kab (qabh, "something hollowed out," 2Ki 6:25; the King James Version Cab): A Hebrew dry measure and liquid measure equal to about 2 quarts.



kab’-ze-el, kab’-zel (kabhtse’el "(whom) God collects"): One of the "uttermost cities" of Judah toward the border of Edom in the South (Negeb) (Jos 15:21). It was the native place of Benaiah, the son of Jehoiada, one of David’s mighty men (2Sa 23:20; 1Ch 11:22). "Jekabzeel and the villages thereof," one of the places re-inhabited by the men of Judah (Ne 11:25), appears to be the same place. The site is unknown.

KADESH ka’-desh (qadhesh; Kades, Ps 29:8; Judith 1:9).



See KEDESH, 3.


o-ron’-tez (in Massoretic Text of 2Sa 24:6, under the corrupt form tachtim chodhshi, which should be corrected from the Septuagint (Luc.) reading: eis ten genitive Chettieim Kades, "to the land of the Hittites unto Kadesh," into ‘erets ha-chittim qadheshah. Ewald and others, fixing the northern ideal boundary of Israel at the sources of the Jordan, would read "Hermon" for chodhshi, but the conjectures of Thenius and Hitzig of a reference to the northern Kadesh are fully confirmed by the reading given): Kadesh was the southern capital of the Hittites, and was situated on the upper waters of the Orontes, 80 miles North of Damascus. It is now represented by a large mound 5 miles South of what, till the Middle Ages, was called the Lake of Kades, but now the Lake of Homs. Here Thothmes III of Egypt (flourished circa 1650 BC), after the battle of Megiddo, met and received hostages from the Assyrians, and here too Rameses II defeated Hatesar, king of the Hittites (circa 1320 BC), and concluded with him a treaty, which was formally inscribed on a disk of silver. The incidents of the battle are depicted on the walls of the Ramesseum, and an Egyptian epic records the heroic deeds of Rameses. Under the name Kadytis, it is mentioned as being taken by Pharaoh-necoh (Herodotus ii.159) in 609 BC. In the only Bible reference (2Sa 24:6), it is named as the northern limit of the census made by David.

W. M. Christie


ka’-desh-bar’-ne-a (qadhesh barnea‘; Kades): Mentioned 10 times; called also "Kadesh" simply. The name perhaps means "the holy place of the desert of wandering." There are references to Kadesh in early history. At En-mishpat ("the same is Kadesh") Chedorlaomer and his allies smote the Amalekite and Amorite. Abraham dwelt near Kadesh, and it was at Beer-lahai-roi between Kadesh and Bered that the Angel of Yahweh appeared to Hagar (Ge 14:7; 16:14; 20:1). It was an important camp of the Israelites during their wanderings, and seems to have been their headquarters for 38 years (De 1:2; 2:14; Judith 5:14). There the returning spies found the camp (Nu 13:26); there Miriam died and was buried (Nu 20:1); from thence messengers were sent to the king of Edom (Nu 20:14; Jud 11:16 ). There the people rebelled because of the want of water, and Moses brought water from the rock (Nu 20:2 ); it was called therefore Meribath—or Meriboth-Kadesh (Nu 27:14; Eze 47:19; 48:28). It was situated in the wilderness of Zin (Nu 20:1; 33:36,37) in the hill country of the Amorites (De 1:19), 11 days’ journey from Horeb, by the way of Mt. Seir (De 1:2), "in the uttermost" of the border of Edom (Nu 20:16), and on the southern border, probably the Southeast corner, of Judah (Eze 47:19; compare Judith 19). See Cobern, Homiletic Review, April and May, 1914.

S. F. Hunter


kad’-mi-el (qadhmi’el, "before God," "priest"(?); "Cadmiel" in parallel lists in 1 Esdras 5:26,58 the King James Version; omitted in Septuagint Codex Vaticanus; Codex Alexandrinus reads kai Kadmielon): A Levite (Ezr 2:40; Ne 7:43), founder of a family whose descendants returned from captivity with Zerubbabel (Ezr 2:1; Ne 7:43; 12:1,8). He is named among those who praise God for the return (Ne 9:4,5; 12:24); was of those who "set forward" the work of the Lord’s house (Ezr 3:9; 1 Esdras 5:26,58), and is again mentioned with those who "seal" the new Return Covenant (Ne 10:28 ) after the re-establishment of worship (Ne 10:1,9).


kad’-mon-it (qadhmoni; Kedmonaioi, signifies "the Easterner," or, less probably, "one of the ancient race"): The Kadmonites are mentioned in Ge 15:19 along with the Kenites and Kenizzites of Edom, and are doubtless the same as "the children of the east," whose wisdom was celebrated (1Ki 4:30). qedhemah, "the East," was a son of Ishmael (Ge 25:15; compare Ge 25:6). In an Egyptian story describing the adventures of a political refugee who fled from Egypt in the time of the XIIth Dynasty, it is said that he found a refuge in Canaan in the land of Kaduma or Kedem.

A. H. Sayce

KAIN (1)

kan (ha-qayin; the King James Version Cain): A town in the hill country of Judah (Jos 15:57). There is, too, apparently a reference to this place in Nu 24:21,22:

"And he looked on the Kenite, and took up his parable, and said,

Strong is thy dwelling-place,

And thy nest is set in the rock.

Nevertheless Kain shall be wasted,

Until Asshur shall carry thee away captive."

This place has been very doubtfully identified as the ruin Yukin, a place on a lofty hill Southeast of Hebron, overlooking the wilderness of Judah; the tomb of Cain is shown there. See PEF, III, 312, Sh XXI.

E. W. G. Masterman

KAIN (2)

(qayin): A clan name, the King James Version "the Kenite" (Nu 24:22; Jud 4:11). In the first passage the Revised Version (British and American) has "Kain" and margin "the Kenites"; in the second, the Revised Version (British and American) has "the Kenite" in text and margin "Kain." Compare preceding article.


kal’-a-i, kal’-i (qallay, qal, "swift"): A priest among those who returned with Zerubbabel (Ne 12:1). He represented the family of Sallai (Ne 12:20).


ka’-mon (qamon; the King James Version Camon): The place where Jair was buffed (Jud 10:3-5). It is possibly represented either by Kamm or Kumeim, ruins which lie about 6 and 7 miles respectively to the South-Southeast of Umm Keis. See further HAVVOTH-JAIR. The ruins of Kamm, about 200 yds. square, crown a small elevation, and point to an important place in the past. There are large rock-hewn cisterns to the South. Among the ruins of Kumein, which are not considerable, a few mud huts are built, occupied today by about 200 souls (Schumacher, Northern ‘Ajlun, 137).


ka’-na (qanah, "reeds"):

(1) The name of a "brook," i.e. wady, or "torrent bed," which formed part of the boundary between Ephraim and Manasseh (Jos 16:8; 17:9). The border of Ephraim went out westward from Tappuah to the brook Kanah, ending at the sea; the border of Manasseh from Tappuah, which belonged to Ephraim, "went down unto the brook of Kanah, southward of the brook." There seems no good reason to doubt the identification of "the brook Kanah" with the modern Wady Kanah. The transition from the heavy "q" to the lighter "k" is easy, so the phonetic difficulty is not serious. The stream rises in the Southwest of Shechem, flows through Wady Ishkar, and, joining the ‘Aujeh, reaches the sea not far to the North of Jaffa. Guerin, influenced, apparently, by the masses of reeds of various kinds which fill the river, argues in favor of Nahr el-Fallq, to the North of Arsuf. He identifies it with Nahr el-Kasab, "river of reeds," mentioned by Beha ed-Din, the Moslem historian. But this last must be identified with Nahr el-Mafjir, 13 miles farther North, too far North for "the brook Kanah."

(2) A town on the northern boundary of Asher (Jos 19:28), probably identical with the village of Qana, about 7 miles Southeast of Tyre (SWP, I, 51, 64, Sh I).

W. Ewing


kaf "k": The 11th letter of the Hebrew alphabet; transliterated in this Encyclopedia as "k", with daghesh, and "kh" (= German ch) without daghesh. It came also to be used for the number 20. For name, etc., see ALPHABET.


ka-re’-a (qareach, "bald head"): The father of Johanan and Jonathan, who after the fall of Jerusalem joined Gedaliah at Mizpah (2Ki 25:23; Jer 40:8).


ka-ri-ath-i-a’-ri-us (Kariathiarios; Codex Vaticanus reads Kartatheiareios; the King James Version, Kiriathiarim (1 Esdras 5:19))= Kiriath-jearim in Ne 7:29.


kar’-ka (ha-qarqa‘ah—with the article and locale; the King James Version Karkaa): A place in the South of Judah, between Addar and Wady el-‘Arish (Jos 15:3). Eusebius, Onomasticon speaks of a village in Judah lying toward the wilderness, named Akarka. It cannot now be identified. The name means "the pavement,"‘ or "ground."


kar’-kor (qarqor): An unidentified place where Gideon surprised and overwhelmed the remnants of the army of Zeba and Zalmunnah (Jud 8:10 ). It probably corresponds to Qarkar mentioned by Shalmaneser II, S. of Hamath (KB, I, 173).


kar’-ta (qartah): A city in the territory of Zebulun, assigned to the Levites (Jos 21:34). It is not identified. Possibly it is a variant of KATTATH, or of KARTAN (which see).


kar’-tan (qartan): A city in the territory of Naphtali, given to the Gershonite Levites (Jos 21:32). It is called Kiriathaim in 1Ch 6:76. Kartan may be a contraction of this. Cheyne (EB, under the word) suggests that both names may be corruptions from "Chinnereth." Neither is mentioned in Jos 19:32,38, in the list of Naphtalite cities, while Chinnereth is.


kat’-ath (qaTTath): A city in the territory of Zebulun, named with Iphtah-el, Nahalel, and Shimron (Jos 19:15), perhaps to be identified with Kitron (Jud 1:30), from which Zebulun did not expel the Canaanites; and with Kartah (Jos 21:34), which was given to the Merarite Levites. The Babylonian Talmud (Meg. 6a) identifies Kattath with Sepphoris, the modern Seffuriyeh (but see Neubauer, Geographie du Talmud, 191). The Jerusalem Talmud takes it as identical with Ketunith, Kuteineh, to the West of Esdraelon. It should probably, however, be sought near to Shimron, the modern Semuniyeh.

W. Ewing


ke’-dar (qedhar; Kedar): Second in order of the sons of Ishmael (Ge 25:13 parallel 1Ch 1:29). The name occurs as typical of a distant eastern country in opposition to the lands of the Mediterranean (Jer 2:10). The author of Second Isa introduces this tribe in company with Nebaioth, and both are represented as owners of flocks (Isa 60:7). Evidence of their nomadic habits appears in Jer 49:28,29, where they are classed among the Bene-Qedhem, and mention is made of their flocks, camels, tents, curtains and furniture. They are spoken of (Isa 42:11) as dwelling in chatserim ("villages"), from which it would appear that they were a somewhat settled tribe, corresponding to the Arabic chadariya or "town-dwellers," as distinct from wabariya or "nomads." Ezekiel (27:21) gives another hint of their pastoral nature where, in his detailed picture of the wealth of Tyre, Kedar and Arabia provide the Tyrians with lambs, rams and goats. The fame of the tribe is further reflected in Isa 21:16,17 (the only allusion to their might in war), and in the figurative references to their tents (Ps 120:5; So 1:5). In this last passage where the tents are made symbolic of dark beauty, the word qadhar ("to be black") may have been in the writer’s mind.

The settlements of Kedar were probably in the Northwest of Arabia, not far from the borders of Palestine. Assyrian inscriptions have thrown light upon the history of the tribe. There Kedar is mentioned along with the Arabs and Nebaioth, which decides its identity with Kedar of the Old Testament, and there is found also an account of the conflicts between the tribe and King Assurbanipal (see Margoliouth in HDB).

Of the Ishmaelite tribes, Kedar must have been one of the most important, and thus in later times the name came to be applied to all the wild tribes of the desert. It is through Kedar (Arabic, keidar) that Muslim genealogists trace the descent of Mohammed from Ishmael.

A. S. Fulton


ked’-e-ma, ke-de’-ma (qedhemah, "eastward"): Son of Ishmael (Ge 25:16), head of a clan (1Ch 1:31).


KEDEMOTH ked’-e-moth, ke-de’-moth (qedhemoth, "eastern parts"): From the wilderness to which this town gave its name, Moses sent messengers to Sihon, king of the Amorites in Heshbon (De 2:26). It was given by Moses to the tribe of Reuben (Jos 13:18), and assigned to the Merarite Levites (Jos 21:37; 1Ch 6:79). It must probably be sought on the upper course of the Arnon. Buhl (GAP, 268) suggests that it may be identified with Umm er-Resas.



ke’-desh (qedhesh; Kades):

(1) One of the "uttermost cities" of Judah "toward the border of Edom in the South" (Jos 15:23). Possibly it is to be identified with KADESH-BARNEA (which see); otherwise it is strange that this latter should be omitted from the list. Dillmann would identify it with Kadus, to the South of Hebron, mentioned by Muqaddasi.

(2) A town in the territory of Issachar, given to the Gershonite Levites (1Ch 6:72). In the list of Joshua (21:28) its place is taken by KISHION (which see). Conder suggests identification with Tell Abu Qades, near Megiddo.

(3) Kedesh-naphtali, the famous city of refuge in the uplands of Naphtali. It is called "Kedesh," simply, in Jos 12:22, etc.; Kedesh-naphtali in Jud 4:6; Tobit 1:2; Kedesh in Galilee in Jos 20:7, etc. It was assigned to the Gershonite Levites (1Ch 6:76). From the name "holy," we gather that it was a sanctuary from old time. It was therefore a place of asylum, and only preserved its ancient character in this respect when chosen as one of the cities of refuge. It was the home of Barak, and here his host assembled. When the Assyrians invaded the land under Tiglath-pileser, it was among the first cities to be captured, and its inhabitants were deported (2Ki 15:29). Near Kedesh was fought the great battle between Jonathan the Maccabee and Demetrius (1 Macc 11:63 ff). Josephus says that in his time it belonged to the Tyrians, lying between their land and that of Galilee (Ant., XIII, v, 6; B J, II, xviii, 1; IV, ii, 3, etc.). Eusebius, Onomasticon places it 20 miles from Tyre, near to Paneas. It is represented by the modern village of Kedes, which lies on the plateau to the West of el-Chuleh. It crowns a tell which runs out in a low ridge into the little plain to the West. Near the fountain, which rises under the ridge to the North, are the most interesting of the ancient remains. There are many fine sarcophagi, some of them being used as watering-troughs. From its lofty situation, Kedesh commanded a spacious view over a richly varied landscape, With smiling cornfields, and hills clothed with oak and terebinth.

W. Ewing


(1 Macc 11:63,73, Codex Alexandrinus, Kedes; the King James Version Cades): Scene of a battle between Judas Maccabeus and the forces of Demetrius.




See KEDESH, 3.


kep’-er, (mostly from shamar; phulax): The word is used of keepers of sheep, vineyards, doors, prisons (in Ge 39:21 ff, car; compare Ac 5:23), etc. In Ec 12:3, "The keepers of the house shall tremble," the allusion is to the decay of bodily powers, the "keepers" being specially the arms, which had become feeble through age.


ke-he-la’-tha, ke-hel’-a-tha (qehlathah, "gathering," "assembly"): A desert camp of the Israelites between Rissah and Mt. Shepher (Nu 33:22,23). Situation is unknown.



ke-i’-la (qe‘ilah; Keeilam):

(1) A city of the Shephelah mentioned (Jos 15:44) along with Nezib, Aehzib and Mareshah. Among those who repaired the walls of Jerusalem was "Hashabiah, the ruler of half the district of Keilah, for his district. After him repaired their brethren, Bavvai the son of Henadad, the ruler of half the district of Keilah" (Ne 3:17,18).

1. David and Keilah:

It is, however, from the story of the wandering of David that we have most information regarding this place. It was a city with gates and bars (1Sa 23:7). The Philistines came against it and commenced robbing the threshing-floors. David, after twice inquiring of Yahweh, went down with his 600 men (1Sa 23:13) and "fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and slew them with great slaughter." Saul hearing that David and his men were within a fortified town "summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men" (1Sa 23:8). Then David asked Abiathar the priest to bring him an ephod, and he inquired of Yahweh whether, if Saul came, the men of Keilah would surrender him to save that city; hearing from Yahweh, "They will deliver thee up," he and all his men escaped from Keilah and went into the wilderness. The reputed strength of Keilah is confirmed by its mention in 5 tablets in the Tell el-Amarna Letters under the name of Kilts (qilti, Petrie) with Gedor, Gath, Rabbah and Gezer.

2. Identification:

Although other identifications were proposed by the older topographers, there is now a general consensus of opinion that the site of this city is Khurbet Kila (Josephus, Ant, VI, xiii, 1, in his account of David’s adventure calls the place "Killa"). It is a hill covered with ruins in the higher part of Wady es Sur, 1,575 ft. above sea-level, whose terraced sides are covered with grainfields. The Eusebius, Onomasticon (Latin text) states that it was 8 miles from Eleutheropolis, which is about the distance of Khurbet Kila from Beit Jibrin. Beit Nusib (Nezib) is a couple of miles away, and Tell Sandahannah (Mareshah) but 7 miles to the West (Jos 15:44). An early Christian tradition states that the prophet Habakkuk was buried at Keilah.

(2) The Garmite (which see), 1Ch 4:19; see PEF, 314, Sh XXI.

E. W. G. Masterman


ke-la’-ya, ke-li’-a (qelayah, "swift for Yah"[?]; Kolios; Codex Vaticanus, Konos): One of the priests who had "foreign wives" (Ezr 10:23, also "Kelita"). In parallel list of 1 Esdras 9:23, he again has a double name—"Colius" and "Calitas." A "Kelita" is named as helping Ezra at the expounding of the law (Ne 8:7; compare RAPC 1Es 9:48, "Calitas"), and also among the signatories of the covenant (Ne 10:9; for nature of covenant see Ne 10:28 ). They may not, however, be the same person.


kel’-i-ta, ke-li’-ta (qeliTa’ "dwarf").



kem’-u-el, ke-mu’-el (qemu’el, "God’s mound"):

(1) Nephew of Abraham (Ge 22:21), father of Aram, whom Ewald identifies with Ram of Job 32:2; but compare Ge 10:22, where Aram is described as one of the children of Shem. They may not be the same person.

(2) Prince of Ephraim, one of the land commissioners who divided Canaan (Nu 34:24).

(3) A Levite, father of Hashabiah, one of the tribal princes of David’s time, a ruler among the Levites (1Ch 27:17).


ke’-nan (qenan; Kainan) :A son of Enosh, the son of Seth (Ge 5:9,10,12,13,14; 1Ch 1:2). the King James Version form (except in 1Ch 1:2), is "Cainan."


ke’-nath (qenath; Kaath kaanath, in Septuagint, Codex Alexandrinus): A city in Bashan, taken along with its "daughters," i.e. "villages" from the Amorites by Nobah who gave it his own name (Nu 32:42). It was recaptured by Geshur and Aram (1Ch 2:23). It is probably identical with the modern Kanawat, which is built on the site, and largely from the materials of an ancient city. It lies about 16 miles to the North of Bosra eski Sham, the Bostra of the Romans, on both sides of Wady Kanawat, where, descending from the slopes of Jebel ed-Druze, it plunges over a precipice, forming a picturesque waterfall. On the plateau above the modern village, there is a striking collection of Roman and Christian remains, the shapely forms of many columns lending distinction to the scene. One large building is associated with the name of the patriarch Job—Maqam Ayyub. The position commands a spacious and interesting view over the whole of the Chauran. The identification has been rejected by Socin (Baedeker, Pal3, 207), but his reasons are not given. Moore (Judges, 222) also rejects it, but for reasons that are not convincing.

W. Ewing


ke’-naz, ke’-nez (qenaz "hunting"):

(1) A "duke" of Edom, grandson of Esau (Ge 36:11,15,42; 1Ch 1:36,53).

(2) Father of Othniel (Jos 15:17; Jud 1:13; 3:9,11; 1Ch 4:13).

(3) The unidentified qenaz of 1Ch 4:15, who appears to be a descendant of (2). There is, however, some difficulty with the passage here.


ke’-nez-it (qenizzi; Kenezaios): the King James Version in Ge 15:19 and the Revised Version (British and American) uniformly, spell "Kenizzite." The Kenezites were the clan whose name-father was KENAZ (which see). Their land, along with that of their Canaanite tribes, was promised to Abram (Ge 15:19). To this clan belonged Jephunneh, the father of Caleb (Nu 32:12; Jos 14:6,14). It had evidently been absorbed by the tribe of Judah. If the Kenezites went down with Jacob into Egypt, they may have become identified with his family there.


ke’-nits (ha-qeni, haqeni; in Nu 24:22 and Jud 4:11, qayin; of hoi Kenaioi, hoi Kinaioi): A tribe of nomads named in association with various other peoples. They are first mentioned along with the Kadmonites and Kenizzites among the peoples whose land was promised to Abram (Ge 15:19). Balaam, seeing them from the heights of Moab; puns upon their name, which resembles the Hebrew ken, "a nest," prophesying their destruction although their nest was "set in the rock"—possibly a reference to Sela, the city. Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, is called "the priest of Midian" in Ex 3:1; 18:1; but in Jud 1:16 he is described as a Kenite, showing a close relation between the Kenites and Midian. At the time of Sisera’s overthrow, Heber, a Kenite, at "peace" with Jabin, king of Hazor, pitched his tent far North of his ancestral seats (Jud 4:17). There were Kenites dwelling among the Amalekites in the time of Saul (1Sa 15:6). They were spared because they had "showed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt." David, in his answer to Achish, links the Kenites with the inhabitants of the South of Judah (1Sa 27:10). Among the ancestors of the tribe of Judah, the Chronicler includes the Kenite Hammath, the father of the Rechabites (1Ch 2:55). These last continued to live in tents, practicing the ancient nomadic customs (Jer 35:6 ).ichly varied landscape, With smiling cornfields, and hills clothed with oak and terebinth.

The word qeni in Aramaic means "smith." Professor Sayce thinks they may really have been a tribe of smiths, resembling "the gipsies of modern Europe, as well as the traveling tinkers or blacksmiths of the Middle Ages" (HDB, under the word). This would account for their relations with the different peoples, among whom they would reside in pursuit of their calling.

In Josephus they appear as Kenetides, and in Ant, IV, vii, 3 he calls them "the race of the Shechemites."

W. Ewing





ke-no’-sis: The word "kenosis" (kenosis) has entered theological language from Php 2:7, where in the sentence he "emptied himself" the Greek verb is ekenosen. "Kenosis," then, the corresponding noun, has become a technical term for the humiliation of the Son in the incarnation, but in recent years has acquired a still more technical sense, i.e. of the Son’s emptying Himself of certain attributes, especially of omniscience.

1. The New Testament:

(1) The theological question involved was one about as far as possible from the minds of the Christians of the apostolic age and apparently one that never occurred to Paul. For in Php 2:7 the only "emptying" in point is that of the (external) change from the "form of God" to the "form of a servant." Elsewhere in the New Testament it is usually taken as a matter of course that Christ’s knowledge was far higher than that of other men (Joh 2:24 is the clearest example). But passages that imply a limitation of that knowledge do exist and are of various classes. Of not much importance are the entirely incidental references to the authorship of Old Testament passages where the traditional authorship is considered erroneous, as no other method of quotation would have been possible. Somewhat different are the references to the nearness of the Parousia (especially Mt 10:23; 24:29). But with these it is always a question how far the exact phraseology has been framed by the evangelists and, apart from this, how far Christ may not have been consciously using current imagery for the impending spiritual revolution, although knowing that the details would be quite different (see PAROUSIA). Limitation of knowledge may perhaps be deduced from the fact that Christ could be amazed (Mt 8:10, etc.), that He could be really tempted (especially Heb 4:15), or that He possessed faith (Heb 12:2; see commentary). More explicitly Christ is said to have learned in Lu 2:52; Heb 5:8. And, finally, in Mr 13:32 parallel Mt 24:36, Christ states categorically that He is ignorant of the exact time of the Parousia.

(2) An older exegesis felt only the last of these passages as a real difficulty. A distinction constructed between knowledge naturally possessed and knowledge gained by experience (i.e. although the child Jesus knew the alphabet naturally, He was obliged to learn it by experience) covered most of the others. For Mr 13:32 a variety of explanations were offered. The passage was translated "neither the Son, except the Father know it," a translation that can be borne by the Greek. But it simply transfers the difficulty by speaking of the Father’s knowledge as hypothetical, and is an impossible translation of Mt 24:36, where the word "only" is added. The explanations that assume that Christ knew the day but had no commission to reveal it are most unsatisfactory, for they place insincere words in His mouth; "It is not for you to know the day" would have been inevitable form of the saying (Ac 1:7).

2. Dogmatic:

(1) Yet the attempt so to misinterpret the verses is not the outcome of a barren dogmatic prejudice, but results from a dread lest real injury be done to the fundamentals of Christian consciousness. Not only does the mind of the Christian revolt from seeing in Christ anything less than true God, but it revolts from finding in Him two centers of personality—Christ was One. But as omniscience is an essential attribute of God, it is an essential attribute of the incarnate Son. So does not any limitation of Christ’s human knowledge tend to vitiate a sound doctrine of the incarnation? Certainly, to say with the upholders of the kenosis in its "classical" form that the Son, by an exercise of His will, determined to be ignorant as man, is not helpful, as the abandonment by God of one of His own essential attributes would be the preposterous corollary.

(2) Yet the Biblical data are explicit, and an explanation of some kind must be found. And the solution seems to lie in an ambiguous use of the word "knowledge," as applied to Christ as God and as man. When we speak of a man’s knowledge in the sense discussed in the kenotic doctrine, we mean the totality of facts present in his intellect, and by his ignorance we mean the absence of a fact or of facts from that intellect. Now in the older discussions of the subject, this intellectual knowledge was tacitly assumed (mystical theology apart) to be the only knowledge worthy of the name, and so it was at the same time also assumed that God’s knowledge is intellectual also—"God geometrizes." Under this assumption God’s knowledge is essentially of the same kind as man’s, differing from man’s only in its purity and extent. And this assumption is made in all discussions that speak of the knowledge of the Son as God illuminating His mind as man.

(3) Modern critical epistemology has, however, taught man a sharp lesson in humility by demonstrating that the intellect is by no means the perfect instrument that it has been assumed to be. And the faults are by no means faults due to lack of instruction, evil desires, etc., but are resident in the intellect itself, and inseparable from it’ as an intellect. Certain recent writers (Bergson, most notably) have even built up a case of great strength for regarding the intellect as a mere product of utilitarian development, with the defects resulting naturally from such an evolution. More especially does this restriction of the intellect seem to be true in religious knowledge, even if the contentions of Kant and (espescially) Ritschl be not fully admitted. Certain it is, in any case, that even human knowledge is something far wider than intellectual knowledge, for there are many things that we know that we never could have learned through the intellect, and, apparently, many elements of our knowledge are almost or quite incapable of translation into intellectual termsú Omniscience, then, is by no means intellectual omniscience, and it is not to be reached by any mere process of expansion of an intellect. An "omniscient intellect" is a contradiction in termsú

(4) In other words, God’s omniscience is not merely human intellectual knowledge raised to the infinite power, but something of an entirely different quality, hardly conceivable to human thought—as different from human intellectual knowledge as the Divine omnipotence is different from muscular strength. Consequently, the passage of this knowledge into a human intellect is impossible, and the problem of the incarnation should be stated: What effect did Divine omniscience in the person have on the conscious intellect of the manhood? There is so little help from the past to be gained in answering this question, that it must remain open at present—if, indeed, it is ever capable of a full answer. But that ignorance in the intellect of the manhood is fully consistent with omniscience in the person seems to be not merely a safe answer to the question as stated, but an inevitable answer if the true humanity of Christ is to be maintained at all.


Sanday’s Christology and Personality, 1911, and La Zouche, The Person of Christ in Modern Thought, 1912, are among the latest discussions of the subject, with very full references to the modern literature.

Burton Scott Easton


ke’-ras (Kiras): In 1 Esdras 5:29, the head of a family of temple-servants, called "Keroz" in Ezr 2:44; Ne 7:47.


ker’-chif (micpachoth; epibolaia): Occurs only in Eze 13:18,21, in a passage which refers to some species of divination. Their exact shape or use is unknown. They were apparently long veils or coverings put over the heads of those consulting the false prophetesses and reaching down to the feet, for they were for "persons of every stature."


ker’-en-hap’-uk, ke’-ren-hap’-uk (qeren happukh, "horn of antimony," i.e. beautifier; Septuagint Amaltheias keras): The 3rd daughter of Job (Job 42:14), born after his restoration from affliction. Antimony, producing a brilliant black, was used among the Orientals for coloring the edges of the eyelids, making the eyes large and lustrousú Hence, the suggestiveness of this name of an article of the ladies’ toilet, a little horn or receptacle for the eye-paint.


ke’-ri-oth, -oth (qeriyoth):

(1) A city of Moab, named with Beth-meon and Bozrah (Jer 48:24,41). Here was a sanctuary of Chemosh, to which Mesha says (M S, l. 13) he dragged "the altar hearths of Davdoh." It may possibly be represented by the modern Kuraiat, between Diban and ‘Attarus. Some (e.g. Driver on Am 2:2) think it may be only another name for Ar-Moab. Buhl (GAP, 270) would identify it with Kir of Moab (Kerak). No certainty is yet possible.

(2) A city of Judah (Jos 15:25; the Revised Version (British and American) KERIOTH-HEZRON (which see)), possibly the modern el-Kuryatain, to the Northeast of Tell ‘Arad.

W. Ewing


ke’-ri-oth-hez’-ron (qeriyoth chetsron; Jos 15:25 says, "The same is Hazor"; the King James Version "Kerioth and Hezron which is Hazor"): One of the cities in the "south" of Judah. Robinson (BR, II, 101) identifies it with the ruined site of Kuryatain, 4 1/2 miles North of Tell ‘Arad. It has been suggested that Kerioth was the birth place of JUDAS ISCARIOT (which see). Compare KERIOTH, 2.


kur’-nel (chartsannim, English Versions of the Bible "kernels"; Septuagint reads stemphullon used by Aristophanes as olives from which oil has been pressed, later, in same, of raisin pulp): Mentioned in Nu 6:4 along with zagh, translated "husks." This translates, "kernels" or "grape stones," is from the Targum and Talmud, but is doubtful, and it may be the word should be translated "sour grapes."


ke’-ros (qeroc, "fortress"(?)): One of the Nethinim (Ezr 2:44; Ne 7:47), an order appointed to the liturgical offices of the temple.



ke’-zil (Orion).



kes’-i-ta, ke-se’-ta (qesiTah).



ke’-tab (Ketab): Ancestor of a family of Nethinim (1 Esdras 5:30).


ket’-’l: In English Versions of the Bible only in 1Sa 2:14 for dudh, "a vessel for cooking." The same word in 2Ch 35:13 is rendered "caldrons," and in Job 41:20 (Hebrew 12), "pot." Ps 81:6 (Hebrew 7) (the King James Version "pots") belongs rather to another signification of the word (the Revised Version (British and American) "basket," for carrying clay or bricks).


ke-tu’-ra, ke-too’-ra (qeTurah; Chettoura, "incense"): The second wife of Abraham (Ge 25:1; 1Ch 1:32 f). According to the Biblical tradition, he contracted this second marriage after the death of Sarah (compare Ge 23), and very likely after the marriage of Isaac (compare Ge 24). It is not improbable that, as some writers have suggested, this change in the life of his son prompted Abraham to remarry in order to overcome the feeling of lonesomeness caused by Isaac’s entering the state of matrimony.

1Ch 1:32 (and also Ge 25:6) shows us that Keturah was not considered to be of the same dignity as Sarah who, indeed, was the mother of the son of promise, and, for obvious reasons, the sons of Abraham’s concubines were separated from Isaac. She was the mother of 6 sons representing Arab tribes South and East of Palestine (Ge 25:1-6), so that through the offspring of Keturah Abraham became "the father of many nations."

William Baur


ke (maphteach, an "opener"; compare kleis, "that which shuts"): Made of wood, usually with nails which fitted into corresponding holes in the lock, or rather bolt (Jud 3:25). Same is rendered "opening" in 1Ch 9:27.


Figurative: Used figuratively for power, since the key was sometimes worn on the shoulder as a sign of official authority (Isa 22-22). In the New Testament it is used several times thus figuratively: of Peter: "the keys of the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 16:19); of Christ, in Revelation, having the "keys of death and of Hades" (Re 1:18), also having "the key of David" (Re 3:7). An angel was given "the key of the pit of the abyss" (Re 9:1; 20:1). our Lord accused the teachers of the law of His day of taking away "the key of knowledge" from men, that is, locking the doors of truth against them (Lu 11:52; compare Mt 23:13).

Edward Bagby Pollard




1. The Keys; and the Binding and Loosing

2. Meaning of the Statements

3. How Peter Is Related to These Powers

4. Is the Primary Idea that of Position and Authority?


1. Agent of the Power

2. Nature of the Power

3. Scope of the Power


1. Passages Employing the Terms "Key," "Binding and Loosing"

2. Related Passages

3. Examples of Exercise of This Power


1. Nature of the Power

2. Agent of the Power

3. Scope of the Power

There is no more stubbornly contested conception in Christian terminology. The thought connects itself immediately with Mt 16:19, but it is hardly correct to say that it originates there, for the controversy is one that grows out of the conflict of forces inherent in the institutional development of religion and of society. It must have arisen, in any event, if there had been no such word as that in Mt 16:19, although not in the same terms as it is now found. Since the Reformation it has been recognized, by Catholic and Protestant, that on the interpretation of this passage depends the authority of the Church of Rome and its exclusive claims, so far as their foundation in Scripture is concerned; while on the other hand there is involved the "validity" of the "sacraments," "ordinances" and "orders" of Protestantism and the very hope of salvation of Protestants.

I. The Problems Involved.

1. The Keys; and the Binding and Loosing:

The crucial passage has two declarations, commonly spoken of as promises to Peter: to him Christ will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatsoever he shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, while whatsoever he shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. How are the facts of having committed to him the keys and the function of binding and loosing related? Are they two forms of one declaration? Is the first general, and the second a specific sphere of its application?

Both statements are made in figurative terms. That of the keys is supposed to be drawn from the duties of the chief steward of a house, or establishment. The idea of the keys of a city turned over to some distinguished person is advanced, but is hardly to be considered. We need, then, to know the functions of the chief steward and how they apply to the kingdom of heaven, and to Peter as its steward.

2. Meaning of the Statements:

What was Peter to bind and loose, men or things, persons or teachings? Numerous examples could be cited of the use of these terms to signify forbidding (binding) and permitting (loosing) conduct as legitimate under the law of the Old Testament (Lightfoot, McClintock and Strong, Schaff-Herzog, Hastings, etc.). The strict school of Shammai bound many things loosed by the laxer school of Hillel (Broadus, Matthew). Is this conclusive that Jesus is here giving Peter authority for "laying down the law for his fellow-disciples," "authority to say what the law of God allows, and what it forbids," "the power of legislation for the church"? (Compare Mason in Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes), IV, 30.)

3. How Peter Is Related to These Powers:

Ecclesiastical contentions turn especially on Peter’s relation to these words of Jesus. Do they signify powers and "privileges" conferred on Peter, exclusively or representatively? Are they official or personal? Do they belong to other apostles, and to other officers besides apostles? Can the powers be exercised by individuals or by the church alone? If any besides Peter have these powers, do they pass to them from Peter, and how?

4. Is the Primary Idea That of Position and Authority?:

What seems to the writer a fundamental question here is either passed over very lightly or entirely omitted in the discussions of this subject. Did Jesus mean by these words to confer on Peter, or on anyone to whom they may apply, authority, or obligation; privilege, or responsibility? Does He promise position, or does He impose duty? These alternatives are not necessarily exclusive, but the interpretation of the thought will be determined in no small measure by where the stress is laid.

II. Views Maintained.

1. Agent of the Power:

The possibilities have been exhausted in the interpretations and applications advocated. It is not possible to classify on lines of the creeds, except very generally, for there is little uniformity of view existing within the various communions.

(1) Generally speaking, the Roman Catholic church gives to Peter a unique position. Her theologians also agree that all the powers and privileges of Peter descend to his successors in the vicarate of Christ. When the question is raised of the extension of these prerogatives beyond Peter and the popes, all sorts of views are held, concerning both the fact and the method of that extension.

(2) Among Protestants there is general agreement that the church is the agent of this power, but there is not uniformity as to the nature of the authority or the manner of its exercise.

(3) Some think that Peter has no peculiar relation to the keys; that these words were spoken to him only as the first who gave expression to that conception and experience, on the basis of which Jesus commits the keys of the kingdom to any believer in Him as the Christ of God.

We may summarize the more important views as to Peter thus:

(a) the power committed to him alone and exercised,

(i) at Pentecost, or

(ii) at Pentecost, Caesarea and other places;

(b) the power committed to Peter and to the other apostles, including Paul, discharged by them, and descended to no others;

(c) the power conferred on Peter officially and on his official successors;

(d) the power conferred on Peter and the other apostles and to such as hold their place in the church;

(e) that the power belongs to Peter as representative of the church, and so to the church to be exercised

(i) by the officials of the church,

(ii) by the officials and those to whom they commit it,

(iii) by all priests and persons allowed to represent the church, de facto,

(iv) by the church in its councils, or other formal and official decisions,

(v) by the church in less formal way than (iv),

(vi) by all members the church as representing it without specific commission;

(f) that it belongs to the Christian as such, and so is imposed upon, or offered to, all Christians.

2. Nature of the Power:

There is general—not absolute—agreement that the holder of the keys is to admit men into the kingdom. It is not agreed that the holder of the keys may, or can, determine who are members of the kingdom. Both sides are-taken. Some think that the power is that of announcing authoritatively the conditions of entrance, while others insist that the holder of the keys also determines what individuals have accepted the conditions.

3. Scope of the Power:

(1) There is strong support for the view that the primary function of the keys lies in determining the teaching of the kingdom, maintaining purity of doctrine. Emphasis is laid on the use of the neuter, "whatsoever"—not "whomsoever"—with the binding and loosing. This would lead, however, to the secondary and implied function of declaring who had or had not accepted the teaching of the kingdom.

(2) In the Roman Catholic church we find insistence on distinguishing between the general authority of the keys in all affairs of the church and religion, and the binding and loosing which they specifically apply to absolution. Only on this last are Catholics in full agreement. That the church administers salvation is held by Roman and Greek Catholics and by not a few Protestants, although Protestants do not, as a rule, claim exclusive power in salvation as do the others. Absolution is held to be a general (derived) priestly function, while the authority of the keys resides in the pope alone.

(3) Eminent Catholic authorities admit that the Fathers generally understood the keys to signify the power of forgiving sins, and that they seldom make any reference to the supremacy of Peter. But they claim that rarely the Fathers do take "Christ’s promise in the fuller meaning of the gift of authority over the church." Suarez was the first to develop the doctrine that it conferred on Peter and his successors authority in its widest sense, administrative and legislative.

(4) The extension of the authority of the keys to include civil matters is a contention of the Roman church, shared in modified form by some Protestants. Indeed the relation of ecclesiastical to civil authority must be said still to be awaiting clear definition in Protestantism. Macedo (De Clavibus Petri) claims theologians of the church for the civil authority of the keys. Joyce in the Catholic Encyclopedia affirms that he is unable to verify this claim, but, on the contrary, finds that the opponents of the extension of the authority of the church to civil matters use Mt 16:19 in support of their position on the ground that to Peter were committed the keys of the kingdom of heaven, not of the kingdoms of this world.

III. Data for Deciding the Questions Involved.

1. Passages Employing the Terms "Key," "Binding and Loosing":

We must first examine the Scriptures employing the terms we seek to define.

(1) Mt 16:19, the crucial passage, is part of paragraph over which there is no end of controversy. The incident at Caesarea Philippi was understood then and afterward to mark an epoch in the life and teaching of Jesus. Having elicited Peter’s confession, Jesus pronounces a benediction on him because his insight represented a Divinely mediated experience of fundamental significance in His own plan and mission. Jesus goes on to say: "And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter ("a stone"), and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Mt 16:18). The controversy rages about "Peter" (petros) and the "rock" (petra), "gates of Hades," and "prevail against it." Are the church to be built on the rock and the kingdom whose keys are to be given to Peter the same? Such a shifting of figure is not conclusive against the thought. Perhaps the church is the organic form of the kingdom, its personal content and expression on earth at any given time. This church exists wherever men consciously accept and are included in the kingdom. The kingdom will always embrace influences, institutions, individuals, not be reckoned in any organized or visible church. The church has never had—in the nature of the case can never have—one complete organization including all the organized life of the kingdom, or even of the church. Any claims to this are contradicted by facts obvious at every moment of history. The change in figure from Mt 16:18 to 16:19 is not conclusive against supposing the church to be built in him. But it seems far better to understand that Peter is the first stone in the building, while the foundation is that vital experience in which Peter came to know Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. On this is erected the church, out of those living stones (lithoi zontes, 1Pe 2:4) that know and confess Jesus the Christ. The transition is thus easy to giving Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and the reason for giving them to him rather than to any other may be found in the fact that he is now the first so to enter into the kingdom as to be fitted for church functions.

It is not needful to determine, for our purpose, the exact meaning of "gates of Hades" and their not prevailing against the church (compare various commentaries). It is clear that the church is to persist in the life of the world and so the kingdom will not lack organized and aggressive expression. Nor does the relation of binding and loosing depend at all upon the critical question of reading or omitting "and" between the two parts of the verse. The conviction could hardly be escaped that the latter function is intimately related to the former, and is either directly or indirectly involved within it.

(2) The plural "keys," occurs elsewhere only in Re 1:18, where the Christ represents Himself as holding the keys of death and of Hades. The word "Hades" might connect this with Mt 16:19. The immediate occasion for the statement is that He who was dead, is alive; He has not only overcome death in His own person but has conquered it and its realm, so that they can no more have power except as subject to Him, since He holds their keys. Men on earth will either fall under the power of death and Hades or they must enter the kingdom of heaven. If the living Christ has the keys of the kingdom in the hands of Peter, or other friends, and holds the keys of its enemies in His own hands, the work will go on with success. It is not certain that the two passages can properly be so closely connected, but they thus afford just the assurance that is contained for the churches in Revelation.

(3) In Re 3:7 Christ appears in the character, "he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key (singular) of David, he that openeth and none can shut, and that shutteth and none openeth." The idea is not restricted but indicates mastery over all things in the Messianic kingdom, its own operations and all forms of opposition. In the next verse, as a specific instance, He has set before the church at Philadelphia an open door (opportunity and progress) which none can shut. Compare as to this Eph 1:22.

(4) It seems to be taken for granted that Jesus, in Mt 16:19, had direct reference to Isa 22:22, yet the passage is not Messianic except in a general sense and on the assumption that the power of Yahweh over the nations in the Old Testament is wielded by the Christ in the New Testament (see JEHOVAH; LORD). Eliakim is to have absolute power, holding the key of the house of David. The use of the words "open" and "shut," as well as the general conception, connects the passage rather with Re 3:7.

(5) Re 9:1; 20:1 are to be taken together. "The key of the pit of the abyss" in the hands of the angel or angels signifies, in these specific circumstances, the same power as that indicated in 1:18.

(6) In Lu 11:52 Jesus pronounces a woe upon the "lawyers" who had "taken away the key of knowledge" from the people, neither entering in nor allowing those about to go in, to enter. The knowledge of God and Divine things was in the control, in great measure, of these scribes. This connects the figure directly with the idea of Mt 16:19, and the connection is emphasized by comparing Mt 23:2 f; and is made definite by the word of Jesus in Mt 13:52 with which is to be compared Lu 12:42, where it would not be allowable, to suppose that Jesus meant to limit the idea of "the faithful and wise steward" to Peter. This passage with the references seems to be highly important for our subject.

2. Related Passages:

Light is to be drawn from several passages that do not use the exact terms of Mt 16:19, but that deal with the same general ideas.

(1) Mt 18:18 places the responsibility for binding and loosing on all disciples (18:1), and the reason is explained in the assured presence of the Christ Himself in any company of two or three who have come together in prayer touching any matter in His name, i.e. as His representatives. The immediate reference is to matters of discipline in the effort to rescue any "brother" from sin. The passage is to be taken of sin generally, for the reading "against thee" (18:15) is to be rejected, in spite of both revised versions The reference of binding and loosing here to the man is conclusive against limiting the idea in 16:19 to teaching (compare also Lu 17:1 ff). It is also to be noted that the responsibility is placed upon the individual Christian to cooperate with others when necessary.

(2) Mt 9:8 shows that the multitude recognized that God had given power on earth to pronounce forgiveness of sins, and apparently they do not limit this power to the Divine Person, for they do not yet know Him as such.

(3) Jas 5:14 ff recognizes the value of elders, and probably of others also, in securing the forgiveness of them that have sinned.

(4) What one must regard as the proper starting-point for studying this subject is Joh 20:21 ff. Appearing to ten of the apostles and to others on the first night after the resurrection, Jesus says: "As the Father sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Whose soever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven unto them; whose soever ye retain, they are retained." By comparing this with the corresponding account in Lu 24 we see that Jesus is directing that they shall carry on His work (see also Joh 14:12-14; 15:15,16), that He teaches them at length of the nature of His work as seen in the Old Testament, and that the method of their work is to be preaching repentance and remission of sins in His name among all nations. Significant for our purpose are the presence of others than the apostles, the gift of the Holy Spirit, His own self-projection in His messengers, and the solemn statement that the sins of men will be retained or forgiven as it is done through these followers.

3. Examples of Excercise of This Power:

(1) It is remarkable that there is no distinct reference to this authority of the keys in the records of the work of the apostles and others in the New Testament. Their consciousness seems most of all to have been dominated by the fact that they were witnesses of Jesus, and this corresponds exactly with the point of emphasis in all the various forms and occasions of the giving of the commission (see Ac 2:32; 3:15; 4:33; 5:32; 10:39,41; 13:31; 1Pe 5:1; compare Carver, Missions in the Plan of the Ages). It is said of Paul and Barnabas (Ac 14:27) that after their first missionary journey they rehearsed to the church at Antioch "all things that God had done with them, and that he had opened a door of faith unto the Gentiles." At Pentecost and at other times Peter was the chief speaker, and so opened the door of the kingdom. Referring to his preaching to Cornelius and his friends, Peter reminds the saints in the conference at Jerusalem (Ac 15) that God made choice among them, that by his mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of God and believe, but this was said by way of conciliating the Jewish party and not as claiming any priority in authority. It was Philip, the deacon-evangelist, who first preached to the Samaritans (Ac 8), and some "men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus" (Ac 11:20), the first example of "opening a door of faith" to full heathen. Peter appears in the Jerusalem conference with no authority above that of other apostles and elders. By reference to Ga 2 we see that Paul was here only as a matter of prudence and fraternity, not recognizing any authority to legislate for his churches or his ministry. The decision there reached is promulgated as that of the brethren as a body, loosing all the law of Moses save four matters that were "necessary" on account of fundamental morals and of the universal presence of Jews in every city (Ac 15:20 f, 28 f). In the sense of teaching Christian conduct all Paul’s letters are examples of binding and loosing.

(2) As to binding and loosing sins Peter speaks in the cases of Ananias and Sapphira (Ac 5), Simon Magus (Ac 8), and in deciding upon the baptism of Cornelius and his household (Ac 10:48). Paul speaks with equal boldness in the judgment of Elymas (Ac 13:10), where we are told that he was under the Spirit; passes upon the faith of a dozen men at Ephesus, and requires their new baptism after instruction (Ac 19:3-7); commands the church at Corinth to turn over to Satan the incestuous man (1Co 5:5; compare 1Ti 1:20), and later urges the man’s restoration to loving fellowship, declaring that he has been forgiven (2Co 2:5 ). Obscure men like Philip (Ac 8) and Ananias of Damascus in the case of Paul himself (Ac 9) exercised the same sort of judgment as to the forgiveness and reception of men into the fellowship.

IV. Conclusion.

1. Nature of the Power:

We sum up what seems to be the teaching of Scripture. We conclude that the power is not a special privilege and extraordinary authority, but a responsibility entrusted by Jesus Christ as the method of extending His work. There is in it nothing magical, mysterious, or arbitrary; not ecclesiastical or official, but spiritual and primarily personal. The keys of the kingdom of heaven are first of all the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ. By this means men are admitted into the kingdom. The fully attested method of using the keys is that of witnessing personally to an experience of Jesus Christ. He was conferring power for saving and not for barring from salvation. Let it be borne in mind always that Jesus was offering Peter not power but duty, not privilege but responsibility. Neither of these terms, "power" and "privilege," that have come to be associated with the gift of the keys occurs with that gift in the words of the Master. The keys are primarily for admitting to the kingdom of heaven, not for barring from the church.

2. Agent of the Power:

The holder of the keys is any man with that experience that called forth from Jesus the assurance that Peter should have the keys. Such a man will be in fellowship and cooperation with like men, in a church, and the Spirit of Jesus will be present in them, so that their decisions and their testimony will be His as well as theirs. There is a corporate, or church, agency, therefore, and the man who would ignore that lacks the experience or the Spirit needful for the use of the keys. Yet the church is never to overshadow or exclude the individual responsibility and authority.

3. Scope of the Power:

It is to be understood that the keys of the kingdom of heaven confer no political authority or power, save that of holy and redemptive influence. The kingdom of Jesus is not of this world. Its power is spiritual and is to be exercised always primarily in the saving of men. Men do not need to be locked out of the kingdom. They are out, and too contented to remain so. It does happen that evil men seek to take possession of the kingdom for evil ends, and then it is that the authority rests in spiritual men to exclude. Men that are to be brought into the kingdom of heaven are now in sin, and where the duty of releasing them is not discharged by Christians, the sinners are left bound in their sins.

There is also involved of necessity the duty of declaring not only the conditions of entrance into the kingdom, but the courses of conduct appropriate to the kingdom. It is thus that binding and loosing in teaching devolve upon the holders of the keys. To that extent, and in that sense, alone, is there the power of "legislating" within the kingdom. This is only interpreting and applying the principles that are given us in the Scriptures.


William Owen Carver


ke-zi’-a (qetsi‘ah, "cassia"; Kasia, Codex Alexandrinus, Kassia): The 2nd daughter of Job (Job 42:14), born after his restoration from affliction. The word "cassia" became a feminine name from the fragrance of the flower.


ke’-ziz (qetsits).



kan, kan.

See INN.


kib-roth-ha-ta’-a-va, kib-roth (qibhroth ha-ta’awah "the graves of greed"): A desert camp of the Israelites, one day’s journey from the wilderness of Sinai. There the people lusted for flesh to eat, and, a great number of quails being sent, a plague resulted; hence, the name (Nu 11:34; 33:16; De 9:22).


kib-za’-im, kib’-za-im See JOKMEAM.


(laktizo): In the famous vision on the road to Damascus the unseen voice said to Saul: "Why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the goad" (Ac 9:4 f; 26:14). The words are omitted from the best manuscripts in Ac 9:4. This was a familiar proverb in both Greek and Latin literature, and refers to the severer goading received by an ox which kicks back at the goad used to guide or urge him on. The words seem to mean that Paul’s paroxysm of persecution was a painful as well as profitless resistance to the pricks of conscience by which God was leading him into the light.


(1) gedhi (Ex 23:19, etc.);

(2) feminine gedhiyah (Isa 11:6, etc.);

(3) gedhi ‘izzim, English Versions of the Bible "kid," literally, "kid of the goats," the King James Version margin (Jud 6:19, etc.);

(4) ‘ez, literally, "goat" (De 14:21; 1Ki 20:27); .

(5) se‘ir ‘izzim, the King James Version "kid of the goats," the Revised Version (British and American) "he-goat" (Ge 37:31; Le 9:3, etc.);

(6) eriphos (Lu 15:29).



kid’-nap-ing The term itself occurs only in the New Testament andrapodistes =" manstealer") in 1Ti 1:10. The crime was directly forbidden in the Hebrew law (Ex 21:16; De 24:7), and was made punishable with death.


kid’-niz (always in the plural: kelayoth; nephroi; Latin renes, whence the English "reins"): "Reins" and "kidneys" are synonyms, but the King James Version undertook a distinction by using the former word in the figurative, the latter in the literal passages. the English Revised Version has followed the King James Version exactly, but the American Standard Revised Version has retained "reins" only in Job 16:13; La 3:13; Re 2:23, elsewhere substituting "heart," except in Ps 139:13, where "inward parts" is used. the King James Version and the English Revised Version also have "reins" for chalatsayim, in Isa 11:5 (the American Standard Revised Version "loins"). The physiological function of the kidneys is not referred to in the Bible, but has been introduced (quite wrongly) by the King James Version margin to Le 15:2; 22:4.

(1) The kidneys owe their importance in the Bible partly to the fact that they are imbedded in fat, and fat of such purity that fat of the kidneys was a proverbial term for surpassing excellence (De 32:14 margin). For the visceral fat was the part of the animal best adapted for sacrificial burning, and hence, came to be deemed peculiarly sacred (Le 7:22-25; 1Sa 2:16). Accordingly, the kidneys with the fat surrounding them were burned in every sacrifice in which the entire animal was not consumed, whether in peace (Le 3:4,10,15; 9:19), sin (Ex 29:13; Le 4:9; 8:16; 9:10), or trespass, (Le 7:4) offerings; compare the "ram of consecration" (Ex 29:22; Le 8:25). So in Isa 34:6, "fat of the kidneys of rams" is chosen as a typical sacrificial term to parallel "blood of lambs and goats."

(2) The position of the kidneys in the body makes them particularly inaccessible, and in cutting up an animal they are the last organs to be reached. Consequently, they were a natural symbol for the most hidden part of a man (Ps 139:13), and in Job 16:13 to "cleave the reins asunder" is to effect the total destruction of the individual (compare Job 19:27; La 3:13). This hidden location, coupled with the sacred sacrificial use, caused the kidneys to be thought of as the seat of the innermost moral (and emotional) impulses. So the reins instruct (Ps 16:7) or are "pricked" (Ps 73:21), and God can be said to be far from the reins of sinners (Jer 12:2). In all of these passages "conscience" gives the exact meaning. So the reins rejoice (Pr 23:16), cause torment (2 Esdras 5:34), or tremble in wrath (1 Macc 2:24). And to "know" or "try the reins" (usually joined with "the heart") is an essential power of God’s, denoting His complete knowledge of the nature of every human being (Ps 7:9; 26:2; Jer 11:20; 17:10; 20:12; RAPC Wis 1:6; Re 2:23). See FAT; PSYCHOLOGY; SACRIFICE. Compare RS2, 379-80, and for Greek sacrificial parallels Journal of Philology, XIX (1890), 46. The anatomical relations are well exhibited in the plate in Sacred Books of the Old Testament, "Leviticus."

Burton Scott Easton


kid’-ron (Kedron; the King James Version Cedron): A place which, in obedience to Antiochus Sidetes, Cendebaeus fortified (1 Macc 15:39 ff), to which, when defeated, he fled, hotly pursued by John and Judas, sons of Simon the Maccabee, who burned the city (1 Macc 16:4 ff). It is named along with Jamnia (Yebna) and Azotus (Esdud). It is possibly identical with Katrah], a village about 3 miles Southwest of ‘Aqir (Ekron).


(nachal qidhron; in Joh 18:1 (the King James Version Cedron), ho cheimarrhous ton Kedron, according to the Revised Version margin, the last two words are to be considered as meaning "of the cedars." The Hebrew word has been very generally accepted as from qadhar, "to become black," but it is an attractive suggestion (Cheyne) that it may be a phonetic variation of gidderon, "a spot for enclosures for cattle," of which latter there must have been many around the now buried caves which lay at the base of the cliffs around the spring Gihon):

1. Wady Sitti Miriam:

The Nachal Qidhron is the valley known today as the Wady Sitti Miriam, which lies between the eastern walls of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. It commences in the plateau to the North of the city, and after making a wide sweep Southeast, under the name Wady el Joz ("Valley of the Walnuts"), passes South until level with the southeastern corner of the temple-area where its bed is spanned by an old bridge; here the bottom of the valley, 40 ft. beneath the present surface level, is 400 ft. below the temple-platform. From this point it narrows and deepens gradually, bending slightly West of South, and, after receiving the Tyropoeon valley, joins a little farther Southwest with the Valley of Hinnom to form the Wady en Nar which winds on through the "wilderness of Judea" to the Dead Sea. Where the three valleys run together is a large open space filled with gardens (the KING’S GARDEN, which see), which are kept irrigated all the year round by means of the overflow waters from the ‘Ain Silwan (see SILOAM). It is where the Hinnom valley runs into the Kidron that some would locate TOPHETH (which see). Except at the irrigated gardens, the ravine is a dry valley containing water only during and immediately after heavy rain, but in ancient times the rocky bottom—now buried beneath many feet of rich soil—must have contained a little stream from Gihon for at least some hundreds of yards. This was the "brook that flowed through the midst of the land" (2Ch 32:4). The length of the valley from its head to Bir Eyyub is 2 3/4 miles.

2. Traditions:

Since the 4th century AD, this valley has been known as the Valley of Jehoshaphat (see JEHOSHAPHAT, VALLEY OF), and from quite early times it was a favorite situation for interments (2Ki 23:4,6,12; 2Ch 34:4,5); it is by Moslem and Jewish tradition the scene of the last judgment, and was known to the Moslems in the Middle Ages as Wady Jehannum; see GEHENNA. It is probable that the "graves of the common people," where King Jehoiakim cast the body of the prophet Uriah, were here (Jer 26:23), and it has been suggested, with less probability, that here too may have been the scene of Ezekiel’s vision of the "valley of dry bones" (Eze 37; compare Jer 31:40).

3. The Fields of Kidron:

The Fields of Kidron (2Ki 23:4), though generally identified with the open, lower part of this valley, where it is joined by the Tyropoeon valley, may more probably have been in the upper part where the wide expanded valley receives the name Wady el Joz; this part is actually on the road to Bethel.

4. Historical Associations:

The most dramatic scene associated with the Kidron is that recorded in connection with its earliest Scriptural mention (2Sa 15:23), when David, flying before his rebellious son Absalom, here stood on the Jerusalem side of the valley while all his adherents passed over. "And all the country wept with a loud voice, and all the people passed over: the king also himself passed over the brook Kidron .... toward the way of the wilderness." The passing over this brook appears to have been viewed as the solemn abandonment of the Jerusalem territory (compare 1Ki 2:37). In 1Ki 15:13; 2Ch 15:16, we read that Asa burnt at the brook Kidron "an abominable image for an Asherab" which Maacah, his mother, had set up. In the reforms of Hezekiah, "all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of Yahweh" was carried by the Levites to the brook Kidron (2Ch 29:16); "All the altars for incense took they away, and cast them into the brook Kidron" (2Ch 30:14). This locality was again used in the reforms of Josiah when the king "brought out the Asherah from the house of Yahweh, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and beat it to dust, and cast the dust thereof upon the graves of the common people" (2Ki 23:6). The same treatment was given to the vessels made for Baal, the Asherah and the host of heaven (2Ki 23:4), and the two idolatrous altars of Manasseh (2Ki 23:12). Josephus (Ant., IX, vii, 3) states that Athaliah was slain in the valley of Kidron, but this does not quite tally with the account (2Ki 11:16). It was a valley associated with graves and the ashes of abominations, but it was prophesied that it should be "holy unto Yahweh" (Jer 31:40). Twice it is mentioned simply as "the valley," nachal (2Ch 33:14; Ne 2:15). Very different from these earlier scenes is the last Scriptural reference (Joh 18:1), when Jesus "went forth with his disciples over the brook Kidron" for His last hours of spiritual struggle and prayer before the turmoil of the end.

E. W. G. Masterman


ki’-lan (Kilan; the King James Version Ceilan): Mentioned with Azetas in 1 Esdras 5:15; their sons returned among the exiles with Zerubbabel. The names do not appear in the lists of Ezra and Nehemiah.


ki’-ma (Pleiades).







ki’-na (qinah): An unidentified town on the southern boundary of Judah, toward Edom (Jos 15:22). The word qinah means "elegy," "dirge," "lament for the dead." The name, however, may have been derived from the Kenites, qeniy, who had settlements in the South (1Sa 27:10, etc.).


kind’-nes (checedh; chrestotes): "Kindness" in the Old Testament is (with one exception) the translation of checedh, "kindness," "favor," "mercy," etc., used chiefly of man but also of God (Ge 20:13; 40:14; 1Sa 15:6; 20:14,15; 2Sa 9:3; Ne 9:17; Ps 141:5; Isa 54:8,10, etc.); Tobh, "good," is once so translated (2Sa 2:6). In the New Testament chrestotes, "usefulness," "beneficence," is rendered "kindness" 4 t in the King James Version (2Co 6:6; Eph 2:7; Col 3:12; Tit 3:4, and in Ga 5:22 the Revised Version (British and American)); see GENTLENESS; GOODNESS. Philanthropia, "love of mankind," is translated "kindness" Ac 28:2), and philadelphia, "love of the brotherhood" (2Pe 1:7, the English Revised Version "love of the brethren," the American Revised Version margin "Gr, love of the brethren").

For "kindness" (Ps 31:21) the Revised Version (British and American) has "lovingkindness," and the American Standard Revised Version in other places where the reference is to God; for "shew," "shewed kindness" (Jos 2:12) "deal," "dealt kindly"; for "The desire of man is his kindness" (Pr 19:22) the American Standard Revised Version has "That which maketh a man to be desired is his kindness," the English Revised Version "The desire of man is (the measure of) his kindness," like the American Standard Revised Version in m; for "merciful kindness" (Ps 117:2) the American Standard Revised Version has "lovingkindness," the English Revised Version "mercy "; both have "lovingkindness" (Ps 119:76); for "of great kindness" (Ne 9:17; Joe 2:13; Jon 4:2) the American Standard Revised Version has "abundant in lovingkindness," the English Revised Version "plenteous in mercy"; the Revised Version (British and American) has "kindness" for "mercy" (Ge 39:21); for "pity" (Job 6:14); for "goodness" (Pr 20:6); "favor and kindness" the American Standard Revised Version, for "grace and favor" (Es 2:17).



kin’-dred: Several words are rendered "kindred" in the King James Version. ‘ach, "brother," was used loosely among Hebrews for a member of the same tribe or family, a relative; and is once translated "kindred" (1Ch 12:29 the King James Version). Once also somewhat loosely as the translation of modha‘ath, literally, "acquaintance" (Ru 3:2; compare same root in 2:1, rendered "kinsman"); once, for the, figurative expression, "men of thy redemption" (ge’ullah, referring to the law of the redemption of land by kinsmen, Le 25:25). The two most common words for kindred are: (1) moledheth, "related by birth" (Ge 12:1; 24:4,7; 31:3,13; 32:9; 43:7; Nu 10:30; Es 2:10,20; 8:6); (2) mishpachah, "family" (Ge 24:38,40,41; Jos 6:23; Ru 2:3; 1Ch 16:28; Job 32:2; Ps 22:27; 96:7).

In the New Testament (several times), genos, "kindred by birth," so, of same family, tribe or race (Ac 4:6; 7:13,19 the Revised Version (British and American) "race"); so also suggeneia (Lu 1:61; Ac 7:3,14). In the King James Version phule, "tribe," rendered "kindred" (Re 1:7; 5:9; 7:9; 11:9; 13:7; 14:6), but better "tribe" as in the Revised Version (British and American). patria, rendered "kindred" in Ac 3:25, is better "families," as in the Revised Version (British and American).

Edward Bagby Pollard



(1) ‘alaphim, plural of ‘eleph, "ox," or "cow," the American Standard Revised Version "cattle," the King James Version and the English Revised Version "kine" (De 7:13; 28:4,18,51);

(2) baqar, "ox" or "cow," the American Standard Revised Version "herd," the King James Version and the English Revised Version "kine" (De 32:14; 2Sa 17:29);

(3) paroth plural of parah, "young cow" or "heifer," the Revised Version (British and American) "kine" in Ge 41:2-27; 1Sa 6:7-14; Am 4:1; in Ge 32:15, the American Standard Revised Version has "cows."



The title applied in mockery of Jesus, and put by Pilate on His cross (Mt 27:29,37 parallel Mr 15:26, etc.).





gan-ha-melekh): In Ne 3:15, mention is made of "the pool of Shelah by the king’s garden"; in 2Ki 25:4; Jer 52:7, "All the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, which was by the king’s garden"; see also Jer 39:4. The "king’s winepresses" (Zec 14:10), which must have been to the extreme South of the city, were clearly in this neighborhood. The references all point to the one situation in Jerusalem where it is possible for gardens to flourish all the year round, namely, the part of the Kidron valley below the Tyropoeon which is watered by the overflow from the Pool of Siloam (see SILOAM). Here the vegetable gardens of the peasants of Siloam present an aspect of green freshness unknown elsewhere in Jerusalem.

E. W. G. Masterman


The queen-dowager occupied a very important position at the court of the kings of Israel, e.g. Bathsheba (1Ki 2:19); Maacah (1Ki 15:13); Athaliah (2Ch 22:2); and Nehushta (2Ki 24:8; Jer 13:18).



berekhath hamelekh): This is possibly the Pool of Siloam (Ne 2:14), and may have been so named as being near to the "king’s garden."


(‘emeq ha-melekh; Septuagint in Ge reads to pedion ("the plain") basileos, in 2 Sam, he koilas ("valley") tou basileos; the King James Version King’s Dale): The place where the king of Sodom met Abram (Ge 14:17), and the situation of Absalom’s monument (2Sa 18:18). It was identical with the Vale of Shaveh, and was evidently near Salem, the city of Melchizedek (Ge 14:17). If SALEM (which see) is Jerusalem, then Absalom’s pillar was also near that city, Josephus writes (Ant., VII, x, 3), "Absalom had erected for himself a marble pillar in the king’s dale, two furlongs (stadia) from Jerusalem, which he named Absalom’s Hand." In all probability this "pillar" was a rough upright stone—a matstsebhah—but its site is lost. The traditional Greek-Egyptian tomb of perhaps 100-200 years BC which has been hewn out of the rock on the eastern side of the Kidron valley is manifestly misnamed "Absalom’s pillar," and the Kidron ravine (nachal) cannot be the King’s Vale (‘emeq).

E. W. G. Masterman



1. The Old Testament Foreshadowings

In the Psalms and Prophets

2. The Gospel Presentation

(1) Christ’s Claim to Be King

(2) Christ’s Acceptance of the Title

(3) Christ Charged and Condemned as King

(4) The Witness of the Resurrection and of Apostolic Preaching

(5) The Testimony of the Epistles and Apocalypse


1. By Birth

2. By Divine Appointment

3. By Conquest

4. By the Free Choice of His People


1. Spiritual

2. Universal

(1) Kingdom of Grace, of Power

(2) Kingdom of Glory

3. Eternal

I. The Reality of Christ’s Kingship.

There can be no question but that Christ is set before us in Scripture as a king. The very title Christ or "Messiah" suggests kingship, for though the priest is spoken of as "anointed," and full elucidation of the title as applied to Jesus must take account of His threefold office of prophet, priest and king, yet generally in the Old Testament it is the king to whom the epithet is applied.

1. The Old Testament Foreshadowings:

We may briefly note some of the Old Testament predictions of Christ as king. The first prediction which represents the Christ as having dominion is that of Jacob concerning the tribe Of Judah: "Until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be" (Ge 49:10); then kingly dignity and dominion are suggested by the star and scepter in Balaam’s prophecy (Nu 24:15-17). As yet, however, Israel has no king but God, but when afterward a king is given and the people become familiar with the idea, the prophecies all more or less have a regal tint, and the coming one is preeminently the coming king.

In the Psalms and Prophets

We can only indicate a few of the many royal predictions, but these will readily suggest others. In Ps 2 the voice of Yahweh is heard above all the tumult of earth, declaring, "Yet I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion." So in Psalms 24; 45; 72; 89 and 110 we have special foreshadowings of the Messianic king. The babe that Isaiah sees born of a virgin is also the "Prince of Peace" (Isa 9:6,7), of the increase of whose government there shall be no end, and as the prophet gazes on him he joyfully exclaims: "Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness" (Isa 32:1). Jeremiah, the prophet of woe, catches bright glimpses of his coming Lord, and with rapture intensified by the surrounding sorrow cries: "Behold, the days come, saith Yahweh, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land" (23:5). Ezekiel, dwelling amid his wheels, sees in the course of Providence many revolutions, but they are all to bring about the dominion of Christ: "I will overturn, overturn, overturn .... until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him" (21:27). Daniel sees the rise and progress, the decline and fall of many mighty empires, but beyond all he sees the Son of man inheriting an everlasting kingdom (7:13). Hosea sees the repentant people of Israel in the latter days seeking Yahweh their God, and David (the greater David) their king (3:5). Micah sees the everlasting Ruler coming out of Bethlehem clad in the strength and majesty of Yahweh, who shall "be great unto the ends of the earth" (5:4). Zechariah, exulting in His near approach, cries: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee" (9:9), and he follows His varied course through gloom and through glory, until the strong conviction is born in his heart and expressed in the glowing words: "Yahweh shall be King over all the earth" (14:9). The more extreme higher critics would, of course, deny that these are direct predictions of Jesus Christ, but most, if not all, would admit that they are ideal representations which were only fully realized in Jesus of Nazareth.

2. The Gospel Presentation:

The Gospels present Christ as king. Matthew, tracing His genealogy, gives special prominence to His royal lineage as son of David. He tells of the visit of the Magi who inquire for the newborn king of the Jews, and the scribes answer Herod’s question by showing from Micah’s prophecy that the Christ to be born in Bethlehem would be a "governor," and would rule, "be shepherd of my people Israel" (Mt 2:5,6). Luke’s account of the Nativity contains the angel’s declaration that the child to be born and named Jesus would occupy the throne of David and reign over the house of Jacob forever (Lu 1:32,33). In John’s account of the beginning of Christ’s ministry, one of His early disciples, Nathanael, hails Him as "King of Israel" (Joh 1:49), and Jesus does not repudiate the title. If Mark has no such definite word, he nevertheless describes the message with which Jesus opens His ministry as the "gospel" of "the kingdom of God" (1:14,15). The people nurtured in the prophetical teaching expect the coming one to be a king, and when Jesus seems to answer to their ideal of the Messiah, they propose taking Him by force and making Him king (Joh 6:15).

(1) Christ’s Claim to Be King

Christ Himself claimed to be king. In claiming to be the Messiah He tacitly claimed kingship, but there are specific indications of the claim besides. In all His teaching of the kingdom it is implied, for though He usually calls it the "kingdom of God" or "of heaven," yet it is plain that He is the administrator of its affairs. He assumes to Himself the highest place in it. Admission into the kingdom or exclusion from it depends upon men’s attitude toward Him. In His explanation of the parable of the Tares, He distinctly speaks of His kingdom, identifying it with the kingdom of God. "The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and them that do iniquity. .... Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Mt 13:41-43). He speaks of some seeing "the Son of man coming in his kingdom" (Mt 16:28), of the regeneration, "when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory" (Mt 19:28), of Himself under the guise of a nobleman who goes "into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom," and does receive it (Lu 19:12-15).

(2) Christ’s Acceptance of the Title

When the mother of John and James comes asking that her two sons may occupy the chief places of honor in His kingdom, He does not deny that He is a king and has a kingdom, while indicating that the places on His right and left hand are already determined by the appointment of the Father (Mt 20:21-23). He deliberately takes steps to fulfill the prediction of Zec: "Behold, thy king cometh," and He accepts, approves and justifies the hosannas and the homage of the multitude (Mt 21:1-16; Mr 11; Lu 19; Joh 12). In His great picture of the coming judgment (Mt 25), the Son of man sits upon the throne of His glory, and it is as "the king" that He blesses and condemns. The dying thief prays, "Remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom" (Lu 23:42), and Jesus gives His royal response which implies full acceptance of the position.

(3) Christ Charged and Condemned as King

His claim throughout had been so definite that His enemies make this the basis of their charge against Him before Pilate, that He said that "he himself is Christ a king," and when Pilate asks, "Art thou the King?" He answers, "Thou sayest," which was equivalent to "yes" (Lu 23:2,3). In the fuller account of John, Jesus speaks to Pilate of "my kingdom," and says "Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end have I been born" (Joh 18:37). His claim is perpetuated in the superscription of the cross in the three languages: "This is the King of the Jews," and although the priests wished it to be altered so as to detract from His claim, they yet affirm the fact of that claim when they say: "Write not, The King of the Jews; but, that he said, I am King of the Jews" (Joh 19:21). The curtain of His earthly life falls upon the king in seeming failure; the taunt of the multitude, "Let the Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross" (Mr 15:32), meets with no response, and the title on the cross seems a solemn mockery, like the elaborate, cruel jest of the brutal soldiers clothing Him with purple, crowning Him with thorns and hailing Him King of the Jews.

(4) The Witness of the Resurrection and of Apostolic Preaching.

But the resurrection throws new light upon the scene, and fully vindicates His claims, and the sermon of Peter on the day of Pentecost proclaims the fact that the crucified one occupies the throne. "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified" (Ac 2:36). The early preaching of the apostles, as recorded in the Acts, emphasizes His lordship, His kingship; these men were preachers in the literal sense—heralds of the king.

(5) The Testimony of the Epistles and Apocalypse.

We need not consider in detail the testimony of the Epistles. The fact that Christ is king is everywhere implied and not infrequently asserted. He is "Lord of both the dead and the living" (Ro 14:9). He is risen "to rule over the Gentiles" (Ro 15:12). "He must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet" (1Co 15:25). He is at the right hand of God "above all rule, and authority," etc. (Eph 1:20-22). Evil men have no "inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God" (Eph 5:5), and believers are "translated into the kingdom of the Son of his love" (Col 1:13). He has been given the name that is above every name "that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow," etc. (Php 2:9-11). Those who suffer with Christ are to "reign with him" (2Ti 2:12), at "his appearing and his kingdom" (2Ti 4:1), and He will save them "unto his heavenly kingdom" (2Ti 4:18); "the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2Pe 1:11). Of the Son it is said: "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever" (Heb 1:8), and He is a King-Priest "after the order of Melchizedek" (Heb 7:17). In the Apocalypse, appropriately, the predominant aspect of Christ is that of a king. He is the "ruler of the kings of the earth" (Re 1:5), "King of the ages" (Re 15:3), "King of kings" (Re 17:14; 19:16), "and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Re 11:15). The reality of Christ’s kingship is thus placed beyond all doubt.

II. Christ’s Title to Kingship.

1. By Birth:

After the analogy of earthly kingships it might be said that Jesus Christ is a king by birth. He was born a king. His mother, like His reputed father, "was of the house and family of David" (Lu 2:4). The angel in nouncing His birth declares that He will occupy the throne of His father David. The Pharisees have no hesitation in affirming that the Christ would be Son of David (Mt 22:45; Mr 12:35; Lu 20:41). Frequently in life He was hailed as "Son of David," and after His ascension, Peter declares that the promise God had made to David that "of the fruit of his loins he would set one upon his throne" (Ac 2:30) was fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth; while Paul declares that the gospel of God was "concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Ro 1:3). So that on the human side He had the title to kingship as son of David, while on the Divine side as Son of God He had also the right to the throne.

2. By Divine Appointment:

David was king by Divine choice and appointment, and this was the ideal in the case of his successors. The figment of "Divine right"—by virtue of which modern kings have claimed to rule—was, in the first instance, a reminiscence of the Biblical ideal. But the ideal is realized in Christ. Of the coming Messianic King, Yahweh said: "Yet I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion" (Ps 2:6), and the great proclamation of Pentecost was an echo of that decree: "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified" (Ac 2:36), while the apostle declares that "God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name" (Php 2:9), and again and again the great Old Testament word of Yahweh is applied to Christ: "Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet" (Heb 1:13).

3. By Conquest:

Often in the olden times kingship was acquired by conquest, by superior prowess. According to one etymology of our word "king," it means the "able man," "the one who can," and everyone remembers Carlyle’s fine passage thereon. In the highest sense, this is true of Christ, who establishes His sway over men’s hearts by His matchless prowess, the power of His infinite love and the charm of His perfect character.

4. By the Free Choice of His People:

Except in the most autocratic form of kingship, some place has been given to the suffrage of the people, and the other phases of the title have been confirmed and ratified by the voice of the people as they cry, "God save the king!" and no king is well established on the throne if he is not supported by the free homage of his subjects. Christ as king wins the love of His people, and they gladly acknowledge His sway. They are of one heart to make Him king.

III. The Nature of Christ’s Kingship.

We know that the Jews expected a material kingdom, marked by earthly pomp and state; a kingdom on the lines of the Davidic or Solomonic kingdom, and others since have made the same mistake.

1. Spiritual:

The Scriptures plainly declare, Christ Himself clearly taught, that His kingship was spiritual. "My kingdom," said He, "is not of this world" (Joh 18:36), and all the representations given of it are all consistent with this declaration. Some have emphasized the preposition ek here, as if that made a difference in the conception: "My kingdom is not of this world." Granted that the preposition indicates origin, it still leaves the statement an assertion of the spirituality of the kingdom, for if it is not from this kosmos, from this earthly state of things, it must be from the other world—not the earthly but the heavenly; not the material but the spiritual. The whole context shows that origin here includes character, for Christ adds, "If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews." Because it is of an unworldly origin, it is not to be propagated by, worldly means, and the non-use of worldly means declares it to be of an unworldly character. So that to assert that Christ means that His kingdom was not to arise out of this world, but to come down from heaven, is not at all to deny, but rather, indeed, to declare its essential spirituality, its unworldliness, its otherworldliness.

Throughout the New Testament, spirituality appears as the prevailing characteristic of Christ’s reign. Earthly kingdoms are based upon material power, the power of the sword, the power of wealth, etc., but the basal factor of Christ’s kingdom is righteousness (Mt 5:20; 6:33; Ro 14:17; Heb 1:8, etc.). The ruling principle in earthly kingdoms is selfish or sectional or national aggrandizement; in the kingdom of Christ it is truth. Christ is king of truth. "Art thou a king then?" said Pilate. "I am," said Christ (for that is the force of "thou sayest that I am a king"). "To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth," and He adds, "Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice" (Joh 18:37). Elsewhere He says: "I am the .... truth" (Joh 14:6), and at the head of the armies of heaven He still wears the title "Faithful and True" (Re 19:11); but if righteousness and truth occupy such a prominent place in His kingdom, it follows that it must be distinguished by its spirituality. His immediate subjects are spiritual men and women; its laws are spiritual; its work is spiritual; all the forces emanating from it, operating through it, centering in it, are spiritual.

2. Universal:

The Jewish idea of the Messiah’s reign was a narrow national one. For them it meant the glorification of the sons of Abraham, the supremacy of Judaism over all forms of faith and all systems of philosophy; the subjection to Jewish sway of the haughty Roman, the cultured Greek and the rude barbarian. The Messiah was to be a greater king than David or Solomon, but still a king after the same sort; much as the limits of the kingdom might extend, it would be but an extension on Jewish lines; others might be admitted to a share in its privileges, but they would have to become naturalized Jews, or occupy a very subordinate place. The prophetic ideal, however, was a universal kingdom, and that was the conception endorsed and emphasized by Christ. (For the prophetic ideal such passages may be noted as Psalms 2; 22; 72; Isa 11:10; Da 7:13,14, etc.) Of course, the predictions have a Jewish coloring, and people who did not apprehend the spirituality might well construe this amiss; but, closely examined, it will be found that the prophets indicate that men’s position in the coming kingdom is to be determined by their relation to the king, and in that we get the preparation for the full New Testament ideal. The note of universality is very marked in the teaching of Christ. All barriers are to be broken down, and Jews and Gentiles are to share alike in the privileges of the new order. "Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 8:11), and stranger still to the Jewish ear: "The sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness" (Mt 8:12). In the parables of the kingdom (Mt 13), the field, in which is sown the good seed of the kingdom, is the world, and the various other figures give the same idea of unlimited extent. The same thought is suggested by the declaration, "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold" (Joh 10:16), also by the confident affirmation: "I, if I be lifted up, from the earth, will draw all men unto myself" (Joh 12:32), and so with many other statements of the Gospels.

The terms of the commission are enough to show the universal sovereignty which Christ claims over men: "Go ye therefore," He says, as possessing all authority in heaven and on earth, "and make disciples of all the nations" (Mt 28:19), coupled with the royal assurance, "Ye shall be my witnesses .... unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Ac 1:8). The Book of Ac shows, in the carrying out of the commission, the actual widening of the borders of Christ’s kingdom to include believers of all tions. Peter is taught, and announces clearly, the great truth that Gentiles are to be received upon the same terms as the Jews. But through Paul as the apostle of the Gentiles this glorious truth is most fully and jubilantly made known. In the dogmatic teaching of his Epistles he shows that all barriers are broken down, the middle wall of the fence between Jew and Gentile no longer exists. Those who were aliens and strangers are now made nigh in Christ, and "are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God" (Eph 2:19). That household, that commonwealth, is, in Pauline language, equivalent to the kingdom, and in the same epistle, he describes the same privileged position as being an "inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God" (Eph 5:5). The Saviour’s kingdom cannot be bounded by earthly limits, and all attempts to map it out according to human rules imply a failure to recognize the true Scriptural idea of its universality.

(1) Kingdom of Grace, of Power.

Most of what we have said applies to that phase of Christ’s kingdom which is generally called his kingdom of grace; there is another phase called the kingdom of power. Christ is in a special sense king in Zion, king in His church—that is universal in conception and destined to be so in reality—but He is also king of the universe. He is "head over all things"; Eph 1:22; Col 1:18, and other passages clearly intimate this. He rules over all. He does so not simply as God, but as God-man, as mediator. It is as mediator that He has the name above every name; it is as mediator that He sits upon the throne of universal power.

(2) Kingdom of Glory.

There is also the phase of the kingdom of glory. Christ’s reign now is truly glorious. The essential spirituality of it implies its glory, for as the spiritual far surpasses the material in value, so the glory of the spiritual far transcends the glory of the material. The glory of worldly pomp, of physical force, of human prowess or genius, must ever pale before the glory of righteousness, truth, spirituality. But Christ’s kingdom is glorious in another sense; it is a heavenly kingdom. It is the kingdom of grace into which saved sinners now enter, but it is also the kingdom of heavenly glory, and in it the glorified saints have a place. Entrance into the kingdom of grace in this earthly state secures entrance into the kingdom of glory. Rightly does the church confess: "Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ." The kingdom is yet to assume an externally glorious form. That is connected with the appearing of Christ (2Ti 4:1), the glory that shall be revealed, the heavenly kingdom. The kingdom in that stage cannot be entered by flesh and blood (1Co 15:50), man in his mortality—but the resurrection change will give the fitness, when in the fullest sense the kingdom of this world shall have "become the kingdom of our Lord, , and of his Christ" (Re 11:15).

3. Eternal:

It would be easy to multiply quotations in proof of this. The great passage in Da 7 emphatically declares it. The echo of this is heard in the angel’s announcement: "He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Lu 1:33). The reign of 1,000 years which so greatly occupies the thoughts of so many brethren, whatever we may decide as to its nature, is but an episode in the reign of Christ. He is reigning now, He shall reign forever. Re 11:15, above quoted, is often cited as applying to the millennium, but it goes on to say "and he shall reign (not for 1,000 years simply, but) for ever and ever." So, many of the glowing predictions of the Old Testament, which are often assigned to the millennium, indicate no limit, but deal with the enduring and eternal.

The difficult passage in 1Co 15:24-28 must be interpreted in the light of those declarations concerning the eternity of Christ’s reign. It is evidently as mediator that He delivers up the kingdom to the Father. The dispensation of mediator comes to an end. All has been done according to the purpose of redemption. All the ransomed are finally gathered home. He sees of the travail of His soul and is satisfied. Obdurate enemies are subdued. God’s glory has been fully vindicated. The Son becoming subject to the Father, God governs directly and is all in all. But the Son in some sense still reigns and through Him God’s glory will ever shine, while the kingdom eternally rests upon redemption. We may summarize by saying that Christ is king of truth, king of salvation (Mt 21:5; Zec 9:9); king of grace; king of peace (Lu 19:38; Heb 7:2); king of righteousness (Heb 1:8; 7:2); king of glory (Mt 25:31-34); king eternal; king of saints, king of the ages; king of kings (Re 19:16). "Upon his head are many diadems" (Re 19:12).


Archibald M’caig




1. Etymology and Definition

2. Earliest Kings

3. Biblical Signification of the Title


1. Israel’s Theocracy

2. Period of Judges

3. Establishment of the Monarchy

4. Appointment of King

5. Authority of the King

6. Duties of the King

7. The Symbols of Royal Dignity

8. Maintenance and Establishment

(1) Income

(2) The Royal Court

9. Short Character Sketch of Israel’s Kingdom


I. King.

1. Etymology and Definition:

The Hebrew word for king is melekh; its denominative malakh, "to reign" "to be king." The word is apparently derived from the mlkh which denotes: (1) in the Arabic (the verb and the noun) it means "to possess," "to reign," inasmuch as the possessor is also "lord" and "ruler"; (2) in the Aramaic melekh), and Assyrian "counsel," and in the Syrian "to consult"; compare Latin, consul.

If, as has been suggested, the root idea of "king" is "counsellor" and not "ruler," then the rise of the kingly office and power would be due to intellectual superiority rather than to physical prowess. And since the first form of monarchy known was that of a "city-state," the office of king may have evolved from that of the chief "elder" or intellectual head of the clan.

2. Earliest Kings:

The first king of whom we read in the Bible was Nimrod (Ge 10:8-10), who was supposedly the founder of the Babylonian empire. Historical research regarding the kings of Babylonia and Egypt corroborates this Biblical statement in so far as the ancestry of these kings is traced back to the earliest times of antiquity. According to Isa 19:11, it was the pride of the Egyptian princes that they could trace their lineage to most ancient kings. The Canaanites and Philistines had kings as early as the times of Abraham (Ge 14:2; 20:2). Thus also the Edomites, who were related to Israel (Ge 36:31), the Moabites, and the Midianites had kings (Nu 22:4; 31:8) earlier than the Israelites.

In Ge 14:18 we read of Melchizedek, who was a priest, and king of Salem. At first the extent of the dominion of kings was often very limited, as appears from 70 of them being conquered by Adonibezek (Jud 1:7), 31 by Joshua (Jos 12:7 ), and 32 being subject to Ben-hadad (1Ki 20:1).

3. Biblical Signification of the Title:

The earliest Biblical usage of this title "king," in consonance with the general oriental practice, denotes an absolute monarch who exercises unchecked control over his subjects. In this sense the title is applied to Yahweh, and to human rulers. No constitutional obligations were laid upon the ruler nor were any restrictions put upon his arbitrary authority. His good or bad conduct depended upon his own free will.

The title "king" was applied also to dependent kings. In the New Testament it is used even for the head of a province (Re 17:12). To distinguish him from the smaller and dependent kings, the king of Assyria bore the title "king of kings."

II. Kingdom.

The notable fact that Israel attained to the degree of a kingdom rather late, as compared with the other Semitic nations, does not imply that Israel, before the establishment of the monarchy, had not arrived at the stage of constitutional government, or that the idea of a kingdom had no room in the original plan of the founder of the Hebrew nation. For a satisfactory explanation we must take cognizance of the unique place that Israel held among the Semitic peoples.

1. Israel’s Theocracy:

It is universally recognized that Israel was a singular community. From the beginning of its existence as a nation it bore the character of a religious and moral community, a theocratic commonwealth, having Yahweh Himself as the Head and Ruler. The theocracy is not to be mistaken for a hierarchy, nor can it strictly be identified with any existent form of political organization. It was rather something over and above, and therefore independent of the political organization. It did not supersede the tribal organization of Israel, but it supplied the centralizing power, constituting Israel a nation. In lieu of a strong political center, the unifying bond of a common allegiance to Yahweh, i.e. the common faith in Him, the God of Israel, kept the tribes together. The consciousness that Yahweh was Israel’s king was deeply rooted, was a national feeling, and the inspiration of a true patriotism (Ex 15:18; 19:6; Jud 5). Yahweh’s kingship is evinced by the laws He gave to Israel, by the fact that justice was administered in His name (Ex 22:28), and by His leading and siding Israel in its wars (Ex 14:14; 15:3; Nu 21:14; 1Sa 18:17; 25:28). This decentralized system which characterized the early government of Israel politically, in spite of some great disadvantages, proved advantageous for Israel on the whole and served a great providential purpose. It safeguarded the individual liberties and rights of the Israelites. When later the monarchy was established, they enjoyed a degree of local freedom and self-control that was unknown in the rest of the Semitic world; there was home rule for every community, which admitted the untrammeled cultivation of their inherited religious and social institutions.

From the political point of view Israel, through the absence of a strong central government, was at a great disadvantage, making almost impossible its development into a world-empire. But this barrier to a policy of self-aggrandizement was a decided blessing from the viewpoint of Israel’s providential mission to the world. It made possible the transmission of the pure religion entrusted to it, to later generations of men without destructive contamination from the ungodly forces with which Israel would inevitably have come into closer contact, had it not been for its self-contained character, resulting from the fashion of a state it was providentially molded into. Only as the small and insignificant nation that it was, could Israel perform its mission as "the depository and perpetuating agency of truths vital to the welfare of humanity." Thus its religion was the central authority of this nation, supplying the lack of a centralized government. Herein lay Israel’s uniqueness and greatness, and also the secret of its strength as a nation, as long as the loyalty and devotion to Yahweh lasted. Under the leadership of Moses and Joshua who, though they exercised a royal authority, acted merely as representatives of Yahweh, the influence of religion of which these leaders were a personal embodiment was still so strong as to keep the tribes united for common action. But when, after the removal of these strong leaders, Israel no longer had a standing representative of Yahweh, those changes took place which eventually necessitated the establishment of the monarchy.

2. Period of Judges:

In the absence of a special representative of Yahweh, His will as Israel’s King was divined by the use of the holy lot in the hand of the highest priest. But the lot would not supply the place of a strong personal leader. Besides, many of the Israelites came under the deteriorating influence of the Canaanite worship and began to adopt heathenish customs. The sense of religious unity weakened, the tribes became disunited and ceased to act in common, and as a result they were conquered by their foes. Yahweh came to their assistance by sending them leaders, who released the regions where they lived from foreign attacks. But these leaders were not the strong religious personalities that Moses and Joshua had been; besides, they had no official authority, and their rule was only temporary and local. It was now that the need of a centralized political government was felt, and the only type of permanent organization of which the age was cognizant was the kingship. The crown was offered to Gideon, but he declined it, saying: "Yahweh shall rule over you" (Jud 8:22,23). The attempt of his son, Abimelech, to establish a kingship over Shechem and the adjacent country, after the Canaanitic fashion, was abortive.

The general political condition of this period is briefly and pertinently described by the oft-recurring statement in Judges: "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes."

3. Establishment of the Monarchy:

Not until the time of Samuel was a formal kingdom established over Israel. An attempt to ameliorate conditions by a union of civil and religious functions in the hands of Eli, the priest, had failed through the degeneracy of his sons. Similarly the hopes of Israel in a hereditary judgeship had been disappointed through the corruption of the sons of Samuel. The Philistines were threatening the independence and hope of Israel. Its very existence as a distinct race, and consequently the future of Yahweh’s religion, imperatively demanded a king. Considering that it was the moral decline of the nation that had created the necessity for a monarchy, and moreover that the people’s desire for a king originated from a purely national and not from a religious motive, the unwillingness of Samuel, at first, to comply with the demand for a king is not surprising. Even Yahweh declared: "They have not rejected thee but they have rejected me," etc. Instead of recognizing that they themselves were responsible for the failures of the past, they blamed the form of government they had, and put all their hopes upon a king. That it was not the monarchy as such that was objectionable to Yahweh and His prophet is evidenced by the fact that to the patriarchs the promise had been given: "Kings shall come out of thy loins" (Ge 17:6; 35:11). In view of this Moses had made provision for a kingship (De 17:14-20). According to the Mosaic charter for the kingship, the monarchy when established must be brought into consonance with the fact that Yahweh was Israel’s king. Of this fact Israel had lost sight when it requested a kingship like that of the neighboring peoples. Samuel’s gloomy prognostications were perfectly justified in view of such a kingship as they desired, which would inevitably tend to selfish despotism (1Sa 8:11 f). therefore God directs Samuel to give them a king—since the introduction of a kingship typifying the kingship of Christ lay within the plan of His economy—not according to their desire, but in accordance with the instructions of the law concerning kings (De 17:14-20), in order to safeguard their liberties and prevent the forfeiture of their mission.

4. Appointment of King:

According to the Law of Moses Yahweh was to choose the king of israel, who was to be His representative. The choice of Yahweh in the case of Saul is implied by the anointing of Saul by Samuel and through the confirmation of this choice by the holy lot (1Sa 10:1-20). This method of choosing the king did not exclude the people altogether, since Saul was publicly presented to them, and acknowledged as king (1Sa 10:24). The participation of the people in the choice of their king is more pronounced in the case of David, who, having been designated as Yahweh’s choice by being anointed by Samuel, was anointed again by the elders of Israel before he actually became king (2Sa 2:4).

The anointing itself signified the consecration to an office in theocracy. The custom of anointing kings was an old one, and by no means peculiar to Israel (Jud 9:8,15). The hereditary kingship began with David. Usually the firstborn succeeded to the throne, but not necessarily. The king might choose as his successor from among his sons the one whom he thought best qualified.

5. Authority of the King:

The king of Israel was not a constitutional monarch in the modern sense, nor was he an autocrat in the oriental sense. He was responsible to Yahweh, who had chosen him and whose vicegerent and servant he was. Furthermore, his authority was more or less limited on the religious side by the prophets, the representatives of Yahweh, and in the political sphere by the "elders," the representatives of the people, though as king he stood above all. Rightly conceived, his kingship in relation to Yahweh, who was Israel’s true king, implied that he was Yahweh’s servant and His earthly substitute. In relation to his subjects his kingship demanded of him, according to the Law, "that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren" (De 17:20).

6. Duties of the King:

In a summary way the king was held responsible for all Israel as the Lord’s people. His main duty was to defend it against its enemies, and for this reason it devolved upon him to raise and maintain a standing army; and it was expected of him that he be its leader in case of war (1Sa 8:20). In respect to the judiciary the king was a kind of supreme court, or court of final appeal, and as such, as in the days of Solomon, might be approached by his most humble subjects (2Sa 15:2; 1Ki 3:16 ). Legislative functions he had none and was himself under the law (1Ki 21:4; De 17:19). The king was also in a way the summus episcopus in Israel. His very kingship was of an entirely religious character and implied a unity of the heavenly and earthly rule over Israel through him who as Yahweh’s substitute sat "upon the throne of the kingdom of Yahweh over Israel" (1Ch 17:14; 28:5; 29:23), who was "Yahweh’s anointed" (1Sa 24:10; 26:9; 2Sa 1:14), and also bore the title of "son of Yahweh" and "the first-born," the same as Israel did (Ex 4:22; Ho 11:1; 2Sa 7:14; Ps 89:27; 2:7). Thus a place of honor was assigned to the king in the temple (2Ki 11:4; 23:3; Eze 46:1,2); besides, he officiated at the national sacrifices (especially mentioned of David and Solomon). He prayed for his people and blessed them in the name of Yahweh (2Sa 6:18; 24:25; 1Ki 3:4,8; 8:14,55,62; 9:25). Apparently it was the king’s right to appoint and dismiss the chief priests at the sanctuaries, though in his choice he was doubtless restricted to the Aaronites (1Ch 16:37,39; 2Sa 8:17; 1Ki 2:27,35). The priesthood was under the king’s supervision to such an extent that he might concern himself about its organization and duties (1Ch 15:16,23,24; 16:4-6), and that he was responsible for the purity of the cult and the maintenance of the order of worship. In general he was to watch over the religious life and conduct of his people, to eradicate the high places and every form of idolatry in the land (2Ki 18:4). Eze 45:22 demands of the prince that he shall provide at the Passover a bullock for a sin offering for all the people.

7. The Symbols of Royal Dignity:

The marks of royal dignity, besides the beautiful robes in which the king was attired (1Ki 22:10), were:

(1) the diadem nezer) and the crown (aTarah, 2Sa 1:10; 2Ki 11:12; 2Sa 12:30), the headtire;

(2) the scepter (shebheT), originally a long, straight staff, the primitive sign of dominion and authority (Ge 49:10; Nu 24:17; Isa 14:5; Jer 48:17; Ps 2:9; 45:7). Saul had a spear (1Sa 18:10; 22:6);

(3) the throne (kicce’, 1Ki 10:18-20), the symbol of majesty. Israel’s kings also had a palace (1Ki 7:1-12; 22:39; Jer 22:14), a royal harem (2Sa 16:21), and a bodyguard (2Sa 8:18; 15:18).

8. Maintenance and Establishment:

(1) Income.

(a) According to the custom of the times presents were expected of the subjects (1Sa 10:27; 16:20) and of foreigners (2Sa 8:2; 1Ki 5:1 ff; 10:25; 2Ch 32:23), and these often took the form of an annual tribute.

(b) In time of war the king would lay claim to his share of the booty (2Sa 8:11; 12:30; 1Ch 26:27).

(c) Various forms of taxes were in vogue, as a part of the produce of the land (1Ki 9:11; 1Sa 17:25), forced labor of the Canaanites (1Ki 9:20; 2Ch 2:16) and also of the Israelites (1Ki 5:13; 11:28; 12:4), the first growth of the pasture lands (Am 7:1), toll collected from caravans (1Ki 10:15).

(d) Subdued nations had to pay a heavy tribute (2Ki 3:4).

(e) The royal domain often comprised extensive possessions (1Ch 27:25-31).

(2) The Royal Court.

The highest office was that of the princes (1Ki 4:2), who were the king’s advisers or counselors. In 2Ki 25:19 and Jer 52:25 they are called "they that saw the king’s face" (compare also 1Ki 12:6, "stood before Solomon"). The following officers of King David are mentioned: the captain of the host (commander-in-chief), the captain of the Cherethites and the Pelethites (bodyguard), the recorder (chronicler and reminder), the scribe (secretary of state), the overseer of the forced labor, the chief ministers or priests (confidants of the king, usually selected from the royal family) (2Sa 8:16-18; 20:23-26).

During the reign of Solomon other officers were added as follows: the overseer over the twelve men "who provided victuals for the king and his household" (1Ki 4:5,7), the officer over the household (1Ki 4:6; 18:3) (steward, the head of the palace who had "the key" in his possession, Isa 22:22); the king’s friend (1Ki 4:5; 1Ch 27:33) is probably the same as the king’s servant mentioned among the high officials in 2Ki 22:12. It is not stated what his duties were. Minor officials are servants, cupbearer (1Ki 10:5), keeper of the wardrobe (2Ki 22:14; 10:22), eunuchs (chamberlains, not mentioned before the division of the kingdom) (1Ki 22:9; 2Ki 8:6).

9. Short Character Sketch of Israel’s Kingdom:

No higher conceptions of a good king have ever been given to the world than those which are presented in the representations of kingship in the Old Testament, both actual and ideal. Though Samuel’s characterization of the kingship was borne out in the example of a great number of kings of Israel, the Divine ideal of a true king came as near to its realization in the case of one king of Israel, at least, as possibly nowhere else, namely, in the case of David. Therefore King David appears as the type of that king in whom the Divine ideal of a Yahweh-king was to find its perfect realization; toward whose reign the kingship in Israel tended. The history of the kingship in Israel after David is, indeed, characterized by that desire for political aggrandizement which had prompted the establishment of the monarchy, which was contrary to Israel’s Divine mission as the peculiar people of the Yahweh-king. When Israel’s kingdom terminated in the Bah exile, it became evident that the continued existence of the nation was possible even without a monarchical form of government. Though a kingdom was established again under the Maccabees, as a result of the attempt of Antiochus to extinguish Israel’s religion, this kingdom was neither as perfectly national nor as truly religious in its character as the Davidic. It soon became dependent on Rome. The kingship of Herod was entirely alien to the true Israelite conception.

It remains to be said only that the final attempt of Israel in its revolt against the Roman Empire, to establish the old monarchy, resulted in its downfall as a nation, because it would not learn the lesson that the future of a nation does not depend upon political greatness, but upon the fulfillment of its Divine mission.


J.P. McCurdy, History, Prophecy and the Monuments; Riehm, Handwiirterbuch des bibl. Alterrums; Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes); Kinzler, Bibl. Altes Testament.

S. D. Press


(he basileia ton ouranon; he basileia tou theou):


1. Place in the Gospels

2. "Kingdom of Heaven" and "Kingdom of God"

3. Relation to the Old Testament (Daniel, etc.)


1. Current Jewish Opinions

2. Relation of Jesus to Same

3. Growing Divergence and Contrast

4. Prophetic Character of the "Temptation"

5. Modern "Futuristic" Hypothesis (J. Weiss, Schweitzer)

6. Weakness of This View

7. Positive Conceptions of Jesus


1. Apostolic and Post-apostolic Age

2. Early Christian Centuries

3. Reformation Period

4. Later Ideas


1. Danger of Exaggeration

2. Elements of Living Power in Idea


The "kingdom of God" is one of the most remarkable ideas and phrases of all time, having begun to be used very near the beginnings of history and continuing in force down to the present day.

I. Meaning and Origin of the Term

1. Place in the Gospels:

Its use by Jesus is by far its most interesting aspect; for, in the Synoptists, at least, it is His watchword, or a comprehensive term for the whole of His teaching. Of this the ordinary reader of Scripture may hardly be aware, but it becomes evident and significant to the student. Thus, in Mt 4:23, the commencement of the ministry is described in these words, "And Jesus went about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of disease and all manner of sickness among the people"; and, somewhat later, in Lu 8:1, the expansion of His activity is described in the following terms, "And it came to pass soon afterwards, that he went about through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good tidings of the kingdom of God, and with him the twelve." When the Twelve are sent forth by themselves, the purpose of their mission is, in Lu 9:2, given in these words, "And he sent them forth to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick." In Mt 13:11, the parables, which formed so large and prominent a portion of His teaching, are denominated collectively "the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven"; and it will be remembered how many of these commence with the phrase, "The kingdom of heaven is like."

2. "Kingdom of Heaven" and "Kingdom of God":

In these quotations, and in others which might easily be adduced, it will be observed that the phrases "the kingdom," "the kingdom of God," "the kingdom of heaven" are used interchangeably. The last of the three, "the kingdom of heaven," is confined to the First Gospel, which does not, however, always make use of it; and it is not certain what may have been the reason for the substitution. The simplest explanation would be that heaven is a name for God, as, in the parable of the Prodigal Son, the penitent says, "I have sinned against heaven," and we ourselves might say, "Heaven forbid!" It is not, however, improbable that the true meaning has to be learned from two petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, the one of which is epexegetic of the other, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven." Here the disciples are instructed to pray that the kingdom of God may come, but this is equivalent to the petition that the will of God may be done on earth; Jesus is, however, aware of a region in the universe where the will of God is at present being perfectly and universally done, and, for reasons not difficult to surmise, He elevates thither the minds and hearts of those who pray. The kingdom of heaven would thus be so entitled because it is already realized there, and is, through prayer and effort, to be transferred thence to this earth.

3. Relation to the Old Testament (Daniel, etc.):

Although, however, the phrase held this master position in the teaching of Jesus, it was not of His invention. It was employed before Him by John the Baptist, of whom we read, in Mt 3:1 f, "And in those days cometh John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Indeed, the phrase is far older; for, on glancing toward the Old Testament, we come at once, in Da 2:44, to a passage where the young prophet, explaining to the monarch the image of gold, silver, iron and clay, which, in his dream, he had seen shattered by "a stone cut out without hands," interprets it as a succession of world-kingdoms, destined to be destroyed by "a kingdom of God," which shall last forever; and, in his famous vision of the "son of man" in 7:14, it is said, "There was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."

These passages in Daniel form undoubtedly the proximate source of the phrase; yet the idea which it represents mounts far higher. From the first the Jewish state was governed by laws believed to be derived directly from heaven; and, when the people demanded a king, that they might be like other nations, they were reproached for desiring any king but God Himself. With this sublime conception the actual monarchy was only a compromise, the reigning monarch passing for Yahweh’s representative on earth. In David, the man after God’s own heart, the compromise was not unsatisfactory; in Solomon it was still tolerable; but in the majority of the kings of both Judah and Israel it was a dismal and disastrous failure. No wonder that the pious sighed and prayed that Yahweh might take to Himself His great power and reign, or that the prophets predicted the coming of a ruler who would be far nearer to God than the actual kings and of whose reign there would be no end. Even when the political kingdom perished and the people were carried away into Babylon, the intelligent and truly religious among them did not cease to cherish the old hope, and the very aspect of the worldpowers then and subsequently menacing them only widened their conceptions of what that kingdom must be which could overcome them all. The return from Babylon seemed a miraculous confirmation of their faith, and it looked as if the day long prayed for were about to dawn. Alas, it proved a day of small things. The era of the Maccabees was only a transitory gleam; in the person of Herod the Great a usurper occupied the throne; and the eagles of the Romans were hovering on the horizon. Still Messianic hopes flourished, and Messianic language filled the mouths of the people.

II. Its Use by Jesus—Contrast with Jewish Conceptions.

1. Current Jewish Opinions:

Schurer, in his History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ (II, 11, 126 ff), has drawn up a kind of Messianic creed, in no fewer than eleven articles, which he believes was extensively diffused at this period. The Sadducees, indeed, had no participation in these dreams, as they would have called them, being absorbed in money-making and courtiership; but the Pharisees cherished them, and the Zealots received their name from the ardor with which they embraced them. The true custodians, however, of these conceptions were the Prosdechomenoi, as they have been called, from what is said of them in the New Testament, that they "waited for the kingdom of God." To this class belonged such men as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea (Lu 23:51), but it is in the beginning of the Gospel of Luke that we are introduced to its most numerous representatives, in the groups surrounding the infant Baptist and the infant Saviour (Lu 2:25,38); and the truest and amplest expression of their sentiments must be sought in the inspired hymns which rose from them on this occasion. The center of their aspirations, as there depicted, is a kingdom of God—not, however, of worldly splendor and force, but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit; beginning in humility, and passing to exaltation only through the dark valley of contrition.

2. Relation of Jesus to Same:

Such was the circle in which both the Baptist and Jesus were reared and it was out of this atmosphere that the conception of the kingdom of God came into their minds. It has frequently been said that, in making use of this term, Jesus accommodated Himself to the opinions and language of His fellow-countrymen; and there is truth in this, because, in order to secure a footing on the solid earth of history, He had to connect His own activity with the world in which He found Himself. Yet the idea was native to His home and His race, and therefore to Himself; and it is not improbable that He may at first have been unaware of the wide difference between His own thoughts on the subject and those of His contemporaries.

3. Growing Divergence and Contrast:

When, however, He began, in the course of His ministry, to speak of the kingdom of God, it soon became manifest that by Him and by His contemporaries it was used in different senses; and this contrast went on increasing until there was a great gulf fixed between Him and them. The difference cannot better be expressed than by saying, as is done by B. Weiss, that He and they laid the accent on different halves of the phrase, they emphasizing "the kingdom" and He "of God." They were thinking of the expulsion of the Romans, of a Jewish king and court, and of a world-wide dominion going forth from Mt. Zion; He was thinking of righteousness, holiness and peace, of the doing of the will of God on earth as it is done in heaven. So earthly and fantastic were the expectations of the Jewish multitude that He had to escape from their hands when they tried to take Him by force and make Him a king. The authorities never acknowledged the pretensions of One who seemed to them a religious dreamer, and, as they clung to their own conceptions, they grew more and more bitter against One who was turning the most cherished hopes of a nation into ridicule, besides threatening to bring down on them the heavy hand of the Roman. And at last they settled the controversy between Him and them by nailing Him to a tree.

4. Prophetic Character of the "Temptation":

At one time Jesus had felt the glamor of the popular Messianic ideas, and at all times He must have been under temptation to accommodate His own ideas to the prejudices of those on whose favor His success seemed to be dependent. The struggle of His mind and will with such solicitations is embodied in what is called the Temptation in the Wilderness (Mt 4:1-11). There He was tempted to accept the dominion of the world at the price of compromise with evil; to be a bread-king, giving panem et circenes; and to curry favor with the multitude by some display, like springing from the pinnacle of the temple. The incidents of this scene look like representative samples of a long experience; but they are placed before the commencement of His public activity in order to show that He had already overcome them; and throughout His ministry He may be said to have been continually declaring, as He did in so many words at its close, that His kingdom was not of this world.

5. Modern "Futuristic" Hypothesis (J. Weiss, Schweitzer):

It is very strange that, in spite of this, He should be believed, even by Christian scholars, to have held a purely futuristic and apocalyptic view of the kingdom Himself. He was all the time expecting, it is said, that the heavens would open and the kingdom descend from heaven to earth, a pure and perfect work of God. This is exactly what was expected by the Jewish multitude, as is stated in Lu 19:11; and it is precisely what the authorities believed Him to be anticipating. The controversy between Him and them was as to whether Yahweh would intervene on His behalf or not; and, when no intervention took place, they believed they were justified in condemning Him. The premises being conceded, it is difficult to deny the force of their argument. If Jesus was all the time looking out for an appearance from heaven which never arrived, what better was He than a dreamer of the ghetto?

6. Weakness of This View:

It was by Johannes Weiss that this hypothesis was started in recent times; and it has been worked out by Schweitzer as the final issue of modern speculation on the life of Christ (see his The Quest of the Historical Jesus). But in opposition to it can be quoted not a few sayings of Jesus which indicate that, in His view, the kingdom of God had already begun and was making progress during His earthly ministry, and that it was destined to make progress not by catastrophic and apocalyptic interference with the course of Providence, but, as the grain grows—first the blade, then the ear, after that the full grain in the ear (Mr 4:26-29). Of such sayings the most remarkable is Lu 17:20 f, "And being asked by the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God cometh, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, There! for lo, the kingdom of God is within you." "Observation," in this quotation, is an astronomical term, denoting exactly such a manifestation in the physical heavens as Jesus is assumed to have been looking for; so that He denies in so many words the expectation attributed to Him by those representatives of modern scholarship.

7. Positive Conceptions of Jesus:

In the nature of the case the kingdom must have been growing from stage to stage during His earthly ministry. He Himself was there, embodying the kingdom in His person; and the circle gathered around Him partook of the blessings of the kingdom. This circle might have grown large enough to be coextensive with the country; and, therefore, Jesus retained the consciousness of being the Messiah, and offered Himself in this character to His fellow-countrymen by the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. But the citizens of the kingdom had to enter it one by one, not in a body, as the Jews were expecting. Strait was the gate; it was the narrow gate of repentance. Jesus began by repeating the initial word of the teaching of His forerunner; and He had too much reason to continue repeating it, as the hypocrisy and worldliness of Pharisees and Sadducees called for denunciation from His lips. To the frailties of the publicans and sinners, on the contrary, He showed a strange mildness; but this was because He knew the way of bringing such sinners to His feet to confess their sins themselves. To the penitent He granted pardon, claiming that the Son of man had power on earth to forgive sins. Then followed the exposition of righteousness, of which the Sermon on the Mount is a perfect specimen. Yet it commences with another watchword—that of blessedness, the ingredients of which are set forth in all their comprehensiveness. In the same way, in other passages, He promises "rest" "peace" and the like; and again and again, where He might be expected to employ the term "kingdom of God," He substitutes "life" or "eternal life." Such were the blessings He had come into the world to bestow; and the most comprehensive designation for them all was "the kingdom of God."

It is true, there was always imperfection attaching to the kingdom as realized in His lifetime, because He Himself was not yet made perfect. Steadily, from the commencement of the last stage of His career, He began to speak of His own dying and rising again. To those nearest Him such language was at the time a total mystery; but the day came when His apostles were able to speak of His death and ascension as the crown and glory of His whole career. When His life seemed to be plunging over the precipice, its course was so diverted by the providence of God that, by dying, He became the Redeemer of mankind and, by missing the throne of the Jews, attained to that of the universe, becoming King of kings and Lord of lords.

III. The Idea in History.

1. Apostolic and Post-apostolic Age:

After the death of Jesus, there soon ensued the destruction of the Jewish state; and then Christianity went forth among the nations, where to have spoken of it as a kingdom of God would have unnecessarily provoked hostility and called forth the accusation of treason against the powers that be. Hence, it made use of other names and let "the kingdom of God" drop. This had commenced even in Holy Scripture, where, in the later books, there is a growing infrequency in the use of the term. This may be alleged as proof that Jesus was being forgotten; but it may only prove that Christianity was then too much alive to be trammeled with words and phrases, even those of the Master, being able at every stage to find new language to express its new experience.

2. Early Christian Centuries:

In the early Christian centuries, "the kingdom of God" was used to designate heaven itself, in which from the first the development of the kingdom was to issue; this, in fact, being not infrequently the meaning of the phrase even in the mouth of Jesus. The Alexandrian thinkers brought back the phrase to designate the rule of God in the conscience of men. Augustine’s great work bears a title, De Civitate Dei, which is a translation of our phrase; and to him the kingdom of God was the church, while the world outside of the church was the kingdom of Satan. From the time of Charlemagne there were in the world, side by side, two powers, that of the emperor and that of the pope; and the history of the Middle Ages is the account of the conflict of these two for predominance, each pretending to struggle in the name of God. The approaching termination of this conflict may be seen in Wycliffe’s great work De Dominio Divino, this title also being a translation of our phrase.

3. Reformation Period:

During the struggles of the Reformation the battles of the faith were fought out under other watchwords; and it was rather amongsuch sectaries as the Baptists, that names like Fifth Monarchy and Rule of the Saints betrayed recollection of the evangelic phraseology; but how near, then and subsequently, the expression of men’s thoughts about authority in church and state came to the language of the Gospels could easily be demonstrated, for example, from the Confessions and Books of Discipline of the Scottish church.

4. Later Ideas:

The very phrase, "the kingdom of God," reappeared at the close of the Reformation period among the Pietists of Germany, who, as their multiplying benevolent and missionary activities overflowed the narrow boundaries of the church, as it was then understood, spoke of themselves as working for the kingdom of God, and found this more to their taste than working for the church. The vague and humanitarian aspirations of Rationalism sometimes assumed to themselves the same title; but it was by Ritschl and his followers that the phrase was brought back into the very heart of theology. In the system of Ritschl there are two poles—the love of God and the kingdom of God. The love of God enfolds within itself God’s purpose for the world, to be realized in time; and this progressive realization is the kingdom of God. It fulfils itself especially in the faithful discharge of the duties of everyone’s daily vocation and in the recognition that in the course of Providence all things are working together for good to them that love God.

IV. Place in Theology.

1. Danger of Exageration:

There are those to whom it appears self-evident that what was the leading phrase in the teaching of Jesus must always be the master-word in theology; while others think this to be a return from the spirit to the letter. Even Jesus, it may be claimed, had this phrase imposed upon Him quite as much as He chose it for Himself; and to impose it now on theology would be to entangle the movements of Christian thought with the cerements of the dead.

2. Elements of Living Power in Idea:

This is an interesting controversy, on both sides of which much might be said. But in the phrase "the kingdom of God" there are elements of living power which can never pass away.

(1) It expresses the social Power inside of Christianity. A kingdom implies multitude and variety, and, though religion begins with the individual, it must aim at brotherhood, organization and expansion.

(2) It expresses loyalty. However much kings and kingdoms may fail to touch the imagination in an age of the world when many countries have become or are becoming republican, the strength to conquer and to endure will always have to be derived from contact with personalities. God is the king of the kingdom of God, and the Son of God is His vicegerent; and without the love of God the Father and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ no progress can be made with the Christianization of the world.

(3) It keeps alive the truth, suggested by Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer, that the doing of the will of God on earth is the one thing needful. This is the true end of all authority in both church and state, and behind all efforts thus directed there is at work the potency of heaven.

(4) It reminds all generations of men that their true home and destiny is heaven. In not a few of our Lord’s own sayings, as has been remarked, our phrase is obviously only a name for heaven; and, while His aim was that the kingdom should be established on earth, He always promised to those aiding in its establishment in this world that their efforts would be rewarded in the world to come. The constant recognition of a spiritual and eternal world is one of the unfailing marks of genuine Christianity.


See the works on New Testament Theology by Weiss, Beyschlag, Holtzmann, Feine, Schlatter, Weinel, Stevens, Sheldon; and on the Teaching of Jesus by Wendt, Dalman, Bruce; Candlish, The Kingdom of God; Robertson, Regnum Dei; Stalker, The Ethic of Jesus.

James Stalker






(2Ch 21:20).






1. Purpose

2. Character of Data


1. Treatment of Historical Data

2. Chronology

3. Value of Assyrian Records

4. Plan


1. Nature of the Books

2. Sources

3. Kent’s Scheme

4. The Jahwist (Jahwist) and the Elohist (E)



I. Title.

The Hebrew title reads, melakhim, "kings," the division into books being based on the Septuagint where the Books of Kings are numbered 3rd and 4th, the Books of Kingdoms (Basileion), the Books of Samuel being numbered respectively 1st and 2nd. The separation in the Hebrew into 2 Books of Kings dates to the rabbinic Bible of Daniel Bomberg (Venice, 1516-17), who adds in a footnote, "Here the non-Jews (i.e. Christians) begin the 4th Book of Kings." The Hebrew Canon treats the 2 Books of Samuel as one book, and the 2 Books of Kings as one. Hence, both the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) read incorrectly, "The First Book of Kings," even the use of the article being superfluous.gs (stadia) from Jerusalem, which he named Absalom’s Hand." In all probability this "pillar" was a rough upright stone—a matstsebhah—but its site is lost. The traditional Greek-Egyptian tomb of perhaps 100-200 years BC which has been hewn out of the rock on the eastern side of the Kidron valley is manifestly misnamed "Absalom’s pillar," and the Kidron ravine (nachal) cannot be the King’s Vale (‘emeq).

II. Scope.

The Books of Kings contain 47 chapters (I, 22 chs; II, 25 chs), and cover the period from the conspiracy of Adonijah and the accession of Solomon (975 BC) to the liberation of Jehoiachin after the beginning of the Exile (561 BC). The subject-matter may be grouped under certain heads, as the last days of David (1Ki 1-2:11); Solomon and his times (1Ki 2:12-11:43); the Northern Kingdom to the coming of Assyria (1Ki 12:16-2Ki 17:41) (937-722 BC), including 9 dynastic changes; the Southern Kingdom to the coming of Babylon (1Ki 12:1-2Ki 25:21, the annals of the two kingdoms being given as parallel records until the fall of Israel) (937-586 BC), during which time but one dynasty, that of David, occupied the throne; the period of exile to 561 BC (2Ki 25:22-30). A simpler outline, that of Driver, would be:

(1) Solomon and his times (1Ki 1-11);

(2) Israel and Judah to the fall of Israel (1Ki 12-2Ki 17); Judah to the fall of Jerusalem (586 BC), and the captivity to the liberation of Jehoiachin (561 BC) (2Ki 18-25).

"Above all, there are three features in the history, which, in the mind of the author, are of prime importance as shown by the prominence he gives them in his narrative.

(1) The dynasty of David is invested with peculiar dignity. This had two aspects. It pointed back to the Divine election of the nation in the past, and gave the guaranty of indefinite national perpetuity in the future. The promise of the ‘sure mercies of David’ was a powerful uniting influence in the Exile.

(2) The Temple and its service, for which the writer had such special regard, contributed greatly to the phase of national character of subsequent times. With all the drawbacks and defacements of pure worship here was the stated regular performance of sacred rites, the development and regulation of priestly order and ritual law, which stamped themselves so firmly on later Judaism.

(3) Above all, this was the period of bloom of Old Testament prophecy. Though more is said of men like Elijah and Elisha, who have left no written words, we must not forget the desires of pre-exilic prophets, whose writings have come down to us—men who, against the opposition of rulers and the indifference of the people, testified to the moral foundation on which the nation was constituted, vindicated Divine righteousness, rebuked sin, and held up the ideal to which the nation was called."—Robertson, Temple B D, 369 f.

III. Character of Books and Position in Hebrew Canon.

The Books of Kings contain much historical material, yet the historical is not their primary purpose. What in our English Bibles pass for historical books are in the Hebrew Canon prophetic books, the Books of Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings and 2 Kings being classed as the "Earlier Prophets."

1. Purpose:

The chief aim of these books is didactic, the imparting of great moral lessons backed up by well-known illustrations from the nation’s history and from the lives of its heroes and leaders. Accordingly, we have here a sort of historical archipelago, more continuous than in the Pentateuch, yet requiring much bridging over and conjecture in the details.

2. Character of Data:

The historical matter includes, in the case of the kings of Israel, the length of the reign and the death; in the case of the kings of Judah there are included also the age at the date of accession, the name of the mother, and mention of the burial. The beginnings of the reigns in each case are dated from a point in the reign of the contemporary ruler, e.g. 1Ki 15:1: "Now in the 18th year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat began Abijam to reign over Judah."

IV. Historical Value.

1. Treatment of Historical Data:

These books contain a large amount of authentic data, and, along with the other books of this group which constitute a contemporaneous narrative, Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, must be accorded high rank among ancient documents. To be sure the ethical and religious value is first and highest, nevertheless the historical facts must be reckoned at their true worth. Discrepancies and contradictions are to be explained by the subordination of historical details to the moral and religious purpose of the books, and to the diversity of sources whence these data are taken, that is, the compilers and editors of the Books of Kings as they now stand were working not for a consistent, continuous historical narrative, but for a great ethical and religious treatise. The historical material is only incidental and introduced by way of illustration and confirmation. For the oriental mind these historical examples rather than the rigor of modern logic constitute the unanswerable argument.

2. Chronology:

There cannot be as much said relative to the chronological value of the books. Thus, e.g., there is a question as to the date of the close of Ahaz’ reign. According to 2Ki 18:10, Samaria fell in the 6th year of Hezekiah’s reign. The kings who followed Hezekiah aggregate 110 years; 586 plus 110 plus 29 (Hezekiah, 2Ki 18:2) = 725. But in 2Ki 18:13 we learn that Sennacherib’s invasion came in the 14th year of Hezekiah’s reign. Then 701 plus 14 = 715. With this last agrees the account of Hezekiah’s sickness (2Ki 20). In explanation of 2Ki 18:13, however, it is urged by some that the writer has subtracted the 15 years of 2Ki 20:6 from the 29 years of Hezekiah’s reign. Again, e.g. in 1Ki 6:1, we learn that Solomon began to build the temple 480 years "after the children of Israel were come out of the Land of Egypt" Septuagint here reads 440 years). This would make between Moses and David 12 generations of 40 years each. But counting the Exodus in the reign of Merenptah, 1225-1215 BC, and the beginning of the erection of the temple 975 BC, or after, we could not make out more than (1225-975) 250 years. Further, if the total length of reigns in Israel and Judah as recorded in the parallel accounts of Kings be added for the two kingdoms, the two amounts do not agree. And, again, it is not certain whether in their annals the Hebrews predated or post-dated the reigns of their kings, i.e. whether the year of a king’s death was counted his last year and the first year of his successor’s reign, or whether the following year was counted the first year of the succeeding king (compare Curtis in H D B, I, 400, 1, f; Marti in E B, I, coll. 777 ff).

3. Value of Assyrian Records:

The Babylonians and Assyrians were more skilled and more careful chronologers, and it is by reference to their accounts of the same or of contemporary events that a sure footing is found. Hence, the value of such monuments as those of Shalmaneser IV and Sennacherib—and here mention should be made also of the Moabite Stone.

4. Plan:

The plan of the books is prevailingly chronological, although at times the material is arranged in groups (e.g. 2Ki 2:1-8:15, the Elisha stories).

V. Composition.

1. Nature of the Books:

The Books of Kings are of the nature of a compilation. The compiler has furnished a framework into which he has arranged the historical matter drawn from other sources. There are chronological data, citations of authorities, judgments on the character and deeds of the several rulers, and moral and religious teachings drawn from the attitude of the rulers in matters of religion, especially toward heathen cults. The point of view is that of the prophets of the national party as one against foreign influence. "Both in point of view and in phraseology the compiler shows himself to be strongly influenced by Deuteronomy." (The principal editor is styled RD, i.e. Deuteronomic Redactor.) The Deuteronomic law was the touchstone, and by his loyalty to, or apostasy from, that standard, each king stands approved or condemned. This influence also appears in passages where the editor takes liberties in the expansion and adaptation of material. There is marked recurrence of phrases occurring elsewhere chiefly or even wholly in Deuteronomy, or in books showing Deuteronomic influence (Burney in H D B, II, 859 f). In 2Ki 17 we have a test of the nation on the same standards; compare also 1Ki 2:3 f; 9:1-9; 2Ki 14:6; De 24:16.

2. Sources:

In numerous instances the sources are indicated, as "the book of the acts of Solomon" (1Ki 11:41), "the chronicles of the kings of Judah" (1Ki 14:29), "the chronicles of the kings of Israel" (1Ki 15:31). A score or more of these sources are mentioned by title in the several books of the Old Testament. Thus "the history of Samuel the seer," "the history of Nathan the prophet." "the history of Gad the seer" (1Ch 29:29); "the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite," "the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat" (2Ch 9:29; compare 2Ch 12:15; 13:22; 20:34; 32:32). Thus the "book of the kings of Israel" is mentioned 17 times (for all kings except Jehoram and Hoshea); the "book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah" is mentioned 15 times (for all except Ahaziah, Athaliah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah). Whether the compiler had recourse to the archives themselves or to a work based on the archives is still a question.

3. Kent’s Scheme:

Kent, Student’s Old Testament (II, chart, and pp. ix-xxvi), gives the following scheme for showing the sources:

(1) Early stories about the Ark (circa 950 BC or earlier), Saul stories and David stories (950-900 BC) were united (circa 850 BC) to make early Judean Saul and David stories. With these last were combined (circa 600 BC) popular Judean David stories (circa 700 BC) later Ephraimite Samuel narratives (circa 650 BC), and very late popular prophetic traditions (650-600 BC) in a first edition of the Books of Samuel.

(2) Annals of Solomon (circa 950 BC), early temple records (950-900 BC), were united (circa 800 BC) with popular Solomon traditions (850-800 BC) in a "Book of the Ac of Solomon." A Jeroboam history (900-850 BC), an Ahab history (circa 800 BC), and a Jehu history (circa 750 BC) were united with the annals of Israel (after 950 to circa 700 BC) in the "Chronicles of the Kings of Israel" (700 or after). Early Ephraimite Elisha narratives (800-750 BC), influenced by a Samaria cycle of Elisha stories (750-700 BC) and a Gilgal cycle of Elisha stories (700-650 BC), were joined about 600 BC with the "Book of the Ac of Solomon" and the "Chronicles of the Kings of Israel" in a "first edition of the Books of Kings."

(3) The first edition of Samuel, the first edition of Kings and Isaiah stories (before 550 BC) were united (circa 550 BC) in a final revision of Samuel and Kings.

(4) From "annals of Judah" (before 900 to 650 BC or after), temple records (before 850 to after 650 BC), and a Hezekiah history (circa 650 BC), was drawn material for the "Chronicles of the kings of Judah" (circa 600 BC).

(5) From this last work and the final revision of Samuel and Kings was taken material for a "Midhrash of the Book of the kings of Israel and Judah" (circa 300 BC), and from this work, the final revision of Samuel and Kings, and a possible temple history (after 400)—itself from the final revision of Samuel and Kings—came the Books of Chronciles (circa 250 BC).

4. The Jahwist (Jahwist) and the Elohist (E):

The distinctions between the great documents of the Pentateuch do not appear so clearly here. The summary, "epitome") is the work of a Jewish redactor; the longer narratives (e.g. 1Ki 17-2Ki 8; 13:14-21) "are written in a bright and chaste Hebrew style, though some of them exhibit slight peculiarities of diction, due, doubtless (in part), to their North Israelite origin" (E). The writers of these narratives are thought to have been prophets, in most cases from the Northern Kingdom.

VI. Date.

There are numerous data bearing on the date of Kings, and indications of different dates appear in the books. The closing verses bring down the history to the 37th year of the Captivity (2Ki 25:27); yet the author, incorporating his materials, was apparently not careful to adjust the dates to his own time, as in 1Ki 8:8; 12:19; 2Ki 8:22; 16:6, which refer to conditions that passed away with the Exile. The work was probably composed before the fall of Jerusalem (586 BC), and was revised during or shortly after the Exile, and also supplemented by the addition of the account of the downfall of the Judean kingdom. There are traces of a post-exilic hand, as, e.g., the mention of "the cities of Samaria" (1Ki 13:32), implying that Samaria was a province, which was not the case until after the Exile. The existence of altars over the land (1Ki 19:10), and the sanctuary at Carmel, were illegal according to the Deuteronomic law, as also was the advice given to Elisha (2Ki 3:19) to cut down the fruit trees in time of war; (De 20:19).


K. Budde, Das Buch der Richter, Mohr, Leipzig; John Skinner, "Kings," in New Century Bible, Frowde, New York; C.F. Burney, Notes on the Hebrew Text of the Books of Kings, Clarendon Press, Oxford; 1903; R. Kittel, Die Bucher der Konige, Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Leipzig, 1900; I. Benzinger, Die Bucher der Konige, Mohr, 1899; C.F. Kent, Student’s Old Testament, Scribner, 1905; S.R. Driver, Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament, Scribner, new revised edition, 1910; J.E. McFadyen, Introduction to the Old Testament, Armstrong, New York, 1906; Carl H. Cornill, Einleitung in die kanonischen Bucher Altes Testament, Mohr, 6th edition, 1908; A. F. Kirkpatrick, The Divine Library of the Old Testament, Macmillan, 1891.

Wallace N. Stearns





kinz’-man, kinz’-woom-an: Most frequently of the go’-el, the one who had a right to "redeem"; referring to the custom of avenging the blood of a slain kinsman; hence, a blood relative (Nu 5:8; Ru 2:20; 3:9,12; 4:1,3,6,8,14; compare "performing the part of a kinsman," Ru 3:13); in Ru 2:1, better rendered "acquaintance." Also qarobh, one near, rendered "kinsman" (Ps 38:11); probably better, "neighbor." Once, she’-er, "flesh kin," rendered "kinsman" (Nu 27:11; compare Le 18:6; 25:49; 20:19; 21:2, rendered "kin"). suggenes, "of same race" (compare suggebeia, "kindred"), used of blood relationship of varying degrees of nearness (Lu 14:12; Joh 18:26; Ac 10:24; Ro 9:3; 16:7,11,21). Rendered "kin" in Mr 6:4.


she’er, "kin by blood," or "by flesh" (compare above; also Le 18:12 f; also compare 18:6, "near of kin" the King James Version); also same root, ferm. form, sha’-arah (Le 18:17), is thy "kinswoman." In Pr 7:4, "Call understanding thy kinswoman" might be more accurately rendered, "thy familiar friend," the Revised Version margin (from modha‘, "acquaintance"); compare similar rendering of modha‘ath, under KINDRED. Lu 1:36 the Revised Version (British and American), "kinswoman" (suggenis), the King James Version "cousin" (suggenes); same is rendered "kinsfolk" (Lu 1:58 the Revised Version (British and American)).

Edward Bagby Pollard


kur, kir (kir):

1. Meaning:

The meaning of Kir is "inclosure" or "walled place," and it is therefore doubtful whether it is a place-name in the true sense of the word. In 2Ki 16:9 it is mentioned as the place whither Tiglath-pileser IV carried the Syrian (Aramean) captives which he deported from Damascus after he had taken that city. In Am 1:5 the prophet announces that the people of Syria (Aram) shall go into captivity unto Kir, and in 9:7 it is again referred to as the place whence the Lord had brought the Syrians (Arameans) as Israel had been brought out of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor.

2. How Rendered in the Septuagint:

Except in one manuscript (Septuagint, Codex Alexandrinus), where it appears as the Libyan Cyrene (2Ki 16:9), it is never rendered in the Septuagint as a place-name. Thus the place whence the Syrians were brought (Am 9:7) is not Kir, but "the deep" or "the ditch" Septuagint ek bothrou, "pit"), probably a translation of some variant rather than of the word "Kit" itself. Comparing the Assyrian-Babylonian kiru (for qiru), "wall," "inclosure," "interior," or the like, Kir might have the general meaning of a place parted off for the reception of exiled captives. Parallels would be Kir Moab, "the enclosure of Moab," Kir Heres or Kir Chareseth, "the enclosure of brick" Septuagint hoi lithoi toni toichou). It seems probable that there was more than one place to which the Assyrians transported captives or exiles, and if their practice was to place them as far as they could from their native land, one would expect, for Palestinian exiles, a site or sites on the eastern side of the Tigris and Euphrates.

3. An Emendation of Isaiah 22:5:

In Isa 22:5 occurs the phrase, "a breaking down of the walls, and a crying to the mountains" (meqarqar qir we-shoa‘ ‘el ha-har—"a surrounding of the wall," etc., would be better), and the mention of qir and shoa‘ here has caused Fried. Delitzsch to suggest that we have to read, instead of qir, qoa‘, combined with shoa‘, as in Eze 23:23. Following this, but retaining qir, Cheyne translates "Kir undermineth, and Shoa is at the mount," but others accept Delitzsch’s emendation, Winckler conjecturing that the rendering should be "Who stirreth up Koa‘ and Shoa‘ against the mountain" (Alttest. Untersuchungen, 177). In the next verse (Isa 22:6) Kir is mentioned with Elam—a position which a city for western exiles would require.

4. Soldiers of Kir in Assyrian Army:

The mention of Elam as taking the quiver, and Kir as uncovering the shield, apparently against "the valley of the vision" (in or close to Jerusalem), implies that soldiers from these two places, though one might expect them to be hostile to the Assyrians in general, were to be found in their armies, probably as mercenaries. See Fried. Delitzsch, Wo lag das Paradies? 233; Schrader, COT, 425.

T. G. Pinches


(qir moa’-abh; Septuagint has to teichos, "the wall," "fortress"):

1. Identification:

The name, at least in this form, appears only once (Isa 15:1) as that of a city in Moab. It is named with Ar of Moab, with which possibly it may be identical, since ‘ar or ‘ir is the Hebrew equivalent of the Moabite Qir. The Targum hence reads "Kerak in Moab." There can be no doubt that the Kerak here intended is represented by the modern town of that name, with which, consequently, Kir Moab is almost universally identified. It must always have been a place of importance. It is mentioned as Charakmoba (Karakmoba) in the Ac of the Council of Jerusalem (536 AD) and by the early geographers. It dominated the great caravan road connecting Syria with Egypt and Arabia. The Crusaders therefore directed attention to it, and held possession from 1167 till it fell again into the hands of the Moslems under Saladin, 1188. The Chroniclers speak of it as in el Belqa, and the chief city of Arabia Secunda. Under the title of Petra Deserti the Crusaders founded here a bishop’s see. The Greek bishop of Petra still has his seat in Kerak.

2. Discription:

Kerak stands upon a lofty spur projecting westward from the Moab plateau, with Wady ‘Ain Franjy on the South, and Wady el-Kerak on the North, about 10 miles from the Dead Sea. The sides of the mountain sink sharply into these deep ravines, which unite immediately to the West, and, as Wady el-Kerak, the great hollow runs northwestward to the sea. It is a position of great natural strength, being connected with the uplands to the East only by a narrow neck. It is 3,370 ft. above the level of the sea. The mountains beyond the adjacent valleys are much higher. The place was surrounded by a strong wall, with five towers, which can still be traced in its whole length. The most northerly tower is well preserved. The most interesting building at Kerak is the huge castle on the southern side. It is separated from the adjoining hill on the right by a large artificial moat; and it is provided with a reservoir. A moat also skirts the northern side of the fortress, and on the East the wall has a sloped or battered base. The castle is then separated from the town. The walls are very thick, and are well preserved. Beneath the castle is a chapel in which traces of frescoes are still visible. In days of ancient warfare the place must have been practically impregnable. It could be entered only by two roads passing through rock-cut tunnels. The main danger must always have been failure of water supply. There are springs immediately outside the city; but those alone would not be sufficient. Great cisterns were therefore constructed in the town and also in the castle. The half-nomadic inhabitants of Kerak today number some 1,140 families (Musil, Arabia Petrea, III, 97). The Greek church claims about 2,000 souls; the rest are Moslems. They are wild and fearless people, not greatly inclined to treat strangers with courtesy and kindness. In the spring of 1911 the town was the center of a rising against the government, which was not quelled until much blood had been shed.

W. Ewing


ki-r’-ma, kir’-a-ma (Kirama; the King James Version, Cirama): The people of Kirama returned with Zerubbabel from Babylon (1 Esdras 5:20); the "Ramah" of Ezr 2:26 (which see).


kir’-i-ath (qiryath, "city"; the King James Version Kirjath): Mentioned (Jos 18:28) as a city of Benjamin; has been identified with Kuriet el ‘Enab, "town of grapes," a prosperous town on the highroad between Jerusalem and Jaffa; it is sometimes spoken of by the inhabitants as Qurieh. It is, however, generally thought that Kiriath here stands for KIRIATH-JEARIM (which see). See P E F, III, 132, Sh XVII.





kir-i-ath-a’-rim (Ezr 2:25).






kir-i-ath hu’-zoth: qiryath-chutsoth, "city of streets"; Septuagint reads) poleis epauleon, "city of villages," from which we may infer a reading chatseroth, for chutsoth; the King James Version, Kirjathhuzoth): A place to which, after their meeting, Balak and Balaam went together (Nu 22:39). They met at "the City of Moab" (Nu 22:36), which is probably identical with KIR OF MOAB (which see); Kiriath-huzoth was probably therefore not far from that city. Some would identify it with Kiriathaim; some with Kerioth; as yet there is no certainty.


kir-i-ath je’-a-rim, kir-i-ath je-a’-rim (qiryath-ye‘-arim, "city of thickets"; Septuagint he polis Iareim; the King James Version Kirjathjearim): One of the four chief cities of the Gibeonites (Jos 9:17); a city , of Judah (Jos 15:60), evidently an ancient, Semitic "high place", hence, the name "Kiriath-Baal" (same place) ; it was one of the places on the border line between Judah and Benjamin (Jos 18:14,15; 15:11 (where it is called "Baalah"); compare 1Ch 13:6). It is mentioned as in Judah (Jos 15:60; 18:14; Jud 18:12), but if KIRIATH (which see) is identical with it, it is mentioned as belonging to Benjamin (Jos 18:28; in 2Sa 6:2, Baale-judah).

1. Scripture References:

Jud 18:12 records that the men of Da set forth out of Zorah and Eshtaol and encamped in Mahaneh-dan behind (West of) Kiriath-jearim. (In Jud 13:25 Mahaneh-dan ("the camp of Dan") is described as between Zorah and Eshtaol; see MAHANEH-DAN.) To this sanctuary the ark of Yahweh was brought, from Beth-shemesh by the people of Kiriath-jearim, and they "brought it into the house of Abinadab in the hill (m "Gibeah"]; and sanctified Eleazar his son to keep the ark of Yahweh" (1Sa 7:1). Here it abode twenty years (1Sa 7:2; 2Sa 6:2-4; compare 1Ch 13:6; 2Ch 1:4). Clearly it was in the hills somewhere to the East of Beth-shemesh.

The prophet Uriah-ben-shemaiah, killed by Jehoiskim, belonged to Kiriath-jearim (Jer 26:20 f).

In Ezr 2:25 (compare Ne 7:29), this place occurs under the name "Kiriath-arim." In 1 Esdras 5:19 the name occurs as "Kiriathiarius."

2. Position:

The exact position of this important Israelite sanctuary has never been satisfactorily settled. Some of the data appear to be contradictory. For example, Josephus (Ant., VI, i, 4) says it was a city in the neighborhood of Beth-shemesh, while Eusebius and Jerome (Onomasticon) speak of it ("Cariathiareim") in their day as a village 9 or 10 miles from Jerusalem on the way to Lydda. But it is open to doubt whether the reputed site of their day had any serious claims. Any suggested site should fulfill the following conditions:

(1) It must harmonize with the boundary line of Judah and Benjamin between two known points—the "waters of Nephtoah," very generally supposed to be Lifta, and Chesalon, certainly Kesla (Jos 15:10).

(2) It should not be too far removed from the other cities of the Gibeonites—Gibeon, Chephirah and Beeroth—but those places, which are all identified, are themselves fairly widely apart.

(3) Mahaneh-dan ("the camp of Dan") is described as between Zorah and Eshtaol, and was West of Kiriath-jearim; this, and the statement of Josephus that it was in the neighborhood of Beth-shemesh, makes it probable that the site was near the western edge of the mountains of Judah. Zorah (now Sara‘), Eshtaol (now Eshu‘a) and Beth-shemesh (now ‘Ain Shems), are all within sight of each other close to the Vale of Sorek.

(4) The site should be a sanctuary (or show signs of having been such), and be at least on a height (Gibeah, 1Sa 7:1 margin).

(5) The name may help us, but it is as well to note that the first part of the name, in the form "Kirathiarius" (1 Esdras 5:19), appears to have survived the exile rather than the second.

3. Suggested Identifications:

The first suggested identification was that of Robinson (BE, II, 11,12), namely, Kuriet el ‘Enab, the "town of grapes," a flourishing little town about 9 miles West of Jerusalem on the carriage road to Jaffa. The district around is still fairly well wooded (compare ye‘arim =" thickets"). This village is commonly known as Abu Ghosh, from the name of a robber chieftain who, with his family, flourished there in the first half of the last century. Medieval ecclesiastical tradition has made this place the Anathoth of Jer, and a handsome church from the time of the Crusades, now thoroughly repaired, exists here to mark this tradition. This site suits well as regards the border line, and the name Quriet is the exact equivalent of Kiriath; it also fits in with the distance and direction given the Eusebius, Onomasticon, but it cannot be called satisfactory in all respects. Soba, in the neighborhood, has, on account of its commanding position, been selected, but except for this one feature it has no special claims. The late Colonel Conder has very vigorously advocated the claims of a site he discovered on the south side of the rugged Wady Ismae‘n, called Khurbet ‘Erma, pointing out truly that ‘Erma is the exact equivalent of ‘Arim (Ezr 2:25). Unfortunately the 2nd part of the name would appear from the references in 1 Esdras and in Eusebius (Onomasticon) to be that part which was forgotten long ago, so that the argument even of the philological—the strongest—grounds cannot be of much value. The greatest objections in the minds of most students are the unsuitability of the position to the requirements of the Judah-Benjamin frontier and its distance from the other Gibeonite cities.

The present writer suggests another site which, in his opinion, meets at least some of the requirements better than the older proposals. Standing on the hill of Beth-shcmesh and looking Northwest, with the cities of Zorah (Sur‘ah) and Eshtaol (Eshu’-a) full in view, a lofty hill crowned by a considerable forest catches the eye. The village a little below the summit is called Beit Machcir, and the hilltop itself is the shrine of a local saint known as Sheikh el Ajam. So "holy" is the site, that no trees in this spot are ever cut, nor is fallen brushwood removed. There is a Wely or sanctuary of the saint, and round about are scores of very curious and apparently ancient graves. Southward from this site the eye follows the line of Judean hills—probably the Mt. Jearim of Jos 15:10—until it strikes the outstanding point of Kesla (Chesslon), some 2 miles to the South. If the ark was taken here, the people of Beth-shemesh could have followed its progress almost the whole way to its new abode. Although the name, which appears to mean "besieged" or "confined," in no degree helps, in all the other respects (see 2 above), this site suits well the conditions of Kiriath-jearim.


See P E F S, 1878, 196-99; P E F, III, 43-52; H G H L, 225 f; BR, II, 11 f; Buhl, G A the Priestly Code (P), Index.

E. W. G. Masterman


kir-i-ath-san’-a (qiryath sannah; the King James Version Kirjath Sannah): In Jos 15:49 it is called "Debir," and is identical with KIRIATH-SEPHER (which see). Aspolis grammaton, "city of books," is the reading in Septuagint, the most natural explanation is that cannah, is a copyist’s error for cepher, but Sayce considers this an ancient Canaanite name meaning "city of instruction," and that it occurs in the Tell el-Amarna Letters in the form "Bit’ sani."


kir-i-ath-se’-fer (qiryath cepher; translated by many, as if it were Hebrew, as "house of books." Septuagint polis grammaton; the King James Version, Kirjath Sepher; other suggestions have been made: "border-town" (Moore) or "tolltown" (G.A. Smith): In two parallel passages (Jos 15:15 f; Jud 1:11 f), it is mentioned as identical with DEBIR (which see), which has been frequently identified with edh-Dhaheriyeh. Sayce would place Kiriath-Sepher to the W. of Gath. See P E F S, 1893, 33-35.


kir-i-aitha’-im (qiryathaym, "two cities"; the King James Version, Kirjathaim):

(1) A city in the uplands of Moab formerly held by Sihon, and given by Moses to Reuben, who is said to have fortified it (Nu 32:37; Jos 13:19). It is named along with Elealeh and Nebo in the former passage, and with Sibmah in the latter. It was in the hands of Moab in Mesha’s time, and he claims to have fortified it (M S, l.10). For Jeremiah (48:1,23) and Ezekiel (25:9) it is a Moabite town. Eusebius, Onomasticon, identifies it with Coraitha, a Christian village 10 Roman miles West of Madeba. This is the modern Qaraiyat, about 11 miles West of Madeba, and 5 miles East of Macherus. This, however, may represent Kerioth, while the towns with which it is named would lead us to look for Kiriathaim to the North of Wady Zerqa Ma‘in. From this city was named Shaveh-kiriathaim, "the plain of Kiriathaim" (Ge 14:5).

(2) A city in the territory of Naphtali, assigned to the Gershonite Levites (1Ch 6:76), corresponding to "Kartan" in Jos 21:32.

W. Ewing


kur’-jath, kir’-jath.



kur-jath-ar’-ba, kir-jath-ar’-ba.



kur-jath-ba’-al, kir-jath-ba’-al.



kur-ja-tha’-im, kir-ja-tha’-im.



kis-e’-us (Kiseus; Septuagint, Codex Vaticanus (Swete) reads Keisaios; the King James Version, Cisai): The great-grandfather of Mordecai (Additions to Esther 11:2).

See KISH, (5).


kish (qish; Kis, Keis, "bow," "power"): The name of five persons mentioned in the Bible:

(1) The son of Abiel and the father of Saul, the first king of Israel. He was of the tribe of Benjamin, of the family of the Matrites (1Sa 9:1; 14:51; compare Ac 13:21; 1Sa 10:21). According to 1Ch 8:33 and 9:39, "Ner begat Kish" By reading "Ner begat Abner" (compare 1Sa 14:51; 1Ch 6:28), the difficulty is at least partly overcome. In 1Ch 12:1, Kish is also mentioned as the father of Saul, and again in 2Sa 21:14, we are told that the sepulcher of Kish was located in the country of Benjamin, in Zela. His place of residence seems to have been at Gibeah.

(2) Another Kish is mentioned (1Ch 8:29 f; 9:35 f) as the son of Jeiel and his wife Maacah. He is usually supposed to be the uncle of Saul’s father.

(3) A Levite, the son of Mahli the Merarite (1Ch 23:21 f; compare 24:29).

(4) Another Merarite Levite in the time of Hezekiah (2Ch 29:12).

(5) The great-grandfather of Mordecai, of the tribe of Benjamin (Es 2:5).

William Baur


kish’i (qishi, "snarer," "fowler"): Father of Ethan, one of the singers David "set over the service of song" in the house of the Lord (1Ch 6:31); the "Kushaiah" of 1Ch 15:17 (compare 1Ch 6:44).


kish’-i-on, kish’-yon (qishyon): A city in the territory of Issachar (Jos 19:20), given to the Gershonite Levites (21:28; the King James Version wrongly "Kishon"). The parallel passage in 1Ch 6:72 reads "Kedesh" instead of "Kishion." The true reading is probably qidhshon. Conder suggests a likely identification with Tell Abu Kedes, not far from Taanach.


ki’-shon, kish’on (qishon; Keison): The "watercourse" or "torrent stream" along the banks of which the great battle was fought between Israel, led by Deborah and Barak, and the army of Sisera, in the waters of which so many perished (Jud 4:7, etc.). It is probably mentioned earlier as "the brook that is before Jokneam" (Jos 19:11; see JOKNEAM). It appears again as the scene of Elijah’s slaughter of the prophets of Baal (1Ki 18:40). "The torrent" paragraph excellence in the district is the modern el-MuqaTTa‘, a stream which drains all the plain of Esdraelon to the West of the watershed—a line drawn from Iksal to Nain, and thence to el-Fuleh and Zer‘in. All the water East of this line, from the Nazareth hills, Tabor and Little Hermon, flows down Wady esh-Sherrar and Nahr Jalud into the Jordan. The Kishon collects the streams from the western slopes of Gilboa in the rainy season; and the water from the strong spring at Jenin. Contributions also come from the copious fountains in the neighborhood of Megiddo. At Sa‘adiyeh, again, some 3 miles East of Chaifa, its volume is largely increased by springs rising at the base of Carmel, on the edge of the plain of Acre. From Jenin in the Southeast, the deep torrent bed follows a westerly direction, with numerous. windings cutting the plain in two, until it reaches the pass at the northeastern base of Carmel. Through the gorge between the mountain and the hills of Galilee it reaches the plain of Acre. From Sa‘adiyeh it flows in a deep sluggish stream through the marsh-land to the sea near Chaifa. In this part the crocodile is said to have been seen at times.

In the summer season the water from the springs is largely absorbed by irrigation, and the upper reaches of the river are soon dry. The bed runs along the bottom of a trench some 20 ft. deep through the plain. It is easily crossed at the fords by those who know how to avoid the localities of the springs. In time of heavy rains the trench is swiftly filled, and the soft soil of the plain goes to mud. Remembering this, it is easy to understand the disaster that overwhelmed the heavily armed cavalry and chariots of Sisera. The chief ford for long was to the West of the gorge where the stream issues into the plain of Acre, on the highway from Chaifd to Nazareth. Here it is now spanned by a substantial bridge, while the railway crosses a little higher up. At the mouth of the river it is generally easily forded on the sand bank thrown up by the waves beating against the current of the stream. The main traffic here is now carried by a wooden bridge.

The phrase nachal qedhumim in Jud 5:21 is not easy of interpretation. English Versions of the Bible translates, "that ancient river"; G.A. Smith, "torrent of spates"; while others think it may refer to a stream other than the Kishon. Guthe suggests that both names may be derived from those of places adjoining the river. Kishon may possibly mean the "tortuous" stream, referring to the windings of its course.

W. Ewing


kis’-lef (kiclew; the King James Version Chisleu, the Revised Version (British and American) "Chislev"): The 9th month of the Jewish year, corresponding to December. The word is found in Ne 1:1 and Zec 7:1. The derivation is uncertain.



(nashaq; phileo, kataphilo, philema): The kiss is common in eastern lands in salutation, etc., on the cheek, the forehead, the beard, the hands, the feet, but not (in Pal) the lips (Cheyne, E B, under the word "Salutations"). In the Bible there is no sure instance of the kiss in ordinary salutation. We have in the Old Testament naschaq, "to kiss," used

(1) of relatives (which seems the origin of the practice of kissing; compare So 8:1, "Oh that thou wert as my brother .... I would kiss thee; yea, and none would despise me"); Ge 27:26,27 (Isaac and Jacob); 29:11 (Jacob and Rachel); 33:4 (Esau and Jacob); 45:15 (Joseph and his brethren); 48:10 (Jacob and Joseph’s sons); 50:1 (Joseph and his father); Ex 4:27 (Aaron and Moses); 18:7 (Moses and Jethro, united with obeisance); Ru 1:9,14 (Naomi and her daughters-in-law—a farewell); 2Sa 14:33 (David and Absalom); 1Ki 19:20 (Elisha and his parents—a farewell); see also Ge 29:13; 31:28,55; Tobit 7:6; 10:12.

(2) Of friendship and affection; compare 1Sa 20:41 (David and Jonathan); 2Sa 15:5 (Absalom and those who came to him); 19:39 (David and Barzillai—a farewell); 20:9 (Joab and Amasa); Pr 27:6 ("the kisses (neshiqah) of an enemy"); 1 Esdras 4:47 ("the king stood up, and kissed him").

(3) Of love; compare So 1:2, "Let him kiss me with the kisses (neshiqah) of his mouth"; Pr 7:13 (of the feigned love of "the strange woman").

(4) Of homage, perhaps; compare 1Sa 10:1 (Samuel after anointing David king); Ge 41:40, "Unto thy word shall all my people be ruled," the Revised Version margin "order themselves," or "do homage," the King James Version margin "Hebrew be armed or kiss" (nashaq); Ps 2:12, "Kiss the son" (American Standard Revised Version), the English Revised Version margin "Some versions render, ‘Lay hold of (or receive) instruction’; others, ‘Worship in purity’ "; some ancient versions give ‘Kiss (or, do homage) purely.’

(5) Of idolatrous practices; compare 1Ki 19:18; Ho 13:2 (compare 8:5,6; 10:5); Job 31:27, probably, "kissing the hand to the sun or moon" (compare 31:26,27). See ADORATION.

(6) A figurative use may be seen in Ps 85:10; Pr 24:26; Eze 3:13, where "touched" is nashaq (see the King James Version margin).

(7) In Additions to Esther 13:13 we have "I could have been content .... to kiss the soles of his feet," and in Ecclesiasticus 29:5, "Till he hath received, he will kiss a man’s hands"—marks of self-humiliation or abasement.

In the New Testament we have phileo, "to kiss," "to be friendly," and kataphileo, "to kiss thoroughly," "to be very friendly"—the first in Mt 26:48; Mr 14:44; Lu 22:47, of the kiss with which Judas betrayed his Master. This was probably meant to be taken as an expression of special regard, which is expressed by the kataphileo of Mt 26:49; Mr 14:45; the same word is used of the woman who kissed the feet of Christ (Lu 7:38,45); of the father’s greeting of the returning prodigal (Lu 15:20); and of the farewell to Paul of the Ephesian Christians (Ac 20:37); philema, "a kiss," "a mark of friendship," is used by our Lord as that which Simon omitted to give him (which may refer to ordinary hospitality), but which the woman had bestowed so impressively (Lu 7:45); of the kiss of Judas (Lu 22:48); and of the "holy kiss" wherewith Christians greeted each other, which, according to the general usage we have seen, would be as the members of one family in the Lord, or as specially united in holy love (Ro 16:16; 1Co 16:20; 2Co 13:12; 1Th 5:26; 1Pe 5:14). There is reason to believe that, as a rule, men only thus greeted men, and women, women. In the Apostolical Constitutions (3rd century) it is so enjoined.

W. L. Walker


kit (’ayyah; iktinos; Latin Milvus ictinus or regalis): A medium-sized member of the hawk tribe (see HAWK). This bird is 27 inches long, of bright reddish-brown color, has sharply pointed wings and deeply forked tail. It is supposed to have exceptionally piercing eyes. It takes moles, mice, young game birds, snakes and frogs, as well as carrion for food. Its head and facial expression are unusually eagle-like. It was common over Palestine in winter, but bred in the hills of Galilee and rough mountainous places, so it was less conspicuous in summer. It is among the lists of abominations (see Le 11:14 and De 14:13). It is notable that this is the real bird intended by Job to be used as that whose eye could not trace the path to the silver mine:

"That path no bird of prey knoweth,

Neither hath the falcon’s eye seen it" (Job 28:7).

The word used here in the original Hebrew is ‘ayyah, which was the name for kite. Our first translators used "vulture"; our latest efforts give "falcon," a smaller bird of different markings, not having the kite’s reputation for eyesight.

Gene Stratton-Porter


kith’-lish (kithlish).



kit-’ron (qiTron): An unidentified place in Zebulun, not possessed by the tribe (Jud 1:30). It may be identical with Kattath of Jos 19:15. In the Talmud it is identified with Sepphoris, which is represented by the modern village of Seffuriyeh].


kit’-im (kittim, Isa 23:12; Jer 2:10; kittiyim, apparently plural of kitti (not found, but compare (4) below); Ketioi, Kitioi, Ketieim, Jer 2:10; Chettieim, Chettein):ntified with Sepphoris, which is represented by the modern village of Seffuriyeh].

1. Two Usages of the Name:

In Ge 10:4 the word is applied to the descendants of Javan, and indicates, therefore, the Greek-Latin races, whose territory extended along the coasts of the Mediterranean, and included its islands. By the side of Kittim are mentioned Elisha, Tarshish, and Dodanim ( = Rodanim of 1Ch 1:7), generally explained respectively as Sicily with Southern Italy, Spain and Rhodes. In its narrower sense Kittim appears simply to have stood for the island of Cyprus—it is mentioned between Bashan ( = Pal) and the isles of Elisha in Eze 27:6,7, and with this Isa 23:1,12 agree, Kittim occurring in these passages between Tarshish, Tyre and Sidon.

2. In Its Limited Sense:

The oldest etymology is apparently that of Josephus, who connects Kittim with the well-known old Cypriote city Kition (Citium) (Ant., I, vi, 1), testifying to the settling of the Kittim on the island. This word he further connects with Chethima, from Chethimus, and states that it was on account of Cyprus being the home of those people that all islands were called Chethim by the Hebrews. The derivation of an ancient Chethim from Chethimus, however, would make the m to be a radical, and this, with the substitution of Ch ( = Kh) for Kittim, renders his proposed etymology somewhat doubtful.

3. In Its Extended Sense:

The statement of Josephus, that "all islands, and the greatest part of the sea-coast, are called Chethim ( = Kittim) by the Hebrews," on the other hand, must be taken as the testimony of one well acquainted with the opinions of the learned world in his time. In Jer 2:10 and Eze 27:6 the isles of Kittim are expressly spoken of, and this confirms the statement of Josephus concerning the extended meaning of the name. This would explain its application to the Roman fleet in Da 11:30 (so the Vulgate), and the Macedonians in 1 Macc 1:1 (Chettieim) and 8:5 ([@Kitians). In the latter passage the Greek writer seems to have been thinking more of the Cyprian Kition than of the Hebrew Kittim.

4. Colonization of Cyprus:

According to Herodotus (vii.90), Cyprus was colonized from Greece, Phoenicia, and Ethiopia. Referring to the plundering of the temple of Aphrodite at Askalon by the Scythians (i.105), he states that her temple in Cyprus was an offshoot from that ancient foundation, as reported by the Cyprians themselves, Phoenicians having founded it at Cythera, on arriving from Syria. The date of the earliest Phoenician settlements in Cyprus is unknown, but it has been suggested that they were anterior to the time of Moses. Naturally they brought with them their religion, the worship of the moon-goddess Atargatis (Derceto) being introduced at Paphos, and the Phoenician Baal at Kition. If Kition be, then, a Semitic word (from the same root as the Hebrew Kittim), it has been transferred from the small band of Phoenician settlers which it at first designated, to the non-Sem Japhethites of the West. Kition occurs in the Phoenician inscriptions of Cyprus under the forms K(i)t(t) and K(i)t(t)i, the latter being by far the more common (CIS, I, i, 10,11,14,19, etc.).

5. Its Successive Masters:

The early history of Cyprus is uncertain. According to the Assyrian copy of Sargon of Agade’s omens, that king (about 3800 BC in the opinion of Nabonidus; 2800 BC in the opinion of many Assyriologists) is said to have crossed "the sea of the setting sun" (the Mediterranean), though the Babylonian copy makes it that of "the rising sun"—i.e. the Persian Gulf. Be this as it may, General Cesnola discovered at Curium, in Cyprus, a seal-cylinder apparently inscribed "Mar-Istar, son of Ilu-bani, servant (worshipper) of Naram-Sin," the last named being the deified son of Sargon. In the 16th century BC, Cyprus was tributary to Thothmes III. About the year 708 BC, Sargon of Assyria received the submission of the kings of the district of Ya’, in Cyprus, and set up at Citium the stele bearing his name, which is now in the Royal Museum at Berlin. Esarhaddon and his son Assur-bani-apli each received tribute from the 10 Cyprian princes who acknowledged Assyrian supremacy. The island was conquered by the Egyptian king Amasis, and later formed part of the Persian empire, until the revolt of Evagoras in 410 BC. The Assyrians knew the island under the name of Yad(a)nanu, the "Wedan" (Vedan) of Eze 27:19 Revised Version (British and American) (Sayce, PSBA, 1912, 26).

6. The Races Therein and Their Languages:

If the orthodox date for the composition of Ge be accepted, not only the Phoenicians, but also the Greeks, or a people of Greek-Latin stock, must have been present in Cyprus, before the time of Moses, in sufficient number to make them the predominant portion of the population. As far as can be judged, the Phoenicians occupied only the eastern and southern portion of the island. Paphos, where they had built a temple to Ashtoreth and set up an ‘asherah (a pillar symbolizing the goddess), was one of their principal settlements. The rest of the island was apparently occupied by the Aryans, whose presence there caused the name of Kittim to be applied to all the Greek-Latin countries of the Mediterranean. Greek and Phoenician were the languages spoken on the island, as was proved by George Smith’s demonstration of the nature of the non-Phoenician text of the inscription of King Melek-yathon of Citium (370 BC). The signs used in the Greek-Cyprian inscriptions are practically all syllabic.

7. The Testimony of Cyprian Art:

The many influences which have modified the Cyprian race are reflected in the ancient art, which shows the effect of Babylonian, Egyptian Phoenician and Greek contacts. Specimens are to be found in many museums, but the finest collection of examples of Cyprian art is undoubtedly that of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Some of the full-length figures are life-size, and the better class of work is exceedingly noteworthy.


T. G. Pinches



See BREAD, III, 2.


ne nel ("knee," berekh; Aramaic ‘arekhubbah; gonu; "kneel"; barakh; Aramaic berakh; gonupeto): Most of the uses are obvious, and the figurative use of "knees" as the symbol of strength (Job 4:4; Heb 12:12, etc.) needs no explanation. The disease of the knees mentioned in De 28:35 is perhaps some form of leprosy. In Job 3:12 the "knees" seem to be used for the lap, as the place where a child receives its first care. Three times in Ge the knees appear in connection with primitive adoption customs. In 30:3 a fiction is enacted that purports to represent Rachel as the actual mother of Bilhah’s children. By a somewhat similar rite in 48:12, Jacob (the "knees" here are Jacob’s, not Joseph’s) adopts Ephraim and Manasseh, so that they are counted as two of the twelve patriarchs and not as members of a single Joseph tribe. In the same way Machir’s children are adopted by Joseph in 50:23, and this is certainly connected with the counting of Machir (instead of Manasseh) as one of the tribes in Jud 5:14. See TRIBE; and for the idea underlying this paternal adoption, compare THIGH. From among classical instances of the same customs compare Homer, Odyssey, xix. 401 ff, where Autolukos, grandfather of Ulysses, receives the newborn grandchild on his knees and gives him his name. Thus also we have to understand the numerous representations in Egyptian sculpture, showing the king as an infant on the knees or the lap of a goddess.

Kneeling was less commonly an attitude of prayer among the Jews than was standing, but references to kneeling are of course abundant. For kneeling (or prostrating one’s self) before a superior, see ATTITUDES, 2; SALUTATION.

Burton Scott Easton



(1) ma’akheleth, literally, an instrument for eating; but used of large knives for slaying animals, cutting up a carcass or a sacrificial victim (Ge 22:6,10; Jud 19:29; Pr 30:14).

(2) cherebh, rendered generally "sword," but in Jos 5:2,3 of stone knives for circumcision (compare Ex 4:25), probably of similar knives in 1Ki 18:28, used by Baal prophets in gashing themselves. In Eze 5:12 the King James Version, "knife," probably better the Revised Version (British and American), "sword."

(3) ta‘ar, usually rendered "razor," in combination with ha-copher, "knife of the writer," or "penknife" (Jer 36:23).

(4) machalaphim, "slaughter-knives" (Ezr 1:9).

(5) sakkin, Aramaic, "knife" (Pr 23:2). Early knives were commonly made of sharp stones, especially of flint, later of bronze and iron. The-former remained in use in religious ceremonies long after the latter were in common use.

Knives were not generally used at meals, meats being cut into bits before served, and bread being. broken into fragments. Herod used a knife for paring apples, and attempted suicide with the instrument (Josephus, Ant, XVII, vii, 1; BJ, I, xxxiii, 7).

Edward Bagby Pollard


nok (krouo): The oriental house was fitted with heavy doors which were bolted and locked with wooden keys too large to be carried about, so that even a member of the household could not secure entrance until in response to his knock or call the door should be opened by someone within. At night the delay would be increased by the difficulty of arousing the inmates sleeping within the inner chambers. To persons familiar with such experiences, the words of Jesus concerning a higher entrance, "Knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Mt 7:7; Lu 12:36), would have a unique force not easy for us to appreciate.

Russell Benjamin Miller


nop: In Ex 25:31 ff; 37:17 ff (kaphtor), part of the ornaments of the golden candlestick; in 1Ki 6:18; 7:24 (peqa‘im), gourd-like ornaments of the lining of Solomon’s temple, and of the brazen sea (in 1Ki 6:18, the Revised Version margin "gourds").



no, nol’-ej (in Hebrew chiefly yadha‘, noun da‘ath; in Greek ginosko, oida’ "to know fully," epiginosko, noun gnosis epignosis): Knowledge strictly is the apprehension by the mind of some fact or truth in accordance with its real nature; in a personal relation the intellectual act is necessarily conjoined with the element of affection and will (choice, love, favor, or, conversely, repugnance, dislike, etc.). Knowledge is distinguished from "opinion" by its greater certainty. The mind is constituted with the capacity for knowledge, and the desire to possess and increase it. The character of knowledge varies with its object. The senses give knowledge of outward appearances; the intellect connects and reasons about these appearances, and arrives at general laws or truths; moral truth is apprehended through the power inherently possessed by men of distinguishing right and wrong in the light of moral principles; spiritual qualities require for their apprehension spiritual sympathy ("They are spiritually judged," 1Co 2:14). The highest knowledge possible to man is the knowledge of God, and while there is that in God’s infinity which transcends man’s power of comprehension (Job 11:7,9), God is knowable in the measure in which He has revealed Himself in creation (Ro 1:19,20, "that which is known of God," etc.), and supremely in Jesus Christ, who alone perfectly knows the Father, and reveals Him to man (Mt 11:27). This knowledge of God in Jesus Christ is "life eternal" (Joh 17:3). Knowledge is affirmed of both God and man, but with the wide contrast that God’s knowledge is absolute, unerring, complete, intuitive, embracing all things, past, present, and future, and searching the inmost thoughts of the heart (Ps 139:1,23); whereas man’s is partial, imperfect, relative, gradually acquired, and largely mixed with error ("Now we see in a mirror darkly .... in part," 1Co 13:12). All these points about knowledge are amply brought out in the Scripture usage of the terms. A large part of the usage necessarily relates to natural knowledge (sometimes with a carnal connotation, as Ge 4:1,17), but the greatest stress also is laid on the possession of moral and spiritual knowledge (e.g. Ps 119:66; Pr 1:4,7,22,29; 8:10, etc.; Lu 1:77; Ro 15:14; 2Pe 1:5,6). The highest knowledge, as said, is the knowledge of God and Christ, and of God’s will (Ho 6:6; Ro 11:33; Eph 1:17; 4:13; Php 1:9; 3:8; Col 1:9,10, etc.). The moral conditions of spiritual knowledge are continually insisted on ("If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God," Joh 7:17). On the. other hand, the pride of intellectual knowledge is condemned; it must be joined with love ("Knowledge puffeth up, 1Co 8:1). The stronger term epignosis is used to denote the full and more perfect knowledge which is possessed in Christ, the conditions of which are humility and love. Of knowledge as connoting favor, choice, on the part of God, there are many examples (Ps 1:6, Yahweh knoweth the way of the righteous"; Ga 4:9, "know God, or rather to be known by God"; compare Ro 8:29, "whom he fore-knew").ectual knowledge as the Divine omnipotence is different from muscular strength. Consequently, the passage of this knowledge into a human intellect is impossible, and the problem of the incarnation should be stated: What effect did Divine omniscience in the person have on the conscious intellect of the manhood? There is so little help from the past to be gained in answering this question, that it must remain open at present—if, indeed, it is ever capable of a full answer. But that ignorance in the intellect of the manhood is fully consistent with omniscience in the person seems to be not merely a safe answer to the question as stated, but an inevitable answer if the true humanity of Christ is to be maintained at all.


James Orr


ko’-a (qoa‘): A people named with Pekod and Shoa as enemies of Jerusalem (Eze 23:23). Their location was probably Northeast of Babylonia.


ko’-hath, ko’-hath-its (qehath, qohathi; Kaath): Second son of Levi, and ancestor of Moses and Aaron (Ge 46:11; Ex 6:16-20; Nu 3:17; 1Ch 6:1, etc.). The Kohathites formed one of the three divisions of the tribe of Levi; the other two being the Gershonites and the Merarites (Nu 3:17 ). The Kohathites consisted of four families, the Amramites, the Izharites, the Hebronites, and the Uzzielites (Nu 3:19,27, etc.). Their place in the wilderness was on the southern side of the tabernacle (Nu 3:29), and their number is given (from a month old) as 8,600 (Nu 3:28). Their special charge was "the ark, and the table, and the candlestick, and the altars, and the vessels of the sanctuary wherewith they minister, and the screen, and all the service thereof" (Nu 3:31; compare Nu 7:9). After the conquest 23 cities were assigned them by lot (Jos 21:4,5 ). In David’s time and after, Heman, a Kohathite, and his family had a prominent place in the service of the music of the sanctuary (1Ch 6:33 ff; 16:41 ff; 25:1 ); David likewise divided the Levites into courses (the Kohathites, 1Ch 23:12-20; 24:20-25). We read of the Kohathites in the reign of Jehoshaphat at Engedi (2Ch 20:19), and in connection with the cleansing of the temple under Hezekiah (2Ch 29:12,14).

James Orr


ko-hel’-eth (qoheleth).



ko-la’-ya, ko-li’-a (qolayah, "voice of Yah"):

(1) A Benjamite, son of Maaseiah (Ne 11:7).

(2) Father of Ahab, a false prophet and a lecherous man (Jer 29:21-23).


ko’-ne (Kona): Some manuscripts have [@komas, from which we have in the King James Version "the villages." The name occurs in the account of the measures taken to secure the country against Holofernes (Judith 4:4). If Kona be correct, we may possibly identify the place with Cyamon.



See COR.


ko’-ra, (~qorach], "baldness," possibly; Kore):

(1) One of the 3 sons of Oholibamah, Esau’s Hivite wife. The account says that the 3 were born in Canaan before Esau withdrew to the Seir mountain country. They are mentioned 3 times in the brief account from 3 points of view (Ge 36:5,14,18; , 1Ch 1:35), the 3rd mention being in the list of "chiefs."

(2) One of the sons of Eliphaz, the son of Adah, Esau’s Hittite wife (Ge 36:16). He is mentioned as one of the Edomite "chiefs."

If one has the habit, finding a statement anywhere, of thinking that the statement ought to be changed into something else, he will be interested in the attempts to identify these Edomite Korahs with Korah (3).

(3) A son of Hebron (1Ch 2:43), the son of Mareshah, mentioned in the Caleb group of families in Judah.

(4) The son of Izhar the son of Kohath the son of Levi (Ex 6:16 ff; Nu 16:1; 1Ch 6:18,31-38), a younger contemporary of Moses. There may have been generations, omitted in the record, between Izhar and Korah; that is a natural way of accounting for Amminadab (1Ch 6:22-30).

1. The Catastrophe in the Wilderness:

This Korah is best known as the man whom the opening earth is said to have swallowed up along with his associates when they were challenging the authority of Moses and Aaron in the wilderness (Nu 16; 17). Korah is presented as the principal in the affair. The company is spoken of as his company, and those who were swallowed up as being "all the men that appertained unto Korah." (Nu 16:11,32). It is under his name that the affair is referred to (Nu 26:9; 27:3). But Dathan and Abiram of the tribe of Reuben are not much less prominent than Korah. In Nu 16 and 26 they are mentioned with Korah, and are mentioned without him in De 11:6 and Ps 106:17. Another Reubenite, On, the son of Peleth, was in the conspiracy. It has been inferred that he withdrew, but there is no reason either for or against the inference. Equally baseless is the inference that Zelophehad of Manassel joined it, but withdrew (Nu 27:3). The account implies that there were other Levites in it besides Korah (Nu 16:7-10), and it particularly mentions 250 "men of renown," princes, such men as would be summoned if there were a public assembly (Nu 16:2,17,35). These men, apparently, were of different tribes.

The position taken by the malcontents was that "all the congregation are holy, every one of them," and that it was therefore a usurpation for Moses and Aaron to confine the functions of an incense-burning priest to Aaron alone. Logically, their objection lay equally against the separation of Aaron and his sons from the rest of the Levites, and against the separation of the Levites from the rest of the people. On the basis of this, Moses made expostulation with the Levites. He arranged that Korah and the 250, along with Aaron, should take their places at the doorway of the tent of meeting, with their censers and fire and incense, so that Yahweh might indicate His will in the matter. Dathan and Abiram insolently refused his proposals.

The record says that Korah’s "whole congregation," including himself and the 250 with their censers, met Moses and Aaron and "all the congregation" of Israel at the doorway of the tent of meeting. For the purposes of the transaction in hand the tent was now "the mishkan of Korah, Dathan and Abiram," and their followers. Yahweh directed Moses to warn all other persons to leave the vicinity. Dathan and Abiram, however, were not at the mishkan. The account says that Moses, followed by the eiders of Israel, went to them to their tents; that he warned all persons to leave that vicinity also; that Dathan and Abiram and the households stood near the tents; that the earth opened and swallowed them and their property and all the adherents of Korah who were on the spot; that fire from Yahweh devoured the 250 who offered incense. The narrative does not say whether the deaths by fire and by the opening of the earth were simultaneous. It does not say whether Korah’s sons participated in the rebellion, or what became of Korah himself. In the allusion in Nu 26 we are told, apparently, that Korah was swallowed up, and that "the sons of Korah died not." The deaths of the principal offenders, by fire and by being swallowed up, were followed by plague in which 14,700 perished (Nu 16:49 (Hebrew 17:14)).

2. Critical Treatments of This Story:

Any appreciative reader sees at once that we have here either a history of certain miraculous facts, or a wonder-story devised for teaching religious lessons. As a story it is artistically admirable—sufficiently complicated to be interesting, but clear and graphic and to the point. In the Hebrew there are 2 or 3 instances of incomplete grammatical construction, such as abound in the early literary products of any language, when these have been fortunate enough to escape editorial polishing. In such a case it is possibly not unwise just to take a story as it stands. Nothing will be added to either its religious or its literary value by subjecting it to doubtful alleged critical processes.

If, however, one has committed himself to certain critical traditions concerning the Hexateuch, that brings him under obligation to lead this story into conformity with the rest of his theory. Attempts of this kind have been numerous. Some hold that the Korah of this narrative is the Edomite Korah, and that Peleth means Philistine, and that our story originally grew out of some claim made by Edomites and Philistines. It is held that the story of Korah was originally one story, and that of Dathan and Abiram another, and that someone manipulated the two and put them together. See the treatments of the Book of Numbers in Driver, Introduction; Addis, Documents of the Hexateuch; Carpenter and Battersby, Hexateuch; Bacon, Exodus; Paterson on Numbers, in the Polychrome Bible. These and other like works give source-analyses of our story. Some of the points they make are plausible. In such a case no one claims any adequate basis of fact for his work; each theory is simply a congeries of ingenious guesses, and no two of the guessers guess alike.

As in many other Biblical instances, one of the results of the alleged critical study is the resolving of a particularly fine story into two or more supposed earlier stories each of which is absolutely bald and crude and uninteresting, the earlier stories and the combining of these into their present form being alike regarded as processes of legendary accretion. The necessary inference is that the fine story we now have was not the product of some gifted mind, guided by facts and by literary and religious inspiration, but is an accidental result of mere patchwork. Such a theory does not commend itself to persons of literary appreciation.

Willis J. Beecher


ko’-ra-its (qorchi), (beno qorach; in the King James Version appears also as Korhite, Kohathite, Kore): This phrase is used to denote Assir and Elkanah and Abiasaph, Korah’s 3 individual sons (Ex 6:24; compare Nu 26:11). But its more frequent use, and that to which interest attaches, is in the titles of some of the Psalms.

The genealogical details concerning Korahites are rather full. In 3 places we find the list of the 7 successive generations closing with the prophet Samuel and his son Joe (1Ch 6:31-38,22-30; 1Sa 1:1,20; 8:2); the two in Ch mention most of the generations between Korahites and Joel. The fragmentary lists in 1Ch 9:25; 26 connect the list with the 4 generations following Joe (1Ch 6:33; 9:19-31; 26:1 ), and with 2 generations in the very latest Bible times (1Ch 9:31).

The adjective "Korhite" appears also in the King James Version as "Korathite," Kore," and "Korahite," the last being the form preferred in the English Revised Version. It is used 4 times in the singular. Once it designates an individual (1Ch 9:31); 3 times it denotes the successors of Korahites taken collectively (Ex 6:24; Nu 26:58; 1Ch 26:19); 4 times it is used in the plural, denoting the members of this succession of men (1Ch 9:19; 12:6; 26:1; 2Ch 20:19). As variants of this use, "the sons of the Korahites" appears once, and "the children of the Korahites" once (1Ch 26:19; 2Ch 20:19).

In these various passages the Korahites families are counted like the other Levitical families. In 1Ch 12:6 we have an account of 5 men who are designated as "the Korahites," who joined David when he was at Ziklag—Elkanah, Isshiah, Azarel, Joezer, Jashobeam. They are described as expert warriors, especially with the bow and sling, and as being "of Saul’s brethren of Benjamin." Some of them may plausibly be identified with men of the same name mentioned elsewhere. These Korahites may have been cousins of the Samuel family, and they may have resided not very far apart.

The record speaks with some emphasis of a line of Korahites doorkeepers.

In the latest Old Testament times one Mattithiah, "the first-born of Shallum the Korahite," held "the office of trust over the things that were baked in pans" (1Ch 9:31). Shallum was "the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah." In this expression 15 or more generations are omitted between Ebiasaph and Kore, and perhaps as many between Kore and Shallum. The record proceeds to supply some of the omitted names between Kore and Shallum. The representative of the line in David’s time was "Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah" (1Ch 9:21). In all periods the Korahites were "keepers of the thresholds of the tent." Back in the time of "Phinehas the son of Eleazar," "their fathers had been over the camp of Yahweh" (1Ch 9:19,20). Zechariah was, in his time, "porter of the door of the tent of meeting" (1Ch 9:21), and Shallum was still the chief of the porters (1Ch 9:17). The record for David’s time supports and supplements this. It says that the doorkeepers, according to the arrangements made by David, included a Korahites contingent, its leading men being Meshelemiah and his son Zechariah (1Ch 26:1,2,9,14), and that Meshelemiah was "the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph." Adopting the common conjecture that Asaph is here a variant for Ebiasaph, we have here the same abridgment of the genealogical list as in 1Ch 9.

More interesting, however, than the fighting Korahites who claimed succession from Moses to Nehemiah, are the."sons of Korah" who were somehow connected with the service of song. One of the genealogies is introduced by the statement: "These are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of Yahweh, after that the ark had rest. And they ministered with song before the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, until Solomon had built the house of Yahweh in Jerus" (1Ch 6:31,32). Then the writer proceeds to mention first "Heman the singer, the son of Joel, the son of Samuel," and so on, carrying the genealogy back to Korah and Levi. After thus mentioning Heman, he speaks of "his brother Asaph, who stood on his right hand," and traces Asaph’s descent back to Gershom the son of Levi; and then says, "and on the left hand their brethren the sons of Merari." Of these the principal leader is Ethan (otherwise called Jeduthun), and his descent is here traced back to Levi.

In this way we are introduced to David’s 3 great leaders in choral and orchestral music. Among them Heman the Korahite has at first the place of primacy, though Asaph, later, comes to the front. The events just referred to are mentioned again, more in detail, in the account of David’s bringing the ark to Jerusalem. There it is said that at the suggestion of David "the Levites appointed Heman the son of Joel," and also Asaph and Ethan, "and with them" several others, "their brethren of the second degree" (1Ch 15:17,18). The record proceeds to speak of the services of "the singers, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan," and their associates, in the pageantry of the bringing of the ark to Jerusalem. After that, it says, Asaph had charge of the services of thanksgiving and praise before the ark in Jerusalem, while Heman and Jeduthun served in the high place at Gibeon (1Ch 16:4 ff, 37,39-42). Later, the record says (1Ch 25), David made an elaborate organization, under Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, for prophesying with song and instrumental music.

As the records of David’s time, according to the Chronicler, thus attribute to him great achievements in sacred music and song, so the records of subsequent times reiterate the same thing. David’s interest in sacred music is mentioned in connection with Solomon’s temple, in connection with the times of Joash and Hezekiah and Josiah, in connection with the institutions and exploits of the times after the exile (e.g. 2Ch 7:6; 23:18; 29:25 ff; 35:15; Ezr 3:10; Ne 12:24,36,45,46). Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun led the magnificent choir and orchestra at the dedication of the temple (2Ch 5:12). One of the sons of Asaph prophesied, and the sons of the Korahites sang at the crisis in the time of Jehoshaphat (2Ch 20:14,19). The sons of Asaph and the sons of Heman and the sons of Jeduthun were present, and there was instrumental music and loud singing, according to the appointment of David and his associates, at the time of Hezekiah’s Passover (2Ch 29:13 ). Singing, and Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun and David have an important place in the record concerning Josiah. And the records of the post-exilian times make the singers and the "sons of Asaph" and the arrangements of David as conspicuous as the law of Moses itself.

Add to this that the names Asaph or Heman or Ethan or Jeduthun, or the designation "the sons of Korah" are attached to 25 or more of the Psalms (e.g. Psalms 42-49; 50; 62; 72-85), and we have a body of testimony that is at least abundant and intelligible. It is to the effect that there was elaborate organization, on a large scale, in connection with the musical services of the temple at Jerusalem; that this began in the time of David, as a part of the preparation for building the temple, under the influence of the family traditions of the prophet Samuel; and that the movement continued in the generations following David, either surviving the exile, or being revived after the exile. In connection with this movement, the phrases "sons of Korah," "sons of Asaph," "sons of Heman," "sons of Jeduthun" denote, in some cases, merely lineal escent; but in other cases they denote each an aggregate of persons interested in sacred song and music—a guild or society or succession or group—arising out of the movement which originated in David’s time. See, for example, "sons of Asaph" (1Ch 25:1,2; 2Ch 20:14; compare 2Ch 20:19; 29:13; 35:15; Ezr 2:41; 3:10; Ne 7:44; 11:22) and "sons of Korah" in the titles of Psalms 42-49 and 84; 85; 87-89. Traces of these aggregates appear in the times of Solomon, of Jehoshaphat, of Joash, of Hezekiah, of Josiah, of Zerubbabel, of Ezra and Nehemiah.

If a person holds that the mention of an event in Chronicles is to be regarded as proof that the event never occurred, that person will of course deny that the testimony thus cited is true to fact. He is likely to hold that the guilds of singers arose in the exile, and that, some generations after Nehemiah, they fabricated for themselves the ecclesiastical and physical pedigrees now found in the Books of Chronicles. If, however, we accord fair play to the Chronicler as a witness, we shall be slow to discredit the minute and interfitting testimony which he has placed before us.

Willis J. Beecher


ko’-rath-its: In the King James Version for "Korabites," Nu 26:58.

See KORAH, 4.


ko-’re (qore, "one who proclaims"):

(1) A Levite of David’s time, descended from Kohath and Korah. See KORAH, 4. Shallum, Chief doorkeeper in the latest Bible times, is described as "the son of Kore, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah" (1Ch 9:19). This expression omits the generations between Shallum and Kore, and those between Kore and Ebidsaph, perhaps 15 generations or more in each case. The context supplies two of the omitted names, of the time of David, Meshelemiah and his son Zechariah (1Ch 9:21,22). The record for the time of David mentions these two, with some particulars, calling Meshelemiah the son of Kore (1Ch 26:1,2,9,14). It describes them as "Korahites" "of the sons of Asaph." It is usual to regard this last clause as a variant for "the son of Ebiasaph," thus making the description identical with that in 1Ch 9:19. With this understanding, the text claims that "the Korahites," Kore and Meshelemiah and Zechariah, come midway in a line of sanctuary ministrants, extending continuously from Moses to Nehemiah.

(2) "The son of Imnah the Levite, the porter at the east gate," who "was over the freewill-offerings," in the time of Hezekiah (2Ch 31:14). Very likely in the same line with (1) above.

(3) In 1Ch 26:1 the King James Version for KORAHITES (which see).

Willis J. Beecher


kor’-hits: In the King James Version for "Korahites" in Ex 6:24; 1Ch 12:6; 26:1; 2Ch 20:19.

See KORAH, 3.





ku-sha’-ya, ku-shi’-a (qushayahu, "bow of Yah"): A Merarite Levite (1Ch 15:17), called in 1Ch 6:44 KISHI (which see).