A - Alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet, as Omega is the
last. These letters occur in the text of Rev. 1:8,11; 21:6; 22:13, and are
represented by "Alpha" and "Omega" respectively (omitted in R.V., 1:11).
They mean "the first and last." (Comp. Heb. 12:2; Isa. 41:4; 44:6; Rev.
1:11,17; 2:8.) In the symbols of the early Christian Church these two letters
are frequently combined with the cross or with Christ's monogram to denote
Aaron - the eldest son of Amram and
Jochebed, a daughter of Levi (Ex. 6:20). Some explain the name as meaning
mountaineer, others mountain of strength, illuminator. He was born in
Egypt three years before his brother Moses, and a number of years after
his sister Miriam (2:1,4; 7:7). He married Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab
of the house of Judah (6:23; 1 Chr. 2:10), by whom he had four sons, Nadab
and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. When the time for the deliverance of Isarael
out of Egypt drew nigh, he was sent by God (Ex. 4:14,27-30) to meet his
long-absent brother, that he might co-operate with him in all that they
were required to do in bringing about the Exodus. He was to be the "mouth"
or "prophet" of Moses, i.e., was to speak for him, because he was a man
of a ready utterance (7:1,2,9,10,19). He was faithful to his trust, and
stood by Moses in all his interviews with Pharaoh.
When the ransomed tribes fought their first battle with Amalek in Rephidim,
Moses stood on a hill overlooking the scene of the conflict with the rod
of God in his outstretched hand. On this occasion he was attended by Aaron
and Hur, his sister's husband, who held up his wearied hands till Joshua
and the chosen warriors of Israel gained the victory (17:8-13).
Afterwards, when encamped before Sinai, and when Moses at the command
of God ascended the mount to receive the tables of the law, Aaron and
his two sons, Nadab and Abihu, along with seventy of the elders of Israel,
were permitted to accompany him part of the way, and to behold afar off
the manifestation of the glory of Israel's God (Ex. 19:24; 24:9-11). While
Moses remained on the mountain with God, Aaron returned unto the people;
and yielding through fear, or ignorance, or instability of character,
to their clamour, made unto them a golden calf, and set it up as an object
of worship (Ex. 32:4; Ps. 106:19). On the return of Moses to the camp,
Aaron was sternly rebuked by him for the part he had acted in this matter;
but he interceded for him before God, who forgave his sin (Deut. 9:20).
On the mount, Moses received instructions regarding the system of worship
which was to be set up among the people; and in accordance therewith Aaron
and his sons were consecrated to the priest's office (Lev. 8; 9). Aaron,
as high priest, held henceforth the prominent place appertaining to that
When Israel had reached Hazeroth, in "the wilderness of Paran," Aaron
joined with his sister Miriam in murmuring against Moses, "because of
the Ethiopian woman whom he had married," probably after the death of
Zipporah. But the Lord vindicated his servant Moses, and punished Miriam
with leprosy (Num. 12). Aaron acknowledged his own and his sister's guilt,
and at the intercession of Moses they were forgiven.
Twenty years after this, when the children of Israel were encamped in
the wilderness of Paran, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram conspired against Aaron
and his sons; but a fearful judgment from God fell upon them, and they
were destroyed, and the next day thousands of the people also perished
by a fierce pestilence, the ravages of which were only stayed by the interposition
of Aaron (Num. 16). That there might be further evidence of the divine
appointment of Aaron to the priestly office, the chiefs of the tribes
were each required to bring to Moses a rod bearing on it the name of his
tribe. And these, along with the rod of Aaron for the tribe of Levi, were
laid up overnight in the tabernacle, and in the morning it was found that
while the other rods remained unchanged, that of Aaron "for the house
of Levi" budded, blossomed, and yielded almonds (Num. 17:1-10). This rod
was afterwards preserved in the tabernacle (Heb. 9:4) as a memorial of
the divine attestation of his appointment to the priesthood.
Aaron was implicated in the sin of his brother at Meribah (Num. 20:8-13),
and on that account was not permitted to enter the Promised Land. When
the tribes arrived at Mount Hor, "in the edge of the land of Edom," at
the command of God Moses led Aaron and his son Eleazar to the top of that
mountain, in the sight of all the people. There he stripped Aaron of his
priestly vestments, and put them upon Eleazar; and there Aaron died on
the top of the mount, being 123 years old (Num. 20:23-29. Comp. Deut.
10:6; 32:50), and was "gathered unto his people." The people, "even all
the house of Israel," mourned for him thirty days. Of Aaron's sons two
survived him, Eleazar, whose family held the high-priesthood till the
time of Eli; and Ithamar, in whose family, beginning with Eli, the high-priesthood
was held till the time of Solomon. Aaron's other two sons had been struck
dead (Lev. 10:1,2) for the daring impiety of offering "strange fire" on
the alter of incense.
The Arabs still show with veneration the traditionary site of Aaron's
grave on one of the two summits of Mount Hor, which is marked by a Mohammedan
chapel. His name is mentioned in the Koran, and there are found in the
writings of the rabbins many fabulous stories regarding him.
He was the first anointed priest. His descendants, "the house of Aaron,"
constituted the priesthood in general. In the time of David they were
very numerous (1 Chr. 12:27). The other branches of the tribe of Levi
held subordinate positions in connection with the sacred office. Aaron
was a type of Christ in his official character as the high priest. His
priesthood was a "shadow of heavenly things," and was intended to lead
the people of Israel to look forward to the time when "another priest"
would arise "after the order of Melchizedek" (Heb. 6:20). (See MOSES.)
Aaronites - the descendants of Aaron,
and therefore priests. Jehoiada, the father of Benaiah, led 3,700 Aaronites
as "fighting men" to the support of David at Hebron (1 Chr. 12:27). Eleazar
(Num. 3:32), and at a later period Zadok (1 Chr. 27:17), was their chief.
Abaddon - destruction, the Hebrew name
(equivalent to the Greek Apollyon, i.e., destroyer) of "the angel of the
bottomless pit" (Rev. 9:11). It is rendered "destruction" in Job 28:22;
31:12; 26:6; Prov. 15:11; 27:20. In the last three of these passages the
Revised Version retains the word "Abaddon." We may regard this word as
a personification of the idea of destruction, or as sheol, the realm of
Abagtha - one of the seven eunuchs in
Ahasuerus's court (Esther 1:10; 2:21).
Abana - stony (Heb. marg. "Amanah,"
perennial), the chief river of Damascus (2 Kings 5:12). Its modern name
is Barada, the Chrysorrhoas, or "golden stream," of the Greeks. It rises
in a cleft of the Anti-Lebanon range, about 23 miles north-west of Damascus,
and after flowing southward for a little way parts into three smaller
streams, the central one flowing through Damascus, and the other two on
each side of the city, diffusing beauty and fertility where otherwise
there would be barrenness.
Abarim - regions beyond; i.e., on the
east of Jordan, a mountain, or rather a mountain-chain, over against Jericho,
to the east and south-east of the Dead Sea, in the land of Moab. From
"the top of Pisgah", i.e., Mount Nebo (q.v.), one of its summits, Moses
surveyed the Promised Land (Deut. 3:27; 32:49), and there he died (34:1,5).
The Israelites had one of their encampments in the mountains of Abarim
(Num. 33:47,48) after crossing the Arnon.
Abba - This Syriac or Chaldee word is
found three times in the New Testament (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6),
and in each case is followed by its Greek equivalent, which is translated
"father." It is a term expressing warm affection and filial confidence.
It has no perfect equivalent in our language. It has passed into European
languages as an ecclesiastical term, "abbot."
Abda - servant. (1.) The father of Adoniram,
whom Solomon set over the tribute (1 Kings 4:6); i.e., the forced labour
(2.) A Levite of the family of Jeduthun (Neh. 11:17), also called Obadiah
(1 Chr. 9:16).
Abdeel - servant of God, (Jer. 36:26),
the father of Shelemiah.
Abdi - my servant. (1.) 1 Chr. 6:44.
(2.) 2 Chr. 29:12. (3.) Ezra 10:26.
Abdiel - servant of God, (1 Chr. 5:15),
a Gadite chief.
Abdon - servile. (1.) The son of Hillel,
a Pirathonite, the tenth judge of Israel (Judg. 12:13-15). He is probably
the Bedan of 1 Sam. 12:11.
(2.) The first-born of Gibeon of the tribe of Benjamin (1 Chr. 8:30;
(3.) The son of Micah, one of those whom Josiah sent to the prophetess
Huldah to ascertain from her the meaning of the recently discovered book
of the law (2 Chr. 34:20). He is called Achbor in 2 Kings 22:12.
(4.) One of the "sons" of Shashak (1 Chr. 8:23).
This is the name also of a Levitical town of the Gershonites, in the
tribe of Asher (Josh. 21:30; 1 Chr. 6:74). The ruins of Abdeh, some 8
miles north-east of Accho, probably mark its site.
Abednego - servant of Nego=Nebo, the
Chaldee name given to Azariah, one of Daniel's three companions (Dan.
2:49). With Shadrach and Meshach, he was delivered from the burning fiery
Abel - (Heb. Hebhel), a breath, or vanity,
the second son of Adam and Eve. He was put to death by his brother Cain
(Gen. 4:1-16). Guided by the instruction of their father, the two brothers
were trained in the duty of worshipping God. "And in process of time"
(marg. "at the end of days", i.e., on the Sabbath) each of them offered
up to God of the first-fruits of his labours. Cain, as a husbandman, offered
the fruits of the field; Abel, as a shepherd, of the firstlings of his
flock. "The Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering; but unto Cain
and his offering he had not respect" (Gen. 4:3-5). On this account Cain
was angry with his brother, and formed the design of putting him to death;
a design which he at length found an opportunity of carrying into effect
(Gen. 4:8,9. Comp. 1 John 3:12). There are several references to Abel
in the New Testament. Our Saviour speaks of him as "righteous" (Matt.
23:35). "The blood of sprinkling" is said to speak "better things than
that of Abel" (Heb. 12:24); i.e., the blood of Jesus is the reality of
which the blood of the offering made by Abel was only the type. The comparison
here is between the sacrifice offered by Christ and that offered by Abel,
and not between the blood of Christ calling for mercy and the blood of
the murdered Abel calling for vengeance, as has sometimes been supposed.
It is also said (Heb. 11:4) that "Abel offered unto God a more excellent
sacrifice than Cain." This sacrifice was made "by faith;" this faith rested
in God, not only as the Creator and the God of providence, but especially
in God as the great Redeemer, whose sacrifice was typified by the sacrifices
which, no doubt by the divine institution, were offered from the days
of Adam downward. On account of that "faith" which looked forward to the
great atoning sacrifice, Abel's offering was accepted of God. Cain's offering
had no such reference, and therefore was rejected. Abel was the first
martyr, as he was the first of our race to die.
Abel (Heb. 'abhel), lamentation (1 Sam. 6:18), the name given to the
great stone in Joshua's field whereon the ark was "set down." The Revised
Version, however, following the Targum and the LXX., reads in the Hebrew
text 'ebhen (= a stone), and accordingly translates "unto the great
stone, whereon they set down the ark." This reading is to be preferred.
Abel (Heb. 'abhel), a grassy place, a meadow. This word enters into
the composition of the following words:
Abel-beth-maachah - meadow of the house
of Maachah, a city in the north of Palestine, in the neighbourhood of
Dan and Ijon, in the tribe of Naphtali. It was a place of considerable
strength and importance. It is called a "mother in Israel", i.e., a metropolis
(2 Sam. 20:19). It was besieged by Joab (2 Sam. 20:14), by Benhadad (1
Kings 15:20), and by Tiglath-pileser (2 Kings 15:29) about B.C. 734. It
is elsewhere called Abel-maim, meadow of the waters, (2 Chr. 16:4). Its
site is occupied by the modern Abil or Abil-el-kamh, on a rising ground
to the east of the brook Derdarah, which flows through the plain of Huleh
into the Jordan, about 6 miles to the west-north-west of Dan.
Abel-cheramim - (Judg. 11:33, R.V.;
A. V., "plain of the vineyards"), a village of the Ammonites, whither
Jephthah pursued their forces.
Abel-meholah - meadow of dancing, or
the dancing-meadow, the birth-place 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
Abel-mizraim - meadow of Egypt, or mourning
of Egypt, a place "beyond," i.e., on the west of Jordan, at the "threshing-floor
of Atad." Here the Egyptians mourned seventy days for Jacob (Gen. 50:4-11).
Its site is unknown.
Abel-shittim - meadow of the acacias,
frequently called simply "Shittim" (Num. 25:1; Josh. 2:1; Micah 6:5),
a place on the east of Jordan, in the plain of Moab, nearly opposite Jericho.
It was the forty-second encampment of the Israelites, their last resting-place
before they crossed the Jordan (Num. 33:49; 22:1; 26:3; 31:12; comp. 25:1;
Abez - tin, or white, a town in the
tribe of Issachar (Josh. 19:20), at the north of the plain of Esdraelon.
It is probably identified with the ruins of el-Beida.
Abia - my father is the Lord, the Greek
form of Abijah, or Abijam (Matt. 1:7), instead of Abiah (1 Chr. 7:8).
In Luke 1:5, the name refers to the head of the eighth of the twenty-four
courses into which David divided the priests (1 Chr. 24:10).
Abi-albon - father of strength; i.e.,
"valiant", one of David's body-guard of thirty mighty men (2 Sam. 23:31);
called also Abiel (1 Chr. 11:32).
Abiasaph - father of gathering; the
gatherer, the youngest of the three sons of Korah the Levite, head of
a family of Korhites (Ex. 6:24); called Ebisaph (1 Chr. 6:37).
Abiathar - father of abundance, or my
father excels, the son of Ahimelech the high priest. He was the tenth
high priest, and the fourth in descent from Eli. When his father was slain
with the priests of Nob, he escaped, and bearing with him the ephod, he
joined David, who was then in the cave of Adullam (1 Sam. 22:20-23; 23:6).
He remained with David, and became priest of the party of which he was
the leader (1 Sam. 30:7). When David ascended the throne of Judah, Abiathar
was appointed high priest (1 Chr. 15:11; 1 Kings 2:26) and the "king's
companion" (1 Chr. 27:34). Meanwhile Zadok, of the house of Eleazar, had
been made high priest. These appointments continued in force till the
end of David's reign (1 Kings 4:4). Abiathar was deposed (the sole historical
instance of the deposition of a high priest) and banished to his home
at Anathoth by Solomon, because he took part in the attempt to raise Adonijah
to the throne. The priesthood thus passed from the house of Ithamar (1
Sam. 2:30-36; 1 Kings 1:19; 2:26, 27). Zadok now became sole high priest.
In Mark 2:26, reference is made to an occurrence in "the days of Abiathar
the high priest." But from 1 Sam. 22, we learn explicitly that this event
took place when Ahimelech, the father of Abiathar, was high priest. The
apparent discrepancy is satisfactorily explained by interpreting the words
in Mark as referring to the life-time of Abiathar, and not to the term
of his holding the office of high priest. It is not implied in Mark that
he was actual high priest at the time referred to. Others, however, think
that the loaves belonged to Abiathar, who was at that time (Lev. 24:9)
a priest, and that he either himself gave them to David, or persuaded
his father to give them.
Abib - an ear of corn, the month of
newly-ripened grain (Ex. 13:4; 23:15); the first of the Jewish ecclesiastical
year, and the seventh of the civil year. It began about the time of the
vernal equinox, on 21st March. It was called Nisan, after the Captivity
(Neh. 2:1). On the fifteenth day of the month, harvest was begun by gathering
a sheaf of barley, which was offered unto the Lord on the sixteenth (Lev.
Abida - or Abi'dah, father of knowledge;
knowing, one of the five sons of Midian, who was the son of Abraham by
Keturah (1 Chr. 1:33), and apparently the chief of an Arab tribe.
Abidan - father of judgment; judge,
head of the tribe of Benjamin at the Exodus (Num. 1:11; 2:22).
Abieezer - father of help; i.e., "helpful."
(1.) The second of the three sons of Hammoleketh, the sister of Gilead.
He was the grandson of Manasseh (1 Chr. 7:18). From his family Gideon
sprang (Josh. 17:2; comp. Judg. 6:34; 8:2). He was also called Jeezer
(2.) One of David's thirty warriors (2 Sam. 23:27; comp. 1 Chr. 27:12).
(3.) The prince of the tribe of Dan at the Exodus (Num. 1:12).
Abiel - father (i.e., "possessor") of
God = "pious." (1.) The son of Zeror and father of Ner, who was the grandfather
of Saul (1 Sam. 14:51; 1 Chr. 8:33; 9:39). In 1 Sam. 9:1, he is called
the "father," probably meaning the grandfather, of Kish. (2.) An Arbathite,
one of David's warriors (1 Chr. 11:32); called also Abi-albon (2 Sam.
Abiezrite - father of help, a descendant
of Abiezer (Judg. 6:11,24; 8:32).
Abigail - father (i.e., "leader") of
the dance, or "of joy." (1.) The sister of David, and wife of Jether an
Ishmaelite (1 Chr. 2:16,17). She was the mother of Amasa (2 Sam. 17:25).
(2.) The wife of the churlish Nabal, who dwelt in the district of Carmel
(1 Sam. 25:3). She showed great prudence and delicate management at a
critical period of her husband's life. She was "a woman of good understanding,
and of a beautiful countenance." After Nabal's death she became the wife
of David (1 Sam. 25:14-42), and was his companion in all his future fortunes
(1 Sam. 27:3; 30:5; 2 Sam. 2:2). By her David had a son called Chileab
(2 Sam. 3:3), elsewhere called Daniel (1 Chr. 3:1).
Abihail - father of might. (1.) Num.
3:35. (2.) 1 Chr. 2:29. (3.) 1 Chr. 5:14.
(4.) The second wife of King Rehoboam (2 Chr. 11:18), a descendant of
Eliab, David's eldest brother.
(5.) The father of Esther and uncle of Mordecai (Esther 2:15).
Abihu - father of Him; i.e., "worshipper
of God", the second of the sons of Aaron (Ex. 6:23; Num. 3:2; 26:60; 1
Chr. 6:3). Along with his three brothers he was consecrated to the priest's
office (Ex. 28:1). With his father and elder brother he accompanied the
seventy elders part of the way up the mount with Moses (Ex. 24:1,9). On
one occasion he and Nadab his brother offered incense in their censers
filled with "strange" (i.e., common) fire, i.e., not with fire taken from
the great brazen altar (Lev. 6:9, etc.), and for this offence they were
struck dead, and were taken out and buried without the camp (Lev. 10:1-11;
comp. Num. 3:4; 26:61; 1 Chr. 24:2). It is probable that when they committed
this offence they were intoxicated, for immediately after is given the
law prohibiting the use of wine or strong drink to the priests.
Abihud - father (i.e., "possessor")
of renown. (1.) One of the sons of Bela, the son of Benjamin (1 Chr. 8:3);
called also Ahihud (ver. 7).
(2.) A descendant of Zerubbabel and father of Eliakim (Matt. 1:13, "Abiud");
called also Juda (Luke 3:26), and Obadiah (1 Chr. 3:21).
Abijah - father (i.e., "possessor or
worshipper") of Jehovah. (1.) 1 Chr. 7:8. (2.) 1 Chr. 2:24.
(3.) The second son of Samuel (1 Sam. 8:2; 1 Chr. 6:28). His conduct,
along with that of his brother, as a judge in Beer-sheba, to which office
his father had appointed him, led to popular discontent, and ultimately
provoked the people to demand a royal form of government.
(4.) A descendant of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, a chief of one of the
twenty-four orders into which the priesthood was divided by David (1 Chr.
24:10). The order of Abijah was one of those which did not return from
the Captivity (Ezra 2:36-39; Neh. 7:39-42; 12:1).
(5.) The son of Rehoboam, whom he succeeded on the throne of Judah (1
Chr. 3:10). He is also called Abijam (1 Kings 14:31; 15:1-8). He began
his three years' reign (2 Chr. 12:16; 13:1,2) with a strenuous but unsuccessful
effort to bring back the ten tribes to their allegiance. His address to
"Jeroboam and all Israel," before encountering them in battle, is worthy
of being specially noticed (2 Chr. 13:5-12). It was a very bloody battle,
no fewer than 500,000 of the army of Israel having perished on the field.
He is described as having walked "in all the sins of his father" (1 Kings
15:3; 2 Chr. 11:20-22). It is said in 1 Kings 15:2 that "his mother's
name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom;" but in 2 Chr. 13:2 we read,
"his mother's name was Michaiah, the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah." The
explanation is that Maachah is just a variation of the name Michaiah,
and that Abishalom is probably the same as Absalom, the son of David.
It is probable that "Uriel of Gibeah" married Tamar, the daughter of Absalom
(2 Sam. 14:27), and by her had Maachah. The word "daughter" in 1 Kings
15:2 will thus, as it frequently elsewhere does, mean grand-daughter.
(6.) A son of Jeroboam, the first king of Israel. On account of his
severe illness when a youth, his father sent his wife to consult the prophet
Ahijah regarding his recovery. The prophet, though blind with old age,
knew the wife of Jeroboam as soon as she approached, and under a divine
impulse he announced to her that inasmuch as in Abijah alone of all the
house of Jeroboam there was found "some good thing toward the Lord," he
only would come to his grave in peace. As his mother crossed the threshold
of the door on her return, the youth died, and "all Israel mourned for
him" (1 Kings 14:1-18).
(7.) The daughter of Zechariah (2 Chr. 29:1; comp. Isa. 8:2), and afterwards
the wife of Ahaz. She is also called Abi (2 Kings 18:2).
(8.) One of the sons of Becher, the son of Benjamin (1 Chr. 7:8). "Abiah,"
Abijam - father of the sea; i.e., "seaman"
the name always used in Kings of the king of Judah, the son of Rehoboam,
elsewhere called Abijah (1 Kings 15:1,7,8). (See ABIJAH.)
Abilene - a plain, a district lying
on the east slope of the Anti-Lebanon range; so called from its chief
town, Abila (Luke 3:1), which stood in the Suk Wady Barada, between Heliopolis
(Baalbec) and Damascus, 38 miles from the former and 18 from the latter.
Lysanias was governor or tetrarch of this province.
Abimael - father of Mael, one of the
sons or descendants of Joktan, in Northern Arabia (Gen. 10:28; 1 Chr.
Abimelech - my father a king, or father
of a king, a common name of the Philistine kings, as "Pharaoh" was of
the Egyptian kings. (1.) The Philistine king of Gerar in the time of Abraham
(Gen. 20:1-18). By an interposition of Providence, Sarah was delivered
from his harem, and was restored to her husband Abraham. As a mark of
respect he gave to Abraham valuable gifts, and offered him a settlement
in any part of his country; while at the same time he delicately and yet
severely rebuked him for having practised a deception upon him in pretending
that Sarah was only his sister. Among the gifts presented by the king
were a thousand pieces of silver as a "covering of the eyes" for Sarah;
i.e., either as an atoning gift and a testimony of her innocence in the
sight of all, or rather for the purpose of procuring a veil for Sarah
to conceal her beauty, and thus as a reproof to her for not having worn
a veil which, as a married woman, she ought to have done. A few years
after this Abimelech visited Abraham, who had removed southward beyond
his territory, and there entered into a league of peace and friendship
with him. This league was the first of which we have any record. It was
confirmed by a mutual oath at Beer-sheba (Gen. 21:22-34).
(2.) A king of Gerar in the time of Isaac, probably the son of the preceeding
(Gen. 26:1-22). Isaac sought refuge in his territory during a famine,
and there he acted a part with reference to his wife Rebekah similar to
that of his father Abraham with reference to Sarah. Abimelech rebuked
him for the deception, which he accidentally discovered. Isaac settled
for a while here, and prospered. Abimelech desired him, however, to leave
his territory, which Isaac did. Abimelech afterwards visited him when
he was encamped at Beer-sheba, and expressed a desire to renew the covenant
which had been entered into between their fathers (Gen. 26:26-31).
(3.) A son of Gideon (Judg. 9:1), who was proclaimed king after the
death of his father (Judg. 8:33-9:6). One of his first acts was to murder
his brothers, seventy in number, "on one stone," at Ophrah. Only one named
Jotham escaped. He was an unprincipled, ambitious ruler, often engaged
in war with his own subjects. When engaged in reducing the town of Thebez,
which had revolted, he was struck mortally on his head by a mill-stone,
thrown by the hand of a woman from the wall above. Perceiving that the
wound was mortal, he desired his armour-bearer to thrust him through with
his sword, that it might not be said he had perished by the hand of a
woman (Judg. 9:50-57).
(4.) The son of Abiathar, and high priest in the time of David (1 Chr.
18:16). In the parallel passage, 2 Sam. 8:17, we have the name Ahimelech,
and Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech. This most authorities consider the
more correct reading. (5.) Achish, king of Gath, in the title of Ps. 34.
(Comp. 1 Sam. 21:10-15.)
Abinadab - father of nobleness; i.e.,
"noble." (1.) A Levite of Kirjath-jearim, in whose house the ark of the
covenant was deposited after having been brought back from the land of
the Philistines (1 Sam. 7:1). It remained there twenty years, till it
was at length removed by David (1 Sam. 7:1,2; 1 Chr. 13:7).
(2.) The second of the eight sons of Jesse (1 Sam. 16:8). He was with
Saul in the campaign against the Philistines in which Goliath was slain
(1 Sam. 17:13).
(3.) One of Saul's sons, who peristed with his father in the battle
of Gilboa (1 Sam. 31:2; 1 Chr. 10:2).
(4.) One of Solomon's officers, who "provided victuals for the king
and his household." He presided, for this purpose, over the district of
Dor (1 Kings 4:11).
Abinoam - father of kindness, the father
of Barak (Judg. 4:6; 5:1).
Abiram - father of height; i.e., "proud."
(1.) One of the sons of Eliab, who joined Korah in the conspiracy against
Moses and Aaron. He and all the conspirators, with their families and
possessions (except the children of Korah), were swallowed up by an earthquake
(Num. 16:1-27; 26:9; Ps. 106:17).
(2.) The eldest son of Hiel the Bethelite, who perished prematurely
in consequence of his father's undertaking to rebuild Jericho (1 Kings
16:34), according to the words of Joshua (6:26). (See JERICHO.)
Abishag - father of (i.e., "given to")
error, a young woman of Shunem, distinguished for her beauty. She was
chosen to minister to David in his old age. She became his wife (1 Kings
1:3,4,15). After David's death Adonijah persuaded Bathsheba, Solomon's
mother, to entreat the king to permit him to marry Abishag. Solomon suspected
in this request an aspiration to the throne, and therefore caused him
to be put to death (1 Kings 2:17-25).
Abishai - father of (i.e., "desirous
of") a gift, the eldest son of Zeruiah, David's sister. He was the brother
of Joab and Asahel (2 Sam. 2:18; 1 Chr. 2:16). Abishai was the only one
who accompanied David when he went to the camp of Saul and took the spear
and the cruse of water from Saul's bolster (1 Sam. 26:5-12). He had the
command of one of the three divisions of David's army at the battle with
Absalom (2 Sam. 18:2,5,12). He slew the Philistine giant Ishbi-benob,
who threatened David's life (2 Sam. 21:15-17). He was the chief of the
second rank of the three "mighties" (2 Sam. 23:18, 19; 1 Chr. 11:20,21);
and on one occasion withstood 300 men, and slew them with his own spear
(2 Sam. 23:18). Abishai is the name of the Semitic chief who offers gifts
to the lord of Beni-Hassan. See illustration facing page 10.
Abishua - father of welfare; i.e., "fortunate."
(1.) The grandson of Benjamin (1 Chr. 8:4).
(2.) The son of Phinehas the high priest (1 Chr. 6:4,5,50; Ezra 7:5).
Abishur - father of the wall; i.e.,
"mason", one of the two sons of Shammai of the tribe of Judah (1 Chr.
Abital - father of dew; i.e., "fresh",
David's fifth wife (2 Sam. 3:4).
Abitub - father of goodness, a Benjamite
(1 Chr. 8:11).
Abjects - (Ps. 35:15), the translation
of a Hebrew word meaning smiters; probably, in allusion to the tongue,
slanderers. (Comp. Jer. 18:18.)
Ablution - or washing, was practised,
(1.) When a person was initiated into a higher state: e.g., when Aaron
and his sons were set apart to the priest's office, they were washed with
water previous to their investiture with the priestly robes (Lev. 8:6).
(2.) Before the priests approached the altar of God, they were required,
on pain of death, to wash their hands and their feet to cleanse them from
the soil of common life (Ex. 30:17-21). To this practice the Psalmist
alludes, Ps. 26:6.
(3.) There were washings prescribed for the purpose of cleansing from
positive defilement contracted by particular acts. Of such washings eleven
different species are prescribed in the Levitical law (Lev. 12-15).
(4.) A fourth class of ablutions is mentioned, by which a person purified
or absolved himself from the guilt of some particular act. For example,
the elders of the nearest village where some murder was committed were
required, when the murderer was unknown, to wash their hands over the
expiatory heifer which was beheaded, and in doing so to say, "Our hands
have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it" (Deut. 21:1-9).
So also Pilate declared himself innocent of the blood of Jesus by washing
his hands (Matt. 27:24). This act of Pilate may not, however, have been
borrowed from the custom of the Jews. The same practice was common among
the Greeks and Romans.
The Pharisees carried the practice of ablution to great excess, thereby
claiming extraordinary purity (Matt. 23:25). Mark (7:1-5) refers to the
ceremonial ablutions. The Pharisees washed their hands "oft," more correctly,
"with the fist" (R.V., "diligently"), or as an old father, Theophylact,
explains it, "up to the elbow." (Compare also Mark 7:4; Lev. 6:28; 11:
32-36; 15:22) (See WASHING.)
Abner - father of light; i.e., "enlightening",
the son of Ner and uncle of Saul. He was commander-in-chief of Saul's
army (1 Sam. 14:50; 17:55; 20:25). He first introduced David to the court
of Saul after the victory over Goliath (1 Sam. 17:57). After the death
of Saul, David was made king over Judah, and reigned in Hebron. Among
the other tribes there was a feeling of hostility to Judah; and Abner,
at the head of Ephraim, fostered this hostility in the interest of the
house of Saul, whose son Ish-bosheth he caused to be proclaimed king (2
Sam. 2:8). A state of war existed between these two kings. A battle fatal
to Abner, who was the leader of Ish-boseth's army, was fought with David's
army under Joab at Gibeon (2 Sam. 2:12). Abner, escaping from the field,
was overtaken by Asahel, who was "light of foot as a wild roe," the brother
of Joab and Abishai, whom he thrust through with a back stroke of his
spear (2 Sam. 2: 18-32).
Being rebuked by Ish-bosheth for the impropriety of taking to wife Rizpah,
who had been a concubine of King Saul, he found an excuse for going over
to the side of David, whom he now professed to regard as anointed by the
Lord to reign over all Israel. David received him favourably, and promised
that he would have command of the armies. At this time Joab was absent
from Hebron, but on his return he found what had happened. Abner had just
left the city; but Joab by a stratagem recalled him, and meeting him at
the gate of the city on his return, thrust him through with his sword
(2 Sam. 3:27, 31-39; 4:12. Comp. 1 Kings 2:5, 32). David lamented in pathetic
words the death of Abner, "Know ye not that there is a prince and a great
man fallen this day in Israel?" (2 Sam. 3:33-38.)
Abomination - This word is used, (1.)
To express the idea that the Egyptians considered themselves as defiled
when they ate with strangers (Gen. 43:32). The Jews subsequently followed
the same practice, holding it unlawful to eat or drink with foreigners
(John 18:28; Acts 10:28; 11:3).
(2.) Every shepherd was "an abomination" unto the Egyptians (Gen. 46:34).
This aversion to shepherds, such as the Hebrews, arose probably from the
fact that Lower and Middle Egypt had formerly been held in oppressive
subjection by a tribe of nomad shepherds (the Hyksos), who had only recently
been expelled, and partly also perhaps from this other fact that the Egyptians
detested the lawless habits of these wandering shepherds.
(3.) Pharaoh was so moved by the fourth plague, that while he refused
the demand of Moses, he offered a compromise, granting to the Israelites
permission to hold their festival and offer their sacrifices in Egypt.
This permission could not be accepted, because Moses said they would have
to sacrifice "the abomination of the Egyptians" (Ex. 8:26); i.e., the
cow or ox, which all the Egyptians held as sacred, and which they regarded
it as sacrilegious to kill.
(4.) Daniel (11:31), in that section of his prophecies which is generally
interpreted as referring to the fearful calamities that were to fall on
the Jews in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, says, "And they shall place
the abomination that maketh desolate." Antiochus Epiphanes caused an altar
to be erected on the altar of burnt-offering, on which sacrifices were
offered to Jupiter Olympus. (Comp. 1 Macc. 1:57). This was the abomination
of the desolation of Jerusalem. The same language is employed in Dan.
9:27 (comp. Matt. 24:15), where the reference is probably to the image-crowned
standards which the Romans set up at the east gate of the temple (A.D.
70), and to which they paid idolatrous honours. "Almost the entire religion
of the Roman camp consisted in worshipping the ensign, swearing by the
ensign, and in preferring the ensign before all other gods." These ensigns
were an "abomination" to the Jews, the "abomination of desolation."
This word is also used symbolically of sin in general (Isa. 66:3); an
idol (44:19); the ceremonies of the apostate Church of Rome (Rev. 17:4);
a detestable act (Ezek. 22:11).
Abraham - father of a multitude, son
of Terah, named (Gen. 11:27) before his older brothers Nahor and Haran,
because he was the heir of the promises. Till the age of seventy, Abram
sojourned among his kindred in his native country of Chaldea. He then,
with his father and his family and household, quitted the city of Ur,
in which he had hitherto dwelt, and went some 300 miles north to Haran,
where he abode fifteen years. The cause of his migration was a call from
God (Acts 7:2-4). There is no mention of this first call in the Old Testament;
it is implied, however, in Gen. 12. While they tarried at Haran, Terah
died at the age of 205 years. Abram now received a second and more definite
call, accompanied by a promise from God (Gen. 12:1,2); whereupon he took
his departure, taking his nephew Lot with him, "not knowing whither he
went" (Heb. 11:8). He trusted implicitly to the guidance of Him who had
Abram now, with a large household of probably a thousand souls, entered
on a migratory life, and dwelt in tents. Passing along the valley of the
Jabbok, in the land of Canaan, he formed his first encampment at Sichem
(Gen. 12:6), in the vale or oak-grove of Moreh, between Ebal on the north
and Gerizim on the south. Here he received the great promise, "I will
make of thee a great nation," etc. (Gen. 12:2,3,7). This promise comprehended
not only temporal but also spiritual blessings. It implied that he was
the chosen ancestor of the great Deliverer whose coming had been long
ago predicted (Gen. 3:15). Soon after this, for some reason not mentioned,
he removed his tent to the mountain district between Bethel, then called
Luz, and Ai, towns about two miles apart, where he built an altar to "Jehovah."
He again moved into the southern tract of Palestine, called by the Hebrews
the Negeb; and was at length, on account of a famine, compelled to go
down into Egypt. This took place in the time of the Hyksos, a Semitic
race which now held the Egyptians in bondage. Here occurred that case
of deception on the part of Abram which exposed him to the rebuke of Pharaoh
(Gen. 12:18). Sarai was restored to him; and Pharaoh loaded him with presents,
recommending him to withdraw from the country. He returned to Canaan richer
than when he left it, "in cattle, in silver, and in gold" (Gen. 12:8;
13:2. Comp. Ps. 105:13, 14). The whole party then moved northward, and
returned to their previous station near Bethel. Here disputes arose between
Lot's shepherds and those of Abram about water and pasturage. Abram generously
gave Lot his choice of the pasture-ground. (Comp. 1 Cor. 6:7.) He chose
the well-watered plain in which Sodom was situated, and removed thither;
and thus the uncle and nephew were separated. Immediately after this Abram
was cheered by a repetition of the promises already made to him, and then
removed to the plain or "oak-grove" of Mamre, which is in Hebron. He finally
settled here, pitching his tent under a famous oak or terebinth tree,
called "the oak of Mamre" (Gen. 13:18). This was his third resting-place
in the land.
Some fourteen years before this, while Abram was still in Chaldea, Palestine
had been invaded by Chedorlaomer, King of Elam, who brought under tribute
to him the five cities in the plain to which Lot had removed. This tribute
was felt by the inhabitants of these cities to be a heavy burden, and
after twelve years they revolted. This brought upon them the vengeance
of Chedorlaomer, who had in league with him four other kings. He ravaged
the whole country, plundering the towns, and carrying the inhabitants
away as slaves. Among those thus treated was Lot. Hearing of the disaster
that had fallen on his nephew, Abram immediately gathered from his own
household a band of 318 armed men, and being joined by the Amoritish chiefs
Mamre, Aner, and Eshcol, he pursued after Chedorlaomer, and overtook him
near the springs of the Jordan. They attacked and routed his army, and
pursued it over the range of Anti-Libanus as far as to Hobah, near Damascus,
and then returned, bringing back all the spoils that had been carried
away. Returning by way of Salem, i.e., Jerusalem, the king of that place,
Melchizedek, came forth to meet them with refreshments. To him Abram presented
a tenth of the spoils, in recognition of his character as a priest of
the most high God (Gen. 14:18-20).
In a recently-discovered tablet, dated in the reign of the grandfather
of Amraphel (Gen. 14:1), one of the witnesses is called "the Amorite,
the son of Abiramu," or Abram.
Having returned to his home at Mamre, the promises already made to him
by God were repeated and enlarged (Gen. 13:14). "The word of the Lord"
(an expression occurring here for the first time) "came to him" (15:1).
He now understood better the future that lay before the nation that was
to spring from him. Sarai, now seventy-five years old, in her impatience,
persuaded Abram to take Hagar, her Egyptian maid, as a concubine, intending
that whatever child might be born should be reckoned as her own. Ishmael
was accordingly thus brought up, and was regarded as the heir of these
promises (Gen. 16). When Ishmael was thirteen years old, God again revealed
yet more explicitly and fully his gracious purpose; and in token of the
sure fulfilment of that purpose the patriarch's name was now changed from
Abram to Abraham (Gen. 17:4,5), and the rite of circumcision was instituted
as a sign of the covenant. It was then announced that the heir to these
covenant promises would be the son of Sarai, though she was now ninety
years old; and it was directed that his name should be Isaac. At the same
time, in commemoration of the promises, Sarai's name was changed to Sarah.
On that memorable day of God's thus revealing his design, Abraham and
his son Ishmael and all the males of his house were circumcised (Gen.
17). Three months after this, as Abraham sat in his tent door, he saw
three men approaching. They accepted his proffered hospitality, and, seated
under an oak-tree, partook of the fare which Abraham and Sarah provided.
One of the three visitants was none other than the Lord, and the other
two were angels in the guise of men. The Lord renewed on this occasion
his promise of a son by Sarah, who was rebuked for her unbelief. Abraham
accompanied the three as they proceeded on their journey. The two angels
went on toward Sodom; while the Lord tarried behind and talked with Abraham,
making known to him the destruction that was about to fall on that guilty
city. The patriarch interceded earnestly in behalf of the doomed city.
But as not even ten righteous persons were found in it, for whose sake
the city would have been spared, the threatened destruction fell upon
it; and early next morning Abraham saw the smoke of the fire that consumed
it as the "smoke of a furnace" (Gen. 19:1-28).
After fifteen years' residence at Mamre, Abraham moved southward, and
pitched his tent among the Philistines, near to Gerar. Here occurred that
sad instance of prevarication on his part in his relation to Abimelech
the King (Gen. 20). (See ABIMELECH.) Soon after this event, the patriarch
left the vicinity of Gerar, and moved down the fertile valley about 25
miles to Beer-sheba. It was probably here that Isaac was born, Abraham
being now an hundred years old. A feeling of jealousy now arose between
Sarah and Hagar, whose son, Ishmael, was no longer to be regarded as Abraham's
heir. Sarah insisted that both Hagar and her son should be sent away.
This was done, although it was a hard trial to Abraham (Gen. 21:12). (See
At this point there is a blank in the patriarch's history of perhaps
twenty-five years. These years of peace and happiness were spent at Beer-sheba.
The next time we see him his faith is put to a severe test by the command
that suddenly came to him to go and offer up Isaac, the heir of all the
promises, as a sacrifice on one of the mountains of Moriah. His faith
stood the test (Heb. 11:17-19). He proceeded in a spirit of unhesitating
obedience to carry out the command; and when about to slay his son, whom
he had laid on the altar, his uplifted hand was arrested by the angel
of Jehovah, and a ram, which was entangled in a thicket near at hand,
was seized and offered in his stead. From this circumstance that place
was called Jehovah-jireh, i.e., "The Lord will provide." The promises
made to Abraham were again confirmed (and this was the last recorded word
of God to the patriarch); and he descended the mount with his son, and
returned to his home at Beer-sheba (Gen. 22:19), where he resided for
some years, and then moved northward to Hebron.
Some years after this Sarah died at Hebron, being 127 years old. Abraham
acquired now the needful possession of a burying-place, the cave of Machpelah,
by purchase from the owner of it, Ephron the Hittite (Gen. 23); and there
he buried Sarah. His next care was to provide a wife for Isaac, and for
this purpose he sent his steward, Eliezer, to Haran (or Charran, Acts
7:2), where his brother Nahor and his family resided (Gen. 11:31). The
result was that Rebekah, the daughter of Nahor's son Bethuel, became the
wife of Isaac (Gen. 24). Abraham then himself took to wife Keturah, who
became the mother of six sons, whose descendants were afterwards known
as the "children of the east" (Judg. 6:3), and later as "Saracens." At
length all his wanderings came to an end. At the age of 175 years, 100
years after he had first entered the land of Canaan, he died, and was
buried in the old family burying-place at Machpelah (Gen. 25:7-10).
The history of Abraham made a wide and deep impression on the ancient
world, and references to it are interwoven in the religious traditions
of almost all Eastern nations. He is called "the friend of God" (James
2:23), "faithful Abraham" (Gal. 3:9), "the father of us all" (Rom. 4:16).
Abraham's bosom - (Luke 16:22,23) refers
to the custom of reclining on couches at table, which was prevalent among
the Jews, an arrangement which brought the head of one person almost into
the bosom of the one who sat or reclined above him. To "be in Abraham's
bosom" thus meant to enjoy happiness and rest (Matt. 8:11; Luke 16:23)
at the banquet in Paradise. (See BANQUET; MEALS.)
Abram - exalted father. (see ABRAHAM.)
Abronah - R.V., one of Israel's halting-places
in the desert (Num.33:34,35), just before Ezion-gaber. In A.V., "Ebronah."
Absalom - father of peace; i.e., "peaceful"
David's son by Maacah (2 Sam. 3:3; comp. 1 Kings 1:6). He was noted for
his personal beauty and for the extra-ordinary profusion of the hair of
his head (2 Sam. 14:25,26). The first public act of his life was the blood-revenge
he executed against Amnon, David's eldest son, who had basely wronged
Absalom's sister Tamar. This revenge was executed at the time of the festivities
connected with a great sheep-shearing at Baal-hazor. David's other sons
fled from the place in horror, and brought the tidings of the death of
Amnon to Jerusalem. Alarmed for the consequences of the act, Absalom fled
to his grandfather at Geshur, and there abode for three years (2 Sam.
David mourned his absent son, now branded with the guilt of fratricide.
As the result of a stratagem carried out by a woman of Tekoah, Joab received
David's sanction to invite Absalom back to Jerusalem. He returned accordingly,
but two years elapsed before his father admitted him into his presence
(2 Sam. 14:28). Absalom was now probably the oldest surviving son of David,
and as he was of royal descent by his mother as well as by his father,
he began to aspire to the throne. His pretensions were favoured by the
people. By many arts he gained their affection; and after his return from
Geshur (2 Sam. 15:7; marg., R.V.) he went up to Hebron, the old capital
of Judah, along with a great body of the people, and there proclaimed
himself king. The revolt was so successful that David found it necessary
to quit Jerusalem and flee to Mahanaim, beyond Jordan; where upon Absalom
returned to Jerusalem and took possession of the throne without opposition.
Ahithophel, who had been David's chief counsellor, deserted him and joined
Absalom, whose chief counsellor he now became. Hushai also joined Absalom,
but only for the purpose of trying to counteract the counsels of Ahithophel,
and so to advantage David's cause. He was so far successful that by his
advice, which was preferred to that of Ahithophel, Absalom delayed to
march an army against his father, who thus gained time to prepare for
Absalom at length marched out against his father, whose army, under
the command of Joab, he encountered on the borders of the forest of Ephraim.
Twenty thousand of Absalom's army were slain in that fatal battle, and
the rest fled. Absalom fled on a swift mule; but his long flowing hair,
or more probably his head, was caught in the bough of an oak, and there
he was left suspended till Joab came up and pierced him through with three
darts. His body was then taken down and cast into a pit dug in the forest,
and a heap of stones was raised over his grave. When the tidings of the
result of that battle were brought to David, as he sat impatiently at
the gate of Mahanaim, and he was told that Absalom had been slain, he
gave way to the bitter lamentation: "O my son Absalom, my son, my son
Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!" (2
Sam. 18:33. Comp. Ex. 32:32; Rom. 9:3).
Absalom's three sons (2 Sam. 14:27; comp. 18:18) had all died before
him, so that he left only a daughter, Tamar, who became the grandmother
Acacia - (Heb. shittim) Ex. 25:5, R.V.
probably the Acacia seyal (the gum-arabic tree); called the "shittah"
tree (Isa. 41:19). Its wood is called shittim wood (Ex. 26:15,26; 25:10,13,23,28,
etc.). This species (A. seyal) is like the hawthorn, a gnarled and thorny
tree. It yields the gum-arabic of commerce. It is found in abundance in
the Sinaitic peninsula.
Accad - the high land or mountains,
a city in the land of Shinar. It has been identified with the mounds of
Akker Kuf, some 50 miles to the north of Babylon; but this is doubtful.
It was one of the cities of Nimrod's kingdom (Ge 10:10). It stood close
to the Euphrates, opposite Sippara. (See SEPHARVAIM.)
It is also the name of the country of which this city was the capital,
namely, northern or upper Babylonia. The Accadians who came from the "mountains
of the east," where the ark rested, attained to a high degree of civilization.
In the Babylonian inscriptions they are called "the black heads" and "the
black faces," in contrast to "the white race" of Semitic descent. They
invented the form of writing in pictorial hieroglyphics, and also the
cuneiform system, in which they wrote many books partly on papyrus and
partly on clay. The Semitic Babylonians ("the white race"), or, as some
scholars think, first the Cushites, and afterwards, as a second immigration,
the Semites, invaded and conquered this country; and then the Accadian
language ceased to be a spoken language, although for the sake of its
literary treasures it continued to be studied by the educated classes
of Babylonia. A large portion of the Ninevite tablets brought to light
by Oriental research consists of interlinear or parallel translations
from Accadian into Assyrian; and thus that long-forgotten language has
been recovered by scholars. It belongs to the class of languages called
agglutinative, common to the Tauranian race; i.e., it consists of words
"glued together," without declension of conjugation. These tablets in
a remarkable manner illustrate ancient history. Among other notable records,
they contain an account of the Creation which closely resembles that given
in the book of Genesis, of the Sabbath as a day of rest, and of the Deluge
and its cause. (See BABYLON; CHALDEA.)
Accho - sultry or sandy, a town and
harbour of Phoenicia, in the tribe of Asher, but never acquired by them
(Judg. 1:31). It was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans by the name
of Ptolemais, from Ptolemy the king of Egypt, who rebuilt it about B.C.
100. Here Paul landed on his last journey to Jerusalem (Acts 21:7). During
the crusades of the Middle Ages it was called Acra; and subsequently,
on account of its being occupied by the Knights Hospitallers of Jerusalem,
it was called St. Jean d'Acre, or simply Acre.
Accuser - Satan is styled the "accuser
of the brethren" (Rev. 12:10. Comp. Job 1:6; Zech. 3:1), as seeking to
uphold his influence among men by bringing false charges against Christians,
with the view of weakening their influence and injuring the cause with
which they are identified. He was regarded by the Jews as the accuser
of men before God, laying to their charge the violations of the law of
which they were guilty, and demanding their punishment. The same Greek
word, rendered "accuser," is found in John 8:10 (but omitted in the Revised
Version); Acts 23:30, 35; 24:8; 25:16, 18, in all of which places it is
used of one who brings a charge against another.
Aceldama - the name which the Jews gave
in their proper tongue, i.e., in Aramaic, to the field which was purchased
with the money which had been given to the betrayer of our Lord. The word
means "field of blood." It was previously called "the potter's field"
(Matt. 27:7, 8; Acts 1:19), and was appropriated as the burial-place for
strangers. It lies on a narrow level terrace on the south face of the
valley of Hinnom. Its modern name is Hak ed-damm.
Achaia - the name originally of a narrow
strip of territory in Greece, on the north-west of the Peloponnesus. Subsequently
it was applied by the Romans to the whole Peloponnesus, now called the
Morea, and the south of Greece. It was then one of the two provinces (Macedonia
being the other) into which they divided the country when it fell under
their dominion. It is in this latter enlarged meaning that the name is
always used in the New Testament (Acts 18:12, 27; 19:21; Rom. 15: 26;
16:5, etc.). It was at the time when Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles
under the proconsular form of government; hence the appropriate title
given to Gallio as the "deputy," i.e., proconsul, of Achaia (Acts 18:12).
Achaichus - (1 Cor. 16:17), one of the
members of the church of Corinth who, with Fortunatus and Stephanas, visited
Paul while he was at Ephesus, for the purpose of consulting him on the
affairs of the church. These three probably were the bearers of the letter
from Corinth to the apostle to which he alludes in 1 Cor. 7:1.
Achan - called also Achar, i.e., one
who troubles (1 Chr. 2:7), in commemoration of his crime, which brought
upon him an awful destruction (Josh. 7:1). On the occasion of the fall
of Jericho, he seized, contrary to the divine command, an ingot of gold,
a quantity of silver, and a costly Babylonish garment, which he hid in
his tent. Joshua was convinced that the defeat which the Israelites afterwards
sustained before Ai was a proof of the divine displeasure on account of
some crime, and he at once adopted means by the use of the lot for discovering
the criminal. It was then found that Achan was guilty, and he was stoned
to death in the valley of Achor. He and all that belonged to him were
then consumed by fire, and a heap of stones was raised over the ashes.
Achbor - gnawing = mouse. (1.) An Edomitish
king (Gen. 36:38; 1 Chr. 1:49).
(2.) One of Josiah's officers sent to the prophetess Huldah to inquire
regarding the newly-discovered book of the law (2 Kings 22:12, 14). He
is also called Abdon (2 Chr. 34:20).
Achish - angry, perhaps only a general
title of royalty applicable to the Philistine kings. (1.) The king with
whom David sought refuge when he fled from Saul (1 Sam. 21:10-15). He
is called Abimelech in the superscription of Ps. 34. It was probably this
same king to whom David a second time repaired at the head of a band of
600 warriors, and who assigned him Ziklag, whence he carried on war against
the surrounding tribes (1 Sam. 27:5-12). Achish had great confidence in
the valour and fidelity of David (1 Sam. 28:1,2), but at the instigation
of his courtiers did not permit him to go up to battle along with the
Philistine hosts (1 Sam. 29:2-11). David remained with Achish a year and
four months. (2.) Another king of Gath, probably grandson of the foregoing,
to whom the two servants of Shimei fled. This led Shimei to go to Gath
in pursuit of them, and the consequence was that Solomon put him to death
(1 Kings 2:39-46).
Achmetha - (Ezra 6:2), called Ecbatana
by classical writers, the capital of northern Media. Here was the palace
which was the residence of the old Median monarchs, and of Cyrus and Cambyses.
In the time of Ezra, the Persian kings resided usually at Susa of Babylon.
But Cyrus held his court at Achmetha; and Ezra, writing a century after,
correctly mentions the place where the decree of Cyrus was found.
Achor - trouble, a valley near Jericho,
so called in consequence of the trouble which the sin of Achan caused
Israel (Josh. 7:24,26). The expression "valley of Achor" probably became
proverbial for that which caused trouble, and when Isaiah (Isa. 65:10)
refers to it he uses it in this sense: "The valley of Achor, a place for
herds to lie down in;" i.e., that which had been a source of calamity
would become a source of blessing. Hosea also (Hos. 2:15) uses the expression
in the same sense: "The valley of Achor for a door of hope;" i.e., trouble
would be turned into joy, despair into hope. This valley has been identified
with the Wady Kelt.
Achsah - anklet, Caleb's only daughter
(1 Chr. 2:49). She was offered in marriage to the man who would lead an
attack on the city of Debir, or Kirjath-sepher. This was done by Othniel
(q.v.), who accordingly obtained her as his wife (Josh. 15:16-19; Judg.
Achshaph - fascination, a royal city
of the Canaanites, in the north of Palestine (Josh. 11:1; 12:20; 19:25).
It was in the eastern boundary of the tribe of Asher, and is identified
with the modern ruined village of Kesaf or Yasif, N.E. of Accho.
Achzib - falsehood. (1.) A town in the
Shephelah, or plain country of Judah (Josh. 15:44); probably the same
as Chezib of Gen. 38:5 = Ain Kezbeh.
(2.) A Phoenician city (the Gr. Ecdippa), always retained in their possession
though assigned to the tribe of Asher (Josh. 19:29; Judg. 1:31). It is
identified with the modern es-Zib, on the Mediterranean, about 8 miles
north of Accho.
Acre - is the translation of a word
(tse'med), which properly means a yoke, and denotes a space of ground
that may be ploughed by a yoke of oxen in a day. It is about an acre of
our measure (Isa. 5:10; 1 Sam. 14:14).
Acts of the Apostles - the title now
given to the fifth and last of the historical books of the New Testament.
The author styles it a "treatise" (1:1). It was early called "The Acts,"
"The Gospel of the Holy Ghost," and "The Gospel of the Resurrection."
It contains properly no account of any of the apostles except Peter and
Paul. John is noticed only three times; and all that is recorded of James,
the son of Zebedee, is his execution by Herod. It is properly therefore
not the history of the "Acts of the Apostles," a title which was given
to the book at a later date, but of "Acts of Apostles," or more correctly,
of "Some Acts of Certain Apostles."
As regards its authorship, it was certainly the work of Luke, the "beloved
physician" (comp. Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1). This is the uniform tradition
of antiquity, although the writer nowhere makes mention of himself by
name. The style and idiom of the Gospel of Luke and of the Acts, and the
usage of words and phrases common to both, strengthen this opinion. The
writer first appears in the narrative in 16:11, and then disappears till
Paul's return to Philippi two years afterwards, when he and Paul left
that place together (20:6), and the two seem henceforth to have been constant
companions to the end. He was certainly with Paul at Rome (28; Col. 4:14).
Thus he wrote a great portion of that history from personal observation.
For what lay beyond his own experience he had the instruction of Paul.
If, as is very probable, 2 Tim. was written during Paul's second imprisonment
at Rome, Luke was with him then as his faithful companion to the last
(2 Tim. 4:11). Of his subsequent history we have no certain information.
The design of Luke's Gospel was to give an exhibition of the character
and work of Christ as seen in his history till he was taken up from his
disciples into heaven; and of the Acts, as its sequel, to give an illustration
of the power and working of the gospel when preached among all nations,
"beginning at Jerusalem." The opening sentences of the Acts are just an
expansion and an explanation of the closing words of the Gospel. In this
book we have just a continuation of the history of the church after Christ's
ascension. Luke here carries on the history in the same spirit in which
he had commenced it. It is only a book of beginnings, a history of the
founding of churches, the initial steps in the formation of the Christian
society in the different places visited by the apostles. It records a
cycle of "representative events."
All through the narrative we see the ever-present, all-controlling power
of the ever-living Saviour. He worketh all and in all in spreading abroad
his truth among men by his Spirit and through the instrumentality of his
The time of the writing of this history may be gathered from the fact
that the narrative extends down to the close of the second year of Paul's
first imprisonment at Rome. It could not therefore have been written earlier
than A.D. 61 or 62, nor later than about the end of A.D. 63. Paul was
probably put to death during his second imprisonment, about A.D. 64, or,
as some think, 66.
The place where the book was written was probably Rome, to which Luke
The key to the contents of the book is in 1:8, "Ye shall be witnesses
unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto
the uttermost part of the earth." After referring to what had been recorded
in a "former treatise" of the sayings and doings of Jesus Christ before
his ascension, the author proceeds to give an account of the circumstances
connected with that event, and then records the leading facts with reference
to the spread and triumphs of Christianity over the world during a period
of about thirty years. The record begins with Pentecost (A.D. 33) and
ends with Paul's first imprisonment (A.D. 63 or 64). The whole contents
of the book may be divided into these three parts:
(1.) Chaps. 1-12, describing the first twelve years of the Christian
church. This section has been entitled "From Jerusalem to Antioch." It
contains the history of the planting and extension of the church among
the Jews by the ministry of Peter.
(2.) Chaps. 13-21, Paul's missionary journeys, giving the history of
the extension and planting of the church among the Gentiles.
(3.) Chaps. 21-28, Paul at Rome, and the events which led to this. Chaps.
13-28 have been entitled "From Antioch to Rome."
In this book it is worthy of note that no mention is made of the writing
by Paul of any of his epistles. This may be accounted for by the fact
that the writer confined himself to a history of the planting of the church,
and not to that of its training or edification. The relation, however,
between this history and the epistles of Paul is of such a kind, i.e.,
brings to light so many undesigned coincidences, as to prove the genuineness
and authenticity of both, as is so ably shown by Paley in his Horae
Paulinae. "No ancient work affords so many tests of veracity; for
no other has such numerous points of contact in all directions with contemporary
history, politics, and topography, whether Jewish, or Greek, or Roman."
Lightfoot. (See PAUL.)
Adah - ornament. (1.) The first of Lamech's
two wives, and the mother of Jabal and Jubal (Gen. 4:19, 20, 23).
(2.) The first of Esau's three wives, the daughter of Elon the Hittite
(Gen. 36:2,4), called also Bashemath (26:34).
Adam - red, a Babylonian word, the generic
name for man, having the same meaning in the Hebrew and the Assyrian languages.
It was the name given to the first man, whose creation, fall, and subsequent
history and that of his descendants are detailed in the first book of
Moses (Gen. 1:27-ch. 5). "God created man [Heb., Adam] in his own image,
in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."
Adam was absolutely the first man whom God created. He was formed out
of the dust of the earth (and hence his name), and God breathed into his
nostrils the breath of life, and gave him dominion over all the lower
creatures (Gen. 1:26; 2:7). He was placed after his creation in the Garden
of Eden, to cultivate it, and to enjoy its fruits under this one prohibition:
"Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it;
for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
The first recorded act of Adam was his giving names to the beasts of
the field and the fowls of the air, which God brought to him for this
end. Thereafter the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon him, and while
in an unconscious state took one of his ribs, and closed up his flesh
again; and of this rib he made a woman, whom he presented to him when
he awoke. Adam received her as his wife, and said, "This is now bone of
my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she
was taken out of Man." He called her Eve, because she was the mother of
Being induced by the tempter in the form of a serpent to eat the forbidden
fruit, Eve persuaded Adam, and he also did eat. Thus man fell, and brought
upon himself and his posterity all the sad consequences of his transgression.
The narrative of the Fall comprehends in it the great promise of a Deliverer
(Gen. 3:15), the "first gospel" message to man. They were expelled from
Eden, and at the east of the garden God placed a flame, which turned every
way, to prevent access to the tree of life (Gen. 3). How long they were
in Paradise is matter of mere conjecture.
Shortly after their expulsion Eve brought forth her first-born, and
called him Cain. Although we have the names of only three of Adam's sons,
viz., Cain, Abel, and Seth, yet it is obvious that he had several sons
and daughters (Gen. 5:4). He died aged 930 years.
Adam and Eve were the progenitors of the whole human race. Evidences
of varied kinds are abundant in proving the unity of the human race. The
investigations of science, altogether independent of historical evidence,
lead to the conclusion that God "hath made of one blood all nations of
men for to dwell on all the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26. Comp. Rom.
5:12-12; 1 Cor. 15:22-49).
Adamah - red earth, a fortified city
of Naphtali, probably the modern Damieh, on the west side of the sea of
Tiberias (Josh. 19:33, 36).
Adamant - (Heb. shamir), Ezek. 3:9.
The Greek word adamas means diamond. This stone is not referred to, but
corundum or some kind of hard steel. It is an emblem of firmness in resisting
adversaries of the truth (Zech. 7:12), and of hard-heartedness against
the truth (Jer. 17:1).
Adam, a type - The apostle Paul speaks
of Adam as "the figure of him who was to come." On this account our Lord
is sometimes called the second Adam. This typical relation is described
in Rom. 5:14-19.
Adam, the city of - is referred to in
Josh. 3:16. It stood "beside Zarethan," on the west bank of Jordan (1
Kings 4:12). At this city the flow of the water was arrested and rose
up "upon an heap" at the time of the Israelites' passing over (Josh. 3:16).
Adar - large, the sixth month of the
civil and the twelfth of the ecclesiastical year of the Jews (Esther 3:7,
13; 8:12; 9:1, 15, 17, 19, 21). It included the days extending from the
new moon of our March to the new moon of April. The name was first used
after the Captivity. When the season was backward, and the lambs not yet
of a paschal size, or the barley not forward enough for abib, then a month
called Veadar, i.e., a second Adar, was intercalated.
Adbeel - miracle of God, the third of
the twelve sons of Ishmael, and head of an Arabian tribe (Gen. 25:13;
1 Chr. 1:29).
Addar - ample, splendid, son of Bela
(1 Chr. 8:3); called also "Ard" (Gen. 46:21)
Adder - (Ps. 140:3; Rom. 3:13, "asp")
is the rendering of, (1.) Akshub ("coiling" or "lying in wait"), properly
an asp or viper, found only in this passage. (2.) Pethen ("twisting"),
a viper or venomous serpent identified with the cobra (Naja haje) (Ps.
58:4; 91:13); elsewhere "asp." (3.) Tziphoni ("hissing") (Prov. 23:32);
elsewhere rendered "cockatrice," Isa. 11:8; 14:29; 59:5; Jer. 8:17, as
it is here in the margin of the Authorized Version. The Revised Version
has "basilisk." This may have been the yellow viper, the Daboia xanthina,
the largest and most dangerous of the vipers of Palestine. (4.) Shephiphon
("creeping"), occurring only in Gen. 49:17, the small speckled venomous
snake, the "horned snake," or cerastes. Dan is compared to this serpent,
which springs from its hiding-place on the passer-by.
Addi - ornament, (Luke 3:28), the son
of Cosam, and father of Melchi, one of the progenitors of Christ.
Addon - low, one of the persons named
in Neh. 7:61 who could not "shew their father's house" on the return from
captivity. This, with similar instances (ver. 63), indicates the importance
the Jews attached to their genealogies.
Adiel - ornament of God. (1.) The father
of Azmaveth, who was treasurer under David and Solomon (1 Chr. 27:25).
(2.) A family head of the tribe of Simeon (1 Chr. 4:36). (3.) A priest
(1 Chr. 9:12).
Adin - effeminate. (1.) Ezra 8:6. (2.)
Adina - slender, one of David's warriors
(1 Chr. 11:42), a Reubenite.
Adino - the Eznite, one of David's mighty
men (2 Sam. 23:8). (See JASHOBEAM.)
Adjuration - a solemn appeal whereby
one person imposes on another the obligation of speaking or acting as
if under an oath (1 Sam. 14:24; Josh. 6:26; 1 Kings 22:16).
We have in the New Testament a striking example of this (Matt. 26:63;
Mark 5:7), where the high priest calls upon Christ to avow his true character.
It would seem that in such a case the person so adjured could not refuse
to give an answer.
The word "adjure", i.e., cause to swear is used with reference to the
casting out of demons (Acts 19:13).
Admah - earth, one of the five cities
of the vale of Siddim (Gen. 10:19). It was destroyed along with Sodom
and Gomorrah (19:24; Deut. 29:23). It is supposed by some to be the same
as the Adam of Josh. 3:16, the name of which still lingers in Damieh,
the ford of Jordan. (See ZEBOIM.)
Adnah - delight. (1.) A chief of the
tribe of Manasseh who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chr. 12:20). (2.) A general
under Jehoshaphat, chief over 300,000 men (2 Chr. 17:14).
Adonibezek - lord of Bezek, a Canaanitish
king who, having subdued seventy of the chiefs that were around him, made
an attack against the armies of Judah and Simeon, but was defeated and
brought as a captive to Jerusalem, where his thumbs and great toes were
cut off. He confessed that God had requited him for his like cruelty to
the seventy kings whom he had subdued (Judg. 1:4-7; comp. 1 Sam. 15:33).
Adonijah - my Lord is Jehovah. (1.)
The fourth son of David (2 Sam. 3:4). After the death of his elder brothers,
Amnon and Absalom, he became heir-apparent to the throne. But Solomon,
a younger brother, was preferred to him. Adonijah, however, when his father
was dying, caused himself to be proclaimed king. But Nathan and Bathsheba
induced David to give orders that Solomon should at once be proclaimed
and admitted to the throne. Adonijah fled and took refuge at the altar,
and received pardon for his conduct from Solomon on the condition that
he showed himself "a worthy man" (1 Kings 1:5-53). He afterwards made
a second attempt to gain the throne, but was seized and put to death (1
(2.) A Levite sent with the princes to teach the book of the law to
the inhabitants of Judah (2 Chr. 17:8).
(3.) One of the "chiefs of the people" after the Captivity (Neh. 10:16).
Adonikam - whom the Lord sets up, one
of those "which came with Zerubbabel" (Ezra 2:13). His "children," or
retainers, to the number of 666, came up to Jerusalem (8:13).
Adoniram - (Adoram, 1 Kings 12:18),
the son of Abda, was "over the tribute," i.e., the levy or forced labour.
He was stoned to death by the people of Israel (1 Kings 4:6; 5:14)
Adoni-zedec - lord of justice or righteousness,
was king in Jerusalem at the time when the Israelites invaded Palestine
(Josh. 10:1,3). He formed a confederacy with the other Canaanitish kings
against the Israelites, but was utterly routed by Joshua when he was engaged
in besieging the Gibeonites. The history of this victory and of the treatment
of the five confederated kings is recorded in Josh. 10:1-27. (Comp. Deut.
21:23). Among the Tell Amarna tablets (see EGYPT ) are some very interesting
letters from Adoni-zedec to the King of Egypt. These illustrate in a very
remarkable manner the history recorded in Josh. 10, and indeed throw light
on the wars of conquest generally, so that they may be read as a kind
of commentary on the book of Joshua. Here the conquering career of the
Abiri (i.e., Hebrews) is graphically described: "Behold, I say that the
land of the king my lord is ruined", "The wars are mighty against me",
"The Hebrew chiefs plunder all the king's lands", "Behold, I the chief
of the Amorites am breaking to pieces." Then he implores the king of Egypt
to send soldiers to help him, directing that the army should come by sea
to Ascalon or Gaza, and thence march to Wru-sa-lim (Jerusalem) by the
valley of Elah.