burden of (i.e., "sustained by") Jehovah, the "son of Zichri,
who willingly offered himself unto the Lord," a captain over
thousands under Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 17:16; compare Judg. 5:9).
(1.) A load of any kind (Ex. 23:5). (2.) A severe task (Ex.
2:11). (3.) A difficult duty, requiring effort (Ex. 18:22). (4.)
A prophecy of a calamitous or disastrous nature (Isa. 13:1;
17:1; Hab. 1:1, etc.).
burden. (1.) The son of Abigail, a sister of king David (1 Chr.
2:17; 2 Sam. 17:25). He was appointed by David to command the
army in room of his cousin Joab (2 Sam. 19:13), who afterwards
treacherously put him to death as a dangerous rival (2 Sam.
(2.) A son of Hadlai, and chief of Ephraim (2 Chr. 28:12) in
the reign of Ahaz.
silence, (compare Ps. 94:17), the fourth son of Ishmael; also the
tribe descended from him; and hence also the region in Arabia
which they inhabited (Gen. 25:14; 1 Chr. 1:30).
There was also a town of this name in Judah (Josh. 15:52),
which has been identified with ed-Domeh, about 10 miles
southwest of Hebron. The place mentioned in the "burden" of the
prophet Isaiah (21:11) is Edom or Idumea.
In the Authorized Version this word is found as the rendering of
many different words. In Judg. 18:21 it means valuables, wealth,
or booty. In Isa. 46:1 (R.V., "the things that ye carried
about") the word means a load for a beast of burden. In 1 Sam.
17:22 and Isa. 10:28 it is the rendering of a word ("stuff" in 1
Sam. 10:22) meaning implements, equipments, baggage. The phrase
in Acts 21:15, "We took up our carriages," means properly, "We
packed up our baggage," as in the Revised Version.
one who farmed the taxes (e.g., Zacchaeus, Luke 19:2) to be
levied from a town or district, and thus undertook to pay to the
supreme government a certain amount. In order to collect the
taxes, the publicans employed subordinates (5:27; 15:1; 18:10),
who, for their own ends, were often guilty of extortion and
peculation. In New Testament times these taxes were paid to the
Romans, and hence were regarded by the Jews as a very heavy
burden, and hence also the collectors of taxes, who were
frequently Jews, were hated, and were usually spoken of in very
opprobrious terms. Jesus was accused of being a "friend of
publicans and sinners" (Luke 7:34).
(1.) In the sense of soil or ground, the translation of the word
"adamah'". In Gen. 9:20 "husbandman" is literally "man of the
ground or earth." Altars were to be built of earth (Ex. 20:24).
Naaman asked for two mules' burden of earth (2 Kings 5:17),
under the superstitious notion that Jehovah, like the gods of
the heathen, could be acceptably worshipped only on his own
(2). As the rendering of "'erets", it means the whole world
(Gen. 1:2); the land as opposed to the sea (1:10). "Erets" also
denotes a country (21:32); a plot of ground (23:15); the ground
on which a man stands (33:3); the inhabitants of the earth (6:1;
11:1); all the world except Israel (2 Chr. 13:9). In the New
Testament "the earth" denotes the land of Judea (Matt. 23:35);
also things carnal in contrast with things heavenly (John 3:31;
Col. 3:1, 2).
This word is used of flocks or herds of grazing animals (Ex.
22:5; Num. 20:4, 8, 11; Ps. 78:48); of beasts of burden (Gen.
45:17); of eatable beasts (Prov. 9:2); and of swift beasts or
dromedaries (Isa. 60:6). In the New Testament it is used of a
domestic animal as property (Rev. 18:13); as used for food (1
Cor. 15:39), for service (Luke 10:34; Acts 23:24), and for
sacrifice (Acts 7:42).
When used in contradistinction to man (Ps. 36:6), it denotes a
brute creature generally, and when in contradistinction to
creeping things (Lev. 11:2-7; 27:26), a four-footed animal.
The Mosaic law required that beasts of labour should have rest
on the Sabbath (Ex. 20:10; 23:12), and in the Sabbatical year
all cattle were allowed to roam about freely, and eat whatever
grew in the fields (Ex. 23:11; Lev. 25:7). No animal could be
castrated (Lev. 22:24). Animals of different kinds were to be
always kept separate (Lev. 19:19; Deut. 22:10). Oxen when used
in threshing were not to be prevented from eating what was
within their reach (Deut. 25:4; 1 Cor.9:9).
This word is used figuratively of an infuriated multitude (1
Cor. 15:32; Acts 19:29; compare Ps. 22:12, 16; Eccl. 3:18; Isa.
11:6-8), and of wicked men (2 Pet. 2:12). The four beasts of
Daniel 7:3, 17, 23 represent four kingdoms or kings.
from the Hebrew "gamal", "to repay" or "requite," as the camel
does the care of its master. There are two distinct species of
camels, having, however, the common characteristics of being
"ruminants without horns, without muzzle, with nostrils forming
oblique slits, the upper lip divided and separately movable and
extensile, the soles of the feet horny, with two toes covered by
claws, the limbs long, the abdomen drawn up, while the neck,
long and slender, is bent up and down, the reverse of that of a
horse, which is arched."
(1.) The Bactrian camel is distinguished by two humps. It is a
native of the high table-lands of Central Asia.
(2.) The Arabian camel or dromedary, from the Greek "dromos",
"a runner" (Isa. 60:6; Jer. 2:23), has but one hump, and is a
native of Western Asia or Africa.
The camel was early used both for riding and as a beast of
burden (Gen. 24:64; 37:25), and in war (1 Sam. 30:17; Isa.
21:7). Mention is made of the camel among the cattle given by
Pharaoh to Abraham (Gen. 12:16). Its flesh was not to be eaten,
as it was ranked among unclean animals (Lev. 11:4; Deut. 14:7).
Abraham's servant rode on a camel when he went to fetch a wife
for Isaac (Gen. 24:10, 11). Jacob had camels as a portion of his
wealth (30:43), as Abraham also had (24:35). He sent a present
of thirty milch camels to his brother Esau (32:15). It appears
to have been little in use among the Jews after the conquest. It
is, however, mentioned in the history of David (1 Chr. 27:30),
and after the Exile (Ezra 2:67; Neh. 7:69). Camels were much in
use among other nations in the East. The queen of Sheba came
with a caravan of camels when she came to see the wisdom of
Solomon (1 Kings 10:2; 2 Chr. 9:1). Benhadad of Damascus also
sent a present to Elisha, "forty camels' burden" (2 Kings 8:9).
To show the difficulty in the way of a rich man's entering
into the kingdom, our Lord uses the proverbial expression that
it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle
To strain at (rather, out) a gnat and swallow a camel was also
a proverbial expression (Matt. 23:24), used with reference to
those who were careful to avoid small faults, and yet did not
hesitate to commit the greatest sins. The Jews carefully
filtered their wine before drinking it, for fear of swallowing
along with it some insect forbidden in the law as unclean, and
yet they omitted openly the "weightier matters" of the law.
The raiment worn by John the Baptist was made of camel's hair
(Matt. 3:4; Mark 1:6), by which he was distinguished from those
who resided in royal palaces and wore soft raiment. This was
also the case with Elijah (2 Kings 1:8), who is called "a hairy
man," from his wearing such raiment. "This is one of the most
admirable materials for clothing; it keeps out the heat, cold,
and rain." The "sackcloth" so often alluded to (2 Kings 1:8;
Isa. 15:3; Zech. 13:4, etc.) was probably made of camel's hair.
(1.) An gratuity (Prov. 19:6) to secure favour (18:16; 21:14), a
thank-offering (Num. 18:11), or a dowry (Gen. 34:12).
(2.) An oblation or proppitatory gift (2Sa 8:2,6; 1Ch 18:2,6;
2Ch 26:8; Ps. 45:12; 72:10).
(3.) A bribe to a judge to obtain a favourable verdict (Ex.
23:8; Deut. 16:19).
(4.) Simply a thing given (Matt. 7:11; Luke 11:13; Eph. 4:8);
sacrifical (Matt. 5:23, 24; 8:4); eleemosynary (Luke 21:1); a
gratuity (John 4:10; Acts 8:20). In Acts 2:38 the generic word
dorea is rendered "gift." It differs from the charisma (1 Cor.
12:4) as denoting not miraculous powers but the working of a new
spirit in men, and that spirit from God.
The giving of presents entered largely into the affairs of
common life in the East. The nature of the presents was as
various as were the occasions: food (1 Sam. 9:7; 16:20), sheep
and cattle (Gen. 32:13-15), gold (2 Sam. 18:11), jewels (Gen.
24:53), furniture, and vessels for eating and drinking (2 Sam.
17:28); delicacies, as spices, honey, etc. (1 Kings 10:25; 2
Kings 5: 22). The mode of presentation was with as much parade
as possible: the presents were conveyed by the hands of servants
(Judg. 3:18), or still better, on the backs of beasts of burden
(2 Kings 8:9). The refusal of a present was regarded as a high
indignity; and this constituted the aggravated insult noticed in
Matt. 22:11, the marriage robe having been offered and refused.
Jehovah is renowned or remembered. (1.) A prophet of Judah, the
eleventh of the twelve minor prophets. Like Ezekiel, he was of
priestly extraction. He describes himself (1:1) as "the son of
Berechiah." In Ezra 5:1 and 6:14 he is called "the son of Iddo,"
who was properly his grandfather. His prophetical career began
in the second year of Darius (B.C. 520), about sixteen years
after the return of the first company from exile. He was
contemporary with Haggai (Ezra 5:1).
His book consists of two distinct parts, (1) chapters 1 to 8,
inclusive, and (2) 9 to the end. It begins with a preface
(1:1-6), which recalls the nation's past history, for the
purpose of presenting a solemn warning to the present
generation. Then follows a series of eight visions (1:7-6:8),
succeeding one another in one night, which may be regarded as a
symbolical history of Israel, intended to furnish consolation to
the returned exiles and stir up hope in their minds. The
symbolical action, the crowning of Joshua (6:9-15), describes
how the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of God's
Chapters 7 and 8, delivered two years later, are an answer to
the question whether the days of mourning for the destruction of
the city should be any longer kept, and an encouraging address
to the people, assuring them of God's presence and blessing.
The second part of the book (ch. 9-14) bears no date. It is
probable that a considerable interval separates it from the
first part. It consists of two burdens.
The first burden (ch. 9-11) gives an outline of the course of
God's providential dealings with his people down to the time of
The second burden (ch. 12-14) points out the glories that
await Israel in "the latter day", the final conflict and triumph
of God's kingdom.
(2.) The son or grandson of Jehoiada, the high priest in the
times of Ahaziah and Joash. After the death of Jehoiada he
boldly condemned both the king and the people for their
rebellion against God (2 Chr. 24:20), which so stirred up their
resentment against him that at the king's commandment they
stoned him with stones, and he died "in the court of the house
of the Lord" (24:21). Christ alludes to this deed of murder in
Matt. 23:35, Luke 11:51. (See ZACHARIAS T0003862 .)
(3.) A prophet, who had "understanding in the seeing of God,"
in the time of Uzziah, who was much indebted to him for his wise
counsel (2 Chr. 26:5).
Besides these, there is a large number of persons mentioned in
Scripture bearing this name of whom nothing is known.
(4.) One of the chiefs of the tribe of Reuben (1 Chr. 5:7).
(5.) One of the porters of the tabernacle (1 Chr. 9:21).
(6.) 1 Chr. 9:37.
(7.) A Levite who assisted at the bringing up of the ark from
the house of Obededom (1 Chr. 15:20-24).
(8.) A Kohathite Levite (1 Chr. 24:25).
(9.) A Merarite Levite (1 Chr. 27:21).
(10.) The father of Iddo (1 Chr. 27:21).
(11.) One who assisted in teaching the law to the people in
the time of Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 17:7).
(12.) A Levite of the sons of Asaph (2 Chr. 20:14).
(13.) One of Jehoshaphat's sons (2 Chr. 21:2).
(14.) The father of Abijah, who was the mother of Hezekiah (2
(15.) One of the sons of Asaph (2 Chr. 29:13).
(16.) One of the "rulers of the house of God" (2 Chr. 35:8).
(17.) A chief of the people in the time of Ezra, who consulted
him about the return from captivity (Ezra 8:16); probably the
same as mentioned in Neh. 8:4,
(18.) Neh. 11:12.
(19.) Neh. 12:16.
(20.) Neh. 12:35,41.
(21.) Isa. 8:2.
borne; a burden, one of the twelve minor prophets. He was a
native of Tekota, the modern Tekua, a town about 12 miles
south-east of Bethlehem. He was a man of humble birth, neither a
"prophet nor a prophet's son," but "an herdman and a dresser of
sycomore trees," R.V. He prophesied in the days of Uzziah, king
of Judah, and was contemporary with Isaiah and Hosea (Amos 1:1;
7:14, 15; Zech. 14:5), who survived him a few years. Under
Jeroboam II. the kingdom of Israel rose to the zenith of its
prosperity; but that was followed by the prevalence of luxury
and vice and idolatry. At this period Amos was called from his
obscurity to remind the people of the law of God's retributive
justice, and to call them to repentance.
The Book of Amos consists of three parts:
(1.) The nations around are summoned to judgment because of
their sins (1:1-2:3). He quotes Joel 3:16.
(2.) The spiritual condition of Judah, and especially of
Israel, is described (2:4-6:14).
(3.) In 7:1-9:10 are recorded five prophetic visions. (a) The
first two (7:1-6) refer to judgments against the guilty people.
(b) The next two (7:7-9; 8:1-3) point out the ripeness of the
people for the threatened judgements. 7:10-17 consists of a
conversation between the prophet and the priest of Bethel. (c)
The fifth describes the overthrow and ruin of Israel (9:1-10);
to which is added the promise of the restoration of the kingdom
and its final glory in the Messiah's kingdom.
The style is peculiar in the number of the allusions made to
natural objects and to agricultural occupations. Other allusions
show also that Amos was a student of the law as well as a "child
of nature." These phrases are peculiar to him: "Cleanness of
teeth" [i.e., want of bread] (4:6); "The excellency of Jacob"
(6:8; 8:7); "The high places of Isaac" (7:9); "The house of
Isaac" (7:16); "He that createth the wind" (4:13). Quoted, Acts
a name frequently used in the Old Testament as denoting a person
clothed with authority, and entitled to respect and reverence
(Gen. 50:7). It also denoted a political office (Num. 22:7). The
"elders of Israel" held a rank among the people indicative of
authority. Moses opened his commission to them (Ex. 3:16). They
attended Moses on all important occasions. Seventy of them
attended on him at the giving of the law (Ex. 24:1). Seventy
also were selected from the whole number to bear with Moses the
burden of the people (Num. 11:16, 17). The "elder" is the
keystone of the social and political fabric wherever the
patriarchal system exists. At the present day this is the case
among the Arabs, where the sheik (i.e., "the old man") is the
highest authority in the tribe. The body of the "elders" of
Israel were the representatives of the people from the very
first, and were recognized as such by Moses. All down through
the history of the Jews we find mention made of the elders as
exercising authority among the people. They appear as governors
(Deut. 31:28), as local magistrates (16:18), administering
justice (19:12). They were men of extensive influence (1 Sam.
30:26-31). In New Testament times they also appear taking an
active part in public affairs (Matt. 16:21; 21:23; 26:59).
The Jewish eldership was transferred from the old dispensation
to the new. "The creation of the office of elder is nowhere
recorded in the New Testament, as in the case of deacons and
apostles, because the latter offices were created to meet new
and special emergencies, while the former was transmitted from
the earlies times. In other words, the office of elder was the
only permanent essential office of the church under either
The "elders" of the New Testament church were the "pastors"
(Eph. 4:11), "bishops or overseers" (Acts 20:28), "leaders" and
"rulers" (Heb. 13:7; 1 Thess. 5:12) of the flock. Everywhere in
the New Testament bishop and presbyter are titles given to one
and the same officer of the Christian church. He who is called
presbyter or elder on account of his age or gravity is also
called bishop or overseer with reference to the duty that lay
upon him (Titus 1:5-7; Acts 20:17-28; Phil. 1:1).
the designation of a tribe descended from Moab, the son of Lot
(Gen. 19:37). From Zoar, the cradle of this tribe, on the
south-eastern border of the Dead Sea, they gradually spread over
the region on the east of Jordan. Rameses II., the Pharaoh of
the Oppression, enumerates Moab (Muab) among his conquests.
Shortly before the Exodus, the warlike Amorites crossed the
Jordan under Sihon their king and drove the Moabites (Num.
21:26-30) out of the region between the Arnon and the Jabbok,
and occupied it, making Heshbon their capital. They were then
confined to the territory to the south of the Arnon.
On their journey the Israelites did not pass through Moab, but
through the "wilderness" to the east (Deut. 2:8; Judg. 11:18),
at length reaching the country to the north of the Arnon. Here
they remained for some time till they had conquered Bashan (see
SIHON T0003427; OG T0002771). The Moabites were alarmed, and
their king, Balak, sought aid from the Midianites (Num. 22:2-4).
It was while they were here that the visit of Balaam (q.v.) to
Balak took place. (See MOSES T0002602.)
After the Conquest, the Moabites maintained hostile relations
with the Israelites, and frequently harassed them in war (Judg.
3:12-30; 1 Sam. 14). The story of Ruth, however, shows the
existence of friendly relations between Moab and Bethlehem. By
his descent from Ruth, David may be said to have had Moabite
blood in his veins. Yet there was war between David and the
Moabites (2 Sam. 8:2; 23:20; 1 Chr. 18:2), from whom he took
great spoil (2 Sam. 8:2, 11, 12; 1 Chr. 11:22; 18:11).
During the one hundred and fifty years which followed the
defeat of the Moabites, after the death of Ahab (see MESHA
T0002505), they regained, apparently, much of their former
prosperty. At this time Isaiah (15:1) delivered his "burden of
Moab," predicting the coming of judgment on that land (compare 2
Kings 17:3; 18:9; 1 Chr. 5:25, 26). Between the time of Isaiah
and the commencement of the Babylonian captivity we have very
seldom any reference to Moab (Jer. 25:21; 27:3; 40:11; Zeph.
After the Return, it was Sanballat, a Moabite, who took chief
part in seeking to prevent the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Neh.
2:19; 4:1; 6:1).
he enlarges the people, the successor of Solomon on the throne,
and apparently his only son. He was the son of Naamah "the
Ammonitess," some well-known Ammonitish princess (1 Kings 14:21;
2 Chr. 12:13). He was forty-one years old when he ascended the
throne, and he reigned seventeen years (B.C. 975-958). Although
he was acknowledged at once as the rightful heir to the throne,
yet there was a strongly-felt desire to modify the character of
the government. The burden of taxation to which they had been
subjected during Solomon's reign was very oppressive, and
therefore the people assembled at Shechem and demanded from the
king an alleviation of their burdens. He went to meet them at
Shechem, and heard their demands for relief (1 Kings 12:4).
After three days, having consulted with a younger generation of
courtiers that had grown up around him, instead of following the
advice of elders, he answered the people haughtily (6-15). "The
king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the
Lord" (compare 11:31). This brought matters speedily to a crisis.
The terrible cry was heard (compare 2 Sam. 20:1):
"What portion have we in David?
Neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse:
To your tents, O Israel:
Now see to thine own house, David" (1 Kings 12:16).
And now at once the kingdom was rent in twain. Rehoboam was
appalled, and tried concessions, but it was too late (18). The
tribe of Judah, Rehoboam's own tribe, alone remained faithful to
him. Benjamin was reckoned along with Judah, and these two
tribes formed the southern kingdom, with Jerusalem as its
capital; while the northern ten tribes formed themselves into a
separate kingdom, choosing Jeroboam as their king. Rehoboam
tried to win back the revolted ten tribes by making war against
them, but he was prevented by the prophet Shemaiah (21-24; 2
Chr. 11:1-4) from fulfilling his purpose. (See JEROBOAM
In the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign, Shishak (q.v.), one of
the kings of Egypt of the Assyrian dynasty, stirred up, no
doubt, by Jeroboam his son-in-law, made war against him.
Jerusalem submitted to the invader, who plundered the temple and
virtually reduced the kingdom to the position of a vassal of
Egypt (1 Kings 14:25, 26; 2 Chr. 12:5-9). A remarkable memorial
of this invasion has been discovered at Karnac, in Upper Egypt,
in certain sculptures on the walls of a small temple there.
These sculptures represent the king, Shishak, holding in his
hand a train of prisoners and other figures, with the names of
the captured towns of Judah, the towns which Rehoboam had
fortified (2 Chr. 11:5-12).
The kingdom of Judah, under Rehoboam, sank more and more in
moral and spiritual decay. "There was war between Rehoboam and
Jeroboam all their days." At length, in the fifty-eighth year of
his age, Rehoboam "slept with his fathers, and was buried with
his fathers in the city of David" (1 Kings 14:31). He was
succeeded by his son Abijah. (See EGYPT T0001137.)
rest, (Heb. Noah) the grandson of Methuselah (Gen. 5:25-29), who
was for two hundred and fifty years contemporary with Adam, and
the son of Lamech, who was about fifty years old at the time of
Adam's death. This patriarch is rightly regarded as the
connecting link between the old and the new world. He is the
second great progenitor of the human family.
The words of his father Lamech at his birth (Gen. 5:29) have
been regarded as in a sense prophetical, designating Noah as a
type of Him who is the true "rest and comfort" of men under the
burden of life (Matt.11:28).
He lived five hundred years, and then there were born unto him
three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Gen. 5:32). He was a "just
man and perfect in his generation," and "walked with God" (compare
Ezek. 14:14,20). But now the descendants of Cain and of Seth
began to intermarry, and then there sprang up a race
distinguished for their ungodliness. Men became more and more
corrupt, and God determined to sweep the earth of its wicked
population (Gen. 6:7). But with Noah God entered into a
covenant, with a promise of deliverance from the threatened
deluge (18). He was accordingly commanded to build an ark
(6:14-16) for the saving of himself and his house. An interval
of one hundred and twenty years elapsed while the ark was being
built (6:3), during which Noah bore constant testimony against
the unbelief and wickedness of that generation (1 Pet. 3:18-20;
2 Pet. 2:5).
When the ark of "gopher-wood" (mentioned only here) was at
length completed according to the command of the Lord, the
living creatures that were to be preserved entered into it; and
then Noah and his wife and sons and daughters-in-law entered it,
and the "Lord shut him in" (Gen.7:16). The judgment-threatened
now fell on the guilty world, "the world that then was, being
overflowed with water, perished" (2 Pet. 3:6). The ark floated
on the waters for one hundred and fifty days, and then rested on
the mountains of Ararat (Gen. 8:3,4); but not for a considerable
time after this was divine permission given him to leave the
ark, so that he and his family were a whole year shut up within
it (Gen. 6-14).
On leaving the ark Noah's first act was to erect an altar, the
first of which there is any mention, and offer the sacrifices of
adoring thanks and praise to God, who entered into a covenant
with him, the first covenant between God and man, granting him
possession of the earth by a new and special charter, which
remains in force to the present time (Gen. 8:21-9:17). As a sign
and witness of this covenant, the rainbow was adopted and set
apart by God, as a sure pledge that never again would the earth
be destroyed by a flood.
But, alas! Noah after this fell into grievous sin (Gen. 9:21);
and the conduct of Ham on this sad occasion led to the memorable
prediction regarding his three sons and their descendants. Noah
"lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years, and he
died" (28:29). (See DELUGE T0001011).
Noah, motion, (Heb. No'ah) one of the five daughters of
Zelophehad (Num.26:33; 27:1; 36:11; Josh. 17:3).
Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a certain
statement is true (Phil. 1:27; 2 Thess. 2:13). Its primary idea
is trust. A thing is true, and therefore worthy of trust. It
admits of many degrees up to full assurance of faith, in
accordance with the evidence on which it rests.
Faith is the result of teaching (Rom. 10:14-17). Knowledge is
an essential element in all faith, and is sometimes spoken of as
an equivalent to faith (John 10:38; 1 John 2:3). Yet the two are
distinguished in this respect, that faith includes in it assent,
which is an act of the will in addition to the act of the
understanding. Assent to the truth is of the essence of faith,
and the ultimate ground on which our assent to any revealed
truth rests is the veracity of God.
Historical faith is the apprehension of and assent to certain
statements which are regarded as mere facts of history.
Temporary faith is that state of mind which is awakened in men
(e.g., Felix) by the exhibition of the truth and by the
influence of religious sympathy, or by what is sometimes styled
the common operation of the Holy Spirit.
Saving faith is so called because it has eternal life
inseparably connected with it. It cannot be better defined than
in the words of the Assembly's Shorter Catechism: "Faith in
Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon
him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel."
The object of saving faith is the whole revealed Word of God.
Faith accepts and believes it as the very truth most sure. But
the special act of faith which unites to Christ has as its
object the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ (John
7:38; Acts 16:31). This is the specific act of faith by which a
sinner is justified before God (Rom. 3:22, 25; Gal. 2:16; Phil.
3:9; John 3:16-36; Acts 10:43; 16:31). In this act of faith the
believer appropriates and rests on Christ alone as Mediator in
all his offices.
This assent to or belief in the truth received upon the divine
testimony has always associated with it a deep sense of sin, a
distinct view of Christ, a consenting will, and a loving heart,
together with a reliance on, a trusting in, or resting in
Christ. It is that state of mind in which a poor sinner,
conscious of his sin, flees from his guilty self to Christ his
Saviour, and rolls over the burden of all his sins on him. It
consists chiefly, not in the assent given to the testimony of
God in his Word, but in embracing with fiducial reliance and
trust the one and only Saviour whom God reveals. This trust and
reliance is of the essence of faith. By faith the believer
directly and immediately appropriates Christ as his own. Faith
in its direct act makes Christ ours. It is not a work which God
graciously accepts instead of perfect obedience, but is only the
hand by which we take hold of the person and work of our
Redeemer as the only ground of our salvation.
Saving faith is a moral act, as it proceeds from a renewed
will, and a renewed will is necessary to believing assent to the
truth of God (1 Cor. 2:14; 2 Cor. 4:4). Faith, therefore, has
its seat in the moral part of our nature fully as much as in the
intellectual. The mind must first be enlightened by divine
teaching (John 6:44; Acts 13:48; 2 Cor. 4:6; Eph. 1:17, 18)
before it can discern the things of the Spirit.
Faith is necessary to our salvation (Mark 16:16), not because
there is any merit in it, but simply because it is the sinner's
taking the place assigned him by God, his falling in with what
God is doing.
The warrant or ground of faith is the divine testimony, not
the reasonableness of what God says, but the simple fact that he
says it. Faith rests immediately on, "Thus saith the Lord." But
in order to this faith the veracity, sincerity, and truth of God
must be owned and appreciated, together with his
unchangeableness. God's word encourages and emboldens the sinner
personally to transact with Christ as God's gift, to close with
him, embrace him, give himself to Christ, and take Christ as
his. That word comes with power, for it is the word of God who
has revealed himself in his works, and especially in the cross.
God is to be believed for his word's sake, but also for his
Faith in Christ secures for the believer freedom from
condemnation, or justification before God; a participation in
the life that is in Christ, the divine life (John 14:19; Rom.
6:4-10; Eph. 4:15,16, etc.); "peace with God" (Rom. 5:1); and
sanctification (Acts 26:18; Gal. 5:6; Acts 15:9).
All who thus believe in Christ will certainly be saved (John
6:37, 40; 10:27, 28; Rom. 8:1).
The faith=the gospel (Acts 6:7; Rom. 1:5; Gal. 1:23; 1 Tim.
3:9; Jude 1:3).
father of a multitude, son of Terah, named (Gen. 11:27) before
his older brothers Nahor and Haran, because he was the heir of
the promises. Till the age of seventy, Abram sojourned among his
kindred in his native country of Chaldea. He then, with his
father and his family and household, quitted the city of Ur, in
which he had hitherto dwelt, and went some 300 miles north to
Haran, where he abode fifteen years. The cause of his migration
was a call from God (Acts 7:2-4). There is no mention of this
first call in the Old Testament; it is implied, however, in Gen.
12. While they tarried at Haran, Terah died at the age of 205
years. Abram now received a second and more definite call,
accompanied by a promise from God (Gen. 12:1,2); whereupon he
took his departure, taking his nephew Lot with him, "not knowing
whither he went" (Heb. 11:8). He trusted implicitly to the
guidance of Him who had called him.
Abram now, with a large household of probably a thousand
souls, entered on a migratory life, and dwelt in tents. Passing
along the valley of the Jabbok, in the land of Canaan, he formed
his first encampment at Sichem (Gen. 12:6), in the vale or
oak-grove of Moreh, between Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the
south. Here he received the great promise, "I will make of thee
a great nation," etc. (Gen. 12:2,3,7). This promise comprehended
not only temporal but also spiritual blessings. It implied that
he was the chosen ancestor of the great Deliverer whose coming
had been long ago predicted (Gen. 3:15). Soon after this, for
some reason not mentioned, he removed his tent to the mountain
district between Bethel, then called Luz, and Ai, towns about
two miles apart, where he built an altar to "Jehovah." He again
moved into the southern tract of Israel, called by the
Hebrews the Negeb; and was at length, on account of a famine,
compelled to go down into Egypt. This took place in the time of
the Hyksos, a Semitic race which now held the Egyptians in
bondage. Here occurred that case of deception on the part of
Abram which exposed him to the rebuke of Pharaoh (Gen. 12:18).
Sarai was restored to him; and Pharaoh loaded him with presents,
recommending him to withdraw from the country. He returned to
Canaan richer than when he left it, "in cattle, in silver, and
in gold" (Gen. 12:8; 13:2. Compare Ps. 105:13, 14). The whole
party then moved northward, and returned to their previous
station near Bethel. Here disputes arose between Lot's shepherds
and those of Abram about water and pasturage. Abram generously
gave Lot his choice of the pasture-ground. (Compare 1 Cor. 6:7.)
He chose the well-watered plain in which Sodom was situated, and
removed thither; and thus the uncle and nephew were separated.
Immediately after this Abram was cheered by a repetition of the
promises already made to him, and then removed to the plain or
"oak-grove" of Mamre, which is in Hebron. He finally settled
here, pitching his tent under a famous oak or terebinth tree,
called "the oak of Mamre" (Gen. 13:18). This was his third
resting-place in the land.
Some fourteen years before this, while Abram was still in
Chaldea, Israel had been invaded by Chedorlaomer, King of
Elam, who brought under tribute to him the five cities in the
plain to which Lot had removed. This tribute was felt by the
inhabitants of these cities to be a heavy burden, and after
twelve years they revolted. This brought upon them the vengeance
of Chedorlaomer, who had in league with him four other kings. He
ravaged the whole country, plundering the towns, and carrying
the inhabitants away as slaves. Among those thus treated was
Lot. Hearing of the disaster that had fallen on his nephew,
Abram immediately gathered from his own household a band of 318
armed men, and being joined by the Amoritish chiefs Mamre, Aner,
and Eshcol, he pursued after Chedorlaomer, and overtook him near
the springs of the Jordan. They attacked and routed his army,
and pursued it over the range of Anti-Libanus as far as to
Hobah, near Damascus, and then returned, bringing back all the
spoils that had been carried away. Returning by way of Salem,
i.e., Jerusalem, the king of that place, Melchizedek, came forth
to meet them with refreshments. To him Abram presented a tenth
of the spoils, in recognition of his character as a priest of
the most high God (Gen. 14:18-20).
In a recently-discovered tablet, dated in the reign of the
grandfather of Amraphel (Gen. 14:1), one of the witnesses is
called "the Amorite, the son of Abiramu," or Abram.
Having returned to his home at Mamre, the promises already
made to him by God were repeated and enlarged (Gen. 13:14). "The
word of the Lord" (an expression occurring here for the first
time) "came to him" (15:1). He now understood better the future
that lay before the nation that was to spring from him. Sarai,
now seventy-five years old, in her impatience, persuaded Abram
to take Hagar, her Egyptian maid, as a concubine, intending that
whatever child might be born should be reckoned as her own.
Ishmael was accordingly thus brought up, and was regarded as the
heir of these promises (Gen. 16). When Ishmael was thirteen
years old, God again revealed yet more explicitly and fully his
gracious purpose; and in token of the sure fulfilment of that
purpose the patriarch's name was now changed from Abram to
Abraham (Gen. 17:4,5), and the rite of circumcision was
instituted as a sign of the covenant. It was then announced that
the heir to these covenant promises would be the son of Sarai,
though she was now ninety years old; and it was directed that
his name should be Isaac. At the same time, in commemoration of
the promises, Sarai's name was changed to Sarah. On that
memorable day of God's thus revealing his design, Abraham and
his son Ishmael and all the males of his house were circumcised
(Gen. 17). Three months after this, as Abraham sat in his tent
door, he saw three men approaching. They accepted his proffered
hospitality, and, seated under an oak-tree, partook of the fare
which Abraham and Sarah provided. One of the three visitants was
none other than the Lord, and the other two were angels in the
guise of men. The Lord renewed on this occasion his promise of a
son by Sarah, who was rebuked for her unbelief. Abraham
accompanied the three as they proceeded on their journey. The
two angels went on toward Sodom; while the Lord tarried behind
and talked with Abraham, making known to him the destruction
that was about to fall on that guilty city. The patriarch
interceded earnestly in behalf of the doomed city. But as not
even ten righteous persons were found in it, for whose sake the
city would have been spared, the threatened destruction fell
upon it; and early next morning Abraham saw the smoke of the
fire that consumed it as the "smoke of a furnace" (Gen.
After fifteen years' residence at Mamre, Abraham moved
southward, and pitched his tent among the Philistines, near to
Gerar. Here occurred that sad instance of prevarication on his
part in his relation to Abimelech the King (Gen. 20). (See
ABIMELECH T0000040.) Soon after this event, the patriarch left
the vicinity of Gerar, and moved down the fertile valley about
25 miles to Beersheba. It was probably here that Isaac was
born, Abraham being now an hundred years old. A feeling of
jealousy now arose between Sarah and Hagar, whose son, Ishmael,
was no longer to be regarded as Abraham's heir. Sarah insisted
that both Hagar and her son should be sent away. This was done,
although it was a hard trial to Abraham (Gen. 21:12). (See HAGAR
T0001583; ISHMAEL T0001903.)
At this point there is a blank in the patriarch's history of
perhaps twenty-five years. These years of peace and happiness
were spent at Beersheba. The next time we see him his faith is
put to a severe test by the command that suddenly came to him to
go and offer up Isaac, the heir of all the promises, as a
sacrifice on one of the mountains of Moriah. His faith stood the
test (Heb. 11:17-19). He proceeded in a spirit of unhesitating
obedience to carry out the command; and when about to slay his
son, whom he had laid on the altar, his uplifted hand was
arrested by the angel of Jehovah, and a ram, which was entangled
in a thicket near at hand, was seized and offered in his stead.
From this circumstance that place was called Jehovah-jireh,
i.e., "The Lord will provide." The promises made to Abraham were
again confirmed (and this was the last recorded word of God to
the patriarch); and he descended the mount with his son, and
returned to his home at Beersheba (Gen. 22:19), where he
resided for some years, and then moved northward to Hebron.
Some years after this Sarah died at Hebron, being 127 years
old. Abraham acquired now the needful possession of a
burying-place, the cave of Machpelah, by purchase from the owner
of it, Ephron the Hittite (Gen. 23); and there he buried Sarah.
His next care was to provide a wife for Isaac, and for this
purpose he sent his steward, Eliezer, to Haran (or Charran, Acts
7:2), where his brother Nahor and his family resided (Gen.
11:31). The result was that Rebekah, the daughter of Nahor's son
Bethuel, became the wife of Isaac (Gen. 24). Abraham then
himself took to wife Keturah, who became the mother of six sons,
whose descendants were afterwards known as the "children of the
east" (Judg. 6:3), and later as "Saracens." At length all his
wanderings came to an end. At the age of 175 years, 100 years
after he had first entered the land of Canaan, he died, and was
buried in the old family burying-place at Machpelah (Gen.
The history of Abraham made a wide and deep impression on the
ancient world, and references to it are interwoven in the
religious traditions of almost all Eastern nations. He is called
"the friend of God" (James 2:23), "faithful Abraham" (Gal. 3:9),
"the father of us all" (Rom. 4:16).