Mark 15:21 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.
Scriptures Saying The Name Of The Man Who Bore The Cross Of Jesus Was Alexander
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amiable, with Hymenaeus, at Ephesus, said that the "resurrection was past already" (2 Tim. 2:17, 18). This was a Gnostic heresy held by the Nicolaitanes. (See ALEXANDER T0000168 .)
Alexander the Great
the king of Macedonia, the great conqueror; probably represented in Daniel by the "belly of brass" (Dan. 2:32), and the leopard and the he-goat (7:6; 11:3,4). He succeeded his father Philip, and died at the age of thirty-two from the effects of intemperance, B.C. 323. His empire was divided among his four generals.
red, the son of Simon the Cyrenian (Mark 15:21), whom the Roman soldiers compelled to carry the cross on which our Lord was crucified. Probably it is the same person who is again mentioned in Rom. 16:13 as a disciple at Rome, whose mother also was a Christian held in esteem by the apostle. Mark mentions him along with his brother Alexander as persons well known to his readers (Mark 15:21).
(1.) The fourth "son" of Japheth (Gen. 10:2), whose descendants settled in Greece, i.e., Ionia, which bears the name of Javan in Hebrew. Alexander the Great is called the "king of Javan" (rendered "Grecia," Dan. 8:21; 10:20; compare 11:2; Zech. 9:13). This word was universally used by the nations of the East as the generic name of the Greek race. (2.) A town or district of Arabia Felix, from which the Syrians obtained iron, cassia, and calamus (Ezek. 27:19).
man-defender. (1.) A relative of Annas the high priest, present when Peter and John were examined before the Sanhedrim (Acts 4:6). (2.) A man whose father, Simon the Cyrenian, bore the cross of Christ (Mark 15:21). (3.) A Jew of Ephesus who took a prominent part in the uproar raised there by the preaching of Paul (Acts 19:33). The Jews put him forward to plead their cause before the mob. It was probably intended that he should show that he and the other Jews had no sympathy with Paul any more than the Ephesians had. It is possible that this man was the same as the following. (4.) A coppersmith who, with Hymenaeus and others, promulgated certain heresies regarding the resurrection (1 Tim. 1:19; 2 Tim. 4:14), and made shipwreck of faith and of a good conscience. Paul excommunicated him (1 Tim. 1:20; compare 1 Cor. 5:5).
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.)
=Askelon=Ascalon, was one of the five cities of the Philistines (Josh. 13:3; 1 Sam. 6:17). It stood on the shore of the Mediterranean, 12 miles north of Gaza. It is mentioned on an inscription at Karnak in Egypt as having been taken by king Rameses II., the oppressor of the Hebrews. In the time of the judges (Judg. 1:18) it fell into the possession of the tribe of Judah; but it was soon after retaken by the Philistines (2 Sam. 1:20), who were not finally dispossessed till the time of Alexander the Great. Samson went down to this place from Timnath, and slew thirty men and took their spoil. The prophets foretold its destruction (Jer. 25:20; 47:5, 7). It became a noted place in the Middle Ages, having been the scene of many a bloody battle between the Saracens and the Crusaders. It was beseiged and taken by Richard the Lion-hearted, and "within its walls and towers now standing he held his court." Among the Tell Amarna tablets (see EGYPT T0001137) are found letters or official despatches from Yadaya, "captain of horse and dust of the king's feet," to the "great king" of Egypt, dated from Ascalon. It is now called 'Askalan.
derived from the Greek kupros (the island of Cyprus), called "Cyprian brass," occurs only in the Authorized Version in Ezra 8:27. Elsewhere the Hebrew word (nehosheth) is improperly rendered "brass," and sometimes "steel" (2 Sam. 22:35; Jer. 15:12). The "bow of steel" (Job 20:24; Ps. 18:34) should have been "bow of copper" (or "brass," as in the R.V.). The vessels of "fine copper" of Ezra 8:27 were probably similar to those of "bright brass" mentioned in 1 Kings 7:45; Dan. 10:6. Tubal-cain was the first artificer in brass and iron (Gen. 4:22). Hiram was noted as a worker in brass (1 Kings 7:14). Copper abounded in Israel (Deut. 8:9; Isa. 60:17; 1 Chr. 22:3, 14). All sorts of vessels in the tabernacle and the temple were made of it (Lev. 6:28; Num. 16:39; 2 Chr. 4:16; Ezra 8:27); also weapons of war (1 Sam. 17:5, 6, 38; 2 Sam. 21:16). Iron is mentioned only four times (Gen. 4:22; Lev. 26:19; Num. 31:22; 35:16) in the first four books of Moses, while copper (rendered "brass") is mentioned forty times. (See BRASS T0000641.) We find mention of Alexander (q.v.), a "coppersmith" of Ephesus (2 Tim. 4:14).
(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 principal cities. 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 considerable freedom. 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 all lands. 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 | Greeks | - Tarshish | Etruscans, Romans | - Chittim | Cyprians, Macedonians | - Dodanim | Rhodians | - Tubal | Tibareni, Tartars | - Mechech | Moschi, Muscovites | - Tiras | Thracians | | - Shem | - Elam | Persian tribes | - Asshur | Assyrian | - Arphaxad | - Abraham | - Isaac | - Jacob | Hebrews | - Esau | Edomites | - Ishmael | Mingled with Arab tribes | - Lud | Lydians | - Aram | Syrians | | - Ham | - Cush | Ethiopans | - Mizrain | Egyptians | - Phut | Lybians, Mauritanians | - Canaan | Canaanites, Phoenicians
a rock, now es-Sur; an ancient Phoenician city, about 23 miles, in a direct line, north of Acre, and 20 south of Sidon. Sidon was the oldest Phoenician city, but Tyre had a longer and more illustrious history. The commerce of the whole world was gathered into the warehouses of Tyre. "Tyrian merchants were the first who ventured to navigate the Mediterranean waters; and they founded their colonies on the coasts and neighbouring islands of the AEgean Sea, in Greece, on the northern coast of Africa, at Carthage and other places, in Sicily and Corsica, in Spain at Tartessus, and even beyond the pillars of Hercules at Gadeira (Cadiz)" (Driver's Isaiah). In the time of David a friendly alliance was entered into between the Hebrews and the Tyrians, who were long ruled over by their native kings (2 Sam. 5:11; 1 Kings 5:1; 2 Chr. 2:3). Tyre consisted of two distinct parts, a rocky fortress on the mainland, called "Old Tyre," and the city, built on a small, rocky island about half-a-mile distant from the shore. It was a place of great strength. It was besieged by Shalmaneser, who was assisted by the Phoenicians of the mainland, for five years, and by Nebuchadnezzar (B.C. 586-573) for thirteen years, apparently without success. It afterwards fell under the power of Alexander the Great, after a siege of seven months, but continued to maintain much of its commercial importance till the Christian era. It is referred to in Matt. 11:21 and Acts 12:20. In A.D. 1291 it was taken by the Saracens, and has remained a desolate ruin ever since. "The purple dye of Tyre had a worldwide celebrity on account of the durability of its beautiful tints, and its manufacture proved a source of abundant wealth to the inhabitants of that city." Both Tyre and Sidon "were crowded with glass-shops, dyeing and weaving establishments; and among their cunning workmen not the least important class were those who were celebrated for the engraving of precious stones." (2 Chr. 2:7,14). The wickedness and idolatry of this city are frequently denounced by the prophets, and its final destruction predicted (Isa. 23:1; Jer. 25:22; Ezek. 26; 28:1-19; Amos 1:9, 10; Zech. 9:2-4). Here a church was founded soon after the death of Stephen, and Paul, on his return from his third missionary journey spent a week in intercourse with the disciples there (Acts 21:4). Here the scene at Miletus was repeated on his leaving them. They all, with their wives and children, accompanied him to the sea-shore. The sea-voyage of the apostle terminated at Ptolemais, about 38 miles from Tyre. Thence he proceeded to Caesarea (Acts 21:5-8). "It is noticed on monuments as early as B.C. 1500, and claiming, according to Herodotus, to have been founded about B.C. 2700. It had two ports still existing, and was of commercial importance in all ages, with colonies at Carthage (about B.C. 850) and all over the Mediterranean. It was often attacked by Egypt and Assyria, and taken by Alexander the Great after a terrible siege in B.C. 332. It is now a town of 3,000 inhabitants, with ancient tombs and a ruined cathedral. A short Phoenician text of the fourth century B.C. is the only monument yet recovered."
the abbreviated form of Simeon. (1.) One of the twelve apostles, called the Canaanite (Matt. 10:4; Mark 3:18). This word "Canaanite" does not mean a native of Canaan, but is derived from the Syriac word Kanean or Kaneniah, which was the name of a Jewish sect. The Revised Version has "Cananaean;" marg., "or Zealot" He is also called "Zelotes" (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13; R.V., "the Zealot"), because previous to his call to the apostleship he had been a member of the fanatical sect of the Zealots. There is no record regarding him. (2.) The father of Judas Iscariot (John 6:71; 13:2, 26). (3.) One of the brothers of our Lord (Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3). (4.) A Pharisee in whose house "a woman of the city which was a sinner" anointed our Lord's feet with ointment (Luke 7:36-38). (5.) A leper of Bethany, in whose house Mary anointed our Lord's head with ointment "as he sat at meat" (Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9). (6.) A Jew of Cyrene, in North Africa, then a province of Libya. A hundred thousand Jews from Israel had been settled in this province by Ptolemy Soter (B.C. 323-285), where by this time they had greatly increased in number. They had a synagogue in Jerusalem for such of their number as went thither to the annual feasts. Simon was seized by the soldiers as the procession wended its way to the place of crucifixion as he was passing by, and the heavy cross which Christ from failing strength could no longer bear was laid on his shoulders. Perhaps they seized him because he showed sympathy with Jesus. He was the "father of Alexander and Rufus" (Matt. 27:32). Possibly this Simon may have been one of the "men of Cyrene" who preached the word to the Greeks (Acts 11:20). (7.) A sorcerer of great repute for his magical arts among the Samaritans (Acts 8:9-11). He afterwards became a professed convert to the faith under the preaching of Philip the deacon and evangelist (12, 13). His profession was, however, soon found to be hollow. His conduct called forth from Peter a stern rebuke (8:18-23). From this moment he disappears from the Church's history. The term "Simony," as denoting the purchase for money of spiritual offices, is derived from him. (8.) A Christian at Joppa, a tanner by trade, with whom Peter on one occasion lodged (Acts 9:43). (9.) Simon Peter (Matt. 4:18). See PETER T0002911.
the holder or supporter, the name of several Persian kings. (1.) Darius the Mede (Dan. 11:1), "the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes" (9:1). On the death of Belshazzar the Chaldean he "received the kingdom" of Babylon as viceroy from Cyrus. During his brief reign (B.C. 538-536) Daniel was promoted to the highest dignity (Dan. 6:1, 2); but on account of the malice of his enemies he was cast into the den of lions. After his miraculous escape, a decree was issued by Darius enjoining "reverence for the God of Daniel" (6:26). This king was probably the "Astyages" of the Greek historians. Nothing can, however, be with certainty affirmed regarding him. Some are of opinion that the name "Darius" is simply a name of office, equivalent to "governor," and that the "Gobryas" of the inscriptions was the person intended by the name. (2.) Darius, king of Persia, was the son of Hystaspes, of the royal family of the Achaemenidae. He did not immediately succeed Cyrus on the throne. There were two intermediate kings, viz., Cambyses (the Ahasuerus of Ezra), the son of Cyrus, who reigned from B.C. 529-522, and was succeeded by a usurper named Smerdis, who occupied the throne only ten months, and was succeeded by this Darius (B.C. 521-486). Smerdis was a Margian, and therefore had no sympathy with Cyrus and Cambyses in the manner in which they had treated the Jews. He issued a decree prohibiting the restoration of the temple and of Jerusalem (Ezra 4:17-22). But soon after his death and the accession of Darius, the Jews resumed their work, thinking that the edict of Smerdis would be now null and void, as Darius was in known harmony with the religious policy of Cyrus. The enemies of the Jews lost no time in bringing the matter under the notice of Darius, who caused search to be made for the decree of Cyrus (q.v.). It was not found at Babylon, but at Achmetha (Ezra 6:2); and Darius forthwith issued a new decree, giving the Jews full liberty to prosecute their work, at the same time requiring the Syrian satrap and his subordinates to give them all needed help. It was with the army of this king that the Greeks fought the famous battle of Marathon (B.C. 490). During his reign the Jews enjoyed much peace and prosperity. He was succeeded by Ahasuerus, known to the Greeks as Xerxes, who reigned for twenty-one years. (3.) Darius the Persian (Neh. 12:22) was probably the Darius II. (Ochus or Nothus) of profane history, the son of Artaxerxes Longimanus, who was the son and successor of Ahasuerus (Xerxes). There are some, however, who think that the king here meant was Darius III. (Codomannus), the antagonist of Alexander the Great (B.C. 336-331).
usually designated by the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, is one of the most valuable of ancient MSS. of the Greek New Testament. On the occasion of a third visit to the convent of St. Catherine, on Mount Sinai, in 1859, it was discovered by Dr. Tischendorf. He had on a previous visit in 1844 obtained forty-three parchment leaves of the LXX., which he deposited in the university library of Leipsic, under the title of the Codex Frederico-Augustanus, after his royal patron the king of Saxony. In the year referred to (1859) the emperor of Russia sent him to prosecute his search for MSS., which he was convinced were still to be found in the Sinai convent. The story of his finding the manuscript of the New Testament has all the interest of a romance. He reached the convent on 31st January; but his inquiries appeared to be fruitless. On the 4th February he had resolved to return home without having gained his object. "On that day, when walking with the provisor of the convent, he spoke with much regret of his ill-success. Returning from their promenade, Tischendorf accompanied the monk to his room, and there had displayed to him what his companion called a copy of the LXX., which he, the ghostly brother, owned. The MS. was wrapped up in a piece of cloth, and on its being unrolled, to the surprise and delight of the critic the very document presented itself which he had given up all hope of seeing. His object had been to complete the fragmentary LXX. of 1844, which he had declared to be the most ancient of all Greek codices on vellum that are extant; but he found not only that, but a copy of the Greek New Testament attached, of the same age, and perfectly complete, not wanting a single page or paragraph." This precious fragment, after some negotiations, he obtained possession of, and conveyed it to the Emperor Alexander, who fully appreciated its importance, and caused it to be published as nearly as possible in facsimile, so as to exhibit correctly the ancient handwriting. The entire codex consists of 346 1/2 folios. Of these 199 belong to the Old Testament and 147 1/2 to the New, along with two ancient documents called the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas. The books of the New Testament stand thus: the four Gospels, the epistles of Paul, the Acts of the Apostles, the Catholic Epistles, the Apocalypse of John. It is shown by Tischendorf that this codex was written in the fourth century, and is thus of about the same age as the Vatican codex; but while the latter wants the greater part of Matthew and sundry leaves here and there besides, the Sinaiticus is the only copy of the New Testament in uncial characters which is complete. Thus it is the oldest extant MS. copy of the New Testament. Both the Vatican and the Sinai codices were probably written in Egypt. (See VATICANUS T0003766.)
originally denoted only the sea-coast of the land of Canaan inhabited by the Philistines (Ex. 15:14; Isa. 14:29, 31; Joel 3:4), and in this sense exclusively the Hebrew name Pelesheth (rendered "Philistia" in Ps. 60:8; 83:7; 87:4; 108:9) occurs in the Old Testament. Not till a late period in Jewish history was this name used to denote "the land of the Hebrews" in general (Gen. 40:15). It is also called "the holy land" (Zech. 2:12), the "land of Jehovah" (Hos. 9:3; Ps. 85:1), the "land of promise" (Heb. 11:9), because promised to Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 24:7), the "land of Canaan" (Gen. 12:5), the "land of Israel" (1 Sam. 13:19), and the "land of Judah" (Isa. 19:17). The territory promised as an inheritance to the seed of Abraham (Gen. 15:18-21; Num. 34:1-12) was bounded on the east by the river Euphrates, on the west by the Mediterranean, on the north by the "entrance of Hamath," and on the south by the "river of Egypt." This extent of territory, about 60,000 square miles, was at length conquered by David, and was ruled over also by his son Solomon (2 Sam. 8; 1 Chr. 18; 1 Kings 4:1, 21). This vast empire was the Promised Land; but Israel was only a part of it, terminating in the north at the southern extremity of the Lebanon range, and in the south in the wilderness of Paran, thus extending in all to about 144 miles in length. Its average breadth was about 60 miles from the Mediterranean on the west to beyond the Jordan. It has fittingly been designated "the least of all lands." Western Israel, on the south of Gaza, is only about 40 miles in breadth from the Mediterranean to the Dead Sea, narrowing gradually toward the north, where it is only 20 miles from the sea-coast to the Jordan. Israel, "set in the midst" (Ezek. 5:5) of all other lands, is the most remarkable country on the face of the earth. No single country of such an extent has so great a variety of climate, and hence also of plant and animal life. Moses describes it as "a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein thou shalt not eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass" (Deut. 8:7-9). "In the time of Christ the country looked, in all probability, much as now. The whole land consists of rounded limestone hills, fretted into countless stony valleys, offering but rarely level tracts, of which Esdraelon alone, below Nazareth, is large enough to be seen on the map. The original woods had for ages disappeared, though the slopes were dotted, as now, with figs, olives, and other fruit-trees where there was any soil. Permanent streams were even then unknown, the passing rush of winter torrents being all that was seen among the hills. The autumn and spring rains, caught in deep cisterns hewn out like huge underground jars in the soft limestone, with artificial mud-banked ponds still found near all villages, furnished water. Hills now bare, or at best rough with stunted growth, were then terraced, so as to grow vines, olives, and grain. To-day almost desolate, the country then teemed with population. Wine-presses cut in the rocks, endless terraces, and the ruins of old vineyard towers are now found amidst solitudes overgrown for ages with thorns and thistles, or with wild shrubs and poor gnarled scrub" (Geikie's Life of Christ). From an early period the land was inhabited by the descendants of Canaan, who retained possession of the whole land "from Sidon to Gaza" till the time of the conquest by Joshua, when it was occupied by the twelve tribes. Two tribes and a half had their allotments given them by Moses on the east of the Jordan (Deut. 3:12-20; compare Num. 1:17-46; Josh. 4:12-13). The remaining tribes had their portion on the west of Jordan. From the conquest till the time of Saul, about four hundred years, the people were governed by judges. For a period of one hundred and twenty years the kingdom retained its unity while it was ruled by Saul and David and Solomon. On the death of Solomon, his son Rehoboam ascended the throne; but his conduct was such that ten of the tribes revolted, and formed an independent monarchy, called the kingdom of Israel, or the northern kingdom, the capital of which was first Shechem and afterwards Samaria. This kingdom was destroyed. The Israelites were carried captive by Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, B.C. 722, after an independent existence of two hundred and fifty-three years. The place of the captives carried away was supplied by tribes brought from the east, and thus was formed the Samaritan nation (2 Kings 17:24-29). Nebuchadnezzar came up against the kingdom of the two tribes, the kingdom of Judah, the capital of which was Jerusalem, one hundred and thirty-four years after the overthrow of the kingdom of Israel. He overthrew the city, plundered the temple, and carried the people into captivity to Babylon (B.C. 587), where they remained seventy years. At the close of the period of the Captivity, they returned to their own land, under the edict of Cyrus (Ezra 1:1-4). They rebuilt the city and temple, and restored the old Jewish commonwealth. For a while after the Restoration the Jews were ruled by Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, and afterwards by the high priests, assisted by the Sanhedrin. After the death of Alexander the Great at Babylon (B.C. 323), his vast empire was divided between his four generals. Egypt, Arabia, Israel, and Coele-Syria fell to the lot of Ptolemy Lagus. Ptolemy took possession of Israel in B.C. 320, and carried nearly one hundred thousand of the inhabitants of Jerusalem into Egypt. He made Alexandria the capital of his kingdom, and treated the Jews with consideration, confirming them in the enjoyment of many privileges. After suffering persecution at the hands of Ptolemy's successors, the Jews threw off the Egyptian yoke, and became subject to Antiochus the Great, the king of Syria. The cruelty and opression of the successors of Antiochus at length led to the revolt under the Maccabees (B.C. 163), when they threw off the Syrian yoke. In the year B.C. 68, Israel was reduced by Pompey the Great to a Roman province. He laid the walls of the city in ruins, and massacred some twelve thousand of the inhabitants. He left the temple, however, unijured. About twenty-five years after this the Jews revolted and cast off the Roman yoke. They were however, subdued by Herod the Great (q.v.). The city and the temple were destroyed, and many of the inhabitants were put to death. About B.C. 20, Herod proceeded to rebuild the city and restore the ruined temple, which in about nine years and a half was so far completed that the sacred services could be resumed in it (compare John 2:20). He was succeeded by his son Archelaus, who was deprived of his power, however, by Augustus, A.D. 6, when Israel became a Roman province, ruled by Roman governors or procurators. Pontius Pilate was the fifth of these procurators. He was appointed to his office A.D. 25. Exclusive of Idumea, the kingdom of Herod the Great comprehended the whole of the country originally divided among the twelve tribes, which he divided into four provinces or districts. This division was recognized so long as Israel was under the Roman dominion. These four provinces were, (1) Judea, the southern portion of the country; (2) Samaria, the middle province, the northern boundary of which ran along the hills to the south of the plain of Esdraelon; (3) Galilee, the northern province; and (4) Peraea (a Greek name meaning the "opposite country"), the country lying east of the Jordan and the Dead Sea. This province was subdivided into these districts, (1) Peraea proper, lying between the rivers Arnon and Jabbok; (2) Galaaditis (Gilead); (3) Batanaea; (4) Gaulonitis (Jaulan); (5) Ituraea or Auranitis, the ancient Bashan; (6) Trachonitis; (7) Abilene; (8) Decapolis, i.e., the region of the ten cities. The whole territory of Israel, including the portions alloted to the trans-Jordan tribes, extended to about eleven thousand square miles. Recent exploration has shown the territory on the west of Jordan alone to be six thousand square miles in extent, the size of the principality of Wales.
the land of the Nile and the pyramids, the oldest kingdom of which we have any record, holds a place of great significance in Scripture. The Egyptians belonged to the white race, and their original home is still a matter of dispute. Many scholars believe that it was in Southern Arabia, and recent excavations have shown that the valley of the Nile was originally inhabited by a low-class population, perhaps belonging to the Nigritian stock, before the Egyptians of history entered it. The ancient Egyptian language, of which the latest form is Coptic, is distantly connected with the Semitic family of speech. Egypt consists geographically of two halves, the northern being the Delta, and the southern Upper Egypt, between Cairo and the First Cataract. In the Old Testament, Northern or Lower Egypt is called Mazor, "the fortified land" (Isa. 19:6; 37: 25, where the A.V. mistranslates "defence" and "besieged places"); while Southern or Upper Egypt is Pathros, the Egyptian Pa-to-Res, or "the land of the south" (Isa. 11:11). But the whole country is generally mentioned under the dual name of Mizraim, "the two Mazors." The civilization of Egypt goes back to a very remote antiquity. The two kingdoms of the north and south were united by Menes, the founder of the first historical dynasty of kings. The first six dynasties constitute what is known as the Old Empire, which had its capital at Memphis, south of Cairo, called in the Old Testament Moph (Hos. 9:6) and Noph. The native name was Mennofer, "the good place." The Pyramids were tombs of the monarchs of the Old Empire, those of Gizeh being erected in the time of the Fourth Dynasty. After the fall of the Old Empire came a period of decline and obscurity. This was followed by the Middle Empire, the most powerful dynasty of which was the Twelfth. The Fayyum was rescued for agriculture by the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty; and two obelisks were erected in front of the temple of the sun-god at On or Heliopolis (near Cairo), one of which is still standing. The capital of the Middle Empire was Thebes, in Upper Egypt. The Middle Empire was overthrown by the invasion of the Hyksos, or shepherd princes from Asia, who ruled over Egypt, more especially in the north, for several centuries, and of whom there were three dynasties of kings. They had their capital at Zoan or Tanis (now San), in the NEern part of the Delta. It was in the time of the Hyksos that Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph entered Egypt. The Hyksos were finally expelled about B.C. 1600, by the hereditary princes of Thebes, who founded the Eighteenth Dynasty, and carried the war into Asia. Canaan and Syria were subdued, as well as Cyprus, and the boundaries of the Egyptian Empire were fixed at the Euphrates. The Soudan, which had been conquered by the kings of the Twelfth Dynasty, was again annexed to Egypt, and the eldest son of the Pharaoh took the title of "Prince of Cush." One of the later kings of the dynasty, Amenophis IV., or Khu-n-Aten, endeavoured to supplant the ancient state religion of Egypt by a new faith derived from Asia, which was a sort of pantheistic monotheism, the one supreme god being adored under the image of the solar disk. The attempt led to religious and civil war, and the Pharaoh retreated from Thebes to Central Egypt, where he built a new capital, on the site of the present Tell-el-Amarna. The cuneiform tablets that have been found there represent his foreign correspondence (about B.C. 1400). He surrounded himself with officials and courtiers of Asiatic, and more especially Canaanite, extraction; but the native party succeeded eventually in overthrowing the government, the capital of Khu-n-Aten was destroyed, and the foreigners were driven out of the country, those that remained being reduced to serfdom. The national triumph was marked by the rise of the Nineteenth Dynasty, in the founder of which, Rameses I., we must see the "new king, who knew not Joseph." His grandson, Rameses II., reigned sixty-seven years (B.C. 1348-1281), and was an indefatigable builder. As Pithom, excavated by Dr. Naville in 1883, was one of the cities he built, he must have been the Pharaoh of the Oppression. The Pharaoh of the Exodus may have been one of his immediate successors, whose reigns were short. Under them Egypt lost its empire in Asia, and was itself attacked by barbarians from Libya and the north. The Nineteenth Dynasty soon afterwards came to an end; Egypt was distracted by civil war; and for a short time a Canaanite, Arisu, ruled over it. Then came the Twentieth Dynasty, the second Pharaoh of which, Rameses III., restored the power of his country. In one of his campaigns he overran the southern part of Israel, where the Israelites had not yet settled. They must at the time have been still in the wilderness. But it was during the reign of Rameses III. that Egypt finally lost Gaza and the adjoining cities, which were seized by the Pulista, or Philistines. After Rameses III., Egypt fell into decay. Solomon married the daughter of one of the last kings of the Twenty-first Dynasty, which was overthrown by Shishak I., the general of the Libyan mercenaries, who founded the Twenty-second Dynasty (1 Kings 11:40; 14:25, 26). A list of the places he captured in Israel is engraved on the outside of the south wall of the temple of Karnak. In the time of Hezekiah, Egypt was conquered by Ethiopians from the Soudan, who constituted the Twenty-fifth Dynasty. The third of them was Tirhakah (2 Kings 19:9). In B.C. 674 it was conquered by the Assyrians, who divided it into twenty satrapies, and Tirhakah was driven back to his ancestral dominions. Fourteen years later it successfully revolted under Psammetichus I. of Sais, the founder of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty. Among his successors were Necho (2 Kings 23:29) and Hophra, or Apries (Jer. 37:5, 7, 11). The dynasty came to an end in B.C. 525, when the country was subjugated by Cambyses. Soon afterwards it was organized into a Persian satrapy. The title of Pharaoh, given to the Egyptian kings, is the Egyptian Per-aa, or "Great House," which may be compared to that of "Sublime Porte." It is found in very early Egyptian texts. The Egyptian religion was a strange mixture of pantheism and animal worship, the gods being adored in the form of animals. While the educated classes resolved their manifold deities into manifestations of one omnipresent and omnipotent divine power, the lower classes regarded the animals as incarnations of the gods. Under the Old Empire, Ptah, the Creator, the god of Memphis, was at the head of the Pantheon; afterwards Amon, the god of Thebes, took his place. Amon, like most of the other gods, was identified with Ra, the sun-god of Heliopolis. The Egyptians believed in a resurrection and future life, as well as in a state of rewards and punishments dependent on our conduct in this world. The judge of the dead was Osiris, who had been slain by Set, the representative of evil, and afterwards restored to life. His death was avenged by his son Horus, whom the Egyptians invoked as their "Redeemer." Osiris and Horus, along with Isis, formed a trinity, who were regarded as representing the sun-god under different forms. Even in the time of Abraham, Egypt was a flourishing and settled monarchy. Its oldest capital, within the historic period, was Memphis, the ruins of which may still be seen near the Pyramids and the Sphinx. When the Old Empire of Menes came to an end, the seat of empire was shifted to Thebes, some 300 miles farther up the Nile. A short time after that, the Delta was conquered by the Hyksos, or shepherd kings, who fixed their capital at Zoan, the Greek Tanis, now San, on the Tanic arm of the Nile. All this occurred before the time of the new king "which knew not Joseph" (Ex. 1:8). In later times Egypt was conquered by the Persians (B.C. 525), and by the Greeks under Alexander the Great (B.C. 332), after whom the Ptolemies ruled the country for three centuries. Subsequently it was for a time a province of the Roman Empire; and at last, in A.D. 1517, it fell into the hands of the Turks, of whose empire it still forms nominally a part. Abraham and Sarah went to Egypt in the time of the shepherd kings. The exile of Joseph and the migration of Jacob to "the land of Goshen" occurred about 200 years later. On the death of Solomon, Shishak, king of Egypt, invaded Israel (1 Kings 14:25). He left a list of the cities he conquered. A number of remarkable clay tablets, discovered at Tell-el-Amarna in Upper Egypt, are the most important historical records ever found in connection with the Bible. They most fully confirm the historical statements of the Book of Joshua, and prove the antiquity of civilization in Syria and Israel. As the clay in different parts of Israel differs, it has been found possible by the clay alone to decide where the tablets come from when the name of the writer is lost. The inscriptions are cuneiform, and in the Aramaic language, resembling Assyrian. The writers are Phoenicians, Amorites, and Philistines, but in no instance Hittites, though Hittites are mentioned. The tablets consist of official dispatches and letters, dating from B.C. 1480, addressed to the two Pharaohs, Amenophis III. and IV., the last of this dynasty, from the kings and governors of Phoenicia and Israel. There occur the names of three kings killed by Joshua, Adoni-zedec, king of Jerusalem, Japhia, king of Lachish (Josh. 10:3), and Jabin, king of Hazor (11:1); also the Hebrews (Abiri) are said to have come from the desert. The principal prophecies of Scripture regarding Egypt are these, Isa. 19; Jer. 43: 8-13; 44:30; 46; Ezek. 29-32; and it might be easily shown that they have all been remarkably fulfilled. For example, the singular disappearance of Noph (i.e., Memphis) is a fulfilment of Jer. 46:19, Ezek. 30:13.