(Heb. mizbe'ah, from a word meaning "to slay"), any structure of
earth (Ex. 20:24) or unwrought stone (20:25) on which sacrifices
were offered. Altars were generally erected in conspicuous
places (Gen. 22:9; Ezek. 6:3; 2 Kings 23:12; 16:4; 23:8; Acts
14:13). The word is used in Heb. 13:10 for the sacrifice offered
upon it--the sacrifice Christ offered.
Paul found among the many altars erected in Athens one bearing
the inscription, "To the unknown God" (Acts 17:23), or rather
"to an [i.e., some] unknown God." The reason for this
inscription cannot now be accurately determined. It afforded the
apostle the occasion of proclaiming the gospel to the "men of
The first altar we read of is that erected by Noah (Gen.
8:20). Altars were erected by Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 13:4; 22:9),
by Isaac (Gen. 26:25), by Jacob (33:20; 35:1, 3), and by Moses
(Ex. 17:15, "Jehovah-nissi").
In the tabernacle, and afterwards in the temple, two altars
(1.) The altar of burnt offering (Ex. 30:28), called also the
"brasen altar" (Ex. 39:39) and "the table of the Lord" (Mal.
This altar, as erected in the tabernacle, is described in Ex.
27:1-8. It was a hollow square, 5 cubits in length and in
breadth, and 3 cubits in height. It was made of shittim wood,
and was overlaid with plates of brass. Its corners were
ornamented with "horns" (Ex. 29:12; Lev. 4:18).
In Ex. 27:3 the various utensils appertaining to the altar are
enumerated. They were made of brass. (Compare 1 Sam. 2:13, 14;
Lev. 16:12; Num. 16:6, 7.)
In Solomon's temple the altar was of larger dimensions (2 Chr.
4:1. Compare 1 Kings 8:22, 64; 9:25), and was made wholly of
brass, covering a structure of stone or earth. This altar was
renewed by Asa (2 Chr. 15:8). It was removed by Ahaz (2 Kings
16:14), and "cleansed" by Hezekiah, in the latter part of whose
reign it was rebuilt. It was finally broken up and carried away
by the Babylonians (Jer. 52:17).
After the return from captivity it was re-erected (Ezra 3:3,
6) on the same place where it had formerly stood. (Compare 1 Macc.
4:47.) When Antiochus Epiphanes pillaged Jerusalem the altar of
burnt offering was taken away.
Again the altar was erected by Herod, and remained in its
place till the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans (70 A.D.).
The fire on the altar was not permitted to go out (Lev. 6:9).
In the Mosque of Omar, immediately underneath the great dome,
which occupies the site of the old temple, there is a rough
projection of the natural rock, of about 60 feet in its extreme
length, and 50 in its greatest breadth, and in its highest part
about 4 feet above the general pavement. This rock seems to have
been left intact when Solomon's temple was built. It was in all
probability the site of the altar of burnt offering. Underneath
this rock is a cave, which may probably have been the granary of
Araunah's threshing-floor (1 Chr. 21:22).
(2.) The altar of incense (Ex. 30:1-10), called also "the
golden altar" (39:38; Num. 4:11), stood in the holy place
"before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony." On this
altar sweet spices were continually burned with fire taken from
the brazen altar. The morning and the evening services were
commenced by the high priest offering incense on this altar. The
burning of the incense was a type of prayer (Ps. 141:2; Rev.
5:8; 8:3, 4).
This altar was a small movable table, made of acacia wood
overlaid with gold (Ex. 37:25, 26). It was 1 cubit in length and
breadth, and 2 cubits in height.
In Solomon's temple the altar was similar in size, but was
made of cedar-wood (1 Kings 6:20; 7:48) overlaid with gold. In
Ezek. 41:22 it is called "the altar of wood." (Compare Ex.
In the temple built after the Exile the altar was restored.
Antiochus Epiphanes took it away, but it was afterwards restored
by Judas Maccabaeus (1 Macc. 1:23; 4:49). Among the trophies
carried away by Titus on the destruction of Jerusalem the altar
of incense is not found, nor is any mention made of it in Heb.
9. It was at this altar Zacharias ministered when an angel
appeared to him (Luke 1:11). It is the only altar which appears
in the heavenly temple (Isa. 6:6; Rev. 8:3,4).
a network of brass for the bottom of the great altar of
sacrifice (Ex. 27:4; 35:16; 38:4, 5, 30).
witness, a word not found in the original Hebrew, nor in the
LXX. and Vulgate, but added by the translators in the Authorized
Version, also in the Revised Version, of Josh. 22:34. The words
are literally rendered: "And the children of Reuben and the
children of Gad named the altar. It is a witness between us that
Jehovah is God." This great altar stood probably on the east
side of the Jordan, in the land of Gilead, "over against the
land of Canaan." After the division of the Promised Land, the
tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh, on
returning to their own settlements on the east of Jordan (Josh.
22:1-6), erected a great altar, which they affirmed, in answer
to the challenge of the other tribes, was not for sacrifice, but
only as a witness ('Ed) or testimony to future generations that
they still retained the same interest in the nation as the other
an eminence, natural or artificial, where worship by sacrifice
or offerings was made (1 Kings 13:32; 2 Kings 17:29). The first
altar after the Flood was built on a mountain (Gen. 8:20).
Abraham also built an altar on a mountain (12:7, 8). It was on a
mountain in Gilead that Laban and Jacob offered sacrifices
(31:54). After the Israelites entered the Promised Land they
were strictly enjoined to overthrow the high places of the
Canaanites (Ex. 34:13; Deut. 7:5; 12:2, 3), and they were
forbidden to worship the Lord on high places (Deut. 12:11-14),
and were enjoined to use but one altar for sacrifices (Lev.
17:3, 4; Deut. 12; 16:21). The injunction against high places
was, however, very imperfectly obeyed, and we find again and
again mention made of them (2 Kings 14:4; 15:4, 35:2 Chr. 15:17,
a vessel of metal or earthenware used in culinary operations; a
cooking-pan or frying-pan frequently referred to in the Old
Testament (Lev. 2:5; 6:21; Num. 11:8; 1 Sam. 2:14, etc.).
The "ash-pans" mentioned in Ex. 27:3 were made of copper, and
were used in connection with the altar of burnt-offering. The
"iron pan" mentioned in Ezek. 4:3 (marg., "flat plate " or
"slice") was probably a mere plate of iron used for baking. The
"fire-pans" of Ex. 27:3 were fire-shovels used for taking up
coals. The same Hebrew word is rendered "snuff-dishes" (25:38;
37:23) and "censers" (Lev. 10:1; 16:12; Num. 4:14, etc.). These
were probably simply metal vessels employed for carrying burning
embers from the brazen altar to the altar of incense.
The "frying-pan" mentioned in Lev. 2:7; 7:9 was a pot for
God of Bethel, the name of the place where Jacob had the vision
of the ladder, and where he erected an altar (Gen. 31:13; 35:7).
Jehovah send peace, the name which Gideon gave to the altar he
erected on the spot at Ophrah where the angel appeared to him
contender with Baal; or, let Baal plead, a surname of Gideon; a
name given to him because he destroyed the altar of Baal (Judg.
6:32; 7:1; 8:29; 1 Sam. 12:11).
the lord is my light. (1.) A high priest in the time of Ahaz (2
Kings 16:10-16), at whose bidding he constructed an idolatrous
altar like one the king had seen at Damascus, to be set up
instead of the brazen altar.
(2.) One of the priests who stood at the right hand of Ezra's
pulpit when he read and expounded the law (Neh. 8:4).
(3.) A prophet of Kirjath-jearim in the reign of Jehoiakim,
king of Judah (Jer. 26:20-23). He fled into Egypt from the
cruelty of the king, but having been brought back he was
beheaded and his body "cast into the graves of the common
(Acts 14:13). In heathen sacrifices the victims were adorned
with fillets and garlands made of wool, with leaves and flowers
interwoven. The altar and the priests and attendants were also
in like manner adorned.
Jehovah my banner, the title given by Moses to the altar which
he erected on the hill on the top of which he stood with
uplifted hands while Israel prevailed over their enemies the
Amalekites (Ex. 17:15).
(1.) Witness or evidence (2 Thess. 1:10).
(2.) The Scriptures, as the revelation of God's will (2 Kings
11:12; Ps. 19:7; 119:88; Isa. 8:16, 20).
(3.) The altar raised by the Gadites and Reubenites (Josh.
gift. (1.) A priest of Baal, slain before his altar during the
reformation under Jehoiada (2 Kings 11:18).
(2.) The son of Eleazar, and father of Jacob, who was the
father of Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary (Matt. 1:15).
(3.) The father of Shephatiah (Jer. 38:1).
(Neh. 10:34; 13:31). It would seem that in the time of Nehemiah
arrangements were made, probably on account of the comparative
scarcity of wood, by which certain districts were required, as
chosen by lot, to furnish wood to keep the altar fire
perpetually burning (Lev. 6:13).
the lion of God. (1.) One of the chief men sent by Ezra to
procure Levites for the sanctuary (Ezra 8:16).
(2.) A symbolic name for Jerusalem (Isa. 29:1, 2, 7) as
"victorious under God," and in Ezek. 43:15, 16, for the altar
(marg., Heb. 'ariel) of burnt offerings, the secret of Israel's
(Dan. 8:12; 11:31; 12:11), a burnt offering of two lambs of a
year old, which were daily sacrificed in the name of the whole
Israelitish people upon the great altar, the first at dawn of
day, and the second at evening (Dan. 9:21), or more correctly,
"between the two evenings." (See SACRIFICE T0003179.)
the vessel in which incense was presented on "the golden altar"
before the Lord in the temple (Ex. 30:1-9). The priest filled
the censer with live coal from the sacred fire on the altar of
burnt-offering, and having carried it into the sanctuary, there
threw upon the burning coals the sweet incense (Lev. 16:12, 13),
which sent up a cloud of smoke, filling the apartment with
fragrance. The censers in daily use were of brass (Num. 16:39),
and were designated by a different Hebrew name, "miktereth" (2
Chr. 26:19; Ezek. 8:11): while those used on the day of
Atonement were of gold, and were denoted by a word (mahtah)
meaning "something to take fire with;" LXX. pureion = a
fire-pan. Solomon prepared for the temple censers of pure gold
(1 Kings 7:50; 2 Chr. 4:22). The angel in the Apocalypse is
represented with a golden censer (Rev. 8:3, 5). Paul speaks of
the golden censer as belonging to the tabernacle (Heb. 9:4). The
Greek word thumiaterion, here rendered "censer," may more
appropriately denote, as in the margin of Revised Version, "the
altar of incense." Paul does not here say that the thumiaterion
was in the holiest, for it was in the holy place, but that the
holiest had it, i.e., that it belonged to the holiest (1 Kings
6:22). It was intimately connected with the high priest's
service in the holiest.
The manner in which the censer is to be used is described in
Num. 4:14; Lev. 16:12.
Trumpets were at first horns perforated at the tip, used for
various purposes (Josh. 6:4,5).
Flasks or vessels were made of horn (1 Sam. 16:1, 13; 1 Kings
But the word is used also metaphorically to denote the
projecting corners of the altar of burnt offerings (Ex. 27:2)
and of incense (30:2). The horns of the altar of burnt offerings
were to be smeared with the blood of the slain bullock (29:12;
Lev. 4:7-18). The criminal, when his crime was accidental, found
an asylum by laying hold of the horns of the altar (1 Kings
The word also denotes the peak or summit of a hill (Isa. 5:1,
where the word "hill" is the rendering of the same Hebrew word).
This word is used metaphorically also for strength (Deut.
33:17) and honour (Job 16:15; Lam. 2:3). Horns are emblems of
power, dominion, glory, and fierceness, as they are the chief
means of attack and defence with the animals endowed with them
(Dan. 8:5, 9; 1 Sam. 2:1; 16:1, 13; 1 Kings 1:39; 22:11; Josh.
6:4, 5; Ps. 75:5, 10; 132:17; Luke 1:69, etc.). The expression
"horn of salvation," applied to Christ, means a salvation of
strength, or a strong Saviour (Luke 1:69). To have the horn
"exalted" denotes prosperity and triumph (Ps. 89:17, 24). To
"lift up" the horn is to act proudly (Zech. 1:21).
Horns are also the symbol of royal dignity and power (Jer.
48:25; Zech. 1:18; Dan. 8:24).
one of the two portions into which the tabernacle was divided
(Ex. 26:31; 37:17-25; Heb. 9:2). It was 20 cubits long and 10 in
height and breadth. It was illuminated by the golden
candlestick, as it had no opening to admit the light. It
contained the table of showbread (Ex. 25:23-29) and the golden
altar of incense (30:1-11). It was divided from the holy of
holies by a veil of the most costly materials and the brightest
The arrangement of the temple (q.v.) was the same in this
respect. In it the walls of hewn stone were wainscotted with
cedar and overlaid with gold, and adorned with beautiful
carvings. It was entered from the porch by folding doors
overlaid with gold and richly embossed. Outside the holy place
stood the great tank or "sea" of molten brass, supported by
twelve oxen, three turned each way, capable of containing two
thousand baths of water. Besides this there were ten lavers and
the brazen altar of burnt sacrifice.
(Heb. nataph), one of the components of the perfume which was
offered on the golden altar (Ex. 30:34; R.V. marg.,
"opobalsamum"). The Hebrew word is from a root meaning "to
distil," and it has been by some interpreted as distilled myrrh.
Others regard it as the gum of the storax tree, or rather shrub,
the Styrax officinale. "The Syrians value this gum highly, and
use it medicinally as an emulcent in pectoral complaints, and
also in perfumery."
an archer, teacher; fruitful. (1.) A Canaanite probably who
inhabited the district south of Shechem, between Mounts Ebal and
Gerizim, and gave his name to the "plain" there (Gen. 12:6).
Here at this "plain," or rather (R.V.) "oak," of Moreh, Abraham
built his first altar in the land of Israel; and here the
Lord appeared unto him. He afterwards left this plain and moved
southward, and pitched his tent between Bethel on the west and
Hai on the east (Gen. 12:7, 8).
lame on the feet (Gen. 32:31; Ps. 38:17). To "halt between two
opinions" (1 Kings 18:21) is supposed by some to be an
expression used in "allusion to birds, which hop from spray to
spray, forwards and backwards." The LXX. render the expression
"How long go ye lame on both knees?" The Hebrew verb rendered
"halt" is used of the irregular dance ("leaped upon") around the
altar (ver. 26). It indicates a lame, uncertain gait, going now
in one direction, now in another, in the frenzy of wild leaping.
a fragrant composition prepared by the "art of the apothecary."
It consisted of four ingredients "beaten small" (Ex. 30:34-36).
That which was not thus prepared was called "strange incense"
(30:9). It was offered along with every meat-offering; and
besides was daily offered on the golden altar in the holy place,
and on the great day of atonement was burnt by the high priest
in the holy of holies (30:7, 8). It was the symbol of prayer
(Ps. 141:1,2; Rev. 5:8; 8:3, 4).
denotes in Josh. 22:11, as is generally understood, the place
where the children of Israel passed over Jordan. The words "the
passage of" are, however, more correctly rendered "by the side
of," or "at the other side of," thus designating the position of
the great altar erected by the eastern tribes on their return
home. This word also designates the fords of the Jordan to the
south of the Sea of Galilee (Judg. 12:5, 6), and a pass or rocky
defile (1 Sam. 13:23; 14:4). "Passages" in Jer. 22:20 is in the
Revised Version more correctly "Abarim" (q.v.), a proper name.
mouth of brass, or from old Egypt, the negro. (1.) Son of
Eleazar, the high priest (Ex. 6:25). While yet a youth he
distinguished himself at Shittim by his zeal against the
immorality into which the Moabites had tempted the people (Num.
25:1-9), and thus "stayed the plague" that had broken out among
the people, and by which twenty-four thousand of them perished.
For his faithfulness on that occasion he received the divine
approbation (10-13). He afterwards commanded the army that went
out against the Midianites (31:6-8). When representatives of the
people were sent to expostulate with the two and a half tribes
who, just after crossing Jordan, built an altar and departed
without giving any explanation, Phinehas was their leader, and
addressed them in the words recorded in Josh. 22:16-20. Their
explanation follows. This great altar was intended to be all
ages only a witness that they still formed a part of Israel.
Phinehas was afterwards the chief adviser in the war with the
Benjamites. He is commemorated in Ps. 106:30, 31. (See ED
(2.) One of the sons of Eli, the high priest (1 Sam. 1:3;
2:12). He and his brother Hophni were guilty of great crimes,
for which destruction came on the house of Eli (31). He died in
battle with the Philistines (1 Sam. 4:4, 11); and his wife, on
hearing of his death, gave birth to a son, whom she called
"Ichabod," and then she died (19-22).
(Heb. kabhed, "heavy;" hence the liver, as being the heaviest of
the viscera, Ex. 29:13, 22; Lev. 3:4, 1, 10, 15) was burnt upon
the altar, and not used as sacrificial food. In Ezek. 21:21
there is allusion, in the statement that the king of Babylon
"looked upon the liver," to one of the most ancient of all modes
of divination. The first recorded instance of divination (q.v.)
is that of the teraphim of Laban. By the teraphim the LXX. and
Josephus understood "the liver of goats." By the "caul above the
liver," in Lev. 4:9; 7:4, etc., some understand the great lobe
of the liver itself.
(1.) For sacred purposes. The sacrifices were consumed by fire
(Gen. 8:20). The ever-burning fire on the altar was first
kindled from heaven (Lev. 6:9, 13; 9:24), and afterwards
rekindled at the dedication of Solomon's temple (2 Chr. 7:1, 3).
The expressions "fire from heaven" and "fire of the Lord"
generally denote lightning, but sometimes also the fire of the
altar was so called (Ex. 29:18; Lev. 1:9; 2:3; 3:5, 9).
Fire for a sacred purpose obtained otherwise than from the
altar was called "strange fire" (Lev. 10:1, 2; Num. 3:4).
The victims slain for sin offerings were afterwards consumed
by fire outside the camp (Lev. 4:12, 21; 6:30; 16:27; Heb.
(2.) For domestic purposes, such as baking, cooking, warmth,
etc. (Jer. 36:22; Mark 14:54; John 18:18). But on Sabbath no
fire for any domestic purpose was to be kindled (Ex. 35:3; Num.
(3.) Punishment of death by fire was inflicted on such as were
guilty of certain forms of unchastity and incest (Lev. 20:14;
21:9). The burning of captives in war was not unknown among the
Jews (2 Sam. 12:31; Jer. 29:22). The bodies of infamous persons
who were executed were also sometimes burned (Josh. 7:25; 2
(4.) In war, fire was used in the destruction of cities, as
Jericho (Josh. 6:24), Ai (8:19), Hazor (11:11), Laish (Judg.
18:27), etc. The war-chariots of the Canaanites were burnt
(Josh. 11:6, 9, 13). The Israelites burned the images (2 Kings
10:26; R.V., "pillars") of the house of Baal. These objects of
worship seem to have been of the nature of obelisks, and were
sometimes evidently made of wood.
Torches were sometimes carried by the soldiers in battle
(5.) Figuratively, fire is a symbol of Jehovah's presence and
the instrument of his power (Ex. 14:19; Num. 11:1, 3; Judg.
13:20; 1 Kings 18:38; 2 Kings 1:10, 12; 2:11; Isa. 6:4; Ezek.
1:4; Rev. 1:14, etc.).
God's word is also likened unto fire (Jer. 23:29). It is
referred to as an emblem of severe trials or misfortunes (Zech.
12:6; Luke 12:49; 1 Cor. 3:13, 15; 1 Pet. 1:7), and of eternal
punishment (Matt. 5:22; Mark 9:44; Rev. 14:10; 21:8).
The influence of the Holy Ghost is likened unto fire (Matt.
3:11). His descent was denoted by the appearance of tongues as
of fire (Acts 2:3).
agile; also called Ornan 1 Chr. 21:15, a Jebusite who dwelt in
Jerusalem before it was taken by the Israelites. The destroying
angel, sent to punish David for his vanity in taking a census of
the people, was stayed in his work of destruction near a
threshing-floor belonging to Araunah which was situated on Mount
Moriah. Araunah offered it to David as a free gift, together
with the oxen and the threshing instruments; but the king
insisted on purchasing it at its full price (2 Sam. 24:24; 1
Chr. 21:24, 25), for, according to the law of sacrifices, he
could not offer to God what cost him nothing. On the same place
Solomon afterwards erected the temple (2 Sam. 24:16; 2 Chr.
3:1). (See ALTAR T0000185.)
Dedication, Feast of the
(John 10:22, 42), i.e., the feast of the renewing. It was
instituted B.C. 164 to commemorate the purging of the temple
after its pollution by Antiochus Epiphanes (B.C. 167), and the
rebuilding of the altar after the Syrian invaders had been
driven out by Judas Maccabaeus. It lasted for eight days,
beginning on the 25th of the month Chisleu (December), which was
often a period of heavy rains (Ezra 10:9, 13). It was an
occasion of much rejoicing and festivity.
But there were other dedications of the temple. (1) That of
Solomon's temple (1 Kings 8:2; 2 Chr. 5:3); (2) the dedication
in the days of Hezekiah (2 Chr. 29); and (3) the dedication of
the temple after the Captivity (Ezra 6:16).
consisted of wine (Num. 15:5; Hos. 9:4) poured around the altar
(Ex. 30:9). Joined with meat-offerings (Num. 6:15, 17; 2 Kings
16:13; Joel 1:9, 13; 2:14), presented daily (Ex. 29:40), on the
Sabbath (Num. 28:9), and on feast-days (28:14). One-fourth of an
hin of wine was required for one lamb, one-third for a ram, and
one-half for a bullock (Num. 15:5; 28:7, 14). "Drink offerings
of blood" (Ps. 16:4) is used in allusion to the heathen practice
of mingling the blood of animals sacrificed with wine or water,
and pouring out the mixture in the worship of the gods, and the
idea conveyed is that the psalmist would not partake of the
abominations of the heathen.
stony. (1.) A mountain 3,076 feet above the level of the sea,
and 1,200 feet above the level of the valley, on the north side
of which stood the city of Shechem (q.v.). On this mountain six
of the tribes (Deut. 27:12,13) were appointed to take their
stand and respond according to a prescribed form to the
imprecations uttered in the valley, where the law was read by
the Levites (11:29; 29:4, 13). This mountain was also the site
of the first great altar erected to Jehovah (Deut. 27:5-8; Josh.
8:30-35). After this the name of Ebal does not again occur in
Jewish history. (See GERIZIM T0001465.)
(2.) A descendant of Eber (1 Chr. 1:22), called also Obal
(3.) A descendant of Seir the Horite (Gen. 36:23).
(1.) As food, prohibited in Gen. 9:4, where the use of animal
food is first allowed. Compare Deut. 12:23; Lev. 3:17; 7:26;
17:10-14. The injunction to abstain from blood is renewed in the
decree of the council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:29). It has been
held by some, and we think correctly, that this law of
prohibition was only ceremonial and temporary; while others
regard it as still binding on all. Blood was eaten by the
Israelites after the battle of Gilboa (1 Sam. 14:32-34).
(2.) The blood of sacrifices was caught by the priest in a
basin, and then sprinkled seven times on the altar; that of the
passover on the doorposts and lintels of the houses (Ex. 12;
Lev. 4:5-7; 16:14-19). At the giving of the law (Ex. 24:8) the
blood of the sacrifices was sprinkled on the people as well as
on the altar, and thus the people were consecrated to God, or
entered into covenant with him, hence the blood of the covenant
(Matt. 26:28; Heb. 9:19, 20; 10:29; 13:20).
(3.) Human blood. The murderer was to be punished (Gen. 9:5).
The blood of the murdered "crieth for vengeance" (Gen. 4:10).
The "avenger of blood" was the nearest relative of the murdered,
and he was required to avenge his death (Num. 35:24, 27). No
satisfaction could be made for the guilt of murder (Num. 35:31).
(4.) Blood used metaphorically to denote race (Acts 17:26),
and as a symbol of slaughter (Isa. 34:3). To "wash the feet in
blood" means to gain a great victory (Ps. 58:10). Wine, from its
red colour, is called "the blood of the grape" (Gen. 49:11).
Blood and water issued from our Saviour's side when it was
pierced by the Roman soldier (John 19:34). This has led
pathologists to the conclusion that the proper cause of Christ's
death was rupture of the heart. (Compare Ps. 69:20.)
(1.) A priest of the course of Abia, the eighth of the
twenty-four courses into which the priests had been originally
divided by David (1 Chr. 23:1-19). Only four of these courses or
"families" of the priests returned from the Exile (Ezra
2:36-39); but they were then re-distributed under the old
designations. The priests served at the temple twice each year,
and only for a week each time. Zacharias's time had come for
this service. During this period his home would be one of the
chambers set apart for the priests on the sides of the temple
ground. The offering of incense was one of the most solemn parts
of the daily worship of the temple, and lots were drawn each day
to determine who should have this great honour, an honour which
no priest could enjoy more than once during his lifetime.
While Zacharias ministered at the golden altar of incense in
the holy place, it was announced to him by the angel Gabriel
that his wife Elisabeth, who was also of a priestly family, now
stricken in years, would give birth to a son who was to be
called John, and that he would be the forerunner of the
long-expected Messiah (Luke 1:12-17). As a punishment for his
refusing to believe this message, he was struck dumb and "not
able to speak until the day that these things should be
performed" (20). Nine months passed away, and Elisabeth's child
was born, and when in answer to their inquiry Zacharias wrote on
a "writing tablet," "His name is John," his mouth was opened,
and he praised God (60-79). The child (John the Baptist), thus
"born out of due time," "waxed strong in spirit" (1:80).
(2.) The "son of Barachias," mentioned as having been slain
between the temple and the altar (Matt. 23:35; Luke 11:51).
"Barachias" here may be another name for Jehoiada, as some
think. (See ZECHARIAH T0003892.)
father of Him; i.e., "worshipper of God", the second of the sons
of Aaron (Ex. 6:23; Num. 3:2; 26:60; 1 Chr. 6:3). Along with his
three brothers he was consecrated to the priest's office (Ex.
28:1). With his father and elder brother he accompanied the
seventy elders part of the way up the mount with Moses (Ex.
24:1,9). On one occasion he and Nadab his brother offered
incense in their censers filled with "strange" (i.e., common)
fire, i.e., not with fire taken from the great brazen altar
(Lev. 6:9, etc.), and for this offence they were struck dead,
and were taken out and buried without the camp (Lev. 10:1-11;
compare Num. 3:4; 26:61; 1 Chr. 24:2). It is probable that when
they committed this offence they were intoxicated, for
immediately after is given the law prohibiting the use of wine
or strong drink to the priests.
my Lord is Jehovah. (1.) The fourth son of David (2 Sam. 3:4).
After the death of his elder brothers, Amnon and Absalom, he
became heir-apparent to the throne. But Solomon, a younger
brother, was preferred to him. Adonijah, however, when his
father was dying, caused himself to be proclaimed king. But
Nathan and Bathsheba induced David to give orders that Solomon
should at once be proclaimed and admitted to the throne.
Adonijah fled and took refuge at the altar, and received pardon
for his conduct from Solomon on the condition that he showed
himself "a worthy man" (1 Kings 1:5-53). He afterwards made a
second attempt to gain the throne, but was seized and put to
death (1 Kings 2:13-25).
(2.) A Levite sent with the princes to teach the book of the
law to the inhabitants of Judah (2 Chr. 17:8).
(3.) One of the "chiefs of the people" after the Captivity
praise, the name given to the group of Psalms 113-118, which are
preeminently psalms of praise. It is called "The Egyptian
Hallel," because it was chanted in the temple whilst the
Passover lambs were being slain. It was chanted also on other
festival occasions, as at Pentecost, the feast of Tabernacles,
and the feast of Dedication. The Levites, standing before the
altar, chanted it verse by verse, the people responding by
repeating the verses or by intoned hallelujahs. It was also
chanted in private families at the feast of Passover. This was
probably the hymn which our Saviour and his disciples sung at
the conclusion of the Passover supper kept by them in the upper
room at Jerusalem (Matt. 26:30; Mark 14:26).
There is also another group called "The Great Hallel,"
comprehending Psalms 118-136, which was recited on the first
evening at the Passover supper and on occasions of great joy.
the chosen of Jehovah. Some contend that Mount Gerizim is meant,
but most probably we are to regard this as one of the hills of
Jerusalem. Here Solomon's temple was built, on the spot that had
been the threshing-floor of Ornan the Jebusite (2 Sam. 24:24,
25; 2 Chr. 3:1). It is usually included in Zion, to the
NE of which it lay, and from which it was separated by
the Tyropoean valley. This was "the land of Moriah" to which
Abraham went to offer up his son Isaac (Gen. 22:2). It has been
supposed that the highest point of the temple hill, which is now
covered by the Mohammedan Kubbetes-Sakhrah, or "Dome of the
Rock," is the actual site of Araunah's threshing-floor. Here
also, one thousand years after Abraham, David built an altar and
offered sacrifices to God. (See JERUSALEM T0002043; NUMBERING
THE PEOPLE T0002753.)
liberal, generous. (1.) The eldest of Aaron's four sons (Ex.
6:23; Num. 3:2). He with his brothers and their father were
consecrated as priests of Jehovah (Ex. 28:1). He afterwards
perished with Abihu for the sin of offering strange fire on the
altar of burnt-offering (Lev. 10:1,2; Num. 3:4; 26:60).
(2.) The son and successor of Jeroboam, the king of Israel (1
Kings 14:20). While engaged with all Israel in laying siege to
Gibbethon, a town of southern Dan (Josh. 19:44), a conspiracy
broke out in his army, and he was slain by Baasha (1 Kings
15:25-28), after a reign of two years (B.C. 955-953). The
assassination of Nadab was followed by that of his whole house,
and thus this great Ephraimite family became extinct (1 Kings
(3.) One of the sons of Shammai in the tribe of Judah (1 Chr.
the seed of Babylon, the son of Salathiel or Shealtiel (Hag.
1:1; Zorobabel, Matt. 1:12); called also the son of Pedaiah (1
Chr. 3:17-19), i.e., according to a frequent usage of the word
"son;" the grandson or the nephew of Salathiel. He is also known
by the Persian name of Sheshbazzar (Ezra 1:8, 11). In the first
year of Cyrus, king of Persia, he led the first band of Jews,
numbering 42,360 (Ezra 2:64), exclusive of a large number of
servants, who returned from captivity at the close of the
seventy years. In the second year after the Return, he erected
an altar and laid the foundation of the temple on the ruins of
that which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (3:8-13; ch.
4-6). All through the work he occupied a prominent place,
inasmuch as he was a descendant of the royal line of David.
the capital of Attica, the most celebrated city of the ancient
world, the seat of Greek literature and art during the golden
period of Grecian history. Its inhabitants were fond of novelty
(Acts 17:21), and were remarkable for their zeal in the worship
of the gods. It was a sarcastic saying of the Roman satirist
that it was "easier to find a god at Athens than a man."
On his second missionary journey Paul visited this city (Acts
17:15; compare 1 Thess. 3:1), and delivered in the Areopagus his
famous speech (17:22-31). The altar of which Paul there speaks
as dedicated "to the [properly "an"] unknown God" (23) was
probably one of several which bore the same inscription. It is
supposed that they originated in the practice of letting loose a
flock of sheep and goats in the streets of Athens on the
occasion of a plague, and of offering them up in sacrifice, at
the spot where they lay down, "to the god concerned."
This word is used, (1.) To express the idea that the Egyptians
considered themselves as defiled when they ate with strangers
(Gen. 43:32). The Jews subsequently followed the same practice,
holding it unlawful to eat or drink with foreigners (John 18:28;
Acts 10:28; 11:3).
(2.) Every shepherd was "an abomination" unto the Egyptians
(Gen. 46:34). This aversion to shepherds, such as the Hebrews,
arose probably from the fact that Lower and Middle Egypt had
formerly been held in oppressive subjection by a tribe of nomad
shepherds (the Hyksos), who had only recently been expelled, and
partly also perhaps from this other fact that the Egyptians
detested the lawless habits of these wandering shepherds.
(3.) Pharaoh was so moved by the fourth plague, that while he
refused the demand of Moses, he offered a compromise, granting
to the Israelites permission to hold their festival and offer
their sacrifices in Egypt. This permission could not be
accepted, because Moses said they would have to sacrifice "the
abomination of the Egyptians" (Ex. 8:26); i.e., the cow or ox,
which all the Egyptians held as sacred, and which they regarded
it as sacrilegious to kill.
(4.) Daniel (11:31), in that section of his prophecies which
is generally interpreted as referring to the fearful calamities
that were to fall on the Jews in the time of Antiochus
Epiphanes, says, "And they shall place the abomination that
maketh desolate." Antiochus Epiphanes caused an altar to be
erected on the altar of burnt-offering, on which sacrifices were
offered to Jupiter Olympus. (Compare 1 Macc. 1:57). This was the
abomination of the desolation of Jerusalem. The same language is
employed in Dan. 9:27 (compare Matt. 24:15), where the reference
is probably to the image-crowned standards which the Romans set
up at the east gate of the temple (A.D. 70), and to which they
paid idolatrous honours. "Almost the entire religion of the
Roman camp consisted in worshipping the ensign, swearing by the
ensign, and in preferring the ensign before all other gods."
These ensigns were an "abomination" to the Jews, the
"abomination of desolation."
This word is also used symbolically of sin in general (Isa.
66:3); an idol (44:19); the ceremonies of the apostate Church of
Rome (Rev. 17:4); a detestable act (Ezek. 22:11).
The first-fruits of the ground were offered unto God just as the
first-born of man and animals.
The law required, (1.) That on the morrow after the Passover
Sabbath a sheaf of new corn should be waved by the priest before
the altar (Lev. 23:5, 6, 10, 12; 2:12).
(2.) That at the feast of Pentecost two loaves of leavened
bread, made from the new flour, were to be waved in like manner
(Lev. 23:15, 17; Num. 28:26).
(3.) The feast of Tabernacles was an acknowledgement that the
fruits of the harvest were from the Lord (Ex. 23:16; 34:22).
(4.) Every individual, besides, was required to consecrate to
God a portion of the first-fruits of the land (Ex. 22:29; 23:19;
34:26; Num. 15:20, 21).
(5.) The law enjoined that no fruit was to be gathered from
newly-planted fruit-trees for the first three years, and that
the first-fruits of the fourth year were to be consecrated to
the Lord (Lev. 19:23-25). Jeremiah (2:3) alludes to the
ordinance of "first-fruits," and hence he must have been
acquainted with the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers,
where the laws regarding it are recorded.
(Heb. kiyor), a "basin" for boiling in, a "pan" for cooking (1
Sam. 2:14), a "fire-pan" or hearth (Zech. 12:6), the sacred
wash-bowl of the tabernacle and temple (Ex. 30:18, 28; 31:9;
35:16; 38:8; 39:39; 40:7, 11, 30, etc.), a basin for the water
used by the priests in their ablutions.
That which was originally used in the tabernacle was of brass
(rather copper; Heb. nihsheth), made from the metal mirrors the
women brought out of Egypt (Ex. 38:8). It contained water
wherewith the priests washed their hands and feet when they
entered the tabernacle (40:32). It stood in the court between
the altar and the door of the tabernacle (30:19, 21).
In the temple there were ten lavers used for the sacrifices,
and the molten sea for the ablutions of the priests (2 Chr.
4:6). The position and uses of these are described 1 Kings
7:23-39; 2 Chr. 4:6. The "molten sea" was made of copper, taken
from Tibhath and Chun, cities of Hadarezer, king of Zobah (1
Chr. 18:8; 1 Kings 7:23-26).
No lavers are mentioned in the second temple.
Hebrew "olah"; i.e., "ascending," the whole being consumed by
fire, and regarded as ascending to God while being consumed.
Part of every offering was burnt in the sacred fire, but this
was wholly burnt, a "whole burnt offering." It was the most
frequent form of sacrifice, and apparently the only one
mentioned in the book of Genesis. Such were the sacrifices
offered by Abel (Gen. 4:3, 4, here called "minhah"; i.e., "a
gift"), Noah (Gen. 8:20), Abraham (Gen. 22:2, 7, 8, 13), and by
the Hebrews in Egypt (Ex. 10:25).
The law of Moses afterwards prescribed the occasions and the
manner in which burnt sacrifices were to be offered. There were
"the continual burnt offering" (Ex. 29:38-42; Lev. 6:9-13), "the
burnt offering of every sabbath," which was double the daily one
(Num. 28:9, 10), "the burnt offering of every month" (28:11-15),
the offerings at the Passover (19-23), at Pentecost (Lev.
23:16), the feast of Trumpets (23:23-25), and on the day of
Atonement (Lev. 16).
On other occasions special sacrifices were offered, as at the
consecration of Aaron (Ex. 29) and the dedication of the temple
(1 Kings 8:5, 62-64).
Free-will burnt offerings were also permitted (Lev. 1:13), and
were offered at the accession of Solomon to the throne (1 Chr.
29:21), and at the reformation brought about by Hezekiah (2 Chr.
These offerings signified the complete dedication of the
offerers unto God. This is referred to in Rom. 12:1. (See ALTAR
T0000185, SACRIFICE T0003179.)
or washing, was practised, (1.) When a person was initiated into
a higher state: e.g., when Aaron and his sons were set apart to
the priest's office, they were washed with water previous to
their investiture with the priestly robes (Lev. 8:6).
(2.) Before the priests approached the altar of God, they were
required, on pain of death, to wash their hands and their feet
to cleanse them from the soil of common life (Ex. 30:17-21). To
this practice the Psalmist alludes, Ps. 26:6.
(3.) There were washings prescribed for the purpose of
cleansing from positive defilement contracted by particular
acts. Of such washings eleven different species are prescribed
in the Levitical law (Lev. 12-15).
(4.) A fourth class of ablutions is mentioned, by which a
person purified or absolved himself from the guilt of some
particular act. For example, the elders of the nearest village
where some murder was committed were required, when the murderer
was unknown, to wash their hands over the expiatory heifer which
was beheaded, and in doing so to say, "Our hands have not shed
this blood, neither have our eyes seen it" (Deut. 21:1-9). So
also Pilate declared himself innocent of the blood of Jesus by
washing his hands (Matt. 27:24). This act of Pilate may not,
however, have been borrowed from the custom of the Jews. The
same practice was common among the Greeks and Romans.
The Pharisees carried the practice of ablution to great
excess, thereby claiming extraordinary purity (Matt. 23:25).
Mark (7:1-5) refers to the ceremonial ablutions. The Pharisees
washed their hands "oft," more correctly, "with the fist" (R.V.,
"diligently"), or as an old father, Theophylact, explains it,
"up to the elbow." (Compare also Mark 7:4; Lev. 6:28; 11: 32-36;
15:22) (See WASHING T0003788.)
Tabernacles, Feast of
the third of the great annual festivals of the Jews (Lev.
23:33-43). It is also called the "feast of ingathering" (Ex.
23:16; Deut. 16:13). It was celebrated immediately after the
harvest, in the month Tisri, and the celebration lasted for
eight days (Lev. 23:33-43). During that period the people left
their homes and lived in booths formed of the branches of trees.
The sacrifices offered at this time are mentioned in Num.
29:13-38. It was at the time of this feast that Solomon's temple
was dedicated (1 Kings 8:2). Mention is made of it after the
return from the Captivity. This feast was designed (1) to be a
memorial of the wilderness wanderings, when the people dwelt in
booths (Lev. 23:43), and (2) to be a harvest thanksgiving (Neh.
8:9-18). The Jews, at a later time, introduced two appendages to
the original festival, viz., (1) that of drawing water from the
Pool of Siloam, and pouring it upon the altar (John 7:2, 37), as
a memorial of the water from the rock in Horeb; and (2) of
lighting the lamps at night, a memorial of the pillar of fire by
night during their wanderings.
"The feast of Tabernacles, the harvest festival of the Jewish
Church, was the most popular and important festival after the
Captivity. At Jerusalem it was a gala day. It was to the autumn
pilgrims, who arrived on the 14th (of the month Tisri, the feast
beginning on the 15th) day, like entrance into a silvan city.
Roofs and courtyards, streets and squares, roads and gardens,
were green with boughs of citron and myrtle, palm and willow.
The booths recalled the pilgrimage through the wilderness. The
ingathering of fruits prophesied of the spiritual harvest.",
Valling's Jesus Christ, p. 133.
(1.) A house or dwelling-place (Job 5:24; 18:6, etc.).
(2.) A portable shrine (compare Acts 19:24) containing the image
of Moloch (Amos 5:26; marg. and R.V., "Siccuth").
(3.) The human body (2 Cor. 5:1, 4); a tent, as opposed to a
(4.) The sacred tent (Heb. mishkan, "the dwelling-place"); the
movable tent-temple which Moses erected for the service of God,
according to the "pattern" which God himself showed to him on
the mount (Ex. 25:9; Heb. 8:5). It is called "the tabernacle of
the congregation," rather "of meeting", i.e., where God promised
to meet with Israel (Ex. 29:42); the "tabernacle of the
testimony" (Ex. 38:21; Num. 1:50), which does not, however,
designate the whole structure, but only the enclosure which
contained the "ark of the testimony" (Ex. 25:16, 22; Num. 9:15);
the "tabernacle of witness" (Num. 17:8); the "house of the Lord"
(Deut. 23:18); the "temple of the Lord" (Josh. 6:24); a
"sanctuary" (Ex. 25:8).
A particular account of the materials which the people
provided for the erection and of the building itself is recorded
in Ex. 25-40. The execution of the plan mysteriously given to
Moses was intrusted to Bezaleel and Aholiab, who were specially
endowed with wisdom and artistic skill, probably gained in
Egypt, for this purpose (Ex. 35:30-35). The people provided
materials for the tabernacle so abundantly that Moses was under
the necessity of restraining them (36:6). These stores, from
which they so liberally contributed for this purpose, must have
consisted in a great part of the gifts which the Egyptians so
readily bestowed on them on the eve of the Exodus (12:35, 36).
The tabernacle was a rectangular enclosure, in length about 45
feet (i.e., reckoning a cubit at 18 inches) and in breadth and
height about 15. Its two sides and its western end were made of
boards of acacia wood, placed on end, resting in sockets of
brass, the eastern end being left open (Ex. 26:22). This
framework was covered with four coverings, the first of linen,
in which figures of the symbolic cherubim were wrought with
needlework in blue and purple and scarlet threads, and probably
also with threads of gold (Ex. 26:1-6; 36:8-13). Above this was
a second covering of twelve curtains of black goats'-hair cloth,
reaching down on the outside almost to the ground (Ex. 26:7-11).
The third covering was of rams' skins dyed red, and the fourth
was of badgers' skins (Heb. tahash, i.e., the dugong, a species
of seal), Ex. 25:5; 26:14; 35:7, 23; 36:19; 39:34.
Internally it was divided by a veil into two chambers, the
exterior of which was called the holy place, also "the
sanctuary" (Heb. 9:2) and the "first tabernacle" (6); and the
interior, the holy of holies, "the holy place," "the Holiest,"
the "second tabernacle" (Ex. 28:29; Heb. 9:3, 7). The veil
separating these two chambers was a double curtain of the finest
workmanship, which was never passed except by the high priest
once a year, on the great Day of Atonement. The holy place was
separated from the outer court which enclosed the tabernacle by
a curtain, which hung over the six pillars which stood at the
east end of the tabernacle, and by which it was entered.
The order as well as the typical character of the services of
the tabernacle are recorded in Heb. 9; 10:19-22.
The holy of holies, a cube of 10 cubits, contained the "ark of
the testimony", i.e., the oblong chest containing the two tables
of stone, the pot of manna, and Aaron's rod that budded.
The holy place was the western and larger chamber of the
tabernacle. Here were placed the table for the shewbread, the
golden candlestick, and the golden altar of incense.
Round about the tabernacle was a court, enclosed by curtains
hung upon sixty pillars (Ex. 27:9-18). This court was 150 feet
long and 75 feet broad. Within it were placed the altar of burnt
offering, which measured 7 1/2 feet in length and breadth and 4
1/2 feet high, with horns at the four corners, and the laver of
brass (Ex. 30:18), which stood between the altar and the
The whole tabernacle was completed in seven months. On the
first day of the first month of the second year after the
Exodus, it was formally set up, and the cloud of the divine
presence descended on it (Ex. 39:22-43; 40:1-38). It cost 29
talents 730 shekels of gold, 100 talents 1,775 shekels of
silver, 70 talents 2,400 shekels of brass (Ex. 38:24-31).
The tabernacle was so constructed that it could easily be
taken down and conveyed from place to place during the
wanderings in the wilderness. The first encampment of the
Israelites after crossing the Jordan was at Gilgal, and there
the tabernacle remained for seven years (Josh. 4:19). It was
afterwards removed to Shiloh (Josh. 18:1), where it remained
during the time of the Judges, till the days of Eli, when the
ark, having been carried out into the camp when the Israelites
were at war with the Philistines, was taken by the enemy (1 Sam.
4), and was never afterwards restored to its place in the
tabernacle. The old tabernacle erected by Moses in the
wilderness was transferred to Nob (1 Sam. 21:1), and after the
destruction of that city by Saul (22:9; 1 Chr. 16:39, 40), to
Gibeon. It is mentioned for the last time in 1 Chr. 21:29. A new
tabernacle was erected by David at Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6:17; 1
Chr. 16:1), and the ark was brought from Perez-uzzah and
deposited in it (2 Sam. 6:8-17; 2 Chr. 1:4).
The word thus rendered ('ohel) in Ex. 33:7 denotes simply a
tent, probably Moses' own tent, for the tabernacle was not yet
rolling. (1.) From the solemn transaction of the reading of the
law in the valley of Shechem between Ebal and Gerizim the
Israelites moved forward to Gilgal, and there made a permanent
camp (Josh. 9:6; 10:6). It was "beside the oaks of Moreh," near
which Abraham erected his first altar (Gen. 12:6, 7). This was
one of the three towns to which Samuel resorted for the
administration of justice (1 Sam. 7:16), and here also he
offered sacrifices when the ark was no longer in the tabernacle
at Shiloh (1 Sam. 10:8; 13:7-9). To this place, as to a central
sanctuary, all Israel gathered to renew their allegiance to Saul
(11:14). At a later period it became the scene of idolatrous
worship (Hos. 4:15; 9:15). It has been identified with the ruins
of Jiljilieh, about 5 miles south-west of Shiloh and about the
same distance from Bethel.
(2.) The place in "the plains of Jericho," "in the east border
of Jericho," where the Israelites first encamped after crossing
the Jordan (Josh. 4:19, 20). Here they kept their first Passover
in the land of Canaan (5:10) and renewed the rite of
circumcision, and so "rolled away the reproach" of their
Egyptian slavery. Here the twelve memorial stones, taken from
the bed of the Jordan, were set up; and here also the tabernacle
remained till it was removed to Shiloh (18:1). It has been
identified with Tell Jiljulieh, about 5 miles from Jordan.
(3.) A place, probably in the hill country of Ephraim, where
there was a school of the prophets (2 Kings 4:38), and whence
Elijah and Elisha, who resided here, "went down" to Bethel
(2:1,2). It is mentioned also in Deut. 11:30. It is now known as
Jiljilia, a place 8 miles north of Bethel.
Jehovah is his father. (1.) One of the three sons of Zeruiah,
David's sister, and "captain of the host" during the whole of
David's reign (2 Sam. 2:13; 10:7; 11:1; 1 Kings 11:15). His
father's name is nowhere mentioned, although his sepulchre at
Bethlehem is mentioned (2 Sam. 2:32). His two brothers were
Abishai and Asahel, the swift of foot, who was killed by Abner
(2 Sam. 2:13-32), whom Joab afterwards treacherously murdered
(3:22-27). He afterwards led the assault at the storming of the
fortress on Mount Zion, and for this service was raised to the
rank of "prince of the king's army" (2 Sam. 5:6-10; 1 Chr.
27:34). His chief military achievements were, (1) against the
allied forces of Syria and Ammon; (2) against Edom (1 Kings
11:15, 16); and (3) against the Ammonites (2 Sam. 10:7-19; 11:1,
11). His character is deeply stained by the part he willingly
took in the murder of Uriah (11:14-25). He acted apparently from
a sense of duty in putting Absalom to death (18:1-14). David was
unmindful of the many services Joab had rendered to him, and
afterwards gave the command of the army to Amasa, Joab's cousin
(2 Sam. 20:1-13; 19:13). When David was dying Joab espoused the
cause of Adonijah in preference to that of Solomon. He was
afterwards slain by Benaiah, by the command of Solomon, in
accordance with his father's injunction (2 Sam. 3:29; 20:5-13),
at the altar to which he had fled for refuge. Thus this hoary
conspirator died without one to lift up a voice in his favour.
He was buried in his own property in the "wilderness," probably
in the NE of Jerusalem (1 Kings 2:5, 28-34). Benaiah
succeeded him as commander-in-chief of the army.
(2.) 1 Chr. 4:14.
(3.) Ezra 2:6.
Numbering of the people
Besides the numbering of the tribes mentioned in the history of
the wanderings in the wilderness, we have an account of a
general census of the whole nation from Dan to Beersheba, which
David gave directions to Joab to make (1 Chr. 21:1). Joab very
reluctantly began to carry out the king's command.
This act of David in ordering a numbering of the people arose
from pride and a self-glorifying spirit. It indicated a reliance
on his part on an arm of flesh, an estimating of his power not
by the divine favour but by the material resources of his
kingdom. He thought of military achievement and of conquest, and
forgot that he was God's vicegerent. In all this he sinned
against God. While Joab was engaged in the census, David's heart
smote him, and he became deeply conscious of his fault; and in
profound humiliation he confessed, "I have sinned greatly in
what I have done." The prophet Gad was sent to him to put before
him three dreadful alternatives (2 Sam. 24:13; for "seven years"
in this verse, the LXX. and 1 Chr. 21:12 have "three years"),
three of Jehovah's four sore judgments (Ezek. 14:21). Two of
these David had already experienced. He had fled for some months
before Absalom, and had suffered three years' famine on account
of the slaughter of the Gibeonites. In his "strait" David said,
"Let me fall into the hands of the Lord." A pestilence broke out
among the people, and in three days swept away 70,000. At
David's intercession the plague was stayed, and at the
threshing-floor of Araunah (q.v.), where the destroying angel
was arrested in his progress, David erected an altar, and there
offered up sacrifies to God (2 Chr. 3:1).
The census, so far as completed, showed that there were at
least 1,300,000 fighting men in the kingdom, indicating at that
time a population of about six or seven millions in all. (See
Temple, the Second
After the return from captivity, under Zerubbabel (q.v.) and the
high priest Jeshua, arrangements were almost immediately made to
reorganize the long-desolated kingdom. The body of pilgrims,
forming a band of 42,360, including children, having completed
the long and dreary journey of some four months, from the banks
of the Euphrates to Jerusalem, were animated in all their
proceeding by a strong religious impulse, and therefore one of
their first cares was to restore their ancient worship by
rebuilding the temple. On the invitation of Zerubbabel, the
governor, who showed them a remarkable example of liberality by
contributing personally 1,000 golden darics (probably about
$6,000), besides other gifts, the people with great enthusiasm
poured their gifts into the sacred treasury (Ezra 2). First they
erected and dedicated the altar of Jehovah on the exact spot
where it had formerly stood, and they then cleared away the
charred heaps of debris which occupied the site of the old
temple; and in the second month of the second year (B.C. 535),
amid great public excitement and rejoicing (Ps. 116; 117; 118),
the foundations of the second temple were laid. A wide interest
was felt in this great movement, although it was regarded with
mingled feelings by the spectators (Hag. 2:3; Zech. 4:10). The
Samaritans made proposals for a co-operation in the work.
Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the elders, however, declined all such
cooperation: Judah must build the temple without help.
Immediately evil reports were spread regarding the Jews. The
Samaritans sought to "frustrate their purpose" (Ezra 4:5), and
sent messengers to Ecbatana and Susa, with the result that the
work was suspended. Seven years after this Cyrus died
ingloriously, having killed himself in Syria when on his way
back from Egypt to the east, and was succeeded by his son
Cambyses (B.C. 529-522), on whose death the "false Smerdis," an
imposter, occupied the throne for some seven or eight months,
and then Darius Hystaspes became king (B.C. 522). In the second
year of this monarch the work of rebuilding the temple was
resumed and carried forward to its completion (Ezra 5: 6-17;
6:1-15), under the stimulus of the earnest counsels and
admonitions of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. It was ready
for consecration in the spring of B.C. 516, twenty years after
the return from captivity.
This second temple had not the ark, the Urim and Thummim, the
holy oil, the sacred fire, the tables of stone, the pot of
manna, and Aaron's rod. As in the tabernacle, there was in it
only one golden lamp for the holy place, one table of shewbread,
and the incense altar, with golden censers, and many of the
vessels of gold that had belonged to Solomon's temple that had
been carried to Babylon but restored by Cyrus (Ezra 1:7-11).
This second temple also differed from the first in that, while
in the latter there were numerous "trees planted in the courts
of the Lord," there were none in the former. The second temple
also had for the first time a space, being a part of the outer
court, provided for proselytes who were worshippers of Jehovah,
although not subject to the laws of Judaism.
The temple, when completed, was consecrated amid great
rejoicings on the part of all the people (Ezra 6:16), although
there were not wanting outward evidences that the Jews were no
longer an independent people, but were subject to a foreign
Hag. 2:9 is rightly rendered in the Revised Version, "The
latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former,"
instead of, "The glory of this latter house," etc., in the
Authorized Version. The temple, during the different periods of
its existence, is regarded as but one house, the one only house
of God (compare 2:3). The glory here predicted is spiritual glory
and not material splendour. "Christ himself, present bodily in
the temple on Mount Zion during his life on earth, present
spiritually in the Church now, present in the holy city, the
heavenly Jerusalem, of which he is the temple, calling forth
spiritual worship and devotion is the glory here predicted"
the usual name of the descendants of Ammon, the son of Lot (Gen.
19:38). From the very beginning (Deut. 2:16-20) of their history
till they are lost sight of (Judg. 5:2), this tribe is closely
associated with the Moabites (Judg. 10:11; 2 Chr. 20:1; Zeph.
2:8). Both of these tribes hired Balaam to curse Israel (Deut.
23:4). The Ammonites were probably more of a predatory tribe,
moving from place to place, while the Moabites were more
settled. They inhabited the country east of the Jordan and north
of Moab and the Dead Sea, from which they had expelled the
Zamzummims or Zuzims (Deut. 2:20; Gen. 14:5). They are known as
the Beni-ammi (Gen. 19:38), Ammi or Ammon being worshipped as
their chief god. They were of Semitic origin, and closely
related to the Hebrews in blood and language. They showed no
kindness to the Israelites when passing through their territory,
and therefore they were prohibited from "entering the
congregation of the Lord to the tenth generation" (Deut. 23:3).
They afterwards became hostile to Israel (Judg. 3:13). Jephthah
waged war against them, and "took twenty cities with a very
great slaughter" (Judg. 11:33). They were again signally
defeated by Saul (1 Sam. 11:11). David also defeated them and
their allies the Syrians (2 Sam. 10:6-14), and took their chief
city, Rabbah, with much spoil (2 Sam. 10:14; 12:26-31). The
subsequent events of their history are noted in 2 Chr. 20:25;
26:8; Jer. 49:1; Ezek. 25:3, 6. One of Solomon's wives was
Naamah, an Ammonite. She was the mother of Rehoboam (1 Kings
14:31; 2 Chr. 12:13).
The prophets predicted fearful judgments against the Ammonites
because of their hostility to Israel (Zeph. 2:8; Jer. 49:1-6;
Ezek. 25:1-5, 10; Amos 1:13-15).
The national idol worshipped by this people was Molech or
Milcom, at whose altar they offered human sacrifices (1 Kings
11:5, 7). The high places built for this idol by Solomon, at the
instigation of his Ammonitish wives, were not destroyed till the
time of Josiah (2 Kings 23:13).
The offering up of sacrifices is to be regarded as a divine
institution. It did not originate with man. God himself
appointed it as the mode in which acceptable worship was to be
offered to him by guilty man. The language and the idea of
sacrifice pervade the whole Bible.
Sacrifices were offered in the ante-diluvian age. The Lord
clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of animals, which in all
probability had been offered in sacrifice (Gen. 3:21). Abel
offered a sacrifice "of the firstlings of his flock" (4:4; Heb.
11:4). A distinction also was made between clean and unclean
animals, which there is every reason to believe had reference to
the offering up of sacrifices (Gen. 7:2, 8), because animals
were not given to man as food till after the Flood.
The same practice is continued down through the patriarchal
age (Gen. 8:20; 12:7; 13:4, 18; 15:9-11; 22:1-18, etc.). In the
Mosaic period of Old Testament history definite laws were
prescribed by God regarding the different kinds of sacrifices
that were to be offered and the manner in which the offering was
to be made. The offering of stated sacrifices became indeed a
prominent and distinctive feature of the whole period (Ex.
12:3-27; Lev. 23:5-8; Num. 9:2-14). (See ALTAR T0000185.)
We learn from the Epistle to the Hebrews that sacrifices had
in themselves no value or efficacy. They were only the "shadow
of good things to come," and pointed the worshippers forward to
the coming of the great High Priest, who, in the fullness of the
time, "was offered once for all to bear the sin of many."
Sacrifices belonged to a temporary economy, to a system of types
and emblems which served their purposes and have now passed
away. The "one sacrifice for sins" hath "perfected for ever them
that are sanctified."
Sacrifices were of two kinds: 1. Unbloody, such as (1)
first-fruits and tithes; (2) meat and drink-offerings; and (3)
incense. 2. Bloody, such as (1) burnt-offerings; (2)
peace-offerings; and (3) sin and trespass offerings. (See
a contracted form of Azari'ah the Lord is my strength. (1.) One
of Amaziah's sons, whom the people made king of Judah in his
father's stead (2 Kings 14:21; 2 Chr. 26:1). His long reign of
about fifty-two years was "the most prosperous excepting that of
Jehosaphat since the time of Solomon." He was a vigorous and
able ruler, and "his name spread abroad, even to the entering in
of Egypt" (2 Chr. 26:8, 14). In the earlier part of his reign,
under the influence of Zechariah, he was faithful to Jehovah,
and "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord" (2 Kings
15:3; 2 Chr. 26:4, 5); but toward the close of his long life
"his heart was lifted up to his destruction," and he wantonly
invaded the priest's office (2 Chr. 26:16), and entering the
sanctuary proceeded to offer incense on the golden altar.
Azariah the high priest saw the tendency of such a daring act on
the part of the king, and with a band of eighty priests he
withstood him (2 Chr. 26:17), saying, "It appertaineth not unto
thee, Uzziah, to burn incense." Uzziah was suddenly struck with
leprosy while in the act of offering incense (26:19-21), and he
was driven from the temple and compelled to reside in "a several
house" to the day of his death (2 Kings 15:5, 27; 2 Chr. 26:3).
He was buried in a separate grave "in the field of the burial
which belonged to the kings" (2 Kings 15:7; 2 Chr. 26:23). "That
lonely grave in the royal necropolis would eloquently testify to
coming generations that all earthly monarchy must bow before the
inviolable order of the divine will, and that no interference
could be tolerated with that unfolding of the purposes of God,
which, in the fulness of time, would reveal the Christ, the true
High Priest and King for evermore" (Dr. Green's Kingdom of
(2.) The father of Jehonathan, one of David's overseers (1
house of God. (1.) A place in Central Israel, about 10 miles
north of Jerusalem, at the head of the pass of Michmash and Ai.
It was originally the royal Canaanite city of Luz (Gen. 28:19).
The name Bethel was at first apparently given to the sanctuary
in the neighbourhood of Luz, and was not given to the city
itself till after its conquest by the tribe of Ephraim. When
Abram entered Canaan he formed his second encampment between
Bethel and Hai (Gen. 12:8); and on his return from Egypt he came
back to it, and again "called upon the name of the Lord" (13:4).
Here Jacob, on his way from Beersheba to Haran, had a vision of
the angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder whose
top reached unto heaven (28:10, 19); and on his return he again
visited this place, "where God talked with him" (35:1-15), and
there he "built an altar, and called the place El-beth-el"
(q.v.). To this second occasion of God's speaking with Jacob at
Bethel, Hosea (12:4,5) makes reference.
In troublous times the people went to Bethel to ask counsel of
God (Judg. 20:18, 31; 21:2). Here the ark of the covenant was
kept for a long time under the care of Phinehas, the grandson of
Aaron (20:26-28). Here also Samuel held in rotation his court of
justice (1 Sam. 7:16). It was included in Israel after the
kingdom was divided, and it became one of the seats of the
worship of the golden calf (1 Kings 12:28-33; 13:1). Hence the
prophet Hosea (Hos. 4:15; 5:8; 10:5, 8) calls it in contempt
Beth-aven, i.e., "house of idols." Bethel remained an abode of
priests even after the kingdom of Israel was desolated by the
king of Assyria (2 Kings 17:28, 29). At length all traces of the
idolatries were extirpated by Josiah, king of Judah (2 Kings
23:15-18); and the place was still in existence after the
Captivity (Ezra 2:28; Neh. 7:32). It has been identified with
the ruins of Beitin, a small village amid extensive ruins some 9
miles south of Shiloh.
(2.) Mount Bethel was a hilly district near Bethel (Josh.
16:1; 1 Sam. 13:2).
(3.) A town in the south of Judah (Josh. 8:17; 12:16).
of Sin (the moon god), called also Horeb, the name of the
mountain district which was reached by the Hebrews in the third
month after the Exodus. Here they remained encamped for about a
whole year. Their journey from the Red Sea to this encampment,
including all the windings of the route, was about 150 miles.
The last twenty-two chapters of Exodus, together with the whole
of Leviticus and Num. ch. 1-11, contain a record of all the
transactions which occurred while they were here. From Rephidim
(Ex. 17:8-13) the Israelites journeyed forward through the Wady
Solaf and Wady esh-Sheikh into the plain of er-Rahah, "the
desert of Sinai," about 2 miles long and half a mile broad, and
encamped there "before the mountain." The part of the mountain
range, a protruding lower bluff, known as the Ras Sasafeh
(Sufsafeh), rises almost perpendicularly from this plain, and is
in all probability the Sinai of history. Dean Stanley thus
describes the scene:, "The plain itself is not broken and uneven
and narrowly shut in, like almost all others in the range, but
presents a long retiring sweep, within which the people could
remove and stand afar off. The cliff, rising like a huge altar
in front of the whole congregation, and visible against the sky
in lonely grandeur from end to end of the whole plain, is the
very image of the 'mount that might be touched,' and from which
the voice of God might be heard far and wide over the plain
below." This was the scene of the giving of the law. From the
Ras Sufsafeh the law was proclaimed to the people encamped below
in the plain of er-Rahah. During the lengthened period of their
encampment here the Israelites passed through a very memorable
experience. An immense change passed over them. They are now an
organized nation, bound by covenant engagement to serve the Lord
their God, their ever-present divine Leader and Protector. At
length, in the second month of the second year of the Exodus,
they move their camp and march forward according to a prescribed
order. After three days they reach the "wilderness of Paran,"
the "et-Tih", i.e., "the desert", and here they make their first
encampment. At this time a spirit of discontent broke out
amongst them, and the Lord manifested his displeasure by a fire
which fell on the encampment and inflicted injury on them. Moses
called the place Taberah (q.v.), Num. 11:1-3. The journey
between Sinai and the southern boundary of the Promised Land
(about 150 miles) at Kadesh was accomplished in about a year.
(See MAP facing page 204.)
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.)
increase of the people. (1.) The son of Nebat (1 Kings
11:26-39), "an Ephrathite," the first king of the ten tribes,
over whom he reigned twenty-two years (B.C. 976-945). He was the
son of a widow of Zereda, and while still young was promoted by
Solomon to be chief superintendent of the "burnden", i.e., of
the bands of forced labourers. Influenced by the words of the
prophet Ahijah, he began to form conspiracies with the view of
becoming king of the ten tribes; but these having been
discovered, he fled to Egypt (1 Kings 11:29-40), where he
remained for a length of time under the protection of Shishak I.
On the death of Solomon, the ten tribes, having revolted, sent
to invite him to become their king. The conduct of Rehoboam
favoured the designs of Jeroboam, and he was accordingly
proclaimed "king of Israel" (1 Kings 12: 1-20). He rebuilt and
fortified Shechem as the capital of his kingdom. He at once
adopted means to perpetuate the division thus made between the
two parts of the kingdom, and erected at Dan and Bethel, the two
extremities of his kingdom, "golden calves," which he set up as
symbols of Jehovah, enjoining the people not any more to go up
to worship at Jerusalem, but to bring their offerings to the
shrines he had erected. Thus he became distinguished as the man
"who made Israel to sin." This policy was followed by all the
succeeding kings of Israel.
While he was engaged in offering incense at Bethel, a prophet
from Judah appeared before him with a warning message from the
Lord. Attempting to arrest the prophet for his bold words of
defiance, his hand was "dried up," and the altar before which he
stood was rent asunder. At his urgent entreaty his "hand was
restored him again" (1 Kings 13:1-6, 9; compare 2 Kings 23:15);
but the miracle made no abiding impression on him. His reign was
one of constant war with the house of Judah. He died soon after
his son Abijah (1 Kings 14:1-18).
(2.) Jeroboam II., the son and successor of Jehoash, and the
fourteenth king of Israel, over which he ruled for forty-one
years, B.C. 825-784 (2 Kings 14:23). He followed the example of
the first Jeroboam in keeping up the worship of the golden
calves (2 Kings 14:24). His reign was contemporary with those of
Amaziah (2 Kings 14:23) and Uzziah (15:1), kings of Judah. He
was victorious over the Syrians (13:4; 14:26, 27), and extended
Israel to its former limits, from "the entering of Hamath to the
sea of the plain" (14:25; Amos 6:14). His reign of forty-one
years was the most prosperous that Israel had ever known as yet.
With all this outward prosperity, however, iniquity widely
prevailed in the land (Amos 2:6-8; 4:1; 6:6; Hos. 4:12-14). The
prophets Hosea (1:1), Joel (3:16; Amos 1:1, 2), Amos (1:1), and
Jonah (2 Kings 14:25) lived during his reign. He died, and was
buried with his ancestors (14:29). He was succeeded by his son
His name occurs in Scripture only in 2 Kings 13:13; 14:16, 23,
27, 28, 29; 15:1, 8; 1 Chr. 5:17; Hos. 1:1; Amos 1:1; 7:9, 10,
11. In all other passages it is Jeroboam the son of Nebat that
rest, (Heb. Noah) the grandson of Methuselah (Gen. 5:25-29), who
was for two hundred and fifty years contemporary with Adam, and
the son of Lamech, who was about fifty years old at the time of
Adam's death. This patriarch is rightly regarded as the
connecting link between the old and the new world. He is the
second great progenitor of the human family.
The words of his father Lamech at his birth (Gen. 5:29) have
been regarded as in a sense prophetical, designating Noah as a
type of Him who is the true "rest and comfort" of men under the
burden of life (Matt.11:28).
He lived five hundred years, and then there were born unto him
three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Gen. 5:32). He was a "just
man and perfect in his generation," and "walked with God" (compare
Ezek. 14:14,20). But now the descendants of Cain and of Seth
began to intermarry, and then there sprang up a race
distinguished for their ungodliness. Men became more and more
corrupt, and God determined to sweep the earth of its wicked
population (Gen. 6:7). But with Noah God entered into a
covenant, with a promise of deliverance from the threatened
deluge (18). He was accordingly commanded to build an ark
(6:14-16) for the saving of himself and his house. An interval
of one hundred and twenty years elapsed while the ark was being
built (6:3), during which Noah bore constant testimony against
the unbelief and wickedness of that generation (1 Pet. 3:18-20;
2 Pet. 2:5).
When the ark of "gopher-wood" (mentioned only here) was at
length completed according to the command of the Lord, the
living creatures that were to be preserved entered into it; and
then Noah and his wife and sons and daughters-in-law entered it,
and the "Lord shut him in" (Gen.7:16). The judgment-threatened
now fell on the guilty world, "the world that then was, being
overflowed with water, perished" (2 Pet. 3:6). The ark floated
on the waters for one hundred and fifty days, and then rested on
the mountains of Ararat (Gen. 8:3,4); but not for a considerable
time after this was divine permission given him to leave the
ark, so that he and his family were a whole year shut up within
it (Gen. 6-14).
On leaving the ark Noah's first act was to erect an altar, the
first of which there is any mention, and offer the sacrifices of
adoring thanks and praise to God, who entered into a covenant
with him, the first covenant between God and man, granting him
possession of the earth by a new and special charter, which
remains in force to the present time (Gen. 8:21-9:17). As a sign
and witness of this covenant, the rainbow was adopted and set
apart by God, as a sure pledge that never again would the earth
be destroyed by a flood.
But, alas! Noah after this fell into grievous sin (Gen. 9:21);
and the conduct of Ham on this sad occasion led to the memorable
prediction regarding his three sons and their descendants. Noah
"lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years, and he
died" (28:29). (See DELUGE T0001011).
Noah, motion, (Heb. No'ah) one of the five daughters of
Zelophehad (Num.26:33; 27:1; 36:11; Josh. 17:3).
The temple erected by the exiles on their return from Babylon
had stood for about five hundred years, when Herod the Great
became king of Judea. The building had suffered considerably
from natural decay as well as from the assaults of hostile
armies, and Herod, desirous of gaining the favour of the Jews,
proposed to rebuild it. This offer was accepted, and the work
was begun (B.C. 18), and carried out at great labour and
expense, and on a scale of surpassing splendour. The main part
of the building was completed in ten years, but the erection of
the outer courts and the embellishment of the whole were carried
on during the entire period of our Lord's life on earth (John
2:16, 19-21), and the temple was completed only A.D. 65. But it
was not long permitted to exist. Within forty years after our
Lord's crucifixion, his prediction of its overthrow was
accomplished (Luke 19: 41-44). The Roman legions took the city
of Jerusalem by storm, and notwithstanding the strenuous efforts
Titus made to preserve the temple, his soldiers set fire to it
in several places, and it was utterly destroyed (A.D. 70), and
was never rebuilt.
Several remains of Herod's stately temple have by recent
explorations been brought to light. It had two courts, one
intended for the Israelites only, and the other, a large outer
court, called "the court of the Gentiles," intended for the use
of strangers of all nations. These two courts were separated by
a low wall, as Josephus states, some 4 1/2 feet high, with
thirteen openings. Along the top of this dividing wall, at
regular intervals, were placed pillars bearing in Greek an
inscription to the effect that no stranger was, on the pain of
death, to pass from the court of the Gentiles into that of the
Jews. At the entrance to a graveyard at the north-western angle
of the Haram wall, a stone was discovered by M. Ganneau in 1871,
built into the wall, bearing the following inscription in Greek
capitals: "No stranger is to enter within the partition wall and
enclosure around the sanctuary. Whoever is caught will be
responsible to himself for his death, which will ensue."
There can be no doubt that the stone thus discovered was one
of those originally placed on the boundary wall which separated
the Jews from the Gentiles, of which Josephus speaks.
It is of importance to notice that the word rendered
"sanctuary" in the inscription was used in a specific sense of
the inner court, the court of the Israelites, and is the word
rendered "temple" in John 2:15 and Acts 21:28, 29. When Paul
speaks of the middle wall of partition (Eph. 2:14), he probably
makes allusion to this dividing wall. Within this partition wall
stood the temple proper, consisting of, (1) the court of the
women, 8 feet higher than the outer court; (2) 10 feet higher
than this court was the court of Israel; (3) the court of the
priests, again 3 feet higher; and lastly (4) the temple floor, 8
feet above that; thus in all 29 feet above the level of the
The summit of Mount Moriah, on which the temple stood, is now
occupied by the Haram esh-Sherif, i.e., "the sacred enclosure."
This enclosure is about 1,500 feet from north to south, with a
breadth of about 1,000 feet, covering in all a space of about 35
acres. About the centre of the enclosure is a raised platform,
16 feet above the surrounding space, and paved with large stone
slabs, on which stands the Mohammedan mosque called Kubbet
es-Sahkra i.e., the "Dome of the Rock," or the Mosque of Omar.
This mosque covers the site of Solomon's temple. In the centre
of the dome there is a bare, projecting rock, the highest part
of Moriah (q.v.), measuring 60 feet by 40, standing 6 feet above
the floor of the mosque, called the sahkra, i.e., "rock." Over
this rock the altar of burnt-offerings stood. It was the
threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite. The exact position on
this "sacred enclosure" which the temple occupied has not been
yet definitely ascertained. Some affirm that Herod's temple
covered the site of Solomon's temple and palace, and in addition
enclosed a square of 300 feet at the south-western angle. The
temple courts thus are supposed to have occupied the southern
portion of the "enclosure," forming in all a square of more than
900 feet. It is argued by others that Herod's temple occupied a
square of 600 feet at the south-west of the "enclosure."
hill-city, "one of the royal cities, greater than Ai, and all
the men thereof were mighty" (Josh. 10:2). Its inhabitants were
Hivites (11:19). It lay within the territory of Benjamin, and
became a priest-city (18:25; 21:17). Here the tabernacle was set
up after the destruction of Nob, and here it remained many years
till the temple was built by Solomon. It is represented by the
modern el-Jib, to the south-west of Ai, and about 5 1/2 miles
north-north-west of Jerusalem.
A deputation of the Gibeonites, with their allies from three
other cities (Josh. 9;17), visited the camp at Gilgal, and by
false representations induced Joshua to enter into a league with
them, although the Israelites had been specially warned against
any league with the inhabitants of Canaan (Ex. 23:32; 34:12;
Num. 33:55; Deut. 7:2). The deception practised on Joshua was
detected three days later; but the oath rashly sworn "by Jehovah
God of Israel" was kept, and the lives of the Gibeonites were
spared. They were, however, made "bondmen" to the sanctuary
The most remarkable incident connected with this city was the
victory Joshua gained over the kings of Israel (Josh.
10:16-27). The battle here fought has been regarded as "one of
the most important in the history of the world." The kings of
southern Canaan entered into a confederacy against Gibeon
(because it had entered into a league with Joshua) under the
leadership of Adoni-zedec, king of Jerusalem, and marched upon
Gibeon with the view of taking possession of it. The Gibeonites
entreated Joshua to come to their aid with the utmost speed. His
army came suddenly upon that of the Amorite kings as it lay
encamped before the city. It was completely routed, and only
broken remnants of their great host found refuge in the fenced
cities. The five confederate kings who led the army were taken
prisoners, and put to death at Makkedah (q.v.). This eventful
battle of Beth-horon sealed the fate of all the cities of
Southern Israel. Among the Amarna tablets is a letter from
Adoni-zedec (q.v.) to the king of Egypt, written probably at
Makkedah after the defeat, showing that the kings contemplated
flight into Egypt.
This place is again brought into notice as the scene of a
battle between the army of Ish-bosheth under Abner and that of
David led by Joab. At the suggestion of Abner, to spare the
effusion of blood twelve men on either side were chosen to
decide the battle. The issue was unexpected; for each of the men
slew his fellow, and thus they all perished. The two armies then
engaged in battle, in which Abner and his host were routed and
put to flight (2 Sam. 2:12-17). This battle led to a virtual
truce between Judah and Israel, Judah, under David, increasing
in power; and Israel, under Ish-bosheth, continually losing
Soon after the death of Absalom and David's restoration to his
throne his kingdom was visited by a grievous famine, which was
found to be a punishment for Saul's violation (2 Sam. 21:2, 5)
of the covenant with the Gibeonites (Josh. 9:3-27). The
Gibeonites demanded blood for the wrong that had been done to
them, and accordingly David gave up to them the two sons of
Rizpah (q.v.) and the five sons of Michal, and these the
Gibeonites took and hanged or crucified "in the hill before the
Lord" (2 Sam. 21:9); and there the bodies hung for six months
(21:10), and all the while Rizpah watched over the blackening
corpses and "suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on
them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night." David
afterwards removed the bones of Saul and Jonathan at
Jabeshgilead (21:12, 13).
Here, "at the great stone," Amasa was put to death by Joab (2
Sam. 20:5-10). To the altar of burnt-offering which was at
Gibeon, Joab (1 Kings 2:28-34), who had taken the side of
Adonijah, fled for sanctuary in the beginning of Solomon's
reign, and was there also slain by the hand of Benaiah.
Soon after he came to the throne, Solomon paid a visit of
state to Gibeon, there to offer sacrifices (1 Kings 3:4; 2 Chr.
1:3). On this occasion the Lord appeared to him in a memorable
dream, recorded in 1 Kings 3:5-15; 2 Chr. 1:7-12. When the
temple was built "all the men of Israel assembled themselves" to
king Solomon, and brought up from Gibeon the tabernacle and "all
the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle" to Jerusalem,
where they remained till they were carried away by
Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:13).
father of a multitude, son of Terah, named (Gen. 11:27) before
his older brothers Nahor and Haran, because he was the heir of
the promises. Till the age of seventy, Abram sojourned among his
kindred in his native country of Chaldea. He then, with his
father and his family and household, quitted the city of Ur, in
which he had hitherto dwelt, and went some 300 miles north to
Haran, where he abode fifteen years. The cause of his migration
was a call from God (Acts 7:2-4). There is no mention of this
first call in the Old Testament; it is implied, however, in Gen.
12. While they tarried at Haran, Terah died at the age of 205
years. Abram now received a second and more definite call,
accompanied by a promise from God (Gen. 12:1,2); whereupon he
took his departure, taking his nephew Lot with him, "not knowing
whither he went" (Heb. 11:8). He trusted implicitly to the
guidance of Him who had called him.
Abram now, with a large household of probably a thousand
souls, entered on a migratory life, and dwelt in tents. Passing
along the valley of the Jabbok, in the land of Canaan, he formed
his first encampment at Sichem (Gen. 12:6), in the vale or
oak-grove of Moreh, between Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the
south. Here he received the great promise, "I will make of thee
a great nation," etc. (Gen. 12:2,3,7). This promise comprehended
not only temporal but also spiritual blessings. It implied that
he was the chosen ancestor of the great Deliverer whose coming
had been long ago predicted (Gen. 3:15). Soon after this, for
some reason not mentioned, he removed his tent to the mountain
district between Bethel, then called Luz, and Ai, towns about
two miles apart, where he built an altar to "Jehovah." He again
moved into the southern tract of Israel, called by the
Hebrews the Negeb; and was at length, on account of a famine,
compelled to go down into Egypt. This took place in the time of
the Hyksos, a Semitic race which now held the Egyptians in
bondage. Here occurred that case of deception on the part of
Abram which exposed him to the rebuke of Pharaoh (Gen. 12:18).
Sarai was restored to him; and Pharaoh loaded him with presents,
recommending him to withdraw from the country. He returned to
Canaan richer than when he left it, "in cattle, in silver, and
in gold" (Gen. 12:8; 13:2. Compare Ps. 105:13, 14). The whole
party then moved northward, and returned to their previous
station near Bethel. Here disputes arose between Lot's shepherds
and those of Abram about water and pasturage. Abram generously
gave Lot his choice of the pasture-ground. (Compare 1 Cor. 6:7.)
He chose the well-watered plain in which Sodom was situated, and
removed thither; and thus the uncle and nephew were separated.
Immediately after this Abram was cheered by a repetition of the
promises already made to him, and then removed to the plain or
"oak-grove" of Mamre, which is in Hebron. He finally settled
here, pitching his tent under a famous oak or terebinth tree,
called "the oak of Mamre" (Gen. 13:18). This was his third
resting-place in the land.
Some fourteen years before this, while Abram was still in
Chaldea, Israel had been invaded by Chedorlaomer, King of
Elam, who brought under tribute to him the five cities in the
plain to which Lot had removed. This tribute was felt by the
inhabitants of these cities to be a heavy burden, and after
twelve years they revolted. This brought upon them the vengeance
of Chedorlaomer, who had in league with him four other kings. He
ravaged the whole country, plundering the towns, and carrying
the inhabitants away as slaves. Among those thus treated was
Lot. Hearing of the disaster that had fallen on his nephew,
Abram immediately gathered from his own household a band of 318
armed men, and being joined by the Amoritish chiefs Mamre, Aner,
and Eshcol, he pursued after Chedorlaomer, and overtook him near
the springs of the Jordan. They attacked and routed his army,
and pursued it over the range of Anti-Libanus as far as to
Hobah, near Damascus, and then returned, bringing back all the
spoils that had been carried away. Returning by way of Salem,
i.e., Jerusalem, the king of that place, Melchizedek, came forth
to meet them with refreshments. To him Abram presented a tenth
of the spoils, in recognition of his character as a priest of
the most high God (Gen. 14:18-20).
In a recently-discovered tablet, dated in the reign of the
grandfather of Amraphel (Gen. 14:1), one of the witnesses is
called "the Amorite, the son of Abiramu," or Abram.
Having returned to his home at Mamre, the promises already
made to him by God were repeated and enlarged (Gen. 13:14). "The
word of the Lord" (an expression occurring here for the first
time) "came to him" (15:1). He now understood better the future
that lay before the nation that was to spring from him. Sarai,
now seventy-five years old, in her impatience, persuaded Abram
to take Hagar, her Egyptian maid, as a concubine, intending that
whatever child might be born should be reckoned as her own.
Ishmael was accordingly thus brought up, and was regarded as the
heir of these promises (Gen. 16). When Ishmael was thirteen
years old, God again revealed yet more explicitly and fully his
gracious purpose; and in token of the sure fulfilment of that
purpose the patriarch's name was now changed from Abram to
Abraham (Gen. 17:4,5), and the rite of circumcision was
instituted as a sign of the covenant. It was then announced that
the heir to these covenant promises would be the son of Sarai,
though she was now ninety years old; and it was directed that
his name should be Isaac. At the same time, in commemoration of
the promises, Sarai's name was changed to Sarah. On that
memorable day of God's thus revealing his design, Abraham and
his son Ishmael and all the males of his house were circumcised
(Gen. 17). Three months after this, as Abraham sat in his tent
door, he saw three men approaching. They accepted his proffered
hospitality, and, seated under an oak-tree, partook of the fare
which Abraham and Sarah provided. One of the three visitants was
none other than the Lord, and the other two were angels in the
guise of men. The Lord renewed on this occasion his promise of a
son by Sarah, who was rebuked for her unbelief. Abraham
accompanied the three as they proceeded on their journey. The
two angels went on toward Sodom; while the Lord tarried behind
and talked with Abraham, making known to him the destruction
that was about to fall on that guilty city. The patriarch
interceded earnestly in behalf of the doomed city. But as not
even ten righteous persons were found in it, for whose sake the
city would have been spared, the threatened destruction fell
upon it; and early next morning Abraham saw the smoke of the
fire that consumed it as the "smoke of a furnace" (Gen.
After fifteen years' residence at Mamre, Abraham moved
southward, and pitched his tent among the Philistines, near to
Gerar. Here occurred that sad instance of prevarication on his
part in his relation to Abimelech the King (Gen. 20). (See
ABIMELECH T0000040.) Soon after this event, the patriarch left
the vicinity of Gerar, and moved down the fertile valley about
25 miles to Beersheba. It was probably here that Isaac was
born, Abraham being now an hundred years old. A feeling of
jealousy now arose between Sarah and Hagar, whose son, Ishmael,
was no longer to be regarded as Abraham's heir. Sarah insisted
that both Hagar and her son should be sent away. This was done,
although it was a hard trial to Abraham (Gen. 21:12). (See HAGAR
T0001583; ISHMAEL T0001903.)
At this point there is a blank in the patriarch's history of
perhaps twenty-five years. These years of peace and happiness
were spent at Beersheba. The next time we see him his faith is
put to a severe test by the command that suddenly came to him to
go and offer up Isaac, the heir of all the promises, as a
sacrifice on one of the mountains of Moriah. His faith stood the
test (Heb. 11:17-19). He proceeded in a spirit of unhesitating
obedience to carry out the command; and when about to slay his
son, whom he had laid on the altar, his uplifted hand was
arrested by the angel of Jehovah, and a ram, which was entangled
in a thicket near at hand, was seized and offered in his stead.
From this circumstance that place was called Jehovah-jireh,
i.e., "The Lord will provide." The promises made to Abraham were
again confirmed (and this was the last recorded word of God to
the patriarch); and he descended the mount with his son, and
returned to his home at Beersheba (Gen. 22:19), where he
resided for some years, and then moved northward to Hebron.
Some years after this Sarah died at Hebron, being 127 years
old. Abraham acquired now the needful possession of a
burying-place, the cave of Machpelah, by purchase from the owner
of it, Ephron the Hittite (Gen. 23); and there he buried Sarah.
His next care was to provide a wife for Isaac, and for this
purpose he sent his steward, Eliezer, to Haran (or Charran, Acts
7:2), where his brother Nahor and his family resided (Gen.
11:31). The result was that Rebekah, the daughter of Nahor's son
Bethuel, became the wife of Isaac (Gen. 24). Abraham then
himself took to wife Keturah, who became the mother of six sons,
whose descendants were afterwards known as the "children of the
east" (Judg. 6:3), and later as "Saracens." At length all his
wanderings came to an end. At the age of 175 years, 100 years
after he had first entered the land of Canaan, he died, and was
buried in the old family burying-place at Machpelah (Gen.
The history of Abraham made a wide and deep impression on the
ancient world, and references to it are interwoven in the
religious traditions of almost all Eastern nations. He is called
"the friend of God" (James 2:23), "faithful Abraham" (Gal. 3:9),
"the father of us all" (Rom. 4:16).
one who follows on another's heels; supplanter, (Gen. 25:26;
27:36; Hos. 12:2-4), the second born of the twin sons of Isaac
by Rebekah. He was born probably at Lahai-roi, when his father
was fifty-nine and Abraham one hundred and fifty-nine years old.
Like his father, he was of a quiet and gentle disposition, and
when he grew up followed the life of a shepherd, while his
brother Esau became an enterprising hunter. His dealing with
Esau, however, showed much mean selfishness and cunning (Gen.
When Isaac was about 160 years of age, Jacob and his mother
conspired to deceive the aged patriarch (Gen. 27), with the view
of procuring the transfer of the birthright to himself. The
birthright secured to him who possessed it (1) superior rank in
his family (Gen. 49:3); (2) a double portion of the paternal
inheritance (Deut. 21:17); (3) the priestly office in the family
(Num. 8:17-19); and (4) the promise of the Seed in which all
nations of the earth were to be blessed (Gen. 22:18).
Soon after his acquisition of his father's blessing (Gen. 27),
Jacob became conscious of his guilt; and afraid of the anger of
Esau, at the suggestion of Rebekah Isaac sent him away to Haran,
400 miles or more, to find a wife among his cousins, the family
of Laban, the Syrian (28). There he met with Rachel (29). Laban
would not consent to give him his daughter in marriage till he
had served seven years; but to Jacob these years "seemed but a
few days, for the love he had to her." But when the seven years
were expired, Laban craftily deceived Jacob, and gave him his
daughter Leah. Other seven years of service had to be completed
probably before he obtained the beloved Rachel. But "life-long
sorrow, disgrace, and trials, in the retributive providence of
God, followed as a consequence of this double union."
At the close of the fourteen years of service, Jacob desired
to return to his parents, but at the entreaty of Laban he
tarried yet six years with him, tending his flocks (31:41). He
then set out with his family and property "to go to Isaac his
father in the land of Canaan" (Gen. 31). Laban was angry when he
heard that Jacob had set out on his journey, and pursued after
him, overtaking him in seven days. The meeting was of a painful
kind. After much recrimination and reproach directed against
Jacob, Laban is at length pacified, and taking an affectionate
farewell of his daughters, returns to his home in Padanaram. And
now all connection of the Israelites with Mesopotamia is at an
Soon after parting with Laban he is met by a company of
angels, as if to greet him on his return and welcome him back to
the Land of Promise (32:1, 2). He called the name of the place
Mahanaim, i.e., "the double camp," probably his own camp and
that of the angels. The vision of angels was the counterpart of
that he had formerly seen at Bethel, when, twenty years before,
the weary, solitary traveller, on his way to Padan-aram, saw the
angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder whose top
reached to heaven (28:12).
He now hears with dismay of the approach of his brother Esau
with a band of 400 men to meet him. In great agony of mind he
prepares for the worst. He feels that he must now depend only on
God, and he betakes himself to him in earnest prayer, and sends
on before him a munificent present to Esau, "a present to my
lord Esau from thy servant Jacob." Jacob's family were then
transported across the Jabbok; but he himself remained behind,
spending the night in communion with God. While thus engaged,
there appeared one in the form of a man who wrestled with him.
In this mysterious contest Jacob prevailed, and as a memorial of
it his name was changed to Israel (wrestler with God); and the
place where this occured he called Peniel, "for", said he, "I
have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved"
After this anxious night, Jacob went on his way, halting,
mysteriously weakened by the conflict, but strong in the
assurance of the divine favour. Esau came forth and met him; but
his spirit of revenge was appeased, and the brothers met as
friends, and during the remainder of their lives they maintained
friendly relations. After a brief sojourn at Succoth, Jacob
moved forward and pitched his tent near Shechem (q.v.), 33:18;
but at length, under divine directions, he moved to Bethel,
where he made an altar unto God (35:6,7), and where God appeared
to him and renewed the Abrahamic covenant. While journeying from
Bethel to Ephrath (the Canaanite name of Bethlehem), Rachel
died in giving birth to her second son Benjamin (35:16-20),
fifteen or sixteen years after the birth of Joseph. He then
reached the old family residence at Mamre, to wait on the dying
bed of his father Isaac. The complete reconciliation between
Esau and Jacob was shown by their uniting in the burial of the
Jacob was soon after this deeply grieved by the loss of his
beloved son Joseph through the jealousy of his brothers (37:33).
Then follows the story of the famine, and the successive goings
down into Egypt to buy corn (42), which led to the discovery of
the long-lost Joseph, and the patriarch's going down with all
his household, numbering about seventy souls (Ex. 1:5; Deut.
10:22; Acts 7:14), to sojourn in the land of Goshen. Here Jacob,
"after being strangely tossed about on a very rough ocean, found
at last a tranquil harbour, where all the best affections of his
nature were gently exercised and largely unfolded" (Gen. 48). At
length the end of his checkered course draws nigh, and he
summons his sons to his bedside that he may bless them. Among
his last words he repeats the story of Rachel's death, although
forty years had passed away since that event took place, as
tenderly as if it had happened only yesterday; and when "he had
made an end of charging his sons, he gathered up his feet into
the bed, and yielded up the ghost" (49:33). His body was
embalmed and carried with great pomp into the land of Canaan,
and buried beside his wife Leah in the cave of Machpelah,
according to his dying charge. There, probably, his embalmed
body remains to this day (50:1-13). (See HEBRON T0001712.)
The history of Jacob is referred to by the prophets Hosea
(12:3, 4, 12) and Malachi (1:2). In Micah 1:5 the name is a
poetic synonym for Israel, the kingdom of the ten tribes. There
are, besides the mention of his name along with those of the
other patriarchs, distinct references to events of his life in
Paul's epistles (Rom. 9:11-13; Heb. 12:16; 11:21). See
references to his vision at Bethel and his possession of land at
Shechem in John 1:51; 4:5, 12; also to the famine which was the
occasion of his going down into Egypt in Acts 7:12 (See LUZ
T0002335; BETHEL T0000554.)
Before his death David had "with all his might" provided
materials in great abundance for the building of the temple on
the summit of Mount Moriah (1 Chr. 22:14; 29:4; 2 Chr. 3:1), on
the east of the city, on the spot where Abraham had offered up
Isaac (Gen. 22:1-14). In the beginning of his reign Solomon set
about giving effect to the desire that had been so earnestly
cherished by his father, and prepared additional materials for
the building. From subterranean quarries at Jerusalem he
obtained huge blocks of stone for the foundations and walls of
the temple. These stones were prepared for their places in the
building under the eye of Tyrian master-builders. He also
entered into a compact with Hiram II., king of Tyre, for the
supply of whatever else was needed for the work, particularly
timber from the forests of Lebanon, which was brought in great
rafts by the sea to Joppa, whence it was dragged to Jerusalem (1
Kings 5). As the hill on which the temple was to be built did
not afford sufficient level space, a huge wall of solid masonry
of great height, in some places more than 200 feet high, was
raised across the south of the hill, and a similar wall on the
eastern side, and in the spaces between were erected many arches
and pillars, thus raising up the general surface to the required
level. Solomon also provided for a sufficient water supply for
the temple by hewing in the rocky hill vast cisterns, into which
water was conveyed by channels from the "pools" near Bethlehem.
One of these cisterns, the "great sea," was capable of
containing three millions of gallons. The overflow was led off
by a conduit to the Kidron.
In all these preparatory undertakings a space of about three
years was occupied; and now the process of the erection of the
great building began, under the direction of skilled Phoenician
builders and workmen, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign, 480
years after the Exodus (1 Kings 6; 2 Chr. 3). Many thousands of
labourers and skilled artisans were employed in the work. Stones
prepared in the quarries underneath the city (1 Kings 5:17, 18)
of huge dimension (see QUARRIES T0003032) were gradually placed
on the massive walls, and closely fitted together without any
mortar between, till the whole structure was completed. No sound
of hammer or axe or any tool of iron was heard as the structure
arose (6:7). "Like some tall palm the noiseless fabric sprang."
The building was 60 cubits long, 20 cubits wide, and 30 cubits
high. The engineers of the Israel Exploration Fund, in their
explorations around the temple area, discovered what is believed
to have been the "chief corner stone" of the temple, "the most
interesting stone in the world." It lies at the bottom of the
south-eastern angle, and is 3 feet 8 inches high by 14 feet
long. It rests on the solid rock at a depth of 79 feet 3 inches
below the present surface. (See PINNACLE T0002957.) In
examining the walls the engineers were "struck with admiration
at the vastness of the blocks and the general excellence of the
At length, in the autumn of the eleventh year of his reign,
seven and a half years after it had been begun, the temple was
completed in all its architectural magnificence and beauty. For
thirteen years there it stood, on the summit of Moriah, silent
and unused. The reasons for this strange delay in its
consecration are unknown. At the close of these thirteen years
preparations for the dedication of the temple were made on a
scale of the greatest magnificence. The ark was solemnly brought
from the tent in which David had deposited it to the place
prepared for it in the temple, and the glory-cloud, the symbol
of the divine presence, filled the house. Then Solomon ascended
a platform which had been erected for him, in the sight of all
the people, and lifting up his hands to heaven poured out his
heart to God in prayer (1 Kings 8; 2 Chr. 6, 7). The feast of
dedication, which lasted seven days, followed by the feast of
tabernacles, marked a new era in the history of Israel. On the
eighth day of the feast of tabernacles, Solomon dismissed the
vast assemblage of the people, who returned to their homes
filled with joy and gladness, "Had Solomon done no other service
beyond the building of the temple, he would still have
influenced the religious life of his people down to the latest
days. It was to them a perpetual reminder and visible symbol of
God's presence and protection, a strong bulwark of all the
sacred traditions of the law, a witness to duty, an impulse to
historic study, an inspiration of sacred song."
The temple consisted of, (1.) The oracle or most holy place (1
Kings 6:19; 8:6), called also the "inner house" (6:27), and the
"holiest of all" (Heb. 9:3). It was 20 cubits in length,
breadth, and height. It was floored and wainscotted with cedar
(1 Kings 6:16), and its walls and floor were overlaid with gold
(6:20, 21, 30). There was a two-leaved door between it and the
holy place overlaid with gold (2 Chr. 4:22); also a veil of blue
purple and crimson and fine linen (2 Chr. 3:14; compare Ex.
26:33). It had no windows (1 Kings 8:12). It was indeed the
dwelling-place of God. (2.) The holy place (q.v.), 1 Kings
8:8-10, called also the "greater house" (2 Chr. 3:5) and the
"temple" (1 Kings 6:17). (3.) The porch or entrance before the
temple on the east (1 Kings 6:3; 2 Chr. 3:4; 29:7). In the porch
stood the two pillars Jachin and Boaz (1 Kings 7:21; 2 Kings
11:14; 23:3). (4.) The chambers, which were built about the
temple on the southern, western, and northern sides (1 Kings
6:5-10). These formed a part of the building.
Round about the building were, (1.) The court of the priests
(2 Chr. 4:9), called the "inner court" (1 Kings 6:36). It
contained the altar of burnt-offering (2 Chr. 15:8), the brazen
sea (4:2-5, 10), and ten lavers (1 Kings 7:38, 39). (2.) The
great court, which surrounded the whole temple (2 Chr. 4:9).
Here the people assembled to worship God (Jer. 19:14; 26:2).
This temple erected by Solomon was many times pillaged during
the course of its history, (1) 1 Kings 14:25, 26; (2) 2 Kings
14:14; (3) 2 Kings 16:8, 17, 18; (4) 2 Kings 18:15, 16. At last
it was pillaged and destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:13;
2 Chr. 36:7). He burned the temple, and carried all its
treasures with him to Babylon (2 Kings 25:9-17; 2 Chr. 36:19;
Isa. 64:11). These sacred vessels were at length, at the close
of the Captivity, restored to the Jews by Cyrus (Ezra 1:7-11).
heard of God. The peculiar circumstances connected with his
birth are recorded in 1 Sam. 1:20. Hannah, one of the two wives
of Elkanah, who came up to Shiloh to worship before the Lord,
earnestly prayed to God that she might become the mother of a
son. Her prayer was graciously granted; and after the child was
weaned she brought him to Shiloh nd consecrated him to the Lord
as a perpetual Nazarite (1:23-2:11). Here his bodily wants and
training were attended to by the women who served in the
tabernacle, while Eli cared for his religious culture. Thus,
probably, twelve years of his life passed away. "The child
Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also
with men" (2:26; compare Luke 2:52). It was a time of great and
growing degeneracy in Israel (Judg. 21:19-21; 1 Sam. 2:12-17,
22). The Philistines, who of late had greatly increased in
number and in power, were practically masters of the country,
and kept the people in subjection (1 Sam. 10:5; 13:3).
At this time new communications from God began to be made to
the pious child. A mysterious voice came to him in the night
season, calling him by name, and, instructed by Eli, he
answered, "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth." The message
that came from the Lord was one of woe and ruin to Eli and his
profligate sons. Samuel told it all to Eli, whose only answer to
the terrible denunciations (1 Sam. 3:11-18) was, "It is the
Lord; let him do what seemeth him good", the passive submission
of a weak character, not, in his case, the expression of the
highest trust and faith. The Lord revealed himself now in divers
manners to Samuel, and his fame and his influence increased
throughout the land as of one divinely called to the prophetical
office. A new period in the history of the kingdom of God now
The Philistine yoke was heavy, and the people, groaning under
the wide-spread oppression, suddenly rose in revolt, and "went
out against the Philistines to battle." A fierce and disastrous
battle was fought at Aphek, near to Ebenezer (1 Sam. 4:1, 2).
The Israelites were defeated, leaving 4,000 dead "in the field."
The chiefs of the people thought to repair this great disaster
by carrying with them the ark of the covenant as the symbol of
Jehovah's presence. They accordingly, without consulting Samuel,
fetched it out of Shiloh to the camp near Aphek. At the sight of
the ark among them the people "shouted with a great shout, so
that the earth rang again." A second battle was fought, and
again the Philistines defeated the Israelites, stormed their
camp, slew 30,000 men, and took the sacred ark. The tidings of
this fatal battle was speedily conveyed to Shiloh; and so soon
as the aged Eli heard that the ark of God was taken, he fell
backward from his seat at the entrance of the sanctuary, and his
neck brake, and he died. The tabernacle with its furniture was
probably, by the advice of Samuel, now about twenty years of
age, removed from Shiloh to some place of safety, and finally to
Nob, where it remained many years (21:1).
The Philistines followed up their advantage, and marched upon
Shiloh, which they plundered and destroyed (compare Jer. 7:12; Ps.
78:59). This was a great epoch in the history of Israel. For
twenty years after this fatal battle at Aphek the whole land lay
under the oppression of the Philistines. During all these dreary
years Samuel was a spiritual power in the land. From Ramah, his
native place, where he resided, his influence went forth on
every side among the people. With unwearied zeal he went up and
down from place to place, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting the
people, endeavouring to awaken in them a sense of their
sinfulness, and to lead them to repentance. His labors were so
far successful that "all the house of Israel lamented after the
Lord." Samuel summoned the people to Mizpeh, one of the loftiest
hills in Central Israel, where they fasted and prayed, and
prepared themselves there, under his direction, for a great war
against the Philistines, who now marched their whole force
toward Mizpeh, in order to crush the Israelites once for all. At
the intercession of Samuel God interposed in behalf of Israel.
Samuel himself was their leader, the only occasion in which he
acted as a leader in war. The Philistines were utterly routed.
They fled in terror before the army of Israel, and a great
slaughter ensued. This battle, fought probably about B.C. 1095,
put an end to the forty years of Philistine oppression. In
memory of this great deliverance, and in token of gratitude for
the help vouchsafed, Samuel set up a great stone in the
battlefield, and called it "Ebenezer," saying, "Hitherto hath
the Lord helped us" (1 Sam. 7:1-12). This was the spot where,
twenty years before, the Israelites had suffered a great defeat,
when the ark of God was taken.
This victory over the Philistines was followed by a long
period of peace for Israel (1 Sam. 7:13, 14), during which
Samuel exercised the functions of judge, going "from year to
year in circuit" from his home in Ramah to Bethel, thence to
Gilgal (not that in the Jordan valley, but that which lay to the
west of Ebal and Gerizim), and returning by Mizpeh to Ramah. He
established regular services at Shiloh, where he built an altar;
and at Ramah he gathered a company of young men around him and
established a school of the prophets. The schools of the
prophets, thus originated, and afterwards established also at
Gibeah, Bethel, Gilgal, and Jericho, exercised an important
influence on the national character and history of the people in
maintaining pure religion in the midst of growing corruption.
They continued to the end of the Jewish commonwealth.
Many years now passed, during which Samuel exercised the
functions of his judicial office, being the friend and
counsellor of the people in all matters of private and public
interest. He was a great statesman as well as a reformer, and
all regarded him with veneration as the "seer," the prophet of
the Lord. At the close of this period, when he was now an old
man, the elders of Israel came to him at Ramah (1 Sam. 8:4, 5,
19-22); and feeling how great was the danger to which the nation
was exposed from the misconduct of Samuel's sons, whom he had
invested with judicial functions as his assistants, and had
placed at Beersheba on the Philistine border, and also from a
threatened invasion of the Ammonites, they demanded that a king
should be set over them. This request was very displeasing to
Samuel. He remonstrated with them, and warned them of the
consequences of such a step. At length, however, referring the
matter to God, he acceded to their desires, and anointed Saul
(q.v.) to be their king (11:15). Before retiring from public
life he convened an assembly of the people at Gilgal (ch. 12),
and there solemnly addressed them with reference to his own
relation to them as judge and prophet.
The remainder of his life he spent in retirement at Ramah,
only occasionally and in special circumstances appearing again
in public (1 Sam. 13, 15) with communications from God to king
Saul. While mourning over the many evils which now fell upon the
nation, he is suddenly summoned (ch.16) to go to Bethlehem and
anoint David, the son of Jesse, as king over Israel instead of
Saul. After this little is known of him till the time of his
death, which took place at Ramah when he was probably about
eighty years of age. "And all Israel gathered themselves
together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at
Ramah" (25:1), not in the house itself, but in the court or
garden of his house. (Compare 2 Kings 21:18; 2 Chr. 33:20; 1 Kings
2:34; John 19:41.)
Samuel's devotion to God, and the special favour with which
God regarded him, are referred to in Jer. 15:1 and Ps. 99:6.
called also Salem, Ariel, Jebus, the "city of God," the "holy
city;" by the modern Arabs el-Khuds, meaning "the holy;" once
"the city of Judah" (2 Chr. 25:28). This name is in the original
in the dual form, and means "possession of peace," or
"foundation of peace." The dual form probably refers to the two
mountains on which it was built, viz., Zion and Moriah; or, as
some suppose, to the two parts of the city, the "upper" and the
"lower city." Jerusalem is a "mountain city enthroned on a
mountain fastness" (compare Ps. 68:15, 16; 87:1; 125:2; 76:1, 2;
122:3). It stands on the edge of one of the highest table-lands
in Israel, and is surrounded on the south-eastern, the
southern, and the western sides by deep and precipitous ravines.
It is first mentioned in Scripture under the name Salem (Gen.
14:18; compare Ps. 76:2). When first mentioned under the name
Jerusalem, Adonizedek was its king (Josh. 10:1). It is
afterwards named among the cities of Benjamin (Judg. 19:10; 1
Chr. 11:4); but in the time of David it was divided between
Benjamin and Judah. After the death of Joshua the city was taken
and set on fire by the men of Judah (Judg. 1:1-8); but the
Jebusites were not wholly driven out of it. The city is not
again mentioned till we are told that David brought the head of
Goliath thither (1 Sam. 17:54). David afterwards led his forces
against the Jebusites still residing within its walls, and drove
them out, fixing his own dwelling on Zion, which he called "the
city of David" (2 Sam. 5:5-9; 1 Chr. 11:4-8). Here he built an
altar to the Lord on the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite
(2 Sam. 24:15-25), and thither he brought up the ark of the
covenant and placed it in the new tabernacle which he had
prepared for it. Jerusalem now became the capital of the
After the death of David, Solomon built the temple, a house
for the name of the Lord, on Mount Moriah (B.C. 1010). He also
greatly strengthened and adorned the city, and it became the
great centre of all the civil and religious affairs of the
nation (Deut. 12:5; compare 12:14; 14:23; 16:11-16; Ps. 122).
After the disruption of the kingdom on the accession to the
throne of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, Jerusalem became the
capital of the kingdom of the two tribes. It was subsequently
often taken and retaken by the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and by
the kings of Israel (2 Kings 14:13, 14; 18:15, 16; 23:33-35;
24:14; 2 Chr. 12:9; 26:9; 27:3, 4; 29:3; 32:30; 33:11), till
finally, for the abounding iniquities of the nation, after a
siege of three years, it was taken and utterly destroyed, its
walls razed to the ground, and its temple and palaces consumed
by fire, by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon (2 Kings 25; 2
Chr. 36; Jer. 39), B.C. 588. The desolation of the city and the
land was completed by the retreat of the principal Jews into
Egypt (Jer. 40-44), and by the final carrying captive into
Babylon of all that still remained in the land (52:3), so that
it was left without an inhabitant (B.C. 582). Compare the
predictions, Deut. 28; Lev. 26:14-39.
But the streets and walls of Jerusalem were again to be built,
in troublous times (Dan. 9:16, 19, 25), after a captivity of
seventy years. This restoration was begun B.C. 536, "in the
first year of Cyrus" (Ezra 1:2, 3, 5-11). The Books of Ezra and
Nehemiah contain the history of the re-building of the city and
temple, and the restoration of the kingdom of the Jews,
consisting of a portion of all the tribes. The kingdom thus
constituted was for two centuries under the dominion of Persia,
till B.C. 331; and thereafter, for about a century and a half,
under the rulers of the Greek empire in Asia, till B.C. 167. For
a century the Jews maintained their independence under native
rulers, the Asmonean princes. At the close of this period they
fell under the rule of Herod and of members of his family, but
practically under Rome, till the time of the destruction of
Jerusalem, A.D. 70. The city was then laid in ruins.
The modern Jerusalem by-and-by began to be built over the
immense beds of rubbish resulting from the overthrow of the
ancient city; and whilst it occupies certainly the same site,
there are no evidences that even the lines of its streets are
now what they were in the ancient city. Till A.D. 131 the Jews
who still lingered about Jerusalem quietly submitted to the
Roman sway. But in that year the emperor (Hadrian), in order to
hold them in subjection, rebuilt and fortified the city. The
Jews, however, took possession of it, having risen under the
leadership of one Bar-Chohaba (i.e., "the son of the star") in
revolt against the Romans. Some four years afterwards (A.D.
135), however, they were driven out of it with great slaughter,
and the city was again destroyed; and over its ruins was built a
Roman city called Aelia Capitolina, a name which it retained
till it fell under the dominion of the Mohammedans, when it was
called el-Khuds, i.e., "the holy."
In A.D. 326 Helena, mother of the emperor Constantine, made a
pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the view of discovering the places
mentioned in the life of our Lord. She caused a church to be
built on what was then supposed to be the place of the nativity
at Bethlehem. Constantine, animated by her example, searched for
the holy sepulchre, and built over the supposed site a
magnificent church, which was completed and dedicated A.D. 335.
He relaxed the laws against the Jews till this time in force,
and permitted them once a year to visit the city and wail over
the desolation of "the holy and beautiful house."
In A.D. 614 the Persians, after defeating the Roman forces of
the emperor Heraclius, took Jerusalem by storm, and retained it
till A.D. 637, when it was taken by the Arabians under the
Khalif Omar. It remained in their possession till it passed, in
A.D. 960, under the dominion of the Fatimite khalifs of Egypt,
and in A.D. 1073 under the Turcomans. In A.D. 1099 the crusader
Godfrey of Bouillon took the city from the Moslems with great
slaughter, and was elected king of Jerusalem. He converted the
Mosque of Omar into a Christian cathedral. During the
eighty-eight years which followed, many churches and convents
were erected in the holy city. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
was rebuilt during this period, and it alone remains to this
day. In A.D. 1187 the sultan Saladin wrested the city from the
Christians. From that time to the present day, with few
intervals, Jerusalem has remained in the hands of the Moslems.
It has, however, during that period been again and again taken
and retaken, demolished in great part and rebuilt, no city in
the world having passed through so many vicissitudes.
In the year 1850 the Greek and Latin monks residing in
Jerusalem had a fierce dispute about the guardianship of what
are called the "holy places." In this dispute the emperor
Nicholas of Russia sided with the Greeks, and Louis Napoleon,
the emperor of the French, with the Latins. This led the Turkish
authorities to settle the question in a way unsatisfactory to
Russia. Out of this there sprang the Crimean War, which was
protracted and sanguinary, but which had important consequences
in the way of breaking down the barriers of Turkish
Modern Jerusalem "lies near the summit of a broad
mountain-ridge, which extends without interruption from the
plain of Esdraelon to a line drawn between the southern end of
the Dead Sea and the southeastern corner of the Mediterranean."
This high, uneven table-land is everywhere from 20 to 25
geographical miles in breadth. It was anciently known as the
mountains of Ephraim and Judah.
"Jerusalem is a city of contrasts, and differs widely from
Damascus, not merely because it is a stone town in mountains,
whilst the latter is a mud city in a plain, but because while in
Damascus Moslem religion and Oriental custom are unmixed with
any foreign element, in Jerusalem every form of religion, every
nationality of East and West, is represented at one time."
Jerusalem is first mentioned under that name in the Book of
Joshua, and the Tell-el-Amarna collection of tablets includes
six letters from its Amorite king to Egypt, recording the attack
of the Abiri about B.C. 1480. The name is there spelt Uru-Salim
("city of peace"). Another monumental record in which the Holy
City is named is that of Sennacherib's attack in B.C. 702. The
"camp of the Assyrians" was still shown about A.D. 70, on the
flat ground to the north-west, included in the new quarter of
The city of David included both the upper city and Millo, and
was surrounded by a wall built by David and Solomon, who appear
to have restored the original Jebusite fortifications. The name
Zion (or Sion) appears to have been, like Ariel ("the hearth of
God"), a poetical term for Jerusalem, but in the Greek age was
more specially used of the Temple hill. The priests' quarter
grew up on Ophel, south of the Temple, where also was Solomon's
Palace outside the original city of David. The walls of the city
were extended by Jotham and Manasseh to include this suburb and
the Temple (2 Chr. 27:3; 33:14).
Jerusalem is now a town of some 50,000 inhabitants, with
ancient mediaeval walls, partly on the old lines, but extending
less far to the south. The traditional sites, as a rule, were
first shown in the 4th and later centuries A.D., and have no
authority. The results of excavation have, however, settled most
of the disputed questions, the limits of the Temple area, and
the course of the old walls having been traced.