Canaan, the language of
mentioned in Isa. 19:18, denotes the language spoken by the Jews
resident in Israel. The language of the Canaanites and of the
Hebrews was substantially the same. This is seen from the
fragments of the Phoenician language which still survive, which
show the closest analogy to the Hebrew. Yet the subject of the
language of the "Canaanites" is very obscure. The cuneiform
writing of Babylon, as well as the Babylonian language, was
taught in the Canaanite schools, and the clay tablets of
Babylonian literature were stored in the Canaanite libraries.
Even the Babylonian divinities were borrowed by the Canaanites.
like a wild ass, a king of Jarmuth, a royal city of the
Canaanites, who was conquered and put to death by Joshua (10:3,
watch-post, an ancient city of the Canaanites; with its
villages, allotted to Zebulun (Josh. 19:15); now probably
Semunieh, on the northern edge of the plain of Esdraelon, 5
miles west of Nazareth.
Heb. tsir'ah, "stinging", (Ex. 23:28; Deut. 7:20; Josh. 24:12).
The word is used in these passages as referring to some means by
which the Canaanites were to be driven out from before the
Israelites. Some have supposed that the word is used in a
metaphorical sense as the symbol of some panic which would seize
the people as a "terror of God" (Gen. 35:5), the consternation
with which God would inspire the Canaanites. In Israel there
are four species of hornets, differing from our hornets, being
larger in size, and they are very abundant. They "attack human
beings in a very furious manner." "The furious attack of a swarm
of hornets drives cattle and horses to madness, and has even
caused the death of the animals."
banning; i.e., placing under a "ban," or devoting to utter
destruction. After the manifestation of God's anger against the
Israelites, on account of their rebellion and their murmurings
when the spies returned to the camp at Kadesh, in the wilderness
of Paran, with an evil report of the land, they quickly repented
of their conduct, and presumed to go up "to the head of the
mountain," seeking to enter the Promised Land, but without the
presence of the Lord, without the ark of the convenant, and
without Moses. The Amalekites and the Canaanites came down and
"smote and discomfited them even unto Hormah" (Num. 14:45). This
place, or perhaps the watch-tower commanding it, was originally
called Zephath (Judg. 1:17), the modern Sebaiteh. Afterwards
(Num. 21:1-3) Arad, the king of the Canaanites, at the close of
the wanderings, when the Israelites were a second time encamped
at Kadesh, "fought against them, and took some of them
prisoners." But Israel vowed a vow unto the Lord utterly to
destroy the cities of the Canaanites; they "banned" them, and
hence the place was now called Hormah. But this "ban" was not
fully executed till the time of Joshua, who finally conquered
the king of this district, so that the ancient name Zephath
became "Hormah" (Josh. 12:14; Judg. 1:17).
fascination, a royal city of the Canaanites, in the north of
Israel (Josh. 11:1; 12:20; 19:25). It was in the eastern
boundary of the tribe of Asher, and is identified with the
modern ruined village of Kesaf or Yasif, N.E. of Accho.
a well or stream. (1.) A royal city of the Canaanites taken by
(2.) The youngest son of Gilead (Num. 26:32; 27:1).
(3.) The second son of Asher (1 Chr. 4:6).
(4.) One of David's heroes (1 Chr. 11:36).
people-waster, a city assigned to Manasseh (Josh. 17:11), from
which the Israelites, however, could not expel the Canaanites
(Judg. 1:27). It is also called Bileam (1 Chr. 6:70). It was
probably the modern Jelamah, a village 2 1/2 miles north of
burning of waters, supposed to be salt-pans, or lime-kilns, or
glass-factories, a place to which Joshua pursued a party of
Canaanites after the defeat of Jabin (Josh. 11:8). It is
identified with the ruin Musheirifeh, at the promontory of
en-Nakhurah, some 11 miles north of Acre.
the descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham. Migrating from their
original home, they seem to have reached the Persian Gulf, and
to have there sojourned for some time. They thence "spread to
the west, across the mountain chain of Lebanon to the very edge
of the Mediterranean Sea, occupying all the land which later
became Israel, also to the north-west as far as the mountain
chain of Taurus. This group was very numerous, and broken up
into a great many peoples, as we can judge from the list of
nations (Gen. 10), the 'sons of Canaan.'" Six different tribes
are mentioned in Ex. 3:8, 17; 23:23; 33:2; 34:11. In Ex. 13:5
the "Perizzites" are omitted. The "Girgashites" are mentioned in
addition to the foregoing in Deut. 7:1; Josh. 3:10.
The "Canaanites," as distinguished from the Amalekites, the
Anakim, and the Rephaim, were "dwellers in the lowlands" (Num.
13:29), the great plains and valleys, the richest and most
important parts of Israel. Tyre and Sidon, their famous
cities, were the centres of great commercial activity; and hence
the name "Canaanite" came to signify a "trader" or "merchant"
(Job 41:6; Prov. 31:24, lit. "Canaanites;" compare Zeph. 1:11;
Ezek. 17:4). The name "Canaanite" is also sometimes used to
designate the non-Israelite inhabitants of the land in general
(Gen. 12:6; Num. 21:3; Judg. 1:10).
The Israelites, when they were led to the Promised Land, were
commanded utterly to destroy the descendants of Canaan then
possessing it (Ex. 23:23; Num. 33:52, 53; Deut. 20:16, 17). This
was to be done "by little and little," lest the beasts of the
field should increase (Ex. 23:29; Deut. 7:22, 23). The history
of these wars of conquest is given in the Book of Joshua. The
extermination of these tribes, however, was never fully carried
out. Jerusalem was not taken till the time of David (2 Sam. 5:6,
7). In the days of Solomon bond-service was exacted from the
fragments of the tribes still remaining in the land (1 Kings
9:20, 21). Even after the return from captivity survivors of
five of the Canaanite tribes were still found in the land.
In the Tell-el-Amarna tablets Canaan is found under the forms
of Kinakhna and Kinakhkhi. Under the name of Kanana the
Canaanites appear on Egyptian monuments, wearing a coat of mail
and helmet, and distinguished by the use of spear and javelin
and the battle-axe. They were called Phoenicians by the Greeks
and Poeni by the Romans. By race the Canaanites were Semitic.
They were famous as merchants and seamen, as well as for their
artistic skill. The chief object of their worship was the
sun-god, who was addressed by the general name of Baal, "lord."
Each locality had its special Baal, and the various local Baals
were summed up under the name of Baalim, "lords."
Siloam, Tower of
mentioned only Luke 13:4. The place here spoken of is the
village now called Silwan, or Kefr Silwan, on the east of the
valley of Kidron, and to the NE of the pool. It stands
on the west slope of the Mount of Olives.
As illustrative of the movement of small bands of Canaanites
from place to place, and the intermingling of Canaanites and
Israelites even in small towns in earlier times, M.C. Ganneau
records the following curious fact: "Among the inhabitants of
the village (of Siloam) there are a hundred or so domiciled for
the most part in the lower quarter, and forming a group apart
from the rest, called Dhiabrye, i.e., men of Dhiban. It appears
that at some remote period a colony from the capital of king
Mesha (Dibon-Moab) crossed the Jordan and fixed itself at the
gates of Jerusalem at Silwan. The memory of this migration is
still preserved; and I am assured by the people themselves that
many of their number are installed in other villages round
Jerusalem" (quoted by Henderson, Israel).
buckthorn, a place where Joseph and his brethren, when on their
way from Egypt to Hebron with the remains of their father Jacob,
made for seven days a "great and very sore lamentation." On this
account the Canaanites called it "Abel-mizraim" (Gen. 50:10,
11). It was probably near Hebron. The word is rendered "bramble"
in Judg. 9:14, 15, and "thorns" in Ps. 58:9.
covenant lord, the name of the god worshipped in Shechem after
the death of Gideon (Judg. 8:33; 9:4). In 9:46 he is called
simply "the god Berith." The name denotes the god of the
covenant into which the Israelites entered with the Canaanites,
contrary to the command of Jehovah (Ex. 34:12), when they began
to fall away to the worship of idols.
city of books, Josh. 15:15; same as Kirjath-sannah (q.v.), now
represented by the valley of ed-Dhaberiyeh, south-west of
Hebron. The name of this town is an evidence that the Canaanites
were acquainted with writing and books. "The town probably
contained a noted school, or was the site of an oracle and the
residence of some learned priest." The "books" were probably
engraved stones or bricks.
a sandy place, an ancient royal city of the Canaanites, on the
south-western border of the plain of Esdraelon, 4 miles south of
Megiddo. Its king was conquered by Joshua (12:21). It was
assigned to the Levites of the family of Kohath (17:11-18;
21:25). It is mentioned in the song of Deborah (Judg. 5:19). It
is identified with the small modern village of Ta'annuk.
a treaty or confederacy. The Jews were forbidden to enter into
an alliance of any kind (1) with the Canaanites (Ex. 23:32, 33;
34:12-16); (2) with the Amalekites (Ex. 17:8, 14; Deut.
25:17-19); (3) with the Moabites and Ammonites (Deut. 2:9, 19).
Treaties were permitted to be entered into with all other
nations. Thus David maintained friendly intercourse with the
kings of Tyre and Hamath, and Solomon with the kings of Tyre and
apple-region. (1.) A town in the valley or lowland of Judah;
formerly a royal city of the Canaanites (Josh. 12:17; 15:34). It
is now called Tuffuh, about 12 miles west of Jerusalem.
(2.) A town on the border of Ephraim (Josh. 16:8). The "land"
of Tappuah fell to Manasseh, but the "city" to Ephraim (17:8).
(3.) En-tappuah, the well of the apple, probably one of the
springs near Yassuf (Josh. 17:7).
discerner; the wise. (1.) A king of Hazor, at the time of the
entrance of Israel into Canaan (Josh. 11:1-14), whose overthrow
and that of the northern chief with whom he had entered into a
confederacy against Joshua was the crowning act in the conquest
of the land (11:21-23; compare 14:6-15). This great battle, fought
at Lake Merom, was the last of Joshua's battles of which we have
any record. Here for the first time the Israelites encountered
the iron chariots and horses of the Canaanites.
(2.) Another king of Hazor, called "the king of Canaan," who
overpowered the Israelites of the north one hundred and sixty
years after Joshua's death, and for twenty years held them in
painful subjection. The whole population were paralyzed with
fear, and gave way to hopeless despondency (Judg. 5:6-11), till
Deborah and Barak aroused the national spirit, and gathering
together ten thousand men, gained a great and decisive victory
over Jabin in the plain of Esdraelon (Judg. 4:10-16; compare Ps.
83:9). This was the first great victory Israel had gained since
the days of Joshua. They never needed to fight another battle
with the Canaanites (Judg. 5:31).
The Israelites had to take possession of the Promised Land by
conquest. They had to engage in a long and bloody war before the
Canaanite tribes were finally subdued. Except in the case of
Jericho and Ai, the war did not become aggressive till after the
death of Joshua. Till then the attack was always first made by
the Canaanites. Now the measure of the iniquity of the
Canaanites was full, and Israel was employed by God to sweep
them away from off the face of the earth. In entering on this
new stage of the war, the tribe of Judah, according to divine
direction, took the lead.
In the days of Saul and David the people of Israel engaged in
many wars with the nations around, and after the division of the
kingdom into two they often warred with each other. They had to
defend themselves also against the inroads of the Egyptians, the
Assyrians, and the Babylonians. The whole history of Israel from
first to last presents but few periods of peace.
The Christian life is represented as a warfare, and the
Christian graces are also represented under the figure of pieces
of armour (Eph. 6:11-17; 1 Thess. 5:8; 2 Tim. 2:3, 4). The final
blessedness of believers is attained as the fruit of victory
captives or cattle or objects of value taken in war. In Canaan
all that breathed were to be destroyed (Deut. 20: 16). The
"pictures and images" of the Canaanites were to be destroyed
also (Num. 33:52). The law of booty as to its division is laid
down in Num. 31:26-47. David afterwards introduced a regulation
that the baggage-guard should share the booty equally with the
soldiers engaged in battle. He also devoted of the spoils of war
for the temple (1 Sam. 30:24-26; 2 Sam. 8:11; 1 Chr. 26:27).
transparency; whiteness. (1.) One of the stations of the
Israelites in the wilderness (Num. 33:20, 21).
(2.) One of the royal cities of the Canaanites taken by Joshua
(Josh. 10:29-32; 12:15). It became one of the Levitical towns in
the tribe of Judah (21:13), and was strongly fortified.
Sennacherib laid siege to it (2 Kings 19:8; Isa. 37:8). It was
the native place of Hamutal, the queen of Josiah (2 Kings
23:31). It stood near Lachish, and has been identified with the
modern Arak el-Menshiyeh.
street; broad place. (1.) The father of Hadadezer, king of Tobah
(2 Sam. 8:3, 12).
(2.) Neh. 10:11.
(3.) The same, probably, as Beth-rehob (2 Sam. 10:6, 8; Judg.
18:28), a place in the north of Israel (Num. 13:21). It is
now supposed to be represented by the castle of Hunin,
south-west of Dan, on the road from Hamath into Coele-Syria.
(4.) A town of Asher (Josh. 19:28), to the east of Zidon.
(5.) Another town of Asher (Josh. 19:30), kept possession of
by the Canaanites (Judg. 1:31).
dwelling, the Dora of the Romans, an ancient royal city of the
Canaanites (Josh. 11:1, 2; 12:23). It was the most southern
settlement of the Phoenicians on the coast of Syria. The
original inhabitants seem never to have been expelled, although
they were made tributary by David. It was one of Solomon's
commissariat districts (Judg. 1:27; 1 Kings 4:11). It has been
identified with Tantura (so named from the supposed resemblance
of its tower to a tantur, i.e., "a horn"). This tower fell in
1895, and nothing remains but debris and foundation walls, the
remains of an old Crusading fortress. It is about 8 miles north
of Caesarea, "a sad and sickly hamlet of wretched huts on a
warm, hot, and hence the south; also an Egyptian word meaning
"black", the youngest son of Noah (Gen. 5:32; compare 9:22,24).
The curse pronounced by Noah against Ham, properly against
Canaan his fourth son, was accomplished when the Jews
subsequently exterminated the Canaanites.
One of the most important facts recorded in Gen. 10 is the
foundation of the earliest monarchy in Babylonia by Nimrod the
grandson of Ham (6, 8, 10). The primitive Babylonian empire was
thus Hamitic, and of a cognate race with the primitive
inhabitants of Arabia and of Ethiopia. (See ACCAD T0000060.)
The race of Ham were the most energetic of all the descendants
of Noah in the early times of the post-diluvian world.
Till their sojourn in Egypt the Hebrews dwelt in tents. They
then for the first time inhabited cities (Gen. 47:3; Ex. 12:7;
Heb. 11:9). From the earliest times the Assyrians and the
Canaanites were builders of cities. The Hebrews after the
Conquest took possession of the captured cities, and seem to
have followed the methods of building that had been pursued by
the Canaanites. Reference is made to the stone (1 Kings 7:9;
Isa. 9:10) and marble (1 Chr. 29:2) used in building, and to the
internal wood-work of the houses (1 Kings 6:15; 7:2; 10:11, 12;
2 Chr. 3:5; Jer. 22:14). "Ceiled houses" were such as had beams
inlaid in the walls to which wainscotting was fastened (Ezra
6:4; Jer. 22:14; Hag. 1:4). "Ivory houses" had the upper parts
of the walls adorned with figures in stucco with gold and ivory
(1 Kings 22:39; 2 Chr. 3:6; Ps. 45:8).
The roofs of the dwelling-houses were flat, and are often
alluded to in Scripture (2 Sam. 11:2; Isa. 22:1; Matt. 24:17).
Sometimes tents or booths were erected on them (2 Sam. 16:22).
They were protected by parapets or low walls (Deut. 22:8). On
the house-tops grass sometimes grew (Prov. 19:13; 27:15; Ps.
129:6, 7). They were used, not only as places of recreation in
the evening, but also sometimes as sleeping-places at night (1
Sam. 9:25, 26; 2 Sam. 11:2; 16:22; Dan. 4:29; Job 27:18; Prov.
21:9), and as places of devotion (Jer. 32:29; 19:13).
place of troops, originally one of the royal cities of the
Canaanites (Josh. 12:21), belonged to the tribe of Manasseh
(Judg. 1:27), but does not seem to have been fully occupied by
the Israelites till the time of Solomon (1 Kings 4:12; 9:15).
The valley or plain of Megiddo was part of the plain of
Esdraelon, the great battle-field of Israel. It was here
Barak gained a notable victory over Jabin, the king of Hazor,
whose general, Sisera, led on the hostile army. Barak rallied
the warriors of the northern tribes, and under the encouragement
of Deborah (q.v.), the prophetess, attacked the Canaanites in
the great plain. The army of Sisera was thrown into complete
confusion, and was engulfed in the waters of the Kishon, which
had risen and overflowed its banks (Judg. 4:5).
Many years after this (B.C. 610), Pharaohnecho II., on his
march against the king of Assyria, passed through the plains of
Philistia and Sharon; and King Josiah, attempting to bar his
progress in the plain of Megiddo, was defeated by the Egyptians.
He was wounded in battle, and died as they bore him away in his
chariot towards Jerusalem (2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chr. 35:22-24), and
all Israel mourned for him. So general and bitter was this
mourning that it became a proverb, to which Zechariah (12:11,
12) alludes. Megiddo has been identified with the modern
el-Lejjun, at the head of the Kishon, under the NEern
brow of Carmel, on the south-western edge of the plain of
Esdraelon, and 9 miles west of Jezreel. Others identify it with
Mujedd'a, 4 miles south-west of Bethshean, but the question of
its site is still undetermined.
ruins. (1.) One of the royal cities of the Canaanites (Josh.
10:1; Gen. 12:8; 13:3). It was the scene of Joshua's defeat, and
afterwards of his victory. It was the second Canaanite city
taken by Israel (Josh. 7:2-5; 8:1-29). It lay rebuilt and
inhibited by the Benjamites (Ezra 2:28; Neh. 7:32; 11:31). It
lay to the east of Bethel, "beside Beth-aven." The spot which is
most probably the site of this ancient city is Haiyan, 2 miles
east from Bethel. It lay up the Wady Suweinit, a steep, rugged
valley, extending from the Jordan valley to Bethel.
(2.) A city in the Ammonite territory (Jer. 49:3). Some have
thought that the proper reading of the word is Ar (Isa. 15:1).
a precipice, an ancient royal Canaanite city (Josh. 10:33;
12:12). It was allotted with its suburbs to the Kohathite
Levites (21:21; 1 Chr. 6:67). It stood between the lower
Beth-horon and the sea (Josh. 16:3; 1 Kings 9:17). It was the
last point to which David pursued the Philistines (2 Sam. 5:25;
1 Chr. 14:16) after the battle of Baal-perazim. The Canaanites
retained possession of it till the time of Solomon, when the
king of Egypt took it and gave it to Solomon as a part of the
dowry of the Egyptian princess whom he married (1 Kings
9:15-17). It is identified with Tell el-Jezer, about 10 miles
south-west of Beth-horon. It is mentioned in the Amarna tablets.
herdsman's place, one of the royal cities of the Canaanites
(Josh. 12:16), near which was a cave where the five kings who
had confederated against Israel sought refuge (10:10-29). They
were put to death by Joshua, who afterwards suspended their
bodies upon five trees. It has been identified with the modern
village called Sumeil, standing on a low hill about 7 miles to
the north-west of Eleutheropolis (Beit Jibrin), where are
ancient remains and a great cave. The Israel Exploration
surveyors have, however, identified it with el-Mughar, or "the
caves," 3 miles from Jabneh and 2 1/2 southwest of Ekron,
because, they say, "at this site only of all possible sites for
Makkedah in the Israel plain do caves still exist." (See
Jezreel, Valley of
lying on the northern side of the city, between the ridges of
Gilboa and Moreh, an offshoot of Esdraelon, running east to the
Jordan (Josh. 17:16; Judg. 6:33; Hos. 1:5). It was the scene of
the signal victory gained by the Israelites under Gideon over
the Midianites, the Amalekites, and the "children of the east"
(Judg. 6:3). Two centuries after this the Israelites were here
defeated by the Philistines, and Saul and Jonathan, with the
flower of the army of Israel, fell (1 Sam. 31:1-6).
This name was in after ages extended to the whole of the plain
of Esdraelon (q.v.). It was only this plain of Jezreel and that
north of Lake Huleh that were then accessible to the chariots of
the Canaanites (compare 2 Kings 9:21; 10:15).
enclosed; fortified. (1.) A stronghold of the Canaanites in the
mountains north of Lake Merom (Josh. 11:1-5). Jabin the king
with his allied tribes here encountered Joshua in a great
battle. Joshua gained a signal victory, which virtually
completed his conquest of Canaan (11:10-13). This city was,
however, afterwards rebuilt by the Canaanites, and was ruled by
a king with the same hereditary name of Jabin. His army, under a
noted leader of the name of Sisera, swept down upon the south,
aiming at the complete subjugation of the country. This powerful
army was met by the Israelites under Barak, who went forth by
the advice of the prophetess Deborah. The result was one of the
most remarkable victories for Israel recorded in the Old
Testament (Josh. 19:36; Judg. 4:2; 1 Sam. 12:9). The city of
Hazor was taken and occupied by the Israelites. It was fortified
by Solomon to defend the entrance into the kingdom from Syria
and Assyria. When Tiglath-pileser, the Assyrian king, invaded
the land, this was one of the first cities he captured, carrying
its inhabitants captive into Assyria (2 Kings 15:29). It has
been identified with Khurbet Harrah, 2 1/2 miles south-east of
(2.) A city in the south of Judah (Josh. 15:23). The name here
should probably be connected with the word following, Ithnan,
HAZOR-ITHNAN instead of "Hazor and Ithnan."
(3.) A district in Arabia (Jer. 49:28-33), supposed by some to
be Jetor, i.e., Ituraea.
(4.) "Kerioth and Hezron" (Josh. 15: 25) should be
"Kerioth-hezron" (as in the R.V.), the two names being joined
together as the name of one place (e.g., like Kirjath-jearim),
"the same is Hazor" (R.V.). This place has been identified with
el-Kuryetein, and has been supposed to be the home of Judas
Iscariot. (See KERIOTH T0002177.)
pleasantness. (1.) An old royal city of the Canaanites, which
was destroyed by Joshua (Josh. 12:24). Jeroboam chose it for his
residence, and he removed to it from Shechem, which at first he
made the capital of his kingdom. It remained the chief residence
of the kings of Israel till Omri took Samaria (1 Kings 14:17;
15:21; 16:6, 8, etc.). Here Zimri perished amid the flames of
the palace to which in his despair he had set fire (1 Kings
16:18), and here Menahem smote Shallum (2 Kings 15:14, 16).
Solomon refers to its beauty (Cant. 6:4). It has been identified
with the modern mud hamlet Teiasir, 11 miles north of Shechem.
Others, however, would identify it with Telluza, a village about
6 miles east of Samaria.
(2.) The youngest of Zelophehad's five daughters (Num. 26:33;
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,
mountain-goat, the wife of Heber the Kenite (Judg. 4:17-22).
When the Canaanites were defeated by Barak, Sisera, the captain
of Jabin's army, fled and sought refuge with the friendly tribe
of Heber, beneath the oaks of Zaanaim. As he drew near, Jael
invited him to enter her tent. He did so, and as he lay wearied
on the floor he fell into a deep sleep. She then took in her
left hand one of the great wooden pins ("nail") which fastened
down the cords of the tent, and in her right hand the mallet, or
"hammer," used for driving it into the ground, and stealthily
approaching her sleeping guest, with one well-directed blow
drove the nail through his temples into the earth (Judg. 5:27).
She then led Barak, who was in pursuit, into her tent, and
boastfully showed him what she had done. (See SISERA T0003452;
one of the royal cities of the Canaanites, now 'Aid-el-ma (Josh.
12:15; 15:35). It stood on the old Roman road in the valley of
Elah (q.v.), which was the scene of David's memorable victory
over Goliath (1 Sam. 17:2), and not far from Gath. It was one of
the towns which Rehoboam fortified against Egypt (2 Chr. 11:7).
It was called "the glory of Israel" (Micah 1:15).
The Cave of Adullam has been discovered about 2 miles south of
the scene of David's triumph, and about 13 miles west from
Bethlehem. At this place is a hill some 500 feet high pierced
with numerous caverns, in one of which David gathered together
"every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt,
and every one that was discontented" (1 Sam. 22:2). Some of
these caverns are large enough to hold 200 or 300 men. According
to tradition this cave was at Wady Khureitun, between Bethlehem
and the Dead Sea, but this view cannot be well maintained.
the descendants of Anak (Josh. 11:21; Num. 13:33; Deut. 9:2).
They dwelt in the south of Israel, in the neighbourhood of
Hebron (Gen. 23:2; Josh. 15:13). In the days of Abraham (Gen.
14:5, 6) they inhabited the region afterwards known as Edom and
Moab, east of the Jordan. They were probably a remnant of the
original inhabitants of Israel before the Canaanites, a
Cushite tribe from Babel, and of the same race as the
Phoenicians and the Egyptian shepherd kings. Their formidable
warlike appearance, as described by the spies sent to search the
land, filled the Israelites with terror. They seem to have
identified them with the Nephilim, the "giants" (Gen. 6:4; Num.
13:33) of the antediluvian age. There were various tribes of
Anakim (Josh. 15:14). Joshua finally expelled them from the
land, except a remnant that found a refuge in the cities of
Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod (Josh. 11:22). The Philistine giants whom
David encountered (2 Sam. 21:15-22) were descendants of the
Anakim. (See GIANTS T0001474.)
(1.) The fourth son of Ham (Gen. 10:6). His descendants were
under a curse in consequence of the transgression of his father
(9:22-27). His eldest son, Zidon, was the father of the
Sidonians and Phoenicians. He had eleven sons, who were the
founders of as many tribes (10:15-18).
(2.) The country which derived its name from the preceding.
The name as first used by the Phoenicians denoted only the
maritime plain on which Sidon was built. But in the time of
Moses and Joshua it denoted the whole country to the west of the
Jordan and the Dead Sea (Deut. 11:30). In Josh. 5:12 the LXX.
read, "land of the Phoenicians," instead of "land of Canaan."
The name signifies "the lowlands," as distinguished from the
land of Gilead on the east of Jordan, which was a mountainous
district. The extent and boundaries of Canaan are fully set
forth in different parts of Scripture (Gen. 10:19; 17:8; Num.
13:29; 34:8). (See CANAANITES T0000705, PALESTINE T0002828.)
Zebulun, Tribe of
numbered at Sinai (Num. 1:31) and before entering Canaan
(26:27). It was one of the tribes which did not drive out the
Canaanites, but only made them tributary (Judg. 1:30). It took
little interest in public affairs. It responded, however,
readily to the summons of Gideon (6:35), and afterwards assisted
in enthroning David at Hebron (1 Chr. 12:33, 40). Along with the
other northern tribes, Zebulun was carried away into the land of
Assyria by Tiglath-pileser (2 Kings 15:29).
In Deborah's song the words, "Out of Zebulun they that handle
the pen of the writer" (Judg. 5:14) has been rendered in the
R.V., "They that handle the marshal's staff." This is a
questionable rendering. "The word "sopher" ('scribe' or
'writer') defines the word "shebhet" ('rod' or 'pen') with which
it is conjoined. The 'rod of the scribe' on the Assyrian
monuments was the stylus of wood or metal, with the help of
which the clay tablet was engraved, or the papyrus inscribed
with characters. The scribe who wielded it was the associate and
assistant of the 'lawgivers.'" (Sayce).
There were in Israel (1) cities, (2) unwalled villages, and
(3) villages with castles or towers (1 Chr. 27:25). Cities, so
called, had walls, and were thus fenced. The fortifications
consisted of one or two walls, on which were towers or parapets
at regular intervals (2 Chr. 32:5; Jer. 31:38). Around ancient
Jerusalem were three walls, on one of which were ninety towers,
on the second fourteen, and on the third sixty. The tower of
Hananeel, near the NE corner of the city wall, is
frequently referred to (Neh. 3:1; 12:39; Zech. 14:10). The
gateways of such cities were also fortified (Neh. 2:8; 3:3, 6;
Judg. 16:2, 3; 1 Sam. 23:7).
The Hebrews found many fenced cities when they entered the
Promised Land (Num. 13:28; 32:17, 34-42; Josh. 11:12, 13; Judg.
1:27-33), and we may estimate the strength of some of these
cities from the fact that they were long held in possession by
the Canaanites. The Jebusites, e.g., were enabled to hold
possession of Jerusalem till the time of David (2 Sam. 5:6, 7; 1
Several of the kings of Israel and Judah distinguished
themselves as fortifiers or "builders" of cities.
winding, a winter torrent of Central Israel, which rises
about the roots of Tabor and Gilboa, and passing in a northerly
direction through the plains of Esdraelon and Acre, falls into
the Mediterranean at the NEern corner of the bay of
Acre, at the foot of Carmel. It is the drain by which the waters
of the plain of Esdraelon and of the mountains that surround it
find their way to the sea. It bears the modern name of Nahr
el-Mokattah, i.e., "the river of slaughter" (compare 1 Kings
18:40). In the triumphal song of Deborah (Judg. 5:21) it is
spoken of as "that ancient river," either (1) because it had
flowed on for ages, or (2), according to the Targum, because it
was "the torrent in which were shown signs and wonders to Israel
of old;" or (3) probably the reference is to the exploits in
that region among the ancient Canaanites, for the adjoining
plain of Esdraelon was the great battle-field of Israel.
This was the scene of the defeat of Sisera (Judg. 4:7, 13),
and of the destruction of the prophets of Baal by Elijah (1
Kings 18:40). "When the Kishon was at its height, it would be,
partly on account of its quicksands, as impassable as the ocean
itself to a retreating army." (See DEBORAH T0000996.)
house of the hollow, or of the cavern, the name of two towns or
villages (2 Chr. 8:5; 1 Chr. 7:24) in the territory of Ephraim,
on the way from Jerusalem to Joppa. They are distinguished as
Beth-horon "the upper" and Beth-horon "the nether." They are
about 2 miles apart, the former being about 10 miles north-west
of Jerusalem. Between the two places was the ascent and descent
of Beth-horon, leading from Gibeon down to the western plain
(Josh. 10:10, 11; 18:13, 14), down which the five kings of the
Amorites were driven by Joshua in that great battle, the most
important in which the Hebrews had been as yet engaged, being
their first conflict with their enemies in the open field.
Jehovah interposed in behalf of Israel by a terrific hailstorm,
which caused more deaths among the Canaanites than did the
swords of the Israelites. Beth-horon is mentioned as having been
taken by Shishak, B.C. 945, in the list of his conquests, and
the pass was the scene of a victory of Judas Maccabeus. (Compare
Ex. 9:19, 25; Job 38:22, 23; Ps. 18:12-14; Isa. 30:30.) The
modern name of these places is Beit-ur, distinguished by
el-Foka, "the upper," and el-Tahta, "the nether." The lower was
at the foot of the pass, and the upper, 500 feet higher, at the
top, west of Gibeon. (See GIBEON T0001480.)
a name applied to the Israelites in Scripture only by one who is
a foreigner (Gen. 39:14, 17; 41:12, etc.), or by the Israelites
when they speak of themselves to foreigners (40:15; Ex. 1:19),
or when spoken of an contrasted with other peoples (Gen. 43:32;
Ex. 1:3, 7, 15; Deut. 15:12). In the New Testament there is the
same contrast between Hebrews and foreigners (Acts 6:1; Phil.
Derivation. (1.) The name is derived, according to some, from
Eber (Gen. 10:24), the ancestor of Abraham. The Hebrews are
"sons of Eber" (10:21).
(2.) Others trace the name of a Hebrew root-word signifying
"to pass over," and hence regard it as meaning "the man who
passed over," viz., the Euphrates; or to the Hebrew word meaning
"the region" or "country beyond," viz., the land of Chaldea.
This latter view is preferred. It is the more probable origin of
the designation given to Abraham coming among the Canaanites as
a man from beyond the Euphrates (Gen. 14:13).
(3.) A third derivation of the word has been suggested, viz.,
that it is from the Hebrew word "'abhar", "to pass over," whence
"'ebher", in the sense of a "sojourner" or "passer through" as
distinct from a "settler" in the land, and thus applies to the
condition of Abraham (Heb. 11:13).
(1.) Heb. nephilim, meaning "violent" or "causing to fall" (Gen.
6:4). These were the violent tyrants of those days, those who
fell upon others. The word may also be derived from a root
signifying "wonder," and hence "monsters" or "prodigies." In
Num. 13:33 this name is given to a Canaanite tribe, a race of
large stature, "the sons of Anak." The Revised Version, in these
passages, simply transliterates the original, and reads
(2.) Heb. rephaim, a race of giants (Deut. 3:11) who lived on
the east of Jordan, from whom Og was descended. They were
probably the original inhabitants of the land before the
immigration of the Canaanites. They were conquered by
Chedorlaomer (Gen. 14:5), and their territories were promised as
a possession to Abraham (15:20). The Anakim, Zuzim, and Emim
were branches of this stock.
In Job 26:5 (R.V., "they that are deceased;" marg., "the
shades," the "Rephaim") and Isa. 14:9 this Hebrew word is
rendered (A.V.) "dead." It means here "the shades," the departed
spirits in Sheol. In Sam. 21:16, 18, 20, 33, "the giant" is
(A.V.) the rendering of the singular form "ha raphah", which may
possibly be the name of the father of the four giants referred
to here, or of the founder of the Rephaim. The Vulgate here
reads "Arapha," whence Milton (in Samson Agonistes) has borrowed
the name "Harapha." (See also 1 Chron. 20:5, 6, 8; Deut. 2:11,
20; 3:13; Josh. 15:8, etc., where the word is similarly rendered
"giant.") It is rendered "dead" in (A.V.) Ps. 88:10; Prov. 2:18;
9:18; 21:16: in all these places the Revised Version marg. has
"the shades." (See also Isa. 26:14.)
(3.) Heb. 'Anakim (Deut. 2:10, 11, 21; Josh. 11:21, 22; 14:12,
15; called "sons of Anak," Num. 13:33; "children of Anak,"
13:22; Josh. 15:14), a nomad race of giants descended from Arba
(Josh. 14:15), the father of Anak, that dwelt in the south of
Israel near Hebron (Gen. 23:2; Josh. 15:13). They were a
Cushite tribe of the same race as the Philistines and the
Egyptian shepherd kings. David on several occasions encountered
them (2 Sam. 21:15-22). From this race sprung Goliath (1 Sam.
(4.) Heb. 'emin, a warlike tribe of the ancient Canaanites.
They were "great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims" (Gen.
14:5; Deut. 2:10, 11).
(5.) Heb. Zamzummim (q.v.), Deut. 2:20 so called by the
(6.) Heb. gibbor (Job 16:14), a mighty one, i.e., a champion
or hero. In its plural form (gibborim) it is rendered "mighty
men" (2 Sam. 23:8-39; 1 Kings 1:8; 1 Chr. 11:9-47; 29:24.) The
band of six hundred whom David gathered around him when he was a
fugitive were so designated. They were divided into three
divisions of two hundred each, and thirty divisions of twenty
each. The captians of the thirty divisions were called "the
thirty," the captains of the two hundred "the three," and the
captain over the whole was called "chief among the captains" (2
Sam. 23:8). The sons born of the marriages mentioned in Gen. 6:4
are also called by this Hebrew name.
image-worship or divine honour paid to any created object. Paul
describes the origin of idolatry in Rom. 1:21-25: men forsook
God, and sank into ignorance and moral corruption (1:28).
The forms of idolatry are, (1.) Fetishism, or the worship of
trees, rivers, hills, stones, etc.
(2.) Nature worship, the worship of the sun, moon, and stars,
as the supposed powers of nature.
(3.) Hero worship, the worship of deceased ancestors, or of
In Scripture, idolatry is regarded as of heathen origin, and
as being imported among the Hebrews through contact with heathen
nations. The first allusion to idolatry is in the account of
Rachel stealing her father's teraphim (Gen. 31:19), which were
the relics of the worship of other gods by Laban's progenitors
"on the other side of the river in old time" (Josh. 24:2).
During their long residence in Egypt the Hebrews fell into
idolatry, and it was long before they were delivered from it
(Josh. 24:14; Ezek. 20:7). Many a token of God's displeasure
fell upon them because of this sin.
The idolatry learned in Egypt was probably rooted out from
among the people during the forty years' wanderings; but when
the Jews entered Israel, they came into contact with the
monuments and associations of the idolatry of the old
Canaanite races, and showed a constant tendency to depart from
the living God and follow the idolatrous practices of those
heathen nations. It was their great national sin, which was only
effectually rebuked by the Babylonian exile. That exile finally
purified the Jews of all idolatrous tendencies.
The first and second commandments are directed against
idolatry of every form. Individuals and communities were equally
amenable to the rigorous code. The individual offender was
devoted to destruction (Ex. 22:20). His nearest relatives were
not only bound to denounce him and deliver him up to punishment
(Deut. 13:20-10), but their hands were to strike the first blow
when, on the evidence of two witnesses at least, he was stoned
(Deut. 17:2-7). To attempt to seduce others to false worship was
a crime of equal enormity (13:6-10). An idolatrous nation shared
the same fate. No facts are more strongly declared in the Old
Testament than that the extermination of the Canaanites was the
punishment of their idolatry (Ex. 34:15, 16; Deut. 7; 12:29-31;
20:17), and that the calamities of the Israelites were due to
the same cause (Jer. 2:17). "A city guilty of idolatry was
looked upon as a cancer in the state; it was considered to be in
rebellion, and treated according to the laws of war. Its
inhabitants and all their cattle were put to death." Jehovah was
the theocratic King of Israel, the civil Head of the
commonwealth, and therefore to an Israelite idolatry was a state
offence (1 Sam. 15:23), high treason. On taking possession of
the land, the Jews were commanded to destroy all traces of every
kind of the existing idolatry of the Canaanites (Ex. 23:24, 32;
34:13; Deut. 7:5, 25; 12:1-3).
In the New Testament the term idolatry is used to designate
covetousness (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13; Col. 3:5; Eph. 5:5).
lord. (1.) The name appropriated to the principal male god of
the Phoenicians. It is found in several places in the plural
BAALIM (Judg. 2:11; 10:10; 1 Kings 18:18; Jer. 2:23; Hos. 2:17).
Baal is identified with Molech (Jer. 19:5). It was known to the
Israelites as Baal-peor (Num. 25:3; Deut. 4:3), was worshipped
till the time of Samuel (1 Sam 7:4), and was afterwards the
religion of the ten tribes in the time of Ahab (1 Kings
16:31-33; 18:19, 22). It prevailed also for a time in the
kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 8:27; compare 11:18; 16:3; 2 Chr. 28:2),
till finally put an end to by the severe discipline of the
Captivity (Zeph. 1:4-6). The priests of Baal were in great
numbers (1 Kings 18:19), and of various classes (2 Kings 10:19).
Their mode of offering sacrifices is described in 1 Kings
18:25-29. The sun-god, under the general title of Baal, or
"lord," was the chief object of worship of the Canaanites. Each
locality had its special Baal, and the various local Baals were
summed up under the name of Baalim, or "lords." Each Baal had a
wife, who was a colourless reflection of himself.
(2.) A Benjamite, son of Jehiel, the progenitor of the
Gibeonites (1 Chr. 8:30; 9:36).
(3.) The name of a place inhabited by the Simeonites, the same
probably as Baal-ath-beer (1 Chr. 4:33; Josh. 19:8).
There are various Hebrew and Greek words so rendered.
(1.) Heb. Jehovah, has been rendered in the English Bible
LORD, printed in small capitals. This is the proper name of the
God of the Hebrews. The form "Jehovah" is retained only in Ex.
6:3; Ps. 83:18; Isa. 12:2; 26:4, both in the Authorized and the
(2.) Heb. 'adon, means one possessed of absolute control. It
denotes a master, as of slaves (Gen. 24:14, 27), or a ruler of
his subjects (45:8), or a husband, as lord of his wife (18:12).
The old plural form of this Hebrew word is "'adonai". From a
superstitious reverence for the name "Jehovah," the Jews, in
reading their Scriptures, whenever that name occurred, always
pronounced it "'Adonai".
(3.) Greek kurios, a supreme master, etc. In the LXX. this is
invariably used for "Jehovah" and "'Adonai."
(4.) Heb. ba'al, a master, as having domination. This word is
applied to human relations, as that of husband, to persons
skilled in some art or profession, and to heathen deities. "The
men of Shechem," literally "the baals of Shechem" (Judg. 9:2,
3). These were the Israelite inhabitants who had reduced the
Canaanites to a condition of vassalage (Josh. 16:10; 17:13).
(5.) Heb. seren, applied exclusively to the "lords of the
Philistines" (Judg. 3:3). The LXX. render it by satrapies. At
this period the Philistines were not, as at a later period (1
Sam. 21:10), under a kingly government. (See Josh. 13:3; 1 Sam.
6:18.) There were five such lordships, viz., Gath, Ashdod, Gaza,
Ashkelon, and Ekron.
(1.) Heb. zonah (Gen. 34:31; 38:15). In verses 21, 22 the Hebrew
word used in "kedeshah", i.e., a woman consecrated or devoted to
prostitution in connection with the abominable worship of
Asherah or Astarte, the Syrian Venus. This word is also used in
Deut. 23:17; Hos. 4:14. Thus Tamar sat by the wayside as a
It has been attempted to show that Rahab, usually called a
"harlot" (Josh. 2:1; 6:17; Heb. 11:31; James 2:25), was only an
innkeeper. This interpretation, however, cannot be maintained.
Jephthah's mother is called a "strange woman" (Judg. 11:2).
This, however, merely denotes that she was of foreign
In the time of Solomon harlots appeared openly in the streets,
and he solemnly warns against association with them (Prov. 7:12;
9:14. See also Jer. 3:2; Ezek. 16:24, 25, 31). The Revised
Version, following the LXX., has "and the harlots washed," etc.,
instead of the rendering of the Authorized Version, "now they
washed," of 1 Kings 22:38.
To commit fornication is metaphorically used for to practice
idolatry (Jer. 3:1; Ezek. 16:15; Hos. throughout); hence
Jerusalem is spoken of as a harlot (Isa. 1:21).
(2.) Heb. nokriyah, the "strange woman" (1 Kings 11:1; Prov.
5:20; 7:5; 23:27). Those so designated were Canaanites and other
Gentiles (Josh. 23:13). To the same class belonged the
"foolish", i.e., the sinful, "woman."
In the New Testament the Greek pornai, plural, "harlots,"
occurs in Matt. 21:31,32, where they are classed with publicans;
Luke 15:30; 1 Cor. 6:15,16; Heb. 11:31; James 2:25. It is used
symbolically in Rev. 17:1, 5, 15, 16; 19:2.
height, a lake in Northern Israel through which the Jordan
flows. It was the scene of the third and last great victory
gained by Joshua over the Canaanites (Josh. 11:5-7). It is not
again mentioned in Scripture. Its modern name is Bakrat
el-Huleh. "The Ard el-Huleh, the centre of which the lake
occupies, is a nearly level plain of 16 miles in length from
north to south, and its breadth from east to west is from 7 to 8
miles. On the west it is walled in by the steep and lofty range
of the hills of Kedesh-Naphtali; on the east it is bounded by
the lower and more gradually ascending slopes of Bashan; on the
north it is shut in by a line of hills hummocky and irregular in
shape and of no great height, and stretching across from the
mountains of Naphtali to the roots of Mount Hermon, which towers
up at the NEern angle of the plain to a height of 10,000
feet. At its southern extremity the plain is similarly traversed
by elevated and broken ground, through which, by deep and narrow
clefts, the Jordan, after passing through Lake Huleh, makes its
rapid descent to the Sea of Galilee."
The lake is triangular in form, about 4 1/2 miles in length by
3 1/2 at its greatest breadth. Its surface is 7 feet above that
of the Mediterranean. It is surrounded by a morass, which is
thickly covered with canes and papyrus reeds, which are
impenetrable. Macgregor with his canoe, the Rob Roy, was the
first that ever, in modern times, sailed on its waters. (See
highlanders, or hillmen, the name given to the descendants of
one of the sons of Canaan (Gen. 14:7), called Amurra or Amurri
in the Assyrian and Egyptian inscriptions. On the early
Babylonian monuments all Syria, including Israel, is known as
"the land of the Amorites." The southern slopes of the mountains
of Judea are called the "mount of the Amorites" (Deut. 1:7, 19,
20). They seem to have originally occupied the land stretching
from the heights west of the Dead Sea (Gen. 14:7) to Hebron (13.
Compare 13:8; Deut. 3:8; 4:46-48), embracing "all Gilead and all
Bashan" (Deut. 3:10), with the Jordan valley on the east of the
river (4:49), the land of the "two kings of the Amorites," Sihon
and Og (Deut. 31:4; Josh. 2:10; 9:10). The five kings of the
Amorites were defeated with great slaughter by Joshua (10:10).
They were again defeated at the waters of Merom by Joshua, who
smote them till there were none remaining (Josh. 11:8). It is
mentioned as a surprising circumstance that in the days of
Samuel there was peace between them and the Israelites (1 Sam.
7:14). The discrepancy supposed to exist between Deut. 1:44 and
Num. 14:45 is explained by the circumstance that the terms
"Amorites" and "Amalekites" are used synonymously for the
"Canaanites." In the same way we explain the fact that the
"Hivites" of Gen. 34:2 are the "Amorites" of 48:22. Compare Josh.
10:6; 11:19 with 2 Sam. 21:2; also Num. 14:45 with Deut. 1:44.
The Amorites were warlike mountaineers. They are represented on
the Egyptian monuments with fair skins, light hair, blue eyes,
aquiline noses, and pointed beards. They are supposed to have
been men of great stature; their king, Og, is described by Moses
as the last "of the remnant of the giants" (Deut. 3:11). Both
Sihon and Og were independent kings. Only one word of the
Amorite language survives, "Shenir," the name they gave to Mount
Hermon (Deut. 3:9).
a vehicle generally used for warlike purposes. Sometimes, though
but rarely, it is spoken of as used for peaceful purposes.
The first mention of the chariot is when Joseph, as a mark of
distinction, was placed in Pharaoh's second state chariot (Gen.
41:43); and the next, when he went out in his own chariot to
meet his father Jacob (46:29). Chariots formed part of the
funeral procession of Jacob (50:9). When Pharaoh pursued the
Israelites he took 600 war-chariots with him (Ex. 14:7). The
Canaanites in the valleys of Israel had chariots of iron
(Josh. 17:18; Judg. 1:19). Jabin, the king of Canaan, had 900
chariots (Judg. 4:3); and in Saul's time the Philistines had
30,000. In his wars with the king of Zobah and with the Syrians,
David took many chariots among the spoils (2 Sam. 8:4; 10:18).
Solomon maintained as part of his army 1,400 chariots (1 Kings
10:26), which were chiefly imported from Egypt (29). From this
time forward they formed part of the armies of Israel (1 Kings
22:34; 2 Kings 9:16, 21; 13:7, 14; 18:24; 23:30).
In the New Testament we have only one historical reference to
the use of chariots, in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts.
8:28, 29, 38).
This word is sometimes used figuratively for hosts (Ps. 68:17;
2 Kings 6:17). Elijah, by his prayers and his counsel, was "the
chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof." The rapid agency
of God in the phenomena of nature is also spoken of under the
similitude of a chariot (Ps. 104:3; Isa. 66:15; Hab. 3:8).
Chariot of the cherubim (1 Chr. 28:18), the chariot formed by
the two cherubs on the mercy-seat on which the Lord rides.
Chariot cities were set apart for storing the war-chariots in
time of peace (2 Chr. 1:14).
Chariot horses were such as were peculiarly fitted for service
in chariots (2 Kings 7:14).
Chariots of war are described in Ex. 14:7; 1 Sam. 13:5; 2 Sam.
8:4; 1 Chr. 18:4; Josh. 11:4; Judg. 4:3, 13. They were not used
by the Israelites till the time of David. Elijah was translated
in a "chariot of fire" (2 Kings 2:11). Compare 2 Kings 6:17. This
vision would be to Elisha a source of strength and
encouragement, for now he could say, "They that be with us are
more than they that be with them."
Book of Joshua
contains a history of the Israelites from the death of Moses to
that of Joshua. It consists of three parts: (1.) The history of
the conquest of the land (1-12).
(2.) The allotment of the land
to the different tribes, with the appointment of cities of
refuge, the provision for the Levites (13-22), and the dismissal
of the eastern tribes to their homes. This section has been
compared to the Domesday Book of the Norman conquest.
farewell addresses of Joshua, with an account of his death (23,
This book stands first in the second of the three sections,
(1) the Law, (2) the Prophets, (3) the "other writings" =
Hagiographa, into which the Jewish Church divided the Old
Testament. There is every reason for concluding that the uniform
tradition of the Jews is correct when they assign the authorship
of the book to Joshua, all except the concluding section; the
last verses (24:29-33) were added by some other hand.
There are two difficulties connected with this book which have
given rise to much discussion,
(1.) The miracle of the standing
still of the sun and moon on Gibeon. The record of it occurs in
Joshua's impassioned prayer of faith, as quoted (Josh. 10:12-15)
from the "Book of Jasher" (q.v.). There are many explanations
given of these words. They need, however, present no difficulty
if we believe in the possibility of God's miraculous
interposition in behalf of his people. Whether it was caused by
the refraction of the light, or how, we know not.
(2.) Another difficulty arises out of the command given by God
utterly to exterminate the Canaanites. "Shall not the Judge of
all the earth do right?" It is enough that Joshua clearly knew
that this was the will of God, who employs his terrible
agencies, famine, pestilence, and war, in the righteous
government of this world. The Canaanites had sunk into a state
of immorality and corruption so foul and degrading that they had
to be rooted out of the land with the edge of the sword. "The
Israelites' sword, in its bloodiest executions, wrought a work
of mercy for all the countries of the earth to the very end of
This book resembles the Acts of the Apostles in the number and
variety of historical incidents it records, and in its many
references to persons and places; and as in the latter case the
epistles of Paul (see Paley's Horae Paul.) confirm its
historical accuracy by their incidental allusions and
"undesigned coincidences," so in the former modern discoveries
confirm its historicity. The Amarna tablets (see ADONIZEDEC
T0000099) are among the most remarkable discoveries of the age.
Dating from about B.C. 1480 down to the time of Joshua, and
consisting of official communications from Amorite, Phoenician,
and Philistine chiefs to the king of Egypt, they afford a
glimpse into the actual condition of Israel prior to the
Hebrew invasion, and illustrate and confirm the history of the
conquest. A letter, also still extant, from a military officer,
"master of the captains of Egypt," dating from near the end of
the reign of Rameses II., gives a curious account of a journey,
probably official, which he undertook through Israel as far
north as to Aleppo, and an insight into the social condition of
the country at that time. Among the things brought to light by
this letter and the Amarna tablets is the state of confusion and
decay that had now fallen on Egypt. The Egyptian garrisons that
had held possession of Israel from the time of Thothmes III.,
some two hundred years before, had now been withdrawn. The way
was thus opened for the Hebrews. In the history of the conquest
there is no mention of Joshua having encountered any Egyptian
force. The tablets contain many appeals to the king of Egypt for
help against the inroads of the Hebrews, but no help seems ever
to have been sent. Is not this just such a state of things as
might have been anticipated as the result of the disaster of the
Exodus? In many points, as shown under various articles, the
progress of the conquest is remarkably illustrated by the
tablets. The value of modern discoveries in their relation to
Old Testament history has been thus well described:
"The difficulty of establishing the charge of lack of
historical credibility, as against the testimony of the Old
Testament, has of late years greatly increased. The outcome of
recent excavations and explorations is altogether against it. As
long as these books contained, in the main, the only known
accounts of the events they mention, there was some plausibility
in the theory that perhaps these accounts were written rather to
teach moral lessons than to preserve an exact knowledge of
events. It was easy to say in those times men had not the
historic sense. But the recent discoveries touch the events
recorded in the Bible at very many different points in many
different generations, mentioning the same persons, countries,
peoples, events that are mentioned in the Bible, and showing
beyond question that these were strictly historic. The point is
not that the discoveries confirm the correctness of the Biblical
statements, though that is commonly the case, but that the
discoveries show that the peoples of those ages had the historic
sense, and, specifically, that the Biblical narratives they
touch are narratives of actual occurrences."
The earliest mention of city-building is that of Enoch, which
was built by Cain (Gen. 4:17). After the confusion of tongues,
the descendants of Nimrod founded several cities (10:10-12).
Next, we have a record of the cities of the Canaanites, Sidon,
Gaza, Sodom, etc. (10:12, 19; 11:3, 9; 36:31-39). The earliest
description of a city is that of Sodom (19:1-22). Damascus is
said to be the oldest existing city in the world. Before the
time of Abraham there were cities in Egypt (Num. 13:22). The
Israelites in Egypt were employed in building the "treasure
cities" of Pithom and Raamses (Ex. 1:11); but it does not seem
that they had any cities of their own in Goshen (Gen. 46:34;
47:1-11). In the kingdom of Og in Bashan there were sixty "great
cities with walls," and twenty-three cities in Gilead partly
rebuilt by the tribes on the east of Jordan (Num. 21:21, 32, 33,
35; 32:1-3, 34-42; Deut. 3:4, 5, 14; 1 Kings 4:13). On the west
of Jordan were thirty-one "royal cities" (Josh. 12), besides
many others spoken of in the history of Israel.
A fenced city was a city surrounded by fortifications and high
walls, with watch-towers upon them (2 Chr. 11:11; Deut. 3:5).
There was also within the city generally a tower to which the
citizens might flee when danger threatened them (Judg. 9:46-52).
A city with suburbs was a city surrounded with open
pasture-grounds, such as the forty-eight cities which were given
to the Levites (Num. 35:2-7). There were six cities of refuge,
three on each side of Jordan, namely, Kadesh, Shechem, Hebron,
on the west of Jordan; and on the east, Bezer, Ramoth-gilead,
and Golan. The cities on each side of the river were nearly
opposite each other. The regulations concerning these cities are
given in Num. 35:9-34; Deut. 19:1-13; Ex. 21:12-14.
When David reduced the fortress of the Jebusites which stood
on Mount Zion, he built on the site of it a palace and a city,
which he called by his own name (1 Chr. 11:5), the city of
David. Bethlehem is also so called as being David's native town
Jerusalem is called the Holy City, the holiness of the temple
being regarded as extending in some measure over the whole city
Pithom and Raamses, built by the Israelites as "treasure
cities," were not places where royal treasures were kept, but
were fortified towns where merchants might store their goods and
transact their business in safety, or cities in which munitions
of war were stored. (See PITHOM T0002968.)
(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).
(Gr. diaspora, "scattered," James 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:1) of the Jews.
At various times, and from the operation of divers causes, the
Jews were separated and scattered into foreign countries "to the
outmost parts of heaven" (Deut. 30:4).
(1.) Many were dispersed over Assyria, Media, Babylonia, and
Persia, descendants of those who had been transported thither by
the Exile. The ten tribes, after existing as a separate kingdom
for two hundred and fifty-five years, were carried captive (B.C.
721) by Shalmaneser (or Sargon), king of Assyria. They never
returned to their own land as a distinct people, although many
individuals from among these tribes, there can be no doubt,
joined with the bands that returned from Babylon on the
proclamation of Cyrus.
(2.) Many Jews migrated to Egypt and took up their abode
there. This migration began in the days of Solomon (2 Kings
18:21, 24; Isa. 30:7). Alexander the Great placed a large number
of Jews in Alexandria, which he had founded, and conferred on
them equal rights with the Egyptians. Ptolemy Philadelphus, it
is said, caused the Jewish Scriptures to be translated into
Greek (the work began B.C. 284), for the use of the Alexandrian
Jews. The Jews in Egypt continued for many ages to exercise a
powerful influence on the public interests of that country. From
Egypt they spread along the coast of Africa to Cyrene (Acts
2:10) and to Ethiopia (8:27).
(3.) After the time of Seleucus Nicator (B.C. 280), one of the
captains of Alexander the Great, large numbers of Jews migrated
into Syria, where they enjoyed equal rights with the
Macedonians. From Syria they found their way into Asia Minor.
Antiochus the Great, king of Syria and Asia, removed 3,000
families of Jews from Mesopotamia and Babylonia, and planted
them in Phrygia and Lydia.
(4.) From Asia Minor many Jews moved into Greece and
Macedonia, chiefly for purposes of commerce. In the apostles'
time they were found in considerable numbers in all the
From the time of Pompey the Great (B.C. 63) numbers of Jews
from Israel and Greece went to Rome, where they had a
separate quarter of the city assigned to them. Here they enjoyed
Thus were the Jews everywhere scattered abroad. This, in the
overruling providence of God, ultimately contributed in a great
degree toward opening the way for the spread of the gospel into
Dispersion, from the plain of Shinar. This was occasioned by
the confusion of tongues at Babel (Gen. 11:9). They were
scattered abroad "every one after his tongue, after their
families, in their nations" (Gen. 10:5, 20,31).
The tenth chapter of Genesis gives us an account of the
principal nations of the earth in their migrations from the
plain of Shinar, which was their common residence after the
Flood. In general, it may be said that the descendants of
Japheth were scattered over the north, those of Shem over the
central regions, and those of Ham over the extreme south. The
following table shows how the different families were dispersed:
| - Japheth
| - Gomer
| Cimmerians, Armenians
| - Magog
| Caucasians, Scythians
| - Madal
| Medes and Persian tribes
| - Javan
| - Elishah
| - Tarshish
| Etruscans, Romans
| - Chittim
| Cyprians, Macedonians
| - Dodanim
| - Tubal
| Tibareni, Tartars
| - Mechech
| Moschi, Muscovites
| - Tiras
| - Shem
| - Elam
| Persian tribes
| - Asshur
| - Arphaxad
| - Abraham
| - Isaac
| - Jacob
| - Esau
| - Ishmael
| Mingled with Arab tribes
| - Lud
| - Aram
| - Ham
| - Cush
| - Mizrain
| - Phut
| Lybians, Mauritanians
| - Canaan
| Canaanites, Phoenicians
Israel and Syria appear to have been originally inhabited by
three different tribes. (1.) The Semites, living on the east of
the isthmus of Suez. They were nomadic and pastoral tribes. (2.)
The Phoenicians, who were merchants and traders; and (3.) the
Hittites, who were the warlike element of this confederation of
tribes. They inhabited the whole region between the Euphrates
and Damascus, their chief cities being Carchemish on the
Euphrates, and Kadesh, now Tell Neby Mendeh, in the Orontes
valley, about six miles south of the Lake of Homs. These
Hittites seem to have risen to great power as a nation, as for a
long time they were formidable rivals of the Egyptian and
Assyrian empires. In the book of Joshua they always appear as
the dominant race to the north of Galilee.
Somewhere about the twenty-third century B.C. the Syrian
confederation, led probably by the Hittites, arched against
Lower Egypt, which they took possession of, making Zoan their
capital. Their rulers were the Hyksos, or shepherd kings. They
were at length finally driven out of Egypt. Rameses II. sought
vengeance against the "vile Kheta," as he called them, and
encountered and defeated them in the great battle of Kadesh,
four centuries after Abraham. (See JOSHUA T0002114.)
They are first referred to in Scripture in the history of
Abraham, who bought from Ephron the Hittite the field and the
cave of Machpelah (Gen. 15:20: 23:3-18). They were then settled
at Kirjath-arba. From this tribe Esau took his first two wives
They are afterwards mentioned in the usual way among the
inhabitants of the Promised Land (Ex. 23:28). They were closely
allied to the Amorites, and are frequently mentioned along with
them as inhabiting the mountains of Israel. When the spies
entered the land they seem to have occupied with the Amorites
the mountain region of Judah (Num. 13:29). They took part with
the other Canaanites against the Israelites (Josh. 9:1; 11:3).
After this there are few references to them in Scripture.
Mention is made of "Ahimelech the Hittite" (1 Sam. 26:6), and of
"Uriah the Hittite," one of David's chief officers (2 Sam.
23:39; 1 Chr. 11:41). In the days of Solomon they were a
powerful confederation in the north of Syria, and were ruled by
"kings." They are met with after the Exile still a distinct
people (Ezra 9:1; compare Neh. 13:23-28).
The Hebrew merchants exported horses from Egypt not only for
the kings of Israel, but also for the Hittites (1 Kings 10:28,
29). From the Egyptian monuments we learn that "the Hittites
were a people with yellow skins and 'Mongoloid' features, whose
receding foreheads, oblique eyes, and protruding upper jaws are
represented as faithfully on their own monuments as they are on
those of Egypt, so that we cannot accuse the Egyptian artists of
caricaturing their enemies. The Amorites, on the contrary, were
a tall and handsome people. They are depicted with white skins,
blue eyes, and reddish hair, all the characteristics, in fact,
of the white race" (Sayce's The Hittites). The original seat of
the Hittite tribes was the mountain ranges of Taurus. They
belonged to Asia Minor, and not to Syria.
Jehovah is his help, or Jehovah the Saviour. The son of Nun, of
the tribe of Ephraim, the successor of Moses as the leader of
Israel. He is called Jehoshua in Num. 13:16 (A.V.), and Jesus in
Acts 7:45 and Heb. 4:8 (R.V., Joshua).
He was born in Egypt, and was probably of the age of Caleb,
with whom he is generally associated. He shared in all the
events of the Exodus, and held the place of commander of the
host of the Israelites at their great battle against the
Amalekites in Rephidim (Ex. 17:8-16). He became Moses' minister
or servant, and accompanied him part of the way when he ascended
Mount Sinai to receive the two tables (Ex. 32:17). He was also
one of the twelve who were sent on by Moses to explore the land
of Canaan (Num. 13:16, 17), and only he and Caleb gave an
encouraging report. Under the direction of God, Moses, before
his death, invested Joshua in a public and solemn manner with
authority over the people as his successor (Deut. 31:23). The
people were encamped at Shittim when he assumed the command
(Josh. 1:1); and crossing the Jordan, they encamped at Gilgal,
where, having circumcised the people, he kept the Passover, and
was visited by the Captain of the Lord's host, who spoke to him
encouraging words (1:1-9).
Now began the wars of conquest which Joshua carried on for
many years, the record of which is in the book which bears his
name. Six nations and thirty-one kings were conquered by him
(Josh. 11:18-23; 12:24). Having thus subdued the Canaanites,
Joshua divided the land among the tribes, Timnath-serah in Mount
Ephraim being assigned to himself as his own inheritance. (See
SHILOH T0003375; PRIEST T0003001.)
His work being done, he died, at the age of one hundred and
ten years, twenty-five years after having crossed the Jordan. He
was buried in his own city of Timnath-serah (Josh. 24); and "the
light of Israel for the time faded away."
Joshua has been regarded as a type of Christ (Heb. 4:8) in the
following particulars: (1) In the name common to both; (2)
Joshua brings the people into the possession of the Promised
Land, as Jesus brings his people to the heavenly Canaan; and (3)
as Joshua succeeded Moses, so the Gospel succeeds the Law.
The character of Joshua is thus well sketched by Edersheim:,
"Born a slave in Egypt, he must have been about forty years old
at the time of the Exodus. Attached to the person of Moses, he
led Israel in the first decisive battle against Amalek (Ex.
17:9, 13), while Moses in the prayer of faith held up to heaven
the God-given 'rod.' It was no doubt on that occasion that his
name was changed from Oshea, 'help,' to Jehoshua, 'Jehovah is
help' (Num. 13:16). And this name is the key to his life and
work. Alike in bringing the people into Canaan, in his wars, and
in the distribution of the land among the tribes, from the
miraculous crossing of Jordan and taking of Jericho to his last
address, he was the embodiment of his new name, 'Jehovah is
help.' To this outward calling his character also corresponded.
It is marked by singleness of purpose, directness, and
decision...He sets an object before him, and unswervingly
follows it" (Bible Hist., iii. 103)
beloved, the eighth and youngest son of Jesse, a citizen of
Bethlehem. His father seems to have been a man in humble life.
His mother's name is not recorded. Some think she was the Nahash
of 2 Sam. 17:25. As to his personal appearance, we only know
that he was red-haired, with beautiful eyes and a fair face (1
Sam. 16:12; 17:42).
His early occupation was that of tending his father's sheep on
the uplands of Judah. From what we know of his after history,
doubtless he frequently beguiled his time, when thus engaged,
with his shepherd's flute, while he drank in the many lessons
taught him by the varied scenes spread around him. His first
recorded exploits were his encounters with the wild beasts of
the field. He mentions that with his own unaided hand he slew a
lion and also a bear, when they came out against his flock,
beating them to death in open conflict with his club (1 Sam.
While David, in the freshness of ruddy youth, was thus engaged
with his flocks, Samuel paid an unexpected visit to Bethlehem,
having been guided thither by divine direction (1 Sam. 16:1-13).
There he offered up sacrifice, and called the elders of Israel
and Jesse's family to the sacrificial meal. Among all who
appeared before him he failed to discover the one he sought.
David was sent for, and the prophet immediately recognized him
as the chosen of God, chosen to succeed Saul, who was now
departing from the ways of God, on the throne of the kingdom. He
accordingly, in anticipation, poured on his head the anointing
oil. David went back again to his shepherd life, but "the Spirit
of the Lord came upon David from that day forward," and "the
Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul" (1 Sam. 16:13, 14).
Not long after this David was sent for to soothe with his harp
the troubled spirit of Saul, who suffered from a strange
melancholy dejection. He played before the king so skilfully
that Saul was greatly cheered, and began to entertain great
affection for the young shepherd. After this he went home to
Bethlehem. But he soon again came into prominence. The armies of
the Philistines and of Israel were in battle array in the valley
of Elah, some 16 miles south-west of Bethlehem; and David was
sent by his father with provisions for his three brothers, who
were then fighting on the side of the king. On his arrival in
the camp of Israel, David (now about twenty years of age) was
made aware of the state of matters when the champion of the
Philistines, Goliath of Gath, came forth to defy Israel. David
took his sling, and with a well-trained aim threw a stone "out
of the brook," which struck the giant's forehead, so that he
fell senseless to the ground. David then ran and slew him, and
cut off his head with his own sword (1 Sam. 17). The result was
a great victory to the Israelites, who pursued the Philistines
to the gates of Gath and Ekron.
David's popularity consequent on this heroic exploit awakened
Saul's jealousy (1 Sam. 18:6-16), which he showed in various
ways. He conceived a bitter hatred toward him, and by various
stratagems sought his death (1 Sam. 18-30). The deep-laid plots
of the enraged king, who could not fail to observe that David
"prospered exceedingly," all proved futile, and only endeared
the young hero the more to the people, and very specially to
Jonathan, Saul's son, between whom and David a life-long warm
friendship was formed.
A fugitive. To escape from the vengeance of Saul, David fled
to Ramah (1 Sam. 19:12-18) to Samuel, who received him, and he
dwelt among the sons of the prophets, who were there under
Samuel's training. It is supposed by some that the sixth,
seventh, and eleventh Psalms were composed by him at this time.
This place was only 3 miles from the residence of Saul, who soon
discovered whither the fugitive had gone, and tried
ineffectually to bring him back. Jonathan made a fruitless
effort to bring his father to a better state of mind toward
David (1 Sam. 20), who, being made aware of the fact, saw no
hope of safety but in flight to a distance. We accordingly find
him first at Nob (21:1-9) and then at Gath, the chief city of
the Philistines. The king of the Philistines would not admit him
into his service, as he expected that he would, and David
accordingly now betook himself to the stronghold of Adullam
(22:1-4; 1 Chr. 12:8-18). Here in a short time 400 men gathered
around him and acknowledged him as their leader. It was at this
time that David, amid the harassment and perils of his position,
cried, "Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well
of Bethlehem;" when three of his heroes broke through the lines
of the Philistines and brought him the water for which he longed
(2 Sam. 23:13-17), but which he would not drink.
In his rage at the failure of all his efforts to seize David,
Saul gave orders for the massacre of the entire priestly family
at Nob, "persons who wore a linen ephod", to the number of
eighty-five persons, who were put to death by Doeg the Edomite.
The sad tidings of the massacre were brought to David by
Abiathar, a son of Ahimelech, the only one who escaped. Compare
Hearing that Keilah, a town on the western frontier, was
harassed by the Philistines, David with his men relieved it (1
Sam. 23:1-14); and then, for fear of Saul, he fled to the
strongholds in the "hill country" of Judah. Compare Ps. 31. While
encamped there, in the forest in the district of Ziph, he was
visited by Jonathan, who spoke to him words of encouragement
(23:16-18). The two now parted never to meet again. Saul
continued his pursuit of David, who narrowly escaped from him at
this time, and fled to the crags and ravines of Engedi, on the
western shore of the Dead Sea (1 Sam. 23:29). Here Saul, who
still pursued him with his army, narrowly escaped, through the
generous forbearance of David, and was greatly affected by what
David had done for him. He returned home from pursuing him, and
David betook himself to Maon, where, with his 600 men, he
maintained himself by contributions gathered from the district.
Here occurred the incident connected with Nabal and his wife
Abigail (1 Sam. 25), whom David married after Nabal's death.
Saul again went forth (1 Sam. 26) in pursuit of David, who had
hid himself "in the hill Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon," in
the wilderness of Ziph, and was a second time spared through his
forbearance. He returned home, professing shame and penitence
for the way in which he had treated David, and predicting his
elevation to the throne.
Fighting against Israel. Harassed by the necessity of moving
from place to place through fear of Saul, David once more sought
refuge among the Philistines (1 Sam. 27). He was welcomed by the
king, who assigned him Ziklag as his residence. Here David lived
among his followers for some time as an independent chief
engaged in frequent war with the Amalekites and other tribes on
the south of Judah.
Achish summoned David with his men to join his army against
Saul; but the lords of the Philistines were suspicious of
David's loyalty, and therefore he was sent back to Ziklag, which
he found to his dismay may had been pillaged and burnt during
his brief absence. David pursued after the raiders, the
Amalekites, and completely routed them. On his return to Ziklag
tidings reached him of Saul's death (2 Sam. 1). An Amalekite
brought Saul's crown and bracelet and laid them at his feet.
David and his men rent their clothes and mourned for Saul, who
had been defeated in battle near Mount Gilboa. David composed a
beautiful elegy, the most beautiful of all extant Hebrew odes, a
"lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son" (2 Sam.
1:18-27). It bore the title of "The Bow," and was to be taught
to the children, that the memory of Saul and Jonathan might be
preserved among them. "Behold, it is written in the book of
David king over Judah. David and his men now set out for
Hebron under divine direction (2 Sam. 2:1-4). There they were
cordially welcomed, and he was at once anointed as king. He was
now about thirty years of age.
But his title to the throne was not undisputed. Abner took
Ish-bosheth, Saul's only remaining son, over the Jordan to
Mahanaim, and there crowned him as king. Then began a civil war
in Israel. The first encounter between the two opposing armies,
led on the one side by Abner, and on the other by Joab, took
place at the pool of Gibeon. It resulted in the defeat of Abner.
Other encounters, however, between Israel and Judah followed (2
Sam. 3:1, 5), but still success was on the side of David. For
the space of seven and a half years David reigned in Hebron.
Abner now sided with David, and sought to promote his
advancement; but was treacherously put to death by Joab in
revenge for his having slain his brother Asahel at Gibeon
(3:22-39). This was greatly to David's regret. He mourned for
the death of Abner. Shortly after this Ish-bosheth was also
treacherously put to death by two Canaanites of Beeroth; and
there being now no rival, David was anointed king over all
David king over all Israel (2 Sam. 5:1-5; 1 Chr. 11:1-3). The
elders of Israel now repaired to Hebron and offered allegiance
to David in name of all the people, among whom the greatest
enthusiasm prevailed. He was anointed king over all Israel, and
sought out a new seat of government, more suitable than Hebron,
as the capital of his empire. At this time there was a Jebusite
fortress, "the stronghold", on the hill of Zion, called also
Jebus. This David took from the Jebusites, and made it Israel's
capital, and established here his residence, and afterwards
built for himself a palace by the aid of Tyrian tradesmen. The
Philistines, who had for some time observed a kind of truce, now
made war against David; but were defeated in battle at a place
afterwards called, in remembrance of the victory, Baal-perazim.
Again they invaded the land, and were a second time routed by
him. He thus delivered Israel from their enemies.
David now resolved to bring up the ark of the covenant to his
new capital (2 Sam. 6). It was in the house of Abinadab at
Kirjath-jearim, about 7 miles from Jerusalem, where it had been
for many years, from the time when the Philistines had sent it
home (1 Sam. 6; 7). In consequence of the death of Uzzah (for it
was a divine ordinance that only the Levites should handle the
ark, Num. 4), who had put forth his hand to steady the ark when
the cart in which it was being conveyed shook by reason of the
roughness of the road, David stayed the procession, and conveyed
the ark into the house of Obed-edom, a Philistine from Gath.
After three months David brought the ark from the house of
Obed-edom up to Jerusalem. Compare Ps. 24. Here it was placed in a
new tent or tabernacle which David erected for the purpose.
About seventy years had passed since it had stood in the
tabernacle at Shiloh. The old tabernacle was now at Gibeah, at
which Zadok ministered. David now (1 Chr. 16) carefully set in
order all the ritual of divine worship at Jerusalem, along with
Abiathar the high priest. A new religious era began. The service
of praise was for the first time introduced into public worship.
Zion became henceforth "God's holy hill."
David's wars. David now entered on a series of conquests which
greatly extended and strengthened his kingdom (2 Sam. 8). In a
few years the whole territory from the Euphrates to the river of
Egypt, and from Gaza on the west to Thapsacus on the east, was
under his sway (2 Sam. 8:3-13; 10).
David's fall. He had now reached the height of his glory. He
ruled over a vast empire, and his capital was enriched with the
spoils of many lands. But in the midst of all this success he
fell, and his character became stained with the sin of adultery
(2 Sam. 11:2-27). It has been noted as characteristic of the
Bible that while his military triumphs are recorded in a few
verses, the sad story of his fall is given in detail, a story
full of warning, and therefore recorded. This crime, in the
attempt to conceal it, led to anoter. He was guilty of murder.
Uriah, whom he had foully wronged, an officer of the Gibborim,
the corps of heros (23:39), was, by his order, "set in the front
of the hottest battle" at the siege of Rabbah, in order that he
might be put to death. Nathan the prophet (2 Sam. 7:1-17;
12:1-23) was sent by God to bring home his crimes to the
conscience of the guilty monarch. He became a true penitent. He
bitterly bewailed his sins before God. The thirty-second and
fifty-first Psalms reveal the deep struggles of his soul, and
his spiritual recovery.
Bathsheba became his wife after Uriah's death. Her first-born
son died, according to the word of the prophet. She gave birth
to a second son, whom David called Solomon, and who ultimately
succeeded him on the throne (2 Sam. 12:24, 25).
Peace. After the successful termination of all his wars, David
formed the idea of building a temple for the ark of God. This he
was not permitted to carry into execution, because he had been a
man of war. God, however, sent Nathan to him with a gracious
message (2 Sam. 7:1-16). On receiving it he went into the
sanctuary, the tent where the ark was, and sat before the Lord,
and poured out his heart in words of devout thanksgiving
(18-29). The building of the temple was reserved for his son
Solomon, who would be a man of peace (1 Chr. 22:9; 28:3).
A cloudy evening. Hitherto David's carrer had been one of
great prosperity and success. Now cloudy and dark days came. His
eldest son Amnon, whose mother was Ahinoam of Jezreel, was
guilty of a great and shameful crime (2 Sam. 13). This was the
beginning of the disasters of his later years. After two years
Absalom terribly avenged the crime against Tamar, and put Amnon
to death. This brought sore trouble to David's heart. Absalom,
afraid of the consequences of his guilt, fled to Geshur beyond
Jordan, where he remained for three years, when he was brought
back through the intrigue of Joab (2 Sam. 14).
After this there fell upon the land the calamity of three
years' famine (2 Sam. 21:1-14). This was soon after followed by
a pestilence, brought upon the land as a punishment for David's
sinful pride in numbering the people (2 Sam. 24), in which no
fewer than 70,000 perished in the space of three days.
Rebellion of Absalom. The personal respect for David was sadly
lowered by the incident of Bathsheba. There was a strong popular
sentiment against the taking of the census, and the outburst of
the plague in connection with it deepened the feeling of
jealously that had begun to manifest itself among some of the
tribes against David. Absalom, taking full advantage of this
state of things, gradually gained over the people, and at length
openly rebelled against his father, and usurped the throne.
Ahithophel was Absalom's chief counsellor. The revolt began in
Hebron, the capital of Judah. Absalom was there proclaimed king.
David was now in imminent danger, and he left Jerusalem (2 Sam.
15:13-20), and once more became a fugitive. It was a momentous
day in Israel. The incidents of it are recorded with a fulness
of detail greater than of any other day in Old Testament
history. David fled with his followers to Mahanarm, on the east
of Jordan. An unnatural civil war broke out. After a few weeks
the rival armies were mustered and organized. They met in
hostile array at the wood of Ephraim (2 Sam. 18:1-8). Absalom's
army was defeated, and himself put to death by the hand of Joab
(9-18). The tidings of the death of his rebellious son filled
the heart of David with the most poignant grief. He "went up to
the chamber over the gate, and wept" (33), giving utterance to
the heart-broken cry, "Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom,
my son, my son!" Peace was now restored, and David returned to
Jerusalem and resumed the direction of affairs. An unhappy
dispute arose between the men of Judah and the men of Israel
(19:41-43). Sheba, a Benjamite, headed a revolt of the men of
Israel. He was pursued to Abelbeth-maachah, and was there put to
death, and so the revolt came to an end.
The end. After the suppression of the rebellion of Absalom and
that of Sheba, ten comparatively peaceful years of David's life
passed away. During those years he seems to have been
principally engaged in accumulating treasures of every kind for
the great temple at Jerusalem, which it was reserved to his
successor to build (1 Chr. 22; 28; 29), a house which was to be
"exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all
countries" (22:5). The exciting and laborious life he had spent,
and the dangers and trials through which he had passed, had left
him an enfeebled man, prematurely old. It became apparent that
his life was now drawing to its close. A new palace conspiracy
broke out as to who should be his successor. Joab favoured
Adonijah. The chiefs of his party met at the "Fuller's spring,"
in the valley of Kidron, to proclaim him king; but Nathan
hastened on a decision on the part of David in favour of
Solomon, and so the aim of Adonijah's party failed. Solomon was
brought to Jerusalem, and was anointed king and seated on his
father's throne (1 Kings 1:11-53). David's last words are a
grand utterance, revealing his unfailing faith in God, and his
joyful confidence in his gracious covenant promises (2 Sam.
After a reign of forty years and six months (2 Sam. 5:5; 1
Chr. 3:4) David died (B.C. 1015) at the age of seventy years,
"and was buried in the city of David." His tomb is still pointed
out on Mount Zion.
Both in his prophetical and in his regal character David was a
type of the Messiah (1 Sam. 16:13). The book of Psalms commonly
bears the title of the "Psalms of David," from the circumstance
that he was the largest contributor (about eighty psalms) to the
collection. (See PSALMS T0003013.)
"The greatness of David was felt when he was gone. He had
lived in harmony with both the priesthood and the prophets; a
sure sign that the spirit of his government had been throughly
loyal to the higher aims of the theocracy. The nation had not
been oppressed by him, but had been left in the free enjoyment
of its ancient liberties. As far as his power went he had
striven to act justly to all (2 Sam. 8:15). His weak indulgence
to his sons, and his own great sin besides, had been bitterly
atoned, and were forgotten at his death in the remembrance of
his long-tried worth. He had reigned thirty-three years in
Jerusalem and seven and a half at Hebron (2 Sam. 5:5). Israel at
his accession had reached the lowest point of national
depression; its new-born unity rudely dissolved; its territory
assailed by the Philistines. But he had left it an imperial
power, with dominions like those of Egypt or Assyria. The
sceptre of Solomon was already, before his father's death, owned
from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates, and from the Orontes to
the Red Sea.", Geikie's Hours etc., iii.