6.
There are the following references to this book in the New
5:2, with Matt. 2:6; John 7:42.
7:6, with Matt. 10:21,35,36.
7:20, with Luke 1:72,73.
a collection of families descending from one ancestor. The
"twelve tribes" of the Hebrews were the twelve collections of
families which sprang from the sons of Jacob. In Matt. 24:30 the
word has a wider significance. The tribes of Israel are referred
to as types of the spiritual family of God (Rev. 7). (See
ISRAEL, KINGDOM OF T0001909; JUDAH, KINGDOM OF T0002126.)
a city of the kingdom of Israel (2 Chr. 13:19).
illustrious, the tenth judge of Israel (Judg. 12:8-10). He ruled
prince, son of Eliadah. Abandoning the service of Hadadezer, the
king of Zobah, on the occasion of his being defeated by David,
he became the "captain over a band" of marauders, and took
Damascus, and became king of Syria (1 Kings 11:23-25; 2 Sam.
8:3-8). For centuries after this the Syrians were the foes of
Israel. He "became an adversary to Israel all the days of
herdsman's place, one of the royal cities of the Canaanites
(Josh. 12:16), near which was a cave where the five kings who
had confederated against Israel sought refuge (10:10-29). They
were put to death by Joshua, who afterwards suspended their
bodies upon five trees. It has been identified with the modern
village called Sumeil, standing on a low hill about 7 miles to
the north-west of Eleutheropolis (Beit Jibrin), where are
ancient remains and a great cave. The Israel Exploration
surveyors have, however, identified it with el-Mughar, or "the
caves," 3 miles from Jabneh and 2 1/2 southwest of Ekron,
because, they say, "at this site only of all possible sites for
Makkedah in the Israel plain do caves still exist." (See
Ex. 25:30 (R.V. marg., "presence bread"); 1 Chr. 9:32 (marg.,
"bread of ordering"); Num. 4:7: called "hallowed bread" (R.V.,
"holy bread") in 1 Sam. 21:1-6.
This bread consisted of twelve loaves made of the finest
flour. They were flat and thin, and were placed in two rows of
six each on a table in the holy place before the Lord. They were
renewed every Sabbath (Lev. 24:5-9), and those that were removed
to give place to the new ones were to be eaten by the priests
only in the holy place (see 1 Sam. 21:3-6; compare Matt. 12:3, 4).
The number of the loaves represented the twelve tribes of
Israel, and also the entire spiritual Israel, "the true Israel;"
and the placing of them on the table symbolized the entire
consecration of Israel to the Lord, and their acceptance of God
as their God. The table for the bread was made of acacia wood, 3
feet long, 18 inches broad, and 2 feet 3 inches high. It was
plated with pure gold. Two staves, plated with gold, passed
through golden rings, were used for carrying it.
festive, one of the twelve so-called minor prophets. He was the
first of the three (Zechariah, his contemporary, and Malachi,
who was about one hundred years later, being the other two)
whose ministry belonged to the period of Jewish history which
began after the return from captivity in Babylon. Scarcely
anything is known of his personal history. He may have been one
of the captives taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. He began his
ministry about sixteen years after the Return. The work of
rebuilding the temple had been put a stop to through the
intrigues of the Samaritans. After having been suspended for
fifteen years, the work was resumed through the efforts of
Haggai and Zechariah (Ezra 6:14), who by their exhortations
roused the people from their lethargy, and induced them to take
advantage of the favourable opportunity that had arisen in a
change in the policy of the Persian government. (See DARIUS
T0000975 .) Haggai's prophecies have thus been
characterized:, "There is a ponderous and simple dignity in the
emphatic reiteration addressed alike to every class of the
community, prince, priest, and people, 'Be strong, be strong, be
strong' (2:4). 'Cleave, stick fast, to the work you have to do;'
or again, 'Consider your ways, consider, consider, consider'
(1:5, 7;2:15, 18). It is the Hebrew phrase for the endeavour,
characteristic of the gifted seers of all times, to compel their
hearers to turn the inside of their hearts outwards to their own
view, to take the mask from off their consciences, to 'see life
steadily, and to see it wholly.'", Stanley's Jewish Church. (See
sight; aspect, the father of Jeroboam, the king of Israel (1
Kings 11:26, etc.).
(Acts 5:21), the "elders of Israel" who formed a component part
of the Sanhedrin.
brightness, one of the stations where Israel encamped in the
wilderness (Num. 33:23, 24).
with Baal, a king of Sidon (B.C. 940-908), father of Jezebel,
who was the wife of Ahab (1 Kings 16:31). He is said to have
been also a priest of Astarte, whose worship was closely allied
to that of Baal, and this may account for his daughter's zeal in
promoting idolatry in Israel. This marriage of Ahab was most
fatal to both Israel and Judah. Dido, the founder of Carthage,
was his granddaughter.
a raised road for public use. Such roads were not found in
Israel; hence the force of the language used to describe the
return of the captives and the advent of the Messiah (Isa.
11:16; 35:8; 40:3; 62:10) under the figure of the preparation of
a grand thoroughfare for their march.
During their possession of Israel the Romans constructed
several important highways, as they did in all countries which
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.
sweet odour, a city on the northern border of Israel (Num.
34:9), south-east of Hamath.
Matthew, Gospel according to
The author of this book was beyond a doubt the Matthew, an
apostle of our Lord, whose name it bears. He wrote the Gospel of
Christ according to his own plans and aims, and from his own
point of view, as did also the other "evangelists."
As to the time of its composition, there is little in the
Gospel itself to indicate. It was evidently written before the
destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 24), and some time after the
events it records. The probability is that it was written
between the years A.D. 60 and 65.
The cast of thought and the forms of expression employed by
the writer show that this Gospel was written for Jewish
Christians of Israel. His great object is to prove that Jesus
of Nazareth was the promised Messiah, and that in him the
ancient prophecies had their fulfilment. The Gospel is full of
allusions to those passages of the Old Testament in which Christ
is predicted and foreshadowed. The one aim prevading the whole
book is to show that Jesus is he "of whom Moses in the law and
the prophets did write." This Gospel contains no fewer than
sixty-five references to the Old Testament, forty-three of these
being direct verbal citations, thus greatly outnumbering those
found in the other Gospels. The main feature of this Gospel may
be expressed in the motto, "I am not come to destroy, but to
As to the language in which this Gospel was written there is
much controversy. Many hold, in accordance with old tradition,
that it was originally written in Hebrew (i.e., the Aramaic or
Syro-Chaldee dialect, then the vernacular of the inhabitants of
Israel), and afterwards translated into Greek, either by
Matthew himself or by some person unknown. This theory, though
earnestly maintained by able critics, we cannot see any ground
for adopting. From the first this Gospel in Greek was received
as of authority in the Church. There is nothing in it to show
that it is a translation. Though Matthew wrote mainly for the
Jews, yet they were everywhere familiar with the Greek language.
The same reasons which would have suggested the necessity of a
translation into Greek would have led the evangelist to write in
Greek at first. It is confessed that this Gospel has never been
found in any other form than that in which we now possess it.
The leading characteristic of this Gospel is that it sets
forth the kingly glory of Christ, and shows him to be the true
heir to David's throne. It is the Gospel of the kingdom. Matthew
uses the expression "kingdom of heaven" (thirty-two times),
while Luke uses the expression "kingdom of God" (thirty-three
times). Some Latinized forms occur in this Gospel, as kodrantes
(Matt. 5:26), for the Latin quadrans, and phragello (27:26), for
the Latin flagello. It must be remembered that Matthew was a
tax-gatherer for the Roman government, and hence in contact with
those using the Latin language.
As to the relation of the Gospels to each other, we must
maintain that each writer of the synoptics (the first three)
wrote independently of the other two, Matthew being probably
first in point of time.
"Out of a total of 1071 verses, Matthew has 387 in common with
Mark and Luke, 130 with Mark, 184 with Luke; only 387 being
peculiar to itself." (See MARK T0002419; LUKE T0002331;
The book is fitly divided into these four parts: (1.)
Containing the genealogy, the birth, and the infancy of Jesus
(2.) The discourses and actions of John the Baptist
preparatory to Christ's public ministry (3; 4:11).
(3.) The discourses and actions of Christ in Galilee
(4.) The sufferings, death and resurrection of our Lord
one of the most important products of Israel. The first
mention of it is in the history of Noah (Gen. 9:20). It is
afterwards frequently noticed both in the Old and New
Testaments, and in the ruins of terraced vineyards there are
evidences that it was extensively cultivated by the Jews. It was
cultivated in Israel before the Israelites took possession of
it. The men sent out by Moses brought with them from the Valley
of Eshcol a cluster of grapes so large that "they bare it
between two upon a staff" (Num. 13: 23). The vineyards of
En-gedi (Cant. 1:14), Heshbon, Sibmah, Jazer, Elealeh (Isa.
16:8-10; Jer. 48:32, 34), and Helbon (Ezek. 27:18), as well as
of Eshcol, were celebrated.
The Church is compared to a vine (Ps. 80:8), and Christ says
of himself, "I am the vine" (John 15:1). In one of his parables
also (Matt. 21:33) our Lord compares his Church to a vineyard
which "a certain householder planted, and hedged round about,"
Hos. 10:1 is rendered in the Revised Version, "Israel is a
luxuriant vine, which putteth forth his fruit," instead of
"Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself,"
of the Authorized Version.
an answer; i.e., to "prayer", the father of Shamgar, who was one
of the judges of Israel (Judg. 3:31).
(1) of love (Hos. 11:4); (2) of Christ (Ps. 2:3); (3) uniting
together Christ's body the church (Col. 2:19; 3:14; Eph. 4:3);
(4) the emblem of the captivity of Israel (Ezek. 34:27; Isa.
28:22; 52:2); (5) of brotherhood (Ezek. 37:15-28); (6) no bands
to the wicked in their death (Ps. 73:4; Job 21:7; Ps. 10:6).
Also denotes chains (Luke 8:29); companies of soldiers (Acts
21:31); a shepherd's staff, indicating the union between Judah
and Israel (Zech. 11:7).
(1.) Hebrew "atad", Judg. 9:14; rendered "thorn," Ps. 58:9. The
LXX. and Vulgate render by rhamnus, a thorny shrub common in
Israel, resembling the hawthorn.
(2.) Hebrew "hoah", Isa. 34:13 (R.V. "thistles"); "thickets"
in 1 Sam. 13:6; "thistles" in 2 Kings 14:9, 2 Chr. 25:18, Job
31:40; "thorns" in 2 Chr. 33:11, Cant. 2:2, Hos. 9:6. The word
may be regarded as denoting the common thistle, of which there
are many species which encumber the corn-fields of Israel.
(See THORNS T0003642.)
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.
ascent, the high priest when the ark was at Shiloh (1 Sam. 1:3,
9). He was the first of the line of Ithamar, Aaron's fourth son
(1 Chr. 24:3; compare 2 Sam. 8:17), who held that office. The
office remained in his family till the time of Abiathar (1 Kings
2:26, 27), whom Solomon deposed, and appointed Zadok, of the
family of Eleazar, in his stead (35). He acted also as a civil
judge in Israel after the death of Samson (1 Sam. 4:18), and
judged Israel for forty years.
His sons Hophni and Phinehas grossly misconducted themselves,
to the great disgust of the people (1 Sam. 2:27-36). They were
licentious reprobates. He failed to reprove them so sternly as
he ought to have done, and so brought upon his house the
judgment of God (2:22-33; 3:18). The Israelites proclaimed war
against the Philistines, whose army was encamped at Aphek. The
battle, fought a short way beyond Mizpeh, ended in the total
defeat of Israel. Four thousand of them fell in "battle array".
They now sought safety in having the "ark of the covenant of the
Lord" among them. They fetched it from Shiloh, and Hophni and
Phinehas accompanied it. This was the first time since the
settlement of Israel in Canaan that the ark had been removed
from the sanctuary. The Philistines put themselves again in
array against Israel, and in the battle which ensued "Israel was
smitten, and there was a very great slaughter." The tidings of
this great disaster were speedily conveyed to Shiloh, about 20
miles distant, by a messenger, a Benjamite from the army. There
Eli sat outside the gate of the sanctuary by the wayside,
anxiously waiting for tidings from the battle-field. The full
extent of the national calamity was speedily made known to him:
"Israel is fled before the Philistines, there has also been a
great slaughter among the people, thy two sons Hophni and
Phinehas are dead, and the ark of God is taken" (1 Sam.
4:12-18). When the old man, whose eyes were "stiffened" (i.e.,
fixed, as of a blind eye unaffected by the light) with age,
heard this sad story of woe, he fell backward from off his seat
and died, being ninety and eight years old. (See ITHAMAR
Eli, Heb. eli, "my God", (Matt. 27:46), an exclamation used by
Christ on the cross. Mark (15:34), as usual, gives the original
Aramaic form of the word, Eloi.
well of heroes, probably the name given to Beer, the place where
the chiefs of Israel dug a well (Num. 21:16; Isa. 15:8).
prince of darkness, one of the gods of the Arvites, who
colonized part of Samaria after the deportation of Israel by
Shalmaneser (2 Kings 17:31).
(R.V. marg. of Deut. 11:30, etc.), the Pistacia terebinthus of
botanists; a tree very common in the south and east of
Israel. (See OAK T0002758.)
a scarcity of provisions (1 Kings 17). There were frequent
dearths in Israel. In the days of Abram there was a "famine
in the land" (Gen. 12:10), so also in the days of Jacob (47:4,
13). We read also of dearths in the time of the judges (Ruth
1:1), and of the kings (2 Sam. 21:1; 1 Kings 18:2; 2 Kings 4:38;
In New Testament times there was an extensive famine in
Israel (Acts 11:28) in the fourth year of the reign of the
emperor Claudius (A.D. 44 and 45).
the central mountainous district of Israel occupied by the
tribe of Ephraim (Josh. 17:15; 19:50; 20:7), extending from
Bethel to the plain of Jezreel. In Joshua's time (Josh. 17:18)
these hills were densely wooded. They were intersected by
well-watered, fertile valleys, referred to in Jer. 50:19. Joshua
was buried at Timnath-heres among the mountains of Ephraim, on
the north side of the hill of Gaash (Judg. 2:9). This region is
also called the "mountains of Israel" (Josh. 11:21) and the
"mountains of Samaria" (Jer. 31:5, 6: Amos 3:9).
David at the cave of Adullam thus addressed his persecutor Saul
(1 Sam. 24:14): "After whom is the king of Israel come out?
after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea?" He
thus speaks of himself as the poor, contemptible object of the
monarch's pursuit, a "worthy object truly for an expedition of
the king of Israel with his picked troops!" This insect is in
Eastern language the popular emblem of insignificance. In 1 Sam.
26:20 the LXX. read "come out to seek my life" instead of "to
seek a flea."
Very few species of flowers are mentioned in the Bible although
they abounded in Israel. It has been calculated that in
Western Syria and Israel from two thousand to two thousand
five hundred plants are found, of which about five hundred
probably are British wild-flowers. Their beauty is often alluded
to (Cant. 2:12; Matt. 6:28). They are referred to as affording
an emblem of the transitory nature of human life (Job 14:2; Ps.
103:15; Isa. 28:1; 40:6; James 1:10). Gardens containing flowers
and fragrant herbs are spoken of (Cant. 4:16; 6:2).
one of the original tribes scattered over Israel, from Hermon
to Gibeon in the south. The name is interpreted as "midlanders"
or "villagers" (Gen. 10:17; 1 Chr. 1:15). They were probably a
branch of the Hittites. At the time of Jacob's return to Canaan,
Hamor the Hivite was the "prince of the land" (Gen. 24:2-28).
They are next mentioned during the Conquest (Josh. 9:7;
11:19). They principally inhabited the northern confines of
Western Israel (Josh. 11:3; Judg. 3:3). A remnant of them
still existed in the time of Solomon (1 Kings 9:20).
a poetical name for the people of Israel, used in token of
affection, meaning, "the dear upright people" (Deut. 32:15;
33:5, 26; Isa. 44:2).
=Israel (q.v.), "the land of the Philistines" (Ps. 60:8;
87:4; 108:9). The word is supposed to mean "the land of
wanderers" or "of strangers."
rock of the Almighty, the father of Shelumiel, who was chief of
the tribe of Simeon when Israel was encamped at Sinai (Num. 1:6;
one of the earliest cultivated grains. It bore the Hebrew name
"hittah", and was extensively cultivated in Israel. There are
various species of wheat. That which Pharaoh saw in his dream
was the Triticum compositum, which bears several ears upon one
stalk (Gen. 41:5). The "fat of the kidneys of wheat" (Deut.
32:14), and the "finest of the wheat" (Ps. 81:16; 147:14),
denote the best of the kind. It was exported from Israel in
great quantities (1 Kings 5:11; Ezek. 27:17; Acts 12:20).
Parched grains of wheat were used for food in Israel (Ruth
2:14; 1 Sam. 17:17; 2 Sam. 17:28). The disciples, under the
sanction of the Mosaic law (Deut. 23:25), plucked ears of corn,
and rubbing them in their hands, ate the grain unroasted (Matt.
12:1; Mark 2:23; Luke 6:1). Before any of the wheat-harvest,
however, could be eaten, the first-fruits had to be presented
before the Lord (Lev. 23:14).
wild broom, a station in the wilderness (Num. 33:18, 19), the
"broom valley," or "valley of broombushes," the place apparently
of the original encampment of Israel, near Kadesh.
my people, a name given by Jehovah to the people of Israel (Hos.
2:1, 23. Compare 1:9; Ezek. 16:8; Rom. 9:25, 26; 1 Pet. 2:10).
the standing title of the Syrian kings, meaning "the son of
Hadad." (See HADADEZER T0001569.)
(1.) The king of Syria whom Asa, king of Judah, employed to
invade Israel (1 Kings 15:18).
(2.) Son of the preceding, also king of Syria. He was long
engaged in war against Israel. He was murdered probably by
Hazael, by whom he was succeeded (2 Kings 8:7-15), after a reign
of some thirty years.
(3.) King of Damascus, and successor of his father Hazael on
the throne of Syria (2 Kings 13:3, 4). His misfortunes in war
are noticed by Amos (1:4).
(Heb. netz, a word expressive of strong and rapid flight, and
hence appropriate to the hawk). It is an unclean bird (Lev.
11:16; Deut. 14:15). It is common in Syria and surrounding
countries. The Hebrew word includes various species of
Falconidae, with special reference perhaps to the kestrel (Falco
tinnunculus), the hobby (Hypotriorchis subbuteo), and the lesser
kestrel (Tin, Cenchris). The kestrel remains all the year in
Israel, but some ten or twelve other species are all migrants
from the south. Of those summer visitors to Israel special
mention may be made of the Falco sacer and the Falco lanarius.
(See NIGHT-HAWK T0002729.)
After the Captivity this name was applied to the whole of the
country west of the Jordan (Hag. 1:1, 14; 2:2). But under the
Romans, in the time of Christ, it denoted the southernmost of
the three divisions of Israel (Matt. 2:1, 5; 3:1; 4:25),
although it was also sometimes used for Israel generally
The province of Judea, as distinguished from Galilee and
Samaria, included the territories of the tribes of Judah,
Benjamin, Dan, Simeon, and part of Ephraim. Under the Romans it
was a part of the province of Syria, and was governed by a
a bee. (1.) Rebekah's nurse. She accompanied her mistress when
she left her father's house in Padan-aram to become the wife of
Isaac (Gen. 24:59). Many years afterwards she died at Bethel,
and was buried under the "oak of weeping", Allon-bachuth (35:8).
(2.) A prophetess, "wife" (woman?) of Lapidoth. Jabin, the
king of Hazor, had for twenty years held Israel in degrading
subjection. The spirit of patriotism seemed crushed out of the
nation. In this emergency Deborah roused the people from their
lethargy. Her fame spread far and wide. She became a "mother in
Israel" (Judg. 4:6, 14; 5:7), and "the children of Israel came
up to her for judgment" as she sat in her tent under the palm
tree "between Ramah and Bethel." Preparations were everywhere
made by her direction for the great effort to throw off the yoke
of bondage. She summoned Barak from Kadesh to take the command
of 10,000 men of Zebulun and Naphtali, and lead them to Mount
Tabor on the plain of Esdraelon at its NE end. With his
aid she organized this army. She gave the signal for attack, and
the Hebrew host rushed down impetuously upon the army of Jabin,
which was commanded by Sisera, and gained a great and decisive
victory. The Canaanite army almost wholly perished. That was a
great and ever-memorable day in Israel. In Judg. 5 is given the
grand triumphal ode, the "song of Deborah," which she wrote in
grateful commemoration of that great deliverance. (See LAPIDOTH
T0002240, JABIN T0001938 .)
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.
dry. (1.) For Jabesh-Gilead (1 Sam. 11:3,9,10).
(2.) The father of Shallum (2 Kings 15:10, 13, 14), who
usurped the throne of Israel on the death of Zachariah.
fortified, a people descended from Mizraim (Gen. 10:14; 1 Chr.
1:12). Their original seat was probably somewhere in Lower
Egypt, along the sea-coast to the south border of Israel.
village of Addar, a place in the southern boundary of Israel
(Num. 34:4), in the desert to the west of Kadesh-barnea. It is
called Adar in Josh. 15:3.
strife, a Canaanite city in the north of Israel (Josh.
11:1; 12:19), whose king was slain by Joshua; perhaps the ruin
Madin, near Hattin, some 5 miles west of Tiberias.
(Heb. shu'al, a name derived from its digging or burrowing under
ground), the Vulpes thaleb, or Syrian fox, the only species of
this animal indigenous to Israel. It burrows, is silent and
solitary in its habits, is destructive to vineyards, being a
plunderer of ripe grapes (Cant. 2:15). The Vulpes Niloticus, or
Egyptian dog-fox, and the Vulpes vulgaris, or common fox, are
also found in Israel.
The proverbial cunning of the fox is alluded to in Ezek. 13:4,
and in Luke 13:32, where our Lord calls Herod "that fox." In
Judg. 15:4, 5, the reference is in all probability to the
jackal. The Hebrew word "shu'al" through the Persian "schagal"
becomes our jackal (Canis aureus), so that the word may bear
that signification here. The reasons for preferring the
rendering "jackal" are (1) that it is more easily caught than
the fox; (2) that the fox is shy and suspicious, and flies
mankind, while the jackal does not; and (3) that foxes are
difficult, jackals comparatively easy, to treat in the way here
described. Jackals hunt in large numbers, and are still very
numerous in Southern Israel.
(Heb. tamar), the date-palm characteristic of Israel. It is
described as "flourishing" (Ps. 92:12), tall (Cant. 7:7),
"upright" (Jer. 10:5). Its branches are a symbol of victory
(Rev. 7:9). "Rising with slender stem 40 or 50, at times even
80, feet aloft, its only branches, the feathery, snow-like,
pale-green fronds from 6 to 12 feet long, bending from its top,
the palm attracts the eye wherever it is seen." The whole land
of Israel was called by the Greeks and Romans Phoenicia,
i.e., "the land of palms." Tadmor in the desert was called by
the Greeks and Romans Palmyra, i.e., "the city of palms." The
finest specimens of this tree grew at Jericho (Deut. 34:3) and
Engedi and along the banks of the Jordan. Branches of the palm
tree were carried at the feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:40). At
our Lord's triumphal entrance into Jerusalem the crowds took
palm branches, and went forth to meet him, crying, "Hosanna:
Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the
Lord" (Matt. 21:8; John 12:13). (See DATE T0000979.)
(Heb. nabi, from a root meaning "to bubble forth, as from a
fountain," hence "to utter", compare Ps. 45:1). This Hebrew word
is the first and the most generally used for a prophet. In the
time of Samuel another word, "ro'eh", "seer", began to be used
(1 Sam. 9:9). It occurs seven times in reference to Samuel.
Afterwards another word, "hozeh", "seer" (2 Sam. 24:11), was
employed. In 1 Ch. 29:29 all these three words are used: "Samuel
the seer (ro'eh), Nathan the prophet (nabi'), Gad the seer"
(hozeh). In Josh. 13:22 Balaam is called (Heb.) a "kosem"
"diviner," a word used only of a false prophet.
The "prophet" proclaimed the message given to him, as the
"seer" beheld the vision of God. (See Num. 12:6, 8.) Thus a
prophet was a spokesman for God; he spake in God's name and by
his authority (Ex. 7:1). He is the mouth by which God speaks to
men (Jer. 1:9; Isa. 51:16), and hence what the prophet says is
not of man but of God (2 Pet. 1:20, 21; compare Heb. 3:7; Acts
4:25; 28:25). Prophets were the immediate organs of God for the
communication of his mind and will to men (Deut. 18:18, 19). The
whole Word of God may in this general sense be spoken of as
prophetic, inasmuch as it was written by men who received the
revelation they communicated from God, no matter what its nature
might be. The foretelling of future events was not a necessary
but only an incidental part of the prophetic office. The great
task assigned to the prophets whom God raised up among the
people was "to correct moral and religious abuses, to proclaim
the great moral and religious truths which are connected with
the character of God, and which lie at the foundation of his
Any one being a spokesman for God to man might thus be called
a prophet. Thus Enoch, Abraham, and the patriarchs, as bearers
of God's message (Gen. 20:7; Ex. 7:1; Ps. 105:15), as also Moses
(Deut. 18:15; 34:10; Hos. 12:13), are ranked among the prophets.
The seventy elders of Israel (Num. 11:16-29), "when the spirit
rested upon them, prophesied;" Asaph and Jeduthun "prophesied
with a harp" (1 Chr. 25:3). Miriam and Deborah were prophetesses
(Ex. 15:20; Judg. 4:4). The title thus has a general application
to all who have messages from God to men.
But while the prophetic gift was thus exercised from the
beginning, the prophetical order as such began with Samuel.
Colleges, "schools of the prophets", were instituted for the
training of prophets, who were constituted, a distinct order (1
Sam. 19:18-24; 2 Kings 2:3, 15; 4:38), which continued to the
close of the Old Testament. Such "schools" were established at
Ramah, Bethel, Gilgal, Gibeah, and Jericho. The "sons" or
"disciples" of the prophets were young men (2 Kings 5:22; 9:1,
4) who lived together at these different "schools" (4:38-41).
These young men were taught not only the rudiments of secular
knowledge, but they were brought up to exercise the office of
prophet, "to preach pure morality and the heart-felt worship of
Jehovah, and to act along and co-ordinately with the priesthood
and monarchy in guiding the state aright and checking all
attempts at illegality and tyranny."
In New Testament times the prophetical office was continued.
Our Lord is frequently spoken of as a prophet (Luke 13:33;
24:19). He was and is the great Prophet of the Church. There was
also in the Church a distinct order of prophets (1 Cor. 12:28;
Eph. 2:20; 3:5), who made new revelations from God. They
differed from the "teacher," whose office it was to impart
truths already revealed.
Of the Old Testament prophets there are sixteen, whose
prophecies form part of the inspired canon. These are divided
into four groups:
(1.) The prophets of the northern kingdom (Israel), viz.,
Hosea, Amos, Joel, Jonah.
(2.) The prophets of Judah, viz., Isaiah, Jeremiah, Obadiah,
Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah.
(3.) The prophets of Captivity, viz., Ezekiel and Daniel.
(4.) The prophets of the Restoration, viz., Haggai, Zechariah,
hail. (1.) A town in the south of Israel (Gen. 16:14), in the
desert of Shur, near Lahai-roi.
(2.) A son of Shuthelah, and grandson of Ephraim (1 Chr.
a harbour (Ps. 107:30; Acts 27: 12). The most famous on the
coast of Israel was that of Tyre (Ezek. 27:3). That of Crete,
called "Fair Havens," is mentioned Acts 27:8.
the rendering of a Hebrew word "bor", which means a receptacle
for water conveyed to it; distinguished from "beer", which
denotes a place where water rises on the spot (Jer. 2:13; Prov.
5:15; Isa. 36:16), a fountain. Cisterns are frequently mentioned
in Scripture. The scarcity of springs in Israel made it
necessary to collect rain-water in reservoirs and cisterns (Num.
21:22). (See WELL T0003803.)
Empty cisterns were sometimes used as prisons (Jer. 38:6; Lam.
3:53; Ps. 40:2; 69:15). The "pit" into which Joseph was cast
(Gen. 37:24) was a "beer" or dry well. There are numerous
remains of ancient cisterns in all parts of Israel.
(Adoram, 1 Kings 12:18), the son of Abda, was "over the
tribute," i.e., the levy or forced labour. He was stoned to
death by the people of Israel (1 Kings 4:6; 5:14)
Baptism of Christ
Christ had to be formally inaugurated into the public discharge
of his offices. For this purpose he came to John, who was the
representative of the law and the prophets, that by him he might
be introduced into his offices, and thus be publicly recognized
as the Messiah of whose coming the prophecies and types had for
many ages borne witness.
John refused at first to confer his baptism on Christ, for he
understood not what he had to do with the "baptism of
repentance." But Christ said, "'Suffer it to be so now,' NOW as
suited to my state of humiliation, my state as a substitute in
the room of sinners." His reception of baptism was not necessary
on his own account. It was a voluntary act, the same as his act
of becoming incarnate. Yet if the work he had engaged to
accomplish was to be completed, then it became him to take on
him the likeness of a sinner, and to fulfil all righteousness
The official duty of Christ and the sinless person of Christ
are to be distinguished. It was in his official capacity that he
submitted to baptism. In coming to John our Lord virtually said,
"Though sinless, and without any personal taint, yet in my
public or official capacity as the Sent of God, I stand in the
room of many, and bring with me the sin of the world, for which
I am the propitiation." Christ was not made under the law on his
own account. It was as surety of his people, a position which he
spontaneously assumed. The administration of the rite of baptism
was also a symbol of the baptism of suffering before him in this
official capacity (Luke 12:50). In thus presenting himself he in
effect dedicated or consecrated himself to the work of
fulfilling all righteousness.
or No-A'mon, the home of Amon, the name of Thebes, the ancient
capital of what is called the Middle Empire, in Upper or
Southern Egypt. "The multitude of No" (Jer. 46:25) is more
correctly rendered, as in the Revised Version, "Amon of No",
i.e., No, where Jupiter Amon had his temple. In Ezek. 30:14, 16
it is simply called "No;" but in ver. 15 the name has the Hebrew
Hamon prefixed to it, "Hamon No." This prefix is probably the
name simply of the god usually styled Amon or Ammon. In Nah. 3:8
the "populous No" of the Authorized Version is in the Revised
Version correctly rendered "No-Amon."
It was the Diospolis or Thebes of the Greeks, celebrated for
its hundred gates and its vast population. It stood on both
sides of the Nile, and is by some supposed to have included
Karnak and Luxor. In grandeur and extent it can only be compared
to Nineveh. It is mentioned only in the prophecies referred to,
which point to its total destruction. It was first taken by the
Assyrians in the time of Sargon (Isa. 20). It was afterwards
"delivered into the hand" of Nebuchadnezzar and Assurbani-pal
(Jer. 46:25, 26). Cambyses, king of the Persians (B.C. 525),
further laid it waste by fire. Its ruin was completed (B.C. 81)
by Ptolemy Lathyrus. The ruins of this city are still among the
most notable in the valley of the Nile. They have formed a great
storehouse of interesting historic remains for more than two
thousand years. "As I wandered day after day with ever-growing
amazement amongst these relics of ancient magnificence, I felt
that if all the ruins in Europe, classical, Celtic, and
medieval, were brought together into one centre, they would fall
far short both in extent and grandeur of those of this single
Egyptian city." Manning, The Land of the Pharaohs.