the circle, the plain near Babylon in which Nebuchadnezzar set
up a golden image, mentioned in Dan. 3:1. The place still
retains its ancient name. On one of its many mounds the pedestal
of what must have been a colossal statue has been found. It has
been supposed to be that of the golden image.
little models and medallions of the temple and image of Diana of
Ephesus (Acts 19:24). The manufacture of these was a very large
and profitable business.
and pl. Asherim in Revised Version, instead of "grove" and
"groves" of the Authorized Version. This was the name of a
sensual Canaanite goddess Astarte, the feminine of the
Assyrian Ishtar. Its symbol was the stem of a tree deprived of
its boughs, and rudely shaped into an image, and planted in the
ground. Such religious symbols ("groves") are frequently alluded
to in Scripture (Ex. 34:13; Judg. 6:25; 2 Kings 23:6; 1 Kings
16:33, etc.). These images were also sometimes made of silver or
of carved stone (2 Kings 21:7; "the graven image of Asherah,"
R.V.). (See GROVE T0001556 .).
Deut. 27:15; Ps. 97:7 (Heb. pesel), refers to the household gods
of idolaters. "Every nation and city had its own gods...Yet
every family had its separate household or tutelary god."
Jealousy, Image of
an idolatrous object, seen in vision by Ezekiel (Ezek. 8:3, 5),
which stood in the priests' or inner court of the temple.
Probably identical with the statue of Astarte (2 Kings 21:7).
of affection (Gen. 27:26, 27; 29:13; Luke 7:38, 45);
reconciliation (Gen. 33:4; 2 Sam. 14:33); leave-taking (Gen.
31:28,55; Ruth 1:14; 2 Sam. 19:39); homage (Ps. 2:12; 1 Sam.
10:1); spoken of as between parents and children (Gen. 27:26;
31:28, 55; 48:10; 50:1; Ex. 18:7; Ruth 1:9, 14); between male
relatives (Gen. 29:13; 33:4; 45:15). It accompanied social
worship as a symbol of brotherly love (Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20;
2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Thess. 5:26; 1 Pet. 5:14). The worship of idols
was by kissing the image or the hand toward the image (1 Kings
19:18; Hos. 13:2).
(Ex. 32:4,8; Deut. 9:16; Neh. 9:18). This was a molten image of
a calf which the idolatrous Israelites formed at Sinai. This
symbol was borrowed from the custom of the Egyptians. It was
destroyed at the command of Moses (Ex. 32:20). (See AARON
T0000002; MOSES T0002602.)
(1.) Heb. aven, "nothingness;" "vanity" (Isa. 66:3; 41:29; Deut.
32:21; 1 Kings 16:13; Ps. 31:6; Jer. 8:19, etc.).
(2.) 'Elil, "a thing of naught" (Ps. 97:7; Isa. 19:3); a word
of contempt, used of the gods of Noph (Ezek. 30:13).
(3.) 'Emah, "terror," in allusion to the hideous form of idols
(4.) Miphletzeth, "a fright;" "horror" (1 Kings 15:13; 2 Chr.
(5.) Bosheth, "shame;" "shameful thing" (Jer. 11:13; Hos.
9:10); as characterizing the obscenity of the worship of Baal.
(6.) Gillulim, also a word of contempt, "dung;" "refuse"
(Ezek. 16:36; 20:8; Deut. 29:17, marg.).
(7.) Shikkuts, "filth;" "impurity" (Ezek. 37:23; Nah. 3:6).
(8.) Semel, "likeness;" "a carved image" (Deut. 4:16).
(9.) Tselem, "a shadow" (Dan. 3:1; 1 Sam. 6:5), as
distinguished from the "likeness," or the exact counterpart.
(10.) Temunah, "similitude" (Deut. 4:12-19). Here Moses
forbids the several forms of Gentile idolatry.
(11.) 'Atsab, "a figure;" from the root "to fashion," "to
labour;" denoting that idols are the result of man's labour
(Isa. 48:5; Ps. 139:24, "wicked way;" literally, as some
translate, "way of an idol").
(12.) Tsir, "a form;" "shape" (Isa. 45:16).
(13.) Matztzebah, a "statue" set up (Jer. 43:13); a memorial
stone like that erected by Jacob (Gen. 28:18; 31:45; 35:14, 20),
by Joshua (4:9), and by Samuel (1 Sam. 7:12). It is the name
given to the statues of Baal (2 Kings 3:2; 10:27).
(14.) Hammanim, "sun-images." Hamman is a synonym of Baal, the
sun-god of the Phoenicians (2 Chr. 34:4, 7; 14:3, 5; Isa. 17:8).
(15.) Maskith, "device" (Lev. 26:1; Num. 33:52). In Lev. 26:1,
the words "image of stone" (A.V.) denote "a stone or cippus with
the image of an idol, as Baal, Astarte, etc." In Ezek. 8:12,
"chambers of imagery" (maskith), are "chambers of which the
walls are painted with the figures of idols;" compare ver. 10, 11.
(16.) Pesel, "a graven" or "carved image" (Isa. 44:10-20). It
denotes also a figure cast in metal (Deut. 7:25; 27:15; Isa.
(17.) Massekah, "a molten image" (Deut. 9:12; Judg. 17:3, 4).
(18.) Teraphim, pl., "images," family gods (penates)
worshipped by Abram's kindred (Josh. 24:14). Put by Michal in
David's bed (Judg. 17:5; 18:14, 17, 18, 20; 1 Sam. 19:13).
"Nothing can be more instructive and significant than this
multiplicity and variety of words designating the instruments
and inventions of idolatry."
(Heb. shemarim), from a word meaning to keep or preserve. It was
applied to "lees" from the custom of allowing wine to stand on
the lees that it might thereby be better preserved (Isa. 25:6).
"Men settled on their lees" (Zeph. 1:12) are men "hardened or
crusted." The image is derived from the crust formed at the
bottom of wines long left undisturbed (Jer. 48:11). The effect
of wealthy undisturbed ease on the ungodly is hardening. They
become stupidly secure (compare Ps. 55:19; Amos 6:1). To drink the
lees (Ps. 75:8) denotes severe suffering.
(Heb. sumphoniah), a musical instrument mentioned in Dan. 3:5,
15, along with other instruments there named, as sounded before
the golden image. It was not a Jewish instrument. In the margin
of the Revised Version it is styled the "bag-pipe." Luther
translated it "lute," and Grotius the "crooked trumpet." It is
probable that it was introduced into Babylon by some Greek or
Western-Asiatic musician. Some Rabbinical commentators render it
by "organ," the well-known instrument composed of a series of
pipes, others by "lyre." The most probable interpretation is
that it was a bag-pipe similar to the zampagna of Southern
(1.) Heb. matstsab, a station; a place where one stands (1 Sam.
14:12); a military or fortified post (1 Sam. 13:23; 14:1, 4, 6,
(2.) Heb. netsib, a prefect, superintendent; hence a military
post (1 Sam. 10:5; 13:3, 4; 2 Sam. 8:6). This word has also been
explained to denote a pillar set up to mark the Philistine
conquest, or an officer appointed to collect taxes; but the idea
of a military post seems to be the correct one.
(3.) Heb. matstsebah, properly a monumental column; improperly
rendered pl. "garrisons" in Ezek. 26:11; correctly in Revised
Version "pillars," marg. "obelisks," probably an idolatrous
Aku's command, the Chaldean name given to Hananiah, one of the
Hebrew youths whom Nebuchadnezzar carried captive to Babylon
(Dan. 1:6, 7; 3:12-30). He and his two companions refused to bow
down before the image which Nebuchadnezzar had set up on the
plains of Dura. Their conduct filled the king with the greatest
fury, and he commanded them to be cast into the burning fiery
furnace. Here, amid the fiery flames, they were miraculously
preserved from harm. Over them the fire had no power, "neither
was a hair of their head singed, neither had the smell of fire
passed on them." Thus Nebuchadnezzar learned the greatness of
the God of Israel. (See ABEDNEGO T0000014.)
(Gr. denarion), a silver coin of the value of about 7 1/2d. or
8d. of our present money. It is thus rendered in the New
Testament, and is more frequently mentioned than any other coin
(Matt. 18:28; 20:2, 9, 13; Mark 6:37; 14:5, etc.). It was the
daily pay of a Roman soldier in the time of Christ. In the reign
of Edward III. an English penny was a labourer's day's wages.
This was the "tribute money" with reference to which our Lord
said, "Whose image and superscription is this?" When they
answered, "Caesar's," he replied, "Render therefore to Caesar
the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are
God's" (Matt. 22:19; Mark 12:15).
(1.) With God, consisting in the knowledge of his will (Job
22:21; John 17:3); agreement with his designs (Amos 3:2); mutual
affection (Rom. 8: 38, 39); enjoyment of his presence (Ps. 4:6);
conformity to his image (1 John 2:6; 1:6); and participation of
his felicity (1 John 1:3, 4; Eph. 3:14-21).
(2.) Of saints with one another, in duties (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor.
12:1; 1 Thess. 5:17, 18); in ordinances (Heb. 10:25; Acts 2:46);
in grace, love, joy, etc. (Mal. 3:16; 2 Cor. 8:4); mutual
interest, spiritual and temporal (Rom. 12:4, 13; Heb. 13:16); in
sufferings (Rom. 15:1, 2; Gal. 6:1, 2; Rom. 12:15; and in glory
Jude, Epistle of
The author was "Judas, the brother of James" the Less (Jude
1:1), called also Lebbaeus (Matt. 10:3) and Thaddaeus (Mark
3:18). The genuineness of this epistle was early questioned, and
doubts regarding it were revived at the time of the Reformation;
but the evidences in support of its claims are complete. It has
all the marks of having proceeded from the writer whose name it
There is nothing very definite to determine the time and place
at which it was written. It was apparently written in the later
period of the apostolic age, for when it was written there were
persons still alive who had heard the apostles preach (ver. 17).
It may thus have been written about A.D. 66 or 70, and
apparently in Israel.
The epistle is addressed to Christians in general (ver. 1),
and its design is to put them on their guard against the
misleading efforts of a certain class of errorists to which they
were exposed. The style of the epistle is that of an
"impassioned invective, in the impetuous whirlwind of which the
writer is hurried along, collecting example after example of
divine vengeance on the ungodly; heaping epithet upon epithet,
and piling image upon image, and, as it were, labouring for
words and images strong enough to depict the polluted character
of the licentious apostates against whom he is warning the
Church; returning again and again to the subject, as though all
language was insufficient to give an adequate idea of their
profligacy, and to express his burning hatred of their
perversion of the doctrines of the gospel."
The striking resemblance this epistle bears to 2 Peter
suggests the idea that the author of the one had seen the
epistle of the other.
The doxology with which the epistle concludes is regarded as
the finest in the New Testament.
(1.) Heb. hatsir, ripe grass fit for mowing (1 Kings 18:5; Job
40:15; Ps. 104:14). As the herbage rapidly fades under the
scorching sun, it is used as an image of the brevity of human
life (Isa. 40:6, 7; Ps. 90:5). In Num. 11:5 this word is
(2.) Heb. deshe', green grass (Gen. 1:11, 12; Isa. 66:14;
Deut. 32:2). "The sickly and forced blades of grass which spring
up on the flat plastered roofs of houses in the East are used as
an emblem of speedy destruction, because they are small and
weak, and because, under the scorching rays of the sun, they
soon wither away" (2 Kings 19:26; Ps. 129:6; Isa. 37:27).
The dry stalks of grass were often used as fuel for the oven
(Matt. 6:30; 13:30; Luke 12:28).
a vessel made of skins for holding wine (Josh. 9:4. 13; 1 Sam.
16:20; Matt. 9:17; Mark 2:22; Luke 5:37, 38), or milk (Judg.
4:19), or water (Gen. 21:14, 15, 19), or strong drink (Hab.
Earthenware vessels were also similarly used (Jer. 19:1-10; 1
Kings 14:3; Isa. 30:14). In Job 32:19 (compare Matt. 9:17; Luke
5:37, 38; Mark 2:22) the reference is to a wine-skin ready to
burst through the fermentation of the wine. "Bottles of wine" in
the Authorized Version of Hos. 7:5 is properly rendered in the
Revised Version by "the heat of wine," i.e., the fever of wine,
its intoxicating strength.
The clouds are figuratively called the "bottles of heaven"
(Job 38:37). A bottle blackened or shrivelled by smoke is
referred to in Ps. 119:83 as an image to which the psalmist
so called by the Romans; called Artemis by the Greeks, the
"great" goddess worshipped among heathen nations under various
modifications. Her most noted temple was that at Ephesus. It was
built outside the city walls, and was one of the seven wonders
of the ancient world. "First and last it was the work of 220
years; built of shining marble; 342 feet long by 164 feet broad;
supported by a forest of columns, each 56 feet high; a sacred
museum of masterpieces of sculpture and painting. At the centre,
hidden by curtains, within a gorgeous shrine, stood the very
ancient image of the goddess, on wood or ebony reputed to have
fallen from the sky. Behind the shrine was a treasury, where, as
in 'the safest bank in Asia,' nations and kings stored their
most precious things. The temple as St. Paul saw it subsisted
till A.D. 262, when it was ruined by the Goths" (Acts
19:23-41)., Moule on Ephesians: Introd.
(originally Ge bene Hinnom; i.e., "the valley of the sons of
Hinnom"), a deep, narrow glen to the south of Jerusalem, where
the idolatrous Jews offered their children in sacrifice to
Molech (2 Chr. 28:3; 33:6; Jer. 7:31; 19:2-6). This valley
afterwards became the common receptacle for all the refuse of
the city. Here the dead bodies of animals and of criminals, and
all kinds of filth, were cast and consumed by fire kept always
burning. It thus in process of time became the image of the
place of everlasting destruction. In this sense it is used by
our Lord in Matt. 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark
9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5. In these passages, and also in James
3:6, the word is uniformly rendered "hell," the Revised Version
placing "Gehenna" in the margin. (See HELL T0001731; HINNOM
(1.) Heb. 'asherah, properly a wooden image, or a pillar
representing Ashtoreth, a sensual Canaanite goddess, probably
usually set up in a grove (2 Kings 21:7; 23:4). In the Revised
Version the word "Asherah" (q.v.) is introduced as a proper
noun, the name of the wooden symbol of a goddess, with the
plurals Asherim (Ex. 34:13) and Asheroth (Judg. 3:13).
The LXX. have rendered "asherah" in 2 Chr. 15:16 by "Astarte."
The Vulgate has done this also in Judg. 3:7.
(2.) Heb. 'eshel (Gen. 21:33). In 1 Sam. 22:6 and 31:13 the
Authorized Version renders this word by "tree." In all these
passages the Revised Version renders by "tamarisk tree." It has
been identified with the Tamariscus orientalis, five species of
which are found in Israel.
(3.) The Heb. word 'elon, uniformly rendered in the Authorized
Version by "plain," properly signifies a grove or plantation. In
the Revised Version it is rendered, pl., "oaks" (Gen. 13:18;
14:13; 18:1; 12:6; Deut. 11:30; Josh. 19:33). In the earliest
times groves are mentioned in connection with religious worship.
The heathen consecrated groves to particular gods, and for this
reason they were forbidden to the Jews (Jer. 17:3; Ezek. 20:28).
red, a Babylonian word, the generic name for man, having the
same meaning in the Hebrew and the Assyrian languages. It was
the name given to the first man, whose creation, fall, and
subsequent history and that of his descendants are detailed in
the first book of Moses (Gen. 1:27-ch. 5). "God created man
[Heb., Adam] in his own image, in the image of God created he
him; male and female created he them."
Adam was absolutely the first man whom God created. He was
formed out of the dust of the earth (and hence his name), and
God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and gave him
dominion over all the lower creatures (Gen. 1:26; 2:7). He was
placed after his creation in the Garden of Eden, to cultivate
it, and to enjoy its fruits under this one prohibition: "Of the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it;
for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
The first recorded act of Adam was his giving names to the
beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, which God brought
to him for this end. Thereafter the Lord caused a deep sleep to
fall upon him, and while in an unconscious state took one of his
ribs, and closed up his flesh again; and of this rib he made a
woman, whom he presented to him when he awoke. Adam received her
as his wife, and said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh
of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken
out of Man." He called her Eve, because she was the mother of
Being induced by the tempter in the form of a serpent to eat
the forbidden fruit, Eve persuaded Adam, and he also did eat.
Thus man fell, and brought upon himself and his posterity all
the sad consequences of his transgression. The narrative of the
Fall comprehends in it the great promise of a Deliverer (Gen.
3:15), the "first gospel" message to man. They were expelled
from Eden, and at the east of the garden God placed a flame,
which turned every way, to prevent access to the tree of life
(Gen. 3). How long they were in Paradise is matter of mere
Shortly after their expulsion Eve brought forth her
first-born, and called him Cain. Although we have the names of
only three of Adam's sons, viz., Cain, Abel, and Seth, yet it is
obvious that he had several sons and daughters (Gen. 5:4). He
died aged 930 years.
Adam and Eve were the progenitors of the whole human race.
Evidences of varied kinds are abundant in proving the unity of
the human race. The investigations of science, altogether
independent of historical evidence, lead to the conclusion that
God "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on
all the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26. Compare Rom. 5:12-12; 1
givers of prosperity, idols in human shape, large or small,
analogous to the images of ancestors which were revered by the
Romans. In order to deceive the guards sent by Saul to seize
David, Michal his wife prepared one of the household teraphim,
putting on it the goat's-hair cap worn by sleepers and invalids,
and laid it in a bed, covering it with a mantle. She pointed it
out to the soldiers, and alleged that David was confined to his
bed by a sudden illness (1 Sam. 19:13-16). Thus she gained time
for David's escape. It seems strange to read of teraphim, images
of ancestors, preserved for superstitious purposes, being in the
house of David. Probably they had been stealthily brought by
Michal from her father's house. "Perhaps," says Bishop
Wordsworth, "Saul, forsaken by God and possessed by the evil
spirit, had resorted to teraphim (as he afterwards resorted to
witchcraft); and God overruled evil for good, and made his very
teraphim (by the hand of his own daughter) to be an instrument
for David's escape.", Deane's David, p. 32. Josiah attempted to
suppress this form of idolatry (2 Kings 23:24). The ephod and
teraphim are mentioned together in Hos. 3:4. It has been
supposed by some (Cheyne's Hosea) that the "ephod" here
mentioned, and also in Judg. 8:24-27, was not the part of the
sacerdotal dress so called (Ex. 28:6-14), but an image of
Jehovah overlaid with gold or silver (compare Judg. 17, 18; 1 Sam.
21:9; 23:6, 9; 30:7, 8), and is thus associated with the
teraphim. (See THUMMIM T0003648.)
commonly a ring engraved with some device (Gen. 38:18, 25).
Jezebel "wrote letters in Ahab's name, and sealed them with his
seal" (1 Kings 21:8). Seals are frequently mentioned in Jewish
history (Deut. 32:34; Neh. 9:38; 10:1; Esther 3:12; Cant. 8:6;
Isa. 8:16; Jer. 22:24; 32:44, etc.). Sealing a document was
equivalent to the signature of the owner of the seal. "The use
of a signet-ring by the monarch has recently received a
remarkable illustration by the discovery of an impression of
such a signet on fine clay at Koyunjik, the site of the ancient
Nineveh. This seal appears to have been impressed from the bezel
of a metallic finger-ring. It is an oval, 2 inches in length by
1 inch wide, and bears the image, name, and titles of the
Egyptian king Sabaco" (Rawlinson's Hist. Illus. of the O.T., p.
46). The actual signet-rings of two Egyptian kings (Cheops and
Horus) have been discovered. (See SIGNET T0003426.)
The use of seals is mentioned in the New Testament only in
connection with the record of our Lord's burial (Matt. 27:66).
The tomb was sealed by the Pharisees and chief priests for the
purpose of making sure that the disciples would not come and
steal the body away (ver. 63, 64). The mode of doing this was
probably by stretching a cord across the stone and sealing it at
both ends with sealing-clay. When God is said to have sealed the
Redeemer, the meaning is, that he has attested his divine
mission (John 6:27). Circumcision is a seal, an attestation of
the covenant (Rom. 4:11). Believers are sealed with the Spirit,
as God's mark put upon them (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). Converts are by
Paul styled the seal of his apostleship, i.e., they are its
attestation (1 Cor. 9:2). Seals and sealing are frequently
mentioned in the book of Revelation (5:1; 6:1; 7:3; 10:4;
the name derived from the patriarch Judah, at first given to one
belonging to the tribe of Judah or to the separate kingdom of
Judah (2 Kings 16:6; 25:25; Jer. 32:12; 38:19; 40:11; 41:3), in
contradistinction from those belonging to the kingdom of the ten
tribes, who were called Israelites.
During the Captivity, and after the Restoration, the name,
however, was extended to all the Hebrew nation without
distinction (Esther 3:6, 10; Dan. 3:8, 12; Ezra 4:12; 5:1, 5).
Originally this people were called Hebrews (Gen. 39:14; 40:15;
Ex. 2:7; 3:18; 5:3; 1 Sam. 4:6, 9, etc.), but after the Exile
this name fell into disuse. But Paul was styled a Hebrew (2 Cor.
11:22; Phil. 3:5).
The history of the Jewish nation is interwoven with the
history of Israel and with the narratives of the lives of
their rulers and chief men. They are now  dispersed over
all lands, and to this day remain a separate people, "without a
king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without
an image [R.V. 'pillar,' marg. 'obelisk'], and without an ephod,
and without teraphim" (Hos. 3:4). Till about the beginning of
the present century  they were everywhere greatly
oppressed, and often cruelly persecuted; but now their condition
is greatly improved, and they are admitted in most European
countries to all the rights of free citizens. In 1860 the
"Jewish disabilities" were removed, and they were admitted to a
seat in the British Parliament. Their number in all is estimated
at about six millions, about four millions being in Europe.
There are three names used in the New Testament to designate
this people, (1.) Jews, as regards their nationality, to
distinguish them from Gentiles. (2.) Hebrews, with regard to
their language and education, to distinguish them from
Hellenists, i.e., Jews who spoke the Greek language. (3.)
Israelites, as respects their sacred privileges as the chosen
people of God. "To other races we owe the splendid inheritance
of modern civilization and secular culture; but the religious
education of mankind has been the gift of the Jew alone."
whom Jehovah gave, the name of fifteen or more persons that are
mentioned in Scripture. The chief of these are, (1.) A Levite
descended from Gershom (Judg. 18:30). His history is recorded in
17:7-13 and 18:30. The Rabbins changed this name into Manasseh
"to screen the memory of the great lawgiver from the stain of
having so unworthy an apostate among his near descendants." He
became priest of the idol image at Dan, and this office
continued in his family till the Captivity.
(2.) The eldest son of king Saul, and the bosom friend of
David. He is first mentioned when he was about thirty years of
age, some time after his father's accession to the throne (1
Sam. 13:2). Like his father, he was a man of great strength and
activity (2 Sam. 1:23), and excelled in archery and slinging (1
Chr. 12:2;2 Sam. 1:22). The affection that evidently subsisted
between him and his father was interrupted by the growth of
Saul's insanity. At length, "in fierce anger," he left his
father's presence and cast in his lot with the cause of David (1
Sam. 20:34). After an eventful career, interwoven to a great
extent with that of David, he fell, along with his father and
his two brothers, on the fatal field of Gilboa (1 Sam. 31:2, 8).
He was first buried at Jabesh-gilead, but his remains were
afterwards removed with those of his father to Zelah, in
Benjamin (2 Sam. 21:12-14). His death was the occasion of
David's famous elegy of "the Song of the Bow" (2 Sam. 1:17-27).
He left one son five years old, Merib-baal, or Mephibosheth (2
Sam. 4:4; compare 1 Chr. 8:34).
(3.) Son of the high priest Abiathar, and one who adhered to
David at the time of Absalom's rebellion (2 Sam. 15:27, 36). He
is the last descendant of Eli of whom there is any record.
(4.) Son of Shammah, and David's nephew, and also one of his
chief warriors (2 Sam. 21:21). He slew a giant in Gath.
This word is used, (1.) To express the idea that the Egyptians
considered themselves as defiled when they ate with strangers
(Gen. 43:32). The Jews subsequently followed the same practice,
holding it unlawful to eat or drink with foreigners (John 18:28;
Acts 10:28; 11:3).
(2.) Every shepherd was "an abomination" unto the Egyptians
(Gen. 46:34). This aversion to shepherds, such as the Hebrews,
arose probably from the fact that Lower and Middle Egypt had
formerly been held in oppressive subjection by a tribe of nomad
shepherds (the Hyksos), who had only recently been expelled, and
partly also perhaps from this other fact that the Egyptians
detested the lawless habits of these wandering shepherds.
(3.) Pharaoh was so moved by the fourth plague, that while he
refused the demand of Moses, he offered a compromise, granting
to the Israelites permission to hold their festival and offer
their sacrifices in Egypt. This permission could not be
accepted, because Moses said they would have to sacrifice "the
abomination of the Egyptians" (Ex. 8:26); i.e., the cow or ox,
which all the Egyptians held as sacred, and which they regarded
it as sacrilegious to kill.
(4.) Daniel (11:31), in that section of his prophecies which
is generally interpreted as referring to the fearful calamities
that were to fall on the Jews in the time of Antiochus
Epiphanes, says, "And they shall place the abomination that
maketh desolate." Antiochus Epiphanes caused an altar to be
erected on the altar of burnt-offering, on which sacrifices were
offered to Jupiter Olympus. (Compare 1 Macc. 1:57). This was the
abomination of the desolation of Jerusalem. The same language is
employed in Dan. 9:27 (compare Matt. 24:15), where the reference
is probably to the image-crowned standards which the Romans set
up at the east gate of the temple (A.D. 70), and to which they
paid idolatrous honours. "Almost the entire religion of the
Roman camp consisted in worshipping the ensign, swearing by the
ensign, and in preferring the ensign before all other gods."
These ensigns were an "abomination" to the Jews, the
"abomination of desolation."
This word is also used symbolically of sin in general (Isa.
66:3); an idol (44:19); the ceremonies of the apostate Church of
Rome (Rev. 17:4); a detestable act (Ezek. 22:11).
Heb. ya'ar, meaning a dense wood, from its luxuriance. Thus all
the great primeval forests of Syria (Eccl. 2:6; Isa. 44:14; Jer.
5:6; Micah 5:8). The most extensive was the trans-Jordanic
forest of Ephraim (2 Sam. 18:6, 8; Josh. 17:15, 18), which is
probably the same as the wood of Ephratah (Ps. 132:6), some part
of the great forest of Gilead. It was in this forest that
Absalom was slain by Joab. David withdrew to the forest of
Hareth in the mountains of Judah to avoid the fury of Saul (1
Sam. 22:5). We read also of the forest of Bethel (2 Kings 2:23,
24), and of that which the Israelites passed in their pursuit of
the Philistines (1 Sam. 14:25), and of the forest of the cedars
of Lebanon (1 Kings 4:33; 2 Kings 19:23; Hos. 14:5, 6).
"The house of the forest of Lebanon (1 Kings 7:2; 10:17; 2
Chr. 9:16) was probably Solomon's armoury, and was so called
because the wood of its many pillars came from Lebanon, and they
had the appearance of a forest. (See BAALBEC T0000386.)
Heb. horesh, denoting a thicket of trees, underwood, jungle,
bushes, or trees entangled, and therefore affording a safe
hiding-place. place. This word is rendered "forest" only in 2
Chr. 27:4. It is also rendered "wood", the "wood" in the
"wilderness of Ziph," in which david concealed himself (1 Sam.
23:15), which lay south-east of Hebron. In Isa. 17:19 this word
is in Authorized Version rendered incorrectly "bough."
Heb. pardes, meaning an enclosed garden or plantation. Asaph
is (Neh. 2:8) called the "keeper of the king's forest." The same
Hebrew word is used Eccl. 2:5, where it is rendered in the
plural "orchards" (R.V., "parks"), and Cant. 4: 13, rendered
"orchard" (R.V. marg., "a paradise").
"The forest of the vintage" (Zech. 11:2, "inaccessible
forest," or R.V. "strong forest") is probably a figurative
allusion to Jerusalem, or the verse may simply point to the
devastation of the region referred to.
The forest is an image of unfruitfulness as contrasted with a
cultivated field (Isa. 29:17; 32:15; Jer. 26:18; Hos. 2:12).
Isaiah (10:19, 33, 34) likens the Assyrian host under
Sennacherib (q.v.) to the trees of some huge forest, to be
suddenly cut down by an unseen stroke.
of Sin (the moon god), called also Horeb, the name of the
mountain district which was reached by the Hebrews in the third
month after the Exodus. Here they remained encamped for about a
whole year. Their journey from the Red Sea to this encampment,
including all the windings of the route, was about 150 miles.
The last twenty-two chapters of Exodus, together with the whole
of Leviticus and Num. ch. 1-11, contain a record of all the
transactions which occurred while they were here. From Rephidim
(Ex. 17:8-13) the Israelites journeyed forward through the Wady
Solaf and Wady esh-Sheikh into the plain of er-Rahah, "the
desert of Sinai," about 2 miles long and half a mile broad, and
encamped there "before the mountain." The part of the mountain
range, a protruding lower bluff, known as the Ras Sasafeh
(Sufsafeh), rises almost perpendicularly from this plain, and is
in all probability the Sinai of history. Dean Stanley thus
describes the scene:, "The plain itself is not broken and uneven
and narrowly shut in, like almost all others in the range, but
presents a long retiring sweep, within which the people could
remove and stand afar off. The cliff, rising like a huge altar
in front of the whole congregation, and visible against the sky
in lonely grandeur from end to end of the whole plain, is the
very image of the 'mount that might be touched,' and from which
the voice of God might be heard far and wide over the plain
below." This was the scene of the giving of the law. From the
Ras Sufsafeh the law was proclaimed to the people encamped below
in the plain of er-Rahah. During the lengthened period of their
encampment here the Israelites passed through a very memorable
experience. An immense change passed over them. They are now an
organized nation, bound by covenant engagement to serve the Lord
their God, their ever-present divine Leader and Protector. At
length, in the second month of the second year of the Exodus,
they move their camp and march forward according to a prescribed
order. After three days they reach the "wilderness of Paran,"
the "et-Tih", i.e., "the desert", and here they make their first
encampment. At this time a spirit of discontent broke out
amongst them, and the Lord manifested his displeasure by a fire
which fell on the encampment and inflicted injury on them. Moses
called the place Taberah (q.v.), Num. 11:1-3. The journey
between Sinai and the southern boundary of the Promised Land
(about 150 miles) at Kadesh was accomplished in about a year.
(See MAP facing page 204.)
image-worship or divine honour paid to any created object. Paul
describes the origin of idolatry in Rom. 1:21-25: men forsook
God, and sank into ignorance and moral corruption (1:28).
The forms of idolatry are, (1.) Fetishism, or the worship of
trees, rivers, hills, stones, etc.
(2.) Nature worship, the worship of the sun, moon, and stars,
as the supposed powers of nature.
(3.) Hero worship, the worship of deceased ancestors, or of
In Scripture, idolatry is regarded as of heathen origin, and
as being imported among the Hebrews through contact with heathen
nations. The first allusion to idolatry is in the account of
Rachel stealing her father's teraphim (Gen. 31:19), which were
the relics of the worship of other gods by Laban's progenitors
"on the other side of the river in old time" (Josh. 24:2).
During their long residence in Egypt the Hebrews fell into
idolatry, and it was long before they were delivered from it
(Josh. 24:14; Ezek. 20:7). Many a token of God's displeasure
fell upon them because of this sin.
The idolatry learned in Egypt was probably rooted out from
among the people during the forty years' wanderings; but when
the Jews entered Israel, they came into contact with the
monuments and associations of the idolatry of the old
Canaanite races, and showed a constant tendency to depart from
the living God and follow the idolatrous practices of those
heathen nations. It was their great national sin, which was only
effectually rebuked by the Babylonian exile. That exile finally
purified the Jews of all idolatrous tendencies.
The first and second commandments are directed against
idolatry of every form. Individuals and communities were equally
amenable to the rigorous code. The individual offender was
devoted to destruction (Ex. 22:20). His nearest relatives were
not only bound to denounce him and deliver him up to punishment
(Deut. 13:20-10), but their hands were to strike the first blow
when, on the evidence of two witnesses at least, he was stoned
(Deut. 17:2-7). To attempt to seduce others to false worship was
a crime of equal enormity (13:6-10). An idolatrous nation shared
the same fate. No facts are more strongly declared in the Old
Testament than that the extermination of the Canaanites was the
punishment of their idolatry (Ex. 34:15, 16; Deut. 7; 12:29-31;
20:17), and that the calamities of the Israelites were due to
the same cause (Jer. 2:17). "A city guilty of idolatry was
looked upon as a cancer in the state; it was considered to be in
rebellion, and treated according to the laws of war. Its
inhabitants and all their cattle were put to death." Jehovah was
the theocratic King of Israel, the civil Head of the
commonwealth, and therefore to an Israelite idolatry was a state
offence (1 Sam. 15:23), high treason. On taking possession of
the land, the Jews were commanded to destroy all traces of every
kind of the existing idolatry of the Canaanites (Ex. 23:24, 32;
34:13; Deut. 7:5, 25; 12:1-3).
In the New Testament the term idolatry is used to designate
covetousness (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13; Col. 3:5; Eph. 5:5).
(1.) A house or dwelling-place (Job 5:24; 18:6, etc.).
(2.) A portable shrine (compare Acts 19:24) containing the image
of Moloch (Amos 5:26; marg. and R.V., "Siccuth").
(3.) The human body (2 Cor. 5:1, 4); a tent, as opposed to a
(4.) The sacred tent (Heb. mishkan, "the dwelling-place"); the
movable tent-temple which Moses erected for the service of God,
according to the "pattern" which God himself showed to him on
the mount (Ex. 25:9; Heb. 8:5). It is called "the tabernacle of
the congregation," rather "of meeting", i.e., where God promised
to meet with Israel (Ex. 29:42); the "tabernacle of the
testimony" (Ex. 38:21; Num. 1:50), which does not, however,
designate the whole structure, but only the enclosure which
contained the "ark of the testimony" (Ex. 25:16, 22; Num. 9:15);
the "tabernacle of witness" (Num. 17:8); the "house of the Lord"
(Deut. 23:18); the "temple of the Lord" (Josh. 6:24); a
"sanctuary" (Ex. 25:8).
A particular account of the materials which the people
provided for the erection and of the building itself is recorded
in Ex. 25-40. The execution of the plan mysteriously given to
Moses was intrusted to Bezaleel and Aholiab, who were specially
endowed with wisdom and artistic skill, probably gained in
Egypt, for this purpose (Ex. 35:30-35). The people provided
materials for the tabernacle so abundantly that Moses was under
the necessity of restraining them (36:6). These stores, from
which they so liberally contributed for this purpose, must have
consisted in a great part of the gifts which the Egyptians so
readily bestowed on them on the eve of the Exodus (12:35, 36).
The tabernacle was a rectangular enclosure, in length about 45
feet (i.e., reckoning a cubit at 18 inches) and in breadth and
height about 15. Its two sides and its western end were made of
boards of acacia wood, placed on end, resting in sockets of
brass, the eastern end being left open (Ex. 26:22). This
framework was covered with four coverings, the first of linen,
in which figures of the symbolic cherubim were wrought with
needlework in blue and purple and scarlet threads, and probably
also with threads of gold (Ex. 26:1-6; 36:8-13). Above this was
a second covering of twelve curtains of black goats'-hair cloth,
reaching down on the outside almost to the ground (Ex. 26:7-11).
The third covering was of rams' skins dyed red, and the fourth
was of badgers' skins (Heb. tahash, i.e., the dugong, a species
of seal), Ex. 25:5; 26:14; 35:7, 23; 36:19; 39:34.
Internally it was divided by a veil into two chambers, the
exterior of which was called the holy place, also "the
sanctuary" (Heb. 9:2) and the "first tabernacle" (6); and the
interior, the holy of holies, "the holy place," "the Holiest,"
the "second tabernacle" (Ex. 28:29; Heb. 9:3, 7). The veil
separating these two chambers was a double curtain of the finest
workmanship, which was never passed except by the high priest
once a year, on the great Day of Atonement. The holy place was
separated from the outer court which enclosed the tabernacle by
a curtain, which hung over the six pillars which stood at the
east end of the tabernacle, and by which it was entered.
The order as well as the typical character of the services of
the tabernacle are recorded in Heb. 9; 10:19-22.
The holy of holies, a cube of 10 cubits, contained the "ark of
the testimony", i.e., the oblong chest containing the two tables
of stone, the pot of manna, and Aaron's rod that budded.
The holy place was the western and larger chamber of the
tabernacle. Here were placed the table for the shewbread, the
golden candlestick, and the golden altar of incense.
Round about the tabernacle was a court, enclosed by curtains
hung upon sixty pillars (Ex. 27:9-18). This court was 150 feet
long and 75 feet broad. Within it were placed the altar of burnt
offering, which measured 7 1/2 feet in length and breadth and 4
1/2 feet high, with horns at the four corners, and the laver of
brass (Ex. 30:18), which stood between the altar and the
The whole tabernacle was completed in seven months. On the
first day of the first month of the second year after the
Exodus, it was formally set up, and the cloud of the divine
presence descended on it (Ex. 39:22-43; 40:1-38). It cost 29
talents 730 shekels of gold, 100 talents 1,775 shekels of
silver, 70 talents 2,400 shekels of brass (Ex. 38:24-31).
The tabernacle was so constructed that it could easily be
taken down and conveyed from place to place during the
wanderings in the wilderness. The first encampment of the
Israelites after crossing the Jordan was at Gilgal, and there
the tabernacle remained for seven years (Josh. 4:19). It was
afterwards removed to Shiloh (Josh. 18:1), where it remained
during the time of the Judges, till the days of Eli, when the
ark, having been carried out into the camp when the Israelites
were at war with the Philistines, was taken by the enemy (1 Sam.
4), and was never afterwards restored to its place in the
tabernacle. The old tabernacle erected by Moses in the
wilderness was transferred to Nob (1 Sam. 21:1), and after the
destruction of that city by Saul (22:9; 1 Chr. 16:39, 40), to
Gibeon. It is mentioned for the last time in 1 Chr. 21:29. A new
tabernacle was erected by David at Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6:17; 1
Chr. 16:1), and the ark was brought from Perez-uzzah and
deposited in it (2 Sam. 6:8-17; 2 Chr. 1:4).
The word thus rendered ('ohel) in Ex. 33:7 denotes simply a
tent, probably Moses' own tent, for the tabernacle was not yet
Ephesians, Epistle to
was written by Paul at Rome about the same time as that to the
Colossians, which in many points it resembles.
Contents of. The Epistle to the Colossians is mainly
polemical, designed to refute certain theosophic errors that had
crept into the church there. That to the Ephesians does not seem
to have originated in any special circumstances, but is simply a
letter springing from Paul's love to the church there, and
indicative of his earnest desire that they should be fully
instructed in the profound doctrines of the gospel. It contains
(1) the salutation (1:1, 2); (2) a general description of the
blessings the gospel reveals, as to their source, means by which
they are attained, purpose for which they are bestowed, and
their final result, with a fervent prayer for the further
spiritual enrichment of the Ephesians (1:3-2:10); (3) "a record
of that marked change in spiritual position which the Gentile
believers now possessed, ending with an account of the writer's
selection to and qualification for the apostolate of heathendom,
a fact so considered as to keep them from being dispirited, and
to lead him to pray for enlarged spiritual benefactions on his
absent sympathizers" (2:12-3:21); (4) a chapter on unity as
undisturbed by diversity of gifts (4:1-16); (5) special
injunctions bearing on ordinary life (4:17-6:10); (6) the
imagery of a spiritual warfare, mission of Tychicus, and
valedictory blessing (6:11-24).
Planting of the church at Ephesus. Paul's first and hurried
visit for the space of three months to Ephesus is recorded in
Acts 18:19-21. The work he began on this occasion was carried
forward by Apollos (24-26) and Aquila and Priscilla. On his
second visit, early in the following year, he remained at
Ephesus "three years," for he found it was the key to the
western provinces of Asia Minor. Here "a great door and
effectual" was opened to him (1 Cor. 16:9), and the church was
established and strengthened by his assiduous labors there
(Acts 20:20, 31). From Ephesus as a centre the gospel spread
abroad "almost throughout all Asia" (19:26). The word "mightily
grew and prevailed" despite all the opposition and persecution
On his last journey to Jerusalem the apostle landed at
Miletus, and summoning together the elders of the church from
Ephesus, delivered to them his remarkable farewell charge (Acts
20:18-35), expecting to see them no more.
The following parallels between this epistle and the Milesian
charge may be traced:
(1.) Acts 20:19 = Eph. 4:2. The phrase "lowliness of mind"
occurs nowhere else.
(2.) Acts 20:27 = Eph. 1:11. The word "counsel," as denoting
the divine plan, occurs only here and Heb. 6:17.
(3.) Acts 20:32 = Eph. 3:20. The divine ability.
(4.) Acts 20:32 = Eph. 2:20. The building upon the foundation.
(5.) Acts 20:32 = Eph. 1:14, 18. "The inheritance of the
Place and date of the writing of the letter. It was evidently
written from Rome during Paul's first imprisonment (3:1; 4:1;
6:20), and probably soon after his arrival there, about the year
62, four years after he had parted with the Ephesian elders at
Miletus. The subscription of this epistle is correct.
There seems to have been no special occasion for the writing
of this letter, as already noted. Paul's object was plainly not
polemical. No errors had sprung up in the church which he sought
to point out and refute. The object of the apostle is "to set
forth the ground, the cause, and the aim and end of the church
of the faithful in Christ. He speaks to the Ephesians as a type
or sample of the church universal." The church's foundations,
its course, and its end, are his theme. "Everywhere the
foundation of the church is the will of the Father; the course
of the church is by the satisfaction of the Son; the end of the
church is the life in the Holy Spirit." In the Epistle to the
Romans, Paul writes from the point of view of justification by
the imputed righteousness of Christ; here he writes from the
point of view specially of union to the Redeemer, and hence of
the oneness of the true church of Christ. "This is perhaps the
profoundest book in existence." It is a book "which sounds the
lowest depths of Christian doctrine, and scales the loftiest
heights of Christian experience;" and the fact that the apostle
evidently expected the Ephesians to understand it is an evidence
of the "proficiency which Paul's converts had attained under his
preaching at Ephesus."
Relation between this epistle and that to the Colossians
(q.v.). "The letters of the apostle are the fervent outburst of
pastoral zeal and attachment, written without reserve and in
unaffected simplicity; sentiments come warm from the heart,
without the shaping out, pruning, and punctilious arrangement of
a formal discourse. There is such a fresh and familiar
transcription of feeling, so frequent an introduction of
coloquial idiom, and so much of conversational frankness and
vivacity, that the reader associates the image of the writer
with every paragraph, and the ear seems to catch and recognize
the very tones of living address." "Is it then any matter of
amazement that one letter should resemble another, or that two
written about the same time should have so much in common and so
much that is peculiar? The close relation as to style and
subject between the epistles to Colosse and Ephesus must strike
every reader. Their precise relation to each other has given
rise to much discussion. The great probability is that the
epistle to Colosse was first written; the parallel passages in
Ephesians, which amount to about forty-two in number, having the
appearance of being expansions from the epistle to Colosse.
Eph 1:7; Col 1:14
Eph 1:10; Col 1:20
Eph 3:2; Col 1:25
Eph 5:19; Col 3:16
Eph 6:22; Col 4:8
Eph 1:19-2:5; Col 2:12,13
Eph 4:2-4; Col 3:12-15
Eph 4:16; Col 2:19
Eph 4:32; Col 3:13
Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9,10
Eph 5:6-8; Col 3:6-8
Eph 5:15,16; Col 4:5
Eph 6:19,20; Col 4:3,4
Eph 5:22-6:9; Col 3:18-4:1
"The style of this epistle is exceedingly animated, and
corresponds with the state of the apostle's mind at the time of
writing. Overjoyed with the account which their messenger had
brought him of their faith and holiness (Eph. 1:15), and
transported with the consideration of the unsearchable wisdom of
God displayed in the work of man's redemption, and of his
astonishing love towards the Gentiles in making them partakers
through faith of all the benefits of Christ's death, he soars
high in his sentiments on those grand subjects, and gives his
thoughts utterance in sublime and copious expression."
the land of the Nile and the pyramids, the oldest kingdom of
which we have any record, holds a place of great significance in
The Egyptians belonged to the white race, and their original
home is still a matter of dispute. Many scholars believe that it
was in Southern Arabia, and recent excavations have shown that
the valley of the Nile was originally inhabited by a low-class
population, perhaps belonging to the Nigritian stock, before the
Egyptians of history entered it. The ancient Egyptian language,
of which the latest form is Coptic, is distantly connected with
the Semitic family of speech.
Egypt consists geographically of two halves, the northern
being the Delta, and the southern Upper Egypt, between Cairo and
the First Cataract. In the Old Testament, Northern or Lower
Egypt is called Mazor, "the fortified land" (Isa. 19:6; 37: 25,
where the A.V. mistranslates "defence" and "besieged places");
while Southern or Upper Egypt is Pathros, the Egyptian
Pa-to-Res, or "the land of the south" (Isa. 11:11). But the
whole country is generally mentioned under the dual name of
Mizraim, "the two Mazors."
The civilization of Egypt goes back to a very remote
antiquity. The two kingdoms of the north and south were united
by Menes, the founder of the first historical dynasty of kings.
The first six dynasties constitute what is known as the Old
Empire, which had its capital at Memphis, south of Cairo, called
in the Old Testament Moph (Hos. 9:6) and Noph. The native name
was Mennofer, "the good place."
The Pyramids were tombs of the monarchs of the Old Empire,
those of Gizeh being erected in the time of the Fourth Dynasty.
After the fall of the Old Empire came a period of decline and
obscurity. This was followed by the Middle Empire, the most
powerful dynasty of which was the Twelfth. The Fayyum was
rescued for agriculture by the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty; and
two obelisks were erected in front of the temple of the sun-god
at On or Heliopolis (near Cairo), one of which is still
standing. The capital of the Middle Empire was Thebes, in Upper
The Middle Empire was overthrown by the invasion of the
Hyksos, or shepherd princes from Asia, who ruled over Egypt,
more especially in the north, for several centuries, and of whom
there were three dynasties of kings. They had their capital at
Zoan or Tanis (now San), in the NEern part of the Delta.
It was in the time of the Hyksos that Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph
entered Egypt. The Hyksos were finally expelled about B.C. 1600,
by the hereditary princes of Thebes, who founded the Eighteenth
Dynasty, and carried the war into Asia. Canaan and Syria were
subdued, as well as Cyprus, and the boundaries of the Egyptian
Empire were fixed at the Euphrates. The Soudan, which had been
conquered by the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty, was again annexed
to Egypt, and the eldest son of the Pharaoh took the title of
"Prince of Cush."
One of the later kings of the dynasty, Amenophis IV., or
Khu-n-Aten, endeavoured to supplant the ancient state religion
of Egypt by a new faith derived from Asia, which was a sort of
pantheistic monotheism, the one supreme god being adored under
the image of the solar disk. The attempt led to religious and
civil war, and the Pharaoh retreated from Thebes to Central
Egypt, where he built a new capital, on the site of the present
Tell-el-Amarna. The cuneiform tablets that have been found there
represent his foreign correspondence (about B.C. 1400). He
surrounded himself with officials and courtiers of Asiatic, and
more especially Canaanite, extraction; but the native party
succeeded eventually in overthrowing the government, the capital
of Khu-n-Aten was destroyed, and the foreigners were driven out
of the country, those that remained being reduced to serfdom.
The national triumph was marked by the rise of the Nineteenth
Dynasty, in the founder of which, Rameses I., we must see the
"new king, who knew not Joseph." His grandson, Rameses II.,
reigned sixty-seven years (B.C. 1348-1281), and was an
indefatigable builder. As Pithom, excavated by Dr. Naville in
1883, was one of the cities he built, he must have been the
Pharaoh of the Oppression. The Pharaoh of the Exodus may have
been one of his immediate successors, whose reigns were short.
Under them Egypt lost its empire in Asia, and was itself
attacked by barbarians from Libya and the north.
The Nineteenth Dynasty soon afterwards came to an end; Egypt
was distracted by civil war; and for a short time a Canaanite,
Arisu, ruled over it.
Then came the Twentieth Dynasty, the second Pharaoh of which,
Rameses III., restored the power of his country. In one of his
campaigns he overran the southern part of Israel, where the
Israelites had not yet settled. They must at the time have been
still in the wilderness. But it was during the reign of Rameses
III. that Egypt finally lost Gaza and the adjoining cities,
which were seized by the Pulista, or Philistines.
After Rameses III., Egypt fell into decay. Solomon married the
daughter of one of the last kings of the Twenty-first Dynasty,
which was overthrown by Shishak I., the general of the Libyan
mercenaries, who founded the Twenty-second Dynasty (1 Kings
11:40; 14:25, 26). A list of the places he captured in Israel
is engraved on the outside of the south wall of the temple of
In the time of Hezekiah, Egypt was conquered by Ethiopians
from the Soudan, who constituted the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. The
third of them was Tirhakah (2 Kings 19:9). In B.C. 674 it was
conquered by the Assyrians, who divided it into twenty
satrapies, and Tirhakah was driven back to his ancestral
dominions. Fourteen years later it successfully revolted under
Psammetichus I. of Sais, the founder of the Twenty-sixth
Dynasty. Among his successors were Necho (2 Kings 23:29) and
Hophra, or Apries (Jer. 37:5, 7, 11). The dynasty came to an end
in B.C. 525, when the country was subjugated by Cambyses. Soon
afterwards it was organized into a Persian satrapy.
The title of Pharaoh, given to the Egyptian kings, is the
Egyptian Per-aa, or "Great House," which may be compared to that
of "Sublime Porte." It is found in very early Egyptian texts.
The Egyptian religion was a strange mixture of pantheism and
animal worship, the gods being adored in the form of animals.
While the educated classes resolved their manifold deities into
manifestations of one omnipresent and omnipotent divine power,
the lower classes regarded the animals as incarnations of the
Under the Old Empire, Ptah, the Creator, the god of Memphis,
was at the head of the Pantheon; afterwards Amon, the god of
Thebes, took his place. Amon, like most of the other gods, was
identified with Ra, the sun-god of Heliopolis.
The Egyptians believed in a resurrection and future life, as
well as in a state of rewards and punishments dependent on our
conduct in this world. The judge of the dead was Osiris, who had
been slain by Set, the representative of evil, and afterwards
restored to life. His death was avenged by his son Horus, whom
the Egyptians invoked as their "Redeemer." Osiris and Horus,
along with Isis, formed a trinity, who were regarded as
representing the sun-god under different forms.
Even in the time of Abraham, Egypt was a flourishing and
settled monarchy. Its oldest capital, within the historic
period, was Memphis, the ruins of which may still be seen near
the Pyramids and the Sphinx. When the Old Empire of Menes came
to an end, the seat of empire was shifted to Thebes, some 300
miles farther up the Nile. A short time after that, the Delta
was conquered by the Hyksos, or shepherd kings, who fixed their
capital at Zoan, the Greek Tanis, now San, on the Tanic arm of
the Nile. All this occurred before the time of the new king
"which knew not Joseph" (Ex. 1:8). In later times Egypt was
conquered by the Persians (B.C. 525), and by the Greeks under
Alexander the Great (B.C. 332), after whom the Ptolemies ruled
the country for three centuries. Subsequently it was for a time
a province of the Roman Empire; and at last, in A.D. 1517, it
fell into the hands of the Turks, of whose empire it still forms
nominally a part. Abraham and Sarah went to Egypt in the time of
the shepherd kings. The exile of Joseph and the migration of
Jacob to "the land of Goshen" occurred about 200 years later. On
the death of Solomon, Shishak, king of Egypt, invaded Israel
(1 Kings 14:25). He left a list of the cities he conquered.
A number of remarkable clay tablets, discovered at
Tell-el-Amarna in Upper Egypt, are the most important historical
records ever found in connection with the Bible. They most fully
confirm the historical statements of the Book of Joshua, and
prove the antiquity of civilization in Syria and Israel. As
the clay in different parts of Israel differs, it has been
found possible by the clay alone to decide where the tablets
come from when the name of the writer is lost. The inscriptions
are cuneiform, and in the Aramaic language, resembling Assyrian.
The writers are Phoenicians, Amorites, and Philistines, but in
no instance Hittites, though Hittites are mentioned. The tablets
consist of official dispatches and letters, dating from B.C.
1480, addressed to the two Pharaohs, Amenophis III. and IV., the
last of this dynasty, from the kings and governors of Phoenicia
and Israel. There occur the names of three kings killed by
Joshua, Adoni-zedec, king of Jerusalem, Japhia, king of Lachish
(Josh. 10:3), and Jabin, king of Hazor (11:1); also the Hebrews
(Abiri) are said to have come from the desert.
The principal prophecies of Scripture regarding Egypt are
these, Isa. 19; Jer. 43: 8-13; 44:30; 46; Ezek. 29-32; and it
might be easily shown that they have all been remarkably
fulfilled. For example, the singular disappearance of Noph
(i.e., Memphis) is a fulfilment of Jer. 46:19, Ezek. 30:13.