Bashan, Hill of
(Ps. 68:15), probably another name for Hermon, which lies to the
north of Bashan.
the Bashan of the villages of Jair, the general name given to
Argob by Jair, the son of Manasseh (Deut. 3:14), containing
sixty cities with walls and brazen gates (Josh. 13:30; 1 Kings
4:13). (See ARGOB T0000302.)
light soil, first mentioned in Gen. 14:5, where it is said that
Chedorlaomer and his confederates "smote the Rephaim in
Ashteroth," where Og the king of Bashan had his residence. At
the time of Israel's entrance into the Promised Land, Og came
out against them, but was utterly routed (Num. 21:33-35; Deut.
3:1-7). This country extended from Gilead in the south to Hermon
in the north, and from the Jordan on the west to Salcah on the
east. Along with the half of Gilead it was given to the
half-tribe of Manasseh (Josh. 13:29-31). Golan, one of its
cities, became a "city of refuge" (Josh. 21:27). Argob, in
Bashan, was one of Solomon's commissariat districts (1 Kings
4:13). The cities of Bashan were taken by Hazael (2 Kings
10:33), but were soon after reconquered by Jehoash (2 Kings
13:25), who overcame the Syrians in three battles, according to
the word of Elisha (19). From this time Bashan almost disappears
from history, although we read of the wild cattle of its rich
pastures (Ezek. 39:18; Ps. 22:12), the oaks of its forests (Isa.
2:13; Ezek. 27:6; Zech. 11:2), and the beauty of its extensive
plains (Amos 4:1; Jer. 50:19). Soon after the conquest, the name
"Gilead" was given to the whole country beyond Jordan. After the
Exile, Bashan was divided into four districts, (1.) Gaulonitis,
or Jaulan, the most western; (2.) Auranitis, the Hauran (Ezek.
47:16); (3.) Argob or Trachonitis, now the Lejah; and (4.)
Batanaea, now Ard-el-Bathanyeh, on the east of the Lejah, with
many deserted towns almost as perfect as when they were
inhabited. (See HAURAN T0001675.)
mourner, one of the chief Gadite "brothers" in Bashan (1 Chr.
exile, a city of Bashan (Deut. 4:43), one of the three cities of
refuge east of Jordan, about 12 miles NE of the Sea of
Galilee (Josh. 20:8). There are no further notices of it in
Scripture. It became the head of the province of Gaulanitis, one
of the four provinces into which Bashan was divided after the
Babylonish captivity, and almost identical with the modern
Jaulan, in Western Hauran, about 39 miles in length and 18 in
stony heap, an "island," as it has been called, of rock about 30
miles by 20, rising 20 or 30 feet above the table-land of
Bashan; a region of crags and chasms wild and rugged in the
extreme. On this "island" stood sixty walled cities, ruled over
by Og. It is called Trachonitis ("the rugged region") in the New
Testament (Luke 3:1). These cities were conquered by the
Israelites (Deut. 3:4; 1 Kings 4:13). It is now called the
Lejah. Here "sixty walled cities are still traceable in a space
of 308 square miles. The architecture is ponderous and massive.
Solid walls 4 feet thick, and stones on one another without
cement; the roofs enormous slabs of basaltic rock, like iron;
the doors and gates are of stone 18 inches thick, secured by
ponderous bars. The land bears still the appearance of having
been called the 'land of giants' under the giant Og." "I have
more than once entered a deserted city in the evening, taken
possession of a comfortable house, and spent the night in peace.
Many of the houses in the ancient cities of Bashan are perfect,
as if only finished yesterday. The walls are sound, the roofs
unbroken, and even the window-shutters in their places. These
ancient cities of Bashan probably contain the very oldest
specimens of domestic architecture in the world" (Porter's Giant
Cities). (See BASHAN T0000461.)
hill of testimony, (Gen. 31:21), a mountainous region east of
Jordan. From its mountainous character it is called "the mount
of Gilead" (Gen. 31:25). It is called also "the land of Gilead"
(Num. 32:1), and sometimes simply "Gilead" (Ps. 60:7; Gen.
37:25). It comprised the possessions of the tribes of Gad and
Reuben and the south part of Manasseh (Deut. 3:13; Num. 32:40).
It was bounded on the north by Bashan, and on the south by Moab
and Ammon (Gen. 31:21; Deut. 3:12-17). "Half Gilead" was
possessed by Sihon, and the other half, separated from it by the
river Jabbok, by Og, king of Bashan. The deep ravine of the
river Hieromax (the modern Sheriat el-Mandhur) separated Bashan
from Gilead, which was about 60 miles in length and 20 in
breadth, extending from near the south end of the Lake of
Gennesaret to the north end of the Dead Sea. Abarim, Pisgah,
Nebo, and Peor are its mountains mentioned in Scripture.
wandering, a city of Bashan assigned to the half tribe of
Manasseh (Deut. 3:10; Josh. 12:5; 13:11), identified with
Salkhad, about 56 miles east of Jordan.
possession, a city of Gilead. It was captured by Nobah, who
called it by his own name (Num. 32:42). It has been identified
with Kunawat, on the slopes of Jebel Hauran (Mount Bashan), 60
miles east from the south end of the Sea of Galilee.
Refuge, Cities of
were six in number (Num. 35). 1. On the west of Jordan were (1)
Kadesh, in Naphtali; (2) Shechem, in Mount Ephraim; (3) Hebron,
in Judah. 2. On the east of Jordan were, (1) Golan, in Bashan;
(2) Ramoth-Gilead, in Gad; and (3) Bezer, in Reuben. (See under
each of these names.)
bridge, the name of a district or principality of Syria near
Gilead, between Mount Hermon and the Lake of Tiberias (2 Sam.
15:8; 1 Chr. 2:23). The Geshurites probably inhabited the rocky
fastness of Argob, the modern Lejah, in the NE corner of
Bashan. In the time of David it was ruled by Talmai, whose
daughter he married, and who was the mother of Absalom, who fled
to Geshur after the murder of Amnon (2 Sam. 13:37).
cave-land, mentioned only in Ezek. 47:16, 18. It was one of the
ancient divisions of Bashan (q.v.), and lay on the south-east of
Gaulanitis or the Jaulan, and on the south of Lejah, extending
from the Arnon to the Hieromax. It was the most fertile region
in Syria, and to this day abounds in the ruins of towns, many of
which have stone doors and massive walls. It retains its ancient
name. It was known by the Greeks and Romans as "Auranitis."
=Gerasa, identified with the modern Khersa, "over against
Galilee," close to the lake. This was probably the scene of the
miracle, Mark 5:1-20, etc. "From the base of the great plateau
of Bashan, 2,000 feet or more overhead, the ground slopes down
steeply, in places precipitously, to the shore. And at the foot
of the declivity a bold spur runs out to the water's edge. By it
the frantic swine would rush on headlong into the lake and
perish." Porter's Through Samaria. (See GADARA T0001406.)
Heb. 'eglah, (Deut. 21:4, 6; Jer. 46:20). Untrained to the yoke
(Hos. 10:11); giving milk (Isa. 7:21); ploughing (Judg. 14:18);
treading out grain (Jer. 50:11); unsubdued to the yoke an emblem
of Judah (Isa. 15:5; Jer. 48:34).
Heb. parah (Gen. 41:2; Num. 19:2). Bearing the yoke (Hos.
4:16); "heifers of Bashan" (Amos 4:1), metaphorical for the
voluptuous females of Samaria. The ordinance of sacrifice of the
"red heifer" described in Num. 19:1-10; compare Heb. 9:13.
gigantic, the king of Bashan, who was defeated by Moses in a
pitched battle at Edrei, and was slain along with his sons
(Deut. 1:4), and whose kingdom was given to the tribes of Reuben
and Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh (Num. 21:32-35; Deut.
3:1-13). His bedstead (or rather sarcophagus) was of iron (or
ironstone), 9 cubits in length and 4 cubits in breadth. His
overthrow was afterwards celebrated in song (Ps. 135:11;
136:20). (See SIHON T0003427.)
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."
mentioned only in Judg. 3:31, the weapon with which Shamgar
(q.v.) slew six hundred Philistines. "The ploughman still
carries his goad, a weapon apparently more fitted for the hand
of the soldier than the peaceful husbandman. The one I saw was
of the 'oak of Bashan,' and measured upwards of ten feet in
length. At one end was an iron spear, and at the other a piece
of the same metal flattened. One can well understand how a
warrior might use such a weapon with effect in the battle-field"
(Porter's Syria, etc.). (See GOAD T0001508.)
mighty; strength. (1.) One of the chief towns of the kingdom of
Bashan (Josh. 12:4, 5). Here Og was defeated by the Israelites,
and the strength of the Amorites broken (Num. 21:33-35). It
subsequently belonged to Manasseh, for a short time apparently,
and afterwards became the abode of banditti and outlaws (Josh.
13:31). It has been identified with the modern Edr'a, which
stands on a rocky promontory on the south-west edge of the Lejah
(the Argob of the Hebrews, and Trachonitis of the Greeks). The
ruins of Edr'a are the most extensive in the Hauran. They are 3
miles in circumference. A number of the ancient houses still
remain; the walls, roofs, and doors being all of stone. The wild
region of which Edrei was the capital is thus described in its
modern aspect: "Elevated about 20 feet above the plain, it is a
labyrinth of clefts and crevasses in the rock, formed by
volcanic action; and owing to its impenetrable condition, it has
become a refuge for outlaws and turbulent characters, who make
it a sort of Cave of Adullam...It is, in fact, an impregnable
natural fortress, about 20 miles in length and 15 in breadth"
(Porter's Syria, etc.). Beneath this wonderful city there is
also a subterranean city, hollowed out probably as a refuge for
the population of the upper city in times of danger. (See BASHAN
(2.) A town of Naphtali (Josh. 19:37).
ten cities=deka, ten, and polis, a city, a district on the east
and south-east of the Sea of Galilee containing "ten cities,"
which were chiefly inhabited by Greeks. It included a portion of
Bashan and Gilead, and is mentioned three times in the New
Testament (Matt. 4:25; Mark 5:20; 7:31). These cities were
Scythopolis, i.e., "city of the Scythians", (ancient Bethshean,
the only one of the ten cities on the west of Jordan), Hippos,
Gadara, Pella (to which the Christians fled just before the
destruction of Jerusalem), Philadelphia (ancient Rabbath-ammon),
Gerasa, Dion, Canatha, Raphana, and Damascus. When the Romans
conquered Syria (B.C. 65) they rebuilt, and endowed with certain
privileges, these "ten cities," and the province connected with
them they called "Decapolis."
befriended. (1.) One of the chief Gadites in Bashan in the time
of Jotham (1 Chr. 5:13).
(2.) Grandfather of Shaphan, "the scribe," in the reign of
Josiah (2 Kings 22:3).
(3.) A priest, father of Hilkiah (1 Chr. 9:11; Neh. 11:11), in
the reign of Ammon; called Shallum in 1 Chr. 6:12.
(4.) A Levite of the family of Kohath (2 Chr. 34:12), in the
reign of Josiah.
(5.) 1 Chr. 8:17.
(6.) 1 Chr. 3:19.
(7.) Neh. 12:13.
(8.) A chief priest (Neh. 12:16).
(9.) One of the leading Levites in the time of Ezra (8:16).
(10.) A priest (1 Chr. 9:12).
(11.) One of the principal Israelites who supported Ezra when
expounding the law to the people (Neh. 8:4).
enlightener. (1.) The son of Segub. He was brought up with his
mother in Gilead, where he had possessions (1 Chr. 2:22). He
distinguished himself in an expedition against Bashan, and
settled in the part of Argob on the borders of Gilead. The small
towns taken by him there are called Havoth-jair, i.e., "Jair's
villages" (Num. 32:41; Deut. 3:14; Josh. 13:30).
(2.) The eighth judge of Israel, which he ruled for twenty-two
years. His opulence is described in Judg. 10:3-5. He had thirty
sons, each riding on "ass colts." They had possession of thirty
of the sixty cities (1 Kings 4:13; 1 Chr. 2:23) which formed the
(3.) A Benjamite, the father of Mordecai, Esther's uncle
(4.) The father of Elhanan, who slew Lahmi, the brother of
Goliath (1 Chr. 20:5).
a pouring out, or a wrestling, one of the streams on the east of
Jordan, into which it falls about midway between the Sea of
Galilee and the Dead Sea, or about 45 miles below the Sea of
Galilee. It rises on the eastern side of the mountains of
Gilead, and runs a course of about 65 miles in a wild and deep
ravine. It was the boundary between the territory of the
Ammonites and that of Og, king of Bashan (Josh. 12:1-5; Num.
21:24); also between the tribe of Reuben and the half tribe of
Manasseh (21:24; Deut. 3:16). In its course westward across the
plains it passes more than once underground. "The scenery along
its banks is probably the most picturesque in Israel; and the
ruins of town and village and fortress which stud the
surrounding mountain-side render the country as interesting as
it is beautiful." This river is now called the Zerka, or blue
who is like God? (1.) The title given to one of the chief angels
(Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1). He had special charge of Israel as a
nation. He disputed with Satan (Jude 1:9) about the body of
Moses. He is also represented as warning against "that old
serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole
world" (Rev. 12:7-9).
(2.) The father of Sethur, the spy selected to represent Asher
(3.) 1 Chr. 7:3, a chief of the tribe of Issachar.
(4.) 1 Chr. 8:16, a Benjamite.
(5.) A chief Gadite in Bashan (1 Chr. 5:13).
(6.) A Manassite, "a captain of thousands" who joined David at
Ziklag (1 Chr. 12:20).
(7.) A Gershonite Levite (1 Chr. 6:40).
(8.) The father of Omri (1 Chr. 27:18).
(9.) One of the sons of king Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 21:2, 4). He
was murdered by his brother Jehoram.
a peak, the eastern prolongation of the Anti-Lebanon range,
reaching to the height of about 9,200 feet above the
Mediterranean. It marks the north boundary of Israel (Deut.
3:8, 4:48; Josh. 11:3, 17; 13:11; 12:1), and is seen from a
great distance. It is about 40 miles north of the Sea of
Galilee. It is called "the Hermonites" (Ps. 42:6) because it has
more than one summit. The Sidonians called it Sirion, and the
Amorites Shenir (Deut. 3:9; Cant. 4:8). It is also called
Baal-hermon (Judg. 3:3; 1 Chr. 5:23) and Sion (Deut. 4:48).
There is every probability that one of its three summits was the
scene of the transfiguration (q.v.). The "dew of Hermon" is
referred to (Ps. 89: 12). Its modern name is Jebel-esh-Sheikh,
"the chief mountain." It is one of the most conspicuous
mountains in Israel or Syria. "In whatever part of Israel
the Israelite turned his eye northward, Hermon was there,
terminating the view. From the plain along the coast, from the
Jordan valley, from the heights of Moab and Gilead, from the
plateau of Bashan, the pale, blue, snow-capped cone forms the
one feature in the northern horizon."
Our Lord and his disciples climbed this "high mountain apart"
one day, and remained on its summit all night, "weary after
their long and toilsome ascent." During the night "he was
transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun."
The next day they descended to Caesarea Philippi.
two camps, a place near the Jabbok, beyond Jordan, where Jacob
was met by the "angels of God," and where he divided his retinue
into "two hosts" on his return from Padan-aram (Gen. 32:2). This
name was afterwards given to the town which was built at that
place. It was the southern boundary of Bashan (Josh. 13:26, 30),
and became a city of the Levites (21:38). Here Saul's son
Ishbosheth reigned (2 Sam. 2:8, 12), while David reigned at
Hebron. Here also, after a troubled reign, Ishbosheth was
murdered by two of his own bodyguard (2 Sam. 4:5-7), who brought
his head to David at Hebron, but were, instead of being
rewarded, put to death by him for their cold-blooded murder.
Many years after this, when he fled from Jerusalem on the
rebellion of his son Absalom, David made Mahanaim, where
Barzillai entertained him, his headquarters, and here he
mustered his forces which were led against the army that had
gathered around Absalom. It was while sitting at the gate of
this town that tidings of the great and decisive battle between
the two hosts and of the death of his son Absalom reached him,
when he gave way to the most violent grief (2 Sam. 17:24-27).
The only other reference to Mahanaim is as a station of one of
Solomon's purveyors (1 Kings 4:14). It has been identified with
the modern Mukhumah, a ruin found in a depressed plain called
el-Bukie'a, "the little vale," near Penuel, south of the Jabbok,
and NE of es-Salt.
or Rab'bath, great. (1.) "Rabbath of the children of Ammon," the
chief city of the Ammonites, among the eastern hills, some 20
miles east of the Jordan, on the southern of the two streams
which united with the Jabbok. Here the bedstead of Og was
preserved (Deut. 3:11), perhaps as a trophy of some victory
gained by the Ammonites over the king of Bashan. After David had
subdued all their allies in a great war, he sent Joab with a
strong force to take their city. For two years it held out
against its assailants. It was while his army was engaged in
this protracted siege that David was guilty of that deed of
shame which left a blot on his character and cast a gloom over
the rest of his life. At length, having taken the "royal city"
(or the "city of waters," 2 Sam. 12:27, i.e., the lower city on
the river, as distinguished from the citadel), Joab sent for
David to direct the final assault (11:1; 12:26-31). The city was
given up to plunder, and the people were ruthlessly put to
death, and "thus did he with all the cities of the children of
Ammon." The destruction of Rabbath was the last of David's
conquests. His kingdom now reached its farthest limits (2 Sam.
8:1-15; 1 Chr. 18:1-15). The capture of this city is referred to
by Amos (1:14), Jeremiah (49:2, 3), and Ezekiel (21:20; 25:5).
(2.) A city in the hill country of Judah (Josh. 15:60),
possibly the ruin Rubba, six miles NE of Beit-Jibrin.
height, a lake in Northern Israel through which the Jordan
flows. It was the scene of the third and last great victory
gained by Joshua over the Canaanites (Josh. 11:5-7). It is not
again mentioned in Scripture. Its modern name is Bakrat
el-Huleh. "The Ard el-Huleh, the centre of which the lake
occupies, is a nearly level plain of 16 miles in length from
north to south, and its breadth from east to west is from 7 to 8
miles. On the west it is walled in by the steep and lofty range
of the hills of Kedesh-Naphtali; on the east it is bounded by
the lower and more gradually ascending slopes of Bashan; on the
north it is shut in by a line of hills hummocky and irregular in
shape and of no great height, and stretching across from the
mountains of Naphtali to the roots of Mount Hermon, which towers
up at the NEern angle of the plain to a height of 10,000
feet. At its southern extremity the plain is similarly traversed
by elevated and broken ground, through which, by deep and narrow
clefts, the Jordan, after passing through Lake Huleh, makes its
rapid descent to the Sea of Galilee."
The lake is triangular in form, about 4 1/2 miles in length by
3 1/2 at its greatest breadth. Its surface is 7 feet above that
of the Mediterranean. It is surrounded by a morass, which is
thickly covered with canes and papyrus reeds, which are
impenetrable. Macgregor with his canoe, the Rob Roy, was the
first that ever, in modern times, sailed on its waters. (See
abounded in the Holy Land. To the rearing and management of them
the inhabitants chiefly devoted themselves (Deut. 8:13; 12:21; 1
Sam. 11:5; 12:3; Ps. 144:14; Jer. 3:24). They may be classified
(1.) Neat cattle. Many hundreds of these were yearly consumed
in sacrifices or used for food. The finest herds were found in
Bashan, beyond Jordan (Num. 32:4). Large herds also pastured on
the wide fertile plains of Sharon. They were yoked to the plough
(1 Kings 19:19), and were employed for carrying burdens (1 Chr.
12:40). They were driven with a pointed rod (Judg. 3:31) or goad
According to the Mosaic law, the mouths of cattle employed for
the threshing-floor were not to be muzzled, so as to prevent
them from eating of the provender over which they trampled
(Deut. 25:4). Whosoever stole and sold or slaughtered an ox must
give five in satisfaction (Ex. 22:1); but if it was found alive
in the possession of him who stole it, he was required to make
double restitution only (22:4). If an ox went astray, whoever
found it was required to bring it back to its owner (23:4; Deut.
22:1, 4). An ox and an ass could not be yoked together in the
plough (Deut. 22:10).
(2.) Small cattle. Next to herds of neat cattle, sheep formed
the most important of the possessions of the inhabitants of
Israel (Gen. 12:16; 13:5; 26:14; 21:27; 29:2, 3). They are
frequently mentioned among the booty taken in war (Num. 31:32;
Josh. 6:21; 1 Sam. 14:32; 15:3). There were many who were owners
of large flocks (1 Sam. 25:2; 2 Sam. 12:2, compare Job 1:3). Kings
also had shepherds "over their flocks" (1 Chr. 27:31), from
which they derived a large portion of their revenue (2 Sam.
17:29; 1 Chr. 12:40). The districts most famous for their flocks
of sheep were the plain of Sharon (Isa. 65: 10), Mount Carmel
(Micah 7:14), Bashan and Gilead (Micah 7:14). In patriarchal
times the flocks of sheep were sometimes tended by the daughters
of the owners. Thus Rachel, the daughter of Laban, kept her
father's sheep (Gen. 29:9); as also Zipporah and her six sisters
had charge of their father Jethro's flocks (Ex. 2:16). Sometimes
they were kept by hired shepherds (John 10:12), and sometimes by
the sons of the family (1 Sam. 16:11; 17:15). The keepers so
familiarized their sheep with their voices that they knew them,
and followed them at their call. Sheep, but more especially rams
and lambs, were frequently offered in sacrifice. The shearing of
sheep was a great festive occasion (1 Sam. 25:4; 2 Sam. 13:23).
They were folded at night, and guarded by their keepers against
the attacks of the lion (Micah 5:8), the bear (1 Sam. 17:34),
and the wolf (Matt. 10:16; John 10:12). They were liable to
wander over the wide pastures and go astray (Ps. 119:176; Isa.
53:6; Hos. 4:16; Matt. 18:12).
Goats also formed a part of the pastoral wealth of Israel
(Gen. 15:9; 32:14; 37:31). They were used both for sacrifice and
for food (Deut. 14:4), especially the young males (Gen. 27:9,
14, 17; Judg. 6:19; 13:15; 1 Sam. 16:20). Goat's hair was used
for making tent cloth (Ex. 26:7; 36:14), and for mattresses and
bedding (1 Sam. 19:13, 16). (See GOAT T0001509.)
highlanders, or hillmen, the name given to the descendants of
one of the sons of Canaan (Gen. 14:7), called Amurra or Amurri
in the Assyrian and Egyptian inscriptions. On the early
Babylonian monuments all Syria, including Israel, is known as
"the land of the Amorites." The southern slopes of the mountains
of Judea are called the "mount of the Amorites" (Deut. 1:7, 19,
20). They seem to have originally occupied the land stretching
from the heights west of the Dead Sea (Gen. 14:7) to Hebron (13.
Compare 13:8; Deut. 3:8; 4:46-48), embracing "all Gilead and all
Bashan" (Deut. 3:10), with the Jordan valley on the east of the
river (4:49), the land of the "two kings of the Amorites," Sihon
and Og (Deut. 31:4; Josh. 2:10; 9:10). The five kings of the
Amorites were defeated with great slaughter by Joshua (10:10).
They were again defeated at the waters of Merom by Joshua, who
smote them till there were none remaining (Josh. 11:8). It is
mentioned as a surprising circumstance that in the days of
Samuel there was peace between them and the Israelites (1 Sam.
7:14). The discrepancy supposed to exist between Deut. 1:44 and
Num. 14:45 is explained by the circumstance that the terms
"Amorites" and "Amalekites" are used synonymously for the
"Canaanites." In the same way we explain the fact that the
"Hivites" of Gen. 34:2 are the "Amorites" of 48:22. Compare Josh.
10:6; 11:19 with 2 Sam. 21:2; also Num. 14:45 with Deut. 1:44.
The Amorites were warlike mountaineers. They are represented on
the Egyptian monuments with fair skins, light hair, blue eyes,
aquiline noses, and pointed beards. They are supposed to have
been men of great stature; their king, Og, is described by Moses
as the last "of the remnant of the giants" (Deut. 3:11). Both
Sihon and Og were independent kings. Only one word of the
Amorite language survives, "Shenir," the name they gave to Mount
Hermon (Deut. 3:9).
the designation of a tribe descended from Moab, the son of Lot
(Gen. 19:37). From Zoar, the cradle of this tribe, on the
south-eastern border of the Dead Sea, they gradually spread over
the region on the east of Jordan. Rameses II., the Pharaoh of
the Oppression, enumerates Moab (Muab) among his conquests.
Shortly before the Exodus, the warlike Amorites crossed the
Jordan under Sihon their king and drove the Moabites (Num.
21:26-30) out of the region between the Arnon and the Jabbok,
and occupied it, making Heshbon their capital. They were then
confined to the territory to the south of the Arnon.
On their journey the Israelites did not pass through Moab, but
through the "wilderness" to the east (Deut. 2:8; Judg. 11:18),
at length reaching the country to the north of the Arnon. Here
they remained for some time till they had conquered Bashan (see
SIHON T0003427; OG T0002771). The Moabites were alarmed, and
their king, Balak, sought aid from the Midianites (Num. 22:2-4).
It was while they were here that the visit of Balaam (q.v.) to
Balak took place. (See MOSES T0002602.)
After the Conquest, the Moabites maintained hostile relations
with the Israelites, and frequently harassed them in war (Judg.
3:12-30; 1 Sam. 14). The story of Ruth, however, shows the
existence of friendly relations between Moab and Bethlehem. By
his descent from Ruth, David may be said to have had Moabite
blood in his veins. Yet there was war between David and the
Moabites (2 Sam. 8:2; 23:20; 1 Chr. 18:2), from whom he took
great spoil (2 Sam. 8:2, 11, 12; 1 Chr. 11:22; 18:11).
During the one hundred and fifty years which followed the
defeat of the Moabites, after the death of Ahab (see MESHA
T0002505), they regained, apparently, much of their former
prosperty. At this time Isaiah (15:1) delivered his "burden of
Moab," predicting the coming of judgment on that land (compare 2
Kings 17:3; 18:9; 1 Chr. 5:25, 26). Between the time of Isaiah
and the commencement of the Babylonian captivity we have very
seldom any reference to Moab (Jer. 25:21; 27:3; 40:11; Zeph.
After the Return, it was Sanballat, a Moabite, who took chief
part in seeking to prevent the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Neh.
2:19; 4:1; 6:1).
There are six Hebrew words rendered "oak."
(1.) 'El occurs only in the word El-paran (Gen. 14:6). The
LXX. renders by "terebinth." In the plural form this word occurs
in Isa. 1:29; 57:5 (A.V. marg. and R.V., "among the oaks"); 61:3
("trees"). The word properly means strongly, mighty, and hence a
(2.) 'Elah, Gen. 35:4, "under the oak which was by Shechem"
(R.V. marg., "terebinth"). Isa. 6:13, A.V., "teil-tree;" R.V.,
"terebinth." Isa. 1:30, R.V. marg., "terebinth." Absalom in his
flight was caught in the branches of a "great oak" (2 Sam. 18:9;
R.V. marg., "terebinth").
(3.) 'Elon, Judg. 4:11; 9:6 (R.V., "oak;" A.V., following the
Targum, "plain") properly the deciduous species of oak shedding
its foliage in autumn.
(4.) 'Elan, only in Dan. 4:11,14,20, rendered "tree" in
Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Probably some species of the oak is
(5.) 'Allah, Josh. 24:26. The place here referred to is called
Allon-moreh ("the oak of Moreh," as in R.V.) in Gen. 12:6 and
(6.) 'Allon, always rendered "oak." Probably the evergreen oak
(called also ilex and holm oak) is intended. The oak woods of
Bashan are frequently alluded to (Isa. 2:13; Ezek. 27:6). Three
species of oaks are found in Israel, of which the "prickly
evergreen oak" (Quercus coccifera) is the most abundant. "It
covers the rocky hills of Israel with a dense brushwood of
trees from 8 to 12 feet high, branching from the base, thickly
covered with small evergreen rigid leaves, and bearing acorns
copiously." The so-called Abraham's oak at Hebron is of this
species. Tristram says that this oak near Hebron "has for
several centuries taken the place of the once renowned terebinth
which marked the site of Mamre on the other side of the city.
The terebinth existed at Mamre in the time of Vespasian, and
under it the captive Jews were sold as slaves. It disappeared
about A.D. 330, and no tree now marks the grove of Mamre. The
present oak is the noblest tree in Southern Israel, being 23
feet in girth, and the diameter of the foliage, which is
unsymmetrical, being about 90 feet." (See HEBRON T0001712;
a park; generally with the article, "the park." (1.) A prominent
headland of Central Israel, consisting of several connected
hills extending from the plain of Esdraelon to the sea, a
distance of some 12 miles or more. At the east end, in its
highest part, it is 1,728 feet high, and at the west end it
forms a promontory to the bay of Acre about 600 feet above the
sea. It lay within the tribe of Asher. It was here, at the east
end of the ridge, at a place called el-Mukhrakah (i.e., the
place of burning), that Elijah brought back the people to their
allegiance to God, and slew the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18).
Here were consumed the "fifties" of the royal guard; and here
also Elisha received the visit of the bereaved mother whose son
was restored by him to life (2 Kings 4:25-37). "No mountain in
or around Israel retains its ancient beauty so much as
Carmel. Two or three villages and some scattered cottages are
found on it; its groves are few but luxuriant; it is no place
for crags and precipices or rocks of wild goats; but its surface
is covered with a rich and constant verdure." "The whole
mountain-side is dressed with blossom, and flowering shrubs, and
fragrant herbs." The western extremity of the ridge is, however,
more rocky and bleak than the eastern. The head of the bride in
Cant. 7:5 is compared to Carmel. It is ranked with Bashan on
account of its rich pastures (Isa. 33:9; Jer. 50:19; Amos 1:2).
The whole ridge is deeply furrowed with rocky ravines filled
with dense jungle. There are many caves in its sides, which at
one time were inhabited by swarms of monks. These caves are
referred to in Amos 9:3. To them Elijah and Elisha often
resorted (1 Kings 18:19, 42; 2 Kings 2:25). On its north-west
summit there is an ancient establishment of Carmelite monks.
Vineyards have recently been planted on the mount by the German
colonists of Haifa. The modern Arabic name of the mount is
Kurmul, but more commonly Jebel Mar Elyas, i.e., Mount St.
Elias, from the Convent of Elias.
(2.) A town in the hill country of Judah (Josh. 15:55), the
residence of Nabal (1 Sam. 25:2, 5, 7, 40), and the native place
of Abigail, who became David's wife (1 Sam. 27:3). Here king
Uzziah had his vineyards (2 Chr. 26:10). The ruins of this town
still remain under the name of Kurmul, about 10 miles
south-south-east of Hebron, close to those of Maon.
The earliest mention of city-building is that of Enoch, which
was built by Cain (Gen. 4:17). After the confusion of tongues,
the descendants of Nimrod founded several cities (10:10-12).
Next, we have a record of the cities of the Canaanites, Sidon,
Gaza, Sodom, etc. (10:12, 19; 11:3, 9; 36:31-39). The earliest
description of a city is that of Sodom (19:1-22). Damascus is
said to be the oldest existing city in the world. Before the
time of Abraham there were cities in Egypt (Num. 13:22). The
Israelites in Egypt were employed in building the "treasure
cities" of Pithom and Raamses (Ex. 1:11); but it does not seem
that they had any cities of their own in Goshen (Gen. 46:34;
47:1-11). In the kingdom of Og in Bashan there were sixty "great
cities with walls," and twenty-three cities in Gilead partly
rebuilt by the tribes on the east of Jordan (Num. 21:21, 32, 33,
35; 32:1-3, 34-42; Deut. 3:4, 5, 14; 1 Kings 4:13). On the west
of Jordan were thirty-one "royal cities" (Josh. 12), besides
many others spoken of in the history of Israel.
A fenced city was a city surrounded by fortifications and high
walls, with watch-towers upon them (2 Chr. 11:11; Deut. 3:5).
There was also within the city generally a tower to which the
citizens might flee when danger threatened them (Judg. 9:46-52).
A city with suburbs was a city surrounded with open
pasture-grounds, such as the forty-eight cities which were given
to the Levites (Num. 35:2-7). There were six cities of refuge,
three on each side of Jordan, namely, Kadesh, Shechem, Hebron,
on the west of Jordan; and on the east, Bezer, Ramoth-gilead,
and Golan. The cities on each side of the river were nearly
opposite each other. The regulations concerning these cities are
given in Num. 35:9-34; Deut. 19:1-13; Ex. 21:12-14.
When David reduced the fortress of the Jebusites which stood
on Mount Zion, he built on the site of it a palace and a city,
which he called by his own name (1 Chr. 11:5), the city of
David. Bethlehem is also so called as being David's native town
Jerusalem is called the Holy City, the holiness of the temple
being regarded as extending in some measure over the whole city
Pithom and Raamses, built by the Israelites as "treasure
cities," were not places where royal treasures were kept, but
were fortified towns where merchants might store their goods and
transact their business in safety, or cities in which munitions
of war were stored. (See PITHOM T0002968.)
Heb. Yarden, "the descender;" Arab. Nahr-esh-Sheriah, "the
watering-place" the chief river of Israel. It flows from
north to south down a deep valley in the centre of the country.
The name descender is significant of the fact that there is
along its whole course a descent to its banks; or it may simply
denote the rapidity with which it "descends" to the Dead Sea.
It originates in the snows of Hermon, which feed its perennial
fountains. Two sources are generally spoken of. (1.) From the
western base of a hill on which once stood the city of Dan, the
northern border-city of Israel, there gushes forth a
considerable fountain called the Leddan, which is the largest
fountain in Syria and the principal source of the Jordan. (2.)
Beside the ruins of Banias, the ancient Caesarea Philippi and
the yet more ancient Panium, is a lofty cliff of limestone, at
the base of which is a fountain. This is the other source of the
Jordan, and has always been regarded by the Jews as its true
source. It rushes down to the plain in a foaming torrent, and
joins the Leddan about 5 miles south of Dan (Tell-el-Kady). (3.)
But besides these two historical fountains there is a third,
called the Hasbany, which rises in the bottom of a valley at the
western base of Hermon, 12 miles north of Tell-el-Kady. It joins
the main stream about a mile below the junction of the Leddan
and the Banias. The river thus formed is at this point about 45
feet wide, and flows in a channel from 12 to 20 feet below the
plain. After this it flows, "with a swift current and a
much-twisted course," through a marshy plain for some 6 miles,
when it falls into the Lake Huleh, "the waters of Merom" (q.v.).
During this part of its course the Jordan has descended about
1,100 feet. At Banias it is 1,080 feet above sea-level. Flowing
from the southern extremity of Lake Huleh, here almost on a
level with the sea, it flows for 2 miles "through a waste of
islets and papyrus," and then for 9 miles through a narrow gorge
in a foaming torrent onward to the Sea of Galilee (q.v.).
"In the whole valley of the Jordan from the Lake Huleh to the
Sea of Galilee there is not a single settled inhabitant. Along
the whole eastern bank of the river and the lakes, from the base
of Hermon to the ravine of Hieromax, a region of great
fertility, 30 miles long by 7 or 8 wide, there are only some
three inhabited villages. The western bank is almost as
desolate. Ruins are numerous enough. Every mile or two is an old
site of town or village, now well nigh hid beneath a dense
jungle of thorns and thistles. The words of Scripture here recur
to us with peculiar force: 'I will make your cities waste, and
bring your sanctuaries unto desolation...And I will bring the
land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall
be astonished at it...And your land shall be desolate, and your
cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as
it lieth desolate' (Lev. 26:31-34).", Dr. Porter's Handbook.
From the Sea of Galilee, at the level of 682 feet below the
Mediterranean, the river flows through a long, low plain called
"the region of Jordan" (Matt. 3:5), and by the modern Arabs the
Ghor, or "sunken plain." This section is properly the Jordan of
Scripture. Down through the midst of the "plain of Jordan" there
winds a ravine varying in breadth from 200 yards to half a mile,
and in depth from 40 to 150 feet. Through it the Jordan flows in
a rapid, rugged, tortuous course down to the Dead Sea. The whole
distance from the southern extremity of the Sea of Galilee to
the Dead Sea is in a straight line about 65 miles, but following
the windings of the river about 200 miles, during which it falls
618 feet. The total length of the Jordan from Banias is about
104 miles in a straight line, during which it falls 2,380 feet.
There are two considerable affluents which enter the river
between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, both from the east.
(1.) The Wady Mandhur, called the Yarmuk by the Rabbins and the
Hieromax by the Greeks. It formed the boundary between Bashan
and Gilead. It drains the plateau of the Hauran. (2.) The Jabbok
or Wady Zerka, formerly the northern boundary of Ammon. It
enters the Jordan about 20 miles north of Jericho.
The first historical notice of the Jordan is in the account of
the separation of Abraham and Lot (Gen. 13:10). "Lot beheld the
plain of Jordan as the garden of the Lord." Jacob crossed and
recrossed "this Jordan" (32:10). The Israelites passed over it
as "on dry ground" (Josh. 3:17; Ps. 114:3). Twice afterwards its
waters were miraculously divided at the same spot by Elijah and
Elisha (2 Kings 2:8, 14).
The Jordan is mentioned in the Old Testament about one hundred
and eighty times, and in the New Testament fifteen times. The
chief events in gospel history connected with it are (1) John
the Baptist's ministry, when "there went out to him Jerusalem,
and all Judaea, and were baptized of him in Jordan" (Matt. 3:6).
(2.) Jesus also "was baptized of John in Jordan" (Mark 1:9).
who makes to forget. "God hath made me forget" (Heb. nashshani),
Gen. 41:51. (1.) The elder of the two sons of Joseph. He and his
brother Ephraim were afterwards adopted by Jacob as his own sons
(48:1). There is an account of his marriage to a Syrian (1 Chr.
7:14); and the only thing afterwards recorded of him is, that
his grandchildren were "brought up upon Joseph's knees" (Gen.
50:23; R.V., "born upon Joseph's knees") i.e., were from their
birth adopted by Joseph as his own children.
The tribe of Manasseh was associated with that of Ephraim and
Benjamin during the wanderings in the wilderness. They encamped
on the west side of the tabernacle. According to the census
taken at Sinai, this tribe then numbered 32,200 (Num. 1:10, 35;
2:20, 21). Forty years afterwards its numbers had increased to
52,700 (26:34, 37), and it was at this time the most
distinguished of all the tribes.
The half of this tribe, along with Reuben and Gad, had their
territory assigned them by Moses on the east of the Jordan
(Josh. 13:7-14); but it was left for Joshua to define the limits
of each tribe. This territory on the east of Jordan was more
valuable and of larger extent than all that was allotted to the
nine and a half tribes in the land of Israel. It is sometimes
called "the land of Gilead," and is also spoken of as "on the
other side of Jordan." The portion given to the half tribe of
Manasseh was the largest on the east of Jordan. It embraced the
whole of Bashan. It was bounded on the south by Mahanaim, and
extended north to the foot of Lebanon. Argob, with its sixty
cities, that "ocean of basaltic rocks and boulders tossed about
in the wildest confusion," lay in the midst of this territory.
The whole "land of Gilead" having been conquered, the two and
a half tribes left their wives and families in the fortified
cities there, and accompanied the other tribes across the
Jordan, and took part with them in the wars of conquest. The
allotment of the land having been completed, Joshua dismissed
the two and a half tribes, commending them for their heroic
service (Josh. 22:1-34). Thus dismissed, they returned over
Jordan to their own inheritance. (See ED T0001125.)
On the west of Jordan the other half of the tribe of Manasseh
was associated with Ephraim, and they had their portion in the
very centre of Israel, an area of about 1,300 square miles,
the most valuable part of the whole country, abounding in
springs of water. Manasseh's portion was immediately to the
north of that of Ephraim (Josh. 16). Thus the western Manasseh
defended the passes of Esdraelon as the eastern kept the passes
of the Hauran.
(2.) The only son and successor of Hezekiah on the throne of
Judah. He was twelve years old when he began to reign (2 Kings
21:1), and he reigned fifty-five years (B.C. 698-643). Though he
reigned so long, yet comparatively little is known of this king.
His reign was a continuation of that of Ahaz, both in religion
and national polity. He early fell under the influence of the
heathen court circle, and his reign was characterized by a sad
relapse into idolatry with all its vices, showing that the
reformation under his father had been to a large extent only
superficial (Isa. 7:10; 2 Kings 21:10-15). A systematic and
persistent attempt was made, and all too successfully, to banish
the worship of Jehovah out of the land. Amid this wide-spread
idolatry there were not wanting, however, faithful prophets
(Isaiah, Micah) who lifted up their voice in reproof and in
warning. But their fidelity only aroused bitter hatred, and a
period of cruel persecution against all the friends of the old
religion began. "The days of Alva in Holland, of Charles IX. in
France, or of the Covenanters under Charles II. in Scotland,
were anticipated in the Jewish capital. The streets were red
with blood." There is an old Jewish tradition that Isaiah was
put to death at this time (2 Kings 21:16; 24:3, 4; Jer. 2:30),
having been sawn asunder in the trunk of a tree. Psalms 49, 73,
77, 140, and 141 seem to express the feelings of the pious amid
the fiery trials of this great persecution. Manasseh has been
called the "Nero of Israel."
Esarhaddon, Sennacherib's successor on the Assyrian throne,
who had his residence in Babylon for thirteen years (the only
Assyrian monarch who ever reigned in Babylon), took Manasseh
prisoner (B.C. 681) to Babylon. Such captive kings were usually
treated with great cruelty. They were brought before the
conqueror with a hook or ring passed through their lips or their
jaws, having a cord attached to it, by which they were led. This
is referred to in 2 Chr. 33:11, where the Authorized Version
reads that Esarhaddon "took Manasseh among the thorns;" while
the Revised Version renders the words, "took Manasseh in
chains;" or literally, as in the margin, "with hooks." (Compare 2
The severity of Manasseh's imprisonment brought him to
repentance. God heard his cry, and he was restored to his
kingdom (2 Chr. 33:11-13). He abandoned his idolatrous ways, and
enjoined the people to worship Jehovah; but there was no
thorough reformation. After a lengthened reign extending through
fifty-five years, the longest in the history of Judah, he died,
and was buried in the garden of Uzza, the "garden of his own
house" (2 Kings 21:17, 18; 2 Chr. 33:20), and not in the city of
David, among his ancestors. He was succeeded by his son Amon.
In Judg. 18:30 the correct reading is "Moses," and not
"Manasseh." The name "Manasseh" is supposed to have been
introduced by some transcriber to avoid the scandal of naming
the grandson of Moses the great lawgiver as the founder of an
originally denoted only the sea-coast of the land of Canaan
inhabited by the Philistines (Ex. 15:14; Isa. 14:29, 31; Joel
3:4), and in this sense exclusively the Hebrew name Pelesheth
(rendered "Philistia" in Ps. 60:8; 83:7; 87:4; 108:9) occurs in
the Old Testament.
Not till a late period in Jewish history was this name used to
denote "the land of the Hebrews" in general (Gen. 40:15). It is
also called "the holy land" (Zech. 2:12), the "land of Jehovah"
(Hos. 9:3; Ps. 85:1), the "land of promise" (Heb. 11:9), because
promised to Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 24:7), the "land of Canaan"
(Gen. 12:5), the "land of Israel" (1 Sam. 13:19), and the "land
of Judah" (Isa. 19:17).
The territory promised as an inheritance to the seed of
Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21; Num. 34:1-12) was bounded on the east by
the river Euphrates, on the west by the Mediterranean, on the
north by the "entrance of Hamath," and on the south by the
"river of Egypt." This extent of territory, about 60,000 square
miles, was at length conquered by David, and was ruled over also
by his son Solomon (2 Sam. 8; 1 Chr. 18; 1 Kings 4:1, 21). This
vast empire was the Promised Land; but Israel was only a part
of it, terminating in the north at the southern extremity of the
Lebanon range, and in the south in the wilderness of Paran, thus
extending in all to about 144 miles in length. Its average
breadth was about 60 miles from the Mediterranean on the west to
beyond the Jordan. It has fittingly been designated "the least
of all lands." Western Israel, on the south of Gaza, is only
about 40 miles in breadth from the Mediterranean to the Dead
Sea, narrowing gradually toward the north, where it is only 20
miles from the sea-coast to the Jordan.
Israel, "set in the midst" (Ezek. 5:5) of all other lands,
is the most remarkable country on the face of the earth. No
single country of such an extent has so great a variety of
climate, and hence also of plant and animal life. Moses
describes it as "a good land, a land of brooks of water, of
fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a
land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and
pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein
thou shalt not eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack
any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose
hills thou mayest dig brass" (Deut. 8:7-9).
"In the time of Christ the country looked, in all probability,
much as now. The whole land consists of rounded limestone hills,
fretted into countless stony valleys, offering but rarely level
tracts, of which Esdraelon alone, below Nazareth, is large
enough to be seen on the map. The original woods had for ages
disappeared, though the slopes were dotted, as now, with figs,
olives, and other fruit-trees where there was any soil.
Permanent streams were even then unknown, the passing rush of
winter torrents being all that was seen among the hills. The
autumn and spring rains, caught in deep cisterns hewn out like
huge underground jars in the soft limestone, with artificial
mud-banked ponds still found near all villages, furnished water.
Hills now bare, or at best rough with stunted growth, were then
terraced, so as to grow vines, olives, and grain. To-day almost
desolate, the country then teemed with population. Wine-presses
cut in the rocks, endless terraces, and the ruins of old
vineyard towers are now found amidst solitudes overgrown for
ages with thorns and thistles, or with wild shrubs and poor
gnarled scrub" (Geikie's Life of Christ).
From an early period the land was inhabited by the descendants
of Canaan, who retained possession of the whole land "from Sidon
to Gaza" till the time of the conquest by Joshua, when it was
occupied by the twelve tribes. Two tribes and a half had their
allotments given them by Moses on the east of the Jordan (Deut.
3:12-20; compare Num. 1:17-46; Josh. 4:12-13). The remaining
tribes had their portion on the west of Jordan.
From the conquest till the time of Saul, about four hundred
years, the people were governed by judges. For a period of one
hundred and twenty years the kingdom retained its unity while it
was ruled by Saul and David and Solomon. On the death of
Solomon, his son Rehoboam ascended the throne; but his conduct
was such that ten of the tribes revolted, and formed an
independent monarchy, called the kingdom of Israel, or the
northern kingdom, the capital of which was first Shechem and
afterwards Samaria. This kingdom was destroyed. The Israelites
were carried captive by Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, B.C. 722,
after an independent existence of two hundred and fifty-three
years. The place of the captives carried away was supplied by
tribes brought from the east, and thus was formed the Samaritan
nation (2 Kings 17:24-29).
Nebuchadnezzar came up against the kingdom of the two tribes,
the kingdom of Judah, the capital of which was Jerusalem, one
hundred and thirty-four years after the overthrow of the kingdom
of Israel. He overthrew the city, plundered the temple, and
carried the people into captivity to Babylon (B.C. 587), where
they remained seventy years. At the close of the period of the
Captivity, they returned to their own land, under the edict of
Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4). They rebuilt the city and temple, and
restored the old Jewish commonwealth.
For a while after the Restoration the Jews were ruled by
Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and afterwards by the high
priests, assisted by the Sanhedrin. After the death of Alexander
the Great at Babylon (B.C. 323), his vast empire was divided
between his four generals. Egypt, Arabia, Israel, and
Coele-Syria fell to the lot of Ptolemy Lagus. Ptolemy took
possession of Israel in B.C. 320, and carried nearly one
hundred thousand of the inhabitants of Jerusalem into Egypt. He
made Alexandria the capital of his kingdom, and treated the Jews
with consideration, confirming them in the enjoyment of many
After suffering persecution at the hands of Ptolemy's
successors, the Jews threw off the Egyptian yoke, and became
subject to Antiochus the Great, the king of Syria. The cruelty
and opression of the successors of Antiochus at length led to
the revolt under the Maccabees (B.C. 163), when they threw off
the Syrian yoke.
In the year B.C. 68, Israel was reduced by Pompey the Great
to a Roman province. He laid the walls of the city in ruins, and
massacred some twelve thousand of the inhabitants. He left the
temple, however, unijured. About twenty-five years after this
the Jews revolted and cast off the Roman yoke. They were
however, subdued by Herod the Great (q.v.). The city and the
temple were destroyed, and many of the inhabitants were put to
death. About B.C. 20, Herod proceeded to rebuild the city and
restore the ruined temple, which in about nine years and a half
was so far completed that the sacred services could be resumed
in it (compare John 2:20). He was succeeded by his son Archelaus,
who was deprived of his power, however, by Augustus, A.D. 6,
when Israel became a Roman province, ruled by Roman governors
or procurators. Pontius Pilate was the fifth of these
procurators. He was appointed to his office A.D. 25.
Exclusive of Idumea, the kingdom of Herod the Great
comprehended the whole of the country originally divided among
the twelve tribes, which he divided into four provinces or
districts. This division was recognized so long as Israel was
under the Roman dominion. These four provinces were, (1) Judea,
the southern portion of the country; (2) Samaria, the middle
province, the northern boundary of which ran along the hills to
the south of the plain of Esdraelon; (3) Galilee, the northern
province; and (4) Peraea (a Greek name meaning the "opposite
country"), the country lying east of the Jordan and the Dead
Sea. This province was subdivided into these districts, (1)
Peraea proper, lying between the rivers Arnon and Jabbok; (2)
Galaaditis (Gilead); (3) Batanaea; (4) Gaulonitis (Jaulan); (5)
Ituraea or Auranitis, the ancient Bashan; (6) Trachonitis; (7)
Abilene; (8) Decapolis, i.e., the region of the ten cities. The
whole territory of Israel, including the portions alloted to
the trans-Jordan tribes, extended to about eleven thousand
square miles. Recent exploration has shown the territory on the
west of Jordan alone to be six thousand square miles in extent,
the size of the principality of Wales.