ma’-a-ka (ma‘akhah; Septuagint: Codex Vaticanus Mocha; Codex Alexandrinus Maacha): A small Syrian kingdom adjoining that of Geshur on the western border of Bashan, the inhabitants of which are called Maachathites (the Revised Version (British and American) "Maacathites"), whose territory was taken by Jair (De 3:14; Jos 12:5). The border of the Geshurites and the Maacathites and all Mt. Hermon were given to the half-tribe of Manasseh (Jos 13:11). The inhabitants of these kingdoms, however, were not driven out by Israel (Jos 13:13), and at a later day the children of Ammon hired mercenaries from Maacah for their encounter with David. The armies met near Medeba when the "Syrians" from Maacah found themselves opposed to Joab. That famous captain completely routed them (2Sa 10:6 ff the Septuagint has "Amalek"). In 1Ch 19:6 it is called Aram-maacah, Syria-maachah (the King James Version); and in 1Ch 2:23 "Aram" appears instead of "Maacah."

It evidently lay between Geshur on the South and Hermon on the North, being probably bounded by Jordan on the West, although no certain indication of boundaries is now possible. They would thus be hemmed in by Israel, which accounts for ‘Geshur and Maacath dwell in the midst of Israel" (Jos 13:13).It is possible that Abel-beth-maacah may have been a colony founded by men from Maacah.

W. Ewing


ma’-a-ka (ma‘akhah):

(1) Septuagint: Codex Vaticanus Mocha; Codex Alexandrinus Mocha, daughter of Nahor, borne to him by Reumah (Ge 22:24).

(2) Septuagint: Codex Vaticanus Maacha; Codex Alexandrinus Maachath, the one wife of David who was of royal rank, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur, who became the mother of Absalom (2Sa 3:3; 1Ch 3:2).

(3) Maacha, father of Achish, king of Gath (1Ki 2:39). He is probably referred to as "Maoch" in 1Sa 27:2.

(4) The daughter of Absalom, the favorite wife of Rehoboam, and mother of Abijah (1Ki 15:2; 2Ch 11:20, etc.). Evidently "daughter" must here be understood as "granddaughter," according to a common oriental usage. Tamar was the only daughter of Absalom. If Tamar married Uriel of Gibeah (2Ch 13:2), then Maacah was her daughter. In that case the name Micaiah in this passage would be either a copyist’s error or a variant of Maacah. She must have been a woman of strong personality. Unfortunately, her influence was cast upon the side of idolatry. She maintained her position in the palace, however, till the reign of her grandson Asa. Possibly she acted as regent during his minority. Ultimately, she was degraded by him for an act of peculiar infamy (1Ki 15:13; 2Ch 15:16).

(5) Concubine of Caleb, son of Hezron (1Ch 2:48).

(6) Sister of Huppim and Shuppim the Benjamites, who became the wife of Machir the Manassite, the "father" of Gilead (1Ch 7:12,15 f).

(7) Wife of Jeiel, the "father" of Gibeon, an ancestress of King Saul (1Ch 8:29; 9:35).

(8) Father of Hanan, one of David’s mighty men (1Ch 11:43).

(9) Father of Shephatiah, ruler of the Simeonites under David (1Ch 27:16).

W. Ewing


ma-ak’-a-thits (~hama‘akhathi]; Septuagint: Codex Vaticanus ho Machatei; Codex Alexandrinus Machathi): Mentioned in Scripture are Ahasbai M (2Sa 23:34), Jaazaniah (2Ki 25:23), Naham (1Ch 4:19) and Jezaniah (Jer 40:8). See preceding article.


ma-a-da’-i, ma’-a-di (ma‘adhay): Son of Bani; one of those who married foreign wives (Ezr 10:34).


ma-a-di’-a (ma‘adhyah, "whose ornament is Jah"): A priest who returned with Zerubbabel (Ne 12:5). The name also occurs in the form "Moadiah" (Ne 12:17).


ma-a’-i, ma’i (ma‘ay): An Asaphite musician who took part in the ceremony of the dedication of the walls (Ne 12:36).


ma’-a-la-a-krab’-im, ma-al’-a-.



ma’-a-ni (Maani):

(1) the King James Version "Meani" (1 Esdras 5:31), corresponding to "Meunim" in Ezr 2:50; Ne 7:52.

(2) the Revised Version (British and American) "Baani," head of a family, many of whom had married foreign wives (1 Esdras 9:34; called "Bani" in Ezr 10:34).


ma’-a-rath (ma‘arath): A city in the hill country of Judah, mentioned between Gedor and Beth-anoth (Jos 15:59). The small village of Beit Ummar upon the watershed, a little to the West of the carriage road to Hebron and about a mile from Khirbet Jedur (Gedor), is a probable site. There are many rock tombs to its East. The village mosque is dedicated to Nebi Matta, i.e. Matthew. See P E F, III, 305, Sh XXI.


ma’-a-re-ge’-ba, -ga’-ba (ma‘areh gebha‘; Septuagint: Codex Vaticanus Maraagabe; Codex Alexandrinus dusmon tes Gabaa): The place where the men of Israel lay in ambush, from which they broke forth upon the children of Benjamin (Jud 20:33). the King James Version renders "the meadows of Gibeah," the Revised Version margin "the meadow of Geba (or Gibeah)." The Septuagint’s Codex Alexandrinus affords a clue to the correct reading. It to read place-name. The text must be emended to read mima‘arabh legebha‘, "to the West of Geba." Peshitta suggests a reading mime-‘arath gebha‘, "from the cave of Geba." This, however, there is nothing to warrant.

W. Ewing


ma’-a-si, ma-as’-i (ma‘say; the King James Version, Maasiai): A priest, son of Abdid (1Ch 9:12).


ma-a-se’-as (Maasaios; the King James Version Maasias): Grandfather of Baruch (Baruch 1:1); called Mahseiah in Jer 32:12; 51:59.


ma-a-se’-ya, ma-a-si’a (ma‘aseyahu, "Yahweh’s work"; Maassaia, and Massaias in the Septuagint): A name common in exilic and late monarchic times (Gray, H P N).

(1) A Levite musician named in connection with David’s bringing up of the ark from the house of Obed-edom (1Ch 15:18,20).

(2) A Levite captain who aided Jehoiada at the coronation of Joash (2Ch 23:1).

(3) An officer of Uzziah (2Ch 26:11).

(4) Ahaz’ son, slain by the Ephraimite, Zichri (2Ch 28:7).

(5) A governor of Jerusalem under Josiah (2Ch 34:8).

(6) (7) (8) (9) The name of 4 men, 3 of them priests, who had married foreign wives (Ezr 10:18,21,22,30).

(10) Father of Azariah, one of the builders of the wall (Ne 3:23).

(11) One of those who stood at Ezra’s right hand during the reading of the Law (Ne 8:4).

(12) One of the expounders of the Law (Ne 8:7).

(13) One of those who took part in sealing the covenant (Ne 10:25).

(14) A Judahite inhabitant of Jerusalem (Ne 11:5), who in 1Ch 9:5 is called Asaiah.

(15) A Benjamite (Ne 11:7).

(16) (17) Name of two priests (Ne 12:41 f).

(18) A priest in Zedekiah’s reign, father of a certain Zephaniah who interviewed the prophet Jeremiah (Jer 21:1; 29:25; 37:3).

(19) Father of the false prophet Zedekiah (Jer 29:21).

(20) A keeper of the threshold in the reign of Jehoiakim (Jer 35:4).

(21) Baaseiah (which see), a Kohathite name (1Ch 6:40), is probably a textual error for Maaseiah.

(22) the King James Version for Mahseiah, an ancestor of Baruch (Jer 32:12).

John A. Lees





ma-as’-mas, ma’-as-mas (Maasmas; Swete reads Maasman; the King James Version Masman, 1 Esdras 8:43): Corresponds to "Shemaiah" in Ezr 8:16.


ma’-ath (Maath): An ancestor of Jesus in Luke’s genealogy in the 12th generation before Joseph, the husband of Mary (Lu 3:26).


ma’-az (ma‘ats): A descendant of Judah (1Ch 2:27).


ma-a-zi’-a (ma‘azyahu):

(1) The priest to whom fell the lot for the 24th course (1Ch 24:18).

(2) One of those who took part in sealing the covenant (Ne 10:8).








mak’-a-lon (hoi ek Makalon; 1 Esdras 5:21): This corresponds to "the men of Michmas" in Ezr 2:27. The mistake has probably arisen through reading Macalon in Greek uncials for "AL".


mak-a-be’-us (Makkabaios), mak’-a-bez (hoi Makkabaioi):


1. Rivalry of Syria and Egypt

2. Palestine Seized by Antiochus the Great

3. Accession of Antiochus Epiphanes


1. Mattathias

2. Judas

3. Jonathan

4. Simon

5. John Hyrcanus

6. John and Eleazar


The name Maccabeus was first applied to Judas, one of the sons of Mattathias generally called in English the Maccabees, a celebrated family who defended Jewish rights and customs in the 2nd century BC (1 Macc 2:1-3). The word has been variously derived (e.g. as the initial letters of Mi Khamokha, Ba-’elim Yahweh! "Who is like unto thee among the mighty, O Yahweh ?"), but it is probably best associated with maqqabhah "hammer," and as applied to Judas may be compared with the malleus Scotorum and malleus haereticorum of the Middle Ages (see next article). To understand the work of the Maccabees, it is necessary to take note of the relation in which the Jews and Palestine stood at the time to the immediately neighboring nations.

I. Palestine under Kings of Syria.

1. Rivalry of Syria and Egypt:

On the division of Alexander’s empire at his death in the year 323 BC, Palestine became a sort of buffer state between Egypt under the Ptolemies on the South, and Syria, under the house of Seleucus, the last survivor of Alexander’s generals, on the North. The kings of Syria, as the Seleucid kings are generally called, though their dominion extended practically from the Mediterranean Sea to India, had not all the same name, like the Ptolemies of Egypt, though most of them were called either Seleucus or Antiochus. For a hundred years after the death of Alexander, the struggle went on as to which of the two powers was to govern Palestine, until in the year 223 came the northern prince under whom Palestine was destined to fall to the Seleucids for good.

2. Palestine Seized by Antiochus the Great:

This was Antiochus III, commonly known as Antiochus the Great. He waged two campaigns against Egypt for the possession of Palestine, finally gaining the upper hand in the year 198 BC by his victory at Panium, so called from its proximity to a sanctuary of the god Pan, a spot close to the sources of the Jordan and still called Banias. The Jews helped Antiochus to gain the victory and, according to Josephus, his rule was accepted by the Jews with good will. It is with him and his successors that the Jews have now to deal. Antiochus, it should be noticed, came in contact with the Romans after their conquest of Macedonia in 197, and was defeated by Scipio Asiaticus at Magnesia in 190. He came under heavy tribute which he found it difficult to pay, and met his end in 187, while plundering a Greek temple in order to secure its contents. His son and successor Seleucus IV was murdered by his prime minister Heliodorus in 176-175 BC, who reaped no benefit from his crime.

3. Accession of Antiochus Epiphanes:

The brother of the murdered king succeeded to the throne as Antiochus IV, generally known as Antiochus Epiphanes ("the Illustrious"), a typical eastern ruler of considerable practical ability, but whose early training while a hostage at Rome had made him an adept in dissimulation. Educated in the fashionable Hellenism of the day, he made it his aim during his reign (175-164 BC) to enforce it upon his empire a policy which brought him into conflict with the Jews. Even before his reign many Jews had yielded to the attraction of Greek thought and custom, and the accession of a ruler like Antiochus Epiphanes greatly increased the drift in that direction, as will be found described in the article dealing with the period between the Old and the New Testaments (see BETWEEN THE TESTAMENTS). Pious Jews meanwhile, men faithful to the Jewish tradition, Chasidim (see HASIDAEANS), as they were called, resisted this tendency, and in the end were driven to armed resistance against the severe oppression practiced by Antiochus in advancing his Hellenizing views.


II. Palestine under the Maccabees.

1. Mattathias:

Mattathias, a priest of the first 24 courses and therefore of the noblest who dwelt at Modin, a city of Judah, was the first to strike a blow. With his own hand he slew a Jew at Modin who was willing to offer the idolatrous sacrifices ordered by the king, and also Apelles, the leader of the king’s messengers (1 Macc 2:15-28). He fled with his sons to the mountains (168 BC), where he organized a successful resistance; but being of advanced age and unfit for the fatigue of active service, he died in 166 BC and was buried "in the sepulchres of his fathers" at Modin (1 Macc 2:70; Josephus, Ant, XII, vi, 3). He apparently named as his successor his 3rd son, Judas, though it was with real insight that on his deathbed he recommended the four brothers to take Simon as their counselor (1 Macc 2:65).

2. Judas:

Judas, commonly called Judas Maccabeus—often called in 2 Maccabees "Judas the Maccabee"—held strongly the opinions of his father and proved at least a very capable leader in guerrilla warfare. He defeated several of the generals of Antiochus—Apollonius at Beth-horon, part of the army of Lysias at Emmaus (166 BC), and Lysias himself at Bethsura the following year. He took possession of Jerusalem, except the "Tower," where he was subsequently besieged and hard pressed by Lysias and the young king Antiochus Eupator in 163 BC; but quarrels among the Syrian generals secured relief and liberty of religion to the Jews which, however, proved of short duration. The Hellenizing Jews, with ALCIMUS (which see) at their head, secured the favor of the king, who sent Nicanor against Judas. The victory over Nicanor first at Capharsalama and later (161 BC) at Adasa near Beth-horon, in which engagement Nicanor was slain, was the greatest of Judas’ successes and practically secured the independence of the Jews. The attempt of Judas to negotiate an alliance with the Romans, who had now serious interests in these regions, caused much dissatisfaction among his followers; and their defection at Elasa (161 BC), during the invasion under Bacchides, which was undertaken before the answer of the Roman Senate arrived, was the cause of the defeat and death of Judas in battle. His body was buried "in the sepulchres of his fathers" at Modin. There is no proof that Judas held the office of high priest like his father Mattathias. (An interesting and not altogether favorable estimate of Judas and of the spiritual import of the revolt will be found in Jerusalem under the High Priests, 97-99, by E.R. Bevan, London, 1904.)

3. Jonathan:

Jonathan (called Apphus, "the wary"), the youngest of the sons of Mattathias, succeeded Judas, whose defeat and death had left the patriotic party in a deplorable condition from which it was rescued by the skill and ability of Jonathan, aided largely by the rivalries among the competitors for the Syrian throne. It was in reality from these rivalries that resulted the 65 years (129-64 BC) of the completely independent rule of the Hasmonean dynasty (see ASMONEANS) that elapsed between the Greek supremacy of the Syrian kings and the Roman supremacy established by Pompey. The first step toward the recovery of the patriots was the permission granted them by Demetrius I to return to Judea in 158 BC—the year in which Bacchides ended an unsuccessful campaign against Jonathan and in fact accepted the terms of the latter. After his departure, Jonathan "judged the people at Michmash" (1 Macc 9:73). Jonathan was even authorized to reenter Jerusalem and to maintain a military force, only the "Tower" the Akra, as it was called in Greek, being held by a Syrian garrison.


4. Simon:

Simon, surnamed Thassi ("the zealous"?) was now the only surviving member of the original Maccabean family, and he readily took up the inheritance. Tryphon murdered the boy-king Antiochus Dionysus and seized the throne of Seleucus, although having no connection with the Seleucid family. Simon accordingly broke entirely with Tryphon after making successful overtures to Demetrius, who granted the fullest immunity from all the dues that had marked the Seleucid supremacy. Even the golden crown, which had to be paid on the investiture of a new high priest, was now remitted. On the 23rd of Ijjar (May), 141, the patriots entered even the Akra "with praise and palm branches, and with harps, and with cymbals and with viols, and with hymns, and with songs" (1 Macc 13:51). Simon was declared in a Jewish assembly to be high priest and chief of the people "for ever, until there should arise a prophet worthy of credence" (1 Macc 14:41), a limitation that was felt to be necessary on account of the departure of the people from the Divine appointment of the high priests of the old line and one that practically perpetuated the high-priesthood in the family of Simon. Even a new era was started, of which the high-priesthood of Simon was to be year 1, and this was really the foundation of the Hasmonean dynasty (see ASMONEANS).

5. John Hyrcanus:

John Hyrcanus, one of the sons of Simon, escaped from the plot laid by Ptolemy, and succeeded his father, both as prince and high priest. See ASMONEANS. He was succeeded (104 BC) by his son Aristobulus I who took the final step of assuming the title of king.

6. John and Eleazar:

Two members of the first generation of the Maccabean family still remain to be mentioned:

(1) John, the eldest, surnamed Gaddis (the King James Version "Caddis"), probably meaning "my fortune," was murdered by a marauding tribe, the sons of JAMBRI (which see), near Medeba, on the East of the Jordan, when engaged upon the convoy of some property of the Maccabees to the friendly country of the Nabateans (1 Macc 9:35-42).

(2) Eleazar, surnamed Avaran, met his death (161 BC) in the early stage of the Syrian war, shortly before the death of Judas. In the battle of Bethzacharias (163 BC), in which the Jews for the first time met elephants in war, he stabbed from below the elephants on which he supposed the young king was riding. He killed the elephant but he was himself crushed to death by its fall (1 Macc 6:43-46). For the further history of the Hasmonean dynasty, see ASMONEANS; MACCABEES, BOOKS OF.


There is a copious literature on the Maccabees, a family to which history shows few, if any, parallels of such united devotion to a sacred cause. The main authorities are of course the Maccabean Books of the Apocrypha; but special reference may be made to the chapters of Stanley, Lectures on the History of the Jewish Church, dealing with the subject, and to E.R. Bevan. Jerusalem under the High Priests, 1904, or to the 2nd volume of House of Seleucus by the same author, 1902.

J. Hutchison




1. Name

2. Canonicity

3. Contents

4. Historicity

5. Author’s Standpoint and Aim

6. Date

7. Sources

8. Original Language

9. Text and Versions



1. Name

2. Canonicity

3. Contents

4. Sources

5. Historicity

6. Teaching of the Book

7. Author

8. Date

9. Original Language

10. Text and Versions



1. Name

2. Canonicity

3. Contents

4. Historicity

5. Aim and Teaching

6. Authorship and Date

7. Original Language

8. Text and Versions



1. Name

2. Canonicity

3. Contents

4. Teaching

5. Authorship and Date

6. Original Language

7. Text and Versions



1. Name

2. Canonicity 3. Contents

4. Historicity

5. Original Language

6. Aim and Teaching

7. Authorship and Date

8. Text and Versions


I. 1 Maccabees.

1. Name:

The Hebrew title has perished with the original Hebrew text. Rabbinical writers call the Books of Maccabees ciphere ha-chashmonim, "The Book of the Hasmoneans" (see ASMONEANS). Origen gives to Book I (the only one he seemed to know of) the name Sarbeth Sabanaiel, evidently a Hebrew or Aramaic name of very uncertain meaning, but which Dalman (Aramaic Grammar, section 6) explains as a corruption of Aramaic words=" The Book of the House of the Hasmoneans" (compare the rabbinical name given above). In the Greek manuscripts N, V (Codex Venetus), the 4 books go under the designation Makkabaion, [Codices Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, Gamma Delta, biblos, being understood. In the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) the 1st and 2nd books are alone found, and appear under the name Machabaeorum liber primus, secundus. The spelling Machabaeorum reproduces probably the pronunciation current in Jerome’s day.

The name "Maccabee" belongs strictly only to Judas, who in 2 Maccabees is usually called "the Maccabee" (ho Makkabaios). But the epithet came to be applied to the whole family and their descendants. The word means probably "extinguisher" (of persecution) (makhbi, from kabhah, "to be extinguished"; so Niese; Josephus, Ant, XII, vi, 1 f; S.J. Curtis, The Name Maccabee). The more usual explanation, "hammerer" (maqqabhay), is untenable, as the noun from which it is derived (maqqebheth) (Jud 4:21) denotes a smith’s hammer.

2. Canonicity:

Since the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) includes only the first 2 books of Maccabees, these are the only books pronounced canonical by the Council of Trent and included in recognized Protestant versions of the Apocrypha (see APOCRYPHA). That 1 Maccabees was used largely in the early Christian church is proved by the numerous references made to it and quotations from it in the writings of Tertullian (died 220), Clement of Alexandria (died 220), Hippolytus (died 235), Origen (died 254), etc. The last named states that 1 Maccabees is uncanonical, and it is excluded from the lists of canonical writings given by Athanasius (died 373), Cyril of Jerusalem (died 386), and Gregory of Nazianzus (died 390). Indeed, none of the books of the Maccabees was recognized as canonical until the Council of Trent (1553) gave this rank to the first 2 books, and Protestants continue in their confessions to exclude the whole of the Apocrypha from the Bible proper, though Luther maintained that 1 Maccabees was more worthy of a place in the Canon than many books now included in it.

3. Contents:

1 Maccabees gives first of all a brief view of the reign of Alexander the Great and the partition of his kingdom among his successors. Having thus explained the origin of the Seleucid Dynasty, the author proceeds to give a history of the Jews from the accession of Antiochus IV, king of Syria (175 BC), to the death of Simon (135 BC). The events of these 40 years are simply but graphically related and almost entirely in the order of their occurrence. The contents of 1 Maccabees and 2 Macc 4-15 are in the main parallel, dealing with the same incidents; but the simple narrative character of 1 Maccabees, in contrast to the didactic and highly religious as well as supernatural coloring of 2 Maccabees, can easily be seen in these corresponding parts. The victories due to heroism in 1 Maccabees are commonly ascribed to miraculous intervention on the part of God in 2 Maccabees (see 1 Macc 4:1 f; compare 2 Macc 8:23 f). 2 Maccabees is more given to exaggerations. The army of Judas at Bethsura consists of 10,000 according to 1 Macc 4:29, but of 80,000 according to 2 Macc 11:2. The following is a brief analysis of 1 Maccabees:

(1) 1 Maccabees 1:1-10:

An account of the rise of the Seleucid Dynasty.

(2) 1 Maccabees 1:11-16:24:

History of the Jews from 175 to 135 BC.

(a) 1 Maccabees 1:11-64: Introductory. Some Jews inclined to adopt Greek customs (religious, etc.); Antiochus’ aim to conquer Egypt and to suppress the Jewish religion as a source of Jewish disloyalty. Desecration of the Jewish temple: martyrdom of many faithful Jews.

(b) 1 Maccabees 2:1-70: The revolt of Mattathias

(c) 1 Maccabees 3:1-9:22: Leadership of Judas Maccabeus after his father’s death. Brilliant victories over the Syrians. Purification of the temple. Death of Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) and accession of Antiochus V (Eupator) (164 BC). Demetrius I became king of Syria, and Alcimus Jewish high priest (162 BC). Treaty between Jews and Romans. Defeat of Jews at Eleasa and death of Judas Maccabeus (161 BC).

(d) 1 Maccabees 9:23-12:53: Leadership of Jonathan, 5th son of Mattathias, elected to succeed his brother Judas. He becomes high priest. Political independence of Judea secured.

(e) 1 Maccabees 13:31-16:24: Peaceful and prosperous rule of Simon, brother of Jonathan; accession of his son John Hyrcanus (135 BC).

4. Historicity:

That the author of 1 Maccabees aims at giving a correct narrative, and that on the whole his account is correct, is the opinion of practically all scholars. The simple, straight-forward way in which he writes inspires confidence, and there can be no doubt that we have here a first-class authority for the period covered (175-135 BC). It is the earliest Jewish history which dates events in reference to a definite era, this era being that of the Seleucids, 312 BC, the year of the founding of that dynasty. The aid received from God is frequently recognized in the book (2:51 ff; 3:18; 4:10 f; 9:46; 16:3), yet it is mainly through personal valor that the Jews conquer, not, as in 2 Maccabees (see III, 3 below), through miraculous Divine interpositions. Ordinary, secondary causes are almost the only ones taken into account, so that the record may be relied upon as on the whole trustworthy. Yet the writer shows the defects which belong to his age and environment, or what from the standpoint of literal history must be counted defects, though, as in the case of 2 Maccabees (compare Chronicles), a writer may have other aims than to record bare objective facts. In 1:1-9 the author errs through ignorance of the real facts as regards Alexander’s partition of his kingdom; and other misstatements of fact due to the same cause occur in 10:1 ff (Alexander (Balas), son of Antiochus Epiphanes) and in 13:31 ff (time of assassination of Antiochus VI by Tryphon). In 6:37 it is said there were 32 men upon each elephant, perhaps a misreading of the original "2 or 3," although the Indian elephant corps at the turn of this century carried more.

We know nothing of a Persian village Elymais (1 Macc 6:1). The number of Jewish warriors that fought and the number slain are understated, while there are evident exaggerations of the number of soldiers who fought against them and of those of them who were left dead on the field (see 1 Macc 4:15; 7:46; 11:45-51, etc.).

But in this book, prayers, speeches and official records abound as they do in Ezra, Nehemiah (see Century Bible, "Ezra," "Nehemiah," "Esther," 12 ff), and many modern Protestant writers doubt or deny the authenticity of a part of those, though that is not necessarily to question their genuineness as part of the original narrative.

As regards the prayers (1 Macc 3:50-54; 4:30-33) and speeches (1 Macc 2:7-13; 2:50-68; 4:6-11, etc.), there is no valid reason for doubting that they give at least the substance of what was originally said or written, though ancient historians like Thucydides and Livy think it quite right to edit the speeches of their characters, abbreviating, expanding or altering. Besides, it is to be remembered that the art of stenography is a modern one; even Dr. Johnson, in default of verbatim reports, had to a large extent to make the speeches which he ostensibly reported.

There is, however, in the book a large number of official documents, and it is in regard to the authenticity of these that modern criticism has expressed greatest doubt. They are the following:

(1) Letter of the Jews in Gilead to Judas (1 Macc 5:10-13).

(2) Treaty of alliance between the Romans and Jews; copy written on brass tablets sent to Judas (1 Macc 8:22-32).

(3) Letter from King Alexander Balas to Jonathan (1 Macc 10:18-20).

(4) Letter from King Demetrius I to Jonathan (1 Macc 10:25-45).

(5) Letter from King Demetrius II to Jonathan (1 Macc 11:30-37), together with letter to Lasthenes (1 Macc 11:31-37).

(6) Letter from the young prince Antiochus to Jonathan, making the latter high priest (1 Macc 11:57).

(7) Letter from Jonathan to the Spartans, asking for an alliance (1 Macc 12:5-18).

(8) Earlier letter of the Spartan king Arius to the high priest Onias (1 Macc 12:20-23).

(9) Letter from King Demetrius II to Simon (1 Macc 13:36-40).

(10) Letter from the Spartans to Simon (1 Macc 14:20-24).

(11) A decree of the Jews recognizing the services of Simon and his brothers (1 Macc 14:27-45).

(12) Letters from Antiochus VII (Sidetes) to Simon (1 Macc 15:2-9).

(13) Message from the Roman consul Lucius to Ptolemy, king of Egypt, asking protection for the Jews (1 Macc 15:16-21). A copy was sent to Simon (1 Macc 15:24).

Formerly the authenticity of these state documents was accepted without doubt, as they still are by Romanist commentators (Welte, Scholz, etc.). At most, they are but translations of translations, for the originals would be written in Greek and Latin, from which the author would translate into Hebrew. The Greek of our book is a translation from the Hebrew (see II, 8 below).

Rawlinson (Speaker’s Apocrypha, II, 329) says these documents "have a general air of authenticity." Most modern scholars reject the letters purporting to emanate from the Romans (numbers 2 and 13 above) and from the Spartans (numbers 8, 10 above), together with Jonathan’s message to the latter (number 7, above), on the ground that they contain some historical inaccuracies and imply others. How could one consul issue official mandates in the name of the Roman republic (see number 13, above)? In number 8 above, it is the king of the Spartans who writes on behalf of his people to Onias the high priest; but it is the ephoroi or rulers who write for the Spartans to Simon. Why the difference? Moreover, in 1 Macc 12:21 the Spartans and Jews are said to be kinsmen (literally, brothers), both alike being descendants of Abraham; so also 14:20. This is admittedly contrary to fact. For a careful examination of these official documents and their objective value, see Kautzsch, Die Apokryphen des Altes Testament, 27-30. Though, however, these documents and some others can be proved incorrect as they stand, they do seem to imply actual negotiations of the kind described; i.e. the Jews must have had communications with the Romans and Spartans, the Jews of Gilead must have sent a missive to Judas (number 1), Alexander Balas did no doubt write to Jonathan, etc., though the author of 1 Maccabees puts the matter in his own way, coloring it by his own patriotic and religious prejudices.

5. Author’s Standpoint and Aim:

Though the name of the author is unknown, the book itself supplies conclusive evidence that he belonged to the Sadducee party, the party favored by the Hasmoneans. The aim of the writer is evidently historical and patriotic, yet his attitude toward religious questions is clearly indicated, both directly and indirectly.

(1) Nowhere in the book is the Divine Being mentioned under any name except Heaven (1 Macc 3:18 f, 50,60; 4:10,55; 12:15, etc.), a designation common in rabbinical Hebrew (Talmud, etc.). As early as 300 BC the sacred name "Yahweh" was discarded in favor of "Adonai" (Lord) for superstitious reasons. But in 1 Maccabees no strictly Divine name meets us at all. This would seem to suggest the idea of a certain aloofness of God, such as characterized theology of the Sadducee party. Contrast with this the mystic closeness of God realized and expressed by the psalmists and prophets of the Old Testament.

(2) The author is a religious patriot, believing that his people have been Divinely chosen and that the cause of Israel is the cause of God.

(3) He is also a strict legalist, believing it the duty of every Jew to keep the Law and to preserve its institutions (1 Macc 1:11,15,43,49,54,60,62 f; 2:20 ff, 27,42,48,50; 3:21, etc.), and deprecating attempts to compel Jews to desecrate the Sabbath and feast days (1 Macc 1:45), to eat unclean food (1 Macc 1:63) and to sacrifice to idols (1 Macc 1:43). Yet the comparatively lax attitude toward the Sabbath implied in 1 Macc 2:41 ff, involving the principle of Christ’s words, "The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" (Mr 2:27), agrees with the Sadducee position against that of the Pharisees.

(4) The book teaches that the age of inspiration is past, and that the sacred books already written are the only source of comfort in sorrow and of encouragement under difficulties (1 Macc 12:9).

(5) The legitimacy of the high-priesthood of Simon is not once questioned, though it is condemned by both the Deuteronomic law (D), which restricts the priesthood to the tribe of Levi, and by the priestly law (P), which requires in addition that a priest must be of the family of Aaron. This laxity agrees well with the general tenets of the Sadducees.

(6) The book contains no trace of the Messianic hope, though it was entertained at the time in other circles (the Pharisees; see MESSIAH, II, 2; PROPHECY); 1 Macc 2:57 is no exception, for it implies no more than a belief that there would be a restoration of the Davidic Dynasty. Perhaps it is implied that that expectation was realized in the Hasmoneans.

(7) There is no reference in the book to the doctrine of a resurrection from the dead or to that of the immortality of the soul, though we know that both these beliefs were commonly held by Jews of the time (see Da 12:3; Enoch 19; 22:11-14; 9:1,5 ff; 2 Macc 7:9,11,14,29). We know that the Pharisee party believed in a resurrection (see Ac 23:6). The Maccabean heroes fought their battles and faced death without fear, not because, like Moslems, they looked to the rewards of another life, but because they believed in the rightness of their cause and coveted the good name won by their fathers by acts of similar courage and devotion.

This outline of the doctrines taught or implied in the book makes it extremely likely that the author was a member of the Sadducee party.

6. Date:

1 Maccabees must have been written before the Roman conquest under Pompey, since the writer speaks of the Romans as allies and even friends (8:1,12; 12:1; 14:40); i.e. the composition of the book must have been completed (unless we except chapters 14-16; see below) before 63 BC, when Pompey conquered Jerusalem, and Judea became a Roman province. We thus get 63 BC as a terminus ad quem. Moreover, the historical narrative is brought down to the death of Simon (16:16), i.e. to 135 BC. We have thus an undoubted terminus a quo in 135 BC. The book belongs for certain to the period between 135 and 63 BC. But 1 Macc 16:18-24 implies that John Hyrcanus (died 105 BC) had for some time acted as successor to Simon, and Reuss, Ewald, Fritzsche, Grimm, Schurer, Kautzsch, etc., are probably right in concluding from 16:23 f that John was dead when the book was completed, for we have in this verse the usual formula recording the close of a royal career (see 1Ki 11:41; 2Ki 10:34, etc.), and the writer makes it sufficiently understood that all his acts were already "entered in the public annals of the kingdom" (Ewald, History of Israel, V, 463, note), so that repetition was unnecessary. But Bertheau, Keil, Wellhausen and Torrey draw the contrary conclusion, arguing that John had but begun his rule, so that at the time of writing there was practically nothing to record of the doings subsequent to 135, when John succeeded Simon (see EB, III, 2860 (Toy)). In 1 Macc 13:30 we read that the monument erected in 143 BC by Simon in memory of his father and brothers was standing at the time when this book was written, words implying the lapse of say 30 years at least. This gives a terminus a quo of 113 BC. Moreover, the panegyric on Simon (died 135 BC) and his peaceful rule in 14:4-15 leaves the impression that he had been long in his grave. We cannot be far wrong in assigning a date for the book in the early part of the last century BC, say 80 BC.

Destinon (Die Quellen des Flavius Josephus, I, 1882, 80 ff), followed by Wellhausen (IJG, 1894, 222 f), maintained that Josephus (died circa 95), who followed 1 Maccabees up to the end of chapter 13, could not have seen chapters 14-16 (or from 14:16?), or he would not have given so meager an account of the high-priesthood of Simon (see Ant, XIII, vi, 7), which the author of 1 Maccabees describes so fully in those chapters. But Josephus must have used these chapters or he could not have written of Simon even as fully as he does.

7. Sources:

If, as Torrey (EB, III, 2862) holds, we have in 1 Maccabees "the account of one who had witnessed the whole Maccabean struggle from its beginning," the book having been completed soon after the middle of the 2nd century BC, it may then be assumed that the writer depended upon no other sources than his own. But even in this case one is compelled, contrary to Torrey (loc. cit.), to assume that written sources of his own were used, or the descriptions would not have been so full and the dating so exact. If, however, we follow the evidence and bring down the date of the book to about 80 BC (see I, 6), it must be supposed that the author had access to written sources. It may legitimately be inferred from 1 Macc 9:22 and 16:23 and from the habit of earlier times (see Century Bible, "Ezra," etc., 11 ff) that official records were kept in the archives of the temple, or elsewhere. These might have contained the state documents referred to in I, 4, some or all, and reports of speeches and prayers, etc. It must be admitted that, unlike the compilers of the historical books of the Old Testament (Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, etc.), the author of 1 Maccabees does not definitely name his written sources. The writer might well be supposed to have kept a kind of diary of his own in which the events of his own early life were recorded. Oral tradition, much more retentive of songs, speeches and the like in ancient than in modern times, must have been a very important source.

8. Original Language:

We have the testimony of Origen (see I, 1) and Jerome (Prolog. Galeatus) that the book existed in Hebrew in their day. But it is doubtful whether the words of Origen imply a Hebrew or an Aramaic original, and though Jerome does speak of the book as Hebrew (hebraicus), it has to be remembered that in later times the Greek adjective denoting Hebrew (hebraisti) and perhaps the corresponding Latin one (hebraicus) often denoted Palestinian Aramaic (see Jud 5:2; 19:13,17; and Kautzsch, Grammatik des bib. Aramaic, 19).

Hebraisms (or Aramaisms?) abound throughout the book. In the following examples Hebraisms are literally rendered in Greek, though in the latter language they are unidiomatic and often unintelligible: "two years of days" = two full years (1 Macc 1:29, etc.); "month and month" = every month (1 Macc 1:58); "a man (or each one) his neighbor" = each .... the other (1 Macc 2:40; 3:43); "sons of the fortress" = occupants of the fortress (1 Macc 4:2); "against our face" = before us (1 Macc 4:10); "men of power" = warriors (1 Macc 5:32); "of them" = some of them (1 Macc 6:2; compare 7:33, "of the priests" = some of the priests); "the right hand wing" = the southern wing (1 Macc 9:1); "yesterday and the third day" = hitherto (1 Macc 9:44). The above are strictly Hebraisms and not for the most part Aramaisms. The implied use of the "waw-consecutive" in 1 Macc 3:1,41; 8:1; 9:1, and often, points also to a Hebrew, not to an Aramaic origin.. "Heaven" as a substitute for "God," so common in this book (see I, 5), is perhaps as much an Aramaism as a Hebraism (see Targum Jerusalem). Many of the proper names in the book are obviously but trans-literations from the Hebrew; thus, Phulistiein (1 Macc 3:24); compare Sirach 46:18; 47:7; see the names in 1 Macc 11:34; and Schurer, GJV4, I, 233.

9. Text and Versions:

The original Hebrew text of 1 Maccabees (see I, 8) must have been lost at a very early time, since we have no evidence of its use by any early writer. J.D. Michaells held that Josephus used it, but this idea has been abandoned in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The Hebrew text of the first half of 1 Macc, edited by A. Schweitzer and taken by him to be a part of the original text, is in reality a translation from the Latin made in the 11th century of our era (so Noldeke, etc.).

(1) Greek.

The Greek text from which the other versions are nearly all made is given in all editions of the Septuagint. It occurs in the uncials Codex Sinaiticus (Fritzsche, X) , Codex Alexandrinus (Fritzsche, III), and Codex Venetus (8th or 9th century), not in Codex Vaticanus; and in a large number of cursives. Swete (Old Testament in Greek) gives the text of Codex Alexandrinus with the variations of Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Venetus. Though the Greek text has so many Hebraisms, it is an exceedingly good rendering, full of spirit and on the whole more idiomatic than the rest of the Septuagint.

(2) Latin.

There are two Latin recensions of the book: (a) that found in the Vulgate, which agrees almost entirely with the Old Latin version. It is in the main a literal rendering of the Greek (b) Sabatier (Bibliorum sacrorum Latinae versiones antiquae, II) published in 1743 a Latin version of 1 Macc 1-13 found in but one manuscript (Sangermanensis). Though it is evidently made from the Greek it differs at many points from the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) It is probably older than the Old Latin and therefore than the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.)

(3) Syriac.

There are also two varying texts in this language.

(a) The best known is that printed in the Paris Polyglot (Vol. IX), copied with some changes into the London Polyglot (Vol. IV; for readings see volume V). Lagarde (Lib. Vet. Test. Apocrypha. Syriac., 1861) has edited this version, correcting and appending readings.

(b) A text differing in many respects from (a) is given by Ceriani in his Codex Ambros. of the Peshitta (1876-83), though this also is made from the Greek For a careful collection of both the above Syriac texts by G. Schmidt, see Z A T W, 1897, 1-47, 233-62.


See literature cited in the foregoing material. For texts and commentaries on the Apocrypha, see APOCRYPHA. The following commentaries deserve special mention: Grimm, Kurz. exeg. Handbuch, etc., to which the commentaries by Keil (1 and 2 Maccabees) and Bissel (Lange) owe very much; Kautzsch, Die Apocrypha des AT; W. Fair-weather and J.S. Black, Cambridge Bible, "1 Maccabees," and Oesterley in the Oxford Apocrypha edited by R. H. Charles (1913). Of the dict. articles those in E B (Torrey) and H D B (Fairweather) are excellent. See also E. Montet, Essai sur les origines des saduceens et des pharisiens, 1885; Wibrich, Juden und Griechen vor der mak. Erhebung, 1875, 69-76; B. Niese, Kritik der beiden Makkabderbucher, 1900. For a very full bibliography see Schurer, GJ V4, III, 198 ff, and his article "Apocrypha" in R E3, and in Sch-Herz.

II. 2 Maccabees.

1. Name:

See I, above. The earliest extant mention of the book as 2 Maccabees is in Euseb., Praep. Evang., VIII, 9. Jerome also (Prol. Galeatus) calls it by this name.

2. Canonicity:

In the early church 2 Maccabees was much less valued and therefore less read than 1 Maccabees. Augustine was the only church Father to claim for it canonical rank and even he in a controversy with the Donatists who quoted 2 Maccabees, replied that this book had never been received into the Canon. Since they formed an integral part of the Vulgate, 1 and 2 Maccabees were both recognized by the Council of Trent as belonging to the Romanist Canon.

3. Contents:

(1) 2 Maccabees 1-9:18:

Two letters from the Jews of Jerusalem to their brethren in Egypt, urging them to keep the Feast of Dedication and in a general way to observe the Law given them by God through Moses. Both letters appear designed to win for the Jerusalem temple the love and devotion which the Jews of Egypt were in danger of lavishing upon the Leontopolis temple in Egypt. These letters have no connection with the rest of the book or with each other, and both are undoubted forgeries. There can be no doubt that 2 Maccabees was first of all composed, and that subsequently either the author or a later hand prefixed these letters on account of their affinity in thought to the book as it first existed. See further on these letters II, 4 and 9.

(2) 2 Maccabees 2:19-32:

Introduction to what follows. The author or epitomizer claims that his history (chapter 3 to end of the book) is an epitome in one book of a larger work in 5 books by Jason of Cyrene. But see II, 4, below.

(3) 2 Maccabees 3:1-15:39 (End of Book):

History of the rise and progress of the Maccabean wars from 176 BC, to the closing year of the reign of Seleucus IV Philopator, to the defeat and death of Nicanor in 161 BC, a period of 15 years. The record in 2 Maccabees begins one year earlier than that of 1 Maccabees, but as the latter reaches down to 135 BC (and probably below 105 BC; see I, 5), 1 Maccabees covers a period of at least 40 years, while 2 Maccabees gives the history of but 15 years (176-161 BC). The history of this period is thus treated:

(a) 2 Macc 3:1-4:6: Traitorous conduct of the Benjamite Simon in regard to the temple treasures and the high priest; futile attempt of Heliodorus, prime minister of Seleucus IV, to rob the temple (see I, 3, (11) above);

(b) 2 Macc 4:7-7:42 parallel 1 Macc 1:10-64 with significant variations and additions. Accession of Antiocus Epiphanes (175 BC); the Hellenizing of some Jews; persecution of the faithful; martyrdom of Eleazar and the 7 brethren and their mother (this last not in 1 Maccabees);

(c) 2 Macc 8-15 (end) parallel 1 Macc 3-7, with significant divergences in details.

Rise and development of the Maccabean revolt (see I, 3, above). In the closing verses (2 Macc 15:38 ff) the writer begs that this composition may be received with consideration.

The record of events in 2 Maccabees ends with the brilliant victory of Judas over Nicanor, followed by the death of the latter; but it is strange that the history of the main hero of the book should be dropped in the middle. Perhaps this abrupt ending is due to the writer’s aim to commend to the Jews of Egypt the two new festivals, both connected with the Jerusalem temple:

(a) Chanukkah (Festival of Dedication) (1:9,18; 2:16; 10:8);

(b) Nicanor Day (15:36), to commemorate the defeat and death of Nicanor.

To end the book with the account of the institution of the latter gives it greater prominence.

4. Sources:

In its present form 2 Maccabees is based ostensibly on two kinds of written sources.

(1) In 2 Macc 2:19-32 the writer of 3:1 to the end, which constitutes the book proper, says that his own work is but an epitome, clearly, artistically and attractively set out, of a larger history by one Jason of Cyrene. Most commentators understand this statement literally, and endeavor to distinguish between the parts due to Jason and those due to the epitomizer. Some think they see endings of the 5 books reflected in the summaries at 3:40; 7:42; 10:9; 13:26; 15:37. But W.H. Kosters gives cogent reasons for concluding that the reference to Jason is but a literary device to secure for his own composition the respect accorded in ancient, as in a lesser degree in modern, times to tradition. The so-called "epitomizer"is in that case alone responsible for the history he gives. The present writer has no hesitation in accepting these conclusions. We read such nowhere a large else of a historian called "Jason," or of such a large history at his must have been if it extended to 5 books dealing with the events of 15 years, though such a man and so great a work could hardly have escaped notice. Hitzig (Gesch. des Volkes Israels, II, 415) held that Jason or his supposed epitomizer made use of 1 Maccabees, altering, adding and subtracting to suit his purpose. But the different order of the events and the contradictions in statements of facts in the 2 books, as well as the omission from 2 Maccabees of important items found in 1 Maccabees, make Hitzig’s supposition quite untenable. A careful examination of 2 Maccabees has led Grimm, Schurer, Zockler, Wibrich, Cornill, Torrey and others to the conclusion that the author depended wholly upon oral tradition. This gives the best clue to the anachronisms, inconsistencies and loose phrasing which characterize the book. According to 1 Macc 4:26-33, the first campaign of Lysias into Judea took place in 165 BC, the year before the death of Antiochus IV; but 2 Macc 11 tells us that it occurred in 163 BC, i.e. subsequent to the death of Antiochus IV. Moreover, in the latter passage this 1st expedition of Lysias is connected with the grant of freedom to the Jews, which is really an incident of the 2nd expedition, and in 2 Macc 13:1-24 is rightly mentioned in the account of the 2nd expedition. The writer of 2 Maccabees, relying upon memory, evidently mixes up the stories of two different expeditions. Similarly the invasions of neighboring tribes under Judas, which are represented in 1 Macc 5:1-68 as taking place in quick succession, belong, according to 2 Macc 8:30; 10:15-38; 12:2-45, to separate dates and different sets of circumstances. The statements in 2 Maccabees are obscure and confused, those in 1 Macc 5 clear and straightforward. Though in 2 Macc 10:37 we read of the death of Timotheus, yet in 12:2 ff he appears as a leader in other campaigns. There again the writer’s memory plays him false as he recalls various accounts of the same events. It was Mattathias who gathered together the Jews and organized them for resistance against Syria, if we follow 1 Macc 2:1-70; but 2 Macc 8:1-7 ascribes this role to his son Judas. The purification of the temple took place 3 years subsequent to its profanation, according to 1 Macc 1:54; 4:52, but only 2 years, according to 2 Macc 10:3.

(2) The two letters sent from Palestinian to Egyptian Jews (2 Macc 1:1-2:18) form no integral part of the original 2 Maccabees. They are clearly forgeries, and abound in inaccuracies and inconsistencies. The second letter, much the longer, gives an account of the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, which is irreconcilable with that in 9:1-28 and also with that in 1 Macc 6:1-16. Nehemiah is said in 1:18 to have rebuilt the temple and altar, a work accomplished by Zerubbabel nearly a century earlier (Ezr 3:3; 6:15). Nehemiah’s work was to repair the gates and walls (Ne 3:1-32; 6:1; 7:1; Sirach 49:13). The writer of this letter says (2 Macc 2:3-5) that at the time of the exile, Jeremiah concealed in a cave on Mt. Pisgah the tabernacle, the ark of the covenant and the altar of incense, a statement which no one accepts as correct or even plausible. That the author of the rest of the book is not the composer of the letters is proved by the difference of style and the contradictions in subject-matter. But that he himself prefixed them is made probable by the connecting particle in the Greek (de), though some (Bertholdt, Grimm, Paulus, Kosters) think rather plausibly that the letters were added by a later hand, the connection in the Greek being also introduced by him and not by the author of the rest of the book. It has been maintained that we have but one letter in 2 Macc 1:1-2:18, and on the other hand that there are three. But the division into two is quite natural and is almost universally accepted.

5. Historicity: 2 Maccabees belongs to the class of literature called by the Germans Tendenz-Schriften, i.e. writings originating in the desire to teach some doctrine or to correct some supposed error. 1 Maccabees gives us a history of the Maccabean wars as such, taking so little notice of the part played by God that the Divine Being is not so much as mentioned, except under the impersonal form Heaven (compare "Heaven helps those who help themselves"). Nor has 1 Maccabees a word to say about a life beyond the grave. In short, 1 Maccabees is written from the standpoint of the Sadducees, to which party the reigning dynasty (the Hasmonean) belonged. The writer of 2 Maccabees is evidently a Pharisee and his aim is not historical but doctrinal; i.e. the book is a historical romance with a purpose, that purpose being to make prominent the outstanding tenets of the Pharisees (see II, 6). Two extreme opinions have been defended as to the historical value of 2 Maccabees:

(1) That 2 Maccabees is a strictly historical work, is more trustworthy than 1 Maccabees and is to be followed when the two books differ; so the bulk of Roman Catholics and also Niese and Schlatter. The supernaturalism of the book is to Romanists a recommendation.

(2) That 2 Maccabees has virtually no historical value, since it was written for other than historical ends; so Wibrich, Kosters and Kamphausen.

But the bulk of Protestant critics of recent times occupy a portion midway between these two opposite opinions, namely, that 1 Maccabees is much more accurate than 2 Maccabees and is to be preferred when the 2 books of Maccabees differ or contradict each other; so Grimm, Reuss, Schurer, Kamphausen. On the other hand, when 2 Maccabees contains historical matter absent from 1 Maccabees it is to be accepted as correct unless opposed by intrinsic improbability or direct contrary evidence. In 2 Macc 3-5 we have details concerning the Maccabean revolt not found in 1 Maccabees, and in treatment of episodes or incidents with which 1 Maccabees deals it is often fuller and more specific, as in 2 Macc 10:14-23; 12:7-9 (compare 1 Macc 5:1-5; 12:17-25); 2 Macc 10:24-38 (compare 1 Macc 5:29-44); 2 Macc 12:32-45 (compare 1 Macc 5:65,68,63 f). On the other hand, the account of the celestial appearances in 2 Macc 3:24 ff; 11:8, etc., and the description in 6:18 ff of the martyrdom of Eleazar the scribe and of the 7 brethren and their mother, carry on their face the marks of their legendary and unhistorical character. The edifying remarks scattered throughout the book, many of them pragmatic and reminding one of the Book of Daniel, confirm the impression otherwise suggested, that the author’s aim was didactic and not historical. The book as it stands is a real authority for the ideas prevalent in the writer’s circle at the time of its composition.

6. Teaching of the Book:

In general it may be said that the doctrines taught in 2 Maccabees are those of the Pharisees of the day. Several scholars consider 2 Maccabees the answer of Pharisaism to the Sadduceeism of 1 Maccabees (see Wellhausen, Die Pharisaer und die Saducaer; compare Geiger, Urschrift und Ubersetzungen der Bibel, 219 ff). But there is evidence enough (see II, 4) that the author of 2 Maccabees had not seen 1 Maccabees. Yet it is equally clear that 2 Maccabees does give prominence to the distinctive tenets of Pharisaism, and it was probably written on that account.

(1) The strictest observance of the law is enforced. The violation of the sanctity of the Sabbath countenanced under special circumstances in 1 Macc (2:39-48) is absolutely forbidden in 2 Macc (6:6,11; 8:26 f; 12:38); compare the words of the Pharisees to Petronius when the latter proposed to have a statue of the emperor Caius erected in the temple: "We will die rather than transgress the law" (Josephus, Ant, XVIII, viii, 3).

(2) The Pharisaic party took but little interest in political affairs, and supported the Hasmoneans only because and in so far as they fought for the right to observe their religious rites. When, however, they compromised with Hellenism, the Pharisees turned against them and their allies the Sadducees. In this book we miss the unstinted praise accorded the Hasmonean leaders in 1 Maccabees, and it is silent as to the genealogy of the Hasmoneans, the death of Judas Maccabeus and the family grave at Modin.

(3) The book reveals thus early the antagonism between the Pharisees and the priestly party, which is so evident in the Gospels. The high-priesthood had through political circumstances become the property of the Maccabees, though they were not of the Aaronic family, or even of the tribe of Levi. The priestly circle became the aristocratic, broad-church party, willing to come to terms with Greek thought and life. Hence, in 2 Maccabees, Jason and Menelaus are fit representatives of the priesthood. In the list of martyrs (chapters 6 f) no priest appears, but on the other hand, Eleazar, one of the principal scribes—scribes and Pharisees were then as in New Testament times virtually one party—suffered for his loyalty to the national religion, "leaving his death for an example" (6:18-31).

(4) The temple occupies a high and honorable place in 2 Maccabees, as in the mind of the orthodox party (see 2:19; 3:2; 5:15; 9:16; 13:23; 14:31). Great stress is laid on the importance of the feasts (6:6; 10:8, etc.), of sacrifice (10:3), of circumcision (6:10), of the laws of diet (6:18; 11:31). The author seems in particular anxious to recommend to his readers (Egyptian Jews) the observance of the two new festivals instituted to commemorate the purification of the temple after its pollution by the Syrians and also the victory over Nicanor. According to this book the Chanukkah feast was established immediately after the death of Antiochus Epiphanes (10:6 ff), not before this event (1 Macc 4:56), probably to give it additional importance. The book closes with the defeat and death of Nicanor and the founding of the Nicanor Day festival, without mentioning the death of Judas, as though the writer’s aim was to give prominence to the two new festivals.

(5) 2 Maccabees shows a Jewish particularism which agrees well with Pharisaism and Scribism, but is opposed to the broader sentiments of the ruling party: Israel is God’s people (1:26); His portion (14:15); He often intervenes miraculously on behalf of Israel and the religion of Israel (3:24-30; 10:29 f; 11:6-8); even the calamities of the nation are proofs of Divine love because designed for the nation’s good (5:18); but the sufferings brought upon the heathen are penal and show the Divine displeasure (4:38; 5:9; 13:8; 15:32 f). The writer is deadly opposed to the introduction of Greek customs and in particular to the establishment of a gymnasium in Jerusalem (4:7 f; 11:24). The Book of Jubilees, also written by a zealous Pharisee, takes up the same hostile attitude toward foreign customs (see 3:31; 7:20, and the note by R. H. Charles (Book of Jubilees) on the former).

(6) This book gives prominence to the doctrine of a resurrection and of a future life about which 1 Maccabees, a document of the Sadducee party, is silent, (compare I, 5 above; see 2 Macc 7:9,11,14,36; 12:43-45; 14:46 (compare IV, 4, below)). The Sadducees, to which the Hasmoneans belonged, denied a resurrection, limiting their conception of religion to the present life, in this agreeing with the teaching of the Hebrew Scriptures down to the time of the exile (536 BC). But the Pharisees and scribes, though professing to rest their beliefs on the "Law of Moses," departed from that law in this matter (see Warburton, The Divine Legation of Moses). The resurrection is to be a bodily one (2 Macc 7:11,22 f; 14:46) and to a life that is unending (2 Macc 7:9,36). The following related beliefs supported in this book and forming part of the creed of orthodox Pharisaism are adduced by Romanists on behalf of their own teaching: (a) the efficacy of prayers for the dead (2 Macc 12:44); (b) the power exercised by the intercession of saints (2 Macc 15:12-14); Philo (De execrat., 9) and Josephus (Ant., I, xi, 3) held the same doctrine; (c) the atoning character of the martyrdom of the righteous (2 Macc 7:36,38; compare 4 Macc 17:22; see IV, 4, (3), below).

(7) The angelology of 2 Maccabees forms a prominent feature of the book (see 3:24-30; 10:29 f; 11:6-8). The Sadducees accepted the authority of the Pentateuch, though they rejected tradition. They were therefore inconsistent in allowing no place for angelic beings in their creed, though consistent in rejecting the doctrine of a future life.

(8) The comparative silence of this book on the question of the Messianic hope is strikingly in contrast with the prominence of the subject in Psalter of Solomon (17:23 ff, etc.; see Ryle and James, Psalms of Solomon, lii ff) and other contemporary writings emanating from the Pharisees. But why should the author of 2 Maccabees be expected to give equal prominence to all his opinions in one tract? Some such hope as that connected with the Messiah does, however, seem to be implied in 1:27; 2:18; 7:33; 14:15.

The present writer holds that one man is responsible for 2 Maccabees in its present form and that the only written source was the 2 letters with which the book opens (1:1-2:18) (see II, 4, above).

7. Author:

Even if we have to assume an original in 5 books of which 2 Maccabees, as we have it, is but an epitome, it is not possible to distinguish between the sentiments of "Jason" and his epitomizer. The author—assuming but one—was evidently an Egyptian probably an Alexandrian Jew, who nevertheless retained his loyalty to the Jerusalem temple and its constitutions and desired to prevent the alienation of his fellow-countrymen in the same country from the home sanctuary and its feasts, especially the two new feasts, Chanukkah (Dedication) and Nicanor Day. The Jews of Egypt had a temple of their own, in opposition to the teaching of the Jewish law (D and P; compare De 12:2-18 and Le 17:1-9; 19:30), and it was perhaps the growing influence of this temple that prompted the author to compose this book which sets so much honor upon the Jerusalem temple and its observances. The character of the Greek (see II, 9, below), the ignorance of Palestine and also the deep interest in Egypt which this book reveals—these and other considerations point to the conclusion that the author lived and wrote in Egypt. There is no evidence that Judas Maccabeus (Leon Allatius), or the author of Sirach (Hasse) or Philo the Jew (Honorius d’Autun) or Josephus wrote the book, though it has been ascribed by different scholars to each of the persons named.

8. Date:

The book must have been written sufficiently long after 161 BC, the year with which the record closes, to allow mythical tales of the martyrdoms in 2 Macc 6 f and the history of the supernatural appearances in 3:24-30, etc., to arise. If we allow 30 years, or the lifetime of a generation, we come down to say 130 BC as a terminus a quo. There is probably in 15:36 a reference to the Book of Es (so Cornill, Kautzsch and Wellhausen, IJG4, 302 f) which would bring the terminus a quo down to about 100 BC. That 2 Maccabees was written subsequently to 1 Maccabees (i.e. after 80 BC) is made certain by the fact that the Jews now pay tribute to Rome (2 Macc 8:10,36). Since Philo, who died about 40 AD, refers to 2 Macc 4:8-7:42 (Quod omnis probus liber, Works, edition Mangey, II, 459), the book must have been composed before 40 AD. This is confirmed by the certainty that it was written before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple (70 AD), for the city still exists and the temple services are in full operation (3:6 ff, etc.). Heb 11:35 f is no doubt an echo of 2 Macc 6:18-7:42 and shows that the unknown author of Hebrews had 2 Maccabees before him. The teaching of the book represents the views of the Pharisees about the middle of the last century BC. A date about 40 BC would agree with all the evidence.

9. Original Language:

That the original language was Greek is made exceedingly likely by the easy flow of the style and the almost entire absence of Hebraisms (yet see 2 Macc 8:15; 9:5; 14:24). No scholar of any standing has pleaded for a Hebrew original of the present book. Bertholdt, however, argued that the two letters (2 Macc 1:1-2:18) were composed in Hebrew (or Aramaic) Ewald held that the 2nd letter (2 Macc 1:11-2:18) is from the Hebrew, and Schlunkes that this applies to the 1st only. But the evidence given by these scholars is unconvincing, though the 1st letter is certainly more Hebraic in style than the 2nd letter, the contrary of what Ewald said.

10. Text and Versions:

As to the texts and versions, see I, 9, above, where the statements apply here with but slight qualifications. But the book is lacking in Codex Sinaiticus as well as in Codex Alexandrinus. In addition to the Old Latin text and adopted for the Vulgate, we have another Latin text in Codex Ambrosianus, published in 1824 by Peyron; but this book is unrepresented in Sabatier’s collection of Old Latin texts.


In addition to the literature mentioned under APOCRYPHA and I above, and in the course of the present article, note the following items: Commentary of Moffatt (Oxford Apocrypha); C. Bertheau, De section lib. Macc., 1829 (largely quoted by Grimm); W.H. Kosters, "De Polemiek van het tweede boek de Mak," TT, XII, 491-558; Schlatter, "Jason von Cyrene," TLZ, 1893, 322; A. Buchler, Die Tobliden u. die Oniaden im II Mak, 1889; Wibrich, Juden und Griechen, etc., 1895, 64; Kamphausen (Kautzsch, Die Apocrypha des AT). The following discussing the two letters (1:1-2:18) deserve mention: Valckenaer, De Aristobulo, 38-44; Schlunkes, Epistolae quae secundo Macc libro I, etc., 1844, 1-9; also Difficiliorum locorum epistolae, etc., 1847; Graetz, "Das Sendschreiben der Palaestinenser an die aegyptischen Gemeinden," etc., Monatss. fur Gesch. u. Wissen. des Judenthums, 1877, 1-16, 49-60; A. Buchler, "Das Sendschreiben der Jerusalemer," etc., Monatss. fur Gesch. u. Wissen. des Judenthums; see last notice, 1897, 481-500, 529-54); Bruston, "Trois lettres des Juifs de Palestine," ZATW, X, 110-17; W. H. Kosters, "Strekking der brieven in 2 Macc," TT, 1898, 68-76; Torrey, "Die Briefe 2 Mak," ZATW, 1900, 225-42.


III. 3 Maccabees.

1. Name:

The name 3 Maccabees, though occurring in the oldest manuscripts and VSS, is quite unsuitable, because the book refers to events which antedate the Maccabean age by about half a century, and also to events in which the Maccabees took no part. But this book tells of sufferings and triumphs on the part of loyal Jews comparable to those of the Maccabean period. Perhaps the term Maccabees was generalized so as to denote all who suffered for their faith. Some hold that the book was written originally as a kind of introduction to the Books of Maccabees, which it precedes as Book I in Cotton’s Five Books of Maccabees. But the contents of the book do not agree with this view. Perhaps the title is due to a mistake on the part of a copyist.

2. Canonicity:

The book has never been reckoned as canonical by the Western church, as is shown by the fact that it exists in no edition of the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) and was not included in the Canon by the Council of Trent. It is for the latter reason absent from the Protestant versions of the Apocrypha which contain but the Books of Maccabees (1 and 2). But 3 Maccabees has a place in two uncials of the Septuagint (A and V) and also in the ancient (Peshitta) Syriac version of the Scriptures, and it is given canonical rank in the Apostolical Constitutions (canon 85). The book must therefore have been held in high esteem in the early church.

3. Contents:

3 Maccabees is a historical novel in which there is much more romance than history, and more silly and superficial writing than either. It professes to narrate occurrences in the history of the Jews which took place at Jerusalem and at Alexandria in which the Jews were persecuted but in various ways delivered.

(1) 3 Maccabees 1:1-2:24:

After conquering at Raphia Antiochus III, the great king of Syria (224-187 BC), Ptolemy IV Philopator, king of Egypt (221-204 BC), resolved to visit Jerusalem and to enter the sanctum ("holy of holies," naos) of the temple to which by the Jewish law access was allowed only to the high priest, and even to him but once a year (Day of Atonement (1:11)). The Jews, priests and people, were in a paroxysm of grief and earnestly entreated him to desist, but he persisted in his plan. They then through Simon, the high priest, 219-199 BC, prayed that God might intervene and avert this desecration. The prayer is answered, the king being paralyzed before realizing his purpose.

(2) 3 Maccabees 2:25-30:

Returned to Alexandria, Ptolemy is exasperated at the failure of his long-cherished project and resolves to wreak his vengeance upon the Jews of Egypt. He issues a decree that all Jews in Alexandria who refused to bend the knee to Bacchus should be deprived of all their rights as citizens.

(3) 3 Maccabees 2:31-4:21:

A goodly number of Alexandrian Jews refuse to obey the royal mandate, whereupon Ptolemy issues an edict that all the Jews of Egypt, men, women and children, shall be brought in chains to Alexandria and confined in the race-course (hippodrome), with a view to their wholesale massacre. Prior to the massacre there is to be a complete register taken of the names of the assembled Jews. Before the list is complete the writing materials give way and the huge slaughter is averted.

(4) 3 Maccabees 4:22-6:21:

The king, still thirsting for the blood of this people, hits upon a different method of compassing their ruin. Five hundred elephants are intoxicated with wine and incense and let loose upon the Jews in the race-course. Here we have the principal plot of the book, and we reach the climax in the various providential expedients, childish in their character, of preventing the execution of the king’s purpose. The lesson of it all seems to be that God will deliver those who put their trust in Him.

(5) 3 Maccabees 6:22-7:23:

At length the king undergoes a change of heart. He releases the Jews and restores them to all their lost rights and honors. In response to their request, he gives them permission to slay their brother-Jews who, in the hour of trial, had given up their faith. They put to death 300, "esteeming this destruction of the wicked a season of joy" (7:15).

3 Maccabees is made up of a number of incredible tales, the details of which are absurd and contradictory. The beginning of the book has evidently been lost, as appears from the opening words, "Now when Philopator" (ho de Philopator), and also from the references to an earlier part of the narrative now lost, e.g.: 1:1 ("from those who came back"); 1:2 ("the plot afore mentioned"); 2:25 ("the aforenamed boon companions"), etc.

4. Historicity:

The book contains very little that is true history, notwithstanding what Israel Abrahams (see "Literature" to this section), depending largely on Mahaffy (The Empire of the Ptolemies), says to the contrary. It is much more manifest than even in the case of 2 Maccabees that the writer’s aim was to convey certain impressions and not to write history (see III, 5).

The improbabilities of the book are innumerable (see Bissell, The Apocrypha of the Old Testament, 616 f), and it is evident that we have to do here with a combination of legends and fables worked up in feeble fashion with a view to making prominent certain ideas which the author wishes his readers to keep in mind. Yet behind the fiction of the book there are certain facts which prompted much of what the writer says.

(1) That Ptolemy IV bore the character of cruelty and capriciousness and effeminacy is borne out by Polybius (204-121 BC) in his History and by Plutarch in his Life of Cleomenes.

(2) The brief outline of the war between Ptolemy IV and Antiochus III, the latter being conquered at Raphia (chapters 1 f), agrees in a general way with what has been written by Polybius, Livy and Justin.

(3)in this book, by the command of Ptolemy, 500 intoxicated elephants are let loose upon the Jews brought bound to the race-course of Alexandria. Josephus (Apion, II, v) tells us that Ptolemy VII Physcon, king of Egypt, 145-117 BC, had the Jews of Alexandria, men, women and children, brought bound and naked to an enclosed space and that he had let loose on them a herd of elephants, which, however, turned instead upon his own men, killing a large number of them. The cause of the king’s action was that the Jewish residents of Alexandria sided with his foes. In 3 Maccabees the cause of the action of Ptolemy IV was the failure of his project to enter the sanctum of the Jerusalem temple; this last perhaps a reflection of 2 Macc 3:9 ff, where it is related that Heliodorus was hindered from entering the temple by a ghostly apparition. Now these two incidents, in both of which Jews are attacked by intoxicated elephants, must rest upon a common tradition and have probably a nucleus of fact. Perhaps, as Israel Abrahams holds, the tradition arose from the action of the elephants of Ptolemy in the Battle of Raphia. Most writers think that the reference is to something that occurred in the reign of Ptolemy VII.

(4) The shutting-up of the Jews in the racecourse at Alexandria was not improbably suggested by a similar incident in which Herod the Great was the principal agent.

(5) In the opinion of Grimm (Comm., 216) we have in the two festivals (3 Macc 6:36; 7:19) and in the existence of the synagogue at Ptolemais an implied reference to some great deliverance vouchsafed to the Jews.

5. Aim and Teaching:

3 Maccabees was probably written by an Alexandrian Jew at a time when the Jews in and around Alexandria were sorely persecuted on account of their religion. The purpose of the author seems to have been to comfort those suffering for the faith by giving examples showing how God stands by His people, helping in all their trials and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies. Note further the following points:

(1) The book, unlike 2 Maccabees, is silent as to a bodily resurrection and a future life, though this may be due to pure accident. Hades (Haides) in 3 Macc 4:8; 5:42; 6:31, etc., appears to stand only for death, regarded as the end of all human life.

(2) Yet the belief in angelic beings is clearly implied (see 6:18 ff).

(3) The author has much confidence in the power of prayer (see 2:10; 2:21-24; 5:6-10,13,50 f; 6:1-15, etc.).

(4) The book lays stress upon the doctrine that God is on the side of His people (4:21, etc.), and even though they transgress His commandments He will forgive and save them (2:13; 4:13, etc.).

6. Authorship and Date:

From the character of the Greek, the interest shown in Alexandrian Judaism, and the acquaintance displayed with Egyptian affairs (see I. Abrahams, op. cit., 39 ff), it may be inferred with confidence that the author was a Jew residing in Alexandria. The superior limit (terminus a quo) for the date is some time in the last century BC. Since the existence of the additions to Da is implied (see Da 6:6), the inferior limit (terminus ad quem) is some time before 70 AD. If the temple had been destroyed, the continuance of the temple services could not have been implied (see 3 Macc 1:8 ff). As the book seems written to comfort and encourage Alexandrian Jews at a time when they were persecuted, Ewald, Hausrath, Reuss and others thought it was written during the reign of the emperor Caligula (37-41 AD), when such a persecution took place. But if Ptolemy is intended to represent Caligula, it is strange, as Schurer (GJV4, III, 491) remarks, that the writer does not make Ptolemy claim Divine honors, a claim actually made by Caligula.

Though Josephus (died 95 AD) could not have known the book, since his version of the same incidents differs so much, yet it must have been written some 30 years before his death, i.e. before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 71 AD.

7. Original Language:

That 3 Maccabees was composed in Greek is the opinion of all scholars and is proved by the free, idiomatic and rather bombastic character of the language in the Septuagint.

8. Text and Versions:

(1) Greek.

This book occurs in the two unicals Codex Alexandrinus and Codex Venetus (not in Codex Vaticanus or Codex Sinaiticus), in most cursives and also in nearly all editions of the Septuagint.

(2) Syriac.

The Syriac version (Peshitta) reproduced in the Paris and London Polyglot and by Lagarde, Lib. Apocrypha. Vet. Test. It is not a good translation.

(3) Latin.

The earliest Latin translation is that made for the Complutensian Polyglot.

(4) English.

The earliest in English is that of Walter Lynne (1650).


Besides the commentaries by Grimm (the best), Bissell (Lange), Kautzsch and Emmet (Oxford Apocrypha), and the articles in HDB (Fairweather, excellent), Encyclopedia Biblica (Torrey, good), GJV4 (Schurer), III, 489-92; HJP, II, iii, 216-19, let the following be noted: A. Hausrath, A History of New Testament Times, 1895, II, 70 ff; Wibrich, Juden u. Griechen; Abrahams, "The Third Book of the Mace," JQR, IX, 1897, 39-58; A. Buchler, Die Tobiaden u. die Oniaden, 1899, 172-212. Both Abrahams and Buchler defend the historicity of some parts of 3 Maccabees; Wibrich, "Der historische Kern des III Makk," Hermes, Bd. 39, 1904, 244-58. For English translation see (1) Henry Cotton, The Five Books of Maccabees (Cotton calls it First Book of Maccabees); (2) W.R. Churton, The Uncanonical and Apocryphal Scriptures, and (3) Baxter, The Apocrypha, Greek and English

IV. 4 Maccabees.

1. Name:

4 Maccabees is a philosophical treatise or discourse on the supremacy of pious reason ( = religious principle) in the virtuous man. The oldest title of the book, 4 Maccabees (Makkabaion d, (4)), occurs in the earliest extant manuscripts of the Septuagint (Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Venetus, etc.), in the list of the Codex Claromontanus (3rd century?), the Catalogue of the Sixty Canonical Books (5th century?) and the Synopsis of Athanasius (9th century). It obtained this name from the fact that it illustrates and enforces its thesis by examples from the history of the Maccabees. Some early Christian writers, believing 4 Maccabees to be the work of Josephus (see IV, 5), gave it a corresponding title. Eusebius and Jerome, who ascribe the book to Josephus, speak of it under the name of: A Discourse concerning the Supreme Power of Reason.

2. Canonicity:

Though absent from the Vulgate, and therefore from the Romanist Canon and from Protestant versions of its Apocrypha, 4 Maccabees occurs in the principal manuscripts (Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Venetus, etc.) and editions (Fritzsche, Swete, not Tischendorf) of the Septuagint, showing it was highly esteemed and perhaps considered canonical by at least some early Christian Fathers.

3. Contents:

This book is a philosophical disquisition in the form of a sermon on the question "Whether pious reason is absolute master of the passions" (4 Macc 1:1).

(1) 4 Maccabees 1:1-12:

First of all, the writer states his theme and the method in which he intends to treat it.

(2) 4 Maccabees 1:13-3:18:

He defines his terms and endeavors from general principles to show that pious reason does of right rule the passions.

(3) 4 Maccabees 3:19 to End of Book:

He tries to prove the same proposition from the lives of the Maccabean martyrs. These historical illustrations are based on 2 Macc 6:18-7:42 (compare 3 Macc 6).

Because the book is written as a discourse or sermon and is largely addressed to an apparent audience (4 Macc 1:17; 2:14; 13:10; 18:4), Freudenthal and others think we have here an example of a Jewish sermon delivered as here written. But Jewish preachers based their discourses on Scripture texts and their sermons were more concise and arresting than this book.

4. Teaching:

The author’s philosophical standpoint is that of Stoicism, namely, that in the virtuous man reason dominates passion. His doctrine of four cardinal virtues (phronesis, dikaiosune, andreia, sophrosune, "Providence," "Justice" "Fortitude," "Temperance" (4 Macc 1:18)), is also derived from Stoicism. Though, however, he sets out as if he were a true Stoic, he proceeds to work out his discourses in orthodox Jewish fashion. His all-dominating reason is that which is guided by the Divinely revealed law, that law for the faithful observing of which the martyrs died. The four cardinal virtues are but forms of that true wisdom which is to be obtained only through the Mosaic law (4 Macc 7:15-18). Moreover, the passions are not, as Stoicism taught, to be annihilated, but regulated (4 Macc 1:61; 3:5), since God has planted them (4 Macc 2:21).

The author’s views approach those of Pharisaism.

(1) He extols the self-sacrificing devotion to the law exhibited by the Maccabean martyrs mentioned in 4 Macc 3:9 to the end of the book.

(2) He believes in a resurrection from the dead. The souls of the righteous will enjoy hereafter ceaseless fellowship with God (9:8; 15:2; 18:5), but the wicked will endure the torment of fire forever and ever (10:11,15; 12:12; 13:14). Nothing, however, is said of the Pharisees’ doctrine of a bodily resurrection which 2 Maccabees, a Pharisaic document (see II, 6, (6) above), clearly teaches.

(3) The martyrdom of the faithful atones for the sins of the people (4 Macc 6:24; 17:19-21; compare Ro 3:25).

5. Authorship and Date:

According to Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 6), Jerome (De Viris Illust., xiii; C Peleg, ii.6), Suidas (Lex Iosepos) and other early writers, Josephus is the author of this book, and in Greek editions of his works it constitutes the last chapter with the heading: Phlab. Iosepou eis Makkabaions logos, e peri autokratoros logismou, "The Discourse of Flavius Josephus: or concerning the Supreme Power of Reason" (so Niese, Bekker, Dindorf, etc.). But this tradition is negated by the style and thought, which differ completely from those found in the genuine writings of that Jewish historian. Besides this, the author of the book makes large use of 2 Maccabees, of which Josephus was ignorant. Moreover, there are traditions equally ancient of a contrary kind.

The author must have been a Jew and he probably belonged to the Pharisee party (see IV, 7). He was also a Hellenist, for he reveals the influence of Greek thought more than any other apocryphal writer. He was also, it would appear, a resident of Alexandria, for the earliest notices of it occur in literature having an Alexandrian origin, and the author makes considerable use of 2 Maccabees, which emanated from Alexandria.

It is impossible definitely to fix the date of the book. But it was certainly written before the destruction of the temple in 70 AD and after the composition of 2 Maccabees, on which it largely depends. A date in the first half of the 1st century of our era would suit all the requirements of the case.

6. Original Language:

The book was certainly written in Greek, as all scholars agree. It employs many of the terms of Greek philosophy and it bears the general characteristics of the Greek spoken and written at Alexandria at the commencement of the Christian era.

7. Text and Versions:

(1) Greek.

This book occurs in the principal manuscripts (Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Venetus, etc.) and printed editions (Grabe, Breitinger, Apel, Fritzsche, Swete (Codex Alexandrinus with variants of Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Venetus) and Baxter, The Apocrypha, Greek and English), also in various Josephus manuscripts and most editions of Josephus, including Naber, but not Niese.

(2) Latin.

No Old Latin version has come down to us.

(3) Syriac.

The Peshitta text is printed in Codex Ambros. (Ceriani) and by Bensley from a manuscript in The Fourth Book of Maccabees and Kindred Documents in Syriac (agrees mostly with Codex Alexandrinus). Sixtus Senensis (Bibliotheca Sancta, 1566, I, 39) speaks of having seen another 4 Maccabees. But this was probably "simply a reproduction of Josephus" (Schurer, History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, II, iii, 14).


Besides the literature mentioned under the other books of Maccabees, under APOCRYPHA, and in the course of the present article, note the following: The commentaries of Grimm (excellent; the only one on the complete book) and Deissmann (in Kautzsch, A pok des Altes Testament, brief but up to date and good); the valuable monograph by Freudenthal: Die Flavius Josephus beigelegte Schrift uber die Herrschafft der Vernunft (IV. Makkabaerbuch) Untersucht, 1869. See, besides the articles in HDB (Fairweather); Encyclopedia Biblica (Torrey); Gfrorer, Philo, etc., II, 1831, 173-200; Dahne, Gesch. Darstellung der jud.-alex. Religions Philosophie, II, 1834, 190-99; and the History of Ewald, IV, 632 ff. There are English translations in Cotton, The Five Books of Maccabees, Oxford, 1832; W.R. Churton, The Uncanonical and Apocryphal Scripture; Baxter, The Apocrypha, Greek and English.

V. 5 Maccabees.

1. Name:

The designation 5 Maccabees was first given to the book (now commonly so called) by Cotton (The Five Books of Maccabees English, 1832), and it has been perpetuated by Dr. Samuel Davidson (Introduction to the Old Testament, III, 465); Ginsburg (Kitto’s Cycyclopedia of Biblical Literature); Bissell (Apocrypha of the Old Testament) and others. It has been called the Arabic 2 Maccabees (so in the Paris and London Polyglot), and the Arabic Maccabees. The 5 Maccabees in the Translatio Syra Peshitto, edited by Ceriani, is really nothing more than a Syriac version of the 6th book of Josephus, The Wars of the Jews.

2. Canonicity:

This book has never been recognized as canonical by either Jews or Christians.

3. Contents:

The book is ostensibly a history of the Jews from the attempt of Heliodorus to plunder the temple (186 BC) to about 6 BC. It is really nothing more than a clumsy compilation from 1 and 2 Maccabees and Josephus (except 5 Macc 12, which is the only original part, and this teems with errors of various kinds); a note at the end of 5 Macc 16 says 1:1-16:26 is called The Second Book of Maccabees according to the Translation of the Hebrews. 5 Macc 19 closes with the events narrated at the end of 1 Maccabees. The rest of the book (5 Macc 20-59) follows Josephus (BJ, I f) closely. Perhaps the original work ended with 5 Macc 19. Ginsburg (op. cit., III., 17), Bissell (Apocrypha, 639) and Wellhausen (Der arab. Josippus) give useful tables showing the dependence of the various parts of 5 Maccabees on the sources used.

4. Historicity:

In so far as this book repeats the contents of 1 and 2 Maccabees and Josephus, it has the historical value of the sources used. But in itself the book has no historical worth. The author calls Roman and Egyptian soldiers "Macedonians," Mt. Gerizim, "Jezebel," Samaria "Sebaste," Shechem "Neapolis" or "Naploris." Herod and Pilate exchange names. Some of the mistakes may of course be traceable to the translation.

5. Original Language:

The original work was almost certainly composed in Hebrew, though we have no trace of a Hebrew text (so Ginsburg, op. cit., and Bissell). This conclusion is supported by the numerous Hebraisms which show themselves even in a double translation. The Pentateuch is called the "Torah," the Hebrew Scriptures are spoken of as "the twenty-four books," the temple is "the house of God" or "the holy house," Judea is "the land of the holy house" and Jerusalem is "the city of the holy house." These and like examples make it probable that the writer was a Jew and that the language he used was Hebrew. Zunz (Die gottesdienstlichen Vortrage, 1832, 146 ff), Graetz (Geschichte, V, 281) and Dr. S. Davidson (op. cit., 465) say the book was written in Arabic from Hebrew memoirs. According to Zunz (loc. cit.) and Graetz (loc. cit.) the Jewish history of Joseph ben Gorion (Josippon), the "pseudo-Josephus" (10th century), is but a Hebrew recension of 5 Maccabees (the Arabic 2 Maccabees). On the contrary, Wellhausen (op. cit.) and Schurer (GJV4, I, 159 f) maintain that the shorter narrative in 5 Maccabees represents the extent of the original composition far more correctly than the Hebrew history of Josippon (which ranges from Adam to 70 AD), and than other recensions of the same history.

6. Aim and Teaching:

The book was compiled for the purpose of consoling the Jews in their sufferings and encouraging them to be stedfast in their devotion to the Mosaic law. The same end was contemplated in 2, 3 and 4 Maccabees and in a lesser degree in 1 Maccabees, but the author or compiler of the present treatise wished to produce a work which would appeal in the first instance and chiefly to Hebrew (or Arabic?) readers. The author believes in a resurrection of the body, in a future life and a final judgment (5 Macc 5:13,43 f). The righteous will dwell in future glory, the wicked will be hereafter punished (5 Macc 5:49,50 f; 59:14).

7. Authorship and Date:

We have no means of ascertaining who the author was, but he must have been a Jew and he lived some time after the destruction of the temple in 70 AD (see 5 Macc 9:5; 21:30; 22:9; 53:8, though Ginsburg regards these passages as late additions and fixes the date of the original work at about 6 BC, when the history ends). The author makes large use of Josephus (died 95 AD), which also favors the lower date.

8. Text and Versions:

The Arabic text of the book and a Latin translation by Gabriel Sionita is printed in the Paris and London Polyglots. No other ancient text has come down to us. cotton (op. cit., xxx) errs in saying that there is a Syriac version of the book.


The most important literature has been mentioned in the course of the article. The English and earlier German editions of Schurer, GJ V, do not help. The only English translation is that by Cotton made directly from the Latin of Gabriel Sionita. Bissell says that a French version appears as an appendix in the Bible of de Sacy; not, however, in the Nouvelle Edition (1837) in the possession of the present writer.

T. Witton Davies


mas-e-do’-ni-a (Makedonia, ethnic Makedon,):



1. Philip and Alexander

2. Roman Intervention

3. Roman Conquest

4. Macedonia a Roman Province

5. Later History


1. Paul’s First Visit

2. Paul’s Second Visit

3. Paul’s Third Visit

4. Paul’s Later Visits


1. Prominence of Women

2. Marked Characteristics

3. Its Members


A country lying to the North of Greece, afterward enlarged and formed into a Roman province; it is to the latter that the term always refers when used in the New Testament.

I. The Macedonian People and Land.

Ethnologists differ about the origin of the Macedonian race and the degree of its affinity to the Hellenes. But we find a well-marked tradition in ancient times that the race comprised a Hellenic element and a non-Hellenic, though Aryan, element, closely akin to the Phrygian and other Thracian stocks. The dominant race, the Macedonians in the narrower sense of the term, including the royal family, which was acknowledged to be Greek and traced its descent through the Temenids of Argos back to Heracles (Herodotus v.22), settled in the fertile plains about the lower Haliacmon (Karasu or Vistritza) and Axius (Vardar), to the North and Northwest of the Thermaic Gulf. Their capital, which was originally at Edessa or Aegae (Vodhena), was afterward transferred to Pella by Philip II. The other and older element—the Lyncestians, Orestians, Pelagonians and other tribes—were pushed back northward and westward into the highlands, where they struggled for generations to maintain their independence and weakened the Macedonian state by constant risings and by making common cause with the wild hordes of Illyrians and Thracians, with whom we find the Macedonian kings in frequent conflict. In order to maintain their position they entered into a good understanding from time to time with the states of Greece or acknowledged temporarily Persian suzerainty, and thus gradually extended the sphere of their power.

II. History of Macedonia.

Herodotus (viii.137-39) traces the royal line from Perdiccas I through Argaeus, Philip I, Aeropus, Alcetas and Amyntas I to Alexander I, who was king at the time of the Persian invasions of Greece. He and his son and grandson, Perdiccas II and Archelaus, did much to consolidate Macedonian power, but the death of Archelaus (399 BC) was followed by 40 years of disunion and weakness.

1. Philip and Alexander:

With the accession of Philip II, son of Amyntas II, in 359 BC, Macedonia came under the rule of a man powerful alike in body and in mind, an able general and an astute diplomatist, one, moreover, who started out with a clear perception of the end at which he must aim, the creation of a great national army and a nation-state, and worked consistently and untiringly throughout his reign of 23 years to gain that object. He welded the Macedonian tribes into a single nation, won by force and fraud the important positions of Amphipolis, Pydna, Potidaea, Olynthus, Abdera and Maronea, and secured a plentiful supply of gold by founding Philippi on the site of Crenides. Gradually extending his rule over barbarians and Greeks alike, he finally, after the battle of Chaeronea (338 BC), secured his recognition by the Greeks themselves as captain-general of the Hellenic states and leader of a Greco-Macedonian crusade against Persia. On the eve of this projected eastern expedition, however, he was assassinated by order of his dishonored wife Olympias (336 BC), whose son, Alexander the Great, succeeded to the throne. After securing his hold on Thrace, Illyria and Greece, Alexander turned eastward and, in a series of brilliant campaigns, overthrew the Persian empire. The battle of the Granicus (334 BC) was followed by the submission or subjugation of most of Asia Minor. By the battle of Issus (333), in which Darius himself was defeated, Alexander’s way was opened to Phoenicia and Egypt; Darius’ second defeat, at Arbela (331), sealed the fate of the Persian power. Babylon, Susa, Persepolis and Ecbatana were taken in turn, and Alexander then pressed eastward through Hyrcania, Aria, Arachosia, Bactria and Sogdiana to India, which he conquered as far as the Hyphasis (Sutlej): thence he returned through Gedrosia, Carmania and Persis to Babylon, to make preparations for the conquest of Arabia. A sketch of his career is given in 1 Macc 1:1-7, where he is spoken of as "Alexander the Macedonian, the son of Philip, who came out of the land of Chittim" (1:1): his invasion of Persia is also referred to in 1 Macc 6:2, where he is described as "the Macedonian king, who reigned first among the Greeks," i.e. the first who united in a single empire all the Greek states, except those which lay to the West of the Adriatic. It is the conception of the Macedonian power as the deadly foe of Persia which is responsible for the description of Haman in Additions to Esther 16:10 as a Macedonian, "an alien in truth from the Persian blood," and for the attribution to him of a plot to transfer the Persian empire to the Macedonians (verse 14), and this same thought appears in the Septuagint’s rendering of the Hebrew Agagite (‘aghaghi) in Es 9:24 as Macedonian (Makedon).

2. Roman Intervention:

Alexander died in June 323 BC, and his empire fell a prey to the rivalries of his chief generals (1 Macc 1:9); after a period of struggle and chaos, three powerful kingdoms were formed, taking their names from Macedonia, Syria and Egypt. Even in Syria, however, Macedonian influences remained strong, and we find Macedonian troops in the service of the Seleucid monarchs (2 Macc 8:20). In 215 King Philip V, son of Demetrius II and successor of Antigonus Doson (229-220 BC), formed an alliance with Hannibal, who had defeated the Roman forces at Lake Trasimene (217) and at Cannae (216), and set about trying to recover Illyria. After some years of desultory and indecisive warfare, peace was concluded in 205, Philip binding himself to abstain from attacking the Roman possessions on the East of the Adriatic. The Second Macedonian War, caused by a combined attack of Antiochus III of Syria and Philip of Macedon on Egypt, broke out in 200 and ended 3 years later in the crushing defeat of Philip’s forces by T. Quinctius Flamininus at Cynoscephalae in Thessaly (compare 1 Macc 8:5). By the treaty which followed this battle, Philip surrendered his conquests in Greece, Illyria, Thrace, Asia Minor and the Aegean, gave up his fleet, reduced his army to 5,000 men, and undertook to declare no war and conclude no alliance without Roman consent.

3. Roman Conquest:

In 179 Philip was succeeded by his son Perseus, who at once renewed the Roman alliance, but set to work to consolidate and extend his power. In 172 war again broke out, and after several Roman reverses the consul Lucius Aemilius Paulus decisively defeated the Macedonians at Pydna in 168 BC (compare 1 Macc 8:5, where Perseus is called "king of Chittim "). The kingship was abolished and Perseus was banished to Italy. The Macedonians were declared free and autonomous; their land was divided into four regions, with their capitals at Amphipolis, Thessalonica, Pella and Pelagonia respectively, and each of them was governed by its own council; commercium and connubium were forbidden between them and the gold and silver mines were closed. A tribute was to be paid annually to the Roman treasury, amounting to half the land tax hitherto exacted by the Macedonian kings.

4. Macedonia a Roman Province:

But this compromise between freedom and subjection could not be of long duration, and after the revolt of Andriscus, the pseudo-Philip, was quelled (148 BC), Macedonia was constituted a Roman province and enlarged by the addition of parts of Illyria, Epirus, the Ionian islands and Thessaly. Each year a governor was dispatched from Rome with supreme military and judicial powers; the partition fell into abeyance and communication within the province was improved by the construction of the Via Egnatia from Dyrrhachium to Thessalonica, whence it was afterward continued eastward to the Nestus and the Hellespont. In 146 the Acheans, who had declared war on Rome, were crushed by Q. Caecilius Metellus and L. Mummius, Corinth was sacked and destroyed, the Achean league was dissolved, and Greece, under the name of Achea, was made a province and placed under the control of the governor of Macedonia. In 27 BC, when the administration of the provinces was divided between Augustus and the Senate, Macedonia and Achea fell to the share of the latter (Strabo, p. 840; Dio Cassius liii.12) and were governed separately by ex-praetors sent out annually with the title of proconsul. In 15 AD, however, senatorial mismanagement had brought the provinces to the verge of ruin, and they were transferred to Tiberius (Tacitus, Annals, i.76), who united them under the government of a legatus Augusti pro praetore until, in 44 AD, Claudius restored them to the Senate (Suetonius, Claudius 25; Dio Cassius lx .24). It is owing to this close historical and geographical connection that we find Macedonia and Achia frequently mentioned together in the New Testament, Macedonia being always placed first (Ac 19:21; Ro 15:26; 2Co 9:2; 1Th 1:7,8).

5. Later History:

Diocletian (284-305 AD) detached from Macedonia Thessaly and the Illyrian coast lands and formed them into two provinces, the latter under the name of Epirus Nova. Toward the end of the 4th century what remained of Macedonia was broken up into two provinces, Macedonia prima and Macedonia secunda or salutaris, and when in 395 the Roman world was divided into the western and eastern empires, Macedonia was included in the latter. During the next few years it was overrun and plundered by the Goths under Alaric, and later, in the latter half of the 6th century, immense numbers of Slavonians settled there. In the 10th century a large part of it was under Bulgarian rule, and afterward colonies of various Asiatic tribes were settled there by the Byzantine emperors. In 1204 it became a Latin kingdom under Boniface, marquis of Monferrat, but 20 years later Theodore, the Greek despot of Epirus, founded a Greek empire of Thessalonica. During the 2nd half of the 14th century the greater part of it was part of the Servian dominions, but in 1430 Thessalonica fell before the Ottoman Turks, and from that time down to the year 1913 Macedonia has formed part of the Turkish empire. Its history thus accounts for the very mixed character of its population, which consists chiefly of Turks, Albanians, Greeks and Bulgarians, but has in it a considerable element of Jews, Gypsies, Vlachs, Servians and other races.

III. Paul and Macedonia.

In the narrative of Paul’s journeys as given us in Ac 13-28 and in the Pauline Epistles, Macedonia plays a prominent part. The apostle’s relations with the churches of Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea will be found discussed under those several headings; here we will merely recount in outline his visits to the province.

1. Paul’s First Visit:

On his 2nd missionary journey Paul came to Troas, and from there sailed with Silas, Timothy and Luke to Neapolis, the nearest Macedonian seaport, in obedience to the vision of a Macedonian (whom Ramsay identifies with Luke: see under the word "Philippi") urging him to cross to Macedonia and preach the gospel there (Ac 16:9). From Neapolis he journeyed inland to Philippi, which is described as "a city of Macedonia, the first of the district" (Ac 16:12). Thence Paul and his two companions (for Luke appears to have remained in Philippi for the next 5 years) traveled along the Ignatian road, passing through Amphipolis and Apollonia, to Thessalonica, which, though a "free city," and therefore technically exempt from the jurisdiction of the Roman governor, was practically the provincial capital. Driven thence by the hostility of the Jews, the evangelists preached in Berea, where Silas and Timothy remained for a short time after a renewed outbreak of Jewish animosity had forced Paul to leave Macedonia for the neighboring province of Achaia (Ac 17:14). Although he sent a message to his companions to join him with all speed at Athens (Ac 17:15), yet so great was his anxiety for the welfare of the newly founded Macedonian churches that he sent Timothy back to Thessalonica almost immediately (1Th 3:1,2), and perhaps Silas to some other part of Macedonia, nor did they again join him until after he had settled for some time in Corinth (Ac 18:5; 1Th 3:6). The rapid extension of the Christian faith in Macedonia at this time may be judged from the phrases used by Paul in his 1st Epistle to the Thessalonians, the earliest of his extant letters, written during this visit to Corinth. He there speaks of the Thessalonian converts as being an example "to all that believe in Macedonia and in Achaia" (1Th 1:7), and he commends their love "toward all the brethren that are in all Macedonia" (1Th 4:10). Still more striking are the words, "From you hath sounded forth the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith to God-ward is gone forth" (1Th 1:8).

2. Paul’s Second Visit:

On his 3rd missionary journey, the apostle paid two further visits to Macedonia. During the course of a long stay at Ephesus he laid plans for a 2nd journey through Macedonia and Achaia, and dispatched two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia to prepare for his visit (Ac 19:21,22). Some time later, after the uproar at Ephesus raised by Demetrius and his fellow-silversmiths (Ac 19:23-41), Paul himself set out for Macedonia (Ac 20:1). Of this visit Luke gives us a very summary account, telling us merely that Paul, "when he had gone through those parts, and had given them much exhortation, .... came into Greece" (Ac 20:2); but from 2 Cor, written from Macedonia (probably from Philippi) during the course of this visit, we learn more of the apostle’s movements and feelings. While at Ephesus, Paul had changed his plans. His intention at first had been to travel across the Aegean Sea to Corinth, to pay a visit from there to Macedonia and to return to Corinth, so as to sail direct to Syria (2Co 1:15,16). But by the time at which he wrote the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, probably near the end of his stay at Ephesus, he had made up his mind to go to Corinth by way of Macedonia, as we have seen that he actually did (1Co 16:5,6). From 2Co 2:13 we learn that he traveled from Ephesus to Troas, where he expected to find Titus. Titus, however, did not yet arrive, and Paul, who "had no relief for (his) spirit," left Troas and sailed to Macedonia. Even here the same restlessness pursued him: "fightings without, fears within" oppressed him, till the presence of Titus brought some relief (2Co 7:5,6). The apostle was also cheered by "the grace of God which had been given in the churches of Macedonia" (2Co 8:1); in the midst of severe persecution, they bore their trials with abounding joy, and their deep poverty did not prevent them begging to be allowed to raise a contribution to send to the Christians in Jerusalem (Ro 15:26; 2Co 8:2-4). Liberality was, indeed, from the very outset one of the characteristic virtues of the Macedonian churches. The Philippians had sent money to Paul on two occasions during his first visit to Thessalonica (Php 4:16), and again when he had left Macedonia and was staying at Corinth (2Co 11:9; Php 4:15). On the present occasion, however, the Corinthians seem to have taken the lead and to have prepared their bounty in the previous year, on account of which the apostle boasts of them to the Macedonian Christians (2Co 9:2). He suggests that on his approaching visit to Achaia he may be accompanied by some of these Macedonians (2Co 9:4), but whether this was actually the case we are not told.

3. Paul’s Third Visit:

The 3rd visit of Paul to Macedonia took place some 3 months later and was occasioned by a plot against his life laid by the Jews of Corinth, which led him to alter his plan of sailing from Cenchrea, the eastern seaport of Corinth, to Syria (2Co 1:16; Ac 20:3). He returned to Macedonia accompanied as far as Asia by 3 Macedonian Christians—Sopater, Aristarchus and Secundus—and by 4 from Asia Minor. Probably Paul took the familiar route by the Via Egnatia, and reached Philippi immediately before the days of unleavened bread; his companions preceded him to Troas (Ac 20:5), while he himself remained at Philippi until after the Passover (Thursday, April 7, 57 AD, according to Ramsay’s chronology), when he sailed from Neapolis together with Luke, and joined his friends in Troas (Ac 20:6).

4. Paul’s Later Visits:

Toward the close of his 1st imprisonment at Rome Paul planned a fresh visit to Macedonia as soon as he should be released (Php 1:26; 2:24), and even before that he intended to send Timothy to visit the Philippian church and doubtless those of Berea and Thessalonica also. Whether Timothy actually went on this mission we cannot say; that Paul himself went back to Macedonia once more we learn from 1Ti 1:3, and we may infer a 5th visit from the reference to the apostle’s stay at Troas, which in all probability belongs to a later occasion (2Ti 4:13).

IV. The Macedonian Church.

1. Prominence of Women:

Of the churches of Macedonia in general, little need be said here. A striking fact is the prominence in them of women, which is probably due to the higher social position held by women in this province than in Asia Minor (Lightfoot, Philippians4, 55 ff). We find only two references to women in connection with Paul’s previous missionary work; the women proselytes of high social standing take a share in driving him from Pisidian Antioch (Ac 13:50), and Timothy’s mother is mentioned as a Jewess who believed (Ac 16:1). But in Macedonia all is changed. To women the gospel was first preached at Philippi (Ac 16:13); a woman was the first convert and the hostess of the evangelists (Ac 16:14,15); a slave girl was restored to soundness of mind by the apostle (Ac 16:18), and long afterward Paul mentions two women as having "labored with (him) in the gospel" and as endangering the peace of the church by their rivalry (Php 4:2,3). At Thessalonica a considerable number of women of the first rank appear among the earliest converts (Ac 17:4), while at Berea also the church included from the outset numerous Greek women of high position (Ac 17:12).

2. Marked Characteristics:

The bond uniting Paul and the Macedonian Christians seems to have been a peculiarly close and affectionate one. Their liberality and open-heartedness, their joyousness and patience in trial and persecution, their activity in spreading the Christian faith, their love of the brethren—these are a few of the characteristics which Paul specially commends in them (1 and 2 Thessalonians; Philippians; 2Co 8:1-8), while they also seem to have been much freer than the churches of Asia Minor from Judaizing tendencies and from the allurements of "philosophy and vain deceit."

3. Its Members:

We know the names of a few of the early members of the Macedonian churches—Sopater (Ac 20:4) or Sosipater (Ro 16:21: the identification is a probable, though not a certain, one) of Berea; Aristarchus (Ac 19:29; 20:4; 27:2; Col 4:10; Phm 1:24), Jason (Ac 17:5-9; Ro 16:21) and Secundus (Ac 20:4) of Thessalonica; Clement (Php 4:3), Epaphroditus (Php 2:25; 4:18), Euodia (Php 4:2; this, not Euodias (the King James Version), is the true form), Syntyche (same place) , Lydia (Ac 16:14,40; a native of Thyatira), and possibly Luke (Ramsay, Paul the Traveler, 201 ff) of Philippi. Gaius is also mentioned as a Macedonian in Ac 19:29, but perhaps the reading of a few manuscripts Makedona is to be preferred to the Textus Receptus of the New Testament Makedonas in which case Aristarchus alone would be a Macedonian, and this Gaius would probably be identical with the Gaius of Derbe mentioned in Ac 20:4 as a companion of Paul (Ramsay, op. cit., 280). The later history of the Macedonian churches, together with lists of all their known bishops, will be found in Le Quien, Oriens Christianus, II, 1 ff; III, 1089 ff 1045 f.


General: C. Nicolaides, Macedonien, Berlin, 1899; Berard, La Macedoine, Paris, 1897; "Odysseus," Turkey in Europe, London, 1900. Secular History: Hogarth, Philip and Alexander of Macedon, London, 1897, and the histories of the Hellenistic period by Holm, Niese, Droysen and Kaerst. Ethnography and Language: O. Hoffmann, Die Makedonen, ihre Sprache und ihr Volkstum, Gottingen, 1906. Topography and Antiquities: Heuzey and Daumet, Mission archeologique de Macedoine, Paris, 1876; Cousinery, Voyage dans la Macedoine, Paris, 1831; Clarke, Travels 4, VII, VIII, London, 1818; Leake, Travels in Northern Greece, III, London, 1835; Duchesne and Bayet, Memoire sur une mission en Macedoine et au Mont Athos, Paris, 1876; Hahn, Reise von Belgrad nach Saloniki, Vienna, 1861. Coins: Head, Historia Nummorum, 193 f; British Museum Catalogue of Coins: Macedonia, etc., London, 1879. Inscriptions: CIG, numbers 1951-2010; CIL, III, 1 and III, Suppl.; Dimitsas, ‘H ... Athens, 1896.

M. N. Tod


ma-ke’-rus (Machairous): Not mentioned in Scripture, canonical or apocryphal, but its importance in Jewish history justifies its inclusion here. Pliny (NH, v.16,72) speaks of it as, after Jerusalem, the strongest of Jewish fortresses. It was fortified by Alexander Janneus (BJ, VII, vi, 2). It was taken and destroyed by Gabinius (ibid., I, viii, 5; Ant, XIV, v, 4). Herod the Great restored it and, building a city here, made it one of his residences (BJ, VII, vi, 1, 2). It lay within the tetrarchy assigned to Antipas at the death of Herod. The wife of Antipas, daughter of Aretas, privately aware of his infidelity, asked to be sent hither (Ant., XVIII, v, 1). Here Josephus has fallen into confusion if he meant by the phrase "a place in the borders of the dominions of Aretas and Herod" that it was still in Herod’s hands, since immediately he tells us that it was "subject to her father." It was natural enough, however, that a border fortress should be held now by one and now by the other. It may have passed to Aretas by some agreement of which we have no record; and Herod, unaware that his wife knew of his guilt, would have no suspicion of her design in wishing to visit her father. If this is true, then the Baptist could not have been imprisoned and beheaded at Macherus (ibid., 2). The feast given to the lords of Galilee would most probably be held at Tiberias; and there is nothing in the Gospel story to hint that the prisoner was some days’ journey distant (Mr 6:14 ). The citadel was held by a Roman garrison until 66 AD, which then evacuated it to escape a siege (BJ, II, xviii, 6). Later by means of a stratagem it was recovered for the Romans by Bassus, circa 72 AD (BJ, VII, vi, 4).

The place is identified with the modern Mkaur, a position of great strength on a prominent height between Wady Zerqa Ma‘in and Wady el-Mojib, overlooking the Dead Sea. There are extensive ruins.

W. Ewing


mak’-ba-ni, -ba-na’-i (makhbannay; the King James Version Machbanai): A Gadite who attached himself to David in Ziklag (1Ch 12:13).


mak-be’-na (makhbenah; Septuagint: Codex Vaticanus Machabena; Codex Alexandrinus Machamena; the King James Version, Machbenah): A name which occurs in the genealogical list of Judah (1Ch 2:49), apparently the name of a place, which may be the same as "Cabbon" (Jos 15:40), probably to be identified with el-Kubeibeh, about 3 miles South of Beit Jibrin.


ma’-ki (makhi; Peshitta and some manuscripts of Septuagint read "Machir"): A Gadite, father of Geuel, one of the 12 spies (Nu 13:15).


ma’-kir (makhir; Macheir), ma’-kir-it:

(1) The eldest son of Manasseh (Ge 50:23). In Nu 26:29 it is recorded that Machir begat Gilead, but another narrative informs us that the children of Machir "went to Gilead, and took it, and dispossessed the Amorites that were therein. And Moses gave Gilead unto Machir the son of Manasseh; and he dwelt therein" (Nu 32:39,40; Jos 17:1,3; compare also 1Ch 2:21,25; 7:14-17; De 3:15; Jos 13:31). In the song of Deborah, Machir is used as equivalent to Manasseh (Jud 5:14).

(2) Son of Ammiel, dwelling in Lo-debar (2Sa 9:4,5), a wealthy landowner who protected Mephibosheth (Meribbaal), son of Jonathan, until assured of the friendly intentions of David (compare Ant, VII, ix, 8). Afterward, during the rebellion of Absalom, Machir with others came to David’s assistance at Mahanaim, bringing supplies for the king and his men (2Sa 17:27 ).

John A. Lees





mak-nad’-e-bi, mak-na-de’-bi (makhnaddebhay): Son of Bani, one of those who married foreign wives (Ezr 10:40).


mak-pe’-la (ha-makhpelah, "the Machpelah"; to diploun, "the double"): The name of a piece of ground and of a cave purchased by Abraham as a place of sepulcher. The word is supposed to mean "double" and refers to the condition of the cave. It is translated "double cave" (to diploun spelaion) in the Septuagint in Ge 23:17. The name is applied to the ground in Ge 23:19; 49:30; 50:13, and to the cave in Ge 23:9; 25:9. In Ge 23:17 we have the phrase "the field of Ephron, which was in (the) Machpelah."

1. Scriptural Data:

The cave belonged to Ephron the Hittite, the son of Zohar, from whom Abraham purchased it for 400 shekels of silver (Ge 23:8-16). It is described as "before," i.e. "to the East of" Mamre (Ge 23:17) which (Ge 23:19) is described as the same as Hebron (see, too, Ge 25:9; 49:30; 50:13). Here were buried Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah. (Compare however the curious variant tradition in Ac 7:16, "Shechem" instead of "Hebron.")

2. Tradition Regarding the Site:

Josephus (BJ, IV, ix, 7) speaks of the monuments (mnemeia) of Abraham and his posterity which "are shown to this very time in that small city (i.e. in Hebron); the fabric of which monuments are of the most excellent marble and wrought after the most excellent manner"; and in another place he writes of Isaac being buried by his sons with his wife in Hebron where they had a monument belonging to them from their forefathers (Ant., I, xxii, 1). The references of early Christian writers to the site of the tombs of the patriarchs only very doubtfully apply to the present buildings and may possibly refer to Ramet el-Khalil (see MAMRE). Thus the Bordeaux Pilgrim (333 AD) mentions a square enclosure built of stones of great beauty in which Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were buried with their wives. Antonius Martyr (circa 600) and Arculf (698) also mention this monument. Mukaddasi speaks (circa 985) of the strong fortress around the tombs of the patriarchs built of great squared stones, the work of Jinns, i.e. of supernatural beings. From this onward the references are surely to the present site, and it is difficult to believe, if, as good authorities maintain, the great buttressed square wall enclosing the site is work at least as early as Herod, that the earlier references can be to any other site. It is certain that the existing buildings are very largely those which the Crusaders occupied; there are many full references to this place in medieval Moslem writers.

3. The Charam at Hebron:

The Charam at Hebron, which present-day tradition, Christian, Jewish and Moslem, recognizes as built over the cave of Machpelah, is one of the most jealousy guarded sanctuaries in the world. Only on rare occasions and through the exercise of much political pressure have a few honored Christians been allowed to visit the spot. The late King Edward VII in 1862 and the present King George V, in 1882, with certain distinguished scholars in their parties, made visits which have been chiefly important through the writings of their companions—Stanley in 1862 and Wilson and Conder in 1882. One of the latest to be accorded the privilege was C.W. Fairbanks, late vice-president of the United States of America. What such visitors have been permitted to see has not been of any great antiquity nor has it thrown any certain fight on the question of the genuineness of the site.

The space containing the traditional tombs is a great quadrangle 197 ft. in length (Northwest to Southeast) and 111 ft. in breadth (Northeast to Southwest). It is enclosed by a massive wall of great blocks of limestone, very hard and akin to marble. The walls which are between 8 and 9 ft thick are of solid masonry throughout. At the height of 15 ft. from the ground, at indeed the level of the floor within, the wall is set back about 10 inches at intervals, so as to leave pilasters 3 ft. 9 inches wide, with space between each of 7 ft. all round. On the longer sides there are 16 and on the shorter sides 8 such pilasters, and there are also buttresses 9 ft. wide on each face at each angle. This pilastered wall runs up for 25 ft., giving the total average height from the ground of 40 ft. The whole character of the masonry is so similar to the wall of the Jerusalem Charam near the "wailing place" that Conder and Warren considered that it must belong to that period and be Herodian work.

The southern end of the great enclosure is occupied by a church—probably a building entirely of the crusading period—with a nave and two aisles. The rest is a courtyard open to the air. The cenotaphs of Isaac and Rebecca are within the church; those of Abraham and Sarah occupy octagonal chapels in the double porch before the church doors; those of Jacob and Leah are placed in chambers near the north end of the Charam. The six monuments are placed at equal distances along the length of the enclosure, and it is probable that their positions there have no relation to the sarcophagi which are described as existing in the cave itself.

4. The Cave:

It is over this cave that the chief mystery hangs. It is not known whether it has been entered by any man at present alive, Moslem or otherwise. While the cave was in the hands of the Crusaders, pilgrims and others were allowed to visit this spot. Thus Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela, writing in 1163 AD, says that "if a Jew comes, who gives an additional fee to the keeper of the cave, an iron door is opened, which dates from the times of our forefathers who rest in peace, and with a burning candle in his hand the visitor descends into a first cave which is empty, traverses a second in the same state and at last reaches a third which contains six sepulchres—those of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and of Sarah, Rebecca and Leah, one opposite the other. ... A lamp burns in the cave and upon the sepulchre continually, both night and day." The account reminds us of the condition of many Christian tomb-shrines in Palestine today.

It would appear from the description of modern observers that all entrance to the cave is now closed; the only known approaches are never now opened and can only be reached by breaking up the flags of the flooring. Through one of the openings—which had a stone over it pierced by a circular hole 1 ft. in diameter—near the northern wall of the old church, Conder was able by lowering a lantern to see into a chamber some 15 ft. under the church. He estimated it to be some 12 ft. square; it had plastered walls, and in the wall toward the Southeast there was a door which appeared like the entrance to a rock-cut tomb. On the outside of the Charam wall, close to the steps of the southern entrance gateway is a hole in the lowest course of masonry, which may possibly communicate with the western cave. Into this the Jews of Hebron are accustomed to thrust many written prayers and vows to the patriarchs.

The evidence, historical and archaeological seems to show that the cave occupies only the south end of the great quadrilateral enclosure under part only of the area covered by the church.



PEF, III., 333-46; PEFS, 1882, 197; 1897, 53; 1912, 145-150; HDB, III., article "Machpelah," by Warren; Stanley, SP and Lectures on the Jewish Church; "Pal under the Moslems," PEF; Pilgrim Text Soc. publications.

E. W. G. Masterman


ma-ko’-na: the King James Version Mekonah (which see).


ma’-kron (Makron>): Ptolemy Macron who had been appointed by Ptolemy Philmetor VI governor of Cyprus and deserted to Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria (2 Macc 10:12 ff). Under Antiochus he was governor of Coele-Syria and Phoenicia (2 Macc 8:8). In 1 Macc 3:38 and 2 Macc 4:45 he is called "Ptolemy the son of Dorymenes." At first he was a fierce and cruel enemy of the Jews and was one of those chosen by Lysias to destroy Israel and reduce Judas Maccabee (same place). Later he apparently relented toward the Jews (2 Macc 10:12), fell into disfavor with Antiochus Eupator, before whom he was accused by the king’s friends, and was so galled by being constantly called traitor that he ended his life with poison (2 Macc 10:13).le in the lowest course of masonry, which may possibly communicate with the western cave. Into this the Jews of Hebron are accustomed to thrust many written prayers and vows to the patriarchs.

S. Angus


halal, shagha‘; mania):

1. In the Old Testament:

These words, and derivatives from the same roots are used to express various conditions of mental derangement. Though usually translated "mad," or "madness" they are often used for temporary conditions to which one would scarcely apply them today except as common colloquial inaccuracies. The madness coupled with folly in Ecclesiastes is rather the excessive frivolity and dissipation on the part of the idle rich (so in 1:17; 2:2-12; 7:25; 9:3; 10:13). The insensate fury of the wicked against the good is called by this name in Ps 102:8. In De 28:28-34 it is used to characterize the state of panic produced by the oppression of tyrannical conquerors, or (as in Zec 12:4) by the judgment of God on sinners. This condition of mind is metaphorically called a drunkenness with the wine of God’s wrath (Jer 25:16; 51:7). The same mental condition due to terror-striking idols is called "madness" in Jer 50:38. The madman of Pr 26:18 is a malicious person who carries his frivolous jest to an unreasonable length, for he is responsible for the mischief he causes. The ecstatic condition of one under the inspiration of the Divine or of evil spirits, such as that described by Balaam (Nu 24:3 f), or that which Saul experienced (1Sa 10:10), is compared to madness; and conversely in the Near East at the present day the insane are supposed to be Divinely inspired and to be peculiarly under the Divine protection. This was the motive which led David, when at the court of Achish, to feign madness (1Sa 21:13-15). It is only within the last few years that any provision has been made in Palestine for the restraint even of dangerous lunatics, and there are many insane persons wandering at large there.

This association of madness with inspiration is expressed in the name "this mad fellow" given to the prophet who came to anoint Jehu, which did not necessarily convey a disrespectful meaning (2Ki 9:11). The true prophetic spirit was, however, differentiated from the ravings of the false prophets by Isaiah (44:25), these latter being called mad by Jeremiah (29:26) and Hosea (9:7).

The most interesting case of real insanity recorded in the Old Testament is that of Saul, who, from being a shy, self-conscious young man, became, on his exaltation to the kingship, puffed up with a megalomania, alternating with fits of black depression with homicidal impulses, finally dying by suicide. The cause of his madness is said to have been an evil spirit from God (1Sa 18:10), and when, under the influence of the ecstatic mood which alternated with his depression, he conducted himself like a lunatic (1Sa 19:23 f), his mutterings are called "prophesyings." The use of music in his case as a remedy (1Sa 16:16) may be compared with Elisha’s use of the same means to produce the prophetic ecstasy (2Ki 3:15).

The story of Nebuchadnezzar is another history of a sudden accession of insanity in one puffed up by self-conceit and excessive prosperity. His delusion that he had become as an ox is of the same nature as that of the daughters of Procyus recorded in the So of Silenus by Virgil (Ecl. vi.48).

2. In the New Testament:

In the New Testament the word "lunatic" (seleniazomenoi) (the King James Version Mt 4:24; 17:15) is correctly rendered in the Revised Version (British and American) "epileptic." Undoubtedly many of the demoniacs were persons suffering from insanity. The words "mad" or "madness" occur 8 times, but usually in the sense of paroxysms of passion, excitement, and foolishness. Thus in Ac 26:11 Paul says that before his conversion he was "exceedingly mad" (emmainomenos) against the Christians. In 1Co 14:23, those who "speak with tongues" in Christian assemblies are said to appear "mad" to the outsider. Rhoda was called "mad" when she announced that Peter was at the door (Ac 12:15). The madness with which the Jews were filled when our Lord healed the man with the withered hand is called anoia, which is literally senselessness (Lu 6:11), and the madness of Balaam is called paraphronia, "being beside himself" (2Pe 2:16). Paul is accused by Festus of having become deranged by overstudy (Ac 26:24). It is still the belief among the fellahin that lunatics are people inspired by spirits, good or evil, and it is probable that all persons showing mental derangement would naturally be described as "possessed," so that, without entering into the vexed question of demoniacal possession, any cases of insanity cured by our Lord or the apostles would naturally be classed in the same category.

See also LUNATIC.

Alexander Macalister


mad’-a-i, ma’-di (madhay).



ma-di’-a-bun (Madiaboun, the King James Version).



ma’-i-an (the King James Version Judith 2:26; Ac 7:29 the King James Version).



mad-man’-a (madhmannah; Septuagint: Codex Vaticanus Macharim; Codex Alexandrinus Bedebena (Jos 15:31); Codex Vaticanus Marmena; Codex Alexandrinus Madmena (1Ch 2:49)): This town lay in the Negeb of Judah and is mentioned with Hormah and Ziklag. It is represented in Jos 19:5, etc., by Beth-marcaboth. Umm Deimneh, 12 miles North of Beersheba, has been proposed on etymological grounds (PEF, III, 392, 399, Sh XXIV).


mad’-men (madhmen; kai pausin pausetai): An unidentified town in Moab against which Jeremiah prophesied (48:2). The play upon the words here suggests a possible error in transcription: gam madhmen tiddomi, "Also, Madmen, thou shalt be silenced." The initial "M" of "Madmen" may have arisen by dittography from the last letter of gam. We should then vocalize it as "Dimon," which of course is "Dibon."


mad-me’-na (madhmenah; Madebena): A place mentioned only in Isaiah’s description of the Assyrian advance upon Jerusalem (Isa 10:31). It is not identified.





ma’-don (madhon; Septuagint: Codex Vaticanus Marrhon; Codex Alexandrinus Madon (Jos 11:1); Codex Vaticanus Marmoth; Codex Alexandrinus Maron (Jos 12:19)): A royal city of the Canaanites named along with Hazor of Galilee. El-Medineh, "the city," on the heights West of the Sea of Galilee, with which it might possibly be identified, probably dates only from Moslem times. It seems likely that the common confusion of the Hebrew letter daleth ("d") for the Hebrew letter resh ("r") has occurred, and that we should read "Maron." The place may be then identified with Meiron, a village with ancient ruins and rock tombs at the foot of Jebel Jermuk, a little to the Northwest of Safed.

W. Ewing


ma-e’-lus (LXX: Codex Alexandrinus Maelos; Codex Vaticanus Milelos): One of those who at Esdras’ request put away his foreign wife (1 Esdras 9:26 equals "Mijamin" in the parallel Ezr 10:25).


mag’-a-dan, ma-ga’-dan (Magadan; the reading of the Textus Receptus of the New Testament, Magdala (the King James Version), but Magdala is unsupported): This name appears only in Mt 15:39. In the parallel passage, Mr 8:10, its place is taken by Dalmanutha. From these two passages it is reasonable to infer that "the borders of Magadan" and "the parts of Dalmanutha" were contiguous. We may perhaps gather from the narrative that they lay on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. After the feeding of the 4,000, Jesus and His disciples came to these parts. Thence they departed to "the other side" (Mr 8:13), arriving at Bethsaida. This is generally believed to have been Bethsaida Julias, Northeast of the sea, whence He set out on His visit to Caesarea Philippi. In this case we might look for Dalmanutha and Magadan somewhere South of the Plain of Gennesaret, at the foot of the western hills. Stanley (SP, 383) quotes Schwarz to the effect that a cave in the face of these precipitous slopes bears the name of Teliman or Talmanutha. If this is true, it points to a site for Dalmanutha near ‘Ain el-Fuliyeh. Magadan might then be represented by el-Mejdel, a village at the Southwest corner of the Plain of Gennesaret. It is commonly identified with Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene, but without any evidence. The name suggests that this was the site of an old Hebrew mighdal, "tower" or "fortress." The village with its ruins is now the property of the German Roman Catholics. The land in the plain has been purchased by a colony of Jews, and is once more being brought under cultivation.

The identification with Magdala is made more probable by the frequent interchange of "l" for "n", e.g. Nathan (Hebrew), Nethel (Aramaic).

W. Ewing


mag’-bish (maghbish; Septuagint: Codex Vaticanus Magebos; Codex Alexandrinus Maabeis): An unidentified town in Benjamin, 156 of the inhabitants of which are said to have returned from exile with Zerubbabel (Ezr 2:30). It does not appear in Nehemiah’s list (Ne 7:33). Septuagint (Codex Vaticanus), however, has Magebos. The name is probably identical with Magpiash, "one who sealed the covenant" (Ne 10:20).





mag’-da-len, mag-da-le’-ne.



mag’-di-el (maghdi’el; Ge 36:43, Septuagint: Codex Alexandrinus Metoduel; 1Ch 1:54; Codex Alexandrinus Mageduel; Codex Vaticanus Meduel): One of the "dukes" of Edom.







ma’-ji, (Magoi (Mt 2:1,7,16, "Wise-men," the Revised Version (British and American) and the King James Version, "Magi" the Revised Version margin)):

1. Originally a Median Tribe:

Were originally a Median tribe (Herodotus i.101); and in Darius’ Inscriptions Magush means only a member of that tribe. It was one of them, Bardiya, who pretended to be Smerdis and raised the rebellion against Cambyses. Rabh Magh in Jer 39:3 does not mean "Chief Magus," but is in Assyrian Rab mugi (apparently "commander"; compare tab mugi sa narkabti, "commander of chariots"), having no connection with "Magus" (unless perhaps Magians were employed as charioteers, Media being famous for its Nisean steeds). The investment of the Magi with priestly functions, possibly under Cyrus (Xen. Cyrop. viii), but probably much later, was perhaps due to the fact that Zoroaster (Zarathustra) belonged, it is said, to that tribe. They guarded the sacred fire, recited hymns at dawn and offered sacrifices of haoma-juice, etc. Herodotus i.132) says they also buried the dead (perhaps temporary burial is meant as in Vendidad, Farg. viii). They were granted extensive estates in Media for their maintenance, and the athravans and other priests mentioned in the Avesta may have been of their number, though only once does the word "Magus" occur in the book (in the compound Moghu-thbish, "Magus-hater," Yasna, lxv.7, Geldner’s edition). The Magi even in Herodotus’ time had gained a reputation for "magic" articles (compare Ac 13:6,8). They also studied astrology and astronomy (rationes mundani motus et siderum (Amm. Marc., xxiii.6, 32)), partly learned from Babylon.

2. The Magi at Bethlehem:

These latter studies explain why a star was used to lead them to Christ at Bethlehem, when our Lord was less than two years old (Mt 2:16). No reliable tradition deals with the country whence these particular magi came. Justin Martyr, Tertullian and Epiphanius fancied that they came from Arabia, founding their opinion on the fact that "gold, frankincense and myrrh" abounded in Yemen. But the text says they came not from the South but from the East. Origen held that they came from Chaldea, which is possible. But Clement of Alexandria, Diodorus of Tarsus, Chrysostom, Cyril of Alexandria, Juvencus, Prudentius and others are probably right in bringing them from Persia. Sargon’s settlement of Israelites in Media (circa 730-728 BC (2Ki 17:6)) accounts for the large Hebrew element of thought which Darmesteter recognizes in the Avesta (SBE, IV, Intro, chapter vi). Median astronomers would thus know Balaam’s prophecy of the star out of Jacob (Nu 24:17). That the Jews expected a star as a sign of the birth of the Messiah is clear from the tractate Zohar of the Gemara and also from the title "Son of the Star" (Bar Kokhebha) given to a pseudo-Messiah

(130-35 AD). Tacitus (Hist. v.13) and Suetonius (Vesp. iv) tell us how widespread in the East at the time of Christ’s coming was the expectation that "at that time men starting from Judea would make themselves masters of things" (compare Virgil, Ecl. iv). All this would naturally prepare the Magi to follow the star when it appeared.



Herodotus; Xenophon; Amm. Marcellinus; Strabo; Spiegel, Altpersische Keilinschriften; Geldner, Avesta; Muss-Arnolt, Assyrian Dict.; BDB; RE.

W. St. Clair Tisdall


maj’-ik, ma-jish’-an:



1. Magic as Impersonal

2. Margic as Personal



1. Hostility to Magic

2. Potency of Magical Words

3. Influence of Charms


1. Divination

2. Sorcery

3. Enchantment

4. Amulets

5. Incantation

6. Repeated Utterances

7. Impostors

8. Witchcraft


The word comes from a Greek adjective (magike) with which the noun techne, "art," is understood. The full phrase is "magical art" (The Wisdom of Solomon 17:10). But the Greek word is derived from the magi or Zarathustran (Zoroastrian) priests. Magic is therefore historically the art practiced in Persia by the recognized priests of the country. It is impossible in the present article, owing to exigencies of space, to give a full account of this important subject and of the leading views of it which have been put forth. The main purpose of the following treatment will be to consider the subject from the Biblical standpoint.

I. Definition.

In its modern accepted sense magic may be described as the art of bringing about results beyond man’s own power by superhuman agencies. In the wide sense of this definition divination is only a species of magic, i.e. magic used as a means of securing secret knowledge, especially a knowledge of the future. Divination and magic bear a similar relation to prophecy and miracle respectively, the first and third implying special knowledge, the second and fourth special power. But divination has to do generally with omens, and it is better for this and other reasons to notice the two subjects—magic and divination—apart as is done in the present work.

II. Division of the Subject.

1. Magic as Impersonal:

There are two kinds of magic:

(1) impersonal;

(2) personal.

In the first, magic is a species of crude science, for the underlying hypothesis is that there are forces in the world which can be utilized on certain conditions, incantations, magical acts, drugs, etc. The magician in this case connects what on a very slender induction he considers to be causes and effects, mainly on the principle of post hoc ergo propter hoc. He may not know much of the causal agency; it is enough for him to know that by performing some act or reciting some formula (see CHARM) or carrying some object (see AMULET) he can secure some desired end. Frazer (Golden Bough(2), I, 61) says: "Magic is a kind of savage logic, an elementary species of reasoning based on similarity, contiguity and contrast." But why does the savage draw conclusions from association of ideas? There must be an implied belief in the uniformly of Nature or in the controlling power of intelligent beings.

2. Magic as Personal:

In personal magic, living, intelligent, spiritual beings are made the real agents which men by incantations, etc., influence and even control. The magical acts may in an advanced stage include sacrifice, the incantations become prayer.

Impersonal magic is regarded by most anthropologists, including E.B. Tylor and J. Frazer, as more primitive than the second and as a lower form of it. This conclusion rests on an assumption that human culture is always progressive, that the movement is uniformly onward and upward. But this law does not always hold. The religion of Israel as taught in the 8th century BC stands on a higher level ethically and intellectually than that taught in the writings of Haggai, Zechariah and Eccelesiastes centuries later. Among the ancient Indians, the Rig Veda occupies much loftier ground than the much later Atharva Veda.

III. Magic and Religion.

Personal magic in its higher forms shades off into religion, and very commonly the two exist together. It is the practice to speak of sacrifice and prayer as constituting elements of the ancient and modern religions of India. But it is doubtful whether either of these has the same connotation that it bears in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. J. Frazer (Golden Bough(2), I, 67 ff) says that where the operation of spirits is assumed (and "these cases are exceptional"), magic is "tinged and alloyed with religion." Such an assumption is, he admits, often made and the present writer thinks it is generally made, for even the operation of the laws of association implies it. But Frazer concludes from various considerations that "though magic is .... found to fuse and amalgamate with religion in many ages and in many lands, there are some grounds for thinking that this fusion is not primitive." It is of course personal magic to which religion stands in closest relations. As soon as man comes to see in the beings by whose power marvels are wrought, personalities capable of emotions like himself and susceptible to persuasion, his magical art becomes an intelligent effort to propitiate these superior beings and his incantations become hymns and prayers. In all religions, Jewish, Moslem, Christian or pagan, when the act or prayer as such is held to produce certain results or to secure certain desired boons, we have to do with a species of magic. The word "religion" is inapplicable, unless it includes the idea of personal faith in a God or gods whose favor depends on moral acts and on ritual acts only in so far as they have a voluntary and ethical character. If it be granted that magic, the lower, precedes religion, the higher, this does not necessarily negative the validity of the religious concept. Mature knowledge is preceded by elementary impressions and beliefs which are subjective without objective correspondences. But this higher knowledge is none the less valid for its antecedents. If it can be proved that the Christian or any other religion has become what it is by gradual ascent from animism, magic, etc., its validity is not by this destroyed or even impaired. Religion must be judged according to its own proper evidence. But see II, end.

IV. Magic in the Bible.

1. Hostility to Magic:

The general remarks made on the Bible and divination in DIVINATION, V, have an equal application to the attitude of the Bible toward magic. This attitude is distinctly hostile, as it could not but be in documents professing to inculcate the teaching of the ethical and spiritual religion of Israel (see De 18:10 f; 2Ki 21:6; 2Ch 33:6, etc.). Yet it is equally clear that the actual power of magic is acknowledged as clearly as its illegitimacy is pointed out. In P’s account of the plagues (Ex 7-11) it is assumed that the magicians of Egypt had real power to perform superhuman feats. They throw their rods and they become serpents; they turn the waters of the Nile into blood. It is only when they try to produce gnats that they fail, though Aaron had succeeded by Yahweh’s power in doing this and thus showed that Yahweh’s power was greatest. But that the magicians had power that was real and great is not so much as called in question.

2. Potency of Magical Words:

Among the ancient Semites (Arabs, Assyrians, Hebrews, etc.) there was a strong belief in the potency of the magical words of blessing and of curse. The mere utterance of such words was regarded as enough to secure their realization. That the narrator of Nu 22-24 (Jahwist) ascribed to Balaam magical power is clear from the narrative, else why should Yahweh be represented as transferring Balaam’s service to the cause of Israel? We have other Biblical references to the power of the spoken word of blessing in Ge 12:3; Ex 12:32; Jud 17:2; 2Sa 21:3, and of curse in Ge 27:29; Jud 5:23; Job 3:8 (compare the so-called Imprecatory Psalms, and see Century Bible, "Psalms," volume II, 216). On the prevalence of the belief among the Arabs, see the important work of Goldziher, Abhandlungen zur arabischen Philologie, Theil I, 23 ff.

3. Influence of Charms:

In Ge 30:14 (Jahwist) we have an example of the belief in the power of plants (here mandrakes) to stir up and strengthen sexual love, and we read in Arabic literature of the very same superstition in connection with what is called Yabruch, almost certainly the same plant. Indeed one of the commonest forms in which magic appears is as a love-charm, and as this kind of magic was often exercised by women, magic and adultery are frequently named together in the Old Testament (see 2Ki 9:22; Na 3:4; Mal 3:5; and compare Ex 22:18 (17), where the sorceress (the King James Version "witch") is to be condemned to death). We have an instance of what is called sympathetic magic (for a description of which see Jevons, Introduction to History of Religion, 28 ff, and Frazer, Golden Bough(2), I, 49 ff) in Ge 30:37 ff. Jacob placed before the sheep and goats that came to drink water peeled rods, so that the pregnant ones might bring forth young that were spotted and striped. The teraphim mentioned in Ge 31:19 ff and put away with wizards during the drastic reforms of Josiah (2Ki 23:24; compare Zec 10:2) were household objects supposed capable of warding off evil of every kind. The Babylonians and Assyrians had a similar custom. We read of an Assyrian magician that he had statues of the gods Lugalgira and Alamu put on each side of the main entrance to his house, and in consequence he felt perfectly impregnable against evil spirits (see Tallquist, Assyrian. Beach, 22).

In Isa 3:2 the qocem ("magician" or "diviner") is named along with the knight warrior, the judge, prophet and elder, among the stays and supports of the nation; no disapproval is expressed or implied with regard to any of them. Yet it is not to be denied that in its essential features pure Yahwism, which enforced personal faith in a pure spiritual being, was radically opposed to all magical beliefs and practices. The fact that the Hebrews stood apart as believers in an ethical and spiritual religion from the Semitic and other peoples by which they were surrounded suggests that they were Divinely guided, for in other respects—art, philosophy, etc.—this same Hebrew nation held a lower place than many contemporary nations.

V. Magical Terms Used in the Bible.

Many terms employed in the Old Testament in reference to divination have also a magical import. See DIVINATION, VII. For a fuller discussion of Biblical terms connected with both subjects, reference may be made to T. Witton Davies, Magic, Divination and Demonology among the Hebrews and Their Neighbours, 44 iff, 78 ff; see also articles "Divination" and "Magic" in EB, by the present writer.

1. Divination:

Here a few brief statements are all that can be attempted. Qecem, usually rendered "divination" (see Nu 23:23), has primarily a magical reference (Fleischer), though both Wellhausen (Reste des arabischen Heidenthums 2, 133, note 5) and W. Robertson Smith (Jour. Phil., XIII, 278) hold that its first use was in connection with divination. The Arabic verb ("to exorcise") and noun ("an oath") have magical meanings. But it must be admitted that the secondary meaning ("divination") has almost driven out the other. See under I, where it is held that at bottom magic and divination are one.

2. Sorcery:

The verb kashaph, the Revised Version (British and American) "to practice sorcery," comes, as Fleischer held, from a root denoting "to have a dark appearance," to look gloomy, to be distressed, then as a suppliant to seek relief by magical means. The corresponding nouns kashshaph and mekashsheph are rendered "sorcerer" in English Versions of the Bible.

3. Enchantment:

Lachash, English Versions of the Bible "enchantment," etc. (see Isa 3:3, nebhon lachash, the Revised Version (British and American) "the skillful enchanter"), is connected etymologically with nachash, "a serpent,"‘ the "n" and "l" often interchanging in Semitic Lachash is, therefore, as might have been expected from this etymology, used specifically of serpent charming (see Jer 8:17; Ec 10:11; compare melachesh in Ps 58:5 (6), English Versions of the Bible "charmer").

4. Amulets:

Chebher occurs in the plural only (Isa 47:9,12, English Versions of the Bible, "enchantments"). It comes from a root meaning "to bind," and it denotes probably amulets of some kind carried on the person to ward off evil. It seems therefore to be the Biblical equivalent of the Talmudic qemia‘, literally, equals "something bound" from qama‘, "to bind."

5. Incantation:

Shichar (Isa 47:11) seems to have an etymological connection with the principal Arabic word for "magic" (sichrun), and is explained by the great majority of recent commentators following J.H. Michaelis (Hitzig, Ewald, Dillmann, Whitehouse in Century Bible, etc.) as meaning "to charm away" (by incantations). So also Targum, Rashi, J H and Jastrow, Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmudim, and Midrashic Literature, Michaelis, Eichhorn, etc.

6. Repeated Utterances:

The verb battologeo in Mt 6:7 (equals "say not the same thing over and over again") refers to the superstition that the repeated utterance of a word will secure one’s wish. In India today it is thought that if an ascetic says in one month the name of Radha, Krishna, or Ro 100,000 times, he cannot fail to obtain what he wants (see 1Ki 18:26).


7. Impostors:

The term goetes, the Revised Version (British and American) "impostors," the King James Version "seducers," is used of a class of magicians who uttered certain magical formulas in a deep, low voice (compare the verb goao, which =" to sigh," "to utter low moaning tones"). Herodotus (ii.33) says that there were persons of the kind in Egypt, and they are mentioned also by Euripides and Plato.

8. Witchcraft:

Paul in Ga 5:20 classes with uncleanness, idolatry, etc., what he calls pharmakeia, the King James Version "witchcraft" the Revised Version (British and American) "sorcery." The word has reference first of all to drugs used in exercising the magical article Note the name Simon Magus, which = Simon the magician (Ac 8:9 f), and Bar-Jesus, whom Luke calls a magician (magos, English Versions of the Bible, "sorcerer") and to whom he gives also the proper name Elymas, which is really the Arabic ‘alim =" learned," and so one skillful in the magical article.



A Very full bibliography of the subject will be found in T. Witton Davies, Magic, Divination and Demonology among the Hebrews and Their Neighbours, xi through xvi. See also the literature under DIVINATION and in addition to the literature cited in the course of the foregoing article, note the following: A. Lehmann, Aberglaube und Zauberei2, 1908; A.C. Haddon, Magic and Fetishism, 1906; Blau, Das altjudische Zauberwesen, 1898; Smith, "Witchcraft in the Old Testament," Biblical Soc., 1902, 23-35; W.R. Halliday, Greek Divination; A Study of Its Methods and Principles, London, Macmillan (important) and the valuable article on "Magic" by Northwest Thomas in the Encyclopedia Brittanica, and also the relevant articles in the Bible dictionaries.

T. Witton Davies


maj’-is-trat (shephaT, corresponding to shaphaT, "to judge," "to pronounce sentence" (Jud 18:7)): Among the ancients, the terms corresponding to our "magistrate" had a much wider signification. "Magistrates and judges" (shopheTim we-dhayyanim) should be translated "judges and rulers" (Ezr 7:25). ceghanim "rulers" or "nobles," were Babylonian magistrates or prefects of provinces (Jer 51:23,28,57; Eze 23:6). In the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, the Jewish magistrates bore the same title (Ezr 9:2; Ne 2:16; 4:14; 13:11). The Greek archon, "magistrate" (Lu 12:58; Tit 3:1 the King James Version), signifies the chief in power (1Co 2:6,8) and "ruler" (Ac 4:26; Ro 13:3).

The Messiah is designated as the "prince (archon) of the kings of the earth" (Re 1:5 the King James Version), and by the same term Moses is designated the judge and leader of the Hebrews (Ac 7:27,35). The wide application of this term is manifest from the fact that it is used of magistrates of any kind, e.g. the high priest (Ac 23:5); civil judges (Lu 12:58; Ac 16:19); ruler of the synagogue (Lu 8:41; Mt 9:18,23; Mr 5:22); persons of standing and authority among the Pharisees and other sects that appear in the Sanhedrin (Lu 14:1; Joh 3:1; Ac 3:17). The term also designates Satan, the prince or chief of the fallen angels (Mt 9:34; Eph 2:2).

In the New Testament we also find strategos, employed to designate the Roman praetors or magistrates of Philippi, a Roman colony (Ac 16:20,22,35,36,38). A collective term for those clothed with power (Eng. "the powers"), exousiai, is found in Lu 12:11 the King James Version; Ro 13:2,3; Tit 3:1. The "higher powers" (Ro 13:1) are all those who are placed in positions of civil authority from the emperor down.

In early Hebrew history, the magisterial office was limited to the hereditary chiefs, but Moses made the judicial office elective. In his time the "heads of families" were 59 in number, and these, together with the 12 princes of the tribes, composed the Sanhedrin or Council of 71. Some of the scribes were entrusted with the business of keeping the genealogies and in this capacity were also regarded as magistrates.

Frank E. Hirsch


mag-nif’-i-kal (gadhal, in Hiphil "to make great"): Old form retained from Genevan version in 1Ch 22:5; in the American Standard Revised Version "magnificent."


mag-nif’-i-kat: The name given to the hymn of Mary in Lu 1:46-55, commencing "My soul doth magnify the Lord." Three old Latin manuscripts substitute the name "Elisabeth" for "Mary" in 1:46, but against this is the authority of all Greek manuscripts and other Latin versions. The hymn, modeled in part on that of Hannah in 1Sa 2:1 ff, is peculiarly suitable to the circumstances of Mary, and plainly could not have been composed after the actual appearance and resurrection of Christ. Its early date is thus manifest.


mag’-ni-fi (Hiphil of gadhal; megaluno, "to make great," "extol," "celebrate in praise"): Used especially of exaltation of the name, mercy, and other attributes of God (Ge 19:19; 2Sa 7:26; Ps 35:27; 40:16; 70:4; Lu 1:46; Ac 10:46); of God’s "word" (Ps 138:2); or of Christ (Ac 19:17; Php 1:20). Men also can be "magnified" (Jos 4:14; 1Ch 29:25, etc.). In Ro 11:13, "magnify mine office," the word (Greek, doxazo) is changed in the Revised Version (British and American) to "glorify."


ma’-gog (maghogh; Magog): Named among the sons of Japheth (Ge 10:2; 1Ch 1:5). Ezekiel uses the word as equivalent to "land of Gog" (Eze 38:2; 39:6). Josephus identifies the Magogites with the Scythians (Ant., I, vi, 1). From a resemblance between the names Gog and Gyges (Gugu), king of Lydia, some have suggested that Magog is Lydia; others, however, urge that Magog is probably only a variant of Gog (Sayce in HDB). In the Apocalypse of John, Gog and Magog represent all the heathen opponents of Messiah (Re 20:8), and in this sense these names frequently recur in Jewish apocalyptic literature.

John A. Lees


ma’-gor-mis’-a-bib (maghor miccabhibh, "terror on every side"): A name given by Jeremiah to Pashhur ben Immer, the governor of the temple, who had caused the prophet to be beaten and set in the stocks (Jer 20:3). The same expression is used (not as a proper name) in several other passages (Ps 31:13; Jer 6:25; 20:10; 46:5; 49:29; La 2:22).








ma-ha’-la, ma’-ha-la (machlah; the Revised Version (British and American) has the correct form MAHLAH): A descendant of Manasseh (1Ch 7:18).


ma-ha’-la-lel (mahalal’el; the King James Version Mahalaleel, ma-ha’la-le-el, ma-hal’a-lel):

(1) Son of Cainan, the grandson of Seth (Ge 5:12 ff; 1Ch 1:2).

(2) The ancestor of Athaiah, one of the children of Judah who dwelt in Jerusalem after the return from exile (Ne 11:4).


ma’-ha-lath (machalath):

(1) In Ge 28:9 the name of a wife of Esau, daughter of Ishmael, and sister of Nebaioth, called in 36:3, BASEMATH (which see). The Samaritan Pentateuch, however, throughout Genesis 36 retains "Mahalath." On the other hand, in 26:34 Basemath is said to be "the daughter of Elon the Hittite," probably a confusion with Adah, as given in 36:2, or corruption may exist in the lists otherwise.

(2) One of the 18 wives of Rehoboam, a grand-daughter of David (2Ch 11:18).

(3) The word is found in the titles of Ps 53 (the Revised Version (British and American) "set to Mahalath") and Ps 88 (the Revised Version (British and American) "set to Mahalath Leannoth," margin "for singing"). Probably some song or tune is meant, though the word is taken by many to denote a musical instrument. Hengstenberg and others interpret it as indicating the subject of the Psalms.


James Orr





ma-ha-na’-im (machanayim; the Greek is different in every case where the name occurs, Codex Vaticanus and Codex Alexandrinus also giving variant forms; the dual form may be taken as having arisen from an old locative ending, as, e.g. yerushala(y)im from an original yerushalem. In Ge 32:21 machaneh is evidently a parallel form and should be rendered as a proper name, Mahaneh, i.e. Mahanaim): The city must have been one of great strength. It lay East of the Jordan, and is first mentioned in the history of Jacob. Here he halted after parting from Laban, before the passage of the Jabbok (Ge 31:2), "and the angels of God met him." Possibly it was the site of an ancient sanctuary. It is next noticed in defining the boundaries of tribal territory East of the Jordan. It lay on the border of Gad and Manasseh (Jos 13:26,30). It belonged to the lot of Gad, and was assigned along with Ramoth in Gilead to the Merarite Levites (Jos 21:38; 1Ch 6:80—the former of these passages affords no justification to Cheyne in saying (EB, under the word) that it is mentioned as a "city of refuge"). The strength of the place doubtless attracted Abner, who fixed here the capital of Ishbosheth’s kingdom. Saul’s chivalrous rescue of Jabesh-gilead was remembered to the credit of his house in these dark days, and the loyalty of Mahanaim could be reckoned on (2Sa 2:8, etc.). To this same fortress David fled when endangered by the rebellion of Absalom; and in the "forest" hard by, that prince met his fate (2Sa 17:24, etc.). It was made the center of one of Solomon’s administrative districts, and here Abinadab the son of Iddo was stationed (1Ki 4:14). There seems to be a reference to Mahanaim in So 6:13 the Revised Version (British and American). If this is so, here alone it appears with the article. By emending the text Cheyne would read: "What do you see in the Shulammite? A narcissus of the valleys."

It is quite clear from the narrative that Jacob, going to meet his brother, who was advancing from the South, crossed the Jabbok after leaving Mahanaim. It is therefore vain to search for the site of this city South of the Jabbok, and Conder’s suggested identification with some place near el-Buqei‘a, East of es-Salt], must be given up.

On the North of the Jabbok several positions have been thought of. Merrill (East of the Jordan, 433 ff) argues in favor of Khirbet Saleikhat, a ruined site in the mouth of Wady Saleikhat, on the northern bank, 3 miles East of Jordan, and 4 miles North of Wady ‘Ajlun. From its height, 300 ft. above the plain, it commands a wide view to the West and South. One running "by the way of the Plain" could be seen a great way off (2Sa 18:23). This would place the battle in the hills to the South near the Jordan valley. Ahimaaz then preferred to make a detour, thus securing a level road, while the Cushite took the rough track across the heights. Others, among them Buhl (GAP, 257), would place Mahanaim at Michneh, a partly overgrown ruin 9 miles East of Jordan, and 4 miles North of ‘Ajlun on the north bank of Wady Machneh. This is the only trace of the ancient name yet found in the district. It may be assumed that Mahanaim is to be sought in this neighborhood. Cheyne would locate it at ‘Ajlun, near which rises the great fortress Kal‘ater-Rabad. He supposes that the "wood of Mahanaim" extended as far as Michneh, and that "the name of Mihneh is really an abbreviation of the ancient phrase." Others would identify Mahanaim with Jerash, where, however, there are no remains older than Greek-Roman times.

Objections to either ‘Ajlun or Michneh are:

(1) The reference to this Jordan" in Ge 32:10, which seems to show that the city was near the river. It may indeed be said that the great hollow of the Jordan valley seems close at hand for many miles on either side, but this, perhaps, hardly meets the objection.

(2) The word kikkar, used for "Plain" in 2Sa 18:23, seems always elsewhere to apply to the "circle" of the Jordan. Buhl, who identifies Mahanaim with Michneh, yet cites this verse (G A the Priestly Code (P), 112) as a case in which kikkar applies to the plain of the Jordan. He thus prescribes for Ahimaaz a very long race. Cheyne sees the difficulty. The battle was obviously in the vicinity of Mahanaim, and the nearest way from the "wood" was by the kikkar, "or, since no satisfactory explanation of this reading has been offered by the nachal, that is to say, the eager Ahimaaz ran along in the wady in which, at some little distance, Mahanaim lay" (EB, under the word). The site for the present remains in doubt.ter-Rabad. He supposes that the "wood of Mahanaim" extended as far as Michneh, and that "the name of Mihneh is really an abbreviation of the ancient phrase." Others would identify Mahanaim with Jerash, where, however, there are no remains older than Greek-Roman times.

W. Ewing


ma’-ha-ne-dan (machaneh-dhan; parembole Dan): This place is mentioned twice: in Jud 13:25 (the King James Version "the camp of Dan"), and Jud 18:12. In Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol, the spirit of the Lord began to move Samson. Here the 600 marauders of Dan, coming from Zorah and Eshtaol, encamped behind Kiriath-jearim. It has been thought that these two statements contradict each other; or at least that they cannot both apply to the same place. But if we accept the identification of Zorah with Surah, and of Eshtaol with Eshu‘, which there seems no reason to question; and if, further, we identify Kiriath-jearim with Khirbet Erma, which is at least possible, the two passages may be quite reconciled. Behind Kiriath-jearim, that is West of Khirbet Erma, runs the Vale of Sorek, on the north bank of which, about 2 miles apart, stand Zorah and Eshtaol; the former 3 1/2 miles, the latter 2 1/2 miles fron khirbet Erma. No name resembling Mahanehdan has yet been recovered; but the place may have lain within the area thus indicated, so meeting the conditions of both passages, whether it was a permanent settlement, or derived its name only from the incident mentioned in Jud 18:12.

W. Ewing


ma-har’-a-i, ma’-ha-ri (maharay, "impetuous"): One of David’s "braves" (2Sa 23:28; 1Ch 11:30; 27:13). He was one of the 12 monthly captains of David’s administration, and took the 10th month in rotation. He was of the family of Zerah, and dwelt in Netophah in Judah.


ma’-hath (machath, "snatching"; Meth):

(1) One of the Kohathites having charge of the "service of song" in David’s time, son of Amasai (1Ch 6:35). Possibly the same as Ahimoth (1Ch 6:25). He seems also to be the same as the person named in 2Ch 29:12 during Hezekiah’s time, though it is probable there is some confusion in the narrative. He is there represented as taking part in the new covenant of Hezekiah and the cleansing of the Lord’s house.

(2) One of the overseers of the temple under Conaniah and Shimei (2Ch 31:13); three passages of Scripture give the name, but it is difficult to individuate these because the genealogy identifies the two first named (1Ch 6:35; 2Ch 29:12), while the chronology seems to divide them—one in David’s day, the other in Hezekiah’s. It is not, however, impossible to identify the man of 2Ch 29:12 with him of 2Ch 31:13. Possibly the genealogy has been mistakenly repeated in 2Ch 29:12.

Henry Wallace


ma’-ha-vit (machawim, "villagers"): The description given to Eliel, one of David’s warrior guard (1Ch 11:46), perhaps to distinguish him from the Eliel in the next verse. Massoretic Text is very obscure here.


ma-ha’-iz-oth, ma-ha’-zi-oth (machazi’oth "visions"): One of the 14 sons of Heman the Kohathite in the temple choir. "He was leader of the 23rd course of musicians whose function was to blow the horns" (1Ch 25:4,30).


ma’-her-shal’-al-hash’-baz (maher shalal chash baz, "the spoil speedeth; the prey hasteth"): Asymbolic name given to Isaiah’s son to signify the sharp destruction of Rezin and Pekah by the Assyrian power (Isa 8:1,3). Compare the Greek idea of Nemesis.


ma’-la (machlah "sickness" or "song," etymology doubtful):

(1) Eldest of Zelophehad’s 5 daughters (Nu 26:33; 27:1). As Zelophehad, grandson of Manasseh, had no sons, the daughters successfully claimed their father’s inheritance. The law was altered in their favor on condition that they married into their father’s tribe. They agreed and married their cousins (Nu 36:11). The whole chapter should be read and compared with Jos 17:3 ff, because the decision became a precedent.

(2) Another (the King James Version "Mahalah"), same Hebrew name as above, daughter of Hammoleketh, grand-daughter of Manasseh (1Ch 7:18).

Henry Wallace


ma’-li (machli, "a sick or weak one"‘):

(1) A son of Merari (Ex 6:19, the King James Version Mahali; Nu 3:20), grandson of Levi and founder of the Levitical family of MAHLITES (which see).

(2) A son of Mushi, Mahli’s brother, bears the same name (1Ch 6:47; 23:23; 24:30). Compare Ezr 8:18 and 1 Esdras 8:47.


ma’-lits (machli): Descendants of Mahli, son of Merari (Nu 3:33; 26:58). These Mahlites appear to have followed the example of the daughters of Zelophehad, mutatis mutandis. (See MAHLAH; had the name become the description of a practice?) They married the daughters of their uncle Eleazar (1Ch 23:21,22).


ma’-lon (machlon, "invalid"): Ruth’s first husband (Ru 12,5; 4:9,10). In the latter passage is further evidence of the unwillingness to allow a family connection or inheritance to drop (see MAHLAH; MAHLI). Note that David’s descent and that of his "Greater Son" come through Ru and Boaz (Ru 4:22).


ma’-hol (machol, "dance"; compare bene-machol, "sons of dance"): The father of the 4 sages reputed next in wisdom to Solomon (1Ki 4:31). Their names were Ethan, Heman, Chalcol, Darda.


ma-se’-ya, ma-si’-a (machceyah, "Yah a refuge"): Grandfather of Baruch (Jer 32:12) and of Seraiah (Jer 51:59). The name (not to be confused with MAASEIAH (which see) as the King James Version has done even in the above passages) is spelt "Maaseas" (which see) in Baruch 1:1.


mi-an’-as (Maiannas; the King James Version Maianeas): One of the Levites who taught the law for Esdras (1 Esdras 9:48) = MAASEIAH (which see) in Ne 8:7.


mad, mad’-’n: Used in the King James Version in the sense of a girl or young female; of an unmarried woman or virgin, and of a female servant or handmaid. Thus, it translates several Hebrew words:

(1) The more generic word is na‘arah, "girl," feminine form of the common na‘ar, "boy" (1Sa 9:11; 2Ki 5:2,4; Es 2:4,7 ff; Job 41:5; Am 2:7) In several places masculine form na‘ar, with feminine form of verb rendered "damsel" (Ge 24:14,16,28,55; 34:3,12; De 22:15); compare he pais (Lu 8:51,54); see also paidiske, diminutive (Sirach 41:22; Mr 14:66,69; Lu 12:45; korasion, Septuagint for na‘arah, "maid," in Mt 9:24 f with Job 6:12 f; Susanna verses 15,19).

(2) The Hebrew ‘almah, also rendered "maid," refers to a woman of marriageable age (Ex 2:8; Pr 30:19), whether married or not, whether a virgin or not. The same word is translated "virgin" in several places (Ge 24:43 the King James Version; So 13; 6:8; Isa 7:14).

(3) The word bethulah, a common Hebrew word for "virgin," a chaste woman Septuagint parthenos), is frequently rendered "maid" and "maiden" (Ex 22:16; Jud 19:24; 2Ch 36:17; Ps 78:63; 148:12; Jer 51:22; La 5:11; Eze 9:6; 44:22; Zec 9:17; compare De 22:14,17, having "the marks (tokens) of virginity"); bethulim, rendered "maid." See VIRGIN.

(4) Two Hebrew words covering the idea of service, handmaid, handmaiden, and in numerous passages so rendered:

(a) ‘amah, translated "maid" (Ge 30:3; Ex 2:5; 21:20,26; Le 25:6; Ezr 2:65; Job 19:15; Na 2:7);

(b) shiphchah, "a family servant," "a handmaid," so rendered in numerous passages ("maid," "maiden," Ge 16:2 ff; 29:24,29; 30:7,9,10,12,18; Isa 24:2; Ps 123:2; Ec 2:7). In the King James Version they are variously translated "maid," "handmaid," etc.

(5) The rather rare word habra, "favorite slave," is rendered "maid" in Judith 10:2,5; 13:9; 16:23; Additions to Esther 15:2,7.

(6) doule, "female slave," in the King James Version Judith 12:49 (the Revised Version (British and American) "servant").

Maidservant means simply a female slave in the different positions which such a woman naturally occupies. They were the property of their masters; sometimes held the position of concubines (Ge 31:33); daughters might be sold by their fathers into this condition (Ex 21:7). It is regrettable that no uniform translation was adopted in the King James Version. And in the Revised Version (British and American) compare Tobit 3:7; Judith 10:10; Sirach 41:22.

"Maidservants" replaces "maidens" of the King James Version in Lu 12:45. Compare Job 31:13.

Edward Bagby Pollard





mam’-d (charuts; kullos, anaperos): The condition of being mutilated or rendered imperfect as the result of accident, in contrast to congenital malformation. An animal thus affected was declared to be unfit to be offered in sacrifice as a peace offering (Le 22:22); although under certain conditions a congenitally deformed animal might be accepted as a free-will offering, apparently the offering of a maimed animal was always prohibited (Le 22:23,24). The use of such animals in sacrifice was one of the charges brought against the Jews of his time by Malachi (1:8-14). The word is also used to denote those who were so mutilated. Among those made whole by our Lord in Galilee were the maimed as well as the halt (Mt 15:30).

Figuratively the casting off of any evil habit or distracting condition which interferes with the spiritual life is called "maiming" (Mt 18:8; Mr 9:43); with this may be taken the lesson in Mt 19:12. In these passages "maimed" (kullos) is used of injuries of the upper limb, and cholos of those affecting the feet, rendering one halt. Hippocrates, however, uses kullos for a deformation of the legs in which the knees are bent so far outward as to render the patient lame; while he applies the term cholos as a generic name for any distortion, and in one place uses it to describe a mutilation of the head (Prorrhetica, 83). The maimed and the halt are among the outcasts who are to be brought into the gospel feast according to the parable (Lu 14:13-21).

Alexander Macalister





ma’-kaz (maqats): One of the cities of the 2nd of the 12 districts or prefectures which supplied victuals for Solomon (1Ki 4:9). It is associated with Shaalbim, Beth-shemesh and Elon-beth-hanan, all three probably identical with cities mentioned (Jos 19:41,42) as on the border of Dan. Cheyne (EB, II, col. 2906) suggests that Makaz may bc identical with MEJARGON (which see) in the latter list.


mak, mak’-er (‘asah, nathan, sum; poieo, tithemi, kathistemi):

1. As Used in the Old Testament:

"Make" is a frequently used word, meaning "to create," "construct," "cause," "constitute," etc., and represents different Hebrew words. It is very often in the King James Version

(1) the translation of ‘asah, "to do," "make," etc., usually’ in the sense of constructing, effecting. In Ge 1:7,16,25,31, etc., it is used of the creation; of the creation of man in the likeness of God (5:1); of the ark (6:14); of a feast (21:8); of the tabernacle and all the things belonging to it (Ex 25:8, etc.); of idols (Isa 2:8; Jer 2:28, etc.);

(2) of nathan (literally, "to give"), chiefly in the sense of constituting, appointing, causing; of a covenant (Ge 9:12; 17:2); of Abraham as the father of many nations, etc. (Ge 17:5,6); of Ishmael as a great nation (Ge 17:20); of Moses as a god to Pharaoh (Ex 7:1); of judges and officers (De 16:18); of laws (Le 26:46, etc.); it has the meaning of "to cause" (Ex 18:16; 23:27; Nu 5:21; 1Sa 9:22; Ps 106:46);

(3) sum, "to set," "put," "lay," has a similar significance: of Abraham’s seed (Ge 13:16; 32:12); Joseph lord of all Egypt (Ge 45:9; compare Ex 2:14; De 1:13; 10:22);

(4) shith, with same meaning, occurs (2Sa 22:12, "He made darkness pavilions round about him"; 1Ki 11:34; Ps 18:11; 21:6).

Other words are ‘abhadh (Aramaic); "to make," "do," (Jer 10:11; Da 3:1); ‘amadh, "to set up" (2Ch 11:22; 25:5; Ne 10:32); ‘atsabh, "to labor," etc. (Job 10:8, the King James Version margin "took pains about me"); banah, "to build up" (Ge 2:22; 1Ki 22:39); bara’," to prepare," "create" (Nu 16:30; Ps 89:47); yatsagh, "to set up" (Job 17:6; Jer 51:34); yatsar, "to form," "constitute" (Ps 74:17; 104:26); pa‘al, "to work," "make" (Ex 15:17; Ps 7:15); words with special meanings are: paqadh, "to give a charge" (1Ki 11:28; 2Ki 25:23); karath, "to cut," or "prepare", "to make a convent or league" (Ge 15:18; Ex 24:8; Jos 9:16); qashar, "to bind together," "to make a conspiracy" (2Ki 12:20; 14:19); parats, "to break forth," "to make a breach" (2Sa 6:8; 1Ch 13:11; 15:13); labhen, "to make brick" (Ge 11:3); labhabh (denominative of lebhibhah), "to make cakes" (2Sa 13:6,8); malakh, "to make a king" (1Sa 8:22; 12:1); among obsolete and archaic words and phrases may be mentioned, "What makest thou in this place?" (Jud 18:3), the Revised Version (British and American) "doest"; "made" for "pretend" (2Sa 13:5,6), the Revised Version (British and American) "feign," "feigned"; "made as if" (Jos 8:15; 9:4), so the Revised Version (British and American); "make for him" (Eze 17:17), the Revised Version (British and American) "help him"; "make mention" (Jer 4:16); "make mention of" (Ge 40:14; Ps 87:4); "make account" (Ps 144:3); "make an end" (Jud 3:18; 15:17); "make an end" is also "to bring to nought," "to destroy" (Isa 38:12); "make riddance" (Le 23:22), the Revised Version (British and American) "wholly reap." In 1 Macc 16:22, we have "to make him away" as translation of apolesai auton, the Revised Version (British and American) "destroy."

Maker is the translation of ‘asah (Job 4:17; Ps 95:6), of yatsar (Isa 45:9,11; Hab 2:18 twice), of charash, "graver" (Isa 45:16), of pa‘al (Job 36:3; Isa 1:31, or po‘al).

2. As Used in the New Testament:

In the New Testament the chief word for "make" is poieo, "to do," "make," etc. (Mt 3:3; Joh 2:16; 5:15); of kathistemi, "to set down," "to appoint" (Mt 24:45,47; Ro 5:19); of tithemi, "to set," "lay" (Mt 22:44; Mr 12:36); of diatithemi, "to set or lay throughout" (Ac 3:25; Heb 8:10; 10:16); of didomi, "to give" (2Th 3:9; Re 3:9); of eimi, "to be" (Mr 12:42); of epiteleo "to complete" (Heb 8:5; Ga 3:3, "make perfect," the Revised Version margin "make an end"); of Kataskeuazo, "to prepare thoroughly" (Heb 9:2, the Revised Version (British and American) "prepared"); of ktizo, "to make" "found" (Eph 2:15); of plerophoreo, "to bear "on fully" (2Ti 4:5, "make full proof of thy ministry," the Revised Version (British and American) "fulfil"); doxazo "to make honorable or glorious" (2Co 3:10); of peritrepo (eis manian), "to turn round to raving" (Ac 26:24, "doth make thee mad," the Revised Version (British and American) "is turning thee mad," margin "Greek: turneth thee to madness"); of emporeuomai, "to traffic," "cheat" (2Pe 2:3 "make merchandise of you"); of eirenopoieo, "to make peace" (Col 1:20); of sumballo, "to throw together" (Lu 14:31; "to make war," the Revised Version (British and American) "goeth to encounter"); "made" is frequently the translation of ginomai, "to become," "begin to be" (Mt 4:3; 9:16; Mr 2:21,27; Joh 1:3 (thrice), 10, "The world was made through him," 1:14, "The word was made flesh," the Revised Version (British and American) "became flesh"; 2:9, water "made wine," the Revised Version (British and American) "now become wine," margin "that it had become"; 8:33, "made free"‘ Ro 1:3, Revised Vesion "born" Ga 3:13, the Revised Version (British and American) "having become a curse for us"; 4:4, the Revised Version (British and American) "born of a woman," etc.; Php 2:7, "was made in the likeness of men," the Revised Version margin "Greek: becoming in"; 1Pe 2:7, etc.).

In addition to the changes in the Revised Version (British and American) already noted may be mentioned, for "maketh collops" (Job 15:27) "gathered fat"; for "set us in the way of his steps" (Ps 85:13), "make his footsteps a way to walk in"; for "did more grievously afflict her" (Isa 9:1), "hath made it glorious"; for "shall make him of quick understanding" (Isa 11:3), ‘his delight shall be in"; for "make sluices and ponds for fish" (Isa 19:10), "they that work for hire," margin "or make dams "; for "ye that make mention of the Lord" (Isa 62:6), "ye that are Yahweh’s remembrancers"; for "he shall confirm the covenant" (Da 9:27), "he shall make a firm covenant"; for "maketh my way perfect" (2Sa 22:33), "guideth the perfect in his way" (see margin); for "the desire of a man is his kindness" (Pr 19:22), "that which maketh a man to be desired"; for, "maketh intercession" (Ro 11:2), "pleadeth"; for hath made us accepted" (Eph 1:6), "freely bestowed on us," margin "wherewith he endued us"; . for "made himself of no reputation" (Php 2:7), "emptied himself"; for "spoil you" (Col 2:8), "maketh spoil of you"; for "is the enemy of God" (Jas 4:4), "maketh himself"; for "worketh abomination or (maketh) a lie" (Re 21:27), "maketh (m" doeth") an abomination and a lie"; we have "become" for "made" (Mt 4:3; Lu 3:5; 4:3), "became" (Ro 10:20; 1Co 15:45, bis); "becoming in" for "being made" (Php 2:7 margin).

W. L. Walker


mik’-bats: This is the plural of the word makebate, which means "one who stirs up strife." It occurs only in the King James Version margin of 2Ti 3:3 and Tit 2:3 as an alternative translation of diaboloi, which the King James Version renders "false accusers," and the Revised Version (British and American) "slanderers."


ma’-ked (Maked, Makeb) :A strong city East of the Jordan, not yet identified. It is named along with Bosor, Alema and Casphor (1 Macc 5:26). In 1 Macc 5:36, the King James Version reads "Maged."





mak-he’-loth, mak-he’-loth (maqheloth, "assemblies"): A desert camp of the Israelites between Haradah and Tahath (Nu 33:25,26).



ma-ke’-da (maqqedhah; Makeda): A Canaanite royal city which Joshua captured, utterly destroying the inhabitants, and doing to the king as he had done unto the king of Jericho (Jos 10:28; 12:16). It lay in the Shephelah of Judah (Jos 15:41). It was brought into prominence by the flight thither of the 5 kings of the Amorites who, having united their forces for the destruction of Gibeon, were themselves defeated and pursued by Joshua (chapter 10). Seeing their danger, the men of Gibeon sent to the camp at Gilgal beseeching Joshua to save and help them. That energetic commander marched all night with his full strength, fell upon the allies at Gibeon, slew them with a great slaughter, chased the fugitives down the valley by way of Beth-horon, and smote them unto Azekah and unto Makkedah. It was during this memorable pursuit that in response to Joshua’s appeal:

"Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon;

And thou, Moon, in the valley of Aijalon," the sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down a whole day, until the nation had avenged themselves of their enemies.

The 5 kings sought refuge in the cave at Makkedah, where, by Joshua’s orders, they were blocked in with great stones, until the slaughter of the fugitives should be completed. Then the royal prisoners were brought out, and, after the chiefs of Israel had set their feet upon their necks, Joshua slew them and hanged them on five trees until sunset. This is an illustration of the old practice of impaling enemies after death. The bodies were then cast into the cave where they had sought to hide, and great stones were rolled against the entrance.

The flight of the allies was past Beth-boron and Azekah to Makkedah. Azekah is not identified, but it is named with Gederoth, Beth-dagon, and Naamah (Jos 15:41). These are probably represented by Qatrah, Dajan and Na‘aneh, so that in this district Makkedah may be sought. The officers of the Palestine Exploration Fund agree in suggesting el-Mughdr, "the cave," on the northern bank of Wady es-Surar, about 4 miles from the sand dunes on the shore. There are traces of old quarrying and many rock-cut tombs with loculi. "The village stands on a sort of promontory stretching into the valley .... divided into three plateaus; on the lower of these to the South is the modern village, el-Mughar, built in front of the caves which are cut out of the sandstone" (Warren). In no other place in the neighborhood are caves found. The narrative, however, speaks not of caves, but of "the cave," as of one which was notable. On the other hand the events narrated may have lent distinction to some particular cave among the many. "The cave" would therefore be that associated with the fate of the 5 kings. No certainty is possible.

W. Ewing


mak’-tesh, (ha-makhtesh, "the mortar"; compare Jud 15:19, "the mortar," English Versions of the Bible "hollow place that is in Lehi"): A quarter of Jerusalem so named, it is supposed, on account of the configuration of the ground and associated (Ze 1:10,11) with the "fish gate" and MISHNEH (which see) or "second quarter." Most authorities think it was in the northern part of the city, and many consider that the name was derived from the hollowed-out form of that part of the Tyropeon just N. of the walls, where foreign merchants congregated; others have suggested a hollow farther West, now occupied by the muristan and the three long bazaars.

E. W. G. Masterman



1. Name of the Prophet

2. The Prophet’s Times

3. Contents

4. Style

5. Message


1. Name of the Prophet:

The last book of the Old Testament. Nothing is known of the person of Malachi. Because his name does not occur elsewhere, some scholars indeed doubt whether "Malachi" is intended to be the personal name of the prophet. But none of the other prophetic books of the Old Testament is anonymous. The form mal’akhi, signifies "my messenger"; it occurs again in 3:1; compare 2:7. But this form of itself would hardly be appropriate as a proper name without some additional syllable such as Yah, whence mal’akhiah, i.e. "messenger of Yahweh." Haggai, in fact, is expressly designated "messenger of Yahweh" (Hag 1:13). Besides, the superscriptions prefixed to the book, in both the Septuagint and the Vulgate, warrant the supposition that Malachi’s full name ended with the syllable -yah. At the same time the Septuagint translates the last clause of Mal 1:1, "by the hand of his messenger," and the Targum reads, "by the hand of my angel, whose name is called Ezra the scribe." Jerome likewise testifies that the Jews of his day ascribed this last book of prophecy to Ezra (V. Praef. in duodecim Prophetas). But if Ezra’s name was originally associated with the book, it would hardly have been dropped by the collectors of the prophetic Canon who, lived only a century or two subsequent to Ezra’s time. Certain traditions ascribe the book to Zerubbabel and Nehemiah; others, still, to Malachi, whom they designate as a Levite and a member of the "Great Synagogue." Certain modern scholars, however, on the basis of the similarity of the title (1:1) to Zec 9:1; 12:1, declare it to be anonymous; but this is a rash conclusion without any substantial proof other than supposition. The best explanation is that of Professor G.G. Cameron, who suggests that the termination of the word "Malachi" is adjectival, and equivalent to the Latin angelicus, signifying "one charged with a message or mission" (a missionary). The term would thus be an official title; and the thought would not be unsuitable to one whose message closed the prophetical Canon of the Old Testament, and whose mission in behalf of the church was so sacred in character (1-vol HDB).

2. The Prophet’s Times:

Opinions vary as to the prophet’s exact date, but nearly all scholars are agreed that Malachi prophesied during the Persian period, and after the reconstruction and dedication of the second temple in 516 BC (compare Mal 1:10; 3:1,10). The prophet speaks of the people’s governor" (Hebrew pechah, Mal 1:8), as do Haggai and Nehemiah (Hag 1:1; Ne 5:14; 12:26). The social conditions portrayed are unquestionably those also of the period of the Restoration. More specifically, Malachi probably lived and labored during the times of Ezra and Nehemiah. Serious abuses had crept into Jewish life; the priests had become lax and degenerate, defective and inferior sacrifices were allowed to be offered upon the temple altar, the people were neglecting their tithes, divorce was common and God’s covenant was forgotten and ignored; just such abuses as we know from the Book of Ne were common in his day (compare Ne 3:5; 5:1-13). Yet, it is doubtful whether Malachi preached during Nehemiah’s active governorship; for in Mal 1:8 it is implied that gifts might be offered to the "governor," whereas Nehemiah tells us that he declined all such (Ne 5:15,18). On the other hand, the abuses which Malachi attacked correspond so exactly with those which Nehemiah found on his 2nd visit to Jerusalem in 432 BC (Ne 13:7 ) that it seems reasonably certain that he prophesied shortly before that date, i.e. between 445 and 432 BC. As Dr. J.M.P. Smith says, The Book of Mal fits the situation amid which Nehemiah worked as snugly as a bone fits its socket" (ICC, 7). That the prophet should exhort the people to remember the law of Moses, which was publicly read by Ezra in the year 444 BC, is in perfect agreement with this conclusion, despite the fact that Stade, Cornill and Kautzsch argue for a date prior to the time of Ezra. On the other hand, Nagelsbach, Kohler, Orelli, Reuss and Volck rightly place the book in the period between the two visits of Nehemiah (445-432 BC).

3. Contents:

The book, in the main, is composed of two extended polemics against the priests (Mal 1:6-2:9) and the people (Mal 2:10-4:3), opening with a clear, sharp statement of the prophet’s chief thesis that Yahweh still loves Israel (Mal 1:2-5), and closing with an exhortation to remember the Law of Moses (Mal 4:4-6). After the title or superscription (Mal 1:1) the prophecy falls naturally into seven divisions:

(1) Malachi 1:2-5, in which Malachi shows that Yahweh still loves Israel because their lot stands in such marked contrast to Edom’s. They were temporarily disciplined; Edom was forever punished.

(2) Malachi 1:6-2:9, a denunciation of the priests, the Levites, who have become neglectful of their sacerdotal office, indifferent to the Law, and unmindful of their covenant relationship to Yahweh.

(3) Malachi 2:10-16, against idolatry and divorce. Some interpret this section metaphorically of Judah as having abandoned the religion of his youth (2:11). But idolatry and divorce were closely related. The people are obviously rebuked for literally putting away their own Jewish wives in order to contract marriage with foreigners (2:15). Such marriages, the prophet declares, are not only a form of idolatry (2:11), but a violation of Yahweh’s intention to preserve to Himself a "godly seed" (2:15).

(4) Malachi 2:17-3:6, an announcement of coming judgment. Men are beginning to doubt whether there is longer a God of justice (2:17). Malachi replies that the Lord whom the people seek will suddenly come, both to purify the sons of Levi and to purge the land of sinners in general. The nation, however, will not be utterly consumed (3:6).

(5) Malachi 3:7-12, in which the prophet pauses to give another concrete example of the people’s sins: they have failed to pay their tithes and other dues. Accordingly, drought, locusts, and famine have ensued. Let these be paid and the nation will again prosper, and their land will become "a delightsome land."

(6) Malachi 3:13-4:3, a second section addressed to the doubters of the prophet’s age. In 2:17, they had said, "Where is the God of justice?" They now murmur: "It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept his charge?" The wicked and the good alike prosper (3:14,15). But, the prophet replies, Yahweh knows them that are His, and a book of remembrance is being kept; for a day of judgment is coming when the good and the evil will be distinguished; those who work iniquity will be exterminated, while those who do righteously will triumph.

(7) Malachi 4:4-6, a concluding exhortation to obey the Mosaic Law; with a promise that Elijah the prophet will first come to avert, if possible, the threatened judgment by reconciling the hearts of the nation to one another, i.e. to reconcile the ideals of the old to those of the young, and vice versa.

4. Style:

Malachi was content to write prose. His Hebrew is clear and forceful and direct; sometimes almost rhythmical. His figures are as numerous as should be expected in the brief remnants of his sermons which have come down to us, and in every case they are chaste and beautiful (1:6; 3:2,3,17; 4:1-3). His statements are bold and correspondingly effective. The most original feature in his style is the lecture-like method which characterizes his book throughout; more particularly that of question and answer. His style is that of the scribes. It is known as the didactic-dialectic method, consisting first of an assertion or charge, then a fancied objection raised by his hearers, and finally the prophet’s refutation of their objection. Eight distinct examples of this peculiarity are to be found in his book, each one containing the same clause in Hebrew, "Yet ye say" (1:2,6,7; 2:14,17; 3:7,8,13). This debating style is especially characteristic of Malachi. Ewald called it "the dialogistic" method. Malachi shows the influence of the schools (compare his use of "also" and "again" in 1:13; 2:13, which is equivalent to our "firstly," "secondly," etc.).

5. Message:

Malachi’s message has a permanent value for us as well as an immediate value for his own time. He was an intense patriot, and accordingly his message was clean-cut and severe. His primary aim was to encourage a disheartened people who were still looking for Haggai’s and Zechariah’s optimistic predictions to be fulfilled. Among the lessons of abiding value are the following:

(1) That ritual is an important element in religion, but not as an end in itself. Tithes and offerings are necessary, but only as the expression of sincere moral and deeply spiritual life (Mal 1:11).

(2) That a cheap religion avails nothing, and that sacrifices given grudgingly are displeasing to God. Better a temple closed than filled with such worshippers (Mal 1:8-10).

(3) That divorce and intermarriage with heathen idolaters thwarts the purpose of God in securing to Himself a peculiar people, whose family life is sacred because it is the nursery of a "godly seed" (Mal 2:15).

(4) That there is eternal discipline in the Law. Malachi places the greatest emphasis upon the necessity of keeping the Mosaic Law. The priests, he says, are the custodians and expounders of the Law. At their mouth the people should seek knowledge. "To undervalue the Law is easy; to appraise it is a much harder task" (Welch). With Malachi, no less than with Christ Himself, not one jot or tittle should ever pass away or become obsolete.


Driver, "Minor Prophets," II, NewCentury Bible (1906); G. A. Smith, "The Book of the Twelve Prophets," Expositor’s Bible (1898); Dods, Post-Exilian Prophets: "Hag," "Zec," "Mal"; "Handbooks for Bible Classes"; J. M. P. Smith, ICC (1912). Among the numerous other commentaries on Mal may be mentioned: Eiselen (1907), Marti (1903), Nowack (1903), Orelli (1908), Wellhausen (1898), Van Hoonacker (1908) and Isopeocul (1908). The various Introductions to the Old Testament should also be consulted, notably those by Driver (1910), Strack (1906), Wildeboer (1903), Gautier (1906), Cornill (1907), Konig (1893); and the articles entitled "Malachi" in the various Dicts. and Bible Encs: e.g. in Encyclopedia Biblica (1902), by C. 0. Torrey; in HDB (1901), by A. O. Welch; in 1-vol HDB (1909), by G. G. Cameron; and RE (1905), by Volck.

George L. Robinson


mal’-a-ki: Another form of the name of the prophet "Malachi" (which see), found in the Revised Version (British and American) and the King James Version of 2 Esdras 1:40.


mal’-kam (malkam, "their king"; the King James Version Maleham):

(1) A chief of the Benjamites, son of Shaharaim (1Ch 8:9).

(2) The name of an idol as well as the possessive pronominal form of melekh, "king" (2Sa 12:30 the Revised Version margin; Jer 49:1,3 Septuagint Melchol); Ze 1:5). In Am 1:15 it appears to be best translated "their king," as in both the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American). Only a careful examination of the context can determine whether the word is the proper name of the idol (Moloch) or the 3rd personal possessive pronoun for king. The idol is also spelt "Milcom" and "Molech."


mal-ki-shoo’-a (malkishua‘, "my king saves"): One of the sons of Saul (1Sa 14:49; 31:2, the King James Version "Melchishua"; 1Ch 8:33; 9:39). He was slain by the Philistines with his brothers at the battle of Gilboa (1Ch 10:2; 1Sa 31:2).





mal’-ki-el (malki’el, "God is king"): Grandson of Asher (Ge 46:17; Nu 26:45; 1Ch 7:31).


mal’-ki-el-its (malki’eli): Descendants of Malchiel (Nu 26:45).


mal-ki’-ja (malkiyah, "Yah is king"; Melcheias, with variants):

(1) A Levite, descendant of Gershom, of those whom David set over the "service of sting" in the worship (1Ch 6:40).

(2) The head of the 5th course of priests (1Ch 24:9).

(3) One of the laymen who had taken "strange wives" during the exile (Ezr 10:25); the "Melchias" of 1 Esdras 9:26.

(4) Another of the same name (Ezr 10:25; two in same verse). Called "Asibias" in 1 Esdras 9:26.

(5) Another under the same offense, son of Harim (Ezr 10:31). "Melchias" in 1 Esdras 9:32.

(6) One of the "repairers" who helped with the "tower of the furnaces" (Ne 3:11).

(7) Son of Rechab ruler of Beth-haccerem, repairer of the dung gate (Ne 3:14).

(8) A goldsmith who helped in building the walls of Jerusalem (Ne 3:31).

(9) One of those at Ezra’s left hand when he read the law (though possibly one of the above (Ne 8:4)). In 1 Esdras 9:44 "Melchias."

(10) One of the covenant signatories (Ne 10:3).

(11) The father of Pashhur (Ne 11:12; Jer 21:1; 38:1).

(12) A priest, a singer at the dedication of the walls of Jerusalem under Ezra and Nehemiah (Ne 12:42).

(13) (malkiyahu as above with u ending): Son of Ham-melech (or, as 1Ki 22:26; 2Ch 28:7 translate it, "king’s son"). Jeremiah was cast into his dungeon or pit (Jer 38:6).

The King James Version spells "Malchiah" or "Malchijah" indifferently with "Melchiah" in Jer 21:1; the English Revised Version has "Malchiah" in Jer 21:1; 38:1,6, elsewhere "Malchijah"; the American Standard Revised Version has "Malchijah" throughout.

Henry Wallace


mal-ki’-ram (malkiram, "uplifted king"): Son of Jeconiah, descendant of David (1Ch 3:18).


mal’-kus (Malchos, from melekh, i.e. "counselor" or "king"): The name of the servant of the high priest Caiaphas whose right ear was smitten off by Simon Peter at the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (compare Mt 26:51; Mr 14:47; Lu 22:50; Joh 18:10). It is noteworthy that Luke "the physician" alone gives an account of the healing of the wound (Lu 22:51). As Jesus "touched his ear, and healed him," the ear was not entirely severed from the head. The words of Jesus, "Suffer ye thus far," may have been addressed either to the disciples, i.e. "Suffer ye that I thus far show kindness to my captors," or to those about to bind him, i.e. asking a short respite to heal Malchus. They were not addressed directly to Peter, as the Greek form is plural, whereas in Mt 26:52; Joh 18:11, where, immediately after the smiting of Malchus, Jesus does address Peter, the singular form is used; nor do the words of Jesus there refer to the healing but to the action of his disciple. A kinsman of Malchus, also a servant of the high priest, was one of those who put the questions which made Peter deny Jesus (Joh 18:26).

C. M. Kerr



(1) zakhar, zakhar, zakhur (the root means "to stand out," "to be prominent," here a physiological differentiation of the sex, as neqebhah, "female," which see);

(2) ‘ish literally, "man";

(3) by circumlocution, only in the books of Samuel and Kings, mashtin beqir; ouron pros toichon, which the Revised Version (British and American) euphemistically renders "man-child" (1Sa 25:22,34; 1Ki 14:10)):

Gesenius has rightly pointed out that this phrase designates young boys, who do not as yet wear clothes, of whom the above description is accurate, while it does not apply in the case of adults, even in the modern Orient. We know this from the statement of Herodotus ii.35, relating to Egypt, and from Jud 3:24; 1Sa 24:3. The Greek translates these words with arsen, arrhen, while 1 Macc 5:28,51 has the adjective arsenikos.

The above words (the phrase mashtin beqir excepted) are used promiscuously of animals and men, e.g. "Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee seven and seven, the male (’ish) and his female, of the birds also of the heavens, seven and seven, male (zakhar) and female" (Ge 7:2,3). A careful distinction was made in the use of male and female animals in the rules concerning sacrifice; in some offerings none but males were allowed, in others females were permitted along with the males (Le 3:6). The same distinction was made in the valuation of the different sexes (Ge 32:14,15; Le 27:5). Certain priestly portions were permitted to the Levites or the male descendants of Aaron for food, while women were not permitted to partake of the same (Nu 18:10,11).

As a rule Jewish parents (as is now common in the Orient) preferred male children to daughters. This is seen from the desire for male progeny (1Sa 1:8-18) and from the ransom paid for firstborn sons to Yahweh (Ex 13:12; Lu 2:23). It was reserved to the New Testament to proclaim the equality of the sexes, as it does of races and conditions of men: "There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus" (Ga 3:28).


Among the prominent sins of oriental peoples, "the abominations of the nations which Yahweh drove out before the children of Israel" was one of the most heinous character, that of sodomy, against which God’s people are repeatedly warned. The Greek expression for the devotee of this vice is a compound noun, arsenokoites, literally, "he who lies with man," the abuser of himself with mankind, the sodomite (1Co 6:9), while the Hebrew qadhesh, literally means the (male) devotee of lascivious and licentious idolatry (De 23:17; 1Ki 14:24; 15:12; 22:46; 2Ki 23:7; Job 36:14).

H. L. E. Luering


mal-e-fak’-ter (kakopoios, "a bad doer," i.e. "evildoer," "criminal"; kakourgos, "a wrongdoer"): The former occurs in Joh 18:30 the King James Version, the latter, which is the stronger term, in Lu 23:32,39. The former describes the subject as doing or making evil, the latter as creating or originating the bad, and hence, designates the more energetic, aggressive, initiating type of criminality.


ma-le’-le-el, mal’-e-lel (Maleleel, the King James Version): Greek form of "Mahalalel" (Lu 3:37); the Revised Version (British and American) "Mahalaleel."


mal’-is, ma-lig’-ni-ti (kakia, poneros, kakoetheia): "Malice," now used in the sense of deliberate ill-will, by its derivation means badness, or wickedness generally, and was so used in Older English. In the Apocrypha it is the translation of kakia, "evil," "badness" (The Wisdom of Solomon 12:10,20; 16:14; 2 Macc 4:50, the Revised Version (British and American) "wickedness"); in Ecclesiasticus 27:30; 28:7, we have "malice" in the more restricted sense as the translation of menis, "confirmed anger." In the New Testament "malice" and "maliciousness" are the translation of kakia (Ro 1:29; 1Co 5:8; 14:20; Col 3:8); malicious is the translation of poneros, "evil" (3 Joh 1:10, the Revised Version (British and American) "wicked"); it also occurs in Additions to Esther 13:4,7, verse 4, "malignant"; The Wisdom of Solomon 1:4, the Revised Version (British and American) that deviseth evil"; 2 Macc 5:23; malignity occurs in Ro 1:29 as the translation of kakoetheia, "evil disposition"; "maliciously," Susanna verses 43,62; 2 Macc 14:11, the Revised Version (British and American) "having ill will."

W. L. Walker





mal’-o-thi, ma-lo’-thi (mallothi, "my discourse"): Son of Heman, a Kohathite singer (1Ch 6:33; 25:4). The song service in the house of the Lord was apportioned by David and the captains of the host to the 3 families of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun (1Ch 25:1). Their place in the "courses" was, however, settled by "lot" (1Ch 25:8,9). Mallothi was one of Heman’s 17 children—14 sons and 3 daughters (1Ch 25:5)—and was chief of the 19th course of twelve singers into which the temple choir was divided (1Ch 25:26).

Henry Wallace





mal’-uk (mallukh, "counsellor"):

(1) A Levite of the sons of Merari, ancestor of Ethan the singer (1Ch 6:44; compare 6:29).

(2) Son of Bani, among those who had foreign wives (Ezr 10:29). He is a descendant of Judah (1Ch 9:4) and is the Mamuchus of 1 Esdras 9:30.

(3) A descendant of Harim, who married a foreign wife (Ezr 10:32).

(4) (5) Two who sealed the covenant with Nehemiah (Ne 10:4,27).

(6) Possibly the same as (4). One of the priests who returned with Zerubbabel (Ne 12:2). Doubtless the Melicu of verse 14’s margin.

Henry Wallace


mal’-u-ki (mallukhi, "my counselor"): A family of priests that came over with Zerubbabel (Ne 10:4; 12:14). May be the patronymic MALLUCH, (4) (which see).


mal’-us (Mallos; the King James Version, Mallos): A city in Cilicia, the inhabitants of which along with those of Tarsus, revolted from Antiochus Epiphanes in protest against his action in giving them to his concubine, Antiochis (2 Macc 4:30). The ancient name was Marlos. The river Pyramos divides about 10 miles from the sea, one branch flowing to the West, the other to the East of the low range of hills along the coast on which stands Kara-Tash. Mallus stood on a height (Strabo, 675) to the East of the western arm, a short distance from the shore. The site is a little West of Kara-Tash, where inscriptions of Antiocheia and Mallus have been found. Tarsus lay about 35 miles to the Northwest. The two cities were rivals in trade. The position of Mallus with her harbor on the shore gave her really no advantage over Tarsus, with her river navigable to the city walls. The fine wagon road over the mountain by way of the Cilician Gates opened for her easy access to the interior, compared with that furnished for Mallus by the old caravan track to the North by way of Adana. This sufficiently explains the greater prosperity of the former city.

W. Ewing


mal-o-bath’-ron: the Revised Version margin suggests that this translation may be right instead of Bether in the phrase hare bether (So 2:17). But this spice never grew wild in Palestine, and so could hardly have given its name to a mountain, or mountain range. The name Bether ought therefore to be retained, notwithstanding Wellhausen (Prol. 2, 415). The spice is the leaf of the Cassia lignea tree.


mal-ta-ne’-us (Maltannaios, Codex Vaticanus and Swete; Altannaios, Codex Alexandrinus and Fritzsche—the "M" being perhaps dropped because of the final "M" in the preceding word; the King James Version Altaneus): One of the sons of Asom who put away his "strange wife" (1 Esdras 9:33) =" Mattenai" in Ezr 10:33.



See SAMAIAS, (3).


mam’-da-i, mam’-di (LXX: Codex Vaticanus Mamdai; Codex Alexandrinus Mandai): One of those who consented to put away their "strange wives" at Esdras’ order (1 Esdras 9:34) = the King James Version "Mabdai" =" Benaiah" in Ezr 10:35.


mam’-un (Mamonas): A common Aramaic word (mamon) for riches, used in Mt 6:24 and in Lu 16:9,11,13. In these passages mammon merely means wealth, and is called "unrighteous," because the abuse of riches is more frequent than their right use. In Lu 16:13 there is doubtless personification, but there is no proof that there was in New Testament times a Syrian deity called Mammon. The application of the term in Matthew is apparent and requires no comment. In Lk, however, since the statement, "Make to yourselves friends out of the mammon of unrighteousness," follows as a comment on the parable of the Unjust Steward, there is danger of the inference that Jesus approved the dishonest conduct of the steward and advised His disciples to imitate his example. On the contrary, the statement is added more as a corrective against this inference than as an application. ‘Do not infer,’ He says, that honesty in the use of money is a matter of indifference. He that is unfaithful in little is unfaithful in much. So if you are not wise in the use of earthly treasure how can you hope to be entrusted with heavenly treasure?’ The commendation is in the matter of foresight, not in the method. The steward tried to serve two masters, his lord and his lord’s creditors, but the thing could not be done, as the sequel shows. Neither can men serve both God and riches exalted as an object of slavish servitude. Wealth, Jesus teaches, does not really belong to men, but as stewards they may use wealth prudently unto their eternal advantage. Instead of serving God and mammon alike we may serve God by the use of wealth, and thus lay up treasures for ourselves in heaven. Again, the parable is not to be interpreted as teaching that the wrong of dishonest gain may be atoned for by charity. Jesus is not dealing with the question of reparation. The object is to point out how one may best use wealth, tainted or otherwise, with a view to the future.

Russell Benjamin Miller


mam-ni-ta-ne’-mus (Mamnitanaimos; Codex Vaticanus Mamtitanaimos; the King James Version, Mamnitanaimus): 1 Esdras 9:34, where it represents the two names Mattaniah and Mattenai in the parallel Ezr 10:37, which probably represent only one person. It must be a corruption of these names. The Aldine gives a still more corrupt form, Mamnimatanaimos.


mam’-re (mamre’; Septuagint Mambre):

(1) In Ge 14:24 Mamre is mentioned as the name of one of Abraham’s allies, who in 14:13 is described as the Amorite, brother of Eschcol and Aner.

1. Biblical Data:

The name of the grove of trees is evidently considered as derived from this sheikh or chieftain. The "oaks" ("terebinths") of Mamre where Abram pitched his tent (Ge 14:13; 18:1) are described (Ge 13:18) as "in Hebron." Later on MACHPELAH (which see) is described as "before," i.e. "to the East of Mamre" (Ge 23:17; 25:9; 49:30; 50:13), and Mamre is identified with Hebron itself (Ge 23:19).

2. Traditional Sites:

While Mamre has always been looked for in the vicinity of Hebron, the traditions have varied greatly, determined apparently by the presence of a suitable tree. The one site which has a claim on grounds other than tradition is that called Khirbet and ‘Ain Nimreh (literally, the "ruin" and "spring" of "the leopard"), about 1/2 mile North-Northwest of modern Hebron. The word Nimreh may be a survival of the ancient Mamre, the name, as often happens, being assimilated by a familiar word. The site is a possible one, but, beyond this, the name has not much to commend it.

Tradition has centered round three different sites at various periods:

(1) The modern tradition points to a magnificent oak (Quercus ilex, Arabic Sindian), 1 1/2 miles West-Northwest of the modern city, as the terebinth of Abraham; its trunk has a girth of 32 ft. It is now in a dying condition, but when Robinson visited it (BR, II, 72, 81) it was in fine condition; he mentions a Mohammedan tradition that this was "Abraham’s oak." Since then the site had been bought by the Russians, a hospice and church have been erected, and the tradition, though of no antiquity, has become crystallized.

(2) The second tradition, which flourished from the 16th century down to the commencement of the 19th century, pointed to the hill of Deir el Arba‘in (see HEBRON) as that of Mamre, relying especially, no doubt, in its inception on the identity of Mamre and Hebron (Ge 23:19). A magnificent terebinth which stood there was pointed out as that of Abraham. The site agrees well with the statement that the cave of Machpelah was "before," i.e. to the East of Mamre (Ge 23:17, etc.).

(3) The third and much older tradition, mentioned in several Christian writers, refers to a great terebinth which once stood in an enclosure some 2 miles North of Hebron, near the road to Jerusalem. It is practically certain that the site of this enclosure is the strange Ramet el-Khalil. This is an enclosure some 214 ft. long and 162 ft. wide. The enclosing walls are made of extremely fine and massive masonry and are 6 ft. thick; the stones are very well laid and the jointing is very fine, but the building was evidently never completed. In one corner is a well—Bir el-Khalil—lined with beautiful ashlar masonry, cut to the curve of the circumference.

It is probable that this enclosure surrounded a magnificent terebinth; if so, it was at this spot that before the days of Constantine a great annual fair was held, attended by Jews, Christians and heathen who united a pay honor to the sacred tree, while the well was on the same occasion illuminated, and offerings were made to it. Similar customs survive today at several shrines in Palestine. Constantine suppressed these "superstitions," and built a church in the neighborhood, probably the so-called "Abraham’s house," Beit Ibrahim of today. The tree which stood here is apparently that mentioned by Josephus (BJ, IV, ix, 7) as having continued "since the creation of the world." At this enclosure, too, Jewish women and children were sold at auction after the suppression of the revolt of Bar Cochba. Whatever the origin of the veneration paid to this terebinth—now long centuries dead and gone—early Christian tradition associated it with Abraham and located Mamre here. This tradition is mentioned by Jerome (4th century), by Eucherius (6th century), by Areulphus (700 AD) and by Benjamin of Tudela (1163 AD). Among the modern Jews it is looked upon as the site of "Abraham’s oak." It is probable that the view that Abraham was connected with this tree is one attached to it much later than its original sanctity; it was originally one of the many "holy trees" of the land venerated by primitive Semitic religions feeling, and the nearness of Hebron caused the Bible story to be attached to it. Judging from the Bible data, it appears to be too far from Hebron and Machpelah to suit the conditions; the site of Mamre must have been nearer to Deir el Arba‘in, but it has probably been entirely lost since very early times.

For a very good discussion about Mamre see Mambre by Le R. P. Abel des Freres Precheurs in the Conferences de Saint Etienne, 1909-10 (Paris).

(2) An Amorite chief, owner of the "oaks" mentioned above (Ge 14:13,14).

E. W. G. Masterman


ma-mu’-kus (Mamouchos): One of those who put away their "strange wives" (1 Esdras 9:30); identical with "Malluch" in Ezr 10:29.




(ho anthropos tes hamartias; many ancient authorities read, "man of lawlessness," anomias):

1. The Pauline Description:

The name occurs in Paul’s remarkable announcement in 2Th 2:3-10 of the manifestation of a colossal anti-Christian power prior to the advent, which some of the Thessalonians had been misled into thinking of as immediately impending (2:2). That "day of the Lord," the apostle declares, will not come till, as he had previously taught them (2:5), there has first been a great apostasy and the revelation of "the man of sin" (or "of lawlessness"; compare 2:8), named also "the son of perdition" (2:3). This "lawless one" (2:8) would exalt himself above all that is called God, or is an object of worship; he would sit in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God (2:4). For the time another power restrained his manifestation; when that was removed, he would be revealed (2:6,7). Then "the mystery of lawlessness," which was already working, would attain its full development (2:7,8). The coming of this "man of sin," in the power of Satan, would be with lying wonders and all deceit of unrighteousness, whereby many would be deceived to their destruction (2:9,10). But only for a season (2:6). Jesus would slay (or consume) him with the breath of His mouth (compare Isa 11:4), and bring him to nought by the manifestation of His coming (2Th 2:8).

2. The Varying Interpretations:

Innumerable are theories and speculations to which this Pauline passage has given rise a very full account of these may be seen in the essay on "The Man of Sin" appended to Dr. J. Eadie’s posthumous Commentary on Thessalonians, and in Lunemann’s Commentary, 222 ff, English translation).

(1) There is the view, favored by "moderns," that the passage contains no genuine prediction (Paul "could not know" the future), but represents a speculation of the apostle’s own, based on Da 8:23 ff; 11:36 ff, and on current ideas of Antichrist (see ANTICHRIST; BELIAL; compare Bousset, Der Antichrist, 93 ff, etc.). This view will not satisfy those who believe in the reality of Paul’s apostleship and inspiration.

(2) Some connect the description with Caligula, Nero, or other of the Roman emperors. Caligula, indeed, ordered supplication to be made to himself as the supreme god and wished to set up his statue in the temple of Jerusalem (Suet. Calig. xxii.33; Josephus, Ant, XVIII, viii). But this was long before Paul’s visit to Thessalonica, and the acts of such a madman could not furnish the basis of a prediction so elaborate and important as the present (compare Lunemann and Bousset).

(3) The favorite Protestant interpretation refers the prediction to the papacy, in whom, it is contended, many of the blasphemous features of Paul’s representation are unmistakably realized. The "temple of God" is here understood to be the church; the restraining power the Roman empire; "the man of sin" not an individual, but the personification of an institution or system. It is cult, however, to resist the impression that the apostle regards "the mystery of lawlessness" as culminating in an individual—a personal Antichrist—and in any case the representation outstrips everything that can be conceived of as even nominally Christian.

(4) There remains the view held by most of the Fathers, and in recent times widely adopted, that "the man of sin" of this passage is an individual in whom, previous to the advent, sin will embody itself in its most lawless and God-denying form. The attempts to identify this individual with historical characters may be set aside; but the idea is not thereby invalidated. The difficulty is that the apostle evidently conceives of the manifestation of the "man of sin" as taking place, certainly not immediately, but at no very remote period—not 2,000 years later—and as connected directly with the final advent of Christ, and the judgment on the wicked (compare 2Th 1:7-9), without apparently any reference to a "millennial" period, either before or after.

It seems safest, in view of the difficulties of the passage, to confine one’s self to the general idea it embodies, leaving details to be interpreted by the actual fulfillment.

3. The Essential Idea:

There is much support in Scripture—not least in Christ’s own teaching (compare Mt 13:30,37-43; 24:11-14; Lu 18:8)—for the belief that before the final triumph of Christ’s kingdom there will be a period of great tribulation, of decay of faith, of apostasy, of culmination of both good and evil ("Let both grow together until the harvest," Mt 13:30), with the seeming triumph for the time of the evil over the good. There will be a crisis-time—sharp, severe, and terminated by a decisive interposition of the Son of Man ("the manifestation of his coming," the Revised Version margin "Gr presence"), in what precise form may be left undetermined. Civil law and government—the existing bulwark against anarchy (in Paul’s time represented by the Roman power)—will be swept away by the rising tide of evil, and lawlessness will prevail. It may be that impiety will concentrate itself, as the passage says, in some individual head; or this may belong to the form of the apostle’s apprehension in a case where "times and seasons" were not yet fully revealed: an apprehension to be enlarged by subsequent revelations (see REVELATION OF JOHN), or left to be corrected by the actual course of God’s providence. The kernel of the prediction is not, any more than in the Old Testament prophecies, dependent on its literal realization in every detail. Neither does the final manifestation of evil exclude partial and anticipatory realizations, embodying many of the features of the prophecy.


James Orr


See WAR.


nat’-u-ral, nach’-u-ral (psuchikos anthropos): Man as he is by nature, contrasted with man as he becomes by grace. This phrase is exclusively Pauline.

I. Biblical Meaning.

The classical passage in which it occurs is 1Co 2:14 King James Version: "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." In his anthropology Paul uses four groups of descriptive adjectives in contrasted pairs:

(1) the old man and the new man (Ro 6:6; Eph 4:22; Col 3:9; Eph 2:15; 4:24; Col 3:10);

(2) the outward man and the inward man (2Co 4:16; Ro 7:22; Eph 3:16);

(3) the carnal man and the spiritual man (Ro 8:1-14; 1Co 3:1,3,4);

(4) the natural man and the spiritual man (2Co 2:14; 3:3,4; Eph 2:3; 1Co 2:15; 3:1; 14:37; 15:46; Ga 6:1).

A study of these passages will show that the adjectives "old," "outward," "carnal," and "natural" describe man, from different points of view, prior to his conversion; while the adjectives "new," "inward" and "spiritual" describe him, from different points of view, after his conversion. To elucidate the meaning, the expositor must respect these antitheses and let the contrasted words throw light and meaning upon each other.

1. The Old Man:

The "old man" is the "natural man" considered chronologically—prior to that operation of the Holy Spirit by which he is renovated into the "new man."

The old house is the house as it was before it was remodeled; an old garment is the garment as it was before it was re-fashioned; and the "old man" is man as he was before he was regenerated and sanctified by the grace of the Spirit. "Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" (Ro 6:6 the King James Version). Here the "old man" is called the "body of sin," as the physical organism is called the body of the soul or spirit, and is to be "crucified" and "destroyed," in order that man may no longer be the "servant of sin." "Put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt. .... Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph 4:22,24 the King James Version). Here the "old man" is said to be "corrupt," and we are called upon to "put it off." The figure is that of putting off old clothes which are unclean, and putting on those garments which have come from the wash clean and snowy white. We have the same idea, in different language and with a slightly different imagery.

When Paul calls the "natural man" the "old man," and describes it as the "body of sin" which is "corrupt" in its nature and "deeds," and tells us that it must be "crucified" and "destroyed" and "put off" in order that we may "not serve sin," but may have "righteousness" and "true holiness" and "knowledge" and the "image" of God, we get some conception of the moral meaning which he is endeavoring to convey by these contrasts (Ga 5:19-24). He has reference to that sinful nature in man which is as old as the individual, as old as the race of which he is a member, which must be graciously renovated according to that gospel which he preached to Corinthians, Colossians, Ephesians, Romans and all the world.

See OLD MAN; MAN, I, 3.

2. The Outward Man:

The apostle also establishes a contrast between "the inward man" and "the outward man." "Though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day" (2Co 4:16). Now what sort of man is the "outward man" as contrasted with the "inward man"? In Greek, the exo-anthropos is set over against the eso-anthropos.


"The contrast here drawn between the ‘outward’ and the ‘inward man,’ though illustrated by the contrast in Ro 7:22 between the ‘law in the members’ and ‘the inner man,’ and in Eph 4:22; Col 3:9 between ‘the old man’ and ‘the new man’ is not precisely the same. Those contrasts relate to the difference between the sensual and the moral nature, ‘the flesh’ and ‘the spirit’; this to the difference between the material and the spiritual nature" (Stanley, in the place cited.).

"The outward man" is the body, and "the inward man" is the soul, or immaterial principle in the human make-up. As the body is wasted by the afflictions of life, the soul is renewed; what is death to the body is life to the soul; as afflictions depotentiate man’s physical organism, they impotentiate man’s spiritual principle. That is, the afflictions of life, culminating in death itself, have diametrically opposite effects upon the body and upon the soul. They kill the one; they quicken the other.

"The inward man" is the whole human nature as renewed and indwelt and dominated by the Spirit of God as interpenetrated by the spirit of grace. As the one is broken down by the adverse dispensations of life, the other is upbuilt by the sanctifying discipline of the Spirit.

3. The Carnal Man:

There is another Pauline antithesis which it is necessary for us to interpret in order to understand what he means by the "natural man." It is the distinction which he draws between the "carnal mind" and the "spiritual mind." The critical reference is Ro 8:1-14. In this place the "carnal mind" is identified with the "law of death," and the "spiritual mind" is identified with the "law of the Spirit." These two "laws" are two principles and codes: the one makes man to be at "enmity against God" and leads to "death"; the other makes him the friend of God, and conducts to "life and peace." The word "carnal" connotes all that is fallen and sinful and unregenerate in man’s nature. In its gross sense the "carnal" signifies that which is contrary to nature, or nature expressing itself in low and bestial forms of sin.

4. The Natural Man:

The "natural man" is the "old man," the "outward man," the "carnal man"—man as he is by nature, as he is firstborn, contra-distinguished to man as he is changed by the Spirit, as he is second-born or regenerated. There. is an "old" life, an "outward" life, a "carnal" life, a "natural" life, as contrasted with the "new" life, the "inward" life, the "spiritual" life, the "gracious" life. The "natural man" is a bold and vivid personification of that depraved nature which we inherit from Adam fallen, the source and seat of all actual and personal transgressions.

II. Theological Meaning.

We know what we mean by the nature of the lion, by the nature of the lamb. We are using perfectly comprehensible language when we speak of the lion as naturally fierce, and of the lamb when we say he is naturally gentle. We have reference to the dominant dispositions of these animals, that resultant of their qualities which defines their character and spontaneity. So we are perfectly plain when we say that man is naturally sinful. We are but saying that sinfulness is to man what fierceness is to the lion, what gentleness is to the lamb. The "natural man" is a figure of speech for that sinful human nature, common to us all. It is equivalent to the theological phrases: the "sinful inclination," the "evil disposition," the "apostate will," "original sin," "native depravity." It manifests itself in the understanding as blindness, in the heart as hardness, in the will as obstinacy.

See MAN.

Robert Alexander Webb








man’-child (American Standard Revised Version; "man child," the English Revised Version; not in the King James Version; mashtin beqir): The expression is used with the meaning of "male," but is found only in the description of the extermination of a whole family, where it is employed to express every male descendant of any age. It occurs in 1Sa 25:22,34; 1Ki 14:10; 16:11; 21:21; 2Ki 9:8.


(neos anthropos or kainos anthropos): Generally described, the "new man" is man as he becomes under the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, contrasted with man as he is by nature. The phrase has (1) its Biblical, and (2) its theological, meanings.

I. Biblical Meaning.

There are four Biblical contrasts which must be considered as opposites:

(1) the "old man" (palaios anthropos) and the "new man" (neos anthropos or kainos anthropos);

(2) the "outward man" (exoanthropos) and the "inward man" (esoanthropos);

(3) the "carnal man" (sarkikos anthropos) and the "spiritual man" (pneumatikos anthropos);

(4) the "natural man" (psuchikos anthropos) and the "spiritual man" (pneunatikos anthropos).

These are not four different sorts of men, but four different sorts of man. Take up these antitheses in their reverse order, so as to arrive at some clear and impressive conception of what the Biblical writer means by the "new man."

1. The Spiritual Man:

The "spiritual man" is a designation given in opposition to the "carnal man" and to the "natural man" (Ro 8:1-14; 1Co 2:15; 3:1,3,4; 2:14; 3:11; 14:37; 15:46; Ga 6:1; Eph 2:3). All three of these terms are personifications of human nature. The "carnal man" is human nature viewed as ruled and dominated by sensual appetites and fleshly desires—as energized by those impulses which have close association with the bodily affections. The "natural man" is human nature ruled and dominated by unsanctified reason—those higher powers of the soul not yet influenced by Divine grace. The "spiritual man" is this same human nature after it has been seized upon and interpenetrated and determined by the Holy Spirit. The word "spiritual" is sometimes used in a poetic and idealistic sense, as when we speak of the spirituality of beauty; sometimes in a metaphysical sense, as when we speak of the spirituality of the soul; but in its prevalent Biblical and evangelical sense it is an adjective with the Holy Spirit as its noun-form. The spiritual life is that life of which the Holy Spirit is the author and preserver; and the "spiritual man" is that nature or character in man which the Holy Spirit originates, preserves, determines, disciplines, sanctifies and glorifies.

2. The Inward Man:

The "inward man" is a designation of human nature viewed as internally and centrally regenerated, as contrasted with the "outward man" (2Co 4:16; Ro 7:22; Eph 3:16). See MAN, OUTWARD. This phrase indicates the whole human nature conceived as affected from within—in the secret, inside, and true springs of activity—by the Holy Spirit of God. Such a change—regeneration—is not superficial, but a change in the inner central self; not a mere external reformation, but an internal transformation. Grace operates not from the circumference toward the center, but from the center toward the circumference, of life. The product is a man renovated in his "inward parts," changed in the dynamic center of his heart.

3. The New Man:

The "new man" is an appellation yielded by the contrasted idea of the "old man" (Ro 6:6; Eph 4:22; Col 3:9; Eph 2:15; 4:24; Col 3:10). The "old" is "corrupt" and expresses itself in evil "deeds"; the "new" possesses the "image of God" and is marked by "knowledge," "righteousness," and "holiness." There are two Greek words for "new"—neos and kainos. The former means new in the sense of young, as the new-born child is a young thing; the latter means "new" in the sense of renovated, as when the house which has been rebuilt is called a new house. The converted man is "new" (neo-anthropos) in the sense that he is a "babe in Christ," and "new" (kaino-anthropos) in the sense that his moral nature is renovated and built over again.

In the New Testament there are 5 different verbs used to express the action put forth in making the "old man" a "new man."

(1) In Eph 2:10 and 4:24, he is said to be "created" (ktizo), and in 2Co 5:17 the product is called a "new creature" (kaine kisis), a renovated creature. Out of the "old man" the Holy Spirit has created the "new man."

(2) In 1Pe 1:3,13 and elsewhere, he is said to be "begotten again" (anagennao), and the product is a "babe in Christ" (1Co 3:1). The "old man" thus becomes the "new man" by a spiritual begetting: his paternity is assigned to the Holy Ghost.

(3) In Eph 2:5 and elsewhere, he is said to be ‘quickened’ (zoopoieo), and the product is represented as a creature which has been made "alive from the dead" (Ro 6:13). The "old man," being ‘dead in trespasses and sins’ (Eph 2:1), is brought forth from his sin-grave by a spiritual resurrection.

(4) In Eph 4:23 he is represented as being made "young" (ananeoo), and the product is a child of the Spirit at the commencement of his religious experience. The "old man," dating his history back to the fall in Eden, has become, through the Spirit, a young man in Christ Jesus.

(5) In 2Co 4:16 and in Ro 12:2, he is said to be ‘renovated’ (anakainoo). The "old man" is renovated into the "new man." Sinful human nature is taken by the Spirit and morally recast.

II. Theological Meaning.

The "new man" is the converted, regenerated man. The phrase has its significance for the great theological doctrine of regeneration as it expands into the broad work of sanctification. Is the sinner dead? Regeneration is a new life. Is holiness non-existent in him? Regeneration is a new creation. Is he born in sin? Regeneration is a new birth. Is he determined by his fallen, depraved nature? Regeneration is a spiritual determination. Is he the subject of carnal appetites? Regeneration is a holy appetency. Is he thought of as the old sinful man? Regeneration is a new man. Is the sinful mind blind? Regeneration is a new understanding. Is the heart stony? Regeneration is a heart of flesh. Is the conscience seared? Regeneration is a good conscience. Is the will impotent? Regeneration is a new impotentiation. The regenerated man is a man with a new governing disposition—a "new man," an "inward man," a "spiritual man."

(1) The "New Man"—the Regenerate Man—Is Not a Theological Transubstantiation:

A being whose substance has been supernaturally converted into some other sort of substance.

(2) He Is Not a Scientific Transmutation:

A species of one kind which has been naturally evolved into a species of another kind.

(3) He Is Not a Metaphysical Reconstruction:

Being with a new mental equipment.

(4) He Is an Evangelical Convert:

An "old man" with a new regnant moral disposition, an "outward man" with a new inward fons et origo of moral life; a "natural man" with a new renovated spiritual heart.


Robert Alexander Webb


man’-a-en (Manaen, Greek form of Hebrew name "Menahem," meaning "consoler"): Manaen is mentioned, with Barnabas, Saul and others, in Ac 13:1, as one of the "prophets and teachers" in the recently rounded Gentile church at Antioch, at the time when Barnabas and Saul were "separated" by Divine call for their missionary service. He is further described as "the foster-brother (suntrophos) of Herod the tetrarch" (i.e. Herod Antipas (see HEROD)). He was probably brought up and educated with this Herod and his brother Archelaus. An earlier glimpse of Christian influence in Herod’s court is afforded by Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuzas, among the holy women who ministered to Jesus (Lu 8:3). Manaen may have been related to the older Manaen, the Essene, who, Josephus tells us, foretold the greatness of Herod the Great, and was afterward treated by Herod as his friend (Ant., XV, x, 5). His position in the church at Antioch was evidently an influential one, whether he himself ranked among the "prophets," or perhaps only among the "teachers."

James Orr


man’-a-hath (manachath; Machanathi):

(1) A place to which certain Benjamites, victims, apparently, of intra-tribal jealousy, were carried captive (1Ch 8:6). Of this town the Manahathites were probably natives. It is possibly denoted by Manocho which Septuagint adds to the list of towns in Judah (Jos 15:59). This place is named along with Bether (Bittir). The name seems to be preserved in that of Malicha, a large village not far from Bittir, Southwest of Jerusalem. The change of "l" to "n", and vice versa, is not uncommon. The same place may be intended by Menuhah (Jud 20:43 the Revised Version margin), where the King James Version reads "with ease," and the Revised Version (British and American) "at their resting-place."

(2) One of the sons of Shobal, the son of Seir the Horite (Ge 36:23; 1Ch 1:40), the "name-father" of one of the ancient tribes in Mt. Seir, afterward subdued and incorporated in Edom.

W. Ewing


man’-a-hath-its (menuchoth (1Ch 2:52), manachti (1Ch 2:54); Septuagint: Codex Vaticanus Monaio; Codex Alexandrinus Ammanith (1Ch 2:52); Codex Vaticanus Malathei; Codex Alexandrinus Manath, (1Ch 2:54); the King James Version, Manahethites): These men were the inhabitants of Manahath. They were descendants of Caleb, one-half being the progeny of Shobal, and the other of Salma. In 1Ch 2:52 the Revised Version (British and American) transliterates "Menuhoth," but Manahathites is preferable.


man-a-he’-thits, ma-na’-heth-its.



man-a-se’-as (Manasseas): One of those who had married "strange wives" (1 Esdras 9:31); "Manasseh" of Ezr 10:30.


ma-nas’-e (menashsheh, "causing to forget"; compare Ge 41:51; Man(n)asse):

(1) The firstborn of Joseph by Asenath, daughter of Poti-phera, priest of On. See next article.

(2) The tribe named from Manasseh, half of which, with Gad and Reuben, occupied the East of Jordan (Nu 27:1, etc.). See next article.

(3) The "Manasseh" of Jud 18:30,31 the King James Version is really an intentional mistake for the name Moses. A small nun ("n"), a Hebrew letter, has been inserted over and between the first and second Hebrew letters in the word Moses, thus maNesheh for mosheh. The reason for this is that the individual in question is mentioned as priest of a brazen image at Dan. His proper name was Moses. It was felt to be a disgrace that such a one bearing that honored name should keep it intact. The insertion of the nun hides the disgrace and, moreover, gives to the person a name already too familiar with idolatrous practices; for King Manasseh’s 55 years of sovereignty were thus disgraced.

(4) King of Judah. See separate article.

(5) Son of PAHATH-MOAB (which see), who had married a foreign wife (Ezr 10:30). Manaseas in 1 Esdras 9:31.

(6) The Manasses of 1 Esdras 9:33. A layman of the family of Hashum, who put away his foreign wife at Ezra’s order (Ezr 10:33).

In the Revised Version (British and American) of Mt 1:10 and Re 7:6 the spelling "Manasseh" is given for the King James Version "Manasses." The latter is the spelling of the husband of Judith (Judith 8:2,7; 10:3; 16:22,23,24); of a person named in the last words of Tobit and otherwise unknown (Tobit 14:10), and also the name given to a remarkable prayer probably referred to in 2Ch 33:18, which Manasseh (4) is said to have uttered at the end of his long, unsatisfactory life. See MANASSES, THE PRAYER OF. In Jud 12:4, the Revised Version (British and American) reads "Manasseh" for the King James Version "Manassites."

Henry Wallace


1. Son of Joseph:

Following the Biblical account of Manasseh (patriarch, tribe, and territory) we find that he was the eider of Joseph’s two sons by Asenath, the daughter of Poti-phera, priest of On (Ge 41:51). The birth of a son marked the climax of Joseph’s happiness after the long bitterness of his experience. In the joy of the moment, the dark years past could be forgotten; therefore he called the name of the firstborn Manasseh ("causing to forget"), for, said he, God hath made me to forget all my toil. When Jacob was near his end, Joseph brought his two sons to his father who blessed them. Himself the younger son who had received the blessing of the firstborn, Jacob preferred Ephraim, the second son of Joseph, to Manasseh his elder brother, thus indicating the relative positions of their descendants (Ge 48). Before Joseph died he saw the children of Machir the son of Manasseh (Ge 50:23). Machir was born to Manasseh by his concubine, an Aramitess (1Ch 7:14). Whether he married Maacah before leaving for Egypt is not said. She was the sister of Huppim and Shuppim. Of Manasseh’s personal life no details are recorded in Scripture. Acccording to Jewish tradition he became steward of his father’s house, and acted as interpreter between Joseph and his brethren.

2. The Tribes in the Wilderness and Portion in Palestine:

At the beginning of the desert march the number of Manasseh’s men of war is given at 32,200 (Nu 1:34 f). At the 2nd census they had increased to 52,700 (Nu 26:34). Their position in the wilderness was with the tribe of Benjamin, by the standard of the tribe of Ephraim, on the West of the tabernacle. According to Targum Pseudojon, the standard was the figure of a boy, with the inscription "The cloud of Yahweh rested on them until they went forth out of the camp." At Sinai the prince of the tribe was Gamaliel, son of Pedahzur (Nu 2:20). The tribe was represented among the spies by Gaddi, son of Susi (Nu 13:11, where the name "tribe of Joseph" seems to be used as an alternative). At the census in the plains of Moab, Manasseh is named before Ephraim, and appears as much the stronger tribe (Nu 26:28 ). The main military exploits in the conquest of Eastern Palestine were performed by Manassites. Machir, son of Manasseh, conquered the Amorites and Gilead (Nu 32:39). Jair, son of Manasseh, took all the region of Argob, containing three score cities; these he called by his own name, "Havvoth-jair" (Nu 32:41; De 3:4,14). Nobah captured Kenath and the villages thereof (Nu 32:42; Jos 17:1,5). Land for half the tribe was thus provided, their territory stretching from the northern boundary of Gad to an undetermined frontier in the North, marching with Geshur and Maacah on the West, and with the desert on the East. The warriors of this half-tribe passed over with those of Reuben and Gad before the host of Israel, and took their share in the conquest of Western Palestine (Jos 22). They helped to raise the great altar in the Jordan valley, which so nearly led to disastrous consequences (Jos 22:10 ). Golan, the city of refuge, lay within their territory.

The possession of Ephraim and Manasseh West of the Jordan appears to have been undivided at first (Jos 17:16 ). The portion which ultimately fell to Manasseh marched with Ephraim on the South, with Asher and Issachar on the North, running out to the sea on the West, and falling into the Jordan valley on the East (Jos 17:7 ). The long dwindling slopes to westward and the fiat reaches of the plain included much excellent soil. Within the territory of Issachar and Asher, Beth-shean, Ibleam, Dor, Endor, Taanach and Megiddo, with their villages, were assigned to Manasseh. Perhaps the men of the West lacked the energy and enterprise of their eastern brethren. They failed, in any case, to expel the Canaanites from these cities, and for long this grim chain of fortresses seemed to mock the strength of Israel (Jos 17:11 )

Ten cities West of the Jordan, in the portion of Manasseh, were given to the Levites, and 13 in the eastern portion (Jos 21:5,6).

Manasseh took part in the glorious conflict with the host of Sisera (Jud 5:14). Two famous judges, Gideon and Jephthah, belonged to this tribe. The men of the half-tribe East of Jordan were noted for skill and valor as warriors (1Ch 5:18,23 f). Some men of Manasseh had joined David before the battle of Gilboa (1Ch 12:19).

3. Its Place in Later History:

Others, all mighty men of valor, and captains in the host, fell to him on the way to Ziklag, and helped him against the band of rovers (1Ch 12:20 ). From the half-tribe West of the Jordan 18,000 men, expressed by name, came to David at Hebron to make him king (1Ch 12:31); while those who came from the East numbered, along with the men of Reuben and Gad, 120,000 (1Ch 12:37). David organized the eastern tribes under 2,700 overseers for every matter pertaining to God and for the affairs of the king (1Ch 26:32). The rulers of Manasseh were, in the West, Joel, son of Pedaiah, and in the East, Iddo, son of Zechariah (1Ch 27:20,21). Divers of Manasseh humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem at the invitation of Hezekiah to celebrate the Passover (2Ch 30:11). Although not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary, they ate the Passover. Pardon was successfully sought for them by the king, because they set their hearts to seek God (2Ch 30:18 ).

Of the eastern half-tribe it is said that they went a-whoring after the gods of the land, and in consequence they were overwhelmed and expatriated by Pul and Tiglath-pileser, kings of Assyria (1Ch 5:25 f). Reference to the idolatries of the western half-tribe are also found in 2Ch 31:1; 34:6.

There is a portion for Manasseh in Ezekiel’s ideal picture (Eze 48:4), and the tribe appears in the list in Re (7:6). The genealogies in Jos 17:1 ff; Nu 26:28-34; 1Ch 2:21-23; 7:14-19 have fallen into confusion. As they stand, they are mutually contradictory, and it is impossible to harmonize them.

The theories of certain modern scholars who reject the Biblical account are themselves beset with difficulties: e.g. the name is derived from the Arabic, nasa, "to injure a tendon of the leg." Manasseh, the Piel part., would thus be the name of a supernatural being, of whom the infliction of such an injury was characteristic. It is not clear which of the wrestlers at the Jabbok suffered the injury. As Jacob is said to have prevailed with gods and men, the suggestion is that it was his antagonist who was lamed. "It would appear therefore that in the original story the epithet Manasseh was a fitting title of Jacob himself, which might be borne by his worshippers, as in the case of Gad" (EB, under the word, par. 4).

It is assumed that the mention of Machir in Jud 5:14 definitely locates the Manassites at that time on the West of the Jordan. The raids by members of the tribe on Eastern Palestine must therefore have taken place long after the days of Moses. The reasoning is precarious. After the mention of Reuben (5:15,16), Gilead (5:17) may refer to Gad. It would be strange if this warlike tribe were passed over (Guthe). Machir, then probably the strongest clan, stands for the whole tribe, and may be supposed to indicate particularly the noted fighters of the eastern half.

In dealing with the genealogies, "the difficult name" Zelophehad must be got rid of. Among the suggestions made is one by Dr. Cheyne, which first supposes the existence of a name Salhad, and then makes Zelophehad a corruption of this.

The genealogies certainly present difficulties, but otherwise the narrative is intelligible and self-consistent without resort to such questionable expedients as those referred to above.

W. Ewing


A king of Judah, son and successor of Hezekiah; reigned 55 years (2Ki 21:1; 2Ch 33:1), from circa 685 onward. His was one of the few royal names not compounded with the name of Yahweh (his son Amon’s was the only other if, as an Assyrian inscription gives it, the full name of Ahaz was Jehoahaz or Ahaziah); but it was no heathen name like Amon, but identical with that of the elder son of Joseph. Born within Hezekiah’s added 15 years, years of trembling faith and tender hope (compare Isa 38:15 f), his name may perhaps memorialize the father’s sacred feelings; the name of his mother Hephzibah too was used long afterward as the symbol of the happy union of the land with its loyal sons (Isa 62:4). All this, however, was long forgotten in the memory of Manasseh’s apostate career.

I. Sources of His Life.

The history (2Ki 1-18) refers for "the rest of his acts" to "the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah," but the body of the account, instead of reading like state annals, is almost entirely a censure of his idolatrous reign in the spirit of the prophets and of the Deuteronomic strain of literature. The parallel history (2Ch 33:1-20) puts "the rest of his acts" "among the acts of the kings of Israel," and mentions his prayer (a prayer ascribed to him is in the Apocrypha) and "the words of the seers that spoke to him in the name of Yahweh." This history of Chronicles mentions his captive journey to Babylon and his repentance (2Ch 33:10-13), also his building operations in Jerusalem and his resumption of Yahweh-worship (2Ch 33:14-17), which the earlier source lacks. From these sources, which it is not the business of this article either to verify or question, the estimate of his reign is to be deduced.

II. Character of His Reign.

1. Political Situation:

During his reign, Assyria, principally under Esar-haddon and Assur-banipal, was at the height of its arrogance and power; and his long reign was the peaceful and uneventful life of a willing vassal, contented to count as tributary king in an illustrious world-empire, hospitable to all its religious and cultural ideas, and ready to take his part in its military and other enterprises. The two mentions of his name in Assyrian inscriptions (see G.A. Smith, Jerusalem, II, 182) both represent him in this tributary light. His journey to Babylon mentioned in 2Ch 33:11 need not have been the penalty of rebellion; more likely it was such an enforced act of allegiance as was perhaps imposed on all provincial rulers who had incurred or would avert suspicion of disloyalty. Nor was his fortification of Jerusalem after his return less necessary against domestic than foreign aggression; the more so, indeed, as in so long and undisturbed a reign his capital, which was now practically synonymous with his realm (Esar-haddon calls him "king of the city of Judah"), became increasingly an important center of wealth and commercial prosperity. Of the specific events of his reign, however, other than religious, less is known than of almost any other.

2. Reactionary Idolatry:

That the wholesale idolatry by which his reign is mainly distinguished was of a reactionary and indeed conservative nature may be understood alike from what it sought to maintain and from what it had to react against. On the one side was the tremendous wave of ritual and mechanical heathen cults which, proceeding from the world-centers of culture and civilization (compare Isa 2:6-8), was drawing all the tributary lands, Judah with the rest, into its almost irresistible sweep. Manasseh, it would seem, met this not in the temper of an amateur, as had his grandfather Ahaz, but in the temper of a fanatic. Everything old and new that came to his purview was of momentous religious value—except only the simple and austere demands of prophetic insight. He restored the debasing cults of the aboriginal Nature-worship which his father had suppressed, thus making Judah revert to the sterile Baal-cults of Ahab; but his blind credence in the black arts so prevalent in all the surrounding nations, imported the elaborate worship of the heavenly bodies from Babylon, invading even the temple-courts with its numerous rites and altars; even went to the horrid extreme of human sacrifice, making an institution of what Ahaz had tried as a desperate expedient. All this, which to the matured prophetic sense was headlong wickedness, was the mark of a desperately earnest soul, seeking blindly in this wholesale way to propitiate the mysterious Divine powers, his nation’s God among them, who seemed so to have the world’s affairs in their inscrutable control. On the other side, there confronted him the prophetic voice of a religion which decried all insincere ritual (‘wickedness and worship,’ Isa 1:13), made straight demands on heart and conscience, and had already vindicated itself in the faith which had wrought the deliverance of 701. It was the fight of the decadent formal against the uprising spiritual; and, as in all such struggles, it would grasp at any expedient save the one plain duty of yielding the heart to repentance and trust.

3. Persecution:

Meanwhile, the saving intelligence and integrity of Israel, though still the secret of the lowly, was making itself felt in the spiritual movement that Isaiah had labored to promote; through the permeating influence of literature and education the "remnant" was becoming a power to be reckoned with. It is in the nature of things that such an innovating movement must encounter persecution; the significant thing is that already there was so much to persecute. Persecution is as truly the offspring of fear as of fanaticism. Manasseh’s persecution of the prophets and their adherents (tradition has it that the aged Isaiah was one of his victims) was from their point of view an enormity of wickedness. To us the analysis is not quite so simple; it looks also like the antipathy of an inveterate formal order to a vital movement that it cannot understand. The vested interests of almost universal heathenism must needs die hard, and "much innocent blood" was its desperate price before it would yield the upper hand. To say this of Manasseh’s murderous zeal is not to justify it; it is merely to concede its sadly mistaken sincerity. It may well have seemed to him that a nation’s piety was at stake, as if a world’s religious culture were in peril.

4. Return to Better Mind:

The Chronicler, less austere in tone than the earlier historian, preserves for us the story that, like Saul of Tarsus after him, Manasseh got his eyes open to the truer meaning of things; that after his humiliation and repentance in Babylon he "knew that Yahweh he was God" (2Ch 33:10-13). He had the opportunity to see a despotic idolatry, its evils with its splendors, in its own home; a first-fruit of the thing that the Hebrew exiles were afterward to realize. On his return, accordingly, he removed the altars that had encroached upon the sacred precincts of the temple, and restored the ritual of the Yahweh-service, without, however, removing the high places. It would seem to have been merely the concession of Yahweh’s right to a specific cult of His own, with perhaps a mitigation of the more offensive extremes of exotic worship, while the toleration of the various fashionable forms remained much as before. But this in itself was something, was much; it gave Yahweh His chance, so to say, among rivals; and the growing spiritual fiber of the heart of Israel could be trusted to do the rest. It helps us also the better to understand the situation when, only two years after Manasseh’s death, Josiah came to the throne, and to understand why he and his people were so ready to accept the religious sanity of the Deuteronomic law. He did not succeed, after all, in committing his nation to the wholesale sway of heathenism. Manasseh’s reactionary reign was indeed not without its good fruits; the crisis of religious syncretism and externalism was met and passed.

John Franklin Genung


ma-nas’-ez (Manasses; Codex Vaticanus Manasse):

(1) One who had married a "strange wife" (1 Esdras 9:33) equals "Manasseh" of Ezr 10:33.

(2) The wealthy husband of Judith; died of sunstroke when employed at the barley harvest (Judith 8:2 f, 7; 10:3; 16:22 ff).

(3) A person mentioned in Tobit 14:10, who "gave alms, and escaped the snare of death." It must be admitted that Manasses here is an awkward reading and apparently interrupts the sense, which would run more smoothly if Manasses were omitted or Achiacharus read. There is great variety of text in this verse. Codex Sinaiticus (followed by Fritzsche, Libri apoc. vet. Test Greek, 1871) reads en to poiesai me eleemosunen exelthen, where Manasses is omitted and Achiacharus is understood as the subject. Itala and Syriac go a step further and read Achiacharus as subject. But Codex Vaticanus (followed by Swete, the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American)) reads Manasses, which must be the correct reading on the principle of being the most difficult. Explanations have been offered

(1) that Manasses is simply the Hebrew name for Achiacharus, it not being uncommon for a Jew to have a Greek and a Hebrew name;

(2) that on reading Amon, Manasses was inserted for Achiacharus according to 2Ch 33:22 ff;

(3) that Manasses here is an incorrect reading for Nasbas (Tobit 11:18), identified by Grotius with Achiacharus: "It seems impossible at present to arrive at a satisfactory explanation" (Fuller, Speaker’s Commentary).

There is as great uncertainty as to the person who conspired against Manasses: Aman, in Codex Alexandrinus, followed by the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American), who is by some identified with the Haman of Esther and Achiacharus with Mordecai; Adam, in Codex Vaticanus, followed by Swete; Itala Nadab; Syriac Ahab (Acab).

(4) A king of Judah (Mt 1:10 the King James Version, Greek form, the Revised Version (British and American) "Manasseh"), whose prayer forms one of the apocryphal books.


(5) The elder son of Joseph (Re 7:6, the King James Version Greek form, the Revised Version (British and American) "Manasseh").

S. Angus


1. Name

2. Canonicity and Position

3. Contents

4. Original Language

5. Authenticity

6. Author and Motive

7. Date

8. Text and Versions

(1) Greek

(2) Latin


The Prayer of Manasses purports to be, and may in reality be, the prayer of that king mentioned in 2Ch 33:13,18 f.

1. Name:

In Cod.

A. it is called simply "A Prayer of Manasses," in the London Polyglot "A Prayer of Manasses, King of the Jews." Its title in the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) is "A Prayer of Manasses, King of Judah, when He Was Held Captive in Babylon." In Baxter’s Apocrypha, Greek and English this Prayer appears at the end with the heading "A Prayer of Manasses, son of Ezekias" (equals Hezekiah).

2. Canonicity and Position:

The Greek church is the only one which has consistently reckoned this Prayer as a part of its Bible. Up to the time of the Council of Trent (1545-1563 AD), it formed a part of the Vulgate, but by that council it was relegated with 3 and 4 (1 and 2) Esdras to the appendix (which included uncanonical scriptures), "lest they should become wholly lost, since they are occasionally, cited by the Fathers and are found in printed copies. Yet it is wholly absent from the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) of Sixtus V, though it is in the Appendix of the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) of Clement VIII. Its position varies in manuscripts, versions and printed editions of the Septuagint. It is most frequently found among the odes or canticles following the Psalter, as in Codices Alexandrinus, T (the Zurich Psalter) and in Ludolf’s Ethiopic Psalter. In Swete’s Septuagint the Psalter of Solomon followed by the odes (Odai), of which The Prayer of Manasseh is the 8th, appear as an Appendix after 4 Maccabees in volume III. It was placed after 2 Chronicles in the original Vulgate, but in the Romanist Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) it stands first, followed by 3 and 4 (1 and 2) Esdras in the apocryphal Appendix. It is found in all manuscripts of the Armenian Bible, where, as in Swete’s Septuagint, it is one of many odes. Though not included in Coverdale’s Bible or the Geneva VS, it was retained (at the close of the Apocrypha) in Luther’s translation, in Mathew’s Bible and in the Bishops’ Bible, whence it passed into our English Versions of the Bible.

3. Contents:

According to 2Ch 33 (compare 2Ki 21) Manasseh was exiled by the Assyrians to Babylon as a punishment for his sins. There he became penitent and earnestly prayed to God for pardon and deliverance. God answered his prayer and restored him to Jerusalem and to the throne. Though the prayer is mentioned in 2Ch 33:13,18 f, it is not given, but this lack has been supplied in the The Prayer of Manasseh of the Apocrypha. After an opening invocation to the God of Abraham, Isaac, Judah and their righteous seed, the Creator of all things, most high, yet compassionate, who has ordained repentance, not for perfect ones like the patriarchs who did not need it, but for the like of the person praying, there follows a confession of sin couched for the most part in general terms, a prayer for pardon and a vow to praise God forever if this prayer is answered.

4. Original Language:

The bulk of scholars (Fritzsche, Reuss, Schurer, Ryssel, etc.) agree that this Prayer was composed in Greek. The Greek recension is written in a free, flowing and somewhat rhetorical style, and it reads like an original work, not like a translation. Though there are some Hebraisms, they are not more numerous or striking than usually meet us in Hellenistic Greek. It is of some importance also that, although Jewish tradition adds largely to the legends about Manasseh, it has never supplied a Hebrew version of the Prayer (see VERSIONS; TEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT). On the other hand, Ewald (Hist. Isr, I, 186; IV, 217, note 5, German edition, IV, 217 f), Furst (Gesch. der bibl. Lit., II, 399), Budde (ZAW, 1892, 39 ff), Ball (Speaker’s Apocrypha) and others argue for a Hebrew original, perhaps existing in the source named of 2Ch 33:18 f (see Ryssel in Kautzsch, Die Apocrypha des Altes Testament, 167).

5. Authenticity:

Have we here the authentic prayer of Manasseh offered under the circumstances described in 2Ch 33? Ewald and the other scholars named (see foregoing section), who think the Prayer was composed in Hebrew, say that we have probably here a Greek rendering of the Hebrew original which the Chronicler saw in his source. Ball, on the other hand, though not greatly opposed to this view, is more convinced that the Hebrew original is to be sought in a haggadic narrative concerning Manasseh. Even if we accept the view of Ewald or of Ball, we still desiderate evidence that this Hebrew original is the very prayer offered by the king in Babylon. But the arguments for a Greek original are fairly conclusive. Many Old Testament scholars regard the narrative of the captivity, prayer and penitence of Manasseh as a fiction of the Chronicler’s imagination, to whom it seemed highly improper that this wicked king should escape the punishment (exile) which he richly deserved. So De Wette (Einleitung), Graf (Stud. u. Krit., 1859, 467-94, and Gesch. Bucher des Altes Testament, 174) and Noldeke (Schenkel’s Bibelwerk, "Manasse"). Nothing corresponding to it occurs in the more literal narrative of 2Ki 21, an argument which, however, has but little weight. Recent discoveries of cuneiform inscriptions have taken off the edge of the most important objections to the historicity of this part of Chronicles. See Ball (op. cit., 361 ff) and Bissell (Lange’s Apocrypha, 468). The likeliest supposition is that the author of the Prayer was an Alexandrian Jew who, with 2Ch 33 before him, desired to compose such a prayer as Manasseh was likely to offer under the supposed circumstances. This prayer, written in excellent Alexandrian Greek, is, as Fritzsche points out, an addition to 2Ch 33, corresponding to the prayers of Mordecai and Esther added to the canonical Es (Additions to Esther 13:8-14:19), and also to the prayer of Azarias (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:2-22) and the So of the Three Young Men (The So of the Three Children (Azariah) 1:29-68) appended to the canonical Book of Daniel.

6. The Author and His Motive:

That the author was an Alexandrian Jew is made probable by the (Greek) language he employs and by the sentiments he expresses. It is strange to find Swete (Expository Times, II, 38 f) defending the Christian authorship of this Prayer. What purpose could the writer seek to realize in the composition and publication of the penitential psalm? In the absence of definite knowledge, one may with Reuss (Das Altes Testament, VI, 436 f) suppose that the Jewish nation was at the time given up to great unfaithfulness to God and to gross moral corruption. The lesson of the Prayer is that God will accept the penitent, whatever his sins, and remove from the nation its load of sufferings, if only it turns to God.

7. Date:

Ewald and Furst (op. cit.) hold that the prayer is at least as old as the Book of Chronicles (300 BC), since it is distinctly mentioned, they say, in 2Ch 33:13,18 f. But the original form was, as seen (compare 4 above), Greek, not Hebrew. Moreover, the teaching of the Prayer is post-Biblical. The patriarchs are idealized to the extent that they are thought perfect and therefore not needing forgiveness (33:8); their merits avail for the sinful and undeserving (33:1) (see Weber, Jud. Theologie, 292). The expressions "God of the Just" (33:8), "God of those who repent" (33:13), belong to comparatively late Judaism. A period about the beginning of the Christian era or (Fritzsche) slightly earlier would suit the character (language and teaching) of the Prayer. The similarity between the doctrines implied in The Prayer of Manasseh and those taught in apocryphal writings of the time confirms this conclusion. There is no need with Bertholdt to bring down the writing to the 2nd or 3rd century AD. Fabricius (Liber Tobit, etc., 208) dates the Prayer in the 4th or 5th century AD, because, in his opinion, its author is the same as that of the Apostolical Constitutions which has that date. But the source of this part of the Apostolical Constitutions is the Didaskalia (3rd century), and moreover both these treatises are of Christian origin, the Prayer being the work of an Alexandrian Jew.

8. Text and Versions:

(1) Greek:

The Greek text occurs in Codices Alexandrinus, T (Psalterium Turicence 262, Parsons). Swete (OLD TESTAMENT in Greek, III, 802-4) gives the text of Codex Alexandrinus with the variations of T. It is omitted from the bulk of ancient manuscripts and editions of the Septuagint, as also from several modern editions (Tischendorf, etc.). Nestle (Septuaginta Studien, 1899, 3) holds that the Greek text of Codices Alexandrinus, T, etc., has been taken from the Apostolical Constitutions or from the Didaskalia. The common view is that it was extracted by the latter from the Septuagint.

(2) Latin:

The Latin text in Sabatier (Bib. Sac. Latin, III, 1038) is not by Jerome, nor is it in the manner of the Old Latin; its date is later.


The outstanding literature has been cited in the foregoing article. Reference may be made to Howorth ("Some Unconventional Views on the Text of the Bible," PSBA, XXXI, 89 ff: he argues that the narrative concerning Manasseh, including the Prayer in the Apostolical Constitutions, represents a portion of the true Septuagint of 2Ch 33).

T. Witton Davies

MANASSITES ma-nas’-its (menashshi; ho Manasse): Members of the tribe of Manasseh (De 4:43; Jud 12:4 the King James Version; 2Ki 10:33).


man’-draks (dudha’im; mandragoras (Ge 30:14 f; So 7:13); the marginal reading "love apples" is due to the supposed connection of dudha’im with dodhim, "love"): Mandrakes are the fruit of the Mandragora officinarum, a member of the Solanaceae or potato order, closely allied to the Atropa belladonna. It is a common plant all over Palestine, flourishing particularly in the spring and ripening about the time of the wheat harvest (Ge 30:14). The plant has a rosette of handsome dark leaves, dark purple flowers and orange, tomato-like fruit. The root is long and branched; to pull it up is still considered unlucky (compare Josephus, BJ, VII, vi, 3). The fruit is called in Arabic baid el-jinn, the "eggs of the jinn"; they have a narcotic smell and sweetish taste, but are too poisonous to be used as food. They are still used in folklore medicine in Palestine. The plant was well known as an aphrodisiac by the ancients (So 7:13).

E. W. G. Masterman


man’-e, or mi’-na (maneh; mna, "pound" (English Versions of the Bible)): A weight containing 50 shekels, according to Hebrew usage, but which varied according to the standard adopted. Estimated on the Phoenician, or commercial, standard, it was equal to 11,200 grains, or about 2 lbs. troy, or about 1,6 lbs. avoirdupois. This is probably the weight intended in 1Ki 10:17; Ezr 2:69 and Ne 7:71 f (see WEIGHTS AND MEASURES). When used in a monetary sense, the maneh of silver was worth about 6 pounds 17 shillings, or $34 (in 1915); the gold maneh was equal to about 102 pounds 10 shillings, or $510 (in 1915).

H. Porter


ma’-nez (Manes): One of those who put away their "strange wives" (1 Esdras 9:21). It represents the two names Maaseiah and Elijah of the parallel Ezr 10:21. The real equivalent is probably Maaseiah, Elijah being dropped. the Revised Version margin and the King James Version margin give Harim of Ezr 10:21 as identical—apparently incorrectly, for the words "and of the sons of Harim" (Ezr 10:21) are simply omitted. the King James Version blunders strangely here in reading Eanes after a misprint Eanes (for Manes) in the Aldine edition.


man’-jer (phatne): Properly the place in a stall or stable where the food of cattle is placed (in the Old Testament "crib" (Job 39:9; Pr 14:4; Isa 1:3)); thus also, apparently, in the narrative of the nativity in Lu 2:7,12,16. In Septuagint, the Greek word, representing different Hebrew words, has also the extended meaning of "stall" (2Ch 32:28; Hab 3:17); thus also in Lu 13:15, where the Revised Version margin has "manger." Old tradition says that Jesus was born in a cave in the neighborhood of Bethlehem; even so, a place for food for cattle may have been cut in the side of the rock.

James Orr


ma’-ni (Mani): Head of a family (1 Esdras 9:30) equals "Bani" in Ezr 10:29, the form which appears in 1 Esdras 5:12.


man’-i-fest, man-i-fes-ta’-shun (phaneroo, phaneros): "To manifest" is generally the translation of phaneroo, "to make apparent" (Mr 4:22; Joh 17:6; Ro 3:21; 1Ti 3:16, "God was manifest in the flesh," the Revised Version (British and American) "manifested"; 1 Joh 1:2 twice, etc.); also of phaneros, "manifest" (Ac 4:16; Ro 1:19; 1Co 3:13; 1Joh 3:10, etc.); "to make manifest" (phaneroo) (Joh 1:31; Ro 16:26); of emphanizo, "to make fully manifest" (Joh 14:21 f); of emphanes, "fully manifest" (Ro 10:20); of delos, "evident," translated "manifest" (1Co 15:27, the Revised Version (British and American) "evident"); of ekdelos, "very evident" (2Ti 3:9, the Revised Version (British and American) "evident"); of prodelos, "evident beforehand" (1Ti 5:25, the Revised Version (British and American) "evident"); of aphanes, is "not manifest" (Heb 4:13, "There is no creature that is not manifest in his sight"); "manifest," occurs once in the Old Testament as the translation of barar, "to clear," "to purify" (Ec 3:18, the Revised Version (British and American) "prove"); of phaneros (2 Macc 3:28, the Revised Version (British and American) "manifestly").

Manifestation is the translation of apokalupsis, "uncovering" (Ro 8:19, "the manifestation of the sons of God," the Revised Version (British and American) "revealing"); of phanerosis, "manifestation" (1Co 12:7; 2Co 4:2).

The Revised Version (British and American) has "manifest" for "shew" (Joh 7:4); "was manifested" for "appeared" (Mr 16:12,14); "was manifested to the," for "shewed himself to his" (Joh 21:14); "be made manifest" for "appear" (2Co 5:10; 7:12; Re 3:18); "became manifest" for "was made known" (Ac 7:13); "gave him to be made manifest" for "shewed him openly" (Ac 10:40); "He who was manifested" for "God was manifest" (1Ti 3:16) (margin "The word "God," in place of "He who," rests on no sufficient ancient evidence. Some ancient authorities read which"); "is not yet made manifest" for "doth not yet appear" (1 Joh 3:2); "by the manifestation" for "with the brightness" (2Th 2:8) "be manifested" for "appear" (Col 3:4 twice; 1Pe 5:4); "if he shall be manifested" for "when he shall appear" ( 1Joh 2:28; 3:2), etc.

W. L. Walker


man’-i-fest-li (mar’eh, "(in) personal presence"): Has the meaning of "by direct vision," as in 1Co 13:12, "face to face," stating positively (Nu 12:8) what the next clause states negatively, namely, "not in dark speeches." "Apparently" of the King James Version is ambiguous.


man’-i-fold (rabh; poikilos): "Manifold," which occurs only a few times, is in the Old Testament the translation of rabh, "many," "abundant" (Ne 9:19,27; Am 5:12, where it is equivalent to "many"), and of rabhabh, "to multiply," "to increase" (Ps 104:24, "O Yahweh, how manifold are thy works"); poikilos, properly, "many colored," "spotted," "variegated," is translated "manifold": 1Pe 1:6 margin, "manifold temptations"; 4:10, "manifold grace," suggests variety, diverseness; polupoikilos has this meaning more intensely (Eph 3:10, "the manifold wisdom of God"). With this may be compared a fine passage in The Wisdom of Solomon 7:22, where it is said that in Wisdom there is "an understanding spirit, holy, one only (the Revised Version (British and American) "alone in kind," margin "Greek: sole-born"), manifold (polumeres)." In like manner, pollaplasion, "manifold more" (Lu 18:30), indicates the varied elements of the reward of him who is faithful to Christ. In Ecclesiasticus 51:3, we have "manifold afflictions" (pleion).

W. L. Walker


ma’-ni-us, ti’-tus (Tito Manios, Codex Alexandrinus, Codex Venetus, and the Syriac; Manlios, Swete following Codex Alexandrinus; Manilius, Itala and Vulgate, the King James Version, Manlius): Titus Manius and Quintus Memmius were the legates of the Romans who carried a letter unto the Jewish people consenting to the favorable terms which Lysias, the captain of Antiochus, granted to the Jews after his defeat, 163 BC (2 Macc 11:34). That the letter is spurious appears from the facts

(1) that it is dated in the 148th year of the Seleucidian era adopted by the Jews and not, after the Ro fashion, according to consulates;

(2) that it is also dated the same day as that of Eupator—the 15th of the month Xanthicus;

(3) that the Jews had as yet no dealings with the Romans; Judas first heard of the fame of the Romans a year or two years later (1 Macc 8:1 ff), after the death of Nicanor (1 Macc 7:47);

(4) that no such names are found among the Roman legati mentioned by Polybius as sent to the East.

If Manius is not altogether a fabrication, it is difficult to decide exactly who he is. The reading fluctuates between "Manius" and "Manlius." About the same time a T. Manlius Torquatus was sent by the Romans on an embassy to Egypt to settle a quarrel between Philometor and Euergetes II Physc. on (Polyb. xxxi. 18; Livy xliii.11), but not to Syria, and his colleague was Cn. Merula. Perhaps Manius Sergius is intended, who with C. Sulpicius was sent to investigate the state of Greece and to see what Antiochus Epiphanes and Eumanes were doing (165 BC) (Polyb. xxxi.9). But no such name as Titus Manius or Manlius is otherwise found as legate to Asia with a colleague Quintus Memmius.

See also MEMMIUS.

S. Angus

MANKIND man-kind’:In Le 18:22; 20:13, the term is applied to men, as distinguished from women; in Job 12:10, to the human race; in Jas 3:7, to the human nature.





man’-a (man; manna): The Hebrew man is probably derived, as Ebers suggests, from the Egyptian mennu, "food." In Ex 16:15, we have a suggested source of the name, "They said one to another, What is it?" i.e. manhu, which also means, "It is manna" (see margin).

1. Old Testament References:

This substance is described as occurring in flakes or small round grains, literally, "hoax frost"; it fell with the dew (Nu 11:9) and appeared when the dew left the ground (Ex 16:14); "It was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey" (Ex 16:31). In Nu 11:8, its taste is described "as the taste of fresh oil," margin "cakes baked with oil." "And the children of Israel did eat the manna forty years, until they came .... unto the borders of the land of Canaan" (Ex 16:35). It ceased the day after they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain, in the plains of Jericho (Jos 5:10-12). Although an important article of diet, it was by no means the sole one as seems implied in Nu 21:15; there are plenty of references (e.g. Ex 17:3; 24:5; 34:3; Le 8:2,26,31; 9:4; 10:12; 24:5; Nu 7:13,19 f, etc.) which show that they had other food besides. The food was gathered every morning, "every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted" (Ex 16:21); a portion of the previous day’s gathering bred worms and stank if kept (Ex 16:20); on the 6th day a double amount was gathered, the Sabbath portion being miraculously preserved (Ex 16:22-27). A pot—a golden one (Heb 9:4)—with an omer of manna was "laid up before Yahweh" in the tabernacle (Ex 16:33). Manna is referred to in Ne 9:20. It is described poetically as "food from heaven" and "bread of the mighty" (Ps 78:24 f); as "bread of heaven" (Ps 105:40); and as "angels’ bread" (2 Esdras 1:19; The Wisdom of Solomon 16:20).

2. New Testament References:

In Joh 6:31-63, our Lord frequently refers to "the manna" or "bread from heaven" as typical of Himself. Paul (1Co 10:3) refers to it as "spiritual food," and in Re 2:17 we read, "To him that overcometh, to him will I give of the hidden manna."

Manna, as might be expected, figures largely in rabbinical literature. It was, it is said, adapted to the taste of each individual who could by wishing taste in the manna anything he desired (compare The Wisdom of Solomon 16:21). Manna is reserved as the future food of the righteous (compare Re 2:17), for which purpose it is ground in a mill situated in the third heaven (Chag 12b; Tan. Beshallach 22).

3. Natural Explanations:

No substance is known which in any degree satisfies all the requirements of the Scriptural references, but several travelers in the wilderness have reported phenomena which suggest some of the features of the miraculous manna.

(1) In the Peninsula of Sinai, on the route of the children of Israel, a species of tamarisk, named in consequence by Ebers Tammaris mannifera, is found to exude a sweet, honey-like substance where its bark is pierced by an insect, Gossyparia mannifera. It collects upon the twigs and falls to the ground. The Arabs who gather it to sell to pilgrims call it mann-es-sama, "heavenly manna"; it is white at first but turns yellow; in the early morning it is of the consistency of wax but when the sun is hot it disappears. This substance occurs only after mid-summer and for a month or two at most.

(2) A second proposal is to identify manna with a lichen—Lecanora esculenta and allied species—which grows in the Arabian and other deserts upon the limestone. The older masses become detached and are rolled about by the wind. When swept together by sudden rain storms in the rainy season they may collect in large heaps. This lichen has been used by the Arabs in time of need for making bread. It is a quite reasonable form of nourishment in the desert, especially when eaten with the sugary manna from the trees.

E. W. G. Masterman


man’-er, man’-erz (dabhar, derekh, mishpaT; ethos, houtos):

1. As Used in the Old Testament:

"Manner" (probably from manus, "the hand," mode of handling things, or acting) is in the Bible in general equivalent

(1) to way, custom, habit, etc.,

(2) to kind or sort.

There are some special senses, however, and archaic usages. It is frequently the translation of dabhar, "speaking," "word," "thing" (Ge 18:25, "That be far from thee to do after this manner" (i.e. in this way); Ge 32:19, "On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau" (in this way); Ge 39:19, "After this manner (in this way) did thy servant to me"; Ex 22:9, "every manner of trespass" (every kind, sort, or way); De 15:2; 1Sa 17:27,30 bis); also of derekh, "way" (Ge 19:31, "after the manner of all the earth (way); 1Sa 21:5 the King James Version "(the bread) is in a manner common"; "manner" here might be taken as equivalent to "way" or "measure," but the passage is a difficult one and the text uncertain; the Revised Version (British and American) omits "manner," and in the text makes the reference to be to the journey, not to the bread, but in the margin it has "common (bread)"; Isa 10:24,26, after the manner of Egypt" (after the way or fate of Egypt); so also Am 4:10; 8:14, the manner of Beer-sheba liveth" the Revised Version (British and American) "the way," margin "manner, the reference here being to the religious way, or manner of worship); of mishpaT, "judgment," "ordinance," hence, also "manner" or "custom" (Ge 40:13; Ex 21:9; 2Ki 1:7, "what manner of man" (sort or kind); 2Ki 17:26 the King James Version; 1Ch 24:19; Eze 11:12, "after the manners (the Revised Version (British and American) "ordinances") of the nations"); torah, "instruction," "law," is also translated "manner" (2Sa 7:19, "(is) this the manner (margin "law") of man, O Lord God?" the Revised Version (British and American) "and this (too) after the manner of men, O Lord Yahweh," margin "and is this the law of man, O Lord Yahweh?"). Other words are: ‘orach, "path," "custom" (Ge 18:11); dobher, "leading," "pasture" (compare "sheep-walk," "sheep-fold"); Isa 5:17, "Then shall the lambs feed after their manner," the Revised Version (British and American) "as in their pasture" (in Mic 2:12, the same word is translated the King James Version "fold," the Revised Version (British and American) "pasture"); demuth, "likeness" (Eze 23:15); dath, "law," "sentence" (Es 2:12); chuqqah, "statute," "custom" (Le 20:23) in the King James Version. In Nu 5:13 "with the manner" is supplied to "taken" (in adultery). "Manner" here is an old law-French phrase, "a thief taken with the mainour"—that is, with the thing stolen upon him in manu (in his hand) (Blackstone, Comm., IV, xxiii), the Revised Version (British and American) "in the act" (compare Joh 8:4 "in the very act"); gam, "also" is translated (1Sa 19:24) "in like manner," the Revised Version (British and American) "also."

2. As Used in the Apocrypha:

In Apocrypha, 2 Macc 4:13 the King James Version, we have "increase of heathenish manners," the Revised Version (British and American) "an extreme of Greek fashions"; 2 Macc 6:9, the "manners of the Gentiles," the Revised Version (British and American) "the Greek rites"; in 2 Esdras 9:19, the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American), "manners" appears in the sense of "morals"; compare 1Co 15:33, the Revised Version (British and American) "Evil companionships corrupt good morals."

3. As Used in the New Testament:

In the New Testament various words and phrases are rendered by "manner"; we have ethos, "custom," "usage," "manner" (Joh 19:40; Ac 15:1, the Revised Version (British and American) "custom"); kata to eiothos (Lu 4:16, the Revised Version (British and American) "as his custom was"); tropos a "turning," "manner," "way" (Jude 1:7); hon tropon, "in which manner" (Ac 1:11); houtos, "thus," "so," "accordingly," is "after this manner," "in like manner" (Mt 6:9; Mr 13:29 the King James Version); in Ac 15:23, "after this manner" stands in the King James Version for "by their hands," the Revised Version (British and American) "thus"; pos (Ac 20:18), "after what manner"; agoge, "course of life" (2Ti 3:10, the Revised Version (British and American) "conduct"); biosis, "mode of life" (Ac 26:4); in 1Co 15:33, we have manners in the moral sense, "Evil communications corrupt good manners," the American Standard Revised Version "Evil companionships corrupt good morals." Ac 13:18 is interesting because of diversities of rendering; the King James Version has "suffered he their manners in the wilderness," margin "etropophoresen, perhaps for etrophophoresen, bore, or fed them as a nurse beareth or feedeth her child, De 1:31 (2 Macc 7:27) according to Septuagint, and so Chrysostom"; the English Revised Version text, same as the King James Version margin "Many ancient authorities read ‘bear he them as a nursing father in the wilderness.’ See De 1:31"; the American Standard Revised Version (text) "as a nursing-father bare he them in the wilderness," margin "Many ancient authorities read ‘Suffered he their manners in the wilderness.’ See De 9:7." The Greek words differ only by a single letter, and authorities are pretty equally divided.

Among other changes the Revised Version (British and American) has frequently "ordinance" for "manner" (Le 5:10, etc.) and "custom" (Ru 4:7; Joh 19:40; Heb 10:25, etc.); "manner of" is introduced (1Sa 4:8, etc.); "manner of" and "manner" omitted (Ge 25:23; Ex 35:29, etc.); "what manner of house" for "where is the house" (Isa 66:1); "manner of life" for "conversation" (Ga 1:13; Eph 4:22); "after the manner of men" for "as a man" (Ro 3:5; 1Co 9:8); "how to inquire concerning these things" (Ac 25:20) for "of such manner of questions"; "in an unworthy manner," the American Standard Revised Version, for "unworthily" (1Co 11:27); "who" for "what manner of man" (Mr 4:41; Lu 8:25, "who then is this?"); in Lu 9:55, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of" is omitted, with the margin "Some ancient authorities add and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of."

W, L. Walker


ma-no’-a (manoach, "rest"): A man of Zorah and of the family of the Danites. Manoah was the father of Samson, and his life-story is but imperfectly told in the history of the conception, birth and early life of his son. No children had been born to Manoah and his wife, and the latter was considered barren (Jud 13:2). Finally it was revealed to her by an angel of the Lord that she would conceive and bear a child. She was cautioned against strong drink and "unclean" food, for her child was to be born and reared a Nazirite to the end that he might save Israel out of the hands of the Philistines (Jud 13:3-5). That Manoah was a devout man seems certain in view of the fact that, upon hearing of the angel’s visit, he offered a prayer for the angel’s return, in order that he and his wife might be instructed as to the proper care of the child to be born (Jud 13:8). The request was granted and the angel repeated the visit and the instructions (Jud 13:9-13). Manoah with true hospitality would have the guest remain and partake of food. The angel refused, but commanded a sacrifice unto Yahweh. When Manoah had prepared the sacrifice and lit it on the altar, the angel ascended in the flame from the altar and appeared no more (Jud 13:15-21). The child was born according to the promise and was named Samson. Manoah and his wife appear twice in the narrative of Samson’s early life—once as they protestingly accompanied him to sue for the hand of a Philistine woman of Timnah in marriage, and again when they went with him to Timnab for the wedding.

Josephus richly embellishes this Scriptural narrative concerning Manoah, but offers no further light upon the occupation or character of Manoah. At the death of Samson, his brothers went down to Gaza and brought back the body and buried it by the side of Manoah in the family tomb near Zorah (Jud 16:31). In Samson Agonistes Milton gains dramatic effect by having Manoah survive Samson and in deep sorrow assist at his burial.

C. E. Schenk


man’sur-vant (‘ebhedh): A male slave; usually coupled with maidservant or female slave (Ge 12:16; Ex 20:10; 1Sa 8:16; Job 31:13; Lu 12:45).



man’-shun (mone, "abode"): In Joh 14:2, the word is used in the plural: "In my Father’s house are many mansions," the Revised Version margin "abiding places." The ideas conveyed are those of abundance of room, and permanence of habitation, in the heavenly world.


man’-sla-er (meratstseach, from ratsach (Nu 35:6,12); androphonos (1Ti 1:9)): A term employed with reference to both premeditated and accidental or justifiable killing. In the latter case, an asylum was granted (Nu 35:6,12) until the death of the high priest, after which the slayer was allowed to "return into the land of his possession" (Nu 35:28). The cases in which the manslayer was to be held clearly immune from the punishment imposed on willful killing were:

(1) death by a blow in a sudden quarrel (Nu 35:22);

(2) death by anything thrown at random (Nu 35:22,23);

(3) death by the blade of an axe flying from the handle (De 19:5).

Among the cases in which one would be held responsible for the death of another, is to be counted the neglectful act of building a house without a parapet (De 22:8).

Manslaughter, as a modern legal term, is employed to distinguish unpremeditated killing from coldblooded murder, but formerly (2 Esdras 1:26) it was used in a more general sense.


Frank E. Hirsch



See CRIME, under "Kidnapping"; PUNISHMENT.


man’-tel-et, man’-t’-l-et, mant’-let (Na 2:5).

See SIEGE, 4, (d).


man’-t’-l: Used 5 times of Elijah’s mantle (’addereth, 1Ki 19:18,19; 2Ki 2:8,13,14), which was probably of hair. Found in plural once (Isa 3:22), where it (ma‘ataphoth) is an upper wide tunic with sleeves (kethoneth).



man’-u-skripts: In the broadest sense manuscripts include all handwritten records as distinguished from printed records. In a narrower sense they are handwritten codices, rolls and folded documents, as distinguished from printed books on the one hand and inscriptions, or engraved documents, on the other. More loosely, but commonly, the term is used as synonym of the codex.

The Hebrew and Greek manuscripts of the Old Testament and New Testament, respectively, form the primary sources for establishing the text or true original words of the respective authors. The subordinate sources, versions and quotations have also their text problem, and manuscripts of the versions and of the church Fathers, and other ancient writers who refer to Biblical matters, play the same part in establishing the true words of the version or the writer that the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts play in establishing the original of Scripture. For discussion of the textual aspects, see the articles on TEXT AND MANUSCRIPTS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, TEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT, on VERSIONS, and especially the SEPTUAGINT. For the material, writing instruments, form of manuscripts, etc., see BOOK; and especially the literature under WRITING.

E. C. Richardson






ma’-ok (ma‘okh, "oppressed," "bruised"): The same as Maacah (1Ki 2:39). The father of that Achish, king of Gath, with whom David and his 600 sojourned under fear of Saul’s treachery (1Sa 27:2).


ma’-on, ma’-on-its, ma-o’-nits (ma‘on; Septuagint: Codex Vaticanus Maor, Maan; Codex Alexandrinus Maon):

(1) A town in the mountain of Judah named along with Carmel and Ziph (Jos 15:55). It appears again as the home of Nabal, the great flockmaster (1Sa 25:2). In the genealogical list of 1Ch 2, Maon stands as the "son" of Shammai and the "father" of Beth-zur (2:44,45). This evidently means that Shammai was the founder of Maon. About a mile South of el-Karmil, the ancient Carmel, lies Tell Ma‘in. This may be confidently identified with Maon, the radicals of the names being the same. It suits the requirements of the narratives in other respects, being near to Carmel, while the surrounding wilderness is still used as the wide pasture land for multitudinous flocks. In this district, the wilderness of Maon, David was hiding when his whereabouts was betrayed to Saul by the men of Ziph (1Sa 23:24 f), and only a timely raid by the Philistines delivered him out of that monarch’s hands (1Sa 23:27 ).

(2) (Madiam): Maon is named along with the Zidonians and Amalek as having at some time, not mentioned, oppressed Israel (Jud 10:12). The Septuagint "Midian" has been accepted by some scholars as restoring the original text, since, otherwise, the Midianites remain unmentioned. But the Maonites are evidently identical with the Meunim of 1Ch 4:41 (Revised Version), the pastoral people destroyed by Hezekiah. In 2Ch 20:1 the King James Version, instead of "other beside the Ammonites" we must read "some of the Meunim," as associated with the Ammonites in the battle with Jehoshaphat. Against them also Uzziah was helped of God (2Ch 26:7). They are included among the inhabitants of Mt. Seir (2Ch 20:10,23), so that an Edomite tribe is intended. It is natural to connect them with Ma‘an, a place on the great pilgrimage road, and now a station on the Damascus-Hejaz Railway, to the Southeast of Petra. It undoubtedly represents an ancient stronghold.

The Maonites appear in the lists of those who returned from exile (Ezr 2:50, the King James Version "Mehunim," the Revised Version (British and American) "Meunim"; Ne 7:52, "Meunim"). These may possibly be the descendants of prisoners taken in the wars of Jehoshaphat and Uzziah, to whom menial tasks may have been appointed in the temple services.

W. Ewing


mar: "To mar" means "to destroy," "to disfigure," "to damage." Job 30:13, "They mar my path" (the Revised Version margin "they break up"); Na 2:2, "and destroyed their vine" (the King James Version "and marred their vine"); compare Le 19:27; 2Ki 3:19; Isa 52:14; Jer 13:9.


ma’-ra, mar’-a (marah, "bitter"): The term which Naomi applies to herself on her return from Moab to her native country (Ru 1:20). Changed beyond recognition, she creates astonishment among her former acquaintances, who ask, "Is this Naomi?" She replies, "Call me not Naomi" (i.e. "pleasant" or "sweet"), but "call me Mara" (i.e. "bitter"). In the light of her bitter experience, and her present pitiable plight, the old name has become peculiarly inappropriate.


ma’-ra, mar’-a (marah, "bitter"): The first camp of the Israelites after the passage of the Red Sea (Ex 15:23; Nu 33:8 f). The name is derived from the bitterness of the brackish water. Moses cast a tree into the waters which were thus made sweet (Ex 15:23).



mar’-a-la (mar‘alah; Septuagint: Codex Vaticanus Maragelda; Codex Alexandrinus Marila): A place on the western border of Zebulun (Jos 19:11). Peshitta renders Ramath ta‘le’," height of the fox." It is not identified.


mar-a-nath’-a, mar-an-a’-tha (from Aramaic words, marana’ ‘athah, "Our Lord cometh, or will come"; according to some, "has come"; to others, "Come!" an invitation for his speedy reappearance (compare Re 22:20); maranatha, or maran atha): Used in connection with anathema, "accursed" (1Co 16:22), but has no necessary connection therewith. It was used by early Christians to add solemn emphasis to previous statement, injunction or adjuration, and seems to have become a sort of watchword; possibly forming part of an early liturgy.


mar’-b’-l (shayish, shesh, ‘abhne shayish, "stones of marble" (1Ch 29:2); ritspath bahat wa-shesh we-dhar we-cochareth, "a pavement of red, and white, and yellow, and black marble," or, according to the margin, "a pavement of porphyry, and white marble, and alabaster, and stone of blue color" (Es 1:6); ‘ammudhe shesh, "pillars of marble" (Es 1:6; So 5:15); compare shesh, the King James Version margin "silk" or the Revised Version (British and American) "fine linen" (Ge 41:42; Ex 25:4, etc.); shoshannim, "lilies" (So 2:16, etc.), apparently from a root signifying "white"; marmaros, "marble" (Re 18:12)): Marble is properly crystalline limestone, usually pure white or veined with black, the former being in demand for statuary, while the latter is used in architecture, especially for floors and pillars. True marble is not found in Palestine, but is obtained from Greece or Italy. Much of the stone described as marble is non-crystalline limestone capable of being smoothed and polished. White or yellow stone of this character is abundant in Palestine. Non-crystalline rocks of other colors are also sometimes called marble. In the passage from Esther cited above (compare margin), it is a question whether the reference is to marble and other stones or to marble of different colors. In 1Ch 29:2, "marble stones" are mentioned among the materials brought together by David for the building of the temple. In Es 1:6, pillars and a pavement of marble are features of the palace of Ahasuerus. In So 5:15, the various parts of the body of the "beloved" are likened to gold, beryl, ivory, sapphire, and marble. In Re 18:12, marble occurs in the list of the merchandise of Babylon. All these references imply a costly stone, and therefore probably one imported from other countries, and make it likely that true crystalline marble is meant.

Alfred Ely Day


march, march’-iz.












mar-do-ke’-us (Mardochaios):

(1) One of the Jewish leaders who accompanied Zerubbabel on the return from Babylon to Judah (1 Esdras 5:8, where it stands for "Mordecai" of Ezr 2:2 and Ne 7:7).

(2) Another form of Mordecai, the uncle of Esther (Additions to Esther 10:4; 11:2,12; 12:1,4 ff; 16:13).



(1) cucah, "steed," the King James Version "company of horses"; Septuagint he hippos, "mare" (So 1:9);

(2) bene ha-rammakhim, "bred of the stud," the King James Version and the Revised Version margin "young dromedaries" (Es 8:10); compare Arabic ramakat, "mare"): The word "mare" does not occur in English Versions of the Bible, but in So 1:9 we find cucah, the feminine of cuc, "horse," and in Es 8:10, bene ha-rammakhim is by some translated "sons of mares."



ma-re’-sha (mareshah; Septuagint: Codex Vaticanus Bathesar; Codex Alexandrinus Maresa): A town in the Shephelah of Judah named with Keilah and Achzib (Jos 15:44). It occupied such a position that Rehoboam thought well to fortify it for the protection of Jerusalem (2Ch 11:8). In the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah, Asa overwhelmed Zerah the Ethiopian and his army, pursuing them as far as Gezer (2Ch 14:9 ). From Mareshah came Eliezer the prophet who denounced disaster upon the commercial copartnery of Jehoshaphat and Ahaziah (2Ch 20:37). The place is mentioned in Mic (2Ch 1:15). Mareshah was plundered and burned by Judas Maccabeus (Ant., XII, viii, 6; 1 Macc 5:66 the Revised Version margin). Hither Gorgias escaped, having been rescued from the hands of Dositheus by a Thracian horseman (2 Macc 12:35). It was taken by John Hyrcanus, who allowed the inhabitants to remain on condition that they adopt circumcision and submit to the Jewish law. This they did; and later John avenged an injustice done to Mareshah by the Samaritans. It is then described as "a colony of Jews" (Ant., XIII, ix, 1; x, 2). The city was treated with favor by Pompey (XIV, iv, 4). When the Parthians invaded Judea in support of Antigonus they demolished Mareshah (xiii, 9).

According to Eusebius, Onomasticon, Mareshah was 2 Roman miles from Eleutheropolis (Beit Jibrin). Until recently it was thought that Khirbet Mir‘ash, where the old name lingers, not far Southwest of Beit Jibrin, represented the ancient city. The work of Dr. Bliss, however ("Excavations in Palestine," PEF), shows that it must be located at Tell Sandachannah, about a mile South of Beit Jibrin. A series of remarkable tombs was discovered here. From 1Ch 2:42 we may perhaps gather that Hebron was colonized by the men of Mareshah.

W. Ewing


mar’-i-moth, mar’-i-moth: An ancestor of Esdras (Ezra) (2 Esdras 1:2), identical with Meraioth (Ezr 7:3). In 1 Esdras 8:2, it appears also as "Memeroth" (the King James Version "Meremoth").



See SHIPS AND BOATS, II, 2, (3); III, 2.


mar’-i-sa (Marisa): The Greek form of MARESHAH (which see) in 2 Macc 12:35.


mar’-ish (gebhe’; helos): An old form of "marsh," found in the King James Version, the English Revised Version Eze 47:11 (the American Standard Revised Version "marsh"). Some (not all) editions of the King James Version Apocrypha have retained this same spelling in 1 Macc 9:42,45 (the Revised Version (British and American) "marsh").


mark: In the King James Version this word is used 22 times as a noun and 26 times as a predicate. In the former case it is represented by 5 Hebrew and 3 Greek words; in the latter by 11 Hebrew and 2 Greek words. As a noun it is purely a physical term, gaining almost a technical significance from the "mark" put upon Cain (Ge 4:15 the King James Version); the stigmata of Christ in Paul’s body (Ga 6:17); the "mark of the beast" (Re 16:2).

As a verb it is almost exclusively a mental process: e.g. "to be attentive," "understand ": bin (Job 18:2 the King James Version), rightly rendered in the Revised Version (British and American) "consider"; shith, "Mark ye well her bulwarks" (Ps 48:13), i.e. turn the mind to, notice, regard; shamar, i.e. observe, keep in view; so Ps 37:37, "Mark the perfect man"; compare Job 22:15 the King James Version. This becomes a unique expression in 1Sa 1:12, where Eli, noticing the movement of Hannah’s lips in prayer, is said to have "marked her mouth." Jesus "marked" how invited guests chose out (epecho, i.e. "observed") the chief seats (Lu 14:7); so skopeo (Ro 16:17; Php 3:17), "Mark them," i.e. look at, signifying keen mental attention, i.e. scrutinize, observe carefully. The only exceptions to this mental signification of the verb are two verses in the Old Testament: Isa 44:13, "He marketh it out with a pencil" ("red ochre," the King James Version "line"), and "with the compasses," where the verb is ta’ar, "to delineate," "mark out"; Jer 2:22, "Thine iniquity is marked (katham, "cut (i.e. engraved)) before me," signifying the deep and ineradicable nature of sin. It may also be rendered "written," as in indelible hieroglyphics.

As a noun the term "mark" may signify, according to its various Hebrew and Greek originals, a sign, "a target" an object of assault, a brand or stigma cut or burnt in the flesh, a goal or end in view, a stamp or imprinted or engraved sign.

(1) ‘oth, "a sign": Ge 4:15 the King James Version, "The Lord set a mark upon Cain" (the American Standard Revised Version "appointed a sign"). It is impossible to tell the nature of this sign. Delitzsch thinks that the rabbins were mistaken in regarding it as a mark upon Cain’s body. He considers it rather "a certain sign which protected him from vengeance," the continuance of his life being necessary for the preservation of the race. It was thus, as the Hebrew indicates, the token of a covenant which God made with Cain that his life would be spared.

(2) mattara’," an aim," hence, a mark to shoot at. Jonathan arranged to shoot arrows as at a mark, for a sign to David (1Sa 20:20); Job felt himself to be a target for the Divine arrows, i.e. for the Divinely decreed sufferings which wounded him and which he was called to endure (Job 16:12); so Jeremiah, "He hath set me as a mark for the arrow" (La 3:12); closely akin to this is miphga‘, an object of attack (Job 7:20), where Job in bitterness of soul feels that God has become his enemy, and says, ‘Why hast thou made me the mark of hostile attack?’;" set me as a mark for thee."


(3) taw, "mark" (Eze 9:4,6). In Ezekiel’s vision of the destruction of the wicked, the mark to be set upon the forehead of the righteous, at Yahweh’s command, was, as in the case of the blood sprinkled on the door-posts of the Israelites (Ex 12:22,23), for their protection. As the servants of God (Re 7:2,3)—the elect—were kept from harm by being sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads, so the man clothed in linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side, was told to mark upon their foreheads those whom God would save from judgment by His sheltering grace. Taw also appears (Job 31:35) for the attesting mark made to a document (the Revised Version (British and American) "signature," margin "mark").

The equivalent Hebrew letter taw ("t") in the Phoenician alphabet and on the coins of the Maccabees had the form of a cross (T). In oriental synods it was used as a signature by bishops who could not write. The cross, as a sign of ownership, was burnt upon the necks or thighs of horses and camels. It may have been the "mark" set upon the forehead of the righteous in Ezekiel’s vision.

(4) qa‘aqa‘, "a stigma" cut or burnt. The Israelites were forbidden (Le 19:28) to follow the custom of other oriental and heathen nations in cutting, disfiguring or branding their bodies.

The specific prohibition "not to print any marks upon" themselves evidently has reference to the custom of tattooing common among savage tribes, and in vogue among both men and women of the lower orders in Arabia, Egypt, and many other lands. It was intended to cultivate reverence for and a sense of the sacredness of the human body, as God’s creation, known in the Christian era as the temple of the Holy Spirit.


(5) skopos, something seen or observed in the distance, hence, a "goal." The Christian life seemed to Paul, in the intensity of his spiritual ardor, like the stadium or race-course of the Greeks, with runners stretching every nerve to reach the goal and win the prize. "I press on toward the goal (the King James Version "mark") unto the prize" (Php 3:14). The mark or goal is the ideal of life revealed in Christ, the prize, the attainment and possession of that life.

In The Wisdom of Solomon 5:21 "they fly to the mark" is from eustochoi, "with true aim" (so the Revised Version (British and American)).

(6) stigma, "a mark pricked or branded upon the body." Slaves and soldiers, in ancient times, were stamped or branded with the name of their master. Paul considered and called himself the bondslave of Jesus Christ. The traces of his sufferings, scourging, stonings, persecution, wounds, were visible in permanent scars on his body (compare 2Co 11:23-27). These he termed the stigmata of Jesus, marks branded in his very flesh as proofs of his devotion to his Master (Ga 6:17).

This passage gives no ground for the Romanist superstition that the very scars of Christ’s crucifixion were reproduced in Paul’s hands and feet and side. It is also "alien to the lofty self-consciousness" of these words to find in them, as some expositors do, a contrast in Paul’s thought to the scar of circumcision.

(7) charagma, "a stamp" or "imprinted mark." "The mark of the beast" (peculiar to Revelation) was the badge of the followers of Antichrist, stamped on the forehead or right hand (Re 13:16; compare Eze 9:4,6). It was symbolic of character and was thus not a literal or physical mark, but the impress of paganism on the moral and spiritual life. It was the sign or token of apostasy. As a spiritual state or condition it subjected men to the wrath of God and to eternal torment (Re 14:9-11); to noisome disease (Re 16:2); to the lake of fire (Re 19:20). Those who received not the mark, having faithfully endured persecution and martyrdom, were given part in the first resurrection and lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years (Re 20:4). The "beast" symbolizes the anti-Christian empires, particularly Rome under Nero, who sought to devour and destroy the early Christians.

(8) molops, "bruise," Sirach 23:10 (the Revised Version (British and American) "bruise"); 28:17.

Dwight M. Pratt


mark, John (Ioannes) represents his Jewish, Mark (Markos) his Roman name. Why the latter was assumed we do not know.

1. Name and Family: Perhaps the aorist participle in Ac 12:25 may be intended to intimate that it dated from the time when, in company with Barnabas and Saul, he turned to service in the great Gentilecity of Antioch. Possibly it was the badge of Roman citizenship, as in the case of Paul. The standing of the family would be quite consistent with such a supposition.

His mother’s name was Mary (Ac 12:12). The home is spoken of as hers. The father was probably dead. The description of the house (with its large room and porch) and the mention of the Greek slave, suggest a family of wealth. They were probably among the many zealous Jews who, having become rich in the great world outside, retired to Jerusalem, the center of their nation and faith. Mark was "cousin" to Barnabas of Cyprus (Col 4:10) who also seems to have been a man of means (Ac 4:36). Possibly Cyprus was also Mark’s former home.

2. His History as Known from the New Testament:

When first mentioned, Mark and his mother are already Christians (44 AD). He had been converted through Peter’s personal influence (1Pe 5:13) and had already won a large place in the esteem of the brethren, as is shown by his being chosen to accompany Barnabas and Saul to Antioch, a little later. The home was a resort for Christians, so that Mark had every opportunity to become acquainted with other leaders such as James and John, and James the brother of the Lord. It was perhaps from the latter James that he learned the incident of Mr 3:21 which Peter would be less likely to mention.

His kinship with Barnabas, knowledge of Christian history and teaching, and proved efficiency account for his being taken along on the first missionary journey as "minister" (huperetes) to Barnabas and Saul (Ac 13:5). Just what that term implies is not clear. Chase (HDB) conjectures the meaning to be that he had been huperetes, "attendant" or chazzan in the synagogue (compare Lu 4:20), and was known as such an official. Wright (English translation, February, 1910) suggests that he was to render in newly founded churches a teaching service similar to that of the synagogue chazzan. Hackett thought that the kai of this verse implies that he was to be doing the same kind of work as Barnabas and Saul and so to be their "helper" in preaching and teaching. The more common view has been (Meyer, Swete, et al.) that he was to perform "personal service not evangelistic," "official service but not of the menial kind"—to be a sort of business agent. The view that he was to be a teacher, a catechist for converts, seems to fit best all the facts.

Why did he turn back from the work (Ac 13:13)? Not because of homesickness, or anxiety for his mother’s safety, or home duties, or the desire to rejoin Peter, or fear of the perils incident to the journey, but rather because he objected to the offer of salvation to the Gentiles on condition of faith alone. There are hints that Mark’s family, like Paul’s, were Hebrews of the Hebrews, and it is not without significance that in both verses (Ac 13:5,13) he is given only his Hebrew name. The terms of Paul’s remonstrance are very strong (Ac 15:38), and we know that nothing stirred Paul’s feelings more deeply than this very question. The explanation of it all may be found in what happened at Paphos when the Roman Sergius Paulus became a believer. At that time Paul (the change of name is here noted by Luke) stepped to the front, and henceforth, with the exception of 15:12,25, where naturally enough the old order is maintained, Luke speaks of Paul and Barnabas, not Barnabas and Saul. We must remember that, at that time, Paul stood almost alone in his conviction. Barnabas, even later than that, had misgivings (Ga 2:13). Perhaps, too, Mark was less able than Barnabas himself to see the latter take second place.

We hear nothing further of Mark until the beginning of the second missionary journey 2 years later, when Paul’s unwillingness to take him with them led to the rupture between Paul and Barnabas and to the mission of Barnabas and Mark to Cyprus (Ac 15:39). He is here called Mark, and in that quiet way Luke may indicate his own conviction that Mark’s mind had changed on the great question, as indeed his willingness to accompany Paul might suggest. He had learned from the discussions in the council at Jerusalem and from subsequent events at Antioch.

About 11 years elapse before we hear of him again (Col 4:10 f; Phm 1:24). He is at Rome with Paul. The breach is healed. He is now one of the faithful few among Jewish Christians who stand by Paul. He is Paul’s honored "fellowworker" and a great "comfort" to him.

The Colossian passage may imply a contemplated visit by Mark to Asia Minor. It may be that it was carried out, that he met Peter and went with him to Babylon. In 1Pe 5:13 the apostle sends Mark’s greeting along with that of the church in Babylon. Thence Mark returns to Asia Minor, and in 2Ti 4:11 Paul asks Timothy, who is at Ephesus, to come to him, pick up Mark by the way, and bring him along. In that connection Paul pays Mark his final tribute; he is "useful for ministering" (euchrestos eis diakonian), so useful that his ministry is a joy to the veteran’s heart.

3. His History as Known from Other Sources:

The most important and reliable tradition is that he was the close attendant and interpreter of Peter, and has given us in the Gospel that bears his name account of Peter’s teaching. For that comradeship the New Testament facts furnish a basis, and the gaps in the New Testament history leave plenty of room. An examination of the tradition will be found in MARK, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO (which see).

Other traditions add but little that is reliable. It is said that Mark had been a priest, and that after becoming a Christian he amputated a finger to disqualify himself for that service. Hence, the nickname kolobo-daktulos, which, however, is sometimes otherwise explained. He is represented as having remained in Cyprus until after the death of Barnabas (who was living in 57 AD according to 1Co 9:5 f) and then to have gone to Alexandria, founded the church there, become its first bishop and there died (or was marthyred) in the 8th year of Nero (62-63). They add that in 815 AD Venetian soldiers stole his remains from Alexandria and placed them under the church of Mark at Venice.


Chase, HDB, III, 245 ff; Rae, DCG, II, 119 f; Harnack, Encyclopedia Brit; Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament, II, 427-56; Lindsay, Salmond, Morison and Swete in their Comms.

J. H. Farmer




1. Scope

2. Material Peculiar to Mark

3. Quotations

4. A Book of Mighty Works

5. The Worker Is Also a Teacher

6. A Book of Graphic Details



1. General Character

2. Vocabulary

3. Style

4. Original Language


1. External Evidence

2. Internal Evidence





1. The Gospel for Romans

2. Plan of the Gospel


1. Person of Christ

2. The Trinity

3. Salvation

4. Eschatology


I. Our Second Gospel.

The order of the Gospels in our New Testament is probably due to the early conviction that this was the order in which the Gospels were written. It was not, however, the invariable order. The question of order only arose when the roll was superseded by the codex, our present book-form. That change was going on in the 3rd century. Origen found codices with the order John-Matthew-Mark-Luke—due probably to the desire to give the apostles the leading place. That and the one common today may be considered the two main groupings—the one in the order of dignity, the other in that of time. The former is Egyptian and Latin; the latter has the authority of most Greek manuscripts, Catalogues and Fathers, and is supported by the old Syriac.

Within these, however, there are variations. The former is varied thus: John-Matthew-Luke-Mark, and Matthew-John-Mark-Luke, and Matthew-John-Luke-Mark; the latter to Matthew-Mark-John-Luke. Mark is never first; when it follows Luke, the time consideration has given place to that of length.

II. Contents and General Characteristics.

1. Scope:

The Gospel begins with the ministry of John the Baptist and ends with the announcement of the Resurrection, if the last 12 verses be not included. These add post-resurrection appearances, the Commission, the Ascension, and a brief summary of apostolic activity. Thus its limits correspond closely with those indicated by Peter in Ac 10:37-43. Nothing is said of the early Judean ministry. The Galilean ministry and Passion Week with the transition from the one to the other (in Ac 10) practically make up the Gospel.

2. Material Peculiar to Mark:

Matter peculiar to Mark is found in 4:26-29 (the seed growing secretly); 3:21 (his kindred’s fear); 7:32-37 (the deaf and dumb man); 8:22-26 (the blind man); 13:33-37 (the householder and the exhortation to watch); 14:51 (the young man who escaped). But, in addition to this, there are many vivid word-touches with which the common material is lighted up, and in not a few of the common incidents Mark’s account is very much fuller; e.g. 6:14-29 (death of John the Baptist); Mr 7:1-23 (on eating with unwashen hands); 9:14-29 (the demoniac boy); 12:28-34 (the questioning scribe). There is enough of this material to show clearly that the author could not have been wholly dependent on the other evangelists. Hawkins reckons the whole amount of peculiar material at about fifty verses (Hor. Syn., 11).

3. Quotations:

In striking contrast to Matthew who, in parallel passages, calls attention to the fulfillment of prophecy by Jesus, Mark only once quotes the Old Testament and that he puts in the very forefront of his Gospel. The Isa part of his composite quotation appears in all 4 Gospels; the Malachi part in Mark only, though there is a reflection of it in Joh 3:28. This fact alone might convey an erroneous impression of the attitude of the Gospel to the Old Testament. Though Mark himself makes only this one twofold reference, yet he represents Jesus as doing so frequency. The difference in this respect between him and Matthew is not great. He has 19 formal quotations as compared with 40 in Matthew, 17 in Luke and 12 in John. Three of the 19 are not found elsewhere. The total for the New Testament is 160, so that Mark has a fair proportion. When Old Testament references and loose citations are considered the result is much the same. Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek give Matthew 100, Mark 58, Luke 86, John 21, Ac 107. Thus. the Old Testament lies back of Mark also as the authoritative word of God. Swete (Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, 393) points out that in those quotations which are common to the synoptists the Septuagint is usually followed; in others, the Hebrew more frequently. (A good illustration is seen in Mr 7:7 where the Septuagint is followed in the phrase, "in vain do they worship me"—a fair para-phrase of the Hebrew; but "teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men" is a more correct representation of the Hebrew than the Septuagint gives.) Three quotations are peculiar to Mark, namely, 9:48; 10:19; 12:32.

4. A Book of Mighty Works:

Judged by the space occupied, Mark is a Gospel of deeds. Jesus is a worker. His life is one of strenuous activity. He hastens from one task to another with energy and decision. The word euthus, i.e. "straightway," is used 42 times as against Matthew’s 7 and Luke’s 1. In 14 of these, as compared with 2 in Matthew and none in Luke, the word is used of the personal activity of Jesus. It is not strange therefore that the uneventful early years should be passed over (compare Joh 2:11). Nor is it strange that miracles should be more numerous than parables. According to Westcott’s classification (Introduction to Study of the Gospel, 480-86), Mark has 19 miracles and only 4 parables, whereas the corresponding figures for Matthew are 21 to 15 and for Luke 20 to 19. Of the miracles 2 are peculiar to Mark, of the parables only 1. The evangelist clearly records the deeds rather than the words of Jesus. These facts furnish another point of contact with Peter’s speeches in Acts—the beneficent character of the deeds in Ac 10:38, and their evidential significance in Ac 2:22 (compare Mr 1:27; 2:10, etc.).

The following are the miracles recorded by Mark: the unclean spirit (1:21-28), the paralytic (2:1-12), the withered hand (3:1-5), the storm stilled (4:35-41), the Gerasene demoniac (5:1-17), Jairus’ daughter (5:22 ff), the woman with the issue (5:25-34), feeding the 5,000 (6:35-44), feeding the 4,000 (8:1-10), walking on the water (6:48 ff); the Syrophoenician’s daughter (7:24-30), the deaf mute (7:31-37), the blind man (8:22-26), the demoniac boy (9:14 ff), blind Bartimeus (10:46-52), the fig tree withered (11:20 ff), the resurrection (16:1 ff). For an interesting classification of these see Westcott’s Introduction to Study of the Gospels, 391. Only the last three belong to Judea.

5. The Worker Is Also a Teacher:

Though what has been said is true, yet Mark is by no means silent about Jesus as a teacher. John the Baptist is a preacher (Mr 1:4,7), and Jesus also is introduced as a preacher, taking up and enlarging the message of John. Very frequent mention is made of him as teaching (e.g. Mr 1:21; 2:13; 6:6, etc.); indeed the words didache, and didasko, occur more frequently in Mark than in any other Gospel. Striking references are made to His originality, methods, popularity and peerlessness as a teacher (Mr 1:22; 4:1 f, 33; 11:27-12:37; especially 12:34). A miracle is definitely declared to be for the purpose of instruction (Mr 2:10), and the implication is frequent that His miracles were not only the dictates of His compassion, but also purposed self-revelations (Mr 5:19 f; 11:21-23). Not only is He Himself a teacher, but He is concerned to prepare others to be teachers (Mr 3:13 f; 4:10 f). Mark is just as explicit as Matthew in calling attention to the fact that at a certain stage He began teaching the multitude in parables, and expounding the parables to His disciples (Mr 4:2-11 f). He mentions, however, only four of them—the Sower (Mr 4:1-20), the Seed Growing Secretly (Mr 4:26-29), the Mustard Seed (Mr 4:30-32) and the Husband-men (Mr 12:1-12). The number of somewhat lengthy discourses and the total amount of teaching is considerably greater than is sometimes recognized. Mark 4 and 13 approach most nearly to the length of the discourses in Matthew and correspond to Mt 13 and 24 respectively. But in Mr 7:1-23; 9:33-50; 10:5-31,39-45 and 12:1-44 we have quite extensive sayings. If Jesus is a worker, He is even more a teacher. His works prepare for His words rather than His words for His works. The teachings grew naturally out of the occasion and the circumstances. He did and taught. Because He did what He did He could teach with effectiveness. Both works and words reveal Himself.

6. A Book of Graphic Details:

There is a multitude of graphic details: Mark mentions actions and gestures of Jesus (7:33; 9:36; 10:16) and His looks of inquiry (5:32), in prayer (6:41; 7:34), of approval (3:34), love (10:21), warning (to Judas especially 10:23), anger (3:5), and in judgment (11:11). Jesus hungers (11:12), seeks rest in seclusion (6:31) and sleeps on the boat cushion (4:38); He pities the multitude (6:34), wonders at men’s unbelief (6:6), sighs over their sorrow and blindness (6:34; 8:12), grieves at their hardening (3:5), and rebukes in sadness the wrong thought of His mother and brothers, and in indignation the mistaken zeal and selfish ambitions of His disciples (8:33; 10:14). Mark represents His miracles of healing usually as instantaneous (1:31; 2:11 f; 3:5), sometimes as gradual or difficult (1:26; 7:32-35; 9:26-28), and once as flatly impossible "because of their unbelief" (6:6). With many vivid touches we are told of the behavior of the people and the impression made on them by what Jesus said or did. They bring their sick along the streets and convert the market-place into a hospital (1:32), throng and jostle Him by the seaside (3:10), and express their astonishment at His note of authority (1:22) and power (2:12). Disciples are awed by His command over the sea (4:41), and disciples and others are surprised and alarmed at the strange look of dread as He walks ahead alone, going up to Jerusalem and the cross (10:32). Many other picturesque details are given, as in 1:13 (He was with the wild beasts); 2:4 (digging through the roof); 4:38 (lying asleep on the cushion); 5:4 (the description of the Gerasene demoniac); 6:39 (the companies, dressed in many colors and looking like flower beds on the green mountain-side). Other details peculiar to Mark are: names (1:29; 3:6; 13:3; 15:21), numbers (5:13; 6:7), time (1:35; 2:1; 11:19; 16:2), and place (2:13; 3:8; 7:31; 12:41; 13:3; 14:68 and 15:39). These strongly suggest the observation of an eyewitness as the final authority, and the geographical references suggest that even the writer understood the general features of the country, especially of Jerusalem and its neighborhood. (For complete lists see Lindsay, Mark’s Gospel, 26 ff.)

III. The Text.

Of the 53 select readings noted by Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek (Into), only a few are of special interest or importance. The following are to be accepted: en to Esaia to prophete (Mr 1:2) hamartematos (Mr 3:29); pleres (indeclinable, 4:28); to tekton (Mr 6:3; Jesus is here called "the carpenter"); autou (Mr 6:22, Herod’s daughter probably had two names, Salome and Herodias); pugme (Mr 7:23, "with the fist," i.e. "thoroughly," not pukna "oft"). Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek are to be followed in rejecting pisteusai (leaving the graphic To Ei dune (Mr 9:23)); kai nesteia (Mr 9:29); pasa...halisthesetai (Mr 9:49); tous...chremasi (Mr 10:24); but not in rejecting huiou Theou (Mr 1:1). They are probably wrong in retaining hous...onomasan (Mr 3:14; it was probably added from Lu 6:31); and in rejecting kai klinon and accepting hrantisontai instead of baptisontai (Mr 7:4; ignorance of the extreme scrupulosity of the Jews led to these scribal changes; compare Lu 11:38, where ebaptisthe is not disputed). So one may doubt eporei (Mr 6:20), and suspect it of being an Alexandrian correction for epoiei which was more difficult and yet is finely appropriate.

The most important textual problem is that of Mr 16:9-20. Burgon and Miller and Salmon believe it to be genuine. Miller supposes that up to that point Mark had been giving practically Peter’s words, that for some reason those then failed him and that 16:9-20 are drawn from his own stores. The majority of scholars regard them as non-Markan; they think 16:8 is not the intended conclusion; that if Mark ever wrote a conclusion, it has been lost, and that 16:9-20, embodying traditions of the Apostolic Age, were supplied later. Conybeare has found in an Armenian manuscript a note referring these verses to the presbyter Ariston, whom he identifies with that Aristion, a disciple of John, of whom Papias speaks. Many therefore would regard them as authentic, and some accept them as clothed with John’s authority. They are certainly very early, perhaps as early as 100 AD, and have the support of Codices Alexandrinus, Ephraemi, Bezae, Xi, Gamma, Delta, Zeta all late uncials, all cursives, most versions and Fathers, and were known to the scribes of Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, who, however, do not accept them.

It is just possible that the Gospel did end at verse 8. The very abruptness would argue an early date when Christians lived in the atmosphere of the Resurrection and would form an even appropriate closing for the Gospel of the Servant (see below). A Servant comes, fulfills his task, and departs—we do not ask about his lineage, nor follow his subsequent history.

IV. Language.

1. General Character:

Mark employs the common coloquial Greek of the day, understood everywhere throughout the Greek-Roman world. It was emphatically the language of the Character people, "known and read of all men." His vocabulary is equally removed from the technicalities of the schools and from the slang of the streets. It is the clean, vigorous, direct speech of the sturdy middle class.

2. Vocabulary:

Of his 1,330 words, 60 are proper names. Of the rest 79 are peculiar to Mark, so far as the New Testament is concerned; 203 are found elsewhere only in the Synoptics, 15 only in John’s Gospel, 23 only in Paul (including Hebrews), 2 in the Catholic Epistles (1 in James, 1 in 2 Peter), 5 in the Apocalypse (Revelation) (see Swete, Commentary on Mark). Rather more than a fourth of the 79 are non-classical as compared with one-seventh for Luke and a little more than one-seventh for Mr. Hawkins also gives a list of 33 unusual words or expressions. The most interesting of the single words are schizomanous, ephien, komopoleis, ekephaliosan, proaulion, and hoti, in the sense of "why" (Mr 2:16; 9:11,28); of the expressions, the distributives in Mr 6:7,39 f and 14:19, the Hebraistic ei dothesetai, and hotan with the indicative. Of ordinary constructions the following are found with marked frequency: kai (reducing his use of de to half of Matthew’s or Luke’s), historic present (accounting for the very frequent use of legei instead of eipen the periphrastic imperfect, the article with infinitives or sentences, participles, and prepositions.

There are indications that the writer in earlier life was accustomed to think in Aramaic. Occasionally that fact shows itself in the retention of Aramaic words which are proportionately rather more numerous than in Matthew and twice as numerous as in Luke or John. The most interesting of these are taleitha koum, ephphatha, and Boanerges, each uttered at a time of intense feeling.

Latinisms in Mark are about half as numerous as Aramaisms. They number 11, the same as in Matthew, as compared with 6 in Luke and 7 in John. The greater proportion in Mark is the only really noteworthy fact in these figures. It suggests more of a Roman outlook and fits in with the common tradition as to its origin and authorship.

For certain words he has great fondness: euthus 42 times; akathartos 11 times; blepo, and its compounds very frequently; so eperotan, hupagein, exousia, euaggelion, proskaleisthai, epitiman compounds of poreuesthai, sunzetein, and such graphic words as ekthambeisthai, embrimasthai, enagkalizesthai, and phimousthai. The following he uses in an unusual sense: eneichen, pugme, apechei, epibalon.

The same exact and vivid representation of the facts of actual experience accounts for the anacolutha and other broken constructions, e.g. Mr 4:31 f; 5:23; 6:8 f; 11:32. Some are due to the insertion of explanatory clauses, as in 7:3-5; some to the introduction of a quotation as in 7:11 f. These phenomena represent the same type of mind as we have already seen (II, 6 above).

3. Style:

The style is very simple. The common connective is kai. The stately periods of the classics are wholly absent. The narrative is commonly terse and concise. At times, however, a multitude of details are crowded in, resulting in unusual fullness of expression. This gives rise to numerous duplicate expressions as in Mr 1:32; 2:25; 5:19 and the like, which become a marked feature of the style. The descriptions are wonderfully vivid. This is helped out by the remarkably frequent use of the historic present, of which there are 151 examples, as contrasted with 78 in Matthew and 4 in Luke, apart from its use in parables. Mark never uses it in parables, whereas Matthew has 15 cases, and Luke has 5. John has 162, a slightly smaller proportion than Mark on the whole, but rather larger in narrative parts. But Mark’s swift passing from one tense to another adds a variety and vividness to the narrative not found in John.

4. Original Language:

That the original language was Greek is the whole impression made by patristic references. Translations of the Gospel are always from, not into, Greek. It was the common language of the Roman world, especially for letters. Paul wrote to the Romans in Greek. Half a century later Clement wrote from Rome to Corinth in Greek. The Greek Mark bears the stamp of originality and of the individuality of the author.

Some have thought it was written in Latin. The only real support for that view is the subscription in a few manuscripts (e.g. 160, 161, egraphe Rhomaisti en Rhome) and in the Peshitta and Harclean Syriac. It is a mistaken deduction from the belief that it was written in Rome or due to the supposition that "interpreter of Peter" meant that Mark translated Peter’s discourses into Latin

Blass contended for an Aramaic original, believing that Luke, in the first part of Acts, followed an Aramaic source, and that that source was by the author of the Second Gospel which also, therefore, was written in Aramaic. He felt, moreover, that the text of Mark suggests several forms of the Gospel which are best explained as translations of a common original. Decisive against the view is the translation of the few Aramaic words which are retained.

V. Authorship.

1. External Evidence:

The external evidence for the authorship is found in the Fathers and the manuscripts. The most important patristic statements are the following:

Papias—Asia Minor, circa 125 AD—(quoted by Eus., HE, III, 39): "And this also the elder said: Mark, having become the interpreter (hermeneutes) of Peter, wrote accurately what he remembered (or recorded) of the things said or done by Christ, but not in order. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed Him; but afterward, as I said (he attached himself to) Peter who used to frame his teaching to meet the needs (of his hearers), but not as composing an orderly account (suntaxin) of the Lord’s discourses, so that Mark committed no error in thus writing down some things as he remembered them: for he took thought for one thing not to omit any of the things he had heard nor to falsify anything in them."

Justin Martyr—Palestine and the West, circa 150 AD—(In Dial. with Trypho, cvi, Migne ed.): "And when it is said that He imposed on one of the apostles the name Peter, and when this is recorded in his ‘Memoirs’ with this other fact that He named the two sons of Zebedee ‘Boanerges,’ which means ‘Sons of Thunder,’ " etc.

Irenaeus—Asia Minor and Gaul, circa 175 AD—(Adv. Haer., iii. 1, quoted in part Eus., HE, V, 8): "After the apostles were clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit and fully furnished for the work of universal evangelization, they went out ("exierunt," in Rufinus’ translation) to the ends of the earth preaching the gospel. Matthew went eastward to those of Hebrew descent and preached to them in their own tongue, in which language he also (had?) published a writing of the gospel, while Peter and Paul went westward and preached and founded the church in Rome. But after the departure (exodon. "exitum" in Rufinus) of the, Mark, the disciple and interpreter (hermeneutes) of Peter, even he has delivered to us in writing the things which were preached by Peter."

Clement of Alexandria—circa 200 AD—(Hypotyp. in Eus., HE, VI, 14): "The occasion for writing the Gospel according to Mark was as follows: After Peter had publicly preached the word in Rome and declared the gospel by the Spirit, many who were present entreated Mark, as one who had followed him for a long time and remembered what he said, to write down what he had spoken, and Mark, after composing the Gospel, presented it to his petitioners. When Peter became aware of it he neither eagerly hindered nor promoted it."

Also (Eus., HE, II, 15): "So charmed were the Romans with the light that shone in upon their minds from the discourses of Peter, that, not contented with a single hearing and the viva voce proclamation of the truth, they urged with the utmost solicitation on Mark, whose Gospel is in circulation and who was Peter’s attendant, that he would leave them in writing a record of the teaching which they had received by word of mouth. They did not give over until they had prevailed on him; and thus they became the cause of the composition of the so-called Gospel according to Mk. It is said that when the apostle knew, by revelation of the Spirit, what was done, he was pleased with the eagerness of the men and authorized the writing to be read in the churches."

Tertullian—North Africa, circa 207 AD—(Adv. Marc., iv. 5): He speaks of the authority of the four Gospels, two by apostles and two by companions of apostles, "not excluding that which was published by Mark, for it may be ascribed to Peter, whose interpreter Mark was."

Origen—Alexandria and the East, c 240 AD—("Comm. on Mt" quoted in Eus., HE, VI, 25): "The second is that according to Mark who composed it, under the guidance of Peter (hos Petros huphegesato auto), who therefore, in his Catholic (universal) epistle, acknowledged the evangelist as his son."

Eusebius—Caesarea, circa 325 AD—(Dem. Evang., III, 5): "Though Peter did not undertake, through excess of diffidence, to write a Gospel, yet it had all along been currency reported, that Mark, who had become his familiar acquaintance and attendant (gnorimes kat phoitetes) made memoirs of (or recorded, apomnemoeusai) the discourses of Peter concerning the doings of Jesus." "Mark indeed writes this, but it is Peter who so testifies about himself, for all that is in Mark are memoirs (or records) of the discourses of Peter."

Epiphanius—Cyprus, circa 350 AD—(Haer., 41): "But immediately after Matthew, Mark, having become a follower (akolouthos) of the holy Peter in Rome, is entrusted in the putting forth of a gospel. Having completed his work, he was sent by the holy Peter into the country of the Egyptians."

Jerome—East and West, circa 350 AD—(De vir. illustr., viii): "Mark, disciple and interpreter of Peter, at the request of the brethren in Rome, wrote a brief Gospel in accordance with what he had heard Peter narrating. When Peter heard it he approved and authorized it to be read in the churches."

Also xi: "Accordingly he had Titus as interpreter just as the blessed Peter had Mark whose Gospel was composed, Peter narrating and Mark writing."

Preface Commentary on Matthew: "The second is Mark, interpreter of the apostle Peter, and first bishop of the Alexandrian church; who did not himself see the Lord Jesus, but accurately, rather than in order, narrated those of His deeds, which he had heard his teacher preaching."

To these should be added the Muratorian Fragment—circa 170 AD—"which gives a list of the New Testament books with a brief account of the authorship of each. The account of Matthew and most of that of Mark are lost, only these words relating to Mark being left: ‘quibus tamen interfuit, et ita posuit’ "( see below).

These names represent the churches of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries, and practically every quarter of the Roman world. Quite clearly the common opinion was that Mark had written a Gospel and in it had given us mainly the teaching of Peter.

That our second Gospel is the one referred to in these statements there can be no reasonable doubt. Our four were certainly the four of Irenaeus and Tatian; and Salmon (Introduction) has shown that the same four must have been accepted by Justin, Papias and their contemporaries, whether orthodox or Gnostics. Justin’s reference to the surname "Boanerges" supports this so far as Mark is concerned, for in the Gospel of Mark alone is that fact mentioned (3:17).

A second point is equally clear—that the Gospel of Mark is substantially Peter’s. Mark is called disciple, follower, interpreter of Peter. Origen expressly quotes "Marcus, my son" (1Pe 5:13 the King James Version) in this connection. "Disciple" is self-explanatory. "Follower" is its equivalent, not simply a traveling companion. "Interpreter" is less clear. One view equates it with "translator," because Mark translated either Peter’s Aramaic discourses into Greek for the Hellenistic Christians in Jerusalem (Adeney, et al.), or Peter’s Greek discourses into Latin for the Christians in Rome (Swete, et al.). The other view—that of the ancients and most moderns (e.g. Zahn, Salmon)—is that it means "interpreter" simply in the sense that Mark put in writing what Peter had taught. The contention of Chase (HDB, III, 247) that this was a purely metaphorical use has little weight because it may be so used here. The conflict in the testimony as to date and place will be considered below (VII).

There is no clear declaration that Mark himself was a disciple of Jesus or an eyewitness of what he records. Indeed the statement of Papias seems to affirm the contrary. However, that statement may mean simply that he was not a personal disciple of Jesus, not that he had never seen Him at all.

The Muratorian Fragment is not clear. Its broken sentence has been differently understood. Zahn completes it thus: "(ali) quibus tamen interfuit, et ita posuit," and understands it to mean that "at some incidents (in the life of Jesus), however, he was present and so put them down." Chase (HDB) and others regard "quibus tamen" as a literal translation of the Greek hois de, and believe the meaning to be that Mark, who had probably just been spoken of as not continuously with Peter, "was present at some of this discourses and so recorded them." Chase feels that the phrase following respecting Luke: "Dominum tamen nec ipse vidit in carne," compels the belief that Mark like Luke had not seen the Lord. But Paul, not Mark, may be there in mind, and further, this interpretation rather belittles Mark’s association with Peter.

The patristic testimony may be regarded as summarized in the title of the work in our earliest manuscripts, namely, kata Markon. This phrase must refer to the author, not his source of information, for then it would necessarily have been kata Petron. This is important as throwing light on the judgment of antiquity as to the authorship of the first Gospel, which the manuscripts all entitle kata Matthaion.

2. Internal Evidence:

The internal evidence offers much to confirm the tradition and practically nothing to the contrary. That Peter is back of it is congruous with such facts as the following:

(1) The many vivid details referred to above (III, 6) must have come from an eyewitness. The frequent use of legei, in Mark and Matthew where Luke uses eipen, works in the same direction.

(2) Certain awkward expressions in lists of names can best be explained as Mark’s turning of Peter’s original, e.g. Mr 1:29, where Peter may have said, "We went home, James and John accompanying us." So in Mr 1:36 (contrasted with Luke’s impersonal description, Lu 4:42 f); Mr 3:16; 13:3.

(3) Two passages (Mr 9:6; 11:21) describe Peter’s own thought; others mention incidents which Peter would be most likely to mention: e.g. Mr 14:37 and 14:66-72 (especially imperfect erneito); 16:7; 7:12-23 in view of Ac 10:15).

(4) In Mr 3:7 the order of names suits Peter’s Galilean standpoint rather than that of Mark in Jerusalem—Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Perea, Tyre, Sidon. The very artlessness of these hints is the best kind of proof that we are in touch with one who saw with his own eyes and speaks out of his own consciousness.

(5) Generally Mark, like Matthew, writes from the standpoint of the Twelve more frequently than Luke; and Mark, more frequently than Matthew, from the standpoint of the three most honored by Jesus. Compare Mr 5:37 with Mt 9:23, where Matthew makes no reference to the three; the unusual order of the names in Luke’s corresponding passage (Lu 8:51) suggests that James was his ultimate source. The language of Mr 9:14 is clearly from one of the three, Luke’s may be, but Matthew’s is not. The contrast in this respect between the common synoptic material and Lu 9:51-18:14 lends weight to this consideration.

(6) The scope of the Gospel which corresponds to that outlined in Peter’s address to Cornelius (Ac 10:37-41).

(7) The book suits Peter’s character—impressionable rather than reflective, and emotional rather than logical. To such men arguments are of minor importance. It is deeds that count (Burton, Short Intro).

It may seem to militate against all this that the three striking incidents in Peter’s career narrated in Mt 14:28-33 (walking on the water), 17:24-27 (tribute money), and 16:16-19 (the church and the keys), should be omitted in Mark. But this is just a touch of that fine courtesy and modesty which companionship with Jesus bred. We see John in his Gospel hiding himself in a similar way. These men are more likely to mention the things that reflect discredit on themselves. It is only in Matthew’s list of the Twelve that he himself is called "the publican." So "Peter never appears in a separate role in Mark except to receive a rebuke" (Bacon).

As to Mark’s authorship, the internal evidence appears slight. Like the others, he does not obtrude himself. Yet for that very reason what hints there are become the more impressive.

There may be something in Zahn’s point that the description of John as brother of James is an unconscious betrayal of the fact that the author’s own name was John. There are two other passages, however, which are clearer and which reinforce each other. The story of the youth in Mr 14:51 seems to be of a different complexion from other Gospel incidents. But if Mark himself was the youth, its presence is explained and vindicated. In that case it is likely that the Supper was celebrated in his own home and that the upper room is the same as that in Ac 12. This is favored by the fuller description of it in Mark, especially the word "ready"—a most natural touch, the echo of the housewife’s exclamation of satisfaction when everything was ready for the guests. It is made almost a certainty when we compare Mr 14:17 with the parallels in Matthew and Luke. Mt 26:20 reads: "Now when even was come, he was sitting at meat with the twelve disciples"; Lu 22:14: "And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the apostles with him"; while Mark has: "And when it was evening he cometh with the twelve." The last represents exactly the standpoint of one in the home who sees Jesus and the Twelve approaching. (And how admirably the terms "the twelve disciples," "the apostles" and "the twelve" suit Matthew, Luke, and Mark respectively.) Such phenomena, undesigned (save by the inspiring Spirit), are just those that would not have been invented later, and become the strongest attestation of the reliability of the tradition and this historicity of the narrative. Modern views opposed to this are touched upon in what follows.


VI. Sources and Integrity.

We have seen that, according to the testimony of the Fathers, Peter’s preaching and teaching are at least the main source, and that many features of the Gospel support that view. We have seen, also, subtle but weighty reasons for believing that Mark added a little himself. Need we seek further sources, or does inquiry resolve itself into an analysis of Peter’s teaching?

B. Weiss believes that Mark used a document now lost containing mainly sayings of Jesus, called Logia (L) in the earlier discussions, but now commonly known as Q (Quelle). In that opinion he has recently been joined by Sanday and Streeter. Harnack, Sir John Hawkins and Wellhausen have sought to reconstruct Q on the basis of the non-Markan matter in Matthew and Luke. Allen extracts it from Matthew alone, thinking that Mark also may have drawn a few sayings from it. Some assign a distinct source for Mark 13. Streeter considers it a document written shortly after the fall of Jerusalem, incorporating a few utterances by Jesus and itself incorporated bodily by Mark. Other sources, oral or written, are postulated by Bacon for smaller portions and grouped under X. He calls the final redactor R—not Mark but a Paulinist of a radical type.

In forming a judgment much depends upon one’s conception of the teaching method of Jesus and the apostles. Teaching and preaching are not synonymous terms. Matthew sums up the early ministry in Galilee under "teaching, preaching and healing," and gives us the substance of that teaching as it impressed itself upon him. Mark reports less of it, but speaks of it more frequently than either Matthew or Luke. Jesus evidently gave teaching a very large place, and a large proportion of the time thus spent was devoted to the special instruction of the inner circle of disciples. The range of that instruction was not wide. It was intensive rather than extensive. He held Himself to the vital topic of the kingdom of God. He must have gone over it again and again. He would not hesitate to repeat instructions which even chosen men found it so difficult to understand. Teaching by repetition was common then as it is now in the East. The word "catechize" (katecheo) implies that, and that word is used by Paul of Jewish (Ro 2:18) and by Luke of Christian teaching (Lu 1:4).


The novelty in His teaching was not in method so much as in content, authority and accompanying miraculous power (Mr 1:27). Certainly He was far removed from vain repetition. His supreme concern was for the spirit. Just as certainly He was not concerned about a mere reputation for originality or for wealth and variety of resources. He was concerned about teaching them the truth so effectively that they would be prepared by intellectual clearness, as well as spiritual sympathy, to make it known to others. And God by His Providence, so kind to all but so often thwarted by human self-will was free to work His perfect work for Him and make all things work together for the furtherance of His purpose. Thus incidents occur, situations arise and persons of all types appear on the scene, calling forth fresh instruction, furnishing illustration and securing the presentation of truth in fullness with proper balance and emphasis and in right perspective.

Thus before His death the general character of that kingdom, its principles and prospects, were taught. That furnished the warp for the future Gospels. The essence, the substance and general form were the same for all the Twelve; but each from the standpoint of his own individually saw particular aspects and was impressed with special details. No one of them was large enough to grasp it all, for no one was so great as the Master. And it would be strange indeed, though perhaps not so strange as among us, if none of them wrote down any of it. Ramsay, Salmon and Palmer are quit justified in feeling that it may have been put in writing before the death of Jesus. It may well be that Matthew wrote it as it lay in his mind, giving us substantially Harnack’s Q. John and James may have done the same and furnished Luke his main special source. But whether it was written down then or not, the main fact to be noted is that it was lodged in their minds, and that the substance was, and the details through mutual conference increasingly became, their common possession. They did not understand it all—His rising from the dead, for example. But the words were lodged in memory, and subsequent events made their meaning clear.

Then follow the great events of His death and resurrection, and for forty days in frequent appearances He taught them the things concerning the kingdom of God and expounded in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself, especially the necessity of His death and resurrection. These furnished the woof of the future Gospels. But even yet they are not equipped for their task. So He promises them His Spirit, a main part of whose work will be to bring to their remembrance all He had said, to lead them into all the truth, and show them things to come. When He has come they will be ready to witness in power.

The apostles’ conception of their task is indicated in some measure by Peter when he insisted that an indispensable qualification in a successor to Judas was that he must have been with them from the beginning to the end of Christ’s ministry, and so be conversant with His words and deeds. From the day of Pentecost onward they gave themselves preeminently to teaching. The thousands converted on that day continued in the teaching of the apostles. When the trouble broke out between Hebrews and Hellenists, the Seven were appointed because the apostles could not leave the word of God to serve tables. The urgency of this business may have been one reason why they stayed in Jerusalem when persecution scattered so many of the church (Ac 8:2). They were thus in close touch for years, not only through the struggle between Hebrews and Hellenists, but until the admission of the GentileCornelius and his friends by Peter had been solemnly ratified by the church in Jerusalem and possibly until the Council had declared against the contention that circumcision was necessary for salvation. During these years they had every opportunity for mutual conference, and the vital importance of the questions that arose would compel them to avail themselves of such opportunities. Their martyr-like devotion to Jesus would make them quick to challenge anything that might seem a misrepresentation of His teaching. The Ac account of their discussions at great crises proves that conclusively. To their success in training others and the accuracy of the body of catechetical instruction Luke pays fine tribute when he speaks of the "certainty" or undoubted truth of it (Lu 1:4). Thus Jesus’ post-resurrection expositions, the experience of the years and the guidance of the Spirit are the source and explanation of the apostolic presentation of the gospel.

Of that company Peter was the recognized leader, and did more than any other to determine the mold into which at least the post-resurrection teachings were cast. Luke tells us of many attempts to record them. He himself in his brief reports of Peter’s addresses sketches their broad outlines. Mark, at the request of Roman Christians and with Peter’s approval, undertook to give an adequate account. Two special facts influenced the result—one, the character of the people for whom he wrote; the other, the existence (as we may assume) of Matthew’s Q. It would be natural for him to supplement rather than duplicate that apostolic summary. Moreover, since Q presented mainly the ethical or law side of Christianity the supplement would naturally present the gospel side of it—and so become its complement—while at the same time this presentation and the needs of the people for whom he specially writes make it necessary to add something from the body of catechetical material, oral or written, not included in Q, as his frequent kai elegen, seems to imply (Buckley, 152 ff). So Mk’s is "the beginning of the Gospel." He introduces Jesus in the act of symbolically devoting Himself to that death for our sins and rising again, which constitutes the gospel and then entering upon His ministry by calling upon the people to "repent and believe in the gospel." The book is written from the standpoint of the resurrection, and gives the story of the passion and of the ministry in a perspective thus determined. About the same time it may be, Matthew, writing for Jewish Christians, combines this gospel side of the teaching with his own Q side of it, adding from the common stock or abridging as his purpose might suggest or space might demand. Later Luke does a similar service for Greek Christians (compare Harnack, The Twofold Gospel in the New Testament).

The only serious question about the integrity of the book concerns the last twelve verses, for a discussion of which see under III above. Some have suggested that Mr 1:1-13 is akin to 16:9-20, and may have been added by the same hand. But while vocabulary and connection are main arguments against the genuineness of the latter, in both these respects 1:1-13 is bound up with the main body of the book. Nor is there sufficient reason for denying Mark 13 as a true report of what Jesus said. Wendling’s theory of three strata assignable to three different writers—historian, poet, and theologian—is quite overdrawn. Barring the closing verses, there is nothing which can possibly demand anything more than an earlier and a later edition by Mark himself, and the strongest point in favor of that is Luke’s omission of Mr 6:45-8:26. But Hawkins gives other reasons for that.

VII. Date and Place of Composition.

Ancient testimony is sharply divided. The Paschal Chronicle puts it in 40 AD, and many manuscripts, both uncial and cursive (Harnack, Chronologie, 70, 124) 10 or 12 years after the Ascension. These Swete sets aside as due to the mistaken tradition that Peter began work in Rome in the 2nd year of Claudius (42 AD). Similarly he would set aside the opinion of Chrysostom (which has some manuscripts subscriptions to support it) that it was written in Alexandria, as an error growing out of the statement of Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, II, 16) that Mark went to Egypt and preached there the Gospel he composed. This he does in deference to the strong body of evidence that it was written in Rome about the time of Peter’s death. Still there remains a discrepancy between Irenaeus, as commonly understood, and the other Fathers. For, so understood, Irenaeus places it after the death of Peter, whereas Jerome, Epiphanius, Origen and Clement of Alexandria clearly place it within Peter’s lifetime. But it does not seem necessary so to understand Irenaeus. It may be that it was composed while Peter was living, but only published after his death. Christopherson (1570 AD) had suggested that and supported it by the conjectural emendation of ekdosin, "surrendering," "imprisonment" for exodon, in Irenaeus. Grabe, Mill and others thought Irenaeus referred, not to Peter’s death, but to his departure from Rome on further missionary tours. But if we take exodon in that sense, it is better to understand by it departure from Palestine or Syria, rather than from Rome. Irenaeus’ statement that the apostles were now fully furnished for the work of evangelization (Adv. Haer., iii.1) certainly seems to imply that they were now ready to leave Palestine; and his next statement is that Matthew and Mark wrote their respective Gospels. And Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 24) states explicitly that Matthew committed his Gospel to writing "when he was about" to leave Palestine "to go to other peoples." The same may very possibly be true of Mark. If the fact be that Romans in Caesarea or Antioch made the request of Mark, we can easily understand how, by the time of Irenaeus, the whole incident might be transferred to Rome.

If this view be adopted, the date would probably not be before the council at Jerusalem and the events of Ga 2:11 ff. It is true the New Testament hints are that the apostles had left Jerusalem before that, but that they had gone beyond Syria is not likely. At any rate, at the time of the clash at Antioch they had not become so clear on the question touching Jews and Gentiles in the church as to be "fully furnished for the work of universal evangelization." But may it not be that Paul’s strong statement of the seriousness of their error actually did settle those questions in the minds of the leaders? If so, and if with new vision and ardor, they turn to the work of world-wide evangelism, that would be a natural and worthy occasion for the composition of the Gospel. The place may be Caesarea or Antioch, and the date not earlier than 50 AD. This is the simplest synthesis of the ancient testimony. Modern opinion as to date has ranged more widely than the ancient. Baur and Strauss were compelled by their tendency and mythical theories to place it in the 2nd century. Recent criticism tends strongly to a date in the sixties of the 1st century, and more commonly the later sixties. This is based partly on hints in the Gospel itself, partly on its relation to Matthew and Luke. The hints usually adduced are Mr 2:26 and 13. The former, representing the temple as still standing, has force only if the relative clause be Mark’s explanatory addition. Mark 13 has more force because, if Jerusalem had already fallen, we might expect some recognition of the fact.

Two other slight hints may be mentioned. The omission by the synoptists of the raising of Lazarus, and of the name of Mary in connection with the anointing of Jesus argues an early date when mention of them might have been unpleasant for the family. When the Fourth Gospel was published, they may have been no longer alive. The description of John as the brother of James (Mr 5:37) may also take us back to an early date when James was the more honored of the two brothers—though the unusual order of the names may be due, as Zahn thinks, to the author’s instinctively distinguishing that John from himself.

The relation of Mark to Matthew and Luke is important if the very widespread conviction of the priority of Mark be true. For the most likely date for Ac is 62 AD, as suggested by the mention of Paul’s two years’ residence in Rome, and Luke’s Gospel is earlier than the Acts. It may well have been written at Caesarea about 60 AD; that again throws Mark back into the fifties.

The great objection to so early a date is the amount of detail given of the destruction of Jerusalem. Abbott and others have marshalled numerous other objections, but they have very little weight—most of them indeed are puerile. The real crux is that to accept an earlier date than 70 AD is to admit predictive prophecy. Yet to deny that, especially for a believer in Christ, is an unwarranted pre-judgment, and even so far to reduce it as to deny its presence in this passage is to charge Luke—a confessedly careful historian—with ascribing to Jesus statements which He never made.

The eagerness to date Matthew not earlier than 70 is due to the same feeling. But the problem here is complicated by the word "immediately" (24:29). Some regard that as proof positive that it must have been written before the destruction of Jerusalem. Others (e.g. Allen and Plummer) feel that it absolutely forbids a date much later than 70 AD, and consider 75 AD as a limit. But is it not possible that by by eutheos (not parachrema), Christ, speaking as a prophet, may have meant no more than that the next great event comparable with the epochal overthrow of Judaism would be His own return and that the Divine purpose marches straight on from the one to the other? The New Testament nowhere says that the second advent would take place within that generation. See below under "Eschatology." There is therefore no sufficient reason in the Olivet discourse for dating Luke or Matthew later than 60 AD, and if Mark is earlier, it goes back into the fifties.

VIII. Historicity.

Older rationalists, like Paulus, not denying Mark’s authorship, regarded the miraculous elements as misconceptions of actual events. Strauss, regarding these as mythical, was compelled to postulate a 2nd-century date. When, however, the date was pushed back to the neighborhood of 70 AD, the historicity was felt to be largely established. But recently theory of "pragmatic values" has been developed; Bacon thus states it: "The key to all genuinely scientific appreciation of Biblical narrative .... is the recognition of motive. The motive .... is never strictly historical but always etiological and frequently apologetic. .... The evangelic tradition consists of so and so many anecdotes, told and retold for the purpose of explaining or defending beliefs and practices of the contemporary church" (Modern Commentary, Beginnings of Gospel Story, 9). Bacon works out the method with the result that Mark is charged again and again with historical and other blunders. This view, like Baur’s tendency-theory, has elements of truth. One is that the vocabulary of a later day may be a sort of necessary translation of the original expression. But translation is neither invention nor perversion. The other is that each author has his purpose, but that simply determines his selection and arrangement of material; it neither creates nor misrepresents it if the author be honest and well informed. The word "selection" is advisedly chosen. The evangelists did not lack material. Each of the Twelve had personal knowledge beyond the content of Q or of Mark. These represent the central orb—the one the ethical, the other the evangelic side of it—but there were rays of exceeding brightness radiating from it in all directions. Luke’s introduction and John’s explicit declaration attest that fact. And neither John nor Luke throws the slightest suspicion on the reliability of the material they did not use. There is no sufficient reason for charging them with misstating the facts to make a point. Bacon seems to trust any other ancient writers or even his own imagination rather than the evangelists. The test becomes altogether too subjective. Yet since Christianity is a historical revelation, perversion of history may become perversion of most vital religious teaching. In the last analysis, the critic undertakes to decide just what Jesus could or could not have done or said. The utter uncertainty of the result is seen by a comparison of Schmiedel and Bacon. The former is sure that the cry "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me" is one of the very few genuine sayings of Jesus; Bacon is equally sure that Jesus could not have uttered it. Bacon also charges Mark with "immoral crudity" because in 10:45 he reports Jesus as saying that He came "to give his life a ransom for (anti) many." Thus, on two most vital matters he charges the evangelists with error because they run counter to his own religious opinions.

Plummer’s remark is just (Commentary on Matthew, xxxiii): "To decide a priori that Deity cannot become incarnate, or that incarnate Deity must exhibit such and such characteristics, is neither true philosophy nor scientific criticism." And A.T. Robertson ("Matthew" in Bible for Home and School, 26): "The closer we get to the historic Jesus the surer we feel that He lived and wrought as He is reported in the Synoptic Gospels." The evangelists had opportunities to know the facts such as we have not. The whole method of their training was such as to secure accuracy. They support each other. They have given us sketches of unparalleled beauty, vigor and power, and have portrayed for us a Person moving among men absolutely without sin—a standing miracle. If we cannot trust them for the facts, there is little hope of ever getting at the facts at all.

IX. Purpose and Plan.

1. The Gospel for Romans:

Mark’s purpose was to write down the Gospel as Peter had presented it to Romans, so say the Fathers, at least, and internal evidence supports them. In any additions made by himself he had the same persons in mind. That the Gospel was for Gentiles can be seen (a) from the translation of the Aramaic expressions in Mr 3:17 (Boanerges), 5:41 (Talitha cumi), 7:11 (Corban), 10:46 (Bartimaeus), 14:36 (Abba), 15:22 (Golgotha); (b) in the explanation of Jewish customs in 14:12 and 15:42; (c) from the fact that the Law is not mentioned and the Old Testament is only once quoted in Mark’s own narrative; (d) the Gentile sections, especially in Mark 6-8.

That it was for Romans is seen in

(a) the explanation of a Greek term by a Latin in Mr 12:42;

(b) the preponderance of works of power, the emphasis on authority (2:10), patience and heroic endurance (10:17 ff);

(c) 10:12 which forbids a practice that was not Jewish but Roman.

Those who believe it was written at Rome find further hints in the mention of Rufus (15:21; compare Ro 16:13) and the resemblance between 7:1-23 and Ro 14. The Roman centurion’s remark (15:39) is the Q.E.D. of the author, and bears the same relation to Mark’s purpose as Joh 20:31 to John’s.

But one cannot escape the feeling that we have in this Gospel the antitype of the Servant of Yahweh. A.B. Davidson (Old Testament Theology, 365) tells us that there are two great figures around which Isaiah’s thoughts gather—the King and the Servant. The former rises "to the unsurpassable height of ‘God with us,’ ‘mighty God,’ teaching that in Him God shall be wholly present with His people." The Servant is the other. The former is depicted in Mt, who also identifies Him with the Servant (12:18 f); the latter by Mr who identifies Him with the Messianic King (11:10; 14:62). Davidson summarizes the description of the Servant: "

(1) He is God’s chosen;

(2) He has a mission to establish judgment on the earth. .... The word is His instrument and the Lord is in the Word, or rather He Himself is the impersonation of it;

(3) His endowment is the Spirit and an invincible faith;

(4) There is in Him a marvelous combination of greatness and lowliness;

(5) There are inevitable sufferings—bearing the penalty of others’ sins;

(6) He thus redeems Israel and brings light to the Gentiles.

(7) Israel’s repentance and restoration precede that broader blessing."

It is not strange that this Servant-conception—this remarkable blend of strength and submission, achieving victory through apparent defeat—should appeal to Peter. He was himself an ardent, whole-souled man who knew both defeat and victory. Moreover, he himself had hired servants (Mr 1:20), and now for years had been a servant of Christ (compare Ac 4:29). That it did appeal to him and became familiar to the early Christians can be seen from Ac 3:13 and 4:30. In his First Epistle he has 17 references to Isaiah, 9 of which belong to the second part. Temperamentally Mark seems to have been like Peter. And his experience in a wealthy home where servants were kept (Ac 12:13), and as himself huperetes of apostles in Christian service, fitted him both to appreciate and record the character and doings of the perfect servant—the Servant of Yahweh. For Roman Christians that heroic figure would have a peculiar fascination.

2. Plan of the Gospel:

The plan of the Gospel seems to have been influenced by this conception. Christ’s kingship was apprehended by the Twelve at a comparatively early date. It was not until after the resurrection, when Jesus opened to them the Scriptures, that they saw Him as the Suffering Servant of Isa 53. That gave Peter his gospel as we have already seen, and at the same time the general lines of its presentation. We see it sketched for Romans in Ac 10. That sketch is filled in for us by Mark. So we have the following analysis:

Title: Mark 1:1

1. The Baptist preparing the way: Mr 1:2-8; compare Isa 40:3 f.

2. Devotement of Jesus to death for us and endowment by the Spirit: Mr 1:9-3; compare Isa 42:1 ff.

3. His greatness—the Galilean Ministry: Mr 1:14-8:30; compare Isa 43-52:12.

(1) In the synagogue: period of popular favor leading to break with Pharisaic Judaism: Mr 1:14-3:6.

(2) Outside the synagogue: parabolic teaching of the multitude, choice and training of the Twelve and their Great Confession: Mr 3:7 ff through 8:30.

4. His lowliness—mainly beyond Galilee: Mr 8:31-15; compare Isa 52:13-53:9.

(1) In the north—announcement of death: Mr 8:31-9:29.

(2) On the way to Jerusalem and the cross—through Galilee (Mr 9:30-50), Peraea (Mr 10:1-45), Judea (Mr 10:46-52).

(3) The triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mr 11:1-11).

(4) In Jerusalem and vicinity—opposed by the leaders (Mr 11:12-12:44); foretelling their doom (Mr 13); preparing for death (Mr 14:1-42); betrayed, condemned, crucified and buried in a rich man’s tomb (Mr 14:43-15).

5. His victory—the resurrection: Mark 16; compare Isa 53:10-12. What follows in Isaiah is taken up in Acts, for the first part of which Peter or Mark may have been Luke’s main source.

Generally speaking the plan is chronological, but it is plain that the material is sometimes grouped according to subject-matter.

This Servant-conception may also be the real explanation of some of the striking features of this Gospel, e.g. the absence of a genealogy and any record of His early life; the frequent use of the word "straightway"; the predominance of deeds; the Son’s not knowing the day (Mr 13:32); and the abrupt ending at Mr 16:8 (see III).

X. Leading Doctrines.

1. Person of Christ:

The main one, naturally, is the Person of Christ. The thesis is that He is Messiah, Son of God, Author (Source) of the gospel. The first half of the book closes with the disciples’ confession of His Messiahship; the second, with the supreme demonstration that He is Son of God. Introductory to each is the Father’s declaration of Him as His Beloved Son (Mr 1:11; 9:7). That the sonship is unique is indicated in Mr 12:6 and 13:32. At the same time He is the Son of Man—true man (4:38; 8:5; 14:34); ideal man as absolutely obedient to God (10:40; 14:36), and Head of humanity (2:10,28), their rightful Messiah or King (1:1; 14:62)—yet Servant of all (10:44 f); David’s Son and David’s Lord (12:37). The unique Sonship is the final explanation of all else, His power, His knowledge of both present (2:5,8; 8:17) and future (8:31; 10:39; 14:27; 13), superiority to all men, whether friends (1:7; 9:3 ff) or foes (12:34), and to superhuman beings, whether good (13:32) or evil (1:13,12; 3:27).

2. The Trinity:

The Father speaks in Mr 1:11; 9:7; is spoken of in 13:32; and spoken to in 14:36. The usual distinction between His fatherhood in relation to Christ and in relation to us is seen in 11:25; 12:6 and 13:32. The Spirit is mentioned in 1:8,10,12; 3:29 and 13:11. The last passage especially implies His personality.

3. Salvation:

As to salvation, the Son is God’s final messenger (Mr 12:6); He gives His life a ransom instead of many (Mr 10:45); His blood shed is thus the blood of the covenant (Mr 14:24); that involves for Him death in the fullest sense, including rupture of fellowship with God (Mr 15:34). From the outset He knew what was before Him—only so can His baptism be explained (Mr 1:5,11; compare 2:20); but the horror of it was upon Him, especially from the transfiguration onward (Mr 10:32; 14:33-36); that was the Divine provision for salvation: He gave His life (Mr 10:45). The human condition is repentance and faith (Mr 1:15; 2:5; 5:34,36; 6:5; 9:23; 16:16), though He bestows lesser blessings apart from personal faith (Mr 1:23-26; 5:1-20; 6:35-43). The power of faith, within the will of God, is limitless (Mr 11:25); faith leads to doing the will of God, and only such as do His will are Christ’s true kindred (Mr 3:35). Salvation is possible for Gentile as well as Jew (Mr 7:24-30).

4. Eschatology:

The eschatology of this Gospel is found chiefly in Mr 8:34-9:1 and 13. In Mr 9:1 we have a prediction of the overthrow of Jerusalem which is here given as a type and proof of His final coming for judgment and reward which He has had in mind in the preceding verses. Mark 13 is a development of this—the destruction of Jerusalem being meant in 13:5-23 and 28-31, the final coming in 13:24-27 and 32. The distinction is clearly marked by the pronouns (tauta, and ekeines, in 13:30 and 32 (compare Mt 24:34,36). In each passage (Mr 9:1; 13:30) the fall of Jerusalem is definitely fixed as toward the close of that generation; the time of the latter is known only to the Father (Mr 13:32). Between Christ’s earthly life and the Second Coming He is seated at the right hand of God (Mr 12:36; 16:19). The resurrection which He predicted for Himself (Mr 8:31; 9:31; 10:34) and which actually took place (Mark 16), He affirms for others also (Mr 12:24-27).


The works marked with the asterisk are specially commended; for very full list see Moffat’s Introduction.


Fritzsche, 1830; Olshausen, translated 1863; J.A. Alexander, 1863; Lange, translated 1866; Meyer, 1866, American edition, 1884; Cook, Speaker’s Commentary, 1878; Plumptre, Ellicott’s, 1879; Riddle, Schaff’s, 1879; W.N. Clarke, Amer. Comm., 1881; Lindsay, 1883; Broadus, 1881 and 1905; Morison, 1889; H.G. Holtzmann(3), 1901; Maclean, Cambridge Bible, 1893; Gould, International Critical Commentary, 1896; Bruce, The Expositor Greek Testament, 1897; B. Weiss, Meyer, 1901; Menzies, The Earliest Gospel, 1901; Salmond, Century Bible; Wellhausen2, 1909; Swete, 1908; Bacon, The Beginnings of Gospel Story, 1909; Wohlenberg, Zahn’s Series, Das Evangelium des Markus, 1910. For the earlier see Swete.


Eichhorn, 1827; Credner, 1836; Schleiermacher, 1845; De Wette, 1860; Bleek, 1866, translated 1883; Reuss, 1874, translated 1884; B. Weiss. 2nd edition, translated 1886; 3rd edition, 1897; H.J. Holtzmann, 1892; Th. Zahn, 1897, translated 1909; Godet, 1899; Julicher(6), 1906; von Soden, 1905, translated 1906; Wendling, Ur-Marcus, 1905; A. Muller, Geschichtskerne in den Evang., 1905; Wrede, Origin of New Testament Scriptures, 1907, translated 1909; Horne, 1875; Westcott, Introduction to Study of Gospels, 7th edition, 1888, and The Canon, 6th edition, 1889; Salmon, 1897; Adeney, 1899; Bacon, 1900; Burton, 1904; Moffat, Historical New Testament, 1901; Introduction to the Literature of New Testament, 1911; Peake, 1909; Gregory, Einleitung., 1909; Charteris, Canonicity, 1881; The New Testament Scriptures, 1882, and popular Intros by Plumptre, 1883; Lumby, 1883; Kerr, 1892; McClymont, 1893; Dods, 1894; Lightfoot, Essays on the Work Entitled Supernatural Religion, 1889; Sanday, Gospels in the 2nd Century, 1874; Stanton, Gospels as Historical Documents, I, 1903; II, 1909.

Mark and the Synoptic Problem:

Rushbrooke, Synopticon, 1880; Wright, Synopsis of the Gospels in Greek, 3rd edition, 1906; Composition of the Four Gospels, 1890; Some New Testament Problems, 1898; H.J. Holtzmann, Die synopt. Evang., 1863; Weizsacker, Untersuch. uber die evang. Gesch., 2nd edition, 1901; Wernle, Die synopt. Frage, 1899; Loisy, Les ev. syn., 1908; Wellhausen, Einleitung in die drei ersten Evang., 1905; Blass, Origin and Char. of Our Gospels, English translation, xviii; Norton, Internal Evid. of the Genuineness of the Gospels, 1847; F.H. Woods, Stud. Bibl., II, 594; Palmer, Gospel Problems and Their Solution, 1899; J.A. Robinson, The Study of the Gospels, 1902; Gloag, Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels; Burton, Some Principles of Literary Criticism and Their Application to the Synoptic Problem, 1904; Stanton, as above, and in Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes), II, 234 ff; Turner, "Chronology of New Testament," Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes), I, 403 ff; J.J. Scott, The Making of the Gospels, 1905; Burkitt, Gospel History and Its Transmission, 1906; Salmon, Human Element in the Gospels, 1907; Harnack, Gesch. der altchristl. Lit., I, 1893; II, 2nd edition, 1904; Beitrage zur Einleitung in das New Testament, 4 volumes, translated in "Crown Theol. Lib.," Luke the Physician, 1907; The Sayings of Jesus, 1908; The Ac of the Apostles, 1909; The Date of the Ac and of the Synoptic Gospels, 1911; Montefiore, The Synoptic Gospels, 1909; Hawkins, Horae Synopticae, 2nd edition, 1909; Denney, Jesus and the Gospel; Cambridge Biblical Essays, edition by Swete, 1909; Oxford Studies in the Syn. Problem, edition by Sanday, 1911; Salmond, Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes), III, 248 ff; Maclean, Hastings, Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels, II, 120 f; Petrie, Growth of Gospels Shown by Structural Criticism, 1910; Buckley, Introduction to Synoptic Problem, 1912.

The Language:

Dalman, Words of Jesus, translated 1909; Deissmann, Bible Studies, translated 1901; Light from the Ancient East, translated 1910; Allen, The Expositor, I, English translation, 1902; Marshall, The Expositor, 1891-94; Wellhausen, Einleitung.; Hatch, Essays in Biblical Greek, 1889; Swete and Hawkins.


Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek, Introduction to the New Testament in Greek; Salmon, Introduction, chapter ix; Gregory, Text and Canon; Morison and Swete, in Commentary; Burgon, The Last Twelve Verses of Mark.


Schweizer, Quest of the Historical Jesus, 1910; Sanday, Life of Christ in Recent Research; Emmet, Eschatological Question in the Gospels, 1911; Hogg, Christ’s Message of the Kingdom, 1911; Forbes, The Servant of the Lord, 1890; Davidson, Old Testament Theology.

J. H. Farmer



mar’-ket, mar’-ketplas, mart (ma‘arabh, cachar; agora):

(1) Ma‘arabh, from a root meaning "trading" and hence, goods exchanged, and so "merchandise" in the Revised Version (British and American), "market" in the King James Version, occurs only in Eze 27:13,17,19,25, and is translated correctly "merchandise" in both the English Revised Version and the American Standard Revised Version.

(2) Cachar means a "trading emporium," hence, mart, and merchandise. It occurs only in Isa 23:3 (see MERCHANDISE).

(3) Agora, from root meaning "to collect," means a "town meeting-place," "resort of the people," so a place where the public generally met to exchange views and wares. No doubt, the central place soon filling up, the people thronged the adjoining streets, and so in time each street thus used came to be called agora, "marketplace"; translated "marketplace(s)" in 1 Esdras 2:18; Tobit 2:3; Mt 11:16; 20:3; 23:7; Mr 6:56; 7:4; 12:38; Lu 7:32; 11:43; 20:46; Ac 16:19; 17:17; "Market of Appius" in Ac 28:15 means, probably, "street" (see APPII FORUM).

The marketplace in New Testament times was the public open space, either simple or ornate, in town, city or country, where (Mr 6:56) the people congregated, not only for exchange of merchandise, but for one or more of the following purposes:

(1) a place where the children came together to sing, dance and play, a "back-to-date" municipal recreation center (Mt 11:16,17; Lu 7:32);

(2) a place for loafers, a sort of ancient, irresponsible labor bureau where the out-of-work idler waited the coming of an employer with whom he might bargain for his services, usually by the day (Mt 20:1-16);

(3) a place where the proud pretender could parade in long robes and get public recognition, "salutations in the market-places," e.g. the scribes and Pharisees against whom Jesus emphatically warns His disciples (Mt 23:3-7; Mr 12:38; Lu 11:43; 20:46);

(4) a place where the sick were brought for treatment, the poor man’s sanatorium, a municipal hospital; Jesus "who went about doing good" often found His opportunity there (Mr 6:56);

(5) a place of preliminary hearing in trials, where the accused might be brought before rulers who were present at the time, e.g. Paul and Silas at Philippi (Ac 16:19);

(6) a place for religious and probably political or philosophical discussion (gossip also), a forum, a free-speech throne; no doubt often used by the early apostles not only as a place of proclaiming some truth of the new religion but also a place of advertisement for a coming synagogue service, e.g. Paul in Athens (Ac 17:17).

The Wisdom of Solomon 15:12 (the King James Version) has "They counted ... our time here a market for gain," the Revised Version (British and American) "a gainful fair," margin "a keeping of festival," Greek panegurismos, "an assembly of all." Such assemblies offered particular opportunities for business dealings.

William Edward Raffety


mar’-moth, mar’-moth (Codex Vaticanus, Marmothi; Codex Alexandrinus, Marmathi): "The priest the son of Urias" to whom were committed the silver and gold for the temple by the returning exiles (1 Esdras 8:62) =" Meremoth" in parallel Ezr 8:33.


ma’-roth, ma’-roth (maroth; (katoikousa) (odunas): An unknown town probably in the Philistine plain, named by Micah (1:12).




Scope and Viewpoint of the Present Article

1. Marriage among the Hebrews

2. Betrothal the First Formal Part

3. Wedding Ceremonies

4. Jesus’ Sanction of the Institution

5. His Teaching concerning Divorce


It would be interesting to study marriage biologically and sociologically, to get the far and near historical and social background of it as an institution, especially as it existed among the ancient Jews, and as it figures in the teaching of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament. For, like all social institutions, marriage, and the family which is the outcome of marriage, must be judged, not by its status at any particular time, but in the light of its history. Such a study of it would raise a host of related historic questions, e.g. What was its origin? What part has it played in the evolution and civilization of the race? What social functions has it performed? And then, as a sequel, Can the services it has rendered to civilization and progress be performed or secured in any other way? This, indeed, would call for us to go back even farther—to try to discover the psychology of the institution and its history, the beliefs from which it has sprung and by which it has survived so long. This were a task well worth while and amply justified by much of the thinking of our time; for, as one of the three social institutions that support the much challenged form and fabric of modern civilization, marriage, private property and the state, its continued existence, in present form at least, is a matter of serious discussion and its abolition, along with the other two, is confidently prophesied. "Marriage, as at present understood, is an arrangement most closely associated with the existing social status and stands or falls with it" (Bebel, Socialism and Sex, 199, Reeves, London; The Cooperative Commonwealth in Its Outline, Gronlund, 224). But such a task is entirely outside of and beyond the purpose of this article.

Neither the Bible in general, nor Jesus in particular, treats of the family from the point of view of the historian or the sociologist, but solely from that of the teacher of religion and morals. In short, their point of view is theological, rather than sociological. Moses and the prophets, no less than Jesus and His apostles, accepted marriage as an existing institution which gave rise to certain practical, ethical questions, and they dealt with it accordingly. There is nothing in the record of the teachings of Jesus and of His apostles to indicate that they gave to marriage any new social content, custom or sanction. They simply accepted it as it existed in the conventionalized civilization of the Jews of their day and used it and the customs connected with it for ethical or illustrative purposes. One exception is to be made to this general statement, namely, that Jesus granted that because of the exigencies of the social development Moses had modified it to the extent of permitting and regulating divorce, clearly indicating, however, at the same time, that He regarded such modification as out of harmony with the institution as at first given to mankind. According to the original Divine purpose it was monogamous, and any form of polygamy, and apparently of divorce, was excluded by the Divine idea and purpose. The treatment of the subject here, therefore, will be limited as follows: Marriage among the Ancient Hebrews and Other Semites; Betrothal as the First Formal Part of the Transaction; Wedding Ceremonies Connected with Marriage, especially as Reflected in the New Testament; and Jesus’ Sanction and Use of the Institution, Teaching concerning Divorce, etc.

1. Marriage among the Hebrews:

With the Hebrews married life was the normal life. Any exception called for apology and explanation. "Any Jew who has not a wife is no man" (Talmud). It was regarded as awaiting everyone on reaching maturity; and sexual maturity comes much earlier indeed in the East than with us in the West—in what we call childhood. The ancient Hebrews, in common with all Orientals, regarded the family as the social unit. In this their view of it coincides with that, of modern sociologists. Of the three great events in the family life, birth, marriage and death, marriage was regarded as the most important. It was a step that led to the gravest tribal and family consequences. In case of a daughter, if she should prove unsatisfactory to her husband, she would likely be returned to the ancestral home, discarded and discredited, and there would be almost inevitably a feeling of injustice engendered on one side, and a sense of mutual irritation between the families (Jud 14:20; 1Sa 18:19). If she failed to pass muster with her mother-in-law she would just as certainly have to go, and the results would be much the same (compare customs in China). It was a matter affecting the whole circle of relatives, and possibly tribal amity as well. It was natural and deemed necessary, therefore, that the selection of the wife and the arrangement of all contractual and financial matters connected with it should be decided upon by the parents or guardians of the couple involved. Though the consent of the parties was sometimes sought (Ge 24:8) and romantic attachments were not unknown (Ge 29:20; 34:3; Jud 14:1; 1Sa 18:20), the gift or woman in the case was not currently thought of as having a personal existence at her own disposal. She was simply a passive unit in the family under the protection and supreme control of father or brothers. In marriage, she was practically the chattel, the purchased possession and personal property of her husband, who was her ba‘al or master (Ho 2:16), she herself being be‘ulah (Isa 62:4). The control, however, was not always absolute (Ge 26:34; Ex 2:21).

The bargaining instinct, so dominant among Orientals then as now, played a large part in the transaction. In idea the family was a little kingdom of which the father was the king, or absolute ruler. There are many indications, not only that the family was the unit from which national coherence was derived, but that this unit was perpetuated through the supremacy of the oldest male. Thus society became patriarchal, and this is the key of the ancient history of the family and the nation. Through the expansion of the family group was evolved in turn the clan, the tribe, the nation, and the authority of the father became in turn that of the chief, the ruler, and the king. The Oriental cannot conceive, indeed, of any band, or clan, or company without a "father," even though there be no kith or kinship involved in the matter. The "father" in their thought, too, was God’s representative, and as such he was simply carrying out God’s purpose, for instance, in selecting a bride for his son, or giving the bride to be married to the son of another. This is as true of the far East as of the near East today. Accordingly, as a rule, the young people simply acquiesced, without question or complaint, in what was thus done for them, accepting it as though God had done it directly. Accordingly, too, the family and tribal loyalty overshadowed love-making and patriotism, in the larger sense. Out of this idea of the solidarity and selectness of the tribe and family springs the overmastering desire of the Oriental for progeny, and for the conservation of the family or the tribe at any cost. Hence, the feuds, bloody and bitter, that persist between this family or tribe and another that has in any way violated this sacred law.

Traces of what is known as beena marriage are found in the Old Testament, e.g. that of Jacob, where Laban claims Jacob’s wives and children as his own (Ge 31:31,43), and that of Moses (Ex 2:21; 4:18). This is that form of marriage in which the husband is incorporated into the wife’s tribe, the children belonging to her tribe and descent being reckoned on her side (compare W. Robertson Smith, Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, 94). In Samson’s case we seem to have an instance of what is known among Arabs as tsadqat marriage (from tsadaq, "gift"), the kid here being the customary tsadaq (Jud 14; 15:1; 16:4). There is no hint that he meant to take his wife home. It is differentiated from prostitution in that no disgrace is attached to it and the children are recognized as legitimate by the tribe. Such marriages make it easier to understand the existence of the matriarchate, or the custom of reckoning the descent of children and property through the mothers. The influence of polygamy would work in the same direction, subdividing the family into smaller groups connected with the several wives. There is, however, no clear evidence in the Old Testament of polyandry (a plurality of husbands), though the Levirate marriage is regarded by some as a survival of it. In other words, polygamy among the Hebrews seems to have been confined to polygyny (a plurality of wives). It is easy to trace its chief causes: (1) desire for a numerous offspring ("May his tribe increase!"); (2) barrenness of first wife (as in Abraham’s case); (3) advantages offered by marital alliances (e.g. Solomon); (4) the custom of making wives of captives taken in war (compare Ps 45:3,9); (5) slavery, which as it existed in the Orient almost implied it.

2. Betrothal the First Formal Part:

Betrothal with the ancient Hebrews was of a more formal and far more binding nature than the "engagement" is with us. Indeed, it was esteemed a part of the transaction of marriage, and that the most binding part. Among the Arabs today it is the only legal ceremony connected with marriage. Ge 24:58,60 seems to preserve for us an example of an ancient formula and blessing for such an occasion. Its central feature was the dowry (mohar), which was paid to the parents, not to the bride. It may take the form of service (Ge 29; 1Sa 18:25). It is customary in Syria today, when the projected marriage is approved by both families, and all the financial preliminaries have been settled, to have this ceremony of betrothal. It consists in the acceptance before witnesses of the terms of the marriage as contracted for. Then God’s blessing is solemnly asked on the union thus provided for, but to take place probably only after some months, or perhaps some years. The betrothal effected, all danger from any further financial fencing and bluffing now being at an end, happiness and harmony may preside over all the arrangements for the marriage day. Among the Jews the betrothal was so far regarded as binding that, if marriage should not take place, owing to the absconding of the bridegroom or the breach of contract on his part, the young woman could not be married to another man until she was liberated by a due process and a paper of divorce. A similar custom prevails in China and Japan, and in cases becomes very oppressive. The marriage may have been intended by the parents from the infancy of the parties, but this formality of betrothal is not entered on till the marriage is considered reasonably certain and measurably near. A prolonged interval between betrothal and marriage was deemed undesirable on many accounts, though often an interval was needed that the groom might render the stipulated service or pay the price—say a year or two, or, as in the case of Jacob, it might be seven years. The betrothed parties were legally in the position of a married couple, and unfaithfulness was "adultery" (De 22:23; Mt 1:19).

Polygamy is likely to become prevalent only where conditions are abnormal, as where there is a disproportionate number of females, as in tribal life in a state of war. In settled conditions it is possible only to those able to provide "dowry" and support for each and all of the wives.

The fact of polygamy in Old Testament times is abundantly witnessed in the cases of Abraham, Jacob, the judges, David, Solomon, etc. It was prevalent in Issachar (1Ch 7:4); among the middle class (1Sa 1:1 f). But it is treated, even in the Old Testament, as incompatible with the Divine ideal (Ge 2:24), and its original is traced to deliberate departure from that ideal by Lamech, the Cainite (Ge 4:19). Kings are warned against it (De 17:17; compare Ge 29:31; 30). Noah, Isaac and Joseph had each only one wife, and Bible pictures of domestic happiness are always connected with monogamy (2Ki 4; Ps 128; Pr 31; compare Sirach 25:1; 26:1,13). Marriage is applied figuratively, too, to the union between God and Israel, implying monogamy as the ideal state. Nevertheless, having the advantage of precedent, it was long before polygamy fell into disuse in Hebrew society. Herod had nine wives at one time (Josephus, Ant, XVII, i, 2). Justin Martyr (Dial., 134, 141) reproaches Jews of his day with having "four or even five wives," and for "marrying as many as they wish" (compare Talm). It was not definitely and formally forbidden among Jews until circa 1000 AD. It exists still among Jews in Moslem lands. Side by side with this practice all along has been the ideal principle (Ge 2:18) rebuking and modifying it. The legal theory that made the man "lord" of the wife (Ge 3:16; Tenth Commandment) was likewise modified in practice by the affection of the husband and the personality of the wife.

The difference between a concubine and a wife was largely due to the wife’s birth and higher position and the fact that she was usually backed by relatives ready to defend her. A slave could not be made a concubine without the wife’s consent (Ge 16:2).

3. Wedding Ceremonies:

There is a disappointing uncertainty as to the exact ceremonies or proceedings connected with marriage in Bible times. We have to paint our picture from passing allusions or descriptions, and from what we know of Jewish and Arabic customs. In cases it would seem that there was nothing beyond betrothal, or the festivities following it (see Ge 24:3 ff). Later, in the case of a virgin, an interval of not exceeding a year came to be observed.

The first ceremony, the wedding procession, apparently a relic of marriage by capture (compare Jud 5:30; Ps 45:15), was the first part of the proceedings. The bridegroom’s "friends" (Joh 3:29) went, usually by night, to fetch the bride and her attendants to the home of the groom (Mt 9:15; Joh 3:29). The joyousness of it all is witnessed by the proverbial "voice of the bridegroom" and the cry, "Behold the bridegroom cometh!" (Jer 7:34; Re 18:23). The procession was preferably by night, chiefly, we may infer, that those busy in the day might attend, and that, in accordance with the oriental love of scenic effects, the weird panorama of lights and torches might play an engaging and kindling part.

The marriage supper then followed, generally in the home of the groom. Today in Syria, as Dr. Mackie, of Beirut, says, when both parties live in the same town, the reception may take place in either home; but the older tradition points to the house of the groom’s parents as the proper place. It is the bringing home of an already accredited bride to her covenanted husband. She is escorted by a company of attendants of her own sex and by male relatives and friends conveying on mules or by porters articles of furniture and decoration for the new home. As the marriage usually takes place in the evening, the house is given up for the day to the women who are busy robing the bride and making ready for the coming hospitality. The bridegroom is absent at the house of a relative or friend, where men congregate in the evening for the purpose of escorting him home. When he indicates that it is time to go, all rise up, and candles and torches are supplied to those who are to form the procession, and they move off. It is a very picturesque sight to see such a procession moving along the unlighted way in the stillness of the starry night, while, if it be in town or city, on each side of the narrow street, from the flat housetop or balcony, crowds look down, and the women take up the peculiar cry of wedding joy that tells those farther along that the pageant has started. This cry is taken up all along the route, and gives warning to those who are waiting with the bride that it is time to arise and light up the approach, and welcome the bridegroom with honor. As at the house where the bridegroom receives his friends before starting some come late, and speeches of congratulation have to be made, and poems have to be recited or sung in praise of the groom, and to the honor of his family, it is often near midnight when the procession begins. Meanwhile, as the night wears on, and the duties of robing the bride and adorning the house are all done, a period of relaxing and drowsy waiting sets in, as when, in the New Testament parable, both the wise and the foolish virgins were overcome with sleep. In their case the distant cry on the street brought the warning to prepare for the reception, and then came the discovery of the exhausted oil.

Of the bridegroom’s retinue only a limited number would enter, their chief duty being that of escort. They might call next day to offer congratulations. An Arabic wedding rhyme says:

"To the bridegroom’s door went the torch-lit array,

And then like goats they scattered away."

With their dispersion, according to custom, the doors would be closed, leaving within the relatives and invited guests; and so, when the belated virgins of the parable hastened back, they too found themselves inexorably shut out by the etiquette of the occasion. The opportunity of service was past, and they were no longer needed.

At the home all things would be "made ready," if possible on a liberal scale. Joh 2 gives a picture of a wedding feast where the resources were strained to the breaking point. Hospitality was here especially a sacred duty, and, of course, greatly ministered to the joy of the occasion. An oriental proverb is significant of the store set by it:

"He who does not invite me to his marriage

Will not have me to his funeral."

To decline the invitation to a marriage was a gross insult (Mt 22).

It was unusual in Galilee to have a "ruler of the feast" as in Judea (Joh 2). There was no formal religious ceremony connected with the Hebrew marriage as with us—there is not a hint of such a thing in the Bible. The marriage was consummated by entrance into the "chamber," i.e. the nuptial chamber (Hebrew chedher), in which stood the bridal bed with a canopy (chuppah), being originally the wife’s tent (Ge 24:67; Jud 4:17). In all lands of the dispersion the name is still applied to the embroidered canopy under which the contracting parties stand or sit during the festivities. In Arabic, Syriac, and Hebrew the bridegroom is said to "go in" to the bride.

A general survey of ancient marriage laws and customs shows that those of the Hebrews are not a peculiar creation apart from those of other peoples. A remarkable affinity to those of other branches of the Semitic races especially, may be noted, and striking parallels are found in the Code of Hammurabi, with regard, e.g., to betrothal, dowry, adultery and divorce. But modern researches have emphasized the relative purity of Old Testament sexual morality. In this, as in other respects, the Jews had a message for the world. Yet we should not expect to find among them the Christian standard. Under the new dispensation the keynote is struck by our Lord’s action. The significance of His attending the marriage feast at Cana and performing His first miracle there can hardly be exaggerated. The act corresponds, too, with His teaching on the subject. He, no less than Paul, emphasizes both the honorableness of the estate and the heinousness of all sins against it.

4. Jesus’ Sanction of the Institution:

The most characteristic use of marriage and the family by our Lord is that in which He describes the kingdom of God as a social order in which the relationship of men to God is like that of sons to a father, and their relation to each other like that between brothers. This social ideal, which presents itself vividly and continuously to His mind, is summed up in this phrase, "Kingdom of God," which occurs more than a hundred times in the Synoptic Gospels. The passages in which it occurs form the interior climax of His message to men. It is no new and noble Judaism, taking the form of a political restoration, that He proclaims, and no "far-off Divine event" to be realized only in some glorious apocalyptic consummation; but a kingdom of God "within you," the chief element of it communion with God, the loving relation of "children" to a "Father," a present possession. Future in a sense it may be, as a result to be fully realized, and yet present; invisible, and yet becoming more and more visible as a new social order, a conscious brotherhood with one common, heavenly Father, proclaimed in every stage of His teaching in spite of opposition and varying fortunes with unwavering certainty of its completion—this is the "kingdom" that Jesus has made the inalienable possession of the Christian consciousness. His entire theology may be described as a transfiguration of the family (see Peabody, Jesus Christ, and the Social Question, 149 ff; Holtzmann, New Testament Theology, I, 200; Harnack, History of Dogma, I, 62; B. Weiss, Biblical Theol. of the New Testament, I, 72, English translation, 1882).

Beyond this Jesus frequently used figures drawn from marriage to illustrate His teaching concerning the coming of the kingdom, as Paul did concerning Christ and the church. There is no suggestion of reflection upon the Old Testament teaching about marriage in His teaching except at one point, the modification of it so as to allow polygamy and divorce. Everywhere He accepts and deals with it as sacred and of Divine origin (Mt 19:9, etc.), but He treats it as transient, that is of the "flesh" and for this life only.

5. His Teaching concerning Divorce:

A question of profound interest remains to be treated: Did Jesus allow under any circumstances the remarriage of a divorced person during the lifetime of the partner to the marriage? Or did He allow absolute divorce for any cause whatsoever? Upon the answer to that question in every age depend momentous issues, social and civic, as well as religious. The facts bearing on the question are confessedly enshrined in the New Testament, and so the inquiry may be limited to its records. Accepting with the best scholarship the documents of the New Testament as emanating from the disciples of Jesus in the second half of the 1st century AD, the question is, what did these writers understand Jesus to teach on this subject? If we had only the Gospels of Mark and Luke and the Epistles of Paul, there could be but one answer given: Christ did not allow absolute divorce for any cause (see Mr 10:2 ff; Lu 16:18; Ga 1:12; 1Co 7:10). The Old Testament permission was a concession, He teaches, to a low moral state and standard, and opposed to the ideal of marriage given in Ge (2:23).

"The position of women in that day was far from enviable. They could be divorced on the slightest pretext, and had no recourse at law. Almost all the rights and privileges of men were withheld from them. What Jesus said in relation to divorce was more in defense of the rights of the women of His time than as a guide for the freer, fuller life of our day. Jesus certainly did not mean to recommend a hard and enslaving life for women. His whole life was one long expression of full understanding of them and sympathy for them" (Patterson, The Measure of a Man, 181 f).

Two sayings attributed to Christ and recorded by the writer or editor of the First Gospel (Mt 5:32; 19:9) seem directly to contravene His teaching as recorded in Mr and Luke. Here he seems to allow divorce for "fornication" (ei me epi porneia, save for fornication"), an exception which finds no place in the parallels (compare 1Co 7:15, which allows remarriage where a Christian partner is deserted by a heathen). The sense here demands that "fornication" be taken in its wider sense (Ho 2:5; Am 7:17; 1Co 5:1). Divorce to a Jew carried with it the right of remarriage, and the words ‘causeth her to commit adultery’ (Mt 5:32) show that Jesus assumed that the divorced woman would marry again. Hence, if He allowed divorce, He also allowed remarriage. A critical examination of the whole passage in Mt has led many scholars to conclude that the exceptive clause is an interpolation due to the Jewish-Christian compiler or editor through whose hands the materials passed. Others think it betrays traces of having been rewritten from Mark or from a source common to both Matthew and Mark, and combined with a semi-Jewish tradition, in short, that it is due to literary revision and compilation. The writer or compiler attempted to combine the original sayings of Jesus and His own interpretation. Believing that our Lord had not come to set aside the authority of Moses, but only certain Pharisaic exegesis, and supported, as doubtless he was, by a Jewish-Christian tradition of Palestine, he simply interpreted Mark’s narrative by inserting what he regarded as the integral part of an eternal enactment of Yahweh. In doing this he was unconsciously inconsistent, not only with Mark and Luke, but also with the context of the First Gospel itself, owing to his sincere but mistaken belief that the Law of Moses must not be broken. The view implied by the exception, of course, is that adultery ipso facto dissolves the union, and so opens the way to remarriage. But remarriage closes the door to reconciliation, which on Christian principles ought always to be possible (compare Hosea; Jer 3; Hermas, Mand iv.1). Certainly much is to be said for the view which is steadily gaining ground, that the exception in Matthew is an editorial addition made under the pressure of local conditions and practical necessity, the absolute rule being found too hard (see Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes), extra vol, 27b, and The Teaching of our Lord as to the Indissolubility of Marriage, by Stuart Lawrence Tyson, M.A. Oxon., University of the South, 1912).

The general principle expanded in the New Testament and the ideal held up before the Christians is high and clear. How far that ideal can be embodied in legislation and applied to the community as a whole all are agreed must depend upon social conditions and the general moral development and environment.

See further DIVORCE.


Material from Mishna in Selden, Uxor Heb, London, 1546; Hamberger, Real. Encyclopedia f. Bibel und Talmud, Breslau, 1870; Benzinger, Hebraische Archaologie; Nowack, Lehrbuch der hebraischen Archaologie; McLennan, Primitive Marriage; Westermarck, History of Human Marriage, London, 1891; W. R. Smith, Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, Cambridge, 1895; Tristram, Eastern Customs, London, 1894; Mackie, Bible Manners and Customs, London, 1898; Peabody, Jesus Christ and the Social Question, III, concerning the family.

George B. Eager


mar’-o (moach, chelebh, shiqquy, machah, "to make fat," "to grease"; muelos): Marrow is the nourisher and strengthener of the bones; it is said to moisten the bones: "The marrow (moach) of his bones is moistened" (Job 21:24). The fear of Yahweh "will be health to thy navel, and marrow (shiqquy, margin "refreshing, Hebrew moistening") to thy bones" (Pr 3:8). Thus, the expression is used figuratively of the things which alone can satisfy the soul: "My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow (chelebh, "fat") and fatness" (Ps 63:5); "In this mountain will Yahweh of hosts make unto all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow (memuchayim, particle, plural, Pual of machah), of wines on the lees well refined" (Isa 25:6). In the Epistle to the Hebrews the writer speaks of the word of God, which is "living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow" (Heb 4:12).

H. L. E. Luering


marz hil.



mar-se’-na, mar’-se-na (marcena’; derivation unknown but probably of Persian origin (Es 1:14)): One of "the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king’s face, and sat first in the kingdom."


marsh ((1) gebhe’, the American Standard Revised Version "marsh," the King James Version and the English Revised Version "marish" (Eze 47:11); the King James Version "pit," the Revised Version (British and American) "cistern" (Isa 30:14); compare Arabic jaba’," reservoir," "watering-through"; (2) bots, "mire"; bitstsah, "mire," "fen"; compare Arabic badda, to "trickle," badad, "a little water"; (3) TiT, "mire" "clay"; (4) chomer, "mire," "clay," "mortar"; (5) ma‘abheh ha-’adhamah (1Ki 7:46), and ‘abhi ha-’adhamah (2Ch 4:17), "clay ground"): In the vision of Ezekiel the saltness of the Dead Sea is "healed" by the stream issuing from under the threshold of the temple, "But the miry places (bitstsah) thereof, and the marshes (gebhe’) thereof, shall not be healed" (Eze 47:11). Gebhe’ occurs elsewhere only in Isa 30:14, where the King James Version has "pit" and the Revised Version (British and American) "cistern." Bots, "mire," is found only in Jer 38:22. Bitstsah is found also in Job 8:11,

"Can the rush grow up without mire (bitstsah)?

Can the flag grow without water?"

and in Job 40:21 (of the behemoth),

"He lieth under the lotus-trees,

In the covert of the reed, and the fen (bitstsah)."

In 1 Macc 9:42,45 helos, but in 9:42 Codex Vaticanus reads oros, "mount." Marshes are found near the mouths of some of the rivers, as the Kishon, about the Chuleh (? waters of Merom), at various places in the course of the Jordan and about the Dead Sea, especially at its south end. For the most part Palestine is rocky and dry.

Alfred Ely Day


mar’-shal: Not found in the King James Version, but in the Revised Version (British and American) the word represents two Hebrew words: (1) copher (Jud 5:14), translated "they that handle the marshal’s staff." A difficulty arises because the usual meaning of copher is "scribe" or "writer" (so the King James Version). The revisers follow Septuagint and Greek authority which favor "marshal" as against "scribe." The office of marshal was to help the general to maintain discipline (compare 1 Macc 5:42). (2) Tiphcar (Jer 51:27), a loan-word whose meaning is clear. Lenormant thinks it akin to a Babylonian-Assyrian word meaning "tablet-writer" (compare Delitzsch). Accordingly, the Revised Version margin renders Na 3:17 "thy scribes," though the Syriac has "thy warriors," as does the Targum in Jeremiah. We must await further light on both words.

George B. Eager





mar’-tha (Martha, "mistress," being a transliteration of the feminine form of mar, "Lord"): Martha belonged to Bethany, and was the sister of Lazarus and Mary (Joh 11:1 f). From the fact that the house into which Jesus was received belonged to Martha, and that she generally took the lead in action, it is inferred that she was the eider sister. Martha was one of those who gave hospitality to Jesus during His public ministry. Thus, in the course of those wanderings which began when "he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerus" (Lu 9:51), he "entered into a certain village"—its name is not stated—and "a certain woman named Martha received him into her house" (Lu 10:38). Martha, whose sense of responsibility as hostess weighed heavily upon her, was "cumbered about much serving," and her indignation was aroused at the lack of assistance given to her by her sister. Her words, "Lord, dost thou not care?" implied a certain reproach to Jesus also, in that she felt He showed a want of sympathy with her efforts and was the cause of Mary’s remissness. But Jesus, in tones of gentle reproof, reminded her that for Him not the preparation of an elaborate meal but the hearing of His Word in the spirit of Mary was the "one thing needful" (Lu 10:39-42).

Martha is first mentioned by John—the only other Gospel writer who refers to Martha—in his account of the raising of Lazarus from the dead at Bethany (Joh 11:1-44). The narrative indicates, however, that Jesus was already on terms of the closest friendship with her and her household (compare 11:3,5). In the incident which John here records, Martha again displayed her more practical nature by going out to meet Jesus, while Mary sat in the house (11:20). But she was not behind her sister in her love for her brother (11:19), in her faith in Jesus (11:21 f) and in her belief in the final resurrection (11:24). The power of Him, whom she termed the "Teacher," to restore Lazarus to life even upon earth was beyond her understanding. To the words of Jesus concerning this she gave, however, a verbal assent, and went and informed Mary, "The Teacher is here, and calleth thee" (11:27 f). Yet she remained inwardly unconvinced, and remonstrated when Jesus ordered the stone before the grave to be removed (11:39). Jesus then recalled His previous words to her remembrance (11:40), and vindicated them by restoring her brother to life (11:41-44). After the raising of Lazarus, Jesus then made His departure, but after a short stay in Ephraim (11:54) He returned to Bethany (Joh 12:1). While He supped there, Martha once more served, and Lazarus was also present (Joh 12:2). It was on this occasion that Mary anointed the feet of Jesus (Joh 12:3-8). According to Mt 26:6-13; Mr 14:3-9, the anointing took place in the house of Simon the leper, and it has hence been concluded by some that Martha was the wife or widow of Simon. The anointing described in Lu 7:36-50 happened in the house of Simon a Pharisee. But in none of the synoptist accounts is Martha mentioned. For the relationship of these anointings with each other, see MARY, IV. As, according to John, the abode of the sisters was in Bethany, a further difficulty of a topographical nature is raised by those who hold that Luke implies, from the Galilean setting of Lu 10:38-41, that the sisters lived in Galilee. But the information supplied by Luke, upon which this inference is based, is of the vaguest (compare Lu 10:38), and the great division of Luke’s Gospel (Lu 9:51-18:31) has within it no organic cohesion of parts. In it is mentioned that on two separate occasions Jesus passed through Samaria (Lu 9:52; 17:11). It is therefore more logical to suppose that the events described in Lu 10:38-41, falling within the intervening period, took place in Bethany during an excursion of Jesus to Judea, and formed one of the several visits upon which the friendship recorded in Joh 11:3,5 was built. According to a fragment of a Coptic gospel belonging to the 2nd century (compare Hennecke, Neutestamentliche Apokryphen, 38, 39), Martha was present with the other two Marys at the empty grave of Jesus (compare Mt 28:1,11), and went and informed the disciples.

C. M. Kerr


mar’-ter (martus, Aeolic martur): One who gives heed, and so, a "witness," so translated in numerous passages, both as of one bearing testimony, and also as of one who is a spectator of anything (see WITNESS). In the King James Version rendered "martyr" in Ac 22:20, "thy martyr Stephen"; and Re 2:13, "Antipas my faithful martyr"; also 17:6, "the blood of the martyrs of Jesus," where alone the American Standard Revised Version retains "martyrs." These 3 passages are the beginning of the use of the word "martyr" for such witnesses as were faithful even unto death, its uniform modern use.


mar’-vel, mar’-vel-us (tamah, pala’; thaumazo, thaumastos): "To marvel" is the translation of tamah, "to wonder" (Ge 43:33; Ps 48:5, the Revised Version (British and American) "were amazed"; Ec 5:8); of thaumazo, "to admire," "wonder" (Mt 8:10,27; Mr 5:20; Joh 3:7; Ac 2:7; Re 17:7 the King James Version, etc.); "marvel" (substantive) occurs in the plural as translation of pala’," to distinguish," figuratively, "to make wonderful" (Ex 34:10, "I will do marvels, such as have not been wrought" (the Revised Version margin "created")); and of thaumastos (thauma) (2Co 11:14).

"Marvelous" is the translation of pala’," marvelous works" (1Ch 16:12,24; Ps 9:1); "marvelous things" (Job 5:9; 10:16; Ps 31:21; 118:23; Isa 29:14; Da 11:36; Zec 8:6, bis); "marvellously," pala’ (Job 37:5; Hab 1:5 twice (tamah), "regard and wonder marvelously," literally, "marvel marvelously"); thaumastos, "admirable," "wonderful," is translated "marvelous" (Mt 21:42; 1Pe 2:9; Re 15:1,3, etc.).

In Apocrypha we have "marvel" (Ecclesiasticus 11:13; 47:17; 2 Macc 1:22; 7:12); "marvelleth" (Ecclesiasticus 40:7; 43:18); "marvellous" (The Wisdom of Solomon 10:17; 19:8, etc., mostly thaumazo and compounds).

The Revised Version (British and American) has "wonder" for "marvel" (Re 17:7)’ "the marvel" for a "marvellous thing" (Joh 9:30); "marvelled" for "wondered" (Lu 8:25; 11:14); "marvelled at" for "admired" (2Th 1:10); "marveling" for "wondered" (Lu 9:43); "marvellous" for "wondrous" (1Ch 16:9; Ps 105:2); "marvellous things" for "and wonders" (Job 9:10); "wonderful" for "marvellous" (Ps 139:14); for "marvelled" (Mt 9:8), "were afraid," and (Mr 12:17) "marvelled greatly" (different texts).

W. L. Walker


ma’-ri, mar’-i (Maria, Mariam, Greek form of Hebrew miryam):


The Name Mary in the New Testament


1. Mary in the Infancy Narratives

2. Mary at Cana

3. Mary and the Career of Jesus

4. Mary at the Cross

5. Mary in the Christian Community

6. Mary in Ecclesiastical Doctrine and Tradition

(1) Legend

(2) Dogma

(a) The Dogma of Her Sinlessness

(b) Dogma of Mary’s Perpetual Virginity

(c) Doctrine of Mary’s Glorification as the Object of Worship and Her Function as Intercessor

(3) Conclusion


1. Mary Not the Sinful Woman of Luke 7

2. Mary Not a Nervous Wreck


1. Attack upon Luke’s Narrative

2. Evidence of Luke Taken Alone

3. Evidence Sifted by Comparison

4. Character of Mary



I. Definition and Questions of Identification.

A Hebrew feminine proper name of two persons in the Old Testament (see Ex 15:20; Nu 12:1; Mic 6:4; 1Ch 4:17) and of a number not certainly determined in the New Testament. The prevalence of the name in New Testament times has been attributed, with no great amount of certainty, to the popularity of Mariamne, the last representative of the Hasmonean family, who was the second wife of Herod I.

The Name Mary in the New Testament:

(1) The name Mary occurs in 51 passages of the New Testament to which the following group of articles is confined (see MIRIAM). Collating all these references we have the following apparent notes of identification:

(a) Mary, the mother of Jesus;

(b) Mary Magdalene;

(c) Mary, the mother of James;

(d) Mary, the mother of Joses;

(e) Mary, the wife of Clopas;

(f) Mary of Bethany;

(g) Mary, the mother of Mark;

(h) Mary of Rome;

(i) the "other" Mary.

(2) A comparison of Mt 27:56; 28:1 with Mr 15:47 seems clearly to identify the "other" Mary with Mary the mother of Joses.

(3) Mr 15:40 identifies Mary the mother of James and Mary the mother of Joses (compare Mr 15:47) (see Allen’s note on Mt 27:56).

(4) At this point a special problem of identification arises. Mary, the wife of Clopas, is mentioned as being present at the cross with Mary the mother of Jesus, the latter’s sister and Mary of Magdala (Joh 19:25). In the other notices of the group at the cross, Mary, the mother of James, is mentioned (Mt 27:56; Mr 15:40). Elsewhere, James is regularly designated "son of Alpheus" (Mt 10:3; Mr 3:18; Lu 6:15). Since it can hardly be doubted that James, the apostle, and James the Less, the son of Mary, are one and the same person, the conclusion seems inevitable that Mary, the mother of James, is also the wife of Alpheus. Here we might stop and leave the wife of Clopas unidentified, but the fact that the name Alpheus (Alphaios) is the Greek transliteration of the Aramaic chalpay, together with the unlikelihood that anyone important enough to be mentioned by John would be omitted by the synoptists and that another Mary, in addition to the three definitely mentioned, could be present and not be mentioned, points to the conclusion that the wife of Clopas is the same person as the wife of Alpheus (see ALPHAEUS). Along with this reasonable conclusion has grown, as an excrescence, another for which there is no basis whatever; namely, that the wife of Clopas was the sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus. This would make the apostle James the cousin of Jesus, and, by an extension of the idea, would identify James, the apostle, with James, the "Lord’s brother." The available evidence is clearly against both these inferences (see Mt 13:55; Mr 6:3; Ga 1:19).

(5) One other possible identification is offered for our consideration. Zahn, in an exceedingly interesting note (New Testament, II, 514), identifies Mary of Rome (Ro 16:6) with the "other" Mary of Matthew. We need not enter into a discussion of the point thus raised, since the identification of a woman of whom we have no details given is of little more than academic interest.

We are left free, however, by the probabilities of the case to confine our attention to the principal individuals who bear the name of Mary. We shall discuss Mary, the mother of Jesus; Mary of Magdala; Mary of Bethany; Mary, the mother of James and Joses; Mary, the mother of Mark.

II. Mary, the Virgin.

The biography of the mother of Jesus is gathered about a brief series of episodes which serve to exhibit her leading characteristics in clear light. Two causes have operated to distort and make unreal the very clear and vivid image of Mary left for us in the Gospels. Roman Catholic dogmatic and sentimental exaggeration has well-nigh removed Mary from history (see IMMACULATE CONCEPTION). On the other hand, reaction and overemphasis upon certain features of the Gospel narrative have led some to credit Mary with a negative attitude toward our Lord and His claims, which she assuredly never occupied. It is very important that we should follow the narrative with unprejudiced eyes and give due weight to each successive episode.

Mary appears in the following passages: the Infancy narratives, Mt 1 and 2; Lu 1 and 2; the wedding at Cana of Galilee, Joh 2:1-11; the episode of Mt 12:46; Mr 3:21,31 ff; the incident at the cross, Joh 19:25 ff; the scene in the upper chamber, Ac 1:14.

1. Mary in the Infancy Narratives:

(1) It is to be noted, first of all, that Mary and her experiences form the narrative core of both Infancy documents. This is contrary to the ordinary opinion, but is unquestionably true. She is obviously the object of special interest to Luke (see Ramsay, Was Christ Born at Bethlehem? 76 f), and there are not wanting indications that Luke’s story came from Mary herself. But, while Matthew’s account does not exhibit his interest in Mary quite so readily, that he was interested in the pathetic story of the Lord’s mother is evident.

Luke tells the story of Mary’s inward and deeply personal experiences, her call (1:26 f), her maidenly fears (1:29,35), her loyal submission (1:38), her outburst of sacred and unselfish joy (1:39-55). From this anticipatory narrative he passes at once to the Messianic fulfillment.

Matthew tells the story of the outward and, so to say, public experiences of Mary which follow hard upon the former and are in such dramatic contrast with them: the shame and suspicion which fell upon her (1:18); her bitter humiliation (1:19), her ultimate vindication (1:20 f). Here the two narratives supplement each other by furnishing different details but, as in other instances, converge upon the central fact—the central fact here being Mary herself, her character, her thoughts, her experiences. The point to be emphasized above all others is that we have real biography, although in fragments; in that the same person appears in the inimitable reality of actual characterization, in both parts of the story. This is sufficient guaranty of historicity; for no two imaginary portraits ever agreed unless one copied the other—which is evidently not the case here. More than this, the story is a truly human narrative in which the remarkable character of the events which took place in her life only serves to bring into sharper relief the simple, humble, natural qualities of the subject of them.

(2) One can hardly fail to be impressed, in studying Mary’s character with her quietness of spirit; her meditative inwardness of disposition; her admirable self-control; her devout and gracious gift of sacred silence. The canticle (Lu 1:46-55), which at least expresses Luke’s conception of her nature, indicates that she is not accustomed to dwell much upon herself (4 lines only call particular attention to herself), and that her mind is saturated with the spirit and phraseology of the Old Testament. The intensely Jewish quality of her piety thus expressed accounts for much that appears anomalous in her subsequent career as depicted in the Gospels.

2. Mary at Cana:

The first episode which demands our attention is the wedding at Cana of Galilee (Joh 2:1-11). The relationship between Jesus and His mother has almost eclipsed other interests in the chapter. It is to be noted that the idea of wanton interference on the part of Mary and of sharp rebuke on the part of Jesus is to be decisively rejected. The key to the meaning of this episode is to be found in 4 simple items:

(1) in a crisis of need, Mary turns naturally to Jesus as to the one from whom help is to be expected;

(2) she is entirely undisturbed by His reply, whatever its meaning may be;

(3) she prepares the way for the miracle by her authoritative directions to the servants;

(4) Jesus does actually relieve the situation by an exercise of power.

Whether she turned to Jesus with distinctly Messianic expectation, or whether Jesus intended to convey a mild rebuke for her eagerness, it is not necessary for us to inquire, as it is not possible for us to determine. It is enough that her spontaneous appeal to her Son did not result in disappointment, since, in response to her suggestion or, at least, in harmony with it, He "manifested his glory." The incident confirms the Infancy narrative in which Mary’s quiet and forceful personality is exhibited.

3. Mary and the Career of Jesus:

In Mt 12:46 (parallel Mr 3:31-35), we are told that, when His mother and His brethren came seeking Him, Jesus in the well-known remark concerning His true relatives in the kingdom of heaven intended to convey a severe rebuke to His own household for an action which involved both unbelief and presumptuous interference in His great life-work. The explanation of this incident, which involves no such painful implications as have become connected with it in the popular mind, is to be found in Mark’s account. He interrupts his narrative of the arrival of the relatives (which belongs in Mr 3:21) by the account of the accusation made by the scribes from Jerusalem that the power of Jesus over demons was due to Beelzebub. This goes a long way toward explaining the anxiety felt by the relatives of Jesus, since the ungoverned enthusiasm of the multitude. which gave Him no chance to rest and seemed to threaten His health, was matched, contrariwise, by the bitter, malignant opposition of the authorities, who would believe any malicious absurdity rather than that His power came from God. The vital point is that the attempt of Mary and her household to get possession of the person of Jesus, in order to induce Him to go into retirement for a time, was not due to captious and interfering unbelief, but to loving anxiety. The words of Jesus have the undoubted ring of conscious authority and express the determination of one who wills the control of his own life—but it is a serious mistake to read into them any faintest accent of satire. It has been well said (Horace Bushnell, Sermons on Living Subject, 30) that Jesus would scarcely make use of the family symbolism to designate the sacred relationships of the kingdom of heaven, while, at the same time, He was depreciating the value and importance of the very relationships which formed the basis of His analogy. The real atmosphere of the incident is very different from this.

4. Mary at the Cross:

To be sure that many have misinterpreted the above incident we need only turn to the exquisitely tender scene at the cross recorded by John (19:25 ff). This scene, equally beautiful whether one considers the relationship which it discloses as existing between Jesus and His mother, or between Jesus and His well-beloved disciple removes all possible ambiguity which might attach to the preceding incidents, and reveals the true spirit of the Master’s home. Jesus could never have spoken as He did from the cross unless He had consistently maintained the position and performed the duties of an eldest son. The tone and quality of the scene could never have been what it is had there not been a steadfast tie of tender love and mutual understanding between Jesus and His mother. Jesus could hand over His sacred charge to the trustworthy keeping of another, because He had faithfully maintained it Himself.

5. Mary in the Christian Community:

The final passage which we need to consider (Ac 1:14) is especially important because in it we discover Mary and her household at home in the midst of the Christian community, engaged with them in prayer. It is also clear that Mary herself and the family, who seemed to be very completely under her influence, whatever may have been their earlier misgivings, never broke with the circle of disciples, and persistently kept within the range of experiences which led at last to full-orbed Christian faith. This makes it sufficiently evident, on the one hand, that the household never shared the feelings of the official class among the Jews; and, on the other, that the family of Jesus passed through the same cycle of experiences which punctuated the careers of the whole body of disciples on the way to faith. The beating of this simple but significant fact upon the historical trustworthiness of the body of incidents just passed in review is evident.

The sum of the matter concerning Mary seems to be this: The mother of Jesus was a typical Jewish believer of the best sort. She was a deeply meditative, but by no means a daring or original thinker. Her inherited Messianic beliefs did not and perhaps could not prepare her for the method of Jesus which involved so much that was new and unexpected. But her heart was true, and from the beginning to the day of Pentecost, she pondered in her heart the meaning of her many puzzling experiences until the light came. The story of her life and of her relationship to Jesus is consistent throughout and touched with manifold unconscious traits of truth. Such a narrative could not have been feigned or fabled.

6. Mary in Ecclesiastical Doctrine and Tradition:

(1) Legend.

The ecclesiastical treatment of Mary consists largely of legend and dogma, about equally fictitious and unreliable. The legendary accounts, which include the apocryphal gospels, deal, for the most part, with details tails of her parentage and early life; her betrothal and marriage to Joseph; her journey to Bethlehem and the birth of her child. At this point the legendary narratives, in their crass wonder-mongering and indelicate intimacy of detail, are in striking contrast to the chaste reserve of the canonical story, and of evidential value on that account.

(2) Dogma.

There is, in addition, a full-grown legend concerning Mary’s later life in the house of John; of her death in which the apostles were miraculously allowed to participate; her bodily translation to heaven; her reception at the hands of Jesus and her glorification in heaven. In this latter series of statements, we have already made the transition from legend to dogma. It is quite clear, from the statements of Roman Catholic writers themselves, that no reliable historical data are to be found among these legendary accounts. The general attitude of modern writers is exhibited in the following sentences (from Wilhelm and Scannel, Manual of Catholic Theology, II, 220, quoted by Mayor, Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible, II, 288, note): "Mary’s corporeal assumption into heaven is so thoroughly implied in the notion of her personality as given by Bible and dogma, that the church, can dispense with strict historical evidence of the fact." If that is the way one feels, there is very little to say about it. Aside from the quasi-historical dogma of Mary’s bodily assumption, the Roman Catholic doctrinal interpretation of her person falls into three parts.

(a) The Dogma of Her Sinlessness:

This is discussed under IMMACULATE CONCEPTION (which see) and need not detain us here.

(b) Dogma of Mary’s Perpetual Virginity:

It is evident that this, too, is a doctrine of such a nature that its advocates might, with advantage to their argument, have abstained from the appearance of critical discussion.

Even if all the probabilities of exegesis are violated and the cumulative evidence that Mary had other children done away with; if the expression, "brethren of the Lord" is explained as "foster-brethren," "cousins" or what-not; if Jesus is shown to be not only "first-born" but "only-born" Son (Lu 2:7); if the expression of Mt 1:25 is interpreted as meaning "up to and beyond" (Pusey, et al.; compare Roman Catholic Dict., 604), it would still be as far as possible from a demonstration of the dogma. That a married woman has no children is no proof of virginity—perpetual or otherwise. That this thought has entered the minds of Roman Catholic apologists although not openly expressed by them, is evidenced by the fact that while certain forms of dealing with the "brethren-of-the-Lord" question make these the sons of Joseph by a former marriage, the favorite doctrine includes the perpetual virginity of Joseph. Just as the idea of the sinlessness of Mary has led to the dogma of the immaculate conception, so the idea of her perpetual virginity demands the ancillary notion of Joseph’s. No critical or historical considerations are of any possible use here. It is a matter of dogmatic assumption unmixed with any alloy of factual evidence, and might better be openly made such.

It is evident that a very serious moral issue is raised here. The question is not whether virginity is a higher form of life than marriage. One might be prepared to say that under certain circumstances it is. The point at issue here is very different. If Mary was married to Joseph and Joseph to Mary in appearance only, then they were recreant to each other and to the ordinance of God which made them one. How a Roman Catholic, to whom marriage is a sacrament, can entertain such a notion is an unfathomable mystery. The fact that Mary was miraculously the mother of the Messiah has nothing to do with the question of her privilege and obligation in the holiest of human relationships. Back of this unwholesome dogma are two utterly false ideas: that the marriage relationship is incompatible with holy living, and that Mary is not to be considered a human being under the ordinary obligations of human life.

(c) Doctrine of Mary’s Glorification as the Object of Worship and Her Function as Intercessor: With no wish to be polemic toward Roman Catholicism, and, on the contrary, with every desire to be sympathetic, it is very difficult to be patient with the puerilities which disfigure the writings of Roman Catholic dogmaticians in the discussion of this group of doctrines.

(i) Take, for example, the crude literalism involved in the identification of the woman of Re 12:1-6 with Mary. Careful exegesis of the passage (especially 12:6), in connection with the context, makes it clear that no hint of Mary’s status in heaven is intended. As a matter of fact, Mary, in any literal sense, is not referred to at all. Mary’s motherhood along with that of the mother of Moses is very likely the basis of the figure, but the woman of the vision is the church, which is, at once, the mother and the body of her Lord (see Milligan, Expositors’ Bible, "Revelation," 196 f).

Three other arguments are most frequently used to justify the place accorded to Mary in the liturgy.

(ii) Christ’s perpetual humanity leads to His perpetual Sonship to Mary. This argument, if it carries any weight at all, in this connection, implies that the glorified Lord Jesus is still subject to His mother. It is, however, clear from the Gospels that the subjection to His parents which continued after the incident in the Temple (Lu 2:51) was gently but firmly laid aside at the outset of the public ministry (see above, II, 2, 3). In all that pertains to His heavenly office, as Lord, Mary’s position is one of dependence, not of authority.

(iii) Christ hears her prayers. Here, again, dogmatic assumption is in evidence. That He hears her prayers, even if true in a very special sense, does not, in the least, imply that prayers are to be addressed to her or that she is an intercessor through whom prayers may be addressed to Him.

(iv) Since Mary cared for the body of Christ when He was on earth, naturally His spiritual body would be her special care in heaven. But, on any reasonable hypothesis, Mary was, is, and must remain, a part of that body (see Ac 1:14). Unless she is intrinsically a Divine being, her care for the church cannot involve her universal presence in it and her accessibility to the prayers of her fellow-believers.

To a non-Romanist, the most suggestive fact in the whole controversy is that the statements of cautious apologists in support of the ecclesiastical attitude toward Mary, do not, in the least degree, justify the tone of extravagant adulation which marks the non-polemical devotional literature of the subject (see Dearden, Modern Romanism Examined, 22 f).

(3) Conclusion.

Our conclusion on the whole question is that the literature of Mariolatry belongs, historically, to unauthorized speculation; and, psychologically, to the natural history of asceticism and clerical celibacy.

III. Mary Magdalene

(Maria Magdalene = of "Magdala").—A devoted follower of Jesus who entered the circle of the taught during the Galilean ministry and became prominent during the last days. The noun "Magdala," from which the adjective "Magdalene" is formed, does not occur in the Gospels (the word in Mt 15:39, is, of course, "Magadan"). The meaning of this obscure reference is well summarized in the following quotations from Plummer (International Critical Commentary, "Luke," 215): "‘Magdala is only the Greek form of mighdol or watch-tower, one of the many places of the name in Palestine’ (Tristram, Bible Places, 260); and is probably represented by the squalid group of hovels which now bears the name of Mejdel near the center of the western shore of the lake."

1. Mary not the Sinful Woman of Luke 7:

As she was the first to bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus, it is important that we should get a correct view of her position and character. The idea that she was a penitent, drawn from the life of the street, undoubtedly arose, in the first instance, from a misconception of the nature of her malady, together with an altogether impossible identification of her with the woman who was a sinner of the preceding section of the Gospel. It is not to be forgotten that the malady demon-possession, according to New Testament ideas (see DEMON, DEMONOLOGY), had none of the implications of evil temper and malignant disposi-tion popularly associated with "having a devil." The possessed was, by our Lord and the disciples looked upon as diseased, the victim of an alien and evil power, not an accomplice of it. Had this always been understood and kept in mind, the unfortunate identification of Mary with the career of public prostitution would have been much less easy.

According to New Testament usage, in such cases the name would have been withheld (compare Lu 7:37; Joh 8:3). At the same time the statement that 7 demons had been cast out of Mary means either that the malady was of exceptional severity, possibly involving several relapses (compare Lu 11:26), or that the mode of her divided and haunted consciousness (compare Mr 5:9) suggested the use of the number 7. Even so, she was a healed invalid, not a rescued social derelict.

The identification of Mary with the sinful woman is, of course, impossible for one who follows carefully the course of the narrative with an eye to the transitions. The woman of Luke 7 is carefully covered with the concealing cloak of namelessness. Undoubtedly known by name to the intimate circle of first disciples, it is extremely doubtful whether she was so known to Luke. Her history is definitely closed at 7:50.

The name of Mary is found at the beginning of a totally new section of the Gospel (see Plummer’s analysis, op. cit., xxxvii), where the name of Mary is introduced with a single mark of identification, apart from her former residence, which points away from the preceding narrative and is incompatible with it. If the preceding account of the anointing were Mary’s introduction into the circle of Christ’s followers, she could not be identified by the phrase of Luke. Jesus did not cast a demon out of the sinful woman of Luke 7, and Mary of Magdala is not represented as having anointed the Lord’s feet. The two statements cannot be fitted together.

2. Mary Not a Nervous Wreck:

Mary has been misrepresented in another way, scarcely less serious. She was one of the very first witnesses to the resurrection, and her testimony is of sufficient importance to make it worth while for those who antagonize the narrative to discredit her testimony. This is done, on the basis of her mysterious malady, by making her a paranoiac who was in the habit of "seeing things." Renan is the chief offender in this particular, but others have followed his example.

(1) To begin with, it is to be remarked that Mary had been cured of her malady in such a marked way that, henceforth, throughout her life, she was a monument to the healing power of Christ. What He had done for her became almost a part of her name along with the name of her village. It is not to be supposed that a cure so signal would leave her a nervous wreck, weak of will, wavering in judgment, the victim of hysterical tremors and involuntary hallucinations.

(2) There is more than this a priori consideration against such an interpretation of Mary. She was the first at the tomb (Mt 28:1; Mr 16:1; Lu 24:10). But she was also the last at the cross—she and her companions (Mt 27:61; Mr 15:40). A glance at the whole brief narrative of her life in the Gospels will interpret this combination of statements. Mary first appears near the beginning of the narrative of the Galilean ministry as one of a group consisting of "many" (Lu 8:3), among them Joanna, wife of Chuzas, Herod’s steward, who followed with the Twelve and ministered to them of their substance. Mary then disappears from the text to reappear as one of the self-appointed watchers of the cross, thereafter to join the company of witnesses to the resurrection. The significance of these simple statements for the understanding of Mary’s character and position among the followers of Jesus is not far to seek. She came into the circle of believers, marked out from the rest by an exceptional experience of the Lord’s healing power. Henceforth, to the very end, with unwearied devotion, with intent and eager willingness, with undaunted courage even in the face of dangers which broke the courage of the chosen Twelve, she followed and served her Lord. It is impossible that such singleness of purpose, such strength of will, and, above all, such courage in danger, should have been exhibited by a weak, hysterical, neurotic incurable. The action of these women of whom Mary was one, in serving their Master’s need while in life, and in administering the last rites to His body in death, is characteristic of woman at her best.

IV. Mary of Bethany.

Another devoted follower of Jesus. She was a resident of Bethany (Bethania), and a member of the family consisting of a much-beloved brother, Lazarus, and another sister, Martha, who made a home for Jesus within their own circle whenever He was in the neighborhood.

The one descriptive reference, aside from the above, connected with Mary, has caused no end of perplexity. John (11:2) states that it was this Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. This reference would be entirely satisfied by the narrative of Joh 12:1,8, and no difficulty would be suggested, were it not for the fact that Luke (7:36-50) records an anointing of Jesus by a woman, accompanied with the wiping of His feet with her hair. The identification of these two anointings would not occasion any great difficulty, in spite of serious discrepancies as to time, place and other accessories of the action, but for the very serious fact that the woman of Lu 7 is described as a sinner in the dreadful special sense associated with that word in New Testament times. This is so utterly out of harmony with all that we know of Mary and the family at Bethany as to be a well-nigh intolerable hypothesis.

On the other hand, we are confronted with at least one serious difficulty in affirming two anointings. This is well stated by Mayor (Hastings Dictionary Bible, III, 280a): "Is it likely that our Lord would have uttered such a high encomium upon Mary’s act if she were only following the example already set by the sinful woman of Galilee; or (taking the other view) if she herself were only repeating under more favorable circumstances the act of loving devotion for which she had already received His commendation?" We shall be compelled to face this difficulty in case we are forced to the conclusion that there were more anointings than one.

1. Attack upon Luke’s Narrative:

In the various attempts to solve this problem, or rather group of problems, otherwise than by holding to two anointings, Luke, who stands alone against Mark, Matthew and John, has usually suffered loss of confidence. Mayor (op. cit., 282a) suggests the possibility that the text of Luke has been tampered with, and that originally his narrative contained no reference to anointing. This is a desperate expedient which introduces more difficulties than it solves. Strauss and other hostile critics allege confusion on the part of Luke between the anointing at Bethany and the account of the woman taken in adultery, but, as Plummer well says, the narrative shows no signs of confusion. "The conduct both of Jesus and of the woman is unlike either fiction or clumsily distorted fact. His gentle severity toward Simon, and tender reception of the sinner, are as much beyond the reach of invention as the eloquence of her speechless affection" (International Critical Commentary, "Luke," 209).

2. Evidence of Luke Taken Alone:

The first step in the solution of this difficulty is to note carefully the evidence supplied by Luke’s narrative taken by itself. Mary is named for the first time in Lu 10:38-42 in a way which clearly indicates that the family of Bethany is there mentioned for the first time (a "certain tis woman named Martha," and "she had a sister called Mary," etc.). This phrasing indicates the introduction of a new group of names (compare Joh 11:1). It is also a clear indication of the fact that Luke does not identify Mary with the sinful woman of Luke 7 (compare Mt 26:6-13; Mr 14:3-9; Lu 7:36-50; Joh 12:1-8).

3. Evidence Sifted by Comparison:

Our next task is to note carefully the relationship between the narratives of Mark, Matthew and John on one side, and that of Luke on the other. We may effectively analyze the narratives under the following heads:

(1) notes of time and place;

(2) circumstances and scenery of the incident;

(3) description of the person who did the anointing;

(4) complaints of her action, by whom and for what;

(5) the lesson drawn from the woman’s action which constitutes our Lord’s defense of it;

(6) incidental features of the narrative.


(1) notice that all three evangelists place the incident near the close of the ministry and at Bethany. Under

(2) it is important to observe that Matthew and Mark place the scene in the house of Simon "the leper," while John states vaguely that a feast was made for Him by persons not named and that Martha served. Under

(3) we observe that Matthew and Mark say "a woman," while John designates Mary.

(4) According to Matthew, the disciples found fault; according to Mark, some of those present found fault; while according to John, the fault-finder was Judas Iscariot. According to all three, the ground or complaint is the alleged wastefulness of the action.

(5) Again, according to all three, our Lord defended the use made of the ointment by a mysterious reference to an anointing of His body for the burial. John’s expression in particular is most interesting and peculiar (see Joh 12:7).

(6) The Simon in whose house the incident is said to have taken place is by Matthew and Mark designated "the leper." This must mean either that he had previously been cured or that his disease had manifested itself subsequent to the feast. Of these alternatives the former is the more natural (see Gould, International Critical Commentary, "Mark," 257). The presence of a healed leper on this occasion, together with the specific mention of Lazarus as a guest, would suggest that the feast was given by people, in and about Bethany, who had especial reason to be grateful to Jesus for the exercise of His healing power.

It is beyond reasonable doubt that the narratives of Matthew, Mark and John refer to the same incident. The amount of convergence and the quality of it put this identification among the practical certainties. The only discrepancies of even secondary importance are a difference of a few days in the time (Gould says four) and the detail as to the anointing of head or feet. It is conceivable, and certainly no very serious matter, that John assimilated his narrative at this point to the similar incident of Lu 7.

An analysis of the incident of Lu 7 with reference to the same points of inquiry discloses the fact that it cannot be the same as that described by the other evangelists.

(1) The time and place indications, such as they are, point to Galilee and the Galilean ministry. This consideration alone is a formidable obstacle in the way of any such identification.

(2) The immediate surroundings are different. Simon "the leper" and Simon "the Pharisee" can hardly be one person. No man could have borne both of these designations. In addition to this, it is difficult to believe that a Pharisee of Simon’s temper would have entertained Jesus when once he had been proscribed by the authorities. Simon’s attitude was a very natural one at the beginning of Christ’s ministry, but the combination of hostility and questioning was necessarily a temporary mood.

(3) The description of the same woman as sinner in the sense of Lu 7 in one Gospel; simply as a woman in two others; and as the beloved and honored Mary of Bethany in a third is not within the range of probability, especially as there is no hint of an attempt at explanation on the part of any of the writers. At any rate, prima facie, this item in Luke’s description is seriously at variance with the other narratives.

(4) Luke is again at variance with the others, if he is supposed to refer to the same event, in the matter of the complaint and its cause. In Luke’s account there is no complaint of the woman’s action suggested. There is no hint that anybody thought or pretended to think that she had committed a sinful waste of precious material. The only complaint is Simon’s, and that is directed against the Lord Himself, because Simon, judging by himself, surmised that Jesus did not spurn the woman because He did not know her character. This supposed fact had a bearing on the question of our Lord’s Messiahship, concerning which Simon was debating; otherwise one suspects he had little interest in the episode. This fact is, as we shall see, determinative for the understanding of the incident and puts it apart from all other similar episodes.

(5) The lesson drawn from the act by our Lord was in each incident different. The sinful woman was commended for an act of courtesy and tenderness which expressed a love based upon gratitude for deliverance and forgiveness. Mary was commended for an act which had a mysterious and sacramental relationship to the Lord’s death, near at hand.

This brings us to the point where we may consider the one serious difficulty, that alleged by Mayor and others, against the hypothesis of two anointings, namely, that a repetition of an act like this with commendation attached would not be likely to occur. The answer to this argument is that the difficulty itself is an artificial one due to a misreading of the incident. In the point of central reference the two episodes are worlds apart. The act of anointing in each case was secondary, not primary. Anointing was one of those general and prevalent acts of social courtesy which might mean much or little, this or that, and might be repeated a score of times in a year with a different meaning each time. The matter of primary importance in every such case would be the purpose and motive of the anointing. By this consideration alone we may safely discriminate between these incidents. In the former case, the motive was to express the love of a forgiven penitent. In the latter, the motive was gratitude for something quite different, a beloved brother back from the grave, and, may we not say (in view of Joh 12:7), grief and foreboding? That Mary’s feeling was expressed in the same way outwardly as that of the sinful woman of the early ministry does not change the fact that the feeling was different, that the act was different and that, consequently, the commendation she received, being for a different thing, was differently expressed. The two anointings are not duplicates. Mary’s act, though later, was quite as spontaneous and original as that of the sinful woman, and the praise bestowed upon her quite as natural and deserved.

4. Character of Mary:

With this fictitious and embarrassing identification out of the way, we are now free to consider briefly the career and estimate the character of Mary.

(1) At the outset it is worth mentioning that we have in the matter of these two sisters a most interesting and instructive point of contact between the synoptic and Johannine traditions. The underlying unity and harmony of the two are evident here as elsewhere. In Lu 10:38-42 we are afforded a view of Mary and Martha photographic in its clear revelation of them both. Martha is engaged in household affairs, while Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus, absorbed in listening. This, of course, might mean that Mary was idle and listless, leaving the burden of responsibility for the care of guests upon her more conscientious sister. Most housewives are inclined to take this view and to think that Martha has been hardly dealt with. The story points to the contrary. It will be noticed that Mary makes no defense of herself and that the Master makes no criticism of Martha until she criticizes Mary. When He does speak, it is with the characteristic and inimitable gentleness, but in a way leaving nothing to be desired in the direction of completeness. He conveyed His love, His perfect understanding of the situation, His defense of Mary, His rebuke to Martha, in a single sentence which contains a perfect photograph of the two loved sisters. Martha is not difficult to identify. She was just one of those excellent and tiresome women whose fussy concern and bustling anxiety about the details of household management make their well-meant hospitality a burden to all their guests. Mary’s quiet and restful interest in the guest and His conversation must be set against the foil of Martha’s excess of concern in housework and the serving of food. When one comes to think of it, Mary chose the better part of hospitality, to put no higher construction upon her conduct.

(2) In Joh 11:20, we are told that Martha went forth to meet Jesus while Mary remained in the house. In this we have no difficulty in recognizing the same contrast of outwardness and inwardness in the dispositions of the sisters; especially, as when Mary does come at Martha’s call to meet Jesus, she exhibits an intensity of feeling of which Martha gives no sign. It is significant that, while Mary says just what Martha had already said (11:21,32), her way of saying it and her manner as a whole so shakes the Lord’s composure that He is unable to answer her directly but addresses His inquiry to the company in general (11:34).

(3) Then we come to the events of the next chapter. The supper is given in Bethany. Martha serves. Of course she serves. She always serves when there is opportunity. Waiting on guests, plate in hand, was the innocent delight of her life. One cannot fail to see that, in a single incidental sentence, the Martha of Lu 10:38-42 is sketched again in lifelikeness. It is the same Martha engaged in the same task. But what of Mary in this incident? She is shown in an unprecedented role, strange to an oriental woman and especially to one so retiring in disposition as Mary. Her action not only thrust her into a public place alone, but brought her under outspoken criticism. But after all, this is just what we come to expect from these deep, intense, silent natures. The Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet in listening silence while Martha bustled about the house, who remained at home while Martha went out to meet Him, is the very one to hurl herself at His feet in a storm and passion of tears when she does meet Him and to break out in a self-forgetful public act of devotion, strange to her modest disposition, however native to her deep emotion.

Martha was a good and useful woman. No one would deny that, least of all the Master who loved her (Joh 11:5). But she lived on the surface of things, and her affections and her piety alike found adequate and satisfying expression at all times in the ordinary kindly offices of hospitality and domestic service. Not so Mary. Her disposition was inward, silent, brooding, with a latent capacity for stress and the forthwith, unconventional expression of feelings, slowly gathering intensity through days of thought and repression. Mary would never be altogether at home in the world of affairs. Hers was a rare spirit, doomed often to loneliness and misunderstanding except at the hands of rarely discerning spirits, such as she happily met in the person of her Lord.

V. Mary, the Mother of James and Joses.

Under this caption it is necessary merely to recall and set in order the few facts concerning this Mary given in the Gospels (see Mt 27:55,56,61; Mr 15:40; 16:1; Lu 24:10; compare Lu 23:49-56).

In Mt 27:55,56 (parallel Mr 15:40), we are told that at the time of the crucifixion there was a group of women observing the event from a distance. These women are said to have followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him and to the disciples. Among these were Mary Magdalene (see III, above); Mary, mother of James and Joses; and the unnamed mother of Zebedee’s children. By reference to Lu 8:2,3, where this group is first introduced, it appears that, as a whole, it was composed of those who had been healed of infirmities of one kind or another. Whether this description applies individually to Mary or not we cannot be sure, but it is altogether probable. At any rate, it is certain that Mary was one who persistently followed with the disciples and ministered of her substance to aid and comfort the Lord in His work for others. The course of the narrative seems to imply that Mary’s sons accompanied their mother on this ministering journey and that one of them became an apostle. It is interesting to note that two mothers with their sons joined the company of the disciples and that three out of the four became members of the apostolic group. Another item in these only too fragmentary references is that this Mary, along with her of Magdala and the others of this group, was of sufficient wealth and position to be marked among the followers of Jesus as serving in this particular way. The mention of Chuzas’ wife (Lu 8:3) is an indication of the unusual standing of this company of faithful women.

The other notices of Mary show her lingering late at the cross (Mr 15:40); a spectator at the burial (Mr 15:47); and among the first to bear spices to the tomb. This is the whole of this woman’s biography extant, but perhaps it is enough. We are told practically nothing, directly, concerning her; but, incidentally, she is known to be generous, faithful, loving, true and brave. She came in sorrow to the tomb to anoint the body of her dead Lord; she went away in joy to proclaim Him alive forevermore. A privilege to be coveted by the greatest was thus awarded to simple faith and trusting love.

VI. Mary, the Mother of John Mark.

This woman is mentioned but once in the New Testament (Ac 12:12), but in a connection to arouse intense interest. Since she was the mother of Mark, she was also, in all probability, the aunt of Barnabas. The aunt of one member and the mother of another of the earliest apostolic group is a woman of importance. The statement in Acts, so far as it concerns Mary, is brief but suggestive. Professor Ramsay (see Paul the Traveler, etc., 385) holds that the authority for this narrative was not Peter but Mark, the son of the house. This, if true, adds interest to the story as we have it. In the first place, the fact that Peter went thither directly upon his escape from prison argues that Mary’s house was a well-known center of Christian life and worship. The additional fact that coming unannounced and casually the apostle found a considerable body of believers assembled points in the same direction. That "many" were gathered in the house at the same time indicates that the house was of considerable size. It also appears that Rhoda was only one of the maids, arguing a household of more than ordinary size. There is a tradition of doubtful authenticity, that Mary’s house was the scene of a still more sacred gathering in the upper room on the night of the betrayal. We conclude that Mary was a wealthy widow of Jerusalem, who, upon becoming a disciple of Christ, with her son, gave herself with whole-souled devotion to Christian service, making her large and well-appointed house a place of meeting for the proscribed and homeless Christian communion whose benefactor and patron she thus became.

Louis Matthews Sweet










(mash): Named in Ge 10:23 as one of the sons of Aramaic In the parallel passage in 1Ch 1:17 the name is given as "Meshech" (meshekh), and the Septuagint (Mosoch) supports this form in both passages. "Meshech," however, is a Japhetic name (Ge 10:2), and "Mash" would seem to be the original reading. It is probably to be identified with the Mons Masius of classical writers (Strabo, etc.), on the northern boundary of Mesopotamia.


ma’-shal (mashal, 1Ch 6:74).



ma-si’-as (Codex Alexandrinus, Masias; Codex Vaticanus, Meisaias): The head of one of the families of Solomon’s servants (1 Esdras 5:34); it has no equivalent in the parallel Ezr 2:55 ff; the Revised Version margin "Missaias."





ma’-s’n: The translation of 4 Hebrew words:

(1) charash ‘ebhen, "graver of stone" (2Sa 5:11);

(2) (3) gadhar (2Ki 12:12), charash qur (1Ch 14:1), "maker of a wall (or hedge)";

(4) chatsabh, "a hewer or digger (of stones)" (1Ch 22:2; Ezr 3:7).

Lebanon still supplies the greater number of skilled masons to Palestine and Syria (see 2Sa 5:11), those of Shweir being in special repute.



mas’-fa (1 Macc 3:46, the Revised Version (British and American) "Mizpeh").

See MIZPEH, 4.


mas’-re-ka, mas-re’-ka (masreqah; Masekka): A place mentioned in the list of ancient rulers of Edom (Ge 36:31), "before there reigned any king over the children of Israel." Masrekah was the royal city of Samlah, son of Hadad (Ge 36:36; 1Ch 1:47). The name may mean "place of choice vines," but there is nothing to show in what locality it must be sought.


mas’-a (massa’," burden"): Descendant of Abraham through Ishmael (Ge 25:14; 1Ch 1:30). His people may be the Masani of Ptolemy, having Eastern Arabia near Babylon as their habitat. The marginal reading of the heading to Pr 31 mentions Lemuel as king of Massa. If that reading is accepted, it would seem that a tribe and probably a place were named from Ishmael’s descendant. The reading is doubtful, however, for where the phrase recurs in Pr 30 (Revised Version (British and American)) it appears to be a gloss.





mas’-a, mer’-i-ba (maccah umeribhah, "proving and strife"; peirasmos kai loidoresis): These names occur together as applied to one place only in Ex 17:7; they stand, however, in parallelism in De 33:8; Ps 95:8. In all other cases they are kept distinct, as belonging to two separate narratives. The conjunction here may be due to conflation of the sources. Of course, it is not impossible that, for the reason stated, the double name was given, although elsewhere (De 6:16; 9:22) the place is referred to as Massah.

1. First Instance:

This scene is laid in Ex 17:1 at REPHIDIM (which see) and in 17:6 at HOREB (which see). It is near the beginning of the desert wanderings. In dearth of water the people murmur and complain. Moses, appealing to God, is told what to do. He takes with him the elders of Israel, and smites with his rod the rock on which the Lord stands in Horeb, whereupon water gushes forth, and the people drink. Here Moses alone is God’s agent. There is no hint of blame attaching to him. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because of the of the striving of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord (17:7). In some way not indicated, here and at Meribah, God put the Levites to proof (De 33:8).

2. Second Instance:

The second narrative describes what took place at Kadesh (i.e. "Kadesh-barnea") when the desert wanderings were nearly over (Nu 20:1-13). The flow of water from the famous spring for some reason had ceased. In their distress the people became impatient and petulant. At the door of the tent of meeting Moses and Aaron received the Lord’s instructions. In his speech of remonstrance to the people Moses seemed to glorify himself and his brother; and instead of speaking to the rock as God had commanded, he struck it twice with his rod. The flow of water was at once restored; but Moses and Aaron were heavily punished because they did not sanctify God in the eyes of the children of Israel. The "Waters of Meribah" was the name given to this scene of strife. The incident is referred to in Nu 20:24, and De 32:51 (merobhath qadhesh, the King James Version "Meribah-Kadesh," the Revised Version (British and American) "Meribah of Kadesh"). In Ps 81:7 God appears as having tested Israel here. The sin of Israel and the ensuing calamity to Moses are alluded to in Ps 106:32.

The place appears in Eze 47:19; 48:28, as on the southern border of the land of Israel, in the former as "Meriboth-kadesh," in the latter as "Meribath-kadesh" (Meriboth = plural Meribath =" construct singular") where the position indicated is that of ‘Ain Qadis, "Kadesh-barnea."

In De 33:2, by a slight emendation of the text we might read meribhoth qadhesh for meribhebhoth qodhesh. This gives a preferable sense.

W. Ewing


ma-si’-as (Codex Alexandrinus, Massias; Codex Vaticanus, Asseias): One of those who put away their "strange wives" (1 Esdras 9:22) =" Maaseiah" of Ezr 10:22.


See SHIPS AND BOATS, II, 2, (3); 3.


mas’-ter (’adhon, ba‘al, rabbi; despotes, didaskalos, kurios, rhabbi): "Master," when the translation of ‘adhon, "ruler," "lord" (Sir), often translated "lord," denotes generally the owner or master of a servant or slave (Ge 24:9, etc.; 39:2, etc.; Ex 21:4, etc.; De 23:15 bis; 2Sa 9:9,10 twice; Pr 30:10); elsewhere it is rather "lord" or "ruler" (often king, e.g. 1Sa 24:6,8; 26:16); in the plural ‘adhonim, it is, as the rule, used only of God (but see Ge 19:2,18; De 10:17; Ps 136:3, "Lord of lords"; Isa 26:13, "other lords"; 19:4 (Hebrew "lords"); 24:2). Ba‘al, "lord," "owner," is translated "master": "the master of the house" (Ex 22:8; Jud 19:22,23); "the ass his master’s crib" (Isa 1:3). We have it also translated "masters of assemblies" (Ec 12:11). See ASSEMBLIES, MASTERS OF. Compare Ecclesiasticus 32:1, "master (of a feast)," the Revised Version (British and American) "ruler"; Joh 2:9, "ruler of the feast"; [rabh] (Da 1:3; Jon 1:6, "shipmaster"); rabh, Aramaic, "great," "mighty," "elder" (Da 4:9; 5:11," master of the magicians"); also [sar], "head" or "chief" (Ex 1:11, "taskmasters"; 1Ch 15:27, "master of the song," the Revised Version margin "the carrying of the ark, Hebrew the lifting up"); ‘ur, "to call," "to awake," is also rendered "master" in the King James Version, "The Lord will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar," margin "him that waketh and him that answereth," the Revised Version (British and American) as the King James Version margin (Mal 2:12).

The verb "to master" does not occur in the Old Testament, but we have in Apocrypha (The Wisdom of Solomon 12:18) "mastering thy power" (despozon ischuos), the Revised Version (British and American) "being sovereign over (thy) strengh."

In the New Testament despotes answers to ‘adhon as "master" (1Ti 6:1,2; 2Ti 2:21), rendered also "Lord" (Lu 2:29, etc.); kurios, is "Master," "Lord," "Sir," used very frequently of God or of Christ (Mt 1:20,22,24), translated "Master" (Mt 6:24; 15:27; the King James Version Mr 13:35; Ro 14:4, etc.); kathegetes, a "leader," is translated "Master" (Mt 23:8 (the King James Version), 10); didaskalos, a title very often applied to our Lord in the Gospels, is "Teacher," translated "Master" in the King James Version Mt 8:19; 9:11; Mr 4:38; Lu 3:12, etc.; the Revised Version (British and American) "Teacher"; also Joh 3:2,10; Jas 3:1, "be not many masters," the Revised Version (British and American) "teachers"; rhabbi, rhabbei ("Rabbi") (a transliterated Hebrew term signifying "my Teacher") is also in several instances applied to Jesus, the King James Version "Master" (Mt 26:25,49; Mr 9:5; 11:21; Joh 9:2 (the Revised Version (British and American) leaves untranslated) Mr 10:51, "Rabboni," the King James Version "Lord"; Joh 20:16 ("Rabbouni"), the Revised Version (British and American) "Rabboni," which see).

For "master" the Revised Version (British and American) has "lord" (1Sa 26:16; 29:4,10; Am 4:1; Mr 13:35; Ro 14:4); "master" for "lord" (Ge 39:16; 2Pe 2:1; Re 6:10); for "good man of the house" (Mt 24:43; Lu 12:39), "master of the house"; in Eph 6:5, the Revised Version margin gives "Gr lords" (in 6:9, "their Master and yours" is also Greek kurios); instead of "the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 1:4), the Revised Version (British and American) reads "our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ," margin "the only Master, and our Lord Jesus Christ"; for "overcame them" (Ac 19:16), "mastered both of them."

W. L. Walker


mas’-ter-i, gebhurah, shelet, Aramaic; agonizomai, athleo): "Mastery" occurs twice in the Old Testament and twice in the King James Version of the New Testament: in Ex 32:18 (gebhurah, "might"), "the voice of them that shout for mastery"; in Da 6:24 ([~shelet, "to have power"), "The lions had the mastery of them"; in 1Co 9:25, agonizomai, "to contend for a prize," to be a combatant in the public games, is translated "striveth for the mastery," the Revised Version (British and American) "striventh in the games"; and in 2Ti 2:5, athelo, with the same meaning, is translated "strive for masteries," the Revised Version (British and American) "contend in the games." From the Greek we have the words "athlete," etc..

W. L. Walker


mas’-tik (schinos): A tree mentioned only in Susanna verse 54 (compare Ge 37:25 margin). It is the Pistacia lentiscus (Arabic, Mistaki), a shrub which attains a height of 10 to 12 ft., growing in thickets on the slopes round the Mediterranean. The gum which exudes through incisions made in the bark is greatly prized as a masticatory. The smell and flavor are suggestive of the terebinth. It is chewed in order to preserve the teeth and gums. But often men chew it without any special purpose, just because they like it. The mastick produced in Chios is most highly esteemed. It is employed in making perfumes and sweetmeats; in preparing bread a little is sometimes added to the dough just before it is put into the oven.

W. Ewing


math-a-ni’-as: the King James Version in 1 Esdras 9:31.



ma-the’-las (Codex Alexandrinus, Mathelas; Codex Vaticanus, Maeelas; the King James Version Matthelas): One of the priests who had married "strange wives" (1 Esdras 9:19) =" Maaseiah" of Ezr 10:18.


ma-thu’-sa-la (Mathousala): Greek form of "Methuselah," the Revised Version (British and American) (Lu 3:37 the King James Version).


ma’-tred (maTredh, "expulsion"): The mother of Mehetabel, wife of Hadar, one of the kings of Edom (Ge 36:39; 1Ch 1:50, "Hadad"). The Septuagint and Peshitta designate Matred as male, i.e. as son of Mezahab instead of daughter.


ma’-tri (maTri, "rainy"): A family of the tribe of Benjamin to which King Saul belonged (1Sa 10:21 the King James Version).


ma’-trits (ha-maTri): The Revised Version (British and American) translation of maTri with the definite article, "the Matrites" (1Sa 10:21).


mat’-an (mattan, "a gift"):

(1) A priest in the house of Baal, slain by Jehoiada before Baal’s altar (2Ki 11:18; 2Ch 23:17).

(2) The father of Shephatiah a contemporary and persecutor of Jeremiah (Jer 38:1), one of those who put Jeremiah into Malechiah’s dungeon (38:6).


mat’-a-na (mattanah; Codex Vaticanus, Manthanaein; Codex Alexandrinus, Manthanein): A station of the Israelites which seems to have lain between Beer and Nahaliel (Nu 21:18 f). The name means "gift," and might not inappropriately be applied to a well in the wilderness (Budde translates "Out of the desert a gift"; see The Expository Times, VI, 482). Some would therefore identify it with Beer. This is improbable. There is now no clue to the place, but it must have lain Southwest of the Dead Sea.


mat-a-ni’-a (mattanyaha, "gift of Yah"):

(1) King Zedekiah’s original name, but changed by Nebuchadnezzar when he made him king over Judah instead of his nephew Jehoiachin (2Ki 24:17).

(2) A descendant of Asaph (1Ch 9:15), leader of the temple choir (Ne 11:17; 12:8). Mentioned among the "porters," keepers of "the storehouses of the gates" (Ne 12:25), and again in Ne 12:35 as among the "priests’ sons with trumpets."

(3) May be the same as (2), though in 2Ch 20:14 he is mentioned as an ancestor of that Jahaziel whose inspired words in the midst of the congregation encouraged Jehoshaphat to withstand the invasion of Moab, Ammon and Seir (20:14 ff).

(4-7) Four others who had foreign wives,

(a) the Matthanias of 1 Esdras 9:27 (Ezr 10:26);

(b) the Othonias of 1 Esdras 9:28 (Ezr 10:27);

(c) the Matthanias of 1 Esdras 9:31 (Ezr 10:30);

(d) the fourth of these in 1 Esdras 9:34 the King James Version has had his name blended into that of Mattenai, and the two appear as the composite name Mamnitanemus (Ezr 10:37). He is a son of Bani.

(8) A Levite, father of Zaccur, ancestor of Hanan the under-treasurer of the Levitical offerings under Nehemiah (Ne 13:13).

(9) One of the sons of Heman the singer, whose office it was to blow the horns in the temple-service as David had appointed it (1Ch 25:4,5). He was head of the 9th division of the 12 Levites (1Ch 25:16), who were proficient in the Songs of Yahweh (1Ch 25:7).

(10) One of the sons of Asaph who helped Hezekiah in the fulfilling of his vow to cleanse the house of the Lord (2Ch 29:13).

Henry Wallace


mat’-a-tha (Mattatha): Son of Nathan the son of David in the genealogy of Jesus (Lu 3:31).


mat’-a-tha: the Revised Version (British and American).



mat-a-thi’-as (Mattathias). The persons of this name in the Apocrypha are:

(1) Mattathias the father of the Maccabees.


(2) One of the 7 who stood on Ezra’s right hand as he read the law (1 Esdras 9:43) =" Mattithiah" of Ne 8:4.

(3) The son—probably the youngest (compare 1 Macc 16:2)—of Simon the Maccabean, treacherously murdered along with his father and his brother Judas by his brother-in-law Ptolemy, son of Abubus in the stronghold of Dok near Jericho in the 177th Seleucid—136-135 BC (1 Macc 16:14).

(4) Son of Absalom, one of the two "captains of the forces" who in the campaign against Demetrius in the plain of Hazor gallantly supported Judas, enabling the latter to turn an impending defeat into a great victory (1 Macc 11:70).

(5) One of the three envoys sent by Nicanor to treat with Judas in 161 BC (2 Macc 14:19). No names of envoys are given in the account of 1 Macc 7:27 ff.

(6) One of the sons of Asom who put away his "strange wife" (1 Esdras 9:33) = the King James Version "Matthias" =" Mattattah" of Ezr 10:33.

In addition to these two of this name are mentioned in the New Testament:

(7) Lu 3:25, "son of Amos."

(8) Lu 3:26, "son of Semein."

S. Angus


mat’-a-ta (mattattah): the Revised Version (British and American) for "Mattathah" in the King James Version (Ezr 10:33). The same as "Mattathias" of 1 Esdras 9:33, the King James Version "Matthias" (which see).


mat-e-na’-i, mat’-e-ni (mattenay, "liberal"):

(1) (2) Two who married foreign wives, one a son of Hashum (Ezr 10:33; in RAPC 1Es 9:33 "Altanneus"); the other a son of Bani (Ezr 10:37).

(3) A priest in the days of Joiakim son of Jeshua (Ne 12:19), representing the house of Joiarib.


mat’-er: This word being a very general term may express various ideas. the Revised Version (British and American) therefore frequently changes the reading of the King James Version in order to state more definitely the meaning of the context (compare Ex 24:14; 1Sa 16:18; 1Ki 8:59; 2Sa 11:19; Es 3:4; Ps 35:20; 64:5; Pr 16:20; 18:13). dabhar, and the Greek logos, both meaning "word," are very frequently translated by "matter." hule, "wood," is rendered "matter" in Jas 3:5 the King James Version (the Revised Version (British and American) "how much wood is kindled"; compare Sirach 28:10). Job 32:18 translates literally, "words"; also Da 4:17, "sentence." diaphero, "to carry in different places," "to differ," is rendered "to make matter" (Ga 2:6). The meaning is "it makes a difference," "it matters," "it is of importance."

A. L. Breslich


mat’-than (Textus Receptus Matthan, Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek Maththan): An ancestor of Jesus, grandfather of Joseph the husband of Mary (Mt 1:15).



mat-tha-ni’-as (Codex Alexandrinus, Matthanias, Codex Vaticanus, Matan):

(1) One of those who put away their "strange wives" (1 Esdras 9:27) equals "Mattaniah" of Ezr 10:26.

(2) the King James Version "Mathanias" (1 Esdras 9:31) equals "Mattaniah" of Ezr 10:30. Codex Vaticanus, followed by Swete, reads Beskaspasmus.


mat’-that (Matthat, Maththat): The name of two ancestors of Jesus in Luke’s genealogy (Lu 3:24,29), one being the grandfather of Joseph, the husband of Mary.


math’-u: Matthew the apostle and evangelist is mentioned in the 4 catalogues of the apostles in Mt 10:3; Mr 3:18; Lu 6:15; Ac 1:13, though his place is not constant in this list, varying between the 7th and the 8th places and thus exchanging positions with Thomas. The name occurring in the two forms Matthaios, and Maththaios, is a Greek reproduction of the Aramaic Mattathyah, i.e. "gift of Yahweh," and equivalent to Theodore. Before his call to the apostolic office, according to Mt 9:9, his name was Levi. The identity of Matthew and Levi is practically beyond all doubt, as is evident from the predicate in Mt 10:3; and from a comparison of Mr 2:14; Lu 5:27 with Mt 9:9. Mark calls him "the son of Alpheus" (Mr 2:14), although this cannot have been the Alpheus who was the father of James the Less; for if this James and Matthew had been brothers this fact would doubtless have been mentioned, as is the case with Peter and Andrew, and also with the sons of Zebedee. Whether Jesus, as He did in the case of several others of His disciples, gave him the additional name of Matthew is a matter of which we are not informed. As he was a customs officer (ho telones, Mt 10:3) in Capernaum, in the territory of Herod Antipas, Matthew was not exactly a Roman official, but was in the service of the tetrarch of Galilee, or possibly a subordinate officer, belonging to the class called portitores, serving under the publicani, or superior officials who farmed the Roman taxes. As such he must have had some education, and doubtless in addition to the native Aramaic must have been acquainted with the Greek His ready acceptance of the call of Jesus shows that he must have belonged to that group of publicans and sinners, who in Galilee and elsewhere looked longingly to Jesus (Mt 11:19; Lu 7:34; 15:1). Just at what period of Christ’s ministry he was called does not appear with certainty, but evidently not at once, as on the day when he was called (Mt 9:11,14,18; Mr 5:37), Peter, James and John are already trustworthy disciples of Jesus. Unlike the first six among the apostles, Matthew did not enter the group from among the pupils of John the Baptist. These are practically all the data furnished by the New Testament on the person of Matthew, and what is found in post-Biblical and extra-Biblical sources is chiefly the product of imagination and in part based on mistaking the name of Matthew for Matthias (compare Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament, chapter liv, note 3). Tradition states that he preached for 15 years in Palestine and that after this he went to foreign nations, the Ethiopians, Macedonians, Syrians, Persians, Parthians and Medea being mentioned. He is said to have died a natural death either in Ethiopia or in Macedonia. The stories of the Roman Catholic church that he died the death of a martyr on September 21 and of the Greek church that this occurred on November 10 are without any historical basis. Clement of Alexandria (Strom., iv.9) gives the explicit denial of Heracleon that Matthew suffered martyrdom.

G. H. Schodde


(euaggelion kata Maththaion (or Matthaion)):

1. Name of Gospel—Unity and Integrity

2. Canonicity and Authorship

3. Relation of Greek and Aramaic Gospels

4. Contents, Character, and Purpose

5. Problems of Literary Relation

6. Date of Gospel


1. Name of Gospel—Unity and Integrity:

The "Gospel according to Matthew," i.e. the Gospel according to the account of Matthew, stands, according to traditional, but not entirely universal, arrangement, first among the canonical Gospels. The Gospel, as will be seen below, was unanimously ascribed by the testimony of the ancient church to the apostle Matthew, though the title does not of itself necessarily imply immediate authorship. The unity and integrity of the Gospel were never in ancient times called in question. Matthew 1; 2, particularly—the story of the virgin birth and childhood of Jesus—are proved by the consentient testimony of manuscripts, VSS, and patristic references, to have been an integral part of the Gospel from the beginning (see VIRGIN BIRTH). The omission of this section from the heretical Gospel of the Ebionites, which appears to have had some relation to our Gospel, is without significance.

The theory of successive redactions of Mt, starting with an Aramaic Gospel, elaborated by Eichhorn and Marsh (1801), and the related theories of successive editions of the Gospel put forth by the Tubingen school (Baur, Hilgenfeld, Kostlin, etc.), and by Ewald (Bleek supposes a primitive Greek Gospel), lack historical foundation, and are refuted by the fact that manuscripts and versions know only the ultimate redaction. Is it credible that the churches should quietly accept redaction after redaction, and not a word be said, or a vestige remain, of any of them?

2. Canonicity and Authorship:

(1) Canonicity.

The apostolic origin and canonical rank of the Gospel of Matthew were accepted without a doubt by the early church. Origen, in the beginning of the 3rd century could speak of it as the first of "the four Gospels, which alone are received without dispute by the church of God under heaven" (in Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, VI, 25). The use of the Gospel can be traced in the apostolic Fathers; most distinctly in Barnabas, who quotes Mt 22:14 with the formula, "It is written" (5). Though not mentioned by name, it was a chief source from which Justin took his data for the life and words of Jesus (compare Westcott, Canon, 91 ff), and apostolic origin is implied in its forming part of "the Memoirs of the Apostles," "which are called Gospels," read weekly in the assemblies of the Christians (Ap. i.66, etc.). Its identity with our Matthew is confirmed by the undoubted presence of that Gospel in the Diatessaron of Tatian, Justin’s disciple. The testimony of Papias is considered below. The unhesitating acceptance of the Gospel is further decisively shown by the testimonies and use made of it in the works of Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and by its inclusion in the Muratorian Canon, the Itala, Peshitta, etc.


(2) Authorship.

The questions that cluster around the First Gospel have largely to do with the much-discussed and variously disputed statement concerning it found in Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 39), cited from the much older work of Papias, entitled Interpretation of the Words of the Lord. Papias is the first who mentions Matthew by name as the author of the Gospel. His words are: "Matthew composed the Logia (logia, "words," "oracles") in the Hebrew (Aramaic) tongue, and everyone interpreted them as he was able." Papias cannot here be referring to a book of Matthew in which only the discourses or sayings of Jesus had been preserved, but which had not any, or only meager accounts of His deeds, which imaginary document is in so many critical circles regarded as the basis of the present Gospel, for Papias himself uses the expression ta logia, as embracing the story, as he himself says, in speaking of Mark, "of the things said or done by Christ" (Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 24; compare particularly T. Zahn, Introduction to New Testament, section 54, and Lightfoot, Supernatural Religion, 170 ff). Eusebius further reports that after Matthew had first labored among his Jewish compatriots, he went to other nations, and as a substitute for his oral preaching, left to the former a Gospel written in their own dialect (III, 24). The testimony of Papias to Matthew as the author of the First Gospel is confirmed by Irenaeus (iii.3, 1) and by Origen (in Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, V, 10), and may be accepted as representing a uniform 2nd-century tradition. Always, however, it is coupled with the statement that the Gospel was originally written in the Hebrew dialect. Hence, arises the difficult question of the relation of the canonical Greek Gospel, with which alone, apparently, the fathers were acquainted, to this alleged original apostolic work.

3. Relation of Greek and Aramaic Gospels:

One thing which seems certain is that whatever this Hebrew (Aramaic) document may have been, it was not an original form from which the present Greek Gospel of Matthew was translated, either by the apostle himself, or by somebody else, as was maintained by Bengel, Thiersch, and other scholars. Indeed, the Greek Matthew throughout bears the impress of being not a translation at all, but as having been originally written in Greek, and as being less Hebraistic in the form of thought than some other New Testament writings, e.g. the Apocalypse. It is generally not difficult to discover when a Greek book of this period is a translation from the Hebrew or Aramaic. That our Matthew was written originally in Greek appears, among other things, from the way in which it makes use of the Old Testament, sometimes following the Septuagint, sometimes going back to the Hebrew. Particularly instructive passages in this regard are 12:18-21 and 13:14,15, in which the rendering of the Alexandrian translation would have served the purposes of the evangelist, but he yet follows more closely the original text, although he adopts the Septuagint wherever this seemed to suit better than the Hebrew (compare Keil’s Commentary on Matthew, loc. cit.).

The external evidences to which appeal is made in favor of the use of an original Hebrew or Aramaic. Matthew in the primitive church are more than elusive. Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, V, 10) mentions as a report (legetai) that Pantaenus, about the year 170 AD, found among the Jewish Christians, probably of South Arabia, a Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew, left there by Bartholomew; and Jerome, while in the Syrian Berea, had occasion to examine such a work, which he found in use among the Nazarenes, and which at first he regarded as a composition of the apostle Matthew, but afterward declared not to be such, and then identified with the Gospel according to the Hebrews (Evangelium secundum or juxta Hebraeos) also called the Gospel of the Twelve Apostles, or of the Nazarenes, current among the Nazarenes and Ebionites (De Vir. Illustr., iii; Contra Pelag., iii.2; Commentary on Mt 12:13, etc.; see GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE HEBREWS). For this reason the references by Irenaeus, Origen, Eusebius to the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew are by many scholars regarded as referring to this Hebrew Gospel which the Jewish Christians employed, and which they thought to be the work of the evangelist (compare for fuller details See Hauck-Herzog, Realencyklopadie fur protestantische Theologie und Kirche, XII, article "Matthaeus der Apostel"). Just what the original Hebrew. Mathew was to which Papias refers (assuming it to have had a real existence) must, with our present available means, remain an unsolved riddle, as also the possible connection between the Greek and Hebrew texts. Attempts like those of Zahn, in his Kommentar on Matthew, to explain readings of the Greek text through an inaccurate understanding of the imaginary Hebrew original are arbitrary and unreliable. There remains, of course, the possibility that the apostle himself, or someone under his care (thus Godet), produced a Greek recension of an earlier Aramaic work.

The prevailing theory at present is that the Hebrew Matthean document of Papias was a collection mainly of the discourses of Jesus (called by recent critics Q), which, in variant Greek translations, was used both by the author of the Greek Matthew and by the evangelist Luke, thus explaining the common features in these two gospels (W.C. Allen, however, in his Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Matthew, disputes Luke’s use of this supposed common source, Intro, xlvi ff). The use of this supposed Matthean source is thought to explain how the Greek Gospel came to be named after the apostle. It has already been remarked, however, that there is no good reason for supposing that the "Logia" of Papias was confined to discourses. See further on "sources" below.

4. Contents, Character and Purpose:

(1) Contents and Character.

As respects contents, the Gospel of Mt can be divided into 3 chief parts:

(1) preliminary, including the birth and early youth of the Lord (Matthew 1; 2);

(2) the activity of Jesus in Galilee (Matthew 3-18);

(3) the activity of Jesus in Judea and Jerusalem, followed by His passion, death, and resurrection (Matthew 19-28).

In character, the Gospel, like those of the other evangelists, is only a chrestomathy, a selection from the great mass of oral tradition concerning the doings and sayings of Christ current in apostolic and early Christian circles, chosen for the special purpose which the evangelist had in view. Accordingly, there is a great deal of material in Matthew in common with Mark and Lk, although not a little of this material, too, is individualistic in character, and of a nature to vex and perplex the harmonist, as e.g. Matthew’s accounts of the temptation, of the demoniacs at Gadara, of the blind man at Jericho (4:1-11; 8:28-34; 20:20-34); yet there is much also in this Gospel that is peculiar to it. Such are the following pericopes: Matthew 1; 2; 9:27-36; 10:15,37-40; 11:28-30; 12:11,12,15-21,33-38; 13:24-30,36-52; 14:28-31; 16:17-19; 17:24-27; 18:15-35; 19:10-12; 20:1-16; 21:10 f, 14-16,28-32; 22:1-14; 23:8-22; 24:42-25:46; 27:3-10,62-66; 28:11 ff. The principle of arrangement of the material is not chronological, but rather that of similarity of material. The addresses and parables of Jesus are reported consecutively, although they may have been spoken at different times, and material scattered in the other evangelists—especially in Luke—is found combined in Matthew. Instances are seen in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), the "mission address" (Matthew 10), the seven parables of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 13), the discourses and parables (Matthew 18), the woes against the Pharisees (Matthew 23), and the grand eschatological discourses (Matthew 24; 25) (compare with parallel in the other gospels, on the relation to which, see below).

(2) Purpose.

The special purpose which the writer had in view in his Gospel is nowhere expressly stated, as is done, e.g., by the writer of the Fourth Gospel in Joh 20:30,31, concerning his book, but it can readily be gleaned from the general contents of the book, as also from specific passages. The traditional view that Matthew wrote primarily to prove that in Jesus of Nazareth is to be found the fulfillment and realization of the Messianic predictions of the Old Testament prophets and seers is beyond a doubt correct. The mere fact that there are about 40 proof passages in Matthew from the Old Testament, in connection even with the minor details of Christ’s career, such as His return from Egypt (2:15), is ample evidence of this fact, although the proof manner and proof value of some of these passages are exegetical cruces, as indeed is the whole way in which the Old Testament is cited in the New Testament.


The question as to whether the Gospel was written for Jewish Christians, or for Jews not yet converted, is less important, as this book, as was the case probably with the Epistle of James, was written at that transition period when the Jewish and the Christian communions were not yet fully separated, and still worshipped together.

Particular indications as to this purpose of the Gospel are met with at the beginning and throughout the whole work; e.g. it is obvious in Mt 1:1, where the proof is furnished that Jesus was the son of Abraham, in whom all families of the earth were to be blessed (Ge 12:3), and of David, who was to establish the kingdom of God forever (2Sa 7). The genealogy of Luke, on the other hand (3:23 ff), with its cosmopolitan character and purpose, aiming to show that Jesus was the Redeemer of the whole world, leads back this line to Adam, the common ancestor of all mankind. Further, as the genealogy of Matthew is evidently that of Joseph the foster and legal father of Jesus, and not that of Mary, as is the case in Luke, the purpose to meet the demands of the Jewish reader is transparent. The full account in Matthew of the Sermon on the Mount, which does not, as is sometimes said, contain a "new program of the kingdom of God"—indeed does not contain the fundamental principles of the Gospel at all—but is the deeper and truly Biblical interpretation of the Law over against the superficial interpretation of the current Pharisaism, which led the advocates of the latter in all honesty to declare, "What lack I yet?" given with the design of driving the auditors to the gospel of grace and faith proclaimed by Christ (compare Ga 3:24)—all this is only intelligible when we remember that the book was written for Jewish readers. Again the gegraptai—i.e. the fulfillment of Old Testament Scripture, a matter which for the Jew was everything, but for the Gentile was of little concern—appears in Matthew on all hands. We have it e.g. in connection with the birth of Jesus from a virgin, His protection from Herod, His coming to Nazareth (Mt 1:22 f; 2:5,6,15,17 f, 23), the activity of John the Baptist (Mt 3:3; compare Mt 11:10), the selection of Galilee as the scene of Jesus’ operations (Mt 4:14 ), the work of Jesus as the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets (Mt 5:17), His quiet, undemonstrative methods (Mt 12:17 ), His teaching by parables (Mt 13:35), His entrance into Jerusalem (Mt 21:4 f, 16), His being arrested (Mt 26:54), the betrayal of Judas (Mt 27:9), the distribution of His garments (Mt 27:35). Throughout, as Professor Kubel says, the Gospel of Mt shows a "diametrical contrast between Christ and Pharisaism." Over against the false Messianic ideas and ideals of contemporary teachings among the Jews, Mt selects those facts from the teachings and deeds of Christ which show the true Messiah and the correct principles of the kingdom of God. In this respect the Gospel can be regarded as both apologetic and polemical in its aim, in harmony with which also is its vivid portraiture to the growing hostility of the Jews to Christ and to His teachings which, in the latter part of Matthew, appears as intense as it does in John. Nowhere else do we find such pronounced denunciations of the Pharisees and their system from the lips of Jesus (compare Mt 9:11 ff; 12:1 ff; 15:1 ff; 16:1 ff; and on particular points 5:20 ff; 9:13; 23:23; see also 8:12; 9:34; 12:24; 21:43). It is from this point of view, as representing the antithesis to the narrow Pharisaic views, that we are to understand the writer’s emphasis on the universality of the kingdom of Jesus Christ (compare Mt 3:1-12; 8:10-12; 21:33-44; 28:18-20)—passages in which some have thought they discerned a contradiction to the prevailing Jewish strain of the Gospel.

5. Problems of Literary Relation:

The special importance of the Gospel of Matthew for the synoptic problem can be fully discussed only in the article on this subject (see GOSPELS, THE SYNOPTIC), and in connection with Mark and Luke. The synoptic problem deals primarily with the literary relations existing between the first 3 Gospels. The contents of these are in many cases so similar, even in verbal details, that they must have some sources in common, or some dependence or interdependence must exist between them; on the other hand, each of the 3 Gospels shows so many differences and dissimilarities from the other two, that in their composition some independent source or sources—oral or written—must have been employed. In general it may be said that the problem itself is of little more than literary importance, having by no means the historical significance for the development of the religion of the New Testament which the Pentateuchal problem has for that of the Old Testament. Nor has the synoptic problem any historical background that promises a solution as the Pentateuchal problem has in the history of Israel. Nothing save an analysis of the contents of these Gospels, and a comparison of the contents of the three, offers the scholar any material for the study of the problem, and as subjective taste and impressions are prime factors in dealing with materials of this sort, it is more than improbable, in the absence of any objective evidence, that the synoptic problem in general, or the question of the sources of Matthew in particular, will ever be solved to the satisfaction of the majority of scholars. The hypothesis which at present has widest acceptance is the "two-source" theory, according to which Mark, in its existing or some earlier form, and the problematical original Matthew (Q), constitute the basis of our canonical Gospel.

In proof of this, it is pointed out that nearly the whole of the narrative-matter of Mark is taken up into Matthew, as also into Luke, while the large sections, chiefly discourses, common to Matthew and Luke are held, as already said, to point to a source of that character which both used. The difficulties arise when the comparison is pursued into details, and explanation is sought of the variations in phraseology, order, sometimes in conception, in the respective gospels.

Despite the prestige which this theory has attained, the true solution is probably a simpler one. Matthew no doubt secured the bulk of his data from his own experience and from oral tradition, and as the former existed in fixed forms, due to catechetical instruction, in the early church, it is possible to explain the similarities of Matthew with the other two synoptics on this ground alone, without resorting to any literary dependence, either of Matthew on the other two, or of these, or either of them, on Matthew. The whole problem is purely speculative and subjective and under present conditions justifies a cui bono? as far as the vast literature which it has called into existence is concerned.

6. Date of Gospel:

According to early and practically universal tradition Mt wrote his Gospel before the other three, and the place assigned to it in New Testament literature favors the acceptance of this tradition. Irenaeus reports that it was written when Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome (ill.1), and Eusebius states that this was done when Matthew left Palestine and went to preach to others (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 24). Clement of Alexandria is responsible for the statement that the presbyters who succeeded each other from the beginning declared that "the gospels containing the genealogies (Matthew and Luke) were written first" (Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, VI, 14). This is, of course, fatal to the current theory of dependence on Mark, and is in consequence rejected. At any rate, there is the best reason for holding that the book must have been written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD (compare 2415). The most likely date for the Greek Gospel is in the 7th Christian decade. Zahn claims that Matthew wrote his Aramaic Gospel in Palestine in 62 AD, while the Greek Matthew dates from 85 AD, but this latter date is not probable.


Introduction to the Commentary on Matthew (Meyer, Alford, Allen (ICC), Broadus (Philadelphia, 1887), Morison, Plummer, Schaeffer in Lutheran Commentary (New York, 1895), etc.); works on Introduction to the New Testament (Salmon, Weiss, Zahn, etc.); articles in Bible Dictionaries and Encyclopedia may be consulted. See also F.C. Burkitt, The Gospel History and Its Transmission; Wellhausen, Das Evangelium Matthaei and Einleitung in die drei ersten Evangelien; Sir J.C. Hawkins, Horae Synopticae; Westcott, Introduction to the Study of the Gospels; Lightfoot, Essays on Supernatural Religion, V, "Papias of Hierapolis" (this last specially on the sense of Logia).

See also the works cited in MARK, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO.

G. H. Schodde


ma-thi’-as (Matthias, or Maththias; Mattithyah, "given of Yah"): Matthias was the one upon whom the lot fell when he, along with Joseph Barsabbas, was put forward to fill up the place in the apostleship left vacant by Judas Iscariot (Ac 1:15-26). This election was held at Jerusalem, and the meeting was presided over by Peter. The conditions demanded of the candidates were that they should "have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and went out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto the day that he was received up from us," and that the one chosen should "become a witness with us of his resurrection" (Ac 1:21,22). The mode of procedure was by lot, and with prayer was the election made (compare Ac 1:24).

Hilgenfeld identifies Matthias with Nathanael (compare NATHANAEL). He was traditionally the author of the "Gospel of Matthias," a heretical work referred to by Origen (Hom. on Lk, i), by Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 25, 6) and by Hieronymus (Proem in Matth.). No trace of it is left. The Gnostic Basilides (circa 133 AD) and his son Isidor claimed to ground their doctrine in the "Gospel of Basilides" on the teaching Matthias received directly from the Saviour (Hippol., vii.20) (compare Hennecke, Neutestamentliche Apokryphen, 167). Various parts of the apocryphal "Contendings of the Apostles" deal with the imprisonment and blinding of Matthias by the Ethiopian cannibals, and his rescue by Andrew (compare Budge, Contendings of the Apostles, II, 163, 164, 267-88; see also ANDREW). According to the Martyrdom of Matthias (Budge, II, 289-94) he was sent to Damascus, and died at Phalaeon, a city of Judea. Other sources mention Jerusalem as the place of Matthias’ ministry and burial.

C. M. Kerr


mat-i-thi’-a (mattithyah, or mattithyahu, "gift of Yah"):

(1) The Mattithiah of Ne 8:4 (1st spelling) was one of those who stood at Ezra’s right hand while he read the law (compare 1 Esdras 9:43). He may be the individual set over "things that were baked in pans" (1Ch 9:31).

(2) One of those appointed by David to minister before the ark, and to "celebrate and to thank and praise Yahweh, the God of Israel" (1Ch 16:4,5).

(3) One of those who had foreign wives (Ezr 10:43). In 1 Esdras 9:35, "Mazitias."

(4) One of the Levites who ministered before the ark with harps 1Ch 15:18,21; 25:3,11, 2nd spelling).

Henry Wallace


mat’-ok: The translation of 3 Hebrew words:

(1) machereshah, probably "a pick-axe" (1Sa 13:20,21; compare 1Sa 13:21 margin);

(2) cherebh, "sword," "ax," "tool" (2Ch 34:6 the King James Version, "with their mattocks," the King James Version margin "mauls," the Revised Version (British and American) "in their ruins," the Revised Version margin "with their axes");

(3) ma‘-der, "a hoe," "rake," "chopping instrument" (Isa 7:25). Vines were usually grown on terraces on the hills of Palestine, and then the mattock was in constant use. The usual mattock is a pick with one end broad, the other pointed.


mol (mephits, literally, "a breaker," "a club," "mace," "mattock"): A smashing weapon like the oriental war-club or the clubs always carried by the shepherds of Lebanon (Pr 25:18; compare Jer 51:20 margin).


moz’-em, mots’-em (ma‘uzzim, "places of strength," "fortress"): Many conjectures as to the meaning of this word and its context (Da 11:38; compare Da 11:19,39) have been made. The Septuagint (uncertainly), Theodotion, and the Geneva Version render it as a proper name. Theodoret adopted Theodotion’s reading and explained it as "Antichrist"! Grotius thought it a corruption of "Azizos, the Phoenician war-god, while Calvin saw in it the "god of wealth"! Perhaps the buzz of conjectures about the phrase is owing to the fact that in the first passage cited the word is preceded by ‘Eloah, meaning God. The context of the passage seems clearly to make the words refer to Antiochus Epiphanes, and on this account some have thought that the god Mars—whose figure appears on a coin of Antiochus—is here referred to. All this is, however, little better than guesswork, and the Revised Version (British and American) translation, by setting the mind upon the general idea that the monarch referred to would trust in mere force, gives us, at any rate, the general sense, though it does not exclude the possibility of a reference to a particular deity. In Da 11:19 and 39, the word "Mauzzim" is simply translated "fortresses," and the idea conveyed is that the mental obsession of fortresses is equivalent to deifying them. A conjecture of Layard’s (Nineveh, II, 456, note), is, at any rate, worth referring to.

Henry Wallace


mo (qebhah (compare qobhah, Nu 25:8), keres; Septuagint enustron): The first word means the maw or stomach of ruminants. It is derived from a root designating "hollowed out." It is mentioned alongside of the shoulder and the two cheeks of ox and sheep, which are the priest’s share of any sacrifice brought by Israelites (De 18:3). Septuagint, where enustron corresponds to Attic enustron, denotes the fourth stomach or abomasum, which was considered as a delicacy, and was almost a national dish of the Athenians, just as tripe is of the Londoners. The parallel form qobhah is used for the body of a woman, which is being transfixed by a spear thrust in Nu 25:8. The last word keres is found in a metaphorical sense: "(Nebuchadrezzar) hath, like a monster, swallowed me up, he hath filled his maw with my delicacies" (Jer 51:34).

H. L. E. Luering


maz-i-ti’-as (Codex Alexandrinus, Mazitias; Codex Vaticanus, Zeitias): One of those who had taken "strange wives" (1 Esdras 9:35), identical with Mattithiah (Ezr 10:43).


maz’-a-loth (The Planets).



maz’-a-roth: The 12 constellations of the Zodiac.

See ASTRONOMY, sec. II, 12.


maz-e’-ba, mats-e’-ba.



me-jar’-kon (me ha-yarqon; thalassa Hierakon): The Hebrew may mean "yellow water." The phrase is literally, "the waters of Jarkon." Septuagint reads "and from the river, Jarkon and the boundary near Joppa." From this possibly we should infer a place called Jarkon in the lot of Dan; but no name resembling this has been found. The text (Jos 19:46) is corrupt.


mez’-a-hab, me-za’-hab (me zahabh, "waters of gold"; Codex Vaticanus Maizoob, Codex Alexandrinus, Mezoob): Grandfather of Mehetabel, the wife of Hadar, the last-mentioned "duke" of Edom descended from Esau (Ge 36:39). The Jewish commentators made much play with this name. Abarbanel, e.g., says he was "rich and great, so that on this account he was called Mezahab, for the gold was in his house as water." The name, however, may denote a place, in which case it may be identical with Dizahab.



(1) ‘aroth, "the meadows (the King James Version "paper reeds") by the Nile" (Isa 19:7); ma‘areh-gabha‘, the King James Version "meadows of Gibeah," the Revised Version (British and American) "Maareh-geba," the Revised Version margin "the meadow of Geba, or Gibeah" (Jud 20:33); from ‘arah, "to be naked"; compare Arabic ariya, "to be naked," ‘ara’a’," a bare tract of land." ‘Aroth and ma‘areh signify tracts bare of trees.

(2) ‘achu, in Pharaoh’s dream of the kine, the King James Version "meadow," the Revised Version (British and American) "reed grass" (Ge 41:2,18). ‘Achu is found also in Job 8:11, the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) "flag," the Revised Version margin "reed-grass." According to Gesenius, achu is an Egyptian word denoting the vegetation of marshy ground.

(3) ‘abhel keramim, "Abel-cheramim," the Revised Version margin "The meadow of vineyards," the King James Version "the plain (the King James Version margin, "Abel") of the vineyards" (Jud 11:33); "Abel-beth-maacah" (1Ki 15:20; 2Ki 15:29; compare 2Sa 20:14,15,18); "Abel-shittim" (Nu 33:49; compare Nu 25:1; Jos 2:1; 3:1; Jud 7:22; Joe 3:18; Mic 6:5); "Abel-meholah" (Jud 7:22; 1Ki 4:12; 19:16); "Abel-maim" (2Ch 16:4); "Abel-mizraim" (Ge 50:11); "stone," the King James Version "Abel," the Revised Version margin "Abel," that is "a meadow" (1Sa 6:18); compare Arabic ‘abal, "green grass," and ‘abalat, "unhealthy marshy ground," from wabal, "to rain."

Alfred Ely Day


me’-a (me’ah, "hundred").



mel (’okhel): Denotes the portion of food eaten at any one time. It is found as a compound in Ru 2:14, "meal-time," literally, "the time of eating."





melz: Bread materials, bread-making and baking in the Orient are dealt with under BREAD (which see). For food-stuffs in use among the Hebrews in Bible times more specifically see FOOD. This article aims to be complementary, dealing especially with the methods of preparing and serving food and times of meals among the ancient Hebrews.

The Book of Judges gives a fair picture of the early formative period of the Hebrew people and their ways of living. It is a picture of semi-savagery—of the life and customs of free desert tribes. In 1 Samuel we note a distinct step forward, but the domestic and cultural life is still low and crude. When they are settled in Palestine and come in contact with the most cultured people of the day, the case is different. Most that raised these Semitic invaders above the dull, crude existence of fellahin, in point of civilization, was due to the people for whom the land was named (Macalister, Hist of Civilization in Pal). From that time on various foreign influences played their several parts in modification of Hebrew life and customs. A sharp contrast illustrative of the primitive beginnings and the growth of luxury in Israel in the preparation and use of foods may be seen by a comparison of 2Sa 17:28 f with 1Ki 4:22 f.

I. Methods of Preparing Food.

1. Cereals:

The most primitive way of using the cereals was to pluck the fresh ears (Le 23:14; 2Ki 4:42), remove the husk by rubbing (compare De 23:25 and Mt 12:1), and eat the grain raw. A practice common to all periods, observed by fellahin today, was to parch or roast the ears and eat them not ground. Later it became customary to grind the grain into flour, at first by the rudimentary method of pestle and mortar (Nu 11:8; compare Pr 27:22), later by the hand-mill (Ex 11:5; Job 31:10; compare Mt 24:41), still later in mills worked by the ass or other animal (Mt 18:6, literally, "a millstone turned by an ass"). The flour was then made into bread, with or without leaven.


Another simple way of preparing the grain was to soak it in water, or boil it slightly, and then, after drying and crushing it, to serve it as the dish called "groats" is served among western peoples.

The kneading of the dough preparatory to baking was done doubtless, as it is now in the East, by pressing it between the hands or by passing it from hand to hand; except that in Egypt, as the monuments show, it was put in "baskets" and trodden with the feet, as grapes in the wine press. (This is done in Paris bakeries to this day.)


2. Vegetables:

Lentils, several kinds of beans, and a profusion of vegetables, wild and cultivated, were prepared and eaten in various ways. The lentils were sometimes roasted, as they are today, and eaten like "parched corn." They were sometimes stewed like beans, and flavored with onions and other ingredients, no doubt, as we find done in Syria today (compare Ge 25:29,34), and sometimes ground and made into bread (Eze 4:9; compare Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palastina-Vereins, IX, 4). The wandering Israelites in the wilderness looked back wistfully on the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic of Egypt (Nu 11:5), and later we find all of these used for food in Palestine How many other things were prepared and used for food by them may be gathered from the Mishna, our richest source of knowledge on the subject.

3. Meat:

The flesh of animals—permission to eat which it would seem was first given to Noah after the deluge (Ge 1:29 f; 9:3 f)—was likewise prepared and used in various ways:

(a) Roasting was much in vogue, indeed was probably the oldest of all methods of preparing such food. At first raw meat was laid upon hot stones from which the embers had been removed, as in the case of the "cake baken on the hot stones" (1Ki 19:6 the Revised Version margin; compare Ho 7:8, "a cake not turned"), and sometimes underneath with a covering of ashes. The fish that the disciples found prepared for them by the Sea of Galilee (Joh 21:9) was, in exception to this rule, cooked on the live coals themselves. A more advanced mode of roasting was by means of a spit of green wood or iron (for baking in ovens, see FOOD).

(b) Boiling was also common (see Ge 25:29; Ex 12:9, etc., the American Standard Revised Version; English Versions of the Bible more frequently "seething," "sod," "sodden"), as it is in the more primitive parts of Syria today. The pots in which the boiling was done were of earthenware or bronze (Le 6:28). When the meat was boiled in more water than was required for the ordinary "stew" the result was the broth (Jud 6:19 f), and the meat and the broth might then be served separately. The usual way, however, was to cut the meat into pieces, larger or smaller as the case might demand (1Sa 2:13; Eze 24:3 ; compare Micah’s metaphor, Mic 3:3), and put these pieces into the cooking-pot with water sufficient only for a stew. Vegetables and rice were generally added, though crushed wheat sometimes took the place of the rice, as in the case of the "savory meat" which Rebekah prepared for her husband from the "two kids of the goats" (Ge 27:9). The seeds of certain leguminous plants were also often prepared by boiling (Ge 25:29; 2Ki 4:38).

(c) The Hebrew housewives, we may be sure, were in such matters in no way behind their modern kinswomen of the desert, of whom Doughty tells: "The Arab housewives make savory messes of any grain, seething it and putting thereto only a little salt and samn (clarified butter)."

4. Oil:

Olive oil was extensively and variously used by the ancient Hebrews, as by most eastern peoples then, as it is now.

(a) Oriental cooking diverges here more than at any other point from that of the northern and western peoples, oil serving many of the purposes of butter and lard among ourselves.

(b) Oil was used in cooking vegetables as we use bacon and other animal fats, and in cooking fish and eggs, as sJso in the finer sorts of baking. See BREAD; FOOD; OIL.

(c) They even mixed oil with the flour, shaped it into cakes and then baked it (Le 2:4). The "little oil" of the poor widow of Zerephath was clearly not intended for the lamps, but to bake her pitiful "handful of meal" (1Ki 17:12).

(d) Again the cake of unmixed flour might be baked till almost done, then smeared with oil, sprinkled with anise seed, and brought by further baking to a glossy brown. A species of thin flat cakes of this kind are "the wafers anointed with oil" of Ex 29:2, etc.

(e) Oil and honey constituted, as now in the East, a mixture used as we use butter and honey, and are found also mixed in the making of sweet cakes (Eze 16:13,19). The taste of the manna is said in Ex 16:31 to be like that of "wafers made with honey," and in Nu 11:8 to be like "the taste of cakes baked with oil" (Revised Version margin).

II. Meals, Meal-Time, etc.

(1) It was customary among the ancient Hebrews, as among their contemporaries in the East in classical lands, to have but two meals a day. The "morning morsel" or "early snack," as it is called in the Talmud, taken with some relish like olives, oil or melted butter, might be used by peasants, fishermen, or even artisans, to "break their fast" (see the one reference to it in the New Testament in Joh 21:12,15), but this was not a true meal. It was rather ariston proinon (Robinson, BRP, II, 18), though some think it the ariston, of the New Testament (Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, II, 205, note 3; compare Plummer, International Critical Commentary, on Lu 11:37). To "eat a meal," i.e. a full meal, in the morning was a matter for grave reproach (Ec 10:16), as early drinking was unusual and a sign of degradation (of Ac 2:15).

(2) The first meal (of "meal-time," literally, "the time of eating," Ru 2:14; Ge 43:16), according to general usage, was taken at or about noon when the climate and immemorial custom demanded a rest from labor. Peter’s intended meal at Joppa, interrupted by the messengers of Cornelius, was at "the sixth hour," i.e. 12 M. It corresponded somewhat to our modern "luncheon," but the hour varied according to rank and occupation (Shabbath 10a). The Bedawi take it about 9 or 10 o’clock (Burckhardt, Notes, I, 69). It is described somewhat fully by Lane in Modern Egyptians. To abstain from this meal was accounted "fasting" (Jud 20:26; 1Sa 14:24). Drummond (Tropical Africa) says his Negro bearers began the day’s work without food.

(3) The second and main meal (New Testament, deipnon) was taken about the set of sun, or a little before or after, when the day’s work was over and the laborers had "come in from the field" (Lu 17:7; 24:29 f). This is the "supper time," the "great supper" of Lu 14:16, the important meal of the day, when the whole family were together for the evening (Burckhardt, Notes, I, 69). It was the time of the feeding of the multitudes by Jesus (Mr 6:35; Mt 14:15; Lu 9:12), of the eating of the Passover, and of the partaking of the Lord’s Supper. According to Jewish law, and for special reasons, the chief meal was at midday—"at the sixth hour," according to Josephus (Vita, 54; compare Ge 43:16-25; 2Sa 24:15 Septuagint). It was Yahweh’s promise to Israel that they should have "bread" in the morning and "flesh" in the evening (Ex 16:12), incidental evidence of one way in which the evening meal differed from that at noon. At this family meal ordinarily there was but one common dish for all, into which all "dipped the sop" (see Mt 26:23; Mr 14:20), so that when the food, cooked in this common stew, was set before the household, the member of the household who had prepared it had no further work to do, a fact which helps to explain Jesus’ words to Martha, ‘One dish alone is needful’ (Lu 10:42; Hastings, Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels, under the word "Meals").

(4) Sabbath banqueting became quite customary among the Jews (see examples cited by Lightfoot, Hor. Heb et Talmud on Lu 14:1; compare Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, II, 52, 437; Farrar, Life of Christ, II, 119, note). Indeed it was carried to such an excess that it became proverbial for luxury. But the principle which lay at the root of the custom was the honor of the Sabbath (Lightfoot, op. cit., III, 149), which may explain Jesus countenance and use of the custom (compare Lu 7:36; 11:37; 14:7-14), and the fact that on the last Sabbath He spent on earth before His passion He was the chief guest at such a festive meal (Joh 12:2). It is certain that He made use of such occasions to teach lessons of charity and religion, in one case even when His host was inclined to indulge in discourteous criticism (Lu 7:39; 11:38,45 f; compare Joh 12:7 f). He seems to have withheld His formal disapproval of what might be wrong in tendency in such feasts because of the latent possibilities for good He saw in them, and so often used them wisely and well. It was on one of these occasions that a fellow-guest in his enthusiasm broke out in the exclamation, "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God" (Lu 14:15), referring evidently to the popular Jewish idea that the Messianic kingdom was to be ushered in with a banquet, and that feasting was to be a chief part of its glories (compare Isa 25:6; Lu 13:29).


III. Customs at Meals.

In the earliest times the Hebrews took their meals sitting, or more probably squatting, on the ground like the Bedouin and fellahin of today (see Ge 37:25, etc.), with the legs gathered tailor-fashion (Palestine Exploration Fund Statement, 1905, 124). The use of seats naturally followed upon the change from nomadic to agricultural life, after the conquest of Canaan. Saul and his mess-mates sat upon "seats" (1Sa 20:25), as did Solomon and his court (1Ki 10:5; compare 1Ki 13:20, etc.). With the growth of wealth and luxury under the monarchy, the custom of reclining at meals gradually became the fashion. In Amos’ day it was regarded as an aristocratic innovation (Am 3:12; 6:4), but two centuries later Ezekiel speaks of "a stately bed" or "couch" (compare Es 1:6 the Revised Version (British and American)) with "a table prepared before it" (Eze 23:41), as if it was no novelty. By the end of the 3rd century BC it was apparently universal, except among the very poor (Judith 12:15; Tobit 2:1). Accordingly, "sitting at meat" in the New Testament (English Versions of the Bible) is everywhere replaced by "reclining" (Revised Version margin), though women and children still sat. They leaned on the left elbow (Sirach 41:19), eating with the right hand (see LORD’S SUPPER). The various words used in the Gospels to denote the bodily attitude at meals, as well as the circumstances described, all imply that the Syrian custom of reclining on a couch, followed by Greeks and Romans, was in vogue (Edersheim, II, 207). Luke uses one word for it which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament (kataklithenai, 7:36; 14:8; 24:30; and kataklinein, 9:14,15), which Hobart says is the medical term for laying patients or causing them to lie in bed (Medical Language of Luke, 69). For costumes and customs at more elaborate feasts see BANQUET; DRESS. For details in the "minor morals" of the dinner table, see the classical passages (Sirach 31:12-18; 32:3-12), in which Jesus ben-Sira has expanded the counsel given in Pr 23:1 f; compare Kennedy in The 1-Volume Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible, under the word "Meals."


Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah; O. Holtzmann, Eine Untersuchung zum Leben Jesu, English translation, 206; B. Weiss, The Life of Christ, II, 125, note 2; Plummer, International Critical Commentary, "Luke," 159 f; Farrar, Life of Christ; Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes), Hastings, Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels, the 1-volume Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible; Encyclopedia Biblica; Jewish Encyclopedia, etc.

George B. Eager


men: The noun "meaning" (Da 8:15 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "I sought to understand"; and 1Co 14:11) is synonymous with "signification" but in 1 Macc 15:4 the King James Version it expresses "purpose" (the Revised Version (British and American) "I am minded to land"). The noun "mean" in Hebrew always occurs in the plural, and is generally used in the sense of "agency," "instrument" (compare 1Ki 10:29, etc.). the Revised Version (British and American) very frequently changes, King James Version: The Wisdom of Solomon 8:13, "because of her"; 2Th 2:3, "in any wise"; Lu 8:36, "how"; Pr 6:26, "on account of"; Re 13:14, "by reason of" (compare also 2Th 3:16; Joh 9:21). Heb 9:15 (the King James Version "that by means of death") translates literally, "that a death having taken place," from ginomai, "to become," "to happen." Ac 18:21 the King James Version, "I must by all means keep this feast," is omitted in the Revised Version (British and American) in harmony with several cursives, the Vulgate, and some other versions

The adjective "mean" is used in the sense of "common," "humble" (’adham, "man"; compare Isa 2:9; 5:15; 31:8 omits "mean"). It is also used in the sense of "obscure" (Pr 22:29, chashokh, "obscure"; asemos, literally, "without a mark," "unknown," Ac 21:39). "Mean" is found in expressions like "in the meanwhile" (the King James Version 1Ki 18:45, the Revised Version (British and American) "little while"; Joh 4:31; Ro 2:15, the Revised Version (British and American) "one with another"); "in the meantime" (1 Macc 11:41 the King James Version; Lu 12:1); and "in the mean season" the King James Version (1 Macc 11:14; 15:15). The adverb "meanly" is found (2 Macc 15:38) in the sense of "moderately."

The verb "mean" expresses purpose (Isa 3:15; 10:7; Ge 50:20, etc.). In some cases the Revised Version (British and American) renders literal translation: Ac 27:2, "was about to sail" (the King James Version "meaning to sail"); compare Ac 21:13; 2Co 8:13. In other instances the idea of "to mean" is "to signify," "to denote" (1Sa 4:6; Ge 21:29; Mt 9:13, etc.). Lu 15:26 translates literally, "what these things might be." In Ex 12:26 the sense of "mean ye" is "to have in mind."

A. L. Breslich


me-a’-ni: the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) "Maani" (1 Esdras 5:31).


me-a’-ra (me‘arah; omitted in the Septuagint): A town or district mentioned only in Jos 13:4, as belonging to the Zidonians. The name as it stands means "cave." If that is correct it may be represented by the modern village Mogheiriyeh, "little cave," not far from Sidon. Perhaps, however, we should find in the word the name of a Sidonian city, with the preposition min, that has suffered change in transcription. Septuagint reads "from Gaza"; but Gaza is obviously too far to the South.


mezh’-ur, Several different words in the Hebrew and Greek are rendered by "measure" in English Versions of the Bible. In Job 11:9 and Jer 13:25 it stands for madh, middah, and it is the usual rendering of the verb madhadh, "to measure," i.e. "stretch out," "extend," "spread." It is often used to render the words representing particular measures, such as [’ephah] (De 25:14,15; Pr 20:10; Mic 6:10); or kor (1Ki 4:22; 5:11 (1Ki 5:2, 5:25 Hebrew text); 2Ch 2:10 (Hebrew text 2:9) 27:5; Ezr 7:22); or seah (Ge 18:6; 1Sa 25:18; 1Ki 18:32; 2Ki 7:1,16,18); or batos, "bath" (Lu 16:6). For these terms see WEIGHTS AND MEASURES. It also renders middah, "measure of length" (Ex 26:2); mesurah, a liquid measure (Le 19:35; 1Ch 23:29; Eze 4:11,16); mishpaT, "judgment" (Jer 30:11; 46:28); ca’ce’ah, a word of uncertain meaning, perhaps derived from seah (Isa 27:8); shalish, "threefold, large measure" (Ps 80:5 (Hebrew text Ps 80:6); Isa 40:12); tokhen, and mathkoneth, "weight" and that which is weighed, taken as measure (Eze 45:11). In Isa 5:14 it stands for choq, "limit." In the New Testament, besides being the usual rendering of the verb metreo, and of the noun metron, it is used for choinix, a dry measure containing about a quart (Re 6:6).

H. Porter


(qaw, qeweh): The usual meaning is simply line, rope or cord, in Isa 28:10,13, but the line was used for measurement, as is evident from such passages as 1Ki 7:23; Job 38:5; Jer 31:39. Whether the line for measuring had a definite length or not we have no means of knowing. In Isa 44:13 it refers to the line used by the carpenter in marking the timber on which he is working, and in Zec 1:16 it refers to the builder’s line.

Figuratively: It signifies destruction, or a portion of something marked off by line for destruction, as in 2Ki 21:13; or for judgment, as in Isa 28:17.

H. Porter


(qeneh hamiddah; kalamos): Used in Eze 40:5 ff; 42:16; 45:1; Re 11:1; 21:15,16. The length of the reed is given as 6 cubits, each cubit being a cubit and a palm, i.e. the large cubit of 7 palms, or about 10 ft. See CUBIT. Originally it was an actual reed used for measurements of considerable length, but came at last to be used for a measure of definite length, as indicated by the reference in Ezkiel (compare "pole" in English measures).


met (broma, brosis): In the King James Version used for food in general, e.g. "I had my meat of herbs" (2 Esdras 12:51); "his disciples were gone away into the city to buy meat," the Revised Version (British and American) "food" (Joh 4:8). The English word signified whatever is eaten, whether of flesh or other food.




me-bun’-i, me-bun’-a-i (mebhunnay, "well-built"): One of David’s "braves" (2Sa 23:27). In 2Sa 21:18 he is named "Sibbechai" (the Revised Version (British and American) "Sibbecai"), and is there mentioned as the slayer of a Philistine giant. The Revised Version (British and American) spelling occurs in 1Ch 11:29, the King James Version "Sibbechai" in 1Ch 20:4 (compare 2Sa 21:18); and in 1Ch 27:11 the Revised Version (British and American) spelling recurs, where this person is mentioned as captain of the 8th course of the 12 monthly courses that served the king in rota. Scribal error, and the similarity in Hebrew spelling of the two forms accounts for the difference in spelling. the Revised Version (British and American) consistently tries to keep this right.

Henry Wallace


me-ke’-rath-it (mekherathi, "dweller in Mecharah"): Possibly this is a misreading of "Maachathite" (the King James Version). It is the description of Hepher, one of David’s valiant men (1Ch 11:36).

In the Wallel list of 2Sa 23, especially 23:34, the "Maachathite" is mentioned without name in the place in the list given to Hepher in 1Ch 11:36. The variations do not destroy the conviction that the list is virtually the same.


me-ko’-na (mekhonah; Machna): A town apparently in the neighborhood of Ziklag, named only in Ne 11:28, as reoccupied by the men of Judah after the Captivity. It is not identified.


med’-a-ba: The Greek form of "Medeba" in 1 Macc 9:36.


me’-dad (medhadh, "affectionate"): One of the 70 elders on whom the spirit of the Lord came in the days of Moses enabling them to prophesy. Medad and one other, Eldad, began to prophesy in the camp, away from the other elders who had assembled at the door of the tabernacle to hear God’s message. Joshua suggested that Eldad and Medad be stopped, but Moses interceded on their behalf, saying, "Would that all Yahweh’s people were prophets!" (Nu 11:26-29). The subject-matter of their prophecy has been variously supplied by tradition. Compare the Palestine Targums at the place, the apocalyptic Book of Eldad and Modad, and Ba‘al ha-Turim (ad loc.).

Ella Davis Isaacs


me’-dan (medhan, "strife"): One of the sons of Abraham by Keturah (Ge 25:2; 1Ch 1:32). The tribe and its place remain unidentified, and the conjecture that the name may be connected with the Midianites is unlikely from the fact that in the list of the sons of Abraham and Keturah Midian is mentioned alongside of Medan.


med’-e-ba (medhebha’; Maidaba, Medaba): The name may mean "gently flowing water," but the sense is doubtful. This city is first mentioned along with Heshbon and Dibon in an account of Israel’s conquests (Nu 21:30). It lay in the Mishor, the high pastoral land of Moab. The district in which the city stood is called the Mishor or plain of Medeba in the description of the territory assigned to Reuben (Jos 13:9), or the plain by Medeba (Jos 13:16). Here the Ammonites and their Syrian allies put the battle in array against Joab, and were signally defeated (1Ch 19:7). This must have left the place definitely in the possession of Israel. But it must have changed hands several times. It was taken by Omri, evidently from Moab; and Mesha claims to have recovered possession of it (M S, ll. 7,8,29,30). It would naturally fall to Israel under Jeroboam II; but in Isa 15:2 it is referred to as a city of Moab. It also figures in later Jewish history. John, son of Mattathias, was captured and put to death by the Jambri, a robber tribe from Medeba. This outrage was amply avenged by Jonathan and Simon, who ambushed a marriage party of the Jambri as they were bringing a noble bride from Gabbatha, slew them all and took their ornaments (1 Macc 9:36 ff; Ant, XII, i, 2, 4). Medeba was captured by Hyrcanus "not without the greatest distress of his army" (Ant., XIII, ix, 1). It was taken by Janneus from the Nabateans. Hyrcanus promised to restore it with other cities so taken to Aretas in return for help to secure him on the Judean throne (ibid., xv, 4; XIV, i, 4). Ptolemy speaks of it as a town in Arabia Petrea, between Bostra and Petra. Eusebius and Jerome knew it under its ancient name (Onomasticon, under the word). It became the seat of a bishropric, and is mentioned in the Ac of the Council of Chalcedon (451 AD), and in other ecclesiastical lists.

The ancient city is represented by the modern Madeba, a ruined site with an Arab village, crowning a low hill, some 6 miles South of Heshbon, with which it was connected by a Roman road. The ruins, which are considerable, date mainly from Christian times. The surrounding walls can be traced in practically their whole circuit. There is a large tank, now dry, measuring 108 yds. X 103 yds., and about 12 ft. in depth. In 1880 it was colonized by some Christian families from Kerak, among whom the Latins carry on mission work. In December, 1896, a most interesting mosaic was found. It proved to be a map of part of Palestine and Lower Egypt of the time of Justinian. Unfortunately it is much damaged. An account of it will be found in Palestine Exploration Fund Statement, 1897, 213 ff, 239; 1898, 85, 177 ff, 251.

W. Ewing


medz (madhi; Assyrian Amada, Mada; Achaem. Persian Mada; Medoi (Ge 10:2; 2Ki 17:6; 18:11; 1Ch 1:5; Ezr 6:2; Es 1:3,14,18,19; 10:2; Isa 13:17; 21:2; Jer 25:25; 51:11,28; Da 5:28; 6:1,9,13,16; 8:20; 9:1; 11:1)): Mentioned as Japhethites in Ge 10:2, i.e. Aryans, and accordingly they first called themselves Arioi (Herod. vii.62), in Avestic Airya = Skt. Arya, "noble." They were closely allied in descent, language and religion with the Persians, and in secular history preceded their appearance by some centuries. Like most Aryan nations they were at first divided into small village communities each governed by its own chiefs (called in Assyrian chazanati by Assur-bani-pal: compare Herod. i.96). Shalmaneser II mentions them (Nimrod Obelisk, i.121) about 840 BC. They then inhabited the modern A’zarbaijan (Media Atropatene). Rammanu-nirari III of Assyria (Rawlinson, Western Asiatic Inscriptions, I, 35) declares that he (810-781 BC) had conquered "the land of the Medes and the land of Parsua" (Persis), as well as other countries. This probably meant only a plundering expedition, as far as Media was concerned. So also Assur-nirari II (Western Asiastic Inscriptions, II, 52) in 749-748 BC overran Namri in Southwest Media. Tiglath-pileser IV (in Babylonian called Pulu, the "Pul" of 2Ki 15:19) and Sargon also overran parts of Media. Sargon in 716 BC conquered Kisheshin, Kharkhar and other parts of the country. Some of the Israelites were by him transplanted to "the cities of the Medes" (2Ki 17:6; 18:11; the Septuagint reading Ore, cannot be rendered "mountains" of the Medes here) after the fall of Samaria in 722 BC. It was perhaps owing to the need of being able to resist Assyria that about 720 BC the Medes (in part at least) united into a kingdom under Deiokes, according to Herodotus (i.98). Sargon mentions him by the name Dayaukku, and says that he himself captured this prince (715 BC) and conquered his territory two years later. After his release, probably, Deiokes fortified Ecbatana (formerly Ellippi) and made it his capital. It has been held by some that Herodotus confounds the Medes here with the Manda (or Umman-Manda, "hosts of the Manda") of the inscriptions; but these were probably Aryan tribes, possibly of Scythian origin, and the names Mada and Manda may be, after all, identical. Esar-haddon in his 2nd year (679-678 BC) and Assurbani-pal warred with certain Median tribes, whose power was now growing formidable. They (or the Manda) had conquered Persis and formed a great confederacy. Under Kyaxares (Uvakh-shatara—Deiokes’ grandson, according to Herodotus), they besieged Nineveh, but Assur-bani-pal, with the assistance of the Ashguza (? the Ashkenaz of Ge 10:3), another Aryan tribe, repelled them. The end of the Assyrian empire came, however, in 606 BC, when the Manda under their king Iriba-tukte, Mamiti-arsu "lord of the city of the Medes," Kastarit of the Armenian district of Kar-kassi, the Kimmerians (Gimirra = Gomer) under Teushpa (Teispes, Chaishpish), the Minni (Manna; compare Jer 51:27), and the Babylonians under Nabu-pal-ucsur, stormed and destroyed Nineveh, as Nabu-nahid informs us. The last king of Assyria, Sin-sar-iskun (Sarakos), perished with his people.

Herodotus says that Deiokes was succeeded by Phraortes (Fravartish) his son, Phraortes by his son Kyaxares; and the latter in turn left his kingdom to his son Astyages whose daughter Mandane married Cambyses, father of the great Cyrus. Yet there was no Median empire (such as he describes) then, or at least it did not embrace all the Aryan tribes of Western Asia, as we see from the inscriptions that in 606 BC, and even later, many of them were under kings and princes of their own (compare Jer 25:25; 51:11). Herodotus tells us they were divided into six tribes, of whom the Magi were one (Herod. i.101). Kyaxares warred for 5 years (590-585 BC) with the Lydians, the struggle being ended in May, 585, by the total eclipse of the sun foretold by Thales (Herodotus i.74).

The alliance between the Medes and the Babylonians ended with Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. His successor Nabu-nahid (555 BC) says that in that year the Medes under Astyages (Ishtuwegu) entered Mesopotamia and besieged Haran. Soon after, however, that dynasty was overthrown; for Cyrus the Persian, whom Nabu-nahid the first time he mentions him styles Astyages’ "youthful slave" (ardusu cachru), but who was even then king of Anshan (Anzan), attacked and in 549 BC captured Astyages, plundered Ecbatana, and became king of the Medes. Though of Persian descent, Cyrus did not, apparently, begin to reign in Persia till 546 BC. Henceforth there was no Median empire distinguished from the Persian (nor is any such mentioned in Daniel, in spite of modern fancies). As the Medes were further advanced in civilization and preceded the Persians in sovereignty, the Greek historians generally called the whole nation "the Medes" long after Cyrus’ time. Only much later are the Persians spoken of as the predominant partners. Hence, it is a sign of early date that Daniel (8:20) speaks of "Media and Persia," whereas later the Book of Esther reverses the order ("Persia and Media," Es 1:3,14,18,19; 10:2), as in the inscriptions of Darius at Behistun. Under Darius I, Phraortes (Fravartish) rebelled, claiming the throne of Media as a descendant of Kyaxares. His cause was so powerfully supported among the Medes that the rebellion was not suppressed till after a fierce struggle. He was finally taken prisoner at Raga (Rai, near Tehran), brutally mutilated, and finally impaled st Ecbatana. After that Median history merges into that of Persia. The history of the Jews in Media is referred to in Daniel and Esther. 1 Maccabees tells something of Media under the Syrian (6:56) and Parthian dominion (14:1-3; compare Josephus, Ant, XX, iii). Medes are last mentioned in Ac 2:9. They are remarkable as the first leaders of the Aryan race in its struggle with the Semites for freedom and supremacy.

W. St. Clair Tisdall


me’-di-a (madhay; Achaem. Persian Mada; Media): Lay to the West and Southwest of the Caspian, and extended thence to the Zagrus Mountains on the West On the North in later times it was bounded by the rivers Araxes and Cyrus, which separated it from Armenia. Its eastern boundaries were formed by Hyrcania and the Great Salt Desert (now called the Kavir), and it was bounded on the South by Susiana. In earlier times its limits were somewhat indefinite. It included Atropatene, (Armenian Atrpatakan, the name, "Fire-guarding," showing devotion to the worship of Fire) to the North, and Media Magna to the South, the former being the present A’zarbaijan. Near the Caspian the country is low, damp and unhealthy, but inland most of it is high and mountainous, Mt. Demavand in the Alburz range reaching 18,600 ft. Atropatene was famed for the fertility of its valleys and table-lands, except toward the North. Media Magna is high; it has fruitful tracts along the course of the streams, but suffers much from want of water, though this was doubtless more abundant in antiquity. It contained the Nisaean Plain, famous for its breed of horses. The chief cities of ancient Media were Ecbatana, Gazaea, and Ragae. The Orontes range near Ecbatana is the present Alvand. Lake Spauta is now known as Urmi (Urumiah).

W. St. Clair Tisdall





me-di-a’-shun, me’-di-a-ter:


1. The Terms

(1) Mediation

(2) Mediator

2. The Principle of Mediation


1. Negative Teaching in the Old Testament

2. The Positive Teaching: Early Period

3. Prophetic Mediation

4. Priestly Mediation

5. The Theocratic King: the Messiah

6. The Suffering Servant

7. Superhuman Agents of Mediation

(1) Angelic Mediation

(2) Divine Wisdom



1. The Synoptic Gospels

(1) Christ as Prophet

(2) Christ as King

(3) Christ as Priest (Redeemer)

2. Primitive Apostolic Teachings

(1) The Early Speeches in Acts

(2) Epistles of James and Jude

(3) 1 Peter

3. Epistles of Paul

(1) The Need of a Mediator

(2) The Qualifications

(3) The Means, the Death of Christ

(4) The Resurrection and Exaltation

(5) The Cosmic Aspect of Christ’s Mediatorship

4. Epistle to the Hebrews

5. The Johannine Writings

(1) The Fourth Gospel

(2) The Epistles

(3) The Apocalypse



I Introductory.

1. The Terms:

(1) Mediation:

"Mediation" in its broadest sense may be defined as the act of intervening between parties at variance for the purpose of reconciling them, or between parties not necessarily hostile for the purpose of leading them into an agreement or covenant. Theologically, it has reference to the method by which God and man are reconciled through the instrumentality of some intervening process, act or person, and especially through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. The term itself does not occur in Biblical literature.

(2) Mediator:

The term "mediator" (equals middleman, agent of mediation) is nowhere found in Old Testament or Apocrypha (English Versions of the Bible), but the corresponding Greek word mesites, occurs once in Septuagint (Job 9:33 the King James Version, "Neither is there any daysman betwixt us," where "daysman" stands for Hebrew mokhiach, "arbitrator," the American Standard Revised Version, the English Revised Version margin "umpire" (see DAYSMAN); Septuagint has ho mesites hemon, "our mediator," as a paraphrase for Hebrew benenu, "betwixt us"). Even in the New Testament, mesites, "mediator," occurs only 6 times, namely, Ga 3:19,20 (of Moses), and 1Ti 2:5; Heb 8:6; 9:15; 12:24 (of Christ).

2. The Principle of Mediation:

Though the actual terms are thus very rare, the principle of mediation is one of great significance in Biblical theology, as well as in the Jewish-Alexandrian philosophy. It corresponds to a profound human instinct or need which finds expression in some form or other in most religions. It is an attempt to solve the problem raised by (1) the idea of the infinite distance which separates God from man and the universe, and (2) the deeply felt want of bringing them into a harmonious relation. The conception of mediation will differ, therefore, according to whether the distance to be surmounted is understood ethically or metaphysically. If it be thought of in an ethical or religious sense, that is, if the emphasis be laid on the fact of human sin as standing in the way of man’s fellowship with God, then mediation will be the mode by which peaceful relations are established between sinful man and the absolutely righteous God. But if the antithesis of God and the world be conceived of metaphysically, i.e. be based on the ultimate nature of God and of the world conceived as essentially opposed to each other, then mediation will be the mode by which the transcendent God, without Himself coming into direct contact with the world, is able to produce effects in it through an intermediate agent (or agents). The latter conception (largely the result of an exaggerated Platonic dualism) exerted an important influence on later Jewish thought, and even on Christian theology, and will come briefly under our consideration. But in the main we shall be concerned with the former view, as more in harmony with the development of Biblical theology which culminates in the New Testament doctrine of atonement. Mediation between God and man as presented in the Scriptures has 3 main aspects, represented respectively by the functions of the prophet, the priest, and theocratic king. Here and there in the Old Testament these tend to meet, as in Melchizedek the priest-king, and in the Suffering Servant of Deutero-Isaiah, who unites the priestly function of sacrifice with the prophetic function of revealing the Divine will. But on the whole, these aspects of mediation in the Old Testament run along lines which have no meeting-point in one person adequate to all the demands. In the New Testament they intersect in the person and work of Jesus Christ, who realizes in Himself the full meaning of the prophetic, priestly, and kingly ideals.

II. Mediation in the Old Testament.

1. Negative Teaching in the Old Testament:

We do not find in the Old Testament a fixed and final doctrine of mediation universally accepted as an axiom of religious thought, but only a gradual movement toward such a doctrine, under the growing sense of God’s exaltation and of man’s frailty and sinfulness. Such a passage as 1Sa 2:25 seems definitely to contradict the idea of mediation. Still more striking are the words of Job above referred to, "There is no umpire betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both," i.e. to enforce his decision (Job 9:33), where the Septuagint paraphrases, "Would that there were a mediator and a reprover and a hearer between us both." The note of despair which characterizes this passage shows that Job has no hope that such an arbitrator between him and God is forthcoming. Yet the words give pathetic utterance to the deep inarticulate cry of humanity for a mediator. In this connection we should note the protests of prophets and psalmists against an unethical view of mediation by animal sacrifices (Mic 6:6-8; Ps 40:6-8, etc.), and their frequent direct appeals to God for mercy without reference to any mediation (Ps 25:7; 32:5; 103:8 , etc.).

2. The Positive Teaching: Early Period:

(1) Mediatory Sacrifice.

In the patriarchal age, before the official priest had been differentiated from the rest of the community, the function of offering sacrifice was discharged by the head of the family or clan on behalf of his people, as by Noah (Ge 8:20), Abraham (Ge 12:7,8; 15:9-11), Isaac (Ge 26:24 f), Jacob (Ge 31:54; 33:20). So Job, conceived by the writer as living in patriarchal antiquity, is said to have offered sacrifices vicariously for his sons (Job 1:5). Melchizedek, the priest-king of Salem (Ge 14:18-20), is a figure of considerable theological interest, inasmuch as he was taken by the author of Ps 110 as the forerunner of the ideal theocratic king who was also priest, and by the author of He as prototype of Christ’s priesthood.

(2) Intercessory Prayer.

Intercession is in all stages of thought an essential element in mediation. We have striking examples of it in Ge 18:22-33; Job 42:8-10.

(3) The Mosaic Covenant.

In Moses we have for the first time a recognized national representative who acted both as God’s spokesman to the people, and the people’s spokesman before God. He alone was allowed to "come near unto Yahweh," and to him Yahweh spake "face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend" (Ex 33:11). He went up to God and "reported the words of the people" to Him, as to a sovereign who cannot be approached save by his duly accredited minister (Ex 19:8). We have a striking example of his intercessory mediation in the episode of the golden calf, when he pleaded effectively with God to turn from His wrath (Ex 32:12-14), and even offered to "make atonement for" (kipper, literally, "cover") their sin by confessing their sin before God, and being willing to be blotted out of God’s book, so that the people might be spared (Ex 32:30-32). Here we have already the germs of the idea of vicarious suffering for sin.

(4) Intercessory Mediation.

Samuel is by Jeremiah classed with Moses as the chief representative of intercessory mediation (Jer 15:1). He is reported as mediating by prayer between Israel and God, and succeeding in warding off the punishment of their sin (1Sa 7:5-12). On such occasions, prayer was wont to be accompanied by confessions of sins and by an offering to Yahweh.

3. Prophetic Mediation:

Samuel represents the transition from the ancient seer or soothsayer to the prophetic order. The prophet was regarded as the organ of Divine revelation, to consult whom was equivalent to "inquiring of God" (1Sa 9:9)—a commissioner sent by God (Isa 6:8 f) to proclaim His will by word and action. In that capacity he was Yahweh’s representative among men, and so could speak in a tone of authority. Prophetic revelation is essential to the Old Testament religion (compare Heb 1:1), which by it stands distinguished from a mere philosophy or natural religion. God is not merely a passive object of human discovery, but one who actively and graciously reveals Himself to His chosen people through the medium of the authorized exponents of His mind and will. Thus in the main the prophet stands for the principle of mediation in its man-ward aspect. But the God-ward aspect is not absent, for we find the prophet mediating with God on behalf of men, making intercession for them (Jer 14:19-22; Am 7:2 f, 5 f).

4. Priestly Mediation:

Mediation is in a peculiar sense the function of the priest. In the main he stands for the principle in its God-ward aspect. Yet in the early period it was the man-ward aspect that was most apparent; i.e. the priest was at first regarded as the medium through which Yahweh delivered His oracles to men, the human mouthpiece of supernatural revelation, giving advice in difficult emergencies by casting the sacred lot. Before the time of the first literary prophets, the association of the priests with the ephod and the lot had receded into the background (though the high priest theoretically retained the gift of interpreting the Divine will through the Urim and Thummim, Ex 28:30; Le 8:8); but the power they lost with the oracle they gained at the altar. First they acquired a preferential status at the local sanctuaries; then, in the Deuteronomic legislation, where sacrifice is limited to the Jerusalem sanctuary, it is assumed that only Levite priests can officiate. Finally, in the Levitical system as set forth in the Priestly Code (which regulated Jewish worship in the post-exilic times), the Aaronic priests, now clearly distinguished from the Levites, have the sole privilege of immediate access to God in His sanctuary (Nu 4:19,20; 16:3-5). God’s transcendence and holiness are now so emphasized that between Him and the sin-stained people there is almost an infinite chasm. Hence, the people can only enjoy its ideal right of drawing nigh unto God and offering sacrifice to Him through the mediation of the official priesthood. The mediatorship of priests derived its authority, not from their moral purity or personal worth, but from the ceremonial purity which attached to their office. All priests are not on the same level. A process of graduated sanctity narrows down their number as the approach is made to the Most Holy Place, which symbolizes the presence chamber of Yahweh.

(1) Out of the sacred nation as a whole, the priestly tribe of Levi is elected and invested with a special sanctity to perform all the subordinate acts of service within the tabernacle (Nu 8:19; 18:6).

(2) Within this sacred tribe, the members of the house of Aaron are set apart and invested with a still higher sanctity; they alone officiate at the altar in the Holy Place and expiate the guilt of the people by sacrifice and prayer, thus representing the people before God. Yet even they are only admitted to the proximate nearness of the Holy Place.

(3) The gradation of the hierarchy is completed by the recognition of a single, supreme head of the priesthood—the high priest. He alone can enter the Holy of Holies, and that alone once a year, on the Day of Atonement, when he makes propitiation not only for himself and the priesthood, but for the entire congregation. The ritual of the Day of Atonement is the highest exercise of priestly mediatorship. On that day, the whole community has access to Yahweh through their representative, the high priest, and through him offer atonement for their sins. Moreover, the role of the high priest as mediator is symbolized by his wearing the breastplate bearing the names of the children of Israel, whenever he goes into the Holy Place (Ex 28:29).

Something must be said of the sacrificial system, through which alone the priest exercised his mediatorial functions. For his mediatorship did not depend on his direct personal influence with God, exercised, for instance, through intercessory prayer (intercession is not mentioned by the Priestly Code (P) as a duty of the priest, though referred to by the prophets, Joe 2:17; Mal 1:9). It depended rather on an elaborate system of sacrifice, of which the priest was but an official agent. It was he who derived his authority from the system, rather than the system from him. The most characteristic features in the ritual of P are the sin offering (chatta’th, Le 4; 5; 6:24-30) and the guilt offering (’asham, Le 5$; 6$; 7$; 14$; 19$), which seem peculiar to P. These are meant to restore the normal relation of the people or of individuals to God, a relation which sin has disturbed. Hence, these sacrifices, when duly administered by the priest, are distinctly mediatorial or reconciliatory in character, i.e. they make atonement for or "cover" (kipper) the sin of the guilty community or individuals. This seems the case also, though in a far less degree, even with the burnt, peace, and meal offerings, which, though "not offered expressly, like the sin and guilt offerings, for the forgiveness of sin, nevertheless were regarded .... as ‘covering,’ or neutralizing, the offerer’s unworthiness to appear before God, and so, though in a much less degree than the sin or guilt offering, as effecting propitiation" (Driver in Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible, IV, 132). We must beware, however, of reading the full New Testament doctrine of sin and propitiation into the sacrificial law. Two important points of difference may be noted: (1) The law does not provide atonement for all sins, but only for sins of ignorance or inadvertence, committed within the covenant. Deliberate sins fall outside the scope of priestly mediation. (2) While sin includes moral impurity, it must be admitted that the chief emphasis falls on ceremonial uncleanness, because it is only violation of physical sanctity that can be fully rectified by ritual ordinance. The law was essentially a civil code, and was not adequate to deal with inward sins. Thus the sacrificial system in itself is but a faint adumbration of the New Testament doctrine of Christ’s high-priestly work, which has reference to sin in its widest and deepest meaning. Yet, in spite of these limitations, the priestly ritual was, as far as it went, an organized embodiment of the sin-consciousness, and so prepared the way for the coming of a perfect Mediator.

5. The Theocratic King: the Messiah:

On another plane than that of the priest is the mediation of theocratic king. Yahweh was ideally the sole king of Israel. But He governed the people mediately through His vicegerent theocratic king, the agent of His will. The king was regarded as "Yahweh’s anointed" (1Sa 16:6, etc.), and his person as inviolable. He was the "visible representative of the invisible Divine King" (Riehm). The ideal of theocratic king was most nearly represented by David, the man after Yahweh’s own heart (compare 1Sa 13:14). This fact led to Yahweh’s covenant-promise that David’s house should constitute a permanent dynasty, and his throne be established forever (2Sa 7:5-17; compare Ps 89:19-37). The indestructibility of the Davidic dynasty was the basal conviction on which the hope of a Messiah was built. It led to attention being further concentrated on one preeminent King in David’s line, who should be the Divinely accredited representative of Yahweh, and reign in His name. As a Divinely endowed human hero, the Messiah will possess attributes which will qualify Him to mediate between God and His people in national life and affairs, and so inaugurate the ideal age of peace and righteousness. He is portrayed especially as the Royal Saviour of Israel, through whom the salvation of the people is mediated and justice administered (e.g. Isa 11:1-10; 61:1-3; Ps 72:4,13; Jer 23:5,6; 33:15,16).

6. The Suffering Servant:

In the wonderful figure of exilic prophecy, the Suffering Servant of Yahweh, the principle of mediation is exemplified both in its man-ward and God-ward aspects. In its man-ward aspect, his mission is the prophetic one of being God’s anointed messenger to men, His witness before the world (Isa 42:6,19; 43:10; 49:2; 50:4,5; 61:1-3). But the profound originality of the conception of the Servant lies chiefly in the God-ward significance of his suffering (Isa 53). The Servant suffered vicariously as an atonement for the sins of the people. His death is even said to be a "guilt-offering" (’asham, Isa 53:10), and he is represented as making "intercession for the transgressors" (Isa 53:12). Here is the profoundest expression in the Old Testament of the principle of mediatorship.

The substitution of voluntary, deliberate, human sacrifice for that of unwilling beasts elevates the sacrificial idea to a new ethical plane, and brings it into far more vital and organic relation to human life. The basis of the mediatorship of the Servant seems to be the principle of the solidarity or organic unity of the people, involving the ideal unity of the Servant and the people he represents. In the earlier servant-passages the Servant is identical with the whole nation (Isa 41:8; 44:1 f, and often), and the unity is therefore actual, not ideal merely. In other passages, however, they are clearly to be distinguished, for while the people as a whole is unfaithful to its mission, the Servant remains faithful and suffers for it. Whether in Isa 53 the Servant is the pious remnant of the people or is conceived of as an individual we need not here consider. In either case, the tie between the Servant and the whole nation is never completely broken; the idea of their mystical union is still the groundwork of the prophet’s thought. In virtue of this ideal relation, the Servant is the representative of the nation before God, not in a mere official sense (as in the case of the priest), but on the ground of personal merit, as the true Israel, the embodiment of the national ideal. On that ground God can accept his suffering in lieu of the deserved penalty of the whole people. We have here a wonderful adumbration of the New Testament doctrine of atonement through the One Mediator, the Son of Man, the representative of the race.


7. Superhuman Agents of Mediation:

In later Judaism, the growing sense of God’s transcendence favored the tendency to introduce supernatural intermediaries between God and the world.

(1) Angelic Mediation.

Not until post-exilic times did angels come to have theological significance. Previously, when God was anthropomorphically conceived as appearing periodically on earth in visible form, the need of angelic mediation was not felt. The "angel" in early narrative (e.g. Ge 16:7-11) did not possess abiding personality distinct from God, but was God Himself temporarily manifested in human form. But the more God came to be conceived as "the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity," the greater was the need for mediation between God and the world, and even between God and His servant the prophet. In post-exilic writers there is an increasing disposition to fill up the gap between God and the prophet with superhuman beings. Thus Zechariah receives all Divine instruction through angels; and similarly Daniel receives explanations of his dreams. We do not in the Old Testament hear of angels interceding with God (God-ward mediation), but only as intermediaries of revelation and of the Divine will (man-ward mediation). Modern Jewish scholars deny that Judaistic angelology implied that God was transcendent in the sense of being remote and out of contact with the world. So, e.g., Montefiore (Hibbert Lectures, 423-31), but even he admits a "natural disinclination to bring the Godhead downward to human conditions," and that "for supernatural conversations angels formed a convenient substitute for God" (p. 430). The doctrine of angels had no influence on the New Testament doctrine of mediation, which moves on the plane of the ethical, rather than on the basis of the merely physical transcendenee of God.

(2) Divine Wisdom.

Of more importance as a preparation for theology of the New Testament is the doctrine of Wisdom, in which the Jews found "a middle term between the religion of Israel and the philosophy of Greece." In Pr 8:22-31 Wisdom is depicted as an individual energy, God’s elect Son, His companion and master-workman (Pr 8:30) in creation, but whose chief delight is with the children of men. Though the personification is here purely ideal and poetical, and the ethical interest predominates over the metaphysical, yet we have in such a passage a clear proof of contact with Greek thought (especially Platonism and Stoicism), and of the felt need of a mediator between God and the visible world. This mode of thought, linked to the Hebrew conception of the Divine Word as the efficient expression of God’s thought and the medium of His activity (Isa 55:11; Ps 33:6; 107:20), has left its mark on Philo’s Logos-doctrine and on the New Testament Christology.


III. In Semi-and Non-canonical Jewish Literature.

In the Apocrypha, the idea of mediation is for the most part absent. We have one or two references to angelic intercession (Tobit 12:12,15), a function not attributed to angels in the Old Testament, but prominent in later apocalyptic literature (e.g. Enoch 9:10; 15:2; 40:6). The tradition of the agency of angels in the promulgation of the law is first found in the Septuagint of De 33:2 (not in the Hebrew original), but was greatly amplified in rabbinical literature (Josephus, Ant, XV, v, 3). In The Wisdom of Solomon a bold advance is made toward the conception of Wisdom as a personal mediator of creation (especially 7:22-27). In later Judaism, the idea of the Word is further developed. The Targums constantly refer the Divine activity to the memera’ or "Word" of God, where the Old Testament refers it to God directly, and speaks of it as Israel’s Intercessor before God and as Redeemer. This usage seems to arise out of a reluctance to bring God into immediate contact with the world; hence, God’s self-manifestation is represented as mediated through a quasi-personal agent. The tendency finds its full development, however, not among the Jerusalem Jews, but among the Jews of Alexandria, especially in Philo’s Logos-doctrine. Deeply influenced by the Platonic dualism, Philo thought of God as pure Spirit, incapable of contact with matter, so that without mediation God could not act on the world. To fill up the great gap he conceived of intermediary beings which represented at once the Ideas of Plato, the active Powers of the Stoics, and the angels of the Old Testament. The highest of these was the Divine Logos, the mediator between the inaccessible, transcendent Being and the material universe. On the one hand, in relation to the world, the Logos is the Mediator of creation and of revelation; on the other, in his God-ward activity, he is the representative of the world before God, its High Priest, Intercessor, and Paraclete. Yet Philo’s Logos was probably nothing more than a high philosophical abstraction vividly imaged in the mind. In spite of Philo’s influence on early Christian theology, and even perhaps on some New Testament writers, his doctrine of mediation moves on quite different lines from the central New Testament doctrine, which is concerned above all with the reconciliation of God and man on account of sin, and not with the metaphysical reconciliation of the absolute and the finite world. The Mediator of Philo is an abstraction of speculative thought; the Mediator of the New Testament is a concrete historical person known to experience.


IV. Mediation and Mediator in the New Testament.

The relatively independent lines of development which the conception of mediation has hitherto taken now meet and coalesce in Jesus Christ.

1. The Synoptic Gospels:

The traditional division of Christ’s mediatorial work into that of prophet, priest and king (very common since Calvin, but now often discarded) offers a convenient method of treating the subject, though we must avoid making the division absolute, as if Christ’s work fell apart into three separate and independent functions. The unity of the work of salvation is preserved by the fact that "no one of the offices fills up a moment of time alone, but the others are always cooperative," although "Christ’s mediatorial work puts now this, now that side in the foreground." "The triple division is of special value, because it sets in a vivid light the continuity between the Old Testament theocracy and Christianity" (Dorner, System of Christian Doctrine, English translation, III, 385 ff). These three aspects of Christ’s mediatorship can be distinguished in the Synoptics, although the formal distinction is the work of later analysis.

(1) Christ as Prophet.

It was in the character of Prophet that He mainly impressed the common mind, which was moved to inquire "Whence hath this man this wisdom?" and by His reply, "A prophet is not without honor," etc., He virtually accepts that title (Mt 13:54,57). As Prophet, Christ is the mediator of revelation; through Him alone can men come to know God as Father (Mt 11:27) and "the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 13:11). In all His teaching we feel that He speaks within the center of truth, and hence can teach with authority and not as the scribes (Mt 7:29), who approach the truth from without. His teaching is part of His redemptive work, and not something extraneous to it, for the sin from which He redeems includes ignorance and error.

(2) Christ as King.

The official name "Christ" (equals Messiah, the anointed King) refers primarily to His kingship. The Messianic hope had taught men to look forward to the rule of God on earth instituted and administered through His representative. Christ was the fulfillment of that hope. Though He held an attitude of reserve in the matter, there can be no doubt that He conceived of Himself as the Messiah (Mr 8:27-30; 14:16 f; compare His entry into Jerusalem as a triumphant king, Mr 11:1 ; the inscription on the cross, Mr 15:26). But it is also clear that He fundamentally modified the Messianic idea, (a) by suffusing it with the thought of vicarious suffering, and (b) by giving it an ethical and spiritual rather than a national and official significance. The note of His kingship was that of authority (Mr 1:27; 2:10; Mt 7:29; 28:18) exercised in the realm of truth and conscience. His kingship includes the future as well as the present; He is the arbiter of human destiny (Mt 25:31 ).

(3) Christ as Priest (Redeemer).

The synoptists do not hint at the priestly analogy. Our Lord often spoke of forgiveness without mentioning Himself as the one through whom it was mediated, as if it flowed directly from the gracious heart of the Father (compare the parables of Lu 15). But there are other passages which emphasize the close connection of His person with men’s redemption. Men’s attitude to Him decides absolutely their relation to God (Mt 10:32,40). Rest of soul is mediated to the heavy laden through Him (Mt 11:28-30). He claims authority on earth to forgive sins (Mr 2:10). We have no evidence that He spoke definitely of His death until after Peter’s confession at Caesarea (Mr 8:31, "began to teach," etc.), though we seem to have vague allusions earlier (e.g. the allegory of the bridegroom, Mr 2:19,20). This may be partly due to conscious reserve, in accordance with the true pedagogical method by which He adapted His teaching to the progressive receptivity of His followers. But inasmuch as we must think of Him as subject to the ordinary laws of human psychology, the idea of His death must have been to Him a growth, matured partly by outward events, and partly by the development of His inner consciousness as the Suffering Messiah. In His later ministry, He frequently taught that He must suffer and die (Mr 9:12,31; 10:32 f; 12:8; 14:8 and parallel passages; compare Mr 10:38; Lu 12:49 f). There are two important passages which expressly connect His death with His mediatorial work. The first is Mr 10:45 (parallel Mt 20:28), "The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." The context shows that it was while the thought of His approaching death filled His mind that our Lord uttered these words (compare Mr 10:33,38 f). As to the exact meaning of ransom (lutron) there are two circles of ideas with which it may be associated. (a) It may mean a sacrificial offering, representing Hebrew kopher (literally, "covering," "propitiatory gift") which it translates several times in Septuagint (e.g. Ex 30:12). Thus, Ritschl defines it as "an offering which, because of its specific worth to God, is a protection or coveting against sin" (Rechtfertigung und Versohnung, II, 68-88). (b) It may mean ransom price, the purchase-money paid for the emancipation of a slave. In Septuagint, lutron in most cases stands for some form of the roots ga’al, "to deliver," padhah, "to redeem" (e.g. Le 25:51; Nu 3:51). Hence, Wendt explains the "ransom" as the price by which Jesus redeemed His disciples from their bondage to suffering and death (Teaching of Jesus, II, 226 ff). This analogy certainly suits the context better than that drawn from the Levitical ritual, for it brings out the contrast between the liberating work of Christ and the enslaving work of those who "lord it over" men. We must not press the analogy in detail or seek here an answer to the question, who was the recipient of the ransom price (e.g. whether the Devil, as many Fathers, notably Origen and Gregory of Nyssa; God, as Anselm and later theologians; the "eternal law of righteousness," as Dale). The purpose of the passage is primarily practical, not speculative. It is certainly pressing the figurative language of Jesus too far to insist that the ransom price is the exact quantitative equivalent of the lives liberated, or of the penalty they had deserved regarded as a debt. This is too prosaic and literalistic an interpretation of a passage which has its setting in the ethical rather than in the commercial realm, and which breathes a spirit closely akin to that of Isa 53, where suffering and service axe, as here, combined.

The other passage in which Christ definitely connects His mediatorship with His death is that which reports His words at the Last Supper (Mr 14:22-24; Mt 26:26-28; Lu 22:19 f; compare 1Co 11:24 f). The reported words are not identical in the several narratives. But even in their simplest form (in Mark), there is evidently a threefold allusion, to the paschal lamb, to the sacrifice offered by Moses at the ratification of the covenant at Sinai (Ex 24:8), and to Jeremiah’s prophecy of a new covenant (Ex 31$; 32$; 33$; 34$). There can be little doubt that the paschal feast, though it does not conform in detail to any of the Levitical sacrifices, was regarded as a sacrifice, as is indicated by the blood ceremonial (Ex 12:21-27). The blood of the covenant, too, is sacrificial; and, as we have seen, it is probable that all blood sacrifices, and not those of the sin and guilt offerings only, were associated with propitiatory power. Wendt denies that there is here any reference to sin and its forgiveness (Teachings of Jesus, II, 241 f). It must be admitted that the words in Matthew "unto remission of sins," which have no counterpart in the other reports, are probably an explanatory expansion of the words actually uttered. But they are a true interpretation of their meaning, as is attested by the fact that the new covenant of Jeremiah’s prophecy was one of forgiveness and justification (Jer 31:34), and that Christ speaks of His blood as shed for others. And as the Passover signified deliverance from bondage to an earthly power (Egypt), so the Supper stands for forgiveness and deliverance from a spiritual power (sin). Clearly Christ here represents Himself as the Mediator of the new covenant, through whom men are to find acceptance with God, though the exact modus operandi of His sacrifice is not indicated.

The Synoptics give special prominence to those historical events which are most intimately associated with Christ’s mediatorship—not only the agony in the garden and the crucifixion, but also the resurrection and ascension (which make possible His intercessory mediation in heaven).

2. Primitive Apostolic Teachings:

(1) The Early Speeches in Acts.

The early speeches in Ac reveal a primitive stage of theological reflection. Yet they are essentially Christocentric. (a) It is the Messianic Kingship of Christ that is chiefly emphasized. The main thesis is that Jesus is the Messiah (the "anointed one"; compare Ac 4:27; 10:38), and that His Messiahship was realized in the crucifixion and attested by the resurrection. An important feature is the use of the title "Servant" for Christ (Ac 3:13,16; 4:27,30; compare Ac 8:30-35), in evident reference to the Suffering Servant of Deutero-Isaiah. In the phrase, "thy holy Servant .... whom thou didst anoint," coming immediately after the Messianic quotation, "against the Lord, and against his Anointed" (Ac 4:26 f), we have a concise instance of that coalescing of the idea of the Messiah with that of the Suffering Servant which gave the Messianic idea an entirely new meaning. As Messiah, Jesus was the sole Mediator of salvation (Ac 4:12). (b) Another Old Testament type which finds its fulfillment in Jesus is that of the "prophet like unto" Moses (Ac 3:22; 7:37; compare De 18:15,18). (c) But the priestly functions of Christ are not explicitly touched on. The questions are not faced, What is the God-ward significance of His death? How is it effective for man’s salvation? It is rather the man-ward significance that is made explicit, i.e. Jesus as Messiah mediates salvation to men from His place of exaltation at the right hand of God. Yet the germs of a God-ward mediation are found in the identification of the Messiah with the Suffering Servant.

(2) Epistles of James and Jude.

In these epistles the doctrine of Christ’s mediation does not occupy a prominent place. To James, Christianity is the culmination of Judaism. Christ’s mediatorial functions are set forth more by way of presupposition than by explicit statement, and the whole weight is laid on the kingly and prophetic offices. The Messiahship of Jesus is assumed to such an extent that the title "Christ" has become part of the proper name, and His Lordship is also implied (1:1; 2:1). Nothing definite is said of His function in salvation; it is God Himself who regenerates, but the medium of regeneration is "the word of truth," "the implanted word" (1:18,21), which

must refer to the word which Jesus had preached. This implies that Jesus as prophetic teacher is the Mediator of salvation. Nothing is said of the death on the cross or its saving significance. The Epistle of Jude assumes the Lordship of Christ, through whom God’s Saviourhood works, and whose mercy results in eternal life (1:4,21,25).

(3) 1 Peter.

In 1 Peter we have the early apostolic teaching touched with Paulinism. The fact that salvation is mediated through the sufferings and death of Christ is now explicitly stated. Christ has suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous (3:18). The suffering has significance both God-ward and man-ward. Relatively to God it is a sacrificial offering which opens up a way of access to Him; He suffered "that he might bring us to God" (3:18), and that through His representative priesthood the ideal "holy priesthood" of all God’s people might be realized, for it is "through Jesus Christ" that men’s "spiritual sacrifices" become "acceptable to God" (2:5). So the elect are sprinkled with the blood of Christ, i.e. brought into communion with God by His sacrifice (1:2). Relatively to man, it is a means of ransoming or liberating man from the bondage compare sin. "Knowing that ye were redeemed (elutrothete, literally, "ransomed," from lutron, "ransom," an echo of Mr 10:45) .... with precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1Pe 1:18,19). The sacrificial language is simple and undeveloped, and it is not clear whether the figure of "lamb" implies a reference to the paschal lamb or to Isa 53:7, or to both. The effect on man is, however, clear. Christ "bare our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed" (1Pe 2:24; see the whole passage, 1Pe 2:21-24, reminiscent of the figure of the Suffering Servant of Isa 53$).

3. Epistles of Paul:

Christ’s mediatorship stands at the very center of Paul’s gospel; this in spite of the fact that only once does he apply the term "mediator" to Christ (1Ti 2:5), and that in the only other passage where he uses the word, he applies it to Moses, in a sense which might seem to be inconsistent with the idea of Christ’s mediatorship, namely, where he discusses the relation of law to promise. The law was "ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not .... of one; but God is one" (Ga 3:19,20).

This passage has had to undergo about 300 different interpretations. The view that the "mediator" here is Christ (Origen, Augustine and most of the Fathers, Calvin, etc.) is clearly untenable. Modern exegetes agree that the reference is to Moses (compare Le 26:46, where the Septuagint has "by the hand of Moses"; Philo calls Moses "mediator and reconciler," De Vit. Moys, iii.19), who, according to a rabbinical tradition, received the Law through the intermediation of angles (compare Ac 7:53; Heb 2:2). Nor is it likely that Paul meant the reader to realize the glory of the law and the solemnity of its ordination (Meyer). The point is rather the inferiority of the law to the evangelical promise to Abraham. Mediation implies at least two parties between whom it is carried on. The law was given by a double mediatorship, that of the angels and that of Moses, and was thus two removes from its Divine source. But in relation to the promise God stood alone, i.e. acted freely, unconditionally, independently, and for Himself alone. The promise is no agreement between two, buy the free gift of the one God (so Schleiermacher, Lightfoot, etc.). This is by no means a denial of the Divine origin of the law (Ritschl), for the mediation of angels and of Moses was Divinely authorized; but it does seem to make the method of mediation inferior to that of the direct communication of God’s gracious will to man. Paul is not, however, treating of the principle of mediation in the abstract, but only that form of it which implies a contract between two parties. Christ is not Mediator in the same sense as Moses, for the free and unconditioned character of the forgiving grace which Christ mediates is by no means diminished by the fact of His mediation.

What, then, is Paul’s positive teaching on Christ’s Mediatorship?

(1) The Need of a Mediator:

The need of a Mediator arises out of the fact of sin. Sin interrupts the harmonious relation between God and man. It results in a state of mutual alienation. On the one hand, man is in a state of enmity to God (Ro 5:10; 8:7; Col 1:21). On the other hand, God is moved to righteous wrath in relation to the sinner (Ro 1:18; 5:9; Eph 5:6; Col 3:6). Hence, the need of a mutual change of attitude, a removal of God’s displeasure against the sinner as well as of the sinner’s hostility to God. God could not restore man to favor by a mere fiat, without some public exhibition of Divine righteousness, and vindication of His character as not indifferent to sin (compare Ro 3:25,26). Such exhibition demanded a Mediator.

(2) The Qualifications:

The qualification of Christ to be the Mediator depends on His intimate relation to both parties at variance.

(a) Christ’s Relation to Man:

Firstly, He is Himself a man, i.e. not merely "man" generically, but an individual man. The "one mediator between God and men" is "himself man, Christ Jesus" (1Ti 2:5), "born of a woman" (Ga 4:4), "in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Ro 8:3, where the word "likeness" does not make "flesh" unreal, but qualifies "sinful"), i.e. bore to the eye the aspect of an ordinary man; secondly, He bore a particular relation to a section of humanity, the Jews (Ro 1:3; 9:5); thirdly, He bore a universal relation to mankind in general. He was more than an individual among many, like a link in a chain. He was the Second Adam, the archetypal, universal, representative Man, whose actions therefore had significance beyond Himself and were ideally the actions of humanity, just as Adam’s act had, on a lower plane, a significance for the whole race (Ro 5:12-21; 1Co 15:22,45).

(b) His Relation to God:

Paul very frequently speaks of Christ as the "Son of God," and that in a unique sense. Moreover, He was the "image of God" (2Co 4:4; Col 1:15), and subsisted originally "in the form of God" (Php 2:6). He is set alongside with God over against idols (1Co 8:5,6), and is coordinated with God in the benediction (2Co 13:14). Clearly Paul sets Him in the Divine sphere over against all that is not God. Yet he assigns Him a certain subordination, and even asserts that His mediatorial kingship will come to an end, that God may be all in all (1Co 15:24,28). But this cessation of His function as Mediator of salvation, when its end shall have been attained, cannot affect His Divine dignity, "since the mediatorial sovereignty which is now ceasing was not its cause, but its consequence" (B. Weiss, II, 396).

(3) The Means, the Death of Christ:

The means of effecting the reconciliation was mainly the death on the cross. Paul emphasizes the mediating value of the death both on its objective (God-ward) side and on its subjective (man-ward) side. First, it is the objective ground of forgiveness and favor with God. On the basis of what Christ has done, God ceases to reckon to men their sins (2Co 5:19). Paul’s view of the death may be seen by considering some of his most characteristic expressions.

(a) It is an act of reconciliation. This involves a change of attitude, not only in man, but in God, a relinquishing of the Divine wrath without which there can be no restoration of peaceful relations (though this is disputed by many, e.g. Ritschl, Lightfoot, Westcott, Beyschlag), but not a change of nature or of intention, for the Divine wrath is but a mode of the eternal love, and moreover it is the Father Himself who provides the means of reconciliation and undertakes to accomplish it (2Co 5:19; compare Col 1:20,21; Eph 2:16).

(b) It is an act of propitiation (Ro 3:25, hilasterion, from hilaskesthai, "to render favorable" or "propitious"). Here there is a clear though tacit reference to a change of attitude on God’s part. He who was not formerly propitious to man was appeased through the death of Christ. Yet the propitiatory means are provided by God Himself, who takes the initiative in the matter ("whom God set forth," etc.).

(c) It is a ransom. The Mediator "gave himself a ransom for all" (1Ti 2:6). The idea of payment of a ransom price is clearly implied in the word "redemption" (Ro 3:24; 1Co 1:30; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14, apolutrosis, from lutron, "ransom"). It is not alone the fact of liberation (Westcott, Ritschl), but also the cost of liberation that is referred to. Hence, Christians are said to be "redeemed," "bought with a price" (Ga 3:13; 4:5; 1Co 6:20; 7:23; compare 1Pe 1:18 f). Yet the metaphor cannot be pressed to yield an answer to the question to whom the ransom was paid. All that can safely be said is that it expresses the tremendous cost of our salvation, namely, the self-surrendered life ("the blood") of Christ.

(d) Strong substitutionary language is sometimes used, notably in Ga 3:13 ("having become a curse for us") and in 2Co 5:21 ("Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf"). But the sinless substitute is not regarded as actually punished (that would be a moral contradiction). His death was not penal substitution, but a substitute for penalty. It had the value to God of the punishment of sinners, in virtue of His oneness with the race. It was the recognition from within humanity of the sinfulness of sin, and expressed the Divine righteousness as fully as penalty would have done. The secret seems to be Christ’s sympathetic love by which He identified Himself with man’s sin and doom of death.

(e) Sacrificial language is used, as in 1Co 5:7; Eph 5:2, and in the references to Christ’s "blood." Not often, however, does Paul explicitly speak of the death in terms of the Levitical ritual, which would be less congenial to his mind than the prophetic conception of the Suffering Servant. Yet he does seem to regard the death of Christ as the culmination of all that the sacrifices of the Old Testament had imperfectly realized. Secondly, the subjective aspect of Christ’s work is emphasized quite as much as the objective. The death of Christ, being inwardly assimilated by faith, becomes to the believer the principle of ethical transformation, so that he may become worthy of the Divine favor which he now enjoys. As a result of his subjective identity with Christ through faith, the objective state of privilege is changed into actual liberation from sin (Ga 2:20; 6:14; Ro 6:6,7; Col 3:3).

(4) The Resurrection and Exaltation:

The resurrection and exaltation of Christ are essential to His mediatorial work (1Co 15:17). It is not alone that the resurrection "proves that the death of Christ was not the death of a sinner, but the vicarious death of the sinless Mediator of salvation" (B. Weiss, I, 436), but that salvation cannot be realized except through communion with the living, glorified Christ, without which the subjective identity of the believer with Christ by which redemption is personally appropriated would not be possible (Ga 2:20; Ro 6:4,5; Php 3:10; Col 3:1). The exaltation also makes possible His continuous heavenly intercession on our behalf (Ro 8:34), which is the climax of His mediatorial activities.

(5) The Cosmic Aspect of Christ’s Mediatorship:

In his later epistles (especially Colossians and Ephesians), Paul lays stress on Christ’s mediatorial activity in creation and providence, though the germs of his later teaching are found in the earlier epistles (1Co 8:6). He is resisting a kind of nascent Gnostic dualism, according to which God could communicate with the world only through a hierarchy of intermediate powers. Against this he proclaims Christ as the one and only Mediator between God and the universe, having, on the one hand, a unique relation to God ("the image of the invisible God," Col 1:15; in whom the fullness of God dwells, 1:19; 2:9), and, on the other hand, a unique relation to the world, as its creative agent, its immanent principle of unity, and its ultimate goal (Col 1:15-17). Here the apostle shows affinity with the Logos-doctrine of Philo, though the differences are marked and fundamental. Corresponding to this wider view of Christ’s person, there is a wide view of the reconciliation wrought through Him. It even extends to the world beyond man, and restores the broken harmony of the universe (Col 1:20; Eph 1:10).

4. Epistle to the Hebrews:

The main thesis of Hebrews is the absoluteness and finality of the gospel and its superiority over Judaism. The finality of Christianity depends on the fact that it has a perfect Mediator, who is the substance of which the various Jewish forms of mediation were types and shadows. He illustrates this by a series of contrasts between Christ and the mediators of the old system (by the application of principles and exegetical methods which reveal the influence of the school of Philo). In each contrast, Christ’s superiority is based on His Sonship.

(1) Christ is superior to the prophets as Mediator of revelation. The Old Testament revelation was fragmentary and multiform, while now God speaks, not through many agents, but through One, and that one a Son. As Son He is the perfectly adequate expression of the Father. The author takes us at once to the high transcendental sphere of Christ’s relations to God and the universe, in virtue of which He is God’s Mediator in creation, providence, revelation and redemption (Heb 1:1-3).

(2) He is superior to the angels, through whose mediation the law was given (Heb 1:4-14).

(3) He is superior to Moses, the human agent in the giving of the law (Heb 3:1-6). (4) He is greater than Aaron the high priest, the people’s representative before God. This leads to the central doctrine of the epistle, the high-priesthood of Jesus. The following are the salient points in the elaborate treatment of this subject:

(1) Christ’s Qualification for the High-Priesthood Is Twofold:

(a) His participation in all human experience (except sin), which guarantees His power of sympathy. Every high priest, as men’s representative before God, must be "taken from among men" (Heb 5:1). Hence, the author lays great stress on the human nature and experiences of Christ (compare Heb 2:10,17,18; 4:15; 5:7,8). (b) His Divine appointment. Every priest must have a call from God. So Christ has been appointed priest, not indeed in the Aaronic line, but after the order of Melchizedek (Heb 5:1-10).

(2) The Nature of His Priesthood, Its Superiority to the Levitical Priesthood.

The priests of the Old Testament themselves needed atonement, for they were not sinless; Christ is holy, guileless, undefiled, and need not make atonement for His own sins. They were priests only for a time, and were many in number, for they were mortal; but He abideth forever, and His priesthood is eternal. They were dependent on the law of physical descent; He was a priest after the order of Melchizedek, whose priesthood did not depend on genealogy or pedigree, and who combined the functions of king with those of priest. In a word, their order was transient, temporary, shadowy; His belonged to the world of unchanging reality (Heb 7).

(3) The Realization of His High-Priesthood.

A high priest implies a sacrifice; hence, Christ must "have somewhat to offer" (Heb 8:3). In the Levitical system, the priest and the sacrifice are distinct from each other. But Christ offered not an external gift, but Himself. Much stress is laid on Christ’s voluntary obedience (Heb 5:8; 10:7), progressively attained through suffering, and culminating in the absolute surrender of His life ("blood") in death. His sacrifice harmonizes with the principle that "apart from shedding of blood there is no remission" (Heb 9:22), although the principle is lifted from the physical to the spiritual realm. In working this out, the author makes use of analogies drawn from three parts of the Levitical ritual.

(a) Christ’s death was a sin offering. He has offered one final sacrifice for sins (Heb 10:12,18). As priest, he has "made propitiation for the sins of the people" (Heb 2:17); as victim He was "once (for all) offered to bear the sins of many" (Heb 9:28).

(b) The Sinaitic covenant (Ex 24:8) is made use of. Christ is "the mediator of a new (better) covenant" (Heb 8:6; 9:15; 12:24), i.e. the agent interposing between God and man in the establishment of a new relationship analogous to Moses in the old covenant. Even the first covenant was dedicated with blood, and so the blood of the Son of God was "the blood of the covenant" (Heb 10:29; compare Mr 14:24). On the double meaning of the word diatheke ("covenant," "testament"), the author bases a twofold argument for the necessity of Christ’s death (Heb 9:15 ).

(c) The ritual of the Day of Atonement furnishes another analogy. As the high priest once a year entered the most holy place of the earthly people, so Christ has entered once for all the true spiritual sanctuary in heaven, and there He presents Himself to God as the Mediator able to make intercession for us with the Father (Heb 9:12,24-26; compare Heb 7:25). He is a ministering priest in the true tabernacle, the immediate presence of God (Heb 8:2). Thus the ascension and session make possible the culmination of the mediatorial work of Christ in the eternal sacrifice and intercession within the veil.

(4) The Man-ward Efficacy of His Mediatorship.

The effect of Christ’s death on man is described by the words "cleanse," "sanctify," "perfect" (Heb 9:14; 10:10,14,29; 13:12), words which have a ritualistic quite as much as an ethical sense, meaning the removal of the sense of guilt, dedication to God, and the securing of the privilege of full fellowship with Him. The ultimate blessing that comes to man through the work of Christ is the privilege of free, unrestricted access to God by the removal of the obstacle of guilt (Heb 4:16; 10:19 ).

5. The Johannine Writings:

(1) The Fourth Gospel.

Aspects of our Lord’s teaching unassimilated by the other disciples, and therefore but meagerly touched on in the Synoptics, find prominence in the Gospel of John, but colored by his own meditations. Great emphasis is laid on the idea of salvation by revelation mediated through Jesus Christ. The historical revelation of God in the person and teaching of Jesus is the main subject of the Gospel. But in the Prologue we have the eternal background of the historical manifestation in the doctrine of the Logos, who, as Son in eternal fellowship with the Father, His mediator in creation, and the immanent principle of revelation in the world, is fitted to become God’s Revealer in history (1:11-18). His work on earth is to dispense light and life, knowledge of God and salvation. Through Him God gives to the world eternal life (3:16). He is the Water of Life (4:14; 7:37), the Bread of Life (6:48 ff), the Light of the World (8:12); it is by inward appropriation of Him that salvation is mediated to men (6:52 ff). He is the perfect revealer of God, hence, the only means of access to the Father (14:6,9). It is on salvation by illumination and communion, rather than on salvation by reconciliation and atonement that chief stress is laid. Sacrificial or propitiatory language is not used of Christ’s death. Yet emphasis is laid on the voluntary and vicarious character of His death. He lays down His life of Himself (10:18); "The good shepherd layeth down his life for (equals on behalf of) the sheep" (10:11; compare 15:13). Christ’s death was the supreme example of the law that self-sacrifice is necessary to the highest and most fruitful life (12:23 ff). In John 17 we have a unique instance of our Lord’s intercessory prayer.

(2) The Epistles.

In 1 John we find more explicit statements with regard to the connection between the death of Christ and sin. "The blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1:7); "He was manifested to take away sins" (3:5); "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father," i.e. a pleader who will mediate with God on our behalf, the ground of His intercessory efficacy being that He is the "propitiation for our sins" (2:2; 4:10, a term which links the Johannine doctrine to that of Paul, though 1 John represents Christ Himself, and not merely His death on the cross, as the propitiation). This latter term shows that an objective value is attached to the atonement, as in some way neutralizing or making amends for sin in the eyes of God, yet in such a way as not to contradict the principles of righteousness (compare "Jesus Christ the righteous," 2:1).

(3) The Apocalypse.

The Apocalypse presents both aspects of Christ’s mediation. On the one hand, He is associated with God in the government of the world and in judgment (Re 3:21; 7:10; 6:16), holds the keys of death and Hades (Re 1:18), is the Lord of lords and King of kings (Re 17:14; 19:16), and is the Mediator of creation (Re 3:14). On the other hand, by His sacrificial act He represents men before God. The most characteristic expression of this is the title "the Lamb" (29 t). By His blood the guilty are cleansed and made saints, purchased unto God (Re 5:9; 7:14). The lamb is the symbol of the sacrificial love which is the heart of God’s sovereignty (Re 5:6). It is not clear whether the allusion in this title is to the paschal lamb or to the Suffering Servant pictured as a lamb led to the slaughter (Isa 53:7), or to both. In any case it contains the idea of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice, which is declared to be an essential part of God’s eternal counsel (Re 13:8 margin, "the Lamb that hath been slain from the foundation of the world").

V. Conclusion.

Our inquiry will have shown how central and prominent is the idea of mediation throughout the Scriptures. We might even say it supplies the key to the unity of the Bible. In the Old Testament the principle is given "in divers portions and in divers manners," but in the New Testament it converges in the doctrine of the person and work of the One final Mediator, the Son of God. Amid all the rich diversity of the various parts of the New Testament, there is one fundamental conception common to all, that of Christ as at once the interpreter of God to men and the door of access for men to God. Especially is Christ’s self-sacrifice presented as the effective cause of our salvation, as a means of removing the guilt and sin which stand as a barrier in the way of God’s purpose concerning man and of man’s fellowship with God. There is a tendency in some influential writers of today to speak disparagingly of the doctrine of the one Mediator, on the ground that it injures the direct relationship of man with God (e.g. R. Eucken, Truth of Religion, 583 ff). Here we can reply only that the doctrine properly defined is attested in universal Christian experience, and that, so far from standing in the way of our personal approach to God, it is a simple historical fact that apart from the work of Jesus we would not enjoy that free access to Him which is now our privilege.


Besides the commentaries, such works on Old Testament Theology as those of Oehler, Schultz, A.B. Davidson, and on New Testament Theology by B. Weiss, Beyschlag, Holtzmann, W.B. Stevens, Weinel; Wendt, The Teaching of Jesus; A.B. Bruce, Paul’s Conception of Christianity and The Epistle to the Hebrews; J. Denney, The Death of Christ; Du Bose, The Gospel in the Gospels, The Gospel according to Paul, High-Priesthood and Sacrifice. For the idea of mediation in Jewish religion, Oesterley, The Jewish Doctrine of Mediation; Toy, Judaism and Christianity. Much material on the Biblical doctrine may be found in such works as Dorner, System of Christian Doctrine; Ritschl, Die christliche Lehre von der Rechtfertigung und Versohnung, 3 volumes (Volumes I and III, English translation); Dale, The Atonement; McLeod Campbell, The Nature of the Atonement; F.D. Maurice, The Doctrine of Sacrifice; Moberly, Atonement and Personality; J. Scott Lidgett, The Spiritual Principle of the Atonement; G.B. Stevens, Christian Doctrine of Salvation; articles in HDB, DCG, and in this Encyclopedia on "Mediation"; "Mediator"; "Atonement"; "Messiah"; "Propitiation"; "Prophets"; "Priests"; "Ransom"; "Reconciliation"; "Sacrifice"; Salvation," etc.

D. Miall Edwards


med’-i-sin, med’-i-s’-n (gehah, teruphah, rephu’ah): These words are used in the sense of a remedy or remedies for disease. In Pr 17:22 the King James Version, a merry heart is said to do good "like a medicine." There is an alternative reading in the King James Version margin, "to a medicine," the Revised Version (British and American) "is a good medicine"; the Revised Version margin gives another rendering, "causeth good healing," which is the form that occurs in the Septuagint and which was adopted by Kimchi and others. Some of the Targums, substituting a waw for the first h in gehah, read here "doeth good to the body," thus making this clause antithetic to the latter half of the verse. In any case the meaning is that a cheerful disposition is a powerful remedial agent.

In the figurative account of the evil case of Judah and Israel because of their backsliding (Jer 30:13), the prophet says they have had no rephu’ah, or "healing medicines." Later on (Jer 46:11), when pronouncing the futility of the contest of Neco against Nebuchadrezzar, Jeremiah compares Egypt to an incurably sick woman going up to Gilead to take balm as a medicine, without any benefit. In Ezekiel’s vision of the trees of life, the leaves are said (the King James Version) to be for medicine, the Revised Version (British and American) reads "healing," thereby assimilating the language to that in Re 22:2, "leaves of the tree .... for the healing of the nations" (compare Eze 47:12).

Very few specific remedies are mentioned in the Bible. "Balm of Gilead" is said to be an anodyne (Jer 8:22; compare Jer 51:8). The love-fruits, "mandrakes" (Ge 30:14) and "caperberry" (Ec 12:5 margin), myrrh, anise, rue, cummin, the "oil and wine" of the Good Samaritan, soap and sodic carbonate ("natron," called by mistake "nitre") as cleansers, and Hezekiah’s "fig poultice" nearly exhaust the catalogue. In the Apocrypha we have the heart, liver and gall of Tobit’s fish (Tobit 6:7). In the Egyptian pharmacopoeia are the names of many plants which cannot be identified, but most of the remedies used by them were dietetic, such as honey, milk, meal, oil, vinegar, wine. The Babylonian medicines, as far as they can be identified, are similar. In the Mishna we have references to wormwood, poppy, hemlock, aconite and other drugs. The apothecary mentioned in the King James Version (Ex 30:25, etc.) was a maker of perfumes, not of medicines. Among the fellahin many common plants are used as folk-remedies, but they put most confidence in amulets or charms, which are worn by most Palestinian peasants to ward off or to heal diseases.

Alexander Macalister


med-i-ta’-shun (haghuth, sichah): "Meditation" is the translation of haghuth, from haghah, "to murmur," "to have a deep tone," hence, "to meditate" (Ps 49:3); of haghigh, "sighing," "moaning" (Ps 5:1; see Ps 5:2); of higgayon, "the murmur" or dull sound of the harp, hence, meditation (Ps 19:14, "Let .... the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight"); of siach, "speech," "meditation" (Ps 104:34, "Let my meditation be sweet unto him"); of sichah, a "bowing down," "musing" (Ps 119:97,99; RAPC 2Es 10:5). "To meditate" is the translation of haghah (Jos 1:8; Ps 1:2; 63:6; Isa 33:18 the King James Version); of suach (Ge 24:63); of siach (Ps 119:15,23, etc.; Ps 143:5, the King James Version "muse"; 1Ch 16:9; Ps 105:2 margin). In Apocrypha we have "to meditate" (Ecclesiasticus 14:20, "Blessed is the man that shall mediate in wisdom," the Revised Version margin "most authorities read come to an end" (teleutesei); Ecclesiasticus 39:1, "meditateth in the law of the Most High" (dianoeomai)). The lack of meditation is a great want in our modern religious life. In the New Testament, we have "to meditate" (promeletao, "to take care beforehand"), Lu 21:14, and "meditate" (meletao, "to take care"), 1Ti 4:15 the King James Version (the Revised Version (British and American) "be diligent"); compare Php 4:8; Col 3:2.

W. L. Walker


med-i-te-ra’-ne-an (he thalassa): To the Hebrews the Mediterranean was the sea, as was natural from their situation.

Hence, they speak of it simply as "the sea" (ha-yam), e.g. Ge 49:13; Nu 13:29; 34:5; Jud 5:17; or, again, it is "the great sea" (ha-yam ha-gadhol, e.g. Nu 34:6,7; Jos 9:1; 15:12,47; Eze 47:10,15,19,20; 48:28); or, because it lay to the West of Palestine, as "the great sea toward the going down or the sun" (Jos 1:4; 23:4), and, since the west was regarded as the "back," in contrast to the east as the "front," as "hinder (or "western" the Revised Version (British and American), "uttermost" or "utmost" the King James Version) sea" (ha-yam ha-’acharon), De 11:24; 34:2; Zec 14:8; Joe 2:20, in the last two passages contrasted with "the former (King James Version, "eastern" the Revised Version (British and American)) sea" ha-yam ha-qadhmoni), i.e. the Dead Sea. See FORMER. That portion of the Mediterranean directly West of Palestine is once (Ex 23:31) referred to as "the sea of the Philis" yam pelishtim). the King James Version has "sea of Joppa" (Ezr 3:7) where the Revised Version (British and American) correctly renders "to the sea, unto Joppa" (compare 2Ch 2:16). Similarly, the King James Version "the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia" (Ac 27:5) is better rendered "the sea which is off Cilicia and Pamphylia" (Revised Version).

In the New Testament, references to the Mediterranean are common, especially in the accounts of Paul’s voyages, for which see PAUL. Jesus once (Mr 7:24 ) came to or near the sea.

The Mediterranean basin was the scene of most ancient civilizations which have greatly influenced that of the western world, except those whose home was in the valleys of the Tigris and the Euphrates; and even these continually thrust themselves into it, so far as they could. As its name implies, it is an inland area, united to the Atlantic only by the narrow Straits of Gibraltar. In comparatively recent geological time it was also joined to the Red Sea, the alluvial deposits of the Nile, which have extended the line of the Delta, having with the aid of drifting desert sands subsequently closed the passage and joined the continents of Asia and Africa. The total length of the Mediterranean is about 2,300 miles, its greatest breadth about 1,080 miles, and its area about 1,000,000 square miles. It falls naturally into the western and eastern (Levant) halves, dividing at the line running from Tunis to Sicily, where it is comparatively shallow; the western end is generally the deeper, reaching depths of nearly 6,000 ft. On the North it is intersected by the Italian and Balkan peninsulas, forming the Gulf of Lyons, the Adriatic and the Aegean. In ancient times these and other divisions of the Mediterranean bore specific names given by the Greeks and Romans, but from the nature of the case their limits were ill defined. The temperature of the Mediterranean is in summer warmer, in winter about the same as that of the Atlantic. Its water has a slightly greater specific gravity, probably because of a larger proportionate evaporation.

William Arthur Heidel





me-ed’-a (Meedda, but Swete, Dedda, following Codex Vaticanus; the King James Version Meeda): The head of one of the families of Nethinim (temple slaves) who went up with Zerubbabel from the captivity (1 Esdras 5:32); identical with "Mehida" of Ezr 2:52 and Ne 7:54.


mek’-nes (‘anawah; praotes, prautes): "Meekness" in the Old Testament (‘anawah, ‘anwah) is from ‘anaw, "suffering," "oppressed," "afflicted," denoting the spirit produced under such experiences. The word is sometimes translated "poor" (Job 24:4, the Revised Version margin "meek"; Am 8:4); "humble" (Ps 9:12,18, the Revised Version margin "meek"); "lowly" (Pr 3:34; 16:19, the Revised Version (British and American) "poor," margin "meek"). It is generally associated with some form of oppression. The "meek" were the special objects of the Divine regard, and to them special blessings are promised (Ps 22:26, "The meek shall eat and be satisfied"; 25:9, "The meek will he guide in justice; and the meek will he teach his way"; 37:11, "The meek shall inherit the land"; 147:6, "Yahweh upholdeth the meek"; 149:4, "He will beautify the meek with salvation," the Revised Version margin "victory"; compare Isa 11:4; 29:19; 61:1, "Yahweh hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek," the Revised Version margin "poor"; Ze 2:3; Ps 45:4, "because of (the Revised Version margin "in behalf of") truth and meekness and righteousness"). Of Moses it is said he "was very meek, above all the men that were upon the face of the earth," notwithstanding the Divine revelations given him, and in the face of opposition (Nu 12:3; compare 2Co 12:1-6). Meekness is ascribed even to Yahweh Himself (2Sa 22:36, "Thy gentleness (‘anawah) hath made me great"; compare Ps 18:36 (‘anwah), the Revised Version margin "condescension"); men are exhorted to seek it (Ze 2:3, "Seek righteousness, seek meekness"; compare Pr 15:1; 16:14; 25:15; Ec 10:4).

In the Apocrypha also "meekness" holds a high place (Ecclesiasticus 1:27, "The fear of the Lord is wisdom and instruction: faith and meekness are his delight," the Revised Version (British and American) "in faith and meekness is his good pleasure"; Ecclesiasticus 3:19, "Mysteries are revealed unto the meek" (the Revised Version (British and American) omits); compare 10:14).

"Meekness" in the New Testament (praotes, prautes) is not merely a natural virtue, but a Christian "grace"; it is one of the "fruits of the Spirit" (Ga 5:23). The conception of meekness, as it had been defined by Aristotle, was raised by Christianity to a much higher level, and associated with the commonly despised quality of humility (see under the word). It was the spirit of the Saviour Himself (Mt 11:29): "I am meek (praos) and lowly in heart" (compare 2Co 10:1, "by the meekness and gentleness of Christ"); it presupposes humility, flows from it, and finds expression in moderation (see under the word). (See Trench, Syn. of New Testament, 145; Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek, New Testament Lexicon, under the word) Christians are exhorted to cherish it and show it in their relations to one another (Eph 4:2; Col 3:12; 1Ti 6:11; Tit 3:2, "showing all meekness toward all men"); it ought to characterize Christian teachers or those in authority in "instructing (the Revised Version (British and American) "correcting," margin "instructing") them that oppose themselves" (2Ti 2:25); the saving, "implanted" (the Revised Version margin "inborn") word is to be received "with meekness" (Jas 1:21); a man is to "show by his good life his works in meekness of wisdom" (Jas 3:13), and to give a reason for the hope that is in him, "with meekness and fear" (1Pe 3:15).

The interchangeableness of "meek" with "poor," etc., in the Old Testament ought to be specially noted. our Lord’s opening of His ministry at Nazareth (Lu 4:18, "He anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor"), and His message to John (Mt 11:5, "The poor have good tidings preached to them") are in harmony therewith.

W. L. Walker


met, adjective (yashar; axios): Various words are employed to express meetness, the sense of what is proper, worthy, or fit. We have yashar, "straight," "upright," "right" (2Ki 10:3, "meetest"; Jer 26:14, the Revised Version (British and American) "right"); yashar (Jer 27:5, the Revised Version (British and American) "right"); yosher (Pr 11:24, the Revised Version margin "what is justly due"); ‘arikh, Aramaic "meet" (Ezr 4:14); bene, "sons of" (De 3:18, the King James Version "meet for the war," margin "Hebrew sons of power," the Revised Version (British and American) "men of valor"); kun, "to be right" etc. (Ex 8:26); ‘asah "to be made," "used" (Eze 15:5 twice, the Revised Version margin "made into"), tsaleach, "to be good or fit for" (Eze 15:4, the Revised Version (British and American) "profitable"); ra’ah, "seen," "looked out," "chosen" (Es 2:9); axios, "worthy" (Mt 3:8; Ac 26:20, the Revised Version (British and American) "worthy"; 1Co 16:4; 2Th 1:3); dikaios, "just," "right" (Php 1:7 the Revised Version (British and American) "right"; 2Pe 1:13 the Revised Version (British and American) "right"); euthetos, "we set" (Heb 6:7); euchrestos, "very useful," "profitable" (2Ti 2:21, "meet for the master’s use"); hikanos, "sufficient" (1Co 15:9); hikanoo, "to make sufficient" (Col 1:12); kalos, "beautiful," "honest" (Mt 15:26; Mr 7:27); dei "it behooveth" (Lu 15:32; Ro 1:27, the Revised Version (British and American) "due"). For "meet" (supplied) (Jud 5:30), the Revised Version (British and American) has "on"; for "Surely it is meet to be said unto God" (Job 34:31), "For hath any said unto God?" In 2 Macc 9:12, we have dikaios, the Revised Version (British and American) "right."

W. L. Walker


me-gid’-o, me-gid’-on (meghiddo, meghiddon; Magiddo, Mageddon, Magdo): A royal city of the Canaanites, the king of which was slain by Joshua (Jos 12:21). It lay within the territory of Issachar, but was one of the cities assigned to Manasseh (Jos 17:11; 1Ch 7:29). Manasseh, however, was not able to expel the Canaanites, who therefore continued to dwell in that land. Later, when the children of Israel were waxen strong, the Canaanites were put to taskwork (Jos 17:12 f; Jud 1:27 f). The host of Sisera was drawn to the river Kishon, and here, "by the waters of Megiddo," the famous battle was fought (Jud 5:19). By the time of Solomon, Israel’s supremacy was unquestioned. Megiddo was included in one of his administrative districts (1Ki 4:12), and it was one of the cities which he fortified (1Ki 9:15). Ahaziah, mortally wounded at the ascent of Gur, fled to Megiddo to die (2Ki 9:27). At Megiddo, Josiah, king of Judah, attempted to arrest Pharaoh-necoh and his army on their march to the Euphrates against the king of Assyria. Here the Egyptian monarch "slew him .... when he had seen him," and from Megiddo went the sorrowful procession to Jerusalem with Josiah’s corpse (2Ki 23:29 f; 2Ch 35:20 ). The sad tale is told again in 1 Esdras 1:25 ff. "The mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon" became a poetical expression for the deepest and most despairing grief (Zec 12:11).


The constant association of Megiddo with Taanach (Tell Ta‘anek) points to a position on the south edge of the plain of Esdraelon. In confirmation of this, we read (RP, 1st series, II, 35-47) that Thothmes III captured Megiddo, after having defeated the Palestinian allies who opposed him. He left his camp at Aruna (possibly ‘Ar‘arah), and, following a defile (possibly Wady ‘Arah), he approached Megiddo from the South We should thus look for the city where the pass opens on the plain; and here, at Khan el-Lejjan, we find extensive ruins on both sides of a stream which turns several mills before falling into the Kishon. We may identify the site with Megiddo, and the stream with "the waters of Megiddo." Pharaoh-necoh would naturally take the same line of march, and his advance could be nowhere more hopefully opposed than at el-Lejjun. Tell el-Mutasellim, a graceful mound hard by, on the edge of the plain, may have formed the acropolis of Megiddo.

The name Mujadda‘ attaches to a site 3 miles South of Beisan in the Jordan valley. Here Conder would place Megiddo. But while there is a resemblance in the name, the site really suits none of the Biblical data. The phrase "Taanach by the waters of Megiddo" alone confines us to a very limited area. No position has yet been suggested which meets all the conditions as well as el-Lejjun.

The Khan here shows that the road through the pass from Esdraelon to the plain of Sharon and the coast was still much frequented in the Middle Ages.

W. Ewing


me-het’-a-bel, me-het’-a-bel (mehetah’el, "whom God makes happy"):

(1) Daughter of Matred, wife of Hadad or Hadar, the 8th and apparently last of the kings of Edom (Ge 36:39; 1Ch 1:50).

(2) Grandfather of that Shemaiah who played a treacherous part against Nehemiah at the suggestion of Tobiah and Sanballat, by trying to persuade Nehemiah to commit sacrilege (Ne 6:10-13).


me-hi’-da (mechidha’," renowned"; "Meeda" (1 Esdras 5:32)): Ancestor and patronymic of a family of Nethinim who came back from Babylon with Zerubbabel (Ezr 2:52; Ne 7:54).


me’-her (mechir, "price," "hire"): A descendant of Judah, son of Chelub, nephew of Shuah (1Ch 4:11). Perug, a Chaldee name of equivalent meaning, is given for this person in the Targum of Rabbi Joseph.


me-ho’-la-thit (mecholathi): The Gentiledesignation of Adriel, the son of Barzillai, who married Merab, the daughter of King Saul (1Sa 18:19; 2Sa 21:8), the name Michal in 2Sa 21:8 being doubtless a copyist’s error.



me-hu’-ja-el (mechuya’el, mechiya’el, "smitten of God"): A descendant of Cain through Enoch and Irad (Ge 4:18). The list in Ge 5:12 ff is a working-over of the same material of genealogy by another hand at a different date of spelling (compare spelling of Chaucer and that of today). In that ease, Mehalalel would be the correspondent name to Mehujael (see Expository Times, X, 353).


me-hu’-man (me‘human (Es 1:10)): A eunuch of Ahasuerus, the first of the seven chamberlains.


me-hu’-nim (me‘unim).



me-ko’-na (mekhonah).



mel-a-ti’-a (melatyah, "Yah’s deliverance"): A Gibeonite who assisted in building the wall of Jerusalem under Nehemiah (Ne 3:7).


mel’-ki (Tischendorf, Tregelles, Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek, Melchei; Textus Receptus of the New Testament, Melchi): The name of two ancestors of Jesus according to Luke’s genealogy, one being in the 4th generation before Joseph, the husband of Mary, the other being in the 3rd generation before Zerubbabel (Lu 3:24,28).


mel-ki’-a (malkhiyah, "Yah’s king"): A priest and father of Pashur (Jer 21:1 the King James Version); elsewhere and in the Revised Version (British and American) called MALCHIAH and MALCHIJAH (which see).


mel-ki-as (Codex Vaticanus, Melcheias, Codex Vaticanus (b), Codex Alexandrinus, Melchias): Name of three men who had taken "strange wives":

(1) 1 Esdras 9:26 =" Malchijah" (Ezr 10:25).

(2) 1 Esdras 9:32 =" Malchijah" (Ezr 10:31).

(3) One of those who stood at Ezra’s left hand when the law was read (1 Esdras 9:44) =" Malchijah" (Ne 8:4), possibly identical with (1) or (2).


mel’-ki-el (Melchiel, Codex Vaticanus, Melcheiel): The father of Charmis, one of the governors of Bethulia (Judith 6:15). Other readings are Sellem and Mochisel.


mel-ki-shoo’-a (malkishua‘, "king’s help").



mel-kiz’e-dek, and (the King James Version in the book of Hebrews) (malki-tsedheq, "Tsedheq, or Tsidhiq is my king" (Ge 14:18 ff; Ps 110:4); Melchisedek (Heb 5:6,10; 6:20; 7:1,10,11,15,17)): The name is explained in Heb 7:2 as "king of righteousness," with "-i" as the old genitive ending; but the correct explanation is no doubt the one given above; compare Adoni-zedek in Jos 10:1, where Septuagint with Jud 1:5-7 has Adonibezek. Melchizedek was king of Salem (= Jerusalem) and "a priest unto ‘El ‘Elyon" (Ge 14:18). He brought bread and wine to Abraham after the latter’s victory over the kings, and also bestowed upon him the blessing of ‘El ‘Elyon. Abraham gave him "a tenth of all," i.e. of the booty probably, unless it be of all his possessions. Ge 14:22 identifies Yahweh with ‘El ‘Elyon, the title of the Deity as worshipped at Jerusalem; and so Heb 7:1 ff, following Septuagint of Ge 14:18 ff, calls Melchizedek. "priest of God Most High," i.e. Yahweh.

Skinner (Gen, 271, where Josephus, Ant, XVI, vi, 2, and Am M 6:1 are cited) points out that the Maccabees were called "high priests of God most high." Hence, some hold that the story of Melchizedek is an invention of Judaism, but Gunkel (Genesis 3, 285 ff) maintains that he is a traditional, if not a historical, character.

Ps 110:4 makes the klng-priest who is addressed there a virtual successor of Melchizedek, and the kings of Jerusalem might well, as Gunkel suggests, have been considered successors of Melchizedek in the same way that Charlemagne was regarded as the successor of the Caesars, and the latter as successors of the Pharaohs in Egypt. This leads naturally to an early date being ascribed to Ps 110.

The thought of a priest after the order of Melchizedek is taken up by the author of Hebrews. He wanted to prove the claim of Christ to be called priest. It was impossible, even had he so wished, to consider Jesus as an Aaronic priest, for He was descended from the tribe of Judah and not from that of Levi (7:14). The words of Ps 110:4 are taken to refer to Him (Heb 5:5 f), and in Heb 7:5 ff the order of Melchizedek is held to be higher than that of Aaron, for the superiority of Melchizedek was acknowledged by Abraham (a) when he paid tithes to Melchizedek and (b) when he was blessed by Melchizedek, for "the less is blessed of the better." It might be added that Jesus can be considered a priest after the order of Melchizedek in virtue of His descent from David, if the latter be regarded as successor to Melchizedek But the author of He does not explicitly say this. Further, Aaron is only a "type" brought forward in He to show the more excellent glory of the work of Jesus, whereas Melchizedek is "made like unto the Son of God" (7:3), and Jesus is said to be "after the likeness of Melchizedek" (7:15).

Heb 7:1 ff presents difficulties. Where did the author get the material for this description of Melchizedek?

(1) Melchizedek is said to be "without father, without mother, (i.e.) without genealogy"; and

(2) he is described as "having neither beginning of days nor end of life"; he "abideth a priest continually."

The answer is perhaps to be had among the Tell el-Amarna Letters, among which are at least 6, probably 8, letters from a king of Urusalim to Amenophis IV, king of Egypt, whose "slave" the former calls himself. Urusalim is to be identified with Jerusalem, and the letters belong to circa 1400 BC. The name of this king is given as Abd-Khiba (or Abd-chiba), though Hommel, quoted by G.A. Smith, Jerusalem, II, 14, note 7, reads Chiba. Zimmer, in ZA, 1891, 246, says that it can be read Abditaba, and so Sayce (HDB, III, 335b) calls him ‘ebhedh tobh. The king tells his Egyptian overlord, "Neither my father nor my mother set me in this place: the mighty arm of the king (or, according to Sayce, "the arm of the mighty king") established me in my father’s house" (Letter 102 in Berlin collection, ll. 9-13; also number 103, ll. 25-28; number 104, ll. 13-15; see, further, H. Winckler, Die Thontafeln von Tell-el-Amarna; Knudtzon, Beitrage zur Assyriologie, IV, 101 ff, 279 ff, cited by G.A. Smith, Jerusalem, II, 8, note 1).

It thus becomes clear that possibly tradition identified Melchizedek with Abd-Khiba. At any rate the idea that Melchizedek was "without father, without mother, (i.e.) without genealogy" can easily be explained if the words of Abd-Khiba concerning himself can have been also attributed to Melchizedek. The words meant originally that he acknowledged that he did not come to the throne because he had a claim on it through descent; he owed it to appointment. But Jewish interpretation explained them as implying that he had no father or mother. Ps 110:4 had spoken of the king there as being "a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek," and this seems to have been taken to involve the perpetuity of Melchizedek also as priest. Melchizedek was then thought of as "having neither beginning of days" =" without father, without mother, without genealogy," and again as not having "end of life" =" abideth a priest continually." Hence, he is "made like unto the son of God," having neither beginning of days nor end of life. We get another New Testament example of Jewish interpretation in Ga 4:21 ff. We have no actual proof that Melchizedek is identical with Abd-Khiba; possibly the reference to the former as being "without father," etc., is not to be explained as above. But why should Melchizedek, and he alone, of all the Old Testament characters be thought of in this way?

Westcott, Hebrews, 199, has a suggestive thought about Melchizedek: "The lessons of his appearance lie in the appearance itself. Abraham marks a new departure. .... But before the fresh order is established we have a vision of the old in its superior majesty; and this, on the eve of disappearance, gives its blessing to the new."

On the references to Melchizedek in Philo see Westcott, op. cit., 201; F. Rendall, Hebrews, App., 58 ff; and especially (with the passages and other authorities cited there) G. Milligan, Theology of Epistle to the Hebrews, 203 ff.

The conclusions we come to are:

(1) There was a tradition in Jerusalem of Melchizedek, a king in pre-Israelitish times, who was also priest to ‘El ‘Elyon. This is the origin of Ge 14:18 ff, where ‘El ‘Elyon is identified with Yahweh.

(2) Ps 110 makes use of this tradition and the Psalmist’s king is regarded as Melchizedek’s successor.

(3) The Epistle to the Hebrews makes use of

(a) Ps 110, which is taken to be a prophecy of Christ, (b) of Ge 14:18 ff, and

(c) of oral tradition which was not found in the Old Testament. It is this unwritten tradition that is possibly explained by the Tell el-Amarna Letters. See, further, articles by Sayce, Driver, and Hommel in Expository Times, VII, VIII.


David Francis Roberts


me’-le-a, mel’-e-a (Melea): An ancestor of Jesus in Luke’s genealogy (Lu 3:31).


me’-lek (melekh, "king"): Great-grandson of Jonathan, son of Saul, grandson of Mephibosheth or Meribbaal (1Ch 8:35; 9:41).


mel’-i-ku (melikhu, also melukhi, "regnant"): Same as MALLUCHI (which see).


mel’-i-ta (Melite, Ac 28:1): Is now generally identified with Malta. The former error in attributing the reference to the island of Meleda on the East coast of the Adriatic Sea was due to the ancient practice of employing the term Adria to include the Ionian and Sicilian seas.

Malta is the largest of a group of islands including Gozo and the islets Comino, Cominotto and Filfla, lying about 56 miles from the southern extremity of Sicily, 174 from the mainland of Italy, and 187 from the African coast. Malta itself is 17 1/2 miles long and 9 1/4 broad, and contains an area of 95 square miles. Its modern capital, Valetta, is situated in 35 degrees 54’ North latitude and 14 degrees 31’ East longitude.

The central position of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea gave it great importance as a naval station. It was probably at first a Phoenician colony, and later passed under the influence, if not domination, of the Sicilian Greeks. But the Romans captured it from the Carthaginians in 218 BC (Livy xxi.51) and attached it definitely to the province of Sicily. Under Roman rule the inhabitants were famous for their industry, especially in the production of textile fabrics, probably of native cotton. The celebrated vestis melitensis was a fine and soft material for dresses and for the covering of couches (Cicero Verr. ii.72,176; ii.74,183; iv.46,103; Diodorus v.12,22). At the time when Paul visited the island it would seem that the administration was entrusted to a deputy of the proprietor of Sicily, who is referred to as protos Melitaion (Ac 28:7; CIG, 5754), or Melitensium primus omnium (CIL, x, 7495) (see PUBLIUS). A bay 2 1/2 miles Northwest of Valetta, the mouth of which is held by tradition to be the place where the vessel that bore Paul ran ashore, tallies admirably with the description of the locality in Acts. The Admiralty charts indicate places near the west side of the entrance to the bay, where the depth is first 20 ft. and then 15 ft., while the rush of the breakers in front of the little island of Salmoneta and behind it suit the reference to a place "where two seas met" (Ac 27:41). The inlet is called the Bay of Paul. The topographical question has been exhaustively treated by Ramsay in Paul the Traveler.

George H. Allen


mel’-o-di: zimrah, a musical piece or song to be accompanied by an instrument (Isa 51:3); an instrument of praise (Am 5:23); naghan, "to play on a stringed instrument," "Make sweet melody, sing many songs" (Isa 23:16); psallo to celebrate the praises of God with music (Eph 5:19).



mel’-unz (‘abhattichim; compare Arabic battikh, the "water melon"; pepones): In Nu 11:5, the melon is referred to as common in Egypt, and there can be no doubt that the variety indicated is the watermelon (Citrullus vulgaris) which is indigenous in tropical Africa. It has been cultivated in Egypt since the earliest times.


mel’-zar (ha-meltsar; Septuagint Abiesdri, Theod. Hamelsad): Possibly a transliteration of the Babylonian Ameluucur, the officer to whom was entrusted the bringing-up of Daniel and his three companions (Da 1:11 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "the steward," margin "Hebrew: Hammelzar"). It has been suggested that the name is not the name of a person, but denotes the office of guardian, like the Babylonian maccaru. In this case the "l" would come by dissimulation from the first of the two "s" sounds, which on its side has come from an assimilated "n", the root being nacaru, "to protect" "to guard."

R. Dick Wilson


mam, mem "m" :The 13th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, transliterated in this Encyclopedia as "m". It came also to be used for the number 40.

See ALPHABET, for name, etc.



(1) yatsur; melos;

(2) shaphekhah, "membrum virile" (De 23:1)):

The first Hebrew word is derived from a root meaning "to knead," "to mold in clay," "to create." It therefore denotes any feature or part of the body. "So the tongue also is a little member, and boasteth great things" (Jas 3:5). "The members" is equivalent with "the body" (which see; compare Ps 139:16 the King James Version). The members are not self-governing, but execute the orders of the mind, obeying either the lower nature in the commission of sin or iniquity, unrighteousness and uncleanness (Ro 6:13,19), or following the higher nature, the Divine impulses in the fulfilling of the law of Christ (6:19).

By nature, the "law in my members" (Ro 7:23) is opposed to the better nature (Jas 4:1) until by "regeneration" (which see) this condition is changed, when the Spirit of Christ becomes the governing power, using our members, i.e. all our abilities, in the execution of His plans. This is not done while we remain passive, but only when we have actively presented or yielded our members to His service (Ro 6:19). Therefore our bodies must not be desecrated by baser uses (1Co 6:15,19,20). The Lord Jesus illustrates the severe discipline which is needed to subdue the members of even the regenerate to perfect submission under the higher law of the Spirit by the simile of the right eye, which is to be plucked out, and the right hand, which is to be cut off (Mt 5:29,30), and Paul speaks of putting to death (the King James Version "mortifying") the "members which are upon the earth" (Col 3:5).

It is the difference in character and gifts of individual Christians which leads Paul to speak of the variety of members, which, though of manifold functions, are equally important to the completeness of the body. It is thus in the manifold variety of the body of Christ (1Co 12:12-27; Eph 4:16), and Christians being members of Christ, who is the head (Eph 1:22; 4:15; 5:23), are members one of another (Ro 12:5; Eph 4:25).

In De 23:1 the Israelite Law against emasculation is referred to, and a religious disability is stated for the eunuch. Heathen Semites and other neighbors of Israel often castrated for religious purposes in the temple service of various divinities and for functions in princely palaces and harems. Heathen monarchs almost invariably had large numbers of these unfortunates, who frequently attained to positions of high power and responsibility. Herodotus states their frequent occurrence among the Persians (Hist. vi.32), and in the light of 2Ki 20:18 and Da 1:3 it appears as not impossible that Daniel and his friends belonged to this class. In later years their existence is certain in Israel (1Sa 8:15 the Revised Version margin; Jer 38:7; Mt 19:12).


H. L. E. Luering


mem’-e-roth (Codex Alexandrinus, Mareroth; Codex Vaticanus here omits Memeroth and two other names; the King James Version Meremoth): A name in the genealogy of Ezra (1 Esdras 8:2) =" Meraioth" in Ezr 7:3, also "Marimoth" in 2 Esdras 1:2.


mem’-i-us, kwin’-tus (Kointos Memmios): One of the 2 Roman legates who bore a letter to the Jews after their victory over Lysias 163 BC (2 Macc 11:34). No Quintus Memmius is otherwise known to history, and no Memmius among the list of legates sent to Asia. Polybius (xxxi.18) mentions a Quintus and a Canuleius as sent to Egypt, 162 BC, and again (xxxiii.15) the same Quintus as sent as an ambassador to Rhodes, 153 BC. A Titus Memmius had been an envoy of the senate to Achaia and Macedonia before the date of this letter (Livy xliii.5). None of these is likely to be the one referred to in 2 Macc 11:34, and it is possible that no such person was sent with the letter, which is spurious.


S. Angus


me-mo’-ri-al, mem’-o-ri (’azkarah, zekher, zekher, zikkaron; mnemosunon): "Memorial" as the translation of ‘azkdrah is a sacrificial term, that which brings the offerer into remembrance before God, or brings God into favorable remembrance with the offerer; it is used of the burning of a portion of the meal offering, the Revised Version (British and American) (the King James Version "meat-offering"); better, cereal offering, on the altar (Le 2:2, the Revised Version (British and American) "as the memorial"; Le 2:9,16; 5:12, the Revised Version (British and American) "as"; Le 24:7; Nu 5:26, the Revised Version (British and American) "as"); as the translation of zekher (zekher), zikkaron, it is a memorial in the sense of a remembrance (zekher, zekher, Ex 3:15; the memorial (name) of Yahweh); hence, we have in the Revised Version (British and American) "memorial name" for "remembrance" (Ps 30:4 the American Standard Revised Version; Ps 97:12, the English Revised Version "holy name," marin "Hebrew memorial"; Ps 102:12; 135:13; Isa 26:8; Ho 12:5, the English Revised Version "memorial"); for "memorial" (Es 9:28; Ps 9:6, the American Standard Revised Version "remembrance"); zikkaron, "a remembrance" (Ex 12:14; 13:9; Le 23:24; Nu 5:15 (of the meal offering); Jos 4:7; Ne 2:20; Zec 6:14); the Passover feast was to be in this sense "a memorial .... for ever" (Ex 12:14; 13:9); so also the shema‘ (De 6:4 f) ;" memorial" occurs in The Wisdom of Solomon 4:1 (mneme), the Revised Version (British and American) "memory"; The Wisdom of Solomon 4:19; Ecclesiasticus 45:1 (mnemosunon); Ecclesiasticus 49:1; 1 Macc 3:7; 12:53, the Revised Version (British and American) "memorial."

"Memorial" occurs in the New Testament as the translation of mnemosunon, "a token of remembrance" (Mt 26:13; Mr 14:9; Ac 10:4, "Thy prayers and thine alms are gone up for a memorial before God," which suggests the sense in which "memorial" was used in the sacrificial ritual, and also the "better sacrifices" of the new dispensation).

Memory is the translation of zekher (zekher) (Ps 109:15; 145:7; Pr 10:7; Ec 9:5; Isa 26:14, the Revised Version (British and American) "remembrance"); it occurs also in 1 Macc 13:29; 2 Macc 7:20. Katecho, "to have or hold fast," is rendered in 1Co 15:2 the King James Version "keep in memory," margin "hold fast," the American Standard Revised Version "hold fast," the English Revised Version "hold it fast," i.e. the word preached to them.

W. L. Walker



1. Name:

The ancient capital of Egypt, 12 miles South of the modern Cairo. This Greek and Roman form of the name was derived from the Coptic form Menfi (now Arabic Menf), the abbreviation of the Egyptian name Men-nofer, "the good haven." This name was applied to the pyramid of Pepy I, in the cemetery above the city; some have thought the city name to have been derived from the pyramid, but this is unlikely, as the city must have had a regular name before that. It may perhaps mean "the excellence of Mena," its founder. It appears still more shortened in Ho (9:6) as Moph (moph), and in Isa (19:13), Jer (2:16), and Eze (30:13) as Noph (noph).

2. Political Position:

The classical statements show that the city in Roman times was about 8 miles long and 4 miles wide, and the indications of the site agree with this. It was the sole capital of Position Egypt from the Ist to the XVIIth Dynasty; it shared supremacy with Thebes during the XVIIIth to XXVth Dynasties, and with Sais to the XXXth Dynasty. Alexandria then gradually obscured it, but the governor of Egypt signed the final capitulation to the Arabs in the old capital. While other cities assumed a political equality, yet commercially Memphis probably remained supreme until the Ptolemies.

3. The Founders and the City:

The oldest center of settlement was probably the shrine of the sacred bull, Apis or Hapy, which was in the South of the city. This worship was doubtless prehistoric, so that when the first king of all Egypt, Mena, founded his capital, there was already a nucleus. His great work was taking in land to the North, and founding the temple of the dynastic god Ptah, which was extended until its enclosure included as much as the great temple of Amon at Thebes, about 3 furlongs long and 2 furlongs wide. To the North of this was the sacred lake; beyond that, the palace and camp. Gradually the fashionable quarters moved northward in Egypt, in search of fresher air; the rulers had moved 10 miles North to Babylon by Roman times, then to Fostat, then Cairo, and lastly now to Abbasiyeh and Kubkeh, altogether a shift of 18 miles in 8,000 years.

4. Archaeological Results:

After the shrine of Apis the next oldest center is that of Ptah, founded by Mena. This was recently cleared in yearly sections by the British School, finding principally sculptures of the XVIIIth and XIXth Dynasties. The account of the north gate given by Herodotus, that it was built by Amenemhat III, has been verified by finding his name on the lintel. An immense sphinx of alabaster 26 ft. long has also been found. To the East of this was the temple of the foreign quarter, the temple of King Proteus in Greek accounts, where foreign pottery and terra cotta heads have been found. Other temples that are known to have existed in Memphis are those of Hathor, Neit, Amen, Imhotep, Isis, Osiris-Sokar, Khnumu, Bastel, Tahuti, Anubis and Sebek.

A large building of King Siamen (XXIst Dynasty) has been found South of the Ptah temple. To the North of the great temple lay the fortress, and in it the palace mound of the XXVIth Dynasty covered two acres. It has been completely cleared, but the lower part is still to be examined. The north end of it was at least 90 ft. high, of brickwork, filled up to half the height by a flooring raised on cellular brickwork. The great court was about 110 ft. square, and its roof was supported by 16 columns 45 ft. high.

The principal sights of Memphis now are the great colossus of Rameses II, the lesser colossus of the same, and the immense alabaster sphinx. The cemetery of the city is the most important in Egypt; it lies 2 miles to the West on the desert, and is known as Saqqareh, from So-kar, the god of the dead.


W. M. Flinders Petrie


me-mu’-kan (memukhan; derivation unknown but probably of Persian origin (Es 1:14,16,21)): One of "the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw the king’s face, and sat first in the kingdom." Ahasuerus consults these men, as those "that knew law and judgment," as to the proper treatment of the rebellious Vashti. Memucan is the spokesman of the reply. He recommends Vashti’s deposition so that "all the wives will give to their husbands honor, both to great and small." This advice is adopted and incorporated into a royal decree—with what success is not said.


men’-a-hem (menachem, "one who comforts"; Manaem; 2Ki 15:14-22):

1. Accession and Reign:

Son of Gadi and 16th king of Israel. He reigned 10 years. Menahem was probably the officer in charge of the royal troops in Tirzah, one of the king’s residences, at the time of the murder of Zechariah by Shallum. Hearing of the deed, he brought up his troops and avenged the death of his master by putting Shallum to death in Samaria. He then seized the vacant throne. His first full year may have been 758 BC (others, as seen below, put later).

2. Early Acts:

The country at this time, as depicted by Hosea and Amos, was in a deplorable condition of anarchy and lawlessness. Menahem, with a strong hand, enforced his occupation of the throne. One town only seems to have refused to acknowledge him. This was Tiphsah, a place 6 miles Southwest of Shechem, now the ruined village of Khurbet Tafsah. As Menahem is said to have attacked this enclosed city from Tirzah, lying to its North, it is probable that he took it on the way to Samaria, before proceeding to do battle with Shallum. If this was so, it is some explanation of the cruelty with which he treated its inhabitants (2Ki 15:16). One such instance of severity was enough. The whole kingdom was at his feet. He proved to be a strong and determined ruler, and during the 9 or 10 years of his governorship had no further internecine trouble to contend with.

3. Menahem and Assyria:

But there was another source of disquiet. Assyria, under Pul, had resumed her advance to the West and threatened the kingdoms of Palestine. Menahem resolved on a policy of diplomacy, and, rather than risk a war with the conqueror of the East, agreed to the payment of a heavy tribute of 1,000 talents of silver. To raise this sum he had to assess his wealthier subjects to the extent of 50 shekels each. As there are 3,000 shekels in a talent of silver, it is obvious that some 60,000 persons, "mighty men of wealth," must have been laid under contribution in this levy—an indication at once of the enormity of the tribute, and of the prosperity of the country at the time. However short-sighted the policy, its immediate purpose was attained, which was that the hand of the Assyrian king "might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand" (2Ki 15:19).

4. A Conflict of Dates:

A difficulty attaches to the dates of this period. The Pul of 2Ki 15:19 and 1Ch 5:26 is now identified with Tiglath-pileser III, who took this title on ascending the throne of Assyria in 745 BC. In an inscription of Tiglath-pileser, Menahem appears as Minehimmu Samarina (Menahem the Samarian), together with Racunnu (Rezin) of Damascus and Hirumu (Hiram) of Tyre. The date given to this inscription is 738 BC, whereas the last year we can give to Menahem is 749, or 10 years earlier.

5. Proposed Solutions:

The chronological difficulty which thus arises may be met in one of two ways. Either the inscription, like that on the black obelisk of Kurkh (see JEHU), was written some years after the events to which it refers and contains records of operations in which Tiglath-pileser took part before he became king; or Pekah—who was on the throne of Israel in 738 (?)—is spoken of under the dynastic name Menahem, though he was not of his family. The former of these hypotheses is that which the present writer is inclined to adopt. (By others the dates of Menahem are lowered in conformity with the inscription.)


6. Character:

Menahem attempted no reformation in the national religion, but, like all his predecessors, adhered to the worship of the golden calves. On this account, like them, he incurs the heavy censure of the historian.

W. Shaw Caldecott





me’-ne, me’-ne, te’-kel, u-far’-sin, men’-a, men’a, tek’-el, oo-far’-sin (mene’ ~mene’ ~teqel ~upharcin; Theodotion, Mane, thekel, phares): These are the words that, according to Daniel’s reading, were inscribed on the walls of Belshazzar’s palace and that caused the great commotion on the occasion of his last feast (Da 5:25). As the only authority that we have for the reading is that of Daniel, it seems but fair that the interpretation of the terms be left to the person who gave us the text. According to his interpretation, there is a double sense to be found in the three different words of the inscription (Da 5:26-28).

Mene’, which, however it is pointed, must be taken from the verb menah (Hebrew manah; Babylonian manu), is said to have indicated that God had numbered (the days of) Belshazzar’s kingdom and finished it (or delivered it up). Both of these meanings can be shown to be proper to the menah.

Teqel, on the contrary, is interpreted as coming from two roots: the first, teqal, "to weigh," and the second, qal, "to be light or wanting" (Hebrew qalal; Babylonian qalalu).

Perec (or parcin) also is interpreted as coming from two roots: first, perac, "to divide" (Hebrew paras or parash; Babylonian parasu), and the second as denoting the proper name Parac, "Persia." Thus interpreted, the whole story hangs together, makes good sense, and is fully justified by the context and by the language employed. If the original text was in Babylonian, the signs were ambiguous; if they were in Aramaic, the consonants alone were written, and hence, the reading would be doubtful. In either case, the inscription was apparent but not readable, except by Daniel with the aid of God, through whom also the seer was enabled to give the proper interpretation. That Daniel’s interpretation was accepted by Belshazzar and the rest shows that the interpretation of the signs was reasonable and convincing when once it had been made. We see, therefore, no good reason for departing from the interpretation that the Book of Daniel gives as the true one.

As to the interpretation of the inscription, it makes no difference whether the signs represented a mina, a shekel, and two perases, as has been recently suggested by M. Clermont-Ganneau. In this case the meaning was not so apparent, but the puns, the play upon the sounds, were even better. We doubt, however, if it can be shown that teqel means sheqel. On the old Aramaic documents of Egypt and Assyria, it is with one exception spelled sheqel. In the Targum of Onkelos, sheqel is always rendered by cela‘; in the Peshitta and Arabic VSS, by mathqal; in the Samaritan Targum, by mathqal (except only perhaps in Ge 23:16, where we have ethqel). In the Targum of Onkelos, wherever tiqla’ occurs, it translates the Hebrew beqa‘ (Ge 24:22 and Ex 38:26 only). Mene’, to be sure, may have meant the mina, and perec, the half-mina. The parash is mentioned in the inscription of Panammu and in an Aramaic inscription on an Assyrian weight. Besides this, it is found in the New Hebrew of the Mishna It is not found, however, in the Targum of Onkelos, nor in Syriac, nor in the Old Testament Hebrew; nor in the sense of half-shekel in the Aramaic papyri. While, then, it may be admitted that Daniel may have read, "A mina, a mina, a shekel, and two half-minas," it is altogether unlikely, and there is certainly no proof that he did. Yet, if he did, his punning interpretations were justified by the usage of ancient oracles and interpreters of signs, and also by the event.

R. Dick Wilson


men-e-la’-us (Menelaos): According to the less likely account of Josephus (Ant., XII, v, 1; XV, iii, 1; XX, x, 3), Menelaus was a brother of Jason and Onias III, and his name was really Onias. But it is very unlikely that there should be two brothers of the same name. The account of 2 Maccabees is more credible—that Menelaus was the brother of the notorious Simon who suggested to the Syrians the plundering of the temple; he was thus of the tribe of Benjamin (2 Macc 4:23; compare with 3:4) and not properly eligible to the high-priesthood. He was entrusted by Jason (171 BC), who had supplanted Onias, with contributions to the king of Syria, Antiochus Epiphanes, and by outbidding Jason in presents he secured the office of high priest for himself (2 Macc 4:23 f), 171 BC. Menelaus returned with "the passion of a cruel tyrant" to Jerusalem, and Jason fled. But as Menelaus failed to pay the promised amount, both he and Sostratus, the governor, were summoned to appear before the king. Lysimachus, the brother of Menelaus, was left at Jerusalem in the meantime as deputy high priest. The king was called from his capital to suppress an insurrection of Tarsus and Mallus. Menelaus took advantage of his absence to win over Andronicus, the king’s deputy, by rich presents stolen from the temple. For this sacrilege Onias III sharply reproved him and fled to a sanctuary, Daphne, near Antioch. Andronicus was then further persuaded by Menelaus to entice Onias from his retreat and murder him (2 Macc 4:34 f)—an act against which both Jews and Greeks protested to the king on his return, and secured deserved punishment for Andronicus. Meanwhile, the oppression of Lysimachus, abetted by Menelaus, caused a bloody insurrection in Jerusalem, in connection with which a Jewish deputation brought an accusation against Menelaus on the occasion of Antiochus’ visit to Tyre. Menelaus bribed Ptolemy, son of Dorymenes, to win over the king to acquit himself and secure the execution of "those hapless men, who, if they had pleaded even before Scythians, would have been discharged uncondemned" (2 Macc 4:39 ff). Menelaus returned in triumph to his office. But Jason, taking advantage of Epiphanes’ absence in Egypt and a false rumor of his death, made a bloody but unsuccessful attempt upon the city, in order to secure his office again; his rival took refuge in the citadel. The king returned in fury, caused a three days’ slaughter of the citizens, rifled the temple with Menelaus as guide, and left him as one of his agents to keep the Jews in subjection (2 Macc 5:1 ff). He appears next and for the last time in the reign of Eupator in 162 BC. Lysias, the king’s chancellor, accused him to the king as the cause of all the troubles in Judea (2 Macc 13:3-8). Eupator caused him to be brought to Berea and there—before, according to 2 Maccabees, loc. cit., or after, according to Josephus, Ant, XII, ix, 7, the invasion of Judea by Eupator and Lysias—to be put to death by being flung from the top of a high tower into the ashes of which it was full—a fitting end for such a wretch.

S. Angus


me-nes’-thus, me-nes’-the-us (Menestheus Codex Alexandrinus, Menestheseos): The father of Apollonius, a general of Epiphanes (2 Macc 4:21 and in 2 Macc 4:4 the Revised Version (British and American), following a conjecture of Hort Menestheos for mainesthai heos the latter is retained in Swete and Fritzache]). "Son of Menestheus" is added to distinguish this Apollonius from "Apollonius, Son of Thrasaeus" (2 Macc 3:5) and "Apollonius, Son of Gennaeus" (2 Macc 12:2).



me’-ni: Destiny, a god of Good Luck, possibly the Pleiades (Isa 65:11 margin).



men’-a (Menna Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek, Tregelles, Tischendorf; Mainan Textus Receptus of the New Testament; the King James Version Menan): An ancestor of Jesus, a great-grandson of David (Lu 3:31).


men-u’-ha, men-u’-ka (menuchah, "place of rest"; the King James Version Menuchah): Rendered in Jud 20:43 the King James Version "with ease," the Revised Version (British and American) "at their resting-place." Both, however, have a marginal suggestion which would make the word a place-name, which would then more naturally read "from Nuhah over against Gibeah," thus describing the ground over which the slaughter of the Benjamites occurred. In 1Ch 8:2 the word "Nohah" occurs as that of a Benjamite elan. The place intended is perhaps MANAHATH (which see).


men-u’-hoth (menuchoth, "dwellings"; the King James Version manachti Manahethites): The first form is the Revised Version (British and American) transliterated in the name; the second form is the King James Version retained by the Revised Version (British and American) in the passages where the word occurs (1Ch 2:52; compare 2:54). The people here spoken of by the King James Version as "half of the Manahethites" are mentioned as descendants of Salma (1Ch 2:54), while those mentioned as Menuhoth are mentioned as descendants of Judah through Shobal, father of Kiriath-jearim. Both words are from the same root. the King James Version keeps the same designation for both passages, while the Revised Version (British and American) has marked the difference in spelling by changing the first passage and following the King James Version in the second. Both sections of the family belong to the Caleb clan, and it would seem that they became the dominant people in the otherwise unknown town of Manahath, so that it came to be regarded as belonging to Judah. It may be connected with the Menuchah (the Revised Version (British and American) "Menuhah") suggested as a place-name in Jud 20:43 margin. In the Septuagint, between Joshua 15:59 and 60, the names of 11 cities are inserted, among them being a Manocho whose Hebrew equivalent gives the word. It is difficult to identify, and the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) cuts the knot by translating "dimidium requietionum"!


Henry Wallace


me-on’-e-nim, me-o’-ne-nim: (’elon me‘onenim; Codex Vaticanus, Elonmaonemein, Codex Alexandrinus, druos apobleponton; the King James Version Plain of): This was a sacred tree which apparently could be seen from the gate of Shechem (Jud 9:37). No doubt it took its name from the soothsayers who sat under it, practicing augury, etc. Several times mention is made of sacred trees in the vicinity of Shechem (Ge 35:4; Jos 24:26; Jud 9:6, etc.). Where this tree stood is not known.



me-on’-o-thi, me-o’-no-thi, me-o-no’-thi (me‘onothai, "my dwellings"): A son of Othniel, nephew of Caleb (1Ch 4:14). Possibly, as the King James Version margin suggests, and the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) and Complutensian Septuagint say, 1Ch 4:13,14 should read "the sons of Othniel, Hathath and Meonothai; and Meonothai begat Ophrah," etc. The latter may be founder of the town of that name.


mef’-a-ath, me-fa’-ath (mepha‘ath and meypha‘ath, mopha‘ath; Codex Vaticanus, Maiphaath, Mephaath): A city of the Amorites in the territory allotted to Reuben, named with Kedemoth and Kiriathaim (Jos 13:18), and given to the Merarite Levites (Jos 21:37; 1Ch 6:79). It appears again as a Moabite town in Jer 48:21. It was known to Eusebius and Jerome (Onom) as occupied by a Roman garrison, but the site has been lost.


me-fib’-o-sheth (mephibhosheth, "idol-breaker," also MERIB-BAAL (which see); Memphibosthe):

(1) Son of Saul by his concubine RIZPAH (which see), daughter of Aiah (2Sa 21:8).

See also ARMONI.

(2) Grandson of Saul, son of Jonathan, and nephew of Mephibosheth (1) (2Sa 4:4). He was 5 years old when his father and grandfather were slain. He was living in charge of a nurse, possibly because his mother was dead. Tidings of the disaster at Jezreel and the onsweep of the Philistines terrified the nurse. She fled with her charge in such haste that a fall lamed the little prince in both feet for life. His life is a series of disasters, disappointments, and anxieties. It is a weary, broken, dispirited soul that speaks in all his utterances. The nurse carried him to Lo-debar among the mountains of Gilead, where he was brought up by Machir, son of Ammiel (2Sa 9:4). There he evidently married, for he had a son Mica when he returned later at David’s request. When David had settled his own affairs and subdued his enemies, he turned his inquiries to Saul’s household to see whether there were any survivors to whom he might show kindness for Jonathan’s sake (2Sa 9:1). The search caused the appearance of Ziba, a servant of Saul’s house (2Sa 9:2), who had meanwhile grown prosperous by some rapid process which can only be guessed at (2Sa 9:9,10). From him David learned about Mephibosheth, who was sent for. His humble bearing was consistent with his chronically broken spirit. David put Ziba’s property (which had belonged to Saul) at Mephibosheth’s disposal and made Ziba steward thereof. Mephibosheth was also to be a daily guest at David’s table (2Sa 9:11-13). Seventeen years pass, during which Mephibosheth seems to have lived in Jerusalem. Then came Absalom’s rebellion. David determined to flee, so distraught was he by the act of his son. At the moment of flight, in great depression and need, he was opportunely met by Ziba with food, refreshment and even means for travel. Naturally, the king inquired for Ziba’s master. The treacherous reply was made (2Sa 16:1-4) that Mephibosheth had remained behind for his own ends, hoping the people would give him, Saul’s grandson, the kingdom. David believed this and restored to Ziba the property lost. Not till many days after did the lame prince get his chance to give David his own version of the story. He met David on his return from quelling Absalom’s rebellion. He had not dressed his feet, trimmed his beard nor washed his clothes since the hour of David’s departure (2Sa 19:24). At David’s anxious request Mephibosheth told his story: his servant had deceived him; he wanted to go with David, had even asked for his beast to be saddled; but Ziba had left him, and had slandered him to the king. But he would not plead his cause any more; David is "as an angel of God"; whatever he decides will be well! (2Sa 19:26,27). Thus characteristically continued the speech of this lame, broken, humble man, son of a proud family (2Sa 19:28). David wearily settled the matter by dividing the property between the prince and his servant, the prince expressing utmost content that Ziba should take all so long as David remained friendly (2Sa 19:29,30). That David accepted Mephibosheth’s explanation and was drawn out in heart toward the character of the broken man is shown by the fact that when some expiation from Saul’s household was considered necessary to turn away the famine sent by an offended deity, Mephibosheth is spared when other members of Saul’s household were sacrificed (2Sa 21:7). The character of Mephibosheth well illustrates the effect of continued disaster, suspicion and treachery upon a sensitive mind.

Henry Wallace


me’-rab (merabh "increase"; Merob): The elder daughter of Saul (1Sa 14:49), promised, though not by name, to the man who should slay the Philistine Goliath (1Sa 17:25). David did this and was afterward taken by Saul to court (1Sa 18:2), where he was detained in great honor. Merab was not, however, given to him as quickly as the incident would lead one to expect, and the sequel showed some unwillingness on the part of some persons in the contract to complete the promise. The adulation of the crowd who met David on his return from Philistine warfare and gave him a more favorable ascription than to Saul (1Sa 18:6-16) awoke the angry jealousy of Saul. He "eyed David from that day and forward" (1Sa 18:9). Twice David had to "avoid" the "evil spirit" in Saul (1Sa 18:11). Saul also feared David (1Sa 18:12), and this led him to incite the youth to more dangerous deeds of valor against the Philistines by a renewed promise of Merab. He will have David’s life, but rather by the hand of the Philistines than his own (1Sa 18:17). Merab was to be the bait. But now another element complicated matters—Michal’s love for David (1Sa 18:20), which may have been the retarding factor from the first. At any rate Merab is finally given to Adriel the Meholathite (1Sa 18:19). The passage in 2Sa 21:8 doubtless contains an error—Michal’s name occurring for that of her sister Merab—though the Septuagint, Josephus, and a consistent Hebrew text all perpetuate it, as well as the concise meaning of the Hebrew word Yaladh, which is a physiological word for bearing children, and cannot be translated "brought up." A Targum explanation reads: "The 5 sons of Merab (which Michal, Saul’s daughter brought up) which she bare," etc. Another suggestion reads the word "sister" after Michal in the possessive case, leaving the text otherwise as it stands. It is possible that Merab died comparatively young, and that her children were left in the care of their aunt, especially when it is said she herself had none (2Sa 6:23). The simplest explanation is to assume a scribal error, with the suggestion referred to as a possible explanation of it. The lonely Michal (2Sa 6:20-23) became so identified with her (deceased) sister’s children that they became, in a sense, hers.

Henry Wallace


me-ra’-ya, me-ri’-a (merayah, "contumacious"): A priest in the time of Joiakim son of Jeshua, and head of the priestly house of Seraiah to which Ezra belonged (Ne 12:12; compare Ezr 7:1).


me-ra’-yoth, me-ri’-oth (merayoth): The name varies much in the Greek.

(1) A Levite, a descendant of Aaron (1Ch 6:6 f; Ezr 7:3), called "Memeroth" in 1 Esdras 8:2; and "Marimoth" in 2 Esdras 1:2.

(2) The son of Ahitub and father of Zadok (1Ch 9:11).

(3) A priestly house of which, in the days of Joiakim, Helkai was head (Ne 12:15). In Ne 12:3 the name is given as "Meremoth."





me-ra’-ri (merari, "bitter"; Mararei):

(1) The 3rd son of Levi, his brothers, Gershon and Kohath, being always mentioned together with him (Ge 46:11; Ex 6:16 ). He was among those 70 who went down to Egypt with Jacob (Ge 46:8,11; compare 46:26 and Ex 1:5).

(2) The family of Merari, descendants of above, and always (with one exception, for which see MERARITES) spoken of as "sons of Merari" in numerous references, such as 1Ch 6:1,16,19,29, which only repeat without additional information the references to be found in the body of this article. We early find them divided into two families, the Mahli and Mushi (Ex 6:19; Nu 3:17,20,33). At the exodus they numbered, under their chief Zuriel, 6,200, and they were assigned the north side of the tabernacle as a tenting-place (Nu 3:34,35), thus sharing in the honor of those who immediately surrounded the tabernacle—the south side being given to the Kohathites, the west to the Gershonites, and the east—toward the sun-rising—being reserved for Moses, Aaron and his sons (Nu 3:23,29,35,38). To the Merarites was entrusted the care of the boards, bars, pillars, sockets, vessels, pins and cords of the tabernacle (Nu 3:36,37; 4:29-33). They and the Gershonites were "under the hand" of Ithamar, son of Aaron, the sons of Gershon having charge of the softer material of the tabernacles—curtains, covers, hangings, etc. (Nu 3:25,26). When reckoned by the number fit for service, i.e. between 30 and 50 years, the sons of Merari were 3,200 strong (Nu 4:42-45). Because of the weight of the material in their charge they were allowed 4 wagons and 8 oxen for carriage (Nu 7:8). In marching, when the tabernacle was taken down, the standard of Judah went first (Nu 10:14); then followed the Merarites bearing the tabernacle (Nu 10:17), and after them came the standard of Reuben (Nu 10:18). After the settlement in Canaan they had 12 cities assigned them out of Gad, Reuben and Zebulun (Jos 21:7,34-40; 1Ch 6:63,77-81), just as the other two branches of Levi’s family had their 12 cities respectively assigned out of the other tribes (Jos 21). The names of these Merarite cities are given (loc. cit.), and among them is Ramoth-gilead, one of the cities of refuge (Jos 21:38). It is evident from 1Ch 6:44-47; 16:41; 25:1,3,6,9,11,15,19,21 f; compare 15:6,17-19 that they had charge under Ethan or Jeduthun of the temple music in the service. In David’s time Asaiah was their chief (1Ch 15:6). Himself and 220 of the family helped David to bring up the Ark. David divided the Levites into courses among the Gershonites, Kohathites and Merarites (1Ch 23:6; compare 23:21-23; 24:26-30). The functions of certain Merarites are described in 1Ch 26:10-19. They also took part in cleansing the temple in Hezekiah’s time (2Ch 29:12) as well as in the days of Josiah (2Ch 34:12), helping to repair the house of the Lord. Among the helpers of Ezra, too, we find some of them numbered (Ezr 8:18,19). The family seems to have played a very important part in keeping steady and true such faithfulness as remained in Israel.

(3) The father of Judith (Judith 8:1; 16:7).

Henry Wallace


me-ra’-rits (merari, "bitter"): The descendants of MERARI (which see), son of Levi. The only place where this form of the word occurs is Nu 26:57. Elsewhere they are always referred to as "sons of Merari."


mer-a-tha’-im (merathayim "double rebellion"): A name used for Babylon in Jer 50:21. According to Delitzsch it may be equivalent to the Babylonian Marratun, i.e. land by the nar Marratu, "the bitter river" (Persian Gulf) = Southern Babylonia (OHL, under the word).



(1) ‘amar

(2) cachar,

(3) cachar,

(4) cechorach,

(5) rekhullah,

(6) ma‘arabh,

(7) markoleth;

(8) emporia

(9) emporion,

(10) gomos)

: There seem to be 4 distinct meanings of the word according to the Revised Version (British and American), namely: (1) The products, i.e. goods or things sold or exchanged, and so merchandise in the present-day usage:

(a) cachar is translated thus in Pr 31:18; Isa 23:18;

(b) cachar is translated thus in Isa 45:14; these two are from a root meaning "to travel around as a peddler";

(c) rekhullah, translated thus in Eze 26:12, from a root meaning "to travel for trading purposes";

(d) ma‘arabh, translated thus in Eze 27:9,27,33,34, from a root meaning "to intermix, to barter";

(e) markoleth, translated thus in Eze 27:24 (the above 5 Hebrew words are all used to designate the goods or wares which were bartered);

(f) ‘amar, occurring in De 21:14; 24:7, translated in the King James Version "make merchandise of," but in the Revised Version (British and American) "deal with as a slave," or the Revised Version margin "deal with as a chattel";

(g) emporia, translated "merchandise" in Mt 22:5;

(h) emporion, likewise in Joh 2:16 (the same Greek word is used in 2Pe 2:3 for the American Standard Revised Version "make merchandise of you");

(i) gomos, "merchandise," margin "cargo."

(2) The process of trade itself, i.e. the business: rekhullah has in it the root meaning of "itinerant trading", and so in Eze 28:16 the correct translation is not "merchandise," as in the King James Version, but "traffic," "abundance of thy traffic," i.e. doing a thriving business: "trade was good."

(3) The place of trading, i.e. emporium, mart, etc.: cechorah in Eze 27:15 is translated "mart." In Joh 2:16 reference is made to the "house of merchandise."

(4) The profits of trading: In Pr 3:14, cachar is translated "gaining." Referring to wisdom, "For the gaining of it is better than the gaining of silver, and the profit thereof than fine gold"; the King James Version "merchandise."

William Edward Raffety


mur’-chant, mur’-chant-man.



mur’-ku-ri, mer-ku’ri-us: The translation of Hermes, in Ac 14:12: "They called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercury, because he was the chief speaker." Hermes was the god of eloquence (and also of theft), the attendant, messenger and spokesman of the gods. The more commanding presence of Barnabas (compare 2Co 10:10) probably caused him to be identified with Zeus (the Roman Jupiter), while his gift of eloquence suggested the identification of Paul with Hermes (the Roman Mercury). The temple of Jupiter was before Lystra, and to him the Lycaonians paid their chief worship. Compare the legend of Baucis and Philemon (Ovid, Metam. viii.611 f).


M. O. Evans


mur’-si-set (kapporeth; New Testament hilasterion, Heb 9:5): The name for the lid or covering of the ark of the covenant (Ex 25:17, etc.). The Old Testament term means "covering," then, like the New Testament word, "propitiatory" (compare kipper, "to cover guilt," "to make atonement"). The ark contained the two tables of stone which witnessed against the sin of the people. The blood of sacrifice, sprinkled on the mercy-seat on the great day of atonement, intercepted, as it were, this condemning testimony, and effected reconciliation between God and His people. See ATONEMENT; ATONEMENT, DAY OF; PROPITIATION; ARK OF THE COVENANT. In Ro 3:25, Jesus is said to be set forth as "a propitiation (literally, "propitiatory"), through faith, in his blood," thus fulfilling the idea of the mercy-seat (compare Heb 9:5,7,11,12, etc.).

W. Shaw Caldecott


mur’-si, mur’-si-fool (checedh, racham, chanan; eleos, eleeo, oiktirmos): "Mercy" is a distinctive Bible word characterizing God as revealed to men.

In the Old Testament it is most often the translation of checedh, "kindness," "loving-kindness" (see LOVINGKINDNESS), but rachamim, literally, "bowels" (the sympathetic region), and chanan, "to be inclined to," "to be gracious," are also frequently translated "mercy"; eleos, "kindness," "beneficence," and eleeo, "to show kindness," are the chief words rendering "mercy" in the New Testament; oiktirmos, "pity," "compassion," occurs a few times, also oiktirmon, "pitiful," eleemon, "kind," "compassionate," twice; hileos, "forgiving," and anileos, "not forgiving," "without mercy," once each (Heb 8:12; Jas 2:13).

(1) Mercy is

(a) an essential quality of God (Ex 34:6,7; De 4:31; Ps 62:12, etc.); it is His delight (Mic 7:18,20; Ps 52:8); He is "the Father of mercies" (2Co 1:3), "rich in mercy" (Eph 2:4), "full of pity, and merciful" (Jas 5:11);

(b) it is associated with forgiveness (Ex 34:7; Nu 14:18; 1Ti 1:13,16);

(c) with His forbearance (Ps 145:8, "Yahweh is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great lovingkindness"; compare Roman 2:4; 11:32);

(d) with His covenant (1Ki 8:23; Ne 1:5), with His justice (Ps 101:1), with His faithfulness (Ps 89:24), with His truth (Ps 108:4); mercy and truth are united in Pr 3:3; 14:22, etc. (in Ps 85:10 we have "Mercy and truth are met together");

(e) it goes forth to all (Ps 145:9, "Yahweh is good to all; and his tender mercies are over all his works"; compare 145:16, "Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing," the Revised Version margin "satisfiest every living thing with favor");

(f) it shows itself in pitying help (Ex 3:7; Ezr 9:9 f), supremely in Christ and His salvation (Lu 1:50,54,58; Eph 2:4);

(g) it is abundant, practically infinite (Ps 86:5,15; 119:64);

(h) it is everlasting (1Ch 16:34,41; Ezr 3:11; Ps 100:5; 136 repeatedly).

(2) "Mercy" is used of man as well as of God, and is required on man’s part toward man and beast (De 25:4; Ps 37:21; 109:16; Pr 12:10; Da 4:27; Mic 6:8; Mt 5:7, "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy"; 25:31-46; Lu 6:36, "Be ye merciful, even as your Father is merciful"; Lu 10:30 f, the Good Samaritan; Lu 14:12-16; Jas 3:17).

(3) In the New Testament "mercy" (eleos, usually the Septuagint translation of checedh) is associated with "grace" (charis) in the apostolical greetings and elsewhere. Trench points out that the difference between them is that the freeness of God’s love is the central point of charis, while eleos has in view misery and its relief; charis is His free grace and gift displayed in the forgiveness of sins—extended to men as they are guilty; His eleos (is extended to them) as they are miserable. The lower creation may be the object of His mercy (eleos), but man alone of His grace (charis); he alone needs it and is capable of receiving it (Synonyms of the New Testament, 163 f).

(4) From all the foregoing it will be seen that mercy in God is not merely His pardon of offenders, but His attitude to man, and to the world generally, from which His pardoning mercy proceeds. The frequency with which mercy is enjoined on men is specially deserving of notice, with the exclusion of the unmerciful from sonship to the all-merciful Father and from the benefits of His mercifulness. Shakespeare’s question, "How canst thou hope for mercy rendering none?" is fully warranted by our Lord’s teaching and by Scripture in general; compare especially the parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Mt 18:21-35).

(5) As the rule, the American Standard Revised Version has "lovingkindness" for "mercy" when checedh is used of God, and "kindness" when it is used of men in relation to each other. "Compassion" (translation of racham) is also in several instances substituted for "mercy" (Isa 9:17; 14:1; 27:11; Jer 13:14; 30:18), also "goodness" (translation of checedh referring to man) (Ho 4:1; 6:6).

W. L. Walker


me’-red (meredh, "rebellion"; Septuagint has at least four variants in 1Ch 4:17,18): A descendant of Judah through Caleb, and mentioned as a "son of Ezrah" (1Ch 4:17).

Revised Version, rightly following the orthography of the Hebrew which has here the Hebrew letter he (h) instead of ‘aleph (’) , as in the name of the well-known Ezra, saves us from confusing this Ezrah with the other by giving him the correct terminal letter. Moreover, even if the question of spelling were waived, the absence of the mention of children in any known passages of the life of the scribe Ezra should settle the question, since this passage (1Ch 4:17) is associated with progeny.

A difficulty meets us in 1Ch 4:18, where Mered is mentioned as taking to wife "Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh." That Pharaoh is not the proper name of some individual but the official title of Egypt’s sovereign seems evident from the fact that the King James Version margin and the Revised Version (British and American) text agree in translating the other wife of Mered as "the Jewess," rather than as a proper name Jehudijah, as if to distinguish the "Jewess" from the Egyptian. Probably "Hodiah" also is a corruption of Jehudijah in 1Ch 4:19, and should be translated again "the Jewess." Targums and traditions have so changed and transposed and "interpreted" this passage that a sufficiently confused text has become worse confounded, and the only solid fact that emerges is that once a comparatively obscure Judahite (though the founder of several towns—Gedor, Soco, Eshtemoa, etc., 4:18) married an Egyptian princess, whether as a captive or a freewoman we do not know.


Henry Wallace


mer’-e-moth, me-re’-moth (meremoth, "heights"; Mereimoth):

(1) Son of Uriah (Ezr 8:33), who was head of the 7th course of priests appointed by David (1Ch 24:10, Hakkoz = Koz; compare Ne 3:4,21). The family of Koz were among those unable to prove their pedigree on the return from Babylon, and were therefore deposed as polluted (Ezr 2:61,62). Meremoth’s division of the family must, however, have been scatheless, for he is employed in the temple after the return as weigher of the gold and the vessels (Ezr 8:33), a function reserved for priests alone (Ezr 8:24-28). He takes a double part in the reconstruction under Nehemiah, first as a builder of the wall of the city (Ne 3:4), then as a restorer of that part of the temple abutting on the house of Eliashib the priest (Ne 3:21); "Marmoth" in 1 Esdras 8:62.

(2) A member of the house of Bani, and, like so many of that house, among those who married and put away foreign wives (Ezr 10:36). He seems to be named Carabasion (!) in the corresponding list of 1 Esdras 9:34.

(3) The name occurs in Ne 10:5 among those who "seal the covenant" with Nehemiah (Ne 10:1). It may there be the name of an individual (in which case there were 4 of the name), or it may be a family name. Certainly a "Meremoth" came back under Zerubbabel 100 years before (Ne 12:3), and the signatory in question may be either a descendant of the same name or a family representative. The name recurs later in the same list (Ne 12:15) as "Meraioth" through a scribal error confusing the two Hebrew letters yodh (y) and cholem (o) for mem (m). A comparison of Ne 12:1-3 and 12:12-15 shows clearly that it is the same person. Note that in 12:15 "Helkai" is the name of the contemporary leader.

(4) For Meremoth (1 Esdras 8:2 the King James Version).


Henry Wallace


mer-ib-ba’-al (meribhba‘al; also meri-bha‘al, "Baal contends"): The spelling varies in a single verse; 1Ch 9:40 contains the name twice: first, in the first form above; second, in the second form. The name is given also in 1Ch 8:34. It is the other name of MEPHIBOSHETH (2) (which see).

In Jer 11:13 and Ho 9:10 the terms "Baal" and "Bosheth" seem to stand in apposition, the latter form being a slightly contemptuous alternative rendered "shame." This is akin to other like changes, such as Esh-baal for Ish-bosheth, Jerub-besheth for Jerub-baal, etc. The change in the first part of the name could occur through a clerical confusion of the Hebrew aspirate pe (p) and resh (r) in Hebrew.

Henry Wallace


mer’-i-ba, me-re’-ba.



mer’-i-bath-ka’-desh, mer’-i-both-k (Eze 48:28; 47:19): The southern limit of Ezekiel’s ideal land of Israel.



me-ro’-dak, mer’-o-dak (merodhakh): The supreme deity of the Babylonians (Jer 50:2); the Nimrod of Ge 10:8-12; and among the constellations, Orion.



me-ro’-dak-bal’-a-dan, mer’-o-dak-b. (mero’dhakh bal’adhan; Marodach Baladan): The son of Baladan, is mentioned in Isa 39:1, as a king of Babylon who sent an embassy to Hezekiah, king of Judah, apparently shortly after the latter’s illness, in order to congratulate him on his recovery of health, and to make with him an offensive and defensive alliance. This Merodach-baladan was a king of the Chaldeans of the house of Yakin, and was the most dangerous and inveterate foe of Sargon and his son Sennacherib, kings of Assyria, with whom he long and bitterly contested the possession of Babylon and the surrounding provinces. Merodach-Baladan seems to have seized Babylon immediately after the death of Shalmaneser in 721 BC; and it was not till the 12th year of his reign that Sargon succeeded in ousting him. From that time down to the 8th campaign of Sennacherib, Sargon and his son pursued with relentless animosity Merodach-Baladan and his family until at last his son Nabushumishkun was captured and the whole family of Merodach-Baladan was apparently destroyed. According to the monuments, therefore, it was from a worldly point of view good politics for Hezekiah and his western allies to come to an understanding with Merodach-Baladan and the Arameans, Elamites, and others, who were confederated with him. From a strategical point of view, the weakness of the allied powers consisted in the fact that the Arabian desert lay between the eastern and western members of the confederacy, so that the Assyrian kings were able to attack their enemies when they pleased and to defeat them in detail.

R. Dick Wilson


me’-rom (me-merom; hudor Marron or hudor Merron): The place which was the scene of Joshua’s victory over Jabin and his confederates (Jos 11:7), commonly identified with Lake Huleh in the upper part of the Jordan valley, but with doubtful propriety. Josephus says (Ant., V, i, 18) that the camp of the allies was at Beroth in upper Galilee, and that Beroth was not far from Kadesh, which is upon the summit of the Galilean hills. According to the Scriptural account, the pursuit was to Sidon and Hazor on the West of the mountains (see HAZOR), while the names of the confederates are those of places in lower Galilee and the maritime plain. It seems improbable that a force of chariots should be brought over to be hemmed in by the rugged mountains which border the narrow plain of Huleh on both sides, plains that are made still narrower by the swamps surrounding the lake (see JORDAN VALLEY) in Joshua’s time, when they were much larger than they are now after having been filled with the accumulation of sediment brought down by mountain streams for 3,000 years. Conder, with much reason, supposes the "waters of Merom" to be the perennial stream Wady el-Melek, near Shimrom-Merom (Semunieh), 5 miles West of Nazareth. Were Lake Huleh referred to, the proper phrase would be Sea (yam) of Merom, rather than waters (mayim).

George Frederick Wright


me-ron’-thit, me-ro’-no-thit (meronothi, root meaning "fertility"): The designation of two persons in the Old Testament:

(1) Jehdeiah, who was in charge of the royal asses under David (1Ch 27:30).

(2) Jadon who was among the repairers of the wall under Nehemiah (Ne 3:7). No place of the name Meronoth can be identified. That Jadon worked on the wall near Gibeonites and Mizpahites affords no clear clue to the place, unless it be shown that there was some geographical rota in the wall repairers.


me’-roz (meroz; Codex Vaticanus, Meroz; Codex Alexandrinus, Mazor): This name occurs only once in Scripture. The angel of the Lord is represented as invoking curses upon Meroz because the inhabitants "came not to the help of Yahweh" on the day of Deborah and Barak’s victory (Jud 5:23). It is a strange fate, shared with Chorazin, to be preserved from oblivion only by the record of a curse. The bitterness in the treatment of Meroz, not found in the references to any of the other delinquents, must be due to the special gravity of her offense. Reuben, Gilead and Da were far away. This, however, is not true of Asher, who was also absent. Perhaps Meroz was near the field of battle and, at some stage of the conflict, within sight and hearing of the strife. If, when Zebulun "jeopardized their lives unto the death, and Naphtali, upon the high places of the field," they turned a deaf ear and a cold heart to the dire straits of their brethren, this might explain the fierce reproaches of Deborah.

Meroz may possibly be identified with el-Murussus, a mud-built village about 5 miles Northwest of Beisan, on the slopes to the North of the Vale of Jezreel. If the Kedesh where Heber’s tent was pitched be identical with Qadish to the West of the Sea of Galilee, Sisera’s flight, avoiding the Israelites in the neighborhood of Mt. Tabor, may have carried him past el-Murussus. If the inhabitants had it in their power to arrest him, but suffered him to escape (Moore, "Jgs," ICC, 163), such treachery to the na tion’s cause might well rouse the indignation of the heroic prophetess.

W. Ewing


mer’-an (Merran; the King James Version Meran): Many identifications have been suggested on the assumption that the text as it stands is correct. Some of these are the Sidonian Meareh (Grotius), Marane, a city of which Pliny speaks as being near the Red Sea (Keil), and the desert of Mahrah in Arabia (Fritzsche). It is very probable, however, that the name represents an error in transcription from the original Semitic text, confusing the Hebrew letter daleth ("d") with the Hebrew letter resh ("r"), so that we should read Meddan, or Medan, i.e. Midian. The phrase will then run, "the merchants of Midian and Teman" (Baruch 3:23). The merchants of Midian are referred to in Ge 37:28.

W. Ewing





mes’-a-loth (Messaloth, Maisaloth): A place mentioned in the account of the march of Bacchides and Alcimus into Judah, as "in Arbela" (1 Macc 9:2). If Arbela be identical with Irbil or Irbid on the southern lip of Wady el-Chamam, West of the Sea of Galilee, this fixes the locality; but no name resembling Mesaloth has been found.






(1) (mesha‘; Codex Vaticanus, Marisa; Codex Alexandrinus, Marisas): Caleb’s firstborn son, the father of Ziph, probably the ancestor of the Ziphites (1Ch 2:42).

(2) (mesha’; Codex Vaticanus, Misa; Codex Alexandrinus, Mosa): A Benjamite, son of Shaharaim by his wife Hodesh, born in the land of Moab (1Ch 8:9).

(3) (mesha‘; Mosa): A king of Moab. All the Biblical information regarding this monarch is contained in 2Ki 3. Here we gather that Mesha was contemporary with Ahab, Ahaziah and Jehoram. He was tributary to Israel, his annual contribution consisting of 100,000 lambs and 100,000 rams. after the death of Ahab he asserted his independence. Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, and the king of Edom joined forces with Jehoram in an attempt to quell the rebellion at the instance of Elisha, who accompanied the host, water was miraculously provided when the army of the allies was ready to perish of thirst. Mesha came out against them and fell upon the camp. His attack was repulsed with heavy slaughter, and the defeated king was chased by the victors until he took refuge in the great fortress of Kir-hareseth. A vigorous siege was begun. Seeing that his case was desperate, Mesha attempted, with 700 men, to break through the lines. Failing in this, he offered his firstborn as a burnt offering upon the wall. Then "there came great wrath upon Israel" (by which, probably, panic is meant), and the besiegers retired, leaving their conquest incomplete.

In his inscription (see MOABITE STONE) Mesha gives an account of his rebellion, naming the places captured and fortified by him. It is not surprising that he says nothing of his defeat by Jehoram and his allies. There is, however, one serious discrepancy. The time Moab was under the supremacy of Israel, during the reign of Omri and half the reign of Ahab, he puts at 40 years. According to Biblical chronology, Omri and Ahab together reigned only 34 years. If, with Mesha, we deduct half the reign of Ahab, the period is reduced to 23 years. It is impossible to add to the length of either reign. So great a difference cannot be explained by the use of round numbers. Why Mesha should wish to increase the time of his people’s subjection is not clear, unless, indeed, he thought in this way to magnify the glory of their deliverer.

In Mesha the sentiment of patriotism was wedded to some measure of military capacity. Judging by his inscription, he was also a deeply religious man according to his lights. Substitute "Yahweh" for "Chemosh," and his phraseology might be that of a pious Hebrew king. The sacrifice of his son is at once the mark of the heathen and an index of the strength of his devotion.

(4) (mesha’; Masse): This appears to mark the western boundary of the land occupied by the descendants of Joktan (Ge 10:30). No certain identification is possible, but several more or less probable have been suggested: e.g.

(a) The Greek Mesene, on the Persian Gulf, not far from the mouth of the Tigris and the Euphrates;

(b) the Syro-Arabian desert, called Mashu in the Assyrian inscriptions; the name here, however, could hardly cover such a vast tract as this; more probably it denoted a place;

(c) Dillmann would alter the vowels and identify it with Massa’, a branch of the Ishmaelite stock (Ge 25:14; 1Ch 1:30). This, however, furnishes no clue to the locality, the territory of that tribe being also unidentified.

W. Ewing


me’-shak (meshakh): Possibly the Sumerian form of the Babylonian Cil-Asharidu, "the shadow of the prince," just as Shadrach probably means "the servant of Sin," and Abednego the "servant of Ishtar." Meshach was one of the three Hebrew companions of Daniel, whose history is given in the first chapters of the Book of Daniel.

See, further, under SHADRACH.


me’-shek, me’-sek (meshekh, "long," "tall"; Mosoch): Son of Japheth (Ge 10:2; 1Ch 1:5; 1:17 is a scribal error for "Mash"; compare Ge 10:22,23). His descendants and their dwelling-place (probably somewhere in the neighborhood of armenia (Herodotus iii.94)) seem to be regarded in Scripture as synonyms for the barbaric and remote (Ps 120:5; compare Isa 66:19, where Meshech should be read instead of "that draw the bow"). It is thought that the "Tibareni and Moschi" of the classical writers refer to the same people. Doubtless they appear in the annals of Assyria as enemies of that country under the names Tabali and Mushki—the latter the descendants of Meshech and the former those of Tubal to whom the term "Tibareni" may refer in the clause above. This juxtaposition of names is in harmony with practically every appearance of the word in Scripture. It is seldom named without some one of the others—Tubal, Javan, Gog and Magog. It is this which forms a good justification for making the suggested change in Isa 66:19, where Meshech would be in the usual company of Tubal and Javan. Ezekiel mentions them several times, first, as engaged in contributing to the trade of Tyre (Tiras of Ge 10:2?), in "vessels of brass" and—very significantly—slaves; again there is the association of Javan and Tubal with them (Eze 27:13); second, they are included in his weird picture of the under-world: "them that go down into the pit" (Eze 32:18,26). They are mentioned again with Gog and Magog twice as those against whom the prophet is to "set his face" (Eze 38:2,3; 39:1).

Henry Wallace


me-shel-e-mi’-a (meshelemyah, "Yah repays"): Father of Zechariah, one of the porters of the tabernacle (1Ch 9:21; 26:1,2,9). In the latter passage Meshelemiah, with a final "-u", is credited with "sons and brethren, valiant men, 18." He is the "Shelemiah" of 1Ch 26:14, the "Shallum" of 1Ch 9:17,19,31, and the "Meshullam" of Ne 12:25.


me-shez’-a-bel (meshezebhe’el, "God a deliverer"; the King James Version Meshezabeel, me-shez’-a-bel):

(1) A priest, ancestor of Meshullam, who assisted Nehemiah in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem (Ne 3:4).

(2) One of the chiefs of the people giving name to the family which sealed the covenant with Nehemiah (Ne 10:21).

(3) A descendant of Judah through Zerah, and father of Pethahiah (Ne 11:24).


me-shil’-e-mith (meshillemith, "retribution"): A priest, son of Immer, ancestor, according to 1Ch 9:12, of Adaiah and Pashhur, and according to Ne 11:13, of Amashai. In the latter passage this name is spelled MESHILLEMOTH (which see).


me-shil’-e-moth, me-shil’-e-moth (meshillemoth, "recompense"):

(1) An Ephraimite ancestor of Berechiah, chief of the tribe, in the reign of Pekah (2Ch 28:12).

(2) The "Meshillemith" of Ne 11:13.


me-sho’-bab (meshobhabh): A Simeonite (1Ch 4:34). This name heads the list of those who, for the sake of wider pasturelands, occupied a Hamitic settlement in the neighborhood of Gerar (Mount GEDOR (which see)), and a Maonite settlement in Edomite territory (1Ch 4:39-41). The latter event is dated in the days of Hezekiah (see Curtis, Chronicles, in the place cited.).


me-shul’-am (meshullam, "resigned" or "devoted"; compare Arabic Muslim; Mesollam): An Old Testament name very common in post-exilic times.

(1) The grandfather of Shaphan (2Ki 22:3).

(2) A son of Zerubbabel (1Ch 3:19).

(3) A Gadite (1Ch 5:13).

(4) (5) (6) Three Benjamites (1Ch 8:17; 9:7,8).

(7) The father of Hilkiah (1Ch 9:11; Ne 11:11).

(8) A priest, son of Meshillemith (1Ch 9:12); the parallel list (Ne 11:13) omits the name.

(9) A Kohathite appointed by Josiah as one of the overseers to direct the repairs of the temple (2Ch 34:12).

(10) One of the chief men sent by Ezra to procure Levites to go up with him to Jerusalem (Ezr 8:16; compare 1 Esdras 8:44).

(11) A Levite opposed to Ezra’s regulations anent marriage with foreigners (Ezr 10:15; 1 Esdras 9:14).

(12) One of those who had married foreign wives (Ezr 10:29; compare 1 Esdras 9:30).

(13) One of the repairers of the wall (Ne 3:4,30). His daughter was married to Jehohanan, the son of Tobiah the Ammonite (Ne 6:18).

(14) One of the repairers of the Old Gate (Ne 3:6).

(15) A supporter of Ezra at the reading of the Law (Ne 8:4).

(16) One of those who subscribed the Covenant (Ne 10:20).

(17) A priest who subscribed the Covenant (Ne 10:7).

(18) (19) Two priests at the time of the high priest Joiakim (Ne 12:13,16).

(20) A porter at the time of the high priest Joiakim (Ne 12:25).

(21) A processionist at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem (Ne 12:33).

John A. Less


me-shul’-e-meth (meshullemeth): The wife of King Manasseh and mother of Amon (2Ki 21:19). She is further designated "daughter of Haruz of Jotbah." This is the earliest instance of the birthplace being added to the designation of the queen mother. The name is properly the feminine of the frequently occurring MESHULLAM (which see).








mes (mas’eth): Any dish of food sent (Latin missum; French messe) to the table. It occurs in the Old Testament in Ge 43:34 (twice); 2Sa 11:8 English Versions of the Bible, and in the New Testament in Heb 12:16, translating brosis.


mes’-en-jer: The regular Hebrew word for "messenger" is mal’akh, the Greek aggelos. This may be a human messenger or a messenger of God, an angel. The context must decide the right translation. In Hag 1:13 the prophet is called God’s messenger; Job 33:23 changes the King James Version to "angel" (margin "messenger"); and Mal 3:1 margin, suggests "angel" instead of "messenger." Mal 2:7 and Mal 3:1 (twice) have caused a great deal of comment. See MALACHI. The Greek apostolos, "apostle," is rendered "messenger" in 2Co 8:23; Php 2:25; 1Sa 4:17 translations literally, from Hebrew basar, "to tell good news," "he that brought the tidings." Ge 50:16 reads "message" instead of "messenger."

A. L. Breslich


me-si’-a (mashiach; Aramaic meshicha’; Septuagint Christos, "anointed"; New Testament "Christ"):

1. Meaning and Use of the Term

2. The Messianic Hope


1. The Messianic King

(1) Isaiah

(2) Jeremiah and Ezekiel

(3) Later Prophets

2. Prophetic and Priestly Relations

3. Servant of Yahweh

4. Transformation of the Prophetic Hope into the Apocalyptic


1. Post-prophetic Age

2. Maccabean Times

3. Apocalyptic Literature


1. The Jewish Conception

(1) The Messiah as King

(2) His Prophetic Character

(3) The Title "Son of God"

2. Attitude of Jesus to the Messiahship

3. The Christian Transformation

4. New Elements Added

(1) Future Manifestation

(2) Divine Personality

(3) Heavenly Priesthood

5. Fulfillment in Jesus


1. Meaning and Use of the Term:

"Messias" (Joh 1:41; 4:25 the King James Version) is a transcription of Messias, the Greek representation of the Aramaic. "Messiah" is thus a modification of the Greek form of the word, according to the Hebrew.

The term is used in the Old Testament of kings and priests, who were consecrated to office by the ceremony of anointing. It is applied to the priest only as an adjective—"the anointed priest" (Le 4:3,5,16; 6:22 (Hebrew 15)). Its substantive use is restricted to the king; he only is called "the Lord’s anointed," e.g. Saul (1Sa 24:6,10 (Hebrew 7,11), etc.); David (2Sa 19:21 (Hebrew 22); 2Sa 23:1, "the anointed of the God of Jacob"); Zedekiah (La 4:20). Similarly in the Psalms the king is designated "mine," "thine," "his anointed." Thus also even Cyrus (Isa 45:1), as being chosen and commissioned by Yahweh to carry out His purpose with Israel. Some think the singular "mine anointed" in Hab 3:13 denotes the whole people; but the Hebrew text is somewhat obscure, and the reference may be to the king. The plural of the substantive is used of the patriarchs, who are called "mine anointed ones" (Ps 105:15; 1Ch 16:22), as being Yahweh’s chosen, consecrated servants, whose persons were inviolable.

It is to be noted that "Messiah" as a special title is never applied in the Old Testament to the unique king of the future, unless perhaps in Da 9:25 f (mashiach naghidh, "Messiah-Prince"), a difficult passage, the interpretation of which is very uncertain. It was the later Jews of the post-prophetic period who, guided by a true instinct, first used the term in a technical sense.

2. The Messianic Hope:

The Messiah is the instrument by whom God’s kingdom is to be established in Israel and in the world. The hope of a personal deliverer is thus inseparable from the wider hope that runs through the Old Testament. The Jews were a nation who lived in the future. In this respect they stand alone among the peoples of antiquity. No nation ever cherished such strong expectations of a good time coming, or clung more tenaciously amid defeat and disaster to the certainty of final triumph over all enemies and of entrance upon a state of perfect peace and happiness. The basis of this larger hope is Yahweh’s covenant with Israel. "I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God" (Ex 6:7). On the ground of this promise the prophets, while declaring God’s wrath against His people on account of their sin, looked beyond the Divine chastisements to the final era of perfect salvation and blessedness, which would be ushered in when the nation had returned to Yahweh.

The term "Messianic" is used in a double sense to describe the larger hope of a glorious future for the nation, as well as the narrower one of a personal Messiah who is to be the prominent figure in the perfected kingdom. It may be remarked that many writers, both prophetic and apocalyptic, who picture the final consummation, make no allusion whatever to a coming deliverer.

This article will treat of the personal Messianic hope as it is found in the Old Testament, in the pre-Christian age, and in the New Testament.

I. The Messiah in the Old Testament.

1. The Messianic King:

The chief element in the conception of the Messiah in the Old Testament is that of the king. Through him as head of the nation Yahweh could most readily work out His saving purposes. But the kingdom of Israel was a theocracy. In earlier times Moses, Joshua, and the judges, who were raised up by Yahweh to guide His people at different crises in their history, did not claim to exercise authority apart from their Divine commission. Nor was the relation of Yahweh to the nation as its real ruler in any way modified by the institution of the monarchy. It was by His Spirit that the king was qualified for the righteous government of the people, and by His power that he would become victorious over all enemies. The passage on which the idea of the Messianic king who would rule in righteousness and attain universal dominion was founded is Nathan’s oracle to David in 2Sa 7:11 ff. In contrast to Saul, from whom the kingdom had passed away, David would never want a descendant to sit on the throne of Israel. How strong an impression this promise of the perpetuity of his royal house had made on David is seen in his last words (2Sa 23); and to this "everlasting covenant, and sure," the spiritual minds in Israel reverted in all after ages.

(1) Isaiah.

Isaiah is the first of the prophets to refer to an extraordinary king of the future. Amos (9:11) foretold the time when the shattered fortunes of Judah would be restored, while Hosea (3:5) looked forward to the reunion of the two kingdoms under David’s line. But it is not till we reach the Assyrian age, when the personality of the king is brought into prominence against the great world-power, that we meet with any mention of a unique personal ruler who would bring special glory to David’s house.

The kings of Syria and Israel having entered into a league to dethrone Ahaz and supplant him by an obscure adventurer, Isaiah 7:10-17 announces to the king of Judah that while, by the help of Assyria, he would survive the attack of the confederate kings, Yahweh would, for his disobedience, bring devastation upon his own land through the instrumentality of his ally. But the prophet’s lofty vision, though limited as in the case of other seers to the horizon of his own time, reaches beyond Judah’s distress to Judah’s deliverance. To the spiritual mind of Isaiah the revelation is made of a true king, Immanuel, "God-with-us," who would arise out of the house of David, now so unworthily represented by the profligate Ahaz. While the passage is one of the hardest to interpret in all the Old Testament, perhaps too much has been made by some scholars of the difficulty connected with the word ‘almah, "virgin." It is the mysterious personality of the child to which prominence is given in the prophecy. The significance of the name and the pledge of victory it implies, the reference to Immanuel as ruler of the land in 8:8 (if the present rendering be correct), as well as the parallelism of the line of thought in the prophecy with that of Isa 9, would seem to point to the identity of Immanuel with the Prince of the four names, "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace" (9:6 the Revised Version margin). These Divine titles do not necessarily imply that in the mind of the prophet the Messianic king is God in the metaphysical sense—the essence of the Divine nature is not a dogmatic conception in the Old Testament—but only that Yahweh is present in Him in perfect wisdom and power, so that He exercises over His people forever a fatherly and peaceful rule. In confirmation of this interpretation reference may be made to the last of the great trilogy of Isaianic prophecies concerning the Messiah of the house of David (11:2), where the attributes with which He is endowed by the Spirit are those which qualify for the perfect discharge of royal functions in the kingdom of God.


A similar description of the Messianic king is given by Isaiah’s younger contemporary Micah (5:2 ff), who emphasizes the humble origin of the extraordinary ruler of the future, who shall spring from the Davidic house, while his reference to her who is to bear him confirms the interpretation which regards the virgin in Isaiah as the mother of the Messiah.

(2) Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

After the time of Isaiah and Micah the throne of David lost much of its power and influence, and the figure of the ideal king is never again portrayed with the same definiteness and color. Zephaniah, Nahum, and Habakkuk make no reference to him at all. By the great prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel, however, the hope of a Davidic ruler is kept before the people. While there are passages in both of these writers which refer to a succession of pious rulers, this fact should not dominate our interpretation of other utterances of theirs which seem to point to a particular individual. By Jeremiah the Messiah is called the "righteous Branch" who is to be raised unto David and be called "Yahweh (is) our righteousness," that is, Yahweh as the one making righteous dwells in him (Jer 23:5 f; compare 30:9). In Ezekiel he is alluded to as the coming one "whose right it is" (21:27), and as Yahweh’s "servant David" who shall be "prince" or "king" forever over a reunited people (34:23 f; 37:24). It is difficult to resist the impression which the language of Ezekiel makes that it is the ideal Messianic ruler who is here predicted, notwithstanding the fact that afterward, in the prophet’s vision of the ideal theocracy, not only does the prince play a subordinate part, but provision is made in the constitution for a possible abuse of his authority.

(3) Later Prophets.

After Ezekiel’s time, during the remaining years of the exile, the hope of a preeminent king of David’s house naturally disappears. But it is resuscitated at the restoration when Zerubbabel, a prince of the house of David and the civil head of the restored community, is made by Yahweh of hosts His signet-ring, inseparable from Himself and the symbol of His authority (Hag 2:23). In the new theocracy, however the figure of the Messianic ruler falls into the background before that of the high priest, who is regarded as the sign of the coming Branch (Zec 3:8). Still we have the unique prophecy of the author Of Zec 9:9, who pictures the Messiah as coming not on a splendid charger like a warrior king, but upon the foal of an ass, righteous and victorious, yet lowly and peaceful, strong by the power of God to help and save. There is no mention of the Messianic king in Joe or Malachi; but references in the later, as in the earlier, Psalms to events in the lives of the kings or the history of the kingdom prove that the promise made to David was not forgotten, and point to one who would fulfill it in all its grandeur.

2. Prophetic and Priestly Relations:

The Messianic king is the central figure in the consummation of the kingdom. It is a royal son of David, not a prophet like unto Moses, or a priest of Aaron’s line, whose personal features are portrayed in the picture of the future. The promise in De 18:15-20, as the context shows, refers to a succession of true prophets as opposed to the diviners of heathen nations. Though Moses passed away there would always be a prophet raised up by Yahweh to reveal His will to the people, so that they would never need to have recourse to heathen soothsayers. Yet while the prophet is not an ideal figure, being already fully inspired by the Spirit, prophetic functions are to this extent associated with the kingship, that the Messiah is qualified by the Spirit for the discharge of the duties of His royal office and makes known the will of God by His righteous decisions (Isa 11:2-5).

It is more difficult to define the relationship of the priesthood to the kingship in the final era. They are brought into connection by Jeremiah (30:9,21) who represents the new "David" as possessing the priestly right of immediate access to Yahweh, while the Levitical priesthood, equally with the Davidic kingship, is assured of perpetuity on the ground of the covenant (Jer 33:18 ). But after the restoration, when prominence is given to the high priest in the reconstitution of the kingdom, Joshua becomes the type of the coming "Branch" of the Davidic house (Zec 3:8), and, according to the usual interpretation, receives the crown—a symbol of the union of the kingly and priestly offices in the Messiah (Zec 6:11 ). Many scholars, however, holding that the words "and the counsel of peace shall be between them both" can only refer to two persons, would substitute "Zerubbabel" for "Joshua" in Zec 6:11, and read in 6:13, "there shall be a priest upon his right hand" (compare the Revised Version (British and American), Septuagint (Septuagint). The prophet’s meaning would then be that the Messianic high priest would sit beside the Messianic king in the perfected kingdom, both working together as Zerubbabel and Joshua were then doing. There is no doubt, however, that the Messiah is both king and priest in Ps 110.

3. Servant of Yahweh:

The bitter experiences of the nation during the exile originated a new conception, Messianic in the deepest sense, the Servant of Yahweh (Isa 40—66; chiefly 41:8; 42:1-7,19 f; 43:8,10; 44:1 f, 21; 49:3-6; 50:4-9; 52:13—53). As to whom the prophet refers in his splendid delineation of this mysterious being, scholars are hopelessly divided. The personification theory—that the Servant represents the ideal Israel, Israel as God meant it to be, as fulfilling its true vocation in the salvation of the world—is held by those who plead for a consistent use of the phrase throughout the prophecy. They regard it as inconceivable that the same title should be applied by the same prophet to two distinct subjects. Others admit that the chief difficulty in the way of this theory is to conceive it, but they maintain that it best explains the use of the title in the chief passages where it occurs. The other theory is that there is an expansion and contraction of the idea in the mind of the prophet. In some passages the title is used to denote the whole nation; in others it is limited to the pious kernel; and at last the conception culminates in an individual, the ideal yet real Israelite of the future, who shall fulfill the mission in which the nation failed.

What really divides expositors is the interpretation of Isa 52:13—53. The question is not whether this passage was fulfilled in Jesus Christ—on this all Christian expositors are agreed—but whether the "Servant" is in the mind of the prophet merely the personification of the godly portion of the nation, or a person yet to come.

May not the unity argument be pressed too hard? If the Messiah came to be conceived of as a specific king while the original promise spoke of a dynasty, is it so inconceivable that the title "Servant of Yahweh" should be used in an individual as well as in a collective sense? It is worthy of note, too, that not only in some parts of this prophecy, but all through it, the individuality of the sufferer is made prominent; the collective idea entirely disappears. The contrast is not between a faithful portion and the general body of the people, but between the "Servant" and every single member of the nation. Moreover, whatever objections may be urged against the individual interpretation, this view best explains the doctrine of substitution that runs through the whole passage. Israel was Yahweh’s elect people, His messenger of salvation to the Gentiles, and its faithful remnant suffered for the sins of the mass; even "Immanuel" shared in the sorrows of His people. But here the "Servant" makes atonement for the sins of individual Israelites; by his death they are justified and by his stripes they are healed. To this great spiritual conception only the prophet of the exile attains.

It may be added that in the Suffering Servant, who offers the sacrifice of himself as an expiation for the sins of the people, prophetic activity and kingly honor are associated with the priestly function. After he has been raised from the dead he becomes the great spiritual teacher of the world—by his knowledge of God and salvation which he communicates to others he makes many righteous (Isa 53:11; compare 42:1 ff; 49:2; 50:4); and as a reward for his sufferings he attains to a position of the highest royal splendor (Isa 52:15 b; 53:12a; compare 49:7).


4. Transformation of the Prophetic Hope into the Apocalyptic:

In the Book of Daniel, written to encourage the Jewish people to steadfastness during the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Messianic hope of the prophets assumes a new form. Here the apocalyptic idea of the Messiah appears for the first time in Jewish literature. The coming ruler is represented, not as a descendant of the house of David, but as a person in human form and of super-human character, through whom God is to establish His sovereignty upon the earth. In the prophet’s vision (Da 7:13 f) one "like unto a son of man," kebhar ‘enash (not, as in the King James Version, "like the son of man"), comes with the clouds of heaven, and is brought before the ancient of days, and receives an imperishable kingdom, that all peoples should serve him.

Scholars are by no means agreed in their interpretation of the prophecy. In support of the view that the "one like unto a son of man" is a symbol for the ideal Israel, appeal is made to the interpretation given of the vision in Da 7:18,22,27, according to which dominion is given to "the saints of the Most High." Further, as the four heathen kingdoms are represented by the brute creation, it would be natural for the higher power, which is to take their place, to be symbolized by the human form.

But strong reasons may be urged, on the other hand, for the personal Messianic interpretation of the passage. A distinction seems to be made between "one like unto a son of man" and the saints of the Most High in Da 7:21, the saints being there represented as the object of persecution from the little horn. The scene of the judgment is earth, where the saints already are, and to which the ancient of days and the "one like unto a son of man" descend (7:22,13). And it is in accordance with the interpretation given of the vision in 7:17, where reference is made to the four kings of the bestial kingdoms, that the kingdom of the saints, which is to be established in their place, should also be represented by a royal head.

It may be noted that a new idea is suggested by this passage, the pre-existence of the Messiah before His manifestation.

II. The Messiah in the Pre-Christian Age.

1. Post-prophetic Age:

After prophetic inspiration ceased, there was little in the teaching of the scribes, or in the reconstitution of the kingdom under the rule of the high priests, to quicken the ancient hope of the nation. It would appear from the Apocrypha that while the elements of the general expectation were still cherished, the specific hope of a preeminent king of David’s line had grown very dim in the consciousness of the people. In Ecclesiasticus (47:11) mention is made of a "covenant of kings and a throne of glory in Israel which the Lord gave unto David"; yet even this allusion to the everlasting duration of the Davidic dynasty is more of the nature of a historical statement than the expression of a confident hope.

2. Maccabean Times:

In the earlier stages of the Maccabean uprising, when the struggle was for religious freedom, the people looked for help to God alone, and would probably have been content to acknowledge the political supremacy of Syria after liberty had been granted them in 162 BC to worship God according to their own law and ceremonial. But the successful effort of the Maccabean leaders in achieving political independence, while it satisfied the aspirations of the people generally "until there should arise a faithful prophet" (1 Macc 14:41; compare 2:57), brought religious and national ideals into conflict. The "Pious" (chacidhim), under the new name of Pharisees, now became more than ever devoted to the Law, and repudiated the claim of a Maccabean to be high priest and his subsequent assumption of the royal title, while the Maccabees with their political ambitions took the side of the aristocracy and alienated the people. The national spirit, however, had been stirred into fresh life. Nor did the hope thus quickened lose any of its vitality when, amid the strife of factions and the quarrels of the ruling family, Pompey captured Jerusalem in 63 BC. The fall of the Hasmonean house, even more than its ascendancy, led the nation to set its hope more firmly on God and to look for a deliverer from the house of David.

3. Apocalyptic Literature:

The national sentiment evoked by the Maccabees finds expression in the Apocalyptic literature of the century and a half before Christ.

In the oldest parts of the Sibylline Oracles (3:652-56) there occurs a brief prediction of a king whom God shall send from the sun, who shall "cause the whole earth to cease from wicked war, killing some and exacting faithful oaths from others. And this he will do, not according to his own counsel, but in obedience to the beneficent decrees of God." And in a later part of the same book (3:49) there is an allusion to "a pure king who will wield the scepter over the whole earth forever." It may be the Messiah also who is represented in the earlier part of the Book of Enoch (90:37 f) as a glorified man under the symbol of a white bull with great horns, which is feared and worshipped by all the other animals (the rest of the religious community) and into whose likeness they are transformed.

But it is in the Psalms of Solomon, which were composed in the Pompeian period and reveal their Pharisaic origin by representing the Hasmoneans as a race of usurpers, that we have depicted in clear outline and glowing colors the portrait of the Davidic king (Ps 17:18). The author looks for a personal Messiah who, as son of David and king of Israel, will purge Jerusalem of sinners, and gather together a holy people who will all be the "sons of their God." He shall not conquer with earthly weapons, for the Lord Himself is his King; he shall smite the earth with the breath of his mouth; and the heathen of their own accord shall come to see his glory, bringing the wearied children of Israel as gifts. His throne shall be established in wisdom and justice, while he himself shall be pure from sin and made strong in the Holy Spirit.

It is evident that in these descriptions of the coming one we have something more than a mere revival of the ancient hope of a preeminent king of David’s house. The repeated disasters that overtook the Jews led to the transference of the national hope to a future world, and consequently to the transformation of the Messiah from a mere earthly king into a being with supernatural attributes. That this supernatural apocalyptic hope, which was at least coming to be cherished, exercised an influence on the national hope is seen in the Psalter of Solomon, where emphasis is laid on the striking individuality of this Davidic king, the moral grandeur of his person, and the Divine character of his rule.

We meet with the apocalyptic conception of the Messiah in the Similitudes of Enoch (chapters 37—71) and the later apocalypses. Reference may be made at this point to the Similitudes on account of their unique expression of Messianic doctrine, although their pre-Christian date, which Charles puts not later than 64 BC, is much disputed. The Messiah who is called "the Anointed," "the Elect one" "the Righteous one" is represented, though in some sense man, as belonging to the heavenly world. His pre-existence is affirmed. He is the supernatural Son of Man, who will come forth from His concealment to sit as Judge of all on the throne of His glory, and dwell on a transformed earth with the righteous forever.


III. The Messiah in the New Testament.

To the prevalence of the Messianic hope among the Jews in the time of Christ the Gospel records bear ample testimony. We see from the question of the Baptist that "the coming one" was expected (Mt 11:3 and parallel), while the people wondered whether John himself were the Christ (Lu 3:15).

1. The Jewish Conception:

(1) The Messiah as King.

In the popular conception the Messiah was chiefly the royal son of David who would bring victory and prosperity to the Jewish nation and set up His throne in Jerusalem. In this capacity the multitude hailed Jesus on His entry into the capital (Mt 21:9 and parallel); to the Pharisees also the Messiah was the son of David (Mt 22:42). It would seem that apocalyptic elements mingled with the national expectation, for it was supposed that the Messiah would come forth suddenly from concealment and attest Himself by miracles (Joh 7:27,31).

But there were spiritual minds who interpreted the nation’s hope, not in any conventional sense, but according to their own devout aspirations. Looking for "the consolation of Israel," "the redemption of Jerusalem," they seized upon the spiritual features of the Messianic king and recognized in Jesus the promised Saviour who would deliver the nation from its sin (Lu 2:25,30,38; compare 1:68-79).

(2) His Prophetic Character.

From the statements in the Gospels regarding the expectation of a prophet it is difficult to determine whether the prophetic function was regarded as belonging to the Messiah. We learn not only that one of the old prophets was expected to reappear (Mt 14:2; 16:14 and parallel), but also that a preeminent prophet was looked for, distinct from the Messiah (Joh 1:21,25; 7:40 f). But the two conceptions of prophet and king seem to be identified in Joh 6:14 f, where we are told that the multitude, after recognizing in Jesus the expected prophet, wished to take Him by force and make Him a king. It would appear that while the masses were looking forward to a temporal king, the expectations of some were molded by the image and promise of Moses. And to the woman of Samaria, as to her people, the Messiah was simply a prophet, who would bring the full light of Divine knowledge into the world (Joh 4:25). On the other hand, from Philip’s description of Jesus we would naturally infer that he saw in Him whom he had found the union of a prophet like unto Moses and the Messianic king of the prophetical books (Joh 1:45).

(3) The Title "Son of God."

It cannot be doubted that the "Son of God" was used as a Messianic title by the Jews in the time of our Lord. The high priest in presence of the Sanhedrin recognized it as such (Mt 26:63). It was applied also in its official sense to Jesus by His disciples: John the Baptist (Joh 1:34), Nathaniel (Joh 1:49), Mary (Joh 11:27), Peter (Mt 16:16, though not in parallel). This Messianic use was based on Ps 2:7; compare 2Sa 7:14. The title as given to Jesus by Peter in his confession, "the Son of the living God," is suggestive of something higher than a mere official dignity, although its full significance in the unique sense in which Jesus claimed it could scarcely have been apprehended by the disciples till after His resurrection.

2. Attitude of Jesus to the Messiahship:

(1) His Claim.

The claim of Jesus to be the Messiah is written on the face of the evangelic history. But while He accepted the title, He stripped it of its political and national significance and filled it with an ethical and universal content. The Jewish expectation of a great king who would restore the throne of David and free the nation from a foreign yoke was interpreted by Jesus as of one who would deliver God’s people from spiritual foes and found a universal kingdom of love and peace.

(2) His Delay in Making It.

To prepare the Jewish mind for His transformation of the national hope Jesus delayed putting forth His claim before the multitude till His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, which, be it noted, He made in such a way as to justify His interpretation of the Messiah of the prophets, while He delayed emphasizing it to His disciples till the memorable scene at Caesarea Philippi when He drew forth Peter’s confession.

(3) "The Son of Man."

But he sought chiefly to secure the acceptance of Himself in all His lowliness as the true Messianic king by His later use of His self-designation as the "Son of Man." While "Son of Man" in Aramaic, bar nasha’, may mean simply "man," an examination of the chief passages in which the title occurs shows that Jesus applied it to Himself in a unique sense. That He had the passage in Daniel in His mind is evident from the phrases He employs in describing His future coming (Mr 8:38; 13:26 and parallel; 14:62 and parallel). By this apocalyptic use of the title He put forward much more clearly His claim to be the Messiah of national expectation who would come in heavenly glory. But He used the title also to announce the tragic destiny that awaited Him (Mr 8:31). This He could do without any contradiction, as He regarded His death as the beginning of His Messianic reign. And those passages in which He refers to the Son of Man giving His life a ransom "for many" (Mt 20:28 and parallel) and going "as it is written of him" (Mt 26:24 and parallel), as well as Lu 22:37, indicate that He interpreted Isa 53 of Himself in His Messianic character. By His death He would complete His Messianic work and inaugurate the kingdom of God. Thus, by the help of the title "Son of Man" Jesus sought, toward the close of His ministry, to explain the seeming contradiction between His earthly life and the glory of His Messianic kingship.

It may be added that our Lord’s use of the phrase implies what the Gospels suggest (Joh 12:34), that the "Son of Man," notwithstanding the references in Daniel and the Similitudes of Enoch (if the pre-Christian date be accepted), was not regarded by the Jews generally as a Messianic title. For He could not then have applied it, as He does, to Himself before Peter’s confession, while maintaining His reserve in regard to His claims to be the Messiah. Many scholars, however, hold that the "Son of Man" was already a Messianic title before our Lord employed it in His conversation with the disciples at Caesarea Philippi, and regard the earlier passages in which it occurs as inserted out of chronological order, or the presence of the title in them either as a late insertion, or as due to the ambiguity of the Aramaic.


3. The Christian Transformation:

The thought of a suffering Messiah who would atone for sin was alien to the Jewish mind. This is evident from the conduct, not only of the opponents, but of the followers of Jesus (Mt 16:22; 17:23). While His disciples believed Him to be the Messiah, they could not understand His allusions to His sufferings, and regarded His death as the extinction of all their hopes (Lu 18:34; 24:21). But after His resurrection and ascension they were led, by the impression His personality and teaching had made upon them, to see how entirely they had misconceived His Messiahship and the nature and extent of His Messianic kingdom (Lu 24:31; Ac 2:36,38 f). They were confirmed, too, in their spiritual conceptions when they searched into the ancient prophecies in the light of the cross. In the mysterious form of the Suffering Servant they beheld the Messianic king on His way to His heavenly throne, conquering by the power of His atoning sacrifice and bestowing all spiritual blessings (Ac 3:13,18-21,26; 4:27,30; 8:35; 10:36-43).

4. New Elements Added:

(1) Future manifestation.

New features were now added to the Messiah in accordance with Jesus’ own teaching. He had ascended to His Father and become the heavenly king. But all things were not yet put under Him. It was therefore seen that the full manifestation of His Messiahship was reserved for the future, that He would return in glory to fulfill His Messianic office and complete His Messianic reign.

(2) Divine Personality.

Higher views of His personality were now entertained. He is declared to be the Son of God, not in any official, but in a unique sense, as coequal with the Father (Joh 1:1; Ro 1:4,7; 1Co 1:3, etc.). His pre-existence is affirmed (Joh 1:1; 2Co 8:9); and when He comes again in his Messianic glory, He will exercise the Divine function of Universal Judge (Ac 10:42; 17:30 f, etc.).

(3) Heavenly Priesthood.

The Christian conception of the Messianic king who had entered into His glory through suffering and death carried with it the doctrine of the Messianic priesthood. But it took some time for early Christian thought to advance from the new discovery of the combination of humiliation and glory in the Messiah to concentrate upon His heavenly life. While the preaching of the first Christians was directed to show from the Scriptures that "Jesus is the Christ" and necessarily involved the ascription to Him of many functions characteristic of the true priest, it was reserved for the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews to set forth this aspect of His work with separate distinctness and to apply to Him the title of our "great high priest" (Heb 4:14). As the high priest on the Day of Atonement not only sprinkled the blood upon the altar, but offered the sacrifice, so it was now seen that by passing into the heavens and presenting to God the offering He had made of Himself on earth, Jesus had fulfilled the high-priestly office.

5. Fulfillment in Jesus:

Thus the ideal of the Hebrew prophets and poets is amply fulfilled in the person, teaching and work of Jesus of Nazareth. Apologists may often err in supporting the argument from prophecy by an extravagant symbolism and a false exegesis; but they are right in the contention that the essential elements in the Old Testament conception—the Messianic king who stands in a unique relation to Yahweh as His "Son," and who will exercise universal dominion; the supreme prophet who will never be superseded; the priest forever—are gathered up and transformed by Jesus in a way the ancient seers never dreamed of. As the last and greatest prophet, the suffering Son of Man, and the sinless Saviour of the world, He meets humanity’s deepest longings for Divine knowledge, human sympathy, and spiritual deliverance; and as the unique Son of God, who came to reveal the Father, He rules over the hearts of men by the might of eternal love. No wonder that the New Testament writers, like Jesus Himself, saw references to the Messiah in Old Testament passages which would not be conceded by a historical interpretation. While recognizing the place of the old covenant in the history of salvation, they sought to discover in the light of the fulfillment in Jesus the meaning of the Old Testament which the Spirit of God intended to convey, the Divine, saving thoughts which constitute its essence. And to us, as to the early Christians, "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Re 19:10). To Him, hidden in the bosom of the ages, all the scattered rays of prophecy pointed; and from Him, in His revealed and risen splendor, shine forth upon the world the light and power of God’s love and truth. And through the history and experience of His people He is bringing to larger realization the glory and passion of Israel’s Messianic hope.


Drummond, The Jewish Messiah; Stanton, The Jewish and the Christian Messiah; Riehm, Messianic Prophecy; Delitzsch, Messianic Prophecies; von Orelli, Old Testament Prophecy; A. B. Davidson, Old Testament Prophecy; Schultz, Old Testament Theology; Schurer, HJP, div II, volume II, section 29, "The Messianic Hope"; Westcott, Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, chapter ii, "The Jewish Doctrine of Messiah"; Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, book II, chapter v, "What Messiah Did the Jews Expect?"; E. F. Scott, The Kingdom and the Messiah; Fairweather, The Background of the Gospels; articles in DB, HDB, EB, DCG. For further list see Riehm and Schurer.


James Crichton


met’-al (chashmal; elektron; the King James Version amber; Eze 8:2, the Revised Version margin "amber"): The substance here intended is a matter of great uncertainty. In Egypt bronze was, called chesmen, which may be connected with the Hebrew chashmal; the Greek elektron too has generally been accepted as an alloy of gold or silver or other metals, but this is far from certain. Professor Ridgeway (EB, I, cols. 134-36) has conclusively shown, however, that amber was well known in early times and that there is nothing archaeologically improbable in the reading of the King James Version.

Amber is a substance analogous to the vegetable resins, and is in all probability derived from extinct coniferous trees. The best or yellow variety was obtained by the ancients from the coasts of the Baltic where it is still found more plentifully than elsewhere. A red amber has been found in South Europe and in Phoenicia. From earliest times amber has been prized as an ornament; Homer apparently refers to it twice. Amber bracelets and necklaces are highly prized by the Orientals—especially Jewesses—today, and they are credited with medicinal properties.


E. W. G. Masterman




met’-al-ur-ji: There are numerous Biblical references which describe or allude to the various metallurgical operations. In Job 28:1 occurs zaqaq, translated "refine," literally, "strain." This undoubtedly refers to the process of separating the gold from the earthy material as pictured in the Egyptian sculptures (Thebes and Beni Hassan) and described by Diodorus. The ore was first crushed to the size of lentils and then ground to powder in a handmill made of granite slabs. This powder was spread upon a slightly inclined stone table and water was poured over it to wash away the earthy materials. The comparatively heavy gold particles were then gathered from the table, dried, and melted in a closed crucible with lead, salt and bran, and kept in a molten condition for 5 days, at the end of which time the gold came out pure.

The alloying of gold and silver with copper, lead or tin, and then removing the base metals by cupellation is used figuratively in Eze 22:18,22 to denote the coming judgment of Yahweh. Again in Isa 1:25 it indicates chastening. The fact that the prophets used this figure shows that the people were familiar with the common metallurgical operations.


James A. Patch


met’-alz (Latin metallum, "metal," "mine"; Greek metallon, "mine"): The metals known by the ancients were copper, gold, iron, lead, silver and tin. Of these copper, gold and silver were probably first used, because, occurring in a metallic state, they could be separated easily from earthy materials by mechanical processes. Evidence is abundant of the use of these three metals by the people of remotest antiquity. Lead and tin were later separated from their ores. Tin was probably used in making bronze before it was known as a separate metal, because the native oxide, cassiterite, was smelted together with the copper ore to get bronze. Because of the difficulties in getting it separated from its compounds, iron was the last in the list to be employed. In regard to the sources of these metals in Bible times we have few Biblical references to guide us. Some writers point to De 8:9, "a land whose stones are iron," etc., as referring to Palestine. Palestine can be disregarded, however, as a sourc e of metals, for it possesses no mineral deposits of any importance. If it was expected that Israel would possess Lebanon also, then the description would be more true. There is some iron ore which was in ancient times worked, although present-day engineers have declared it not to be extensive enough to pay for working. There is a little copper ore (chalcopyrite, malachite, azurite). In the Anti-Lebanon and Northern Syria, especially in the country East of Aleppo now opened up by the Bagdad Railroad and its branches, there are abundant deposits of copper. This must have been the land of Nuhasse referred to in the Tell el-Amarna Letters. If Zec 6:1 is really a reference to copper, which is doubtful, then the last-mentioned source was probably the one referred to. No doubt Cyprus (Alasia in Tell el-Amarna Letters (?)) furnished the ancients with much copper, as did also the Sinaitic peninsula.

Tarshish is mentioned (Eze 27:12) as a source of silver, iron, tin, and lead. This name may belong to Southern Spain. If so it corresponds to the general belief that the Phoenicians brought a considerable proportion of the metals used in Palestine from that country. Havilah (Ge 2:11), Ophir (1Ki 10:11), Sheba (Ps 72:15) are mentioned as sources of gold. These names probably refer to districts of Arabia. Whether Arabia produced all the gold or simply passed it on from more remote sources is a question.


From the monuments in Egypt we learn that that country was a producer of gold and silver. In fact, the ancient mines and the ruins of the miners’ huts are still to be seen in the desert regions of upper Egypt. In the Sinaitic peninsula are deposits of copper, lead, gold, and silver. The most remarkable of the ancient Egyptian mines are situated here (J. Sarabit el Khadim, U. Sidreh, W. Magharah). The early Egyptian kings (Sneferu, Amenemhat II, and others) not only mined the metals, but cut on the walls of the mines inscriptions describing their methods of mining. Here, as in upper Egypt, are remains of the buildings where miners lived or carried out their metallurgical operations. It is hardly to be conceived that the large deposits of lead (galena) in Asia Minor were unworked by the ancients. No nearer deports of tin than those in Southeastern Europe have yet been found. (For further information on metals see separate articles.)

James A. Patch


met (madhadh): "To measure," either with a utensil of dry measure, as in Ex 16:18, or to measure with a line or measure of length, as in Ps 60:6; 108:7; Isa 40:12. In Isa 18:2,7 it is the rendering of qaw qaw, literally, "line-line" i.e. measuring line, referring to the Ethiopians as a nation that measured off other peoples for destruction and trod them down, as in the Revised Version (British and American). It is regarded by some as signifying strength, being cognate with the Arabic kawi, "strong." For mete of Mt 7:2 and parallel passages in Mr 4:24; Lu 6:38, see MEASURE.

H. Porter





met’-yard (middah, "a measure," Le 19:35): Has this meaning in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American), but in the American Standard Revised Version, "measures of length."


me-theg-am’-a, meth-eg-am’-a (mathegh ha-’ammah, "bridle of the metropolis"; Septuagint ten aphorismenen): It is probable that the place-name Metheg-Ammah in 2Sa 8:1 the King James Version should be rendered as in the Revised Version (British and American), "the bridle of the mother city," i.e. Gath, since we find in the parallel passage in 1Ch 18:1 gath ubhenotheha, "Gath and her daughters," i.e. daughter towns. The Septuagint has an entirely different reading: "and David took the tribute out of the hand of the Philistines," showing that they had a different text from what we now have in the Hebrew. The text is evidently corrupt. If a place is intended its site is unknown, but it must have been in the Philistine plain and in the vicinity of Gath.

H. Porter





me-thu’-se-la, me-thu’-se-la (methushelach, "man of the javelin"): A descendant of Seth, the son of Enoch, and father of Lamech (Ge 5:21 ff; 1Ch 1:3; Lu 3:37). Methuselah is said to have lived 969 years; he is therefore the oldest of the patriarchs and the oldest man. It is doubtful whether these long years do not include the duration of a family or clan.


me-thu’-sha-el (methusha’el): A descendant of Cain, and father of Lamech in the Cainite genealogy (Ge 4:18). The meaning of the name is doubtful. Dillmann suggested "suppliant or man of God."


me-u’-nim (the King James Version Mehunim).



me-u’-zal (me’uzal, or me’uzal): A word which occurs only in the King James Version margin of Eze 27:19. The rendering in the King James Version text is "going to and fro," in the Revised Version (British and American) text "with yarn," but in Revised Version, margin, in agreement with BDB and most modern authorities, Meuzal is regarded as a proper noun with a prefixed preposition, and is rendered "from Uzal."



mez’-a-rim (NORTH).

See ASTRONOMY, sec. II, 13, (1).


me-zo’-ba-it (ha-metsbhayah): The designation of Jaasiel, one of David’s heroes (1Ch 11:47).





mib’-har (mibhchar, "choice"(?)): According to 1Ch 11:38, the name of one of David’s heroes. No such name, however, occurs in the parallel passage (2Sa 23:36). A comparison of the two records makes it probable that mibhchar is a corruption of mitstsbhah =" from Zobah," which completes the designation of the former name, Nathan of Zobah. The concluding words of the verse, Ben-Hagri =" the son of Hagri," will then appear as a misreading of Bani ha-gadhi =" Bani, the Gadite," thus bringing the two records into accord.


mib’-sam (mibhsam, "perfume"(?)):

(1) A son of Ishmael (Ge 25:13; 1Ch 1:29).

(2) A Simeonite (1Ch 4:25).


mib’-zar (mibhtsar, "a fortress"): An Edomite chief, the King James Version "duke" (Ge 36:42; 1Ch 1:53). According to Eusebius, Mibzar is connected with Mibsara, a considerable village subject to Petra and still existing in his time. Compare Holzinger and Skinner in respective commentaries on Genesis.


mi’-ka (mikha’): A variant of the name Micah, and probably like it a contracted form of MICAIAH (which see). In the King James Version it is sometimes spelled "Micha."

(1) A son of Merib-baal or Mephibosheth (2Sa 9:12, the King James Version "Micha"). In 1Ch 8:34, he is called "Micah."

(2) The son of Zichri (1Ch 9:15). In Ne 11:17 (the King James Version "Micha"), he is designated "the son of Zabdi," and in Ne 12:35, his name appears as "Micaiah (the King James Version "Michaiah"), the son of Zaccur."

(3) One of the signatories of the Covenant (Ne 10:11, the King James Version "Micha").

John A. Less


mi’-ka (mikhah, contracted from mikhayahu, "who is like Yah?"; Codex Vaticanus, Meichaias; Codex Alexandrinus, Micha; sometimes in the King James Version spelled Michah):

(1) The chief character of an episode given as an appendix to the Book of Judges (Jud 17$; 18$). Micah, a dweller in Mt. Ephraim, was the founder and owner of a small private sanctuary with accessories for worship (17:1-5), for which he hired as priest a Judean Levite (17:7-13). Five men sent in quest of new territory by the Danites, who had failed to secure a settlement upon their own tribal allotment, visited Micah’s shrine, and obtained from his priest an oracle favoring their quest (Jud 18:1-6). They then went on until they reached the town of Laish in the extreme North, and deeming it suitable for the purpose, they returned to report to their fellow-tribesmen. These at once dispatched thither 600 armed men, accompanied by their families (Jud 18:7-12). Passing Micah’s abode, they appropriated his idols and his priest, and when their owner pursued, he was insulted and threatened (Jud 18:13-26). They took Laish, destroyed it with its inhabitants and rebuilt it under the name of Dan. There they established the stolen images, and appointed Micah’s Levite, Jonathan, a grandson of Moses (the King James Version "Manasseh"), priest of the new sanctuary, which was long famous in Israel (Jud 18:27-31).

The purpose of the narrative is evidently to set forth the origin of the Danite shrine and priesthood. A few peculiarities in the story have led some critics—e.g., Moore, "Judges," in ICC and "Judges" in SBOT; Budde, Richter—to regard it as composite. Wellhausen, however, considers that the peculiarities are editorial and have been introduced for the purpose of smoothing or explaining the ancient record. Most authorities are agreed that the story is nearly contemporary with the events which it narrates, and that it is of the highest value for the study of the history of Israelite worship.


(2) A Reubenite, whose descendant Beerah was carried into exile by Tiglath-pileser (1Ch 5:5).

(3) A son of Merib-baal (1Ch 8:34 f; 9:40 f).

See MICA, (1).

(4) A Kohathite Levite (1Ch 23:20; 24:24 f).

(5) The father of Abdon, one of Josiah’s messengers to the prophetess Huldah (2Ch 34:20). In the parallel passage (2Ki 22:12), the reading is "Achbor the son of Micaiah," the King James Version "Michaiah."

(6) A Simeonite mentioned in the Book of Judith (Judith 6:15).

(7) The prophet, called, in Jer 26:18 (Hebrew), "Micaiah the Morashtite." See special article.

(8) The son of Imlah.

See MICAIAH, (7).

John A. Less


(mikhah; Meichaias; an abbreviation for Micaiah (Jer 26:18), and this again of the longer form of the word in 2Ch 17:7; compare 1Ki 22:8):

1. Name and Person:

The name signifies "who is like Yah?"; compare Michael, equal to "who is like El?" (i.e. God). As this name occurs not infrequently, he is called the "Morashtite," i.e. born in Moresheth. He calls his native city, in Mic 1:14, Moresheth-gath, because it was situated near the Philistine city of Gath. According to Jerome and Eusebius, this place was situated not far eastward from Eleutheropolis. The prophet is not to be confounded with Micah ben Imla, in 1Ki 22:8, an older prophet of the Northern Kingdom.

2. Time of Micah:

According to Jer 26:18, Micah lived and prophesied in the reign of Hezekiah; according to Mic 1:1, he labored also under Jotham and Ahaz. This superscription has, it must be said, great similarity to Isa 1:1 and is probably of a later date. Yet the contents of his first discourse confirm the fact that he prophesied, not only before the destruction of Samaria, but also before the reformation of Hezekiah (compare Mic 1:5). Accordingly, Micah 1 is probably a discourse spoken already under Ahaz, and Micah 2-5 under Hezekiah. No mention is any longer made of Samaria in chapters 2 to 5. This city has already been destroyed; at any rate, is being besieged. Accordingly, these discourses were pronounced after the year 722 BC, but earlier than 701 BC, as the reformation of Hezekiah had not yet been entirely completed. It is impossible to date exactly these discourses, for this reason, that all the separate sentences and addresses were afterward united into one well-edited collection, probably by Micah himself. The attacks that have been made by different critics on the authenticity of Micah 4 and 5 have but a poor foundation. It is a more difficult task to explain the dismal picture of the conditions of affairs as described in Micah 6 and 7 as originating in the reign of Hezekiah. For this reason, scholars have thought of ascribing them to the reigns of Jotham and Ahaz. But better reasons speak for placing them in the degenerate reign of Manasseh. There is no reason for claiming that Micah no longer prophesied in the times of this king. It is true that a number of critics declare that Micah did not write these chapters, especially the so-called psalm in 7:7-20, which, it is claimed, clearly presupposes the destruction of Jerusalem (7:11)! But it is a fact that Micah did really and distinctly predict this destruction and the exile that followed this event in 3:12; and accordingly he could in this concluding hymn very easily have looked even beyond this period.

Micah is, then, a younger contemporary of Isaiah, and, like the latter, he prophesied in Judah, perhaps also in Jerusalem. To the writings of this great prophet his book bears a close resemblance both in form and in contents, although he did not, as was the case with Isaiah, come into personal contact with the kings and make his influence felt in political affairs.

3. Relation to Isaiah:

The statement in Mic 4:1 ff is found almost literally in Isa 2:2 ff. Opinions differ as to who is to be credited with the original, Isaiah or Micah. In the latter, the passage seems to suit better into the connection, while in Isa 2 it begins the discourse abruptly, as though the prophet had taken it from some other source. However, Mic 4:4 f is certainly a sentence added by Micah, who, accordingly, was not the first to formulate the prophecy itself. It is possible that both prophets took it from some older prophet. But it is also conceivable that Isaiah is the author. In this case, he placed this sentence at the head of his briefer utterances when he composed his larger group of addresses in Micah 2—4, for the purpose of expressing the high purposes which God has in mind in His judgments.

4. Contents of the Prophecies:

Micah combats in his discourses, as does Isaiah, the heathenish abuses which had found their way into the cult, not only in Samaria, but also in Judah and Jerusalem, and which the reformation of Hezekiah could counteract only in part and not at all permanently (compare Mic 1:5-7; 5:11-13; 6:7,16). Further, he rebukes them for the social injustice, of which particularly the powerful and the great in the land were guilty (Mic 2:1 ff; 3:2 f.10 f); and the dishonesty and unfaithfulness in business and in conduct in general (compare Mic 6:10 ff; 7:2 ff). At all times Micah, in doing this, was compelled to defend himself against false prophets, who slighted these charges as of little importance, and threatened and antagonized the prophet in his announcements of impending evil (compare 2:5 ff, 11 ff). In pronounced opposition to these babblers and their predictions of good things, Micah announces the judgment through the enemies that are approaching, and he even goes beyond Isaiah in the open declaration that Jerusalem and the temple are to be destroyed (Mic 3:12; 4:10; 5:1). The first-mentioned passage is also confirmed by the event reported in Jer 26:17 ff. The passage Mic 4:10, where in a surprising way Babylon is mentioned as the place of the exile, is for this reason regarded as unauthentic by the critics, but not justly. Micah predicts also the deliverance from Babylon and the reestablishment of Israel in Jerusalem, and declares that this is to take place through a King who shall come forth from the deepest humiliation of the house of David and shall be born in Bethlehem, and who, like David, originally a simple shepherd boy, shall later become the shepherd of the people, and shall make his people happy in peace and prosperity. Against this King the last great onslaught of the Gentiles will avail nothing (4:11-13; 5:4 ff). As a matter of course, he will purify the country of all heathen abuses (5:9 ff). In the description of this ruler, Micah again agrees with Isaiah, but without taking the details from that prophet.

5. Form of the Prophecies:

The form of the prophecies of Micah, notwithstanding their close connection with those of his great contemporary, has nevertheless its unique features. There is a pronounced formal similarity between Mic 1:10 ff and Isa 10:28 ff. Still more than is the case in Isaiah, Micah makes use of the names of certain places. Witty references, which we can understand only in part, are not lacking in this connection; e.g. Lachish, the "city of horses," is made the object of a play on words. (Recently in the ruins of this city a large wall has been unearthed.) The style of Micah is vigorous and vivid. He loved antitheses. It is a peculiarity of his style that he indulges in dramatic interruptions and answers; e.g. 2:5,12; 3:1; 6:6-8; 7:14 f. He also loves historical references; as e.g. 1:13,15; 5:5; 6:4 f, 6,16; 7:20. He makes frequent use of the image of the shepherd, 2:12; 3:2 f; 4:6; 5:3 ff; 7:14. The fact that these peculiarities appear in all parts of his little book is an argument in favor of its being from one author. He is superior to Isaiah in his tendency to idyllic details, and especially in a deeper personal sympathy, which generally finds expression in an elegiac strain. His lyrical style readily takes the form of a prayer or of a psalm (compare Mic 7).


C. P. Caspari; Ueber Micha den Morasthiten, 1851; T.K. Cheyne, Micah with Notes and Introduction, 1882; V. Ryssel, Untersuchungen uber Textoeatalt und Echtheit des Buches Micha, 1887. See the commentaries on the 12 minor prophets by Hitzig, Ewald, C. F. Keil, P. Kleinert, W. Nowack, C. v. Orelli, K. Marti; Paul Haupt, The Book of Micah, 1910; Pusey, The Minor Prophets, 1860.

C. von Orelli


mi-ka’-ya, mi-ki’-a (mikhayahu, "who is like Yah?"; Meichaias): A frequently occurring Old Testament name occasionally contracted to MICA or MICAH (which see). In the King James Version it is usually spelled "Michaiah."

(1) The mother of Abijah (2Ch 13:2, the King James Version "Michaiah"). The parallel passage (1Ki 15:2; compare 2Ch 11:20) indicates that Michaiah here is a corruption of MAACAH (which see) (so the Septuagint).

(2) The father of Achbor (2Ki 22:12, the King James Version "Michaiah").

See MICAH, (5).

(3) A prince of Judah sent by Jehoshaphat to teach in the cities of Judah (2Ch 17:7, the King James Version "Michaiah").

(4) The son of Zaccur, a priestly processionist at the derivation of the wall (Ne 12:35, the King James Version, "Michaiah").

(5) A priestly processionist at the dedication of the wall (Ne 12:41; wanting in the Septuagint (Septuagint)).

(6) The canonical prophet.

See MICAH, (7), and special article.

(7) The son of Imlah, the chief character of an important episode near the end of the reign of Ahab (1Ki 22:4-28 parallel 2Ch 18:3-27). In the Hebrew, his name appears once in the contracted form "Micah" (2Ch 18:14). Ahab had suggested to his victor, Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, that they should undertake a joint campaign against Ramoth-gilead. Jehoshaphat politely acquiesced, but asked that the mind of Yahweh should first be ascertained. Ahab forthwith summoned the official prophets to the number of 400, into the royal presence. Obsequious to their master, they, both by oracular utterance and by the symbolic action of their leader, Zedekiah, the son of Chenaanah, gave the king a favorable answer. Their ready chorus of assent seems to have made Jehoshaphat suspicious, for he pleaded that further guidance be sought. Micaiah, for whom Ahab, then, with evident reluctance, sent, at first simply repeated the favorable response of the 400; but adjured by the king to speak the whole truth, he dropped his ironical tone, and in sad earnest described a vision of disaster. Ahab endeavored to lessen the effect of this oracle by pettishly complaining that Micaiah was always to him a prophet of evil. The latter thereupon related an impressive vision of the heavenly court, whence he had seen a lying spirit dispatched by Yahweh to the prophets in order to bring about Ahab’s delusion and downfall. In answer to a rude challenge from Zedekiah, who acted as spokesman for the 400, Micaiah confidently appealed to the issue for proof of the truth of his prediction, and was promptly commuted to prison by the king.

The narrative is exceedingly vivid and of the utmost interest to students of Issraelite prophecy. Several of its details have given rise to discussion, and the questions: How far were the prophet’s visions objective? How far did he admit the inspiration of his opponents? Is the Divine action described consistent with the holy character of Yahweh? have occasioned difficulty to many. But their difficulty arises largely either because of their Christian viewpoint, or because of their hard and mechanical theory of prophetic inspiration. Micaiah’s position was a delicate one. Foreboding or foreseeing disaster, he did his best to avert it. This he could do only by weaning the king from the influence of the 400 time-serving prophets. He sought to gain his end; first, by an ironical acquiescence in their favorable answer; then, by a short oracle forecasting disaster especially to Ahab; and, these means having failed, by discrediting in the most solemn manner the courtly prophets opposed to him. Thus regarded, his vision contains no admission of their equal inspiration; rather is it an emphatic declaration that these men were uttering falsehood in Yahweh’s name, thereby endangering their country’s safety and their king’s life. Their obsequious time-service made them fit forerunners of the false prophets denounced by Jeremiah (Jer 23:9-40) and by Ezekiel (Eze 13:1-15). The frank anthropomorphism of the vision need be no stumbling-block if allowed to drop into its proper place as the literary device of a prophet intensely conscious of his own inspiration and as whole-heartedly patriotic as those opposed to him.

The record ends very abruptly, giving no account of Micaiah’s vindication when at length the course of events brought about the fulfillment of his prediction. The closing words, "Hear, ye peoples, all of you" (1Ki 22:28 parallel 2Ch 18:27), a quotation of Mic 1:2, are an evident interpolation by some late scribe who confused the son of Imlah with the contemporary of Isaiah.

For fuller treatment see EB, HDB, and commentaries on Kings and Chronicles.

John A. Lees





mi’-ka, mi’-ka.



mi’-ka-el, mi’-kel (mikha’el, "who is like God?" Michael):

(1) The father of Sethur the Asherite spy (Nu 13:13).

(2) (3) Two Gadites (1Ch 5:13,14).

(4) A name in the genealogy of Asaph (1Ch 6:40 (Hebrew 25)).

(5) A son of Izrahiah of Issachar (1Ch 7:3).

(6) A Benjamite (1Ch 8:16).

(7) A Manassite who ceded to David at Ziklag (1Ch 12:20).

(8) The father of Omri of Issachar (1Ch 27:18).

(9) A son of King Jehoshaphat (2Ch 21:2).

(10) The father of Zebediah, an exile who returned with Ezra (Ezr 8:8 parallel RAPC 1Es 8:34).

(11) "The archangel" (Jude 1:9). Probably also the unnamed archangel of 1Th 4:16 is Michael. In the Old Testament he is mentioned by name only in Daniel. He is "one of the chief princes" (Da 10:13), the "prince" of Israel (Da 10:21), "the great prince" (Da 12:1); perhaps also "the prince of the host" (Da 8:11). In all these passages Michael appears as the heavenly patron and champion of Israel; as the watchful guardian of the people of God against all foes earthly or devilish. In the uncanonical apocalyptic writings, however, Jewish angelology is further developed. In them Michael frequently appears and excretes functions similar to those which are ascribed to him in Daniel. He is the first of the "four presences that stand before God"—Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel or Phanuel (En 9:1; 40:9). In other apocryphal books and even elsewhere in En, the number of archangels is given as 7 (En 20:1-7; Tobit 12:15; compare also Re 8:2). Among the many characterizations of Michael the following may be noted: He is "the merciful and long-suffering" (En 40:9; 68:2,3), "the mediator and intercessor" (Ascension of Isaiah, Latin version 9:23; Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, Levi 5; Da 6). It is he who opposed the Devil in a dispute concerning Moses’ body (Jude 1:9). This passage, according to most modern authorities, is derived from the apocryphal Assumption of Moses (see Charles’ edition, 105-10). It is Michael also who leads the angelic armies in the war in heaven against "the old serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan" (Re 12:7 ). According to Charles, the supplanting of the "child" by the archangel is an indication of the Jewish origin of this part of the book.

The earlier Protestant scholars usually identified Michael with the preincarnate Christ, finding support for their view, not only in the juxtaposition of the "child" and the archangel in Re 12, but also in the attributes ascribed to him in Daniel (for a full discussion see Hengstenberg, Offenbarung, I, 611-22, and an interesting survey in English by Dr. Douglas in Fairbairn’s BD).

John A. Lees





mi-ka’-ya, mi-ki’-a.



mi’-kal (mikhal, contracted from mikha’el, "Michael" (which see); Melchol): Saul’s younger daughter (1Sa 14:49), who, falling in love with David after his victory over Goliath (1Sa 18:20), was at last, on the payment of double the dowry asked, married to him (1Sa 18:27). Her love was soon put to the test. When Saul in his jealousy sent for David, she was quick to discern her husband’s danger, connived at his escape, and not only outwitted and delayed the messengers, but afterward also soothed her father’s jealous wrath (1Sa 19:11-17). When David was outlawed and exiled, she was married to Palti or Paltiel, the son of Laish of Gallim (1Sa 25:44), but was, despite Palti’s sorrowful protest, forcibly restored to David on his return as king (2Sa 3:14-16). The next scene in which she figures indicates that her love had cooled and had even turned to disdain, for after David’s enthusiastic joy and ecstatic dancing before the newly restored Ark of the Covenant, she received him with bitter and scornful mockery (2Sa 6:20), and the record closes with the fact that she remained all her life childless (2Sa 6:23; compare 2Sa 21:8 where Michal is an obvious mistake for Merab). Michal was evidently a woman of unusual strength of mind and decision of character. She manifested her love in an age when it was almost an unheard-of thing for a woman to take the initiative in such a matter. For the sake of the man whom she loved too she braved her father’s wrath and risked her own life. Even her later mockery of David affords proof of her courage, and almost suggests the inference that she had resented being treated as a chattel and thrown from one husband to another. The modern reader can scarce withhold from her, if not admiration, at least a slight tribute of sympathy.

John A. Lees


mi-ke’-as: In 2 Esdras 1:39 equals the prophet Micah.


mik’-mas (mikhmac; Codex Vaticanus Machmas; Codex Alexandrinus Chammas): The form of the name "Michmash" found in Ezr 2:27; Ne 7:31. In 1 Esdras 5:21 it appears as MACALON (which see).


mik’-mash (mikhmash; Machmas): A town in the territory of Benjamin, apparently not of sufficient importance to secure mention in the list of cities given in Jos 18:21 ff. It first appears as occupied by Saul with 2,000 men, when Jonathan, advancing from Gibeah, smote the Philistine garrison in Geba (1Sa 13:2). To avenge this injury, the Philistines came up in force and pitched in Michmash (1Sa 13:5). Saul and Jonathan with 600 men held Geba, which had been taken from the Philistine garrison (1Sa 13:16). It will assist in making clear the narrative if, at this point, the natural features of the place are described.

Michmash is represented by the modern Mukhmas, about 7 miles North of Jerusalem. From the main road which runs close to the watershed, a valley sloping eastward sinks swiftly into the great gorge of Wady es-Suweinit. The village of Mukhmas stands to the North of the gorge, about 4 miles East of the carriage road. The ancient path from Ai southward passes to the West of the village, goes down into the valley by a steep and difficult track, and crosses the gorge by the pass, a narrow defile, with lofty, precipitous crags on either side—the only place where a crossing is practicable. To the South of the gorge is Geba, which had been occupied by the Philistines, doubtless to command the pass. Their camp was probably pitched in a position East of Mukhmas, where the ground slopes gradually northward from the edge of the gorge. The place is described by Josephus as "upon a precipice with three peaks, ending in a small, but sharp and long extremity, while there was a rock that surrounded them like bulwarks to prevent the attack of the enemy" (Ant., VI, vi, 2). Conder confirms this description, speaking of it as "a high hill bounded by the precipices of Wady es-Suweinit on the South, rising in three flat but narrow mounds, and communicating with the hill of Mukhmas, which is much lower, by a long and narrow ridge." The Philistines purposed to guard the pass against approach from the South. On the other hand they were not eager to risk an encounter with the badly armed Israelites in a position where superior numbers would be of little advantage. It was while the armies lay thus facing each other across the gorge that Jonathan and his armor-bearer performed their intrepid feat (1Sa 14:1 ).


It will be noted that the Philistines brought their chariots to Michmash (1Sa 13:5). In his ideal picture of the Assyrian advance on Jerusalem, Isaiah makes the invader lay up his baggage at Michmash so that he might go lightly through the pass (Isa 10:28). A company of the men of Michmash (see MICHMAS) returned with Zerubbabel from exile (Ezr 2:27; Ne 7:31). Michmash produced excellent barley. According to the Mishna, "to bring barley to Michmash" was equivalent to our English "to carry coal to Newcastle." Michmash was the seat of government under Jonathan Maccabeus (1 Macc 9:73).

The modern village is stone-built. There are rock-cut tombs to the North. Cisterns supply the water. There are foundations of old buildings, large stones, and a vaulted cistern.

W. Ewing


mik’-me-tha (ha-mikhmethah; Codex Vaticanus Hikasmon; Codex Alexandrinus Machthoth): A place named in defining the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh (Jos 16:6; 17:7). It is said to lie "before," i.e. to the East of Shechem. In the name itself, the meaning of which is obscure, there is nothing to guide us. The presence of the article, however ("the Michmethah"), suggests that it may not be a proper name, but an appellative, applying to some feature of the landscape. Condor suggests the plain of Makhneh, which lies to the East of Nablus (Shechem), in which there may possibly be an echo of the ancient name.


mik’-ri (mikhri): A Benjamite dweller in Jerusalem (1Ch 9:8).





mig’-ron (mighron; Magon):

(1) A place in the uttermost part of Geba—which read here instead of Gibeah—marked by a pomegranate tree, where Saul and his 600 men encamped over against the Philistines, who were in Michmash (1Sa 14:2). Josephus describes the distress of Saul and his company as they sat on a high hill (bounos hupselos) viewing the widespread desolation wrought by the enemy. There is, however, nothing to guide us as to the exact spot. Many suppose that the text is corrupt; but no emendation suggested yields any satisfactory result. The place was certainly South of Michmash.

(2) (Codex Vaticanus Magedo; Codex Alexandrinus Mageddo): The Migron of Isa 10:28 is mentioned between Aiath (Ai) and Michmash. If the places are there named in consecutive order, this Migron must be sought to the North of Michmash. It may with some confidence be located at Makrun, a ruined site to the North of the road leading from Michmash to Ai.

There is nothing extraordinary in two places having the same name pretty close to each other. The two Beth-horons, although distinguished as upper and lower, are a case in point. So also are the two Bethsaidas. There is therefore no need to try to identify the two with one another, as some (e.g. Robertson Smith in Journal of Philology, XIII, 62 ff) have attempted to do with no success.

W. Ewing


mid’-da (machatsith ha-yom, tsohorayim; hemera mese): The Hebrew machatsith ha-yom (Ne 8:3) and the Greek hemeras meses (Ac 26:13) are strictly the middle of the day, but the Hebrew tshorayim is a dual form from tsohar, meaning "light," hence, light or brightness, i.e. the brightest part of the day (1Ki 18:29).



mid’-in (middin; in GB, Ainon, "springs"): One of the six cities in the wilderness of Judah (Jos 15:61). There are not many possible sites. The Hebrew name may possibly survive in Khirbet Mird, a very conspicuous site with many ancient cisterns overlooking the plateau el Bukea‘, above which it towers to a height of 1,000 ft.; it is the Mons Mardes of early Christian pilgrims; the existing remains are Byzantine. It is a site of great natural strength and was clearly once a place of some importance. The Greek reading Ainon, "place of springs," suggests the neighborhood of the extensive oasis of ‘Ain Feshkhah at the northwest corner of the Dead Sea where there are at Kh. Kumram remains of buildings and a rock-cut aqueduct. See PEF, III, 210, 212, Sh XVIII.

E. W. G. Masterman




mid’-i-an, mid’-i-an-its (midhyan, midhyanim; Madiam, Madienaioi):

1. The Seed of Abraham to the Time of the Judges:

Midian was a son of Abraham by his concubine Keturah. To him were born 5 sons, Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida and Eldaah (Ge 25:2,4; 1Ch 1:32 f). Bearing gifts from Abraham, he and his brothers, each with his own household, moved off from Isaac into "the east country" (Ge 25:6). The first recorded incident in the history of the tribe is a defeat suffered "in the field of Moab" at the hands of Hadad, king of Edom. Of this nothing beyond the fact is known (Ge 36:35; 1Ch 1:46). The Midianites next appear as merchantmen traveling from Gilead to Egypt, with "spicery and balm and myrrh," with no prejudice against a turn of slave-dealing (Ge 37:25 ). Moses, on fleeing from Egypt, found refuge in the land of Midian, and became son-in-law of Jethro, the priest of Midian (Ex 2:15,21). In Midian Moses received his commission to Israel in Egypt (Ex 4:19). A Midianite, familiar with the desert, acted as guide ("instead of eyes") to the children of Israel in their wilderness wanderings (Nu 10:29 ). The friendly relations between Israel and Midian, which seem to have prevailed at first, had been ruptured, and we find the elders of Midian acting with those of Moab in calling Balaam to curse Israel (Nu 22:4-7). Because of the grievous sin into which they had seduced Israel on the shrewd advice of Balaam, a war of vengeance was made against the Midianites in which five of their chiefs perished; the males were ruthlessly slain, and Balaam also was put to death (Nu 25:15,17; 31:2 ). We next hear of Midian as oppressing Israel for 7 years. Along with the Amalekites and the children of the East they swarmed across the Jordan, and their multitudinous beasts swept up the produce of the earth. Overwhelming disaster befell this horde at the onset of Gideon’s chosen men. In the battle and pursuit "there fell a hundred and twenty thousand men that drew sword"; their kings, Zebah and Zalmunna, and their princes, Oreb and Zeeb, sharing the common fate (Jud 6$; 7$; 8$). Echoes of this glorious victory—"the day of Midian"—are heard in later literature (Ps 83:9; Isa 9:4; 10:26; Hab 3:7).

2. The Kenite Branch:

The Kenites appear to have been a branch of the Midianites. Jethro could hardly have attained the dignity of the priesthood in Midian had he been of alien blood (Jud 1:16). See KENITES. Again, the tribesmen are named indifferently Ishmaelites and Midianites (Ge 37:25,28,36; Jud 8:22,24). They must therefore have stood in close relations with the descendants of Hagar’s son.

3. Modern Arabs:

The representations of Midian in Scripture are consistent with what we know of the immemorial ways of Arabian tribes, now engaged in pastoral pursuits, again as carriers of merchandise, and yet again as freebooters. Such tribes often roam through wide circles. They appear not to have practiced circumcision (Ex 4:25), which is now practically universal among the Arabs. The men wore golden ornaments, as do the modern nomads (Jud 8:24 ).

4. Historical References:

The name of "Midian" is not found in Egyptian or Assyrian documents. Delitzsch (Wo lag das Paradies? 304) suggests that Ephah (Ge 25:4) may be identical with Chayapa of the cuneiform inscriptions. If this is correct the references point to the existence of this Midianite tribe in the North of el-Chijaz in the times of Tiglath-pileser and Sargon (745-705 BC). Isaiah speaks of Midian and Ephah apparently as separate tribes, whose dromedaries bear gold and frankincense to Zion (60:6); but he gives no hint of the districts they occupied. The tribe of Ghifar, found in the neighborhood of Medina in Mohammed’s day, Knobel would identify with Epher, another of Midian’s sons.

5. Territory:

No boundaries can now be assigned to "the land of Midian." It included territory on the West as well as on the East of the Gulf of ‘Aqaba (Ex 4:19). It lay between Edom and Paran (1Ki 11:18). In the time of the Judges their district seems to have extended northward to the East of Gilead (8:10).

A trace of the ancient name is found in that of Madyah, a place mentioned by the Arabic geographers, with a plentiful supply of water, now called Maghair Sho‘aib. It lies East of the Gulf of ‘Aqaba, some miles from the coast, almost opposite the point of the Sinaitic peninsula. The name Sho‘aib, given by Mohammed to Jethro, may here be due to ancient Midianite tradition.

W. Ewing


mid’-i-an-it-ish, (ha-midhyanith, "the Midianitess"): The designation given to the daughter of Zur, Cozbi, whom Zimri the son of Salu brought into the camp of Israel (Nu 25:6-18). Both were of noble parentage (Nu 25:14,15). The majority of the people strongly resented this act of profanation (Nu 25:6). A pestilence was raging in the camp, and Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, in an outburst of zeal pursued the two delinquents and slew them by a spear-thrust through their bodies (Nu 25:8). He obtained as a reward the immediate staying of the plague and the promise of perpetual priesthood to his family (Nu 25:8,13).

John A. Lees


mid’-nit (chatsoth laylah, "middle of the night" (Ex 11:4; Job 34:20; Ps 119:62), chatsi ha-laylah, "the half of the night" (Ex 12:29; Jud 16:3; Ru 3:8), tokh ha-laylah, "the division of the night" and hence, the middle point (1Ki 3:20); meses nuktos (Mt 25:6), or meson tes nuktos, "the middle of the night" (Ac 27:27), mesonuktios, "midnight"; Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek, mesonuktion (Ac 16:25, etc.)): In the period before the exile midnight does not seem to have been very accurately determined. The division of the night was into three watches, the middle one of which included midnight. In New Testament times the four-watch division was used where midnight must have been more or less accurately determined.


H. Porter


mid’-rash (midhrash): The Hebrew word corresponding to the King James Version "story" and the Revised Version (British and American) "commentary" in 2Ch 13:22; 24:27. A midrash is properly a story developed for purposes of edification.



mid’-wif (meyalledheth): Those who in patriarchal times attended mothers at childbirth are so named in Ge 35:17; 38:28; Ex 1:15-22. Such attendants were probably then (1Sa 4:20), as they usually are now, the older female relatives and friends of the mother. The duties which they had to perform are enumerated in Eze 16:4: division of the cord, washing the infant in water, salting with salt and swathing in swaddling clothes. During the Egyptian bondage there were two midwives who attended the Hebrew women; from their names, they were probably Hebrews, certainly they were not Egyptians. From this passage it appears that they used a certain double-round form of birthstool called ‘obhnayim, concerning which there are several rabbinical comments. It probably was like the kuru elwiladeh, or "birth-seat," still used by the Egyptian fellahin. I have not found any record of its use among the Palestinian fellahin. There is a curious passage in the Talmud (Cotah 2 b) in which it is said that the two midwives had different duties, Shiphrah being the one who dressed the infant, Puah, the one who whispered to it. One Jewish commentator on this supposes that Puah used artificial respiration by blowing into the child’s mouth. The midwives must have had considerable skill, as a case like that of Tamar required some amount of operative manipulation.

The English word means originally the woman who is "with the mother" (compare "the women that stood by," in 1Sa 4:20), but very early became applied to those who gave skilled assistance, as in Raynold’s Birth of Mankind, 1565.

Alexander Macalister





mig’-dal-el (mighdal-’el; Codex Vaticanus Megalaareim; Codex Alexandrinus Magdalieoram): The name, which means "tower of God," occurs between Iron and Horem in the list of the fenced cities of Naphtali (Jos 19:38). Eusebius, Onomasticon places it 9 miles from Dora (Tanturah), on the way to Ptolemais, which points to Athlit. But this is far from the territory of Naphtali. It is probably to be identified with either Khirbet Mejdel, 3 miles North of Qedes, or Mejdel Islim, 5 miles farther to the Northwest.


mig’-dal-gad (mighdalgadh, "tower of Gad"): One of a group of 16 cities of Judah situated in the "lowland" (Jos 15:37). Of these, only Lachish, Eglon, Beth-dagon and Naamah have been identified with any certainty. This would indicate a site in the Philistine plain, and the modern flourishing town of Mejdel, 2 1/2 miles Northeast of Ashkelon, appears to be a possible identification. It is the most important town in the district which is named after it Nahiet el-Mejdel. It must, however, be admitted that it is difficult to see how Judah could have held a site so close to the great Philistine strongholds. It is very probable that Mejdel ("tower") is the tower mentioned in Josephus, BJ, III, ii, 3, as close to Ashkelon, and it or Migdalgad (or both if they are the same sites) may be identical with the Magtal of the Tell el-Amarna Letters (Petrie, Hist. Egypt, II, 329). For Mejdel see Palestine Exploration Fund, II, 410, Sh XVI.

E. W. G. Masterman


mig’-dol, mig’-dol (mighdol; Magdolon): This name ("the tower") is applied to two places on the east frontier of Egypt.

1. Exodus 14:2; Numbers 33:7:

In Ex 14:2; Nu 33:7, the Hebrew camp, on the march from Etham after they had "turned" (apparently to the South), is defined as ‘facing Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon.’ It is thus to be sought (see EXODUS) West of the Bitter Lakes, and may have been a watchtower on the spur of Jebel ‘Ataqah. Israel was supposed to be "entangled in the land," and shut in in the "wilderness," between this range and the Bitter Lakes, then forming the head of the Red Sea. The exact site is unknown. In about 385 AD, Silvia, traveling from Clysma (Suez), was shown the sites above mentioned on her way to Heroopolis, but none of these names now survive.

2. Jeremiah 44:1; 46:14:

In Jer 44:1; 46:14, a Migdol is noticed with Memphis, and with Tahpanhes Septuagint "Taphnas"), this latter being supposed to be the Daphnai of Greek writers, now Tell Defeneh, West of Qantarah. The same place is probably intended in Eze 29:10; 30:6 (compare 30:15-18), the borders of Egypt being defined as reaching "from Migdol to Syene" (see the Revised Version margin), as understood by the Septuagint translators. The Antonine Itinerary places Migdol 12 miles South of Pelusium, and the site appears to have been at or near Tell es Samut, the Egyptian name, according to Brugsch (Hist, II, 351), being Samut. This Migdol was thus apparently a "watchtower" on the main road along the coast from Palestine, which is called (Ex 13:17) "the way of the land of the Philistines," entering Egypt near Daphnai.

These Sites Not Identical.

We are specially told that this was not the route taken at the exodus, and this Migdol cannot therefore be the same as (1), though Brugsch, in consequence of a theory as to the exodus which has not been accepted by other scholars, has confused the two sites, as apparently does the Antonine Itinerary when placing Pithom on the same route leading to Zoan. Brugsch (Geography, III, 19) supposes the Egyptian town name Pa-Ma’kal (with the determinative for "wall" added) to stand for Migdol, but the prefix "Pa-"(" city") seems to show that this word is purely native, and not Semitic, to say nothing of philological objections. This town may, however, have lain in the required direction, according to a scribe’s report of the time of Seti II (or about 1230 BC).

As much confusion has been created by quoting this report as illustrative of the exodus, the actual words according to Brugsch’s translation may be given (History, II, 132): "I set out from the hall of the royal palace on the 9th day of Epiphi, in the evening, after the two servants. I arrived at the fortress Thuku (T-k-u) on the 10th of Epiphi. I was informed that the men had resolved to take their way toward the South. On the 12th I reached Khetam. There I was informed that grooms who had come from the neighborhood (of the "sedge city") reported that the fugitives had already passed the rampart (Anbu or "wall"), to the North of the Ma’ktal of King Seti Minepthah." As to the position of this "wall," see SHUR.

C. R. Conder


mij’-a-min (miyamin; the King James Version Miamin):

(1) One of those who had married foreign wives (Ezr 10:25). He is also called Maelus (1 Esdras 9:26).

(2) The one to whom fell the lot for the 6th priestly course (1Ch 24:9). His family returned with Zerubbabel and Joshua (Ne 12:5).

(3) A signatory of the Covenant (Ne 10:7).


mik’-loth, mik’-loth (miqloth):

(1) A Benjamite, son of Jeiel (1Ch 8:32; 9:37,38). A comparison of the two passages shows that the name Mikloth has been dropped at the end of 1Ch 8:31.

(2) An officer designated "the ruler," appointed in the priestly course for the 2nd month (1Ch 27:4).


mik-ne’-ya, mik-ni’-a (miqneydhu): A Levite doorkeeper (1Ch 15:18).


mil-a-la’-i, mil’-a-li (milalay): A Levite musician (Ne 12:36).


mil’-ka (milkah; Melcha):

(1) Daughter of Haran, wife of Nahor, and grandmother of Rebekah (Ge 11:29; 22:20-23; 24:15,24,47).

(2) Daughter of Zelophehad (Nu 26:33; 27:1; 36:11; Jos 17:3). Many recent authorities are of opinion that Milcah is an abbreviation of Bethmilcah, and is a geographical rather than a personal name.


mil’-kom, mil’-kom. See MOLECH.


mil’-du (yeraqon; Septuagint usually ikteros, literally, "jaundice"): In the 5 passages where it occurs it is associated with shiddaphon, "blasting" (De 28:22; 1Ki 8:37; 2Ch 6:28; Am 4:9; Hag 2:17). In Jer 30:6, the same word is translated "paleness," the yellow color of one with abdominal disease. The root-meaning is "greenish yellow"; compare the Arabic yarqan, meaning both "jaundice" and "blight." Mildrew or "rust" in grain is due to a special fungus, Puccinia graminis, whose life is divided between the barberry and cereals. Many other varieties of fungi which flourish upon other plants are also designated "mildew."


E. W. G. Masterman


mil (milion, Latin mille passus, milia passuum): A thousand paces, equal to 1,618 English yards. (Mt 5:41).



mi-le’-tus (Miletos): A famous early Ionian Greek city on the coast of Caria, near the mouth of the Meander River, which, according to Ac 20:15-21:1, and 2Ti 4:20 (the King James Version "Miletum"), Paul twice visited. In the earliest times it was a prominent trading post, and it is said that 75 colonies were founded by its merchants. Among them were Abydos, Cyzicus and Sinope. In 494 BC, the city was taken by the Persians; it was recovered by Alexander the Great, but after his time it rapidly declined, yet it continued to exist until long after the Christian era. In the history of early Christianity it plays but a little part. The Meander brings down a considerable amount of sediment which it has deposited at its mouth, naturally altering the coast line. The gulf into which the river flows has thus been nearly filled with the deposit. In the ancient gulf stood a little island called Lade; the island now appears as a mound in the marshy malarial plain, and Palatia, the modern village which stands on the site of Miletus, is 6 miles from the coast. Without taking into account the great changes in the coast line it would be difficult to understand Ac 20:15-21, for in the days of Paul, Ephesus could be reached from Miletus by land only by making a long detour about the head of the gulf. To go directly from one of these cities to the other, one would have been obliged to cross the gulf by boat and then continue by land. This is what Paul’s messenger probably did. The direct journey may now be made by land. Miletus has been so ruined that its plan can no longer be made out. Practically the only remaining object of unusual interest is theater, the largest in Asia Minor, which was not built in a hollow of the hillside, as most ancient theaters were, but in the open field.

E. J. Banks


milk (chalabh; gala; Latin lac (2 Esdras 2:19; 8:10)): The fluid secreted by the mammary glands of female mammals for the nourishment of their young. The word is used in the Bible of that of human beings (Isa 28:9) as well as of that of the lower animals (Ex 23:19). As a food it ranked next in importance to bread (Ecclesiasticus 39:26). Palestine is frequently described as a land "flowing with milk and honey" (Ex 3:8,17; Nu 13:27; De 6:3; Jos 5:6; Jer 11:5; Eze 20:6,15). Milk was among the first things set before the weary traveler (Ge 18:8). In fact, it was considered a luxury (Jud 5:25; So 5:1). The people used the milk of kine and also that of sheep (De 32:14), and especially that of goats (Pr 27:27). It was received in pails (’atinim, Job 21:24), and kept in leather bottles (no’dh, Jud 4:19), where it turned sour quickly in the warm climate of Palestine before being poured out thickly like a melting substance (nathakh; compare Job 10:10). Cheese of various kinds was made from it (gebhinah and charitse he-chalabh, literally, "cuts of milk"); or the curds (chem’ah) were eaten with bread, and possibly also made into butter by churning (Pr 30:33). See FOOD, II. It is possible that milk was used for seething other substances; at least the Israelites were strictly forbidden to seethe a kid in its mother’s milk (Ex 23:19; 34:26; De 14:21), and by a very general interpretation of these passages Jews have come to abstain from the use of mixtures of meat and milk of all kinds.

Figuratively the word is used

(1) of abundance (Ge 49:12);

(2) of a loved one’s charms (So 4:11);

(3) of blessings (Isa 55:1; Joe 3:18);

(4) of the (spiritual) food of immature people (1Co 3:2; Heb 5:12,13);

(5) of purity (1Pe 2:2).

Nathan Isaacs


mil, mil’-ston (recheh; mulos, mulon): The two most primitive methods of grinding grain were

(1) by pounding it in a mortar, and

(2) by rubbing it between two stones.

In Nu 11:8 both methods are mentioned as used for rendering the manna more fit for cooking. Numerous examples of both mill and mortar have been found in ancient excavations. Bliss and Macalister in their excavations at Gezer and other places have found specimens of what is called the saddle-quern or mill, which consists of two stones. The "nether" stone, always made of hard lava or basalt from the district of the Hauran, was a large heavy slab varying in length from 1 1/2 ft. to 2 3/4 ft., and in width from 10 inches to 1 1/3 ft. Its upper surface was hollowed out slightly, which made it look a little like a saddle and may have suggested the name of "riding millstone" applied by the Hebrews to the upper stone which rested on it (Jud 9:53). The "upper stone" or "rider" was much smaller, 4 inches to 8 in. long and 2 3/4 inches to 6 inches wide, and of varying shapes. This could be seized with the two hands and rubbed back and forth over the nether stone much the same as clothes are scrubbed on a wash-board. Such a stone could be used as a weapon (Jud 9:53; 2Sa 11:21), or given as a pledge (De 24:6).

Macalister goes so far as to say that "the rotary handquern in the form used in modern Palestine and in remote European regions, such as the Hebrides, is quite unknown throughout the whole history, even down to the time of Christ" (Excavations at Gezer). The same writer, however, describes some mills belonging to the 3rd and 4th Sere periods which are much like the present rotary quern, except smaller (4 inches to 6 inches in diameter), and with no provision for a turning handle. Schumacher describes these as paint grinders. The only perforated upper millstones found in the excavations at Gezer belong to the early Arabic period.

If the above assertions are substantiated then we must alter somewhat the familiar picture of the two women at the mill (Mt 24:41), commonly illustrated by photographs of the mills still used in modern Palestine These latter consist of two stone discs each 18 inches to 20 inches in diameter, usually made of Hauran basalt. The upper one is perforated in the center to allow it to rotate on a wooden peg fixed in the nether stone, and near the circumference of the upper stone is fixed a wooden handle for turning it. The grain to be ground is fed into the central hole on the upper stone and gradually works down between the stones. As the grain is reduced to flour, it flies out from between the stones on to a cloth or skin placed underneath the mill. To make the flour fine it is reground and sifted. Larger stones 4 ft. to 5 ft. in diameter, working on the principle of the handmill, are still used for grinding sesame seed. These are turned by asses or mules. Another form of mill, which is possibly referred to in Mt 18:6; Mr 9:42; Re 18:21,22, consisted of a conical nether stone on which "rode" a second stone like a hollowed-out capstan. The upper stone was probably turned with handspikes in much the same way as an old-fashioned ship’s capstan was turned. The material to be ground was fed into the upper cone which formed the hopper and from which it was delivered to the grinding surfaces between the "rider" and the nether stone. This form of mill must have been known in late Biblical times, because many examples of the upper stone dating from the Greek-Roman period have been found. One may be seen in the museum of the Syrian Protestant College at Beirut. Another large one lies among the ruins at Petra, etc. In Mt 18:6; Mr 9:42, the mill is described as a mulos onikos, literally, a mill turned by an ass, hence, a great millstone. It is not at all unlikely that the writers have confused the meaning of onos (chamor), a term commonly applied to the upper millstone of a handmill, thinking it referred instead to the animal which turned the mill. This explanation would make Christ’s words of condemnation more applicable. The upper millstone of a handmill would be more than sufficient to sink the condemned, and the punishment would be more easily carried out. A few years from now handmills will have disappeared from the Syrian households, for the more modern gristmills turned by water or other motor power are rapidly replacing them.

See CRAFTS, II, 8.


(1) Of firmness and undaunted courage (Job 41:24). "The heart of hot-blooded animals is liable to sudden contractions and expansions, producing rapid alternations of sensations; not so the heart of the great saurians" (Canon Cook, at the place).

(2) To "grind the face of the poor" (Isa 3:15) is cruelly to oppress and afflict them.

(3) The ceasing of the sound of the millstone was a sign of desolation (Jer 25:10; Re 18:22).

James A. Patch





Divergent Views—Scope of Article I. THE TEACHING OF JESUS

The Millennium Not before the Advent

(1) Parable of the Wheat and Tares

(2) Parable of the Pounds


1. Expectation of the Advent

2. Possibility of Survival—Its Implications

3. Prophecy of "Man of Sin"

4. No Room for Millennium

5. Harmony of Christ and Apostles


Divergent Views—Scope of Article:

The great majority of evangelical Christians believe that the kingdom of God shall have universal sway over the earth, and that righteousness and peace and the knowledge of the Lord shall everywhere prevail. This happy time is commonly called the Millennium, or the thousand years’ reign. Divergent views are entertained as to how it is to be brought about. Many honest and faithful men hold that it will be introduced by the agencies now at work, mainly by the preaching of the gospel of Christ and the extension of the church over the world. An increasing number of men equally honest teach that the Millennium will be established by the visible advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. The aim of this brief article is to set forth some of the Scriptural grounds on which this latter view rests. No reference will be made to objections, to counter-objections and interpretations; the single point, namely, that the Millennium succeeds the second coming of Jesus Christ, that it does not precede it, will be rigidly adhered to. Those who hold this view believe that neither Christ nor His apostles taught, on fair principles of interpretation, that the Millennium must come before His advent.

I. The Teaching of Jesus.

The Lord Jesus said nothing about world-wide conversion in His instructions to His disciples touching their mission (Mt 28:19,20; Mr 16:15; Lu 24:46-48; Ac 1:8).

The Millennium Not before the Advent:

They were to be His witnesses and carry His message to the race, but He does not promise the race will receive their testimony, or that men will generally accept His salvation. On the contrary, He explicitly forewarns them that they shall be hated of all men, that sufferings and persecutions shall be their lot, but if they are faithful to the end their reward will be glorious. But world-wide evangelism does not mean world-wide conversion. The universal offer of salvation does not pledge its universal acceptance. In His instructions and predictions the Lord does not let fall a hint that their world-wide mission will result in world-wide conversion, or that thereby the longed-for Millennium will be ushered in. But there is a time to come when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters the sea, when teaching shall no longer be needed, for all shall know Him from the least to the greatest. Our dispensation, accordingly, cannot be the last, for the effects stated in that are not contemplated in the instructions and the results of this. To the direct revelation of Christ on the subject we now turn. In two parables He explicitly announces the general character and the consummation of the gospel age, and these we are briefly to examine.

(1) Parable of the Wheat and Tares (Matthew 13:24-30,36-43).

Happily we are not left to discover the meaning and scope of this parable. We enjoy the immense advantage of having our Lord’s own interpretation of it. Out of His Divine explanation certain most important facts emerge:

(a) The parable covers the whole period between the first and second advents of the Saviour. The Sower is Christ Himself. He began the good work; He opened the new era.

(b) The field is the world. Christ’s work is no longer confined to a single nation or people as once; it contemplates the entire race.

(c) His people, the redeemed, begotten by His word and Spirit, are the good seed. Through them the gospel of His grace is to be propagated throughout the whole world.

(d) The devil is also a sower. He is the foul counterfeiter of God ‘s work. He sowed the tares, the sons of the evil one.

(e) The tares are not wicked men in general, but a particular class of wicked brought into close and contaminating association with the children of God. "Within the territory of the visible church the tares are deposited" (Dr. David Brown). It is the corruption of Christendom that is meant, a gigantic fact to which we cannot shut our eyes.

(f) The mischief, once done, cannot be corrected. "Let both grow together until the harvest." Christendom once corrupted remains so to the end.

(g) The harvest is the consummation of the age. This is the culmination of our age; it terminates with the advent and judgment of the Son of God. He will send forth His angels who will "gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and them that do iniquity, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire ..... Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."

Here, then, we have the beginning, progress and consummation of our age. Christ Himself introduced it, and it was distinguished for its purity and its excellence. But the glorious system of truth was soon marred by the cunning craftiness of Satan. No after-vigilance or earnestness on the part of the servants could repair the fatal damage. They were forbidden to attempt the removal of the tares, for by so doing they would endanger the good grain, so intermixed had the two become! The expulsion of the tares is left for angels’ hands in the day of the harvest. This is our Lord’s picture of our age: a Zizanian field wherein good and bad, children of God and children of the evil one, live side by side down to the harvest which is the end. In spite of all efforts to correct and reform, the corruption of Christendom remains, nay, grows apace. To expel the vast crop of false doctrine, false professors, false teachers, is now as it has been for centuries an impossibility. Christ’s solemn words hold down to the final consummation, "Let both grow together until the harvest." In such conditions a millennium of universal righteousness and knowledge of the Lord seems impossible until the separation takes place at the harvest.

(2) Parable of the Pounds (Luke 19:11-27).

Jesus was on His last journey to Jerusalem, and near the city. The multitude was eager, expectant. They supposed the Kingdom of God was immediately to appear. The parable was spoken to correct this mistake and to reveal certain vital features of it. "A certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return." There is little difficulty in grasping the main teaching of this suggestive narrative. The nobleman is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; the far country is heaven; the kingdom He goes to receive is the Messianic kingdom, for the victorious establishment of which all God’s people long and pray. The servants are those who sustain responsible relation to the Lord because of the trust committed to them. The rebellious citizens are those who refuse subjection to His will and defy His authority. His return is His second coming. The parable spans the whole period between His ascension and His advent. It measures across our entire age. It tells of Christ’s going away, it describes the conduct of His servants and of the citizens during His absence; it foretells His return and the reckoning that is to follow. Mark the words, "And it came to pass, when he was come back again, having received the kingdom." It is in heaven He receives the investiture of the kingdom (Re 5:6). It is on earth that He administers it. The phrase, "having received the kingdom," cannot by any dexterity of exegesis be made to denote the end of time or the end of the Millennium, or of His receiving it at the end of the world; it is then He delivers it up to God, even the Father (1Co 24-28).

The order and sequence of events as traced by the Lord disclose the same fact made prominent in the parable of the Wheat and Tares, namely, that during the whole period between His ascension and His return there is no place for a Millennium of world-wide righteousness and prosperity. But Scripture warrants the belief that such blessedness is surely to fill the earth, and if so, it must be realized after Christ’s second coming.

II. Teaching of the Apostles.

1. Expectation of the Advent:

There is no unmistakable evidence that the apostles expected a thousand years of prosperity and peace during Christ’s absence in heaven. In Ac 1:11 we read that the heavenly visitants said to the apostles, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye looking into heaven?" This attitude of the men of Galilee became the permanent attitude of the primitive church. It was that of the uplifted gaze. Paul’s exultant words respecting the Thessalonians might well be applied to all believers of that ancient time, that they "turned unto God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven" (1Th 1:9,10). It is the prominent theme of the New Testament epistles. In the New Testament it is mentioned 318 t. One verse in every thirty, we are told, is occupied with it. It is found shining with a glad hope in the first letters Paul wrote, those to the Thessalonians. It is found in the last he wrote, the second to Timothy, gleaming with the bright anticipation of the crown he was to receive at the Redeemer’s appearing. James quickens the flagging courage, and reanimates the drooping spirits of believers with this trumpet peal: "Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord is at hand" (5:8). Peter exhorts to all holy conversation and godliness by the like motive: "Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God" (2Pe 3:12 margin). Amid the deepening gloom and the gathering storms of the last days, Jude 1:14 cheers us with the words of Enoch, the seventh from Adam, ‘Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon .... the ungodly.’ John closes the Canon with the majestic words, "Behold, he cometh with the clouds," "Behold, I come quickly." These men, speaking by the Spirit of the living God, know there can be no reign of universal righteousness, no deliverance of groaning creation, no redemption of the body, no binding of Satan, and no Millennium while the tares grow side by side with the wheat; while the ungodly world flings its defiant shout after the retiring nobleman, "We will not have this man to reign over us"; and while Satan, that strong, fierce spirit, loose in this age, deceives, leads captive, devours and ruins as he lists. Therefore the passionate longing and the assurance of nearing deliverance at the coming of Christ fill so large a place in the faith and the life of the primitive disciples.

2. Possibility of Survival—Its Implications:

In 1Th 4:17 Paul speaks of himself and others who may survive till the Lord’s coming: "Then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air" (compare 1Co 15:51,52).

This implies fairly that the apostle did not know that long ages would elapse between his own day and Christ’s advent. There was to his mind the possibility of His coming in his lifetime; in fact, he seems to have an expectation that he would not pass through the gates of death at all, that he would live to see the Lord in His glorious return, for the day and the hour of the advent is absolutely concealed even from inspired men. The inference is perfectly legitimate that Paul and his fellow-disciples did not anticipate that a thousand years should intervene between them and the coming.

3. Prophecy of the "Man of Sin":

Furthermore, the Thessalonians had fallen into a serious mistake (2Th 2:1-2). By a false spirit, or by a forged epistle as from Paul, they were led to believe that "the day of the Lord is now present" (English Revised Version), 2Th 2:2. The apostle sets them right about this solemn matter. He assures them that some things must precede that day, namely, "the falling away," or apostasy, and the appearing of a powerful adversary, whom he calls "the Man of Sin," and describes as "the Son of Perdition." Neither the one nor the other of these two, the apostasy and the Man of Sin, was then present. But the road was fast getting ready for them. There was the "mystery of lawlessness" already at work at the time, and although a certain restraint held it in check, nevertheless when the check was removed it would at once precipitate the apostasy, and it would issue in the advent of the Man of Sin, and he should be brought to nought by the personal coming of Jesus Christ. This appears to be the import of the passage.

Here was the appropriate place to settle forever for these saints and for all others the question of a long period to intervene before the Saviour’s advent. How easy and natural it would have been for Paul to write, "Brethren, there is to be first a time of universal blessedness for the world, the Millennium, and after that there will be an apostasy and the revelation of the Man of Sin whom Christ will destroy by the brightness of His coming." But Paul intimated nothing of the sort. Instead, he distinctly says that the mystery of lawlessness is already working, that it will issue in "the falling away," and then shall appear the great adversary, the Lawless One, who shall meet his doom by the advent of Christ. The mystery of lawlessness, however, is held in restraint, we are told. May it not be possible that the check shall be taken off, then the Millennium succeed, and after that the apostasy and the Son of Perdition? No, for its removal is immediately followed by the coming of the great foe, the Antichrist. For this foe has both an apocalypse and a parousia like Christ Himself. Hence, the lifting of the restraint is sudden, by no means a prolonged process.

4. No Room for Millennium:

The apostle speaks of the commencement, progress, and close of a certain period. It had commenced when he wrote. Its close is at the coming of Christ. What intervenes? The continuance of the evil secretly at work in the body of professing Christians, and its progress from the incipient state to the maturity of daring wickedness which will be exhibited in the Man of Sin. This condition of things fills up the whole period, if we accept Paul’s teaching as that of inspired truth. There appears to be no place for a Millennium within the limits which the apostle here sets. The only escape from this conclusion, as it seems to us, is, to deny that the coming of Christ is His actual, personal second coming. But the two words, epiphaneia and parousia, which elsewhere are used separately to denote His advent, are here employed to give "graphic vividness" and certainty to the event, and hence, they peremptorily forbid a figurative interpretation. The conclusion seems unavoidable that there can be no Millennium on this side of the advent of Christ.

5. Harmony of Christ and Apostles:

Our Lord’s Olivet prophecy (Mt 24; 25; Mr 13; Lu 21) accords fully with the teaching of the apostles on the subject. In that discourse He foretells wars, commotions among the nations, Jerusalem’s capture and the destruction of the temple, Israel’s exile, Christians persecuted while bearing their testimony throughout the world, cosmic convulsions, unparalleled tribulation and sufferings which terminate only with His advent. From the day this great prophecy was spoken down to the hour of His actual coming He offers no hope of a Millennium. He opens no place for a thousand years of blessedness for the earth.

These are some of the grounds on which Biblical students known as Premillennialists rest their belief touching the coming of the Lord and the Millennial reign.


Premillenarian: H. Bonar, The Coming of the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus; Wood, The Last Things; Guinness, The Approaching End of the Age; Seiss, The Last Times; Gordon, Ecce Venit; Premillennial Essays; Peters, The Theocratic Kingdom; West, The Thousand Years in Both Testaments; Trotter, Plain Papers on Prophetic Subjects; Brookes, Maranatha; Andrews, Christianity and Antichristianity; Kellogg, Predition and Fulfillment.

William G. Moorehead


mil’-et, mil’-it (dochan; kegchros): One of the ingredients of the prophet’s bread (Eze 4:9). The Arabic equivalent is dukhn, the common millet, Panicum miliaceum, an annual grass 3 or 4 ft. high with a much-branched nodding panicle. Its seeds arc as small as mustard seeds and are used largely for feeding small birds, but are sometimes ground to flour and mixed with other cereals for making bread. The Italian millet, setaria Italica, known as Bengal grass, is also called in Arabic dukhn, and has a similar seed. A somewhat similar grain, much more widely cultivated as a summer crop, is the Indian millet—also called "Egyptian maize"—the Sorghum annuum. This is known as dhurah in Arabic, and the seed as dhurah beida, "white dourra." It is a very important crop, as it, like the common millet, grows and matures without any rain. It is an important breadstuff among the poor.

Both the common millet and the dourra were cultivated in Egypt in very ancient times; the Hebrew dochan was certainly the first, but may include all three varieties.

E. W. G. Masterman


mil’-o. (millo generally interpreted to mean a "filling," e.g. a solid tower or an earth embankment; in Jud 9:6,20; 2Ki 12:20, we get beth millo’, translated in English Versions of the Bible "House of Millo," which Winckler thinks may have been the original Jebusite temple-shrine of Jerusalem (see BETH-MILLO); Septuagint reads Bethmaalon, also Maalon and oikos Maallon):

1. Old Testament References

It is generally supposed that "The Millo" was some kind of fortress or other defense, but many speculations have been made regarding its position. In 2Sa 5:9, we read that David built round about from the Millo and inward, or (in the Septuagint, Septuagint) "he fortified it, the city, round about from the Millo and his house" (compare 1Ch 11:8). In connection with Solomon’s strengthening of the fortifications, there are several references to Millo. In 1Ki 9:15, Solomon raised a levy "to build the house of Yahweh, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem," etc.; in 9:24, "Pharaoh’s daughter came up out of the city of David unto her house which Solomon had built for her: then did he build Millo"; in 1Ki 11:27, Solomon "built Millo, and repaired the breach of the city of David his father." At a later time Hezekiah "took courage, and built up all the wall that was broken down, and raised it up to the towers, and the other wall without, and strengthened Millo in the city of David" (2Ch 32:5; 2Ki 12:20); Joash was slain by his servants "at the house of Millo, on the way that goeth down to Silla," but possibly this may have been in Shechem (compare Jud 9:6).

2. Identical with the Akra Site:

The mention of the site in the days of David and the reference to it in connection with the city of David (1Ki 11:27) point to some part of the southeastern hill South of the temple. It is suggestive that Millo is in Septuagint always translated by "Akra." It seems to the present writer very probable that it was a fortress crowning the hill on which at a later time stood the Syrian Akra, which hill, if we are to believe Josephus (BJ, V, iv, 1, etc.), was cut down because its commanding situation dominated the temple. This hill cannot have been the site of Zion afterward known as "David’s Burg" (City of David), because the tombs of the Judean kings were within its walls, and that alone would have made the complete leveling of the site impossible, but whereas the Jebusite fortress was probably not far from Gihon, this fortified summit may have been, as Watson suggests for the Akra, as far north as where the present Al Aqsa mosque is situated. In David’s time it may have been an isolated and detached fort guarding the north approach, but if it was originally a Jebusite high place (Winckler) partly of sun-dried brick like similar constructions in Babylonia, the account of its being leveled would be much more credible. The importance of this site in the days of Solomon is fully explicable if this was the citadel guarding the newly built temple and royal palaces.

Dr. G.A. Smith is inclined to think that Millo may have been a fortress "off the south end of Ophel, to retain and protect the old pool," and Vincent suggests that the site of Millo is that now occupied by the great causeway connecting the Western and Eastern hills along which runs the Tariq bab es silsileh.

E. W. G. Masterman








min’-sing (Taphaph): "Taking short steps," "walking trippingly." Only in Isa 3:16, "walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling (a jingling of the metal anklets) with their feet." Compare OHL.


mind (nous, dianoia, sunesis):

1. No Precision in the Terms Used:

We look in vain in the Old Testament and New Testament for anything like scientific precision in the employment of terms which are meant to indicate mental operations.

In the Old Testament lebh is made to stand for the various manifestations of our intellectual and emotional nature. We are often misled by the different renderings in the different versions, both early and late.

Sometimes nephesh or "soul" is rendered by "mind" (De 18:6 the King James Version, "desire of his soul" or "mind"); sometimes ruah or "spirit" (Ge 26:35, "grief of mind," ruah). Here Luther renders the term Herzeleid ("grief of heart"), and the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) animum. Sometimes lebh is used, as in Isa 46:8, "bring it to mind" (literally, "heart"), or in Ps 31:12, "I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind" (literally, "heart"), as in Septuagint, kardia, and in Vulgate, a corde, Luther, im Herzen, new Dutch translated, uit de gedachtenis (i.e. "memory").

In the Apocrypha this precision is equally lacking. Thus we read in The Wisdom of Solomon 9:15, "For the corruptible body (soma) presseth down the soul (psuche) and the earthly tabernacle weigheth down the mind (nous) that museth upon many things." But these distinctions are alien to the letter and spirit of revelation, a product of the Greek and not of the Hebrew mind.

In the New Testament the words nous and dianoia are used, but not with any precision of meaning.

Here too several terms are rendered by the same word. Thus the Hebrew ruach is rendered by nous in 1Co 2:16 ("mind of the Lord," with reference to Isa 40:13, where "ruach YHWH (spirit of Yahweh)" occurs). Nous evidently means here the organ of spiritual perception—a word borrowed from the Septuagint, where it is sometimes made to stand for lebh (Job 7:17; Isa 41:22); sometimes for ruah (Isa 40:13). In Lu 24:45—the solitary text, where nous occurs in the Gospels—it is rendered "understanding" in the King James Version, "mind" in the Revised Version (British and American).

2. Ethical Sense:

For a true solution we must turn to the Epistles of Paul, where the word frequently occurs in an ethical sense—sometimes in connection with (sinful) flesh as in Col 2:18, "puffed up by his fleshly mind," sometimes in direct contrast to it, as in Ro 7:25, ‘with my mind I serve the law of God; with the flesh the law of sin.’ In Tit 1:15 it is brought into parallelism with conscience ("Their mind and their conscience are defiled"). Phrases like "a reprobate mind," "corrupted in mind" occur elsewhere (Ro 1:28; 1Ti 6:5). From this state of "reprobation" and "corruption" man must be saved. Hence, the necessity of complete transformation and renewal of the inner man (Ro 12:2), "transformed by the renewing of your mind (nous)."

3. Dianoia and Nous:

Another word, with possibly a deeper meaning, is sometimes employed, namely, dianoia, which literally means "meditation," "reflection." It is found as synonymous with nous in a good sense, as e.g. in 1 Joh 5:20 (He "hath given us an understanding, that we know him that is true"). Evidently the sense here is the same as in Ro 12:2, a renovated mind capable of knowing Christ. It may also bear a bad sense, as in Eph 4:18, where the Gentiles are represented as having "a darkened understanding," or in parallelism with sarx: "the desires of the flesh and of the mind" (Eph 2:3), and with nous: ‘walking in vanity of mind (nous) and a darkened understanding (dianoia)’ in Eph 4:18. At times also "heart" and "mind" are joined to indicate human depravity (Lu 1:51 "He hath scattered the proud in the imagination (dianoia) of their heart"). It is interesting also to know that the Great Commandment is rendered in Mt 22:37—"Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul (psuche), and with all thy understanding (dianoia) (English Versions of the Bible, "mind")"—though Mark has two renderings in one of which dianoia occurs, and in the other sunesis (Mark 12:30,33), though possibly without any psychological refinement of meaning, for the term sunesis occurs elsewhere in conjunction with pneumatikos ("spiritual understanding," Col 1:9). It also stands alone in the sense of an "understanding enlightened from above" (2Ti 2:7 King James Version: "The Lord give thee understanding (sunesis) in all things"). The history of these terms is interesting, but not of great theological significance.

4. The Great Commandment:

It seems to us that Godet’s interpretation of the Great Commandment in Lu 10:27 is somewhat far-fetched. He considers the heart as "the central focus from which all rays of the moral life go forth, and that in their three principal directions: the powers of feeling, or the affections, nephesh (‘soul’) in the sense of feeling; the active powers, the impulsive aspirations, the might (‘with all thy might’), the will; and in the intellectual powers, analytical or contemplative, dianoia (‘with all thy mind’). The difference between the heart, which resembles the trunk and the three branches, feeling, will, understanding, is emphatically marked in the Alexandrian variation, by the substitution of the preposition en (‘in’) for ek (‘with,’ ‘from’) in the three last members. Moral life proceeds from the heart and manifests itself without, in the three forms of activity. The impulse God-ward proceeds from the heart, and is realized in the life through the will, which consecrates itself actively to the accomplishment of His will; and through the mind, which pursues the track of His thought in all His works" (Godet, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, II, 38, 39).

J. I. Marais


min, min’-ing: In Job 28:1-11 we have the only Biblical reference to mines. The writer very likely derived his information either from personal observation or from a description by an eyewitness, of the mining operations of Sinai (see METALS). No traces of ancient mines have yet been found in Palestine and Syria. What metals were taken out came from the superficial strata. The mines of Upper Egypt have already been mentioned. Burton and other travelers in Northern Arabia and the Red Sea country have found there evidences of ancient mining operations.

The usual Egyptian method of mining was to follow the vein from the surface as far as it was practicable with tools corresponding to our pick and hoe, hammer and chisel. The shafts frequently extended into the ground a distance of 180 to 200 ft. The rock when too hard to be dug out was first cracked by having fires built on it. The metal-bearing stone was carried in baskets to the surface, where the crushing and separating took place. The mining operations were performed by an army of slaves who were kept at their work day and night, driven with the lash until they died, when their places were taken by others.


James A. Patch





min’-g’-ld pe’-pl:

(1) "Mixed multitude" occurs in Nu 11:4 as a translation of asaphcuph, "collection," "rabble." The same phrase in Ex 12:38; Ne 13:3 is the rendition of erebh. "Mingled people" is used also to translate ‘erebh, and is found in Jer 25:20,24; 50:37; Eze 30:5, and in 1Ki 10:15 the Revised Version (British and American) (the King James Version "Arabia"; compare the American Revised Version margin). In the last case both revised versions have followed the pointing of the Massoretic Text, and this pointing alone distinguishes "mingled people" (‘erebh) from "Arabia" (‘arabh); in the unvocalized text both words are equally ‘-r-b. Now "the traffic of the merchants, and of all the kings of the mingled people, and of the governors of the country" is very awkward, and the correction into "Arabia," as in the Massoretic Text (and English Versions of the Bible) of the parallel 2Ch 9:14, is indicated. Probably the same change should be made in Eze 30:5, reading "Ethiopia, and Put, and Lud, and Arabia, and Cub." A similar textual confusion seems to be responsible for either "and all the kings of Arabia" or "and all the kings of the mingled people" in Jer 25:24. On all these verses see the commentaries.

(2) In Jer 25:20; 50:37, "mingled people" is a term of contempt for the hybrid blood of certain of Israel’s enemies. Something of this same contempt may be contained in Ex 12:38, where a multitude of non-Israelite camp-followers are mentioned as accompanying the children of Israel in the exodus, and in Nu 11:4 it is this motley body that seduced Israel to sin. But who they were, why they wished or were permitted to join in the exodus, and what eventually became of them or of their descendants is a very perplexing puzzle. In Ne 13:3, the "mixed multitude" consists of the inhabitants of Palestine whom the Jews found there after the return from the exile (see SAMARIA). In accord with the command of De 23:3-5, the Jews withdrew from all religious intercourse whatever had been established with these.

NOTE.—The Hebrew noun for "mingled people" may or may not be connected with the verb translated "mingle" in Ezr 9:2; Ps 106:35; Da 2:43. On this see the lexicons.

Burton Scott Easton


min’-ya-min, mi-ni’-a-min (minydmin):

(1) A Levite who assisted Kore, the son of Imnah, in the distribution of the freewill offerings (2Ch 31:15).

(2) A priestly family of the time of the high priest Joiakim (Ne 12:17), probably equals MIJAMIN (2).

(3) A priestly participant in the ceremony of the dedication of the wall (Ne 12:41).


min’-ash (the King James Version and the English Revised Version Ex 15:19; Ps 107:39; the English Revised Version Isa 19:6; Ho 8:10): The verb "mannish," "make small," is now obsolete, being replaced by its derivative "diminish" (compare the American Standard Revised Version in all verses above).




Use of the Word in This Article


1. The Prophet Ministry

(1) Apostles

(2) Prophets

(3) Teachers

2. The Local Ministry



1. Insistence on Organization

(1) Aid Given in Selecting a Bishop

(2) Bishops and Presbyters

2. Multiplication of Orders: Growth of a Hierarchy



I. The Word "Ministry."

The common New Testament term for the ministry is diakonia, and along with it we find diakonos, "minister," ho diakonon), "he who ministers," and diakonein, "to minister." All these words have a very extensive application within the New Testament and are by no means restricted to denote service within the Christian church; even when so restricted the words are used in a great variety of meanings: e.g.

(1) discipleship in general (Joh 12:26);

(2) service rendered to the church because of the "gifts" bestowed (Ro 12:7; 1Co 12:5), and hence, all kinds of service (Ac 6:2; Mt 20:26);

(3) specifically the "ministry of the Word" (Eph 4:12), and most frequently the "apostleship" (Ac 1:17; 20:24; 21:19; Ro 11:13, etc.);

(4) such services as feeding the poor (Ac 6:1; 11:29; 12:25), or organizing and providing the great collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem (Ro 15:25; 2Co 8:4,19, etc.);

(5) such services as those rendered by Stephanas (1Co 16:15), by Archippus (Col 4:17), by Tychicus (Eph 6:21; Col 4:7), etc.

Use of the Word in This Article:

In this article the word has to do with the guidance and government of a united community, fellowship, or brotherhood of men and women whose inward bond of union was the sense of fellowship with Jesus their Risen Lord. In all ages of Christianity the call to become the follower of Jesus, while it is the deepest of all personal things and comes to each one singly, never comes solitarily. The devout soul must share his experiences with those like-minded, and the fellowship thus formed must be able to take outward shape, which cannot fail to render necessary some sort of rule and guidance. The very thought of the church with articulate expression of a common faith, administration of the sacraments, meetings and their right conduct, aid given to the spiritual and bodily needs of their fellow-members, implies a ministry or executive of some kind. To endeavor to explain what was the character of the ministry of the Christian church in the earliest centuries of its existence and how it came into being is the aim of this article.

II. Two Kinds of Ministry.

The earliest fact we have about the organization of the Christian church is given in Ac 6, where we are told that "seven" men were appointed to what is called a "ministry of tables" (diakonein trapezais), which is distinguished from the "ministry of the word" (diakonia tou logou). This distinction between two different kinds of "ministry" which appears at the very beginning is seen to exist all through the apostolic church and beyond it into the sub-apostolic. It can be traced in the Epistles of Paul and in other parts of the New Testament. It is seen in the Didache, in the Pastor of Hermas, in the Epistles of Barnabas, in the Apology of Justin Martyr, in the writings of Irenaeus and elsewhere. (For a full list of authorities, compare Harnack, Texte u. Untersuchungen, II, ii, 111 ff.) The one ministry differs from the other in function, and the distinction depends on a conception to be afterward examined—that of "gifts." The common name, in apostolic and sub-apostolic literature, for the members of the one kind of ministry is "those who speak the Word of God" (lalountes ton logon tou Theou). Modern writers have called it the charismatic, but perhaps the better term is the prophetic ministry; while to the other class belong all the names which are given to denote office-bearers in the local churches. The two existed side by side. The great practical distinction between them was that the members of the former were in no sense office-bearers in any one Christian community; they were not elected or appointed to any office; they were not set apart for duties by any ecclesiastical ceremony. The "Word" came to them and they were compelled by inward impulsion to speak the message given them to deliver. Some were wanderers; others confined themselves to their own community. They were responsible to no ecclesiastical authority. Churches were encouraged to test them and their message; for the "gift" of discerning whether a so-called prophet spoke a truly Divine message was always presupposed to be within the local church. But once accepted they took a higher place than the office-bearers, they presided at the Lord’s Supper, and their judgment in cases of discipline could overbear ordinary ecclesiastical rules. The contest of Cyprian with the "confessors" at Carthage was the last stage of the long struggle which arose in the 2nd century between the two ministries. Out of the other kind of ministry came, by ordinary development, all the various kinds of ecclesiastical organization which now exist. Its members were office-bearers in the strictest sense of the word; they were selected to do ecclesiastical work in a given community, they were set apart for it in a special way, and they were responsible to the church for its due performance.

But it is important to remember that while the two kinds of ministries are thoroughly distinct from each other, the same individuals might belong to both kinds. The "prophetic gift" might fall on anyone, private member or office-bearer alike. Office-holding did not prevent the "gift." Polycarp, office-bearer at Smyrna, was a prophet; so was Ignatius of Antioch, and many others. The "gift" of speaking the Word of God was a personal and not an official source of enlightenment.

1. The Prophetic Ministry:

In the prophetic ministry we find a threefold division—apostles, prophets and teachers. Some would add a fourth, evangelists, i.e. men like the apostles in all respects save in having seen the. Lord in the flesh. The distinction may hold good for the apostolic period, though that appears to be very doubtful; it disappears utterly in the sub-apostolic; evangelist and apostle seem to be one class. This triple division may be traced through early Christian literature from 1 Corinthians down to the Clementine Homilies, which can scarcely be earlier than 200 AD. It is hardly possible to define each class in any mechanical fashion; speaking generally, the first were the missionary pioneers whose message was chiefly to the unconverted, while to the second and third classes belonged exhortation and instruction within the Christian communities.

(1) Apostles.

In the New Testament and in the other literature of the early church the word "apostle" is used in a narrower and in a wider sense, and it is the more extensive use of the word which denotes the first division of the prophetic ministry. The Lord selected the Twelve, "whom also he named apostles" (Mr 3:14, the Revised Version margin), to be trained by personal fellowship with Him and by apprentice mission work among the villages of Galilee for that proclamation of His gospel which was to be their future life-work. Two things strictly personal and excluding every thought of successors separated the "Eleven" from all other men: long personal fellowship with Jesus in the inner circle of His followers, and their selection by Himself while still in the flesh. They were the "Apostles" in the narrow sense of the word. But the name was given to many others. Matthias, who had enjoyed personal intercourse with Jesus both before and after the resurrection, was called by the disciple company, confirmed by decision of the lot, to the same ‘service and sending forth’ (diakonia kai apostole) (Ac 1:25). Paul was called by the Lord Himself, but in vision and inward experience, and took rank with those before mentioned (Ro 1:1 ff; Ga 2:7-9). Others, called apostles, are mentioned by name in the New Testament. Barnabas is not only an apostle but is recognized to have rank equal to the "Eleven" (Ac 14:14; Ga 2:7-9). The correct rendering of the text (Ro 16:7) declares that Andronicus and Junias were apostles who had known Christ before Paul became a believer. Chrysostom, who thinks that Junias or Junia was a woman, does not believe that her sex hindered her from being an apostle. Silas or Silvanus and Timothy, on the most natural interpretation of the passage, are called apostles by Paul in 1Th 1:1,6. The title can hardly be denied to Apollos (1Co 4:6,9). Paul praises men, whom he calls "the apostles of the churches," and declares them to be "the glory of Christ" (2Co 8:23 margin). One of them, Epaphroditus, is mentioned by name—"your apostle," says Paul writing to the Christians of Philippi (Php 2:25 margin); and there must have been many others. "Apostles" are distinguished from the "Twelve" by Paul in the rapid summary he gives of the appearances of Jesus after the resurrection (1Co 15:5,7). Besides those true apostles the New Testament mentions others who are called "false apostles" (2Co 11:13), and the church of Ephesus is praised for using its "gift" of discrimination to reject men who "call themselves apostles, and they are not" (Re 2:2). This wider use of the word has descended to the present day; "apostles" or "holy apostles" is still the name for missionaries and missioners in some parts of the Greek church. The double use of the word to denote the "Twelve" or the "Eleven" is seen in the sub-apostolic age in the Didache, which recognizes the narrower use of the word in its title ("The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles"), and in the text portrays the itinerant missionaries to whom the name in its widest use belonged.

Those "apostles," to whatever class they belonged, had one distinguishing characteristic: they had chosen as their life-work to be the missionary pioneers of the gospel of the Kingdom of Christ. They were all engaged in aggressive work, and were distinguished from others not so much by what they were as by what they did. They were wanderers with no fixed place of residence. The requirements of their work might make them abide for long periods in some center (as did Paul at Corinth and at Ephesus, or some of the "Eleven" at Jerusalem), but they had no permanent home life. As the earlier decades passed, their numbers increased rather than diminished. They are brought vividly before us in such writings as the Didache. They were to be highly honored, but as severely tested. They were not expected to remain longer than three days within a Christian community, nor to fare softly when there (Didache ii.4-6). The vindication of their call was what they were able to accomplish, and to this Paul, the greatest of them, appeals over and over again.

(2) Prophets.

Prophets had been the religious guides of Israel of old, and the spirit of prophecy had never entirely died out. John the Baptist (Mt 11:9), Simeon (Lu 2:25,26), and Anna (Lu 2:36) had the gift in the days of Christ. It was natural for the Samaritan woman to believe that the stranger who spoke to her by the well was a prophet (Joh 4:19). The reappearance of prophecy in its old strength was looked on as a sign of the nearness of the coming of the Messiah. Jesus Himself had promised to send prophets among His followers (Mt 10:41; 23:34; Lu 11:49). The promise was fulfilled. Christian prophets appeared within the church from its beginning. Nor were they confined to communities of Jewish Christians; prophecy appeared spontaneously wherever Christianity spread. We are told of prophets in the churches of Jerusalem and Caesarea where the membership was almost purely Jewish; at Antioch where Jews and Gentiles united to make one congregation; and everywhere throughout the Gentile churches—in Rome, Corinth, Thessalonica and in the Galatian churches (Ac 11:27; 15:32; 21:9,10; Ro 12:6,7; 1Co 14:32,36,37; 1Th 5:20; Ga 3:3-5). Prophets are mentioned by name—Agabus (Ac 11:28; 21:10), Symeon and others at Antioch (Ac 13:1), Judas and Silas in Jerusalem (Ac 15:32). Nor was the "gift" confined to men; women prophesied—the four daughters of Philip among others (Ac 21:9). From the earliest times down to the close of the 2nd century and later, an uninterrupted stream of prophets and prophetesses appeared in the Christian churches. The statements of New Testament writers, and especially of Paul, imply that prophets abounded in the earliest churches. Paul, for example, expected the prophetic gift to appear in every Christian community. He recognized that they had a regular place in the meeting for public worship (1Co 14); he desired that every member in the Corinthian church should possess the "gift" and cultivate it (1Co 14:1,5,39); he exhorted the brethren at Thessalonica to ‘cherish prophesyings’ (1Th 5:20), and those in Rome to make full use of prophecy (Ro 12:6). If he criticized somewhat severely the conduct of the "prophets" in the Corinthian church, it was to teach them how to make full use of their "gift" for the right edifying of the brethren.

Prophecy was founded on revelation; the prophets were men especially "gifted" with spiritual intuition and magnetic speech. Sometimes their "gift" took the form of ecstasy, but by no means always; Paul implies that prophets have a real command of and can control their utterances. Sometimes their message came to them in visions, such as we find in the Apocalypse and in Hermas; but this was not a necessary means. The prophets spoke as they were moved, and the Spirit worked on them in various ways.

The influence of those prophets seems to have increased rather than diminished during the earlier decades of the 2nd century. While the duty of the apostle was to the unbelievers, Jewish or heathen, the sphere of the activity of the prophet was within the Christian congregation. It was his business to edify the brethren. Prophets had a recognized place in the meeting for the public worship of the congregation; if one happened to be present at the dispensation of the Lord’s Supper, he presided to the exclusion of the office-bearers, and his prayers were expected to be extempore (Didache x.7); he had special powers when matters of discipline were discussed, as is plain from a great variety of evidence from Hermas down to Tertullian. From Paul’s statements it seems that the largest number of the prophets he speaks of were members of the communities within which they used their "gift" of prophecy; but many of the more eminent prophets traveled from community to community edifying each. When such wandering prophets, with their wives and families, dwelt for a time in any Christian society, preaching and exhorting, it was deemed to be the duty of that society to support them, and regulations were made for such support. According to the Didache (chapter xiii): "Every true prophet who shall settle among you is worthy of his support ..... Every first-fruit then of the products of the winepress and threshing-floor, of oxen and of sheep, thou shalt take and give to the prophets ..... In like manner also when thou openest a jar of wine or oil, take the first of it and give it to the prophets; and of money and clothing and every possession take the first as may seem right to thee, and give according to the commandment." Only, the receivers were to be true prophets. Each congregation had to exercise the "gift" of discrimination and sift the true from the false; for "false" prophets confronted the true in early Christianity as well as in the old Judaism.

(3) Teachers.

While the third class of the prophetic ministry, the teachers, is found joined to the other two both in the New Testament and in sub-apostolic literature, and while Paul assigns a definite place for their services in the meeting for edification (1Co 14:26), we hear less about them and their work. They seem, however, to have lingered much longer in active service in the early church than did the apostles and the prophets.

2. The Local Ministry:

As has been said, the first notice we have of organization within a local church is in Ac 6, where at the suggestion of the apostles seven men were selected to administer the charity of the congregation.

The conception that "the Seven" were a special order of office-bearers, deacons, is a comparatively late suggestion. These men are nowhere called deacons; the official designation is "The Seven." It may be that the appointment of those men was only a temporary expedient, but it is more probable that "the Seven" of Ac 6 are the elders of Ac 11; for we find those "elders" performing the duties which "the Seven" were appointed to fulfil. If so, we have in Ac 6 the narrative of the beginnings of local organization as a whole. When we turn to the expansion of Christian communities outside Jerusalem, we have no such distinct picture of beginnings; but as all the churches in Palestine evidently regarded the society in Jerusalem as the mother church, it is likely that their organization was the same. Ac tells us that Paul and Barnabas left behind them at Derbe, Lystra and Iconium societies of brethren with "elders" at their head. The word used suggests an election by popular vote and was probably the same as had been used in the selection of the "Seven" men.

When we examine the records of the distinctively Pauline churches, there is not much direct evidence for the origins of the ministry there, but a great deal about the existence of some kind of rule and rulers. For one thing, we can see that these churches had and were encouraged to have feelings of independence and of self-government; a great deal is said about the possession of "gifts" which imply the presence and power of the Spirit of Jesus within the community itself. We find names applied to men who, if not actually office-bearers, are at least leaders and perform the functions of office-bearers—proistamenoi, poimenes, episkopoi, diakonoi—and where special designations are lacking a distinction is always drawn between those who obey and those who are to be obeyed. In all cases those leaders or ministers are mentioned in the plural.

It may be said generally that about the close of the 1st century every Christian community was ruled by a body of men who are sometimes called presbyters (elders), sometimes but more rarely bishops (overseers), and whom modern church historians are inclined to call presbyter-bishops. Associated with them, but whether members of the same court or forming a court of their own it is impossible to say, were a number of assistant rulers called deacons. See BISHOP; CHURCH GOVERNMENT; DEACON; ELDER. The court of elders had no president or permanent chairman. There was a two-fold not a threefold ministry. During the 3rd century, rising into notice by way of geographical distribution rather than in definite chronological order, this twofold congregational ministry became threefold in the sense that one man was placed at the head of each community with the title of pastor or bishop (the titles are interchangeable as late as the 4th century at least). In the early centuries those local churches, thus organized, while they never lacked the sense that they all belonged to one body, were independent self-governing communities preserving relations to each other, not by any political organization embracing them all, but by fraternal fellowship through visits of deputies, interchange of letters, and in some indefinite way giving and receiving assistance in the selection and setting apart of pastors.


The question arises, How did this organization come into being? We may dismiss, to begin with, the idea once generally accepted among the Reformed churches, that the Christian society simply took over and made use of the synagogue system of organization (Vitringa, De synagoga vetere). The points common to both reveal a superficial resemblance, but no more. The distinctive differences are great. When we add to them the decisive statement of Epiphanius (Haeresis, xxx. 18), that the Jewish Christians (Judaizing) organized their communities with archons and an archisynagogos like the Jewish synagogues of the Dispersion and unlike the Christian churches, all the evidence makes it impossible to believe that the earliest Christian organization was simply taken over from the Jewish. On the other hand, there is little evidence that the apostles (the Twelve and Paul) received a special commission from our Lord, to appoint and ordain the office-bearers of the earliest Christian communities, so exclusive that there could be no legitimate organization without this apostolic authority and background. We find, on the contrary, the church in Rome exercising all the disciplinary functions of a congregation without this apostolic ecclesiastical rule supposed to be essential. Even in the mother-church in Jerusalem, the congregational meeting exercised rule over the apostles themselves, for we find apostles summoned before it and examined on their conduct (Ac 11:1-4). The whole question demands the recognition of several facts:

(1) Evidence abounds to show that the local churches during the apostolic and sub-apostolic age were self-governing communities and that the real background of the ministry was not apostolic authority but the congregational meeting. Its representative character and its authority are seen in the apostolic and sub-apostolic literature from Paul to Cyprian.

(2) The uniquely Christian correlation of the three conceptions of leadership, service and "gifts"; leadership depended on service, and service was possible by the possession and recognition of special "gifts" which were the evidence of the presence and power of the Spirit of Jesus within the community. These "gifts" gave the church a Divine authority to exercise rule and oversight apart from any special apostolic direction.

(3) The general evidence existing to show that there was a gradual growth of the principle of association from looser to more compact forms of organization (Gayford, article "Church" in HDB; also Harnack, The Expositor, 1887, January to June, 322-24), must not be forgotten; only one must remember that in young communities the growth is rapid.

(4) We must also bear in mind that the first Christians were well acquainted with various kinds of social organization which entered into their daily life and which could not fail to suggest how they might organize their new societies.

Examples occur readily:

(a) Every Jewish village community was ruled by its "seven wise men," and it is probable that the appointment of the "Seven" in the primitive Jewish church was suggested by familiarity with this example of social polity.

(b) It was and is an almost universal oriental usage that the "next of kin" to the founder was recognized, after the founder’s death, to be the head of the new religious community founded, and this usage accounts for the selection of James, the eldest male surviving relative of our Lord, to be the recognized and honored head of the church in Jerusalem. James has been called the first bishop; but when we read in Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 11, 1,2; 32,4; IV, 22, 4; III, 20, 1-8) how his successors were chosen, the term seems inappropriate. A succession in the male line of the kindred of Jesus, where the selection to office is mainly in the hands of a family council, and where two (James and Zoker) can rule together, has small analogy to episcopal rule.

(c) The relation of "patron" to "client," which in one form or other had spread throughout the civilized world, is suggested by a series of kindred words used to denote rulers in local churches. We find proistamenoi, prostatis, prostates, proestos, in various writers, and the last was used as late as the middle of the 2nd century to denote ministry in the Roman church (Ro 12:8; 16:2; 1Th 5:12; Hermas, Pastor. Vis. 2, 4; Justin, Apol, i.65).

(d) The Ro empire was honeycombed with "gilds," some recognized by law, most of them without legal recognition and liable to suppression. These confraternities were of very varied character—trades unions, burial clubs, etc., but a large proportion were for the purpose of practicing special religious rites.

The Jewish synagogues of the Dispersion seemed to have been enrolled among those confraternities, and certainly appeared to their heathen neighbors to be one kind of such private associations for the practice of a religion which had been legalized. Many scholars have insisted that the Gentile Christian churches simply copied the organization of such confraternities (Renan, Les Apotres; Heinrici, Zeitschrift f. wissensch. Theol., 1876-77); Hatch, Organization of the Early Christian Churches). There must have been some external resemblances. Pliny believed that the Christian churches of Bithynia were illicit confraternities (Ep. 96; compare Lucian, Peregrinus Proteus). They had, in common with the churches, a democratic constitution; they shared a "common meal" at stated times; they made a monthly collection; they were ruled by a committee of office-bearers; and they exercised a certain amount of discipline over their members. Multitudes of Christians must have been members of such confraternites, and many continued to be so after accepting Christianity (Cyprian, Ep., lxvii. 6).

But while the Christian churches may have learned much about the general principles of associated life from all those varied forms of social organization, it cannot be said that they copied any one of them. The primitive Christian societies organized themselves independently in virtue of the new moral and social life implanted within them; and though they may have come to it by various paths, they all in the end arrived at one common form—a society ruled by a body of office-bearers who possessed the "gifts" of government and of subordinate service embodied in the offices of presbyter and deacon.

III. Threefold Congregational Ministry.

During the 2nd century the ministry was subject to a change. The ruling body of office-bearers in every congregation received a permanent president, who was called the pastor or bishop, the latter term being the commoner. The change came gradually. It provoked no strong opposition. By the beginning of the 3rd century it was everywhere accepted.

When we seek to trace the causes why the college of elders received a president, who became the center of all the ecclesiastical life in the local church and the one potent office-bearer, we are reduced to conjecture. This only can be said with confidence, that the change began in the East and gradually spread to the West, and that there are hints of a gradual evolution (Lindsay, The Church and the Ministry in the Early Centuries, 180, 183-85). Scholars have brought forward many reasons for the change; the need for an undivided leadership in times of danger from external persecution or from the introduction of Gnostic speculations which disturbed the faith of the members; the convenience of being represented to other local churches by one man who could charge himself with the administration of the external affairs of the congregation; the need of one man to preside at the solemn and crowning act of worship, the administration of the Lord’s Supper; the sense of congregational unity implied in the possession of one leader—each or all are probable ways in which the churches were influenced in making this change in their ministry.

This threefold congregational ministry is best seen in the Epistles of Ignatius of Antioch. They portray a Christian community having at its head a bishop, a presbyterium or session of elders, and a body of deacons. These form the ministry or office-bearers of the congregation to whom obedience is due. Nothing is to be done without the consent of the bishop, neither love-feast, nor sacrament, nor anything congregational. The ruling body is a court where the bishop sits as chairman surrounded by his council or session of elders; and the one is helpless without the other, for if the bishop be the lyre, the elders are the chords, and both are needed to produce melody. Ignatius compares the bishop to Jesus, and the elders to the apostles who surrounded Him. There is no trace of sacerdotalism, apostolic succession, one-man government, diocesan rule in those letters of Ignatius; and what they portray is unlike any form of diocesan episcopacy.

1. Insistence on Organization:

It is interesting to remark how all throughout the 3rd century and later every body of Christians, even if consisting of fewer than twelve families, is instructed to organize itself into a church under a ministry of office-bearers, consisting of a bishop or pastor, at least two elders and at least three deacons. Should the bishop be illiterate—for character more than erudition determined his choice—the congregation was told to elect a reader, and provision was made for a ministry of women. It was possible to obey such instructions, because the ministry of the early church received no stipends. The ministry were office-bearers, to whom ecclesiastical obedience was due in virtue of their call and election and their being set apart by prayer, and perhaps by laying on of hands, for sacred office; but they were at the same time merchants, artisans, or engaged in other secular callings, and supported themselves. Buildings, set apart for public worship, did not exist until the very close of the 2nd century, and then only in a few populous centers in towns which had felt persecution but slightly. The only property which a church possessed, besides its copies of the Scriptures, its congregational records and perhaps a place of burial, were the offerings which were presented by members of the congregation, mostly in kind, after the Eucharist; and these offerings were distributed to the poor of the congregation. If office-bearers received a share, it was only on account of their poverty and because they were on the roll of widows, orphans and helpless poor.

This threefold congregational ministry has been called by some scholars "monarchical episcopacy," a title as high-sounding as it is misleading. The kingdom over which those so-called monarchs presided might and often did consist of less than twelve families, and their rule was fenced in with many restrictions. We can collect from the Epistles of Ignatius what were the powers and what the limitations (Epistle to Polycarp) of the bishop. He administered the finances of the church; he was president of the court of Elders; he had the right to call and presumably to preside over the court of discipline; and he had the regulation of the sacraments in his hands. On the other hand, it is very doubtful whether he, or even he in conjunction with the elders, could excommunicate; that appears to have remained in the hands of the congregational meeting. The bishop might convoke the congregational meeting for the purpose, but it belonged to the meeting and not to the bishop to appoint delegates and messengers to other churches; and the meeting had the power to order the bishop to go on such a mission.

(1) Aid Given in Selecting a Bishop.

From what has been said it is plain that the selection of a bishop became one of the most important acts a congregation was called upon to perform. Accordingly, provision was made for its assistance. It is declared in the Apostolic Canons that if a congregation contains fewer than twelve men competent to vote at the election of a bishop, neighboring, "well-established" churches are to be written to in order that three men may be sent to assist the congregation in selecting their pastor (Sources of the Apostolic Canons, 7, 8). This is evidently the origin of what afterward became the custom and later a law, that the consecration of a bishop required the presence of three neighboring bishops—a rule which has given occasion to the saying that "all Christendom becomes Presbyterian on a consecration day." This custom and rule, which in its beginnings was simply practical assistance given to a weak by stronger congregations, came to bear the meaning that the bishop thus consecrated was an office-bearer in the church universal as well as the pastor of a particular congregation. It is also more than probable that this practice of seeking assistance in an emergency is the germ out of which grew the Synod—the earliest recorded synods being congregational meetings assisted in times of difficulty by advice of experienced persons from other churches.

(2) Bishops and Presbyters.

When a small group of villagers had been won to Christianity through the efforts of the Christian congregation in a neighboring town, they commonly were disinclined to separate from it, and came from their villages into town to join in the public worship. "On the day called Sunday," says Justin Martyr, "all who live in the city and in the country gather together into one place" (Ap., i.67). The earliest collections of canons show that the bishop was able in time of absence or sickness to delegate his duties to elders or even to deacons; and this enabled him, when occasion for it arose, to be, through his office-bearers, the pastor of several congregations. We can see the same process at work more clearly in large towns where the number of Christians had become very large. The bishop was always held to be the head of the Christian community, however large, in one place. He was the pastor; he baptized; he presided at the Holy Supper; he admitted catechumens to the full communion of the brotherhood. By the middle of the 3rd century the work in most large towns was more than one man could do. No record exists of the number of members belonging to the Roman church at this time, but some idea of its size may be obtained from the fact that it had more than 1,500 persons on its poor-roll; and before the close of the century the Roman Christians worshipped in over 40 separate places of meeting. It is obvious that one man could not perform the whole pastoral duties for such a multitude, and that most of the pastoral work must have been delegated to the elders or presbyters. The unity of the pastorate was for long strictly preserved by the custom that the bishop consecrated the communion elements in one church, and these were carried round to the other congregations. The bishop was thus the pastor in every congregation; the elders and deacons belonged to the whole Christian community; they served all the congregations and were not attached to one distinctively. In Alexandria, on the other hand, something like a parochial system gathered round the bishop, for individual presbyters were set over the separate congregations within the city. But always and without exception the original pastoral status of the bishop was preserved by the fact that one portion of the pastoral duties was invariably left in his hands—the rite of confirmation whereby catechumens were admitted to full communion.

II. Multiplication of Orders: Growth of a Hierarchy:

The middle of the 3rd century witnessed two changes in the ministry of the church. One was a multiplication of orders and the other the growth of a hierarchy; and while many causes went to produce these changes it can hardly be doubted that they were at least partly due to the imitation of pagan religious organization. Although we find the distinction between those who are to be obeyed and those who are to obey clearly laid down in the Epistles of Paul, we do not find a common term in general use to denote the former class until the beginning of the 3rd century. In the west the word was ordo, and in the east clerus, from which come our "orders" and "clergy." Ordo was the designation for the municipality in towns or for the committee which presided over a confraternity; and clerus denoted rank or class. The introduction of ministerial stipends and the implication that a paid ministry was expected to give its whole time to the service of the church made the distinction between clergy and laity more emphatic. When we investigate the matter, it is evident that the fact that the clergy are paid complicates the question; for the earliest lists are evidently those who are entitled to share in the funds of the church, and widows and orphans figure as members of the ordo or clerus. Setting this disturbing element aside we find that the earliest division of the ministry in the 3rd century is into bishops, presbyters and deacons (all congregational); but bishops and presbyters are sometimes said to form the special ordo ecclesiasticus. The earliest addition to those three orders is the reader, and there follows soon the sub-deacon. Then come such persons as exorcists, acolyths, singers, door-keepers and even grave-diggers; and to such the name "minor orders" is given. All are included within the clergy, all receive a proportionate share of the revenues of the congregational funds. The presence of bishops, presbyters and deacons needs no explanation. Readers, as we have seen, were needed at first to assist illiterate bishops or pastors; their retention and the insertion of exorcists have been plausibly accounted for by the idea that they represented the absorption of the old prophetic ministry. But in instituting the other minor orders the Christian church evidently copied the pagan temple usages where persons who performed corresponding services were included among the temple ministry and had due share of the temple revenues. In the institution of a graded hierarchy including metropolitans and patriarchs, the churches probably followed the example of the great pagan organization called forth by the imperial cult of the Divi and Divae (Lindsay, The Church and the Ministry, 335 ff). As Mommsen remarks, "The conquering Christian church took its hierarchic weapons from the arsenal of the enemy."

IV. Synods:

Synods to begin with were essentially democratic assemblies. They were, in their primitive form, congregational meetings assisted in times of emergency by delegates (not necessarily bishops) from "well-established churches," and they grew to be the instrument by which churches grouped round one center became united into one compact organization. The times were not democratic, and gradually the presence of the laity and even of presbyters and deacons and their combined assent to the decisions of the assembly became more and more a matter of form and gradually ceased altogether. The synods consisted exclusively of bishops and became councils for registering their decisions; and this implied that each local church was fully and completely represented by its pastor or bishop, who had become very much of an autocrat, responsible, not to his congregation nor even to a synod, but to God alone. Before the end of the 3rd century and onward, synods or councils had become a regular part of the organization of the whole church, and the membership was confined to the bishops of the several churches included within the group. It was natural that such assemblies should meet in the provincial capitals, for the roads converged to the cities which were the seats of the Roman provincial administration. A synod required a chairman, and various usages obtained about the natural chairman. At first the oldest bishop present was placed in the chair, and this continued long to be the practice in several parts of the empire. Gradually it became the habit to put into the chair the bishop of the town in which the council met, and this grew to a prescriptive right. It was then that the bishops of the towns which were the meeting-places of synods came to be called metropolitans. The title was for long one of courtesy only and did not carry with it any ecclesiastical rank and authority. But by the middle of the 4th century the metropolitans had acquired the right to summon the synods and even to exercise some authority over the bishops of the bounds, especially in the matter of election and consecration. When Christianity was thoroughly established as the religion of the empire, the more important bishops secured for themselves the civil precedence and privileges which had belonged to the higher priests of the abandoned Imperial Cult, and the higher ranks of the Christian ministry came into the possession of a lordship strangely at variance with their earlier position of service.


C. Vitringa, De synagoge vetere libra tres, Leucopetrae (Weissenfels), 1726; Bingham, Antiquities of the Christian Church, 1708-32; Bannermann, The Scripture Doctrine of the Church; Hort, The Christian Ecclesia; Lightfoot, Commentary on the Epistle to the Philippians (dissertation on the ministry); Hatch, The Organization of the Early Christian Church, and articles on "Orders" in Smith’s Dictionary of Christian Antiquities; Harnack, The Expositor for January to June, 1887, and Entstehung u. Entwicklung der Kirchenverfassung .... in d. zwei ersten Jahrhunderten (1910) (English translation, The Constitution and Law of the Church); Lindsay, The Church and the Ministry in the Early Centuries; Schmiedel, article "Ministry" in EB; Gayford, article "Church" in HDB.

T. M. Lindsay


min’-i (minni): A kingdom mentioned in Jer 51:27, along with Ararat and Ashkenaz, as assailants of Babylon. It is identified with the Minnai of the Assyrian inscriptions, in close relation with, or part of, Armenia.


min’-ith (minnith; Codex Vaticanus achris Arnon; Codex Alexandrinus eis Semoeith): After Jephthah defeated the Ammonites, he is said to have smitten them from Aroer "until thou come to Minnith" (Jud 11:33). Eusebius, Onomasticon mentions a place called Maanith, 4 Roman miles from Heshbon, on the road to Philadelphia (‘Amman), and locates Abelcheramim, which is mentioned with Minnith, 7 miles from Philadelphia, without indicating the direction. Some travelers have spoken of a Menjah, 7 miles East of Heshbon, but of this place Tristram (Land of Moab, 140) could find no trace. The same place appears to be mentioned in Eze 27:17 as supplying wheat, which figures in the trade between Judah and Tyre. There are really no reliable data on which to suggest an identification, while there are grave reasons to suspect the integrity of the text.

W. Ewing





mint (heduosmon): Mentioned (Mt 23:23; Lu 11:42) as one of the small things which were tithed. The cultivated variety (Mentha piperita), "peppermint," was doubtless primarily intended, but the wild Mentha silvestris or horsemint, which flourishes all over the mountains of Palestine, is probably included.


mif’-kad, (sha‘ar ha-miphqadh; the Revised Version (British and American) "Hammiphkad" (Ne 3:31)): A gate in, or near, the north end of the east wall of Jerusalem, rebuilt under Nehemiah. Its exact position is uncertain.





1. General Idea

2. Biblical Terms Employed


1. Miracles in Gospel History

2. Special Testimony of Luke

3. Trustworthiness of Evidence in Gospels and Acts


1. Projudgment of Negative Criticism

2. Sir George Stokes Quoted

3. Effects on Nature of New Agencies

4. Agreement with Biblical Idea and Terms

5. J.S. Mill on Miracle

6. Miracle as Connected with Command


1. Miracles as Proofs of Revelation

2. Miracles of Christ in This Relation

3. Miracles Part of Revelation


1. Analogy with New Testament Miracles

2. The Mosaic Miracles

3. Subsequent Miracles

4. Prophecy as Miracle


1. Probability of Such Miracles

2. Pascal Quoted



I. Nature of Miracle.

1. General Idea:

"Miracle" is the general term for the wonderful phenomena which accompanied the Jewish and Christian revelation, especially at critical moments, and which are alleged to have been continued, under certain conditions, in the history of the Christian church. The miracle proper is a work of God (Ex 7:3 ff; De 4:34,35, etc.; Joh 3:2; 9:32,33; 10:38; Ac 10:38, etc.); but as supernatural acts miracles are recognized as possible to evil agencies (Mt 24:24; 2Th 2:9; Re 13:14; 16:14, etc.).

2. Biblical Terms Employed:

The Biblical idea of miracle as an extraordinary work of God, generally though not invariably ("providential" miracles—see below, II, 6), transcending the ordinary powers of Nature, wrought in connection with the ends of revelation, is illustrated by the terms used to describe miracles in the Old Testament and New Testament. One class of terms brings out the unusual, exceptional, and striking character of the works, as pele’, niphla’oth (Ex 3:20; 15:11, etc.), teras, literally, "a portent" (in plural Mt 24:24; Ac 2:22,43, etc.); another lays stress on the power displayed in them, as gebhurah, dunamis (in plural "mighty works," the Revised Version margin "powers," Mt 11:20,21,23; 13:54; 14:2; 2Co 12:12, etc.); a third gives prominence to their teleological significance—their character as "signs," as ‘oth (plural the Revised Version (British and American) "signs," Nu 14:22; De 11:3, etc.), semeion (plural the Revised Version (British and American) "signs," Joh 2:11,23, and frequently; Ac 4:16,22; 6:8; Re 13:14, etc.). Another Old Testament word for "wonder" or "miracle" is mopheth (Ex 7:9; De 29:3). See, further, below, III, 4.

II. Miracle in the New Testament.

1. Miracles in Gospel History:

The subject of miracles has given rise to much abstract discussion; but it is best approached by considering the actual facts involved, and it is best to begin with the facts nearest to us: those which are recorded in the New Testament. Our Lord’s ministry was attended from first to last by events entirely beyond the ordinary course of Nature. He was born of a Virgin, and His birth was announced by angels, both to His mother, and to the man to whom she was betrothed (Matthew and Luke). He suffered death on the cross as an ordinary man, but on the third day after His crucifixion He rose from the tomb in which He was buried, and lived with His disciples for 40 days (Ac 1:3), eating and drinking with them, but with a body superior to ordinary physical conditions. At length He ascended to the heavens, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. But besides these two great miracles of His birth and His resurrection, Jesus was continually performing miracles during His ministry. His own words furnish the best description of the facts. In reply to the question of John the Baptist, His predecessor, He said, "Go and tell John the things which ye hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good tidings preached to them" (Mt 11:4,5). Specimens of these miracles are given in detail in the Gospel narratives; but it is a mistake to consider the matter, as is too often done, as though these particular miracles were the only ones in question. Even if they could be explained away, as has often been attempted, there would remain reiterated statements of the evangelists, such as Matthew’s that He "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" (Mt 4:23), or Luke’s "And a great number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; and they that were troubled with unclean spirits were healed. And all the multitude sought to touch him; for power came forth from him, and healed them all" (Lu 6:17-19).

2. Special Testimony of Luke:

It must be borne in mind that if there is any assured result of modern criticism, it is that these accounts proceed from contemporaries and eyewitnesses, and with respect to the third evangelist there is one unique consideration of great import. The researches of Dr. Hobart have proved to the satisfaction of a scholar like Harnack, that Luke was a trained physician. His testimony to the miracles is therefore the nearest thing possible to the evidence which has often been desired—that of a man of science. When Luke, e.g., tells us of the healing of a fever (4:38,39), he uses the technical term for a violent fever recognized in his time (compare Meyer, in the place cited); his testimony is therefore that of One who knew what fevers and the healing of them meant. This consideration is especially valuable in reference to the miracles recorded of Paul in the latter part of Acts. it should always be borne in mind that they are recorded by a physician, who was an eyewitness of them.

3. Trustworthiness of Evidence in Gospels and Acts:

It seems to follow from these considerations that the working of miracles by our Lord, and by Paul in innumerable cases, cannot be questioned without attributing to the evangelists a wholesale untrustworthiness, due either to willful, or to superstitious misrepresentation, and this is a supposition which will certainly never commend itself to a fair and competent judgment. It would involve, in fact, such a sweeping condemnation of the evangelists, that it could never be entertained at all except under one presupposition, namely, that such miraculous occurrences, as being incompatible with the established laws of Nature, could not possibly have happened, and that consequently any allegations of them must of necessity be attributed to illusion or fraud.

III. Miracle and Laws of Nature.

1. Pre-judgment of Negative Criticism:

This, in fact, is the prejudgment or prejudice which has prompted, either avowedly or tacitly, the great mass of negative criticism on this subject, and if it could be substantiated, we should be confronted, in the Gospels, with a problem of portentous difficulty. On this question of the abstract possibility of miracles, it seems sufficient to quote the following passage from the Gifford Lectures for 1891 of the late eminent man of science, Professor Sir George Stokes.

2. Sir George Stokes Quoted:

On page 23 Professor Stokes says: "We know very well that a man may in general act uniformly according to a certain rule, and yet for a special reason may on a particular occasion act quite differently. We cannot refuse to admit the possibility of something analogous taking place as regards the action of the Supreme Being. If we think of the laws of Nature as self-existent and uncaused, then we cannot admit any deviation from them. But if we think of them as designed by a Supreme Will, then we must allow the possibility of their being on some particular occasion suspended. Nor is it even necessary, in order that some result out of the ordinary course of Nature should be brought about, that they should even be suspended; it may be that some different law is brought into action, whereby the result in question is brought about, without any suspension whatever of the laws by which the ordinary course of Nature is regulated. .... It may be that the event which we call a miracle was brought about, not by any suspension of the laws in ordinary operation, but by the superaddition of something not ordinarily in operation, or, if in operation, of such a nature that its operation is not perceived."

3. Effects on Nature of New Agencies:

Only one consideration need be added to this decisive scientific statement, namely, that if there be agencies and forces in existence outside the ordinary world of Nature, and if they can under certain circumstances interpose in it, they must necessarily produce effects inconsistent with the processes of that world when left to itself. Life under the surface of the water has a certain course of its own when undisturbed; but if a man standing on the bank of a river throws a stone into it, effects are produced which must be as unexpected and as unaccountable as a miracle to the creatures who live in the stream. The nearness of two worlds which are absolutely distinct from one another receives, indeed, a striking illustration from the juxtaposition of the world above the water and the world below its surface. There is no barrier between them; they are actually in contact; yet the life in them is perfectly distinct. The spiritual world may be as close to us as the air is to the water, and the angels, or other ministers of God’s will, may as easily, at His word, interpose in it as a man can throw a stone into the water. When a stone is thus thrown, there is no suspension or modification of any law; it is simply that, as Sir George Stokes supposes in the case of a miracle, a new agency has interposed.

4. Agreement with Biblical Idea and Terms:

This, indeed, is the main fact of which miracles are irresistible evidence. They show that some power outside Nature, some supernatural power, has intervened. They are exactly described by the three words in the New Testament already mentioned. They are terata, "prodigies" or "wonders"; they are also dunameis, virtutes, "powers," or "manifestation of powers"; and finally they are semeia, "signs." The three conceptions are combined, and the source of such manifestations stated with them, in a pregnant verse of Hebrews: "God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will" (2:4).

5. J. S. Mill on Miracle:

The words of J. S. Mill on the question of the possibility of miracles may also be quoted. Dealing with the objection of Hume in his Essay on Miracles, Mill observes: "In order that any alleged fact should be contradictory to a law of causation, the allegation must be, not simply that the cause existed without being followed by the effect, for that would be no uncommon occurrence; but that this happened in the absence of any adequate counteracting cause. Now in the case of an alleged miracle, the assertion is the exact opposite of this. It is that the effect was defeated, not in the absence, but in consequence, of a counteracting cause, namely, a direct interposition of an act of the will of some being who has power over Nature; and in particular of a Being, whose will being assumed to have endowed all the causes with the powers by which they produce their effects, may well be supposed able to counteract them. A miracle (as was justly remarked by Brown) is no contradiction to the law of cause and effect; it is a new effect, supposed to be produced by the introduction of a new cause. Of the adequacy of that cause, if present; there can be no doubt; and the only antecedent improbability which can be ascribed to the miracle is the improbability that any such cause existed" (System of Logic, II, 161-62).

6. Miracle as Connected with Command:

There is, however, one other important characteristic of miracles—of those at least with which we are concerned—namely, that they occur at the command, or at the prayer, of the person to whom they are attributed. This is really their most significant feature, and the one upon which their whole evidential value depends. One critic has compared the fall of the fortifications of Jellalabad, on a critical occasion, with the fall of the walls of Jericho, as though the one was no more a miracle than the other. But the fall of the walls of Jericho, though it may well have been produced by some natural force such as an earthquake, bears the character of a miracle because it was predicted, and was thus commanded by God to occur in pursuance of the acts prescribed to Joshua. Similarly the whole significance of our Lord’s miracles is that they occur at His word and in obedience to Him. "What manner of man is this," exclaimed the disciples, "that even the winds and the sea obey him?" (Mt 8:27).

IV. Evidential Value of Miracle.

1. Miracles as Proofs of Revelation:

This leads us to the true view of the value of miracles as proofs of a revelation. This is one of the points which has been discussed in far too abstract a manner. Arguments have been, and still are, constructed to show that there can be no real revelation without miracles, that miracles are the proper proof of a revelation, and so on. It is always a perilous method of argument, perhaps a presumptuous one, to attempt to determine whether God could produce a given result in any other way than the one which He has actually adopted. The only safe, and the sufficient, method of proceeding is to consider whether as a matter of fact, and in what way, the miracles which are actually recorded do guarantee the particular revelation in question.

2. Miracles of Christ in This Relation:

Consider our Lord’s miracles in this light. Assuming, on the grounds already indicated, that they actually occurred, they prove beyond doubt that He had supreme command over Nature; that not only the winds and the sea, but the human soul and body obeyed him, and in the striking words of the English service for the Visitation of the Sick, that He was "Lord of life and death, and of all things thereto pertaining, as youth, strength, health, age, weakness and sickness." This is the grand fact which the miracles establish. They are not like external evidence, performed in attestation of a doctrine. They are direct and eloquent evidence of the cardinal truth of our faith, that our Lord possessed powers which belong to God Himself. But they are not less direct evidence of the special office He claimed toward the human race—that of a Saviour. He did not merely work wonders in order that men might believe His assertions about Himself, but His wonderful works, His powers—virtues—were direct evidence of their truth. He proved that He was a Saviour by doing the works of a Saviour, by healing men and women from their diseases of both body and soul. It is well known that salvation in the true sense, namely, saving men out of evils and corruptions into which they have fallen, is an idea which was actually introduced into the world by the gospel. There was no word for it in the Roman language. The ancients know of a servator, but not of a salvator. The essential message of the miracles is that they exhibit our Lord in this character—that of one who has alike the will and the power to save. Such is our Lord’s own application of them in His answer, already quoted, to the disciples of John the Baptist (Mt 11:4,5).

3. Miracles Part of Revelation:

It is therefore an extraordinary mistake to suppose that the evidence for our faith would not be damaged if the miracles were set aside. We should lose the positive evidence we now possess of our Lord’s saving power. In this view, the miracles are not the mere proofs of a revelation; they are themselves the revelation. They reveal a Saviour from all human ills, and there has been no other revelation in the world of such a power. The miracles recorded of the apostles have a like effect. They are wrought, like Peter’s of the impotent man, as evidence of the living power of the Saviour (Ac 3; 4). "Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even in him doth this man stand here before you whole. .... And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved" (Ac 4:10,12). In a word, the miracles of the New Testament, whether wrought by our Lord or by His apostles, reveal a new source of power, in the person of our Lord, for the salvation of men. Whatever interference they involve with the usual order of Nature is due, not to any modification of that order, but to the intervention of a new force in it. The nature of that force is revealed by them, and can only be ascertained by observation of them. A man is known by his words and by his deeds, and to these two sources of revelation, respecting His person and character, our Lord expressly appealed. "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do them, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father" (Joh 10:37,38).

It is therefore a mistake to try to put the evidence of the miracles into a logically demonstrative argument. Paley stated the case too much in this almost anathematized form.

"It is idle," he said, "to say that a future state had been discovered already. It had been discovered as the Copernican system was; it was one guess among many. He alone discovers who proves; and no man can prove this point but the teacher who testifies by miracles that his doctrine comes from God" (Moral and Polit. Philosophy, book V, chapter ix, close).

Coleridge, in the Aids to Reflection, criticizes the above and puts the argument in a more just and more human form.

"Most fervently do I contend, that the miracles worked by Christ, both as miracles and as fulfillments of prophecy, both as signs and as wonders, made plain discovery, and gave unquestionable proof, of His Divine character and authority; that they were to the whole Jewish nation true and appropriate evidences, that He was indeed come who had promised and declared to their forefathers, Behold your God will come with vengeance, even God, with a recompense! He will come and save you. I receive them as proofs, therefore, of the truth of every word which He taught who was Himself the Word: and as sure evidences of the final victory over death and of the life to come, in that they were manifestations of Him who said: I am the resurrection and the life!" (note prefatory to Aphorism CXXIII).

This seems the fittest manner in which to contemplate the evidence afforded by miracles.

V. Miracles in the Old Testament.

1. Analogy with New Testament Miracles:

If the miracles ascribed to our Lord and His apostles are established on the grounds now stated, and are of the value just explained, there can be little difficulty in principle in accepting as credible and applying the miracles of the Old Testament. They also are obviously wrought as manifestations of a Divine Being, and as evidences of His character and will.

2. The Mosaic Miracles:

This, e.g., was the great purpose of the miracles wrought for the deliverance of the people of Israel out of Egypt. The critical theories which treat the narrative of those events as "unhistorical" are, I am convinced, unsound. If they could be established, they would deprive us of some of the most precious evidences we possess of the character of God. But, in any case, the purpose to which the alleged miracles are ascribed is of the same character as in the case of the New Testament miracles. "For ask now," says Moses, "of the days that are past .... whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? Did ever a people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that Yahweh your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that Yahweh he is God; there is none else besides him" (De 4:32-35). The God of the Jews was, and is, the God manifested in those miraculous acts of deliverance. Accordingly, the Ten Commandments are introduced with the declaration: "I am Yahweh thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage," and on this follows: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex 20:2,3). Without these miracles, the God of the Jews would be an abstraction. As manifested in them, He is the living God, with a known character, "a just God and a Saviour" (Isa 45:21), who can be loved with all the heart, and soul, and mind, and strength.

3. Subsequent Miracles:

The subsequent miracles of Jewish history, like those wrought by Elijah, serve the same great end, and reveal more and more both of the will and the power of God. They are not mere portents, wrought as an external testimony to a doctrine. They are the acts of a living Being wrought through His ministers, or with their cooperation, and He is revealed by them. If the miracles of the New Testament were possible, those of the Old Testament were possible, and as those of the New Testament reveal the nature and will of Christ, by word and deed, so those of the Old Testament reveal the existence, the nature, and the will of God. Nature, indeed, reveals God, but the miracles reveal new and momentous acts of God; and the whole religious life of the Jews, as the Psalms show, is indissolubly bound up with them. The evidence for them is, in fact, the historic consciousness of a great and tenacious nation.

4. Prophecy as Miracle:

It should be added that the Jewish Scriptures embody one of the greatest of miracles—that of prophecy. It is obvious that the destiny of the Jewish people is predicted from the commencement, in the narrative of the life of Abraham and onward. There can, moreover, be no question that the office of the Christ had been so distinctly foreshadowed in the Scriptures of the Old Testament that the people, as a whole, expected a Messiah before He appeared. our Lord did not, like Buddha or Mohammed, create a new office; He came to fill an office which had been described by the prophets, and of which they had predicted the functions and powers. We are told of the Saviour, "And beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself" (Lu 24:27). That, again, is a revelation of God’s nature, for it reveals Him as "knowing the end from the beginning," and as the Ruler of human life and history.

VI. Ecclesiastical Miracles.

1. Probability of Such Miracles:

Some notice, finally, must be taken of the question of what are called ecclesiastical miracles. There seems no sufficient reason for assuming that miracles ceased with the apostles, and there is much evidence that in the early church miraculous cures, both of body and soul, were sometimes vouchsafed. There were occasions and circumstances when the manifestation of such miraculous power was as appropriate as testimony of the living power of Christ, as in the scenes in the Acts. But they were not recorded under inspired guidance, like the miracles of the Apostolic Age, and they have in many cases been overlaid by legend.

2. Pascal Quoted:

The observation in Pascal’s Thoughts eminently applies to this class of miracles: "It has appeared to me that the real cause (that there are so many false miracles, false revelations, etc.) is that there are true ones, for it would not be possible that there should be so many false miracles unless there were true, nor so many false religions unless there were one that is true. For if all this had never been, it is impossible that so many others should have believed it. .... Thus instead of concluding that there are no true miracles since there are so many false, we must on the contrary say that there are true miracles since there are so many false, and that false miracles exist only for the reason that there are true; so also that there are false religions only because there is one that is true" (On Miracles).

VII. Miracle in Works of Grace.

It has lately been argued with much earnestness and force in Germany, particularly by J. Wendland, in his Miracles and Christianity, that belief in miracles is indispensable to our apprehension of a real living God, and to our trust in His saving work in our own souls. The work of grace and salvation, indeed, is all so far miraculous that it requires the influence upon our nature of a living power above that nature. It is not strictly correct to call it miraculous, as these operations of God’s Spirit are now an established part of His kingdom of grace. But they none the less involve the exercise of a like supernatural power to that exhibited in our Lord’s miracles of healing and casting out of demons; and in proportion to the depths of man’s Christian life will he be compelled to believe in the gracious operation on his soul of this Divine interposition.

On the whole, it is perhaps increasingly realized that miracles, so far from being an excrescence on Christian faith, are indissolubly bound up with it, and that there is a complete unity in the manifestation of the Divine nature, which is recorded in the Scriptures.


Trench, Notes on the Miracles; Mozley, Bampton Lectures (Mozley’s argument is perhaps somewhat marred by its too positive and controversial tone, but, if the notes be read as well as the Lectures, the reader will obtain a comprehensive view of the main controversies on the subject); A.B. Bruce, The Miraculous Element in the Gospels. For modern German views see J. Wendland, Miracles and Christianity; Christlieb, Modern Doubt and Christian Belief. Paley’s Evidences and Butler’s Analogy may profitably be consulted. On continuance of miracles, see Bushnell, Nature and the Supernatural, chapter xiv, and Christlieb, as above, Lecture V.

H. Wace




me-razh’ (sharabh, "heat-mirage"; Arabic sarab, from verb which means "to go forth," "to flow"; hence, "flowing of water"): "The glowing sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water" (Isa 35:7); the King James Version has "parched ground" and the Revised Version margin "mirage." The same Hebrew word is also used in Isa 49:10, "Neither shall the heat (margin "mirage") nor sun smite them." These are the only uses of the word in the Scriptures, although mirages are very common in the drier parts of the country. However, the context in both cases seems to justify the translation usually given, rather than "mirage."

Alfred H. Joy





mir’-i-am (miryam; Septuagint and the New Testament Mariam; English Versions of the Bible of the New Testament "Mary"):

(1) Daughter of Amram and Jochebed, and sister of Aaron and Moses. It is probable that it was she who watched the ark of bulrushes in which the child Moses was laid (Ex 2:4). She associated herself with her brothers in the exodus, is called "the prophetess," and led the choir of maidens who sang the triumph-song after the crossing of the Red Sea (Ex 15:20 f). Along with Aaron, she opposed Moses at Hazeroth (Nu 12:1-5). She was smitten with leprosy in punishment, but on Aaron’s intercession was pardoned and healed (Nu 12:10-15). She died and was buried at Kadesh (Nu 20:1). In the Deuteronomic Law respecting leprosy, Miriam is mentioned as a warning to the Israelites (De 24:8 f). In Mic 6:4, she is referred to along with Moses and Aaron as a leader of God’s people.

(2) Son (or daughter) of Jether (1Ch 4:17). The latter half of the verse is in its present situation unintelligible; it should probably follow verse 18 (see Curtis, Chronicles, in the place cited.).

John A. Lees


mur’-ma (mirmah, "deceit"): A Benjamite (1Ch 8:10).





mis’-a-el, mi’-sa-el (Codex Alexandrinus Misael; Codex Vaticanus Meisael):

(1) One of those who stood on Ezra’s left hand as he expounded the Law (1 Esdras 9:44 equals "Mishael," Ne 8:4).

(2) In The So of the Three Children verse 66 (Septuagint Da 1:7), for "Mishael," one of Daniel’s companions in captivity.


mi-sa’-yas, mi-si’-as: the Revised Version margin equals "Masias."


mis’-chif: The word, in the sense of "hurt" or "evil" befalling, plotted against, or done to, anyone, represents a variety of Hebrew terms (e.g. ‘acon, the King James Version Ge 42:4; 44:29; Ex 21:22; ra‘, 1Sa 23:9; 2Sa 16:8; 1Ki 11:25, etc.; ‘amal, Ps 7:14,16; 10:7,14; Pr 24:2, etc.). Sometimes the Revised Version (British and American) changes the word, as to "evil" (Ex 32:12,22); in Ac 13:10, to "villany" (rhadiourgia).

In the Revised Version (British and American) Apocrypha the word is used for kaka, "evils," Additions to Esther 13:5 (compare Sirach 19:28); kakia, "evil," 1 Macc 7:23; and Latin malum, "evil," 2 Esdras 15:56. "Mischievous" is used, Additions to Esther 14:19, for ponereuomai, "to be evil." The use in the King James Version Apocrypha is considerably more extended (Sirach 11:33; 19:27; 27:27, etc.).

James Orr


mis’-gab (ha-misgabh; Codex Vaticanus Amath; Codex Alexandrinus to krataioma): Named with Nebo and Kiriathaim in the denunciation of doom against Moab (Jer 48:1). No trace of any name resembling this has been found. Possibly we should take it, not as a place-name, but as an appellation of some strong fortress, perhaps of Kir-moab itself. The term is elsewhere translated "high fortress" (Isa 25:12, etc.).


mish’-a-el, mi’-sha-el (misha’el, perhaps equals "who is equal to God?"):

(1) A Kohathite, 4th in descent from Levi (Ex 6:22). He and his brother Elzaphan carried out Moses’ order to remove from the sanctuary and the camp the corpses of Nadab and Abihu (Le 10:4 f).

(2) A supporter of Ezra at the reading of the Law (Ne 8:4).

(3) The Hebrew name of one of Daniel’s 3 companions (Da 1:6,7,11,19; 2:17). His Babylonian name was MESHACH (which see).


mi’-shal (mish’al): A town in the territory of Asher (Jos 19:26, the King James Version "Misheal," Maasa), assigned to the Gershonite Levites (Jos 21:30; Codex Vaticanus Bassellan; Codex Alexandrinus Masaal equals "Mashal" of 1Ch 6:74). Eusebius, Onomasticon (s.v. "Masan") places it near Carmel by the sea. It is not identified.


mi’-sham (mish‘am): A Benjamite, son of Elpaal (1Ch 8:12).





mish’ma (mishma‘):

(1) A son of Ishmael (Ge 25:14; 1Ch 1:30).

(2) A Simeonite (1Ch 4:25).


mish-man’-a (mishmannah): A Gadite warrior who joined David at Ziklag (1Ch 12:10).





mish’-ne (ha-mishneh; 2Ki 22:14; 2Ch 34:22, the King James Version "college," the Revised Version (British and American) "second quarter," margin "Hebrew Mishneh"; Ze 1:10, the King James Version "the second," the Revised Version (British and American) "second quarter," margin "Hebrew: Mishneh"): A part of Jerusalem, apparently not far from the FISH GATE (which see) and the MAKTESH (which see). The translation "college" is due to Targum of Jonathan on 2Ki 22:14. The Revised Version (British and American) interpretation of Mishneh is connected with the belief that Hezekiah, when he built "the other wall without" (2Ch 32:5), made the second wall on the North. There seems little evidence of this (see JERUSALEM, VI, 11), and the "second" may refer to the district of the city on the west hill or perhaps to the hill itself.


E. W. G. Masterman



See PLAIN, and also note in HDB, III, 309.


mish’-ra-its (ha-mishra‘i): One of the families of Kiriath-jearim (1Ch 2:53).


mis’-par (micpar): An exile who returned with Zerubbabel (Ezr 2:2). the King James Version spells the name "Mizpar." In the parallel verse of Nehemiah it appears as "Mispereth" (Ne 7:7).


mis’-pe-reth (micpereth).



miz-re-foth-ma’-im (misrephoth mayim; Septuagint Maseron, Masereth Memphomaim): A place to which Joshua chased the various tribes, which were confederated under Jabin, after their defeat at the waters of Merom (Jos 11:8). It follows the mention of great Sidon, as though it was a place in the same region but farther from the point of departure. In Jos 13:6, it is also mentioned in connection with the Sidonians, as though it was included in their territory, so it must have been in the coast district, or Phoenicia, which was in that period dominated by Sidon. The Canaanites who were among the tribes forming the hosts of Jabin would naturally seek refuge among their brethren in Sidon and its territory. They fled across the hill country which lies between the waters of Merom and the coast, but as Sidon is situated considerably to the North of Merom, some would seek the coast by a more southerly route, and we may look for Misrephoth-maim there. Dr. Thomson (LB, II, 266-67, edition 1882) locates it at Ras el-Musheirifeh, some 13 miles South of Tyre, where there was a stronghold, and where the fugitives might find refuge (see LADDER OF TYRE). Though the name hardly suggests Misrephoth-maim, the identification may be accepted until some better one is found.

H. Porter


(’edh; achlus, homichie): Mist is caused by particles of water vapor filling the air until it is only partially transparent. Mist and haze produce much the same effect, the one being due to moisture in the atmosphere and the other to dust particles. Mist or fog is not common on the plains of Palestine and Syria at sea-level, but is of almost daily occurrence in the mountain valleys, coming up at night and disappearing with the morning sun (The Wisdom of Solomon 2:4). It is nothing else than a cloud touching the land. In the account of creation, "there went up a mist from the earth," giving a description of the warm humid atmosphere of the carboniferous ages which agrees remarkably with the teaching of modern science (Ge 2:6). The word is used figuratively in Ac 13:11 to describe the shutting out of light. Those who bring confusion and uncertainty are compared to "mists driven by a storm" (2Pe 2:17).


Alfred H. Joy


mis’-tres (ba‘alah, gebhereth): Is the translation of ba‘alah, "lady," "owner" (1Ki 17:17; Na 3:4); in 1Sa 28:7, "a woman that hath a familiar spirit" is literally, "the mistress of a familiar spirit"; of gebhereth (Ge 16:4,8,9; 2Ki 5:3; Ps 123:2; Pr 30:23; Isa 24:2); in Isa 47:5,7, we have the King James Version and the English Revised Version "lady," the American Standard Revised Version "mistress."


mit (lepton): The smallest copper or bronze coin current among the Jews. They were first struck by the Maccabean princes with Hebrew legends, and afterward by the Herods and the Roman procurators with Greek legends. The "widow’s mite" mentioned in Mr 12:42 and Lu 21:2 was probably of the first kind, since those with Greek legends were regarded as unlawful in the temple service. According to Mark, the lepton was only half a kodrantes (Latin quadrans), which would indicate a value of about one-fourth of a cent or half an English farthing.


H. Porter


mith’-ka (mithqah "sweetness"; the King James Version Mithcah): Name given owing to sweetness of pasture or water. A desert camp of the Israelites between Terah and Hashmonah (Nu 33:28 f).



mith’-nit (ha-mithni): Designation of Jehoshaphat, one of David’s officers (1Ch 11:43).


mith-ra-da’-tez (Codex Alexandrinus Mithradates; Codex Vaticanus Mithridates; the King James Version Mithridates):

(1) The treasurer of Cyrus to whom the king committed the vessels which had been taken from the temple and who delivered them to the governor, Sanabassar (1 Esdras 2:11 equals "Mithredath" of Ezr 1:8).

(2) Apparently another person of the same name—one of the commissioners stationed in Samaria who wrote a letter to Artaxerxes persuading him to put a stop to the rebuilding of Jerusalem (1 Esdras 2:16 equals "Mithredath" of Ezr 4:7).

S. Angus


mith’-re-dath (mithredhath; Persian equals "gift of Mithra" or "consecrated to Mithra"):

(1) The Persian treasurer through whom Cyrus restored the sacred vessels to the returning Jewish exiles (Ezr 1:8).

(2) A Persian, perhaps an official, who was associated with Bishlam and Tabeel in corresponding with Artaxerxes concerning the restoration of Jerusalem (Ezr 4:7). In 1 Esdras 2:11,16, the name is written MITHRADATES (which see).


mi’-ter In the King James Version this word renders two Hebrew words, both of which, however, come from the same stem, namely, tsanaph, "to coil" or "to wrap round." In Ex 28, a mitre (the Revised Version margin "turban") is enumerated among Aaron’s articles of dress, which were to be made by tailors of recognized skill. On the forefront of the mitre was a "plate of pure gold" with the words "Holy to Yahweh" (i.e. consecrated to Yahweh) inscribed upon it. This gold plate was fastened to the mitre by a blue ribbon. The material of the mitre was fine linen or silk. The word for the headtire (the King James Version "bonnet") of the ordinary priest was a different word. Ezekiel uses the word in connection with Zedekiah (21:26); the prophet associated regal and priestly functions with the throne. It is possible, however, that the two sentences—"remove the mitre," and "take off the crown"—refer to the degradation of the priesthood and of the throne which the downfall of Jerusalem will involve. The Septuagint varies between kidaris and mitra, the former word being used in Sirach 45:12.

T. Lawns


mit-i-le’-ne, mit-i-lye’-nye (Mitulene, or Mutilene as usually on coins):

1. Importance and History:

In antiquity the most important city of the Asiatic Aeolians and of the island of Lesbos. It had 2 harbors and strong fortresses. The city was noted for its high culture and for its zeal for art and science from the earliest times. The island, under the leadership of Mitylene, revolted in 428 BC from the Athenian confederacy. The city was besieged by the Athenians and finally taken. The inhabitants of Mitylene were treated with great severity; the walls were dismantled, and the city was deprived of its power on the sea. In the time of Alexander the Great, Mitylene suffered most through the Persians, and later by the occupation of the Macedonians, but afterward regained its power and prosperity, and still later was favored by the Roman emperors, being made a free city by Pompey.

In the Middle Ages, the name Mitylene was applied to the whole island. The present capital, often called simply Castro, has a large castle built on the site of the ancient acropolis (in 1373). The city was conquered by the Turks in 1462. It contains 14 mosques, 7 churches, and has a population of about 15,000.

2. Paul’s Visit:

On his third missionary journey, Paul traveled to the Hellespont from Philippi, thence through the Troad by land to Assos on the southern side—where extensive excavations were carried on in 1881 by an American archaeological expedition—thence by ship to Mitylene (Ac 20:14), where he spent the night. Leaving Lesbos, he sailed southward to a point opposite the island of Chios (Ac 20:15). There is no record that a Christian church had been established in Mitylene at this time.


Tozer, Islands of the Aegean, 121, 134 f, 136; Ramsay, Paul the Traveler, 291 ff.

J. E. Harry


mikst, mul’-ti-tud.



mi’-zar, (har mits‘ar; oros mikros): The name of a mountain found only in Ps 42:6; "I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and the Hermons, from the hill Mizar." The term may be taken as an appellative meaning "littleness" and the phrase mehar mits‘ar would then mean "from the little mountain," i.e. the little mountain of Zion. Some scholars think that the "m" in mehar may have arisen from dittography, and that we should read, "from the land of Jordan, and the Hermons, O thou little mountain (of Zion)." G.A. Smith discusses the question in a note (HGHL, 477). He suggests that certain names found in the district (za‘ura, wady za‘arah, and Khirbet Mazara) may be a reminiscence of the name of a hill in the district called Mits‘ar; and surly none other would have been put by the Psalmist in apposition to the Hermons. Cheyne says: "To me this appendage to Hermonim seems a poetic loss. Unless the little mountain has a symbolic meaning I could wish it away." I cannot see this: the symbolic meanings suggested for Hermonim and Mits‘ar are all forced, and even if we got a natural one, it would be out of place after the literal land of Jordan. To employ all as proper names is suitable to a lyric. No identification is at present possible.

W. Ewing


miz’-pa, miz’-pe: This name is pointed both ways in the Hebrew, and is found usually with the article. The meaning seems to be "outlook" or "watchtower." It is natural, therefore, to look for the places so named in high positions commanding wide prospects.

(1) (ha-mitspah (Ge 31:49; Jud 11:11,34), mitspah (Ho 5:1), mitspeh ghil‘adh (Jud 11:29); Massepha, ten skopian, and other forms): It seems probable that the same place is intended in all these passages, and that it is identical with Ramath-mizpeh of Jos 13:26. It is the place where Jacob and Laban parted in Mt. Gilead; consequently it lay to the North of Mahanaim. Here was the home of Jephthah, to which he returned after the defeat of the Aremonites, only to realize how his rash vow had brought desolation to his house. It was taken by Judas Maccabeus, who destroyed the inhabitants and burned the city (1 Macc 5:35). Jerash, and Kal‘at er-Rabad; but these seem all to lie South of any possible site for Mahanaim. A ruined site was discovered by Dr. Schumacher (M und NPDV, 1897, 86), with the name Macfa, which is just the Arabic equivalent of the Hebrew Mitspah. It lies some distance to the Northwest of Jerash and claims consideration in any attempt to fix the site of Mizpah.

(2) (’erets ha-mitspah (Jos 11:3), biq‘ath mitspeh (verse 8); Masseuman, Massephath, and other forms): The "land of Mizpah" and the "valley of Mizpah" may be taken as applying to the same district. It lay on the southwest slopes of Hermon Northeast of the Waters of Merom. The site must be looked for on one of the heights in the region indicated, from which a wide view is obtained. MuTallah, a Druze village standing on a hill to the North of ‘Abil and East of Nahr el-Chasbany, was suggested by Robinson. The present writer agrees with Buhl (GAP, 240) that the ancient castle above Banias, Kal‘at ec-Cubeibeh, occupies a more likely position.

(3) (mitspeh; Maspha): A town in the Shephelah of Judah named with Dilan, Joktheel and Lachish (Tell el-Hesy). Eusebius, Onomasticon mentions a Macfa in the neighborhood of Eleutheropolis, to the North. The identification proposed by Van de Velde and Guerin would suit this description. They would locate Mizeph at Tell ec-Cafiyeh, about 7 1/2 miles Northwest of Beit Jibrin, "a conspicuous hill with a glittering white cliff rising like an isolated block above the adjacent country" (PEFS, 1903, 276). Many identify this site with Gath, but the name and character of the place point rather to identification with Mizpeh, the Blanche Guarde or Alba Specula of the Middle Ages.

(4) (ha-mitspah; Massema, Maspha): A town in the territory of Benjamin (Jos 18:26). Hither came the men of Israel to deal with the Benjamites after the outrage on the Levite’s concubine (Jud 20:1,3; 21:1,5,8). At Mizpah, Samuel gathered his countrymen. While there crying to God in their distress, they were attacked by the Philistines, whom they defeated with great slaughter (1Sa 7:5, etc.). Here also Saul, the son of Kish, was chosen king, after which Samuel told the people the "manner of the kingdom" (10:17, etc.). Mizpah was fortified by Asa, king of Judah, with materials which Baasha, king of Israel, had used to fortify Ramah (1Ki 15:22; 2Ch 16:6). When Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem and made Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, governor of the remnant of the people left in the land of Judah, the governor’s residence was fixed at Mizpah (2Ki 25:23). Here he was joined by Jeremiah, whom Nebuzaradan, captain of the Babylonian guard, had set free. At Mizpah, Ishmael, son of Nathaiah, treacherously slew Gedaliah and many who were with him. Two days later he murdered a company of pilgrims, throwing their dead bodies into the great cistern which Asa had made when strengthening the place against possible attack by Baasha of Samaria. He then made prisoners of the people, including the king’s daughters, and attempted to convey them away to the Ammonites, an attempt that was frustrated by Johanan, son of Kareah (Jer 40$; 41$). Mizpah was the scene of memorable assembly in a day of sore anxiety for Judah, when Judas Maccabeus called the warriors of Judah together for counsel and prayer (1 Macc 3:46). From this passage we also learn that the place was an ancient sanctuary—"for in Mizpah there was a place of prayer aforetime for Israel."

It has been proposed to identify Mizpah with Tell Nasbeh, a site on the watershed South of Bireh. The Abbe Raboisson established the fact that Jerusalem can be seen from this point. In this respect it agrees with Maundeville’s description. "It is a very fair and delicious place, and it is called Mt. Joy because it gives joy to pilgrims’ hearts, for from that place men first see Jerusalem." But Jer 41:10 may be taken as decisive against this identification. Ishmael departed to go east. From Tell Nasbeh this would never have brought him to the great waters that are in Gibeon (PEFS, 1898, 169, 251; 1903, 267). A more probable identification is with Neby Samwil, a village on high ground 4 1/2 miles Northwest of Jerusalem, the traditional burying-place of Samuel. It is 2,935 ft. above sea-level, and 500 ft. higher than the surrounding land. Here the pilgrims coming up by way of Beth-heron from Jaffa, the ancient route, first saw the Holy City. The mosque of the village was formerly a church, dating from Crusading times; and here the tomb of Samuel is shown. If this is the ancient Mizpah, a very slight detour to the North would bring Ishmael to the great waters that are in Gibeon, el-Jib (Gibeon) being only a mile and a quarter distant.

(5) (mitspeh mo’abh "Mizpeh of Moab"; Masepha): A town in Moab to which David took his parents for safety during Saul’s pursuit of him (1Sa 22:3). It is possibly to be identified with Kir-moab, the modern Kerak, whither David would naturally go to interview the king. But there is no certainty. Possibly we should read "Mizpah" instead of "the hold" in 1Sa 22:5.

(6) In 2Ch 20:24, probably we should read "Mizpah" instead of "watch-tower": ha-mitspeh la-midhbar would then point to a Mizpeh of the Wilderness to be sought in the district of Tekoa (20:20).

W. Ewing





miz’-ra-im (mitsrayim):

(1) A son of Ham, and ancestor of various peoples, Ludim, Anamim, etc. (Ge 10:6,13; 1Ch 1:8,11).


(2) The name of Egypt.


The land of Ham.—cham, was another name for the land of Egypt. It occurs only in Ps 105:23,17; 106:22; Ps 78:51 probably refers to the land of Ham, though it may refer to the children of Ham. The origin and significance of this name are involved in much obscurity. Two improbable etymologies and one probable etymology for Ham as a name of Egypt have been proposed, and the improbable ones very much urged:

(1) Ham is often thought to be a Hebrew appropriation of the Egyptian name "Kemt," a name for the "black land" as distinguished from "desherr," the red land of the desert which surrounded it. This etymology is very attractive, but phonetically very improbable to say the least.

(2) Ham has sometimes been connected directly with cham, the second son of Noah whose descendants under the name Mitsraim occupied a part of Northeastern Africa. But as there is no trace of this name among the Egyptians and no use of it in the historical books of the Old Testament, this can hardly be said to be a probable derivation of the word.

(3) There is a third proposed etymology for Ham which connects it ultimately but indirectly with Ham, the second son of Noah. Some of the earliest sculptures yet found in Egypt represent the god Min (Menu; compare Koptos by Professor Petrie). This god seems also to have been called Khem, a very exact Egyptian equivalent for Cham, Ham, the second son of Noah and the ancestor of the Hamitic people of Egypt. That Ham the son of Noah should be deified in the Egyptian pantheon is not surprising. The sensuality of this god Min or Khem also accords well with the reputation for licentiousness borne by Ham the son of Noah. These facts suggest very strongly a trace in Egyptian mythology of the actual history of the movements of Hamitic people.

(4) While the preceding division (3) probably states the real explanation of the early name of Egypt, it still remains to be noted that the use of the name Ham by the Psalmist may be entirely poetic. Until it be found that the name Ham was applied to Egypt by other writers of that period it will ever be in some measure unlikely that the Psalmist was acquainted with the mythological use of the name Ham in Egypt, and so, in equal measure, probable that he meant nothing more than to speak of the land of the descendants of Ham the son of Noah.

See also HAM.

M. G. Kyle


miz’-a (mizzah, "strong," "firm"): Grandson of Esau, one of the "dukes" of Edom (Ge 36:13,17; 1Ch 1:37).


na’-son, m’-na’-son (Mnason): All that we know of Mnason is found in Ac 21:16.

(1) He accompanied Paul and his party from Caesarea on Paul’s last visit to Jerusalem;

(2) he was a Cyprian;

(3) "an early disciple," an early convert to Christianity, and

(4) the one with whom Paul’s company was to lodge.

The "Western" text of this passage is very interesting. Blass, following Codex Bezae (D), the Syriac, reads, for "bringing," etc., "And they brought us to those with whom one should lodge, and when we had come into a certain village we stayed with Mnason a Cyprian, an early disciple, and having departed thence we came to Jerusalem and the brethren," etc. Meyer-Wendt, Page and Rendell render the accepted text, "bringing us to the house of Mnason," etc. However, giving the imperfect transitive of anebainomen, "we were going up" to Jerusalem (21:15), we might understand that the company lodged with Mnason on the 1st night of their journey to Jerusalem, and not at the city itself. "Ac 21:15, they set about the journey; 21:16, they lodged with Mnason on the introduction of the Cesarean disciples; 21:17, they came to Jerus" (Expositor’s Greek Testament, in the place cited.).

S. F. Hunter


mo’-ab, mo’-ab-its (Moab, mo’abh, Moabite Stone, M-’-B; Greek (Septuagint) Moab, he Moabeitis, Moabitis; Moabite, mo’abhi; Moabites, bene mo’abh):

1. The Land:

Moab was the district East of the Dead Sea, extending from a point some distance North of it to its southern end. The eastern boundary was indefinite, being the border of the desert which is irregular. The length of the territory was about 50 miles and the average width about 30. It is a high tableland, averaging some 3,000 ft. above the level of the Mediterranean and 4,300 ft. above that of the Dead Sea. The aspect of the land, as one looks at it from the western side of the Dead Sea, is that of a range of mountains with a very precipitous frontage, but the elevation of this ridge above the interior is very slight. Deep chasms lead down from the tableland to the Dead Sea shore, the principal one being the gorge of the river Arnon, which is about 1,700 ft. deep and 2 or more miles in width at the level of the tableland, but very narrow at the bottom and with exceedingly precipitous banks. About 13 miles back from the mouth of the river the gorge divides, and farther back it subdivides, so that several valleys are formed of diminishing depth as they approach the desert border. These are referred to in Nu 21:14 as the "valleys of the Arnon." The "valley of Zered" (Nu 21:12), which was on the southern border, drops down to the southern end of the Dead Sea, and although not so long or deep as the Arnon, is of the same nature in its lower reaches, very difficult to cross, dividing into two branches, but at a point much nearer the sea. The stream is not so large as the Arnon, but is quite copious, even in summer. These gorges have such precipitous sides that it would be very difficult for an army to cross them, except in their upper courses near the desert where they become shallow. The Israelites passed them in that region, probably along the present Hajj road and the line of the Mecca Railway. The tableland is fertile but lacks water. The fountains and streams in the valleys and on the slopes toward the Dead Sea are abundant, but the uplands are almost destitute of flowing water. The inhabitants supply themselves by means of cisterns, many of which are ancient, but many of those used in ancient times are ruined. The population must have been far greater formerly than now. The rainfall is usually sufficient to mature the crops, although the rain falls in winter only. The fertility of the country in ancient times is indicated by the numerous towns and villages known to have existed there, mentioned in Scripture and on the Moabite Stone, the latter giving some not found elsewhere. The principal of these were: Ar (Nu 21:15); Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Nebo (Nu 32:3); Beth-peor (De 3:29); Beth-diblaim, Bozrah, Kerioth (Jer 48:22-24); Kir (Isa 15:1); Medeba, Elealeh, Zoar (Isa 15:2,4,5); Kirheres (Isa 16:11); Sibmah (Jos 13:19); in all, some 45 place-names in Moab are known, most of the towns being in ruins. Kir of Moab is represented in the modern Kerak, the most important of all and the government center of the district. Madeba now represents the ancient Medeba, and has become noted for the discovery of a medieval map of Palestine, in mosaic, of considerable archaeological value. Rabbath-moab and Heshbon (modern Rabba and Hesban) are miserable villages, and the country is subject to the raids of the Bedouin tribes of the neighboring desert, which discourages agriculture. But the land is still good pasture ground for cattle and sheep, as in ancient times (Nu 32:3,4).

2. The People:

The Moabites were of Semitic stock and of kin to the Hebrews, as is indicated by their descent from Lot, the nephew of Abraham (Ge 19:30-37), and by their language which is practically the same as the Hebrew. This is clear from the inscription on the Moabite Stone, a monument of Mesha, king of Moab, erected about 850 BC, and discovered among the ruins of Dibon in 1868. It contains 34 lines of about 9 words each, written in the old Phoenician and Hebrew characters, corresponding to the Siloam inscription and those found in Phoenicia, showing that it is a dialect of the Semitic tongue prevailing in Palestine. The original inhabitants of Moab were the Emim (De 2:10), "a people great .... and tall, as the Anakim." When these were deposed by the Moabites we do not know. The latter are not mentioned in the Tell el-Amarna Letters and do not appear on the Egyptian monuments before the 14th century BC, when they seem to be referred to under the name of Ruten, or Luten or Lotan, i.e. Lot (Paton, Syria and Pal); Muab appears in a list of names on a monument of Rameses III of the XXth Dynasty. The country lay outside the line of march of the Egyptian armies, and this accounts for the silence of its monuments in regard to them.

3. Religion:

The chief deity of Moab was Chemosh (kemosh), frequently mentioned in the Old Testament and on the Moabite Stone, where King Mesha speaks of building a high place in his honor because he was saved by him from his enemies. He represents the oppression of Moab by Omri as the result of the anger of Chemosh, and Mesha made war against Israel by command of Chemosh. He was the national god of Moab, as Molech was of Ammon, and it is pretty certain that he was propitiated by human sacrifices (2Ki 3:27). But he was not the only god of Moab, as is clear from the account in Nu 25, where it is also clear that their idolatrous worship was corrupt. They had their Baalim like the nations around, as may be inferred from the place-names compounded with Baal, such as Bamoth-baal, Beth-baal-meon and Baal-peor.

4. History:

We know scarcely anything of the history of the Moabites after the account of their origin in Ge 19 until the time of the exodus. It would seem, however, that they had suffered from the invasions of the Amorites, who, under their king Sihon, had subdued the northern part of Moab as far as the Arnon (Nu 21:21-31). This conquest was no doubt a result of the movement of the Amorites southward, when they were pressed by the great wave of Hittite invasion that overran Northern Syria at the end of the 15th and the early part of the 14th centuries BC. The Amorites were forced to seek homes in Palestine, and it would seem that a portion of them crossed the Jordan and occupied Northern Moab, and here the Israelites found them as they approached the Promised Land. They did not at first disturb the Moabites in the South, but passed around on the eastern border (De 2:8,9) and came into conflict with the Amorites in the North (Nu 21:21-26), defeating them and occupying the territory (Nu 21:31-32). But when Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, saw what a powerful people was settling on his border, he made alliance with the Midianites against them and called in the aid of Balaam, but as he could not induce the latter to curse them he refrained from attacking the Israelites (Nu 22; 24). The latter, however, suffered disaster from the people of Moab through their intercourse with them (Nu 25). Some time before the establishment of the kingdom in Israel the Midianites overran Moab, as would appear from the passage in Ge 36:35, but the conquest was not permanent, for Moab recovered its lost territory and became strong enough to encroach upon Israel across the Jordan. Eglon of Moab oppressed Israel with the aid of Ammon and Amalek (Jud 3:13-14), but Eglon was assassinated by Ehud, and the Moabite yoke was cast off after 18 years. Saul smote Moab, but did not subdue it (1Sa 14:47), for we find David putting his father and mother under the protection of the king of Moab when persecuted by Saul (1Sa 22:3,4). But this friendship between David and Moab did not continue. When David became king he made war upon Moab and completely subjugated it (2Sa 8:2). On the division of the kingdom between Rehoboam and Jeroboam the latter probably obtained possession of Moab (1Ki 12:20), but it revolted and Omri had to reconquer it (M S), and it was tributary to Ahab (2Ki 1:1). It revolted again in the reign of Ahaziah (2Ki 1:1; 3:5), and Moab and Ammon made war on Jehoshaphat and Mt. Seir and destroyed the latter, but they afterward fell out among themselves and destroyed each other (2Ch 20). Jehoshaphat and Jehoram together made an expedition into Moab and defeated the Moabites with great slaughter (2Ki 3). But Mesha, king of Moab, was not subdued (2Ki 3:27), and afterward completely freed his land from the dominion of Israel (M S). This was probably at the time when Israel and Judah were at war with Hazael of Damascus (2Ki 8:28,29). Bands of Moabites ventured to raid the land of Israel when weakened by the conflict with Hazael (2Ki 13:20), but Moab was probably subdued again by Jeroboam II (2Ki 14:25), which may be the disaster to Moab recounted in Isa 15. After Mesha we find a king of the name of Salamanu and another called Chemosh-nadab, the latter being subject to Sargon of Assyria. He revolted against Sennacherib, in alliance with other kings of Syria and Palestine and Egypt, but was subdued by him, and another king, Mutsuri, was subject to Esarhaddon. These items come to us from the Assyrian monuments. When Babylon took the place of Assyria in the suzerainty, Moab joined other tribes in urging Judah to revolt but seems to have come to terms with Nebuchadnezzar before Jerusalem was taken, as we hear nothing of any expedition of that king against her. On the war described in Judith, in which Moab (1:12, etc.) plays a part.


At a later date Moab was overrun by the Nabathean Arabs who ruled in Petra and extended their authority on the east side of Jordan even as far as Damascus (Josephus, Ant, XIII, xv, 1,2). The Moabites lost their identity as a nation and were afterward confounded with the Arabs, as we see in the statement of Josephus (XIII, xiii, 5), where he says that Alexander (Janneus) overcame the Arabians, such as the Moabites and the Gileadites. Alexander built the famous stronghold of Macherus in Moab, on a hill overlooking the Dead Sea, which afterward became the scene of the imprisonment and tragical death of John the Baptist (Josephus, BJ, VII, vi, 2; Ant, XVIII, v, 2; Mr 6:21-28). It was afterward destroyed by the Romans. Kir became a fortress of the Crusaders under the name of Krak (Kerak), which held out against the Moslems until the time of Saladin, who captured it in 1188 AD.


Commentaries on the passages in the Old Testament relating to Moab, and histories of Israel; Paton, Early History of Syria and Palestine; Rawlinson, Ancient Monarchies, especially Assyria and Babylonia; Conder, Heth and Moab; G. A. Smith, HGHL; the Moabite Stone; Josephus.

H. Porter


A monument erected at Dibon (Dhiban) by Mesha, king of Moab (2Ki 3:4,5), to commemorate his successful revolt from Israel and his conquest of Israelite territory. It was discovered, August 19, 1868, by a German missionary, V. Klein, who unfortunately took neither copy nor squeeze of it. It was 3 ft. 10 inches high and 2 ft. broad, with a semicircular top. The Berlin Museum entered into negotiations for the purchase of it, but while these were proceeding slowly, M. Clermont-Ganneau, then dragoman of the French consulate at Jerusalem, sent agents to take squeezes and tempt the Arabs to sell it for a large sum of money. This led to interference on the part of the Turkish officials, with the result that in 1869 the Arabs lighted a fire under the Stone, and by pouring cold water on it broke it into pieces which they carried away as charms. M. Clermont-Ganneau, however, succeeded in recovering a large proportion of these, and with the help of the squeezes was able to rewrite the greater part of the inscription. The last and most definitive edition of the text was published by Professors Smend and Socin in 1886 from a comparison of the fragments of the original (now in the Louvre) with the squeezes (in Paris and Bale) and photographs.

The following is (with some unimportant corrections) Dr. Neubauer’s translation of the inscription, based upon Smend and Socin’s text:

(1) I (am) Mesha, son of Chemosh-melech, king of Moab, the Dibonite.

(2) My father reigned over Moab 30 years and I reigned

(3) after my father. I have made this monument (or high place) for Chemosh at Qorchah, a monument of salvation,

(4) for he saved me from all invaders (or kings), and let me see my desire upon all my enemies. Omri

(5) was king of Israel, and he oppressed Moab many days, for Chemosh was angry with his

(6) land. His son (Ahab) followed him and he also said: I will oppress Moab. In my days (Chemosh) said:

(7) I will see (my desire) on him and his house, and Israel surely shall perish for ever. Omri took the land of

(8) Medeba (Nu 21:30), and (Israel) dwelt in it during his days and half the days of his son, altogether 40 years. But Chemosh (gave) it back

(9) in my days. I built Baal-Meon (Jos 13:17) and made therein the ditches (or wells); I built

(10) Kirjathaim (Nu 32:37). The men of Gad dwelt in the land of Ataroth (Nu 32:3) from of old, and the king of Israel built there

(11) (the city of) Ataroth; but I made war against the city and took it. And I slew all the (people of)

(12) the city, for the pleasure of Chemosh and of Moab, and I brought back from them the Arel (’-r-’-l of Dodah (d-w-d-h) and bore

(13) him before Chemosh in Qerioth (Jer 48:24). And I placed therein the men of Sharon and the men

(14) of Mehereth. And Chemosh said unto me: Go, seize Nebo of Israel and

(15) I went in the night and fought against it from the break of dawn till noon; and I took

(16) it, slew all of them, 7,000 men and (boys?), women and (girls?),

(17) and female slaves, for to Ashtar-Chemosh I devoted them. And I took from thence the Arels (’-r-’-l-y)

(18) of Yahweh and bore them before Chemosh. Now the king of Israel had built

(19) Jahaz (Isa 15:4), and he dwelt in it while he waged war against me, but Chemosh drove him out from before me. And

(20) I took from Moab 200 men, all chiefs, and transported them to Jahaz which I took

(21) to add to Dibon. I built Qorchah, the Wall of the Forests and the Wall

(22) of the Ophel, and I built its gates and I built its towers. And

(23) I built the House of Moloch, and I made sluices for the water-ditches in the midst

(24) of the city. And there was no cistern within the city of Qorchah, and I said to all the people: Make for

(25) yourselves every man a cistern in his house. And I dug the canals (or conduits) for Qorchah by means of the prisoners

(26) from Israel. I built Aroer (De 2:36), and I made the road in Arnon. And

(27) I built Beth-Bamoth (Nu 26:19) for it was destroyed. I built Bezer (De 4:43), for in ruins

(28) (it was. And all the chiefs?) of Dibon were 50, for all Dibon is loyal, and I

(29) placed 100 (chiefs?) in the cities which I added to the land; I built

(30) (Beth)-Mede(b)a (Nu 21:30) and Beth-diblathaim (Jer 48:22), and Beth-Baal-Meon (Jer 48:23), and transported the shepherds (?)

(31) ....( with) the flock(s) of the land. Now in Choronaim (Isa 15:5) there dwelt (the children?) ....

(32) ....( and) Chemosh said unto me: Go down, make war upon Choronaim. So I went down (and made war

(33) upon the city, and took it, and) Chemosh dwelt in it during my days. And I went up (?) from thence; I made ....

(34) ... And I .... "

The Biblical character of the language of the inscription will be noticed as well as the use of "forty" to signify an indefinite period of time. As in Israel, no goddess seems to have been worshipped in Moab, since the goddess Ashtoreth is deprived of the feminine suffix, and is identified with the male Chemosh (Ashtar-Chemosh). Dodah appears to have been a female divinity worshipped by the side of Yahweh; the root of the name is the same as that of David and the Carthaginian Dido. The Arels were "the champions" of the deity (Assyrian qurart), translated "lion-like men" in the King James Version (2Sa 23:20; compare Isa 33:7). There was an Ophel in the Moabite capital as well as at Jerusalem.

The alphabet of the inscription is an early form of the Phoenician, and resembles that of the earliest Greek inscriptions. The words are divided from one another by dots, and the curved forms of some of the letters (b, k, l, margin, n) presuppose writing with ink upon papyrus, parchment or potsherds.

The revolt of Mesha took place after Ahab’s death (2Ki 3:5). At the battle of Qarqar in 854 BC, when the Syrian kings were defeated by Shalmaneser II, no mention is made of Moab, as it was included in Israel. It would seem from the inscription, however, that Medeba had already been restored to Mesha, perhaps in return for the regular payment of his tribute of 100,000 lambs and 100,000 rams with their wool (2Ki 3:4).


Clermont-Ganneau, La stele de Mesa, 1870; Ginsburg, Moabite Stone, 1871; R. Sinend and A. Socin, Die Inschrift des Konigs Mesa von Moab, 1886; A. Neubauer in Records of the Past, 2nd series, II, 1889; Lidzbarski, Handbuch der nordsemitischen Epigraphik, 1898, 4-83, 415.

A. H. Sayce


mo’-ab-it-es, mo-ab-i’-tes (mo’abhiyah): A woman, or in plural women, of Moab. The term is applied to Ru (1:22; 2:2,6,21; 4:5,10); to some of Solomon’s wives (1Ki 11:1); and to Shimrith, whose son shared in the murder of King Joash (2Ch 24:26).






mok’-mur, ho cheimarrhos Mochmour): The torrent bed in a valley on which stood Chusi, not far from Ekrebel (Judith 7:18). The latter may be identified with ‘Aqrabeh, East of Nablus. Wady Makhfuriyeh runs to the South of ‘Aqrabeh, and probably represents the ancient Mochmur.


mok, mok’er, mok’-ing (hathal, la‘agh, empaizo): To mock is the translation of hathal, "to play upon," "mock," "deride" (Jud 16:10,13,15; 1Ki 18:27, "Elijah mocked them"; Job 13:9 twice, the Revised Version (British and American) "deceiveth," "deceive," margin "mocketh," "mock"); of la‘agh, "to stammer" or "babble in mimicry," "to mock" or "scorn" (2Ch 30:10; Ne 4:1; Job 11:3; 21:3; Pr 1:26; 17:5; 30:17; Jer 20:7). Other words are tsachaq, "to laugh," etc. (Ge 19:14; 21:9; , 39:14,17); qalac, "to call out," or "cry after," "to scoff" or "mock at" (2Ki 2:23; Eze 22:5); sachaq, "to laugh," "mock" (Job 39:22; La 1:7); luts, "to scorn" (Pr 14:9); sechoq, "laughter," "derision" (Job 12:4); empaizo, "to treat as a child," "mock" (Mt 2:16; 20:19; 27:29,31,41; Lu 14:29, etc.); diachleuazo, "to mock," "laugh," etc. (Ac 2:13; 17:32); mukterizo, "to sneer at," "mock," literally, "to turn up the nose" (Ga 6:7, "God is not mocked," "will not let himself be mocked"); epigelao, "laugh" (Job 2:8; RAPC 1Ma 7:34; compare RAPC 2Ma 7:39; 8:17).

Mocker, hathulim, "deceivers," "mockers" (Job 17:2); luts (Pr 20:1; Isa 28:22 the King James Version); la‘egh, "stammering," "mocking" (Ps 35:16; compare Isa 28:11); sachaq (Jer 15:17); empaiktes, "a mocker," "scoffer," literally, "sporting as children" (Jude 1:18; compare 2Pe 3:3).

Mocking is the translation of qallacah "mocking," "derision" (Eze 22:4); of empaigmos the Septuagint for qallacah) (Heb 11:36; RAPC Wis 12:25; Ecclesiasticus 27:28, "mockery"; RAPC 2Ma 7:7, "mocking-stock," the Revised Version (British and American) "the mocking"; 2 Macc 7:10, "made a mocking-stock" (empaizo)); of mokos (Ecclesiasticus 33:6).

For "mocked of" (Job 12:4) the Revised Version (British and American) has "a laughing-stock to"; for "mockers" (Isa 28:22), the English Revised Version "scorner," the American Standard Revised Version "scoffer"; for "the mockers" (Jer 15:17), "them that made merry"; for "scorneth" (Pr 19:28), "mocketh at"; for "As one man mocketh another, do ye so mock him?" (Job 13:9), "As one deceiveth a man will ye deceive him?" (margin, "mocketh," "mock"); "mock" for "laugh" (Job 9:23); for "There shall come in the last days scoffers" (2Pe 3:3), "In the last days (margin, "Greek in the last of the days") mockers shall come with mockery" (empaigmone empaiktai).

W. L. Walker




mod’-er-at-li (litsedhaqah): "Moderately" is the King James Version translation of litsedhaqah, "righteousness" (Joe 2:23, "for he hath given you the former rain moderately," margin "according to righteousness," the Revised Version (British and American) "in just measure," margin "in (or for) righteousness"). In Php 4:5 the King James Version, toe pieikes is translated moderation: "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand," the Revised Version (British and American) "forbearance," margin "or gentleness"; compare 2Co 10:1. The proper meaning of this word has been the subject of considerable discussion; epieikeia is translated "clemency" (Ac 24:4), "gentleness" (of Christ) (2Co 10:1); epieikes is "gentle" (1Ti 3:3; Tit 3:2; Jas 3:17; 1Pe 2:18).

Trench says (Synonyms of the New Testament, 151): "It expresses exactly that moderation which recognizes the impossibility cleaving to formal law, of anticipating and providing for all cases that will emerge and present themselves to it for decision; which, with this, recognizes the danger that ever waits upon the assertion of legal rights, lest they should be pushed into moral wrongs, lest the ‘summum jus’ should in practice prove the ‘summa injuria,’ which therefore, pushes not its own rights to the uttermost, but going back in part or in the whole from these, rectifies and redresses the injustices of justice. It is thus more truly just than strict justice would have been; no Latin word exactly and adequately renders it; clementia sets forth one side of it, aequitas another, and perhaps modestia (by which the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translations it in 2Co 10:1) a third; but the word is wanting which should set forth all these excellences reconciled in a single and higher one." Its archetype and pattern, he points out, is found in God, who does not stand upon or assert strict rights in His relations to men.

Lightfoot has "forbearance": "Let your gentle and forbearing spirit be recognized by all men. The judgment is drawing nigh." Hastings prefers "considerateness" or "sweet reasonableness" (HDB, III, 413); "‘ Gentleness’ and ‘forbearance’ are too passive. The ‘considerateness’ of the Bible, whether applied to God or man, is an active virtue. It is the Spirit of the Messiah Himself, who will not break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax, and it is the spirit of every follower who realizes that ‘the Lord is at hand.’ " The want of this "considerateness" too often mars our religious life and spoils its influence.

W. L. Walker


mod-er-a’-shun (to epieikes): The word occurs once in the King James Version, Php 4:5.


mo’-din (Modeein, Modein, Modeeim, and other forms; in the Talmud it is called modhi‘im, and modhi‘ith (Neubauer, Geographie du Talmud, 99)): This place owes its interest to the part it played in the history of the Maccabees. It was the ancestral home of their family (1 Macc 2:17,70). Hither Mattathias, a priest of the sons of Joarib, retired when he had seen with a burning heart "the blasphemies that were committed in Judah and in Jerus" under the orders of Antiochus Epiphanes. But the king’s officer followed him, and by offers of the king’s friendship and great rewards sought to seduce the people into idolatry. This only fed the indignation of Mattathias, and when a Jew went forward to sacrifice, Mattathias slew him on the altar together with the king’s officer. From such a step there could be no going back. Thus began the patriotic enterprise which, led by the old priest’s heroic sons, was destined to make illustrious the closing days of the nation’s life (1 Macc 2:1 ff; Ant, VI, i, 2; BJ, I, i, 3). Mattathias, his wife and sons were all buried in Modin (1 Macc 2:70; 9:19; 13:25-30; Ant, XII, xi, 2; XIII, vi, 6). Near Modin Judas pitched his camp, whence issuing by night with the watchword "Victory is God’s," he and a chosen band of warriors overwhelmed the army of Antiochus Eupator (2 Macc 13:14). In Modin Judas and John, the sons of Simon, slept before the battle in which they defeated Cendebaeus (1 Macc 16:4).

Of the impressive monument erected by Simon over the tombs of his parents and brethren Stanley (History of the Jewish Church, III, 318) gives the following account: "It was a square structure surrounded by colonnades of monolith pillars, of which the front and back were of white polished stone. Seven pyramids were erected by Simon on the summit, for the father and mother and four brothers who now lay there, with the seventh for himself when his time should come. On the faces of the monuments were bas-reliefs, representing the accouterments of sword and spear and shield ‘for an eternal memorial’ of their many battles. There were also sculptures of ships—no doubt to record their interest in that long seaboard of the Philistine coast, which they were the first to use for their country’s good. A monument at once so Jewish in idea and so Gentilein execution was worthy of the combination of patriotic fervor and high philosophic enlargement of soul which raised the Maccabean heroes so high above their age." Guerin (La Samarie, II, 401; Galilee, I, 47) thought he had discovered the remains of this monument at Khirbet el-Gharbawi near Medyeh, in 1870. In this, however, he was mistaken, the remains being of Christian origin.

Various identifications have been proposed. Coba, about 6 miles West of Jerusalem, was for a time generally accepted. Robinson (BR, III, 151 f) suggested LaTrun. There is now a consensus of opinion in favor of el-Medyeh, a village to the East of Wady Mulaki, 13 miles West of Bethel. It occupies a strong position in the hills 6 miles East of Lydda, thus meeting the condition of Eusebius, Onomasticon, which places it near Lydda. The identification was suggested by Dr. Sandreczki of Jerusalem in 1869. From el-Medyeh itself the sea is not visible; but to the South rises a rocky height, er-Ras, which commands a wide view, including the plain and the sea. The latter is 16 miles distant. If the monument of Simon stood on er-Ras, which from the rock cuttings seems not improbable, it would be seen very clearly by overlooking from the sea, especially toward sunset (1 Macc 13:29). About 1/4 mile West of el-Medyeh are tombs known as Qubur el-Yehud, one bearing the name of Sheikh el-Gharbawi, whose name attaches to the ruins. This is the tomb referred to above.

W. Ewing


mo’-eth (Moeth): Called "son of Sabannus," one of the Levites to whom, with the priest Mermoth, the silver and gold brought by Ezra from Babylon were committed (1 Esdras 8:63) =" Noadiah" of Ezr 8:33, but there styled "son of Binnui."


mol’-a-da, mo-la’-da (moladhah; Molada): A place in the far south (Negebh) of Judah, toward Edom (Jos 15:26), reckoned to Simeon (Jos 19:2; 1Ch 4:28). It was repopulated after the captivity (Ne 11:26). It is mentioned always in close proximity to Beersheba. Moladah is probably identical with Malatha, a city in Idumea to which Agrippa at one time withdrew himself (Josephus, Ant, XVIII, vi, 2). The site of this latter city has by Robinson and others been considered to be the ruins and wells of Tell el-Milch, some 13 miles to the East of Beersheba and some 7 miles Southwest of Arad. The chief difficulty is the statement of Eusebius and Jerome that Malatha was "by Jattir," i.e. ‘Attir; if this is correct the Tell el-Milch is impossible, as it is 10 miles from ‘Attir, and we have no light at all on the site. See SALT, CITY OF. For Tell el-Milch see PEF, III, 415-16, Sh XXV.

E. W. G. Masterman



(1) tinshemeth, the King James Version "mole," the Revised Version (British and American) "chameleon"; Septuagint aspalax = spalax, "mole," Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) talpa, "mole" (Le 11:30);

(2) choledh, English Versions of the Bible "weasel"; Septuagint gale, "weasel" or "pole-cat"; compare Arabic khuld, "mole-rat" (Le 11:29);

(3) chaphar-peroth, English Versions of the Bible "moles"; from chaphar, "to dig"; compare Arabic chafar, "to dig," and perah, "mole" or "rat," for pe’erah, from the root pa’ar, "to dig"; compare Arabic fa’rat, or farat, "rat," "mouse," from the root fa’ar, "to dig"; Septuagint tois mataiois, "vain, idle, or profane persons" (Isa 2:20):

(1) Tinshemeth is the last of 8 unclean "creeping things" in Le 11:29,30. The word occurs also in Le 11:18 and De 14:16, translated the King James Version "swan," the Revised Version (British and American) "horned owl," Septuagint porphurion, "coot" or "heron." See CHAMELEON.

(2) Choledh is the first in the same list. The word occurs nowhere else, and is translated "weasel" in English Versions of the Bible, but comparison with the Arabic khuld has led to the suggestion that "mole-rat" would be a better translation. See WEASEL.

(3) In Isa 2:20, "In that day men shall cast away their idols .... to the moles and to the bats," chaphar-peroth, variously written as one word or two, is translated "moles" in English Versions of the Bible, but has given rise to much conjecture.

The European "mole," Talpa europea, is extensively distributed in the temperate parts of Europe and Asia, but is absent from Syria and Palestine, its place being taken by the mole-rat, Spalax typhlus. The true mole belongs to the Insectivora, and feeds on earth-worms and insect larvae, but in making its tunnels and nests, it incidentally injures gardens and lawns. The mole-rat belongs to the Rodentia, and has teeth of the same general type as those of a rat or squirrel, large, chisel-shaped incisors behind which is a large vacant space, no canines, and praemolars and molars with grinding surfaces. It is larger than the mole, but of the same color, and, like the mole, is blind. It makes tunnels much like those of the mole. It is herbivorous and has been observed to seize growing plants and draw them down into its hole. In one of its burrows a central chamber has been found filled with entire plants of the chummuc or chick-pea, and two side chambers containing pods plucked from the plants in the central chamber. While the mole digs with its powerful and peculiarly shaped front feet, the mole-rat digs with its nose, its feet being normal in shape.


Alfred Ely Day


mo’-lek, mo’-lok (ha-molekh, always with the article, except in 1Ki 11:7; Septuagint ho Moloch, sometimes also Molchom, Melchol; Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) Moloch):

1. The Name

2. The Worship in Old Testament History

3. The Worship in the Prophets

4. Nature of the Worship

5. Origin and Extent of the Worship


1. The Name:

The name of a heathen divinity whose worship figures largely in the later history of the kingdom of Judah. As the national god of the Ammonites, he is known as "Milcom" (1Ki 11:5,7), or "Malcam" ("Malcan" is an alternative reading in 2Sa 12:30,31; compare Jer 49:1,3; Ze 1:5, where the Revised Version margin reads "their king"). The use of basileus, and archon, as a translation of the name by the Septuagint suggests that it may have been originally the Hebrew word for "king," melekh. Molech is obtained from melekh by the substitution of the vowel points of Hebrew bosheth, signifying "shame." From the obscure and difficult passage, Am 5:26, the Revised Version (British and American) has removed "your Moloch" and given "your king," but Septuagint had here translated "Moloch," and from the Septuagint it found its way into the Ac (7:43), the only occurrence of the name in the New Testament.

2. The Worship in Old Testament History:

In the Levitical ordinances delivered to the Israelites by Moses there are stern prohibitions of Molech-worship (Le 18:21; 20:2-5). Parallel to these prohibitions, although the name of the god is not mentioned, are those of the Deuteronomic Code where the abominations of the Canaanites are forbidden, and the burning of their sons and daughters in the fire (to Molech) is condemned as the climax of their wickedness (De 12:31; 18:10-13). The references to Malcam, and to David’s causing the inhabitants of Rabbath Ammon to pass through the brick kiln (2Sa 12:30,31), are not sufficiently clear to found upon, because of the uncertainty of the readings. Solomon, under the influence of his idolatrous wives, built high places for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom, the abomination of the children of Ammon. See CHEMOSH. Because of this apostasy it was intimated by the prophet Ahijah, that the kingdom was to be rent out of the hand of Solomon, and ten tribes given to Jeroboam (1Ki 11:31-33). These high places survived to the time of Josiah, who, among his other works of religious reformation, destroyed and defiled them, filling their places with the bones of men (2Ki 23:12-14). Molech-worship had evidently received a great impulse from Ahaz, who, like Ahab of Israel, was a supporter of foreign religions (2Ki 16:12 ). He also "made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations, whom Yahweh cast out from before the children of Israel" (2Ki 16:3). His grandson Manasseh, so far from following in the footsteps of his father Hezekiah, who had made great reforms in the worship, reared altars for Baal, and besides other abominations which he practiced, made his son to pass through the fire (2Ki 21:6). The chief site of this worship, of which Ahaz and Manasseh were the promoters, was Topheth in the Valley of Hinnom, or, as it is also called, the Valley of the Children, or of the Son of Hinnom, lying to the Southwest of Jerusalem (see GEHENNA). Of Josiah’s reformation it is said that "he defiled Topheth .... that no man might make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire to Molech" (2Ki 23:10).

3. The Worship in the Prophets:

Even Josiah’s thorough reformation failed to extirpate the Molech-worship, and it revived and continued till the destruction of Jerusalem, as we learn from the prophets of the time. From the beginning, the prophets maintained against it a loud and persistent protest. The testimony of Amos (1:15; 5:26) is ambiguous, but most of the ancient versions for malkam, "their king," in the former passage, read milkom, the national god of Ammon (see Davidson, in the place cited.). Isaiah was acquainted with Topheth and its abominations (Isa 30:33; 57:5). Over against his beautiful and lofty description of spiritual religion, Micah sets the exaggerated zeal of those who ask in the spirit of the Molech-worshipper: "Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" (Mic 6:6 ). That Molech-worship had increased in the interval may account for the frequency and the clearness of the references to it in tile later Prophets. In Jeremiah we find the passing of sons and daughters through the fire to Molech associated with the building of "the high places of Baal, which are in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom" (32:35; compare 7:31 ff; 19:5 ff). In his oracle against the children of Ammon, the same prophet, denouncing evil against their land, predicts (almost in the very words of Amos above) that Malcam shall go into captivity, his priests and his princes together (Jer 49:1,3). Ezekiel, speaking to the exiles in Babylon, refers to the practice of causing children to pass through the fire to heathen divinities as long established, and proclaims the wrath of God against it (Eze 16:20 f; 20:26,31; 23:37). That this prophet regarded the practice as among the "statutes that were not good, and ordinances wherein they should not live" (Eze 20:25) given by God to His people, by way of deception and judicial punishment, as some hold, is highly improbable and inconsistent with the whole prophetic attitude toward it. Zephaniah, who prophesied to the men who saw the overthrow of the kingdom of Judah, denounces God’s judgments upon the worshippers of false gods (Ze 1:5 f). He does not directly charge his countrymen with having forsaken Yahweh for Malcam, but blames them, because worshipping Him they also swear to Malcam, like those Assyrian colonists in Samaria who feared Yahweh and served their own gods, or like those of whom Ezekiel elsewhere speaks who, the same day on which they had slain their children to their idols, entered the sanctuary of Yahweh to profane it (Eze 23:39). The captivity in Babylon put an end to Molech-worship, since it weaned the people from all their idolatries. We do not hear of it in the post-exilic Prophets, and, in the great historical psalm of Israel’s rebelliousness and God’s deliverances (Ps 106), it is only referred to in retrospect (Ps 106:37,38).

4. The Nature of the Worship:

When we come to consider the nature of this worship it is remarkable how few details are given regarding it in Scripture. The place where it was practiced from the days of Ahaz and Manasseh was the Valley of Hinnom where Topheth stood, a huge altar-pyre for the burning of the sacrificial victims. There is no evidence connecting the worship with the temple in Jerusalem. Ezekiel’s vision of sun-worshippers in the temple is purely ideal (Eze 8). A priesthood is spoken of as attached to the services (Jer 49:3; compare Ze 1:4,5). The victims offered to the divinity were not burnt alive, but were killed as sacrifices, and then presented as burnt offerings. "To pass through the fire" has been taken to mean a lustration or purification of the child by fire, not involving death. But the prophets clearly speak of slaughter and sacrifice, and of high places built to burn the children in the fire as burnt offerings (Jer 19:5; Eze 16:20,21).

The popular conception, molded for English readers largely by Milton’s "Moloch, horrid king" as described in Paradise Lost, Book I, is derived from the accounts given in late Latin and Greek writers, especially the account which Diodorus Siculus gives in his History of the Carthaginian Kronos or Moloch. The image of Moloch was a human figure with a bull’s head and outstretched arms, ready to receive the children destined for sacrifice. The image of metal was heated red hot by a fire kindled within, and the children laid on its arms rolled off into the fiery pit below. In order to drown the cries of the victims, flutes were played, and drums were beaten; and mothers stood by without tears or sobs, to give the impression of the voluntary character of the offering (see Rawlinson’s Phoenicia, 113 f, for fuller details).

On the question of the origin of this worship there is great variety of views. Of a non-Sem origin there is no evidence; and there is no trace of human sacrifices in the old Babylonian religion. That it prevailed widely among Semitic peoples is clear.

5. Origin and Extent of the Worship:

While Milcom or Malcam is peculiarly the national god of the Ammonites, as is Chemosh of the Moabites, the name Molech or Melech was recognized among the Phoenicians, the Philistines, the Arameans, and other Semitic peoples, as a name for the divinity they worshipped from a very early time. That it was common among the Canaanites when the Israelites entered the land is evident from the fact that it was among the abominations from which they were to keep themselves free. That it was identical at first with the worship of Yahweh, or that the prophets and the best men of the nation ever regarded it as the national worship of Israel, is a modern theory which does not appear to the present writer to have been substantiated. It has been inferred from Abraham’s readiness to offer up Isaac at the command of God, from the story of Jephthah and his daughter, and even from the sacrifice of Hiel the Bethelite (1Ki 16:34), that human sacrifice to Yahweh was an original custom in Israel, and that therefore the God of Israel was no other than Moloch, or at all events a deity of similar character. But these incidents are surely too slender a foundation to support such a theory. "The fundamental idea of the heathen rite was the same as that which lay at the foundation of Hebrew ordinance: the best to God; but by presenting to us this story of the offering of Isaac, and by presenting it in this precise form, the writer simply teaches the truth, taught by all the prophets, that to obey is better than sacrifice—in other words that the God worshipped in Abraham’s time was a God who did not delight in destroying life, but in saving and sanctifying it" (Robertson, Early Religion of Israel, 254). While there is no ground for identifying Yahweh with Moloch, there are good grounds for seeing a community of origin between Moloch and Baal. The name, the worship, and the general characteristics are so similar that it is natural to assign them a common place of origin in Phoenicia. The fact that Moloch-worship reached the climax of its abominable cruelty in the Phoenician colonies of which Carthage was the center shows that it had found among that people a soil suited to its peculiar genius.


Wolf Baudissin, "Moloch" in PRE3; G. F. Moore, "Moloch" in EB; Robertson, Early Religion of Israel, 241-65; Robertson Smith, Religion of the Semites, 352 ff; Buchanan Gray, Hebrew Proper Names, 138 ff.

T. Nicol.





mo’-lid (molidh): A Judahite (1Ch 2:29).


mol’-i-fi (from rakhakh, "to be soft"): "To make soft," used in modern English only figuratively, as "His anger was mollified." English Versions of the Bible, however, uses the word literally in its two occurrences: Isa 1:6, "wounds, and bruises .... neither bound up, neither mollified with oil"; The Wisdom of Solomon 16:12, "mollifying plaister." Neither occurrence of the word is changed by the Revised Version (British and American).


mo’-lok: A deity of the Ammonites, like the planet Saturn, a representative of the sun-god in the particular aspect of a god of time.








mom’-dis (Codex Alexandrinus Momdeis; Codex Vaticanus Momdeios): One of those who had taken "strange wives" (1 Esdras 9:34) equals "Maadai" in Ezr 10:34.


mo’-ment (regha‘, "a wink"; atomos, "an atom," stigme, "a point," parautika, immediately," "forthwith"): "Moment" is not used in Scripture for a division of time, but for an instant of time, as the wink or twinkling of the eye (Ex 33:5; Nu 16:21,45; La 4:6; 1Co 15:52), or for a short period of time (Job 20:5; Ps 30:5; Isa 26:20; 2Co 4:17). The division of the hour into sixty minutes was certainly known in Babylonia, and the Jews were made acquainted with it, at least during the captivity, but they do not seem to have adopted it very extensively.

H. Porter


mun’-i: Various terms are used for money in the Bible, but the most common are the Hebrew keceph, and Greek argurion, both meaning silver. We find also qesiTah, rendered by Septuagint "lambs," probably referring to money in a particular form; chalkos, is used for money in Mt 10:9; Mr 6:8; 12:41. It was the name of a small coin of Agrippa II (Madden, Coins of the Jews); chrema, "price," is rendered money in Ac 4:37; 8:18,20; 24:26; kerma, "piece," i.e. piece of money (Joh 2:15); didrachmon, "tribute money" (Mt 17:24 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "half-shekel"); kensos, "census," "tribute money" (Mt 22:19).

1. Material and Form:

Gold and silver were the common medium of exchange in Syria and Palestine in the earliest times of which we have any historical record. The period of mere barter had passed before Abraham. The close connection of the country with the two great civilized centers of antiquity, Egypt and Babylonia, had led to the introduction of a currency for the purposes of trade. We have abundant evidence of the use of these metals in the Biblical records, and we know from the monuments that they were used as money before the time of Abraham. The patriarch came back from his visit to Egypt "rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold" (Ge 13:2). There was no system of coinage, but they had these metals cast in a convenient form for use in exchange, such as bars or rings, the latter being a common form and often represented or mentioned on the monuments of Egypt. In Babylonia the more common form seems to have been the former, such as the bar, or wedge, that Achan found in the sack of Jericho (Jos 7:21). This might indicate that the pieces were too large for ordinary use, but we have indications of the use of small portions also (2Ki 12:9; Job 42:11). But the pieces were not so accurately divided as to pass for money without weighing, as we see in the case of the transaction between Abraham and the children of Heth for the purchase of the field of Machpelah (Ge 23). This transaction indicates also the common use of silver as currency, for it was "current money with the merchant," and earlier than this we have mention of the use of silver by Abraham as money: "He that is born in thy house and he that is bought with thy money" (Ge 17:13).

Jewels of silver and gold were probably made to conform to the shekel weight, so that they might be used for money in case of necessity. Thus Abraham’s servant gave to Rebecca a gold ring of half a shekel weight and bracelets of ten shekels weight (Ge 24:22). The bundles of money carried by the sons of Jacob to Egpyt for the purchase of grain (Ge 42:35) were probably silver rings tied together in bundles. The Hebrew for "talent," kikkar, signifies something round or circular, suggesting a ring of this weight to be used as money. The ordinary term for money was keceph, "silver," and this word preceded by a numeral always refers to money, either with or without "shekel," which we are probably to supply where it is not expressed after the numeral, at least wherever value is involved, as the shekel (sheqel) was the standard of value as well as of weight (see WEIGHTS AND MEASURES). Thus the value of the field of Ephron was in shekels, as was also the estimation of offerings for sacred purposes (Le 5:15; 27, passim). Solomon purchased chariots at 600 (shekels) each and horses at 150 (1Ki 10:29). Large sums were expressed in talents, which were a multiple of the shekel. Thus Menahem gave Pul 1,000 talents of silver (2Ki 15:19), which was made up by the exaction of 50 shekels from each rich man. Hezekiah paid the war indemnity to Sennacherib with 300 talents of silver and 30 of gold (2Ki 18:14). The Assyrian account gives 800 talents of silver, and the discrepancy may not be an error in the Hebrew text, as some would explain it, but probably a different kind of talent (see Madden, Coins of the Jews, 4). Solomon’s revenue is stated in talents (1Ki 10:14), and the amount (666 of gold) indicates that money was abundant, for this was in addition to what he obtained from the vassal states and by trade. His partnership with the Phoenicians in commerce brought him large amounts of the precious metals, so that silver was said to have been as plentiful in Jerusalem as stones (1Ki 10:27).

Besides the forms of rings and bars, in which the precious metals were cast for commercial use, some other forms were perhaps current. Thus the term qesiTah has been referred to as used for money, and the Septuagint translation has "lambs." It is used in Ge 33:19; Jos 24:32; Job 42:11, and the Septuagint rendering is supposed to indicate a piece in the form of a lamb or stamped with a lamb, used at first as a weight, later the same weight of the precious metals being used for money. We are familiar with lion weights and weights in the form of bulls and geese from the monuments, and it would not be strange to find them in the form of sheep. QesiTah is cognate with the Arabic qasaT, which means "to divide exactly" or "justly," and the noun qist means "a portion" or "a measure."

Another word joined with silver in monetary use is ‘aghorah, the term being translated "a piece of silver" in 1Sa 2:36. ‘Aghorah is cognate with the Arabic ujrat, "a wage," and it would seem that the piece of silver in this passage might refer to the same usage.

Another word used in a similar way is rats, from ratsats, "to break in pieces," hence, rats is "a piece" or "fragment of silver" used as money. These terms were in use before the introduction of coined money and continued after coins became common.

2. Coined Money:

After the exile we begin to find references to coined money. It was invented in Lydia or perhaps in Aegina. Herodotus assigns the invention to the Lydians (i.94). The earliest Lydian coins were struck by Gyges in the 7th century BC. These coins were of electrum and elliptical in form, smooth on the reverse but deeply stamped with incuse impressions on the obverse. They were called staters, but were of two standards; one for commercial use with the Babylonians, weighing about 164,4 grains, and the other of 224 grains (see Madden, op. cit.). Later, gold was coined, and, by the time of Croesus, gold and silver. The Persians adopted the Lydian type, and coined both gold and silver darics, the name being derived from Darius Hystaspis (521-485 BC) who is reputed to have introduced the system into his empire. But the staters of Lydia were current there under Cyrus (Madden, op. cit.), and it was perhaps with these that the Jews first became acquainted in Babylon. Ezra states (2:69) that "they (the Jews) gave after their ability into the treasury of the work threescore and one thousand darics (the Revised Version (British and American)) of gold, and five thousand pounds of silver." The term here rendered "daric" is darkemonim, and this word is used in three passages in Ne (7:70-72), and ‘adharkonim occurs in 1Ch 29:7 and Ezr 8:27. Both are of the same origin as the Greek drachma, probably, though some derive both from Darius (a Phoenician inscription from the Piraeus tells us that darkemon corresponds to drachma). At all events they refer to the gold coins which we know as darics. The weight of the daric was 130 grains, though double darics were struck.

Besides the gold daric there was a silver coin circulating in Persia that must have been known to the Jews. This was the siglos, supposed to be referred to in Ne 5:15, where it is translated "shekel." These were the so-called silver darics, 20 of which were equivalent to the gold daric. Besides these Persian coins the Jews must have used others derived from their intercourse with the Phoenician cities, which were allowed to strike coins under the suzerainty of the Persians. These coins were of both silver and bronze, the suzerain not permitting them to coin gold. We have abundant examples of these coins and trade must have made them familiar to the Jews.

The issues of Aradus, Sidon and Tyre were especially noteworthy, and were of various types and sizes suited to the commercial transactions of the Phoenicians. The Tyrian traders were established in Jerusalem as early as the time of Nehemiah (13:16), and their coins date back to about that period. Among the finest specimens we have of early coinage are the tetradrachms of Tyre and the double shekels or staters of Sidon. The latter represent the Persian king, on the obverse, as he rides in his chariot, driven by his charioteer and followed by an attendant. On the reverse is a Phoenician galley. The weight of these coins is from 380 to 430 grains, and they are assigned to the 4th and 5th centuries BC. From Tyre we have a tetradrachm which corresponds to the shekel of the Phoenician standard of about 220 grains, which represents, on the obverse, the god Melkarth, the Tyrian Hercules, tiding on a seahorse, and, beneath, a dolphin. The reverse bears an owl with the Egyptian crook and a flail, symbols of Osiris. The early coins of Aradus bear, on the obverse, the head of Baal or Dagon, and on the reverse a galley. The inscription has "M.A." in Phoenician letters, followed by a date. The inscription signifies "Melek Aradus," i.e. "king of Aradus."

When Alexander overthrew the Persian empire in 331 BC, a new coinage, on the Attic standard, was introduced, and the silver drachms and tetradrachms struck by him circulated in large numbers, as is attested by the large number of examples still in existence. After his death, these coins, the tetradrachms especially, continued to be struck in the provinces, with his name and type, in his honor. We have examples of these struck at Aradus, Tyre, Sidon, Damascus and Acre, bearing the mint marks of these towns. They bear on the obverse the head of Alexander as Hercules, and, on the reverse, Zeus seated on his throne holding an eagle in the extended right hand and a scepter in the left. The legend is BASILEOS ALEXANDROU, or ALEXANDROU, only, with various symbols of the towns or districts where they were struck, together with mint marks.

The successors of Alexander established kingdoms with a coinage of their own, such as the Ptolemies in Egypt and the Seleucids in Syria, and these coins, as well as those of Alexander, circulated among the Jews. The Ptolemies of Egypt controlled Palestine for about a century after Alexander, and struck coins, not only in Egypt, but in some of the Phoenician towns, especially at Acre, which was, from that time, known as Ptolemais. Their coins were based upon the Phoenician standard. But the Seleucid kings of Syria had the most influence in Phoenicia and Palestine, and their monetary issues are very various and widely distributed, bearing the names and types of the kings, and the symbols and mint marks of the different towns where they were struck, and are on the Alexandrine or Attic standard in contrast to those of the Ptolemies. They are both silver and bronze, gold being struck in the capital, Antioch, usually. The coins of Antiochus IV, Epiphanes, are especially interesting on account of his connection with Jewish affairs. It was he who made the futile attempt to hellenize the Jews, which led to the revolt that resulted, under his successors, in the independence of the country of Syrian control, and the institution of a native coinage in the time of the Maccabees.

The struggle caused by the persecution of Antiochus commenced in 165 BC and continued more than 20 years. Judas, the son of Mattathias, defeated Antiochus, who died in 164, but the war was continued by his successors until dynastic dissensions among them led to treaties with the Jews to gain their support. At last Simon, who espoused the cause of Demetrius II, obtained from him, as a reward, the right to rule Judea under the title of high priest, with practical independence, 142-143 BC. Later Antiochus VII, his successor, confirmed Simon in his position and added some privileges, and among them the right to coin money (138-139 BC). Both silver and bronze coins exist ascribed to Simon, but some numismatists have recently doubted this, and have assigned them to another Simon in the time of the first revolt of the Jews under the Romans. The coins in question are the shekels and half-shekels with the legends, in Hebrew, sheqel yisra’el and yerushalem qedhoshah ("Jerusalem the holy"), bearing dates ranging from the 1st to the 5th year, as well as bronze pieces of the 4th.

The reason for denying the ascription of these coins to Simon the Maccabee is the difficulty in finding room for the years indicated in his reign which closed in 135 BC. He received the commission to coin in 139-138, which would allow only 4 years for his coinage, whereas we have coins of the 5th year. Moreover, no shekels and half-shekels of any of the Maccabees later than Simon have come to light, which is, at least, singular since we should have supposed that all would have coined them as long as they remained independent, especially since they coined in bronze, examples of the latter being quite abundant. The fact also that they bore the title of king, while Simon was high priest only, would seem to have furnished an additional reason for claiming the prerogative of coinage in silver as well as bronze. But this argument is negative only, and such coins may have existed but have not come to light, and there are reasons which seem to the present writer sufficient to assign them to Simon the Maccabee. In the first place, the chronological difficulty is removed if we consider that Simon was practically independent for three or four years before he obtained the explicit commission to coin money. We learn from Josephus (Ant., XIII, vi, 7) and from 1 Macc (13:41,42) that in the 170th year of the Seleucid era, that is, 143-142 BC, the Jews began to use the era of Simon in their contracts and public records. Now it would not have been strange if Simon, seeing the anarchy that prevailed in the kingdom of Syria, should have assumed some prerogatives of an independent ruler before they were distinctly granted to him, and among them that of coining money. If he had commenced in the latter part of 139 BC, he would have been able to strike coins of the 5th year before he died, and this would satisfy the conditions (see Madden’s Jewish Coinage). There is a difficulty quite as great in attributing these coins to Simon of the first revolt under the Romans. That broke out in 66 AD, and was suppressed by the taking of Jerusalem in 70. This would allow a date of the 5th year, but it is hardly supposable that in the terrible distress and anarchy that prevailed in the city during that last year any silver coins would have been struck. There is another fact bearing upon this question which is worthy of notice. The coins of the first revolt bear personal appellations, such as "Eleazar the priest," and "Simon," while those assigned to Simon the Maccabee bear no personal designation whatever. This is significant, for it is not likely that Eleazar and Simon would have commenced coining silver shekels and half-shekels with their names inscribed upon them in the 1st year of their reign and then have omitted them on later issues. Another point which has some force is this: We find mention, in the New Testament, of money-changers in connection with the temple, whose business it was to change the current coin, which was Roman or Greek, and bore heathen types and legends, for Jewish coins, which the strict Pharisaic rules then in force required from worshippers paying money into the temple treasury. It is inferred that they could furnish the shekels and half-shekels required for the yearly dues from every adult male (compare Mt 17:24-27). Now the only shekels and half-shekels bearing Jewish emblems and legends, at that time, must have been those issued by the Maccabean princes, that is, such as we have under discussion. In view of these facts the Maccabean origin of these pieces seems probable.

The shekels under discussion have on one side a cup, or chalice (supposed to represent the pot of manna), with the legend in Hebrew around the margin, sheqel yisra’el, with a letter above the cup indicating the year of the reign. The reverse bears the sprig of a plant (conjectured to be Aaron’s rod) having three buds or fruits, and on the margin the legend, yerushalem ha-qedhoshah, "Jerusalem the holy." The half-shekel has the same type, but the reverse bears the inscription, chatsi sheqel (half-shekel). The letters indicating the year have the letter called "shin" (Shenath, "year") prefixed, except for the first. This also omits the Hebrew letter "waw" (w) from qedhoshah and the second letter, "yodh" (y) from yerushalem. The term "holy" for Jerusalem is found in Isa 48:2 and other passages of the Old Testament, and is still preserved in the Arabic qudus by which the city is known today in Syria.

Copper, or bronze, half-and quarter-shekels are also attributed to Simon, bearing date of the 4th year. The obverse of the half-shekel has two bundles of thick-leaved branches with a citron between, and on the reverse a palm tree with two baskets filled with fruit. The legend on the obverse is shenath ‘arba‘ chatsi, "the fourth year a half," and on the reverse, li-ghe’ullath tsiyon, "the redemption of Zion." The quarter-shekel has a similar type, except that the obverse lacks the baskets and the reverse has the citron only. The legend has rebhia‘, "quarter," instead of "half." Another type is a cup with a margin of jewels on the obverse and a single bunch of branches with two citrons on the reverse.

The palm is a very common type on the coins of Judea and a very appropriate one, since it is grown there. Jericho was called the city of palms. The branches of trees in bundles illustrate the custom of carrying branches at the Feast of Tabernacles and the erection of booths made of branches for use during this feast (see Le 23:40). The baskets of fruit may refer to the offerings of first-fruits (De 26:2). One of the above series of coins published by Madden bears the countermark of an elephant, which was a symbol adopted by the Seleucid kings, and this is an evidence of its early date. But whatever doubts there may be as to the coins of Simon, there can be none as to those of his successor, John Hyrcanus, who reigned 135-106 BC, since they bear his name. They are all of bronze and bear the following inscription with a great number of variations, Yehochanan hacohen hagadel wachabar heyhudim, "Johanan the high priest and senate of the Jews." The reverse has a two-branched cornucopia with a poppy head rising from the center. There is some doubt as to the meaning of the word hebher in the above. It is commonly rendered "senate," taking it in the sense it seems to bear in Ho 6:9, "a company" or "band," here the company of elders representing the people. Judas Aristobulus (106-105 BC) issued similar coins with Hebrew legends, but with the accession of Alexander Janneus (105-78 BC) we find bilingual inscriptions on the coins, Hebrew and Greek. The obverse bears the words yehonathan ha-melekh, "Jehonathan the king," and the reverse, BASILEOS ALEXANDROU, "King Alexander." Most of his coins, however, bear Hebrew inscriptions only. All are of copper or bronze, like those of Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, and are of the denomination known to us in the New Testament as "mites" weighing from 25 to 35 grains.

When the Romans took possession of Palestine in 63 BC, the independent rule of the Hasmoneans came to an end, but Pompey confirmed John Hyrcanus as governor of Judea under the title of high priest. Dissensions between him and other members of his family called for interference several times on the part of the Romans. Hyrcanus was again confirmed by Julius Caesar in 47 and continued in authority until 40. It is uncertain what coins he issued, but whatever they were, they bore the type found on those of Alexander Janneus. In 40 BC, the Parthians temporarily overthrew the Roman authority in Syria and Palestine, and set Antigonus on the throne of the latter, and he reigned until 37. The coins he issued bore bilingual inscriptions like the bilinguals of Alexander. He calls himself Antigonus in Greek, and Mattathias in Hebrew, the type being a wreath on the obverse and a double cornucopia on the reverse, though some have it single. They are much heavier coins than the preceding issues. The legends are: obverse, BASILEOS ANTIGONOU, "of King Antigonus"; reverse (mattithyah ha-kohen gadhol ha-yeh(udhim), "Mattathias the high priest of the Jews."

The Hasmonean dynasty ended with Antigonus and that of the Herods followed. Herod the Great was the first to attain the title of king, and his coins are numerous and bear only Greek legends and are all of bronze. The earliest have the type of a helmet with cheek pieces on the obverse and the legend: BASILEOS HRODOU, and in the field to the left gamma (year 3), and on the right, a monogram. The reverse has a Macedonian shield with rays. The coin here illustrated is another type: a rude tripod on the obverse, and a cross within a wreath on the reverse, the legend being the same as given above.

Herod Archelaus, who reigned from 4 BC to 6 AD, issued coins with the title of ethnarch, the only coins of Palestine to bear this title. They are all of small size and some of them have the type of a galley, indicating his sovereignty over some of the coast cities, such as Caesarea and Joppa.

The coins of Herod Antipas (4 BC-40 AD) bear the title of tetrarch, many of them being struck at Tiberias, which he founded on the Sea of Galilee and named after the emperor Tiberius. The following is an example: obverse HER. TETR. (HERODOU TETRACHOU), with the type of a palm branch; reverse, TIBERIAS, within a wreath. Others have a palm tree entire with the date lambda-gamma (LG) and lambda-delta (LD): 33 and 34 of his reign, 29-30 AD. There are coins of Herod Philip, 4 BC-34 AD, though somewhat rare, but those of Agrippa, 37-44 AD, are numerous, considering the shortness of his reign. The most common type is a small coin ("mite") with an umbrella having a tassel-like border, on the obverse, and three ears of wheat on one stalk on the reverse. The legend reads: Basileos Agrippa, and the date is LS (year 6). Larger coins of Agrippa bear the head of the emperor (Caligula or Claudius) with the title of Sebastos (Augustus) in Greek.

Agrippa II was the last of the Herodian line to strike coins (48-100 AD). They were issued under Nero, whose head they sometimes bear with his name as well as that of Agrippa. They are all of the denomination of the mite (lepton).

In 6 AD, Judea was made a Ro province and was governed by procurators, and their coins are numerous, being issued during the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius and Nero. They are all small and bear on the obverse the legends: KAISAROS (Caesar), or IOULIA (Julia), or the emperor’s name joined with Caesar. The coins of the Jews struck during the first and second revolts, 66-70 AD, and 132-135 AD, have already been alluded to with the difficulty of distinguishing them, and some have been described. They all have the types common to the purely Jewish issues; the date palm, the vine, bunches of fruit, the laurel or olive wreath, the cup or chalice, the lyre and a temple with columns. Types of animals or men they regarded as forbidden by their law. Most of them are bronze, but some are silver shekels and half-shekels, dated in the lat, 2nd and 3rd years, if we assign those of higher date to Simon the Maccabee. Those of the 1st year bear the name of Eleazar the priest, on the obverse, and on the reverse the date "first year of the redemption of Israel," shenath ‘achath li-ghe’ullath yisra’el. Others bear the name of Simon and some that of "Simon Nesi’ Israel" ("Simon Prince of Israel"). The coins of the 2nd and 3rd years are rare. They have the type of the cup and vine leaf, or temple and lulabh. Those supposed to belong to the second revolt bear the name of Simon without Nesi’ Israel, and are therefore assigned to Simon Bar-Cochba. The example here given has the type of the temple on the obverse with what is thought to be a representation of the "beautiful gate," between the columns, and a star above. The name Simon is on the margin, the first two letters on the right of the temple and the others on the left. The legend of the reverse is: lecheruth yerushalem ("the deliverance of Jerusalem").

Some of the coins struck by the Romans to commemorate their victory over the Jews were struck in Palestine and some at Rome, and all bear the head of the Roman emperor on the obverse, but the reverse often exhibits Judea as a weeping captive woman, seated at the foot of a palm tree or of a Roman standard bearing a trophy. The legend is sometimes Judea capta and sometimes Judea devicta. The example given has the inscription in Greek: IOUDIAS EALOKUIAS, Judea capta.

There are coins of Agrippa II (the "king Agrippa" of Ac 25: 26, struck in the reign of Vespasian, with his name and title on the obverse and with a deity on the reverse, holding ears of wheat in the right hand and a cornucopia in the left. The inscription reads: ETOU KSBA AGRI PPA (year 26, King Agrippa) in two lines.

After the revolt of Bar-Cochba and the final subjugation of the Jews by Hadrian, Jerusalem was made a Roman colony and the name was changed to Aelia Capitolina. A series of coins was struck, having this title, which continued until the reign of Valerianus, 253-260 AD. These coins were all of copper or bronze, but silver pieces were in circulation, struck at Rome or at some of the more favored towns in Syria, such as Antioch. These were denarii and tetradrachms, the former being about one-fourth the weight of the latter which were known as staters (Mt 17:27). The piece referred to was the amount of tribute for two persons, and as the amount paid by one was the half-shekel (Mt 17:24), this piece must have been the equivalent of the shekel or tetradrachm.

H. Porter


kur’-ent (‘obher, "passing," Ge 28:16; 2Ki 12:4 (Hebrew 5)): The text and translation in 2Ki 12:4 are uncertain and difficult. See the Revised Version margin. The reference is probably not to a money standard, but to a poll tax which was levied in addition to the free-will offering. Ge 23:16 implies the existence of a standard shekel and also probably the use of the precious metals in stamped bars or ingots of an approximately fixed weight or value, a primitive coinage. Code of Hammurabi presupposes these pieces, and records in cuneiform writing discovered in Cappadocia indicate that shekel pieces with a seal stamp were in use in Asia Minor in the time of Hammurabi (Sayce, Contemporary Review, August, 1907, XCII, 259 ff). The existence of these pieces did not do away with the custom of weighing money, a practice which obtained in Israel down to the time of the exile (Jer 32:10).

Walter R. Betteridge


(philarguria, 1Ti 6:10, literally, "love of silver"; compare corresponding "lovers of money" (Lu 16:14; 2Ti 3:2), equivalent to "avarice"): The vice that seeks to retain and hoard all that is acquired (Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament, xxiv); described as "a root of all kinds of evil."





chan’-jers (kollubistes, from kollubos, "a small coin," so "a money-changer," or "banker" (Mt 21:12; Mr 11:15; "changers" in Joh 2:15; compare Joh 2:14, where kermatistes, "a dealer in small bits," or "change," is also rendered "changers"); compare trapezites, "one who sits at a table," "a money-changer," "a banker" or "broker"; one who both exchanges money for a small fee and pays interest on deposits (Mt 25:27, the King James Version "exchangers," the American Standard Revised Version "bankers")): The profession of money-changer in Palestine was made necessary by the law requiring every male Israelite who had reached the age of 20 years to pay into the treasury of the sanctuary a half-shekel at every numbering of the people, an offering to Yahweh, not even the poor being exempt. It seems to have become an annual tax, and was to be paid in the regular Jewish half-shekel (Ex 30:11-15). Since the Jews, coming up to the feasts, would need to exchange the various coins in common circulation for this Jewish piece, there were money-changers who exacted a premium for the exchange. This fee was a kollubos (about 31 cents in U.S. money, i.e. in 1915), hence, the name kollubistes. The Jews of Christ’s day came from many parts of the world, and the business of exchanging foreign coins for various purposes became a lucrative one, the exchangers exacting whatever fee they might. Because of their greed and impiety, Jesus drove them from the courts of the temple.

Edward Bagby Pollard





munth (chodhesh, yerach; men): Chodhesh is strictly the "new moon," the appearance of which marked the beginning of the month, commonly indicated by ro’sh ha-chodhesh. Yerach is derived from yareach, "moon," which comes from the verb that means "to wander," "to make a circuit." Thus the month was lunar, the period of the moon’s circuit. The Greek men also meant "moon," from the Sanskrit ma, "to measure," the Latin mensis and our "moon" being derived from the same root.


Chodhesh, or rather ro’sh ha-chodhesh, was observed as a festival (1Sa 20:5,18,24; Isa 1:14).

H. Porter


munth’-li, prog-nos’-ti-ka-terz.

See ASTROLOGY, sec. I, 6.


mon’-u-ment (Isa 65:4 the King James Version).



mo’-o-li (Codex Alexandrinus Mooli; Codex Vaticanus Moolei; the King James Version Mol