u’-kal (’ukhal (see below)): This name occurs along with that of Ithiel (Pr 30:1), both being taken by older interpreters as those of ancient sages. Some have suggested (see Toy, Proverbs, 519 f) that Ucal might be the "Caleol" of 1Ki 4:31 (Hebrew 5:11). Ucal was also explained as "I can," i.e. "I can maintain my obedience to God," just as Ithiel was taken to be "signs of God." Septuagint, Aquila, Theodotion do not take the words as proper names, and so BDB with others point this word as a vb., "(and) I am consumed" (wa’ekhel, for [~we’ukhal). The last three words of the verse are then translated "I have wearied myself, O God, I have wearied myself, O God, and am consumed."


David Francis Roberts


u’-el, ‘u’el, ," will of God"): One of the sons of Bani who had taken foreign wives (Ezr 10:34). The name in 1 Esdras 9:35 is "Juel" (Codex Vaticanus Ouel; Codex Alexandrinus Iouel).


uk’-naz (uqenaz, "and Kenaz," probably): Found in the King James Version margin of 1Ch 4:15 for the King James Version "even Kenaz," the Revised Version (British and American) "and Kenaz," whereas the Septuagint omits "and." It is probable that some name has dropped out after Elah. Curtis suggests reading "and these are the sons of Kenaz," i.e. those mentioned in 1Ch 4:13 f.



u’-li, u’-lai (’ubhal ‘ulay, "river Ulai"; Theodotion Da 8:2, Oubal, the Septuagint and Theodotion in 8:16, Oulai Latin, Eulaeus):

1. The Name and Its Forms:

A river which, running through the province of Elam, flowed through Shushan or Susa. It was from "between" this river that Daniel (8:16) heard a voice, coming apparently from the waters which flowed between its two banks.

2. Present Names and Course:

Notwithstanding that the rivers of Elam have often changed their courses, there is but little doubt that the Ulai is the Kerkhah, which, rising in the Persian plain near Nehavend (there called the Gamas-ab), is even there a great river. Turned by the mountains, it runs Northwest as far as Bisutun, receiving all the waters of Southern Kurdistan, where, as the Sein Merre, it passes through the inaccessible defiles of Luristan, its course before reaching the Kebir-Kuh being a succession of rapids. Turned aside by this mountain, it follows for about 95 miles the depression which here exists as far as the foothills of Luristan, reaching the Susian plain as a torrent; but it becomes less rapid before losing itself in the marshes of Hawizeh. The course of the stream is said to be still doubtful in places.

3. Changed Bed at Susa:

In ancient times it flowed at the foot of the citadel of Susa, but its bed is now about 1 1/4 miles to the West. The date of this change of course (during which a portion of the ruins of Susa was carried away) is uncertain, but it must have been later than the time of Alexander the Great. The stream’s greatest volume follows the melting of the snows in the mountains, and floods ensue if this coincides with the advent of heavy rain. Most to be dreaded are the rare occasions when it unites with the Ab-e-Diz.

4. Assyrian References:

The Ulai (Assyrian Ulaa or Ulaia) near Susa is regarded as being shown on the sculptures of the Assyrian king Ashur-bani-pal (British Museum, Nineveh Gal.) illustrating his campaign against Te-umman. Its rapid stream bears away the bodies of men and horses, with chariots, bows and quivers. The bodies which were thrown into the stream hindered its course, and dyed its waters with their blood.


See Delegation en Perse: Memoires, I, Recherches Archeologiques, 25 ff.

T. G. Pinches


u’-lam (’ulam, "preceding"):

(1) A "son"of Peresh; a Manassite clan (1Ch 7:16,17). Lucian reads Elam.

(2) A descendant of Benjamin who had sons, "mighty men of valor" (1Ch 8:39,40). The Septuagint’s Codex Vaticanus has Ailam in 1Ch 8:39 and Aileim in 8:40; Codex Alexandrinus has Oulam in both verses, and so Lucian.


ul’-a (‘ulla’ meaning unknown): An Asherite (1Ch 7:39).


um’-a (‘ummah; Archob, Amma): One of the cities allotted to the tribe of Asher (Jos 19:30). By a slight emendation of the text it would read Acco, the name of the place subsequently known as Ptolemais, the modern ‘Akka. This emendation is generally adopted by scholars, although it is at best a conjecture. No other identification is yet possible.





un-be-lef’:The word (the King James Version) represents two Greek words, apeitheia, "disobedience" (only in Ro 11:30,32; Heb 4:6,11), and apistia, "distrust," the antithesis to "faith". (which see). The two words are not only akin etymologically but run into one another by mental connection, certainly where spiritual relations are concerned, as between man and God. For when God has spoken, in precept and yet more in promise, distrust involves, at least potentially, an element of disobedience. His supreme claim is to be trusted to command only what is right, and to promise only what is true. He is infinitely sympathetic in His insight, and infallibly knows where distrust comes only of the dim perceptions and weak mis-givings of our mortal nature, and where, on the other hand, a moral resistance lies at the back of the non-confidence. But the presence of that darker element is always to be suspected, at least, and searched for in serious self-examination.

We may remark that it is a loss in our language that "unbelief" is the only word we can use as the antithesis to "faith"; for "faith" and "belief" (which see) are not exactly synonyms. "Unfaith" would be a welcome word for such use, if it were generally so understood.

Handley Dunelm


un-be-lev’-er: This word follows closely the lines of "unbelief" (which see) in its relation to originals. Once only (Ac 14:2) it represents the participle apeithountes, "disobeying (ones)." Elsewhere (nine cases) it represents apistos, "faithless," "without faith." In six of these passages (all in 1 and 2 Corinthians) it denotes the unconverted pagan as distinguished from the convert. In the other passages (Lu 12:46; Tit 1:15; Re 21:8) the reference is to the unbelief which comes of moral resistance to God.


un-sur’-tin, un-sur’-tin-ti: Adjective adelos, 2 Macc 7:34; 1Co 14:8; adverb adelos, 1Co 9:26; noun adelotes, 1Ti 6:17; adelos means "not clear," and so "uncertain." Also the King James Version The Wisdom of Solomon 9:14 for episphales, "unsteady," the Revised Version (British and American) "prone to fall."


un-chanj’-a-bl, un-chanj’-a-bl-nes:



1. Not Lifeless Immobility

2. As Contrasted with the Finite

3. God’s Knowledge, Will and Purpose

4. In His Relation to the World

5. His Relations to Men


The unchangeablehess or immutability of God is that divine attribute which expresses the truth that in His nature and perfections, in His knowledge, will and purpose, He always remains the same in the fullness of His infinite and perfect Being; infinitely exalted above change, becoming and development, which are the specific characteristics of all finite existence. This is one of what theologians have called the incommunicable attributes of God, that is, one of those specific characteristics of the divine nature which make God to be God in distinction from all that is finite. These attributes have also been called negative attributes. By calling them negative, however, it is not meant that they express the nature of God in so far as He is unknowable and incomprehensible by the finite mind, while the positive attributes, such as love and righteousness, express God’s nature as revealed and known. Both kinds of attributes can be known only in so far as God reveals Himself, and furthermore the so-called negative attributes involve a positive idea, while the positive ones in turn imply the negation of all finite limitations. Moreover, since the finite mind cannot comprehend the infinite God, back of all that God has revealed of Himself, back even of His absoluteness, eternity and unchangeability, lies the fullness of His infinite Being, unsearchable, unknowable, and incomprehensible alike in His nature and attributes (Ps 145:3; 147:5; Job 11:7-9; Isa 40:28).

It is these incommunicable attributes, including unchangeableness, which make God to be God, and mark the specific difference between Him and all finite existence. Unchangeableness is, therefore, the characteristic of God’s entire nature and of all His attributes. It cannot be limited to His ethical nature or to His love, and, while it is true that these incommunicable attributes are revealed with especial richness in God’s saving activity, they cannot be limited to marks of God’s saving action or purpose. It is true that God is unchangeable in His love and grace and power to save, but that is only because it is the love and grace and power of the absolute, infinite and immutable God.

I. Unchangeableness of God a Truth of Natural Theology.

As the One infinitely perfect and absolute or self-existent Being, God is exalted far above the possibility of change, because He is independent, self-existent and unlimited by all the causes of change. As uncaused and self-existent, God cannot be changed from without; as infinitely perfect, He cannot suffer change from within; and as eternal and independent of time, which is the "form" of change and mutability, He cannot be subject to any change at all. God’s unchangeablehess, therefore, follows from His self-existence and eternity.

II. Scriptural Doctrine of the Unchangeableness of God.

The Scripture doctrine of God reaffirms this truth. It conceives of God as a living Person in relation to the world and man, and at the same time as absolutely unlimited by the world and man, and as absolutely unchangeable. The God who has revealed Himself in the Old Testament and the New Testament is never identified with, or merged in, the processes of Nature. He is complete and perfect in Himself, and is not the result of any process of self-realization. He is so great that His relations to the created universe cannot begin to exhaust His Being, and yet He stands in the closest relations to man and the world as Creator, Preserver, Governor, and Saviour.

1. Not Lifeless Immobility:

On the one hand, then, the Bible never represents the unchangeableness of God as a dead immobility out of all relation to man and the world. This tendency of thought, fearing anthropomorphism, proceeds on the principle that to make any definite predications about God is to limit Him. The logical result of this is to conceive of God as abstract Being or Substance, so that the word "God" becomes only a name for the Unknowable. Over against this error, the Scripture represents God concretely as a Person in relation to the world and man. In the beginning He created the heavens and the earth, and from that time on He is the life of the world, especially of Israel, His chosen people. To bring out this truth anthropomorphisms are employed. God comes and goes, reveals Himself and hides Himself. He repents (Ge 6:6; 1Sa 15:11; Am 7:3; Joe 2:13); He becomes angry (Nu 11:1; Ps 106:40); and lays aside His anger (De 13:17; Ho 14:4). He sustains a different relation to the godly and the wicked (Pr 11:20; 12:22). In the fullness of time He became incarnate through the Son, and He dwells in His people by His Spirit, their experience of His grace being greater at some times than at others.

But on the other hand, the Scripture always asserts in unmistakable terms the unchangeableness of God. He is unchangeable in His nature. Although the name ‘El Shadday, by which He made Himself known in the patriarchal period of revelation, denotes especially God’s power, this name by no means exhausts the revelation of God in that period. His unchangeableness is involved in His eternity as made known to Abraham (Ge 21:33). This attribute finds its clearest expression in the name Yahweh as revealed to Moses, the significance of which is unfolded in the passage Ex 3:13-15. God here reveals Himself to His people as "I AM THAT I AM," using the future tense of the verb "to be," which, as the context shows, is given as the meaning of the name Yahweh. Some recent writers would derive these words from the Hiphil stem of the verb, and affirm that it signifies that God is the giver of life. The verb, however, is in the Qal stem, the tense denoting the changeless continuity of the life and nature of God. The idea expressed is not merely that of self-existence, but also of unchangeableness, and this unchangeableness, as the context clearly indicates (especially Ex 3:15), is here set forth not simply as belonging to the nature of God in Himself, but is brought into closest connection with His covenant relation to His people, so that the religious value of God’s unchangeableness is most clearly implied in this fundamental assertion of the attribute. The same idea of God’s immutability is reaffirmed in the prophecy of Isaiah. It is connected with the name Yahweh (Isa 41:4; compare also 48:12), where Yahweh affirms that He is the first and, with the last, the same God, thereby asserting not merely His eternity, but also that He is the same in His divine existence throughout all ages. This attribute, moreover, is claimed by Yahweh, and set forth as an especial mark of His Godhead in Isa 44:6. The unchangeableness of the divine nature is also asserted by the prophet Malachi in a difficult passage (3:6). This is a clear affirmation of the unchangeableness of God, the only question being whether it is set forth as the ground of Israel’s confidence, or in contrast with their fickleness, a question which depends partly on that of the text.

In the New Testament the thought of the passage in Exodus 3 is reiterated in the Apocalypse where God is described as He who is and was and is to come (Re 1:4). This is an expansion of the covenant name Yahweh in Ex 3:13-15, denoting not merely eternity but also immutability. The phrases "the Alpha and the Omega" (Re 1:8; 21:6; 22:13); and "the first and the last" (Re 1:17; 22:13); and "the beginning and the end" (Re 21:6; 22:13) bring out the same idea, and are applied to Christ as well as to God, which is a clear indication of our Lord’s Deity. The apostle Paul likewise asserts the incorruptibility, eternity and immortality of the divine nature, all of which ideas imply the unchangeableness of God (Ro 1:23; 1Ti 1:17; 6:16).

2. As Contrasted with the Finite:

Not only is the unchangeableness of God’s nature asserted in Scripture, and placed in relation to His dealings with men, but also it is declared to be the distinctive characteristic of God’s nature as contrasted with the entire universe of finite being. While the heavens and the earth change and are passing away, God endures forever and forever the same God (Ps 102:26-28 (Hebrew versification, 27-29)). The application of the language of this psalm to Christ by the author of the Epistle to the Heb 1:10-12 involves the unchangeableness of Christ, which is again explicitly asserted in this Epistle (Heb 13:8), being another clear indication of the way in which the Deity of Jesus Christ pervades the New Testament. This idea of God’s immutability, as contrasted with the mutability of finite existence which is His creation, is given expression in the New Testament by the apostle James. As Creator of the heavenly bodies, God is called the Father of lights. While their lights, however, are intermittent, God’s light is subject to neither change nor obscuration (Jas 1:17).

In accordance with this idea of the unchangeableness of God’s nature, the Scripture, in ascribing life and personality to Him, never regards God as subject to any process of becoming or self-realization, and the views which so conceive of God are unscriptural whether they proceed upon a unitarian or a trinitarian basis.

3. God’s Knowledge, Will and Purpose:

God is also represented in Scripture as unchangeable in His knowledge, will and purpose. He is not a man that He should repent (1Sa 15:29). His purposes, therefore, are unchangeable (Nu 23:19; Isa 46:11; Pr 19:21); and His decrees are accordingly likened to "mountains of brass" (Zec 6:1). His righteousness is as immutable as mountains (Ps 36:6 (Hebrew 7)); and His power also is unchangeable (Isa 26:4). Hence, while the Scripture represents God as sustaining living relations to His creatures, it does not conceive of Him as conditioned or determined in any way by men’s acts, in either His knowledge, will, purpose or power. God knows eternally the changing course of events, and He acts differently upon different occasions, but all events, including human actions, are determined by God’s unchangeable purpose, so that God’s knowledge and actions are not contingent upon anything outside Himself.

Although, therefore, the idea of God as pure abstract Being, out of all relation to the world, is unscriptural, it is no less true that conception of God which represents a reaction from this, and which conceives of God anthropomorphically and as conditioned and determined by the world and man, is also quite contradictory to the Scripture conception of God. This latter tendency goes too far in the opposite direction, and falls into the error of conceiving God’s knowledge, will, purpose and power too anthropomorphically, and as limited by the free acts of man. While the opposite tendency kept God out of all relation to the world, this one erects God’s relation to the world into something which limits Him. This way of conceiving of God, which is the error of Rationalism, Socinianism and Arminianism, is as unscriptural as that which conceives of God as abstract Being, unknowable, and entirely out of relation to the world.

4. In His Relation to the World:

Unchangeable in His nature and attributes, God is likewise unchangeable in His relation to the world, which relation the Scripture represents as creation and providence, and not as emanation. Hence while everything finite changes, God remains ever the same (Ps 102:26-28). Consequently, the pantheistic idea is also unscriptural, which idea, going farther than the anthropomorphic and dualistic conception which places the world over against God, completely merges God’s Being in the world and its processes of change, affirming that God comes to self-realization in the evolution of the world and man. In its reaction from the denial of God’s living relation to the world, this view does not stop with limiting God by reason of this relation, but merges Him completely in the world-development. The Scripture, on the contrary, always conceives of God as immutably free and sovereign in His relation to all the creation.

In accordance with this idea of the unchangeableness of God’s nature and attributes, the Bible always maintains God’s absoluteness and transcendence of Nature and her processes in all of the relations which He sustains to the finite universe. It came into being by His creative fiat, not by any process of emanation from His Being. He sustains it in existence, and governs it, not by any process of Self-realization in the series of second causes, but from without, by His sovereign will and power. And He intrudes into the series of finite causes miraculously, producing events in Nature which are due solely to His power. When for man’s salvation the Son of God became incarnate, it was not by any change of His nature in laying aside some or all of the attributes of Deity, but by assuming a human nature into personal union with the divine nature. The Scripture passages which speak of the incarnation of our Lord clearly indicate that the Son retained His full Deity in "becoming flesh" (compare especially the prologue to John’s Gospel and Php 2:6-8). Moreover, the Old Testament doctrine of the Spirit of God as the source of life to the world is always at pains to avoid any mingling of the Spirit with the processes of Nature, and the same thing is true of the New Testament doctrine of the indwelling of the Spirit in the believer, always keeping the Spirit distinct from the spirit of man (Ro 8:16).

5. His Relations to Men:

Finally, God is unchangeable not only in relation to the universe, but in His relations to men and especially to His people. This follows from His unchangeable ethical nature. The Scripture often connects the unchangeableness of God with His goodness (Ps 100:5; Jas 1:17); with His truthfulness and mercy (Ps 100:5; 117:2); and with His covenant promises (Ex 3:13 ). In connection with His covenant promises, God’s unchangeableness gives the idea of His faithfulness which is emphasized in the Old Testament to awaken trust in God (De 7:9; Ps 36:5 (Hebrew 6); Ps 92:2 (Hebrew 3); Isa 11:5; La 3:23). This idea of God’s unchangeableness in His covenant promises or His faithfulness is repeated and emphasized in the New Testament. His gifts or graces and election are without repentance (1Th 5:24; Ro 11:29); He is faithful toward men because unchangeably true to His own nature (2Ti 2:13); His faithfulness abides in spite of men’s lack of faith (Ro 3:5), and is in many places represented as the basis of our confidence in God who is true to His election and gracious promises (1Co 1:9; 10:13; 2Th 3:3; Heb 10:23; 11:11; 1Pe 4:19; 1 Joh 1:9). See FAITHFULNESS. It is thus the religious significance and value of God’s unchangeableness which is especially emphasized throughout the Scripture. Because He is unchangeably true to His promises, He is the secure object of religious faith and trust, upon whom alone we can rely in the midst of human change and decay. It is this idea to which expression is given by calling God a rock, the rock of our strength and of our salvation (De 32:15; Ps 18:2 (Hebrew 3); 42:9 (Hebrew 10); 71:3; Isa 17:10). God is even eternally a rock, the never-failing object of confidence and trust (Isa 26:4).

It appears, therefore, that the Scripture idea of the unchangeableness of God lays emphasis upon four points. First, it is not lifeless immobility, but the unchangeableness of a living Person. Second, it is, however, a real unchangeableness of God’s nature, attributes and purpose. Third, this unchangeableness is set forth as one of the specific characteristics of Deity in distinction from all that is finite. Fourth, God’s unchangeableness is not dealt with in an abstract or merely theoretic manner, but its religious value is invariably emphasized as constituting God the one true object of religious faith.


Besides the commentaries on appropriate passages, and the discussion of the divine attributes in the general works on systematic theology, see Dillmann, Handbuch der alttest. Theol., 1895, 215-20, 243-44; Oehler, Theology of the Old Testament, English translation, 1883, 95, 100; Schultz, Alttest. Theol., 1896, 419; Davidson, The Theology of the Old Testament, 1904, 45-58, 165. For a fuller discussion see Charhock, "The Immutability of God," Works, volume I, 374-419; Dorner, Ueber die richtige Fassung des dogmatischen Begrifts der Unverdnderlichkeit Gottea, u.s.w.; Article I, "Die neueren Laugnungen der Unveranderlichkeit des personlichen Gottes, u.s.w.," JDT, I, 201-77; II, "Die Geschichte der Lehre von der Unveranderlichkeit Gottea bis auf Schleiermacher," JDT, II, 440-500; III, "Dogmatische Erorterung der Lehre von der Unveranderlichkeit Gottes," JDT, III, 579-660; H. Cremer, Die christliche Lehre von den Eigenschaften Gottea, 1897, pub. in the Beitrage zur Forderung christlicher Theol., I, 7-111; see pp. 10 ff, and especially pp. 102-9.

Caspar Wistar Hodge





un-sur’-kum-sizd, un-sur-kum-sizh’-un: The adjective in the Old Testament is ‘arel (Ge 17:14, etc.), from a root of uncertain meaning, with the noun ‘orlah, "uncircumcised (person)" (Le 19:23; Jer 9:25), and the verb ‘aral, "count as uncircumcised" (Le 19:23; the Revised Version (British and American) Hab 2:16). In the Apocrypha and the New Testament the noun is akrobustia (a physiological term, 1 Macc 1:15; Ac 11:3, etc.), and the adjective aperitmetos (Additions to Esther 14:15; 1 Macc 1:48; 2:46; Ac 7:51), with the verb epispaomai, "become uncircumcised" (1Co 7:18). The language of 1 Macc 1:15 suggests the performance of some surgical operation, but no such operation appears to be possible, and "behaved like uncircumcised persons" (as in 1Co 7:18) is the probable meaning.


Burton Scott Easton


un’-k’l (dodh, "beloved," "uncle," "relation").








1. In the Old Testament (Hebrew)

2. In the New Testament

3. In the Septuagint



1. In the Old Testament

2. In the Apocrypha

3. In the New Testament


I. Terms.

1. In the Old Testament (Hebrew):

Tum’ah, "uncleanness," "defilement," occurs 26 times (Le 7:20,21; 14:19; 15:3,15,26,30,31, etc.). niddah, "separation," "impurity," occurs in Le 20:21; Ezr 9:11; Zec 13:1. ‘erwah, occurs in De 23:14. ‘erwath dabhar, "unclean thing" (De 24:1) is translated "uncleanness" in the King James Version. The adjective Tame’," defiled," "unclean," occurs 72 times (over half in Leviticus), but is never translated "uncleanness," but always "unclean." The verb Tame’," to make" or "declare unclean," occurs often. Other Hebrew verbs "to defile" are ga’al, chalal, chaneph, Tanaph, ‘alal, ‘anah.

2. In the New Testament:

The Greek word for "uncleanness" is akatharsia, which occurs 10 times (Mt 23:27; Ro 1:24; 6:19; 2Co 12:21, etc.). miasmos, "pollution," occurs only in 2Pe 2:10. The adjective akathartos, "unclean," occurs 31 times, 23 times in reference to unclean spirits (Luke once using the expression "unclean demon," 4:33), 4 times to ceremonial uncleanness (thee by Peter and one by John the revelator), and 4 times to moral uncleanness (three by Paul and one by John the revelator). Koinos, "common," "unclean," occurs 8 times in the sense of "unclean" (Mr 7:2,5; Ac 10:14,28; 11:8; Ro 14:14; Re 21:27). The verb koinoo, "to defile," occurs 11 times (Mt 15:11,18,20; Mr 7:15, etc.). miaino, "to defile," occurs 5 times (Joh 18:28; Tit 1:15; Heb 12:15; Jude 1:8). moluno, "to make filthy," occurs 3 times (1Co 8:7; Re 3:4; 14:4). spiloo, occurs twice (Jas 3:6; Jude 1:23) and phtheiro, "to corrupt," occurs 7 times in Greek, once in English Versions of the Bible (1Co 3:17).

3. In the Septuagint:

Akatharsia, "uncleanness," occurs 59 times in Septuagint (including many instances in apocryphal books) (1 and 2 Esdras, Tobit, 1 and 2 Maccabees, etc.). Akathartos, "unclean," occurs 134 times in the Septuagint (including one example in 1 Maccabees). Koinos, "unclean," and koinoo, "to make unclean," occur in Esther, Proverbs, Wisdom, 1, 2, 3 and 4 Maccabees). Miaino, "to defile," occurs over 100 times. Moluno, "to make filthy," occurs 18 times (both in the Old Testament and in the Apocrypha).

II. Possible Relation of Israel’s Laws on Uncleanness with the Laws of Taboo among the Nations:

W. R. Smith (Lectures on the Religion of the Semites, 152-55) thinks there is a kinship between Israel’s laws of uncleanness and the heathen taboo. Frazer, in The Golden Bough, shows numerous examples of the taboo among various tribes and nations which present striking similarity to some of Israel’s laws on uncleanness. But does this diminish our respect for the Old Testament laws on uncleanness? Might not Yahweh use this natural religious perception of men as to an intrinsic distinction between clean and unclean in training Israel to a realization of a higher conception—the real difference between sin and holiness, i.e. between moral defilement and moral purification? The hand of Yahweh is visible even in the development of Israel’s rudimentary laws on ceremonial uncleanness. They are not explicable on purely naturalistic grounds, but Yahweh is training a people to be holy, and so He starts on the lower plane of ceremonial uncleanness and cleanness (see Le 11:44 as to the purpose of Yahweh in establishing these laws respecting clean and unclean animals).

III. Teaching as to Uncleanness.

1. In the Old Testament:

Each term above for uncleanness is used in two senses:

(a) to signify ceremonial uncleanness, which is the most usual significance of the term in the Old Testament;

(b) but, in the Prophets, to emphasize moral, rather than ceremonial, uncleanness. There are four principal spheres of uncleanness in the Old Testament:

(1) Uncleanness in the Matter of Food.

The law as to clean and unclean beasts is laid down in Le 11:1-23. Notice that the law does not extend to vegetable foods, as does a similar law in the Egyptian religion. Four kinds of beasts are named as fit for food:

(a) among quadrupeds, those that both chew the cud and part the hoof;

(b) among fishes, only those having both fins and scales;

(c) most birds or fowls, except, in the main, birds of prey and those noted for uncleanness of habits, are permitted;

(d) of insects those that have legs above the feet to leap withal (e.g. the cricket, the grasshopper, etc.), but those that go on all four, or have many feet, or go upon the belly (e.g. worms, snakes, lizards, etc.), are forbidden.

See, further, FOOD.

(2) Uncleanness Connected with the Functions of Reproduction (Leviticus 12 and 15).

In Le 15:2-18, we find the laws applied to issues of men; in 15:19 ff, to the issues of women. Not only is the man or woman unclean because of the issue, whether normal or abnormal, but the bed on which they lie, or whatever or whoever is touched by them while they are in this state, is unclean. The uncleanness lasts seven days from the cessation of the issue. To become clean men must wash their clothes and batheir bodies (though this requirement is not made of women), and both men and women must offer through the priest a pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons (Le 15). According to Le 13, the woman who conceives and bears a child is unclean. This uncleanness lasts seven days if the child born is a male, but 14 days if the child is a female. However, there is a partial uncleanness of the mother that continues 40 days from the birth of a male, 80 days from the birth of a female, at the end of which period she is purified by offering a lamb and a young pigeon (or turtle-dove), or if too poor to offer a lamb she may substitute one of the birds for the lamb.

(3) Uncleanness Connected with Leprosy.

According to Le 14 and 15, the leper was regarded as under the stroke of God, and so was deemed unclean. The leper (so adjudged by the priest) must separate himself from others, with torn clothes, disheveled hair, and crying with covered lips, "Unclean! Unclean!" That is, he was regarded as a dead man, and therefore unclean and so must live secluded from others.

See, further, LEPER, LEPROSY.

(4) Uncleanness Associated with Death.

According to Le 15:24-40, anyone who touched a dead beast, whether unclean or clean, was rendered unclean. According to Nu 19:11-22, anyone touching the corpse of a human being is unclean. Likewise, everyone in the tent, or who enters the tent, where lies a dead man, is unclean seven days. Even the open vessels in the tent with a dead person are unclean seven days. Whoever, furthermore, touched a dead man’s bone or grave was unclean seven days. Purification, in all these cases of uncleanness as related to death, was secured by sprinkling the ashes of a red heifer with living water upon the unclean person, or object, on the 3rd and 7th days.


2. In the Apocrypha:

In Tobit 3:7-9; 6:13,14; 7:11; 8:1-3; 1 Macc 1:41-53, and in other books, we find the same laws on uncleanness recognized by the descendants of Abraham. It was regarded as abominable to sacrifice other animals (swine for instance) than those prescribed by Yahweh. There is a growing sense in Israel during this period, that all customs and all conduct of the heathen are unclean. Witness the resistance of the loyal Jews to the demands of Antiochus Epiphanes (1 Macc 1; 2; 6; 7). The sense of ceremonial uncleanness was still a conspicuous element in the religious consciousness of the Jews in the inter-Biblical period. But the training of God in ceremonial purification and in the moral and spiritual teachings of the prophets had prepared the way for an advance in moral cleanness (both in thought and in practice).

3. In the New Testament:

By the days of Jesus the scribes and rabbis had wrought out a most cumbrous system of ceremonial uncleanness and purification. Nor did they claim that all their teachings on this subject were found in the Old Testament. See TRADITION. This is fitly illustrated in the New Testament in the washing of hands. See UNWASHEN. When the Mishna (the collection of rabbinic teachings) was produced, the largest book was devoted to the laws of purification, 30 chapters being used to describe the purification of vessels alone.

See Joh 2:1-11, and note how the Jews had six stone waterpots for purification at the wedding in Cana. See Joh 3:25 as to the controversy on purification between John’s disciples and the Jews. This question of cleanness and uncleanness was a tremendous issue with every Jew. He must keep himself ceremonially clean if he would be righteous and win the approval of God.

Jesus utterly disregarded for Himself these laws of purification, though He orders the cleansed leper to return to the priest and secure his certificate of cleansing. He did not wash His hands before eating, and His disciples followed His example. Therefore, the Pharisees challenged Him to give an account of His course and that of His disciples (Mt 15:3-20 = Mr 7:6-23). Jesus then enunciated the great principle that there is no ceremonial, but only moral and spiritual, uncleanness. Not what goes into a man from hands that touch unclean things defiles the man, but the things that come out of his heart, evil thoughts, hatred, adultery, murder, etc., these defile the man.

Paul likewise regarded nothing as unclean of itself (Ro 14:14,20; Tit 1:15), yet no man should violate the scruples of his own conscience or that of his brother (and thus put a stumblingblock in his way). Love, not ceremonialism is the supreme law of the Christian. Paul, in submitting to the vow of purification in Jerusalem, set an example of this principle (Ac 21:26).



W. R. Smith, Lectures on the Religion of the Semites (especially pp. 152-55, on taboo, and pp. 455, 456, on the uncleanness of sexual intercourse); Frazer, The Golden Bough (examples of taboo and similar laws and customs among various nations); Frazer, article "Taboo" in Encyclopedia Britannica, 9th edition; Benzinger, Hebrew Archaeology; Nowack, Hebrew Archaeology; Kellogg, commentary on "Leviticus" (Expositor’s Bible); Kalisch, Leviticus; Dillmann-Ryssel, Leviticus; Schultz, Dillmann, Smend, Marti, Davidson, in their Old Testament Theologies, give useful hints on this subject; article "Casuistry" (Hebrew) in ERE, III, is valuable.

Charles B. Williams





unk’-shun: The the King James Version translation of chrisma (1Joh 2:20), which the Revised Version (British and American) renders "anointing," as the King James Version renders the same word in 1Joh 2:27.


un-de-fild’:In the Old Testament tam, "perfect," presents the positive side. Hence, Ps 119:1 is translated in the Revised Version: "Blessed are they that are perfect in the way." In the New Testament amiantos, presents the negative side, "unstained" "unsullied" "without taint." Used to describe the sinlessness of Christ (Heb 7:26), to declare the marriage act free from all guilt, disgrace or shame (Heb 13:4), to contrast the heavenly inheritance with earthly possessions (1Pe 1:4).





un-der-neth’ (tachath, "the bottom (as depressed)"): "Underneath are the everlasting arms" (De 33:27). In these words Moses sums up the history of Israel and gives expression to his final thought about life and time and all things visible. Underneath all phenomena and all the chances and changes of life and time there is unchanging law, everlasting principle, an all-enfolding power, an all-embracing love.


un’-der-set-er (katheph): The word, used in 1Ki 7:30,34 of supports of the laver, means lit. "shoulder," and is so rendered in the Revised Version margin.



un-der-tak’:"To take upon one’s self," "assume responsibility," and so in Elizabethan English "be surety." In this sense in the King James Version Isa 38:14, "O Lord, .... undertake for me" (‘arabh, the Revised Version (British and American) "be thou my surety"). Perhaps in the same sense in Sirach 29:19, although the idea is scarcely contained in the Greek verb dioko, "pursue." In the modern sense in 1 Esdras 1:28; 2 Macc 2:29; 8:10; the King James Version 2:27.



un-e’-kwal: Eze 18:25,29 for lo’ thakhan, "not weighed," "illogical." "Unequally" in 2Co 6:14, in the phrase "unequally yoked," heterozugeo, is used of the yoking together of two animals of different kinds (compare the Septuagint of Le 19:19).


un-fand’ (anupokritos, "unfeigned," "undisguised"): The Greek word occurs only in the New Testament (1Ti 1:5; 2Ti 1:5) and is designative of the moral quality of faith as "the mark of transparency and simplicity of soul—the most complete and distinct exponent of a man’s character—the natural hypothesis of a pure and good heart—a readiness to believe in goodness" (Martineau, Hours of Thought, First Series, 86 ff). Compare 2Co 6:6; 1Pe 1:22; Jas 3:17.


un-god’-li (rasha‘ (Ps 1:1), "wicked," beliya‘al (2Sa 22:5), "worthless"; in the New Testament asebes (Ro 5:6), e.g. indicating that the persons so called are both irreverent and impious): Trench says that the idea of active opposition to religion is involved in the word, that it is a deliberate withholding from God of His dues of prayer and of service; a standing, so to speak, in battle array against God and His claims to respect, reverence and obedience. Those whose sins are particularly aggravating and deserving of God’s wrath are the "ungodly." And yet it is for such that Jesus Christ died (Ro 5:6).

William Evans


u’-ni-korn (re’em (Nu 23:22; 24:8; De 33:17; Job 39:9,10; Ps 22:21; 29:6; 92:10; Isa 34:7)): "Unicorn" occurs in the King James Version in the passages cited, where the Revised Version (British and American) has "wild-ox" (which see).


u’-ni-ti: Ps 133:1 for (yachadh, "unitedness," and Eph 4:3,13 for henotes "oneness." Also Sirach 25:1 the King James Version for homonoia "concord" (so the Revised Version (British and American)).


un-non’,( agnostos theos): In Ac 17:23 (St. Paul’s speech in Athens) the American Standard Revised Version reads: "I found also an altar with this inscription, To AN UNKNOWN GOD. What therefore ye worship in ignorance, this I set forth unto you." the King James Version and the English Revised Version margin translate "to the Unknown God," owing to the fact that in Greek certain words, of which theos is one, may drop the article when it is to be understood. In the present case the use of the article. is probably right (compare Ac 17:24). In addition, the King James Version reads "whom" and "him" in place of "what" and "this." The difference here is due to a variation in the Greek manuscripts, most of which support the King James Version. But internal probability is against the King James Version’s reading, as it would have been very easy for a scribe to change neuters (referring to the divine power) into masculines after "God," but not vice versa. Hence, modern editors (except yon Soden’s margin) have adopted the reading in the Revised Version (British and American).

Paul in Athens, "as he beheld the city full of idols," felt that God was truly unknown there. Hence the altar with the inscription struck him as particularly significant. Some Athenians, at any rate, felt the religious inadequacy of all known deities and were appealing to the God who they felt must exist, although they knew nothing definite about Him. No better starting-point for an address could be wished. What the inscription actually meant, however, is another question. Nothing is known about it. Altars dedicated "to unknown gods" (in the plural) seem to have been fairly common (Jerome on Tit 1:12; Pausanias, i.1,4; Philaster, Vita Apoll., vi.3), and Blase (Commentary ad loc.) has even suggested that the words in Ac were originally in the plural. But this would spoil the whole point of the speech, and the absence of references to a single inscription among thousands that existed can cause no surprise. Those inscriptions in the plural seem to have been meant in the sense "to the other deities that may exist in addition to those already known," but an inscription in the sing. could not have this meaning. Perhaps a votive inscription is meant, where the worshipper did not know which god to thank for some benefit received. That a slur on all the other Athenian objects of worship was intended is, however, most improbable, but Paul could not of course be expected to know the technical meaning of such inscriptions.


Buston Scott Easton


un-lur’-ned: Ac 4:13 for agrammatos, literally "illiterate." But nothing more than "lacking technical rabbinical instruction" seems to be meant (compare Joh 7:15). 1Co 14:16,23,24 for idiotes, "private person," the Revised Version margin "he that is without gifts," correctly expresses the sense ("unbeliever" is hardly in point); also the King James Version, 2Ti 2:23; 2Pe 3:16 (the Revised Version (British and American) "ignorant").





un-nat’-u-ral vis.



un’-i (‘unni, meaning unknown): (1) One of "the twelve brethren" (so Curtis for the Revised Version (British and American) "brethren of the second degree") appointed as singers (1Ch 15:18,20).

(2) In Ne 12:9 (Kethibh ‘unno) = the Revised Version (British and American) UNNO (which see).


un’-o (‘unno; the Septuagint omits the name, but in Codex Sinaiticus, a later hand has added Iana; the Qere of the Massoretic Text has ‘unni, as in 1Ch 15:18, whence the King James Version has "Unni"): A Levite who returned with Zerubbabel (Ne 12:9).





un-kwench’-a-b’-l, pur asbestos): The phrase occurs in Mt 3:12 and its parallel Lu 3:17 in the words of the Baptist on the Messianic judgment: "The chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire"; but also on the lips of Christ Himself in Mr 9:43, where the "unquenchable fire" is equated with "Gehenna" (which see). The same idea lies in 9:48, "The fire is not quenched" (ou sbennutai), and is implied in the numerous allusions to fire as the instrument of punishment and destruction in the Gospels and other parts of the New Testament (e.g. "the Gehenna of fire," Mt 5:22 margin, etc.; "furnace of fire," Mt 13:40,42,50; "eternal fire," Mt 25:41; compare also 2Th 1:8; 2Pe 3:7; Jude 1:7; Re 19:20; 20:10,14,15; 21:8). For Old Testament analogies compare Isa 1:31; 34:10; 66:24; Jer 4:4; 7:20; 17:27; 21:12; Eze 20:47,48. The language is obviously highly metaphorical, conveying the idea of an awful and abiding judgment, but is not to be pressed as teaching a destruction in the sense of annihilation of the wicked. An unquenchable fire is not needed for a momentary act of destruction. Even in the view of Edward White, the wicked survive the period of judgment to which these terms relate.


James Orr


un-tem’-perd (taphel): Used of mortar in Eze 13:10-15; 22:28. Taphel probably refers to mortar made with clay instead of slaked lime. In the interior of Palestine and Syria walls are still commonly built of small stones or mud bricks, and then smeared over with clay mortar. The surface is rubbed smooth and is attractive in appearance. This coating prolongs the life of the wall but requires yearly attention if the wall is to stand.

Ezekiel uses the practice to typify the work of false prophets. They build up stories and make them plausible by an outward semblance to truth, while, in fact, they are flimsy, unreliable prophecies, resembling the walls described above, which can be broken down by a push or a heavy rain storm.

James A. Patch


un-to’-erd, un-tord’ (skolios): Appears only in Ac 2:40, the King James Version "Save yourselves from this untoward generation." It means "perverse," "willful," "crooked," and is so translated in Revised Version: "this crooked generation" (apo tes geneas tes skolias tautes). the King James Version headings to Isa 28 and Ho 6 have "untowardness." This now obsolete term probably derived its orgin from the idea of the heart that was not inclined toward the divine will and teaching. Hence, "not-toward," or "untoward."





un-wosh’-’-n (aniptos): Occurs only twice in the New Testament, not at all in the Hebrew or Greek Old Testament (Mt 15:20 = Mr 7:2). Jesus is here denouncing the traditionalism of the scribes and Pharisees. Uncleanness, to them, was external and purification was ceremonial. Hence, the Pharisaic view that the hands became unclean (religiously, not physically), and so before meals must be cleansed (religiously) by washing, which consisted in two affusions and must extend up to the wrist, else the hand was still unclean. Jewish tradition traced this custom back to Solomon (see Shabbath 14b, end), but the first unmistakable occurrence of the custom is in the Sibylline Oracles (3:591-93), where the hands are said to be washed in connection with prayer and thanksgiving. The schools of Shammai and Hillel, though usually differing on points of tradition, agreed on the washing of hands as necessary for ceremonial purification (having reached this agreement in the early part of Jesus’ life).



Broadus, Commentary on Matthew (15:2-20); Gould, Swete, commentaries on Mark (7:2); Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, II, 8 ff; Schurer. HJP, div II, volume I, section 25 (" Scribism").

Charles B. Williams


un-wur’-thi-li: 1Co 11:27,29 the King James Version for anaxios. In 11:29, the Revised Version (British and American), on convincing textual evidence, has omitted the word, which is a needless gloss (compare the Revised Version’s translation of the whole verse). In 11:27 the American Standard Revised Version has changed "unworthily" to "in an unworthy manner," a rather pointless alteration.





u-far’-sin (upharsin).



u’-faz (’uphaz): A gold-bearing region, mentioned in Jer 10:9; Da 10:5, otherwise unknown. Perhaps in both passages Ophir, which differs in one consonant only, should be read. In the second passage, instead of "gold of Uphaz," perhaps "gold and fine gold" (’uphaz) should be read. The Jerusalem Talmud states that there were seven kinds of gold, good gold, pure, precious, gold of Uphaz, purified, refined, and red gold of Parvaim (2Ch 3:6). That of Uphaz, which is so called from the place from which it comes, resembles "flashes of fire fed with pitch" (M. Schwab, The Talmud of Jerusalem, V, 207 f).

Thomas Hunter Weir


up’-er cham’-ber, (‘aliyah (2Ki 1:2), etc.; anogeon (Mr 14:15; Lu 22:12), huperoon (Ac 1:13; 9:37,39; 20:8)): In Jud 3:20 the English Revised Version renders "summer parlor" and in the margin "Hebrew: ‘Upper chamber of cooling.’" This was probably a roof-chamber. The "upper chamber" of Ahaziah in 2Ki 1:2 was evidently in the 2nd story of the building. On the "upper chambers" of the temple (1Ch 28:11; 2Ch 3:9), see TEMPLE. The "large upper room" which was the scene of the Last Supper, with that in Ac 1:13, was also plainly an upper-story chamber. That in Ac 20:8 was in the 3rd story (at Miletus, a Greek city).

See also HOUSE.

James Orr


ur (’ur, "flame"; Codex Vaticanus Sthur; Codex Sinaiticus Ora): Father of Eliphal, one of David’s "mighty men," in 1Ch 11:35; in the parallel 2Sa 23:34 called "Ahasbai."


kal’-dez (’ur kasdim; he chora (ton) Chaldaion): For more than 2,000 years efforts have been made to identify the site of this city. The writers of the Septuagint, either being unfamiliar with the site, or not considering it a city, wrote chora, "land," instead of Ur. Eupolemus, who lived about 150 BC, spoke of it as being a city of Babylonia called Camarina, which he said was called by some Ouria. Stephen (Ac 7:2,4) regarded the place as being in Mesopotamia. The Talmud, however, as well as some later Arabic writers, regarded Erech (the Septuagint Orek) as the city. The cuneiform writing of this city, Urnki, would seem to support this view, but Erech is mentioned in Genesis. Ammianus Marcellinus identified the city with the castle of Ur in the desert between Hatra and Nisibis, but this was only founded in the time of the Persians. Owing to its nearness to Haran, and because Stephen placed it in Mesopotamia, Urfa or Oorfa, named Edessa by the Greeks, has also in modern times been identified as the city. But Seleucus is credited with having built this city.

The most generally-accepted theory at the present time is that Ur is to be identified with the modern Mugheir (or Mughayyar, "the pitchy") in Southern Babylonia, called Urumma, or Urima, and later Uru in the inscriptions. This borders on the district which in the 1st millennium BC was called Chaldea (Kaldu).

This, some hold, accords with the view of Eupolemus, because Camarina may be from the Arabic name of the moon qamar, which refers perhaps to the fact that the ancient city was dedicated to the worship of the moon-god. Another argument which has been advanced for this identification is that Haran, the city to which Terah migrated, was also a center of moon-god worship. This, however, is precarious, because Urumma or Urima in Abraham’s day was a Sumerian center, and the seat of Nannar-worship, whereas Haran was Semitic, and was dedicated to Sin. Although these two deities in later centuries were identified with each other, still the argument seems to have little weight, as other deities were also prominently worshipped in those cities, particularly Haran, which fact reminds us also that the Talmud says Terah worshipped no less than 12 deities.

It should be stated that there are scholars who hold, with the Septuagint, that Ur means, not a city, but perhaps a land in which the patriarch pastured his flocks, as for instance, the land of Uri or Ura (Akkad). The designation "of the Chaldeans" was in this case intended to distinguish it from the land where they were not found.

Still another identification is the town Uru (Mar-tu) near Sippar, a place of prominence in the time of Abraham, but which was lost sight of in subsequent periods (compare Amurru, 167). This fact would account for the failure to identify the place in the late pre-Christian centuries, when Urima or Uru still flourished. Western Semites—for the name Abram is not Babylonian—lived in this city in large numbers in the age when the patriarch lived. The Babylonian contract literature from this, as well as other sites, is full of names from the western Semitic lands, Aram and Amurru. This fact makes it reasonable that the site should be found in Babylonia; but, as stated, although the arguments are by no means weighty, more scholars at the present favor Mugheir than any other site.

A. T. Clay


ur’-ban, -ban’.



ur-ba’-nus (Ourbanos; the King James Version Urbane): A common slave name. Gifford says that it is found "as here, in juxtaposition with Ampliatus, in a list of imperial freedmen, on an inscription, 115 AD." He was a member of the Christian community at Rome to whom Paul sent greetings. Paul calls him "our fellow-worker in Christ" (Ro 16:9). "The ‘our’ (as opposed to ‘my,’ Ro 16:3) seems to suggest that all Christian workers had a common helper in Urbanus" (Denney).


u’-ri, oo’-ri (uri (uwri in 1Ki 4:19), "fiery," unless the word be contracted for ‘uriyah, "Uriah"):

(1) Son of Hur, and father of Bezalel (Ex 31:2; 35:30; 38:22; 1Ch 2:20; 2Ch 1:5).

(2) Father of Geber, one of Solomon’s 12 provision officers (1Ki 4:19; the Septuagint’s Codex Vaticanus and Codex Alexandrinus, Adai).

(3) A porter who had married a foreign wife (Ezr 10:24; the Septuagint’s Odouth; Codex Alexandrinus Odoue; Lucian Ourias).


u-ri’-a, u-ri’-ja (’uriyah, in Jer 26:20 ‘uriyahu, "flame of Yahweh" or "my light is Yahweh"; the Septuagint and the New Testament Our(e)ias, with variants; the King James Version has Urijah in 2Ki 16:10-16; Ne 3:4,21; 8:4; Jer 26:20):

(1) A Hittite, who had settled in Jerusalem at the time of David and who had entered David’s service. He had become a worshipper of Yahweh (judging from the usual interpretations of his name) and had married a Hebrew wife, BATH-SHEBA (which see). David’s sin with this woman occurred while Uriah was engaged in warfare, and David had him recalled to Jerusalem in order to hide what had transpired. Uriah, however, felt himself bound by the consecration of a soldier (compare 1Sa 21:5; De 23:10 f) and refused to do violence to his religion, so that David’s ruse was in vain. (The point is missed here by speaking of Uriah’s "chivalrous determination," as in HDB, IV, 837.) David, in desperation, wrote Joab instructions that were virtually a command to have Uriah murdered, and these instructions were duly carried out (2Sa 11:2-27). The inclusion of Uriah’s name in the list of the "mighty men" in 2Sa 23:39 parallel Ch 11:41 is proof of his reputation as a soldier, and the name is found also in 2Sa 12:9,10,15; 1Ki 15:5; Mt 1:6. On the occurrence in Matthew see especially Heffern, JBL, XXXI, 69 ff (1912).

(2) A priest under Ahaz, who carried into effect the latter’s commands to introduce an Assyrian altar into the Temple and to use it for the sacrifices (2Ki 16:10-16; see ALTAR). The same Uriah appears in Isa 8:2 as one of the two "faithful witnesses" taken by Isaiah in the matter of Maher-shalal-hash-baz. This description has seemed to many to conflict with Uriah’s compliancy in obeying Ahaz, but it must be remembered that

(a) "faithful witness" means simply "one whom the people will believe," and

(b) the articles in the sanctuary were not held as immutably sacred in the time of Ahaz as they were in later days.

The omission of Uriah’s name from the list in 1Ch 6:10-14 is probably without significance, as Chronicles records only nine names from Solomon to the exile, showing that there must be many omissions. The corresponding list in Josephus, Ant, X, viii, 6, contains 18 names, including Uriah’s.

(3) A son of Shemaiah, of Kiriath-jearim, and a contemporary of Jeremiah. He was a prophet, and his prophecy agreed with Jeremiah’s in regards. Jehoiakim, roused to anger, arrested him, even at the trouble of a pursuit into Egypt, put him to death and desecrated his body (Jer 20-23). The story is told partly in order to show the greatness of Jeremiah’s dangers, partly to bear record of the goodness of AHIKAM (which see), Jeremiah’s protector.

(4) A priest, the father of MEREMOTH (which see) (Ezr 8:33; Ne 3:4,21; 1 Esdras 8:62 ("Urias," the King James Version "Iri")).

(5) One of those on Ezra’s right hand reading of the Law (Ne 8:4; 1 Esdras 9:43 ("Urias")). Quite possibly identical with (4) above.

Burton Scott Easton


u-ri’-as (Oureias; Codex Vaticanus (b) Ouria; Codex Alexandrinus Ouri; the King James Version Iri):

(1) The father of Marmoth (1 Esdras 8:62) =" Uriah" of Ezr 8:33, and perhaps identical with (2).

(2) Codex Vaticanus (b) and Codex Alexandrinus, Oureias, Ourias = one of those who stood on Ezra’s right hand as he read the Law (1 Esdras 9:43) =" Uriah" of Ne 8:4.


(Ourias): the King James Version; Greek form of "Uriah" (thus the Revised Version (British and American)). The husband of Bath-sheba (Mt 1:6).


u’-ri-el (’uri’-el, "flame of El (God)," or "El is my light"):

(1) A Kohathite, said in 1Ch 15:5 to be the chief of the sons of Kohath (1Ch 6:24 (Hebrew verse 9); 15:5,11). He corresponds to Zephaniah in the pedigree of Heman in 1Ch 6:33-38 (Hebrew 18-23). See Curtis, Chronicles, 130 f.

(2) A man of Gibeah, and father of Micaiah the mother of King Abijah of Judah (2Ch 13:2).

(3) The archangel (En 20:2, etc.). See next article.


(Ouriel, "fire or flame of God"‘ or "my light is God"): Called only in 2 Esdras an "angel," except 2 Esdras 4:36 where the Revised Version (British and American) and the King James Version rightly give "Jeremiel the archangel" for the King James Version "Uriel the archangel," but elsewhere known as one of the four chief archangels. He was the angel who instructed Ezra (2 Esdras 4:1; 5:20; 10:28). In Enoch 20:2 Uriel is the angel who is "over the world and Tartarus" (ho epi tou kosmou kai tou tartarou), and as such is the conductor to Enoch in the world below, the secrets of which he explains. Compare also (Greek) 19:1; 21:5. In the (Latin) "Life of Adam and Eve," 48 (ed. W. Meyer in Abhand. d. Bayer. Akad. der Wiss., XIV, 1878, 250), Uriel (Oriel) accompanied Michael when at God’s bidding he wrapped the bodies of Adam and Abel in three linen sheets and buried them in Paradise. In the lost "Prayer of Joseph" Uriel is the angel who wrestles and converses with Jacob and knows the secrets of heaven (as in Enoch those of Tartarus), but stands only 8th in rank, whereas in (Greek) Enoch 20:2 ff he is the 1st of the six (or seven) archangels. In Sib Or 2:229 he is entrusted with the judgment of the Titans. Compare Milton, Paradise Lost, III, 690, "regent of the sun, and held the sharpest sighted Spirit of all in heaven."

(2) "Urier" the King James Version = the Revised Version (British and American) and the King James Version margin "Jeremiel."

S. Angus




u’-rim and thum’-im (ha-’urim weha-tummim (article omitted in Ezr 2:63; Ne 7:65); perhaps "light and perfection," as intensive plurals):

1. Definition:

Articles not specifically described, placed in (next to, or on (Hebrew ‘el; Septuagint epi; Samaritan-Hebrew ‘al)) the high priest’s breastplate, called the "breast-plate of decision" (English Versions of the Bible, "judgment"). (Ex 28:30; Le 8:8). Their possession was one of the greatest distinctions conferred upon the priestly family (De 33:8; Ecclesiasticus 45:10), and seems to have been connected with the function of the priests as the mouthpiece of Yahweh, as well as with the ceremonial side of the service (Ex 28:30; compare Arabic kahin, "soothsayer").

2. Use in the Old Testament:

Through their use, the nature of which is a matter of conjecture, the divine will was sought in national crises, and apparently the future foretold, guilt or innocence established, and, according to one theory, land divided (Babha’ Bathra’ 122a; Sanhedrin 16a). Thus, Joshua was to stand before Eleazar who was to inquire for him after the judgment (decision) of the Urim (Nu 27:21). It seems that this means was employed by Joshua in the matter of Achan (Jos 7:14,18) and overlooked in the matter of the Gibeonites (9:14). Though not specifically mentioned, the same means is in all probability referred to in the accounts of the Israelites consulting Yahweh after the death of Joshua in their warfare (Jud 1:1,2; 20:18,26-28). The Danites in their migration ask counsel of a priest, perhaps in a similar manner (Jud 18:5,7). It is not impossible that even the prophet Samuel was assisted by the Urim in the selection of a king (1Sa 10:20-22). During Saul’s war with the Philistines, he made inquiry of God with the aid of the priest (1Sa 14:36,37), Ahijah, the son of Ahitub, who at that time wore the ephod (1Sa 14:3). Although on two important occasions Yahweh refused to answer Saul through the Urim (1Sa 14:37; 28:6), it appears (from the Septuagint version of 1Sa 14:41; see below) that he Used the Urim and Thummim successfully in ascertaining the cause of the divine displeasure. The accusation of Doeg and the answer of the high priest (1Sa 22:10,13,15) suggest that David began to inquire of Yahweh through the priesthood, even while he was an officer of Saul. After the massacre of the priests in Nob, Abiathar fled to the camp of David (1Sa 22:20), taking with him the ephod (including apparently the Urim and Thummim, 1Sa 23:6) which David used frequently during his wanderings (1Sa 23:2-4,9-12; 30:7,8), and also after the death of Saul (2Sa 2:1; 5:19,23; 21:1). After the days of David, prophecy was in the ascendancy, and, accordingly, we find no clear record of the use of the Urim and Thummim in the days of the later kings (compare, however, Ho 3:4; Ecclesiasticus 33:3). Still, in post-exilic times we find the difficult question of the ancestral right of certain priests to eat of the most holy things reserved till there would stand up a priest with Urim and with Thummim (Ezr 2:63; Ne 7:65; 1 Esdras 5:40; Sotah 48b).

3. Older (Traditional) Views:

Though Josephus sets the date for the obsolescence of the Urim and Thummim at 200 years before his time, in the days of John Hyrcanus (Ant., III, viii, 9), the Talmud reckons the Urim and Thummim among the things lacking in the second Temple (Sotah 9 10; Yoma’ 21b; Yeru Qid. 65b). Both Josephus and the Talmud identify the Urim and Thummim with the stones of the breastplate. The former simply states that the stones shone whenever the shekhinah was present at a sacrifice or when the army proceeded to battle.

"God declared beforehand by those twelve stones which the high priest bare on his breast, and which were inserted into his breastplate, when they should be victorious in battle; for so great a splendor shone forth from them before the army began to march, that all the people were sensible of God’s being present for their assistance" (Ant., III, viii, 9).

The Talmudic explanation suggests that by the illumination of certain letters the divine will was revealed, and that in order to have a complete alphabet, in addition to the names of the tribes, the breastplate bore the names of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. and the words shibhTe yeshurun. A later scholar even suggests that the letters moved from their places to form words (Yoma’ 73a, b). Characteristically enough the Talmud prescribes rules and suggestions for the consultation of the non-existing Urim and Thummim: that the one asking must be a man of public importance, that the question must pertain to the public weal; that the priest must face the shekhinah (west); that one question be asked at a time, and so forth (same place).

It is difficult to tell just how much, if anything, of a lingering tradition is reflected in the view that the Urim and Thummim and stones of the breast-plate were identical. In the absence of other ancient clues, however, it is not safe to reject even the guesses of the Jews of the second temple in favor of our own. We do not even know the meaning of the word choshen, so confidently translated "pouch" or "receptacle" by opponents of the older view, without any basis whatever. On the other hand the theory of identification was widespread. Even Philo leans toward it in his De Monarchia, although in his Vita Mosis (iii) he seems to have in mind two small symbols representing Light and Truth embroidered on the cloth of the choshen or hung round the neck of the high priest, similar to the Egyptian symbol of justice. Another very old view is that the Urim and Thummim consisted of a writing containing the Ineffable Name (Pseudo-Jonathan on Ex 28:20; compare Rashi and Nachmanides at the place).

4. Recent (Critical) Views:

The view most generally held today is that the Urim and Thummim were two sacred lots, one indicating an affirmative or favorable answer, the other a negative or unfavorable answer (Michaelis, Ewald, Wellhausen, Robertson Smith, Driver, G. F. Moore, Kennedy, Muss-Arnolt). The chief support of this view is found, not in the Massoretic Text, but in the reconstruction by Wellhausen and Driver of 1Sa 14:41 ff on the basis of the Septuagint: "If this fault be in me or in Jonathan, my son, give Urim (dos delous), and if it be in thy people Israel, give Thummim (dos hosioteta)." The following sentence clearly suggests the casting of lots, possibly lots on which the names of Saul and Jonathan were written, and "Jonathan" was taken. Efforts have been made to support the view that the Urim and Thummim themselves were sacred lots on the basis of analogous customs among other peoples (e.g. pre-Islamic Arabs (Moore in EB) andBabylonians (W. Muss-Arnolt in Jew Encyclopedia and AJSL, July, 1900)). It must be borne in mind, however, that whatever the lot-theory has to recommend it, it is inconsistent not only with the post-Biblical traditions, but also with the Biblical data. For those who are not inclined to give much weight to the passages connecting the Urim and Thummim with the high priest’s apparel (Ex 28:30; Le 8:8, both "P"), there is of course no difficulty in dissociating the two, in spite of the fact that for the use of this system of divination the one thing necessary in the historical passages on which they rely seems to be the ephod. Still, if we are to think of two lots, one called and possibly marked "Urim" and the other "Thummim," it is difficult to get any meaning from the statement (1Sa 14:37; 28:6) that Yahweh did not answer Saul on certain occasions, unless indeed we surmise for the occasion the existence of a third nameless blank lot. A more serious difficulty arises from the fact that the answers ascribed to the Urim and Thummim are not always the equivalent of "yes" or "no" (compare Jud 1:2; 20:18; 1Sa 22:10; 2Sa 5:23; 21:1), even if we omit from consideration the instances where an individual is apparently pointed out from all Israel (compare the instances of the detection of Achan and the selection of Saul with that of Jonathan, above).

5. Etymology:

If we turn to etymology for assistance, we are not only on uncertain ground, but when Babylonian and other foreign words are brought in to bolster up a theory abput anything so little understood as the Urim and Thummim, we are on dangerous ground. Thus, Muss-Arnolt is ready with Babylonian words (urtu, "command," and tamitu, "oracular decision"); others suggest tme, the Egyptian image of justice; still others connect Urim with ‘arar, to curse," in order to make it an antonym of tummim, "faultlessness." It is generally admitted, however, that, as pointed in the Massoretic Text, the words mean "light" and "perfection," on the basis of which the Talmud (Yoma’ 73b) as well as most of the Greek versions translated them (delosis kai aletheia; photismoi kai teleiotetes), although Symmachus in one place (De 33:8), who is followed by the Vulgate, connects Urim with the word Torah and understands it to mean "doctrine" (teleiotes kai didache). Though loth to add to the already overburdened list of conjectures about these words, it appears to the present writer that if Urim and Thummim are antonyms, and Urim means "light," it is by no means difficult to connect Thummim with darkness, inasmuch as there is a host of Hebrew stems based on the root -tm, all indicating concealing, closing up, and even darkness (compare ...( see Job 40:13), ... and even and cognate Arabic words in BDB). This explanation would make Urim and Thummim mean "illuminated" and "dark" (compare Caster in Hastings, ERE, IV, 813), and, while fitting well with the ancient theories or traditions, would not be excluded by the recent theory of lots of opposite purport.

Nathan Isaacs



1. In the Old Testament:

The Hebrew law concerning exaction of interest upon loans was very humane. Hebrews were to lend to their brethren without interest (Ex 22:25; Le 25:36 f; De 23:19 f). This, however, did not apply to a stranger (De 23:20). Two stems are used in the Old Testament, rendered in the King James Version "usury," in the Revised Version (British and American) better rendered "interest":

(1) verb nashah (Ex 22:25; Isa 24:2; Jer 15:10), and the noun form, mashsha’ (Ne 5:7,10);

(2) a stronger and more picturesque word, nashakh, "to bite," "to vex," and so "to lend on interest" (De 23:19,20); noun form neshekh (Ex 22:25; Le 25:36 f; Ps 15:5; Pr 28:8; Eze 18:8,13,17; 22:12).

It would be easy to go from a fair rate of interest to an unfair rate, as seen in the history of the word "usury," which has come to mean an exorbitant or unlawful interest. Abuses arose during the exile. Nehemiah forced the people after the return to-give back exactions of "one hundredth," or 1 percent monthly which they took from their brethren (Ne 5:10 f; compare Eze 22:12). A good citizen of Zion is one who did not put out his money to usury (Ps 15:5). One who is guilty of this comes to disaster (Pr 28:8).

2. In the New Testament:

The Greek word is tokos, literally, "offspring," interest springing out of the principal. Money lenders were numerous among the Jews in Christ’s day, and, in the parable of the Talents, He represents the lord of the unprofitable servant as rebuking the sloth in the words, "I should have received mine own with interest" (Mt 25:27; Lu 19:23 the Revised Version (British and American)).

Edward Bagby Pollard


u’-ta (Outa): "The sons of Uta" returned with Zerubbabel (1 Esdras 5:30); wanting in the parallel Ezr 2:45; Ne 7:48.


u’-thi, u’-tha-i (‘uthay, meaning uncertain):

(1) A descendant of Judah, of the clan of Perez (1Ch 9:4) =" Athaiah" of Ne 11:4.

(2) Son of Bigvai (Ezr 8:14); called "Uthi" in 1 Esdras 8:40.


u’-thi (Codex Alexandrinus Outhi; Codex Vaticanus Outou): One of the sons of Bago (Bigvai) who returned at the head of his family with Ezra (1 Esdras 8:40) =" Uthai" of Ezr 8:14.


ut’-most, ut’-er-most.



ut’-er-most: A pleonastic compound of a comparative ("utter"; compare "outer") and a superlative ("most"), in the King James Version used interchangeably with the ordinary superlative forms "utmost" (compare Mt 12:42; Lu 11:31) and "outmost" (compare Ex 26:4,10). The Revised Version (British and American) adds still another form, "outermost," in 2Ki 7:5,8 (the King James Version "uttermost"). the Revised Version (British and American) has made a few changes to secure a more accurate translation (Jer 9:26; Joe 2:20, etc.) or to give uniformity (Ex 26:4; Mt 5:26; 12:42, etc.), but for the most part has left the King James Version undisturbed.

UZ (1)

uz (uts ‘erets uts; Os, Ox, Ausitis):

Biblical Data:

(1) In Ge 10:23 Uz is the oldest son of Aram and grandson of Shem, while in 1Ch 1:17 Uz is the son of Shem. Septuagint inserts a passage which supplies this lacking name. As the tables of the nations in Ge 10 are chiefly geographical and ethnographical, Uz seems to have been the name of a district or nation colonized by or descended from Semites of the Aramean tribe or family.

(2) The son of Nahor by Milcah, and older brother of Buz (Ge 2:21). Here the name is doubtless personal and refers to an individual who was head of a clan or tribe kindred to that of Abraham.

(3) A son of Dishan, son of Seir the Horite (Ge 36:28), and personal name of a Horite or perhaps of mixed Horite and Aramean blood.

(4) The native land and home of Job (Job 1:1), and so situated as to be in more or less proximity to the tribe of the Temanites (Job 2:11), the Shuhites (Job 2:11), the Naamathites (Job 2:11), the Buzites (Job 32:2), and open to the inroads of the Chaldeans (Job 1:17), and the Sabeans (Job 1:15 the Revised Version (British and American)), as well as exposed to the great Arabian Desert (1:19). See the next article.

(5) A kingdom of some importance somewhere in Southern Syria and not far from Judea, having a number of kings (Jer 25:20).

(6) A kingdom, doubtless the same as that of Jer 25:20 and inhabited by or in subjection to the Edomites (La 4:21), and hence not far from Edom.

James Josiah Reeve

UZ (2)

(’uts; Septuagint Ausitis; Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) Ausitis): The home of the patriarch Job (Job 1:1; Jer 25:20, "all the kings of the land of Uz"; La 4:21, "daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz"). The land of Uz was, no doubt, the pasturing-ground inhabited by one of the tribes of that name, if indeed there be more than one tribe intended. The following are the determining data occurring in the Book of Job. The country was subject to raids by Chaldeans and Sabeans (1:15,17); Job’s three friends were a Temanite, a Naamathite and a Shuhite (2:11); Elihu was a Buzite (32:2); and Job himself is called one of the children of the East (Qedhem). The Chaldeans (kasdim, descendants of Chesed, son of Nahor, Ge 22:22) inhabited Mesopotamia; a branch of the Sabeans also appears to have taken up its abode in Northern Arabia (see SHEBA). Teman (Ge 36:11) is often synonymous with Edom. The meaning of the designation amathite is unknown, but Shuah was a son of Keturah the wife of Abraham (Ge 25:2), and so connected with Nahor. Shuah is identified with Suhu, mentioned by Tiglath-pileser I as lying one day’s journey from Carchemish; and a "land of Uzza" is named by Shalmaneser II as being in the same neighborhood. Buz is a brother of Uz ("Huz," Ge 22:21) and son of Nahor. Esar-haddon, in an expedition toward the West, passed through Bazu and Hazu, no doubt the same tribes. Abraham sent his children, other than Isaac (so including Shuah), "eastward to the land of Qedhem" (Ge 25:6). These factors point to the land of Uz as lying somewhere to the Northeast of Palestine. Tradition supports such a site. Josephus says "Uz founded Trachonitis and Damascus" (Ant., I, vi, 4). Arabian tradition places the scene of Job s sufferings in the Hauran at Deir Eiyub (Job’s monastery) near Nawa. There is a spring there, which. he made to flow by striking the rock with his foot (Koran 38 41), and his tomb. The passage in the Koran is, however, also made to refer to Job’s Well.



Talmud of Jerusalem (French translation by M. Schwab, VII, 289) contains a discussion of the date of Job; Le Strange, Palestine under the Moslems, 220-23, 427, 515.

Thomas Hunter Weir


u’-zi, u’-za-i (~’uzay>, meaning unknown): Father of Palal (Ne 3:25).


u’-zal (’uzal): Sixth son of Joktan (Ge 10:27; 1Ch 1:21). Uzal as the name of a place perhaps occurs in Eze 27:19. the Revised Version (British and American) reads, "Vedan and Javan traded with yarn for thy wares." Here an obscure verbal form, me’uzzal, is taken to mean "something spun," "yarn." But with a very slight change we may read me’uzal =" from Uzal."

The name is identical with the Arabic ‘Auzal, the old capital of Yemen, later called San‘a’. San‘a’ is described as standing high above sea-level in a fertile land, and traversed by a river bed which in the rainy season becomes a torrent. Under the Himyarite dynasty it succeeded Zafar as the residence of the Tubba‘s. If it is the same place as the Audzara or Ausara of the classics, it is clear why Arabic geographers dwell upon its great antiquity. The most celebrated feature of the town was Ghumdan, an immense palace, the building of which tradition ascribes to Shorabbil, the 6th known king of the Himyarites. According to Ibn Khaldoun this building had four fronts in color red, white, yellow and green respectively. In the midst rose a tower of seven stories, the topmost being entirely of marble (Caussin de Perceval, Essai, II, 75). In the 7th century AD the town became the capital of the Zaidite Imams, and the palace was destroyed toward the middle of that century by order of the caliph Othman.

A. S. Fulton


uz’-a, uz’-a (’uzzah (2Sa 6:6-8), otherwise ‘uzza’ meaning uncertain):

(1) One of those who accompanied the ark on its journey from Kiriath-jearim toward David’s citadel (2Sa 6:3-8, "Uzzah" = 1Ch 13:7-11, "Uzza"). From the text of 2Sa 6:3-8, as generally corrected with the help of Septuagint, it is supposed that Uzzah walked by the side of the ark while Ahio (or "his brother") went in front of it. The word which describes what happened to the oxen is variously translated; the Revised Version (British and American) has "stumbled"; others render it, "They let the oxen slip," "The oxen shook (the ark)." Uzzah, whatever it be that took place, caught hold of the ark; something else happened, and Uzzah died on the spot. If the word translated "rashness" (Revised Version margin) in 2Sa 6:7 (not "error" as English Versions of the Bible) is to be kept in the text, Uzzah would be considered guilty of too little reverence for the ark; but the words "for (his) rashness" are lacking in the Septuagint (Codex Vaticanus), while 1Ch 13:10 has "because he put forth his hand to the ark," and further no such Hebrew word as we find here is known to us. The older commentators regarded the death as provoked by non-observance of the provisions about the ark as given in the Pentateuch, but it is generally believed today that these were not known in David’s time.

What is clear is that Uzzah’s act led to an accident of some kind, and the event was regarded by David as inauspicious, so that the journey with the ark was discontinued. We know how the Old Testament writers represent events as due to divine intervention where we would perhaps discern natural causes.

(2) The garden of Uzza (2Ki 21:18,26). Manasseh the king is said (2Ki 21:18) to have been "buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza"; and Amon (2Ki 21:26) "was buried in his sepulchre in the garden of Uzza." It has been suggested that "Uzza"—"Uzziah" (’uzziyah) = Azariah" (compare 2Ki 15:1-6). The garden of Manasseh would then be identical with that of Uzziah, by whom it was originally laid out. 2Ch 33:20 does not mention the garden.

(3) Son of Shimei, a Merarite (1Ch 6:29 (Hebrew 14)), the Revised Version (British and American) "Uzzah," the King James Version "Uzza."

(4) A descendant of Ehud, and head of a Benjamite family (1Ch 8:7, "Uzza"). Hogg, JQR, 102 ff (1893) (see Curtis, Chron., 156-59), finds a proper name "Iglaam" in 1Ch 8:6, and so reads "and Iglaam begot Uzza and Abishabar."

(5) Head of a Nethinim family that returned from Babylon (Ezr 2:49) =" Uzza" of Ne 7:51.

David Francis Roberts


uz’-en-she’-e-ra (’uzzen she’erah; Septuagint, instead of a place-name, reads kai huioi Ozan, Seera, "and the sons of Ozan, Sheera"; the King James Version Uzzen-sherah, uzzen-she’ra): As it stands in Massoretic Text this is the name of a town built by Sheerah, daughter of Ephraim, to whom is attributed also the building of the two Beth-horons (1Ch 7:24). No satisfactory identification has been proposed. Septuagint suggests that the text may have been tampered with.


uz’-i (’uzzi, perhaps "my strength"):

(1) A descendant of Aaron and high priest, unknown apart from these sources (1Ch 6:5,6,51 (Hebrew 5:31,32; 6:36); Ezr 7:4).

(2) An eponym of a family of Issachar (1Ch 7:2,3).

(3) Head of a Benjamite family (1Ch 7:7), or more probably of a Zebulunite family (see Curtis, Chron., 145-49).

(4) Father of Elah, a Benjamite (1Ch 9:8), perhaps the same as (5).

(5) A son of Bani and overseer of the Levitea in Jerusalem (Ne 11:22).

(6) Head of the priestly family of Jedaiah (Ne 12:19,42).

David Francis Roberts


u-zi’-a (‘uzziya’," my strength is Yah"; see UZZIAH): An Ashterathite and one of David’s mighty men (1Ch 11:44).


u-zi’-a, oo-zi’-a (‘uzziyah (2Ki 15:13,30; Ho 1:1; Am 1:1; Zec 14:5), ‘uzziyahu (2Ki 15:32,34; Isa 1:1; 6:1; 7:1; 2Ch 26:1 ff; 27:2); also called ‘azaryah (2Ki 14:21; 15:1,7; 1Ch 3:12), ‘azaryahu (2Ki 15:6,8); Azarias, in Kings, elsewhere Ozias; the significations of the names are similar, the former meaning "my strength is Yah"; the latter, "Yah has helped." It has been thought that the form "Uzziah" may have originated by corruption from the other. The history of the reign is given in 2Ki 15:1-8 and 2Ch 26):

1. Accession: Uzziah or Azariah, son of Amaziah, and 11th king of Judah, came to the throne at the age of 16. The length of his reign is given as 52 years. The chronological questions raised by this statement are considered below. His accession may here be provisionally dated in 783 BC. His father Amaziah had met his death by popular violence (2Ki 14:19), but Uzziah seems to have been the free and glad choice of the people (2Ch 26:1).

2. Foreign Wars:

The unpopularity of his father, owing to a great military disaster, must ever have been present to the mind of Uzziah, and early in his reign he undertook and successfully carried through an expedition against his father’s enemies of 20 years before, only extending his operations over a wider area. The Edomites, Philistines and Arabians were successively subdued (these being members of a confederacy which, in an earlier reign, had raided Jerusalem and nearly extirpated the royal family, 2Ch 21:16; 22:1); the port of Eloth, at the head of the Red Sea, was restored to Judah, and the city rebuilt (2Ki 14:22; 2Ch 26:2); the walls of certain hostile towns, Gath, Jabneh and Ashdod, were razed to the ground, and the inhabitants of Gur-baal and Maan were reduced to subjection (2Ch 26:6,7). Even the Ammonites, East of the Jordan, paid tribute to Uzziah, and "his name spread abroad even to the entrance to Egypt; for he waxed exceeding strong" (2Ch 26:8).

3. Home Defenses:

Uzziah next turned his attention to securing the defenses of his capital and country. The walls of Jerusalem were strengthened by towers built at the corner gate, at the valley gate, and at an angle in the wall (see plan of Jerusalem in the writer’s Second Temple in Jerusalem); military stations were also formed in Philistia, and in the wilderness of the Negeb, and these were supplied with the necessary cisterns for rain storage (2Ch 26:6,10). The little realm had now an extension and prosperity to which it had been a stranger since the days of Solomon.

4. Uzziah’s Leprosy and Retirement:

These successes came so rapidly that Uzziah had hardly passed his 40th year when a great personal calamity overtook him. In the earlier part of his career Uzziah had enjoyed and profited by the counsels of Zechariah, a man "who had understanding in the vision of God" (2Ch 26:5), and during the lifetime of this godly monitor "be set himself to seek God." Now it happened to him as with his grandfather Jehoash, who, so long as his preserver Jehoiada lived, acted admirably, but, when he died, behaved like an ingrate, and killed his son (2Ki 12:2; 2Ch 24:2,22). So now that Zechariah was gone, Uzziah’s heart was lifted up in pride, and he trespassed against Yahweh. In the great kingdoms of the East, the kings had been in the habit of exercising priestly as well as royal functions. Elated with his prosperity, Uzziah determined to exercise what he may have thought was his royal prerogative in burning incense on the golden altar of the temple. Azariah the high priest, with 80 others, offered stout remonstrance; but the king was only angry, and pressed forward with a censer in his hand, to offer the incense. Ere, however, he could scatter the incense on the coals, and while yet in anger, the white spots of leprosy showed themselves upon his forehead. Smitten in conscience, and thrust forth by the priests, he hastened away, and was a leper ever after (2Ch 26:16-21).

Uzziah’s public life was now ended. In his enforced privacy, he may still have occupied himself with his cattle and agricultural operations, "for he loved husbandry" (2Ch 26:10); but his work in the government was over. Both Kings and Chronicles state in nearly identical words: "Jotham the king’s son was over the household, judging the people of the land" (2Ki 15:5; 2Ch 26:21). Works of the same kind as those undertaken by Uzziah, namely, building military stations in the hills and forests of Judah, repairing the walls of city and temple, etc., are attributed to Jotham (2Ch 27:3 ); the truth being that Jotham continued and completed the enterprises his father had undertaken.

5. Chronology of Reign:

The chronology of the reign of Uzziah presents peculiar difficulties, some of which, probably, cannot be satisfactorily solved. Reckoning upward from the fall of Samaria in 721 BC, the Biblical data would suggest 759 as the first year of Jotham. If, as is now generally conceded, Jotham’s regnal years are reckoned from the commencement of his regency, when his father had been stricken with leprosy, and if, as synchronisms seem to indicate, Uzziah was about 40 years of age at this time, we are brought for the year of Uzziah’s accession to 783. His death, 52 years later, would occur in 731. (On the other hand, it is known that Isaiah, whose call was in the year of Uzziah’s death, Isa 6:1, was already exercising his ministry in the reign of Jotham, Isa 1:1.) Another note of time is furnished by the statement that the earliest utterance of Amos the prophet was "two years before the earthquake" (Am 1:1). This earthquake, we are told by Zechariah, was "in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah" (Zec 14:5). Josephus likewise embodies a tradition that the earthquake occurred at the moment of the king’s entry into the temple (Ant., IX, x, 4). Indubitably the name of Uzziah was associated in the popular mind with this earthquake. If the prophecy of Amos was uttered a year or two before Jeroboam’s death, and this is placed in 759 BC, we are brought near to the date already given for Uzziah’s leprosy (Jeroboam’s date is put lower by others).

In 2 Kings 15 Uzziah is referred to as giving data for the accessions of the northern kings (15:8, Zechariah; 15:13, Shallum; 15:17, Menahem; 15:23, Pekahiah; 15:27, Pekah), but it is difficult to fit these synchronisms into any scheme of chronology, if taken as regnal years. Uzziah is mentioned as the father of Jotham in 2Ki 15:32,34; 2Ch 27:2, and as the grandfather of Ahaz in Isa 7:1. He was living when Isaiah began his ministry (Isa 1:1; 6:1); when Hoses prophesied (Ho 1:1); and is the king in whose reign the afore-mentioned earthquake took place (Zec 14:5). His name occurs in the royal genealogies in 1Ch 3:11 and Mt 1:8,9. The place of his entombment, owing to his having been a leper, was not in the sepulchers of the kings, but "in the garden of Uzza" (2Ki 21:26; compare 2Ch 26:23). Isaiah is stated to have written a life of Uzziah (2Ch 26:22).

W. Shaw Caldecott


u-zi’-el, uz’-i-el, oo’-zi-el (‘uzzi’el, "El (God) is my strength"):

(1) A "son" of Kohath (Ex 6:18,22; Le 10:4; Nu 3:19,30; 1Ch 6:2,18 (Hebrew 5:28; 6:3); 15:10; 23:12,20; 24:24), called in Le 10:4 "uncle of Aaron." The family is called Uzzielites (ha‘uzzi’eli (collectively)) in Nu 3:27; 1Ch 26:23.

(2) A Simeonite captain (1Ch 4:42).

(3) Head of a Benjamite (or according to Curtis a Zebulunite) family (1Ch 7:7).

(4) A Hemanite musician (1Ch 25:4); The Septuagint’s Codex Vaticanus has Azarael =" Azarel," the name given in 1Ch 25:18.


(5) A Levite "son" of Jeduthun (2Ch 29:14).

(6) A goldsmith who joined in repairing the wall of Jerusalem (Ne 3:8).

(7) The reading of Septuagint (Oziel) for Jahaziel in 1Ch 23:19.

See JAHAZIEL, (3).

David Francis Roberts