image-worship or divine honour paid to any created object. Paul
describes the origin of idolatry in Rom. 1:21-25: men forsook
God, and sank into ignorance and moral corruption (1:28).
The forms of idolatry are, (1.) Fetishism, or the worship of
trees, rivers, hills, stones, etc.
(2.) Nature worship, the worship of the sun, moon, and stars,
as the supposed powers of nature.
(3.) Hero worship, the worship of deceased ancestors, or of
In Scripture, idolatry is regarded as of heathen origin, and
as being imported among the Hebrews through contact with heathen
nations. The first allusion to idolatry is in the account of
Rachel stealing her father's teraphim (Gen. 31:19), which were
the relics of the worship of other gods by Laban's progenitors
"on the other side of the river in old time" (Josh. 24:2).
During their long residence in Egypt the Hebrews fell into
idolatry, and it was long before they were delivered from it
(Josh. 24:14; Ezek. 20:7). Many a token of God's displeasure
fell upon them because of this sin.
The idolatry learned in Egypt was probably rooted out from
among the people during the forty years' wanderings; but when
the Jews entered Israel, they came into contact with the
monuments and associations of the idolatry of the old
Canaanite races, and showed a constant tendency to depart from
the living God and follow the idolatrous practices of those
heathen nations. It was their great national sin, which was only
effectually rebuked by the Babylonian exile. That exile finally
purified the Jews of all idolatrous tendencies.
The first and second commandments are directed against
idolatry of every form. Individuals and communities were equally
amenable to the rigorous code. The individual offender was
devoted to destruction (Ex. 22:20). His nearest relatives were
not only bound to denounce him and deliver him up to punishment
(Deut. 13:20-10), but their hands were to strike the first blow
when, on the evidence of two witnesses at least, he was stoned
(Deut. 17:2-7). To attempt to seduce others to false worship was
a crime of equal enormity (13:6-10). An idolatrous nation shared
the same fate. No facts are more strongly declared in the Old
Testament than that the extermination of the Canaanites was the
punishment of their idolatry (Ex. 34:15, 16; Deut. 7; 12:29-31;
20:17), and that the calamities of the Israelites were due to
the same cause (Jer. 2:17). "A city guilty of idolatry was
looked upon as a cancer in the state; it was considered to be in
rebellion, and treated according to the laws of war. Its
inhabitants and all their cattle were put to death." Jehovah was
the theocratic King of Israel, the civil Head of the
commonwealth, and therefore to an Israelite idolatry was a state
offence (1 Sam. 15:23), high treason. On taking possession of
the land, the Jews were commanded to destroy all traces of every
kind of the existing idolatry of the Canaanites (Ex. 23:24, 32;
34:13; Deut. 7:5, 25; 12:1-3).
In the New Testament the term idolatry is used to designate
covetousness (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13; Col. 3:5; Eph. 5:5).
homage rendered to God which it is sinful (idolatry) to render
to any created being (Ex. 34:14; Isa. 2:8). Such worship was
refused by Peter (Acts 10:25,26) and by an angel (Rev. 22:8,9).
Host of heaven
The sun, moon, and stars are so designated (Gen. 2:1). When the
Jews fell into idolatry they worshipped these (Deut. 4:19; 2
Kings 17:16; 21:3,5; 23:5; Jer. 19:13; Zeph. 1:5; Acts 7:42).
heb. yareah, from its paleness (Ezra 6:15), and lebanah, the
"white" (Cant. 6:10; Isa. 24:23), was appointed by the Creator
to be with the sun "for signs, and for seasons, and for days,
and years" (Gen. 1:14-16). A lunation was among the Jews the
period of a month, and several of their festivals were held on
the day of the new moon. It is frequently referred to along with
the sun (Josh. 10:12; Ps. 72:5, 7, 17; 89:36, 37; Eccl. 12:2;
Isa. 24:23, etc.), and also by itself (Ps. 8:3; 121:6).
The great brilliance of the moon in Eastern countries led to
its being early an object of idolatrous worship (Deut. 4:19;
17:3; Job 31:26), a form of idolatry against which the Jews were
warned (Deut. 4:19; 17:3). They, however, fell into this
idolatry, and offered incense (2 Kings 23:5; Jer. 8:2), and also
cakes of honey, to the moon (Jer. 7:18; 44:17-19, 25).
she has her own tent, a name used by Ezekiel (23:4, 5, 36, 44)
as a symbol of the idolatry of the kingdom of Israel. This
kingdom is described as a lewdwoman, an adulteress, given up to
the abominations and idolatries of the Egyptians and Assyrians.
Because of her crimes, she was carried away captive, and ceased
to be a kingdom. (Compare Ps. 78:67-69; 1 Kings 12:25-33; 2 Chr.
with Baal, a king of Sidon (B.C. 940-908), father of Jezebel,
who was the wife of Ahab (1 Kings 16:31). He is said to have
been also a priest of Astarte, whose worship was closely allied
to that of Baal, and this may account for his daughter's zeal in
promoting idolatry in Israel. This marriage of Ahab was most
fatal to both Israel and Judah. Dido, the founder of Carthage,
was his granddaughter.
(Heb. shemesh), first mentioned along with the moon as the two
great luminaries of heaven (Gen. 1:14-18). By their motions and
influence they were intended to mark and divide times and
seasons. The worship of the sun was one of the oldest forms of
false religion (Job 31:26,27), and was common among the
Egyptians and Chaldeans and other pagan nations. The Jews were
warned against this form of idolatry (Deut. 4:19; 17:3; compare 2
Kings 23:11; Jer. 19:13).
probably a poetic or prolonged name of the land of Cush, the
Arabian Cush (Hab. 3:7). Some have, however, supposed this to be
the same as Chushan-rishathaim (Judg. 3:8, 10), i.e., taking the
latter part of the name as a title or local appellation, Chushan
"of the two iniquities" (= oppressing Israel, and provoking them
to idolatry), a Mesopotamian king, identified by Rawlinson with
Asshur-ris-ilim (the father of Tiglathpileser I.); but
incorrectly, for the empire of Assyria was not yet founded. He
held Israel in bondage for eight years.
physician, son of Abijah and grandson of Rehoboam, was the third
king of Judah. He was zealous in maintaining the true worship of
God, and in rooting all idolatry, with its accompanying
immoralities, out of the land (1 Kings 15:8-14). The Lord gave
him and his land rest and prosperity. It is recorded of him,
however, that in his old age, when afflicted, he "sought not to
the Lord, but to the physicians" (compare Jer. 17:5). He died in
the forty-first year of his reign, greatly honoured by his
people (2 Chr. 16:1-13), and was succeeded by his son
a foreigner, or person born in another country, and therefore
not entitled to the rights and privileges of the country where
he resides. Among the Hebrews there were two classes of aliens.
(1.) Those who were strangers generally, and who owned no
(2.) Strangers dwelling in another country without being
naturalized (Lev. 22:10; Ps. 39:12).
Both of these classes were to enjoy, under certain conditions,
the same rights as other citizens (Lev. 19:33, 34; Deut. 10:19).
They might be naturalized and permitted to enter into the
congregation of the Lord by submitting to circumcision and
abandoning idolatry (Deut. 23:3-8).
This term is used (Eph. 2:12) to denote persons who have no
interest in Christ.
Hosea, Prophecies of
This book stands first in order among the "Minor Prophets." "The
probable cause of the location of Hosea may be the thoroughly
national character of his oracles, their length, their earnest
tone, and vivid representations." This was the longest of the
prophetic books written before the Captivity. Hosea prophesied
in a dark and melancholy period of Israel's history, the period
of Israel's decline and fall. Their sins had brought upon them
great national disasters. "Their homicides and fornication,
their perjury and theft, their idolatry and impiety, are
censured and satirized with a faithful severity." He was a
contemporary of Isaiah. The book may be divided into two parts,
the first containing chapters 1-3, and symbolically representing
the idolatry of Israel under imagery borrowed from the
matrimonial relation. The figures of marriage and adultery are
common in the Old Testament writings to represent the spiritual
relations between Jehovah and the people of Israel. Here we see
the apostasy of Israel and their punishment, with their future
repentance, forgiveness, and restoration.
The second part, containing 4-14, is a summary of Hosea's
discourses, filled with denunciations, threatenings,
exhortations, promises, and revelations of mercy.
Quotations from Hosea are found in Matt. 2:15; 9:15; 12:7;
Rom. 9:25, 26. There are, in addition, various allusions to it
in other places (Luke 23:30; Rev. 6:16, compare Hos. 10:8; Rom.
9:25, 26; 1 Pet. 2:10, compare Hos. 1:10, etc.).
As regards the style of this writer, it has been said that
"each verse forms a whole for itself, like one heavy toll in a
funeral knell." "Inversions (7:8; 9:11, 13; 12: 8), anacolutha
(9:6; 12:8, etc.), ellipses (9:4; 13:9, etc.), paranomasias, and
plays upon words, are very characteristic of Hosea (8:7; 9:15;
10:5; 11:5; 12:11)."
chaste, the daughter of Ethbaal, the king of the Zidonians, and
the wife of Ahab, the king of Israel (1 Kings 16:31). This was
the "first time that a king of Israel had allied himself by
marriage with a heathen princess; and the alliance was in this
case of a peculiarly disastrous kind. Jezebel has stamped her
name on history as the representative of all that is designing,
crafty, malicious, revengeful, and cruel. She is the first great
instigator of persecution against the saints of God. Guided by
no principle, restrained by no fear of either God or man,
passionate in her attachment to her heathen worship, she spared
no pains to maintain idolatry around her in all its splendour.
Four hundred and fifty prophets ministered under her care to
Baal, besides four hundred prophets of the groves [R.V.,
'prophets of the Asherah'], which ate at her table (1 Kings
18:19). The idolatry, too, was of the most debased and sensual
kind." Her conduct was in many respects very disastrous to the
kingdom both of Israel and Judah (21:1-29). At length she came
to an untimely end. As Jehu rode into the gates of Jezreel, she
looked out at the window of the palace, and said, "Had Zimri
peace, who slew his master?" He looked up and called to her
chamberlains, who instantly threw her from the window, so that
she was dashed in pieces on the street, and his horses trod her
under their feet. She was immediately consumed by the dogs of
the street (2 Kings 9:7-37), according to the word of Elijah the
Tishbite (1 Kings 21:19).
Her name afterwards came to be used as the synonym for a
wicked woman (Rev. 2: 20).
It may be noted that she is said to have been the grand-aunt
of Dido, the founder of Carthage.
possessor. (1.) A grandson of Jonathan (1 Chr. 8:35; 9:42).
(2.) The son and successor of Jotham, king of Judah (2 Kings
16; Isa. 7-9; 2 Chr. 28). He gave himself up to a life of
wickedness and idolatry. Notwithstanding the remonstrances and
warnings of Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah, he appealed for help
against Rezin, king of Damascus, and Pekah, king of Israel, who
threatened Jerusalem, to Tiglath-pileser, the king of Assyria,
to the great injury of his kingdom and his own humilating
subjection to the Assyrians (2 Kings 16:7, 9; 15:29). He also
introduced among his people many heathen and idolatrous customs
(Isa. 8:19; 38:8; 2 Kings 23:12). He died at the age of
thirty-five years, after reigning sixteen years (B.C. 740-724),
and was succeeded by his son Hezekiah. Because of his wickedness
he was "not brought into the sepulchre of the kings."
builder. (1.) The governor of Samaria in the time of Ahab. The
prophet Micaiah was committed to his custody (1 Kings 22:26; 2
(2.) The son of Manasseh, and fourteenth king of Judah. He
restored idolatry, and set up the images which his father had
cast down. Zephaniah (1:4; 3:4, 11) refers to the moral
depravity prevailing in this king's reign.
He was assassinated (2 Kings 21:18-26: 2 Chr. 33:20-25) by his
own servants, who conspired against him.
(3.) An Egyptian god, usually depicted with a human body and
the head of a ram, referred to in Jer. 46:25, where the word
"multitudes" in the Authorized Version is more appropriately
rendered "Amon" in the Revised Version. In Nah. 3:8 the
expression "populous No" of the Authorized version is rendered
in the Revised Version "No-amon." Amon is identified with Ra,
the sun-god of Heliopolis.
(4.) Neh. 7:59.
union. (1.) A descendant of Benjamin (1 Chr. 7:10), his
(2.) The son of Gera, of the tribe of Benjamin (Judg. 3:15).
After the death of Othniel the people again fell into idolatry,
and Eglon, the king of Moab, uniting his bands with those of the
Ammonites and the Amalekites, crossed the Jordan and took the
city of Jericho, and for eighteen years held that whole district
in subjection, exacting from it an annual tribute. At length
Ehud, by a stratagem, put Eglon to death with a two-edged dagger
a cubit long, and routed the Moabites at the fords of the
Jordan, putting 10,000 of them to death. Thenceforward the land,
at least Benjamin, enjoyed rest "for fourscore years" (Judg.
3:12-30). (See QUARRIES T0003032 .) But in the south-west
the Philistines reduced the Israelites to great straits (Judg.
5:6). From this oppression Shamgar was raised up to be their
(Heb. plural goyum). At first the word "goyim" denoted generally
all the nations of the world (Gen. 18:18; compare Gal. 3:8). The
Jews afterwards became a people distinguished in a marked manner
from the other "goyim". They were a separate people (Lev. 20:23;
26:14-45; Deut. 28), and the other nations, the Amorites,
Hittites, etc., were the "goyim", the heathen, with whom the
Jews were forbidden to be associated in any way (Josh. 23:7; 1
Kings 11:2). The practice of idolatry was the characteristic of
these nations, and hence the word came to designate idolaters
(Ps. 106:47; Jer. 46:28; Lam. 1:3; Isa. 36:18), the wicked (Ps.
9:5, 15, 17).
The corresponding Greek word in the New Testament, "ethne",
has similar shades of meaning. In Acts 22:21, Gal. 3:14, it
denotes the people of the earth generally; and in Matt. 6:7, an
idolater. In modern usage the word denotes all nations that are
strangers to revealed religion.
the Greek form of BABEL; Semitic form Babilu, meaning "The Gate
of God." In the Assyrian tablets it means "The city of the
dispersion of the tribes." The monumental list of its kings
reaches back to B.C. 2300, and includes Khammurabi, or Amraphel
(q.v.), the contemporary of Abraham. It stood on the Euphrates,
about 200 miles above its junction with the Tigris, which flowed
through its midst and divided it into two almost equal parts.
The Elamites invaded Chaldea (i.e., Lower Mesopotamia, or
Shinar, and Upper Mesopotamia, or Accad, now combined into one)
and held it in subjection. At length Khammu-rabi delivered it
from the foreign yoke, and founded the new empire of Chaldea
(q.v.), making Babylon the capital of the united kingdom. This
city gradually grew in extent and grandeur, but in process of
time it became subject to Assyria. On the fall of Nineveh (B.C.
606) it threw off the Assyrian yoke, and became the capital of
the growing Babylonian empire. Under Nebuchadnezzar it became
one of the most splendid cities of the ancient world.
After passing through various vicissitudes the city was
occupied by Cyrus, "king of Elam," B.C. 538, who issued a decree
permitting the Jews to return to their own land (Ezra 1). It
then ceased to be the capital of an empire. It was again and
again visited by hostile armies, till its inhabitants were all
driven from their homes, and the city became a complete
desolation, its very site being forgotten from among men.
On the west bank of the Euphrates, about 50 miles south of
Bagdad, there is found a series of artificial mounds of vast
extent. These are the ruins of this once famous proud city.
These ruins are principally (1) the great mound called Babil by
the Arabs. This was probably the noted Temple of Belus, which
was a pyramid about 480 feet high. (2) The Kasr (i.e., "the
palace"). This was the great palace of Nebuchadnezzar. It is
almost a square, each side of which is about 700 feet long. The
little town of Hillah, near the site of Babylon, is built almost
wholly of bricks taken from this single mound. (3) A lofty
mound, on the summit of which stands a modern tomb called Amran
ibn-Ali. This is probably the most ancient portion of the
remains of the city, and represents the ruins of the famous
hanging-gardens, or perhaps of some royal palace. The utter
desolation of the city once called "The glory of kingdoms"
(Isa.13:19) was foretold by the prophets (Isa.13:4-22; Jer.
25:12; 50:2, 3; Dan. 2:31-38).
The Babylon mentioned in 1 Pet. 5:13 was not Rome, as some
have thought, but the literal city of Babylon, which was
inhabited by many Jews at the time Peter wrote.
In Rev. 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; and 18:2, "Babylon" is supposed to
mean Rome, not considered as pagan, but as the prolongation of
the ancient power in the papal form. Rome, pagan and papal, is
regarded as one power. "The literal Babylon was the beginner and
supporter of tyranny and idolatry...This city and its whole
empire were taken by the Persians under Cyrus; the Persians were
subdued by the Macedonians, and the Macedonians by the Romans;
so that Rome succeeded to the power of old Babylon. And it was
her method to adopt the worship of the false deities she had
conquered; so that by her own act she became the heiress and
successor of all the Babylonian idolatry, and of all that was
introduced into it by the immediate successors of Babylon, and
consequently of all the idolatry of the earth." Rome, or
"mystical Babylon," is "that great city which reigneth over the
kings of the earth" (17:18).
conjugal infidelity. An adulterer was a man who had illicit
intercourse with a married or a betrothed woman, and such a
woman was an adulteress. Intercourse between a married man and
an unmarried woman was fornication. Adultery was regarded as a
great social wrong, as well as a great sin.
The Mosaic law (Num. 5:11-31) prescribed that the suspected
wife should be tried by the ordeal of the "water of jealousy."
There is, however, no recorded instance of the application of
this law. In subsequent times the Rabbis made various
regulations with the view of discovering the guilty party, and
of bringing about a divorce. It has been inferred from John
8:1-11 that this sin became very common during the age preceding
the destruction of Jerusalem.
Idolatry, covetousness, and apostasy are spoken of as adultery
spiritually (Jer. 3:6, 8, 9; Ezek. 16:32; Hos. 1:2:3; Rev.
2:22). An apostate church is an adulteress (Isa. 1:21; Ezek.
23:4, 7, 37), and the Jews are styled "an adulterous generation"
(Matt. 12:39). (Compare Rev. 12.)
(1.) Heb. aven, "nothingness;" "vanity" (Isa. 66:3; 41:29; Deut.
32:21; 1 Kings 16:13; Ps. 31:6; Jer. 8:19, etc.).
(2.) 'Elil, "a thing of naught" (Ps. 97:7; Isa. 19:3); a word
of contempt, used of the gods of Noph (Ezek. 30:13).
(3.) 'Emah, "terror," in allusion to the hideous form of idols
(4.) Miphletzeth, "a fright;" "horror" (1 Kings 15:13; 2 Chr.
(5.) Bosheth, "shame;" "shameful thing" (Jer. 11:13; Hos.
9:10); as characterizing the obscenity of the worship of Baal.
(6.) Gillulim, also a word of contempt, "dung;" "refuse"
(Ezek. 16:36; 20:8; Deut. 29:17, marg.).
(7.) Shikkuts, "filth;" "impurity" (Ezek. 37:23; Nah. 3:6).
(8.) Semel, "likeness;" "a carved image" (Deut. 4:16).
(9.) Tselem, "a shadow" (Dan. 3:1; 1 Sam. 6:5), as
distinguished from the "likeness," or the exact counterpart.
(10.) Temunah, "similitude" (Deut. 4:12-19). Here Moses
forbids the several forms of Gentile idolatry.
(11.) 'Atsab, "a figure;" from the root "to fashion," "to
labour;" denoting that idols are the result of man's labour
(Isa. 48:5; Ps. 139:24, "wicked way;" literally, as some
translate, "way of an idol").
(12.) Tsir, "a form;" "shape" (Isa. 45:16).
(13.) Matztzebah, a "statue" set up (Jer. 43:13); a memorial
stone like that erected by Jacob (Gen. 28:18; 31:45; 35:14, 20),
by Joshua (4:9), and by Samuel (1 Sam. 7:12). It is the name
given to the statues of Baal (2 Kings 3:2; 10:27).
(14.) Hammanim, "sun-images." Hamman is a synonym of Baal, the
sun-god of the Phoenicians (2 Chr. 34:4, 7; 14:3, 5; Isa. 17:8).
(15.) Maskith, "device" (Lev. 26:1; Num. 33:52). In Lev. 26:1,
the words "image of stone" (A.V.) denote "a stone or cippus with
the image of an idol, as Baal, Astarte, etc." In Ezek. 8:12,
"chambers of imagery" (maskith), are "chambers of which the
walls are painted with the figures of idols;" compare ver. 10, 11.
(16.) Pesel, "a graven" or "carved image" (Isa. 44:10-20). It
denotes also a figure cast in metal (Deut. 7:25; 27:15; Isa.
(17.) Massekah, "a molten image" (Deut. 9:12; Judg. 17:3, 4).
(18.) Teraphim, pl., "images," family gods (penates)
worshipped by Abram's kindred (Josh. 24:14). Put by Michal in
David's bed (Judg. 17:5; 18:14, 17, 18, 20; 1 Sam. 19:13).
"Nothing can be more instructive and significant than this
multiplicity and variety of words designating the instruments
and inventions of idolatry."
Jehovah-exalted. (1.) Son of Toi, king of Hamath, sent by his
father to congratulate David on the occasion of his victory over
Hadadezer (2 Sam. 8:10).
(2.) A Levite of the family of Gershom (1 Chr. 26:25).
(3.) A priest sent by Jehoshaphat to instructruct the people
in Judah (2 Chr. 17:8).
(4.) The son of Ahab and Jezebel, and successor to his brother
Ahaziah on the throne of Israel. He reigned twelve years, B.C.
896-884 (2 Kings 1:17; 3:1). His first work was to reduce to
subjection the Moabites, who had asserted their independence in
the reign of his brother. Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, assisted
Jehoram in this effort. He was further helped by his ally the
king of Edom. Elisha went forth with the confederated army (2
Kings 3:1-19), and at the solicitation of Jehoshaphat encouraged
the army with the assurance from the Lord of a speedy victory.
The Moabites under Mesha their king were utterly routed and
their cities destroyed. At Kir-haraseth Mesha made a final
stand. The Israelites refrained from pressing their victory
further, and returned to their own land.
Elisha afterwards again befriended Jehoram when a war broke
out between the Syrians and Israel, and in a remarkable way
brought that war to a bloodless close (2 Kings 6:23). But
Jehoram, becoming confident in his own power, sank into
idolatry, and brought upon himself and his land another Syrian
invasion, which led to great suffering and distress in Samaria
(2 Kings 6:24-33). By a remarkable providential interposition
the city was saved from utter destruction, and the Syrians were
put to flight (2 Kings 7:6-15).
Jehoram was wounded in a battle with the Syrians at Ramah, and
obliged to return to Jezreel (2 Kings 8:29; 9:14, 15), and soon
after the army proclaimed their leader Jehu king of Israel, and
revolted from their allegiance to Jehoram (2 Kings 9). Jehoram
was pierced by an arrow from Jehu's bow on the piece of ground
at Jezreel which Ahab had taken from Naboth, and there he died
(2 Kings 9:21-29).
(5.) The eldest son and successor of Jehoshaphat, king of
Judah. He reigned eight years (B.C. 892-885) alone as king of
Judah, having been previously for some years associated with his
father (2 Chr. 21:5, 20; 2 Kings 8:16). His wife was Athaliah,
the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. His daughter Jehosheba was
married to the high priest Jehoiada. He sank into gross
idolatry, and brought upon himself and his kingdom the anger of
Jehovah. The Edomites revolted from under his yoke, and the
Philistines and the Arabians and Cushites invaded the land, and
carried away great spoil, along with Jehoram's wives and all his
children, except Ahaziah. He died a painful death from a fearful
malady, and was refused a place in the sepulchre of the kings (2
Kings 8:16-24; 2 Chr. 21).
light; the sun, (Gen. 41:45, 50), the great seat of sun-worship,
called also Bethshemesh (Jer. 43:13) and Aven (Ezek. 30:17),
stood on the east bank of the Nile, a few miles north of
Memphis, and near Cairo, in the NE. The Vulgate and the
LXX. Versions have "Heliopolis" ("city of the sun") instead of
On in Genesis and of Aven in Ezekiel. The "city of destruction"
Isaiah speaks of (19:18, marg. "of Heres;" Heb. 'Ir-ha-heres,
which some MSS. read Ir-ha-heres, i.e., "city of the sun") may
be the name given to On, the prophecy being that the time will
come when that city which was known as the "city of the sun-god"
shall become the "city of destruction" of the sun-god, i.e.,
when idolatry shall cease, and the worship of the true God be
In ancient times this city was full of obelisks dedicated to
the sun. Of these only one now remains standing. "Cleopatra's
Needle" was one of those which stood in this city in front of
the Temple of Tum, i.e., "the sun." It is now erected on the
Thames Embankment, London.
"It was at On that Joseph wooed and won the dark-skinned
Asenath, the daughter of the high priest of its great temple."
This was a noted university town, and here Moses gained his
acquaintance with "all the wisdom of the Egyptians."
the name given to the new and mixed inhabitants whom Esarhaddon
(B.C. 677), the king of Assyria, brought from Babylon and other
places and settled in the cities of Samaria, instead of the
original inhabitants whom Sargon (B.C. 721) had removed into
captivity (2 Kings 17:24; compare Ezra 4:2, 9, 10). These
strangers (compare Luke 17:18) amalgamated with the Jews still
remaining in the land, and gradually abandoned their old
idolatry and adopted partly the Jewish religion.
After the return from the Captivity, the Jews in Jerusalem
refused to allow them to take part with them in rebuilding the
temple, and hence sprang up an open enmity between them. They
erected a rival temple on Mount Gerizim, which was, however,
destroyed by a Jewish king (B.C. 130). They then built another
at Shechem. The bitter enmity between the Jews and Samaritans
continued in the time of our Lord: the Jews had "no dealings
with the Samaritans" (John 4:9; compare Luke 9:52, 53). Our Lord
was in contempt called "a Samaritan" (John 8:48). Many of the
Samaritans early embraced the gospel (John 4:5-42; Acts 8:25;
9:31; 15:3). Of these Samaritans there still remains a small
population of about one hundred and sixty, who all reside in
Shechem, where they carefully observe the religious customs of
their fathers. They are the "smallest and oldest sect in the
Calves were commonly made use of in sacrifices, and are
therefore frequently mentioned in Scripture. The "fatted calf"
was regarded as the choicest of animal food; it was frequently
also offered as a special sacrifice (1 Sam. 28:24; Amos 6:4;
Luke 15:23). The words used in Jer. 34:18, 19, "cut the calf in
twain," allude to the custom of dividing a sacrifice into two
parts, between which the parties ratifying a covenant passed
(Gen. 15:9, 10, 17, 18). The sacrifice of the lips, i.e.,
priase, is called "the calves of our lips" (Hos. 14:2, R.V., "as
bullocks the offering of our lips." Compare Heb. 13:15; Ps. 116:7;
The golden calf which Aaron made (Ex. 32:4) was probably a
copy of the god Moloch rather than of the god Apis, the sacred
ox or calf of Egypt. The Jews showed all through their history a
tendency toward the Babylonian and Canaanite idolatry rather
than toward that of Egypt.
Ages after this, Jeroboam, king of Israel, set up two idol
calves, one at Dan, and the other at Bethel, that he might thus
prevent the ten tribes from resorting to Jerusalem for worship
(1 Kings 12:28). These calves continued to be a snare to the
people till the time of their captivity. The calf at Dan was
carried away in the reign of Pekah by Tiglath-pileser, and that
at Bethel ten years later, in the reign of Hoshea, by
Shalmaneser (2 Kings 15:29; 17:33). This sin of Jeroboam is
almost always mentioned along with his name (2 Kings 15:28
givers of prosperity, idols in human shape, large or small,
analogous to the images of ancestors which were revered by the
Romans. In order to deceive the guards sent by Saul to seize
David, Michal his wife prepared one of the household teraphim,
putting on it the goat's-hair cap worn by sleepers and invalids,
and laid it in a bed, covering it with a mantle. She pointed it
out to the soldiers, and alleged that David was confined to his
bed by a sudden illness (1 Sam. 19:13-16). Thus she gained time
for David's escape. It seems strange to read of teraphim, images
of ancestors, preserved for superstitious purposes, being in the
house of David. Probably they had been stealthily brought by
Michal from her father's house. "Perhaps," says Bishop
Wordsworth, "Saul, forsaken by God and possessed by the evil
spirit, had resorted to teraphim (as he afterwards resorted to
witchcraft); and God overruled evil for good, and made his very
teraphim (by the hand of his own daughter) to be an instrument
for David's escape.", Deane's David, p. 32. Josiah attempted to
suppress this form of idolatry (2 Kings 23:24). The ephod and
teraphim are mentioned together in Hos. 3:4. It has been
supposed by some (Cheyne's Hosea) that the "ephod" here
mentioned, and also in Judg. 8:24-27, was not the part of the
sacerdotal dress so called (Ex. 28:6-14), but an image of
Jehovah overlaid with gold or silver (compare Judg. 17, 18; 1 Sam.
21:9; 23:6, 9; 30:7, 8), and is thus associated with the
teraphim. (See THUMMIM T0003648.)
father's brother. (1.) The son of Omri, whom he succeeded as the
seventh king of Israel. His history is recorded in 1 Kings
16-22. His wife was Jezebel (q.v.), who exercised a very evil
influence over him. To the calf-worship introduced by Jeroboam
he added the worship of Baal. He was severely admonished by
Elijah (q.v.) for his wickedness. His anger was on this account
kindled against the prophet, and he sought to kill him. He
undertook three campaigns against Ben-hadad II., king of
Damascus. In the first two, which were defensive, he gained a
complete victory over Ben-hadad, who fell into his hands, and
was afterwards released on the condition of his restoring all
the cities of Israel he then held, and granting certain other
concessions to Ahab. After three years of peace, for some cause
Ahab renewed war (1 Kings 22:3) with Ben-hadad by assaulting the
city of Ramoth-gilead, although the prophet Micaiah warned him
that he would not succeed, and that the 400 false prophets who
encouraged him were only leading him to his ruin. Micaiah was
imprisoned for thus venturing to dissuade Ahab from his purpose.
Ahab went into the battle disguised, that he might if possible
escape the notice of his enemies; but an arrow from a bow "drawn
at a venture" pierced him, and though stayed up in his chariot
for a time he died towards evening, and Elijah's prophecy (1
Kings 21:19) was fulfilled. He reigned twenty-three years.
Because of his idolatry, lust, and covetousness, Ahab is
referred to as pre-eminently the type of a wicked king (2 Kings
8:18; 2 Chr. 22:3; Micah 6:16).
(2.) A false prophet referred to by Jeremiah (Jer. 29:21), of
whom nothing further is known.
(1.) Heb. zonah (Gen. 34:31; 38:15). In verses 21, 22 the Hebrew
word used in "kedeshah", i.e., a woman consecrated or devoted to
prostitution in connection with the abominable worship of
Asherah or Astarte, the Syrian Venus. This word is also used in
Deut. 23:17; Hos. 4:14. Thus Tamar sat by the wayside as a
It has been attempted to show that Rahab, usually called a
"harlot" (Josh. 2:1; 6:17; Heb. 11:31; James 2:25), was only an
innkeeper. This interpretation, however, cannot be maintained.
Jephthah's mother is called a "strange woman" (Judg. 11:2).
This, however, merely denotes that she was of foreign
In the time of Solomon harlots appeared openly in the streets,
and he solemnly warns against association with them (Prov. 7:12;
9:14. See also Jer. 3:2; Ezek. 16:24, 25, 31). The Revised
Version, following the LXX., has "and the harlots washed," etc.,
instead of the rendering of the Authorized Version, "now they
washed," of 1 Kings 22:38.
To commit fornication is metaphorically used for to practice
idolatry (Jer. 3:1; Ezek. 16:15; Hos. throughout); hence
Jerusalem is spoken of as a harlot (Isa. 1:21).
(2.) Heb. nokriyah, the "strange woman" (1 Kings 11:1; Prov.
5:20; 7:5; 23:27). Those so designated were Canaanites and other
Gentiles (Josh. 23:13). To the same class belonged the
"foolish", i.e., the sinful, "woman."
In the New Testament the Greek pornai, plural, "harlots,"
occurs in Matt. 21:31,32, where they are classed with publicans;
Luke 15:30; 1 Cor. 6:15,16; Heb. 11:31; James 2:25. It is used
symbolically in Rev. 17:1, 5, 15, 16; 19:2.
Jehovah-judged. (1.) One of David's body-guard (1 Chr. 11:43).
(2.) One of the priests who accompanied the removal of the ark
to Jerusalem (1 Chr. 15:24).
(3.) Son of Ahilud, "recorder" or annalist under David and
Solomon (2 Sam. 8:16), a state officer of high rank, chancellor
or vizier of the kingdom.
(4.) Solomon's purveyor in Issachar (1 Kings 4:17).
(5.) The son and successor of Asa, king of Judah. After
fortifying his kingdom against Israel (2 Chr. 17:1, 2), he set
himself to cleanse the land of idolatry (1 Kings 22:43). In the
third year of his reign he sent out priests and Levites over the
land to instruct the people in the law (2 Chr. 17:7-9). He
enjoyed a great measure of peace and prosperity, the blessing of
God resting on the people "in their basket and their store."
The great mistake of his reign was his entering into an
alliance with Ahab, the king of Israel, which involved him in
much disgrace, and brought disaster on his kingdom (1 Kings
22:1-33). Escaping from the bloody battle of Ramoth-gilead, the
prophet Jehu (2 Chr. 19:1-3) reproached him for the course he
had been pursuing, whereupon he entered with rigour on his
former course of opposition to all idolatry, and of deepening
interest in the worship of God and in the righteous government
of the people (2 Chr. 19:4-11).
Again he entered into an alliance with Ahaziah, the king of
Israel, for the purpose of carrying on maritime commerce with
Ophir. But the fleet that was then equipped at Ezion-gaber was
speedily wrecked. A new fleet was fitted out without the
co-operation of the king of Israel, and although it was
successful, the trade was not prosecuted (2 Chr. 20:35-37; 1
He subsequently joined Jehoram, king of Israel, in a war
against the Moabites, who were under tribute to Israel. This war
was successful. The Moabites were subdued; but the dreadful act
of Mesha in offering his own son a sacrifice on the walls of
Kir-haresheth in the sight of the armies of Israel filled him
with horror, and he withdrew and returned to his own land (2
The last most notable event of his reign was that recorded in
2 Chr. 20. The Moabites formed a great and powerful confederacy
with the surrounding nations, and came against Jehoshaphat. The
allied forces were encamped at Engedi. The king and his people
were filled with alarm, and betook themselves to God in prayer.
The king prayed in the court of the temple, "O our God, wilt
thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great
company that cometh against us." Amid the silence that followed,
the voice of Jahaziel the Levite was heard announcing that on
the morrow all this great host would be overthrown. So it was,
for they quarrelled among themselves, and slew one another,
leaving to the people of Judah only to gather the rich spoils of
the slain. This was recognized as a great deliverance wrought
for them by God (B.C. 890). Soon after this Jehoshaphat died,
after a reign of twenty-five years, being sixty years of age,
and was succeeded by his son Jehoram (1 Kings 22:50). He had
this testimony, that "he sought the Lord with all his heart" (2
Chr. 22:9). The kingdom of Judah was never more prosperous than
under his reign.
(6.) The son of Nimshi, and father of Jehu, king of Israel (2
Kings 9:2, 14).
borne; a burden, one of the twelve minor prophets. He was a
native of Tekota, the modern Tekua, a town about 12 miles
south-east of Bethlehem. He was a man of humble birth, neither a
"prophet nor a prophet's son," but "an herdman and a dresser of
sycomore trees," R.V. He prophesied in the days of Uzziah, king
of Judah, and was contemporary with Isaiah and Hosea (Amos 1:1;
7:14, 15; Zech. 14:5), who survived him a few years. Under
Jeroboam II. the kingdom of Israel rose to the zenith of its
prosperity; but that was followed by the prevalence of luxury
and vice and idolatry. At this period Amos was called from his
obscurity to remind the people of the law of God's retributive
justice, and to call them to repentance.
The Book of Amos consists of three parts:
(1.) The nations around are summoned to judgment because of
their sins (1:1-2:3). He quotes Joel 3:16.
(2.) The spiritual condition of Judah, and especially of
Israel, is described (2:4-6:14).
(3.) In 7:1-9:10 are recorded five prophetic visions. (a) The
first two (7:1-6) refer to judgments against the guilty people.
(b) The next two (7:7-9; 8:1-3) point out the ripeness of the
people for the threatened judgements. 7:10-17 consists of a
conversation between the prophet and the priest of Bethel. (c)
The fifth describes the overthrow and ruin of Israel (9:1-10);
to which is added the promise of the restoration of the kingdom
and its final glory in the Messiah's kingdom.
The style is peculiar in the number of the allusions made to
natural objects and to agricultural occupations. Other allusions
show also that Amos was a student of the law as well as a "child
of nature." These phrases are peculiar to him: "Cleanness of
teeth" [i.e., want of bread] (4:6); "The excellency of Jacob"
(6:8; 8:7); "The high places of Isaac" (7:9); "The house of
Isaac" (7:16); "He that createth the wind" (4:13). Quoted, Acts
a city, the modern Tubarich, on the western shore of the Sea of
Tiberias. It is said to have been founded by Herod Antipas (A.D.
16), on the site of the ruins of an older city called Rakkath,
and to have been thus named by him after the Emperor Tiberius.
It is mentioned only three times in the history of our Lord
(John 6:1,23; 21:1).
In 1837 about one-half of the inhabitants perished by an
earthquake. The population of the city is now about six
thousand, nearly the one-half being Jews. "We do not read that
our Lord ever entered this city. The reason of this is probably
to be found in the fact that it was practically a heathen city,
though standing upon Jewish soil. Herod, its founder, had
brought together the arts of Greece, the idolatry of Rome, and
the gross lewdness of Asia. There were in it a theatre for the
performance of comedies, a forum, a stadium, a palace roofed
with gold in imitation of those in Italy, statues of the Roman
gods, and busts of the deified emperors. He who was not sent but
to the lost sheep of the house of Israel might well hold himself
aloof from such scenes as these" (Manning's Those Holy Fields).
After the fall of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), Tiberias became one of
the chief residences of the Jews in Israel. It was for more
than three hundred years their metropolis. From about A.D. 150
the Sanhedrin settled here, and established rabbinical schools,
which rose to great celebrity. Here the Jerusalem (or
Palestinian) Talmud was compiled about the beginning of the
fifth century. To this same rabbinical school also we are
indebted for the Masora, a "body of traditions which transmitted
the readings of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, and
preserved, by means of the vowel-system, the pronunciation of
the Hebrew." In its original form, and in all manuscripts, the
Hebrew is written without vowels; hence, when it ceased to be a
spoken language, the importance of knowing what vowels to insert
between the consonants. This is supplied by the Masora, and
hence these vowels are called the "Masoretic vowel-points."
called also Jerubbaal (Judg. 6:29, 32), was the first of the
judges whose history is circumstantially narrated (Judg. 6-8).
His calling is the commencement of the second period in the
history of the judges. After the victory gained by Deborah and
Barak over Jabin, Israel once more sank into idolatry, and the
Midianites (q.v.) and Amalekites, with other "children of the
east," crossed the Jordan each year for seven successive years
for the purpose of plundering and desolating the land. Gideon
received a direct call from God to undertake the task of
delivering the land from these warlike invaders. He was of the
family of Abiezer (Josh. 17:2; 1 Chr. 7:18), and of the little
township of Ophrah (Judg. 6:11). First, with ten of his
servants, he overthrew the altars of Baal and cut down the
asherah which was upon it, and then blew the trumpet of alarm,
and the people flocked to his standard on the crest of Mount
Gilboa to the number of twenty-two thousand men. These were,
however, reduced to only three hundred. These, strangely armed
with torches and pitchers and trumpets, rushed in from three
different points on the camp of Midian at midnight, in the
valley to the north of Moreh, with the terrible war-cry, "For
the Lord and for Gideon" (Judg. 7:18, R.V.). Terror-stricken,
the Midianites were put into dire confusion, and in the darkness
slew one another, so that only fifteen thousand out of the great
army of one hundred and twenty thousand escaped alive. The
memory of this great deliverance impressed itself deeply on the
mind of the nation (1 Sam. 12:11; Ps. 83:11; Isa. 9:4; 10:26;
Heb. 11:32). The land had now rest for forty years. Gideon died
in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of his
fathers. Soon after his death a change came over the people.
They again forgot Jehovah, and turned to the worship of Baalim,
"neither shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal" (Judg.
8:35). Gideon left behind him seventy sons, a feeble, sadly
degenerated race, with one exception, that of Abimelech, who
seems to have had much of the courage and energy of his father,
yet of restless and unscrupulous ambition. He gathered around
him a band who slaughtered all Gideon's sons, except Jotham,
upon one stone. (See OPHRAH T0002798.)
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.].)
he whom Jehovah has set up, the second son of Josiah, and
eighteenth king of Judah, which he ruled over for eleven years
(B.C. 610-599). His original name was Eliakim (q.v.).
On the death of his father his younger brother Jehoahaz
(=Shallum, Jer. 22:11), who favoured the Chaldeans against the
Egyptians, was made king by the people; but the king of Egypt,
Pharaoh-necho, invaded the land and deposed Jehoahaz (2 Kings
23:33, 34; Jer. 22:10-12), setting Eliakim on the throne in his
stead, and changing his name to Jehoiakim.
After this the king of Egypt took no part in Jewish politics,
having been defeated by the Chaldeans at Carchemish (2 Kings
24:7; Jer. 46:2). Israel was now invaded and conquered by
Nebuchadnezzar. Jehoiakim was taken prisoner and carried captive
to Babylon (2 Chr. 36:6, 7). It was at this time that Daniel
also and his three companions were taken captive to Babylon
(Dan. 1:1, 2).
Nebuchadnezzar reinstated Jehoiakim on his throne, but treated
him as a vassal king. In the year after this, Jeremiah caused
his prophecies to be read by Baruch in the court of the temple.
Jehoiakim, hearing of this, had them also read in the royal
palace before himself. The words displeased him, and taking the
roll from the hands of Baruch he cut it in pieces and threw it
into the fire (Jer. 36:23). During his disastrous reign there
was a return to the old idolatry and corruption of the days of
After three years of subjection to Babylon, Jehoiakim withheld
his tribute and threw off the yoke (2 Kings 24:1), hoping to
make himself independent. Nebuchadnezzar sent bands of
Chaldeans, Syrians, and Ammonites (2 Kings 24:2) to chastise his
rebellious vassal. They cruelly harassed the whole country
(compare Jer. 49:1-6). The king came to a violent death, and his
body having been thrown over the wall of Jerusalem, to convince
the beseieging army that he was dead, after having been dragged
away, was buried beyond the gates of Jerusalem "with the burial
of an ass," B.C. 599 (Jer. 22:18, 19; 36:30). Nebuchadnezzar
placed his son Jehoiachin on the throne, wishing still to retain
the kingdom of Judah as tributary to him.
is used in the LXX. for "stranger" (1 Chr. 22:2), i.e., a comer
to Israel; a sojourner in the land (Ex. 12:48; 20:10; 22:21),
and in the New Testament for a convert to Judaism. There were
such converts from early times (Isa. 56:3; Neh. 10:28; Esther
8:17). The law of Moses made specific regulations regarding the
admission into the Jewish church of such as were not born
Israelites (Ex. 20:10; 23:12; 12:19, 48; Deut. 5:14; 16:11, 14,
etc.). The Kenites, the Gibeonites, the Cherethites, and the
Pelethites were thus admitted to the privileges of Israelites.
Thus also we hear of individual proselytes who rose to positions
of prominence in Israel, as of Doeg the Edomite, Uriah the
Hittite, Araunah the Jebusite, Zelek the Ammonite, Ithmah and
Ebedmelech the Ethiopians.
In the time of Solomon there were one hundred and fifty-three
thousand six hundred strangers in the land of Israel (1 Chr.
22:2; 2 Chr. 2:17, 18). And the prophets speak of the time as
coming when the strangers shall share in all the privileges of
Israel (Ezek. 47:22; Isa. 2:2; 11:10; 56:3-6; Micah 4:1).
Accordingly, in New Testament times, we read of proselytes in
the synagogues, (Acts 10:2, 7; 13:42, 43, 50; 17:4; 18:7; Luke
7:5). The "religious proselytes" here spoken of were proselytes
of righteousness, as distinguished from proselytes of the gate.
The distinction between "proselytes of the gate" (Ex. 20:10)
and "proselytes of righteousness" originated only with the
rabbis. According to them, the "proselytes of the gate" (half
proselytes) were not required to be circumcised nor to comply
with the Mosaic ceremonial law. They were bound only to conform
to the so-called seven precepts of Noah, viz., to abstain from
idolatry, blasphemy, bloodshed, uncleaness, the eating of blood,
theft, and to yield obedience to the authorities. Besides these
laws, however, they were required to abstain from work on the
Sabbath, and to refrain from the use of leavened bread during
the time of the Passover.
The "proselytes of righteousness", religious or devout
proselytes (Acts 13:43), were bound to all the doctrines and
precepts of the Jewish economy, and were members of the
synagogue in full communion.
The name "proselyte" occurs in the New Testament only in Matt.
23:15; Acts 2:10; 6:5; 13:43. The name by which they are
commonly designated is that of "devout men," or men "fearing
God" or "worshipping God."
whom Jehovah has strengthened. (1.) Son of Ahaz (2 Kings 18:1; 2
Chr. 29:1), whom he succeeded on the throne of the kingdom of
Judah. He reigned twenty-nine years (B.C. 726-697). The history
of this king is contained in 2 Kings 18:20, Isa. 36-39, and 2
Chr. 29-32. He is spoken of as a great and good king. In public
life he followed the example of his great-granfather Uzziah. He
set himself to abolish idolatry from his kingdom, and among
other things which he did for this end, he destroyed the "brazen
serpent," which had been removed to Jerusalem, and had become an
object of idolatrous worship (Num. 21:9). A great reformation
was wrought in the kingdom of Judah in his day (2 Kings 18:4; 2
On the death of Sargon and the accession of his son
Sennacherib to the throne of Assyria, Hezekiah refused to pay
the tribute which his father had paid, and "rebelled against the
king of Assyria, and served him not," but entered into a league
with Egypt (Isa. 30; 31; 36:6-9). This led to the invasion of
Judah by Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:13-16), who took forty cities,
and besieged Jerusalem with mounds. Hezekiah yielded to the
demands of the Assyrian king, and agreed to pay him three
hundred talents of silver and thirty of gold (18:14).
But Sennacherib dealt treacherously with Hezekiah (Isa. 33:1),
and a second time within two years invaded his kingdom (2 Kings
18:17; 2 Chr. 32:9; Isa. 36). This invasion issued in the
destruction of Sennacherib's army. Hezekiah prayed to God, and
"that night the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the
camp of the Assyrians 185,000 men." Sennacherib fled with the
shattered remnant of his forces to Nineveh, where, seventeen
years after, he was assassinated by his sons Adrammelech and
Sharezer (2 Kings 19:37). (See SENNACHERIB T0003273.)
The narrative of Hezekiah's sickness and miraculous recovery
is found in 2 Kings 20:1, 2 Chr. 32:24, Isa. 38:1. Various
ambassadors came to congratulate him on his recovery, and among
them Merodach-baladan, the viceroy of Babylon (2 Chr. 32:23; 2
Kings 20:12). He closed his days in peace and prosperity, and
was succeeded by his son Manasseh. He was buried in the
"chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David" (2 Chr.
32:27-33). He had "after him none like him among all the kings
of Judah, nor any that were before him" (2 Kings 18:5). (See
The Heb. kohen, Gr. hierus, Lat. sacerdos, always denote one who
At first every man was his own priest, and presented his own
sacrifices before God. Afterwards that office devolved on the
head of the family, as in the cases of Noah (Gen. 8:20), Abraham
(12:7; 13:4), Isaac (26:25), Jacob (31:54), and Job (Job 1:5).
The name first occurs as applied to Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18).
Under the Levitical arrangements the office of the priesthood
was limited to the tribe of Levi, and to only one family of that
tribe, the family of Aaron. Certain laws respecting the
qualifications of priests are given in Lev. 21:16-23. There are
ordinances also regarding the priests' dress (Ex. 28:40-43) and
the manner of their consecration to the office (29:1-37).
Their duties were manifold (Ex. 27:20, 21; 29:38-44; Lev.
6:12; 10:11; 24:8; Num. 10:1-10; Deut. 17:8-13; 33:10; Mal.
2:7). They represented the people before God, and offered the
various sacrifices prescribed in the law.
In the time of David the priests were divided into twenty-four
courses or classes (1 Chr. 24:7-18). This number was retained
after the Captivity (Ezra 2:36-39; Neh. 7:39-42).
"The priests were not distributed over the country, but lived
together in certain cities [forty-eight in number, of which six
were cities of refuge, q.v.], which had been assigned to their
use. From thence they went up by turns to minister in the temple
at Jerusalem. Thus the religious instruction of the people in
the country generally was left to the heads of families, until
the establishment of synagogues, an event which did not take
place till the return from the Captivity, and which was the main
source of the freedom from idolatry that became as marked a
feature of the Jewish people thenceforward as its practice had
been hitherto their great national sin."
The whole priestly system of the Jews was typical. It was a
shadow of which the body is Christ. The priests all prefigured
the great Priest who offered "one sacrifice for sins" "once for
all" (Heb. 10:10, 12). There is now no human priesthood. (See
Epistle to the Hebrews throughout.) The term "priest" is indeed
applied to believers (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6), but in these cases
it implies no sacerdotal functions. All true believers are now
"kings and priests unto God." As priests they have free access
into the holiest of all, and offer up the sacrifices of praise
and thanksgiving, and the sacrifices of grateful service from
day to day.
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
shoulder. (1.) The son of Hamor the Hivite (Gen. 33:19; 34).
(2.) A descendant of Manasseh (Num. 26:31; Josh. 17:2).
(3.) A city in Samaria (Gen. 33:18), called also Sichem
(12:6), Sychem (Acts 7:16). It stood in the narrow sheltered
valley between Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the south, these
mountains at their base being only some 500 yards apart. Here
Abraham pitched his tent and built his first altar in the
Promised Land, and received the first divine promise (Gen. 12:6,
7). Here also Jacob "bought a parcel of a field at the hands of
the children of Hamor" after his return from Mesopotamia, and
settled with his household, which he purged from idolatry by
burying the teraphim of his followers under an oak tree, which
was afterwards called "the oak of the sorcerer" (Gen. 33:19;
35:4; Judg. 9:37). (See MEONENIM T0002483.) Here too, after a
while, he dug a well, which bears his name to this day (John
4:5, 39-42). To Shechem Joshua gathered all Israel "before God,"
and delivered to them his second parting address (Josh.
24:1-15). He "made a covenant with the people that day" at the
very place where, on first entering the land, they had responded
to the law from Ebal and Gerizim (Josh. 24:25), the terms of
which were recorded "in the book of the law of God", i.e., in
the roll of the law of Moses; and in memory of this solemn
transaction a great stone was set up "under an oak" (compare Gen.
28:18; 31:44-48; Ex. 24:4; Josh. 4:3, 8, 9), possibly the old
"oak of Moreh," as a silent witness of the transaction to all
Shechem became one of the cities of refuge, the central city
of refuge for Western Israel (Josh. 20:7), and here the bones
of Joseph were buried (24:32). Rehoboam was appointed king in
Shechem (1 Kings 12:1, 19), but Jeroboam afterwards took up his
residence here. This city is mentioned in connection with our
Lord's conversation with the woman of Samaria (John 4:5); and
thus, remaining as it does to the present day, it is one of the
oldest cities of the world. It is the modern Nablus, a
contraction for Neapolis, the name given to it by Vespasian. It
lies about a mile and a half up the valley on its southern
slope, and on the north of Gerizim, which rises about 1,100 feet
above it, and is about 34 miles north of Jerusalem. It contains
about 10,000 inhabitants, of whom about 160 are Samaritans and
100 Jews, the rest being Christians and Mohammedans.
The site of Shechem is said to be of unrivalled beauty.
Stanley says it is "the most beautiful, perhaps the only very
beautiful, spot in Central Israel."
Gaza, near Shechem, only mentioned 1 Chr. 7:28, has entirely
disappeared. It was destroyed at the time of the Conquest, and
its place was taken by Shechem. (See SYCHAR T0003542.)
healed by Jehovah, or Jehovah will support. The son of Amon, and
his successor on the throne of Judah (2 Kings 22:1; 2 Chr.
34:1). His history is contained in 2 Kings 22, 23. He stands
foremost among all the kings of the line of David for unswerving
loyalty to Jehovah (23:25). He "did that which was right in the
sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his
father." He ascended the throne at the early age of eight years,
and it appears that not till eight years afterwards did he begin
"to seek after the God of David his father." At that age he
devoted himself to God. He distinguished himself by beginning a
war of extermination against the prevailing idolatry, which had
practically been the state religion for some seventy years (2
Chr. 34:3; compare Jer. 25:3, 11, 29).
In the eighteenth year of his reign he proceeded to repair and
beautify the temple, which by time and violence had become
sorely dilapidated (2 Kings 22:3, 5, 6; 23:23; 2 Chr. 34:11).
While this work was being carried on, Hilkiah, the high priest,
discovered a roll, which was probably the original copy of the
law, the entire Pentateuch, written by Moses.
When this book was read to him, the king was alarmed by the
things it contained, and sent for Huldah, the "prophetess," for
her counsel. She spoke to him words of encouragement, telling
him that he would be gathered to his fathers in peace before the
threatened days of judgment came. Josiah immediately gathered
the people together, and engaged them in a renewal of their
ancient national covenant with God. The Passover was then
celebrated, as in the days of his great predecessor, Hezekiah,
with unusual magnificence. Nevertheless, "the Lord turned not
from the fierceness of his great wrath wherewith his anger was
kindled against Judah" (2 Kings 22:3-20; 23:21-27; 2 Chr.
35:1-19). During the progress of this great religious revolution
Jeremiah helped it on by his earnest exhortations.
Soon after this, Pharaoh-Necho II. (q.v.), king of Egypt, in
an expedition against the king of Assyria, with the view of
gaining possession of Carchemish, sought a passage through the
territory of Judah for his army. This Josiah refused to permit.
He had probably entered into some new alliance with the king of
Assyria, and faithful to his word he sought to oppose the
progress of Necho.
The army of Judah went out and encountered that of Egypt at
Megiddo, on the verge of the plain of Esdraelon. Josiah went
into the field in disguise, and was fatally wounded by a random
arrow. His attendants conveyed him toward Jerusalem, but had
only reached Hadadrimmon, a few miles south of Megiddo, when he
died (2 Kings 23:28, 30; compare 2 Chr. 35:20-27), after a reign
of thirty-one years. He was buried with the greatest honours in
fulfilment of Huldah's prophecy (2 Kings 22:20; compare Jer.
34:5). Jeremiah composed a funeral elegy on this the best of the
kings of Israel (Lam. 4:20; 2 Chr. 35:25). The outburst of
national grief on account of his death became proverbial (Zech.
12:11; compare Rev. 16:16).
a rock, now es-Sur; an ancient Phoenician city, about 23 miles,
in a direct line, north of Acre, and 20 south of Sidon. Sidon
was the oldest Phoenician city, but Tyre had a longer and more
illustrious history. The commerce of the whole world was
gathered into the warehouses of Tyre. "Tyrian merchants were the
first who ventured to navigate the Mediterranean waters; and
they founded their colonies on the coasts and neighbouring
islands of the AEgean Sea, in Greece, on the northern coast of
Africa, at Carthage and other places, in Sicily and Corsica, in
Spain at Tartessus, and even beyond the pillars of Hercules at
Gadeira (Cadiz)" (Driver's Isaiah). In the time of David a
friendly alliance was entered into between the Hebrews and the
Tyrians, who were long ruled over by their native kings (2 Sam.
5:11; 1 Kings 5:1; 2 Chr. 2:3).
Tyre consisted of two distinct parts, a rocky fortress on the
mainland, called "Old Tyre," and the city, built on a small,
rocky island about half-a-mile distant from the shore. It was a
place of great strength. It was besieged by Shalmaneser, who was
assisted by the Phoenicians of the mainland, for five years, and
by Nebuchadnezzar (B.C. 586-573) for thirteen years, apparently
without success. It afterwards fell under the power of Alexander
the Great, after a siege of seven months, but continued to
maintain much of its commercial importance till the Christian
era. It is referred to in Matt. 11:21 and Acts 12:20. In A.D.
1291 it was taken by the Saracens, and has remained a desolate
ruin ever since.
"The purple dye of Tyre had a worldwide celebrity on account
of the durability of its beautiful tints, and its manufacture
proved a source of abundant wealth to the inhabitants of that
Both Tyre and Sidon "were crowded with glass-shops, dyeing and
weaving establishments; and among their cunning workmen not the
least important class were those who were celebrated for the
engraving of precious stones." (2 Chr. 2:7,14).
The wickedness and idolatry of this city are frequently
denounced by the prophets, and its final destruction predicted
(Isa. 23:1; Jer. 25:22; Ezek. 26; 28:1-19; Amos 1:9, 10; Zech.
Here a church was founded soon after the death of Stephen, and
Paul, on his return from his third missionary journey spent a
week in intercourse with the disciples there (Acts 21:4). Here
the scene at Miletus was repeated on his leaving them. They all,
with their wives and children, accompanied him to the sea-shore.
The sea-voyage of the apostle terminated at Ptolemais, about 38
miles from Tyre. Thence he proceeded to Caesarea (Acts 21:5-8).
"It is noticed on monuments as early as B.C. 1500, and
claiming, according to Herodotus, to have been founded about
B.C. 2700. It had two ports still existing, and was of
commercial importance in all ages, with colonies at Carthage
(about B.C. 850) and all over the Mediterranean. It was often
attacked by Egypt and Assyria, and taken by Alexander the Great
after a terrible siege in B.C. 332. It is now a town of 3,000
inhabitants, with ancient tombs and a ruined cathedral. A short
Phoenician text of the fourth century B.C. is the only monument
ANGEL, a word signifying, both in the Hebrew and Greek, a "messenger,"
and hence employed to denote any agent God sends forth to
execute his purposes. It is used of an ordinary messenger (Job
1:14: 1 Sam. 11:3; Luke 7:24; 9:52), of prophets (Isa. 42:19;
Hag. 1:13), of priests (Mal. 2:7), and ministers of the New
Testament (Rev. 1:20).
It is also applied to such impersonal agents as the pestilence
(2 Sam. 24:16, 17; 2 Kings 19:35), the wind (Ps. 104:4).
But its distinctive application is to certain heavenly
intelligences whom God employs in carrying on his government of
the world. The name does not denote their nature but their
office as messengers. The appearances to Abraham at Mamre (Gen.
18:2, 22. Compare 19:1), to Jacob at Peniel (Gen. 32:24, 30), to
Joshua at Gilgal (Josh. 5:13, 15), of the Angel of the Lord,
were doubtless manifestations of the Divine presence,
"foreshadowings of the incarnation," revelations before the
"fulness of the time" of the Son of God.
(1.) The existence and orders of angelic beings can only be
discovered from the Scriptures. Although the Bible does not
treat of this subject specially, yet there are numerous
incidental details that furnish us with ample information. Their
personal existence is plainly implied in such passages as Gen.
16:7, 10, 11; Judg. 13:1-21; Matt. 28:2-5; Heb. 1:4, etc.
These superior beings are very numerous. "Thousand thousands,"
etc. (Dan. 7:10; Matt. 26:53; Luke 2:13; Heb. 12:22, 23). They
are also spoken of as of different ranks in dignity and power
(Zech. 1:9, 11; Dan. 10:13; 12:1; 1 Thess. 4:16; Jude 1:9; Eph.
1:21; Col. 1:16).
(2.) As to their nature, they are spirits (Heb. 1:14), like
the soul of man, but not incorporeal. Such expressions as "like
the angels" (Luke 20:36), and the fact that whenever angels
appeared to man it was always in a human form (Gen. 18:2; 19:1,
10; Luke 24:4; Acts 1:10), and the titles that are applied to
them ("sons of God," Job 1:6; 38:7; Dan. 3:25; compare 28) and to
men (Luke 3:38), seem all to indicate some resemblance between
them and the human race. Imperfection is ascribed to them as
creatures (Job 4:18; Matt. 24:36; 1 Pet. 1:12). As finite
creatures they may fall under temptation; and accordingly we
read of "fallen angels." Of the cause and manner of their "fall"
we are wholly ignorant. We know only that "they left their first
estate" (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 12:7,9), and that they are "reserved
unto judgement" (2 Pet. 2:4). When the manna is called "angels'
food," this is merely to denote its excellence (Ps. 78:25).
Angels never die (Luke 20:36). They are possessed of superhuman
intelligence and power (Mark 13:32; 2 Thess. 1:7; Ps. 103:20).
They are called "holy" (Luke 9:26), "elect" (1 Tim. 5:21). The
redeemed in glory are "like unto the angels" (Luke 20:36). They
are not to be worshipped (Col. 2:18; Rev. 19:10).
(3.) Their functions are manifold. (a) In the widest sense
they are agents of God's providence (Ex. 12:23; Ps. 104:4; Heb.
11:28; 1 Cor. 10:10; 2 Sam. 24:16; 1 Chr. 21:16; 2 Kings 19:35;
Acts 12:23). (b) They are specially God's agents in carrying on
his great work of redemption. There is no notice of angelic
appearances to man till after the call of Abraham. From that
time onward there are frequent references to their ministry on
earth (Gen. 18; 19; 24:7, 40; 28:12; 32:1). They appear to
rebuke idolatry (Judg. 2:1-4), to call Gideon (Judg. 6:11, 12),
and to consecrate Samson (13:3). In the days of the prophets,
from Samuel downward, the angels appear only in their behalf (1
Kings 19:5; 2 Kings 6:17; Zech. 1-6; Dan. 4:13, 23; 10:10, 13,
The Incarnation introduces a new era in the ministrations of
angels. They come with their Lord to earth to do him service
while here. They predict his advent (Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:26-38),
minister to him after his temptation and agony (Matt. 4:11; Luke
22:43), and declare his resurrection and ascension (Matt.
28:2-8; John 20:12, 13; Acts 1:10, 11). They are now ministering
spirits to the people of God (Heb. 1:14; Ps. 34:7; 91:11; Matt.
18:10; Acts 5:19; 8:26; 10:3; 12:7; 27:23). They rejoice over a
penitent sinner (Luke 15:10). They bear the souls of the
redeemed to paradise (Luke 16:22); and they will be the
ministers of judgement hereafter on the great day (Matt. 13:39,
41, 49; 16:27; 24:31). The passages (Ps. 34:7, Matt. 18:10)
usually referred to in support of the idea that every individual
has a particular guardian angel have no such meaning. They
merely indicate that God employs the ministry of angels to
deliver his people from affliction and danger, and that the
angels do not think it below their dignity to minister even to
children and to the least among Christ's disciples.
The "angel of his presence" (Isa. 63:9. Compare Ex. 23:20, 21;
32:34; 33:2; Num. 20:16) is probably rightly interpreted of the
Messiah as the guide of his people. Others have supposed the
expression to refer to Gabriel (Luke 1:19).
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.