Not in common use among the Hebrews. It is first mentioned in
Ex. 28:40 (A.V., "bonnets;" R.V., "head-tires"). It was used
especially for purposes of ornament (Job 29:14; Isa. 3:23;
62:3). The Hebrew word here used, "tsaniph", properly means a
turban, folds of linen wound round the head. The Hebrew word
"peer", used in Isa. 61:3, there rendered "beauty" (A.V.) and
"garland" (R.V.), is a head-dress or turban worn by females
(Isa. 3: 20, "bonnets"), priests (Ex. 39:28), a bridegroom (Isa.
61:10, "ornament;" R.V., "garland"). Ezek. 16:10 and Jonah 2:5
are to be understood of the turban wrapped round the head. The
Hebrew "shebisim" (Isa. 3:18), in the Authorized Version
rendered "cauls," and marg. "networks," denotes probably a kind
of netted head-dress. The "horn" (Heb. keren) mentioned in 1
Sam. 2:1 is the head-dress called by the Druses of Mount Lebanon
(Heb. mitsnepheth), something rolled round the head; the turban
or head-dress of the high priest (Ex. 28:4, 37, 39; 29:6, etc.).
In the Authorized Version of Ezek. 21:26, this Hebrew word is
rendered "diadem," but in the Revised Version, "mitre." It was a
twisted band of fine linen, 8 yards in length, coiled into the
form of a cap, and worn on official occasions (Lev. 8:9; 16:4;
Zech. 3:5). On the front of it was a golden plate with the
inscription, "Holiness to the Lord." The mitsnepheth differed
from the mitre or head-dress (migba'ah) of the common priest.
(See BONNET T0000621.)
(Gr. soudarion, John 11:44; 20:7; Lat. sudarium, a
"sweat-cloth"), a cloth for wiping the sweat from the face. But
the word is used of a wrapper to fold money in (Luke 19:20), and
as an article of dress, a "handkerchief" worn on the head (Acts
mentioned only Ezek. 13:18, 21, as an article of apparel or
ornament applied to the head of the idolatrous women of Israel.
The precise meaning of the word is uncertain. It appears to have
been a long loose shawl, such as Oriental women wrap themselves
in (Ruth 3:15; Isa. 3:22). Some think that it was a long veil or
head-dress, denoting by its form the position of those who wore
(1.) Materials used. The earliest and simplest an apron of
fig-leaves sewed together (Gen. 3:7); then skins of animals
(3:21). Elijah's dress was probably the skin of a sheep (2 Kings
1:8). The Hebrews were early acquainted with the art of weaving
hair into cloth (Ex. 26:7; 35:6), which formed the sackcloth of
mourners. This was the material of John the Baptist's robe
(Matt. 3:4). Wool was also woven into garments (Lev. 13:47;
Deut. 22:11; Ezek. 34:3; Job 31:20; Prov. 27:26). The Israelites
probably learned the art of weaving linen when they were in
Egypt (1 Chr. 4:21). Fine linen was used in the vestments of the
high priest (Ex. 28:5), as well as by the rich (Gen. 41:42;
Prov. 31:22; Luke 16:19). The use of mixed material, as wool and
flax, was forbidden (Lev. 19:19; Deut. 22:11).
(2.) Colour. The prevailing colour was the natural white of
the material used, which was sometimes rendered purer by the
fuller's art (Ps. 104:1, 2; Isa. 63:3; Mark 9:3). The Hebrews
were acquainted with the art of dyeing (Gen. 37:3, 23). Various
modes of ornamentation were adopted in the process of weaving
(Ex. 28:6; 26:1, 31; 35:25), and by needle-work (Judg. 5:30; Ps.
45:13). Dyed robes were imported from foreign countries,
particularly from Phoenicia (Zeph. 1:8). Purple and scarlet
robes were the marks of the wealthy (Luke 16:19; 2 Sam. 1:24).
(3.) Form. The robes of men and women were not very much
different in form from each other.
(a) The "coat" (kethoneth), of wool, cotton, or linen, was
worn by both sexes. It was a closely-fitting garment, resembling
in use and form our shirt (John 19:23). It was kept close to the
body by a girdle (John 21:7). A person wearing this "coat" alone
was described as naked (1 Sam. 19:24; Isa. 20:2; 2 Kings 6:30;
John 21:7); deprived of it he would be absolutely naked.
(b) A linen cloth or wrapper (sadin) of fine linen, used
somewhat as a night-shirt (Mark 14:51). It is mentioned in Judg.
14:12, 13, and rendered there "sheets."
(c) An upper tunic (meil), longer than the "coat" (1 Sam.
2:19; 24:4; 28:14). In 1 Sam. 28:14 it is the mantle in which
Samuel was enveloped; in 1 Sam. 24:4 it is the "robe" under
which Saul slept. The disciples were forbidden to wear two
"coats" (Matt. 10:10; Luke 9:3).
(d) The usual outer garment consisted of a piece of woollen
cloth like a Scotch plaid, either wrapped round the body or
thrown over the shoulders like a shawl, with the ends hanging
down in front, or it might be thrown over the head so as to
conceal the face (2 Sam. 15:30; Esther 6:12). It was confined to
the waist by a girdle, and the fold formed by the overlapping of
the robe served as a pocket (2 Kings 4:39; Ps. 79:12; Hag. 2:12;
Prov. 17:23; 21:14).
Female dress. The "coat" was common to both sexes (Cant. 5:3).
But peculiar to females were (1) the "veil" or "wimple," a kind
of shawl (Ruth 3:15; rendered "mantle," R.V., Isa. 3:22); (2)
the "mantle," also a species of shawl (Isa. 3:22); (3) a "veil,"
probably a light summer dress (Gen. 24:65); (4) a "stomacher," a
holiday dress (Isa. 3:24). The outer garment terminated in an
ample fringe or border, which concealed the feet (Isa. 47:2;
The dress of the Persians is described in Dan. 3:21.
The reference to the art of sewing are few, inasmuch as the
garments generally came forth from the loom ready for being
worn, and all that was required in the making of clothes
devolved on the women of a family (Prov. 31:22; Acts 9:39).
Extravagance in dress is referred to in Jer. 4:30; Ezek.
16:10; Zeph. 1:8 (R.V., "foreign apparel"); 1 Tim. 2:9; 1 Pet.
3:3. Rending the robes was expressive of grief (Gen. 37:29, 34),
fear (1 Kings 21:27), indignation (2 Kings 5:7), or despair
(Judg. 11:35; Esther 4:1).
Shaking the garments, or shaking the dust from off them, was a
sign of renunciation (Acts 18:6); wrapping them round the head,
of awe (1 Kings 19:13) or grief (2 Sam. 15:30; casting them off,
of excitement (Acts 22:23); laying hold of them, of supplication
(1 Sam. 15:27). In the case of travelling, the outer garments
were girded up (1 Kings 18:46). They were thrown aside also when
they would impede action (Mark 10:50; John 13:4; Acts 7:58).
the tunic worn like the shirt next the skin (Lev. 16:4; Cant.
5:3; 2 Sam. 15:32; Ex. 28:4; 29:5). The "coats of skins"
prepared by God for Adam and Eve were probably nothing more than
aprons (Gen. 3:21). This tunic was sometimes woven entire
without a seam (John 19:23); it was also sometimes of "many
colours" (Gen. 37:3; R.V. marg., "a long garment with sleeves").
The "fisher's coat" of John 21:7 was obviously an outer garment
or cloak, as was also the "coat" made by Hannah for Samuel (1
Sam. 2:19). (See DRESS T0001076.)
(Heb. peer), Ex. 39:28 (R.V., "head-tires"); Ezek. 44:18 (R.V.,
"tires"), denotes properly a turban worn by priests, and in Isa.
3:20 (R.V., "head-tires") a head-dress or tiara worn by females.
The Hebrew word so rendered literally means an ornament, as in
Isa. 61:10 (R.V., "garland"), and in Ezek. 24:17, 23 "tire"
(R.V., "head-tire"). It consisted of a piece of cloth twisted
about the head. In Ex. 28:40; 29:9 it is the translation of a
different Hebrew word (migba'ah), which denotes the turban
(R.V., "head-tire") of the common priest as distinguished from
the mitre of the high priest. (See MITRE T0002575.)
the young of the goat. It was much used for food (Gen. 27:9;
38:17; Judg. 6:19; 14:6). The Mosaic law forbade to dress a kid
in the milk of its dam, a law which is thrice repeated (Ex.
23:19; 34:26; Deut. 14:21). Among the various reasons assigned
for this law, that appears to be the most satisfactory which
regards it as "a protest against cruelty and outraging the order
of nature." A kid cooked in its mother's milk is "a gross,
unwholesome dish, and calculated to kindle animal and ferocious
passions, and on this account Moses may have forbidden it.
Besides, it is even yet associated with immoderate feasting; and
originally, I suspect," says Dr. Thomson (Land and the Book),
"was connected with idolatrous sacrifices."
(1.) Anklets (Num. 31:50; 2 Sam. 1:10), and with reference to
(2.) The rendering of a Hebrew word meaning fasteners, found
in Gen. 24:22, 30, 47.
(3.) In Isa. 3:19, the rendering of a Hebrew word meaning
chains, i.e., twisted or chain-like bracelets.
(4.) In Ex. 35:22 it designates properly a clasp for fastening
the dress of females. Some interpret it as a nose-ring.
(5.) In Gen. 38:18, 25, the rendering of a Hebrew word meaning
"thread," and may denote the ornamental cord with which the
signet was suspended from the neck of the wearer.
Bracelets were worn by men as well as by women (Cant. 5:14,
R.V.). They were of many various forms. The weight of those
presented by Eliezer to Rebekah was ten shekels (Gen. 24:22).
(1.) Heb., pishet, pishtah, denotes "flax," of which linen is
made (Isa. 19:9); wrought flax, i.e., "linen cloth", Lev. 13:47,
48, 52, 59; Deut. 22:11.
Flax was early cultivated in Egypt (Ex. 9:31), and also in
Israel (Josh. 2:6; Hos. 2:9). Various articles were made of
it: garments (2 Sam. 6:14), girdles (Jer. 13:1), ropes and
thread (Ezek. 40:3), napkins (Luke 24:12; John 20:7), turbans
(Ezek. 44:18), and lamp-wicks (Isa. 42:3).
(2.) Heb. buts, "whiteness;" rendered "fine linen" in 1 Chr.
4:21; 15:27; 2 Chr. 2:14; 3:14; Esther 1:6; 8:15, and "white
linen" 2 Chr. 5:12. It is not certain whether this word means
cotton or linen.
(3.) Heb. bad; rendered "linen" Ex. 28:42; 39:28; Lev. 6:10;
16:4, 23, 32; 1 Sam. 2:18; 2 Sam. 6:14, etc. It is uniformly
used of the sacred vestments worn by the priests. The word is
from a root signifying "separation."
(4.) Heb. shesh; rendered "fine linen" Ex. 25:4; 26:1, 31, 36,
etc. In Prov. 31:22 it is rendered in Authorized Version "silk,"
and in Revised Version "fine linen." The word denotes Egyptian
linen of peculiar whiteness and fineness (byssus). The finest
Indian linen, the finest now made, has in an inch one hundred
threads of warp and eighty-four of woof; while the Egyptian had
sometimes one hundred and forty in the warp and sixty-four in
the woof. This was the usual dress of the Egyptian priest.
Pharaoh arrayed Joseph in a dress of linen (Gen. 41:42).
(5.) Heb. 'etun. Prov. 7:16, "fine linen of Egypt;" in Revised
Version, "the yarn of Egypt."
(6.) Heb. sadin. Prov. 31:24, "fine linen;" in Revised
Version, "linen garments" (Judg. 14:12, 13; Isa. 3:23). From
this Hebrew word is probably derived the Greek word sindon,
rendered "linen" in Mark 14:51, 52; 15:46; Matt. 27:59.
The word "linen" is used as an emblem of moral purity (Rev.
15:6). In Luke 16:19 it is mentioned as a mark of luxury.
an upper garment, "an exterior tunic, wide and long, reaching to
the ankles, but without sleeves" (Isa. 59:17). The word so
rendered is elsewhere rendered "robe" or "mantle." It was worn
by the high priest under the ephod (Ex. 28:31), by kings and
others of rank (1 Sam. 15:27; Job 1:20; 2:12), and by women (2
The word translated "cloke", i.e., outer garment, in Matt.
5:40 is in its plural form used of garments in general (Matt.
17:2; 26:65). The cloak mentioned here and in Luke 6:29 was the
Greek himation, Latin pallium, and consisted of a large square
piece of wollen cloth fastened round the shoulders, like the
abba of the Arabs. This could be taken by a creditor (Ex.
22:26,27), but the coat or tunic (Gr. chiton) mentioned in Matt.
5:40 could not.
The cloak which Paul "left at Troas" (2 Tim. 4:13) was the
Roman paenula, a thick upper garment used chiefly in travelling
as a protection from the weather. Some, however, have supposed
that what Paul meant was a travelling-bag. In the Syriac version
the word used means a bookcase. (See Dress T0001076.)
for fastening. (1.) Hebrew yathed, "piercing," a peg or nail of
any material (Ezek. 15:3), more especially a tent-peg (Ex.
27:19; 35:18; 38:20), with one of which Jael (q.v.) pierced the
temples of Sisera (Judg. 4:21, 22). This word is also used
metaphorically (Zech. 10:4) for a prince or counsellor, just as
"the battle-bow" represents a warrior.
(2.) Masmer, a "point," the usual word for a nail. The words
of the wise are compared to "nails fastened by the masters of
assemblies" (Eccl. 12:11, A.V.). The Revised Version reads, "as
nails well fastened are the words of the masters," etc. Others
(as Plumptre) read, "as nails fastened are the masters of
assemblies" (compare Isa. 22:23; Ezra 9:8). David prepared nails
for the temple (1 Chr. 22:3; 2 Chr. 3:9). The nails by which our
Lord was fixed to the cross are mentioned (John 20:25; Col.
Nail of the finger (Heb. tsipporen, "scraping"). To "pare the
nails" is in Deut. 21:12 (marg., "make," or "dress," or "suffer
to grow") one of the signs of purification, separation from
former heathenism (compare Lev. 14:8; Num. 8:7). In Jer. 17:1 this
word is rendered "point."
(1.) Heb. 'addereth, a large over-garment. This word is used of
Elijah's mantle (1 Kings 19:13, 19; 2 Kings 2:8, 13, etc.),
which was probably a sheepskin. It appears to have been his only
garment, a strip of skin or leather binding it to his loins.
"'Addereth" twice occurs with the epithet "hairy" (Gen. 25:25;
Zech. 13:4, R.V.). It is the word denoting the "goodly
Babylonish garment" which Achan coveted (Josh. 7:21).
(2.) Heb. me'il, frequently applied to the "robe of the ephod"
(Ex. 28:4, 31; Lev. 8:7), which was a splendid under tunic
wholly of blue, reaching to below the knees. It was woven
without seam, and was put on by being drawn over the head. It
was worn not only by priests but by kings (1 Sam. 24:4),
prophets (15:27), and rich men (Job 1:20; 2:12). This was the
"little coat" which Samuel's mother brought to him from year to
year to Shiloh (1 Sam. 2:19), a miniature of the official
(3.) Semikah, "a rug," the garment which Jael threw as a
covering over Sisera (Judg. 4:18). The Hebrew word occurs
nowhere else in Scripture.
(4.) Maataphoth, plural, only in Isa. 3:22, denoting a large
exterior tunic worn by females. (See DRESS T0001076.)
The subject of colours holds an important place in the
White occurs as the translation of various Hebrew words. It is
applied to milk (Gen. 49:12), manna (Ex. 16:31), snow (Isa.
1:18), horses (Zech. 1:8), raiment (Eccl. 9:8). Another Hebrew
word so rendered is applied to marble (Esther 1:6), and a
cognate word to the lily (Cant. 2:16). A different term, meaning
"dazzling," is applied to the countenance (Cant. 5:10).
This colour was an emblem of purity and innocence (Mark 16:5;
John 20:12; Rev. 19:8, 14), of joy (Eccl. 9:8), and also of
victory (Zech. 6:3; Rev. 6:2). The hangings of the tabernacle
court (Ex. 27:9; 38:9), the coats, mitres, bonnets, and breeches
of the priests (Ex. 39:27,28), and the dress of the high priest
on the day of Atonement (Lev. 16:4,32), were white.
Black, applied to the hair (Lev. 13:31; Cant. 5:11), the
complexion (Cant. 1:5), and to horses (Zech. 6:2,6). The word
rendered "brown" in Gen. 30:32 (R.V., "black") means properly
"scorched", i.e., the colour produced by the influence of the
sun's rays. "Black" in Job 30:30 means dirty, blackened by
sorrow and disease. The word is applied to a mourner's robes
(Jer. 8:21; 14:2), to a clouded sky (1 Kings 18:45), to night
(Micah 3:6; Jer. 4:28), and to a brook rendered turbid by melted
snow (Job 6:16). It is used as symbolical of evil in Zech. 6:2,
6 and Rev. 6:5. It was the emblem of mourning, affliction,
calamity (Jer. 14:2; Lam. 4:8; 5:10).
Red, applied to blood (2 Kings 3;22), a heifer (Num. 19:2),
pottage of lentils (Gen. 25:30), a horse (Zech. 1:8), wine
(Prov. 23:31), the complexion (Gen. 25:25; Cant. 5:10). This
colour is symbolical of bloodshed (Zech. 6:2; Rev. 6:4; 12:3).
Purple, a colour obtained from the secretion of a species of
shell-fish (the Murex trunculus) which was found in the
Mediterranean, and particularly on the coasts of Phoenicia and
Asia Minor. The colouring matter in each separate shell-fish
amounted to only a single drop, and hence the great value of
this dye. Robes of this colour were worn by kings (Judg. 8:26)
and high officers (Esther 8:15). They were also worn by the
wealthy and luxurious (Jer. 10:9; Ezek. 27:7; Luke 16:19; Rev.
17:4). With this colour was associated the idea of royalty and
majesty (Judg. 8:26; Cant. 3:10; 7:5; Dan. 5:7, 16,29).
Blue. This colour was also procured from a species of
shell-fish, the chelzon of the Hebrews, and the Helix ianthina
of modern naturalists. The tint was emblematic of the sky, the
deep dark hue of the Eastern sky. This colour was used in the
same way as purple. The ribbon and fringe of the Hebrew dress
were of this colour (Num. 15:38). The loops of the curtains (Ex.
26:4), the lace of the high priest's breastplate, the robe of
the ephod, and the lace on his mitre, were blue (Ex. 28:28, 31,
Scarlet, or Crimson. In Isa. 1:18 a Hebrew word is used which
denotes the worm or grub whence this dye was procured. In Gen.
38:28,30, the word so rendered means "to shine," and expresses
the brilliancy of the colour. The small parasitic insects from
which this dye was obtained somewhat resembled the cochineal
which is found in Eastern countries. It is called by naturalists
Coccus ilics. The dye was procured from the female grub alone.
The only natural object to which this colour is applied in
Scripture is the lips, which are likened to a scarlet thread
(Cant. 4:3). Scarlet robes were worn by the rich and luxurious
(2 Sam. 1:24; Prov. 31:21; Jer. 4:30. Rev. 17:4). It was also
the hue of the warrior's dress (Nah. 2:3; Isa. 9:5). The
Phoenicians excelled in the art of dyeing this colour (2 Chr.
These four colours--white, purple, blue, and scarlet--were
used in the textures of the tabernacle curtains (Ex. 26:1, 31,
36), and also in the high priest's ephod, girdle, and
breastplate (Ex. 28:5, 6, 8, 15). Scarlet thread is mentioned in
connection with the rites of cleansing the leper (Lev. 14:4, 6,
51) and of burning the red heifer (Num. 19:6). It was a crimson
thread that Rahab was to bind on her window as a sign that she
was to be saved alive (Josh. 2:18; 6:25) when the city of
Jericho was taken.
Vermilion, the red sulphuret of mercury, or cinnabar; a colour
used for drawing the figures of idols on the walls of temples
(Ezek. 23:14), or for decorating the walls and beams of houses
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.)
Aaron was the first who was solemnly set apart to this office
(Ex. 29:7; 30:23; Lev. 8:12). He wore a peculiar dress, which on
his death passed to his successor in office (Ex. 29:29, 30).
Besides those garments which he wore in common with all priests,
there were four that were peculiar to himself as high priest:
(1.) The "robe" of the ephod, all of blue, of "woven work,"
worn immediately under the ephod. It was without seam or
sleeves. The hem or skirt was ornamented with pomegranates and
golden bells, seventy-two of each in alternate order. The
sounding of the bells intimated to the people in the outer court
the time when the high priest entered into the holy place to
burn incense before the Lord (Ex. 28).
(2.) The "ephod" consisted of two parts, one of which covered
the back and the other the breast, which were united by the
"curious girdle." It was made of fine twined linen, and
ornamented with gold and purple. Each of the shoulder-straps was
adorned with a precious stone, on which the names of the twelve
tribes were engraved. This was the high priest's distinctive
vestment (1 Sam. 2:28; 14:3; 21:9; 23:6, 9; 30:7).
(3.) The "breastplate of judgment" (Ex. 28:6-12, 25-28;
39:2-7) of "cunning work." It was a piece of cloth doubled, of
one span square. It bore twelve precious stones, set in four
rows of three in a row, which constituted the Urim and Thummim
(q.v.). These stones had the names of the twelve tribes engraved
on them. When the high priest, clothed with the ephod and the
breastplate, inquired of the Lord, answers were given in some
mysterious way by the Urim and Thummim (1 Sam. 14:3, 18, 19;
23:2, 4, 9, 11,12; 28:6; 2 Sam. 5:23).
(4.) The "mitre," or upper turban, a twisted band of eight
yards of fine linen coiled into a cap, with a gold plate in
front, engraved with "Holiness to the Lord," fastened to it by a
ribbon of blue.
To the high priest alone it was permitted to enter the holy of
holies, which he did only once a year, on the great Day of
Atonement, for "the way into the holiest of all was not yet made
manifest" (Heb. 9; 10). Wearing his gorgeous priestly vestments,
he entered the temple before all the people, and then, laying
them aside and assuming only his linen garments in secret, he
entered the holy of holies alone, and made expiation, sprinkling
the blood of the sin offering on the mercy seat, and offering up
incense. Then resuming his splendid robes, he reappeared before
the people (Lev. 16). Thus the wearing of these robes came to be
identified with the Day of Atonement.
The office, dress, and ministration of the high priest were
typical of the priesthood of our Lord (Heb. 4:14; 7:25; 9:12,
It is supposed that there were in all eighty-three high
priests, beginning with Aaron (B.C. 1657) and ending with
Phannias (A.D. 70). At its first institution the office of high
priest was held for life (but compare 1 Kings 2:27), and was
hereditary in the family of Aaron (Num. 3:10). The office
continued in the line of Eleazar, Aaron's eldest son, for two
hundred and ninety-six years, when it passed to Eli, the first
of the line of Ithamar, who was the fourth son of Aaron. In this
line it continued to Abiathar, whom Solomon deposed, and
appointed Zadok, of the family of Eleazar, in his stead (1 Kings
2:35), in which it remained till the time of the Captivity.
After the Return, Joshua, the son of Josedek, of the family of
Eleazar, was appointed to this office. After him the succession
was changed from time to time under priestly or political
(1.) Denotes the plate of gold in the front of the high priest's
mitre (Ex. 29:6; 39:30). The same Hebrew word so rendered
(ne'zer) denotes the diadem worn by Saul in battle (2 Sam.
1:10), and also that which was used at the coronation of Joash
(2 Kings 11:12).
(2.) The more general name in Hebrew for a crown is "'atarah",
meaning a "circlet." This is used of crowns and head ornaments
of divers kinds, including royal crowns. Such was the crown
taken from the king of Ammon by David (2 Sam. 12:30). The crown
worn by the Assyrian kings was a high mitre, sometimes adorned
with flowers. There are sculptures also representing the crowns
worn by the early Egyptian and Persian kings. Sometimes a diadem
surrounded the royal head-dress of two or three fillets. This
probably signified that the wearer had dominion over two or
three countries. In Rev. 12:3; 13:1, we read of "many crowns," a
token of extended dominion.
(3.) The ancient Persian crown (Esther 1:11; 2:17; 6:8) was
called "kether"; i.e., "a chaplet," a high cap or tiara. Crowns
were worn sometimes to represent honour and power (Ezek. 23:42).
They were worn at marriages (Cant. 3:11; Isa. 61:10,
"ornaments;" R.V., "a garland"), and at feasts and public
The crown was among the Romans and Greeks a symbol of victory
and reward. The crown or wreath worn by the victors in the
Olympic games was made of leaves of the wild olive; in the
Pythian games, of laurel; in the Nemean games, of parsley; and
in the Isthmian games, of the pine. The Romans bestowed the
"civic crown" on him who saved the life of a citizen. It was
made of the leaves of the oak. In opposition to all these fading
crowns the apostles speak of the incorruptible crown, the crown
of life (James 1:12; Rev. 2:10) "that fadeth not away" (1 Pet.
5:4, Gr. amarantinos; compare 1:4). Probably the word "amaranth"
was applied to flowers we call "everlasting," the "immortal
The Heb. kohen, Gr. hierus, Lat. sacerdos, always denote one who
At first every man was his own priest, and presented his own
sacrifices before God. Afterwards that office devolved on the
head of the family, as in the cases of Noah (Gen. 8:20), Abraham
(12:7; 13:4), Isaac (26:25), Jacob (31:54), and Job (Job 1:5).
The name first occurs as applied to Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18).
Under the Levitical arrangements the office of the priesthood
was limited to the tribe of Levi, and to only one family of that
tribe, the family of Aaron. Certain laws respecting the
qualifications of priests are given in Lev. 21:16-23. There are
ordinances also regarding the priests' dress (Ex. 28:40-43) and
the manner of their consecration to the office (29:1-37).
Their duties were manifold (Ex. 27:20, 21; 29:38-44; Lev.
6:12; 10:11; 24:8; Num. 10:1-10; Deut. 17:8-13; 33:10; Mal.
2:7). They represented the people before God, and offered the
various sacrifices prescribed in the law.
In the time of David the priests were divided into twenty-four
courses or classes (1 Chr. 24:7-18). This number was retained
after the Captivity (Ezra 2:36-39; Neh. 7:39-42).
"The priests were not distributed over the country, but lived
together in certain cities [forty-eight in number, of which six
were cities of refuge, q.v.], which had been assigned to their
use. From thence they went up by turns to minister in the temple
at Jerusalem. Thus the religious instruction of the people in
the country generally was left to the heads of families, until
the establishment of synagogues, an event which did not take
place till the return from the Captivity, and which was the main
source of the freedom from idolatry that became as marked a
feature of the Jewish people thenceforward as its practice had
been hitherto their great national sin."
The whole priestly system of the Jews was typical. It was a
shadow of which the body is Christ. The priests all prefigured
the great Priest who offered "one sacrifice for sins" "once for
all" (Heb. 10:10, 12). There is now no human priesthood. (See
Epistle to the Hebrews throughout.) The term "priest" is indeed
applied to believers (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6), but in these cases
it implies no sacerdotal functions. All true believers are now
"kings and priests unto God." As priests they have free access
into the holiest of all, and offer up the sacrifices of praise
and thanksgiving, and the sacrifices of grateful service from
day to day.
(1.) Of Israel. The kingdom of the ten tribes was successively
invaded by several Assyrian kings. Pul (q.v.) imposed a tribute
on Menahem of a thousand talents of silver (2 Kings 15:19, 20; 1
Chr. 5:26) (B.C. 762), and Tiglath-pileser, in the days of Pekah
(B.C. 738), carried away the trans-Jordanic tribes and the
inhabitants of Galilee into Assyria (2 Kings 15:29; Isa. 9:1).
Subsequently Shalmaneser invaded Israel and laid siege to
Samaria, the capital of the kingdom. During the siege he died,
and was succeeded by Sargon, who took the city, and transported
the great mass of the people into Assyria (B.C. 721), placing
them in Halah and in Habor, and in the cities of the Medes (2
Kings 17:3, 5). Samaria was never again inhabited by the
Israelites. The families thus removed were carried to distant
cities, many of them not far from the Caspian Sea, and their
place was supplied by colonists from Babylon and Cuthah, etc. (2
Kings 17:24). Thus terminated the kingdom of the ten tribes,
after a separate duration of two hundred and fifty-five years
Many speculations have been indulged in with reference to
these ten tribes. But we believe that all, except the number
that probably allied themselves with Judah and shared in their
restoration under Cyrus, are finally lost.
"Like the dew on the mountain, Like the
foam on the river,
Like the bubble on the fountain,
They are gone, and for ever."
(2.) Of Judah. In the third year of Jehoiachim, the eighteenth
king of Judah (B.C. 605), Nebuchadnezzar having overcome the
Egyptians at Carchemish, advanced to Jerusalem with a great
army. After a brief siege he took that city, and carried away
the vessels of the sanctuary to Babylon, and dedicated them in
the Temple of Belus (2 Kings 24:1; 2 Chr. 36:6, 7; Dan. 1:1, 2).
He also carried away the treasures of the king, whom he made his
vassal. At this time, from which is dated the "seventy years" of
captivity (Jer. 25; Dan. 9:1, 2), Daniel and his companions were
carried to Babylon, there to be brought up at the court and
trained in all the learning of the Chaldeans. After this, in the
fifth year of Jehoiakim, a great national fast was appointed
(Jer. 36:9), during which the king, to show his defiance, cut up
the leaves of the book of Jeremiah's prophecies as they were
read to him in his winter palace, and threw them into the fire.
In the same spirit he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings
24:1), who again a second time (B.C. 598) marched against
Jerusalem, and put Jehoiachim to death, placing his son
Jehoiachin on the throne in his stead. But Jehoiachin's
counsellors displeasing Nebuchadnezzar, he again a third time
turned his army against Jerusalem, and carried away to Babylon a
second detachment of Jews as captives, to the number of 10,000
(2 Kings 24:13; Jer. 24:1; 2 Chr. 36:10), among whom were the
king, with his mother and all his princes and officers, also
Ezekiel, who with many of his companions were settled on the
banks of the river Chebar (q.v.). He also carried away all the
remaining treasures of the temple and the palace, and the golden
vessels of the sanctuary.
Mattaniah, the uncle of Jehoiachin, was now made king over
what remained of the kingdom of Judah, under the name of
Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:17; 2 Chr. 36:10). After a troubled reign
of eleven years his kingdom came to an end (2 Chr. 36:11).
Nebuchadnezzar, with a powerful army, besieged Jerusalem, and
Zedekiah became a prisoner in Babylon. His eyes were put out,
and he was kept in close confinement till his death (2 Kings
25:7). The city was spoiled of all that was of value, and then
given up to the flames. The temple and palaces were consumed,
and the walls of the city were levelled with the ground (B.C.
586), and all that remained of the people, except a number of
the poorest class who were left to till the ground and dress the
vineyards, were carried away captives to Babylon. This was the
third and last deportation of Jewish captives. The land was now
utterly desolate, and was abondoned to anarchy.
In the first year of his reign as king of Babylon (B.C. 536),
Cyrus issued a decree liberating the Jewish captives, and
permitting them to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and
the temple (2 Chr. 36:22, 23; Ezra 1; 2). The number of the
people forming the first caravan, under Zerubbabel, amounted in
all to 42,360 (Ezra 2:64, 65), besides 7,337 men-servants and
maid-servants. A considerable number, 12,000 probably, from the
ten tribes who had been carried away into Assyria no doubt
combined with this band of liberated captives.
At a later period other bands of the Jews returned (1) under
Ezra (7:7) (B.C. 458), and (2) Nehemiah (7:66) (B.C. 445). But
the great mass of the people remained still in the land to which
they had been carried, and became a portion of the Jews of the
"dispersion" (John 7:35; 1 Pet. 1:1). The whole number of the
exiles that chose to remain was probably about six times the
number of those who returned.
whose God is Jehovah. (1.) "The Tishbite," the "Elias" of the
New Testament, is suddenly introduced to our notice in 1 Kings
17:1 as delivering a message from the Lord to Ahab. There is
mention made of a town called Thisbe, south of Kadesh, but it is
impossible to say whether this was the place referred to in the
name given to the prophet.
Having delivered his message to Ahab, he retired at the
command of God to a hiding-place by the brook Cherith, beyond
Jordan, where he was fed by ravens. When the brook dried up God
sent him to the widow of Zarephath, a city of Zidon, from whose
scanty store he was supported for the space of two years. During
this period the widow's son died, and was restored to life by
Elijah (1 Kings 17: 2-24).
During all these two years a famine prevailed in the land. At
the close of this period of retirement and of preparation for
his work (compare Gal. 1:17, 18) Elijah met Obadiah, one of Ahab's
officers, whom he had sent out to seek for pasturage for the
cattle, and bade him go and tell his master that Elijah was
there. The king came and met Elijah, and reproached him as the
troubler of Israel. It was then proposed that sacrifices should
be publicly offered, for the purpose of determining whether Baal
or Jehovah were the true God. This was done on Carmel, with the
result that the people fell on their faces, crying, "The Lord,
he is the God." Thus was accomplished the great work of Elijah's
ministry. The prophets of Baal were then put to death by the
order of Elijah. Not one of them escaped. Then immediately
followed rain, according to the word of Elijah, and in answer to
his prayer (James 5:18).
Jezebel, enraged at the fate that had befallen her priests of
Baal, threatened to put Elijah to death (1 Kings 19:1-13). He
therefore fled in alarm to Beersheba, and thence went alone a
day's journey into the wilderness, and sat down in despondency
under a juniper tree. As he slept an angel touched him, and said
unto him, "Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for
thee." He arose and found a cake and a cruse of water. Having
partaken of the provision thus miraculously supplied, he went
forward on his solitary way for forty days and forty nights to
Horeb, the mount of God, where he took up his abode in a cave.
Here the Lord appeared unto him and said, "What dost thou here,
Elijah?" In answer to his despondent words God manifests to him
his glory, and then directs him to return to Damascus and anoint
Hazael king over Syria, and Jehu king over Israel, and Elisha to
be prophet in his room (1 Kings 19:13-21; compare 2 Kings 8:7-15;
Some six years after this he warned Ahab and Jezebel of the
violent deaths they would die (1 Kings 21:19-24; 22:38). He
also, four years afterwards, warned Ahaziah (q.v.), who had
succeeded his father Ahab, of his approaching death (2 Kings
1:1-16). (See NABOTH T0002645.) During these intervals he
probably withdrew to some quiet retirement, no one knew where.
His interview with Ahaziah's messengers on the way to Ekron, and
the account of the destruction of his captains with their
fifties, suggest the idea that he may have been in retirement at
this time on Mount Carmel.
The time now drew near when he was to be taken up into heaven
(2 Kings 2:1-12). He had a presentiment of what was awaiting
him. He went down to Gilgal, where was a school of the prophets,
and where his successor Elisha, whom he had anointed some years
before, resided. Elisha was solemnized by the thought of his
master's leaving him, and refused to be parted from him. "They
two went on," and came to Bethel and Jericho, and crossed the
Jordan, the waters of which were "divided hither and thither"
when smitten with Elijah's mantle. Arrived at the borders of
Gilead, which Elijah had left many years before, it "came to
pass as they still went on and talked" they were suddenly
separated by a chariot and horses of fire; and "Elijah went up
by a whirlwind into heaven, "Elisha receiving his mantle, which
fell from him as he ascended.
No one of the old prophets is so frequently referred to in the
New Testament. The priests and Levites said to the Baptist (John
1:25), "Why baptizest thou, if thou be not that Christ, nor
Elias?" Paul (Rom. 11:2) refers to an incident in his history to
illustrate his argument that God had not cast away his people.
James (5:17) finds in him an illustration of the power of
prayer. (See also Luke 4:25; 9:54.) He was a type of John the
Baptist in the sternness and power of his reproofs (Luke 9:8).
He was the Elijah that "must first come" (Matt. 11:11, 14), the
forerunner of our Lord announced by Malachi. Even outwardly the
Baptist corresponded so closely to the earlier prophet that he
might be styled a second Elijah. In him we see "the same
connection with a wild and wilderness country; the same long
retirement in the desert; the same sudden, startling entrance on
his work (1 Kings 17:1; Luke 3:2); even the same dress, a hairy
garment, and a leathern girdle about the loins (2 Kings 1:8;
How deep the impression was which Elijah made "on the mind of
the nation may be judged from the fixed belief, which rested on
the words of Malachi (4:5, 6), which many centuries after
prevailed that he would again appear for the relief and
restoration of the country. Each remarkable person as he arrives
on the scene, be his habits and characteristics what they may,
the stern John equally with his gentle Successor, is proclaimed
to be Elijah (Matt. 11:13, 14; 16:14; 17:10; Mark 9:11; 15:35;
Luke 9:7, 8; John 1:21). His appearance in glory on the mount of
transfiguration does not seem to have startled the disciples.
They were 'sore afraid,' but not apparently surprised."
(2.) The Elijah spoken of in 2 Chr. 21:12-15 is by some
supposed to be a different person from the foregoing. He lived
in the time of Jehoram, to whom he sent a letter of warning
(compare 1 Chr. 28:19; Jer. 36), and acted as a prophet in Judah;
while the Tishbite was a prophet of the northern kingdom. But
there does not seem any necessity for concluding that the writer
of this letter was some other Elijah than the Tishbite. It may
be supposed either that Elijah anticipated the character of
Jehoram, and so wrote the warning message, which was preserved
in the schools of the prophets till Jehoram ascended the throne
after the Tishbite's translation, or that the translation did
not actually take place till after the accession of Jehoram to
the throne (2 Chr. 21:12; 2 Kings 8:16). The events of 2 Kings 2
may not be recorded in chronological order, and thus there may
be room for the opinion that Elijah was still alive in the
beginning of Jehoram's reign.