death; slaughter, the name of a Babylonian god, probably the
planet Mars (Jer. 50:2), or it may be another name of Bel, the
guardian divinity of Babylon. This name frequently occurs as a
surname to the kings of Assyria and Babylon.
(Jer. 25:26), supposed to be equivalent to Babel (Babylon),
according to a secret (cabalistic) mode of writing among the
Jews of unknown antiquity, which consisted in substituting the
last letter of the Hebrew alphabet for the first, the last but
one for the second, and so on. Thus the letters sh, sh, ch
become b, b, l, i.e., Babel. This is supposed to be confirmed by
a reference to Jer. 51:41, where Sheshach and Babylon are in
parallel clauses. There seems to be no reason to doubt that
Babylon is here intended by this name. (See Streane's Jeremiah,
hill of salt, a place in Babylon from which the Jews returned
silver, a place between Babylon and Jerusalem, where Iddo
resided (Ezra 8:17); otherwise unknown.
Merodach's man, the son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar, king of
Babylon (2 Kings 25:27; Jer. 52:31, 34). He seems to have
reigned but two years (B.C. 562-560). Influenced probably by
Daniel, he showed kindness to Jehoiachin, who had been a
prisoner in Babylon for thirty-seven years. He released him, and
"spoke kindly to him." He was murdered by
Nergal-sharezer=Neriglissar, his brother-in-law, who succeeded
him (Jer. 39:3, 13).
cloud, one of the Israelites who sealed the covenant after the
return from Babylon (Neh. 10:26).
a robe of rich colours fabricated at Babylon, and hence of great
exploration, one of the temple porters or janitors (Ezra 2:42).
He returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel.
brilliant star, a title given to the king of Babylon (Isa.
14:12) to denote his glory.
a mallet or heavy war-club. Applied metaphorically (Jer. 51:20)
to Cyrus, God's instrument in destroying Babylon.
double rebellion, probably a symbolical name given to Babylon
(Jer. 50:21), denoting rebellion exceeding that of other
number, one of the Jews who accompanied Zerubbabel from Babylon
(Ezra 2:2); called also Mispereth (Neh. 7:7).
thorny, a place many of the inhabitants of which returned from
Babylon with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:35; Neh. 7:38).
Nergal, protect the king! (1.) One of the "princes of the king
of Babylon who accompanied him in his last expedition against
Jerusalem" (Jer. 39:3, 13).
(2.) Another of the "princes," who bore the title of "Rabmag."
He was one of those who were sent to release Jeremiah from
prison (Jer. 39:13) by "the captain of the guard." He was a
Babylonian grandee of high rank. From profane history and the
inscriptions, we are led to conclude that he was the Neriglissar
who murdered Evil-merodach, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, and
succeeded him on the throne of Babylon (B.C. 559-556). He was
married to a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar. The ruins of a palace,
the only one on the right bank of the Euphrates, bear
inscriptions denoting that it was built by this king. He was
succeeded by his son, a mere boy, who was murdered after a reign
of some nine months by a conspiracy of the nobles, one of whom,
Nabonadius, ascended the vacant throne, and reigned for a period
of seventeen years (B.C. 555-538), at the close of which period
Babylon was taken by Cyrus. Belshazzar, who comes into notice in
connection with the taking of Babylon, was by some supposed to
have been the same as Nabonadius, who was called
Nebuchadnezzar's son (Dan. 5:11, 18, 22), because he had married
his daughter. But it is known from the inscriptions that
Nabonadius had a son called Belshazzar, who may have been his
father's associate on the throne at the time of the fall of
Babylon, and who therefore would be the grandson of
Nebuchadnezzar. The Jews had only one word, usually rendered
"father," to represent also such a relationship as that of
"grandfather" or "great-grandfather."
the Greek form of BABEL; Semitic form Babilu, meaning "The Gate
of God." In the Assyrian tablets it means "The city of the
dispersion of the tribes." The monumental list of its kings
reaches back to B.C. 2300, and includes Khammurabi, or Amraphel
(q.v.), the contemporary of Abraham. It stood on the Euphrates,
about 200 miles above its junction with the Tigris, which flowed
through its midst and divided it into two almost equal parts.
The Elamites invaded Chaldea (i.e., Lower Mesopotamia, or
Shinar, and Upper Mesopotamia, or Accad, now combined into one)
and held it in subjection. At length Khammu-rabi delivered it
from the foreign yoke, and founded the new empire of Chaldea
(q.v.), making Babylon the capital of the united kingdom. This
city gradually grew in extent and grandeur, but in process of
time it became subject to Assyria. On the fall of Nineveh (B.C.
606) it threw off the Assyrian yoke, and became the capital of
the growing Babylonian empire. Under Nebuchadnezzar it became
one of the most splendid cities of the ancient world.
After passing through various vicissitudes the city was
occupied by Cyrus, "king of Elam," B.C. 538, who issued a decree
permitting the Jews to return to their own land (Ezra 1). It
then ceased to be the capital of an empire. It was again and
again visited by hostile armies, till its inhabitants were all
driven from their homes, and the city became a complete
desolation, its very site being forgotten from among men.
On the west bank of the Euphrates, about 50 miles south of
Bagdad, there is found a series of artificial mounds of vast
extent. These are the ruins of this once famous proud city.
These ruins are principally (1) the great mound called Babil by
the Arabs. This was probably the noted Temple of Belus, which
was a pyramid about 480 feet high. (2) The Kasr (i.e., "the
palace"). This was the great palace of Nebuchadnezzar. It is
almost a square, each side of which is about 700 feet long. The
little town of Hillah, near the site of Babylon, is built almost
wholly of bricks taken from this single mound. (3) A lofty
mound, on the summit of which stands a modern tomb called Amran
ibn-Ali. This is probably the most ancient portion of the
remains of the city, and represents the ruins of the famous
hanging-gardens, or perhaps of some royal palace. The utter
desolation of the city once called "The glory of kingdoms"
(Isa.13:19) was foretold by the prophets (Isa.13:4-22; Jer.
25:12; 50:2, 3; Dan. 2:31-38).
The Babylon mentioned in 1 Pet. 5:13 was not Rome, as some
have thought, but the literal city of Babylon, which was
inhabited by many Jews at the time Peter wrote.
In Rev. 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; and 18:2, "Babylon" is supposed to
mean Rome, not considered as pagan, but as the prolongation of
the ancient power in the papal form. Rome, pagan and papal, is
regarded as one power. "The literal Babylon was the beginner and
supporter of tyranny and idolatry...This city and its whole
empire were taken by the Persians under Cyrus; the Persians were
subdued by the Macedonians, and the Macedonians by the Romans;
so that Rome succeeded to the power of old Babylon. And it was
her method to adopt the worship of the false deities she had
conquered; so that by her own act she became the heiress and
successor of all the Babylonian idolatry, and of all that was
introduced into it by the immediate successors of Babylon, and
consequently of all the idolatry of the earth." Rome, or
"mystical Babylon," is "that great city which reigneth over the
kings of the earth" (17:18).
the rendering of a Hebrew word meaning sweeper, occurs only in
Isa. 14:23, of the sweeping away, the utter ruin, of Babylon.
Rivers of Babylon
(Ps. 137:1), i.e., of the whole country of Babylonia, e.g., the
Tigris, Euphrates, Chalonas, the Ulai, and the numerous canals.
hill of the wood, a place in Babylon from which some captive
Jews returned to Jerusalem (Ezra 2:59; Neh. 7:61).
the king of Babylon who sent a friendly deputation to Hezekiah
(2 Kings 20:12). In Isa. 39:1 he is called Merodach-baladan
wordly. (1.) 1 Chr. 27:15; called also Heleb (2 Sam. 23:29); one
of David's captains.
(2.) Zech. 6:10, one who returned from Babylon.
be gracious, O Nebo! or a cup-bearer of Nebo, probably the title
of Nergal-sharezer, one of the princes of Babylon (Jer. 39:3).
(Luke 2:46; 5:17; Acts 5:34), a teacher. The Jewish doctors
taught and disputed in synagogues, or wherever they could find
an audience. Their disciples were allowed to propose to them
questions. They assumed the office without any appointment to
it. The doctors of the law were principally of the sect of the
Pharisees. Schools were established after the destruction of
Jerusalem at Babylon and Tiberias, in which academical degrees
were conferred on those who passed a certain examination. Those
of the school of Tiberias were called by the title "rabbi," and
those of Babylon by that of "master."
(Heb. Ko'resh), the celebrated "King of Persia" (Elam) who was
conqueror of Babylon, and issued the decree of liberation to the
Jews (Ezra 1:1, 2). He was the son of Cambyses, the prince of
Persia, and was born about B.C. 599. In the year B.C. 559 he
became king of Persia, the kingdom of Media being added to it
partly by conquest. Cyrus was a great military leader, bent on
universal conquest. Babylon fell before his army (B.C. 538) on
the night of Belshazzar's feast (Dan. 5:30), and then the
ancient dominion of Assyria was also added to his empire (cf.,
"Go up, O Elam", Isa.21:2).
Hitherto the great kings of the earth had only oppressed the
Jews. Cyrus was to them as a "shepherd" (Isa. 44:28; 45:1). God
employed him in doing service to his ancient people. He may
posibly have gained, through contact with the Jews, some
knowledge of their religion.
The "first year of Cyrus" (Ezra 1:1) is not the year of his
elevation to power over the Medes, nor over the Persians, nor
the year of the fall of Babylon, but the year succeeding the two
years during which "Darius the Mede" was viceroy in Babylon
after its fall. At this time only (B.C. 536) Cyrus became actual
king over Israel, which became a part of his Babylonian
empire. The edict of Cyrus for the rebuilding of Jerusalem
marked a great epoch in the history of the Jewish people (2 Chr.
36:22, 23; Ezra 1:1-4; 4:3; 5:13-17; 6:3-5).
This decree was discovered "at Achmetha [R.V. marg.,
"Ecbatana"], in the palace that is in the province of the Medes"
(Ezra 6:2). A chronicle drawn up just after the conquest of
Babylonia by Cyrus, gives the history of the reign of Nabonidus
(Nabunahid), the last king of Babylon, and of the fall of the
Babylonian empire. In B.C. 538 there was a revolt in Southern
Babylonia, while the army of Cyrus entered the country from the
north. In June the Babylonian army was completely defeated at
Opis, and immediately afterwards Sippara opened its gates to the
conqueror. Gobryas (Ugbaru), the governor of Kurdistan, was then
sent to Babylon, which surrendered "without fighting," and the
daily services in the temples continued without a break. In
October, Cyrus himself arrived, and proclaimed a general
amnesty, which was communicated by Gobryas to "all the province
of Babylon," of which he had been made governor. Meanwhile,
Nabonidus, who had concealed himself, was captured, but treated
honourably; and when his wife died, Cambyses, the son of Cyrus,
conducted the funeral. Cyrus now assumed the title of "king of
Babylon," claimed to be the descendant of the ancient kings, and
made rich offerings to the temples. At the same time he allowed
the foreign populations who had been deported to Babylonia to
return to their old homes, carrying with them the images of
their gods. Among these populations were the Jews, who, as they
had no images, took with them the sacred vessels of the temple.
in the Babylonian orthography Nabu-kudur-uzur, which means
"Nebo, protect the crown!" or the "frontiers." In an inscription
he styles himself "Nebo's favourite." He was the son and
successor of Nabopolassar, who delivered Babylon from its
dependence on Assyria and laid Nineveh in ruins. He was the
greatest and most powerful of all the Babylonian kings. He
married the daughter of Cyaxares, and thus the Median and
Babylonian dynasties were united.
Necho II., the king of Egypt, gained a victory over the
Assyrians at Carchemish. (See JOSIAH T0002116; MEGIDDO
T0002463.) This secured to Egypt the possession of the Syrian
provinces of Assyria, including Israel. The remaining
provinces of the Assyrian empire were divided between Babylonia
and Media. But Nabopolassar was ambitious of reconquering from
Necho the western provinces of Syria, and for this purpose he
sent his son with a powerful army westward (Dan. 1:1). The
Egyptians met him at Carchemish, where a furious battle was
fought, resulting in the complete rout of the Egyptians, who
were driven back (Jer. 46:2-12), and Syria and Phoenicia brought
under the sway of Babylon (B.C. 606). From that time "the king
of Egypt came not again any more out of his land" (2 Kings
24:7). Nebuchadnezzar also subdued the whole of Israel, and
took Jerusalem, carrying away captive a great multitude of the
Jews, among whom were Daniel and his companions (Dan. 1:1, 2;
Jer. 27:19; 40:1).
Three years after this, Jehoiakim, who had reigned in
Jerusalem as a Babylonian vassal, rebelled against the
oppressor, trusting to help from Egypt (2 Kings 24:1). This led
Nebuchadnezzar to march an army again to the conquest of
Jerusalem, which at once yielded to him (B.C. 598). A third time
he came against it, and deposed Jehoiachin, whom he carried into
Babylon, with a large portion of the population of the city, and
the sacred vessels of the temple, placing Zedekiah on the throne
of Judah in his stead. He also, heedless of the warnings of the
prophet, entered into an alliance with Egypt, and rebelled
against Babylon. This brought about the final siege of the city,
which was at length taken and utterly destroyed (B.C. 586).
Zedekiah was taken captive, and had his eyes put out by order of
the king of Babylon, who made him a prisoner for the remainder
of his life.
An onyx cameo, now in the museum of Florence, bears on it an
arrow-headed inscription, which is certainly ancient and
genuine. The helmeted profile is said (Schrader) to be genuine
also, but it is more probable that it is the portrait of a
usurper in the time of Darius (Hystaspes), called Nidinta-Bel,
who took the name of "Nebuchadrezzar." The inscription has been
thus translated:, "In honour of Merodach, his lord,
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in his lifetime had this made."
A clay tablet, now in the British Museum, bears the following
inscription, the only one as yet found which refers to his wars:
"In the thirty-seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the
country of Babylon, he went to Egypt [Misr] to make war. Amasis,
king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread
abroad." Thus were fulfilled the words of the prophet (Jer.
46:13-26; Ezek. 29:2-20). Having completed the subjugation of
Phoenicia, and inflicted chastisement on Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar
now set himself to rebuild and adorn the city of Babylon (Dan.
4:30), and to add to the greatness and prosperity of his kingdom
by constructing canals and aqueducts and reservoirs surpassing
in grandeur and magnificence everything of the kind mentioned in
history (Dan. 2:37). He is represented as a "king of kings,"
ruling over a vast kingdom of many provinces, with a long list
of officers and rulers under him, "princes, governors,
captains," etc. (3:2, 3, 27). He may, indeed, be said to have
created the mighty empire over which he ruled.
"Modern research has shown that Nebuchadnezzar was the
greatest monarch that Babylon, or perhaps the East generally,
ever produced. He must have possessed an enormous command of
human labour, nine-tenths of Babylon itself, and
nineteen-twentieths of all the other ruins that in almost
countless profusion cover the land, are composed of bricks
stamped with his name. He appears to have built or restored
almost every city and temple in the whole country. His
inscriptions give an elaborate account of the immense works
which he constructed in and about Babylon itself, abundantly
illustrating the boast, 'Is not this great Babylon which I have
build?'" Rawlinson, Hist. Illustrations.
After the incident of the "burning fiery furnace" (Dan. 3)
into which the three Hebrew confessors were cast, Nebuchadnezzar
was afflicted with some peculiar mental aberration as a
punishment for his pride and vanity, probably the form of
madness known as lycanthropy (i.e, "the change of a man into a
wolf"). A remarkable confirmation of the Scripture narrative is
afforded by the recent discovery of a bronze door-step, which
bears an inscription to the effect that it was presented by
Nebuchadnezzar to the great temple at Borsippa as a votive
offering on account of his recovery from a terrible illness.
(See DANIEL T0000969.)
He survived his recovery for some years, and died B.C. 562, in
the eighty-third or eighty-fourth year of his age, after a reign
of forty-three years, and was succeeded by his son
Evil-merodach, who, after a reign of two years, was succeeded by
Neriglissar (559-555), who was succeeded by Nabonadius
(555-538), at the close of whose reign (less than a quarter of a
century after the death of Nebuchadnezzar) Babylon fell under
Cyrus at the head of the combined armies of Media and Persia.
"I have examined," says Sir Henry Rawlinson, "the bricks
belonging perhaps to a hundred different towns and cities in the
neighbourhood of Baghdad, and I never found any other legend
than that of Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabopolassar, king of
Babylon." Nine-tenths of all the bricks amid the ruins of
Babylon are stamped with his name.
cheerful. (1.) The head of the fifteenth sacerdotal course for
the temple service (1 Chr. 24:14). (2.) A priest who returned
from Babylon with Zerubbabel (Neh. 12:5, 18).
soldier of Jehovah. (1.) The father of Joab (1 Chr. 4:13, 14).
(2.) The grandfather of Jehu (1 Chr. 4:35).
(3.) One of David's scribes or secretaries (2 Sam. 8:17).
(4.) A Netophathite (Jer. 40:8), a chief priest of the time of
Zedekiah. He was carried captive by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon,
and there put to death (2 Kings 25:18, 23).
(5.) Ezra 2:2.
(6.) Father of Ezra the scribe (7:1).
(7.) A ruler of the temple (Neh. 11:11).
(8.) A priest of the days of Jehoiakim (Neh. 12:1, 12).
(9.) The son of Neriah. When Zedekiah made a journey to
Babylon to do homage to Nebuchadnezzar, Seraiah had charge of
the royal gifts to be presented on that occasion. Jeremiah took
advantage of the occasion, and sent with Seraiah a word of cheer
to the exiles in Babylon, and an announcement of the doom in
store for that guilty city. The roll containing this message
(Jer. 50:1-8) Seraiah was to read to the exiles, and then, after
fixing a stone to it, was to throw it into the Euphrates,
uttering, as it sank, the prayer recorded in Jer. 51:59-64.
Babylon was at this time in the height of its glory, the
greatest and most powerful monarchy in the world. Scarcely
seventy years elapsed when the words of the prophet were all
fulfilled. Jer. 51:59 is rendered in the Revised Version, "Now
Seraiah was chief chamberlain," instead of "was a quiet prince,"
as in the Authorized Version.
(occurring only Isa. 13:21. Heb. ochim, i.e., "shrieks;" hence
"howling animals"), a general name for screech owls (howlets),
which occupy the desolate palaces of Babylon. Some render the
reigned over, or reigning. (1.) A Levite of the family of Merari
(1 Chr. 6:44).
(2.) A priest who returned from Babylon (Neh. 12:2).
(3.) Ezra 10:29. (4.) Ezra 10:32
(Dan. 5:25, 26), numbered, one of the words of the mysterious
inscription written "upon the plaister of the wall" in
Belshazzar's palace at Babylon. The writing was explained by
Daniel. (See BELSHAZZAR T0000519.)
the name given to a false prophet Shemaiah, who went with the
captives to Babylon (Jer. 29:24, 31, 32). The origin of the name
is unknown. It is rendered in the marg, "dreamer."
Jehovah defends, a priest at Jerusalem, head of one of the
sacerdotal courses (1 Chr. 9:10; 24:7). His "course" went up
from Babylon after the Exile (Ezra 2:36-39; Neh. 7:39-42).
adorer of Nebo, or Nebo saves me, the "Rabsaris," or chief
chamberlain, of the court of Babylon. He was one of those whom
the king sent to release Jeremiah from prison in Jerusalem (Jer.
probably a place in Babylonia (Jer. 50:21; Ezek. 23:23). It is
the opinion, however, of some that this word signifies
"visitation," "punishment," and allegorically "designates
Babylon as the city which was to be destroyed."
Babylon, kingdom of
called "the land of the Chaldeans" (Jer. 24:5; Ezek, 12:13), was
an extensive province in Central Asia along the valley of the
Tigris from the Persian Gulf northward for some 300 miles. It
was famed for its fertility and its riches. Its capital was the
city of Babylon, a great commercial centre (Ezek. 17:4; Isa.
43:14). Babylonia was divided into the two districts of Accad in
the north, and Summer (probably the Shinar of the Old Testament)
in the south. Among its chief cities may be mentioned Ur (now
Mugheir or Mugayyar), on the western bank of the Euphrates;
Uruk, or Erech (Gen. 10:10) (now Warka), between Ur and Babylon;
Larsa (now Senkereh), the Ellasar of Gen. 14:1, a little to the
east of Erech; Nipur (now Niffer), south-east of Babylon;
Sepharvaim (2 Kings 17:24), "the two Sipparas" (now Abu-Habba),
considerably to the north of Babylon; and Eridu, "the good city"
(now Abu-Shahrein), which lay originally on the shore of the
Persian Gulf, but is now, owing to the silting up of the sand,
about 100 miles distant from it. Another city was Kulunu, or
Calneh (Gen. 10:10).
The salt-marshes at the mouths of the Euphrates and Tigris
were called Marratu, "the bitter" or "salt", the Merathaim of
Jer. 50:21. They were the original home of the Kalda, or
The most famous of the early kings of Babylonia were Sargon of
Accad (B.C.3800) and his son, Naram-Sin, who conquered a large
part of Western Asia, establishing their power in Israel, and
even carrying their arms to the Sinaitic peninsula. A great
Babylonian library was founded in the reign of Sargon. Babylonia
was subsequently again broken up into more than one state, and
at one time fell under the domination of Elam. This was put an
end to by Khammu-rabi (Amraphel), who drove the Elamites out of
the country, and overcame Arioch, the son of an Elamite prince.
From this time forward Babylonia was a united monarchy. About
B.C. 1750 it was conquered by the Kassi, or Kosseans, from the
mountains of Elam, and a Kassite dynasty ruled over it for 576
years and 9 months.
In the time of Khammu-rabi, Syria and Israel were subject
to Babylonia and its Elamite suzerain; and after the overthrow
of the Elamite supremacy, the Babylonian kings continued to
exercise their influence and power in what was called "the land
of the Amorites." In the epoch of the Kassite dynasty, however,
Canaan passed into the hands of Egypt.
In B.C. 729, Babylonia was conquered by the Assyrian king
Tiglath-pileser III.; but on the death of Shalmaneser IV. it was
seized by the Kalda or "Chaldean" prince Merodach-baladan (2
Kings 20:12-19), who held it till B.C. 709, when he was driven
out by Sargon.
Under Sennacherib, Babylonia revolted from Assyria several
times, with the help of the Elamites, and after one of these
revolts Babylon was destroyed by Sennacherib, B.C. 689. It was
rebuilt by Esarhaddon, who made it his residence during part of
the year, and it was to Babylon that Manasseh was brought a
prisoner (2 Chr. 33:11). After the death of Esarhaddon,
Saul-sumyukin, the viceroy of Babylonia, revolted against his
brother the Assyrian king, and the revolt was suppressed with
When Nineveh was destroyed, B.C. 606, Nabopolassar, the
viceroy of Babylonia, who seems to have been of Chaldean
descent, made himself independent. His son Nebuchadrezzar
(Nabu-kudur-uzur), after defeating the Egyptians at Carchemish,
succeeded him as king, B.C. 604, and founded the Babylonian
empire. He strongly fortified Babylon, and adorned it with
palaces and other buildings. His son, Evil-merodach, who
succeeded him in B.C. 561, was murdered after a reign of two
years. The last monarch of the Babylonian empire was Nabonidus
(Nabu-nahid), B.C. 555-538, whose eldest son, Belshazzar
(Bilu-sar-uzur), is mentioned in several inscriptions. Babylon
was captured by Cyrus, B.C. 538, and though it revolted more
than once in later years, it never succeeded in maintaining its
exaltations, heights, a priest who returned from Babylon with
Zerubbabel (Neh. 12:3), to whom were sent the sacred vessels
(Ezra 8:33) belonging to the temple. He took part in rebuilding
the walls of Jerusalem (Neh. 3:4).
Azur and Azzur
helper. (1.) The father of Hananiah, a false prophet (Jer.
(2.) The father of Jaazaniah (Ezek. 11:1).
(3.) One of those who sealed the covenant with Jehovah on the
return from Babylon (Neh. 10:17).
fear on every side, (Jer. 20:3), a symbolical name given to the
priest Pashur, expressive of the fate announced by the prophet
as about to come upon him. Pashur was to be carried to Babylon,
and there die.
=Mijamin, from the right hand. (1.) The head of one of the
divisions of the priests (1 Chr. 24:9).
(2.) A chief priest who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel
(Neh. 12:5), called Mijamin (10:7) and Miniamin (12:17).
The southern portion of Babylonia, Lower Mesopotamia, lying
chiefly on the right bank of the Euphrates, but commonly used of
the whole of the Mesopotamian plain. The Hebrew name is Kasdim,
which is usually rendered "Chaldeans" (Jer. 50:10; 51:24,35).
The country so named is a vast plain formed by the deposits of
the Euphrates and the Tigris, extending to about 400 miles along
the course of these rivers, and about 100 miles in average
breadth. "In former days the vast plains of Babylon were
nourished by a complicated system of canals and water-courses,
which spread over the surface of the country like a network. The
wants of a teeming population were supplied by a rich soil, not
less bountiful than that on the banks of the Egyptian Nile. Like
islands rising from a golden sea of waving corn stood frequent
groves of palm-trees and pleasant gardens, affording to the
idler or traveller their grateful and highly-valued shade.
Crowds of passengers hurried along the dusty roads to and from
the busy city. The land was rich in corn and wine."
Recent discoveries, more especially in Babylonia, have thrown
much light on the history of the Hebrew patriarchs, and have
illustrated or confirmed the Biblical narrative in many points.
The ancestor of the Hebrew people, Abram, was, we are told, born
at "Ur of the Chaldees." "Chaldees" is a mistranslation of the
Hebrew "Kasdim", Kasdim being the Old Testament name of the
Babylonians, while the Chaldees were a tribe who lived on the
shores of the Persian Gulf, and did not become a part of the
Babylonian population till the time of Hezekiah. Ur was one of
the oldest and most famous of the Babylonian cities. Its site is
now called Mugheir, or Mugayyar, on the western bank of the
Euphrates, in Southern Babylonia. About a century before the
birth of Abram it was ruled by a powerful dynasty of kings.
Their conquests extended to Elam on the one side, and to the
Lebanon on the other. They were followed by a dynasty of princes
whose capital was Babylon, and who seem to have been of South
Arabian origin. The founder of the dynasty was Sumu-abi ("Shem
is my father"). But soon afterwards Babylonia fell under Elamite
dominion. The kings of Babylon were compelled to acknowledge the
supremacy of Elam, and a rival kingdom to that of Babylon, and
governed by Elamites, sprang up at Larsa, not far from Ur, but
on the opposite bank of the river. In the time of Abram the king
of Larsa was Eri-Aku, the son of an Elamite prince, and Eri-Aku,
as has long been recognized, is the Biblical "Arioch king of
Ellasar" (Gen. 14:1). The contemporaneous king of Babylon in the
north, in the country termed Shinar in Scripture, was
Khammu-rabi. (See BABYLON T0000409; ABRAHAM T0000054; AMRAPHEL
or Gashmu, firmness, probably chief of the Arabs south of
Israel, one of the enemies of the Jews after the return from
Babylon (Neh. 2:19; 6:1, 2). He united with Sanballat and Tobiah
in opposing the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem.
Jehovah-justified, the son of the high priest Seraiah at the
time of the Babylonian exile (1 Chr. 6:14, 15). He was carried
into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, and probably died in Babylon.
He was the father of Jeshua, or Joshua, who returned with
of Israel in Egypt (Ex. 2:23, 25; 5), which is called the "house
of bondage" (13:3; 20:2). This word is used also with reference
to the captivity in Babylon (Isa. 14:3), and the oppression of
the Persian king (Ezra 9:8, 9).
(1.) An Assyrian king. It has been a question whether he was
identical with Tiglath-pileser III. (q.v.), or was his
predecessor. The weight of evidence is certainly in favour of
their identity. Pul was the throne-name he bore in Babylonia as
king of Babylon, and Tiglath-pileser the throne-name he bore as
king of Assyria. He was the founder of what is called the second
Assyrian empire. He consolidated and organized his conquests on
a large scale. He subdued Northern Syria and Hamath, and the
kings of Syria rendered him homage and paid him tribute. His
ambition was to found in Western Asia a kingdom which should
embrace the whole civilized world, having Nineveh as its centre.
Menahem, king of Israel, gave him the enormous tribute of a
thousand talents of silver, "that his hand might be with him" (2
Kings 15:19; 1 Chr. 5:26). The fact that this tribute could be
paid showed the wealthy condition of the little kingdom of
Israel even in this age of disorder and misgovernment. Having
reduced Syria, he turned his arms against Babylon, which he
subdued. The Babylonian king was slain, and Babylon and other
Chaldean cities were taken, and Pul assumed the title of "King
of Sumer [i.e., Shinar] and Accad." He was succeeded by
(2.) A geographical name in Isa. 66:19. Probably = Phut (Gen.
10:6; Jer. 46:9, R.V. "Put;" Ezek. 27:10).
(another form of Jacob). (1.) The head of one of the families of
Nethinim (Ezra 2:45).
(2.) A Levite who kept the gate of the temple after the return
from Babylon (1 Chr. 9:17; Ezra 2:42; Neh. 7:45).
(3.) A descendant of David (1 Chr. 3:24).
one of the Babylonian cities or districts from which Shalmaneser
transplanted certain colonists to Samaria (2 Kings 17:24). Some
have conjectured that the "Cutheans" were identical with the
"Cossaeans" who inhabited the hill-country to the north of the
river Choaspes. Cuthah is now identified with Tell Ibrahim, 15
miles NE of Babylon.
the circle, the plain near Babylon in which Nebuchadnezzar set
up a golden image, mentioned in Dan. 3:1. The place still
retains its ancient name. On one of its many mounds the pedestal
of what must have been a colossal statue has been found. It has
been supposed to be that of the golden image.
Associated with diamonds (Ex. 28:18) and emeralds (Ezek. 28:13);
one of the stones in the high priest's breastplate. It is a
precious stone of a sky-blue colour, probably the lapis lazuli,
brought from Babylon. The throne of God is described as of the
colour of a sapphire (Ex. 24:10; compare Ezek. 1:26).
God is my judge, or judge of God. (1.) David's second son, "born
unto him in Hebron, of Abigail the Carmelitess" (1 Chr. 3:1). He
is called also Chileab (2 Sam. 3:3).
(2.) One of the four great prophets, although he is not once
spoken of in the Old Testament as a prophet. His life and
prophecies are recorded in the Book of Daniel. He was descended
from one of the noble families of Judah (Dan. 1:3), and was
probably born in Jerusalem about B.C. 623, during the reign of
Josiah. At the first deportation of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar
(the kingdom of Israel had come to an end nearly a century
before), or immediately after his victory over the Egyptians at
the second battle of Carchemish, in the fourth year of the reign
of Jehoiakim (B.C. 606), Daniel and other three noble youths
were carried off to Babylon, along with part of the vessels of
the temple. There he was obliged to enter into the service of
the king of Babylon, and in accordance with the custom of the
age received the Chaldean name of Belteshazzar, i.e., "prince of
Bel," or "Bel protect the king!" His residence in Babylon was
very probably in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, now identified
with a mass of shapeless mounds called the Kasr, on the right
bank of the river.
His training in the schools of the wise men in Babylon (Dan.
1:4) was to fit him for service to the empire. He was
distinguished during this period for his piety and his stict
observance of the Mosaic law (1:8-16), and gained the confidence
and esteem of those who were over him. His habit of attention
gained during his education in Jerusalem enabled him soon to
master the wisdom and learning of the Chaldeans, and even to
excel his compeers.
At the close of his three years of discipline and training in
the royal schools, Daniel was distinguished for his proficiency
in the "wisdom" of his day, and was brought out into public
life. He soon became known for his skill in the interpretation
of dreams (1:17; 2:14), and rose to the rank of governor of the
province of Babylon, and became "chief of the governors" (Chald.
Rab-signin) over all the wise men of Babylon. He made known and
also interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream; and many years
afterwards, when he was now an old man, amid the alarm and
consternation of the terrible night of Belshazzar's impious
feast, he was called in at the instance of the queen-mother
(perhaps Nitocris, the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar) to interpret
the mysterious handwriting on the wall. He was rewarded with a
purple robe and elevation to the rank of "third ruler." The
place of "second ruler" was held by Belshazzar as associated
with his father, Nabonidus, on the throne (5:16). Daniel
interpreted the handwriting, and "in that night was Belshazzar
the king of the Chaldeans slain."
After the taking of Babylon, Cyrus, who was now master of all
Asia from India to the Dardanelles, placed Darius (q.v.), a
Median prince, on the throne, during the two years of whose
reign Daniel held the office of first of the "three presidents"
of the empire, and was thus practically at the head of affairs,
no doubt interesting himself in the prospects of the captive
Jews (Dan. 9), whom he had at last the happiness of seeing
restored to their own land, although he did not return with
them, but remained still in Babylon. His fidelity to God exposed
him to persecution, and he was cast into a den of lions, but was
miraculously delivered; after which Darius issued a decree
enjoining reverence for "the God of Daniel" (6:26). He
"prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the
Persian," whom he probably greatly influenced in the matter of
the decree which put an end to the Captivity (B.C. 536).
He had a series of prophetic visions vouch-safed to him which
opened up the prospect of a glorious future for the people of
God, and must have imparted peace and gladness to his spirit in
his old age as he waited on at his post till the "end of the
days." The time and circumstances of his death are not recorded.
He probably died at Susa, about eighty-five years of age.
Ezekiel, with whom he was contemporary, mentions him as a
pattern of righteousness (14:14, 20) and wisdom (28:3). (See
built. (1.) 1 Chr. 6:46. (2.) One of David's thirty-seven
warriors, a Gadite (2 Sam. 23:36). (3.) Ezra 2:10; 10:29,34,38.
(4.) A Levite who was prominent in the reforms on the return
from Babylon (Neh. 8:7; 9:4,5). His son Rehum took part in
rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem (Neh. 3:17).
meeting with the Lord. (1.) A Levite who returned from Babylon
(2.) A false prophetess who assisted Tobiah and Sanballat
against the Jews (Neh. 6:14). Being bribed by them, she tried to
stir up discontent among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and so to
embarrass Nehemiah in his great work of rebuilding the ruined
walls of the city.
king of Shinar, southern Chaldea, one of the confederates of
Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, in a war against Sodom and cities of
the plain (Gen. 14:1, 4). It is now found that Amraphel (or
Ammirapaltu) is the Khammu-rabi whose name appears on
recently-discovered monuments. (See CHEDORLAOMER T0000781).
After defeating Arioch (q.v.) he united Babylonia under one
rule, and made Babylon his capital.
God made. (1.) One of the descendants of Judah, of the family of
Hezron (1 Chr. 2:39, "Eleasah").
(2.) A descendant of king Saul (1 Chr. 8:37; 9:43).
(3.) The son of Shaphan, one of the two who were sent by
Zedekiah to Nebuchadnezzar, and also took charge of Jeremiah's
letter to the captives in Babylon (Jer. 29:3).
(1.) Invoker of Jehovah. The son of Shimri, a chief Simeonite (1
(2.) One of those who repaired the walls of Jerusalem after
the return from Babylon (Neh. 3:10).
(3.) Knowing Jehovah. The chief of one of the courses of the
priests (1 Chr. 24:7).
(4.) A priest in Jerusalem after the Exile (1 Chr. 9:10).
(Ezra 6:2), called Ecbatana by classical writers, the capital of
northern Media. Here was the palace which was the residence of
the old Median monarchs, and of Cyrus and Cambyses. In the time
of Ezra, the Persian kings resided usually at Susa of Babylon.
But Cyrus held his court at Achmetha; and Ezra, writing a
century after, correctly mentions the place where the decree of
Cyrus was found.
opulent, the mountain district lying to the NE of
Babylonia, anciently the land of the Guti, or Kuti, the modern
Kurdistan. The plain lying between these mountains and the
Tigris was called su-Edina, i.e., "the border of the plain."
This name was sometimes shortened into Suti and Su, and has been
regarded as = Shoa (Ezek. 23:23). Some think it denotes a place
in Babylon. (See PEKOD T0002883.)
water, the river (Ezra 8:21) by the banks of which the Jewish
exiles assembled under Ezra when about to return to Jerusalem
from Babylon. In all probability this was one of the streams of
Mesopotamia which flowed into the Euphrates somewhere in the
north-west of Babylonia. It has, however, been supposed to be
the name of a place (Ezra 8:15) now called Hit, on the
Euphrates, east of Damascus.
Peter, First Epistle of
This epistle is addressed to "the strangers scattered abroad",
i.e., to the Jews of the Dispersion (the Diaspora).
Its object is to confirm its readers in the doctrines they had
been already taught. Peter has been called "the apostle of
hope," because this epistle abounds with words of comfort and
encouragement fitted to sustain a "lively hope." It contains
about thirty-five references to the Old Testament.
It was written from Babylon, on the Euphrates, which was at
this time one of the chief seats of Jewish learning, and a
fitting centre for labour among the Jews. It has been noticed
that in the beginning of his epistle Peter names the provinces
of Asia Minor in the order in which they would naturally occur
to one writing from Babylon. He counsels (1) to steadfastness
and perseverance under persecution (1-2:10); (2) to the
practical duties of a holy life (2:11-3:13); (3) he adduces the
example of Christ and other motives to patience and holiness
(3:14-4:19); and (4) concludes with counsels to pastors and
people (ch. 5).
Merodach has given a son, (Isa. 39:1), "the hereditary chief of
the Chaldeans, a small tribe at that time settled in the marshes
at the mouth of the Euphrates, but in consequence of his
conquest of Babylon afterwards, they became the dominant caste
in Babylonia itself." One bearing this name sent ambassadors to
Hezekiah (B.C. 721). He is also called Berodach-baladan (2 Kings
20:12; 2 Chr. 20:31). (See HEZEKIAH T0001771.)
(Ex. 12:38), a class who accompanied the Israelites as they
journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, the first stage of the
Exodus. These were probably miscellaneous hangers-on to the
Hebrews, whether Egyptians of the lower orders, or the remains
of the Hyksos (see EGYPT T0001137; MOSES T0002602), as some
think. The same thing happened on the return of the Jews from
Babylon (Neh. 13:3), a "mixed multitude" accompanied them so
the making of, formed the chief labour of the Israelites in
Egypt (Ex. 1:13, 14). Those found among the ruins of Babylon and
Nineveh are about a foot square and four inches thick. They were
usually dried in the sun, though also sometimes in kilns (2 Sam.
12:31; Jer. 43:9; Nah. 3:14). (See NEBUCHADNEZZAR T0002684.)
The bricks used in the tower of Babel were burnt bricks,
cemented in the building by bitumen (Gen. 11:3).
who is like God! (1.) A Levite; the eldest of the three sons of
Uzziel (Ex. 6:22).
(2.) One of the three Hebrew youths who were trained with
Daniel in Babylon (Dan. 1:11, 19), and promoted to the rank of
Magi. He and his companions were afterwards cast into the
burning fiery furnace for refusing to worship the idol the king
had set up, from which they were miraculously delivered
(3:13-30). His Chaldean name was Meshach (q.v.).
alacrity. (1.) The husband of Ruth, a wealthy Bethlehemite. By
the "levirate law" the duty devolved on him of marrying Ruth the
Moabitess (Ruth 4:1-13). He was a kinsman of Mahlon, her first
(2.) The name given (for what reason is unknown) to one of the
two (the other was called Jachin) brazen pillars which Solomon
erected in the court of the temple (1 Kings 7:21; 2 Chr. 3:17).
These pillars were broken up and carried to Babylon by
a lair of wild beasts (Ps. 10:9; 104:22; Job 37:8); the hole of
a venomous reptile (Isa. 11:8); a recess for secrecy "in dens
and caves of the earth" (Heb. 11:38); a resort of thieves (Matt.
21:13; Mark 11:17). Daniel was cast into "the den of lions"
(Dan. 6:16, 17). Some recent discoveries among the ruins of
Babylon have brought to light the fact that the practice of
punishing offenders against the law by throwing them into a den
of lions was common.
(1.) Timely (1 Chr. 6:21). A Gershonite Levite.
(2.) Lovely. The son of Zechariah (1 Chr. 27:21), the ruler of
Manasseh in David's time.
(3.) Timely. The father of Ahinadab, who was one of Solomon's
purveyors (1 Kings 4:14).
(4.) Lovely. A prophet of Judah who wrote the history of
Rehoboam and Abijah (2 Chr. 12:15). He has been identified with
Oded (2 Chr. 15:1).
(5.) Lovely. The father of Berachiah, and grandfather of the
prophet Zechariah (Zech. 1:1, 7). He returned from Babylon (Neh.
(1.) Of Israel. The kingdom of the ten tribes was successively
invaded by several Assyrian kings. Pul (q.v.) imposed a tribute
on Menahem of a thousand talents of silver (2 Kings 15:19, 20; 1
Chr. 5:26) (B.C. 762), and Tiglath-pileser, in the days of Pekah
(B.C. 738), carried away the trans-Jordanic tribes and the
inhabitants of Galilee into Assyria (2 Kings 15:29; Isa. 9:1).
Subsequently Shalmaneser invaded Israel and laid siege to
Samaria, the capital of the kingdom. During the siege he died,
and was succeeded by Sargon, who took the city, and transported
the great mass of the people into Assyria (B.C. 721), placing
them in Halah and in Habor, and in the cities of the Medes (2
Kings 17:3, 5). Samaria was never again inhabited by the
Israelites. The families thus removed were carried to distant
cities, many of them not far from the Caspian Sea, and their
place was supplied by colonists from Babylon and Cuthah, etc. (2
Kings 17:24). Thus terminated the kingdom of the ten tribes,
after a separate duration of two hundred and fifty-five years
Many speculations have been indulged in with reference to
these ten tribes. But we believe that all, except the number
that probably allied themselves with Judah and shared in their
restoration under Cyrus, are finally lost.
"Like the dew on the mountain, Like the
foam on the river,
Like the bubble on the fountain,
They are gone, and for ever."
(2.) Of Judah. In the third year of Jehoiachim, the eighteenth
king of Judah (B.C. 605), Nebuchadnezzar having overcome the
Egyptians at Carchemish, advanced to Jerusalem with a great
army. After a brief siege he took that city, and carried away
the vessels of the sanctuary to Babylon, and dedicated them in
the Temple of Belus (2 Kings 24:1; 2 Chr. 36:6, 7; Dan. 1:1, 2).
He also carried away the treasures of the king, whom he made his
vassal. At this time, from which is dated the "seventy years" of
captivity (Jer. 25; Dan. 9:1, 2), Daniel and his companions were
carried to Babylon, there to be brought up at the court and
trained in all the learning of the Chaldeans. After this, in the
fifth year of Jehoiakim, a great national fast was appointed
(Jer. 36:9), during which the king, to show his defiance, cut up
the leaves of the book of Jeremiah's prophecies as they were
read to him in his winter palace, and threw them into the fire.
In the same spirit he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings
24:1), who again a second time (B.C. 598) marched against
Jerusalem, and put Jehoiachim to death, placing his son
Jehoiachin on the throne in his stead. But Jehoiachin's
counsellors displeasing Nebuchadnezzar, he again a third time
turned his army against Jerusalem, and carried away to Babylon a
second detachment of Jews as captives, to the number of 10,000
(2 Kings 24:13; Jer. 24:1; 2 Chr. 36:10), among whom were the
king, with his mother and all his princes and officers, also
Ezekiel, who with many of his companions were settled on the
banks of the river Chebar (q.v.). He also carried away all the
remaining treasures of the temple and the palace, and the golden
vessels of the sanctuary.
Mattaniah, the uncle of Jehoiachin, was now made king over
what remained of the kingdom of Judah, under the name of
Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:17; 2 Chr. 36:10). After a troubled reign
of eleven years his kingdom came to an end (2 Chr. 36:11).
Nebuchadnezzar, with a powerful army, besieged Jerusalem, and
Zedekiah became a prisoner in Babylon. His eyes were put out,
and he was kept in close confinement till his death (2 Kings
25:7). The city was spoiled of all that was of value, and then
given up to the flames. The temple and palaces were consumed,
and the walls of the city were levelled with the ground (B.C.
586), and all that remained of the people, except a number of
the poorest class who were left to till the ground and dress the
vineyards, were carried away captives to Babylon. This was the
third and last deportation of Jewish captives. The land was now
utterly desolate, and was abondoned to anarchy.
In the first year of his reign as king of Babylon (B.C. 536),
Cyrus issued a decree liberating the Jewish captives, and
permitting them to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and
the temple (2 Chr. 36:22, 23; Ezra 1; 2). The number of the
people forming the first caravan, under Zerubbabel, amounted in
all to 42,360 (Ezra 2:64, 65), besides 7,337 men-servants and
maid-servants. A considerable number, 12,000 probably, from the
ten tribes who had been carried away into Assyria no doubt
combined with this band of liberated captives.
At a later period other bands of the Jews returned (1) under
Ezra (7:7) (B.C. 458), and (2) Nehemiah (7:66) (B.C. 445). But
the great mass of the people remained still in the land to which
they had been carried, and became a portion of the Jews of the
"dispersion" (John 7:35; 1 Pet. 1:1). The whole number of the
exiles that chose to remain was probably about six times the
number of those who returned.
is found three times in connection with the desolations to come
upon Babylon, Idumea, and Nineveh (Isa. 14:23; 34:11; Zeph.
2:14). This bird belongs to the class of cranes. Its scientific
name is Botaurus stellaris. It is a solitary bird, frequenting
marshy ground. The Hebrew word (kippod) thus rendered in the
Authorized Version is rendered "porcupine" in the Revised
Version. But in the passages noted the kippod is associated with
birds, with pools of water, and with solitude and desolation.
This favours the idea that not the "porcupine" but the "bittern"
is really intended by the word.
fort, one of the four cities founded by Nimrod (Gen. 10:10). It
is the modern Niffer, a lofty mound of earth and rubbish
situated in the marshes on the left, i.e., the east, bank of the
Euphrates, but 30 miles distant from its present course, and
about 60 miles south-south-east from Babylon. It is mentioned as
one of the towns with which Tyre carried on trade. It was
finally taken and probably destroyed by one of the Assyrian
kings (Amos 6:2). It is called Calno (Isa. 10:9) and Canneh
he whom Jehovah has set up, the second son of Josiah, and
eighteenth king of Judah, which he ruled over for eleven years
(B.C. 610-599). His original name was Eliakim (q.v.).
On the death of his father his younger brother Jehoahaz
(=Shallum, Jer. 22:11), who favoured the Chaldeans against the
Egyptians, was made king by the people; but the king of Egypt,
Pharaoh-necho, invaded the land and deposed Jehoahaz (2 Kings
23:33, 34; Jer. 22:10-12), setting Eliakim on the throne in his
stead, and changing his name to Jehoiakim.
After this the king of Egypt took no part in Jewish politics,
having been defeated by the Chaldeans at Carchemish (2 Kings
24:7; Jer. 46:2). Israel was now invaded and conquered by
Nebuchadnezzar. Jehoiakim was taken prisoner and carried captive
to Babylon (2 Chr. 36:6, 7). It was at this time that Daniel
also and his three companions were taken captive to Babylon
(Dan. 1:1, 2).
Nebuchadnezzar reinstated Jehoiakim on his throne, but treated
him as a vassal king. In the year after this, Jeremiah caused
his prophecies to be read by Baruch in the court of the temple.
Jehoiakim, hearing of this, had them also read in the royal
palace before himself. The words displeased him, and taking the
roll from the hands of Baruch he cut it in pieces and threw it
into the fire (Jer. 36:23). During his disastrous reign there
was a return to the old idolatry and corruption of the days of
After three years of subjection to Babylon, Jehoiakim withheld
his tribute and threw off the yoke (2 Kings 24:1), hoping to
make himself independent. Nebuchadnezzar sent bands of
Chaldeans, Syrians, and Ammonites (2 Kings 24:2) to chastise his
rebellious vassal. They cruelly harassed the whole country
(compare Jer. 49:1-6). The king came to a violent death, and his
body having been thrown over the wall of Jerusalem, to convince
the beseieging army that he was dead, after having been dragged
away, was buried beyond the gates of Jerusalem "with the burial
of an ass," B.C. 599 (Jer. 22:18, 19; 36:30). Nebuchadnezzar
placed his son Jehoiachin on the throne, wishing still to retain
the kingdom of Judah as tributary to him.
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.
for the measurement of time, only once mentioned in the Bible,
erected by Ahaz (2 Kings 20:11; Isa. 38:8). The Hebrew word
(ma'aloth) is rendered "steps" in Ex. 20:26, 1 Kings 10:19, and
"degrees" in 2 Kings 20:9, 10, 11. The "ma'aloth" was probably
stairs on which the shadow of a column or obelisk placed on the
top fell. The shadow would cover a greater or smaller number of
steps, according as the sun was low or high.
Probably the sun-dial was a Babylonian invention. Daniel at
Babylon (Dan. 3:6) is the first to make mention of the "hour."
(Heb. sumphoniah), a musical instrument mentioned in Dan. 3:5,
15, along with other instruments there named, as sounded before
the golden image. It was not a Jewish instrument. In the margin
of the Revised Version it is styled the "bag-pipe." Luther
translated it "lute," and Grotius the "crooked trumpet." It is
probable that it was introduced into Babylon by some Greek or
Western-Asiatic musician. Some Rabbinical commentators render it
by "organ," the well-known instrument composed of a series of
pipes, others by "lyre." The most probable interpretation is
that it was a bag-pipe similar to the zampagna of Southern
(= Khudur-Lagamar of the inscriptions), king of Elam. Many
centuries before the age of Abraham, Canaan and even the
Sinaitic peninsula had been conquered by Babylonian kings, and
in the time of Abraham himself Babylonia was ruled by a dynasty
which claimed sovereignity over Syria and Israel. The kings
of the dynasty bore names which were not Babylonian, but at once
South Arabic and Hebrew. The most famous king of the dynasty was
Khammu-rabi, who united Babylonia under one rule, and made
Babylon its capital. When he ascended the throne, the country
was under the suzerainty of the Elamites, and was divided into
two kingdoms, that of Babylon (the Biblical Shinar) and that of
Larsa (the Biblical Ellasar). The king of Larsa was Eri-Aku
("the servant of the moon-god"), the son of an Elamite prince,
Kudur-Mabug, who is entitled "the father of the land of the
Amorites." A recently discovered tablet enumerates among the
enemies of Khammu-rabi, Kudur-Lagamar ("the servant of the
goddess Lagamar") or Chedorlaomer, Eri-Aku or Arioch, and
Tudkhula or Tidal. Khammu-rabi, whose name is also read
Ammi-rapaltu or Amraphel by some scholars, succeeded in
overcoming Eri-Aku and driving the Elamites out of Babylonia.
Assur-bani-pal, the last of the Assyrian conquerors, mentions in
two inscriptions that he took Susa 1635 years after
Kedor-nakhunta, king of Elam, had conquered Babylonia. It was in
the year B.C. 660 that Assur-bani-pal took Susa.
in the Revised Version of 1 Chr. 29:7; Ezra 2:69; 8:27; Neh.
7:70-72, where the Authorized Version has "dram." It is the
rendering of the Hebrew darkemon and the Greek dareikos. It was
a gold coin, bearing the figure of a Persian King with his crown
and armed with bow and arrow. It was current among the Jews
after their return from Babylon, i.e., while under the Persian
domination. It weighed about 128 grains troy, and was of the
value of about one guinea or rather more of our money. It is the
first coin mentioned in Scripture, and is the oldest that
history makes known to us.
(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.
Aku's command, the Chaldean name given to Hananiah, one of the
Hebrew youths whom Nebuchadnezzar carried captive to Babylon
(Dan. 1:6, 7; 3:12-30). He and his two companions refused to bow
down before the image which Nebuchadnezzar had set up on the
plains of Dura. Their conduct filled the king with the greatest
fury, and he commanded them to be cast into the burning fiery
furnace. Here, amid the fiery flames, they were miraculously
preserved from harm. Over them the fire had no power, "neither
was a hair of their head singed, neither had the smell of fire
passed on them." Thus Nebuchadnezzar learned the greatness of
the God of Israel. (See ABEDNEGO T0000014.)
mentioned only in Rev. 18:12 among the articles which would
cease to be purchased when Babylon fell. It was called citrus,
citron wood, by the Romans. It was the Callitris quadrivalvis of
botanists, of the cone-bearing order of trees, and of the
cypress tribe of this order. The name of this wood is derived
from the Greek word "thuein", "to sacrifice," and it was so
called because it was burnt in sacrifices, on account of its
fragrance. The wood of this tree was reckoned very valuable, and
was used for making articles of furniture by the Greeks and
Romans. Like the cedars of Lebanon, it is disappearing from the
forests of Israel.
festive, one of the twelve so-called minor prophets. He was the
first of the three (Zechariah, his contemporary, and Malachi,
who was about one hundred years later, being the other two)
whose ministry belonged to the period of Jewish history which
began after the return from captivity in Babylon. Scarcely
anything is known of his personal history. He may have been one
of the captives taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. He began his
ministry about sixteen years after the Return. The work of
rebuilding the temple had been put a stop to through the
intrigues of the Samaritans. After having been suspended for
fifteen years, the work was resumed through the efforts of
Haggai and Zechariah (Ezra 6:14), who by their exhortations
roused the people from their lethargy, and induced them to take
advantage of the favourable opportunity that had arisen in a
change in the policy of the Persian government. (See DARIUS
T0000975 .) Haggai's prophecies have thus been
characterized:, "There is a ponderous and simple dignity in the
emphatic reiteration addressed alike to every class of the
community, prince, priest, and people, 'Be strong, be strong, be
strong' (2:4). 'Cleave, stick fast, to the work you have to do;'
or again, 'Consider your ways, consider, consider, consider'
(1:5, 7;2:15, 18). It is the Hebrew phrase for the endeavour,
characteristic of the gifted seers of all times, to compel their
hearers to turn the inside of their hearts outwards to their own
view, to take the mask from off their consciences, to 'see life
steadily, and to see it wholly.'", Stanley's Jewish Church. (See
Jehovah has made perfect. (1.) The son of Shaphan, and one of
the Levites of the temple in the time of Jehoiakim (Jer. 36:10;
2 Kings 22:12). Baruch read aloud to the people from Gemariah's
chamber, and again in the hearing of Gemariah and other scribes,
the prophecies of Jeremiah (Jer. 36:11-20), which filled him
with terror. He joined with others in entreating the king not to
destroy the roll of the prophecies which Baruch had read
(2.) The son of Hilkiah, who accompanied Shaphan with the
tribute-money from Zedekiah to Nebuchadnezzar, and was the
bearer at the same time of a letter from Jeremiah to the Jewish
captives at Babylon (Jer. 29:3, 4).
(1.) Of the kingdom of Israel. In the time of Pekah,
Tiglath-pileser II. carried away captive into Assyria (2 Kings
15:29; compare Isa. 10:5, 6) a part of the inhabitants of Galilee
and of Gilead (B.C. 741).
After the destruction of Samaria (B.C. 720) by Shalmaneser and
Sargon (q.v.), there was a general deportation of the Israelites
into Mesopotamia and Media (2 Kings 17:6; 18:9; 1 Chr. 5:26).
(See ISRAEL, KINGDOM OF T0001909.)
(2.) Of the kingdom of the two tribes, the kingdom of Judah.
Nebuchadnezzar, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Jer. 25:1),
invaded Judah, and carried away some royal youths, including
Daniel and his companions (B.C. 606), together with the sacred
vessels of the temple (2 Chr. 36:7; Dan. 1:2). In B.C. 598 (Jer.
52:28; 2 Kings 24:12), in the beginning of Jehoiachin's reign (2
Kings 24:8), Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive 3,023 eminent
Jews, including the king (2 Chr. 36:10), with his family and
officers (2 Kings 24:12), and a large number of warriors (16),
with very many persons of note (14), and artisans (16), leaving
behind only those who were poor and helpless. This was the first
general deportation to Babylon.
In B.C. 588, after the revolt of Zedekiah (q.v.), there was a
second general deportation of Jews by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer.
52:29; 2 Kings 25:8), including 832 more of the principal men of
the kingdom. He carried away also the rest of the sacred vessels
(2 Chr. 36:18). From this period, when the temple was destroyed
(2 Kings 25:9), to the complete restoration, B.C. 517 (Ezra
6:15), is the period of the "seventy years."
In B.C. 582 occurred the last and final deportation. The
entire number Nebuchadnezzar carried captive was 4,600 heads of
families with their wives and children and dependants (Jer.
52:30; 43:5-7; 2 Chr. 36:20, etc.). Thus the exiles formed a
very considerable community in Babylon.
When Cyrus granted permission to the Jews to return to their
own land (Ezra 1:5; 7:13), only a comparatively small number at
first availed themselves of the privilege. It cannot be
questioned that many belonging to the kingdom of Israel
ultimately joined the Jews under Ezra, Zerubbabel, and Nehemiah,
and returned along with them to Jerusalem (Jer. 50:4, 5, 17-20,
Large numbers had, however, settled in the land of Babylon,
and formed numerous colonies in different parts of the kingdom.
Their descendants very probably have spread far into Eastern
lands and become absorbed in the general population. (See JUDAH,
KINGDOM OF T0002126; CAPTIVITY T0000720.)
(Obad. 1:20), some locality unknown. The modern Jews think that
Spain is meant, and hence they designate the Spanish Jews
"Sephardim," as they do the German Jews by the name
"Ashkenazim," because the rabbis call Germany Ashkenaz. Others
identify it with Sardis, the capital of Lydia. The Latin father
Jerome regarded it as an Assyrian word, meaning "boundary," and
interpreted the sentence, "which is in Sepharad," by "who are
scattered abroad in all the boundaries and regions of the
earth." Perowne says: "Whatever uncertainty attaches to the word
Sepharad, the drift of the prophecy is clear, viz., that not
only the exiles from Babylon, but Jewish captives from other and
distant regions, shall be brought back to live prosperously
within the enlarged borders of their own land."
Shinar, The Land of
LXX. and Vulgate "Senaar;" in the inscriptions, "Shumir;"
probably identical with Babylonia or Southern Mesopotamia,
extending almost to the Persian Gulf. Here the tower of Babel
was built (Gen. 11:1-6), and the city of Babylon. The name
occurs later in Jewish history (Isa. 11:11; Zech. 5:11). Shinar
was apparently first peopled by Turanian tribes, who tilled the
land and made bricks and built cities. Then tribes of Semites
invaded the land and settled in it, and became its rulers. This
was followed in course of time by an Elamite invasion; from
which the land was finally delivered by Khammurabi, the son of
Amarpel ("Amraphel, king of Shinar," Gen. 14:1), who became the
founder of the new empire of Chaldea. (See AMRAPHEL T0000221.)
a symbol of kings descended from royal ancestors (Ezek. 17:3,
10; Dan. 11:7); of prosperity (Job 8:16); of the Messiah, a
branch out of the root of the stem of Jesse (Isa. 11:1), the
"beautiful branch" (4:2), a "righteous branch" (Jer. 23:5), "the
Branch" (Zech. 3:8; 6:12).
Disciples are branches of the true vine (John 15:5, 6). "The
branch of the terrible ones" (Isa. 25:5) is rightly translated
in the Revised Version "the song of the terrible ones," i.e.,
the song of victory shall be brought low by the destruction of
Babylon and the return of the Jews from captivity.
The "abominable branch" is a tree on which a malefactor has
been hanged (Isa. 14:19). The "highest branch" in Ezek. 17:3
represents Jehoiakim the king.
Congregation, mount of the
(Isa. 14:13), has been supposed to refer to the place where God
promised to meet with his people (Ex. 25:22; 29:42, 43) i.e.,
the mount of the Divine presence, Mount Zion. But here the king
of Babylon must be taken as expressing himself according to his
own heathen notions, and not according to those of the Jews. The
"mount of the congregation" will therefore in this case mean the
northern mountain, supposed by the Babylonians to be the
meeting-place of their gods. In the Babylonian inscriptions
mention is made of a mountain which is described as "the mighty
mountain of Bel, whose head rivals heaven, whose root is the
holy deep." This mountain was regarded in their mythology as the
place where the gods had their seat.
the high land or mountains, a city in the land of Shinar. It has
been identified with the mounds of Akker Kuf, some 50 miles to
the north of Babylon; but this is doubtful. It was one of the
cities of Nimrod's kingdom (Ge 10:10). It stood close to the
Euphrates, opposite Sippara. (See SEPHARVAIM T0003277.)
It is also the name of the country of which this city was the
capital, namely, northern or upper Babylonia. The Accadians who
came from the "mountains of the east," where the ark rested,
attained to a high degree of civilization. In the Babylonian
inscriptions they are called "the black heads" and "the black
faces," in contrast to "the white race" of Semitic descent. They
invented the form of writing in pictorial hieroglyphics, and
also the cuneiform system, in which they wrote many books partly
on papyrus and partly on clay. The Semitic Babylonians ("the
white race"), or, as some scholars think, first the Cushites,
and afterwards, as a second immigration, the Semites, invaded
and conquered this country; and then the Accadian language
ceased to be a spoken language, although for the sake of its
literary treasures it continued to be studied by the educated
classes of Babylonia. A large portion of the Ninevite tablets
brought to light by Oriental research consists of interlinear or
parallel translations from Accadian into Assyrian; and thus that
long-forgotten language has been recovered by scholars. It
belongs to the class of languages called agglutinative, common
to the Tauranian race; i.e., it consists of words "glued
together," without declension of conjugation. These tablets in a
remarkable manner illustrate ancient history. Among other
notable records, they contain an account of the Creation which
closely resembles that given in the book of Genesis, of the
Sabbath as a day of rest, and of the Deluge and its cause. (See
BABYLON T0000409; CHALDEA T0000758.)
Bel protect the king!, the last of the kings of Babylon (Dan.
5:1). He was the son of Nabonidus by Nitocris, who was the
daughter of Nebuchadnezzar and the widow of Nergal-sharezer.
When still young he made a great feast to a thousand of his
lords, and when heated with wine sent for the sacred vessels his
"father" (Dan. 5:2), or grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar had carried
away from the temple in Jerusalem, and he and his princes drank
out of them. In the midst of their mad revelry a hand was seen
by the king tracing on the wall the announcement of God's
judgment, which that night fell upon him. At the instance of the
queen (i.e., his mother) Daniel was brought in, and he
interpreted the writing. That night the kingdom of the Chaldeans
came to an end, and the king was slain (Dan. 5:30). (See
The absence of the name of Belshazzar on the monuments was
long regarded as an argument against the genuineness of the Book
of Daniel. In 1854 Sir Henry Rawlinson found an inscription of
Nabonidus which referred to his eldest son. Quite recently,
however, the side of a ravine undermined by heavy rains fell at
Hillah, a suburb of Babylon. A number of huge, coarse
earthenware vases were laid bare. These were filled with
tablets, the receipts and contracts of a firm of Babylonian
bankers, which showed that Belshazzar had a household, with
secretaries and stewards. One was dated in the third year of the
king Marduk-sar-uzur. As Marduk-sar-uzar was another name for
Baal, this Marduk-sar-uzur was found to be the Belshazzar of
Scripture. In one of these contract tablets, dated in the July
after the defeat of the army of Nabonidus, we find him paying
tithes for his sister to the temple of the sun-god at Sippara.
probably the same as Assur-bani-pal (Sardanapalos of the
Greeks), styled the "great and noble" (Ezra 4:10), was the son
and successor (B.C. 668) of Esar-haddon (q.v.). He was
"luxurious, ambitious, and cruel, but a magnificent patron of
literature." He formed at Nineveh a library of clay tablets,
numbering about 10,000. These are now mostly in the British
Museum. They throw much light on the history and antiquities of
Assur-bani-pal was a munificent patron of literature, and the
conqueror of Elam. Towards the middle of his reign his empire
was shaken by a great rebellion headed by his brother in
Babylon. The rebellion was finally put down, but Egypt was lost,
and the military power of Assyria was so exhausted that it could
with difficulty resist the hordes of Kimmerians who poured over
Western Asia. (See NINEVEH T0002735.)
(LXX., "Orech"), length, or Moon-town, one of the cities of
Nimrod's kingdom in the plain of Shinar (Gen. 10:10); the Orchoe
of the Greeks and Romans. It was probably the city of the
Archevites, who were transplanted to Samaria by Asnapper (Ezra
4:9). It lay on the left bank of the Euphrates, about 120 miles
south-east of Babylon, and is now represented by the mounds and
ruins of Warka. It appears to have been the necropolis of the
Assyrian kings, as the whole region is strewed with bricks and
the remains of coffins. "Standing on the summit of the principal
edifice, called the Buwarizza, a tower 200 feet square in the
centre of the ruins, the beholder is struck with astonishment at
the enormous accumulation of mounds and ancient relics at his
feet. An irregular circle, nearly 6 miles in circumference, is
defined by the traces of an earthen rampart, in some places 40
expulsion. (1.) The eldest son of Levi (1 Chr. 6:16, 17, 20, 43,
62, 71; 15:7)=GERSHON (q.v.).
(2.) The elder of the two sons of Moses born to him in Midian
(Ex. 2:22; 18:3). On his way to Egypt with his family, in
obedience to the command of the Lord, Moses was attacked by a
sudden and dangerous illness (4:24-26), which Zipporah his wife
believed to have been sent because he had neglected to
circumcise his son. She accordingly took a "sharp stone" and
circumcised her son Gershom, saying, "Surely a bloody husband
art thou to me", i.e., by the blood of her child she had, as it
were, purchased her husband, had won him back again.
(3.) A descendant of Phinehas who returned with Ezra from
Babylon (Ezra 8:2).
(4.) The son of Manasseh (Judg. 18:30), in R.V. "of Moses."
(1.) Heb. pattish, used by gold-beaters (Isa. 41:7) and by
quarry-men (Jer. 23:29). Metaphorically of Babylon (Jer. 50:23)
(2.) Heb. makabah, a stone-cutter's mallet (1 Kings 6:7), or
of any workman (Judg. 4:21; Isa. 44:12).
(3.) Heb. halmuth, a poetical word for a workman's hammer,
found only in Judg. 5:26, where it denotes the mallet with which
the pins of the tent of the nomad are driven into the ground.
(4.) Heb. mappets, rendered "battle-axe" in Jer. 51:20. This
was properly a "mace," which is thus described by Rawlinson:
"The Assyrian mace was a short, thin weapon, and must either
have been made of a very tough wood or (and this is more
probable) of metal. It had an ornamented head, which was
sometimes very beautifully modelled, and generally a strap or
string at the lower end by which it could be grasped with
succeeded his father Jehoiakin (B.C. 599) when only eight years
of age, and reigned for one hundred days (2 Chr. 36:9). He is
also called Jeconiah (Jer. 24:1; 27:20, etc.), and Coniah
(22:24; 37:1). He was succeeded by his uncle, Mattaniah =
Zedekiah (q.v.). He was the last direct heir to the Jewish
crown. He was carried captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar,
along with the flower of the nobility, all the leading men in
Jerusalem, and a great body of the general population, some
thirteen thousand in all (2 Kings 24:12-16; Jer. 52:28). After
an imprisonment of thirty-seven years (Jer. 52:31, 33), he was
liberated by Evil-merodach, and permitted to occupy a place in
the king's household and sit at his table, receiving "every day
a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life"
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.
Heb. Madai, which is rendered in the Authorized Version (1)
"Madai," Gen. 10:2; (2) "Medes," 2 Kings 17:6; 18:11; (3)
"Media," Esther 1:3; 10:2; Isa. 21:2; Dan. 8:20; (4) "Mede,"
only in Dan. 11:1.
We first hear of this people in the Assyrian cuneiform
records, under the name of Amada, about B.C. 840. They appear to
have been a branch of the Aryans, who came from the east bank of
the Indus, and were probably the predominant race for a while in
the Mesopotamian valley. They consisted for three or four
centuries of a number of tribes, each ruled by its own chief,
who at length were brought under the Assyrian yoke (2 Kings
17:6). From this subjection they achieved deliverance, and
formed themselves into an empire under Cyaxares (B.C. 633). This
monarch entered into an alliance with the king of Babylon, and
invaded Assyria, capturing and destroying the city of Nineveh
(B.C. 625), thus putting an end to the Assyrian monarchy (Nah.
1:8; 2:5,6; 3:13, 14).
Media now rose to a place of great power, vastly extending its
boundaries. But it did not long exist as an independent kingdom.
It rose with Cyaxares, its first king, and it passed away with
him; for during the reign of his son and successor Astyages, the
Persians waged war against the Medes and conquered them, the two
nations being united under one monarch, Cyrus the Persian (B.C.
The "cities of the Medes" are first mentioned in connection
with the deportation of the Israelites on the destruction of
Samaria (2 Kings 17:6; 18:11). Soon afterwards Isaiah (13:17;
21:2) speaks of the part taken by the Medes in the destruction
of Babylon (compare Jer. 51:11, 28). Daniel gives an account of
the reign of Darius the Mede, who was made viceroy by Cyrus
(Dan. 6:1-28). The decree of Cyrus, Ezra informs us (6:2-5), was
found in "the palace that is in the province of the Medes,"
Achmetha or Ecbatana of the Greeks, which is the only Median
city mentioned in Scripture.
blessed. (1.) The secretary of the prophet Jeremiah (32:12;
36:4). He was of the tribe of Judah (51:59). To him Jeremiah
dictated his prophecies regarding the invasion of the
Babylonians and the Captivity. These he read to the people from
a window in the temple in the fourth year of the reign of
Jehoiakim, king of Judah (Jer. 36). He afterwards read them
before the counsellors of the king at a private interview; and
then to the king himself, who, after hearing a part of the roll,
cut it with a penknife, and threw it into the fire of his winter
parlour, where he was sitting.
During the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, he was the
keeper of the deed of purchase Jeremiah had made of the
territory of Hanameel (Jer. 32:12). Being accused by his enemies
of favouring the Chaldeans, he was cast, with Jeremiah, into
prison, where he remained till the capture of Jerusalem (B.C.
586). He probably died in Babylon.
(2.) Neh. 3:20; 10:6; 11:5.
or Chaldeans, the inhabitants of the country of which Babylon
was the capital. They were so called till the time of the
Captivity (2 Kings 25; Isa. 13:19; 23:13), when, particularly in
the Book of Daniel (5:30; 9:1), the name began to be used with
special reference to a class of learned men ranked with the
magicians and astronomers. These men cultivated the ancient
Cushite language of the original inhabitants of the land, for
they had a "learning" and a "tongue" (1:4) of their own. The
common language of the country at that time had become
assimilated to the Semitic dialect, especially through the
influence of the Assyrians, and was the language that was used
for all civil purposes. The Chaldeans were the learned class,
interesting themselves in science and religion, which consisted,
like that of the ancient Arabians and Syrians, in the worship of
the heavenly bodies. There are representations of this priestly
class, of magi and diviners, on the walls of the Assyrian
the name given to the hereditary temple servants in all the
post-Exilian books of Scripture. The word means given, i.e.,
"those set apart", viz., to the menial work of the sanctuary for
the Levites. The name occurs seventeen times, and in each case
in the Authorized Version incorrectly terminates in "s",
"Nethinims;" in the Revised Version, correctly without the "s"
(Ezra 2:70; 7:7, 24; 8:20, etc.). The tradition is that the
Gibeonites (Josh. 9:27) were the original caste, afterwards
called Nethinim. Their numbers were added to afterwards from
captives taken in battle; and they were formally given by David
to the Levites (Ezra 8:20), and so were called Nethinim, i.e.,
the given ones, given to the Levites to be their servants. Only
612 Nethinim returned from Babylon (Ezra 2:58; 8:20). They were
under the control of a chief from among themselves (2:43; Neh.
7:46). No reference to them appears in the New Testament,
because it is probable that they became merged in the general
body of the Jewish people.
righteousness of Jehovah. (1.) The last king of Judah. He was
the third son of Josiah, and his mother's name was Hamutal, the
daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah, and hence he was the brother of
Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:31; 24:17, 18). His original name was
Mattaniah; but when Nebuchadnezzar placed him on the throne as
the successor to Jehoiachin he changed his name to Zedekiah. The
prophet Jeremiah was his counsellor, yet "he did evil in the
sight of the Lord" (2 Kings 24:19, 20; Jer. 52:2, 3). He
ascended the throne at the age of twenty-one years. The kingdom
was at that time tributary to Nebuchadnezzar; but, despite the
strong remonstrances of Jeremiah and others, as well as the
example of Jehoiachin, he threw off the yoke of Babylon, and
entered into an alliance with Hophra, king of Egypt. This
brought up Nebuchadnezzar, "with all his host" (2 King 25:1),
against Jerusalem. During this siege, which lasted about
eighteen months, "every worst woe befell the devoted city, which
drank the cup of God's fury to the dregs" (2 Kings 25:3; Lam.
4:4, 5, 10). The city was plundered and laid in ruins. Zedekiah
and his followers, attempting to escape, were made captive and
taken to Riblah. There, after seeing his own children put to
death, his own eyes were put out, and, being loaded with chains,
he was carried captive (B.C. 588) to Babylon (2 Kings 25:1-7; 2
Chr. 36:12; Jer. 32:4,5; 34:2, 3; 39:1-7; 52:4-11; Ezek. 12:12),
where he remained a prisoner, how long is unknown, to the day of
After the fall of Jerusalem, Nebuzaraddan was sent to carry
out its complete destruction. The city was razed to the ground.
Only a small number of vinedressers and husbandmen were
permitted to remain in the land (Jer. 52:16). Gedaliah, with a
Chaldean guard stationed at Mizpah, ruled over Judah (2 Kings
25:22, 24; jer. 40:1, 2, 5, 6).
(2.) The son of Chenaanah, a false prophet in the days of Ahab
(1 Kings 22:11, 24; 2 Chr. 18:10, 23).
(3.) The son of Hananiah, a prince of Judah in the days of
Jehoiakim (Jer. 36:12).
the ancient metropolis of Lower Egypt, so called from its
founder, Alexander the Great (about B.C. 333). It was for a long
period the greatest of existing cities, for both Nineveh and
Babylon had been destroyed, and Rome had not yet risen to
greatness. It was the residence of the kings of Egypt for 200
years. It is not mentioned in the Old Testament, and only
incidentally in the New. Apollos, eloquent and mighty in the
Scriptures, was a native of this city (Acts 18:24). Many Jews
from Alexandria were in Jerusalem, where they had a synagogue
(Acts 6:9), at the time of Stephen's martyrdom. At one time it
is said that as many as 10,000 Jews resided in this city. It
possessed a famous library of 700,000 volumes, which was burned
by the Saracens (A.D. 642). It was here that the Hebrew Bible
was translated into Greek. This is called the Septuagint
version, from the tradition that seventy learned men were
engaged in executing it. It was, however, not all translated at
one time. It was begun B.C. 280, and finished about B.C. 200 or
150. (See VERSION T0003768.)
(1.) Heb. midhbar, denoting not a barren desert but a district
or region suitable for pasturing sheep and cattle (Ps. 65:12;
Isa. 42:11; Jer. 23:10; Joel 1:19; 2:22); an uncultivated place.
This word is used of the wilderness of Beersheba (Gen. 21:14),
on the southern border of Israel; the wilderness of the Red
Sea (Ex. 13:18); of Shur (15:22), a portion of the Sinaitic
peninsula; of Sin (17:1), Sinai (Lev. 7:38), Moab (Deut. 2:8),
Judah (Judg. 1:16), Ziph, Maon, En-gedi (1 Sam. 23:14, 24;
24:1), Jeruel and Tekoa (2 Chr. 20:16, 20), Kadesh (Ps. 29:8).
"The wilderness of the sea" (Isa. 21:1). Principal Douglas,
referring to this expression, says: "A mysterious name, which
must be meant to describe Babylon (see especially ver. 9),
perhaps because it became the place of discipline to God's
people, as the wilderness of the Red Sea had been (compare Ezek.
20:35). Otherwise it is in contrast with the symbolic title in
Isa. 22:1. Jerusalem is the "valley of vision," rich in
spiritual husbandry; whereas Babylon, the rival centre of
influence, is spiritually barren and as restless as the sea
(compare 57:20)." A Short Analysis of the O.T.
(2.) Jeshimon, a desert waste (Deut. 32:10; Ps. 68:7).
(3.) 'Arabah, the name given to the valley from the Dead Sea
to the eastern branch of the Red Sea. In Deut. 1:1; 2:8, it is
rendered "plain" (R.V., "Arabah").
(4.) Tziyyah, a "dry place" (Ps. 78:17; 105:41).
(5.) Tohu, a "desolate" place, a place "waste" or "unoccupied"
(Deut. 32:10; Job 12:24; compare Gen. 1:2, "without form"). The
wilderness region in the Sinaitic peninsula through which for
forty years the Hebrews wandered is generally styled "the
wilderness of the wanderings." This entire region is in the form
of a triangle, having its base toward the north and its apex
toward the south. Its extent from north to south is about 250
miles, and at its widest point it is about 150 miles broad.
Throughout this vast region of some 1,500 square miles there is
not a single river. The northern part of this triangular
peninsula is properly the "wilderness of the wanderings"
(et-Tih). The western portion of it is called the "wilderness of
Shur" (Ex. 15:22), and the eastern the "wilderness of Paran."
The "wilderness of Judea" (Matt. 3:1) is a wild, barren
region, lying between the Dead Sea and the Hebron Mountains. It
is the "Jeshimon" mentioned in 1 Sam. 23:19.
the language of the Hebrew nation, and that in which the Old
Testament is written, with the exception of a few portions in
Chaldee. In the Old Testament it is only spoken of as "Jewish"
(2 Kings 18:26, 28; Isa. 36:11, 13; 2 Chr 32:18). This name is
first used by the Jews in times subsequent to the close of the
It is one of the class of languages called Semitic, because
they were chiefly spoken among the descendants of Shem.
When Abraham entered Canaan it is obvious that he found the
language of its inhabitants closely allied to his own. Isaiah
(19:18) calls it "the language of Canaan." Whether this
language, as seen in the earliest books of the Old Testament,
was the very dialect which Abraham brought with him into Canaan,
or whether it was the common tongue of the Canaanite nations
which he only adopted, is uncertain; probably the latter opinion
is the correct one. For the thousand years between Moses and the
Babylonian exile the Hebrew language underwent little or no
modification. It preserves all through a remarkable uniformity
of structure. From the first it appears in its full maturity of
development. But through intercourse with Damascus, Assyria, and
Babylon, from the time of David, and more particularly from the
period of the Exile, it comes under the influence of the Aramaic
idiom, and this is seen in the writings which date from this
period. It was never spoken in its purity by the Jews after
their return from Babylon. They now spoke Hebrew with a large
admixture of Aramaic or Chaldee, which latterly became the
predominant element in the national language.
The Hebrew of the Old Testament has only about six thousand
words, all derived from about five hundred roots. Hence the same
word has sometimes a great variety of meanings. So long as it
was a living language, and for ages after, only the consonants
of the words were written. This also has been a source of
difficulty in interpreting certain words, for the meaning varies
according to the vowels which may be supplied. The Hebrew is one
of the oldest languages of which we have any knowledge. It is
essentially identical with the Phoenician language. (See MOABITE
STONE T0002586.) The Semitic languages, to which class the
Hebrew and Phoenician belonged, were spoken over a very wide
area: in Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Israel and Arabia, in
all the countries from the Mediterranean to the borders of
Assyria, and from the mountains of Armenia to the Indian Ocean.
The rounded form of the letters, as seen in the Moabite stone,
was probably that in which the ancient Hebrew was written down
to the time of the Exile, when the present square or Chaldean
form was adopted.
Assur has given a brother, successor of Sennacherib (2 Kings
19:37; Isa. 37:38). He ascended the throne about B.C. 681.
Nothing further is recorded of him in Scripture, except that he
settled certain colonists in Samaria (Ezra 4:2). But from the
monuments it appears that he was the most powerful of all the
Assyrian monarchs. He built many temples and palaces, the most
magnificent of which was the south-west palace at Nimrud, which
is said to have been in its general design almost the same as
Solomon's palace, only much larger (1 Kings 7:1-12).
In December B.C. 681 Sennacherib was murdered by two of his
sons, who, after holding Nineveh for forty-two days, were
compelled to fly to Erimenas of Ararat, or Armenia. Their
brother Esarhaddon, who had been engaged in a campaign against
Armenia, led his army against them. They were utterly overthrown
in a battle fought April B.C. 680, near Malatiyeh, and in the
following month Esarhaddon was crowned at Nineveh. He restored
Babylon, conquered Egypt, and received tribute from Manasseh of
Judah. He died in October B.C. 668, while on the march to
suppress an Egyptian revolt, and was succeeded by his son
Assur-bani-pal, whose younger brother was made viceroy of