the Greek form of Elijah (Matt. 11:14; 16:14, etc.), which the
Revised Version has uniformly adopted in the New Testament. (See
Elijah the prophet was thus named (1 Kings 17:1; 21:17, 28,
etc.). In 1 Kings 17:1 the word rendered "inhabitants" is in the
original the same as that rendered "Tishbite," hence that verse
may be read as in the LXX., "Elijah the Tishbite of Tishbi in
Gilead." Some interpret this word as meaning "stranger," and
read the verse, "Elijah the stranger from among the strangers in
Gilead." This designation is probably given to the prophet as
denoting that his birthplace was Tishbi, a place in Upper
Galilee (mentioned in the apocryphal book of Tobit), from which
for some reason he migrated into Gilead. Josephus, the Jewish
historian (Ant. 8:13, 2), however, supposes that Tishbi was some
place in the land of Gilead. It has been identified by some with
el-Ishtib, a some place 22 miles due south of the Sea of
Galilee, among the mountains of Gilead.
whose God is Jehovah. (1.) "The Tishbite," the "Elias" of the
New Testament, is suddenly introduced to our notice in 1 Kings
17:1 as delivering a message from the Lord to Ahab. There is
mention made of a town called Thisbe, south of Kadesh, but it is
impossible to say whether this was the place referred to in the
name given to the prophet.
Having delivered his message to Ahab, he retired at the
command of God to a hiding-place by the brook Cherith, beyond
Jordan, where he was fed by ravens. When the brook dried up God
sent him to the widow of Zarephath, a city of Zidon, from whose
scanty store he was supported for the space of two years. During
this period the widow's son died, and was restored to life by
Elijah (1 Kings 17: 2-24).
During all these two years a famine prevailed in the land. At
the close of this period of retirement and of preparation for
his work (compare Gal. 1:17, 18) Elijah met Obadiah, one of Ahab's
officers, whom he had sent out to seek for pasturage for the
cattle, and bade him go and tell his master that Elijah was
there. The king came and met Elijah, and reproached him as the
troubler of Israel. It was then proposed that sacrifices should
be publicly offered, for the purpose of determining whether Baal
or Jehovah were the true God. This was done on Carmel, with the
result that the people fell on their faces, crying, "The Lord,
he is the God." Thus was accomplished the great work of Elijah's
ministry. The prophets of Baal were then put to death by the
order of Elijah. Not one of them escaped. Then immediately
followed rain, according to the word of Elijah, and in answer to
his prayer (James 5:18).
Jezebel, enraged at the fate that had befallen her priests of
Baal, threatened to put Elijah to death (1 Kings 19:1-13). He
therefore fled in alarm to Beersheba, and thence went alone a
day's journey into the wilderness, and sat down in despondency
under a juniper tree. As he slept an angel touched him, and said
unto him, "Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for
thee." He arose and found a cake and a cruse of water. Having
partaken of the provision thus miraculously supplied, he went
forward on his solitary way for forty days and forty nights to
Horeb, the mount of God, where he took up his abode in a cave.
Here the Lord appeared unto him and said, "What dost thou here,
Elijah?" In answer to his despondent words God manifests to him
his glory, and then directs him to return to Damascus and anoint
Hazael king over Syria, and Jehu king over Israel, and Elisha to
be prophet in his room (1 Kings 19:13-21; compare 2 Kings 8:7-15;
Some six years after this he warned Ahab and Jezebel of the
violent deaths they would die (1 Kings 21:19-24; 22:38). He
also, four years afterwards, warned Ahaziah (q.v.), who had
succeeded his father Ahab, of his approaching death (2 Kings
1:1-16). (See NABOTH T0002645.) During these intervals he
probably withdrew to some quiet retirement, no one knew where.
His interview with Ahaziah's messengers on the way to Ekron, and
the account of the destruction of his captains with their
fifties, suggest the idea that he may have been in retirement at
this time on Mount Carmel.
The time now drew near when he was to be taken up into heaven
(2 Kings 2:1-12). He had a presentiment of what was awaiting
him. He went down to Gilgal, where was a school of the prophets,
and where his successor Elisha, whom he had anointed some years
before, resided. Elisha was solemnized by the thought of his
master's leaving him, and refused to be parted from him. "They
two went on," and came to Bethel and Jericho, and crossed the
Jordan, the waters of which were "divided hither and thither"
when smitten with Elijah's mantle. Arrived at the borders of
Gilead, which Elijah had left many years before, it "came to
pass as they still went on and talked" they were suddenly
separated by a chariot and horses of fire; and "Elijah went up
by a whirlwind into heaven, "Elisha receiving his mantle, which
fell from him as he ascended.
No one of the old prophets is so frequently referred to in the
New Testament. The priests and Levites said to the Baptist (John
1:25), "Why baptizest thou, if thou be not that Christ, nor
Elias?" Paul (Rom. 11:2) refers to an incident in his history to
illustrate his argument that God had not cast away his people.
James (5:17) finds in him an illustration of the power of
prayer. (See also Luke 4:25; 9:54.) He was a type of John the
Baptist in the sternness and power of his reproofs (Luke 9:8).
He was the Elijah that "must first come" (Matt. 11:11, 14), the
forerunner of our Lord announced by Malachi. Even outwardly the
Baptist corresponded so closely to the earlier prophet that he
might be styled a second Elijah. In him we see "the same
connection with a wild and wilderness country; the same long
retirement in the desert; the same sudden, startling entrance on
his work (1 Kings 17:1; Luke 3:2); even the same dress, a hairy
garment, and a leathern girdle about the loins (2 Kings 1:8;
How deep the impression was which Elijah made "on the mind of
the nation may be judged from the fixed belief, which rested on
the words of Malachi (4:5, 6), which many centuries after
prevailed that he would again appear for the relief and
restoration of the country. Each remarkable person as he arrives
on the scene, be his habits and characteristics what they may,
the stern John equally with his gentle Successor, is proclaimed
to be Elijah (Matt. 11:13, 14; 16:14; 17:10; Mark 9:11; 15:35;
Luke 9:7, 8; John 1:21). His appearance in glory on the mount of
transfiguration does not seem to have startled the disciples.
They were 'sore afraid,' but not apparently surprised."
(2.) The Elijah spoken of in 2 Chr. 21:12-15 is by some
supposed to be a different person from the foregoing. He lived
in the time of Jehoram, to whom he sent a letter of warning
(compare 1 Chr. 28:19; Jer. 36), and acted as a prophet in Judah;
while the Tishbite was a prophet of the northern kingdom. But
there does not seem any necessity for concluding that the writer
of this letter was some other Elijah than the Tishbite. It may
be supposed either that Elijah anticipated the character of
Jehoram, and so wrote the warning message, which was preserved
in the schools of the prophets till Jehoram ascended the throne
after the Tishbite's translation, or that the translation did
not actually take place till after the accession of Jehoram to
the throne (2 Chr. 21:12; 2 Kings 8:16). The events of 2 Kings 2
may not be recorded in chronological order, and thus there may
be room for the opinion that Elijah was still alive in the
beginning of Jehoram's reign.
Heb. 'orebh, from a root meaning "to be black" (compare Cant.
5:11); first mentioned as "sent forth" by Noah from the ark
(Gen. 8:7). "Every raven after his kind" was forbidden as food
(Lev. 11:15; Deut. 14:14). Ravens feed mostly on carrion, and
hence their food is procured with difficulty (Job 38:41; Ps.
147:9). When they attack kids or lambs or weak animals, it is
said that they first pick out the eyes of their victims (Prov.
30:17). When Elijah was concealed by the brook Cherith, God
commanded the ravens to bring him "bread and flesh in the
morning, and bread and flesh in the evening" (1 Kings 17:3-6).
(See ELIJAH T0001167.)
There are eight species of ravens in Israel, and they are
everywhere very numerous in that land.
God his salvation, the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah, who
became the attendant and disciple of Elijah (1 Kings 19:16-19).
His name first occurs in the command given to Elijah to anoint
him as his successor (1 Kings 19:16). This was the only one of
the three commands then given to Elijah which he accomplished.
On his way from Sinai to Damascus he found Elisha at his native
place engaged in the labors of the field, ploughing with twelve
yoke of oxen. He went over to him, threw over his shoulders his
rough mantle, and at once adopted him as a son, and invested him
with the prophetical office (compare Luke 9:61, 62). Elisha
accepted the call thus given (about four years before the death
of Ahab), and for some seven or eight years became the close
attendant on Elijah till he was parted from him and taken up
into heaven. During all these years we hear nothing of Elisha
except in connection with the closing scenes of Elijah's life.
After Elijah, Elisha was accepted as the leader of the sons of
the prophets, and became noted in Israel. He possessed,
according to his own request, "a double portion" of Elijah's
spirit (2 Kings 2:9); and for the long period of about sixty
years (B.C. 892-832) held the office of "prophet in Israel" (2
After Elijah's departure, Elisha returned to Jericho, and
there healed the spring of water by casting salt into it (2
Kings 2:21). We next find him at Bethel (2:23), where, with the
sternness of his master, he cursed the youths who came out and
scoffed at him as a prophet of God: "Go up, thou bald head." The
judgment at once took effect, and God terribly visited the
dishonour done to his prophet as dishonour done to himself. We
next read of his predicting a fall of rain when the army of
Jehoram was faint from thirst (2 Kings 3:9-20); of the
multiplying of the poor widow's cruse of oil (4:1-7); the
miracle of restoring to life the son of the woman of Shunem
(4:18-37); the multiplication of the twenty loaves of new barley
into a sufficient supply for an hundred men (4:42-44); of the
cure of Naaman the Syrian of his leprosy (5:1-27); of the
punishment of Gehazi for his falsehood and his covetousness; of
the recovery of the axe lost in the waters of the Jordan
(6:1-7); of the miracle at Dothan, half-way on the road between
Samaria and Jezreel; of the siege of Samaria by the king of
Syria, and of the terrible sufferings of the people in
connection with it, and Elisha's prophecy as to the relief that
would come (2 Kings 6:24-7:2).
We then find Elisha at Damascus, to carry out the command
given to his master to anoint Hazael king over Syria (2 Kings
8:7-15); thereafter he directs one of the sons of the prophets
to anoint Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Israel, instead
of Ahab. Thus the three commands given to Elijah (9:1-10) were
at length carried out.
We do not again read of him till we find him on his death-bed
in his own house (2 Kings 13:14-19). Joash, the grandson of
Jehu, comes to mourn over his approaching departure, and utters
the same words as those of Elisha when Elijah was taken away:
"My father, my father! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen
Afterwards when a dead body is laid in Elisha's grave a year
after his burial, no sooner does it touch the hallowed remains
than the man "revived, and stood up on his feet" (2 Kings
a girdle of, worn by Elijah (2 Kings 1:8) and John the Baptist
(Matt. 3:4). Leather was employed both for clothing (Num. 31:20;
Heb. 11:37) and for writing upon. The trade of a tanner is
mentioned (Acts 9:43; 10:6, 32). It was probably learned in
servant of the Lord. (1.) An Israelite who was chief in the
household of King Ahab (1 Kings 18:3). Amid great spiritual
degeneracy he maintained his fidelity to God, and interposed to
protect The Lord's prophets, an hundred of whom he hid at great
personal risk in a cave (4, 13). Ahab seems to have held Obadiah
in great honour, although he had no sympathy with his piety (5,
6, 7). The last notice of him is his bringing back tidings to
Ahab that Elijah, whom he had so long sought for, was at hand
(9-16). "Go," said Elijah to him, when he met him in the way,
"go tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here."
(2.) A chief of the tribe of Issachar (1 Chr. 7:3).
(3.) A descendant of Saul (1 Chr. 8:38).
(4.) A Levite, after the Captivity (1 Chr. 9:16).
(5.) A Gadite who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chr. 12:9).
(6.) A prince of Zebulun in the time of David (1 Chr. 27:19).
(7.) One of the princes sent by Jehoshaphat to instruct the
people in the law (2 Chr. 17:7).
(8.) A Levite who superintended the repairs of the temple
under Josiah (2 Chr. 34:12).
(9.) One who accompanied Ezra on the return from Babylon (Ezra
(10.) A prophet, fourth of the minor prophets in the Hebrew
canon, and fifth in the LXX. He was probably contemporary with
Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Of his personal history nothing is known.
smelting-shop, "a workshop for the refining and smelting of
metals", a small Phoenician town, now Surafend, about a mile
from the coast, almost midway on the road between Tyre and
Sidon. Here Elijah sojourned with a poor widow during the "great
famine," when the "heaven was shut up three years and six
months" (Luke 4:26; 1 Kings 17:10). It is called Sarepta in the
New Testament (Luke 4:26).
meadow of dancing, or the dancing-meadow, the birthplace and
residence of the prophet Elisha, not far from Beth-shean (1
Kings 4:12), in the tribe of Issachar, near where the Wady
el-Maleh emerges into the valley of the Jordan, "the rich
meadow-land which extends about 4 miles south of Beth-shean;
moist and luxuriant." Here Elisha was found at his plough by
Elijah on his return up the Jordan valley from Horeb (1 Kings
19:16). It is now called 'Ain Helweh.
fruits, "the Jezreelite," was the owner of a portion of ground
on the eastern slope of the hill of Jezreel (2 Kings 9:25, 26).
This small "plat of ground" seems to have been all he possessed.
It was a vineyard, and lay "hard by the palace of Ahab" (1 Kings
21:1, 2), who greatly coveted it. Naboth, however, refused on
any terms to part with it to the king. He had inherited it from
his fathers, and no Israelite could lawfully sell his property
(Lev. 25:23). Jezebel, Ahab's wife, was grievously offended at
Naboth's refusal to part with his vineyard. By a crafty and
cruel plot she compassed his death. His sons also shared his
fate (2 Kings 9:26; 1 Kings 21:19). She then came to Ahab and
said, "Arise, take possession of the vineyard; for Naboth is not
alive, but dead." Ahab arose and went forth into the garden
which had so treacherously and cruelly been acquired, seemingly
enjoying his new possession, when, lo, Elijah suddenly appeared
before him and pronounced against him a fearful doom (1 Kings
21:17-24). Jehu and Bidcar were with Ahab at this time, and so
deeply were the words of Elijah imprinted on Jehu's memory that
many years afterwards he refers to them (2 Kings 9:26), and he
was the chief instrument in inflicting this sentence on Ahab and
Jezebel and all their house (9:30-37). The house of Ahab was
extinguished by him. Not one of all his great men and his
kinsfolk and his priests did Jehu spare (10:11).
Ahab humbled himself at Elijah's words (1 Kings 21:28, 29),
and therefore the prophecy was fulfilled not in his fate but in
that of his son Joram (2 Kings 9:25).
The history of Naboth, compared with that of Ahab and Jezebel,
furnishes a remarkable illustration of the law of a retributive
providence, a law which runs through all history (compare Ps.
God scatters. (1.) A town of Issachar (Josh. 19:18), where the
kings of Israel often resided (1 Kings 18:45; 21:1; 2 Kings
9:30). Here Elijah met Ahab, Jehu, and Bidkar; and here Jehu
executed his dreadful commission against the house of Ahab (2
Kings 9:14-37; 10:1-11). It has been identified with the modern
Zerin, on the most western point of the range of Gilboa,
reaching down into the great and fertile valley of Jezreel, to
which it gave its name.
(2.) A town in Judah (Josh. 15:56), to the south-east of
Hebron. Ahinoam, one of David's wives, probably belonged to this
place (1 Sam. 27:3).
(3.) A symbolical name given by Hosea to his oldest son (Hos.
1:4), in token of a great slaughter predicted by him, like that
which had formerly taken place in the plain of Esdraelon (compare
Hos. 1:4, 5).
a cutting; separation; a gorge, a torrent-bed or winter-stream,
a "brook," in whose banks the prophet Elijah hid himself during
the early part of the three years' drought (1 Kings 17:3, 5). It
has by some been identified as the Wady el-Kelt behind Jericho,
which is formed by the junction of many streams flowing from the
mountains west of Jericho. It is dry in summer. Travellers have
described it as one of the wildest ravines of this wild region,
and peculiarly fitted to afford a secure asylum to the
persecuted. But if the prophet's interview with Ahab was in
Samaria, and he thence journeyed toward the east, it is probable
that he crossed Jordan and found refuge in some of the ravines
of Gilead. The "brook" is said to have been "before Jordan,"
which probably means that it opened toward that river, into
which it flowed. This description would apply to the east as
well as to the west of Jordan. Thus Elijah's hiding-place may
have been the Jermuk, in the territory of the half-tribe of
a vehicle generally used for warlike purposes. Sometimes, though
but rarely, it is spoken of as used for peaceful purposes.
The first mention of the chariot is when Joseph, as a mark of
distinction, was placed in Pharaoh's second state chariot (Gen.
41:43); and the next, when he went out in his own chariot to
meet his father Jacob (46:29). Chariots formed part of the
funeral procession of Jacob (50:9). When Pharaoh pursued the
Israelites he took 600 war-chariots with him (Ex. 14:7). The
Canaanites in the valleys of Israel had chariots of iron
(Josh. 17:18; Judg. 1:19). Jabin, the king of Canaan, had 900
chariots (Judg. 4:3); and in Saul's time the Philistines had
30,000. In his wars with the king of Zobah and with the Syrians,
David took many chariots among the spoils (2 Sam. 8:4; 10:18).
Solomon maintained as part of his army 1,400 chariots (1 Kings
10:26), which were chiefly imported from Egypt (29). From this
time forward they formed part of the armies of Israel (1 Kings
22:34; 2 Kings 9:16, 21; 13:7, 14; 18:24; 23:30).
In the New Testament we have only one historical reference to
the use of chariots, in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts.
8:28, 29, 38).
This word is sometimes used figuratively for hosts (Ps. 68:17;
2 Kings 6:17). Elijah, by his prayers and his counsel, was "the
chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof." The rapid agency
of God in the phenomena of nature is also spoken of under the
similitude of a chariot (Ps. 104:3; Isa. 66:15; Hab. 3:8).
Chariot of the cherubim (1 Chr. 28:18), the chariot formed by
the two cherubs on the mercy-seat on which the Lord rides.
Chariot cities were set apart for storing the war-chariots in
time of peace (2 Chr. 1:14).
Chariot horses were such as were peculiarly fitted for service
in chariots (2 Kings 7:14).
Chariots of war are described in Ex. 14:7; 1 Sam. 13:5; 2 Sam.
8:4; 1 Chr. 18:4; Josh. 11:4; Judg. 4:3, 13. They were not used
by the Israelites till the time of David. Elijah was translated
in a "chariot of fire" (2 Kings 2:11). Compare 2 Kings 6:17. This
vision would be to Elisha a source of strength and
encouragement, for now he could say, "They that be with us are
more than they that be with them."
held by Jehovah. (1.) The son and successor of Ahab. He followed
the counsels of his mother Jezebel, and imitated in wickedness
the ways of his father. In his reign the Moabites revolted from
under his authority (2 Kings 3:5-7). He united with Jehoshaphat
in an attempt to revive maritime trade by the Red Sea, which
proved a failure (2 Chr. 20:35-37). His messengers, sent to
consult the god of Ekron regarding his recovery from the effects
of a fall from the roof-gallery of his palace, were met on the
way by Elijah, who sent them back to tell the king that he would
never rise from his bed (1 Kings 22:51; 2 Kings 1:18).
(2.) The son of Joram, or Jehoram, and sixth king of Judah.
Called Jehoahaz (2 Chr. 21:17; 25:23), and Azariah (2 Chr.
22:6). Guided by his idolatrous mother Athaliah, his reign was
disastrous (2 Kings 8:24-29; 9:29). He joined his uncle Jehoram,
king of Israel, in an expedition against Hazael, king of
Damascus; but was wounded at the pass of Gur when attempting to
escape, and had strength only to reach Megiddo, where he died (2
Kings 9:22-28). He reigned only one year.
(Heb. rothem), called by the Arabs retem, and known as Spanish
broom; ranked under the genus genista. It is a desert shrub, and
abounds in many parts of Israel. In the account of his
journey from Akabah to Jerusalem, Dr. Robinson says: "This is
the largest and most conspicuous shrub of these deserts, growing
thickly in the water-courses and valleys. Our Arabs always
selected the place of encampment, if possible, in a spot where
it grew, in order to be sheltered by it at night from the wind;
and during the day, when they often went on in advance of the
camels, we found them not unfrequently sitting or sleeping under
a bush of retem to shelter them from the sun. It was in this
very desert, a day's journey from Beersheba, that the prophet
Elijah lay down and slept beneath the same shrub" (1 Kings 19:4,
5). It afforded material for fuel, and also in cases of
extremity for human food (Ps. 120:4; Job 30:4). One of the
encampments in the wilderness of Paran is called Rithmah, i.e.,
"place of broom" (Num. 33:18).
"The Bedawin of Sinai still burn this very plant into a
charcoal which throws out the most intense heat."
a park; generally with the article, "the park." (1.) A prominent
headland of Central Israel, consisting of several connected
hills extending from the plain of Esdraelon to the sea, a
distance of some 12 miles or more. At the east end, in its
highest part, it is 1,728 feet high, and at the west end it
forms a promontory to the bay of Acre about 600 feet above the
sea. It lay within the tribe of Asher. It was here, at the east
end of the ridge, at a place called el-Mukhrakah (i.e., the
place of burning), that Elijah brought back the people to their
allegiance to God, and slew the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18).
Here were consumed the "fifties" of the royal guard; and here
also Elisha received the visit of the bereaved mother whose son
was restored by him to life (2 Kings 4:25-37). "No mountain in
or around Israel retains its ancient beauty so much as
Carmel. Two or three villages and some scattered cottages are
found on it; its groves are few but luxuriant; it is no place
for crags and precipices or rocks of wild goats; but its surface
is covered with a rich and constant verdure." "The whole
mountain-side is dressed with blossom, and flowering shrubs, and
fragrant herbs." The western extremity of the ridge is, however,
more rocky and bleak than the eastern. The head of the bride in
Cant. 7:5 is compared to Carmel. It is ranked with Bashan on
account of its rich pastures (Isa. 33:9; Jer. 50:19; Amos 1:2).
The whole ridge is deeply furrowed with rocky ravines filled
with dense jungle. There are many caves in its sides, which at
one time were inhabited by swarms of monks. These caves are
referred to in Amos 9:3. To them Elijah and Elisha often
resorted (1 Kings 18:19, 42; 2 Kings 2:25). On its north-west
summit there is an ancient establishment of Carmelite monks.
Vineyards have recently been planted on the mount by the German
colonists of Haifa. The modern Arabic name of the mount is
Kurmul, but more commonly Jebel Mar Elyas, i.e., Mount St.
Elias, from the Convent of Elias.
(2.) A town in the hill country of Judah (Josh. 15:55), the
residence of Nabal (1 Sam. 25:2, 5, 7, 40), and the native place
of Abigail, who became David's wife (1 Sam. 27:3). Here king
Uzziah had his vineyards (2 Chr. 26:10). The ruins of this town
still remain under the name of Kurmul, about 10 miles
south-south-east of Hebron, close to those of Maon.
whom God beholds, an officer of Ben-hadad II., king of Syria,
who ultimately came to the throne, according to the word of the
Lord to Elijah (1 Kings 19:15), after he had put the king to
death (2 Kings 8:15). His interview with Elisha is mentioned in
2 Kings 8. The Assyrians soon after his accession to the throne
came against him and defeated him with very great loss; and
three years afterwards again invaded Syria, but on this occasion
Hazael submitted to them. He then turned his arms against
Israel, and ravaged "all the land of Gilead," etc. (2 Kings
10:33), which he held in a degree of subjection to him (13:3-7,
22). He aimed at the subjugation also of the kingdom of Judah,
when Joash obtained peace by giving him "all the gold that was
found in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and in the
king's house" (2 Kings 12:18; 2 Chr. 24:24). He reigned about
forty-six years (B.C.886-840), and was succeeded on the throne
by his son Ben-hadad (2 Kings 13:22-25), who on several
occasions was defeated by Jehoash, the king of Israel, and
compelled to restore all the land of Israel his father had
winding, a winter torrent of Central Israel, which rises
about the roots of Tabor and Gilboa, and passing in a northerly
direction through the plains of Esdraelon and Acre, falls into
the Mediterranean at the NEern corner of the bay of
Acre, at the foot of Carmel. It is the drain by which the waters
of the plain of Esdraelon and of the mountains that surround it
find their way to the sea. It bears the modern name of Nahr
el-Mokattah, i.e., "the river of slaughter" (compare 1 Kings
18:40). In the triumphal song of Deborah (Judg. 5:21) it is
spoken of as "that ancient river," either (1) because it had
flowed on for ages, or (2), according to the Targum, because it
was "the torrent in which were shown signs and wonders to Israel
of old;" or (3) probably the reference is to the exploits in
that region among the ancient Canaanites, for the adjoining
plain of Esdraelon was the great battle-field of Israel.
This was the scene of the defeat of Sisera (Judg. 4:7, 13),
and of the destruction of the prophets of Baal by Elijah (1
Kings 18:40). "When the Kishon was at its height, it would be,
partly on account of its quicksands, as impassable as the ocean
itself to a retreating army." (See DEBORAH T0000996.)
father's brother. (1.) The son of Omri, whom he succeeded as the
seventh king of Israel. His history is recorded in 1 Kings
16-22. His wife was Jezebel (q.v.), who exercised a very evil
influence over him. To the calf-worship introduced by Jeroboam
he added the worship of Baal. He was severely admonished by
Elijah (q.v.) for his wickedness. His anger was on this account
kindled against the prophet, and he sought to kill him. He
undertook three campaigns against Ben-hadad II., king of
Damascus. In the first two, which were defensive, he gained a
complete victory over Ben-hadad, who fell into his hands, and
was afterwards released on the condition of his restoring all
the cities of Israel he then held, and granting certain other
concessions to Ahab. After three years of peace, for some cause
Ahab renewed war (1 Kings 22:3) with Ben-hadad by assaulting the
city of Ramoth-gilead, although the prophet Micaiah warned him
that he would not succeed, and that the 400 false prophets who
encouraged him were only leading him to his ruin. Micaiah was
imprisoned for thus venturing to dissuade Ahab from his purpose.
Ahab went into the battle disguised, that he might if possible
escape the notice of his enemies; but an arrow from a bow "drawn
at a venture" pierced him, and though stayed up in his chariot
for a time he died towards evening, and Elijah's prophecy (1
Kings 21:19) was fulfilled. He reigned twenty-three years.
Because of his idolatry, lust, and covetousness, Ahab is
referred to as pre-eminently the type of a wicked king (2 Kings
8:18; 2 Chr. 22:3; Micah 6:16).
(2.) A false prophet referred to by Jeremiah (Jer. 29:21), of
whom nothing further is known.
whom God sets free, or the breaker through, a "mighty man of
valour" who delivered Israel from the oppression of the
Ammonites (Judg. 11:1-33), and judged Israel six years (12:7).
He has been described as "a wild, daring, Gilead mountaineer, a
sort of warrior Elijah." After forty-five years of comparative
quiet Israel again apostatized, and in "process of time the
children of Ammon made war against Israel" (11:5). In their
distress the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the
land of Tob, to which he had fled when driven out wrongfully by
his brothers from his father's inheritance (2), and the people
made him their head and captain. The "elders of Gilead" in their
extremity summoned him to their aid, and he at once undertook
the conduct of the war against Ammon. Twice he sent an embassy
to the king of Ammon, but in vain. War was inevitable. The
people obeyed his summons, and "the spirit of the Lord came upon
him." Before engaging in war he vowed that if successful he
would offer as a "burnt-offering" whatever would come out of the
door of his house first to meet him on his return. The defeat of
the Ammonites was complete. "He smote them from Aroer, even till
thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of
the vineyards [Heb. 'Abel Keramim], with a very great slaughter"
(Judg. 11:33). The men of Ephraim regarded themselves as
insulted in not having been called by Jephthah to go with him to
war against Ammon. This led to a war between the men of Gilead
and Ephraim (12:4), in which many of the Ephraimites perished.
(See SHIBBOLETH T0003366.) "Then died Jephthah the Gileadite,
and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead" (7).
rolling. (1.) From the solemn transaction of the reading of the
law in the valley of Shechem between Ebal and Gerizim the
Israelites moved forward to Gilgal, and there made a permanent
camp (Josh. 9:6; 10:6). It was "beside the oaks of Moreh," near
which Abraham erected his first altar (Gen. 12:6, 7). This was
one of the three towns to which Samuel resorted for the
administration of justice (1 Sam. 7:16), and here also he
offered sacrifices when the ark was no longer in the tabernacle
at Shiloh (1 Sam. 10:8; 13:7-9). To this place, as to a central
sanctuary, all Israel gathered to renew their allegiance to Saul
(11:14). At a later period it became the scene of idolatrous
worship (Hos. 4:15; 9:15). It has been identified with the ruins
of Jiljilieh, about 5 miles south-west of Shiloh and about the
same distance from Bethel.
(2.) The place in "the plains of Jericho," "in the east border
of Jericho," where the Israelites first encamped after crossing
the Jordan (Josh. 4:19, 20). Here they kept their first Passover
in the land of Canaan (5:10) and renewed the rite of
circumcision, and so "rolled away the reproach" of their
Egyptian slavery. Here the twelve memorial stones, taken from
the bed of the Jordan, were set up; and here also the tabernacle
remained till it was removed to Shiloh (18:1). It has been
identified with Tell Jiljulieh, about 5 miles from Jordan.
(3.) A place, probably in the hill country of Ephraim, where
there was a school of the prophets (2 Kings 4:38), and whence
Elijah and Elisha, who resided here, "went down" to Bethel
(2:1,2). It is mentioned also in Deut. 11:30. It is now known as
Jiljilia, a place 8 miles north of Bethel.
chaste, the daughter of Ethbaal, the king of the Zidonians, and
the wife of Ahab, the king of Israel (1 Kings 16:31). This was
the "first time that a king of Israel had allied himself by
marriage with a heathen princess; and the alliance was in this
case of a peculiarly disastrous kind. Jezebel has stamped her
name on history as the representative of all that is designing,
crafty, malicious, revengeful, and cruel. She is the first great
instigator of persecution against the saints of God. Guided by
no principle, restrained by no fear of either God or man,
passionate in her attachment to her heathen worship, she spared
no pains to maintain idolatry around her in all its splendour.
Four hundred and fifty prophets ministered under her care to
Baal, besides four hundred prophets of the groves [R.V.,
'prophets of the Asherah'], which ate at her table (1 Kings
18:19). The idolatry, too, was of the most debased and sensual
kind." Her conduct was in many respects very disastrous to the
kingdom both of Israel and Judah (21:1-29). At length she came
to an untimely end. As Jehu rode into the gates of Jezreel, she
looked out at the window of the palace, and said, "Had Zimri
peace, who slew his master?" He looked up and called to her
chamberlains, who instantly threw her from the window, so that
she was dashed in pieces on the street, and his horses trod her
under their feet. She was immediately consumed by the dogs of
the street (2 Kings 9:7-37), according to the word of Elijah the
Tishbite (1 Kings 21:19).
Her name afterwards came to be used as the synonym for a
wicked woman (Rev. 2: 20).
It may be noted that she is said to have been the grand-aunt
of Dido, the founder of Carthage.
There are numerous natural caves among the limestone rocks of
Syria, many of which have been artificially enlarged for various
The first notice of a cave occurs in the history of Lot (Gen.
The next we read of is the cave of Machpelah (q.v.), which
Abraham purchased from the sons of Heth (Gen. 25:9, 10). It was
the burying-place of Sarah and of Abraham himself, also of
Isaac, Rebekah, Leah, and Jacob (Gen. 49:31; 50:13).
The cave of Makkedah, into which the five Amorite kings
retired after their defeat by Joshua (10:16, 27).
The cave of Adullam (q.v.), an immense natural cavern, where
David hid himself from Saul (1 Sam. 22:1, 2).
The cave of Engedi (q.v.), now called 'Ain Jidy, i.e., the
"Fountain of the Kid", where David cut off the skirt of Saul's
robe (24:4). Here he also found a shelter for himself and his
followers to the number of 600 (23:29; 24:1). "On all sides the
country is full of caverns which might serve as lurking-places
for David and his men, as they do for outlaws at the present
The cave in which Obadiah hid the prophets (1 Kings 18:4) was
probably in the north, but it cannot be identified.
The cave of Elijah (1 Kings 19:9), and the "cleft" of Moses on
Horeb (Ex. 33:22), cannot be determined.
In the time of Gideon the Israelites took refuge from the
Midianites in dens and caves, such as abounded in the mountain
regions of Manasseh (Judg. 6:2).
Caves were frequently used as dwelling-places (Num. 24:21;
Cant. 2:14; Jer. 49:16; Obad. 1:3). "The excavations at Deir
Dubban, on the south side of the wady leading to Santa Hanneh,
are probably the dwellings of the Horites," the ancient
inhabitants of Idumea Proper. The pits or cavities in rocks were
also sometimes used as prisons (Isa. 24:22; 51:14; Zech. 9:11).
Those which had niches in their sides were occupied as
burying-places (Ezek. 32:23; John 11:38).
The sole fast required by the law of Moses was that of the great
Day of Atonement (q.v.), Lev. 23:26-32. It is called "the fast"
The only other mention of a periodical fast in the Old
Testament is in Zech. 7:1-7; 8:19, from which it appears that
during their captivity the Jews observed four annual fasts.
(1.) The fast of the fourth month, kept on the seventeenth day
of Tammuz, the anniversary of the capture of Jerusalem by the
Chaldeans; to commemorate also the incident recorded Ex. 32:19.
(Compare Jer. 52:6, 7.)
(2.) The fast of the fifth month, kept on the ninth of Ab
(compare Num. 14:27), to commemorate the burning of the city and
temple (Jer. 52:12, 13).
(3.) The fast of the seventh month, kept on the third of Tisri
(compare 2 Kings 25), the anniversary of the murder of Gedaliah
(Jer. 41:1, 2).
(4.) The fast of the tenth month (compare Jer. 52:4; Ezek.
33:21; 2 Kings 25:1), to commemorate the beginning of the siege
of the holy city by Nebuchadnezzar.
There was in addition to these the fast appointed by Esther
Public national fasts on account of sin or to supplicate
divine favour were sometimes held. (1.) 1 Sam. 7:6; (2.) 2 Chr.
20:3; (3.) Jer. 36:6-10; (4.) Neh. 9:1.
There were also local fasts. (1.) Judg. 20:26; (2.) 2 Sam.
1:12; (3.) 1 Sam. 31:13; (4.) 1 Kings 21:9-12; (5.) Ezra
8:21-23: (6.) Jonah 3:5-9.
There are many instances of private occasional fasting (1 Sam.
1:7: 20:34; 2 Sam. 3:35; 12:16; 1 Kings 21:27; Ezra 10:6; Neh.
1:4; Dan. 10:2,3). Moses fasted forty days (Ex. 24:18; 34:28),
and so also did Elijah (1 Kings 19:8). Our Lord fasted forty
days in the wilderness (Matt. 4:2).
In the lapse of time the practice of fasting was lamentably
abused (Isa. 58:4; Jer. 14:12; Zech. 7:5). Our Lord rebuked the
Pharisees for their hypocritical pretences in fasting (Matt.
6:16). He himself appointed no fast. The early Christians,
however, observed the ordinary fasts according to the law of
their fathers (Acts 13:3; 14:23; 2 Cor. 6:5).
fortune; luck. (1.) Jacob's seventh son, by Zilpah, Leah's
handmaid, and the brother of Asher (Gen. 30:11-13; 46:16, 18).
In the Authorized Version of 30:11 the words, "A troop cometh:
and she called," etc., should rather be rendered, "In fortune
[R.V., 'Fortunate']: and she called," etc., or "Fortune cometh,"
The tribe of Gad during the march through the wilderness had
their place with Simeon and Reuben on the south side of the
tabernacle (Num. 2:14). The tribes of Reuben and Gad continued
all through their history to follow the pastoral pursuits of the
patriarchs (Num. 32:1-5).
The portion allotted to the tribe of Gad was on the east of
Jordan, and comprehended the half of Gilead, a region of great
beauty and fertility (Deut. 3:12), bounded on the east by the
Arabian desert, on the west by the Jordan (Josh. 13:27), and on
the north by the river Jabbok. It thus included the whole of the
Jordan valley as far north as to the Sea of Galilee, where it
narrowed almost to a point.
This tribe was fierce and warlike; they were "strong men of
might, men of war for the battle, that could handle shield and
buckler, their faces the faces of lions, and like roes upon the
mountains for swiftness" (1 Chr. 12:8; 5:19-22). Barzillai (2
Sam. 17:27) and Elijah (1 Kings 17:1) were of this tribe. It was
carried into captivity at the same time as the other tribes of
the northern kingdom by Tiglath-pileser (1 Chr. 5:26), and in
the time of Jeremiah (49:1) their cities were inhabited by the
(2.) A prophet who joined David in the "hold," and at whose
advice he quitted it for the forest of Hareth (1 Chr. 29:29; 2
Chr. 29:25; 1 Sam. 22:5). Many years after we find mention made
of him in connection with the punishment inflicted for numbering
the people (2 Sam. 24:11-19; 1 Chr. 21:9-19). He wrote a book
called the "Acts of David" (1 Chr. 29:29), and assisted in the
arrangements for the musical services of the "house of God" (2
Chr. 29:25). He bore the title of "the king's seer" (2 Sam.
24:11, 13; 1 Chr. 21:9).
Jehovah-given. (1.) The son of King Ahaziah. While yet an
infant, he was saved from the general massacre of the family by
his aunt Jehosheba, and was apparently the only surviving
descendant of Solomon (2 Chr. 21:4, 17). His uncle, the high
priest Jehoiada, brought him forth to public notice when he was
eight years of age, and crowned and anointed him king of Judah
with the usual ceremonies. Athaliah was taken by surprise when
she heard the shout of the people, "Long live the king;" and
when she appeared in the temple, Jehoiada commanded her to be
led forth to death (2 Kings 11:13-20). While the high priest
lived, Jehoash favoured the worship of God and observed the law;
but on his death he fell away into evil courses, and the land
was defiled with idolatry. Zechariah, the son and successor of
the high priest, was put to death. These evil deeds brought down
on the land the judgement of God, and it was oppressed by the
Syrian invaders. He is one of the three kings omitted by Matthew
(1:8) in the genealogy of Christ, the other two being Ahaziah
and Amaziah. He was buried in the city of David (2 Kings 12:21).
(See JOASH T0002078 .)
(2.) The son and successor of Jehoahaz, king of Israel (2
Kings 14:1; compare 12:1; 13:10). When he ascended the throne the
kingdom was suffering from the invasion of the Syrians. Hazael
"was cutting Israel short." He tolerated the worship of the
golden calves, yet seems to have manifested a character of
sincere devotion to the God of his fathers. He held the prophet
Elisha in honour, and wept by his bedside when he was dying,
addressing him in the words Elisha himself had used when Elijah
was carried up into heaven: "O my father, my father, the chariot
of Israel and the horsemen thereof." He was afterwards involved
in war with Amaziah, the king of Judah (2 Chr. 25:23-24), whom
he utterly defeated at Beth-shemesh, on the borders of Dan and
Philistia, and advancing on Jerusalem, broke down a portion of
the wall, and carried away the treasures of the temple and the
palace. He soon after died (B.C. 825), and was buried in Samaria
(2 Kings 14:1-17, 19, 20). He was succeeded by his son. (See
JOASH T0002078 [5.].)
circuit. Solomon rewarded Hiram for certain services rendered
him by the gift of an upland plain among the mountains of
Naphtali. Hiram was dissatisfied with the gift, and called it
"the land of Cabul" (q.v.). The Jews called it Galil. It
continued long to be occupied by the original inhabitants, and
hence came to be called "Galilee of the Gentiles" (Matt. 4:15),
and also "Upper Galilee," to distinguish it from the extensive
addition afterwards made to it toward the south, which was
usually called "Lower Galilee." In the time of our Lord, Galilee
embraced more than one-third of Western Israel, extending
"from Dan on the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, to the
ridges of Carmel and Gilboa on the south, and from the Jordan
valley on the east away across the splendid plains of Jezreel
and Acre to the shores of the Mediterranean on the west."
Israel was divided into three provinces, Judea, Samaria, and
Galilee, which comprehended the whole northern section of the
country (Acts 9:31), and was the largest of the three.
It was the scene of some of the most memorable events of
Jewish history. Galilee also was the home of our Lord during at
least thirty years of his life. The first three Gospels are
chiefly taken up with our Lord's public ministry in this
province. "The entire province is encircled with a halo of holy
associations connected with the life, works, and teachings of
Jesus of Nazareth." "It is noteworthy that of his thirty-two
beautiful parables, no less than ninteen were spoken in Galilee.
And it is no less remarkable that of his entire thirty-three
great miracles, twenty-five were wrought in this province. His
first miracle was wrought at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, and
his last, after his resurrection, on the shore of Galilee's sea.
In Galilee our Lord delivered the Sermon on The Mount, and the
discourses on 'The Bread of Life,' on 'Purity,' on
'Forgiveness,' and on 'Humility.' In Galilee he called his first
disciples; and there occurred the sublime scene of the
Transfiguration" (Porter's Through Samaria).
When the Sanhedrin were about to proceed with some plan for
the condemnation of our Lord (John 7:45-52), Nicodemus
interposed in his behalf. (Compare Deut. 1:16,17; 17:8.) They
replied, "Art thou also of Galilee?.... Out of Galilee ariseth
no prophet." This saying of theirs was "not historically true,
for two prophets at least had arisen from Galilee, Jonah of
Gath-hepher, and the greatest of all the prophets, Elijah of
Thisbe, and perhaps also Nahum and Hosea. Their contempt for
Galilee made them lose sight of historical accuracy" (Alford,
The Galilean accent differed from that of Jerusalem in being
broader and more guttural (Mark 14:70).
(1.) The Egyptians let the hair of their head and beard grow
only when they were in mourning, shaving it off at other times.
"So particular were they on this point that to have neglected it
was a subject of reproach and ridicule; and whenever they
intended to convey the idea of a man of low condition, or a
slovenly person, the artists represented him with a beard."
Joseph shaved himself before going in to Pharoah (Gen. 41:14).
The women of Egypt wore their hair long and plaited. Wigs were
worn by priests and laymen to cover the shaven skull, and false
beards were common. The great masses of hair seen in the
portraits and statues of kings and priests are thus altogether
(2.) A precisely opposite practice, as regards men, prevailed
among the Assyrians. In Assyrian sculptures the hair always
appears long, and combed closely down upon the head. The beard
also was allowed to grow to its full length.
(3.) Among the Greeks the custom in this respect varied at
different times, as it did also among the Romans. In the time of
the apostle, among the Greeks the men wore short hair, while
that of the women was long (1 Cor. 11:14, 15). Paul reproves the
Corinthians for falling in with a style of manners which so far
confounded the distinction of the sexes and was hurtful to good
morals. (See, however, 1 Tim. 2:9, and 1 Pet. 3:3, as regards
(4.) Among the Hebrews the natural distinction between the
sexes was preserved by the women wearing long hair (Luke 7:38;
John 11:2; 1 Cor. 11:6), while the men preserved theirs as a
rule at a moderate length by frequent clipping.
Baldness disqualified any one for the priest's office (Lev.
Elijah is called a "hairy man" (2 Kings 1:8) from his flowing
locks, or more probably from the shaggy cloak of hair which he
wore. His raiment was of camel's hair.
Long hair is especially noticed in the description of
Absalom's person (2 Sam. 14:26); but the wearing of long hair
was unusual, and was only practised as an act of religious
observance by Nazarites (Num. 6:5; Judg. 13:5) and others in
token of special mercies (Acts 18:18).
In times of affliction the hair was cut off (Isa. 3:17, 24;
15:2; 22:12; Jer. 7:29; Amos 8:10). Tearing the hair and letting
it go dishevelled were also tokens of grief (Ezra 9:3). "Cutting
off the hair" is a figure of the entire destruction of a people
(Isa. 7:20). The Hebrews anointed the hair profusely with
fragrant ointments (Ruth 3:3; 2 Sam. 14:2; Ps. 23:5; 45:7,
etc.), especially in seasons of rejoicing (Matt. 6:17; Luke
from the Hebrew "gamal", "to repay" or "requite," as the camel
does the care of its master. There are two distinct species of
camels, having, however, the common characteristics of being
"ruminants without horns, without muzzle, with nostrils forming
oblique slits, the upper lip divided and separately movable and
extensile, the soles of the feet horny, with two toes covered by
claws, the limbs long, the abdomen drawn up, while the neck,
long and slender, is bent up and down, the reverse of that of a
horse, which is arched."
(1.) The Bactrian camel is distinguished by two humps. It is a
native of the high table-lands of Central Asia.
(2.) The Arabian camel or dromedary, from the Greek "dromos",
"a runner" (Isa. 60:6; Jer. 2:23), has but one hump, and is a
native of Western Asia or Africa.
The camel was early used both for riding and as a beast of
burden (Gen. 24:64; 37:25), and in war (1 Sam. 30:17; Isa.
21:7). Mention is made of the camel among the cattle given by
Pharaoh to Abraham (Gen. 12:16). Its flesh was not to be eaten,
as it was ranked among unclean animals (Lev. 11:4; Deut. 14:7).
Abraham's servant rode on a camel when he went to fetch a wife
for Isaac (Gen. 24:10, 11). Jacob had camels as a portion of his
wealth (30:43), as Abraham also had (24:35). He sent a present
of thirty milch camels to his brother Esau (32:15). It appears
to have been little in use among the Jews after the conquest. It
is, however, mentioned in the history of David (1 Chr. 27:30),
and after the Exile (Ezra 2:67; Neh. 7:69). Camels were much in
use among other nations in the East. The queen of Sheba came
with a caravan of camels when she came to see the wisdom of
Solomon (1 Kings 10:2; 2 Chr. 9:1). Benhadad of Damascus also
sent a present to Elisha, "forty camels' burden" (2 Kings 8:9).
To show the difficulty in the way of a rich man's entering
into the kingdom, our Lord uses the proverbial expression that
it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle
To strain at (rather, out) a gnat and swallow a camel was also
a proverbial expression (Matt. 23:24), used with reference to
those who were careful to avoid small faults, and yet did not
hesitate to commit the greatest sins. The Jews carefully
filtered their wine before drinking it, for fear of swallowing
along with it some insect forbidden in the law as unclean, and
yet they omitted openly the "weightier matters" of the law.
The raiment worn by John the Baptist was made of camel's hair
(Matt. 3:4; Mark 1:6), by which he was distinguished from those
who resided in royal palaces and wore soft raiment. This was
also the case with Elijah (2 Kings 1:8), who is called "a hairy
man," from his wearing such raiment. "This is one of the most
admirable materials for clothing; it keeps out the heat, cold,
and rain." The "sackcloth" so often alluded to (2 Kings 1:8;
Isa. 15:3; Zech. 13:4, etc.) was probably made of camel's hair.
is converse with God; the intercourse of the soul with God, not
in contemplation or meditation, but in direct address to him.
Prayer may be oral or mental, occasional or constant,
ejaculatory or formal. It is a "beseeching the Lord" (Ex.
32:11); "pouring out the soul before the Lord" (1 Sam. 1:15);
"praying and crying to heaven" (2 Chr. 32:20); "seeking unto God
and making supplication" (Job 8:5); "drawing near to God" (Ps.
73:28); "bowing the knees" (Eph. 3:14).
Prayer presupposes a belief in the personality of God, his
ability and willingness to hold intercourse with us, his
personal control of all things and of all his creatures and all
Acceptable prayer must be sincere (Heb. 10:22), offered with
reverence and godly fear, with a humble sense of our own
insignificance as creatures and of our own unworthiness as
sinners, with earnest importunity, and with unhesitating
submission to the divine will. Prayer must also be offered in
the faith that God is, and is the hearer and answerer of prayer,
and that he will fulfil his word, "Ask, and ye shall receive"
(Matt. 7:7, 8; 21:22; Mark 11:24; John 14:13, 14), and in the
name of Christ (16:23, 24; 15:16; Eph. 2:18; 5:20; Col. 3:17; 1
Prayer is of different kinds, secret (Matt. 6:6); social, as
family prayers, and in social worship; and public, in the
service of the sanctuary.
Intercessory prayer is enjoined (Num. 6:23; Job 42:8; Isa.
62:6; Ps. 122:6; 1 Tim. 2:1; James 5:14), and there are many
instances on record of answers having been given to such
prayers, e.g., of Abraham (Gen. 17:18, 20; 18:23-32; 20:7, 17,
18), of Moses for Pharaoh (Ex. 8:12, 13, 30, 31; Ex. 9:33), for
the Israelites (Ex. 17:11, 13; 32:11-14, 31-34; Num. 21:7, 8;
Deut. 9:18, 19, 25), for Miriam (Num. 12:13), for Aaron (Deut.
9:20), of Samuel (1 Sam. 7:5-12), of Solomon (1 Kings 8; 2 Chr.
6), Elijah (1 Kings 17:20-23), Elisha (2 Kings 4:33-36), Isaiah
(2 Kings 19), Jeremiah (42:2-10), Peter (Acts 9:40), the church
(12:5-12), Paul (28:8).
No rules are anywhere in Scripture laid down for the manner of
prayer or the attitude to be assumed by the suppliant. There is
mention made of kneeling in prayer (1 Kings 8:54; 2 Chr. 6:13;
Ps. 95:6; Isa. 45:23; Luke 22:41; Acts 7:60; 9:40; Eph. 3:14,
etc.); of bowing and falling prostrate (Gen. 24:26, 52; Ex.
4:31; 12:27; Matt. 26:39; Mark 14:35, etc.); of spreading out
the hands (1 Kings 8:22, 38, 54; Ps. 28:2; 63:4; 88:9; 1 Tim.
2:8, etc.); and of standing (1 Sam. 1:26; 1 Kings 8:14, 55; 2
Chr. 20:9; Mark 11:25; Luke 18:11, 13).
If we except the "Lord's Prayer" (Matt. 6:9-13), which is,
however, rather a model or pattern of prayer than a set prayer
to be offered up, we have no special form of prayer for general
use given us in Scripture.
Prayer is frequently enjoined in Scripture (Ex. 22:23, 27; 1
Kings 3:5; 2 Chr. 7:14; Ps. 37:4; Isa. 55:6; Joel 2:32; Ezek.
36:37, etc.), and we have very many testimonies that it has been
answered (Ps. 3:4; 4:1; 6:8; 18:6; 28:6; 30:2; 34:4; 118:5;
James 5:16-18, etc.).
"Abraham's servant prayed to God, and God directed him to the
person who should be wife to his master's son and heir (Gen.
"Jacob prayed to God, and God inclined the heart of his
irritated brother, so that they met in peace and friendship
(Gen. 32:24-30; 33:1-4).
"Samson prayed to God, and God showed him a well where he
quenched his burning thirst, and so lived to judge Israel (Judg.
"David prayed, and God defeated the counsel of Ahithophel (2
Sam. 15:31; 16:20-23; 17:14-23).
"Daniel prayed, and God enabled him both to tell
Nebuchadnezzar his dream and to give the interpretation of it
(Dan. 2: 16-23).
"Nehemiah prayed, and God inclined the heart of the king of
Persia to grant him leave of absence to visit and rebuild
Jerusalem (Neh. 1:11; 2:1-6).
"Esther and Mordecai prayed, and God defeated the purpose of
Haman, and saved the Jews from destruction (Esther 4:15-17; 6:7,
"The believers in Jerusalem prayed, and God opened the prison
doors and set Peter at liberty, when Herod had resolved upon his
death (Acts 12:1-12).
"Paul prayed that the thorn in the flesh might be removed, and
his prayer brought a large increase of spiritual strength, while
the thorn perhaps remained (2 Cor. 12:7-10).
"Prayer is like the dove that Noah sent forth, which blessed
him not only when it returned with an olive-leaf in its mouth,
but when it never returned at all.", Robinson's Job.
Heb. Yarden, "the descender;" Arab. Nahr-esh-Sheriah, "the
watering-place" the chief river of Israel. It flows from
north to south down a deep valley in the centre of the country.
The name descender is significant of the fact that there is
along its whole course a descent to its banks; or it may simply
denote the rapidity with which it "descends" to the Dead Sea.
It originates in the snows of Hermon, which feed its perennial
fountains. Two sources are generally spoken of. (1.) From the
western base of a hill on which once stood the city of Dan, the
northern border-city of Israel, there gushes forth a
considerable fountain called the Leddan, which is the largest
fountain in Syria and the principal source of the Jordan. (2.)
Beside the ruins of Banias, the ancient Caesarea Philippi and
the yet more ancient Panium, is a lofty cliff of limestone, at
the base of which is a fountain. This is the other source of the
Jordan, and has always been regarded by the Jews as its true
source. It rushes down to the plain in a foaming torrent, and
joins the Leddan about 5 miles south of Dan (Tell-el-Kady). (3.)
But besides these two historical fountains there is a third,
called the Hasbany, which rises in the bottom of a valley at the
western base of Hermon, 12 miles north of Tell-el-Kady. It joins
the main stream about a mile below the junction of the Leddan
and the Banias. The river thus formed is at this point about 45
feet wide, and flows in a channel from 12 to 20 feet below the
plain. After this it flows, "with a swift current and a
much-twisted course," through a marshy plain for some 6 miles,
when it falls into the Lake Huleh, "the waters of Merom" (q.v.).
During this part of its course the Jordan has descended about
1,100 feet. At Banias it is 1,080 feet above sea-level. Flowing
from the southern extremity of Lake Huleh, here almost on a
level with the sea, it flows for 2 miles "through a waste of
islets and papyrus," and then for 9 miles through a narrow gorge
in a foaming torrent onward to the Sea of Galilee (q.v.).
"In the whole valley of the Jordan from the Lake Huleh to the
Sea of Galilee there is not a single settled inhabitant. Along
the whole eastern bank of the river and the lakes, from the base
of Hermon to the ravine of Hieromax, a region of great
fertility, 30 miles long by 7 or 8 wide, there are only some
three inhabited villages. The western bank is almost as
desolate. Ruins are numerous enough. Every mile or two is an old
site of town or village, now well nigh hid beneath a dense
jungle of thorns and thistles. The words of Scripture here recur
to us with peculiar force: 'I will make your cities waste, and
bring your sanctuaries unto desolation...And I will bring the
land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall
be astonished at it...And your land shall be desolate, and your
cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as
it lieth desolate' (Lev. 26:31-34).", Dr. Porter's Handbook.
From the Sea of Galilee, at the level of 682 feet below the
Mediterranean, the river flows through a long, low plain called
"the region of Jordan" (Matt. 3:5), and by the modern Arabs the
Ghor, or "sunken plain." This section is properly the Jordan of
Scripture. Down through the midst of the "plain of Jordan" there
winds a ravine varying in breadth from 200 yards to half a mile,
and in depth from 40 to 150 feet. Through it the Jordan flows in
a rapid, rugged, tortuous course down to the Dead Sea. The whole
distance from the southern extremity of the Sea of Galilee to
the Dead Sea is in a straight line about 65 miles, but following
the windings of the river about 200 miles, during which it falls
618 feet. The total length of the Jordan from Banias is about
104 miles in a straight line, during which it falls 2,380 feet.
There are two considerable affluents which enter the river
between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, both from the east.
(1.) The Wady Mandhur, called the Yarmuk by the Rabbins and the
Hieromax by the Greeks. It formed the boundary between Bashan
and Gilead. It drains the plateau of the Hauran. (2.) The Jabbok
or Wady Zerka, formerly the northern boundary of Ammon. It
enters the Jordan about 20 miles north of Jericho.
The first historical notice of the Jordan is in the account of
the separation of Abraham and Lot (Gen. 13:10). "Lot beheld the
plain of Jordan as the garden of the Lord." Jacob crossed and
recrossed "this Jordan" (32:10). The Israelites passed over it
as "on dry ground" (Josh. 3:17; Ps. 114:3). Twice afterwards its
waters were miraculously divided at the same spot by Elijah and
Elisha (2 Kings 2:8, 14).
The Jordan is mentioned in the Old Testament about one hundred
and eighty times, and in the New Testament fifteen times. The
chief events in gospel history connected with it are (1) John
the Baptist's ministry, when "there went out to him Jerusalem,
and all Judaea, and were baptized of him in Jordan" (Matt. 3:6).
(2.) Jesus also "was baptized of John in Jordan" (Mark 1:9).