Manasseh - who makes to forget. "God hath made me forget" (Heb.
nashshani), Gen. 41:51. (1.) The elder of the two sons of Joseph. He and
his brother Ephraim were afterwards adopted by Jacob as his own sons (48:1).
There is an account of his marriage to a Syrian (1 Chr. 7:14); and the only
thing afterwards recorded of him is, that his grandchildren were "brought
up upon Joseph's knees" (Gen. 50:23; R.V., "born upon Joseph's knees") i.e.,
were from their birth adopted by Joseph as his own children.
The tribe of Manasseh was associated with that of Ephraim and Benjamin
during the wanderings in the wilderness. They encamped on the west side
of the tabernacle. According to the census taken at Sinai, this tribe
then numbered 32,200 (Num. 1:10, 35; 2:20, 21). Forty years afterwards
its numbers had increased to 52,700 (26:34, 37), and it was at this time
the most distinguished of all the tribes.
The half of this tribe, along with Reuben and Gad, had their territory
assigned them by Moses on the east of the Jordan (Josh. 13:7-14); but
it was left for Joshua to define the limits of each tribe. This territory
on the east of Jordan was more valuable and of larger extent than all
that was allotted to the nine and a half tribes in the land of Palestine.
It is sometimes called "the land of Gilead," and is also spoken of as
"on the other side of Jordan." The portion given to the half tribe of
Manasseh was the largest on the east of Jordan. It embraced the whole
of Bashan. It was bounded on the south by Mahanaim, and extended north
to the foot of Lebanon. Argob, with its sixty cities, that "ocean of basaltic
rocks and boulders tossed about in the wildest confusion," lay in the
midst of this territory.
The whole "land of Gilead" having been conquered, the two and a half
tribes left their wives and families in the fortified cities there, and
accompanied the other tribes across the Jordan, and took part with them
in the wars of conquest. The allotment of the land having been completed,
Joshua dismissed the two and a half tribes, commending them for their
heroic service (Josh. 22:1-34). Thus dismissed, they returned over Jordan
to their own inheritance. (See ED.)
On the west of Jordan the other half of the tribe of Manasseh was associated
with Ephraim, and they had their portion in the very centre of Palestine,
an area of about 1,300 square miles, the most valuable part of the whole
country, abounding in springs of water. Manasseh's portion was immediately
to the north of that of Ephraim (Josh. 16). Thus the western Manasseh
defended the passes of Esdraelon as the eastern kept the passes of the
(2.) The only son and successor of Hezekiah on the throne of Judah.
He was twelve years old when he began to reign (2 Kings 21:1), and he
reigned fifty-five years (B.C. 698-643). Though he reigned so long, yet
comparatively little is known of this king. His reign was a continuation
of that of Ahaz, both in religion and national polity. He early fell under
the influence of the heathen court circle, and his reign was characterized
by a sad relapse into idolatry with all its vices, showing that the reformation
under his father had been to a large extent only superficial (Isa. 7:10;
2 Kings 21:10-15). A systematic and persistent attempt was made, and all
too successfully, to banish the worship of Jehovah out of the land. Amid
this wide-spread idolatry there were not wanting, however, faithful prophets
(Isaiah, Micah) who lifted up their voice in reproof and in warning. But
their fidelity only aroused bitter hatred, and a period of cruel persecution
against all the friends of the old religion began. "The days of Alva in
Holland, of Charles IX. in France, or of the Covenanters under Charles
II. in Scotland, were anticipated in the Jewish capital. The streets were
red with blood." There is an old Jewish tradition that Isaiah was put
to death at this time (2 Kings 21:16; 24:3, 4; Jer. 2:30), having been
sawn asunder in the trunk of a tree. Psalms 49, 73, 77, 140, and 141 seem
to express the feelings of the pious amid the fiery trials of this great
persecution. Manasseh has been called the "Nero of Palestine."
Esarhaddon, Sennacherib's successor on the Assyrian throne, who had
his residence in Babylon for thirteen years (the only Assyrian monarch
who ever reigned in Babylon), took Manasseh prisoner (B.C. 681) to Babylon.
Such captive kings were usually treated with great cruelty. They were
brought before the conqueror with a hook or ring passed through their
lips or their jaws, having a cord attached to it, by which they were led.
This is referred to in 2 Chr. 33:11, where the Authorized Version reads
that Esarhaddon "took Manasseh among the thorns;" while the Revised Version
renders the words, "took Manasseh in chains;" or literally, as in the
margin, "with hooks." (Comp. 2 Kings 19:28.)
The severity of Manasseh's imprisonment brought him to repentance. God
heard his cry, and he was restored to his kingdom (2 Chr. 33:11-13). He
abandoned his idolatrous ways, and enjoined the people to worship Jehovah;
but there was no thorough reformation. After a lengthened reign extending
through fifty-five years, the longest in the history of Judah, he died,
and was buried in the garden of Uzza, the "garden of his own house" (2
Kings 21:17, 18; 2 Chr. 33:20), and not in the city of David, among his
ancestors. He was succeeded by his son Amon.
In Judg. 18:30 the correct reading is "Moses," and not "Manasseh." The
name "Manasseh" is supposed to have been introduced by some transcriber
to avoid the scandal of naming the grandson of Moses the great lawgiver
as the founder of an idolatrous religion.
Mandrakes - Hebrew dudaim; i.e., "love-plants",
occurs only in Gen. 30:14-16 and Cant. 7:13. Many interpretations have
been given of this word dudaim. It has been rendered "violets,"
"Lilies," "jasmines," "truffles or mushrooms," "flowers," the "citron,"
etc. The weight of authority is in favour of its being regarded as the
Mandragora officinalis of botanists, "a near relative of the night-shades,
the 'apple of Sodom' and the potato plant." It possesses stimulating and
narcotic properties (Gen. 30:14-16). The fruit of this plant resembles
the potato-apple in size, and is of a pale orange colour. It has been
called the "love-apple." The Arabs call it "Satan's apple." It still grows
near Jerusalem, and in other parts of Palestine.
Maneh - portion (Ezek. 45:12), rendered
"pound" (1 Kings 10:17; Ezra 2:69; Neh. 7:71, 72), a weight variously
estimated, probably about 2 1/2 or 3 lbs. A maneh of gold consisted of
a hundred common shekels (q.v.). (Comp. 1 Kings 10:17, and 2 Chr. 9:16).
Manger - (Luke 2:7, 12, 16), the name
(Gr. phatne, rendered "stall" in Luke 13:15) given to the place where
the infant Redeemer was laid. It seems to have been a stall or crib for
feeding cattle. Stables and mangers in our modern sense were in ancient
times unknown in the East. The word here properly denotes "the ledge or
projection in the end of the room used as a stall on which the hay or
other food of the animals of travellers was placed." (See INN.)
Manna - Heb. man-hu, "What is that?"
the name given by the Israelites to the food miraculously supplied to
them during their wanderings in the wilderness (Ex. 16:15-35). The name
is commonly taken as derived from man, an expression of surprise,
"What is it?" but more probably it is derived from manan, meaning
"to allot," and hence denoting an "allotment" or a "gift." This "gift"
from God is described as "a small round thing," like the "hoar-frost on
the ground," and "like coriander seed," "of the colour of bdellium," and
in taste "like wafers made with honey." It was capable of being baked
and boiled, ground in mills, or beaten in a mortar (Ex. 16:23; Num. 11:7).
If any was kept over till the following morning, it became corrupt with
worms; but as on the Sabbath none fell, on the preceding day a double
portion was given, and that could be kept over to supply the wants of
the Sabbath without becoming corrupt. Directions concerning the gathering
of it are fully given (Ex. 16:16-18, 33; Deut. 8:3, 16). It fell for the
first time after the eighth encampment in the desert of Sin, and was daily
furnished, except on the Sabbath, for all the years of the wanderings,
till they encamped at Gilgal, after crossing the Jordan, when it suddenly
ceased, and where they "did eat of the old corn of the land; neither had
the children of Israel manna any more" (Josh. 5:12). They now no longer
needed the "bread of the wilderness."
This manna was evidently altogether a miraculous gift, wholly different
from any natural product with which we are acquainted, and which bears
this name. The manna of European commerce comes chiefly from Calabria
and Sicily. It drops from the twigs of a species of ash during the months
of June and July. At night it is fluid and resembles dew, but in the morning
it begins to harden. The manna of the Sinaitic peninsula is an exudation
from the "manna-tamarisk" tree (Tamarix mannifera), the el-tarfah of the
Arabs. This tree is found at the present day in certain well-watered valleys
in the peninsula of Sinai. The manna with which the people of Israel were
fed for forty years differs in many particulars from all these natural
Our Lord refers to the manna when he calls himself the "true bread from
heaven" (John 6:31-35; 48-51). He is also the "hidden manna" (Rev. 2:17;
comp. John 6:49,51).
Manoah - rest, a Danite, the father
of Samson (Judg. 13:1-22, and 14:2-4).
Man of sin - a designation of Antichrist
given in 2 Thess. 2:3-10, usually regarded as descriptive of the Papal
power; but "in whomsoever these distinctive features are found, whoever
wields temporal and spiritual power in any degree similar to that in which
the man of sin is here described as wielding it, he, be he pope or potentate,
is beyond all doubt a distinct type of Antichrist."
Manslayer - one who was guilty of accidental
homicide, and was entitled to flee to a city of refuge (Num. 35:6, 12,
22, 23), his compulsory residence in which terminated with the death of
the high priest. (See CITY OF REFUGE.)
Mantle - (1.) Heb. 'addereth, a large
over-garment. This word is used of Elijah's mantle (1 Kings 19:13, 19;
2 Kings 2:8, 13, etc.), which was probably a sheepskin. It appears to
have been his only garment, a strip of skin or leather binding it to his
loins. 'Addereth twice occurs with the epithet "hairy" (Gen. 25:25;
Zech. 13:4, R.V.). It is the word denoting the "goodly Babylonish garment"
which Achan coveted (Josh. 7:21).
(2.) Heb. me'il, frequently applied to the "robe of the ephod" (Ex.
28:4, 31; Lev. 8:7), which was a splendid under tunic wholly of blue,
reaching to below the knees. It was woven without seam, and was put on
by being drawn over the head. It was worn not only by priests but by kings
(1 Sam. 24:4), prophets (15:27), and rich men (Job 1:20; 2:12). This was
the "little coat" which Samuel's mother brought to him from year to year
to Shiloh (1 Sam. 2:19), a miniature of the official priestly robe.
(3.) Semikah, "a rug," the garment which Jael threw as a covering over
Sisera (Judg. 4:18). The Hebrew word occurs nowhere else in Scripture.
(4.) Maataphoth, plural, only in Isa. 3:22, denoting a large exterior
tunic worn by females. (See DRESS.)
Maoch - compressed, the father of Achish,
king of Gath (1 Sam. 27:2). Called also Maachah (1 Kings 2:39).
Maon - habitation, a town in the tribe
of Judah, about 7 miles south of Hebron, which gave its name to the wilderness,
the district round the conical hill on which the town stood. Here David
hid from Saul, and here Nabal had his possessions and his home (1 Sam.
23:24, 25; 25:2). "Only some small foundations of hewn stone, a square
enclosure, and several cisterns are now to be seen at Maon. Are they the
remains of Nabal's great establishment?" The hill is now called Tell M'ain.
Mara - bitter; sad, a symbolical name
which Naomi gave to herself because of her misfortunes (Ruth 1:20).
Marah - bitterness, a fountain at the
sixth station of the Israelites (Ex. 15:23, 24; Num. 33:8) whose waters
were so bitter that they could not drink them. On this account they murmured
against Moses, who, under divine direction, cast into the fountain "a
certain tree" which took away its bitterness, so that the people drank
of it. This was probably the 'Ain Hawarah, where there are still several
springs of water that are very "bitter," distant some 47 miles from 'Ayun
Maralah - trembling, a place on the
southern boundary of Zebulun (Josh. 19:11). It has been identified with
the modern M'alul, about 4 miles south-west of Nazareth.
Maranatha - (1 Cor. 16:22) consists
of two Aramean words, Maran'athah, meaning, "our Lord comes," or is "coming."
If the latter interpretation is adopted, the meaning of the phrase is,
"Our Lord is coming, and he will judge those who have set him at nought."
(Comp. Phil. 4:5; James 5:8, 9.)
Marble - as a mineral, consists of carbonate
of lime, its texture varying from the highly crystalline to the compact.
In Esther 1:6 there are four Hebrew words which are rendered marble:,
(1.) Shesh, "pillars of marble." But this word probably designates dark-blue
limestone rather than marble. (2.) Dar, some regard as Parian marble.
It is here rendered "white marble." But nothing is certainly known of
it. (3.) Bahat, "red marble," probably the verd-antique or half-porphyry
of Egypt. (4.) Sohareth, "black marble," probably some spotted variety
of marble. "The marble pillars and tesserae of various colours of the
palace at Susa came doubtless from Persia itself, where marble of various
colours is found, especially in the province of Hamadan Susiana." The
marble of Solomon's architectural works may have been limestone from near
Jerusalem, or from Lebanon, or possibly white marble from Arabia. Herod
employed Parian marble in the temple, and marble columns still exist in
great abundance at Jerusalem.
Marcheshvan - the post-biblical name
of the month which was the eighth of the sacred and the second of the
civil year of the Jews. It began with the new moon of our November. It
is once called Bul (1 Kings 6:38). Assyrian, Arah Samna, "eighth month,"
Marcus - Col. 4:10; Philemon 1:24; 1
Pet. 5:13; R.V., "Mark" (q.v.).
Mareshah - possession, a city in the
plain of Judah (John. 15:44). Here Asa defeated Zerah the Ethiopian (2
Chr. 14:9, 10). It is identified with the ruin el-Mer'ash, about 1 1/2
mile south of Beit Jibrin.
Mark - the evangelist; "John whose surname
was Mark" (Acts 12:12, 25). Mark (Marcus, Col. 4:10, etc.) was his Roman
name, which gradually came to supersede his Jewish name John. He is called
John in Acts 13:5, 13, and Mark in 15:39, 2 Tim. 4:11, etc.
He was the son of Mary, a woman apparently of some means and influence,
and was probably born in Jerusalem, where his mother resided (Acts 12:12).
Of his father we know nothing. He was cousin of Barnabas (Col. 4:10).
It was in his mother's house that Peter found "many gathered together
praying" when he was released from prison; and it is probable that it
was here that he was converted by Peter, who calls him his "son" (1 Pet.
5:13). It is probable that the "young man" spoken of in Mark 14:51, 52
was Mark himself. He is first mentioned in Acts 12:25. He went with Paul
and Barnabas on their first journey (about A.D. 47) as their "minister,"
but from some cause turned back when they reached Perga in Pamphylia (Acts
12:25; 13:13). Three years afterwards a "sharp contention" arose between
Paul and Barnabas (15:36-40), because Paul would not take Mark with him.
He, however, was evidently at length reconciled to the apostle, for he
was with him in his first imprisonment at Rome (Col. 4:10; Philemon 1:24).
At a later period he was with Peter in Babylon (1 Pet. 5:13), then, and
for some centuries afterwards, one of the chief seats of Jewish learning;
and he was with Timothy in Ephesus when Paul wrote him during his second
imprisonment (2 Tim. 4:11). He then disappears from view.
Market-place - any place of public resort,
and hence a public place or broad street (Matt. 11:16; 20:3), as well
as a forum or market-place proper, where goods were exposed for sale,
and where public assemblies and trials were held (Acts 16:19; 17:17).
This word occurs in the Old Testament only in Ezek. 27:13.
In early times markets were held at the gates of cities, where commodities
were exposed for sale (2 Kings 7:18). In large towns the sale of particular
articles seems to have been confined to certain streets, as we may infer
from such expressions as "the bakers' street" (Jer. 37:21), and from the
circumstance that in the time of Josephus the valley between Mounts Zion
and Moriah was called the Tyropoeon or the "valley of the cheesemakers."
Mark, Gospel according to - It is the
current and apparently well-founded tradition that Mark derived his information
mainly from the discourses of Peter. In his mother's house he would have
abundant opportunities of obtaining information from the other apostles
and their coadjutors, yet he was "the disciple and interpreter of Peter"
As to the time when it was written, the Gospel furnishes us with no
definite information. Mark makes no mention of the destruction of Jerusalem,
hence it must have been written before that event, and probably about
The place where it was written was probably Rome. Some have supposed
Antioch (comp. Mark 15:21 with Acts 11:20).
It was intended primarily for Romans. This appears probable when it
is considered that it makes no reference to the Jewish law, and that the
writer takes care to interpret words which a Gentile would be likely to
misunderstand, such as, "Boanerges" (3:17); "Talitha cumi" (5:41); "Corban"
(7:11); "Bartimaeus" (10:46); "Abba" (14:36); "Eloi," etc. (15:34). Jewish
usages are also explained (7:3; 14:3; 14:12; 15:42). Mark also uses certain
Latin words not found in any of the other Gospels, as "speculator" (6:27,
rendered, A.V., "executioner;" R.V., "soldier of his guard"), "xestes"
(a corruption of sextarius, rendered "pots," 7:4, 8), "quadrans" (12:42,
rendered "a farthing"), "centurion" (15:39, 44, 45). He only twice quotes
from the Old Testament (1:2; 15:28).
The characteristics of this Gospel are, (1) the absence of the genealogy
of our Lord, (2) whom he represents as clothed with power, the "lion of
the tribe of Judah." (3.) Mark also records with wonderful minuteness
the very words (3:17; 5:41; 7:11, 34; 14:36) as well as the position (9:35)
and gestures (3:5, 34; 5:32; 9:36; 10:16) of our Lord. (4.) He is also
careful to record particulars of person (1:29, 36; 3:6, 22, etc.), number
(5:13; 6:7, etc.), place (2:13; 4:1; 7:31, etc.), and time (1:35; 2:1;
4:35, etc.), which the other evangelists omit. (5.) The phrase "and straightway"
occurs nearly forty times in this Gospel; while in Luke's Gospel, which
is much longer, it is used only seven times, and in John only four times.
"The Gospel of Mark," says Westcott, "is essentially a transcript from
life. The course and issue of facts are imaged in it with the clearest
outline." "In Mark we have no attempt to draw up a continuous narrative.
His Gospel is a rapid succession of vivid pictures loosely strung together
without much attempt to bind them into a whole or give the events in their
natural sequence. This pictorial power is that which specially characterizes
this evangelist, so that 'if any one desires to know an evangelical fact,
not only in its main features and grand results, but also in its most
minute and so to speak more graphic delineation, he must betake himself
to Mark.'" The leading principle running through this Gospel may be expressed
in the motto: "Jesus came...preaching the gospel of the kingdom" (Mark
"Out of a total of 662 verses, Mark has 406 in common with Matthew and
Luke, 145 with Matthew, 60 with Luke, and at most 51 peculiar to itself."
Maroth - bitterness; i.e., "perfect
grief", a place not far from Jerusalem; mentioned in connection with the
invasion of the Assyrian army (Micah 1:12).
Marriage - was instituted in Paradise
when man was in innocence (Gen. 2:18-24). Here we have its original charter,
which was confirmed by our Lord, as the basis on which all regulations
are to be framed (Matt. 19:4, 5). It is evident that monogamy was the
original law of marriage (Matt. 19:5; 1 Cor. 6:16). This law was violated
in after times, when corrupt usages began to be introduced (Gen. 4:19;
6:2). We meet with the prevalence of polygamy and concubinage in the patriarchal
age (Gen. 16:1-4; 22:21-24; 28:8, 9; 29:23-30, etc.). Polygamy was acknowledged
in the Mosaic law and made the basis of legislation, and continued to
be practised all down through the period of Jewish histroy to the Captivity,
after which there is no instance of it on record.
It seems to have been the practice from the beginning for fathers to
select wives for their sons (Gen. 24:3; 38:6). Sometimes also proposals
were initiated by the father of the maiden (Ex. 2:21). The brothers of
the maiden were also sometimes consulted (Gen. 24:51; 34:11), but her
own consent was not required. The young man was bound to give a price
to the father of the maiden (31:15; 34:12; Ex. 22:16, 17; 1 Sam. 18:23,
25; Ruth 4:10; Hos. 3:2) On these patriarchal customs the Mosaic law made
In the pre-Mosaic times, when the proposals were accepted and the marriage
price given, the bridegroom could come at once and take away his bride
to his own house (Gen. 24:63-67). But in general the marriage was celebrated
by a feast in the house of the bride's parents, to which all friends were
invited (29:22, 27); and on the day of the marriage the bride, concealed
under a thick veil, was conducted to her future husband's home.
Our Lord corrected many false notions then existing on the subject of
marriage (Matt. 22:23-30), and placed it as a divine institution on the
highest grounds. The apostles state clearly and enforce the nuptial duties
of husband and wife (Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18, 19; 1 Pet. 3:1-7). Marriage
is said to be "honourable" (Heb. 13:4), and the prohibition of it is noted
as one of the marks of degenerate times (1 Tim. 4:3).
The marriage relation is used to represent the union between God and
his people (Isa. 54:5; Jer. 3:1-14; Hos. 2:9, 20). In the New Testament
the same figure is employed in representing the love of Christ to his
saints (Eph. 5:25-27). The Church of the redeemed is the "Bride, the Lamb's
wife" (Rev. 19:7-9).
Marriage-feasts - (John 2:1-11) "lasted
usually for a whole week; but the cost of such prolonged rejoicing is
very small in the East. The guests sit round the great bowl or bowls on
the floor, the meal usually consisting of a lamb or kid stewed in rice
or barley. The most honoured guests sit nearest, others behind; and all
in eating dip their hand into the one smoking mound, pieces of the thin
bread, bent together, serving for spoons when necessary. After the first
circle have satisfied themselves, those lower in honour sit down to the
rest, the whole company being men, for women are never seen at a feast.
Water is poured on the hands before eating; and this is repeated when
the meal closes, the fingers having first been wiped on pieces of bread,
which, after serving the same purpose as table-napkins with us, are thrown
on the ground to be eaten by any dog that may have stolen in from the
streets through the ever-open door, or picked up by those outside when
gathered and tossed out to them (Matt. 15:27; Mark 7:28). Rising from
the ground and retiring to the seats round the walls, the guests then
sit down cross-legged and gossip, or listen to recitals, or puzzle over
riddles, light being scantily supplied by a small lamp or two, or if the
night be chilly, by a smouldering fire of weeds kindled in the middle
of the room, perhaps in a brazier, often in a hole in the floor. As to
the smoke, it escapes as it best may; but indeed there is little of it,
though enough to blacken the water or wine or milk skins hung up on pegs
on the wall. (Comp. Ps. 119:83.) To some such marriage-feast Jesus and
his five disciples were invited at Cana of Galilee." Geikie's Life of
Christ. (See CANA.)
Mars Hill - the Areopagus or rocky hill
in Athens, north-west of the Acropolis, where the Athenian supreme tribunal
and court of morals was held. From some part of this hill Paul delivered
the address recorded in Acts 17:22-31. (See AREOPAGUS.)
Martha - bitterness, the sister of Lazarus
and Mary, and probably the eldest of the family, who all resided at Bethany
(Luke 10:38, 40, 41; John 11:1-39). From the residence being called "her
house," some have supposed that she was a widow, and that her brother
and sister lodged with her. She seems to have been of an anxious, bustling
spirit, anxious to be helpful in providing the best things for the Master's
use, in contrast to the quiet earnestness of Mary, who was more concerned
to avail herself of the opportunity of sitting at his feet and learning
of him. Afterwards at a supper given to Christ and his disciples in her
house "Martha served." Nothing further is known of her.
"Mary and Martha are representatives of two orders of human character.
One was absorbed, preoccupied, abstracted; the other was concentrated
and single-hearted. Her own world was the all of Martha; Christ was the
first thought with Mary. To Martha life was 'a succession of particular
businesses;' to Mary life 'was rather the flow of one spirit.' Martha
was Petrine, Mary was Johannine. The one was a well-meaning, bustling
busybody; the other was a reverent disciple, a wistful listener." Paul
had such a picture as that of Martha in his mind when he spoke of serving
the Lord "without distraction" (1 Cor. 7:35).
Martyr - one who bears witness of the
truth, and suffers death in the cause of Christ (Acts 22:20; Rev. 2:13;
17:6). In this sense Stephen was the first martyr. The Greek word so rendered
in all other cases is translated "witness." (1.) In a court of justice
(Matt. 18:16; 26:65; Acts 6:13; 7:58; Heb. 10:28; 1 Tim. 5:19). (2.) As
of one bearing testimony to the truth of what he has seen or known (Luke
24:48; Acts 1:8, 22; Rom. 1:9; 1 Thess. 2:5, 10; 1 John 1:2).
Mary - Hebrew Miriam. (1.) The wife
of Joseph, the mother of Jesus, called the "Virgin Mary," though never
so designated in Scripture (Matt. 2:11; Acts 1:14). Little is known of
her personal history. Her genealogy is given in Luke 3. She was of the
tribe of Judah and the lineage of David (Ps. 132:11; Luke 1:32). She was
connected by marriage with Elisabeth, who was of the lineage of Aaron
While she resided at Nazareth with her parents, before she became the
wife of Joseph, the angel Gabriel announced to her that she was to be
the mother of the promised Messiah (Luke 1:35). After this she went to
visit her cousin Elisabeth, who was living with her husband Zacharias
(probably at Juttah, Josh. 15:55; 21:16, in the neighbourhood of Maon),
at a considerable distance, about 100 miles, from Nazareth. Immediately
on entering the house she was saluted by Elisabeth as the mother of her
Lord, and then forthwith gave utterance to her hymn of thanksgiving (Luke
1:46-56; comp. 1 Sam. 2:1-10). After three months Mary returned to Nazareth
to her own home. Joseph was supernaturally made aware (Matt. 1:18-25)
of her condition, and took her to his own home. Soon after this the decree
of Augustus (Luke 2:1) required that they should proceed to Bethlehem
(Micah 5:2), some 80 or 90 miles from Nazareth; and while they were there
they found shelter in the inn or khan provided for strangers (Luke 2:6,
7). But as the inn was crowded, Mary had to retire to a place among the
cattle, and there she brought forth her son, who was called Jesus (Matt.
1:21), because he was to save his people from their sins. This was followed
by the presentation in the temple, the flight into Egypt, and their return
in the following year and residence at Nazareth (Matt. 2). There for thirty
years Mary, the wife of Joseph the carpenter, resides, filling her own
humble sphere, and pondering over the strange things that had happened
to her. During these years only one event in the history of Jesus is recorded,
viz., his going up to Jerusalem when twelve years of age, and his being
found among the doctors in the temple (Luke 2:41-52). Probably also during
this period Joseph died, for he is not again mentioned.
After the commencement of our Lord's public ministry little notice is
taken of Mary. She was present at the marriage in Cana. A year and a half
after this we find her at Capernaum (Matt. 12:46, 48, 49), where Christ
uttered the memorable words, "Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold
my mother and my brethren!" The next time we find her is at the cross
along with her sister Mary, and Mary Magdalene, and Salome, and other
women (John 19:26). From that hour John took her to his own abode. She
was with the little company in the upper room after the Ascension (Acts
1:14). From this time she wholly disappears from public notice. The time
and manner of her death are unknown.
(2.) Mary Magdalene, i.e., Mary of Magdala, a town on the western shore
of the Lake of Tiberias. She is for the first time noticed in Luke 8:3
as one of the women who "ministered to Christ of their substance." Their
motive was that of gratitude for deliverances he had wrought for them.
Out of Mary were cast seven demons. Gratitude to her great Deliverer prompted
her to become his follower. These women accompanied him also on his last
journey to Jerusalem (Matt. 27:55; Mark 15:41; Luke 23:55). They stood
near the cross. There Mary remained till all was over, and the body was
taken down and laid in Joseph's tomb. Again, in the earliest dawn of the
first day of the week she, with Salome and Mary the mother of James (Matt.
28:1; Mark 16:2), came to the sepulchre, bringing with them sweet spices,
that they might anoint the body of Jesus. They found the sepulchre empty,
but saw the "vision of angels" (Matt. 28:5). She hastens to tell Peter
and John, who were probably living together at this time (John 20:1, 2),
and again immediately returns to the sepulchre. There she lingers thoughtfully,
weeping at the door of the tomb. The risen Lord appears to her, but at
first she knows him not. His utterance of her name "Mary" recalls her
to consciousness, and she utters the joyful, reverent cry, "Rabboni."
She would fain cling to him, but he forbids her, saying, "Touch me not;
for I am not yet ascended to my Father." This is the last record regarding
Mary of Magdala, who now returned to Jerusalem. The idea that this Mary
was "the woman who was a sinner," or that she was unchaste, is altogether
(3.) Mary the sister of Lazarus is brought to our notice in connection
with the visits of our Lord to Bethany. She is contrasted with her sister
Martha, who was "cumbered about many things" while Jesus was their guest,
while Mary had chosen "the good part." Her character also appears in connection
with the death of her brother (John 11:20,31,33). On the occasion of our
Lord's last visit to Bethany, Mary brought "a pound of ointment of spikenard,
very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus" as he reclined at table in
the house of one Simon, who had been a leper (Matt. 26:6; Mark 14:3; John
12:2,3). This was an evidence of her overflowing love to the Lord. Nothing
is known of her subsequent history. It would appear from this act of Mary's,
and from the circumstance that they possessed a family vault (11:38),
and that a large number of Jews from Jerusalem came to condole with them
on the death of Lazarus (11:19), that this family at Bethany belonged
to the wealthier class of the people. (See MARTHA.)
(4.) Mary the wife of Cleopas is mentioned (John 19:25) as standing
at the cross in company with Mary of Magdala and Mary the mother of Jesus.
By comparing Matt. 27:56 and Mark 15:40, we find that this Mary and "Mary
the mother of James the little" are on and the same person, and that she
was the sister of our Lord's mother. She was that "other Mary" who was
present with Mary of Magdala at the burial of our Lord (Matt. 27:61; Mark
15:47); and she was one of those who went early in the morning of the
first day of the week to anoint the body, and thus became one of the first
witnesses of the resurrection (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1).
(5.) Mary the mother of John Mark was one of the earliest of our Lord's
disciples. She was the sister of Barnabas (Col. 4:10), and joined with
him in disposing of their land and giving the proceeds of the sale into
the treasury of the Church (Acts 4:37; 12:12). Her house in Jerusalem
was the common meeting-place for the disciples there.
(6.) A Christian at Rome who treated Paul with special kindness (Rom.
Maschil - instructing, occurs in the
title of thirteen Psalms (32, 42, 44, etc.). It denotes a song enforcing
some lesson of wisdom or piety, a didactic song. In Ps. 47:7 it is rendered,
Authorized Version, "with understanding;" Revised Version, marg., "in
a skilful psalm."
Mash - (= Meshech 1 Chr. 1:17), one
of the four sons of Aram, and the name of a tribe descended from him (Gen.
10:23) inhabiting some part probably of Mesopotamia. Some have supposed
that they were the inhabitants of Mount Masius, the present Karja Baghlar,
which forms part of the chain of Taurus.
Mashal - entreaty, a levitical town
in the tribe of Asher (1 Chr. 6:74); called Mishal (Josh. 21:30).
Mason - an artificer in stone. The Tyrians
seem to have been specially skilled in architecture (1 Kings 5:17, 18;
2 Sam. 5:11). This art the Hebrews no doubt learned in Egypt (Ex. 1:11,
14), where ruins of temples and palaces fill the traveller with wonder
at the present day.
Masrekah - vineyard of noble vines,
a place in Idumea, the native place of Samlah, one of the Edomitish kings
(Gen. 36:36; 1 Chr. 1:47).
Massa - a lifting up, gift, one of the
sons of Ishmael, the founder of an Arabian tribe (Gen. 25:14); a nomad
tribe inhabiting the Arabian desert toward Babylonia.
Massah - trial, temptation, a name given
to the place where the Israelites, by their murmuring for want of water,
provoked Jehovah to anger against them. It is also called Meribah (Ex.
17:7; Deut. 6:16; Ps. 95:8, 9; Heb. 3:8).
Mattan - gift. (1.) A priest of Baal,
slain before his altar during the reformation under Jehoiada (2 Kings
(2.) The son of Eleazar, and father of Jacob, who was the father of
Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary (Matt. 1:15).
(3.) The father of Shephatiah (Jer. 38:1).
Mattanah - a gift, a station of the
Israelites (Num. 21:18, 19) between the desert and the borders of Moab,
in the Wady Waleh.
Mattaniah - gift of Jehovah. (1.) A
Levite, son of Heman, the chief of the ninth class of temple singers (1
Chr. 25:4, 16).
(2.) A Levite who assisted in purifying the temple at the reformation
under Hezekiah (2 Chr. 29:13).
(3.) The original name of Zedekiah (q.v.), the last of the kings of
Judah (2 Kings 24:17). He was the third son of Josiah, who fell at Megiddo.
He succeeded his nephew Jehoiakin.
Mattathias - ibid. (1.) The son of Amos,
in the genealogy of our Lord (Luke 3:25).
(2.) The son of Semei, in the same genealogy (Luke 3:26).
Matthan - gift, one of our Lord's ancestry
Matthat - gift of God. (1.) The son
of Levi, and father of Heli (Luke 3:24).
(2.) Son of another Levi (Luke 3:29).
Matthew - gift of God, a common Jewish
name after the Exile. He was the son of Alphaeus, and was a publican or
tax-gatherer at Capernaum. On one occasion Jesus, coming up from the side
of the lake, passed the custom-house where Matthew was seated, and said
to him, "Follow me." Matthew arose and followed him, and became his disciple
(Matt. 9:9). Formerly the name by which he was known was Levi (Mark 2:14;
Luke 5:27); he now changed it, possibly in grateful memory of his call,
to Matthew. The same day on which Jesus called him he made a "great feast"
(Luke 5:29), a farewell feast, to which he invited Jesus and his disciples,
and probably also many of old associates. He was afterwards selected as
one of the twelve (6:15). His name does not occur again in the Gospel
history except in the lists of the apostles. The last notice of him is
in Acts 1:13. The time and manner of his death are unknown.
Matthew, Gospel according to - The author
of this book was beyond a doubt the Matthew, an apostle of our Lord, whose
name it bears. He wrote the Gospel of Christ according to his own plans
and aims, and from his own point of view, as did also the other "evangelists."
As to the time of its composition, there is little in the Gospel itself
to indicate. It was evidently written before the destruction of Jerusalem
(Matt. 24), and some time after the events it records. The probability
is that it was written between the years A.D. 60 and 65.
The cast of thought and the forms of expression employed by the writer
show that this Gospel was written for Jewish Christians of Palestine.
His great object is to prove that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah,
and that in him the ancient prophecies had their fulfilment. The Gospel
is full of allusions to those passages of the Old Testament in which Christ
is predicted and foreshadowed. The one aim prevading the whole book is
to show that Jesus is he "of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did
write." This Gospel contains no fewer than sixty-five references to the
Old Testament, forty-three of these being direct verbal citations, thus
greatly outnumbering those found in the other Gospels. The main feature
of this Gospel may be expressed in the motto, "I am not come to destroy,
but to fulfil."
As to the language in which this Gospel was written there is much controversy.
Many hold, in accordance with old tradition, that it was originally written
in Hebrew (i.e., the Aramaic or Syro-Chaldee dialect, then the vernacular
of the inhabitants of Palestine), and afterwards translated into Greek,
either by Matthew himself or by some person unknown. This theory, though
earnestly maintained by able critics, we cannot see any ground for adopting.
From the first this Gospel in Greek was received as of authority in the
Church. There is nothing in it to show that it is a translation. Though
Matthew wrote mainly for the Jews, yet they were everywhere familiar with
the Greek language. The same reasons which would have suggested the necessity
of a translation into Greek would have led the evangelist to write in
Greek at first. It is confessed that this Gospel has never been found
in any other form than that in which we now possess it.
The leading characteristic of this Gospel is that it sets forth the
kingly glory of Christ, and shows him to be the true heir to David's throne.
It is the Gospel of the kingdom. Matthew uses the expression "kingdom
of heaven" (thirty-two times), while Luke uses the expression "kingdom
of God" (thirty-three times). Some Latinized forms occur in this Gospel,
as kodrantes (Matt. 5:26), for the Latin quadrans, and phragello (27:26),
for the Latin flagello. It must be remembered that Matthew was a tax-gatherer
for the Roman government, and hence in contact with those using the Latin
As to the relation of the Gospels to each other, we must maintain that
each writer of the synoptics (the first three) wrote independently of
the other two, Matthew being probably first in point of time.
"Out of a total of 1071 verses, Matthew has 387 in common with Mark
and Luke, 130 with Mark, 184 with Luke; only 387 being peculiar to itself."
(See MARK; LUKE; GOSPELS.)
The book is fitly divided into these four parts: (1.) Containing the
genealogy, the birth, and the infancy of Jesus (1; 2).
(2.) The discourses and actions of John the Baptist preparatory to Christ's
public ministry (3; 4:11).
(3.) The discourses and actions of Christ in Galilee (4:12-20:16).
(4.) The sufferings, death and resurrection of our Lord (20:17-28).
Matthias - gift of God. Acts 1:23.
Mattithiah - gift of Jehovah. (1.) One
of the sons of Jeduthun (1 Chr. 25:3, 21).
(2.) The eldest son of Shallum, of the family of Korah (1 Chr. 9:31).
(3.) One who stood by Ezra while reading the law (Neh. 8:4).
(4.) The son of Amos, and father of Joseph, in the genealogy of our
Lord (Luke 3:25).
Mattock - (1.) Heb. ma'eder, an instrument
for dressing or pruning a vineyard (Isa. 7:25); a weeding-hoe.
(2.) Heb. mahareshah (1 Sam. 13:1), perhaps the ploughshare or coulter.
(3.) Heb. herebh, marg. of text (2 Chr. 34:6). Authorized Version, "with
their mattocks," marg. "mauls." The Revised Version renders "in their
ruins," marg. "with their axes." The Hebrew text is probably corrupt.
Maul - an old name for a mallet, the
rendering of the Hebrew mephits (Prov. 25:18), properly a war-club.
Mazzaroth - prognostications, found
only Job 38:32, probably meaning "the twelve signs" (of the zodiac), as
in the margin (comp. 2 Kings 23:5).
Meadow - (1.) Heb. ha'ahu (Gen. 41:2,
18), probably an Egyptain word transferred to the Hebrew; some kind of
reed or water-plant. In the Revised Version it is rendered "reed-grass",
i.e., the sedge or rank grass by the river side.
(2.) Heb. ma'areh (Judg. 20:33), pl., "meadows of Gibeah" (R.V., after
the LXX., "Maareh-geba"). Some have adopted the rendering "after Gibeah
had been left open." The Vulgate translates the word "from the west."
Meah - an hundred, a tower in Jersalem
on the east wall (Neh. 3:1) in the time of Nehemiah.
Meals - are at the present day "eaten
from a round table little higher than a stool, guests sitting cross-legged
on mats or small carpets in a circle, and dipping their fingers into one
large dish heaped with a mixture of boiled rice and other grain and meat.
But in the time of our Lord, and perhaps even from the days of Amos (6:4,
7), the foreign custom had been largely introduced of having broad couches,
forming three sides of a small square, the guests reclining at ease on
their elbows during meals, with their faces to the space within, up and
down which servants passed offering various dishes, or in the absence
of servants, helping themselves from dishes laid on a table set between
the couches." Geikie's Life of Christ. (Comp. Luke 7:36-50.) (See ABRAHAM'S
BOSOM; BANQUET; FEAST.)
Mearah - a cave, a place in the northern
boundary of Palestine (Josh. 13:4). This may be the cave of Jezzin in
Lebanon, 10 miles east of Sidon, on the Damascus road; or probably, as
others think, Mogheirizeh, north-east of Sidon.
Measure - Several words are so rendered
in the Authorized Version. (1.) Those which are indefinite. (a) Hok, Isa.
5:14, elsewhere "statute." (b) Mad, Job 11:9; Jer. 13:25, elsewhere "garment."
(c) Middah, the word most frequently thus translated, Ex. 26:2, 8, etc.
(d) Mesurah, Lev. 19:35; 1 Chr. 23:29. (e) Mishpat, Jer. 30:11, elsewhere
"judgment." (f) Mithkoneth and token, Ezek. 45:11. (g) In New Testament
metron, the usual Greek word thus rendered (Matt. 7:2; 23:32; Mark 4:24).
(2.) Those which are definite. (a) 'Eyphah, Deut. 25:14, 15, usually
"ephah." (b) Ammah, Jer. 51:13, usually "cubit." (c) Kor, 1 Kings 4:22,
elsewhere "cor;" Greek koros, Luke 16:7. (d) Seah, Gen. 18:6; 1 Sam. 25:18,
a seah; Greek saton, Matt. 13:33; Luke 13:21. (e) Shalish, "a great measure,"
Isa. 40:12; literally a third, i.e., of an ephah. (f) In New Testament
batos, Luke 16:6, the Hebrew "bath;" and choinix, Rev. 6:6, the choenix,
equal in dry commodities to one-eighth of a modius.
Meat-offering - (Heb. minhah), originally
a gift of any kind. This Hebrew word came latterly to denote an "unbloody"
sacrifice, as opposed to a "bloody" sacrifice. A "drink-offering" generally
accompanied it. The law regarding it is given in Lev. 2, and 6:14-23.
It was a recognition of the sovereignty of God and of his bounty in giving
all earthly blessings (1 Chr. 29:10-14; Deut. 26:5-11). It was an offering
which took for granted and was based on the offering for sin. It followed
the sacrifice of blood. It was presented every day with the burnt-offering
(Ex. 29:40, 41), and consisted of flour or of cakes prepared in a special
way with oil and frankincense.
Mebunnai - construction, building of
Jehovah, one of David's bodyguard (2 Sam. 23:27; comp. 21:18); called
Sibbechai and Sibbecai (1 Chr. 11:29; 27:11).
Medad - love, one of the elders nominated
to assist Moses in the government of the people. He and Eldad "prophesied
in the camp" (Num. 11:24-29).
Medan - contention, the third son of
Abraham by Keturah (Gen. 25:2).
Mede - (Heb. Madai), a Median or inhabitant
of Media (Dan. 11:1). In Gen. 10:2 the Hebrew word occurs in the list
of the sons of Japheth. But probably this is an ethnic and not a personal
name, and denotes simply the Medes as descended from Japheth.
Medeba - waters of quiet, an ancient
Moabite town (Num. 21:30). It was assigned to the tribe of Reuben (Josh.
13:16). Here was fought the great battle in which Joab defeated the Ammonites
and their allies (1 Chr. 19:7-15; comp. 2 Sam. 10:6-14). In the time of
Isaiah (15:2) the Moabites regained possession of it from the Ammonites.
The ruins of this important city, now Madeba or Madiyabah, are seen
about 8 miles south-west of Heshbon, and 14 east of the Dead Sea. Among
these are the ruins of what must have been a large temple, and of three
cisterns of considerable extent, which are now dry. These cisterns may
have originated the name Medeba, "waters of quiet." (See OMRI.)
Media - Heb. Madai, which is rendered
in the Authorized Version (1) "Madai," Gen. 10:2; (2) "Medes," 2 Kings
17:6; 18:11; (3) "Media," Esther 1:3; 10:2; Isa. 21:2; Dan. 8:20; (4)
"Mede," only in Dan. 11:1.
We first hear of this people in the Assyrian cuneiform records, under
the name of Amada, about B.C. 840. They appear to have been a branch of
the Aryans, who came from the east bank of the Indus, and were probably
the predominant race for a while in the Mesopotamian valley. They consisted
for three or four centuries of a number of tribes, each ruled by its own
chief, who at length were brought under the Assyrian yoke (2 Kings 17:6).
From this subjection they achieved deliverance, and formed themselves
into an empire under Cyaxares (B.C. 633). This monarch entered into an
alliance with the king of Babylon, and invaded Assyria, capturing and
destroying the city of Nineveh (B.C. 625), thus putting an end to the
Assyrian monarchy (Nah. 1:8; 2:5,6; 3:13, 14).
Media now rose to a place of great power, vastly extending its boundaries.
But it did not long exist as an independent kingdom. It rose with Cyaxares,
its first king, and it passed away with him; for during the reign of his
son and successor Astyages, the Persians waged war against the Medes and
conquered them, the two nations being united under one monarch, Cyrus
the Persian (B.C. 558).
The "cities of the Medes" are first mentioned in connection with the
deportation of the Israelites on the destruction of Samaria (2 Kings 17:6;
18:11). Soon afterwards Isaiah (13:17; 21:2) speaks of the part taken
by the Medes in the destruction of Babylon (comp. Jer. 51:11, 28). Daniel
gives an account of the reign of Darius the Mede, who was made viceroy
by Cyrus (Dan. 6:1-28). The decree of Cyrus, Ezra informs us (6:2-5),
was found in "the palace that is in the province of the Medes," Achmetha
or Ecbatana of the Greeks, which is the only Median city mentioned in
Mediator - one who intervenes between
two persons who are at variance, with a view to reconcile them. This word
is not found in the Old Testament; but the idea it expresses is found
in Job 9:33, in the word "daysman" (q.v.), marg., "umpire."
This word is used in the New Testament to denote simply an internuncius,
an ambassador, one who acts as a medium of communication between two contracting
parties. In this sense Moses is called a mediator in Gal. 3:19.
Christ is the one and only mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5;
Heb. 8:6; 9:15; 12:24). He makes reconciliation between God and man by
his all-perfect atoning sacrifice. Such a mediator must be at once divine
and human, divine, that his obedience and his sufferings might possess
infinite worth, and that he might possess infinite wisdom and knowlege
and power to direct all things in the kingdoms of providence and grace
which are committed to his hands (Matt. 28:18; John 5:22, 25, 26, 27);
and human, that in his work he might represent man, and be capable of
rendering obedience to the law and satisfying the claims of justice (Heb.
2:17, 18; 4:15, 16), and that in his glorified humanity he might be the
head of a glorified Church (Rom. 8:29).
This office involves the three functions of prophet, priest, and king,
all of which are discharged by Christ both in his estate of humiliation
and exaltation. These functions are so inherent in the one office that
the quality appertaining to each gives character to every mediatorial
act. They are never separated in the exercise of the office of mediator.
Meekness - a calm temper of mind, not
easily provoked (James 3:13). Peculiar promises are made to the meek (Matt.
5:5; Isa. 66:2). The cultivation of this spirit is enjoined (Col. 3:12;
1 Tim. 6:11; Zeph. 2:3), and is exemplified in Christ (Matt. 11:29), Abraham
(Gen. 13; 16:5, 6) Moses (Num. 12:3), David (Zech. 12:8; 2 Sam. 16:10,
12), and Paul (1 Cor. 9:19).
Megiddo - place of troops, originally
one of the royal cities of the Canaanites (Josh. 12:21), belonged to the
tribe of Manasseh (Judg. 1:27), but does not seem to have been fully occupied
by the Israelites till the time of Solomon (1 Kings 4:12; 9:15).
The valley or plain of Megiddo was part of the plain of Esdraelon, the
great battle-field of Palestine. It was here Barak gained a notable victory
over Jabin, the king of Hazor, whose general, Sisera, led on the hostile
army. Barak rallied the warriors of the northern tribes, and under the
encouragement of Deborah (q.v.), the prophetess, attacked the Canaanites
in the great plain. The army of Sisera was thrown into complete confusion,
and was engulfed in the waters of the Kishon, which had risen and overflowed
its banks (Judg. 4:5).
Many years after this (B.C. 610), Pharaohnecho II., on his march against
the king of Assyria, passed through the plains of Philistia and Sharon;
and King Josiah, attempting to bar his progress in the plain of Megiddo,
was defeated by the Egyptians. He was wounded in battle, and died as they
bore him away in his chariot towards Jerusalem (2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chr.
35:22-24), and all Israel mourned for him. So general and bitter was this
mourning that it became a proverb, to which Zechariah (12:11, 12) alludes.
Megiddo has been identified with the modern el-Lejjun, at the head of
the Kishon, under the north-eastern brow of Carmel, on the south-western
edge of the plain of Esdraelon, and 9 miles west of Jezreel. Others identify
it with Mujedd'a, 4 miles south-west of Bethshean, but the question of
its site is still undetermined.
Mehetabeel - whose benefactor is God,
the father of Delaiah, and grandfather of Shemaiah, who joined Sanballat
against Nehemiah (Neh. 6:10).
Mehetabel - wife of Hadad, one of the
kings of Edom (Gen. 36:39).
Mehujael - smitten by God, the son of
Irad, and father of Methusael (Gen. 4:18).
Mehuman - faithful, one of the eunchs
whom Ahasuerus (Xerxes) commanded to bring in Vashti (Esther 1:10).
Mehunims - habitations, (2 Chr. 26:7;
R.V. "Meunim," Vulg. Ammonitae), a people against whom Uzziah waged a
successful war. This word is in Hebrew the plural of Ma'on, and thus denotes
the Maonites who inhabited the country on the eastern side of the Wady
el-Arabah. They are again mentioned in 1 Chr. 4:41 (R.V.), in the reign
of King Hezekiah, as a Hamite people, settled in the eastern end of the
valley of Gedor, in the wilderness south of Palestine. In this passage
the Authorized Version has "habitation," erroneously following the translation
They are mentioned in the list of those from whom the Nethinim were
made up (Ezra 2:50; Neh. 7:52).
Me-jarkon - waters of yellowness, or
clear waters, a river in the tribe of Dan (Josh. 19:46). It has been identified
with the river 'Aujeh, which rises at Antipatris.
Mekonah - a base or foundation, a town
in the south of Judah (Neh. 11:28), near Ziklag.
Melchi - my king. (1.) The son of Addi,
and father of Neri (Luke 3:28). (2.) Luke 3:24.
Melchizedek - king of righteousness,
the king of Salem (q.v.). All we know of him is recorded in Gen. 14:18-20.
He is subsequently mentioned only once in the Old Testament, in Ps. 110:4.
The typical significance of his history is set forth in detail in the
Epistle to the Hebrews, ch. 7. The apostle there points out the superiority
of his priesthood to that of Aaron in these several respects, (1) Even
Abraham paid him tithes; (2) he blessed Abraham; (3) he is the type of
a Priest who lives for ever; (4) Levi, yet unborn, paid him tithes in
the person of Abraham; (5) the permanence of his priesthood in Christ
implied the abrogation of the Levitical system; (6) he was made priest
not without an oath; and (7) his priesthood can neither be transmitted
nor interrupted by death: "this man, because he continueth ever, hath
an unchangeable priesthood."
The question as to who this mysterious personage was has given rise
to a great deal of modern speculation. It is an old tradition among the
Jews that he was Shem, the son of Noah, who may have survived to this
time. Melchizedek was a Canaanitish prince, a worshipper of the true God,
and in his peculiar history and character an instructive type of our Lord,
the great High Priest (Heb. 5:6, 7; 6:20). One of the Amarna tablets is
from Ebed-Tob, king of Jerusalem, the successor of Melchizedek, in which
he claims the very attributes and dignity given to Melchizedek in the
Epistle to the Hebrews.
Melea - fulness, the son of Menan and
father of Eliakim, in the genealogy of our Lord (Luke 3:31).
Melech - king, the second of Micah's
four sons (1 Chr. 8:35), and thus grandson of Mephibosheth.
Melita - (Acts 27:28), an island in
the Mediterranean, the modern Malta. Here the ship in which Paul was being
conveyed a prisoner to Rome was wrecked. The bay in which it was wrecked
now bears the name of "St. Paul's Bay", "a certain creek with a shore."
It is about 2 miles deep and 1 broad, and the whole physical condition
of the scene answers the description of the shipwreck given in Acts 28.
It was originally colonized by Phoenicians ("barbarians," 28:2). It came
into the possession of the Greeks (B.C. 736), from whom it was taken by
the Carthaginians (B.C. 528). In B.C. 242 it was conquered by the Romans,
and was governed by a Roman propraetor at the time of the shipwreck (Acts
28:7). Since 1800, when the French garrison surrendered to the English
force, it has been a British dependency. The island is about 17 miles
long and 9 wide, and about 60 in circumference. After a stay of three
months on this island, during which the "barbarians" showed them no little
kindness, Julius procured for himself and his company a passage in another
Alexandrian corn-ship which had wintered in the island, in which they
proceeded on their voyage to Rome (Acts 28:13, 14).
Melons - only in Num. 11:5, the translation
of the Hebrew abattihim, the LXX. and Vulgate pepones, Arabic britikh.
Of this plant there are various kinds, the Egyptian melon, the Cucumus
chate, which has been called "the queen of cucumbers;" the water melon,
the Cucurbita citrullus; and the common or flesh melon, the Cucumus melo.
"A traveller in the East who recollects the intense gratitude which a
gift of a slice of melon inspired while journeying over the hot and dry
plains, will readily comprehend the regret with which the Hebrews in the
Arabian desert looked back upon the melons of Egypt" (Kitto).
Melzar - probably a Persian word meaning
master of wine, i.e., chief butler; the title of an officer at the Babylonian
court (Dan. 1:11, 16) who had charge of the diet of the Hebrew youths.
Memphis - only in Hos. 9:6, Hebrew Moph.
In Isa. 19:13; Jer. 2:16; 46:14, 19; Ezek. 30:13, 16, it is mentioned
under the name Noph. It was the capital of Lower, i.e., of Northern Egypt.
From certain remains found half buried in the sand, the site of this ancient
city has been discovered near the modern village of Minyet Rahinch, or
Mitraheny, about 16 miles above the ancient head of the Delta, and 9 miles
south of Cairo, on the west bank of the Nile. It is said to have been
founded by Menes, the first king of Egypt, and to have been in circumference
about 19 miles. "There are few remains above ground," says Manning (The
Land of the Pharaohs), "of the splendour of ancient Memphis. The city
has utterly disappeared. If any traces yet exist, they are buried beneath
the vast mounds of crumbling bricks and broken pottery which meet the
eye in every direction. Near the village of Mitraheny is a colossal statue
of Rameses the Great. It is apparently one of the two described by Herodotus
and Diodorus as standing in front of the temple of Ptah. They were originally
50 feet in height. The one which remains, though mutilated, measures 48
feet. It is finely carved in limestone, which takes a high polish, and
is evidently a portrait. It lies in a pit, which, during the inundation,
is filled with water. As we gaze on this fallen and battered statue of
the mighty conqueror who was probably contemporaneous with Moses, it is
impossible not to remember the words of the prophet Isaiah, 19:13; 44:16-19,
and Jeremiah, 46:19."
Memucan - dignified, one of the royal
counsellors at the court of Ahasuerus, by whose suggestion Vashti was
divorced (Esther 1:14, 16, 21).
Menahem - conforting, the son of Gadi,
and successor of Shallum, king of Israel, whom he slew. After a reign
of about ten years (B.C. 771-760) he died, leaving the throne to his son
Pekahiah. His reign was one of cruelty and oppression (2 Kings 15:14-22).
During his reign, Pul (q.v.), king of Assyria, came with a powerful force
against Israel, but was induced to retire by a gift from Menahem of 1,000
talents of silver.
Mene - (Dan. 5:25, 26), numbered, one
of the words of the mysterious inscription written "upon the plaister
of the wall" in Belshazzar's palace at Babylon. The writing was explained
by Daniel. (See BELSHAZZAR.)
Meni - Isa. 65:11, marg. (A.V., "that
number;" R.V., "destiny"), probably an idol which the captive Israelites
worshipped after the example of the Babylonians. It may have been a symbol
of destiny. LXX., tuche.
Meonenim - (Judg. 9:37; A.V., "the plain
of Meonenim;" R.V., "the oak of Meonenim") means properly "soothsayers"
or "sorcerers," "wizards" (Deut. 18:10, 14; 2 Kings 21:6; Micah 5:12).
This may be the oak at Shechem under which Abram pitched his tent (see
SHECHEM), the "enchanter's oak," so called, perhaps, from Jacob's hiding
the "strange gods" under it (Gen. 35:4).
Mephaath - splendour, a Levitical city
(Josh. 21:37) of the tribe of Reuben (13:18).
Mephibosheth - exterminator of shame;
i.e., of idols. (1.) The name of Saul's son by the concubine Rizpah (q.v.),
the daughter of Aiah. He and his brother Armoni were with five others
"hanged on a hill before the Lord" by the Gibeonites, and their bodies
exposed in the sun for five months (2 Sam. 21:8-10). (2.) The son of Jonathan,
and grandson of Saul (2 Sam. 4:4). He was but five years old when his
father and grandfather fell on Mount Gilboa. The child's nurse hearing
of this calamity, fled with him from Gibeah, the royal residence, and
stumbling in her haste, the child was thrown to the ground and maimed
in both his feet, and ever after was unable to walk (19:26). He was carried
to the land of Gilead, where he found a refuge in the house of Machir,
the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar, by whom he was brought up.
Some years after this, when David had subdued all the adversaries of
Israel, he began to think of the family of Jonathan, and discovered that
Mephibosheth was residing in the house of Machir. Thither he sent royal
messengers, and brought him and his infant son to Jerusalem, where he
ever afterwards resided (2 Sam. 9).
When David was a fugitive, according to the story of Ziba (2 Sam. 16:1-4)
Mephibosheth proved unfaithful to him, and was consequently deprived of
half of his estates; but according to his own story, however (19:24-30),
he had remained loyal to his friend. After this incident he is only mentioned
as having been protected by David against the vengeance the Gibeonites
were permitted to execute on the house of Saul (21:7). He is also called
Merib-baal (1 Chr. 8:34; 9:40). (See ZIBA)
Merab - increase, the eldest of Saul's
two daughters (1 Sam. 14:49). She was betrothed to David after his victory
over Goliath, but does not seem to have entered heartily into this arrangement
(18:2, 17, 19). She was at length, however, married to Adriel of Abel-Meholah,
a town in the Jordan valley, about 10 miles south of Bethshean, with whom
the house of Saul maintained alliance. She had five sons, who were all
put to death by the Gibeonites on the hill of Gibeah (2 Sam. 21:8).
Meraiah - resistance, a chief priest,
a contemporary of the high priest Joiakim (Neh. 12:12).
Meraioth - rebellions. (1.) Father of
Amariah, a high priest of the line of Eleazar (1 Chr. 6:6, 7, 52).
(2.) Neh. 12:15, a priest who went to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel. He
is called Meremoth in Neh. 12:3.
Merari - sad; bitter, the youngest son
of Levi, born before the descent of Jacob into Egypt, and one of the seventy
who accompanied him thither (Gen. 46:11; Ex. 6:16). He became the head
of one of the great divisions of the Levites (Ex. 6:19). (See MERARITES.)
Merarites - the descendants of Merari
(Num. 26:57). They with the Gershonites and the Kohathites had charge
of the tabernacle, which they had to carry from place to place (Num. 3:20,
33-37; 4:29-33). In the distribution of the oxen and waggons offered by
the princes (Num. 7), Moses gave twice as many to the Merarites (four
waggons and eight oxen) as he gave to the Gershonites, because the latter
had to carry only the lighter furniture of the tabernacle, such as the
curtains, hangings, etc., while the former had to carry the heavier portion,
as the boards, bars, sockets, pillars, etc., and consequently needed a
greater supply of oxen and waggons. This is a coincidence illustrative
of the truth of the narrative. Their place in marching and in the camp
was on the north of the tabernacle. The Merarites afterwards took part
with the other Levitical families in the various functions of their office
(1 Chr. 23:6, 21-23; 2 Chr. 29:12, 13). Twelve cities with their suburbs
were assigned to them (Josh. 21:7, 34-40).
Merathaim - double rebellion, probably
a symbolical name given to Babylon (Jer. 50:21), denoting rebellion exceeding
that of other nations.
Merchant - The Hebrew word so rendered
is from a root meaning "to travel about," "to migrate," and hence "a traveller."
In the East, in ancient times, merchants travelled about with their merchandise
from place to place (Gen. 37:25; Job 6:18), and carried on their trade
mainly by bartering (Gen. 37:28; 39:1). After the Hebrews became settled
in Palestine they began to engage in commercial pursuits, which gradually
expanded (49:13; Deut. 33:18; Judg. 5:17), till in the time of Solomon
they are found in the chief marts of the world (1 Kings 9:26; 10:11, 26,
28; 22:48; 2 Chr. 1:16; 9:10, 21). After Solomon's time their trade with
foreign nations began to decline. After the Exile it again expanded into
wider foreign relations, because now the Jews were scattered in many lands.
Mercurius - the Hermes (i.e., "the speaker")
of the Greeks (Acts 14:12), a heathen God represented as the constant
attendant of Jupiter, and the god of eloquence. The inhabitants of Lystra
took Paul for this god because he was the "chief speaker."
Mercy - compassion for the miserable.
Its object is misery. By the atoning sacrifice of Christ a way is open
for the exercise of mercy towards the sons of men, in harmony with the
demands of truth and righteousness (Gen. 19:19; Ex. 20:6; 34:6, 7; Ps.
85:10; 86:15, 16). In Christ mercy and truth meet together. Mercy is also
a Christian grace (Matt. 5:7; 18:33-35).
Mercy-seat - (Heb. kapporeth, a "covering;"
LXX. and N.T., hilasterion; Vulg., propitiatorium), the covering or lid
of the ark of the covenant (q.v.). It was of acacia wood, overlaid with
gold, or perhaps rather a plate of solid gold, 2 1/2 cubits long and 1
1/2 broad (Ex. 25:17; 30:6; 31:7). It is compared to the throne of grace
(Heb. 9:5; Eph. 2:6). The holy of holies is called the "place of the mercy-seat"
(1 Chr. 28:11: Lev. 16:2).
It has been conjectured that the censer (thumiaterion, meaning "anything
having regard to or employed in the burning of incense") mentioned in
Heb. 9:4 was the "mercy-seat," at which the incense was burned by the
high priest on the great day of atonement, and upon or toward which the
blood of the goat was sprinkled (Lev. 16:11-16; comp. Num. 7:89 and Ex.
Mered - rebellion, one of the sons of
Ezra, of the tribe of Judah (1 Chr. 4:17).
Meremoth - exaltations, heights, a priest
who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel (Neh. 12:3), to whom were sent
the sacred vessels (Ezra 8:33) belonging to the temple. He took part in
rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem (Neh. 3:4).
Meribah - quarrel or strife. (1.) One
of the names given by Moses to the fountain in the desert of Sin, near
Rephidim, which issued from the rock in Horeb, which he smote by the divine
command, "because of the chiding of the children of Israel" (Ex. 17:1-7).
It was also called Massah (q.v.). It was probably in Wady Feiran, near
(2.) Another fountain having a similar origin in the desert of Zin,
near to Kadesh (Num. 27:14). The two places are mentioned together in
Deut. 33:8. Some think the one place is called by the two names (Ps. 81:7).
In smiting the rock at this place Moses showed the same impatience as
the people (Num. 20:10-12). This took place near the close of the wanderings
in the desert (Num. 20:1-24; Deut. 32:51).
Merib-baal - contender with Baal, (1
Chr. 8:34; 9:40), elsewhere called Mephibosheth (2 Sam. 4:4), the son