sab’-a-ko, sab’-a-kon.

See SO.


sa-be’-anz (shebha’im (Joe 3:8 the King James Version), cebha’-im; Sabaeim, Sebaeim (Isa 45:14); read cabha’im, but rendered as though from cabha’," to imbibe," hence, "drunkards"; oinomenoi, "wine-drunken" (Eze 23:42 the King James Version)):

1. Forms of the Word:

"Sabaeans" is also the translation of the name of the country itself (shebha’) in Job 1:15; 6:19. This last, which is the root of shebha’im, is regarded by Arabists as coming from that root with the meaning of "to take captive," though seba’a, "he raided" (compare Job 1:15), has also been suggested.

2. Two Different Races:

As Sheba is said in Ge 10:7; 10:28; and 25:3 respectively to have been

(1) a son of Raamah, the 4th son of Cush;

(2) the 10th son of Joktan, son of Eber;

(3) the 1st son of Jokshan, 2nd son of Abraham and Keturah, at least two nationalities of this name are implied. The former were identified by Josephus (Ant., II, x, 2) with the tall people of Saba in Upper Egypt, described by him as a city of Ethiopia, which Moses, when in the service of the Egyptians, besieged and captured.

3. Semitic Sabeans and Their Commerce:

It is the Semitic Sabeans, however, who are the best known, and the two genealogies attributed to them (Joktan-Eber and Jokshan-Abraham) seem to imply two settlements in the land regarded as that of their origin. As Ezekiel (27:23) mentions Haran (Hirran), Canneh (Kannah), and Eden (Aden) as being connected with Sheba, and these three places are known to have been in Southern Arabia, their Semitic parentage is undoubted. The Sabeans are described as being exporters of gold (Isa 60:6; Ps 72:15), precious stones (Eze 27:23), perfumes (Jer 6:20; Isaiah and Ezekiel), and if the rendering "Sabaeans" for Joe 3 (4):8 be correct, the Sebaim, "a nation far off," dealt in slaves.


T. G. Pinches


sab-a-ne’-us (Codex Vaticanus Sabannaious; Codex Alexandrinus Bannaious; the King James Version Bannaia, following the Aldine): One of the sons of Asom who had married strange wives (1 Esdras 9:33) =" Zabad" in Ezr 10:33.


sa-ban’-nus (Sabannos; the King James Version Sabban): The father of Moeth, one of the Levites to whom the silver and gold were delivered (1 Esdras 8:63). "Moeth the son of Sabannus" stands in the position of "Noadiah the son of Binnui," in Ezr 8:33.


sab’-a-oth, sa-ba’-oth.



sa’-bat: the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) SAPHAT, (2) (which see).


sab-a-te’-us (Codex Alexandrinus Sabbataias; Codex Vaticanus Abtaios; the King James Version Sabateas): One of the Levites who "taught the law of the Lord" to the multitude (1 Esdras 9:48) =" Shabbethai" in Ne 8:7.


sab’-a-thus (Sabathos; the King James Version Sabatus): An Israelite who put away his "strange wife" (1 Esdras 9:28) =" Zabad" in Ezr 10:27.


sab’-a-tus: the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) SABATHUS (which see).


sab’-an: the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) SABANNUS (which see).


sab-a-te’-us (Sabbataios; the King James Version Sabbatheus): One of the three (or rather two, for "Levis" = Levite) "assessors" in the investigation held concerning "foreign wives" (1 Esdras 9:14) =" Shabbethai the Levite" in Ezr 10:15. He is probably the "Sabateus," one of the Levites who expounded the Law (1 Esdras 9:48), and so = the "Shabbethai" in Ne 8:7.


sab’-ath (shabbath, shabbathon; sabbaton, ta sabbata; the root shabhath in Hebrew means "to desist," "cease," "rest"):


1. The Biblical Account

2. Critical Theories


1. In the Old Testament

2. In the Inter-Testamental Period

3. Jesus and the Sabbath

4. Paul and the Sabbath


The Sabbath was the day on which man was to leave off his secular labors and keep a day holy to Yahweh.

I. Origin of the Sabbath.

1. The Biblical Account:

The sketch of creation in Ge 1:1-2:3 closes with an impressive account of the hallowing of the 7th day, because on it God rested from all the work which He had made creatively. The word "Sabbath" does not occur in the story; but it is recognized by critics of every school that the author (P) means to describe the Sabbath as primeval. In Ex 20:8-11 (ascribed to JE) the reason assigned for keeping the 7th day as a holy Sabbath is the fact that Yahweh rested after the six days of creative activity. Ex 31:17 employs a bold figure, and describes Yahweh as refreshing Himself ("catching His breath") after six days of work. The statement that God set apart the 7th day for holy purposes in honor of His own rest after six days of creative activity is boldly challenged by many modern scholars as merely the pious figment of a priestly imagination of the exile. There are so few hints of a weekly Sabbath before Moses, who is comparatively a modern character, that argumentation is almost excluded, and each student will approach the question with the bias of his whole intellectual and spiritual history. There is no distinct mention of the Sabbath in Gen, though a 7-day period is referred to several times (Ge 7:4,10; 8:10,12; 29:27 f). The first express mention of the Sabbath is found in Ex 16:21-30, in connection with the giving of the manna. Yahweh taught the people in the wilderness to observe the 7th day as a Sabbath of rest by sending no manna on that day, a double supply being given on the 6th day of the week. Here we have to do with a weekly Sabbath as a day of rest from ordinary secular labor. A little later the Ten Words (Commands) were spoken by Yahweh from Sinai in the hearing of all the people, and were afterward written on the two tables of stone (Ex 20:1-17; 34:1-5,27 f). The Fourth Commandment enjoins upon Israel the observance of the 7th day of the week as a holy day on which no work shall be done by man or beast. Children and servants are to desist from all work, and even the stranger within the gates is required to keep the day holy. The reason assigned is that Yahweh rested on the 7th day and blessed it and hallowed it. There is no hint that the restrictions were meant to guard against the wrath of a jealous and angry deity. The Sabbath was meant to be a blessing to man and not a burden. After the sin in connection with the golden call Yahweh rehearses the chief duties required of Israel, and again announces the law of the Sabbath (Ex 34:21, ascribed to J). In the Levitical legislation there is frequent mention of the Sabbath (Ex 31:13-16; 35:2 f; Le 19:3,10; 23:3,18). A willful Sabbath-breaker was put to death (Nu 15:32-36). In the Deuteronomic legislation there is equal recognition of the importance and value of the Sabbath (De 5:12-15). Here the reason assigned for the observance of the Sabbath philanthropic and humanitarian: "that thy man-servant and thy maid-servant may rest as well as thou." It is thus manifest that all the Pentateuchal codes, whether proceeding from Moses alone or from many hands in widely different centuries, equally recognize the Sabbath as one of the characteristic institutions of Israel’s religious and social life. If we cannot point to any observance of the weekly Sabbath prior to Moses, we can at least be sure that this was one of the institutions which he gave to Israel. From the days of Moses until now the holy Sabbath has been kept by devout Israelites.

2. Critical Theories:

"The older theories of the origin of the Jewish Sabbath (connecting it with Egypt, with the day of Saturn, or in general with the seven planets) have now been almost entirely abandoned (see ASTRONOMY, sec. I, 5). The disposition at present is to regard the day as originally a lunar festival, similar to a Bablonian custom (Schrader, Stud. u. Krit., 1874), the rather as the cuneiform documents appear to contain a term sabattu or sabattum, identical in form and meaning with the Hebrew word sabbathon." Thus wrote Professor C. H. Toy in 1899 (JBL, XVIII, 190). In a syllabary (II R, 32, 16a, b) sabattum is said to be equivalent to um nuh libbi, the natural translation of which seemed to be "day of rest of the heart." Schrader, Sayce and others so understood the phrase, and naturally looked upon sabattum as equivalent to the Hebrew Sabbath. But Jensen and others have shown that the phrase should be rendered "day of the appeasement of the mind" (of an offended deity). The reference is to a day of atonement or pacification rather than a day of rest, a day in which one must be careful not to arouse the anger of the god who was supposed to preside over that particular day. Now the term sabattum has been found only 5 or 6 times in the Babylonian inscriptions and in none of them is it connected with the 7th day of a week. There was, however, a sort of institution among the superstitious Babylonians that has been compared with the Hebrew Sabbath. In certain months of the year (Elul, Marcheshvan) the 7th, 14th, 19th, 21st and 28th days were set down as favorable days, or unfavorable days, that is, as days in which the king, the priest and the physician must be careful not to stir up the anger of the deity. On these days the king was not to eat food prepared by fire, not to put on royal dress, not to ride in his chariot, etc. As to the 19th day, it is thought that it was included among the unlucky days because it was the 49th (7 times 7) from the 1st of the preceding month. As there were 30 days in the month, it is evident that we are not dealing with a recurring 7th day in the week, as is the case with the Hebrew Sabbath. Moreover, no proof has been adduced that the term sabattum was ever applied to these dies nefasti or unlucky days. Hence, the assertions of some Assyriologists with regard to the Babylonian origin of the Sabbath must be taken with several grams of salt. Notice must be taken of an ingenious and able paper by Professor M. Jastrow, which was read before the Eleventh International Congress of Orientalists in Paris in 1897, in which the learned author attempts to show that the Hebrew Sabbath was originally a day of propitiation like the Babylonian sabattum (AJT, II, 312-52). He argues that the restrictive measures in the Hebrew laws for the observance of the Sabbath arose from the original conception of the Sabbath as an unfavorable day, a day in which the anger of Yahweh might flash forth against men. Although Jastrow has supported his thesis with many arguments that are cogent, yet the reverent student of the Scriptures will find it difficult to resist the impression that the Old Testament writers without exception thought of the Sabbath not as an unfavorable or unlucky day but rather as a day set apart for the benefit of man. Whatever may have been the attitude of the early Hebrews toward the day which was to become a characteristic institution of Judaism in all ages and in all lands, the organs of revelation throughout the Old Testament enforce the observance of the Sabbath by arguments which lay emphasis upon its beneficent and humanitarian aspects.

We must call attention to Meinhold’s ingenious hypothesis as to the origin of the Sabbath. In 1894 Theophilus G. Pinches discovered a tablet in which the term shapattu is applied to the 15th day of the month. Meinhold argues that shabattu in Babylonian denotes the day of the full moon. Dr. Skinner thus describes Meinhold’s theory: "He points to the close association of new-moon and Sabbath in nearly all the pre-exilic references (Am 8:5; Ho 2:11; Isa 1:13; 2Ki 4:23 f); and concludes that in early Israel, as in Babylonia, the Sabbath was the full-moon festival and nothing else. The institution of the weekly Sabbath he traces to a desire to compensate for the loss of the old lunar festivals, when these were abrogated by the Deuteronomic reformation. This innovation he attributes to Ezekiel; but steps toward it are found in the introduction of a weekly day of rest during harvest only (on the ground of De 16:8 f; compare Ex 34:21), and in the establishment of the sabbatical year (Le 25), which he considers to be older than the weekly Sabbath" (ICC on Gen, p. 39). Dr. Skinner well says that Meinhold’s theory involves great improbabilities. It is not certain that the Babylonians applied the term sabattu to the 15th day of the month because it was the day of the full moon; and it is by no means certain that the early prophets in Israel identified Sabbath with the festival of the full moon.

The wealth of learning and ingenuity expended in the search for the origin of the Sabbath has up to the present yielded small returns.

II. History of the Sabbath after Moses.

1. In the Old Testament:

The early prophets and historians occasionally make mention of the Sabbath. It is sometimes named in connection with the festival of the new moon (2Ki 4:23; Am 8:5; Ho 2:11; Isa 1:13; Eze 46:3). The prophets found fault with the worship on the Sabbath, because it was not spiritual nor prompted by love and gratitude. The Sabbath is exalted by the great prophets who faced the crisis of the Babylonian exile as one of the most valuable institutions in Israel’s life. Great promises are attached to faithful observance of the holy day, and confession is made of Israel’s unfaithfulness in profaning the Sabbath (Jer 17:21-27; Isa 56:2,4; 58:13; Eze 20:12-24). In the Persian period Nehemiah struggled earnestly to make the people of Jerusalem observe the law of the Sabbath (Ne 10:31; 13:15-22).

2. In the Inter-Testamental Period:

With the development of the synagogue the Sabbath became a day of worship and of study of the Law, as well as a day of cessation from all secular employment. That the pious in Israel carefully observed the Sabbath is clear from the conduct of the Maccabees and their followers, who at first declined to resist the onslaught made by their enemies on the Sabbath (1 Macc 2:29-38); but necessity drove the faithful to defend themselves against hostile attack on the Sabbath (1 Macc 2:39-41). It was during the period between Ezra and the Christian era that the spirit of Jewish legalism flourished. Innumerable restrictions and rules were formulated for the conduct of life under the Law. Great principles were lost to sight in the mass of petty details. Two entire treatises of the Mishna, Shabbath and ‘Erubhin, are devoted to the details of Sabbath observance. The subject is touched upon in other parts of the Mishna; and in the Gemara there are extended discussions, with citations of the often divergent opinions of the rabbis. In the Mishna (Shahbath, vii.2) there are 39 classes of prohibited actions with regard to the Sabbath, and there is much hair-splitting in working out the details. The beginnings of this elaborate definition of actions permitted and actions forbidden are to be found in the centuries immediately preceding the Christian era. The movement was at flood tide during our Lord’s earthly ministry and continued for centuries afterward, in spite of His frequent and vigorous protests.

3. Jesus and the Sabbath:

Apart from His claim to be the Messiah, there is no subject on which our Lord came into such sharp conflict with the religious leaders of the Jews as in the matter of Sabbath observance. He set Himself squarely against the current rabbinic restrictions as contrary to the spirit of the original law of the Sabbath. The rabbis seemed to think that the Sabbath was an end in itself, an institution to which the pious Israelite must subject all his personal interests; in other words, that man was made for the Sabbath: man might suffer hardship, but the institution must be preserved inviolate. Jesus, on the contrary, taught that the Sabbath was made for man’s benefit. If there should arise a conflict between man’s needs and the letter of the Law, man’s higher interests and needs must take precedence over the law of the Sabbath (Mt 12:1-14; Mr 2:23-3:6; Lu 6:1-11; also Joh 5:1-18; Lu 13:10-17; 14:1-6). There is no reason to think that Jesus meant to discredit the Sabbath as an institution. It was His custom to attend worship in the synagogue on the Sabbath (Lu 4:16). The humane element in the rest day at the end of every week must have appealed to His sympathetic nature. It was the one precept of the Decalogue that was predominantly ceremonial, though it had distinct sociological and moral value. As an institution for the benefit of toiling men and animals, Jesus held the Sabbath in high regard. As the Messiah, He was not subject to its restrictions; He could at any moment assert His lordship over the Sabbath (Mr 2:28). The institution was not on a par with the great moral precepts, which are unchangeable. It is worthy of note that, while Jesus pushed the moral precepts of the Decalogue into the inner realm of thought and desire, thus making the requirement more difficult and the law more exacting, He fought for a more liberal and lenient interpretation of the law of the Sabbath. Rigorous sabbatarians must look elsewhere for a champion of their views.

4. Paul and the Sabbath:

The early Christians kept the 7th day as a Sabbath, much after the fashion of other Jews. Gradually the 1st day of the week came to be recognized as the day on which the followers of Jesus would meet for worship. The resurrection of our Lord on that day made it for Christians the most joyous day of all the week. When Gentiles were admitted into the church, the question at once arose whether they should be required to keep the Law of Moses. It is the glory of Paul that he fought for and won freedom for his Gentile fellow-Christians. It is significant of the attitude of the apostles that the decrees of the Council at Jerusalem made no mention of Sabbath observance in the requirements laid upon Gentile Christians (Ac 15:28 f). Paul boldly contended that believers in Jesus, whether Jew or Gentile, were set free from the burdens of the Mosaic Law. Even circumcision counted for nothing, now that men were saved by believing in Jesus (Ga 5:6). Christian liberty as proclaimed by Paul included all days and seasons. A man could observe special days or not, just as his own judgment and conscience might dictate (Ro 14:5 f); but in all such matters one ought to be careful not to put a stumblingblock in a brother’s way (Ro 14:13 ). That Paul contended for personal freedom in respect of the Sabbath is made quite clear in Col 2:16 f, where he groups together dietary laws, feast days, new moons and sabbaths. The early Christians brought over into their mode of observing the Lord’s Day the best elements of the Jewish Sabbath, without its onerous restrictions.)

See further LORD’S DAY; ETHICS OF JESUS, I, 3, (1).

LITERATURE. J. A. Hessey, Sunday, Its Origin, History, and Present Obligation (Bampton Lectures for 1860); Zahn, Geschichte des Sonntags, 1878; Davis, Genesis and Semitic Tradition, 1894, 23-35; Jastrow, "The Original Character of the Heb Sabbath," AJT, II, 1898, 312-52; Toy, "The Earliest Form of the Sabbath," JBL, XVIII. 1899, 190-94; W. Lotz, Questionum de historia Sabbati libri duo, 1883; Nowack, Hebr. Arch., II, 1894, 140 ff; Driver, HDB, IV, 1902, 317-23; ICC, on "Gen," 1911, 35-39; Dillmann, Ex u. Lev3, 1897, 212-16; Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, II, 1883, 51-62, 777-87; Broadus, Commentary on Mt, 256-61; EB, IV, 1903, 4173-80; Gunkel, Gen3, 1910, 114-16; Meinhold, Sabbat u. Woche im Altes Testament, 1905; Beer, Schabbath, 1908.

John Richard Samphey


The views entertained by Seventh-Day Adventists concerning the nature and obligation of the Sabbath may conveniently be presented under three general divisions: (1) what the Bible says concerning the Sabbath; (2) what history says concerning the Sabbath; (3) the significance of the Sabbath.

1. What the Bible Says concerning the Sabbath:

(1) Old Testament Teaching.

In their views concerning the institution and primal obligation of the Sabbath, Seventh-Day Adventists are in harmony with the views held by the early representatives of nearly all the evangelical denominations. The Sabbath is coeval with the finishing of creation, and the main facts connected with establishing it are recorded in Ge 2:2,3. The blessing here placed upon the seventh day distinguishes it from the other days of the week, and the day thus blessed was "sanctified" (King James Version, Revised Version "hallowed") and set apart for man.

That the Sabbath thus instituted was well known throughout the Patriarchal age is clearly established both by direct evidence and by necessary inference.

"If we had no other passage than this of Ge 2:3, there would be no difficulty in deducing from it a precept for the universal observance of a Sabbath, or seventh day, to be devoted to God as holy time by all of that race for whom the earth and all things therein were specially prepared. The first men must have known it. The words, ‘He hallowed it,’ can have no meaning otherwise. They would be a blank unless in reference to some who were required to keep it holy" (Lange’s Commentary on Ge 2:3, I, 197).

"And the day arrived when Moses went to Goshen to see his brethren, that he saw the children of Israel in their burdens and hard labor, and Moses was grieved on their account. And Moses returned to Egypt and came to the house of Pharaoh, and came before the king, and Moses bowed down before the king. And Moses said unto Pharaoh, I pray thee, my lord, I have come to seek a small request from thee, turn not away my face empty; and Pharaoh said unto him, Speak. And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Let there be given unto thy servants the children of Israel who are in Goshen, one day to rest therein from their labor. And the king answered Moses and said, Behold I have lifted up thy face in this thing to grant thy request. And Pharaoh ordered a proclamation to be issued throughout Egypt and Goshen, saying, To you, all the children of Israel, thus says the king, for six days you shall do your work and labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest, and shall not perform any work; thus shall you do in all the days, as the king and Moses the son of Bathia have commanded. And Moses rejoiced at this thing which the king had granted to him, and all the children of Israel did as Moses ordered them. For this thing was from the Lord to the children of Israel, for the Lord had begun to remember the children of Israel to save them for the sake of their fathers. And the Lord was with Moses, and his fame went throughout Egypt. And Moses became great in the eyes of all the Egyptians, and in the eyes of all the children of Israel, seeking good for his people Israel, and speaking words of peace regarding them to the king" (Book of Jashar 70 41-51, published by Noah and Gould, New York, 1840).

"Hence, you can see that the Sabbath was before the Law of Moses came, and has existed from the beginning of the world. Especially have the devout, who have preserved the true faith, met together and called upon God on this day" (Luther’s Works, XXXV, p. 330).

"Why should God begin two thousand years after (the creation of the world) to give men a Sabbath upon the reason of His rest from the creation of it, if He had never called man to that commemoration before? And it is certain that the Sabbath was observed at the falling of the manna before the giving of the Law; and let any considering Christian judge ....

(1) whether the not falling of manna, or the rest of God after the creation, was like to be the original reason of the Sabbath;

(2) and whether, if it had been the first, it would not have been said, Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day; for on six days the manna fell, and not on the seventh; rather than for in six days God created heaven and earth, etc., and rested the seventh day.’ And it is casually added, ‘Wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.’ Nay, consider whether this annexed reason intimates not that the day on this ground being hallowed before, therefore it was that God sent not down the manna on that day, and that He prhibited the people from seeking it" (Richard Baxter, Practical Works, III, 774, edition 1707).

That the Sabbath was known to those who came out of Egypt, even before the giving of the Law at Sinai, is shown from the experience with the manna, as recorded in Ex 16:22-30. The double portion on the sixth day, and its preservation, was the constantly recurring miracle which reminded the people of their obligation to observe the Sabbath, and that the Sabbath was a definite day, the seventh day. To the people, first wondering at this remarkable occurrence, Moses said, "This is that which the Lord hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord" (Ex 16:23, King James Version). And to some who went out to gather manna on the seventh day, the Lord administered this rebuke: "How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?" (Ex 16:28). All this shows that the Sabbath law was well understood, and that the failure to observe it rendered the people justly subject to Divine reproof.

At Sinai, the Sabbath which was instituted at creation, and had been observed during the intervening centuries, was embodied in that formal statement of man’s duties usually designated as the "Ten Commandments." It is treated as an institution already well known and the command is, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Ex 20:8). In the 4th commandment the basis of the Sabbath is revealed. It is a memorial of the Creator’s rest at the close of those six days in which He made "heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is." For this reason "Yahweh blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." This blessing was not placed upon the day at Sinai, but in the beginning, when "God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it" (Ge 2:3).

From the very nature of the basis of the Sabbath, as set forth in this commandment, both the institution itself and the definite day of the Sabbath are of a permanent nature. So long as it is true that God created heaven and earth, and all things therein, so long will the Sabbath remain as a memorial of that work; and so long as it is true that this creative work was completed in six days, and that God Himself rested on the seventh day, and was refreshed in the enjoyment of His completed work, so long will it be true that the memorial of that work can properly be celebrated only upon the seventh day of the week.

During all the period from the deliverance out of Egypt to the captivity in Babylon, the people of God were distinguished from the nations about them by the worship of the only true God, and the observance of His holy day. The proper observance of the true Sabbath would preserve them from idolatry, being a constant reminder of the one God, the Creator of all things. Even when Jerusalem was suffering from the attacks of the Babylonians, God assured His people, through the prophet Jeremiah, that if they would hallow the Sabbath day, great should be their prosperity, and the city should remain forever (Jer 17:18). This shows that the spiritual observance of the Sabbath was the supreme test of their right relation to God. In those prophecies of Isaiah, which deal primarily with the restoration from Babylon, remarkable promises were made to those who would observe the Sabbath, as recorded in Isa 56:1-7.

(2) New Testament Teaching.

From the record found in the four Gospels, it is plain that the Jews during all the previous centuries had preserved a knowledge both of the Sabbath institution and of the definite day.

It is equally plain that they had made the Sabbath burdensome by their own rigorous exactions concerning it. And Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath, both by example and by precept, brushed aside these traditions of men that He might reveal the Sabbath of the commandment as God gave it—a blessing and not a burden. A careful reading of the testimony of the evangelists will show that Christ taught the observance of the commandments of God, rather than the traditions of men, and that the charge of Sabbath-breaking was brought against Him for no other reason than that He refused to allow the requirements of man to change the Sabbath, blessed of God, into a merely human institution, grievous in its nature, and enforced upon the people with many and troublesome restrictions.

All are agreed that Christ and His disciples observed the seventh-day Sabbath previous to the crucifixion. That His followers had received no intimation of any proposed change at His death, is evident from the recorded fact that on the day when He was in the tomb they rested, "on the sabbath .... according to the commandment" (Lu 23:56); and that they treated the following day, the first day of the week, the same as of old, is further evident, as upon that day they came unto the sepulcher for the purpose of anointing the body of Jesus. In the Book of Acts, which gives a brief history of the work of the disciples in proclaiming the gospel of a risen Saviour, no other Sabbath is recognized than the seventh day, and this is mentioned in the most natural way as the proper designation of a well-known institution (Ac 13:14,27,42; 16:13; 18:4).

In our Lord’s great prophecy, in which He foretold the experience of the church between the first and the second advent, He recognized the seventh-day Sabbath as an existing institution at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem (70 AD), when He instructed His disciples, "Pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on a sabbath" (Mt 24:20). Such instruction given in these words, and at that time, would have been confusing in the extreme, had there been any such thing contemplated as the overthrow of the Sabbath law at the crucifixion, and the substitution of another day upon an entirely different basis.

That the original Sabbath is to be observed, not only during the present order of things, but also after the restoration when, according to the vision of the revelator, a new heaven and a new earth will take the place of the heaven and the earth that now are, is clearly intimated in the words of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah: "For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith Yahweh, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith Yahweh" (Isa 66:22,23).

Seventh-Day Adventists regard the effort to establish the observance of another day than the seventh by using such texts as Joh 20:19,26; Ac 20:7; 1Co 16:1,2; Re 1:10 as being merely an afterthought, an effort to find warrant for an observance established upon other than Biblical authority. During the last two or three centuries there has been a movement for the restoration of the original seventh-day Sabbath, not as a Jewish, but as a Christian, institution. This work, commenced and carried forward by the Seventh-Day Baptists, has been taken up and pushed with renewed vigor by the Seventh-Day Adventists during the present generation, and the Bible teaching concerning the true Sabbath is now being presented in nearly every country, both civilized and uncivilized, on the face of the earth.

2. What History Says about the Sabbath:

(1) Josephus.

This summary of history must necessarily be brief, and it will be impossible, for lack of space, to quote authorities. From the testimony of Josephus it is clear that the Jews, as a nation, continued to observe the seventh-day Sabbath until their overthrow, when Jerusalem was captured by Titus, 70 AD. As colonies, and individuals, scattered over the face of the earth, the Jews have preserved a knowledge of the original Sabbath, and the definite day, until the present time. They constitute a living testimony for the benefit of all who desire to know the truth of this matter.

(2) Church History.

According to church history, the seventh-day Sabbath was observed by the early church, and no other day was observed as a Sabbath during the first two or three centuries (see HDB, IV, 322 b).

In the oft-repeated letter of Pliny, the Roman governor of Bithynia, to the emperor Trajan, written about 112 AD, there occurs the expression, "a certain stated day," which is usually assumed to mean Sunday. With reference to this matter W.B. Taylor, in Historical Commentaries, chapter i, section 47, makes the following statement: "As the Sabbath day appears to have been quite as commonly observed at this date as the sun’s day (if not even more so), it is just as probable that this ‘stated day’ referred to by Pliny was the 7th day as that it was the 1st day; though the latter is generally taken for granted." "Sunday was distinguished as a day of joy by the circumstances that men did not fast upon it, and that they prayed standing up and not kneeling, as Christ had now been raised from the dead. The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a divine command in this respect, far from them, and from the early apostolic church, to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday. Perhaps at the end of the 2nd century, a false application of this kind had begun to take place; for men appear by that time to have considered laboring on Sunday as a sin" (Tertullian De Orat., c. 23). This quotation is taken from Rose’s Neander, London, 1831, I, 33 f, and is the correct translation from Neander’s first German edition, Hamburg, 1826, I, pt. 2, p. 339. Neander has in his 2nd edition, 1842, omitted the second sentence, in which he expressly stated that Sunday was only a human ordinance, but he has added nothing to the contrary. "The Christians in the ancient church very soon distinguished the first day of the week, Sunday; however, not as a Sabbath, but as an assembly day of the church, to study the Word of God together and to celebrate the ordinances one with another: without a shadow of doubt this took place as early as the first part of the 2nd century" (Geschichte des Sonntags, 60).

Gradually, however, the first day of the week came into prominence as an added day, but finally by civil and ecclesiastical authority as a required observance. The first legislation on this subject was the famous law of Constantine, enacted 321 AD. The acts of various councils during the 4th and 5th centuries established the observance of the first day of the week by ecclesiastical authority, and in the great apostasy which followed, the rival day obtained the ascendancy. During the centuries which followed, however, there were always witnesses for the true Sabbath, although under great persecution. And thus in various lands, the knowledge of the true Sabbath has been preserved.

3. The Significance of the Sabbath:

In the creation of the heavens and the earth the foundation of the gospel was laid. At the close of His created work, "God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" (Ge 1:31). The Sabbath was both the sign and the memorial of that creative power which is able to make all things good. But man, made in the image of God, lost that image through sin. In the gospel, provision is made for the restoration of the image of God in the soul of man. The Creator is the Redeemer and redemption is the new creation. Since the Sabbath was the sign of that creative power which worked in Christ, the Word, in the making of the heaven and the earth and all things therein, so it is the sign of that same creative power working through the same eternal Word for the restoration of all things. "Wherefore if any man is in Christ, there is a new creation: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new" (2Co 5:17 margin). "For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation" (Ga 6:15 margin). "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them" (Eph 2:10).

A concrete illustration of this gospel meaning of the Sabbath is found in the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. The same creative power which wrought in the beginning was exercised in the signs and miracles which preceded their deliverance, and in those miracles, such as the opening of the Red Sea, the giving of the manna, and the water from the rock, which attended the journeyings of the Israelites. In consequence of these manifestations of creative power in their behalf, the children of Israel were instructed to remember in their observance of the Sabbath that they were bondsmen in the land of Egypt. Israel’s deliverance from Egypt is the type of every man’s deliverance from sin; and the instruction to Israel concerning the Sabbath shows its true significance in the gospel of salvation from sin, and the new creation in the image of God.

Furthermore, the seventh-day Sabbath is the sign of both the divinity and the deity of Christ. God only can create. He through whom this work is wrought must be one with God. To this the Scriptures testify: "In the beginning was the Word, .... and the Word was God. .... All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made." But this same Word which was with God, and was God, "became flesh, and dwelt among us" (Joh 1:1,3,14). This is the eternal Son, "in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace" (Eph 1:7). To the Christian the Sabbath, which was the sign and memorial of that divine power which wrought through the eternal Word in the creation of the heaven and the earth, becomes the sign of the same power working through the same eternal Son to accomplish the new creation, and is thus the sign of both the divinity and the deity of Christ.

Inasmuch as the redemptive work finds its chiefest expression in the cross of Christ, the Sabbath, which is the sign of that redemptive work, becomes the sign of the cross.

Seventh-Day Adventists teach and practice the observance of the Sabbath, not because they believe in salvation through man’s effort to keep the law of God, but because they believe in that salvation which alone can be accomplished by the creative power of God working through the eternal Son to create believers anew in Christ Jesus.

Seventh-Day Adventists believe, and teach, that the observance of any other day than the seventh as the Sabbath is the sign of that predicted apostasy in which the man of sin would be revealed who would exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped.

Seventh-Day Adventists believe, and teach, that the observance of the true Sabbath in this generation is a part of that gospel work which is to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

W. W. Prescott


jur’-ni (sabbatou hodos): Used only in Ac 1:12, where it designates the distance from Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives, to which Jesus led His disciples on the day of His ascension. The expression comes from rabbinical usage to indicate the distance a Jew might travel on the Sabbath without transgressing the Law, the command against working on that day being interpreted as including travel (see Ex 16:27-30). The limit set by the rabbis to the Sabbath day’s journey was 2,000 cubits from one’s house or domicile, which was derived from the statement found in Jos 3:4 that this was the distance between the ark and the people on their march, this being assumed to be the distance between the tents of the people and the tabernacle during the sojourn in the wilderness. Hence, it must have been allowable to travel thus far to attend the worship of the tabernacle. We do not know when this assumption in regard to the Sabbath day’s journey was made, but it seems to have been in force in the time of Christ. The distance of the Mount of Olives from Jerusalem is stated in Josephus (Ant., XX, viii, 6) to have been five stadia or furlongs and in BJ, V, ii, 3, six stadia, the discrepancy being explained by supposing a different point of departure. This would make the distance of the Sabbath day’s journey from 1,000 to 1,200 yards, the first agreeing very closely with the 2,000 cubits. The rabbis, however, invented a way of increasing this distance without technically infringing the Law, by depositing some food at the 2,000-cubit limit, before the Sabbath, and declaring that spot a temporary domicile. They might then proceed 2,000 cubits from this point without transgressing the Law.

And in some cases even this intricacy of preparation was unnecessary. If, for instance, the approach of the Sabbath found one on his journey, the traveler might select some tree or some stone wall at a distance of 2,000 paces and mentally declare this to be his residence for the Sabbath, in which case he was permitted to go the 2,000 paces to the selected tree or wall and also 2,000 paces beyond, but in such a case he must do the work thoroughly and must say: "Let my Sabbath residence be at the trunk of that tree," for if he merely said: "Let my Sabbath residence be under that tree," this would not be sufficient, because the, expression would be too general and indefinite (Tractate ‘Erubhin 4:7).

Other schemes for extending the distance have been devised, such as regarding the quarter of the town in which one dwells, or the whole town itself, as the domicile, thus allowing one to proceed from any part of the town to a point 2,000 cubits beyond its utmost limits. This was most probably the case with walled towns, at least, and boundary stones have been found in the vicinity of Gaza with inscriptions supposed to mark these limits. The 2,000-cubit limits around the Levitical cities (Nu 35:5) may have suggested the limit of the Sabbath day’s journey also. The term came to be used as a designation of distance which must have been more or less definite.

H. Porter








(sabbaton deuteroproton (Lu 6:1), literally, "the second-first sabbath," of the Revised Version margin): We will mention only a few of the explanations elicited by this expression.

(1) It was the first Sabbath in the second year of a 7-year cycle comprising the period from one Sabbatic year to the other;

(2) the first Sabbath after the second day of Passover, i.e. the first of the seven Sabbaths the Hebrews were to "count unto" themselves from "the morrow after the sabbath" (the day after Easter) until Pentecost (Le 23:15);

(3) the first Sabbath in the Jewish ecclesiastical year (about the middle of March), the first Sabbath in the civil year (about the middle of September) being counted as the "first-first" Sabbath;

(4) the term deuteroprotos, is a monstrous combination of the words deuteros, "second," and protos, "first," attributable to unskillful attempts at textual emendation on the part of copyists. This supposition would, of course, render unnecessary all other efforts to unravel the knotty problem, and, as a matter of fact, deuteroprotos is omitted by many manuscripts (including Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus). To those not feeling inclined to accept this solution we would suggest the first of the above-named explanations as the most natural and probable one.

William Baur





sab-a-the’-us: the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) SABBATEUS (which see).


sab’-aths, (shabbethoth shanim; anapauseis eton (Le 25:8)): The seven sabbatic years preceding the Year of Jubilee.



sa-bat’-ik-al, shenath shabbathon; eniautos anapauseos, "a year of solemn rest"; or shabbath shabbathon; sabbata anapausis, "a sabbath of solemn rest" (Le 25:4); or shehath ha-shemittah; etos tes apheseos, "the year of release" (De 15:9; 31:10)):

1. Primary Intention:

We find the first rudiments of this institution in the so-called Covenant Book (Ex 21-23). Its connection with the day of rest (Sabbath) is obvious, although it strikes us as somewhat remarkable that in Ex 23:10-12 the regulation regarding the 7th year should precede the statute respecting the 7th day. Still it seems natural that after the allusion in verse 9, "Ye were sojourners in the land of Egypt," the Covenant Book should put in a good word for the poor in Israel (verse 11: "Let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of thy people may eat"). Even the beasts of the field are remembered (compare Jon 4:11).

We must, therefore, conclude that in this early period of the history of Israel the regulation regarding the 7th year was primarily intended for the relief of the poor and for the awakening of a sense of responsibility in the hearts of those better provided with the means of subsistence. It would be wrong, however, to deny its Sabbatic character, for the text says expressly, "But in the 7th year thou shalt let it rest" (literally, "thou shalt release it"), implying that the land was entitled to a rest because it needed it; it must be released for a time in order to gain fresh strength and insure its future fertility. Two motives, then, present themselves most clearly, one of a social, the other of an economic character, and both are rooted in God’s dealings with Israel (compare Ex 21:1).

2. Mosaic Legislation Humane:

Another evidence of the humane spirit pervading the Mosaic Law may be found in Ex 21:2-6 where, in the case of a Hebrew slave, the length of his servitude is limited to six years. The connection with the idea of the Sabbath is evident, but we fail to detect here any reference to the Sabbatical year. It is clear that the 7th year in which a slave might be set free need not necessarily coincide with the Sabbatical year, though it might, of course, The same is true of De 15:12-18; it has nothing to do with the Sabbatical year. On the other hand it is reasonable to assume that the "release" mentioned in De 15:1-3 took place in the Sabbatical year; in other words, its scope had been enlarged in later years so as to include the release from pecuniary obligation, i.e. the remission of debts or, at least, their temporary suspension. This means that the children of Israel were now developing from a purely agricultural people to a commercial nation. Still the same spirit of compassion for the poor and those struggling for a living asserts itself as in the earlier period, and it goes without saying that the old regulation concerning the release of the land in the 7th year was still in force (compare 15:2: "because Yahweh’s release hath been proclaimed").

According to De 15:1, this proclamation occurred at the end of every 7 years, or, rather, during the 7th year; for we must be careful not to strain the expression "at the end" (compare 15:9, where the 7th year is called "the year of release"; it is quite natural to identify this 7th year with the Sabbatical year).

Moreover, we are now almost compelled to assert the Sabbatical year by this time had become an institution observed simultaneously all over the country. From the wording of the regulation regarding the 7th year in the Covenant Book we are not certain about this in those early times. But now it is different. "Yahweh’s release hath been proclaimed."

3. General Observance:

It was a solemn and general proclamation, the date of which was very likely the day of atonement in the 7th month (the Sabbatical month). The celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles (booths) began five days later and it lasted from the 15th day to the 21st of the 7th month (Tisri). In the Sabbatical year, at that time, the Law was read "before all Israel in their hearing," a fact which tends to prove that the Sabbatical year had become a matter of general and simultaneous observance (compare De 31:10-13). Another lesson may be deduced from this passage: it gives us a hint respecting the use to which the people may have put their leisure time during the 12 months of Sabbatical rest; it may have been a period of religious and probably other instruction.

In Le 25:1-7 the central idea of the Sabbatical year is unfolded. Although it has been said we should be careful not to look for too much of the ideal and dogmatic in the institutions of the children of Israel, yet we must never lose sight of the religious and educational character even of their ancient legislation.

4. Central Idea:

One central thought is brought home to them, namely, God is the owner of the soil, and through His grace only the chosen people have come into its possession. Their time, i.e. they themselves, belong to Him: this is the deepest meaning of the day of rest; their land, i.e. their means of subsistence, belong to Him: this reveals to us the innermost significance of the year of rest. It was Yahweh’s pleasure to call the children of Israel into life, and if they live and work and prosper, they are indebted to His unmerited loving-kindness. They should, therefore, put their absolute trust in Him, never doubt His word or His power, always obey Him and so always receive His unbounded blessings.

If we thus put all the emphasis on the religious character of the Sabbatical year, we are in keeping with the idea permeating the Old Testament, namely that the children of Israel are the chosen people of Yahweh. All their agricultural, social, commercial and political relations were to be built upon their divine calling and shaped according to God’s sovereign will.

But did they live up to it? Or, to limit the question to our subject: Did they really observe the Sabbatical year? There are those who hold that the law regarding the Sabbatical year was not observed before the captivity. In order to prove this assertion they point to Le 26:34 f, 43; also to 2Ch 36:21. But all we can gather from these passages is the palpable conclusion that the law regarding the Sabbatical year had not been strictly obeyed, a deficiency which may mar the effect of any law.

The possibility of observing the precept respecting the Sabbatical year is demonstrated by the post-exilic history of the Jewish people. Nehemiah registers the solemn fact that the reestablished nation entered into a covenant to keep the law and to maintain the temple worship (Ne 9:38; 10:32 ). In 10:31 of the last-named chapter he alludes to the 7th year, "that we would forego the 7th year, and the exaction of every debt." We are not sure of the exact meaning of this short allusion; it may refer to the Sabbatical rest of the land and the suspension of debts.

For a certainty we know that the Sabbatical year was observed by the Jews at the time of Alexander the Great. When he was petitioned by the Samaritans "that he would remit the tribute of the 7th year to them, because they did not sow therein, he asked who they were that made such a petition"; he was told they were Hebrews, etc. (Josephus, Ant, XI, viii, 6).

During Maccabean and Asmonean times the law regarding the Sabbatical year was strictly observed, although it frequently weakened the cause of the Jews (1 Macc 6:49,53; Josephus, Ant, XIII, viii, 1; compare Josephus, Jewish Wars, I, ii, 4; Ant, XIV, x, 6; XV, i, 2). Again we may find references to the Sabbatical year in Josephus, Ant, XIV, xvi, 2, etc.; Tac. Hist. v.4, etc., all of which testifies to the observance of the Sabbatical year in the Herodian era. The words of Tacitus show the proud Roman’s estimate of the Jewish character and customs: "For the 7th day they are said to have prescribed rest because this day ended their labors; then, in addition, being allured by their lack of energy, they also spend the 7th year in laziness."

See also ASTRONOMY, sec. I, 5, (3), (4); JUBILEE YEAR.

William Baur


sa-be’-us (Sabbaias): In 1 Esdras 9:32, the same as "Shemaiah" in Ezr 10:31.



(1) Codex Alexandrinus Sabei; Codex Vaticanus Tobeis, Fritzache; the King James Version, Sami): Eponym of a family of porters who returned with Zerubbabel (1 Esdras 5:28) =" Shobai" in Ezr 2:42; Ne 7:45.

(2) The King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) SABIE (which see).


sa-bi’-as (Sabias, Fritzsche, Asabias; the King James Version Assabias): One of the six "captains over thousands" who supplied the Levites with much cattle for Josiah’s Passover (1 Esdras 1:9) =" Hashabiah" in 2Ch 35:9.


sa’-bi-e (Sabeie, or Sabie; the King James Version Sabi): In 1 Esdras 5:34 both the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American), following Codex Alexandrinus, read "the sons of Phacareth, the sons of Sabie" (the King James Version "Sabi") for the "Pochereth-hazzebaim" of Ezr 2:57; Ne 7:59. Codex Vaticanus reads correctly as one proper name: "Phacareth Sabie."


sab’-ta (cabhta’, cabhtah): Third son of Cush (Ge 10:7 = 1Ch 1:9). A place Sabta is probably to be looked for in South Arabia. Arab geographers give no exact equivalent of the name. Al Bekri (i.65) quotes a line of early poetry in which Dhu ‘l Sabta is mentioned, and the context might indicate a situation in Yemamah; but the word is possibly not a proper name. It is usually identified with Saubatha (Ptol., vi.7, 38) or with the Sabota of Pliny (vi.32; xii.32), an old mercantile city in South Arabia celebrated for its trade in frankincense and, according to Ptolemy, possessing 60 temples. It is said also to have been the territory of a king Elisarus, whose name presents a striking resemblance to Dhu ‘l-Adhar, one of the "Tubbas" or Himyarite kings of Yemen. Another conjecture is the Saphtha of Ptolemy (vi.7, 30) near the Arabian shore of the Persian Gulf.

A. S. Fulton


sab’te-ka (cabhtekha’; Sabakatha, Sebethacha; the King James Version Sabtechah): The 5th named of the sons of Cush in the genealogy of Ge 10:5-7. In 1Ch 1:8,9 the King James Version reads "Sabtecha," the Revised Version (British and American) "Sabteca." Many conjectures have been made as to the place here indicated. Recently Glazer (Skizze, II, 252) has revived the suggestion of Bochart that it is to be identified with Samydake in Carmania on the East of the Persian Gulf. This seems to rest on nothing more than superficial resemblance of the names; but the phonetic changes involved are difficult. Others have thought of various places in Arabia, toward the Persian Gulf; but the data necessary for any satisfactory decision are not now available.

W. Ewing


sa’-kar (sakhar):

(1) Father of Ahiam, a follower of David (1Ch 11:35, Codex Vaticanus Achar; Codex Alexandrinus Sachar =" Sharar" of 2Sa 23:33; Sharar is favored as the original reading).

(2) Eponym of a family of gatekeepers (1Ch 26:4).



See MUSIC, III, 1, (f).






1. The Term:

The word "sacrament" comes from the Latin sacramentum, which in the classical period of the language was used in two chief senses:

(1) as a legal term to denote the sum of money deposited by two parties to a suit which was forfeited by the loser and appropriated to sacred uses;

(2) as a military term to designate the oath of obedience taken by newly enlisted soldiers.

Whether referring to an oath of obedience or to something set apart for a sacred purpose, it is evident that sacramentum would readily lend itself to describe such ordinances as Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. In the Greek New Testament, however, there is no word nor even any general idea corresponding to "sacrament," nor does the earliest history of Christianity afford any trace of the application of the term to certain rites of the church. Pliny (circa 112 AD) describes the Christians of Bithynia as "binding themselves by a sacramentum to commit no kind of crime" (Epistles x.97), but scholars are now pretty generally agreed that Pliny here uses the word in its old Roman sense of an oath or solemn obligation, so that its occurrence in this passage is nothing more than an interesting coincidence.

It is in the writings of Tertullian (end of 2nd and beginning of 3rd century) that we find the first evidence of the adoption of the word as a technical term to designate Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and other rites of the Christian church. This Christian adoption of sacramentum may have been partly occasioned by the evident analogies which the word suggests with Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; but what appears to have chiefly determined its history in this direction was the fact that in the Old Latin versions (as afterward in the Vulgate) it had been employed to translate the Greek musterion, "a mystery" (e.g. Eph 5:32; 1Ti 3:16; Re 1:20; 17:7)—an association of ideas which was greatly fostered in the early church by the rapidly growing tendency to an assimilation of Christian worship with the mystery-practices of the Greek-Roman world.

2. Nature and Number:

Though especially employed to denote Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the name "sacraments" was for long used so loosely and vaguely that it was applied to facts and doctrines of Christianity as well as to its symbolic rites. Augustine’s definition of a sacrament as "the visible form of an invisible grace" so far limited its application. But we see how widely even a definition like this might be stretched when we find Hugo of Victor (12th century) enumerating as many as 30 sacraments that had been recognized in the church. The Council of Trent was more exact when it declared that visible forms are sacraments only when they represent an invisible grace and become its channels, and when it sought further to delimit the sacramental area by reenacting (1547) a decision of the Council of Florence (1439), in which for the first time the authority of the church was given to a suggestion of Peter Lombard (12th century) and other schoolmen that the number of the sacraments should be fixed at seven, namely, Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Orders, and Matrimony—a suggestion which was supported by certain fanciful analogies designed to show that seven was a sacred number.

The divergence of the Protestant churches from this definition and scheme was based on the fact that these proceeded on no settled principles. The notion that there are seven sacraments has no New Testament authority, and must be described as purely arbitrary; while the definition of a sacrament is still so vague that anything but an arbitrary selection of particulars is impossible. It is perfectly arbitrary, for example, to place Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which were instituted by Christ as ordinances of the church, in the same category with marriage, which rests not on His appointment but on a natural relationship between the sexes that is as old as the human race. While, therefore, the Reformers retained the term "sacrament" as a convenient one to express the general idea that has to be drawn from the characteristics of the rites classed together under this name, they found the distinguishing marks of sacraments

(1) in their institution by Christ,

(2) in their being enjoined by Him upon His followers,

(3) in their being bound up with His word and revelation in such a way that they become "the expressions of divine thoughts, the visible symbols of divine acts."

And, since Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the only two rites for which such marks can be claimed, it follows that there are only two New Testament sacraments. Their unique place in the original revelation justifies us in separating them from all other rites and ceremonies that may have arisen in the history of the church, since it raises them to the dignity of forming an integral part of the historical gospel. A justification for their being classed together under a common name may be found, again, in the way in which they are associated in the New Testament (Ac 2:41,42; 1Co 10:1-4) and also in the analogy which Paul traces between Baptism and the Lord’s Supper on the one hand, and Circumcision and the Passover—the two most distinctive rites of the Old Covenant—on the other (Col 2:11; 1Co 5:7; 11:26).

3. Institution by Christ:

The assumption made above, that both Baptism and the Lord’s Supper owe their origin as sacraments of the church to their definite appointment by Christ Himself, has been strongly challenged by some modern critics.

(1) In regard to Baptism it has been argued that as Mr 16:15 f occurs in a passage (16:9-20) which textual criticism has shown to have formed no part of the original Gospel, Mt 28:19, standing by itself, is too slender a foundation to support the belief that the ordinance rests upon an injunction of Jesus, more especially as its statements are inconsistent with the results of historical criticism. These results, it is affirmed, prove that all the narratives of the Forty Days are legendary, that Mt 28:19 in particular only canonizes a later ecclesiastical situation, that its universalism is contrary to the facts of early Christian history, and its Trinitarian formula "foreign to the mouth of Jesus" (see Harnack, History of Dogma, I, 79, and the references there given). It is evident, however, that some of these objections rest upon anti-supernatural pre-suppositions that really beg the question at issue, and others on conclusions for which real premises are wanting. Over against them all we have to set the positive and weighty fact that from the earliest days of Christianity Baptism appears as the rite of initiation into the fellowship of the church (Ac 2:38,41, et passim), and that even Paul, with all his freedom of thought and spiritual interpretation of the gospel, never questioned its necessity (compare Ro 6:3 ff; 1Co 12:13; Eph 4:5). On any other supposition than that of its appointment by our Lord Himself it is difficult to conceive how within the brief space of years between the death of Jesus and the apostle’s earliest references to the subject, the ordinance should not only have originated but have established itself in so absolute a manner for Jewish and Gentile Christians alike.

(2) In the case of the Lord’s Supper the challenge of its institution by Christ rests mainly upon the fact that the saying, "This do in remembrance of me," is absent from the Mark-Matthew text, and is found only in the Supper-narratives of Paul (1Co 11:24,25) and his disciple Luke (Lu 22:19). Upon this circumstance large structures of critical hypothesis have been reared. It has been affirmed that in the upper room Jesus was only holding a farewell supper with His disciples, and that it never occurred to Him to institute a feast of commemoration. It has further been maintained that the views of Jesus regarding the speedy consummation of His kingdom make it impossible that He should have dreamed of instituting a sacrament to commemorate His death. The significance of the feast was eschatological merely; it was a pledge of a glorious future hour in the perfected kingdom of God (see Mt 26:29 and parallels). And theory has even been advanced that the institution of this sacrament as an ordinance of the church designed to commemorate Christ’s death was due to the initiative of Paul, who is supposed to have been influenced in this direction by what he had seen in Corinth and elsewhere of the mystery-practices of the Greek world.

All these hypothetical fabrics fall, of course, to the ground if the underlying assumption that Jesus never said, "This do in remembrance of me," is shown to be unwarrantable. And it is unwarrantable to assume that a saying of Jesus which is vouched for by Paul and Luke cannot be authentic because it does not occur in the corresponding narratives of Matthew and Mark. In these narratives, which are highly compressed in any case, the first two evangelists would seem to have confined themselves to setting down those sayings which formed the essential moments of the Supper and gave its symbolic contents. The command of its repetition they may have regarded as sufficiently embodied and expressed in the universal practice of the church from the earliest days. For as to that practice there is no question (Ac 2:42,46; 20:7; 1Co 10:16; 11:26), and just as little that it rested upon the belief that Christ had enjoined it. "Every assumption of its having originated in the church from the recollection of intercourse with Jesus at table, and the necessity felt for recalling His death, is precluded" (Weizsacker, Apostolic Age, II, 279). That the simple historical supper of Jesus with His disciples in the upper room was converted by Paul into an institution for the Gentile and Jewish churches alike is altogether inconceivable. The primitive church had its bitter controversies, but there is no trace of any controversy as to the origin and institutional character of the Lord’s Supper.

4. Efficacy:

In the New Testament the sacraments are presented as means of grace. Forgiveness (Ac 2:38), cleansing (Eph 5:25 f), spiritual quickening (Col 2:12) are associated with Baptism; the Lord’s Supper is declared to be a participation in the body and blood of Christ (1Co 10:16). So far all Christians are agreed; but wide divergence shows itself thereafter. According to the doctrine of the Roman church, sacraments are efficacious ex opere operato, i.e. in virtue of a power inherent in themselves as outward acts whereby they communicate saving benefits to those who receive them without opposing any obstacle. The Reformed doctrine, on the other hand, teaches that their efficacy lies not in themselves as outward acts, but in the blessing of Christ and the operation of His Spirit, and that it is conditioned by faith in the recipient. The traditional Lutheran doctrine agrees with the Reformed in affirming that faith is necessary as the condition of saving benefits in the use of the sacraments, but resembles the Roman teaching in ascribing the efficacy of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, not to the attendant working of the Holy Spirit, but to a real inherent and objective virtue resident in them—a virtue, however, which does not lie (as the Roman church says) in the mere elements and actions of the sacraments, but in the power of the divine word which they embody.



Candlish, The Christian Sacraments; Lambert, The Sacraments in the New Testament; Bartlet, Apostolic Age, 495 ff; Hodge, Systematic Theology, III, chapter xx.

J. C. Lambert


hu’-man: As an expression of religious devotion, human sacrifice has been widespread at certain stages of the race’s development. The tribes of Western Asia were deeply affected by the practice, probably prior to the settlement of the Hebrews in Palestine, and it continued at least down to the 5th century BC. At times of great calamity, anxiety and danger, parents sacrificed their children as the greatest and most costly offering which they could make to propitiate the anger of the gods and thus secure their favor and help. There is no intimation in the Bible that enemies or captives were sacrificed; only the offering of children by their parents is mentioned. The belief that this offering possessed supreme value is seen in Mic 6:6 f, where the sacrifice of the firstborn is the climax of a series of offerings which, in a rising scale of values, are suggested as a means of propitiating the angry Yahweh. A striking example of the rite as actually practiced is seen in 2Ki 3:27, where Mesha the king of Moab (made famous by the Moabite Stone), under the stress of a terrible siege, offered his eldest son, the heir-apparent to the throne, as a burnt offering upon the wall of Kir-hareseth. As a matter of fact this horrid act seems to have had the effect of driving off the allies.

Human sacrifice was ordinarily resorted to, no doubt, only in times of great distress, but it seems to have been practiced among the old Canaanitish tribes with some frequency (De 12:31). The Israelites are said to have borrowed it from their Canaanite neighbors (2Ki 16:3; 2Ch 28:3), and as a matter of fact human sacrifices were never offered to Yahweh, but only to various gods of the land. The god who was most frequently worshipped in this way was Moloch or Molech, the god of the Ammonites (2Ki 23:10; Le 18:21; 20:2), but from Jeremiah we learn that the Phoenician god Baal was, at least in the later period of the history, also associated with Molech in receiving this worship (Jer 19:5; 31:35).

As in the case of the Canaanites, the only specific cases of human sacrifice mentioned among the Israelites are those of the royal princes, sons of Ahaz and Manasseh, the two kings of Judah who were most deeply affected by the surrounding heathen practices and who, at the same time, fell into great national distress (2Ki 16:3; 2Ch 28:3; 2Ki 21:6; 2Ch 33:6). But it is clear from many general statements that the custom was widespread among the masses of the people as well. It is forbidden in the Mosaic legislation (Le 18:21; 20:2-5; De 18:10); it is said in 2Ki 17:17 that the sacrifice of sons and daughters was one of the causes of the captivity of the ten tribes. Jeremiah charges the people of the Southern Kingdom with doing the same thing (Jer 7:31; 19:5; 31:35); with these general statements agree Isa 57:5; Eze 16:2 f; 20:31; 23:37; Ps 106:37 f. A study of these passages makes it certain that in the period immediately before the captivity of Judah, human sacrifice was by no means confined to the royal family, but was rather common among the people. Daughters as well as sons were sacrificed. It is mentioned only once in connection with the Northern Kingdom, and then only in the summary of the causes of their captivity (2Ki 17:17), but the Southern Kingdom in its later years was evidently deeply affected. There were various places where the bloody rite was celebrated (Jer 19:5), but the special high place, apparently built for the purpose, was in the Valley of Tophet or Hinnom (ge-hinnom, Gehenna) near Jerusalem (2Ch 28:3; 33:6). This great high place, built for the special purpose of human sacrifice (Jer 7:31; 32:35), was defiled by the good king Josiah in the hope of eradicating the cruel practice (2Ki 23:10).

The Biblical writers without exception look upon the practice with horror as the supreme point of national and religious apostasy, and a chief cause of national disaster. They usually term the rite "passing through fire," probably being unwilling to use the sacred term "sacrifice" in reference to such a revolting custom. There is no evidence of a continuance of the practice in captivity nor after the return. It is said, however, that the heathen Sepharvites, settled by the Assyrian kings in the depopulated territory of the Northern Kingdom, "burnt their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim" (2Ki 17:31). The practice is not heard of again, and probably rapidly died out. The restored Israelites were not affected by it.

Compare SACRIFICE (Old Testament), VI, 10.

William Joseph McGlothlin





1. Jesus’ Attitude

2. Paul’s Attitude

3. Attitude of the Author of Hebrews


1. Teaching of John the Baptist

2. Teaching of Jesus

3. Teaching of Peter

4. Paul’s Teaching

5. Teaching of Hebrews

6. Johannine Teaching


1. Redemption or Deliverance from Curse of Sin

2. Reconciliation

3. Remission of Sins

4. The Cancellation of Guilt

5. Justification or Right Standing with God

6. Cleansing or Sanctification

7. Sonship


1. Jesus’ Teaching

2. Paul’s Teaching

3. Teaching of Hebrews

4. Petrine and Johannine Teaching


1. Jesus’ Teaching

2. Paul’s Teaching

3. The Teaching in Hebrews


1. Universal in Objective Potentiality

2. Efficacious When Subjectively Applied


1. Consequence of Christ’s Sacrifice

2. Christ’s Death the Appeal for Christian’s Sacrifice

3. Necessary to Fill Out Christ’s Sacrifice

4. Content of the Christian’s Sacrifice

5. The Supper as a Sacrifice


I. Terms of Sacrifice Epitomized.

The word "offering" (prosphora) describes the death of Christ, once in Paul (Eph 5:2); 5 times in Hebrews (Heb 10:5,8,10,14,18). The verb prosphero, "to offer," is also used, 15 times in Hebrews (Heb 5:1,3; 8:3,4; 9:7,14,25,28; 10:1,8,11,12; 11:4). The noun prosphora occurs 15 times in the Septuagint, usually as the translation of minchah, "sacrifice." This noun in the New Testament refers to Old Testament sacrifices in Ac 7:42; 21:26; to the offering of money in Ac 24:17; Ro 15:16. The verb anaphero, also occurs 3 times in Hebrews (7:27; 9:28; 13:15); also in 1Pe 2:5.

The word "sacrifice" (thusia in the Septuagint translates 8 different Hebrew words for various kinds of sacrifice, occurring about 350 times) refers to Christ’s death, once in Paul (Eph 5:2) 5 times in Heb (5:1; 9:23,26; 10:12,26). It refers several times to Old Testament sacrifice and 5 times to Christian living or giving (Php 2:17; 4:18; Heb 13:15,16; 1Pe 2:5). The verb "to sacrifice" (thuo) is used once by Paul to describe Christ’s death (1Co 5:7).

The blood (haima) of Christ is said to secure redemption or salvation, 6 times in Paul (Ro 3:25; 5:9; 1Co 10:16; Eph 1:7; 2:13; Col 1:20); 3 times in Hebrews (9:12,14; 10:19; compare also 10:29); 2 times in 1 Peter (1:2,19) and 5 times in the Johannine writings (1Joh 1:7; 5:6,8; Re 1:5). Unmistakably this figure of the blood refers to Christ’s sacrificial death. "In any case the phrase (en to autou haimati, ‘in his blood,’ Ro 3:25) carries with it the idea of sacrificial blood-shedding" (Sanday, Commentary on Epistle to Romans, 91).

(lutron, "ransom," the price paid for redeeming, occurring in Septuagint 19 times, meaning the price paid for redeeming the servant (Le 25:51,52); ransom for first-born (Nu 3:46); ransom for the life of the owner of the goring ox (Ex 21:30, etc.)) occurs in the New Testament only twice (Mt 20:28; Mr 10:45). This word is used by Jesus to signify the culmination of His sacrificial life in His sacrificial death.

(antilutron, "ransom," a word not found in Septuagint, stronger in meaning than the preceding word) occurs only once in the New Testament (1Ti 2:6).

(apolutrosis, "redemption," in Ex 21:8, meaning the ransom paid by a father to redeem his daughter from a cruel master) signifies

(1) deliverance from sin by Christ’s death, 5 times in Paul (Ro 3:24; 1Co 1:30; Eph 1:7,14; Col 1:14); once in Hebrews (9:15);

(2) general deliverance, twice (Lu 21:28; Heb 11:35);

(3) the Christian’s final deliverance, physical and spiritual (Ro 8:23; Eph 4:30).

The simple word (lutrosis, "redemption," 10 times in Septuagint as the translation of 5 Hebrew words) occurs once for spiritual deliverance (Heb 9:12).

(exagorazo, "redeem," only once in Septuagint, Da 2:8) in the New Testament means

(1) to deliver from the curse of the law, twice by Paul (Ga 3:13; 4:5);

(2) to use time wisely, twice by Paul (Eph 5:16; Col 4:5).

The simple verb (agorazo, meaning in Le 27:19 to redeem land) occurs twice in Paul (1Co 6:20; 7:23) and means "to redeem" (in a spiritual sense). katallage, "reconciliation," only twice in the Septuagint) means the relation to God into which men are brought by Christ’s death, 4 times by Paul (Ro 5:11; 11:15; 2Co 5:18,19).

(katallassein, "to reconcile," 4 times in Septuagint (3 times in 2 Maccabees)) means to bring men into the state of reconciliation with God, 5 times in Paul (Ro 5:10 twice; 2Co 5:18,19,20).

The words with the propitiatory idea occur as follows: (hilaskomai, "to propitiate," 12 times in the Septuagint, translated "to forgive") occurs twice (Lu 18:13; Heb 2:17); (hilasmos, 9 times in Septuagint, Nu 5:8; Ps 129 (130):4, etc.; "atonement," "forgiveness") occurs twice in 1 Joh (2:2; 4:10); (hilasterion, 24 times in the Septuagint, translates "mercy-seat," where God was gracious and spake to man) translates in the New Testament "propitiation" (Ro 3:25), "mercy-seat" (Heb 9:5).

Christ is called "the Lamb," amnos, twice by the Baptist (Joh 1:29,36); once by Philip applied to Christ from Isa 53:7 (Ac 8:32); and once by Peter (1Pe 1:19); arnion, 28 times in Re (5:6,8,12,13; 6:1,16; 7:9,10,14; 19:7,9; 21:9,14,22,23,27; 22:1,3).

The cross (stauros) is used by Paul 10 times to describe the sacrificial death of Christ (1Co 1:17,18; Ga 5:11; 6:12,14; Eph 2:16; Php 2:8; 3:18; 1Co 1:20; 2:14) and once by the author of Hebrews (12:2). Jesus also 5 times used the figure of the cross to define the life of sacrifice demanded of His disciples and to make His own cross the symbol of sacrifice (Mt 10:38; 16:24; Mr 8:34; Lu 9:23; 14:27, with contexts; compare Joh 3:14; 12:32, etc.).

Though it is not our province in this article to discuss the origin and history of sacrifice in the ethnic religions, it must be noted that sacrifice has been a chief element in almost every religion (Jainism and Buddhism being the principal exceptions). The bloody sacrifice, where the idea of propitiation is prominent, is well-nigh universal in the ethnic religions, being found among even the most enlightened peoples like the Greeks and Romans (see article "Expiation and Atonement" in ERE). Whether or not the system of animal sacrifices would have ceased not only in Judaism but also in all the ethnic religions, had not Jesus lived and taught and died, is a question of pure speculation. It must be conceded that the sect of the Jews (Essenes) attaining to the highest ethical standard and living the most unselfish lives of brotherhood and benevolence did not believe in animal sacrifices. But they exerted small influence over the Jewish nation as compared with the Pharisees. It is also to be noted that the prophets Amos, Hosea, Micah and Isaiah exalted the ethical far above the ceremonial; even denounced the sacrifice of animals if not accompanied by personal devotion to righteousness (Am 5:21 ff; Ho 6:6; Mic 6:6 ff; Isa 1:11 ). The Stoic and Platonic philosophers also attacked the system of animal sacrifices. But these exceptions only accentuate the historical fact that man’s sense of the necessity of sacrifice to Deity is well-nigh universal. Only the sacrifice of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem caused a cessation of the daily, weekly, monthly and annual sacrifices among the Jews, and only the knowledge of Christ’s sacrifice of Himself will finally destroy the last vestige of animal sacrifice.

II. Attitude of Jesus and New Testament Writers to the Old Testament Sacrificial System.

1. Jesus’ Attitude:

Jesus never attacks the sacrificial system. He even takes for granted that the Jews should offer sacrifices (Mt 5:24). More than that, He accepted the whole sacrificial system, a part of the Old Testament scheme, as of divine origin, and so He commanded the cleansed leper to offer the sacrifice prescribed in the Mosaic code (Mt 8:4). There is no record that Jesus Himself ever worshipped by offering the regular sacrifices. But He worshipped in the temple, never attacking the sacrificial system as He did the oral law (Mr 7:6 ). On the other hand, Jesus undermined the sacrificial system by teaching that the ethical transcends the ceremonial, not only as a general principle, but also in the act of worship (Mt 5:23,24). He endorses Hosea’s fine ethical epigram, ‘God will have mercy and not sacrifice’ (Mt 9:13; 12:7). He also commends as near the kingdom the scribe who put love to God and man above sacrifice (Mr 12:33). But Jesus teaches not merely the inferiority of sacrifice to the moral law, but also the discontinuance of sacrifice as a system, when He said, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many" (Mr 14:24; Mt 26:28; Lu 22:20). Not only is the ethical superior to the ceremonial, but His sacrifice of Himself is as superior to the sacrifices of the old system as the new covenant is superior to the old.

2. Paul’s Attitude:

Paul’s estimate of the Jewish sacrifices is easily seen, although he does not often refer to them. Once only (Ac 21:26) after his conversion does he offer the Jewish sacrifice, and then as a matter of expediency for winning the Judaistic wing of Christianity to his universal gospel of grace. He regarded the sacrifices of the Old Testament as types of the true sacrifice which Christ made (1Co 5:7).

3. Attitude of the Author of Hebrews:

The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews discusses the Old Testament sacrifices more fully than other New Testament writers. He regards the bloody sacrifices as superior to the unbloody and the yearly sacririce on the Day of Atonement by the high priest as the climax of the Old Testament system. The high priest under the old covenant was the type of Christ under the new. The sacrifices of the old covenant could not take away sin, or produce moral transformation, because of the frailties of men (10:1-11), shown by the necessity of repeating the offerings (5:2), and because God had appointed another high priest, His Son, to supplant those of the old covenant (5:5; 7:1-28). The heart of this author’s teaching is that animal sacrifices cannot possibly atone for sin or produce moral transformation, since they are divinely-appointed only as a type or shadow of the one great sacrifice by Christ (8:7; 10:1).

To sum up, the New Testament writers, as well as Jesus, regarded the Old Testament sacrificial system as of divine origin and so obligatory in its day, but imperfect and only a type of Christ’s sacrifice, and so to be supplanted by His perfect sacrifice.

III. The Sacrificial Idea in the New Testament.

The one central idea of New Testament writers is that the sacrifice made by Christ on the cross is the final perfect sacrifice for the atonement of sin and the salvation of men, a sacrifice typified in the various sacrifices of the Old Testament, which are in turn abrogated by the operation of the final sacrifice. Only James and Jude among New Testament writers are silent as to the sacrifice of Christ, and they write for practical purposes only.

1. Teaching of John the Baptist:

The Baptist, it is true, presents Jesus as the coming Judge in the Synoptic Gospels, but in Joh 1:29,36 he refers to Him as "the Lamb of God," in the former passage adding "that taketh away the sin of the world." Westcott (Commentary on John, 20) says: "The title as applied to Christ .... conveys the ideas of vicarious suffering, of patient submission, of sacrifice, of redemption, etc." There is scarcely any doubt that the Baptist looked upon the Christ as the one who came to make the great sacrifice for man’s sins. Professor Burton (Biblical Ideas of Atonement, Burton, Smith and Smith, 107) says that John sees Christ "suffering under the load of human sin." 2. Teaching of Jesus:

There are recorded in the Synoptic Gospels two unmistakable references by Jesus to His death as a sacrifice (Mr 10:45 parallel Mt 20:28; Mr 14:24 parallel Mt 26:28 parallel Lu 22:20; compare 1Co 11:25). In the former He declares He came to give His "life a ransom." Thayer (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament) says this word means "the price paid for redeeming." Hence, the idea in ransom must be of sacrificial significance. But if there could be any doubt as to the sacrificial import of this passage, there is a clear case of the sacrificial idea in Mr 14:24. Practically all writers of the New Testament theology, Wendt, Weiss, Stevens, Sheldon and others, hold that Jesus considered the death as the ratification sacrifice of the new covenant, just as the sacrifice offered at Sinai ratified the old covenant (Ex 24:3-8). Ritschl and Beyschlag deny that this passage is sacrificial. But according to most exegetes, Jesus in this reference regarded His death as a sacrifice. The nature of the sacrifice, as Jesus estimated it, is in doubt and is to be discussed later. What we are pressing here is the fact that Jesus regarded His death as a sacrifice. We have to concede the meagerness of material on the sacrificial idea of His death as taught by Jesus. Yet these two references are unquestioned by literary and historical critics. They both occur in Mark, the primitive Gospel (the oldest Gospel record of Jesus’ teachings). The first occurs in two of the Synoptists, the second in all three of them. Luke omits the first for reasons peculiar to his purpose. According to Lu 24:25, Jesus regarded His sufferings and death as the fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures.

3. Teaching of Peter:

Though the head apostle does not in the early chapters of Ac refer to Christ as the sacrifice for sin, he does imply as much in 2:36 (He is Lord and Christ in spite of His crucifixion); 3:18,19 (He fulfilled the prophecies by suffering, and by means of repentance sins are to be blotted out); 4:10-12 (only in His name is salvation) and in 5:30,31 (through whose death Israel received remission of sins). In his First Epistle (1Pe 1:18,19) he expressly declares that we are redeemed by the blood of the spotless Christ, thus giving the sacrificial significance to His death. The same is implied in 1Pe 1:2; 3:18.

4. Paul’s Teaching:

Paul ascribes saving efficacy to the blood of Christ in Ro 3:25; 5:9; 1Co 10:16; Eph 1:7; 2:13; Col 1:20. He identifies Christ with a sin offering in Ro 8:3, and perhaps also in 2Co 5:21, and with the paschal lamb in 1Co 5:7. In other passages he implies that the death of Christ secured redemption, forgiveness of sins, justification and adoption (Ro 3:24-26; 5:10,11; 8:15,17, etc.).

5. Teaching of Hebrews:

The argument of the author of Hebrews to prove the finality of Christianity is that Christ is superior to the Aaronic high priest, being a royal, eternal high priest, after the order of Melchizedek, and offering Himself as the final sacrifice for sin, and for the moral transformation of men (4:14; 10:18).

6. Johannine Teaching:

In the First Epistle of John (1 Joh 1:7; 2:2; 5:6,8) propitiation for sin and cleansing from sin are ascribed to the blood of Christ. In Re 1:5 John ascribes deliverance (not washing or cleansing, according to best manuscripts) from sin, to the blood of Christ. Several times he calls Christ the Lamb, making the sacrificial idea prominent. Once he speaks of Him as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (13:8).

To sum up, all the New Testament writers, except James and Jude, refer to Christ’s death as the great sacrifice for sin. Jesus Himself regarded His death as such. In the various types of New Testament teaching Christ’s death is presented

(1) as the covenant sacrifice (Mr 14:24 parallel Mt 26:28 parallel Lu 22:20; Heb 9:15-22);

(2) as the sin offering (Ro 8:3; 2Co 5:21; Heb 13:11; 1Pe 3:18);

(3) as the offering of the paschal lamb (1Co 5:7);

(4) as the sacrifice of the Day of Atonement (Heb 2:17; 9:12 ).

IV. Relation of Christ’s Sacrifice to Man’s Salvation.

The saving benefits specified in the New Testament as resulting from the sacrificial death of Christ are as follows:

1. Redemption or Deliverance from Curse of Sin:

Redemption or deliverance from the curse of sin: This must be the implication in Jesus’ words, "The Son of man also came .... to give his life a ransom for many" (Mr 10:45 parallel Mt 20:28). Man is a captive in sin, the Father sends His Son to pay the ransom price for the deliverance of the captive, and the Son’s death is the price paid. Paul also uses the words "redeemed" and "redemption" in the same sense. In the great letters he asserts that we are "justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God set forth to be a propitiation .... in his blood" (Ro 3:24,25). Here the apostle traces justification back to redemption as the means for securing it, and redemption back to the "blood" (Christ’s death) as the cause of its procurement. That is, Christ’s death secures redemption and redemption procures justification. In Galatians (3:13), he speaks of being redeemed "from the curse of the law." The law involved man in a curse because he could not keep it. This curse is the penalty of the broken law which the transgressor must bear, unless deliverance from said penalty is somehow secured. Paul represents Christ by His death as securing for sinners deliverance from this curse of the broken law (compare Ga 4:5 for the same thought, though the word "curse" is not used). Paul also emphasizes the same teaching in the Captivity Epistles: "In whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses" (Eph 1:7; compare Col 1:14). In the pastoral letters (1Ti 2:6) he teaches that Christ gave "himself a ransom for all." This is the only New Testament passage in which occurs the strong word antilutron for "ransom." In his old age the apostle feels more positively than ever before that Christ’s death is the ransom price of man’s deliverance from sin.

The author of Hebrews asserts that Christ by the sacrifice of Himself "obtained eternal redemption" for man (9:12). John says that Christ "loosed (luo) us from our sins by his blood" (Re 1:5). This idea in John is akin to that of redemption or deliverance by ransom. Peter teaches the same truth in 1Pe 1:19. So, we see, Jesus and all the New Testament writers regard Christ’s sacrifice as the procuring cause of human redemption.

2. Reconciliation:

The idea of reconciliation involves a personal difference between two parties. There is estrangement between God and man. Reconciliation is the restoration of favor between the two parties. Jesus does not utter any direct message on reconciliation, but implies God’s repugnance at man’s sin and strained relations between God and the unrepentant sinner (see Lu 18:13). He puts into the mouth of the praying tax-gatherer the words, ‘God be propitious to me’ (see Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon, hilaskomai), but Jesus nowhere asserts that His death secures the reconciliation of God to the sinner. Paul, however, does. "For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son," etc. (Ro 5:10). There can be no doubt from this passage that Paul thought of the death of Christ as the procuring cause of reconciliation. In Eph 2:13,14,18 Paul makes the cross of Christ the means of reconciliation between the hostile races of men. Paul reaches the climax in his conception of the reconciliation wrought by the cross of Christ when he asserts the unifying results of Christ’s death to be cosmic in extent (Eph 1:10).

The author of Hebrews also implies that Christ’s death secures reconciliation when he regards this death as the ratification of the "better covenant" (8:6 ff), and when he plays on the double meaning of the word (diatheke, 9:15 ff), now "covenant" and now "will," "testament." The death of Christ is necessary to secure the ratification of the new covenant which brings God and man into new relations (8:12). In 2:17 the author uses a word implying propitiation as wrought by the death of Christ. So the doctrine of reconciliation is also in the Epistle to the Hebrews. John teaches reconciliation with God through Christ our Advocate, but does not expressly connect it with His death as the procuring cause (1 Joh 2:1,2). Peter is likewise silent on this point.

3. Remission of Sins:

Reconciliation implies that God can forgive; yea, has forgiven. Jesus and the New Testament writers declare the death of Christ to be the basis of God’s forgiveness. Jesus in instituting the memorial supper said, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins" (Mt 26:28). It is true Mark and Luke do not record this last phrase, "unto remission of sins." But there is no intimation that this phrase is the result of Matthew’s theologizing on the purpose of Christ’s death (see Wendt, Teaching of Jesus, II, 239 ff, who claims this phrase is not from Jesus; also Allen in "Mt," ICC, in the place cited.). But Paul leaves no doubt as to the connection between man’s forgiveness by God and Christ’s sacrifice for him. This idea is rooted in the great passage on justification (Ro 3:21-5:21; see especially 4:7); is positively declared in Eph 1:7; Col 1:14. The author of Heb teaches that the shedding of Christ’s blood under the new covenant is as necessary to secure forgiveness as the shedding of animal’s blood under the old. John also implies that forgiveness is based on the blood (1 Joh 1:7-9).

4. The Cancellation of Guilt:

True reconciliation and forgiveness include the canceling of the offender’s guilt. Jesus has no direct word on the cancellation of guilt. Paul closes his argument for the universality of human sin by asserting that "all the world may be brought under the judgment of God" (the King James Version "guilty before God," Ro 3:19). Thayer (Greek-English Lexicon, in the place cited.) says this word "guilty" means "owing satisfaction to God" (liable to punishment by God). But in Ro 8:1,3 Paul exclaims, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus .... God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin" (the English Revised Version and the American Revised Version margin "as an offering for sin"). The guilt, or exposure of the sinner to God’s wrath and so to punishment, is removed by the sin offering which Christ made. This idea is implied by the author of Hebrews (2:15), but is not expressed in Peter and John.

5. Justification or Right Standing with God:

Right standing with God is also implied in the preceding idea. Forgiving sin and canceling guilt are the negative, bringing into right standing with God the positive, aspects of the same transaction. "Him who knew no sin he made to be sin (i.e. the sin offering; so Augustine and other Fathers, Ewald, Ritschl; see Meyer, Commentary, in loc., who denies this meaning) on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him" (2Co 5:21). In this passage Paul makes justification the divine purpose of the sacrificial death of Christ. This thought is elaborated by the apostle in Galatians and Romans, but is not expressed by Jesus, or in Hebrews, in Peter or in John.

6. Cleansing or Sanctification:

Jesus does not connect our cleansing or sanctification with His death, but with His word (Joh 17:17). The substantive "cleansing" (katharismos) is not used by Paul, and the verb "to cleanse" (katharizo) occurs only twice in his later letters (Eph 5:26; Tit 2:14). He does use the idea of sanctification, and in Ro 6-8 teaches that sanctification is a logical consequence of justification which is secured by Christ’s sacrificial death. In Php 3:10,11, he views Christ’s death and resurrection as the dynamic of transformation in the new life. The author of Hebrews (1:3; 9:14,22,23; 10:2), following his Old Testament figures, uses the idea of cleansing for the whole process of putting away sin, from atonement to sanctification (see Westcott, Commentary, in the place cited.). He makes Christ’s death the procuring cause of the cleansing. John does the same (1 Joh 1:7; Re 7:14).

7. Sonship:

Divine sonship of the believer is also traced by Paul to the sacrificial death of Christ (Ro 8:17), though this thought is not found in other New Testament writers.

So, we sum up, the whole process of salvation, from reconciliation with God to the adoption of the saved sinner into heaven’s household, is ascribed, to some extent by Jesus, largely by Paul theologian of the New Testament, and, in varying degrees, by other New Testament writers, to the sacrificial death of Christ. Even Holtzmann (Neutest. Theol., II, 111) admits "It is upon the moment of death that the grounding of salvation is exclusively concentrated."

V. How Christ’s Sacrifice Procures Salvation.

It must be conceded that the New Testament writers, much less Jesus, did not discuss this subject from the philosophical point of view. Jesus never philosophizes except incidentally. Paul, the author of He, and John had a philosophy underlying their theology, the first and second dealing most with the sacrificial work of Christ, the last with His person. But Paul and the author of Heb did not write their letters to produce a philosophical system explaining how Christ’s sacrificial death can and does procure man’s salvation.

1. Jesus’ Teaching:

By some it is claimed that the word "ransom" (Mr 10:45) gives us the key to the philosophy of the atonement as presented by Jesus Himself. But the rules of exegesis are against this supposition. Jesus in the context is teaching His disciples that sacrificial service is greatness. To illustrate the truth He refers to His own example of coming to "minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." That is, Jesus is enforcing a practical principle and not elaborating a theoretical truth. Moreover, the word "ransom" is used metaphorically, and the laws of exegesis forbid us to press the literal meaning of a figure. The figure suggests captivity in sin and deliverance by payment of a price (the death of Christ). But Jesus does not tell us how His sacrificial death can and does pay the price for man’s redemption from sin. The word "ransom" does give the clue to the development of the vicarious sacrifice elaborated later by Paul. Ritschl (Rechtfertigung und Versohnung, II, 85) does not do the word "ransom" justice when he claims that it merely reproduces the meaning of the Hebrew kopher, "covering as a protection," and that Christ’s death, like a covering, delivers us by stimulating us to lead the life of sacrificial service as Christ did. Wendt (Lehre Jesu, II, 237; Teaching of Jesus, II, 226 f) admits the "ransom"-idea in the word, but says Christ delivers us from bondage to suffering and death, not by His death, but by His teaching which is illustrated by His sacrificial death. Beyschlag (Neutest. Theol., I, 153) thinks Christ’s death delivers us from worldly ambitions and such sins by showing us the example of Jesus in sacrifice. Weiss (Biblical Theology of the New Testament, I, 101-3) thinks Christ’s "surrender of His life .... avails as a ransom which He gives instead of the many" who were not able to pay the price themselves. He also adds, "The saying regarding the ransom lays emphasis upon the God-pleasing performance of Jesus which secures the salvation," etc.

Nor does Jesus’ saying at the Last Supper, "This is my blood of the covenant" (Mr 14:24) give us unmistakable evidence of how His death saves men. It does teach that sinners on entering the kingdom come into a new covenant relation with God which implies forgiveness of sin and fellowship with God, and that, as the covenant sacrifices at Mt. Sinai (Ex 24:3-8) ratified the legal covenant between God and His people, so the death of Christ as a covenant sacrifice ratifies the covenant of grace between God and lost sinners, by virtue of which covenant God on His part forgives the penitent sinner, and the surrendering sinner on his part presents himself to God for the life of sacrifice. But this statement fails to tell us how God can forgive sin on the basis of a covenant thus ratified by Christ’s death. Does it mean substitution, that as the animal whose blood ratified the covenant was slain instead of the people, so Christ was slain in the place of sinners? Or does it suggest the immutability of the covenant on the basis of the animal’s (and so Christ’s) representing both God and man, and killing signifying loss of life or will to change the covenant (so Westcott, Commentary on Hebrews, 301)? It could scarcely mean that Christ’s sacrifice was the offering of a perfect, acceptable life to God (Wendt, op. cit., II, 237), or that Christ’s death is viewed merely as the common meal sacrifice, that God and His people thus enter into a kind of union and communion (so some evolutionists in the study of comparative religion; see Menzies. Hist of Religion, 416 ff).

2. Paul’s Teaching:

Ritschl and many modern scholars are disposed to reject all philosophy in religion. They say, "Back to Christ." Paul was only a human interpreter of Jesus. But he was a divinely-guided interpreter, and we need his first-hand interpretations of Jesus. What has he to say as to how Christ’s death saves men?

(1) The Words Expressing the Idea of Redemption.

See above on the terms of sacrifice. The classical passage containing the idea of redemption is Ro 3:24-26: "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God; for the showing, I say, of his righteousness at this present season: that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus." A fair interpretation of this passage gives us the following propositions: (a) The believer obtains right standing with God by means of, through the channel of (see Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon, dia, A, III, 2), redemption which is in Christ. (b) This redemption in Christ involves, or is based upon, the divinely-purposed propitiation which Christ made in His death. (c) The design of God in making such a propitiation was the exhibition of His righteousness; i.e., the vindication of that side of His character which demands the punishment of sin, which had not been shown in former generations when His forbearance passed over men’s sins. See Sanday, Commentary on Romans, in the place cited. The classical passage containing the other word to redeem (exagorazo) is Ga 3:13: "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us," etc. Professor E. D. Burton (AJT, October, 1907) thinks:

(a) Law here means "law legalistically understood."

(b) The "curse" was the verdict of the law of pure legalism, "a disclosure to man of his actual status before God on a basis of merit."

(c) The redemption meant is that Christ "brought to an end the regime of law .... rather than deliverance of individuals through release from penalty."

He bases this argument largely on the use of hemas, "us," meaning Jews in antithesis with ethne, the Gentiles (Ga 3:14). Everett (The Gospel of Paul) thinks that Christ was cursed in that He was "crucified" (the manner not the fact of His death being the curse); that is, as Everett sees it, Christ became ceremonially unclean, and so free from the law. So does His follower by being crucified with Christ become ceremonially unclean and so free from the law. The passage seems to give us the following propositions:

(a) Man under law (whether the revealed law of the Old Testament or the moral law) is under a "curse," that is, liable to the penalty which the broken law demands.

(b) Christ by His death on the cross became a "curse for us."

(c) By means of Christ thus becoming a "curse for us" He delivered us, "not the Jews as a nation, but all of us, Jews and Gentiles, who believed," from the curse incurred by the breaking of the law.

Professor Burton admits that the participle genomenos, "becoming," may be a "participle of means" (the article cited above, 643), and so we have "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us." The passage at least suggests, if it does not declare, that Christ saves us by vicariously enduring the penalty to which we were exposed.

(2) The Idea of Reconciliation.

Paul uses the phrase "wrath of God" (Ro 1:18, etc.) to express the attitude of God toward sin, an attitude of displeasure and of grief, of revulsion of holy character which demands the punishment of sin. On the other hand, God loves the sinner; love is the prompting cause of redemption through Christ (Ro 5:8; 8:32). That is, wrath is love grieving and righteousness revolting because of sin, and both phases may act simultaneously (Simon, Redemption of Man, 216, to the contrary). So Paul says, "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses" (2Co 5:19). Now this word "reconcile" (katallassein) means in the active, "to receive into favor," in the passive, "to be restored to favor" (Thayer). See also Revelation and The Expositor, October, 1909, 600 ff, where Professor Estes shows, from Sophocles, Xenophon, Josephus, Septuagint and passages in the New Testament like Mt 5:24, that the word must mean a change in the attitude of God toward men and not merely a change of men toward God. Practically the same is taught by Meyer (Commentary on 2 Corinthians); Lipsius (Handcomm. zum New Testament); Sanday (Commentary on Romans); Denney (Exegetical Greek Testament on Romans); Lietzmann (Handbuch zum New Testament); Holtzmann (Neutest. Theol.); Weiss (Religion of the New Testament); Pfleiderer (Paulinism); Stevens (Christian Doctrine of Salvation), and in nearly all the great commentaries on Romans and 2 Corinthians, and by all the writers on New Testament theology except Beyschlag.


(3) The Idea of Propitiation.

Only once (Ro 3:25) does Paul use the word "propitiation." As saw in (1) above, the redemption in Christ is based upon the propitiation which Christ made in His death. Thayer (Greek-English Lexicon, in the place cited.) says the noun signifies "a means of appeasing, expiating, a propitiation, an expiatory sacrifice." He thinks it has this meaning in Ro 3:25, but refers it to the "mercy-seat" in Heb 9:5. Sanday (Comm. on Rom, 88) regards hilasterion as an adjective meaning "propitiatory." De Wette, Fritzsche, Meyer, Lipsius and many others take it in this sense; Gifford, Vaughan, Liddon, Ritschl think it means "mercy-seat" here as in Hebrews. But with either meaning the blood of Christ is viewed as securing the mercy of God. Propitiation of God is made by the blood of Christ, and because of that men have access to the mercy-seat where shines the glory of God in His forgiveness of man’s sins.


(4) The Prepositions Huper, and Anti.

Paul never uses anti ("for," "instead of," "in place of," so Thayer) to express what Christ’s sacrifice does for the sinner, but huper ("for one’s safety or advantage," primarily, but also "in the place of," "instead of," so Thayer). See Ro 5:8; 8:32; 14:15; 1Co 11:24; 2Co 5:15; Ga 3:13; Eph 5:2,25; 1Th 5:10; 1Ti 2:6; Tit 2:14. It is to be noted that in 1Ti 2:6 Paul uses antilutron, "ransom," compounded with the preposition anti, but follows it with huper, which may suggest that huper is here used in the sense of anti, "in the place of."

Summing up Paul’s teaching as to how Christ’s sacrifice saves:

(a) The propitiatory sacrifice does not "soften God, or assuage the anger of God" (as Bushnell claims the advocates of the satisfaction theories assert, Vicarious Sacrifice, 486). God is already willing to save men, His love makes the propitiatory sacrifice (Ro 5:8). God’s love makes the sacrifice, not the sacrifice His willingness to save.

(b) But man by breaking God’s law had come under the curse, the penalty of the broken law (Ga 3:13), and so was under God’s wrath (Ro 1:18), i.e. man’s sin exposed him to punishment, while at the same time God’s love for the sinner was grieved.

(c) Christ by His sacrificial death made it possible for God to show His righteousness and love at the same time; i.e. that He did punish sin, but did love the sinner and wish to save him (Ro 3:25,26; 5:8).

(d) Christ, who was sinless, suffered vicariously for sinful men. His death was not due to His sins but those of men (2Co 5:21).

(e) His death, followed by His resurrection which marked Him off as the sinless Son of God, and so appointed the Saviour of men (Ro 1:4), was designed by God to bring men into right relation with God (Ro 3:26; 2Co 5:21).

So, we may say, Paul explained the relation of Christ’s death to the sinner’s spiritual life by thinking of a transfer of the sinner’s "curse" to Christ, which He bore on the cross, and of God’s righteousness through Christ (Php 3:9) to the sinner by faith in Christ. But we must not press this vicarious idea too far into a system of philosophy of the atonement and claim that the system is the teaching of Paul. The quantitative, commercial idea of transfer is not in Paul’s mind. The language of redemption, propitiation, ransom, is largely figurative. We must feel the spiritual truth of a qualitative transfer of sin from man to Christ and of righteousness from Christ to man, and rest the matter there, so far as Paul’s teaching goes. Beyond this our conclusions as to substitution as the method of atonement are results of philosophizing on Paul’s teaching.

3. Teaching of Hebrews:

The author of Hebrews adds nothing to Paul’s teaching respecting the method whereby Christ’s sacrifice operates in saving men. His purpose to produce an apology showing forth the superior efficacy of Christ’s high-priestly sacrifice over that of the Aaronic priesthood fixes his first thought on the efficacy of the sacrifice rather than on its mode of operation. He does use the words "redemption" (9:12; compare 9:15), "propitiate" (2:17), and emphasizes the opening up of the heavenly holy of holies by the high-priestly sacrifice of Christ (the way of access to the very presence of God by Christ’s death, 10:19,20), which gives us data for forming a system based on a real propitiation for sin and reconciliation of God similar to the Pauline teaching formulated above.

4. Petrine and Johannine Teaching:

Peter asserts that Christ suffered vicariously (1Pe 2:22-24), who, although He "did no sin," "his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree"; who "suffered for sins once, the righteous for (huper, not anti) the unrighteous" (1Pe 3:18). But Peter goes no farther than Paul (perhaps not so far) in elaborating how Jesus’ vicarious suffering saves the sinner. The Johannine writings contain the propitiatory idea (1 Joh 2:2; 4:10), although John writes to emphasize the incarnation and not the work of the Incarnate One (Joh 1:1-18; 1 Joh 4:2,3).

To sum up the New Testament teachings on the mode or operation: Jesus asserts His vicarious suffering (Mr 10:45; compare Joh 10:11) and hints at the mode of its operation by using the "ransom" figure. Paul, Peter and John teach that Christ’s sacrifice was vicarious, and all but Peter suggest the idea of propitiation as to the mode of its operation. There is no direct discussion of what propitiation means.


VI. Rationale of the Efficacy of Christ’s Sacrifice.

1. Jesus’ Teaching:

Jesus emphasizes His voluntary spirit in making the sacrifice. "The Son of man also came .... to give his life a ransom." The sacrifice was voluntary, not compulsory. God did not force Him to lay down His life; He chose to do so (compare Joh 10:11). But Jesus gives us no philosophy on this or any other element in His sacrifice as being the ground of its efficacy.

2. Paul’s Teaching:

Paul also emphasizes the voluntary gift of Christ (Ga 2:20), but he urges rather the dignity of Him who makes the sacrifice as a ground of its efficacy. It is the sacrifice of God’s Son, shown to be such in His resurrection (Ro 1:4; 4:25). It was no ordinary man but the sinless Son who gave "himself" (Ga 2:20). It was not merely a dying Christ but the Son who rose again "in power" (Ro 1:4), who secures our "justification" (Ro 4:25; 1Co 15:3,4,17). Paul also emphasizes the sinless life and character of Jesus as a ground of efficacy in Christ’s sacrifice, "who knew no sin" in His life experience (2Co 5:21).

3. The Teaching in Hebrews:

The author of Hebrews, most of all New Testament writers, elaborates the grounds of efficacy in Christ’s sacrifice.

(1) It was a personal not an animal sacrifice (9:12-14; 9:26, "sacrifice of himself"; 10:4).

(2) It was the sacrifice of the Son of God (3:5).

(3) It was a royal person who made the sacrifice (6:20b; 7:1, "after the order of Melchizedek .... king of Salem").

(4) It was a sinless person (7:26,27; 9:14; 10:10,12). Westcott, Commentary on Hebrews, 298, well says, "It becomes necessary, therefore, in order to gain a complete view of the Sacrifice of Christ, to combine with the crowning act upon the Cross His fulfillment of the will of God from first to last, the Sacrifice of Life with the Sacrifice of Death."

(5) It was an eternal person (6:20, "for ever"; 7:16, "after the power of an endless (margin "indissoluble") life").

The author of Hebrews reaches the climax of his argument for the superior efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice when he represents Him as entering the holy of holies in the very presence of God to complete the offering for man’s sin (8:1,2; 9:11,12,24).

Peter and John do not discuss the ground of efficacy, and so add nothing to our conclusions above. The efficacy of the sacrifice is suggested by describing the glory of the person (1Pe 1:19; 2:22,23; 1 Joh 1:7; 2:2).

To sum up our conclusion as to the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice: Jesus and the leading New Testament writers intimate that the efficacy of His sacrifice centers in His personality. Jesus, Peter and John do not discuss the subject directly. Paul, though discussing it more extensively, does not do so fully, but the author of Heb centers and culminates his argument for the finality of Christianity, in the superior efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice, which is grounded in His personality, divine, royal, sinless, eternal (see Menegoz, Theol. de l’Ep. aux Hebreux). It is easy to see, from the position taken by the author of He, how Anselm in Cur Deus Homo developed his theory of satisfaction, according to which the Divinity in Christ gave His atoning sacrifice its priceless worth in God’s eyes.

VII. The Human Conditions of Application.

1. Universal in Objective Potentiality:

The sacrificial death of Christ is universal in its objective potentiality, according to Jesus (Lu 24:47, "unto all the nations"); according to Paul (Ro 1:5; 5:18; 11:32; 2Co 5:14,15; Ga 3:14); according to the author of Hebrews (2:9, "taste of death for every man"); according to John (1 Joh 2:2, "propitiation .... for the whole world").

2. Efficacious When Subjectively Applied:

But the objective redemption to be efficacious must be subjectively applied. The blood of Christ is the universally efficacious remedy for the sin-sick souls of men, but each man must make the subjective application. How is the application made? And the threefold answer is, by repentance, by faith, and by obedience.

(1) By Repentance.

The Baptist and Jesus emphasized repentance (change of mind first of all, then change of relation and of life) as the condition of entrance into the kingdom and of enjoyment of the Messianic salvation (Mt 3:2; Mr 1:15). Peter preached repentance at Pentecost and immediately after as a means of obtaining forgiveness (Ac 2:38; 3:19, etc.). Paul, although emphasizing faith, also stressed repentance as an element in the human condition of salvation (Ac 20:21; Ro 2:4, etc.). John (Re 2; 3, passim) emphasizes repentance, though not stressing it as a means of receiving the benefits of redemption.

(2) By Faith.

Jesus connected faith with repentance (Mr 1:15) as the condition of receiving the Messianic salvation. Paul makes faith the all-inclusive means of applying the work of Christ. The gospel is "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Ro 1:16); "whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith" (Ro 3:25); "faith (not works) is reckoned for righteousness" (Ro 4:5); "justified by faith" (Ro 5:1). In Galatians, the letters to the Corinthians, in the Captivity and the Pastoral Epistles he emphasizes faith as the sole condition of receiving salvation. But what kind of faith is it that appropriates the saving benefit of Christ’s death? Not historical or intellectual but "heart" faith (Ro 10:10). To Paul "heart" meant the seat or essence of the whole personality, and so faith which applies the redemption Christ is the personal commitment of one’s self to Christ as Saviour and Lord (2Co 5:15). See Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon, pisteuo, 1, b, gamma, for a particular discussion of the meaning of faith in this sense. The author of Heb discusses especially faith as a conquering power, but also implies that it is the condition of entrance upon the life of spiritual rest and fellowship (chapters 3 and 4, passim). Peter (1Pe 1:9) and John (1 Joh 3:23; 4:16; 5:1,5, etc.) also regard faith as a means of applying the saving benefits of Christ’s death.

(3) By Obedience in Sacrificial Service.

Jesus said, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Mr 8:34). Here He lays down two elements in the conditions of discipleship, denying one’s self and taking up his cross. The former means the renunciation of self as the center of thought, faith, hope and life. The latter means the life of sacrifice. Jesus was stressing this truth when He uttered that incomparable saying, "The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Mr 10:45 parallel Mt 20:28). Paul also emphasizes this phase of the human condition of salvation when he shows how sanctification grows spontaneously out of justification (Ro 6:8) and when he says that what "avails" is "faith working through love" (Ga 5:6). The author of Hebrews says, "He became unto all them that obey him the author (Greek aitios, "cause") of eternal salvation" (5:9). Peter and John, the latter especially, emphasize the keeping of His commandments, the life of service, as the means of appropriating to the fullest the saving benefits of Christ’s death. The theologians in classrooms and preachers in the pulpits have failed to emphasize this aspect of "saving faith" as did Jesus, Paul, the author of He, and John. in the New Testament salvation is a process as well as an instantaneous act on the part of God, and the process is carried on by means of obedience, the life of service, which appropriates by faith the dynamic of Christ’s sacrifice.

VIII. The Christian’s Life the Life of Sacrifice.

This discussion of the faith that "obeys" leads to the consideration of that climactic thought of New Testament writers, namely, that the Christian’s life is sacrificial living based on Christ’s sacrifice for him. We note in outline the following:

The Christian’s life of sacrifice is the logical consequence of Christ’s sacrificial death. The Christ who sacrificed Himself for the believer is now continuing the sacrifice in the believer’s life (Ga 1:20; Php 1:21).

1. Consequence of Christ’s Sacrifice:

Paul was crucified when Christ was crucified (in a bold mystic figure), and the life of Christ which sacrificed itself on the cross and perpetuates itself in resurrection power now operates as a mighty dynamic for the apostle’s moral and spiritual transformation (Php 3:10,11). It is to be noted, Jesus also emphasized this kind of living, though not so expressly connecting the believer’s sacrificial life with His sacrificial death (see Mr 8:34 f).

2. Christ’s Death the Appeal for a Christian’s Sacrifice:

Christ’s sacrificial death becomes the persuasive appeal for the Christian’s sacrificial life, "Because we thus judge, that one died for all, therefore all died; and he died for all, that they that live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again" (2Co 5:14,15). Because He died for us we should live for Him. But what is the appeal which Christ’s sacrificial death makes to the saved sinner? "The love of Christ constraineth us" (2Co 5:14). Christ’s death on the cross exhibits His love, unspeakable, unthinkable love, for it was love for His "enemies" (Ro 5:10), and that matchless love kindles love in the forgiven sinner’s heart. He is willing to do anything, even to die, for his Saviour who died for him (Ac 21:13; Php 1:29,30). It is a greater privilege for the saved sinner to suffer for Christ than it is to believe on Him. Peter (1Pe 3:17,18), the author of Hebrews (12; 13:13) and John (1 Joh 3:16; 4:16-19) emphasize this truth.

3. Necessary to Fill Out Christ’s Sacrifice:

The Christian’s sacrifice is necessary to fill out Christ’s sacrifice. "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church" (Col 1:24). Roman Catholic exegetes have made the apostle teach that the sufferings of the saints, along with Christ’s sufferings, have atoning efficacy. But Paul nowhere intimates that his sufferings avail for putting away sins. We may hold with Weiss (Comm. on the New Testament) that Paul longed to experience in his life the perfect sacrificial spirit as Christ did; or with Alford (in loc.) that he wished to suffer his part of Christ’s sufferings to be endured by him through His church; or, as it seems to us, he longed to make effective by his ministry of sacrificial service to as many others as possible the sacrificial death of Christ. Christ’s sacrifice avails in saving men only when Christians sacrifice their lives in making known this sacrifice of Christ.

4. Content of the Christian’s Sacrifice:

(1) The Christian is to present his personality (Ro 15:16). Paul commends the Macedonians for "first" giving "their own selves to the Lord" (2Co 8:5).

(2) Christians must present their "bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God" (Ro 12:1). In the old system of sacrifices the animals were offered as dead; Christians are to offer their bodies, all their members with their powers, to God a "living sacrifice," i.e. a sacrifice which operates in lives of holiness and service (see also Ro 6:13,19).

(3) Christians must offer their money or earthly possessions to God. Paul speaks of the gift from the church at Philippi as "a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God" (Php 4:18). This gift was to the apostle a beautiful expression of the sacrificial spirit imparted to them because they had the "mind" of Christ who "emptied himself, .... becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross" (Php 2:5-8). The author of Hebrews (13:16) exhorts his readers, "But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."

(4) The general exercise of all our gifts and graces is viewed by Peter as sacrificial living (1Pe 2:5): "Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices" etc. All Christians are priests and daily offer up their burnt offerings acceptable to God, if they ‘suffer as Christians’ (1Pe 2:20; 3:18) in the exercise of their graces and powers.

But how do these sacrifices of the Christian affect him and God? The New Testament writers never hint that our sacrifices propitiate God, or so win His favor that He will or can on account of our sacrifices forgive our sins. They are "well-pleasing" to Him a "sweet odor"; that is, they win His approval of our lives thus lived according to the standard which Christ gives us. Their influence on us is the increase of our spiritual efficiency and power and finally a greater capacity for enjoying spiritual blessings in heaven (1Co 3:14).

5. The Supper as a Sacrifice:

Some scholars (Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, etc.) regard the memorial supper as a kind of sacrifice which the Christian offers in worship. Neither Jesus, Paul, the author of Hebrews, Peter, or John, ever hints that in eating the bread and drinking the wine the Christian offers a sacrifice to God in Christ. Paul teaches that in partaking of the Supper we "proclaim the Lord’s death till he come" (1Co 11:26). That is, instead of offering a sacrifice ourselves to God, in partaking of the Supper we proclaim the offering of Christ’s sacrifice for us. Milligan argues that as Christ in heaven perpetually offers Himself for us, so we on earth, in the Supper, offer ourselves to Him (Heavenly Priesthood, 266). Even Cave (Spiritual Doctrine of Sacrifice, 439) maintains, "In a certain loose sense the Lord’s Supper may be called a sacrifice." See the above books for the argument supporting this position.

To sum up our conclusions on sacrifice in the New Testament:

(1) Jesus and New Testament writers regard the Old Testament sacrificial system as from God, but imperfect, the various sacrifices serving only as types of the one great sacrifice which Christ made.

(2) All the writers, except James and Jude, with Jesus, emphasize the sacrificial idea, Jesus less, giving only two hints of His sacrificial death (in the Synoptic Gospels), the author of Heb putting the climactic emphasis on Christ’s sacrifice as the sacrifice of atonement.

(3) As to the relation of Christ’s sacrifice to man’s salvation, the latter is the achievement of the former, so expressed only twice by Jesus, but emphatically so declared by Paul, the author of Heb, Peter, and John (Paul and Heb laying most emphasis on this point).

(4) As to how Christ’s sacrifice saves men, Jesus, the author of He, Peter and John suggest the idea of propitiation, while Paul emphatically teaches that man is under a curse, exposed to the displeasure of God, and that Christ’s sacrifice secured the reconciliation of God by vindicating His righteousness in punishing sin and His love in saving sinners. Jesus and the leading New Testament writers agree that Christ saves men through His vicarious suffering.

(5) As to the rational basis of efficacy in Christ’s sacrifice, there is no direct discussion in the New Testament except by the author of Hebrews who grounds its final, eternal efficacy in Christ’s personality, divine, royal, sinless and eternal.

(6) As to the conditions of applying Christ’s sacrifice, repentance and faith, which lives and fruits in obedience and sacrificial living, are recognized by Jesus and all the leading New Testament writers as the means of appropriating the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice.

(7) By Jesus, Paul, the author of He, Peter and John the Christian life is viewed as the life of sacrifice. Christ’s death is at once the cause, motive, measure, and the dynamic of the Christian’s sacrificial life.


In addition to the great comms.—ICC, Allen on "Mt," Gould on "Mk," Sanday-Headlam on "Rom"; Westcott on the Gospel and Epistles of John, and on the Hebrews; Davidson, Delitzsch and Meyer on Hebrews; Meyer on 2 Corinthians; Lightfoot and Abbott on Colossians; and the standard authors of the Biblical Theology of the New Testament, Weiss, Beyschlag, Bovon, Stevens, Sheldon—see the following special works: Cave, Scriptural Doctrine of Sacrifice, Edinburgh, 1890; Simon, Redemption of Man, 1886; G. Milligan, The Theology of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Edinburgh, 1899; Milligan, The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of our Lord, London, 1908; W.P. Du Bose, High-Priesthood and Sacrifice; Everett, The Gospel of Paul, Boston, 1893; Burton, Smith, and Smith, Biblical Ideas of Atonement, Chicago, 1909; Denney, The Death of Christ: Its Place and Interpretation in the New Testament, London, 1902; Denney, The Atonement and the Modern Mind, London, 1903; Ritschl, Rechtfertigung und Versohnung (Justification and Reconciliation), Bonn, 1895-1902, English translations of the Bible, 1900; Menegoz, Theol. del’Ep. aux Hebreux; article "Blood," Hastings, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, by H. Wheeler Robinson; article "Communion with Deity," ibid., by Nathan Soderblom; article "Communion with Deity" (Christian), ibid., by Darwell Stone and D. C. Simpson; article "Expiation and Atonement," ibid., by W. A. Brown (Christian viewpoint), S. R. Driver (Hebrew), H. Loewe (Jewish); article "Redemption from the Curse of the Law," in AJT, October, 1907, by Professor E. D. Burton; article "Some Thoughts as to the Effects of the Death of Christ," in Revelation and The Expositor, October, 1909.

C. B. Williams


sak’-ri-fis, sak’-ri-fiz:




1. Theory of a Divine Revelation

2. Theories of a Human Origin

(1) The Gift-Theory

(2) The Magic Theory

(3) The Table-Bond Theory

(4) The Sacramental Communion Theory

(5) The Homage Theory

(6) The Piacular Theory

(7) Originating Religious Instincts


1. Maimonides

2. W.R. Smith and Others

3. Oehler

4. Paterson and Others

5. H.M. Wiener


1. In Egypt

2. In Babylonia

3. Nomads and Tribes of Arabia and Syria

4. The Offerings of Cain and Abel

5. Of Noah

6. Of Abraham

7. Of Job

8. Of Isaac

9. Of Jacob

10. Of Israel in Egypt

11. Of Jethro

12. Summary and Conclusions


1. The Covenant Sacrifice

2. The Common Altars

3. The Consecration of Aaron and His Sons

4. Sacrifices before the Golden Calf

5. The Law of the Burnt Offering (‘Olah)

(1) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 1:3-17)

(2) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 1:3-17)

(3) General Laws for the Priest

(4) Laws in Deuteronomy 12:6,13,14,27; 27:6

6. The Law of the Meal Offering (Minchah)

(1) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 2:1-16)

(2) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 2:1-16)

(3) General Laws for the Priest (Leviticus 6:14-18 (Hebrew 7-11), etc.)

7. The Law of the Peace Offering

(1) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 3:1-17)

(2) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 3:1-17)

(3) General Laws for the Priest (Leviticus 6:12 (Hebrew 5); 7:1 ff)

8. The Law of the Sin Offering

(1) At the Consecration of Aaron and His Sons (Exodus 29:10 ff)

(2) The Law of the Sin Offering (Leviticus 4:1-35; 24-30, etc.)

(a) The Occasion and Meaning

(b) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 4:1-5,13, etc.)

(c) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 4:1-5,13, etc.)

(d) General Laws for the Priest (Leviticus 6:24-30)

(e) Special Uses of the Sin Offering

(i) Consecration of Aaron and His Sons

(ii) Purifications from Uncleanness

(iii) On the Day of Atonement

(iv) Other Special Instances

9. The Guilt Offering

(1) The Ritual (Leviticus 5:14-6:7)

(2) Special Laws: Leper, Nazirite, etc.

10. The Wave Offering

11. The Heave Offering

12. Drink Offerings

13. Primitive Nature of the Cult


1. The Situation at Moses’ Death

2. In the Time of Joshua

3. The Period of the Judges

4. Times of Samuel and Saul

5. Days of David and Solomon

6. In the Northern Kingdom

7. In the Southern Kingdom to the Exile

8. In the Exilic and Post-exilic Periods

9. A Temple and Sacrifices at Elephantine

10. Human Sacrifices in Israel’s History

11. Certain Heathen Sacrifices



1. Proverbs

2. The Psalms


1. A Gift of Food to the Deity

2. Expression of Adoration and Devotion, etc.

3. Means of Purification from Uncleanness

4. Means of Consecration to Divine Service

5. Means of Establishing a Community of Life between Worshipper and God

6. View of Ritschl

7. The Sacramental View

8. Symbol or Expression of Prayer

9. View of Kautzsch

10. Vicarious Expiation Theory; Objections

11. Typology of Sacrifice


I. Terms and Definitions.

zebhach, "sacrifice"; ‘olah, "burnt offering"; chata’ah, chatta’th, "sin offering"; ‘asham, "guilt" or "trespass offering": shelem, shelamim, "peace offerings"; minchah, "offering," "present"; zebhach shelamim, "sacrifice of peace offerings"; zebhach ha-todhah, "thank offerings"; zebhach nedhabhah, "free-will offerings"; zebhach nedher, "votive offerings"; tenuphah, "wave offering"; terumah, "heave offering"; qorban, "oblation," "gift"; ‘ishsheh, "fire offering"; necekh, "drink offering"; kalil, "whole burnt offering"; chagh, "feast"; lebhonah, "frankincense"; qetorah, qetoreth, "odor," "incense"; melach, "salt"; shemen, "oil":

Zebhach: a "slaughtered animal," a "sacrifice," general term for animals used in sacrifice, including burnt offerings, peace offerings, thank offerings, and all sacrifices offered to the Deity and eaten at the festivals. More particularly it refers to the flesh eaten by the worshippers after the fat parts had been burned on the altar and the priest had received his portion.

‘Olah: a "burnt offering," sometimes whole burnt offering. Derived from the verb ‘alah, "to go up." It may mean "that which goes up to the altar" (Knobel, Wellhausen, Nowack, etc.), or "that which goes up in smoke to the sky" (Bahr, Delitzsch, Dillmann, etc.); sometimes used synonymously with kalil (which see). The term applies to beast or fowl when entirely consumed upon the altar, the hide of the beast being taken by the priest. This was perhaps the most solemn of the sacrifices, and symbolized worship in the full sense, i.e. adoration, devotion, dedication, supplication, and at times expiation.

Chota’ah, chatta’th: a "sin offering," a special kind, first mentioned in the Mosaic legislation. It is essentially expiatory, intended to restore covenant relations with the Deity. The special features were:

(1) the blood must be sprinkled before the sanctuary, put upon the horns of the altar of incense and poured out at the base of the altar of burnt offering;

(2) the flesh was holy, not to be touched by worshipper, but eaten by the priest only. The special ritual of the Day of Atonement centers around the sin offering.

‘Asham: "guilt offering," "trespass offering" (King James Version; in Isa 53:10, the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) "an offering for sin," the American Revised Version margin "trespass offering"). A special kind of sin offering introduced in the Mosaic Law and concerned with offenses against God and man that could be estimated by a money value and thus covered by compensation or restitution accompanying the offering. A ram of different degrees of value, and worth at least two shekels, was the usual victim, and it must be accompanied by full restitution with an additional fifth of the value of the damage. The leper and Nazirite could offer he-lambs. The guilt toward God was expiated by the blood poured out, and the guilt toward men by the restitution and fine. The calling of the Servant an ‘asham (Isa 53:10) shows the value attached to this offering.

Shelem, shelamim: "peace offering," generally used the plural, shelamim, only once shelem (Am 5:22). These were sacrifices of friendship expressing or promoting peaceful relations with the Deity, and almost invariably accompanied by a meal or feast, an occasion of great joy. They are sometimes called zebhachim, sometimes zebhach shelamim, and were of different kinds, such as zebhach ha-todhah, "thank offerings," which expressed the gratitude of the giver because of some blessings, zebhach nedhabhah, "free-will offerings," bestowed on the Deity out of a full heart, and zebhach nedher, "votive offerings," which were offered in fulfillment of a vow.

Minchah: "meal offering" (the Revised Version), "meat offering" (the King James Version), a gift or presentation, at first applied to both bloody and unbloody offerings (Ge 4:5), but in Moses’ time confined to cereals, whether raw or roast, ground to flour or baked and mixed with oil and frankincense. These cereals were the produce of man’s labor with the soil, not fruits, etc., and thus represented the necessities and results of life, if not life itself. They were the invariable accompaniment of animal sacrifices, and in one instance could be substituted for them (see SIN OFFERING). The term minchah describes a gift or token of friendship (Isa 39:1), an act of homage (1Sa 10:27; 1Ki 10:25), tribute (Jud 3:15,17 f), propitiation to a friend wronged (Ge 32:13,18; Heb 14:19)), to procure favor or assistance (Ge 43:11 ff; Ho 10:6).

Tenuphah: "wave offering," usually the breast, the priest’s share of the peace offerings, which was waved before the altar by both offerer and priest together (the exact motion is not certain), symbolic of its presentation to Deity and given back by Him to the offerer to be used in the priests’ service.

Terumah: "heave offering," something lifted up, or, properly, separated from the rest and given to the service of the Deity. Usually the right shoulder or thigh was thus separated for the priest. The term is applied to products of the soil, or portion of land separated unto the divine service, etc.

Qorban: "an oblation," or "offering"; another generic term for all kinds of offerings, animal, vegetable, or even gold and silver. Derived from the verb qarabh, "to draw near," it signifies what is drawn or brought near and given to God.

‘Ishsheh: "fire offering," applied to offerings made by fire and usually bloody offerings, but at times to the minchah, the sacred bread and frankincense placed on the tables as a memorial, part of which was burned with the frankincense, the bulk, however, going to the priest. The gift was thus presented through fire to the Deity as a sort of etherealized food.

Necekh: "drink offering," or "libation," a liquid offering of wine, rarely water, sometimes of oil, and usually accompanying the ‘olah, but often with the peace offerings.

Kalil: "whole burnt offering," the entire animal being burned upon the altar. Sometimes used synonymously with ‘olah. A technical term among the Carthaginians.

Chagh: a "feast," used metaphorically for a sacrificial feast because the meat of the sacrifices constituted the material of the feast.

Lebhonah: "frankincense," "incense," used in combination with the meal offerings and burnt offerings and burned also upon the altar in the holy place.


Qetorah, qetoreth: "smoke," "odor of sacrifice," or incense ascending as a sweet savor and supposed to be pleasing and acceptable to God.

Melach: "salt," used in all sacrifices because of its purifying and preserving qualities.

Shemen: "oil," generally olive oil, used with the meal offerings of cakes and wafers, etc.

Sacrifice is thus a complex and comprehensive term. In its simplest form it may be defined as "a gift to God." It is a presentation to Deity of some material object, the possession of the offerer, as an act of worship. It may be to attain, restore, maintain or to celebrate friendly relations with the Deity. It is religion in action—in early times, almost the whole of religion—an inseparable accompaniment to all religious exercises. Few or many motives may actuate it. It may be wholly piacular and expiatory, or an Offering of food as a gift to God; it may be practically a bribe, or a prayer, an expression of dependence, obligation and thanksgiving. It may express repentance, faith, adoration, or all of these combined. It was the one and only way of approach to God. Theophrastus defines it as expressing homage, gratitude and need. Hubert and Mauss define it as "a religious act which by the consecration of the victim modifies the moral state of the sacrificer, or of certain material objects which he has in view, i.e., either confers sanctity or removes it and its analogue, impiety."

II. Origin and Nature of Sacrifices.

The beginnings of sacrifice are hidden in the mysteries of prehistoric life. The earliest narrative in Genesis records the fact, but gives no account of the origin and primary idea. The custom is sanctioned by the sacred writings, and later on the long-established custom was adopted and systematized in the Mosaic Law. The practice was almost universal. The Vedas have their elaborate rituals. Some Semitic peoples, Greeks, Romans, Africans, and Indians of Mexico offered human sacrifices. It is unknown in Australia, but even there something akin to it exists, for some natives offer a portion of a kind of honey, others offer a pebble or a spear to their god. For this practically universal habit of the race, several solutions are offered.

1. Theory of a Divine Revelation:

One view maintains that God Himself initiated the rite by divine order at the beginnings of human history. Such a theory implies a monotheistic faith on the part of primitive man. This theory was strongly held by many of the Reformed theologians, and was based mainly on the narrative in Ge 4:4 f. Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice, and, according to Heb 11:4, this was because of his faith. Faber makes a strong plea as follows: Since faith was what made the sacrifice acceptable to God, this faith must have been based upon a positive enactment of God in the past. Without this divine positive enactment to guarantee its truthfulness, faith, in Abel, would have been superstition. In other words, faith, in order to be truly based and properly directed, must have a revelation from God, a positive expression of the divine will. Fairbairn, in his Typology, goes further and holds that the skins wherewith Adam and Eve were clothed were from animals which had been slain in sacrifices. This is entirely without support in the narrative. The theory of a divine order cannot be maintained on the basis of the Biblical narrative. Moreover, it involves certain assumptions regarding the nature of faith and revelation which are not generally held in this age. A revelation is not necessarily a positive divine command, an external thing, and faith may be just as real and true without such a revelation as with it. That there may have been such a revelation cannot be denied, but it is not a necessary or probable explanation.

2. Theories of a Human Origin:

(1) The Gift-Theory.

By this it is held that sacrifices were originally presents to the deity which the offerer took for granted would be received with pleasure and even gratitude. Good relations would thus be established with the god and favors would be secured. Such motives, while certainly true among many heathen people, were obviously based upon low conceptions of the deity. They were either. Nature-spirits, ancestral ghosts or fetishes which needed what was given, and of course the god was placed under obligations and his favor obtained. Or, the god may have been conceived of as a ruler, a king or chief, as was the custom in the East.

Cicero vouches for such a view when he says: "Let not the impious dare to appease the gods with gifts. Let them hearken to Plato, who warns them that there can be no doubt what God’s disposition to them will be, since even a good man will refuse to accept presents from the wicked" (HDB, IV, 331a). This view of sacrifice prevails in classical literature. Spencer therefore thinks it is self-evident that this was the idea of primitive man. Tylor and Herbert Spencer also find the origin of sacrifices in the idea of a gift, whether to the deity or to dead ancestors, food being placed for them, and this afterward comes to be regarded as a sacrifice. Such a view gives no account of the peculiar value attached to the blood, or to the burnt offerings. It may account for some heathen systems of sacrifice, but can help in no degree in understanding the Biblical sacrifices.

(2) The Magic Theory.

There are two slightly variant forms of this:

(a) that of R.C. Thompson (Semitic Magic, Its Origins and Developments, 175-218), who holds that a sacrificial animal serves as a substitute victim offered to a demon whose activity has brought the offerer into trouble; the aim of the priest is to entice or drive the malignant spirit out of the sick or sinful man into the sacrificial victim where it can be isolated or destroyed;

(b) that of L. Marillier, who holds that sacrifice in its origin is essentially a magical rite. The liberation of a magical force by the effusion of the victim’s blood will bend the god to the will of the man. From this arose under the "cult of the dead" the gift-theory of sacrifice. Men sought to ally themselves with the god in particular by purifying a victim and effecting communion with the god by the application of the blood to the altar, or by the sacrifice of the animal and the contact of the sacrificer with its blood. Such theories give no account of the burnt offerings, meal offerings and sin offerings, disconnect them entirely from any sense of sin or estrangement from God, and divest them of all piacular value. They may account for certain depraved and heathen systems, but not for the Biblical.

(3) The Table-Bond Theory.

Ably advocated by Wellhausen and W.R. Smith, this view holds that sacrifices were meals which the worshippers and the god shared, partaking of the same food and thus establishing a firmer bond of fellowship between them. Sykes (Nature of Sacrifices, 75) first advocated this, holding that the efficacy of sacrifices "is the fact that eating and drinking were the known and ordinary symbols of friendship and were the usual rites in engaging in covenants and leagues." Thus sacrifices are more than gifts; they are deeds of hospitality which knit god and worshipper together. W.R. Smith has expounded the idea into the notion that the common meal unites physically those who partake of it. Though this view may contain an element of truth in regard to certain Arabian customs, it does not help much to account for Bible sacrifices. As A.B. Davidson says, "It fails utterly to account for the burnt offering, which was one of the earliest, most solemn and at times the most important of all the sacrifices."

(4) The Sacramental Communion Theory.

This is a modification of the table-bond theory. The basis of it is the totemistic idea of reverencing an animal which is believed to share with man the divine nature. On certain solemn occasions this animal would be sacrificed to furnish a feast. At this meal, according to men’s savage notions, they literally "ate the god," and thus incorporated into themselves the physical, the intellectual and the moral qualities which characterized the animal. If the divine life dwelt in certain animals, then a part of that precious life would be distributed among all the people (RS2, 313). In some cases the blood is drunk by the worshippers, thus imbibing the life. Sometimes, as in the case of the sacred camel, they devoured the quivering flesh before the animal was really dead, and the entire carcass was eaten up before morning.

The brilliant work of W. R. Smith has not been universally accepted. L. Marillier has criticized it along several lines. It is by no means certain that totemism prevailed so largely among Semites and there is no evidence of its existence in Israel. Also, if an original bond of friendship existed between the god and the kin, there is no need to maintain it by such sacrificial rites. There is no clear instance of this having been done. If on the other hand there was no common bond between the god and the people but that of a common meal, it does not appear that the god is a totem god. There is no reason why the animal should have been a totem. In any case, this idea of sacrifice could hardly have been anything but a slow growth, and consequently not the origin of sacrifice. Hubert and Mauss also point out that W. R. Smith is far from having established the historical or the logical connection between the common meal and the other kinds of sacrifices. Under piacula he confuses purification, propitiation and expiations. His attempts to show that purifications of magical character are late and not sacrificial do not succeed. Smith’s theory is mainly the sacramental, though he does recognize the honorific and piacular element. The theory may be applicable to some of the heathen or savage feasts of the Arabs, but not to the practices of the Hebrews (see Encyclopedia Brit, XXIII, 981).

(5) The Homage Theory.

This has been advocated by Warburton and F. D. Maurice. The idea is that sacrifices were originally an expression of homage and dependence. Man naturally felt impelled to seek closer communion with God, not so much from a sense of guilt as from a sense of dependence and a desire to show homage and obedience. In giving expression to this, primitive man had recourse to acts rather than words and thoughts. Thus sacrifice was an acted prayer, rather than a prayer in words. It was an expression of his longings and aspirations, his reverence and submission. There is much truth in this view; the elements of prayer—dependence and submission—enter into some sacrifices, the burnt offerings in particular; but it does not account for all kinds of offerings.

(6) The Piacular Theory.

This holds that sacrifices are fundamentally expiatory or atoning, and the death of the beast is a vicarious expiation of the sins of the offerer. Hubert and Mauss admit that in all sacrifices there are some ideas of purchase or substitution, though these may not have issued from some primitive form. The unifying principle in all sacrifices is that the divine is put in communication with the profane by the intermediary—the victim—which may be piacular or honorific. It is thus a messenger, a means of divination, a means of alimenting the eternal life of the species, a source of magical energy which the rite diffuses over objects in its neighborhood. Westermarck (Origin of Moral Ideas) makes the original idea in sacrifice a piaculum, a substitute for the offerer.

This view is the most simple, the most natural, and the only one that can explain certain sacrifices. Man felt himself under liability to punishment or death. The animal was his, it had life, it was of value, and perchance the god would accept that life in place of his. He felt that it would be accepted, and thus the animal was sacrificed. The offerer in a sense gives up part of himself. The beast must be his own; no sacrifice can be made of another person’s property (2Sa 24:24 a). The true spirit of sacrifice appears in a willingness to acknowledge God’s right to what is best and dearest (Ge 12).

Objection is raised to this by A. B. Davidson (Old Testament Theology), Paterson (HDB, IV, 331) and others, on the ground that such an origin represents too advanced a stage of ethical thought and reflection for primitive man. We question seriously whether this be an advanced stage of moral reflection. On the contrary, it represents a very simple and primitive stage. The feeling that sin of some kind is never absent from human life, and that its true penalty is death, has been inseparable from the human heart’s sense of sin. What could be more simple and natural than to take an innocent animal and offer it in place of himself, hoping that the Deity would accept it instead? Nor is there much force in Professor Paterson’s objection that sacrifices were preponderantly joyous in character and therefore could not be offered as an expiation. This joyous character belongs to such sacrifices as peace offerings and thank offerings, but does not belong to the ‘olah and others. In most cases the joyous feast followed the killing of the animal by which the expiation was accomplished, and the feast was joyous because atonement had been made. In fact, many sacrifices were of the most solemn character and represented the deepest and most serious emotions of the heart.

(7) Originating in Religious Instincts.

Neither theory of an objective divine revelation, nor of a human origin will account for the universality and variety of sacrifices. The truth lies in a proper combination of the two. The notion of offering a gift to the Deity arose out of the religious instincts of the human heart, which in an early period had a consciousness of something wrong between itself and God, and that this something would mean death sooner or later. Added to these true instincts was the Omnipresent Spirit to guide men in giving expression. What could be more simple and primitive than to offer something possessing life? Of course the notion originated in simple and childlike ideas of God, and its real motive was not to gratify God by sharing a meal with Him, or to gain His favor by a bribe, but to present Him with something that represented a part of the offerer which might be accepted in his stead. Thus sacrifices became the leading features of the religious life of primitive man. Naturally other ideas would be added, such as a gift of food by fire to the Deity, the peace offerings, etc., to celebrate the friendly relations with God, the thank offerings, the sin offerings, etc., all of which naturally and logically developed from the primitive idea. It might be expected that there would be many corruptions and abuses, that the sense of sin would be obscured or lost among some peoples, and the idea of sacrifice correspondingly degraded. Such has been the case, and as well might we try to understand man at his best by studying the aboriginal tribes of Africa and Australia, or the inmates of asylums and penitentiaries, as to attempt to understand the Bible ideas in sacrifices by studying the cults of those heathen and savage tribes of Semites, etc.

III. Classification of Sacrifices.

1. Maimonides:

Maimonides was among the first to classify them, and he divided them into two kinds:

(1) Those on behalf of the whole congregation, fixed by statute, time, number and ritual being specified. This would include burnt, meal and peace offerings with their accompaniments. (2) Those on behalf of the individual, whether by virtue of his connection with the community or as a private person. These would be burnt offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings with their accompaniments.

2. W. R. Smith and Others:

Others, such as W. R. Smith, classify them as: (1) honorific, or designed to render homage, devotion, or adoration, such as burnt, meal and peace offerings; (2) piacular, designed to expiate or make atonement for the errors of the people, i.e. burnt offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings; (3) communistic, intended to establish the bond between the god and the worshipper, such as peace offerings.

3. Oehler:

Oehler divides them into two classes, namely: (1) those which assume that the covenant relation is undisturbed, such as peace offerings; (2) those intended to do away with any disturbance in the relation and to set it right, such as burnt, sin and guilt offerings.

4. Paterson and Others:

Professor Paterson and others divide them into three: (1) animal sacrifices, burnt offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings; (2) vegetable sacrifices, meal offerings, shewbread, etc.; (3) liquid and incense offerings; wine, oil, water, etc.

5. H. M. Wiener:

H. M. Wiener offers a more suggestive and scientific division (Essays on Pentateuchal Criticism, 200 f):

(1) customary lay offerings, such as had from time immemorial been offered on rude altars of earth or stone, without priest, used and regulated by Moses and in more or less general use until the exile, namely, burnt offerings, meal offerings, and peace offerings;

(2) statutory individual offerings, introduced by Moses, offered by laymen with priestly assistance and at the religious capital, i.e. burnt offerings, peace offerings, meal offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings;

(3) statutory national offerings introduced by Moses and offered by the priest at the religious capital, namely, burnt, meal, peace and sin offerings.

IV. Sacrifices in the Pre-Mosaic Age.

Out of the obscure period of origins emerged the dimly lighted period of ancient history. Everywhere sacrifices existed and sometimes abounded as an essential part of religion. The spade of the archaeologist, and the researches of scholars help us understand the pre-Mosaic period.

1. In Egypt:

In Egypt—probably from the beginning of the 4th millennium BC—there were sacrifices and sacrificial systems. Temples at Abydos, Thebes, On, etc., were great priestly centers with high priests, lower priests, rituals and sacrifices in abundance. Burnt, meal and peace offerings predominated. Oxen, wild goats, pigs, geese were the chief animals offered. Besides these, wine, oil, beer, milk, cakes, grain, ointment, flowers, fruit, vegetables were offered, but not human beings. In these offerings there were many resemblances to the Hebrew gifts, and many significant exceptions. Moses would be somewhat familiar with these practices though not with the details of the ritual. He would appreciate the unifying power of a national religious center. It is inconceivable that in such an age a national leader and organizer like Moses would not take special care to institute such a system.

2. In Babylonia:

In Babylonia, from the year 3000 BC or thereabouts, according to E. Meyer (Geschichte des Alterthums), there were many centers of worship such as Eridu, Nippur, Agade, Erech, Ur, Nisin, Larsa, Sippar, etc. These and others continued for centuries with elaborate systems of worship, sacrifices, temples, priesthoods, etc. Considerably over 100 temples and sanctuaries are mentioned on inscriptions, and several hundreds in the literature and tablets, so that Babylonia was studded with temples and edifices for the gods. At all these, sacrifices were constantly offered—animal and vegetable. A long list of the offerings of King Gudea includes oxen, sheep, goats, lambs, fish, birds (i.e. eagles and doves), dates, milk, greens (Jastrow, in HDB, V, 580 f, under the word). The sacrifices provided an income for the priests, as did the Mosaic system at a later time. It had long passed the stage when it was supposed to furnish a meal for the god. A sacrifice always accompanied a consultation with a priest, and was really an assessment for the services rendered. It was not a voluntary offering or ritualistic observance. The priests on their own behalf offered a daily sacrifice, as in the Mosaic Law, and likewise on special occasions, to insure the good will of the gods they served. It seems certain that in some of the larger centers of worship animals were offered up twice a day, morning and evening. At these sacrifices certain portions were consumed on the altar, the rest belonging to the priest. The similarity of much of this to the Mosaic institutions is obvious. That the culture and civilization of Babylon was known to Egypt and Israel with other nations is shown clearly by the Tell el-Amarna Letters. Special sacrifices on special occasions were offered in Babylonia as in Israel. As Jastrow says, "In the Hebrew codes, both as regards the purely legal portions and those sections dealing with religious ritual, Babylonian methods of legal procedure and of ritual developed in Babylonian temples must be taken into consideration as determining factors." We do not doubt that Moses made use of many elements found in the Egyptian and Babylonian systems, and added to or subtracted from or purified as occasion required. As sacrificial systems and ritual had been in use more than a millennium before Moses, there is absolutely no need to suppose that Israel’s ritual was a thousand years in developing, and was completed after the exile. To do so is to turn history upside down.

3. Nomads and Tribes of Arabia and Syria:

Among the nomads and tribes of Arabia and Syria, sacrifices had been common for millenniums before Moses. The researches of Wellhausen and W. R. Smith are valuable here, whatever one may think of their theories. The offerings were usually from the flocks and herds, sometimes from the spoils taken in war which had been appropriated as their own. The occasions were many and various, and the ritual was very simple. A rude altar of earth or stone, or one stone, a sacred spot, the offerer killing the victim and burning all, or perhaps certain parts and eating the remainder with the clan or family, constituted the customary details. Sometimes wild animals were offered. Babylonians, Phoenicians and Arabs offered gazelles, but the Hebrews did not. Arabs would sometimes sacrifice a captive youth, while the Carthaginians chose some of the fairest of the captives for offerings by night. Assyrian kings sometimes sacrificed captive kings. The Canaanites and others constantly sacrificed children, especially the firstborn.

4. The Offerings of Cain and Abel:

The account of the offerings of Cain and Abel (Ge 4:4 f) shows that the ceremony dates from almost the beginnings of the human race. The custom of offering the firstlings and first-fruits had already begun. Arabian tribes later had a similar custom. Cain’s offering was cereal and is called minchah, "a gift" or "presentation." The same term is applied to Abel’s. There is no hint that the bloody sacrifice was in itself better than the unbloody one, but it is shown that sacrifice without a right attitude of heart is not acceptable to God. This same truth is emphasized by the prophets and others, and is needed in this day as much as then. In this case the altars would be of the common kind, and no priest was needed. The sacrifices were an act of worship, adoration, dependence, prayer, and possibly propitiation.

5. Of Noah:

The sacrifices of Noah followed and celebrated the epochal and awe-inspiring event of leaving the ark and beginning life anew. He offered burnt offerings of all the clean animals (Ge 8:20 ). On such a solemn occasion only an ‘olah would suffice. The custom of using domestic animals had arisen at this time. The sacrifices expressed adoration, recognition of God’s power and sovereignty, and a gift to please Him, for it is said He smelled a sweet savor and was pleased. It was an odor of satisfaction or restfulness. Whether or not the idea of expiation was included is difficult to prove.

6. Of Abraham:

Abraham lived at a time when sacrifices and religion were virtually identical. No mention is made of his offering at Ur or Charan, but on his arrival at Shechem he erected an altar (Ge 12:7). At Beth-el also (12:8), and on his return from Egypt he worshipped there (Ge 13:4). Such sacrifices expressed adoration and prayer and probably propitiation. They constituted worship, which is a complex exercise. At Hebron he built an altar (Ge 13:18), officiating always as his own priest. In Ge 15:4 ff he offers a "covenant" sacrifice, when the animals were slain, divided, the parts set opposite each other, and prepared for the appearance of the other party to the covenant. The exact idea in the killing of these animals may be difficult to find, but the effect is to give the occasion great solemnity and the highest religious sanction. What was done with the carcasses afterward is not told. That animals were slain for food with no thought of sacrifice is shown by the narrative in chapter 18, where Abraham had a calf slain for the meal. This is opposed to one of the chief tenets of the Wellhausen school, which maintains that all slaughtering of animals was sacrificial until the 7th century BC. In Genesis 22 Abraham attempts to offer up Isaac as a burnt offering, as was probably the custom of his neighbors. That he attempted it shows that the practice was not shocking to his ethical nature. It tested the strength of his devotion to God, shows the right spirit in sacrifices, and teaches for all time that God does not desire human sacrifice—a beast will do. What God does want is the obedient heart. Abraham continued his worship at Beer-sheba (Ge 21:33).

7. Of Job:

Whatever may be the date of the writing of the Book of Job, the saint himself is represented as living in the Patriarchal age. He constantly offered sacrifices on behalf of his children (1:5), "sanctifying" them. His purpose no doubt was to atone for possible sin. The sacrifices were mainly expiatory. This is true also of the sacrifices of his friends (42:7-9).

8. Of Isaac:

Isaac seems to have had a permanent altar at Beer-sheba and to have regularly offered sacrifices. Adoration, expiation and supplication would constitute his chief motives (Ge 26:25).

9. Of Jacob:

Jacob’s first recorded sacrifice was the pouring of the oil upon the stone at Beth-el (Ge 28:18). This was consecration or dedication in recognition of the awe-inspiring presence of the Deity. After his covenant with Laban he offered sacrifices (zebhachim) and they ate bread (Ge 31:54). At Shechem, Jacob erected an altar (Ge 33:20). At Beth-el (Ge 35:7) and at Beer-sheba he offered sacrifices to Isaac’s God (Ge 46:1).

10. Of Israel in Egypt:

While the Israelites were in Egypt they would be accustomed to spring sacrifices and spring feasts, for these had been common among the Arabs and Syrians, etc., for centuries. Nabatean inscriptions testify to this. Egyptian sacrifices have been mentioned (see above). At these spring festivals it was probably customary to offer the firstlings of the flocks (compare Ex 13:15). At the harvest festivals sacrificial feasts were celebrated. It was to some such feast Moses said Israel as a people wished to go in the wilderness (Ex 3:18; 5:3 ff; 7:16). Pharaoh understood and asked who was to go (Ex 10:8). Moses demanded flocks and herds for the feast (Ex 10:9). Pharaoh would keep the flocks, etc. (Ex 10:24), but Moses said they must offer sacrifices and burnt offerings (Ex 10:25 f).

The sacrifice of the Passover soon occurs (Ex 12:3-11). That the Hebrews had been accustomed to sacrifice their own firstborn at this season has no support and is altogether improbable (Frazer, Golden Bough(3), pt. III, 175 f). The whole ceremony is very primitive and has retained its primitiveness to the end. The choosing of the lamb or kid, the killing at a certain time, the family gathered in the home, the carcass roasted whole, eaten that night, and the remainder, if any, burned, while the feasters had staff in hand, etc., all this was continued. The blood in this case protected from the Deity, and the whole ceremony was "holy" and only for the circumcised. Frazer in his Golden Bough gives a very different interpretation.

11. Of Jethro:

As a priest of Midian, Jethro was an expert in sacrificing. On meeting Moses and the people he offered both ‘olah and zebhachim and made a feast (Ex 18:12).

12. Summary and Conclusions:

From the above it is evident that sacrifices were almost the substance of religion in that ancient world. From hilltops and temples innumerable, the smoke of sacrifices was constantly rising heavenward. Burnt offerings and peace offerings were well known. Moses, in establishing a religion, must have a sacrificial system. He had abundance of materials to choose from, and under divine guidance would adopt such rules and regulations as the pedagogic plans and purposes of God would require in preparing for better things.


V. The Mosaic Sacrificial System.

1. The Covenant Sacrifice:

The fundamental function of Moses’ work was to establish the covenant between Israel and God. This important transaction took place at Sinai and was accompanied by solemn sacrifices. The foundation principle was obedience, not sacrifices (Ex 19:4-8). No mention is made of these at the time, as they were incidental—mere by-laws to the constitution. The center of gravity in Israel’s religion is now shifted from sacrifices to obedience and loyalty to Yahweh. Sacrifices were helps to that end and without obedience were worthless. This is in exact accordance with Jer 7:21 ff. God did not speak unto the fathers at this time about sacrifices; He did speak about obedience.

The covenant having been made, the terms and conditions are laid down by Moses and accepted by the people (Ex 24:3). The Decalogue and Covenant Code are given, an altar is built, burnt offerings and peace offerings of oxen are slain by young men servants of Moses, not by priests, and blood is sprinkled on the altar (Ex 24:4 ). The blood would symbolize the community of life between Yahweh and Israel, and consecrated the altar. The Law was read, the pledge again given, and Moses sprinkled the representatives of the people, consecrating them also (Ex 24:7 f). Ascending the mount, they had a vision of God, held a feast before Him, showing the joys and privileges of the new relationship. The striking feature of these ceremonies is the use of the blood. It is expiatory and consecrating, it is life offered to God, it consecrates the altar and the people: they are now acceptable to God and dare approach Him and feast with Him. There is no idea of God’s drinking the blood. The entire ritual is far removed from the crass features of common Semitic worship.

2. The Common Altars:

In the Covenant Code, which the people accepted, the customary altars are not abolished, but regulated (Ex 20:24 ). This law expressly applies to the time when they shall be settled in Canaan. ‘In the whole place where I cause my name to be remembered,’ etc. (Ex 20:24 margin). No need to change the reading to "in every place where I cause," etc., as the Wellhausen school does for obvious reasons. All the land was eligible. On such rude altars sacrifices were allowed. This same law is implied in De 16:21, a passage either ignored or explained away by the Wellhausen school (see Wiener, Essays in Pentateuchal Criticism, 200 f). Moses commanded Joshua in accordance with it (De 27:5 ). Joshua, Gideon, Jephthah, Samuel, Saul, David, Elijah and many others used such altars. There were altars at Shechem (Jos 24:1,26), Mizpah in Gilead (Jud 11:11), Gilgal (1Sa 13:9). High places were chiefly used until the times of Hezekiah and Josiah, when they were abolished because of their corruptions, etc. All such altars were perfectly legitimate and in fact necessary, until there was a central capital and sanctuary in Jerusalem. The customary burnt offerings and peace offerings with the worshipper officiating were the chief factors. Heathen sacrifices and the use of heathen altars were strictly forbidden (Ex 22:20; (Heb 1:9); Ex 34:15)

3. The Consecration of Aaron and His Sons:

The altar used at the consecration of Aaron and his sons was a "horned" or official altar, the central one. The offerings were a bullock, two rams, unleavened bread, etc. (Ex 29:1-4), and were brought to the door of the sanctuary. The ritual consisted of Aaron laying his hand on the bullock’s head, designating it as his substitute (Ex 29:10), killing it before the tent of meeting (Ex 29:11), smearing some blood on the horns of the altar, and pouring the rest at its base (Ex 29:12). The blood consecrated the altar, the life was given as atonement for sins, the fat parts were burned upon the altar as food for God, and the flesh and remainder were burned without the camp (Ex 29:13,14). This is a sin offering—chaTTa’th—the first time the term is used. Probably introduced by Moses, it was intended to be piacular and to "cover" possible sin. One ram was next slain, blood was sprinkled round about the altar, flesh was cut in pieces, washed and piled on the altar, then burned as an offering by fire (’ishsheh) unto God as a burnt offering, an odor of a sweet savor (Ex 29:15-18). The naive and primitive nature of this idea is apparent. The other ram, the ram of consecration, is slain, blood is smeared on Aaron’s right ear, thumb and great toe; in the case of his sons likewise. The blood is sprinkled on the altar round about; some upon the garments of Aaron and his sons (Ex 29:19-21). Certain parts are waved before Yahweh along with the bread, and are then burned upon the altar (Ex 29:22-25). The breast is offered as a wave offering (tenuphah), and the right thigh or shoulder as a heave offering (terumah). These portions here first mentioned were the priests’ portion for all time to come, although this particular one went to Moses, since he officiated (Ex 29:26-30). The flesh must be boiled in a holy place, and must be eaten by Aaron and his sons only, and at the sanctuary. What was left till morning must be burned (Ex 29:31-34). Consecrated to a holy service it was dangerous for anyone else to touch it, or the divine wrath would flame forth. The same ceremony on each of the seven days atoned for, cleansed and consecrated the altar to the service of Yahweh, and it was most holy (Ex 29:35-37). The altar of incense is ordered (Ex 30:1), and Aaron is to put the blood of the sin offering once a year upon its horns to consecrate it.

4. Sacrifices before the Golden Calf:

When the golden calf was made an altar was erected, burnt offerings and peace offerings were presented. From the latter a feast was made, the people followed the usual habits at such festivals, went to excess and joined in revelry. Moses’ ear quickly detected the nature of the sounds. The covenant was now broken and no sacrifice was available for this sin. Vengeance was executed on 3,000 Israelites. Moses mightily interceded with God. A moral reaction was begun; new tables of the Law were made with more stringent laws against idols and idol worship (Ex 32:1-35).

5. The Law of the Burnt Offering (‘Olah):

At the setting-up of the tabernacle burnt and meal offerings were sacrificed (Ex 40:29). The law of the burnt offering is found in Le 1. Common altars and customary burnt offerings needed no minute regulations, but this ritual was intended primarily for the priest, and was taught to the people as needed. They were for the statutory individual and national offering upon the "horned" altar before the sanctuary. Already the daily burnt offerings of the priests had been provided for (Ex 29:38-42). The burnt offering is here called qorban, "oblation."

(1) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 1:3-17).

This may have been from the herd or flock or fowls, brought to the tent of meeting; hands were laid (heavily) upon its head designating it as the offerer’s substitute, it was killed, flayed and cut in pieces. If of the flock, it was to be killed on the north side of the altar; if a fowl, the priest must kill it.

(2) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 1:3-17).

If a bullock or of the flock, the priest was to sprinkle the blood round about the altar, put on the fire, lay the wood and pieces of the carcass, wash the inwards, legs, etc., and burn it all as a sweet savor to God. If a fowl, he must wring the neck, drain out the blood on the side of the altar, cast the crop, filth, etc., among the ashes, rend the wings without dividing the bird and burn the carcass on the altar.

(3) General Laws for the Priest.

The burnt offering must be continued every morning and every evening (Ex 29:38 f; Nu 28:3-8). At the fulfillment of his vow the Nazirite must present it before God and offer it upon the altar through the priest (Nu 6:14,16): on the Sabbath, two lambs (Nu 28:9); on the first of the month, two bullocks, one ram and seven lambs (Nu 28:11); on the day of first-fruits, the same (Nu 28:27); on the 1st day of the 7th month, one bullock, one ram, seven lambs (Nu 29:8); on the 15th day, 13 bullocks, two rams, 14 lambs, the number of bullocks diminishing daily until the 7th day, when seven bullocks, two rams, 14 lambs were offered (Nu 29:12-34); on the 22nd day of this month one bullock, one ram and seven lambs were offered (Nu 29:35,36). Non-Israelites were permitted to offer the ‘olah, but no other sacrifices (Le 17:8; 22:18,25).

(4) Laws in Deuteronomy 12:6,13,14,27; 27:6.

Anticipating a central sanctuary in the future, the lawgiver counsels the people to bring their offerings there (De 12:6,11); they must be careful not to offer them in any place (De 12:13), but must patronize the central sanctuary (De 12:14). In the meantime common altars and customary sacrifices were allowable and generally necessary (De 16:21; 27:6).

6. The Law of the Meal Offering (Minchah):

The term "meal offering" is here confined to offerings of flour or meal, etc. (the King James Version "meat-offering"), and was first used at the consecration of Aaron and his sons (Ex 29:41). These must not be offered on the altar of incense (Ex 30:9); were used at the completion of the tabernacle (Ex 40:29); and always with the morning and evening burnt offerings.

(1) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 2:1-16).

It must be of fine flour, with oil and frankincense added, and brought to the priest; if baked in the oven, unleavened cakes mingled with oil, or wafers and oil; if of the baking pan, fine flour mingled with oil parted into pieces and oil thereon; if of the frying pan, the same ingredients. Leaven and honey must never be used as they quickly become corrupt. Every offering must be seasoned with salt. If of the first-fruits (bikkurim), it should consist of grain in the ear, parched with oil and frankincense upon it.

(2) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 2:1-16).

This required him to take out a handful with the oil and frankincense thereon and burn it as a memorial upon the altar. The remainder was holy and belonged to the priest. Of the cakes, after bringing them to the altar, he was to take a portion, burn it and appropriate the remainder; the same with the first-fruits.

(3) General Laws for the Priest (Leviticus 6:14-18 (Hebrew 7-11), etc.).

He might eat his portion without leaven in the holy place. At his anointing Aaron offered his own oblation of fine flour—1/10 of an ephah, one-half in the morning and one-half in the evening. If baked, it must be with oil. This meal offering must all be burnt; none could be eaten. With the sin offerings and guilt offerings every meal offering baked in any way belongs to the priest (Le 7:9,10; 10:12; Nu 18:9). The meal offerings accompanied the other offerings on all important occasions, such as the consecration of Aaron (Le 9:4,17); cleansing of a leper (Le 14:10,20,21,31); feast of first-fruits (Le 23:13); Pentecost (Le 23:16); set feasts (Le 23:37). Special charge was given to Eleazar to care for the continual meal offerings (Nu 4:16). The Nazirite must offer it (Nu 6:15,17). When the tribes presented their offerings, meal offerings were always included (Nu 7:13,19, etc.); when the Levites were set apart (Nu 8:8); with vows of freewill offerings (Nu 15:4,6); with the sin offerings (Nu 15:24); at all the several seasons (Nu 28:5-29:39). A special form was the "showbread" (bread of memorial). Twelve loaves were to be placed in two rows or heaps of six each on a pure table in the holy place, with frankincense on each pile or row. These were to remain for one week and then to be eaten by the priests. They were an offering of food by fire, though probably only the frankincense was actually burned (Le 24:5 f).

7. The Law of the Peace Offering:

The peace offerings indicated right relations with God, expressing good-fellowship, gratitude and obligation. The common altars were fitted for their use (Ex 20:24), as feasts had been thus celebrated from time immemorial. At the feast before God on the Mount, peace offerings provided the food (Ex 24:5); also before the golden bull (Ex 32:6). The wave offerings and heave offerings were portions of these.

(1) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 3:1-17).

The offering might be a bullock, a lamb, or a goat, either male or female, latitude being allowed in this case. The ritual was the same as in the case of the burnt offering (see above).

(2) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 3:1-17).

Blood must be sprinkled on the altar round about, the caul, the liver and the kidneys must be taken away and the fat parts burned on the altar; the fat tail of the lamb must also be burned. These portions were offerings of food by fire to the Deity. The ritual for a goat was the same as for a bullock.

(3) General Laws for the Priest (Leviticus 6:12 (Hebrew 5); 7:1 ff).

The fat was to be burned on the altar of burnt offering. If it was a thank offering (zebhach ha-todhah), it must have unleavened cakes with oil, cakes mingled with oil and fine flour soaked. Cakes of leavened bread might be offered, and one cake was to be a heave offering to the priest. The flesh was to be eaten that day, none was to be left till morning (Le 22:30). If it was a votive offering (zebhach nedher) or a freewill offering (zebhach nedhabhah), it might be eaten on the first and second days, but not on the third day; it should then be an abomination (Le 7:18 f). If eaten then by anyone, that person was to be cut off from the community. Of all peace offerings the wave-breast and heave-thigh belong to the priest (Le 7:29-34), the remainder was to be eaten by the worshippers. At Aaron’s consecration an ox and a ram were the peace offerings (Le 9:4,18,22). The priest’s portion was to be eaten in a clean place by the priest’s family (Le 10:14). When Israel should have a central sanctuary, all were to be brought there (Le 17:4,5). When they had no central place, the common altars would suffice. All peace offerings must be made in an acceptable manner (Le 19:5). Votive offerings must be perfect (Le 22:18-22), but certain imperfections are allowable in freewill offerings (Le 22:23). At Pentecost two he-lambs of the first year could be offered as peace offerings (Le 23:19). The Nazirite at the end of his separation must offer one ram for a peace offering with unleavened bread (Nu 6:14,17), and the hair shaved from his head must be burned under the peace offerings (Nu 6:18). This hair was regarded as a thing having life and offered as a sacrifice by other nations. The various tribes brought peace offerings (Numbers 7, passim), and at the feast of trumpets the people were to rejoice and blow trumpets over the peace offerings (Nu 10:10). Some further regulations are given (Nu 15:9 f).

8. The Law of the Sin Offering:

The sin offering was a sacrifice of a special kind, doubtless peculiar to Israel and first mentioned at the consecration of Aaron and his sons. It is not then spoken of as an innovation. It was of special value as an expiatory sacrifice.

(1) At the Consecration of Aaron and His Sons (Exodus 29:10 ff).

A bullock was killed before the altar, some blood was put upon the horns of the altar by Moses, the rest was poured out at the base. The fat of the inwards was burned upon the altar, the flesh and skin were burned without the camp. Every day during the consecration this was done (Ex 29:36).

(2) The Law of the Sin Offering (Leviticus 4:1-35; 24-30, etc.).

(a) The Occasion and Meaning:

Specifically to atone for unwitting sins, sins of error (sheghaghah), mistakes or rash acts, unknown at the time, but afterward made known. There were gradations of these for several classes of offenders: the anointed priest (Le 4:3-12), the whole congregation (Le 4:13-21), a ruler (Le 4:22-26), one of the common people (Le 4:27-35), forswearing (5:1), touching an unclean thing (Le 5:2) or the uncleanness of man (Le 5:3), or rashly sweating in ignorance (Le 5:4). For conscious and willful violations of the Law, no atonement was possible, with some exceptions, for which provision was made in the guilt offerings (see below).

(b) Ritual for the Offerer (Leviticus 4:1-5,13, etc.):

The anointed priest must offer a bullock at the tent of meeting, lay his hands upon it and slay it before Yahweh. The congregation was also required to bring a young bullock before the tent of meeting, the elders were to lay hands upon it and slay it before Yahweh. The ruler must bring a he-goat and do the same. One of the common people might bring a she-goat or lamb and present it in the same manner. If too poor for these, two turtledoves or young pigeons, one for a sin offering and one for burnt offering, would suffice. If too poor for these, the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour without oil or flankincense would suffice.

(c) Ritual for the Priest (Leviticus 4:1-5,13, etc.):

He must bring the bullock’s blood to the tent of meeting, dip his finger into it and sprinkle blood 7 times before the veil of the sanctuary, and put some on the horns of the altar of incense, but most of the blood must be poured out at the base of the altar. The fat must be burned upon the altar, all the rest of the carcass must be carried to a clean place without the camp and burned. In the case of the whole congregation, the ritual is the same. In the case of a ruler, the blood is to be put upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, not the altar of incense. In the case of one of the common people, the ritual is similar to that of the ruler. In both the latter cases the carcass belonged to the priest. If a bird, the priest must wring off its head, sprinkle some blood on the side of the altar and pour the rest at the base. Nothing is said of the disposal of the carcass. If of fine flour, the priest must take out a handful and burn it upon the altar, keeping the remainder for himself. The use of fine flour for an expiatory sacrifice is evidently exceptional and intended to be so. Though life was not given, yet necessity of life—that which represented life—was offered.

(d) General Laws for the Priest (Leviticus 6:24-30):

The sin offering was to be slain in the same place as the burnt offering. It was most holy, and the priest alone might eat what was left of the ram, pigeon or flour, in the holy place. Whatever touched it was to be holy, any garment sprinkled with the blood must be washed in a holy place, earthen vessels used must be broken, and brazen vessels thoroughly scoured and rinsed.

(e) Special Uses of the Sin Offering:

(i) Consecration of Aaron and His Sons:

The consecration of Aaron and his sons (Le 8:2,14,15) was similar to that of Le 4:11,12, only Moses was to kill the offering and put the blood on the horns of the altar. On the 8th day a bull-calf was offered (Le 9:2), and the congregation offered a he-goat (Le 9:3). In this case Aaron performed the ceremony, as in Le 4:11,12. Moses complained that they had not eaten the flesh of the calf and goat in the sanctuary, since that was requisite when the blood was not brought into the sanctuary (Le 10:16-20).

(ii) Purifications from Uncleannesses:

Purifications from uncleannesses required after childbirth a young pigeon or turtledove (Le 12:6-8). The leper must bring a guilt offering (a special kind of sin offering), a he-lamb (Le 14:12-14,19); if too poor for a lamb, a turtledove or young pigeon (Le 14:22,31). Special use of the blood is required (Le 14:25). In uncleanness from issues a sin offering of a turtledove or young pigeon must be offered by the priest (Le 15:15,30).

(iii) On the Day of Atonement:

On the Day of Atonement (Le 16:1-28) Aaron must take a bullock for himself and house, two he-goats for the people, present the goats at the sanctuary, cast losts, one for Yahweh, as a sin offering, the other for Azazel, to be sent into the wilderness. The bullock was killed, sweet incense was burned within the rail, blood was sprinkled on the mercy-seat and before it 7 times. The one he-goat was killed and a similar ceremony was performed. Blood must be put on the horns of the altar and sprinkled 7 times about it. The other goat was presented, hands were laid on it, the sins of all confessed and put upon the goat, and it was sent into the wilderness. The carcass of the bullock and he-goat were burned without the camp. At the feast of first-fruits a he-goat was offered (Le 23:19).

(iv) Other Special Instances:

Other special instances were: in the case of defilement, the Nazirite must offer a turtledove or young pigeon on the 8th day after contraction (Nu 6:10 ); when the days of the separation were fulfilled a ewe-lamb with the other offerings (Nu 6:14) was to be offered; the twelve tribes included in each case a he-goat for sin offering (Nu 7:16 ); at the consecration of the Levites a young bullock (Nu 8:8,12). For unwitting sins of the congregation a he-goat was to be offered (Nu 15:24,25). If one person erred, a she-goat was permitted (Nu 15:27). A sin offering was required at the feast of the new moon (28:15), at the Passover (Nu 28:22), at Pentecost (Nu 28:30), on the 1st day of the 7th month (Nu 29:5), and on the 10th, 15th-22nd days (Nu 29:10-38). The ceremony of the red heifer (Nu 19:1-10,17) was a special sin offering for purification purposes only. It was of ancient and primitive origin. The young cow was brought without the camp and was slain before the priest’s face, blood was sprinkled 7 times before the sanctuary, the entire carcass with cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet was burned, the ashes gathered and laid without the camp in a clean place to be kept for the water of impurity. It was to purify after contact with the dead. In the case of the unknown homicide (De 21:1-9) a young unbroken heifer was brought to a running stream, its neck was broken, the elders washed their hands over the heifer in the presence of the priests, declaring their innocence. Thus the bloodshed was expiated. The action was a judicial one, but essentially vicarious and expiatory and had doubtless a primitive origin.

9. The Guilt Offering:

The guilt offering (the King James Version "trespass offering") (Le 5:14-6:7) was a special kind of sin offering, always of a private character and accompanied by a fine. It expressed expiation and restitution. The classes of sin requiring a guilt offering with reparation in money are:

(1) a trespass in the holy things done unwittingly;

(2) anything which the Law forbade depriving God or the priest of their due;

(3) dealing falsely, with a neighbor in a deposit, or pledge, or robbery, or oppression;

(4) swearing falsely regarding anything lost;

(5) seduction of a betrothed bondmaid (Le 19:20-22).

The first two of these are unwitting sins, the others cannot be. The clear statement is made in another place that sins done with a "high hand," i.e. in rebellion against the covenant and its provisions, can have no sacrifice (Nu 15:30). Is this a contradiction, or a later development when it was found that the more stringent law would not work? (See J. M. P. Smith, et al., Atonement, 47 f.) Neither conclusion is probable. These conscious sins are of a kind that will admit of full reparation because against rights of property or in money matters. The sin offering makes atonement toward God, the restitution with the additional one-fifth makes full reparation to man. No such reparation can be made with such sins described as committed with a "high hand." In the case of seduction, rights of property are violated (compare Nu 5:5-8; De 22:29).

(1) The Ritual (Leviticus 5:14-6:7).

A ram proportionate in value to the offense and worth at least two shekels is required. The ritual is probably the same as that of the sin offering, though no mention is made of the laying on of hands, and the blood is not brought into the sanctuary, but sprinkled about the base of the altar, the fat and inside parts being burned, and the flesh eaten by the priests in a holy place.

(2) Special Laws: Leper, Nazirite, etc.

The leper, when cleansed, on the 8th day must bring a guilt offering of two he-lambs and one ewe-lamb; the priest must wave one he-lamb before Yahweh, kill it, and smear blood on the right ear, thumb and toe of the leper. The guilt offering belongs to the priest (Le 14:12-20). If the leper were too poor for two lambs, one sufficed, with a corresponding meal offering, or one turtle-dove and a young pigeon (Le 14:21,22). The Nazirite, if defiled during his period of separation, must bring a he-lamb for a guilt offering (Nu 6:12). All guilt offerings were the priests’ and most holy (Nu 18:9).

10. The Wave Offering:

The wave offerings were parts of the peace offerings, and the custom was seemingly initiated at the consecration of Aaron and his sons (Ex 29:24-27), when the breast and bread were waved before Yahweh. Le 7:30,34 fixes the law. It must be brought from the peace offerings of the offerer himself. At Aaron’s consecration Moses put the breast, etc., on Aaron’s hands and waved them before Yahweh (Le 8:27). On the 8th day Aaron did the waving (Le 9:21). The priests were to eat it in a clean place (Le 10:14 f) . The leper’s he-lamb was to be waved by the priest, before being offered (Le 14:12); the lamb of the guilt offering also (Le 14:24). At the feast of first-fruits the sheaf must be waved before Yahweh (Le 23:10,11,15); two loaves also (Le 23:17,20). Of the Nazirite the priest took the boiled shoulder, a cake and a wafer, put them on the Nazirite’s hand and waved them before Yahweh (Nu 6:19 f).

11. The Heave Offering:

Heave offerings also are parts of the peace offerings, and refer particularly to what is lifted up, or separated unto the service of Yahweh. They are first mentioned at the consecration of Aaron (Ex 29:27,28). The offering consisted of the right shoulder or thigh and was the fixed due of the priest (Le 7:32,34) One cake of the peace offering must be heaved (Le 7:14). The offering must be eaten in a clean place (Le 7:14) by the priest’s family only (Le 10:14,15). Of the Nazirite’s offering the heave thigh also went to the priest (Nu 6:20). When the Israelites should come into the promised land to eat bread, they must offer a heave offering of the dough, a cake (Nu 15:19,20,21). The law is repeated in Nu 18:8,11,19, and the Levites are to receive a tithe of the heave offerings of the people (Nu 18:24). They were in turn to offer up a tithe of this to the priests (Nu 18:26-32). A portion of the spoil of Midian was a heave offering (Nu 31:29,41). Deuteronomy commands that all heave offerings be brought to the central sanctuary and eaten there (12:6,11).

12. Drink Offerings:

Jacob poured oil on the stone he had set up (Ge 28:18) in honor of the Deity and consecrated the spot. Jacob later (Ge 35:14) set up a pillar where God had revealed Himself and poured drink offerings and oil upon it. Probably wine was used. Drink offerings accompanied many of the sacrifices (Ex 29:40,41). None could be poured upon the altar of incense (Ex 30:9). At all set feasts the Drink offerings must be presented (Le 23:13,18,37). The Nazirite was not exempt (Nu 6:15,17). Wine and oil must accompany all votive and freewill offerings (Nu 15:4,5,7,10,24); the continual burnt offering (Nu 28:7,8); sabbaths (Nu 28:9,10) and all the other set feasts (Nu 28:14-31; 29:6-39, passim). That drink offerings were common among the heathen is shown by De 32:38.

13. Primitive Nature of the Cultus:

The cult is thoroughly in keeping with and adapted to the age, and yet an ideal system in many respects. The ethical side is in the background, the external has the emphasis. No sacrifices will avail for a breach of the covenant between God and the people. The people thoroughly believed in the efficacy of the blood. It secured atonement and forgiveness. Their religious life found expression in the sacrifices. God was fed and pleased by the offerings by fire. Many of the customs are ancient and crude, so that it is difficult to imagine how such a primitive system could have been arranged and accepted afterward by the people who had the lofty ethical teachings of the prophets in their hands.

VI. Sacrifices in the History of Israel.

1. The Situation at Moses’ Death:

The tribes were outwardly consolidated, and a religious system was provided. Some of it was for the rulers, much for the people and much for the priests alone. The various laws were given in portions and afterward compiled. No one expected them to be observed until the nation had a capital and central sanctuary. Even then not every detail was always possible. They were not observed to any extent in the wilderness (Am 5:25), as it was impracticable. Even circumcision was neglected until the wanderers crossed the Jordan (Jos 5:2). The body of the system was not in full practice for 300 or 400 years. The ritual, as far as it could be observed, served as an educational agency, producing in the minds of the worshippers proper conceptions of the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, and the proper spirit in approaching God.

2. In the Time of Joshua:

Lay or common altars were in accordance With Ex 20:24; De 16:21; 27:7. In the days of Joshua, the Passover was celebrated (Jos 5:10 f). At Ebal an altar was erected, burnt and peace offerings were presented (Jos 8:30-32). The tabernacle was set up at Shiloh with a horned altar doubtless (Jos 18:1), and the cult was observed to some extent. Concerning the altar on the east side of the Jordan, see ALTAR.

3. The Period of the Judges:

Canaanitish altars were abundant with their corrupt and licentious cults of the Nature-gods. Israelites with their common altars would naturally use the high places, when possible. The stationary altars of the Canaanites were of course unlawful. The inevitable tendency would be to imitate the worship of the Canaanites. They were rebuked and threatened for this, and, weeping, offered sacrifices at Bochim (Jud 2:1-5). Gideon rebuilt an altar of Yahweh and offered a bullock as a burnt offering (Jud 6:25,26). The kid prepared for the angel was not first a sacrifice, but its acceptance as a gift was indicated by its being burned (Jud 6:19 f). Jephthah offered up his daughter as a burnt offering, believing such a sacrifice well-pleasing to Yahweh (Jud 11:31,39). Manoah and his wife prepared a kid for a burnt offering, a meal offering accompanying it (Jud 13:16 f). At the time of the civil war with Benjamin the ark and statutory altar seemed to be at Beth-el, where they offered burnt and peace offerings (Jud 20:26). The feasts at Shiloh imply at least peace offerings (Jud 21:19).

4. Times of Samuel and Saul:

Common lay altars and customary sacrifices were still much in use. The official altar with the statutory individual and national offerings appears to be at Shiloh. El-kanah sacrifices and feasts there yearly (1Sa 1:3 f). Such feasts were joyous and tended to excesses, as drunkenness seemed common (1Sa 1:13 f). All Israel came thither (1Sa 2:14); the priests claimed their portion, seizing it in an unlawful manner before the fat had been burned, or the flesh had been boiled (1Sa 2:13-17). This shows that such ritual as was prescribed in Le was practiced and considered by the people the only lawful custom. Was it in writing? Why not? Guilt offerings were made by the Philistines when smitten by tumors (1Sa 6:3,1,8,17). There were five golden mice and five golden tumors. Crude as were their ideas of a guilt offering, their actions show familiarity with the concept. Burnt offerings were used on special occasions and in great crises, such as receiving the ark (1Sa 6:14 f), going to war (1Sa 7:9 f; 13:9-12), victory (1Sa 11:15), etc. Saul met Samuel at a sacrificial feast in a small city (1Sa 9:12,13) on a high place. At Gilgal there were burnt and peace offerings (1Sa 10:8; 15:15,21). Saul offered burnt offerings himself (1Sa 13:9-12), but his fault was not in offering them himself, but in his haste and disobedience toward Samuel. "To obey is better than sacrifice," etc., says Samuel (1Sa 15:22), recognizing the fundamental principle of the covenant and realizing that ceremonies are in themselves worthless without the right spirit. The same truth is reiterated by the prophets later. To prevent the eating of flesh with the blood Saul built a special altar (1Sa 14:32-35). Family and clan sacrifices and feasts were evidently common (1Sa 16:2-5).

5. Days of David and Solomon:

The common altars and those on the high places were still in use. The central sanctuary at Shiloh had been removed, first apparently to Gilgal, then to Nob, and later to Gibeon. David’s and Saul’s families kept the feast of the new moon, when peace offerings would be sacrificed (1Sa 20:5,24-29). The sanctuary at Nob had the shewbread upon the table (1Sa 21:4 ) according to Ex 25:30. When the ark was brought up to Jerusalem, burnt offerings and peace offerings were offered according to the Law (2Sa 6:17,18; 1Ch 16:2,40). Ahithophel offered private, sacrifices at Shiloh (2Sa 15:12). David offered up burnt offerings, meal offerings, and peace offerings when purchasing the threshing-floor of Araunah (1Ch 21:23-26). The statutory horned altar at this time was at Gibeon (2Ch 1:6; 1Ch 21:29), but was soon removed to Jerusalem (1Ch 22:1). In the organized sanctuary and ritual, Levites were appointed for attendance on the shewbread, meal offerings, burnt offerings, morning and evening sacrifices, sabbaths, new moons and set feasts (1Ch 23:28-31), attempting to carry out the Levitical laws as far as possible. At the dedication of the temple, Solomon offered burnt offerings, meal offerings, and peace offerings in enormous quantities (1Ki 8:63; 2Ch 7:4-7); also burnt offerings and peace offerings with incense triennially (1Ki 9:25). The ritual at the regular seasons, daily, sabbaths, new moons, set feasts, etc., was observed according to the Levitical Law (2Ch 2:4; 8:13). Was it written?

6. In the Northern Kingdom:

The golden calf worship was carried on at Da and Beth-el, with priests, altars and ritual (1Ki 12:27 f). The high places were in use, but very corrupt (1Ki 13:2 ). A common altar was in use on Mt. Carmel (1Ki 18:30,32). Many others were known as Yahweh’s altars (1Ki 19:10). The system was in full swing in Amos’ time (Am 4:4,5) at Beth-el and Gilgal and probably at Beer-sheba (Am 5:5). Amos bitterly satirizes the hollow, insincere worship, but does not condemn the common altars and sacrifices, as these were legitimate. With Hosea the situation is worse, the cult has been "canonized," priests have been fed on the sin or sin offerings of the people, and the kingdom soon perished because of its corruption.

The high places were still in use and not denounced yet by the prophets (1Ki 3:2; 2Ki 14:4; 15:4,35). Worship was not fully centralized, though tending in that direction. In the days of Abijah the temple cult was in full operation according to Moses’ Law (2Ch 13:10 f). Asa removed many strange altars and high places because of their corruption (2Ch 14:3), but not all (2Ch 15:17; 20:33).

7. In the Southern Kingdom to the Exile:

In the days of Jehoiada priests and Levites were on duty according to Moses (2Ch 23:18; 24:14; 2Ki 12:4-16). Sin and guilt offerings were in sufficient numbers to be mentioned, but the money went to the priests. Kautzsch (HDB, V) and Paterson (HDB, IV), with others, think these offerings were only fines and altogether different from those of Le 4; 5. Such a statement is wholly gratuitous. The guilt offerings must be accompanied by fines, but not necessarily the sin offerings. The passage speaks of both as perfectly familiar and of long standing, but details are lacking and there can be no certainty in the matter, except that it proves nothing regarding a ritual of sin and guilt offerings existent or non-existent at that time. Kautzsch’s and Paterson’s motives are obvious. Having reversed the history and put the ritual law late, they must needs make adjustments in the records to have them agree. In the days of Ahaz, the regular offerings were observed for priests, kings and people (2Ki 16:13-15). Hezekiah destroyed many high places (2Ki 18:4). When repairing the temple, many sin offerings were presented to expiate the terrible sins of the previous reigns and the desecration of the temple (2Ch 29:21-24); and so, also, burnt offerings (2Ch 29:27 f), peace offerings and thank offerings, etc., in large number (2Ch 29:31-35; compare Isa 1:10-17). The Passover was celebrated with peace offerings (2Ch 30:1,2,15,22), oblations and tithes (2Ch 31:12); courses of Levites were established (2Ch 31:2), and the king’s portion (2Ch 31:3). All the common altars were abolished as far as possible, and worship centralized in Jerusalem (2Ch 32:12). Reversed by Manasseh (2Ch 33:3 f), the high places were again used (2Ch 33:17). Josiah purged Jerusalem (2Ch 34:3), and on the discovery of the Book of the Law, with its rule regarding a central sanctuary, that law was rigidly enforced (2Ch 35:6-14). The reformation under Josiah did not change the hearts of the people, and the rule followed in spite of all the efforts of Jeremiah and other prophets.

8. In the Exilic and Post-exilic Periods:

That the cult was entirely suspended in Jerusalem from 586 to 536 BC seems certain. There is no support for G. F. Moore’s statement (EB, IV) that an altar was soon rebuilt and sacrificing was carried on with scarcely a break. On the return of the exiles an altar was soon built and the continual burnt offerings began (Ezr 3:2 f), and likewise at the Feast of Tabernacles, new moons and set feasts (Ezr 3:4-7). Darius decreed that the Israelites should be given what was needed for the sacrifices (Ezr 6:9 f). The band under Ezra offered many sin offerings on their return (8:35). At the dedication of the temple many burnt and sin offerings were made for all the tribes (6:17). Those who had married foreign wives offered guilt offerings (10:19). The firman of Artaxerxes provided money for bullocks, rams, lambs, with meal offerings and drink offerings (7:17). Under Nehemiah and after the formal acceptance of the Law, a more complete effort was made to observe it. The shewbread, continual burnt and meal offerings, sabbaths, new moons, set feasts, sin offerings, first-fruits, firstlings, first-fruits of dough, heave offerings of all trees, wine and oil, etc., were carefully attended to (Ne 10:33-37) and were in full force later (Ne 13:5,9). There is no hint of innovation, only a thoroughgoing attempt to observe laws that had been somewhat neglected.

9. A Temple and Sacrifices at Elephantine:

At the time of Nehemiah and probably two or three centuries previous, there existed a temple on the island of Elephantine in the Nile. It was built by a Jewish military colony, and a system of sacrifices was observed. Just how far they copied the laws of Moses, and what were their ideas of a central sanctuary are uncertain.

Several Semitic tribes or nations practiced human sacrifices. It was common among the Canaanites, as is shown by the excavations at Gezer, Taanach, etc. They seemed to offer children in sacrifice at the laying of cornerstones of houses and other such occasions.

10. Human Sacrifices in Israel’s History:

Among the Carthaginians, Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans human sacrifices were all too common. The custom was not unknown to the Israelites. Abraham felt called upon to offer up Isaac, but was stopped in the act, and a lesson was given for all time. The abominable practice is forbidden by Moses (Le 18:21), where it is spoken of as a passing through the fire to Moloch, referring to Moabite and Ammonitish practices. Anyone practicing it was to be stoned (Le 20:2-5; De 12:31; 18:10). The rash vow of Jephthah resulted in the immolation of his daughter, but the incident is recorded as something extraordinary (Jud 11:31 f). The execution of Zebah and Zalmunna is a case of blood revenge, not sacrifice (Jud 8:18 ). Nor is the slaughter of Agag in any sense a sacrifice (1Sa 15:32 f). The death of Saul’s sons because of his breach of covenant with the Gibeonites was an expiatory sacrifice, to atone for the father’s perfidy (2Sa 21:9). The Moabite king in desperation offered up his firstborn and heir to appease the anger of Chemosh, and the effect was startling to the Israelites (2Ki 3:27). Ahaz practiced the abomination in times of trouble (2Ki 16:3). Such sacrifices were intended to secure favor with the Deity or appease His wrath. Hiel’s firstborn and youngest sons were probably sacrificed at the rebuilding or fortifying of Jericho (1Ki 16:34; compare Jos 6:26). Manasseh practiced the custom (2Ki 21:6), but it was stopped by Josiah (2Ki 23:10). Micah’s words were probably applicable to those times of Ahaz or Manasseh, when they thought to obtain God’s favor by costly gifts apart from ethical conditions (Mic 6:6-8). Isaiah refers to a heathen custom practiced by Israel of slaying the children in secret places (Isa 57:5), and Jeremiah represents it as practiced in his time (Jer 7:31; 19:5). Ezekiel denounces the same practice (Eze 16:20,21; 23:37).

11. Certain Heathen Sacrifices:

Heathen sacrifices are hinted at in the later books, such as swine, a mouse, a horse, a dog (Isa 65:4; 66:3,17; Eze 8:10; 2Ki 23:11). All such animals were unclean to the Hebrews, and the practice had its roots in some form of primitive totemism which survived in those heathen cults. They were little practiced among the Israelites.


VII. The Prophets and Sacrifices.

The prophets were reformers, not innovators. Their emphasis was on the ethical, rather than the ritual. They based their teachings on the fundamentals of the covenant, not the incidentals. They accepted sacrifices as part of the religious life, but would give them their right place. They accepted the law regarding common altars, and Samuel, David and Elijah used these altars. They also endorsed the movement toward a central sanctuary, but it is the abuse of the cult that they condemned, rather than its use. They combated the heathenish idea that all God needed was gifts, lavish gifts, and would condone any sin if only they bestowed abundance of gifts. They demanded an inward religion, morality, justice, righteousness, in short, an ethical religion. They preached an ethical God, rather than the profane, debasing and almost blasphemous idea of God which prevailed in their times. They reminded the people of the covenant at Sinai, the foundation principle of which was obedience and loyalty to Yahweh. If Joe is early, the cult is in full practice, as he deplores the cutting-off of the meal offering, or minchah, and the netsekh or drink offering, through the devastation of the locusts. He does not mention the burnt offerings, etc., as these would not be cut off by the locusts (Joe 1:7,13; 2:14). Joe emphasized the need for a genuine repentance, telling them to rend their hearts and not their garments (2:13).

Amos condemns the cult at Beth-el and Gilgal, and sarcastically bids them go on transgressing (4:4,5), mentions burnt offerings, peace offerings, thank offerings, and freewill offerings (4:4 f; 5:22), reminds them of the fact that they did not offer sacrifices in the wilderness (5:25), but demands rather righteousness and justice. There is nothing here against the Mosaic origin of the laws.

In Hosea’s time the hollow externalism of the cult had become worse, while vice, falsehood, murder, oppression, etc., were rampant. He utters an epoch-making sentence when he says, "I desire mercy, and not sacrifice," etc. (Ho 6:6). This is no sweeping renunciation of sacrifices, as such; it is only putting the emphasis in the right place. Such sacrifices as Hosea speaks of were worse than worthless. It is somewhat extravagant for Kautzsch to say, "It is perfectly futile to read out of Ho 6:6 anything else than a categorical rejection of sacrifices." Hosea recognizes their place in religion, and deplores the loss during exile (3:4). The corrupt cults he condemns (4:13 f), for they are as bad as the Canaanitish cults (4:9). Yahweh will spurn them (8:13; 9:4). The defection of the nation began early (11:2), and they have multiplied altars (12:11; 13:2). He predicts the time when they shall render as bullocks the "calves" of their lips (14:2 the King James Version).

Micah is as emphatic. The sacrifices were more costly in his day, in order the more surely to purchase the favor of the Deity. Human sacrifices were in vogue, but Micah says God requires them "to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God" (6:8). This does not in the least affect sacrifices of the right kind and with the right spirit.

Isaiah faces the same situation. There are multitudes of sacrifices, burnt offerings, blood of bullocks and goats, oblations, sweet incense, beasts, etc., but no justice, morality, love, truth or goodness. Thus their sacrifices, etc., are an abomination, though right in themselves (1:11-17; 61:8). The same is true of all pious performances today. It is probable that Isaiah worshipped in the temple (6:1,6). In his eschatological vision there is freedom to offer sacrifices in Egypt (19:19,21). The people are to worship in the holy mountain (27:13). Ariel must let the feasts come around (29:1).

Jeremiah maintains the same attitude. Your "frankincense from Sheba, and the sweet cane," burnt offerings and sacrifices are not pleasing to God (6:20; 14:12). They made the temple a den of robbers, in the streets they baked cakes to the Queen of heaven, etc. He speaks sarcastically, saying, "Add your burnt-offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat ye flesh. For I spake not unto your fathers .... concerning .... sacrifices: but .... commanded .... saying, Hearken unto my voice," etc. (7:21-23). This was literally true, as we have seen above; the covenant was not based on sacrifices but on obedience. Such a statement does not deny the institution of sacrifices for those within the covenant who are obedient. It is no "subterfuge," as Kautzsch calls it, "to say that the prophets never polemize against sacrifice per se, but only against offerings presented hypocritically, without repentance and a right disposition, with blood-stained hands; against the opera operata of the carnally-minded, half-heathen mass of the people." This is exactly what they do, and they are in perfect harmony with the covenant constitution and with their own ethical and spiritual functions. Kautzsch can make such an extravagant assertion only by ignoring the fact that Jeremiah himself in predicting the future age of righteousness and blessedness makes sacrifice an important factor (33:11,18). Picturing possible prosperity and glory, Jeremiah speaks of burnt offerings and meal offerings, frankincense, thank offerings, etc., being brought into the house of Yahweh (17:26). (We are aware of the harsh and arbitrary transference of this passage to a later time.)

Ezekiel is called by Kautzsch "the founder of the Levitical system." He is said to have preserved the fragment of the ritual that was broken up in the exile. But his references to the burnt offerings, sin offerings, and trespass offerings presuppose familiarity with them (40:38-42).

He assigns the north and south chambers for the meal, sin and trespass offerings (Eze 42:13). The cleansing of the altar requires a bullock and he-goat for a sin offering, with burnt and peace offerings with a ritual similar to Le 8:1 f (Eze 43:18-27). The Levites are to be ministers and slay burnt offerings and sacrifice for the people (Eze 44:11). The priest must offer his sin offering before he ministers in the sanctuary (Eze 44:27). They are to eat the meal, sin, and trespass offerings as in Eze 44:29. In Ezekiel 45, the people are to give the wheat, barley, oil and lambs for meal, burnt and peace offerings, while the prince shall give the meal, burnt and drink offerings for the feasts, the new moons, sabbaths and appointed feasts. He is to prepare them to make atonement (45:13-17). In cleansing the sanctuary the Levitical ritual is followed with added details (45:18-20). The Passover requires the burnt offerings, sin offerings, and meal offerings with an extra amount of cereal. The priests prepare the prince’s burnt offerings and peace offerings (46:2-4,6,9-12) for the sabbaths, new moons, etc. The daily burnt offerings (46:13-15) must have a sixth instead of a tenth part of an ephah, as in Leviticus 1. The sin and guilt offerings are to be boiled in a certain place, and the meal offering baked (1:20,26). Ezekiel varies from the Levitical Law in the quantity of the meal offering, picturing the ritual in a more ideal situation than Moses. The people are all righteous, with new hearts, the Spirit in them enabling them to keep the Law (36:26 f), and yet he institutes an elaborate ritual of purification for them. Does this seem to indicate that the prophets would abolish sacrifices entirely? It is strange reasoning which makes the prophets denounce the whole sacrificial system, when one of the greatest among them seeks to conserve an elaborate cult for the blessed age in the future.

In the second part of Isaiah, God declares that He has not been honored by the people with burnt offerings and meal offerings, etc., and that He has not burdened them with such offerings, but that He is wearied with their sins (43:23 f). Those foreigners who respect the covenant shall offer acceptable sacrifices (56:7) in the blessed age to come. The Servant of Yahweh is to be a guilt offering (53:10) to expiate the sins of Israel. Sacrifice is here for the first time lifted out of the animal to the human sphere, thus forging the link between the Old Testament and the New Testament. In the glorious age to come there are to be priests and Levites, new moons, sabbaths and worship in Jerusalem (66:21,23).

Daniel speaks of the meal offering being caused to cease in the midst of the week (9:27).

Zechariah pictures the golden age to come when all nations shall go up to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, which implies sacrifices. Pots are used, and all the worshippers shall use them in the ritual (14:16-21).

In Malachi’s age the ritual was in practice, but grossly abused. They offered polluted bread (1:7), blind, lame and sick animals (1:13 f). Yahweh has the same attitude toward these as toward those in the times of Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah (Mal 1:10 f). The Gentiles offer better ones (Mal 1:11). The Israelites covered the altar of Yahweh with tears by their hypocritical, non-ethical actions (Mal 2:13). They robbed God in withholding tithes and heave offerings (Mal 3:8). It is the abuse of the cult that is denounced here, as in all the other Prophets.

A special use of the term "sacrifice" is made by Zephaniah (1:7 f), applying it to the destruction of Israel by Yahweh. Bozrah and Edom are to be victims (Isa 34:6); also Gog and Magog (Eze 39:17,19).

In summing up the general attitude of the prophets toward sacrifices, even G. F. Moore in Encyclopedia Biblica admits: "It is not probable that the prophets distinctly entertained the idea of a religion without a cult, a purely spiritual worship. Sacrifice may well have seemed to them the natural expression of homage and gratitude." He might have added, "and of atonement for sin, and full fellowship with God."


VIII. Sacrifice in the "Writings."

1. Proverbs:

Dates are very uncertain here. The Psalms and Proverbs extend from David and Solomon into the Persian period. The sages take the same attitude as the prophets. They enjoin the sacrifice of first-fruits (Pr 3:9). A feast usually follows a sacrifice of peace offerings (7:14). The trespass offering (?) has no meaning to fools (14:9), and the sacrifices of the wicked are an abomination to God (15:8; 21:27). Righteousness and justice are more acceptable to Yahweh than sacrifices (21:3), yet to them sacrifices are a regular part of worship. Qoheleth speaks of sacrifices as quite the custom, and deprecates the offerings of fools (Ec 5:1; 9:2).

2. The Psalms:

The Psalmist admonishes the faithful to offer the sacrifices of righteousness, i.e. sacrifices offered in the right spirit (Ps 4:5). The drink offerings of idolaters are well known (Ps 16:4). Prayer is made for the acceptance of sacrifices (Ps 20:3). It is a coveted privilege to offer them (Ps 27:6; 84:1-4). The true relation between sacrifice and obedience is expressed in Ps 40:6-8. As in Jer 7:21 f, the emphasis is laid on obedience, without which sacrifices are worthless and repugnant to God. They are not the important thing in Israel’s religion, for that religion could exist without them as in the wilderness and exile. The teaching corresponds exactly with that of the prophets and is probably late. Ps 50 is even more emphatic. The Psalmist knows that sacrifices are in the covenant regulations (50:5), but repudiates the idea of giving anything to God or of feeding Him (50:12,13). Everything belongs to Him, He is not hungry, He would scorn the idea of drinking the blood of goats, etc. The idea of the cult being of any real value to God is scouted. Yet in the next verse the reader is admonished to offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and pay vows (50:14). The sacrifices that express worship, penitence, prayer, thanksgiving and faith are acceptable. The penitent Psalmist speaks in similar terms. Sacrifices as such are no delight to God, the real sacrifice is a broken heart (51:16 f). When the heart is right, then, as an expression of true-heartedness, devotion, repentance and faith, burnt offerings are highly acceptable (51:19). Another Psalmist promises a freewill offering to God (54:6; 66:13,15). Sacrifices of thanksgiving are advised (96:8; 107:22; 118:27) and promised (116:17). Prayer is likened to the evening sacrifice (141:2).

IX. The Idea and Efficacy of Sacrifices.

That the Hebrews thoroughly believed in the efficacy of sacrifices is without doubt. What ideas they entertained regarding them is not so clear. No single theory can account for all the facts. The unbloody sacrifices were regarded as food for the Deity, or a pleasant odor, in one instance, taking the place of a bloody offering (see above). The bloody offerings present some difficulties, and hence, many different views.

1. A Gift of Food to the Deity:

Included under the head of gifts of food to the Deity would be the meal and peace offerings, in so far as they were consumed by fire, the burnt offerings and the shewbread, etc. They were fire-food, the fire-distilled essence or etherealized food for God which gave Him pleasure and disposed Him favorably toward the offerer. They were intended either to appease wrath, to win favor, or to express thanks and gratitude for favors experienced. The earlier and more naive idea was probably to win the favor of the Deity by a gift. Later, other ideas were expressed in the offerings.

2. Expression of Adoration and Devotion, etc.:

The burnt offering best gave expression to the sentiments of adoration and devotion, though they may not be excluded from the meal and peace offerings. In other words, sacrifice meant worship, which is a complex exercise of the soul. Such was Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of Isaac. The daily burnt offerings were intended to represent an unbroken course of adoration and devotion, to keep the right relations with the Deity. On particular occasions, special offerings were made to insure this relation which was specially needed at that time.

3. Means of Purification from Uncleanness:

The burnt and sin offerings were the principal kinds used for the purpose of purification; water being used in case of uncleanness from contact with the dead. There were three classes of uncleanness:

(1) those inseparable from the sex functions of men and women;

(2) those resulting from contact with a corpse;

(3) the case of recovery from leprosy.

Purification ceremonies were the condition of such persons enjoying the social and religious life of the community. Why they should require a sin offering when most of them occurred in the regular course of nature and could not be guarded against, can be understood only as we consider that these offenses were the effects of sin, or the weaknesses of the fleshly nature, due to sin. Such uncleannesses made the subject unfit for society, and that unfitness was an offense to God and required a piacular offering.

4. Means of Consecration to Divine Service:

Consecration was of men and things. The ceremonies at the sealing of the covenant and the consecration of the Levites and of Aaron and his sons have been mentioned. The altar and furniture of the tabernacle were consecrated by the blood of the sin offering. This blood being the means of expiation, it cleansed from all defilement caused by human hands, etc. The sprinkling and smearing of the blood consecrated them to the service of God. The blood being holy, it sanctified all it touched (compare Eze 45:19 f).

5. Means of Establishing a Community of Life between Worshipper and God:

In other words, it is a kind of sacral communion. The blood is the sacred cement between man and God. This is possible only because it contains the life and is appropriated by God as a symbol of the communion into which He enters with the offerer. This blood "covers" all sin and defilement in man, permits him to enter God’s presence and attests the communion with Him. This is the view of Schultz, and partly that of Kautzsch, in regard to earlier ideas of sacrifice. Such a view may have been held by certain peoples in primitive times, but it does not do justice to the Levitical system.

6. View of Ritschl:

The view of Ritschl is that sacrifices served as a form of self-protection from God whose presence meant destruction to a weak creature. Thus, sacrifices have no moral value and no relation to sin and defilement. They have relation only to man’s creaturely weakness which is in danger of destruction as it approaches the presence of God. God’s presence necessarily meant death to the creature without reference to his holiness, etc. Such a view banishes all real sense of sin, all ethical values, and furnishes no proper motives. It gives a false idea of the character of God, and is entirely out of accord with the sacred record.

7. The Sacramental View:

That sacrifices were really a sacrament has been advocated by many. According to some theologians, the sacrifices were signs of spiritual realities, not only representing but sealing and applying spiritual blessings, and their efficacy was proportionate to the faith of the offerer. By some Roman Catholic theologians it is held that the Passover was especially of a sacramental character, corresponding to the Lord’s Supper. The purificatory rites corresponded to penance and the consecrating sacrifices to the sacrament of ordination. Bahr says that the acceptance of the sacrifice by Yahweh and His gift of sanctification to the worshippers give to the sacrifice the character of a sacramental act. Cave also speaks of them as having a sacramental significance, while refuting the position of Bahr. Though there may be a slight element of truth in some of these ideas, it is not the idea expressed in the cult, and seems to read into the ritual theology of theologians themselves. This view is closely allied to a phase of the following view (see Paterson, HDB, IV).

8. Symbol or Expression of Prayer:

That it is a symbol or expression of prayer is held by Maurice and to some extent by Schultz. Thus, the sacrifices are supposed to be symbols of the religious sentiment, which are the conditions of acceptance with God. The victim serves as an index of what is in the worshipper’s heart, and its virtue is exhausted when it is presented to God. Thus, it may express spiritual aspiration or supplication, hatred of sin and surrender to God with confession and supplication. Bahr holds that a valuable and unblemished victim is selected as symbolical of the excellence and purity to which the offerer aspires, the death is necessary to procure life which may be offered to God, and the sprinkling of the blood is the presentation to God of the life still resident in the blood. Schultz thinks that the sin offering was distinctively purifying. "Hence, the real ground of purification is that God accepts the sacrifice and thereby enters into communion with the sinner, granting him actual pardon, and that man in this offering enjoined by God as the embodied prayer of a penitent expresses his confession, his regrets and his petition for forgiveness." While there is an element of truth in this, and it is particularly applicable to the burnt offering, it does not embrace all the facts. It represents the views of the prophets and psalmists more than that of the Levitical code.

9. View of Kautzsch:

Kautzsch holds that the efficacy of sacrifices consists in this: "God has connected the accomplishment of atonement with the obedient discharge of the sacrificial prescriptions; whoever fulfils these and gets the priest to perform the atoning usages, is forgiven. The ritual, especially the presenting of the blood, is the indispensable condition of atonement, but it is not synonymous. Forgiveness of sin flows from the grace of God as taught by the prophets, only with them it is unnecessary, but with the Priestly Code it is necessary." Thus Kautzsch teaches a fundamental contradiction between the prophets and the Law, which is utterly wrong and is made necessary by first turning the history upside down and making the Priestly Code a hideous anachronism. He says, "That the process of atonement is connected with the presenting of blood, explains itself naturally as a powerful after-influence of primitive sacrificial usages, in which the presenting of blood had a different meaning. It is a symbolic (not real) satisfaction, as through the animal’s life symbolic expression is given to the fact that the sinner’s life is forfeited to God. But the main idea is that God has commanded it" (HDB, V, 721a). The half-truths in these statements will be obvious to most readers.

10. Vicarious Expiation Theory; Objections:

The theory that sacrifices were a vicarious expiation of sin and defilement, by a victim whose life is forfeited instead of the sinner’s, is the only one that will complete the Levitical idea of sacrifices. This of course applies especially to the sin offering. While there is an element of truth in the gift-theory, the prayer and sacramental theories and others, including that of Kautzsch, the idea of a vicarious suffering is necessary to complete the conception. Oehler recognizes the force of the prayer-theory, but advances to the idea that in sacrifices man places the life of a pure, innocent, sacrificial animal between himself and God, because he is unable to approach God on account of his sinfulness and impurity. Thus it becomes a kopher for him, to cover his sin. This is not a punishment inflicted on the animal, although in the case of uncertain homicide it is (De 21:1-9). The law does not lay the emphasis upon the slaughter, but on the shedding of the blood and the sprinkling of it on certain articles. The slaughter is of course presupposed. The altar is not regarded as a place of execution, it is the means for "covering" the sins of the covenant people, a gracious ordinance of God and well-pleasing to Him. But the gift can please God only as the gift of one who has given himself up to Him; therefore the ritual must represent this self-surrender, the life of the clean and guiltless animal in place of the impure and sinful soul of the offerer, and this pure soul, coming in between the offerer and the Holy God, lets Him see at the altar a pure life by which the impure life is covered. In the same way the pure element serves to cover the pollutions of the sanctuary and the altar, etc. Its meaning is specific, it is the self-sacrifice of the offerer vicariously accomplished. This self-sacrifice necessarily involves suffering and punishment, which is inflicted on the beast to which the guilt and sin are imputed, not imparted (see Oehler, Old Testament Theology, 278 f).

Objections have been raised by Dillmann, Kautzsch, and others on the ground that it could not have been vicarious because sacrifices were not allowed for sins which merited death, but only for venial transgressions (Nu 15:30). Certainly, but the entire sacrificial system was for those who were in the covenant, who did not commit sins that merited death, and was never intended as a penal substitute, because the sins of those in the covenant were not of a penal nature. The sacrifices were "to cover" the sin and defilement of the offerer, not the deserved death-penalty of one who broke the covenant. Again, they object, a cereal offering may atone, and this excludes a penal substitute. But sacrifices were not strictly penal, and the cereal was distinctly an exception in case of the very poor, and the exception proves the rule. In any case it represented the self-sacrifice of the offerer, and that was the important thing. Further, the victim was slain by the offerer and not by the priest, whereas it should have been put to death by God’s representative. This carries no weight whatever, as the essential thing was a sacrifice, and priests were not necessary for that. A more serious objection is that in the case of penal substitution, by which the sin and guilt are transferred to the animal, the flesh of that animal is regarded as most holy and to be eaten by the priests only, whereas it would necessarily be regarded as laden with guilt and curse, and hence, polluted and unfit for use. This is a pure assumption. In the first place, the substitution was not strictly penal, and, secondly, there is no hint that actual pollution is conveyed to the flesh of the animal or to the blood. Even if it were so, the shedding of the blood would expiate the sin and guilt, wipe out the pollution, and the flesh would be in no way affected. On the contrary, the flesh, having been the vehicle for the blood which has accomplished such a sacred and meritorious service, would necessarily be regarded as most holy. All the animal would be holy, rather than polluted, since it had performed such a holy service. Kautzsch’s objection thus appears puerile. The ritual of the Day of Atonement presents all these features. It is distinctly stated that the high priest confesses the iniquities of the children of Israel over the scapegoat, and that the goat carries this guilt away to the desert. Its blood is not shed, it is wholly unclean, and the man leading it away is unclean. This is undeniably a vicarious act. In the case of the other goat, a sin offering, the sin and guilt are imputed to it, but the life is taken and thus the expiation is made and the flesh of the victim used in such a holy service is most holy.

That this view of a vicarious expiation was generally accepted is evident on every hand. There was no need of a theoretical explanation in the cult; it was self-evident; as Holtzmann says, "the most external indeed, but also the simplest and most generally intelligible and the readiest answer to the nature of expiation" (New Testament Theology, I, 68). This view is amply corroborated by the researches of S. I. Curtiss in his Primitive Semitic Religion of Today. By searching questions he found that the fundamental idea of bloody sacrifices was that the victim took the place of the man, redeemed him, or atoned for him as a substitute. The "bursting forth of the blood" was the essential thing (see pp. 218 f).

11. Typology of Sacrifice:

The typology of sacrifice has been much discussed. There can be no question that, from the standpoint of the New Testament, many of the sacrifices were typical. They pre-figured, and designedly so, the great sacrifice of Christ. Thus they could not really take away sin; they were in that sense unreal. But the question is, were they typical to the people of Israel? Did Moses and the priests and prophets and people understand that they were merely figures, adumbrations of the true Sacrifice to come, which alone could take away sin? Did they understand that their Messiah was to be sacrificed, His blood shed, to make an atonement for them, and render their divinely-given means of atonement all unreal? The answer must be an emphatic "No." There is no hint that their minds were directed to think of the Coming One as their sacrifice, foreshadowed by their offerings. That was the one thing the nation could not and would not understand, and to this day the cross is their chief stumblingblock. The statement that the Servant is to be a guilt offering (Isa 53:10) is the nearest approach to it, but this is far from saying that the whole sacrificial system was understood as foreshadowing that event. The great prophets all speak of a sacrificial system in full vogue in the Messianic age.

We prefer to regard the sacrificial system as great religious educational system, adapted to the capacity of the people at that age, intended to develop right conceptions of sin, proper appreciation of the holiness of God, correct ideas of how to approach God, a familiarity with the idea of sacrifice as the fundamental thing in redemption, life, and service to God and man.


Only a Selection Is Attempted:

Articles in Encyclopedia Brit, 11th edition; Encyclopedia Biblica (G. F. Moore); HDB (Paterson); RE and Sch-Herz (Orelli); Jewish Encyclopedia; McClintock and Strong, etc.; Murray’s Bible Dict.; Standard BD, etc. Kautzsch, Jastrow and Wiedermann in HDB; article on "Comparative Religion" in Sch-Herz; Old Testament Theologies of Oehler, Dillmann, Smend, Schultz, Davidson, Koenig, etc.

On Sacrifices in General:

Wellhausen, Reste des arabischen Heidenthums; W. R. Smith, Religion of the Semites; J. G. Frazer, Golden Bough, II, III; E. B. Tylor, Primitive Culture; E. Westermarck, Origin of Moral Ideas; H. Hubert et Mauss, Annee sociologique, II; L. Marillier, Revue de l’histoire des religions, XXXVI, 208; S. I. Curtiss, Primitive Semitic Religion of Today.

Biblical Sacrifices:

F. Bahr, Symbolik des Mosdischen Kultus; J. H. Kurtz, Der alttestamentliche Opfercultus; A. Stewart, The Mosaic Sacrifices; J. G. Murphy, Sacrifice as Set Forth in Scripture; A. Cave, Scriptural Doctrine of Sacrifice; F. Maurice, The Doctrine of Sacrifice; J. M. P. Smith, Biblical Doctrine of Atonement. See also: Schultz, AJT, 1900, 257 ff; Smoller, Studien und Kritiken, 1891; Wiener, Essays in Pentateuchal Criticism; Pentateuchal Studies; Driver, ERE, VI.

J. J. Reeve


sak’-ri-lej: For "commit sacrilege" in Ro 2:22 (the King James Version and the English Revised Version margin), the Revised Version (British and American) has "rob temples," which more exactly expresses the meaning of the verb (hierosuleo; compare Ac 19:37, "robbers of temples" (which see)). The noun occurs in 2 Macc 4:39 (the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American)) for the corresponding form hierosulema.


sad-a-mi’-as: the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) SALEMAS (which see).


sa’-das: the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) ASTAD (which see).


sa-de’-us: the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) LODDEUS (which see).


sad’-’-l: As noun (merkabh, "a riding seat") the word occurs in Le 15:9 (margin "carriage"); ordinarily it is used as a verb (chabhash, literally, to "bind up" or "gird about"), to saddle an ass (Ge 22:3; Nu 22:21; Jud 19:10, etc.).


sad’-u-sez (tsadduqim; Saddoukaioi):


1. Name: Rival Etymologies. Probably from Zadok the High Priest

2. Authorities: New Testament, Josephus, Talmud (primary), Church Fathers (secondary)


1. Early Notices in Josephus: Alleged Relation to Differences between Prophets and Priests 2. Tendencies of Sadducees toward Hellenism as Causing Rise of Chacidhim

3. Favored by Alexander Janneus: Put in the Background by Alexandra Salome

4. From a Political Party, but also Became a Religious Party

5. Fear Roman Interference if Jesus’ Messianic Claims Are Recognized

6. Sadducees Antagonistic to the Apostles: Pharisees More Favorable

7. Fall of Sadducean Party at Outbreak of Jewish War


1. Laid Stress on Ceremonial Exactness

2. Disbelief in the Spiritual World, in a Resurrection, and in Providence: Their Materialism

3. Alleged Belief in Canonicity of the Pentateuch Alone

4. Relation to Epicureanism


1. Characterized as Rough and Boorish

2. Talmudic Account of the Sadducees

3. Relation to Temple and Worship was a Heathenish One

4. Sadducean Literature


1. Less Denounced by Jesus than the Pharisees

2. Attitude of Sadducees to Jesus

This prominent Jewish sect, though not so numerous as their opponents, the Pharisees, by their wealth and the priestly descent of many of them had an influence which fully balanced that of their more popular rivals. They were a political party, of priestly and aristocratic tendency, as against the more religious and democratic Pharisees.

I. Introductory.

1. Name: Rival Etymologies. Probably from Zadok the High Priest:

The Talmud form suggests derivation from the name of their founder, but the form in New Testament and Josephus would imply connection with the verb "to be righteous." The probability is, that the name is derived from some person named "Zadok." The most prominent Zadok in history was the Davidic high priest (2Sa 8:17; 15:24; 1Ki 1:35), from whom all succeeding high priests claimed to descend. It is in harmony with this, that in the New Testament the Sadducees are the party to whom the high priests belonged. On the authority of ‘Abhoth de-Rabbi Nathan (circa 1000 AD) another Zadok is asserted to be he from whom the Sadducees received their name. He was a disciple of Antigonus of Socho (circa 250 BC) who taught that love to God should be absolutely disinterested (Pirqe ‘Abhoth, i.3). ‘Abhoth de-Rabbi Nathan’s account of the derivation of the Sadduceanism from this teaching is purely an imaginary deduction (Charles Taylor, Sayings of the Jewish Fathers(2), 112). The majority of authoritative writers prefer to derive the name from Zadok, the colleague of Abiathar, the contemporary of David.

2. Authorities: New Testament, Josephus, Talmud (primary), Church Fathers (secondary):

Our main authorities for the teaching of the Sadducees are the New Testament and Josephus. According to the former, the Sadducees denied the resurrection of the body, and did not believe in angels or spirits (Mt 22:23; Ac 23:8). More can be learned from Josephus, but his evidence is to be received with caution, as he was a Pharisee and, moreover, had the idea that the Sadducees were to be paralleled with the Epicureans. The Talmud is late. Before even the Mishna was committed to writing (circa 200 AD) the Sadducees had ceased to exist; before the Gemara was completed (circa 700 AD) every valid tradition of their opinions must have vanished. Further, the Talmud is Pharisaic. The Fathers, Origen, Hippolytus, Epiphanius and Jerome, have derived their information from late Pharisaic sources.

II. Origin and History.

1. Early Notices in Josephus: Alleged Relation to Differences between Prophets and Priests:

Josephus describes the Sadducees along with the contemporary sects, the Pharisees and the Essenes (Josephus, Ant, XIII, v, 9; X, vi 2; XVIII, i, 4, 5; BJ, II, viii, 14). His earliest notice of them is after his account of the treaties of Jonathan with the Romans and the Lacedemonians. He indicates his belief that the parties were ancient; but if so, they must have formerly had other names. It has been suggested that the earlier form of the conflict between the Sadducees and Pharisees was opposition between the priests and the prophets. This, however, is not tenable; in the Southern Kingdom there was no such opposition; whatever the state of matters in the Northern Kingdom, it could have had no influence on opinion in Judea and Galilee in the time of our Lord. By others the rivalry is supposed to be inherited from that between the scribes and the priests, but Ezra, the earliest scribe, in the later sense of the term, was a priest with strong sacerdotal sympathies.

2. Tendencies of Sadducees toward Hellenism as Causing Rise of Chacidhim:

Probably the priestly party only gradually crystallized into the sect of the Sadducees. After the return from the exile, the high priest drew to himself all powers, civil and religious. To the Persian authorities he was as the king of the Jews. The high priest and those about him were the persons who had to do with the heathen supreme government and the heathen nationalities around; this association would tend to lessen their religious fervor, and, by reaction, this roused the zeal of a section of the people for the law. With the Greek domination the power of the high priests at home was increased, but they became still more subservient to their heathen masters, and were the leaders in the Hellenizing movement. They took no part in the Maccabean struggle, which was mainly supported by their opponents the chacidhim, as they were called (the Hasideans of 1 Macc 2:42, etc.). When the chacidhim, having lost sympathy with the Maccabeans, sought to reconcile themselves to the priestly party, Alcimus, the legitimate high priest, by his treachery and cruelty soon renewed the breach. The Hasmoneans then were confirmed in the high-priesthood, but were only lukewarmly supported by the chacidhim.

3. Favored by Janneus: Put in the Background by Alexandra Salome:

The division between the Hasmoneans and the chacidhim, or, as they were now called, Pharisees, culminated in the insult offered by Eleazar to John Hyrcanus, the Hasmonean high priest (Josephus, Ant, XIII, x, 5). Alexander Janneus, the son of Hyrcanus, became a violent partisan of the Sadducees, and crucified large numbers of the Pharisees. Toward the end of his life he fell out of sympathy with the Sadducees, and on his deathbed recommended his wife Alexandra Salome, who as guardian to his sons succeeded him, to favor the Pharisees, which she did. In the conflict between her two sons, John Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II, the Sadducees took the side of Aristobulus, the younger and abler brother. So long as the contest was between Jews, the Sadducean candidate prevailed. When the Romans were called in, they gave the advantage to Hyrcanus.

4. From a Political, Become Also a Religious Party:

Thrown into the background by the overthrow of their candidate for the high-priesthood, they soon regained their influence. They allied themselves with the Herodiana who had supported Hyrcanus, but were subservient to Rome. Though they were not theological at first, they became so, to defend their policy against the attacks of the Pharisees. A historic parallel may be found in the Cavaliers of the reign of Charles I, as over against the Puritans.

5. Fear Roman Interference if Jesus’ Messianic Claims Are Recognized:

The Sadducees at first regarded the struggle between our Lord and the Pharisees as a matter with which they had no concern. It was not until our Lord claimed to be the Messiah, and the excitement of the people consequent on this proved likely to draw the attention of the Roman authorities, that they intervened. Should Tiberius learn that there was widespread among the Jews the belief in the coming of a Jewish king who was to rule the world, and that one had appeared who claimed to be this Messiah, very soon would the quasi-independence enjoyed by the Jews be taken from them, and with this the influence of the Sadducees would depart. An oligarchy is proverbially sensitive to anything that threatens its stability; a priesthood is unmeasured in its vindictiveness; and the Sadducees were a priestly oligarchy. Hence, it is not wonderful that only the death of Jesus would satisfy them.

6. Sadducees Antagonistic to the Apostles: Pharisees More Favorable:

After the resurrection, the Pharisees became less hostile to the followers of Christ; but the Sadducees maintained their attitude of suspicion and hatred (Ac 4:1). Although a Pharisee, it was as agent of the Sadducean high priest that Paul persecuted the believers. The Sadducees gained complete ascendancy in the Sanhedrin, and later, under the leadership of Annas, or as he is sometimes called by Josephus, Ananus, the high priest, they put James the brother of our Lord to death (Josephus, Ant, XX, ix, 1) with many others, presumably Christians. The Pharisees were against these proceedings; and even sent messengers to meet Albinus who was coming to succeed Festus as governor to entreat him to remove Annas from the highpriesthood.

7. The Fall of Sadducean Party at Outbreak of Jewish War:

With the outbreak of the Jewish war, the Sadducees with their allies the Herodians were driven into the background by the Zealots, John of Gischala and Simon ben Gioras. Annas and Joshua, also called high priest by Josephus, were both put to death by the Zealots and their Idumean allies (Josephus, BJ, IV, v, 2). With the destruction of the temple and the fall of the Jewish state the Sadducean party disappeared.

III. Doctrines of the Sadducees.

1. Laid Stress on Ceremonial Exactness:

As the sacerdotal party, the Sadducees laid great stress on the ceremonial of sacrifice, and rejected the changes introduced by their opponents unless these found support in the words of the Law.

2. Disbelief in the Spiritual World, in a Resurrection, and in Providence: Their Materialism:

The most prominent doctrine of the Sadducees was the denial of the immortality of the soul and of the resurrection of the body. The Pharisees believed that Moses had delivered these doctrines to the elders, and that they had in turn handed them on to their successors. The Sadducees rejected all these traditions. From Ac (23:8) we learn that they believed in neither "angel or spirit." As appearances of angels are mentioned in the Law, it is difficult to harmonize their reverence for the Law with this denial. They may have regarded these angelophanies as theophanies. Josephus distinctly asserts (Ant., XVIII, i, 4) that the Sadducees believe that the soul dies with the body. They deny, he says, divine providence (BJ, II, viii, 14). Their theology might be called "religion within the limits of mere sensation."

3. Alleged Belief in Canonicity of the Pentateuch Alone:

The Fathers, Hippolytus, Origen and Jerome, credit the Sadducees with regarding the Pentateuch as alone canonical (Hipp., Haer., ix.24; Orig., Contra Celsum, i.49; on Mt 22:24-31; Jerome on Mt 22:31,32). This idea may be due to a false identification of the views of the Sadducees with those of the Samaritans. Had they rejected all the rest of Scripture, it is hardly possible that Josephus would have failed to notice this. The Talmud does not mention this among their errors. It is certain that they gave more importance to the Pentateuch than to any other of the books of Scripture. Hence, our Lord, in the passage commented on by Origen and Jerome, appeals to the Law rather than to the Prophets or the Psalms. It follows from the little value they put upon the Prophets that they had no sympathy with the Messianic hopes of the Pharisees.

4. Relation to Epicureanism:

It need hardly be said that there was no real connection between Sadduceanism and the doctrines of Epicurus. There was a superficial resemblance which was purely accidental. Their favor for Hellenism would give a color to this identification.

IV. Character of Sadducees.

1. Characterized as Rough and Boorish:

Josephus says that while the Pharisees have amiable manners and cultivate concord among all, the Sadducees are "very boorish" (BJ, II, viii, 14). This want of manners is not a characteristic usually associated with an aristocracy, or with supple diplomats, yet it suits what we find in the New Testament. The cruel horseplay indulged in when our Lord was tried before the irregular meeting of the Sanhedrin (Mt 26:67,68), the shout of Ananias at the trial of Paul before the same tribunal to "smite him on the mouth," show them to be rough and overbearing. What Josephus relates of the conduct of Annas (or Ananus) in regard to James, above referred to, agrees with this. Josephus, however, does not always speak in such condemnatory terms of Ananus—in Josephus, Jewish Wars (IV, v, 2) he calls him "a man venerable and most just." Only the violence which, as Josephus relates in the chapter immediately preceding that from which we have quoted, Ananus resorted to against the Zealots better suits the earlier verdict of Josephus than the later. As to their general character Josephus mentions that when the Sadducees became magistrates they conformed their judgments to Pharisaic opinion, otherwise they would not have been tolerated (Ant., XVIII, i, 4).

2. Talmudic Account of the Sadducees:

As noted above, the Talmud account is untrustworthy, late and Pharisaic. The Gemara from which most of the references are taken was not committed to writing till 7 centuries after Christ—when the traditions concerning the Sadducees, such as had survived, had filtered through 20 generations of Pharisaism. Despite this lengthened time and suspicious medium, there may be some truth in the representations of the Talmudic rabbin. In Pesachim 57a it is said, "Woe’s me on account of the house of Boothus, woe’s me on account of their spears; woe’s me on account of the house of Hanun (Annas), woe’s me on account of their serpent brood; woe’s me on account of the house of Kathros, woe’s me on account of their pen; woe’s me on account of the house of Ishmael ben Phabi; woe’s me on account of their fists. They are high priests and their sons are treasurers of the temple, and their sons-in-law, assistant treasurers; and their servants beat the people with sticks." As these are Sadducean names, this passage exhibits Pharisaic tradition as to the habits of the Sadducees.

3. Relation to Temple and Worship a Heathenish One:

The Sadducean high priests made Hophni and Phinehas too much their models. Annas and his sons had booths in the courts of the temple for the sale of sacrificial requisites, tables for money-changers, as ordinary coins had to be changed into the shekels of the sanctuary. From all these the priests of the high-priestly caste derived profit at the expense of desecrating the temple (Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus, I, 371 ff). They did not, as did the Pharisees, pay spiritual religion the homage of hypocrisy; they were frankly irreligious. While officials of religion, they were devoid of its spirit. This, however, represents their last stage.

4. Sadducean Literature:

The favor for the memory of John Hyrcanus shown by the writer of 1 Maccabees (16:23,14) renders probable Geiger’s opinion that the author was a Sadducee. He shows the party in its best form: his outlook on life is eminently sane, and his history is trustworthy. He has sympathy with the patriotism of the Hasideans, but none with the religious scruples which led them to desert Judas Maccabeus. That the writer of Ecclesiasticus from his silence as to the national expectation of a Messiah and the hope of a future life was also a Sadducee, is almost certain.

V. Relation of Sadducees to Jesus.

1. Less Denounced by Jesus than the Pharisees:

As the doctrines and practices of the Sadducees were quite alien from the teaching of our Lord and the conduct He enjoined, it is a problem why He did not denounce them more frequently than He did. Indeed He never denounces the Sadducees except along with their opponents the Pharisees; whereas He frequently denounces the Pharisees alone. As His position, both doctrinal and practical, was much nearer that of the Pharisees, it was necessary that He should clearly mark Himself off from them. There was not the same danger of His position being confused with that of the Sadducees. Josephus informs us that the Sadducees had influence with the rich; Jesus drew His adherents chiefly from the poor, from whom also the Pharisees drew. The latter opposed Him all the more that He was sapping their source of strength; hence, He had to defend Himself against them. Further, the Gospels mainly recount our Lord’s ministry in Galilee, whereas the Sadducees were chiefly to be found in Jerusalem and its neighborhood; hence, there may have been severe denunciations of the Sadducees that have not come down to us.

2. Attitude of Sadducees to Jesus:

The Sadducees probably regarded Jesus as harmless fanatic who by His denunciations was weakening the influence of the Pharisees. Only when His claim to be the Messiah brought Him within the sphere of practical politics did they desire to intervene. When they did determine to come into conflict with Jesus, they promptly decreed His arrest and death; only the arrest was to be secret, "lest a tumult arise among the people" (Mt 26:5). In their direct encounter with our Lord in regard to the resurrection (Mt 22:25 ff; Mr 12:20 ff; Lu 20:29 ), there is an element of contempt implied in the illustration which they bring, as if till almost the end they failed to take Him seriously. For Literature see PHARISEES.

J. E. H. Thomson


sad’-uk (Codex Alexandrinus (Fritzsche), Saddoukos; Codex Vaticanus Saddouloukos; the King James Version Sadduc): The high priest, an ancestor of Ezra (1 Esdras 8:2) =" Zadok" in Ezr 7:2 =" Sadoc" in 2 Esdras 1:1.



(1) (Latin Sadoch): An ancestor of Ezra (2 Esdras 1:1) =" Zadok" in Ezr 7:2 =" Sadduk" in 1 Esdras 8:2.

(2) (Sadok): A descendant of Zerubbabel and ancestor of Jesus (Mt 1:14).


saf’-run (karkom; krokos): Identical with the Arabic kurqum, the same as za‘faran, "saffron." The source of the true saffron is Crocus sativus (Natural Order, Indaceae), a plant cultivated in Palestine; there are 8 wild varieties in all of which, as in the cultivated species, the orange-colored styles and stigmas yield the yellow dye, saffron. So 4:14 probably refers to the C. sativus. There is a kind of bastard saffron plant, the Carthamus tinctorius (Natural Order, Compositae), of which the orange-colored flowers yield a dye like saffron.

E. W. G. Masterman


sal, sal’-er.

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


sants: In the King James Version 3 words are thus rendered:

(1) qadhosh (in Da the same root occurs several times in its Aramaic form, qaddish);

(2) chacidh, and

(3) hagioi.

Of these words (2) has in general the meaning of righteousness or goodness, while (1) and (3) have the meaning of consecration and divine claim and ownership. They are not primarily words of character, like chacidh, but express a relation to God as being set apart for His own. Wherever qadhosh refers to angels, the rendering "holy one" or "holy ones" has been substituted in the Revised Version (British and American) for the King James Version "saint" or "saints," which is the case also in Ps 106:16 margin (compare 34:9), and in 1Sa 2:9, as the translation of chacidh.

While hagioi occurs more frequently in the New Testament than does qadhosh in the Old Testament, yet both are applied with practical uniformity to the company of God’s people rather than to any individual. Perhaps the rendering "saints" cannot be improved, but it is necessary for the ordinary reader constantly to guard against the idea that New Testament saintship was in any way a result of personal character, and consequently that it implied approval of moral attainment already made. Such a rendering as "consecrate ones," for example, would bring out more clearly the relation to God which is involved, but, besides the fact that it is not a happy translation, it might lead to other errors, for it is not easy to remember that consecration—the setting apart of the individual as one of the company whom God has in a peculiar way as His own—springs not from man, but from God Himself, and that consequently it is in no way something optional, and admits of no degrees of progress, but, on the contrary, is from the beginning absolute duty. It should also be noted that while, as has been said, to be a saint is not directly and primarily to be good but to be set apart by God as His own, yet the godly and holy character ought inevitably and immediately to result. When God consecrates and claims moral beings for Himself and His service, He demands that they should go on to be fit for and worthy of the relation in which He has placed them, and so we read of certain actions as performed "worthily of the saints" (Ro 16:2) and as such "as becometh saints" (Eph 5:3). The thought of the holy character of the "saints," which is now so common as almost completely to obscure the real thought of the New Testament writers, already lay in their thinking very close to their conception of saintship as consecration by God to be His own.

David Foster Estes


sa’-la (shelach, "a missile," "petition"; Sala): A son of Arpachshad (the King James Version Ge 10:24; 11:13 ff; 1Ch 1:18,24). Lu 3:35,36 follows the Septuagint of Ge 10:24; 11:12 = SHELAH (which see).


sa-la’-mi-el (Codex Vaticanus Salamiel; Codex Alexandrinus Samamiel): An ancestor of Judith (Judith 8:1) = the King James Version "Samuel" =" Shelumiel."


sal’-a-mis (Salamis):

1. Site:

A town on the east coast of Cyprus, situated some 3 miles to the North of the medieval and modern Famagusta. It lay near the river Pediaeus, at the eastern extremity of the great plain of the Mesorea, which runs far into the interior of the island toward Nicosia (Lefkosia), the present capital. It possessed a good harbor and was the most populous and flourishing town of Cyprus in the Hellenic and Roman periods, carrying on a vigorous trade with the ports of Cilicia and Syria. Its population was mixed, consisting of Greek and Phoenician elements. The former, however, gave its tone and color to the city, and the chief cult and temple were those of Salaminian Zeus.

2. Early History:

Tradition represented Salamis as rounded soon after the fall of Troy by Teucer, the prince of Greek archers according to the narrative of the Iliad, who named it after his home, the island of Salamis off the Attic coast. In the 6th century BC it figures as an important Hellenic city, ruled by a line of kings reputed to be descended from Teucer and strengthened by an alliance with Cyrene (Herodotus iv.162). Gorgus, who was on the throne in 498 BC, refused to join the Ionic revolt against Persia, but the townsmen, led by his brother Onesilus, took up arms in the struggle for freedom. A crushing defeat, however, inflicted udder the walls of Salamis, restored the island to its Persian overlords, who reinstated Gorgus as a vassal prince (Herodotus v.103 ff). In 449 a Greek fleet under Athenian leadership defeated the Phoenician navy, which was in the service of Persia, off Salamis; but the Athenian withdrawal which followed the battle led to a decided anti-Hellenic reaction, until the able and vigorous rule of the Salaminian prince Euagoras, who was a warm friend of the Athenians (Isocrates, Euag.) and a successful champion of Hellenism. In 306 a second great naval battle was fought off Salamis, in which Demetrius Poliorcetes defeated the forces of Ptolemy I (Soter), king of Egypt. But 11 years later the town came into Ptolemy’s hands and, with the rest of the island, remained an appanage of the Egyptian kingdom until the incorporation of Cyprus in the Roman Empire (58 BC).

3. Visit of the Apostles:

When Barnabas and Paul, accompanied by John Mark, set out on their 1st missionary journey, they sailed from Seleucia, the seaport of Antioch, and landed at Salamis, about 130 miles distant, as the harbor nearest to the Syrian coast. There they preached the gospel in the "synagogues of the Jews" (Ac 13:5); the phrase is worth noting as pointing to the existence of several synagogues and thus of a large Jewish community in Salamis. Of work among the Gentiles we hear nothing, nor is any indication given either of the duration of the apostles’ visit or of the success of their mission; but it would seem that after a short stay they proceeded "through the whole island" (Ac 13:6 the Revised Version (British and American)) to Paphos. The words seem to imply that they visited all, or at least most, of the towns in which there were Jewish communities. Paul did not return to Salamis, but Barnabas doubtless went there on his 2nd missionary journey (Ac 15:39), and tradition states that he was martyred there in Nero’s reign, on the site marked by the monastery named after him.

4. Later History:

In 116 AD the Jews in Cyprus rose in revolt and massacred 240,000 Greeks and Romans. The rising was crushed with the utmost severity by Hadrian. Salamis was almost depopulated, and its destruction was afterward consummated by earthquakes in 332 and 342 AD. It was rebuilt, though on a much smaller scale, by the emperor Constantius II (337-61 AD) under the name Constantia, and became the metropolitan see of the island. The most famous of its bishops was Epiphanius, the staunch opponent of heresy, who held the see from 367 to 403. In 647 the city was finally destroyed by the Saracens. Considerable remains of ancient buildings still remain on the site; an account of the excavations carried on there in 1890 by Messrs. J. A.R. Munro and H.A. Tubbs under the auspices of the Cyprus Exploration Fund will be found in the Journal of Hellenic Studies, XII, 59-198.

M. N. Tod


sal-a-sad’-a-i (Codex Alexandrinus Salasadai; Codex Vaticanus Sarasadai, Sarisadai): An ancestor of Judith (Judith 8:1).



(1) (Salathiel): the King James Version; Greek form of "Shealtiel" (thus the Revised Version (British and American)). The father of Zerubbabel (1 Esdras 5:5,48,56; 6:2; Mt 1:12; Lu 3:27).

(2) Revised Version: Another name of Esdras (2 Esdras 3:1, "Salathiel").


sal (mimkar): The word is used: (1) in the sense of the transaction (Le 25:50); (2) in the sense of the limit of time involved in the transaction (Le 25:27); (3) in the sense of the price paid in the transaction (De 18:8), though it may be the same as (1) above.


sal’-e-ka, sal’-ka (calekhah; Codex Vaticanus Sekchai, Acha, Sela Codex Alexandrinus Elcha, Aselcha, Selcha): This place first appears in De 3:10 as marking the eastern boundary of Bashan. It is named as one of the cities in which Og, king of Bashan, ruled (Jos 12:5). It must certainly have been included in the portion given to the half-tribe of Manasseh, "all the kingdom of Og king of Bashan," although it is not named among the cities that fell to him (Jos 13:29 ). At a later time we are told that Gad dwelt over against the Reubenites in the land of Bashan unto Salecah (1Ch 5:11). The boundaries of the tribes probably changed from time to time.

The ancient city is represented by the modern Qalkhad, a city in a high and strong position at the southern end of Jebel ed-Druze (the Mountain of Bashan). On a volcanic hill rising some 300 ft. above the town, in what must have been the crater, stands the castle. The view from the battlements, as the present writer can testify, is one of the finest East of the Jordan, including the rich hollow of the Chauran, Mt. Hermon, and all the intervening country to the mountains of Samaria, with vast reaches of the desert to the South and to the East. The old Roman roads are still clearly seen running without curve or deviation across the country to Bozrah and Der’ah, away to the Southeast over the desert to Kal‘at el-‘Azraq, and eastward to the Persian Gulf. The castle was probably built by the Romans. Restored by the Arabs, it was a place of strength in Crusading times. It has now fallen on evil days. The modern town, containing many ancient houses, lies mainly on the slopes Southeast of the castle. The inhabitants are Druzes, somewhat noted for turbulence.

In the recent rising of the Druzes (1911) the place suffered heavily from bombardment by the Turks. For water-supply it is entirely dependent on cisterns filled during the rainy season. W. Ewing


sa’-lem (shalem; Salem): The name of the city of which Melchizedek was king (Ge 14:18; Heb 7:1,2; compare Ps 76:2).

1. Identification and Meaning:

To all appearance it lay near "the Vale of Shaveh," described as "the King’s Vale." The general opinion among the Jews was that Salem was the same as Jerusalem, as stated by Josephus (Ant., I, x, 2), who adds (VII, iii, 2) that it was known as Solyma (Saluma, variants, according to Whiston, Salem and Hierosolyma) in the time of Abraham. It was also reported that the city and its temple were called Solyma by Homer, and he adds that the name in Hebrew means "security." This identification with Jerusalem was accepted by Onkelos and all the Targums, as well as by the early Christians. The Samaritans have always identified Salem with Salim, East of Nablus, but Jewish and Christian tradition is more likely to be correct, supported, as it is, by Ps 76:2.

2. Testimony of Tell el-Amarna Tablets:

The testimony of the Tell el-Amarna Letters is apparently negative. Knudtzon’s number 287 mentions "the land" and "the lands of Urusalim," twice with the prefix for "city"; number 289 likewise has this prefix twice; and number 290 refers to "the city" or "a city of the land Urusalim called Bit-Ninip" Tablets (Beth-Anusat (?)). As there is no prefix of any kind before the element salim, it is not probable that this is the name of either a man (the city’s founder) or a god (like the Assyrian Sulmanu). The form in Sennacherib’s inscriptions (compare Taylor Cylinder, III, 50), Ursalimmu, gives the whole as a single word in the nominative, the double "m" implying that the "i" was long. As the Assyrians pronounced "s" as "sh", it is likely that the Urusalimites did the same, hence, the Hebrew yerushalaim, with "sh".


T. G. Pinches


(Salamos; the King James Version Salum): An ancestor of Ezra (1 Esdras 8:1) =" Shallum" in Ezr 7:2 =" Salemas" in 2 Esdras 1:1.


sal’-e-mas, sa-le’-mas (Latin Salame; the King James Version Sadamias): An ancestor of Ezra (2 Esdras 1:1) =" Shallum" in Ezr 7:2; called also "Salem" in 1 Esdras 8:1.


sa’-lim (Saleim): A place evidently well known, since the position of Aenon, the springs where John was baptizing, was defined by reference to it: they were "near to Salim" (Joh 3:23). It must be sought on the West of the Jordan, as will be seen from comparison of Joh 1:28; 3:26; 10:40. Many identifications have been proposed: e.g. that of Alford with Shilhim and Ain in the South of Judah; that of Busching with ‘Ain Karim, and that of Barclay, who would place Salim in Wady Suleim near ‘Anata, making Aenon the springs in Wady Far‘ah. These are all ruled out by their distance from the district where John is known to have been at work. If there were no other objection to that suggested by Conder (Tent Work, 49 f) following Robinson (BR, III, 333) with Salim in the plain East of Nablus, Aenon being ‘Ainun in Wady Far‘ah, it would be sufficient to say that this is in the very heart of Samaria, and therefore impossible. In any case the position of Aenon, 6 miles distant, with a high ridge intervening, would hardly be defined by the village of Salim, with the important city of Shechem quite as near, and more easily accessible.

Onomasticon places Aenon 8 Roman miles South of Scythopolis (Beisan), near Salumias (Salim) and the Jordan. This points to Tell Ridhghah, on the northern side of which is a shrine known locally as Sheikh Selim. Not far off, by the ruins of Umm el-‘Amdan, there are seven copious fountains which might well be called Aenon, "place of springs."

There is reason to believe that this district did not belong to Samaria, but was included in the lands of Scythopolis, which was an important member of the league of ten cities.

W. Ewing


sal’-i-moth (Codex Vaticanus Saleimoth; Codex Alexandrinus ‘Assalimoth; the latter is due to a wrong division of syllables; the King James Version Assailmoth): The same as "Shelomith" (Ezr 8:10). Salimoth, the son of Josaphias, of the family of Banias, and with him 130 men went up to Jerusalem with Ezra (1 Esdras 8:36).


sal’-a-i, sal’-i (callay; Salom; Codex Alexandrinus Salo, with variants):

(1) Eponym of a Benjamite family which settled at Jerusalem after the return, descendants of "Sallu" (1Ch 9:7; Ne 11:7,8); the pedigrees of Sallu differ decidedly in the two passages. Curtis (ICC) suggests that "son of Hodaviah, the son of Hassenuah" (Chronicles) is a corruption or derivation of "Judah the son of Hassenuah" (Nehemiah).

(2) Name of a priestly family (Ne 12:20), called "Sallu" in Ne 12:7.





sa-lu’-mus, sal’-u-mus Salloumos): One of the porters who had taken "strange wives" (1 Esdras 9:25) =" Shallum" in Ezr 10:24; called also "Salum" in 1 Esdras 5:28.





sal’-mi, sal’-ma-i (salmay; the King James Version, Shalmai (the King James Version in Ne 7:48 is "Shalmai" = Ezr 2:46); the Revised Version (British and American) "Salmai"): The eponym of a family of Nethinim, called "Shamlai" in Ezr 2:46 (Qere, shamlay, Kethibh, shalmay, followed by the King James Version text, "Shalmai"; Codex Vaticanus Samaan; Codex Alexandrinus Selami; Ne 7:48, Codex Vaticanus Salemei; Codex Alexandrinus Selmei; Codex Sinaiticus Samaei). The name suggests a foreign reign. In 1 Esdras 5:30 the corresponding name is "Subai."


sal-ma-na’-sar (2 Esdras 13:40) = SHALMANESER (which see).


sal’-mon, (salmon, "investiture" (Ru 4:21), salmah, "clothing" (Ru 4:20), salma’ (1Ch 2:11,51,54); Salmon):

(1) The father of Boaz, the husband of Ruth, and thus the grandfather of Jesse, David’s father (Ru 4:20,21). He is mentioned in both the genealogies of Jesus (Mt 1:4,5; Lu 3:32). From Mt 1:5 we learn that he married Rahab, by whom he begat Boaz.

(2) In 1Ch 2:51 ff, we read of a Salma, "the father of Beth-lehem," a son of Caleb, the son of Hur. He is also said to be the father of "the Netophathites, Atroth-beth-joab, and half of the Manahathites, the Zorites," and several "families of scribes."

See also ZALMON.

S. F. Hunter


sal-mo’-ne (Salmone): Ac 27:7.



sal’-o-as (Saloas; the King James Version, Talsus after Lot Thalsas): In 1 Esdras 9:22, for "Elasah" of Ezr 10:22.


sa’-lom (Salom):

(1) The father of Helkias (Baruch 1:7). Greek form of "Shallum."

(2) the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) "Salu" (1 Macc 2:26).


sa-lo’-me (Salome):

(1) One of the holy women who companied with Jesus in Galilee, and ministered to Him (Mr 15:40,41). She was present at the crucifixion (Mr 15:40), and was among those who came to the tomb of Jesus on the resurrection morning (Mr 16:1,2). Comparison with Mt 27:56 clearly identifies her with the wife of Zebedee. It is she, therefore, whose ambitious request for her sons James and John is recorded in Mt 20:20-24; Mr 10:35-40. From Joh 19:25 many infer that she was a sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus (thus Meyer, Luthardt, Alford); others (as Godet) dispute the inference.

(2) Salome was the name of the daughter of Herodias who danced before Herod, and obtained as reward the head of John the Baptist (Mt 14:3-11; Mr 6:17-28; compare Josephus, Ant, XVIII, v, 4). She is not named in the Gospels.

James Orr


solt (melach; halas, hals): Common salt is considered by most authorities as an essential ingredient of our food. Most people intentionally season their cooking with more or less salt for the sake of palatability. Others depend upon the small quantities which naturally exist in water and many foods to furnish the necessary amount of salt for the body. Either too much salt or the lack of it creates undesirable disturbance in the animal system. Men and animals alike instinctively seek for this substance to supplement or improve their regular diet. The ancients appreciated the value of salt for seasoning food (Job 6:6). So necessary was it that they dignified it by making it a requisite part of sacrifices (Le 2:13; Ezr 6:9; 7:22; Eze 43:24; Mr 9:49). In Nu 18:19; 2Ch 13:5, a "covenant of salt" is mentioned (compare Mr 9:49). This custom of pledging friendship or confirming a compact by eating food containing salt is still retained among Arabic-speaking people. The Arabic word for "salt" and for a "compact" or "treaty" is the same. Doughty in his travels in Arabia appealed more than once to the superstitious belief of the Arabs in the "salt covenant," to save his life. Once an Arab has received in his tent even his worst enemy and has eaten salt (food) with him, he is bound to protect his guest as long as he remains.


The chief source of salt in Palestine is from the extensive deposits near the "sea of salt" (see DEAD SEA), where there are literally mountains and valleys of salt (2Sa 8:13; 2Ki 14:7; 1Ch 18:12; 2Ch 25:11). On the seacoast the inhabitants frequently gather the sea salt. They fill the rock crevices with sea water and leave it for the hot summer sun to evaporate. After evaporation the salt crystals can be collected. As salt-gathering is a government monopoly in Turkey, the government sends men to pollute the salt which is being surreptitiously crystallized, so as to make it unfit for eating. Another extensive supply comes from the salt lakes in the Syrian desert East of Damascus and toward Palmyra. All native salt is more or less bitter, due to the presence of other salts such as magnesium sulphate.

Salt was used not only as a food, but as an antiseptic in medicine. Newborn babes were bathed and salted (Eze 16:4), a custom still prevailing. The Arabs of the desert consider it so necessary, that in the absence of salt they batheir infants in camels’ urine. Elisha is said to have healed the waters of Jericho by casting a cruse of salt into the spring (2Ki 2:20 f). Abimelech sowed the ruins of Shechem with salt to prevent a new city from arising in its place (Jud 9:45). Lot’s wife turned to a pillar of salt (Ge 19:26).


Salt is emblematic of loyalty and friendship (see above). A person who has once joined in a "salt covenant" with God and then breaks it is fit only to be cast out (compare Mt 5:13; Mr 9:50). Saltness typified barrenness (De 29:23; Jer 17:6). James compares the absurdity of the same mouth giving forth blessings and cursings to the impossibility of a fountain yielding both sweet and salt water (Jas 3:11 f).

James A. Patch




(‘ir ha-melach; Codex Alexandrinus hai pol(e)is halon): One of the six cities in the wilderness of Judah mentioned between Nibshan and Engedi (Jos 15:62). The site is very uncertain. The large and important Tell el-Milch (i.e. "the salt hill"), on the route from Hebron to Akaba, is possible.






(ge’ ha-melach): The scene of battles, firstly, between David or his lieutenant Abishai and the Edomites (2Sa 8:13; 1Ch 18:12; Ps 60$, title), and later between Amaziah and these same foes (2Ki 14:7; 2Ch 25:11). It is tempting to connect this "Valley of Salt" with es Sebkhah, the marshy, salt-impregnated plain which extends from the southern end of the Dead Sea to the foot of the cliffs, but in its present condition it is an almost impossible place for a battle of any sort. The ground is so soft and spongy that a wide detour around the edges has to be made by those wishing to get from one side to the other. It is, too, highly probable that in earlier times the whole of this low-lying area was covered by the waters of the Dead Sea. It is far more natural to identify ge’ ha-melach with the Wady el-Milch ("Valley of Salt"), one of the three valleys which unite at Beersheba to form the Wady ec-Ceba‘. These valleys, el-Milch and ec-Ceba, together make a natural frontier to Canaan.

E. W. G. Masterman


solt’-wurt (malluach, a word connected with melach, "salt," translated halimos; the King James Version, mallows): The halimos of the Greeks is the sea orache, Atriplex halimus, a silvery whitish shrub which flourishes upon the shores of the Dead Sea alongside the rutm (see JUNIPER). Its leaves are oval and somewhat like those of an olive. They have a sour flavor and would never be eaten when better food was obtainable (Job 30:4). The translation "mallows" is due to the apparent similarity of the Hebrew malluach to the Greek malache, which is the Latin malva and English "mallow." Certain species of malva known in Arabic, as khubbazeh, are very commonly eaten by the poor of Palestine.

E. W. G. Masterman


sa’-lu (calu’; Septuagint: Codex Vaticanus Salmon; Codex Alexandrinus Salo; the King James Version has "Salom" in 1 Macc 2:26): A prince and the head of a house of the tribe of Simeon and the father of Zimri who was slain by Phinehas along with the Midianite woman whom he had brought to the camp of Israel (Nu 25:14; RAPC 1Ma 2:26).


sa’-lum (Saloum):

(1) The head of one of the families of porters (1 Esdras 5:28; omitted in Codex Vaticanus) =" Shallum" in Ezr 2:42; 10:24; Ne 7:45 =" Sallumus" in 1 Esdras 9:25.

(2) 1 Esdras 8:1 King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) "Salem."


sal-u-ta’-shun (aspasmos): A greeting which might be given in person, orally (Lu 1:29,41,44), or in writing, usually at the close of a letter (1Co 16:21; Col 4:18; 2Th 3:17; compare use of chairein, "greeting," "joy" in Jas 1:1). The Pharisaic Jews loved salutations in public places (Mt 23:7; Mr 12:38, the King James Version "greeting," the Revised Version (British and American) "salutation"; Lu 11:43; 20:46). Often these salutations were very elaborate, involving much time in prostrations, embracings, etc. When Jesus therefore sent out the Seventy, He forbade salutation by the way (Lu 10:4), though He ordinarily encouraged proper civilities of this sort (Mt 5:47; 10:12).

Edward Bagby Pollard




1. General

2. Individualism

3. Faith

4. Moral Law

5. Sacrifices

6. Ritual Law


1. General

2. The Law


1. The Baptist

2. Kingdom of God

3. Present and Future

4. Individualism

5. Moral Progress

6. Forgiveness

7. Person of Christ

8. Notes


1. General

2. Moral Progress

3. The Spirit

4. Mystical Union

5. Forgiveness

6. Atonement

7. Summary

8. Notes


1. John

2. Hebrews

3. Peter

4. Summary


In English Versions of the Bible the words "salvation" "save," are not technical theological terms, but denote simply "deliverance," in almost any sense the latter word can have. In systematic theology, however, "salvation" denotes the whole process by which man is delivered from all that would prevent his attaining to the highest good that God has prepared for him. Or, by a transferred sense, "salvation" denotes the actual enjoyment of that good. So, while these technical senses are often associated with the Greek or Hebrew words translated "save," etc., yet they are still more often used in connection with other words or represented only by the general sense of a passage. And so a collection of the original terms for "save," etc., is of value only for the student doing minute detailed work, while it is the purpose of the present article to present a general view of the Biblical doctrine of salvation.

I. In the Old Testament

1. General:

(1) As long as revelation had not raised the veil that separates this life from the next, the Israelite thought of his highest good as long life in a prosperous Palestine, as described most typically in De 28:1-14. But a definite religious idea was present also, for the "land of milk and honey," even under angelic protection, was worthless without access to God (Ex 33:1-4), to know whom gives happiness (Isa 11:9; Hab 2:14; Jer 31:34). Such a concept is normal for most of the Old Testament, but there are several significant enlargements of it. That Israel should receive God’s characteristic of righteousness is a part of the ideal (Isa 1:26; 4:3,4; 32:1-8; 33:24; Jer 31:33,34; Eze 36:25,26; Zec 8; Da 9:24; Ps 51:10-12). Good was found in the extension of Israel’s good to the surrounding nations (Mic 4:1-4; Isa 2:2-4; 45:5,6; Zec 2:11; 8:22,23; Isa 60; 66:19-21; Zec 14:16,17, etc.), even to the extension of the legitimate sacrificial worship to the soil of Egypt (Isa 19:19-22). Palestine was insufficient for the enjoyment of God’s gifts, and a new heaven and a new earth were to be received (Isa 65:17; 66:22), and a share in the glories was not to be denied even to the dead (Isa 26:19; Da 12:2). And, among the people so glorified, God would dwell in person (Isa 60:19,20; Zec 2:10-12).

(2) Salvation, then, means deliverance from all that interferes with the enjoyment of these blessings. So it takes countless forms—deliverance from natural plagues, from internal dissensions, from external enemies, or from the subjugation of conquerors (the exile, particularly). As far as enemies constitute the threatening danger, the prayer for deliverance is often based on their evil character (Ps 101$, etc.). But for the individual all these evils are summed up in the word "death," which was thought to terminate all relation to God and all possibility of enjoying His blessings (Ps 115:17; Isa 38:18, etc.). And so "death" became established as the antinomy to "salvation," and in this sense the word has persisted, although the equation "loss of salvation = physical death" has long been transcended. But death and its attendant evils are worked by God’s wrath, and so it is from this wrath that salvation is sought (Jos 7:26, etc.). And thus, naturally, salvation is from everything that raises that wrath, above all from sin (Eze 36:25,26, etc.).

2. Individualism:

(1) At first the "unit of salvation" was the nation (less prominently the family), i.e. a man though righteous could lose salvation through the faults of others. A father could bring a curse on his children (2Sa 21:1-14), a king on his subjects (2Sa 24), or an unknown sinner could bring guilt on an entire community (De 21:1-9). (On the other hand, ten righteous would have saved Sodom (Ge 18:32).) And the principle of personal responsibility was grasped but slowly. It is enunciated partly in De 24:16 (compare Jer 31:29,30), definitely in Eze 14:12-20; 18; 33:1-20, and fairly consistently in the Psalms. But even Ezekiel still held that five-and-twenty could defile the whole nation (8:16), and he had not the premises for resolving the problem—that temporal disasters need not mean the loss of salvation.

(2) But even when it was realized that a man lost salvation through his own fault, the converse did not follow. Salvation came, not by the man’s mere merit, but because the man belonged to a nation peculiarly chosen by God. God had made a covenant with Israel and His fidelity insured salvation: the salvation comes from God because of His promise or (in other words) because of His name. Indeed, the great failing of the people was to trust too blindly to this promise, an attitude denounced continually by the prophets throughout (from, say, Am 3:2 to Mt 3:9). And yet even the prophets admit a real truth in the attitude, for, despite Israel’s sins, eventual salvation is certain. Ezekiel 20 states this baldly: there has been nothing good in Israel and there is nothing good in her at the prophet’s own day, but, notwithstanding, God will give her restoration (compare Isa 8:17,18; Jer 32:6-15, etc.).

3. Faith:

Hence, of the human conditions, whole-hearted trust in God is the most important. (Belief in God is, of course, never argued in the Bible.) Inconsistent with such trust are, for instance, seeking aid from other nations (Isa 30:1-5), putting reliance in human skill (2Ch 16:12), or forsaking Palestine through fear (Jer 42). In Isa 26:20 entire passivity is demanded, and in 2Ki 13:19 lukewarmness in executing an apparently meaningless command is rebuked.

4. Moral Law:

(1) Next in importance is the attainment of a moral standard, expressed normally in the various codes of the Law. But fulfillment of the letter of the commandment was by no means all that was required. For instance, the Law permitted the selling of a debtor into slavery (De 15:12), but the reckless use of the creditor’s right is sharply condemned (Ne 5:1-13). The prophets are never weary of giving short formulas that will exclude such supralegalism and reduce conduct to a pure motive: "Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish justice in the gate" (Am 5:15); "To do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God" (Mic 6:8). And the chief emphasis on the Law as written is found in the later books, especially Ps 119 (compare Ps 147:20).

(2) Certain breaches of the Law had no pardon, but were visited with death at once, even despite repentance and confession (Jos 7). But for the most part it is promised that repentance will remove the guilt of the sin if the sin be forsaken (Eze 18) or, in the case of a sin that would not be repeated, if contrition be felt (2Sa 12). Suffering played a part in salvation by bringing knowledge of sin to the conscience, the exile being the most important example (Eze 36:31). But almost always it is assumed that the possibility of keeping the Law is in man’s own power, De 30:11-14 stating this explicitly, while the Wisdom Books equate virtue with learning. Consequently, an immense advance was made when man felt the need of God’s help to keep the Law, the need of the inscription of the Laws on the heart (Jer 31:31-34). So an outlook was opened to a future in which God would make the nation righteous (see references in 1, above).

5. Sacrifices:

(1) The acceptance of repentance as expiating past sins was an act of God’s mercy. And so His mercy instituted other and additional means of expiation, most notably that of the sacrifices. But a theology of sacrifice is conspicuously absent from the whole Old Testament, for Le 17:11 is too incidental and too obscure to be any exception. The Christian (or very late Jewish) interpretations of the ritual laws lack all solidity of exegetical foundation, despite their one-time prevalence. Nor is the study of origins of much help for the meaning attached to the rites by the Jews in historic times. General ideas of offering, of self-denial, of propitiation of wrath, and of entering into communion with God assuredly existed. But in the advanced stages of the religion there is no evidence that sacrifices were thought to produce their effect because of any of these things, but solely because God had commanded the sacrifices.

(2) Most sins required a sacrifice as part of the act of repentance, although in case of injury done the neighbor, only after reparation had been made. It is not quite true that for conscious sins no sacrifices were appointed, for in Le 5:1; 6:1-3, sins are included that could not be committed through mere negligence. And so such rules as Nu 15:30,31 must not be construed too rigorously.

(3) Sacrifices as means of salvation are taught chiefly by Ezekiel, while at the rebuilding of the temple (Haggai, Zechariah) and the depression that followed (Malachi), they were much in the foreground, but the pre-exilic prophets have little to say about their positive value (Jer 7:22 is the nadir). Indeed, in preexilic times the danger was the exaltation of sacrifice at the expense of morality, especially with the peace offering, which could be turned into a drunken revel (Am 5:21-24; Isa 22:13; compare Pr 7:14). Attempts were made to "strengthen" the sacrifices to Yahweh by the use of ethnic rites (Ho 4:14; Isa 65:1-5), even with the extreme of human sacrifice (Jer 7:31; Eze 20:26). But insistence on the strict centralization of worship and increasing emphasis laid on the sin and trespass offerings did away with the worst of the abuses. And many of the Psalms, especially Ps 66 and Ps 118, give beautiful evidence of the devotion that could be nourished by the sacrificial rites.

6. Ritual Law:

Of the other means of salvation the ritual law (not always sharply distinguishable from the moral law) bulks rather large in the legislation, but is not prominent in the prophets. Requisite to salvation was the abstention from certain acts, articles of food, etc., such abstinence seeming to lie at the background of the term "holiness." But a ritual breach was often a matter of moral duty (burying the dead, etc.), and, for such breaches, ritual means of purification are provided and the matter dropped. Evidently such things lay rather on the circumference of the religion, even to Ezekiel, with his anxious zeal against the least defilement. The highest ritual point is touched by Zec 14:20,21, where all of Jerusalem is so holy that not a pot would be unfit to use in the temple (compare Jer 31:38-40). Yet, even with this perfect holiness, sacrifices would still have a place as a means by which the holiness could be increased. Indeed, this more "positive" view of sacrifices was doubtless present from the first.

II. Intermediate Literature.

1. General:

(1) The great change, compared with the earlier period, is that the idea of God had become more transcendent. But this did not necessarily mean an increase in religious value, for there was a corresponding tendency to take God out of relation to the world by an intellectualizing process. This, when combined with the persistence of the older concept of salvation in this life only, resulted in an emptying of the religious instinct and in indifferentism. This tendency is well represented in Ecclesiastes, more acutely in Sirach, and in New Testament times it dominated the thought of the Sadducees. On the other hand the expansion of the idea of salvation to correspond with the higher conception of God broke through the limitations of this life and created the new literary form of apocalyptics, represented in the Old Testament especially by Zechariah 9-14; Isaiah 24-27, and above all by Daniel. And in the intermediate literature all shades of thought between the two extremes are represented. But too much emphasis can hardly be laid on the fact that this intermediate teaching is in many regards simply faithful to the Old Testament. Almost anything that can be found in the Old Testament—with the important exception of the note of joyousness of Deuteronomy, etc.—can be found again here.

(2) Of the conceptions of the highest good the lowest is the Epicureanism of Sirach. The highest is probably that of 2 Esdras 7:91-98 Revised Version: "To behold the face of him whom in their lifetime they served" the last touch of materialism being eliminated. Indeed, real materialism is notably absent in the period, even Enoch 10:17-19 being less exuberant than the fancies of such early Christian writers as Papias. Individualism is generally taken for granted, but that the opposite opinion was by no means dormant, even at a late period, is shown by Mt 3:9. The idea of a special privilege of Israel, however, of course pervades all the literature, Sibylline Oracles 5 and Jubilees being the most exclusive books and the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, the most broad-hearted. In place of national privilege, though, is sometimes found the still less edifying feature of party privilege (Ps Sol; Enoch 94-105), the most offensive case being the assertion of Enoch 90:6-9 that the (inactive) Israel will be saved by the exertions of the "little lamb" Pharisees, before whom every knee shall bow in the Messianic kingdom.

2. The Law:

(1) The conceptions of the moral demands for salvation at times reach a very high level, especially in the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs (making every allowance for Christian interpolations). "The spirit of love worketh together with the law of God in long-suffering unto the salvation of men" (Test. Gad 4:7) is hardly unworthy of Paul, and even Jubilees can say, "Let each love his brother in mercy and justice, and let none wish the other evil" (Jub 36:8). But the great tendency is to view God’s law merely as a series of written statutes, making no demands except those gained from a rigid construing of the letter. In Lu 10:29, "Who is my neighbor?" is a real question—if he is not my neighbor I need not love him! So duties not literally commanded were settled by utilitarian motives, as outside the domain of religion, and the unhealthy phenomenon of works of supererogation made its appearance (Lu 17:10). The writer of Wisdom can feel smugly assured of salvation, because idolatry had been abstained from (Wisd 15:4; contrast Paul’s polemic in Ro 2). And discussions about "greatest commandments" caused character in its relation to religion to be forgotten.

(2) As God’s commands were viewed as statutes the distinction between the moral and the ritual was lost, and the ritual law attained enormous and familiar proportions. The beautiful story of Judith is designed chiefly to teach abstinence from ritually unclean food. And the most extreme case is in Jubilees 6:34-38—all of Israers woes come from keeping the feasts by the actual moon instead of by a correct (theoretical) moon (!).

(3) Where self-complacency ceased and a strong moral sense was present, despair makes its appearance with extraordinary frequency. The period is the period of penitential prayers, with an undercurrent of doubt as to how far mercy can be expected (So of Three Children verses 3-22; Pr Man; RAPC Bar 3:1-8, etc.). "What profit is it unto us, if there be promised us an immortal time, whereas we have done the works that bring death?" (2 Esdras 7:119 the Revised Version (British and American)). The vast majority of men are lost (2 Esdras 9:16) and must be forgotten (2 Esdras 8:55), and Ezra can trust for his own salvation only by a special revelation (7:77 the Revised Version (British and American)). So, evidently, Paul’s pre-Christian experience was no unique occurrence.

(4) Important for the New Testament background is the extreme lack of prominence of the sacrifices. They are never given a theological interpretation (except in Philo, where they cease to be sacrifices). Indeed, in Sirach 35 they are explicitly said to be devotions for the righteous only, apparently prized only as an inheritance from the past and "because of the commandment" (Sirach 35:5; yet compare 38:11). When the temple was destroyed and the sacrifices ceased, Judaism went on its way almost unaffected, showing that the sacrifices meant nothing essential to the people. And, even in earlier times, the Essenes rejected sacrifices altogether, without losing thereby their recognition as Jews.

III. The Teaching of Christ.

1. The Baptist:

The Baptist proclaimed authoritatively the near advent of the kingdom of God, preceded by a Messianic judgment that would bring fire for the wicked and the Holy Spirit for the righteous. Simple but incisive moral teaching and warning against trusting in national privileges, with baptism as an outward token of repentance, were to prepare men to face this judgment securely. But we have no data to determine how much farther (if any) the Baptist conceived his teaching to lead.

2. Kingdom of God:

It was in the full heat of this eschatological revival that the Baptist had fanned, that Christ began to teach, and He also began with the eschatological phrase, "The kingdom of God is at hand." Consequently, His teaching must have been taken at once in an eschatological sense, and it is rather futile to attempt to limit such implications to passages where modern eschatological phrases are used unambiguously. "The kingdom of God is at hand" had the inseparable connotation "Judgment is at hand," and in this context, "Repent ye" (Mr 1:15) must mean "lest ye be judged." Hence, our Lord’s teaching about salvation had primarily a future content: positively, admission into the kingdom of God, and negatively, deliverance from the preceding judgment. So the kingdom of God is the "highest good" of Christ’s teaching but, with His usual reserve, He has little to say about its externals. Man’s nature is to be perfectly adapted to his spiritual environment (see RESURRECTION), and man is to be with Christ (Lu 22:30) and the patriarchs (Mt 8:11). But otherwise—and again as usual—the current descriptions are used without comment, even when they rest on rather materialistic imagery (Lu 22:16,30). Whatever the kingdom is, however, its meaning is most certainly not exhausted by a mere reformation of the present order of material things.

3. Present and Future:

But the fate of man at judgment depends on what man is before judgment, so that the practical problem is salvation from the conditions that will bring judgment; i.e. present and future salvation are inseparably connected, and any attempt to make rigid distinctions between the two results in logomachies. Occasionally even Christ speaks of the kingdom of God as present, in the sense that citizens of the future kingdom are living already on this earth (Mt 11:11; Lu 17:21(?); the meaning of the latter verse is very dubious). Such men are "saved" already (Lu 19:9; 7:50(?)), i.e. such men were delivered from the bad moral condition that was so extended that Satan could be said to hold sway over the world (Lu 10:18; 11:21).

4. Individualism:

That the individual was the unit in this deliverance needs no emphasis: Still, the divine privilege of the Jews was a reality and Christ’s normal work was limited to them (Mt 10:5; 15:26, etc.). He admitted even that the position of the Jewish religious leaders rested on a real basis (Mt 23:3). But the "good tidings" were so framed that their extension to all men would have been inevitable, even had there not been an explicit command of Christ in this regard. On the other hand, while the message involved in every case strict individual choice, yet the individual who accepted it entered into social relations with the others who had so chosen. So salvation involved admission to a community of service (Mr 9:35, etc.). And in the latter part of Christ’s ministry, He withdrew from the bulk of His disciples to devote Himself to the training of an inner circle of Twelve, an act explicable only on the assumption that these were to be the leaders of the others after He was taken away. Such passages as Mt 16:18; 18:17 merely corroborate this.

5. Moral Progress:

Of the conditions for the individual, the primary (belief in God being taken for granted) was a correct moral ideal. Exclusion from salvation came from the Pharisaic casuistry which had invented limits to righteousness. Ex 20:13 had never contemplated permitting angry thoughts if actual murder was avoided, and so on. In contrast is set the idea of character, of the single eye (Mt 6:22), of the pure heart (Mt 5:8). Only so can the spiritual house be built on a rock foundation. But the mere ideal is not enough; persistent effort toward it and a certain amount of progress are demanded imperatively. Only those who have learned to forgive can ask for forgiveness (Mt 6:12; 18:35). They who omit natural works of mercy have no share in the kingdom (Mt 25:31-46), for even idle words will be taken into account (Mt 12:36), and the most precious possession that interferes with moral progress is to be sacrificed ruthlessly (Mt 18:8,9, etc.). Men are known by their fruits (Mt 7:20); it is he that doeth the will of the Father that shall enter into the kingdom (Mt 7:21), and the final ideal—which is likewise the goal—is becoming a son of the Father in moral likeness (Mt 5:45). That this progress is due to God’s aid is so intimately a part of Christ’s teaching on the entire dependence of the soul on God that it receives little explicit mention, but Christ refers even His own miracles to the Father’s power (Lu 11:20).

6. Forgiveness:

Moral effort, through God’s aid, is an indispensable condition for salvation. But complete success in the moral struggle is not at all a condition, in the sense that moral perfection is required. For Christ’s disciples, to whom the kingdom is promised (Lu 12:32), the palsied man who receives remission of sins (Mr 2:5), Zaccheus who is said to have received salvation (Lu 19:9), were far from being models of sinlessness. The element in the character that Christ teaches as making up for the lack of moral perfection is becoming "as a little child" (compare Mr 10:15). Now the point here is not credulousness (for belief is not under discussion), nor is it meekness (for children are notoriously not meek). And it most certainly is not the pure passivity of the newly born infant, for it is gratuitous to assume that only such infants were meant even in Lu 18:15, while in Mt 18:2 (where the child comes in answer to a call) this interpretation is excluded. Now, in the wider teaching of Christ the meaning is made clear enough. Salvation is for the poor in spirit, for those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for the prodigal knowing his wretchedness. It is for the penitent publican, while the self-satisfied Pharisee is rejected. A sense of need and a desire that God will give are the characteristics. A child does not argue that it has earned its father’s benefits but looks to him in a feeling of dependence, with a readiness to do his bidding. So it is the soul that desires all of righteousness, strives toward it, knows that it falls short, and trusts in its Father for the rest, that is the savable soul.

7. Person of Christ:

Christ speaks of the pardon of the publican (Lu 18:9 ) and of the prodigal welcomed by the Father (Lu 15:20), both without intermediary. And it is perhaps not necessary to assume that all of those finding the strait gate (Mt 7:14) were explicitly among Christ’s disciples. But would Christ have admitted that anyone who had come to know Him and refused to obey Him would have been saved? To ask this question is to answer it in the negative (Mr 9:40 is irrelevant). Real knowledge of the Father is possible only through the unique knowledge of the Son (Lu 10:21,22), and lack of faith in the Son forfeits all blessings (Mr 6:5,6; 9:23). Faith in Him brings instant forgiveness of sins (Mr 2:5), and love directed to Him is an indisputable sign that forgiveness has taken place (Lu 7:47). But Christ thought of Himself as Messiah and, if the term "Messiah" is not to be emptied of its meaning, this made Him judge of the world (such verses as Mr 8:38 are hardly needed for direct evidence). And, since for Christ’s consciousness an earthly judgeship is unthinkable, a transcendental judgeship is the sole alternative, corroborated by the use of the title Son of Man. But passage from simple humanity to the transcendental glory of the Son-of-Man Messiah involved a change hardly expressible except by death and resurrection. And the expectation of death was in Christ’s mind from the first, as is seen by Mr 2:18,19 (even without 2:20). That He could have viewed His death as void of significance for human salvation is simply inconceivable, and the ascription of Mr 10:45 to Pauline influence is in defiance of the facts. Nor is it credible that Christ conceived that in the interval between His death and His Parousia He would be out of relation to His own. To Him the unseen world was in the closest relation to the visible world, and His passage into glory would strengthen, not weaken, His power. So there is a complete justification of Mr 14:22-25: to Christ His death had a significance that could be paralleled only by the death of the Covenant victim in Ex 24:6-8, for by it an entirely new relation was established between God and man.

8. Notes:

(1) Salvation from physical evil was a very real part, however subordinate, of Christ’s teaching (Mr 1:34, etc.).

(2) Ascetic practices as a necessary element in salvation can hardly claim Christ’s authority.

It is too often forgotten that the Twelve were not Christ’s only disciples. Certainly not all of the hundred and twenty of Ac 1:15 (compare 1:21), nor of the five hundred of 1Co 15:6, were converted after the Passion. And they all certainly could not have left their homes to travel with Christ. So the demands made in the special case of the Twelve (still less in such an extremely special case as Mr 10:21) in no way represent Christ’s normal practice, whatever readiness for self-sacrifice may have been asked of all. So the representations of Christ as ruthlessly exacting all from everyone are quite unwarranted by the facts. And it is well to remember that it is Mt 11:19 that contains the term of reproach that His adversaries gave Him.

IV. Paul.

Instead of laying primal stress on Paul’s peculiar contributions to soteriology, it will be preferable to start from such Pauline passages as simply continue the explicit teaching of Christ. For it is largely due to the common reversal of this method that the present acute "Jesus-Paulus" controversy exists.

1. General:

That Paul expected the near advent of the kingdom of God with a judgment preceding, and that salvation meant to him primarily deliverance from this judgment, need not be argued. And, accordingly, emphasis is thrown sometimes on the future deliverance and sometimes on the present conditions for the deliverance (contrast Ro 5:9 and 8:24), but the practical problem is the latter. More explicitly than in Christ’s recorded teaching the nature and the blessings of the kingdom are described (see KINGDOM OF GOD), but the additional matter is without particular religious import. A certain privilege of the Jews appears (Ro 3:1-8; 9-11), but the practical content of the privilege seems to be eschatological only (Ro 11:26). Individual conversion is of course taken for granted, but the life after that becomes highly corporate.


2. Moral Progress:

(1) The moral ideal is distinctly that of character. Paul, indeed, is frequently obliged to give directions as to details, but the detailed directions are referred constantly to the underlying principle, Ro 14 or 1Co 8 being excellent examples of this, while "love is the fulfillment of the law" (Ro 13:10) is the summary.

(2) Persistent moral effort is indispensable, and the new life absolutely must bring forth fruit to God (Ro 6:4; 13:12; Ga 5:24; Col 3:5; Eph 2:3; 4:17,22-32; Tit 2:11-14). Only by good conduct can one please God (1Th 4:1), and the works of even Christians are to be subjected to a searching test (1Co 3:13; 4:5; 2Co 5:10) in a judgment not to be faced without the most earnest striving (1Co 10:12; Php 2:12), not even by Paul himself (1Co 9:27; Php 3:12-14). And the possibility of condemnation because of a lack of moral attainment must not be permitted to leave the mind (1Co 3:17; Ga 5:21; compare Ro 8:12,13; 11:20; 1Co 10:12; Ga 6:7-9). Consequently, growth in actual righteousness is as vital in Paul’s soteriology as it is in that teaching of Christ: Christians have "put off the old man with his doings" (Col 3:9).

3. The Spirit:

That this growth is God’s work is, however, a point where Paul has expanded Christ’s quiet assumption rather elaborately. In particular, what Christ had made the source of His own supernatural power—the Holy Spirit—is specified as the source of the power of the Christian’s ordinary life, as well as of the more special endowments (see SPIRITUAL GIFTS). In the Spirit the Christian has received the blessing promised to Abraham (Ga 3:14); by it the deeds of the body can be put to death and all virtues flow into the soul (Ga 5:16-26), if a man walks according to it (1Co 6:19,20; 1Th 4:8). The palmary passage is Romans 7-8. In Romans 7 Paul looks back with a shudder on his pre-Christian helplessness (it is naturally the extreme of exegetical perversity to argue that he dreaded not the sin itself but only God’s penalty on sin). But the Spirit gives strength to put to death the deeds of the body (8:13), to disregard the things of the flesh (8:5), and to fulfill the ordinance of the Law (8:4). Such moral power is the test of Christianity: as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God (8:14).

4. Mystical Union:

This doctrine of the Spirit is simply that what Christ did on earth would be carried on with increased intensity after the Passion. That this work could be thought of out of relation to Christ, or that Christ Himself could have so thought of it (see above, III, 7) is incredible. So the exalted Christ appears as the source of moral and spiritual power ( Paul speaks even more of Christ’s resurrection than of the Passion), the two sources (Christ and the Spirit) being very closely combined in 2Co 3:17; Ro 8:9; Ga 4:6. Our old man has been crucified, so putting an end to the bondage of sin, and we can prevent sin from reigning in our mortal bodies, for our burial into Christ’s death was to enable us to walk in newness of life (Ro 6:2-14). The resurrection is a source of power, and through Christ’s strength all things can be done (Php 4:13,10). Christ is the real center of the believer’s personality (Ga 2:20); the man has become a new creature (2Co 5:17; compare Col 2:20; 3:3); we were joined to another that we might bring forth fruit to God (Ro 7:4). And by contact with the glory of the Lord we are transformed into the same image (2Co 3:18), the end being conformation to the image of the Son (Ro 8:30).

5. Forgiveness:

(1) This growth in actual holiness, then, is fundamental with Paul: "If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Ro 8:9). And the acquisition of strength through union with Christ is vitally connected with the remission of sins. In Ro 7:1-6 (compare Col 2:11,12), the mystical union with Christ makes His death ours (compare Col 3:3) and so removes us from the Law (compare Ro 10:4; 1Co 15:56), which has no relation to the dead. And by the life-giving power of this union the strength of sin is broken (Ro 6:6).

(2) The condition in man that makes forgiveness possible Paul calls "faith"—a very complicated term. Its chief use, however, is in opposition to "works" (most clearly in Ro 9:30-10:13). The Jews’ "pursuit after righteousness"—the attempt to wring salvation from God as wages earned—was vain (Ro 10:13), and in contrast is the appeal to God, the conscious relinquishment of all claim (Ro 4:5). The soul looks trustingly for salvation to its Father, precisely the attitude of the "children" in the teaching of Christ. But no more than in the teaching of Christ is faith a purely passive virtue, for man must be "obedient" to it (Ro 1:5; 10:16; 1Th 2:13). And for the necessary presence of love in faith compare 1Co 13:2; Ga 5:6; Eph 3:17.

6. Atonement:

Because of faith—specifically, faith in Christ (except Ro 4; Ga 3:6)—God does not visit the penalties of sins on believers, but treats them as if they were righteous (Ro 5:1, etc.). But this is not because of a quality in the believer or in the faith, but because of an act that preceded any act of Christian faith, the death of Christ (not the cross, specifically, for Paul does not argue from the cross in all of Roman). Through this death God’s mercy could be extended safely, while before this the exercise of that mercy had proved disastrous (Ro 3:25,26). And this death was a sacrifice (Ro 3:25, etc.). And it is certain that Paul conceived of this sacrifice as existing quite independently of its effect on any human being. But he has given us no data for a really complete sacrificial doctrine, a statement sufficiently proved by the hopeless variance of the interpretations that have been propounded. And that Paul ever constructed a theory of the operation of sacrifices must be doubted. There is none in the contemporary Jewish literature, there is none in the Old Testament, and there is none in the rest of the New Testament, not even in Hebrews. Apparently the rites were so familiar that sacrificial terminology was ready to hand and was used without particular reflection and without attempting to give it precise theological content. This is borne out by the ease with which in Ro 3:24,25 Paul passes from a ransom (redemption) illustration to a (quite discordant) propitation illustration. For further discussion see ATONEMENT; JUSTIFICATION. Here it is enough make a juridical theory constructed from Pauline implications and illustrations central in Christianity is to do exactly what Paul did not do.

7. Summary:

Summing up, there is a double line of thought in Paul: the remission of penalties through the atoning death of Christ and the destruction of the power of sin through strength flowing from Christ, the human element in both cases being faith. The question of the order of the steps is futile, for "to have faith," "to be in Christ," and "to have the Spirit" are convertible terms, i.e. in doctrinal phraseology, the beginnings of sanctification are simultaneous with justification. Attempts to unify the two lines of thought into a single theory cannot claim purely Biblical support. The "ethical" theory, which in its best form makes God’s pardon depend on the fact that the sinner will be made holy (at least in the next world), introduces the fewest extraneous elements, but it says something that Paul does not say. On the other hand one may feel that considering Paul as a whole—to say nothing of the rest of the New Testament—the pure justification doctrine has bulked a little too large in our dogmatics. God’s pardon for sin is an immensely important matter, but still more important is the new power of holiness.

8. Notes:

(1) Baptism presents another obstacle to a strict unifying of Pauline theology. A very much stronger sacramentarianism is admitted in Paul today than would have been accepted a generation ago, and such passages as Ro 6:1-7; Ga 3:27; Col 2:12 make it certain that he regarded baptism as conferring very real spiritual powers. But that he made a mechanical distinction between the blessings given then and those given at some other time must be doubted.

(2) Salvation from the flesh (Ro 7:24) involves no metaphysical dualism, as "flesh" is the whole of the lower nature from which the power to holiness saves a man (Ro 8:13). Indeed, the body itself is an object of salvation (Ro 8:11; and see RESURRECTION).

(3) Quite in the background lies the idea of salvation from physical evil (2Co 1:10, etc.). Such evils are real evils (1Co 11:30), but in God’s hands they may become pure blessings (Ro 5:3; 2Co 12:7).

(4) Salvation from sin after conversion is due to God’s judging the man in terms of the acquired supernatural nature (Ro 8:14, etc.). Yet certain sins may destroy the union with Christ altogether (1Co 3:17, etc.), while others bring God’s chastening judgment (1Co 11:30-32). Or proper chastisement may be inflicted by Paul himself (1Co 5:1-5; 1Ti 1:20) or by the congregation (Ga 6:1; 2Th 3:10-15; 2Co 2:6).

V. Rest of New Testament: Summary.

1. John:

(1) John had the task of presenting Christ to Gentiles, who were as unfamiliar with the technical meaning of such phrases as "kingdom of God" or "Son of Man" as is the world today, and to Gentiles who had instead a series of concepts unknown in Palestine. So a "translation of spiritual values" became necessary if the gospel were to make an immediate appeal, a translation accomplished so successfully that the Fourth Gospel has always been the most popular. The Synoptists, especially the extremely literal Mark, imperatively demand a historical commentary, while John has successfully avoided this necessity.

(2) The "kingdom of God," as a phrase (3:3,5; compare 18:36), is replaced by "eternal life." This life is given in this world to the one who accepts Christ’s teaching (5:24; 6:47), but its full realization will be in the "many mansions" of the Father’s house (14:2), where the believer will be with Christ (17:24). A judgment of all men will precede the establishment of this glorified state (5:28,29), but the believer may face the judgment with equanimity (5:24). So the believer is delivered from a state of things so bad as expressible as a world under Satan’s rule (12:31; 14:30; 16:11), a world in darkness (3:19), in ignorance of God (17:25), and in sin (8:21), all expressible in the one word "death" (5:24).

(3) The Jews had real privilege in the reception of Christ’s message (1:11; 4:22, etc.), but the extension of the good tidings to all men was inevitable (12:23,12, etc.). Belief in Christ is wholly a personal matter, but the believers enter a community of service (13:14), with the unity of the Father and Son as their ideal (17:21).

(4) The nature of the moral ideal, reduced to the single word "love" (13:34; 15:12), is assumed as known and identified with "Christ’s words" (5:24; 6:63, etc.), and the necessity of progress toward it as sharply pointed as in the Synoptists. The sinner is the servant of sin (8:34), a total change of character is needed (3:6), and the blessing is only on him who does Christ’s commandments (13:17). This "doing" is the proof of love toward Christ (14:15,21); only by bearing fruit and more fruit can discipleship be maintained (15:1-6; compare 14:24), and, indeed, by bearing fruit men actually become Christ’s disciples (15:8, Gr). The knowledge of Christ and of God that is eternal life (17:3) comes only through moral effort (7:17). In John the contrasts are colored so vividly that it would almost appear as if perfection were demanded. But he does not present even the apostles as models of sanctity (13:38; 16:32), and self-righteousness is condemned without compromise; the crowning sin is to say, "We see" (9:41). It is the Son who frees from sin (8:36), delivers from darkness (8:12; 12:46), and gives eternal life (11:25,26; compare 3:16; 5:24; 6:47). This emphasis on the divine side of the process is probably the reason for the omission of the terms "repent," "repentance," from the Gospel in favor of "faith" (6:29, especially), but this "faith" involves in turn human effort, for, without "abiding," faith is useless (8:30,31).

(5) An advance on the Synoptists is found in the number of times Christ speaks of His death (3:14,15; 10:11,15; 12:24,32; 17:19) and in the greater emphasis laid on it, but no more than in the Synoptists is there any explanation of how the Atonement became effectual. A real advance consists in the prospect of Christ’s work after His death, when, through the Paraclete (7:38,39; 14:16 ff), a hitherto unknown spiritual power would become available for the world. And spiritual power is due not only to a union of will with Christ but to mystical union with Him (15:1-9). See above, III, 7, for the relation of these thoughts to the synoptic teaching.

2. Hebrews:

(1) The emphasis of He is of course on the sacrificial work of Christ, but the Epistle makes practically no contribution to theology of sacrifice. The argument is this: The Old Testament sacrifices certainly had an efficacy; Christ’s sacrifice fulfilled their types perfectly, therefore it had a perfect efficacy (Heb 9:13,14). This must have been a tremendously potent argument for He’s own purpose, but it is of very little help to the modern theologian. (2) More than in Paul is emphasized the human training of Christ for His high-priestly work. Since He laid hold of the seed of Abraham (Heb 2:16), He learned by experience all that man had to suffer (Heb 2:17; 4:15; 5:8, etc.). In He the essence of the sacrifice lies not in the death but in what we call the ascension—the presentation of the blood in the heavenly tabernacle (Heb 9:11-14; see the commentaries). That the death was specifically on the cross (Heb 12:2 only) belonged to the stage of training and had no special significance in the sacrificial scheme. Christ’s intercession for us in heaven receives more emphasis than in the rest of the New Testament (Heb 7:25).

3. Peter:

The one other distinct contribution to New Testament soteriology is made in 1 Peter’s evaluation of the vicarious suffering of the "Servant" of Isa 53. What Christ did through His sufferings we may do in some degree through our sufferings; as His pains helped not only living mankind, but even departed sinners, so we may face persecution more happily with the thought that our pains are benefiting other men (1Pe 3:16-20). It is hardly possible that Peter thought of this comparison as conveying an exhaustive description of the Atonement (compare 1Pe 1:19), but that the comparison should be made at all is significant.

4. Summary:

(1) Salvation is both a present and a future matter for us. The full realization of all that God has in store will not be ours until the end of human history (if, indeed, there will not be opened infinite possibilities of eternal growth), but the enjoyment of these blessings depends on conditions fulfilled in us and by us now. But a foretaste of the blessings of forgiveness of sins and growth in holiness is given on this earth. The pardon depends on the fact of God’s mercy through the death of Christ—a fact for religious experience but probably incapable of expression as a complete philosophical dogma. But strength comes from God through the glorified Christ (or through the Spirit), this vital union with God being a Christian fundamental. These two lines are in large degree independent, and the selection of the proportions profitable to a given soul is the task of the pastor.

(2) That human effort is an essential in salvation is not to be denied in the face of all the New Testament evidence, especially Paul taken as a whole. And yet no one with the faintest conception of what religion means would think of coming before God to claim merit. Here the purely intellectual discussions of the subiect and its psychological course in the soul run in different channels, and "anti-synergistic" arguments are really based on attempts to petrify psychology experience into terms of pure dogma.

(3) Still more true is this of attempts to describe mathematically the steps in salvation—the ordo salutis of the older dogmatics—for this differs with different souls. In particular, New Testament data are lacking for the development of the individual born of Christian parents in a Christian country.

(4) Further, the social side of salvation is an essentially Christian doctrine and cannot be detached from the corporate life of the Christian church. Salvation from temporal evils is equally, if secondarily, Christian. Nationalism in salvation is at present much in the background. But it is as true today as it was in ancient Israel that the sins of a nation tend to harm the souls of even those who have not participated actively in those sins.


The literature of salvation is virtually the literature of theology (see under separate articles, ATONEMENT; JUSTIFICATION; SANCTIFICATION; PERSON OF CHRIST; JOHANNINE THEOLOGY; PAULINE THEOLOGY, etc.), but a few recent works may be mentioned. Indispensable are the works of Stevens, The Christian Doctrine of Salvation and The Pauline Theology. Garvie’s Romans in the "New Century" series should be used as a supplement to any other commentary on Romans. The juridical theory has as its best defense in English Denney’s The Death of Christ. The ethical theory is best presented in the works of DuBose, The Gospel in the Gospels, The Gospel according to Paul, and High-Priesthood and Sacrifice (Sanday’s The Expositor reviews of the two former, reprinted in The Life of Christ in Recent Research, should be read in any case).

Burton Scott Easton


sam’-a-el: the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) SALAMIEL (which see).


sa-ma’-yas (Samaias):

(1) One of the "captains over thousands" prominent at the Passover of Josiah (1 Esdras 1:9) =" Shemaiah" in 2Ch 35:9.

(2) One of the heads of families of the sons of Adonikam who returned with Ezra (1 Esdras 8:39) =" Shemaiah" in Ezr 8:13.

(3) One of the "men of understanding" whom Ezra commissioned to obtain from Loddeus, the captain, men to execute the priest’s office (1 Esdras 8:44) =" Shemaiah" in Ezr 8:16 (the King James Version Mamaias).

(4) the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) "Shemaiah the great," a kinsman of Tobit and father of Ananias and Jonathan (Tobit 5:13).

S. Angus


sa-ma’-ri-a, (shomeron; Samareia, Semeron, and other forms):

(1) Shechem was the first capital of the Northern Kingdom (1Ki 12:25). Jeroboam seems later to have removed the royal residence to Tirzah (1Ki 14:17). After the brief reigns of Elah and Zimri came that of Omri, who reigned 6 years in Tirzah, then he purchased the hill of Samaria and built a city there, which was thenceforward the metropolis of the kingdom of Israel (1Ki 16:24). Here the hill and the city are said to have been named after Shemer, the original owner of the land. There is nothing intrinsically improbable in this. It might naturally be derived from shamar, and the name in the sense of "outlook" would fitly apply to a city in such a commanding position. The residence, it was also the burying-place, of the kings of Israel (1Ki 16:28; 22:37; 2Ki 10:35; 13:9,13; 14:16).

Toward the western edge of the Ephraimite uplands there is a broad fertile hollow called Wady esh-Sha‘ir, "valley of barley." From the midst of it rises an oblong hill to a height of over 300 ft., with a level top. The sides are steep, especially to the Samaria. The greatest length is from East to West. The surrounding mountains on three sides are much higher, and are well clad with olives and vineyards. To the West the hills are lower, and from the crest a wide view is obtained over the Plain of Sharon, with the yellow ribbon of sand that marks the coast line, and the white foam on the tumbling billows; while away beyond stretch the blue waters of the Mediterranean. On the eastern end of the hill, surrounded by olive and cactus, is the modern village of Sebastiyeh, under which a low neck of land connects the hill with the eastern slopes. The position is one of great charm and beauty; and in days of ancient warfare it was one of remarkable strength. While it was overlooked from three sides, the battlements crowning the steep slopes were too far off to be reached by missiles from the only artillery known in those times—the sling and the catapult. For besiegers to attempt an assault at arms was only to court disaster. The methods adopted by her enemies show that they relied on famine to do their work for them (2Ki 6:24 f, etc.). Omri displayed excellent taste and good judgment in the choice he made.

The city wall can be traced in almost its entire length. Recent excavations conducted by American archaeologists have uncovered the foundations of Omri’s palace, with remains of the work of Ahab and of Herod (probably here was Ahab’s ivory palace), on the western end of the hill, while on the western slope the gigantic gateway, flanked by massive towers, has been exposed to view.

Under the influence of Jezebel, Samaria naturally became a center of idolatrous worship. Ahab "reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made the Asherah" (1Ki 16:32 f). Jehoram his son put away the pillar of Baal (2Ki 3:2), and within the temple Jehu made an end at once of the instruments of idolatry and of the priests (2Ki 10:19 f). There are many prophetic references to the enormities practiced here, and to their inevitable consequences (Isa 8:4; 9:9; 10:9; 28:1 ff; 36:19; Jer 23:13; Eze 23:4; Ho 7:1; 13:16; Am 3:12; Mic 1:6, etc.).

Under pressure of Damascus Omri conceded to the Syrians the right to "make streets in Samaria" (1Ki 20:34).

Ben-hadad II besieged the city, but suffered ignominious defeat (1Ki 20:1-21; Josephus, Ant, VIII, xiv, 1 f). Persistent attempts by the Syrians to reach the city in the time of Jehoram were frustrated by Elisha (2Ki 6:8 ; Josephus, Ant, IX, iv, 3). At length, however, Ben-hadad again invested the city, and the besieged were reduced to dire straits, in which, urged by famine, scenes of awful horror were enacted (2Ki 6:24 ). A mysterious panic seized the Syrians. Their deserted camp was discovered by despairing lepers who carried the good news to the famished citizens of the plenty to be found there. Probably in the throat of the great western gateway occurred the crush in which the incredulous captain was trampled to death (1 Kings 7; Josephus, Ant, IX, iv, 5).

Here the 70 sons of Ahab were slain by Jehu in the general destruction of the house of Ahab (2Ki 10:1 ). In Samaria, the Chronicler tells us, Ahaziah in vain hid from Jehu (2Ch 22:9; compare 2Ki 9:27). Pekah brought hither much spoil from Jerusalem and many captives, whom, at the instance of the prophet Oded, he released (2Ch 28 ). The siege of Samaria was begun by Shalmaneser in the 7th year of Hoshea, and the city was finally taken by Sargon II at the end of 3 years, 722 BC (2Ki 17:5 f; 18:9 f; Ant, IX, xiv, 1). This marked the downfall of the Northern Kingdom, the people being transported by the conqueror. That this was not done in a thoroughgoing way is evident from the fact recorded in the inscriptions that two years later the country had to be subdued again. Colonists were brought from other parts to take the places of the exiles (2Ki 17:24; Ezr 4:10). Alexander the Great took the city in 331 BC, killed many of the inhabitants, and settled others in Shechem, replacing them with a colony of Syro-Macedonians. He gave the adjoining country to the Jews (Apion, II, 4). The city suffered at the hands of Ptolemy Lagi and Demetrius Poliorcetes, but it was still a place of strength (Josephus, Ant, XIII, x, 2) when John Hyrcanus came against it in 120 BC. It was taken after a year’s siege, and the victor tried to destroy the city utterly. His turning of the water into trenches to undermine the foundations could only refer to the suburbs under the hill. From the only two sources, ‘Ain Harun and ‘Ain Kefr Rima, to the East of the town, the water could not rise to the hill. The "many fountains of water" which Benjamin of Tudela says he saw on the top, from which water enough could be got to fill the trenches, are certainly not to be seen today; and they have left no trace behind them. The city was rebuilt by Pompey and, having again fallen under misfortune, was restored by Gabinius (Josephus, Ant, XIV, iv, 4; v, 3; BJ, I, vii, 7; viii, 4). To Herod it owed the chief splendor of its later days. He extended, strengthened and adorned it on a scale of great magnificence, calling it Sebaste (= Augusta) in honor of the emperor, a name which survives in the modern Sebastiyeh. A temple also was dedicated to Caesar. Its site is probably marked by the impressive flight of steps, with the pedestal on which stood the gigantic statue of Augustus, which recent excavations have revealed. The statue, somewhat mutilated, is also to be seen. Another of Herod’s temples West of the present village was cleared out by the same explorers. The remains of the great double-columned street, which ran round the upper terrace of the hill, bear further testimony to the splendor of this great builder’s work (Josephus, Ant, XV, vii, 3; viii, 5; BJ, I, xxi, 2). It was here that Herod killed perhaps the only human being whom he ever really loved, his wife Mariamne. Here also his sons perished by his hand (Josephus, Ant, XV, vii, 5-7; XVI, iii, 1-3; xi, 7).

It is commonly thought that this city was the scene of Philip’s preaching and the events that followed recorded in Ac 8, but the absence of the definite article in 8:5 makes this doubtful. A Roman colony was settled here by Septimius Severus. From that time little is known of the history of the city; nor do we know to what the final castastrophe was due. It became the seat of a bishopric and was represented in the councils of Nicea, Constantinople and Chalcedon. Its bishop attended the Synod of Jerusalem in 536 AD.

The Church of John, a Crusading structure beside the modern village, is now a Moslem mosque. It is the traditional burying-place of John the Baptist’s body.

(2) he Samareia: A town mentioned in 1 Macc 5:66 as on the route followed by Judas from the district of Hebron to the land of the Philistines. The name is probably a clerical error. The margin reads Marisa, and probably the place intended is Mareshah, the site of which is at Tell Sandachannah, about a mile South of Belt Jibrin.

W. Ewing


(shomeron; he Samareitis chora): The name of the city was transferred to the country of which it was the capital, so that Samaria became synonymous with the Northern Kingdom (1Ki 13:32; Jer 31:5, etc.). The extent of territory covered by this appellation varied greatly at different periods. At first it included the land held by Israel East of the Jordan, Galilee and Mt. Ephraim, with the northern part of Benjamin. It was shorn of the eastern portion by the conquest of Tiglath-pileser (1Ch 5:26). Judah probably soon absorbed the territory of Da in the Samaria. In New Testament times Samaria had shrunk to still smaller dimensions. Then the country West of the Jordan was divided into three portions: Judea in the South, Galilee in the North, and Samaria in the middle. The boundaries are given in general terms by Josephus (BJ, III, iii, 1, 4, 5). The southern edge of the Plain of Esdraelon and the lands of Scythopolis, the city of the Decapolis West of the Jordan, formed the northern boundary. It reached South as far as the toparchy of Acrabatta (modern ‘Aqrabeh), while on the border between Samaria and Judea lay the villages of Annath and Borceos, the modern Khirbet ‘Aina and Berqit, about 15 miles South of Nablus. The Jordan of course formed the eastern boundary. On the West the coast plain as far as Acre belonged to Judea. The country thus indicated was much more open to approach than the high plateau of Judah with its steep rocky edges and difficult passes. The road from the North indeed was comparatively easy of defense, following pretty closely the line of the watershed. But the gradual descent of the land to the West with long, wide valleys, offered inviting avenues from the plain. The great trade routes, that to the fords of Jordan and the East, passing through the cleft in the mountains at Shechem, and those connecting Egypt with the North and the Northeast, traversed Samarian territory, and brought her into constant intercourse with surrounding peoples. The influence of the heathen religions to which she was thus exposed made a swift impression upon her, leading to the corruptions of faith and life that heralded her doom (Jer 23:13; Ho 7:1 , etc.). The Assyrians came as the scourge of God (2Ki 17:5-23). Their attack centered on the capital. Shalmaneser began the siege, and after three years the city fell to Sargon II, his successor. With the fall of Samaria the kingdom came to an end. Following the usual Assyrian policy, great numbers of the inhabitants were deported from the conquered country, and their places taken by men brought from "Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Avva, and from Hamath and Sepharvaim," cities which had already bowed to the Assyrian power (2Ki 17:24).

It appears from the Assyrian inscriptions that the number carried away was 27,290. The number afterward deported from Judah was 200,000, and then the poorest of the land were left to be vinedressers and husbandmen (2Ki 25:12). It is evident that a similar policy must have been followed in Samaria, as 27,290 could certainly not include the whole population of the cities and the country. But it would include the higher classes, and especially the priests from whom the victors would have most to fear. The population therefore after the conquest contained a large proportion of Israelites. It was no doubt among these that Josiah exercised his reforming energy (2Ki 23:19 f; 2Ch 34:6 f). Here also must have been that "remnant of Israel," Manasseh and Ephraim, who contributed for the repair of the house of God (2Ch 34:9). These people, left without their religious guides, mingling with the heathen who had brought their gods and, presumably, their priests with them, were apt to be turned from the purity of their faith. A further importation of pagan settlers took place under Esar-haddon and Osnappar (Ezr 4:9,10). The latter is to be identified with Assur-bani-pal. What the proportions of the different elements in the population were, there is now no means of knowing. That there was some intermarriage is probable; but having regard to racial exclusiveness, we may suppose that it was not common. When the Jews deny to them any relation to Israel, and call them Cuthaeans, as if they were the descendants purely of the heathen settlers, the facts just mentioned should be borne in mind.

After the Assyrian conquest we are told that the people suffered from lions (2Ki 17:25). Josephus (Ant., IX, xiv, 3) says "a plague seized upon them." In accordance with the ideas of the time, the strangers thought this due to the anger of the tutelary deity of the land, because they worshipped other gods in his territory, while neglecting him. Ignorant of his special ritual ("manner"), they petitioned the Assyrian king, who sent one (Josephus says "some") of the priests who had been carried away to teach them "how they should fear the Lord." How much is implied in this "fearing of the Lord" is not clear. They continued at the same time to serve their own gods. There is nothing to show that the Israelites among them fell into their idolatries. The interest of these in the temple at Jerusalem, the use of which they may now have shared with the Jews, is proved by 2Ch 34:9. In another place we are told that four score men "from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria," evidently Israelites, were going up with their offerings to the house of the Lord (Jer 41:5). Once the people of the country are called Samaritans (2Ki 17:29). Elsewhere this name has a purely religious significance.


Of the history of Samaria under Assyrian and Babylonian rulers we know nothing. It reappears at the return of the Jews under Persian auspices. The Jews refused the proffered assistance of the Samaritans in rebuilding the temple and the walls of Jerusalem (Ezr 4:1,3). Highly offended, the latter sought to frustrate the purpose of the Jews (Ezr 4:4 ff; Ne 4:7 ; RAPC 1Es 2:16). That the Samaritans were accustomed to worship in Jerusalem is perhaps implied by one phrase in the letter sent to the Persian king: "The Jews that came up from thee are come to us unto Jerus" (Ezr 4:12). Perhaps also they may be referred to in Ezr 6:21. Idolatry is not alleged against the "adversaries." We can hardly err if we ascribe the refusal in some degree to the old antagonism between the North and the South, between Ephraim and Judah. Whatever the cause, it led to a wider estrangement and a deeper bitterness. For the history of the people and their temple on Gerizim, see SAMARITANS.

Samaria, with Palestine, fell to Alexander after the battle of Issus. Antiochus the Great gave it to Ptolemy Epiphanes, as the dowry of his daughter Cleopatra (Josephus, Ant, XII, iv, 1). John Hyrcanus reduced and desolated the country (Josephus, BJ, I, ii, 6 f). After varying fortunes Samaria became part of the kingdom of Herod, at whose death it was given to Archelaus (Josephus, Ant, XVII, xi, 4; BJ, II, vi, 3). When Archelaus was banished it was joined to the Roman province of Syria (Josephus, Ant, XVII, xiii, 5; BJ, II, viii, 1).

Samaria is a country beautifully diversified with mountain and hill, valley and plain. The olive grows plentifully, and other fruit trees abound. There is much excellent soil, and fine crops of barley and wheat are reaped annually. The vine also is largely cultivated on the hill slopes. Remains of ancient forests are found in parts. As Josephus said, it is not naturally watered by many rivers, but derives its chief moisture from rain water, of which there is no lack (BJ, III, iii, 4). He speaks also of the excellent grass, by reason of which the cows yield more milk than those in any other place.

There is a good road connecting Nablus with Jaffa; and by a road not quite so good, it is now possible to drive a carriage from Jerusalem to Nazareth, passing through Samaria.

W. Ewing





sa-mar’-i-tanz (shomeronim; Samareitai, New Testament; (singular), Samarites): The name "Samaritans" in 2Ki 17:29 clearly applies to the Israelite inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom. In subsequent history it denotes a people of mixed origin, composed of the peoples brought by the conqueror from Babylon and elsewhere to take the places of the expatriated Israelites and those who were left in the land (722 BC). Sargon claims to have carried away only 27,290 of the inhabitants (KIB, II, 55). Doubtless these were, as in the case of Judah, the chief men, men of wealth and influence, including all the priests, the humbler classes being left to till the land, tend the vineyards, etc. Hezekiah, who came to the throne of Judah probably in 715 BC, could still appeal to the tribes Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, Asher and Zebulun (2Ch 30:5,10,11,18 ); and the presence of these tribesmen is implied in the narrative of Josiah’s reformation (2Ch 34:6 f). Although the number of the colonists was increased by Esar-haddon and Osnappar (Assur-bani-pal, Ezr 4:2,9 f), the population, it is reasonable to suppose, continued prevailingly Israelite; otherwise their religion would not so easily have won the leading place. The colonists thought it necessary for their own safety to acknowledge Yahweh, in whose land they dwelt, as one among the gods to be feared (2Ki 17:24 ). In the intermixture that followed "their own gods" seem to have fallen on evil days; and when the Samaritans asked permission to share in building the temple under Zerubbabel, they claimed, apparently with a good conscience, to serve God and to sacrifice to Him as the Jews did (Ezr 4:1 f). Whatever justification there was for this claim, their proffered friendship was turned to deadly hostility by the blunt refusal of their request. The old enmity between north and south no doubt intensified the quarrel, and the antagonism of Jew and Samaritan, in its bitterness, was destined to pass into a proverb. The Samaritans set themselves, with great temporary success, to frustrate the work in which they were not permitted to share (Ezr 4:4 ff; Ne 4:7 ; etc.).

From the strict administration of the Law in Jerusalem malcontents found their way to the freer atmosphere of Samaria. Among these renegades was Manasseh, brother of the high priest, who had married a daughter of Sanballat, the Persian governor of Samaria. According to Josephus, Sanballat, with the sanction of Alexander the Great, built a temple for the Samaritans on Mt. Gerizim, of which Manasseh became high priest (Ant., XI, vii, 2; viii, 2 ff). Josephus, however, places Manasseh a century too late. He was a contemporary of Ezra and Nehemiah (Ne 13:28).

When it suited their purpose the Samaritans claimed relationship with the Jews, asserting that their roll of the Pentateuch was the only authentic copy (see PENTATEUCH, THE SAMARITAN); they were equally ready to deny all connection in times of stress, and even to dedicate their temple to a heathen deity (Josephus, Ant, XII, v, 5). In 128 BC, John Hyrcanus destroyed the temple (XIII, ix, 1). In the time of Christ the Samaritans were ruled by procurators under the Roman governor of Syria. Lapse of years brought no lessening of the hatred between Jews and Samaritans (Ant., XX, vi, 1). To avoid insult and injury at the hands of the latter, Jews from Galilee were accustomed to reach the feasts at Jerusalem by way of Peraea. "Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a demon" was an expression of opprobrium (Joh 8:48). Although Jesus forbade the Twelve to go into any city of the Samaritans (Mt 10:5), the parable of the Good Samaritan shows that His love overleaped the boundaries of national hatred (Lu 10:30 ; compare Lu 17:16; Joh 4:9).

During the Jewish war Cerealis treated the Samaritans with great severity. On one occasion (67 AD) he slaughtered 11,600 on Mt. Gerizim. For some centuries they were found in considerable numbers throughout the empire, east and west, with their synagogues. They were noted as "bankers" money-changers, For their anti-Christian attitude and conduct Justinian inflicted terrible vengeance on them. From this the race seems never to have recovered. Gradually-dwindling, they now form a small community in Nablus of not more than 200 souls. Their great treasure is their ancient copy of the Law.



The best account of the Samaritans is Mills, Nablus and the Modern Samaritans (Murray, London); compare Montgomery, The Samaritans (1907). A good recent description by J. E. H. Thomson, D. D., of the Passover celebrated annually on Mt. Gerizim will be found in PEFS, 1902, 82 ff.

W. Ewing


sam’-a-tus (Samatos): One of the sons of Ezora who put away their "strange wives" (1 Esdras 9:34). It is difficult to say which, if any, name it represents in parallel Ezr 10:34 ff, where no "sons of Ezora" are inserted between "sons of Bani" and "sons of Nebo": probably Shallurn (10:42), but possibly Shemariah (10:41).


sam’-ek (camekh): The 15th letter of the Hebrew alphabet; transliterated in this Encyclopedia as "c". It came to be used for the number 60. For name, etc., see ALPHABET.


sa-me’-yus: the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) SAMEUS (which see).


sa-mel’-i-us (Codex Vaticanus Samellios; Codex Alexandrinus Sebellios, al Semellios; the King James Version Semellius): "Samellius the scribe," one of those who wrote a letter of protest to Artaxerxes against the building of Jerusalem by the returned exiles (1 Esdras 2:16,17,25,30) =" Shimshai" in Ezr 4:8.


sa-me’-us (Codex Alexandrinus and Fritzsche, Samaios; Codex Vaticanus Thamaios; the King James Version Sameius): One of the sons of Emmer who put away their "strange wives" (1 Esdras 9:21) =" Shemaiah" (the Revised Version margin "Maaseiah") of the sons of Harim in Ezr 10:21.


sam-gar-ne’-bo (camgar nebho, a Babylonian name): An officer of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who, according to the Massoretic Text of Jer 39:3, took his seat with other nobles in the middle gate of Jerusalem after the Chaldean army had taken the city. Schrader (COT, ii, 109) holds that the name is a Hebraized form of the Assyrian Sumgirnabu ("be gracious, Nebo"), but Giesebrecht (Comm., 211) conjectures for Samgar a corruption of Sar-mag (Sar-magh), equivalent to Rab-mag (rab-magh), which implies virtual dittography. The number of variant readings exhibited by the Septuagint seems to confirm the belief that the text is corrupt. Nebo (nabu) is there joined with the following Sarsechim to agree with Nebushazban of Jer 39:13. If the name Samgar-nebo is correct, the first Nergal-sharezer "should perhaps be dropped; we would then read: "Samgar-nebo the Sarsechim, Nebushazban the Rab-saris (compare 39:13) and Nergal-sharezer the Rab-mag" (Sayce).


Horace J. Wolf


sa’-mi: the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) SABI (which see).


sa’-mis: the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) SOMEIS (which see).


sam’-la (samlah; Salama): One of the kings of Edom, of the city of Masrekah. He reigned before the Israelites had kings (Ge 36:36,37; 1Ch 1:47,48). The fact that the city is mentioned in connection with the name of the king suggests that Edom was a confederacy at this time and the chief city was the metropolis of the whole country.


sam’-us (Codex Alexandrinus Sammous; Codex Vaticanus Sammou): One of those who stood on Ezra’s right hand as he expounded the Law (1 Esdras 9:43) =" Shema" in Ne 8:4.


sa’-mos (Samos, "height," "mountain" (see Strabo 346, 457)): One of the most famous of the Ionian islands, third in size among the group which includes Lesbos, CHIOS (which see) and Cos (which see). It is situated at the mouth of the bay of Ephesus, between the cities of EPHESUS and MILETUS (which see), and separated from the mainland of Ionia by the narrow strait where the Greeks met and conquered the Persian fleet in the battle of Mycale, 479 BC (Herodotus ix.100 ff). The surface of the island is very rugged and mountainous, Mt. Kerki (modern name) rising to a height of 4,700 ft., and it was due to this that the island received its name (see above).


Samos was renowned in antiquity as one of the noted centers of Ionjan luxury, and reached its zenith of prosperity under the rule of the famous tyrant Polycrates (533-522 BC), who made himself master of the Aegean Sea. He carried on trade with Egypt, and his intercourse with that country, his friendship with Amasis, the famous "ring" story and the revolting manner of the death of Polycrates arere all told in one of the most interesting stories of Herodotus (Herod. iii.39 ff).

In 84 BC, the island was joined to the province of Asia, and in 17 BC it became a civitas libera, through the favor of Augustus (Dio Cass. liv.9; Pliny, NH, v.37). Both Marcus Agrippa and Herod visited the island; and according to Josephus (Ant., XVI, ii, 2; BJ, I, xxi, 11) "bestowed a great many benefits" on it. In the Apocrypha, Samos is mentioned among the places to which Lucius, consul of the Romans, wrote, asking their good will toward the Jews (1 Macc 15:23).

In the New Testament, Paul touched here, after passing CHIOS (which see), on his return from his third missionary journey (Ac 20:15). In Textus Receptus of the New Testament, we find in this passage kai meinantes en Trogullio ("and having remained in Trogyllium"). This reading is wanting in the oldest manuscripts, and may be a sort of gloss, or explanation; due to the technical use of paraballein, "to touch land" (compare Josephus, Ant, XVIII, vi, 4), and not necessarily "to make a landing." Trogyllium lay on the mainland opposite Samos, at the end of the ridge of Mycale. Still there is no particular reason why this reading should be supported, especially as it is not found in the earliest of authorities. Soden’s 1913 text, however, retains the reading in brackets.


Tozer, Islands of the Aegean (1890). Herodotus and Pausanias have rather full accounts of Samos, and Encyclopedia Brit (11th edition) gives a good bibliography of works both ancient and modern.

Arthur J. Kinsella


sam’-o-thras (Samothrake, "the Thracian Samos"; the King James Version Samothracia, sam-o-thra’sha; the island was formerly Dardania; for change of name see Pausanias vii.4,3; Strabo x.457, and for a full discussion Conze, Hauser and Benndorf, Neue Untersuchungen auf South, 1880): An island in the Aegean Sea, South of Thrace opposite the mouth of the Hebrus River, and Northwest of Troas. The island is mountainous, as the name indicates (see SAMOS), and towers above Imbros when viewed from the Trojan coast. The summit is about a mile high. It is mentioned in the Iliad (xiii.12) as the seat of Poseidon and referred to by Virgil Aeneid vii.208.

The island was always famous for sanctity, and the seat of a cult of the Cabeiri, which Herodotus (ii.51) says was derived from the Pelasgian inhabitants (see also Aristophanes, Pax 277). The mysteries connected with the worship of these gods later rivaled the famous mysteries of Eleusis, and both Philip of Macedon and Olympias his wife were initiated here (Plut. Alex. 3).

Probably because of its sacred character the island did not figure to any extent in history, but in the expedition of Xerxes in 480 BC, one ship at least of the Samothracian contingent is mentioned as conspicuous in the battle of Salamis.

The famous "Victory of Samothrace" (now in the Louvre) was set up here by Demetrius Poliorcetes circa 300 BC, and was discovered in 1863. Since that time (1873-75), the Austrian government carried on extensive excavations (see Conze, Hauser and Benndorf, op. cit.).

In the New Testament the island is mentioned in Ac 16:11. From Troas, Paul made a straight run to Samothrace, and the next day sailed to NEAPOLIS (which see) on the Thracian coast, the port of PHILIPPI (which see). At the northern end of Samothrace was a town where the ship could anchor for the night, and on the return journey (Ac 20:6) a landing may have been made, but no details are given. Pliny characterizes the island as being most difficult for anchorage, but because of the hazards of sailing by night, the ancient navigators always anchored somewhere if possible.


See under SAMOS.

Arthur J. Kinsella


samp’-sa-mez (Sampsames): A place mentioned in 1 Macc 15:23, usually identified with Samsun, on the coast of the Black Sea. The Vulgate, with the Revised Version margin, has "Lampsacus."


sam’-sun (shimshon.

1. Name:

Derived probably from shemesh, "sun" with the diminutive ending -on, meaning "little sun" or "sunny," or perhaps "sun-man"; Sampson; Latin and English, Samson): His home was near Bethshemesh, which means "house of the sun." Compare the similar formation shimshay (Ezr 4:8,9,17,23).

2. Character:

Samson was a judge, perhaps the last before Samuel. He was a Nazirite of the tribe of Da (Jud 13:5); a man of prodigious strength, a giant and a gymnast—the Hebrew Hercules, a strange champion for Yahweh! He intensely hated the Philistines who had oppressed Israel some 40 years (Jud 13:1), and was willing to fight them alone. He seems to have been actuated by little less than personal vengeance, yet in the New Testament he is named among the heroes of faith (Heb 11:32), and was in no ordinary sense an Old Testament worthy. He was good-natured, sarcastic, full of humor, and fought with his wits as well as with his fists. Milton has graphically portrayed his character in his dramatic poem Samson Agonistes (1671), on which Handel built his oratorio, Samson (1743).

3. Story of His Life:

The story of Samson’s life is unique among the biographies of the Old Testament. It is related in Judges 13-16. Like Isaac, Samuel and John the Baptist, he was a child of prayer (13:8,12). To Manoah’s wife the angel of Yahweh appeared twice (13:3,9), directing that the child which should be born to them should be a Nazirite from the womb, and that he would "begin to save Israel out of the hand of the Philistines" (13:5,7,14). The spirit of Yahweh first began to move him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol (13:25). On his arriving at manhood, five remarkable circumstances are recorded of him.

(1) His marriage with a Philistine woman of Timnah (Judges 14). His parents objected to the alliance (Jud 14:3), but Samson’s motive in marrying her was that he "sought an occasion against the Philistines" At the wedding feast Samson propounded to his guests a riddle, wagering that if they guessed its answer he would give them 30 changes of raiment. Dr. Moore felicitously renders the text of the riddle thus:

‘Out of the eater came something to eat,

And out of the strong came something sweet’ (Jud 14:14).

The Philistines threatened the life of his bride, and she in turn wrung from Samson the answer; whereupon he retorted (in Dr. Moore’s version):

‘If with my heifer ye did not plow,

Ye had not found out my riddle, I trow’ (Jud 14:18).

Accordingly, in revenge, Samson went down to Ashkelon, slew some 30 men, and paid his debt; he even went home without his wife, and her father to save her from shame gave her to Samson’s "best man" (Jud 14:20). It has been suggested by W. R. Smith (Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, 70-76) that Samson did not from the first intend to take his bride to his home, his marriage being what is known among the Arabs as a tsadiqat, or gift marriage, by which is meant that the husband becomes a part of the wife’s tribe. This assumes that the social relations of the Hebrews at that time were matriarchate, the wife remaining with her family, of which custom there are other traces in the Old Testament, the husband merely visiting the wife from time to time. But this is not so obvious in Samson’s case in view of his pique (Jud 14:19), and especially in view of his parents’ objection to his marrying outside of Israel (Jud 14:3). Not knowing that his bride had been given by her father to his friend, Samson went down to Timnah to visit her, with a kid; when he discovered, however, that he had been taken advantage of, he went out and caught 300 jackals, and putting firebrands between every two tails, he burned up the grain fields and olive yards of the Philistines. The Philistines, however, showed they could play with fire, too, and burned his wife and her father. Thereupon, Samson smote the Philistines in revenge, "hip and thigh" (Jud 15:1-8).

(2) When he escaped to Etam, an almost vertical rock cliff in Judah (by some identified with ‘Araq Ismain) not far from Zorah, Samson’s home, the Philistines invaded Judah, encamped at Lehi above Etam, and demanded the surrender of their arch-enemy. The men of Judah were willing to hand Samson over to the Philistines, and accordingly went down to the cliff Etam, bound Samson and brought him up where the Philistines were encamped (Jud 15:9-13). When Samson came to Lehi the Philistines shouted as they met him, whereupon the spirit of Yahweh came mightily upon him, so that he broke loose from the two new ropes with which the 3,000 men of Judah had bound him, and seizing a fresh jawbone of an ass he smote with it 1,000 men of the Philistines, boasting as he did so in pun-like poetry, ‘With the jawbone of an ass, m-ass upon m-ass’; or, as Dr. Moore translates the passage, ‘With the bone of an ass, I ass-ailed my ass-ailants’ (Jud 15:16). At the same time, Samson reverently gave Yahweh the glory of his victory (Jud 15:18). Samson being thirsty, Yahweh provided water for him at a place called En-hakkore, or "Partridge Spring," or "the Spring of the Caller"—another name for partridge (Jud 15:17-19).

(3) Samson next went down to Gaza, to the very stronghold of the Philistines, their chief city. There he saw a harlot, and, his passions not being under control, he went in unto her. It was soon noised about that Samson, the Hebrew giant, was in the city. Accordingly, the Philistines laid wait for him. But Samson arose at midnight and laid hold of the doors of the gate and their two posts, and carried them a full quarter of a mile up to the top of the mountain that looketh toward Hebron (Jud 16:1-3).

(4) From Gaza Samson betook himself to the valley of Sorek where he fell in love with another Philistine woman, named Delilah, through whose machinations he lost his spiritual power. The Philistine lords bribed her with a very large sum to deliver him into their hands. Three times Samson deceived her as to the secret of his strength, but at last he explains that he is a Nazirite, and that his hair, which has never been shorn, is the secret of his wonderful power. J. G. Frazer (Golden Bough, III, 390 ff) has shown that the belief that some mysterious power resides in the hair is still widespread among savage peoples, e.g. the Fiji Islanders. Thus, Samson fell. By disclosing to Delilah this secret, he broke his covenant vow, and the Spirit of God departed from him (Jud 16:4-20). The Philistines laid hold on him, put out his eyes, brought him down to Gaza, bound him with fetters, and forced him to grind in the prison house. Grinding was women’s work! It is at this point that Milton catches the picture and writes,

"Eyeless in Gaza, at the mill with slaves."

Howbeit, the hair of his head began to grow again; but his eyes did not! (Jud 16:21,22).

(5) The final incident recorded of Samson is in connection with a great sacrificial feast which the Philistine lords gave in honor of Dagon, their god. In their joyous celebration they sang in rustic rhythm:

‘Our god has given us into our hand

The foe of our land,

Whom even our most powerful band

Was never able to withstand’ (Jud 16:24).

This song was accompanied probably, as Mr. Macalister suggests, by hand-clapping (Gezer, 129). When they became still more merry, they called for Samson to play the buffoon, and by his pranks to entertain the assembled multitude. The house of Dagon was full of people; about 3,000 were upon the roof beholding as Samson made sport. With the new growth of his hair his strength had returned to him. The dismantled giant longed to be avenged on his adversaries for at least one of his two eyes (Jud 16:28). He prayed, and Yahweh heard his prayer. Guided by his attendant, he took hold of the wooden posts of the two middle pillars upon which the portico of the house rested, and slipping them off their pedestals, the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people that were therein. "So the dead that he slew at his death were more than they that he slew in his life" (Jud 16:29,30). His kinsmen came and carried him up and buried him near his boyhood home, between Zorah and Eshtaol, in the family burying-ground of his father. "And he judged Israel twenty years" (Jud 16:31).

4. Historical Value:

The story of Samson is a faithful mirror of his times: "Every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Jud 17:6; 21:25). There was no king in those days, i.e. no central government. Each tribe was separately occupied driving out their individual enemies. For 40 years the Philistines had oppressed Samson’s tribal compatriots. Their suzerainty was also recognized by Judah (Jud 14:4; 15:11). Samson was the hero of his tribe. The general historicity of his story cannot be impeached on the mere ground of improbability. His deeds were those which would most naturally be expected from a giant, filled with a sense of justice. He received the local popularity which a man of extraordinary prowess would naturally be given. All peoples glory in their heroes. The theory that the record in Judges 13-16 is based upon some "solar myth" is now generally abandoned. That there are incidents in his career which are difficult to explain, is freely granted. For example, that he killed a lion (14:6) is not without a parallel; David and Benaiah did the same (1Sa 17:34-36; 2Sa 23:20). God always inspires a man in the line of his natural endowments. That God miraculously supplied his thirst (Jud 15:19) is no more marvelous than what God did for Hagar in the wilderness (Ge 21:19). That Samson carried off the doors of the gate of Gaza and their two posts, bar and all, must not confound us till we know more definitely their size and the distance from Gaza of the hill to which he carried them. The fact that he pulled down the roof on which there were 3,000 men and women is not at all impossible, as Mr. Macalister has shown. If we suppose that there was an immense portico to the temple of Dagon, as is quite possible, which was supported by two main pillars of wood resting on bases of stone, like the cedar pillars of Solomon’s house (1Ki 7:2), all that Samson, therefore, necessarily did, was to push the wooden beams so that their feet would slide over the stone base on which they rested, and the whole portico would collapse. Moreover, it is not said that the whole of the 3,000 on the roof were destroyed (Jud 16:30). Many of those in the temple proper probably perished in the number (R. A. S. Macalister, Bible Side-Lights from the Mound of Gezer, 1906, 127-38).

5. Religious Value:

Not a few important and suggestive lessons are deducible from the hero’s life:

(1) Samson was the object of parental solicitude from even before his birth. One of the most suggestive and beautiful prayers in the Old Testament is that of Manoah for guidance in the training of his yet unborn child (Jud 13:8). Whatever our estimate of his personality is, Samson was closely linked to the covenant.

(2) He was endowed with the Spirit of Yahweh—the spirit of personal patriotism, the spirit of vengeance upon a foe of 40 years’ standing (Jud 13:1,25; 14:6:19; 15:14).

(3) He also prayed, and Yahweh answered him, though in judgment (Jud 16:30). But he was prodigal of his strength. Samson had spiritual power and performed feats which an ordinary man would hardly perform. But he was unconscious of his high vocation. In a moment of weakness he yielded to Delilah and divulged the secret of his strength. He was careless of his personal endowment. He did not realize that physical endowments no less than spiritual are gifts from God, and that to retain them we must be obedient.

(4) He was passionate and therefore weak. The animal of his nature was never curbed, but rather ran unchained and free. He was given to sudden fury. Samson was a wild, self-willed man. Passion ruled. He could not resist the blandishments of women. In short, he was an overgrown schoolboy, without self-mastery.

(5) He accordingly wrought no permanent deliverance for Israel; he lacked the spirit of cooperation. He undertook a task far too great for even a giant single-handed. Yet, it must be allowed that Samson paved the way for Saul and David. He began the deliverance of Israel from the Philistines. He must, therefore, be judged according to his times. In his days there was unrestrained individual independence on every side, each one doing as he pleased. Samson differed from his contemporaries in that he was a hero of faith (Heb 11:32). He was a Nazirite, and therefore dedicated to God. He was given to revenge, yet he was ready to sacrifice himself in order that his own and his people’s enemies might be overthrown. He was willing to lay down his own life for the sake of his fellow-tribesmen—not to save his enemies, however, but to kill them. (Compare Mt 5:43 f; Ro 5:10.)


(1) Comma. on Jgs, notably those by G. F. Moore, ICC, 1895; Budde, Kurzer Handkommentar, 1897; Nowack, Handkommentar, 1900; E. L. Curtis, The Bible for Home and School, 1913; Bachmann, 1868; Keil, 1862; Farrar in Ellicott’s Commentaries; Watson, Expositor’s Bible. (2) Articles on "Samson" in the various Bible Dictionaries and Encyclopedias; in particular those by Budde, HDB; C. W. Emmet, in 1-vol HDB; S. A. Cook, New Encyclopedia Brit; Davis, Dict. of the Bible.

George L. Robinson


sam’-u-el (shemu’el; Samouel): The word "Samuel" signifies "name of God," or "his name is El" (God). Other interpretations of the name that have been offered are almost certainly mistaken. The play upon the name in 1Sa 1:20 is not intended of course to be an explanation of its meaning, but is similar to the play upon the name Moses in Ex 2:10 and frequently elsewhere in similar instances. Thus, by the addition of a few letters shemu’el becomes sha’ul me’el, "asked of God," and recalls to the mother of Samuel the circumstances of the divine gift to her of a son. Outside of 1st Samuel the name of the great judge and prophet is found in Jer 15:1; Ps 99:6 and in 1 and 2 Chronicles. The reference in Jeremiah seems intended to convey the same impression that is given by the narrative of 1 Samuel, that in some sense Samuel had come to be regarded as a second Moses, upon whom the mantle of the latter had fallen, and who had been once again the deliverer and guide of the people at a great national crisis.

1. Sources and Character of the History:

The narrative of the events of the life of Samuel appears to be derived from more than one source (see SAMUEL, BOOKS OF). The narrator had before him and made use of biographies and traditions, which he combined into a single consecutive history. The completed picture of the prophet’s position and character which is thus presented is on the whole harmonious and consistent, and gives a very high impression of his piety and loyalty to Yahweh, and of the wide influence for good which he exerted. There are divergences apparent in detail and standpoint between the sources or traditions, some of which may probably be due merely to misunderstanding of the true nature of the events recorded, or to the failure of the modern reader rightly to appreciate the exact circumstances and time. The greater part of the narrative of the life of Samuel, however, appears to have a single origin.

2. Life:

In the portion of the general history of Israel contained in 1 Samuel are narrated the circumstances of the future prophet’s birth (chapter 1); of his childhood and of the custom of his parents to make annual visits to the sanctuary at Shiloh (2:11,18-21,26); of his vision, and the universal recognition of him as a prophet enjoying the special favor of Yahweh (3-4:1). The narrative is then interrupted to describe the conflicts with the Philistines, the fate of Eli and his sons, and the capture of the ark of God. It is only after the return of the ark, and apparently at the close of the 20 years during which it was retained at Kiriath-jearim, that Samuel again comes forward publicly, exhorting the people to repentance and promising them deliverance from the Philistines. A summary narrative is then given of the summoning of a national council at Mizpah, at which Samuel "judged the children of Israel," and offered sacrifice to the Lord, and of Yahweh’s response in a great thunderstorm, which led to the defeat and panic-stricken flight of the Philistines. Then follows the narrative of the erection of a commemorative stone or pillar, Eben-ezer, "the stone of help," and the recovery of the Israelite cities which the Philistines had captured (7:5-14). The narrator adds that the Philistines came no more within the border of Israel all the days of Samuel (7:13); perhaps with an intentional reference to the troubles and disasters of which this people was the cause in the time of Saul. A brief general statement is appended of Samuel’s practice as a judge of going on annual circuit through the land, and of his home at Ramah (7:15-17).

No indication is given of the length of time occupied by these events. At their close, however, Samuel was an old man, and his sons who had been appointed judges in his place or to help him in his office proved themselves unworthy (1Sa 8:1-3). The elders of the people therefore came to Samuel demanding the appointment of a king who should be his successor, and should judge in his stead. The request was regarded by the prophet as an act of disloyalty to Yahweh, but his protest was overruled by divine direction, and at Samuel’s bidding the people dispersed (1Sa 8:4-22).

At this point the course of the narrative is again interrupted to describe the family and origin of Saul, his personal appearance, and the search for the lost asses of his father (1Sa 9:1-5); his meeting with Samuel in a city in the land of Zuph, in or on the border of the territory of Benjamin (Zuph is the name of an ancestor of Elkanah, the father of Samuel, in 1Sa 1:1), a meeting of which Samuel had received divine pre-intimation (1Sa 9:15 f) ; the honorable place given to Saul at the feast; his anointing by Samuel as ruler of Israel, together with the announcement of three "signs," which should be to Saul assurances of the reality of his appointment and destiny; the spirit of prophecy which took possession of the future king, whereby is explained a proverbial saying which classed Saul among the prophets; and his silence with regard to what had passed between himself and Samuel on the subject of the kingdom (1Sa 9:6-10:16).

It is usually, and probably rightly, believed that the narrative of these last incidents is derived from a different source from that of the preceding chapters. Slight differences of inconsistency or disagreement lie on the surface. Samuel’s home is not at Ramah, but a nameless city in the land of Zuph, where he is priest of the high place, with a local but, as far as the narrative goes, not a national influence or reputation; and it is anticipated that he will require the customary present at the hands of his visitors (1Sa 9:6-8). He is described, moreover, not as a judge, nor does he discharge judicial functions, but expressly as a "seer," a name said to be an earlier title equivalent to the later "prophet" (1Sa 9:9,11,19). Apart, however, from the apparently different position which Samuel occupies, the tone and style of the narrative is altogether distinct from that of the preceding chapters. It suggests, both in its form and in the religious conceptions which are assumed or implied, an older and less elaborated tradition than that which has found expression in the greater part of the book; and it seems to regard events as it were from a more primitive standpoint than the highly religious and monotheistic view of the later accounts. Its value as a witness to history is not impaired, but perhaps rather enhanced by its separate and independent position. The writer or compiler of 1 Samuel has inserted it as a whole in his completed narrative at the point which he judged most suitable. To the same source should possibly be assigned the announcement of Saul’s rejection in 13:8-15a.

The course of the narrative is resumed at 1Sa 10:17 ff, where, in a second national assembly at Mizpah, Saul is selected by lot and accepted by the people as king (10:17-24); after which the people dispersed, and Saul returned to his home at Gibeah (10:25-27). At a solemn assembly at Gilgal, at which the kingship is again formally conferred upon Saul, Samuel delivered a farewell address to his fellow-countrymen. A thunderstorm terrified the people; they were reassured, however, by Samuel with promises of the protection and favor of Yahweh, if they continued to fear and serve Him (11:14-12:25). Later the rejection of Saul for disobedience and presumption is announced by Samuel (13:8-15a). The commission to destroy Amalek is delivered to Saul by Samuel; and the rejection of the king is again pronounced because of his failure to carry out the command. Agag is then slain by Samuel with his own hand; and, the latter having returned to his home at Ramah, the narrator adds that he remained there in seclusion until the day of his death, "mourning" for Saul, but refusing to meet him again (1 Samuel 15). Finally the death and burial of Samuel at Ramah, together with the lamentation of the people for him, are briefly recorded in 1Sa 25:1, and referred to again in 28:3.

Two incidents of Samuel’s life remain, in which he is brought into relation with the future king David. No indication of date or circumstance is given except that the first incident apparently follows immediately upon the second and final rejection of Saul as recorded in 1 Samuel 15. In 16:1-13 is narrated the commission of Samuel to anoint a successor to Saul, and his fulfillment of the commission by the choice of David the son of Jesse, the Bethlehemite. And, in a later chapter (19:18-24), a second occasion is named on which the compelling spirit of prophecy came upon Saul, and again the proverbial saying, "Is Saul also among the prophets?" is quoted (19:24; compare 10:11,12), and is apparently regarded as taking its origin from this event.

The anointing of David by Samuel is a natural sequel to his anointing of Saul, when the latter has been rejected and his authority and rights as king have ceased. There is nothing to determine absolutely whether the narrative is derived from the same source as the greater part of the preceding history. Slight differences of style and the apparent presuppositions of the writer have led most scholars to the conclusion that it has a distinct and separate origin. If so, the compiler of the Books of Samuel drew upon a third source for his narrative of the life of the seer, a source which there is no reason to regard as other than equally authentic and reliable. With the second incident related in 1Sa 19:18-24, the case is different. It is hardly probable that so striking a proverb was suggested and passed into currency independently on two distinct occasions. It seems evident that here two independent sources or authorities were used, which gave hardly reconcilable accounts of the origin of a well-known saying, in one of which it has been mistakenly attributed to a similar but not identical occurrence in the life of Saul. In the final composition of the book both accounts were then inserted, without notice being taken of the inconsistency which was apparent between them.

Yet later in the history Samuel is represented as appearing to Saul in a vision at Endor on the eve of his death (1Sa 28:11-20). The witch also sees the prophet and is stricken with fear. He is described as in appearance an old man "covered with a robe" (1Sa 28:14). In characteristically grave and measured tones he repeats the sentence of death against the king for his disobedience to Yahweh, and announces its execution on the morrow; Saul’s sons also will die with him (1Sa 28:19), and the whole nation will be involved in the penalty and suffering, as they all had a part in the sin.

The high place which Samuel occupies in the thought of the writers and in the tradition and esteem of the people is manifest throughout the history. The different sources from which the narrative is derived are at one in this, although perhaps not to an equal degree. He is the last and greatest of the judges, the first of the prophets, and inaugurates under divine direction the Israelite kingdom and the Davidic line.

3. Character and Influence of Samuel:

It is not without reason, therefore, that he has been regarded as in dignity and importance occupying the position of a second Moses in relation to the people. In his exhortations and warnings the Deuteronomic discourses of Moses are reflected and repeated. He delivers the nation from the hand of the Philistines, as Moses from Pharaoh and the Egyptians, and opens up for them a new national era of progress and order under the rule of the kings whom they have desired. Thus, like Moses, he closes the old order, and establishes the people with brighter prospects upon more assured foundations of national prosperity and greatness. In nobility of character and utterance also, and in fidelity to Yahweh, Samuel is not unworthy to be placed by the side of the older lawgiver. The record of his life is not marred by any act or word which would appear unworthy of his office or prerogative. And the few references to him in the later literature (Ps 99:6; Jer 15:1; 1Ch 6:28; 9:22; 11:3; 26:28; 29:29; 2Ch 35:18) show how high was the estimation in which his name and memory were held by his fellow-countrymen in subsequent ages.


The literature is given in the article, SAMUEL, BOOKS OF (which see).

A. S. Geden





1. Life of Samuel (1 Samuel 1-15)

2. Reign and Death of Saul (1 Samuel 16-2 Samuel 1)

3. Reign of David (2 Samuel 2-20)

(1) David’s Seven and a Half Years’ Reign over Judah in Hebron (2 Samuel 2:1-5:3).

(2) Reign of David in Jerusalem over United Israel (2 Samuel 5:4-20:26).

4. Appendix (2 Samuel 21-24)

IV. SOURCES OF THE HISTORY Two Main and Independent Sources





I. Place of the Books of Samuel in the Hebrew Canon.

In the Hebrew Canon and enumeration of the sacred books of the Old Testament, the two Books of Samuel were reckoned as one, and formed the third division of the Earlier Prophets (nebhi’im ri’shonim). The one book bore the title "Samuel" (shemu’el), not because Samuel was believed to be the author, but because his life and acts formed the main theme of the book, or at least of its earlier part. Nor was the Book of Samuel separated by any real division in subject-matter or continuity of style from the Book of Kings, which in the original formed a single book, not two as in the English and other modern versions. The history was carried forward without interruption; and the record of the life of David, begun in Samuel, was completed in Kings. This continuity in the narrative of Israelite history was made more prominent in the Septuagint, where the four books were comprised under one title and were known as the four "Books of the Kingdoms" (bibloi basileion). This name was probably due to the translators or scholars of Alexandria. The division into four books, but not the Greek title, was then adopted in the Latin translation, where, however, the influence of Jerome secured the restoration of the Hebrew names, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings (Regum). Jerome’s example was universally followed, and the fourfold division with the Hebrew titles found a place in all subsequent versions of the Old Testament Scriptures. Ultimately, the distinction of Samuel and Kings each into two books was received also into printed editions of the Hebrew Bible. This was done for the first time in the editio princeps of the Rabbinic Bible, printed at Venice in 1516-17 AD.

II. Contents of the Books and Period of Time Covered by the History.

The narrative of the two Books of Samuel covers a period of about a hundred years, from the close of the unsettled era of the Judges to the establishment and consolidation of the kingdom under David. It is therefore a record of the changes, national and constitutional, which accompanied this growth and development of the national life, at the close of which the Israelites found themselves a united people under the rule of a king to whom all owed allegiance, controlled and guided by more or less definitely established institutions and laws. This may be described as the general purpose and main theme of the books, to trace the advance of the people under divine guidance to a state of settled prosperity and union in the promised land, and to give prominence to theocratic rule which was the essential condition of Israel’s life as the people of God under all the changing forms of early government. The narrative therefore centers itself around the lives of the three men, Samuel, Saul and David, who were chiefly instrumental in the establishment of the monarchy, and to whom it was due more than to any others that Israel emerged from the depressed and disunited state in which the tribes had remained during the period of the rule of the Judges, and came into possession of a combined and effective national life. If the formal separation therefore into two books be disregarded, the history of Israel as it is narrated in "Samuel" is most naturally divided into three parts, which are followed by an appendix recording words and incidents which for some reason had not found a place in the general narrative:

A. The life and rule of Samuel (1Sa 1-15) (death 1Sa 25:1).

B. The life, reign and death of Saul (1Sa 16-2Sa 1).

C. The reign and acts of David to the suppression of the two rebellions of Absalom and Sheba (2Sa 2-20).

D. Appendix; other incidents in the reign of David, the names of his chief warriors and his So or Psalm of Praise (2Sa 21-24).

III. Summary and Analysis.

To present a brief and clear analysis of these Books of Samuel is not altogether easy. For as in the Pentateuch and the earlier historical Books of Joshua and Judges, repetitions and apparently duplicate accounts of the same event are found, which interfere with the chronological development of the narrative. Even the main divisions, as stated above, to a certain extent overlap.

1. Life of Samuel (1 Samuel 1-15):

(1) Visit of Hannah to Shiloh, and promise of the birth of a son (1Sa 1:1-19); birth and weaning of Samuel, and presentation to Eli at Shiloh (1Sa 1:19-28). (2) Hannah’s song or prayer (1Sa 2:1-10); ministry of Samuel to Eli the priest (1Sa 2:11,18-21,26); the evil practices of the sons of Eli and warning to Eli of the consequences to his house (1Sa 2:12-17,22-25,27-36).

(3) Samuel’s vision at the sanctuary and his induction to the prophetic office (1Sa 3:1-4:1).

(4) Defeat of the Israelites by the Philistines, capture of the ark of God, death of the two sons of Eli and of Eli himself (1Sa 4).

(5) Discomfiture of Dagon before the ark of God at Ashdod; return of the ark to Beth-shemesh, with expiatory offerings of golden tumors and golden mice; its twenty years’ sojourn at Kiriath-jearim (1Sa 5:1-7:4).

(6) Assembly of Israel under Samuel at Mizpah, and victory over the Philistines (1Sa 7:5-14); Samuel established as judge over all Israel (1Sa 7:15-17).

(7) Samuel’s sons appointed to be judges and the consequent demand of the people for a king; Samuel’s warning concerning the character of the king for whom they asked (1Sa 8).

(8) Saul’s search for, the lost asses of his father and meeting with Samuel (1Sa 9).

(9) Saul is anointed by Samuel to be ruler over the people of Israel, and receives the gift of prophecy (1Sa 10:1-16); second assembly of the people under Samuel at Mizpah, and election of Saul to be king (1Sa 10:17-27).

(10) Victory of Saul over the Ammonites and deliverance of Jabesh-gilead (1Sa 11:1-13); Saul made king in Gilgal (1Sa 11:14,15).

(11) Samuel’s address to the people in Gilgal, defending his own life and action, and exhorting them to fear and serve the Lord (1Sa 12).

(12) Saul at Gilgal offers the burnt offering in Samuel’s absence; gathering of the Philistines to battie at Michmash; the Israelites’ lack of weapons of iron (1Sa 13).

(13) Jonathan’s surprise of the Philistine army, and their sudden panic (1Sa 14:1-23); Saul’s vow, unwittingly broken by Jonathan, whom the people deliver from the fatal consequences (1Sa 14:24-45); victories of Saul over his enemies on every side (1Sa 14:46-52).

(14) War against Amalek, and Saul’s disobedience to the divine command to exterminate the Amaleldtes (1Sa 15).

2. Reign and Death of Saul (1 Samuel 16-2 Samuel 1):

(1) Anointing of David as Saul’s successor (1Sa 16:1-13); his summons to the court of Saul to act as minstrel before the king (1Sa 16:14-23).

(2) David and Goliath (1Sa 17).

(3) The love of David and Jonathan (1Sa 18:1-4); the former’s advancement and fame, the jealousy of Saul, and his attempt to kill David (1Sa 18:5-16,29,30); David’s marriage to the daughter of Saul (1Sa 18:17-28).

(4) Saul’s renewed jealousy of David and second attempt to kill him (1Sa 19:1-17); David’s escape to Ramah, whither the king followed (1Sa 19:18-24).

(5) Jonathan’s warning to David of his father’s resolve and their parting (1Sa 20).

(6) David at Nob (1Sa 21:1-9); and with Achish of Gath (1Sa 21:10-15).

(7) David’s band of outlaws at Adullam (1Sa 22:1,2); his provision for the safety of his father and mother in Moab (1Sa 22:3-5); vengeance of Saul on those who had helped David (1Sa 22:6-23).

(8) Repeated attempts of Saul to take David (1Sa 23; 24).

(9) Death of Samuel (1Sa 25:1); Abigail becomes David’s wife, after the death of her husband Nabal (1Sa 25:2-44).

(10) Saul’s further pursuit of David (1Sa 26).

(11) David’s sojourn with Achish of Gath (1Sa 27:1-28:2; 29$); Saul and the witch of Endor (1Sa 28:3-25).

(12) David’s pursuit of the Amalekites who had raided Ziklag, and victory (1Sa 30).

(13) Battle between the Philistines and Israel in Mt. Gilboa and death of Saul (1Sa 31).

(14) News of Saul’s death brought to David at Ziklag (2Sa 1:1-16); David’s lamentation over Saul and Jonathan (2Sa 1:17-27).

3. Reign of David (2 Samuel 2-20):

(1) David’s Seven and a Half Years’ Reign over Judah in Hebron (2 Samuel 2:1-5:3).

(a) Consecration of David as king in Hebron (2Sa 2:1-4 a); message to the men of Jabesh-gilead (2Sa 2:4-7); Ish-bosheth made king over Northern Israel (2Sa 2:8-11); defeat of Abner and death of Asahel (2Sa 2:12-32).

(b) Increase of the fame and prosperity of David, and the names of his sons (2Sa 3:1-5); Abner’s submission to David, and treacherous murder of the former by Joab (2Sa 3:6-39).

(c) Murder of Ish-bosheth and David’s vengeance upon his murderers (2Sa 4:1-3,5-12); notice of the escape of Mephibosheth, when Saul and Jonathan were slain at Jezreel (2Sa 4:4).

(d) David accepted as king over all Israel (2Sa 5:1-3).

(2) Reign of David in Jerusalem over United Israel (2 Samuel 5:4-20:26).

(a) Taking of Jerusalem and victories over the Philistines (2Sa 5:4-25).

(b) Return of the ark to the city of David (2Sa 6).

(c) David’s purpose to build a temple for the Lord (2Sa 7:1-3); the divine answer by the prophet Nathan, and the king’s prayer (2Sa 7:4-29).

(d) Victories over the Philistines, Syrians, and other peoples (2Sa 8).

(e) David’s reception of Mephibosheth (2Sa 9).

(f) Defeat of the Ammonites and Syrians by the men of Israel under the command of Joab (2Sa 10:1-11:1).

(g) David and Uriah, the latter’s death in battle, and David’s marriage with Bath-sheba (2Sa 11:2-27).

(h) Nathan’s parable and David’s conviction of sin (2Sa 12:1-15); the king’s grief and intercession for his sick son (2Sa 12:15-25); siege and capture of Rabbah, the Ammonite capital (2Sa 12:26-31).

(i) Amnon and Tamar (2Sa 13:1-22); Absalom’s revenge and murder of Amnon (2Sa 13:23-36); flight of Absalom (2Sa 13:37-39).

(j) Return of Absalom to Jerusalem (2Sa 14:1-24); his beauty, and reconciliation with the king (2Sa 14:25-33).

(k) Absalom’s method of ingratiating himself with the people (2Sa 15:1-6); his revolt and the flight of the king from Jerusalem (2Sa 15:7-31); meeting with Hushai (2Sa 15:32-37); Absalom in Jerusalem (2Sa 15:37).

(l) David’s’ meeting with Ziba (2Sa 16:1-4), and Shimei (2Sa 16:5-14); counsel of Ahitophel and Hushai (2Sa 16:15-17:14); the news carried to David (2Sa 17:15-22); death of Ahitophel (2Sa 17:23).

(m) David at Mahanaim (2Sa 17:24-29).

(n) The revolt subdued, death of Absalom, and reception by David of the tidings (2Sa 18:1-19:8).

(o) Return of the king to Jerusalem, and meetings with Shimei, Mephibosheth, and Barzillai the Gileadite (2Sa 19:8-43).

(p) Revolt of Sheba the Benjamite, and its suppression by Joab with the death of Amasa (2Sa 20:1,2,4-22); the king’s treatment of the concubines left at Jerusalem (2Sa 20:3); the names of his officers (2Sa 20:23-26).

4. Appendix (2 Samuel 21-24):

(1) Seven male descendants of Saul put to death at the instance of the Gibeonites (2Sa 21:1-14); incidents of wars with the Philistines (2Sa 21:15-22).

(2) David’s song of thanksgiving and praise (2Sa 22).

(3) The "last words" of David (2Sa 23:1-7); names and exploits of David’s "mighty men" (2Sa 23:8-39).

(4) The king’s numbering of the people, the resulting plague, and the dedication of the threshing-floor of Araunah the Jebusite (2Sa 24).

IV. Sources of the History.

The natural inference from the character and contents of the Books of Samuel, as thus reviewed, is that the writer has made use of authorities, "sources" or "documents," from which he has compiled a narrative of the events which it was his desire to place on record. The same characteristics are noticeable here which are found in parts of the Pentateuch and of the Books of Joshua and Judges, that in some instances duplicate or parallel accounts are given of one and the same event, which seems to be regarded from different points of view and is narrated in a style which is more or less divergent from that of the companion record. Examples of this so-called duplication are more frequent in the earlier parts of the books than in the later. There are presented, for instance, two accounts of Saul’s election as king, and an act of disobedience is twice followed, apparently quite independently, by the sentence of rejection. Independent also and hardly consistent narratives are given of David’s introduction to Saul (1Sa 16:14-23; 17:31 ff, 55 ); and the two accounts of the manner of the king’s death can be imperfectly reconciled only on the hypothesis that the young Amalekite told a false tale to David in order to magnify his own part in the matter. In these and other instances little or no attempt seems to be made to harmonize conflicting accounts, or to reconcile apparent discrepancies. In good faith the writer set down the records as he found them, making extracts or quotations from his authorities on the several events as they occurred, and thus building up his own history on the basis of the freest possible use of the materials and language of those who had preceded him. However alien such a method of composition may appear to modern thought and usage in the West, it is characteristic of all early oriental writing. It would be almost impossible to find in any eastern literature a work of any length or importance which was not thus silently indebted to its predecessors, had incorporated their utterances, and had itself in turn suffered interpolation at the hands of later editors and transcribers. Accordingly, early Hebrew historical literature also, while unique in its spirit, conformed in its methods to the practice of the age and country in which it was composed. It would have been strange if it had been otherwise.

Two Main and Independent Sources:

Apart from the appendix and minor additions, of which Hannah’s song or psalm in 1 Samuel 2 is one, the main portion of the book is derived from two independent sources, which themselves in all probability formed part of a larger whole, a more or less consecutive history or histories of Israel. These sources may, however, have been, as others think, rather of a biographical nature, presenting and enforcing the teaching of the acts and experience of the great leaders and rulers of the nation. The parallelism and duplication of the narrative is perhaps most evident in the history of Saul. The broad lines of distinction between the two may be defined without much difficulty or uncertainty. The greater part of the first eight chapters of 1 Samuel is in all probability derived from the later of these two sources, to which is to be assigned more or less completely 1 Samuel 10-12:15; 17-19; 21-25; 28 and 2Sa 1-7. The earlier source has contributed 1Sa 9 with parts of 1 Samuel 10; 11; 13; 14; 16; 20 and considerable portions of 1 Samuel 22; 23; 26-27; 29-31; 2Sa 1 (in part); 2-6; 9-20. Some details have probably been derived from other sources, and additions made by the editor or editors. This general determination of sources rests upon a difference of standpoint and religious conception, and upon slighter varieties of style which are neither so pronounced nor so readily distinguished as in the books of the Pentateuch. It is reasonable also to bear in mind that a close and exact division or line of demarcation in every detail is not to be expected.

V. Character and Date of the Sources.

Attempts which have been made to determine the date of these two sources, or to identify them with one or other of the principal authorities from which the historical narratives of the Pentateuch are derived, have not been convincing. In the judgment of some, however, the later of the two sources should be regarded as a continuation of the narrative or document known as E, and the earlier be assigned to J. The style of the latter has much in common with the style of J, and is clear, vigorous and poetical; the religious conceptions also that are embodied and taught are of a simple and early type. The later writing has been supposed to give indications of the influence of the prophetic teaching of the 8th century. The indications, however, are not sufficiently decisive to enable a final judgment to be formed. If it is borne in mind that J and E represent rather schools of teaching and thought than individual writers, the characteristics of the two sources of the Books of Sam would not be out of harmony with the view that from these two schools respectively were derived the materials out of which the history was compiled. The "sources" would then, according to the usual view, belong to the 9th and 8th centuries before the Christian era; and to a period not more than a century or a century and a half later should be assigned the final compilation and completion of the book as it is contained in the Hebrew Canon of Scripture.

VI. Greek Versions of the Books of Samuel.

For an exact estimate and understanding of the history and text of the Books of Samuel count must further be taken of the Greek version or versions. In the Septuagint there is great divergence from the Hebrew Massoretic text, and it is probable that in the course of transmission the Greek has been exposed to corruption to a very considerable extent. At least two recensions of the Greek text are in existence, represented by the Vatican and Alexandrian manuscripts respectively, of which the latter is nearer to the Hebrew original, and has apparently been conformed to it at a later period with a view to removing discrepancies; and this process has naturally impaired its value as a witness to the primary shape of the Greek text itself. There are therefore three existing types of the text of Samuel; the Massoretic Hebrew and Codex Vaticanus and Codex Alexandrinus in the Greek. The original form of the Septuagint, if it could be recovered, would represent a text anterior to the Massoretic recension, differing from, but not necessarily superior to, the latter. For the restoration of the Greek text, the Old Latin, where it is available, affords valuable help. It is evident then that in any given instance the agreement of these three types or recensions of the text is the strongest possible witness to the originality and authenticity of a reading; but that the weight attaching to the testimony of A will not in general, on account of the history of its text, be equivalent to that of either of the other two.

VII. Ethical and Religious Teaching.

The religious teaching and thought of the two Books of Samuel it is not difficult to summarize. The books are in form a historical record of events; but they are at the same time and more particularly a history conceived with a definite purpose, and made to subserve a definite moral and religious aim. It is not a narrative of events solely, or the preservation of historical detail, that the writer has in view, but rather to elucidate and enforce from Israel’s experience the significance of the divine and moral government of the nation. The duty of king and people alike is to obey Yahweh, to render strict and willing deference to His commands, and on this path of obedience alone will national independence and prosperity be secured. With the strongest emphasis, and with uncompromising severity, sin even in the highest places is condemned; and an ideal of righteousness is set forth in language and with an earnestness which recalls the exhortations of Deuteronomy. Thus the same is true of the Books of Samuel as is manifest in the preceding books of the canonical Old Testament: they are composed with a didactic aim. The experience of the past is made to afford lessons of warning and encouragement for the present. To the writer or writers—the history of the development and upbuilding of the Israelite kingdom is pregnant with a deeper meaning than lies on the surface, and this meaning he endeavors to make plain to his readers through the record. The issues of the events and the events themselves are under the guidance and control of Yahweh, who always condemns and punishes wrong, but approves and rewards righteousness. Thus the narrative is history utilized to convey moral truth. And its value is to be estimated, not primarily as recording the great deeds of the past, but as conveying ethical teaching; that by means of the history with all its glamor and interest the people may be recalled to a sense of their high duty toward God, and be warned of the inevitable consequences of disobedience to Him.


Upon all points of introduction, criticism and interpretation, the commentaries afford abundant and satisfactory guidance. The principal English commentaries. are by H. P. Smith in ICC, Edinburgh, 1899, and S. R. Driver, Notes on the Hebrew Text of the Books of Samuel, 2nd edition, Oxford, 1913; A. R. S. Kennedy, "Samuel," New Century Bible, New York, Frowde, 1905; in German by R. Budde, 1902, W. Nowack, 1902, A. Klostermann, 1887. See also the articles "Samuel" in HDB, Encyclopedia Biblica and Jewish Encyclopedia.

A. S. Geden


san’-a-as (Codex Alexandrinus and Fritzsche, Sanaas; Codex Vaticanus Sama; the King James Version, Annaas): The sons of Sanaas returned in large numbers with Zerubbabel (1 Esdras 5:23) =" Senaah" in Ezr 2:35; Ne 7:38. The numbers vary in each case (Esdras, 3,330 or 3,301; Ezra, 3,630; Nehemiah, 3,930).


san-a-bas’-ar, san-a-bas’-a-rus (in 1 Esdras 2:12,15), (in 1 Esdras 6:18,10; a name appearing in many variations, Codex Alexandrinus always reading Sanabassaros; Codex Vaticanus Sanamassaro, in 1 Esdras 2:12(11) (the Revised Version margin, Samanassar), Samanassarou, in 1 Esdras 2:15(14), but Sabanassaro, in 1 Esdras 6:18 (17) (Revised Version margin) and Sanabassaros, in 1 Esdras 6:20 (19)): He was "governor of Judea" under Cyrus, conveyed the holy vessels of the temple from Babylon to Jerusalem and "laid the foundations of the house of the Lord" for the first time since its destruction (1 Esdras 2:12,15; 6:18-20) =" SHESHBAZZAR (which see) the prince of Judah" (Ezr 1:8).

Some identify him with Zerubbabel as the King James Version margin in 1 Esdras 6:18: "Z., which is also Sanabassar the ruler." This view appears to be favored by the order of the words here, where, in case of two persons, one might expect "Sanabassar the ruler" to come first. Zerubbabel appears as "governor of Judea" also in 1 Esdras 6:27-29. Ezr 3:10 speaks of the foundation of the temple under Zerubbabel and 5:16 as under Sheshbazzar. There is further the analogy of 1 Esdras 5:40, where Nehemias and Attharias refer to the same person. Against this identification: Zerubbabel is not styled ruler or governor either in Nehemiah or Ezra, but in Hag 1:14; 2:2,21 he is pechah or governor of Judah; no explanation is given of the double name, as in the case of e.g. Daniel, Belteshazzar; the language of Ezr 5:14 f seems to refer to work commenced under a different person than Zerubbabel. Nor is there any reason against supposing a first return under Sheshbazzar (Sanabassar) and a foundation of the temple previous to the time of Zerubbabel—an undertaking into which the Jews did not enter heartily, perhaps because Sanabassar may have been a foreigner (though it is uncertain whether he was a Babylonian, a Persian, or a Jew). A later proposal is to identify Sanabassar with Shenazzar, the uncle of Zerubbabel in 1Ch 3:18. But either of these identifications must remain doubtful.


S. Angus


san’-a-sib (Fritzsche, Sanasib, but Codex Vaticanus and Swete, Sanabeis; Codex Alexandrinus Anaseib): Found only in 1 Esdras 5:24, where the sons of Jeddu, the son of Jesus, are a priestly family returning "among the sons of Sanasib." The name is not found in the parallel Ezr 2:36; Ne 7:39, and is perhaps preserved in the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) "Eliasib."


san-bal’-at (canebhallaT; Greek and Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) Sanaballat; Peshitta, Samballat): Sanballat the Horonite was, if the appellation which follows his name indicates his origin, a Moabite of Horonaim, a city of Moab mentioned in Isa 15:5; Jer 48:2,5,34; Josephus, Ant, XIII, xxiii; XIV, ii. He is named along with Tobiah, the Ammonite slave (Ne 4:1), and Geshem the Arabian (Ne 6:1) as the leading opponent of the Jews at the time when Nehemiah undertook to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Ne 2:10; 4:1; 6:1). He was related by marriage to the son of Eliashib, the high priest at the time of the annulment of the mixed marriages forbidden by the Law (Ne 13:28).

Renewed interest has been awakened in Sanballat from the fact that he is mentioned in the papyri I and II of Sachau (Die aramaischen Papyrusurkunden aus Elephantine, Berlin, 1908, and in his later work, Aramaische Papyrus und Ostraka, Leipzig, 1911; compare Staerk’s convenient edition in Lietzmanns Kleine Texte, Number 32, 1908) as having been the governor (pachath) of Samaria some time before the 17th year of Darius (Nothus), i.e. 408-407 BC, when Bagohi was governor of Judah. His two sons, Delaiah and Shelemiah, received a letter from Jedoniah and his companions the priests who were in Yeb (Elephantine) in Upper Egypt. This letter contained information concerning the state of affairs in the Jewish colony of Yeb, especially concerning the destruction of the temple or synagogue (agora) which had been erected at that place.

The address of this letter reads as follows: "To our lord Bagohi, the governor of Judea, his servants Jedoniah and his companions, the priests in the fortress of Yeb (Elephantine). May the God of Heaven inquire much at every time after the peace of our lord and put thee in favor before Darius the king," etc. The conclusion of the letter reads thus: "Now, thy servants, Jedoniah and his companions and the Jews, all citizens of Yeb, say thus: If it seems good to our lord, mayest thou think on the rebuilding of that temple (the agora which had been destroyed by the Egyptians). Since it has not been permitted us to rebuild it, do thou look on the receivers of thy benefactions and favors here in Egypt. Let a letter with regard to the rebuilding of the temple of the God Jaho in the fortress of Yeb, as it was formerly built, be sent from thee. In thy name will they offer the meal offerings, the incense, and the burnt offerings upon the altar of the God Jaho; and we shall always pray for thee, we and our wives and our children and all the Jews found here, until the temple has been rebuilt. And it will be to thee a meritorious work (tsedhaqah) in the sight of Jaho, the God of Heaven, greater than the meritorious work of a man who offers to him a burnt offering and a sacrifice of a value equal to the value of 1,000 talents of silver. And as to the gold (probably that which was sent by the Jews to Bagohi as a baksheesh) we have sent word and given knowledge. Also, we have in our name communicated in a letter all (these) matters unto Delaiah and Shelemiah, the sons of Sanballat, governor of Samaria. Also, from all that has been done to us, Arsham (the satrap of Egypt) has learned nothing.

The 20th of Marcheshvan in the 17th year of Darius the king." Sanballat is the Babylonian Sin-uballit, "may Sin give him life," a name occurring a number of times in the contract tablets from the time of Nebuchadnezzar, Nabonidus, and Darius Hystaspis. (See Tallquist, Neubabylonisches Namenbuch, 183.)

R. Dick Wilson





1. In the Old Testament

2. In the New Testament


1. Transformation of Formal to Ethical Idea

2. Our Relation to God as Personal: New Testament Idea

3. Sanctification as God’s Gift

4. Questions of Time and Method

5. An Element in All Christian Life

6. Follows from Fellowship with God

7. Is It Instantaneous and Entire?

8. Sanctification as Man’s Task



The root is found in the Old Testament in the Hebrew verb qadhash, in the New Testament in the Greek verb hagoazo. The noun "sanctification" (hagiasmos) does not occur in the Old Testament and is found but 10 times in the New Testament, but the roots noted above appear in a group of important words which are of very frequent occurrence. These words are "holy," "hallow," "hallowed," "holiness," "consecrate," "saint," "sanctify," "sanctification." It must be borne in mind that these words are all translations of the same root, and that therefore no one of them can be treated adequately without reference to the others. All have undergone a certain development. Broadly stated, this has been from the formal, or ritual, to the ethical, and these different meanings must be carefully distinguished.

I. The Formal Sense.

By sanctification is ordinarily meant that hallowing of the Christian believer by which he is freed from sin and enabled to realize the will of God in his life. This is not, however, the first or common meaning in the Scriptures. To sanctify means commonly to make holy, that is, to separate from the world and consecrate to God.

1. In the Old Testament:

To understand this primary meaning we must go back to the word "holy" in the Old Testament. That is holy which belongs to Yahweh. There is nothing implied here as to moral character. It may refer to days and seasons, to places, to objects used for worship, or to persons. Exactly the same usage is shown with the word "sanctify." To sanctify anything is to declare it as belonging to God. "Sanctify unto me all the first-born .... it is mine" (Ex 13:2; compare Nu 3:13; 8:17). It applies thus to all that is connected with worship, to the Levites (Nu 3:12), the priests and the tent of meeting (Ex 29:44), the altar and all that touches it (Ex 29:36 f), and the offering (Ex 29:27; compare RAPC 2Ma 2:18; Ecclesiasticus 7:31). The feast and holy days are to be sanctified, that is, set apart from ordinary business as belonging to Yahweh (the Sabbath, Ne 13:19-22; a fast, Joe 1:14). So the nation as a whole is sanctified when Yahweh acknowledges it and receives it as His own, "a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation" (Ex 19:5,6). A man may thus sanctify his house or his field (Le 27:14,16), but not the firstling of the flock, for this is already Yahweh’s (Le 27:26).

It is this formal usage without moral implication that explains such a passage as Ge 38:21. The word translated "prostitute" here is from the same root qadhash, meaning literally, , as elsewhere, the sanctified or consecrated one (qedheshah; see margin and compare De 23:18; 1Ki 14:24; Ho 4:14). It is the hierodule, the familiar figure of the old pagan temple, the sacred slave consecrated to the temple and the deity for immoral purposes. The practice is protested against in Israel (De 23:17 f), but the use of the term illustrates clearly the absence of anything essentially ethical in its primary meaning (compare also 2Ki 10:20, "And Jehu said, Sanctify a solemn assembly for Baal. And they proclaimed it"; compare Joe 1:14).

Very suggestive is the transitive use of the word in the phrase, "to sanctify Yahweh." To understand this we must note the use of the word "holy" as applied to Yahweh in the Old Testament. Its meaning is not primarily ethical. Yahweh’s holiness is His supremacy, His sovereignty, His glory, His essential being as God. To say the Holy One is simply to say God. Yahweh’s holiness is seen in His might, His manifested glory; it is that before which peoples tremble, which makes the nations dread (Ex 15:11-18; compare 1Sa 6:20; Ps 68:35; 89:7; 99:2,3). Significant is the way in which "jealous" and "holy" are almost identified (Jos 24:19; Eze 38:23). It is God asserting His supremacy, His unique claim. To sanctify Yahweh, therefore, to make Him holy, is to assert or acknowledge or bring forth His being as God, His supreme power and glory, His sovereign claim. Ezekiel brings this out most clearly. Yahweh has been profaned in the eyes of the nations through Israel’s defeat and captivity. True, it was because of Israel’s sins, but the nations thought it was because of Yahweh’s weakness. The ethical is not wanting in these passages. The people are to be separated from their sins and given a new heart (Eze 36:25,26,33). But the word "sanctify" is not used for this. It is applied to Yahweh, and it means the assertion of Yahweh’s power in Israel’s triumph and the conquest of her foes (Eze 20:41; 28:25; 36:23; 38:16; 39:27). The sanctification of Yahweh is thus the assertion of His being and power as God, just as the sanctification of a person or object is the assertion of Yahweh’s right and claim in the same.

The story of the waters of Meribah illustrates the same meaning. Moses’ failure to sanctify Yahweh is his failure to declare Yahweh’s glory and power in the miracle of the waters (Nu 20:12,13; 27:14; De 32:51). The story of Nadab and Abihu points the same way. Here "I will be sanctified" is the same as "I will be glorified" (Le 10:1-3). Not essentially different is the usage in Isa 5:16: "Yahweh of hosts is exalted in justice, and God the Holy One is sanctified in righteousness." Holiness again is the exaltedhess of God, His supremacy, which is seen here in the judgment (justice, righteousness) meted out to the disobedient people (compare the recurrent refrain of Isa 5:25; 9:12,17,21; 10:4; see JUSTICE). Isa 8:13; 29:23 suggest the same idea by the way in which they relate "sanctify" to fear and awe. One New Testament passage brings us the same meaning (1Pe 3:15): "Sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord," that is, exalt Him as supreme.

2. In the New Testament:

In a few New Testament passages the Old Testament ritual sense reappears, as when Jesus speaks of the temple sanctifying the gold, and the altar the gift (Mt 23:17,19; compare also Heb 9:13; 1Ti 4:5). The prevailing meaning is that which we found in the Old Testament. To sanctify is to consecrate or set apart. We may first take the few passages in the Fourth Gospel. As applied to Jesus in Joh 10:36; 17:19, sanctify cannot mean to make holy in the ethical sense. As the whole context shows, it means to consecrate for His mission in the world. The reference to the disciples, "that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth," has both meanings: that they may be set apart, (for Jesus sends them, as the Father sends Him), and that they may be made holy in truth.

This same meaning of consecration, or separation, appears when we study the word saint, which is the same as "sanctified one." Aside from its use in the Psalms, the word is found mainly in the New Testament. Outside the Gospels, where the term "disciples" is used, it is the common word to designate the followers of Jesus, occurring some 56 times. By "saint" is not meant the morally perfect, but the one who belongs to Christ, just as the sanctified priest or offering belonged to Yahweh. Thus Paul can salute the disciples at Corinth as saints and a little later rebuke them as carnal and babes, as those among whom are jealousy and strife, who walk after the manner of men (1Co 1:2; 3:1-3). In the same way the phrase "the sanctified" or "those that are sanctified" is used to designate the believers. By "the inheritance among all them that are sanctified" is meant the heritage of the Christian believer (Ac 20:32; 26:18; compare 1Co 1:2; 6:11; Eph 1:18; Col 1:12). This is the meaning in Hebrews, which speaks of the believer as being sanctified by the blood of Christ. In 10:29 the writer speaks of one who has fallen away, who "hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing." Evidently it is not the inner and personal holiness of this apostate that is referred to, especially in view of the tense, but that he had been separated unto God by this sacrificial blood and had then counted the holy offering a common thing. The contrast is between sacred and common, not between moral perfection and sin (compare 10:10; 13:12). The formal meaning appears again in 1Co 7:12-14, where the unbelieving husband is said to be sanctified by the wife, and vice versa. It is not moral character that is meant here, but a certain separation from the profane and unclean and a certain relation to God. This is made plain by the reference to the children: "Else were your children unclean; but now are they holy." The formal sense is less certain in other instances where we have the thought of sanctification in or by the Holy Spirit or in Christ; as in Ro 15:16, "being sanctified by the Holy Spirit"; 1Co 1:2, to "them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus"; 1Pe 1:2, "in sanctification of the Spirit." Paul’s doctrine of the Spirit as the new life in us seems to enter in here, and yet the reference to 1 Corinthians suggests that the primary meaning is still that of setting apart, the relating to God.

II. The Ethical Sense.

We have been considering so far what has been called the formal meaning of the word; but the chief interest of Christian thought lies in the ethical idea, sanctification considered as the active deed or process by which the life is made holy.

1. Transformation of Formal to Ethical Idea:

Our first question is, How does the idea of belonging to God become the idea of transformation of life and character? The change is, indeed, nothing less than a part of the whole movement for which the entire Scriptures stand as a monument. The ethical is not wanting at the beginning, but the supremacy of the moral and spiritual over against the formal, the ritual, the ceremonial, the national, is the clear direction in which the movement as a whole tends. Now the pivot of this movement is the conception of God. As the thought of God grows more ethical, more spiritual, it molds and changes all other conceptions. Thus what it means to belong to God (holiness, sanctification) depends upon the nature of the God to whom man belongs. The hierodules of Corinth are women of shame because of the nature of the goddess to whose temple they belong. The prophets caught a vision of Yahweh, not jealous for His prerogative, not craving the honor of punctilious and proper ceremonial, but with a gracious love for His people and a passion for righteousness. Their great message is: This now is Yahweh; hear what it means to belong to such a God and to serve Him. "What unto me is the multitude of your sacrifices? .... Wash you, make you clean; .... seek justice, relieve the oppressed" (Isa 1:11,16,17). "When Israel was a child, then I loved him. .... I desire goodness, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than bunt-offerings" (Ho 11:1; 6:6).

In this way the formal idea that we have been considering becomes charged with moral meaning. To belong to God, to be His servant, His son, is no mere external matter. Jesus’ teaching as to sonship is in point here. The word "sanctification" does not occur in the Synoptic Gospels at all, but "sonship" with the Jews expressed this same relation of belonging. For them it meant a certain obedience on the one hand, a privilege on the other. Jesus declares that belonging to God means likeness to Him, sonship is sharing His spirit of loving good will (Mt 5:43-48). Brother and sister for Jesus are those who do God’s will (Mr 3:35). Paul takes up the same thought, but joins it definitely to the words "saint" and "sanctify." The religious means the ethical, those "that are sanctified" are "called to be saints" (1Co 1:2). The significant latter phrase is the same as in Ro 1:1, "Paul .... called to be an apostle." In this light we read Eph 4:1, "Walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called." Compare 1Th 2:12; Php 1:27. And the end of this calling is that we are "foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son" (Ro 8:29). We must not limit ourselves to the words "saint" or "sanctify" to get this teaching with Paul. It is his constant and compelling moral appeal: You belong to Christ; live with Him, live unto Him (Col 3:1-4; 1Th 5:10). It is no formal belonging, no external surrender. It is the yielding of the life in its passions and purposes, in its deepest affections and highest powers, to be ruled by a new spirit (Eph 4:13,10,23,24,32; compare Ro 12:1).

2. Our Relation to God as Personal: New Testament Idea:

But we do not get the full meaning of this thought of sanctification as consecration, or belonging, until we grasp the New Testament thought of our relation to God as personal. The danger has always been that this consecration should be thought of in a negative or passive way. Now the Christian’s surrender is not to an outer authority but to an inner, living fellowship. The sanctified life is thus a life of personal fellowship lived out with the Father in the spirit of Christ in loving trust and obedient service. This positive and vital meaning of sanctification dominates Paul’s thought. He speaks of living unto God, of living to the Lord, and most expressively of all, of being alive unto Golf (Ro 14:8; compare Ro 6:13; Ga 2:19). So completely is his life filled by this fellowship that he can say, "It is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me" (Ga 2:20). But there is no quietism here. It is a very rich and active life, this life of fellowship to which we are surrendered. It is a life of sonship in trust and love, with the spirit that enables us to say "Abba, Father" (Ro 8:15; Ga 4:6). It is a life of unconquerable kindness and good will (Mt 5:43-48). It is a life of "faith working through love" (Ga 5:6), it is having the mind of Christ (Php 2:5). The sanctified life, then, is the life so fully surrendered to fellowship with Christ day by day that inner spirit and outward expression are ruled by His spirit.

3. Sanctification as God’s Gift:

We come now to that aspect which is central for Christian interest, sanctification as the making holy of life, not by our act, but by God’s deed and by God’s gift. If holiness represents the state of heart and life in conformity with God’s will, then sanctification is the deed or process by which that state is wrought. And this deed we are to consider now as the work of God. Jesus prays that the Father may sanctify His disciples in truth (Joh 17:17). So Paul prays for the Thessalonians (1Th 5:23), and declares that Christ is to sanctify His church (compare Ro 6:22; 2Th 2:13; 2Ti 2:21; 1Pe 1:2). Here sanctification means to make clean or holy in the ethical sense, though the idea of consecration is not necessarily lacking. But aside from special passages, we must take into account the whole New Testament teaching, according to which every part of the Christian life is the gift of God and wrought by His Spirit. "It is God that worketh in you both to will and to work" (Php 2:13; compare Ro 8:2-4,9,14,16-26; Ga 5:22 f). Significant is the use of the words "creature" ("creation," see margin) and "workmanship" with Paul (2Co 5:17; Ga 6:15; Eph 2:10; 4:24). The new life is God’s second work of creation.

4. Questions of Time and Method:

When we ask, however, when and how this work is wrought, there is no such clear answer. What we have is on the one hand uncompromising ideal and demand, and on the other absolute confidence in God. By adding to these two the evident fact that the Christian believers seen in the New Testament are far from the attainment of such Christian perfection, some writers have assumed to have the foundation here for the doctrine that the state of complete holiness of life is a special experience in the Christian life wrought in a definite moment of time. It is well to realize that no New Testament passages give a specific answer to these questions of time and method, and that our conclusions must be drawn from the general teaching of the New Testament as to the Christian life.

5. An Element in All Christian Life:

First, it must be noted that in the New Testament view sanctification in the ethical sense is an essential element and inevitable result of all Christian life and experience. Looked at from the religious point of view, it follows from the doctrine of regeneration. Regeneration is the implanting of a new life in man. So far as that is a new life from God it is ipso facto holy. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit teaches the same (see HOLY SPIRIT). There is no Christian life from the very beginning that is not the work of the Spirit. "No man can (even) say, Jesus is Lord, but in the .... Spirit" (1Co 12:3). But this Spirit is the Holy Spirit, whether with Paul we say Spirit of Christ or Spirit of God (Ro 8:9). His presence, therefore, in so far forth means holiness of life. From the ethical standpoint the same thing is constantly declared. Jesus builds here upon the prophets: no religion without righteousness; clean hands, pure hearts, deeds of mercy are not mere conditions of worship, but joined to humble hearts are themselves the worship that God desires (Am 5:21-25; Mic 6:6-8). Jesus deepened the conception, but did not, change it, and Paul was true to this succession. "If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ is in you, .... the spirit is life because of righteousness" (Ro 8:9,10). There is nothing in Paul’s teaching to suggest that sanctification is the special event of a unique experience, or that there are two kinds or qualities of sanctification. All Christian living meant for him clean, pure, right living, and that was sanctification. The simple, practical way in which he attacks the bane of sexual impurity in his pagan congregations shows this. "This is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye abstain from fornication; that each one of you know how to possess himself of his own vessel in sanctification and honor. For God called us not for uncleanness, but in sanctification" (1Th 4:3,4,7). The strength of Paul’s teaching, indeed, lies here in this combination of moral earnestness with absolute dependence upon God.

6. Follows from Fellowship with God:

The second general conclusion that we draw from the New Testament teaching as to the Christian life is this: the sanctification which is a part of all Christian living follows from the very nature of that life as fellowship with God. Fundamental here is the fact that the Christian life is personal, that nothing belongs in it which cannot be stated in personal terms. It is a life with God in which He graciously gives Himself to us, and which we live out with Him and with our brothers in the spirit of Christ, which is His Spirit. The two great facts as to this fellowship are, that it is God’s gift, and that its fruit is holiness. First, it is God’s gift. What God gives us is nothing less than Himself. The gift is not primarily forgiveness, nor victory over sin, nor peace of soul, nor hope of heaven. It is fellowship with Him, which includes all of these and without which none of these can be. Secondly, the fruit of this fellowship is holiness. The real hallowing of our life can come in no other way. For Christian holiness is personal, not something formal or ritual, and its source and power can be nothing lower than the personal. Such is the fellowship into which God graciously lifts the believer. Whatever its mystical aspects, that fellowship is not magical or sacramental. It is ethical through and through. Its condition on our side is ethical. For Christian faith is the moral surrender of our life to Him in whom truth and right come to us with authority to command. The meaning of that surrender is ethical; it is opening the life to definite moral realities and powers, to love, meekness, gentleness, humility, reverence, purity, the passion for righteousness, to that which words cannot analyze but which we know as the Spirit of Christ. Such a fellowship is the supreme moral force for the molding of life. An intimate human fellowship is an analogue of this, and we know with what power it works on life and character. It cannot, however, set forth either the intimacy or the power of this supreme and final relation where our Friend is not another but is our real self. So much we know: this fellowship means a new spirit in us, a renewed and daily renewing life.

It is noteworthy that Paul has no hard-and-fast forms for this life. The reality was too rich and great, and his example should teach us caution in the insistence upon theological forms which may serve to compress the truth instead of expressing it. Here are some of his expressions for this life in us: to "have the mind of Christ" (1Co 2:16; Php 2:5), "the Spirit of Christ" (Ro 8:9), "Christ is in you" (Ro 8:10), "the spirit which is from God" (1Co 2:12), "the Spirit of God" (1Co 3:16), "the Holy Spirit" (1Co 6:19), "the Spirit of the Lord" (2Co 3:17), "the Lord the Spirit" (2Co 3:18). But in all this one fact stands out, this life is personal, a new spirit in us, and that spirit is one that we have in personal fellowship with God; it is His Spirit. Especially significant is the way in which Paul relates this new life to Christ. We have already noted that Paul uses indifferently "Spirit of God" and "Spirit of Christ," and that in the same passage (Ro 8:9). Paul’s great contribution to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit lies here. As he states it in 2Co 3:17: "Now the Lord is the Spirit." With that the whole conception of the Spirit gains moral content and personal character. The Spirit is personal, not some thing, nor some strange and magical power. The Spirit is ethical; there is a definite moral quality which is expressed when we say Christ. He has the Spirit who has the qualities of Christ. Thus the presence of the Spirit is not evidenced in the unusual, the miraculous, the ecstatic utterance of the enthusiast, or some strange deed of power, but in the workaday qualities of kindness, goodness, love, loyalty, patience, self-restraint (Ga 5:22 f). With this identification of the Spirit and the Christ in mind, we can better understand the passages in which Paul brings out the relation of Christ to the sanctification of the believer. He is the goal (Ro 8:29). We are to grow up in Him (Eph 4:15). He is to be formed in us (Ga 4:19). We are to behold Him and be changed into His image (2Co 3:17 f). This deepens into Paul’s thought of the mystical relation with Christ. The Christian dies to sin with Him that he may live with Him a new life. Christ is now his real life. He dwells in Christ, Christ dwells in him. He has Christ’s thoughts, His mind. See Ro 6:3-11; 8:9,10; 1Co 2:16; 15:22; Ga 2:20.

This vital and positive conception of the sanctification of the believer must be asserted against some popular interpretations. The symbols of fire and water, as suggesting cleansing, have sometimes been made the basis for a whole superstructure of doctrine. (For the former, note Isa 6:6 f; Lu 3:16; Ac 2:3; for the latter, Ac 2:38; 22:16; 1Co 6:11; Eph 5:26; Tit 3:5; Heb 10:22; Re 1:5; 7:14.) There is a two-fold danger here, from which these writers have not escaped. The symbols suggest cleansing, and their over-emphasis has meant first a negative and narrow idea of sanctification as primarily separation from sin or defilement. This is a falling back to certain Old Testament levels. Secondly, these material symbols have been literalized, and the result has been a sort of mechanical or magical conception of the work of the Spirit. But the soul is not a substance for mechanical action, however sublimated. It is personal life that is to be hallowed, thought, affections, motives, desires, will, and only a personal agent through personal fellowship can work this end.

7. Is It Instantaneous and Entire?:

The clear recognition of the personal and vital character of sanctification will help us with another problem. If the holy life be God’s requirement and at the same time His deed, why should not this sanctification be instantaneous and entire? And does not Paul imply this, not merely in his demands but in his prayer for the Thessalonians, that God may establish their hearts in holiness, that He may sanctify them wholly and preserve spirit and soul and body entire, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1Th 3:13; 5:23)?

In answer to this we must first discriminate between the ideal and the empirical with Paul. Like John (1 Joh 1:6; 3:9), Paul insists that the life of Christ and the life of sin cannot go on together, and he knows no qualified obedience, no graduated standard. He brings the highest Christian demand to the poorest of his pagan converts. Nor have we any finer proof of his faith than this uncompromising idealism. On the other hand, how could he ask less than this? God cannot require less than the highest, but it is another question how the ideal is to be achieved. In the realm of the ideal it is always either .... or. In the realm of life there is another category. The question is not simply, Is this man sinner or saint? It is rather, What is he becoming? This matter of becoming is the really vital issue. Is this man turned the right way with all his power? Is his life wholly open to the divine fellowship? Not the degree of achievement, but the right attitude toward the ideal, is decisive. Paul does not stop to resolve paradoxes, but practically he reckons with this idea. Side by side with his prayer for the Thessalonians are his admonitions to growth and progress (1Th 3:12; 5:14). Neither the absolute demand or the promise of grace gives us the right to conclude how the consummation shall take place.

8. Sanctification as Man’s Task:

That conclusion we can reach only as we go back again to the fundamental principle of the personal character of the Christian life and the relation thus given between the ethical and the religious. All Christian life is gift and task alike. "Work out your own salvation .... for it is God who worketh in you" (Php 2:12 f). All is from God; we can only live what God gives. But there is a converse to this: only as we live it out can God give to us the life. This appears in Paul’s teaching as to sanctification. It is not only God’s gift, but our task. "This is the will of God, even your sanctification" (1Th 4:3). "Having therefore these promises .... let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness (hagiosune) in the fear of God" (2Co 7:1). Significant is Paul’s use of the word "walk." We are to "walk in newness of life," "by (or in) the Spirit," "in love," and "in Christ Jesus the Lord" (Ro 6:4; Ga 5:16; Eph 5:2; Col 2:6). The gift in each case becomes the task, and indeed becomes real and effective only in this activity. It is only as we walk by the Spirit that this becomes powerful in overcoming the lusts of the flesh (Ga 5:16; compare Ga 5:25). But the ethical is the task that ends only with life. If God gives only as we live, then He cannot give all at once. Sanctification is then the matter of a life and not of a moment. The life may be consecrated in a moment, the right relation to God assumed and the man stand in saving fellowship with Him. The life is thus made holy in principle. But the real making holy is co-extensive with the whole life of man. It is nothing less than the constant in-forming of the life of the inner spirit and outer deed with the Spirit of Christ until we, "speaking truth in love, may grow up in all things into him, who is the head" (Eph 4:15). (Read also Ro 6; that the Christian is dead to sin is not some fixed static fact, but is true only as he refuses the lower and yields his members to a higher obedience. Note that in 1Co 5:7 Paul in the same verse declares "ye are unleavened," and then exhorts "Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump"; compare also 1Th 5:5-10.)

We may sum up as follows: The word "sanctify" is used with two broad meanings:

(1) The first is to devote, to consecrate to God, to recognize as holy, that is, as belonging to God. This is the regular Old Testament usage and is most common in the New Testament. The prophets showed that this belonging to Yahweh demanded righteousness. The New Testament deepens this into a whole-hearted surrender to the fellowship of God and to the rule of His Spirit.

(2) Though the word itself appears in but few passages with this sense, the New Testament is full of the thought of the making holy of the Christian’s life by the Spirit of God in that fellowship into which God lifts us by His grace and in which He gives Himself to us. This sanctifying, or hallowing, is not mechanical or magical. It is wrought out by God’s Spirit in a daily fellowship to which man gives himself in aspiration and trust and obedience, receiving with open heart, living out in obedient life. It is not negative, the mere separation from sin, but the progressive hallowing of a life that grows constantly in capacity, as in character, into the stature of full manhood as it is in Christ. And from this its very nature it is not momentary, but the deed and the privilege of a whole life.

See also HOLY SPIRIT and the following article.


The popular and special works are usually too undiscriminating and unhistorical to be of value for the Biblical study. An exception is Beet, Holiness Symbolic and Real. Full Biblical material in Cremer, Biblical Theol. Lexicon, but treated from special points of view. See Systematic Theologies, Old Testament Theologies (compare especially Smend), and New Testament Theologies (compare especially Holtzmann).

Harris Franklin Rall


1. Doctrine Stated

2. Objections Answered

3. Required for the Highest Success of the Preacher

4. Hymnology

5. Its Glorious Results

6. Wesley’s Personal Testimony

1. Doctrine Stated:

Christian perfection, through entire sanctification, by faith, here and now, was one of the doctrines by which John Wesley gave great offense to his clerical brethren in the Anglican church. From the beginning of his work in 1739, till 1760, he was formulating this doctrine. At the last date there suddenly arose a large number of witnesses among his followers. Many of these he questioned with Baconian skill, the result being a confirmation of his theories on various points.

In public address he used the terms "Christian Perfection," "Perfect Love," and "Holiness," as synonymous, though there are differences between them when examined critically. With Paul he taught that all regenerate persons are saints, i.e. holy ones, as the word "saint," from Latin sanctus, through the Norman-Fr, signifies (1Co 1:2; 2Co 1:1). His theory is that in the normal Christian the principle of holiness, beginning with the new birth, gradually expands and strengthens as the believer grows in grace and in the knowledge of the truth, till, by a final, all-surrendering act of faith in Christ, it reaches an instantaneous completion through the act of the Holy Spirit, the sanctifier: 2Co 7:1 "perfecting holiness," etc.; Eph 4:13, the King James Version "Till we all come .... unto a perfect man," etc. Thus sanctification is gradual, but entire sanctification is instantaneous (Ro 6:6, "our old man was crucified," etc., a sudden death; Ga 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live"). In 1Th 5:23, the word "sanctify" is a Greek aorist tense, signifying an act and not a process, as also in Joh 17:19, "that they .... may be sanctified in truth," or truly. (See Meyer’s note.) Many Christians experience this change on their deathbeds. If death suddenly ends the life of a growing Christian before he is wholly sanctified, the Holy Spirit perfects the work. Wesley’s advice to the preachers of this evangelical perfection was to draw and not to drive, and never to quote any threatenings of God’s word against God’s children. The declaration, "Without sanctification no man shall see the Lord" (Heb 12:14), does not apply to the saints, "the holy ones."

Wesley’s perfection of love is not perfection of degree, but of kind. Pure love is perfect love. The gradual growth toward perfect purity of love is beautifully expressed in Monod’s hymn,

"O the bitter shame and sorrow!"

The first response to the Saviour’s call is,

"All of self, and none of Thee."

But after a view of Christ on the cross. the answer is faintly,

"Some of self, and some of Thee."

Then, after a period of growing love, the cry is,

"Less of self, and more of Thee."

After another period, the final cry is,

"None of self, and all of Thee!"

an aspiration for pure love, without any selfishness.

The attainment of this grace is certified by the total cessation of all Servile fear (1 Joh 4:18). Wesley added to this the witness of the Spirit, for which his only proof-text is 1Co 2:12.

2. Objections Answered:

(1) Paul, in Php 3:12, declares that he is not "made perfect":

(a) in 3:15, he declares that he is perfect;

(b) "made perfect" is a term, borrowed from the ancient games, signifying a finished course. This is one of the meanings of teleioo, as seen also in Lu 13:32 margin, "The third day I end my course." Paul no more disclaims spiritual perfection in these words than does Christ before "the third day." Paul claims in Php 3:15, by the use of an adjective, that he is perfect. In 3:12 Paul claims that he is not perfect as a victor, because the race is not ended. In 3:15 he claims that he is perfect as a racer.

(2) Paul says (1Co 15:31), "I die daily." This does not refer to death to sin, as some say that it does, but to his daily danger of being killed for preaching Christ, as in Ro 8:36, "we are killed all the day long."

(3) 1 Joh 1:8: "If we say that we have no sin," etc.

(a) If this includes Christians, it contradicts John himself in the very next verse, and in 3:9, sin," "Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no and Joh 8:36, "If .... the Son shall make you free," etc., and in all those texts in the New Testament declaring sins forgiven.

(b) Bishop Westcott says that the expression, "to have sin," is distinguished from "to sin," as the sinful principle is distinguished from the sinful act in itself. It includes the idea of personal guilt. Westcott asserts that John refers to the Gnostics, who taught that moral evil exists only in matter, and never touches spirit, which is always holy; and, therefore, though guilty of all manner of vice, their spirits had no need of atonement, because they were untouched by sin, which existed only in their bodies, as it does in all matter. When told that this made the body of Christ sinful, they denied the reality of His body, saying that it was only a phantom. Hence, in the very first verse of this Epistle, John writes evidently against the Gnostic error, quoting three of the five senses to prove the reality of Chrtst’s humanity. (By all means, see "The Epistles of John," Cambridge Bible for Schools, etc., 17-21.)

3. Required for the Highest Success of the Preacher:

The relation of this doctrine to the Methodist Episcopal church in the United States is seen in the following questions, which have been affirmatively answered in public by all its preachers on their admission to the Conferences: "Are you going on to perfection?"; "Do you expect to be made perfect in love in this life?"; "Are you earnestly striving after it?" The hymns of the Wesleys, still universally sung, are filled with this doctrine, in which occur such expressions as:

4. Hymnology:

"Take away our bent to sinning," ....

"Let us find that second rest," ....

"Make and keep me pure within," ....

"‘Tis done! Thou dost this moment save,

With full salvation bless." ....

5. Its Glorious Results:

To the preaching of Christian perfection Wesley ascribed the success of his work in the conversion, religious training and intellectual education of the masses of Great Britain. It furnished him a multitude of consecrated workers, many of them lay preachers, who labored in nearly every hamlet, and who carried the gospel into all the British colonies, including America. It is declared by secular historians that this great evangelical movement, in which the doctrine of entire sanctification was so prominent, saved England from a disastrous revolution, like that which drenched France with the blood of its royal family and its nobility, in the last decade of the 18th century. It is certain that the great Christian and humanitarian work of William Booth, originally a Methodist, was inspired by this doctrine which he constantly preached. This enabled his followers in the early years of the Salvation Army to endure the persecutions which befell them at that time.

6. Wesley’s Personal Testimony:

On March 6, 1760, Wesley enters in his Journal the following testimony of one Elizabeth Longmore: "‘I felt my soul was all love. I was so stayed on God as I never felt before, and knew that I loved Him with all my heart. .... And the witness that God had saved me from all my sins grew clearer every hour. .... I have never since found my heart wander from God.’ Now this is what I always did, and do now, mean by perfection. And this I believe many have attained, on the same evidence that I believe many are justified."

We have Wesley’s only recorded testimony to his own justification in these words (May 24, 1738): "I felt my heart strangely warmed .... and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins," etc.

Daniel Steele


sank’-ti-ti, lej-is-la’-shun.

See ASTRONOMY, sec. I, 5, (6).


sank’-tu-a-ri, sank’-tu-a-ri (miqdash, miqqedhash, qodhesh, "holy place"; hagion):

1. Nature of Article

2. The Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis

The Three Stages

3. Difficulties of the Theory

(1) Slaughter Not Necessarily Sacrificial

(2) Sacrifice and Theophany

(3) Alleged Plurality of Sanctuaries

(4) The Altar of God’s House

(5) Local Altars in Deuteronomy

4. The Alternative View

(1) Lay Sacrifice

(2) Three Pilgrimage Festivals

5. The Elephantine Papyri

The Elephantine Temple


1. Nature of Article:

The present article is designed to supplement the articles on ALTAR; HIGH PLACE; PENTATEUCH; TABERNACLE; TEMPLE, by giving an outline of certain rival views of the course of law and history as regards the place of worship. The subject has a special importance because it was made the turning-point of Wellhausen’s discussion of the development of Israel’s literature, history and religion. He himself writes: "I differ from Graf chiefly in this, that I always go back to the centralization of the cult, and deduce from it the particular divergences. My whole position is contained in my first chapter" (Prolegomena, 368). For the purposes of this discussion it is necessary to use the symbols J, E, D, H, and the Priestly Code (P), which are explained in the article PENTATEUCH.

It is said that there are three distinct stages of law and history.

2. The Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis:

The Three Stages:

(1) In the first stage all slaughter of domestic animals for food purposes was sacrificial, and every layman could sacrifice locally at an altar of earth or unhewn stones. The law of JE is contained in Ex 20:24-26, providing for the making of an altar of earth or stones, and emphasis is laid on the words "in every place ("in all the place" is grammatically an equally possible rendering) where I record my name I will come unto thee and I will bless thee." This, it is claimed, permits a plurality of sanctuaries. Illustrations are provided by the history. The patriarchs move about the country freely and build altars at various places. Later sacrifices or altars are mentioned in connection with Jethro (Ex 18:12), Moses (Ex 17:15, etc.), Joshua (Jos 8:30), Gideon (Jud 6:26 etc.), Manoah (Jud 13:19), Samuel (1Sa 7:17, etc.), Elijah (1Ki 18:32), to take but a few instances. Perhaps the most instructive case is that of Saul after the battle of Michmash. Observing that the people were eating meat with blood, he caused a large stone to be rolled to him, and we are expressly told that this was the first altar that he built to the Lord (1Sa 14:35). While some of these examples might be accounted for by theophanies or other special circumstances, they are too numerous when taken together for such an explanation to suffice. In many instances they represent the conduct of the most authoritative and religious leaders of the age, e.g. Samuel, and it must be presumed that such men knew and acted upon the Law of their own day. Hence, the history and the Law of Ex 20 are in unison in permitting a multiplicity of sanctuaries. Wellhausen adds: "Altars as a rule are not built by the patriarchs according to their own private judgment wheresoever they please; on the contrary, a theophany calls attention to, or, at least afterward, confirms, the holiness of the place" (op. cit., 31).

(2) The second stage is presented by Deuteronomy in the Law and Josiah’s reformation in the history. Undoubtedly, De 12 permits local non-sacrificial slaughter for the purposes of food, and enjoins the destruction of heathen places of worship, insisting with great vehemence on the central sanctuary. The narrative of Josiah’s reformation in 2Ki 23 tallies with these principles.

(3) The third great body of law (the Priestly Code, P) does not deal with the question (save in one passage, Le 17). In Deuteronomy "the unity of the cult is commanded; in the Priestly Code it is presupposed. .... What follows from this forms the question before us. To my thinking, this: that the Priestly Code rests upon the result which is only the aim of Deuteronomy" (Prolegomena, 35). Accordingly, it is later than the latter book and dates from about the time of Ezra. As to Le 17:1-9, this belongs to H (the Law of Holiness, Le 17:1-26:46), an older collection of laws than the Priestly Code (P), and is taken up in the latter. Its intention was "to secure the exclusive legitimation of the one lawful place of sacrifice. .... Plainly the common man did not quite understand the newly drawn and previously quite unknown distinction between the religious and the profane act" (Prolegomena, 50). Accordingly, this legislator strove to meet the difficulty by the new enactment.

See CRITICISM (The Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis).

3. Difficulties of the Theory:

(1) Slaughter Not Necessarily Sacrificial

The general substratum afforded by the documentary theory falls within the scope of the article PENTATEUCH. The present discussion is limited to the legal and historical outline traced above. The view that all slaughter of domestic animals was sacrificial till the time of Josiah is rebutted by the evidence of the early books. The following examples should be noted: in Ge 18:7 a calf is slain without any trace of a sacrifice, and in 27:9-14 (Jacob’s substitute for venison) no altar or religious rite can fairly be postulated. In 1Sa 28:24 the slaughter is performed by a woman, so that here again sacrifice is out of the question. If Gideon performed a sacrifice when he "made ready a kid" (Jud 6:19) or when he killed an animal for the broth of which the narrative speaks, the animals in question must have been sacrificed twice over, once when they were killed and again when the food was consumed by flames. Special importance attaches to Ex 22:1 (Hebrew 21:37), for there the JE legislation itself speaks of slaughter by cattle thieves as a natural and probable occurrence, and it can surely not have regarded this as a sacrificial act. Other instances are to be found in Ge 43:16; 1Sa 25:11; 1Ki 19:21. In 1Sa 8:13 the word translated "cooks" means literally, "women slaughterers." All these instances are prior to the date assigned to Deuteronomy. With respect to Le 17:1-7 also, theory is unworkable. At any time in King Josiah’s reign or after, it would have been utterly impossible to limit all slaughter of animals for the whole race wherever resident to one single spot. This part of theory therefore breaks down.

(2) Sacrifice and Theophany

The view that the altars were erected at places that were peculiarly holy, or at any rate were subsequently sanctified by a theophany, is also untenable. In the Patriarchal age we may refer to Ge 4:26, where the calling on God implies sacrifice but not theophanies, Abram at Beth-el (12:8) and Mamre (13:18), and Jacob’s sacrifices (31:54; 33:20). Compare later Samuel’s altar at Ramah, Adonijah’s sacrifice at En-rogel (1Ki 1), Naaman’s earth (2Ki 5), David’s clan’s sacrifice (1Sa 20:6,29). It is impossible to postulate theophanies for the sacrifices of every clan in the country, and it becomes necessary to translate Ex 20:24 "in all the place" (see supra 2, (1)) and to understand "the place" as the territory of Israel.

(3) Alleged Plurality of Sanctuaries

The hypothesis of a multiplicity of sanctuaries in JE and the history also leaves out of view many most important facts. The truth is that the word "sanctuary" is ambiguous and misleading. A plurality of altars of earth or stone is not a plurality of sanctuaries. The early legislation knows a "house of Yahweh" in addition to the primitive altars (Ex 23:19; 34:26; compare the parts of Jos 9:23,27 assigned to J). No eyewitness could mistake a house for an altar, or vice versa.

(4) The Altar of God’s House

Moreover a curious little bit of evidence shows that the "house" had quite a different kind of altar. In 1Ki 1:50 f; 2:28 ff, we hear of the horns of the altar (compare Am 3:14). Neither earth nor unhewn stones (as required by the Law of Ex 20) could provide such horns, and the historical instances of the altars of the patriarchs, religious leaders, etc., to which reference has been made, show that they had no horns. Accordingly, we are thrown back on the description of the great altar of burnt offering in Ex 27 and must assume that an altar of this type was to be found before the ark before Solomon built his Temple. Thus the altar of the House of God was quite different from the customary lay altar, and when we read of "mine altar" as a refuge in Ex 21:14, we must refer it to the former, as is shown by the passages just cited. In addition to the early legislation and the historical passages cited as recognizing a House of God with a horned altar, we see such a house in Shiloh where Eli and his sons of the house of Aaron (1Sa 2:27) ministered. Thus the data of both JE and the history show us a House of God with a horned altar side by side with the multiplicity of stone or earthen altars, but give us no hint of a plurality of legitimate houses or shrines or sanctuaries.

(5) Local Altars in Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy also recognizes a number of local altars in 16:21 (see ICC, at the place) and so does Later Deuteronomistic editors in Jos 8:30 ff. There is no place for any of these passages ia the Wellhausen theory; but again we find one house side by side with many lay altars.

4. The Alternative View:

(1) Lay Sacrifice

The alternative view seeks to account for the whole of the facts noted above. In bald outline it is as follows: In pre-Mosaic times customary sacrifices had been freely offered by laymen at altars of earth or stone which were not "sanctuaries," but places that could be used for the nonce and then abandoned. Slaughter, as shown by the instances cited, was not necessarily sacrificial. Moses did not forbid or discourage the custom he found. On the contrary, he regulated it in Ex 20:24-26; De 16:21 f to prevent possible abuses. But he also superimposed two other kinds of sacrifice—certain new offerings to be brought by individuals to the religious capital and the national offerings of Nu 28; 29 and other passages. If the Priestly Code (P) assumes the religious capital as axiomatic, the reason is that this portion of the Law consists of teaching entrusted to the priests, embracing the procedure to be followed in these two classes of offerings, and does not refer at all to the procedure at customary lay sacrifices, which was regulated by immemorial custom. Deuteronomy thunders not against the lay altars—which are never even mentioned in this connection—but against the Canaanite high places. Deuteronomy 12 contemplates only the new individual offerings. The permission of lay slaughter for food was due to the fact that the infidelity of the Israelites in the wilderness (Le 17:5-7) had led to the universal prohibition of lay slaughter for the period of the wanderings only, though it appears to be continued by De for those who lived near the House of God (see De 12:21, limited to the case "if the place .... be too far from thee").

(2) Three Pilgrimage Festivals.

The JE legislation itself recognizes the three pilgrimage festivals of the House of God (Ex 34:22 f). One of these festivals is called "the feast of weeks, even of the bikkurim (a kind of first-fruits) of wheat harvest," and as Ex 23:19 and 34:26 require these bikkurim to be brought to the House of God and not to a lay altar, it follows that the pilgrimages are as firmly established here as in Deuteronomy. Thus we find a House (with a horned altar) served by priests and lay altars of earth or stone side by side in law and history till the exile swept them all away, and by breaking the continuity of tradition and practice paved the way for a new and artificial interpretation of the Law that was far removed from the intent of the lawgiver.

5. The Elephantine Papyri:

The Elephantine Temple.

Papyri have recently been found at Elephantine which show us a Jewish community in Egypt which in 405 BC possessed a local temple. On the Wellhausen hypothesis it is usual to assume that the Priestly Code (P) and Deuteronomy were still unknown and not recognized as authoritative in this community at that date, although the Deuteronomic law of the central sanctuary goes back at least to 621. It is difficult to understand how a law that had been recognized as divine by Jeremiah and others could still have been unknown or destitute of authority. On the alternative view this phenomenon will have been the result of an interpretation of the Law to suit the needs of an age some 800 years subsequent to the death of Moses in circumstances he never contemplated. The Pentateuch apparently permits sacrifice only in the land of Israel: in the altered circumstances the choice lay between interpreting the Law in this way or abandoning public worship altogether; for the synagogue with its non-sacrificial form of public worship had not yet been invented. All old legislations have to be construed in this way to meet changing circumstances, and this example contains nothing exceptional or surprising.


J. Wellhausen, Prolegomena to the History of Israel, chapter i, for the critical hypothesis; H. M. Wiener, EPC, chapter vi, PS passim for the alternative view; POT, 173 ff.

Harold M. Wiener


(chol; ammos; a variant of the more usual psammos; compare amathos, psamathos): Sand is principally produced by the grinding action of waves. This is accompanied by chemical solution, with the result that the more soluble constituents of the rock diminish in amount or disappear and the sands tend to become more or less purely silicious, silica or quartz being a common constituent of rocks and very Insoluble. The rocks of Palestine are so largely composed of limestone that the shore and dune sands are unusually calcareous, containing from 10 to 20 per cent of calcium carbonate. This is subject to solution and redeposition as a cement between the sand grains, binding them together to form the porous sandstone of the seashore, which is easily worked and is much used in building.

See Rock, III, (2).


(1) Used most often as a symbol of countless multitude; especially of the children of Israel (Ge 22:17; 32:12; 2Sa 17:11; 1Ki 4:20; Isa 10:22; 48:19; Jer 33:22; Ho 1:10; Ro 9:27; Heb 11:12); also of the enemies of Israel (Jos 11:4; Jud 7:12; 1Sa 13:5; compare Re 20:8). Joseph laid up gram as the sand of the sea (Ge 41:49); God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding and largeness of heart as the sand that is on the seashore (1Ki 4:29); Job says "I shall multiply my days as the sand" (Job 29:18); the multitude of quails provided for the Israelites in the desert is compared to the sand (Ps 78:27); the Psalmist says of the thoughts of God, "They are more in number than the sand" (Ps 139:18); Jeremiah, speaking of the desolation of Jerusalem, says that the number of widows is as the sand (Jer 15:8).

(2) Sand is also a symbol of weight (Job 6:3; Pr 27:3), and

(3) of instability (Mt 7:26).

It is a question what is meant by "the hidden treasures of the sand" in De 33:19.

Alfred Ely Day


sand’-fliz (kinnim (Ex 8:16 margin; RAPC Wis 19:10 margin)): English Versions of the Bible "lice."






sand’-liz-ard. (chomeT; Septuagint saura, "lizard"; the King James Version snail): ChomeT is 7th in the list of unclean "creeping things" in Le 11:29,30, and occurs nowhere else. It is probably a skink or some species of Lacerta.






san’-he-drin (canhedhrin, the Talmudic transcription of the Greek sunedrion):

1. Name:

The Sanhedrin was, at and before the time of Christ, the name for the highest Jewish tribunal, of 71 members, in Jerusalem, and also for the lower tribunals, of 23 members, of which Jerusalem had two (Tosephta’ Chaghighah] 11 9; Sanhedrin 1 6; 11 2). It is derived from sun, "together," and hedra, "seat." In Greek and Roman literature the senates of Sparta, Carthage, and even Rome, are so called (compare Pausan. iii.11, 2; Polyb. iii.22; Dion Cassius xl.49). In Josephus we meet with the word for the first time in connection with the governor Gabinius (57-55 BC), who divided the whole of Palestine into 5 sunedria (Ant., XIV, v, 4), or sunodoi (B J, I, viii, 5); and with the term sunedrion for the high council in Jerusalem first in Ant, XIV, ix, 3-5, in connection with Herod, who, when a youth, had to appear before the sunedrion at Jerusalem to answer for his doings in Galilee. But before that date the word appears in the Septuagint version of Proverbs (circa 130 BC), especially in 22:10; 31:23, as an equivalent for the Mishnaic beth-din =" judgment chamber."

In the New Testament the word sometimes, especially when used in the plural (Mt 10:17; Mr 13:9; compare Sanhedrin 1 5), means simply "court of justice," i.e. any judicatory (Mt 5:22). But in most cases it is used to designate the supreme Jewish Court of Justice in Jerusalem, in which the process against our Lord was carried on, and before which the apostles (especially Peter and John, Stephen, and Paul) had to justify themselves (Mt 26:59; Mr 14:55; 15:1; Lu 22:66; Joh 11:47; Ac 4:15; 5:21 ff; 6:12 ff; 22:30; 23:1 ff; 24:20). Sometimes presbuterion (Lu 22:66; Ac 22:5) and gerousia (Ac 5:21) are substituted for sunedrion.


In the Jewish tradition-literature the term "Sanhedrin" alternates with kenishta’," meeting-place" (Meghillath Ta’-anith 10, compiled in the 1st century AD), and beth-din, "court of justice" (Sanhedrin 11 2,4). As, according to Jewish tradition, there were two kinds of sunedria, namely, the supreme sunedrion in Jerusalem of 71 members, and lesser sunedria of 23 members, which were appointed by the supreme one, we find often the term canhedhrin gedholah, "the great Sanhedrin," or beth-din ha-gadhol, "the great court of justice" (Middoth 5 4; Sanhedrin 1 6), or canhedhrin gedholah ha-yoshebheth be-lishekhath hagazith, "the great Sanhedrin which sits in the hall of hewn stone."

2. Origin and History:

There is lack of positive historical information as to the origin of the Sanhedrin. According to Jewish tradition (compare Sanhedrin 16) it was constituted by Moses (Nu 11:16-24) and was reorganized by Ezra immediately after the return from exile (compare the Targum to So 6:1). But there is no historical evidence to show that previous to the Greek period there existed an organized aristocratic governing tribunal among the Jews. Its beginning is to be placed at the period in which Asia was convulsed by Alexander the Great and his successors.

The Hellenistic kings conceded a great amount of internal freedom to municipal communities, and Palestine was then practically under home rule, and was governed by an aristocratic council of Elders (1 Macc 12:6; 2 Macc 1:10; 4:44; 11:27; 3 Macc 1:8; compare Josephus, Ant, XII, iii, 4; XIII, v, 8; Meghillath Ta‘anith 10), the head of which was the hereditary high priest. The court was called Gerousia, which in Greek always signifies an aristocratic body (see Westermann in Pauly’s RE, III, 49). Subsequently this developed into the Sanhedrin.

During the Roman period (except for about 10 years at the time of Gabinius, who applied to Judea the Roman system of government; compare Marquardt, Romische Staatsverwaltung, I, 501), the Sanhedrin’s influence was most powerful, the internal government of the country being practically in its hands (Ant., XX, x), and it was religiously recognized even among the Diaspora (compare Ac 9:2; 22:5; 26:12). According to Schurer (HJP, div II, volume 1, 171; GJV4, 236) the civil authority of the Sanhedrin, from the time of Archelaus, Herod the Great’s son, was probably restricted to Judea proper, and for that reason, he thinks, it had no judicial authority over our Lord so long as He remained in Galilee (but see G.A. Smith, Jerusalem, I, 416).

The Sanhedrin was abolished after the destruction of Jerusalem (70 AD). The beth-din (court of judgment) in Jabneh (68-80), in Usah (80-116), in Shafran (140-63), in Sepphoris (163-93), in Tiberias (193-220), though regarded in the Talmud (compare Ro’sh ha-shanah 31a) as having been the direct continuation of the Sanhedrin, had an essentially different character; it was merely an assembly of scribes, whose decisions had only a theoretical importance (compare Sotah 9 11).

3. Constitution:

The Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem was formed (Mt 26:3,17,59; Mr 14:53; 15:1; Lu 22:66; Ac 4:5 f; 5:21; 22:30) of high priests (i.e. the acting high priest, those who had been high priests, and members of the privileged families from which the high priests were taken), elders (tribal and family heads of the people and priesthood), and scribes (i.e. legal assessors), Pharisees and Sadducees alike (compare Ac 4:1 ff; 5:17,34; 23:6). In Mr 15:43; Lu 23:50, Joseph of Arimathea is called bouleutes, "councillor," i.e. member of the Sanhedrin.

According to Josephus and the New Testament, the acting high priest was as such always head and president (Mt 26:3,17; Ac 5:17 ff; 7:1; 9:1 f; 22:5; 23:2; 24:1; Ant, IV, viii, 17; XX, x). Caiaphas is president at the trial of our Lord, and at Paul’s trial Ananias is president. On the other hand, according to the Talmud (especially Haghighah 2 2), the Sanhedrin is represented as a juridical tribunal of scribes, in which one scribe acted as nasi’," prince," i.e. president, and another as ‘abh-beth-din, father of the judgment-chamber, i.e. vice-president. So far, it has not been found possible to reconcile these conflicting descriptions (see "Literature," below).

Sanhedrin 4 3 mentions the cophere-ha-dayanim, "notaries," one of whom registered the reasons for acquittal, and the other the reasons for condemnation. In the New Testament we read of huperetai, "constables" (Mt 5:25) and of the "servants of the high priest" (Mt 26:51; Mr 14:47; Joh 18:10), whom Josephus describes as "enlisted from the rudest and most restless characters" (Ant., XX, viii, 8; ix, 2). Josephus speaks of the "public whip," Matthew mentions "tormentors" (18:34), Luke speaks of "spies" (20:20).

The whole history of post-exilic Judaism circles round the high priests, and the priestly aristocracy always played the leading part in the Sanhedrin (compare Sanhedrin 4 2). But the more the Pharisees grew in importance, the more were they represented in the Sanhedrin. In the time of Salome they were so powerful that "the queen ruled only in name, but the Pharisees in reality" (Ant., XIII, xvi, 2). So in the time of Christ, the Sanhedrin was formally led by the Sadducean high priests, but practically ruled by the Pharisees (Ant., XVIII, i, 4).

4. Jurisdiction:

In the time of Christ the Great Sanhedrin at Jerusalem enjoyed a very high measure of independence. It exercised not only civil jurisdiction, according to Jewish law, but also, in some degree, criminal. It had administrative authority and could order arrests by its own officers of justice (Mt 26:47; Mr 14:43; Ac 4:3; 5:17 f; 9:2; compare Sanhedrin 1 5). It was empowered to judge cases which did not involve capital punishment, which latter required the confirmation of the Roman procurator (Joh 18:31; compare the Jerusalem Sanhedrin 1 1; 7 2 (p. 24); Josephus, Ant, XX, ix, 1). But, as a rule, the procurator arranged his judgment in accordance with the demands of the Sanhedrin.

For one offense the Sanhedrin could put to death, on their own authority, even a Roman citizen, namely, in the case of a Gentile passing the fence which divided the inner court of the Temple from that of the Gentiles (BJ, VI, ii, 4; Middoth 11 3; compare Ac 21:28). The only case of capital punishment in connection with the Sanhedrin in the New Testament is that of our Lord. The stoning of Stephen (Ac 7:54 ) was probably the illegal act of an enraged multitude.

5. Place and Time of Meeting:

The Talmudic tradition names "the hall of hewn stone," which, according to Middoth 5 4, was on the south side of the great court, as the seat of the Great Sanhedrin (Pe’-ah 2 6; ‘Edhuyoth 7 4, et al.). But the last sittings of the Sanhedrin were held in the city outside the Temple area (Sanhedrin 41a; Shabbath 15a; Ro’sh ha-shanah 31a; Abhodhah zarah 8c). Josephus also mentions the place where the bouleutai, "the councilors," met as the boule, outside the Temple (BJ, V, iv, 2), and most probably he refers to these last sittings.

According to the Tosephta’ Sanhedrin 7 1, the Sanhedrin held its sittings from the time of the offering of the daily morning sacrifice till that of the evening sacrifice. There were no sittings on Sabbaths or feast days.

6. Procedure:

The members of the Sanhedrin were arranged in a semicircle, so that they could see each other (Sanhedrin 4 3; Tosephta’ 8 1). The two notaries stood before them, whose duty it was to record the votes (see 3, above). The prisoner had to appear in humble attitude and dressed it, mourning (Ant., XIV, ix, 4). A sentence of capital punishment could not be passed on the day of the trial. The decision of the judges had to be examined on the following day (Sanhedrin 4 1), except in the case of a person who misled the people, who could be tried and condemned the same day or in the night (Tosephta’ Sanhedrin 10). Because of this, cases which involved capital punishment were not tried on a Friday or on any day before a feast. A herald preceded the condemned one as he was led to the place of execution, and cried out: "N. the son of N. has been found guilty of death, etc. If anyone knows anything to clear him, let him come forward and declare it" (Sanhedrin 6 1). Near the place of execution the condemned man was asked to confess his guilt in order that he might partake in the world to come (ibid.; compare Lu 23:41-43).


Our knowledge about the Sanhedrin is based on three sources: the New Testament, Josephus, and the Jewish tradition-literature (especially Mishna, Sanhedrin and Makkoth, best edition, Strack, with German translation, Schriften des Institutum Judaicum in Berlin, N. 38, Leipzig, 1910).

See the article, TALMUD.

Consult the following histories of the Jewish people: Ewald, Herzfeld, Gratz, but especially Schurer’s excellent HJP, much more fully in GJV4; also G. A. Smith, Jerusalem. Special treatises on Sanhedrin: D. Hoffmann, Der oberste Gerichtsh of in der Stadt des Heiligtums, Berlin, 1878, where the author tries to defend the Jewish traditional view as to the antiquity of the Sanhedrin; J. Reifmann, Sanhedrin (in Hebrews), Berditschew, 1888; A. Kuenen, On the Composition of the Sanhedrin, in Dutch, translated into German by Budde, Gesammelte Abhandlungen, etc., 49-81, Freiburg, 1894; Jelski, Die innere Einrichtung des grossen Synedrions zu Jerusalem, Breslau, 1894, who tries to reconcile the Talmudical statements about the composition of the Sanhedrin with those of Josephus and the New Testament (especially in connection with the question of president) by showing that in the Mishna (except Chaghighah 11 2) nasi’ always stands for the political president, the high priest, and ‘abh-beth-din for the scribal head of the Sanhedrin, and not for the vice-president; A. Buchler, Das Synedrium in Jerusalem und das grosse Beth-din in der Quaderkammer des jerusalemischen Tempels, Vienna, 1902, a very interesting but not convincing work, where the author, in order to reconcile the two different sets of sources, tries to prove that the great Sanhedrin of the Talmud is not identical with the Sanhedrin of Josephus and the New Testament, but that there were two Sanhedrins in Jerusalem, the one of the New Testament and Josephus being a political one, the other a religious one. He also thinks that Christ was seized, not by the Sanhedrin, but by the temple authorities.

See also W. Bacher’s article in HDB (excellent for sifting the Talmudic sources); Dr. Lauterbach’s article in the Jewish Encyclopedia (accepts fully Biichler’s view); H. Strack’s article in Sch-Herz (concise and exact).

Paul Levertoff


san-san’-a (cancannah; [Sansanna], or Sethennak): One of the uttermost cities in the Negeb of Judah (Jos 15:31), identical with Hazar-susah (Jos 19:5), one of the cities of Simeon, and almost certainly the same as Hazar-susim (1Ch 4:31). It cannot be said to have been identified with any certainty, though Simsim, "a good-sized village with well and pool, surrounded by gardens and having a grove of olives to the north," has been suggested (PEF, III, 260, Sh XX).


saf (caph; Codex Vaticanus Saph; Codex Alexandrinus Sephe): A Philistine, one of the four champions of the race of Rapha ("giant") who was slain by Sibbecai, one of David’s heroes (2Sa 21:18; 1Ch 20:4). It is supposed by some that he was the son of the giant Goliath, but this is not proved. In 1Ch 20:4, the same person is called "Sippai."



(1) A and Fritzsche, Saphat; omitted in Codex Vaticanus (and Swete); Babylonian margin Asaph: The eponym of a family which returned with Zerubbabel (1 Esdras 5:9) =" Shephatiah" in Ezr 2:4; Ne 7:9.

(2) Codex Alexandrinus Saphat; Codex Vaticanus, Swete, and Fritzsche, Saphag; the King James Version Sabat: One of the families of "the sons of the servants of Solomon" who returned with Zerubbabel (1 Esdras 5:34); wanting in the parallel Ezr 2:57; Ne 7:59.


saf-a-ti’-as (Saphatias, Codex Vaticanus Sophotias; omitted in Codex Alexandrinus): Name of a family of returning exiles (1 Esdras 8:34) =" Shephatiah" in Ezr 8:8. If Saphatias (1 Esdras 8:34) = Saphat (1 Esdras 5:9), as would appear, then part of the family went up with Zerubbabel and part with Ezra.


sa’-feth: the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) SAPHUTHI (which see).


sa’-fer (shaphir).



saf’-u-thi, sa-fu’-thi (Codex Alexandrinus and Fritzsche, Saphuthi, Codex Vaticanus (and Swete), Saphuei; the King James Version Sapheth): Name of one of the families of "the sons of the servants of Solomon" (1 Esdras 5:33) =" Shephatiah" in Ezr 2:57; Ne 7:59.


sa-fi’-ra (shappira’; Aramaic for either "beautiful" or "sapphire"; Sappheira): Wife of Ananias (Ac 5:1-10).

See ANANIAS, (1).





sar-a-bi’-as (Sarabias) :One of the Levites who taught and expounded the Law for Ezra (1 Esdras 9:48) =" Sherebiah" in Ne 8:7, probably identical with the "Asebebias" in 1 Esdras 8:47 (Ezr 8:18).


sa’-ra, sa’-ri:

(1) In Ge 17:15 the woman who up to that time has been known as Sarai (Saray; Sara) receives by divine command the name Sarah (Sarah; Sarra). (This last form in Greek preserves the ancient doubling of the r, lost in the Hebrew and the English forms.)

The former name appears to be derived from the same root as Israel, if, indeed, Ge 32:28 is intended as an etymology of Israel. "She that strives," a contentious person, is a name that might be given to a child at birth (compare Ho 12:3,4, of Jacob), or later when the child’s character developed; in Ge 16:6 and 21:10 a contentious character appears. Yet comparison with the history of her husband’s name (see ABRAHAM) warns us not to operate solely upon the basis of the Hebrew language. Sarai was the name this woman brought with her from Mesopotamia. On the other hand there can be little doubt that the name Sarah, which she received when her son was promised, means "princess," for it is the feminine form of the extremely common title sar, used by the Semites to designate a ruler of greater or lesser rank. In the verse following the one where this name is conferred, it is declared of Sarah that "kings of peoples shall be of her" (Ge 17:16).

We are introduced to Sarai in Ge 11:29. She is here mentioned as the wife that Abraham "took," while still in Ur of the Chaldees, that is, while among his kindred. It is immediately added that "Sarai was barren; she had no child." By this simple remark in the overture of his narrative, the writer sounds the motif that is to be developed in all the sequel. When the migration to Haran occurs, Sarai is named along with Abram and Lot as accompanying Terah. It has been held that the author (or authors) of Genesis 11 knew nothing of the relationship announced in 20:12. But there can be no proof of such ignorance, even on the assumption of diversity of authorship in the two passages.

Sarai’s career as described in Genesis 11 was not dependent on her being the daughter of Terah. Terah had other descendants who did not accompany him. Her movements were determined by her being Abram’s wife. It appears, however, that she was a daughter of Terah by a different mother from the mother of Abram. The language of 20:12 would indeed admit of her being Abram’s niece, but the fact that there was but 10 years’ difference between his age and hers (Ge 17:17) renders this hypothesis less probable. Marriage with half-sisters seems to have been not uncommon in antiquity (even in the Old Testament compare 2Sa 13:13).

This double relationship suggested to Abraham the expedient that he twice used when he lacked faith in God to protect his life and in cowardice sought his own safety at the price of his wife’s honor. The first of these occasions was in the earlier period of their wanderings (Genesis 12). From Canaan they went down into Egypt. Sarai, though above 60 years of age according to the chronology of the sacred historian, made the impression on the Egyptians by her beauty that Abraham had anticipated, and the result was her transfer to the royal palace. But this was in direct contravention of the purpose of God for His own kingdom. The earthly majesty of Pharaoh had to bow before the divine majesty, which plagued him and secured the stranger’s exodus, thus foreshadowing those later plagues and that later exodus when Abraham’s and Sarah’s seed "spoiled the Egyptians."

We meet Sarah next in the narrative of the birth of Ishmael and of Isaac. Though 14 years separated the two births, they are closely associated in the story because of their logical continuity. Sarah’s barrenness persisted. She was now far past middle life, even on a patriarchal scale of longevity, and there appeared no hope of her ever bearing that child who should inherit the promise of God. She therefore adopts the expedient of being "builded by" her personal slave, Hagar the Egyptian (see Ge 16:2 margin). That is, according to contemporary law and custom as witnessed by the Code of Hammurabi (see ABRAHAM, iv, 2), a son born of this woman would be the freeborn son and heir of Abraham and Sarah.

Such was in fact the position of Ishmael later. But the insolence of the maid aroused the vindictive jealousy of the mistress and led to a painful scene of unjustified expulsion. Hagar, however, returned at God’s behest, humbled herself before Sarah, and bore Ishmael in his own father’s house. Here he remained the sole and rightful heir, until the miracle of Isaac’s birth disappointed all human expectations and resulted in the ultimate expulsion of Hagar and her son.

The change of name from Sarai to Sarah when Isaac was promised has already been noted. Sarah’s laughter of incredulity when she hears the promise is of course associated with the origin of the name of Isaac, but it serves also to emphasize the miraculous character of his birth, coming as it does after his parents are both so "well stricken in age" as to make parenthood seem an absurdity.

Before the birth of this child of promise, however, Sarah is again exposed, through the cowardice of her husband, to dishonor and ruin. Abimelech, king of Gerar, desiring to be allied by marriage with a man of Abraham’s power, sends for Sarah, whom he knows only as Abraham’s sister, and for the second time she takes her place in the harem of a prince. But the divine promise is not to be thwarted, even by persistent human weakness and sin. In a dream God reveals to Abimelech the true state of the case, and Sarah is restored to her husband with an indemnity. Thereupon the long-delayed son is born, the jealous mother secures the expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael, and her career comes to a close at the age of 127, at Hebroni long time her home. The grief and devotion of Abraham are broadly displayed in Genesis 23, in which he seeks and obtains a burying-place for his wife. She is thus the first to be interred in that cave of the field of Machpelah, which was to be the common resting-place of the fathers and mothers of the future Israel.

The character of Sarah is of mingled light and shade. On the one hand we have seen that lapse from faith which resulted in the birth of Ishmael, and that lack of self-control and charity which resulted in a quarrel with Abraham, an act of injustice to Hagar, and the disinheriting of Ishmael. Yet on the other hand we see in Sarah, as the New Testament writers point out (Heb 11:11; 1Pe 3:6), one who through a long life of companionship with Abraham shared his hope in God, his faith in the promises, and his power to become God’s agent for achieving what was humanly impossible. In fact, to Sarah is ascribed a sort of spiritual maternity, correlative with Abraham’s position as "father of the faithful"; for all women are declared to be the (spiritual) daughters of Sarah, who like her are adorned in "the hidden man of the heart," and who are "doers of good" and "fearers of no terror" (1 Peter loc. cit., literally rendered). That in spite of her outbreak about Hagar and Ishmael she was in general "in subjection to her husband" and of "a meek and quiet spirit," appears from her husband’s genuine grief at her decease, and still more clearly from her son’s prolonged mourning for her (Ge 24:67; compare Ge 17:17, 23:1 with Ge 25:20). And He who maketh even the wrath of man to praise Him used even Sarah’s jealous anger to accomplish His purpose that "the son of the freewoman," Isaac, "born through promise," should alone inherit that promise (Ga 4:22-31).

Apart from the three New Testament passages already cited, Sarah is alluded to only in Isa 51:2 ("Sarah that bare you," as the mother of the nation), in Ro 4:19 ("the deadness of Sarah’s womb"), and in Ro 9:9, where God’s promise in Ge 18:10 is quoted. Yet her existence and her history are of course presupposed wherever allusion is made to the stories of Abraham and of Isaac.

To many modern critics Sarah supplies, by her name, a welcome argument in support of the mythical view of Abraham. She has been held to be the local numen to whom the cave near Hebron was sacred; or the deity whose consort was worshipped in Arabia under the title Dusares, i.e. Husband-of-Sarah; or, the female associate of Sin the moon-god, worshipped at Haran. On these views the student will do well to consult Baethgen, Beitrage, 94, 157, and, for the most recent point of view, Gressmann’s article, "Sage und Geschichte in den Patriarchenerzahlungen," ZATW, 1910, and Eerdmans, Alttestamentliche Studien, II, 13.

(2) The daughter of Raguel, and wife of Tobias (Tobit 3:7,17, etc.).


J. Oscar Boyd


sa-ra’-yas, sa-ri’-as (Saraias; Latin, Sareus):

(1) = Seraiah, the high priest in the reign of Zedekiah (1 Esdras 5:5, compare 1Ch 6:14).

(2) Sareus the father of Ezra (2 Esdras 1:1) =" Seraiah" in Ezr 7:1, sometimes identified with Saraias under (1). He is probably identical with the "Azaraias" of 1 Esdras 8:1.

(3) the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) "Azaraias" (1 Esdras 8:1).


sar’-a-mel: the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) ASARAMEL (which see).


sa’-raf, sa’-raf (saraph, "noble one"; compare saraph, "burn" "shine"): A descendant of Judah through Shelah (1Ch 4:22).


sar-ked’-o-nus (Codex Vaticanus Sacherdonos; Codex Alexandrinus Sacherdan, but Sacherdonosos in Tobit 1:22): An incorrect spelling, both in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American), for Sacherdonus in Tobit 1:21 f, another form of Esar-haddon.


sar-de’-us: the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) ZARDEUS (which see).


sar’-din, sar’-din.



sar’-dis (Sardeis): Sardis is of special interest to the student of Herodotus and Xenophon, for there Artaphernes, the brother of Darius, lived, and from there Xerxes invaded Greece and Cyrus marched against his brother Artaxerxes; it is also of interest to the student of early Christian history as the home of one of the Seven Churches of Re (1:11; 3:1 ff). It was moreover one of the oldest and most important cities of Asia Minor, and until 549 BC, the capital of the kingdom of Lydia. It stood on the northern slope of Mt. Tmolus; its acropolis occupied one of the spurs of the mountain. At the base flowed the river Pactolus which served as a moat, rendering the city practically impregnable. Through the failure to watch, however, the acropolis had been successfully scaled in 549 BC by a Median soldier, and in 218 by a Cretan (compare Re 3:2,3). Because of its strength during the Persian period, the satraps here made their homes. However, the city was burned by the Ionians in 501 BC, but it was quickly rebuilt and regained its importance. In 334 BC it surrendered to Alexander the Great who gave it independence, but its period of independence was brief, for 12 years later in 322 BC it was taken by Antigonus. In 301 BC, it fell into the possession of the Seleucidan kings who made it the residence of their governor. It became free again in 190 BC, when it formed a part of the empire of Pergamos, and later of the Roman province of Asia. In 17 AD, when it was destroyed by an earthquake, the Roman emperor Tiberius remitted the taxes of the people and rebuilt the city, and in his honor the citizens of that and of neighboring towns erected a large monument, but Sardis never recovered its former importance (compare Re 3:12). Again in 295 AD, after the Roman province of Asia was broken up, Sardis became the capital of Lydia, and during the early Christian age it was the home of a bishop. The city continued to flourish until 1402, when it was so completely destroyed by Tamerlane that it was never rebuilt. Among the ruins there now stands a small village called Sert, a corruption of its ancient name. The ruins may be reached by rail from Smyrna, on the way to Philadelphia.

The ancient city was noted for its fruits and wool, and for its temple of the goddess Cybele, whose worship resembled that of Diana of Ephesus. Its wealth was also partly due to the gold which was found in the sand of the river Pactolus, and it was here that gold and silver coins were first struck. During the Roman period its coins formed a beautiful series, and are found in abundance by the peasants who till the surrounding fields. The ruins of the buildings which stood at the base of the hill have now been nearly buried by the dirt washed down from above. The hill upon which the acropolis stood measures 950 ft. high: the triple walls still surround it. The more imposing of the ruins are on the lower slope of the hill, and among them the temple of Cybele is the most interesting, yet only two of its many stone columns are still standing. Equally imposing is the necropolis of the city, which is at a distance of two hours’ ride from Sert, South of the Gygaean lake. The modern name of the necropolis is Bin Tepe or Thousand Mounds, because of the large group of great mounds in which the kings and nobles were buried. Many of the mounds were long ago excavated and plundered.

We quote the following from the Missionary Herald (Boston, Massachusetts, August, 1911, pp. 361-62):

Dr. C. C. Tracy, of Marsovan, has made a visit to ancient Sardis and observed the work of his countryman, Professor Butler, of Princeton University, who is uncovering the ruins of that famous city of the past. Already rich "finds" have been made; among them portions of a temple of Artemis, indicating a building of the same stupendous character as those at Ephesus and Baalbec, and a necropolis from whose tombs were unearthed three thousand relics, including utensils, ornaments of gold and precious stones, mirrors, etc. What chiefly impressed Dr. Tracy was the significance of those "Seven Churches of Asia," of which Sardis held one. "When I think of the myriads of various nationality and advanced civilization for whose evangelization these churches were responsible, the messages to the Christian communities occupying the splendid strategic centers fill me with awe. While established amid the splendors of civilization, they were set as candlesticks in the midst of gross spiritual darkness. Did they fulfill their mission?"

One of Dr. Butler’s recoveries is the marble throne of the Bishop of Sardis; looking upon it the message to Sardis recurs to mind. A fact of current history quickened the visitor’s appreciation of the word to "the angel" of that church. "Yonder among the mountains overhanging Sardis there is a robber gang led by the notorious Chakirjali. He rules in the mountains; no government force can take him. Again and again he swoops down like an eagle out of the sky, in one quarter of the region or another. From time immemorial these mountains have been the haunts of robbers; very likely it was so when Re was written, ‘I will come upon thee as a thief.’ In each case the message was addressed to ‘the angel of the church.’ Over every church in the world there is a spirit hovering, as it were—a spirit representing that church and by whose name it can be addressed. The messages are as vital as they were at the first. ‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.’"

E. J. Banks











sa-rep’-ta (Sarepta): The name in Lu 4:26 the King James Version, following the Greek, of the Phoenician town to which Elijah was sent in the time of the great famine, in order to save the lives of a widow and her son (1Ki 17:9,10). The Revised Version (British and American) adopts the form of the name based upon the Hebrew, and as found in the Old Testament: ZAREPHATH (which see).


sar’-gon (722-705 BC): The name of this ruler is written cargon, in the Old Testament, Shar-ukin in the cuneiform inscriptions, Arna, in the Septuagint, and Arkeanos, in the Ptolemaic Canon. Sargon is mentioned but once by name in the Old Testament (Isa 20:1), when he sent his Tartan (turtannu) against Ashdod, but he is referred to in 2Ki 17:6 as "the king of Assyria" who carried Israel into captivity.

Shalmaneser V had laid siege to Samaria and besieged it three years. But shortly before or very soon after its capitulation, Sargon, perhaps being responsible for the king’s death, overthrew the dynasty, and in his annals credited himself with the capture of the city and the deportation of its inhabitants. Whether he assumed the name of the famous ancient founder of the Accad dynasty is not known.

Sargon at the beginning of his reign was confronted with a serious situation in Babylon. Merodach-baladan of Kaldu, who paid tribute to previous rulers, on the change of dynasty had himself proclaimed king, New Year’s Day, 721 BC. At Dur-ilu, Sargon fought with the forces of Merodachbalddan and his ally Khumbanigash of Elam, but although he claimed a victory the result was apparently indecisive. Rebellions followed in other parts of the kingdom.

In 720 BC Ilu-bi’di (or Yau-bi’di), king of Hamath, formed a coalition against Sargon with Hanno of Gaza, Sib’u of Egypt, and with the cities Arpad, Simirra, Damascus and Samaria. He claims that Sib’u fled, and that he captured and flayed Ilu-bi’di, burned Qarqar, and carried Hanno captive to Assyria. After destroying Rapihu, he carried away 9,033 inhabitants to Assyria.

In the following year Ararat was invaded and the Hittite Carchemish fell before his armies. The territory of Rusas, king of Ararat, as well as a part of Melitene became Assyrian provinces.

In 710 BC Sargon directed his attention to Merodachbaladan, who no longer enjoyed the support of Elam, and whose rule over Babylon had not been popular with his subjects. He was driven out from Babylon and also from his former capital Bit-Yakin, and Sargon had himself crowned as the shakkanak of Babylon.

In 706 BC the new city called Dur-Sharrukin was dedicated as his residence. A year later he was murdered. It was during his reign that the height of Assyrian ascendancy had been reached.

A. T. Clay


sa’-rid (saridh; Codex Vaticanus Esedekgola, Seddouk; Codex Alexandrinus Sarthid, Sarid): A place on the southern border of Zebulun to the West of Chisloth-tabor (Jos 19:10,12). It is mentioned but not identified in Eusebius, Onomasticon. Probably we should read "Sadid," and in that case may with Conder locate it at Tell Shaddu, an artificial mound with some modern ruins and good springs, which stands on the plain, about 5 miles West of Iksal.


sa’-ron, (Saron): the King James Version; Greek form of Sharon (Ac 9:35).


sa-ro’-thi-e (Codex Alexandrinus Sarothie; Codex Vaticanus and Swete, Sarothei): Name of a family of "the sons of the servants of Solomon" who returned with Zerubbabel (1 Esdras 5:34); it is wanting in the parallel lists in Ezr 2:57; Ne 7:59.


sar’-se-kim, sar-se-kim (sarckhim): A prince of Nebuchadnezzar, present at the taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in the 11th year of Zedekiah (Jer 39:3). The versions with their various readings—"Nabousachar" "Nabousarach," "Sarsacheim"—point to a corrupt text. The best emendation is the reading "Nebhoshazibhon" ( = Nabusezib-anni, "Nebo delivers me"); this is based on the reading in Jer 39:13.


sa’-ruk (Sarouch, Serouch): the King James Version; Greek form of Serug (thus, Lu 3:35 the Revised Version (British and American)).


sa’-tan (saTan), "adversary," from the verb saTan, "to lie in wait" (as adversary); Satan, Satanas, "adversary," diabolos, "Devil," "adversary" or "accuser," kategor (altogether unclassical and unGreek) (used once in Re 12:10), "accuser"):



1. Names of Satan

2. Character of Satan

3. Works of Satan

4. History of Satan


1. Scripture Doctrine of Satan Not Systematized

2. Satan and God

3. Satan Essentially Limited

4. Conclusions


I. Definition.

A created but superhuman, personal, evil, world-power, represented in Scripture as the adversary both of God and men.

II. Scriptural Facts concerning Satan.

1. Names of Satan:

The most important of these are the Hebrew and Greek equivalents noticed above. These words are used in the general sense justified by their etymological significance. It is applied even to Yahweh Himself (Nu 22:22,32; compare 1Sa 29:4; 2Sa 19:22; Ps 109:6, etc.). The word "Satan" is used 24 times in the Old Testament. In Job (1:6 f) and Zec (3:1 f) it has the prefixed definite article. In all cases but one when the article is omitted it is used in a general sense. This one exception is 1Ch 21:1 (compare 2Sa 24:1), where the word is generally conceded to be used as a proper name. This meaning is fixed in New Testament times. We are thus enabled to note in the term "Satan" (and Devil) the growth of a word from a general term to an appellation and later to a proper name. All the other names of Satan save only these two are descriptive titles. In addition to these two principal names a number of others deserve specific enumeration. Tempter (Mt 4:5; 1Th 3:5); Beelzebub (Mt 12:24); Enemy (Mt 13:39); Evil One (Mt 13:19,38; 1Joh 2:13,14; 3:12, and particularly 1Joh 5:18); Belial (2Co 6:15); Adversary (antidikos), (1Pe 5:8); Deceiver (literally "the one who deceives") (Re 12:9); Dragon (Great) (Re 12:3); Father of Lies (Joh 8:44); Murderer (Joh 8:44); Sinner (1 Joh 3:8)—these are isolated references occurring from 1 to 3 times each. In the vast majority of passages (70 out of 83) either Satan or Devil is used.

2. Character of Satan:

Satan is consistently represented in the New Testament as the enemy both of God and man. The popular notion is that Satan is the enemy of man and active in misleading and cursing humanity because of his intense hatred and opposition to God. Mt 13:39 would seem to point in this direction, but if one were to venture an opinion in a region where there are not enough facts to warrant a conviction, it would be that the general tenor of Scripture indicates quite the contrary, namely, that Satan’s jealousy and hatred of men has led him into antagonism to God and, consequently, to goodness. The fundamental moral description of Satan is given by our Lord when He describes Satan as the "evil one" (Mt 13:19,38; compare Isaiah’s description of Yahweh as the "Holy One," Isa 1:4 and often); that is, the one whose nature and will are given to evil. Moral evil is his controlling attribute. It is evident that this description could not be applied to Satan as originally created. Ethical evil cannot be concreated. It is the creation of each free will for itself. We are not told in definite terms how Satan became the evil one, but certainly it could be by no other process than a fall, whereby, in the mystery of free personality, an evil will takes the place of a good one.

3. Works of Satan:

The world-wide and age-long works of Satan are to be traced to one predominant motive. He hates both God and man and does all that in him lies to defeat God’s plan of grace and to establish and maintain a kingdom of evil, in the seduction and ruin of mankind. The balance and sanity of the Bible is nowhere more strikingly exhibited than in its treatment of the work of Satan. Not only is the Bible entirely free from the extravagances of popular Satanology, which is full of absurd stories concerning the appearances, tricks, and transformations of Satan among men, but it exhibits a dependable accuracy and consistency, of statement which is most reassuring. Almost nothing is said concerning Satanic agency other than wicked men who mislead other men. In the controversy with His opponents concerning exorcism (Mr 3:22 f and parallel’s) our Lord rebuts their slanderous assertion that He is in league with Satan by the simple proposition that Satan does not work against himself. But in so saying He does far more than refute this slander. He definitely aligns the Bible against the popular idea that a man may make a definite and conscious personal alliance with Satan for any purpose whatever. The agent of Satan is always a victim. Also the hint contained in this discussion that Satan has a kingdom, together with a few other not very definite allusions, are all that we have to go upon in this direction. Nor are we taught anywhere that Satan is able to any extent to introduce disorder into the physical universe or directly operate in the lives of men. It is true that in Lu 13:16 our Lord speaks of the woman who was bowed over as one "whom Satan has bound, lo, these eighteen years," and that in 2Co 12:7 Paul speaks of his infirmity as a "messenger of Satan sent to buffet him." Paul also speaks (1Th 2:18) of Satan’s hindering him from visiting the church at Thessalonica. A careful study of these related passages (together with the prologue of Job) will reveal the fact that Satan’s direct agency in the physical world is very limited. Satan may be said to be implicated in all the disasters and woes of human life, in so far as they are more or less directly contingent upon sin (see particularly Heb 2:14) On the contrary, it is perfectly evident that Satan’s power consists principally in his ability to deceive. It is interesting and characteristic that according to the Bible Satan is fundamentally a liar and his kingdom is a kingdom founded upon lies and deceit. The doctrine of Satan therefore corresponds in every important particular to the general Biblical emphasis upon truth. "The truth shall make you free" (Joh 8:32)—this is the way of deliverance from the power of Satan.

Now it would seem that to make Satan pre-eminently the deceiver would make man an innocent victim and thus relax the moral issue. But according to the Bible man is particeps criminis in the process of his own deception. He is deceived only because he ceases to love the truth and comes first to love and then to believe a lie (2Co 1:10). This really goes to the very bottom of the problem of temptation. Men are not tempted by evil, per se, but by a good which can be obtained only at the cost of doing wrong. The whole power of sin, at least in its beginnings, consists in the sway of the fundamental falsehood that any good is really attainable by wrongdoing. Since temptation consists in this attack upon the moral sense, man is constitutionally guarded against deceit, and is morally culpable in allowing himself to be deceived. The temptation of our Lord Himself throws the clearest possible light upon the methods ascribed to Satan and The temptation was addressed to Christ’s consciousness of divine sonship; it was a deceitful attack emphasizing the good, minimizing or covering up the evil; indeed, twisting evil into good. It was a deliberate, malignant attempt to obscure the truth and induce to evil through the acceptance of falsehood. The attack broke against a loyalty to truth which made self-deceit, and consequently deceit from without, impossible. The lie was punctured by the truth and the temptation lost its power (see TEMPTATION OF CHRIST). This incident reveals one of the methods of Satan—by immediate suggestion as in the case of Judas (Lu 22:3; Joh 13:2,27). Sometimes, however, and, perhaps, most frequently, Satan’s devices (2Co 2:11) include human agents. Those who are given over to evil and who persuade others to evil are children and servants of Satan (See Mt 16:23; Mr 8:33; Lu 4:8; Joh 6:70; 8:44; Ac 13:10; 1 Joh 3:8). Satan also works through persons and institutions supposed to be on the side of right but really evil. Here the same ever-present and active falseness and deceit are exhibited. When he is called "the god of this world" (2Co 4:4) it would seem to be intimated that he has the power to clothe himself in apparently divine attributes. He also makes himself an angel of light by presenting advocates of falsehood in the guise of apostles of truth (2Co 11:13,15; 1 Joh 4:1; 2Th 2:9; Re 12:9; 19:20). In the combination of passages here brought together, it is clearly indicated that Satan is the instigator and fomenter of that spirit of lawlessness which exhibits itself as hatred both of truth and right, and which has operated so widely and so disastrously in human life.

4. History of Satan:

The history of Satan, including that phase of it which remains to be realized, can be set forth only along the most general lines. He belongs to the angelic order of beings. He is by nature one of the sons of Elohim (Job 1:6). He has fallen, and by virtue of his personal forcefulness has become the leader of the anarchic forces of wickedness. As a free being he has merged his life in evil and has become altogether and hopelessly evil. As a being of high intelligence he has gained great power and has exercised a wide sway over other beings. As a created being the utmost range of his power lies within the compass of that which is permitted. It is, therefore, hedged in by the providential government of God and essentially limited. The Biblical emphasis upon the element of falsehood in the career of Satan might be taken to imply that his kingdom may be less in extent than appears. At any rate, it is confined to the cosmic sphere and to a limited portion of time. It is also doomed. In the closely related passages 2Pe 2:4 and Jude 1:6 it is affirmed that God cast the angels, when they sinned, down to Tartarus and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment. This both refers to the constant divine control of these insurgent forces and also points to their final and utter destruction. The putting of Satan in bonds is evidently both constant and progressive. The essential limitation of the empire of evil and its ultimate overthrow are foreshadowed in the Book of Job (chapters 38-41), where Yahweh’s power extends even to the symbolized spirit of evil.

According to synoptic tradition, our Lord in the crisis of temptation immediately following the baptism (Mt 4$ and parallel) met and for the time conquered Satan as His own personal adversary. This preliminary contest did not close the matter, but was the earnest of a complete victory. According to Luke (10:18), when the Seventy returned from their mission flushed with victory over the powers of evil, Jesus said: ‘I saw Satan fall (not "fallen"; see Plummer, "Luke," ICC, in the place cited.) as lightning from heaven.’ In every triumph over the powers of evil Christ beheld in vision the downfall of Satan. In connection with the coming of the Hellenists who wished to see Him, Jesus asserted (Joh 12:31), "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out." In view of His approaching passion He says again (Joh 14:30), "The prince of the world cometh: and he hath nothing in me." Once again in connection with the promised advent of the Spirit, Jesus asserted (Joh 16:11) that the Spirit would convict the world of judgment, "because the prince of this world hath been judged." In Hebrews (2:14,15) it is said that Christ took upon Himself human nature in order "that through death he might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil." In 1 Joh 3:8 it is said, "To this end was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the Devil." In Re 12:9 it is asserted, in connection with Christ’s ascension, that Satan was cast down to the earth and his angels with him. According to the passage immediately following (12:10-12), this casting down was not complete or final in the sense of extinguishing his activities altogether, but it involves the potential and certain triumph of God and His saints and the equally certain defeat of Satan. In 1 Joh 2:13 the young men are addressed as those who "have overcome the evil one." In Re 20 the field of the future is covered in the assertion that Satan is "bound a thousand years"; then loosed "for a little time," and then finally "cast into the lake of fire."

A comparison of these passages will convince the careful student that while we cannot construct a definite chronological program for the career of Satan, we are clear in the chief points. He is limited, judged, condemned, imprisoned, reserved for judgment from the beginning. The outcome is certain though the process may be tedious and slow. The victory of Christ is the defeat of Satan; first, for Himself as Leader and Saviour of men (Joh 14:30); then, for believers (Lu 22:31; Ac 26:18; Ro 16:20; Jas 4:7; 1 Joh 2:13; 5:4,18); and, finally, for the whole world (Re 20:10). The work of Christ has already destroyed the empire of Satan.

III. General Considerations.

There are, no doubt, serious difficulties in the way of accepting the doctrine of a personal, superhuman, evil power as Satan is described to be. It is doubtful, however, whether these diffificulties may not be due, at least in part, to a misunderstanding of the doctrine and certain of its implications. In addition, it must be acknowledged, that whatever difficulties there may be in the teaching, they are exaggerated and, at the same time, not fairly met by the vague and irrational skepticism which denies without investigation. There are difficulties involved in any view of the world. To say the least, some problems are met by the view of a superhuman, evil world-power. In this section certain general considerations are urged with a view to lessening difficulties keenly felt by some minds. Necessarily, certain items gathered in the foregoing section are here emphasized again.

1. Scripture Doctrine of Satan Not Systematized:

The Scriptural doctrine of Satan is nowhere systematically developed. For materials in this field we are shut up to scattered and incidental references. These passages, which even in the aggregate are not numerous, tell us what we need to know concerning the nature, history, kingdom and works of Satan, but offer scant satisfaction to the merely speculative temper. The comparative lack of development in this field is due partly to the fact that the Biblical writers are primarily interested in God, and only secondarily in the powers of darkness; and partly to the fact that in the Bible doctrine waits upon fact. Hence, the malign and sinister figure of the Adversary is gradually outlined against the light of God’s holiness as progressively revealed in the providential world-process which centers in Christ. It is a significant fact that the statements concerning Satan become numerous and definite only in the New Testament. The daylight of the Christian revelation was necessary in order to uncover the lurking foe, dimly disclosed but by no means fully known in the earlier revelation. The disclosure of Satan is, in form at least, historical, not dogmatic.

2. Satan and God:

In the second place, the relationship of Satan to God, already emphasized, must be kept constantly in mind. The doctrine of Satan merges in the general doctrine concerning angels (see ANGEL). It has often been pointed out that the personal characteristics of angels are very little insisted upon. They are known chiefly by their functions: merged, on the one hand, in their own offices, and, on the other, in the activities of God Himself.

In the Old Testament Satan is not represented as a fallen and malignant spirit, but as a servant of Yahweh, performing a divine function and having his place in the heavenly train. In the parallel accounts of David’s numbering of Israel (1Sa 24:1; 1Ch 21:1) the tempting of David is attributed both to Yahweh and Satan. The reason for this is either that ‘the temptation of men is also a part of his providence,’ or that in the interval between the documents the personality of the tempter has more clearly emerged. In this case the account in Chronicles would nearly approximate the New Testament teaching. In the Book of Job (1:6), however, Satan is among the Sons of God and his assaults upon Job are divinely permitted. In Zec (3:1,2) Satan is also a servant of Yahweh. In both these passages there is the hint of opposition between Yahweh and Satan. In the former instance Satan assails unsuccessfully the character of one whom Yahweh honors; while in the latter Yahweh explicitly rebukes Satan for his attitude toward Israel (see G. A. Smith, BTP, II, 316 f). The unveiling of Satan as a rebellious world-power is reserved for the New Testament, and with this fuller teaching the symbolic treatment of temptation in Ge is to be connected. There is a sound pedagogical reason, from the viewpoint of revelation, for this earlier withholding of the whole truth concerning Satan. In the early stages of religious thinking it would seem to be difficult, if not impossible, to hold the sovereignty of God without attributing to His agency those evils in the world which are more or less directly connected with judgment and punishment (compare Isa 45:7; Am 3:6). The Old Testament sufficiently emphasizes man’s responsibility for his own evil deeds, but super-human evil is brought upon him from above. "When willful souls have to be misled, the spirit who does so, as in Ahab’s case, comes from above" (G. A. Smith, op. cit., 317). The progressive revelation of God’s character and purpose, which more and more imperatively demands that the origin of moral evil, and consequently natural evil, must be traced to the created will in opposition to the divine will, leads to the ultimate declaration that Satan is a morally fallen being to whose conquest the Divine Power in history is pledged. There is, also, the distinct possibility that in the significant transition from the Satan of the Old Testament to that of the New Testament we have the outlines of a biography and an indication of the way by which the angels fell.

3. Satan Essentially Limited:

A third general consideration, based upon data given in the earlier section, should be urged in the same connection. In the New Testament delineation of Satan, his limitations are clearly set forth. He is superhuman, but not in any sense divine. His activities are cosmic, but not universal or transcendent. He is a created being. His power is definitely circumscribed. He is doomed to final destruction as a world-power. His entire career is that of a secondary and dependent being who is permitted a certain limited scope of power—a time-lease of activity (Lu 4:6).

4. Conclusions:

These three general considerations have been grouped in this way because they dispose of three objections which are current against the doctrine of Satan.

(1) The first is, that it is mythological in origin. That it is not dogmatic is a priori evidence against this hypothesis. Mythology is primitive dogma. There is no evidence of a theodicy or philosophy of evil in the Biblical treatment of Satan. Moreover, while the Scriptural doctrine is unsystematic in form, it is rigidly limited in scope and everywhere essentially consistent. Even in the Apocalypse, where naturally more scope is allowed to the imagination, the same essential ideas appear. The doctrine of Satan corresponds, item for item, to the intellectual saneness and ethical earnestness of the Biblical world-view as a whole. It is, therefore, not mythological. The restraint of chastened imagination, not the extravagance of mythological fancy, is in evidence throughout the entire Biblical treatment of the subject. Even the use of terms current in mythology (as perhaps Ge 3:1,13,14; Re 12:7-9; compare 1Pe 5:8) does not imply more than a literary clothing of Satan in attributes commonly ascribed to malignant and disorderly forces.

(2) The second objection is that the doctrine is due to the influence of Persian dualism (see PERSIAN RELIGION; ZOROASTRIANISM). The answer to this is plain, on the basis of facts already adduced. The Biblical doctrine of Satan is not dualistic. Satan’s empire had a beginning, it will have a definite and permanent end. Satan is God’s great enemy in the cosmic sphere, but he is God’s creation, exists by divine will, and his power is relatively no more commensurate with God’s than that of men. Satan awaits his doom. Weiss says (concerning the New Testament representation of conflict between God and the powers of evil): "There lies in this no Manichaean dualism, .... but only the deepest experience of the work of redemption as the definite destruction of the power from which all sin in the world of men proceeds" (Biblical Theology New Testament, English tanslations of the Bible, II, 272; compare G.A. Smith, op. cit., II, 318).

(3) The third objection is practically the same as the second, but addressed directly to the doctrine itself, apart from the question of its origin, namely, that it destroys the unity of God. The answer to this also is a simple negative. To some minds the reality of created wills is dualistic and therefore untenable. But a true doctrine of unity makes room for other wills than God’s—namely of those beings upon whom God has bestowed freedom. Herein stands the doctrine of sin and Satan. The doctrine of Satan no more militates against the unity of God than the idea, so necessary to morality and religion alike, of other created wills set in opposition to God’s. Just as the conception of Satan merges, in one direction, in the general doctrine of angels, so, in the other, it blends with the broad and difficult subject of evil (compare "Satan," HDB, IV, 412a).


All standard works on Biblical Theology, as well as Dictionaries, etc., treat with more or less thoroughness the doctrine of Satan. The German theologians of the more evangelical type, such as Weiss, Lange, Martensen (Danish), Dorner, while exhibiting a tendency toward excessive speculation, discern the deeper aspects of the doctrine. Of monographs known to the writer none are to be recommended without qualification. It is a subject on which the Bible is its own best interpreter.

Louis Matthews Sweet


(ta bathea tou Satana): Found in Re 2:24, and has reference to false teaching at Thyatira. It is a question (that perhaps may not be decided) whether tou Satana, "of Satan," represents the claim of the false teachers, or is thrown in by the Lord. Did those false teachers claim to know "the depths" of Satan? Or was it that they claimed to know "the depths" of Deity, and the Lord said it was rather "the depths of Satan"? In either case the antithesis to "depths of Satan" is "depths of God," as referred to in Ro 11:33; 1Co 2:10.

E. J. Forrester


The expression occurs neither in the Hebrew nor in the Greek of the Old Testament, nor in Apocrypha. Three passages in the Old Testament and one in Apocrypha suggest the idea conveyed in the expression. In Nu 14:27,35, Yahweh expresses His wrath against "the evil congregation" Septuagint sunagoge ponera) which He threatens to consume in the wilderness. In Ps 21 (22):16, we find, "A company of evil doers (the Septuagint sunagoge ponereuomenon) have enclosed me." In Sirach 16:6, we read, "In the congregation of sinners (the Septuagint sunagoge hamartolon) shall a fire be kindled."

Only in the New Testament occurs the phrase "synagogue of Satan," and here only twice (Re 2:9; 3:9). Three observations are evident as to who constituted "the synagogue of Satan" in Smyrna and Philadelphia.

(1) They claimed to be Jews, i.e. they were descendants of Abraham, and so laid claim to the blessings promised by Yahweh to him and his seed.

(2) But they are not regarded by John as real Jews, i.e. they are not the genuine Israel of God (the same conclusion as Paul reached in Ro 2:28).

(3) They are persecutors of the Christians in Smyrna.

The Lord "knows their blasphemy," their sharp denunciations of Christ and Christians. They claim to be the true people of God, but really they are "the synagogue of Satan." The gen. Satana, is probably the possessive gen. These Jewish persecutors, instead of being God’s people, are the "assembly of Satan," i.e. Satan’s people.

In Polycarp, Mar. xvii.2 (circa 155 AD) the Jews of Smyrna were still persecutors of Christians and were conspicuous in demanding and planning the martyrdom of Polycarp the bishop of Smyrna, the same city in which the revelator calls persecuting Jews "the assembly of Satan."

In the 2nd century, in an inscription (CIJ, 3148) describing the classes of population in Smyrna, we find the expression hoi pote Ioudaioi, which Mommsen thinks means "Jews who had abandoned their religion," but which Ramsay says "probably means those who formerly were the nation of the Jews, but have lost the legal standing of a separate people."


Ramsay, The Seven Churches of Asia, chapter xii; Swete, The Apocalypse of John, 31, 32; Polycarp, Mar. xiii ff.17,2; Mommsen, Historische Zeitschrift, XXXVII, 417.

Charles B. Williams



See BAG.


sath-ra-bu’-za-nez, sath-ra-bu-za’-nez (Sathrabouzanes): In 1 Esdras 6:3,7,27 =" Shethar-bozenai" in Ezr 5:3,6; 6:6,13.


sat-is-fak’-shun: Occurs twice in the King James Version (Nu 35:31,32) as a rendering of the Hebrew kopher (the Revised Version (British and American) "ransom"). It means a price paid as compensation for a life, and the passage cited is a prohibition against accepting such, in case of murder, or for the return of the manslayer. Such compensation was permitted in ancient justice among many peoples. Compare poine, which Liddell and Scott define as "properly quit-money for blood spilt, the fine paid by the slayer to the kinsman of the slain, as a ransom from all consequences." The same custom prevailed among Teutonic peoples, as seen in the German Wergeld and Old English wergild. The Hebrew lairs of the Old Testament permit it only in the case of a man or woman gored to death by an ox (Ex 21:30-32).

Benjamin Reno Downer


sa’-traps, sat’-raps (’achashdarpenim, Ezr 8:36; Es 3:12; 8:9; 9:3, the King James Version "lieutenants"; Da 3:2,3,27; 6:1 ff, the King James Version "princes"): The viceroys or vassal rulers to whom was entrusted the government of the provinces in the Persian empire. The word answers to the Old Persian khshathrapavan, "protectors of the realm."


sat’-er, sa’-ter (sa‘ir, literally "he-goat"; sa‘ir, "hairy" (Ge 27:11, of Esau), and Arabic sha’r, "hair"; plural se‘irim): For se‘irim in Le 17:7 and 2Ch 11:15, the King James Version has "devils," the Revised Version (British and American) "he-goats," the English Revised Version margin "satyrs," the Septuagint has tois mataiois, "vain things." For se‘irim in Isa 13:21, the King James Version and the English Revised Version have "satyrs," the English Revised Version margin "he-goats," the American Standard Revised Version "wild goats," Septuagint daimonia, "demons." For sa‘ir in Isa 34:14, the King James Version and the English Revised Version have "satyr," the English Revised Version margin "he-goat," the American Standard Revised Version "wild goat." Septuagint has heteros pros ton heteron, "one to another," referring to daimonia, which here stands for ciyim, "wild beasts of the desert."

The text of the American Standard Revised Version in these passages is as follows: Le 17:7, "And they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices unto the he-goats, after which they play the harlot"; 2Ch 11:15, "And he (Jeroboam) appointed him priests for the high places, and for the he-goats, and for the calves which he had made"; Isa 13:21 f (of Babylon), "But wild beasts of the desert (tsiyim) shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures (’ochim); and ostriches (benoth ya‘anah) shall dwell there, and wild goats (se‘irim) shall dance there And wolves (’iyim) shall cry in their castles, and jackals (tannim) in the pleasant palaces"; Isa 34:11,13,14,15 (of Edom), "But the pelican (qa’ath) and the porcupine (kippodh) shall possess it; and the owl (yanshoph) and the raven (‘orebh) shall dwell therein: .... and it shall be a habitation of jackals (tannim), a court for ostriches (benoth ya‘anah). And the wild beasts of the desert (tsiyim) shall meet with the wolves (’iyim), and the wild goat (sa‘ir) shall cry to his fellow; yea, the night monster (lilith) shall settle there ..... There shall the dart-snake (qippoz) make her nest .... there shall the kites (dayyoth) be gathered, every one with her mate."

The question is whether sa‘ir and se‘irim in these passages stand for real or for fabulous animals. In Le 17:7 and 2Ch 11:15, it is clear that they are objects of worship, but that still leaves open the question of their nature, though it may to many minds make "devils" or "demons" or "satyrs" seem preferable to "he-goats." In Isa 13:20 we read, "neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall shepherds make their flocks to lie down there." This may very likely have influenced the American Committee of Revisers to use "wild goat" in Isa 13:21 and 34:14 instead of the "he-goat" of the other passages. In the American Standard Revised Version, no fabulous creatures (except perhaps "night-monster") are mentioned here, but the Septuagint employs daimonia, "demons" in Isa 13:21 for se‘irim and in 34:14 for tsiyim; onokentauroi, from "centaur," in Isa 13:22 and 34:14 for ‘iyim, and again in 34:14 for lilith; seirenes, "sirens," in Isa 13:21 for benoth ya‘anah, and in 34:13 for tannim. We must bear in mind the uncertainty regarding the identity of tsiyim, ‘iyim, ‘ochim and tannim, as well as of some of the other names, and we must recall the tales that are hung about the name lilith (the King James Version "screech owl," the King James Version margin and the Revised Version (British and American) "night-monster," the Revised Version margin "Lilith"). While sa‘ir is almost alone among these words in having ordinarily a well-understood meaning, i.e. "he-goat," there is good reason for considering that here it is used in an exceptional sense. The translation "satyr" has certainly much to be said for it.


Alfred Ely Day


sol (sha’ul; Saoul):

(1) The first king of Israel.


1. Name and Meaning

2. Genealogy

3. Home and Station

4. Sources for Life

5. Election as King

6. Reasons for It


1. His First Action

2. Army Reorganized

3. Battle of Michmash

4. Defeats the Amalekites

5. Deposition Pronounced

6. David Introduced to Saul

7. Two Accounts

8. Saul’s Envy of David

9. Attempts to Get Rid of David

10. David Spares Saul

11. Saul’s Divided Energies

12. Consults a Necromancer

13. Battle of Gilboa

14. Double Accounts

15. Saul’s Posterity


1. Book of Chronicles

2. Saul’s Failings

3. His Virtue

4. David’s Elegy

I. Early History.

1. Name and Meaning:

The name Saul is usually regarded as simply the passive participle of the verb "to ask," and so meaning "asked" (compare 1Sa 8:4 ff), but the gentilic adjective sha’uli (Nu 26:13) would point to its having also an intensive connotation, "the one asked importunately," or perhaps, "the one asking insistently," "the beggar."

2. Genealogy:

Saul was the son of Kish, a Benjamite. His genealogical tree is given in 1Sa 9:1 (compare Septuagint 10:21). In 1Sa 9:1 his grandfather is Abiel, but in 1Ch 8:33; 9:39, Ner, who appears as his paternal uncle in 1Sa 14:50,51.

The last verse contains a very curious scribal error, a yodh having slipped out of one word in it into another. It states that both Abner and Ner were sons of Abiel. These apparent inconsistencies are to be explained by the fact that in Hebrew, as in Arabic, "son" is often used in the sense of grandson. Also, with the facility of divorce then prevalent, by "brother" and "sister" we must in most cases understand half-brother and half-sister. Moreover, Saul’s mother might have been the wife at different times of Kish and of his brother Ner (compare 1Sa 20:30). This was quite common, and in some cases compulsory (De 25:5-9).

3. Home and Station:

Saul’s home was at GIBEAH (which see), which is also called Gibeah of Saul, i.e. Saul’s Hill (1Sa 11:4; compare also 1Sa 10:5, God’s Hill, or simply The Hill, 1Sa 10:10; Ho 5:8, etc.), or the Hill of Benjamin or of the Benjamites (1Sa 13:15; 2Sa 23:29). It is usually identified with Tell el-Ful, but perhaps its site is marked rather by some ruins near but beneath that eminence. The tribe of Benjamin was the fighting tribe of Israel, and Kish seems to have been one of its most important members. Saul’s remarks in depreciation (1Sa 9:21) are not to be taken literally.

4. Sources for Life:

The circumstances of Saul’s career are too well known to require recapitulation. It will be sufficient to refer to some of the recognized difficulties of the narrative. These difficulties arise from the fact that we appear to have two distinct biographies of Saul in the present Books of Samuel. This may well be the case as it is the practice of the Semitic historian to set down more than one tradition of each event, without attempting to work these up into one consistent account. We shall call the duplicated narratives A and B, without postulating that either is a continuous whole.


5. Election as King:

According to A, Saul was anointed king of Israel at Ramah by the prophet Samuel acting upon an inspiration from Yahweh, not only without consulting anyone, but in the strictest secrecy (1Sa 9:1-10:16). According to B, the sheiks of the tribes demanded a king. Samuel in vain tried to dissuade them. They would not listen, and a king was chosen by lot at Mizpah. The lot fell upon Saul, and Samuel immediately demitted office (1Sa 8$; 10:17-27, omitting the last clause; and chapter 12).

6. Reasons for It:

There are three distinct reasons given in the text for the abolition of theocracy and institution of an elective or hereditary monarchy: first, the incapacity of Samuel’s sons (1Sa 8:1 ); second, an invasion of the Ammonites (1Sa 12:12); and third, the Philistines (1Sa 9:16). These three motives are not mutually exclusive. The Philistines formed the standing menace to the national existence, which would have necessitated the creation of a monarchy sooner or later. The other two were temporary circumstances, one of which aggravated the situation, while the other showed the hopelessness of expecting any improvement in it in the near future.

II. Reign and Fall.

1. His First Action:

The election of Saul at Mizpah was conducted in the presence of the chieftains of the clans; it is not to be supposed that the whole nation was present. As soon as it was over, the electors went home, and Saul also returned to his father’s farm and, like Cincinnatus, once more followed the plow. "Within about a month," however (1Sa 10:27 the Septuagint, for Massoretic Text "But he held his peace"), the summons came. A message from the citizens of JABESH-GILEAD (which see) was sent round the tribes appealing for help against the Ammonites under Nahash. They, of course, knew nothing about what had taken place at Mizpah, and it was only by chance that their messengers arrived at Gibeah when they did. Saul rose to the occasion, and immediately after he was acclaimed king by the whole body of the people (1Sa 11). This double election, first by the chiefs and then by the people, is quite a regular proceeding.

2. Army Reorganized:

This first success encouraged Saul to enter upon what was to be the mission of his life, namely, the throwing off of the Philistine suzerainty. From the first he had had the boldest spirits upon his side (1Sa 10:26, the Septuagint, the Revised Version margin); he was now able to form a standing army of 3,000 men, under the command of himself and his son JONATHAN (which see). The Philistines, the last remnant of the Minoan race, had the advantage of the possession of iron weapons. It was, in fact, they who introduced iron into Palestine from Crete—the Israelites knowing only bronze, and having even been deprived of weapons of the softer metals. They seem to have armed themselves—with the exception of the king and his son—with mattocks and plowshares (1Sa 13:19 ).

3. Battle of Michmash:

The first encounter was the attack upon the Philistine post at Michmash (1Sa 13; 14). The text of the narrative is uncertain, but the following outline is clear. On hearing that the Hebrews had revolted (1Sa 13:3, the Septuagint), the Philistines gathered in great force, including 3,000 chariots (1Sa 13:5, the Septuagint; the Massoretic Text has 30,000) at Michmash. In dismay, Saul’s troops deserted (1Sa 13:6 f), until he was left with only 600 (1Sa 14:2). In spite of this, Jonathan precipitated hostilities by a reckless attack upon one of the outposts. This was so successful that the whole Philistine army was seized with panic, and the onset of Saul and the desertion of their Hebrew slaves completed their discomfiture. Saul followed up his victory by making predatory excursions on every side (1Sa 14:47).

4. Defeats the Amalekites:

Saul’s next expedition was against the Amalekites under Agag, who were likewise completely defeated. The fight was carried out with all the remorselessness common to tribal warfare. Warning was sent to the friendly Kenites to withdraw out of danger; then the hostile tribe was slaughtered to a man, their chief alone being spared for the time being. Even the women and children were not taken as slaves, but were all killed (1Sa 15).

5. Deposition Pronounced:

It is not clear what was the precise attitude of Samuel toward Saul. As the undoubted head of theocracy he naturally objected to his powers being curtailed by the loss of the civil power (1Sa 8:6). Even after the elections of Saul, Samuel claimed to be the ecclesiastical head of the state. He seems to have objected to Saul’s offering the sacrifice before battle (1Sa 13:10 ), and to have considered him merely as his lieutenant (1Sa 15:3) who could be dismissed for disobedience (1Sa 15:14 ). Here again there seem to be two distinct accounts in the traditional text, which we may again call A and B. In A, Saul is rejected because he does not wait long enough for Samuel at Gilgal (1Sa 13:8; compare 1Sa 10:8). "Seven days," of course, means eight, or even more, in short, until Samuel should come, whenever that might be. The expression might almost be omitted in translating. In B Saul is rejected because he did not carry out Samuel’s orders (1Sa 15:3) to the letter. The two narratives are not mutually exclusive. The second offense was an aggravation of the first, and after it Samuel did not see Saul again (1Sa 15:35).

6. David Introduced to Saul:

He had good reason for not doing so. He had anointed a rival head of the state in opposition to Saul, an act of treason which, if discovered, would have cost him his head (compare 2Ki 9:6,10). Saul did not at once accept his deposition, but he lost heart. One cannot but admire him, deserted by Samuel, and convinced that he was playing a losing game, and yet continuing in office. To drive away his melancholy, his servants introduced to him a musician who played until his spirits revived (1Sa 16:14 ; compare 2Ki 3:15).

7. Two Accounts:

By a strange coincidence (compare I, 5, above) the minstrel was the very person whom Samuel had secretly anointed to supplant Saul. According to what looks like another account, however, it was his encounter with Goliath which led to the introduction of David to Saul (1Sa 17:1 ; see DAVID). In spite of all that has been said to the contrary, the two narratives are not incompatible, since we are not told the order of the events nor over how many years these events were spread. The theory of duplicate narratives rests upon the assumption that all statements made by the dramatis personae in the Bible are to be taken at their face value. If 1 Samuel 16 and 17 had formed part of a play of Shakespeare, they would have been considered a fine example of his genius. Treatises would have been written to explain why Saul did not recognize David, and why Abner denied all knowledge of him. Septuagint, however, omits 1Sa 17:12-31,41,50,55-18:5.

8. Saul’s Envy of David:

Whether Saul actually discovered that David had been anointed by Samuel or not, he soon saw in him his rival and inevitable successor, and he would hardly have been human if he had not felt envious of him. His dislike of David had two motives. The first was jealousy, because the women preferred the military genius of David to his own (1Sa 18:7 f). His consequent attempt upon the life of David (1Sa 18:8-11) is omitted in the Septuagint. Not least was the love of his own daughter for David (1Sa 18:20; in 1Sa 18:28 read with Septuagint "all Israel"). The second cause was his natural objection to see his son Jonathan supplanted in his rights to the throne, an objection which was aggravated by the devotion of that son to his own rival (1Sa 20:30).


9. Attempts to Get Rid of David:

Saul could not believe that David could remain loyal to him (1Sa 24:9); at the first favorable opportunity he would turn upon him, hurl him from the throne, and exterminate his whole house. In these circumstances, it was his first interest to get rid of him. His first attempt to do so (omitting with Septuagint 1Sa 18:8 b-11) was to encourage him to make raids on the Philistines in the hope that these might kill him (1Sa 18:21 ); his next, assassination by one of his servants (1Sa 19:1), and then by his own hand (1Sa 19:9 f). When David was compelled to fly, the quarrel turned to civil war. The superstitious fear of hurting the chosen of Yahweh had given place to blind rage. Those who sheltered the fugitive, even priests, were slaughtered (1Sa 22:17 ). From one spot to another David was hunted, as he says, like a partridge (1Sa 26:20).

10. David Spares Saul:

It is generally maintained that here also we have duplicate accounts; for example, that there are two accounts of David taking refuge with Achish, king of Gath, and two of his sparing Saul’s life. The latter are contained in 1 Samuel 24 and 26, but the points of resemblance are slight. Three thousand (24:2; 26:2) was the number of Saul’s picked men (compare 13:2). David uses the simile of "a flea" in 24:14, but in 26:20 for "a flea" Septuagint has "my soul," which is no doubt original. The few other expressions would occur naturally in any narrative with the same contents.

11. Saul’s Divided Energies:

Obviously Saul’s divided energies could not hold out long; he could not put down the imaginary rebellion within, and at the same time keep at bay the foreign foe. No sooner had he got the fugitive within his grasp than he was called away by an inroad of the Philistines (1Sa 23:27 f); but after his life had been twice spared, he seemed to realize at last that the latter were the real enemy, and he threw his whole strength into one desperate effort for existence.

12. Consults a Necromancer:

Saul himself saw that his case was desperate, and that in fact the game was up. As a forlorn hope he determined to seek occult advice. He could no longer use the official means of divination (1Sa 28:6), and was obliged to have recourse to a necromancer, one of a class whom he himself had taken means to suppress (1Sa 28:3). The result of the seance confirmed his worst fears and filled his soul with despair (1Sa 28:7 ).

13. Battle of Gilboa:

It says much for Saul that, hopeless as he was, he engaged in one last forlorn struggle with the enemy. The Philistines had gathered in great force at Shunem. Saul drew up his army on the opposing hill of Gilboa. Between the two forces lay a valley (compare 1Sa 14:4). The result was what had been foreseen. The Israelites, no doubt greatly reduced in numbers (contrast 1Sa 11:8), were completely defeated, and Saul and his sons slain. Their armor was placed in the temple of Ashtaroth, and their bodies hung on the wall of Bethshan, but Saul’s head was set in the temple of Dagon (1Ch 10:10). The citizens of Jabesh-gilead, out of ancient gratitude, rescued the bodies and, in un-Semitic wise, burned them and buried the bones.

14. Double Accounts:

Once more we have, according to most present-day critics, duplicate accounts of the death of Saul. According to one, which we may name A, he fell, like Ajax whom he much resembles, upon his own sword, after being desperately wounded by the archers (1Sa 31:4). According to the second (2Sa 1:2 ), an Amalekite, who had been by accident a witness of the battle, dispatched Saul at his own request to save him from the enemy. But B is simply the continuation of A, and tells us how David received the news of the battle. The Amalekite’s story is, of course, a fabrication with a view to a reward. Similar claims for the reward of assassination are common (2Sa 4:9 ).

15. Saul’s Posterity:

With Saul the first Israelite dynasty began and ended. The names of his sons are given in 1Sa 14:49 as Jonathan, Ishvi and Malchishua. Ishvi or Ishyo (Septuagint) is Eshbaal, called in 2Sa 2:8 ISH-BOSHETH (which see). 1Ch 8:33 adds Abinadab. Jonathan left a long line of descendants famous, like himself, as archers (1Ch 8:34 ). The rest of Saul’s posterity apparently died out. Malchishua and Abinadab were slain at Gilboa (1Sa 31:6; 1Ch 10:2), and Ish-bosheth was assassinated shortly after (2Sa 4:2 ). Saul had also two natural sons by Rizpah who were put to death by David in accordance with a superstitious custom, as also were the five sons of Saul’s daughter Merab (2Sa 21:8, not Michal; compare 1Sa 18:19). Saurs other daughter Michal apparently had no children. Saul had, it seems, other wives, who were taken into the harem of David in accordance with the practice of the times (2Sa 12:8), but of them and their descendants we know nothing.

III. Character. 1. Book of Chronicles:

Saul’s life and character are disposed of in a somewhat summary fashion by the Chronicler (1Ch 10$, especially 1Ch 10:13,14). Saul was rejected because he was disloyal to Yahweh, especially in consulting a necromancer. The major premise of this conclusion, however, is the ancient dictum, "Misfortune presupposes sin." From a wider point of view, Saul cannot be dismissed in so cavalier a manner.

2. Saul’s Failings:

Like everyone else, Saul had his virtues and his failings. His chief weakness seems to have been want of decision of character. He was easily swayed by events and by people. The praises of David (1Sa 18:7 f) at once set his jealousy on fire. His persecution of David was largely due to the instigation of mischievous courtiers (1Sa 24:9). Upon remonstrance his repentance was as deep as it was short-lived (1Sa 24:16; 26:21). His impulsiveness was such that he did not know where to stop. His interdict (1Sa 14:24 ) was quite as uncalled for as his religious zeal (1Sa 15:9) was out of place. He was always at one extreme. His hatred of David was only equal to his affection for him at first (1Sa 18:2). His pusillanimity led him to commit crimes which his own judgment would have forbidden (1Sa 22:17). Like most beaten persons, he became suspicious of everyone (1Sa 22:7 f), and, like those who are easily led, he soon found his evil genius (1Sa 22:9,18,22). Saul’s inability to act alone appears from the fact that he never engaged in single combat, so far as we know. Before he could act at all his fury or his pity had to be roused to boiling-point (1Sa 11:6). His mind was peculiarly subject to external influences, so that he was now respectable man of the world, now a prophet (1Sa 10:11; 19:24).

3. His Virtues:

On the other hand, Saul possessed many high qualities. His dread of office (1Sa 10:22) was only equaled by the coolness with which he accepted it (1Sa 11:5). To the first call to action he responded with promptitude (1Sa 11:6 ). His timely aid excited the lasting gratitude of the citizens of Jabesh-gilead (1Sa 31:11 ) If we remember that Saul was openly disowned by Samuel (1Sa 15:30), and believed himself cast off by Yahweh, we cannot but admire the way in which he fought on to the last. Moreover, the fact that he retained not only his own sons, but a sufficient body of fighting men to engage a large army of Philistines, shows that there must have been something in him to excite confidence and loyalty.

4. David’s Elegy:

There is, however, no question as to the honorable and noble qualities of Saul. The chief were his prowess in war and his generosity in peace. They have been set down by the man who knew him best in what are among the most authentic verses in the Bible (2Sa 1:19 ).

(2) Saul of Tarsus.


Thomas Hunter Weir


sav’-a-ran: the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) AVARAN (which see).


sav: In the sense "except," the word came into English through the French (sauf) and is fairly common (38 times, in addition to "saving," the King James Version Ec 5:11; Am 9:8; Mt 5:32; Lu 4:27; Re 2:17). It represents no particular Hebrew or Greek terms but is employed wherever it seems useful. It is still in good (slightly archaic) use, and the Revised Version (British and American) has few modifications (De 15:4 the King James Version; Ps 18:31, etc.), but the English Revised Version has dropped "saving" in Lu 4:27 and Re 2:17 and the American Standard Revised Version also in Ec 5:11; Am 9:8, retaining it only in Mt 5:32.

SAVIAS sa-vi’-as (Saouia): In 1 Esdras 8:2, for Uzzi, an ancestor of Ezra, in Ezr 7:4.



(1) While that "God is the deliverer of his people" is the concept on which, virtually, the whole Old Testament is based (see SALVATION), yet the Hebrews seem never to have felt the need of a title for God that would sum up this aspect of His relation to man. Nearest to our word "Saviour" is a participial form (moshia‘) from the verb yasha‘ (Qal not used; "save" in Hiphil), but even this participle is not frequently applied to God (some 13 times of which 7 are in Isa 43:1-63:19).

(2) In the New Testament, however, the case is different, and Soter, is used in as technical a way as is our "Saviour." But the distribution of the 24 occurrences of the word is significant, for two-thirds of them are found in the later books of the New Testament—10 in the Pastorals, 5 in 2 Peter, and one each in John, 1 John, and Jude—while the other instances are Lu 1:47; 2:11; Ac 5:31; 13:23; Eph 5:23; Php 3:20. And there are no occurrences in Matthew, Mark, or the earlier Pauline Epistles. The data are clear enough. As might be expected, the fact that the Old Testament used no technical word for Saviour meant that neither did the earliest Christianity use any such word. Doubtless for our Lord "Messiah" was felt to convey the meaning. But in Greek-speaking Christianity, "Christ," the translation of Messiah, soon became treated as a proper name, and a new word was needed.

(3) Soter expressed the exact meaning and had already been set apart in the language of the day as a religious term, having become one of the most popular divine titles in use. Indeed, it was felt to be a most inappropriate word to apply to a human being. Cicero, for instance, arraigns Verres for using it: "Soter .... How much does this imply? So much that it cannot be expressed in one word in Latin" (Verr. ii.2, 63, 154). So the adoption of Soter by Christianity was most natural, the word seemed ready-made.

(4) That the New Testament writers derived the word from its contemporary use is shown, besides, by its occurrence in combination with such terms as "manifestation" (epiphaneia, 2Ti 1:10; Tit 2:13), "love toward man" (philanthropia, Tit 3:4), "captain" (archegos, Ac 5:31; compare Heb 2:10), etc. These terms are found in the Greek sources many times in exactly the same combinations with Sorer.

(5) In the New Testament Soter is uniformly reserved for Christ, except in Lu 1:47; Jude 1:25, and the Pastorals. In 1Ti 1:1; 2:3; 4:10 it is applied only to the Father, in 2Ti 1:10, (only) it is applied to Christ, while in Titus there seems to be a deliberate alternation: of the Father in 1:3; 2:10; 3:4; of Christ in 1:4; 2:13; 3:6.


P. Wendland, "Soter" Zeitschrift fur neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, V, 335-353, 1904; J. Weiss, "Heiland," in RGG, II, 1910; H. Lietzmann, Der Weltheiland, 1909. Much detailed information is available in various parts of Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, 1910.

Burton Scott Easton


sa’-ver (reach; osme;

(1) The primary meaning of the word is "taste," "flavor" (from Latin sapor, "taste"). So in Mt 5:13; Lu 14:34, "if the salt have lost its savor" (moranthe, "become tasteless," "insipid," so as to lose its characteristic preserving virtue).

(2) But generally it has the meaning of "smell," "odor":

(a) once of evil odor: "Its stench shall come up, and its ill savor shall come up" (Joe 2:20);

(b) elsewhere in the sense of pleasant smell. In the Old Testament, with the exception of Ex 5:21 and the King James Version So 1:3 (the Revised Version (British and American) "fragrance"), it is always accompanied by the adjective "sweet." It stands for the smell of sacrifices and oblations, in agreement with the ancient anthropomorphic idea that God smells and is pleased with the fragrance of sacrifices (e.g. "Yahweh smelled the sweet savor," Ge 8:21; "to make a sweet savor unto Yahweh," Nu 15:3; and frequently).

In the New Testament, "savor" in the sense of smell is used metaphorically:

(a) once the metaphor is borrowed from the incense which attends the victor’s triumphal procession; God is said to make manifest through His apostles "the savor of his knowledge in every place" as He "leadeth" them "in triumph in Christ" (2Co 2:14; see TRIUMPH.

(b) Elsewhere the metaphor is borrowed from the fragrant smell of the sacrifices. The apostles "are a sweet savor of Christ unto God" (2Co 2:15), i.e. they are, as it were, a sweet odor for God to smell, an odor which is pleasing to God, even though its effect upon men varies (to some it is a "savor from death unto death," i.e. such as is emitted by death and itself causes death; to others it is "a savor from life unto life," 2Co 2:16). By the same sacrificial metaphor, Christ’s offering of Himself to God is said to be "for a sweet smelling savor" (Eph 5:2 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "for an odor of a sweet smell"; the same phrase is used in Php 4:18 of acts of kindness to Paul, which were "a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God").

(3) Once it is used in the figurative sense of reputation: "Ye have made our savor to be abhorred (literally, "our smell to stink") in the eyes of Pharaoh" (Ex 5:21). Compare the English phrase, "to be in bad odor."

The verb "to savor" means:

(1) intransitively, to taste or smell of, to partake of the quality of something, as in the Preface of the King James Version, "to savour more of curiosity than wisdome," or

(2) transitively, to perceive by the taste or smell, to discern: "thou savourest not the things that be of God" (the King James Version Mt 16:23; Mr 8:33, the Revised Version (British and American) "mindest"; phroneis; Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) sapis). The adjective "savory" occurs only in Ge 27:4,7,9,14,17,31 ("savory food") and the Revised Version (British and American) Isa 30:24 (margin "salted").

D. Miall Edwards





so’-ing a-sun’-der.



sa’-est: "Thou sayest" (Mt 27:11; Mr 15:2; Lu 22:70, "Ye say"; Joh 18:37), i.e. rightly; "Thou hast said" (Mt 26:25,64), =" Yes"; a rabbinical idiom never found in the Old Testament. Mr 14:62 renders by "I am." All these passages WHm punctuate interrogatively (compare Kethubhoth, f. 103 b).












skab, skab’-ed, skabd (yallepheth, micpachath, cappachath, verb sippach; semasia, leichen): These are generic terms for any skin disease in which there are patches of hard crusts on the surface. The commonest of these are the forms now named eczema, herpes and, perhaps, psoriasis, all of which are common in Bible lands. Milder cases in which the disease was localized and in small patches (the semasia of the Septuagint) did not render the bearer unclean, and they were to be distinguished by the priest (Le 13:2,6) from the more virulent and spreading eruptions which (Le 13:7) were regarded as causes of ceremonial uncleanness. These severer forms are the leichen of Septuagint mentioned in Le 21:20, which disqualified any son of Aaron from serving as a priest, and when affecting an animal rendered it unfit to be offered as a burnt offering (Le 22:22). Hippocrates speaks of these cases as obstinate and persistent, and Galen believed that they might degenerate into leprosy; hence, the terms in which Aeschylus speaks of it (Choephori 281). Celsus, however, recognized that leichen was a papular eruption, not a true scab. The name yallepheth seems to have been given to it on account of the firmness of attachment of the scabs, while the term micpachath refers to its tendency to spread and cover the surface. A cognate word in Eze 13:18 is the name of a large Tallith or prayer veil used by the false prophetesses in Israel (translated "kerchief"). Scabs were especially disfiguring on the head, and this infliction was threatened as a punishment on the daughters of Zion for their wanton haughtiness (Isa 3:17). In Middle English, "scab" is used for itch or mange, and as a term of opprobrium, as in Greene, Bacon and Bungay, 35, 1591.

Alexander Macalister


skab’-ard, sheth.

See ARMOR, III, 5; WAR, 9.


skaf’-old (kiyyor): The English word is used once of Solomon’s "brazen scaffold" on which he knelt at the dedication of the temple (2Ch 6:13).






(1) qasqeseth "fish-scales";

(2) meghinnah, maghen, "scales of the crocodile";

(3) lepis, with verb lepizo "scale away" (Tobit 3:17; 11:13)):

(1) The first Hebrew word qasqeseth means the imbricated scales of fish, which together with the dorsal fin were a distinguishing mark of all fish allowed as food to the Israelite (Le 11:9 ff; De 14:9 f). In the figurative sense the word is used of a coat of mail (1Sa 17:5,38).

(2) Meghinnah from maghen, literally, "a buckler" or "small shield" (2Ch 23:9; Jer 46:3), is used in the description of the crocodile (see LEVIATHAN) for the horny scales or scutes imbedded in the skin, not imbricated upon it (Job 41:15 (Hebrew verse 7)).

(3) The Greek lepis, which in classical language has a much wider range of meaning than the above Hebrew words ("rind," "husk," "shell," "fish-scale," "scale of snake," "flake of metal and of snow," etc.), is found in the New Testament description of Paul’s recovery from temporary blindness, "And straightway there fell from his eyes as it were scales, and he received his sight" (Ac 9:18).

There is nothing in the words of the sacred text which compels us to think of literal scales. (In Tobit, however, a literal flaking-off of foreign substance is meant.) We have here rather a description of the sensation which terminated the three days’ period of blindness which the apostle suffered after his meeting with the risen Lord on the road to Damascus. The apostle himself does not use this expression in his own graphic description of the same experience: "In that very hour I looked upon him" (Ac 22:13). The phrase has, however, come into English, for we speak of "scales falling from one’s eyes" when we mean a sudden illumination or remembrance or a dissipation of harassing doubt.

In Isa 40:12; the Revised Version (British and American) Pr 16:11 for peles, in the sense of "instrument for weighing."


H. L. E. Luering


skol (netheq; thrausma): This only occurs in Leviticus 13 and 14 where it is used 14 times to describe bald or scaly patches of eruption on the skin. Such patches are generally the result of the action of parasitic organisms. The common form known now as scalled head is produced by a microscopic plant, Achorion schoenleinii. In Old and Middle English, scall was used for scabbiness of the head (Chaucer and Spenser). See also Skeat, Concise Etymol. Dict. of English Language.








(tola‘ath shani (Ex 25:4, etc.)): Cermes vermilio, a scale insect from which a red dye is obtained.



skat’-erd a-brod’.




(1) In Ho 14:7, "The scent (margin "his memorial") thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon." "Scent" is used for zekher (so Massoretic Text, but the pointing is uncertain), properly "memorial," whence the Revised Version margin. The English translation comes through the Septuagint which took z-k-r as "offering of sweet savor," and so "sweet savor." For the "wine of Lebanon" see WINE. If this translation is not right, the alternative is "memorial" in the sense of "renown."

(2) Job 14:9; Jer 48:11 for reach, "odor." "Scent" of the water in Job 14:9 is poetic for "contact with."

(3) The Wisdom of Solomon 11:18 the King James Version has "filthy scents of scattered smoke," where "scent" is used in the obsolete sense of "disagreeable odor." The translation is, however, very loose, and "scents" is a gloss; the Revised Version (British and American) "noisome smoke."

Burton Scott Easton


sep’-ter (shebheT, sharbhiT, expanded form in Es 4:11; 5:2; 8:4; rhabdos (Additions to Esther 15:11; Heb 1:8), skeptros): A rod or mace used by a sovereign as a symbol of royal authority. The Hebrew shebheT is the ordinary word for rod or club, and is used of an ordinary rod (compare 2Sa 7:14), of the shepherd’s crook (Ps 23:4), scribe’s baton or marshal’s staff (Jud 5:14), as well as of the symbol of royalty. Its symbolism may be connected with the use of the shebheT for protection (2Sa 23:21; Ps 23:4) or for punishment (Isa 10:24; 30:31). It is used with reference to the royal line descended from Judah (Ge 49:10), and figuratively of sovereignty in general and possibly of conquest (Nu 24:17, in Israel; Isa 14:5, in Babylonia; Am 1:5,8, in Syria, among Philistines; Zec 10:11, in Egypt), the disappearance or cutting off of him that holdeth the scepter being tantamount to loss of national independence. The kingship of Yahweh is spoken of as a scepter (Ps 45:6 (Hebrew verse 7) quoted in Heb 1:8). The manner of using the scepter by an oriental monarch is suggested in the act of Ahasuerus, who holds it out to Esther as a mark of favor. The subject touches the top of it, perhaps simply as an act of homage or possibly to indicate a desire to be heard. The scepter of Ahasuerus is spoken of as "golden" (Es 5:2), but it is probable that scepters were ordinarily made of straight branches (maTeh) of certain kinds of vines (Eze 19:11,14).

It is sometimes difficult to determine whether the word shebheT is used in figurative passages in the sense of scepter or merely in the ordinary sense of staff (e.g. Ps 125:3, the King James Version "rod," the Revised Version (British and American) and the American Standard Revised Version "sceptre" (of the wicked); Ps 2:9, "rod of iron"; Pr 22:8, "rod of his wrath"). Another word, mechoqeq, literally, "prescribing" (person or thing), formerly translated uniformly "lawgiver," is now generally taken, on the basis of parallelism, to mean "sceptre" in four poetic passages (Ge 49:10, "ruler’s staff" to avoid repetition; Nu 21:18; Ps 60:7; 108:8).

Nathan Isaacs


se’-va (Skeua): A Jew, a chief priest, resident in Ephesus, whose seven sons were exorcists (Ac 19:14 ). Ewald regards the name as being Hebrew shekhabhyah. He was not an officiating priest, as there were only synagogues in Asia Minor. He may have belonged to a high-priestly family, or perhaps at one time he had been at the head of one of the 24 courses in the temple.

In the narrative the construction is loose. There were seven sons (Ac 19:14), and it would appear (Ac 19:16) that in this particular case all were present. But (Ac 19:16) the demon-possessed man over-powered "both of them." Textus Receptus of the New Testament gets over the difficulty by omitting "both," but Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, Bezae, so Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort, von Soden, and the best critics, retain the difficult reading. The explanation is that Ac 19:14 states the custom: "who did this" being hoi touto poiountes, "who used to do this." Ac 19:15 and 16 state a particular case in which two took part, but the incident is introduced in a careless manner.

Ewald would translate amphoteron as "in both sides," but this is impossible. Baur understood "disciples" for "sons." Codex Bezae and Syriac have an interesting expansion which Blass considers original (Ac 19:14): "Among whom also the sons (Syriac ‘seven’) of a certain Sceva, a priest, wished to do the same, (who) were in the custom of exorcising such. And entering into the demon-possessed man they began to call upon the Name, saying, ‘We charge you by Jesus whom Paul preaches to come out.’ "

S. F. Hunter


siz’-m (schisma): Only in 1Co 12:25. The same Greek word, literally, "a split," is translated "rent" in Mt 9:16; Mr 2:21; and "division" in Joh 7:43; 9:16; 10:19. It designates "a separation," not from, but within, the church, interfering with the harmonious coordination and cooperation of the members described in the preceding verses (1Co 12:18 ). The ecclesiastical meaning is that of a break from a church organization, that may or may not be connected with a doctrinal dissent.


skool (schole).



skool’-mas-ter: Ga 3:24 f the King James Version reads: "The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." "Schoolmaster" is a translation of paidagogos, literally, "child-leader." This paidagagos was not a teacher but a slave, to whom in wealthy families the general oversight of a boy was committed. It was his duty to accompany his charge to and from school, never to lose sight of him in public, to prevent association with objectionable companions, to inculcate moral lessons at every opportunity, etc. He was a familiar figure in the streets, and the (sour) "face of paidagogos" and "to follow one like a paidagogos" were proverbial expressions. Naturally, to the average boy the paidagogos must have represented the incorporation of everything objectionable. Hence, Paul’s figure may be paraphrased: "The law was a paidagogos, necessary but irksome, to direct us until the time of Christ. Then was the time of our spiritual coming-of-age, so that the control of the paidagogos ceased." The word paidagogos was taken over into Aramaic at an early date, and Paul’s language; which is hardly that of a mere adult observer, suggests that he had had personal experience with the institution. Wealthy and intensely orthodox Jewish parents living in a Gentile city may well have adopted such a precaution for the protection of their children.

No English word renders paidagogos adequately. "Schoolmaster" is quite wrong, but Revised Version’s "tutor" (compare 1Co 4:15) is little better in modern English.

Burton Scott Easton




si’-ens: This word as found in the King James Version means simply "knowledge." "Science" occurs in the King James Version only in two places, Da 1:4, "children .... understanding science" (yodhe‘edha‘ath, "those who understand science"). The meaning of the term here is "knowledge," "wisdom." The only other occurrence of "science" is in the New Testament (1Ti 6:20, "avoiding .... oppositions of science falsely so called," tes pseudonumou gnoseos, "the falsely called gnosis"). "Science" is the translation of the Greek gnosis, which in the New Testament is usually rendered "knowledge." The science here referred to was a higher knowledge of Christian and divine things, which false teachers alleged that they possessed, and of which they boasted. It was an incipient form of Gnosticism, and it prevailed to a considerable extent in the churches of proconsular Asia, e.g. in Colosse and Ephesus. Timothy is put on his guard against the teaching of this gnosis falsely so called, for it set itself in opposition to the gospel.


"Science" in the modern sense of the word, as the discovery and orderly classification and exposition of the phenomena and of the laws of Nature, is not found either in the Old Testament or the New Testament unless the passage in Daniel be interpreted as meaning the scientific knowledge which the learned men of Babylon possessed of mathematics and astronomy, etc. See also Ac 7:22. To the Hebrew mind all natural phenomena meant the working of the hand of God in the world, directly and immediately, without the intervention of any secondary laws.

John Rutherfurd


sim’-i-tar, -ter (akindke): Formerly given as "fauchion" in the King James Version Judith 13:6; 16:9, the weapon which Judith took down from the rail of the bed at Holofernes’ head, and with which she severed his head from his body.


skof, skof’-er: The verb indicates the manifestation of contempt by insulting words or actions; it combines bitterness with ridicule. It is much more frequent in the Revised Version (British and American) than in the King James Version, replacing "scorn" of the latter in Ps 1:1; Pr 1:22, etc. "Scorn" refers rather to an inner emotion based on a sense of superiority; "scoff," to the outward expression of this emotion.


skorn: Fox Talbot connects this English word with the Danish skarn, "dirt," "ordure" "mud," "mire." As distinguished from such words as "mock," "deride," "scoff," all of which refer specifically to the various ways in which scorn finds outward expression, scorn itself denotes a subjective state or reaction.

Further, this state or reaction is not simple but complex. It includes a sense of superiority, resentment, and aversion. This reaction occurs when one is confronted with a person or a proposition that by challenging certain things for itself evokes a vivid sense of one’s own superiority and awakens mingled resentment, repulsion and contempt by the hollowness of its claims and its intrinsic inferiority or worse. Scorn is a hotter, fiercer emotion than disdain or contempt. It is obvious that scorn may—indeed, it not uncommonly does—arise in connection with an not grounded, arrogant sense of self-esteem.

The word, outside of the phrase "laugh to scorn," is found only in the Old Testament, and then only 4 times (Es 3:6; King James Version, Ps 44:13; 79:4; Hab 1:10), and it represents three different Hebrew words for none of which it is a suitable rendering. The two words "thought scorn" in Es 3:6 represent but one in Hebrew, namely, bazah, for which "disdain" would be a nearer equivalent. In Hab 1:10 (the King James Version) the word translated "scorn" is micchaq, "an object of laughter," "laughing-stock." In Ps 44:13; 79:4 the Hebrew word is la‘agh from a root, probably meaning "to stutter," "stammer," for which "mocking" is a better English equivalent. In the King James Version Job 34:7; Ps 123:4, la‘agh is rendered "scorning". (the rendering given in Pr 1:22 to latson, a word from a totally different root and one much more nearly approximating the fundamental idea of the English word "Scorn." In Pr 29:8 and Isa 28:14 latson is rendered "scornful").

As a verb the word is the translation given to la‘agh, "to mock" (2Ki 19:21 parallel Isa 37:22 Job 22:19; Ne 2:19; Ps 22:7, "all laugh to scorn"); qalas =" to scoff" (Eze 16:31, margin "Greek: scoffeth," but text still "scorneth"); for the noun tsechoq, "laughter" (Eze 23:32); sachaq = to laugh," "laugh at" (Job 39:7,18; 2Ch 30:10), with the noun sechoq, "laugh to scorn" (the Revised Version (British and American) "laughing-stock," Job 12:4); luts =" to scoff" (as used in ethical and religious connections) (Job 16:20; Pr 3:34; 9:12, all "scoff" in the Revised Version (British and American)); in Pr 19:28 the Revised Version (British and American), not happily, "mock at." the Revised Version (British and American) is warranted in substituting "scoff" for "scorn" because the context indicates some form of outward expression of the scorn.

The Revised Version (British and American) always (except Job 12:4; Sirach 6:4; 1 Macc 10:70) retains "laugh to scorn" (2Ki 19:21; 2Ch 30:10; Ne 2:19; Job 22:19; Ps 22:7; Isa 37:22; Eze 16:31; 23:32; RAPC 2Es 2:21; Jdt 12:12; Wis 4:18; Sir 7:11; 13:7; 20:17; Mt 9:24; Mr 5:40; Lu 8:53). The verb in Apocrypha and the New Testament is usually katagelao, but in The Wisdom of Solomon 4:1 ekgelao; in Sirach 13:7 [@katamokomai; and in 2 Esdras 2:21 inrideo. In addition "scorn" is retained in Es 3:6; Job 39:7,18; RAPC 2Es 8:56 (contemno). In Pr 19:28 "scorn" is changed to "mock at" but elsewhere invariably to "scoff."

Scorner is the translation of the participle of luts and once of the participle of latsats. For "scorner" the Revised Version (British and American) everywhere substitutes—properly—"scoffer." Outside of Proverbs (and Ho 7:5) the word is to be found only in Ps 1:2. The force of the word has been well indicated by Cheyne, who says that the "scorner (scoffer) is one who despises that which is holy and avoids the company of the noble ‘wise men,’ but yet in his own vain way seeks for truth; his character is marked by arrogance as that of the wise is characterized by devout caution."

W. M. McPheeters


skor’-pi-un (aqrabh; compare Arabic aqrab, "scorpion"; ma‘aleh ‘aqrabbim, "the ascent of Akrabbim"; skorpios. Note that the Greek and Hebrew may be akin; compare, omitting the vowels, ‘krb and skrp): In De 8:15, we have, "who led thee through the great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents (nachash saraph) and scorpions (‘aqrabh)." Rehoboam (1Ki 12:11,14; 2Ch 10:11,14) says, "My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions." Ezekiel is told to prophesy to the children of Israel (2:6), and "Be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions." "The ascent of Akrabbim," the north end of Wadi-ul-‘Arabah, South of the Dead Sea, is mentioned as a boundary 3 times (Nu 34:4; Jos 15:3; Jud 1:36). Jesus says to the Seventy (Lu 10:19), "Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions," and again in Lu 11:12 He says, "Or if he shall ask an egg, will he give him a scorpion?"

Note that we have here three doublets, the loaf and the stone, the fish and the serpent, and the egg and the scorpion, whereas in the passage in Matthew (7:9 f) we have only the loaf and stone and the fish and serpent. Encyclopedia Biblica (s.v. "Scorpion") ingeniously seeks to bring Lu into nearer agreement with Matthew by omitting from Luke the second doublet, i.e. the fish and the serpent, instancing several texts as authority for the omission, and reading opson, "fish," for oon, "egg."

In Re 9:2-10 there come out of the smoke of the abyss winged creatures ("locusts," akrides) like war-horses with crowns of gold, with the faces of men, hair of women, teeth of lions, breastplates of iron, and with stinging tails like scorpions. In Ecclesiasticus 26:7 it is said of an evil wife, "He that taketh hold of her is as one that graspeth a scorpion." In 1 Macc 6:51 we find mention of "pieces [@skorpidia, diminutive of skorpios to cast darts." In Plutarch skorpios is used in the same sense (Liddell and Scott, under the word skorpios.

In the passage cited from Deuteronomy, and probably also in the name "ascent of Akrabbim," we find references to the abundance of scorpions, especially in the warmer parts of the country. Though there is a Greek proverb, "Look for a scorpion under every stone," few would agree with the categorical statement of Tristram (NHB) that "every third stone is sure to conceal one." Nevertheless, campers and people sleeping on the ground need to exercise care in order to avoid their stings, which, though often exceedingly painful for several hours, are seldom fatal.

Scorpions are not properly insects, but belong with spiders, mites and ticks to the Arachnidae. The scorpions of Palestine are usually 2 or 3 inches long. The short cephalothorax bears a powerful pair of jaws, two long limbs terminating with pincers, which make the creature look like a small crayfish or lobster, and four pairs of legs. The rest of the body consists of the abdomen, a broad part continuous with the cephalothorax, and a slender part forming the long tail which terminates with the sting. The tail is usually carried curved over the back and is used for stinging; the prey into insensibility. Scorpions feed mostly on insects for which they lie in wait. The scorpion family is remarkable for having existed with very little change from the Silurian age to the present time.

It does not seem necessary to consider that the words of Rehoboam (1Ki 12:11, etc.) refer to a whip that was called a scorpion, but rather that as the sting of a scorpion is worse than the lash of a whip, so his treatment would be harsher than his father’s.

Alfred Ely Day





skurj, skur’-jing (@mastix], mastigoo; in Ac 22:25 mastizo, in Mr 15:15 parallel Mt 27:26 phragelloo): A Roman implement for severe bodily punishment. Horace calls it horribile flagellum. It consisted of a handle, to which several cords or leather thongs were affixed, which were weighted with jagged pieces of bone or metal, to make the blow more painful and effective. It is comparable, in its horrid effects, only with the Russian knout. The victim was tied to a post (Ac 22:25) and the blows were applied to the back and loins, sometimes even, in the wanton cruelty of the executioner, to the face and the bowels. In the tense position of the body, the effect can easily be imagined. So hideous was the punishment that the victim usually fainted and not rarely died under it. Eusebius draws a horribly realistic picture of the torture of scourging (Historia Ecclesiastica, IV, 15). By its application secrets and confessions were wrung from the victim (Ac 22:24). It usually preceded capital punishment (Livy xxxiii.36). It was illegal to apply the flagallum to a Roman citizen (Ac 22:25), since the Porcian and Sempronian laws, 248 and 123 BC, although these laws were not rarely broken in the provinces (Tac. Hist. iv.27; Cic. Verr. v.6, 62; Josephus, BJ, II, xiv, 9). As among the Russians today, the number of blows was not usually fixed, the severity of the punishment depending entirely on the commanding officer. In the punishment of Jesus, we are reminded of the words of Ps 129:3. Among the Jews the punishment of flagellation was well known since the Egyptian days, as the monuments abundantly testify. The word "scourge" is used in Le 19:20, but the American Standard Revised Version translates "punished," the original word biqqoreth expressing the idea of investigation. De 25:3 fixed the mode of a Jewish flogging and limits the number of blows to 40. Apparently the flogging was administered by a rod. The Syrians reintroduced true scourging into Jewish life, when Antiochus Epiphanes forced them by means of it to eat swine’s flesh (2 Macc 6:30; 7:1). Later it was legalized by Jewish law and became customary (Mt 10:17; 23:34; Ac 22:19; 26:11), but the traditional limitation of the number of blows was still preserved. Says Paul in his "foolish boasting": "in stripes above measure," "of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one," distinguishing it from the "beatings with rods," thrice repeated (2Co 11:23-25).

The other Old Testament references (Job 5:21; 9:23; Isa 10:26; 28:15,18 shot; Jos 23:13 shotet) are figurative for "affliction." Notice the curious mixture of metaphors in the phrase "over-flowing scourge" (Isa 28:15-18).

Henry E. Dosker


skrab’-l: Occurs only in 1Sa 21:13, as the translation of tawah: "David .... feigned himself mad and scrabbled on the doors of the gate." "To scrabble" (modern English "scrawl") is here to make unmeaning marks; tawah means "to make a mark" from taw, "a mark," especially as a cross (Eze 9:4), a signature (Job 31:35, see the Revised Version (British and American)), the name of the Hebrew letter taw ("t") originally made in the form of a cross; the Revised Version margin has "made marks"; but Septuagint has tumpanizo, "to beat as a drum," which the Vulgate, Ewald, Driver and others follow ("beat upon" or "drummed on the doors of the city," which seems more probable).





skribz: The existence of law leads necessarily to a profession whose business is the study and knowledge of the law; at any rate, if the law is extensive and complicated. At the time of Ezra and probably for some time after, this was chiefly the business of the priests. Ezra was both priest and scholar (copher). It was chiefly in the interest of the priestly cult that the most important part of the Pentateuch was written. The priests were therefore also in the first instance the scholars and the guardians of the Law; but in the course of time this was changed. The more highly esteemed the Law became in the eyes of the people, the more its study and interpretation became a lifework by itself, and thus there developed a class of scholars who, though not priests, devoted themselves assiduously to the Law. These became known as the scribes, that is, the professional students of the Law. During the Hellenistic period, the priests, especially those of the upper class, became tainted with the Hellenism of the age and frequently turned their attention to paganistic culture, thus neglecting the Law of their fathers more or less and arousing the scribes to opposition. Thus, the scribes and not the priests were now the zealous defenders of the Law, and hence, were the true teachers of the people. At the time of Christ, this distinction was complete. The scribes formed a solid profession which held undisputed sway over the thought of the people. In the New Testament they are usually called (grammateis), i.e. "students of the Scriptures," "scholars," corresponding to the Hebrew (copherim) = homines literati, those who make a profession of literary studies, which, in this case, of course, meant chiefly the Law. Besides this general designation, we also find the specific word (nomikoi), i.e. "students of the Law," "lawyers" (Mt 22:35; Lu 7:30; 10:25; 11:45,52; 14:3); and in so far as they not only know the Law but also teach it they are called (nomodidaskaloi), "doctors of the Law" (Lu 5:17; Ac 5:34).

The extraordinary honors bestowed on these scholars on the part of the people are expressed in their honorary titles. Most common was the appellative "rabbi" =" my lord" (Mt 23:7 and otherwise). This word of polite address gradually became a title. The word "rabboni" (Mr 10:51; Joh 20:16) is an extensive form, and was employed by the disciples to give expression to their veneration of Christ. In the Greek New Testament "rabbi" is translated as (kurie) (Mt 8:2,6,8,21,25 and otherwise), or (didaskale) (Mt 8:19 and otherwise), in Luke by (epistata) (Lu 5:5; 8:24,45; 9:33,19; 17:13). Besides these, we find (pater), "father," and (kathegetes), "teacher" (Mt 23:9 f).

From their students the rabbis demanded honors even surpassing those bestowed on parents. "Let the honor of thy friend border on the honor of thy teacher, and the honor of thy teacher on the fear of God" (’Abhoth 4 12). "The honor of thy teacher must surpass the honor bestowed on thy father; for son and father are both in duty bound to honor the teacher" (Kerithoth 6 9). Everywhere the rabbis demanded the position of first rank (Mt 23:6 f; Mr 12:38 f; Lu 11:43; 20:46). Their dress equaled that of the nobility. They wore (stolai), "tunics," and these were the mark of the upper class.

Since the scribes were lawyers (see LAWYER), much of their time was occupied in teaching and in judicial functions, and both these activities must be pursued gratuitously. Rabbi Zadok said: "Make the knowledge of the Law neither a crown in which to glory nor a spade with which to dig." Hillel used to say: "He who employs the crown (of the Law) for external purposes shall dwindle." That the judge should not receive presents or bribes was written in the Law (Ex 23:8; De 16:19); hence, the Mishna said: "If anyone accept pay for rendering judgment, his judgment is null and void." The rabbis were therefore obliged to make their living by other means. Some undoubtedly had inherited wealth; others pursued a handicraft besides their study of the Law. Rabbi Gamaliel II emphatically advised the pursuit of a business in addition to the pursuit of the Law. It is well known that the apostle Paul kept up his handicraft even after he had become a preacher of the gospel (Ac 18:3; 20:34; 1Co 4:12; 9:6; 2Co 11:7; 1Th 2:9; 2Th 3:8), and the same is reported of many rabbis. But in every instance the pursuit of the Law is represented as the worthier, and warning is given not to overestimate the value of the ordinary avocation. It was a saying of Hillel: "He that devotes himself to trade will not become wise." The principle of gratuity was probably carried out in practice only in connection with the judicial activity of the scribes; hardly in connection with their work as teachers. Even the Gospels, in spite of the admonition that the disciples should give without pay because they had received without pay (Mt 10:8), nevertheless also state that the workman is worthy of his hire (Mt 10:10; Lu 10:7); and Paul (1Co 9:14) states it as his just due that he receive his livelihood from those to whom he preaches the gospel, even though he makes use of this right only in exceptional cases (1Co 9:3-18; 2Co 11:8,9; Ga 6:6; Php 4:10,18). Since this appears to have been the thought of the times, we are undoubtedly justified in assuming that the Jewish teachers of the Law also demanded pay for their services. Indeed, the admonitions above referred to, not to make instruction in the Law the object of self-interest, lead to the conclusion that gratuity was not the rule; and in Christ’s philippics against the scribes and Pharisees He makes special mention of their greed (Mr 12:40; Lu 16:14; 20:47). Hence, even though they ostensibly gave instruction in the Law gratuitously, they must have practiced methods by which they indirectly secured their fees.

Naturally the place of chief influence for the scribes up to the year 70 AD was Judea. But not only there were they to be found. Wherever the zeal for the law of the fathers was a perceptible force, they were indispensable; hence, we find them also in Galilee (Lu 5:17) and in the Diaspora. In the Jewish epitaphs in Rome, dating from the latter days of the empire, grammateis are frequently mentioned; and the Babylonian scribes of the 5th and 6th centuries were the authors of the most monumental work of rabbinical Judaism—the Talmud.

Since the separation of the Pharisaic and the Sadducean tendencies in Judaism, the scribes generally belonged to the Pharisaic class; for this latter is none other than the party which recognized the interpretations or "traditions" which the scribes in the course of time had developed out of the body of the written Law and enforced upon the people as the binding rule of life. Since, however, "scribes" are merely "students of the Law," there must also have been scribes of the Sadducee type; for it is not to be imagined that this party, which recognized only the written Law as binding, should not have had some opposing students in the other class. Indeed, various passages of the New Testament which speak of the "scribes of the Pharisees" (Mr 2:16; Lu 5:30; Ac 23:9) indicate that there were also "scribes of the Sadducees."

Under the reign and leadership of the scribes, it became the ambition of every Israelite to know more or less of the Law. The aim of education in family, school and synagogue was to make the entire people a people of the Law. Even the common laborer should know what was written in the Law; and not only know it, but also do it. His entire life should be governed according to the norm of the Law, and, on the whole, this purpose was realized in a high degree. Josephus avers: "Even though we be robbed of our riches and our cities and our other goods, the Law remains our possession forever. And no Jew can be so far removed from the and of his fathers nor will he fear a hostile commander to such a degree that he would not fear his Law more than his commander." So loyal were the majority of the Jews toward their Law that they would gladly endure the tortures of the rack and even death for it. This frame of mind was due almost wholly to the systematic and persistent instruction of the scribes.

The motive underlying this enthusiasm for the Law was the belief in divine retribution in the strictest judicial sense. The prophetic idea of a covenant which God had made with His select people was interpreted purely in the judicial sense. The covenant was a contract through which both parties were mutually bound. The people are bound to observe the divine Law literally and conscientiously; and, in return for this, God is in duty bound to render the promised reward in proportion to the services rendered. This applies to the people as a whole as well as to the individual. Services and reward must always stand in mutual relation to each other. He who renders great services may expect from the justice of God that he will receive great returns as his portion, while, on the other hand, every transgression also must be followed by its corresponding punishment.

The results corresponded to the motives. Just as the motives in the main were superficial, so the results were an exceedingly shallow view of religious and moral life. Religion was reduced to legal formalism. All religious and moral life was dragged down to the level of law, and this must necessarily lead to the following results:

(1) The individual is governed by a norm, the application of which could have only evil results when applied in this realm. Law has the purpose of regulating the relations of men to each other according to certain standards. Its object is not the individual, but only the body of society. In the law, the individual must find the proper rule for his conduct toward society as an organism. This is a matter of obligation and of government on the part of society. But religion is not a matter of government; where it is found, it is a matter of freedom, of choice, and of conduct.

(2) By reducing the practice of religion to the form of law, all acts are placed on a paragraph with each other. The motives are no longer taken into consideration, but only the deed itself.

(3) From this it follows that the highest ethical attainment was the formal satisfaction of the Law, which naturally led to finical literalism.

(4) Finally, moral life must, under such circumstances, lose its unity and be split up into manifold precepts and duties. Law always affords opportunity for casuistry, and it was the development of this in the guidance of the Jewish religious life through the "precepts of the elders" which called forth Christ’s repeated denunciation of the work of the scribes.

Frank E. Hirsch


skrip: A word connected with "scrap," and meaning a "bag," either as made from a "scrap" (of skin) or as holding "scraps" (of food, etc.). the King James Version has "scrip" in 1Sa 17:40 and 6 times in New Testament; the English Revised Version has "wallet" in the New Testament, but retains "script" in 1Sa 17:40; the American Standard Revised Version has "wallet" throughout.

See BAG.


skrip’-tur (he graphe, plural hai graphai): The word means "writing." In the Old Testament it occurs in the King James Version only once, "the scripture of truth," in Da 10:21, where it is more correctly rendered in the Revised Version (British and American), "the writing of truth." The reference is not to Holy Scripture, but to the book in which are inscribed God’s purposes. In the New Testament, "scripture" and "scriptures" stand regularly for the Old Testament sacred books regarded as "inspired" (2Ti 3:16), "the oracles of God" (Ro 3:2). Compare on this usage Mt 21:42; 22:29; Mr 12:10; Lu 4:21; 24:27,32,45; Joh 5:39; 10:35; Ac 8:32; 17:2,11; Ro 15:4; 16:26, etc.; in Ro 1:2, "holy scriptures." See BIBLE. The expression "holy scriptures" in 2Ti 3:15 the King James Version represents different words (hiera grammata) and is properly rendered in the Revised Version (British and American) "sacred writings." In 2Pe 3:16, the term "scriptures" is extended to the Eppistle of Paul. In Jas 4:5, the words occur: "Think ye that the scripture speaketh in vain? Doth the spirit which he made to dwell in us long unto envying?" The passage is probably rather a summary of Scripture teaching than intended as a direct quotation. Others (e.g. Westcott) think the word is used in a wide sense of a Christian hymn.

James Orr








skum (chel’ah; Septuagint ios, "poison" or "verdigris"; compare Plato Rep. 609a): The word is only found in Eze 24:6,11,12, where the Revised Version (British and American) translates it "rust." The fact, however, that the caldron is of brass and therefore not liable to rust, and the astonishment expressed that the fire did not remove it (24:12), would seem to point to the preferability of the translation "scum," the residue of dirt adhering to the caldron from previous use.

SCURVY skur’-vi (garabh); psora agria (Le 21:20; 22:22)): This word is used to denote an itchy, scaly disease of the scalp, probably any of the parasitic diseases which are known as tinea, porrigo or impetigo. These cases have no relation whatever to the disease now known as scorbutus or scurvy. The name was probably derived from its scaliness, and the old Greek physicians believed these diseases to be peculiarly intractable.

The name "Gareb" is used in Jer 31:39 as the placename of a hill at or near the southeastern corner of Jerusalem, probably from the bare roughness of the surface of its slope at the southern end of the Wady er-Rababi. Another hill of this name is mentioned near Shiloh in the Talmud, and the name is given to one of David’s warriors (2Sa 23:38).

Scurvy etymologically means any condition of scaliness of skin which can be scraped off, such as dandruff.

Alexander Macalister


sith’-i-anz (hoi Skuthai): The word does not occur in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, but Septuagint of Jud 1:27 inserts (Skuthon polis (Scythopolis), in explanation, as being the same as Beth-shean. The same occurs in Apocrypha (Judith 3:10; 1 Macc 12:29), and the Scythians as a people in 2 Macc 4:47, and the adjective in 3 Macc 7:5. The people are also mentioned in the New Testament (Col 3:11), where, as in Maccabees, the fact that they were barbarians is implied. This is clearly set forth in classical writers, and the description of them given by Herodotus in book iv of his history represents a race of savages, inhabiting a region of rather indefinite boundaries, north of the Black and Caspian seas and the Caucasus Mountains. They were nomads who neither plowed nor sowed (iv.19), moving about in wagons and carrying their dwellings with them (ibid. 46); they had the most filthy habits and never washed in water (ibid. 75); they drank the blood of the first enemy killed in battle, and made napkins of the scalps and drinking bowls of the skulls of the slain (ibid. 64-65). Their deities were many of them identified with those of the Greeks, but the most characteristic rite was the worship of the naked sword (ibid. 62), and they sacrificed every hundredth man taken in war to this deity. War was their chief business, and they were a terrible scourge to the nations of Western Asia. They broke through the barrier of the Caucasus in 632 BC and swept down like a swarm of locusts upon Media and Assyria, turning the fruitful fields into a desert; pushing across Mesopotamia, they ravaged Syria and were about to invade Egypt when Psammitichus I, who was besieging Ashdod, bought them off by rich gifts, but they remained in Western Asia for 28 years, according to Herodotus. It is supposed that a company of them settled in Beth-shean, and from this circumstance it received the name Scythopolis. Various branches of the race appeared at different times, among the most noted of which were the PARTHIANS (which see).

H. Porter


si-thop’-o-lis, si-thop’-o-lis.



se (yam; thalassa; in Ac 27:5 pelagos): The Mediterranean is called ha-yam ha-gadhol, "the great sea" (Nu 34:6; Jos 1:4; Eze 47:10, etc.); ha-yam ha-’acharon, "the hinder," or "western sea" (De 11:24; 34:2; Joe 2:20; Zec 14:8); yam pelishtim, "the sea of the Philis" (Ex 23:31); the King James Version translates yam yapho’ in Ezr 3:7 by "sea of Joppa," perhaps rightly.

The Dead Sea is called yam ha-melach, "the Salt Sea" (Nu 34:3; De 3:17; Jos 3:16, etc.); ha-yam ha-qadhmoni, "the east sea" (Eze 47:18; Joe 2:20; Zec 14:8); yam ha-‘arabhah,"the sea of the Arabah" (De 3:17; Jos 3:16; 12:3; 2Ki 14:25).

The Red Sea is called yam cuph, literally, "sea of weeds" (Ex 10:19; Nu 14:25; De 1:1; Jos 2:10; Jud 11:16; 1Ki 9:26; Ne 9:9; Ps 106:7; Jer 49:21, etc.); (eruthra thalassa), literally, "red sea" (The Wisdom of Solomon 19:7; Ac 7:36; Heb 11:29); yam mitsrayim, "the Egyptian sea" (Isa 11:15).

Yam is used of the Nile in Na 3:8 and probably also in Isa 19:5, as in modern Arabic bachr, "sea," is used of the Nile and its affluents. Yam is often used for "west" or "westward," as "look from the place where thou art, .... westward" (Ge 13:14); "western border" (Nu 34:6). Yam is used for "sea" in general (Ex 20:11); also for "molten sea" of the temple (1Ki 7:23).

The Sea of Galilee is called kinnereth, "Chinnereth" (Nu 34:11); kinaroth, "Chinneroth" (Jos 11:2); kinneroth, "Chinneroth" (1Ki 15:20); yam kinnereth, "the sea of Chinnereth" (Nu 34:11; Jos 13:27); yam kinneroth, "the sea of Chinneroth (Jos 12:3); (he limne Gennesaret), "the lake of Gennesaret" (Lu 5:1); and (to hudor Gennesar), "the water of Gennesar" (1 Macc 11:67), from late Hebrew ginecar, or (genecar; he thalassa tes Galilaias), "the sea of Galilee" (Mt 4:18; 15:29; Mr 1:16; 7:31; Joh 6:1); (he thalassa tes Tiberiados), "the sea of Tiberias" (Joh 21:1; compare Joh 6:1).

In Jer 48:32 we have yam ya‘zer, "the sea of Jazer." Jazer is a site East of the Jordan, not satisfactorily identified (Nu 21:32; 32:1,3,15; Jos 13:25; 21:39; 2Sa 24:5; 1Ch 6:81; 26:31; Isa 16:8,9).


In midhbar yam, "the wilderness of the sea" (Isa 21:1), there may perhaps be a reference to the Persian Gulf.

Alfred Ely Day









(yam ya‘zer): This is a scribal error (Jer 48:32), yam ("sea") being accidentally imported from the preceding clause.




















a-dri-at’-ic, ad-ri-at’-ik.












hin’-der; ut’-most; ut’-er-most; wes’-tern.











(ha-yam ha-gadhol):

1. Names of the Sea:

This is the name given to the Mediterranean, which formed the western boundary of Palestine (Nu 34:6 f; Jos 15:12,47; Eze 47:19 f; 48:28). It is also called "the hinder sea" (Hebrew ha-yam ha-’aharon), i.e. the western sea (De 11:24; 34:2; , Joe 2:20; Zec 14:8), and "the sea of the Philis" (Ex 23:31), which, of course, applies especially to the part washing the shore of Philistia, from Jaffa southward. Generally, when the word "sea" is used, and no other is definitely indicated, the Mediterranean is intended (Ge 49:13; Nu 13:29, etc.). It was the largest sheet of water with which the Hebrews had any acquaintance. Its gleaming mirror, stretching away to the sunset, could be seen from many an inland height.

2. Israel and the Sea:

It bulked large in the minds of the landsmen—for Israel produced few mariners—impressing itself upon their speech, so that "seaward" was the common term for "westward" (Ex 26:22; Jos 5:1, etc.). Its mystery and wonder, the raging of the storm, and the sound of "sorrow on the sea," borne to their upland ears, infected them with a strange dread of its wide waters, to which the seer of Patmos gave the last Scriptural expression in his vision of the new earth, where "the sea is no more" (Re 21:1).

3. The Coast Line:

Along the coast lay the tribal territories assigned to Asher, Zebulun, Manasseh, Da and Judah. Many of the cities along the shore they failed to possess, however, and much of the land. The coast line offered little facility for the making of harbors. The one seaport of which in ancient times the Hebrews seem to have made much use was Joppa—the modern Jaffa (2Ch 2:16, etc.). From this place, probably, argosies of Solomon turned their prows westward. Here, at least, "ships of Tarshish" were wont to set out upon their adventurous voyages (Jon 1:3). The ships on this sea figure in the beautiful vision of Isaiah (60:8 f).


4. The Sea in the New Testament:

The boy Jesus, from the heights above Nazareth, must often have looked on the waters of the great sea, as they broke in foam on the curving shore, from the roots of Carmel to the point at Acre. Once only in His journeyings, so far as we know, did He approach the sea, namely on His ever-memorable visit to the "borders of Tyre and Sidon" (Mt 15:21; Mr 7:24). The sea, in all its moods, was well known to the great apostle of the Gentiles. The three shipwrecks, which he suffered (2Co 11:25), were doubtless due to the power of its angry billows over the frail craft of those old days.


5. Debt of Palestine to the Sea:

The land owes much to the great sea. During the hot months of summer, a soft breeze from the water springs up at dawn, fanning all the seaward face of the Central Range. At sunset the chilled air slips down the slopes and the higher strata drift toward the uplands, charged with priceless moisture, giving rise to the refreshing dews which make the Palestinian morning so sweet.


W. Ewing


mol’-t’n, or (yam mutsaq, yam hanechosheth): This was a large brazen (bronze) reservoir for water which stood in the court of Solomon’s Temple between the altar and the temple porch, toward the South (1Ki 7:23-26; 2Ch 4:2-5,10). The bronze from which it was made is stated in 1Ch 18:8 to have been taken by David from the cities Tibhath and Cun. It replaced the laver of the tabernacle, and, like that, was used for storing the water in which the priests washed their hands and their feet (compare Ex 30:18; 38:8). It rested on 12 brazen (bronze) oxen, facing in four groups the four quarters of heaven. For particulars of shape, size and ornamentation, see TEMPLE. The "sea" served its purpose till the time of Ahaz, who took away the brazen oxen, and placed, the sea upon a pavement (2Ki 16:17). It is recorded that the oxen were afterward taken to Babylon (Jer 52:20). The sea itself shared the same fate, being first broken to pieces (2Ki 25:13,16).

W. Shaw Caldecott





se’-mu (shachaph; laros; Latin, Larus canus): The sea-gull. Used by modern translators in the list of abominations in the place of the cuckoo (Le 11:16; De 14:15). It is very probable that the sea-gull comes closer to the bird intended than the CUCKOO (which see). The sea-gull is a "slender" bird, but not "lean" as the root shachaph implies. However, with its stretch of wing and restless flight it gives this impression. Gulls are common all along the Mediterranean coast and around the Sea of Galilee. They are thought to have more intelligence than the average bird, and to share with some eagles, hawks, vultures and the raven the knowledge that if they find mollusk they cannot break they can carry it aloft and drop it on the rocks. Only a wise bird learns this. Most feathered creatures pick at an unyielding surface a few times and then seek food elsewhere. There are two reasons why these birds went on the abomination lists. To a steady diet of fish they add carrion. Then they are birds of such nervous energy, so exhaustless in flight, so daring in flying directly into the face of fierce winds, that the Moslems believed them to be tenanted with the souls of the damned. Moses was reared and educated among the Egyptians, and the laws he formulated often are tinged by traces of his early life. History fails to record any instance of a man reared in Egypt who permitted the killing of a gull, ibis, or hoopoe.

Gene Stratton-Porter


se’-mon-ster: Ge 1:21 (tanninim), "sea monsters," the King James Version "whales," Septuagint (ta kete), "sea-monsters," "huge fish," or "whales." Job 7:12 (tannin), "sea-monster" the King James Version "whale," the Septuagint drakon, "dragon." Ps 74:13 (tanninim), the American Standard Revised Version and the English Revised Version margin. "sea-monsters," the King James Version and the English Revised Version "dragons," the King James Version margin "whales" Septuagint drakontes, "dragons" Ps 148:7 (tanninim), "sea-monsters" the King James Version and the English Revised Version "dragons," the English Revised Version margin "sea-monsters" or "water-spouts," Septuagint drakontes, "dragons." La 4:3 (tannin) "jackals," the King James Version "sea monsters" the King James Version margin "sea calves," Septuagint drakontes. Mt 12:40 (referring to Jonah) (ketos), English Versions of the Bible "whale," the Revised Version margin "sea-monster." In the Apocrypha, the Revised Version (British and American) changes the King James Version "whale (ketos) into "sea-monster" in Sirach 43:25 but not in So of Three Children verse 57.


Alfred Ely Day


se’-a (ce’ah): A dry measure equal to about one and one-half pecks.



sel (substantive chotham, "seal," "signet," Tabba‘ath, "signet-ring"; Aramaic ‘izqa’; sphragis; verb chatham, (Aramaic chatham); (sphragizo), (katasphragizomai, "to seal"):

I. Literal Sense.

A seal is an instrument of stone, metal or other hard substance (sometimes set in a ring), on which is engraved some device or figure, and is used for making an impression on some soft substance, as clay or wax, affixed to a document or other object, in token of authenticity.

1. Prevalence in Antiquity:

The use of seals goes back to a very remote antiquity, especially in Egypt, Babylonia and Assyria. Herodotus (i.195) records the Babylonian custom of wearing signets. In Babylonia the seal generally took the form of a cylinder cut in crystal or some hard stone, which was bored through from end to end and a cord passed through it. The design, often accompanied by the owner’s name, was engraved on the curved part. The signet was then suspended by the cord round the neck or waist (compare the Revised Version (British and American) "cord" in Ge 38:18; "upon thy heart .... upon thine arm," i.e. one seal hanging down from the neck and another round the waist; So 8:6). In Egypt, too, as in Babylonia, the cylinder was the earliest form used for the purpose of a seal; but this form was in Egypt gradually superseded by the scarab (= beetle-shaped) as the prevailing type. Other forms, such as the cone-shaped, were also in use. From the earliest period of civilization the finger-ring on which some distinguishing badge was engraved was in use as a convenient way of carrying the signet, the earliest extant rings being those found in Egyptian tombs. Other ancient peoples, such as the Phoenicians, also used seals. From the East the custom passed into Greece and other western countries. Devices of a variety of sorts were in use at Rome, both by the emperors and by private individuals. In ancient times, almost every variety of precious stones was used for seals, as well as cheaper material, such as limestone or terra-cotta. In the West wax came early into use as the material for receiving the impression of the seal, but in the ancient East clay was the medium used (compare Job 38:14). Pigment and ink also came into use.

2. Seals among the Hebrews:

That the Israelites were acquainted with the use in Egypt of signets set in rings is seen in the statement that Pharaoh delivered to Joseph his royal signet as a token of deputed authority (Ge 41:41 f). They were also acquainted with the use of seals among the Persians and Medes (Es 3:12; 8:8-10; Da 6:17). The Hebrews themselves used them at an early period, the first recorded instance being Ge 38:18,25, where the patriarch Judah is said to have pledged his word to Tamar by leaving her his signet, cord and staff. We have evidence of engraved signets being in important use among them in early times in the description of the two stones on the high priest’s ephod (Ex 28:11; 39:6), of his golden plate (Ex 28:36; 39:30), and breastplate (Ex 39:14). Ben-Sirach mentions as a distinct occupation the work of engraving on signets (Sirach 38:27). From the case of Judah and the common usage in other countries, we may infer that every Hebrew of any standing wore a seal. In the case of the signet ring, it was usual to wear it on one of the fingers of the right hand (Jer 22:24). The Hebrews do not seem to have developed an original type of signets. The seals so far discovered in Palestine go to prove that the predominating type was the Egyptian, and to a less degree the Babylonian.

3. Uses of Sealing:

(1) One of the most important uses of sealing in antiquity was to give a proof of authenticity and authority to letters, royal commands, etc. It served the purposes of a modern signature at a time when the art of writing was known to only a few. Thus Jezebel "wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal" (1Ki 21:8); the written commands of Ahasuerus were "sealed with the king’s ring," "for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse" (Es 8:8,10; 3:12).

(2) Allied to this is the formal ratification of a transaction or covenant. Jeremiah sealed the deeds of the field which he bought from Hanamel (Jer 32:10-14; compare Jer 32:44); Nehemiah and many others affixed their seal to the written covenant between God and His people (Ne 9:38; 10:1 ).

(3) An additional use was the preservation of books in security. A roll or other document intended for preservation was sealed up before it was deposited in a place of safety (Jer 32:14; compare the "book .... close sealed with seven seals," Re 5:1). In sealing the roll, it was wrapped round with flaxen thread or string, then a lump of clay was attached to it impressed with a seal. The seal would have to be broken by an authorized person before the book could be read (Re 5:2,5,9; 6:1,3, etc.).

(4) Sealing was a badge of deputed authority and power, as when a king handed over his signet ring to one of his officers (Ge 41:42; Es 3:10; 8:2; RAPC 1Ma 6:15).

(5) Closed doors were often sealed to prevent the entrance of any unauthorized person. So the door of the lion’s den (Da 6:17; compare Bel and the Dragon verse 6:14). Herodotus mentions the custom of sealing tombs (ii.121). So we read of the chief priests and Pharisees sealing the stone at the mouth of our Lord’s tomb in order to "make the sepulchre sure" against the intrusion of the disciples (Mt 27:66). Compare the sealing of the abyss to prevent Satan’s escape Re 20:3). A door was sealed by stretching a cord over the stone which blocked the entrance, spreading clay or wax on the cord, and then impressing it with a seal.

(6) To any other object might a seal be affixed, as an official mark of ownership; e.g. a large number of clay stoppers of wine jars are still preserved, on which seal impressions of the cylinder type were stamped, by rolling the cylinder along the surface of the clay when it was still soft (compare Job 38:14).

II. Metaphorical Use of the Term.

The word "seal," both substantive and verb, is often used figuratively for the act or token of authentication, confirmation, proof, security or possession. Sin is said not to be forgotten by God, but treasured and stored up with Him against the sinner, under a seal (De 32:34; Job 14:17). A lover’s signet is the emblem of love as an inalienable possession (So 8:6); an unresponsive maiden is "a spring shut up, a fountain sealed" (So 4:12). The seal is sometimes a metaphor for secrecy. That which is beyond the comprehension of the uninitiated is said to be as "a book that is sealed" (Isa 29:11 f; compare the book with seven seals, Re 5:1 ). Daniel is bidden to "shut up the words" of his prophecy "and seal the book, even to the time of the end," i.e. to keep his prophecy a secret till it shall be revealed (Da 12:4,9; compare Re 10:4). Elsewhere it stands for the ratification of prophecy (Da 9:24). The exact meaning of the figure is sometimes ambiguous (as in Job 33:16; Eze 28:12). In the New Testament the main ideas in the figure are those of authentication, ratification, and security. The believer in Christ is said to "set his seal to this, that God is true" (Joh 3:33), i.e. to attest the veracity of God, to stamp it with the believer’s own endorsement and confirmation. The Father has sealed the Son, i.e. authenticated Him as the bestower of life-giving bread (Joh 6:27). The circumcision of Abraham was a "sign" and "seal," an outward ratification, of the righteousness of faith which he had already received while uncircumcised (Ro 4:11; compare the prayer offered at the circumcision of a child, "Blessed be He who sanctified His beloved from the womb, and put His ordinance upon his flesh, and sealed His offering with the sign of a holy covenant"; also Targum So 38: "The seal of circumcision is in your flesh as it was sealed in the flesh of Abraham"). Paul describes his act in making over to the saints at Jerusalem the contribution of the Gentiles as having "sealed to them this fruit" (Ro 15:28); the meaning of the phrase is doubtful, but the figure seems to be based on sealing as ratifying a commercial transaction, expressing Paul’s intention formally to hand over to them the fruit (of his own labors, or of spiritual blessings which through him the Gentiles had enjoyed), and to mark it as their own property. Paul’s converts are the "seal," the authentic confirmation, of his apostleship (1Co 9:2). God by His Spirit indicates who are His, as the owner sets his seal on his property; and just as documents are sealed up until the proper time for opening them, so Christians are sealed up by the Holy Spirit "unto the day of redemption" (Eph 1:13; 4:30; 2Co 1:22). Ownership, security and authentication are implied in the words, "The firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his" (2Ti 2:19). The seal of God on the foreheads of His servants (Re 7:2-4) marks them off as His own, and guarantees their eternal security, whereas those that "have not the seal of God on their foreheads" (Re 9:4) have no such guaranty.

On the analogy of the rite of circumcision (see above), the term "seal" (sphragis) was at a very early period applied to Christian baptism. But there is no sufficient ground for referring such passages as Eph 1:13; 4:30; 2Co 1:22 to the rite of baptism (as some do). The use of the metaphor in connection with baptism came after New Testament times (early instances are given in Gebhardt and Lightfoot on 2 Clem 7:6). Harnack and Hatch maintain that the name "seal" for baptism was taken from the Greek mysteries, but Anrich and Sanday-Headlam hold that it was borrowed from the Jewish view of circumcision as a seal.


D. Miall Edwards


seld, These words, applied to the bride (So 4:12), find their explanation under SEAL (which see). Anything that was to be authoritatively protected was sealed. Where water was one of the most precious things, as in the East, fountains and wells were often sealed (Ge 29:3; Pr 5:15-18).


sel’-skin: The rendering of the Revised Version (British and American) (Ex 25:5; Eze 16:10) for ‘or tachash, the Revised Version margin "porpoise-skin," the King James Version "badgers’ skin." A seal, Monachus albiventer, is found in the Mediterranean, though not in the Red Sea, but it is likely that tachash means the dugong, which is found in the Red Sea.



sem, sem’-les: The coat or inner garment (chiton) of Jesus is described in Joh 19:23 as "without seam" (arrhaphos), i.e. woven in one piece.


ser: In 1Ti 4:2 for (kausteriazo), "burn with a hot iron" (compare "cauterize"), the King James Version "having their conscience seared with a hot iron," and the Revised Version margin. "Seared" in this connection means "made insensible," like the surface of a deep burn after healing. The verb, however, probably means "brand" (so the Revised Version (British and American)). "Criminals are branded on their forehead, so that all men may know their infamy. The consciences of certain men are branded just as truly, so that there is an inward consciousness of hypocrisy." See the commentaries


surch: Some peculiar senses are:

(1) In the books of Moses, especially in Nu, "searching out the land" means to spy out (raggel), to investigate carefully, to examine with a view to giving a full and accurate report on.

(2) When applied to the Scriptures, as in Ezr 4:15,19 (baqqer); Joh 5:39; 1Pe 1:11 (eraunao), it means to examine, to study out the meaning. In Ac 17:11, the Revised Version (British and American) substitutes "examining" for the "searched" of the King James Version. See SEARCHINGS.

(3) "Search out" often means to study critically, to investigate carefully, e.g. Job 8:8; 29:16; Ec 1:13; La 3:40; Mt 2:8; 1Co 2:10; 1Pe 1:10.

(4) When the word is applied to God’s searching the heart or spirit, it means His opening up, laying bare, disclosing what was hidden, e.g. 1Ch 28:9; Ps 44:21; 139:1; Pr 20:27; Jer 17:10; Ro 8:27.

G. H. Gerberding


The sentence beginning with (eraunate), in Joh 5:39 the King James Version has been almost universally regarded as meaning "Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life." But one cannot read as far as dokeite, "ye think," without feeling that there is something wrong with the ordinary version. This verb is at least a disturbing element in the current of thought (if not superfluous), and only when the first verb is taken as an indicative does the meaning of the writer become clear. The utterance is not a command, but a declaration: "Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them," etc. Robert Barclay as early as 1675, in his Apology for the True Christian Divinity (91 ff), refers to two scholars before him who had handed down the correct tradition: "Moreover, that place may be taken in the indicative mood, Ye search the Scriptures; which interpretation the Greek word will bear, and so Pasor translated it: which by the reproof following seemeth also to be the more genuine interpretation, as Cyrillus long ago hath observed." So Dr. Edwin A. Abbott, in his Johannine Grammar (London, 1906, section 2439 (i)). See also Transactions American Philological Association, 1901, 64 f.

J. E. Harry


sur’-chingz (chiqre (lebh), from chaqar, to "search," "explore," "examine thoroughly"): In the song of Deborah the Reubenites are taunted because their great resolves of heart, chiqeqe lebh, led to nothing but great "searchings" of heart, chiqre lebh, and no activity other than to remain among their flocks (Jud 5:15 f). The first of the two Hebrew expressions so emphatically contrasted (though questioned by commentators on the authority of 5 manuscripts as a corruption of the second) can with reasonable certainty be interpreted "acts prescribed by one’s understanding" (compare the expressions chakham lebh, nebhon lebh, in which the heart is looked upon as the seat of the understanding). The second expression may mean either irresolution or hesitation based on selfish motives, as the heart was also considered the seat of the feelings, or answerability to God (compare Jer 17:10; Pr 25:3); this rendering would explain the form liphelaghoth in Jud 5:16, literally, ‘for the water courses of Reuben, great the searchings of heart!’

Nathan Isaacs


se’-z’nz (summer: qayits, Chaldaic qayiT (Da 2:35); (theros; winter: cethaw) (So 2:11), (choreph; cheimon): The four seasons in Palestine are not so marked as in more northern countries, summer gradually fading into winter and winter into summer. The range of temperature is not great. In the Bible we have no reference to spring or autumn; the only seasons mentioned are "summer and winter" (Ge 8:22; Ps 74:17; Zec 14:8).

Winter is the season of rain lasting from November to May. "The winter is past; the rain is over" (So 2:11). See RAIN. The temperature at sealevel in Palestine reaches freezing-point occasionally, but seldom is less than 40ø F. On the hills and mountains it is colder, depending on the height. The people have no means of heating their houses, and suffer much with the cold. They wrap up their necks and heads and keep inside the houses out of the wind as much as possible. "The sluggard will not plow by reason of the winter" (Pr 20:4). Jesus in speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem says, "Pray ye that your flight be not in the winter" (Mt 24:20). Paul asks Timothy to "come before winter" (2Ti 4:21) as navigation closed then and travel was virtually impossible.

Summer is very hot and rainless. "(When) the fig tree .... putteth forth its leaves, ye know that the summer is nigh" (Mr 13:28); "The harvest is past, the summer is ended" (Jer 8:20). It is the season of harvesting and threshing (Da 2:35). "He that gathereth in summer is a wise son" (Pr 10:5).


Alfred H. Joy


set: This word is used to translate the Hebrew words (moshabh, shebheth, kicce’, and tekhunah), once (Job 23:3). It translates the Greek word (kathedra) (Mt 21:12; 23:2; Mr 11:15), and "chief seat" translates the compound word (protokathedria) (Mt 23:6; Mr 12:39; Lu 20:46). In the King James Version it translates (thronos) (Lu 1:52; Re 2:13; 4:4; 11:16; 13:2; 16:10), which the Revised Version (British and American) renders "throne." It denotes a place or thing upon which one sits, as a chair, or stool (1Sa 20:18; Jud 3:20). It is used also of the exalted position occupied by men of marked rank or influence, either in good or evil (Mt 23:2; Ps 1:1).

Jesse L. Cotton





se’-ba (cebha’; Saba (Ge 10:7; 1Ch 1:9); Greek ibid., but Codex Vaticanus has (Saban):

1. Forms of Name, and Parentage of Seba:

The first son of Cush, his brothers being Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabtecha. In Ps 72:10 and Isa 43:3 (where the Greek has Soene), Seba is mentioned with Egypt and Ethiopia, and must therefore have been a southern people. In Isa 45:14 we meet with the gentilic form, (csebha’im) (Sabaeim), rendered "Sabaeans," who are described as "men of stature" (i.e. tall), and were to come over to Cyrus in chains, and acknowledge that God was in him—their merchandise, and that of the Ethiopians, and the labor of Egypt, were to be his.

2. Position of the Nation:

Their country is regarded as being, most likely, the district of Saba, North of Adulis, on the west coast of the Red Sea. There is just a possibility that the Sabi River, stretching from the coast to the Zambesi and the Limpopo, which was utilized as a waterway by the states in that region, though, through silting, not suitable now, may contain a trace of the name, and perhaps testifies to still more southern extensions of the power and influence of the Sebaim. (See Th. Bent, The Ruined Cities of Mashonaland, 1892.) The ruins of this tract are regarded as being the work of others than the black natives of the country. Dillmann, however, suggests (on Ge 10:7) that the people of Seba were another branch of the Cushites East of Napatha by the Arabian Sea, of which Strabo (xvi. 4, 8, 10) and Ptolemy (iv.7, 7 f) give information.

See SHEBA and HDB, under the word

T. G. Pinches

SEBAM se’-bam (sebham; Sebama; the King James Version Shebam): A town in the upland pasture land given to the tribes of Reuben and Gad. It is named along with Heshbon, Elealeh and Nebo (Nu 32:3). It is probably the same place as Sibmah (the King James Version "Shibmah") in Nu 32:38 (so also Jos 13:19). In the time of Isaiah and Jeremiah it was a Moabite town, but there is no record of how or when it was taken from Israel. It appears to have been famous for the luxuriance of its vines and for its summer fruits (Isa 16:8 f; Jer 48:32). Eusebius (in Onomasticon) calls it a city of Moab in the land of Gilead which fell to the tribe of Reuben. Jerome (Comm. in Isa 5) says it was about 500 paces from Heshbon, and he describes it as one of the strong places of that region. It may be represented by the modern Simia, which stands on the south side of Wady Chesban, about 2 miles from Chesban. The ancient ruins are considerable, with large sarcophagi; and in the neighboring rock wine presses are cut (PEFM, "Eastern Palestine," 221 f).

W. Ewing


se-bat’, se’-bat (Zec 1:7).



se-ka’-ka, sek’-a-ka (cekhakhah; Codex Vaticanus Aichioza; Codex Alexandrinus Sochocha): One of the six cities "in the wilderness of Judah" (Jos 15:61), that is in the uncultivated lands to the West of the Dead Sea, where a scanty pasturage is still obtained by wandering Bedouin tribes. There are many signs in this district of more settled habitation in ancient times, but the name Secacah is lost. Conder proposed Khirbet edition Diqqeh] (also called Khirbet es Siqqeh), "the ruin of the path," some 2 miles South of Bethany. Though an ancient site, it is too near the inhabited area; the name, too, is uncertain (PEF, III, 111, Sh XVII).

E. W. G. Masterman



(1) (Codex Alexandrinus Sechenias; omitted in Codex Vaticanus and Swete): 1 Esdras 8:29 =" Shecaniah" in Ezr 8:3; the arrangement in Ezra is different.

(2) (Codex Alexandrinus Sechenias, but Codex Vaticanus and Swete, Eiechonias): Name of a person who went up at the head of a family in the return with Ezra (1 Esdras 8:32) =" Shecaniah" in Ezr 8:5.


se’-ku (sekhu).



sek’-und kum’-ing.







sek’-un-da-ri-li: the King James Version for (deuteron) (1Co 12:28). Probably without distinction from "secondly" (so the Revised Version (British and American), and so the King James Version also for deuteron in Sirach 23:23). Still the King James Version may have wished to emphasize that the prophets have a lower rank than the apostles.


se’-kret: In Eze 7:22, English Versions of the Bible has "secret place" for (tsaphan), "hide," "treasure." A correct translation is, "They shall profane my cherished place" (Jerusalem), and there is no reference to the Holy of Holies. The other uses of "secret" in the Revised Version (British and American) are obvious, but Revised Version’s corrections of the King James Version in Jud 13:18; 1Sa 5:9; Job 15:11 should be noted.


sekt (hairesis): "Sect" (Latin, secta, from sequi, "to follow") is in the New Testament the translation of hairesis, from haireo, "to take," "to choose"; also translated "heresy," not heresy in the later ecclesiastical sense, but a school or party, a sect, without any bad meaning attached to it. The word is applied to schools of philosophy; to the Pharisees and Sadducees among the Jews who adhered to a common religious faith and worship; and to the Christians. It is translated "sect" (Ac 5:17, of the Sadducees; Ac 15:5, of the Pharisees; Ac 24:5, of the Nazarenes; Ac 26:5, of the Pharisees; Ac 28:22, of the Christians); also the Revised Version (British and American) Ac 24:14 (the King James Version and the English Revised Version margin "heresy"), "After the Way which they call a sect, so serve I the God of our fathers" (just as the Pharisees were "a sect"); it is translated "heresies" (1Co 11:19, margin "sects," the American Standard Revised Version "factions," margin "Greek: ‘heresies’ "; the English Revised Version reverses the American Standard Revised Version text and margin; Ga 5:20, the American Standard Revised Version "parties," margin "heresies"; the English Revised Version reverses text and margin; 2Pe 2:1, "damnable heresies," the Revised Version (British and American) "destructive heresies," margin "sects of perdition"); the "sect" in itself might be harmless; it was the teaching or principles which should be followed by those sects that would make them "destructive." Hairesis occurs in 1 Macc 8:30 ("They shall do it at their pleasure," i.e. "choice"); compare Septuagint Le 22:18,21.


W. L. Walker


se’-ku (sekhu; Codex Vaticanus en Sephei; Codex Alexandrinus en Sokcho; the King James Version Sechu): This name occurs only in the account of David’s visit to Samuel (1Sa 19:22). Saul, we are told, went to "Ramah, and came to the great well that is in Secu," where he inquired after Samuel and David. It evidently lay between the residence of Saul at Gibeah and Ramah. It is impossible to come to any sure conclusion regarding it. Conder suggested its identification with Khirbet Suweikeh, which lies to the South of Bireh. This is possible, but perhaps we should read with the Septuagint’s Codex Vaticanus, "He came to the cistern of the threshing-floor that is on the bare hill" (en to Sephei). The threshing-floors in the East are naturally on high exposed ground where this is possible, and often form part of the area whence water in the rainy season is conducted to cisterns. This might have been a place actually within the city of Ramah.

W. Ewing


se-kun’-dus (Westcott-Hort Greek text Se’koundos, Textus Receptus of the New Testament, Sekou’ndos): A Thessalonian who was among those who accompanied Paul from Greece to Asia (Ac 20:4). They had preceded Paul and waited for him at Troas. If he were one of the representatives of the churches in Macedonia and Greece, entrusted with their contributions to Jerusalem (Ac 24:17; 2Co 8:23), he probably accompanied Paul as far as Jerusalem. The name is found in a list of politarchs on a Thessalonian inscription.


se-kur’, se-ku’-ri-ti: The word baTach and its derivatives in Hebrew point to security, either real or imaginary. Thus we read of a host that "was secure" (Jud 8:11) and of those "that provoke God (and) are secure" (Job 12:6); but also of a security that rests in hope and is safe (Job 11:18). The New Testament words (poieo amerimnous), used in Mt 28:14 (the King James Version "secure you"), guarantee the safety of the soldiers, who witnessed against themselves, in the telling of the story of the disappearance of the body of Christ.

Securely is used in the sense of "trustful," "not anticipating danger" (Pr 3:29; Mic 2:8; Ecclesiasticus 4:15).

The word (hikanon, translated security (Ac 17:9), may stand either for a guaranty of good behavior exacted from, or for some form of punishment inflicted on, Jason and his followers by the rulers of Thessalonica.

Henry E. Dosker



The King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) SEDEKIAS (which see).



(1) (Codex Alexandrinus and Codex Vaticanus Sedekias; the King James Version Zedechias): 1 Esdras 1:46 (44) = Zedekiah king of Judah; also in Baruch 1:8 where the King James Version reads "Sedecias."

(2) In Baruch 1:1 (the King James Version "Sedecias"), an ancestor of Baruch, "the son of Asadias," sometimes (but incorrectly) identified with the false prophet "Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah" (Jer 29:21).


se-dish’-un: The translation in Ezr 4:15,19 for ‘eshtaddur, "struggling," "revolt"; in 2 Esdras 15:16 for inconstabilitio, "instability" with "be seditious" for stasiazo, "rise in rebellion" in 2 Macc 14:6. In addition, the King James Version has "sedition" for stasis, "standing up," "revolt" (the Revised Version (British and American) "insurrection") in Lu 23:19,25; Ac 24:5, with (dichostasia), "a standing asunder" (the Revised Version (British and American) "division") in Ga 5:20. As "sedition" does not include open violence against a government, the word should not have been used in any of the above cases.


se-dus’, se-dus’-er (Hiphil of (Ta‘ah, or ta‘ah, "to err"; of pathah, "to be simple"; planao, apoplanao, "to lead astray"):

(1) The word "seduce" is only used in the Bible in its general meaning of "to lead astray," "to cause to err," as from the paths of truth, duty or religion. It occurs in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) Eze 13:10; 2Ki 21:9; 1Ti 4:1; Re 2:20; in the King James Version only, Pr 12:26 (the Revised Version (British and American) "causeth to err"); Isa 19:13 (the Revised Version (British and American) "caused to go astray"); Mr 13:22; 1Joh 2:26 (the Revised Version (British and American) "lead astray"). The noun "seducer" (2Ti 3:13 the King James Version, goes) is correctly changed in the Revised Version (British and American) into "impostor."

(2) It is not found in its specific sense of "to entice a female to surrender her chastity." Yet the crime itself is referred to and condemned.

Three cases are to be distinguished:

(a) The seduction of an unbetrothed virgin: In this case the seducer cording to J-E (Ex 22:16 f) is to be compelled to take the virgin as his wife, if the father consents, and to pay the latter the usual purchase price, the amount of which is not defined. In the Deuteronomic Code (De 22:28) the amount is fixed at 50 shekels, and the seducer forfeits the right of divorce.

(b) The seduction of a betrothed virgin: This case (De 22:23-27; not referred to in the other codes) is treated as virtually one of adultery, the virgin being regarded as pledged to her future husband as fully as if she were formally married to him; the penalty therefore is the same as for adultery, namely, death for both parties (except in the case where the girl can reasonably be acquitted of blame, in which case the man only is put to death).

(c) The seduction of a betrothed bondmaid (mentioned only in Le 19:20-22): Here there is no infliction of death, because the girl was not free; but the seducer shall make a trespass offering, besides paying the fine.


D. Miall Edwards


se: In addition to the ordinary sense of perceiving by the eye, we have

(1) chazah, "to see" (in vision): "Words of Amos .... which he saw concerning Israel" (Am 1:1). The revelation was made to his inward eye. "The word of Yahweh .... which he (Micah) saw concerning Samaria" (Mic 1:1), describing what he saw in prophetic vision (compare Hab 1:1); see REVELATION, III, 4;

(2) horao, "to take heed": "See thou say nothing" (Mr 1:44);

(3) eidon, "to know," "to note with the mind": "Jesus saw that he answered discreetly" (Mr 12:34);

(4) theoreo, "to view," "to have knowledge or experience of": "He shall never see death" (Joh 8:51).

M. O. Evans


sed (Old Testament always for zera‘, Aramaic (Da 2:43) zera‘, except in Joe 1:17 for perudhoth (plural, the Revised Version (British and American) "seeds," the King James Version "seed"), and Le 19:19 (the King James Version "mingled seed") and De 22:9 (the King James Version "divers seeds") for kil’ayim, literally, "two kinds," the Revised Version (British and American) "two kinds of seed." Invariably in Greek Apocrypha and usually in the New Testament for sperma, but Mr 4:26,27; Lu 8:5,11; 2Co 9:10 for sporos, and 1Pe 1:23 for spora):

(1) For "seed" in its literal sense see AGRICULTURE. Of interest is the method of measuring land by means of the amount of seed that could be sown on it (Le 27:16). The prohibition against using two kinds of seed in the same field (Le 19:19; De 22:9) undoubtedly rests on the fact that the practice had some connection with Canaanitish worship, making the whole crop "consecrated" (taboo). Jer 31:27 uses "seed of man" and "seed of beast" as a figure for the means by which God will increase the prosperity of Israel (i.e. "seed yielding men").

(2) For the transferred physiological application of the word to human beings (Le 15:16, etc.) see CLEAN; UNCLEANNESS. The conception of Christians as "born" or "begotten" of God (see REGENERATION) gave rise to the figure in 1Pe 1:23; 1 Joh 3:9. If the imagery is to be stressed, the Holy Spirit is meant. In I Joh 3:9 a doctrine of certain Gnostics is opposed. They taught that by learning certain formulas and by submitting to certain rites, union with God and salvation could be attained without holiness of life. John’s reply is that union with a righteous God is meaningless without righteousness as an ideal, even though shortcomings exist in practice (1 Joh 1:8).

(3) From the physiological use of "seed" the transition to the sense of "offspring" was easy, and the word may mean "children" (Le 18:21, etc.) or even a single child (Ge 4:25; 1Sa 1:11 the Revised Version margin). Usually, however, it means the whole posterity (Ge 3:15, etc.); compare "seed royal" (2Ki 11:1, etc.), and "Abraham’s seed" (2Ch 20:7, etc.) or "the holy seed" (Ezr 9:2; Isa 6:13; RAPC 1Es 8:70; compare Jer 2:21) as designations of Israel. So "to show one’s seed" (Ezr 2:59; , Ne 7:61) is to display one’s genealogy, and "one’s seed" may be simply one’s nation, conceived of as a single family (Es 10:3). From this general sense there developed a still looser use of "seed" as meaning simply "men" (Mal 2:15; Isa 1:4; 57:4; RAPC Wis 10:15; 12:11, etc.).

In Ga 3:16 Paul draws a distinction between "seeds" and "seed" that has for its purpose a proof that the promises to Abraham were realized in Christ and not in Israel. The distinction, however, overstresses the language of the Old Testament, which never pluralizes zera‘ when meaning "descendants" (plural only in 1Sa 8:15; compare Ro 4:18; 9:7). But in an argument against rabbinical adversaries Paul was obliged to use rabbinical methods (compare Ga 4:25). For modern purposes it is probably best to treat such an exegetical method as belonging simply to the (now superseded) science of the times.

Burton Scott Easton


se’-er, ser: The word in English Versions of the Bible represents two Hebrew words, ro’eh (1Sa 9:9,11,18,19; 2Sa 15:27; 1Ch 9:22, etc.), And chozeh (2Sa 24:11; 2Ki 17:13; 1Ch 21:9; 25:5; 29:29, etc.). The former designation is from the ordinary verb "to see"; the latter is connected with the verb used of prophetic vision. It appears from 1Sa 9:9 that "seer" (ro’-eh) was the older name for those who, after the rise of the more regular orders, were called "prophets." It is not just, however, to speak of the "seers" or "prophets" of Samuel’s time as on the level of mere fortune-tellers. What insight or vision they possessed is traced to God’s Spirit. Samuel was the ro’-eh by pr-eeminence, and the name is little used after his time. Individuals who bear the title "seer" (chozeh) are mentioned in connection with the kings and as historiographers (2Sa 24:11; 1Ch 21:9; 25:5; 29:29; 2Ch 9:29; 12:15; 19:2, etc.), and distinction is sometimes made between "prophets" and "seers" (2Ki 17:13; 1Ch 29:29, etc.). Havernick thinks that "seer" denotes one who does not belong to the regular prophetic order (Introductions to Old Testament, 50 ff, English translation), but it is not easy to fix a precise distinction.


James Orr


seth: Old English for "boil"; past tense, "sod" (Ge 25:29), past participle, "sodden" (La 4:10). See Ex 23:19 the King James Version.


se’-gub (seghubh (Qere), seghibh (Kethibh); Codex Vaticanus Zegoub; Codex Alexandrinus Segoub): 15:27; 1Ch 9:22, etc.), And chozeh (2Sa 24:11; 2Ki 17:13; 1Ch 21:9; 25:5; 29:29, etc.). The former designation is from the ordinary verb "to see"; the latter is connected with the verb used of prophetic vision. It appears from 1Sa 9:9 that "seer" (ro’-eh) was the older name for those who, after the rise of the more regular orders, were called "prophets." It is not just, however, to speak of the "seers" or "prophets" of Samuel’s time as on the level of mere fortune-tellers. What insight or vision they possessed is traced to God’s Spirit. Samuel was the ro’-eh by pr-eeminence, and the name is little used after his time. Individuals who bear the title "seer" (chozeh) are mentioned in connection with the kings and as historiographers (2Sa 24:11; 1Ch 21:9; 25:5; 29:29; 2Ch 9:29; 12:15; 19:2, etc.), and distinction is sometimes made between "prophets" and "seers" (2Ki 17:13; 1Ch 29:29, etc.). Havernick thinks that "seer" denotes one who does not belong to the regular prophetic order (Introductions to Old Testament, 50 ff, English translation), but it is not easy to fix a precise distinction.

(1) The youngest son of Hiel, the rebuilder of Jericho (1Ki 16:34). The death of Segub is probably connected with the primitive custom of laying foundations with blood, as, indeed, skulls were found built in with the brickwork when the tower of Bel at Nippur was excavated. See GEZER. If the death of the two sons was based on the custom just mentioned, the circumstance was deliberately obscured in the present account. The death of Segub may have been due to an accident in the setting up of the gates. In any event, tradition finally yoked the death of Hiel’s oldest and youngest sons with a curse said to have been pronounced by Joshua on the man that should venture to rebuild Jericho (Jos 6:26).

(2) Son of Hezron and father of Jair (1Ch 2:21).

Horace J. Wolf



(1) (har se’-ir, "Mt. Seir" (Ge 14:6, etc.), ‘erets se‘-ir (Ge 32:3, etc.); to oros Seeir, ge Seeir): In Ge 32:3 "the land of Seir" is equated with "the field of Edom." The Mount and the Land of Seir are alternative appellations of the mountainous tract which runs along the eastern side of the Arabah, occupied by the descendants of Esau, who succeeded the ancient Horites (Ge 14:6; 36:20), "cave-dwellers," in possession. For a description of the land see EDOM.

(2) (har se‘ir; Codex Vaticanus Assar; Codex Alexandrinus Seeir): A landmark on the boundary of Judah (Jos 15:10), not far from Kiriath-jearim and Chesalon. The name means "shaggy," and probably here denoted a wooded height. It may be that part of the range which runs Northeast from Saris by Karyat el-‘Anab and Biddu to the plateau of el-Jib. Traces of an ancient forest are still to be seen here.

W. Ewing


se-i’-ra, se’-i-ra (ha-se‘irah; Codex Vaticanus Seteirotha; Codex Alexandrinus Seeirotha; the King James Version, Seirath): The place to which Ehud escaped after his assassination of Eglon, king of Moab (Jud 3:26). The name is from the same root as the foregoing, and probably applied to some shaggy forest. The quarries by which he passed are said to have been by Gilgal (Jud 3:19), but there is nothing to guide us to an identification. Eusebius, in Onomasticon, gives the name, but no indication of the site.


se-i’-rath, se’-i-rath.



se’-la (sela‘, ha-cela‘ (with the article); petra, he petra; the King James Version Selah (2Ki 14:7)): English Versions of the Bible renders this as the name of a city in 2Ki 14:7; Isa 16:1. In Jud 1:36; 2Ch 25:12; and Ob 1:3, it translates literally, "rock"; but the Revised Version margin in each case "Sela." It is impossible to assume with Hull (HD B, under the word) that this name, when it appears in Scripture, always refers to the capital of Edom, the great city in Wady Musa. In Jud 1:36 its association with the Ascent of Akrabbim shuts us up to a position toward the southwestern end of the Dead Sea. Probably in that case it does not denote a city, but some prominent crag. Moore ("Judges," ICC, 56), following Buhl, would identify it with es-Safieh, "a bare and dazzlingly white sandstone promontory 1,000 ft. high, East of the mud fiats of es-Sebkah, and 2 miles South of the Dead Sea." A more probable identification is a high cliff which commands the road leading from Wady el-Milh, "valley of Salt," to Edom, over the pass of Akrabbim. This was a position of strategic importance, and if fortified would be of great strength. (In this passage "Edomites" must be read for "Amorites.") The victory of Amaziah was won in the Valley of Salt. He would naturally turn his arms at once against this stronghold (2Ki 14:7); and it may well be the rock from the top of which he hurled his prisoners (2Ch 25:12). He called it Jokteel, a name the meaning of which is obscure. Possibly it is the same as Jekuthiel (1Ch 4:18), and may mean "preservation of God" (OHL, under the word). No trace of this name has been found. The narratives in which the place is mentioned put identification with Petra out of the question.

"The rock" (the Revised Version margin "Sela") in Ob 1:3, in the phrase "thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock." is only a vivid and picturesque description of Mt. Edom. "The purple mountains into which the wild sons of Esau clambered run out from Syria upon the desert, some hundred miles by twenty, of porphyry and red sandstone. They are said to be the finest rock scenery in the world. ‘Salvator Rosa never conceived so savage and so suitable a haunt for banditti.’ .... The interior is reached by defiles so narrow that two horsemen may scarcely ride abreast, and the sun is shut out by the overhanging rocks. .... Little else than wild fowls’ nests are, the villages: human eyries perched on high shelves or hidden away in caves at the ends of the deep gorges" (G. A. Smith. The Book of the Twelve Prophets. II. 178 f).

In Isa 16:1; 42:11 the Revised Version (British and American), perhaps we have a reference to the great city of Petra. Josephus (Ant., IV, vii, 1) tells us that among the kings of the Midianites who fell before Moses was one Rekem, king of Rekem (akre, or rekeme), the city deriving its name from its founder. This he says was the Arabic name; the Greeks called it Petra. Eusebius, Onomasticon says Petra is a city of Arabia in the land of Edom. It is called Jechthoel; but the Syrians call it Rekem. Jokteel, as we have seen, must be sought elsewhere. There can be no doubt that Josephus intended the city in Wady Musa. Its Old Testament name was Bozrah (Am 1:12, etc.). Wetzstein (Excursus in Delitzsch’s Isa, 696 ff) hazards the conjecture that the complete ancient nine was Bozrat has-Sela, "Bozrah of the Rock."

This "rose-red city half as old as Time"

Sela was for long difficult of access, and the attempt to visit it was fraught with danger. In recent years, however, it has been seen by many tourists and exploring parties. Of the descriptions written the best is undoubtedly that of Professor Dalman of Jerusalem (Petra und seine Felsheiligtumer, Leipzig, 1908). An excellent account of this wonderful city, brightly and interestingly written, will be found in Libbey and Hoskins’ book (The Jordan Valley and Petra, New York and London, 1905; see also National Geographic Magazine, May, 1907, Washington, D.C.). The ruins lie along the sides of a spacious hollow surrounded by the many-hued cliffs of Edom, just before they sink into the Arabah on the West. It is near the base of Jebel Harun, about 50 miles from the Dead Sea, and just North of the watershed between that sea and the Gulf of Akaba. The valley owes its modern name, Wady Musa, "Valley of Moses," to its connection with Moses in Mohammedan legends. While not wholly inaccessible from other directions, the two usual approaches are that from the Southwest by a rough path, partly artificial, and that from the East. The latter is by far the more important. The valley closes to the East, the only opening being through a deep and narrow defile, called the Sik, "shaft," about a mile in length. In the bottom of the Sik flows westward the stream that rises at ‘Ain Musa, East of the cleft is the village of Elji, an ancient site, corresponding to Gaia of Eusebius (Onomasticon). Passing this village, the road threads its way along the shadowy winding gorge, overhung by lofty cliffs. When the valley is reached, a sight of extraordinary beauty and impressiveness opens to the beholder. The temples, the tombs, theater, etc., hewn with great skill and infinite pains from the living rock, have defied to an astonishing degree the tooth of time, many of the carvings being as fresh as if they had been cut yesterday. An idea of the scale on which the work was done may be gathered from the size of theater, which furnished accommodation for no fewer than 3,000 spectators.

Such a position could not have been overlooked in ancient times; and we are safe to assume that a city of importance must always have existed here. It is under the Nabateans, however, that Petra begins to play a prominent part in history. This people took possession about the end of the 4th century BC, and continued their sway until overcome by Hadrian, who gave his own name to the city—Hadriana. This name, however, soon disappeared. Under the Romans Petra saw the days of her greatest splendor.

According to old tradition Paul visited Petra when he went into Arabia (Ga 1:17). Of this there is no certainty; but Christianity was early introduced, and the city became the seat of a bishopric. Under the Nabateans she was the center of the great caravan trade of that time. The merchandise of the East was brought hither; and hence, set out the caravans for the South, the West, and the North. The great highway across the desert to the Persian Gulf was practically in her hands. The fall of the Nabatean power gave Palmyra her chance; and her supremacy in the commerce of Northern Arabia dates from that time. Petra shared in the declining fortunes of Rome; and her death blow was dealt by the conquering Moslems, who desolated Arabia Petrea in 629-32 AD. The place now furnishes a retreat for a few poor Bedawy families.

W. Ewing


se-la-ha-ma’-le-koth, -koth (cela‘ha-machleqoth; petra he meristheisa): "The rock of divisions (or, escape)" (1Sa 23:28 margin). "Saul .... pursued after David in the wilderness of Maon. And Saul went on this side of the mountain, and David and his men on that side of the mountain: and David made haste to get away for fear of Saul" (1Sa 23:25,26). The name seems to survive in Wady Malaki, "the great gorge which breaks down between Carmel and Maon eastward, with vertical cliffs" (PEF, III, 314, Sh. XXI).



See MUSIC, II, 1.


se’-led (tseledh): A Jerahmeelite (1Ch 2:30 twice).


sel-e-mi’-a: One of the swift scribes whose services Ezra was commanded to secure (2 Esdras 14:24). The name is probably identical with SELEMIAS of 1 Esdras 9:34 (which see).


sel-e-mi’-as (Selemias): One of those who put away their "strange wives" (1 Esdras 9:34) =" Shelemiah". in Ezr 10:39, and probably identical with "Selemia" in 2 Esdras 14:24.


se-lu’-shi-a (Seleukia): The seaport of Antioch from which it is 16 miles distant. It is situated 5 miles North of the mouth of the Orontes, in the northwestern corner of a fruitful plain at the base of Mt. Rhosus or Pieria, the modern Jebel Musa, a spur of the Amanus Range. Built by Seleucus Nicator (died 280 BC) it was one of the Syrian Tetrapolis, the others being Apameia, Laodicea and Antioch. The city was protected by nature on the mountain side, and, being strongly fortified on the South and West, was considered invulnerable and the key to Syria (Strabo 751; Polyb. v.58). It was taken, however, by Ptolemy Euergetes (1 Macc 11:8) and remained in his family till 219 BC, when it was recovered for the Seleucids by Antiochus the Great, who then richly adorned it. Captured again by Ptolemy Philometor in 146 BC, it remained for a short time in the hands of the Egyptians. Pompey made it a free city in 64 BC in return for its energy in resisting Tigranes (Pliny, NH, v.18), and it was then greatly improved by the Romans, so that in the 1st century AD it was in a most flourishing condition.

On their first missionary journey Paul and Barnabas passed through it (Ac 13:4; 14:26), and though it is not named in Ac 15:30,39, this route is again implied; while it is excluded in Ac 15:3.

The ruins are very extensive and cover the whole space within the line of the old walls, which shows a circuit of four miles. The position of the Old Town, the Upper City and the suburbs may still be identified, as also that of the Antioch Gate, the Market Gate and the King’s Gate, which last leads to the Upper City. There are rock-cut tombs, broken statuary and sarcophagi at the base of the Upper City, a position which probably represents the burial place of the Seleucids. The outline of a circus or amphitheater can also be traced, while the inner harbor is in perfect condition and full of water. It is 2,000 ft. long by 1,200 ft. broad, and covers 47 acres, being oval or pear-shaped. The passage seaward, now silted up, was protected by two strong piers or moles, which are locally named after Barnabas and Paul. The most remarkable of the remains, however, is the great water canal behind the city, which the emperor Constantius cut through the solid rock in 338 AD. It is 3,074 ft. long, has an average breadth of 20 ft., and is in some places 120 ft. deep. Two portions of 102 and 293 ft. in length are tunneled. The object of the work was clearly to carry the mountain torrent direct to the sea, and so protect the city from the risk of flood during the wet season.

Church synods occasionally met in Seleucia in the early centuries, but it gradually sank into decay, and long before the advent of Islam it had lost all its significance.

W. M. Christie





se-lu’-kus (Seleukos):

(1) Seleucus I (Nicator, "The Conqueror"), the founder of the Seleucids or House of Seleucus, was an officer in the grand and thoroughly equipped army, which was perhaps the most important part of the inheritance that came to Alexander the Great from his father, Philip of Macedon. He took part in Alexander’s Asiatic conquests, and on the division of these on Alexander’s death he obtained the satrapy of Babylonia. By later conquests and under the name of king, which he assumed in the year 306, he became ruler of Syria and the greater part of Asia Minor. His rule extended from 312 to 280 BC, the year of his death; at least the Seleucid era which seems to be referred to in 1 Macc 1:16 is reckoned from Seleucus I, 312 BC to 65 BC, when Pompey reduced the kingdom of Syria to a Roman province. He followed generally the policy of Alexander in spreading Greek civilization. He founded Antioch and its port Seleucia, and is said by Josephus (Ant., XII, iii, 1) to have conferred civic privileges upon the Jews. The reference in Da 11:5 is usually understood to be to this ruler.

(2) Seleucus II (Callinicus, "The Gloriously Triumphant"), who reigned from 246 to 226 BC, was the son of Antiochus Soter and is "the king of the north" in Da 11:7-9, who was expelled from his kingdom by Ptolemy Euergetes.

(3) Seleucus III (Ceraunus, "Thunderbolt"), son of Seleucus II, was assassinated in a campaign which he undertook into Asia Minor. He had a short reign of rather more than 2 years (226-223 BC) and is referred to in Da 11:10.

(4) Seleucus IV (Philopator, "Fond of his Father") was the son and successor of Antiochus the Great and reigned from 187 to 175 BC. He is called "King of Asia" (2 Macc 3:3), a title claimed by the Seleucids even after their serious losses in Asia Minor (see 1 Macc 8:6; 11:13; 12:39; 13:32). He was present at the decisive battle of Magnesia (190 BC). He was murdered by HELIODORUS (which see), one of his own courtiers whom he had sent to plunder the Temple (2 Macc 3:1-40; Da 11:20).

For the connection of the above-named Seleucids with the "ten horns" of Da 7:24, the commentators must be consulted.

Seleucus V (125-124 BC) and Seleucus VI (95-93 BC) have no connection with the sacred narrative.

J. Hutchison


self-kon-trol’ (egkrateia): Rendered in the King James Version "temperance" (compare Latin temperario and continentia), but more accurately "self-control," as in the Revised Version (British and American) (Ac 24:25; Ga 5:23; 2Pe 1:6); adjective of same, egkrates, "self-controlled" (Tit 1:8 the Revised Version (British and American)); compare verb forms in 1Co 7:9, "have .... continency"; 9:25, the athlete "exerciseth self-control." Self-control is therefore repeatedly set forth in the New Testament as among the important Christian virtues.


self-ri’-chus-nes: A term that has come to designate moral living as a way of salvation; or as a ground for neglecting the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. The thought is present in the teaching of Jesus, who spoke one parable particularly to such as reckoned themselves to be righteous (Lu 18:9 ). The Pharisees quite generally resented the idea of Jesus that all men needed repentance and they most of all. They regarded themselves as righteous and looked with contempt on "sinners." Paul in all his writings, especially Ro 3; Ga 3; Eph 2; Php 3, contrasts the righteousness that is God’s gift to men of faith in Jesus Christ, with righteousness that is "of the law" and "in the flesh." By this latter he means formal conformity to legal requirements in the strength of unregenerate human nature. He is careful to maintain (compare Ro 7) that the Law is never really kept by one’s own power. On the other hand, in full agreement with Jesus, Paul looks to genuine righteousness in living as the demand and achievement of salvation based on faith. God’s gift here consists in the capacity progressively to realize righteousness in life (compare Ro 8:1 ff).


William Owen Carver


self-su-ren’-der: The struggle between the natural human impulses of selfseeking, self-defence and the like, on the one hand, and the more altruistic impulse toward self-denial, self-surrender, on the other, is as old as the race. All religions imply some conception of surrender of self to deity, ranging in ethical quality from a heathen fanaticism which impels to complete physical exhaustion or rapture, superinduced by more or less mechanical means, to the high spiritual quality of self-sacrifice to the divinest aims and achievements. The Scriptures represent self-surrender as among the noblest of human virtues.

I. In the Old Testament.

1. Illustrious Examples:

In the Old Testament self-surrender is taught in the early account of the first pair. Each was to be given to the other (Ge 2:24; 3:16) and both were to be surrendered to God in perfect obedience (Ge 3:1-15). The faithful ones, throughout the Bible narratives, were characterized by self-surrender. Abraham abandons friends and native country to go to a land unknown to him, because God called him to do so (Ge 12:1). He would give up all his cherished hopes in his only son Isaac, at the voice of God (Ge 22:1-18). Moses, at the call of Yahweh, surrenders self, and undertakes the deliverance of his fellow-Hebrews (Ex 3:1-4:13; compare Heb 11:25). He would be blotted out of God’s book, if only the people might be spared destruction (Ex 32:32).

2. The Levitical System:

The whole Levitical system of sacrifice may be said to imply the doctrine of self-surrender. The nation itself was a people set apart to Yahweh, a holy people, a surrendered nation (Ex 19:5,6; 22:31; Le 20:7; De 7:6; 14:2). The whole burnt offering implied the complete surrender of the worshipper to God (Le 1). The ceremony for the consecration of priests emphasized the same fundamental doctrine (Le 8); so also the law as to the surrender of the firstborn child (Ex 13:13 ff; 22:29).

3. The Prophets:

In the divine call to the prophets and in their life-work self-surrender is prominent. The seer, as such, must be receptive to the divine impress, and as mouthpiece of God, he must speak not his own words, but God’s: "Thus saith the Lord." He was to be a "man of God," a "man of the spirit." ‘The hand of the Lord was upon me’ (Eze 1:3; 3:14) implies complete divine mastery. Isaiah must submit to the divine purification of his lips, and hearken to the inquiry, "who will go for us?" with the surrendered response, "Here am I; send me" (Isa 6:8). Jeremiah must yield his protestations of weakness and inability to the divine wisdom and the promise of endowment from above (Jer 1:1-10). Ezekiel surrenders to the dangerous and difficult task of becoming messenger to a rebellious house (Eze 2:1-3:3). Jonah, after flight from duty, at last surrenders to the divine will and goes to the Ninevites (Jon 3:3).

4. Post-exilic Examples:

On the return of the faithful remnant from captivity, self-giving for the sake of Israel’s faith was dominant, the people enduring great hardships for the future of the nation and the accomplishment of Yahweh’s purposes. This is the spirit of the great Messianic passage, Isa 53:7: "He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth." Nehemiah surrendered position in Shushan to help reestablish the returned exiles in Jerusalem (Ne 2:5). Esther was ready to surrender her life in pleading for the safety of her people (Es 4:16).

II. In the New Testament.

1. Christ’s Teaching and Example:

In the New Testament self-surrender is still more clearly set forth. Christ’s teachings and example as presented in the Gospels, give to it special emphasis. It is a prime requisite for becoming His disciple (Mt 10:38 f; 16:24; Lu 9:23,24,59 f; 14:27,33; compare Mt 19:27; Mr 8:34). When certain of the disciples were called they left all and followed (Mt 4:20; 9:9; Mr 2:14; Lu 5:27 f). His followers must so completely surrender self, as that father, mother, kindred, and one’s own life must be, as it were, hated for His sake (Lu 14:26). The rich young ruler must renounce self as an end and give his own life to the service of men (Mt 19:21; Mr 10:21; compare Lu 12:33). But this surrender of self was never a loss of personality; it was the finding of the true selfhood (Mr 8:35; Mt 10:39). our Lord not only taught self-surrender, but practiced it. As a child, He subjected Himself to His parents (Lu 2:51). Self-surrender marked His baptism and temptation (Mt 3:15; 4:1 ). It is shown in His life of physical privation (Mt 8:20). He had come not to do His own will, but the Fathers (Joh 4:34; 5:30; 6:38). He refuses to use force for His own deliverance (Mt 26:53; Joh 18:11). In His person God’s will, not His own, must be done (Mt 26:29; Lu 22:42); and to the Father He at last surrendered His spirit (Lu 23:46). So that while He was no ascetic, and did not demand asceticism of His followers, He "emptied himself .... becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross" (Php 2:7 f).


2. Ac of Apostles:

The early disciples practiced the virtue of self-surrender. Counting none of their possessions their own, they gave to the good of all (Ac 2:44,45; 4:34,35,37). Stephen and others threw themselves into their witnessing with the perfect abandon of the martyr; and Stephen’s successor, Paul, counted not his life dear unto himself that he might finish the divinely-appointed course (Ac 20:22-24).

3. Epistles of Paul:

The Epistles are permeated with the doctrine of self-surrender. The Pauline Epistles are particularly full of it. The Christian life is conceived of as a dying to self and to the world—a dying with Christ, a crucifixion of the old man, that a new man may live (Ga 2:20; 6:14; Col 2:20; 3:3; Ro 6:6), so that no longer the man lives but Christ lives in him (Ga 2:20; Php 1:21). The Christian is no longer his own but Christ’s (1Co 6:19,20). He is to be a living sacrifice (Ro 12:1); to die daily (1Co 15:31). As a corollary to surrender to God, the Christian must surrender himself to the welfare of his neighbor, just as Christ pleased not Himself (Ro 15:3); also to leaders (1Co 16:16), and to earthly rulers (Ro 13:1).

4. Epistles of Peter:

In the Epistles of Peter self-surrender is taught more than once. Those who were once like sheep astray now submit to the guidance of the Shepherd of souls (1Pe 2:25). The Christian is to humble himself under the mighty hand of God (1Pe 5:6); the younger to be subject to the elder (1Pe 5:5); and all to civil ordinances for the Lord’s sake (1Pe 2:13).

So also in other Epistles, the Christian is to subject himself to God (Jas 4:7; Heb 12:9).

Edward Bagby Pollard


self-wil’ (ratson; authades): Found once in the Old Testament (Ge 49:6, "In their self-will they hocked an ox") in the death song of Jacob (see HOCK). The idea is found twice in the New Testament in the sense of "pleasing oneself": "not self-willed, not soon angry" (Tit 1:7); and "daring, self-willed, they tremble not to rail at dignities" (2Pe 2:10). In all these texts it stands for a false pride, for obstinacy, for "a pertinacious adherence to one’s will or wish, especially in opposition to the dictates of wisdom or propriety or the wishes of others."elfare of his neighbor, just as Christ pleased not Himself (Ro 15:3); also to leaders (1Co 16:16), and to earthly rulers (Ro 13:1).

Henry E. Dosker





sel’-vej (qatsah): The word occurs only in the description of the tabernacle (Ex 26:4; 36:11). It has reference to the ten curtains which overhung the boards of the sanctuary. Five of these formed one set and five another. These were "coupled" at the center by 50 loops of blue connected by "clasps" (which see) with 50 others on the opposite side. The "selvedge" (self-edge) is the extremity of the curtain in which the loops were.


sem (Sem): the King James Version from the Greek form of Shem; thus the Revised Version (British and American) (Lu 3:36).


sem-a-ki’-a (cemakhyahu, "Yah has sustained"): A Korahite family of gatekeepers (1Ch 26:7). Perhaps the same name should be substituted for "Ismachiah" in 2Ch 31:13 (see HPN, 291, 295).



(1) (Codex Alexandrinus Semei; Codex Vaticanus Semeei): One of those who put away their "strange wives" (1 Esdras 9:33) =" Shimei" "of the sons of Hashum" in Ezr 10:33.

(2) the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) "Semeias" (Additions to Esther 11:2).

(3) the King James Version form of the Revised Version (British and American) "Semein" (Lu 3:26).


se-me-i’-as (Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus Semeias; Codex Vaticanus Semeeias; the King James Version Semei): An ancestor of Mordecai (Additions to Esther 11:2) =" Shimei" (Es 2:5).


se-me’-in (Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus Semeein; Codex Alexandrinus Semeei, Textus Receptus of the New Testament, Semei; the King James Version, Semei): An ancestor of Jesus in Luke’s genealogy (Lu 3:26).


sem’-e-is (Codex Alexandrinus and Fritzsche, Semeis; Codex Vaticanus Senseis; the King James Version, Semis): One of the Levites who put away their "strange wives" (1 Esdras 9:23) =" Shimei" in Ezr 10:23.


se-mel’-i-us: the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) SAMELLIUS (which see).


se’-mis: the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) SEMEIS (which see).


sem’-its, sem-it’-ik,

1. Biblical References

2. The Five Sons of Shem

3. Original Home of the Semites

4. Confusion with Other Races

5. Reliability of Genesis 10

6. Semitic Languages

7. Semitic Religion

(1) Its Peculiar Theism

(2) Personality of God

(3) Its View of Nature

(4) The Moral Being of God


1. Biblical References:

The words "Semites," "Semitic," do not occur in the Bible, but are derived from the name of Noah’s oldest son, Shem (Ge 5:32; 6:10; 9:18,23 ff; 10:1,21 f; 11:10 f; 1Ch 1). Formerly the designation was limited to those who are mentioned in Ge 10; 11 as Shem’s descendants, most of whom can be traced historically and geographically; but more recently the title has been expanded to apply to others who are not specified in the Bible as Semites, and indeed are plainly called Hamitic, e.g. the Babylonians (Ge 10:10) and the Phoenicians and Canaanites (Ge 10:15-19). The grounds for the inclusion of these Biblical Hamites among the Semites are chiefly linguistic, although political, commercial and religious affinities are also considered. History and the study of comparative philology, however, suggest the inadequacy of a linguistic argument.

2. The Five Sons of Shem:

The sons of Shem are given as Elam, Assbur, Arpachshad, Lud and Aram (Ge 10:22). All except the third have been readily identified, Elam as the historic nation in the highlands East of the Tigris, between Media and Persia; Asshur as the Assyrians; Lud as the Lydians of Asia Minor; and Aram as the Syrians both East and West of the Euphrates. The greatest uncertainty is in the identification of Arpachshad, the most prolific ancestor of the Semites, especially of those of Biblical and more recent importance. From him descended the Hebrews and the Arab tribes, probably also some East African colonies (Ge 10:24-30; 11:12-26). The form of his name ‘arpakhshadh) has given endless trouble to ethnographers. McCurdy divides into two words, Arpach or Arpath, unidentified, and kesedh, the singular of kasdim, i.e. the Chaldeans; Schrader also holds to the Chaldean interpretation, and the Chaldeans themselves traced their descent from Arpachshad (Josephus, Ant, I, vi, 4); it has been suggested also to interpret as the "border of the Chaldeans" (BDB; Dillmann, in the place cited.). But the historic, ordinary and most satisfactory identification is with Arrapachitis, Northeast of Assyria at the headwaters of the Upper Zab in the Armenian highlands (so Ptolemy, classical geographers, Gesenius, Delitzsch). Delitzsch calls attention to the Armenian termination shadh (Commentary on Genesis, in the place cited.).

3. Original Home of the Semites:

If we accept, then, this identification of Arpachshad as the most northeasterly of the five Semitic families (Ge 10:22), we are still faced by the problem of the primitive home and racial origin of the Semites. Various theories of course have been proposed; fancy and surmise have ranged from Africa to Central Asia.

(1) The most common, almost generally accepted, theory places their beginnings in Arabia because of the conservative and primitive Semitic of the Arabic language, the desert characteristics of the various branches of the race, and the historic movements of Semitic tribes northward and westward from Arabia. But this theory does not account for some of the most significant facts: e.g. that the Semitic developments of Arabia are the last, not the first, in time, as must have been the case if Arabia was the cradle of the race. This theory does not explain the Semitic origin of the Elamites, except by denial; much less does it account for the location of Arpachshad still farther north. It is not difficult to understand a racial movement from the mountains of the Northeast into the lowlands of the South and West. But how primitive Arabs could have migrated uphill, as it were, to settle in the Median and Armenian hills is a much more difficult proposition.

(2) We must return to the historic and the more natural location of the ancient Semitic home on the hillsides and in the fertile valleys of Armenia. Thence the eldest branch migrated in prehistoric times southward to become historic Elam; Lud moved westward into Asia Minor; Asshur found his way down the Tigris to become the sturdy pastoral people of the middle Mesopotamian plateau until the invasion of the Babylonian colonists and civilization; Aram found a home in Upper Mesopotamia; while Arpachshad, remaining longer in the original home, gave his name to at least a part of it. There in the fertile valleys among the high hills the ancient Semites developed their distinctively tribal life, emphasizing the beauty and close relationship of Nature, the sacredness of the family, the moral obligation, and faith in a personal God of whom they thought as a member of the tribe or friend of the family. The confinement of the mountain valleys is just as adequate an explanation of the Semitic traits as the isolation of the oasis. So from the purer life of their highland home, where had been developed the distinctive and virile elements which were to impress the Semitic faith on the history of mankind, increasing multitudes of Semites poured over the mountain barriers into the broader levels of the plains. As their own-mountain springs and torrents sought a way to the sea down the Tigris and Euphrates beds, so the Semitic tribes followed the same natural ways into their future homes: Elam, Babylonia, Assyria, Mesopotamia, Arabia, Palestine. Those who settled Arabia sent further migrations into Africa, as well as rebounding into the desert west of the Euphrates, Syria and Palestine. Thus Western Asia became the arena of Semitic life, whose influences also reached Egypt and, through Phoenicia, the far-away West-Mediterranean.

4. Confusion with Other Races:

While we may properly call Western and Southwestern Asia the home of the Semitic peoples, there still remains the difficulty of separating them definitely from the other races among whom they lived. The historic Babylonians, e.g., were Semites; yet they dispossessed an earlier non-Semitic people, and were themselves frequently invaded by other races, such as the Hittites, and even the Egyptians. It is not certain therefore which gods, customs, laws, etc., of the Babylonians were Semites, and not adopted from those whom they superseded.

Assyria was racially purely Semitic, but her laws, customs, literature, and many of her gods were acquired from Babylonia; to such an extent was this true that we are indebted to the library of the Assyrian Ashurbanipal for much that we know of Babylonian religion, literature and history. In Syria also the same mixed conditions prevailed, for through Syria by the fords of the Euphrates lay the highway of the nations, and Hittite and Mitannian at times shared the land with her, and left their influence. Possibly in Arabia Semitic blood ran purest, but even in Arabia there were tribes from other races; and the table of the nations in Ge divides that land among the descendants of both Ham and Shem (see TABLE OF NATIONS). Last of all, in Palestine, from the very beginning of its historic period, we find an intermingling and confusion of races and religions such as no other Semitic center presents. A Hamitic people gave one of its common names to the country—Canaan, while the pagan and late-coming Philistine gave the most used name—Palestine. The archaic remains of Horite, Avite and Hivite are being uncovered by exploration; these races survived in places, no doubt, long after the Semitic invasion, contributing their quota to the customs and religious practices of the land. The Hittite also was in the land, holdling outposts from his northern empire, even in the extreme south of Palestine. If the blue eyes and fair complexions of the Amorites pictured on Egyptian monuments are true representations, we may believe that the gigantic Aryans of the North had their portion also in Palestine

5. Reliability of Genesis 10:

It is customary now in Biblical ethnology to disregard the classification of Genesis 10, and to group all the nations of Palestine as Semitic, especially the Canaanite and the Phoenician along with the Hebrew. McCurdy in the Standard BD treats the various gods and religious customs of Palestine as though they were all Semitic, although uniformly these are represented in the Old Testament as perversions and enormities of alien races which the Hebrews were commanded to extirpate. The adoption of them would be, and was, inimical to their own ancestral faith. Because the Hebrews took over eventually the language of the Phoenician, appropriated his art and conveniences, did traffic in his ships, and in Ahab’s reign adopted his Baal and Astarte, we are not warranted at all in rushing to the conclusion that the Phoenicians represented a primitive Semitic type. Racial identification by linguistic argument is always precarious, as history clearly shows. One might as well say that Latin and the gospel were Saxon. There are indications that the customs and even the early language of the Hebrews were different from those of the people whom they subdued and dispossessed. Such is the consistent tradition of their race, the Bible always emphasizing the irreconcilable difference between their ancestral faith and the practices of the people of Canaan. We may conclude that the reasons for disregarding the classification of Ge with reference to the Semites and neighboring races are not final. Out from that fruitful womb of nations, the Caucasus, the Semites, one branch of the C Caucasian peoples, went southwestward—as their cousins the Hamites went earlier toward the South and as their younger relatives, the Aryans, were to go northward and westward—with marked racial traits and a pronounced religious development, to play a leading part in the life of man.

6. Semitic Languages:

The phrase Semitic Languages is used of a group of languages which have marked features in common, which also set them off from other languages. But we must avoid the unnecessary inference that nations using the same or kindred languages are of the same ancestry. There are other explanations of linguistic affinity than racial, as the Indians of Mexico may speak Spanish, and the Germans of Milwaukee may speak English. So also neighboring or intermingled nations may just as naturally have used branches of the Semitic language stock. However, it is true that the nations which were truly Semitic used languages which are strikingly akin. These have been grouped as

(1) Eastern Sere, including Babylonian and Assyrian;

(2) Northern, including Syriac and Aramaic;

(3) Western, including Canaanite, or Phoenician, and Hebrew, and

(4) Southern, including Arabic, Sabean and Ethiopic (compare Geden, Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, 14-28).

The distinctive features of this family of languages are

(1) the tri-literal root,

(2) the consonantal writing, vowel indications being unnecessary so long as the language was spoken,

(3) the meager use of moods and tenses in verbal inflection, every action being graphically viewed as belonging to one of two stages in time: completed or incomplete,

(4) the paucity of parts of speech, verb and noun covering nearly all the relations of words,

(5) the frequent use of internal change in the inflection of words, e.g. the doubling of a consonant or the change of a vowel, and

(6) the use of certain letters, called "serviles," as prefixes or suffixes in inflection; these are parts of pronouns or the worn-down residua of nouns and particles. The manner of writing was not uniform in these languages, Babylonian and Assyrian being ideographic and syllabic, and written from left to right, while Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic were alphabetic and written from right to left.

The primitive forms and inflections of the group are best preserved in the Arabic by reason of the conservatism of the desert peoples, and in the Assyrian by the sudden destruction of that empire and the burial of the records of that language in a comparatively pure state, to be brought back to light by 19th-century exploration. All the characteristics given above are clearly manifest in the Hebrew of the Old Testament.

7. Semitic Religion:

In the study of Semitic Religion there are two tendencies toward error:

(1) the Western pragmatical and unsympathetic overtaxing of oriental Nature-symbols and vividly imaginative speech. Because the Semite used the figure of the rock (De 32:4,18,30) in describing God, or poetically conceived of the storm-cloud as Yahweh’s chariot (Ps 104:3), we must not be led into believing that his religion was a savage animism, or that Yahweh of Israel was only the Zeus of the Greeks. How should an imaginative child of Nature speak of the unseen Spiritual Power, except in the richest analogies of Nature?

(2) The second error is the tendency to treat the accretions acquired by contact with other nations as of the essence of Semitic religion, e.g. the golden calf following the Egyptian bondage, and the sexual abominations of the Canaanite Baal and Astarte.

The primitive and distinctive beliefs of the Semitic peoples lie still in great uncertainty because of the long association with other peoples, whose practices they readily took over, and because of the lack of records of the primitive periods of Semitic development, their origin and dispersion among the nations being prehistoric. Our sources of information are the Babylonian and Assyrian tablets and monuments, the Egyptian inscriptions, Phoenician history, Arabian traditions and inscriptions, and principally the Old Testament Scriptures. We can never know perhaps how much the pure Semitism ofBabylonians and Assyrians was diverted and corrupted by the developed civilization which they invaded and appropriated; Egypt was only indirectly affected by Semitic life; Semitic development in Arabia was the latest in all the group, besides which the monuments and reste of Arabian antiquity which have come down to us are comparatively few; and the Phoenician development was corrupted by the sensuality of the ancient Canaanitish cults, while the Bible of the Hebrews emphatically differentiated from the unwholesome religions of Palestine their own faith, which was ancestral, revealed and pure. Was that Bible faith the primitive Semitic cult? At least we must take the Hebrew tradition at its face value, finding in it the prominent features of an ancestral faith, preserved through one branch of the Semitic group. We are met frequently in these Hebrew records by the claim that the religion they present is not a new development, nor a thing apart from the origin of their race, but rather the preservation of an ancient worship, Abraham, Moses and the prophets appearing not as originators, but reformers, or revivers, who sought to keep their people true to an inherited religion. Its elemental features are the following:

(1) Its Peculiar Theism:

It was pronouncedly theistic; not that other religions do not affirm a god; but theism of the Semites was such as to give their religion a unique place among all others. To say the least, it had the germ of monotheism or the tendency toward monotheism, if we have not sufficient evidence to affirm its monotheism, and to rate the later polytheistic representations of Babylonia and Assyria as local perversions. If the old view that Semitic religion was essentially monotheistic be incapable of proof, it is true that the necessary development of their concept of God must ultimately arrive at monotheism. This came to verification in Abram the Hebrew, Jesus the Messiah (Joh 4:21-24) and Mohammed the false prophet. A city-state exclusively, a nation predominantly, worshipped one god, often through some Nature-symbol, as sun or star or element. With the coming of world-conquest, intercourse and vision, the one god of the city or the chief god of the nation became universalized. The ignorant and materialistic Hebrew might localize the God of Israel in a city or on a hilltop; but to the spiritual mind of Amos or in the universal vision of Isaiah He was Yahweh, Lord of all the earth.

(2) Personality of God:

Closely related to this high conception of Deity was the apparently contradictory but really potent idea of the Deity as a personality. The Semite did not grossly materialize his God as did the savage, nor vainly abstract and etherealize Him and so eliminate Him from the experience of man as did the Greek; but to him God universal was also God personal and intimate. The Hebrew ran the risk of conditioning the spirituality of God in order to maintain His real personality. Possibly this has been the most potent element in Semitic religion; God was not far from every one of them. He came into the closest relations as father or friend. He was the companion of king and priest. The affairs of the nation were under His immediate care; He went to war with armies, was a partner in harvest rejoicings; the home was His abode. This conception of Deity carried with it the necessary implication of revelation (Am 3:8). The office, message and power of the Hebrew prophet were also the logical consequence of knowing God as a Person.

(3) Its View of Nature:

Its peculiar view of Nature was another feature of Semitic religion. God was everywhere and always present in Nature; consequently its symbolism was the natural and ready expression of His nature and presence. Simile, parable and Nature-marvels cover the pages and tablets of their records. Unfortunately this poetic conception of Nature quickly enough afforded a ready path in which wayward feet and carnal minds might travel toward Nature-worship with all of its formalism and its degrading excesses. This feature of Semitic religion offers an interesting commentary on their philosophy. With them the doctrine of Second Causes received no emphasis; God worked directly in Nature, which became to them therefore the continuous arena of signs and marvels. The thunder was His voice, the sunshine reflected the light of His countenance, the winds were His messengers. And so through this imaginative view of the world the Semite dwelt in an enchanted realm of the miraculous.

(4) The Moral Being of God:

The Semite believed in a God who is a moral being. Such a faith in the nature of it was certain to influence profoundly their own moral development, making for them a racial character which has been distinctive and persistent through the changes of millenniums. By it also they have impressed other nations and religions, with which they have had contact. The Code of Hammurabi is an expression of the moral issues of theism. The Law and the Prophets of Israel arose out of the conviction of God’s righteousness and of the moral order of His universe (Ex 19:5,6; Isa 1:16-20). The Decalogue is a confession of faith in the unseen God; the Law of Holiness (Le 17-26) is equally a moral code.

While these elements are not absent altogether from other ancient religions, they are pronouncedly characteristic of the Semitic to the extent that they have given to it its permanent form, its large development, and its primacy among the religions of the human race. To know God, to hear His eternal tread in Nature, to clothe Him with light as with a garment, to establish His throne in righteousness, to perceive that holiness is the all-pervading atmosphere of His presence—such convictions were bound to affect the life and progress of a rate, and to consecrate them as a nation of priests for all mankind.


For discussion of the details of Semitic peoples and religions reference must be made to the particular articles, such as ARPACHSHAD; EBER; ABRAHAM; HAMMURABI; ASSYRIA; BABYLONIA; BAAL; ASHTORETH; ASHERITES; MOLOCH; CHEMOSH; CHIUN; ISRAEL, RELIGION OF etc. The literature on the subject is vast, interesting and far from conclusive. Few of the Bible Dictionaries have articles on this particular subject; reference should be made to those in the Standard and in the HDB, volume both by McCurdy; "Semites" in Catholic Encyclopedia skims the surface; articles in International Eric are good. In Old Testament Theologies, Davidson, pp. 249-52; Schultz, chapter iii of volume I; Riehm, Alttestamentliche Theologie; Delitzsch, Psychology of the Old Testament. For language see Wright’s Comparative Grammar of Semitic Languages. For history and religion: Maspero’s three volumes; McCurdy, HPM; Hommel. Ancient Hebrew Tradition, and Semitic Volker u. Sprache; Jastrow, Comparative Semitic Religion; Friedr. Delitzsch, Babel u. Bibel; W. R. Smith, Religion of the Semites.

Edward Mack


se-na’-a, sen’-a-a (cena’ah; Codex Vaticanus Sanana; Sananat; Codex Alexandrinus Sanana, Sennaa, Hasan): The children of Senaah are mentioned as having formed part of the company returning from the captivity with Zerubbabel (Ezr 2:35; Ne 7:38). The numbers vary as given by Ezr (3,630) and Ne (3,930), while 1 Esdras 5:23 puts them at 3,330. In the last place the name is Sanaas, the King James Version "Annaas" (Codex Vaticanus Sama; Codex Alexandrinus Sanaas). In Ne 3:3 the name occurs with the definite article, ha-senaah. The people may be identical with the Benjamite clan Hassenuah (1Ch 9:7). Eusebius, in Onomasticon, speaks of Magdalsenna a village about 7 miles North of Jericho, which may be the place intended; but the site is not known.

W. Ewing


sen’-at, sen’-a-ter: In Ps 105:22, "teach his senators (the Revised Version (British and American) "elders") wisdom." The Hebrew is zaqen, "elder" Septuagint presbuteroi). In Ac 5:21, "called the council together and all the senate of the children of Israel." The Greek gerousia, is here evidently used as a more precise equivalent of the foregoing "council" (sunedrion), to which it is added by kai, explicative. Reference is had to the Sanhedrin. See SANHEDRIN. This term gerousia occurs in Septuagint Ex 3:16, etc., and in 1 Macc 12:6; 2 Macc 1:10; 4:44 of the supreme council of the Jews (see GOVERNMENT). In 1 Macc 8:15; 12:3, bouleuterion, is used of the Roman senate, which is said to consist of 320 members meeting daily, consulting always for the people, to the end that they may be well governed. These statements are not quite accurate, since the senate consisted normally of 300 members, and met not daily, but on call of the magistrates. Originally, like the gerousia of the Jews, the representatives of families and clans (gentes), the senators were subsequently the ex-magistrates, supplemented, to complete the tale of members, by representatives of patrician (in time also of plebeian) families selected by the censor. The tenure was ordinarily for life, though it might be terminated for cause by the censor. Although constitutionally the senate was only an advisory body, its advice (senatus consultum, auctoritas) in fact became in time a mandate which few dared to disregard. During the republican period the senate practically ruled Rome; under the empire it tended more and more to become the creature and subservient tool of the emperors.

William Arthur Heidel


se’-ne (ceneh; Senna): This was the name attaching to the southern of the two great cliffs between which ran the gorge of Michmash (1Sa 14:4). The name means "acacia," and may have been given to it from the thorn bushes growing upon it. Josephus (BJ, V, ii, 1) mentions the "plain of thorns" near Gabathsaul. We may hear an echo of the old name in that of Wady Suweinit, "valley of the little thorn tree," the name by which the gorge is known today. The cliff must have stood on the right side of the wady; see BOZEZ. Conder gives an excellent description of the place in Tent Work in Palestine, II, 112-14.

W. Ewing


se’-nir (senir; Saneir): This was the Amorite name of Mt. Hermon, according to De 3:9 (the King James Version "Shenir").’ But in 1Ch 5:23; So 4:8, we have Senir and Hermon named as distinct mountains. It seems probable, however, that Senir applied to a definite part of the Anti-Lebanon or Hermon range. An inscription of Shalmaneser tells us that Hazael, king of Damascus, fortified Mt. Senir over against Mt. Lebanon. So in Eze 27:5, Senir, whence the Tyrians got planks of fir trees, is set over against Lebanon, where cedars were obtained. The Arab geographers give the name Jebel Sanir to the part of the Anti-Lebanon range which lies between Damascus and Homs (Yakut, circa 1225 AD, quoted by Guy le Strange in Palestine under the Moslems, 79. He also quotes Mas‘udi, 943 AD, to the effect that Baalbek is in the district of Senir, 295).

W. Ewing


se-nak’-er-ib (cancheribh; Sennachereim, Assyrian Sin-akhierba, "the moon-god Sin has increased the brothers"): Sennacherib (704-682 BC) ascended the throne of Assyria after the death of his father Sargon. Appreciating the fact that Babylon would be difficult to control, instead of endeavoring to conciliate the people he ignored them. The Babylonians, being indignant, crowned a man of humble origin, Marduk-zakir-shum by name. He ruled only a month, having been driven out by the irrepressible Merodach-baladan, who again appeared on the scene.

In order to fortify himself against Assyria the latter sent an embassy to Hezekiah, apparently for the purpose of inspiring the West to rebel against Assyria (2Ki 20:12-19).

Sennacherib in his first campaign marched into Babylonia. He found Merodach-baladan entrenched at Kish, about 9 miles from Babylon, and defeated him; after which he entered the gates of Babylon, which had been thrown open to him. He placed a Babylonian, named Bel-ibni, on the throne.

This campaign was followed by an invasion of the country of the Cassites and Iasubigalleans. In his third campaign he directed his attention to the West, where the people had become restless under the Assyrian yoke. Hezekiah had been victorious over the Philistines (2Ki 18:8). In preparation to withstand a siege, Hezekiah had built a conduit to bring water within the city walls (2Ki 20:20). Although strongly opposed by the prophet Isaiah, gifts were sent to Egypt, whence assistance was promised (Isa 30:1-4). Apparently also the Phoenicians and Philistines, who had been sore pressed by Assyria, had made provision to resist Assyria. The first move was at Ekron, where the Assyrian governor Padi was put into chains and sent to Hezekiah at Jerusalem.

Sennacherib, in 701 BC, moved against the cities in the West. He ravaged the environs of Tyre, but made no attempt to take the city, as he was without a naval force. After Elulaeus the king of Sidon fled, the city surrendered without a battle, and Ethbaal was appointed king. Numerous cities at once sent presents to the king of Assyria. Ashkelon and other cities were taken. The forces of Egypt were routed at Eltekeh, and Ekron was destroyed. He claims to have conquered 46 strongholds of Hezekiah’s territory, but he did not capture Jerusalem, for concerning the king he said, in his annals, "himself like a bird in a cage in Jerusalem, his royal city, I penned him." He states, also, how he reduced his territory, and how Hezekiah sent to him 30 talents of gold and 800 talents of silver, besides hostages.

The Biblical account of this invasion is found in 2Ki 18:13-19:37; Isa 36; 37. The Assyrian account differs considerably from it; but at the same time it corroborates it in many details. One of the striking parallels is the exact amount of gold which Hezekiah sent to the Assyrian king (see The Expository Times, XII, 225,405; XIII, 326).

In the following year Sennacherib returned to Babylonia to put down a rebellion by Bal-ibni and Merodach-baladan. The former was sent to Assyria, and the latter soon afterward died. Ashurnadin-shum, the son of Sennacherib, was then crowned king of Babylon. A campaign into Cilicia and Cappadocia followed.

In 694 BC Sennacherib attacked the Elamites, who were in league with the Babylonians. In revenge, the Elamites invaded Babylonia and carried off Ashur-nadin-shum to Elam, and made Nergalushezib king of Babylon. He was later captured and in turn carried off to Assyria. In 691 BC Sennacherib again directed his attention to the South, and at Khalute fought with the combined forces. Two years later he took Babylon, and razed it to the ground.

In 681 BC Sennacherib was murdered by his two sons (2Ki 19:37; see SHAREZER). Esar-haddon their younger brother, who was at the time conducting a campaign against Ararat, was declared king in his stead.

A. T. Clay


sen’-siz: The translation of aistheterion (Heb 5:14, "those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil"). The word means, primarily, the seat of the senses, the region of feeling; in the Septuagint of Jer 4:19, it represents the Hebrew qir, "the walls of the heart" (see the Revised Version (British and American)), and is used to denote the internal sense or faculty of perceiving and judging, which in Heb 5:14 is regarded as becoming perfected by use or exercise (compare Eph 4:12 f; 1Ti 4:7; 2Pe 3:18).

In 2 Esdras 10:36 we have "Or is my sense deceived, or my soul in a dream?" Latin sensus, here "mind" rather than "sense."

W. L. Walker


sen’-shoo-al (psuchikos, "animal," "natural"): Biblical psychology has no English equivalent for this Greek original. Man subject to the lower appetites is sarkikos, "fleshly"; in the communion of his spirit with God he is pneumatikos, "spiritual." Between the two is the psuche, "soul," the center of his personal being. This ego or "I"in each man is bound to the spirit, the higher nature; and to the body or lower nature.

The soul (psuche) as the seat of the senses, desires, affections, appetites, passions, i.e. the lower animal nature common to man with the beasts, was distinguished in the Pythagorean and Platonic philosophy from the higher rational nature (nous, pneuma).

The subjection of the soul to the animal nature is man’s debasement, to the spirit indwelt of God is his exaltation. The English equivalent for psuchikos, "psychic" does not express this debasement. In the New Testament "sensual" indicates man’s subjection to self and self-interest, whether animal or intellectual—the selfish man in whom the spirit is degraded into subordination to the debased psuche, "soul." This debasement may be

(1) intellectual, "not wisdom .... from above, but .... earthly, sensual" (Jas 3:15);

(2) carnal (and of course moral), "sensual, having not the Spirit" (Jude 1:19).

It ranges all the way from sensuous self-indulgence to gross immorality. In the utter subjection of the spirit to sense it is the utter exclusion of God from the life. Hence, "the natural (psuchikos) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God" (1Co 2:14). The term is equivalent to "the mind of the flesh" (Ro 8:7) which "is not subject to the law of God."


Dwight M. Pratt


(shalach; apostello): "Sent" in the Old Testament is the translation of shalach, "to send" (of presents, messengers, etc., Ge 32:18; 44:3; Jud 6:14; 1Ki 14:6; Es 3:13; Pr 17:11; Jer 49:14; Eze 3:5; 23:40; Da 10:11; Ob 1:1); of shelach, Aramaic (Ezr 7:14; Da 5:24); of shilluchim, "sending" (Ex 18:2); in the New Testament of apostello, "to send off" or "away," "to send forth" (Joh 9:7, "the pool of Siloam (which is by interpretation, Sent)"); compare Lu 13:4; Ne 3:15, the pool of Siloah, the Revised Version (British and American) "Shelah"; Isa 8:6, "the waters of Shiloah that go softly," where Septuagint has Siloam for Hebrew shiloach, "a sending," which, rather than "Sent," is the original meaning—a sending forth of waters. See SILOAM. "Sent" is also the translation of apostolos, "one sent forth" (the original of the familiar word "apostle"); in Joh 13:16, "one that is sent" (margin, "Greek ‘an apostle’"); compare Heb 1:14.

W. L. Walker


sen’-tens: Eight Hebrew and three Greek words are thus translated in the King James Version. Sometimes it points to a mystery (Da 5:12; 8:23); then again to the contents of the Law (De 17:11); then again to the idea of judgment (Ps 17:2) or of a judicial sentence (2Co 1:9; Lu 23:24), or of judicial advice (Ac 15:19, the American Standard Revised Version "judgment").


se-nu’-a, sen’-u-a (cenu’ah): In the King James Version "A Benjamite" (Ne 11:9); the Revised Version (British and American) has "Hassenuah," transliterating the definite article the King James Version is to be preferred (compare 1Ch 9:7).


se-o’-rim, se-or’-im (se‘orim): The name borne by one of the (post-exilic) priestly courses (1Ch 24:8).


sep’-a-rat: The translation of a number of Hebrew and Greek words, badhal (Le 20:24, etc.), and aphorizo (Mt 25:32, etc.), being the most common. "To separate" and "to consecrate" were originally not distinguished (e.g. Nu 6:2 margin), and probably the majority of the uses of "separate" in English Versions of the Bible connote "to set apart for God." But precisely the same term that is used in this sense may also denote the exact opposite (e.g. the use of nazar in Eze 14:7 and Zec 7:3).



sep-a-ra’-shun: In the Pentateuch the word niddah specially points to a state of ceremonial uncleanness (Le 12:2,5; 15:20 ff; Nu 6:4 ff; 12:13; 19:21). For a description of the "water of purification," used for cleansing what was ceremonially unclean (Nu 19), see HEIFER, RED; UNCLEANNESS. For "separation" in the sense of nezer, see NAZIRITE.


se’-far: Only in Ge 10:30 cepharah, "toward Sephar"), as the eastern limit of the territory of the sons of Yoktan (Joktan). From the similarity between the names of most of Yoktan’s sons and the names of South Arabian towns or districts, it can hardly be doubted that Sephar is represented by the Arabic Qafar. The appropriateness of the site seems to outweigh the discrepancy between Arabic "z" and Hebrew "s". But two important towns in South Arabia bear this name. The one lies a little to the South of San‘a’. According to tradition it was founded by Shammir, one of the Sabean kings, and for a long time served as the royal seat of the Tubbas. The other Zafar stands on the coast in the district of Shichr, East of Chadramaut. The latter is probably to be accepted as the Biblical site.

A. S. Fulton


se-fa’-rad, sef’-a-rad (cepharadh): Mentioned in Ob 1:20 as the place of captivity of certain "captives of Jerusalem," but no clear indication is given of locality. Many conjectures have been made. The Targum of Jonathan identifies with Spain; hence, the Spanish Jews are called Sephardim. Others (Pusey, etc.) have connected it with the "(Tsparda" of the Behistun Inscription, and some have even identified it with "Sardis." The now generally accepted view is that which connects it with the "Saparda" of the Assyrian inscriptions, though whether this is to be located to the East of Assyria or in Northern Asia Minor is not clear. See Schrader, Cuneiform Inscriptions, II, 145-46; Sayce, HCM, 482-84; articles in DB, HDB, EB, etc.

James Orr


sef-ar-va’-im, se-far-va’-im (cepharwayim: Sephpharouaim, Seppharoudim, Seppharoun, Seppharoumain, Eppharouaim, Sepphareim, the first two being the forms in manuscripts Alexandrinus and Vaticanus respectively, of the passages in Kings, and the last two in Isaiah):

1. Formerly Identified with the Two Babylonian Sippars:

This city, mentioned in 2Ki 17:24; 18:34; 19:13; Isa 36:19; 37:13, is generally identified with the Sip(p)ar of the Assyrians-Babylonian inscriptions (Zimbir in Sumerian), on the Euphrates, about 16 miles Southwest of Bagdad. It was one of the two great seats of the worship of the Babylonian sun-god Samas, and also of the goddesses Ishtar and Anunit, and seems to have had two principal districts, Sippar of Samas, and Sippar of Anunit, which, if the identification were correct, would account for the dual termination -ayim, in Hebrew. This site is the modern ‘Abu-Habbah, which was first excavated by the late Hormuzd Rassam in 1881, and has furnished an enormous number of inscriptions, some of them of the highest importance.

2. Difficulties of That Identification:

Besides the fact that the deities of the two cities, Sippar and Sepharvaim, are not the same, it is to be noted that in 2Ki 19:13 the king of Sepharvaim is referred to, and, as far as is known, the Babylonian Sippar never had a king of its own, nor had Akkad, with which it is in part identified, for at least 1,200 years before Sennacherib. The fact that Babylon and Cuthah head the list of cities mentioned is no indication that Sepharvaim was a Babylonian town—the composition of the list, indeed, points the other way, for the name comes after Ava and Hamath, implying that it lay in Syria.

3. Another Suggestion:

Joseph Halevy therefore suggests (ZA, II, 401 ff) that it should be identified with the Sibraim of Eze 47:16, between Damascus and Hamath (the dual implying a frontier town), and the same as the Sabara’in of the Babylonian Chronicle, there referred to as having been captured by Shalmaneser. As, however, Sabara’in may be read Samara’in, it is more likely to have been the Hebrew Shomeron (Samaria), as pointed out by Fried. Delitzsch.


See Schrader, The Cuneiform Inscriptions and the Old Testament, I, 71 f; Kittel on K; Dillmann-Kittel on Isa, at the place; HDB, under the word

T. G. Pinches

SEPHARVITES se’-far-vits, se-far’-vits> (cepharwim): In 2Ki 17:31, the inhabitants of SEPHARVAIM (which see), planted by the king of Assyria in Samaria. They continued there to burn their children to their native gods.


sef’-o-ris: A city of Galilee, taken by Josephus (Vita, IX, lxvii, 71) and later destroyed by the son of Varus (Ant., XVII, x, 9).






1. Letter of Aristeas

2. Evidence of Aristobulus and Philo

3. Later Accretions

4. Criticism of the Aristeas Story

5. Date

6. Credibility



1. Early Corruption of the Text

2. Official Revision of Hebrew Text circa 100 AD

3. Adoption of Septuagint by Christians

4. Alternative 2nd-Century Greek Versions

5. Aquila

6. Theodotion

7. Symmachus and Others

8. Origen and the Hexapla

9. Hexaplaric Manuscripts

10. Recensions Known to Jerome

11. Hesychian Recension

12. Lucianic Recension


1. Ancient Versions Made from Septuagint

2. Manuscripts

3. Printed Texts

4. Reconstruction of Original Text


1. Contents

2. Titles

3. Bipartition of Books

4. Grouping and Order of Books


1. Grouping of Books on Internal Evidence

(1) The Hexateuch

(2) The "Latter" Prophets

(3) Partial Version of the "Former" Prophets (4) The "Writings"

(5) The Latest Septuagint Translations

2. General Characteristics


1. Sequence

2. Subject-Matter


I. Importance.

The Greek version of the Old Testament commonly known as the Septuagint holds a unique place among translations. Its importance is manysided. Its chief value lies in the fact that it is a version of a Hebrew text earlier by about a millennium than the earliest dated Hebrew manuscript extant (916 AD), a version, in particular, prior to the formal rabbinical revision of the Hebrew which took place early in the 2nd century AD. It supplies the materials for the reconstruction of an older form of the Hebrew than the Massoretic Text reproduced in our modern Bibles. It is, moreover, a pioneering work; there was probably no precedent in the world’s history for a series of translations from one language into another on so extensive a scale. It was the first attempt to reproduce the Hebrew Scriptures in another tongue. It is one of the outstanding results of the breaking-down of international barriers by the conquests of Alexander the Great and the dissemination of the Greek language, which were fraught with such vital consequences for the history of religion. The cosmopolitan city which he founded in the Delta witnessed the first attempt to bridge the gulf between Jewish and Greek thought. The Jewish commercial settlers at Alexandria, forced by circumstances to abandon their language, clung tenaciously to their faith; and the translation of the Scriptures into their adopted language, produced to meet their own needs, had the further result of introducing the outside world to a knowledge of their history and religion. Then came the most momentous event in its history, the starting-point of a new life; the translation was taken over from the Jews by the Christian church. It was the Bible of most writers of the New Testament. Not only are the majority of their express citations from Scripture borrowed from it, but their writings contain numerous reminiscences of its language. Its words are household words to them. It laid for them the foundations of a new religious terminology. It was a potent weapon for missionary work, and, when versions of the Scriptures into other languages became necessary, it was in most cases the Septuagint and not the Hebrew from which they were made. Preeminent among these daughter versions was the Old Latin which preceded the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.), for the most part a direct translation from the Hebrew, was in portions a mere revision of the Old Latin; our Prayer-book version of the Psalter preserves peculiarities of the Septuagint, transmitted through the medium of the Old Latin. The Septuagint was also the Bible of the early Greek Fathers, and helped to mold dogma; it furnished proof-texts to both parties in the Arian controversy. Its language gives it another strong claim to recognition. Uncouth and unclassical as much of it appears, we now know that this is not wholly due to the hampering effects of translation. "Biblical Greek," once considered a distinct species, is now a rather discredited term. The hundreds of contemporary papyrus records (letters, business and legal documents, etc.) recently discovered in Egypt illustrate much of the vocabulary and grammar and go to show that many so-called "Hebraisms" were in truth integral parts of the koine, or "common language," i.e. the international form of Greek which, since the time of Alexander, replaced the old dialects, and of which the spoken Greek of today is the lineal descendant. The version was made for the populace and written in large measure in the language of their everyday life.

II. Name.

The name "Septuagint" is an abbreviation of Interpretatio secundum (or juxta) Septuaginta seniores (or viros), i.e. the Greek translation of the Old Testament of which the first installment was, according to the Alexandrian legend (see III, below), contributed by 70 (or 72) elders sent from Jerusalem to Alexandria for the purpose at the request of Ptolemy II. The legend in its oldest form restricts their labors to the Pentateuch but they were afterward credited with the translation of the whole Bible, and before the 4th century it had become customary to apply the title to the whole collection: Aug., De Civ. Dei, xviii.42, "quorum interpretatio ut Septuaginta vocetur iam obtinuit consuetudo" ("whose translation is now by custom called the Septuagint"). The manuscripts refer to them under the abbreviation hoi o’ ("the seventy"), or hoi ob’,(" the seventy-two"). The "Septuagint" and the abbreviated form "LXX" have been the usual designations hitherto, but, as these are based on a now discredited legend, they are coming to be replaced by "the Old Testament in Greek," or "the Alexandrian version" with the abbreviation "G".

III. Traditional Origin.

The traditional account of the translation of the Pentateuch is contained in the so-called letter of Aristeas (editions of Greek text, P. Wendland, Teubner series, 1900, and Thackeray in the App. to Swete’s Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, 1900, etc.; Wendland’s sections cited below appear in Swete’s Introduction, edition 2; English translation by Thackeray, Macmillan, 1904, reprinted from JQR, XV, 337, and by H. T. Andrews in Charles’ Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, II, 83-122, Oxford, 1913).

1. Letter of Aristeas:

The writer professes to be a high official at the court of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-247 BC), a Greek interested in Jewish antiquities. Addressing his brother Philocrates he describes an embassy to Jerusalem on which he has recently been sent with another courtier Andreas. According to his narrative, Demetrius of Phalerum, a prominent figure in later Athenian history, who here appears as the royal librarian at Alexandria, convinced the king of the importance of securing for his library a translation of the Jewish Law. The king at the same time, to propitiate the nation from whom he was asking a favor, consented, on the suggestion of Aristeas, to liberate all Jewish slaves in Egypt. Copies follow of the letters which passed between Ptolemy and Eleazar, the high priest at Jerusalem. Ptolemy requests Eleazar to select and dispatch to Alexandria 72 elders, proficient in the Law, 6 from each tribe, to undertake the translation the importance of the task requiring the services of a large number to secure an accurate version Eleazar complies with the request and the names of the selected translators are appended to his letter.

There follow: (1) a detailed description of votive offerings sent by Ptolemy for the temple; (2) a sketch of Jerusalem, the temple and its services, and the geography of Palestine, doubtless reflecting in part the impressions of an eyewitness and giving a unique picture of the Jewish capital in the Ptolemaic era; (3) an exposition by Eleazar of portions of the Law.

The translators arrive at Alexandria, bringing a copy of the Law written in letters of gold on rolls of skins, and are honorably received by Ptolemy. A seven days’ banquet follows, at which the king tests the proficiency of each in turn with hard questions. Three days later Demetrius conducts them across the mole known as the Heptastadion to the island of Pharos, where, with all necessaries provided for their convenience, they complete their task, as by a miracle, in 72 days; we are expressly told that their work was the result of collaboration and comparison. The completed version was read by Demetrius to the Jewish community, who received it with enthusiasm and begged that a copy might be entrusted to their leaders; a solemn curse was pronounced on any who should venture to add to or subtract from or make any alteration in the translation. The whole version was then read aloud to the king who expressed his admiration and his surprise that Greek writers had remained in ignorance of its contents; he directed that the books should be preserved with scrupulous care.

2. Evidence of Aristobulus and Philo:

To set beside this account we have two pre-Christian allusions in Jewish writings. Aristobulus, addressing a Ptolemy who has been identified as Philometor (182-146 BC), repeats the statement that the Pentateuch was translated under Philadelphus at the instance of Demetrius Phalereus (Eusebius, Praep. Ev., XIII, 12,664b); but the genuineness of the passage is doubtful. If it is accepted, it appears that some of the main features of the story were believed at Alexandria within a century of the date assigned by "Aristeas" to the translation Philo (Vit. Moys, ii.5 ff) repeats the story of the sending of the translators by Eleazar at the request of Philadelphus, adding that in his day the completion of the undertaking was celebrated by an annual festival on the isle of Pharos. It is improbable that an artificial production like the Aristeas letter should have occasioned such an anniversary; Philo’s evidence seems therefore to rest in part on an independent tradition. His account in one particular paves the way for later accretions; he hints at the inspiration of the translators and the miraculous agreement of their separate VSS: "They prophesied like men possessed, not one in one way and one in another, but all producing the same words and phrases as though some unseen prompter were at the ears of each." At the end of the 1st century AD Josephus includes in his Antiquities (XII, ii, 1 ff) large portions of the letter, which he paraphrases, but does not embellish.

3. Later Accretions:

Christian writers accepted the story without suspicion and amplified it. A catena of their evidence is given in an Appendix to Wendland’s edition. The following are their principal additions to the narrative, all clearly baseless fabrications.

(1) The translators worked independently, in separate cells, and produced identical versions, Ptolemy proposing this test of their trustworthiness. So Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Augustine, the Chronicon Paschale and the Cohortatio ad Graecos (wrongly attributed to Justin); the author of the last work asserts that he had seen the cells and heard the tradition on the spot.

(2) A modification of this legend says that the translators worked in pairs in 36 cells. So Epiphanius (died 403 AD), and later G. Syncellus, Julius Pollux and Zonaras. Epiphanius’ account is the most detailed. The translators were locked up in sky-lighted cells in pairs with attendants and shorthand writers; each pair was entrusted with one book, the books were then circulated, and 36 identical versions of the whole Bible, canonical and apocryphal books, were produced; Ptolemy wrote two letters, one asking for the original Scriptures, the second for translators.

(3) This story of the two embassies appears already in the 2nd century AD, in Justin’s Apology, and

(4) the extension of the translators’ work to the Prophets or the whole Bible recurs in the two Cyrils and in Chrysostom.

(5) The miraculous agreement of the translators proved them to be no less inspired than the authors (Irenaeus, etc.; compare Philo).

(6) As regards date, Clement of Alexandria quotes an alternative tradition referring the version back to the time of the first Ptolemy (322-285 BC); while Chrysostom brings it down to "a hundred or more years (elsewhere "not many years") before the coming of Christ." Justin absurdly states that Ptolemy’s embassy was sent to King Herod; the Chronicon Paschale calls the high priest of the time Onias Simon, brother of Eleazar.

Jerome was the first to hold these later inventions up to ridicule, contrasting them with the older and more sober narrative. They indicate a growing oral tradition in Jewish circles at Alexandria. The origin of the legend of the miraculous consensus of the 70 translators has been reasonably sought in a passage in Ex 24 Septuagint to which Epiphanius expressly refers. We there read of 70 elders of Israel, not heard of again, who with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu form a link between Moses and the people. After reciting the Book of the Covenant Moses ascends to the top of the mount; the 70, however, ascend but a little way and are bidden to worship from afar: according to the Septuagint text "They saw the place where the God of Israel stood .... and of the elect of Israel not one perished" (Ex 24:11), i.e. they were privileged to escape the usual effect of a vision of the Deity (Ex 33:20). But the verb used for "perish" (diaphonein) was uncommon in this sense; "not one disagreed" would be the obvious meaning; hence, apparently the legend of the agreement of the translators, the later intermediaries between Moses and Israel of the Dispersion. When the translations were recited, "no difference was discoverable," says Epiphanius, using the same verb, cave-dwellings in the island of Pharos probably account for the legend of the cells. A curious phenomenon has recently suggested that there is an element of truth in one item of Epiphanius’ obviously incredible narrative, namely, the working of the translators in pairs. The Greek books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel fall into two nearly equal parts, apparently the work of separate translators (see VIII, 1, (2), below); while in Exodus, Leviticus and Psalms orthographical details indicate a similar division of the books for clerical purposes. There was, it seems, a primitive custom of transcribing each book on 2 separate rolls, and in the case of Jeremiah and Ezekiel the practice goes back to the time of translation (JTS, IV, 245 ff, 398 ff; IX, 88 ff).

4. Criticism of the Aristeas Story:

Beside the later extravagances, the story of Aristeas appears comparatively rational. Yet it has long been recognized that much of it is unhistorical, in particular the professed date and nationality of the writer. Its claims to authenticity were demolished by Dr. Hody two centuries ago (De bibliorum textibus originalibus, Oxon., 1705). Clearly the writer is not a Greek, but a Jew, whose aim is to glorify his race and to disseminate information about their sacred books. Yet the story is not wholly to be rejected, though it is difficult to disentangle truth from fiction. On one side his veracity has since Hody’s time been established; his court titles, technical terms, epistolary formulas, etc., reappear in Egyptian papyri and inscriptions, and all his references to Alexandrian life and customs are probably equally trustworthy (sections 28, 109 ff, measures to counteract the ill effects upon agriculture of migration from country to town; section 167, treatment of informers (compare section 25); section 175 reception of foreign embassies (compare section 182)). The import of this discovery has, however, since its announcement by Lombroso (Recherches sur l’economie politique de l’Egypte, Turin, 1870), been somewhat modified by the new-found papyri which show that Aristeas’ titles and formulas are those of the later, not the earlier, Ptolemaic age.

5. Date:

The letter was used by Josephus and probably known to Philo. How much earlier is it? Schurer (HJP, II, iii, 309 f (GJV4, III, 608-16)), relying on (1) the questionable Aristobulus passage, (2) the picture drawn of Palestine as if still under Ptolemaic rule, from which it passed to the Seleucids circa 200 BC, argued that the work could not be later than that date. But it is hard to believe that a fictitious story (as he regards it to be) could have gained credence within little more than half a century of the period to which it relates, and Wendland rightly rejects so ancient an origin. The following indications suggest a date about 100-80 BC.

(1) Many of Aristeas’ formulas, etc. (see above), only came into use in the 2nd century BC (Strack, Rhein. Mus., LV, 168 ff; Thackeray, Aristeas, English translation, pp. 3, 12).

(2) The later Maccabean age or the end of the 2nd century BC is suggested by some of the translators’ names (Wendland, xxvi), and

(3) by the independent position of the high priest.

(4) Some of Ptolemy’s questions indicate a tottering dynasty (section 187, etc.).

(5) The writer occasionally forgets his role and distinguishes between his own time and that of Philadelphus (sections 28, 182).

(6) He appears to borrow his name from a Jewish historian of the 2nd century BC and to wish to pass off the latter’s history as his own (section 6).

(7) He is guilty of historical inaccuracies concerning Demetrius, etc.

(8) The prologue to the Greek Ecclesiasticus (after 132 BC) ignores and contradicts the Aristeas story, whereas Aristeas possibly used this prologue (Wendland, xxvii; compare Hart, Ecclesiasticus in Greek, 1909).

(9) The imprecation upon any who should alter the translation (section 311) points to divergences of text which the writer desired to check; compare section 57, where he seems to insist on the correctness of the Septuagint text of Ex 25:22, "gold of pure gold," as against the Hebrew.

(10) Allusions to current criticisms of the Pentateuch (sections 128, 144) presuppose a familiarity with it on the part of non-Jewish readers only explicable if the Septuagint had long been current.

(11) Yet details in the Greek orthography preclude a date much later than 100 BC.

6. Credibility:

The probable amount of truth in the story is ably discussed by Swete (Intro, 16-22). The following statements in the letter may be accepted:

(1) The translation was produced at Alexandria, as is conclusively proved by Egyptian influence on its language.

(2) The Pentateuch was translated first and, in view of the homogeneity of style, as a whole.

(3) The Greek Pentateuch goes back to the first half of the 3rd century BC; the style is akin to that of the 3rd-century papyri, and the Greek Genesis was used by the Hellenist Demetrius toward the end of the century.

(4) The Hebrew rolls were brought from Jerusalem.

(5) Possibly Philadelphus, the patron of literature, with his religious impartiality, may have countenanced the work.

But the assertion that it owed its inception wholly to him and his librarian is incredible; it is known from other sources that Demetrius Phalereus did not fill the office of librarian under that monarch. The language is that of the people, not a literary style suitable to a work produced under royal patronage. The importation of Palestinian translators is likewise fictitious. Dr. Swete acutely observes that Aristeas, in stating that the translation was read to and welcomed by the Jewish community before being presented to the king, unconsciously reveals its true origin. It was no doubt produced to meet their own needs by the large Jewish colony at Alexandria. A demand that the Law should be read in the synagogues in a tongue "understanded of the people" was the originating impulse.

IV. Evidence of Prologue to Sirach.

The interesting, though in places tantalizingly obscure, prologue to Ecclesiasticus throws light on the progress made with the translation of the remaining Scriptures before the end of the 2nd century BC.

The translator dates his settlement in Egypt, during which he produced his version of his grandfather’s work, as "the 38th year under Euergetes the king." The words have been the subject of controversy, but, with the majority of critics, we may interpret this to mean the 38th year of Euergetes II, reckoning from the beginning (170 BC) of his joint reign with Philometor, i.e. 132 BC. Euergetes I reigned for 25 years only. Others, in view of the superfluous preposition, suppose that the age of the translator is intended, but the cumbrous form of expression is not unparalleled. A recent explanation of the date (Hart, Ecclesiasticus in Greek) as the 38th year of Philadelphus which was also the 1st year of Euergetes I (i.e. 247 BC) is more ingenious than convincing.

The prologue implies the existence of a Greek version of the Law; the Prophets and "the rest of the books." The translator, craving his readers’ indulgence for the imperfections of his own work, due to the difficulty of reproducing Hebrew in Greek, adds that others have experienced the same difficulties: "The Law itself and the prophecies and the rest of the books have no small difference when spoken in their original language." From these words we may understand that at the time of writing (132-100 BC) Alexandrian Jews possessed Greek versions of a large part (probably not the whole) of "the Prophets," and of some of "the Writings" or Hagiographa. For some internal evidence as to the order in which the several books were translated see VIII, below.

V. Transmission of the Septuagint Text.

The main value of the Septuagint is its witness to an older Hebrew text than our own. But before we can reconstruct this Hebrew text we need to have a pure Greek text before us, and this we are at present far from possessing. The Greek text has had a long and complex history of its own. Used for centuries by both Jews and Christians it underwent corruption and interpolation, and, notwithstanding the multitude of materials for its restoration, the original text has yet to be recovered. We are much more certain of the ipsissima verba of the New Testament writers than of the original Alexandrian version of the Old Testament. This does not apply to all portions alike. The Greek Pentateuch, e.g., has survived in a relatively pure form. But everywhere we have to be on our guard against interpolations, sometimes extending to whole paragraphs. Not a verse is without its array of variant readings. An indication of the amount of "mixture" which has taken place is afforded by the numerous "doublets" or alternative renderings of a single Hebrew word or phrase which appear side by side in the transmitted text.

1. Early Corruption of the Text:

Textual corruption began early, before the Christian era. We have seen indications of this in the letter of Aristeas (III, 5, (9) above). Traces of corruption appear in Philo (e.g. his comment, in Quis Rer. Div. Her. 56, on Ge 15:15, shows that already in his day tapheis, "buried," had become trapheis, "nurtured," as in all our manuscripts); doublets already exist. Similarly in the New Testament the author of Hebrews quotes (12:15) a corrupt form of the Greek of De 29:18.

2. Official Revision of Hebrew Text circa 100 AD:

But it was not until the beginning of the 2nd century AD that the divergence between the Greek and the Palestinian Hebrew text reached an acute stage. One cause of this was the revision of the Hebrew text which took place about this time. No actual record of this revision exists, but it is beyond doubt that it originated in the rabbinical school, of which Rabbi Akiba was the chief representative, and which had its center at Jamnia in the years following the destruction of Jerusalem. The Jewish doctors, their temple in ruins, concentrated their attention on the settlement of the text of the Scriptures which remained to them. This school of eminent critics, precursors of the Massoretes, besides settling outstanding questions concerning the Canon, laid down strict rules for Biblical interpretation, and in all probability established an official text.

3. Adoption of Septuagint by Christians:

But another cause widened still farther the distance between the texts of Jerusalem and Alexandria. This was the adoption of the Septuagint by the Christian church. When Christians began to cite the Alexandrian version in proof of their doctrines, the Jews began to question its accuracy. Hence, mutual recriminations which are reflected in the pages of Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho. "They dare to assert," says Justin (Dial., 68), "that the interpretation produced by your seventy elders under Ptolemy of Egypt is in some points inaccurate." A crucial instance cited by the Jews was the rendering "virgin" in Isa 7:14, where they claimed with justice that "young woman" would be more accurate. Justin retaliates by charging the Jews with deliberate excision of passages favorable to Christianity.

4. Alternative 2nd Century Greek Versions:

That such accusations should be made in those critical years was inevitable, yet there is no evidence of any material interpolations having been introduced by either party. But the Alexandrian version, in view of the revised text and the new and stricter canons of interpretation, was felt by the Jews to be inadequate, and a group of new translations of Scripture in the 2nd century AD supplied the demand. We possess considerable fragments of the work of three of these translators, namely, Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion, besides scanty remnants of further anonymous versions

5. Aquila:

The earliest of "the three" was Aquila, a proselyte to Judaism, and, like his New Testament namesake, a native of Pontus. He flourished, according to Epiphanius (whose account of these later translators in his De mens. et pond. is not wholly trustworthy), under Hadrian (117-38 AD) and was related to that emperor; there is no ~probability in Epiphanius’ further statement that Hadrian entrusted to Aquila the superintendence of the building of Aelia Capitolina on the site of Jerusalem, that there he was converted to Christianity by Christian exiles returning from Pella, but that refusing to abandon astrology he was excommunicated, and in revenge turned Jew and was actuated by a bias against Christianity in his version of the Old Testament. What is certain is that he was a pupil of the new rabbinical school, in particular of Rabbi Akiba (95-135 AD), and that his version was an attempt to reproduce exactly the revised official text. The result was an extraordinary production, unparalleled in Greek literature, if it can be classed under that category at all. No jot or tittle of the Hebrew might be neglected; uniformity in the translation of each Hebrew word must be preserved and the etymological kinship of different Hebrew words represented. Such were some of his leading principles. The opening words of his translation (Ge 1:1) may be rendered: "In heading rounded God with the heavens and with the earth." "Heading" or "summary" was selected because the Hebrew word for "beginning" was a derivative of "head." "With" represents an untranslatable word (’eth) prefixed to the accusative case, but indistinguishable from the preposition "with." The Divine Name (the tetragrammaton, YHWH) was not translated, but written in archaic Hebrew characters. "A slave to the letter," as Origen calls him, his work has aptly been described by a modern writer as "a colossal crib" (Burkitt, JQR, October, 1896, 207 ff). Yet it was a success. In Origen’s time it was used by all Jews ignorant of Hebrew, and continued in use for several centuries; Justinian expressly sanctioned its use in the synagogues (Nov., 146). Its lack of style and violation of the laws of grammar were not due to ignorance of Greek, of which the writer shows, in vocabulary at least, a considerable command. Its importance lay and lies (so far as it is preserved) in its exact reproduction of the rabbinical text of the 2nd century AD; it may be regarded as the beginning of the scientific study of the Hebrew Scriptures. Though "a bold attempt to displace the Septuagint," it cannot be charged with being intentionally antagonistic to Christianity. Of the original work, previously known only from extracts in manuscripts, some palimpsest fragments were recovered from the Cairo Genizah in 1897 and edited by F. C. Burkitt (Fragments of the Books of Kings, 1897) and by C. Taylor (Sayings of the Jewish Fathers2, 1897; Hebrew-Greek Cairo Genizah Palimpsests, 1900). The student of Swete’s Old Testament will trace Aquila’s unmistakable style in the footnotes to the Books of Samuel and Kings; the older and shorter B text in those books has constantly been supplemented in the A text from Aquila. A longer specimen of his work occurs in the Greek Ecclesiastes, which has no claim to be regarded as "Septuagint"; Jerome refers to a second edition of Aquila’s version, and the Greek Ecclesiastes is perhaps his first edition of that book, made on the basis of an unrevised Hebrew text (McNeile, Introduction to Ecclesiastes, Cambridge, 1904, App. I). The suggested identification of Aquila with Onkelos, author of the Targum of that name, has not been generally accepted.

6. Theodotion:

Epiphanius’ account of the dates and history of Theodotion and Symmachus is untrustworthy. He seems to have reversed their order, probably misled by the order of the translations, in the columns of the Hexapla (see below). He also apparently confused Aquila and Theodotion in calling the latter a native of Pontus. As regards date, Theodotion, critics are agreed, preceded Symmachus and probably flourished under M. Aurelius (161-80), whereas Symmachus lived under Commodus (180-92); Irenaeus mentions only the versions of Aquila and Theodotion, and that of Symmachus had in his day either not been produced or at least not widely circulated. According to the more credible account of Irenaeus, Theodotion was an Ephesian and a convert to Judaism. His version constantly agrees with the Septuagint and was rather a revision of it, to bring it into accord with the current Hebrew text, than an independent work. The supplementing of lacunae in the Septuagint (due partly to the fact that the older version of some books did not aim at completeness) gave scope for greater originality. These lacunae were greatest in Job and his version of that book was much longer than the Septuagint. The text of Job printed in Swete’s edition is a patchwork of old and new; the careful reader may detect the Theodotion portions by transliterations and other peculiarities. Long extracts from Theodotion are preserved in codex Q in Jeremiah. As regards the additional matter contained in Septuagint, Theodotion was inconsistent; he admitted, e.g., the additions to Daniel (Sus, Bel and the Dragon, and the So of Three Children), but did not apparently admit the non-canonical books as a whole. The church adopted his Daniel in place of the inadequate Septuagint version, which has survived in only one Greek manuscript; but the date when the change took place is unknown and the early history of the two Greek texts is obscure. Theodotion’s renderings have been found in writings before his time (including the New Testament), and it is reasonably conjectured that even before the 2nd century AD the Septuagint text had been discarded and that Theodotion’s version is but a working over of an older alternative version Theodotion is free from the barbarisms of Aquila, but is addicted to transliteration, i.e. the reproduction of Hebrew words in Greek letters: His reasons for this habit are not always clear; ignorance of Hebrew will not account for all (compare VIII, 1, (5), below).

7. Symmachus and Others:

Beside the two versions produced by, and primarily intended for, Jews was a third, presumably to meet the needs of a Jewish Christian sect who were dissatisfied with the Septuagint. Symmachus, its author, was, according to the more trustworthy account, an Ebionite, who also wrote a commentary on Matthew, a copy of which was given to Origen by Juliana, a lady who received it from its author (Euseb., HE, VI, 17). Epiphanius’ description of him as a Samaritan convert to Judaism may be rejected. The date of his work, as above stated, was probably the reign of Commodus (180-192 AD). In one respect the version resembled Aquila’s, in its faithful adherence to the sense of the current Hebrew text; its style, however, which was flowing and literary, was a revolt against Aquila’s monstrosities. It seems to have been a recasting of Aquila’s version, with free use of both Septuagint and Theodotion. It carried farther a tendency apparent in the Septuagint to refine away the anthropomorphisms of the Old Testament.

Of three other manuscripts discovered by Origen (one at Nicopolis in Greece, one at Jericho) and known from their position in the Hexapla as Quinta, Sexta, and Septima, little is known. There is no reason to suppose that they embraced the whole Old Testament. Quinta is characterized by Field as the most elegant of the Greek versions F.C. Burkitt has discussed "the so-called Quinta of 4 Kings" in PSBA, June, 1902. The Christian origin of Sexta betrays itself in Hab 3:13 ("Thou wentest forth to save thy people for the sake of (or "by") Jesus thy anointed One").

8. Origen and the Hexapla:

These later versions play a large part in the history of the text of the Septuagint. This is due to the labors of the greatest Septuagint scholar of antiquity, the celebrated Origen of Alexandria, whose active life covers the first half of the 3rd century. Origen frankly recognized, and wished Christians to recognize, the merits of the later VSS, and the divergences between the Septuagint and the current Hebrew. He determined to provide the church with the materials for ascertaining the true text and meaning of the Old Testament. With this object he set himself to learn Hebrew—a feat probably unprecedented among non-Jewish Christians of that time—and to collect the later versions The idea of using these versions to amend the Septuagint seemed to him an inspiration: "By the gift of God we found a remedy for the divergence in the copies of the Old Testament, namely to use the other editions as a criterion" (Commentary on Mt 15:14). The magnum opus in which he embodied the results of his labors was known as the Hexapla or "six-column" edition. This stupendous work has not survived; a fragment was discovered toward the end of the 19th century in the Ambrosian Library at Milan (Swete, Introduction, 61 ff) and another among the Cairo Genizah palimpsests (ed C. Taylor, Cambridge, 1900). The material was arranged in six parallel columns containing

(1) the current Hebrew text,

(2) the same in Greek letters,

(3) the version of Aquila,

(4) that of Symmachus,

(5) that of the Septuagint,

(6) that of Theodotion.

The text was broken up into short clauses; not more than two words, usually one only, stood in the first column. The order of the columns doubtless represents the degree of conformity to the Hebrew; Aquila’s, as the most faithful, heads the VSS, and Symmachus’ is on the whole a revision of Aquila as Theodotion’s is of the Septuagint. But Origen was not content with merely collating the VSS; his aim was to revise the Septuagint and the 5th column exhibited his revised text. The basis of it was the current Alexandrian text of the 3rd century AD; this was supplemented or corrected where necessary by the other versions Origen, however, deprecated alteration of a text which had received ecclesiastical sanction, without some indication of its extent, and the construction of the 5th column presented difficulties. There were

(1) numerous cases of words or paragraphs contained in the Septuagint but not in the Hebrew, which could not be wholly rejected,

(2) cases of omission from the Septuagint of words in the Hebrew,

(3) cases of paraphrase and minor divergences,

(4) variations in the order of words or chapters.

Origen here had recourse to a system of critical signs, invented and employed by the grammarian Aristarchus (3rd century BC) in his edition of Homer. Passages of the first class were left in the text, but had prefixed to them an obelus, a sign of which the original form was a "spit" or "spear," but figuring in Septuagint manuscripts as a horizontal line usually with a dot above and a dot below; there are other varieties also. The sign in Aristarchus indicated censure, in the Hexapla the doubtful authority of the words which followed. The close of the obelized passage was marked by the metobelus, a colon (:), or, in the Syriac VSS, shaped like a mallet. Passages missing in the Septuagint were supplied from one of the other versions (Aquila or Theodotion), the beginning of the extract being marked by an asterisk—a sign used by Aristarchus to express special approval—the close, by the metobelus. Where Septuagint and Hebrew widely diverged, Origen occasionally gave two VSS, that of a later translator under an asterisk, that of Septuagint obelized. Divergence in order was met by transposition, the Hebrew order being followed; in Proverbs, however, the two texts kept their respective order, the discrepancy being indicated by a combination of signs. Minor supposed or real corruptions in the Greek were tacitly corrected. Origen produced a minor edition, the Tetrapla, without the first two columns of the larger work. The Heptapla and Octapla, occasionally mentioned, appear to be alternative names given to the Hexapla at points where the number of columns was increased to receive other fragmentary versions. This gigantic work, which according to a reasonable estimate must have filled 5,000 leaves, was probably never copied in extenso. The original was preserved for some centuries in the library of Pamphilus at Caesarea; there it was studied by Jerome, and thither came owners of Biblical manuscripts to collate their copies with it, as we learn from some interesting notes in our uncial manuscripts (e.g. a 7th-century note appended to Esther in codex S). The Library probably perished circa 638 AD, when Caesarea fell into the hands of the Saracens.

9. Hexaplaric Manuscripts:

But, though the whole work was too vast to be copied, it was a simple task to copy the 5th column. This task was performed, partly in prison, by Pamphilus, a martyr in the Diocletian persecution, and his friend Eusebius, the great bishop of Caesarea. Copies of the "Hexaplaric" Septuagint, i.e. Origen’s doctored text with the critical signs and perhaps occasional notes, were, through the initiative of these two, widely circulated in Palestine in the 4th century. Naturally, however, the signs became unintelligible in a text detached from the parallel columns which explained them; scribes neglected them, and copies of the doctored text, lacking the precautionary symbols, were multiplied. This carelessness has wrought great confusion; Origen is, through others’ fault, indirectly responsible for the production of manuscripts in which the current Septuagint text and the later versions are hopelessly mixed. No manuscripts give the Hexaplaric text as a whole, and it is preserved in a relatively pure form in very few: the uncials G and M (Pentatruch and some historical books), the cursives 86 and 88 (Prophets). Other so-called Hexaplaric manuscripts, notably codex Q (Marchalianus: Proph.) preserve fragments of the 5th and of the other columns of the Hexapla. (For the Syro-Hexaplar see below, VI, 1.) Yet, even did we possess the 5th column entire, with the complete apparatus of signs, we should not have "the original Septuagint," but merely, after removing the asterisked passages, a text current in the 3rd century. The fact has to be emphasized that Origen’s gigantic work was framed on erroneous principles. He assumed (1) the purity of the current Hebrew text, (2) the corruption of the current Septuagint text where it deviated from the Hebrew. The modern critic recognizes that the Septuagint on the whole presents the older text, the divergences of which from the Hebrew are largely attributable to an official revision of the latter early in the Christian era. He recognizes also that in some books (e.g. Job) the old Greek version was only a partial one. To reconstruct the original text he must therefore have recourse to other auxiliaries beside Origen.

10. Recensions Known to Jerome:

Such assistance is partly furnished by two other recensions made in the century after Origen. Jerome (Praef. in Paralipp.; compare Adv. Ruf., ii.27) states that in the 4th century three recensions circulated in different parts of the Christian world: "Alexandria and Egypt in their Septuagint acclaim Hesychius as their authority, the region from Constantinople to Antioch approves the copies of Lucian the martyr, the intermediate Palestinian provinces read the manuscripts which were promulgated by Eusebius and Pamphilus on the basis of Origen’s labors, and the whole world is divided between these three varieties of text."

11. Hesychian Recension:

Hesychius is probably to be identified with the martyr bishop mentioned by Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, VIII, 13) along with another scholar martyr, Phileas bishop of Thmuis, and it is thought that these two were engaged in prison in revising the Egyptian text at the time when Pamphilus and Eusebius were employed on a similar task under similar conditions. How far existing manuscripts preserve the Hesychian recension is uncertain; agreement of their text with that of Egyptian versions and Fathers (Cyril in particular) is the criterion. For the Prophets Ceriani has identified codex Q and its kin as Hesychian. For the Octateuch N. McLean (JTS, II, 306) finds the Hesychian text in a group of cursives, 44, 74, 76, 84, 106, 134, etc. But the first installments of the larger Cambridge Septuagint raise the question whether Codex B (Vaticanus) may not itself be Hesychian; its text is more closely allied to that of Cyril Alex. than to any other patristic text, and the consensus of these two witnesses against the rest is sometimes (Ex 32:14) curiously striking. In the Psalter also Rahlfs (Septuaginta-Studien, 2. Heft, 1907, 235) traces the Hesychian text in B and partially in Codex Sinaiticus. Compare von Soden’s theory for the New Testament.


12. Lucianic Recension:

The Lucianic recension was the work of another martyr, Lucian of Antioch (died 311-12), probably with the collaboration of the Hebraist Dorotheus. There are, as Hort has shown, reasons for associating Lucian with a "Syrian" revision of the New Testament in the 4th century, which became the dominant type of text. That he produced a Syrian recension of the Greek Old Testament is expressly stated by Jerome, and we are moreover able with considerable certainty to identify the extant manuscripts which exhibit it. The identification, due to Field and Lagarde, rests on these grounds:

(1) certain verses in 2 Kings are in the Arabic Syro-Hexaplar marked with the letter L, and a note explains that the letter indicates Lucianic readings;

(2) the readings so marked occur in the cursives 19, 82, 93, 108, 118;

(3) these manuscripts in the historical books agree with the Septuagint citations of the Antiochene Fathers Chrysostom and Theodoret.

This clue enabled Lagarde to construct a Lucianic text of the historical books (Librorum Vet. Test. canonic. pars prior, Gottingen, 1883); his death prevented the completion of the work. Lagarde’s edition is vitiated by the fact that he does not quote the readings of the individual manuscripts composing the group, and it can be regarded only as an approximate reconstruction of "Lucian." It is evident, however, that the Lucianic Septuagint possessed much the same qualities as the Syrian revision of the New Testament; lucidity and completeness were the main objects. It is a "full" text, the outcome of a desire to include, so far as possible, all recorded matter; "doublets" are consequently numerous. While this "conflation" of texts detracts from its value, the Lucianic revision gains importance from the fact that the sources from which it gleaned include an element of great antiquity which needs to be disengaged; where it unites with the Old Latin version against all other authorities its evidence is invaluable.


VI. Reconstruction of Septuagint Text; Versions, Manuscripts and Printed Editions.

The task of restoring the original text is beset with difficulties. The materials (MSS, VSS, patristic citations) are abundant, but none has escaped "mixture," and the principles for reconstruction are not yet securely established (Swete, Introduction, I, iv-vi; III, vi).

1. Ancient Versions Made from Septuagint:

Among the chief aids to restoration are the daughter versions made from the Septuagint, and above all the Old Latin (pre-Hieronymian) version, for the earliest (African) Old Latin version dates from the 2nd century AD, i.e. before Origen, and contains a text from which the asterisked passages in Hexaplaric manuscripts are absent; it thus "brings us the best independent proof we have that the Hexaplar signs introduced by Origen can be relied on for the reconstruction of the LXX" (Burkitt). The Old Latin also enables us to recognize the ancient element in the Lucianic recension. But the Latin evidence itself is by no means unanimous. Augustine (De Doctr. Christ., ii.16) speaks of the infinite variety of Latin VSS; though they may ultimately prove all to fall into two main families, African and European. Peter Sabatier’s collection of patristic quotations from the Old Latin is still useful, though needing verification by recent editions of the Fathers. Of Old Latin manuscripts one of the most important is the codex Lugdunensis, edited by U. Robert (Pentateuchi e codex Lugd. versio Latin antiquissima, Paris, 1881; Heptateuchi partis post. versio Latin antiq. e codex Lugd., Lyons, 1900). The student should consult also Burkitt’s edition of The Rules of Tyconius ("Texts and Studies," III, 1, Cambridge, 1894) and The Old Latin and the Itala (ibid., IV, 3, 1896).

Jerome’s Vulgate is mainly a direct translation from the Hebrew, but the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) Psalter, the so-called Gallican, is one of Jerome’s two revisions of the Old Latin, not his later version from the Hebrew, and some details in our Prayer-book Psalter are ultimately derived through the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) Psalter from the Septuagint. Parts of the Apocrypha (Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, 1 and 2 Maccabees) are also pure Old Latin, untouched by Jerome.

The early date (2nd century AD) once claimed for the Egyptian or Coptic versions (Bohairic, i.e. in the dialect of Lower Egypt, Sahidic or Upper Egyptian and Middle Egyptian) has not been confirmed by later researches, at least as regards the first-named, which is probably not earlier than the 3rd or 4th century AD. Rahlfs (Sept-Studien, II, 1907) identifies the Bohairic Psalter as the Hesychian recension. The Sahidic version of Job has fortunately preserved the shorter text lacking the later insertions from Theodotion (Lagarde, Mittheilungen, 1884, 204); this does not conclusively prove that it is pre-Origenic; it may be merely a Hexaplaric text with the asterisked passages omitted (Burkitt, EB, IV, 5027). The influence bf the Hexapla is traceable elsewhere in this version

The Ethiopic version was made in the main from the Greek and in part at least from an early text; Rahlfs (Sept. Stud., I, 1904) considers its text of S-K, with that of codex B, to be pre-Origenic.

The Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) or Peshitta Syriac version was made from the Hebrew, though partly influenced by the Septuagint. But another Syriac version is of primary importance for the Septuagint text, namely, that of Paul, bishop of Tella (Constantine in Mesopotamia), executed at Alexandria in 616-17 and known as the Syro-Hexaplar. This is a bald Syriac version of the Septuagint column of the Hexapla, containing the Hexaplar signs. A manuscript of the poetical and prophetical books is in the Ambrosian Library at Milan and has been edited by Ceriani (Monumenta sacra et profana, 1874); fragments of the historical books are also extant (Lagarde and Rahlfs, Bibliothecae Syriacae, Gottingen, 1892). This version supplements the Greek Hexaplaric manuscripts and is the principal authority for Origen’s text. For the original version of Daniel, which has survived in only one late MS, the Syro-Hexaplar supplies a second and older authority of great value.

The Armenian version (ascribed to the 5th century) also owes its value to its extreme literalness; its text of the Octateuch is largely Hexaplaric.

A bare mention must suffice of the Arabic version (of which the prophetical and poetical books, Job excluded, were rendered from the Septuagint); the fragments of the Gothic version (made from the Lucianic recension), and the Slavonic (partly from Septuagint, also Lucianic) and the Georgian versions.

2. Manuscripts:

For a full description of the Greek manuscripts see Swete, Introduction, I, chapter V. They are divided according to their script (capitals or minuscules) into uncials and cursives, the former ranging from the 4th century (four papyrus scraps go back to the 3rd century; Nestle in Hauck-Herzog, Realencyklopadie fur protestantische Theologie und Kirche, XXIII, 208) to the 10th century AD, the latter from the 9th to the 16th century AD. Complete Bibles are few; the majority contain groups of books only, such as the Pentateuch, Octateuch (Gen-Ruth), the later historical books, the Psalter, the 3 or 5 "Solomonic" books, the Prophets (major, minor or both). Uncials are commonly denoted by capital letters (in the edition of Holmes and Parsons by Roman figures); cursives, of which over 300 are known, by Arabic figures; in the larger Cambridge Septuagint the selected cursives are denoted by small Roman letters.

The following are the chief uncials containing, or which once contained, the whole Bible: B (Vaticanus, at Rome, 4th century AD), adopted as the standard text in all recent editions; Codex Sinaiticus, at Petersburg and Leipzig, 4th century AD), discovered by Tischendorf in 1844 and subsequent years in Catherine’s Convent, Mt. Sinai; A (Alexandrinus, British Museum, probably 5th century AD); C (Ephraemi rescriptus, Paris, probably 5th century), a palimpsest, the older Biblical matter underlying a medieval Greek text of works of Ephrem the Syrian. For the Octateuch and historical books: D (Cottonianus, British Museum, probably 5th or 6th century), fragments of an illuminated Gen, the bulk of which perished in a fire at Ashburnham House in 1731, but earlier collations of Grabe and others are extant, which for the lost portions are cited in the Cambridge texts as D (Dsil, i.e. silet Grabius, denotes an inference from Grabe’s silence that the manuscript did not contain a variant); F (Ambro-sianus, Milan, 4th to 5th century), fragments of the Octateuch; G (Sarravianus, fragments at Leyden, Paris and Petersburg, 4th to 5th century), important as containing an Origenic text with the Hexaplar signs; L (Purpureus Vindobonensis, Vienna, 5th to 6th century), fragments of an illuminated manuscript Genesis on purple vellum; M (Coislinianus, Paris, 7th century), important on account of its marginal Hexaplaric matter. For the Prophets, Q (Marchalianus, Rome, 6th century) is valuable, both for its text, which is "Hesychian" (see above), and for its abundant marginal Hexaplaric matter. A curious mixture of uncial and cursive writing occurs in E (Bodleianus, probably 10th century), fragments of the historical books (to 3 R 16 28) preserved at Oxford, Cambridge (1 leaf), Petersburg and London; Tischendorf, who brought the manuscript from the East, retained the tell-tale Cambridge leaf, on which the transition from uncial to cursive script occurs, until his death. The long-concealed fact that the scattered fragments were part of a single manuscript came to light through Swete’s identification of the Cambridge leaf as a continuation of the Bodleian fragment. Many of the cursives still await investigation, as do also the lectionaries. The latter, though the manuscripts are mainly late, should repay study. The use of the Septuagint for lectionary purposes was inherited by the church from the synagogue, and the course of lessons may partly represent an old system; light may also be expected from them on the local distribution of various types of text.

3. Printed Texts:

Of the printed text the first four editions were

(1) the Complutensian Polyglot of Cardinal Ximenes, 1514-17, comprising the Greek, Hebrew and Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) texts, the last in the middle place of honor being compared to Jesus in the midst between the two thieves (!). The Greek was based on manuscripts from the Vatican and one from Venice; it exhibits on the whole the Lucianic recension, as the Hesychian is by a curious coincidence represented in

(2) the Aldine edition of 1518, based on Venetian manuscripts.

(3) The monumental Sixtine edition, published at Rome in 1586 under the auspices of Pope Sixtus V and frequently reprinted, was mainly based on the codex Vaticanus, the superiority of which text is justly recognized in the interesting preface (printed in Swete’s Intro)

(4) The English edition (Oxford, 1707-20) begun by Grabe (died 1712) was based on the codex Alexandrinus, with aid from other manuscripts, and had the peculiarity that he employed Origen’s critical signs and different sizes of type to show the divergence between the Greek and the Hebrew. Of more recent editions three are preeminent.

(5) The great Oxford edition of Holmes and Parsons (Oxford, 1798-1827, 5 volumes, folio) was the first attempt to bring together in a gigantic apparatus criticus all the evidence of uncial and cursire manuscripts (upward of 300), versions and early Citations from Philo and Josephus onward. As a monumental storehouse of materials "H. and P." will not be wholly superseded by the latest edition now (1913) in preparation.

(6) The serviceable Cambridge "manual," edition of Swete (lst edition 1887-94, edition 3, 1901-7, 3 volumes, 8vo), is in the hands of all serious Septuagint students. The text is that of B, or (where B fails) of A, and the apparatus contains the readings of the principal uncial manuscripts. New materials discovered since the edition of H. and P., especially codex S, are employed, and greater accuracy in the presentation of the other evidence has been made possible by photography. The fact that the text here printed is but a provisional one is sometimes overlooked. Swete’s edition was designed as a precursor to

(7) the larger Cambridge Septuagint, of which three installments embracing the Pentateuch have (1913) appeared (The Old Testament in Greek, edition A.E. Brooke and N. McLean, Cambridge, 1911 pt. III. Numbers and Deuteronomy). The text is a reprint of Swete’s except that from Ex onward a few alterations of errors in the primary manuscript have been corrected, a delicate task in which the editors have rejected a few old readings without sufficient regard to the peculiarities of Hellenistic Greek. The importance of the work lies in its apparatus, which presents the readings of all the uncials, versions and early citations, and those of a careful representative selection of the cursives. The materials of H (Law of Holiness, Lev. 17-26) and P (the Priestly Code) are brought up to date and presented in a more reliable and convenient form. Besides these there is

(8) Lagarde’s reconstruction of the Lucianic recension of the historical books, which, as stated, must be used with caution (see above)

4. Reconstruction of Original Text:

The task of reconstructing the Oldest text is still unaccomplished. Materials have accumulated, and much preliminary "spade-work" has been done, by Lagarde in particular (see his "axioms" in Swete, Introduction, 484, ff) and more recently by Nestle and Rahlfs; but the principles which the editor must follow are not yet finally determined. The extent to which "mixture" has affected the documents is the stumbling-block. Clearly no single Moabite Stone presents the oldest text. That of codex B, as in the New Testament, is on the whole the purest. In the 4 books of "Reigns" (1 Samuel through 2 Kings), e.g., it has escaped the grosser interpolations found in most manuscripts, and Rahlfs (Sept.-Studien, I, 1904) regards its text as pre-Origenic. It is, however, of unequal value and by no means an infallible guide; in Judges, e.g., its text is undoubtedly late, no earlier than the 4th century AD, according to one authority (Moore," Jgs," ICC). In relation to two of the 4th-century recensions its text is neutral, neither predominantly Lucianic nor Hexaplaric; but it has been regarded by some authorities as Hesychian. Possibly the recension made in the country which produced the Septuagint adhered more closely than others to the primitive text; some "Hesychian" features in the B text may prove to be original. Still even its purest portions contain marks of editorial revision and patent corruptions. Codex Alexandrinus presents a quite different type of text, approximating to that of the Massoretic Text. In the books of "Reigns" it is practically a Hexaplaric text without the critical signs, the additional matter being mainly derived from Aquila. Yet that it contains an ancient element is shown by the large support given to its readings by the New Testament and early Christian writers. Individual manuscripts must give place to groups. In order to reconstruct the texts current before Origen’s time, it is necessary to isolate the groups containing the three 4th-century recensions, and to eliminate from the recensions thus recovered all Hexaplaric matter and such changes as appear to have been introduced by the authors of those recensions. Other groups brought to light by the larger Cambridge text have also to be taken into account. The attempt to Renetrate into the earlier stages of the history is the hardest task. The Old Latin version is here the surest guide; it has preserved readings which have disappeared from all Greek manuscripts, and affords a criterion as to the relative antiquity of the Greek variants. The evidence of early Christian and Jewish citations is also valuable. Ultimately, after elimination of all readings proved to be "recensional" or late, the decision between outstanding variants must depend on internal evidence. These variants will fall into two classes: (1) those merely affecting the Greek text, by far the larger number and presenting less difficulty; (2) those which imply a different Hebrew text. In adjudicating on the latter Lagarde’s main axioms have to be borne in mind, that a free translation is to be preferred to a slavishly literal one, and a translation presupposing another Hebrew original to one based on the Massoretic Text.

VII. Number, Titles and Order of Books.

1. Contents:

In addition to the Hebrew canonical books, the Septuagint includes all the books in the English Apocrypha except 2 Esdras (The Prayer of Manasseh only finds a place among the canticles appended in some manuscripts to the Psalms) besides a 3rd and 4th book of Maccabees. Swete further includes in his text as an appendix of Greek books on the borderland of canonicity the Ps of Sol (found in some cursives and mentioned in the list in codex A), the Greek fragments of the Book of Enoch and the ecclesiastical canticles above mentioned. Early Christian writers in quoting freely from these additional books as Scripture doubtless perpetuate a tradition inherited from the Jews of Alexandria. Most of the books being original Greek compositions were ipso facto excluded from a place in the Hebrew Canon. Greater latitude as regards canonicity prevailed at Alexandria; the Pentateuch occupied a place apart, but as regards later books no very sharp line of demarcation between "canonical" and "uncanonical" appears to have been drawn.

2. Titles:

Palestinian Jews employed the first word or words of each book of the Pentateuch to serve as its title; Genesis e.g. was denoted "in the beginning," Exodus "(and these are the) names"; a few of the later books have similar titles. It is to the Septuagint, through the medium of the Latin VSS, that we owe the familiar descriptive titles, mostly suggested by phrases in the Greek version. In some books there are traces of rival titles in the Ptolemaic age. Exodus ("outgoing") is also called Exagoge ("leading out") by Philo and by the Hellenist Ezekiel who gave that name to his drama on the deliverance from Egypt. Philo has also alternative names for Deuteronomy—Epinomis ("after-law") borrowed from the title of a pseudo-Platonic treatise, and for Judgess "the Book of Judgments." The last title resembles the Alexandrian name for the books of Samuel and Kings, namely, the four Books of Kingdoms or rather Reigns; the name may have been given in the first place to a partial version including only the reigns of the first few monarchs. Jerome’s influence in this case restored the old Hebrew names as also in Chronicles (= Hebrew "Words of Days," "Diaries"), which in the Septuagint is entitled Paraleipomena, "omissions," as being a supplement to the Books of Reigns.

3. Bipartition of Books:

Another innovation, due apparently to the Greek translators or later editors, was the breaking up of some of the long historical narratives into volumes of more manageable compass. In the Hebrew manuscripts, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah form respectively one book apiece. In the Septuagint the first three of these collections are subdivided into two volumes as in modern Bibles; an acquaintance with the other arrangement is, however, indicated in Codex B by the insertion at the end of 1 R, 3 R, 1 Chronicles of the first sentence of the succeeding book, a reminder to the reader that a continuation is to follow. Ezra-Nehemiah, the Greek version (2 Esdras) being made under the influence of Palestinian tradition, remains undivided. Originally Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah formed a unit, as was apparently still the case when the oldest Greek version (1 Esdras) was made.

4. Grouping and Order of Books:

In the arrangement of books there is a radical departure from Palestinian practice. There were three main unalterable divisions in the Hebrew Bible, representing three stages in the formation of the Canon: Law, Prohets "Former" i.e. Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, and "Latter") and "Writings." This arrangement was known at Alexandria at the end of the 2nd century BC (Sir, prol.) but was not followed. The "Writings" were a miscellaneous collection of history and poetry with one prophetical book (Daniel). Alexandrian scholars introduced a more literary and symmetrical system, bringing together the books of each class and arranging them with some regard to the supposed chronological order of their authors. The Law, long before the Greek translation, had secured a position of supreme sanctity; this group was left undisturbed, it kept its precedence and the individual books their order (Leviticus and Numbers, however, exchange places in a few lists). The other two groups are broken up. Ru is removed from the "Writings" and attached to Judges. Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah are similarly transferred to the end of the historical group. This group, from chronological considerations, is followed by the poetical and other "Writings," the Prophets coming last (so in Codex Vaticanus, etc.; in Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus, prophets precede poets). The internal order of the Greek Hagiographa, which includes quasi-historical (Esther, Tobit, Judith) and Wisdom books, is variable. Daniel now first finds a place among the Prophets. The 12 minor prophets usually precede the major (Codex Sinaiticus and Western authorities give the four precedence), and the order of the first half of their company is shuffled, apparently on chronological grounds, Hosea being followed by Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Jeremiah has his train of satellites, Baruch, Lamentation (transferred from the "Writings") and Epistle of Jeremiah; Susanna and Bel and the Dragon consort with and form integral parts of Daniel. Variation in the order of books is partly attributable to the practice of writing each book on a separate papyrus roll, kept in a cylindrical case; rolls containing kindred matter would tend to be placed in the same case, but there would be no fixed order for these separate items until the copying of large groups in book-form came into vogue (Swete, Introduction, 225 f, 229 f).

VIII. Characteristics of the Version and Its Component Parts.

Notwithstanding the uncertain state of the text, some general characteristics of the version are patent. It is clear that, like the Hebrew itself, it is not a single book, but a library. It is a series of versions and Greek compositions covering well-nigh 400 years, since it includes a few productions of the 2nd century AD; the bulk of the translations, however, fall within the first half of the period (Sirach, prolegomena).

1. Grouping of Septuagint Books on Internal Evidence:

The translations may be grouped and their chronological order approximately determined from certain characteristics of their style.

(1) We may inquire how a Hebrew word or phrase is rendered in different parts of the work. Diversity of renderings is not an infallible proof that different hands have been employed, since invariable uniformity in translation is difficult of attainment and indeed was not the aim of the Pentateuch translators, who seem rather to have studied variety of expression. If, however, a Hebrew word is consistently rendered by one Greek word in one portion and by another elsewhere, and if each of the two portions has other features peculiar to itself, it becomes highly probable that the two portions are the work of different schools. Among "test-words" which yield results of this kind are "servant" in "Moses the servant of the Lord," "Hosts" in "Lord of Hosts," "Philistines" (Swete, Introduction, 317 f; Thackeray, Grammar of the Old Testament, 7 ff).

(2) We may compare the Greek with that of dated documents of the Ptolemaic age. The translations were written in the koine or "common" Greek, most of them in the vernacular variety of it, during a period when this new cosmopolitan language was in the making; the abundant dated papyri enable us to trace some stages in its evolution. The Petrie and Hibeh papyri of the 3rd century BC afford the closest parallels to the Greek Pentateuch. The following century witnessed a considerable development or "degeneracy" in the language, of which traces may be found in the Greek of the prophetical books. Beside the vernacular Greek was the literary language of the "Atticistic" school which persistently struggled, with indifferent success, to recover the literary flavor of the old Greek masterpieces. This style is represented in the Septuagint by most of the original Greek writings and by the paraphrases of some of the "Writings."

(3) We may compare the Greek books as translations, noting in which books Iicense is allowed and which adhere strictly to the Hebrew. The general movement is in the direction of greater literalism; the later books show an increasing reverence for the letter of Scripture, resulting in the production of pedantically literal VSS; the tendency culminated in the 2nd century AD in the barbarisms of Aquila. Some of the "Writings" were freely handled, because they had not yet obtained canonical rank at the time of translation. Investigation on these lines goes to show that the order of the translation was approximately that of the Hebrew Canon. The Greek Hexateuch may be placed in the 3rd century BC, the Prophets mainly in the 2nd century BC, the "Writings" mainly in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC.

(1) The Hexateuch.

The Greek Pentateuch should undoubtedly be regarded as a unit: the Aristeas story may so far be credited. It is distinguished by a uniformly high level of the "common" vernacular style, combined with faithfulness to the Hebrew, rarely lapsing into literalism. It set the standard which later translators tried to imitate. The text was more securely established in this portion and substantial variant readings are comparatively few. The latter part of Exodus is an exception; the Hebrew had here not reached its final form in the 3rd century BC, and there is some reason for thinking that the version is not the work of the translator of the first half. In Deuteronomy a few new features in vocabulary appear (e.g. ekklesia; see Hort, Christian Ecclesia, 4 ff). The Greek version of Josephus forms a link between the Pentateuch and the later historical books. The text was not yet fixed, and variants are more abundant than in the Pentateuch. The earliest VS, probably of selections only, appears from certain common features to have been nearly coeval with that of the Law.

(2) The "Latter" Prophets.

There is little doubt that the next books to be translated were the Prophets in the narrower sense, and that Isaiah came first. The style of the Greek Isaiah has a close similarity, not wholly attributable to imitation, to that of the Pentateuch: a certain freedom of treatment connects it with the earlier translation period: it was known to the author of Wisdom (Isa 3:10 with Ottley’s note). The translation shows "obvious signs of incompetence" (Swete), but the task was an exacting one. The local Egyptian coloring in the translation is interesting (R. R. Ottley, Book of Isaiah according to the Septuagint, 2 volumes, Greek text of A, translation and notes, Cambridge, 1904-6, with review in JTS, X, 299). Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the Minor Prophets were probably translated en bloc or nearly so. The Palestinian Canon had now been enlarged by a second group of Scriptures and this stimulated a desire among Alexandrian Jews to possess the entire collection of the Prophets in Greek. The undertaking seems to have been a formal and quasi-official one, not a haphazard growth. For it has been ascertained that Jeremiah and Ezekiel were divided for translation purposes into two nearly equal parts; a change in the Greek style occurs at the junctures. In Jeremiah the break occurs in chapter 29 Septuagint order); the clearest criterion of the two styles is the twofold rendering of "Thus saith the Lord." The last chapter (Jer 52) is probably a later addition in the Greek. The translator of the second half of Jer also translated the first half of Baruch (1:1-3:8); he was incompetent and his work, if our text may be relied on, affords flagrant examples of Greek words being selected to render words which he did not understand merely because of their similar sound. Ezekiel is similarly divided, but here the translator of the first half (chapters 1-27) undertook the difficult last quarter as well (chapters 40-48), the remainder being left to a second worker. An outstanding test is afforded by the renderings of the refrain, "They shall know that I am the Lord." The Greek version of "the twelve" shows no trace of a similar division; in its style it is closely akin to the first half of Ezekiel and is perhaps by the same hand (JTS, IV, 245, 398, 578). But this official version of the Prophets had probably been preceded by versions of short passages selected to be read on the festivals in the synagogues. Lectionary requirements occasioned the earliest versions of the Prophets, possibly of the Pentateuch as well. Two indications of this have been traced. There exists in four manuscripts a Greek version of the Psalm of Habakkuk (Hab 3), a chapter which has been a Jewish lesson for Pentecost from the earliest times, independent of and apparently older than the Septuagint and made for synagogue use. Similarly in Ezekiel of the Septuagint there is a section of sixteen verses (36:24-38) with a style quite distinct from that of its context. This passage was also an early Christian lesson for Pentecost, and its lectionary use was inherited from Judaism. Here the Septuagint translators seem to have incorporated the older version, whereas in Hab 3 they rejected it (JTS, XII, 191; IV, 407).

(3) Partial Version of the "Former" Prophets.

The Greek style indicates that the history of the monarchy was not all translated at once. Ulfilas is said to have omitted these books from the Gothic version as likely to inflame the military temper of his race; for another reason the Greek translators were at first content with a partial version. They omitted as unedifying the more disastrous portions, David’s sin with the subsequent calamities of his reign and the later history of the divided monarchy culminating in the captivity. Probably the earliest versions embraced only (1) 1 R, (2) 2 R 1 1-11 1 (David’s early reign), (3) 3 R 2 12-21 13 (Solomon and the beginning of the divided monarchy); the third book of "Reigns" opened with the accession of Solomon (as in Lucian’s text), not at the point where 1 Kings opens. These earlier portions are written in a freer style than the rest of the Greek "Reigns," and the Hebrew original differed widely in places from that translated in the English Bible (JTS, VIII, 262).

(4) The "Writings."

The Hagiographa at the end of the 2nd century BC were regarded as national literature. (Sirach, prolegomena "the other books of our fathers"), but not as canonical. The translators did not scruple to treat these with great freedom, undeterred by the prohibition against alteration of Scripture (De 4:2; 12:32). Free paraphrases of extracts were produced, sometimes with legendary additions. A partial version of Job (one-sixth being omitted) was among the first; Aristeas, the historian of the 2nd century BC, seems to have been acquainted with it (Freudenthal, Hellenistische Studien, 1875, 136 ff). The translator was a student of the Greek poets; his version was probably produced for the general reader, not for the synagogues. Hatch’s theory (Essays in Biblical Greek, 1889, 214) that his Hebrew text was shorter than ours and was expanded later is untenable; avoidance of anthropomorphisms explains some omissions, the reason for others is obscure. The first Greek narrative of the return from exile (1 Esdras) was probably a similar version of extracts only from Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah, grouped round a fable of non-Jewish origin, the story of the 3 youths at the court of Darius. The work is a fragment, the end being lost, and it has been contended by some critics that the version once embraced the whole of Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah (C. C. Torrey, Ezra Studies, Chicago, 1910). The Greek is obviously earlier than Esdras B and is of great value for the reconstruction of the Hebrew. The same translator appears from peculiarities of diction to have produced the earliest version of Dnl, treating it with similar freedom and incorporating extraneous matter (the So of Three Children, Susanna, Bel). The maximum of interpolation is reached in Esther, where the Greek additions make up two-thirds of the story. The Greek Proverbs (probably 1st century BC) includes many maxims not in the Hebrew; some of these appear to be derived from a lost Hebrew collection, others are of purely Greek origin. This translator also knew and imitated the Greek classics; the numerous fragments of iambic and hexameter verse in the translation cannot be accidental (JTS, XIII, 46). The Psalter is the one translation in this category in which liberties have not been taken; in Ps 13 (14):3 the extracts from other parts of Psalms and from Isaiah included in the B text must be an interpolation possibly made before Paul’s time (Ro 3:13 ), or else taken from Romans. The little Ps 151 in Septuagint, described in the title as an "autograph" work of David and as "outside the number," is clearly a late Greek production, perhaps an appendix added after the version was complete.

(5) The Latest Septuagint Translations.

The latest versions included in the Septuagint are the productions of the Jewish translators of the 2nd century AD; some books may be rather earlier, the work of pioneers in the new school which advocated strict adherence to the Hebrew. The books of "Reigns" were now completed, by Theodotion, perhaps, or by one of his school; the later portions (2 R 11 2-3 R 2 11, David’s downfall, and 3 R 22-4 R end, the downfall of the monarchy) are by one hand, as shown by peculiarities in style, e.g. "I am have with child" (2 R 11 5) =" I am with child," a use which is due to desire to distinguish the longer form of the pronoun ‘anokhi ("I," also used for "I am") from the shorter ‘ani. A complete version of Jud was now probably first made. In two cases the old paraphrastic versions were replaced. Theodotion’s Daniel, as above stated, superseded in the Christian church the older version A new and complete version of Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah was made (Esdras B), though the older version retained its place in the Greek Bible on account of the interesting legend imbedded in it; the new version is here again possibly the work of Theodotion; the numerous transliterations are characteristic of him (Torrey, Ezra Studies; theory had previously been advanced by Sir H. Howorth). In the Greek Ecclesiastes we have a specimen of Aquila’s style (see McNeile’s edition, Cambridge, 1904). Canticles is another late version

2. General Characteristics:

A marked feature of the whole translation is the scrupulous avoidance of anthropomorphisms and phrases derogatory to the divine transcendence. Thus Ex 4:16, "Thou shalt be to him in things pertaining to God" (Hebrew "for" or "as God"); 15:3, "The Lord is a breaker of battles" (Hebrew "a Man of war"); 24:10, "They saw the place where the God of Israel stood" (Hebrew "they saw the God of Israel"); 24:11, "Of the elect of Israel not one perished and they were seen in the place of God" (Hebrew "Upon the nobles .... He laid not His hand, and they beheld God"). The comparison of God to a rock was consistently paraphrased as idolatrous, as was sometimes the comparison to the sun from fear of sun-worship (Ps 83 (84):12, "The Lord loves mercy and truth" for Hebrew "The Lord is a sun and shield"). "The sons of God" (Ge 6:2) becomes "the angels of God." For minor liberties, e.g. slight amplifications, interpretation of difficult words, substitution of Greek for Hebrew coinage, translation of place-names, see Swete, Introduction, 323 ff. Blunders in translation are not uncommon, but the difficulties which these pioneers had to face must be remembered, especially the paleographical character of the Hebrew originals. These were written on flimsy papyrus rolls, in a script probably in a transitional stage between the archaic and the later square characters; the words were not separated, and there were no vowel-points; two of the radicals (waw and yodh) were also frequently omitted. Add to this the absence at Alexandria, for parts at least of the Scriptures, of any sound tradition as to the meaning. On the other hand the vocalization adopted by the translators, e.g. in the proper names, is of great value in the history of early Semitic pronunciation. It must further be remembered that the Semitic language most familiar to them was not Hebrew but Aramaic, and some mistakes are due to Aramaic or even Arabic colloquialisms (Swete, Introduction, 319).

IX. Salient Differences between Greek and Hebrew Texts.

Differences indicating a Hebrew original other than the Massoretic Text affect either the sequence or the subject-matter (compare Swete, Introduction, 231 ff).

1. Sequence:

The most extensive discrepancies in arrangement of materials occur in

(1) Ex 35-39, the construction of the Tabernacle and the ornaments of its ministers,

(2) 3 R 4-11, Solomon’s reign,

(3) Jeremiah (last half),

(4) Proverbs (end).

(1) In Exodus the Septuagint gives precedence to the priests’ ornaments, which in the Hebrew follow the account of the Tabernacle, and omits altogether the altar of incense. The whole section describing the execution of the instructions given in the previous chapters in almost identical words is one of the latest portions of the Pentateuch and the text had clearly not been finally fixed in the 3rd century BC; the section was perhaps absent from the oldest Greek version In Ex 20:13-15 Codex B arranges three of the commandments in the Alexandrian order (7, 8, 6), attested in Philo and in the New Testament.

(2) Deliberate rearrangement has taken place in the history of Solomon, and the Septuagint unquestionably preserves the older text. The narrative of the building of the Temple, like that of the Tabernacle, contains some of the clearest examples of editorial revision in the Massoretic Text (Wellhausen, Hist of Israel, 67, 280, etc.). At the end of 3 R Septuagint places chapters 20 and 21 in their proper order; Massoretic Text reverses this, interposing the Naboth story in the connected account of the Syriac wars and justifying the change by a short preface.

(3) In Jeremiah the chapter numbers differ from the middle of chapter 25 to the end of chapter 51, the historical appendix (chapter 52) concluding both texts. This is due to the different position assigned to a group of prophecies against the nations: Septuagint places them in the center, Massoretic Text at the end. The items in this group are also rearranged. The diversity in order is earlier than the Greek translation; see JTS, IV; 245.

(4) The order of some groups of maxims at the end of Proverbs was not finally fixed at the time of the Greek translation; like Jeremiah’s prophecies against the nations, these little groups seem to have circulated as late as the 2nd or 1st century BC as separate pamphlets. The Psalms numbers from 10 to 147 differ by one in Septuagint and Massoretic Text, owing to discrepancies in the lines of demarcation between individual psalms.

2. Subject Matter:

Excluding the end of Exodus, striking examples of divergence in the Pentateuch are few. Septuagint alone preserves Cain’s words to his brother, "Let us go into the field" (Ge 4:8). The close of Moses’ song appears in an expanded form in Septuagint (De 32:43). Similarly Hannah’s song in 1 R 2 (? originally a warrior’s triumph-song) has been rendered more appropriate to the occasion by the substitution in verse 8c of words about the answer to prayer, and enlarged by the insertion of a passage from Jeremiah; the changes in both songs may be connected with their early use as canticles. In Joshua the larger amount of divergence suggests that this book did not share the peculiar sanctity of the Law. But the books of "Reigns" present the widest differences and the fullest scope for the textual critic. The Septuagint here proves the existence of two independent accounts of certain events. Sometimes it incorporates both, while the Massoretic Text rejects one of them; thus Septuagint gives (3 R 2 35a ff, 46a ff) a connected summary of events in Solomon’s personal history; most of which appear elsewhere in a detached form, 3 R 12 24a-z is a second account of the dismemberment of the kingdom; 16:28a-h a second summary of Jehoshaphat’s reign (compare 22 41 ff); 4 R 1 18a another summary of Joram’s reign (compare 3 1 ff). Conversely in 1 R 17-18, Massoretic Text has apparently preserved two contradictory accounts of events in David’s early history, while Septuagint presents a shorter and consistent narrative (Swete, Intro, 245 f). An "addition" in Septuagint of the highest interest appears in 3 R 8 53b, where a stanza is put into the mouth of Solomon at the Temple dedication, taken from "the Song-book" (probably the Book of Jashar); the Massoretic Text gives the stanza in an edited form earlier in the chapter (8 12 f); for the reconstruction of the original Hebrew see JTS, X, 439; XI, 518. The last line proves to be a title, "For the Sabbath—On Alamoth" (i.e. for sopranos), showing that the song was set to music for liturgical purposes. In Jeremiah, besides transpositions, the two texts differ widely in the way of excess and defect; the verdict of critics is mainly in favor of the priority of the Septuagint (Streane, Double Text of Jeremiah, 1896). For divergences in the "Writings" see VIII, above; for additional titles to the Psalms see Swete, Introduction, 250 f.


The most important works have been mentioned in the body of the article. See, further, the very full lists in Swete’s Introduction and the bibliographies by Nestle in PRE3, III, 1-24, and XXIII, 207-10 (1913); HDB, IV, 453-54.

H. St. J. Thackeray


sep’-ul-ker (2Ch 21:20; 32:33; Joh 19:41 f; Ac 2:29, etc.).



se’-ra (serach, "abundance"): Daughter of Asher (Ge 46:17; Nu 26:46, the King James Version "Sarah"; 1Ch 7:30).


se-ra’-ya, se-ri’-a (serayahu, "Yah hath prevailed"; Septuagint Saraias, or Saraia):

(1) Secretary of David (2Sa 8:17); in 2Sa 20:25 he is called Sheva; in 1Ki 4:3 the name appears as Shisha. This last or Shasha would be restored elsewhere by some critics; others prefer the form Shavsha, which is found in 1Ch 18:16.

(2) A high priest in the reign of Zedekiah; executed with other prominent captives at Riblah by order of Nebuchadnezzar (2Ki 25:18,21; Jer 52:24,27). Mentioned in the list of high priests (1Ch 6:14). Ezra claims descent from him (Ezr 7:1 (3)).


(3) The son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and one of the heroic band of men who saved themselves from the fury of Nebuchadnezzar when he stormed Jerusalem. They repaired to Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam, but killed him on account of his allegiance to the Chaldeans (2Ki 25:23,25).

(4) Son of Kenaz, and younger brother of Othniel, and father of Joab, the chief of Ge-harashim (1Ch 4:13,14).

(5) Grandfather of Jehu, of the tribe of Simeon (1Ch 4:35).

(6) A priest, the third in the list of those who returned from Babylon to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel (Ezr 2:2; Ne 7:7, here called Azariah; 12:1), and third also (if the same person is meant) in the record of those who sealed the covenant binding all Jews not to take foreign wives (Ne 10:2). As the son of Hilkiah, and consequently a direct descendant of the priestly family, he became governor of the temple when it was rebuilt (Ne 11:11). He is mentioned (under the name Azariah) also in 1Ch 9:11. Ne 12:2 adds that "in the days of Joiakim" the head of Seraiah’s house was Meraiah.

(7) Son of Azriel, one of those whom Jehoiakim commanded to imprison Jeremiah and Baruch, the son of Neriah (Jer 36:26).

(8) The son of Neriah, who went into exile with Zedekiah. He was also called Sar Menuchah ("prince of repose"). The Targum renders Sar Menuchah by Rabh Tiqrabhta, "prince of battle, and Septuagint by archon doron, "prince of gifts," reading Minchah for Menuchah. At the request of Jeremiah he carried with him in his exile the passages containing the prophet’s warning of the fall of Babylon, written in a book which he was bidden to bind to a stone and cast into the Euphrates, to symbolize the fall of Babylon (Jer 51:59-64).

Horace J. Wolf


ser’-a-fim (seraphim): A plural word occurring only in Isa 6:2 ff—Isaiah’s vision of Yahweh. The origin of the term in Hebrew is uncertain. Saraph in Nu 21:6; Isa 14:29, etc., signifies a fiery serpent. A Babylonian name for the fire-god, Nergal, was Sharrapu. In Egypt there have been found eagle-lion-shaped figures guarding a grave, to which is applied the name seref. The equivalent English term is "griffin."

It is probable enough that popular mythology connected fire with the attendants of the deity in various ways among different peoples, and that burning lies at the base of the idea in all these suggested etymologies. It remains, however, that in Isaiah’s use there is nothing of the popular legend or superstition. These seraphim are august beings whose forms are not at all fully described. They had faces, feet, hands and wings. The six wings, in three pairs, covered their faces and feet in humility and reverence, and were used for sustaining them in their positions about the throne of Yahweh. One of them is the agent for burning (with a coal off the altar, not with his own power or person) the sin from the lips of the prophet.

Seraphim are in Jewish theology connected with cherubim and ophanim as the three highest orders of attendants on Yahweh, and are superior to the angels who are messengers sent on various errands. As the cherubim in popular fancy were represented by the storm-clouds, so the seraphim were by the serpentine flashes of the lightning; but none of this appears in Isaiah’s vision.

In the New Testament the only possible equivalent is in "the living ones" ("beasts" of the King James Version) in Re 4; 5, etc. Here, as in Isaiah, they appear nearest Yahweh’s throne, supreme in praise of His holiness.

William Owen Carver


se’-rar (Serar; the King James Version Aserer): Name of one of the families which returned with Zerubbabel (1 Esdras 5:32) =" Sisera" of Ezr 2:53; Ne 7:55.


se’-red (ceredh): Son of Zebulun (Ge 46:14; Nu 26:26).


sur’-ji-us po’-lus.



sar’-jents, -jants (rhabdouchoi): In Ac 16:35,38 the word (literally, "holders of rods," corresponding to Roman "lictors," thus the Revised Version margin) is used of the officers in attendance on the Philippian magistrates, whose duty it was to execute orders in scourging, etc., in this case in setting prisoners free. Paul and Silas, however, as Romans, refused thus to be "privily" dismissed.









1. Analysis

2. Argument: The Kingdom of God (Heaven)

(1) Characteristics of the Subjects (Matthew 5:3-12)

(2) Vocation of the Subjects (Matthew 5:13-16)

(3) Relation of New Righteousness to Mosaic Law (Matthew 5:17-48)

(a) The Relation Defined (Matthew 5:17-20)

(b) The Relation Illustrated (Matthew 5:21-48)

(4) Motives and Principles of Conduct (Matthew 6:1-7:12)

(a) In Worship (Matthew 6:1-18)

(b) In Life’s Purpose (Matthew 6:19-34)

(c) In Social Relations (Matthew 7:1-12)

(5) Hortatory Conclusion (Matthew 7:13-27)

(a) The Narrow Way (Matthew 7:13-14) (b) The Tests of Character (Matthew 7:15-27)



The Sermon on the Mount is the title commonly given to the collection of sayings recorded in Mt 5-7 and in Lu 6:20-49. The latter is sometimes called the Sermon on the Plain from the fact that it is said to have been delivered on a level space somewhere on the descent of the mountain. The Sermon appears to be an epitome of the teachings of Jesus concerning the kingdom of heaven, its subjects and their life. For this reason it has always held the first place of attention and esteem among the sayings of Jesus.


I. Parallel Accounts.

As indicated above, the Sermon is reported by both Matthew and Luke. A comparison of the two accounts reveals certain striking differences. A total of 47 verses of the account in Matthew have no parallel in Luke, while but 4 1/2 verses of the latter are wanting in the former. On the other hand, many of the sayings in Matthew that are lacking in the Sermon of Luke, amounting in all to 34 verses, appear elsewhere distributed throughout the Lukan narrative and in some instances connected with different incidents and circumstances.

These facts give rise to some interesting literary and historical questions: Do the two accounts represent two distinct discourses dealing with the same general theme but spoken on different occasions, or are they simply different reports of the same discourse? If it be held that the Sermon was delivered but once, which of the accounts represents more closely the original address? Is the discourse in Matthew homogeneous or does it include sayings originally spoken on other occasions and early incorporated in the Sermon in the gospel tradition?

II. Historicity of the Discourse.

There have been and are today scholars who regard the sermons recorded in Matthew and Luke as collections of sayings spoken on different occasions, and maintain that they do not represent any connected discourse ever delivered by Jesus. In their view the Sermon is either a free compilation by the evangelists or a product of apostolic teaching and oral tradition.

The prevailing opinion among New Testament scholars is, however, that the gospel accounts represent a genuine historical discourse. The Sermon as recorded in Matthew bears such marks of inner unity of theme and exposition as to give the appearance of genuineness. That Jesus should deliver a discourse of this kind accords with all the circumstances and with the purpose of His ministry. Besides, we know that in His teaching He was accustomed to speak to the multitudes at length, and we should expect Him to give early in His ministry some formal exposition of the kingdom, the burden of His first preaching. That such a summary of one of His most important discourses should have been preserved is altogether probable.

On the other hand, it may be conceded that the accounts need not necessarily be regarded as full or exact reports of the discourse but possibly and probably rather summaries of its theme and substance. our Lord was accustomed to teach at length, but this discourse could easily be delivered in a few minutes. Again, while His popular teaching was marked by a unique wealth of illustration the Sermon is largely gnomic in form. This gnomic style and the paucity of the usual concrete and illustrative elements suggest the probability of condensation in transmission. Moreover, it is hardly probable that such an address of Jesus would be recorded at the time of its delivery or would be remembered in detail.

There is evidence that the account in Mt 5-7 contains some sayings not included in the original discourse. This view is confirmed by the fact that a number of the sayings are given in Luke’s Gospel in settings that appear more original. It is easy to believe that related sayings spoken on other occasions may have become associated with the Sermon in apostolic teaching and thus handed down with it, but if the discourse were well known in a specific form, such as that recorded in Matthew, it is hardly conceivable that Luke or anyone else would break it up and distribute the fragments or associate them with other incidents, as some of the sayings recorded in both Gospels are found associated in Luke.

III. Time and Occasion.

Both Matthew and Luke agree in assigning the delivery of the Sermon to the first half of the Galilean ministry. The former apparently places it a little earlier than the latter, in whose account it follows immediately after the appointment of the twelve apostles. While the time cannot be accurately determined, the position assigned by the Gospels is approximately correct and is supported by the internal evidence. Portions of the Sermon imply that the opposition of the religious teachers was already in evidence, but it clearly belongs to the first year of our Lord’s ministry before that opposition had become serious. On the other hand, the occasion was sufficiently late for the popularity of the new Teacher to have reached its climax. In the early Galilean ministry Jesus confined His teaching to the synagogues, but later, when the great crowds pressed about Him, He resorted to open-air preaching after the manner of the Sermon. Along with the growth in His popularity there is observed a change in the character of His teaching. His earlier message may be summed up in the formula, "Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mt 4:17). Later, both in His public discourses and in His more intimate conferences with His disciples, He was occupied with the principles of the kingdom. The Sermon on the Mount belongs to this later type of teaching and fits naturally into the circumstances to which it has been assigned. Luke probably gives the true historical occasion, i.e. the appointment of the Twelve.

IV. Scene.

According to the evangelists, the scene of the delivery of the Sermon was one of the mountains or foothills surrounding the Galilean plain. Probably one of the hills lying Northwest of Capernaum is meant, for shortly after the Sermon we find Jesus and His disciples entering that city. There are no data justifying a closer identification of the place. There is a tradition dating from the time of the Crusades that identifies the mount of the Sermon with Karn Chattin], a two-peaked hill on the road from Tiberias to Nazareth, but there are no means of confirming this late tradition and the identification is rather improbable.

V. The Hearers.

The Sermon was evidently addressed, primarily, to the disciples of Jesus. This is the apparent meaning of the account of both evangelists. According to Matthew, Jesus, "seeing the multitudes, .... went up into the mountain: and when he had sat down, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth and taught them." The separation from the multitudes and the direction of His words to the disciples seem clear, and the distinction appears intentional on the part of the writer. However, it must be observed that in the closing comments on the Sermon the presence of the multitudes is implied. In Luke’s account the distinction is less marked. Here the order of events is: the night of prayer in the mountain, the choice of the twelve apostles, the descent with them into the presence of the multitude of His disciples and a great number of people from Judea, Jerusalem and the coast country, the healing of great numbers, and, finally, the address. While the continued presence of the multitudes is implied, the plain meaning of the words, "And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said," is that his address was intended especially for the latter. This view is borne out by the address itself as recorded in both accounts. Observe the use of the second person in the reference to suffering, poverty and persecution for the sake of the Son of Man. Further the sayings concerning the "salt of the earth" and "the light of the world" could hardly have been addressed to any but His disciples. The term disciple, however, was doubtless employed in the broader sense by both evangelists. This is clearly the case in Matthew’s account, according to which the Twelve had not yet been appointed.

VI. The Message: Summary.

It is hardly proper to speak of the Sermon on the Mount as a digest of the teaching of Jesus, for it does not include any reference to some very important subjects discussed by our Lord on other occasions in the course of His ministry. It is, however, the most comprehensive and important collection or summary of His sayings that is preserved to us in the gospel record. For this reason the Sermon properly holds in Christian thought the first place of esteem among all the New Testament messages. As an exposition of the ideal life and the program of the new society which Jesus proposed to create, its interpretation is of the deepest interest and the profoundest concern.

1. Analysis:

It may assist the student of the Sermon in arriving at a clear appreciation of the argument and the salient features of the discourse if the whole is first viewed in outline. There is some difference of opinion among scholars as to certain features of the analysis, and consequently various outlines have been presented by different writers. Those of C. W. Votaw in HDB, Canon Gore in The Sermon on the Mount, and H. C. King in The Ethics of Jesus are worthy of special mention. The following analysis of the Sermon as recorded by Matthew is given as the basis of the present discussion.

It is not implied that there was any such formal plan before the mind of Jesus as He spoke, but it is believed that the outline presents a faithful syllabus of the argument of the Sermon as preserved to us.


I. The subjects of the kingdom (Mt 5:3-16).

1. The qualities of character essential to happiness and influence (Mt 5:3-12).

2. The vocation of the subjects (Mt 5:13-16).

II. The relation of the new righteousness to the Mosaic Law (Mt 5:17-48).

1. The relation defined as that of continuance in a higher fulfillment (Mt 5:17-20).

2. The higher fulfillment of the new righteousness illustrated by a comparison of its principles with the Mosaic Law as currently taught and practiced (Mat 5:21-48)

(1) The higher law of brotherhood judges ill-will as murder (Mt 5:21-26).

(2) The higher law of purity condemns lust as adultery (Mt 5:27-32).

(3) The higher law of truth forbids oaths as unnecessary and evil (Mt 5:33-37).

(4) The higher law of rights substitutes self-restraint and generosity for retaliation and resistance (Mt 5:38-42).

(5) The higher law of love demands universal good will of a supernatural quality like that of the Father (Mt 5:43-48).

III. The new righteousness. Its motives as applied to religious, practical and social duties, or the principles of conduct (Mt 6:1-7:12).

1. Reverence toward the Father essential in all acts of worship (Mt 6:1-18).

(1) In all duties (Mt 6:1).

(2) In almsgiving (Mt 6:2-4).

(3) In prayer (Mt 6:5-15).

(4) In fasting (Mt 6:16-18).

2. Loyalty toward the Father fundamental in all activities (Mt 6:19-34).

(1) In treasure-seeking (Mt 6:19-24).

(2) In trustful devotion to the kingdom and the Father’s righteousness (Mt 6:25-34).

3. Love toward the Father dynamic in all social relations (Mt 7:1-12).

(1) Critical estimate of self instead of censorious judgment of others (Mt 7:1-5).

(2) Discrimination in the communication of spiritual values (Mt 7:6).

(3) Kindness toward others in all things like the Father’s kindness toward all His children (Mt 7:7-12).

IV. Hortatory conclusion (Mt 7:13-27).

1. The two gates and the two ways (Mt 7:13-14).

2. The tests of character (Mt 7:15-27).

2. Argument: The Kingdom of God (Heaven):

(1) Characteristics of the Subjects (Matthew 5:3-12).

The Sermon opens with the familiar Beatitudes. Unlike many reformers, Jesus begins the exposition of His program with a promise of happiness, with a blessing rather than a curse. He thus connects His program directly with the hopes of His hearers, for the central features in the current Messianic conception were deliverance and happiness. But the conditions of happiness proposed were in strong contrast with those in the popular thought. Happiness does not consist, says Jesus, in what one possesses, in lands and houses, in social position, in intellectual attainments, but in the wealth of the inner life, in moral strength, in self-control, in spiritual insight, in the character one is able to form within himself and in the service he is able to render to his fellowmen. Happiness, then, like character, is a by-product of right living. It is presented as the fruit, not as the object of endeavor.

It is interesting to note that character is the secret of happiness both for the individual and for society. There are two groups of Beatitudes. The first four deal with personal qualities: humility, penitence, self-control, desire for righteousness. These are the sources of inner peace. The second group deals with social qualities; mercifulness toward others, purity of heart or reverence for personality, peacemaking or solicitude for others, self-sacrificing loyalty to righteousness. These are the sources of social rest. The blessings of the kingdom are social as well as individual.

(2) Vocation of the Subjects (Matthew 5:13-16).

Men of the qualities described in the Beatitudes are called "the salt of the earth," "the light of the world." Their happiness is not, then, in themselves or for themselves alone. Their mission is the hope of the kingdom. Salt is a preservative element; light is a life-giving one; but the world is not eager to be preserved or willing to receive life. Therefore such men must expect opposition and persecution, but they are not on that account to withdraw from the world. On the contrary, by the leaven of character and the light of example they are to help others in the appreciation and the attainment of the ideal life. By their character and deeds they are to make their influence a force for good in the lives of men. In this sense the men of the kingdom are the salt of the earth, the light of the world.


(3) Relation of the New Righteousness to Mosaic Law (Matthew 5:17-48).

(a) The Relation Defined (Matthew 5:17-20):

The qualities of character thus set before the citizens of the kingdom were so surprising and revolutionary as to suggest the inquiry: What is the relation of the new teaching to the Mosaic Law? This Jesus defines as continuance and fulfillment. His hearers are not to think that He has come to destroy the law. On the contrary, He has come to conserve and fulfil. The old law is imperfect, but God does not despair of what is imperfect. Men and institutions are judged, not by the level of present attainment, but by character and direction. The law moves in the right direction and is so valuable that those who violate even its least precepts have a very low place in the kingdom.

The new righteousness then does not set aside the law or offer an easier religion, but one that is more exacting. The kingdom is concerned, not so much with ceremonies and external rules, as with motives and with social virtues, with self-control, purity, honesty and generosity. So much higher are the new standards of righteousness that Jesus is constrained to warn His hearers that to secure even a place in the kingdom, their righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees.

(b) The Relation Illustrated (Matthew 5:21-48):

In illustration of the deeper meaning of the new righteousness and its relation to the Mosaic Law, Jesus proceeds to deal in detail with the precepts of the old moral law, deepening it as He proceeds into the higher law of the kingdom. In each instance the standard of judgment is raised and the individual precepts are deepened into spiritual principles that call for perfect fulfillment. In considering specific precepts no account is taken of overt acts, for in the new righteousness they are impossible. All acts are treated as expressions of the inner life. The law is carried back to the impulse and the will to sin, and these are judged as in the old law the completed acts were judged. Therefore, all anger and lust in the heart are strictly enjoined. Likewise every word is raised to a sacredness equal with that of the most solemn religious vow or oath. Finally, the instinct to avenge is entirely forbidden, and universal love like that of the Father is made the fundamental law of the new social life. Thus Jesus does not abrogate any law but interprets its precepts in terms that call for a deeper and more perfect fulfillment.

(4) Motives and Principles of Conduct (Matthew 6:1-7:12).

The relation of His teaching to the law defined, Jesus proceeds to explain the motives and principles of conduct as applied to religious and social duties.

(a) In Worship (Matthew 6:1-18):

In the section Mt 6:1-7:12 there is one central thought. All righteousness looks toward God. He is at once the source and the aim of life. Therefore worship aims alone at divine praise. If acts of worship are performed before men to be seen of them there is no reward for them before the Father. In this Jesus is passing no slight on public worship. He Himself instituted the Lord’s Supper and authorized the continuance of the rite of baptism. Such acts have their proper value. His censure is aimed at the love of ostentation so often associated with them. The root of ostentation is selfishness, and selfishness has no part in the new righteousness. Any selfish desire for the approval of men thwarts the purpose of all worship. The object of almsgiving, of prayer or of fasting is the expression of brotherly love, communion with God or spiritual enrichment. The possibility of any of these is excluded by the presence of the desire for the approval of men. It is not merely a divine fiat but one of the deeper laws of life which decrees that the only possible reward for acts of worship performed from such false motives is the cheap approval of men as well as the impoverishment of the inner life.

(b) In Life’s Purpose (Matthew 6:19-34):

The same principle holds, says Jesus, in the matter of life’s purpose. There is only one treasure worthy of man’s search only one object worthy of his highest endeavor, and that is the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Besides, there can be no division of aim. God will be first and only. Material blessings must not be set before duty to Him or to men. With any lower aim the new righteousness would be no better than that of the Gentiles. And such a demand is reasonable, for God’s gracious providence is ample guaranty that He will supply all things needful for the accomplishment of the purposes He has planned for our lives. So in our vocations as in our worship, God is the supreme and effectual motive.

(c) In Social Relations (Matthew 7:1-12):

Then again because God is our Father and the supreme object of desire for all men, great reverence is due toward others. Considerate helpfulness must replace the censorious spirit. For the same reason men will have too great reverence for spiritual values to cast them carelessly before the unworthy. Moreover, because God is so gracious and ready to bestow the best gifts freely upon His children, the men of the kingdom are under profound obligation to observe the higher law of brotherhood expressed in the Golden Rule: "All things .... whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them." Thus in the perfect law of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of men the new righteousness makes perfect the Law and the Prophets.

(5) Hortatory Conclusion (Matthew 7:13-27).

(a) The Narrow Way (Matthew 7:13-14):

In the hortatory conclusion (Mt 7:13-27), Jesus first of all warns His hearers that the way into the kingdom is a narrow one. It might seem that it ought to be different; that the way to destruction should be narrow and difficult, and the way to life broad and easy, but it is not so. The way to all worthy achievement is the narrow way of self-control, self-sacrifice and infinite pains. Such is the way to the righteousness of the kingdom, the supreme object of human endeavor. "Narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life."

(b) The Tests of Character (Matthew 7:15-27):

The test of the higher fulfillment is fruit. By their fruits alone the subjects of the kingdom will be known. In the presence of the Father there is no room for those who bring nothing but the leaves of empty professions. The kingdom is for those alone who do His will. The test of righteousness is illustrated in conclusion by the beautiful parable of the Two Builders. The difference between the two is essentially one of character. It is largely a question of fundamental honesty. The one is superficial and thinks only of that which is visible to the eye and builds only for himself and for the present. The other is honest enough to build well where only God can see, to build for others and for all time. Thus he builds also for himself. The character of the builder is revealed by the building.

VII. Principles.

The Sermon on the Mount is neither an impractical ideal nor a set of fixed legal regulations. It is, instead, a statement of the principles of life essential in a normal society. Such a society is possible in so far as men attain the character and live the life expressed in these principles. Their correct interpretation is therefore important.

Many of the sayings of the Sermon are metaphorical or proverbial statements, and are not to be understood in a literal or legal sense. In them Jesus was illustrating principles in concrete terms. Their interpretation literally as legal enactments is contrary to the intention and spirit of Jesus. So interpreted, the Sermon becomes in part a visionary and impractical ideal. But rather the principles behind the concrete instances are to be sought and applied anew to the life of the present as Jesus applied them to the life of His own time.

The following are some of the leading ideas and principles underlying and expressed in the Sermon:

(1) Character Is the Secret of Happiness and Strength.

Men of the qualities described in the Beatitudes are called "blessed." Happiness consists, not in external blessings, but in the inner poise of a normal life. The virtues of the Beatitudes are also the elements of strength. Humility, self-control, purity and loyalty are the genuine qualities of real strength. Men of such qualities are to inherit the earth because they are the only ones strong enough to possess and use it.

(2) Righteousness Is Grounded in the Inner Life.

Character is not something imposed from without but a life that unfolds from within. The hope of a perfect morality and a genuine fulfillment of the law lies in the creation of a sound inner life. Therefore, the worth of all religious acts and all personal and social conduct is judged by the quality of the inner motives.

(3) The Inner Life Is a Unity.

The spiritual nature is all of a piece, so that a moral slump at one point imperils the whole life. Consequently, a rigid and exacting spiritual asceticism, even to the extent of extreme major surgery, is sometimes expedient and necessary. "If thy right eye causeth thee to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not thy whole body be cast into Gehenna" (Mt 5:29 margin).

(4) Universal Love Is the Fundamental Social Law.

It is the dynamic principle of true character and right conduct. In this respect, at least, the perfection of the Father is set as the standard for men. Kindliness in disposition, in word and in act is an obligation binding on all. We may not feel alike toward all, but our wills must be set to do good even to our enemies. In this the supernatural quality of the Christian life may be known.

(5) The Sermon Sets the Fact of God the Father at the Center of Life.

Character and life exist in and for fellowship with the Father. All worship and conduct look toward God. His service is the supreme duty, His perfection the standard of character, His goodness the ground of universal love. Given this fact, all the essentials of religion and life follow as a matter of course. God is Father, all men are brothers. God is Father, all duties are sacred. God is Father, infinite love is at the heart of the world and life is of infinite worth.

(6) Fulfillment Is the Final Test of Life.

The blossoms of promises must ripen into the fruit of abiding character. The leaves of empty professions have no value in the eyes of the Father. Deeds and character are the only things that abide, and endurance is the final test. The life of perfect fulfillment is the life anchored on the rock of ages.



The standard commentaries and Lives of Christ. Among the most important encyclopaedic articles are those of C. W. Votaw in HDB, James Moffatt in Encyclopedia Biblica and W. F. Adeney in DCG. The following are a few of the most helpful separate volumes on the subject: A. Tholuck, Exposition of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount; Canon Gore, The Sermon on the Mount; B. W. Bacon, The Sermon on the Mount; W. B. Carpenter, The Great Charter of Christ; Hubert Foston, The Beatitudes and the Contrasts; compare H. C. King, The Ethics of Jesus, and Stalker, The Ethic of Jesus. The following periodical articles are worthy of notice: Franklin Johnson, "The Plan of the Sermon on the Mount," Homiletic Review, XXIV, 360; A. H. Hall, "The Gospel in the Sermon on the Mount," Biblical Sac., XLVIII, 322; The Bishop of Peterborough (W. C. Magee), "The State and the Sermon on the Mount," Fortnightly Review, LIII, 32; J. G. Pyle, "The Sermon on the Mount," Putnam’s Magazine, VII, 285.

Russell Benjamin Miller


This title is sometimes given to the discourse recorded in Lu 6:20-49, because according to the Gospel (6:17) it was delivered on a plain at the foot of the mountain. In many respects this address resembles the one recorded in Mt 5-7, but in general the two are so different as to make it uncertain whether they are different reports of the same discourse or reports of different addresses given on different occasions.


1. The Occasion:

In contrast with the Sermon on the Mount which is assigned a place early in the Galilean ministry, and prior to the appointment of the Twelve, that event is represented as the occasion of this discourse. If the two accounts are reports of the same address the setting of Luke is probably the historical one.

2. Contents:

The Sermon of Luke includes a little less than one-third of the matter recorded in the Sermon on the Mount. The Lukan discourse includes only a portion of the Beatitudes, with a set of four "woes," a rather brief section on the social duties, and the concluding parable of the Two Houses.

3. Message:

The Gospel of Luke has been called the social Gospel because of its sympathy with the poor and its emphasis on the duty of kindliness of spirit. This social interest is especially prominent in the Sermon. Here the Beatitudes deal with social differences. In Matthew they refer to spiritual conditions. Here Jesus speaks of those who hunger now, probably meaning bodily hunger. In Matthew the reference is to hunger and thirst after righteousness. In Matthew the invectives are addressed against the self-satisfied religious teachers and their religious formalism. Here the rich and their unsocial spirit are the subject of the woes. This social interest is further emphasized by the fact that in addition to this social bearing of the Beatitudes, Luke’s discourse omits the remainder of the Sermon on the Mount, except those portions that deal with social relations, such as those on the Golden Rule, the duty of universal love, the equality of servant and master, and the obligation of a charitable spirit.

Russell Benjamin Miller


se’-ron (Seron): "The commander of the host of Syria" of Antiochus Epiphanes, who was defeated at Beth-horon by Judas in 166 BC (1 Macc 3:13 ff). Not a Greek name; "perhaps it represents the Phoenician Hiram" (Rawlinson, at the place).



1. General:

Serpents are not particularly abundant in Palestine, but they are often mentioned in the Bible. In the Hebrew there are 11 names. The New Testament has four Greek names and the Septuagint employs two of these and three others as well as several compound expressions, such as ophis petamenos, "flying serpent," ophis thanaton, "deadly serpent," and ophis daknon, "biting" or "stinging serpent." Notwithstanding this large vocabulary, it is impossible to identify satisfactorily a single species. Nearly every reference states or implies poisonous qualities, and in no case is there so much as a hint that a snake may be harmless, except in several expressions referring to the millennium, where their harmlessness is not natural but miraculous. In Arabic there is a score or more of names of serpents, but very few of them are employed at all definitely. It may be too much to say that the inhabitants of Syria and Palestine consider all snakes to be poisonous, but they do not clearly distinguish the non-poisonous ones, and there are several common and well-known species which are universally believed to be poisonous, though actually harmless. Of nearly 25 species which are certainly known to be found in Syria and Palestine, four are deadly poisonous, five are somewhat poisonous, and the rest are absolutely harmless. With the exception of qippoz, "dart-snake" (Isa 34:15) which is probably the name of a bird and not of a snake, every one of the Hebrew and Greek names occurs in passages where poisonous character is expressed or implied. The deadly poisonous snakes have large perforated poison fangs situated in the front of the upper jaw, an efficient apparatus like a hypodermic syringe for conveying the poison into the depths of the wound. In the somewhat poisonous snakes, the poison fangs are less favorably situated, being farther back, nearly under the eye. Moreover, they are smaller and are merely grooved on the anterior aspect instead of being perforated. All snakes, except a few which are nearly or quite toothless, have numerous small recurved teeth for holding and helping to swallow the prey, which is usually taken into the stomach while living, the peculiar structure of the jaws and the absence of a breast-bone enabling snakes to swallow animals which exceed the ordinary size of their own bodies.

2. Serpents of Palestine and Syria:

The following list includes all the serpents which are certainly known to exist in Palestine and Syria, omitting the names of several which have been reported but whose occurrence does not seem to be sufficiently confirmed. The range of each species is given.

(1) Harmless Serpents.

Typhlops vermicularis Merr., Greece and Southwestern Asia; T. simoni Bttgr., Palestine; Eryx jaculus L., Greece, North Africa, Central and Southwestern Asia; Tropidonotus tessellatus Laur., CentraI and Southeastern Europe, Central and Southwestern Asia; Zamenis gemonensis Laur., Central and Southeastern Europe, Greek islands, Southwestern Asia; Z. dahlii Fitz., Southeastern Europe, Southwestern Asia, Lower Egypt; Z. rhodorhachis Jan., Egypt, Southwestern Asia, India; Z. ravergieri Menatr., Southwestern Asia: Z. nummifer Renss., Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Cyprus, Asia Minor; Oligodon melanocephalus Jan., Syria, Palestine, Sinai, Lower Egypt; Contia decemlineata D. and B., Syria, Palestine; C. collaris Menerr., Greek islands, Cyprus, Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine; C. rothi Jan., Syria, Palestine; C. coronella Schleg., Syria, Palestine

(2) Somewhat Poisonous Serpents.

Tarbophis savignyi Blgr., Syria, Palestine, Egypt; T. fallax Fleischm., Balkan Peninsula, Greek islands, Cyprus, Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine; Coelopeltis monspessulana Herre., Mediterranean countries, Caucasus, Persia; Psammophis schokari Forsk., North Africa, Southwestern Asia; Micrelaps muelleri Bttgr., Syria, Palestine

(3) Deadly Poisonous Serpents.

Vipera ammodytes L., Southeastern Europe, Asia Minor, Syria; Vipera lebetina L., North Africa, Greek islands, Southwestern Asia; Cerastes cornutus Forsk., Egypt, Sinai, Arabia; Echis coloratus Gthr., Southern Palestine, Arabia, Socotra.

To this list should be added the scheltopusik, a large snake-like, limbless lizard, Ophiosaurus apus, inhabiting Southeastern Europe, Asia Minor, Persia, Syria and Palestine, which while perfectly harmless is commonly classed with vipers.

Of all these the commonest is Zamenis nummifer, Arabic ‘aqd-ul-jauz, "string of walnuts," a fierce but non-poisonous snake which attains the length of a meter. Its ground color is pale yellow and it has a dorsal series of distinct diamond-shaped dark spots. Alternating with spots of the dorsal row are on each side two lateral rows of less distinct dark spots. It is everywhere considered to be fatal. Another common snake is Zamenis gemonensis, Arabic chanash, which attains the length of two meters. It is usually black and much resembles the American black snake, Zamenis constrictor. Like all species of Zamenis, these ire harmless. Other common harmless snakes are Zamenis dahlii, Tropidonotus tessellatus which is often found in pools and streams, Contia collaris, Oligodon melanocephalus, a small, nearly toothless snake with the crown of the head coal black.

Among the somewhat poisonous snakes, a very common one is Coelopeltis monspessulana, Arabic al-chaiyat ul-barshat, which is about two meters long, as larke as the black snake. It is uniformly reddish brown above, paler below. Another is Psammophis schokari. Arabic an-nashshab, "the arrow." It is about a meter long, slender, and white with dark stripes. Many marvelous and utterly improbable tales are told of its jumping powers, as for instance that it can shoot through the air for more than a hundred feet and penetrate a tree like a rifle bullet.

The commonest of the deadly poisonous snakes is Vipera lebetina, which attains the length of a meter, has a thick body, a short tail, a broad head and a narrow neck. It is spotted somewhat as Zamenis nummifer, but the spots are less regular and distinct and the ground color is gray rather than yellow. It does not seem to have a distinct name. Cerastes cornutus, having two small horns, which are modified scales, over the eyes, is a small but dangerous viper, and is found in the south. Not only are the species of poisonous serpents fewer than the non-poisonous species, but the individuals also appear to be less numerous. The vast majority of the snakes which are encountered are harmless.

3. Names:

As stated above, all of the Hebrew and Greek names except qippoz, which occurs only in Isa 34:15, are used of snakes actually or supposedly poisonous. This absence of discrimination between poisonous and non-poisonous kinds makes determination of the species difficult. Further, but few of the Hebrew names are from roots whose meanings are clear, and there is little evident relation to Arabic names.

(1) The commonest Hebrew word is nachash, which occurs 31 times and seems to be a generic word for serpent. While not always clearly indicating a venomous serpent, it frequently does: e.g. Ps 58:4; 140:3; Pr 23:32; Ec 10:8,11; Isa 14:29; Jer 8:17; Am 5:19. According to BDB it is perhaps from an onomatopoetic nachash, "to hiss." It may be akin to the Arabic chanash, which means "snake" in general, or especially the black snake. Compare Ir-nahash (1Ch 4:12); Nahash

(a) (1Sa 11:1; 2Sa 10:2),

(b) (2Sa 17:27),

(c) (2Sa 17:25); also nechosheth, "copper" or "brass"; and nechushtan, "Nehushtan," the brazen serpent (2Ki 18:4). But BDB derives the last two words from a different root.

(2) saraph, apparently from saraph, "to burn," is used of the fiery serpents of the wilderness. In Nu 21:8, it occurs in the singular: "Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a standard." In 21:6 we have ha-nechashim ha-seraphim, "fiery serpents"; in De 8:15 the same in the singular: nachash saraph, also translated "fiery serpents"; in Isa 14:29; 30:6 we have saraph me‘opheph, "fiery flying serpent." The same word in the plural seraphim, is translated "seraphim" in Isa 6:2,6.

(3) tannin, elsewhere "dragon" or "seamonster" (which see), is used of the serpents into which the rods of Aaron and the magicians were transformed (Ex 7:9,10,12), these serpents being designated by nachash in Ex 4:3; 7:15. Tannin is rendered "serpent" (the King James Version "dragon") in De 32:33, "Their wine is the poison of serpents," and Ps 91:13, "The young lion and the serpent shalt thou trample under foot." On the other hand, nachash seems in three passages to refer to a mythical creature or dragon: "His hand hath pierced the swift serpent" (Job 26:13); "In that day Yahweh .... will punish leviathan the swift serpent and leviathan the crooked serpent" (Isa 27:1); ".... though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and it shall bite them" (Am 9:3).

(4) zochale is translated "crawling things" in De 32:24 (the King James Version "serpents") and in Mic 7:17 (the King James Version "worms").

(5) ‘akhshubh, occurs only in Ps 140:3, where it is translated "adder" Septuagint aspis, Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) aspis), "adders’ poison is under their lips." It has been suggested (BDB) that the reading should be ‘akkabhish, "spider" (which see). The parallel word in the previous line is nachash.

(6) pethen, like most of the other names a word of uncertain etymology, occurs 6 times and it is translated "asp," except in Ps 91:13, "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder." According to Liddell and Scott, aspis is the name of the Egyptian cobra, Naia haje L., which is not included in (2) above, because it does not certainly appear to have been found in Palestine The name "adder" is applied to various snakes all of which may perhaps be supposed to be poisonous but some of which are actually harmless. Aspis occurs in Ro 3:13 in a paraphrase of Ps 140:3 (see (5) above); it occurs frequently, though not uniformly, in Septuagint for (2), (5), (6), (7), (8) and (10).

(7) tsepha‘, occurs only in Isa 14:29 where it is translated "adder" (the King James Version "cockatrice," the English Revised Version "basilisk," Septuagint ekgona aspidon, Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) regulus). The root tsapha‘, of (7) and (8) may be an onomatopoetic word meaning "to hiss" (BDB).

(8) ..., or tsiph‘oni, occurs in Pr 23:32, "At the last it biteth like a serpent (nachash), and stingeth like an adder" (tsiph‘oni). In Isa 11:8; 59:5, and Jer 8:17, the American Standard Revised Version has "adder," while the King James Version has cockatrice" and the English Revised Version has "basilisk."

(9) shephiphon, occurs only in Ge 49:17:

"Da shall be a serpent (nachash) in the way,

An adder (shephiphon) in the path,

That biteth the horse’s heels,

So that his rider falleth backward."

This has been thought to be Cerastes cornulus, on the authority of Tristram (NHB), who says that lying in the path it will attack the passer-by, while most snakes will glide away at the approach of a person or large animal. He adds that his horse was much frightened at seeing one of these serpents coiled up in a camel’s footprint. The word is perhaps akin to the Arabic siff, or suff, which denotes a spotted and deadly snake.

(10) ‘eph’eh, is found in Job 20:16; Isa 30:6; 59:5, and in English Versions of the Bible is uniformly translated "viper." It is the same as the Arabic ‘af‘a, which is usually translated "viper," though the writer has never found anyone who could tell to what snake the name belongs. In Arabic as in Hebrew a poisonous snake is always understood.

(11) qippoz, the American Standard Revised Version "dart-snake," the English Revised Version "arrowsnake," the King James Version "great owl," only in Isa 34:15, "There shall the dart-snake make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shade; yea, there shall the kites be gathered, every one with her mate." "This is the concluding verse in a vivid picture of the desolation of Edom. The renderings "dart-snake" and "arrowsnake" rest on the authority of Bochert, but Septuagint has echinos, "hedgehog," and Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) ericeus, "hedgehog." The rendering of the King James Version "great owl" seems preferable to the others, because the words "make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shade" are as a whole quite inapplicable to a mammal or to a reptile. The derivation from qaphaz (compare Arabic qafaz), "to spring," "to dart," suits, it is true, a snake, and not a hedgehog, but may also suit an owl. Finally, the next word in Isa 34:15 is "kites," dayyoth; compare Arabic chida’at.


(12) ophis, a general term for "serpent," occurs in numerous passages of the New Testament and Septuagint, and is fairly equivalent to nachash.

(13) aspis, occurs in the New Testament only in Ro 3:13 parallel to Ps 140:3. See under (5) ‘akhshubh and (6) pethen. It is found in Septuagint for these words, and also for ‘eph‘eh (Isa 30:6).

(14) echidna, occurs in Ac 28:3, "A viper came out .... and fastened on his (Paul’s) hand," and 4 times in the expression "offspring (the King James Version "generation") of vipers," gennemata echidnon (Mt 3:7; 12:34; 23:33; Lu 3:7). The allied (masculine?) form echis, occurs in Sirach 39:30, the Revised Version (British and American) "adder."

(15) herpeton, "creeping thing," the King James Version "serpent," is found in Jas 3:7.

That the different Hebrew and Greek names are used without clear distinction is seen from several examples of the employment of two different names in parallel expressions:

"Their poison is like the poison of a serpent (nachash);

They are like the deaf adder (pethen) that stoppeth her ear" (Ps 58:4).

"They have sharpened their tongue like a serpent (nachash); Adders’ (‘akhshubh) poison is under their lips" (Ps 140:3).

"For, behold, I will send serpents (nechashim), adders (tsiph‘onim), among you, which will not be charmed; and they shall bite you, saith Yahweh" (Jer 8:17).

"They shall lick the dust like a serpent (nachash): like crawling things of the earth (zohale ‘erets) they shall come trembling out of their close places" (Mic 7:17).

"He shall suck the poison of asps (pethen): The viper’s (’eph‘eh) tongue shall slay him" (Job 20:16).

"Their wine is the poison of serpents (tanninim), and the cruel venom of asps (pethanim)" (De 32:33).

"And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp (pethen), and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s (tsiph‘oni) den" (Isa 11:8).

See also (8) and (9) above.

4. Figurative:

Most of the Biblical references to serpents are of a figurative nature, and they usually imply poisonous qualities. The wicked (Ps 58:4), the persecutor (Ps 140:3), and the enemy (Jer 8:17) are likened to venomous serpents. The effects of wine are compared to the bites of serpents (Pr 23:32). Satan is a serpent (Ge 3; Re 12:9; 20:2). The term "offspring of vipers" is applied by John the Baptist to the Pharisees and Sadducees (Mt 3:7) or to the multitudes (Lu 3:7) who came to hear him; and by Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees (Mt 12:34; 23:33). Da is a "serpent in the way .... that biteth the horse’s heels" (Ge 49:17). Serpents are among the terrors of the wilderness (De 8:15; Isa 30:6). Among the signs accompanying believers is that "they shall take up serpents" (Mr 16:18; compare Ac 28:5). It is said of him that trusts in Yahweh:

"Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder:

The young lion and the serpent shalt thou trample under foot" (Ps 91:13).

In the millennium, "the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den" (Isa 11:8). The serpent is subtle (Ge 3:1; 2Co 11:3); wise (Mt 10:16); accursed (Ge 3:14); eats dust (Ge 3:14; Isa 65:25; Mic 7:17). The adder is deaf (Ps 58:4). The serpent lurks in unexpected places (Ge 49:17; Ec 10:8; Am 5:19). Serpents may be charmed (Ps 58:5; Ec 10:11; Jer 8:17). Among four wonderful things is "the way of a serpent upon a rock" (Pr 30:19).

Alfred Ely Day


wur’-ship: Traces of this superstition are thought by certain critics to be discoverable in the religion of Israel. Stade mentions that W. R. Smith supposed the serpent to be the totem of the house of David (Geschichte, I, 465). H. P. Smith says: "We know of a Serpent’s Stone near Jerusalem, which was the site of a sanctuary (1Ki 1:9), and this sanctuary was dedicated to Yahweh" (Hist of Old Testament, 239, 240). Special reliance is placed on the narrative of the brazen serpent, which Hezekiah is recorded to have destroyed as leading to idolatry, (2Ki 18:4). "In that case," says H. P. Smith, "we must treat the Nehushtan as a veritable idol of the house of Israel, which had been worshipped in the temple from the time of its erection. Serpent worship is so widespread that we should be surprised not to find traces of it in Israel" (ut supra). In the same line, see G. B. Gray, Nu, 275-76. The fancifulness of these deductions is obvious.


James Orr





krook’-ed: With reference to the constellation round the North Pole, in Job 26:13, the Revised Version (British and American) "the swift serpent," margin "fleeing"; and Isa 27:1, the Revised Version margin "winding." In the first part of the latter passage, the King James Version "piercing serpent" is changed in the Revised Version (British and American) to "swift serpent," margin "gliding" or "fleeing."

See ASTRONOMY, sec. II, 1.


See SERPENT, 3, (2).


-charm’-ing: Allusion to this art, widely practiced by the ancients (see references in DB, under the word; especially Bothart, Hieron., III, 161, 164, etc.), as by modern Orientals, is found in Ps 58:5; Ec 10:11; Jer 8:17; Sirach 12:13, perhaps in Jas 3:7. The skill displayed in taming snakes, often without removing the poison fangs, is very surprising. Bruce, Davy, and other travelers give striking illustrations. See especially the interesting account of serpent-charming in Hengstenberg’s Egypt and the Books of Moses, English Translation, 100-104.


se’-rug (serugh; Serouch): Son of Reu and great-grandfather of Abraham (Ge 11:20 ff; 1Ch 1:26; Lu 3:35).


sur’-vant (’ebhedh; doulos): A very common word with a variety of meanings, all implying a greater or less degree of inferiority and want of freedom:

(1) The most frequent usage is as the equivalent of "slave" (which see), with its various shades in position (Ge 9:25; 24:9; Ex 21:5; Mt 10:24; Lu 17:7, and often); but also a hired workman where "hired servant" translates Hebrew and Greek expressions which differ from the above.

(2) An attendant in the service of someone, as Joshua was the "servant" the Revised Version (British and American) "minister" of Moses (Nu 11:28).

(3) As a ‘term of respectful self-depreciation referring to one’s self, "thy servant." or "your servant" is used in place of the personal pronoun of the first person:

(a) in the presence of superiors (Ge 19:2; 32:18, and often);

(b) in addressing the Supreme Being (1Sa 3:9; Ps 19:11; 27:9; Lu 2:29, and often).

(4) Officials of every grade are called the "servants" of kings, princes, etc. (1Sa 29:3; 2Sa 16:1; 1Ki 11:26; Pr 14:35, and often).

(5) The position of a king in relation to his people (1Ki 12:7).

(6) One who is distinguished as obedient and faithful to God or Christ (Jos 1:2; 2Ki 8:19; Da 6:20; Col 4:12; 2Ti 2:24). (7) One who is enslaved by sin (Joh 8:34).

William Joseph Mcglothlin


1. Historical Situation

2. The Authorship of Isaiah, Chapters 40-66

3. The Prophet of the Exile

4. The Unity of Isaiah 40-66

5. Principal Ideas of Isaiah 40-66

6. The Servant-Passages

(1) Date of the Servant-Passages

(2) Discussion of the Passages

(3) Whom Did the Prophet Mean by the Servant?

(4) The Psychology of the Prophecy

7. Place of the Servant-Passages in Old Testament Prophecy

8. Large Messianic Significance of the Servant-Passages

1. Historical Situation:

A century and a half had passed since the great days of Isaiah in Jerusalem. The world had vastly changed during those long decades when politicians had planned, armies surged back and forth, and tribes and nations had lost or won in the struggle for existence, place and power. The center of the world had changed—for Assyria had gone to its long home, and the city claiming preeminence was not Nineveh but Babylon.

Nowhere perhaps had time laid a heavier hand than on the city of Jerusalem and the country of Judah. For city and land had come to desolation, and the inhabitants of the country had become familiar with the strange sights and sounds of Babylonia, whither they had been carried by their conquerors. Many had found graves in the land of the exile, and new generations had arisen who had no memory of the hill country of their fathers. It is the situation of these captive Jews in Babylonia which is reflected and they who are addressed at the waning of the long night of captivity by the stirring message recorded in Isaiah 40-66 (leaving out of account here disputed passages in Isaiah 40-66).

2. The Authorship of Isaiah, Chapters 40-66:

The more one studies the problem of the authorship of these chapters, the more unlikely does it seem that their author penned them 150 years before the time with which they are vitally connected. It is obviously impossible to treat that problem in a detailed way here, but one may sum up the arguments by saying that in theological ideas, in style, and use of words they show such differences from the assured productions of Isaiah’s pen as to point to a different authorship. And the great argument, the argument which carries the most weight to the author of this article, is that these late chapters are written from the standpoint of the exile. The exile is assumed in what is said. These chapters do not prophesy the exile, do not say it is to come; they all the time speak as though it had come. The message is not that an exile is to be, but beginning with the fact that the exile already is, it foretells deliverance. Now of course it is conceivable that God might inspire a man to put himself forward 150 years, and with a message to people who were to live then, assuming their circumstances as a background of what he said, but it is improbable to the last degree. To put it in plain, almost gruff, English, it is not the way God did things. The prophet’s message was always primarily a message to his own age. Then there is no claim in the chapters themselves that Isaiah was their author. And having once been placed so that it was supposed they were by Isaiah—placed so through causes we do not know—the fact that in speaking of passages from these chapters New Testament authors referred to them by a name the people would recognize, is not a valid argument that they meant to teach anything as to their authorship. The problem had not arisen in New Testament times. Isaiah 40-66, as Professor Davidson has suggested, has a parallel in the Book of Job, each the production of a great mind, each from an author we do not know.

Compare ISAIAH.

3. The Prophet of the Exile:

Out of the deep gloom of the exile—when the Jew was a man without a country, when it seemed as if the nation’s sins had murdered hope—out of this time comes the voice most full of gladness and abounding hope of all the voices from the Old Testament life. In the midst of the proud, confident civilization of Babylonia, with its teeming wealth and exhaustless splendor, came a man who dared to speak for Yahweh—a man of such power to see reality that to him Babylonia was already doomed, and he could summon the people to prepare for God’s deliverance.

4. The Unity of Isaiah 40-66:

In recent criticism, especially in Germany, there has been a strong tendency to assign the last chapters of this section to a different author from the first. The background it is claimed is not Babylonian; the sins rebuked are the sins of the people when at home in Judea, and in at least one passage the temple at Jerusalem seems to be standing. That these chapters present difficulties need not be disputed, but it seems to me that again and again in them one can find the hand of Second Isaiah. Then undoubtedly the author quotes from previous prophecies which we can recognize, and the suggestion that some of the difficult passages may be quotations from other older prophecies which are not preserved to us, I think an exceedingly good one. The quotation of such passages in view of the prospect of return, and the prophet’s feeling of the need of the people, would seem to me not at all unnatural. If a later hand is responsible for some utterances in the latter part of the section, it seems to me fairly clear that most of it is from the hand of the great unknown prophet of the exile.

The questions regarding the Servant-passages as affecting the unity of the book will be treated later.

5. Principal Ideas of Isaiah 40-66:

The first part of this section vividly contrasts Yahweh and the idols worshipped with such splendor and ceremony. All the resources of irony and satire are used to give point and effect to the contrast. Cyrus the Median conqueror is already on the horizon, and he is declared to be God’s instrument in the deliverance. The idols are described in process of manufacture; they are addressed in scornful apostrophe, they are seen carried away helpless. On the other side Yahweh, with illimitable foresight and indomitable strength, knows and reveals the future. They know and reveal nothing. He brings to pass what He has planned. They do nothing. Not only the idols but Babylonia itself is made the victim of satire—and the prophet hurls a taunt song at the proud but impotent city.

Israel—the people of Yahweh—the elect of God—is given the prophet’s message. The past is called up as a witness to Yahweh’s dealings. His righteousness—His faithfulness to His people—shall not fail. They are unworthy, but out of His own bounty salvation is provided. And with joy of this salvation from exile and from sin the book rings and rings. The Zion of the restored Israel is pictured with all the play of color and richness of imagery at the prophet’s command. And this restored Israel is to have a world-mission. Its light is to fall upon all lands. It is to minister salvation to all races of men.

But back of and under these pictures of great hope is the prophet’s sense of his people’s sin and their struggle with it. In the latter part of the book, especially Isaiah 59 and 64 this comes out clearly. And the mood of these chapters expresses the feeling out of which some of the deep things of the Servant-passages came. There is no need to insist that the chapters as they stand are in the order in which they were written. We know from other prophecies that this was not always true. But even if a man were convinced that the chapters now occurring after the Servant-passages were all written after them, he could still hold, and I think would be justified in holding, that in places in those chapters the reader finds the record of a state of the prophet’s mind before the writing of those passages. The former view would be, I think, the preferable one. At any rate the point of view is logically that out of which some of the deep things in the Servant-passages came.

In profoundness of meaning the climax of the book is reached in these passages where the deliverance from exile and the deliverance from sin are connected with one great figure—the Servant of Yahweh.

6. The Servant-Passages:

The word "servant," as applied to servants of God, is not an unfamiliar one to readers of the Old Testament. It is applied to different individuals and by Jeremiah to the nation (compare Jer 30:10; 46:27); but its message is on the whole so distinct and complete in Second Isa that we can study it without any further reference to previous usage.

The "servant" first appears in Isa 41:8. Here the reference is undoubtedly to Israel, chosen and called of God and to be upheld by Him. Here Israel is promised victory over its enemies. In vivid picture their destruction and Isracl’s future trust and glory in God are portrayed.

There are several incidental references to Israel as Yahweh’s servant: created by Yahweh and not to be forgotten (Isa 41:8); Cyrus is said to be called for the sake of His servant Jacob (Isa 45:4); Yahweh is said to have redeemed His servant Jacob (Isa 48:20).

In Isa 44:26 "servant" seems to be used with the meaning of prophet. It is said of Yahweh that He "confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers."

In Isa 42:19 we find the failure and inadequacy of Israel presented in the words, "Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I send?" This passage is an explanation of the exile. Israel proved unworthy and sinned, hence, its punishment, but even in the exile the lesson had not been taken to heart.

In Isa 43:8 ff Yahweh summons Israel the servant, who in spite of blindness and deafness yet is His witness. It has at least seen enough to be able to witness for Him in the presence of the heathen.

In Isa 44:1-5, leaving the unworthiness of the actual Israel, there comes what seems to me a summons in the name of the possible, the ideal. The underlying thought is a call to the high future which God has ready to give.

This covers the reference to the servant outside the great Servant-passages to which we now come. There are four of these: Isa 42:1-9; 49:1-9 a; 50:4-11; 52:13-53:12; 61:1-4 perhaps represents words of the Servant, but may refer to words of the prophet, and, as at any rate it adds no new features to the picture of the Servant already given in the passages undoubtedly referring to him, we will not discuss it.

(1) Date of the Servant-Passages.

Ewald long ago suggested that the last of the Servant-passages must have been borrowed from an earlier composition, which he assigned to the age of Manasseh. "If we find in the study of the passage reason for its vividness, we shall not need to seek its origin in the description of some past martyrdom."

Duhm quoted by Cheyne thinks the Servant-passages post-exilic. The gentleness and quiet activity of the Servant for one thing, according to Duhm, suggest the age of the scribes, rather than that of the exile. But might not an age of suffering be a time to learn the lesson of gentleness? According to Skinner, Duhm thinks the passages were inserted almost haphazard, but Skinner also refers to Kosters, showing that the passages cannot be lifted without carrying some of the succeeding verses with them. This is particularly significant in view of the recent popularity of other theories which deny the Servant-passages to the hand and time of Second Isa. The theory that these passages form by themselves a poem or a set of poems which have been inserted here can boast of distinguished names.

There does not seem much to commend it, however. As to the argument from difference as to rhythm, there is disagreement, and the data are probably not of a sort to warrant much significance being applied to it either way. The fact that the passages are not always a part of connected movement of thought would play great havoc if made a universal principle of discrimination as to authorship in the prophecies of the Old Testament. If we succeed in giving the fundamental ideas of the passages a place in relation to the thought of Deutero-Isaiah, an argument for which cogency might be claimed will be dissipated. But even at its best this argument would not be conclusive. To deny certain ideas to an author simply because he has not expressed them in a certain bit of writing acknowledged to him is perilous business. A message of hope surely does not preclude an appreciation of the dark things.

The truth of the matter is that even by great scholars the temptation to a criticism of knight-errantry is not always resisted. And I think we shall not make any mistake in believing that this is the case with the attempt to throw doubt upon the Deutero-Isaianic authorship of the Servant-passages.

(2) Discussion of the Passages.

Isa 42:1-9: In these verses Yahweh Himself is the speaker, describing the Servant as His chosen, in whom His soul delights, upon whom He has put His spirit. He is to bring justice to the Gentiles. His methods are to be quiet and gentle, and the very forlorn hope of goodness He will not quench. He is to set justice in the earth, and remote countries are described as waiting for His law. Then comes a declaration by the prophet that Yahweh, the Creator of all, is the speaker of words declaring the Servant’s call in righteousness to be a covenant for the people, a light to the Gentiles, a helper to those in need—the blind and imprisoned. Yahweh’s glory is not to be given to other, nor His praise to graven images. Former prophecies have come to pass. New things He now declares. One’s attention needs to be called to the distinction of the Servant from Israel in this passage. He is to be a covenant of the people: according to Delitzsch, "he in whom and through whom Yahweh makes a new covenant with His people in place of the old one that has been broken."

Isa 49:1-9 a; Here the Servant himself spoaks, telling of his calling from the beginning of his life, of the might of his word, of his shelter in God, of a time of discouragement in which he thought his labor in vain, followed by insistence on his trust in God. Then Yahweh promises him a larger mission than the restoration of Israel, namely, to be a light to the Gentiles. Yahweh speaks of the Servant as one despised, yet to be triumphant so that he will be honored by kings and princes. He is to lead his people forth at their restoration, "to make them inherit the desolate heritages; saying to them that are bound, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves."

Clearly the Servant is distinct from the people Israel in this passage. Yet in Isa 49:3 he is addressed as Israel. The word Israel here may be a gloss, which would solve the difficulty, or the Servant may be addressed as Israel because he gathers up in himself the meaning of the ideal Israel. If it is true that the prophet gradually passed from the conception of Israel as a nation to a person through whom its true destiny would be realized, this last suggestion would gain in probability.

One notices here the emphasis on the might of the Servant, and in this passage we come to understand that he is to pass through a time of ignominy. The phrase "a servant of rulers" is a difficult one, which would be clear if the prophet conceived of him as one of the exiles, and typically representing them. The Servant’s mission in this passage seems quite bound up with the restoration.

Isa 50:4-11: In the first part of this passage the Servant is not mentioned directly, but it seems clear that he is speaking. He is taught of God continually, that he may bring a message to the weary. He has opened his ear so that he may fully understand Yahweh’s message. The Servant now describes his sufferings as coming to him because of his obedience. He was not rebellious and did not turn back from his mission. Flint-like he set his face and with confidence in God met the shame which came upon him. After language vivid with a sense of ignominy his assured consciousness of victory and faith in God are expressed, .

In Isa 50:10-11, according to Delitzsch, Yahweh speaks, first encouraging those who listen to the Servant, then addressing those who despise his word. Cheyne thinks the Servant mentioned in 50:10 may be the prophet, but I prefer Delitzsch’s view.

Isa 52:13-53:12: The present division of 52:13-53:12 is unfortunate, for obviously it is all of a piece and ought to stand together in one chapter.

In Isa 52:13-15 Yahweh speaks of the humiliation and later of the exaltation of the Servant. He shall deal wisely—the idea here including the success resulting from wisdom—and shall be exalted. Words are piled upon each other here to express his exaltation. But the appearance of the Servant is such as to suggest the very opposite of his dignity, which will astonish nations and kings when they come, to understand it.

Entering upon Isaiah 53 we find the people of Israel speaking confessing their former unbelief, and giving as a reason the repulsive aspect of the Servant—despised, sad, sick with a visage to make men turn from him. He is described as though he had been a leper. They thought all this had come upon him as a stroke from God, but they now see how he went even to death, not for his own transgression but for theirs. Their peace and healing came through his suffering and death. They have been sinful and erring; the result of it all God has caused to light upon him.

They look back in wonder at the way he bore his sufferings—like a lamb led to the slaughter; with a false judicial procedure he was led away, no one considering his death, or its relation to them. His grave even was an evidence of ignominy.

Beginning at Isa 53:10 the people cease speaking, according to Delitzsch, and the prophecy becomes the organ of God who acknowledges His Servant. The reference to a trespass offering in 53:10 is remarkable. Nowhere else is prophecy so connected with the sacrificial system (A. B. Davidson). It pleased God to bruise the Servant—his soul having been made a trespass offering; the time of humiliation over, the time of exaltation will come.

By his knowledge we are told—here a momentary reversion to the time of humiliation taking place—by his knowledge he shall justify many and bear their iniquities. Then comes the exaltation—dividing of spoils and greatness—the phrases suggesting kingly glory: all this is to be his because of his suffering. The great fact of Isaiah 53 is vicarious suffering.

(3) Whom Did the Prophet Mean by the Servant?

(a) Obviously not all of Israel always, for the Servant is distinguished from Israel. (b) Not the godly remnant, for he is distinguished from them. Then the godly remnant does not attain to any such proportions as to fit the description of Isaiah 53. (c) And one cannot accept theory that the prophetic order is intended. The whole order is not great enough to exhaust the meaning of one of a half-dozen of the greatest lines in chapter 53.

Professor A. B. Davidson’s Old Testament Prophecy contains a brilliant and exceedingly able discussion of the question which he approaches from the stand-point of Biblical rather than simply exegetical theology. His fundamental position is that in the prophet’s outlook the restoration is the consummation. In his mind the Servant and his work cannot come after the restoration. The Servant, if a real person, must be one whose work lies in the past or the present, as there is not room in the future for him, for the restoration which is at the door brings felicity, and after that no sufferings of the Servant are conceivable. But there is no actual person in the past and none in the present who could be the Servant. Hence, the Servant cannot be to the prophet’s mind a real person.


Of course Davidson relates the result to his larger conception of prophecy in such a way as to secure the Messianic significance of the passages in relation to their fulfillment in our Lord. The ideas they contain are realized in Him.

But coming back to the prophet’s mind—if the Servant was not a person to him, what significance did he have? The answer according to Davidson is, He is a great personification of the ideal Israel. "He is Israel according to its idea." To quote more fully, "The prophet has created out of the divine determinations imposed on Israel, election, creation and forming, endowment with the word or spirit of Yahweh, and the divine purpose in these operations, an ideal Being, an inner Israel in the heart of the phenomenal or actual Israel, an indestructible Being having these divine attributes or endowments, present in the outward Israel in all ages, powerful and effectual because really composed, if I can say so, of divine forces, who cannot fail in God’s purpose, and who as an inner power within Israel by his operation causes all Israel to become a true servant" (compare Davidson, Old Testament Prophecy, 435-36).

Now it seems to me that Davidson is more effective in his destructive than in his constructive work. One must confess that he presents real difficulties in the way of holding to a personal Servant as the prophet’s conception. But on the other hand when he tries to replace that by a more adequate conception, I do not think he conspicuously succeeds.

The greatest of the Servant-passages (it seems to me) presents more than can be successfully dealt with under the conception of the Servant as the ideal Israel. The very great emphasis on vicarious suffering in Isaiah 53 simply is not answered by theory. Words would not leap with such a flame of reality in describing the suffering of a personification. The sense of sin back of the passage is not a thing whose problem could be solved by a glittering figure of speech. There it surges—the movement of an aroused conscience—and the answer to it could never be anything less than a real deed by a real person. My own feeling is that if language can express anything it expresses the fact that the prophet had a real personal Servant in view.

But what of the difficulties Davidson suggests? Even if the answer were not easy to find, one could rest on the total impression the passages make. One cannot vaporize a passage for the sake of placing it in an environment in which one believes it belongs. As Cheyne in other days said, "In the sublimest descriptions of the Servant I am unable to resist the impression that we have the presentment of an individual, and venture to think that our general view of the Servant ought to be ruled by those passages in which the enthusiasm of the author is at its height."

The first thing we need to remember in dealing with the difficulties Davidson has brought forth is the timelessness of prophecy, and the resulting fact that every prophet saw the future as if lying just on the horizon of his own time. As prophets saw the day of Yahweh as if at hand, so it seems to me Deutero-Isaiah saw the Servant: each really afar off, yet each really seen in the colors of the present. Then we must remember that the prophets did not relate all their conceptions. They stated truths whose meaning and articulation they did not understand. They were not philosophers with a Hegelian hunger for a total view of life, and when we try to read them from this standpoint we misjudge them. Then we must remember that the prophet may here have been lifted to a height of prophetic receptivehess where he received and uttered what went beyond the limits of his own understanding. To be sure there was a point of contact, but I see no objection to the thought that in a place of unique significance and importance like this, God might use a man to utter words which reached far beyond the limits of his own understanding. In this connection some words of Professor Hermann Schultz are worth quoting: "If it is true anywhere in the history of poetry and prophecy, it is true here that the writer being full of the spirit has said more than he himself meant to say and more than he himself understood."

(4) The Psychology of the Prophecy.

This does not mean that something may. not be said about the connection of the Servant-passages with the prophet’s own thought. Using Delitzsch’s illustration, we can see how from regarding all Israel as the servant the prophet could narrow down to the godly part of Israel as experience taught him the faithlessness of many, and it ought not to be impossible for us to see how all that Israel really meant at its best could have focused itself in his thought upon one person. Despite Davidson’s objection, I can see nothing artificial about this movement in the prophet’s mind. There was probably more progression in his thought than Professor Davidson is willing to allow. If it is asked, Where was the person to whom the prophet could ascribe such greatness, conceiving as he did that he was to come at once? surely a similar question would be fair in relation to Isaiah’s Messiah. The truth is that even on the threshold of the restoration there was time for a great one suddenly to arise. As John the Baptist on the Jordan watched for the coming One whom he knew not, yet who was alive, so the great prophet of the exile may have watched even day by day for the coming Servant whose work had been revealed to him.

But deep in the psychology of the prophecy is the sense of sin out of which these passages came and indications of which I think are found in the latter part of the book. The great guilt-laden past lay terribly behind the prophet, and as he mused over the sufferings of the righteous, perhaps especially drawn to tim heart-rent Jeremiah, the thought of redemptive suffering may have dawned upon him. And if in its light, and with a personal sense of sin drawn from what experiences we know not, he grapples with the problem, can we not understand, can we not see that God might flash upon him the great conception of a sin-bearer?

7. Place of the Servant-Passages in Old Testament Prophecy:

At last the idea of vicarious suffering had been connected with the deep things of the nation’s life, and henceforward was a part of its heritage. To the profoundest souls it would be a part of the nation’s forward look. The priestly idea had been deepened and filled with new moral meaning. The Servant was a prophet too—so priest and prophet met in one. And I think Cheyne was right when he suggested that in the Servant’s exaltation in Isaiah 53, the idea of the Servant is brought nearer to that of king than we sometimes think. So in suggestion, at least, prophet, priest and king meet in the great figure of the suffering Servant.

A new rich stream had entered into prophecy, full of power to fertilize whatever shores of thought it touched. In the thoughts of these passages prophecy seemed pressing with impatient eagerness to its goal, and though centuries were to pass before that goal was reached, its promise is seen here, full of assurance and of knowledge of the kind of goal it is to be.

8. Larger Messianic Significance of the Servant-Passages:

But whatever our view of the meaning of the prophet, we must agree (compare Mt 8:17; 12:18-21; 26:67; Joh 12:41, et al.) that the conception he so boldly and powerfully put upon his canvas had its realization, its fulfillment in the One who spoke to the world from the cross on Calvary. And in its darkly glorious shadow the Christian, with all the sadness and joy and wonder of it, with a sense of its solving all his problems and meeting the deepest needs and outreaches of his life, can feel a strange companionship with the exilic prophet whose yearning for a sin-bearer and belief in His coming call across the long and slowly moving years. In the light and penetration of that hour he may be trusted to know what the prophet meant. Professor Delitzsch well said of that passage, "Every word is as it were written under the cross at Golgotha."

Lynn Harold Hough




sur’-vis: Six Hebrew, two Aramaic and four Greek words are so rendered.

1. In the Old Testament:

In the Old Testament the word most used for "service" is

(1) ‘abhodhah, from ‘abhadh, which is the general word, meaning "to work" and so "to serve," "to till," also "to enslave." The noun means "bondage," "labor," "ministering," "service," "tillage," "work," "use." The word is used in describing work in the fields (Ex 1:14, et al.), work in the tabernacle (Ex 27:19, et al.), sanctuary service (Nu 7:9), service of Yahweh (Nu 8:11), Levitical or priestly service (Nu 8:22), kingly service (1Ch 26:30), etc. Reference is made to instruments, wood vessels, cattle, herbs, shekels for the service in the house of Yahweh.

(2) ‘Abhadh itself is translated "service" in Nu 8:15; 18:23; Jer 22:13.

(3) Seradh means "stitching," i.e. piercing with a needle; it occurs only 4 times, and in each case in the Revised Version (British and American) instead of "service" is translated "finely wrought garments" (Ex 31:10; 35:19; 39:1,41).

(4) Sharath means primarily "to attend" as a servant or worshipper, and to contribute to or render service, wait on, and thence service; occurs only 3 times (Ex 35:19; 39:1,41 the King James Version) and in the American Standard Revised Version is rendered "for ministering."

(5) Tsabha’ is found 7 times, used in the same connection each time, and refers to those numbered for service in the tent of meeting. Its primary root meaning refers to service for war, campaign, hardship (Nu 4:30,35,39,43; 8:24).

(6) Yadh means literally, an "open hand, indicating direction, power, and so ministry as in 1Ch 6:31, where David appoints certain ones to have direction of the music, translated in 1Ch 29:5, the Revised Version (British and American) not service, but "himself."

(7) ‘Abhidhah means "business," "labor," "affairs"; Ezr 6:18 is the only place where it is found.

(8) Polchan, from root meaning "to worship," "minister to," and so in Ezr 7:19 vessels given for service.

2. In the New Testament:

The following are the uses in the New Testament:

(1) Diakonia, from root meaning "to run on errands," and so attendance, aid as a servant, ministry, relief, and hence, service; compare English word "deacon"; Paul: "that I might minister unto you" (2Co 11:8); also found in Ro 15:31 ("ministration") and Re 2:19 ("ministry").

(2) Douleuo, literally, "to be a slave," in bondage, service (Ga 4:8, "bondage"; Eph 6:7, "service"; 1Ti 6:2, "serve").

(3) Latreia, from root meaning "to render religious homage," menial service to God, and so worship (Joh 16:2, "service"; Ro 9:4, "service"; Ro 12:1, "spiritual service"; Heb 9:1, "service"; 9:6, "services").

(4) Leitourgia, from root "to perform religious or charitable functions," worship, relieve, obey, minister, and hence, a public function, priestly or charitable (liturgy) (2Co 9:12, "service"; also in Php 2:17,30).


William Edward Raffety




SESIS se’-sis (Codex Vaticanus Seseis; Codex Alexandrinus Sesseis): One who put away his foreign wife (1 Esdras 9:34) =" Shashai" in Ezr 10:40.


ses’-thel (Sesthel): One of the sons of Addi who put away their foreign wives (1 Esdras 9:31)=" Bezalel" in Ezr 10:30.


Few words in the English language have such a rich variety of meaning and are used in so rich a variety of idiomatic expression as the word "set." A glance at any of the great dictionaries will convince anyone of the truth of this statement. The Standard Dictionary devotes three and a half columns to the word. In its primary meaning it there denotes 22 distinct things, in its secondary meaning 17 more, while 18 distinct phrases are given in which it is used, in some cases again in a variety of meanings. It is indeed a word calculated to drive a foreigner to despair. Some 70 Hebrew and about 30 Greek words in the original tongues of the Holy Scriptures have been rendered by the word "set," in the King James Version and also in the Revised Version (British and American). A careful comparative study of the original and of translations in other tongues will at once indicate that a lack of discrimination is evident on the part of the English translators in the frequent use of the word "set."

Thus in So 5:14, "hands are as rings of gold set with beryl," the Hebrew word is male’," to be filled," "full." Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) translates plenae, the Dutch gevuld, the German voll; Pr 8:27, "when he set a circle," Hebrew chaqaq, "to describe," "decree," Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) vallabat, Dutch beschreef; Ezr 4:10, "set in the city of Samaria," Aramaic yethibh, "to cause to sit down," "to cause to dwell," Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) habitare eas fecit, Dutch doen wonen; Ps 2:6, "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill," Hebrew nacakh, "to pour out," "to anoint," Dutch gezalfd; Isa 19:2, the King James Version "I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians," Hebrew cakhakh, "to disturb," "to confuse," Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) concurrere faciam, , Dutch verwarren, German an einander setzen; Re 3:8, "I have, set before thee a door," Greek didomi, "to give," Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) dedi coram te, Dutch gegeven, German gegeben; Ac 19:27, the King James Version "Our craft is in danger to be set at nought," Greek erchomai, "to come," Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) periclitabitur, Dutch in verachting komen; Lu 4:18, "to set at liberty them," Greek apostello, "to send away," Dutch heen te zenden in vrijheid; Ac 13:9, the King James Version "Saul .... set his eyes on him," Greek atenizo, "to stare fixedly," Vulgate: intuens in eum, Dutch de oogen op hem houdende. These are but a few examples chosen at random where our English translators have rendered Hebrew and Greek words by "set," where a more literal translation, in equally good idiomatic language, was possible. The word "set" is the causative of "sit," and indicates primarily a power of self-support, in opposition to the idea of the word "lay."

(1) In its primary meaning the word "set" is used in our English Bible in many senses:

(a) Foundation: So 5:15, "His legs are as pillars of marble set upon."

(b) Direction: Eze 21:16, "whithersoever thy face is set."

(c) Appointed time: Ac 12:21, "upon a set day."

(d) Fixed place: 2Ch 20:17, "Set yourselves, stand ye still, and see"; 2Sa 6:17; Mt 4:5.

(e) Cause to sit: 1Sa 2:8, the King James Version "to set them among princes"; 2Ch 23:20; Ps 68:6.

(f) Appointment: Ezr 7:25, the King James Version "set magistrates and judges"; Ge 41:41; 1Sa 12:13; Ps 2:6; Da 1:11. (g) To lift up: Ge 31:17, "set his sons and his wives upon."

(h) Appointed place: Ge 1:17, "God set them in the firmament."

(i) Cause to stand: Ge 47:7, "Joseph brought in Jacob .... and set him before Pharaoh"; Nu 8:13; 2Ch 29:25.

(j) Sitting: Mt 5:1, the King James Version "when he was set"; Heb 8:1 the King James Version.

(k) Location: Mt 5:14, "a city set on a hill." These by no means exhaust the meaning which the word, in its primary sense, has in our English Bible.

(2) In a secondary or tropical sense it is used with equal frequency, usually with various prepositions. Thus,

(a) To attack: Jud 9:33, the King James Version "and set upon the city."

(b) To imprint: Ge 4:15, the King James Version "The Lord set a mark upon Cain."

(c) To direct to: 1Ki 2:15, "And that all Israel set their faces on me."

(d) To place: 1Ki 20:12, Ben-hadad shouted one word to his allies: "Set," i.e. set the armies in array, the battering-rams and engines of attack in their place.

(e) To incline toward: Eze 40:4, "Set thy heart upon all that I shall show."

(f) To trust in: Ps 62:10, "If riches increase, set not your heart thereon."

(g) To place before: Ps 90:8, "Thou hast set our iniquities before"; Ps 141:3, "Set a watch, O Yahweh, before my mouth."

(h) To go down: of the setting of the sun (Mr 1:32; Lu 4:40).

(i) To be proud: Mal 3:15, the King James Version "They that work wickedness are set up."

(j) To fill in: Ex 35:9, "stones to be set, for the ephod."

(k) To plant: Mr 12:1, "set a hedge about it."

(l) To mock: Lu 23:11, "Herod .... set him at nought."

(m) To honor: 1Sa 18:30, "so that his name was much set by."

(n) To start: Ac 21:2, "We went aboard, and set sail." As may be seen the word is used in an endless variety of meanings.

Henry E. Dosker


seth, sheth (sheth; Seth):

(1) The son born to Adam and Eve after the death of Abel (Ge 4:25 f; 5:3 ff; 1Ch 1:1; Sirach 49:16; Lu 3:38). In Ge 4:25 the derivation of the name is given. Eve "called his name Seth: For, said she, God hath appointed (shath) me another seed instead of Abel." In 1Ch 1:1 the King James Version, the form is "Sheth"; elsewhere in the King James Version and in the Revised Version (British and American) throughout the form is "Seth."

(2) the King James Version "the children of Sheth," the Revised Version (British and American) "the sons of tumult." According to the King James Version rendering, the name of an unknown race mentioned in Balaam’s parable (Nu 24:17).

S. F. Hunter


se’-thur (cethur; Sathour): An Asherite spy (Nu 13:13 (14)).


set’-ing (millu’ah, literally, "a filling"): The word is used in the description of the manufacture of the breastplate of judgment (Ex 28:17). The instruction runs: "Thou shalt set in it settings of stones," namely, four rows of precious stones. The same word is rendered "inclosings" in Ex 28:20, and in 39:13 the King James Version.


set’-’-l (‘azarah): For this word in Eze 43:14,17,20; 45:19, the American Standard Revised Version and the English Revised Version margin substitute more correctly "ledge."



The Hebrew language has 8 words which are thus translated: yashabh, nachath, ‘amadh, shaqat, tabha‘, natsabh, maqom, qapha’. Now the meaning is to settle down, to cause to occur (Eze 36:11 the King James Version; 1Ch 17:14); then it denotes fixedness (2Ki 8:11; Ps 119:89; Pr 8:25); again it points to a condition of absolute quiescence, as the settlings on the lees (Jer 48:11); and in still another place it means packing solidly together (Ps 65:10). In the New Testament the words hedraios, themelioo, and tithemi, have been translated "settle." the Revised Version (British and American) in 1Pe 5:10 has translated "establish," and the context unquestionably points to the idea of a fixed establishment in the faith. In Lu 21:14 the word translated "settle" evidently points to a fixed determination.

Henry E. Dosker


sev’-’-n (shebha‘; hepta).







se-ven’-e, se-ve’-ne (ceweneh): For the King James Version "the tower of Syene," in Eze 29:10; 30:6, the Revised Version (British and American) reads, "the tower of Seveneh," with a marginal note, "or, from Migdol to Syene." Seveneh is the town at the First Cataract in Egypt, now known as Assuan. Fresh interest has recently been given to it by the Elephantine discoveries bearing on the ancient Jewish colony and temple of Yahweh in that place in the 5th century BC.






sev’-n-ti (shibh‘im; hebdomekonta).



The account of the designation and mission of these is found only in Luke 10. Some have therefore sought to maintain that we have here only a confused variant of the appointment of the Twelve; but this is impossible in the light of Luke’s account of the Twelve in chapter 9.

The documents vary as between the numbers seventy and seventy-two, so that it is impossible to determine which is the correct reading; and internal evidence does not help at all in this case. There is nothing in the function or circumstances to indicate any reason for the specific number.

Commentators have sought parallels in the seventy elders chosen to assist Moses (Nu 11) and suppose that Jesus was incidentally indicating Himself as the "prophet like unto Moses" whom God would raise up.

Again, the Jews popularly reckoned the "number of the nations of the earth" at seventy (compare Ge 10), and some have supposed Jesus to be thus indicating that His gospel is universal. Attention is called to the fact that the Seventy are not forbidden to go to Gentiles and that their commission probably included Peraea, where many Gentiles were to be found. Some, again, have supposed that Jesus had in mind the Jewish Sanhedrin, composed of seventy (or seventy-two), and that the appointment of a like number to extend the work of His kingdom was a parabolic recognition that as the Jews were officially rejecting Him, so He was rejecting them as agents for the work of the kingdom. It is impossible to speak with any certainty as to any of these suggestions. It is to be noted that there is the same confusion between the numbers seventy and seventy-two in all four instances, as also in the tradition as to the number of translators of the Septuagint.

Inasmuch as no further mention is made of these workers, it is to be understood that they were appointed for a temporary ministry. Tradition names several of them and identifies them with disciples active after Pentecost. While it is probable that some of these were witnesses later, the tradition is worthless in details. The mission of these and the reason assigned for their appointment are essentially the same as in the case of the Twelve. Jesus is now completing His last popular campaign in preaching and introducing the kingdom of heaven. The employing of these in this service is in line with the permanent ideal of Christianity, which makes no distinction between the "laymen" and the "clergy" in responsibility and service. Jesus was perhaps employing all whose experience and sympathy made them fit for work in the harvest that was so plenteous while the laborers were few. He found seventy such now as He would find a hundred and twenty such after His ascension (Ac 1:15).

William Owen Carver


The "seventy weeks" of the prophecy in Da 9:24-27 have long been a subject of controversy in the critical schools. The conflicting views may be seen very fully in Dr. Driver’s Daniel, 94 ff, 143 ff, and Dr. Pusey’s Daniel the Prophet, lectionaries II, III, IV. On both sides it is agreed that the "weeks" in this prophecy are to be interpreted as "weeks of years," i.e. the 70 weeks represent 490 years. This period, commencing with "the going forth of the commandments to restore and build Jerus" (Da 9:25), is divided into three parts, 7 weeks (49 years), 62 weeks (434 years), and one week (7 years). The 69 weeks extend to the appearance of "an anointed one (Hebrew "Messiah"), the prince" (Da 9:25), who, after the 62 weeks, shall be "cut off" (Da 9:26), apparently in the "midst" of the 70th week (Da 9:27). On the traditional view (see Pusey), the 69 weeks (483 years) mark the interval from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem till the appearance of Christ; and if, with Pusey, the decree in question be taken to be that of the 7th year of Artaxerxes (457-56 BC; the mission of Ezra; compare Ezr 7:8 ff), confirmed and extended in the 20th year of the same king (mission of Nehemiah; compare Ne 2:1 ff), the 483 years run out about 27-28 AD, when our Lord’s public ministry began. On the other hand, the view which supposes that the Book of Daniel belongs wholly to the Maccabean age, and does not here contain genuine prediction, is under the necessity of making the 490 years terminate with the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes (171-164 BC), and this, it is admitted, cannot be done. To give time the violent expedient is adopted of dating the commencement of the 70 weeks from the prophecy of Jeremiah of the 70 years’ captivity, or of the rebuilding of Jerusalem (606 or 587 BC), i.e. before the captivity had begun. Even this, as Dr. Driver admits (p. 146), leaves us in 171 BC, some 67 years short of the duration of the 62 weeks, and a huge blunder of the writer of Daniel has to be assumed. The divergent reckonings are legion, and are mutually contradictory (see table in Pusey, p. 217). To invalidate the older view Dr. Driver avails himself of the altered renderings of Da 9:25 and 27 in the English Revised Version. It is to be noted, however, that the American Standard Revised Version does not follow the English Revised Version in these changes. Thus, whereas the English Revised Version reads in 9:25, "Unto the anointed one; the prince, shall be seven weeks: and threescore and two weeks, it shall be built again," and accordingly takes "the anointed one" of 9:26 to be a distinct person, the American Standard Revised Version (as also the English Revised Version margin) reads, as in the King James Version, "shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks." Again, where the English Revised Version reads in Da 9:27 "For the half of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease," the American Standard Revised Version (and the English Revised Version margin) has as formerly, "In the midst of the week he shall cause" etc. (conversely, in 9:25 the American Revised Version margin gives the English Revised Version rendering). The question cannot be discussed here, but it is believed that the traditional interpretation may yet claim acceptance from those who do not accept the postulates of the newer critical writers.


James Orr


The period assigned by Jeremiah for the duration of the Jewish exile in Babylon (Jer 25:11,12; 29:10; compare 2Ch 36:21; Ezr 1:1; Da 9:2). If the period be reckoned from the date of the first deportation in the 4th year of Jehoiakim (2Ki 24:1; 2Ch 36:6; Da 1:1 by another reckoning calls it the 3rd year), i.e. 606 BC, till the decree of Cyrus, 536 BC, the prediction was fulfilled to a year.



sev’-er: The three Hebrew words badhal, palah and paradh are thus translated. The idea conveyed is that of setting apart (Le 20:26 the King James Version) or of setting someone or something apart in a miraculous way (Ex 8:22; 9:4 the King James Version, the English Revised Version), or, again, of simple separation on one’s own volition (Jud 4:11 the King James Version, the English Revised Version). The Greek word aphorizo (Mt 13:49) stands for final judicial segregation.


sev’-er-al, sev’-er-al-i: The Hebrew words chophshuth and chophshith, translated "several" in the King James Version, the English Revised Version, 2Ki 15:5; 2Ch 26:21, are in both cases translated "separate" in the American Standard Revised Version, and indicate ceremonial uncleanness and consequent severance on account of leprosy. In the parable of the Talents (Mt 25:15) and also in 1Co 12:11 the word idios, is translated "several," "severally." In both cases it points to the individuality of the recipients of the gift bestowed.


sha-a-lab’-in (sha‘alabbin; Codex Vaticanus Salabein; Codex Alexandrinus Salamein): A town in the territory of Da named between Irshemesh and Aijalon (Jos 19:42). It seems to be identical with SHAALBIM.


sha-al’-bim (sha‘albim; Codex Vaticanus Bethalamei; Codex Alexandrinus Salabeim, in Joshua, Codex Vaticanus and Codex Alexandrinus Thalabeim): When the Amorites had forced the children of Da into the mountain they came and dwelt in Mt. Heres, Aijalon and Shaalbim, where, it appears, they were made tributary to the house of Joseph (Jud 1:35). In the time of Solomon it was included in the administrative district presided over by Ben-deker, along with Makaz, Beth-shemesh and Elon-beth-hanan (1Ki 4:9). Beth-shemesh is the same as Ir-shemesh (Jos 19:42). Shaalbim is probably only another name of Shaalabbin. One of David’s mighty men is called Eliahba the Shaalbonite. This presumes the existence of a town called Shaalbon (2Sa 23:32; 1Ch 11:33), which again is probably identical with Shaalbim. Eusebius (in Onomasticon) identifies it with Salaba, a large village in the district of Sebaste (Samaria), which apparently Eusebius and Jerome thought to be in the territory of Dan. It seems, however, too far to the North. Jerome in his commentary on Eze 48 speaks of the towers of Aijalon and Selebi and Emmaus. Conder would identify Selebi with Selbit, 3 miles Northwest of Aijalon (Yalo), and 8 miles North of Bethshemesh. This would suit for Shaalbim, as far as position is concerned; but it is difficult to account for the heavy "T" (Hebrew letter Tet) in the name, if derived from Shaalbim.

W. Ewing


sha-al-bo’-nit, sha-al’-bo-nit (ha-sha‘alboni; ho Salaboneites (2Sa 23:32) Codex Vaticanus ho Homei; Codex Alexandrinus ho Salaboni): Eliahba, one of David’s heroes, a native of Shaalbon.



sha’-a-lim (’erets sha‘alim; Codex Vaticanus tes ges Easakem; Codex Alexandrinus tes ges Saaleim; the King James Version Shalim): Saul in search of his father’s asses passed through Mt. Ephraim and the land of Shalishah, then through the land of Shaalim and the land of yemini. This last name English Versions of the Bible renders "Benjamin" (1Sa 9:4). The whole passage is so obscure that no certain conclusions can be reached. The search party may have proceeded northward from Gibeah, through the uplands of Ephraim, turning then westward, then southward, and finally eastward. We should thus look for the land of Shalishah and the land of Shaalim on the west side of the mountain range: and the latter may have been on the slopes to the East of Lydda. Possibly we ought here to read "Shaalbim," instead of "Shaalim."

W. Ewing


shy’-af (sha‘aph):

(1) A son of Jahdai (1Ch 2:47).

(2) The son of Maachah, a concubine of Caleb, the brother of Jerahmeel. Shaaph is called the "father," or founder, of the city Madmannah (1Ch 2:48 f).


sha-a-ra’-im (sha‘arayim, "two gates"; Sakareim; the King James Version Sharaim):

(1) A city in the Shephelah or "lowland" of Judah mentioned (Jos 15:36) in close association with Socoh and Azekah; the vanquished army of the Philistines passed a Shaaraim in their flight from Socoh toward Gath and Ekron (1Sa 17:52). It is possible that in this latter reference the "two gates" may refer—as Septuagint implies—to the two Philistine strongholds themselves. Shaaraim has been identified with Tell Zakariya (see however AZEKAH) and with Kh. Sa‘ireh (PEF, III, 124, Sh XVII), an old site West of Beit ‘Atab. Both proposals are hazardous.

(2) One of the towns of Simeon (1Ch 4:31), called (Jos 19:6) "Sharuhen" and, as one of the uttermost cities of Judah, called (Jos 15:32) "Shilhim." This town was in Southwestern Palestine and is very probably identical with the fortress Sharhana, a place of some importance on the road from Gaza to Egypt. Aahmes (XVIIIth Dynasty) besieged and captured this city in the 5th year of his reign in his pursuit of the flying Hyksos (Petrie, Hist, II, 22, 35), and a century later Tahutmes III, in the 23rd year of his reign, took the city of Sharuhen on his way to the siege and capture of Megiddo (Petrie, Hist, II, 104). On philological grounds Tell esh-Sheri‘ah, 12 miles Northwest of Beersheba, large ruin, has been proposed, but it does not suit at all the Egyptian data (PEF, III, 399, Sh XXIV).

E. W. G. Masterman


sha-ash’-gaz (sha‘ashgaz; Septuagint reads Gai, the same name it gives to the official referred to in Es 2:8,15; the name may go back to the Old Bactrian word Sasakshant, "one anxious to learn" (Scheft); most commentators suggest no explanation): A chamberlain of Ahasuerus, king of Persia; as keeper of "the second house of women," he had Esther under his charge (2:14).


shab’-e-thi (shabbethay, "one born on the Sabbath"; Codex Vaticanus Sabathai; Codex Alexandrinus Kabbathai =" Sabbateus" of 1 Esdras 9:14): A Levite who opposed (?) Ezra’s suggestion that the men who had married foreign wives put them aside (Ezr 10:15). Kuenen, however, renders the phrase ‘amedhu ‘al zo’th, of which Asahiel and Jahaziah are the subjects, to mean "stand over," "have charge of," rather than "stand against," "oppose" (Gesammelte Abhandlungen, 247 f); this would make Shabbethai, who was in accord with the two men mentioned above, an ally rather than an opponent of Ezra. We incline toward Kuenen’s interpretation in view of the position attained by Shabbethai under Nehemiah—one he would have been unlikely to attain had he been hostile to Ezra. He is mentioned among those appointed to explain the Law (Ne 8:7), and as one of the chiefs of the Levites who had the oversight of "the outward business of the house of God" (Ne 11:16).

Horace J. Wolf


sha-ki’-a, shak’-i-a (sakheyah (so Baer, Ginsberg); some editions read sakheya’, or sakheya’; also shakheyah, and shabheyah. This last reading is favored by the Syrian and the Septuagint (Codex Vaticanus Sabia; Codex Alexandrinus Sebia, but Lucian, Sechia); the forms in "kh" instead of "bh" have the support of the Vulgate, Sechia, "Yahweh has forgotten" (?)): A name in genealogy of Benjamin (1Ch 8:10).


shad’-a-i, shad’-i.



shad, shad’-o, shad’-o-ing (tsel; skia): A shadow is any obscuration of the light and heat with the form of the intervening object, obscurely projected, constantly changing and passing away. "Shadow" is used literally of a roof (Ge 19:8), of mountains (Jud 9:36), of trees (Jud 9:15, etc.), of wings (Ps 17:8, etc.), of a cloud (Isa 25:5), of a great rock (Isa 32:2), of a man (Peter, Ac 5:15), of the shadow on the dial (2Ki 20:9, etc.), of Jonah’s gourd (Jon 4:5 f). It is used also figuratively

(1) of shelter and protection (of man, Ge 19:8; So 2:3; Isa 16:3, etc.; of God, Ps 36:7; 91:1; Isa 4:6, etc.);

(2) of anything fleeting or transient, as of the days of man’s life on earth (1Ch 29:15; Job 8:9; Ps 109:23);

(3) with the idea of obscurity or imperfection (in Heb 8:5; 10:1, of the Law; compare Col 2:17);

(4) of darkness, gloom; see SHADOW OF DEATH.

In Jas 1:17, we have in the King James Version, "the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (aposkiasma); the Revised Version (British and American) "shadow that is cast by turning"; the reference is to the unchangeableness of God as contrasted with the changes of the heavenly bodies. the Revised Version (British and American) has "of the rustling of wings" for "shadowing with wings" in Isa 18:1; the American Standard Revised Version has "shade" for "shadow" in various places (Jud 9:15; Job 40:22; Isa 4:6, etc.). In Job 40:21,22, for "shady trees" the Revised Version (British and American) has "lotus-trees."

W. L. Walker


(tsalmaweth): The Hebrew word translated "shadow of death" is used poetically for thick darkness (Job 3:5), as descriptive of Sheol (Job 10:21 f; 12:22; 38:17); figuratively of deep distress (Job 12:22; 16:16; 24:17; 28:3; 34:22 (in the last three passages the American Standard Revised Version has "thick darkness" and "thick gloom"); Ps 23:4, the Revised Version margin "deep darkness (and so elsewhere)"; 44:19; 107:10,14; Isa 9:2; Jer 2:6; 13:16; Am 5:8; Mt 4:16; Lu 1:79, skia thanatou). The Hebrew word is perhaps composed of tsel, "shadow," and maweth, "death," and the idea of "the valley of the shadow of death" was most probably derived from the deep ravines, darkened by over-hanging briars, etc., through which the shepherd had sometimes to lead or drive his sheep to new and better pastures.

W. L. Walker


sha’-drak: The Babylonian name of one of the so-called Hebrew children. Shadrach is probably the Sumerian form of the Bah Kudurru-Aki, "servant of Sin." It has been suggested by Meinhold that we should read Merodach instead of Shadrach. Since there were no vowels in the original Hebrew or Aramaic, and since "sh" and "m" as well as "r" and "d" are much alike in the old alphabet in which Daniel was written, this change is quite possible.

Shadrach and his two companions were trained along with Daniel at the court of Nebuchadnezzar, who had carried all four captive in the expedition against Jerusalem in the 3rd year of Jehoiakim (Da 1:1). They all refused to eat of the food provided by Ashpenaz, the master who had been set over them by the king, but preferred to eat pulse (Da 1:12). The effect was much to their advantage, as they appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than those who ate of the king’s meat. At the end of the appointed time they passed satisfactory examinations, both as to their physical appearance and their intellectual acquirements, so that none were found like them among all with whom the king communed, and they stood before the king (see Da 1).

When Daniel heard that the wise men of Babylon were to be slain because they could not tell the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, after he had gained a respite from the king, he made the thing known to his three companions that they might unite with him in prayer to the God of heaven that they all might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. After God had heard their prayer and the dream was made known to the king by Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, at Daniel’s request, set Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon (Da 2). With Meshach and Abed-nego, Shadrach was cast into a fiery furnace, but escaped unhurt (Da 3).


R. Dick Wilson


shad’-i (Job 40:21 f).



shaft: Isa 49:2 for chets, "an arrow"; also Ex 25:31; 37:17; Nu 8:4 the King James Version for a part of the candlestick of the tabernacle somewhat vaguely designated by the word yarekh, "thigh." The context in the first 2 verses shows that the upright stem or "shaft" is intended, but in Nu 8:4 a different context has caused the Revised Version (British and American) to substitute "base."



sha’-ge (shaghe’; Codex Vaticanus Sola; Codex Alexandrinus Sage; the King James Version Shage): The father of Jonathan, one of David’s heroes (1Ch 11:34).


sha-ha-ra’-im (shacharayim; Codex Vaticanus Saarel; Codex Alexandrinus Saarem): A Benjamite name (1Ch 8:8). The passage is corrupt beyond only the most tentative emendation. "Sharaim" has no connection with the foregoing text. One of the suggested restorations of 1Ch 8:8,9 reads: "And Shaharaim begat in the field of Moab, after he had driven them (i.e. the Moabites) out, from Hodesh his wife, Jobab," etc. (Curtis, International Critical Commentary).


sha-ha-zoo’-ma, sha-haz’-oo-ma (shachatsumah; Codex Vaticanus Saleim kata thalassan; Codex Alexandrinus Saseimath; the King James Version Shahazimah, sha-haz’i-mah): A town in the territory of Issachar on the boundary which ran from Tabor to the Jordan (Jos 19:22). The site, which has not yet been recovered, must be sought, probably, to the Southeast of the mountain.


sha’-lem (shalem; eis Salem): The word as a place-name occurs only in Ge 33:18. With Luther, following Septuagint, Peshitta and Vulgate, the King James Version reads "And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem." the Revised Version (British and American) with the Targums Onqelos and pseudo-Jonathan, the Samaritan codex and the Arabic, reads "came in peace to the city of Shechem." There is a heavy balance of opinion among scholars in favor of the latter reading. It is certainly a remarkable fact, supporting the King James Version, that about 4 miles East of Shechem (Nablus), there is a village bearing the name Salem. If the King James Version is right, this must represent the city referred to; and East of Salem would transpire the events recorded in Ge 44. Against this is the old tradition locating Jacob’s well and Joseph’s tomb near to Shechem. Eusebius (in Onomasticon) gets over the difficulty by identifying Shalem with Shechem.

W. Ewing





sha-li’-sha, shal’-i-sha (’erets shalishah; Codex Vaticanus he ge Selcha; Codex Alexandrinus he ge Salissa): If the general indication of the route followed by Saul, given under SHAALIM, is correct, the land of Shalishah (1Sa 9:4) will lie to the Northeast of Lydda on the western slope of the range. Baal-shalishah would most likely be in the district, and may indeed have given its name to it. If Conder is right in identifying this city with Khirbet Kefr Thilth, about 19 miles Northeast of Jaffa, it meets well enough the general indication given above. Eusebius, Onomasticon knows the name, but gives no guidance as to where the district is. Baal-shalishah it places in the Thamnite region, 15 miles North of Diospolis (Lydda). No boundaries can be laid down, but probability points to this neighborhood.

W. Ewing


shal’-e-keth, sha-le’-keth (sha‘ar shallekheth, i.e. as in margin, "Casting forth"): A gate of the temple "at the causeway that goeth up" (1Ch 26:16)—probably an ascent from the Tyropoeon Valley to the West of the temple. It has been supposed on account of the meaning of the name that the ashes and offal of the temple were cast forth there, but this is very unlikely—they were thrown into the Kidron valley to the East or Southeast. The Septuagint has pastophorion, which seems to point to a building with chambers; in consonance with this Cheyne reads in the Hebrew lishkoth, "(of) the chambers."

E. W. G. Masterman


shal’-um (shallum, shallum; various forms in the Septuagint): This is the name of not less than 12 Hebrew persons:

(1) The youngest son of Naphtali (1Ch 7:13). He is also called "Shillem" in Ge 46:24; Nu 26:49.

(2) A descendant of Simeon, the son of Shaul and the father of Mibsam (1Ch 4:25). He lived in 1618 BC.

(3) The son of Sismai "son" of Shesham of the tribe of Judah (1Ch 2:40,41). He lived in 1300 BC.

(4) A son of Kore, a porter of the sanctuary during the reign of David (1Ch 9:17,19,31; Ezr 2:42; Ne 7:45). The name is also written "Meshullam" in Ne 12:25, "Salum" in 1 Esdras 5:28, "Meshelemiah" in 1Ch 26:1,2,9, and "Shelemiah" in 1Ch 26:14. He lived about 1050 BC.

(5) A son of Zadok and father of Hilkiah, a high priest and ancestor of Ezra the scribe (1Ch 6:12,13; Ezr 7:2). In the works of Josephus he is called "Sallumus"; in 1 Esdras 8:1, "Salem," and in 2 Esdras 1:1, "Salemas."

(6) The 15th king of Israel. See following article.

(7) A son of Bani, a priest who had taken a heathen wife and was compelled by Ezra the scribe to put her away (Ezr 10:42; omitted in 1 Esdras 9:34).

(8) The father of Jehizkiah, an Ephraimite in the time of Ahaz king of Israel (2Ch 28:12).

(9) The husband of the prophetess Huldah (2Ki 22:14; 2Ch 34:22). He was the keeper of the sacred wardrobe and was probably the uncle of Jeremiah the prophet (Jer 32:7; compare Jer 35:4).

(10) King of Judah and son of Josiah (Jer 22:11; 1Ch 3:15), better known by the name Jehoahaz II. This name he received when he ascended the throne of the kingdom of Judah (2Ch 36:1).

(11) A Levite who was a porter at the time of Ezra (Ezr 10:24; "Sallumus" in 1 Esdras 9:25).

(12) A ruler over a part of Jerusalem and a son of Hallohesh. He with his daughters aided in building the walls of Jerusalem in the time of Nehemiah (Ne 3:12).

S. L. Umbach


(shallum, shallum, "the requited one" (2Ki 15:10-15)): The 15th king of Israel, and successor of Zechariah, whom he publicly assassinated in the 7th month of his reign. Nothing more is known of Shallum than that he was a son of Jabesh, which may indicate that he was a Gileadite from beyond Jordan. He is said to have made "a conspiracy" against Zechariah, so was not alone in his crime. The conspirators, however, had but a short-lived success, as, when Shallum had "reigned for the space of a month in Samaria," Menahem, then at Tirzah, one of the minor capitals of the kingdom, went up to Samaria, slew him and took his place.

It was probably at this time that Syria threw off the yoke of tribute to Israel (see JEROBOAM, II), as when next we meet with that kingdom, it is under its own king and in alliance with Samaria (2Ki 16:5).

The 10 years of rule given to Menahem (2Ki 15:17) may be taken to include the few months of military violence under Zechariah and Shallum, and cover the full years 758-750, with portions of years before and after counted as whole ones. The unsuccessful usurpation of Shallum may therefore be put in 758 BC (some date lower).

W. Shaw Caldecott

SHALLUN shal’-un (shallun, not in the Septuagint): Another form of Shallum, the son of Col-hozeh. He was the ruler of the district of Mizpah. He assisted Nehemiah in building the wall of Jerusalem and in repairing the gate by the Pool of Siloah at the King’s Gardens (Ne 3:15).


shal’-mi, shal’-ma-i: the King James Version form in Ezr 2:46 for "Shamlai"; Ne 7:48 "Salmai" (which see).


shal’-man (shalman): A name of uncertain meaning, found only once in the Old Testament (Ho 10:14), in connection with a place-name, equally obscure, "as Shalman destroyed Betharbel." Shalman is most commonly interpreted as a contracted form of Shalmaneser, the name of several Assyrian kings. If this explanation is correct, the king referred to cannot be identified. Some have thought of Shalmaneser IV, who is said to have undertaken expeditions against the West in 775 and in 773-772. Others have proposed Shalmaneser V, who attacked Samaria in 725. This, however, is improbable, because the activity of Hosea ceased before Shalmaneser V became king. Shalman has also been identified with Salamanu, a king of Moab in the days of Hosea, who paid tribute to Tiglath-pileser V of Assyria; and with Shalmah, a North Arabian tribe that invaded the Negeb. The identification of BETH-ARBEL (which see) is equally uncertain. From the reference it would seem that the event in question was well known and, therefore, probably one of recent date and considerable importance, but our present historical knowledge does not enable us to connect any of the persons named with the destruction of any of the localities suggested for Beth-arbel. The ancient translations offer no solution; they too seem to have been in the dark.

F. C. Eiselen


shal-ma-ne’-zer (shalman’ecer; Septuagint Samennasar, Salmandsar): The name of several Assyrian kings. See ASSYRIA; CAPTIVITY. It is Shalmaneser IV who is mentioned in the Biblical history (2Ki 17:3; 18:9). He succeeded Tiglathpileser on the throne in 727 BC, but whether he was a son of his predecessor, or a usurper, is not apparent. His reign was short, and, as no annals of it have come to light, we have only the accounts contained in 2 Kings for his history. In the passages referred to above, we learn that Hoshea, king of Israel, who had become his vassal, refused to continue the payment of tribute, relying upon help from So, king of Egypt. No help, however, came from Egypt, and Hoshea had to face the chastising forces of his suzerain with his own unaided resources, the result being that he was taken prisoner outside Samaria and most likely carried away to Nineveh. The Biblical narrative goes on to say that the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria and besieged it 3 years. There is reason to believe that, as the siege of Samaria was proceeding, Shalmaneser retired to Nineveh and died, for, when the city was taken in 722 BC, it is Sargon who claims, in his copious annals, to have captured it and carried its inhabitants into captivity. It is just possible that Shalman (Ho 10:14) is a contraction for Shalmaneser, but the identity of Shalman and of Beth-arbel named in the same passage is not sufficiently made out.


Schrader, COT, I, 258 ff; McCurdy, HPM, I, 387 ff.

T. Nicol


sha’-ma (shama‘): One of David’s heroes (1Ch 11:44).





sham-a-ri’-a, sha-mar’-ya.



sham’-b’-lz (makellon): A slaughter-house; then a butcher’s stall, meat-market. The word is once used in the New Testament in 1Co 10:25.


sham (bosh, "to be ashamed," bosheth, "shame," qalon; aischune, "ignominy," atimia, "dishonor," and other words): An oft-recurring word in Scripture almost uniformly bound up with a sense of sin and guilt. It is figuratively set forth as a wild beast (Jer 3:24), a Nessus-garment (Jer 3:25), a blight (Jer 20:18), a sin against one’s own soul (Hab 2:10), and twice as the condensed symbol of Hebrew abomination—Baal (Jer 11:13 margin; Ho 9:10 margin; see ISH-BOSHETH). It is bracketed with defeat (Isa 30:3), reproach (Ps 69:7; Isa 54:4; Mic 2:6), confusion (Isa 6:7), nakedness (Isa 47:3; Mic 1:11), everlasting contempt (Da 12:2), folly (Pr 18:13), cruelty (Isa 50:6; Heb 12:2), poverty (Pr 13:18), nothingness (Pr 9:7 the King James Version), unseemliness (1Co 11:6; 14:35 the King James Version; Eph 5:12), and "them that go down to the pit" (Eze 32:25). In the first Biblical reference to this emotion, "shame" appears as "the correlative of sin and guilt" (Delitzsch, New Commentary on Genesis and Biblical Psychology). Shamelessness is characteristic of abandoned wickedness (Php 3:19; Jude 1:13, margin "Greek: ‘shames’"). Manifestly, then, shame is a concomitant of the divine judgment upon sin; the very worst that a Hebrew could wish for an enemy was that he might be clothed with shame (Ps 109:29), that the judgment of God might rest upon him visibly.

Naturally, to the Hebrew, shame was the portion of those who were idolaters, who were faithless to Yahweh or who were unfriendly to themselves—the elect people of Yahweh. Shame is to come upon Moab because Moab held Israel in derision (Jer 48:39,27), and upon Edom "for violence against his brother Jacob" (Ob 1:10). But also, and impartially, shame is the portion of faithless Israelites who deny Yahweh and follow after strange gods (Eze 7:18; Mic 7:10; Ho 10:6, and often). But shame, too, comes upon those who exalt themselves against God, who trust in earthly power and the show of material strength (2Ch 32:21; Isa 30:3); and upon those who make a mock of righteousness (Job 8:22; Ps 35:26; 132:18). With a fine sense of ethical distinctions the Biblical writers recognize that in confessing to a sense of shame there is hope for better things. Only in the most desperate cases is there no sense of shame (Ho 4:18; Ze 3:5; Php 3:19; Jude 1:13); in pardon God is said to remove shame (Isa 54:4 twice; Isa 61:7).

On conditions beyond the grave the Biblical revelation is exceedingly reticent, but here and there are hints that shame waits upon the wicked here and hereafter. Such an expression as that in Daniel (12:2) cannot be ignored, and though the writing itself may belong to a late period and a somewhat sophisticated theological development, the idea is but a reflection of the earlier and more elementary period, when the voice of crime and cruelty went up from earth to be heard in the audience chamber of God (Ge 4:11; 6:13). In the New Testament there is similar reticence but also similar implications. It cannot be much amiss to say that in the mind of the Biblical writers sin was a shameful thing; that part of the punishment for sin was a consciousness of guilt in the sense of shame; and that from this consciousness of guilt there was no deliverance while the sin was unconfessed and unforgiven. "Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt." From one’s own past there is no deliverance, save through contrition of spirit and the grace and forgiveness of God. While the sense of shame persists, or, in other words, while the moral constitution of man’s nature remains as it is, there will never be wanting an avenger of sin.

Charles M. Stuart





sham’-fast-nes, sham-fas’-ed-nes.



sham’-fast-nes: The original the King James Version translation of aidos, in Sirach 41:16 and 1Ti 2:9. Perhaps half a century later the spelling "shamefacedness" supplanted the better form, and continues in the ordinary editions of the King James Version. The Revised Version (British and American), however, rightly restores "shamefastness."





sham’-gar (shamgar):

1. Biblical Account:

One of the judges, son of Anath (‘anath), in whose days, which preceded the time of Deborah (Jud 5:6,7) and followed those of Ehud, Israel’s subjugation was so complete that "the highways were unoccupied, and the travelers walked through byways." The government had become thoroughly disorganized, and apparently, as in the days of Deborah, the people were entirely unprepared for war. Shamgar’s improvised weapon with which he helped to "save Israel" is spoken of as an oxgoad. With this he smote of the Philistines 600 men. This is the first mention of the Philistines as troublesome neighbors of the Israelites (Jud 3:31). According to a tradition represented in Josephus (Ant., V, iv, 3), Shamgar died in the year he became judge.

2. Critical Hypotheses:

Several writers have challenged the Biblical account on the following grounds: that in Jud 5 no mention is made of any deliverance; that the name "Shamgar" resembles the name of a Hittite king and the name "Anath" that of a Syrian goddess; that the deed recorded in Jud 3:31 is analogous to that of Samson (Jud 15:15), and that of Shammah, son of Agee (2Sa 23:11 f); and lastly, that in a group of Greek manuscripts and other versions this verse is inserted after the account of Samson’s exploits. None of these is necessarily inconsistent with the traditional account. Neverthelesss, they have been used as a basis not only for overthrowing the tradition, but also for constructive theories such as that which makes Shamgar a foreign oppressor and not a judge, and even the father of Sisera. There is, of course, no limit to which this kind of interesting speculation cannot lead.

(For a complete account of these views see Moore, "Judges," in ICC, 1895, 104 f, and same author in Journal of the American Oriental Society, XIX, 2, 159-60.)

Ella Davis Isaacs





sha’-mer (shamir; Sameir):

(1) Mentioned along with Jattir and Socoh (Jos 15:48) as one of the cities of Judah in the hill country. Possibly it is Khirbet (or Umm) Somerah, 2,000 ft. above sea-level, a site with ancient walls, caves, cisterns and tombs not far West of Debir (edh Dhatheriyeh) and 2 miles North of Anab (‘Anab) (Palestine Exploration Fund, III, 262, 286, Sh XX).

(2) A place in the hill country of Ephraim (Jud 10:1) from which came "Tola, the son of Pual, a man of Issachar," who judged Israel 23 years; he died and was buried there. It is an attractive theory (Schwartz) which would identify the place with the semi-fortified and strongly-placed town of Sanur on the road from Nablus to Jenin. A local chieftain in the early part of the last century fortified Sanur and from there dominated the whole district. That Sanur could hardly have been within the bounds of Issachar is an objection, but not necessarily a fatal one. It is noticeable that the Septuagint’s Codex Alexandrinus has Samareia, for Shamir (Palestine Exploration Fund, II, Sh XI).

E. W. G. Masterman


(shamir; Samer): A Kohathite, son of Micah (1Ch 24:24).


sham’-la-i, sham’-li.



sham’-a (shamma’; Codex Vaticanus Sema; Codex Alexandrinus Samma): An Asherite (1Ch 7:37).


sham’-a (shammah):

(1) The son of Reuel, the son of Esau, a tribal chief of Edom (Ge 36:13,17; 1Ch 1:37, Some).

(2) The third son of Jesse and brother of David. Together with his two other brothers he fought under Saul in the campaign against the Philistines and was with the army in the valley of Elah when David slew Goliath (1Sa 17:13 ). One redactor states that he was a witness of the anointing of David by Samuel (1Sa 16:1-13). He was the father of Jonadab, the friend of Amnon (2Sa 13:3 ), and that Jonathan whose victory over a Philistine giant is narrated in 2Sa 21:20 ff was also his son. His name is rendered as "Shammah" (1Sa 16:9; 17:13), "Shimeah" (2Sa 13:3,12), "Shimei" (2Sa 21:21), and "Shimea" (1Ch 2:13; 20:7).

(3) The son of Agee, a Hararite, one of the "three mighty men" of David (2Sa 23:11, Septuagint Samaia), who held the field against the Philistines. The parallel passage (1Ch 11:10 ) ascribes this deed to Eleazar, the son of Dodo. The succeeding incident (2Sa 23:13 ), namely, the famous act of three of David’s heroes who risked their lives to bring their leader water from the well of Bethlehem, has frequently been credited to Shammah and two other members of "the three"; but the three warriors are plainly said (2Sa 23:13) to belong to "the thirty"; 2Sa 23:33 should read "Jonathan, son of Shammah, the Hararite." Jonathan, one of David’s "thirty," was a son of Shammah; the word "son" has been accidentally omitted (Driver, Budde, Kittel, etc.). The parallel passage (1Ch 11:34) has "son of Shagee," which is probably, a misreading for "son of Agee." Lucian’s version, "son of Shammah," is most plausible. "Shimei the son of Ela" (1Ki 4:18) should also appear in this passage if Lucian’s reading of "Ela" for "Agee" (2Sa 23:11) be correct.

(4) A Harodite (2Sa 23:25,33), i.e. probably a native of ‘Ain-charod (‘Ain Jalud, Jud 7:1; see HAROD). One of "the thirty" and captain of Solomon’s 5th monthly course. In the parallel lists (1Ch 11:27) he is called "the Harorite" (this last being a scribal error for Harodite) and "Shamhuth the Izrahate" (1Ch 27:8).

Horace J. Wolf

SHAMMAI sham’a-i, sham’-i (shammay):

(1) A Jerahmeelite (1Ch 2:28,32).

(2) The son of Rekem and father of Maon (1Ch 2:44 ).

(3) A Judahite (1Ch 4:17).


sham’-oth, sham’-oth.

See SHAMMAH, (4).


sha-mu’-a, sham’-u-a (shammua‘):

(1) The Reubenite spy (Nu 13:4, Samouel, and other forms).

(2) One of David’s sons (2Sa 5:14; 1Ch 14:4, Sammous). In 1Ch 3:5 he is called "Shimea."

(3) A Levite (Ne 11:17); he is called "Shemaiah" in 1Ch 9:16. (4) The head of a priestly family (Ne 12:18); a contemporary of Joiakim.


sham’-she-ri, sham-she-ra’-i (shamsheray): A Benjamite (1Ch 8:26).


shap: In the King James Version the translation of eidos, "form," "appearance" (Lu 3:22; Joh 5:37), and of homoioma, "likeness," "resemblance" (Re 9:7). The meaning of these words is not so much "tangible shape," in which sense we use the word in modern English, but rather "aspect," "appearance," the looks of a thing or a person. This is even the case where the word is joined with the adjective somatikos, "bodily" as in the passage Lu 3:22, "The Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form (i.e. "in a corporeal appearance," the King James Version "in a bodily shape"), as a dove, upon him." The second passage also refers to the "appearance" of God, and cannot therefore be regarded as material shape: "Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form" (the King James Version "shape") (Joh 5:37). As has been seen from the above quotations, the Revised Version (British and American) which retains the translation "shape" for homoioma, has translated eidos with "form," which also serves to render several other Greek synonyms, such as morphe (Mr 16:12; Php 2:6 f), morphosis (Ro 2:20; 2Ti 3:5), tupos (the Revised Version margin "pattern" Ro 6:17), and hupotuposis (the Revised Version (British and American) "pattern," 2Ti 1:13). In the King James Version The Wisdom of Solomon 18:1 "shape" translates morphe, the Revised Version (British and American) "form."

H. L. E. Luering


sha’-fam (shapham; Sapham, Sabat): Name of a Gadite chief, who had the second place in command of his tribe (1Ch 5:12). So far as the fragmentary genealogies are intelligible, they seem to indicate that Shapham and his chief, Joel, lived in the time of Saul and shared in the war against the Hagrites (1Ch 5:7-10,18-22), but it is to be noted that these lists were first recorded between the years 750 and 740 BC, just before the eastern tribes were carried into captivity.


sha’-fan (shaphan, "rockbadger," English Versions of the Bible "coney"; Saphphan): An old totem clan name (so W.R. Smith; compare, however, the article TOTEMISM; Gray, Gray, Studies in Hebrew Proper Names, 103 ff, and Jacob’s Studies in Biblical Archaeology, 84 ff).

(1) Son of Azaliah and scribe of King Josiah. He received from Hilkiah the Book of the Law which had been found in the Temple (2Ki 22:3 ff; 2Ch 34:8-28). It was from Shaphan’s lips that Josiah heard the Law read. Shaphan was also one of those sent by the king to the prophetess Huldah (2Ki 22; 2Ch 34). He was undoubtedly one of the staunchest supporters of Josiah in his work of reform. He was the father of Ahikam (2Ki 22:12; 2Ch 34:20; Jer 26:24), who befriended and protected the prophet Jeremiah. Another son, Elasah, was one of the two men entrusted by Jeremiah with his letter to the captives in Babylon (Jer 29:3). A third son, Gemariah, vainly tried to prevent King Jehoiakim from burning "the roll" (Jer 36:10,11,12,25). The Micaiah of Jer 36:11,12, and Gedaliah, the governor of Judea after the captivity of 586 BC, were his grandsons (Jer 39:14).

(2) Perhaps the father of Jaazaniah, one of the 70 men whom Ezekiel saw, in his vision of the Temple, sacrificing to idols (Eze 8:11).

Horace J. Wolf


sha’-fat (shaphat):iah, one of the 70 men whom Ezekiel saw, in his vision of the Temple, sacrificing to idols (Eze 8:11).

(1) The Simeonite spy (Nu 13:5, Saphat).

(2) The father of the prophet Elisha (1Ki 19:16; 2Ki 3:11, Septuagint Saphath).

(3) A name in the royal genealogy of Judah (1Ch 3:22).

(4) A Gadite (1Ch 5:12).

(5) One of David’s herdsmen (1Ch 27:29).





sha’-fer (shaphir, "glittering"; kalos; the King James Version Saphir): One of a group of towns mentioned in Mic 1:10-15. From the association with Gath, Achzib (of Judah) and Mareshah, it would seem that the places mentioned were in Southwestern Palestine. According to Eusebius, in Onomasticon, there was a Sapheir, "in the hill country" (from a confusion with Shamir (Jos 15:48), where Septuagint A has Sapheir) between Eleutheropolis and Ascalon. The name probably survives in that of three villages called es-Suafir, in the plain, some 3 1/2 miles Southeast of Ashdod (PEF, II, 413, Sh XV). Cheyne (EB, col. 4282) suggests the white "glittering" hill Tell ec-Cafi, at the entrance to the Wady ec-Sunt, which was known to the Crusaders as Blanchegarde, but this site seems a more probable one for GATH (which see).

E. W. G. Masterman


sha-ra’-i, sha’-ri (sharay): One of the sons of Bani who had married foreign wives (Ezr 10:40).











sha-re’zer (sar’etser, shar’etser): Corresponds to the Assyrian Shar-ucur, "protect the king"; found otherwise, not as a complete name, but as elements in personal names, e.g. Bel-shar-ucur, "may Bel protect the king," which is the equivalent of Belshazzar (Da 5:1). The name is borne by two persons in the Old Testament:

(1) The son of Sennacherib, king of Assyria, who with ADRAMMELECH (which see) murdered his father (2Ki 19:37; Isa 37:38). The Babylonian Chronicle says concerning Sennacherib’s death: "On the 20th day of Tebet Sennacherib, king of Assyria, was slain by his son in a revolt." This differs from the Old Testament account in that it speaks of only one murderer, and does not give his name. How the two accounts can be harmonized is still uncertain. Hitzig, (Kritik, 194 ff), following Abydenus, as quoted by Eusebius, completed the name of Sennacherib’s son, so as to read Nergal-sharezer = Nergal-shar-ucur (Jer 39:3,13), and this is accepted by many modern scholars. Johns thinks that Sharezer (shar’etser or sar’etser) may be a corruption from Shar-etir-Ashur, the name of a son of Sennacherib (1-vol HDB, under the word). The question cannot be definitely settled.

(2) A contemporary of the prophet Zechariah, mentioned in connection with the sending of a delegation to the spiritual heads of the community to inquire concerning the propriety of continuing the fasts: "They of Beth-el had sent Sharezer and Regem-melech" (Zec 7:2). This translation creates a difficulty in connection with the succeeding words, literally, "and his men." The Revisers place in the margin as an alternative rendering, "They of Beth-el, even Sharezer .... had sent." Sharezer sounds peculiar in apposition to "they of Beth-el"; hence, some have thought, especially since Sharezer seems incomplete, that in the two words Beth-el and Sharezer we have a corruption of what was originally a single proper name, perhaps Bel-sharezer = Bel-shar-ucur = Bel-shazzar. The present text, no matter how translated, presents difficulties.


F. C. Eiselen


shar’-un (ha-sharon, with the definite article possibly meaning "the plain"; to pedion, ho drumos, ho Saron):

(1) This name is attached to the strip of fairly level land which runs between the mountains and the shore of the Mediterranean, stretching from Nahr Ruben in the South to Mt. Carmel in the North. There are considerable rolling hills; but, compared with the mountains to the East, it is quite properly described as a plain. The soil is a deep rich loam, which is favorable to the growth of cereals. The orange, the vine and the olive grow to great perfection. When the many-colored flowers are in bloom it is a scene of rare beauty.

Of the streams in the plain four carry the bulk of the water from the western slopes of the mountains to the sea. They are also perennial, being fed by fountains. Nahr el-‘Aujeh enters the sea to the North of Jaffa; Nahr Iskanderuneh 7 miles, and Nahr el-Mefjir fully 2 miles South of Caesarea; and Nahr ez-Zerqa, the "Crocodile River," 2 1/2 miles North of Caesarea. Nahr el-Falik runs its short course about 12 miles North of Nahr el-‘Aujeh. Water is plentiful, and at almost any point it may be obtained by digging. Deep, finely built wells near some of the villages are among the most precious legacies left by the Crusaders. The breadth of the plain varies from 8 to 12 miles, being broadest in the Sharon. There are traces of a great forest in the northern part, which accounts for the use of the term drumos. Josephus (Ant., XIV, xiii, 3) speaks of "the woods" (hoi drumoi) and Strabo (xvi) of "a great wood." There is still a considerable oak wood in this district. The "excellency" of Carmel and Sharon (Isa 35:2) is probably an allusion to the luxuriant oak forests. As in ancient times, great breadths are given up to the pasturing of cattle. Over David’s herds that fed in Sharon was Shitrai the Sharonite (1Ch 27:29). In the day of Israel’s restoration "Sharon shall be a fold of flocks" (Isa 65:10). Jerome speaks of the fine cattle fed in the pastures of Sharon, and also sings the praises of its wine (Comm. on Isa 33 and 65). Toward the Sharon no doubt there was more cultivation then than there is at the present day. The German colony to the North of Jaffa, preserving in its name, Sarona, the old Greek name of the plain, and several Jewish colonies are proving the wonderful productiveness of the soil. The orange groves of Jaffa are far-famed.

"The rose of Sharon" (So 2:1) is a mistranslation: chabhatstseleth is not a "rose," but the white narcissus, which in season abounds in the plain.

Sharon is mentioned in the New Testament only in Ac 9:35.

(2) A district East of the Jordan, occupied by the tribe of Gad (1Ch 5:16; here the name is without the article). Kittel ("Ch," SBOT) suggests that this is a corruption from "Sirion," which again is synonymous with Hermon. He would therefore identify Sharon with the pasture lands of Hermon. Others think that the mishor or table-land of Gilead is intended.

(3) In Jos 12:18 we should perhaps read "the king of Aphek in Sharon." See LASSHARON. The order seems to point to some place Northeast of Tabor. Perhaps this is to be identified with the Sarona of Eusebius, Onomasticon, in the district between Tabor and Tiberias. If so, the name may be preserved in that of Sarona on the plateau to the Southwest of Tiberias.

W. Ewing


shar’-un-it (ha-sharoni; ho Saroneites): Applied in Scripture only to Shitrai (1Ch 27:29).



sha-roo’-hen (sharuchen; hoi agroi auton): One of the cities in the territory of Judah assigned to Simeon (Jos 19:6). In Jos 15:32 it is called "Shilhim," and in 1Ch 4:31, "Shaaraim" (which see).


sha’-shi (shashay; Sesei): One of the sons of Bani who had married foreign wives (Ezr 10:40) =" Sesis" in 1 Esdras 9:34.


sha’-shak (shashak): Eponym of a Benjamite family (1Ch 8:14,25).


sha’-ul, sha’-ul-its (sha’ul; Saoul):

(1) A king of Edom (Ge 36:37 = 1Ch 1:48 ).

(2) A son of Simeon (Ge 46:10; Ex 6:15; Nu 26:13; 1Ch 4:24). The clan was of notoriously impure stock, and, therefore, Shaul is called "the son of a Canaanitish woman" (Ge 46:10; Ex 6:15); the clan was of mixed Israelite and Canaanitish descent. The patronymic Shaulites is found in Nu 26:13.

(3) An ancestor of Samuel (1Ch 6:24 (Hebrew 9)); in 1Ch 6:36 he is called "Joel."


sha’-ve (‘emeq shaweh).



sha’-ve-kir-ya-tha’-im (shaweh qiryathayim; en Saue te polei): Here Chedorlaomer is said to have defeated the Emim (Ge 14:5). the Revised Version margin reads "the plain of Kiriathaim." If this rendering is right, we must look for the place in the neighborhood of Kiriathaim of Moab (Jer 48:1, etc.), which is probably represented today by el-Qareiyat, about 7 miles to the North of Dibon.


shav’-ing (in Job 1:20, gazaz, usually galach; in Ac 21:24, xurao): Customs as to shaving differ in different countries, and in ancient and modern times. Among the Egyptians it was customary to shave the whole body (compare Ge 41:14). With the Israelites, shaving the head was a sign of mourning (De 21:12; Job 1:20); ordinarily the hair was allowed to grow long, and was only cut at intervals (compare Absalom, 2Sa 14:26). Nazirites were forbidden to use a razor, but when their vow was expired, or if they were defiled, they were to shave the whole head (Nu 6:5,9,18 ; compare Ac 21:24). The shaving of the beard was not permitted to the Israelites; they were prohibited from shaving off even "the corner of their beard" (Le 21:5). It was an unpardonable insult when Hanun, king of the Ammonites, cut off the half of the beards of the Israelites whom David had sent to him (2Sa 10:4; 1Ch 19:4).

Shaving "with a razor that is hired" is Isaiah’s graphic figure to denote the complete devastation of Judah by the Assyrian army (Isa 7:20).

James Orr


shav’-sha (shawsha’; in 2Sa 20:25, Kethibh, sheya’, Kere, shewa’, English Versions of the Bible "Sheva," are refuted by the Septuagint; in 2Sa 8:15-18, in other respects identical with Chronicles, "Seraiah" is found; the Septuagint varies greatly in all passages; it is the general consensus that Shavsha is correct): State secretary or scribe during the reign of David (1Ch 18:16; 2Sa 20:25). He was the first occupant of this office, which was created by David. It is significant that his father’s name is omitted in the very exact list of David’s officers of state (1Ch 18:14-17 parallel 2Sa 8:15-18); this fact, coupled with the foreign sound of his name, points to his being an "alien"; the assumption that the state secretary handled correspondence with other countries may explain David’s choice of a foreigner for this post. Shavsha’s two sons, Elihoreph and Ahijah, were secretaries of state under Solomon; they are called "sons of Shisha" (1Ki 4:3), "Shisha" probably being a variant of "Shavsha."

Horace J. Wolf


shol: the Revised Version (British and American) substitutes "shawls" for the King James Version "wimples" in Isa 3:22.



shef, shevz (’alummah, ‘omer, ‘amir): When the grain is reaped, it is laid in handfuls back of the reaper to be gathered by children or those who cannot stand the harder work of reaping (Ps 129:7). The handfuls are bound into large sheaves, two of which are laden at a time on a donkey (compare Ne 13:15). In some districts carts are used (compare Am 2:13). The sheaves are piled about the threshing-floors until threshing time, which may be several weeks after harvest. It is an impressive sight to see the huge stacks of sheaves piled about the threshing-floors, the piles often covering an area greater than the nearby villages (see AGRICULTURE). The ancient Egyptians bound their grain into small sheaves, forming the bundles with care so that the heads were equally distributed between the two ends (see Wilkinson, Ancient Egyptians, 1878, II, 424; compare Joseph’s dream, Ge 37:5-8). The sheaves mentioned in Ge 37:10-12,15 must have been handfuls. It is a custom in parts of Syria for the gatherers of the sheaves to run toward a passing horseman and wave a handful of grain, shouting kemshi, kemshi (literally, "handful"). They want the horseman to feed the grain to his horse. In Old Testament times forgotten sheaves had to be left for the sojourner (De 24:19); compare the kindness shown to Ru by the reapers of Boaz (Ru 2:7,15).

Figurative: "Being hungry they carry the sheaves" is a picture of torment similar to that of the hungry horse urged to go by the bundle of hay tied before him (Job 24:10). The joyful sight of the sheaves of an abundant harvest was used by the Psalmist to typify the joy of the returning captives (Ps 126:6).

James A. Patch


she’-al (she’al, "request"): One of the Israelites of the sons of Bani who had taken foreign wives (Ezr 10:29, Septuagint: Salouia; Septuagint, Lucian, Assael; RAPC 1Es 9:30, "Jasaelus").


she-ol’-ti-el (she’alti’el, but in Hag 1:12,14; 2:2, shalti’el; Septuagint and the New Testament always Salathiel, hence, "Salathiel" of 1 Esdras 5:5,48,56; 6:2; the King James Version of Mt 1:12; Lu 3:27): Father of Zerubbabel (Ezr 3:2,8; 5:2; Ne 12:1; Hag 1:1,12,14; 2:2,23). But, according to 1Ch 3:17, Shealtiel was the oldest son of King Jeconiah; in 3:19 the Massoretic Text makes Pedaiah, a brother of Shealtiel, the father of Zerubbabel (compare Curtis, ICC).





she-ar-ja’-shub or jash’-ub (she’ar yashubh, "a remnant shall return"; Septuagint ho kataleiphtheis Iasoub): The son of Isaiah, who accompanied him when he set out to meet Ahaz (Isa 7:3). The name like that of other children of prophets (compare "Immanuel," "Mahershalal-hash-baz," "Lo-ruhamah," etc.) is symbolic of a message which the prophet wishes to emphasize. Thus Isaiah uses the very words she’ar yashubh to express his oft-repeated statement that a remnant of Israel will return to Yahweh (Isa 10:21).


she-a-ri-a, she-ar’-ya (she‘aryah; Saraia): A descendant of Saul (1Ch 8:38; 9:44).


sher’-ing (beth ‘eqedh ha-ro‘im, "house of binding of the shepherds"; Codex Vaticanus Baithakath (Codex Alexandrinus Baithakad) ton poimenon): Here in the course of his extinction of the house of Ahab, Jehu met and destroyed 42 men, "the brethren of Ahaziah king of Judah" (2Ki 10:12-14). Eusebius (in Onomasticon) takes the phrase as a proper name, Bethacath, and locates the village 15 miles from Legio in the plain. This seems to point to identification with Beit Kad, about 3 miles East of Jenin.





she’-ba (shebha’; Saba):

(1) Sheba and Dedan are the two sons of Raamah son of Cush (Ge 10:7).

(2) Sheba and Dedan are the two sons of Jokshan the son of Abraham and Keturah (Ge 25:3).

(3) Sheba is a son of Joktan son of Eber who was a descendant of Shem (Ge 10:28).

From the above statements it would appear that Sheba was the name of an Arab tribe, and consequently of Semitic descent. The fact that Sheba and Dedan are represented as Cushite (Ge 10:7) would point to a migration of part of these tribes to Ethiopia, and similarly their derivation from Abraham (Ge 25:3) would indicate that some families were located in Syria. In point of fact Sheba was a South-Arabian or Joktanite tribe (Ge 10:28), and his own name and that of some of his brothers (e.g. Hazarmaveth = Hadhramaut) are place-names in Southern Arabia.

The Sabeans or people of Saba or Sheba, are referred to as traders in gold and spices, and as inhabiting a country remote from Palestine (1Ki 10:1 f; Isa 60:6; Jer 6:20; Eze 27:22; Ps 72:15; Mt 12:42), also as slave-traders (Joe 3:8), or even desert-rangers (Job 1:15; 6:19; compare CIS 84 3).

By the Arab genealogists Saba is represented as great-grandson of Qachtan (= Joktan) and ancestor of all the South-Arabian tribes. He is the father of Chimyar and Kahlan. He is said to have been named Saba because he was the first to take prisoners (shabhah) in war. He founded the capital of Saba and built its citadel Marib (Mariaba), famous for its mighty barrage.

1. History: The authentic history of the Sabeans, so far as known, and the topography of their country are derived from South-Arabian inscriptions, which began to be discovered about the middle of the last century, and from coins dating from about 150 BC to 150 AD, the first collection of which was published in 1880, and from the South-Arabian geographer Hamdani, who was later made known to European scholars. One of the Sabean kings is mentioned on Assyrian inscriptions of the year 715 BC; and he is apparently not the earliest. The native monuments are scattered over the period extending from before that time until the 6th century AD, when the

Sabean state came to an end, being most numerous about the commencement of our era. Saba was the name of the nation of which Marib was the usual capital. The Sabeans at first shared the sovereignty of South Arabia with Himyar and one or two other nations, but gradually absorbed the territories of these some time after the Christian era. The form of government seems to have been that of a republic or oligarchy, the chief magistracy going by a kind of rotation, and more than one "king" holding office simultaneously (similarly De 4:47 and often in the Old Testament). The people seem to have been divided into patricians and plebeians, the former of whom had the right to build castles and to share in the government.

2. Religion:

A number of deities are mentioned on the inscriptions, two chief being Il-Maqqih and Ta‘lab. Others are Athtar (masculine form of the Biblical ‘ashtaroth), Rammon (the Biblical Rimmon), the Sun, and others. The Sun and Athtar were further defined by the addition of the name of a place or tribe, just as Baal in the Old Testament. Worship took the form of gifts to the temples, of sacrifices, especially incense, of pilgrimages and prayers. Ceremonial ablution, and abstinence from certain things, as well as formal dedication of the worshipper and his household and goods to the deity, were also religious acts. In return the deity took charge of his worshipper’s castle, wells, and belongings, and supplied him with cereals, vegetables and fruits, as well as granted him male issue.

3. Civilization:

(1) The chief occupations of the Sabeans were raiding and trade. The chief products of their country are enumerated in Isa 60:6, which agrees with the Assyrian inscriptions. The most important of all commodities was incense, and it is significant that the same word which in the other Semitic languages means "gold," in Sabean means "perfume" (and also "gold"). To judge, however, from the number of times they are mentioned upon the inscriptions, agriculture bulked much more largely in the thoughts of the Sabean than commerce, and was of equal importance with religion.

(2) The high position occupied by women among the Sabeans is reflected in the story of the Queen of Sheba and Solomon. In almost all respects women appear to have been considered the equal of men, and to have discharged the same civil, religious and even military functions. Polygamy does not seem to have been practiced. The Sabean inscriptions do not go back far enough to throw any light upon the queen who was contemporary with Solomon, and the Arabic identification of her with Bilqis is merely due to the latter being the only Sabean queen known to them. Bilqis must have lived several centuries later than the Hebrew monarch.

(3) The alphabet used in the Sabean inscriptions is considered by Professor Margoliouth to be the original Semitic alphabet, from which the others are derived. In other respects Sabean art seems to be dependent on that of Assyria, Persia and Greece. The coins are Greek and Roman in style, while the system of weights employed is Persian.

See further SABAEANS.


Rodiger and Osidander in ZDMG, volumes XX and XXI; Halevy in Journal Asiatique, Serie 6, volume IX; Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum, pt. IV, edition by J. and H. Derenbourg; Hamdani, edition by D. H. Muller, 1891; Mordtmann, Himyarische Inschriften, 1893; Hommel, Sudarabische Chresthomathie, 1893; Glaser, Abyssinien in Arabien, 1895; D. H. Muller, Sudarabische Alterthumer, 1899; Derenbourg, Les monuments sabeens, 1899. On the coins, Schlumberger, Le tresor de San’a, 1880; Mordtmann in Wiener numismatische Zeitschrift, 1880.

Thomas Hunter Weir


she’-ba (shebha‘; Sabee, or Samaa): The name of one of the towns allotted to Simeon (Jos 19:2). the King James Version mentions it as an independent town, but as it is not mentioned at all in the parallel list (1Ch 4:28), and is omitted in Jos 19:2 in some manuscripts, it is probable that the Revised Version (British and American) is correct in its translation "Beer-sheba or Sheba." Only in this way can the total of towns in this group be made 13 (Jos 19:6). If it is a separate name, it is probably the same as SHEMA (which see).

E. W. G. Masterman










sheb-a-ni’-a, she-ban’-ya (shebhanyah, in 1Ch 15:24, shebhanyahu):

(1) Name of a Levite or a Levitical family that participated in the religious rites that followed the reading of the Law (Ne 9:4). The name is given in Ne 10:10 among those that sealed the covenant.

(2) A priest or Levite who took part in the sealing of the covenant (Ne 10:4; 12:14).


(3) Another Levite who sealed the covenant (Ne 10:12).

(4) A priest in the time of David (1Ch 15:24).


sheb’-a-rim, she-ba’-rim (ha-shebharim; sunetripsan): After the repulse of the first attack on their city the men of Ai chased the Israelites "even unto Shebarim" (Jos 7:5). the Revised Version margin reads "the quarries"; so Keil, Steuernagel, etc. Septuagint reads "until they were broken," i.e. until the rout was complete. The direction of the flight was of course from Ai toward Gilgal in the Jordan valley. No trace of such name has yet been found.


she-bat’ (shebhat): The 11th month of the Jewish year (Zec 1:7), corresponding to February.



she’-ber (shebher; Codex Vaticanus Saber, Codex Alexandrinus Seber): A son of Caleb by his concubine Maacah (1Ch 2:48).


sheb’-na (shebhna’; Somnas; but shebhnah, in 2Ki 18:18,26; meaning uncertain (2Ki 18:18,26,37; 19:2 = Isa 36:3,11,22; 37:2; 22:15)):

1. Position in Isaiah 22:

In Isa 22:15 Shebna is referred to as he "who is over the house," or household, apparently that of the king. The phrase is translated "steward of the house" in the Revised Version (British and American) of Ge 43:16,19; 44:1, and occurs also in 39:4, "overseer"; 44:4. It is used of an officer of the Northern Kingdom in 1Ki 16:9; 18:3; 2Ki 10:5. This officer is distinguished from him "that was over the city" in 2Ki 10:5, and it is said in 2Ki 15:5 that after his father Azariah was stricken with leprosy, "Jotham, the king’s son, was over the household, judging all the people of the land." Again Isa 22:15 speaks of "this cokhen," a phrase that must apply to Shebna if the prophecy refers to him. This word is the participle of a verb meaning "to be of use or service," so "to benefit" in Job 15:3; 22:2; 34:9. The feminine participle is employed of Abishag in 1Ki 1:2,4, where King James Version, margin translates "cherisher"; BDB renders it "servitor" or "steward" in Isa 22:15. It occurs also as a Canaanite gloss in the Tell el-Amarna Letters (Winckler, number 237,9). The cokhen was evidently a high officer: Shebna had splendid chariots (22:18), but what the office exactly was is not certain. The other reference to Shebna in the title of the prophecy would lead one to conclude that it denoted him "who was over the household," i.e. governor of the palace, probably, or major-domo. The word cokhen is thus a general title; others deny this, maintaining that it would then occur more frequently.

2. Shebna in 2 Kings 18 f:

In 2Ki 18 f = Isa 36 f we find too a Shebna mentioned among the officers of Hezekiah. There he is called the copher, "scribe" or "secretary," i.e. a minister of state of some kind, whereas Eliakim is he "who is over the household." Is then the Shebna of Isa 22 the same as this officer? It is of course possible that two men of the same name should hold high office about the same time. We find a Joshua (ben Asaph) "recorder" under Hezekiah (2Ki 18:18) and a Joshua (ben Joahaz) having the very same position under Josiah a century later (2Ch 34:8). But such a coincidence is rare. Had there been two high officers of state bearing this name, it is most probable that they would somehow have been distinguished one from the other. Shebna’s name is thought to be Aramaic, thus pointing to a foreign descent, but G. B. Gray, "Isa," ICC, 373 ff, denies this. We can perhaps safely infer that he was a parvenu from the fact that he was hewing himself a sepulcher in Jerusalem, apparently among those of the nobility, whereas a native would have an ancestral burial-place in the land.

However, in 2 Kings, Shebna is the scribe and not the governor of the palace. How is this to be explained? The answer is in Isaiah’s prophecy.

3. Isaiah 22:15 ff:

The prophecy of Isa 22 divides itself into 3 sections. The words "against (not as the Revised Version (British and American) "unto") Shebna who is over the house," or palace, are properly the title of the prophecy, and should come therefore at the very beginning of verse 15.

(1) Isa 22:15-18 form one whole. In 22:16 the words "hewing him out a sepulchre," etc., should be placed immediately before the rest of the verse as 22:16a with the rest of the section is in the second person. We thus read (22:15-17): ‘Against Shebna who was over the house. Thus saith the Lord, Yahweh of hosts, Go unto this steward (Revised Version margin) that is hewing him out a sepulchre on high, graying a habitation for himself in the rock, (and say) What doest thou here and whom hast thou here that thou hast hewed thee out here a sepulchre? Behold, Yahweh of hosts, ....’ etc. G.H. Box (Isaiah) would further transpose some parts of 22:17 f. Shebna is to be tossed like a ball into "a land wide of sides," i.e. a broad extensive land. He is addressed as a disgrace to the house of his royal master. The prophet’s language is that of personal invective, and one asks what had made him so indignant. Some (e.g. Dillmann, Delitzsch) suggest that Shebna was the leader of a pro-Egyptian party, while others (e.g. Cheyne) believe that the party was pro-Assyrian (compare Isa 8:5-8 a). The actual date of the prophecy can only be inferred.

(2) Isa 22:19-23 contains a prophecy which states that Eliakim is to be given someone’s post, apparently that of Shebna, if this section be by Isaiah; 22:23, however, is held by many to be a gloss. These verses are not so vehement in tone as the previous ones. Some maintain that the section is not by Isaiah (Duhm, Marti). It can, however, be Isaianic, only later in date than 22:15 ff, being possibly meant to modify the former utterance. The palace governor is to lose his office and to be succeeded by Eliakim, who is seen to hold that post in 2Ki 18 f.


(3) Isa 22:24 f are additions to the two utterances by a later hand; they predict the ruin of some such official as Eliakim owing to his own family.

4. Date of the Prophecy:

There is nothing a priori against believing that these three sections are entirely independent one of another, but there seems to be some connection between (1) and (2), and again between (2) and (3). Now the question that has to be solved is that of the relation of Isa 22:15 ff with 2Ki 18 f = Isa 36 f, where are given the events of 701 BC. We have the following facts:

(a) Shebna is scribe in 701, and Eliakim is governor of the palace;

(b) Shebna is governor of the palace in Isa 22:15, and is to be deposed;

(c) if Isa 22:18-22 be by Isaiah, Eliakim was to succeed Shebna in that post.

Omitting for the moment everything but (a) and (b), the only solution that is to any extent satisfactory is that Isa 22:15-18 is to be dated previous to 701 BC. This is the view preferred by G.B. Gray, in the work quoted And this is the most satisfactory theory if we take (2) above into consideration. The prophecy then contained in (1) had not been as yet fulfilled in 701, but (2) had come to pass; Shebna was no longer governor of the palace, but held the position of scribe. Exile might still be in store for him.

Another explanation is put forward by K. Fullerton in AJT, IX, 621-42 (1905) and criticized by E. Konig in X, 675-86 (1906). Fullerton rejects verses 24 f as not due to Isaiah, and maintains that Isa 22:15-18 was spoken by the prophet early in the reign of Manasseh, i.e. later than 2Ki 18 f, "not so much as a prophecy, a simple prediction, as an attempt to drive Shebna from office. .... It must be admitted that Isaiah probably did not succeed. The reactionary party seems to have remained in control during the reign of Manasseh. .... Fortunately, the moral significance of Isaiah does not depend on the fulfillment of this or that specific prediction. We are dealing not with a walking oracle, but with a great character and a noble life" (p. 639). He then infers from the massacres of Manasseh (2Ki 21:16) "that a conspiracy had been formed against him by the prophetic party which proposed to place Eliakim on the throne" (p. 640). Isaiah he thinks would not "resort to such violent measures," and so the character of Isaiah makes it questionable whether he was the author of 22:20-23. This part would then be due to the prophetic party "who went a step farther than their great leader would approve." This view assumes too much,

(a) that the terms in 22:20-23 refer to kingly power;

(b) that Eliakim was of Davidic descent, unless we have a man of non-Davidic origin aiming at the throne, which is again a thing unheard of in Judah; and

(c) that there was such a plot in the reign of Manasseh, of which we have no proof.

David Francis Roberts


she-bu’-el, sheb’-u-el (shebhu’el; Soubael):

(1) A son of Gershom and grandson of Moses (1Ch 23:16). He was "ruler over the treasures" (1Ch 26:24). In 1Ch 24:20 he is called "Shubael," which is probably the original form of the name (see Gray, HPN, 310).

(2) A son of Heman (1Ch 25:4), called in 1Ch 25:20 "Shubael" (Septuagint as in 25:4).


shek-a-ni’-a, shekan’-ya (shekhanyah (in 1Ch 24:11; 2Ch 31:15, shekhanyahu); Codex Vaticanus Ischania, Sekenia):

(1) A descendant of Zerubbabel (1Ch 3:21,22). This is the same Shecaniah mentioned in Ezr 8:3.

(2) "The sons of Shecaniah," so the Massoretic Text of Ezr 8:5 reads, were among those who returned with Ezra, but a name appears to have been lost from the text, and we should probably read "of the sons of Zattu, Shecaniah the son of Jahaziel" (compare 1 Esdras 8:32, "of the sons of Zathoes, Sechenias the son of Jezelus").

(3) Chief of the tenth course of priests (1Ch 24:11).

(4) A priest in the reign of Hezekiah (2Ch 31:15).

(5) A contemporary of Ezra who supported him in his opposition to foreign marriages (Ezr 10:2).

(6) The father of Shemaiah, "the keeper of the east gate" (Ne 3:29).

(7) The father-in-law of Tobiah the Ammonite (Ne 6:18).

(8) The eponym of a family which returned with Zerubbabel (Ne 12:3). It is the same name which, by an interchange of "bh" and "kh", appears as Shebaniah (see SHEBANIAH, (2)) in Ne 10:4,12,14.

Horace J. Wolf


she’-kem (shekhem, "shoulder"; Suchem, he Sikima, ta Sikima, etc.; the King James Version gives "Sichem" in Ge 12:6; and "Sychem" in Ac 7:16):

1. Historical:

This place is first mentioned in connection with Abraham’s journey from Haran. At the oak of Moreh in the vicinity he reared his first altar to the Lord in Palestine (Ge 12:6 f). It was doubtless by this oak that Jacob, on his return from Paddan-aram, buried "the strange (the American Standard Revised Version "foreign") gods" (Ge 35:4). Hither he had come after his meeting with Esau (Ge 33:18). Eusebius, in Onomasticon, here identifies Shechem with Shalem; but see SHALEM. To the East of the city Jacob pitched his tent in a "parcel of ground" which he had bought from Hamor, Shechem’s father (Ge 33:19). Here also he raised an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel, "God, the God of Israel" (Ge 33:20). Then follows the story of Dinah’s defilement by Shechem, son of the city’s chief; and of the treacherous and terrible vengeance exacted by Simeon and Levi (Genesis 34). To the rich pasture land near Shechem Joseph came to seek his brethren (Ge 37:12 ). It is mentioned as lying to the West of Michmethath (el-Makhneh) on the boundary of Manasseh (Jos 17:7). It was in the territory of Ephraim; it was made a city of refuge, and assigned to the Kohathite Levites (Jos 20:7; 21:21). Near the city the Law was promulgated (De 27:11; Jos 8:33). When his end was approaching Joshua gathered the tribes of Israel here and addressed to them his final words of counsel and exhortation (chapter 24). Under the oak in the neighboring sanctuary he set up the stone of witness (24:26). The war of conquest being done, Joseph’s bones were buried in the parcel of ground which Jacob had bought, and which fell to the lot of Joseph’s descendants (24:33). Abimelech, whose mother was a native of the city, persuaded the men of Shechem to make him king (Jud 9:1-6), evidently seeking a certain consecration from association with "the oak of the pillar that was in Shechem." Jotham’s parable was spoken from the cliff of Gerizim overhanging the town (Jud 9:7 ). After a reign of three years Abimelech was rejected by the people. He captured the city, razed it to the foundations, and sowed it with salt. It was then the seat of Canaanite idolatry, the temple of Baal-berith being here (Jud 9:4,46). In the time of the kings we find that the city was once more a gathering-place of the nation. It was evidently the center, especially for the northern tribes; and hither Rehoboam came in the hope of getting his succession to the throne confirmed (1Ki 12:1; 2Ch 10:1). At the disruption Jeroboam fortified the city and made it his residence (2Ch 10:25; Ant, VIII, viii, 4). The capital of the Northern Kingdom was moved, however, first to Tirzah and then to Samaria, and Shechem declined in political importance. Indeed it is not named again in the history of the monarchy. Apparently there were Israelites in it after the captivity, some of whom on their way to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem met a tragic fate at the hands of Ishmael ben Nethaniah (Jer 41:5 ). It became the central city of the Samaritans, whose shrine was built on Mt. Gerizim (Sirach 50:26; Ant, XI, viii, 6; XII, i, 1; XIII, iii, 4). Shechem was captured by John Hyrcanus in 132 BC (Ant., XIII, ix, 1; BJ, I, ii, 6). It appears in the New Testament only in the speech of Stephen (Ac 7:16, King James Version "Sychem"). Some (e.g. Smith, DB, under the word) would identify it with Sychar of Joh 4:5; but see SYCHAR. Under the Romans it became Flavia Neapolis. In later times it was the seat of a bishopric; the names of five occupants of the see are known.

2. Location and Physical Features:

There is no doubt as to the situation of ancient Shechem. It lay in the pass which cuts through Mts. Ephraim, Ebal and Gerizim, guarding it on the North and South respectively. Along this line runs the great road which from time immemorial has formed the easiest and the quickest means of communication between the East of the Jordan and the sea. It must have been a place of strength from antiquity. The name seems to occur in Travels of a Mohar (Max Muller, Asien u. Europa, 394), "Mountain of Sahama" probably referring to Ebal or Gerizim. The ancient city may have lain somewhat farther East than the modern Nablus, in which the Roman name Neapolis survives. The situation is one of great beauty. The city lies close to the foot of Gerizim. The terraced slopes of the mountain rise steeply on the South. Across the valley, musical with the sound of running water, the great bulk of Ebal rises on the North, its sides, shaggy with prickly pear, sliding down into grain fields and orchards. The copious springs which supply abundance of water rise at the base of Gerizim. The fruitful and well-wooded valley winds westward among the hills. It is traversed by the carriage road leading to Jaffa and the sea. Eastward the valley opens upon the plain of Makhneh. To the East of the city, in a recess at the base of Gerizim, is the sanctuary known as Rijal el-‘Amud, literally, "men of the column" or "pillar," where some would locate the ancient "oak of Moreh" or "of the pillar." Others would find it in a little village farther East with a fine spring, called BalaTa, a name which may be connected with balluT, "oak." Still farther to the East and near the base of Ebal is the traditional tomb of Joseph, a little white-domed building beside a luxuriant orchard. On the slope of the mountain beyond is the village of ‘Askar; see SYCHAR. To the South of the vale is the traditional Well of Jacob; see JACOB’S WELL. To the Southwest of the city is a small mosque on the spot where Jacob is said to have mourned over the blood-stained coat of Joseph. In the neighboring minaret is a stone whereon the Ten Commandments are engraved in Samaritan characters. The main center of interest in the town is the synagogue of the Samaritans, with their ancient manuscript of the Pentateuch.

3. Modern Shechem:

The modern town contains about 20,000 inhabitants, the great body of them being Moslems. There are some 700 or 800 Christians, chiefly belonging to the Greek Orthodox church. The Samaritans do not total more than 200. The place is still the market for a wide district, both East and West of Jordan. A considerable trade is done in cotton and wool. Soap is manufactured in large quantities, oil for this purpose being plentifully supplied by the olive groves. Tanning and the manufacture of leather goods are also carried on. In old times the slopes of Ebal were covered with vineyards; but these formed a source of temptation to the "faithful." They were therefore removed by authority, and their place taken by the prickly pears mentioned above.

W. Ewing


she’-kem-its (hashikhmi; Suchemei): The descendants of Shechem the son of Gilead, a clan of Eastern Manasseh (Nu 26:31; Jos 17:2).


The three Hebrew words, naghar, sim or sum and shaphakh, translated "shed" in many Old Testament passages, always mean a "pouring out," and in nearly every case point to the effusion of blood (Ge 9:6; Nu 35:33; De 21:7; 2Sa 20:10; 1Ch 22:8; Pr 1:16, etc.). The Greek words ekcheo, and ekchuno, have precisely the same specific meaning (Mt 23:35; 26:28; Mr 14:24; Lu 11:50; Heb 9:22; Re 16:6). Sometimes they are tropically used in reference to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Ac 2:33 the King James Version; Tit 3:6), and to the outpouring of the love of God in the believer’s heart (Ro 5:5).

Henry E. Dosker


shed’-e-ur, she-de’-ur (shedhe’ur, "daybreak"; Codex Vaticanus Sediour, Ediour): The father of Elizur, the chief of Reuben (Nu 1:5; 2:10; 7:30). French Delitzsch correctly conceives the name as an Assyrian compound, sad uri, "daybreak." Cf, however, Gray, HPN, 169, 197, who emends the text to read Shaddai ‘Ur, "Shaddai is flame."



1. Names:

The usual Hebrew word is tso’n, which is often translated "flock," e.g. "Abel .... brought of the firstlings of his flock" (Ge 4:4); "butter of the herd, and milk of the flock" (De 32:14). The King James Version and the English Revised Version have "milk of sheep." Compare Arabic da’n. The Greek word is probaton. For other names, see notes under CATTLE; EWE; LAMB; RAM.

2. Zoology:

The origin of domestic sheep is unknown. There are 11 wild species, the majority of which are found in Asia, and it is conceivable that they may have spread from the highlands of Central Asia to the other portions of their habitat. In North America is found the "bighorn," which is very closely related to a Kamschatkan species. One species, the urial or sha, is found in India. The Barbary sheep, Ovis tragelaphus, also known as the aoudad or arui, inhabits the Atlas Mountains of Northwest Africa. It is thought by Tristram to be zemer, English Versions of the Bible "chamois" of De 14:5, but there is no good evidence that this animal ranges eastward into Bible lands. Geographically nearest is the Armenian wild sheep, Ovis gmelini, of Asia Minor and Persia. The Cyprian wild sheep may be only a variety of the last, and the mouflon of Corsica and Sardinia is an allied species. It is not easy to draw the line between wild sheep and wild goats. Among the more obvious distinctions are the chin beard and strong odor of male goats. The pelage of all wild sheep consists of hair, not wool, and this indeed is true of some domestic sheep as the fat-rumped short-tailed sheep of Abyssinia and Central Asia. The young lambs of this breed have short curly wool which is the astrachan of commerce. Sheep are geologically recent, their bones and teeth not being found in earlier deposits than the pleiocene or pleistocene. They were, however, among the first of domesticated animals.

3. Sheep of Palestine:

The sheep of Syria and Palestine are characterized by the possession of an enormous fat tail which weighs many pounds and is known in Arabic as ‘alyat, or commonly, liyat. This is the ‘alyah, "fat tail" (the King James Version "rump") (Ex 29:22; Le 3:9; 7:3; 8:25; 9:19), which was burned in sacrifice. This is at the present day esteemed a great delicacy. Sheep are kept in large numbers by the Bedouin, but a large portion of the supply of mutton for the cities is from the sheep of Armenia and Kurdistan, of which great droves are brought down to the coast in easy stages. Among the Moslems every well-to-do family sacrifices a sheep at the feast of al-’adcha’, the 10th day of the month dhu-l-chijjat, 40 days after the end of ramadan, the month of fasting. In Lebanon every peasant family during the summer fattens a young ram, which is literally crammed by one of the women of the household, who keeps the creature’s jaw moving with one hand while with the other she stuffs its mouth with vine or mulberry leaves. Every afternoon she washes it at the village fountain. When slaughtered in the fall it is called ma‘luf, "fed," and is very fat and the flesh very tender. Some of the meat and fat are eaten at once, but the greater part, fat and lean, is cut up fine, cooked together in a large vessel with pepper and salt, and stored in an earthen jar. This, the so-called qauramat, is used as needed through the winter.

In the mountains the sheep are gathered at night into folds, which may be caves or enclosures of rough stones. Fierce dogs assist the shepherd in warding off the attacks of wolves, and remain at the fold through the day to guard the slight bedding and simple utensils. In going to pasture the sheep are not driven but are led, following the shepherd as he walks before them and calls to them. "When he hath put forth all his own, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice" (Joh 10:4).

4. Old Testament References:

The sheepfolds of Reuben on the plain of Gilead are referred to in Nu 32:16 and Jud 5:16. A cave is mentioned in 1Sa 24:3 in connection with the pursuit of David by Saul. The shepherd origin of David is referred to in Ps 78:70:

"He chose David also his servant,

And took him from the sheepfolds."

Compare also 2Sa 7:8 and 1Ch 17:7.

The shearing of the sheep was a large operation and evidently became a sort of festival. Absalom invited the king’s sons to his sheep-shearing in Baal-hazor in order that he might find an opportunity to put Amnon to death while his heart was "merry with wine" (2Sa 13:23-29). The character of the occasion is evident also from the indignation of David at Nabal when the latter refused to provide entertainment at his sheep-shearing for David’s young men who had previously protected the flocks of Nabal (1Sa 25:2-13). There is also mention of the sheep-shearing of Judah (Ge 38:12) and of Laban (Ge 31:19), on which occasion Jacob stole away with his wives and children and his flocks.

Sheep were the most important sacrificial animals, a ram or a young male being often specified. Ewes are mentioned in Le 3:6; 4:32; 5:6; 14:10; 22:28; Nu 6:14.

In the Books of Chronicles we find statements of enormous numbers of animals consumed in sacrifice: "And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep" (2Ch 7:5); "And they sacrificed unto Yahweh in that day (in the reign of Asa) .... seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep" (2Ch 15:11); at the cleansing of the temple by Hezekiah "the consecrated things were six hundred oxen and three thousand sheep. But the priests were too few, so that they could not flay all the burnt-offerings: wherefore their brethren the Levites did help them" (2Ch 29:33 f); and "Hezekiah king of Judah did give to the assembly for offerings a thousand bullocks and seven thousand sheep; and the princes gave to the assembly a thousand bullocks and ten thousand sheep" (2Ch 30:24). In the account of the war of the sons of Reuben and their allies with the Hagrites, we read: "And they took away their cattle; of their camels fifty thousand, and of sheep two hundred and fifty thousand, and of asses two thousand, and of men a hundred thousand" (1Ch 5:21). Mesha king of Moab is called a "sheep-master," and we read that "he rendered unto the king of Israel the wool of a hundred thousand lambs, and of a hundred thousand rams" (2Ki 3:4).

5. Figurative:

Christ is represented as the Lamb of God (Isa 53:7; Joh 1:29; Re 5:6). Some of the most beautiful passages in the Bible represent God as a shepherd: "From thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel" (Ge 49:24); "Yahweh is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Ps 23:1; compare Isa 40:11; Eze 34:12-16). Jesus said "I am the good shepherd; and I know mine own, and mine own know me .... and I lay down my life for the sheep" (Joh 10:14 f). The people without leaders are likened to sheep without a shepherd (Nu 27:17; 1Ki 22:17; 2Ch 18:16; Eze 34:5). Jesus at the Last Supper applies to Himself the words of Zec 13:7; "I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad" (Mt 26:31; Mr 14:27). The enemies of Yahweh are compared to the fat of the sacrifice that is consumed away in smoke (Ps 37:20). God’s people are "the sheep of his pasture" (Ps 79:13; 95:7; 100:3). In sinning they become like lost sheep (Isa 53:6; Jer 50:6; Eze 34:6; Lu 15:3 ). In the mouth of Nathan the poor man’s one little ewe lamb is a vivid image of the treasure of which the king David has robbed Uriah the Hittite (2Sa 12:3). In So 6:6, the teeth of the bride are likened to a flock of ewes. It is prophesied that "the wolf shall dwell with the lamb" (Isa 11:6) and that "the wolf and the lamb shall feed together" (Isa 65:25). Jesus says to His disciples, "I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves" (Mt 10:16; compare Lu 10:3). In the parable of the Good Shepherd we read: "He that is a hireling, and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, beholdeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth" (Joh 10:12).

Alfred Ely Day


(sha‘ar ha-tso’-n (Ne 3:1,32; 12:39)): One of the gates of Jerusalem, probably near the northeast corner. See JERUSALEM. For the "sheep gate" of Joh 5:2, see BETHESDA; SHEEP MARKET.


(Joh 5:2, the Revised Version (British and American) "sheep gate"): The Greek (he probatike) means simply something that pertains to sheep.



ten’-ding: The Scriptural allusions to pastoral life and the similes drawn from that life are the most familiar and revered in the Bible. Among the first verses that a child learns is "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not wants" (Ps 23:1 the King James Version, the English Revised Version). What follower of the Master does not love to dwell on the words of the "Good Shepherd" chapter in the Gospel of John (Joh 10)? Jesus must have drawn a sympathetic response when He referred to the relationship of sheep to shepherd, a relationship familiar to all His hearers and doubtless shared by some of them with their flocks. As a rule the modern traveler in the Holy Land meets with disappointment if he comes expecting to see things as they were depicted in the Bible. An exception to this is the pastoral life, which has not changed one what since Abraham and his descendants fed their flocks on the rich plateaus East of the Jordan or on the mountains of Palestine and Syria. One may count among his most prized experiences the days and nights spent under the spell of Syrian shepherd life.

James A. Patch


(noqedh, "herdsman," 2Ki 3:4).



shep’-sher-ing: The sheep-shearing is done in the springtime, either by the owners (Ge 31:19; 38:13; De 15:19; 1Sa 25:2,4) or by regular "shearers" (gazaz) (1Sa 25:7,11; Isa 53:7). There were special houses for this work in Old Testament times (2Ki 10:12,14). The shearing was carefully done so as to keep the fleece whole (Jud 6:37). The sheep of a flock are not branded but spotted. Lime or some dyestuff is painted in one or more spots on the wool of the back as a distinguishing mark. In 2Ki 3:4, Mesha, the chief or sheikh of Moab, was a sheep-master, literally, "a sheep spotter."

James A. Patch


shep’-kot, shep’-kot, shep’-fold (gedherah, mikhlah, mishpethayim, naweh; aule): At night the sheep are driven into a sheepfold if they are in a district where there is danger from robbers or wild beasts. These folds are simple walled enclosures (Nu 32:16; Jud 5:16; 2Ch 32:28; Ps 78:70; Ze 2:6; Joh 10:1). On the top of the wall is heaped thorny brushwood as a further safeguard. Sometimes there is a covered hut in the corner for the shepherd. Where there is no danger the sheep huddle together in the open until daylight, while the shepherd watches over them (Ge 31:39; Lu 2:8). In the winter time caves are sought after (1Sa 24:3; Ze 2:6). The antiquity of the use of some of the caves for this purpose is indicated by the thick deposit of potassium nitrate formed from the decomposition of the sheep dung.

James A. Patch





she’-e-ra (she’erah; Codex Alexandrinus Saara, Codex Vaticanus omits): A daughter of Ephraim, who, according to the Massoretic Text of 1Ch 7:24 (the King James Version "Sherah"), built the two Beth-horons and Uzzen-sheerah. The verse has been suspected because elsewhere in the Old Testament the founders of cities are men. Uzzen-sheerah as a place is unidentified; Conder suggests as the site Bet Sira, a village 2 miles Southwest of the Lower Beth-horon (Mem 3 16).


shet. See DRESS; compare Ac 10:11, "as it were a great sheet" (othone).


she-ha-ri’-a (sheharyah): A Benjamite (1Ch 8:26).


shek’-’-l, shek’-el, she’-kel, she’-kul (sheqel): A weight and a coin. The Hebrew shekel was the 50th part of a mina, and as a weight about 224 grains, and as money (silver) was worth about 2 shillings 9d., or 66 cents (in 1915). No gold shekel has been found, and hence, it is inferred that such a coin was not used; but as a certain amount of gold, by weight, it is mentioned in 2Ch 3:9 and is probably intended to be supplied in 2Ki 5:5. The gold shekel was 1/60 of the heavy Babylonian mina and weighed about 252 grains. In value it was about equal to 2 British pounds and 1 shilling, or about $10.00 (in 1915). See MONEY; WEIGHTS AND MEASURES. In the Revised Version (British and American) of Mt 17:27 "shekel" replaces "piece of money" of the King James Version, the translation of stater.


H. Porter


(’ebhen ha-melekh, "stone (i.e. weight) of the king"): The shekel by which Absalom’s hair was weighed (2Sa 14:26), probably the light shekel of 130 grains.



(sheqel ha-qodhesh (Nu 7$ passim)): The same as the silver shekel mentioned under SHEKEL (which see), except in Ex 38:24, where it is used in measuring gold. The term is used for offerings made for sacred purposes.


she-ki’-na (shekhinah, "that which dwells," from the verb shakhen, or shakhan, "to dwell," "reside"): This word is not found in the Bible, but there are allusions to it in Isa 60:2; Mt 17:5; Lu 2:9; Ro 9:4. It is first found in the Targums.



she’-la (shelah; Sala):

(1) The youngest son of Judah and the daughter of Shua the Canaanite (Ge 38:5,11,14,26; 46:12; Nu 26:20 (16); 1Ch 2:3; 4:21). He gave his name to the family of the Shelanites (Nu 26:20 (16)). Probably "the Shelanite" should be substituted for "the Shilonite" of Ne 11:5; 1Ch 9:5.

(2) (shelach): The son or (Septuagint) grandson of Arpachshad and father of Eber (Ge 10:24; 11:13 (12), 14,15; 1Ch 1:18,24; Lu 3:35).

(3) Ne 3:15 =" Shiloah" of Isa 8:6.



she’-lan-its, she-la’-nits.



shel-e-mi’-a, she-lem’-ya (shelemyah; Codex Vaticanus Selemia, Codex Alexandrinus (Selemias):

(1) One of the sons of Bani who married foreign wives in the time of Ezra (Ezr 10:39), called "Selemias" in 1 Esdras 9:34.

(2) Father of Hananiah who restored part of the wall of Jerusalem (Ne 3:30) (Codex Vaticanus Telemia, ..., Telemias). (3) A priest who was appointed one of the treasurers to distribute the Levitical tithes by Nehemiah (Ne 13:13).

(4) The father of Jehucal (or Jucal) in the reign of Zedekiah (Jer 37:3; 38:1; in the second passage the name is Shelemyahu).

(5) The father of Irijah, the captain of the ward, who arrested Jeremiah as a deserter to the Chaldeans (Jer 37:13).

(6) 1Ch 26:14.


(7) Another of the sons of Bani who married foreign wives in the time of Ezra (Ezr 10:41). It is of interest to note that the order of names in this passage—Sharai, Azarel, and Shelemiah—is almost identical with the names in Jer 36:26, namely, Seraiah, Azriel, Shelemiah.

(8) Ancestor of Jehudi (Jer 36:14).

(9) Septuagint omits.) Son of Abdeel, one of the men sent by Jehoiakim to seize Baruch and Jeremiah after Baruch had read the "roll" in the king’s presence (Jer 36:26).

Horace J. Wolf


she’-lef (shaleph, in pause; Septuagint Saleph): Son of Joktan (Ge 10:26; 1Ch 1:20). Sheleph is the name of a Yemenite tribe or district, named on Sabean inscriptions and also by Arabian geographers, located in Southern Arabia.


she’-lesh (shelesh; Codex Vaticanus Seme; Codex Alexandrinus Selles, Lucian, Selem): An Asherite, son of Helem (1Ch 7:35).


she-lo’-mi, shel’-o-mi (shelomi): An Asherite (Nu 34:27).


she-lo’-mith, shel’-o-mith (shelomith; in Ezr 8:10, shelomith):

(1) The mother of the man who was stoned for blasphemy (Le 24:11) (BAF, Salomeith, Lucian, Salmith).

(2) Daughter of Zerubbabel (1Ch 3:19) (Codex Vaticanus Salomethei; Codex Alexandrinus Salomethi, Lucian, Salomith).

(3) One of the "sons of Izhar" (1Ch 23:18) (Codex Vaticanus Salomoth; Codex Alexandrinus Saloumoth, Lucian, Salomith), called "Shelomoth" in 24:22.

(4) The name of a family whose representatives returned with Ezra (Ezr 8:10) (Codex Vaticanus Saleimouth; Lucian, Salimoth). The Massoretic Text here should read, "and the sons of Bani; Shelomith, son of Josiphiah"; and in 1 Esdras 8:36, "of the sons of Banias, Salimoth, son of Josaphias."

Horace J. Wolf


she-lo’-moth, shel’-o-moth, -moth (shelomoth):

(1) An Izharite (1Ch 24:22, Codex Vaticanus and Codex Alexandrinus Salomoth; Lucian, Salomith =" Shelomith" of 1Ch 23:18).

(2) A Levite descended from Eliezer ben Moses (1Ch 26:25, Qere shelomith; 1Ch 26:28).

(3) A Gershonite (1Ch 23:9, Qere Shelomith; Codex Vaticanus Alotheim, Codex Alexandrinus Salomeith).


she-lu’-mi-el (shelumi’el; both the punctuation and interpretation are in doubt. Massoretic Text punctuates the first element as a passive participle; the use of the participle in compounds is common in Assyrian but rare in Heb (compare Gray, HPN, 200). The meaning of the present form, if it be correct, is "at peace with God" (Hommel, Ancient Hebrew Tradition, 200, "my friend is God"). Septuagint reads Salamiel: Prince of the tribe of Simeon (Nu 1:6; 2:12; 7:36,41; 10:19). The genealogy of Judith (8:1) is carried back to this Shelumiel or Shelamiel, called there "Salamiel."

Horace J. Wolf


shem (shem; Sem):

1. Position in Noah’s Family: His Name:

The eldest son of Noah, from whom the Jews, as well as the Semitic ("Shemitic") nations in general have descended. When giving the names of Noah’s three sons, Shem is always mentioned first (Ge 9:18; 10:1, etc.); and though "the elder" in "Shem the brother of Japheth the elder" (Ge 10:21 margin) is explained as referring to Shem, this is not the rendering of Onkelos. His five sons peopled the greater part of West Asia’s finest tracts, from Elam on the East to the Mediterranean on the West. Though generally regarded as meaning "dusky" (compare the Assyr-Babylonian samu—also Ham—possibly =" black," Japheth, "fair"), it is considered possible that Shem may be the usual Hebrew word for "name" (shem), given him because he was the firstborn—a parallel to the Assyr-Babylonian usage, in which "son," "name" (sumu) are synonyms (W. A. Inscriptions, V, plural 23, 11,29-32abc).

2. History, and the Nations Descended from Him:

Shem, who is called "the father of all the children of Eber," was born when Noah had attained the age of 500 years (Ge 5:32). Though married at the time of the Flood, Shem was then childless. Aided by Japheth, he covered the nakedness of their father, which Ham, the youngest brother, had revealed to them; but unlike the last, Shem and Japheth, in their filial piety, approached their father walking backward, in order not to look upon him. Two years after the Flood, Shem being then 100 years old, his son Arpachshad was born (Ge 11:10), and was followed by further sons and daughters during the remaining 500 years which preceded Shem’s death. Noah’s prophetic blessing, on awakening from his wine, may be regarded as having been fulfilled in his descendants, who occupied Syria (Aramaic), Palestine (Canaan), Chaldea (Arpachshad), Assyria (Asshur), part of Persia (Elam), and Arabia (Joktan). In the first three of these, as well as in Elam, Canaanites had settled (if not in the other districts mentioned), but Shemites ruled, at some time or other, over the Canaanites, and Canaan thus became "his servant" (Ge 9:25,26). The tablets found in Cappadocia seem to show that Shemites (Assyrians) had settled in that district also, but this was apparently an unimportant colony. Though designated sons of Shem, some of his descendants (e.g. the Elamites) did not speak a Semitic language, while other nationalities, not his descendants (e.g. the Canaanites), did.


T. G. Pinches


she’-ma (shema‘; Samaa): A city of Judah in the Negeb (Jos 15:26). If, as some think, identical with SHEBA (which see) of Jos 19:2, then the latter must have been inserted here from Jos 15:26. It is noticeable that the root letters (sh-m-‘) were those from which Simeon is derived. Shema is probably identical with Jeshua (Ne 11:26). The place was clearly far South, and it may be Kh. Sa‘wah, a ruin upon a prominent hilltop between Kh. ‘Attir and Khirbet el-Milch. There is a wall around the ruins, of large blocks of conglomerate flint (PEF, III, 409, Sh XXV).

E. W. G. Masterman



(1) A Reubenite (1Ch 5:8, Codex Vaticanus and Codex Alexandrinus Sama, Lucian, Semeei).


(2) One of the heads of "fathers’ houses" in Aijalon, who put to flight the inhabitants of Gath (1Ch 8:13, Codex Vaticanus and Codex Alexandrinus Sama, Lucian, Samoa); in 1Ch 8:21 he is called "Shimei." The statement is very obscure and the whole incident is probably due to some marginal note.

(3) One of those who stood at Ezra’s right during the reading of the Law (Ne 8:4, Samaias). He is called "Sammus" in 1 Esdras 9:43.

Horace J. Wolf


she-ma’-a, shem’-a-a (ha-shema‘-ah; Codex Vaticanus Ama, Codex Alexandrinus Samaa, Lucian, Asma): A Benjamite, who was the father, according to the Massoretic Text, of Ahiezer and Joash; but according to the Septuagint huios =( ben) instead of (bene) of Joash alone (1Ch 12:3). The original text may have read ben yeho-shama‘ (compare hoshama‘, of 1Ch 3:18); then a dittography of the following (h) caused the error (Curtis, ICC).


she-ma’-ya, she-mi’-a (shema‘yah (in 2Ch 11:2; 17:8; 31:15; 35:9; Jer 26:20; 29:24; 36:12, shema‘yahu), "Jahveh hears"): The name is most frequently borne by priests, Levites and prophets.

(1) Codex Vaticanus Sammaias; Codex Alexandrinus Samaias (2Ch 12:5,7). A prophet who, together with Ahijah, protested against Rehoboam’s contemplated war against the ten revolted tribes (1Ki 12:22-24 = 2Ch 11:2-4). He declared that the rebellion had divine sanction. The second Greek account knows nothing of Ahijah in this connection and introduces Shemaiah at the gathering at Shechem where both Jeroboam and Rehoboam were present; it narrates that on this occasion Shemaiah (not Ahijah) rent his garment and gave ten parts to Jeroboam to signify the ten tribes over which he was to become king. (This version, however, is not taken very seriously, because of its numerous inconsistencies.) Shemaiah also prophesied at the invasion of Judah by Shishak (2Ch 12:5-7). His message was to the effect that as the princes of Israel had humbled themselves, God’s wrath against their idolatrous practices would not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak (2Ch 13:7). He is mentioned as the author of a history of Rehoboam (2Ch 12:15).

(2) Son of Shecaniah (1Ch 3:22, Samaia), a descendant of Zerubbabel. This is also the name of one of the men who helped to repair the wall (Ne 3:29, Semeia (...)( compare Curtis, ICC, in 1Ch 3:17-24)).

(3) A Simeonite (1Ch 4:37, Codex Vaticanus Sumeon; Codex Alexandrinus Samaias), identical, perhaps, with the Shimei of 1Ch 4:26,27.

(4) A Reubenite (1Ch 5:4, Codex Vaticanus Semeei; Codex Alexandrinus Semein), called Shema in 1Ch 5:8.

(5) A Merarite Levite (1Ch 9:14; Ne 11:15, Samaia), one of those who dwelt in Jerusalem.

(6) A Levite of the family of Jeduthun, father of Obadiah or Abda (1Ch 9:16, Sameia, Codex Alexandrinus Samias, called "Shammua" in Ne 11:17).

(7) Head of the Levitical Kohathite clan of Elizaphan in the time of David (1Ch 15:8, Codex Vaticanus Samaias; Codex Alexandrinus Samaia; Codex Sinaiticus Sameas; 1Ch 15:11, Codex Vaticanus Samias; Codex Alexandrinus Semeias; Codex Sinaiticus Samai). He may be the same person as (8).

(8) The scribe (1Ch 24:6), the son of Nethanel, who registered the names of the priestly courses.

(9) A Korahite Levite, eldest son of Obed-edom (1Ch 26:4,6, Codex Vaticanus Samaias; Codex Alexandrinus Sameias; 1Ch 26:7, Codex Vaticanus Samai; Codex Alexandrinus Semeia).

(10) A Levite (2Ch 17:8, Codex Vaticanus Samouas; Codex Alexandrinus Samouias). One of the commission appointed by Jehoshaphat to teach the book of the Law in Judah. The names of the commissioners as a whole belong to a period later than the 9th century. (Gray, HPN, 231).

(11) One of the men "over the free-will offerings of God" (2Ch 31:15, Semeei).

(12) A Levite of the family of Jeduthun in the reign of Hezekiah (2Ch 29:14), one of those who assisted in the purification of the Temple.

(13) A chief of the Levites (2Ch 35:9), called "Samaias" in Septuagint and 1 Esdras 1:9.

(14) A "chief man" under Ezra (Ezr 8:16), called "Maasmas" and "Samaias" in 1 Esdras 8:43,44.

(15) A member of the family of Adonikam (Ezr 8:13, Codex Vaticanus Samaia; Codex Alexandrinus Samaeia; "Samaias" in RAPC 1Es 8:39).

(16) A priest of the family of Harim who married a foreign wife (Ezr 10:21), called "Sameus" in 1 Esdras 9:21.

(17) A layman of the family of Harim who married a foreign wife (Ezr 10:31), called "Sabbeus" in 1 Esdras 9:32.

(18) A prophet (Ne 6:10-14, Codex Vaticanus Semeei; Codex Alexandrinus Semei), employed by Sanballat and Tobiah to frighten Nehemiah and hinder the rebuilding of the wall.

(19) One of the 24 courses of priests, 16th under Zerubbabel (Ne 12:6, Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus Semeias), 15th under Joiakim (Ne 12:18; Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus Semeia), and 21st under Nehemiah (Ne 10:8, Samaia), mentioned in connection with the dedication of the wall.

(20) A priest, descendant of Asaph (Ne 12:35).

(21) A singer (or clan) participating in the dedication of the wall (Ne 12:36).

(22) Father of the prophet Urijah (Jer 26:20, Codex Vaticanus and Codex Alexandrinus Samaias; Codex Sinaiticus Maseas).

(23) A false prophet who was upbraided by Jeremiah (29:24-32) for attempting to hinder his work. He is styled "the Nehelamite" and was among those carried into captivity with Jehoiachin. In opposition to Jeremiah, he predicted a speedy ending to the captivity. Jeremiah foretold the complete destruction of Shemaiah’s family.

(24) Father of Delaiah, who was a prince in the reign of Zedekiah (Jer 36:12).

(25) "The great," kinsman of Tobias (Tobit 5:13).

Horace J. Wolf


shem-a-ri’-a, she-mar’-ya (shemaryah and shemaryahu, "whom Jahveh guards"):

(1) A Benjamite warrior who joined David at Ziklag (1Ch 12:5, Codex Vaticanus Sammaraia; Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus Samaria; Lucian, Samarias).

(2) A son of Rehoboam (2Ch 11:19).

(3) One of the sons of Harim who had married foreign wives (Ezr 10:32, Codex Vaticanus Samareia, Lucian, Samarias; Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus Semaria).

(4) One of the sons of Bani who had married foreign wives (Ezr 10:41, Codex Alexandrinus Samareias; Codex Vaticanus Samareia; Lucian, Samarias).

Horace J. Wolf


shem-e’-ber, shem’-e-ber (shem’-ebher): The king of Zeboiim (Ge 14:2).




See SHEMER, (4).


she’-mer (shemer; Semer, Lucian, Semmer):

(1) The owner of the hill which Omri bought and which became the site of Samaria (1Ki 16:24, shomeron). Shemer may be an ancient clan name. The fact, however, that the mountain was called Shomeron when Omri bought it makes one doubt that the city of Samaria was named after Shemer; the passage is questionable. The real etymology of Samaria roots it in "watch mountain" (see Stade, Zeitschrift, 165 f).

(2) A Merarite (1Ch 6:46 (31), Semmer).

(3) An Asherite (1Ch 7:34, A and Lucian, Somer), called "Shomer" in 1Ch 7:32.

(4) A Benjamite (1Ch 8:12, Codex Vaticanus Semer; Codex Alexandrinus Semmer; Lucian, Samaiel); the Revised Version (British and American) "Shemed," the King James Version "Shamed."

The Hebrew manuscripts differ; some read "Shemer," others "Shemedh."

Horace J. Wolf


she-mi’-da, she-mi’-da-its (shemidha): A Gileadite clan belonging to Manasseh (Nu 26:32; Jos 17:2, Codex Vaticanus Sumareim; Codex Alexandrinus Semirae; Lucian, Samidae; 1Ch 7:19, the King James Version "Shemidah," after whom the Shemidaites (Nu 26:32) were called).





she-mir’-a-moth, she-mi’-ra-moth, shem-i-ra’-moth (shemiramoth; in 2Ch 17:8, Kethibh shemiramoth; Semeiramoth): The name of a Levitical family. In 1Ch 15:18,20; 16:5 Shemiramoth is listed among the names of David’s choirs; in 2Ch 17:8 the same name is given among the Levites delegated by Jehoshaphat to teach the Law in the cities of Judah. According to Schrader (KAT (2), 366) the name is to be identified with the Assyrian Sammuramat; the latter occurs as a woman’s name on the monuments, more especially on the statues of Nebo from Nimrod. Another suggestion is that Shemiramoth was originally a place-name meaning "image of Shemiram" (= name of Ram or "the Exalted One").

Horace J. Wolf





she-mu’-el, shem’-u-el (shemu’el, "name of God" (?)( 1Ch 6:33 (18)); the Revised Version (British and American) Samuel, the prophet (see SAMUEL); compare Gray, HPN, 200, note 3):

(1) The Simeonite appointed to assist in the division of the land (Nu 34:20). The Massoretic Text should be emended to shelumi’el, to correspond with the form found in Nu 1:6; 2:12; 7:36,41; 10:19. Septuagint has uniformly Salamiel.

(2) Grandson of Issachar (1Ch 7:2) (Codex Vaticanus Isamouel; Codex Alexandrinus and Lucian, Samouel).