meadow of the house of Maachah, a city in the north of
Israel, in the neighbourhood of Dan and Ijon, in the tribe of
Naphtali. It was a place of considerable strength and
importance. It is called a "mother in Israel", i.e., a
metropolis (2 Sam. 20:19). It was besieged by Joab (2 Sam.
20:14), by Benhadad (1 Kings 15:20), and by Tiglath-pileser (2
Kings 15:29) about B.C. 734. It is elsewhere called Abel-maim,
meadow of the waters, (2 Chr. 16:4). Its site is occupied by the
modern Abil or Abil-el-kamh, on a rising ground to the east of
the brook Derdarah, which flows through the plain of Huleh into
the Jordan, about 6 miles to the west-north-west of Dan.
house of wastes, or deserts, a town near Abel-shittim, east of
Jordan, in the desert of Moab, where the Israelites encamped not
long before crossing the Jordan (Num. 33:49; A.V.,
"Bethjesimoth"). It was within the territory of Sihon, king of
the Amorites (Josh. 12:3).
meadow of dancing, or the dancing-meadow, the birthplace and
residence of the prophet Elisha, not far from Beth-shean (1
Kings 4:12), in the tribe of Issachar, near where the Wady
el-Maleh emerges into the valley of the Jordan, "the rich
meadow-land which extends about 4 miles south of Beth-shean;
moist and luxuriant." Here Elisha was found at his plough by
Elijah on his return up the Jordan valley from Horeb (1 Kings
19:16). It is now called 'Ain Helweh.
compressed, the father of Achish, king of Gath (1 Sam. 27:2).
Called also Maachah (1 Kings 2:39).
(Heb. Hebhel), a breath, or vanity, the second son of Adam and
Eve. He was put to death by his brother Cain (Gen. 4:1-16).
Guided by the instruction of their father, the two brothers were
trained in the duty of worshipping God. "And in process of time"
(marg. "at the end of days", i.e., on the Sabbath) each of them
offered up to God of the first-fruits of his labors. Cain, as a
husbandman, offered the fruits of the field; Abel, as a
shepherd, of the firstlings of his flock. "The Lord had respect
unto Abel and his offering; but unto Cain and his offering he
had not respect" (Gen. 4:3-5). On this account Cain was angry
with his brother, and formed the design of putting him to death;
a design which he at length found an opportunity of carrying
into effect (Gen. 4:8,9. Compare 1 John 3:12). There are several
references to Abel in the New Testament. Our Saviour speaks of
him as "righteous" (Matt. 23:35). "The blood of sprinkling" is
said to speak "better things than that of Abel" (Heb. 12:24);
i.e., the blood of Jesus is the reality of which the blood of
the offering made by Abel was only the type. The comparison here
is between the sacrifice offered by Christ and that offered by
Abel, and not between the blood of Christ calling for mercy and
the blood of the murdered Abel calling for vengeance, as has
sometimes been supposed. It is also said (Heb. 11:4) that "Abel
offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain." This
sacrifice was made "by faith;" this faith rested in God, not
only as the Creator and the God of providence, but especially in
God as the great Redeemer, whose sacrifice was typified by the
sacrifices which, no doubt by the divine institution, were
offered from the days of Adam downward. On account of that
"faith" which looked forward to the great atoning sacrifice,
Abel's offering was accepted of God. Cain's offering had no such
reference, and therefore was rejected. Abel was the first
martyr, as he was the first of our race to die.
Abel (Heb. 'abhel), lamentation (1 Sam. 6:18), the name given
to the great stone in Joshua's field whereon the ark was "set
down." The Revised Version, however, following the Targum and
the LXX., reads in the Hebrew text "'ebhen" (= a stone), and
accordingly translates "unto the great stone, whereon they set
down the ark." This reading is to be preferred.
Abel (Heb. 'abhel), a grassy place, a meadow. This word enters
into the composition of the following words:
(Judg. 11:33, R.V.; A. V., "plain of the vineyards"), a village
of the Ammonites, whither Jephthah pursued their forces.
abounding in furrows. (1.) One of the Anakim of Hebron, who were
slain by the men of Judah under Caleb (Num. 13:22; Josh. 15:14;
(2.) A king of Geshur, to whom Absalom fled after he had put
Amnon to death (2 Sam. 3:3; 13:37). His daughter, Maachah, was
one of David's wives, and the mother of Absalom (1 Chr. 3:2).
meadow of Egypt, or mourning of Egypt, a place "beyond," i.e.,
on the west of Jordan, at the "threshing-floor of Atad." Here
the Egyptians mourned seventy days for Jacob (Gen. 50:4-11). Its
site is unknown.
appointed; a substitute, the third son of Adam and Eve (Gen.
4:25; 5:3). His mother gave him this name, "for God," said she,
"hath appointed me [i.e., compensated me with] another seed
instead of Abel, whom Cain slew."
lord of dwelling, a town of Reuben (Num. 32:38), called also
Beth-meon (Jer. 48:23) and Beth-baal-meon (Josh. 13:17). It is
supposed to have been the birthplace of Elisha. It is
identified with the modern M'ain, about 3 miles south-east of
house of Peor; i.e., "temple of Baal-peor", a place in Moab, on
the east of Jordan, opposite Jericho. It was in the tribe of
Reuben (Josh. 13:20; Deut. 3:29; 4:46). In the "ravine" or
valley over against Beth-peor Moses was probably buried (Deut.
house of the height; i.e., "mountain-house", one of the towns of
Gad, 3 miles east of Jordan, opposite Jericho (Josh. 13:27).
Probably the same as Beth-haran in Num. 32:36. It was called by
king Herod, Julias, or Livias, after Livia, the wife of
Augustus. It is now called Beit-haran.
(1 Sam. 5:2), or Beth-dagon, as elsewhere rendered (Josh.15: 41;
19:27), was the sanctuary or temple of Dagon.
The Beth-dagon of Josh. 15:41 was one of the cities of the
tribe of Judah, in the lowland or plain which stretches
westward. It has not been identified.
The Beth-dagon of Josh. 19:27 was one of the border cities of
That of 1 Chr. 10:10 was in the western half-tribe of
Manasseh, where the Philistines, after their victory at Gilboa,
placed Saul's head in the temple of their god. (Compare 1 Sam.
an oblation, dedicated to God. Thus Cain consecrated to God of
the first-fruits of the earth, and Abel of the firstlings of the
flock (Gen. 4:3, 4). Under the Levitical system different kinds
of offerings are specified, and laws laid down as to their
presentation. These are described under their distinctive names.
acacias, also called "Abel-shittim" (Num. 33:49), a plain or
valley in the land of Moab where the Israelites were encamped
after their two victories over Sihon and Og, at the close of
their desert wanderings, and from which Joshua sent forth two
spies (q.v.) "secretly" to "view" the land and Jericho (Josh.
house of the hollow, or of the cavern, the name of two towns or
villages (2 Chr. 8:5; 1 Chr. 7:24) in the territory of Ephraim,
on the way from Jerusalem to Joppa. They are distinguished as
Beth-horon "the upper" and Beth-horon "the nether." They are
about 2 miles apart, the former being about 10 miles north-west
of Jerusalem. Between the two places was the ascent and descent
of Beth-horon, leading from Gibeon down to the western plain
(Josh. 10:10, 11; 18:13, 14), down which the five kings of the
Amorites were driven by Joshua in that great battle, the most
important in which the Hebrews had been as yet engaged, being
their first conflict with their enemies in the open field.
Jehovah interposed in behalf of Israel by a terrific hailstorm,
which caused more deaths among the Canaanites than did the
swords of the Israelites. Beth-horon is mentioned as having been
taken by Shishak, B.C. 945, in the list of his conquests, and
the pass was the scene of a victory of Judas Maccabeus. (Compare
Ex. 9:19, 25; Job 38:22, 23; Ps. 18:12-14; Isa. 30:30.) The
modern name of these places is Beit-ur, distinguished by
el-Foka, "the upper," and el-Tahta, "the nether." The lower was
at the foot of the pass, and the upper, 500 feet higher, at the
top, west of Gibeon. (See GIBEON T0001480.)
meadow of the acacias, frequently called simply "Shittim" (Num.
25:1; Josh. 2:1; Micah 6:5), a place on the east of Jordan, in
the plain of Moab, nearly opposite Jericho. It was the
forty-second encampment of the Israelites, their last
resting-place before they crossed the Jordan (Num. 33:49; 22:1;
26:3; 31:12; compare 25:1; 31:16).
house of apples, a town of Judah, now Tuffuh, 5 miles west of
Hebron (Josh. 15:53).
a city on the boundary of Ephraim and Benjamin (Josh. 16:2),
between Bethel and Beth-horon the nether.
occurs frequently as the appellation for a house, or
dwelling-place, in such compounds as the words immediately
sheep-house, a place to which the Israelites pursued the
Philistines west from Mizpeh (1 Sam. 7:11).
a town probably near Beth-horon. It derived its name from the
daughter of Ephraim (1 Chr. 7:24).
buckthorn, a place where Joseph and his brethren, when on their
way from Egypt to Hebron with the remains of their father Jacob,
made for seven days a "great and very sore lamentation." On this
account the Canaanites called it "Abel-mizraim" (Gen. 50:10,
11). It was probably near Hebron. The word is rendered "bramble"
in Judg. 9:14, 15, and "thorns" in Ps. 58:9.
(Judg. 7:22), perhaps identical with Zereda or Zeredathah. Some
identify it with Zahrah, a place about 3 miles west of
house of response, one of the fenced cities of Naphtali (Josh.
19:38). It is perhaps identical with the modern village 'Ainata,
6 miles west of Kedesh.
house of answers, a city in the mountainous district of Judah
(Josh. 15:59). It has been identified with the modern
Beit-'Anun, about 3 miles northeast of Hebron.
the designation of Sanballat (Neh. 2:10, 19), a native of
Horonaim, or of one of the two Beth-horons, the "upper" or the
"nether," mentioned in Josh. 16:3,5.
house of Gilgal, a place from which the inhabitants gathered for
the purpose of celebrating the rebuilding of the walls on the
return exile (Neh. 12:29). (See GILGAL T0001489.)
house of two cakes of figs, a city of Moab, upon which Jeremiah
(48:22) denounced destruction. It is called also
Almon-diblathaim (Num. 33:46) and Diblath (Ezek. 6:14). (R.V.,
camel-house, a city in the "plain country" of Moab denounced by
the prophet (Jer. 48:23); probably the modern Um-el-Jemal, near
Bozrah, one of the deserted cities of the Hauran.
father (i.e., "possessor or worshipper") of Jehovah. (1.) 1 Chr.
7:8. (2.) 1 Chr. 2:24.
(3.) The second son of Samuel (1 Sam. 8:2; 1 Chr. 6:28). His
conduct, along with that of his brother, as a judge in
Beersheba, to which office his father had appointed him, led to
popular discontent, and ultimately provoked the people to demand
a royal form of government.
(4.) A descendant of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, a chief of one
of the twenty-four orders into which the priesthood was divided
by David (1 Chr. 24:10). The order of Abijah was one of those
which did not return from the Captivity (Ezra 2:36-39; Neh.
(5.) The son of Rehoboam, whom he succeeded on the throne of
Judah (1 Chr. 3:10). He is also called Abijam (1 Kings 14:31;
15:1-8). He began his three years' reign (2 Chr. 12:16; 13:1,2)
with a strenuous but unsuccessful effort to bring back the ten
tribes to their allegiance. His address to "Jeroboam and all
Israel," before encountering them in battle, is worthy of being
specially noticed (2 Chr. 13:5-12). It was a very bloody battle,
no fewer than 500,000 of the army of Israel having perished on
the field. He is described as having walked "in all the sins of
his father" (1 Kings 15:3; 2 Chr. 11:20-22). It is said in 1
Kings 15:2 that "his mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of
Abishalom;" but in 2 Chr. 13:2 we read, "his mother's name was
Michaiah, the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah." The explanation is
that Maachah is just a variation of the name Michaiah, and that
Abishalom is probably the same as Absalom, the son of David. It
is probable that "Uriel of Gibeah" married Tamar, the daughter
of Absalom (2 Sam. 14:27), and by her had Maachah. The word
"daughter" in 1 Kings 15:2 will thus, as it frequently elsewhere
does, mean grand-daughter.
(6.) A son of Jeroboam, the first king of Israel. On account
of his severe illness when a youth, his father sent his wife to
consult the prophet Ahijah regarding his recovery. The prophet,
though blind with old age, knew the wife of Jeroboam as soon as
she approached, and under a divine impulse he announced to her
that inasmuch as in Abijah alone of all the house of Jeroboam
there was found "some good thing toward the Lord," he only would
come to his grave in peace. As his mother crossed the threshold
of the door on her return, the youth died, and "all Israel
mourned for him" (1 Kings 14:1-18).
(7.) The daughter of Zechariah (2 Chr. 29:1; compare Isa. 8:2),
and afterwards the wife of Ahaz. She is also called Abi (2 Kings
(8.) One of the sons of Becher, the son of Benjamin (1 Chr.
7:8). "Abiah," A.V.
(R.V. Micah 1:10), house of dust. The Authorized Version reads
"in the house of Aphrah." This is probably the name of a town in
the Shephelah, or "low country," between Joppa and Gaza.
oppression, a small Syrian kingdom near Geshur, east of the
Hauran, the district of Batanea (Josh. 13:13; 2 Sam. 10:6,8; 1
(2.) A daughter of Talmai, king of the old native population
of Geshur. She became one of David's wives, and was the mother
of Absalom (2 Sam. 3:3).
(3.) The father of Hanan, who was one of David's body-guard (1
(4.) The daughter of Abishalom (called Absalom, 2 Chr.
11:20-22), the third wife of Rehoboam, and mother of Abijam (1
Kings 15:2). She is called "Michaiah the daughter of Uriel," who
was the husband of Absalom's daughter Tamar (2 Chr. 13:2). Her
son Abijah or Abijam was heir to the throne.
(5.) The father of Achish, the king of Gath (1 Kings 2:39),
called also Maoch (1 Sam. 27:2).
increase, the eldest of Saul's two daughters (1 Sam. 14:49). She
was betrothed to David after his victory over Goliath, but does
not seem to have entered heartily into this arrangement (18:2,
17, 19). She was at length, however, married to Adriel of
Abel-Meholah, a town in the Jordan valley, about 10 miles south
of Bethshean, with whom the house of Saul maintained alliance.
She had five sons, who were all put to death by the Gibeonites
on the hill of Gibeah (2 Sam. 21:8).
pure, a city on the east of Jordan (Num. 32:3); probably the
same as Beth-nimrah (Josh. 13:27). It has been identified with
the Nahr Nimrin, at one of the fords of Jordan, not far from
house of God's court, a place alluded to by Hosea (10:14) as the
scene of some great military exploit, but not otherwise
mentioned in Scripture. The Shalman here named was probably
Shalmaneser, the king of Assyria (2 Kings 17:3).
a precipice, an ancient royal Canaanite city (Josh. 10:33;
12:12). It was allotted with its suburbs to the Kohathite
Levites (21:21; 1 Chr. 6:67). It stood between the lower
Beth-horon and the sea (Josh. 16:3; 1 Kings 9:17). It was the
last point to which David pursued the Philistines (2 Sam. 5:25;
1 Chr. 14:16) after the battle of Baal-perazim. The Canaanites
retained possession of it till the time of Solomon, when the
king of Egypt took it and gave it to Solomon as a part of the
dowry of the Egyptian princess whom he married (1 Kings
9:15-17). It is identified with Tell el-Jezer, about 10 miles
south-west of Beth-horon. It is mentioned in the Amarna tablets.
house of the desert, one of the six cities of Judah, situated in
the sunk valley of the Jordan and Dead Sea (Josh. 18:22). In
Josh. 15:61 it is said to have been "in the wilderness." It was
afterwards included in the towns of Benjamin. It is called
Arabah (Josh. 18:18).
house of Dagon. (1.) A city in the low country or plain of
Judah, near Philistia (Josh. 15:41); the modern Beit Degan,
about 5 miles from Lydda.
(2.) A city near the south-east border of Asher (Josh. 19:27).
It was a Philistine colony. It is identical with the modern
ruined village of Tell D'auk.
house of the unripe fig, a village on the Mount of Olives, on
the road from Jerusalem to Jericho (Matt. 21:1; Mark 11:1; Luke
19:29), and very close to Bethany. It was the limit of a
Sabbath-day's journey from Jerusalem, i.e., 2,000 cubits. It has
been identified with the modern Kefr-et-Tur.
(2 Kings 10:12, 14; marg., "house of shepherds binding sheep."
R.V., "the shearing-house of the shepherds;" marg., "house of
gathering"), some place between Samaria and Jezreel, where Jehu
slew "two and forty men" of the royal family of Judah. The Heb.
word Beth-eked so rendered is supposed by some to be a proper
house of nothingness; i.e., "of idols", a place in the mountains
of Benjamin, east of Bethel (Josh. 7:2; 18:12; 1 Sam. 13:5). In
Hos. 4:15; 5:8; 10:5 it stands for "Bethel" (q.v.), and it is so
called because it was no longer the "house of God," but "the
house of idols," referring to the calves there worshipped.
house of the sun. (1.) A sacerdotal city in the tribe of Dan
(Josh. 21:16; 1 Sam. 6:15), on the north border of Judah (Josh.
15:10). It was the scene of an encounter between Jehoash, king
of Israel, and Amaziah, king of Judah, in which the latter was
made prisoner (2 Kings 14:11, 13). It was afterwards taken by
the Philistines (2 Chr. 28:18). It is the modern ruined Arabic
village 'Ain-shems, on the north-west slopes of the mountains of
Judah, 14 miles west of Jerusalem.
(2.) A city between Dothan and the Jordan, near the southern
border of Issachar (Josh. 19:22), 7 1/2 miles south of
Beth-shean. It is the modern Ain-esh-Shemsiyeh.
(3.) One of the fenced cities of Naphtali (Josh. 19:38),
between Mount Tabor and the Jordan. Now Khurbet Shema, 3 miles
west of Safed. But perhaps the same as No. 2.
(4.) An idol sanctuary in Egypt (Jer. 43:13); called by the
Greeks Heliopolis, and by the Egyptians On (q.v.), Gen. 41:45.
house of crossing, a place south of the scene of Gideon's
victory (Judg. 7:24). It was probably the chief ford of the
Jordan in that district, and may have been that by which Jacob
crossed when he returned from Mesopotamia, near the Jabbok (Gen.
32:22), and at which Jephthah slew the Ephraimites (Judg. 12:4).
Nothing, however, is certainly known of it. (See BETHABARA
city of jaars; i.e., of woods or forests, a Gibeonite town
(Josh. 9:17) on the border of Benjamin, to which tribe it was
assigned (18:15, 28). The ark was brought to this place (1 Sam.
7:1, 2) from Beth-shemesh and put in charge of Abinadab, a
Levite. Here it remained till it was removed by David to
Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6:2, 3, 12; 1 Chr. 15:1-29; compare Ps. 132). It
was also called Baalah (Josh. 15:9) and Kirjath-baal (60). It
has been usually identified with Kuriet el-'Enab (i.e., "city of
grapes"), among the hills, about 8 miles NE of 'Ain
Shems (i.e., Beth-shemesh). The opinion, however, that it is to
be identified with 'Erma, 4 miles east of 'Ain Shems, on the
edge of the valley of Sorek, seems to be better supported. (See
The words of Ps. 132:6, "We found it in the fields of the
wood," refer to the sojourn of the ark at Kirjath-jearim. "Wood"
is here the rendering of the Hebrew word "jaar", which is the
singular of "jearim".
nothingness; vanity. (1.) Hosea speaks of the "high places of
Aven" (10:8), by which he means Bethel. He also calls it
Beth-aven, i.e., "the house of vanity" (4:15), on account of the
golden calves Jeroboam had set up there (1 Kings 12:28).
(2.) Translated by the LXX. "On" in Ezek. 30:17. The Egyptian
Heliopolis or city of On (q.v.).
(3.) In Amos 1:5 it denotes the Syrian Heliopolis, the modern
and Aij'alon, place of deer. (1.) A town and valley originally
assigned to the tribe of Dan, from which, however, they could
not drive the Amorites (Judg. 1:35). It was one of the Levitical
cities given to the Kohathites (1 Chr. 6:69). It was not far
from Beth-shemesh (2 Chr. 28:18). It was the boundary between
the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, and is frequently mentioned in
Jewish history (2 Chr. 11:10; 1 Sam. 14:31; 1 Chr. 8:13). With
reference to the valley named after the town, Joshua uttered the
celebrated command, "Sun, stand thou still on Gibeon; and thou,
Moon, in the valley of Ajalon" (Josh. 10:12). It has been
identified as the modern Yalo, at the foot of the Beth-horon
pass (q.v.). In the Tell Amarna letters Adoni-zedek (q.v.)
speaks of the destruction of the "city of Ajalon" by the
invaders, and describes himself as "afflicted, greatly
afflicted" by the calamities that had come on the land, urging
the king of Egypt to hasten to his help.
(2.) A city in the tribe of Zebulun (Judg. 12:12), the modern
Jalun, three miles north of Cabul.
house of a vineyard, a place in the tribe of Judah (Neh. 3:14)
where the Benjamites were to set up a beacon when they heard the
trumpet against the invading army of the Babylonians (Jer. 6:1).
It is probable that this place is the modern 'Ain Karim, or
"well of the vineyards," near which there is a ridge on which
are cairns which may have served as beacons of old, one of which
is 40 feet high and 130 in diameter.
a city of Bashan, in the kingdom of Og (Deut. 1:4; Josh. 12:4;
13:12; 9:10). It was in the half-tribe of Manasseh (Josh.
13:12), and as a Levitical city was given to the Gershonites (1
Chr. 6:71). Uzzia, one of David's valiant men (1 Chr. 11:44), is
named as of this city. It is identified with Tell Ashterah, in
the Hauran, and is noticed on monuments B.C. 1700-1500. The name
Beesh-terah (Josh. 21:27) is a contraction for Beth-eshterah,
i.e., "the house of Ashtaroth."
street; broad place. (1.) The father of Hadadezer, king of Tobah
(2 Sam. 8:3, 12).
(2.) Neh. 10:11.
(3.) The same, probably, as Beth-rehob (2 Sam. 10:6, 8; Judg.
18:28), a place in the north of Israel (Num. 13:21). It is
now supposed to be represented by the castle of Hunin,
south-west of Dan, on the road from Hamath into Coele-Syria.
(4.) A town of Asher (Josh. 19:28), to the east of Zidon.
(5.) Another town of Asher (Josh. 19:30), kept possession of
by the Canaanites (Judg. 1:31).
a possession; a spear. (1.) The first-born son of Adam and Eve
(Gen. 4). He became a tiller of the ground, as his brother Abel
followed the pursuits of pastoral life. He was "a sullen,
self-willed, haughty, vindictive man; wanting the religious
element in his character, and defiant even in his attitude
towards God." It came to pass "in process of time" (marg. "at
the end of days"), i.e., probably on the Sabbath, that the two
brothers presented their offerings to the Lord. Abel's offering
was of the "firstlings of his flock and of the fat," while
Cain's was "of the fruit of the ground." Abel's sacrifice was
"more excellent" (Heb. 11:4) than Cain's, and was accepted by
God. On this account Cain was "very wroth," and cherished
feelings of murderous hatred against his brother, and was at
length guilty of the desperate outrage of putting him to death
(1 John 3:12). For this crime he was expelled from Eden, and
henceforth led the life of an exile, bearing upon him some mark
which God had set upon him in answer to his own cry for mercy,
so that thereby he might be protected from the wrath of his
fellow-men; or it may be that God only gave him some sign to
assure him that he would not be slain (Gen. 4:15). Doomed to be
a wanderer and a fugitive in the earth, he went forth into the
"land of Nod", i.e., the land of "exile", which is said to have
been in the "east of Eden," and there he built a city, the first
we read of, and called it after his son's name, Enoch. His
descendants are enumerated to the sixth generation. They
gradually degenerated in their moral and spiritual condition
till they became wholly corrupt before God. This corruption
prevailed, and at length the Deluge was sent by God to prevent
the final triumph of evil. (See ABEL T0000015.)
(2.) A town of the Kenites, a branch of the Midianites (Josh.
15:57), on the east edge of the mountain above Engedi; probably
the "nest in a rock" mentioned by Balaam (Num. 24:21). It is
identified with the modern Yekin, 3 miles south-east of Hebron.
a town on the east of Jordan, on the top of one of the green
hills of Gilead, within the limits of the half tribe of
Manasseh, and in full view of Beth-shan. It is first mentioned
in connection with the vengeance taken on its inhabitants
because they had refused to come up to Mizpeh to take part with
Israel against the tribe of Benjamin (Judg. 21:8-14). After the
battles at Gibeah, that tribe was almost extinguished, only six
hundred men remaining. An expedition went against Jabesh-Gilead,
the whole of whose inhabitants were put to the sword, except
four hundred maidens, whom they brought as prisoners and sent to
"proclaim peace" to the Benjamites who had fled to the crag
Rimmon. These captives were given to them as wives, that the
tribe might be saved from extinction (Judg. 21).
This city was afterwards taken by Nahash, king of the
Ammonites, but was delivered by Saul, the newly-elected king of
Israel. In gratitude for this deliverance, forty years after
this, the men of Jabesh-Gilead took down the bodies of Saul and
of his three sons from the walls of Beth-shan, and after burning
them, buried the bones under a tree near the city (1 Sam.
31:11-13). David thanked them for this act of piety (2 Sam.
2:4-6), and afterwards transferred the remains to the royal
sepulchre (21:14). It is identified with the ruins of ed-Deir,
about 6 miles south of Pella, on the north of the Wady Yabis.
upright. "The Book of Jasher," rendered in the LXX. "the Book of
the Upright One," by the Vulgate "the Book of Just Ones," was
probably a kind of national sacred song-book, a collection of
songs in praise of the heroes of Israel, a "book of golden
deeds," a national anthology. We have only two specimens from
the book, (1) the words of Joshua which he spake to the Lord at
the crisis of the battle of Beth-horon (Josh. 10:12, 13); and
(2) "the Song of the Bow," that beautiful and touching mournful
elegy which David composed on the occasion of the death of Saul
and Jonathan (2 Sam. 1:18-27).
ruins. (1.) One of the royal cities of the Canaanites (Josh.
10:1; Gen. 12:8; 13:3). It was the scene of Joshua's defeat, and
afterwards of his victory. It was the second Canaanite city
taken by Israel (Josh. 7:2-5; 8:1-29). It lay rebuilt and
inhibited by the Benjamites (Ezra 2:28; Neh. 7:32; 11:31). It
lay to the east of Bethel, "beside Beth-aven." The spot which is
most probably the site of this ancient city is Haiyan, 2 miles
east from Bethel. It lay up the Wady Suweinit, a steep, rugged
valley, extending from the Jordan valley to Bethel.
(2.) A city in the Ammonite territory (Jer. 49:3). Some have
thought that the proper reading of the word is Ar (Isa. 15:1).
house of security or rest, a city which belonged to Manasseh (1
Chr. 7:29), on the west of Jordan. The bodies of Saul and his
sons were fastened to its walls. In Solomon's time it gave its
name to a district (1 Kings 4:12). The name is found in an
abridged form, Bethshan, in 1 Sam. 31:10, 12 and 2 Sam. 21:12.
It is on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus, about 5 miles from
the Jordan, and 14 from the south end of the Lake of Gennesaret.
After the Captivity it was called Scythopolis, i.e., "the city
of the Scythians," who about B.C. 640 came down from the steppes
of Southern Russia and settled in different places in Syria. It
is now called Beisan.
pitching of tents; fastening down, a town of Judah, about 12
miles south of Jerusalem, and visible from the city. From this
place Joab procured a "wise woman," who pretended to be in great
affliction, and skilfully made her case known to David. Her
address to the king was in the form of an apologue, similar to
that of Nathan (2 Sam. 12:1-6). The object of Joab was, by the
intervention of this woman, to induce David to bring back
Absalom to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 14:2, 4, 9).
This was also the birthplace of the prophet Amos (1:1).
It is now the village of Teku'a, on the top of a hill among
ruins, 5 miles south of Bethlehem, and close to Beth-haccerem
a vehicle moving on wheels, and usually drawn by oxen (2 Sam.
6:3). The Hebrew word thus rendered, "'agalah" (1 Sam. 6:7, 8),
is also rendered "wagon" (Gen. 45:19). It is used also to denote
a war-chariot (Ps. 46:9). Carts were used for the removal of the
ark and its sacred utensils (Num. 7:3, 6). After retaining the
ark amongst them for seven months, the Philistines sent it back
to the Israelites. On this occasion they set it in a new cart,
probably a rude construction, with solid wooden wheels like that
still used in Western Asia, which was drawn by two milch cows,
which conveyed it straight to Beth-shemesh.
A "cart rope," for the purpose of fastening loads on carts, is
used (Isa. 5:18) as a symbol of the power of sinful pleasures or
habits over him who indulges them. (See CORD T0000898.) In
Syria and Israel wheel-carriages for any other purpose than
the conveyance of agricultural produce are almost unknown.
house of God. (1.) A place in Central Israel, about 10 miles
north of Jerusalem, at the head of the pass of Michmash and Ai.
It was originally the royal Canaanite city of Luz (Gen. 28:19).
The name Bethel was at first apparently given to the sanctuary
in the neighbourhood of Luz, and was not given to the city
itself till after its conquest by the tribe of Ephraim. When
Abram entered Canaan he formed his second encampment between
Bethel and Hai (Gen. 12:8); and on his return from Egypt he came
back to it, and again "called upon the name of the Lord" (13:4).
Here Jacob, on his way from Beersheba to Haran, had a vision of
the angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder whose
top reached unto heaven (28:10, 19); and on his return he again
visited this place, "where God talked with him" (35:1-15), and
there he "built an altar, and called the place El-beth-el"
(q.v.). To this second occasion of God's speaking with Jacob at
Bethel, Hosea (12:4,5) makes reference.
In troublous times the people went to Bethel to ask counsel of
God (Judg. 20:18, 31; 21:2). Here the ark of the covenant was
kept for a long time under the care of Phinehas, the grandson of
Aaron (20:26-28). Here also Samuel held in rotation his court of
justice (1 Sam. 7:16). It was included in Israel after the
kingdom was divided, and it became one of the seats of the
worship of the golden calf (1 Kings 12:28-33; 13:1). Hence the
prophet Hosea (Hos. 4:15; 5:8; 10:5, 8) calls it in contempt
Beth-aven, i.e., "house of idols." Bethel remained an abode of
priests even after the kingdom of Israel was desolated by the
king of Assyria (2 Kings 17:28, 29). At length all traces of the
idolatries were extirpated by Josiah, king of Judah (2 Kings
23:15-18); and the place was still in existence after the
Captivity (Ezra 2:28; Neh. 7:32). It has been identified with
the ruins of Beitin, a small village amid extensive ruins some 9
miles south of Shiloh.
(2.) Mount Bethel was a hilly district near Bethel (Josh.
16:1; 1 Sam. 13:2).
(3.) A town in the south of Judah (Josh. 8:17; 12:16).
house of bread. (1.) A city in the "hill country" of Judah. It
was originally called Ephrath (Gen. 35:16, 19; 48:7; Ruth 4:11).
It was also called Beth-lehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2),
Beth-lehem-judah (1 Sam. 17:12), and "the city of David" (Luke
2:4). It is first noticed in Scripture as the place where Rachel
died and was buried "by the wayside," directly to the north of
the city (Gen. 48:7). The valley to the east was the scene of
the story of Ruth the Moabitess. There are the fields in which
she gleaned, and the path by which she and Naomi returned to the
town. Here was David's birthplace, and here also, in after
years, he was anointed as king by Samuel (1 Sam. 16:4-13); and
it was from the well of Bethlehem that three of his heroes
brought water for him at the risk of their lives when he was in
the cave of Adullam (2 Sam. 23:13-17). But it was distinguished
above every other city as the birthplace of "Him whose goings
forth have been of old" (Matt. 2:6; compare Micah 5:2). Afterwards
Herod, "when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men," sent
and slew "all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all
the coasts thereof, from two years old and under" (Matt. 2:16,
18; Jer. 31:15).
Bethlehem bears the modern name of Beit-Lahm, i.e., "house of
flesh." It is about 5 miles south of Jerusalem, standing at an
elevation of about 2,550 feet above the sea, thus 100 feet
higher than Jerusalem.
There is a church still existing, built by Constantine the
Great (A.D. 330), called the "Church of the Nativity," over a
grotto or cave called the "holy crypt," and said to be the
"stable" in which Jesus was born. This is perhaps the oldest
existing Christian church in the world. Close to it is another
grotto, where Jerome the Latin father is said to have spent
thirty years of his life in translating the Scriptures into
Latin. (See VERSION T0003768.)
(2.) A city of Zebulun, mentioned only in Josh. 19:15. Now
Beit-Lahm, a ruined village about 6 miles west-north-west of
(1.) Heb. 'abel (Judg. 11:33), a "grassy plain" or "meadow."
Instead of "plains of the vineyards," as in the Authorized
Version, the Revised Version has "Abel-cheramim" (q.v.), compare
Judg. 11:22; 2 Chr. 16:4.
(2.) Heb. 'elon (Gen. 12:6; 13:18; 14:13; 18:1; Deut. 11:30;
Judg. 9:6), more correctly "oak," as in the Revised Version;
(3.) Heb. bik'ah (Gen. 11:2; Neh. 6:2; Ezek. 3:23; Dan. 3:1),
properly a valley, as rendered in Isa. 40:4, a broad plain
between mountains. In Amos 1:5 the margin of Authorized Version
(4.) Heb. kikar, "the circle," used only of the Ghor, or the
low ground along the Jordan (Gen. 13:10-12; 19:17, 25, 28, 29;
Deut. 34:3; 2 Sam. 18:23; 1 Kings 7:46; 2 Chr. 4:17; Neh. 3:22;
12:28), the floor of the valley through which it flows. This
name is applied to the Jordan valley as far north as Succoth.
(5.) Heb. mishor, "level ground," smooth, grassy table-land
(Deut. 3:10; 4:43; Josh. 13:9, 16, 17, 21; 20:8; Jer. 48:21), an
expanse of rolling downs without rock or stone. In these
passages, with the article prefixed, it denotes the plain in the
tribe of Reuben. In 2 Chr. 26:10 the plain of Judah is meant.
Jerusalem is called "the rock of the plain" in Jer. 21:13,
because the hills on which it is built rise high above the
(6.) Heb. 'arabah, the valley from the Sea of Galilee
southward to the Dead Sea (the "sea of the plain," 2 Kings
14:25; Deut. 1:1; 2:8), a distance of about 70 miles. It is
called by the modern Arabs the Ghor. This Hebrew name is found
in Authorized Version (Josh. 18:18), and is uniformly used in
the Revised Version. Down through the centre of this plain is a
ravine, from 200 to 300 yards wide, and from 50 to 100 feet
deep, through which the Jordan flows in a winding course. This
ravine is called the "lower plain."
The name Arabah is also applied to the whole Jordan valley
from Mount Hermon to the eastern branch of the Red Sea, a
distance of about 200 miles, as well as to that portion of the
valley which stretches from the Sea of Galilee to the same
branch of the Red Sea, i.e., to the Gulf of Akabah about 100
miles in all.
(7.) Heb. shephelah, "low ground," "low hill-land," rendered
"vale" or "valley" in Authorized Version (Josh. 9:1; 10:40;
11:2; 12:8; Judg. 1:9; 1 Kings 10:27). In Authorized Version (1
Chr. 27:28; 2 Chr. 26:10) it is also rendered "low country." In
Jer. 17:26, Obad. 1:19, Zech. 7:7, "plain." The Revised Version
renders it uniformly "low land." When it is preceded by the
article, as in Deut. 1:7, Josh. 11:16; 15:33, Jer. 32:44; 33:13,
Zech. 7:7, "the shephelah," it denotes the plain along the
Mediterranean from Joppa to Gaza, "the plain of the
Philistines." (See VALLEY T0003764.)
Hebrew "olah"; i.e., "ascending," the whole being consumed by
fire, and regarded as ascending to God while being consumed.
Part of every offering was burnt in the sacred fire, but this
was wholly burnt, a "whole burnt offering." It was the most
frequent form of sacrifice, and apparently the only one
mentioned in the book of Genesis. Such were the sacrifices
offered by Abel (Gen. 4:3, 4, here called "minhah"; i.e., "a
gift"), Noah (Gen. 8:20), Abraham (Gen. 22:2, 7, 8, 13), and by
the Hebrews in Egypt (Ex. 10:25).
The law of Moses afterwards prescribed the occasions and the
manner in which burnt sacrifices were to be offered. There were
"the continual burnt offering" (Ex. 29:38-42; Lev. 6:9-13), "the
burnt offering of every sabbath," which was double the daily one
(Num. 28:9, 10), "the burnt offering of every month" (28:11-15),
the offerings at the Passover (19-23), at Pentecost (Lev.
23:16), the feast of Trumpets (23:23-25), and on the day of
Atonement (Lev. 16).
On other occasions special sacrifices were offered, as at the
consecration of Aaron (Ex. 29) and the dedication of the temple
(1 Kings 8:5, 62-64).
Free-will burnt offerings were also permitted (Lev. 1:13), and
were offered at the accession of Solomon to the throne (1 Chr.
29:21), and at the reformation brought about by Hezekiah (2 Chr.
These offerings signified the complete dedication of the
offerers unto God. This is referred to in Rom. 12:1. (See ALTAR
T0000185, SACRIFICE T0003179.)
whom God sets free, or the breaker through, a "mighty man of
valour" who delivered Israel from the oppression of the
Ammonites (Judg. 11:1-33), and judged Israel six years (12:7).
He has been described as "a wild, daring, Gilead mountaineer, a
sort of warrior Elijah." After forty-five years of comparative
quiet Israel again apostatized, and in "process of time the
children of Ammon made war against Israel" (11:5). In their
distress the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the
land of Tob, to which he had fled when driven out wrongfully by
his brothers from his father's inheritance (2), and the people
made him their head and captain. The "elders of Gilead" in their
extremity summoned him to their aid, and he at once undertook
the conduct of the war against Ammon. Twice he sent an embassy
to the king of Ammon, but in vain. War was inevitable. The
people obeyed his summons, and "the spirit of the Lord came upon
him." Before engaging in war he vowed that if successful he
would offer as a "burnt-offering" whatever would come out of the
door of his house first to meet him on his return. The defeat of
the Ammonites was complete. "He smote them from Aroer, even till
thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of
the vineyards [Heb. 'Abel Keramim], with a very great slaughter"
(Judg. 11:33). The men of Ephraim regarded themselves as
insulted in not having been called by Jephthah to go with him to
war against Ammon. This led to a war between the men of Gilead
and Ephraim (12:4), in which many of the Ephraimites perished.
(See SHIBBOLETH T0003366.) "Then died Jephthah the Gileadite,
and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead" (7).
house of mercy, a reservoir (Gr. kolumbethra, "a swimming bath")
with five porches, close to the sheep-gate or market (Neh. 3:1;
John 5:2). Eusebius the historian (A.D. 330) calls it "the
sheep-pool." It is also called "Bethsaida" and "Beth-zatha"
(John 5:2, R.V. marg.). Under these "porches" or colonnades were
usually a large number of infirm people waiting for the
"troubling of the water." It is usually identified with the
modern so-called Fountain of the Virgin, in the valley of the
Kidron, and not far from the Pool of Siloam (q.v.); and also
with the Birket Israel, a pool near the mouth of the valley
which runs into the Kidron south of "St. Stephen's Gate." Others
again identify it with the twin pools called the "Souterrains,"
under the convent of the Sisters of Zion, situated in what must
have been the rock-hewn ditch between Bezetha and the fortress
of Antonia. But quite recently Schick has discovered a large
tank, as sketched here, situated about 100 feet north-west of
St. Anne's Church, which is, as he contends, very probably the
Pool of Bethesda. No certainty as to its identification,
however, has as yet been arrived at. (See FOUNTAIN T0001378;
stone of help, the memorial stone set up by Samuel to
commemorate the divine assistance to Israel in their great
battle against the Philistines, whom they totally routed (1 Sam.
7:7-12) at Aphek, in the neighbourhood of Mizpeh, in Benjamin,
near the western entrance of the pass of Beth-horon. On this
very battle-field, twenty years before, the Philistines routed
the Israelites, "and slew of the army in the field about four
thousand men" (4:1,2; here, and at 5:1, called "Eben-ezer" by
anticipation). In this extremity the Israelites fetched the ark
out of Shiloh and carried it into their camp. The Philistines a
second time immediately attacked them, and smote them with a
very great slaughter, "for there fell of Israel thirty thousand
footmen. And the ark of God was taken" (1 Sam. 4:10). And now in
the same place the Philistines are vanquished, and the memorial
stone is erected by Samuel (q.v.). The spot where the stone was
erected was somewhere "between Mizpeh and Shen." Some have
identified it with the modern Beit Iksa, a conspicuous and
prominent position, apparently answering all the necessary
conditions; others with Dier Aban, 3 miles east of 'Ain Shems.
The offering up of sacrifices is to be regarded as a divine
institution. It did not originate with man. God himself
appointed it as the mode in which acceptable worship was to be
offered to him by guilty man. The language and the idea of
sacrifice pervade the whole Bible.
Sacrifices were offered in the ante-diluvian age. The Lord
clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of animals, which in all
probability had been offered in sacrifice (Gen. 3:21). Abel
offered a sacrifice "of the firstlings of his flock" (4:4; Heb.
11:4). A distinction also was made between clean and unclean
animals, which there is every reason to believe had reference to
the offering up of sacrifices (Gen. 7:2, 8), because animals
were not given to man as food till after the Flood.
The same practice is continued down through the patriarchal
age (Gen. 8:20; 12:7; 13:4, 18; 15:9-11; 22:1-18, etc.). In the
Mosaic period of Old Testament history definite laws were
prescribed by God regarding the different kinds of sacrifices
that were to be offered and the manner in which the offering was
to be made. The offering of stated sacrifices became indeed a
prominent and distinctive feature of the whole period (Ex.
12:3-27; Lev. 23:5-8; Num. 9:2-14). (See ALTAR T0000185.)
We learn from the Epistle to the Hebrews that sacrifices had
in themselves no value or efficacy. They were only the "shadow
of good things to come," and pointed the worshippers forward to
the coming of the great High Priest, who, in the fullness of the
time, "was offered once for all to bear the sin of many."
Sacrifices belonged to a temporary economy, to a system of types
and emblems which served their purposes and have now passed
away. The "one sacrifice for sins" hath "perfected for ever them
that are sanctified."
Sacrifices were of two kinds: 1. Unbloody, such as (1)
first-fruits and tithes; (2) meat and drink-offerings; and (3)
incense. 2. Bloody, such as (1) burnt-offerings; (2)
peace-offerings; and (3) sin and trespass offerings. (See
an oath, seven. (1.) Heb. shebha, the son of Raamah (Gen. 10:7),
whose descendants settled with those of Dedan on the Persian
(2.) Heb. id. A son of Joktan (Gen. 10:28), probably the
founder of the Sabeans.
(3.) Heb. id. A son of Jokshan, who was a son of Abraham by
Keturah (Gen. 25:3).
(4.) Heb. id. A kingdom in Arabia Felix. Sheba, in fact, was
Saba in Southern Arabia, the Sabaeans of classical geography,
who carried on the trade in spices with the other peoples of the
ancient world. They were Semites, speaking one of the two main
dialects of Himyaritic or South Arabic. Sheba had become a
monarchy before the days of Solomon. Its queen brought him gold,
spices, and precious stones (1 Kings 10:1-13). She is called by
our Lord the "queen of the south" (Matt. 12:42).
(5.) Heb. shebha', "seven" or "an oak." A town of Simeon
(6.) Heb. id. A "son of Bichri," of the family of Becher, the
son of Benjamin, and thus of the stem from which Saul was
descended (2 Sam. 20:1-22). When David was returning to
Jerusalem after the defeat of Absalom, a strife arose between
the ten tribes and the tribe of Judah, because the latter took
the lead in bringing back the king. Sheba took advantage of this
state of things, and raised the standard of revolt, proclaiming,
"We have no part in David." With his followers he proceeded
northward. David seeing it necessary to check this revolt,
ordered Abishai to take the gibborim, "mighty men," and the
body-guard and such troops as he could gather, and pursue Sheba.
Joab joined the expedition, and having treacherously put Amasa
to death, assumed the command of the army. Sheba took refuge in
Abel-Bethmaachah, a fortified town some miles north of Lake
Merom. While Joab was engaged in laying siege to this city,
Sheba's head was, at the instigation of a "wise woman" who had
held a parley with him from the city walls, thrown over the wall
to the besiegers, and thus the revolt came to an end.
servant of Jehovah. When Elah was murdered by Zimri at Tirzah (1
Kings 16:15-27), Omri, his captain, was made king (B.C. 931).
For four years there was continued opposition to his reign,
Tibni, another claimant to the throne, leading the opposing
party; but at the close of that period all his rivals were
defeated, and he became king of Israel, "Tibni died and Omri
reigned" (B.C. 927). By his vigour and power he gained great
eminence and consolidated the kingdom. He fixed his dynasty on
the throne so firmly that it continued during four succeeding
reigns. Tirza was for six years the seat of his government. He
then removed the capital to Samaria (q.v.), where he died, and
was succeeded by his son Ahab. "He wrought evil in the eyes of
the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him."
Beth-omri, "the house" or "city of Omri," is the name usually
found on Assyrian inscriptions for Samaria. In the stele of
Mesha (the "Moabite stone"), which was erected in Moab about
twenty or thirty years after Omri's death, it is recorded that
Omri oppressed Moab till Mesha delivered the land: "Omri, king
of Israel, oppressed Moab many days, for Chemosh was angry with
his land. His son succeeded him, and he also said, I will
oppress Moab" (compare 2 Kings 1:1; 3:4, 5). The "Moabite stone"
also records that "Omri took the land of Medeba, and occupied it
in his day and in the days of his son forty years."
the seed of the father, or, according to others, the desirable
land, the eldest son of Lot (Gen. 19:37), of incestuous birth.
(2.) Used to denote the people of Moab (Num. 22:3-14; Judg.
3:30; 2 Sam. 8:2; Jer. 48:11, 13).
(3.) The land of Moab (Jer. 48:24), called also the "country
of Moab" (Ruth 1:2, 6; 2:6), on the east of Jordan and the Dead
Sea, and south of the Arnon (Num. 21:13, 26). In a wider sense
it included the whole region that had been occupied by the
Amorites. It bears the modern name of Kerak.
In the Plains of Moab, opposite Jericho (Num. 22:1; 26:63;
Josh. 13:32), the children of Israel had their last encampment
before they entered the land of Canaan. It was at that time in
the possession of the Amorites (Num. 21:22). "Moses went up from
the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of
Pisgah," and "died there in the land of Moab, according to the
word of the Lord" (Deut. 34:5, 6). "Surely if we had nothing
else to interest us in the land of Moab, the fact that it was
from the top of Pisgah, its noblest height, this mightiest of
the prophets looked out with eye undimmed upon the Promised
Land; that it was here on Nebo, its loftiest mountain, that he
died his solitary death; that it was here, in the valley over
against Beth-peor, he found his mysterious sepulchre, we have
enough to enshrine the memory in our hearts."
(Heb. Aram), the name in the Old Testament given to the whole
country which lay to the NE of Phoenicia, extending to
beyond the Euphrates and the Tigris. Mesopotamia is called (Gen.
24:10; Deut. 23:4) Aram-naharain (=Syria of the two rivers),
also Padan-aram (Gen. 25:20). Other portions of Syria were also
known by separate names, as Aram-maahah (1 Chr. 19:6),
Aram-beth-rehob (2 Sam. 10:6), Aram-zobah (2 Sam. 10:6, 8). All
these separate little kingdoms afterwards became subject to
Damascus. In the time of the Romans, Syria included also a part
of Israel and Asia Minor.
"From the historic annals now accessible to us, the history of
Syria may be divided into three periods: The first, the period
when the power of the Pharaohs was dominant over the fertile
fields or plains of Syria and the merchant cities of Tyre and
Sidon, and when such mighty conquerors as Thothmes III. and
Rameses II. could claim dominion and levy tribute from the
nations from the banks of the Euphrates to the borders of the
Libyan desert. Second, this was followed by a short period of
independence, when the Jewish nation in the south was growing in
power, until it reached its early zenith in the golden days of
Solomon; and when Tyre and Sidon were rich cities, sending their
traders far and wide, over land and sea, as missionaries of
civilization, while in the north the confederate tribes of the
Hittites held back the armies of the kings of Assyria. The
third, and to us most interesting, period is that during which
the kings of Assyria were dominant over the plains of Syria;
when Tyre, Sidon, Ashdod, and Jerusalem bowed beneath the
conquering armies of Shalmaneser, Sargon, and Sennacherib; and
when at last Memphis and Thebes yielded to the power of the
rulers of Nineveh and Babylon, and the kings of Assyria
completed with terrible fulness the bruising of the reed of
Egypt so clearly foretold by the Hebrew prophets.", Boscawen.
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
Jehovah-given. (1.) The son of King Ahaziah. While yet an
infant, he was saved from the general massacre of the family by
his aunt Jehosheba, and was apparently the only surviving
descendant of Solomon (2 Chr. 21:4, 17). His uncle, the high
priest Jehoiada, brought him forth to public notice when he was
eight years of age, and crowned and anointed him king of Judah
with the usual ceremonies. Athaliah was taken by surprise when
she heard the shout of the people, "Long live the king;" and
when she appeared in the temple, Jehoiada commanded her to be
led forth to death (2 Kings 11:13-20). While the high priest
lived, Jehoash favoured the worship of God and observed the law;
but on his death he fell away into evil courses, and the land
was defiled with idolatry. Zechariah, the son and successor of
the high priest, was put to death. These evil deeds brought down
on the land the judgement of God, and it was oppressed by the
Syrian invaders. He is one of the three kings omitted by Matthew
(1:8) in the genealogy of Christ, the other two being Ahaziah
and Amaziah. He was buried in the city of David (2 Kings 12:21).
(See JOASH T0002078 .)
(2.) The son and successor of Jehoahaz, king of Israel (2
Kings 14:1; compare 12:1; 13:10). When he ascended the throne the
kingdom was suffering from the invasion of the Syrians. Hazael
"was cutting Israel short." He tolerated the worship of the
golden calves, yet seems to have manifested a character of
sincere devotion to the God of his fathers. He held the prophet
Elisha in honour, and wept by his bedside when he was dying,
addressing him in the words Elisha himself had used when Elijah
was carried up into heaven: "O my father, my father, the chariot
of Israel and the horsemen thereof." He was afterwards involved
in war with Amaziah, the king of Judah (2 Chr. 25:23-24), whom
he utterly defeated at Beth-shemesh, on the borders of Dan and
Philistia, and advancing on Jerusalem, broke down a portion of
the wall, and carried away the treasures of the temple and the
palace. He soon after died (B.C. 825), and was buried in Samaria
(2 Kings 14:1-17, 19, 20). He was succeeded by his son. (See
JOASH T0002078 [5.].)
God his salvation, the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah, who
became the attendant and disciple of Elijah (1 Kings 19:16-19).
His name first occurs in the command given to Elijah to anoint
him as his successor (1 Kings 19:16). This was the only one of
the three commands then given to Elijah which he accomplished.
On his way from Sinai to Damascus he found Elisha at his native
place engaged in the labors of the field, ploughing with twelve
yoke of oxen. He went over to him, threw over his shoulders his
rough mantle, and at once adopted him as a son, and invested him
with the prophetical office (compare Luke 9:61, 62). Elisha
accepted the call thus given (about four years before the death
of Ahab), and for some seven or eight years became the close
attendant on Elijah till he was parted from him and taken up
into heaven. During all these years we hear nothing of Elisha
except in connection with the closing scenes of Elijah's life.
After Elijah, Elisha was accepted as the leader of the sons of
the prophets, and became noted in Israel. He possessed,
according to his own request, "a double portion" of Elijah's
spirit (2 Kings 2:9); and for the long period of about sixty
years (B.C. 892-832) held the office of "prophet in Israel" (2
After Elijah's departure, Elisha returned to Jericho, and
there healed the spring of water by casting salt into it (2
Kings 2:21). We next find him at Bethel (2:23), where, with the
sternness of his master, he cursed the youths who came out and
scoffed at him as a prophet of God: "Go up, thou bald head." The
judgment at once took effect, and God terribly visited the
dishonour done to his prophet as dishonour done to himself. We
next read of his predicting a fall of rain when the army of
Jehoram was faint from thirst (2 Kings 3:9-20); of the
multiplying of the poor widow's cruse of oil (4:1-7); the
miracle of restoring to life the son of the woman of Shunem
(4:18-37); the multiplication of the twenty loaves of new barley
into a sufficient supply for an hundred men (4:42-44); of the
cure of Naaman the Syrian of his leprosy (5:1-27); of the
punishment of Gehazi for his falsehood and his covetousness; of
the recovery of the axe lost in the waters of the Jordan
(6:1-7); of the miracle at Dothan, half-way on the road between
Samaria and Jezreel; of the siege of Samaria by the king of
Syria, and of the terrible sufferings of the people in
connection with it, and Elisha's prophecy as to the relief that
would come (2 Kings 6:24-7:2).
We then find Elisha at Damascus, to carry out the command
given to his master to anoint Hazael king over Syria (2 Kings
8:7-15); thereafter he directs one of the sons of the prophets
to anoint Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Israel, instead
of Ahab. Thus the three commands given to Elijah (9:1-10) were
at length carried out.
We do not again read of him till we find him on his death-bed
in his own house (2 Kings 13:14-19). Joash, the grandson of
Jehu, comes to mourn over his approaching departure, and utters
the same words as those of Elisha when Elijah was taken away:
"My father, my father! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen
Afterwards when a dead body is laid in Elisha's grave a year
after his burial, no sooner does it touch the hallowed remains
than the man "revived, and stood up on his feet" (2 Kings
Jehovah is he. (1.) The son of Obed, and father of Azariah (1
(2.) One of the Benjamite slingers that joined David at Ziklag
(1 Chr. 12:3).
(3.) The son of Hanani, a prophet of Judah (1 Kings 16:1, 7; 2
Chr. 19:2; 20:34), who pronounced the sentence of God against
Baasha, the king of Israel.
(4.) King of Israel, the son of Jehoshaphat (2 Kings 9:2), and
grandson of Nimshi. The story of his exaltation to the throne is
deeply interesting. During the progress of a war against the
Syrians, who were becoming more and more troublesome to Israel,
in a battle at Ramoth-gilead Jehoram, the king of Israel, had
been wounded; and leaving his army there, had returned to
Jezreel, whither his ally, Ahaziah, king of Judah, had also gone
on a visit of sympathy with him (2 Kings 8:28, 29). The
commanders, being left in charge of the conduct of the war, met
in council; and while engaged in their deliberations, a
messenger from Elisha appeared in the camp, and taking Jehu from
the council, led him into a secret chamber, and there anointed
him king over Israel, and immediately retired and disappeared (2
Kings 9:5, 6). On being interrogated by his companions as to the
object of this mysterious visitor, he informed them of what had
been done, when immediately, with the utmost enthusiasm, they
blew their trumpets and proclaimed him king (2 Kings 9:11-14).
He then with a chosen band set forth with all speed to Jezreel,
where, with his own hand, he slew Jehoram, shooting him through
the heart with an arrow (9:24). The king of Judah, when trying
to escape, was fatally wounded by one of Jehu's soldiers at
Beth-gan. On entering the city, Jehu commanded the eunchs of the
royal palace to cast down Jezebel into the street, where her
mangled body was trodden under foot by the horses. Jehu was now
master of Jezreel, whence he communicated with the persons in
authority in Samaria the capital, commanding them to appear
before him on the morrow with the heads of all the royal princes
of Samaria. Accordingly on the morrow seventy heads were piled
up in two heaps at his gate. At "the shearing-house" (2 Kings
10:12-14) other forty-two connected with the house of Ahab were
put to death (2 Kings 10:14). As Jehu rode on toward Samaria, he
met Jehonadab (q.v.), whom he took into his chariot, and they
entered the capital together. By a cunning stratagem he cut off
all the worshippers of Baal found in Samaria (2 Kings 10:19-25),
and destroyed the temple of the idol (2 Kings 10:27).
Notwithstanding all this apparent zeal for the worship of
Jehovah, Jehu yet tolerated the worship of the golden calves at
Dan and Bethel. For this the divine displeasure rested upon him,
and his kingdom suffered disaster in war with the Syrians (2
Kings 10:29-33). He died after a reign of twenty-eight years
(B.C. 884-856), and was buried in Samaria (10:34-36). "He was
one of those decisive, terrible, and ambitious, yet prudent,
calculating, and passionless men whom God from time to time
raises up to change the fate of empires and execute his
judgments on the earth." He was the first Jewish king who came
in contact with the Assyrian power in the time of Shalmaneser
a watch-mountain or a watch-tower. In the heart of the mountains
of Israel, a few miles north-west of Shechem, stands the "hill
of Shomeron," a solitary mountain, a great "mamelon." It is an
oblong hill, with steep but not inaccessible sides, and a long
flat top. Omri, the king of Israel, purchased this hill from
Shemer its owner for two talents of silver, and built on its
broad summit the city to which he gave the name of "Shomeron",
i.e., Samaria, as the new capital of his kingdom instead of
Tirzah (1 Kings 16:24). As such it possessed many advantages.
Here Omri resided during the last six years of his reign. As the
result of an unsuccessful war with Syria, he appears to have
been obliged to grant to the Syrians the right to "make streets
in Samaria", i.e., probably permission to the Syrian merchants
to carry on their trade in the Israelite capital. This would
imply the existence of a considerable Syrian population. "It was
the only great city of Israel created by the sovereign. All
the others had been already consecrated by patriarchal tradition
or previous possession. But Samaria was the choice of Omri
alone. He, indeed, gave to the city which he had built the name
of its former owner, but its especial connection with himself as
its founder is proved by the designation which it seems Samaria
bears in Assyrian inscriptions, Beth-khumri ('the house or
palace of Omri').", Stanley.
Samaria was frequently besieged. In the days of Ahab, Benhadad
II. came up against it with thirty-two vassal kings, but was
defeated with a great slaughter (1 Kings 20:1-21). A second
time, next year, he assailed it; but was again utterly routed,
and was compelled to surrender to Ahab (20:28-34), whose army,
as compared with that of Benhadad, was no more than "two little
flocks of kids."
In the days of Jehoram this Benhadad again laid siege to
Samaria, during which the city was reduced to the direst
extremities. But just when success seemed to be within their
reach, they suddenly broke up the seige, alarmed by a mysterious
noise of chariots and horses and a great army, and fled, leaving
their camp with all its contents behind them. The famishing
inhabitants of the city were soon relieved with the abundance of
the spoil of the Syrian camp; and it came to pass, according to
the word of Elisha, that "a measure of fine flour was sold for a
shekel, and two measures of barely for a shekel, in the gates of
Samaria" (2 Kings 7:1-20).
Shalmaneser invaded Israel in the days of Hoshea, and reduced
it to vassalage. He laid siege to Samaria (B.C. 723), which held
out for three years, and was at length captured by Sargon, who
completed the conquest Shalmaneser had begun (2 Kings 18:9-12;
17:3), and removed vast numbers of the tribes into captivity.
(See SARGON T0003227.)
This city, after passing through various vicissitudes, was
given by the emperor Augustus to Herod the Great, who rebuilt
it, and called it Sebaste (Gr. form of Augustus) in honour of
the emperor. In the New Testament the only mention of it is in
Acts 8:5-14, where it is recorded that Philip went down to the
city of Samaria and preached there.
It is now represented by the hamlet of Sebustieh, containing
about three hundred inhabitants. The ruins of the ancient town
are all scattered over the hill, down the sides of which they
have rolled. The shafts of about one hundred of what must have
been grand Corinthian columns are still standing, and attract
much attention, although nothing definite is known regarding
them. (Compare Micah 1:6.)
In the time of Christ, Western Israel was divided into
three provinces, Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. Samaria occupied
the centre of Israel (John 4:4). It is called in the Talmud
the "land of the Cuthim," and is not regarded as a part of the
Holy Land at all.
It may be noticed that the distance between Samaria and
Jerusalem, the respective capitals of the two kingdoms, is only
35 miles in a direct line.
hill-city, "one of the royal cities, greater than Ai, and all
the men thereof were mighty" (Josh. 10:2). Its inhabitants were
Hivites (11:19). It lay within the territory of Benjamin, and
became a priest-city (18:25; 21:17). Here the tabernacle was set
up after the destruction of Nob, and here it remained many years
till the temple was built by Solomon. It is represented by the
modern el-Jib, to the south-west of Ai, and about 5 1/2 miles
north-north-west of Jerusalem.
A deputation of the Gibeonites, with their allies from three
other cities (Josh. 9;17), visited the camp at Gilgal, and by
false representations induced Joshua to enter into a league with
them, although the Israelites had been specially warned against
any league with the inhabitants of Canaan (Ex. 23:32; 34:12;
Num. 33:55; Deut. 7:2). The deception practised on Joshua was
detected three days later; but the oath rashly sworn "by Jehovah
God of Israel" was kept, and the lives of the Gibeonites were
spared. They were, however, made "bondmen" to the sanctuary
The most remarkable incident connected with this city was the
victory Joshua gained over the kings of Israel (Josh.
10:16-27). The battle here fought has been regarded as "one of
the most important in the history of the world." The kings of
southern Canaan entered into a confederacy against Gibeon
(because it had entered into a league with Joshua) under the
leadership of Adoni-zedec, king of Jerusalem, and marched upon
Gibeon with the view of taking possession of it. The Gibeonites
entreated Joshua to come to their aid with the utmost speed. His
army came suddenly upon that of the Amorite kings as it lay
encamped before the city. It was completely routed, and only
broken remnants of their great host found refuge in the fenced
cities. The five confederate kings who led the army were taken
prisoners, and put to death at Makkedah (q.v.). This eventful
battle of Beth-horon sealed the fate of all the cities of
Southern Israel. Among the Amarna tablets is a letter from
Adoni-zedec (q.v.) to the king of Egypt, written probably at
Makkedah after the defeat, showing that the kings contemplated
flight into Egypt.
This place is again brought into notice as the scene of a
battle between the army of Ish-bosheth under Abner and that of
David led by Joab. At the suggestion of Abner, to spare the
effusion of blood twelve men on either side were chosen to
decide the battle. The issue was unexpected; for each of the men
slew his fellow, and thus they all perished. The two armies then
engaged in battle, in which Abner and his host were routed and
put to flight (2 Sam. 2:12-17). This battle led to a virtual
truce between Judah and Israel, Judah, under David, increasing
in power; and Israel, under Ish-bosheth, continually losing
Soon after the death of Absalom and David's restoration to his
throne his kingdom was visited by a grievous famine, which was
found to be a punishment for Saul's violation (2 Sam. 21:2, 5)
of the covenant with the Gibeonites (Josh. 9:3-27). The
Gibeonites demanded blood for the wrong that had been done to
them, and accordingly David gave up to them the two sons of
Rizpah (q.v.) and the five sons of Michal, and these the
Gibeonites took and hanged or crucified "in the hill before the
Lord" (2 Sam. 21:9); and there the bodies hung for six months
(21:10), and all the while Rizpah watched over the blackening
corpses and "suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on
them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night." David
afterwards removed the bones of Saul and Jonathan at
Jabeshgilead (21:12, 13).
Here, "at the great stone," Amasa was put to death by Joab (2
Sam. 20:5-10). To the altar of burnt-offering which was at
Gibeon, Joab (1 Kings 2:28-34), who had taken the side of
Adonijah, fled for sanctuary in the beginning of Solomon's
reign, and was there also slain by the hand of Benaiah.
Soon after he came to the throne, Solomon paid a visit of
state to Gibeon, there to offer sacrifices (1 Kings 3:4; 2 Chr.
1:3). On this occasion the Lord appeared to him in a memorable
dream, recorded in 1 Kings 3:5-15; 2 Chr. 1:7-12. When the
temple was built "all the men of Israel assembled themselves" to
king Solomon, and brought up from Gibeon the tabernacle and "all
the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle" to Jerusalem,
where they remained till they were carried away by
Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:13).
drawn (or Egypt. mesu, "son;" hence Rameses, royal son). On the
invitation of Pharaoh (Gen. 45:17-25), Jacob and his sons went
down into Egypt. This immigration took place probably about 350
years before the birth of Moses. Some centuries before Joseph,
Egypt had been conquered by a pastoral Semitic race from Asia,
the Hyksos, who brought into cruel subjection the native
Egyptians, who were an African race. Jacob and his retinue were
accustomed to a shepherd's life, and on their arrival in Egypt
were received with favour by the king, who assigned them the
"best of the land", the land of Goshen, to dwell in. The Hyksos
or "shepherd" king who thus showed favour to Joseph and his
family was in all probability the Pharaoh Apopi (or Apopis).
Thus favoured, the Israelites began to "multiply exceedingly"
(Gen. 47:27), and extended to the west and south. At length the
supremacy of the Hyksos came to an end. The descendants of Jacob
were allowed to retain their possession of Goshen undisturbed,
but after the death of Joseph their position was not so
favourable. The Egyptians began to despise them, and the period
of their "affliction" (Gen. 15:13) commenced. They were sorely
oppressed. They continued, however, to increase in numbers, and
"the land was filled with them" (Ex. 1:7). The native Egyptians
regarded them with suspicion, so that they felt all the hardship
of a struggle for existence.
In process of time "a king [probably Seti I.] arose who knew
not Joseph" (Ex. 1:8). (See PHARAOH T0002923.) The
circumstances of the country were such that this king thought it
necessary to weaken his Israelite subjects by oppressing them,
and by degrees reducing their number. They were accordingly made
public slaves, and were employed in connection with his numerous
buildings, especially in the erection of store-cities, temples,
and palaces. The children of Israel were made to serve with
rigour. Their lives were made bitter with hard bondage, and "all
their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour"
(Ex. 1:13, 14). But this cruel oppression had not the result
expected of reducing their number. On the contrary, "the more
the Egyptians afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew"
The king next tried, through a compact secretly made with the
guild of midwives, to bring about the destruction of all the
Hebrew male children that might be born. But the king's wish was
not rigorously enforced; the male children were spared by the
midwives, so that "the people multiplied" more than ever. Thus
baffled, the king issued a public proclamation calling on the
people to put to death all the Hebrew male children by casting
them into the river (Ex. 1:22). But neither by this edict was
the king's purpose effected.
One of the Hebrew households into which this cruel edict of
the king brought great alarm was that of Amram, of the family of
the Kohathites (Ex. 6:16-20), who with his wife Jochebed and two
children, Miriam, a girl of perhaps fifteen years of age, and
Aaron, a boy of three years, resided in or near Memphis, the
capital city of that time. In this quiet home a male child was
born (B.C. 1571). His mother concealed him in the house for
three months from the knowledge of the civic authorities. But
when the task of concealment became difficult, Jochebed
contrived to bring her child under the notice of the daughter of
the king by constructing for him an ark of bulrushes, which she
laid among the flags which grew on the edge of the river at the
spot where the princess was wont to come down and bathe. Her
plan was successful. The king's daughter "saw the child; and
behold the child wept." The princess (see PHARAOH'S DAUGHTER
T0002924 ) sent Miriam, who was standing by, to fetch a
nurse. She went and brought the mother of the child, to whom the
princess said, "Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I
will give thee thy wages." Thus Jochebed's child, whom the
princess called "Moses", i.e., "Saved from the water" (Ex.
2:10), was ultimately restored to her.
As soon as the natural time for weaning the child had come, he
was transferred from the humble abode of his father to the royal
palace, where he was brought up as the adopted son of the
princess, his mother probably accompanying him and caring still
for him. He grew up amid all the grandeur and excitement of the
Egyptian court, maintaining, however, probably a constant
fellowship with his mother, which was of the highest importance
as to his religious belief and his interest in his "brethren."
His education would doubtless be carefully attended to, and he
would enjoy all the advantages of training both as to his body
and his mind. He at length became "learned in all the wisdom of
the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22). Egypt had then two chief seats of
learning, or universities, at one of which, probably that of
Heliopolis, his education was completed. Moses, being now about
twenty years of age, spent over twenty more before he came into
prominence in Bible history. These twenty years were probably
spent in military service. There is a tradition recorded by
Josephus that he took a lead in the war which was then waged
between Egypt and Ethiopia, in which he gained renown as a
skilful general, and became "mighty in deeds" (Acts 7:22).
After the termination of the war in Ethiopia, Moses returned
to the Egyptian court, where he might reasonably have expected
to be loaded with honours and enriched with wealth. But "beneath
the smooth current of his life hitherto, a life of alternate
luxury at the court and comparative hardness in the camp and in
the discharge of his military duties, there had lurked from
childhood to youth, and from youth to manhood, a secret
discontent, perhaps a secret ambition. Moses, amid all his
Egyptian surroundings, had never forgotten, had never wished to
forget, that he was a Hebrew." He now resolved to make himself
acquainted with the condition of his countrymen, and "went out
unto his brethren, and looked upon their burdens" (Ex. 2:11).
This tour of inspection revealed to him the cruel oppression and
bondage under which they everywhere groaned, and could not fail
to press on him the serious consideration of his duty regarding
them. The time had arrived for his making common cause with
them, that he might thereby help to break their yoke of bondage.
He made his choice accordingly (Heb. 11:25-27), assured that God
would bless his resolution for the welfare of his people. He now
left the palace of the king and took up his abode, probably in
his father's house, as one of the Hebrew people who had for
forty years been suffering cruel wrong at the hands of the
He could not remain indifferent to the state of things around
him, and going out one day among the people, his indignation was
roused against an Egyptian who was maltreating a Hebrew. He
rashly lifted up his hand and slew the Egyptian, and hid his
body in the sand. Next day he went out again and found two
Hebrews striving together. He speedily found that the deed of
the previous day was known. It reached the ears of Pharaoh (the
"great Rameses," Rameses II.), who "sought to slay Moses" (Ex.
2:15). Moved by fear, Moses fled from Egypt, and betook himself
to the land of Midian, the southern part of the peninsula of
Sinai, probably by much the same route as that by which, forty
years afterwards, he led the Israelites to Sinai. He was
providentially led to find a new home with the family of Reuel,
where he remained for forty years (Acts 7:30), under training
unconsciously for his great life's work.
Suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him in the burning
bush (Ex. 3), and commissioned him to go down to Egypt and
"bring forth the children of Israel" out of bondage. He was at
first unwilling to go, but at length he was obedient to the
heavenly vision, and left the land of Midian (4:18-26). On the
way he was met by Aaron (q.v.) and the elders of Israel (27-31).
He and Aaron had a hard task before them; but the Lord was with
them (ch. 7-12), and the ransomed host went forth in triumph.
(See EXODUS T0001283.) After an eventful journey to and fro in
the wilderness, we see them at length encamped in the plains of
Moab, ready to cross over the Jordan into the Promised Land.
There Moses addressed the assembled elders (Deut. 1:1-4;
5:1-26:19; 27:11-30:20), and gives the people his last counsels,
and then rehearses the great song (Deut. 32), clothing in
fitting words the deep emotions of his heart at such a time, and
in review of such a marvellous history as that in which he had
acted so conspicious a part. Then, after blessing the tribes
(33), he ascends to "the mountain of Nebo (q.v.), to the top of
Pisgah, that is over against Jericho" (34:1), and from thence he
surveys the land. "Jehovah shewed him all the land of Gilead,
unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and
Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, and
the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of
palm trees, unto Zoar" (Deut. 34:2-3), the magnificient
inheritance of the tribes of whom he had been so long the
leader; and there he died, being one hundred and twenty years
old, according to the word of the Lord, and was buried by the
Lord "in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor"
(34:6). The people mourned for him during thirty days.
Thus died "Moses the man of God" (Deut. 33:1; Josh. 14:6). He
was distinguished for his meekness and patience and firmness,
and "he endured as seeing him who is invisible." "There arose
not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord
knew face to face, in all the signs and the wonders, which the
Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh, and to all
his servants, and to all his land, and in all that mighty hand,
and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of
all Israel" (Deut. 34:10-12).
The name of Moses occurs frequently in the Psalms and Prophets
as the chief of the prophets.
In the New Testament he is referred to as the representative
of the law and as a type of Christ (John 1:17; 2 Cor. 3:13-18;
Heb. 3:5, 6). Moses is the only character in the Old Testament
to whom Christ likens himself (John 5:46; compare Deut. 18:15, 18,
19; Acts 7:37). In Heb. 3:1-19 this likeness to Moses is set
forth in various particulars.
In Jude 1:9 mention is made of a contention between Michael
and the devil about the body of Moses. This dispute is supposed
to have had reference to the concealment of the body of Moses so
as to prevent idolatry.
beloved, the eighth and youngest son of Jesse, a citizen of
Bethlehem. His father seems to have been a man in humble life.
His mother's name is not recorded. Some think she was the Nahash
of 2 Sam. 17:25. As to his personal appearance, we only know
that he was red-haired, with beautiful eyes and a fair face (1
Sam. 16:12; 17:42).
His early occupation was that of tending his father's sheep on
the uplands of Judah. From what we know of his after history,
doubtless he frequently beguiled his time, when thus engaged,
with his shepherd's flute, while he drank in the many lessons
taught him by the varied scenes spread around him. His first
recorded exploits were his encounters with the wild beasts of
the field. He mentions that with his own unaided hand he slew a
lion and also a bear, when they came out against his flock,
beating them to death in open conflict with his club (1 Sam.
While David, in the freshness of ruddy youth, was thus engaged
with his flocks, Samuel paid an unexpected visit to Bethlehem,
having been guided thither by divine direction (1 Sam. 16:1-13).
There he offered up sacrifice, and called the elders of Israel
and Jesse's family to the sacrificial meal. Among all who
appeared before him he failed to discover the one he sought.
David was sent for, and the prophet immediately recognized him
as the chosen of God, chosen to succeed Saul, who was now
departing from the ways of God, on the throne of the kingdom. He
accordingly, in anticipation, poured on his head the anointing
oil. David went back again to his shepherd life, but "the Spirit
of the Lord came upon David from that day forward," and "the
Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul" (1 Sam. 16:13, 14).
Not long after this David was sent for to soothe with his harp
the troubled spirit of Saul, who suffered from a strange
melancholy dejection. He played before the king so skilfully
that Saul was greatly cheered, and began to entertain great
affection for the young shepherd. After this he went home to
Bethlehem. But he soon again came into prominence. The armies of
the Philistines and of Israel were in battle array in the valley
of Elah, some 16 miles south-west of Bethlehem; and David was
sent by his father with provisions for his three brothers, who
were then fighting on the side of the king. On his arrival in
the camp of Israel, David (now about twenty years of age) was
made aware of the state of matters when the champion of the
Philistines, Goliath of Gath, came forth to defy Israel. David
took his sling, and with a well-trained aim threw a stone "out
of the brook," which struck the giant's forehead, so that he
fell senseless to the ground. David then ran and slew him, and
cut off his head with his own sword (1 Sam. 17). The result was
a great victory to the Israelites, who pursued the Philistines
to the gates of Gath and Ekron.
David's popularity consequent on this heroic exploit awakened
Saul's jealousy (1 Sam. 18:6-16), which he showed in various
ways. He conceived a bitter hatred toward him, and by various
stratagems sought his death (1 Sam. 18-30). The deep-laid plots
of the enraged king, who could not fail to observe that David
"prospered exceedingly," all proved futile, and only endeared
the young hero the more to the people, and very specially to
Jonathan, Saul's son, between whom and David a life-long warm
friendship was formed.
A fugitive. To escape from the vengeance of Saul, David fled
to Ramah (1 Sam. 19:12-18) to Samuel, who received him, and he
dwelt among the sons of the prophets, who were there under
Samuel's training. It is supposed by some that the sixth,
seventh, and eleventh Psalms were composed by him at this time.
This place was only 3 miles from the residence of Saul, who soon
discovered whither the fugitive had gone, and tried
ineffectually to bring him back. Jonathan made a fruitless
effort to bring his father to a better state of mind toward
David (1 Sam. 20), who, being made aware of the fact, saw no
hope of safety but in flight to a distance. We accordingly find
him first at Nob (21:1-9) and then at Gath, the chief city of
the Philistines. The king of the Philistines would not admit him
into his service, as he expected that he would, and David
accordingly now betook himself to the stronghold of Adullam
(22:1-4; 1 Chr. 12:8-18). Here in a short time 400 men gathered
around him and acknowledged him as their leader. It was at this
time that David, amid the harassment and perils of his position,
cried, "Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well
of Bethlehem;" when three of his heroes broke through the lines
of the Philistines and brought him the water for which he longed
(2 Sam. 23:13-17), but which he would not drink.
In his rage at the failure of all his efforts to seize David,
Saul gave orders for the massacre of the entire priestly family
at Nob, "persons who wore a linen ephod", to the number of
eighty-five persons, who were put to death by Doeg the Edomite.
The sad tidings of the massacre were brought to David by
Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech, the only one who escaped. Compare
Hearing that Keilah, a town on the western frontier, was
harassed by the Philistines, David with his men relieved it (1
Sam. 23:1-14); and then, for fear of Saul, he fled to the
strongholds in the "hill country" of Judah. Compare Ps. 31. While
encamped there, in the forest in the district of Ziph, he was
visited by Jonathan, who spoke to him words of encouragement
(23:16-18). The two now parted never to meet again. Saul
continued his pursuit of David, who narrowly escaped from him at
this time, and fled to the crags and ravines of Engedi, on the
western shore of the Dead Sea (1 Sam. 23:29). Here Saul, who
still pursued him with his army, narrowly escaped, through the
generous forbearance of David, and was greatly affected by what
David had done for him. He returned home from pursuing him, and
David betook himself to Maon, where, with his 600 men, he
maintained himself by contributions gathered from the district.
Here occurred the incident connected with Nabal and his wife
Abigail (1 Sam. 25), whom David married after Nabal's death.
Saul again went forth (1 Sam. 26) in pursuit of David, who had
hid himself "in the hill Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon," in
the wilderness of Ziph, and was a second time spared through his
forbearance. He returned home, professing shame and penitence
for the way in which he had treated David, and predicting his
elevation to the throne.
Fighting against Israel. Harassed by the necessity of moving
from place to place through fear of Saul, David once more sought
refuge among the Philistines (1 Sam. 27). He was welcomed by the
king, who assigned him Ziklag as his residence. Here David lived
among his followers for some time as an independent chief
engaged in frequent war with the Amalekites and other tribes on
the south of Judah.
Achish summoned David with his men to join his army against
Saul; but the lords of the Philistines were suspicious of
David's loyalty, and therefore he was sent back to Ziklag, which
he found to his dismay may had been pillaged and burnt during
his brief absence. David pursued after the raiders, the
Amalekites, and completely routed them. On his return to Ziklag
tidings reached him of Saul's death (2 Sam. 1). An Amalekite
brought Saul's crown and bracelet and laid them at his feet.
David and his men rent their clothes and mourned for Saul, who
had been defeated in battle near Mount Gilboa. David composed a
beautiful elegy, the most beautiful of all extant Hebrew odes, a
"lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son" (2 Sam.
1:18-27). It bore the title of "The Bow," and was to be taught
to the children, that the memory of Saul and Jonathan might be
preserved among them. "Behold, it is written in the book of
David king over Judah. David and his men now set out for
Hebron under divine direction (2 Sam. 2:1-4). There they were
cordially welcomed, and he was at once anointed as king. He was
now about thirty years of age.
But his title to the throne was not undisputed. Abner took
Ish-bosheth, Saul's only remaining son, over the Jordan to
Mahanaim, and there crowned him as king. Then began a civil war
in Israel. The first encounter between the two opposing armies,
led on the one side by Abner, and on the other by Joab, took
place at the pool of Gibeon. It resulted in the defeat of Abner.
Other encounters, however, between Israel and Judah followed (2
Sam. 3:1, 5), but still success was on the side of David. For
the space of seven and a half years David reigned in Hebron.
Abner now sided with David, and sought to promote his
advancement; but was treacherously put to death by Joab in
revenge for his having slain his brother Asahel at Gibeon
(3:22-39). This was greatly to David's regret. He mourned for
the death of Abner. Shortly after this Ish-bosheth was also
treacherously put to death by two Canaanites of Beeroth; and
there being now no rival, David was anointed king over all
David king over all Israel (2 Sam. 5:1-5; 1 Chr. 11:1-3). The
elders of Israel now repaired to Hebron and offered allegiance
to David in name of all the people, among whom the greatest
enthusiasm prevailed. He was anointed king over all Israel, and
sought out a new seat of government, more suitable than Hebron,
as the capital of his empire. At this time there was a Jebusite
fortress, "the stronghold", on the hill of Zion, called also
Jebus. This David took from the Jebusites, and made it Israel's
capital, and established here his residence, and afterwards
built for himself a palace by the aid of Tyrian tradesmen. The
Philistines, who had for some time observed a kind of truce, now
made war against David; but were defeated in battle at a place
afterwards called, in remembrance of the victory, Baal-perazim.
Again they invaded the land, and were a second time routed by
him. He thus delivered Israel from their enemies.
David now resolved to bring up the ark of the covenant to his
new capital (2 Sam. 6). It was in the house of Abinadab at
Kirjath-jearim, about 7 miles from Jerusalem, where it had been
for many years, from the time when the Philistines had sent it
home (1 Sam. 6; 7). In consequence of the death of Uzzah (for it
was a divine ordinance that only the Levites should handle the
ark, Num. 4), who had put forth his hand to steady the ark when
the cart in which it was being conveyed shook by reason of the
roughness of the road, David stayed the procession, and conveyed
the ark into the house of Obed-edom, a Philistine from Gath.
After three months David brought the ark from the house of
Obed-edom up to Jerusalem. Compare Ps. 24. Here it was placed in a
new tent or tabernacle which David erected for the purpose.
About seventy years had passed since it had stood in the
tabernacle at Shiloh. The old tabernacle was now at Gibeah, at
which Zadok ministered. David now (1 Chr. 16) carefully set in
order all the ritual of divine worship at Jerusalem, along with
Abiathar the high priest. A new religious era began. The service
of praise was for the first time introduced into public worship.
Zion became henceforth "God's holy hill."
David's wars. David now entered on a series of conquests which
greatly extended and strengthened his kingdom (2 Sam. 8). In a
few years the whole territory from the Euphrates to the river of
Egypt, and from Gaza on the west to Thapsacus on the east, was
under his sway (2 Sam. 8:3-13; 10).
David's fall. He had now reached the height of his glory. He
ruled over a vast empire, and his capital was enriched with the
spoils of many lands. But in the midst of all this success he
fell, and his character became stained with the sin of adultery
(2 Sam. 11:2-27). It has been noted as characteristic of the
Bible that while his military triumphs are recorded in a few
verses, the sad story of his fall is given in detail, a story
full of warning, and therefore recorded. This crime, in the
attempt to conceal it, led to anoter. He was guilty of murder.
Uriah, whom he had foully wronged, an officer of the Gibborim,
the corps of heros (23:39), was, by his order, "set in the front
of the hottest battle" at the siege of Rabbah, in order that he
might be put to death. Nathan the prophet (2 Sam. 7:1-17;
12:1-23) was sent by God to bring home his crimes to the
conscience of the guilty monarch. He became a true penitent. He
bitterly bewailed his sins before God. The thirty-second and
fifty-first Psalms reveal the deep struggles of his soul, and
his spiritual recovery.
Bathsheba became his wife after Uriah's death. Her first-born
son died, according to the word of the prophet. She gave birth
to a second son, whom David called Solomon, and who ultimately
succeeded him on the throne (2 Sam. 12:24, 25).
Peace. After the successful termination of all his wars, David
formed the idea of building a temple for the ark of God. This he
was not permitted to carry into execution, because he had been a
man of war. God, however, sent Nathan to him with a gracious
message (2 Sam. 7:1-16). On receiving it he went into the
sanctuary, the tent where the ark was, and sat before the Lord,
and poured out his heart in words of devout thanksgiving
(18-29). The building of the temple was reserved for his son
Solomon, who would be a man of peace (1 Chr. 22:9; 28:3).
A cloudy evening. Hitherto David's carrer had been one of
great prosperity and success. Now cloudy and dark days came. His
eldest son Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam of Jezreel, was
guilty of a great and shameful crime (2 Sam. 13). This was the
beginning of the disasters of his later years. After two years
Absalom terribly avenged the crime against Tamar, and put Amnon
to death. This brought sore trouble to David's heart. Absalom,
afraid of the consequences of his guilt, fled to Geshur beyond
Jordan, where he remained for three years, when he was brought
back through the intrigue of Joab (2 Sam. 14).
After this there fell upon the land the calamity of three
years' famine (2 Sam. 21:1-14). This was soon after followed by
a pestilence, brought upon the land as a punishment for David's
sinful pride in numbering the people (2 Sam. 24), in which no
fewer than 70,000 perished in the space of three days.
Rebellion of Absalom. The personal respect for David was sadly
lowered by the incident of Bathsheba. There was a strong popular
sentiment against the taking of the census, and the outburst of
the plague in connection with it deepened the feeling of
jealously that had begun to manifest itself among some of the
tribes against David. Absalom, taking full advantage of this
state of things, gradually gained over the people, and at length
openly rebelled against his father, and usurped the throne.
Ahithophel was Absalom's chief counsellor. The revolt began in
Hebron, the capital of Judah. Absalom was there proclaimed king.
David was now in imminent danger, and he left Jerusalem (2 Sam.
15:13-20), and once more became a fugitive. It was a momentous
day in Israel. The incidents of it are recorded with a fulness
of detail greater than of any other day in Old Testament
history. David fled with his followers to Mahanarm, on the east
of Jordan. An unnatural civil war broke out. After a few weeks
the rival armies were mustered and organized. They met in
hostile array at the wood of Ephraim (2 Sam. 18:1-8). Absalom's
army was defeated, and himself put to death by the hand of Joab
(9-18). The tidings of the death of his rebellious son filled
the heart of David with the most poignant grief. He "went up to
the chamber over the gate, and wept" (33), giving utterance to
the heart-broken cry, "Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom,
my son, my son!" Peace was now restored, and David returned to
Jerusalem and resumed the direction of affairs. An unhappy
dispute arose between the men of Judah and the men of Israel
(19:41-43). Sheba, a Benjamite, headed a revolt of the men of
Israel. He was pursued to Abelbeth-maachah, and was there put to
death, and so the revolt came to an end.
The end. After the suppression of the rebellion of Absalom and
that of Sheba, ten comparatively peaceful years of David's life
passed away. During those years he seems to have been
principally engaged in accumulating treasures of every kind for
the great temple at Jerusalem, which it was reserved to his
successor to build (1 Chr. 22; 28; 29), a house which was to be
"exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all
countries" (22:5). The exciting and laborious life he had spent,
and the dangers and trials through which he had passed, had left
him an enfeebled man, prematurely old. It became apparent that
his life was now drawing to its close. A new palace conspiracy
broke out as to who should be his successor. Joab favoured
Adonijah. The chiefs of his party met at the "Fuller's spring,"
in the valley of Kidron, to proclaim him king; but Nathan
hastened on a decision on the part of David in favour of
Solomon, and so the aim of Adonijah's party failed. Solomon was
brought to Jerusalem, and was anointed king and seated on his
father's throne (1 Kings 1:11-53). David's last words are a
grand utterance, revealing his unfailing faith in God, and his
joyful confidence in his gracious covenant promises (2 Sam.
After a reign of forty years and six months (2 Sam. 5:5; 1
Chr. 3:4) David died (B.C. 1015) at the age of seventy years,
"and was buried in the city of David." His tomb is still pointed
out on Mount Zion.
Both in his prophetical and in his regal character David was a
type of the Messiah (1 Sam. 16:13). The book of Psalms commonly
bears the title of the "Psalms of David," from the circumstance
that he was the largest contributor (about eighty psalms) to the
collection. (See PSALMS T0003013.)
"The greatness of David was felt when he was gone. He had
lived in harmony with both the priesthood and the prophets; a
sure sign that the spirit of his government had been throughly
loyal to the higher aims of the theocracy. The nation had not
been oppressed by him, but had been left in the free enjoyment
of its ancient liberties. As far as his power went he had
striven to act justly to all (2 Sam. 8:15). His weak indulgence
to his sons, and his own great sin besides, had been bitterly
atoned, and were forgotten at his death in the remembrance of
his long-tried worth. He had reigned thirty-three years in
Jerusalem and seven and a half at Hebron (2 Sam. 5:5). Israel at
his accession had reached the lowest point of national
depression; its new-born unity rudely dissolved; its territory
assailed by the Philistines. But he had left it an imperial
power, with dominions like those of Egypt or Assyria. The
sceptre of Solomon was already, before his father's death, owned
from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates, and from the Orontes to
the Red Sea.", Geikie's Hours etc., iii.